07 October 2021

Sudan: To put pressure on the government, protesters in the north-east of the country with their blockade of Port Sudan are “throttling the national economy”. Sayed Tirik, chairman of the “High Council for the Tribes of the Beja” stands for people who want to end neglect of the region by Khartoum, who want a fair sharing of power and wealth and a fair representation in the central government. Their demands also include cancelling the Juba peace agreement of 3rd of October 2020. However, Sayed Tirik does not represent the whole region/is by no means supported by all ethnic groups in the north-east (the Beja are just one of 17 in that part of the country). In the meantime, Sudan is running out of basic commodities like essential medicines, fuel and wheat. In the article’s author’s view, the government should refuse “tribalisation” and start discussions with all components of the region in one common forum

Kenya/disinformation on Twitter: NPO Mozilla Foundation has found that there were, in May and June 2021, “at least 11 disinformation campaigns consisting of more than 23,000 tweets and 3,700 participating accounts” used bots (automated software that runs repetitive tasks online) and sock puppet accounts (fake accounts) and “using well-known “influencers” to promote their messages, often coordinated attacks on targeted individuals or campaigns.” There also were “hashtags sponsored or paid for by Kenya’s key political players in an effort to control the national political narrative through various disinformation practices.” Individuals were also targeted, members of pro-democracy activist group Linda Katiba and judges perceived to be anti-government following their court rulings were attacked and some are now fearful to continue engaging in debate. The pockets of freedom provided in digital spaces of social networks are thus seriously under threat: “The invasion and weaponisation of the digital public sphere by well-resourced state operatives and various shadowy groups is therefore worrying.”
There are other “subtle and sophisticated ways of controlling or shaping political agendas and discourses” on social networks, with Tanzania and Nigeria e.g. using copyright laws to silence dissenting voices.

A rat does not seek wisdom from one place
BBC Africa Live 07 October 2021. African proverb of the day. A Twi proverb sent by Noble Ohene Gyan in western Ghana.

Tanzania: Human Rights Watch urges the government “to reverse its ban on pregnant students and adolescent mothers attending school”, a measure it considers “discriminatory and inhumane”.
BBC Africa Live 07 October 2021. 10:12

Tanzania: Abdulrazak Gurnah, originally from Tanzania, is this year’s literature Nobel Prize winner “for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents.” He has been living in Great Britain since the 1960s, was “professor of English and Postcolonial Literatures at the University of Kent until his recent retirement.”
BBC Africa Live 07 October 2021. 11:14
BBC Africa Live 07 October 2021. 11:29
BBC Africa Live 07 October 2021. 11:45

Discontent: Increased protests and riots in Africa can be explained by “disparate distribution of resources, widening inequality and systemic relative deprivation among various groups of people”, with Covid exacerbating “hardships and frustrations”. Economics may be the most important driver of discontent, but “(p)olitical uncertainties, poor service provision and the absence of basic freedoms can overrule economic indicators.”

Cameroon/Lake Chad Basin: With guns being increasingly used, inter-communal clashes in Cameroon’s Extreme North have become more violent of late. “Climate change increases the competition for scarce resources, which, fuelled by identity-based politics, leads to bloody conflicts.” Before the background of Boko Haram violence, something should be done quickly to calm such inter-communal conflicts before they take on a regional dimension.

Gambia: After the fallout with the allies that carried him to electoral victory in 2016, President Barrow’s teaming up with the party of long-time dictator Yahya Jammeh now raises serious doubts about his commitment to deliver on promises of justice for Jammeh-era violations. Will the perpetrators ever stand trial? Barrow has broken promises before (to step down after three years and call free elections). Even Jammeh’s return from exile in Equatorial Guinea seems now possible.

Burkina: It is no surprise: Blaise Compaoré (and also his lawyers) will boycott the trial over Thomas Sankara’s assassination on 15th of October 1987. Blaise Compaoré has taken up Ivorian citizenship after his flight from Burkina at the end of 2014 and it is highly unlikely that he be extradited, though an international warrant for his arrest has been issued in 2016.
BBC Africa Live 07 October 2021. 13:37

06 October 2021

Somaliland: The deportation – for “reasons of insecurity” – of about 1,000 Somalis who had lived in the area for close to 20 years has been condemned by OCHA, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
BBC Africa Live 06 October 2021. 6:02

Mali: The French ambassador was summoned by Mali’s foreign ministry to protest against Emmanuel Macron’s recent comments which had accused the government of “non-work” and abandoning its responsibilities.
BBC Africa Live 06 October 2021. 4:39
BBC Africa Live 05 October 2021. 17:03

Mozambique/SADC: The mission of SADC troops to fight insurgents in northern Cabo Delgado province has been extended beyond 15th of October at an extraordinary SADC summit yesterday Tuesday.
BBC Africa Live 06 October 2021. 7:30