News Briefs 19 November 2021

Southern Africa


No new external capital for Zimbabwe mines as power, forex crunch bites

MINING companies in Zimbabwe, including units of Impala Platinum and Anglo Platinum, are expecting no new external capitalisation as the industry battles power outages amid uncertainties with foreign currency.

Zimbabwe holds the world’s second-largest reserves of platinum and chrome, while large deposits of lithium, diamond, coal and gold have attracted some investors. However, mining executives are expecting no new investment in operations.

“Mining executives are pessimistic about the prospects to raise adequate external capital citing uncompetitiveness,” notes the 2021 mining sector survey of mining chief executives and other managers. “Most mining executives whose companies are planning to expand production plan to use their retained foreign currency or forex profits to expand.”

IOL 19 November 2021

Zimbabwe debt unsustainable, lending would require restructure – IMF

The International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday it was unable to provide financial support to Zimbabwe due to its unsustainable debt and external arrears, and any lending arrangement would require a clear path to a restructuring of its external debt.

The IMF said its staff completed a virtual mission to Zimbabwe from Oct. 16 to Nov. 16, and noted “significant” efforts by authorities there to stem inflation, contain budget deficits and reserve money growth.

Zimbabwe, which has suffered from bouts of hyperinflation in the last 15 years, has not received funding from lenders like the IMF and World bank for more than two decades due to arrears.

Its external debt is more than $10 billion and most of it is in arrears.

“A Fund financial arrangement would require a clear path to comprehensive restructuring of Zimbabwe’s external debt, including the clearance of arrears and obtaining financing assurances from creditors,” the IMF said.

News24 16 November 2021


Eswatini opens ‘terror’ trial for pro-democracy MPs

Two pro-democracy lawmakers went on trial on “terrorism” and murder charges Tuesday in Eswatini, in the absolute monarchy’s latest move to quash dissent.

Mduduzi Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube pleaded innocent to all the charges, which could see them imprisoned for 20 years if convicted.

The trial is set to last three days at the Mbabane High Court, where they stand accused of inciting protests.

Both men have been in jail since their arrest on 25 July during a wave of protests calling for democratic reforms.

King Mswati III’s government responded to the protests with deadly violence.

Police say at least 37 people were killed, mostly in the first wave of demonstrations in June. Human Rights Watch however puts the death toll at 46.

News24 16 November 2021

Eswatini needs reforms: deputy PM

Africa’s last absolute monarchy, Eswatini, needs to enact reforms in the wake of pro-democracy protests that have rattled the country since June, Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku told AFP.

“I would agree with those who say we need to have some change,” he said in an interview in his office in the capital Mbabane.

“Because these are the 2000s, it’s not the 1910s,” he said, adding: “We need to amend certain legal frameworks and the constitution to accommodate the reality of today.”

Protests erupted in May after a law student’s bloodied body was found dumped in the bush. Fellow students blamed police for the killing, and began staging protests demanding direct elections.

News24 29 October 2021

Democratic Republic of Congo

Thousands rally in DRC capital against electoral commission pick

Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), to protest against President Felix Tshisekedi’s move to install a close friend to head the country’s electoral commission.

Tshisekedi’s move last month came despite the objection of the political opposition and the influential Catholic and Protestant religious leaders.

Critics say Denis Kadima, the new head of the CENI (National Independent Electoral Commission), is corrupt and too close to the president.

“This is our country, and no one will stop us from claiming our rights,” one protester in Kinshasa told Al Jazeera.

“We refuse a politicised electoral commission. We want things to change in this country,” he added.

Aljazeera 13 November 2021

Nepali Superintendent in DR Congo is UN Woman Police Officer of the Year

A Nepali peacekeeper serving in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was on Friday named the recipient of the UN Woman Police Officer of the Year Award.

Superintendent Sangya Malla with the UN mission in the country, MONUSCO, is Chief of its Police Health and Environment Unit, based in the capital, Kinshasa.

Ms. Malla, a medical professional by training, helped establish the unit, which is responsible for implementing policies and procedures concerning the health and well-being of personnel as well as United Nations Police environmental initiatives.

Her contributions have been especially important during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, past Ebola outbreaks, and natural and humanitarian crises such as the volcanic eruption in the city of Goma last May. During that emergency, her unit alerted the local population and UN staff of precautionary measures.?

“I am honored to receive this award, and I hope it will encourage more young women in my country and around the world to pursue careers in policing, which is still too often viewed as ‘man’s work’,” she said. 

