Africa news_round_upcollage


Acknowledging co-author Scott Caplan

30 October 2023

Human Rights

The prosecutor for the International Criminal Court has withdrawn charges against Central African Republic militia leader Maxime Mokom, citing the “unavailability” of witnesses. Mokom was charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity. (Justice Info) (HRW) (AFP via Barron’s).

Protests related to recent local elections continue in Mozambique. At least 3 protesters were killed this week when Mozambican authorities deployed what Human Rights Watch categorized as excessive force against the protests, which were called for nationwide by the opposition party. (HRW) (Reuters) (AP via Washington Post).

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International called out Nigerien authorities for the arbitrary arrest of dozens of officials from the Bazoum government, and for “crack[ing] down” on critical media and peaceful dissent since the coup. (HRW) (Africa News).

Following its call last week for charges against thirteen Guinean journalists to be dropped, Amnesty International called this week for an investigation into the repression of the protest that the journalists attended. The journalists were released on the same day they were arrested, but charges remain pending. (Amnesty International).

Thirteen Zambian civil society organizations issued a statement warning that freedom of expression is “under threat” in the country. (BNN Africa) (BBC via Radio Islam Malawi).

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

The State Department has formally determined that the seizure of power by General Nguema in Gabon constitutes a coup, requiring the suspension of military aid to the country under U.S. law. Humanitarian aid will continue. (State Dep’t.) (Reuters) (VOA).

The opposition CCC party in Zimbabwe has called for a boycott of local by-elections called by the government in nine constituencies controlled by the CCC following machinations by the ruling ZANU-PF party to strip them of their seats. (Bloomberg) (BBC via The Star Kenya) (BNN Africa). Also this week, journalists are complaining of the country’s Vice President’s security detail “ordered” journalists to delete video of Second Vice President Kembo Mohadi falling during a campaign rally.  (VOA).

Mauritanian prosecutors called for former President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz to face a 20-year prison sentence and confiscation of his assets. The former president is on trial for corruption-related charges. (Africa News).

Liberian elections officials have confirmed that the country will head to a run-off between incumbent President George Weah and challenger Joseph Boakai. The run-off is scheduled for November 14. (Front Page Africa Online 1) (Front Page Africa Online 2).

Foreign Affairs

There is continued diplomatic engagement on the Sudan crisis. Several civilian actors and stakeholders met in Addis Ababa to begin forming an “inclusive and representative pro-democracy front.” (Sudan Tribune 1) (Sudan Tribune 2) (Troika Statement via the State Dep’t.). A multilateral group, including the United States and Saudi Arabia, also welcomed the relaunch of ceasefire talks between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces. (State Dep’t.).

Djibouti, Eritrea, and Somalia have rejected Ethiopian requests for access to the Red Sea. It is the first time Ethiopia has reasserted its claim for access to the water since the civil war that resulted in Eritrea’s secession. (Semafor) (Bloomberg 1) (Bloomberg 2). An Eritrean regional political group has called for the Ethiopian government to respect the territorial rights of the Eritrean Afar people. The statement almost certainly has the backing of President Isaias Afwerki in a country where political speech is tightly controlled. (Addis Standard).

Other Items of Note

The U.S. State Department issued a “business advisory” against Uganda, citing the country’s recent anti-LGBT laws. (State Dep’t.) (The Washington Blade) (Reuters). The Ugandan government has criticized the advisory. (Daily Monitor Uganda)

23 October 2023

Human Rights

Human Rights Watch notes that the Chadian junta has failed to conduct adequate investigations or provide accountability for human rights violations on the one-year anniversary of the repression of October 20 protests. (HRW). The U.S. State Department issued a similar statement. (State Dep’t.). Human Rights Watch’s statement notes the “continued” closing of Chad’s political space in advance of a constitutional referendum slated for December, which has been echoed by other outlets. (VOA Africa) (AMA via The Guardian Nigeria). Succces Masra, an exiled opposition activist, has postponed his planned return from exile. (VOA).

Guinea’s junta arrested 13 journalists for demonstrating against censorship. (AFP via News24). Amnesty International called for the charges against the journalists to be dropped. (Amnesty International) (background from Jurist.org).

The State Department issued a statement of concern regarding increased RSF shelling in the Sudanese city of Nyala and reminded both parties of the current conflict of their agreement to protect civilians under the May 11 Jeddah Declaration. (State Dep’t.).

Friday marked the third anniversary of the Lekki tollgate massacre in Nigeria, which fueled the #EndSARS protest movement. Amnesty International called for the release of “at least” 15 protesters still “languishing” in jail, echoing protests that occurred throughout the country this week. (Amnesty International) (TRT Afrika). Other publications considered the sufficiency of police reform in Nigeria in response to the protest movement. (The Africa Report) (The Cable Nigeria).

Amnesty International condemned the arrest and extradition without due process of activist Youba Siby. Siby was arrested in Senegal and only found in Mauritania 20 days later when Mauritania’s National Human Rights Commission found him in Nouakchott Civil Prison, where he was being held incommunicado. (Amnesty International).

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

Gabon’s Constitutional Court rejected a challenge made to appointments made by junta leader General Nguema. (Business News Network Africa) (BBC).

In Liberia, Joseph Boakai is headed for a run-off election against incumbent president George Weah. (BBC) (New York Times) (Front Page Africa Online). Nine temporary staff were arrested for election tampering, but elections officials say that the “attempted malpractices” were corrected and did not affect the outcome. (BBC via West Africa Herald).

Niger’s junta alleged that deposed president Mohamed Bazoum tried to escape. His lawyers deny the charge, and Bazoum, who remains under detention, has been moved to a secret location. (New York Times) (BBC) (The Guardian).

The opposition in Mozambique continues to protest local election results viewed as fraudulent. (Africa News). A Mozambican court annulled some of the results in parts of the capital, Maputo. (Bloomberg). Amnesty International has called on authorities to investigate police violence against peaceful protesters in connection with the ongoing protests.  (Amnesty International)).

Foreign Affairs

Kenyan politicians are proposing that the country receive veto power within the East African Community. (The East African).

Djibouti, Eritrea, and Somalia have rejected Ethiopian requests for access to the Red Sea. It is the first time Ethiopia has reasserted its claim for access to the water since the civil war that resulted in Eritrea’s secession. (Semafor) (Bloomberg 1) (Bloomberg 2). An Eritrean regional political group has called for the Ethiopian government to respect the territorial rights of the Eritrean Afar people. The statement almost certainly has the backing of President Isaias Afwerki in a country where political speech is tightly controlled. (Addis Standard).

Other Items of Note

The Dutch king and queen were confronted by protesters representing South Africa’s First Nations groups on a trip to a slavery museum in Cape Town. (NL Times) (News24) (AP). Earlier this year, King Willem-Alexander formally apologized for the country’s involvement in slavery and colonialism, but First Nations groups are seeking a direct apology to them as well as reparations. (New York Times)

A French court has rejected a civil suit seeking to hold France responsible for its complicity in the Rwandan genocide. (Africa News) (La Croix International) (RFI).

11 September 2023


Tuesday, September 19, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. at the City Bar, the Vance Center is sponsoring a discussion group, “Strengthening Access to Justice: Bridging the Gap Between Lawyers and Community Practitioners.” The discussion will be led by Adaobi Egboka of the Vance Center. Registration is required. (Vance Center).

Friday, September 22, at 10:00 a.m., the United Nations Committee is sponsoring a panel discussion, “Reparations for Conflict-Related Sexual Violence: Challenges, Opportunities, and Recommendations.” (NYC Bar Registration Page).

Tuesday, September 26, at 11:00 a.m. Eastern, the Harvard Law School Human Rights Program is hosting a panel discussion online, “Crisis in Sudan: Challenges of Democratic Transformation and Human Rights.” (Event Registration Page).

Human Rights

Amnesty International reports that Eritrean forces continued to commit war crimes and possible crimes against humanity after the agreement to cease hostilities in Tigray. (Amnesty International) (Al Jazeera) (AFP via Barron’s) (CNN).  Separately, the Guardian reports that Ethiopian forces committed atrocities, including mass killing of civilians, in Amhara. (The Guardian). And on Thursday, in Tigray, TPLF regional police beat and arrested opposition protesters in Mekelle, and senior opposition leaders were arrested ahead of the rally. (AFP via France24) (AFP via Barron’s) (Borkena.com) (TGHAT).

The UN-backed Special Criminal Court in Central African Republic has charged Abdoulaye Hissene for his role in the Popular Front for Rebirth in Central African Republic. He was previously arrested in 2016 but escaped. He is reportedly being held on a military base and attended a hearing in his case on September 7 in Bangui. (HRW) (Al Jazeera) (Jeune Afrique).

The U.S. Departments of State and Treasury issued parallel sanctions against Sudanese leaders in the RSF for various human rights abuses, including the massacre of civilians. (Treasury Dep’t.) (State Dep’t.) (HRW) (Al Jazeera). Earlier today, explosive weapons targeted a market in Khartoum killing at least 35, though the responsible party is not yet known.  (BBC).

Russia vetoed a measure at the UN to extend sanctions against the Mali junta. (AFP via Barron’s) (TASS). Human Rights Watch criticized the veto, arguing that it puts human rights in Mali at risk. (HRW).

Tanzania banned a popular rapper, Emmanuel Elibariki, who performs under the name Nay wa Mitego, seemingly over the political message in his music. (BBC via GhanaWeb) (The Chanzo Initiative) (Zambian Observer).

The European Union decided not to reduce aid to Uganda over its anti-LGBT law, a decision that was criticized by human rights activists. (Reuters) (Pink News) (The Monitor Uganda).

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

Gabon’s junta named former opposition leader and former prime minister Raymond Ndong Sima as interim prime minister. The announcement was made alongside plans to restore civilian rule. Sima has floated a two-year timetable for elections, but it is not clear if the junta agrees with that timetable. The leader of the junta has also met with Albert Ondo Ossa, who ran against President Bongo in the elections that immediately preceded the coup. (Bloomberg) (Al Jazeera) (BBC) (BBC via The Star Kenya). The deposed President has been freed on medical grounds, and the junta leaders have publicly stated that he is free to seek medical treatment abroad.  (The East African) (New York Times). The ECCAS suspended Gabon’s membership in the Central African regional group, and CAR President Touadera met with General Nguema to mediate the issue. (Reuters) (AFP via Barron’s).

A Nigerian tribunal rejected a challenge by two opposition candidates to the certification of Bola Tinubu as the winner of February’s elections. (Semafor) (New York Times) (AP). The tribunal’s ruling included a finding that the reports by EU and ECOWAS election observers raising irregularities in the election were not admissible evidence. (Premium Times). The opposition parties have announced their plan to appeal the ruling to Nigeria’s Supreme Court, which they have 60 days to do. (AFP via The Guardian Nigeria).

Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mangagwa was inaugurated for a new 5-year term. (VOA) (The Herald Zimbabwe) (Reuters). Despite widespread irregularities, the opposition decided against filing a legal challenge. (Lusaka Times). Amnesty International notes that the inauguration was “marred” by arrests, abductions, and torture of political activists. (Amnesty International). Lawyers for two of those activists have themselves been arrested and charged with obstruction of justice. (Amnesty International) (Daily Maverick) (Lawyers for Lawyers) (ZimLive).

Tunisian police have arrested two Ennahda leaders after audio recordings of them leaked in which they accused government officials of trying to infiltrate the party and obtain illegal funds. (Al Jazeera) (Reuters) (The Arab Weekly). Ennahda has called for the release of the more senior of these leaders and criticized the arrest of the other. (North Africa Post). The development comes as President Kais Saied struggles to control economic problems in the country. (Jerusalem Post) (Reuters).

Foreign Affairs

Taiwanese President Tasi Ing-wen visited Eswatini this week, the sole African country that recognizes Taiwan as a sovereign country. (Semafor) (Al Jazeera) (VOA).

Kenya and the DRC removed visa requirements for one another’s nationals. (Africa News) (Business Insider).

Other Items of Note

Morocco suffered a massive earthquake, killing at least 2,100 people as of this email. Earthquakes are common in the country, but it has not seen an earthquake of this magnitude since before 1900. (Reuters) (BBC).

4 September 2023


Wednesday, September 6, at 12:00 p.m. Eastern, the Africa Center is sponsoring a virtual program, “Policy in Context: Africa’s Cost of Living Crisis.” (Africa Center).

Wednesday, September 6, 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m, the American Bar Association’s Center for Human Rights will hold an all-day event at the City Bar, the “Human Rights and Rule of Law Summit.” (Registration Page).

Friday, September 22, at 10:00 a.m., the United Nations Committee is sponsoring a panel discussion, “Reparations for Conflict-Related Sexual Violence: Challenges, Opportunities, and Recommendations.” (NYC Bar Registration Page).

Tuesday, September 26, at 11:00 a.m. Eastern, the Harvard Law School Human Rights Program is hosting a panel discussion online, “Crisis in Sudan: Challenges of Democratic Transformation and Human Rights.” (Event Registration Page

Human Rights

A group of 114 NGOs issued a joint letter calling for the UN Human Rights Council to establish an independent mechanism on Sudan. (Joint Letter via HRW).

Chadian authorities have suspended news outlet Alwhida Info, eight days after the latter reported on a military reshuffling of the transitional government in connection with military operations near the country’s northern border. (HRW) (Committee to Protect Journalists).

Human Rights Watch reports on a “deadly” crackdown by DRC authorities in Goma, noting that authorities have arrested, shot, and killed scores of protesters at a Wednesday event. (HRW) (SOS Media Burundi). Official tallies indicate that at least 48 were killed. (Africa News).

Amnesty International has called on Ugandan authorities to drop charges against a 20-year-old man accused of “aggravated homosexuality,” which under a recently enacted law could carry the death penalty. (Amnesty International) (CBC). The Africa Report covers Uganda’s delicate dance with the World Bank over its anti-LGBT laws. (The Africa Report). Anti-LGBT actions are also in the news in Nigeria, where authorities arrested 61 persons for attending a gay wedding.  (HRW) (Al Jazeera) (AP).

NPR published a report on women who have been imprisoned in Rwanda, which has been liberalizing its anti-abortion laws since 2012, but where a stigma against women who have the procedure remains. (NPR).

A group of human rights organizations—Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and the Burundi Human Rights Initiative—have renewed their calls for Burundian authorities to release journalist Floriane Irangabiye, who has been held in jail for more than one year following her receipt of a 10-year sentence in retaliation for her reporting. (Joint Statement via Amnesty International) (CPJ Press Release).

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

Immediately after official election results were announced confirming the reelection of Gabonese President Ali Bongo—who has ruled since his father’s death in 2009, the latter having been in power since 1967—Gabonese military executed a coup. (CNN) (Reuters) (The Conversation). Bongo is under house arrest, and several of his advisers, including his own son, are under military detention, while the junta named General Brice Oligui Nguema as interim leader. (VOA) (New York Times) (CNN) (Africa News) (AP). Bongo released a video pleading with the country’s citizens to “make noise” in his support.  (The Independent UK).

Gabon’s opposition groups welcomed the ouster and have called for a return to civilian rule. Bongo’s main opponent in last week’s elections, Albert Ondo Ossa, has claimed that the junta is aligned with a faction of the Bongo family that orchestrated Bongo’s removal in order to perpetuate the family’s power. (Semafor) (AP) (Al Jazeera). General Nguema has insisted that the “suspension” of democracy is temporary but has so far refused to commit to a timeline for elections. (BBC) (Reuters) (Al Jazeera).

The United States issued a statement of concern that shied from calling the “military seizure of power” a coup. (State Dep’t.) (analysis via Semafor). The African Union has suspended Gabon’s membership. (RFI) (Premium Times Nigeria) (Al Jazeera). China issued a statement expressing concern for Bongo’s safety but not calling for his return to power. (South China Morning Post). Russia, which has sided with coup leaders in Mali and Burkina Faso, issued a statement of concern, calling for “stabilisation” of the situation in Gabon. (Anadolu Agency) (Reuters). After a brief closure, Gabon reopened its borders. (The Guardian) (VOA).

Meanwhile, neighboring Cameroon’s autocrat Paul Biya ordered a reshuffling of his military leadership. It is unclear if Rwanda’s military shake-up was related to the Gabonese coup.  (Mimi Mefo) (TRT Afrika) (BBC via The Star Kenya) (Daily Trust) (Anadolu Agency).

On Friday, the African Court of Human and People’s Rights ordered that Tunisian authorities were required to allow Ennahda party leader Rached Ghannouchi, who was Speaker of the Tunisian Parliament before President Kais Saied suspended the parliament, to speak with his lawyers. (Middle East Monitor) (Al Jazeera) (Tunisie Numerique). Earlier today, Ghannouchi was placed under house arrest. (AP via ABC News) (Middle East Eye) (Reuters).

Zimbabwe’s opposition has called for a redo of recent elections, citing a lack of transparency and irregularities. (Just Security) (Reuters) (AP via Fox News) (Africa News) (Bloomberg). The United States issued a statement crediting many of the allegations against the Zimbabwean elections and urging the parties to resolve the matter peacefully. (State Dep’t.). UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres raised similar concerns for a peaceful resolution. (VOA) (ZimLive.com). South Africa has issued a statement recognizing Mnangagwa’s reelection, as have Russia and China. (Africa News) (The Herald Zimbabwe). The decision has forced South African president Cyril Ramaphosa to defend his recognition of Zimbabwe’s election results. (The Citizen South Africa). Meanwhile, Amnesty International is calling on authorities to investigate the disappearance and torture of a Zimbabwean political activist who appears to have been abducted by security forces three days after Zimbabwe’s elections. (Amnesty International).

As part of an Algerian initiative to mediate the post-coup situation in Niger, Algeria’s Foreign Minister has proposed a six-month timeline for a transition to civilian rule in the country. (Anadolu Agency) (France24) (Africa News). Nigerian President Bola Tinubu floated a 9-month transition, citing Nigeria’s own transition in 1999. (VOA) (TRT World). ECOWAS was later forced to clarify that Tinubu, the current President of the supranational body, was not speaking on behalf of ECOWAS. (AFP via Al Arabiya) (Anadolu Agency)

A growing crisis is brewing over France’s refusal to recall its ambassador to Niger following the junta’s demand that he leave. France ignored an ultimatum by coup leaders. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-66639167). Three days later, the junta purported to revoke his diplomatic immunity and “ordered” him to leave within 48 hours. They have also called for the removal of approximately 1,500 French soldiers currently in the country. (RFI) (France24). The junta also appears to have encouraged widespread protests against the French ambassador in the country. (Al Jazeera) (Reuters) (Tasnim News Agency).

Senegal’s Minister of Justice has declared that the “morals” conviction against opposition leader Ousmane Sonko is final and no longer appealable. The announcement came shortly after Sonko ended a hunger strike he had started in late July. (The Africa Report) (Africa News) (Anadolu Agency) (AFP via Barron’s).

Foreign Affairs

The leader of Burkina Faso’s junta held bilateral meetings with a Russian delegation, reportedly reaching some kind of accord on military cooperation. Burkinabe junta leader Ibrahim Traore hailed Russia as a “strategic ally” following the meeting. (TRT Afrika) (Al Jazeera) (BBC via the Star Kenya).

Citing a desire to monitor “efficiency,” Nigerian President Bola Tinubu has recalled all of the country’s ambassadors, both career and political appointees).

28 August 2023


Friday, September 22, at 10:00 a.m., the United Nations Committee is sponsoring a panel discussion, “Reparations for Conflict-Related Sexual Violence: Challenges, Opportunities, and Recommendations.” (NYC Bar Registration Page).

Human Rights

Doctors without Borders and others have expressed continued concern about indiscriminate attacks against civilians in Nyala, Sudan. (Doctors without Borders via Reliefweb) (Dabanga Sudan) (AFP via Barron’s). The State Department issued a statement condemning “pervasive conflict-related sexual violence in Sudan,” attributing the allegations of such violence to “credible sources,” including victims. (State Dep’t.) (Reuters).

The BBC has published the anonymous account of a Nigerien journalist who writes that the junta has instilled a climate of fear for those critical of the coup. (BBC).

Two Ethiopian opposition politicians who were arrested earlier this month—one of them a member of parliament—have not been found in detention by their attorneys. Both were due to appear in court today, where their lawyers indicated that neither their families nor their attorneys know where they are being detained. (Addis Insight) (background from Borkena.com). Also this week, Amhara regional president, Dr. Yilkal Kefale, resigned from his role. The Amhara State Council appointed Arega Kebede as his successor. (Addis Standard) (Ethiopian Monitor) (France24) (Reuters).

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

Zimbabwe authorities arrested at least 39 election observers as it held presidential elections this week. (AP) (RFI) (BBC). Observers who were not arrested criticized the elections’ lack of transparency. (EU Election Observer Report) (Semafor) (VOA). Amnesty International reported “widespread voter intimidation” near the election, the continuation of a recent trend in the buildup to Wednesday’s votes. (Amnesty International). NetBlocks noted a material degradation in internet access in Zimbabwe on election eve. (NetBlocks via Twitter). The State Department issued a statement the day before the elections raising concern about “recent actions … including political violence and legislation that curtails human rights and freedoms.” (State Dep’t.). Elections were held on August 23. On August 26, incumbent President Emerson Mnangagwa was declared the winner with 52.6% of the vote to opposition candidate Nelson Chamisa’s 44% of the vote. Chamisa has disputed the results, but it is not yet clear if he will challenge them in the courts. (CNN) (New York Times).

Gabon cut access to the internet and changed voting rules immediately before this week’s presidential elections. President Ali Bongo succeeded his father in 2009 and is seeking a third term in office. (VOA) (NetBlocks.org) (Reuters) (France24) (Al Jazeera) (BBC). The State Department issued a statement in advance of the elections. (State Dep’t.s).

Human Rights Watch expressed concern that DRC officials are engaged in a “crackdown” against the opposition ahead of elections scheduled for December 20, 2023. (HRW) (VOA). Also this week, the United States sanctioned six individuals for “contributing to the recent escalation of conflict” in the Eastern DRC.  (State Dep’t.)  The Nation reports on who the sanctioned individuals, which include Congolese and Rwandans, are. (The Nation).

