Africa Media Review for October 19, 2023

Liberia’s Election: Weah, Boakai Head to Runoff, with 99.9% of Votes Counted
President George Weah is expected to face former Vice President Joseph Boakai in a runoff election, as neither he nor his rival managed to secure the constitutional requirement of 50.1% to win the October 10 polls. While the National Elections Commission is yet to officially declare a runoff, results from 99.9% of the county’s 5,890 polling places counted so far, show that the two frontrunners remain locked in a neck-and-neck battle for the Presidency as it has been since election results were first announced on October 11 — swapping positions atop the leaderboard in the process…In the interim, both candidates and their respective political parties are gearing up for an intense and rigorous campaign, which would be very short, as the runoff election is expected to take place on November 7…It is expected that both Weah and Boakai will intensify their efforts to win over the support of the remaining candidates from the first round, in an attempt to build broad-based coalitions and gain an edge…The upcoming runoff is a rematch of the 2017 presidential election, in which Weah, then an opposition candidate, emerged victorious, winning 14 of the 15 counties of Liberia. Liberian Observer

Egypt: President Sisi Blocks Mass Influx of Gaza Refugees
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on Wednesday said he would not allow any mass influx of refugees from Gaza into his nation, arguing that it would set a precedent for “the displacement of Palestinians from the West Bank into Jordan.” Sisi met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz where he said Israel’s air strikes on the Rafah crossing, which is located between his nation and Gaza, led to the failure of aid delivery to the territory’s 2.4 million people…Sisi said the peace is at risk of disintegrating if there is a mass exodus of Gazans to Egypt’s neighbouring Sinai Peninsula that would risk turning it into “a new base for terrorist operations against Israel.” “Israel would have the right to defend itself and its national security, and therefore direct strikes on Egyptian lands,” Sisi said. Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas echoed Sisi’s position. Abbas said he displacement of Gazans to Egypt would amount to a “second Nakba” — when more than 760,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled from their lands during the war that accompanied Israel’s creation in 1948…Dismissing comments by pundits about Sinai being a sparsely populated desert area, Sisi suggested Israel’s Negev Desert as an alternative refuge for Gazans. AFP

Sudan: MSF Suspends Surgery in Khartoum Hospital as Supplies Are Blocked
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) says it is suspending surgical activities at Bashair Teaching Hospital in southern Khartoum, Sudan, after military authorities caused surgical supplies to run out by blocking their delivery from Madani for over a month…“Since mid-May, the hospital’s emergency room has received nearly 5,000 patients and MSF’s surgical team has performed more than 3,000 surgical procedures. The needs are huge. Blocking the medication and materials needed to perform surgery deprives people of the health care they so desperately need,” [Shazeer Majeed, an MSF surgeon who provides guidance to the hospital team], added. MSF started working alongside Ministry of Health staff and volunteers at Bashair Teaching Hospital in mid-May. Since September 8, military authorities have refused permission for MSF to bring new surgical supplies from its warehouses in Wad Madani, in Sudan’s Al-Gazira state, to hospitals in southern Khartoum. “After weeks of discussions, on October 1, we were informed that the military authorities in Wad Madani will no longer allow the transport of any surgical supplies, including for C-sections, to hospitals in southern Khartoum,” said Michiel Hofman, operations coordinator for Sudan. Radio Tamazuj

African Peace and Security Union Head Calls for ‘African Solution to the Sudanese Crisis’
The chairperson of the African Peace and Security Union (APSU), Roll Stephane Ngomat, has called for “an African solution” for a lasting peace in the Sudan crisis, in his address to Sudanese civil society delegates at the United Nations Human Rights Council on the security situation and the violation of human rights in Sudan…‘‘I seize this opportunity to launch a solemn call for a lasting ceasefire in Sudan, in order to give dialogue and negotiation a real chance; It is also necessary to underline that Africans must be involved in the search for a solution to the Sudanese crisis and take ownership of the Peace Process in Sudan,” he added. Radio Dabanga

