Africa Media Review for September 12, 2022

Guinea’s Military Ruler Accused of ‘Complicity in Torture’
Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, the head of Guinea’s transitional authorities, is targeted by a complaint filed in Paris by the opposition alliance known as FNDC. According to the AFP, the coalition of parties, trade unions, and civil society organizations together with relatives of 3 people killed during anti-junta demonstrations and of one person who died in custody, lodged the complaint Thursday. They accuse the leader of “complicity in torture” and “voluntary manslaughter”, arguing he had his say in the chain of command. The plaintiffs ask the French judiciary to open a probe claiming Doubouya holds French citizenship and for fear of a “credible process in Guinea.” AfricaNews with AFP

With Tears and Steel, Kenya’s ‘Hustler’ President Vanquishes His Foes
“Ruto seems to thrive in going against the odds,” Macharia Munene, a political scientist at the United States International University in Nairobi, said. “Once he has garnered attention, he finds a way of separating himself, then comes out on top as a leader.” Those qualities served Mr. Ruto especially well this past month. Not only did he vanquish his electoral rival, Raila Odinga, who had been favored to win by pollsters, but he also triumphed over Mr. Kenyatta, a former ally once so close to Mr. Ruto that they dressed in matching suits and ties. Mr. Kenyatta is now his embittered foe. After last week’s court decision, the departing president, who backed Mr. Odinga’s losing ticket, delivered a grievance-laced speech in which he refused to utter Mr. Ruto’s name, much less congratulate him on his win. It was the latest twist in a saga of loyalty and betrayal that has dominated Kenyan politics for over a decade. New York Times

Row as Kenya TVs Barred from Broadcasting Ruto’s Inauguration
Kenya is a few hours away from the inauguration of president-elect William Ruto. On Tuesday, Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to hand over the instruments of power including a ceremonial sword and a copy of Kenya’s Constitution to the new president. Ruto will be the first to take the Oath of Office, becoming Kenya’s fifth president since independence. He will be followed by his Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua. The assumption of the office president act provides that the Deputy President-elect “shall take and subscribe to the oath or affirmation of allegiance and oath or affirmation for the execution of the functions of the office in accordance with the Constitution”…The communication team of Kenya’s President-elect has offered exclusive broadcast rights to Multichoice Kenya Ltd, an affiliate of South African pay-TV group. Arguing the group will “provide a channel for the rest of Africa.” Although KBC, the national broadcaster, has a minority shareholding at Multichoice Kenya Ltd, local journalists and media organizations have criticized the move. AfricaNews with Agencies

Dutch Government to Launch R3.5 Billion Slavery Apology Fund
The Dutch government is said to be planning to apologise for its historic role in slave trade and set up a fund for projects that aim to raise awareness about the legacy of slavery. The fund will be announced after the nation officially apologizes for its role in slavery by the end of this year or the beginning of next year, according to people familiar with the matter. The fund may be as big as 200 million euros (R3.5 billion), the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The prime minister’s office declined to comment. Last year, the mayor of Amsterdam formally apologized for the city’s role in slavery. State-run lender ABN Amro Bank NV and the Dutch Central Bank followed suit this year.  European Central Bank Governing Council member Klaas Knot, who is also president of the bank, addressed his apology to the descendants of enslaved people and set up a fund to finance projects worth 5 million euros (R87 million) over the next 10 years in the Netherlands, Suriname and the Caribbean. Bloomberg News

China’s Creeping Media Influence and How Democracies Can Repel It
Africa is one of the continents more susceptible to Chinese influence, owing to the comparatively less stable state of democracy, institutions and media financing. According to Nigerian media expert Emeka Umejei, who has published a book on Chinese media in Africa, the efforts are often based around providing African media outlets with stories and sources. “You have content sharing agreements between Chinese media and African media,” explains Umejei, describing how Chinese state-run media works with and provides stories to African journalists and outlets. “Most media organizations [in these agreements], they are not going to report critically about China,” Umejei told DW. “You also have partnership agreements between Chinese embassies and local media organizations. These exist everywhere in Africa.” That influence, says Umejei, was apparent in the coverage of Pelosi’s trip which in some African media, he says, “was reported with a pro-China narrative, and then you will find that the sources stringing that narrative are mostly pro-China sources.” DW

African Development Bank Welcomes 12 New Executive Directors
The African Development Bank has welcomed 12 new Executive Directors, including five women, for a three-year term. The President of the African Development Bank Group, Akinwumi Adesina, welcomed the new representatives of the 20-member Board of Directors. They officially joined the Board on 1 August 2022 and began a four-day induction programme on 1 September 2022 to familiarize themselves with the work of the bank…The number of women on the board increased from three to five. Malika Dhif, who is the new Executive Director for Morocco, Togo and Tunisia, was previously the Deputy Director of the Treasury and External Finance in Morocco, in charge of relations with the Arab and Islamic world, America, Asia and international institutions. Meanwhile, Burundi, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo and Chad are represented by Chantal Modeste Nonault, a chartered accountant, administrative and financial director of the World Bank regional office in Mali. Premium Times Nigeria

Chad Junta ‘Suspends’ Opposition Leader Summons
Chad’s military junta said Sunday it was suspending a summons for the country’s main opposition leader. Succes Masra, head of The Transformers party, was summonsed for questioning following clashes last week, when police cracked down on Transformers activists as they planned to stage an unauthorised rally. Then, on Friday, as Masra’s car headed for the meeting with public prosecutors, police in the capital N’Djamena fired tear gas to disperse his supporters. The junta now says it will suspend the summons, pending the outcome of a national dialogue. AFP