The United States issued an early statement of “strong support” for President Bazoum, and has reiterated to the press since then the United States’ “unflagging” support for him. (State Dep’t.) (The Guardian) (analysis via CNN). Secretary Blinken spoke with Nigerian President Tinubu and President Bazoum himself regarding the situation.  (State Dep’t. Readout of Tinubu call) (State Dep’t. Readout of Bazoum call).

A Zimbabwean court disqualified twelve candidates from the main opposition coalition, the CCC, from running in the August parliamentary elections in the district of Bulawayo, a constituency where the CCC was expected to perform well. The CCC has threatened to pull out of the polls entirely. Also this week, the country’s Supreme Court affirmed the disqualification of opposition presidential candidate Savior Kasukuwere. (VOA) (The Daily Maverick) (AFP via Barron’s). Amnesty International issued a statement criticizing Zimbabwe’s “brutal crackdown” on human rights, “especially” in connection with presidential opposition. The statement calls out Zimbabwe’s recent “Patriotic Bill,” passed in the context of the August 23 elections. (Amnesty International).

The CAR’s Constitutional Court validated the results of the country’s constitutional referendum, effectively ending presidential term limits. (AP via ConstitutionNet) (Africa News). In a statement expressing concern about the referendum, the United States called on CAR officials to hold local elections promptly. (State Dep’t.) (Reuters).

Foreign Affairs

Ethiopia and Egypt are among the six countries that have been invited to join the BRICS coalition. (The Reporter Ethiopia) (France24) (New York Times) (Al Jazeera).

Before his reported death later in the week, Wagner group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin released a video statement characterizing his organization’s work as making Africa “more free.” (BBC).

Niger’s junta has expelled the French ambassador from the country, ordering him to leave within 48 hours.  (CNN) (Al Jazeera). ECOWAS rejected the junta’s proposed three-year timeline for a transition to civilian rule, and tensions mount as the junta declared that it would welcome assistance from Burkina Faso and Mali’s juntas in the event that ECOWAS commences a military action. (Reuters) (France24) (VOA). The United States continues to engage in diplomatic efforts around the issue. This week Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Molly Phee traveled to Chad, Nigeria, and Ghana, engaging on the Niger coup in each of the three countries. (VOA). Secretary Blinken raised the Niger coup in his call with Egypt’s Foreign Minister. (State Dep’t. Readout). And President Biden is expected to discuss regional issues with Nigerian President Bola Tinubu on the margins of the U.N. General Assembly. (VOA).

Taiwan’s President is expected to visit Eswatini next month, the only country in Africa that recognizes Taiwan. (Taiwan Press Statement) (Taipei Times) (AFP via Barron’s) (Reuters).

Cameroonian authorities are investigating the death of French diplomat Christian Hué in the country under strange circumstances. (Cameroon Online) (The Guardian Post Cameroon).

31 July 2023

Human Rights

Ghana’s parliament voted to abolish the death penalty. While death sentences have been issued in the recent past, the country has not carried out an execution since 1993. (The Guardian) (Reuters) (AP). Amnesty International described the vote as a “major step forward.” (Amnesty International).

A Mauritanian student has been charged with blasphemy, a capital crime, over an exam paper she wrote. (BBC) (AFP via Barron’s).

Human Rights Watch called on Ethiopian authorities to release 7 Oromo opposition leaders who have been detained for more than three years. (HRW).

Human Rights Watch has documented additional atrocities committed by Malian and Wagner fighters and called for accountability. (HRW). Also this week, the United States issued sanctions against several top Malian officials, including the defense minister, over their relationship with the Wagner Group. (State Dep’t.) (VOA) (Al Jazeera) (The Africa Report).

In the DRC, Human Rights Watch documented the killing of at least 46 civilians by militia fighters at a camp for displaced persons from Ituri. (HRW).

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

The head of the Nigerien presidential guard has carried out a coup, detaining President Bazoum and declaring himself, Omar Tchiani, the new leader of the country. (Vox.com primer) (USIP analysis) (Al Jazeera) (Financial Times). Bazoum issued a public statement that “democracy will prevail.” (AP). Despite some reports of a suspension, it appears that UN aid is continuing to be delivered. (Reuters) (UN News). Human Rights Watch called on military authorities to respect human rights, and called for a “swift return” to civilian rule. (HRW).

The coup appears to have support from the Wagner group, and supporters of the coup marched in support of Russia and opposition to France. The French embassy was attacked, and Wagner group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin welcomed the coup in a “long message posted to social media.” (AP) (CNN). Nonetheless, Russia appears not to have used its veto to prevent a Security Council statement condemning “efforts to unconstitutionally change the legitimate government of the Republic of Niger on 26 July 2023” and calling for the unconditional release of President Bazoum. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres issued a similar statement. (UN News 1) (UN News 2) (20230728 Security Council Statement). ECOWAS nations have demanded Bazoum’s reinstatement within a week, imposing sanctions in the interim, and threatening the use of force. (Al Jazeera) (BBC) (New York Times).

The death toll in Kenyan antigovernment protests continues to rise, while Human Rights Watch called on authorities to dampen their rhetoric and hold police accountable for excessive use of force. (HRW) (New York Times) (The Guardian) (CNN).

The United States issued an early statement of “strong support” for President Bazoum, and has reiterated to the press since then the United States’ “unflagging” support for him. (State Dep’t.) (The Guardian) (analysis via CNN). Secretary Blinken spoke with Nigerian President Tinubu and President Bazoum himself regarding the situation.  (State Dep’t. Readout of Tinubu call) (State Dep’t. Readout of Bazoum call).

A Zimbabwean court disqualified twelve candidates from the main opposition coalition, the CCC, from running in the August parliamentary elections in the district of Bulawayo, a constituency where the CCC was expected to perform well. The CCC has threatened to pull out of the polls entirely. Also this week, the country’s Supreme Court affirmed the disqualification of opposition presidential candidate Savior Kasukuwere. (VOA) (The Daily Maverick) (AFP via Barron’s). Amnesty International issued a statement criticizing Zimbabwe’s “brutal crackdown” on human rights, “especially” in connection with presidential opposition. The statement calls out Zimbabwe’s recent “Patriotic Bill,” passed in the context of the August 23 elections. (Amnesty International).

The Central African Republic held a referendum today to vote on a constitutional amendment that would eliminate term limits. (Deutsche Welle) (BBC) (Anadolu Agency) (AP).

Former Nigerian Central Bank governor Godwin Emefiele pleaded not guilty to gun charges brought against him after a Nigerian court declared that he could not be held without charge. The court granted bail to the former central banker. (Premium Times) (Channels TV) (Al Jazeera). President Tinubu appointed a special investigator to find new charges against Emefiele, as analysts have begun to criticize the detention. (VOA) (Reuters).

Foreign Affairs

Tigrayan officials have stated that 50,000 regional forces have been demobilized as part of the peace deal with federal authorities. (AFP via Barron’s) (Tigrai TV) (BBC via Business Ghana).

The United States sanctioned financier and leader of ISIS in Somalia. (Treasury Dep’t.) (Anadolu Agency) (The East African).

Other Items of Interest

Amnesty International called on Nigerian authorities to disclose the identities of 103 persons intended to be included in a mass burial for victims of the EndSARS protests in October 2020. The fact that the bodies were in custody was only recently disclosed. (Amnesty International).

24 July 2023

Human Rights

The Ugandan High Court ordered compensatory damages for a torture victim against a former intelligence official, the intelligence services, and 14 officers for torturing the plaintiff and detaining him for more than one year without charge. Human Rights Watch praised the decision as a “step in the right direction,” noting that many other victims remain without redress. (20230630 Decision via Uganda LII) (HRW) (New Vision Uganda).

Egyptian human rights activist Patrick Zaki and his lawyer were sentenced to three years in prison for “spreading false information” this week and “pardoned” the following day by President Sisi. They have both been in detention since 2019, when Zaki and his lawyer, prominent human rights advocate Mohamed El-Baqer, were arrested over academic research Zaki had written regarding the rights of Egyptian Christians. (New York Times) (Al Jazeera) (Deutsche Welle).

Ethiopian authorities restored social media access in the country after a five-month shutdown, which had been prompted by a rift between Ethiopian church leaders in Oromia and the federal government. (BBC via Hiraan Online) (Okay Africa) (AFP via Barron’s). The development comes as differences are developing between Tigrayan church leaders and the rest of the church. (Addis Standard) (TGHAT).

Human Rights Watch marked the six-month anniversary of Rwandan journalist John Ntwali by noting questions that remain surrounding his “suspicious death.” (HRW).

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

Mali’s Constitutional Court has endorsed referendum results ratifying a new constitution proposed by junta chief Assimi Goita. The referendum saw 38% turnout, with yes winning 97% of the vote. (BBC) (RFI). The opposition protested the entry into force of the new constitution. (AFP via Barron’s). The new constitution also renders the French language as a “working” language, instead of the “official” language, of the country.

In Nigeria, the chair of President Tinubu’s party, the APC, abruptly quit his position. Some reports indicate that the resignation was at Tinubu’s request. (Premium Times Nigeria) (The Guardian Nigeria) (The Punch Nigeria). The death toll in Kenyan antigovernment protests continues to rise, while Human Rights Watch called on authorities to dampen their rhetoric and hold police accountable for excessive use of force. (HRW) (New York Times) (The Guardian) (CNN).

The death toll in Kenyan antigovernment protests continues to rise, while Human Rights Watch called on authorities to dampen their rhetoric and hold police accountable for excessive use of force. (HRW) (New York Times) (The Guardian) (CNN).

Foreign Affairs

South African and Russian officials announced a “mutual” decision that Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend the BRICS summit scheduled for August in South Africa. Putin is the subject of an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court, and South Africa is a party to the Rome Statute. (Washington Post) (New York Times) (Al Jazeera) (Reuters). The opposition Democratic Alliance party had filed a court petition seeking declaratory judgment that South Africa was legally required to arrest Putin, while President Cyril Ramaphosa has sought to maintain neutrality in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. (BBC). Amnesty International filed an amicus brief supporting the court challenge. (Amnesty International).

Russia pulled out of an agreement to facilitate global access to Ukrainian grain during the conflict, prompting an immediate increase in cereal prices. (CNBC) (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace). Almost immediately following the announcement, Russia bombed the port city of Odesa, though reports were unclear about whether the bombing was connected to the Russian decision to withdraw, with Russia claiming that the military action was planned separately. (WSJ). The United States expressed “regret” over the Russian decision, while Amnesty International warned that the Russian attack on Odesa’s port would risk a “disastrous” global food crisis.  (Amnesty International) (State Dep’t.). Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy discussed the grain deal with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in the first bilateral phone call between the two countries’ leaders. Zelenskyy also invited Ahmed to visit Ukraine. (Official Ukrainian Readout) (Addis Standard) (Borkena.com).

The European Union signed a 105 million euro deal with the Tunisian government to combat people-smuggling networks out of Tunisia. The development follows increasing humanitarian concerns for migrants who have drowned during the crossing. The deal also includes 1 billion euros in aid for Tunisia’s economy. It is unclear if any of the aid is intended to help tensions in the country over the increasing presence of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa. (Al Jazeera) (BBC) (New York Times).

Other Items of Interest

Mali is seeking national product recognition from the African Intellectual Property Organisation for bogolan, a traditional method of manufacturing textiles. (RFI French) (Translation via Teller Report) (We Africa 24).

19 June 2023

Human Rights

Human Rights Watch is urging Guinean authorities to find a way to resume the stadium massacre trial, which has been suspended for two weeks as defense counsel demands additional funding to carry out their defense. (HRW).

The United States has imposed new visa restrictions for Ugandan officials. The restrictions are nominally for “undermining the democratic process,” but their timing has been perceived as a response to Uganda’s anti-homosexuality law, and the State Department’s press release expressly references the law. (State Dep’t.) (AP) (Al Jazeera) (Reuters).

A Human Rights Watch report confirms that “Rwanda-backed M23 rebels in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have committed unlawful killings, rape, and other apparent war crimes since late 2022.” (HRW) (Africa Times). Also this week, Congolese rebel group, the Allied Democratic Forces, was accused by Ugandan police of responsibility for an attack on schoolchildren that killed 37. (New York Times).

A Tunisian court has barred media coverage of the trials of certain opposition figures. (Reuters) (Al Jazeera).

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

Mali held a referendum earlier today to clear a path toward elections and potentially civilian rule. (Reuters) (Al Jazeera) (primer from Vox). The UN is purportedly providing “multifaceted support” for the referendum process. (UN News).

In his democracy day speech, Bola Tinubu took aim at the courts, focusing on the annulment of the 1993 election results. (Premium Times Nigeria) (Text of speech via The Guardian Nigeria). Some have interpreted his speech as an attack on the Presidential Election Tribunal, which continues to hear election challenges to his election earlier this year. (Daily Post Nigeria). Abdulrasheed Bawa, chair of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, was suspended and promptly thereafter detained “indefinitely.” He is the second senior leader to suffer the same sequence of events after Bola Tinubu’s inauguration less than a month ago. (Premium Times Nigeria) (Vanguard Nigeria) (BusinessDay Nigeria). The other, former Central Bank governor Godwin Emefiele won a court ruling this week allowing him access to counsel. (Reuters).

Cameroonian opposition leader John Fru Ndi died of a longstanding illness on Monday at the age of 81. (The Africa Report)  (Africa News).

Foreign Affairs

In Sudan, the killing of West Darfur governor after anti-RSF comments he made has led to renewed cycles of violence. (The Guardian) (Al Jazeera) (New York Times). UN officials have warned that the violence in Darfur is “spiraling,” while the United States issued a statement sharply assigning responsibility to the RSF for “atrocities” in Darfur. (UN News) (State Dep’t..).

Eritrea rejoined the East African regional economic and security bloc, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development. Eritrea had left the group 16 years ago. (VOA) (Africa News).

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made a surprise visit to Africa following the Ukrainian Foreign Minister’s visit. Lavrov appeared in Nairobi and signed a nuclear energy deal with Burundi. (Al  Jazeera)  (AFP  via The Moscow Times) (TASS)  (BBC  via The Star Kenya).

Secretary Blinken signaled support for revisions to the IMF package being offered to Tunisia. (Reuters).

4 June 2023


The Vance Center will host an event on “Upholding the Rule of Law through Pro Bono Work: Experiences from Latin America and Africa.” The event is organized in connection with the International Bar Association’s 20th Annual International Mergers & Acquisitions Conference. Today -June 5, 5:00 to 6 p.m., with a cocktail reception to follow. (Vance Center).

Human Rights

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed the revised anti-LGBT lawMuseveni signs anti-LGBT law. The law provides the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” and up to 20 years in prison for “promoting” homosexuality. (Semafor)  (The  Independent UK).

Only two MPs voted against the law. They, along with a group of seven others, have already filed a constitutional challenge against the act. (Commentary in Open  Democracy). The law, which was revised after international criticism against an earlier draft, was widely condemned by international actors, including human rights groups and the U.S. State Department. (HRW)  (Amnesty International)  (U.S.  State Dep’t.).

Also in Uganda, later in the week, commercial lawyer Ronald Mukisa was shot dead by unknown assailants on motorcycles. The motive is unclear, but his wife is being held by police. (Nile  Post Uganda)  (Chimp  Reports).

Amnesty International  marked 500 days in detention for Angolan activist Tanaice Neutro by calling for his release. (Amnesty  International).

A Swiss court  affirmed the conviction of Liberian warlord Alieu Kosiah for crimes against humanity. The ruling confirms a 20-year sentence issued in 2021. (Front  Page Africa Online)  (Deutsche  Welle) (Reuters).

The Mauritanian  government has shut down internet access on mobile phones in the country following protests in support of Omar Diop, who died the previous day in police custody after being arrested for allegedly participating in a brawl. (AFP  via Barron’s)  (BBC  via Voice of Nigeria)  (News  Central Africa).

Human Rights  Watch and Amnesty International issued a joint report calling on Kenyan authorities to end “abusive policing” of protests in the country, alleging that police have been involved in the killing of at least 12 people. (HRW)  (Africa  News).

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

A court in Dakar sentenced opposition leader Ousmane Sonko to two years in prison for “corrupting youth.” The conviction renders Sonko formally ineligible to stand in upcoming elections. (AP)  (CNN). The conviction prompted widespread and deadly protests, which in turn led Senegalese authorities to block certain social media sites. (Reuters) (Al  Jazeera)  (New  York Times). Amnesty International called on Senegalese authorities to end arbitrary arrests and to restore internet access. (Amnesty  International).

Zimbabwe has finally scheduled presidential elections, which are slated to take place on August 23. (Reuters) (Al  Jazeera). Shortly after the announcement, Zimbabwean legislators passed a “patriotism” bill, making certain criticism of the government illegal. Zimbabwe claims the law is modeled on the U.S. Logan Act. (Bloomberg) (Reuters)(VOA).

Zimbabwe has also summoned the acting U.S. ambassador to the country over her tweets encouraging citizens to “Register to vote and make sure your voice is heard.” (AP  via ABC News)(VOA).

Nigerian President  Bola Tinubu was inaugurated on May 29th. He promised to announce his cabinet within 60 days. (Semafor)  (CNN)  (The  Punch Nigeria).  Tinubu has already announced plans to remove a fuel subsidy, prompting the country’s main labor union to announce a strike. (Reuters). With fuel prices expected to increase dramatically, Amnesty International called on Nigerian authorities to ensure that the subsidy’s removal does not “exacerbate” poverty. (Amnesty International).

Following  regional elections in Puntland, Somali officials announced plans to implement direct universal suffrage by 2024. (Jurist.org)  (The  East African)  (Reuters). Some politicians have already announced their opposition to the plan. (Arab  News).

The President  of the Central African Republic announced plans for a constitutional referendum to do away with presidential term limits. (ConstitutionNet)  (Reuters)  (Al  Jazeera). 

In Ethiopia,  the TPLF has called for regional elections to be held immediately. (Borkena.com)  (BBC  via The Star Kenya)  (Arise  TV).  A recent report by Human Rights Watch alleges that ethnic cleansing continues by Amharan forces in Western Tigray. (HRW)  (AFP  via Ahram Online).  

Foreign Affairs

Sudan’s military and the Rapid Support Forces agreed to an extension of their ceasefire. (Al  Jazeera) (Reuters). The ceasefire was broken, however, by a rocket attack against a Khartoum market that killed at least 18. (BBC) (AFP  via Daily Sabah)  (Al  Jazeera). The State Department released a fact sheet regarding the steps the Administration has taken in response to the crisis. (State  Dep’t.).

South Africa has formally granted immunity to foreign diplomats planning to visit the country for a BRICS summit in August. South Africa’s posture has been closely watched since the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin, who is expected to attend the summit. South Africa is a party to the Rome Statute. (The  Guardian)  (Euro  News)  (Bloomberg).  The government insists that the immunity granted does not “override” the ICC arrest warrant, but Russian authorities have made veiled references to Putin’s attendance, stating that Russia plans to attend at the “proper level.” (Fox  News via Yahoo News).

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made a surprise visit to Africa following the Ukrainian Foreign Minister’s visit. Lavrov appeared in Nairobi and signed a nuclear energy deal with Burundi. (Al  Jazeera)  (AFP  via The Moscow Times) (TASS)  (BBC  via The Star Kenya).

Finally, while Foreign Minister Lavrov was visiting Africa, Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki visited the Kremlin at President Putin’s invitation. (Horn  Diplomat)  (Eritrean  readout via African Business) (Kremlin  Readout).

The UN Security Council extended an arms embargo against South Sudan. (UN Press Release) (The  East African) (AP  via ABC News). Amnesty International issued a statement welcoming the development.  (Amnesty International). 

21 May 2023


The Vance Center will host an event on “Upholding the Rule of Law through Pro Bono Work: Experiences from Latin America and Africa.” The event is organized in connection with the International Bar Association’s 20th Annual International Mergers & Acquisitions Conference. June 5, 5:00 to 6 p.m., with a cocktail reception to follow. (Vance Center).

Human Rights

Amnesty International reports that LGBT asylum seekers and refugees living in Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp are not safe and “routinely” suffer hate crimes, violence including rape, and “other serious human rights abuses” in the camp. (Amnesty International).

Amnesty International welcomed a UN report that concluded Malian and “foreign” forces were responsible for a massacre that killed more than 500 civilians. (Amnesty International). Mali continues to deny the allegation, going so far as to accuse the UN of “espionage.” (The Africa Report). Burkina Faso has sided with the Malian junta on the issue. (AFP via Barron’s).

Al Jazeera published an investigative piece on the conditions of farmworkers in Zimbabwe. Those interviewed describe a farm labor system that is “colonial-era” in nature. (Al Jazeera).

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

The BBC reports that its analysis and investigation of poll results in Rivers State, Nigeria, reflects substantial “anomalies.” (BBC). In a court case challenging the election results, Labour Party leader Peter Obi has sought 7 weeks to produce evidence before the courts, while inauguration day is slated for May 29. (BNN). Secretary Blinken called disputed President-elect Bola Tinubu this week (State Dep’t. Readout) (Vanguard Nigeria) (This Day Nigeria), but the United States also imposed travel restrictions on a group of unidentified Nigerians for obstructing the electoral process (CNN) (Reuters).

The rape trial against Senegalese opposition leader Ousmane Sonko started and was postponed this week following unrest in response to the trial and the charges, which Sonko’s supporters perceive as politically motivated. (AP via NY1) (Reuters).

Libya’s eastern-based parliament has replaced its prime minister Fathi Bashaga, in favor of his finance minister, Osama Hamada. Bashaga has not been able to enter Tripoli or to wrestle power from Abdulhamid Dbeibah, the prime minister recognized by the UN. (Al Jazeera) (Reuters).

Kenyan president William Ruto has nominated Kamau Thugge to be governor of the country’s Central Bank, despite corruption allegations and a previous arrest against him stemming from 2019. (Bloomberg).

In Malawi, a Lilongwe magistrate has referred the corruption case against Vice President Saulos Chilima to the Financial Crimes Court, which operates as a division of the High Court. (Malawi Voice) (Shire Times).  

Tunisian opposition leader Rached Ghannouchi has been sentenced in absentia to one-year imprisonment on charges of “incitement.” (Foreign Policy) (Al Jazeera). Amnesty International describes the sentence as marking a “crackdown” on President Kais Saied’s opposition. (Amnesty International). An op-ed in Al Jazeera describes Saied’s regime as a “ticking time bomb.” (Edna Mohamed via Al Jazeera). This week, Tunisian journalists protested against the government’s use of anti-terror laws against the press. (AFP via The Teller Report).

