Africa Media Review for September 2, 2022

Central African Republic Traders Stage Protest Against Military Abuses
Batangafo town in the Central African Republic town of Batangafo ground to a halt as traders Tuesday, August 30, 2022, began a three-day sit-in strike in protest against abuses by elements of the Central African Republic army, FACA. A trade union leader who opted for anonymity confirmed the execution to HumAngle. “Because Russian mercenaries trained them, they are now behaving exactly like the Russians,” he said, adding that “the FACA soldiers have become custom officers, tax agents, council agents, forestry and water agents etc.” “Sometimes, they meet a trader on a motorcycle and stop it to conduct customs and gendarme checks. They demand the customs documents of the motorcycle, the insurance etc. If the trader does not furnish what they demand, they fine him to pay sums ranging from 100,000 to 300,000 FCFA (about $600),” another trader revealed, adding that the FACA soldiers have become highway bandits. HumAngle

Kenya: IEBC Used Second Set of Results Forms, Judiciary Report Reveals
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) used a second set of results transmission forms that it resolved with political parties to seal in tamper-proof envelopes prior to the August 9, 2022 presidential election, a Judiciary report has revealed. The Judiciary ordered a recount of votes in 15 polling stations following a request by Azimio la Umoja’s candidates Raila Odinga and Martha Karua. Technical teams from the Judiciary were tasked with compiling reports on the recount, and a scrutiny of the IEBC’s servers…In its report, the Judiciary team says it found nine polling stations where the second set of results forms was used, some of which had discrepancies in their tallying. The 15 polling stations are in Nandi, Kericho, Mombasa, and Nyandarua. Some tallying discrepancies were noted after the vote recount. For instance, in Kericho’s Chepkutung polling station, two of three, one vote had been taken from Raila Odinga’s tally and attributed to William Ruto. The report states that another six polling stations failed to provide their sets of forms 34A book two. East African

Angolan Opposition Files Legal Challenge, Seeks Annulment of Vote
Angola’s main opposition party has filed a case with the country’s constitutional court to seek the annulment of last month’s election in which the ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) was declared the winner. The August 24 elections were the most hotly contested in the oil-rich country since its first multi-party vote in 1992…The UNITA leader said he expected the constitutional court and the commission to do their jobs by comparing their vote count with the party’s vote tally, which has yet to be fully released. UNITA decided to take the matter to court after its complaints were dismissed by the commission on Tuesday. “We will do everything to ensure that all votes are effectively accounted for and respected,” Costa Junior said. Al Jazeera

Biden and South Africa’s Ramaphosa to Hold Talks at White House on Sept. 16
U.S. President Joe Biden and his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa will hold talks at the White House on Sept. 16 to discuss trade, investment, climate and energy, the White House said on Thursday. “The two Presidents will reaffirm the importance of our enduring partnership, and discuss our work together to address regional and global challenges,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement. Reuters

Africa Is Still Scratching the Surface on Fintech Penetration and Growth
How large is the market for financial services in Africa in dollar terms? It is one of the most asked questions when investors assess an African fintech startup’s potential. In 2020, the figure was around $150 billion fueled by insurance, retail and SME lending, says a report by McKinsey and Company published this week. “This market is likely to grow by 10 percent per year to reach approximately $230 billion by 2025,” the report says. Blockchain, payments and wallets are tipped as the financial services sectors that could grow fastest. Quartz Africa

Gabon Sets Example of How to Preserve the Congo Basin Rainforest
The tree is just one of the thousands of species found in the Congo Basin rainforest, the world’s second-largest one after the Amazon. Despite the critical role it plays in absorbing carbon from the atmosphere, the rainforest has long been under serious threat from logging and other illegal activities. Many of the countries that form part of the rainforest like Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo struggle with conservation due to a lack of funds or rebel groups. Gabon, on the other hand, claims it has preserved its natural environment with satellite imagery and environment-first policies – and some industry insiders agree. “Between 2010 and 2020, Gabon only lost approximately 12,000 hectares (29,652 acres) of forest which is less than 0.1 percent per year,” said George Akwah Neba, the coordinator of the Congo Basin Programme at the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). “We’ve seen a huge regeneration of degraded forests since the early 2000s with several courageous decisions that set Gabon apart as a leader in environmental and forest management policies.” Al Jazeera

Cry Me a River: How Gold Polluted Nigeria’s Sacred Osun River
“In Osun, the contamination is through water which flows through communities with over two million people,” Anthony Adejuwon, head of Osogbo-based civic advocacy group Urban Alert, which had run tests on the Osun river, told Al Jazeera. “If Bagega could record [hundreds of] deaths with a population of 7,000, imagine the number of children that will die in the next five years with a population of two million people. In our projection, the casualty figure between now and 2027 is around 100,000. In Bagega, it was just lead poisoning. Here, we have mercury, cyanide and lead.” In 2011, an estimated 400 children died from lead poisoning in Bagega community in Zamfara state and thousands more were found to have excess levels of lead in their blood. Al Jazeera

