Africa Media Review for November 8, 2022

Somalis Are Going Hungry. Their Government Isn’t Calling It a Famine.
Despite the crisis, the Somali government has for months been reluctant to declare that the country faces a famine, according to interviews with government officials, aid workers and analysts familiar with internal government discussions…Such an announcement, aid workers said, would allow far more aid to flow…The government of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, which came to power in May, has resisted the designation for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, the fledgling government fears it would undermine the public good will it now enjoys and play into the hands of the terrorist group Al Shabab, just as the military has launched a large-scale offensive against the insurgents, who have plagued the country for decades and are still launching devastating attacks. New York Times

How Russian Mercenaries Colluded with Khartoum Regime to Exploit Sudan’s Gold
An investigation has found evidence that the Wagner Group, a Russian mercenary force with ties to the Kremlin, colluded with political and military powers in Sudan to exploit the country’s gold…A report by the US-based non-profit Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) now details group activities in Sudan, where it is alleged that the Wagner Group funneled resources to regime forces in exchange for privileged access to the country’s lucrative gold mining industry. Sudan is Africa’s third-largest gold producer, behind Ghana and South Africa. Sudanese regulations oblige all foreign mining companies to grant Khartoum 30 percent of shares, so that Sudan benefits from any gold extracted. RFI

El Burhan Speech to Sudan Military Dubbed ‘Political Posturing’
Chairman of the Sovereignty Council, Commander-in-Chief of the Sudan Armed Forces and leader of the October 2021 coup d’état, Abdelfattah El Burhan, confirmed that meetings about a new political framework for the country are being held on Sunday, provoking strong reactions.  He warned the former ruling National Congress Party (NCP) not to interfere with the army or in politics, explaining that “the army has no faction or party, and it will never defend a faction or party.”  His speech, in front of hundreds of leaders and members of the army at the Hattab military base, near Khartoum, was held without special occasion and used sharp language.  He said he is ready to fight for Sudan and claimed to be carrying his own personal weapon, a “pistol,” loaded with bullets and ready for any emergency. Dabanga

Egypt Accused of ‘Greenwashing’ Rights Record as It Hosts U.N. Climate Conference
Environmental activists are among the tens of thousands of people, including political protesters and journalists, who have been languishing in Egyptian prisons for years, many without trial, according to Human Rights Watch, an international nongovernmental research and advocacy organization. Basing his opinion on recent interviews conducted with people inside Egypt and other data, Richard Pearhouse, Human Rights Watch’s environment director, said by telephone Friday that the violent repression of civil society includes the “jailing and harassment of environmental activists and restrictions on groups researching the impact of climate change in the country.” NBC News with AP

Pay Up or Shut Up, Say African States
Large parts of Nigeria flooded last month, while Somalia is experiencing near-famine conditions. Paris was the product of rich countries demanding that the world’s focus be on reducing emissions. Developing countries, which pollute very little, want equal focus to be on the damage being done as the world heats — and on adapting to this heating world. This argument is labelled as “loss and damage” in climate negotiations.  For the next two weeks, African countries and their peers working together in the G77 group of countries, plan to put pressure on rich countries to pay up. The Egyptian official who heads this round of COP has talked of restoring the “grand bargain” in which rich countries pay for the damage they have done. Mail & Guardian

A Hacking Group Stole $11 Million from 12 African Countries
Singapore-based cyber security firm Group IB and Orange CERT, the IT security arm of French telecommunications company Orange have revealed in a new report that 12 African countries lost millions of dollars to a hacking group based in an unknown French-speaking African country. The threat actor, which mainly targeted Francophone Africa was codenamed OPERA1ER and relied solely on known off-the-shelf tools. It managed to launch over 30 successful attacks against banks, financial services providers, and telecommunication companies between 2018 and 2022, stealing $11 million in the process. Quartz Africa

Ghanaian Protesters Demand President Step Down over Economic Crisis
More than 1,000 protesters marched through Ghana’s capital Accra on Saturday, calling for the resignation of President Nana Akufo-Addo amid an economic crisis that has hammered the cedi currency and seen fuel and food costs spiral to record levels. Filing past police in riot gear, the red-clad crowd waved placards and chanted ‘Akufo-Addo must go’ and ‘IMF no’ in reference to the government’s ongoing talks with the International Monetary Fund for billions of dollars to prop up the economy. Reuters