Foreign Affairs

The belligerents in Sudan have reached an agreement on a 7-day ceasefire following mediation conducted jointly by the United States and Saudi Arabia. (Joint U.S.-Saudi Statement via State Dep’t.) (Al Jazeera) (AP via NBC News) (State Dep’t. Readout of a phone call between Secretary Blinken and General Burhan before the announcement of the ceasefire). Human Rights Watch reports on the toll of the conflict on civilian life. (HRW). The New York Times reports that in the “frantic” days before evacuation, American diplomats destroyed a wide range of documents for security reasons, including passports of Sudanese citizens in the embassy’s custody. These citizens are now without passports as they try to escape the country. (New York Times). The Sudanese Doctors Union estimates the number of civilian deaths in the conflict at least 822. (Premium Times Nigeria) (TASS). The UN is seeking $3 billion for relief efforts in Sudan, estimating that more than 1 million Sudanese citizens have been displaced. (UNHCR Press Release) (Al Jazeera).  

Also this week, Sudan’s military leader, General Burhan, fired the county’s acting interior minister, Anan Hamed Mohammed Omar, who is also the general director for the police. (Reuters) (BBC via The Nile Post Uganda). Burhan has also removed the RSF’s leader from his role in the military junta’s “Sovereign Council.” (Reuters).

The U.S. ambassador to South Africa has apologized for his remarks alleging that the South African government was selling weapons to Russia. (Eyewitness News) (Sunday Times) (Anadolu Agency). This week, South African military leader Lieutenant General Lawrence Mbatha traveled to Moscow to meet with Russian counterparts to discuss continued joint military drills. (Africa News) (AP) (Al Jazeera). Also this week, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that he will lead a delegation of five African heads of state to meet with both Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin. (AP via PBS) (VOA).

At least four U.S. embassy staff were killed in Anambra State, Nigeria. It is unclear if the incident is what prompted Secretary Blinken’s call with Bola Tinubu, noted above. (Express UK) (BBC via Yahoo News) (U.S. Statement via Embassy in Nigeria).

Other Items of Interest

The IMF has approved a $3 billion loan to Ghana. (IMF Press Release) (Bloomberg) (Reuters).

15 May 2023

Human Rights

Zimbabwe’s High Court has overturned the conviction against internationally renowned novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga, who was charged and convicted in connection with her appearance at a banned protest. (BBC) (Al Jazeera) (The Guardian).

A report from the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights concludes that Malian troops, alongside “foreign military personnel under their command or control,” killed more than 500 people, many of them civilians, over the course of five days in Moura village. (UN OHCHR) (Reuters). Mali has rejected the report, insisting that “no civilians” and “only terrorist fighters” were killed. (VOA).

Cameroonian journalist Anye Nde Nsoh was shot dead by separatist fighters in the country’s Northwest region. (Committee to Protect Journalists) (International Press Institute) (Daily Post Nigeria). 

Amnesty International denounces Senegalese authorities’ “excessive use of force” in the Ngor neighborhood of Dakar in response to protests over a land dispute.  (Amnesty International).

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

In Guinea, at least seven are dead following a crackdown against anti-junta protests. (Al Jazeera) (Reuters). The opposition has called for a return to civilian rule. (Deutsche Welle). NGO Article 19 has called for the “pattern of bloody crackdown[s] on protestors” to end. (Article 19). The day after the protests, Guinean authorities freed three activists who had been arrested in a previous cycle. (AFP via Barron’s).

Amnesty International has called on President Tshisekedi to end the DRC’s formal state of emergency, which has been in place in North Kivu and Ituri provinces for two years. (Amnesty International).

Zimbabwe opposition MP Job Sikhala was convicted of “obstructing the course of justice” for accusing ruling party supporters of killing and dismembering CCC party activist Moreblessing Ali. (AP) (The Chronicle Zimbabwe) (AFP via News24). Amnesty International described the conviction as a “travesty.” (Amnesty International).

A Senegalese court has increased the prison sentence for opposition leader Ousmane Sonko from two months to six months. The longer sentence could render Sonko ineligible to run for the presidency if it is not overturned on appeal. The sentence stems from a claim that Sonko defamed the country’s tourism minister. (Al Jazeera) (Bloomberg) (Reuters).

Nigeria’s Court of Appeal will hear a challenge to the election results that declared Bola Tinubu president-elect. (HRW). It appears, however, that the court challenge will not prevent plans for the May 29 inauguration. (Punch Nigeria). Meanwhile, a Nigerian court has declared the National Broadcasting Corporation (“NBC”) lacks the authority to impose fines on local television stations. The NBC announced plans to appeal the decision, while a similar case challenging the same issue is expected to be ruled on by the ECOWAS court in September. (The Guardian Nigeria) (Premium Times Nigeria).  

Zimbabwe’s government reversed its decision to permit secrecy in certain public health procurement decisions. (New Zimbabwe) (Sunday Times South Africa). COVID-related corruption was at the center of a 2020 scandal exposed by journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and which resulted in the sacking of Health Minister Obadiah Moyo. (Background from CNN).

Human Rights Watch documents instances of voter discrimination and harassment against particular ethnic groups in the eastern DRC. (HRW).

Foreign Affairs

In Sudan, the army and the RSF have not agreed to a ceasefire but have agreed to abide by certain principles with respect to the protection of civilians during the conflict. (BBC) (Reuters). A UN representative described the agreement as an “important first step,” while the United States and Saudi Arabia issued a joint statement supporting the development. (UN News) (State Dep’t.). Peace talks are expected to continue, and the United States continues to deploy Assistant Secretary of State Molly Phee toward such efforts.. (Reuters 1) (Reuters 2) (State Dep’t.).  

The U.S. ambassador to South Africa publicly alleged that the country is supplying arms to Russia. (AP) (New York Times). South Africa has summoned the ambassador in response, denying the allegation while simultaneously launching a probe into the allegations. (Washington Post) (Financial Times). The issue was not mentioned in a short and cryptic readout of a call between Secretary Blinken and his South African counterpart Naledi Pandor. (State Dep’t. Readout).

Other Items of Interest

Ethiopian telecom authorities have granted a license for Kenyan mobile network provider Safaricom to introduce a mobile money license in the country, bringing M-pesa to Ethiopia while ending the previous monopoly enjoyed by Ethio Telecom. (Safaricom Press Release) (Addis Standard) (Coin Telegraph).

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has issued a declaration finding that the Benin Bronzes belong to the Oba of Benin and not to the Nigerian government. The declaration applies to the Benin Bronzes returned by the German government. (BBC) (Deutsche Welle).

8 May 2023

Human Rights

Uganda passed a less strict version of its anti-LGBT law, following international pressure against the law. The law still imposes harsh penalties on LGBT persons and those who support their rights, including the death penalty for cases of “aggravated homosexuality.” (Amnesty International) (Open Democracy) (The Pink News) (Reuters) (BBC via Yahoo News). Also this week in Uganda, deputy minister for labout and gender Charles Okello Engola was shot dead by his bodyguard. The shooting appears to be related to a claim of unpaid wages, not the minister’s politics. (BBC) (The Monitor Uganda via The East African) (Anadolu Agency).

Ethiopian authorities have arrested at least 47 following the recent assassination of Amharan political leader Girma Yeshitila. They are being charged with plotting a coup to overthrow Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government. (Africa News) (The Africa Report) (Anadolu Agency).

An appellate court in Burundi has upheld the 10-year prison sentence issued to journalists Floriane Irangabiye. Human rights groups have called for the conviction to be quashed and Irangabiye to be released. (Committee to Protect Journalists) (HRW) (Amnesty International). Amnesty International reports that attacks on journalists have been “on the rise” in Eastern and Southern Africa. (Amnesty International). On World Press Freedom Day, USAID administrator Samantha Power announced an initiative to help journalists defend against legal threats. (Reuters). 

After four years in detention, Egypt has freed Al Jazeera journalist Hisham Abdel Aziz. Several Al Jazeera journalists have been arrested by Egyptian authorities since 2013. Two remain in detention. (BBC) (Al Jazeera) (background from Committee to Protect Journalists).

Both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have collected testimony evincing the involvement of the Butkinabe army in a massacre that took place in Karna on April 20. (HRW) (Amnesty International) (France24).  

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

Mali’s junta has declared a timetable for a constitutional referendum, expecting to hold the vote on June 18. (AP via ABC News) (RFI).

Sierra Leone’s electoral commission has declared that opposition leader Samura Kamara is eligible to challenge President Julius Maada Bio in June general elections. (Reuters) (Al Jazeera) (VOA).

Amnesty International has called on President Tshisekedi to end the DRC’s formal state of emergency, which has been in place in North Kivu and Ituri provinces for two years. (Amnesty International).

Zimbabwe opposition MP Job Sikhala was convicted of “obstructing the course of justice” for accusing ruling party supporters of killing and dismembering CCC party activist Moreblessing Ali. (AP) (The Chronicle Zimbabwe) (AFP via News24). Amnesty International described the conviction as a “travesty.” (Amnesty International).

Zambian police sought to search former President Edgar Lungu’s house concerning corruption allegations against his wife. (VOA) (Lusaka Times) (Bloomberg via Yahoo News).

A Nigerian Senator, his wife, and a doctor were sentenced by a UK court concerning a scheme to traffic a Nigerian man to the UK to unwittingly supply a kidney for the Senator’s sick daughter. (CNN) (Premium Times).  

Foreign Affairs

As fighting continues in Sudan, Saudi Arabia is hosting peace talks for the Sudanese Army and the RSF. (New York Times) (Reuters) (BBC) (AP). President Biden issued an Executive Order that enables the administration to impose sanctions on individuals hindering peace efforts. (Executive Order Text) (AP) (Reuters).  

The World Food Programme and USAID have announced a halt in food deliveries to Tigray based on allegations that food supplies were being diverted towards illegal reselling of the provisions. (AFP via Barron’s) (Anadolu Agency) (Al Jazeera). In the country’s south, a first round of peace talks between the federal government and the Oromo Liberation Army concluded without a deal, though the federal government described them as “constructive.” (Addis Standard) (Anadolu Agency) (Reuters).   

2 April 2023


Tuesday, April 11, at 6:30 p.m., the City Bar’s Council on International Affairs is sponsoring a panel discussion, “Rule of Law Diplomacy: the Role of Civil Society in the Promotion of Law and Legal Institutions Across Borders.” (NYC Bar Registration Page).

Human Rights

Earlier in the week, Burkina Faso suspended France24’s channel in the country after the network aired an interview with the head of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. (Al Jazeera) (North-Africa.com). Both the channel and human rights groups criticized the suspension. (France24) (HRW). Later in the week, Burkina Faso expelled two journalists working for French newspapers. (Al Jazeera) (VOA) (The Guardian).

Guinean security officer Moriba Camara was sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing a 19-year-old during opposition protests last June. (BBC via Voice of Nigeria) (Guinee News).

Human Rights Watch has called on Zambian authorities to repeal a 2009 law that restricts NGOs and civil society organizations. (HRW).

Human Rights Watch is calling on Congolese authorities to address a cycle of intercommunal violence in the country’s western Kwamouth territory. (HRW).

An anonymous Ethiopian journalist published a piece in The New Humanitarian calling for accountability for war crimes in the Tigray conflict. The piece describes the “atrocities reported so far” as the “tip of the iceberg.” (The New Humanitarian).

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

Kenya’s protests continued to escalate this week, with opposition leader Raila Odinga claiming an assassination attempt against him. (Reuters) (The Independent UK) (Africa News). The African Union issued a statement calling for calm, and the United States issued a statement criticizing the government’s treatment of journalists in the protests after more than 20 journalists have reportedly been attacked. (AU Statement) (NTV Kenya) (The East African) (Committee to Protect Journalists) (VOA). Most recently, Odinga appears to have called off the protests. (AP via ABC News) (Reuters).

A Senegalese court has convicted opposition leader Ousmane Sonko of a libel charge and sentenced him to a two-month suspended sentence for accusing the country’s Tourism Minister of embezzlement. (Al Jazeera) (Africa News). Sonko’s lawyer denounced the conviction as political. (Africa News). Sonko remains eligible for the presidency. (Reuters).

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir abruptly fired his defence and interior ministers in early March, in apparent breach of a 2018 peace deal requiring that the two ministers come from the opposition. (Reuters). This week, President Kiir appointed a replacement defence minister. (Sudan Tribune) (Al Jazeera) (Reuters). Vice President Machar, a member of the opposition, has rejected this “unilateral” move. (Sudans Post).

Ethiopia has formally dropped various charges against members of the TPLF in furtherance of the country’s peace deal. (Addis Standard) (The East African). The government has also made overtures to the Oromo Liberation Army.  (Ethiopia Insight).

Chadian junta leader Mahamat Idriss Deby has pardoned 259 protesters who were jailed last year. Chad has seen on-again off-again progress in reconciliation talks between the junta that took over following the late president’s death “in battle” and various rebel groups. (France24) (Anadolu Agency).

Foreign Policy

Vice President Harris concluded her Africa tour. In Tanzania she praised President Samia Hassan’s recent democratic reforms and announced a new trade initiative. (AP) (Deutsche Welle) (Al Jazeera). In Ghana, she pledged a $1 billion commitment to improve women’s economic empowerment across the continent and paid her respects in unscripted remarks at the infamous Cape Coast Castle, a former slave port. (Africa News)  (New York Post) (New York Times). In apparent connection with the Vice President’s visit, Ghanaian President Akufo-Addo gave remarks suggesting an intent to weaken an anti-LGBT bill currently being advanced in the country. (The Root via Yahoo Life).

The State Department issued a statement warning of Somaliland’s “democratic backsliding” in its continued postponement of presidential elections and calling for “de-escalation” of continuing violence in Lascanood.  (State Dep’t.). Somaliland authorities responded with a measured statement through its foreign ministry. (Somaliland Statement via Horn Diplomat). The United States does not recognize Somaliland as a state).

Lesotho’s parliament is debating pursuing a claim of land reparations against South Africa. (Al Jazeera) (Mail & Guardian).

Other Items of Interest

South Africa’s government has agreed with public-sector unions to a 7.5% wage increase following a five-month strike. (Reuters) (Independent Online).

26 March 2023

Human Rights

As protests in Mozambique continue over the death of dissident rapper Azagaia (AP), Mozambique’s President Felipe Nyusi has ordered a probe into reports of police abuses against protesters (BBC via Channel Africa) (Amnesty International).

Uganda’s parliament passed anti-LGBT legislation that the UN human rights commissioner has described as “among the worst of its kind in the world.” (Global Citizen) (Al Jazeera). Human rights groups have condemned the new legislation. (Amnesty International) (HRW) (Africa News). A U.S. spokesperson stated that the Biden administration would be examining the economic “repercussions” of Uganda’s adoption of the law. (AFP via Barron’s).French journalist Olivier Dubois and American aid worker Jeffery Woodke were released by militants this week. Woodke has gone missing in Niger in 2016, and Dubois was held hostage in Mali. Both were delivered to the airport in Niamey, where they were flown home. (BBC) (France24 re Dubois) (AP via PBS re Dubois) (AP via KY3 re Woodke) (State Dep’t. re Woodke). Dubois had appeared in a video shortly before the release. (Committee to Protect Journalists).

Secretary Blinken issued a statement asserting that members of each of the belligerent forces in the Tigray conflict—the Ethiopian National Defense Forces, Eritrean Defense Forces, Tigray People’s Liberation Front, and Amhara forces—committed war crimes during the conflict.   (State Dep’t.) (CNN) (AP). Human Rights Watch called for the United States to follow through on its recognition of these human rights violations with support for the UN body tasked with performing an independent investigation. (HRW). Ethiopia and Eritrea have rejected the claim that their forces committed war crimes. (Reuters) (AFP via Barron’s). As noted below, however, there has been progress in implementing the peace deal).

The State Department released its 2022 country reports. (State Dep’t.).

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

Four Nigerian opposition parties have formally registered a legal challenge to the declaration of Bola Tinubu as the winner of Nigeria’s February 25 presidential elections. (Bloomberg) (AP) (The Guardian Nigeria) (Premium Times Nigeria) (Africa News). The United States Mission in Nigeria tweeted a statement calling on Nigerian authorities to “hold accountable and bring to justice any individuals found to have ordered or carried out efforts to intimidate voters and suppress voting during the elections.” (The Guardian Nigeria). Full results from state elections are not yet in. (Arise TV) (Reuters).

Kenyan authorities have used tear gas and arrests to disperse cost-of-living protests organized by the opposition, and one student was killed. (Al Jazeera) (Reuters). Four MPs were among those arrested, and opposition leader Raila Odinga’s convoy was tear gassed. (Reuters) (VOA Africa) (BBC). Kenyan police have defended their handling of the protests, which has spurred its own protests. (VOA) (The East African). Most recently, the police have purported to ban all new opposition protests. (Africa News). President Ruto has sought to assure foreign investors that the business environment is stable in light of the protests. (AFP via Yahoo News).

Ethiopia’s parliament has taken the TPLF off the country’s terror list (Reuters) (Al Jazeera) (Bloomberg), as TPLF leader Getachew Reda was formally appointed by Abiy Ahmed as interim head of a newly announced local administrative body for Tigray. (Al Jazeera) (Africa News).

Senegalese President Macky Sall has been telling the press that a third term would be constitutional. (France24) (Le Journal de l’Afrique) (Africa News). His comments come as the rape trial against opposition leader Ousmane Sonko, which Sonko’s supporters claim is baseless and politically motivated, is underway. (AFP via Barron’s).

Foreign Policy

Secretary Blinken expressed concern about Tunisia’s economic situation absent an IMF deal. He also reiterated concerns about Kais Saied’s power grab since July 2021. (The North Africa Journal).

Following the arrest warrant issued by the ICC for Russian President Vladimir Putin, South Africa has been forced to decide on its position with respect to the warrant. South Africa is a signatory to the Rome Statute but has sought to preserve a degree of neutrality in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The issue is brought to a head by the fact that President Putin is scheduled to visit South Africa for a BRICS summit in August. (Bloomberg via Al Arabiya) (The Times Live) (Mail & Guardian).

Following a meeting with Morocco’s Foreign Minister, Secretary Blinken reiterated the U.S. position on Western Sahara. Although the Biden administration has not expressly contradicted President Trump’s recognition of Moroccan claims, the Biden administration has reverted to previous administrations’ formulations characterizing the Moroccan autonomy plan as “serious, credible, and realistic, and one potential approach to meet the aspirations of the people of Western Sahara.” (State Dep’t. Readout).

Other Items of Interest

Rwandan authorities have freed Paul Rusesabagina, stating that he requested clemency. U.S. authorities acknowledged the release but have insisted that Rwanda did not receive anything for releasing him. Qatar appears to have brokered the release. Rusesabagina claims that he was abducted in Dubai and forcibly transported to Rwanda, where he was arrested. He is a Belgian citizen and U.S. permanent resident.   (State Dep’t.) (AP via ABC News) (The East African) (Al Jazeera) (BBC).

19 March 2023

Human Rights

Human Rights Watch praised a new law that will improve accountability for human rights abuses by military forces in Burkina Faso. (HRW).

A group of 86 civil society and human rights organizations continues to press the Rwandan government over the independence of its investigation into the death of journalist John Ntwali. (Joint Statement via Reporters without Borders).

Three human rights groups—Human rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the Burundi Human Rights Initiative—have called for Burundian authorities to “unconditionally and immediately” release five human rights defenders who they claim were arrested for their human rights activism. (HRW) (Africa News).

Human rights groups criticized Mozambican authorities’ use of force, including tear gas and arbitrary arrests to disperse protests held in memory of popular protest rapper Azagaia. (HRW) (Amnesty International) (Al Jazeera) (VOA).

Human Rights Watch has alleged that Egyptian authorities are refusing to issue identity documents for several dissidents living abroad as part of a scheme to pressure them to return to Egypt. (HRW) (Al Jazeera) (Middle East Eye).

South Sudan released journalists Victor Ladu and Mustapha Osman, the last two of seven who were detained in January for their reporting. (Sudans Post) (Reporters without Borders).

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

Nigeria held state elections after they were initially postponed. (Vanguard) (CNN) (Al Jazeera). Some violence in connection with the elections has been reported. (AP). The results of the presidential election remain contested. Labour Party candidate Peter Obi issued an open letter to Nigerians repeating his past claims of manipulation of the results but urging voters to vote for a “new Nigeria” in yesterday’s gubernatorial elections. (Vanguard). Meanwhile, the INEC-declared victor, Bola Tinubu, has criticized the international press’s coverage of the elections, claiming that the New York Times, the Economist, and the Financial Times, among others, are “trying to mischaracterize” the outcome of the presidential election. (Premium Times).

The Tunisian parliament convened for the first time since President Kais Saied purported to suspend it using his emergency powers. The new parliament was elected in two rounds, both of which featured turnout of about 11% after most opposition parties urged a boycott of the elections. (Deutsche Welle) (Africa News) (VOA). Press was banned from the new parliament’s opening session. (The Guardian).

A Zimbabwean court refused to release opposition MP Job Sikhala, who continues to contest the charges against him as politically motivated. Zimbabwe is expected to hold elections this year, though no date has yet been announced. (Africa News) (The Herald Zimbabwe).

South African police are investigating the apparent murder of corruption investigator Cloete Murray. Murray was investigating Bosasa, a government contractor providing services to prisons. (BBC) (Independent Online) (Eyewitness News).

Six-term Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s son, Muhoozi Kainerguaba, who has caused several controversies in recent years with his comments to the press and on Twitter, announced that he will run in Uganda’s 2026 presidential elections. It is unclear if the announcement was coordinated with his father, whose 2026 plans are not yet known. (Africa News) (The East African).

