Know what has been going on in the continent all week in short, quick read, one para-briefs.

  1. Somali immigrants living in Nairobi and people suspected of funding terrorism could be deported or have their properties requisitioned in the coming days as Kenya continues to flex its muscles amid deteriorating relations between it and Somalia.

This decision awaits approval by the National Security Council. Daily Nation newspaper reported that an escalation of hostilities between the two nations has seen Kenya (last Monday) decide it will not take part in the hearings of its maritime dispute case with Somalia at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). After that, it (Kenya) issued a 14-day ultimatum to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to close Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps.

At the same time, Kenya has approached countries that hold sway over Somalia like Qatar to help mediate between the two.

Somalia has stood by its decision to claim the resource-rich 160,580 square-kilometer territory in the Indian Ocean and this is Nairobi playing hardball.

2. Luanda — The Ministry of Health (MINSA) in Angola announced on Friday that the vaccination against Covid-19, has already reached 111, 231 people. Data released indicate that 12, 081 people were vaccinated this Friday in the provinces of Luanda, Benguela, Huambo, Cabinda and Huíla.

In the first phase, vaccines in Angola are being given to health professionals, teachers of all levels of education, elderly people aged over 65, staff of the Defence and Security organs, patients with sickle cell disease and chronic renal failure aged over 18 years. Health authorities expect to vaccinate 54% of the population, individuals over the age of sixteen.

The country received a total of 824,000 doses of vaccine. Since Covid 19 began, Angola has had 21 965 positive cases, with 532 deaths, 20250 recovered and 1183 positive and active cases.

3. Burundi and Egypt on Wednesday signed a visa exemption agreement for holders of diplomatic and service passports in the two countries. Service passports are used by public servants and government officials who do not hold diplomatic passports.

“Burundi and Egypt signed an agreement on visa exemption for diplomatic and service passports and an agreement for the integrated execution of water resources in Burundi,” a statement from Burundi’s presidency said.

According to The East African, the two countries also signed agreements in the tourism, education, culture and communication sectors. Burundi’s President Evariste Ndayishimiye was in Egypt for a four-day visit that ended on Friday.

Binti Premier event.

4. Abuja — President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari  said on Thursday that a new basic chemicals platform worth $1.3bn will be ready for commissioning in the coming months, as part of a partnership between Morocco and Nigeria.

As reported in Magreb Arabe Presse, the said platform, under construction as part of this partnership, will produce ammonia and fertilizers in for this West African country, said Buhari in a meeting with the Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN).

Buhari said that to improve the balance of trade between Nigeria and Morocco, the two countries have signed an agreement to develop a $1.3 billion Basic Chemicals Platform in Nigeria that will produce Ammonia, Phosphoric Acid, Sulphuric Acid and various Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium (NPK) and Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) fertilizers using Nigeria’s gas reserves.

5. Several government ministries in Lesotho failed to collect non tax revenues for the 2018/19 financial year, acting Auditor General Monica Besetsa said this week, reports from Lesotho Times indicate.

In her audit report of the government’s consolidated financial statements for the 2018/19 financial year, which was released this week, Ms Besetsa said many ministries collected below 50 percent of their planned revenues with some failing to collect anything at all.

The public vehicle touts of Harare.

6. The government of Zimbabwe has ordered touts out of public spaces following a recent video of an elderly woman being harassed at a bus terminus that went viral on social media. Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister, Sithembiso Nyoni said touts were threat to the society.

“Eventually, we want to witness the removal of touts from all bus termini. Public spaces must be safe for all and may it be known that the law enforcing agents shall not deal with this lightly,” she said.

Nyoni said the government will act against the increasing incidents of harassment by touts towards women at bus termini and other public spaces across the country. The video shows a woman being forcefully dragged by touts with her luggage being pulled into a Chipinge bound bus.

(In Kenya, 12 Kisumu City Council guards were suspended and then arrested and arraigned in court after a video surfaced online of the City Council askaris dragging a woman (hawker) on a pickup truck.)

7. Eighteen men who were believed to have been held by Uganda’s security services have been freed and allowed to return to their villages, but many more are still missing.

Senegal protesters.

8. Thousands of young people are protesting against their government in Senegal in what’s being described as the worst civil unrest in decades. Senegal’s President Macky Sall seems unable quell violence that marked two weeks of opposition protests and government crackdowns and left at least eight dead.

