Africa Media Review for September 28, 2022

Zambia and Its New President Are Still on Their Honeymoon
Just over a year ago, Zambia had defaulted on its debts. Inflation was skyrocketing. The currency was spiraling. And ahead of the 2021 election, roaming groups from the governing party took to the streets, beating up people who had made the mistake of wearing red — the color of the opposition. Then came Hakainde Hichilema. The millionaire cattle rancher with a deep voice and a fatherly manner won the presidential election in a landslide in August last year, after five attempts during 15 years in the opposition. His rival, President Edgar Lungu, conceded, and Zambians breathed a collective sigh of relief. They believed they had been rescued. A year later, H.H., as the new president is known in the southern African nation, is still in the honeymoon phase with his enchanted population. He is seen as a miracle worker, even though some are uneasy about a number of arrests and the government’s economic policies. New York Times

Tunisia’s Perfect Economic Storm
Tunisia’s economic situation has gone from bad to worse over the past year, as the country grapples with an ongoing COVID-19 crisis, soaring energy prices, inflation, and the impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine. For vendors in Tunis’s Central Market, that means business is down…The crisis had a political dimension as well, as President Kais Saied sought support for a new constitution in a national referendum this summer. Many analysts viewed the constitution as a shift away from democracy and the referendum as a power grab. It passed in a landslide, though voter turnout was relatively low. The country is currently negotiating a new aid agreement with the International Monetary Fund, and a deal is expected by the end of October. Foreign Policy

Sudan’s Hidden Power Struggle Between Burhan, Hemedti over Civil Service
The power struggle between the two military top leaders in Sudan is no longer limited to the military sphere but reached the civil service. The reinstatement of the Sudanese Islamists in the civil service after the coup has raised concerns not only among the pro-democracy forces but also of the commander of the Rapid Support Forces. The relationship between the Chairman of the Tranaitional Sovereign Council (TSC) in Sudan General Abdel-Fatah al-Burhan and Commander of Rapid Support Forces (RSF) Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (Hemetti) has long been a subject of speculation and intrigue. This was particularly true in wake of the October 25th coup in which Burhan decided to dissolve the civilian government led by Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok and end the governing coalition between the military and the Forces of Freedom & Change (FFC) established pursuant to the 2019 constitutional declaration. Sudan Tribune

Democratic Republic of Congo Declares End of Latest Ebola Outbreak in East
Democratic Republic of Congo has declared the end of its latest Ebola virus outbreak in the eastern province of North Kivu, Health Minister Jean-Jacques Mbungani Mbanda said in a statement on Tuesday. The fifteenth outbreak in the central African country emerged when a new case of the deadly virus was confirmed in the eastern city of Beni on 22 August. Testing showed the case was genetically linked to the 2018-2020 outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, which killed nearly 2 300 people. Another flare-up from that outbreak killed six people last year. Reuters

DRC Prepares Ground for EAC Troops as Kenya Set to Enter
The Democratic Republic of Congo says it is ready to welcome regional troops to start a planned operation against rebels who have caused civilians untold suffering. The first contingent to arrive under this arrangement will be the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), who have since last week been deploying their logistical support systems. DRC President Félix Tshisekedi says Kenyan soldiers will “soon”  arrive in the DRC as part of the East African Community regional force that will help DR Congo fight insecurity in North and South Kivu, and Ituri provinces. East African

South Sudan Violence Proliferating, Warn Independent Rights Experts
Women and girls continue to be gang-raped and survivors have been described as “zombies, physically and emotionally dead”, according to the UN Commission on Human Rights in the world’s youngest nation. In an alert, Commission chairperson, Yasmin Sooka, said that it was critical for the international community to monitor the country’s peace agreement, along with other reforms – including of the armed forces and the constitution. Transitional justice bodies are also urgently needed, as per an agreement made four years ago by the country’s Government, the Commission noted. “Without these steps, we are likely to see millions more South Sudanese displaced or crossing borders, creating havoc for neighbouring countries and aid agencies,” Ms. Sooka said. According to South Sudan’s 2018 peace agreement, elections have been postponed until late 2024. UN News

