Africa Media Review for October 24, 2022

Guinea Junta Agrees Return to Civilian Rule in Two Years
Guinea’s ruling junta has agreed to restore civilian rule in two years, after facing sanctions over its original plan for a three-year transfer of power, the West African bloc ECOWAS said Friday. West African leaders had last month suspended Guinea from the bloc and imposed sanctions on a number of individuals following a military coup. “In a dynamic compromise, experts from ECOWAS and Guinea have jointly developed a consolidated chronogram (timetable) for a transition spread over 24 months,” ECOWAS said in a report following a technical mission to the country published on social media by the junta. The country’s military leader, Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, said in an address broadcast on state television that the timetable would take effect from January 1, 2023. Leaders from the Economic Community of West African States must approve the timetable before it is officially implemented, with the bloc due to hold a summit before the end of the year. France24

Decline of Democracy: African Leaders Who Have Grabbed Power Through Coups
Four of the longest-serving African heads of state came into power through military coups – and, while they’re now over 70 years old, they are not showing any signs of leaving office. They are: Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, with 43 years in office; Paul Biya of Cameroon, with 40; Denis Sassou of the Republic of the Congo with 36; and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, also with 36 years in power. Young junta leaders, some of whom were born after the strongmen usurped power, look up to them. Four of Africa’s youngest leaders at present are aged between 34 and 42. They also came into power through military coups. They are Burkina Faso’s 34-year-old Ibrahim Traore, Chad’s 38-year-old Mahamat Deby, Mali’s 39-year-old Assimi Goïta, and Guinea’s 42-year-old Mamady Doumbouya…A 2021 Afro barometer study indicates that 75% of Africans reject coups and that 69% prefer democracy over any other kind of government. Coups in Africa, on the other hand, are common in the Sahel region and have dominated debate at the African Union. In the Sahel, the situation is made worse by illicit trafficking, crime and extremism, alongside growing global power competition, which has seen Russia’s mercenary outfit, the Wagner Group, get involved in countries like Mali. News24

Russia Deepens Its Influence in West Africa
Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, the previous coup leader who Traoré supplanted, himself seized power in January on grounds that the government was failing the military in its battles against insurgents…Experts now see Russia exploiting the vacuum. Since at least 2018, the Wagner Group has been enlisted to help fragile African regimes crack down on Islamist extremist insurgencies. In the Central African Republic, Mozambique, Libya and now Mali, Russian military contractors have operated on the ground alongside local forces. In some instances, they’ve been linked to reports of human rights abuses and possible war crimes. Washington Post

Zimbabwe Fights Fake News with Lessons in Spotting Disinformation
As the country gears up for elections next year, misinformation training is helping citizens spot online fake news that experts say threatens to undermine trust in democracy and fuels risks of politically-motivated violence. “Speculation, opinions and lies are part of the news diet in Zimbabwe,” said Zenzele Ndebele, director of the Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE), a non-profit running lessons for residents in Dete, a town in the rural northwest. “People must be trained to tell the difference between fake news, misinformation, disinformation, and real news.” Misinformation is simply incorrect information, while disinformation refers to deliberately sharing information that is known to be false with the intention of deceiving people. Misinformation and hate speech have surged across Africa as more people get online, from abuse of female politicians ahead of Kenya’s August election to calls for violence against ethnic minorities in Ethiopia and against migrants in South Africa. In Zimbabwe, where ZANU-PF has dominated politics since independence from Britain in 1980, the stakes for next year’s national and presidential polls are high. Reuters

South Africa: Ramaphosa Promises Anti-Corruption Crack Down
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday vowed to implement many of the recommendations made by a panel leading a graft probe into the mismanagement of state funds under his predecessor Jacob Zuma. “The money that was stolen robbed our people of resources that should have led to the development of our country,” Ramaphosa said in a televised address as he detailed some of the investigation panel’s more than 350 recommendations…South Africa’s pillaging and mismanagement of state-owned enterprises during former President Jacob Zuma’s nine years in office, when Ramaphosa was his deputy, has been dubbed “state capture”. “The commission found that the appointment and removal of board members and senior executives in state-owned enterprises was one of the key causes of state capture,” Ramaphosa said. Africa Report

UN Urges Restraint One Year After Sudan Coup
With the upcoming protests planned for October 25, marking one year since the coup began, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) have called on the Sudanese authorities to refrain from the use of force and ensure that people “exercise their rights to peaceful assembly, freedom of opinion, and expression.” OHCHR reiterated that the rule of law be respected, pointing to the right to peaceful assembly, which is “protected under international human rights law, including under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Sudan is a State Party”. The UN office also proposed that any current investigations into human rights abuses perpetrated in the wake of the coup, “are expedited and conducted in full compliance with international norms and standards”. The organisation emphasised the need for those in Sudan to witness justice, and for all those found responsible of human rights violations are tried and held to account. Dabanga

