Africa Media Review for September 13, 2022

Kenya Inaugurates New President, but Kenyan TV Is Mostly Shut Out
In a potentially ominous sign for freedom of the press, Mr. Ruto’s team limited the access of local television stations to the inauguration, handing exclusive broadcast rights for the ceremony to a local affiliate of a South African pay-TV company. (Journalists from local newspapers and radio stations could cover the proceedings in person.) During the campaign, Mr. Ruto had repeatedly accused Kenya’s media outlets of bias against him, and some analysts said that his decision to limit their access to the ceremony was a sign of his resentment. Mutuma Mathiu, editor in chief of the Nation Media Group, which owns print and television news outlets, said in an interview that the media had a “national duty” to cover the transfer of power, and defended his organization against charges of bias. However, he said, “I don’t think we want to start a mud fight at a wedding and in the process soil the bride’s gown.” New York Times

Kenya: William Ruto Promises to Play Key Role in EAC Affairs, Promote Peace
In his political manifesto, Dr Ruto says his Kenya Kwanza Alliance is committed to regional integration that will make Kenya an anchor state in the region. “The Kenya Kwanza government will ensure that the country is respected and valued abroad. It will promote friendly relations with our neighbours, play a leading role in regional and pan-African affairs, collaborate with our international partners, and uphold our commitment to the international community,” the manifesto says in the chapter on foreign policy. The Democratic Republic of Congo is a challenge. While Uhuru pursued a policy of to mitigating the conflict in eastern DRC Dr Ruto starts from an ambiguous point in his relationship with Africa’s second largest country and its leader, Felix Tshisekedi. East African

Egypt Rejects Reports of Stifling Environment Activism
Egypt, the host of this year’s upcoming U.N.-led climate conference, is rejecting reports by a rights group saying that authorities in the Middle East country are stifling environment activism as part of a broader crackdown on dissent. According to the report by Human Rights Watch, the Egyptian government’s restrictions amount to a violation of basic human rights and throw into question its ability to meet basic climate commitments. The report was based on interviews with more than a dozen academics, scientists and activists. The global COP27 summit will take place in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh in November. Egypt’s foreign ministry said late Monday that the report was misleading and that its publishing was “counterproductive.” The statement did not address allegations of intimidation and obstruction faced by environment workers and other activists. Rather, it responded to accounts that some local groups have faced difficulty in registering their non-governmental organizations due to strict laws on how NGOs should be established and registered. AP

British-Egyptian Hunger Striker Alaa Abd el-Fattah Says He May Die in Prison
The British-Egyptian activist Alaa Abd El-Fattah has warned his family he may die in prison, as he reaches six months on hunger strike in the run-up to the Cop27 climate conference in Sharm El Sheikh. “I don’t want to upset you, but I don’t believe there’s any chance of individual salvation,” he told his mother during her visit to Wadi al-Natrun prison. He passed on a list of demands, including the release of those detained by the Egyptian security forces and thousands held without charge in pre-trial detention. Egypt’s moves to curtail anything other than state-sanctioned participation in Cop27 follows an almost decade-long crackdown on civil society under Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, according to a report by Human Rights Watch (HRW), released on Monday. Guardian

Sudanese Say Prepared to Protest Against Al-Burhan’s Participation in UNGA
Sudanese Diaspora in the United States vowed to protest against the participation of the head of the Sovereign Council in the meetings of the UN General Assembly this month. General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan is expected to participate in the 77th UN General Assembly, which will take place from September 13 to 27. The Sudanese government did not officially announce his travel to New York but several official sources confirmed al-Burhan’s participation, despite the coup of October 2021, and the unlawful killing and bloody repression against peaceful protesters. Sudan Tribune

Benin in Talks with Rwanda for Logistical, Expertise Support to Curtail Terrorism
Benin has turned to Rwanda for the supply of logistics and expertise in the fight against terrorism in the West African country. Talks are ongoing, government spokesperson Leandre Houngbedji told local media Banouto. The state official also indicated that no date for the signing has been determined yet. Benin is seeking logistical support as well as expertise from the eastern African country, Houngbedji said. Benin, according to the spokesperson, has engaged in similar talks with Burkina Faso and Niger. Hougbedji however ruled out any possibility for the presence of Rwandan forces in the North of the country in the framework of the future deal. Benin is reeling against incursion of terror group in the country, mainly in the North. Several attacks, blamed on terror groups, have caused mayhem and casualties in security forces. North Africa Post

