Africa news roundup

Africa G6ec376944 1280
A flag map of Africa (image:courtesy of open clipart-vectors from Pixabay)

July 9-15, 2023


Charles Bissue takes on Sammy Darko

Former secretary of the defunct Inter-ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining, Charles Bissue, has accused the director of strategy, research and communication at the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) Sammy Darko of spreading misinformation about the case between him and the OSP. The accusation came after Darko insinuated that Bissue had withdrawn all applications filed at the court in respect to an investigation being conducted by the OSP, during an interview with Accra based FM “Okay Fm”. Bissue has asked Darko to take steps to correct the misinformation in the public space, immediately, “I deem this a calculated agenda by Sammy Darko and the OSP to mislead Ghanaians and other interested persons and actors in this matter”.

Bissue described Darko’s statement as a distortion of facts. Bissue said that though he had instructed his lawyers to withdraw the motion to quash the arrest warrant until the determination of the substantive matter, he had still filed an application seeking the inclusion of Anas Aremeyaw Anas and Tiger eye PI in the investigations by the OSP. He denied having filed an application at the time that the OSP had issued notice of having concluded the investigations into the controversial galamsey documentary but, rather, had done so in December 2022.

It will be recalled that investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas and the Tiger-eye P.I team caught Bissue, then secretary of the Inter-ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining collecting what is perceived to be a bribe on tape. The case is currently being pursued by the OSP.


Tinubu elected as new ECOWAS chairman

West African leaders have elected president of the federal republic of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as the chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Heads of State and Government at the Sixty-Third Ordinary Session of the Authority held on 9 July 2023, in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau. Addressing the submit, President Tinubu pledged to tackle the issue of coup d’etats in the sub region. “We will not allow coup after coup to cause West Africa’s separation. We will take this up seriously with the Africa union and extend it to the European union and Britain and America. It is a challenge. Democracy is very tough to manage but it’s the best form of government”, the newly-elected chairman said. “We must bite back. We can’t be like a toothless bulldog in ECOWAS”, he continued.

He also pledged to work towards an inclusive economic integration for all member states. We will collectively pursue economic inclusion in West Africa. We should sound a warning to exploiters that our people have suffered enough… I am with you. And Nigeria, we are back”, he said. Tinubu takes over from His excellency Umaro Sissoco Embaló, President of The Republic of Guinea-Bissau. The authority of ECOWAS Heads of States and Governments also discussed the security and political situations in the region, among other issues.

South Africa

Jacob Zuma must go back to jail, ConCourt rules

Former president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, may return to prison after the constitutional court dismissed an application for leave to appeal his medical parole. According to the court, the appeal “had no reasonable prospects of success.  In essence, the November 2022 ruling by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) still stands. In November, the SCA ruled, “Mr. Zuma in law has not finished serving his sentence, he must return to the Estcourt correctional center”. Zuma also filed an application for leave to intervene after he missed the deadline to file the SCA ruling. The court dismissed this application also with costs, as there would not be an appeal.

Zuma was jailed for 15 months in July 2021 for contempt of the constitutional court when he refused to obey an order to appear before the Zondo Commission. Zuma was released on medical parole two months later under the leadership of the then commissioner of correctional services. However, Judge Elias Matojane has found the decision to be unlawful and has ordered that Zuma complete his 15-month sentence.


I will audit Weah – Boakai vows

Former vice president of Liberia, Joseph Boakai, has vowed to audit the George Weah Government and prosecute anyone found guilty of any criminal offences, if he is elected as the next president of Liberia.  As part of Boakai’s plan to combat corruption, individuals will be empowered with the critical responsibility of recovering stolen funds and ill-gotten properties from officials within the Weah Government. He said a comprehensive investigation into the corrupt activities of the Weah regime would be a paramount priority of his administration if elected president, “Liberians, one of the primary objectives of my administration, starting from day one as the President of Liberia, will be to tackle corruption head-on”.

Ironically, the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia, in its 2021 and 2022 State of Corruption reports, cited Boakai’s current running mate, Senator Jeremiah Koung, for having influenced the inclusion of the Esther and Jereline Medical Center in the national budget during his time as co-chair of the Housing Committee on Ways, Means and Finance. A committee, which plays the lead role in the budget, review process. In response to this accusation, Koung admitted that the hospital received public funding but said the money represented subsidies for fuel and drugs between 2016 and 2018.

Sierra Leone

US ambassador to Sierra Leone urges opposition to support government 

The US Ambassador to Sierra Leone, David Reimer, has asked Sierra Leone’s main opposition APC party not to boycott government. This follows the Party executives’ resolution not to engage with the ruling SLPP party and its government at a meeting held in Freetown with their elected MPs, councillors and mayors. In a message on Twitter, Reimer said, “I urge the APC not to boycott government. A vibrant democracy needs a strong opposition; those who voted for the opposition need to have their voices heard”.

Opposition APC members of Parliament have resolved to stay away from government business until all disaggregated polling station results have been verified and published by the national electoral commission. Member of Parliament Osman Timbo published a statement to defend the move by the APC saying “People’s votes are not just numbers or figures that can be played with anyhow. They represent their sweat, blood, voice and desire, and that must be respected. Our national constitution (1991) in section 5 (2) (a) provides that ‘sovereignty belongs to the people of SL from whom Government through this Constitution derives all its powers, authority and legitimacy’. It is all about the people we seek to represent”.


