By - Adedoyin Shittu
The biggest story no doubt in the continent is the Russia – Africa Summit that took place between October 23 – 24, 2019.
In a winning week for Vladimir Putin of Russia , but that cannot be said of Africa yet, close to 50 African leaders gather for a two-day summit in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, the Russian president was trying to resurrect old bonds forged by the Soviet Union and re-create Russian influence around the world. Russia is already the largest arms exporter to Africa and has signed military cooperation agreements with at least 28 African governments.
Aprecon brings you a brief of this and some other major news highlights
Close to 50 African leaders were in Russia’s Black Sea city of Sochi for the first ever Russia – Africa forum. The forum ran between October 23 – 24 and it is part of Moscow’s ambitious push for influence and business in Africa. Russian President Vladimir Putin told African leaders he wants to more than double the amount Russia trades with the continent as he welcomed them to a meeting at the resort of Sochi. While education and healthcare are still Russia’s main focus in parts of Africa, Putin wants to expand his influence far beyond this
A Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Russian Federation and the African Union on basic principles of relations and cooperation and a Memorandum of Understanding between the Eurasian Economic Commission and the African Union on economic cooperation were adopted at the summit.
The participants also agreed to “work together to counter political dictatorship and financial blackmail in international trade and economic cooperation, prevent individual countries from obtaining the exclusive right to determine the appropriateness and permissible parameters of legal collaboration between other countries; avoid manipulating requirements of the global non-proliferation regime for exerting pressure on unwelcome countries and competing unfairly,” the document reads. Over 500 agreements worth $12 billion inked at the Summit.
Botswana: Botswana Election
Botswana’s incumbent President Mokgweetsi Masisi has won a five-year term after his Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) secured a majority of the seats in the national assembly, the country’s chief justice announced. The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) won the general election after securing 29 national assembly seats, representing 51% of the vote. The BDP has been in power since the country gained independence from Britain in 1966.
Botswana voted on Wednesday, October 23, to elect 57 national assembly and 490 local government representatives, with the candidate of the winning party set to become president. Mr Masisi first became president in 2018 after his predecessor, Ian Khama, resigned. Since then the two have fallen out. In May, Mr Khama accused the president of “autocracy” and announced his support for the opposition coalition Umbrella for Democratic Change.
Nigeria: Nigeria police free more than 100 people in shackles
Police in central Nigeria’s Kwara state have raided another private rehabilitation centre where they rescued 108 detainees with men, women and children found in shackles. Kayode Egbetokun, the state commissioner of police, disclosed the recent effort while speaking with journalists on Thursday, October 24. Egbetokun said the command acted on a tip-off and raided the centre where the inmates comprising 103 males and five females were detained under inhuman conditions. Olaide Arikewuyo, one of the female inmates, alleged that she was sexually abused by the uncle of the owner of the centre. She said she has had three abortions as a result of the abuses.
This is the sixth such raid by the police in a month following allegations of torture and abuse of detainees.
On Wednesday, October 23, police in Adamawa State rescued 13 adults and two teenagers from another illegal rehabilitation home in Adamawa state. The 15 victims were found in dehumanising conditions and some of the victims had spent the past year in that condition. It was revealed that except for two teens all the other victims were adults within the age bracket of 22 and 46 years.
Ethiopia: Ethiopia protest death toll rises to 27
The authorities in Ethiopia say 27 people have been killed this week during outbreaks of violence in the Oromia Region.
The unrest which began on Wednesday, October 23, when protests broke out after the prominent activist and journalist Jawar Mohamed said the government was trying to remove his bodyguards. The day before, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had suggested Mr Jawar’s media outlet was inciting ethnic violence. Clashes erupted in at least four cities after police attempted to forcibly disperse the demonstrations with tear gas and live ammunition. Hundreds of Mohammed’s supporters remain camped around his home as of Thursday, October 24.
Mohammed has appealed for calm as the stand-off with police continues outside his residence. In an effort to calm down the explosive situation, the Oromia region and central government officials apologized for the misunderstanding recent developments have been created that sparked the violence.
