Africa Media Review for October 13, 2022

China’s Diplomacy in the Horn—Conflict Mediation as Power Politics
China’s support for ruling parties undermines its ability to be an impartial arbiter of conflict resolution in the Horn of Africa and highlights China’s use of mediation to pursue its geostrategic interests. China launched the “Outlook on Peace and Development in the Horn of Africa” in March 2022 to facilitate a Chinese-led peace process in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa. Since then, China’s special envoy to the Horn of Africa, Xue Bing, has made a series of whirlwind visits to the region. China’s flurry of diplomatic activity in the Horn has raised eyebrows and a growing number of concerns in the region, however. Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Chad Ex-Opposition Figure Saleh Kebzabo Named Prime Minister
Veteran Chadian politician and former opposition figure Saleh Kebzabo has been appointed prime minister, according to a decree issued Wednesday by military leader and interim president Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno. Former journalist Kebzabo, 75, ran four times for the presidency against Deby’s father, Idriss Deby Itno, who was killed during an operation against rebels in April 2021 and was succeeded by a junta headed by his son, a 38-year-old five-star general. Kebzabo is “named prime minister,” according to the decree issued by Deby. The junta had originally declared it would restore civilian rule after 18 months in power, and Deby had at first promised he would not take part in the future elections. But as the 18-month deadline neared, a nationwide forum staged by Deby reset the clock. AFP

Opposition Parties Reject Moves Towards Any Settlement with Sudan Coup Leaders
The National Consensus Forces (NCF) reject movements towards a political settlement, following a number of meetings between Sudan’s Transitional Sovereignty Council and the tripartite mechanism.  On Tuesday, the tripartite mechanism met with the Chairman of Sudan’s Transitional Sovereignty Council, Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, after he announced that the political scene will witness a “breakthrough” in the coming days.  The meeting took place after the tripartite mechanism held a meeting with Sudan’s Vice President of the Sovereignty Council and Commander of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Lt Gen Mohamed ‘Hemeti’ Dagalo on Monday. Dabanga

Sudan: Pupils Return to School amid Political, Economic Turmoil
In Sudan, seven million children do not go to school, particularly in rural areas where nearly two-thirds of the 45 million inhabitants live, a “catastrophe for an entire generation”, according to NGOs. Already during the 30-year dictatorship of Omar al-Bashir, who will be removed from office in 2019 following a popular protest movement, families withdrew their children from school to cope with the economic crisis…And every year, heavy rains destroy schools: this summer, 600 schools were damaged…”At the age of 10, seven out of ten children are unable to read and understand a simple sentence,” laments Arshad Malik, director of the NGO Save the Children in Sudan. A symbol of the distress that reaches even the teachers, the latter regularly demonstrate to demand better salaries or denounce a military power incapable of raising the country. AfricaNews

Tunisian Protesters Clash with Police over Missing Migrants
Hundreds of Tunisians clashed with police on Wednesday during a protest to demand a rescue mission for relatives lost at sea during a failed migration attempt. Also angered over the burial of three suspected Tunisians in a nearby cemetery for foreign migrants, some burnt tyres and threw rocks at police. Protesters blocked the main street in the coastal town of Zarzis, shouting “the people want our lost children!” The incident came more than two weeks after a boat carrying Tunisian migrants went missing off the coast during an attempt to reach Italy. The New Arab

Nigeria Floods Kill 500, Displace 1.4 Million People
About 500 people have died in Nigeria’s worst floods in a decade and 1.4 million others been displaced from their homes since the start of the rainy season, the government has said. Floods caused by abundant rains and poor infrastructure have affected vast swathes of Africa’s most populous country sparking fears they could worsen food insecurity and inflation. AFP

Burkina Faso: French Institute Vandalized During Anti-Coup Demonstrations
French buildings, including the French embassy and the French institutes in Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso, the country’s second-largest city, were attacked by demonstrators who accused Paris of protecting Lieutenant Colonel Damiba, whose departure they demanded. In Ouagadougou, the street leading to the French Institute was littered with broken glass, broken computers, and burned air conditioners. The building is now isolated by a security perimeter installed by the Burkinabe police, a journalist from AFP noted on Wednesday. In the entrance hall, the portals and baggage scanners were burned, and the ceiling and walls were blackened by flames. AfricaNews

Cameroon, Nigeria Request to Join Ivory-Ghana Cocoa Initiative
Cameroon and Nigeria requested to join the Cote d’Ivoire-Ghana Cocoa Initiative (CIGCI), a joint body spearheading the interests of the two countries in the cocoa trade, the head of the initiative Alex Assanvo said on Wednesday. The initiative was set up after a 2018 declaration by Ivory Coast and Ghana, the world’s first and second-largest cocoa producers, on willingness to define a common sustainable cocoa strategy that would raise prices paid to farmers. Al Jazeera

‘Vacuum of Transparency in Nigeria’s Civil Society Space’ — Examining the Claims
A widely published article questions levels of accountability among civil society organisations in Nigeria, but not all its facts are accurate. In recently published articles, author Ibrahim Tanko Salisu argues that Nigeria’s civil society space might be full of “opportunists with self-centred intents using the platform as a money making enterprise”. Salisu said in the three–part series that non-governmental organisations need to be more accountable as “they spend the larger chunk of donated funds on their lavish lifestyle instead of spending for the targeted beneficiaries.” HumAngle

Vaccine Trials on Sudan Ebola Strain to Start in Weeks – WHO Chief
World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday a clinical trial of vaccines to combat the Sudan strain of Ebola could start within weeks as an outbreak of the disease in Uganda reached the capital, stirring alarm. The East African country declared an outbreak of Ebola on Sept. 20 and said infections were being caused by the Sudan strain. Uganda’s health ministry has confirmed a total of 54 Ebola cases and 19 deaths. Reuters

The Ivorian Immigrant Elected to Italy’s Conservative Parliament
Now an Italian citizen, the 42-year-old has a unique opportunity to reshape such decision-making – from within parliament. He won a seat in the lower house for the Green and Left party in the September 25 national election and hopes to make his mark from opposition ranks, facing a victorious conservative coalition that has promised to crack down on asylum seekers. “One thing I will try to do is make sure that no one ends up living in the streets like me. People need to be treated as human beings regardless of what passport they have,” he said, speaking in advance of the October 13 opening of parliament…He will stand out as the only Black lawmaker in the lower chamber of 400 deputies – one of only a handful ever to have been elected in the 160-year history of Italy. Al Jazeera

The Coups, the Judge and ‘The Trial’: Burkinabe Bar Pokes Fun at Chaos
Microphone in hand, Kabre has no shortage of absurd or dark material in a country where the frontier of chaos seems to come ever closer. In less than nine months, the impoverished landlocked Sahel state has been through two military coups, each prompted by the failure of the ousted regime to tackle deadly jihadist attacks… “You are at ‘The Trial’, I am The Judge,” the gown-wearing giant tells AFP.  “I serve up justice,” he said, referring to beer, “and the International Criminal Court,” the house’s rum special. This unusual venue for free debate, music and slam poetry first opened in 2019. After a rainy-season break, it reopened on Saturday just a week after the country’s latest coup. The clinking of bottles and shots of rum give the setting an air of normality during one of the first music nights since the military takeover. Everyone shares the latest gossip and military rumours. AFP



Photo: Adam Jones