The crisis revolves around rape allegations against Ousmane Sonko, the country’s most prominent opposition politician. According to Bloomberg News, he has denied the charges, but was stripped of parliamentary immunity and arrested, before being released on bail. His supporters clashed with the police, and a coalition of opposition parties called for nationwide protests.

Sonko came third in the 2019 presidential election. His supporters accuse the president of political sabotage. Police transcripts were leaked and the government shut down TV stations after his arrest.

If convicted, Sonko would serve up to 10 years in jail and be barred from contesting the next presidential election, scheduled for 2024. That was the fate of Khalifa Sall, a former mayor of Dakar who was widely expected to run for the presidency. Convicted of corruption charges his supporters believe were trumped up, he was not pardoned until after the 2019 vote.

Bloomberg News reports that the violent protests reflect deeper economic anxieties as well as political grievances. ‘Protestors targeted French businesses, including Auchan Holdings SA supermarkets and Total SE filling stations, that are perceived as having hurt local entrepreneurs. Sall is sometimes accused of pandering to Senegal’s onetime colonial master- France.’

Over 500 protestors have been arrested so far.

9. A film that premiered at the Century Cinemax cinema, in Mlimani City mall in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania early this month has caused quite a buzz in the entertainment industry. The film, titled Binti (‘young woman’ in Kiswahili) will be aired to the public from April 9 in 10 cinemas across Tanzania. The premier night was a star studded event — red carpet, evening gowns — with international and local Tanzanian celebrities present. (The lovely ladies in the photos, that’s the event.)

The burial of President John Pombe Magufuli.

10. Tanzania’s late President John Pombe Magufuli was laid to rest in his hometown of Chato this week.  President Samia Suluhu Hassan (The lady swearing in, in the main photo) took over the reins in Dodoma last week, after the death of President John Pombe Joseph Magufuli.

11. The prosecution witnesses in the trial against “Hotel Rwanda” hero for terror-related charges have said they have evidence to prove that Paul Rusesabagina used his charity and political organisation to fund terror acts in Rwanda. The East African reported that Rusesabagina, 66, alongside 20 co-accused are charged with several counts of terrorism and armed violence that attract sentences ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment.

12. At least 100 Somalia politicians and businessmen have acquired Turkish citizenship after investing in the country in the last eight months, Radio Dalsan reported. 17,000 Somalis were issued with Turkish visas in a period of one year.

The move comes as the traditional country of asylum and investment, Kenya, this week issued tough measures targeting Somali immigrants.

According to legislators and Cabinet Ministers interviewed by Radio Dalsan more government officials with families in neighbouring Kenya are seeking alternative countries to resettle their families as Nairobi-Mogadishu relations hit bottom rock in the Farmaajo administration.

As per the new Turkish laws, one qualifies to be a citizen if they invest at least $250,000. Among the Somali nationals who have settled in Turkey include 2 former presidents and former PM, current speaker, Deputy PM. An estimated half of the cabinet families now live in Istanbul.

Somali and Turkish officials meeting

13. Islamist militants on Friday ambushed a convoy that was trying to rescue civilians from a hotel amid fighting in northern Mozambique, reports say. Details are unclear, but some of those fleeing the hotel in the town of Palma have been killed, security sources and survivors said. The evacuees included foreign gas workers.

Northern Mozambique has been torn by an insurgency since 2017. Militants linked to the Islamic State (IS) group are behind the conflict in the predominantly Muslim region of Cabo Delgado. The fighting has left more than 2,500 people dead and 700,000 displaced.  The latest violence that happened on Wednesday saw insurgents attacking shops, banks and a military barracks.

14. A train crash in central Egypt killed at least 19 people and injured 185, officials say. Carriages derailed and overturned when two trains collided near the city of Tahta in Sohag province on Friday. Officials originally put the death toll at 32, but later revised that figure. An investigation has been launched into the crash, with President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi pledging tough punishment for those responsible.

The stuck ship

15. Fresh effort is under way to re-float a giant container ship blocking Egypt’s Suez Canal.Canal authorities say 14 tugboats were trying to take advantage of Saturday’s high tide and more will arrive on Sunday if the latest attempt failed. The Ever Given became wedged in the canal – one of the world’s busiest trade channels – on Tuesday.

More than 300 ships are stuck on either side of the blockage. Some have had to reroute around Africa. By late Friday, dredgers had moved about 20,000 tonnes of sand from around the Ever Given’s bow, which was stuck deep into the canal’s bank.

The chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), Osama Rabie, told a news conference on Saturday that the stern had begun to move on Friday night, and that the rudder and propeller had started working again.

16. Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Tuesday said atrocities have been committed in Tigray, his first public acknowledgment of possible war crimes in the country’s northern region where fighting persists as government troops hunt down its fugitive leaders. He said soldiers who raped women or committed other war crimes will be held responsible, even though he bemoaned “propaganda of exaggeration” by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. He also announced that Eritrea will pull out its troops from Ethiopia’s troubled Tigray region.

17. Uganda’s coffee exports have defied coronavirus market disruptions for a straight second month recording growth in value and volume. The Uganda Coffee Development Authority last week released data that shows that the country’s coffee exports between March 2020 and February 2021 totalled 5.56 million bags worth $511.21 million, from 4.74 million bags worth $459.47 million the previous year, representing 17 per cent and 11 per cent increase in quantity and value respectively.

18. PARIS – A commission that spent nearly two years plumbing France’s role in 1994’s Rwandan genocide concluded on Friday that the country reacted too slowly in appreciating the extent of the horror that left over 800,000 dead but cleared it of complicity in the slaughter.

The report said that France bears “heavy and overwhelming responsibilities” in the drift that led to the killings, which principally claimed victims from Rwanda’s Tutsi ethnic minority.

Persistent claims that France under then-President Francois Mitterrand did not do enough to stop the genocide have damaged the Franco-Rwandan relationship since the 1990s.

19. Officials in Mali on Friday accused the French military of killing civilians in a Thursday airstrike. Reuters said the number of killed was six, while AP reported at least five deaths. The incident happened in the western Gao region of Mali and was the second time this year France has been accused of killing civilians. 

20. NAIROBI – Kenya re-imposed COVID-19 restrictions after the country’s positivity rate this week jumped to 22 percent, a 20 percent increase since January. Addressing the nation Friday, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta put the capital, Nairobi, and surrounding counties under lockdown. He also shut down bars, and ordered a shelving of public meetings like political rallies. 

African elephants

21. LIBREVILLE, GABON – Increasing threats of poaching and loss of habitat have made Africa’s elephant populations more endangered, according to a report released Thursday by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The number of African forest elephants has fallen by more than 86% over a 31-year period, while the population of savanna elephants dropped by more than 60% over a 50-year period, according to the IUCN, which rates the global extinction risks to the world’s animals. Africa currently has 415,000 elephants, counting the forest and savanna elephants together, according to the IUCN.

22. Meanwhile in GABORONE, BOTSWANA – the government of Botswana is set to issue nearly 300 elephant hunting licenses next month for the first full hunting season since a ban was lifted in 2019. Covid 19 travel restrictions disrupted the hunting season last year in Botswana, home to the world’s largest elephant herd.

The country’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks will issue 100 licenses for elephant hunts, with another 187 licenses from last year’s aborted season. The hunting season, which includes a variety of species, will start April 6 and runs until September. 

The government held auctions for elephant licenses in February last year, with each animal costing up to $43,000. Expedition operators buy the licenses and sell them at profit to overseas trophy hunters, who are mostly from the United States. 

23. JUBA , SOUTH SUDAN – The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines arrived in South Sudan’s Juba International Airport on Thursday. The 132,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be offered first to health care workers, including doctors and nurses, along with other vulnerable groups.

South Sudan Health Minister Elizabeth Achuil said 732,000 additional doses are scheduled to arrive over the next few months through the support of the COVAX facility, a global partnership made up of a coalition that includes the Vaccine Alliance, UNICEF and the World Health Organization.

Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia

24. MOGADISHU, SOMALIA – The federal government of Somalia has called on diplomats in the country not to interfere in the country’s internal political affairs. The notice by Information Minister Osman Dube came after representatives of various entities, including the United States, the European Union and the U.N. office in Somalia, said they would not support a possible partial term extension for Somalia’s current president.

Dubbe said his government expected its international partners to respect Somalia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within the principles of international law. He added that it’s illegal to intervene in a sovereign state’s internal issues, calling it a red line that must never be crossed.

(Sources: BBC Africa News, The East African News, All Africa News, Radio Dalsan- Somalia, VOA, Reuters Africa and Daily Nation Africa, Magreb Arabe Presse)

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