Africa Media Review for May 24, 2022

Somalia’s Newly Elected President Assumes Office
Hassan Sheikh Mohamud officially took office in the Horn of Africa country after a handover ceremony in Mogadishu. A week ago, Mohamud won the presidency after an intense election, defeating Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, known as Farmajo, in a third round of voting. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud becomes the first ex-president in Somalia to be reelected. In a joint speech at the brief but colorfully prepared handover ceremony, former President Farmajo called on the country’s population to support the new leader. He said, “… I want to advise them to work with the new president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, because the election has been completed and he will start the work and everything he does will be for the people of Somalia…” The former president also, for the first time, confirmed the presence in Eritrea of Somali troops. Although they were sent to Eritrea for training, there were accusations that the troops were involved in northern Ethiopia, where the central government was involved in a conflict with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. The TPLF is a former member of the coalition that ruled Ethiopia for three decades. Ethiopia’s government has branded the group a terrorist organization. Voice of America

African Development Bank Releases $1.5 Billion to Tackle Food Crisis
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has released $1.5 billion to tackle a looming food crisis on the continent. The funds will be channelled to about 20 million farmers across the continent in the form of purchases for certified seed, fertiliser and better farming technology. The target is to enable farmers to produce at least 38 million tonnes of food this season, according to a decision reached by the Bank’s Board of Governors on Friday. The decision came as the continent, a net importer of food, faces rising prices of products after the main suppliers—Ukraine and Russia—went to war earlier this year, disrupting production and supply to the global market. According to the Bank, Africa’s demand for food means that the continent faces a shortage of up to 30 million metric tonnes this year, with wheat, maize and soybeans the most needed. Dr Akinwumi Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank Group, said the lender is also fighting a continual anomaly: That of using food aid whenever there is a crisis on the continent. “Food aid cannot feed Africa. Africa does not need bowls in hand. Africa needs seeds in the ground, and mechanical harvesters to harvest bountiful food produced locally. Africa will feed itself with pride for there is no dignity in begging for food,” he said on Friday evening after the Board’s approval.” East African

Sudan: Anti-Coup Protests Continue in Khartoum, Omdurman
Thousands of protesters took to the streets of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum and its twin city of Omdurman on Monday to denounce the October military coup that plunged the country into further turmoil. The latest demonstration is another in a long string of protests following the coup which derailed the country’s transition to democratic rule. Riot police fired tear gas at protesters in Omdurman, while confrontations took place between the security forces and protesters in some neighbourhoods. Protesters carried flags, banged instruments and chanted slogans while marching on the city’s streets. “We will keep taking to the streets until we have a full civilian government. There will be no power-sharing, no compromise and no legitimacy to this coup that is still seeking support from the people and will never get it.”**Hassan Abdullah, a protester said.  On Saturday, a 20-year-old protester was allegedly killed by a cartridge weapon the security forces used against the protesters, near the house of the former Prime Minister Ismail Alazhari in Omdurman. AfricaNews

US Firms Warned About Doing Business in Sudan
The United States has warned American companies and individuals that doing business with state-owned and military-controlled firms in Sudan could risk their reputation because of the deteriorating human rights situation in the country. While some of these risks had been there before last October’s coup, the military takeover and actions since had made the things worse, the US Department of State said. “These risks arise from, among other things, recent actions undertaken by Sudan’s Sovereign Council and security forces under the military’s command, including and especially serious human rights abuse against protesters,” State Department Spokesman Ned Price said in a statement. Mr Price said the US government remained committed to supporting the Sudanese people’s aspiration for a civilian-led transition to an elected government. BBC

Ethiopia: Tigray Forces Released Captive Civilians, Not Soldiers
A new twist in the Tigray conflict has emerged after the Tigray People’s Liberation Front said it was releasing soldiers it has detained but the Ethiopian government said most of those released were civilians and not soldiers. The Tigray forces who are fighting Ethiopia’s federal army on Saturday released 4,208 prisoners, including 401 women in an amnesty grant, claiming they were prisoners of war (POWs) – soldiers captured during the war. The move came amid an escalating war of words between Tigray and the Federal Government, raising fears of renewed hostilities in the country’s North. East African

