Chinese and South African Presidents co-chaired roundtable alongside BRICS Summit; Observers say Zimbabwe’s elections failed to meet standards; Niger junta proposes three-year transition; Egypt and Ethiopia set to become full members of the BRICS; President of Amhara region resigns
Chinese leader Xi Jinping and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa co-chaired a China-Africa roundtable on Thursday alongside the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg. Xi praised the joint statement between China and Africa, saying it reflects firm support for African integration and sends a strong message of China-Africa solidarity and cooperation on international affairs. XI expressed conviction that African integration and the modernization of China and Africa will provide new engines for global growth and contribute positive energy to international fairness.
International observers said Friday that Zimbabwe’s presidential and parliamentary elections failed to meet regional and global standards, jeopardising the vote’s credibility. Observers cited issues like banning opposition rallies, biassed state media, missing voters’ names, intimidation, and delays in ballot printing. The head of the EU mission said the election fell short of standards and occurred in a climate of fear. Likewise, the Commonwealth observer chief highlighted flaws impacting the vote’s transparency. Furthermore, the regional SADC bloc, usually supportive of member states’ polls, said aspects did not conform to guidelines. As a result of these issues, delays forced an unprecedented second day of voting. The opposition CCC decried a fundamentally flawed process aimed at suppressing turnout. Mnangagwa denies the rigging accusations. However, the arrests of local monitors and the observers’ criticism point to a disputed election with pending results.
Algeria dispatched its foreign minister on a mediation tour to Nigeria, Benin, and Ghana amid the political crisis in Niger. Specifically, Algeria said it sent the minister at the directive of President Abdelmadjid Tebboune. Moreover, the African Union suspended Niger’s membership after last month’s military coup. Algeria is seeking to broker a resolution as mandated by its president. But the AU and ECOWAS remain firmly opposed to the coup. Consequently, the junta is under pressure to restore civilian rule swiftly.
Niger’s coup leader proposed a three-year transition after meeting West African envoys. Specifically, General Tchiani gave no details but said transition principles would be decided in a month. He insisted neither Niger’s people nor its junta wanted war, despite ECOWAS’s readying intervention troops. Moreover, Tchiani accused ECOWAS of planning an occupying force with a foreign army and denounced its sanctions as illegal. However, he said the junta remains open to dialogue that incorporates Niger’s aspirations.
Egypt and Ethiopia are set to become full members of the BRICS bloc starting January 1, 2024. Specifically, the announcement comes as BRICS leaders meet for a summit in Johannesburg. The inclusion of Egypt and Ethiopia would be a major expansion for the group currently comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. India endorsed moving forward at the summit with a consensus on enlarging membership. Moreover, Egypt took an equity stake earlier this year in the BRICS-established New Development Bank. Its addition underscores Egypt’s growing partnerships beyond the Middle East. Additionally, the expansion coincides with BRICS aim to enhance its geopolitical clout and provide an alternative to Western-dominated institutions.
Sudan’s military chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, was seen outside his headquarters for the first time in over four months amid fighting with paramilitaries. Videos showed Burhan speaking to soldiers at a base north of Khartoum before dawn on Thursday. Later images showed him surrounded by civilians in Omdurman. Burhan has rarely appeared in public since clashes erupted in April between the army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of his former deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo. Previous images depicted Burhan inside the army headquarters, which both sides have battled fiercely to control. The footage comes as fighting continues around a key base in the capital, with each side claiming advances this week.
On Friday, Mozambique’s military said it had killed the leader of an Islamic State-linked insurgency in the country’s gas-rich north. The defence ministry said Bonomade Machude Omar, also known as Abu Sulayfa Muhammad, was killed along with two associates. Omar has allegedly led operations since the outbreak of the insurgency in Cabo Delgado province in 2017. President Filipe Nyusi confirmed Omar’s death on Tuesday but cautioned that the fight continues. However, the U.S. designated Omar a terrorist leader in 2021, calling him head of the ISIS-Mozambique group’s military and external affairs. Furthermore, the insurgency has claimed thousands of lives and disrupted large energy projects.
The president of Ethiopia’s Amhara region has resigned after a month of deadly clashes between the federal army and local militias. State media said Yilkal Kefale stepped down during an emergency council meeting on Friday. Arega Kebede, a former leader of an Amhara militia, replaced him. Kefale said he first offered to resign eight months ago, but recent crises forced him to stay on. Kefale resigns amid tension in Amhara over autonomy and integration. His replacement by a former militia leader signals the region’s desire for local security control as violence continues despite the presence of federal forces.
Libya has repatriated 161 Nigerian migrants as part of a voluntary UN-backed scheme amid a spike in irregular migration through North Africa. The group, arriving in Lagos, included many women and children. They were assisted in Tripoli by the IOM before departure. Libya and Nigeria say they cannot tackle clandestine migration alone. Libya intercepted some returnees at its border trying to enter Europe with Tunisia, a major crossing point. In August, Tunisia provoked a border crisis by expelling refugees to Libya, leaving many stranded. But they reached a deal to share shelter responsibilities. Tunisia faces EU pressure to limit migration in return for aid. Libya’s voluntary returns have helped thousands stranded in the war-torn country. But authorities still face criticism over migrant abuse. An embassy official said the Nigerians returned willingly, calling home “the best place.
Voting concluded on Saturday in Gabon’s election, where incumbent President Ali Bongo sought a third term amid fraud concerns. Bongo faced 13 challengers, including leading opposition candidate Albert Ondo Ossa. As polls closed, the government imposed a curfew and suspended internet access for security. Earlier, Ossa accused polling stations of lacking ballots with his name, decrying a biassed process. Both of Bongo’s prior disputed wins were accused of fraud by opponents. Controversial recent changes mandated voters choose a president and MP from the same party, disadvantaging independents like Ossa. No international monitors observed the vote. Delays occurred at some voting centers. Before the election, Bongo accused Ossa and another opponent of treason over alleged recordings.