Africa Media Review for October 18, 2022

Conflict Remains the Dominant Driver of Africa’s Spiraling Food Crisis
More than 80 percent of the record 137 million Africans facing acute food insecurity are in conflict-affected countries underscoring that conflict continues to be the primary driver of Africa’s food crisis. More than 137 million Africans are facing acute food insecurity—when a person’s inability to consume adequate food puts their lives or livelihoods in immediate danger. This equates to a risk category of 3 or higher (crisis, emergency, and famine) on the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) scale of 1 to 5. This figure represents a 22-percent increase in the number of Africans facing acute food insecurity over the past year—and a near tripling since 2018. Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Putin Lies in the Shadows After France Loses Sway in West Africa
Moscow has revealed its next target in resource-rich west Africa, where a deteriorating security environment is helping the Kremlin wrench influence over former French colonies from Paris. Niger and its uranium mines are next, a series of pro-Putin voices have declared via the Telegram messaging service. The same voices were chattering ahead of the coup d’état that toppled Burkina Faso’s government last month. Kremlin cronies were quick to exploit the chaos, backed by demonstrators waving Russian flags outside the capital’s French embassy. The fresh challenge will alarm French diplomats struggling to come to terms with Moscow’s exploitation of the chaos caused by a worsening insurgency in the Sahel. The Times

Islamist Militants in Mali Kill Hundreds, Displace Thousands in Eastern Advance
Islamist militants have advanced further into eastern Mali in recent days, seizing territory, killing hundreds of civilians and forcing thousands to flee, regional Malian officials and analysts said. The gains by the militants highlight Mali’s struggle to fill the vacuum following the departure of French and other European forces, while relations with neighbouring Niger have deteriorated, preventing joint military operations near the Niger and Burkina Faso borders. Reuters

Former President Gbagbo Calls on Mali Junta Leader over Fate of Detained Ivorian Soldiers
During a conference marking the occasion, the 77-year-old made a first official comment on the detention of 46 Ivorian soldiers in Mali. They were arrested upon arrival in Bamako on July 10 and were accused of being mercenaries. “President Assimi Goïta (head of the Malian junta) should be asked to think about his brotherhood of arms with those (Ivorian soldiers) who are in prison there”, Gbagbo said. The leader of the PPA-CI party called on the Togolese president who mediates the crisis to redouble his efforts to help solve the diplomatic row. AfricaNews with AFP

‘We Are Telling Him to Leave’ – Tunisian Protesters Demand President Kais Saied’s Removal
Thousands of Tunisians demonstrated on Saturday in the capital Tunis, denouncing a power grab by President Kais Saied and demanding accountability for the country’s long-running economic crisis, AFP correspondents said. Saied staged a dramatic power grab in July 2021 and later pushed through a constitution enshrining his one-man rule, in what critics have called a return to autocracy in the only democracy to have emerged from the Arab Spring. AFP

Cameroonians Protest Separatist Brutality, Seek Release of Abducted Clergy
Thousands of people protested Monday against separatist attacks and abductions at schools and churches. Demonstrators demanded to know the whereabouts of scores of people, including five Catholic priests, a nun, and two worshippers taken last month from a church on Cameroon’s western border with Nigeria. Hundreds of people march in Ebonyi, a village in the Tombel district, asking separatists to stop brutalizing, abducting, killing and maiming civilians. The Tombel district is in the Southwest region, one of two regions that separatist groups want to split off from Cameroon for a new English-speaking state. Voice of America

New Chad PM Urges Dialogue for Country ‘Going Up in Flames’
Kebzabo said the priorities were unity and internal harmony. “Today we have a country that is going up in flames and is suffering from violence with conflicts between communities that are not acceptable, they are tribal wars. We must fight against them by not only trying to put out the burning fire but by addressing the root of the problem,” he said. About 60% of the conflicts in Chad are between farmers and herders. Floods are currently making the situation even worse. “I think we can find solutions for these problems,” Kebzabo was confident…On the streets of the capital N’Djamena, many people have 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.” DW

Uganda: Muhoozi Will No Longer Comment on State Affairs on Twitter: Museveni
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said Monday that his outspoken son would stay off Twitter when it comes to affairs of state, after a social media tirade that included a threat to invade neighbouring Kenya. Powerful general Muhoozi Kainerugaba, 48, has often caused controversy with his comments on Twitter but his particularly undiplomatic outburst earlier this month caused Museveni to step in. “He will leave Twitter. We have this discussion. Twitter is not a problem. The problem is what you are tweeting about,” the veteran leader said in an interview with a local Ugandan television station. East African

Ethiopia Vows to Seize Airports in Tigray as Conflict Rages
Ethiopia’s government said Monday it wants to take control of airports and other federal facilities in the northern Tigray region, claiming it is necessary to seize key infrastructure in the north to protect airspace and distribute humanitarian aid. “It is thus imperative that the Government of Ethiopia assumes immediate control of all airports, other federal facilities, and installations in the region,” he government communication service said in a statement on Monday. The government added it was committed to the “peaceful resolution” of the two-year-old conflict with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and its allies. DW

Regional Governor in Somalia Puts Bounty on Al-Shabab Chiefs
A governor in central Somalia has announced rewards of up to $25,000 for anyone who kills an Islamist militant with the al-Shabab terrorist group. The governor of Hiiraan region also directed military and clan militias to kill the wives and mothers of al-Shabab members. Rights groups and security experts expressed alarm at the call for extrajudicial killings. Voice of America

Africa Must Be United Through Cultural Values, Beliefs, Says Obasanjo
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has urged Africans to be united for global advancement through the conscious re-enactment of cultural values and beliefs…The former president who reiterated his support for the commemoration of the 45th anniversary of the Festival for Arts and Culture (FESTAC”77), said that the festival was a beautiful one and there is a great need for pan-Africanism to be kept alive. ”There is a need for Africans to be united for global advancement. This should be the essence of the forthcoming festival, meant to commemorate the 45th anniversary of FESTAC”77…”When these cultures are fully recognised overseas, more openings would be paved easily for several other Africans to preach their creativities at a global level,” he said. Guardian Nigeria

African Airlines Operating Below Capacity
African airlines are still operating below 40 percent of their routine capacity in spite of easier restrictions on movements following the Covid-19 pandemic. The local airlines only served 39.5 percent capacity of the domestic market, carrying about a third of the expected passenger numbers. About 30 percent of all passengers carried were travelling from one African country to another. East African

Nigeria: E-Waste Never Dies, but Can Be Upcycled
Nigeria produces 1.1-million tonnes of e-waste annually, with a significant amount going into landfills, contaminating the soil with toxins, including carcinogenic metals such as arsenic, cadmium, and nickel. This is not just a Nigerian problem. Of the 53.6-million metric tonnes of electronic waste (e-waste) produced globally in 2019, only 17.4% was properly recycled. More than half was shipped to developing countries as second-hand items — worsening those countries’ e-waste situations. Despite this, environmental laws in many developing countries are limited and poorly implemented. In 2016, Nigeria launched an extended producer responsibility programme to reduce e-waste and facilitate the country’s transition from a linear to a circular economy. Mail & Guardian