News Briefs 30 July 2021

Southern Africa Focus


After two years of three digits, Zimbabwe inflation drops to 56%

Zimbabwean inflation slowed to double digits in July for the first time in more than two years.

Consumer prices rose 56.37% from a year earlier, compared with 106.6% in June, the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency said Tuesday in an emailed statement. The last time the southern African nation’s inflation rate was not in triple digits was in May 2019. Costs climbed 2.56% in the month.

Inflation started spiraling out of control toward the end of 2018 and peaked at 837.5% almost two years later. The acceleration was largely due to a number of missteps that led to a cash scarcity in the country. Its currencies, comprising bond notes theoretically pegged to the dollar and an electronic currency known as RTGS$, mostly used for commercial transactions, plunged.

The parallel system was scrapped and replaced by the reintroduction of the Zimbabwe dollar 2019. A moved last year to allow the exchange rate to be set by an auction system instead of a fixed peg to the US dollar has helped stabilise the currency and bring price growth down.

Moneyweb 27 July 2021

Judiciary and Police Complicit in Arbitrary Imprisonment of Human Rights Defender Makomborero Haruzivishe

Zanu-PF is using arbitrary imprisonment as a choice method of persecution, Gukurahundi style. Unfortunately, this time the judiciary, police and prisons seem to be fully in on it.

One of the methods of persecution during the Gukurahundi massacres was the arbitrary arrest and detention of opposition Zimbabwe African People’s Union (Zapu) leaders, many of whom spent several years in jail without any legal basis.

In 1983, Lookout Masuku, Dumiso Dabengwa and several other Zipra (the military wing of Zapu) commanders were tried for treason regarding alleged arms caches. Separately, Sydney Malunga was also charged for treason and for supporting dissidents to overthrow the government. All were acquitted of the treason charges after their cases collapsed because witnesses and evidence were found to be unreliable.

But despite their acquittals, they all continued to be detained under ministerial order.

AllAfrica 28 July 2021


Eswatini political parties express little hope in justice system

The High Court in Mbabane reserved judgment of the bail applications of both Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube.

Political parties in Eswatini say they have little hope that the arrested members of parliament, Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube would be granted bail.

This is after the High Court in Mbabane reserved judgment of their bail application.

Mabuza and Dube were arrested and charged with terrorism on Sunday.

They are accused of inciting the pro-democracy violent protests that left properties destroyed and several people dead.

Mabuza is facing additional charges of disobeying coronavirus regulations. He allegedly addressed a gathering at which the lockdown regulations were not followed.

President of the Ngwane National Liberatory Congress, Sibongile Mazibuko says they do not trust the Eswatini justice system.

SABC News 30 July 2021

March planned in support of Eswatini MPs charged with terrorism

Several organisations have condemned the arrest of two members of parliament in the Kingdom of Eswatini.

Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube were arrested on Sunday.

A protest march has been planned to take place on Thursday when they appear in court for a bail application. The Swaziland Multi Stakeholders Forum says it is in support of the march.

The two members of parliament, Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube have been charged with terrorism. This follows the violent protest action that erupted in Eswatini, last month. They are accused of inciting the violence that left a trail of destruction of property and several people dead.

Mabuza and Dube have been in custody since Sunday.

SABC News 28 July 2021

Democratic Republic of Congo

DR Congo students protest police killing of maskless classmate

Students continue protest at the University of Kinshasa campus in the Democratic Republic of Congo where, police are regularly accused of harassment and of pocketing mask fines they collect.

The protest stirred after a police officer shot a student over the weekend for not wearing a mask while filming on the streets of the capital.

The schoolmate of the now deceased student, Honoré Shama, could not hide their frustration.

“We are shocked, we are emotional. He (Honoré Shama) had come to campus to study like any student. He could have been a future executive of the country, but we don’t understand what happened. He was killed just because of a face mask that doesn’t cost even 100 francs, and now he is dead” said Dan, student in the literature department of the University of Kinshasa.

Africa News 27 July 2021

7 Soldiers, 15 Islamist Rebels Killed in DR Congo Clashes

Seven soldiers and 15 members of a notorious armed Islamist group have died in three days of clashes in northeastern DR Congo, the army said Tuesday.

The armed forces launched an offensive on Saturday against positions held by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in Tchabi, in Ituri province, the region’s military governor, Lieutenant-General Johnny Luboya, told AFP.

