Africa Media Review for May 13, 2024

Chad Opposition Leader Masra Files Challenge against Presidential Election Result
Chadian opposition leader Succes Masra has lodged a legal appeal with the country’s constitutional council to challenge the preliminary result of the Central African nation’s May 6 presidential election. The state-run national election management body on Thursday declared interim President Mahamat Idriss Deby winner of the election with 61.3% of the vote, according to provisional results, while Masra was placed a distant second with 18.53%. However, prior to the official announcement, Masra, who serves as the prime minister of a transitional government, had claimed victory, alleging that an electoral fraud was being planned…He shared a copy of a receipt showing that documents had been filed with the council, which an opposition official close to Masra said included copies of results sheets from polling stations, a table pulling together the figures and videos that allegedly show ballot stuffing and other cheating. Reuters

Chad Deploys Combat-Ready Troops as Post-election Violence Spikes
Chad says it has deployed combat-ready troops to stop armed attacks and maintain peace as the death toll increased to 12 people in post-election violence on Saturday. At least 90 people have sustained severe injuries in the capital, N’djamena…Opposition and civil society say several hundred civilians who protested the May 6 presidential election results have been arrested and detained, especially in the capital city and in Moundou, Chad’s second-largest city. VOA

Sudan: Renewed Clashes in El Fasher Leave 27 Civilians Dead, 130 Injured
Brutal clashes between Sudanese forces and rebels in El Fasher, North Darfur, have left at least 27 civilians dead and 130 injured, the UN’s humanitarian office (OCHA) reported Sunday. Airstrikes and heavy weapons pounded the city from May 10th morning to 6:30 pm, marking a dramatic escalation in the ongoing conflict. The violence erupted mid-morning in eastern El Fasher, quickly engulfing the town centre, main market, and neighbourhoods. Hundreds of civilians, estimated at 850 people (170 families), fled their homes, seeking refuge in the south. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported widespread displacement…This latest violence adds to a devastating pattern. Over 40,600 people were displaced in El Fasher locality between April 1st and 18th due to tribal clashes and fighting between government forces and rebels. Humanitarian access to El Fasher is severely restricted, hindering aid delivery. Sudan Tribune

Sudan: RSF Accused of Running Secret Execution Chambers in the Sudanese Capital
A disturbing investigation by Sudan Tribune has uncovered evidence suggesting the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have been executing civilians by hanging inside secret execution chambers across the capital, Khartoum…Residents recently returned to areas previously controlled by the RSF have provided chilling accounts…Video clips of executions and ethnic cleansing committed by the fighting forces in Sudan are circulating on social media. These videos show cold-blooded executions of civilians in various regions, as confirmed by international reports and human rights organizations. Activists told Sudan Tribune about the existence of at least 14 secret execution chambers established by the RSF in Khartoum, Bahri, and Omdurman. These facilities are allegedly overseen by officers who act as judges, issuing death sentences for civilians accused of collaborating with the army intelligence. Sudan Tribune

South Sudan: Juba Lawyers Ask EACJ for Protection from State Security Agency
The legal fraternity in South Sudan is seeking protection from state security agencies, citing harassment of advocates by the National Security Service. The agency is accused of targeting especially those who seek redress at the East African Court of Justice (EACJ), as lawyers and rights activists avoid the local courts for fear of not getting justice. In the past two months, South Sudan’s security agents have detained two people, one a former mayor, without warrants and denied lawyers access to them and information about their whereabouts…Both the EACJ and the Human Rights Watch have documented cases of intimidation of lawyers and their outspoken clients…The 2014 National Security Service Act gives the NSS broad powers. The UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan in its March 2024 report flagged unchecked mass violence and entrenched repression in South Sudan, threatening the prospects of durable peace and human rights protection. The EastAfrican

Rebels Kill at Least 4 People during an Attack on a Central African Republic Mining Town
Armed rebels on Sunday attacked a Chinese-run gold mining town and killed at least four people in Central African Republic, authorities said. Maxime Balalu, a local government spokesperson, told The Associated Press that the Coalition of Patriots for Change, an alliance of rebel groups aligned with former President Francois Bozize, had carried out the attack in Gaga, a village roughly 125 miles (200 kilometers) from the capital, Bangui. He said the death toll might rise and included several individuals who worked at the nearby mine. Several others were injured in the attack, Balalu said. Central African Republic has been in conflict since 2013, when predominantly Muslim rebels seized power and forced the President Francois Bozize from office. Mostly Christian militias fought back. AP

4m Somalia Children Hit by War and Climate Change, Experts Say
As Somali forces navigate a delicate transition to assume the country’s security responsibilities from African Union peacekeepers who have secured civilians and personnel of international agencies for the past 17 years, experts say that four million children in Somalia have been affected by conflict and climate change. Isha Dyfan, UN independent expert on the human rights situation in Somalia, announced this Thursday, at meetings with government officials, UN representatives, children rights activists and other humanitarian agencies operating in Somalia…Ms Dyfan said children represent 60-70 percent of the internally displaced persons and other vulnerable populations, all being victims of forced eviction and its impact, and children are further at risk of mines and hazardous materials in the liberated areas. The EastAfrican

