News Briefs 13 November 2021:

Southern Africa:

Zimbabwe seeks to increase mining revenue

Mining accounts for 12% of Zimbabwe’s Gross Domestic Product.

Among the wide range of minerals, gold stands out. Large miners produce up to one ton of gold per month, with smaller producers churning out 1.9 tons.

To accelerate the recovery of the sector after the pandemic, authorities are seeking $8 billion to reopen closed mines.

Wellington Takavarasha, the CEO of Zimbabwe Mining Federation joins the program from Harare to talk more about the southern African country’s mining sector.

Africa News 11 November 2021

Zimbabweans take South Africa to court over permanent residence

These Zimbabweans have lived in the country for over 10 years. Simba Chitando who is one of the Lawyers representing the group say the delay is now threatening not only jobs but livelihoods.

“There is a wide connection between the two nations-as families and individuals of Zimbabweans.

This matter puts strain on families. The ZEP is limited to the holder. You have a situation where a South African spouse is affected by the fact that their husband or wife is on the ZEP and that puts a stain on their relationship.”

One of the applicants in court case says the South African Department of Home Affairs dragging its feet on the matter opens a gap for the exploitation of Zimbabweans.

Africa News 11 November 2021


Eswatini Activists Set Conditions for Talks Towards Democracy

Eswatini activists have laid out their conditions for talks with government leaders about moving the absolute monarchy closer to being a democracy.

Efforts are being made to hold talks after violent protests rocked the country in recent weeks.

Church leaders say the people want to be heard as equals in talks with the government and King Mswati III.

Reverend Gabriel Tsuaneng from the Botswana Council of Churches explained, “this dialogue they are asking for should not be the isibaya dialogue, which is the annual national dialogue in Eswatini, but they want a different kind of leadership where they engage with their leadership the king in particular and this dialogue must be presided over by the international community.”

EWN 12 November 2021

Democratic Republic of Congo

SADC and UN discuss implementation of Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for DRC and the Great Lakes Region

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) wants Member States in the Great Lakes region to work as a collective unit in consolidating activities and mechanisms geared towards promotion of peace, security and cooperation, SADC Executive Secretary, His Excellency Mr. Elias Mpedi Magosi, has said.

H.E. Mr Magosi was speaking during a virtual courtesy call by the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region, His Excellency, Mr. Huang Xia, on 8th November 2021.

The objective of the meeting was to discuss, among other issues, the developments in the Great Lakes region regarding the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Great Lakes Region (GLR), as well as the forthcoming Summit of the Regional Oversight Mechanism (ROM) of the PSC Framework.

H.E Magosi ensured SADC’s continued commitment, particularly the SADC Secretariat in working with the Great Lakes region in processes to consolidate peace, stability and support to peacebuilding and regional cooperation in the Great Lakes region.

Relief Web 12 November 2021

Fighting in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo forces 11,000 to flee to Uganda

An upsurge of fighting in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo has forced at least 11,000 people to flee across the border into Uganda since Sunday night, according to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. This represents the largest refugee influx in a single day in the country for more than a year. The fighting between militia groups and Congo’s armed forces is taking place in North Kivu’s Rutshuru Territory and the vast majority of those who crossed the border are women and children.? 

Some 8,000 asylum-seekers crossed at Bunagana town and another 3,000 at Kibaya border point in Kisoro district. Both are some 500 km southwest of Uganda’s capital Kampala. The new arrivals told UNHCR staff that fighting was going on in the villages of Binja, Kinyarugwe and Chanzu. Many people came with cooking utensils, sleeping mats, clothing and livestock, gathered hurriedly as they fled. Some appear to be returning to remote areas in the border vicinity. ? 

UNHCR and Uganda’s Office of the Prime Minister, which manages several transit facilities for asylum-seekers along the Congolese border, are responding to the emergency in coordination with district and local authorities. UNHCR has already relocated?about?500?asylum seekers to?the nearby?Nyakabande transit centre, which can accommodate up to?1,500 people.? 

