20 December 2022

My two main sources for the article summaries, BBC Africa and The Conversation, are in holiday mode since 19th of December, BBC Africa has switched off its “Africa Live” programme and does only “Latest Updates”, The Conversation republishes articles from its archives. As I do not invent news: sorry for the dearth of them for the time being…

Hippopotamus instead of elephant ivory: With the ban on elephant ivory trade tightening, ivory from the hippopotamus’s lower teeth is increasingly used as a substitute – they are denser/harder to carve than elephant teeth, but are used for carved decorations alike. Yet these animals are “vulnerable to extinction” (IUCN classification since 2016), their worldwide population is estimated to have dropped by 30% between 1994 and 2016 to between 115,000 and 130,000. But EU and East and South African countries have opposed stricter rules for hippopotamus ivory trade. “(T)hree-quarters of the estimated 13,909 hippos whose parts and products were (legally) traded between 2009 and 2018” come from Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Little is known about how much poaching and illegal trade takes place. Hippopotamus could – like elephants before them – become an endangered species (or even “critically endangered” in the case of the forest elephants).

19 December 2022

South Africa: Cyril Ramaphosa has been re-elected as leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) despite the the Phala Phala scandal. He got 2,476 votes against his rival Zweli Mkhize’s 1,897 – not a very impressive win (56.5% of votes cast), but a bigger margin than for his first five-year term. So he is now “in pole position to lead the ANC in the 2024 election” and probably be re-elected president (though with a reduced share in the votes). Four more of the seven highest ANC post went to people “on Ramaphosa’s slate”, only Paul Mashatile (Deputy president – likely to become South Africa’s Vice President) and Nomvula Mokonyane (1st Deputy secretary-general) were “on Mkhize’s slate”. No leader from Jacob Zuma’s Kwa-Zulu Natal obtained one of the seven highest posts.
Here are the four remaining top ANC posts: National chairperson: Gwede Mantashe; Secretary-General: Fikile Mbalula; 2nd Deputy secretary-general: Maropene Ramokgopa; Treasurer general: Gwen Ramapkgopa.

Sudan: To celebrate the 4th anniversary of the beginning of the uprising that managed to get rid of long-time dictator Omar al-Bashir, demonstrators today Monday marched on the presidential palace. And they marched to demand civilian rule and to express their disagreement with the recent deal between the junta that has monopolised power since the October 2021 coup d’état and some civilian groups. They were met with tear gas and stun grenades.