Foreign Policy

Secretary of State Tony Blinken visited Ethiopia, where he praised the Ethiopian government’s efforts on the recent Tigray ceasefire. He announced $331 million in new humanitarian assistance for Ethiopia, but has not yet promised a resumption of a trade program that was suspended as a result of the war. (Reuters) (State Dep’t. Media Note re humanitarian assistance). Blinken also visited Niger, where he announced $150 million in new humanitarian assistance for the Sahel. He praised Niger as “a model of resilience, a model of democracy, a model of cooperation.” (Africa News) (State Dep’t. Media Note re humanitarian assistance). In Washington, D.C., Blinken presented Daniele Darlan, the chief justice of the CAR Constitutional Court. The government sought to remove her from her post because of her ruling, but the attempt was ruled unconstitutional in January of this year. (HRW). Finally, Vice President Harris is planning her own tour of the Continent. (CNN).

UN inspectors claim that more than 2 tons of uranium have been stolen in Libya. (BBC) (The Financial Times). A military commander in the country’s east claims to have recovered the missing uranium. (The Guardian) (BBC).

Angola’s parliament has approved sending 500 troops to the eastern DRC after an Angolan-sponsored ceasefire fell through. (AFP via The East African).

12 March 2023

Human Rights

Amnesty International is calling on the Ethiopian government to end its social media shutdown. The shutdown started one month ago amid a potential schism in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. (Amnesty International) (Africa News).

A UN Human Rights report concluded that human rights violations in Eritrea show “no sign of improvement.” (UN News) (Africa News) (AFP via Barron’s). Eritrea’s government has rejected the report as “harassment.” (BBC via Business Ghana).

A group of 63 human rights groups issued a joint open letter to the UN Human Rights Council in response to Ethiopia’s announcement before the African Union that it intended to seek the termination of the mandate of a joint Ethiopian-UN commission on human rights in connection with the Tigray conflict. (HRW) (Reuters) (VOA) (background from Jurist.org). This week, the Washington Post reported on allegations of a new massacre by Eritrean forces, reportedly weeks before the peace deal now in place was negotiated. (Washington Post).

Human Rights Watch is urging against a proposed new anti-LGBT law in Uganda. (HRW). Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda. The law would impose harsher penalties. (Africa News).

Tunisian President Kais Saied’s comments against sub-Saharan immigrants have prompted racist violence against Black migrants in Tunisia. (HRW) (Washington Post) (Amnesty International). The violence has prompted the World Bank to pause future loan talks with the Tunisian government, and the IMF has expressed concern along similar lines. (Reuters) (WSJ).

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

With Nigerian elections expected to be resolved at least in part by the courts (The Africa Report), the two main opposition candidates’ supporters have been protesting the declared results (Vanguard Nigeria). The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria acknowledged that the elections failed to meet Nigerians’ expectations but urged patience as court challenges proceed. (Vanguard Nigeria) (VOA). Nigeria has postponed local state elections, which were planned to be held shortly after the presidential elections. (CNN) (The Guardian).

Tunisian President Kais Saied has unilaterally dissolved local councils a few months before they were set to hold elections. (Financial Times) (Africa News) (Middle East Monitor) (Reuters).

Congolese opposition groups have objected to President Tshisekedi’s “attempt” to postpone elections currently scheduled for December 20. (BBC via Business Ghana) (Namibia Daily News). A group of Congolese Tutsis have also alleged that there is a campaign of violence and intimidation designed to prevent them from registering in upcoming local elections. (Reuters).

Mali’s junta announced delays to a planned constitutional referendum. (Al Jazeera) (Reuters).

Zimbabwean police stormed the stage and shut down a show by reggae-dancehall artist “Winky D.” Zimbabwe is in an election year, and the artist recently released an album containing political lyrics. (HRW).

Foreign Policy

Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Molly Phee are scheduled to visit Ethiopia and Niger. The visit follows the Biden Administration’s summit with African leaders and Treasury Secretary Janet  Yellen’s visit to the continent. (Reuters) (AP).

The UN Security Council has renewed Darfur-related sanctions against Sudan for another year. China and Russia abstained from the vote. (UN News) (Sudan Tribune) (Africa News) (AP).

Fighting has continued in the eastern DRC despite the announcement of a ceasefire last Friday. (UN News) (The Defense Post) (Africa News). Angola, which helped broker the ceasefire, is poised to send troops. (BBC).

Other Items

A Nigerian court has imposed a restraining order on oil company executive Roger Brown. The order prevents Brown from running Lagos-listed Seplat Energy for one week. The order is issued in the context of a shareholder dispute. (Upstream Online). Also this week, proceedings concluded in a UK case in which the Nigerian government is seeking to vacate an arbitral award of US $11 billion. Nigeria alleges that the contract, including the arbitration clause, was procured through bribes of Nigerian officials. (Bloomberg) (Premium Times).

Several Congolese Human Rights Organizations have written an open letter to Secretaries Blinken and Yellen expressing concern about the potential for sanctions relief that has been floated for Israeli mining magnate Dan Gertler.  (Joint Letter via HRW).

05 March 2023


This Wednesday, March 8, 2023, the City Bar will hold its fourth annual International Law Conference on the Status of Women. The reception will be at 5 p.m. and the program and awards will start at 6 p.m.

Also, on Wednesday, at 9 a.m. Eastern, African Women in Law Rising is hosting a symposium on embracing equity. (Zoom registration).

Friday, March 10, at 11:00 a.m., The American Society of International Law is sponsoring a panel discussion on the prospects for electoral democracy in Africa in 2023. (ASIL).

Human Rights

Tunisian opposition groups have defied a purported ban issued by President Saied’s government. (Deutsche Welle) (Reuters) (Middle East Eye). Also, in Tunisia, President Kais Saied has increasingly used anti-immigrant rhetoric as part of his political appeal. Tunisia has a small minority of Black Tunisians, but in recent years the country has also seen an inflow of Black immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa. Saied last week told his national security council that “Hordes of illegal immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa are still arriving, with all the violence, crime, and unacceptable practices that entails,” and he has launched what some outlets have described as a “crackdown” on these immigrants. (Foreign Policy) (New York Times) (Bloomberg). Some countries, including Ivory Coast, have initiated repatriation programs to help their nationals return from Tunisia. (Al Jazeera) (BBC). Tunisian tennis star Ons Jabeur issued a pointed public statement against this anti-Black rhetoric. (Africa News) (Al Jazeera).

Egypt is proceeding with a widely condemned trial against three journalists from independent outlet Mada Masr for “insulting” MPs. (Mada Masr) (Reuters) (Deutsche Welle). Also, Amnesty International is calling on Egyptian authorities to drop a “bogus” case against the founder of Egyptian human rights organization Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms. (Amnesty International).

A group of 63 human rights groups issued a joint open letter to the UN Human Rights Council in response to Ethiopia’s announcement before the African Union that it intended to seek the termination of the mandate of a joint Ethiopian-UN commission on human rights in connection with the Tigray conflict. (HRW) (Reuters) (VOA) (background from Jurist.org). This week, the Washington Post reported on allegations of a new massacre by Eritrean forces, reportedly weeks before the peace deal now in place was negotiated. (Washington Post).

Uganda has drawn rebukes over its move toward closing its human rights office. (HRW) (Reuters).

Nigeria became the 111th state to ratify the International Convention on Cluster Munitions. Nigeria’s Executive Council approved ratification in June 2021, and the instrument of ratification was deposited on February 28. (HRW).

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

On Wednesday, Nigeria’s INEC declared APC candidate Bola Tinubu the winner of Nigeria’s presidential elections in the first round. (Al Jazeera) (AP). Opposition groups, including the two main opposition presidential candidates, Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar, as well as six Nigerian States have filed formal challenges to the declared results. (BBC) (CNN) (Politico)  (AFP via News24) The six States have since dropped their challenge. (Reuters) (AP). On March 3, nearly one week after the election was held, the Centre for Accountability and Inclusive Development (CAAID) among its other post-observation requests, called on INEC to ensure that all local results are “immediately” uploaded to the country’s online portal for election results. This kind of digital upload was supposed to occur promptly after the closing of the polls under Nigerian law. Such local numbers would enable data analysts to evaluate the credibility of the reported results. (All Africa).

Also this week, Nigeria’s Supreme Court ordered the country’s central bank to stop removing old banknotes from circulation. (Bloomberg) (CNN) (BBC).

The United States issued a statement congratulating Tinubu while acknowledging the legitimacy of concerns expressed about the conduct of the elections. (State Dep’t.). UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also promptly congratulated Tinubu. (Reuters) (Arise TV) (Premium Times).

Following the African Union’s decision in February to continue to impose sanctions on Mali, Guinea, and Burkina Faso, this week, Mali announced plans for a new constitution. The text has not yet been published, but according to reports from AFP, it would increase presidential powers in the country. (Africa News) (RFI).

Maurice Munthali has resigned from Lazarus Chakwera’s cabinet, citing a “governance atmosphere marred by persistent corruption allegations.” (Nyasa Times) (Malawi24).

Foreign Policy

A group of Congolese MPs from the Nord Kivu region that has been hit hard by violence has called for peace talks with the M23 rebel group).

The United States has issued $5 million rewards for information leading to the capture of Seka Musa Baluku, a leader of the Allied Democratic Forces active in the Eastern DRC, and also for Al Shabaab spokesperson Ali Mohamed Rage a/k/a Ali Dheere. (U.S. Gov’t. re Baluku) (U.S. Gov’t re Rage). The action regarding Rage comes the same week the United States sponsored multilateral discussions regarding Somalia’s security and state-building priorities. The talks included Qatar, Somalia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States. (State Dep’t.).

French President Emmanuel Macron Macron has made a quick tour of Central Africa aimed at “resetting” relations and responding to recent Russian diplomacy in the region. (BBC) (Reuters 1) (France24 1) (France24 2) (Reuters 2). Human Rights Watch called on the French president to prioritize rights issues in his visit to the DRC (HRW).

Other Items

Ghana granted citizenship to two survivors of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre in a symbolic ceremony held at Ghana’s embassy in Washington D.C. The two centenarian survivors visited Ghana as part in 2021 as part of a tour to mark the 100th anniversary of the massacre, and will henceforth be dual citizens of the United States and Ghana. (BBC).

20 February 2023

Human Rights

Tunisian authorities conducted a wave of arrests against opposition members and activists. (Al Jazeera) (France24). Among those arrested were two judges whom President Kais Saied forced out last year, claiming that he and others were corrupt. (Reuters) (Middle East Eye). In response to the arrests, the country’s largest union organized a rally against President Saied. (Reuters) (Al Jazeera). Journalists in the country have also demonstrated. (Africa News).  Tunisian officials complained after the United States expressed concern over the mass arrests, describing the statement as “interference” in Tunisian affairs. (Reuters 1) (Reuters 2). Tunisian officials also expelled a European union official for making remarks at the UGTT rally that “interfered with Tunisian internal affairs.” (AP). Amnesty International has called on President Saied to stop his “witch hunt.” (Amnesty International).

Ethiopian Orthodox Church officials claim to have resolved a budding schism. (AP via ABC News). The reported resolution follows a social media shutdown and, according to the BBC, hundreds of arrests. (BBC via The Star Kenya).

Human Rights Watch marked the 50th anniversary of the expulsion of Chagossians by the UK and the US, calling for both governments to provide reparations. (HRW).

Uganda has drawn rebukes over its move toward closing its human rights office. (HRW) (Reuters).

Amnesty International has accused “Rwandan-backed” M23 rebels of perpetrating summary killing and rape in the Eastern DRC. (Amnesty International) (Garowe Online).

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

The New York City Bar Association and the African Affairs Committee issued a statement calling for free, fair, and peaceful elections on February 25. (NYC Bar Association). Amnesty International also issued a statement calling on authorities and politicians to “refrain from condoning, or engaging in, violence or incitement that could deprive people of their human rights.”  (Amnesty International). The African Union has appointed immediate past Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta to lead an AU delegation to observe the upcoming elections.   (The East African) (All Africa). Nigeria’s currency troubles continue. This week, President Buhari authorized the continued acceptance of some old banknotes (200 naira notes) for another 60 days. (CNN) (Reuters). This week saw renewed protests against the lack of available cash.  (The Guardian).

Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea requested to rejoin the African Union during the group’s summit this week. (The East African). The African Union rejected their requests, reiterating its “zero tolerance” policy regarding coups and expelling Sudan. AU reiterates “zero tolerance” position re coups. (France24) (AU). A Sudanese military official has since described the coup to the BBC as a “mistake” that benefitted the supporters of Omar al-Bashir. (BBC).

In the Gambia, the trial against alleged plotters of a December 2022 attempted coup remains underway. This week, the proceedings included testimony from a soldier and a marabout. (The Point Gambia 1) (Gambia.com) (The Point Gambia 2) (Defence Web).

In Chad, a different kind of trial is being held, where hundreds of rebels are being charged for involvement with Idriss Deby’s death. The trial follows failed peace talks. (Anadolu Agency) (Africa News) (RFI).

Foreign Policy

After the Cameroonian government denied claims that Canada was mediating the Anglophone Crisis conflict, Switzerland now claims to be mediating the conflict. (VOA) (BBC via Voice of Nigeria).

Following his remarks in Kenya claiming that Eritrean troops did not commit any human rights abuses in Tigray, this week Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki accused the United States of supporting the TPLF in the conflict. (Africa News) (North Africa Post).

Other Items

The US Department of Justice announced that it would repatriate nearly $USD 1 million in accordance with an intergovernmental agreement to repatriate assets obtained through certain forms of corruption and forfeited in US judicial proceedings. According to the Justice Department, these funds were “were traceable to the kleptocracy of former Governor of the State of Bayelsa in Nigeria, Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieyeseigha.” (Justice Dep’t.) (Africa News).

13 February 2023

Human Rights

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki’s diplomatic visit to Kenya has coincided with several statements from the government in response to recent human rights allegations against the regime. Human Rights Watch this week alleged that Eritrean soldiers have targeted the families of draft evaders. (HRW)  (Al  Jazeera) (CNN)  (Africa  News) (France24). Eritrean authorities deny the allegation. (Reuters). President Afwerki also dismissed as “fantasy” the claims of multiple human rights organizations concerning human rights abuses by Eritrean forces in the Tigray conflict. (AFP  via Yahoo News)  (AP  via ABC News)  (opinion from TGHAT). This week, the TPLF alleged that some Eritrean forces remain in the territory. (BBC  via The Star Kenya)  (News  Central Africa).

Algeria dissolved a leading  human rights organization, the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights, one of the country’s most prominent. (HRW)  (HRW  calling on the government to reverse this decision). Also this week, Algeria has expressed outrage at French authorities after France assisted an Algerian dissident, Amira Bouraoui, in fleeing to France. (Le  Monde) (Reuters)  (BBC). The issue has prompted Algeria to recall its ambassador from France and to arrest Bouraoui’s mother and sister. (AFP  via Barron’s).

In Cameroon, authorities  have arrested media tycoon Jean-Pierre Amougou Belinga, apparently for his involvement in the murder of journalist Martinez Zogo. (France24)  (OCCRP).  Belinga was implicated in Reporters Without Borders’s reporting on the death. (Reporters  without Borders).  Earlier in the week, a second Cameroonian journalist was killed, prompting concern from the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (Reuters) and Human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch (HRW  1) (HRW  2).

In Rwanda, a court has  fined a speeding motorcyclist the equivalent of $920 for the involuntary manslaughter of noted journalist John Ntwali. (The  Guardian) (AP  via Washington Post).  Human Rights Watch has issued a statement calling into question the reliability of the proceedings and the investigation, which follows weeks of widespread calls for a transparent investigation into the journalist’s death. (HRW). Human Rights Watch has  accused the Rwandan-backed rebel group M23 of substantial human rights abuses in the eastern DRC. (HRW)

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

Nigeria’s Supreme Court  suspended a Friday deadline for Nigerians to swap old banknotes for new after a shortage of the new bills has prompted widespread economic problems. (Al  Jazeera) (Financial  Times) (BBC)  (Daily  Post Nigeria).  Earlier this week, Nigerian military authorities denied rumors of a coup plot underway. Nigeria’s elections are scheduled for February 25. (BBC)  (Sahara  Reporters).

The U.S. Embassy in Malawi  has expressed “deep concern” over a “campaign of intimidation” against the country’s anti-corruption chief, who was recently suspended after an audio leaked in which she discussed what she perceived as hindrance of her efforts by some officials. (VOA)  (All  Africa). The statement follows a court ruling which dropped charges against the anti-corruption chief, which is expected to lead to her reinstatement. (VOA)  (Africa  News).

A referendum is underway  to create a new administrative region in Ethiopia. Assuming the measure passes, the new state of Southern Ethiopia, the country’s 12th, will be the third created by referendum since Prime Minister Ahmed came to power. Results are expected around February 15.  (AFP  via Barron’s)  (Ethiopian  News Agency via All Africa).

An Algerian court sentenced  Said Bouteflika, brother of former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who was pressured to resign in 2019 following widespread protests, to 12 years in prison for corruption. He was also ordered to pay a fine of approximately $60,000 USD. (The  National News) (AP)  (Middle  East Monitor).

Foreign Policy

Burkina Faso, Guinea, and  Mali have announced plans to form a regional partnership. The three countries are allied by military juntas following coups that have led to sanctions by ECOWAS. (Reuters)  (Al  Jazeera). A multilateral pact purporting  to promote ethical mining met to discuss ESG standards. Although no African nations are members of the pact, several attended the meeting as observers. (State  Dep’t. Media Note)  (VOA)  (North  Africa Post)  (opinion from The  Daily Maverick via All Africa).

Other Items

An Ethiopian court has issued an order temporarily preventing the separation of the Oromia Synod from the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. The order prevents 29 bishops from the Oromia Synod from entering churches administered by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church. (The  Reporter Ethiopia).  Ethiopian authorities have also restricted access to social media over the potential schism. The restrictions follow violence that has killed at least 30 people. (BBC)  (AP  via San Diego Tribune)  (Al  Jazeera) (Reuters).

6 February 2023

Human Rights

Cameroonian authorities have arrested unnamed suspects in the death of journalist Martinez Zogo. (VOA) (Journal du Cameroun). Reporters without Borders has published reporting suggesting that the murder may have been ordered by officials as high up as the country’s Justice Minister, and the Africa Report reports that the country’s head of counterintelligence has been summoned in the case. (Reporters without Borders) (The Africa Report). The Committee to Protect Journalists has called for transparency and public accountability in the investigation of Zogo’s death. (CPJ).

Ethiopian officials have banned 15 foreign media outlets, including the BBC. (The Reporter Ethiopia via Google Cache) (Africa News).

Several human rights organizations are calling for an independent investigation into the death of Rwandan journalist John Williams Ntwali. (HRW) (The Guardian) (Africa News).

Human Rights Watch has called for Burundian journalist Floriane Irangabiye to be freed. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison in late January for “undermining the integrity of the national territory.” (HRW) (CPJ).

Kenyan President William Ruto has formally recognized the Pemba ethnic group as citizens of Kenya. The community of approximately 8,000 has been stateless for decades. (BBC via Channel Africa) (Standard Media Kenya).

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

The Guardian reports on the spate of attacks against election officials in Nigeria since 2019. (The Guardian) (see also The Conversation). Nigerian officials have asked social media companies to “control the spread of fake news” ahead of presidential elections. (Reuters). In the closing weeks of Nigeria’s campaign, fuel and cash shortages have gripped the economy. (Al Jazeera) (Premium Times) (VOA).

Former Cameroonian defense minister Edgar Alain Mebe Ngo’o was sentenced to 30 years in jail for corruption-related charges. His wife was also sentenced in a scheme by which the two allegedly embezzled millions of dollars of public funds. (Anadolu Agency) (Cameroon Intelligence Report).

Preliminary reports of low turnout in the second round of Tunisia’s parliamentary elections last week have been confirmed. President Saied’s support even among those who turned out appears to have diminished. (New York Times)  (The Guardian) (Africa News). President Saied continues to extend the country’s state of emergency. (Anadolu Agency). This week, Amnesty International called for the convictions of six civilians by a military tribunal to be quashed. (Amnesty International).

Despite calls from human rights groups not to adopt the law (Amnesty International), Zimbabwe appears poised to impose government controls over civil society organizations. (Africa News). The legislation is being promulgated against the backdrop of anticipated but as-yet unscheduled presidential elections this year.

Foreign Policy

Pope Francis is visiting the DRC and South Sudan in a long-anticipated tour of six African countries. (Today News Africa).  In South Sudan, he urged leaders to continue the process toward peace and reconciliation. (The East African) (AFP via France24). In the DRC, more than one million attended a mass held in Kinshasa, in which Pope Francis prayed for peace in the country’s eastern regions. (CNN) (Deutsche Welle). Former Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, continues his mission as an EAC mediator for the conflict. (All Africa).

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez visited Morocco this week on a diplomatic mission. The countries’ relations have deteriorated recently in part over the issue of Western Sahara’s status. Morocco claims sovereignty over the territory after Spain withdrew from its former colony in 1975. (AP) (AFP via France24).

30 January 2023

Human Rights

Swazi human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko was killed in front of his family on January 21, prompting an immediate outcry from human rights organizations and activists demanding accountability for his death. (Amnesty International) (Frontline Defenders) (Human Rights First) (HRW) (UN OHCHR). Maseko was an outspoken advocate for ending Eswatini’s monarchy, the last absolute monarchy in Africa. His funeral, attended by hundreds, was held yesterday. (New York Times) (VOA).

The day after Maseko’s apparent assassination, Cameroonian radio journalist Martinez Zogo was found dead following his abduction and disappearance. (CBS News) (The Guardian). Several human rights organizations have called for his release. (HRW) (Amnesty International) (Committee to Protect Journalists). The Africa Report underscored the tragedy of three human rights advocates being killed or found dead in the course of three consecutive days: John Williams Ntwali in Rwanda, Thulani Maseko in Eswatini, and Zogo Martinez in Cameroon. (The Africa Report). Also in Cameroon, Amnesty International called on authorities to release 23 persons who are still in detention over their participation in the 2020 protests. (Amnesty International).

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

The State Department announced that it would not grant visas to Nigerians who undermine the country’s upcoming presidential elections. The policy affects “specific individuals” who are not publicly named in the statement. (State Dep’t.) (CNN) (Reuters) (Sahara Reporters) (The Guardian Nigeria). Also, this week, after a Federal High Court declared vacant the seat of a senator who was convicted of corruption, the Nigerian Supreme Court refused to grant a post-conviction application for bail by the senator. (Premium Times 1) (Premium Times 2) (This Day).

