Africa Media Review for October 7, 2022

Lesotho Election Goes Ahead Despite Unresolved Political Crisis
Lesotho citizens were due to vote in an election on Friday, after years of political instability that the southern African mountain kingdom’s lawmakers have yet to resolve. The election will go ahead despite a deadlock in parliament on a whole gamut of major constitutional reforms that were meant to be enacted ahead of the vote to bring order to Lesotho’s fractious politics. The All Basotho Convention (ABC) has run the country, with a population of 2.14 million, since 2017, but divisions within the party have given it two prime ministers over five years. Defections have meanwhile left the party vulnerable to opposition rivals Democratic Congress (DC) or the new Revolution for Prosperity (RFP), led by businessman Sam Matekane. Reuters

Lesotho Polls to Elect Leader to Tackle Unemployment, Crime
Of the three leading candidates, Matekane is the only one who has never been in government. A savvy multi-millionaire businessman, he claims he would best be able to tackle Lesotho’s unemployment. Matekane has promised to expand markets for garments manufactured in Lesotho and to diversify the products exported to the U.S. under the African Growth Opportunities Act trade concession…The scourge of crime is a pressing campaign issue. Lesotho suffered 41 murders per 100,000 people, Africa’s highest and considerably worse than the world average of 7 per 100,000, according to the World Population Review. Whichever party wins power will have to adequately resource the entire law enforcement sector — from the police to the judiciary — to arrest suspects and prosecute the trials to finality, according to crime experts. Lesotho currently has a backlog of criminal cases estimated to be about 4,000 by senior judicial officials. AP

Ukraine Takes On Russia in the Battle for Hearts and Minds in Africa
This is the first African tour in the history of Ukrainian diplomacy and it is part of a much larger “roadmap” that Volodymyr Zelensky has asked his Foreign Ministry to chart in order to win over African leaders, after many of them either sided with the Kremlin in the United Nations following the February 2022 invasion or stayed neutral. (There were exceptions, of course. This memorable speech by Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, for instance.) Another element of the Ukrainian roadmap, according to Ukrainian government websites, is a “large scale Ukraine-Africa conference” that Kyiv is preparing. Food security, trade relations and technology products are among Ukraine’s offerings to the continent. Coda

Chad Transition Period Extension Worries Experts
The push for democracy in Chad suffered a setback last weekend, when a political forum organized by military rulers postponed elections for another two years. An 18-month political transition led by Mahamat Idriss Deby was supposed to end this month. Instead, it’s been prolonged after a national dialogue forum last weekend adopted resolutions that push back elections by two years and authorize Deby to run for president…Another decision that came out of the forum now allows Deby to run for president, contrary to what had been talked about when he became interim leader. Deby took over last year after his father and longtime Chadian president Idriss Deby Itno was killed fighting insurgents. Voice of America

Burkina Faso: Recounting the Attack on a Convoy in Gaskindé Days Before a Second Coup
Aziz, whose name has been changed for his safety, was driving his truck loaded with rice and sorghum at the back of a convoy of 207 vehicles secured by soldiers when shots rang out. The attack, claimed by al-Qaeda, officially killed 37 people, including 27 soldiers. 70 truck drivers remain missing, according to their union. Gaskindé is the umpteenth attack in a region of the Sahel that has been battered by jihadist violence in the past ten years, and it is a new symbol of the powerlessness of states to control their remote countryside and secure their populations. Five days later, a military putsch, the fifth in two years in the region, swept away the power in place in Ouagadougou. The testimonies collected by AFP tell of the negligence of the army and the daily life of civilians caught in the crossfire of the war. The trucks had left Ouagadougou for Djibo, one of the main cities in northern Burkina, which has been under a jihadist blockade for the past 18 months. To impose their presence and their law, jihadists have repeatedly used the blockade strategy to subdue rural populations. In neighbouring Mali, many villages have had to bend over backwards. AfricaNews

In Uganda, Museveni Son’s Tweets May Mar Presidential Ambition
For many observers, Kainerugaba’s frequent tweets on political discussions are signals that he already fancies himself president-in-waiting. Analysts warn that he could be entering a complicated playing field, even as his supporters think he could be the best bet for the country that is yet to witness a peaceful transfer of power since independence in 1962. Moses Khisa, a political science lecturer at North Carolina State University said tweeting is not helping the general’s presumed desire to occupy Uganda’s top office as he “seems not to have the wisdom and sophistication of the father”. “Many of us who didn’t know him now despise him just from the tweets he has issued,” Khisa said. Al Jazeera

Health Workers Among 29 Killed in Uganda Ebola Outbreak
The World Health Organization says 63 confirmed and probable cases of Ebola have been reported in Uganda, including 29 deaths. WHO chief Tedros Ghebreyesus has warned that the Ebola outbreak, declared two weeks ago, was taking a deadly toll on health workers as well as patients. There are six variants of the Ebolavirus genus and the one circulating in Uganda is the Sudan Ebolavirus – for which there is no vaccine. “Ten health workers have been infected and four have died. Four people have recovered and are receiving follow-up care,” Tedros told a press conference in Geneva on Wednesday. RFI