Egypt on Track to Host Next COP27 on Climate Change
Egypt, host of the next United Nations summit on climate change, will push countries to make good on their pledges to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions, facilitate “non-adversarial” talks on compensation to developing countries for global warming impacts and allow climate activists to protest, said the incoming president of COP27. In an interview on Monday with The Associated Press, the country’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, who is also the president-designate of the next annual Conference of the Parties, to be held in November in the Red Sea resort city Sharm El-Sheikh, called the overall goal “implementation.” Shoukry said the last summit, held last year in Glasgow in Scotland, finalised many commitments made during the Paris Agreement in 2015, which aimed to reduce emissions and limit global warming to 1.5 Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times. “The commitments and the pledges now have to be implemented in all sectors of the climate change agenda, whether it’s in adaptation, mitigation or finance, loss and damage,” said Shoukry, who was attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. In recent years, many developing nations and activists have increased long-standing calls to establish a fund to compensate poor countries for the devastation brought about by climate change, disproportionately caused by rich countries because of past emissions. AfricaNews

Moderna Looks Beyond COVID Vaccines for Kenya Factory
Kenya now says Moderna’s $500 million (Ksh57.5 billion) vaccine plant will have a crucial role to play in the fight against other diseases beyond the Covid-19 pandemic amid a global glut of coronavirus vaccines. The comments come amid a reported global vaccine oversupply that has crept up across a world once desperate for immunisation against the coronavirus, raising fears of the viability of Covid-19 plants in the pipeline. But health Cabinet secretary Mutahi Kagwe said vaccine plants in the Kenya pipeline including the Moderna’s would also produce other vaccines. Therefore, the Covid-19 vaccines glut would not affect the construction plans. “They will make vaccines..not just Covid ones,” Mr Kagwe told the Business Daily. Mr Kagwe ruled out concerns that the production glut of Covid-19 vaccines could derail Kenya’s and the rest of Africa’s plan to build vaccine plants. East African

Rwanda Accuses Congolese Forces of Cross-Border Shelling
Rwanda’s military has accused neighboring Congolese forces of injuring several civilians in cross-border shelling and asked regional monitors to investigate. Rwanda Defense Force spokesman Col. Ronald Rwivanga said authorities are “engaging” Congo counterparts over the shelling that Rwanda says struck areas in Musanze district on Monday morning. Rwanda has asked that the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism urgently investigate. Some Congolese authorities have accused Rwandan forces of supporting armed groups in mineral-rich eastern Congo, where dozens of such groups are active. Rwanda has described allegations of supporting rebels in Congo as baseless. Fighting reportedly continues between Congolese forces and an armed group called M23. AP

Tensions Rise Ahead of DR Congo Presidential Election
DR Congo’s presidential election is over a year away, but political tensions are escalating in the vast and volatile country as candidates line up and fears grow the vote will be fraudulent. Elections in the central African nation frequently turn violent, with dozens of protesters killed. They are also often criticised by observers. But the last presidential election in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in 2018, heralded the first peaceful transfer of power in Kinshasa since independence from Belgium in 1960…However, fears of tampering are already stalking the electoral process, and pressures around political circles in the capital have begun to mount. Tshisekedi’s ruling coalition in the national assembly recently rejected an amendment to electoral law that would have banned politicians from distributing money during campaigns, for example. It also struck down an effort to force the publication of votes by polling station. At present, DR Congo’s electoral commission publishes a single tally of results. “With these rejections, the electoral law enshrines tampering and fraud,” said opposition MP Claudel Lubaya. Martin Fayulu, a politician who claims he was robbed of victory in the 2018 election, told AFP that if Tshisekedi wins the 2023 poll “the country will be at war.” AFP

