Africa Media Review for October 14, 2022

Sudan: ‘Imminent Agreement’ Between FFC-CC and Military
There has been news of an agreement between the Forces for Freedom and Change-Central Council (FFC-CC) and the military component of the government that provides for a civilian prime minister and a ‘government of competencies’. Control over the proposed Security and Defence Council remains a point of contention. Both civilian and military sources confirmed to El Sharg news channel on Wednesday that the Chairman of Sudan’s Sovereignty Council, Abdelfattah El Burhan, reached agreements with the FFC on many issues, but discussion is still ongoing with regard to some controversial points. An ‘imminent agreement’ document was issued after extensive meetings between the two parties in Khartoum. The ‘imminent agreement’ between the military and the FFC in Sudan stipulates the formation of a ‘government of competencies’ with a civilian prime minister, provided that the civilian components choose the prime minister and ministers. Dabanga

‘Disappointment’ After Sudan Re-Elected to UN Human Rights Council
Lawyers and human rights defenders have voiced their disappointment after Sudan was re-elected by the UN General Assembly on Monday to serve on the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) for the period 2023-2025…As previously reported by Radio Dabanga, prior to the ballot, activists and prominent NGOs within Sudan and abroad appealed to UN member states to revaluate the candidacy of Sudan to serve in the HRC, saying “the human rights practices in Sudan are clearly incompatible with the well-defined criteria for membership of the HRC.” Dabanga

New Law in Uganda Imposes Restrictions on Use of Internet
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has signed into law legislation criminalizing some internet activity despite concerns the law could be used to silence legitimate criticism. The bill, passed by the legislature in September, was brought by a lawmaker who said it was necessary to punish those who hide behind computers to hurt others…Opponents of the law say it will stifle freedom of expression in a country where many of Museveni’s opponents, for years unable to stage street protests, often raise their concerns on Twitter and other online sites. Others say it will kill investigative journalism. The law is “a blow to online civil liberties in Uganda,” according to an analysis by a watchdog group known as Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa, or CIPESA. The Committee to Protect Journalists is among groups that urged Museveni to veto the bill, noting its potential to undermine press freedom. AP

Burkina Faso: National Conference Opens for Appointment of Transitional President
A national meeting opens Friday in Burkina Faso to appoint a transitional president, two weeks after a second coup in eight months brought to power Captain Ibrahim Traore, whose supporters want him to be appointed, despite his stated desire not to be. The meetings will bring together representatives of the army and police, customary and religious organizations, civil society, trade unions, parties and internally displaced victims of the jihadist attacks that have hit Burkina since 2015…On January 24, soldiers led by Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba and grouped in a junta called the Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration (MPSR) overthrew President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, who was accused of incapacity in the face of the jihadist attacks that have multiplied in Burkina. The attacks did not stop in eight months and, in view of the constant deterioration of the situation, a new putsch took place on September 30, which brought to power a young 34-year-old captain, Ibrahim Traoré. AfricaNews

Mali’s Draft Constitution Marks Major Shift Towards Presidential Regime
Mali’s proposed new constitution will shift the balance of executive power from the parliament towards the president. Junta leader Colonel Assimi Goita received a draft of the proposed constitution this week. The document, which is a key part of the military’s bid to retain power until 2024, has not been made public. According to drafting commission chairman Professor Fousseyni Samaké, if the constitution is accepted, the president will determine the political line which the government will then turn into law.  The president will no longer have the right to dissolve parliament. The text of the “preliminary draft constitution” arrived two months after it was originally due. Professor Samaké said the deadline had been extended. RFI

Mali Bus Blast Leaves over 10 Dead, Dozens Wounded
At least 11 people were killed and 53 injured when a bus hit an explosive device in central Mali on Thursday, according to a hospital source. The explosion occurred on the road between Bandiagara and Goundaka in the Mopti area on Thursday afternoon, a security source said. The region is known as a hotbed for violence by roaming armed groups. “We have just transferred nine bodies to the clinic. And it’s not over yet,” said Moussa Housseyni of the local Bandiagara Youth Association, adding that they were all civilians. Earlier, police and local sources gave a provisional toll of 10 dead and many seriously injured. Al Jazeera

Chad’s President Delays Elections and Expands His Powers
Chad’s military leader Mahamat Deby has been officially sworn in as president for a second time, this time as head of a transitional civilian government…With his inauguration on Monday, President Deby will now stay in power for an additional two years until elections are held presumably around October 2024. This vastly expands his projected time in office; the junta had originally promised a return to civilian rule within 18 months. On the streets of the capital N’Djamena, many people had scathing remarks to share about Deby’s inauguration. “What happened has buried democracy in Chad,” one man told DW without sharing his name. “We shouldn’t impose a president on Chadians illegally.” Another added: “Chad is no longer a country of law. It’s a dictatorship in all but name.” The president’s authority meanwhile has also been broadened to allow him to name and dismiss the government, a move that has been criticized by opposition parties and pro-democracy groups in the vast Central African nation. DW

