Africa Media Review for September 1, 2022

Fighting Spreads in Ethiopia as Tigray Hit by New Air Strike
Fighting in northern Ethiopia between government forces and Tigrayan rebels erupted along a new front on Wednesday, the warring sides said, as the Tigray region was hit by another air strike. The conflict resumed last week after a five-month lull, with clashes on the ground and air raids over Tigray dashing hopes of peacefully resolving the nearly two-year war. Fighting had been concentrated around the southeastern border of Tigray, with the rebels pushing into the neighbouring Amhara and Afar regions, sending residents fleeing…The bombing occurred “close to midnight” on Tuesday near Mekele general hospital, said Kibrom Gebreselassie, chief clinical director at the city’s Ayder Referral Hospital. “Casualties are arriving to Ayder Hospital,” he said on Twitter, without giving details. AFP

Zambia’s $1.3Bn IMF Bailout to Test How China Handles Defaults
Zambia has secured a $1.3bn IMF bailout package, enabling the African nation to advance talks with creditors on exiting a default that will test how Beijing handles the souring of its loans to developing nations. The three-year bailout “will help reestablish sustainability through fiscal adjustment and debt restructuring” through a “homegrown economic reform plan” formulated by President Hakainde Hichilema’s government, the Washington-based multilateral lender said. The deal is a landmark for how the IMF will respond to a wave of debt distress in countries that have borrowed heavily from China. The bailout was unlocked after Beijing agreed in principle in July to restructure loans under a G20 framework to co-ordinate debt relief. Financial Times

Kenya Poll Petition: Supreme Court Throws Out 3 Suits
The Supreme Court has rejected three applications, including President-elect William Ruto’s request to bar the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) from being enjoined in the 2022 presidential election petition. The court also struck out the petition from former Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria and former Mbeere South MP Geoffrey King’ang’i, allies of Dr Ruto, who had filed a petition urging the apex court to throw out Raila Odinga’s suit on the grounds that he was involved in election malpractices. The petition by presidential candidate Mr Odinga, among eight others, is seeking to challenge the results of the August 9 poll that saw Deputy President Ruto declared President-elect with 50.49 percent of the votes cast. East African

Kenya Poll Petition: Smartmatic Declines to Open IEBC Servers to Raila Odinga
The supplier of voting technology to the elections agency in Kenya has declined to open the national tallying centre (NTC) servers, citing security issues.  In a letter by the agency to parties of the ongoing presidential election petition before the Supreme Court, the supplier Smartmatic International Holding B.V says providing full access to servers hosting Form 34C would infringe its intellectual property rights.  “As per your request regarding the provision of image of NTC server(s), we would like to clarify that such images contain software owned and copyrighted by Smartmatic and is thus IP protected. Providing full access would infringe our intellectual property rights,” reads the letter signed by F. Gunnik, the company’s managing director. East African

UN Says 50 Civilians Killed in April by Mali’s Army
At least 50 civilians were killed during a military operation conducted by Mali’s army and “foreign troops” on 19 April, according to a report by the UN. The UN has repeatedly accused Malian soldiers of summarily executing civilians and suspected militants during their decade-long fight against groups linked to al-Qaida and Islamic State. Mali’s military government, which took power in a 2020 coup, has been battling Islamist insurgents with the help of private military contractors belonging to Russia’s Wagner group. The alleged April massacre took place on market day in Hombori municipality, in the central region of Douentza, after a Mali military convoy hit an improvised explosive device. Guardian

Tens of Thousands Flee Mali Violence, Including 47 000 Minors
Tens of thousands of people, many of them children, have fled to a town in northeastern Mali after fighting erupted in the jihadist-torn region, a local official said on Wednesday. Since March, more than 65 000 people have arrived in the town of Menaka near the border with Niger, Ahmadou Chami Dicko, the local head of Mali’s social development agency, told AFP. Of these nearly 47 000 are minors, he said, adding, “people are continuing to arrive.”…The United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross on Tuesday said they had set up an airlift to fly in medical supplies to Gao from the capital Bamako. This “logistical support” was “requested by the (Malian) ministry of health”, the ICRC’s local chief, Antoine Grand, said on social media. AFP

