Africa Media Review for September 15, 2022

Angola’s President Lourenco to Be Sworn In After Disputed Win
Angolan President Joao Lourenco is to be sworn in for a second term on Thursday amid tight security after a disputed electoral win last month. The inauguration will be held on the historic palm tree-lined Praca da Republica square in the centre of the capital, Luanda. Large numbers of police and military forces patrolled the streets ahead of the ceremony, AFP correspondents saw — a presence the main opposition party said aimed at stifling dissent. “This setup aims to intimidate citizens who want to demonstrate against the election results on the day of the inauguration of a president without legitimacy,” the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) said in a statement. AFP

Scuffles, Bottles Fly as Senegal’s MPs Argue over Parliament Leadership
Senegal’s security forces were called on Monday to secure a voting process in parliament and hold back rowdy opposition members of parliament (MP) who tried to disrupt the election of a new president of the national assembly. The assembly was convening for the first time since a July election in which President Macky Sall’s ruling coalition lost its comfortable majority, securing just two seats more than two allied opposition coalitions. The new parliamentary session convened at 1000 GMT on Monday with the first order of business to elect the house’s new leader. However, parties failed to reach an agreement on electoral procedure. Reuters

‘Angry’ Gabon President Dissolves Public Works Ministry
Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba has dissolved the Ministry of Public Works, Equipment and Infrastructure citing incompetence, Prime Minister Rose Christiane Ossouka Raponda said, reading a presidential decree. The decision, the PM said, follows “many complaints” from citizens over the deterioration of urban roads. “The President of the Republic Ali Bongo Ondimba expresses his anger at the slowness, constantly observed and denounced by him, in the rehabilitation of the national road network,” Ms Raponda said, making the declaration in a recorded video released to the media. The President ordered the creation of a department under the Prime Minister’s office that would take over the operations and staff of the dissolved ministry. East African

As Monkeypox Drops in the West, Still No Vaccines for Africa
With monkeypox cases subsiding in Europe and parts of North America, many scientists say now is the time to prioritize stopping the virus in Africa. In July, the U.N. health agency designated monkeypox as a global emergency and appealed to the world to support African countries so that the catastrophic vaccine inequity that plagued the outbreak of COVID-19 wouldn’t be repeated. But the global spike of attention has had little impact on the continent. No rich countries have shared vaccines or treatments with Africa, and some experts fear interest may soon evaporate. “Nothing has changed for us here, the focus is all on monkeypox in the West,” said Placide Mbala, a virologist who directs the global health research department at Congo’s Institute of Biomedical Research. AP

South Sudan’s Kiir, Kenya’s Ruto Hold Bilateral Talks in Nairobi
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and Kenya’s newly-elected leader, William Ruto on Wednesday discussed a bilateral agreement in the areas of cooperation between the two countries. The meeting of the two leaders took place at State House in Nairobi, Kenya. President Kiir, his office said in a statement, highlighted the importance of Kenya’s relations and their stand towards the implementation of South Sudan’s peace deal. The South Sudanese leader was among the 20 African heads of states invited to attend Ruto’s inauguration ceremony held at the Kasarani stadium on Tuesday. Ruto, in a statement, said they discussed ways to strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries and boost intra-African trade within the region as well as other continents. Sudan Tribune

Ethiopia’s Economy Struggles as War Reignites in Tigray
Once home to one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies, Ethiopia is struggling as the war in its Tigray region has reignited and weary citizens far from the front are pleading for peace. Ethiopians are experiencing the highest inflation in a decade, foreign exchange restrictions and mounting debt amid reports of massive government spending on the war effort. Parliament early this year reportedly approved an additional $1.7 billion budget for defense…Ethiopian officials continue to paint a rosy picture for the country of well over 110 million people. “Our economy has continued to grow amid natural and man-made problems,” the planning and development minister, Fitsum Assefa, said earlier this month. AP

Civil Society Groups Condemn Violation of Women Rights in Sudan
Sudanese civil society organizations have called on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to condemn the violations of women’s human rights in the country after a woman has been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery. After the coup of October 2021, the human rights situation deteriorated, alongside the bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators. In a letter to the OHCHR on Wednesday, some 53 Sudanese groups, including the Sudanese Women’s Union and the Strategic Initiative for the Women of the Horn of Africa, called to prioritize the “miserable situation” of women’s human rights. Sudan Tribune

