Southern Africa Focus
President Mnangagwa is set to headline this year’s anti-sanctions commemorations which will also be observed in most African countries as progressive nations join hands in piling pressure on the United States and its Western allies to remove the illegal punitive measures.
Taking the campaign to the people, a commemorative gala will be held in the populous dormitory town of Chitungwiza where the country’s crème de la creme of artistes will perform.
SADC declared October 25 as the Day of Solidarity Against Sanctions on Zimbabwe and this year the campaign is coming on the backdrop of growing calls for the illegal sanctions, that were imposed as punishment for the land reform programme, to be unconditionally removed.
Speaking after yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Cabinet received and approved a Concept Paper on the Theme and Activities to mark the Anti-Sanctions Solidarity Day.
AllAfrica 12 October 2022
ZIMBABWE needs to sustain productivity growth rates of between eight to nine percent annually for the next seven years if the upper- middle income economy (UMIC) status enshrined under Vision 2030 is to be achieved, the Country Economic Memorandum (CEM) launched by the World Bank (WB) has revealed.
This was the first CEM since 1985 and its release proposes pathways that the country can undertake to increase the productivity of the sizeable informal sector and boost trade to scale up productivity of the formal sector. UMIC has Gross National Income per person of between US$4,046 and US$12,535 and is characterised by high aggregate demand and efficient manufacturing sector among other high competitive advantages.
To achieve this status, Zimbabwe developed the Transitional Stabilization Programme (TSP) to guide the reform process during the period 2018 to 2020.
AllAfrica 13 October 2023
The people of eSwatini — officially known as the Kingdom of eSwatini and formerly known as Swaziland, one of the world’s 12 remaining absolute monarchies — have reminded the world of just that. In June 2021, Siphiwe Mkhabela had to find the body of her son Thabani Nkomonye, a 25-year-old law student at the University of eSwatini, with its eyes gouged out and with three holes in it on a field in Nhlambeni, eSwatini. A death that was all but confirmed to be at the hands of the police gave rise to the unrelenting voice of the people of eSwatini.
Protests demanding justice bled into pro-democracy protests, which in turn bled into June 29, 2021, what is now remembered as the eSwatini massacre — a massacre of 80 protestors by the army and police forces. In spite of it all, King Mswati III’s grasp remains firmly and remorselessly on the throne, and democracy continues to elude the people of eSwatini.
“If you open the country’s constitution, it says the country is called Swaziland,” explained Manqoba Nxumalo, a human rights activist from Manzini, eSwatini and a founder of the eSwatini Solidarity Fund, in an interview with the HPR. “The king woke up on his birthday, without notice, without informing parliament, without debate, and just decided to change the name of the country [to eSwatini] which grammatically doesn’t even make sense. If there’s any symbol of absolute monarchy, it’s that.”
Harvard Political Review 9 October 2023
Now in its 9th year, the European Film Festival in South Africa is a partnership project between the European Union (EU) Delegation, EU Member States embassies and national cultural institutes. The 2022 festival in Eswatini is presented in partnership with the EU Delegation to Eswatini and the Alliance Française. Europe is home to many highly developed film industries reflecting a diverse range of approaches to filmmaking, which offer a refreshing alternative to the Hollywood films that tend to dominate screens locally.
“Film was born in Europe and is central to our cultural heritage. The European Film Festival extends a hand to the local creative industries, as part of a wider effort by the EU to empower youth and creative persons as drivers of positive change in Eswatini,” said EU Ambassador to Eswatini, Dessislava Choumelova.
The festival showcases a high quality line-up of new award-winning films aimed at generating awareness about European films and European issues, and provoking reflection about common issues such as human relationships, cultural differences, migration, climate change and other matters.
EU News 11 October 2023
Democratic Republic of Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi has replaced the head of the country’s armed forces as part of broader military reforms aimed at boosting efficiency.
In a statement from the presidency on Monday, Christian Tshiwewe Songhesha, former commander of the Republican Guard, an elite unit in charge of protecting the head of state, was named as the new army chief of staff, replacing Célestin Mbala Musense.
The new deputy chief of staff in charge of operations, Jerome Chico Tshitambwe, comes from the same unit.
“Almost the entire staff has been replaced by young officers. Several are from the Republican Guard, but not all, and that’s because they have proven themselves,” the president’s deputy director of communications, Giscard Kusema, said.
