23 June 2022

Congo-Kinshasa/Rwanda/Uganda/Burundi: Kagame is thought to consider Eastern Congo as “his economic, military and political sphere of influence”. When Tshisekedi recently concluded deals with Uganda and Burundi that are not only military (Ugandan troops allowed to fight against the ADF, Burundian troops against Red-Tabara), Kagame saw this as a threat to Rwandan interests. But the revival of M23 is not only Rwandan doing – and M23, though made up of Rwandophones, is a Congolese, not a Rwandan rebel group. The East African Community (EAC) has just decided the deployment of a regional force, seemingly without any coordination with SADC and the UN. Kenya’s president seems to be the driving force of the EAC regional force – his underlying motivation is said to be the search for commercial opportunities for Kenya. In conclusion, the article states: “Clearly, at the very least, what is called for here is for the multitude of players with stakes in the troubled eastern DRC to sit around the same table to coordinate a viable path to peace. This includes at least the EAC, SADC, the Economic Community of Central African States, the UN and the African Union.” Another instance of Eastern Congo’s suffering from the resource curse?

Mozambique: Is it mining activities that are the drivers of the insurgency in Cabo Delgado? ISS organises a Zoom discussion on the topic on 5th of July.

Kenya: Class and not ethnic belonging will for the first time in Kenyan history determine the outcome of the 9th of August elections. The economy – and especially inflation – is what worries people. Of the two main candidates, Ruto, of humble beginnings, calling himself a “hustler” presents himself as the obvious working-class option – fighting his main rival Odinga’s “dynasty politics”. Odinga is presenting himself as unifying, promises to fight corruption and unemployment. The race promises to be tight – but there are indications that it will be less violent than past elections.

Debt sustainability: The Covid aftermath, rising food and fuel prices and rising interest rates (as central banks around the world try to fight inflation) put many an African country into financial difficulties and may create “debt distress” (difficulties to service foreign debt) and make them require debt restructuring. The median African country’s government debt in 2019 was 51% – by 2021, this figure had increased to 61%. Zambia in 2020 defaulted on its sovereign debt and IMF and World Bank now classify 23 African countries at high risk of/already in debt distress. Chad, Congo-Brazzaville, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe, Somalia, Sudan, Zimbabwe already have difficulties to service their debt. Debt restructuring – preferably under a new mechanism, the Common Framework of the G20 having proven largely ineffective and the Paris Club being outdated because of China’s importance – is inevitable to return to debt sustainability.

African Union/Panel of the Wise: The five pillars of the AU’s African Peace and Security Architecture are the Peace and Security Council, the Continental Early Warning System, the African Standby Force, the Peace Fund and the Panel of the Wise. Panels of the Wise have made important contributions in the past (the article lists them), but when the fourth one’s mandate expired mid-2020, it took the AU until February 2022 to appoint a fifth panel. The Panel definitely needs independent financing (so far, it depends on the Peace and Security Commissioner) and personnel for support.

Nigeria/Widows: There are about 258 million widows in the world, 15 million in Nigeria. For the latter, “widowhood comes with a lot of burdens and disadvantages (including) maltreatment, discrimination and stigmatisation.” It is not only tradition which treats them badly, “modernity and neo-patriarchy (also) present challenges” to them. Sometimes, women widows are excluded from inheritance when their spouse dies, sometimes they are required or expected to marry one of his relatives. Often, widows must wear special cloths (white or dark dresses) and shave their hair during the mourning period. Passing laws to eliminate practices harmful to female widows is by no means evident – men in Nigerian legislatures are in a majority approaching monopoly. In the meantime, “(f)or a start, men can protect their wives and children by writing a will”.

Tunisia: The UGTT rejects the IMF’s conditions for a loan – they are too painful. After the strike the UGTT called last week, which was well followed, this is another spoke in President Kaïs Saïed’s wheel.
BBC Africa Live 23 June 2022. 15:48

Zambia: Defaming the president can get you into prison for up to three years in Zambia. Youths in Chiengi District (Luapula province, north of the country) had “used expletives at a presidential event to express annoyance at how their lives had not changed since Mr Hichilema's election last year” and were arrested. A video showing armed soldiers “slapping them on their faces” has prompted the Human Rights Commission to condemn army brutality.
BBC Africa Live 23 June 2022. 11:18