Mr Jawar is extremely influential and his news site fuelled the protests that catapulted Mr Abiy into power last year. If Mr Jawar were to renounce his US citizenship and run for office next year this would be a huge challenge for the Nobel Prize winning prime minister who is also an ethnic Oromo.
Ugandan security forces raid student halls
Students from Uganda’s Makerere University stormed a police station in the capital, Kampala on Monday, October 21, to demand the release of their 15 colleagues who were arrested while protesting against a hike in tuition fees approved last year. The female students were arrested as they attempted to march to the office of President Yoweri Museveni to ask for his intervention in the dispute.
The students also accused the army and police of raiding their hostels and beating whoever they found in addition to destroying property. Judith Nalukwago, a student leader, told journalists that some students are admitted to the university hospital and others are in private hospitals off campus. At least 11 students were hospitalised after personnel from the army and police raided their halls of residence on Thursday night.
South Africa: South Africa’s opposition leader Maimane quits DA party, parliament
South Africa’s opposition leader, Mmusi Maimane on Thursday, October 24, quit the Democratic Alliance party and resigned his parliamentary seat, one day after he had stepped down as leader of the country’s biggest opposition party. The announcement posted on his official Twitter account, deepens the party’s leadership vacuum, after its chairman, president and parliamentary chief whip, Herman Mashaba, quit in less than a week. ‘‘I have worked tirelessly to build the project of One SA for All. It’s been my greatest honour to serve the people of SA and will continue to do so. I have today resigned from the DA and Parliament,’‘ read part of Maimane’s tweet.
Zimbabwe: More Than 50 Elephants Have Starved To Death In A Serious Drought In Zimbabwe
At least 55 elephants are said to have died in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park due to a severe drought. The drought drained water sources and massively reduced crop levels in Zimbabwe’s largest national park, leaving the huge number of elephants to die over a two month period while on a desperate hunt for food. Tragically, some elephants were found as close as 50 metres from water pans, meaning they died just moments before reaching one.
Zimbabwe has flown up to 30 young elephants to a different country, believed to be China.
Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe anti-sanctions march as economy tanks
The authorities declared Friday, October 25, a public holiday to protest against the US sanctions imposed on the country and hundreds of buses were dispatched across 10 provinces to bring people to the march in the capital, Harare. Thousands of Zimbabweans were expected to take part in a protest march on Friday to call for an end to sanctions imposed by the United States and European Union, which the government blames for the country’s economic problems. The Zimbabwean government says the sanctions have cost the country billions of dollars in lost revenue as it battles shortages of basic supplies such as fuel, power and water. Instead hundreds of people turned out in the capital, Harare, instead of the many thousands, the ruling party had in mind.
US sanctions were imposed in 2002 over alleged human rights abuses in Zimbabwe and seizures of white-owned farms. Hundreds of officials were targeted, including President Emmerson Mnangagwa. In August, regional bloc Southern African Development Community (Sadc), composed of 16 southern African countries, called on the US and EU to “immediately lift” the sanctions. Currently, 85 individuals are on the country’s sanctions list.
A leading US senator has accused the Zimbabwean government of trying to deflect blame for the economic hardships facing the country. Jim Risch, chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, says responsibility for the current economic and political crisis solely falls on the government. “If Zimbabwe’s leaders put as much time, financial resources, and effort into delivering on their long-promised reforms as they have in distorting facts and organising ‘anti-sanctions’ campaigns, Zimbabweans would not continue to suffer,” Mr Risch said through a statement released on Thursday.
Tanzania: Tanzania’s top court scraps girl marriages
Tanzania’s highest court has annulled a law which allows families to marry off girls as young as 15 years. The Supreme Court of Appeal upheld a ruling of a lower court that said child marriages infringed on girls’ rights and were unlawful and unconstitutional. Tanzania’s attorney general had appealed against the 2017 High Court ruling, which had struck off sections of the law which allowed the marriage of 15-year-old girls. The court said girls could not marry before 18 – the age for boys.
According to the UN children’s agency, 31% of girls in Tanzania are married before the age of 18, while 5% get married before their 15th birthday.