A Zimbabwean court has allowed the release on bail of 26 CCC members and activists who were charged for their participation in an “unlawful gathering.” (Al Jazeera) (BBC via The Star Kenya) (Reuters via US News). (Note: Past reports have stated the number of arrested activists as 25. This week’s reports state either 25 or 26.) Zimbabwe is expected to hold elections this year, and rights groups have warned of an escalation of the Mnangagwa government’s oppression of dissent. This week, Human Rights Watch called attention to the cancelation of nearly 300 NGOs and civil society organizations, calling on the government to reverse the decision (HRW).

Tunisia’s second round of parliamentary elections received 11% turnout, similar to the rate in the first round, which was boycotted by the country’s opposition groups. (Reuters).

The Gambian government proceeded with indictments over a recent coup attempt while “exonerating” some of those who were previously accused of participating in the attempt. (AFP via Barron’s) (Kerr Fatou) (BBC via Business Ghana).

A Rwandan appeals court reaffirmed a corruption sentence for former Youth Minister  Edouard Bamporiki, who was sentenced to 4 years in prison last year. Both the prosecution and the defense appealed the sentence, which this week was extended to 5 years. (The New Times Rwanda) (BBC via Maravi Post).

In Mauritania, an unprecedented corruption trial commenced this week against former president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. Along with nine other prominent defendants, he is accused of an orchestrated scheme of corruption to enrich himself while in office. (Al Jazeera) (AP) (Africa News).

Foreign Policy

Following a diplomatic visit by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to Sudan, a tentative agreement regarding the GERD dam appears to have been reached between Ahmed and those currently leading the junta in Sudan. (Al Jazeera) (AFP via Barron’s). It does not appear that this change in the Sudanese position reflects any change in the Egyptian position.

France is honoring a request by the Burkinabe junta to withdraw its troops from the country. France is also summoning its ambassador from the country. (New York Times) (CNN) (AP) (commentary from Foreign Policy). Thousands appeared at a rally in Ouagadougou on Saturday in support of the withdrawal (VOA).

Cameroon’s government has denied a Canadian statement that the North American country would lead peace talks over the Anglophone Crisis. (VOA) (Global News Canada) (The Globe and Mail). Canada’s Foreign Minister, Melanie Joly, indicated that the Canadian government was, in fact, approached by Cameroonian officials. She added, “Our goal is to be patient and to take a deep breath.” (CBC).

23 January 2023

Human Rights

After last week’s protests calling for President Kais Saied to resign, Tunisian authorities have arrested and sentenced five opposition activists and politicians, including Seifeddine Makhlouf, to 14 months in prison through a military court. (The Media Line) (Arab News).

Amnesty International is calling for Algerian authorities to release journalist Ihsane El Kadi. He was arrested on Christmas Eve.  (Amnesty International) (VOA Africa) (MENA Rights) (The Guardian). 

Human Rights Watch is calling for an independent investigation into the “suspicious death” of John Williams Ntwali, a Rwandan investigative journalist who had received death threats for his reporting on human rights abuses in the country. (HRW) (Globe and Mail) (Reuters). Human Rights Watch is also calling attention to the conviction by a Rwandan court of a Rwandan politician. On December 16, 2022, Theophile Ntirutwa was sentenced to seven years in prison for “spreading false information or harmful propaganda with intent to cause a hostile international opinion against [the] Rwandan Government.” (HRW).

Sierra Leone has enacted a law that would provide not only a gender quota for the country’s parliament but also for the private sector. Companies will be required to reserve 30% of their senior posts for women. The law also provides for 14 weeks of maternity leave. (Bloomberg) (RFI) (BBC). 

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

The EU, UN, and ECOWAS have each warned of the potential for violence in connection with Nigeria’s upcoming elections following INEC Chair Mahmood Yakubu’s statements last week. (BBC via MyJoyOnline) (Sahara Reporters) (general background via Al Jazeera). 

Ruslan Obiang Nsue, the son of Equatorial Guinea’s president, has been placed under house arrest on suspicion of selling a government airplane. (Africa News) (BBC).

A Senegalese judge is permitting a rape indictment against opposition leader Ousmane Sonko to proceed. Sonko and his supporters have asserted that the allegations against him are intended to remove him from the political playing field and have no basis in reality. (Africa News) (Al Jazeera) (Reuters) (Jeune Afrique).

Ethiopian Supreme Court President, Meaza Ashenafi, resigned this week along with her deputy. They did not state their reasons for the resignation, which appears to have come as a surprise. (Addis Standard) (Africa News). Separately in Ethiopia, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed replaced the head of the country’s central bank (Bloomberg) (Addis Standard) days after the government rejected “rumors” that the birr would be devalued (Al Jazeera).  

In Zimbabwe, a group of 25 opposition activists who were arrested on January 14 for an “illegal meeting” appeared in court this week. (Africa News) (video report from Reuters) (VOA). Amnesty International has called for their immediate release and for all charges against them to be dropped.   (Amnesty International

Foreign Policy

Eritrean troops have reportedly withdrawn from the Tigray region. (AP) (Reuters via VOA) (Garowe Online). The US has hailed the withdrawal as “significant progress” in implementing the November 2 peace deal. (AFP via Ahram News) (State Dep’t. Readout of Blinken call with Abiy Ahmed). In a statement, the TPLF has emphasized that not “all” Eritrean forces have withdrawn. (Voice of Nigeria.

Canada announced that it has secured the participation of the parties to the conflict in Cameroon to participate in a Canadian-led peace process. (Canadian Government) (VOA) (CBC) (Reuters).

South Africa announced that it would proceed with joint naval exercises with Russia and China. (New York Times) (Deutsche Welle) (AP via Washington Post). Also relating to Russia’s involvement on the Continent, this week, Russia provided additional warplanes and helicopters to Mali’s junta. (Military Africa) (Africa News).

The State Department announced that Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Michele Sison would travel to Algeria and Morocco, where she will discuss, among other things, the status of Western Sahara. (State Dep’t.).    

Other Items of Interest

During a trip to Africa to discuss debt and finance issues, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet made a stop to visit the infamous “Door of No Return” in Goree Island, where she gave brief remarks noting that “the trans-Atlantic slave trade [is] not just a part of African history [but] a part of American history as well.” (AP) (Reuters) (Axios). 

15 January 2023

Human Rights

The Ugandan Constitutional Court declared void as unconstitutional a part of the country’s communications law that has been used against government critics. (20230110 Decision) (Jurist.org) (Committee to Protect Journalists) (Reuters) (Anadolu Agency).

Zimbabwe has adopted a law that would prohibit health worker strikes. In recent years, health workers in Zimbabwe have gone on strike over inadequate pay and lack of PPE during the coronavirus pandemic. (The Guardian) (Reuters) (All Africa). 

The National Industrial Court of Nigeria ruled in favor of a police officer who was fired for being pregnant while unmarried. The court held that the regulation purporting to require the firing of such persons was discriminatory and unlawful. The officer was awarded 5 million naira (about $11,100 USD) in “aggravated damages.” (BBC) (Premium Times) (The Punch Nigeria).

Amnesty International has called on Ethiopian authorities to release four human rights workers. Amnesty claims the four were arrested solely because of their work fighting forced evictions in a neighborhood south of Addis Ababa. (Amnesty International). 

Amnesty International has called on Burkinabe authorities to bring the perpetrators of targeted violence against mainly Fulani civilians to justice. The massacre allegedly took place at the end of 2022. (Amnesty International). Also, this week in Burkina Faso, jihadists attacked a mosque in Goulgountou, killing nine civilians.   (The Defense Post).

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

The chair of Nigeria’s election commission, Mahmood Yakubu, issued a public statement warning that violence may prevent the country from holding presidential elections scheduled for February 25. (BBC) (Africa News) (Sahara Reporters) (The Punch Nigeria). He later clarified in an interview his commitment to holding elections. (Arise TV). It is unclear if a train attack this week in Edo State that resulted in the abduction and continued disappearance of at least 30 was related to the country’s upcoming elections. (WIO News) (Vanguard Nigeria). 

Although Benin’s opposition party won seats in parliamentary elections held on January 8, they have rejected the election results, asserting that President Patrice Talon’s party won a majority through “vote buying and fraud.” (Africa News) (Reuters) (Al Jazeera). The country’s constitutional court has affirmed the victory for the incumbent’s party. (Reuters) (France24).

In Zimbabwe, despite continued calls from human rights organizations like Amnesty International to investigate past abuses against the opposition (Amnesty International), police arrested 25 opposition members, including two MPs. (Reuters) (Africa News) (AFP via Barron’s). Zimbabwe’s elections are taking place as the UK is evaluating the country’s application to rejoin the Commonwealth. (News24).

On the 12th anniversary of the Tunisian protests that sparked the Arab Spring, demonstrators called for the resignation of President Kais Saied, who declared emergency powers on July 25, 2021. (Al Jazeera) (VOA) (AP via Washington Post) (Africa News).  

Foreign Policy

There is continued progress in implementing the Tigray peace deal, as Amharan forces withdrew from Tigray this week. (VOA) (Reuters) (Al Jazeera). Ethiopian Airlines appears to have adopted a policy of refusing boarding on domestic flights for passengers between the ages of 16 and 65, prompting complaints of discrimination from a group of passengers in Mekelle. (Addis Standard) (BBC via The Star Kenya). Meanwhile, in Oromia, the Oromo Liberation Army claimed responsibility that freed “hundreds” of detainees. (Addis Standard) (BBC via Somali Guardian).  for a prison break.

Despite Burkina Faso’s past protestations against reporting that Russia was supporting the current junta, Russia itself announced joint “counter-terrorism” efforts in the country this week. (BBC via Channel Africa). This week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke with Kenyan President William Ruto by phone. (KBC) (Tuko). The DRC recently denied allegations that Russian troops were present in the Eastern DRC conflict. (African Peace) (Agenzia Nova) (News Central Africa).

On the subject of that conflict, after meeting with former Kenyan President and peace envoy Uhuru Kenyatta, M23 rebels have agreed to continue working toward a withdrawal from the eastern DRC. (The East African) (TeleSur). The rebels have asked the EAC to ensure that all rebel groups lay down their arms. (News24). Rwandan President Paul Kagame stirred controversy when he stated early in the week that Rwanda would no longer accept refugees fleeing the violence in the Eastern DRC, which the Congolese government accuses Rwanda of fueling. (Al Jazeera) (RFI). Human Rights Watch accused Kagame of politicizing refugee rights. (HRW). Kagame subsequently appears to have softened its rhetoric, stating that it has no intention to expel or ban refugees from the DRC. (Anadolu Agency) (The Daily Monitor via The Citizen).

The US Ambassador to Sudan urged holdout rebel groups to join ongoing peace talks. (RFI) (Africa News). The new round of talks began on Monday. (The National Post) (The Cable Nigeria).    

Other Items of Interest

In an apparent response to a labor lawsuit challenging worker conditions at a third-party company that provides content moderation services for facebook in East Africa, Meta has severed ties with the company. The company is also facing a $1.6 billion lawsuit alleging that its algorithms fueled ethnic violence against Tigrayans in the conflict that broke out in November 2020. (BBC) (TechCrunch) (Time) (Business Insider). 

19 December 2022

Human Rights

The International Criminal Court has rejected LRA commander Dominic Ongwen’s appeal of his sentence of 25 years on atrocity crimes.  (VOA) (NilePost via All Africa). The State Department issued a statement welcoming the decision. (State Dep’t.).

An Islamic cleric in Kano State, Nigeria, has been sentenced to death for blasphemy over statements he allegedly made in sermons. (PM News Nigeria) (The Cable Nigeria). 

South Africa has started the process of decriminalizing sex work. The move is part of an attempt to combat violence against women. (HRW) (AFP via CBS News) (Africa News) (Al Jazeera).

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

Following extremely low turnout in Tunisian legislative elections, opposition parties have called on President Kais Saied to resign. (Al Jazeera) (BBC) (FT) (The Guardian). Saied’s shift towards autocracy was criticized by the United States at this week’s Africa summit, to which Saied publicly took exception. (Washington Post). 

Gunmen killed three in an attack on a Nigerian election office in Imo State, southeast Nigeria. (Africa News) (Reuters). This week, a prominent Dutch diplomat argued for stricter enforcement of Nigeria’s election laws and increased economic development as levers for better election processes in Nigeria. (Premium Times Nigeria).

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa continues to fight for his political survival after facing calls for his resignation in the wake of an independent commission’s report’s conclusion that he may have broken the law. (BBC) (Reuters) (New York Times). Fellow former President Jacob Zuma is using the media moment to file a lawsuit against Ramaphosa for “negligence” in releasing confidential medical information about Zuma. (APA News) (BBC) (AFP via The East African). Zuma has sought repeated delays in his own prosecution on corruption charges based on his deteriorating health.

Kenyan President William Ruto’s daughter Charlene has attracted controversy after announcing that she has a “team” that forms the Office of First Daughter in Kenya. The Kenyan Constitution does not provide for any such office, and a government spokesperson has since insisted that the office is funded solely with private funds.  (The Monitor Uganda) (Vanguard Nigeria) (All Africa) (Standard Media) (The Star Kenya).  

Foreign Policy

The Biden administration’s Africa summit concluded with $55 billion in U.S. commitments, while African leaders continue to press President Biden to make an Africa trip. (VOA) (New York Times). The administration continues to face criticism for its decision to invite leaders with poor human rights records, including Rwandan president Paul Kagame. (Time). Meanwhile, Foreign Policy reports that U.S. officials smuggled a Chadian opposition leader out of the country while the leader of the country’s junta took part in the summit. (Foreign Policy). Human Rights Watch called on the administration to celebrate human rights defenders, and not just leaders. (HRW). Nigeria and Rwanda signed the Artemis accords for cooperation in U.S.-Africa space exploration. (State Dep’t.). And Kenya signed a MOU regarding nuclear energy cooperation. (State Dep’t.). Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi did not attend due to the ongoing conflict in the Eastern DRC. (News24).

 Ghana alleged publicly that Burkina Faso is hiring Russian mercenaries through the Wagner Group, to which the Burkinabe junta objected strongly, summoning the Ghanaian ambassador. (AP) (BBC) (Reuters). In Central African Republic, a Malian bomb almost killed a Wagner Group ally, Dmitry Sytii, who is reportedly a close associate of Yevgeny Prigozhin. (The Guardian) (Al Jazeera).

In Zimbabwe, the United States imposed additional sanctions on “human rights abusers and those who undermine democratic processes or facilitate corruption,” including President Emerson Mnangagwa’s son. (Treasury Dep’t.) (State Dep’t.) (Al Jazeera) (Bloomberg) (Reuters).

 As there is continued progress toward implementing a peace deal in Tigray, unrest is increasing in Oromia, where the federal government has just launched drone strikes. (BBC) (AP via ABC News). This week, human rights activists filed a lawsuit in Kenyan courts alleging that Facebook/Meta “fueled” ethnic violence in Ethiopia. The lawsuit, boosted by Amnesty International, seeks $1.6 billion USD. (Amnesty International) (NPR) (Reuters).    

Other Items of Interest

 French investigative journalist Romain Molina announced plans to sue the Cameroonian Football Federation after the organization accused him of blackmail and extortion. (BBC). 

Cambridge University announced plans to return its Benin Bronzes to Nigeria. (BBC).  

11 December 2022

Human Rights

The Congolese government has accused rebel group M23 of killing more than 300 civilians in a massacre in the eastern town of Kishishe. (The Guardian) (Reuters) (AP). The UN confirmed that M23 was responsible for attacks in which at least 131 civilians were killed. (Al Jazeera). M23 rebels have denied responsibility and accused the DRC of breaking a ceasefire agreement. (AP). This week, the EU put sanctions on several rebel groups in the DRC, including M23. (The East African). UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has come under fire for refusing to condemn the M23 rebels, drawing questions about whether his silence is a result of the UK’s agreement with Rwanda, which backs the M23 group, regarding the deportation of asylum seekers. (The Telegraph). Secretary Blinkn spoke with Rwanda President Paul Kagame regarding Rwanda’s assistance for the M23 group. The Rwandan government has previously denied supporting M23. (State Dep’t. Readout) (Chimp Reports) (Anadolu Agency)

A Reuters investigative report alleges that the Nigerian military has conducted a “secret, systematic, and illegal” abortion program in the country’s northeast, forcing at least 10,000 women and girls to have abortions. (Reuters) (The Punch Nigeria) (NPR interview). The Nigerian government has denied the report. (Africa News). UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called for an investigation of the report. (Al Jazeera) (Reuters).

Following a mass trial, Chad arrested 262 pro-democracy protesters, whom the Chadian government has sought to blame for protest-related deaths. (Africa News) (RFI) (Al Jazeera). This week, 80 protesters who were previously arrested notwithstanding the fact that they are minors, were released. (Africa News).

Human Rights Watch has called on the U.S. to back a war crimes court in Liberia and to pressure President George Weah to prevent further delays for accountability. (HRW).

Human Rights Watch called on Eritrean authorities to release Ciham Ali Abdu, daughter of the country’s former Information Minister, who was arrested ten years ago, when she was 15. (HRW).

Human Rights Watch has released a 94-page report on the implementation of a Tunisian law intended to protect women from domestic violence. The report concludes that Tunisian authorities have not done enough to protect women. (HRW) (AFP via Barron’s) (Al Jazeera

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

Sudanese military officials have announced a plan to hold elections and signed an agreement with some political parties for a transition to civilian rule. (France24) (BBC via Yahoo News) (Anadolu Agency). The deal has been opposed by some pro-democracy protesters and by some Islamist supporters of President Bashir. (Reuters). Authorities released anti-corruption activist Wagdi Salih shortly before the announcement was made. (Reuters).

Malawi police have arrested anti-corruption director Martha Chizuma after she was heard on leaked audio in which she noted that certain groups were trying to block her investigations. (VOA) (Independent Online) (Bloomberg). Chizuma has characterized her arrest as wrongful and the result of corruption. (Nyasa Times).

Ghana’s embattled finance minister has survived a no-confidence vote over his handling of the country’s inflation crisis. (Reuters) (Africa News) (Bloomberg).

Foreign Policy

The Biden administration has finalized the invite list for its long-planned Africa summit. (VOA). Delegates from Mali, Guinea-Conakry, and Burkina Faso were not invited out of “respect” for the African Union’s policies vis-a-vis coups in these countries, and Eritrea, Somaliland, and Western Sahara were not invited, because the United States does not currently have diplomatic relations with these countries. (The Guardian Nigeria). The Biden Administration has previously been criticized for inviting autocrats to the summit.

ECOWAS announced plans for a joint peacekeeping force to “help restore security and constitutional order” in light of recent coups. (Reuters). ECOWAS has also demanded that Mali release the 46 Ivorian soldiers remaining in its custody since June. (Africa News).

Some Liberian groups have criticized the United States’ decision to release arms merchant Viktor Bout in a prisoner swap with Russia for American basketball player Brittney Griner. Bout was arrested in Monrovia in May 2010 and was involved in arming militias in Liberia’s civil war. (Front Page Africa Online

Ethiopian state media reports that electricity has been restored to Tigrayan capital Mekelle. (RFI) (France24) (VOA) (Reuters). This week Kenyan President William Ruto made a surprise visit to Eritrea. It is unclear if Ruto’s visit is related to Eritrea’s alleged role in the Tigray conflict. (BBC via The Ghana Report) (The Guardian Nigeria

Other Items of Interest

Egyptian lawyers are protesting a new electronic tax invoicing system, threatening that they will not sign up for it. (Middle East Monitor) (The National News) (The New Arab).

04 December 2022


The City Bar’s Task Force on the Rule of Law will be hosting a panel discussion on Tuesday, December 6, at 6:00 p.m. on “Lawyer Silence and the Rise of Authoritarianism.” (City Bar Registration Link).

Human Rights

Chadians are protesting the government’s attempt to arrest hundreds for the deaths of more than 60 individuals during clashes in previous anti-junta protests. This week, the trial of 400 individuals is scheduled to start, and the Chadian Bar Association is protesting over being asked to represent these defendants without pay or adequate access to the Koro Toro prison where the trials are being held. (Africa News) (North Africa Post) (RFI).

An uproar in Nigeria over the arrest of a 23-year-old who criticized First Lady Aisha Buhari, including nationwide protests that were planned for this Monday, led to  Ms. Buhari withdrawing her defamation complaint against the student. (BBC) (The Punch Nigeria) (Vanguard). The student subsequently apologized to Ms. Buhari. (BBC).

Following the African Court on Human and People’s Rights ruling in December 2020 that colonial-era vagrancy laws violated African human rights treaties (PALU), a Ugandan court this week ruled that Uganda’s law outlawing “rogues” and “vagabonds” is unconstitutional. (Nile Post Uganda) (Monitor Uganda) (BBC via The Independent Ghana).

Amnesty International is calling for improved protection measures for Malawians with albinism after a 3-year-old was killed. (Amnesty International) (Nyasa Times) (Malawi Voice).

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

Kenyan president William Ruto has suspended four senior elections officials who refused to certify his win in the country’s hotly contested recent elections. (Reuters). His opponent in that contest, Raila Odinga, who challenged the outcome in the courts but abided by the courts’ rejection of his claims, condemned the move as the first step of an attempt to rig the country’s 2027 elections. (Pd.co.ke). Ruto responded in a tweet, calling on Odinga to respect the outcome of the elections. (Nairobi News).

The scandal resulting from allegations that South African President Cyril Ramaphosa hid millions of dollars at his Phala Phala farm is increasing pressure on the leader, who has led a campaign to root out corruption in his party. A parliamentary report this week led to calls for his impeachment, which he states he will fight. The ANC’s national working committee is discussing how to address the allegations. (New York Times) (AP) (FT).

Angola has issued an arrest warrant for Isabel dos Santos, the billionaire daughter of the country’s former president. She is wanted on corruption charges and denies all wrongdoing. (Al Jazeera) (The East African) (Anadolu Agency).

A Mozambican court has begun to issue verdicts in the $2 billion USD corruption case against 19 defendants. The scandal has embroiled the country’s ex-president’s son, Ndambi Guebuza, who is one of the defendants. The trial started in August and concluded in March. The presiding judge noted that merely reading the verdict is expected to take five days. (Al Jazeera) (Africa News).