UN News 05 November 2021

East Africa and the Horn


Democracy by instalments: Public pressure mounts for Somalia to complete elections ahead of December deadline

Somalia this week elected two Members of the Lower House of Parliament in polls delayed by a year, mainly by political infighting. That means it still has to elect 273 more seats by 24 December, and those elected MPs must in turn vote for a president for the ‘democratic’ transfer of power to be complete. Meanwhile the entire Upper House of Parliament — chosen by the member states of the Somali federation — has now just been elected.

United Nations (UN) Special Representative for Somalia James Swann welcomed this progress in a briefing to the UN Security Council on 17 November. But he added that Somalia’s political leaders would have to redouble their efforts to complete the elections as soon as possible “so that all effort can return to the key governance, security, and development priorities in Somalia.”

Another positive was that last month federal President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (Farmajo) and Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble agreed to bury the hatchet after a year-long bitter power struggle that almost led to violence between them.

Daily Maverick 19 November 2021

AU troops sentenced to death for civilian killings in Somalia

Five Ugandan soldiers serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia have been found guilty of killing seven civilians, with two sentenced to death and the other three given 39-year prison terms each, AMISOM has said.

“After sitting from 2-12th November 2021 and reviewing all the facts including witness statements, the Court Martial on 12th November 2021, found the soldiers guilty of killing the civilians,” an AMISOM statement issued late on Saturday said.

Kampala instituted legal proceedings in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu after the allegations of civilian casualties in the town of Golweyn emerged in August this year. The soldiers will be repatriated to Uganda to serve their sentences.

Aljazeera 14 November 2021

Central African Republic

At least 11 killed as CAR troops clash with rebels

At least 11 civilians have been killed and several others wounded during fighting between rebels and soldiers in northwestern Central African Republic, the local prefect has said.

Rebels “infiltrated the weekly market at around 10am (09:00 GMT) on Sunday” near Mann, a town about 600km (370 miles) northwest of Bangui, Dieudonne Yougaina, prefect of Ouham-Pende, told the AFP news agency on Tuesday.

“Central African forces intervened … and the exchange of fire left 11 civilians dead, nine men and two women, as well as eight wounded,” he said.

Yougaina blamed elements of the 3R (Return, Reclamation, Rehabilitation) rebels. The 3R, which is mainly composed of fighters from the Fulani ethnic group, is one of the most powerful armed groups in the country.

Aljazeera 16 November 2021

Supporting people living with HIV with income generation in the Central African Republic

On 11 November, a project to support the empowerment of nearly 400 people living with HIV through training and involvement in agropastoral activities was launched in the seventh arrondissement of Bangui, Central African Republic.

According to Joseph Tagbale, the Mayor of the seventh arrondissement, “This project is timely and comes as a breath of fresh air, as people living with HIV have paid a heavy price during the COVID-19 pandemic, firstly because of their high risk of infection due to their weak immune systems and secondly because of the collapse of their means of subsistence due to repeated confinements.”

The Multi-Partner Trust Fund granted the UNAIDS Country Office for the Central African Republic US$ 150 000 to support activities for people living with HIV in the context of COVID-19. These activities were chosen in collaboration with the Comité National de Lutte Contre le Sida (CLNS), the Ministry of Health and the Central African Network of People Living with HIV (RECAPEV) and will be implemented by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the international nongovernmental organization Solidarité pour la Paix et le Développement Intégré.

UNAIDS 17 November 2021


Thousands of anti-coup protesters continue to march in Sudan

Security forces opened fire on thousands of anti-coup protesters in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, and its twin city of Omdurman, killing at least 15 people, according to doctors.

Wednesday was the highest daily death toll since the October 25 coup, which saw the military seize power, dissolving the transitional government and arresting dozens of officials and politicians.

Security forces fired live ammunition and tear gas at anti-coup protesters in at least one location in Khartoum, according to activists. The Sudan Doctors Committee said most of the killings took place in Khartoum Bahri.

The crackdown on protesters comes as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Africa to boost so-far unsuccessful diplomatic efforts to resolve the deepening conflicts in Ethiopia and in Sudan.

Aljazeera 18 November 2021

Internet connection restored in Sudan

In the wake of the deadliest day of anti-coup mobilization since the October 25 coup, the new military government has taken a step towards conciliation.

For more than three weeks, the repression had been escalating, and the generals had reaffirmed their authority by cutting off the Sudanese telephone on Wednesday.

