Africa This Week: DR Congo recalls ambassadors from Kenya, Tanzania after new alliance of rebels and politicians was formed; Ex-SA president Zuma says he will not support ANC party in 2024 elections; Niger junta reached agreement with ECOWAS on restoring democracy; Ivory Coast suspends opposition party PDCI congress, and others
This is another Alafarika’s weekly news brief, where we look at some of the top news stories making headlines across the African continent.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo recalled its ambassadors from Kenya and Tanzania after a new alliance of Congolese rebels and politicians was formed in Nairobi on Friday. The alliance, called the Congo River Alliance, claims to seek a lasting solution for the conflict-ridden country, which is set to hold elections on Dec. 20. The move has sparked concern from the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo, which fears more instability in the region.
Former South African president Jacob Zuma announced that he will not support the ruling ANC party in the 2024 general election and will vote for a new party, the MK. Zuma accused his successor, Ramaphosa, of being a corrupt and incompetent leader who betrayed the ANC. Zuma also criticized the ANC for expelling its former secretary general and failing to address the power crisis. The ANC faces the risk of losing its majority for the first time since 1994.
Two candidates from the ruling coalition in the Democratic Republic of the Congo were killed in separate attacks on Friday, a week before the general election. Human Rights Watch warned that electoral violence could undermine the vote, which is already marred by logistical issues. A church was also vandalized in Kinshasa during clashes between rival supporters. In another incident, 11 civilians were decapitated by Islamic State-linked militants in Ituri province.
Niger’s military leaders on Friday reached an agreement with the regional bloc ECOWAS on a plan for restoring democracy after a coup in July. The plan will be presented to the ECOWAS heads of state in January. The bloc and the U.S. have urged the junta to return to constitutional order and ease sanctions. The coup was the eighth in West and Central Africa since 2020.
A court in Ivory Coast suspended the congress of the main opposition party, the PDCI, which was due to elect a new leader on Saturday. The court ruled in favor of two party members who complained of irregularities in the process. The former Credit Suisse CEO, Tidjane Thiam, is one of the candidates for the party presidency. He is seen as an outsider with financial clout but little grassroots support. The PDCI hopes to regain power in the 2025 presidential election.
Madagascar’s President Andry Rajoelina was inaugurated on Saturday after winning the presidential election last month with 58.96% of the votes. He pledged to unite the country and focus on human capital, industrialization, and public administration. The opposition rejected the results, citing irregularities and unfair conditions. They also accused Rajoelina of having dual citizenship, which is prohibited by the constitution. The voter turnout was the lowest in the country’s history.
The ECOWAS Court of Justice ruled that Niger’s former president, Mohamed Bazoum, and his family were illegally detained by the military junta that overthrew him in July. The court ordered the junta to restore constitutional order by reinstating Bazoum and releasing him and his family unconditionally. The junta has not responded to the verdict, which cannot be appealed. The coup was the latest in a series of military takeovers in West Africa that have strained relations with France and other allies.
The White House announced that DR Congo and Rwanda have agreed on a 72-hour cease-fire in the conflict-ridden eastern Congo, where the M23 rebels and other armed groups operate. The cease-fire, which the U.S. will monitor, aims to protect civilians and ease tensions ahead of Congo’s presidential election on December 20. However, some rebel groups rejected the agreement, and neither government confirmed it. Congo’s President Tshisekedi has accused Rwanda of supporting the M23, while Congo has demanded the withdrawal of U.N. and regional peacekeepers from the region.
A court in Senegal on Thursday ordered the reinstatement of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko on the electoral register, allowing him to run in the presidential election in February. Sonko, who was jailed on charges of rape and insurrection, denies any wrongdoing and accuses the government of trying to eliminate him from the race. His lawyers hailed the court’s decision as a victory for justice, while the state said it would appeal.
Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi secured a third term in office with more than 90 percent of the votes, according to preliminary results reported by state media. His closest rivals, Hazem Omar and Abdel-Sanad Yamama, trailed far behind, with less than 10 percent combined. The election, which ended on December 12, saw a turnout of 45 percent of eligible voters.