The stepson of former Malawian president Peter Mutharika has been arrested on human trafficking charges. The arrest relates to the death of 30 Ethiopian immigrants whose bodies were found in the Mtangatanga Forest Reserve. (VOA) (BBC) (Nyasa Times).

The U.S. State Department expressed “serious doubts” about the credibility of recent elections in Equatorial Guinea, which reportedly gave a sixth term to the world’s longest-serving president. (State Dep’t.) (Reuters).

Foreign Policy

There is continued slow progress toward implementing the peace agreement in Tigray, with 65% of Tigrayan forces having reportedly disarmed and talks ongoing. (Al Jazeera) (AP via Washington Post). Eritrean forces do not appear to have withdrawn. (AP). Aid is still not reaching Tigray (Deutsche Welle) (Al Jazeera), and the internet blackout in Tigray persists (AP via Washington Post). There are reports of atrocity crimes and other abuses by Ethiopian soldiers as Tigrayan forces withdraw. (AP via Washington Post) (Reuters).

The United States has charged three U.S. citizens with a conspiracy to support Cameroonian separatists. (DOJ Press Release) (Africa News) (Reuters) (Buffalo News).

Other Items of Interest

London’s Horniman Museum has followed through on its agreement to return six Benin Bronzes to Nigeria. (The Guardian) (BBC).

In other “art” related news, a Belgian auction house has canceled a planned auction of African skulls after a public outcry over the planned sale. The auction house has also issued an apology. The sale of human remains is not illegal in Belgium, but the incident has renewed calls to make it so. (The Independent Online) (VRT).

A Kenyan court has temporarily suspended a government decision to ban GMO crops. The government has sought to permit GMO crops in an attempt to combat  drought. The suspension was granted as preliminary relief in a case seeking a permanent injunction. (The East African) (Standard Media Kenya) (Anadolu Agency).

20 November 2022


The New York City Bar’s Task Force on the Rule of Law will be hosting a panel discussion on Tuesday, December 6, at 6:00 p.m. on “Lawyer Silence and the Rise of Authoritarianism.” (City Bar Registration Link).

Human Rights

Godfrey Sithole, one of two Zimbabwean MPs arrested for attending the funeral of a disappeared opposition activist in June of this year, was released on bail this week alongside 13 other CCC activists. (AFP via Macau Business) (Zimbabwe Observer). The other MP who was arrested, Job Sikhala, was denied bail. Both MPs still await trial. (The Zimbabwe Herald via All Africa).

Tunisian opposition leader Fadel Abdelkefi was prevented from leaving the country at the airport this week. He claims there was no criminal case pending against him. (Africa News) (Tunisie Numerique).

Amnesty International has released a 10-point plan for the government of Somalia in order to improve the human rights situation in the country. (Press Release) (10-point plan). Also relating to Somalia, this week U.S. federal officials arrested former Somali army officer Yusuf Abdi “Tukeh” Ali in Springfield, Virginia, on charges relating to human rights violations from the period in the 1980s that he served under dictator Siad Barre. (Garowe Online) (Somaliland Chronicle). In May 2019, Tukeh was found civilly liable for human rights violations in a federal civil suit brought under the Torture Victim Protection Act. (Center for Justice & Accountability).

Amnesty International is calling on Guinean authorities to drop charges against three activists who have been jailed for demonstrating against the current military regime. One of the three has already been medically evacuated to Tunis, while the other two remain in custody. (Amnesty International).

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

Somaliland’s main political parties are refusing to recognize President Muse Bihi Abdi after he has overstayed his term of office, creating a similar stalemate to the one that Somalia experienced between February 8, 2021, and May 15, 2022. (AFP via France24) (background from International Crisis Group).

Sierra Leonean lawmakers appear poised to enact a 30% gender quota for the country’s parliament. (AFP via Barron’s) (The Heritage Times) (Sierra Loaded).

Amid rising pressure to fire his finance minister due to the country’s worsening inflation situation (Reuters), Ghanaian President Nana Addo Akufo-Addo has fired his deputy over a corruption scandal involving the junior minister’s attempt to extract a $200,000 fee for facilitating access to another government official. (GhanaWeb) (Africa News).

An Interpol arrest warrant has been issued for Isabel dos Santos. The charges appear to relate to the ICIJ’s Luanda Leaks investigation, while dos Santos’s only public comment so far has been that her lawyers are unaware of the warrant. (ICIJ) (Reuters) (Bloomberg). Dos Santos was sanctioned by the United States in 2021 over corruption-related issues. (ICIJ).

Foreign Policy

In advance of the Biden administration’s planned Africa summit this December, Human Rights Watch is calling on the Biden administration to prioritize human rights on the Continent. (HRW).

There continues to be slow progress toward implementing the truce agreement between the Ethiopian federal government and Tigrayan forces. This week Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed vowed to carry out “honest implementations” of the agreement. (Al Jazeera) (VOA) (Reuters). Tigrayan leader Getachew Reda also publicly defended the deal this week (BBC via The Ghana Report) while continuing to allege that Eritrea remains active in the conflict (Garowe Online). The State Department provided a briefing this week on the situation (Transcript via State Dep’t.), and food aid convoys have started to reach Tigray (The Guardian). Experts appear to be divided on optimism (HRW) versus pessimism (Foreign Policy) (Sudans Post).

Ivory Coast has announced the gradual withdrawal of its troops from a UN peacekeeping force in Mali. The withdrawal should be completed by August 2023. The Ivorian announcement came after talks fell through attempting to retrieve 46 Ivorian soldiers who were arrested at Bamako airport by the Malian junta en route to join the UN forces (Africa News) (Reuters) (AP).  Germany and the United Kingdom are also either withdrawing their troops or scaling back their deployment to the UN peacekeeping force. (The Guardian) (Deutsche Welle).

Secretary Blinken spoke with Kenyan President Ruto on Tuesday to discuss the conflicts in northern Ethiopia and the eastern DRC. (State Dep’t.). The call came shortly before the second scheduled deployment of Kenyan troops to the eastern DRC, where M23 rebels, allegedly with Rwandan backing, have resumed fighting since an earlier ceasefire. (Africa News). An apparent breakthrough came this week when Rwanda announced its support for a ceasefire ahead of an East African Community summit. (Al Jazeera). Outgoing Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta is leading an EAC effort to broker such a development. (Standard Media Kenya). Along with allies, the U.S. State Department issued another joint statement in support of efforts to end the conflict. (State Dep’t.).

Other Items of Interest

Gambia’s Central Bank reported that it had been hacked. (The Voice Gambia) (The Point Gambia). The details of the hack or the extent of any data breach, remain unclear. (Compare Kerr Fatou with The Standard Gambia).

13 November 2022


Thursday, November 17, at 9 a.m. Eastern Time, the Vance Center and the Institute for African Women in Law are sponsoring a panel discussion, “Building Transnational Networks,” via zoom. (Registration).

Human Rights

The Chadian government has agreed to an “international probe” into the recent death of 50 in connection with protests against the junta’s continued rule. (AFP via Barron’s). On a domestic level, however, the government continues to assert that the protests were the result of unlawful “insubordination.” (News360 via MSN). Two opposition leaders have gone into hiding out of fear for their safety. (Africa News). One of those opposition leaders, the head of the Transformers Party, has requested that the International Criminal Court open an investigation into Chad’s military government. (HumAngle Media). Later in the week, authorities arrested 621 people, including at least 83 minors. At least one of the cases is reportedly against a minor under the age of 12, the minimum age of criminal responsibility in Chad. (Africa News). The Chadian government has also openly mulled “dissolving” seven opposition parties. (News360 via MSN).

Malian TV journalist Malick Konate has received a wave of death threats, which have escalated since a report by French television channel BFMTV aired, in which Konate assisted in the documentation of Russian mercenaries’ presence in the country. Reporters without Borders has called on the Malian government to investigate these threats and to protect Konate. (AFP via Barron’s) (Reporters Without Borders). Also this week, authorities suspended the license for Joliba TV after the channel “aired an editorial criticizing rising intolerance and attacks on freedom of expression.” Mali’s National Human Rights Commission issued a statement of concern and called on the government to respect civil and political rights relating to freedom of expression and freedom of the press. (VOA). Both stories prompted a statement from Human Rights Watch calling on Malian authorities to stop intimidating journalists and critics. (HRW).

Senegalese journalist Pape Ale Niang was arrested on national security charges in apparent retaliation for his reporting exculpating opposition leader Ousmane Sonko of rape charges. (VOA). A wide range of civil society groups have called for Niang’s release. (Committee to Protect Journalists) (International Press Institute) (RFI re Senegalese press group CAP).

The DRC is refusing to issue credentials to French journalist Sonia Rolley, effectively expelling her from the country. The government did not explain its refusal to issue her press credentials in what appears to be an act of retaliation for her reporting. (Committee to Protect Journalists) (HRW) (Reuters) (Bloomberg).

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

A Kenyan court has dropped a corruption case against Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, citing insufficient evidence. The case is the latest in a string of cases that have been dropped against Ruto allies after he won Kenya’s recent presidential elections. (Al Jazeera) (Reuters) (AFP via Yahoo News).

In Angola, a trial of 49 military and state security officials for corruption and embezzlement began this week. (Africa News). Former president Jose Eduardo dos Santos’s son, Jose Filomeno, was sentenced to five years for related crimes. (AP). And Major Pedro Lussati was sentenced to 14 years. (Africa News) (Ver Angola).

Foreign Policy

Air strikes in western Ethiopia appear to have killed “dozens” of civilians. (Addis Standard) (BBC via The Star Kenya). In northern Ethiopia, there is continued progress toward implementing a peace deal reached last week. The parties signed an agreement to begin implementation. (Reuters). And the parties have taken steps to speed up aid to the region. (BBC) (State Dep’t. Statement). The Ethiopian federal government continues to deny allegations that it is currently hindering aid. (Addis Standard).

Human Rights Watch is calling for upcoming negotiations between the United Kingdom and Mauritius regarding the status of the Chagos Islands to include Chagossians who have been expelled from the islands. (HRW). Their expulsion from the island was recently declared illegal by the International Court of Justice, but the United Kingdom continues to assert sovereignty over the territory.

Kenya and South Africa have signed a treaty that includes, among other things, visa-free travel for Kenyans visiting South Africa. (Al Jazeera) (Deutsche Welle).

Other Items of Interest

Twitter’s Ghana office, its only office in Africa, was also on the receiving end of recent layoffs at the company following the sale to Elon Musk. Almost all of the staff there have reportedly been let go. (BBC) (Africa News) (Graphic.com Ghana). The move to open an Africa office was heralded when it was announced last April).

The Nobel peace prize medal of South African president FW de Klerk was stolen from his house. He died in November 2021. De Klerk was South Africa’s last apartheid president, and he shared the peace prize with Nelson Mandela for their transition away from apartheid. (BBC) (AP via Washington Post) (Africa News).

6 November 2022

Human Rights

The Central African Republic’s Special Criminal Court delivered its first verdict, sentencing three militiamen to prison terms of 20 years to life for crimes against humanity. (France24) (RFI) (Justice Info) (Africa News). UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a statement welcoming the completion of the trial. (Guterres Statement via Reliefweb). The verdict does not appear to be related to the firing of Daniele Darlan, chief justice of the country’s Constitutional Court, last week. This week, a UN human rights expert emphasized the importance of judicial independence to CAR’s transitional process. (OHCHR Press Release).

A French court has convicted former Liberian rebel commander Kunti Kamara for wartime atrocities in Liberia in a landmark trial. Human rights groups have praised the verdict. (HRW) (Front Page Africa Online) (The East African).

Journalist and editor of Pinnacle News Arlindo Chissale was detained by Mozambican authorities last week on terrorism charges. After Human Rights Watch called for his release (HRW) (BBC via Club of Mozambique), the District Court of Balama released him on bail, though he still faces charges (Africa Press).

Amnesty International has called on the terror group Al Shabaab to “urgently” stop carrying out attacks against civilians. The statement follows a series of car bombings in Mogadishu that have killed more than 120, including a journalist. (Amnesty International) (Reuters) (VOA).

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who has been the head of state of Equatorial Guinea since 1979 and the longest-serving president in the world, has launched his campaign for a sixth term. (AFP via Yahoo News). The U.S. State Department called on the government to hold “free and fair” elections and expressed concern regarding “reports of arrests and harassment of opposition members and civil society.” (State Dep’t.) (Today News Africa). Similar statements from Spain and France prompted Equatorial Guinean authorities to accuse the three countries of “interfering” in its elections scheduled for November 20. (AFP via France24).

Nigeria’s Federal High Court has constituted a group of 300 judges for a special election petition tribunal. Elections will take place in February 2023. (PR Nigeria) (Vanguard Nigeria) (Premium Times Nigeria).

Foreign Policy

AU-led efforts to mediate the dispute in northern Ethiopia, led by former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo acting as an envoy of the AU, have borne a peace agreement just before the two-year anniversary of the conflict. Tigrayan forces have agreed to disarm, and the federal government has agreed to restore humanitarian access to Tigray. (AP) (Reuters) (analysis by New York Times) (analysis by Al Jazeera) (analysis by Vox). The United States issued a statement welcoming the development. (State Dep’t.). Human Rights Watch called for the agreement to be followed by “robust” human rights monitoring, and Amnesty International called for “justice” for victims and survivors of the conflict. (HRW) (Amnesty International).  In addition to implementation challenges, the federal government also faces difficulties in other parts of the country. This week, in the southern region of Oromia, OLA rebels took control of three towns. (Ethiopia Observer) (BBC via Hiraan Online).

Following Burkina Faso’s second coup in 2022, the United States has dropped the country from the African Growth and Opportunity Act, a trade deal that provides tariff-free access to American markets for African exporters. (BBC via The Star Kenya) (Bloomberg).

Following the resumption of hostilities by M23 in the eastern DRC, the DRC has accused Uganda of support for the group. (The East African). In Goma province, thousands protested against Rwandan support for the rebel group. (Al Jazeera). This week, Kenyan President William Ruto made Kenya the second EAC country to send troops to support DRC forces in the region, following Burundi. (VOA) (Reuters) (Al Jazeera). The U.S. called on M23 to withdraw from its positions. (State Dep’t.).

Other Items of Interest

A UK court has sentenced company Glencore Energy UK Limited to pay 280 million pounds over its “sustained criminality” in bribing African officials. (The Guardian) (Naira Metrics) (Okay Africa) (Justice Fraser’s Sentencing Remarks).

30 October 2022


In connection with the International Bar Association Conference in Miami, The Vance Center’s Africa Program Director, Adaobi Egboka, will be speaking on Wednesday on a panel regarding the topic, “Current challenges and opportunities in performing pro bono work in Africa.” (IBA Page).

Human Rights

In Chad, protests against the junta led by the son of former 6-term president Marshall Deby. Following Chadian authorities’ admission that at least 50 had died in protests last week, human rights groups this week accused Chadian authorities of summary executions and torture in connection with their repression of the protests. (AFP via Barron’s) (HRW) (Deutsche Welle).

In Nigeria, there is continued legal wrangling over the case of Biafran separatist Nnamdi Kanu. Most recently, the Court of Appeal in Abuja granted an emergency stay of a ruling that would have required the release and return of Kanu to Kenya, where he claims he was illegally abducted and extradited to Nigeria. He is presently in the custody of Nigerian special police. (Premium Times Nigeria) (Sahara Reporters).

Following President Ruto’s disbanding of a police unit linked to extrajudicial killings, this week 12 senior police officials were charged with crimes against humanity in connection with a crackdown on post-election protests in 2017. (The Guardian) (AFP via Barron’s) (VOA).

Malawi police arrested about 33 organizers of an anti-government protest this week. (VOA) (BBC via Club of Mozambique).

Human Rights Watch issued a report detailing extrajudicial killings of hundreds and the forced displacement of tens of thousands since March. (HRW).

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

Central African Republic President Faustin Touadera issued a presidential decree to fire the chief judge of the country’s Constitutional Court. The move is perceived by some as retribution for the court’s decision nullifying a presidential decree creating a commission to rewrite the constitution. (Jurist.org) (AFP via Barron’s) (Afro Impact). The firing prompted a rebuke from the U.S. State Department. (State Dep’t.). The developments come as the country is expecting the first verdict from a Special Criminal Court. (HRW).

Zimbabwean president Emerson Mnangagwa was formally nominated by his party to lead the party in elections expected to take place in 2023. (News24) (Bloomberg). This week, Amnesty International issued a call for Zimbabwean authorities to release 16 opposition activists, including two members of parliament, who have been arrested in the run-up to election season. (Amnesty International).

The U.S. State Department issued a public statement marking the one-year anniversary of the military coup in Sudan, and “honoring” the Sudanese protesters and democracy activists who continue to challenge the coup. (State Dep’t.).

Foreign Policy

The UN Security Council renewed the mandate of the UN mission in Western Sahara, “calling on the parties to resume negotiations in good faith towards a mutually acceptable political solution for the region.” (UN Press Release) (Security Council Report). The United States voted in favor of the renewal. (US Explanation of Vote).

Ethiopian peace talks began in South Africa this week. (BBC) (Al Jazeera) (U.S. State Dep’t. Statement). There is concern that continued fighting could impede peace talks (The Economist) (AP re continued hostilities by Eritrean forces), but peace talks have survived at least the week and are expected to continue Monday (Daily Maverick).

Other Items of Interest

A British museum has announced its “readiness” to cooperate with Zimbabwean authorities over the return of human remains that were taken in the colonial era. (BBC).

23 October 2022


Wednesday, October 26, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m., there is a series of events at the City Bar sponsored by the Vance Center to commemorate its 20th anniversary. The full program is available at this link, and you can pick and choose which sessions you can attend.

Human Rights

Activist groups in Uganda have filed a court challenge against the country’s new social media law, arguing that it violates the right to free expression protected by the Ugandan Constitution. (Nile Post via All Africa) (AP via ABC News) (AFP via The Monitor Uganda).

Human Rights Watch has documented a series of credible human rights abuses committed by Congolese army units in the course of their fight with M23 rebels in the eastern DRC. The NGO called on President Tshisekedi to “address impunity and break these cycles of abuse.” (HRW).

Eritrean authorities have arrested a Catholic priest and bishop in the course of a few days. The reasons for their detention are unknown. The bishop, Fikremariam Hagos Tsalim, was arrested after returning from Europe. (BBC via The Star Kenya) (The Pillar Catholic) (News Central TV).

Amnesty International has launched a campaign calling on its supporters to write to the President of the Central African Republic to ensure the renewal of the country’s Special Criminal Court. (Amnesty International).

Newly elected Kenyan President William Ruto has disbanded an “elite” police unit linked to extrajudicial killings. The move was announced as part of a larger package of planned reforms. (Capital FM via All Africa)(BBC via Business Ghana).

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

Despite the recent announcement of a new government following Chad’s “national dialogue,” civil society groups protested this week, demanding civilian rule. Security forces opened fire on the protesters, and at least 50 have been reported killed, according to Chadian authorities. (New York Times) (Reuters). Amnesty International issued a statement calling for the repression of demonstrations to stop “immediately.” (Amnesty International). The State Department issued a statement of concern “regret[ting] the results of the Chadian National Dialogue and their consequences for an inclusive, peaceful, and timely transition to a democratic and civilian-led government.” (State Dep’t.). AU Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat, a former prime minister of Chad, denounced the “repression of demonstrations that led to deaths in Chad.” (Reuters via Euronews).

A coalition of opposition parties and civil society groups in Guinea organized protests last week, which were violently repressed this week, with at least three dead. The country’s top prosecutor called for a “crackdown” on protest organizers and participants, while further protests are planned for October 26. (AFP via Yahoo News) (BBC via The Ghana Report). A regional leader of one of the opposition parties was arrested. (Africa News). The ruling junta has agreed to a timeline proposed by ECOWAS, which would have elections take place in early 2025.  (AP via The Washington Post) (AFP via VOA).

In Zimbabwe, dozens were injured in violent skirmishes between authorities and opposition political parties. (BBC via The Independent Ghana). The Zimbabwe Election Support Network denounced recent attacks against opposition CCC party members and asked political party leaders and their supporters to “foster” peace ahead of the 2023 elections. (VOA Zimbabwe) (NewsDay Zimbabwe).

Foreign Policy

U.S. Senator Pat Leahy (D-VT) has blocked $75 million in aid to Egypt over the country’s failure to make progress on human rights reforms. (Middle East Monitor) (Middle East Eye) (AP) (Responsible Statecraft).

During a visit by Sahrawi President and leader of the Polisario Front Brahim Ghali, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa continues to support Sahrawi independence “without hesitation.” (Official Remarks) (Africa News) (RFI via All Africa). Morocco reacted angrily to the announcement. (AFP via New Zimbabwe). Several African countries have recently recognized Moroccan claims over the territory following President Trump’s doing so in the lame-duck portion of his presidency. The New York City Bar’s African Affairs Committee has previously signed onto a letter urging the Biden Administration to review the Trump administration’s action. (NYCBA Statement). This week, U.S. officials met with UN Envoy Stefan de Mistura regarding the conflict. (State Dep’t. Readout).

Madagascar’s foreign minister was fired this week, seemingly over his vote at the UN to condemn Russia’s annexation of two Ukrainian territories. (Reuters) (AFP via Al Arabiya).

Ethiopia’s federal army has seized the strategic town of Shire and two others in Tigray. (BBC) (Reuters). The Washington Post reports that civilians from the region have begun fleeing out of fear of a repeat of previous atrocities. (Washington Post). WHO Chief Tedros Ghebreyesus, who is Tigrayan and has become increasingly vocal over the conflict, stated publicly that the Tigray conflict is a health crisis for 6 million people, and time is running out to prevent a “genocide.” (UN News) (Al Jazeera). This week, the United States granted TPS status to Ethiopians in the United States for a period of 18 months. (Reuters).

Other Items of Interest

This week saw severe flooding in Nigeria and Chad. (AP via Bloomberg). In Nigeria, floods have killed at least 600 and displaced more than one million people. (New York Times) (The New Republic) (NPR). In Chad, a state of emergency has been declared. (Reuters) (Al Jazeera) (Flood List).

Ghanaian traders have closed their shops to protest inflation rates as high as 37% in the country. (Africa News) (Quartz Africa).

Zimbabwe followed the United States and Australia this week to become the third country to approve HIV prevention drug cabotegravir. (The Guardian) (News24).

