Africa Media Review for October 6, 2022

Kenyatta Set for Ethiopia Peace Talks amid Confusion over Date
Kenya’s retired President Uhuru Kenyatta is scheduled to begin his role in the Ethiopia conflict mediation even as confusion reigned on the existence of the date for the African Union sponsored talks. Ethiopia on Wednesday said it had accepted an invitation to attend peace talks led by the African Union Special Representative for the Horn of Africa, Olusegun Obasanjo, in South Africa…The leaked invitation letter said President Kenyatta and South Africa’s former deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka would serve as part of a trio of mediators known as the ‘Troika of negotiators’. This will be the first time Kenyatta will be engaged in regional matters after his successor William Ruto named him a special envoy for the Horn of Africa and Great Lakes region. His office did not immediately confirm his attendance. East African

Uganda: The Return of Drones and Abductions
The Opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) party has alleged that security forces have abducted more than a dozen of its supporters, resurrecting dreaded memories of enforced disappearances of its members before, during and after last year’s presidential and general elections…The party leader, Mr Robert Kyagulanyi, an artiste-turned-politician and better known by the stage name Bobi Wine, in multiple media posts said 15 of his supporters, picked up between this month and the last one, were being held incommunicado…Mr Alex Mufumbiro, the NUP deputy spokesperson, yesterday said “many of our supporters continue to be abducted and taken to different safe houses. [The] government can deny all these, but history will always judge them for their inconsistencies.” Monitor

Rwandan Court Frees Reporters Accused of Spreading False News
A Rwandan court has acquitted three journalists who had been detained for four years on charges of spreading false information with the intention of inciting violence and tarnishing the country’s image. “There is no evidence to prove that their publication incited violence,” Speciose Nyirabagande, one of the court’s three judges, said on Wednesday. Rights groups say Rwanda has one of the worst human rights records in sub-Saharan Africa and accuse the government of using authoritarian means to stifle dissent…Jean Damascène Mutuyimana, Niyodusenga Schadrack and Jean Baptiste Nshimiyimana, reporters with the YouTube channel Iwacu TV, were arrested in October 2018 on allegations of causing unrest and spreading rumours. They were repeatedly denied bail before their trial, according to the nonprofit Committee to Protect Journalists. Al Jazeera

Death Toll from Somalia Bombings Hits 30: Governor
The death toll from a triple bombing by the Islamist group Al-Shabaab in central Somalia earlier this week has risen to at least 30, a local official said on Wednesday. Another 58 people were injured when three cars packed with explosives were detonated in Beledweyne, a city at the heart of recent offensives against the Al-Qaeda-linked militants who control swathes of Somalia. “We have confirmed that thirty people died in the recent attack,” said Ali Jeyte Osman, the governor of Hiraan region where Beledweyne is the capital. The health minister of the wider Hirshabelle state, and a deputy district commissioner, were among those killed when suicide bombers targeted local government offices in the city. AFP

Ibrahim Traoré Appointed President of Burkina Faso
Captain Ibrahim Traoré was appointed president of Burkina Faso on Wednesday. The appointment comes less than a week after the latest coup in the West African country, the second in less than nine months. “The President of the Patriotic Movement for Safeguarding and Restoration (MPSR) will serve as Head of State and Supreme Commander of the National Armed Forces. He is the guarantor of the independence of the judiciary. If the President is unable to act, his powers are exercised by the First Vice-President and, if necessary, by the Second Vice-President”, said Captain Kiswendsida Farouk Azaria Sorgho, spokesperson for the Patriotic Movement for Safeguarding and Restoration (MPSR), speaking on national television. AfricaNews

West Africa Bloc Mediator ‘Satisfied’ After Meeting Burkina Faso New Military Leader
The mediator sent to Burkina Faso by West Africa’s main political and economic bloc ECOWAS, Mahamadou Issoufou, on Tuesday said he was satisfied by a meeting with the country’s new military leader Ibrahim Traore. Issoufou added that the 15-member bloc would continue accompanying Burkina Faso’s transition to constitutional rule after the country was hit by its second military takeover this year. ECOWAS had repeatedly urged the junta that took control on Friday to respect a timetable agreed with their predecessors to return to constitutional rule by July 2024. “We had very profound exchanges. Very frank exchanges,” Issoufou told reporters after meeting religious leaders and Traore in the capital Ouagadougou. “I can assure you that ECOWAS will remain with the people of Burkina Faso … and the difficult challenge they face,” he added. CNN

Al-Qaida Branch Claims Attack on Burkina Faso Convoy; Dozens Killed
The Sahel-based branch of al-Qaida, Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM), has claimed an attack on a convoy in Burkina Faso that killed more than a dozen soldiers last month, the SITE Intelligence Group said Tuesday. Islamist militants attacked a convoy taking supplies to a town in northern Burkina Faso on September 26, days before the West African country was hit by its second military takeover this year. JNIM claimed credit for the ambush and said it “caused significant economic losses to the enemy and ‘led to a shakeup’ in the Burkinabe army ranks, culminating in the military coup,” the SITE statement said. Eleven soldiers were found dead and about 50 civilians were reported missing after the attack, the previous government said. Voice of America

