News Briefs 26 August 2022

Southern Africa Focus


Zim opposition leaders begs SA to bear with Zimbabweans for only 400 more days

Zimbabwean opposition leader Nelson Chamisa has appealed to the South African government to bear with Zimbabweans for 400 days before chasing them away from the country, a ‘Bulawayo24’ report revealed on Thursday.

Chamisa is a Zimbabwean politician and the president of the Citizens coalition for change.

His said this after South Africa’s Limpopo provincial health MEC Phophi Ramathuba attacked a Zimbabwean patient at a hospital and told her she must go back to Zimbabwe to health care. In a video that trended at number one on Twitter this week, Ramathuba is seen at Bela Bela Hospital addressing a patient who is presumably Zimbabwean.

IOL 26 August 2022

Zimbabwean hospital offers to pay medical bill of migrant woman berated by Limpopo MEC

A private hospital in Zimbabwe has offered to pay the medical bill of a woman at the centre of Limpopo Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba’s rant about migrants from Zimbabwe being a “huge strain” on the provincial healthcare system.

Arundel Hospital in Harare called on anyone with information on the woman to contact them after a video emerged of Ramathuba berating her for getting treatment in South Africa. The woman is thought to be from Zimbabwe.

In an interview from Harare with News24, Blessing Chitsato, operations manager of Arundel Hospital, said they were willing to foot the medical bill but were having trouble contacting the Limpopo hospital.

He said:

“We are struggling to get through to the hospital where she was said to be admitted. We don’t know her name or anything, for now. We are searching. As soon as we get something positive, we will share [it].”

News24 25 August 2022


Eswatini at odds with Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a statement after last week’s summit in Kinshasa that he was happy that SADC was 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 political crisis there.

This follows violent protests and looting in Eswatini just more than a year ago in which people were killed at that time. Eswatini spokesperson Alpheous Nxumalo said that the only decision taken on Eswatini is the one reflected in the summit’s communiqué, which states that the summit mandated the chair of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation to convene an extraordinary summit of the organ troika, plus Eswatini, “at a date to be determined, aimed at finding a peaceful and lasting solution to the security challenges facing the country”.

He emphasised that this was to look into the security situation in the country only, and that, said Nxumalo. Discussions about involving elders in resolving the situation in Eswatini started weeks after the violent protests. SADC appointed a regional panel of elders in March, headed by former Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete, to help advise the region on political and conflict resolution issues.

Opera News 22 August 2022

‘Security is fast deteriorating’: Eswatini activists welcome SADC move

Pro-democracy activists from Eswatini welcomed the Southern African Development Community (SADC) resolution to send a fact-finding mission to Africa’s last absolute monarchy. They noted, however, that it was not the first fact-finding mission to be sent to Eswatini, with those before not yielding much progress.

Thulani Maseko, a prominent human rights lawyer from Eswatini, and Mlungisi Makhanya, leader of the People’s United Democratic Movement, the largest opposition party in the country spoke to News24. Maseko said: “While we welcome the developments, we are concerned about what we see as a lack of decisiveness when it comes to the Eswatini question.

“The question is, how many fact-finding missions will be conducted before there is a serious commitment to a real meaningful process to resolve the crisis?” He added that he hoped President Cyril Ramaphosa’s framework for dialogue would be consolidated so that King Mswati III commits to it, although in the past, the king had not been so keen on engagement.

News24 20 August 2022

Democratic Republic of Congo

UN peacekeeping force Monusco leaves Butembo base after losing public support

The United Nations peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Monusco, is evacuating its base in the eastern town of Butembo. Local civil society actors say they feel ‘a sense of satisfaction’ and congratulate ‘the population who mobilised as one to demand the unconditional withdrawal of this contingent’.

“We would like them (the Monusco contingents, ed.) to withdraw from Beni territory, as well as from Lubero territory, and why not from North Kivu, as we have indicated in the four civil society coordination’s of the north.” says Mathe Saanane, president of Butembo civil society.

Anger has been fuelled by perceptions that MONUSCO is failing to do enough to stop decades of armed conflict. More than 120 militias operate in the DRC’s troubled east. UN bases in eastern DRC were assailed last month by protesters angered at MONUSCO’s perceived failure to provide security

Deadly clashes broke out on Tuesday between DR Congo troops and an armed group at an empty UN base in the country’s troubled east, officials said.

