Southern Africa Focus
The opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party is now in the final stages of drafting a pre-election position on reforms which must be implemented before next year’s general election. This comes at a time when the party has pointed out a lot of shortcomings in the electoral process following the recently held by-elections.
CCC says the political environment is uneven and in favour of the ruling Zanu-PF party, further accusing the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) of being reluctant to address issues being raised. Addressing the media Thursday CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said if their demands are not met, this will lead to a disputed 2023 election.
“In the next few days the CCC will launch its electoral reforms blueprint the ‘Pre-Election Pact on Electoral Reforms (PREPARE)’ which outlines seven minimum electoral reforms which will constitute our dialogue pressure points,” she said.
Bulawayo24 4 August 2022
The investment comes at a time when the rest of Zimbabwe’s economy is ailing, with inflation at 257% and the country unable to service more than $13 billion in debt.
A $42-million dam a century in the making could end water shortages for more than half a million Zimbabweans — and win votes for the ruling party in an opposition stronghold that may decide next year’s presidential election.
The expected completion early in 2023 of the Gwayi-Shangani dam 153 miles north west of Bulawayo is part of a strategy by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front to capture votes in the country’s long-neglected second-largest city, according to analysts. Zanu-PF has traditionally struggled to make inroads into urban areas in the province, an area dominated by the minority Ndebele ethnic group.
Moneyweb 4 August 2022
Japan this week contributed an equivalent of R25 million to the World Food Programme’s (WFP) feeding scheme for boys and girls of school-going age in Eswatini, Africa’s last absolute monarchy. The targeted number of school kids to be fed is 24 000, of which 11 571 are girls, WFP said in a statement.
Eswatini, with a population of 1.16 million people, as per 2020 World Bank figures, was one of the hardest-hit economies in southern Africa during the Covid-19 pandemic. As such, the closure of schools during that period meant children who survived on feeding schemes were deprived of their only source of food – that one meal per day at school.
The pandemic also negatively affected women who mostly relied on selling their agricultural produce. Therefore, the funding from Japan will be directed to the Home-Grown School Feeding initiative.
News24 4 August 2022
African National Congress National Executive Committee member Lindiwe Zulu said the country had again pledged its solidarity with the people of Eswatini amid growing calls for democracy. It has been a year since the inland country was rocked by the worst pro-democracy protests in its history.
The protests left scores dead and infrastructure damaged. President Cyril Ramaphosa visited Eswatini in November but talks of a political dialogue with King Mswati were stalled.
Zulu said government had renewed its efforts to strengthen to address the Eswatini crisis.
“The African National Congress must be very firm about ensuring that democracy must be developed, and people must be allowed to freely express themselves in Eswatini and we must go beyond just saying that SADC is going to be engaging. We must engage with those progressive organisations in Eswatini who want to seen change,” she said.
EWN 30 August 2022
Democratic Republic of Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo has asked the spokesman of the United Nations peacekeeping mission, MONUSCO, to leave the country, blaming him for stoking tensions that led to deadly protests last week.
The decision was announced in a statement from the foreign affairs ministry dated July 28 and seen by the Reuters news agency on Wednesday.
Thirty-six people, including four UN peacekeepers, were killed last week as hundreds of protesters vandalised and set fire to the mission’s buildings in several cities in the country’s east. Civilians accuse the mission, which has been active for more than 10 years, of failing to protect them from armed gang violence that has long plagued the region.
The government said that the spokesman, Mathias Gillmann, had made “indelicate and inappropriate” statements which contributed to the tensions between the population and MONUSCO.
Aljazeera 3 August 2022
A United Nations Group of Experts said it has “solid evidence” that Rwandan troops have been fighting alongside the M23 rebel group in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and providing it with weapons and support.
The findings were contained in a confidential report seen by Reuters on Thursday.
Rwanda has previously denied accusations by Congo’s government that it supports the M23 and that it has sent troops into the country. The M23 has denied it receives Rwandan support.
The U.N. group “obtained solid evidence of the presence of, and military operations conducted by, RDF (Rwandan Defence Force) members in Rutshuru territory between November 2021 and July 2022,” the report said.
Reuters 4 August 2022
East Africa and the Horn
Somalia’s prime minister has named former al Shabaab group co-founder and spokesperson Mukhtar Robow as a minister in the country’s new cabinet, a move that could either help strengthen the fight against the insurgency or provoke clan clashes.
Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre said in televised remarks that Robow, who once had a $5 million U.S. bounty on his head before he split from al Shabaab in 2013, would serve as the minister in charge of religion.
The previous government arrested him December 2018 in Somalia’s South West region as he campaigned for the regional presidency. The protests that followed were quashed with deadly force with security forces shooting at least 11 people.
“After much deliberation with the president and the public, I have named cabinet ministers who have education and experience and they will fulfill their duties. I ask the parliament to approve the cabinet,” Barre said before announcing the cabinet appointees.
France24 3 August 2022
The United States has donated 24 armored personnel carriers to the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia, three months after the deadliest attack in years on the U.S.-backed peacekeeping mission. The handover, attended by U.S. Ambassador to Somalia Larry Andrè and senior officials of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia, ATMIS, took place Thursday in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu.