UNHCR 09 November 2021

East Africa and the Horn


Somalia and African Union Discuss Future of AMISOM

A 15-member team of the African Union Peace and Security Council met with senior Somali officials in Mogadishu on Tuesday and discussed the future of AMISOM peacekeeping operations. Tensions are running high after the Somali government expelled an AU deputy special envoy last week.

The federal government of Somalia and the African Union peacekeeping mission, AMISOM, have been at loggerheads over a proposed reconfiguration of the 14-year-old peacekeeping force.

Under the proposal, more countries would send troops into Somalia to join the 20,000 already contributed by six AU members.

The Somali government is against bringing more foreign troops into the country.

Meeting with the visiting AU delegation in Mogadishu on Tuesday, Somali Foreign Affairs Minister Mohamed Abdulrazack said the government rejects the so-called hybrid option.

Voice of America 10 November 2021

Iranian-supplied arms smuggled from Yemen into Somalia, study says

Guns supplied by Iran to its Houthi allies in Yemen are being smuggled across the Gulf of Aden to Somalia, according to a Geneva-based think tank, where al Qaeda-linked al Shabab insurgents are battling a weak and divided government.

The Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime said its study drew on data from more than 400 weapons documented in 13 locations across Somalia over eight months and inventories from 13 dhows intercepted by naval vessels.

It is the first publicly available research into the scale of illicit arms smuggling from Yemen into the Horn of Africa country.

“Weapons originating in the Iran–Yemen arms trade are being trafficked onward into Somalia itself,” said the study, which is due to be published on Wednesday.

Defence Web 11 November 2021

Central African Republic

Protests against the UN escalate in the Central African Republic

The mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSCA in the Central African Republic ends on 15 November so it is appropriate to evaluate its performance. The efficiency of UN peacekeeping in the region has been a topic for debate for some time, as the shadow of its perceived failure in Rwanda hangs over UN peacebuilding. It is worth recalling that, back in 1993, an armed force of approximately 2,500 peacekeepers was deployed to Rwanda to support the Arusha Agreement, designed to end the civil war between Rwanda’s Hutu government and the Tutsi liberation movement, the “Rwandan Patriotic Front.”

However, instead of overseeing national reconciliation, UN soldiers bore witness to genocide, due to the mission’s reluctance to actively participate on the ground, effectively paralysing the bureaucracy of UN structures.

Experts on more recent peacebuilding processes in Africa warn that the current case of the Central African Republic (CAR), a country that has experienced an armed attack against the state and civilians, could have ended up as a repeat of the tragic Rwandan genocide, when about 1 million innocent people were slaughtered in just 100 days.

But for Russian and Rwandan support in the crisis that unravelled in the CAR in its pre-and post-electoral period of 2020-2021, the country’s civilian population could have experienced a much worse scenario.

New Europe 12 November 2021

Central African Republic Rebel Group Accused of Deadly Village Attack

A rebel group attacked a village in northwest Central African Republic, killing at least two government troops and a civilian, opposition groups said on Tuesday.

The alleged attack tests a truce declared last month by President Faustin Archange Touadera that he said aimed at fostering a national dialogue.

A 12-party opposition alliance called COD-2020 said the 3R armed group last Thursday attacked the village of Letele in Bocaranga district, about 500 kilometres (300 miles) from the capital Bangui.

“COD-2020 condemns this violent action by the 3R… (and) urges the president to take the appropriate practical measures so that the ceasefire is respected by both sides,” it said in a statement.

The government did not immediately reply to an AFP request for comment.

EWN 9 November 2021


Sudan’s Top General Tightens Grip on Power

Sudan’s top military commander appeared to tighten his grip on power Thursday, as he appointed a new governing council that he will lead, two weeks after the military overthrew the civilian-led government.

The move by General Abdel-Fattah Burhan contradicts repeated promises from the military that they will hand over power to civilian authorities after seizing it in an October 25 coup.

