Africa Media Review for October 21, 2022

Curfew Declared in Chadian Towns After Security Forces Killed at Least 60 Protesters
A nighttime curfew has been declared in 3 Chadian cities, N’Djamena, Moundou, Doba and Koumra, the Prime minister announced after banned protests took place and were violently repressed. On Thursday, security forces opened fire on demonstrators in the country’s two largest cities killing at least 60 people and wounding hundreds. The protesters demanded the ouster of Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno who took over in the wake of his father’s assassination 18 months ago. The 38-year-old general formed what he called a unity government following his appointment as head of the transition after a national forum. On the same day, the first cabinet meeting was taking place. The president did not comment on the country’s deadliest protest in recent years.  His Prime minister announced a night-time curfew until the “total restoration of order.” AfricaNews with AP

Gunshots Reported as Demonstrators Defy Ban to Protest Against Guinea’s Junta
The National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC), which called the protest in Conakry, said five people had suffered gunshot wounds, one of whom was in a critical condition. There was no immediate corroboration of this toll from other sources. The West African country has been under military government since a September 2021 coup that ousted President Alpha Condé after more than ten years in power…The coalition had called for peaceful demonstrations to take place in Conakry on Thursday, followed by nationwide protests on 26 October. It is pushing for a rapid return to civilian rule and the release of prisoners that it says have been detained for political reasons. RFI

Burkina Faso Launches Exceptional Recruitment of 3,000 Soldiers to Fight Jihadists
Burkina Faso has launched an exceptional recruitment campaign of 3,000 soldiers to strengthen the ranks of its army in the fight against the jihadists who have bloodied this country for seven years, according to a press release from the Ministry of Defense sent on Wednesday October 19 to the AFP. This campaign comes nearly two weeks after a coup led on September 30 by Captain Ibrahim Traoré, whose stated objective is to strengthen the anti-jihadist fight. Globe Echo

Zimbabwe’s Youth Say Voting Is ‘A Waste of Time’
More than 2.3-million youths in Zimbabwe are without jobs. The latest statistics from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) present a gloomy picture of the country’s unemployment levels, effectively contradicting the repeated claim by the government that unemployment is under control.  This is the demographic touted by some pro-democracy activists and opposition political parties as having the clout to change the country’s political and economic future through registering to vote, yet the majority have been hit by voter apathy, as Afrobarometer found in a study last month…“The average young rural voter lacks both electoral literacy and political consciousness to effectively participate in electoral processes,” said Obert Masaraure, president of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe.  “Young citizens are trapped in the mode of survival. They are seized with socioeconomic activities that bring immediate material rewards, voting for them, becomes a waste of time,” he said. Mail & Guardian

At Least 150 Killed in Two Days of Fighting in Sudan’s South
At least 150 people including children have been killed in two days of fighting in the latest ethnic clashes over land disputes in Sudan’s southern Blue Nile state, a medic said Thursday. The fighting is some of the worst in recent months, and crowds took to the streets of the Blue Nile state capital Damazin in protest, chanting slogans condemning a conflict that has left hundreds dead this year. Clashes in Blue Nile broke out last week after reported arguments over land between members of the Hausa people and rival groups, with residents reporting hundreds fleeing intense gunfire and homes set ablaze. AFP

Rights Experts Calls for Urgent Action to Implement South Sudan Peace Deal
The appeal by the members of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan follows a visit to Ethiopia where they urged African countries, and other stakeholders, to renew support for the deal’s implementation…The Commission was in Addis Ababa from 12 to 18 October for meetings with the Africa Union (AU) and the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), as well as the diplomatic corps, the UN, civil society, and others.  “Every new extension of the timelines for implementation of the peace agreement, and indeed every passing day of inaction, means not just time lost, but lives lost,” Commissioner Barney Afako warned during the visit.  South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and his former Vice-President Riek Machar signed the Revitalized Peace Agreement in September 2018 in a bid to end bitter fighting that has plagued the young nation.  However, the Commission statement noted that “progress has been extremely slow” in implementing the deal. UN News

Kenya’s New Stance on GMOs Is Pitting Politicians Against Scientists
A conundrum is ensuing in Kenya on whether the lifting of the ban on GMOs is good for a country where millions of people face hunger every year The lifting of a ban on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) by Kenya’s new government barely a month after president William Ruto was sworn in is causing jitters, with politicians, and pressure groups clashing with biotech scientists over safety. Opposition leader Raila Odinga is opposing the move by cabinet, which opens the doors for GMO maize, cassava, and potatoes, claiming GMO food products pose a health risk to Kenyans. He called it “rubbish.” Quartz Africa

Nigeria’s Fact-Checkers Arm Citizens with Truth Ahead of Elections
With Nigeria’s election campaigns in full swing ahead of February’s vote, fact-checkers in the country say they are working together to counter cases of disinformation. For journalist Opeyemi Kehinde, the first task each day is searching the internet, television programs and social media for any information that may need a second look. If he spots anything dubious, Kehinde posts it to the messaging platform Slack, so that he and other fact-checkers can verify the information. Kehinde heads FactCheckHub, an Abuja-based organization that is one of eight members of a wider fact-checking initiative known as the Nigerian Fact Checkers Coalition. Voice of America

Nigeria Appeals Court Decision to Free Separatist Leader Kanu
The Nigerian government has approached the Supreme Court to overturn a Court of Appeal ruling that freed separatist leader Nnamdi Kanu and dropped terrorism charges against him. Last week the appeal court ordered that Kanu be discharged, saying the government did not follow due process in his extradition to Nigeria from Kenya, and that the federal court did not have jurisdiction to try the case… On Friday, government lawyers said the state had appealed to the Supreme Court, saying the appeal court did not consider the fact that Kanu jumped bail in 2017 and did not appear in court until he was re-arrested. Kanu has yet to be released from custody, despite last week’s decision, said one of his lawyers, who added that he had visited him on Thursday. Reuters

Confusion as DRC President Names Dead Commander to New Post
There has been confusion in Kinshasa after Democratic Republic of Congo President Félix Tshisekedi named a dead commander to a new role in the ongoing military reforms. A presidential decree read out on national television (RTNC), had named Maj-Gen Floribert Kisembo, as the new head of military operations in North Equateur Province, in the north western region of the country. His appointment, the announcement said, was effective Monday October 17. Later, however, following public furore, the communication office of President Tshisekedi attributed the mistake to the news anchor’s accent. East African

Congo Improves Extractive Sector Transparency but More Needed – Anti-Graft Body
Democratic Republic of Congo has made progress in implementing transparency in its extractive mining sector but needs to do more in publishing contracts and revenues from the sector, a global anti-corruption body said. The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which sets a global standard for good governance in oil, gas and mineral resources, said Congo has achieved a high overall score in the implementation of the 2019 EITI Standards. The standards include good governance, clear legal framework and fiscal regimes, and publishing of contracts and revenues. Reuters

A Cutting-Edge Music Festival in Uganda Keeps the Beat
Dilsizian said he was unsurprised by the government’s ultimate decision to let the festival go ahead. A recent presidential campaign from Bobi Wine, a popular singer turned politician, was met with violent suppression from the sitting president, Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power since 1986. “I think in a country where political expression is restricted, the government is smart to allow freedom of expression that’s not tied to politics,” Dilsizian said in a recent interview. For the collective behind the festival, supporting artistic expression extends beyond the annual event. Nyege Nyege also runs a record label, booking agency and music studio to help fledgling local musicians find success both in Uganda and globally. In a country where there are few opportunities for aspiring artists, particularly those operating outside of mainstream tastes, its work has had enormous impact. New York Times



Photo: Adam Jones