Africa Media Review for September 26, 2022

G5 Sahel Seeks ‘New Strategy’ After Mali Withdrawal
The defence ministers and chiefs of staff of the G5 Sahel countries held an extraordinary meeting in Niamey on Thursday to consider a “new strategy” for the anti-jihadist force after Mali withdrew in May, AFP learnt Friday. The one-day meeting aimed to “discuss the new configuration” of the joint force after “the withdrawal from Mali” and the “departure of Barkhane” from that country, according to the final communiqué. “This situation requires us to adopt new strategies to fight effectively against armed terrorist groups in the common space,” the text said. The G5 Sahel is a joint military force that until May included Niger, Burkina, Mauritania, Chad and Mali. Largely financed by the European Union, this force represented in the eyes of the Sahel’s international partners a way out in a region plagued by jihadist violence. AfricaNews with AFP

Centre-Left Struggling to Stay in Power in Sao Tome Vote
A fragmented centre-left coalition in the Atlantic archipelago of Sao Tome and Principe faces a strong challenge from the centre-right in a parliamentary election on Sunday. Some 100,000 voters out of a total population of 215,000 have been called to choose members of the national assembly for four years, along with regional and municipal leaders. A former Portuguese colony in the Gulf of Guinea, the island nation is deeply poor and depends on international cooperation and aid for 90 percent of  investments, but it is considered a rare model of parliamentary democracy in Africa. Two major parties have jostled to run the country since independence in 1975: the Movement for the Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe-Social Democratic Party (MLSTP-PSD), which currently has a tiny majority, and the right-wing Independent Democratic Action party (ADI), looking to benefit from divisions in the left. In 2021, the people elected an ADI president, Carlos Vila Nova, whose role is largely honorary while power is wielded by Prime Minister Jorge Lopes Bom Jesus of the MLSTP. AFP

São Tomé and Príncipe Makes Tangible Gains for Women in Politics
The dream of many women came true on 28 July when the National Assembly of São Tomé and Príncipe approved a long debated Political Parity Law that provides for a minimum of 40% of seats in elected bodies reserved for women, as well as in the cabinet positions reserved for women. Currently, women occupy 12% of seats in the National Assembly and 20% in the Cabinet positions but thanks to a strong advocacy campaign by women Parliamentarians, civil society, women lawyers and former women politicians, this will soon change. An alliance across party lines to advance equal rights for women has been successful and is making the country join a few other countries in Africa which are on the vanguard of women’s equality. Sierra Leone Telegraph

Activists Hold Protests in Nairobi, Call for Climate Financing
Activists in Nairobi joined their global counterparts in holding peaceful protests on Saturday to call for climate financing and action against loss and damage caused by climate change. The placard-waving activists who comprised the Youth and members of various NGOs matched along various city streets to call for action. While carrying banners, they chanted ‘Loss and damage Finance Now’ and ‘COP27 The AfricanCOP’ as they matched from Nyayo Stadium to Catholic University of East Africa…According to PACJA, about 100 people died and thousands displaced by floods while close to 3.5 million became victims of extreme weather in year 2021. Star Kenya

Ebola Infections, Deaths Rise in Uganda
The death toll from Ebola in Uganda has risen to 21 as confirmed cases hit 34 as of Monday September 26, data from the Health ministry indicates…He said of the cumulative cases which stand at 34, the 16 are laboratory confirmed while 18 are probable. Similarly, of the 21 deaths, four are confirmed while 17 are probable.  “Cases reported outside Mubende include three in Kyegegwa and one in Kassanda but all linked to the index case in Mubende,” ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Ainebyoona said, adding that there were “no confirmed cases in [the capital] Kampala.” Mubende is in the central region of Uganda and is about a two-hour drive from the capital of Kampala. It sits along a busy road leading to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which has long been plagued by the virus. Daily Monitor

Drone Strikes UN Vehicle in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region
An air strike in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region hits a WFP aid vehicle on Sunday, credible sources from the war-torn region told Sudan Tribune. Today’s drone strike was carried out in an area near Shire city. According to the sources, the air strike seriously wounded a WFP worker who was driving a vehicle carrying humanitarian aid to people in need in the western part of the region. Sudan Tribune

‘Multilateral’? Global South’s Leaders Question Solidarity
“The global economy is now a house on fire, yet we continue to use evacuation methods that rush some nations out to safety while leaving the rest of us behind to fend for ourselves in the burning building,” said Malawi’s president, Lazarus Chakwera. “But if we are truly one U.N. family, then leaving no one behind has to be practiced, not just preached.” Tanzania’s Vice President Philip Isdor Mpango was even more blunt. He said that “unilateralism driven by greed is leading us — rich and poor, strong and weak — to a catastrophe.” When the United Nations was established in 1945, world leaders hoped it would make sure that something like World War II never happened again. Over the years its mandate has tackled everything from nuclear proliferation to protecting refugees. But that high-minded notion of multilateralism has never wavered — even if the reality sometimes has. AP