Somalia: The country’s second-biggest river, the Shabelle, “a major source of water for people in southern and central regions”, is running dry, without doubt further exacerbating drought and food insecurity.
BBC Africa Live 23 June 2022. 8:39

South Africa: The final part of the Zondo report into Zuma-era corruption has been handed over to President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday Wednesday.
BBC Africa Live 23 June 2022. 5:41

Malawi: Ex-police chief George Kainja was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), two days after being sacked by the President. He is 1 of 53 accused of being involved in a 150m USD corruption scandal around British-Malawian businessman Zuneth Sattar. At a court hearing in the capital, Kainja denied any wrongdoing and was granted bail. In the meantime, the country’s Vice-President Saulos Klaus Chilima, who is also accused by the ACB to be involved in the same scandal (who has been stripped of his powers but cannot be sacked by the President) has denied the corruption allegations.
BBC Africa Live 23 June 2022. 17:31
BBC Africa Live 23 June 2022. 17:18

22 June 2022

Somalia: 4 million or more of the 7.7 million Somalis presently in need of humanitarian support need urgent food assistance. With the country fulfilling “all the criteria for being a priority aid recipient”, Somalia may suffer less than others from other crises (like the Ukraine war) and donor humanitarian funds may not decrease. But such funds have never entirely covered needs and needs are growing. Also, though such foreign aid is essential, the country’s underlying and recurring problems cannot be solved by means of humanitarian aid.

Kenya: Candidates for senate seats are estimated to spend on average around 39m Kenya shillings (about 390,000 USD), about 12% more than in 2017. MP mandates are cheaper at 222,000 USD on average. A seat in a County Assembly costs around 31,000 USD. As a comparison: In Ghana, an MP seat cost 85,000 USD in 2016; in Uganda, MPs in 2016 spent between 43,000 and 143,000 USD in 2016. Big spenders are likely to beat smaller spenders. Once they are elected, they will find ways to make money – beyond their 10,000 USD a month salaries (incl. basic allowances).

South Africa: If South Africa today remains “a deeply violent society”, this is in large part in continuation of the violence meted out during colonial and apartheid times. With black lives considered expendable, “(e)xtralegal (unlawful) violence by the police, white farmers and vigilantes, among others, was also tolerated.” Where vigilantes are concerned, this is still the case today. The article’s author has done research into such extralegal vigilante violence in Khayelitsha and Nyanga townships of Cape Town.

South Africa: The case against the Gupta brothers seems strong. Will the National Prosecuting Authority do a good job so as to get them extradited? As the Guptas will no doubt raise many legal challenges, it will take time, in any case – years.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): The 17 SDGs with their 169 more detailed targets and over 200 measures of progress agreed in 2015 are to be reached by 2030. But research of 62 social scientists from around the world has found that only discourses have changed, that SDGs have had hardly any tangible influence on actions and hardly any real transformation has happened to make sure we live up to the “wonderfully high-minded global ambitions”.

Kenya: Body-worn cameras are from now on to be used by staff of the Kenya Revenue Authority especially in the domestic tax department and customs and border control to deal with tax cheating and bribery.
BBC Africa Live 22 June 2022. 6:52

Burkina Faso: Junta head Damiba has yesterday Tuesday met Roch Kaboré, the president he pushed from the throne, as well as Jean-Baptiste Ouedraogo, briefly president 1982-83, “to discuss security issues and to try to defuse the political situation”. As far as security is concerned, the reason given by Damiba for his 24th of January putsch was that Roch Kaboré had failed to stop jihadist attacks, so consulting him now seems somewhat absurd even if the security situation has further worsened since the putsch.
BBC Africa Live 22 June 2022. 5:12

Malawi: Vice-President Saulos Chilima allegedly involved in a 150m USD corruption scandal has been stripped by President Chakwera of all his delegated powers. This is the most that the President can do as the country’s laws do not allow him to sack or even suspend the vice-president because he has been elected.
BBC Africa Live 22 June 2022. 4:39

Sudan/AU/UN : Because they lack transparency and important political actors have been excluded, the African Union has suspended its participation in the intra-Sudanese dialogue process facilitated by the United Nations to end the Sudanese crisis. Started on 8th of June, the dialogue was postponed indefinitely only a few days later because the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) would not participate.
BBC Africa Live 22 June 2022. 7:52