South Sudan: Juba to Host Meeting of Sudan’s Armed Groups to Discuss Ways to Stop War
South Sudan plans to hold a meeting early next week with leaders of the armed groups that signed the Juba Peace Agreement to discuss ways to stop the war between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). The call for the meeting was agreed on Monday in a meeting between President Salva Kiir and Malik Agar, Deputy Chairman of the Sovereign Council in Sudan and leader of the SPLM-Revolutionary Front. North Darfur Governor and Sudan Liberation Movement – Transitional Council (SLM-TC) leader Nimr Abdel Rahman told Sudan Tribune that South Sudan has invited the peace signatory groups to meet in Juba on October 21 to reflect and exchange opinions on how to stop the war…The peace signatories have chosen to take a neutral position since the outbreak of war between the two parties. The Sudanese government and several armed groups mainly from Darfur and Blue Nile regions, signed the Juba Peace Agreement on October 3, 2020. However, the agreement has not been implemented except for the power-sharing chapter. Sudan Tribune

Chad, WFP Warn of ‘Catastrophic’ Food Insecurity amid Influx of Sudan Refugees
According to the United Nations’ World Food Programme, over two million people in Chad are suffering from severe food insecurity, calling the situation catastrophic…[Chad’s economic prosperity and international partnerships minister, Madeleine Alingue], called for a wider pool of donors beyond traditional partners such as the United States and the European Union to step forward, saying the stability that Chad “must guarantee in the region” ought to wake up new contributors. The UN says around 5.7 million people are food insecure in Chad – which is ranked the third least developed country in the world – meaning that people have difficulty guaranteeing one meal a day, while 1.7 million children under 5 years of age suffer from acute malnutrition in the country. The WFP’s Chad director Pierre Honnorat has stressed, “The situation is catastrophic … funding stops in December, then we really have nothing left,” as the UN agency has already had to reduce aid distribution. The WFP can now only support 270,000 of the 600,000 refugees that were in Chad before the crisis in neighbouring Sudan. Chad also faces health emergencies as well as the effects of climate change and these crises combined affect some seven million of the 18 million population. In addition, instability and regional conflicts have had “a direct impact” on Chad which has taken in 460,0000 refugees from Sudan since April. RFI

Al Shabaab Kills Renowned Somalia Journalist
Somalia was on Tuesday counting the cost of losing another journalist after Abdifatah Moalim Nur became the latest victim to the extremist act which local militants Al Shabaab acknowledged. Known locally as Qays, Nur…was widely known and respected journalist in Mogadishu and had been the among the first media professionals to run Hurmo Radio, previously known as the Voice of the Somali Civil Society and which operated under the Peace and Human Rights Network (PHRN or, in Somali INXA) in Somalia. He later progressed through the ranks of media, working for different stations until he joined the Somali Cable TV…Somalia is one of Africa’s most dangerous places to work as a journalist. At least 50 journalists have been killed since 2010 and dozens of others seriously wounded in targeted incidents. According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a Paris-based press freedom lobby, the country ranks 140 out of 180 countries polled around the world on press freedom which often includes safety to work as a journalist and access to information…Al Shabaab has often launched attacks on journalists seen as critical of their operations…[The National Union of Somali Journalists] says the threats comes from both overzealous government officials and Al Shabaab militants. Last year, Somalia saw some 95 attacks on media outlets and journalists including the arrest of 56 journalists across the country, accused of various crimes. The East African

Uganda Hunting Down Gunmen Who Killed Two Tourists and Guide
Uganda says efforts were underway on Wednesday to ensure that the perpetrators of an attack which killed three in a national park on Tuesday are “hunted down and killed.” Ugandan military spokesman Felix Kulayigye said Wednesday that a joint army, police and wildlife authority force “has deployed all resources, both technical and physical, in pursuit of these terrorists and will ensure they account for their heinous acts.” The attack purportedly carried out by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) killed a couple on their honeymoon, who were of South African and British nationality, as well as their Ugandan safari guide in the Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda’s south-west. The rebel group ADF has been affiliated with Islamic State (IS) since 2019 and is based in the Democratic Republic of Congo. On Wednesday, IS issued a statement claiming responsibility for the killings. Africanews

