24 May 2022

Angola: Frustration with MPLA politics that have not substantially changed despite João Lourenço’s taking over in 2017 has led to the formation of the broad United Patriotic Front that brings together key opposition leaders and civil society organisations. But MPLA is likely to win the upcoming elections, partly because of electoral fraud and obstruction. The reforms introduced by João Lourenço were mainly targeted at the international community (where Angola’s image stands much improved). As for the broad masses, their socio-economic situation has worsened and most are disillusioned. And: “The MPLA is reverting to old authoritarian reflexes – legal-administrative obstacles, harassment and intimidation, physical violence, arbitrary detention, extra-legal killings, media manipulation, judicial bias and electoral fraud – to thwart any possible opposition threat to its dominance.” They are likely to stay in power.

Senegal: The article reports on the author’s research on coastal erosion on Palmarin peninsula in the south of the country’s Petite Côte. According to the article, Senegal’s coastline has retreated an average of 2.2 metres per year 1954-2002 and by 3 metres 2014-18. Caused by climate change et al., the effects are dramatic and difficult to counteract.

Gabon: Libreville has banned an anti-French opposition march because it could “jeopardise the ‘excellent relationship’ between the two countries” which have a defence agreement.
BBC Africa Live 24 May 2022. 12:14

WHO: In elections which were a mere formality because he was the only candidate, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was re-elected head of the World Health Organization (WHO) for another five years. The Ethiopian ex-minister of health, later of foreign affairs is now 57 years old.
BBC Africa Live 24 May 2022. 16:07

Uganda: Dr Kizza Besigye took part in protests against the high cost of living with megaphones on his car. He is reported to have “caused business in the local area to come to a standstill” – he was arrested on charges of inciting violence. Well, he’s been in prison so many times…
BBC Africa Live 24 May 2022. 17:05

23 May 2022

Mozambique: The US, Portugal, South Africa – all have put a lot of pressure on Maputo to be allowed to help against the terrorists in Cabo Delgado. The US is trying to internationalise the question, calling the Mozambican jihadists “Isis-Mozambique” though Maputo has so far been able to largely resist US involvement – all serious researchers agree that this is a very dominantly local conflict. Portugal, the former colonial power, has been trying to get a foot in the door ever since it was forced out in 1975 – it now contributes the majority of the troops of a European Union training mission for the Mozambican army. The regional power South Africa has put its weight into the creation of a SADC (Southern African Development Community) military intervention force, Samim, though Maputo dragged its feet and only allowed them in in mid-July 2021, ten days after the arrival of Rwandan troops with whom Maputo apparently feels much more comfortable. Recently, Kampala also announced help against the terrorists and well before, the Mozambican president had been to Paris to meet Macron. “(T)he Rwanda-Uganda-France axis is helping to keep South Africa, Portugal and the US at bay.” Maputo (= Frelimo and the military) want to keep Cabo Delgado and all distribution of aid under tight control, with journalists and aid workers not really welcome. Up to now, “Mozambican authorities are not allowing displaced people to return to most of Mocimboa da Praia”, yet TotalEnergies has said it would not restart its operations unless life was back to normal in Mocimboa da Praia and that “a simple security zone was not acceptable”. Does Maputo hope that TotalEnergies will change its mind? Will it change its mind?

Congo-Kinshasa: The M23 (March 23 Movement), active “in the tiny but highly strategic border triangle between eastern DRC, Rwanda and Uganda” is just one of several armed groups that sow havoc in Eastern Congo (alongside it, you find the Allied Democratic Forces, CODECO and several others). Since late 2021, the M23 has stepped up its attacks. In the authors’s view, this is very probably “a reaction to Kinshasa’s attempts to end insecurity in the east. The M23 may feel threatened while at the same time seeking to strengthen its position in the event of any negotiations.” After a brief overview of the history of the 2012-born M23, the article goes on to analyse the underlying reasons for the existence and resurgence (after the 2013 peace deal) of M23, amongst which the most important is that “the Tutsi from North Kivu deplore the failure of the Congolese state to respect and protect them as citizens”.

Uganda: “Museveni (…) has always denied grooming his son to succeed him”. But he’s clearly been lying. The official celebrations of his son’s 48th birthday and even more a series of recent tweets of his son’s should be proof enough. On 1st of May, he wrote: “We have taken over the country! We will not stop until we are in complete control!” The article then gives a short overview of Muhoozi Kainerugaba’s life – a steep rise to commander of the land forces – and then over Museveni’s methods in controlling “his” country and the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM). His son has only emerged from anonymity in 2017. But since, he is being groomed. Though access to the throne is not guaranteed – he’ll have to win elections, against Bobi Wine, amongst others.

Togo: On 10th and 11th of May, the second jihadist attack took place on Togolese territory, very close to the Burkinabè border. The al-Qaida affiliate Jama’a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin is thought to be behind the attack. The first such attack had happened in November 2021. “(P)overty, inequality, illiteracy, unemployment, corruption, weak institutions and poor governance” make Togo vulnerable to violent extremism, yes – and something should be done about that. But that’s about it for this article’s content.

Nigeria/Art: Artist cum lecturer Dilomprizulike primarily uses garbage as his material – “a critique of today’s ultra-materialist culture”. His “startling vision has both mesmerised and befuddled art critics and audiences by equal turns”. He returned to Nigeria only in 2018, after 24 years spent mostly in Germany, lives in Lagos.

Ethiopia: More than 4,500 “suspected of spreading lawlessness” have been arrested in northern Amhara region in what authorities call “an operation to enforce law and order”. But according to the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC), there were no proper court warrants for lots of the arrests and lots of detainees have not been visited by family. Critics suspect that (part of) the objective is the silencing of dissent.
BBC Africa Live 23 May 2022. 11:40

Kenya: “Chapter Six of Kenya’s Constitution stipulates that people whose conduct is deemed as dishonourable or detrimental to public confidence and integrity should be barred from holding public office.” The advocacy group National Integrity Alliance (NIA) wants 25 aspirants to be disqualified from seeking office at the upcoming elections “over integrity concerns”, 8 of Ruto’s (including his running mate Rigathi Gachagua who is facing corruption charges) and 10 of Odinga’s allies.
BBC Africa Live 23 May 2022. 10:52

Tunisia: One day after refusing to participate in the President’s limited dialogue for studying ideas for political and economic reform, UGTT, the country’s main labour union, has announced it will hold a national strike to demand wage increases in the face of inflation.
BBC Africa Live 23 May 2022. 14:10

Uganda: At a school event in Kyenjojo (west of the country), Kahinda Otafiire, minister of Internal Affairs, reportedly said that “poor people will not go to heaven because they insult God through lamentations and accusations every day” and to have encouraged students to work hard: “Strive to overcome poverty because being rich is glorious.”
BBC Africa Live 23 May 2022. 13:19