The 24 armored personnel carriers (APCs), donated by the U.S. government will boost the A.U. forces’ capability to fight militant group al-Shabab. The specialized vehicles will be used by the A.U. Djiboutian contingent in joint military operations with the Somali National Army (SNA) in and around Beledweyne — the capital of Somalia’s central region of Hiran.
Ambassador Andrè said the APCs will protect troops against roadside bombs.
“The expression of our support, amongst other ways, is the donation of these vehicles to help protect African Union forces–in this case Djibouti’s military contingent–as they travel the roads of Somalia which too often will be trapped by dangerous explosive devices put there to harm those who only seek to help Somalia,” he said.
Voice of America 4 August 2022
Russian mercenaries of the Wagner Security Group are reportedly packing their bags in readiness to leave the Central African Republic. This information was shared with HumAngle in Bangui by a source who claimed to be privy to the negotiations leading to the agreement by the Russians to leave the country.
“It would appear the Russians are short of robust military detachments to continue prosecuting the war against Ukraine, so they have decided to bring back some of their fighters deployed abroad,” our source revealed.
According to our source, an agreement has been reached for the withdrawal of the Russian mercenaries without the consent of the Central African Republic government of President Faustin Archange Touadera.
HumAngle 3 August 2022
Sudan’s number two military commander, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, also known as “Hemedti”, says the October putsch had “failed”, suggesting that he would intervene if “Sudan is heading for the abyss”.
He said he had failed to bring about change in the country, and that he would do so if “Sudan is heading towards the abyss”.
“And the situation is only getting worse, of course, there are positive points, but there are also negative points,” he continued, citing, in particular, the cessation of international aid – two billion dollars a year – and the demonstrators killed – at least 116 shot dead by the security forces since the putsch, according to pro-democracy doctors.
Africa News 2 August 2022
The death toll from days of tribal clashes in Sudan’s Blue Nile state has climbed to at least 65 people, the province’s health minister said.
The fighting between the Hausa and Birta ethnic groups in the southern province has also injured about 150 others, Gamal Nasser al-Sayed said on Sunday.
He told The Associated Press that most of the dead were young men who were shot or stabbed. Al-Sayed urged authorities in the capital of Khartoum to help airlift 15 seriously injured, as hospitals in the Blue Nile lack advanced equipment and life-saving medicine.
On Saturday, officials had said the death toll was at least 31.
Aljazeera 17 July 2022
South Sudan leaders said Thursday the country’s transitional leadership will stay in power for another 24 months to complete the political, security and electoral reforms needed to move the country forward.
Minister of cabinet affairs Martin Elia Lomuro, who made the announcement, said the decision to extend the mandate will help address the challenges that impede implementation of the 2018 peace deal that ended South Sudan’s civil war.
The 4-1/2 year civil war killed an estimated 400,000 people. Thursday’s move is likely to anger the international community, which has not been happy with the leadership’s inability to end the transitional period, which began in February 2020. The 2018 peace deal calls for security, judicial, constitutional and electoral reforms to stabilize the world’s youngest country.
Experts say the leadership has been slow to fully implement the proposed reforms.
Voice of America 4 August 2022
The United States has provided additional funding for hunger relief in South Sudan, taking its total contribution through the United States Agency for International Development to $223 million.
The US government provided $106 million to the World Food Program from its Ukraine Supplemental Fund for immediate support to 2.4 million severely food insecure women, children, and men in the East African country, according to a statement on the WFP’s website. The assistance will include food and cash transfers.
The aid adds to a contribution from the US government’s Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust, overseen by USAID, that is due to arrive by the end of 2022 and will provide in-kind food assistance to the World Food Program valued at $117 million. That’s enough to feed 1.1 million people and the shipment consists of sorghum, vegetable oil, and nutritious food for infants younger than five and pregnant or nursing mothers.
Bloomberg 4 August 2022
North Africa and the Sahara
The western Mediterranean region has recently witnessed an intensifying set of diplomatic and economic stand-offs between neighbours Morocco, Algeria, and Spain.
In 2021, Algiers completely severed its already fractured relations with Rabat, and then halted gas exports via the Maghreb-Europe pipeline that flows through Morocco.
More recently, Algeria has launched a number of diplomatic protests against Spain and frozen some of its trade relations. It has also suggested that it no longer views Madrid as a reliable political and economic partner.
At the centre of these tensions is the disputed territory of Western Sahara, a 266,000km² country slightly larger than the whole of the United Kingdom. It is located across from Spain’s Canary Islands along Africa’s Atlantic coast, primarily between Mauritania and Morocco.
The Conversation 1 August 2022
Morocco called Tuesday for a return to regional roundtable talks on a peace deal over the Western Sahara, a format rejected by neighbouring Algeria which says it masks the nature of the conflict.
Morocco’s top diplomat Nasser Bourita made the comments in a statement after a meeting United Nations envoy Staffan de Mistura.
Moroccan officials told the UN diplomat that they remained committed to “the political process of roundtables” to reach a “realistic, pragmatic, sustainable and compromise-based” political solution, read the statement.
Such talks were last held in Switzerland in 2019 with top officials from Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and the Polisario movement which seeks independence for Western Sahara. However, they were frozen after UN envoy Horst Kohler quit the post in May that year.
The Arab Weekly 6 July 2022