Africa Media Review for October 27, 2022

Egypt: Prisoner Release amid New Crackdown
With the release of political prisoners, Egypt seeks to improve its human rights record ahead of hosting the COP27 climate conference. Analysts though caution there is little actual change on the ground…Since the former Egyptian member of parliament and human rights lawyer is not allowed to speak directly to international media, he published a video message in Arabic on social media upon his release. The 42-year-old says that “there are people who end up in prison just because they express an opinion that differs from opinions that people like to hear. With our united effort, we will reinstate these people’s freedom and we will return them to their rightful place among the people who believe in them.”  It’s a message pointing at the thousands of other political prisoners in Egypt, among them Alaa Abd El-Fattah who has been on hunger strike since April 2. DW

Sudan Anti-Junta Demos Face Brutal Resistance
At least one demonstrator has died as hundreds of thousands of Sudanese took to the streets across nine states yesterday, to mark the anniversary of the dawn coup d’état of October 25, 2021. In marches across the country, protesters demanded the overthrow of the military junta, and a return to democracy and civilian rule. Marchers were met with fierce resistance from Sudan’s security forces. Many more injured as tear gas and stun grenades were used against peaceful protesters. In measures to pre-empt the marches, authorities in Khartoum cut off internet services for mobile phones on Tuesday morning, and closed a number of main roads, as well as all bridges linking the capital with Omdurman and Khartoum North (Bahri), except for the Soba and Halfaya bridges. Protesters gathered at more than 20 muster points with the aim to converge on the Republican Palace in central Khartoum. Large numbers of military personnel were deployed along the anticipated paths of the processions. Dabanga

HRW Calls for Investigations After Scores of Protesters Were Shot Dead in Chad
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on Chadian authorities to conduct an “independent investigation” into the violent protests in Chad that left some 50 people dead last week. “Security forces fired on demonstrators in several towns in Chad, including the capital, N’Djamena,” HRW wrote in a statement on Wednesday referring to demonstrators being “beaten” and “hundreds” of arrests “during and after the demonstrations. The human rights group called for an “independent and effective” investigation to determine “whether the use of lethal force by the security services was a justified and proportional response to any alleged violence,” said Lewis Mudge, Central Africa director at Human Rights Watch. The Chadian opposition had called for demonstrations on October 20 against the regime of the young General Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, who had just extended a transition period to elections by two years. AfricaNews with AFP

Equatorial Guinea Donates $760,000 to Help Chadian Flood Victims
The announcement was made by Baltasar Engonga Edjo, the Equato-Guinean Minister of State at the Presidency in charge of Regional Integration, representing President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, during a closed session of the extraordinary summit of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) on the transition in Chad on 25 Oct. Chad is facing flood levels which have not been seen in the country since 1961. These floods have been affecting 18 of the country’s 23 provinces and have caused enormous damage estimated at billions of dollars. Millions of families have been left in very precarious living conditions. Equatorial Guinea is the second country to give flood assistance to Chad after the United Arab Emirates which had earlier sent a plane-load of aid. HumAngle

Burundi Declares Border with Rwanda Open Again After Years
Burundi’s foreign affairs minister has officially declared that the border between the East African country and Rwanda has been reopened. The border between Burundi and Rwanda had been closed for almost six years, first amid political tensions and then by the COVID-19 pandemic. Albert Shingiro on Tuesday in a press conference indicated that Burundi maintains its position of calling on Rwanda to return coup-plotters it alleges fled there after trying to overthrow former President Pierre Nkurunziza in 2015. Rwanda for its part reopened its border with Burundi several months ago. AP

Ruto: Possibility of East African Political Federation No Longer Idle Dream
Kenyan President William Ruto is openly pushing for the establishment of the East African Federation, endorsing an ambitious political formation that has been elusive and mostly avoided by his predecessors but one that hopes to guarantee a big market for regional goods and services and ensure strategic security…A political federation is an ultimate pillar in the East African Community (EAC) integration process, preceded by the Customs Union, Common Market, and a Monetary Union in that order. However, each of the pillars has been problematic to implement, leading sceptics to say that the federation may remain a mirage as it also faces the challenge of competing political systems. East African

African Health Official: Ebola in Uganda Is Under Control
Uganda’s Ebola outbreak is under control, a top public health official in Africa said Thursday, noting that local health authorities are doing well to trace most contacts. “The situation is not getting out of control,” said Dr. Ahmed Ogwell, acting director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We have good visibility of all the contacts.” About 98 percent of 2,694 documented contacts — people exposed to Ebola by a confirmed patient — are being monitored, Ogwell said, adding that it “gives comfort that we know the evolution of this particular outbreak.” Tracing contacts is key to stemming the spread of contagious diseases like Ebola. AP

Social Media Companies Urged to Block Hate Speech Linked to Tigray Conflict
With talks underway in South Africa to end the two-year Tigray civil war in Ethiopia, there are calls for social media platforms to control hate speech that could stir tempers between the two warring parties. Since the beginning of hostilities in November 2020, social media, mostly Twitter, has become a battleground to control the narrative. On one side, there is the Ethiopian government and its supporters, and on the other, there are Tigrayan activists and supporters. Both sides have attempted to present their version of the story to English-speaking audiences. In most cases, hate speech is used, and those targeted are civilians. News24

Social Media Users Falsely Claim That French Soldiers Are Arming Terrorists in Mali
[Video] Since October 23, pro-Russian and pro-Wagner accounts on social media have been sharing a video that claims to prove France is arming jihadists in Mali. The narrative that France supports terrorism in Mali is common among users spreading anti-Western misinformation online. We tell you more in this edition of Truth or Fake. France 24

‘Truth Telling’ and the Path to War Crimes Justice in Liberia
During 14 years of civil war in Liberia, its citizens were victims of mass killings, rape, torture, displacement, and other human rights violations. In spite of growing international calls for the creation of a war crimes court, the country hasn’t prosecuted anyone for those atrocities. The only significant Liberian government-sponsored mechanism for justice is a community-led effort known as the “palaver hut” programme. New Humanitarian

ECOWAS President Commits to “Strategic Partnership” in Kyiv
The first African president to visit Kyiv since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, president Sissoco Embalo of Guinea-Bissau, met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, a day after a visit to Russia where he also met President Vladimir Putin. Embalo emphasized that Guinea-Bissau remains an unwavering partner” for Russia and Ukraine. “I say, and I affirm, that Russia is a strategic partner today like Ukraine also is our partner. So that’s why yesterday I said that Russia is still our strategic partner, even though today there is a war between Russia and Ukraine.” The current president of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mr. Embalo, said Africa “carries peace and wants to bring together the two brotherly countries.” Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine said that as of today, Russia is blocking 170 ships with grain for African and Asian countries. AfricaNews

Soccer Can Transform the African Cultural and Creative Ecosystem
Casual players, professional athletes, online gamblers, fanatical supporters, tavern owners, sidewalk vendors, broadcasters, and journalists; an entire cultural ecosystem is built around the pursuit of goals. For example, the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) 2021 was broadcast in over 157 countries, with a viewership of 65 million in Nigeria alone. The matches also gained high levels of engagement on various social media platforms such as TikTok, which garnered a whopping 2.5 billion views under the afcon2021 hashtag. On days when soccer matches are played, towns and cities buzz with anticipation. Even when Africa is only tangentially connected, such as World Cup matches or Premier League competitions, the game leaves an indelible impression on the continent. Quartz Africa



Photo: Adam Jones