“We lost seven troops and on the ADF side, 15 rebels were neutralized,” he said.

The operation also led to the release of 150 hostages “who had been used as human shields,” he said, confirming an earlier military report issued on Sunday.

At the end of May, authorities accused the rebels of killing at least 50 civilians in Boga and Tchabi in Irumu territory, where they also attacked a refugee camp.

Defence Web 27 July 2021

Central Africa and the Horn

Central African Republic

Central African Republic: Aid group halts work after attacks on staff

Charity Doctors without Borders said Friday it was suspending operations in the Central African Republic (CAR) after its staff came under attack by armed groups.

The organization accuses fighters of attacks on health workers and facilities.

In June, a convoy transporting patients to MSF’s hospital in Batangafo was caught in an ambush by armed men, leaving a patient’s caretaker dead.

“NGOs and also the Central African population are targeted by armed groups. This year we have documented 130 cases against NGOs with 3 cases of murder,” said Denise Brwon, the organization’s humanitarian coordinator in CAR.

Fighting resumed in the Central African Republic last December as a rebel coalition allegedly backed by former President Francois Bozize sought to overthrow elected President Faustin-Archange Touadera.

Africa News 24 July 2021

At least a dozen civilians killed in Central African Republic attack, UN says

Thirteen civilians were killed in clashes north of Bangui, the capital of the perennially restive Central African Republic, the UN mission in the country said Thursday.

Peacekeepers found “13 dead bodies in Bongboto”, about 300 kilometres (190 miles) north of Bangui, on Wednesday, MINUSCA spokesman lieutenant-colonel Abdoulaziz Fall told AFP.

CAR is the second least-developed country in the world according to the UN and suffers from the aftermath of a brutal civil conflict that erupted in 2013.

MINUSCA said it would do everything “to shed light on this sad incident” and bring the attackers to justice.

The government has blamed the Coalition of Patriots for Change, created in December 2020 to try and topple President Faustin Archange Touadera, of being behind the attack.

France24 23 July 2021


Al-Shabab Threatens to Disrupt Upcoming Somali Elections

Somali terrorist group al-Shabab has threatened to attack electoral delegates who will be choosing lawmakers in parliamentary elections beginning next week.

The Islamist militant group has threatened to disrupt the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in the Horn of Africa country.

The leader of the group, Ahmed Abu Ubaidah, said Tuesday they are opposed to the poll process and threatened the electoral delegates.

He said the delegates should not be deceived by the empty promises such as financial benefit and secret ballot, and should think of the destiny of previous delegates who took part in 2017 elections, some whom were killed and others still live-in fear.

Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for attacks that killed dozens of delegates during the last election process in 2017.

AllAfrica 21 July 2021

Somalia’s Jubbaland State to Elect Senators on Thursday

Somalia’s Jubbaland state will finally vote for senators on Thursday, a process which will kick-start the twice-delayed electoral season in the country.

The decision came after Jubbaland leader Ahmed Madobe finally issued a list of candidates. The list’s delayed publication led to a rescheduling of elections meant for last Sunday.

Jubbaland has been allocation eight seats in the federal Senate or Upper House.

Thursday’s vote will be for four of the seats while elections for the four remaining posts will take place after candidates are vetted.

AllAfrica 28 July 2021


More Refugees from Ethiopia Stream into Sudan

Authorities in Sudan say at least 3,000 Ethiopian refugees fled into Sudan this week, after the war in Ethiopia’s Tigray region spread to the neighboring Amhara region. VOA speaks to a refugee camp director and a political analyst about the significance of the influx in this report from Khartoum.

Sudanese authorities reported thousands of Ethiopian refugees crossing the border this week.  In a phone interview with VOA, the head of the Al-Qadarif Emergency Committee handling refugee camps, Alfatih Mogadam, said the registered number of the new asylum seekers is 1,058.

Mogadam says the camps will struggle to absorb so many refugees, and he asked the Sudanese government and aid groups to quickly intervene.

Voice of America 28 July 2021

Sudan’s Liberation Movements Chart Conditions for Lasting Peace

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North led by Abdelaziz El Hilu (SPLM-N El Hilu), and the mainstream Sudan Liberation Movement under the leadership of Abdelwahid El Nur (SLM-AW), have stipulated that secularism, restructuring of the state and security sector, and pluralism, including recognising the role of women, are essential to lasting peace in Sudan.