At Least 11 Civilians Killed in Burkina Faso Village Attacks, Says Governor
At least 11 civilians were killed in attacks on two villages in northern Burkina Faso on Sunday, a regional governor said in a statement. Unidentified armed assailants targeted the two communities in Seno province, which is among those hit by rising insecurity as jihadist groups with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State seek to gain control over once peaceful parts of West Africa’s Central Sahel region. In a statement on Monday, Governor Rodolphe Sorgho did not provide further details on the attacks but called on locals to be vigilant. A local official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a further 14 civilians, who were recorded as missing after the raids, had been found dead. Reuters could not independently verify the information. In recent years, Islamist violence has killed thousands of people and forced more than 2 million to flee their homes in the Sahel. On Saturday, the Burkinabe army said five soldiers had been killed repelling a large-scale militant attack in the Central-North region earlier that day. It said its forces killed some thirty militants in the encounter. Public frustration with the authorities’ handling of the security situation led to protests in Burkina Faso that culminated in a military coup in January. Reuters

Jihadists Kill 30 in Northeast Nigeria
Jihadists have killed 30 men in a revenge attack after their commanders died in military airstrikes in Nigeria’s northeast Borno state, two militia leaders said Tuesday. Fighters from the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) seized the men in Mudu village in the Dikwa area on Saturday, they said. News of the incident emerged late due to poor communication as a result of the destruction of telecom towers by jihadists in the region. “Most of the 30 men were slaughtered by ISWAP terrorists while a few who tried to flee were shot,” militia leader Babakura Kolo told AFP from the regional capital, Maiduguri. “They were metal scrap scavengers who were in the area in search of burnt vehicles which dot villages in northern Borno following attacks by the terrorists,” he said. He said the men had trekked from the town of Rann, 80 kilometres away, where they lived in camps for people displaced by the jihadist violence. Guardian

Nigeria: Police Discover Severed Head of Missing Legislator
Police in Nigeria have discovered the severed head of a state legislator who went missing last week in the southeastern state of Anambra, where the government accuses separatists of carrying out a spate of killings and kidnappings. The banned Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) group has been leading calls for the secession of the region, the homeland of the Igbo ethnic group, from the rest of Nigeria. Its leader Nnamdi Kanu is being charged with “terrorism” and treason by the federal government. Okechukwu Okoye, a legislator in the Anambra state assembly, and his aide went missing on May 15. His head was found a week later in a motor park in the Nnewi south local government area, the state police spokesman Tochukwu Ikenga said. “The lawmaker was killed,” Ikenga said on Sunday. “His head was found along Nnobi road. There is no suspect in custody yet.” The aide is also believed to have been murdered too but there was no mention of finding his body. Anambra state Governor Charles Soludo has put up a 10 million naira ($24,000) reward for information on the killers. Al Jazeera

Floods Hit South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal Province Again
Heavy rains in South Africa have forced hundreds of people to flee their homes on the east coast, according to officials, only a month after the worst floods in living memory killed more than 400. The floods over the weekend hit infrastructure, roads, bridges and damaged buildings, mainly in the port city of Durban, the capital of KwaZulu-Natal province and home to some 3.9 million people. “Some areas are inaccessible and have become islands at this stage,” KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala said during a news conference on Sunday. No fatalities were immediately recorded, but Zikalala added: “We are yet to receive a full comprehensive report on the impact of these latest heavy rains, but as reports come in a worrying picture is however emerging.” In April, torrential rain led to floods, landslides and the death of 435 people in KwaZulu-Natal and authorities said survivors were left without drinking water for nearly two weeks. Repairs are still ongoing after the floods caused damage worth hundreds of millions of dollars. On Sunday, parts of the road near the Umdloti beach resort north of Durban had been washed away, leaving gaping holes and cars balanced on the edge, AFP news agency reported. Al Jazeera

New Dam Could Be Big Boost for Cameroon’s Energy Production
[Video] In the struggle to reduce climate change emissions, hydroelectric power has the potential to fill some of the space currently occupied by oil and gas. In Cameroon, a giant hydroelectric project in Nachtigal could increase the country’s energy production by about 30 percent. Emmanuel Jules Ntap visited the site and filed this report, narrated by Carol Guensburg. Videographer: Emmanuel Jules Ntap. Voice of America



Photo: Adam Jones