16 October 2022

Human Rights

A Nigerian appellate court has ordered the terrorism charges against Biafran separatist Nnamdi Kanu to be dropped and ruled that his extradition from Kenya was illegal. (BBC) (Reuters) (Sahara Reporters) (Vanguard Nigeria).

Uganda passed a new internet law on October 13, which prohibits the unauthorized transmission of information about a person without their consent, imposing penalties of up to 10 years. Human rights groups have warned that the law will be used to silence government critics. (AP via Washington Post) (VOA). Amnesty International called for the law to be scrapped. (Amnesty International). Human Rights Watch issued a statement calling on the Biden administration to reevaluate its relationship with Uganda’s authoritarian president, Yoweri Museveni. Earlier this week, Museveni’s most recent political opponent, singer Bobi Wine, was briefly arrested by authorities in Dubai, seemingly at the instigation of Ugandan diplomats. (Vanguard Nigeria) (NilePost via All Africa).

Somali authorities arrested freelance Somali journalist Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, who is also the secretary-general of the Somali Journalists Syndicate. Human rights groups, including Human Rights WatchAmnesty International, and the Committee to Protect Journalists, have called for his release and the dropping of charges against him. He was released on bail on Sunday. (Hiraan).

A war crimes trial against Liberian rebel leader Kunti Kamara began this week. He is accused of torture, extrajudicial killings, rape, and other atrocity crimes. (Jurist.org) (Front Page Africa Online) (Le Monde) (VOA).

Residents of the Amharan city of Raya Kobo have alleged that Tigrayan forces, who recently occupied the area. (BBC Amharic via Ethiopia Observer). As peace talks have stalled (see below under Foreign Policy), various groups are warning of a “civilian bloodbath.” (BBC).

Former DRC intelligence chief Kalev Mutond has returned to the country. He left in March 2021, when a wanted notice was issued for him over his involvement in the repression of dissent under President Kabila. (HRW) (France24).

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

Chadian junta leader Mahamat Deby, the son of the late president “Marshall” Deby, was sworn in as “transitional” president 18 months after he took power following the death of his father. (Africa News) (The East African). Later in the week, he named several opposition figures to his government, including naming Saleh Kebzabo as prime minister. The FACT rebel group boycotted the national dialogue that resulted in the new government. (Reuters via US News) (Sahara Reporters). Deby’s actions will also push out elections by at least another two years. (Deutsche Welle).

The Law Society of Kenya is asking for an explanation as to why prosecutors are dropping a corruption case against former MP Aisha Jumwa and former Managing Director of Kenya Power Ben Chumo. (Kenya Online News) (The Standard Kenya) (The Star Kenya).

Despite a massive election win for Lesotho’s opposition Revolution for Prosperity Party, the party’s 56 seats fell short of a majority in the 120-seat parliament. This week, the party’s leader, diamond millionaire Sam Matekane, announced a three-party governing coalition. (Africa News) (AFP via France24) (Reuters) (AP via Washington Post).

Following his “national meeting” this week, the leader of Burkina’s second coup in 2022 has been named interim president. At 34 years old, Ibrahim Traoré is the world’s youngest leader. Elections are scheduled for 2024, in which Traoré will not be allowed to run. (BBC via My Joy Online) (AFP via Yahoo News).

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has issued a decree disbanding the country’s Judicial Service Commission and Anti-Corruption Commission. The Commission oversees the independence of the judiciary. (Tola Media) (BBC via Business Ghana) (FTL Somalia).

Former Guinean dictator Moussa Dadis Camara is being held in pre-trial detention. He returned to the country after Alpha Condé’s deposition, and he is now being put on trial for his involvement in a 2009 stadium massacre. (AFP via Yahoo News) (Africa News).

Foreign Policy

Tigray peace talks have been delayed again. (CFR). The U.S., Australia, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom issued a joint statement of “profound concern” regarding the “escalation of the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis” in northern Ethiopia. (State Dep’t.) (Reuters). The chair of the African Union called for an immediate ceasefire, and the U.S. issued another statement of concern later in the week. (Reuters) (State Dep’t.).

Thousands protested against Tunisian President Kais Saied’s continued one-man rule this week. (BBC). The protests come amid an economic crisis in the country resulting from shortages in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Grocery store shelves are empty, and the country recently announced it has only enough petrol for one week. (Reuters) (AP). The United States announced $60 million in funding to address the crisis. (State Dep’t.).

Other Items of Interest

A group of US museums announced the return of 31 Benin bronzes to Nigeria. (CNN) (The Root).

The Nigerian Academic Staff Union of Universities is ending its 8-month strike following a court ruling. (Africa News) (Al Jazeera) (All Africa).

The Nigerian government has signed a memorandum of understanding with Microsoft under which Microsoft intends to train 5 million Nigerians with digital skills. (Tech Economy Nigeria) (The Whistler Nigeria).

9 October 2022

Human Rights

A Rwandan court has acquitted three journalists, who have been detained for four years on charges of spreading false information with the intention of inciting violence and tarnishing the country’s image. The journalists have been released. (Committee to Protect Journalists) (AFP via Barron’s) (Reuters).

The Somali government issued a ban on the “dissemination of extremism ideology.” The ban is directed at Al Shabaab-controlled social and traditional media. At least 40 online accounts on Facebook and Twitter have been suspended as a result of the ban. A press release announcing the ban acknowledges the protection of free speech recognized under Somali law. (Al Jazeera) (Somali Guardian) (Africa News) (VOA). This week, a U.S. air strike reportedly killed a senior leader of Al Shabaab. (Reuters).

Human Rights Watch criticized a South Sudanese trial against a group of seven activists and government critics associated with People’s Action for Civic Action, and called on South Sudan’s judiciary to act independently in its handling of the case. (Human Rights Watch).

Nigerian news outlet Sahara Reporters reports on accounts by Nigerians living in Kenya of extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances targeting their community. (Sahara Reporters). Also this week, Ethiopian airlines announced that Nigerian citizens would no longer be eligible for visas on arrival in Ethiopia. Some of the reporting indicates that the suspension applies to citizens of all other African countries, not just Nigeria, but the news appears to be reported predominantly in Nigerian outlets. (The Punch Nigeria) (Daily Trust via All Africa).

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

Ibrahim Traoré, the leader of the junta that conducted last week’s coup in Burkina Faso announced a process to pick a transitional president under the format of a “national meeting” to be held on October 14 and 15. (AFP via Barron’s). ECOWAS appears to be satisfied with Traoré’s transitional plans. (Reuters via CNN). The UN OHCR has called for an investigation into coup-related deaths and injuries. (UN News). Al Jazeera has published a primer on the country’s second coup this year. (Al Jazeera).

In Lesotho, the newly founded Revolution for Prosperity party seems likely to be declared the winner of the country’s October 7 elections by a simple majority. The incumbent ruling party, the All Basotho Convention, has so far won no seats. (Reuters) (All Africa) (Africa News) (additional background from Africa News). Commonwealth observers have characterized the elections as “calm and peaceful,” while the U.S. State Department issued a statement congratulating Lesotho on its elections. (Jurist.org) (State Dep’t.). Amnesty International called on Lesotho’s incoming government to “address unresolved cases of police brutality, torture, and unlawful killings and ensure accountability for these human rights crimes.” (Amnesty International).

Zimbabwe is relaxing its voter registration requirements ahead of 2023 elections, requiring voters to submit only proof of identification, not proof of residence. (Bulawayo24) (263Chat via All Africa). This week, opposition MPs Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole were denied bail for the fifth time. The two were arrested for their comments following the disappearance and death of a CCC party activist. (New Zimbabwe via All Africa) (Newsday Zimbabwe) (Daily News Zimbabwe).

Following Kenya’s recent elections, 14 MPs changed their allegiance from the Azimio la Umoja opposition coalition to the ruling Kenya Kwanza coalition. Members of the former coalition challenged the change in allegiance as untimely, but the Speaker recognized the shift, thus giving Kenya Kwanza the majority. This ruling by the Speaker prompted a physical altercation on the floor of the Parliament over physical control of the ceremonial mace. (Standard Media Kenya) (BBC via Business Ghana) (Sahara Reporters).

Zambia’s Anti-Corruption Commission has arrested several former ministers of the country in two distinct cases. (VOA, Zambia Watchdog, and Lusaka Times regarding the first case) (BBC via Channel Africa and News Diggers Zambia regarding the second).

Foreign Policy

The New York Times reports on intensive behind-the-scenes U.S. diplomacy to broker peace talks in Tigray as those efforts’ success appears to be dwindling. (New York Times). An AU-led effort is being delayed by logistical issues. (Al Jazeera) (RFI). This week, the UN Human Rights Council renewed the mandate for the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia. The State Department and Amnesty International both issued statements welcoming the renewal. (State Dep’t.) (Amnesty International).

Ugandan General Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the firebrand son of President Museveni, was fired by his father as commander of the country’s land forces after he that he would capture Nairobi in two weeks, setting off a diplomatic crisis. (Al Jazeera) (Reuters) (Yahoo News). Museveni apologized for his son’s tweets (BBC), but subsequently promoted him to the rank of general (VOA).

Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, has commenced a nine-day tour to garner diplomatic support on the Continent and counter pro-Russian narratives. (New York Times) (BBC via Business Ghana). As part of the tour, he has pledged to export more Ukrainian grain to Africa. (AP).

Other Items of Interest

More than 66 children have died in The Gambia due to kidney failure. The deaths have been linked by domestic and international health authorities to an Indian cough syrup manufacturer. (BBC 1) (BBC 2) (Reuters 1) (Reuters 2). The WHO is investigating whether the contaminated product was sold outside of The Gambia as well. (The Guardian).

2 October 2022


Tuesday, October 4, at 2:00 p.m. SAST/8:00 a.m. Eastern, the Institute for Security Studies is hosting a panel discussion on Africa-Europe relations in the wake of the war in Ukraine. (ISS Africa).

Human Rights

The East African Court of Justice has rejected a lawsuit brought by Maasai groups challenging the Tanzanian government’s actions setting apart portions of Maasai ancestral land for wildlife protection. (Al Jazeera) (Deutsche Welle) (The Star Kenya).

A Zimbabwean court convicted author Tsitsi Dangarembga of “inciting public violence” for holding placards that stated “We Want Better. Reform Our Institutions.” She was sentenced to a six-month suspended jail sentence and ordered to pay a $120 fine. The author announced plans to appeal the conviction. (AP) (Al Jazeera) (CNN).

The World Organisation Against Torture has released a report saying that “extrajudicial murder and torture have become widespread” in Libya since January 2020. (RFI via All Africa) (Report Press Release).

Amnesty International issued an alert on the “escalat[ion]” by Eswatini authorities of a “crackdown” on human rights. The country, the last absolute monarchy in Africa, has seen a recent series of pro-democracy protests, which the government has tried to repress. (Amnesty International) (background from the New York Times).

Amnesty International and the International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region issued a report calling for greater support for survivors of sexual violence in Guinea. (Amnesty International)

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

The leader of Burkina Faso’s January 2022 coup, which ousted President Roch Kaboré, has been forced to resign hours ago and reportedly fled to Togo. (New York Times) (BBC) (VOA). The coup, led by Ibrahim Traoré and buttressed by protesters expressing anti-French and pro-Russian sentiment, began two days ago. Gunfire was heard across the capital of Ouagadougou, and the French embassy had to battle off a fire before Traoré was able to take power. (Reuters) (BBC). The AU and ECOWAS have both condemned the “unconstitutional” change of government, and the State Department issued a statement “join[ing] our partners at ECOWAS, the African Union, and the European Union in condemning these acts and the ongoing violence.” (Al Jazeera re AU reaction) (Premium Times Nigeria re ECOWAS reaction) (State Dep’t.).

São Tomé and Principe’s opposition party won parliamentary elections this week, after which Patrice Travoada will become prime minister. (Africa News). The State Department issued a statement congratulating the country on the elections. (State Dep’t.).

In the ongoing saga of Chad’s on-again off-again national reconciliation talks, Chad’s ruling junta released an ad hoc report pushing elections back by at least two years. (Reuters). The United States issued a statement expressing “deep concern” over the report. (State Dep’t.).

Lesotho is set to hold elections next week. Amnesty International has called for accountability in connection with “unresolved cases of police brutality, torture, and unlawful killings” around the elections (Amnesty International) and the Commonwealth has issued a statement calling for peaceful elections (Commonwealth Statement). The Institute for Security Studies argues that democratic reforms, which should have occurred before the elections, will now be decided upon by the voters. (ISS Africa).

Guinea’s 2008 coup leader and third President, Moussa Dadis Camara, returned to the country from Burkina Faso after Alpha Condé’s deposition in 2021. (VOA). This week, the country’s courts have commenced a trial against the former leader for the acts of security forces in a 2009 stadium massacre, in which more than 150 people died and dozens of women were raped. (Washington Post) (Al Jazeera).

In the middle of his trial before the International Criminal Court, Kenyan lawyer Paul Gicheru was found dead at the age of 49. Gicheru was accused of obstruction of justice in connection with an alleged scheme to bribe and intimidate witnesses in a case that was then pending against William Ruto. Ruto was recently elected President of Kenya. In 2015, one of Gicheru’s allies, Meshack Yabei, was abducted and killed. Under precedent established in the case of Slobodan Milosevic, Gicheru’s death closes all ICC proceedings against him. (The Nation Africa) (New York Times) (VOA) (AP via Washington Post). The Kenya Human Rights Commission and the Law Society of Kenya have called for an investigation into Gicheru’s death).

Sudan is witnessing a new wave of protests months after the junta’s overtures toward abandoning their October 2021 coup have not materialized. (Dabanga Sudan via All Africa). Al Jazeera reports on the efforts of one coup leader to distance himself from the coup. (Al Jazeera). 55 civil society groups have united under a new “Revolutionary Charter for the Establishment of the People’s Authority.” (Dabanga Sudan via All Africa).

Foreign Policy

An ECOWAS delegation visited Mali to help mediate the dispute over 46 Ivorian soldiers, who remain in Malian custody after they were intercepted at Bamako airport en route to a UN peacekeeping mission in July. (The Africa Report) (VOA). This week, in an address to the United Nations, Mali’s prime minister distanced his country from ECOWAS’s sanctions against Guinea, criticized France’s “junta”, and praised Russian involvement on the Continent. (Reuters) (Africa News) (Al Jazeera). It is unclear whether the Malian prime minister’s speech came before or after an extraordinary summit of ECOWAS in New York on the margins of the UN General Assembly, at which ECOWAS leaders agreed to press Guinea harder for a transition to a constitutional, civilian-led democracy. The State Department issued a statement in support of ECOWAS’s actions. (State Dep’t.).

Secretary Blinken met with Malawian president Lazarus Chakwera. (State Dep’t. Readout).

Other Items of Interest

The trial of Felicien Kabuga began this week. Kabuga is accused of financing the Rwandan genocide. He was arrested in France in 2020, where he was hiding, and French authorities transferred him to the custody of the UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals in The Hague. (New York Times) (The Africa Report) (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-63068598) (BBC). Human Rights Watch called the trial a “significant step in efforts to ensure accountability for planning, ordering, and carrying out the genocide in Rwanda.” (HRW). The State Department also issued a statement welcoming “the opening statements” in Kabuga’s trial. (State Dep’t.).

27 September 2022

Human Rights

Equatorial Guinea has abolished the death penalty. (Reuters). The announcement came a little less than one week before President Teodoro Mbasogo, who has ruled the country for 43 years, confirmed he would stand in November elections. His candidacy was announced by his son, who is also vice president of the country. (Africa News).

The trial of Mahamat Said Abdel Kani before the International Criminal Court began this week. Kani is a former senior leader of the Sekela rebel coalition who is charged with crimes against humanity including torture. He pleaded not guilty. (Reuters) (Deutsche Welle).

Amnesty International has called on Moroccan authorities to release activist Rida Benotmane, alleging that he is being prosecuted for criticizing the authorities on social media. (Amnesty International). The day after Amnesty’s statement, a Moroccan appeals court extended the sentence of another activist, Saida el-Alami, who was arrested in March for criticizing government officials on social media. (The North Africa Journal) (VOA).

Armed bandits attacked a mosque in Nigeria’s Zamfara State, killing at least 15 worshippers. The attackers hid Ak-47s in their clothes and pretended to be there for religious services. (VOA) (Vanguard Nigeria) (Reuters).

Human Rights Watch has called on FIFA to establish a remedy fund for migrant workers who have been exploited by Qatari contractors in preparation for the World Cup, many of whom are African. (HRW).

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

The Central African Republic’s Constitutional Court annulled presidential decrees establishing a committee to rewrite the constitution, seen as a preliminary step toward President Faustin Touadera attempting to run for a third term in office. (AFP via Barron’s) (Africa News) (Reuters). UN human rights experts had previously issued a statement expressing concerns about the process that had been decreed by President Touadera. (OHCHR Press Release).

Amnesty International continues to call out Zimbabwe for its continued holding of opposition MPs Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole. They have been in prison for more than 100 days, after both attended the funeral of a political activist, Moreblessing Ali, whose body was found three weeks after she went missing. (Amnesty International).

Tunisian authorities detained Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the Ennahda party that held a plurality in parliament before President Kais Saied suspended it by emergency decree. The 81-year-old opposition leader was questioned for 13 hours overnight and then released without charge. He was summoned the previous day as well but told to go home after waiting for 12 hours to be questioned. (Reuters) (AFP via News24) (Le Journal de l’Afrique).

Chad’s foreign minister has resigned, as on-again, off-again reconciliation talks with rebels continue. (Reuters). This week, Human Rights Watch criticized Chadian security forces for using “excessive force” against opposition members and supporters amidst the government’s “national dialogue” with rebel groups. (HRW).

Citing technical and financial challenges, Somaliland officials announced a pushback from this November to next July of presidential elections. (Reuters) (Bloomberg).

A Gabonese court has found former speaker and opposition leader Guy Nzouba-Ndama guilty of money laundering and espionage. He was arrested at the border of Congo-Brazzaville, allegedly carrying USD $2 million worth of cash. (North Africa Post) (BBC via Business Ghana).

Human Rights Watch warned that Burundian president Evariste Ndayishimiye’s appointment of Gervais Ndirakobuca is “likely a step back in terms of safeguarding fundamental rights,” citing the politician’s track record as an advisor during President Pierre Nkurunziza’s 2015 crackdown on opposition voices. (HRW).

Foreign Policy

There are several stories surrounding diplomacy at the UN General Assembly. Leaders from the DRC, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, and Nigeria lobbied for Africa to have a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. (Africa News) (Pass Blue). Several African delegations, including Senegalese President Macky Sall speaking as AU chair, and the Presidents of Kenya, the DRC, and South Africa, reiterated their support for lifting sanctions against Zimbabwe. (The East African). Both the Rwandan and Congolese delegations used their General Assembly speeches to criticize the other in the two countries’ ongoing dispute in the eastern DRC. (Chimp Reports) (Africa News) (UN News). Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari tacitly criticized African leaders who violate term limit provisions in order to cling to power, arguing the practice has a “corrosive” effect. (CNN). And newly elected Kenyan President William Ruto called for the World Bank and IMF to grant pandemic debt relief to developing countries. (The East African). On the margins of the UN General Assembly, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States issued a joint statement on the political crisis in Libya (State Dep’t.), and the State Department provided an update on the peace efforts in Ethiopia of U.S Special Envoy to the Horn Mike Hammer (State Dep’t.).

Following last week’s reports that Eritrea was mobilizing conscripts as the conflict in northern Ethiopia resumed, this week TPLF fighters have accused Eritrea of launching a “full-scale” offensive along the border. (BBC) (All Africa) (AP via Washington Post). A group of UN human rights experts is warning that further atrocity crimes in northern Ethiopia are at risk due to the breakdown of the ceasefire. (OHCHR Press Release) (RTE).

Mozambique and Tanzania signed an anti-terrorism defense pact. (The Defense Post) (Africa News) (The East African).

18 September 2022


Tuesday, September 20, 2022, at 6 p.m. Eastern, nonprofit Make Music Matter is hosting a reception with Congolese Nobel prize winner Dr. Denis Mukwege. The event is hosted by human rights lawyer Bruce Rabb. (Registration page via Mailchimp). The event will be held at the Bronx Documentary Center, Annex Gallery, 364 East 151st Street, The Bronx, NY 10455.

Friday, September 23, 2022, at 2 p.m., a coalition of civil society organizations and NGOs are hosting a panel discussion on “The State of Human Rights and Democracy in Zimbabwe and Prospects for Free and Fair Elections in 2023.” The panel discussion includes prominent speakers, including Amos Chibaya, Daniel Molokele, Godfrey Kurauone, Tafadzwa Sarupinda, Comfort Dondo, Hopewell Chin’ono, and Chipo Dendere. The event will be at the Wyndham Garden in North Bergen, New Jersey. 1706 Paterson Plank Road. RSVP by email to Handel Mlilo, [email protected], or text (240) 507-7120. You may wish to mention that you learned of the event from the committee

Human Rights

In advance of Egypt hosting the COP27 climate summit, Human Rights Watch issued a report early in the week calling on Egyptian authorities to end restrictions on environmental NGOs. (HRW). In a demonstration of its lack of independence, Egypt relied on its own human rights body, the National Council for Human Rights, to issue a statement refuting the claims by Human Rights Watch. (Egypt Today). A few days later, the Biden administration blocked $130 million in security aid over Egypt’s human rights record but promised to release $75 million because of Egyptian authorities’ steps to free political prisoners. (Washington Post). Egyptian authorities ordered the release of 46 political prisoners around the same time the U.S. made its announcement. (AP via The Washington Post). Tariq Al-Awad, a prominent left-wing activist and lawyer, and Ahmed al-Najdi, an Al Jazeera journalist, were among those released. (AFP via Barron’s) (Al Jazeera). Human Rights Watch issued a statement saying that the Biden administration’s blocking of aid did not go far enough. (HRW).       

There were two reports this week about how Libyan authorities are treating detainees from other African countries. The Guardian reports a “roundup” of at least 400 Chadian workers in the east Libyan town of Ajdabiya in apparent retaliation for Chadian authorities’ arrest of four Libyan poachers. (The Guardian). And Ghana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement confirming that they have been granted consular access to 20 Ghanaians currently in Libyan prisons for a variety of crimes. (BBC via GhanaWeb). 