Nigerian Widows End Case in the Netherlands Against Shell
Four widows seeking to hold Shell liable for damages in the Netherlands after their anti-oil activist husbands were executed by the Nigerian government in 1995, have cancelled further legal proceedings, their lawyer has said. “Obviously this is not without disappointment and frustration,” said lawyer Channa Samkalden in statement on Monday announcing that the widows have cancelled an appeal launched after the Hague District Court rejected their case earlier this year. Al Jazeera

Kenya Discloses Part of Secret Railway Contract with China
Kenya’s government has disclosed some details of the loan agreement the country signed in 2014 with China to build a railway, a major step toward political accountability but one that could strain relations with Beijing, the country’s top financier of infrastructure projects…Since the $4.7 billion rail project, known as the Standard Gauge Railway, began five years ago, it has cast a long shadow over the East African nation. It was over budget by millions of dollars and became the center of multiple criminal investigations, saddling the economy with ever-growing debt and ending with judges declaring it illegal because it contravened the country’s procurement laws. New York Times

Uganda Still Struggling to Tackle Ebola as the Death Toll Passes 50
Health authorities in Uganda are struggling to contain the Ebola virus after reporting 51 deaths, including healthcare workers and 132 cases across seven districts in the country. While some government-instituted lockdowns have been put in place, the International Rescue Committee is calling for more funding to curb the spread of the virus…President Yoweri Museveni reassured residents in Kampala that no lockdown would be carried out, even though the disease had reached the capital. RFI

Comoros Ex-President to Face Charges of High Treason: Lawyer
Former Comorian President Ahmed Abdallah Sambi will be tried on charges of high treason, his lawyer and family said Monday (November 7), after spending four years in detention over corruption allegations. The former head of state (2006-2011), the main opponent of the current president Azali Assoumani, was originally prosecuted for “embezzlement of public funds, corruption, forgery and use of forgeries” in the scandal known as “economic citizenship,” which involved the sale of Comorian passports to stateless people from the Gulf States. AfricaNews with AFP

Ethiopian Gov’t, Tigray Forces Establish Hotline Following Truce
The Ethiopian government and Tigrayan forces have established a telephone hotline following a truce struck last week, the African Union’s chief mediator Olusegun Obasanjo said on Monday as both sides meet in Kenya for talks on implementing the ceasefire. On November 2, the federal government and regional forces from Tigray agreed to the cessation of hostilities, a diplomatic breakthrough two years into a war that has killed thousands and displaced millions. Al Jazeera

Peace Agreement Key for South Sudan Stability, Says UN Official
The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix has acknowledged the positive steps made in the implementation of South Sudan’s revitalized peace deal, but said more should be done. He made the remarks at the start of his four-day visit to the world’s newest nation. “There have been positive steps forward in the implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement, but much more needs to be done,” said Lacroix. He added, “We are here to encourage further progress in the implementation of the peace deal because it is the political framework which offers hope for South Sudan to achieve more stability.” Sudan Tribune

‘Dangerous and Serious Provocation’: Rwanda Warns DRC After Airspace Violation
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) admitted to violating its neighbour Rwanda’s airspace on Monday morning but didn’t offer an apology. In response, Rwanda issued a statement, stating that Kigali “strongly protests” the provocation. On Monday morning, a Russian-made fighter jet belonging to the DRC made a brief landing at Rubavu Airport in Rwanda’s Western Province. The jet took off almost instantly and made its way back to the DRC. News24

Zimbabwe Activist and Opposition Party Leader Detained for 100 Days
The 50-year-old lawyer and politician has limited contact with the outside world, and communications are strictly monitored, but he was able to respond in writing to questions. “I live in a single cell, which means I’m always alone, but even this strategy has not broken me,” he said…His politics have always put him at odds with the government. His current troubles began in June, after the murder of opposition activist Moreblessing Ali in Chitungwiza. Ali was allegedly killed by Pius Jamba, a well-known member of the ruling Zanu-PF, in an argument over money. Jamba is in jail and facing criminal charges. Mail & Guardian

Large Hydrocarbon Deposit Discovered off Angolan Coast
A large hydrocarbon deposit has been discovered off the shore of Angola’s capital Luanda at a site operated by American firm ExxonMobil, the country’s national agency for oil, gas and biofuels announced Monday. The deposit was discovered about 365km northwest of the oil-rich nation’s coast through a drilling 1 100m deep, the Angola’s National Agency for Oil, Gas and Biofuels (ANPG) said in a statement. AFP



Photo: Adam Jones