Sudan’s Military Sacks Commander After Tribal Clashes
Sudan’s ruling military sacked a commander in the southern Blue Nile province after two days of fierce tribal clashes there last week killed at least 220 people, the army announced Monday. The unrest added to the woes of a country mired in civil conflict and political chaos. Fighting in Blue Nile, which borders Ethiopia and South Sudan, reignited earlier this month over a land dispute, pitting the Hausa tribe, with origins across West Africa, against the Berta people. The tensions escalated Wednesday and Thursday in the town of Wad el-Mahi on the border with Ethiopia. The violence comes ahead of the first anniversary of Sudan’s military coup that upended the nation’s short-lived transition to democracy. It has also drawn criticism of the powerful-military, with a Sudanese pro-democracy group accusing the ruling generals of not protecting ethnic groups in the province. AP

Multiple Dead and Dozens Injured Following Militant Attack in Somalia
A car bomb and shooting attack on a hotel in the Somali city of Kismayu killed nine people on Sunday before security forces ended the siege at the hotel and killed the attackers, a regional official said. Gunfire erupted after an explosives-laden vehicle rammed into the gate of the port city’s Tawakal Hotel. The al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab militant group said it had carried out the attack. “In the explosion, nine people including students and civilians were killed and 47 others were injured, some of them seriously,” Yussuf Hussein Dhumal, Security Minister for Jubbaland, told Reuters. “The hotel where the explosion happened was near a school, so many students were injured.” France 24

Technology Has Created Alternate Economy in Nigeria, Says NCC
Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), at the weekend, said technology has created an alternate economy, successfully diversifying the nation’s financial system. The Executive Vice Chairman ((EVC)/Chief Executive Officer, Prof. Umar Danbatta, who made the disclosure at an event in Abuja, observed that Nigerians have been able to adapt to the numerous technologies in a short space of time to drive innovations and creativity. He noted that the tremendous impact of technology had been felt in all sectors of the Nigerian economy…He said: “E-Commerce is another avenue where technology has improved the GDP of the nation, and an estimated 76.7 million Nigerians shop online, and by 2025, this figure is expected to grow to 122.5 million. “The benefits of technology are endless. And with technology becoming affordable, accessible and available, these benefits will increase tremendously.” Earlier, convener, CyberChain Abuja, Jude Ozinegbe, acknowledged that the most populous black nation was moving in the right direction at embracing gains of tech ecosystem. Guardian Nigeria

Ukraine War Diverts Attention from Nigeria’s Humanitarian Crisis
Tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions have become internally displaced since Boko Haram launched its campaign in 2009, creating one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises and causing a near-total breakdown in educational and healthcare services. Across the northeastern region, the violence has destroyed schools, hospitals and other social amenities, leaving the affected communities – especially women and children – in dire need of help…But in 2020, Borno state officials started closing the camps in the city amid a rise in criminal activities, including drugs and prostitution. State authorities said it was necessary to close the centres to give IDPs dignity and purpose. Thousands of IDPs have since left Maiduguri and sought refuge elsewhere in neighbouring towns such as Bama…Observers have expressed concerns that the camp closures in Maiduguri will deprive thousands of people of access to essential services – especially returnees living in far-flung communities. They will also put pressure on relief camps such as the GSSSS in Bama, as well as the garrison towns where some IDPs have also headed to seek shelter. Al Jazeera

African Nations to Finalize Aims Ahead of UN Climate Summit
The final meeting of African nations’ climate negotiators ahead of the global U.N. summit kicks off in the Namibian capital Windhoek on Monday, with participants expected to focus on how to ramp up renewable energy on the continent. Organizers of the annual Climate Change and Development in Africa conference said the meeting serves as the final chance for the continent’s negotiators, government officials, climate scientists, grassroots civil societies and farming associations to fine tune the continent’s interests and agree on a common position to promote at the climate summit in Egypt in November, known as COP27. AP

Africa’s Electrifying Its Fossil-Fueled Cars
Although the price of electric vehicles (EVs) puts them way out of the reach of many people around the world, some startups in Africa are up-cycling regular internal combustion engine vehicles to clean transmission and building battery-powered vehicles from scratch…Africa is already witnessing the expansion of EV charging networks in crucial markets, signalling greater adoption of clean mobility on the continent. Governments are seeing opportunities in this for job creation and have been dishing out licences to companies making conversions in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria. Mail & Guardian



Photo: Adam Jones