UNHRC: Washington Decries Human Rights Violations in Algeria
Addressing the ongoing 51st Session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the U.S. Delegate denounced the growing restrictions imposed on freedom of expression, assembly and association. The Algerian regime uses new penal code to prosecute and crackdown on activists, protesters and journalists in a bid to muzzle them. The new American rebuke of the Algerian regime confirms the multiple alarming reports issued by regional and international organizations on the growing repression of Hirak activists in this country. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and several UN experts had exposed the rights abuses committed by Algerian authorities and their ill-treatment, intimidations and arbitrary detention of political opponents and vocal critics including, journalists, human rights & and civil society activists. North Africa Post

In Morocco, an Internet User Sentenced on Appeal to Two Years in Prison for “Attacking Islam”
Moroccan justice confirmed on appeal, Tuesday, September 13, a heavy prison sentence for an Internet user accused of “undermining the Muslim religion” after having published on Facebook writings deemed offensive, we learned from the defense…In detention since mid-July, Fatima Karim, 39, was prosecuted for having commented in a satirical tone in Arabic, on her Facebook page, on verses from the Koran and hadiths of the Prophet Muhammad, considered sacred in Muslim tradition…Fatima Karim asserted her right to freedom of expression, guaranteed by the Moroccan Constitution. She also publicly apologized to “anyone who felt offended” through its publications, ensuring that it never intended to undermine Islam, the state religion in Morocco. Globe Echo

Nigeria: 2023: Poll Shows Peter Obi Leads Tinubu, Atiku, Kwankwaso
If Nigeria’s presidential election was held today, Peter Obi of the Labour Party would win, according to an opinion poll conducted by NOI Polls. The poll, commissioned by ANAP Foundation was conducted this month and suggests a three-horse presidential race between Mr Obi, Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) came fourth in the poll and was described as a ‘dark horse’. “The results showed a significant lead for Mr Peter Obi with 21% of voters proposing to vote for him if the presidential election were to be conducted today; and 13% each proposing to vote for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who are both tied in second place. Dr Rabiu Kwankwaso was a distant fourth with 3% of voters proposing to vote for him,” a statement by ANAP foundation announcing the result of the poll shows. Premium Times Nigeria

How Oil-Rich Nigeria Failed to Profit from an Oil Boom
Price controls are the biggest reason the boom is ruining the public purse. Elsewhere, as the price of crude rises, drivers pay more at the pump. Not in Nigeria. Petrol is about 175 naira ($0.42) a litre, among the world’s cheapest, yet the government has not raised the official price since December 2020. In January President Muhammadu Buhari reneged on his latest promise to reform the system, leaving the government to pay for the vast gap between Nigeria’s low fixed price and the global one. The state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (nnpc) covers the fuel subsidy from its profits and sends what is left to the government. But in the first half of this year it sent nothing at all. Economist

Namibia Genocide: Opposition Demands New Deal with Germany
The president of the country’s largest opposition party, Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), has written an open letter to German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, a member of the Greens, which DW has obtained. In it, he called for the agreement to be “renegotiated” and “restructured.”…He demanded an admission of guilt by the German government. In the eyes of the OTA, the biggest stumbling block lies within the wording of the Joint Declaration, which calls the atrocities committed between 1904-1908 a genocide “from today’s perspective.” Opposition leader McHenry Venaani also wants a clear, legal recognition of the genocide. In his open letter to Baerbock, he wrote that the atrocities “cannot only be recognised in a moral and political sense.”  In his interview with DW, he referenced reparations again, describing the aid deal — worth €1.1 billion ($1.34 billion) to be paid out over 30 years under the Joint Declaration — as an insult. “It’s not about extracting the largest possible sum. We are only asking for a package that will sustainably improve the socio-economic conditions of the affected communities,” Venaani said. DW

My Somalia: One Woman’s Mission to Showcase Her Motherland’s Hidden Beauty
Armed with words, a smartphone and a love for her motherland, Hassan’s blogging is providing the world with a different lens through which to view Somalia. For the 26-year-old economist, narratives are important and she hopes that through her writing, the world will share the beauty that so pervades much of her country; a beauty that often goes unrecognised due to the media’s preoccupation with  the on-going insurgency. “There is a niche in blogging, and I hope other youths are inspired to embrace it. For me, I write about both personal and societal issues, but one of the things I also try to do through my blogging is changing the negative narratives surrounding Somalia. It is high time we express the positive sides of our country and ourselves,” Hassan told the United Nations Assistance Mission In Somalia (UNSOM). Bird Agency



Photo: Adam Jones