Aljazeera 4 October 2022
The Democratic Republic of Congo is a key player on the African continent, with one of the strongest growth rates in the sub-Saharan region. Euronews went to the Congolese capital, Kinshasa to observe an ‘unprecedented’ conference designed to explore the country’s economic strengths and weaknesses.
Balancing the country’s risks and advantages
The aim of the “Country Risk Conference” is to guide investors by sifting through the strengths and weaknesses of the country.
Major players in the regional political and economic spheres have gathered in the DRC around a report written by the pan-African rating agency Bloomfield.
EU News 10 October 2022
East Africa and the Central
Acute malnutrition is surging among children displaced by drought and conflict in a part of central Somalia teetering on the edge of famine, according to a survey conducted by humanitarian agencies.
The United Nations warned at the beginning of September that two districts were projected to face famine between October and December, with more than half a million children in Somalia at risk of dying from malnutrition.
A screening conducted from September 19-24 by UN agencies and other humanitarian groups in camps for internally displaced people in the Baidoa district found the situation quickly deteriorating.
Of more than 98,000 children screened between the ages of 6 and 59 months, 59% were suffering from acute malnutrition, including 24% whose cases were classified as severe, the report seen by Reuters shows.
TimesLive 14 October 2022
Somalia is getting support for its campaign to have an arms embargo lifted after Ethiopia joined Uganda in backing the action. The U.N. Security Council is set to vote in November on renewing the partial ban, which Somalia says should be removed so it can better fight al-Shabab terrorists.
Ethiopia’s support came after a rare July incursion by Islamist militants into Ethiopia amid a large-scale offensive by Somalia and its allies against the group.
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed say the three-decades-long U.N. Security Council sanctions should be removed so Somalia can better fight the militant Islamist group al-Shabab.
The two leaders issued a joint statement September 30 amid an offensive by Somali troops and their allies.
Voice of America 11 October 2022
Central African Republic
Following her four-day visit to the Central African Republic, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ilze Brands Kehris welcomed recent steps to improve the human rights situation in the country but urged continued efforts by the Government and its partners to address persisting human rights and humanitarian challenges.
Brands Kehris, who was in CAR between 5 and 8 October, met with President Faustin-Archange Touadéra, as well as other senior government officials, including the acting Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. She also engaged with State institutions in charge of promoting human rights and good governance, civil society organisations, including victims’ associations, and representatives from the diplomatic community, regional organisations and the United Nations system.
Noting that insecurity remains a primary concern across much of the country, she noted the important protection work conducted by the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), including through its human rights component.
UN News 12 October 2022
The CEO of the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) (https://SFD.gov.sa), Mr. Sultan bin Abdulrahman Al-Marshad, and H.E Felix Moloua, the Minister of State in Charge of economy, Planning and International Corporation of the Central African Republic, have signed an agreement to finance a public lighting project using solar energy in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic.
Supported by SFD through a soft loan, the project will light an extensive network of roads across Bangui, improving local infrastructure.
In line with SFD’s mission to empower disadvantaged people and communities in developing countries around the world, the project will light a network of roads spanning 70 km. As part of the project, state-of-the-art lighting poles and solar panels that provides clean and sustainable energy to ensure lighting is provided at the highest level of efficiency, and encourages environmentally friendly technologies will be installed in Bangui, providing access to modern, high-quality storage batteries, controls and lighting lamps. The project will improve the level of road safety and reduce the number of deaths resulting from traffic accidents.
PV Magazine 14 October 2022
A rebel group operating from Sudan’s Nuba Mountains handed over nine prisoners of war to Khartoum authorities on Thursday after neighbour South Sudan’s mediation, potentially boosting chances for the two sides to reach a final and permanent accord.
The nine men who have been in the captivity of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) were handed over to Sudan’s ambassador in South Sudan, Jamal Malik, in South Sudan’s capital Juba.
They were captured last month after “heavy battles” in Sudan’s South Kordofan province, and were being released on humanitarian grounds to return to their families, Amar Amon, the SPLM-N secretary general, told a news conference in Juba.
“As individuals we don’t have problems with them but we have problems with the government,” he said.
SABC News 13 October 2022
It’s the start of a new school term in Sudan, yet nine-year-old Zahra Hussein stays home helping with household chores, forced to drop out as her family’s money grows ever tighter.
Zahra quit primary school a year ago after she had just started third grade in a rundown school building with old classrooms, cracked walls, broken desks and toilets with little running water.
Until then, she had attended school regularly, aced her exams and most recently, came top of her class.
The young girl told AFP at her home in the village of Ed Moussa in Sudan’s eastern state of Kassala:
I had come third in my class in first grade. My father doesn’t have money anymore … so he pulled me out of school.
Zahra is one of nearly seven million children in Sudan who no longer go to school, a victim of what aid agencies have warned is a “generational catastrophe”.
News24 13 October 2022
On October 3, South Sudan’s government started its trial against Kuel Aguer Kuel and six activists associated with the People’s Coalition for Civic Action, a pro-reform pressure group, which calls for political change in South Sudan through peaceful protest. Kuel was arrested in August 2021, as authorities cracked down on those they believed to be affiliated with the group. His six co-accused – Abraham Awenleith, Wani Michael, Jame David Kolok, Rajab Mohandis, Manas Mathiang, and Daniel Makau – fled the country. They are charged in absentia for crimes against the state and, if convicted, could face up to 20 years in prison.
Kuel is appearing before a special court, created in September by the Chief Justice on written authorization from the office of the president. The court is also hearing charges brought against Abraham Chol Maketh, a self-proclaimed prophet who, last year, said he foresaw the Salva Kiir government being overthrown before the end of that year. He is charged with crimes against the state alongside four others.
Both Maketh and Kuel have already experienced very serious violations of their rights including having been arbitrarily detained for over a year before being presented before court and denied adequate medical care or regular access to lawyers during detention. Although the prosecution was instructed in February by the Court of Appeal to present the two before a court and move the case forward for trial, the prosecution took no action until August.
Human Rights Watch 6 October 2022
The revelations come at a worrying time. UN officials say up to 5,000 more people may be headed toward the Protection of Civilians (PoC) site in Malakal, fleeing violence that has killed as many as 300 people, some of whom drowned in a river as they tried to escape the fighting.
Camp residents say they fear the new violence could seep into the UN camp – recent clashes between ethnic Shilluk and Nuer in the camp have already flared. If the camp becomes more crowded, residents worry there may be more cases of sexual abuse and exploitation, which they say has gone largely unchecked despite a UN-led task force charged with tackling the problem.
Accounts of abuse began trickling in shortly after the camp opened in late 2013, but the scale of abuse has grown, according to aid workers, camp residents, and victims interviewed by The New Humanitarian and Al Jazeera, as well as analysis of UN and NGO documents.
One woman said she became pregnant in 2019 by a local World Food Programme (WFP) worker. Although the relationship was consensual, most aid groups, including WFP, ban sexual relationships between aid workers and beneficiaries because of the stark power imbalances. The woman told reporters in December 2021 she was so worried about the continuing sexual abuse that she was putting her eldest daughter, now 15, on birth control.
The New Humanitarian 22 September 2022
North Africa and the Horn
Western Sahara is expected to top the agenda as President Cyril Ramaphosa prepares to meet Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) counterpart President Brahim Ghali.
Ramaphosa will host Ghali for a State Visit on 18 October 2022, at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. The Presidency said the visit aims to strengthen the already existing good political relations fortified by the strong historical ties dating back from the years of the struggle against colonialism and apartheid.
“The two Presidents will exchange views on recent developments related to the question of Western Sahara, including the mobilisation of regional, continental and international support toward finding a sustainable resolution to the Western Sahara conflict in line with the provisions of the 1991 Ceasefire Agreement.”
In 2019, South Africa hosted a Solidarity Conference for the region’s support of self-determination.
The Citizen 13 October 2022
The Permanent Representative of South Africa to the UN, Mathu Joyini, affirmed that the right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination and independence is not negotiable, in her statement yesterday before the UN 4th Committee on Decolonisation.
“We are concerned that in our own continent, Africa, the Saharawi people still cannot exercise their right to self-determination, which is guaranteed under the Charter of the United Nations. South Africa stands by the African Union’s consistent position that the inalienable right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination and independence is not negotiable,” she said.
She recalled that “the International Court of Justice has given credence to this position when it stated in its advisory opinion on 16 October 1975 that there were no links of territorial sovereignty between Morocco and the Western Sahara prior to the Spanish colonization of the Territory.”
On another note, she recalled the Committee that the Moroccan violation of the ceasefire last Novmber 13th 2020, “resulted in the resumption of hostilities between the two sides, a major setback towards a negotiated settlement, which is of grave concern to us.”
Sahara Press Service 12 October 2022