Tunisia: President Saied Dismisses Economy Minister
Tunisian President Kais Saied dismissed the Minister of Economy and Planning on Tuesday and appointed the Minister of Finance as interim head of the ministry, the presidency of the Republic announced without giving any explanation…This decision comes at a time when the country is going through an unprecedented economic and financial crisis. Inflation reached 9.3% in August, and growth in the second quarter did not exceed 0.6%, according to official figures. With a debt equivalent to around 80% of its GDP, Tunisia is engaged in arduous negotiations with the International Monetary Fund to obtain a new loan of two billion dollars to cover its budget deficit. Africanews with AFP

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Holds Talks with Chinese Counterpart in Beijing
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who [was] in Beijing to attend the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, held talks on Monday with China’s Premier Li Qiang. Li said China was willing to work with Ethiopia to support each other in maintaining domestic stability and achieving development and revitalization. He said Beijing was willing to further expand cooperation with Addis Ababa in economy, trade, and other fields, so as to bring the two countries’ interests closer together. Ahmed, meanwhile, described China as Ethiopia’s most trustworthy partner and friend, saying he appreciated Beijing’s long-time strong support for his country’s economic and social development…The conference marks the 10th anniversary of the BRI, a plan for global infrastructure and energy networks launched by China purportedly to boost global trade. But some see it as a tool for Beijing to spread its geopolitical and economic influence. Africanews with agencies

Nigeria Taps into the Global Lithium Market
Nigeria is tightening rules around mining its lithium minerals countrywide following the rush for it by foreign mining companies. The government said no company would be allowed to mine and export raw lithium unless they set up processing and refining plants in Nigeria…The much-coveted mineral lithium is used in the production of rechargeable batteries and electric vehicles. With discoveries of large lithium deposits in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy wants to profit from the billion-dollar global lithium market…The mineral is also being mined extensively in Zimbabwe, Africa’s largest producer, as well as in Namibia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, and Ghana…With new licensing requirements, mining companies must show business plans that benefit local communities before being granted licenses…Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer, is also rich in gold, limestone, and zinc, but its mining industry is underdeveloped…The government wants to diversify the country’s economy, shifting away from its massive reliance on oil. But it is not only the revenue from lithium that is a focus for Nigerian authorities. They say they also want to ensure that the mineral isn’t mined to the detriment of the environment…Still, the government has previously been blamed for disregarding the impact of illegal mining of some other minerals across Nigeria. DW

Africa’s Rhino Population Expected to Keep Growing, Conservationists Say
Conservationists predict that the rhino population in Africa, of which 80% is in South Africa, will continue to grow by next year because of a marked reduction in poaching. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), by the end of last year, around 23 000 rhino were known to exist in Africa. The increase in numbers was estimated by the IUCN to be 4.2% for black rhino, while the figure for white rhino was 5.6%. For the white rhino, IUCN said, it was the first time there was an increase in numbers since 2012…Sam Ferreira, an IUCN scientific officer, told News24 there could be more rhino in Africa in 2024 – if anti-poaching measures remain effective… According to a report tabled at the 19th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES COP19) in Panama last year, traditional poaching methods were becoming increasingly unsuccessful. That’s why, in the case of Botswana, poachers have come up with more high-tech-based methods. “Botswana noted that, in vast open areas, syndicates used satellite phones where there was no cellular network coverage to coordinate operations and, at times, spent weeks in the bush. This allows syndicates to restock their supplies while illegally hunting and eventually move what they poached out of protected areas,” the report said. It was the same in Tanzania’s expansive areas, such as the Selous Game Reserve and Nyerere National Park. News24