News Briefs 19 August 2022:

Southern Africa Focus:

Zimbabwe:

‘Zimbabwe Electoral Commission refuses to release voters roll’

Nelson Chamisa linked activist group, Team Pachedu has accused the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) of refusing to release a consolidated voters roll ahead of the delimitation exercise. In line with section 21 of the Electoral Act, a copy of the voters roll should be made available to those who request it upon payment of the prescribed fee.

“With delimitation set to start soon, Zec is still unwilling to avail the national consolidated voters roll to anyone who wants it,” Team Pachedu claimed yesterday.

“The Electoral Act is clear on availing the roll to any individual who pays the prescribed fee. It is not all about inspection. Zec must answer.”

The delimitation exercise, which involves creating new electoral boundaries, is expected to start in October and end in December 2022.

Bulawayo24 19 August 2022

South Africa, Zimbabwe in agreement to collaborate on education matters

South Africa’s Minister of Basic Education Ms Angie Motshekga and her Zimbabwean counterpart Dr Evelyn Ndlovu yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote and develop cooperation in the field of basic primary and secondary education.

The two Cabinet Ministers are meeting in South Africa as part of enhancing the Southern African Development Community (SADC) protocol on education and training. In a statement last night, the director of communications and advocacy in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Mr Taungana Ndoro said the MoU was also in recognition of the historical links and geographic proximity that bind the two countries.

“The MoU signed by the two ministers reveals how conscious the two countries are of the benefits to be derived from close cooperation and the maintenance of friendly relations,” he said. “They are desirous of developing and promoting close cooperation in the field of basic primary and secondary education.

“The principles enshrined in the SADC protocol on education and training have guided the signing of this historic Memorandum of Understanding.”

The Herald 19 August 2022

eSwatini

SADC sending ‘panel of elders’ on fact-finding mission to Eswatini

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) will set up a team to look into the Eswatini crisis, where pro-democracy groups are calling for the abdication of King Mswati III.

This was revealed by the Presidency, after the completion of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) where he attended the 42nd SADC summit of heads of state from 16-17 August.

Ramaphosa was happy about the SADC “setting up a fact-finding mission on Eswatini and on its decision to send a panel of elders to go and find effective ways to deal with the situation”, the Presidency said.

Eswatini experienced a so-called “winter revolution” that saw two police officers killed and a European Union (EU) project disrupted.

Pro-democracy groups had high expectations that the SADC summit would address the Eswatini crisis, after it was removed from the agenda at the troika summit held in South Africa from 4-5 April this year.

News24 18 August 2022

Nehawu members march in solidarity with Eswatini nationals

Members of the trade union Nehawu in Gauteng and Eswatini nationals marched to the Eswatini consulate in Johannesburg on Thursday to protest against the kingdom’s monarchy.

Some of them held placards stating, “We demand democracy in Swaziland” as they broke out in song. Provincial secretary of Nehawu Mzikayise Tshontshi said they were marching to highlight the plight of the Eswatini people and hand over a memorandum after repeatedly being ignored by the Eswatini embassy.

“They have ignored our calls for them to receive our memorandum. We don’t expect them to come but they know we are here. We are going to be here for two hours,” said Tshontshi. He said they would read the memorandum to the group and leave it with security personnel at the gate. He said political activities are not allowed in Eswatini and they were demanding the release of all political prisoners.

“People of Eswatini have been under the iron rule of that monarchy — a lot of them are exiled in SA.

HeraldLive 18 August 2022

Democratic Republic of Congo

M23 rebels claim DRC president causing chaos to avoid elections next year

March 23 Movement (M23) rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have accused President Felix Tshisekedi of attempting to delay next year’s elections by fanning divisions in the country, creating fertile grounds for conflict.

M23 took over the towns of Tanda, Mukarange, and Muhambira in the eastern DRC and claim to be protecting the communities.

But on Tuesday, government forces opened fire on the rebel groups stationed in the three areas.

After the attack, in a strongly worded statement, the rebels said they would “repeal enemy’s [government] attacks in a way to protect the civilian population and their goods”. According to Human Rights Watch, the fighting between Congolese troops and M23 had forced nearly 200 000 people to flee their homes so far this year.

News24 17 August 2022

UN’s DR Congo peacekeeping mission pulls out of major eastern city

The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Democratic Republic of Congo has pulled out of one of the largest cities in the country’s east after deadly protests against its failure to protect civilians, Congolese and UN officials said Thursday.

Butembo, a trading hub of almost a million people, has been one of the epicenters of violent demonstrations since last month that have killed dozens, including civilians, peacekeepers and Congolese police. The mission’s hundreds of troops and civilian personnel in Butembo have left and discussions are planned over how to evacuate their equipment, General Constant Ndima, the military governor of North Kivu province, told reporters.

Ndeye Khady Lo, the spokesperson for the mission, which is known by its French acronym MONUSCO, said the departure was temporary.