Two Years On, Nigeria Still Preparing for AfCFTA
Almost two years after the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA), which came into force on January 1, 2021, Nigeria continues to lag behind in making the trade agreement operational owing to structural challenges, lack of consensus on trade protocols and strategy among stakeholders. Though the country continues to express readiness to commence trading, the political will to implement the deal remains in doubt going by the pace and protectionist stance of Nigeria and other African governments. Already, seven countries, including Rwanda, Cameroun, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius and Tanzania have been selected among countries to start trading under the AfCFTA framework in a pilot phase. The move seeks to test the environmental, legal and trade policy basis for intra-African trade, according to the AfCFTA secretariat. The countries were selected from the 36 that had expressed interest in trading under the pilot phase. Each of the applicants had submitted its tariff schedule. Guardian Nigeria

Former Senegalese Minister Could Be the New UN Special Envoy to Libya
Libya could have a new special envoy by the end of this Friday, according to a letter seen by Reuters news agency. UN Secretary-General António Guterres plans to appoint a former Senegalese minister to lead efforts towards peace in Libya. If the 15-member UN Security Council approves the appointment by consensus, Abdoulaye Bathily could take up the position immediately. Pending the Council’s approval, Bathily would replace Jan Kubis who stepped down last December. AfricaNews

Sudan Doctors Committee Protests the ‘Burying of Unidentified Bodies’
The Central Committee of Sudan Doctors has denounced the decision of the Sudanese Senior Public Prosecutor to bury unidentified bodies in mortuaries without recording forensic details. “We saw in the media that the Attorney General of the Republic of Sudan directed the burial of unidentified bodies piled up in mortuaries, which constitutes a dangerous deviation from the protocols and laws relevant to the matter,” the CCSD said in a press statement yesterday. “Considering the human rights violations of the coup authorities and in particular the judiciary’s interaction with the victims of the revolution and its martyrs, we read this as an attempt to bury irrefutable evidence of the systematic killing by the country’s armed forces and a destruction of justice,” the statement reads. “The revolution, since the start in December 2018, has continuously witnessed attempts to obscure justice, and protect the perpetrators of violence and extrajudicial killings.” The Doctors Committee demands that “In order to preserve the rights of the unidentified dead to dignity and justice, a number of measures and procedures must be taken.” Dabanga

DR Congo Appeals to AU to Support UN Examination of Rwandan ‘Aggression’
The Democratic Republic of Congo government is appealing to the African Union’s Peace and Security Council to support its demand for the President of the United Nations Security Council to examine the report by United Nations experts on Rwandan aggression against DR Congo. DR Congo wants the UN Security Council to “draw all the necessary lessons and sanction Rwanda and the leaders of M23, some of whom have been under UN sanctions since 2013”. Congolese Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Christophe Lutundula, requested Wednesday, August 31, 2022, during a virtual meeting of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union. The report by UN experts “throws light not only on the extent of prejudice suffered by the Congolese populations in the zones invaded by the enemy but also on the responsibilities of Rwanda in this crisis by confirming, with proof, the aggression against DR Congo by Rwanda due to the attacks carried out directly by its armed forces against the DR Congo armed forces, FARDC, on Congolese territory and the support with war materials and troops given to M23.” HumAngle

Uganda and Rwanda Resume Talks to Revive Bilateral Ties
Rwanda and Uganda have officially resumed diplomatic talks, a significant step towards reviving relations between the two countries that were at loggerheads for almost three years till the beginning of this year. A delegation of Ugandan officials led by the Foreign Affairs Minister Odongo Jeje Abubakhar held talks with their Rwandan counterparts on Thursday in Kigali. The team, which included Foreign PS Bagiire Vincent Waiswa and acting Director of Regional and International Political Affairs Arthur Kafeero, had arrived in Rwanda a day earlier. East African

Proliferation of Weapons, Climate Change Fueling Conflict in South Sudan, Says U.N Official
Proliferation of weapons, lack of economic livelihoods, and climate change are factors fueling conflict in South Sudan, a United Nations official said. Nicholas Haysom, the head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) was addressing the South Sudan National Livestock Conference held in Juba on Thursday. Vice President James Wani Igga, ministers and several lawmakers graced the conference. Haysom said unregulated cattle migration, among a host of other factors, were key drivers to communal conflict as well as violence in the East African country. In the second quarter of 2022, UNMISS’s Human Rights Division reportedly said community-based militias and self-defense groups, whose main objective is to protect herds of cattle from external attack, were in fact responsible for 60% of civilian deaths. Sudan Tribune



Photo: Adam Jones