Iranian president meets with Ruto

Kenya and Iran have signed a number of trade agreements during a visit by Iran’s president Ebrahim Rasi to the East African country, which was part of a three-day visit to Africa. The two leaders pledged to strengthen bilateral ties, with Raisi describing his visit to Kenya as “a turning point in the development of relations between (the) two countries”. The five memoranda of understanding signed will focus on “cooperation in information, communication and technology, fisheries, animal health and livestock products, and investment promotion,” Ruto told reporters. According to Ruto, Iran plans to set up a motor vehicle assembly plant in the Mombasa County.

Iran is currently seeking to shore up diplomatic support in an effort to ease its international isolation. Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanani said on Monday that Tehran and the African continent share “common political views”. The trip is the first by an Iranian leader to the continent in 11 years. The last leader to visit was Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2013.


US supports northern population

The USA, through the USAID, has disbursed a $3 million humanitarian aid package for people affected by the terrorist attacks in Northern Togo, as well as those who had to move because of them. Mainly, the funds will support over 460,000 people facing food distress.  “Thanks to this financial contribution, the USAID’s partners – the World Food Programme (WFP) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS), who are working closely with the Government of Togo, will provide vital assistance to newly displaced people and vulnerable members of the host community,” detailed a statement from the US Embassy in Togo.

Part of the funds will cover the basic needs of 27,000 people, and supply food to 37,000 people for three months. “This support will help vulnerable populations during the lean season when families usually need help the most”, noted the embassy, adding that besides the $3 million package, the US will extend another $1 million to the Togolese Federation of Disabled Persons.

Burkina Faso

UNHCR calls for acceptance for refugees

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has issued an urgent plea to the Government of Ghana to immediately halt the expulsion of refugees from Burkina Faso. The UNHCR expressed deep concern over reports that hundreds of Burkinabè citizens, including vulnerable women and children, were being deported from Ghana after seeking refuge from the violence that has plagued their homeland. Recognizing the gravity of the situation, the UNHCR has expressed its readiness to provide enhanced support to Ghana in addressing the pressing needs of these refugees.

Burkina Faso, like several other countries in Africa’s Sahel region, is grappling with a severe humanitarian crisis. An Islamist insurgency has forced over two million people in Burkina Faso to flee their homes, seeking safety and shelter from the relentless violence. The magnitude of the crisis necessitates immediate attention and concerted efforts by neighboring countries to provide assistance and protection to those displaced by the conflict.

 Ivory Coast

First satellite for earth monitoring to be launched

Côte d’Ivoire has announced plans to launch its first satellite within the next two years. A team of scientists in the fields of astrophysics and geology told Conversation Africa about the potential benefits of this development and how the country plans to realise its space industry ambitions. Such a satellite could assist the government’s efforts to regulate artisanal mining and combat illegal activities and destruction of the environment.

These applications rely on sophisticated image processing algorithms, including the use of artificial intelligence. It’s the first step towards more sophisticated satellites and sensors which have many applications. The construction of the satellite is 100 per cent Ivorian. It has been entrusted to Universal Konstructors Associated, a private Ivorian company promoting scientific and technological development in Côte d’Ivoire, in partnership with the Institut National Polytechnique Félix Houphouët-Boigny of Yamoussoukro.


Rebels attack cocoa trucks amidst protests

Rebels have torched trucks of cocoa that were bound for French-speaking towns as farmers protest a ban of exports to Nigeria. Cocoa farmers have blocked hundreds of tons of the beans from leaving their farms and are staging daily street action after the government cracked down on the smuggling of cocoa and other cash-crop by banning exports to neighboring Nigeria. Cameroon’s farmers say they can get nearly double the price for cocoa in Nigeria, where they don’t face threats from separatists.

Government and military officials confirmed that rebels torched trucks hauling cocoa but would not say how many were destroyed. Cocoa farmers have been holding daily street protests aimed at the export ban in southwestern villages and towns and say they will continue until the government lifts the ban.


Opposition figure charged for insulting the president

Birame Souleye Diop, an opponent of Senegalese President Macky Sall, has been charged  with offending the president. The chairman of the parliamentary group of the Yewwi Askan Wi opposition coalition and an executive of Pastef, the party of Ousmane Sonko, the head of state’s fiercest opponent, “has been charged with acts likely to compromise public peace and offending the President of the Republic”. On 3 July, Macky Sall announced that he would not stand for a third term in the presidential election scheduled for next year. However, at a press conference the following day, Diop warned against a possible U-turn by the head of state. “I warn the next candidates of the APR (the presidential party): Avoid eating at his house, avoid drinking his water, he is capable of poisoning you and saying: as we have no more candidates, I’m coming back. And to do it Ouattara-style. Beware”, he said, before apologising.

Diop was arrested the day after the press conference. Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara had chosen Amadou Gon Coulibaly to succeed him, but the latter’s death from heart problems at the age of 61 prompted Ouattara to stand again for the 2020 presidential election, even though he had announced that he did not want to run for a third term.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *