News Briefs 15 July 2022
Southern Africa Focus
Top China diplomat meets Zimbabwe’s Mnangagwa, hopes to make inroads into Africa
During the meet on July 4, Yang appreciated “Zimbabwe’s important role in promoting China-Africa co-operation on the Belt and Road Initiative and stands ready to further strengthen all-dimensional exchanges with Zimbabwe, be it party to party, government to government, military to military and people to people levels, and conduct in-depth exchanges of governance experience with Zimbabwe”.
As per observers, China is using Zimbabwe as a key strategic location to spread its influence in southern Africa. Beijing is also trying to promote Zimbabwe at the international forum.
China said that it is ready to fully co-ordinate its position with Zimbabwe on “multilateral affairs, jointly uphold the international system with the United Nations at its core and the international order based on international law, and make the global governance system more just and equitable,” reported “China Daily”.
IOL 14 July 2022
Exporters in Zim must now pay power bills in dollar, euro
Zimbabwe’s central bank has approved a regulation that will allow the country’s power utility, Zimbabwe Power Company, to bill the exporters of goods and services in dollars, euros and other foreign currencies.
Exporters and partial exporters will have to pay their electricity bills at the international cross rate, according to the Exchange Control Order published in the Government Gazette on Monday. An exporter is defined as a business that, on average every quarter, exports 80% or more of its total output in goods and services produced or provided by it in Zimbabwe, for which it receives any foreign currency. Partial exporters refers to those companies that fall below the 80% mark, but still receive payments in foreign currencies.
Zimbabwe needs to boost its foreign currency reserves because it’s in the midst of a currency crisis that saw the annual inflation rate jump to 192% in June alongside a sharp depreciation in the Zimbabwean dollar.
News24 12 July 2022
Eswatini: ‘Winter revolution’ cripples’ international company, locals affected
Eswatini’s “winter revolution” has derailed a European Union-funded project as pro-democracy groups push for the abdication of King Mswati III.
Swaziland International Solidarity Forces (SISF) is a group aligned with an extremist faction of the pro-democracy movement that plans to overthrow the latest target, Inyatsi Construction – an international firm that operates in nine African countries, including Zambia, Ivory Coast, Uganda and Botswana.
It is one of the companies on a “terror hit list”, drawn up by pro-democracy extremists, that targets businesses that are believed to be linked to the kingdom’s royalty.
“We will continue with our programme unabated and we will make sure that Inyatsi and all [its] subsidiaries are dislodged from capturing the Swazi economy, ” the press in Eswatini quoted SISF’s anonymous commander.
News24 23 June 2022
eSwatini declares editor Zweli Dlamini and Swaziland News ‘terrorists’
The Kingdom of eSwatini has declared journalist Zweli Martin Dlamini and his South Africa-based online publication, Swaziland News, as “specified entities’ who ‘knowingly facilitate the commission of terrorist acts”.
Prime Minister Cleopas Sipho Dlamini published the order last week in terms of eSwatini’s Suppression of Terrorism Act.
He was acting on the recommendation of eSwatini’s Attorney General, Sifiso Khumalo, who wrote that editor Zweli Dlamini had “on numerous occasions and at different intervals published articles… that instigate violence, the burning of public and state property, the seizure of state power and overthrow of lawful government”.
He is accused of doing this in Swaziland News and on his Facebook page.
“In his latest antics, Zweli Martin Dlamini is threatening killing of police officers” and it was “worth noting that there had been recent shooting of officers by unknown gunmen”, Khumalo wrote in his recommendation of action against Dlamini.
Daily Maverick 4 July 2022
Democratic Republic of Congo
DRC officially becomes seventh full member of East African regional bloc
The EAC said in its official tweet that the DRC became a full member of the regional bloc after it deposited instruments of ratification on the accession of the treaty for the establishment of the EAC.
In December 2021, the 18th extra-ordinary summit of the EAC heads of state directed the EAC Council of Ministers to start and conclude negotiations on the accession of the treaty with the DRC for full admission to the bloc. The EAC leaders asked the Council of Ministers to conclude negotiations with the DRC after they had reviewed the Council of Ministers’ report on the verification mission regarding the admission of the DRC to join the EAC.
Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan said the DRC’s admission to the regional bloc will be a new milestone in the integration. She reiterated Tanzania’s commitment to working closely with all EAC member states toward taking the integration to higher levels.
IOL 12 July 2022
Suspected rebels kill nine in eastern DRC
Suspected rebels have killed at least nine people in twin attacks in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, officials said on Wednesday, in the latest violence to hit the turbulent region.
