12 October 2022

Burkina Faso/Russia: Wagner Group’s appeal in West Africa and Burkina continues unabated “despite its links to massive civilian casualties and allegations of grift surrounding the group’s acquisition of major long-term mining concessions”. In the absence of analysis and trustworthy information, and with absurd rumours circulating on social media, anti-French sentiment could benefit Russia and Wagner Group under Burkina Faso’s new regime.

Nigeria/USA: 21 Benin Bronzes from the Smithsonian, one from the National Gallery of Arts and one from the Rhode Island School of Design have been handed over to the Nigerian Minister of Information and Culture in Washington. “The items were among thousands of artworks known as the Benin Bronzes stolen from the Benin Kingdom in present-day Nigeria by British colonialists in 1897.”
BBC Africa Live 12 October 2022. 6:35

Somalia: Al-Shabaab has consistently pursued or said it pursued three goals: getting rid of foreign troops (be they from the US, Ethiopia or the African Union), implementing its salafist interpretation of Sharia and defeating the Somali federal government and federal member states, presenting itself as an alternative, offering services in justice and dispute mediation and offering protection in exchange for the taxes it imposes. Since Hassan Mohamud’s recent election, there is a new emphasis on eliminating Al-Shabaab, not only weakening it. In this, local militias are to play a more important role. Whether this new approach proves successful remains to be seen.

West Africa’s oceans: Fishery resources are in decline, coral reefs and seashells are being lost, coasts erode, sea levels rise. The factors causing most problems are 1. Plastic waste, 2. Oil spillage and oily waste, 3. Illegal fishing by foreign trawlers, 4. Ocean acidity, 5. Bioinvasion (mostly caused by shipping and maritime activities). To try and improve matters, four protocols to the 1981 Abidjan Convention (Convention for the Co-operation in the Protection and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the West and Central African Region) have been adopted: the Grand Bassam Protocol (aims to combat pollution from activities on land), the Pointe-Noire Protocol (for integrated coastal zone management), the Calabar Protocol (for sustainable mangrove management) and the Malabo Protocol (on environmental norms and standards related to offshore oil and gas activities). Will they improve things?

South Africa: Small-scale farmers – mostly black – are much less productive than big farmers – mostly white. According to the article’s author, government help should refocus on “improving farmers’ access to information, technology, skills and markets”.

11 October 2022

Chad: Ndolembai Njesada, deputy leader of the main opposition party The Transformers has called the swearing in of Mahamat Idriss Déby a “democratic regression”, criticised letting him stand for the post-transition presidential elections (which is like “being both a player and the referee in a football game”) and threatened to form a parallel government.
BBC Africa Live 11 October 2022. 7:12

Burundi: The sacking of Prime minister Guillaume Bunyoni was well received by the general public. According to the article’s authors, Guillaume Bunyoni and President Evariste Ndayishimiye stand for different factions of the ruling CNDD-FDD, Bunyoni for the corrupt self-enrichers, Ndayishimiye for reformers who want to start the country on a different path. By sacking General Gabriel Nizigama at the same time as Bunyoni, the President has got rid of mots of Nkurunziza’s men in high offices and there is hope for the country’s future.

Lesotho: Sam Matekane's Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) party, just 5 seats short of a majority in parliament, has concluded a deal with two small parties, the Alliance of Democrats (AD) and the Movement for Economic Change (MEC) to form a government. Sam Matekane has promised “economic growth, more jobs, better infrastructure, a reduction in government ministries and new rules making public servants declare their assets.”
BBC Africa Live 11 October 2022. 14:46

Tanzania/Burundi: While Tanzania “granted citizenship to 160,000 Burundian refugees” in 2006 and 2007, it now wants to repatriate over 120,000 from two camps in Kigoma region (near the border with Burundi). According to humanitarians, conditions in these two camps may be better for the refugees than at home, rights groups and the UN have voiced concerns that the “refugees have suffered abuses including arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances at the hands of Tanzanian officers in cooperation with Burundian authorities.”
BBC Africa Live 11 October 2022. 19:26

Somalia: Abdalla Ahmed Muumin, leader of the country’s journalist union, has been arrested following his critique of “new government restrictions on the reporting of militant Islamist group al-Shabab”, saying the measures would not counter “al-Shabab’s sophisticated propaganda campaigns”, as the government claims, but silence critics.
BBC Africa Live 11 October 2022. 18:44