Africa Media Review for October 30, 2020

Tanzanian Opposition Decries ‘Illegitimate’ Election as Incumbent Claims Lead
Tanzania’s main opposition presidential candidate Thursday declared he would not recognise the result of an election he said was marred by irregularities such as ballot box stuffing. … Magufuli’s main challenger, the Chadema party candidate Tundu Lissu, declared the results coming in “illegitimate” and urged his supporters to demonstrate peacefully, while asking the international community not to recognise the outcome. … “What is being presented to the world is a complete fraud. It is not an election.” … A statement from the US embassy said “irregularities and the overwhelming margins of victory raise serious doubts about the credibility of the results” and the government’s “commitment to democratic values.” … [In Zanzibar] opposition presidential candidate Seif Sharif Hamad and top ACT-Wazalendo party leaders were in jail as the results were announced. The opposition said 10 people were killed on Monday and Tuesday, and Hamad decried the election as a “military exercise” overshadowed by violence and cheating. AFP

Tanzania Restricts Social Media during Election
A day after millions of voters cast their ballots in Tanzania’s general election, users and watchdogs in the digital space are reporting that authorities are blocking access to WhatsApp and Twitter. With counting underway following Wednesday’s presidential election, Tanzanians are growing increasingly concerned over the apparent censorship of social media.  According to reports on the ground, supported by data gathered by the NetBlocks Internet Observatory, major social networks were blocked across Tanzania on the eve of the election, with users relying on virtual private networks (VPNs) to send messages and access information. The lead up to the election was characterized by vote rigging accusations from opposition parties and independent observers alike, with international media largely barred from gaining accreditation to cover the voting process. DW

Africa Must Prepare for Second COVID Wave, Disease Control Group Says
COVID-19 cases are accelerating in some parts of Africa and governments should step up preparations for a second wave, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday. Over the past four week, cases have increased by 45% per week on average in Kenya, by 19% in Democratic Republic of Congo and by 8% in Egypt, the African Union-run organisation’s head John Nkengasong said. “The time to prepare for a second wave is truly now,” he said, urging governments “not to get into prevention fatigue mode.” The continent of 1.3 billion people has so far managed better than widely expected in terms of containing the epidemic, with a lower percentage of deaths than other regions, partly due to strict lockdown measures imposed in March. Reuters

IOM: 140 Dead in Weekend Migrant Ship Sinking off Senegal
A weekend migrant shipwreck off Senegal has left at least 140 people dead, making it the deadliest so far this year, the International Organization for Migration confirmed Thursday. About 200 passengers set off in the vessel from the Senegalese town of Mbour on Saturday, heading for Spain’s Canary Islands, but the boat soon caught fire and sank off Senegal’s northwestern coast near Saint Louis. Fifty-nine passengers were saved, IOM said. The deadliest shipwreck comes as the number of boats trying to reach the Canary Islands from Senegal’s shores has “significantly increased in recent weeks,” the U.N. migration agency said. AP

Ivorian Refugees in Ghana Fear Increase Electoral Violence
Violence in Ivory Coast after the 2010 election killed 3,000 people and sent thousands more fleeing into neighboring Ghana. Ten years later, many Ivorians — including those still living in Ghana — fear clashes leading up to Saturday’s vote could trigger another round of unrest. Yves Glazibo was one of the 20,000 Ivorians who fled across the border after the 2010 election, after then-President Laurent Gbagbo refused to concede defeat to Alassane Ouattara. Since 2011, Glazibo — not his real name — has lived at the Ampain refugee camp, close to the border with Ivory Coast, with about 3,000 other Ivorians. … Tetteh Padi from the Ghana Refugee Board says a small number of Ivorians have fled across the border, and the board is registering them as refugees. “We have noticed that a few people have indicated that they want to come into Ghana, but as you know the borders have been closed due to the pandemic so we don’t have that flow, at least not yet,” Padi said. “We are not seeing large numbers coming in.” VOA

Suspected Islamists Kill 18, Torch Church in East Congo
Assailants killed at least 18 people and burned down a church in a village in eastern Congo on Wednesday night, a civil rights group and local committee said, blaming fighters from an Islamist militia group operating in the area. The army confirmed the attack on Baeti village in North Kivu province, around 20 km (12 miles) west of the city of Oicha, but declined to give a death toll. The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan armed group active in eastern Congo since the 1990s, has killed more than 1,000 civilians since the start of 2019, according to U.N. figures, despite repeated military campaigns aimed at destroying it. … Authorities have accused the armed group of attacking the main prison in the city of Beni on Oct. 20, releasing more than 1,300 inmates, including an unknown number of militiamen and their own fighters. Reuters

Mozambique Army Advances on Key Militia Base: Govt
Mozambican troops are honing in on a forest base camp belonging to insurgents terrorizing the gas-rich north, the government has said, signaling a significant advancement in the battle to regain control of the region. A shadowy insurgency has wreaked havoc in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province over the past three years, targeting villages and towns in a bid to establish an Islamist caliphate. The group has stepped up its offensive in recent months, seizing swathes of territory near major liquefied natural gas (LNG) investment projects. Interior Minister Amade Miquidade late Wednesday told lawmakers the army had dismantled several “hideouts in the woods” and was advancing on a central base hidden in the heavy forest of Mocimboa da Praia district. “Terrorists have a main base that they call ‘Syria,’ where our operations are focused,” Miquidade said during a parliamentary session called to brief cabinet members on counter-insurgency tactics. The Defense Post with AFP