200,000 at Risk of Starvation as Drought Ravages Somalia: UN
Somalia is facing a “very alarming” situation after more than four years of drought have devastated livestock many people depend upon, a top UN official said on Tuesday. The United Nations has warned that the Horn of Africa nation is on the brink of famine for the second time in just over a decade, with 200,000 people in danger of starvation…Many were likely already starving to death in Somalia, the WHO has said, warning that humanitarian workers could not keep up with the surging needs. The FAO official, an Ethiopian and former Africa Union agriculture director, also said efforts had been made to provide aid to farmers in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, where rebels are again fighting against government forces. AFP

Niger Suspends Oil Product Deliveries to Mali, Except for U.N.
Niger has temporarily stopped issuing authorisations for oil product deliveries to neighboring Mali unless they are destined to the United Nations peacekeeping mission there, the government said. In a statement dated Sept. 21 and seen by Reuters on Tuesday, Niger said it would also revoke authorisations that had already been issued, but did not specify any reasons for the suspension. The move echoes tensions between the two West African countries that have escalated since military officers seized power in Mali in August 2020 and started collaborating with Russian mercenaries to fight Islamist militants. Reuters

UN Urges Mali to Free Detained Ivorian Troops
The United Nations on Monday urged Mali to free 46 detained Ivorian soldiers, after the junta in Bamako attacked UN chief Antonio Guterres over his comments on the two-month standoff. The UN secretariat in a statement voiced “grave concern” and said it “calls for the urgent release of the detained Ivorian soldiers.” “It strongly supports all efforts to facilitate this release as well as the restoration of confidence and promotion of good neighborliness between the two countries,” it said. Ivory Coast said that the soldiers were detained on July 10 at the Bamako airport as they flew in to provide backup to the UN peacekeeping force MINUSMA, one of the international body’s largest and most dangerous missions. Defense Post

Attack on Burkina Faso Convoy Kills 11 Soldiers
Burkina Faso’s government says 11 soldiers were found dead and around 50 civilians are missing following a suspected jihadist attack on a convoy. Twenty-eight other people, including 20 soldiers, were wounded in the Monday attack and a search for the missing people is ongoing. The vehicles, which were escorted by a military patrol, had been taking supplies to residents in the north of the country. The ambush followed an attack on another army-supported convoy on Sunday that wounded four people. Burkina Faso’s military government took power in a coup last January, promising to end an Islamist insurgency which has killed thousands of people and displaced two million more since 2015. Star Kenya

Guinean Ex-Junta Leader Camara Detained on Eve of 2009 Massacre Trial
Former Guinean dictator Moussa Dadis Camara and several co-defendants were detained Tuesday, a day before their trial opens for the 2009 stadium massacre, their lawyers said. Camara, alongside several of his associates including Colonel Moussa Tiégboro Camara and Claude Coplan Pivi, were indicted for their roles in the 2009 Conakry Stadium massacre and are set to appear in court for trial on rights violations. The Public Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement that the suspects were detained in line with the law that requires that an accused person spends at least a day in detention prior to commencement of their trial. East African

EXPLAINER | US-Zimbabwe Relations and Targeted Sanctions
African leaders have called for the removal of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by a law the United States Congress passed in 2001, during late Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe’s regime. At the recent United Nations General Assembly (UNGA77) in New York, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and African Union chairperson Macky Sall, who is also the president of Senegal, spoke about the need to remove the restrictions imposed by the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 (Zedera)…However, the sanctions in Zimbabwe have divided opinion…the opposition, which is accused of calling for sanctions on the country, feels the ruling party is using the sanctions as an excuse for its political failures and for political mileage. News24

African Countries Urged to Speak Out Against Worker Abuse Ahead of Qatar World Cup
With just about two months before the 2022 FIFA World Cup begins in Qatar, calls have mounted for African countries to seek justice for their citizens who have worked in Qatar’s construction and tourism sectors under abusive working conditions. The tournament which brings together some of the world’s best football talent takes place between 20 November and 18 December, while thousands of African and Asian workers in Qatar allege that they have experienced abusive practices in Qatar’s construction and tourism sectors linked to the World Cup. News24



Photo: Adam Jones