DR Congo’s President urged the U.N. to speed up the MONUSCO withdrawal; Nigeria’s Tinubu called for Africa to overcome foreign exploitation and unlock its potential; EU pledged 127 million euros to Tunisia to fight illegal migration; Sudan’s army and paramilitary leaders gave rival speeches to the U.N.; Rwanda’s Kagame announced he will run for re-election in 2024, and others
In the wake of a major announcement on Wednesday, DR Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi urged the U.N. to speed up the withdrawal of its peacekeeping mission in his country, saying it has failed to stop the violence in the east. He said he wants MONUSCO’s mission to start leaving by the end of this year instead of 2024, as planned. The U.N. mission has been in Congo since 2010 to help restore stability and protect civilians from armed groups. But it has faced criticism and protests from locals, who accuse it of being ineffective and complicit in the killings. Over 55 people have died in clashes between protesters and security forces in eastern Congo since July 2022.
In the quest for a sustainable future, Nigeria’s president, Bola Tinubu, called for Africa to overcome foreign exploitation and unlock its potential in his first speech at the U.N. on Tuesday. He said Africa had suffered from bad governance, broken promises, and unfair treatment from abroad, and that African nations would improve their economies to provide better opportunities for their people. He urged the international community to see Africa as a key partner and a source of innovation, not a problem or a charity case. He also condemned the recent coups in West Africa and stressed the importance of democracy and climate action.
In another development from Nigeria, fans of Afrobeats star Mohbad, who died last week in a Lagos hospital, staged protests and vigils across Nigeria this week, demanding justice and an investigation into his death. The police exhumed his body on Thursday and performed an autopsy, promising to reveal the results to the public. Mohbad, whose real name was Ilerioluwa Aloba, was 27 years old and had a large following in the music industry.
In other news, the European Commission announced on Friday that the EU pledged to give 127 million euros to Tunisia to help fight illegal migration and improve border security. The aid is part of a “strategic partnership” deal signed in July, including support for migrant protection and returns. The Commission said the aid would provide new vessels, cameras, and training for the Tunisian coast guard and navy, among other things. The deal with Tunisia is seen as a model for cooperation with other countries by the EU, which faces a migration crisis in the Mediterranean. However, the deal has also faced criticism from some EU lawmakers, Tunisian opposition, and rights activists, who question its effectiveness and impact on Tunisia’s political situation.
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On the heels of recent developments, Sudan’s army and paramilitary leaders gave rival speeches to the U.N. on Thursday, accusing each other of starting the war that has ravaged the country since April. Army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan called for the U.N. to designate the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) as a terrorist group and to counter its foreign backers. In a rare video message, RSF leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, said that his forces were ready for a ceasefire and political talks. Both sides claimed to be committed to peace and a transition to civilian rule, but their previous statements have not stopped the violence and the humanitarian crisis.
In another buildup to the story, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy met with Abdel Fattah al-Burhan at an Irish airport on Saturday and discussed the threat of Russia-backed militias, Zelenskiy said. The two leaders, facing civil wars in their countries, expressed their mutual support for each other’s sovereignty. Zelenskiy said they talked about the illegal armed groups financed by Russia, such as the Wagner mercenary group, which has been involved in Ukraine’s conflict with Moscow and is reportedly active in Sudan.
In response to emerging challenges, anti-government protesters marched in Accra for the third day on Saturday, demanding lower prices and more jobs amid Ghana’s decades-old worst economic crisis. The demonstrators, wearing red berets and waving flags, were blocked by riot police from reaching the presidential palace. The protest, organised by Democracy Hub, has led to dozens of arrests since Thursday. Ghana faces a severe downturn due to high public debt and low growth. The government has secured a $3 billion loan from the IMF, but critics say it has not done enough to help the poor.
As the situation unfolds, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame announced on Tuesday that he will run for re-election in 2024, seeking to extend his 21-year rule. Kagame, who became president in 2000 after leading the rebel forces that ended the 1994 genocide, said he was happy with the confidence that Rwandans had shown in him and that he would always serve them. Kagame has been praised for bringing peace and economic growth to Rwanda but also criticised for suppressing opposition and media freedom. He changed the constitution in 2015 to allow him to stay in power until 2034. He won the last election in 2017 with nearly 99% of the vote. Kagame said he was not bothered by Western criticism and that people should be allowed to organise themselves as they wish.
In a surprising turn of events, the former president of the Central African Republic, François Bozizé, was sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labor on Thursday by a court in Bangui, along with two of his sons and 20 other rebels. Bozizé, who was ousted in 2013 by a rebel coalition, is the leader of the main rebel group fighting the government in the north of the country. He was convicted of conspiracy, rebellion, murder, and undermining the state’s internal security. The court did not specify the crimes or the period concerned. Bozizé is currently in exile in Guinea-Bissau and has not been arrested. His co-accused include Ali Darassa, the leader of the largest rebel faction in the coalition.
In the aftermath of a natural disaster, the IMF and the World Bank announced Monday that they will hold their annual meetings in Marrakech, Morocco, in October, despite the recent earthquake that killed nearly 3,000 people nearby. The officials said the meetings, expected to attract thousands of participants, will be adapted to the circumstances and will not interfere with the relief efforts. They also said the meetings would show solidarity with Morocco and its people, who have shown resilience in the face of tragedy. Morocco’s prime minister had asked the global institutions to keep the meetings in Marrakech, saying it would be devastating for the tourism sector if they were moved.
Against a backdrop of economic turbulence, the U.S. and Norway announced the launch of a $70 million fund to help African farmers and agribusinesses cope with hunger and climate change, officials said on Monday. The fund, announced at the U.N. General Assembly, aims to attract more donors and private investors to support 500 small- and medium-sized agricultural businesses, 1.5 million smallholder farmers, and nearly 60,000 jobs in Africa. The fund will also reduce the risk of investing in the sector. The initiative comes as Africa faces food insecurity due to conflict and extreme weather linked to fossil fuel-driven climate change.
In the spirit of unity, President Museveni of Uganda on Friday agreed to mediate between Somalia and Somaliland, two neighbouring countries in the Horn of Africa that have been in a long-standing dispute over their sovereignty. Somaliland declared its independence from Somalia in 1991 but has not been recognized by any other country. President Museveni said he did not support the secession of Somaliland and urged the two sides to overcome their differences and trade with each other and the rest of Africa. He also welcomed the possibility of economic cooperation between Uganda and Somaliland, saying that they could exchange the necessary goods and services. The Special Envoy from Somaliland, Dr. Jama Musse Jama, thanked President Museveni for his willingness to facilitate the dialogue and praised his role in stabilising Somalia. He also expressed the desire for Ugandan investors to explore the opportunities in Somaliland.