Nigeria: Updated: Six Months After Train Attack, Terrorists Release Remaining 23 Hostages – Official
Six months after terrorists kidnapped scores of people after attacking a train, the last batch of 23 hostages has been released. This was disclosed by Usman Yusuf, the secretary of a committee set up by the Chief of Defence Staff, Leo Irabor. PREMIUM TIMES reported the attack on the Kaduna-bound train on March 28. At least eight people died in the attack while 168 people were declared missing, most of whom were believed to have been kidnapped. The train departed Abuja for Kaduna before it was attacked in a Kaduna community by the terrorists. Premium Times Nigeria

In Algeria, Veiled from the World, Past and Future Are Shrouded, Too
For the ossified politico-military establishment that runs Algeria, tourism and foreign investment are suspect, as are theaters, cinemas or book stores. This is a land of absences, of immense potential denied. It is a country hunched in suspicion of the outsider, as if it were still at war. “Young people want to go because this is a sad country,” the author Kamel Daoud, who met with Mr. Macron during his visit, told me. “It’s a boring country. There’s no liberty or leisure.” Money from vast reserves of natural gas and oil flows to the oligarchy, who often funnel it into property in France. Algeria’s people, worn down, have learned to shrug. You ask someone about politics and the usual response is: We are small, we don’t know. New York Times

Sudan Resistance Committees, New Charter Now Active
Sudan’s Resistance Committees and Coordination Committees announced yesterday that they are activating the Revolutionary Charter for the Establishment of the People’s Authority. Last week, 55 resistance committees and revolutionary bodies signed the new Revolutionary Charter for the Establishment of the People’s Authority, a political vision for the resistance committees. The resistance committees have been working for a while to unify two different charters presented by the resistance committees of Wad Madani and Khartoum. The Technical Committee of the Charter explained in a press statement that the goals and issues raised by the resistance committees will be the basic building blocks for the formation of a unified body that will include all the revolutionary forces. The unification attempts came after various calls for unity amongst Sudan’s opposition. Dabanga

Al-Nur Says He Is Leaving Juba After Rejecting Kiir’s Efforts for Peace in Sudan
Abdel Wahid al-Nur leader of the holdout Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-AW) announced his decision to leave South Sudan saying he would not negotiate a peace agreement citing a lack of seriousness to address the root causes of the conflict. After the collapse of the former regime, al-Nur declined to join the Juba process for peace in Sudan. But President Kiir invited him to Juba with the hope to convince him to change his mind. But he said he wants to hold an inclusive and comprehensive meeting in Khartoum to discuss the Sudanese issue, not the Darfur crisis. The idea of a conference in Khartoum gave the impression that he had abandoned his old position that before engaging in peace talks Khartoum should cease hostilities, and withdraw militiamen and newcomers from the lands of the displaced people who should regain their villages. Sudan Tribune

World Bank Projects Ghana’s Debt to GDP to Hit 104%, Classifies Country as a High Debt Distressed One
The country’s economic woes keep deepening by the day after a string of negative reviews by international bodies. The latest to add its doom pronouncements on the Ghanaian economy is the World Bank which has classified the country as a high debt distressed nation…In its October 2022 Africa Pulse Report, the World Bank said the country’s debt is expected to jump significantly from last year’s figure of 76.6% amid a widened government deficit, massive weakening of the cedi, and rising debt service costs…Investor confidence in the country also dropped sharply after several international credit rating agencies downgraded the economic outlook to deeper junk status. Government officials are, however, optimistic that an IMF economic package of $3 billion will help the country navigate its way out of the looming crisis. Yen

Goal of Ending Extreme Poverty by 2030 Out of Reach, Report Says
The world is unlikely to meet a longstanding goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030, the World Bank has said, citing the effects of “extraordinary” shocks to the global economy, including the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine. In a new report released on Wednesday, the World Bank said higher food and energy prices had hindered a quick recovery after COVID-19 dealt the “biggest setback” to global poverty in decades…It said poverty reduction had already slowed in the five years leading up to the pandemic, and the poorest people clearly bore its steepest costs. The poorest 40 percent of people saw average income losses of 4 percent during the pandemic, twice the losses experienced by the wealthiest 20 percent, the World Bank said. Government spending and emergency support helped avert even bigger increases in poverty rates, the report showed, but the economic recovery had been uneven, with developing economies with fewer resources spending less and achieving less. Extreme poverty was now concentrated in the countries of sub-Saharan Africa, which has a poverty rate of about 35 percent and accounts for 60 percent of all people in extreme poverty, the report said. Al Jazeera

 



Photo: Adam Jones