Militaries of South Sudan, Uganda Confirm Clash near Border
South Sudan’s army has accused Uganda’s army of making a “major incursion” into its territory that led to fighting in which two South Sudanese soldiers were killed. Uganda’s military confirms an “incident” between the two armies but says it happened within Uganda. South Sudan in a statement alleged that the Ugandan military crossed the border Tuesday in Magwi county in Eastern Equatoria state with heavy artillery and forced the small number of South Sudanese forces there to retreat. A counterattack regained control of the area, the statement said, but one South Sudanese soldier was captured. South Sudan’s army reiterated its “cordial relations” with Uganda forces but said it was “saddened by chameleonic behaviors of that army,” spokesman Lul Ruai Koang wrote. AP

Ethiopia Proposes Holding Postponed Vote in May or June 2021: FANA
Ethiopian authorities have proposed holding a postponed election in May or June 2021, state-affiliated broadcaster FANA said on Friday, setting the stage for a test of support for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s sweeping economic and political reforms. The government postponed a parliamentary election scheduled for August this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. … Next year’s vote will be a litmus test for Abiy, who after decades of repression introduced sweeping economic and political reforms that helped win him the Nobel Prize last year. But the new freedoms also fuelled long-suppressed demands for more regional autonomy, rights and resources. Last month Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region went ahead and held regional elections in a show of defiance against Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who called the vote illegal. Reuters

Ethiopia’s Tigray Blocks General’s Appointment in Blow to Abiy
A brigadier general has been blocked from taking up a posting in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, an official said on Friday, escalating a dispute between the region and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government that analysts warn could turn violent. The military officer flew on Thursday from the capital Addis Ababa to Tigray for his new assignment but returned after being informed “his appointment would not be considered legitimate,” said Getachew Reda, a senior official with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the regional governing party. “Any appointment or troop movement” is “totally unacceptable” at the moment because the TPLF believes Abiy no longer has a mandate for such moves, Getachew told AFP news agency. A defence ministry spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. AFP

Sudan, South Sudan Sign Military Cooperation Deal
Sudan and South Sudan Thursday signed joint defence and military cooperation agreement between the two countries. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the visiting South Sudanese Defence Minister Angelina Teny and her Sudanese counterpart Ibrahim Yassin, according to a statement issued by the Military Media Centre in Khartoum. The defence and military cooperation deal includes “training, exchange of experiences, peace promotion, support and disaster management, as well as combating cross-border crimes, smuggling, human trafficking and combating the activities of anti-peace elements.” The agreement also, determined the implementation mechanisms at the levels of defence ministers, chiefs of staff and experts, according to the statement. After years of a difficult separation and accusations of support to rebel groups from both sides, the two Sudans are moving towards a new era of rapprochement and cooperation in all fields. Sudan Tribune

Zambia’s Controversial Bid to Amend Constitution Flops
Zambia’s controversial constitutional amendment Bill failed on Thursday in a vote in parliament amid vehement opposition by civil society and other political parties. The law, had it come into effect, sought to change the basic structure of the country’s constitution which was amended in 2016. Bill 10, as it was called, would have extended the executive powers to appoint judges and ministers and allow changes to the electoral map. The Bill, sponsored by the ruling Patriotic Front party, was seen by the opposition as electioneering as it would have allowed the government to create several constituencies in its strongholds. The Law Association of Zambia president Abyud Shonga said before the vote that the sought changes “lacked consensus.” The EastAfrican

Nigeria Protesters Retreat but Vow to Fight On
Young Nigerians who took to the streets to demand better governance are in shock after a brutal crackdown on their movement but say their resolve for change remains undimmed. … Today, as a judicial panel launched by the authorities probes the bloodshed, the leaderless campaign is struggling to come to terms with events that have been both traumatic and historic. “The government murdered peaceful protesters in cold blood, people are still rattled,” said demonstrator Leo Dasilva, 28. Those who took part in the protests say that a page in history has been turned. … It has “shifted the realm of possibility of what can happen in this country,” said Feyikemi Abudu — known as FK — in a podcast with fellow activist Jollz, called “I said what I said.” The two young women are part of the Feminist Coalition, one of the main groups backing the protests. “What we achieved was unity, and unity is not little, it’s a very big win for Nigeria,” said Anita Izato, a 24-year-old lawyer in the capital Abuja. AFP

Scarred by War but Home at Last, Two Libyan Families Pray for Peace
Libya’s warring armies have agreed a ceasefire and, years after being forced to flee for their lives, the Bouzids and the Alis are finally back at home. Like many on opposite sides of the front lines, the two families have lost loved ones and seen their livelihoods and dreams destroyed by nearly a decade of conflict. But while daunting obstacles still stand in the way of a lasting political settlement, the Bouzids are slowly repairing their own small corner of the country, the ransacked south Tripoli farm they returned to after fighting in the area ended in June. “Dad, Mum and I would sit in the middle of the day and drink tea and enjoy the view of our crops. But then the war came and we fled,” said Mohammed Bouzid, 45. “After we returned, there was nothing left.” Reuters

‘We Have a Right to Be at the Table’: Four Pioneering Female Peacekeepers
Twenty years after a landmark UN resolution, leading figures share insight on women’s vital role in mediating conflict. In October 2000, the UN security council adopted resolution 1325 – the first resolution that acknowledged women’s unique experience of conflict and their vital role in peace negotiations and peacebuilding. Twenty years on, we speak to four women helping keep the peace around the world. … Bolatolu-Vuniwaqa is now head of police at the UN mission in South Sudan (UNmiss). Appointed in 2018, she became the first woman to hold the post, one of only three women leading police operations at UN missions around the world. … In 2016, UNmiss was severely criticised for its failure to keep people living at its sites safe from violence. Since then, more UN police have patrolled the sites, and a “gender-responsive approach” has been introduced to tackle the different protection needs. The Guardian