Africa Media Review for May 2, 2023

Sudanese Ambassadors Call on Warring Parties to Respect Cease-Fire
As the conflict in Sudan enters its third week with a shaky cease-fire, the current and former Sudanese ambassadors to Washington told VOA they hope the cease-fire will eventually lead to meaningful long-term talks for peace. Ambassador Mohammed Abdullah Idris said peace can only be realized if all parties respect the terms of the truce. “A cease-fire, truce, is a two-way traffic, so we hope that the other party will respect the truce and will respect the cease-fire, especially those elements of RSF [Rapid Support Forces] those [that] are deployed in residential areas, on roads, streets, intersections,” he told VOA during a one-on-one interview at the Sudanese Embassy in Washington. … Human rights advocates criticized both warring parties for violations of human rights. “From the start of the fighting, both sides to the conflict in Sudan have shown deadly disregard for the civilian population,” Mohamed Osman, a Sudan researcher at the New York-based advocacy group Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. VOA

Medics in Sudan Warn of Crisis as Health System near Collapse
Sudanese medics have described seeing piles of bodies in the streets of the capital, Khartoum, people drinking polluted water, and doctors working under bombardments as the battle between the country’s two warring generals continues despite a threadbare ceasefire. Intense explosions and shelling were audible in Omdurman, Khartoum’s twin city across the Nile, on Monday and there were reports of further explosions and clashes in the Bahri and Kafouri districts of Khartoum North. In the south of Khartoum, residents reported that the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) fired anti-aircraft missiles in response to bombardments by the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF). Critical shortages of basic goods including water, food and fuel began to take hold amid rising violence, which has so far killed more than 500 people. The Guardian

BBC World Service Launches Emergency Pop-Up Radio Service for Sudan
An emergency radio service for Sudan is to be launched on BBC News Arabic on Tuesday, by the World Service. The pop-up radio service will be broadcast twice daily for three months, providing news and information for people in the war-torn African nation. It will include eyewitness accounts and news on diplomatic efforts, the BBC said, and help counter disinformation. BBC director general Tim Davie said the move was “crucial at a time of great uncertainty”. The programme will be broadcast live from London, with input and analysis from teams in Amman in Jordan and the Egyptian capital Cairo. It will be available on shortwave radio in Sudan, as well as online, where listeners will be able to hear information on how to access essential supplies and services, the BBC said. … The programme will broadcast at 09:00 local time (07:00 GMT) on 21,510 kHz and 17:00 local time (15:00 GMT) on 15,310kHz. The first programme will be available on Tuesday afternoon. BBC

Senegalese Opposition Leader Calls for Civil Disobedience against Judiciary
Senegalese main opposition leader Ousmane Sonko has called for national civil disobedience against the judiciary and further rejected any dialogue against President Macky Sall. Sonko on the other hand denounced claims that he was undermining the justice system. Sonko last month had claimed his life was in danger and that he had evidence showing he was to be assassinated on March 16th on his way to court to face charges of rape allegations. Another court court on 30th March gave opposition politician Ousmane Sonko a two-month suspended prison sentence for defaming a minister. The opponent, who came third in the presidential election in 2019, and his supporters claim that the judiciary is being used by the government to eliminate him politically and clear the way for the incumbent Macky Sall. Sonkko and his supporters accuse the government of using the justice system to prevent him from running for president in February 2024. AfricaNews

Scientists: Climate Change Worsened Eastern Africa Drought
The ongoing drought in Eastern Africa has been made worse by human-induced climate change, which also made it much likelier to occur in the first place, an international team of climate scientists concluded. The report Thursday came from World Weather Attribution, a group that seeks to quickly determine whether certain extreme weather events were influenced by climate change. Nineteen scientists from seven nations assessed how climate change affected rainfall in the region. “Climate change caused the low rainfall in the region,” Joyce Kimutai, principal meteorologist at the Kenya Meteorological Department said. “Climate change has made the drought exceptional.” The scientists analyzed historical weather data, including changes in the two main rainfall patterns in the region alongside computer model simulations dating back to the 1800s. They found that the long rains season —March through May — was turning drier and the short rains season — typically October through December — was becoming wetter due to climate change. The report also said a “strong increase” in evaporation from soil and plants due to higher temperatures had worsened the drought’s severity. Washington Post

Kenyan Police Clash with Anti-Government Protesters
Police in Kenya clashed with anti-government protesters in the capital, Nairobi, in a fresh round of demonstrations called by the opposition leader. Protesters who turned up early Tuesday morning to erect barricades on major roads around the city threw stones at police, who responded with tear gas. A bus was torched. Business was paralyzed in Kisumu County, an opposition stronghold, as police clashed with protesters. The opposition is calling for action to tackle the cost of living and reforms to the electoral commission that oversaw last year’s election that was won by President William Ruto. Opposition leader Raila Odinga rejected the government’s position that the Tuesday protests are illegal and urged his supporters to turn up in large numbers. … Odinga had called off protests during Ramadan to pave the way for the talks proposed by Ruto. Both the opposition and the ruling party nominated politicians to take part in those talks, but the opposition rejected some of those nominated by the ruling party. AP