In Chad, a Mobile School Offers Nomad Children Hope
In a makeshift open-air classroom, dozens of children sit squeezed together on a mat watching their teacher chalk simple sums on a blackboard – a rare chance of education for their nomadic community in Chad. According to the Denmark-based International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs, fewer than 1 percent of nomad boys and “virtually zero” nomad girls were registered for school in Chad as of 2018. About 7 percent of the central African nation’s population of about 16 million are nomads. They move hundreds of miles from the south with their herds every year when seasonal rains turn the semi-arid central regions green with fresh pasture. This way of life is centuries old but does not allow nomad children to access Chad’s formal education system. Al Jazeera

Ethiopia: Rebels Agree to AU-Led Peace Talks, Call for a Ceasefire
Ethiopia’s Tigray rebels said Sunday they would accept a peace process with the federal authorities led by the African Union. The rebels, from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a party that ruled Ethiopia for nearly three decades until 2018, decries the “closeness” of the AU mediator, Nigerian Olusegun Obasanjo, to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. “Furthermore, we are ready to abide by an immediate and mutually agreed cessation of hostilities in order to create a conducive atmosphere”, the statement read. The Ethiopian government has previously said it was ready for unconditional talks “anytime, anywhere,” brokered by the Addis Ababa-headquartered AU and set up a 7-member peace committee that drew a “proposal” to start ceasefire talks with the rebels and end the war in the northern region. The A.U and the Ethiopian minister for peace, Taye Dendea, welcomed the development. The statesman however insisted on Twitter Sunday: the TPLF troops ” must be disarmed before peace talks start.” AfricaNews with AFP

I.Coast Accuses Bamako of ‘Hostage Taking’ Over Troops Held in Mali
Ivory Coast has accused Bamako of “hostage taking” after its neighbour laid out conditions for the release of 46 Ivorian soldiers held in Mali for two months. “It’s a hostage-taking that will not remain without consequences,” a source close to the Ivorian presidency told AFP on Sunday, adding that Ivory Coast would continue to seek a solution through “diplomatic channels”. Ivory Coast says the 49 troops were sent on a routine rotation for personnel who provide back-up services for the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, MINUSMA, and has called for their release. Three women in the group were released according to an announcement earlier this month. The arrest of the soldiers after their arrival at Bamako airport on July 10 has sparked a diplomatic crisis between Mali and its West African neighbour. AFP

Oil Theft: Nigeria Loses $700 Million Monthly – Official
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) on Sunday said it losses 470,000 bpd of crude oil amounting to $700 million monthly due to oil theft. A statement by the NNPCL said that Bala Wunti, the Group General Manager, National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPMS), made this disclosure while speaking during a tour of the facilities of the NNPCL. Mr Wunti said the pipelines particularly those around Bonny terminal cannot function due to the activities of criminals. He also argued that the number of barrels stolen daily is very huge, adding that about 270 barrels per day that were supposed to be loaded in Bonny are no longer going to be loaded because of theft. Premium Times Nigeria

Nigeria: Niger Delta Oil Spills Bring Poverty, Low Crop Yields to Farmers
This June, Aibakuro Warder was disappointed by the size of the yam and cassava tubers she harvested from her farms in Ikarama, a community in the southernmost Nigerian state of Bayelsa. Most were tiny and in some locations, there was no yield. “This is what we have been dealing with since oil spills started,” the 51-year-old mother of five said. “It makes it difficult for me to feed my family and train my children in school because that is the only thing I do.” Thirty years ago there were no spills, Warder recalls. Then she would go to the farm with her mother and grandmother. The harvest was always bountiful, she said, sometimes up to 20 bags and sometimes more. Yam tubers were huge and sometimes up to three feet (91 cm) tall, she said. And they sold every farm produce they took to the market and bought whatever they wanted on their way back, she added. Now all of that has changed. Al Jazeera

International Stakeholders Welcome Sudan Bar’s Draft Transitional Constitution
Nine embassies in Sudan, along with the AU-IGAD-UNITAMS Tilateral Mechanism and Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), have welcomed the Sudanese Bar Association’s (SBA) publication of a draft transitional constitution framework document for Sudan. This support follows the presentation of the document to the drafting committee of a number of pro-democratic political forces, who proposed some amendments, and approved the final version last week.  The Embassies of France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States are taking the document as a “serious and encouraging initiative,” with the potential to “achieve a broadly acceptable and inclusive civilian-led government that can put Sudan on a path to democracy and elections.”  In the statement, published yesterday, a great deal of emphasis was put on the document having a wide base of popular support and a focus on inclusivity: “We commend the SBA initiative’s inclusion of a broad spectrum of Sudanese stakeholders and careful expert technical review, and we are encouraged by the initial signs of support from diverse Sudanese actors since the release of the SBA document.” Dabanga

UN Secretary-General: ‘Human Rights Situation in Sudan Continues to Deteriorate’
United Nation’s Secretary-General António Guterres submitted a detailed report on September 2, into Sudan’s political, economic, and security situation between May and August this year. Guterres’s damning report paid particular attention to the deterioration in human rights experienced in Sudan. The report stated that the total number of people killed during demonstrations, since October 25 2021 military coup, stands at 117, including 20 children, and one woman. The Secretary-General highlighted the “concerning reports of sexual harassment and intimidation targeting women participating in the sit-ins”, which is reportedly being perpetrated by “other protesters and local communities”, the report stated. Dabanga



Photo: Adam Jones