Fighters from the feared Armed Democratic Forces (ADF) group killed six civilians in an attack on the town of Beni in North Kivu province on Tuesday night, according to local civil-society leader Pepin Paluku Kavota.
He told reporters on Wednesday that militants targeted a district just 1km from army headquarters in the city of 400 000.
The dead included a 15-year-old boy and a 90-year-old woman, said Kavota, who urged security forces “to redouble their efforts”.
News24 13 July 2022
East Africa and the Horn
Central African Republic
UN needs $68.4 million to help Central African Republic where 2.2 million are acutely food insecure
A sharp increase in prices of essential goods in the Central African Republic (CAR) linked to war in Ukraine, will likely have a devastating impact on the already dire humanitarian situation there in coming weeks, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) said on Tuesday.
Some 2.2 million people are already acutely food insecure in the Central African Republic, meaning that the global food, fuel and fertilizer crisis sparked by the Russian invasion of its neighbour on 24 February, will put basic food commodities and staples “out of the reach of many people”, warned Tomson Phiri, WFP spokesperson.
“The figure may not shock you out of your seats, but when you look at the population size, that’s nearly half the population of the Central African Republic,” he told journalists in Geneva.
UN News 5 July 2022
Final report of the Panel of Experts on the Central African Republic extended pursuant to Security Council resolution 2588 (2021) (S/2022/527)
The period under review (June 2021–May 2022) was marked by the 16 September 2021 adoption of the Luanda Road map by the Heads of State and Government of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region under the auspices of Angola and Rwanda. This diplomatic effort resulted in a unilateral ceasefire declaration by President Faustin Archange Touadera on 15 October 2021, which was followed by the organization of a republican dialogue from 21 to 27 March 2022 in Bangui. The dialogue excluded the Coalition des patriotes pour le changement (CPC) and was boycotted by the main leaders of the political opposition. A rise in diplomatic tensions between certain partner countries and regional and international financial institutions on one side and the Central African Government on the other side could negatively influence the prospects of a lasting resolution to the crisis.
The period was also marked by an increase in incidents of injury or death of civilians caused by improvised explosive devices and anti-personnel mines, likely to have spilled over from other conflicts in the region. Leading the CPC coalition, the Unité pour la paix en Centrafrique (UPC) has extended its area of operations towards the Sudanese border, probably to control natural resources (diamonds and gold) and arms trafficking routes. With regards to natural resources, a positive development has been the increasing volume of diamonds from Kimberley Process compliant zones in the western Central African Republic entering the official trade, thus reducing trafficking. Meanwhile, the prospect of the Kimberley Process readmitting diamond areas in the east remains doubtful.
Relief Web 14 July 2022
Netanyahu and Somalian president met secretly in 2020, ex-diplomat claims
Somalia’s president held a secret meeting in early 2020 with then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a former diplomat with knowledge of the trips told The Times of Israel.
Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, popularly known by his nickname Farmaajo, flew to Jerusalem in February of that year with Balal Osman, Mohamed’s special envoy for Horn of Africa, Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, according to the diplomat.
The two leaders discussed the possibility of establishing ties between the countries. But those efforts were not supported by then-US president Donald Trump, who didn’t want to include Somalia in the regional effort that would come to be known as the Abraham Accords, said the diplomat.
“He didn’t want to deal with the country, he thought it was a ‘shithole country,’” the former diplomat said on Monday.
The Times of Israel 12 July 2022
‘No sign of rain’: Citizens despair as drought devastates Somalia
Faduma Hassan Mohamed has never witnessed a time like this. When rains failed to fall as in previous years, she thought the river near her village of Buulo Warbo in Somalia’s southern Kuntunwarey district would not run dry.
First, the skies above became cloudless, she said, then the air hot and dry. Then the fertile soil below her feet that used to provide for her family turned into dark brown dust. Then the river dried up.
“We were farmers. We tended the land. We had a river and we used to water our crops with its water. We grew crops like maize and beans. Now, we [have] lost all of that,” the mother-of-six told Al Jazeera.
“There was no sign of rain in the sky and no water in the river. I can’t even remember the last time we harvested anything from the farm,” Faduma, who does not know her age, added.
Aljazeera 8 July 2022
Clarity over military role is needed to avoid future disputes in Sudan: EU-Troika
The Troika and European Union on Wednesday called for talks between the political forces and the component military in Sudan to define the role and responsibilities of the army leaders after the decision to withdraw from politics.