The two leaders issued a joint statement today at the conclusion of five days of “deep, serious, and transparent dialogue” in the rebel stronghold of Kauda in South Kordofan (Nuba Mountains), to discuss “the long-term historical struggle of the marginalised Sudanese peoples for freedom, justice, equality and human dignity”. The meeting discussed all urgent national issues, issues of transition, and the political current.

Both parties agreed that “the unity of the Sudanese state must be based on: secularism, democracy, liberalism, equal, and decentralised citizenship, balanced development, the free will of its peoples, voluntary unity, and the right of all Sudanese peoples to determine their destiny and their administrative and political future as a human, legal, and genuine democratic right and the principle of the rule of law.”

AllAfrica 29 July 2021

South Sudan

In South Sudan, church works to keep young people off streets, drugs

On the streets of Yei in southern South Sudan, dazed youths meet for their daily dose of cocaine and marijuana. Others are seen in neglected structures consuming alcohol and using illegal substances.

John Sebit is one of them.

“I don’t know how I found myself in the street,” said the 20-year-old who has used a variety of drugs while on his own for the last three years. “I have no one to take care of me. I lost all my parents and some of my siblings.”

Sebit is haunted by the memories of what he experienced in 2017 when the South Sudan army raided his family’s home in the middle of the night, dragged out his parents and shot them. His sisters were raped and two of his brothers were kidnapped, he told Catholic News Service.

“I still remember and get flashbacks of everything that happened that night. Whenever I think how they killed my people, I cry,” he said. He escaped by hiding in a water storage tank.

Catholic Philly 29 July 2021

‘We’ve had enough’: South Sudan civil society demands action for change

A coalition of South Sudanese civil society groups has launched a public campaign to demand political change after 10 turbulent and often bloody years of independence, declaring: “We have had enough”.

The world’s newest nation has struggled to recover from a civil war unleashed only two years after its 2011 creation and is now grappling with chronic instability and a desperate hunger crisis.

The People’s Coalition for Civil Action (PCCA) said it wanted South Sudanese living at home and abroad to mobilise and “make their voices heard”, warning that if nothing changed, the country could be heading back to war.

“We invite all the citizens of South Sudan to come in their thousands to join the coalition,” PCCA representative Rajab Mohandis said at a press briefing in the capital Juba on Thursday.

The East African 30 July 2021

North Africa

Western Sahara

Sahrawi Government Condemns Involvement of Morocco in Pegasus Espionage

The Sahrawi Government on Friday condemned the involvement of Morocco in the Pegasus espionage case, saying that this is a “criminal act” contrary to all charters and treaties governing international relations, reports the Sahrawi press agency (SPS).

“The Sahrawi government has learnt of the involvement of the Kingdom of Morocco in the biggest case of espionage against governments, political circles, civil society organizations, media and ordinary people,” said the Sahrawi Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement.

The Sahrawi FM pointed out to the international community that “this is only a small example of what the Sahrawi people have suffered since the Moroccan military invasion in 1975, in flagrant violation of United Nations (UN) resolutions, the African Union (AU) and the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice.

AllAfrica 24 July 2021

I’ve been raped, beaten and held under house arrest for fighting for my Sahrawi people

Earlier this month, the Biden administration reaffirmed the United States’ recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara, a disputed region on the northwest coast of Africa. The United Nations calls Western Sahara a “non-self-governing territory”; I call it home. My home is under occupation and my people, the Sahrawis, are under attack, and the US position on Western Sahara legitimizes this occupation and will be used as license for further attacks. I know this because I have lived it.

As an outspoken advocate for self-determination in Western Sahara, I have long been a target for the occupying Moroccan government. I have been beaten, tortured, and abducted by Moroccan police while engaged in peaceful protests; after a particularly violent assault in 2007, I lost my right eye.

Because I refuse to be silenced, Morocco stepped up its efforts against me late last year. On November 19, while driving to my home in Boujdour, I was stopped at a police and military checkpoint. The authorities forced me into a police car and took me to a nearby police station, where I was interrogated, sexually assaulted, and told to go home and not to speak to anyone. I arrived home soon thereafter to find it surrounded by 21 police vehicles and numerous officers, who physically pushed me into the house. I have been forcibly confined to the house ever since.

CNN 29 July 2021