Depleted SANDF Troops in Northern Mozambique Battle Islamic State Insurgents in Macomia
The South African National Defence Force (SANDF), in the process of withdrawing from northern Mozambique, had to fight a hard battle with insurgents in the town of Macomia in the province of Cabo Delgado on Friday, 10 May. A large insurgent group attacked the inland town where the SANDF has a base. Most of the SANDF soldiers had already withdrawn to the coastal provincial capital of Pemba – about 130km to the southeast – in preparation for leaving the country by July. They had left a small contingent at the base in Macomia…The SANDF forces form part of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM). The sharp clash in Macomia has raised further doubts about the wisdom of SADC’s decision to withdraw SAMIM from Mozambique by July. Much of the force, including most of the SANDF troops, have already left Mozambique. It is understood that about 300 SANDF infantry remain. Daily Maverick

Zuma in court seeking right to run in South Africa’s pivotal election
South Africa’s top court began hearing legal arguments on Friday on whether ex-president Jacob Zuma can run for parliament, a case whose outcome will affect a wide open national election on May 29 and could cause security problems if he loses. Zuma, 82, who was forced to quit as president in 2018 and was sentenced to jail in 2021, has fallen out with the ruling African National Congress and has been campaigning for a new party, uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK)…The case stems from a decision in March by South Africa’s electoral commission to disqualify Zuma on the basis that the constitution prohibits anyone given a prison sentence of 12 months or longer from holding a parliamentary seat. In 2021, Zuma was sentenced to 15 months in jail for failing to appear at a corruption inquiry.
In April, a court overturned the disqualification, saying the relevant section of the constitution applied only to people who had had a chance to appeal against their sentences, which had not been Zuma’s case. The electoral commission challenged that decision in the Constitutional Court, which began hearing the case on Friday with Zuma sitting in the courtroom. Reuters

Kenya, DRC Relations Begin to Thaw after Ruto ‘Special Message’ to Tshisekedi
There was hope on Thursday for a resolution of the diplomatic standoff between Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has simmered for over a year, after a meeting between both states’ officials in Kinshasa. President William Ruto on Wednesday dispatched Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi to the Congolese capital with a special message to President Felix Tshisekedi after matters came to a head following the detention of two Kenya Airways staff in Kinshasa in controversial circumstances…The meeting also paved the way for the return of DR Congo’s ambassador to Kenya, who had been recalled in the heat of disagreements over Kenya’s “hosting” of Congolese opposition figures, who launched a party in Nairobi and later professed support for the rebel group M23, which has been fighting government forces and their allies in the eastern region of the country. The EastAfrican

Internet Outage Felt across East Africa
Internet users in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda have been complaining about poor connectivity as service providers across East Africa acknowledge there has been a problem. They have said they are working to fix it. The patchy service was a result of faults in the under-sea cables that connect the region to the rest of the world through South Africa, industry expert Ben Roberts told the BBC. A similar outage was experienced in parts of West and Southern Africa in March. Cloudflare Radar, which monitors internet connectivity, said that Tanzania was of the worst-affected countries with traffic falling to 30% of expected levels. BBC

Lawyers: Three Tunisian Commentators Arrested over Critical Remarks
Tunisian authorities on Sunday ordered the arrest of two journalists over critical comments, a lawyer told AFP, a day after security forces stormed the bar association and took political commentator Sonia Dahmani into custody. Dahmani, also a lawyer, was arrested late Saturday after criticizing the state of Tunisia on television, her attorney Dalila Msaddek said in a post on Facebook. Msaddek said there was a “police attack against the bar association headquarters” in Tunis, with “lawyers assaulted and the abduction of colleague Sonia Dahmani to an unknown location.” It came on the same evening that TV and radio presenter Borhen Bssais and political commentator Mourad Zeghidi were arrested for critical comments, lawyer Ghazi Mrabet told AFP…The exact motivation for Bssais’s arrest remains unclear, but according to Mrabet, he was detained under Decree 54 which punishes the production and dissemination of “false news.” The law, signed by President Kais Saied in September 2022, has been criticized by journalists and opposition figures who say it has been used to stifle dissent. AFP

Hundreds Protest in Tunisia to Demand a Date for Fair Presidential Elections
Hundreds of protesters gathered in the Tunisian capital on Sunday to demand the release of imprisoned journalists, activists and opposition figures, and the setting of a date for fair presidential elections. The protest comes amid an economic and political crisis and a wave of arrests targeting journalists, lawyers, activists and opponents. Tunisian police stormed the building of the Deanship of Lawyers on Saturday and arrested Sonia Dahmani, a lawyer known for her fierce criticism of President Kais Saied. Two journalists were also arrested on the same day. The Election Commission said earlier that the elections would be held on time, but with the president’s first term, which lasts for five years, drawing to a close, it has not so far announced a date. Saied took office following free elections in 2019, but two years later seized additional powers when he shut down the elected parliament and moved to rule by decree. He also assumed authority over the judiciary, a step that the opposition called a coup…The opposition says that the political climate is not currently suitable for holding elections amid restrictions on the press and the imprisonment of prominent opponents and activists. They called on Sunday for a clean political climate for a vote that includes an end to restrictions on press and political freedoms. Reuters