KW 2: Coup attempt in Gabon is thwarted, Election results in the Democratic Republic of the Congo delayed, Rwanda’s President stokes tension with neighbors

– NEWS –

Coup attempt in Gabon is thwarted: The government of Gabon quickly beat back a coup attempt on Monday, killing two suspects and arresting eight others after the plotters took over the state radio station in the Central African nation. Authorities have regained control of the state broadcasting offices and a major thoroughfare in the capital, Libreville, which were the only areas taken by the plotters, government spokesman Guy-Bertrand Mapangou told Radio France International. President Ali Bongo Ondimba has been out of Gabon since October, receiving medical treatment for what many believe was a stroke he suffered while attending a conference in Saudi Arabia. His absence apparently created what the coup plotters perceived as an opportunity.,

Election results in the Democratic Republic of the Congo delayed: Election results in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have been postponed again and officials said they did not know when they would be ready. The country’s electoral commission said on Sunday that tally sheets were trickling in slowly and so it would not be possible to release the results as scheduled. Corneille Nangaa, the head of the commission, asked the nation to remain patient for the time it would take to consolidate all the data. A host of irregularities and the suppression of voting rights were detailed in a Human Rights Watch report published on Saturday. The government has not denied that it has effected an internet shutdown. On Friday, US President Donald Trump said 80 US military personnel had been deployed to Gabon in response to the possibility that violent demonstrations may occur in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in reaction to the elections there.

Rwanda’s President stokes tension with neighbors: In his New Year’s speech, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame accused neighboring countries of supporting a rebellion against Rwanda. He referred to the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda rebel group, which is mainly operating in Congo, and the Rwanda National Congress, an opposition party in exile. This jeopardised the otherwise good progress in East African integration, as well as regional security, Kagame said, adding that he had expected this from one neighbor but another had surprised him. Although Kagame did not name specific countries, there is reason to believe he was referring to Burundi in the latter case. The relationship between the two countries is tense. The political instability between Rwanda and Burundi is part of a larger problem within the East African Community, emphasized Christopher Kayumba, professor at the University of Rwanda. Rwanda’s President Kagame has repeatedly called for support in the fight against opposition groups operating from neighboring countries, including the FDLR in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

German development minister travels to Africa: Development minister Gerd Müller will start the New Year with a trip to southern Africa, with stops in Malawi, Zambia and Namibia. Müller emphasizes the will of Germany to support the South African countries. At the same time, however, he warned that the countries would have to work for reforms themselves. This is mainly about the fight against corruption, respect for human rights and democracy. In addition to environmental and family planning initiatives, Müller will also discuss the processing of German-Namibian history with Namibian partners.

Tunisia electoral commission confirms dates for presidential election
Germany investigates disappeared citizens in Egypt
Yemen cholera epidemic strain came from eastern Africa
Egypt opens Middle East’s biggest cathedral near Cairo


Nationwide protests in Sudan take aim at the president: Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Sudan on Sunday to demand the resignation of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, whose nearly 30 years in power have been punctuated by civil war, ethnic conflict and a crumbling economy. The protests were the latest in more than two weeks of demonstrations in the North African country. Backed by some of the president’s former allies and even members of his ruling party, the protests present a serious threat to Bashir’s leadership. The protests began when Bashir’s government announced a raft of price hikes to cope with spiraling inflation in mid-December, and thousands formed spontaneous, leaderless crowds — and not just in the capital, Khartoum, where past anti-government movements have briefly surged before being quashed. At least for the moment, there is no indication that Bashir will concede power. He has used sheer force to weather waves of protests across decades, and security forces have been out in large numbers over the past weeks.

China’s superpower politics in Africa: Since 1991, Chinese foreign ministers have traditionally chosen Africa for their first overseas trip of the new year. This hasn’t changed in 2019. Current incumbent Wang Yi will visit Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Senegal and the headquarters of the African Union during his stay in Ethiopia. It will be the first time Wang has made an official visit to Gambia or Burkina Faso. The two countries resumed diplomatic ties with China in 2016 and 2018, respectively. China has built a network throughout the African continent, keeping close ties with African countries by running loan payments and infrastructure projects.

UN complains of impunity for people trafficking: A new UN report published on Monday shows that human trafficking is on the rise and taking on horrific dimensions, with sexual exploitation of victims the main driver. Children now account for 30% of those being trafficked, and far more girls are detected than boys. Asia and the Americas are the regions which have seen the largest increase in the numbers of victims detected, which may be explained by improved methods of detecting, recording and reporting data on trafficking – or a real increase in the number of victims. The study concluding that large areas of impunity still exist in many Asian and African countries, and conviction rates for trafficking remain very low. Trafficking for sexual exploitation is the most prevalent form in European countries, whilst in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, forced labor is the main factor driving the illicit trade.


A total of 11.3 million tourists visited Morocco between January and November, the Moroccan Tourism Ministry has announced. Morocco’s top tourist destinations of Marrakech and Agadir generated alone 60% of total overnight stays.


„The discussion about the return of African artwork is important, but it is not balanced at all. As always, countries like Germany are setting the tone. The debate shouldn’t be focused on Europe, but on Africa, on those affected and how this situation can be handled.“

Flower Manase Msuya, head of the historical and pedagogical department of the National Museum of Tanzania, has criticized the Eurocentric discourse in debates on African looted art and its return.


Egyptian village relies on solar energy: Located about 250 kilometers south of Cairo in the governorate of Al-Minya on the western bank of the Nile, the Egyptian village of Bany Mahdy is making good use of solar energy. The sun shines in Egypt for ten hours a day on average. There are already around 140 solar modules in the village. Energy prices have risen in Egypt in recent years. The purchase of a solar panel usually costs around 200 euros, but it is worth it in the long run. The panels are easy to maintain and do not cause running costs.

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