“MONUSCO is not leaving Butembo. After consultations with local and national authorities, the mission has proceeded to a temporary redeployment of its personnel outside Butembo,” she said.

CGTN 19 August 2022

East Africa and the Horn

Somalia

US says airstrike in Somalia kills 13 members of al-Shabaab terror group

A US airstrike in Somalia over the weekend killed 13 members of the al-Shabaab terror group, US Africa Command said in a statement.

The US carried out the strike on Sunday in support of the Somali military, which was under attack near Teedaan, Somalia. According to an initial assessment, no civilians were injured or killed in the strike.

Last week, the US carried out three airstrikes against al-Shabaab just west of where the weekend strikes took place. Four members of al-Shabaab were killed in those strikes, according to a statement from Africa Command.

In May, President Joe Biden decided to redeploy US troops to Somalia in support of the government and to counter al-Shabaab. The move reversed a decision by former President Donald Trump to withdraw all US troops from the country.

CNN 17 August 2022

Somalia on the brink: millions of people at risk as drought worsens

It is a dire milestone in Somalia: one million people have been displaced by what the United Nations is calling ‘catastrophic’ drought. After a two-year dry spell, locals are leaving everything in a bid to try and farm elsewhere to find food.

The UN is now warning that a famine is on the horizon. For more on this Euronews spoke to Karl Schembri from the Norwegian Refugee Council in Kampala.

Euronews: Paint a picture for us of what people there are experiencing on the ground, because, I mean, the images that we’re seeing are already horrifying.

Karl Schembri: It is indeed horrifying.

I was there only last June and the extreme heat there where I met families who have had to flee and abandon everything, their homes, their farms, they’ve run out of water. There is absolutely no water, completely, literally dry areas from which they have had to flee from that have livestock.

A lot of them are farmers. Dry land — walking over 200 kilometres to reach the next safest place with their children. Some of them with very emaciated donkeys trying to help them carry something from home, but literally with nothing as they reach the displacement settlements — very bare places where they are trying to seek shelter.

And these are the ones who can make it. These are the ones who are able to walk all those distances, never mind those left behind. I was told that for some people who have been left behind, it’s only a matter of time until they will die, unless aid reaches them, which is extremely hard because we are extremely under now. Funding is thankfully coming in, but we need to be faster and we need more and more aid workers and agencies working on the ground.

Euronews 13 August 2022

Central African Republic

Central African Republic Refugees Repatriated From Cameroon

A total of 294 refugees from the Central African Republic who have been living in Cameroon were repatriated yesterday, Wednesday, August 17, 2022, to their country under the auspices of the Resident Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Cameroon, Olivier Beer.

Of the 294 refugees who are now in their homes in CAR, 149 were hosted in the Gado-Badzere refugee site in the Lom et Djerem division, while 150 left from the Lolo refugee site in the Kentzou sub-division of the Kadey division.

The voluntary repatriation operation was relaunched this year after the repatriation of earlier contingents in 2019 and 2020. This year’s operation was launched on June 1, 2022, with the first contingent of 300 CAR refugees repatriated.

“It is envisaged that about 2,500 persons, 1,250 of whom by the Batouri office and 1,250 by the Meiganga and Djohong offices would be voluntarily repatriated this year,” a UNHCR official revealed.

HumAngel 18 August 2022

Central African Republic: UN expert calls for end to impunity, urges armed groups to lay down arms

Armed groups in the Central African Republic (CAR) must lay down their arms and engage in political dialogue, a UN expert said today, urging the international community to strengthen efforts to restore State authority and end impunity in the country.

“I vehemently condemn the obstinacy of the Coalition of Patriots for Change and other armed groups who continue to spread terror, insecurity and suffering among the civilian population and victims of violations and abuses,” said Yao Agbetse. the UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Central African Republic (CAR).

At the conclusion of his ten-day official visit to CAR, Agbetse said he was dismayed by reports from residents in the town of Bria, capital of the Haute-Kotto prefecture, describing the ease with which armed groups connect to neighbouring Sudan.

OHCHR 5 August 2022

Sudan

Strengthening gender focus in humanitarian action in Sudan

Recently positioned as the Gender Advisor of the UN Humanitarian Country Team (HCT), UN Women Sudan is working proactively with humanitarian actors to ensure gender-sensitive humanitarian response and action in the country. With over 1.2 million refugees, and nearly 3 million internally displaced people, Sudan is facing a huge humanitarian crisis, expected to escalate under the current political and economic crises.

To strengthen gender mainstreaming in humanitarian action, UN Women Sudan is conducting an assessment titled; “Rapid Gender Assessment of the Humanitarian Context, Crises and Response in Sudan.” The assessment is intended to identify how gender issues are integrated into humanitarian intervention, reflect on gender inequalities, challenges and barriers facing humanitarian action and actors and provide strategic recommendations to engender humanitarian action in Sudan. The study is expected to be published by the end of August 2022.