ADF Rebels Continue Attack on Democratic Republic of Congo Civilians, Kill 14
At least 14 civilians were killed Tuesday, August 30, 2022, during attacks by rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) on localities in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, local sources confirmed yesterday, Wednesday, August 31, 2022. Kamba Tonge, leader of the coordination of youth associations in Biakato, Ituri province, supervising the search for corpses, said, “we have recovered fourteen corpses of victims killed by the ADF rebels in the villages of Alima, Laliya and their environs”.  “Two corpses of ADF rebels were also found,” revealed Gilbert Sivamwenda, president of the Biakato civil society, who confirmed the death toll of 14 civilians whose corpses were found in the bushes. “The army intervened later and re-established order”, said Colonel Charles Ehuta Omeanga, military administrator of Beni territory in the North Kivu province, who was reluctant to reveal the number of civilians killed. HumAngle

Libyans Have Lost Faith in Political Class, US Diplomat Says After Tripoli Clashes
Libyans have lost faith that the political class and its allied militias and mercenaries are willing to end their robbery of the nation’s wealth, a senior US diplomat has warned, after some of the worst violence in Tripoli in years…Libyans, he said, “are losing hope that their country can be free of corruption and foreign influence, that the armed forces can be unified, and that foreign fighters, forces and mercenaries will be withdrawn. They are deprived of basic public services while the powerful cut deals to divvy up hydrocarbon revenues in accordance with their own interests, particularly to militias controlled by various factions, robbing the Libyan people of their national wealth.” The UN debate presented few fresh ideas, apart from calling on the security council to agree urgently on a new UN special envoy for Libya. Libya has lacked an envoy since November because of political divisions. The Senegalese diplomat Abdoulaye Bathily has been proposed, but has been blocked by some Libyans who fear he will be ineffective. Guardian

The Writers Retelling Libya’s History Through a Feminist Lens
Shatwan is part of a growing number of Libyan women writers who are giving more room to a gendered point of view in literature. This marks an important change in the still small Libyan literary scene. By building complex female characters, a growing number of Libyan writers are quietly introducing their ideas of gender equality. Traditionally Libyan literature was dominated by male authors, who used their own archetypes to describe historical crossroads and to understand their current reality. Notable examples are the Benghazi poet Khaled Mattwa, known for recounting legends and pivotal moments in history with a unique flair, and Alessandro Spina who delved deeper into Libya’s past through a series of novels that include, The Confines of the Shadow. Al Jazeera

Sudanese Doctors Announce Death of Protester
In Sudan, a pro-democracy doctors union announced the death of a protester on Wednesday during demonstrations in the capital, Khartoum. So far, 117 people have been killed as a result of the repression of anti-coup demonstrations that regularly denounce the 25 October 2021 putsch led by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhane. “We have been protesting since Burhan’s coup last October and we will continue (to protest) with determination and persistence to bring down the coup, despite that many people were killed and thousands were wounded but protesters insist on continuing the revolutionary path”, said protester Abu Bakr Saleh. AfricaNews

Rich Nations to Fund 80% of S.Africa’s Climate Plan with Loans, Some Hard to Unlock
About 80% of the billions of dollars pledged by rich nations for South Africa’s shift away from coal will be loans, not grants, and some may be hard to unlock due to national rules protecting domestic jobs, an official familiar with the matter said. Last year the United States, European Union, Britain, France and Germany committed to investing $8.5 billion over three to five years to help South Africa reduce its carbon emissions, which are among the world’s highest because it depends on coal for 80% of its electricity. The plan is meant to help the country shut down polluting smokestacks and coal mines and re-purpose their locations for solar panels and wind farms – and eventually electric vehicle and green hydrogen production. This would create jobs that will help compensate for hundreds of thousands that would be lost in the coal sector. Reuters

South Sudan’s Former Rebels Join Unified Army
[Video] Thousands of fighters including former rebels from rival camps in South Sudan’s civil war were integrated into the country’s army in a long-overdue graduation ceremony on Tuesday. France 24

Congo Is in a ‘Cultural Crisis.’ Here’s How Artists, Dealers, and Collectors in the Capital of Kinshasa Are Using Art to Solve the Problem
In this city, where a scarcity and unpredictability of electricity result in regular blackouts and a failing healthcare system means treatable illness often result in death, art has become a way to survive mentally and intellectually and recall the real narratives of Congolese history. “Art is a matter of life in Congo,” Gómez told Artnet News. “The artists give everything to their art because it is through their imagination that they have found a way to reverse [the conditions of] their daily living which is very tough. It is their only way of existence.” In another performance for the Yango biennale, Congolese artist Anass Flory Sinandaku sat in a chair surrounded by onlookers, as his blood was taken. He then used it create artworks hung on the wall behind him. The gruesome act reflected on exploitation in Congo both domestically and internationally—a theme explored by many Congolese artists searching for meaning and resolution amidst Congo’s paradoxical reality. ArtNet



Photo: Adam Jones