Africa News 26 August 2022

‘A playground for colonial forces’: Unpacking the anti-UN protests in DR Congo

Last month, the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s senate, Modeste Bahati Lukwebo, called for the UN peacekeepers in the country to pack their bags after more than 20 years on the ground.

His fiery words led some to suggest that the violent anti-UN protests that kicked off ten days later in major cities across eastern parts of the country were the work of high-ranking politicians.

That is a problematic simplification: Depicting protesters as manipulated or paid for by politicians denies their agency and ignores the profound frustration many Congolese have with the UN peacekeeping mission in DRC, which is known by its French acronym, MONUSCO.

A better explanation for the protests should start with an analysis of current political events. Specifically, one must look at the resurgence of the once-dormant M23 armed group, which a leaked UN report indicates is being backed by neighbouring Rwanda.

The New Humanitarian 23 August 2022

East Africa and the Horn


Somalia militants attack hotel in Mogadishu, at least 12 killed

At least 12 people were killed when al Qaeda-linked militants attacked a hotel in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, seizing hostages whom authorities were still battling to free 24 hours later, an intelligence officer said on Saturday.

The attackers blasted their way into the Hayat Hotel on Friday evening with two car bombs before opening fire. Somalia’s al Shabaab insurgents claimed responsibility.

“So far we have confirmed 12 people, mostly civilians, died,” Mohammed, an intelligence officer who only gave one name, told Reuters.

The gunmen were holding an unknown number of hostages on the second floor of the building, Mohammed said, preventing authorities from using heavy weapons.

Reuters 21 August 2022

After Somalia hotel siege, a vow to tackle al-Shabab ‘snake’

It was a Friday evening in Somalia’s capital. The patrons of the Hayat hotel had finished their latest prayers and settled in for coffee, tea or dinner. Families, businesspeople and government workers were there — some of the many who see the promise of their country rebuilding from decades of war.

Hotels are refuges in Mogadishu, but targets, too. The al-Shabab extremist group, affiliated with al-Qaida, for years has carried out complex attacks on them, starting with explosions and holding out for hours as a handful of fighters exchanges gunfire with security forces until a bloody morning end.

This time, about 35 hours followed the moment an explosion shattered the Hayat’s peace. It was the longest such attack in Somalia’s history.

Last weekend’s siege could be a turning point for the Horn of Africa nation and its quest for more security. In the days before the attack, new President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud had vowed an offensive against al-Shabab to dislodge it from the large sections of Somalia it has controlled for years.

Horrified Somalis then watched as 21 people at the Hayat were killed and some dismembered, their remains published by al-Shabab in propaganda videos.

The attack was “a window into the mindset of today’s Al-Shabab and how it has morphed into a more dark, sinister, and nihilistic movement,” the Somali Wire newsletter wrote Wednesday, noting that the hotel was not a “normal” target but “a modest hotel whose clientele were mostly ordinary people.”

Now Somalia’s president vows “total war.”

Associated Press 26 August 2022

Central African Republic

ICC issues warrant for Central African Republic rebel leader

Last week the International Criminal Court (ICC) made public an arrest warrant for a rebel leader in the Central African Republic, Noureddine Adam.

The warrant, which was previously sealed and dated back to January 2019, states that Adam is wanted on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including torture. Adam’s warrant is consistent with the ICC seeking to target the highest-ranking rebel leaders responsible for atrocities in the Central African Republic.

Adam was the number two leader of the Seleka, an armed rebel group that tore its way through the Central African Republic in 2013. One of the first leaders to arrive in the capital, Bangui, when the rebels took the city, Adam became the Minister of Public Security, then later national security advisor. In 2014 he fled Bangui with the rest of the Seleka, and has since moved between Sudan, Chad, and the Central African Republic.

The arrest warrant points to allegations that Adam oversaw torture.

Relief Web 8 August 2022


US ambassador arrives to post in Sudan following 25-year freeze

The first US ambassador to Sudan in 25 years arrived in the country on Wednesday in the latest sign of improved relations between the two nations after the United States removed Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Relations between the US and Sudan were tense during the three-decade rule of former President Omar al-Bashir. During Bashir’s time in power, the US imposed withering sanctions on Khartoum.

Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden lived in Sudan between 1992 and 1996, and the US designated Sudan as a “state sponsor of terrorism” in 1993.

“I am delighted to arrive in Sudan,” said John Godfrey, the new US ambassador to Sudan, in a tweet on Wednesday. “I look forward to deepening relations between Americans and Sudanese and to supporting the Sudanese people’s aspirations to freedom, peace, justice, and a transition to democracy.”

Aljazeera 24 August 2022

Sudan leader Burhan reshuffles army leadership

Sudan’s military leader, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, on Thursday announced a major reshuffling of the country’s military leadership on Thursday, amid political and economic turmoil.

The change includes the military’s land forces, operations, and supply heads as well as it’s general inspector. A change to the air force leadership had been announced previously, while the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Mohamed Osman Alhussein, was kept in his position.

This marks the largest change in army leadership since a coup led by Burhan and other generals on October 25 ended a transitional partnership with civilian political groups.

Reuters 26 August 2022

South Sudan

South Sudan says probing diplomat over “sexual assault” in New York

South Sudan says it is investigating allegations that one of its diplomats at the United Nations sexually assaulted a neighbour, prompting police to briefly detain him in New York.

The undersecretary in the Foreign Affairs ministry, Mayen Dut Wol told Sudan Tribune he learned of the diplomat’s arrest through the media and contacted the mission head and his deputy for more details.

“There was no report that has come from our mission to the United Nations suggesting incident. My attraction was drawn to the media report for which we have started to conduct internal verification about the allegation”, explained Dut.

He said the mission head was out of office, making it difficult to obtain information on what transpired.

Sudan Tribune 24 August 2022

Arrest Armed Politicians “confusing people in camps”: South Sudanese Bishop to Uganda

The Catholic Bishop of South Sudan’s Yei Diocese has called on the government of Uganda to apprehend and imprison armed South Sudanese politicians who are confusing people in refugee camps in the East African nation.

Speaking at Palorinya refugee settlement in Moyo district in Northern Uganda on Monday, August 22, Bishop Alex Lodiong Sakor Eyobo said that the refugee camps are not war zones and that politics should be kept away from refugees.

Bishop Lodiong called upon officials of the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) in Uganda and the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to “arrest and imprison” any politician entering the refugee camps with a gun. 

“We don’t like politicians carrying guns and coming to confuse our brothers and sisters who have sought refuge here,” he said, and added, “Arrest them right away because they are causing conflict among our camp residents.”

ACI Africa 25 August 2022

North Africa and the Sahara

Western Sahara

Autonomy initiative is best for the Western Sahara people

Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said that the view adopted by a group of European countries and others that the autonomy initiative is the basis for a solution to the issue of the Sahara region does not contradict international efforts.

This came in a press conference with his German counterpart, Annalina Baerbock, yesterday on the margins of her two-day visit to Morocco, Bourita said: “When a group of European countries and other countries support and consider the autonomy initiative as a basis for resolving the Sahara issue, it does not contradict the efforts of the United Nations and Security Council resolutions, but rather reinforces that and pushes towards this solution.”

Regarding High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union, Josep Borrell’s statement that it is necessary to “consult” with the Sahrawis, Bourita said: “There was a kind of regret for this statement because it did not reflect the Spanish position or the European position on the Sahara issue.”

Middle East Monitor 26 August 2022

Western Sahara: Germany Renews Support for Morocco’s Autonomy Plan

Rabat – Germany’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Annalena Baerbock reconfirmed on Thursday that Germany considers Morocco’s autonomy plan for the Sahara region as a good foundation for a solution accepted by all parties to the conflict. In a joint declaration, released at the end of her talk with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita, Baerbock said that her country “considers the autonomy plan presented in 2007 as a serious and credible effort.”

The minister reiterated Germany’s support for “the process led by the United Nations for a political solution that is realistic, pragmatic, lasting, and mutually acceptable to the parties.” Reaffirming their commitment to UN Security Council Resolution 2602, the two ministers noted the exclusivity of the UN in the political process to find a compromise-based, realistic solution.

The joint statement also reiterated the two countries’ support for MINURSO and praised the efforts of Staffan de Mistura, who serves as the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations on this dossier.

Morocco World News 25 August 2022