Burundi: Several dead as security forces, militants clash in Burundi
Several people died on Tuesday during clashes between Burundi security forces and a rebel group based in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to police and rebels.
The Burundi rebel group, RED-Tabara – which is based in the east of DR Congo and which the government and diplomats believe is headed by one of Burundi’s most outspoken opponents, Alexis Sinduhije – said the clashes occurred during an incursion into Burundi territory. The police said they killed 14 “criminals” while the rebels claimed they had shot around a dozen officers.
Liberia: New Liberia deputy minister threatened to ‘kill’ protesters
President George Weah has appointed the man who threatened to “kill” would-be protestors of the ‘Weah Step Down Campaign’ and critics of Pres. Weah as Deputy Minister of Defense for Operations. He was named to the position over the weekend, despite holding American citizenship.
Few days preceding to his appointment, Mr. Tarplah Z. Davis, went live on Facebook and openly expressed his disgust for critics of the President and planners of protest in Liberia. In the live video session, he promised to defend the government of President Weah, his family and others with plans intended to thwart or go against the Liberian Constitution. “The symbol of everything that I have worked for personally is in Liberia. And I told people, anybody tries my property, I will kill them. I have said it and will continue to say it openly,” he stated.
Guinea: Guinea opposition leaders jailed over protests
Twelve opposition and civil society leaders in Guinea were convicted and sentenced to prison on Tuesday, October 22, for organizing protests against a possible change to the constitution that could let President Alpha Conde seek a third term.Abdourahmane Sanoh, a former government minister and an organizer of the demonstrations last week, which resulted in at least nine deaths, received a one-year jail term for inciting civil disobedience, the judge in the case said.
Eleven other members of the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC), a coalition of politicians and activists opposed to a constitutional change, received jail sentences of varying lengths. The 81-year-old Conde, whose second and final five-year term expires next year, has refused to rule out running again and asked his government last month to look into drafting a new constitution.
World: WHO celebrates eradication of wild polio virus
The World Health Organization welcomed an “historic step” towards a polio-free world on Thursday as an expert panel certified that the second of three types of the crippling virus has been eradicated globally. The announcement by the Global Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication means that only wild poliovirus type 1 is still circulating, after type 2 was declared eradicated in 2015, and type 3 this week.
Global polio cases have been cut by more than 99% since 1988, but type 1 polio virus is still endemic in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where it has infected a total of 88 people this year. That is a resurgence from a record low global annual figure of 22 cases in 2017.
South Africa: Air Zimbabwe’s only plane impounded by South Africa over debts
The only operational aircraft of Zimbabwean national carrier, Air Zimbabwe, was impounded by authorities in South Africa over debts. It was reported that the Airports Company of South Africa (Acsa) had impounded the Boeing 767-200 because Air Zimbabwe owed Acsa payments for “landing, parking and passenger services for flights into Johannesburg. Officials of the airline also confirmed to the portal that the aircraft was held at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport on Wednesday.
Botswana: Over 100 elephants die in Botswana due to drought, anthrax outbreak
More than 100 elephants have died in Botswana in the past two months partly because of a suspected anthrax outbreak, the government said on Tuesday, October 22. “Preliminary investigations suggest the elephants are dying from anthrax whilst some died from drought effects,” a Department of Wildlife and National Parks statement said. “Due to the severe drought, elephants end up ingesting soil while grazing and get exposed to the anthrax bacteria spore,” it said.
Elephants Without Borders said an aerial survey showed fresh elephant carcasses increased by 593% between 2014 to 2018, mostly from poaching and illegal hunting, with drought also a contributing factor.
Libya: Arrest warrants issued for Haftar, 3 commanders in Libya
A Libyan military prosecutor on Tuesday, October 22, ordered the arrest of warlord Khalifa Haftar and three other retired commanders. According to a statement by the military chief prosecutor’s office, Haftar and three retired commanders were accused of commanding a Russian group that carried out kidnappings and murders on September 24.
Follow us on Twitter @aprecon
Follow on Instagram @_aprecon
Like our Page on FB @aprecon
Copyright © The African Progressive Economist 2019. All Rights Reserved.