The CEO and COO of Canadian mining company Trevali Mining Corp. have resigned after two of the company’s executives in Burkina Faso were convicted in a Burkinabé court of involuntary manslaughter. The conviction relates to a flooding disaster at the company’s Perkoa mine that killed eight workers in April.  (Reuters) (CBC) (Financial Post).  

The Nigerian National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has paid 289 million naira (about $700,000 USD) in compensation to victims of police brutality. The NHRC’s panel that issued the order was constituted in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests in Nigeria. (BBC via The Star Kenya) (Premium Times Nigeria).       

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

In Kenya, William Ruto was formally inaugurated. (AP via NPR). On the eve of the ceremony, President Kenyatta finally congratulated his former deputy. (BBC via The Star Kenya). Raila Odinga did not attend the ceremony. (New York Times). 

Zambia’s chief prosecutor, an appointee of the previous administration, told the BBC feared for her life after the government withdrew her security detail. (BBC via My Joy Online). The following day, she was suspended from her role. (BBC via The Star Kenya).      

Zimbabwe is escalating a crackdown on opposition in the run-up to the 2023 elections. Amnesty International criticized authorities in the country for bringing “sinister charges” against University of Zimbabwe students who protested high fees. (Amnesty International). Three opposition activists were also kidnapped and later released, only to be charged with “spreading falsehoods to tarnish the country’s image” after stating they had been kidnapped. Amnesty International has launched a campaign to demand justice for the three. This week, a court denied their application for the dismissal of the charges. (Amnesty International) (Zimbabwe Situation) (Newsday Zimbabwe). This week, the United States announced the removal of 11 persons from, and the addition of one person to, the Specially Designated Nationals list for Zimbabwe sanctions. (State Dep’t.). The State Department’s announcement comes one week after the UN Special Rapporteur on the Negative Impact of Unilateral Coercive Measures on the Enjoyment of Human Rights issued a report criticizing, in part, US sanctions against Zimbabwe. (Report via OHCHR).

Tunisian president Kais Saied has “issued” a new electoral law, which reduces the power of political parties. The law is authorized by the new constitution that he ushered in by a rigged referendum on the one-year anniversary of his assumption of emergency powers. (AFP via France24) (AP via Arab News). 

The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Burundi has called on Burundian authorities to “initiate reforms and a credible and inclusive democratization process in Burundi.”  (Statement via OHCHR) (UN News).

The Burkinabé junta has Burkinabe defense minister fired has fired the country’s defense minister over the failure to control jihadist violence in the country. (AFP via Le Monde).

Business Legal News

A Nigerian court has enjoined elections for Nigeria’s football federation. The underlying lawsuit relates to a complaint that two factions of a players’ union are not allowed to participate in the elections.  The elections were recently the subject of a bomb threat if the election proceeded. (BBC). 

Foreign Policy

Amnesty International has called on the UN and AU to “prioritize justice, truth, and reparations in Ethiopia” in a statement. (Amnesty International). The statement was released one day after the Ethiopian New Year, when the State Department issued a statement encouraging a continuation of the progress on peace talks. (State Dep’t.). Both statements appear to be premature, as a ceasefire has not yet taken hold. Tigrayans finally agreed to an immediate ceasefire without preconditions (CNN), but a few days later, Eritrea began calling conscripts to the border with Tigray. (BBC) (Reuters). In the meantime, Kenyan ex-president Uhuru Kenyatta has been appointed a peace envoy to the conflicts in Ethiopia and the Eastern DRC. (Addis Standard).

Ivory Coast and Mali remain at odds over Mali’s detention of Ivorian soldiers being sent to a UN mission in the country. The troops were arrested at Bamako airport and accused of being mercenaries. All but three women from the group remain in detention since July 10. This week, Ivory Coast accused Mali of “blackmail” (Africa News), while Mali issued reciprocal allegations of “intimidation” against Ivory Coast (VOA).  

President Biden met with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa at the White House. (Readout via White House) (Biden Remarks via White House) (AP via US News) (Al Jazeera).  

Shortly after being inaugurated as President, William Ruto issued a tweet purporting to change Kenya’s policy with respect to Western Sahara, revoking its support for Sahrawai independence. The tweet was subsequently deleted and has been viewed as an error. Ruto issued the tweet after a meeting with Moroccan diplomats. (The Africa Report) (Africa News).

Other Items of Note

Uganda has paid a first installment of $325 million in war reparations to the DRC following a ruling by the International Court of Justice. (Al Jazeera) (Reuters via Africa News).                   

11 September 2022

Human Rights

Amnesty International has called on Algerian authorities to drop all charges pending against 18 members of the Ahmadi religion, who are being charged with “participating in an unauthorized group” and “denigrating Islam.” Their trial was initially scheduled for September 6 but has been postponed to September 13. (Amnesty International).

Egyptian authorities have charged the editor of independent outlet Mada Masr and three journalists after the outlet published an article implicating senior officials of a pro-government political party in “grave financial  violations.” (BBC) (New York Times) (Middle East Eye). Several NGOs have released statements calling for the release of the four journalists. (Amnesty International) (HRW) (Reporters without Borders). Also, this week, Egypt followed the lead of several gulf governments in seeking to regulate certain streaming content as “un-Islamic.” The regulation changes are perceived as targeting content on Netflix and Disney in recent years. (The National (UAE)) (BBC via The Star Kenya).

A religious court in the northern Nigerian state of Kano has ordered the arrest of a hip hop artist, an actor, and eight TikTok influencers for sharing “immoral” content online. (Channels TV) (The Will Nigeria) (The Daily Nigerian).

The Ugandan government banned and then backtracked its ban on a popular music festival. The original ban was premised on the allegation that the festival promoted homosexuality. (AFP via France24) (CNN).

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

An Angolan court has rejected the opposition party’s challenge to election results declaring that the incumbent MPLA and its leader President Joao Lourenco, won a second term. (Al Jazeera) (Reuters) (Bloomberg). The opposition party, UNITA, called for protests of the ruling, while the State Department issued a statement congratulating President Lourenco. (State Dep’t.).

Kenya’s parliament convened for the first time with newly elected legislators following the country’s recent elections. (Anadolu Agency) (Bloomberg via Yahoo News). In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, President-Elect Ruto noted that President Kenyatta had not yet congratulated him. (CNN). But Kenyatta has promised a “smooth” transition of power to his former deputy. (Reuters). Secretary Blinken spoke with Ruto by phone. (Readout via State Dep’t.). Michelle Gavin published an analysis for the Council on Foreign Relations’s blog about what Ruto’s election means for Kenya. (CFR).

Equatorial Guinea’s parliament has brought forward presidential elections to November of this year. They were previously held to take place alongside legislative elections in the first quarter of 2023. President Teodoro Mbatsogo, 80, has ruled the country since 1979. (BBC via Club of Mozambique) (News Central Africa).

In South Africa, the High Court for the Western Cape has set aside President Ramaphosa’s suspension of Busisiwe Mkhwebane, holding that the unilateral action was unconstitutional unless ratified by the Constitutional Court. She was suspended after she launched a probe into the allegations that President Ramaphosa was storing millions in cash at his farm in Phala Phala. (Africa News) (Mail and Guardian) (Sunday Times) (Eyewitness News).

Burundi’s president, Evariste Ndayishimiye, has replaced his prime minister after alleging that a coup plot against him was underfoot. His chosen replacement, Alain Guillaume Bunyoni, is under EU sanctions for his role in suppressing 2015 demonstrations against Ndayishimiye’s predecessor. (Reuters) (Al Jazeera) (Le Monde).

Business Legal News

Ethiopia’s central bank introduced a ban on using foreign currency in local transactions. (Bloomberg) (Business Insider Africa) (CentralBanking.com).

Foreign policy

Tigrayan forces have offered a conditional truce. (Africa News) (AFP via Barron’s). Renewed fighting has halted the delivery of aid to northern Ethiopia and Tigray in particular. (AFP via France24). The Biden administration has issued new sanctions relating to the human rights crisis in Ethiopia, while the AU has extended its envoy’s mission. (Addis Standard) (AFP via Barron’s). With respect to the Grand Renaissance Dam, an opinion piece in Al Monitor argues that Egypt is trying to disrupt Ethiopia’s military alliance with Uganda. (Al Monitor).

In advance of the COP climate summit to be held in Egypt, Secretary Kerry is traveling to Nigeria and Senegal to discuss climate issues. (State Dep’t. Media Note). A group of African leaders has called on wealthier nations to pay more for changes needed to combat climate change. (Reuters). VOA reports on the human displacement brought on by climate change on the Continent. (VOA).

Namibia and Botswana are lifting passport requirements on their border. (Independent Online) (The Namibian) (ZimLive).

4 September 2022


The Pan-African Lawyers Union is celebrating its 20th anniversary on September 9 in Addis Ababa. There are virtual participation options as well (PALU website).

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

Kenya’s Supreme Court rejected Raila Odinga’s challenge to the declaration that William Ruto had won the presidential election. In recent decades, Kenya has seen relative peace except at election time, in which Odinga was a perennial opponent of current president Uhuru Kenyatta. In 2017, Kenya’s Supreme Court ordered a redo of the 2017 election. Although Kenyatta won the redo of that election, the precedent paved the way for the peaceful transition of power in Malawi in 2020. Seemingly as part of Kenyatta’s bargain with Odinga in the wake of 2017 elections, Kenyatta this time stepped over his deputy, William Ruto, to endorse and campaign vigorously for Odinga, but the efforts appear not to have been enough. The independent electoral commission ruled Ruto the winner of this year’s elections. Odinga immediately challenged the results as “fraudulent” but promised that he would pursue his claims only through the courts. Those claims ended with today’s Supreme Court ruling, which found the claims wholly unsupported by any evidence. (New York Times) (Washington Post) (The Guardian) (Reuters). The U.S. State Department swiftly issued a statement “commend[ing] Raila Odinga and other candidates for abiding by the Supreme Court ruling” (State Dep’t.). The independent electoral commission issued a statement decrying the abuse that election officials have suffered in the past weeks, including abduction, killings, and severe forms of harassment. (IEBC Statement). The Kenyan Supreme Court issued a media summary statement, and the text of the Court’s decision is expected to be released any moment. The proceedings can be watched on YouTube.

Angola’s electoral commission declared the MPLA the winner of the country’s August elections, continuing the party’s 47-year reign. (BBC) (Reuters). The State Department issued a statement falling short of describing the results as “free and fair,” but also not overtly challenging their legitimacy. (State Dep’t.). The opposition has filed a legal challenge to the results. (Al Jazeera) (AFP via The Monitor Uganda) (AP via VOA).

Zambian police have arrested opposition activist and politician Sean Tembo for “defaming the President” in comments he made via TikTok, though he appears not to have been formally charged. (Lusaka Times). Human rights groups in Zambia have characterized the arrest as “unacceptable.” (Phoenix FM Zimbabwe). The arrest came almost immediately after the IMF approved a new $1.3 billion USD credit facility for the country. (IMF) (AFP via The East African) (Bloomberg) (Reuters). The package was part of the new platform for President Hichilema, who was elected in 2021 after running for and losing the office four times. In 2017, Hichilema was arrested and charged with treason, and his victory over an incumbent who had tried to rig the polls in 2021 was seen as a positive step for the rule of law).

A Malawian court has sentenced former electoral commissioner Linda Kunje to 18 months in prison for obstructing the presidential convoy of President Lazarus Chakwera in 2020. (Malawi24) (The Times Malawi) (Nyasa Times).

After a breakthrough agreement last week, Chad’s national dialogue has been suspended. (AFP via Barron’s) (All Africa) (BBC via Business Ghana) (opinion via  Le Journal de l’Afrique).

Libya’s political crisis persists. At least 32 were killed in clashes last week, and the clashes continued this week. (New York Times) (Wall Street Journal) (Reuters) (Al Jazeera).

South African prosecutors charged two former top executives at the state rail and ports operator with fraud and other corruption-related crimes. The charges relate to the awarding of a contract to a consortium led by consulting firm McKinsey & Co. for advice on the purchase more than 1,000 locomotives. (Bloomberg) (Empire Online) (Africa News).

Zimbabwean opposition MP has fallen ill in detention, with his family alleging that he was poisoned. (VOA Zimbabwe) (AP via Washington Post) (New Zimbabwe) (News24). Zimbabwe is already in election season, with elections expected to be called sometime between now and July 2023.

Human Rights

Sudanese journalists have formed the country’s first independent union in more than 30 years. (The Guardian) (Reuters via Arab News) (AFP via Middle East Eye) (Anadolu Agency).

In Madagascar, police shot protesters, killing at least 19. The protesters in a group of approximately 500, were protesting the recent kidnapping of an albino child. (AFP via VOA) (Reuters).

Human Rights Watch continues to focus on the rights of pregnant girls and mothers to attend school. (HRW) (The Point Gambia). This week, the NGO released an interactive index of the issue across Africa. Human Rights Watch also praised a 2019 order in Niger directing schools to allow married and pregnant girls to continue school. (HRW).

Human Rights Watch called attention to a new series of extrajudicial executions carried out by Egyptian police, this time as part of military operations in North Sinai against an ISIS affiliate. The latest report is prompted by videos that circulated in July and August showing government-aligned militias executing shackled and wounded men (HRW).

Foreign policy

In northern Ethiopia, fighting appears to be returning to pre-ceasefire levels. This week, hospital officials in Mekelle alleged that the hospital was targeted by a federal drone strike. (Ethiopia Observer) (Al Jazeera) (AFP via Barron’s) (Reuters) (VOA). The Sudanese foreign ministry summoned the Ethiopian ambassador following the Ethiopian army’s announcement two weeks ago that it had shot down a plane carrying “weapons” to Tigray from Sudan. (Sudanese Foreign Ministry) (Sudan Tribune) (Xinhua) (Africa News). Tigrayan forces have opened a new front near Kobo, in Amhara. (Reuters) (BBC) (TeleSur). A front has also opened near the border between Tigray and Eritrea, where it seems that Eritrea remains a belligerent. (Reuters). Although 23,000 metric tons of Ukrainian wheat just reached Djibouti this week (State Dep’t.), the UN reports that it has not been able to deliver any aid by road since the middle of last week. (BBC via The Star Kenya). Kenneth Roth, former Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, published an opinion piece in Foreign Policy calling for African institutions to “do their part” to end Ethiopia’s “abusive Tigray siege.” (Kenneth Roth in Foreign Policy) (see also Africa Brief in Foreign Policy). The United States is sending Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Mike Hammer to Ethiopia from September 4 to 15. (State Dep’t.) (France24). The new wave of fighting in the country’s north has also apparently led to renewed fighting in Oromia, where gunmen apparently affiliated with the Oromo Liberation Army launched a new wave of attacks, leading to the deaths of at least 42 people in Oromo-Amhara clashes. (Addis Standard) (AP via ABC News) (Al Jazeera) (Reuters via VOA). Human Rights Watch has called for independent inquiries and further efforts to protect the surviving residents of the towns that have seen clashes. (HRW).

The agenda for U.S. Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Barabar Leaf to Tunisia appeared to pay only lip service to democracy and rule-of-law issues raised by President Kais Saied’s recent referendum, focusing mostly on Middle East politics. (State Dep’t.). Reports from Secretary Leaf’s visit were more mixed, noting that she did seem to tie trade matters to Tunisia’s human rights progress. (The National News) (Middle East Monitor).

Mali released three of the 49 Ivorian soldiers it detained at Bamako airport en route to a UN peacekeeping mission. The three soldiers released were all women. (Al Jazeera) (Reuters) (AP via VOA). A MINUSMA report this week alleged that at least 50 civilians were killed as part of a Malian operation in central Mali. The report also implicates “foreign troops,” likely affiliated with the Russia-backed Wagner Group. (France24) (Al Jazeera) (Reuters). According to a report by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, Mali’s junta has not been any more successful at defeating Islamist insurgents than the French were. (ACSS via Reliefweb). This week, Malian authorities announced that they will negotiate with rebel groups. (Africa News). The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project has released a report on the Wagner Group’s operations in Mali. (ACLED).

Other Items of Note

To mark this year’s International Day for People of African Descent, Ghanaian President Akufo-Addo keynoted a meeting of diplomats, activists, and civil society organizations, which released the Accra Declaration on Reparations and Racial Healing. (Ghana News Agency) (Business Ghana).

After a Nigerian court blocked the extradition of former celebrity police officer Abba Kyari to the United States on charges relating to an internet fraud scheme (The Guardian Nigeria) (Business Day Nigeria) (Vanguard Nigeria), the Nigerian federal government has filed 24 fresh charges against Kyari and seized 14 assets allegedly associated with him, including shopping malls, residential real estate, and farmland. (The Punch Nigeria)

28 August 2022

Human Rights

The International Federation for Human Rights has issued a joint note along with Lawyers without Borders Canada and Amnesty International calling on the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to take further action on the human rights situation in Mali, and denounce human rights violations including “serious crimes committed against the civilian population and the impunity for these crimes, as well as the restrictions placed on civic space in the context of the [post-coup] transition.” (FIDH).

In the DRC, Congolese environmental groups issued a statement that they faced “direct threats” due to their opposition to a government-sponsored auction last month of 30 oil and gas blocks. (Joint Statement via Greenpeace) (Africa News) (Development Diaries) (African Arguments op-ed via All Africa).

Former Tunisian Religious Affairs Minister Nouredine Mkhademi is staging a sit-in protest at Carthage airport after he was stopped by police at the airport en route to Qatar on a purported travel ban against him, despite his having no record of ever having been notified of such a ban. (BBC) (Africa News Watch).

The Eritrean government has seized control of a Catholic technical school, in apparent retaliation for the Catholic Church’s calls for political reforms. (BBC via Eritrea Hub).

The Tanzania Railways Corporation’s firing of Jonas Afumwisye, a regional manager who expressed his opposition to a mobile money transaction tax on social media, has garnered press attention. (The Citizen) (Africa News) (BBC via The Star Kenya).

Constitutional Politics and Rule of Law

Kenyan presidential candidate Raila Odinga has filed a formal challenge to the election results declared last week, indicating his opponent William Ruto as the winner. (Al Jazeera) (BBC) (Reuters) (AP via PBS). Despite his heated rhetoric in calling the results “fraudulent” and “criminal,” Odinga has committed to a peaceful resolution of his claims. (Xinhua). The Washington Post published an analysis of the election results. (Washington Post). In non-presidential races, a record number of women were elected. (The Guardian).

With 97% of the vote counted, Angola’s ruling MPLA party leads the opposition UNITA by 51 percent to 44.5 percent, and the MPLA has declared victory. Opposition leader Costa Junior has alleged “brutal” discrepancies between his campaign’s counts and the official preliminary results. (Al Jazeera) (Financial Times) (VOA) (BBC) (Bloomberg). There has been relative calm as the votes have been counted, notwithstanding the closeness of the preliminary results immediately after election day. (Africa News) (Bloomberg). Former president José dos Santos’s body was returned to the country on Saturday after Friday passed without a challenge to a Spanish court ruling authorizing the return. A funeral service attended by foreign and domestic dignitaries was held earlier today. (Deutsche Welle) (VOA) (Reuters).

ICC prosecutor Karim Khan made a 5-day visit to Sudan to discuss the military government’s cooperation with the court. (Dabanga Sudan) (Sudan Tribune) (Karim Khan Report to UNSC). This week, the United States sent its first ambassador to Sudan in 25 years, John Godfrey, to his post. (Sudan Tribune) (Anadolu Agency) (AFP via The National UAE).

Foreign policy

A de facto 5-month ceasefire in Tigray was broken this week, with both sides blaming the other for the return to fighting. (Al Jazeera) (Africa News) (Reuters) (AP). The State Department issued a statement of concern, while UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for a cessation of hostilities. African Union Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat called for de-escalation. (State Dep’t.) (AP via Washington Post) (Al Jazeera). General Muhoozi Kainerugaba, son of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, visited Ethiopia after the outbreak of fresh hostilities, where he met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Kainerugaba is perceived as being groomed to succeed his father. He had previously tweeted in support of Tigrayan forces, but his comments were walked back by the administration. (The East African) (Fana Broadcasting Corporation (state media)). Ethiopian forces shot down a plane coming from Sudan, with the Ethiopian government claiming that the plane held weapons for the TPLF. (Bloomberg) (Africa News) (The Defense Post). Staff at a nearby hospital are reporting that an Ethiopian airstrike hit a playground in Tigray, killing at least seven. (The Guardian) (New York Times) (Reuters) (AP via Washington Post). The head of the World Food Programme accused TPLF forces of stealing fuel from WFP trucks, which allegations the TPLF has denied. (UN News) (VOA) (Ethiopia Observer). Meanwhile, the head of the World Health Organization, who is Tigrayan and has periodically commented on the conflict, noted that he was unable to send money to certain starving family members in the region. (AP via PBS).

While visiting Algeria, French president Emmanuel Macron announced the creation of a commission headed by historians to study colonial-era wrongdoing. (AP) (Al Jazeera) (Financial Times) (France24) (Politico EU) (Reuters). The announcement is part of an effort to “reset” relations with Algeria, as it becomes a more important source of European energy in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Morocco has recalled its ambassador to Tunisia after Tunisian president Kais Saied hosted Brahim Ghali, the head of the Polisario Front, for talks in Tunis. Algeria is widely considered a sponsor of the Polisario Front. (AFP via Barron’s) (Reuters).

China has agreed to waive payments on 23 loans to 17 African countries. The specifics of the relief package are not publicly disclosed. (Xinhua via South China Morning Post) (The Africa Report) (Bloomberg) (Quartz Africa) (VOA.

Germany’s foreign minister accused Russian mercenaries of exacerbating instability in Mali. (Bloomberg).

Other Items of Note

Following an agreement in principle, Germany signed a deal this week to transfer ownership of 512 Benin Bronzes currently being held in Germany to the Nigerian government. They should be physically returned sometime this calendar year. (Reuters) (Ebony) (Deutsche Welle) (Al Jazeera).

The United States entered into an agreement with the Nigerian government to repatriate $23 million in wealth stolen by former Nigerian dictator General Sani Abacha. (Dep’t. of Justice) (Reuters) (Tribune Online) (Premium Times) (The Punch Nigeria).