But after the bloody day of mobilization during which 15 demonstrators lost their lives, through gunshots by the military, général Abdel Fattah al-Burhane chose to calm the tensions.

Telephone communications were restored on Wednesday night and the Internet was reconnected in the afternoon.

Activists were quick to use their social networks to call on Sudanese to post videos and any information that could testify to the violence of the previous day’s demonstrations.

Africa News 18 November 2021

South Sudan

South Sudan Still Struggling Towards Peace

In January 2011 the people of South Sudan voted in a referendum to secede from Sudan, putting behind them two civil wars which had consumed 39 of the 55 years of Sudanese independence. Six months later, they joyfully celebrated their independence.

Ten years on, the South Sudanese are still struggling to establish peace, deal with human rights abuses committed since independence, write an inclusive constitution, and focus on developing their country.

From the beginning they faced huge challenges. In a recent report, the medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), noted that at independence in July 2011 the nation was grappling with at least 30 humanitarian emergencies. In addition, “Parts of the country were engulfed in increasingly fierce intercommunal clashes, and there was renewed conflict in border areas with Sudan.”

Nevertheless, the citizens of the new nation had high hopes. In the words of the MSF report: “Despite the challenges, the first years in the post-independence period were a time of anticipation and optimism and, for most of the country, it was a period of relative peace.”

All Africa 18 November 2021

South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, is deep in crisis. But foreign interest is fading.

The night after he watched government-allied forces burn his village to the ground, Dhoal Gatwich Gatjani gathered his family and started walking north. He had heard that a United Nations base was offering protection.

As civil war devastated the country in the years that followed, Gatjani and his family were among the 108,000 people who built a life in what became South Sudan’s largest camp for internally displaced people. Inside the barbed-wire fences of the camp in Bentiu, U.N. soldiers in guard towers provided a measure of comfort.

Then one day this spring, nearly seven years after he arrived, Gatjani looked up and saw that the towers were empty — the U.N. troops were gone, unable to guard the maze of shelters indefinitely. Replacing them, he soon learned, would be a new police force made up of officers loyal to the two political parties whose fighting had led him here: both the one that he supported, and the one that had sent him running for his life.

“Those who displaced us, who burned down our villages,” the 40-year-old father said, “are the ones who are now supposed to be protecting us?”

Washington Post 14 November 2021

North Africa and the Sahara

South Africa-SADR: Satisfaction with level of cooperation and friendship

The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) and the Republic of South Africa expressed on Sunday their satisfaction with the level of cooperation, solidarity and friendship between the two countries.

In a joint statement sanctioning the visit of the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa, Naledi Pandor, to the Sahrawi Republic on Sunday, both sides expressed their satisfaction with the level of cooperation, solidarity and friendship between the two countries, based on historical and friendship ties.

The President of the SADR, Secretary General of the Polisario Front, Brahim Ghali, entrusted the South African minister with a message of gratitude and thanks to President Cyril Ramaphosa, as well as to the people and government of South Africa, for “their crucial role in consecrating Africa’s unity and complementarity and in recovering its rightful place in international fora”.

South Africa’s chief diplomat, Naledi Pandor, reviewed with her Sahrawi counterpart, Mohamed Salem Ould Salek, issues of common interest at the bilateral, continental and international levels, expressing satisfaction with the level of cooperation, solidarity and friendship, based on historical and friendship ties between the two countries.

Sahara Press Service 15 November 2021

U.S. hypocrisy, war in Western Sahara could ignite North Africa

The freedom struggle for Western Sahara, a state in Northwest Africa, was recently discussed by experts worried about increased violence between Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic freedom fighters and Morocco, which has occupied the country for decades.

Over the past year, fighting between the kingdom of Morocco and Western Sahara has grown. Participants in the online session talked about the history of the conflict and the ongoing fight over what is often called “Africa’s last colony.”

Panelists said there is real danger the conflict could become a wider war that pulls in Algeria, Mauritania, France, America, and groups like Al-Qaida in the Maghreb.

“You have a number of nonstate acters in the region who have been over the past two decades causing significant degradation of the security situation,” warned Dr. Jacob Mundy, professor and director of Peace and Conflict Studies at Colgate University. Regional vulnerability followed Libya’s collapse in 2011 under a bombardment of U.S./NATO bombs. The destruction of the regime of Muammar Gadhafi unleashed a “torrent of weapons” in the area, Dr. Mundy said during the webinar.

The Last Call 16 November 2021