Despite the conclusion of the Juba Peace Agreement 2020, the humanitarian situation in Sudan continues to worsen. The number of security incidents is rising in Sudan, with inter-communal violence in West Darfur, West Kordofan, South Kordofan, Red Sea and recently in the Blue Nile State.

African Business 19 August 2022

Torrential rain, floods in Sudan kill 77 and destroy 14,500 homes

Flooding in Sudan has killed scores of people and destroyed an estimated 14,500 homes as seasonal rains pound the country, causing rivers to flood and destroying property. The death toll since the rainy season began in May now stands at 77, the spokesman for Sudan’s National Council for Civil Defence, Brigadier General Abdul-Jalil Abdul-Rahim, said on Thursday.

Provinces most affected by the seasonal rains include North Kordofan, Gezira, South Kordofan, South Darfur and River Nile, the spokesman said. Heavy rains usually fall in Sudan between May and October, and the country faces severe flooding every year that wrecks property, infrastructure and crops. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported earlier this week that, according to the government’s Humanitarian Aid Commission, humanitarian organisations, and local authorities, more than 136,000 people have been affected by the floods.

Aljazeera 18 August 2022

South Sudan

South Sudan: Use Peace Deal Extension for Reforms

South Sudanese leaders should address chronic insecurity, rights abuses, and the worsening humanitarian situation during the country’s extended transition period, Human Rights Watch said today. Regional and international partners should enhance pressure and leverage to ensure that institutional reforms are completed, the rule of law is restored, and that there is significant progress on protecting human rights.

On August 4, 2022, parties to the September 2018 peace deal agreed to extend it for another 24 months starting in February 2023, when the original deal is expected to expire. President Salva Kiir, who signed the extension alongside four other political groups, said that the extension will allow for unification of the armed forces, creation of a new constitution, and time to prepare for elections to avoid a return to war.

“The last four-and-a-half years in South Sudan have been characterized by repression, violence against civilians, and attacks that have undermined efforts to complete the transition,” said Nyagoah Tut Pur, South Sudan researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The extension needs to be accompanied by a dramatic shift in the attitude of South Sudan’s leadership and concrete steps toward improving the country’s human rights situation.”

AllAfrica 18 August 2022

South Sudan: ‘Urgent collective efforts’ needed in most dangerous humanitarian situation

On the eve of World Humanitarian Day, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, called on Thursday for joint action to address the aid crisis in the country and end attacks against civilians and humanitarian workers.

“It takes a village to raise a child. In the same way, it takes an array of partners to support crisis-affected people,” stated Sara Beysolow Nyanti.

“We need urgent collective efforts to help the vulnerable population in South Sudan”.

Lauding humanitarians

The Humanitarian Coordinator paid tribute to the aid workers, communities, local authorities and first responders who provide life-saving assistance to thousands of people in dire humanitarian need.

“I commend the humanitarian workers and all those risking their own lives to alleviate the suffering and save the lives of others,” she said.

Africa.com 18 August 2022

North Africa and the Sahara

Western Sahara

Botswana’s Trade Union calls on Morocco to end illegal occupation of Western Sahara

Botswana Land Boards Local Authorities and Health Workers (BLLAHWU), called for the end of the Moroccan illegal military occupation of Western Sahara, in a message of solidarity addressed to its Saharawi peer, Saharawi Workers Union (UGTSARIO), dated on August 8.

BLLAHWU’s Secretary General, Mr. Ketlhalefile M.N Motshegwa, reiterated his organisation’s “solidarity with the Saharawi people in defending their right to self-determination, which has been violated due to Morocco’s illegal annexation of Western Sahara”, calling on the occupying force “to respect the international law, human rights and end its occupation of Western Sahara.” The trade Union emphasised “the importance of adhering to the international law and respect for self-determination,” adding that it “stands with those whose fundamental rights are violated, our solidarity is with the Western Sahara people as they fight for self-determination.”

“Without a shadow of doubt BLLAHWU recognizes Western Sahara as a sovereign state and condemns the illegal occupation of Morocco military and the abuse of Saharawi human rights,” the message adds.

Sahara Press Service 17 August 2022

Peru cuts ties with Western Sahara area after talks with Morocco

Peru has cut diplomatic ties with the Polisario Front-administered portion of disputed Western Sahara in favour of improved ties with Morocco.

“In the absence of an effective bilateral relationship to date, the Government of the Republic of Peru decides to withdraw the recognition of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) and to break all relations with this entity,” the Foreign Ministry statement announced on Thursday.

Instead, Lima and Rabat will sign “a multisectoral roadmap covering regular political consultations, effective cooperation in economic, commercial, educational, energy, agriculture and fertiliser matters,” the statement said.

The break came just 11 months after diplomatic relations were reestablished under leftist President Pedro Castillo.
TRT World 19 August 2022