Chad’s New PM Hails Gen Déby as Democrat
Chad’s veteran opposition politician Saleh Kebzabo has defended his decision to serve as prime minister in military ruler Gen Mahamat Idriss Déby’s new government. “I trust him. He’s a young man who believes in democracy,” Mr Kebzabo said, in an interview with Focus on Africa, the BBC’s flagship radio programme for the continent. The 75-year-old Mr Kebzabo’s appointment came after Gen Déby was declared interim president for the next two years. “I didn’t decide. He asked me to take it. In a position like this, you can’t say no because you are called to be in the service of your country at a very high level,” Mr Kebzabo told Focus on Africa’s Hassan Arouni. Mr Kebzabo added that the military was no longer in power, and he would quit the government if Gen Déby reneged on his commitment to lead Chad to democratic elections. BBC

Nigeria Drops Terror Charges Against Separatist Leader Kanu
A Nigerian separatist leader accused of terrorism and instigating violence in the country’s southeast was acquitted Thursday by a local court, his lawyer told The Associated Press. The Nigerian Court of Appeal dismissed the government-filed charges against Nnamdi Kanu in Abuja, the nation’s capital, after a jury faulted the legality of the case against him, according to Ifeanyi Ejiofor, his lawyer. Kanu is yet to be released from custody. The Indigenous People of Biafra separatist group that Kanu leads has been pressing for the southeast region to break away from the West African nation and become independent. But the Nigerian government said he uses the group known as IPOB to instigate violence, leading to the deaths of many in the country’s southeast. AfricaNews with AP

Peter Obi’s ‘Obidient’ Movement Ignites Nigeria’s Youth
According to some analysts, the three leading contenders to succeed Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari are Ahmed Tinubu (70), a former governor of Lagos state and the candidate of the governing All Progressive Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar (75), a former vice president who is running for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP), and the Labour Party’s (LP) candidate Peter Obi. At 61, Peter Obi is the youngest of the three and currently the most popular. Young Nigerians are calling for a new era and seem poised to demonstrate that, with 71% of those who completed their voter registration aged between 18 and 34, according to Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).  A recent poll conducted by Bloomberg revealed that 72% of “decided voters” said they would support Peter Obi in the elections. DW

Africa’s Longest Oil Pipeline Takes Shape in Niger
At Gaya in southwest Niger, near the border with Benin, the longest oil pipeline in Africa is being built.  With a projected length of nearly 2,000 kilometres (1,240 miles) — including 1,250 km in Niger itself — the pipeline will connect oil wells in the eastern region of Agadem, a zone troubled by deadly jihadist incursions, with the Beninese port of Seme. Climate campaigners are clamouring for an end to investment in carbon-spewing fossil fuels. But in Niger — the poorest country in the world according to the benchmark of the UN’s Human Development Index — this project is seen as an economic lifeline. Nation

Dismay as Key Cholera Vaccine Is Discontinued
Although easily treatable, cholera is estimated by the WHO to kill up to 143,000 people annually in the world’s poorest countries, where access to clean water and basic sanitation remains patchy. Countries including Haiti, Syria, Lebanon, Nigeria, Malawi and Ethiopia are fighting outbreaks now…Last week Tedros warned that the climate crisis had “turbocharged” the spread of cholera, with extreme weather events such as floods, cyclones and droughts further reducing people’s access to clean water. Of particular concern, he said, was the average fatality rate from the disease, which this year, according to the WHO’s data, was almost three times the rate of the past five years. “With an increasing number of outbreaks, supply [of vaccine] cannot keep up with demand,” Tedros warned. “We urge the world’s leading vaccine manufacturers to talk to us about how we can increase production.” For a disease driven both by an excess and a scarcity of water, climate change had this year exacerbated all the usual causes of cholera, Barboza added. “What is, I would say, unprecedented is the concurrence and succession of massive outbreaks in different parts of the world,” he said. Guardian

African Contemporary Art Enjoying a Surge in Interest
The value of auction sales of contemporary and modern African art surged by 44% to a record high of $72.4m (£65.6m) last year, according to consultants ArtTactic. That $72.4m may still be a relatively modest proportion of the $2.7bn sales of all modern and contemporary art at auction in 2021. But some experts say that, despite increased demand, African art is still under-priced and that’s attracting a lot of attention. “The aesthetic qualities my pieces have are definitely foreign from other western ideas,” says Ms Douglas Camp. “It takes a long time for the West to accept that other people have ideas, or have worthy cultures and traditions. BBC



Photo: Adam Jones