On July 4, the head of the military-led Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said they decided to not participate in the dialogue process or the transitional government. However, he said they would form a higher military body to deal with security and defence issues with some additional powers in related fields.
In a joint statement on Wednesday, the international supporters of democratic transition, the Troika and the European Union took note of al-Burhan’s announcement to withdraw from the dialogue process. They called on the military leaders to remain committed to this pledge and called on the political groups swiftly to hold inclusive talks to form a civilian-led transitional government that enjoys “broad-based, nation-wide support”.
Sudan Tribune 13 July 2022
Woman, 20, is sentenced to be stoned to death for adultery in Sudan
A Sudanese woman has been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery in the country’s first such case in almost a decade. Police in Sudan’s White Nile state arrested Maryam Alsyed Tiyrab, 20, last month, before her sentencing at the Kosti Criminal Court on June 26.
She is appealing against the decision, holding out hope that High Court will strike down the ruling. Ms Tiyrab was denied legal representation, and her trial commenced without obtaining a formal complaint from the police, which human rights groups say is irregular.
Under Islamic law, Hudud crimes – enforced in Sudan – carry penalties such as the amputation of hands and feet, flogging, and in rare cases, death.
Daily Mail 13 July 2022
Agree on election roadmap, UN official tells S. Sudan leaders
The head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Nicholas Haysom has urged South Sudanese leaders to agree on a roadmap required to pave way towards free, fair and credible elections.
“Now is the time for national leaders to redouble their efforts to agree on a roadmap – with clear benchmarks, timelines, and priorities to pave the way toward free, fair and credible elections,” he said in a statement on Friday.
The statement on the eve of South Sudan’s independence on July 9, 2022. Haysom, also the Secretary-General’s special representative for South Sudan said the road to stability has been tough and the upcoming months will be critical as the transitional period approaches its end in February 2023.
The top UN official, however, reiterated the world body’s commitment to peace in Africa’s newest nation and vowed to continue promoting a safe and secure environment for civilians, facilitate delivery of humanitarian aid.
Sudan Tribune 9 July 2022
South Sudan suspends dredging of Nile tributaries
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardiit has suspended all dredging activities on Nile tributaries following opposition within his government, environmentalists and activists over the deal with Egypt.
Mr Kiir’s order put to end weeks of public debate sparked by the arrival a month ago of a 21-truck convoy from Cairo with dredging equipment, which brought to light the agreement signed in April last year.
The President said environmental studies on the project’s impact on the communities and ecosystem must be done before any dredging of the Naam River and resumption of the Jonglei canal project.
“In the last few weeks, the country has been engaged in an emotive debate over the issue of dredging the Bhar-el-Ghazel basin, especially the Naam River. In this debate, the contending sides have put forward legitimate arguments both for and against dredging.
The East African 12 July 2022
North Africa and the Sahara
UN envoy to visit Morocco for talks on Western Sahara
UN special envoy for the Western Sahara region Staffan de Mistura is set to visit Morocco and the disputed territory on Saturday as part of a regional tour.
UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said de Mistura will hold talks with Moroccan officials on advancing the political process in the disputed region.
“It is also his intention to visit Western Sahara in the course of this trip,” the spokesman said during a news briefing. “During this phase of the engagement, the personal envoy intends to remain guided by the clear precedents set by his predecessors,” he added.
Western Sahara is an area along Africa’s Atlantic coast that has a population of about 600,000 residents, according to UN estimates. It was colonized by Spain in the 19th century and annexed in 1975 by Morocco.
Anadolu Agency 2 July 2022
Morocco accused of blocking UN visit to Western Sahara
The pro-independence Polisario Front accused Morocco of obstructing a visit by the U.N. envoy for the disputed Western Sahara region and called on the United Nations to reveal the reasons why.
U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric had said Friday that the secretary-general’s personal envoy, Staffan de Mistura, would “conduct a new phase of visits” to all concerned parties in the region “in the coming days,” starting in the Moroccan capital of Rabat on Saturday.
But Monday, Dujarric said in a note to U.N. correspondents that de Mistura “has decided not to proceed with a visit to Western Sahara during this trip, but looks forward to doing so during his upcoming visits to the region.”
The Polisario Front’s U.N. representative, Sidi Omar, responded in a statement obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press saying the group “deeply deplores” that Morocco “has once again resorted to obstructionism and delay tactics to prevent the personal envoy … from conducting his first visit to the territory.”
The Washington Post 5 July 2022