South Sudan Cabinet Approves $30 Million for Ebola Fight
South Sudan cabinet has approved an additional $30 million to establish mechanisms needed to prevent the spread of Ebola from neighboring Uganda. Ebola is a deadly virus with initial symptoms which can include a sudden fever, intense weakness, muscle pain and a sore throat. Subsequent stages of the viral disease can include vomiting, diarrhoea and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding. South Sudan’s Information minister, Michael Makuei said cabinet approved the $30m in addition to the $500,000, which the country’s Council of Ministers approved last week. “The plan was approved so that laboratories are set up along borders. Anybody who comes is subjected to testing, investigated and they are left to go. If anybody is suspected then they are subjected to the necessary attention,” he told reporters on Wednesday. Sudan Tribune

South Sudan: New Report Details Billion Dollar Scam in Massive Bank Credit Programme
Nearly a billion dollars vanished in a massive bank credit scam that had devastating, deadly impacts on children and communities across South Sudan, according to a new investigative report released today by The Sentry. The funds, officially meant to deliver fuel, food, and medicine across South Sudan, disappeared into a maze of international shell companies that never provided any goods or services, leaving people to die as hospitals were gutted of medicine and neonatal ward generators went cold. The three-year investigation “Cash Grab: How a Billion-Dollar Credit Scam Robbed South Sudan of Fuel, Food, and Medicine” details how massive credit lines provided by banks in Qatar and Kenya were turned into an opportunity to steal by corrupt leaders and their cronies, with the government of South Sudan left on the hook to pay back the loaned money. AllAfrica

Kenya’s President Ruto Visits Ethiopia for Bilateral Meeting
Kenyan President William Ruto met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Thursday to discuss bilateral cooperation and deepen the economic and strategic ties between the two countries on regional issues. This is President Ruto’s first visit to Ethiopia after being elected. It is to be recalled that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had taken part in the inauguration ceremony of President William Ruto in Nairobi on September 13/2022. Ethiopia and Kenya are countries that have long-standing friendship and cooperation based on mutual benefit. The visit also comes amid the ongoing war between Ethiopian troops and the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF). Talks about the ongoing Tigray conflict are expected to take centre stage in the meeting between the two leaders. AfricaNews with AFP

FFC Rejects Sudan Re-Election to the UN Human Rights Council
The Forces for Freedom and Change-Central Council (FFC-CC) call for Sudan’s re-election to the United Nations Human Rights Council to be rejected because “Sudan’s current unconstitutional regime has continuously and systematically violated the human rights of its citizens since 25 October 2021” when the military took power in a coup d’état, they said in a statement yesterday. The statement by the FFC’s External Relations and Communications Committee explains that the next elections for membership of the UN Human Rights Council are scheduled to take place during the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York on October 11 and will decide which member states will sit on the council for the next 3-year-long membership term. “Sudan is standing for re-election despite a military junta taking over power in a coup on 25 October 2021,” they write. Sudan was first elected to the Human Rights Council in October 2019 after the glorious December Revolution and the formation of the civilian-led government led by former Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, which worked hard to improve the human rights situation in the country. Dabanga

Tanzania: TotalEnergies Pipeline Project Questioned by NGOs for Human Rights Violations
The scenery changes, the story remains the same: in Tanzania, the construction of the pipeline intended to evacuate the oil extracted by TotalEnergies on the shores of Lake Albert, in Uganda, baptized East African Crude Oil Pipeline (Eacop), also accompanies large-scale human rights violations, according to the investigation made public on Wednesday October 5 by Les Amis de la Terre and Survie, the two NGOs behind, with four Ugandan associations, the lawsuit brought against the French major for non-compliance with the law on the duty of vigilance of large companies with regard to their subsidiaries and subcontractors. This action initiated in 2019 is the first of its kind since the adoption of the law in 2017. Globe Echo

Nigeria: Shell Speaks on Illegal Pipeline NNPC Says It Found
Shell Petroleum Development Company has reacted to a revelation by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited that it found an illegal oil pipeline that operated from Forcados Terminal into sea for years without detection. Shell is the operator of the Forcados Terminal. NNPC chief executive Mele Kyari told a joint Senate committee on Tuesday that it uncovered a four-kilometre theft pipeline from the terminal into the sea in the past six weeks. It said the line had been functional for nine years. “In the course of the clampdown within the last six weeks, 395 illegal refineries have been deactivated, 274 reservoirs destroyed, 1,561 metal tanks destroyed, 49 trucks seized,” he said. “The most striking of all, is the four-kilometre illegal oil connection line from Forcados Terminal into the sea which had been in operation undetected for nine solid years,” he added. In a message to PREMIUM TIMES Thursday, a spokesperson for Shell said the connection was far off Shell-operated Forcados. Premium Times Nigeria



Photo: Adam Jones