The United Nations said the development is “very concerning.”

“We want to see a return to the transition as quickly as possible,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters. “We want to see the release from house arrest of Prime Minister (Abdalla) Hamdok, as well as all other politicians and leaders that have been detained.”

Since the coup, Hamdok and more than 100 government officials and political leaders have been detained, along with a large number of protesters and activists.

Voice of America 11 November 2021

Sudanese judge urges end to post-coup internet blackout

A Sudanese judge on Thursday ordered telecoms companies in Khartoum to explain why internet services are still cut more than two weeks after a military takeover and two days after a court said connections should be restored.

Mobile internet services across Sudan have been cut since the military seized power on Oct. 25. The suspension has hampered efforts by pro-democracy groups to mobilise for a campaign of civil disobedience and strikes against the coup.

The judicial order to restore internet services immediately was issued on Tuesday in response to a complaint by the Sudanese Consumer protection Society. The judge on Thursday repeated the order for Zain , MTN and local providers Sudatel and Canar to restore services, pending the announcement of any damages to be paid to subscribers.

The companies could not immediately be reached for comment.

News24 11 November 2021

South Sudan

Cash Incentives Provide a Lifeline for Teachers in South Sudan

Kumboti Frederic James is a teacher at Pazuo Primary School in Yambio County, Western Equatoria State. In South Sudan, teachers are referred to as ‘Ustaz’ which means teacher in Arabic, as a sign of respect. Ustaz Kumboti teaches mathematics, English, social studies and religion to primary 4, 5, 6 and 8th-grade students. He has a wife and two children that he has been supporting on his teacher’s salary for the past twenty years.

However, with the onset of COVID-19, the Government of South Sudan closed all educational institutions in March 2020 and teachers like Ustaz Kumboti were not able to practice their profession for 15 months. The closure of the schools also meant the loss of salaries for thousands of teachers like him.

“I had to resort to selling the maize and cassava that grows on my farm to support my family with basic necessities such as cooking oil, soap, salt and sugar,” says Ustaz Kumboti. Teaching is one of the least paid jobs in South Sudan and due to inflation, salaries have become unstable. The impacts of COVID-19 have worsened the challenges for teachers, as the majority of teachers have not received their salaries for some time. Without teachers in the classrooms, further learning losses are experienced, with more school dropouts in 2021.

UNICEF 09 November 2021

South Sudan arrests suspect who had counterfeit money machines

The national security agency in South Sudan arrested a suspect, Thursday, who had a machine used to print counterfeit money.

National Security Services Director for Public Relations, David John Kumuri, said the male suspect was arrested in one of the hotels in Juba and he had illegal cash worth $111,000.

“The surveillance team today has successfully managed to apprehend a machine for printing counterfeit dollars and one hundred and eleven thousand dollars,” Kumuri told reporters.

It follows the arrest last week of two foreigners and 12 South Sudanese nationals who had fake notes worth $93 million and 400,000 South Sudanese pounds.

Kumuri did not link the suspect arrested Thursday to the 14 who were arrested earlier but said papers for printing counterfeit notes were brought from East Africa to South Sudan.

Middle East Monitor 12 November 2021

North Africa

Western Sahara

Morocco wants to turn page on W Sahara conflict: Foreign minister

Amid heightened tensions with neighbouring Algeria, Morocco’s Foreign Minsiter Nasser Bourita says his country is determined to “turn the page definitively” on the Western Sahara conflict but without giving up its “legitimate rights” over the disputed territory.

Speaking to senators in Rabat on Tuesday, Bourita said Morocco is committed to finding a solution to the “artificial regional conflict that stems from the opposition of a neighbouring state (Algeria) to its legitimate rights to the consummation of its territorial integrity”.

Tensions have flared over the past few months between Morocco and its regional rival Algeria over the former Spanish colony that Rabat sees as its own sovereign territory.

Algiers backs Western Sahara’s Polisario Front independence movement.

Aljazeera 10 November 2021