Burkina Faso’s Military Leader Sacks Defence Minister amid Jihadist Attacks
Burkina Faso junta chief Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, who took power in a January coup, has sacked his defence minister and assumed the role himself after a series of jihadist attacks, according to decrees published Monday … Damiba headed a group of officers who mounted a coup on January 24, toppling elected leader Roch Marc Christian Kabore, who had failed to stem the jihadist insurgency that first emerged in Mali in 2012. Much of the Sahel region is now battling the insurgency after it spread to Burkina Faso in 2015, then to Niger. In recent years, the violence has also begun to spill over into West African coastal states Ivory Coast and Togo. The mini-shuffle in Burkina Faso is the first since the appointment of a transitional government in March. At that time, Damiba chose to retain Simpore, who had been appointed by Kabore. News Wires

Three UN Peacekeepers Hurt in Mali Blast
Three United Nations peacekeepers were hurt Sunday when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device (IED) in northern Mali, the UN mission said on Twitter. The incident happened on a road between Ber and Timbuktu, MINUSMA said late Sunday, without identifying the nationalities of those hurt or the state of their injuries. MINUSMA — the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali — was launched in 2013 to help the impoverished Sahel country cope with a jihadist insurgency. It is one of the UN’s biggest peacekeeping operations, with more than 17,000 troops, police, civilians and volunteers. It has also suffered the most casualties of any peacekeeping operation. More than 175 of its members have died in hostile acts. AFP

Purge Keeps Fragile Peace in Burundi After Coup Talk
The manner in which Burundian deputies dispatched Alain Guillaume Bunyoni from the premiership on Wednesday was ruthless but not surprising. It was a unanimous 113-0 vote to impeach him and President Evariste Ndayishimiye promptly replaced him with Gervais Ndirakobuca. Power abhors a vacuum. Ndirakobuca, a lieutenant-general, is a former rebel who fled from school after the assassination of the first democratically elected president Melchior Ndadaye in 1993. He joined a rebel group which morphed into Burundi’s ruling party in 2005, the CNDD-FDD party. East African

Uganda Pays First Installment of $325M War Reparations to DRC
Uganda has paid $65m in the first instalment of the $325m it was ordered to pay the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as compensation for losses caused by wars in the 1990s when Ugandan troops occupied Congolese territory. “It’s true we have paid $65m as the first instalment,” finance ministry spokesman Apollo Munghinda said on Monday. The payment was made on September 1, he added. The DRC government’s spokesman, Patrick Muyaya, confirmed to Reuters news agency that the first of the five instalments had been received. In a case first brought against Uganda in 1999, DRC asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to compel Uganda to pay it $11bn as reparations for the deaths, looting and general economic damage caused by Uganda’s military occupation of parts of DRC in the 1990s. Reuters

17 Killed as CODECO Rebels Attack Village in Northeast DR Congo
Seventeen civilians are reported to have been killed by rebels of the Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) during an attack on Mbidjo village, situated in Djugu, Democratic Republic of Congo. According to the president of the civil society of Mbidjo, Jules Uwechi, the CODECO militia invaded the village yesterday, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022 in the morning but the army and military administrator of the concerned zone are yet to confirm or deny the death toll nor the attack. “They opened fire, burnt houses and looted the belongings of inhabitants. I personally just missed being killed”, Mr. Uwechi declared from Bunia, the provincial chief town. “By the time we returned to our homes, we met seventeen corpses, including seven women, eight men and two children,” revealed the civil society president, adding that eleven corpses were buried in a mass grave while the others were taken away by their families. HumAngle

Civilians, the First Victims of the Wagner Group in Africa, According to a Report by Acled
It is a ten-page report that sheds some light on the actions of a group that has no official existence and whose opacity is the trademark. Within a few years, Wagner had become the most famous and controversial private military company. A scarecrow for Westerners and a tool of influence for Russia, for which this entity acts more or less in the shadows. Wagner has deployed his men and placed his pawns in Ukraine, Libya, Syria, Madagascar, Sudan, Mozambique… But it is in two key countries of his presence on the African continent, the Central African Republic and Mali, that the NGO Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (Acled), whose report was published on Tuesday 30 August focused its work on data collection and analysis. Global Echo

Africa’s First Hydrogen Power Plant to Produce Electricity by 2024
French independent power producer HDF Energy expects its green hydrogen power plant in Namibia, Africa’s first, to start producing electricity by 2024, according to a senior company executive. “Yearly we can produce 142 gigawatt hours, enough for 142 000 inhabitants and that is conservative,” Nicolas Lecomte, HDF Energy director for Southern Africa, said on Monday. Once operational, the 3.1 billion Namibian dollars ($181.25m) Swakopmund project will supply clean electricity power, 24 hours a day all year round, boosting electricity supply in the Southern African nation. Currently, Namibia imports more than a third of its power from neighbouring South Africa. Al Jazeera



Photo: Adam Jones