Egypt Frees Al Jazeera Producer Held for Nearly 4 Years
The authorities in Egypt have released a journalist with the Qatar-based Al Jazeera news network nearly four years after he was detained, the media outlet said. Hisham Abdelaziz, a producer with the network’s Mubasher channel, was arrested in June 2019 after being stopped while travelling from his Qatar base to Cairo for a family visit. He was charged with “publishing false news” and “joining an outlawed group”, according to the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) in Egypt. … Two more Al Jazeera journalists, Bahauddin Ibrahim and Rabie al-Sheikh, are still being held in Egypt on similar charges. In September 2022, Egypt released Al Jazeera journalist Ahmed al-Najidi after holding him for two years. … Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) considers Egypt one of the world’s main jailers of journalists, with more than 20 reporters currently behind bars. Rights groups say there are currently 60,000 political prisoners in Egypt, with many held on charges of “spreading false news”. RSF ranks Egypt 168th out of 180 countries in its World Press Freedom Index. AFP

Use Zoom or We’ll Arrest You at BRICS Summit, South Africa Warns Putin
A South African government has said Russian President Vladimir Putin will be arrested if he attends the upcoming BRICS summit slated for August 2023. South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa is under pressure to execute the arrest warrant placed on Putin for war crimes charges by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in March. “We have no option not to arrest Putin. If he comes here, we will have to arrest him,” a South African government official said, according to the Heritage Times. The African power, instead, has urged the Russian leader who has been declared wanted by the ICC to join the bloc meeting via Zoom. As a member of the ICC, South Africa is under obligation to hand over Putin to investigators. Last week, Ramaphosa appointed a special government committee headed by the country’s vice president to study Vladimir Putin’s international arrest warrant, the Heritage Times reported. The committee will not be able to find “any options that would allow Putin to come. The only option we have is for [Putin] to participate in the summit via Teams or Zoom from Moscow.” Vanguard

Japan PM’s Africa Tour a Bid to Counter China, Russia Influence
Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida began his first week-long Africa tour in Egypt at the weekend. The four-nation visit is part of a concerted effort to strengthen relations with the “Global South” and counter the growing influence of China and Russia in the region. The Japanese prime minister regards cooperation with Global South countries as vital for upholding what is called the “rules-based international order.” The trip is also a bid to respond to China’s expanding military and economic influence in the region. “I hope to engage in discussions on the situation in Ukraine and other international issues, and reinforce our collaboration,” Kishida told reporters before his departure. Several African nations rely on Russia for energy supplies and depend on China for economic aid and investment. On Sunday, Kishida met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to discuss the ongoing conflict in Sudan, the war in Ukraine and rising energy and food prices. … Japan’s increasing involvement in Africa is not new. In 1993, Japan started the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) conferences, aimed at promoting high-level policy dialogue among African leaders and their development partners. RFI

Scholz’s East Africa Trip to Address Regional Conflict, Green Energy
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz aims to discuss the conflict in Sudan, signal his support for the peace process in Ethiopia and explore cooperation on green hydrogen with Kenya during his trip to East Africa this week, officials said on Tuesday. Scholz’s three-day stay in Ethiopia and Kenya, which will include a business delegation, is his second official visit to Africa as chancellor as the West increasingly vies for influence and trade worldwide with other powers, notably China. In Ethiopia, he will meet on Thursday with the prime minister and the interim leader of the Tigray region to discuss progress in ensuring peace after a two-year war that killed tens of thousands of people, the German government officials told a briefing. He will also meet with the African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat to discuss the latest developments in Sudan, economic cooperation and global challenges such as climate change. On Friday, he will meet the president of Kenya, East Africa’s biggest economy, to discuss trade and other issues. Reuters

Libyan Business Leaders Participate in the Arab Chinese Businessmen’s Conference in Riyadh
Libya is participating with a delegation of business leaders in the tenth edition of the Arab Chinese Businessmen’s Conference and the eighth edition of the Investments Symposium. The event will be held from 22 to 24 May in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. … The Libyan business delegation consists of business leaders who have previously cooperated with Chinese companies or who wish to establish new partnerships by getting to know Chinese business leaders and their companies participating in the conference. Commenting on the Libyan participation, President of the General Union of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, Mohamed Al-Raied, confirmed to Libya Herald that there are many business leaders in Libya that have commercial dealings with Chinese companies or represent Chinese brands in Libya. … There are also several Chinese companies that worked in the field of infrastructure, housing, the railway project, and several development projects during the past decades, which the Libyan state seeks to restart. Libya Herald

UN Agency Suspends Food Aid to Ethiopia’s Tigray amid Theft
The United Nations food relief agency has suspended aid deliveries to Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region amid an internal investigation into the theft of food meant for hungry people, according to four humanitarian workers. The World Food Program is responsible for delivering food from the U.N. and other partners to Tigray, the center of a devastating two-year civil war that ended with a ceasefire in November. More than 5 million of the region’s 6 million people rely on aid. WFP informed its humanitarian partners on April 20 that it was temporarily suspending deliveries of food to Tigray amid reports of food misappropriation, one of the four humanitarian workers told AP. Three other aid workers confirmed this information. They all insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to a journalist on this matter. AP

Rwanda: Remains of over 900 Genocide Victims Discovered at Mibilizi Parish
Remains of more than 900 Genocide victims have been discovered at around Mibilizi Catholic Church parish, the Mayor of Rusizi district, Anicet Kibiriga, has told The New Times. “The exhuming activity continues. And, so far, we have discovered 930 genocide remains in total,” he said. The number is an increase from 588 remains that had been found as of April 27. The first remains were discovered at the end of March when residents were working to construct terraces across 16 hectares in the Gashonga sector. Testimonies indicate that when widespread killings of the Tutsi started in April 1994, thousands of the Tutsi fleeing violence in their neighbourhoods took refuge at Mibilizi Catholic Church. They camped in and outside the church, spending their time praying and imploring God for protection. But just days after their arrival, attacks from Interahamwe militia who vowed to exterminate them started. … Today’s estimates indicate that those who perished at Mibilizi might be more than 10,000. New Times