Chad Pleads with UN for Permanent African Seats on Security Council
Chad is asking for Africa to be allowed to join the United Nations Security Council as a permanent member. Speaking to the UN on Friday Chad’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Awatif El Tidjani Ahmed Koiboro, said it would “correct an historic injustice” and help countries in the G5 Sahel. She said: “On the reform of the Security Council, the body responsible for peace and international security, Chad once again urges member states to move from rhetoric to action in order to achieve the said reform and correct the historic injustice towards the African continent, which excludes it from full and equal participation in this body.” Nigeria has already demanded two permanent seats be allocated on the UN Security Council to Africa. But Chad is especially concerned about Mali’s recent withdrawal from the G5 Sahel. AfricaNews with AFP

Mali Prime Minister Lashes Out at France, UN, Regional Bloc
While it was Goita and his allies who overthrew a democratically elected president by military force two years ago, Mali’s prime minister repeatedly referred to a “French junta” throughout his speech Saturday…France intervened militarily in 2013, leading an effort to oust Islamic extremists from control of the northern Malian towns they had overtaken. Over the past nine years, France had continued its presence in a bid to stabilize the country amid repeated attacks by insurgents. The French departure has raised new concerns about whether those militants will again regain territory with security responsibilities now falling to the Malian military and U.N. peacekeepers…In a more than 30-minute speech, he referenced everything from Victor Hugo to the Rwandan genocide. Maiga repeated unfounded claims that France colluded with Islamic extremists and spoke of nefarious elements with “hidden agendas.” AP

Nigeria’s FX Crisis Deepens as Gap Between Naira’s Official, Black Market Rates Widest in Six Years
The gap between the official and parallel market exchange rates of the naira widened the most in six years last week, as demand for foreign currency continued to outstrip supply. Naira gained marginally against the United States dollars at the official market on Friday, appreciating 0.04 per cent to N436.33, according to FMDQ figures. But the currency fell to N715 against the greenback at the parallel market, leaving the gap between the two markets at 64 per cent, the widest since 2016, according to Bloomberg data. The spread between the two rates reached 84 per cent in June 2016 following a dollar scarcity crisis triggered by the drop in the prices of crude oil in the international oil market. Naira has remained under continued pressure as many Nigerians scramble for dollars to pay tuition fees, medical and import bills. The Central Bank of Nigeria’s failure to meet the demands in the official market, has forced many to turn to the black market, causing price hikes. Premium Times Nigeria

Cameroonian Soldiers Arrested over Shooting of Civilians in Troubled Northwest
Three soldiers serving with the Cameroon army, deployed in the restive Northwest region, have been arrested for killing two women in the village of Nylbat-Andek, in Momo Division. The women shot dead by the three unidentified soldiers from the Koutaba Airport Unit on Monday September 19, 2022, were identified as Abazie Suzanne, 49, and Etoh Basheba Akutah, 47. A statement issued Wednesday September 21, signed by the Head of the Communication Division of the Cameroon army, Atonfack Guemo Cyrille Serge, said the three soldiers have been disarmed, demobilised and moved out of the area where the incident took place and have been detained at the Mbengwi gendarmerie. HumAngle

Senegal: Deadlier than the Titanic: A Ferry Set Out with About 1,900 Aboard. Only 64 Survived.
More people died on the Joola on Sept. 26, 2002, than on the Titanic, making it the second deadliest maritime wreck ever recorded in peacetime. Only 64 people survived out of more than 1,900 — on a ferry designed to carry a maximum of 580. None of the 46 babies and toddlers on board survived. Yet after two decades, no one has been held accountable. Outside of Senegal, little is known about the Joola, and even in Senegal, many blame the bad weather or some uncontrollable force. Ousseynou Djiba, a mango seller who had been transporting his goods to market and cheered on the singing soccer team that day, is buying none of that. “Some claim that it was God’s will,” Mr. Djiba, now a schoolteacher, said in the courtyard of his modest concrete home as his young children played soccer nearby. “How can it be God’s will when there were so many human-made errors?” Survivors and families of victims, as well as multiple investigations, say that those responsible are the Senegalese military, which operated the ferry; government officials, who ignored countless warning signs; and the country’s top leaders, whose slow reaction meant that the first rescuers did not reach the Joola, stranded less than 90 nautical miles from Dakar, until 17 hours after it capsized. Many passengers were still alive, but rescuers lacked the equipment to save them. New York Times

Kenya: G.O.A.T. Eliud Kipchoge Breaks World Record in Berlin, Again
Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge has recaptured the Berlin Marathon title, smashing his own world record by 30 seconds on Sunday in the German capital. It was yet again poetry in motion as 37-year-old Kipchoge clocked two hours, one minute and nine seconds to win, beating his previous world record time of 2:01:39 set when winning in Berlin in 2018…”I’m so happy to break the world record in Berlin. I planned to go out fast in the first half,” said Kipchoge after posting his fourth win in Berlin after 2015 (2:04:00), 2017 (2:03:32) and 2018 (2:01:39). “I still feel young, thinking wise and body still absorbing training. Nation



Photo: Adam Jones