KW 2: Uganda accuses Facebook of interference in upcoming elections, Second Covid wave in South Africa, Zambia is insolvent

– NEWS –

Uganda accuses Facebook of interference in upcoming elections: Facebook has shut a slew of accounts belonging to Ugandan government officials accused of seeking to manipulate public debate ahead of elections Thursday, Facebook told AFP on Monday. The East African nation is holding presidential and parliamentary elections after a tense and bloody campaign, with incumbent President Yoweri Museveni facing a stiff challenge from the popstar-turned-politician Bobi Wine. „This month, we removed a network of accounts and pages in Uganda that engaged in CIB (Coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour) to target public debate ahead of the election,“ Facebook’s head of communication for sub-Saharan Africa, Kezia Anim-Addo, said in an email. Uganda’s presidential spokesman Don Wanyama accused the company of seeking to influence the election. Wanyama charged that Facebook had blocked the accounts of Museveni’s mobilizers, especially those who communicate in the local Luganda language. Wine and other opposition figures have called the 76-year-old Museveni a dictator. Wine has a strong following among the poor and a young population who have known only the 35-year reign of Museveni, but the powerful incumbent is seen as almost impossible to unseat.
africanews.com, nypost.com

Lesotho faces Covid-19 disaster: A Covid-19 disaster is threatening the small southern African kingdom of Lesotho after revelations that the government released people who had tested positive for the virus from quarantine early. Government sources this week said they had been sending Covid-19 patients home from as far back as last June over cost concerns. According to the latest figures from the National Covid-19 Secretariat, Lesotho had 4,137 cases as of Wednesday. Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro has responded by imposing an 8pm curfew, closing bars and nightclubs, banning sports and closing schools. It came as South African immigration officials estimated that, since Monday, more than 100 travellers a day from Lesotho were testing positive at border points.
theguardian.com

50 countries vow to protect 30% of land and sea by 2030: At least 50 countries committed to protecting 30% of the planet, including land and sea, over the next decade to halt species extinction and address climate change issues, during a global summit Monday aimed at protecting the world’s biodiversity. The event, held annually since 2017, focused on four key themes: the protection of terrestrial and marine ecosystems; increasing funding for biodiversity protection; finding links between deforestation and the health of human and animals; and promoting agroecology. „We know even more clearly amid the crisis we are going through that all our vulnerabilities are interrelated,“ French President Emmanuel Macron said. Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed: „We need to step up our efforts to protect biodiversity and natural habitats, not just at some point in time, but now, and not just somehow but considerably, otherwise the consequences will very soon be irreversible,“ she said from Berlin. Ahead of the conference, major funders announced 11.8 billion euros to accelerate the development of the Great Green Wall project in Africa’s semiarid Sahel region.
marketwatch.com, dw.com

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Second Covid wave in South Africa: South Africa is struggling to contain a second wave of Covid-19 infections, fuelled by a virulent new local variant of the virus, Covid fatigue and a series of super-spreader events. “The increasing number of deaths in the province is concerning. This virus will not be curtailed at health facilities but in our communities, we have the power to stop this spread by staying safe,” said Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo. Alex van den Heever, professor of social security systems administration at Wits University, Johannesburg, said South African policymakers, led by President Cyril Ramaphosa, had limited options. “The problem in South Africa is a [hard lockdown] has massive social and economic impact. South Africa isn’t in a position to support those who lose their earnings and parts of the country are effectively unlockdownable because of the social context,” he said.
theguardian.com, iol.co.za

New books for Kinshasa’s “Book Express” dw.com
German car industry doubles down on Africa dw.com
100 people killed in attacks on Niger villages, says prime minister cnn.com
Dwarf giraffes discovery surprises scientists nytimes.com
Brexit: what will change for Africa? dw.com

– BACKGROUND –

Parents of researcher tortured to death in Cairo file lawsuit against Italian government for arms sales: Rights groups and the family of the murdered Italian student Giulio Regeni have heavily criticized an arms deal between Italy and Egypt worth an estimated 1.2 billion dollars. Regeni’s murder remains unsolved, but there are widespread suspicions that he was abducted, tortured and killed by Egyptian security forces. Last Thursday, Italy’s government approved the sale to Egypt of two frigates built by the Italian state-controlled shipbuilder Fincantieri, marking a decisive break with a period of tepid relations between the two countries.
theguardian.com

Germany wants to reduce number of Africans living illegally in the country: In order to reduce the number of people from Africa living illegally in Germany, German authorities often work with countries of origin, for example to obtain travel documents. Countries of origin also hold questionable hearings as a result of which papers can be issued or the respondents can be deported. These hearings often target Africans. In the past two years, more than 1,100 Nigerians and nearly 370 Ghanaians were interviewed. Followed by citizens of Gambia (146) and Guinea (126). The opposition in Germany sharply criticized the approach: „It is completely unclear by which criteria the alleged citizens are identified,“ said Left party politician Ulla Jelpke.
dw.com

Zambia is insolvent: Africa is facing a new debt crisis thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. The „Neue Züricher Zeitung (NZZ)“ reported that the East African Republic of Zambia is partially insolvent and can no longer service part of its loans. The government had already announced in mid-November that it would no longer be able to pay its debts to creditors from abroad. Zambia is the first country in Africa to become insolvent in connection with Covid, even if some other countries are also in a critical situation. But the impending insolvency is not solely due to the pandemic. Zambia hasn’t been doing well economically for years. The country is heavily dependent on raw material exports. Up to 70 percent of all exports is copper, the price of which is dependent on demand and therefore fluctuates greatly. In the wake of the pandemic, demand fell sharply.
nzz.ch

Kenya Chief Justice famed for quashing 2017 presidential poll retires: David Maraga’s tenure as Kenya’s Chief Justice came to an end on Monday. He turns 70 on January 12. Maraga has been at the helm of the east African nation’s judiciary for four years. Special proceedings were held at the Supreme Court in Nairobi in Maraga’s honor. He later handed over the instruments of power which included an original copy of the constitution and the institutional flag to the acting Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu. “Political stability in this nation can only be guaranteed if the rule of law reigns. Without the rule of law nobody will be safe in this country. Say no to impunity and maintain the rule of law”, Maraga said in his farewell speech.
africanews.com

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Facebook Live: IJP-AfricaTalk #7 – Agriculture and Food Security: Has COVID-19 an impact on access to food? COVID-19 pandemic movement restrictions has implications on food security. The measures are likely to exacerbate food security challenges. Meanwhile, certain agricultural regions were already in trouble, facing floods, conflicts and decreasing prices. What needs to be done for achieving adequate food supply in periods of crisis? Facebook Live-Discussion with Renate Künast (MdB, Die Grünen) facebook.com

– NUMBER –

Kenya needs 62 billion dollars to mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis in the next 10 years, according to a government document sent to the UN framework convention on climate change. That equates to almost 67% of Kenya’s GDP.
theguardian.com

– QUOTE –

„France is determined to continue to accompany Burkina Faso in the field of security and in its economic and social development policy.“

France is determined to continue to accompany Burkina Faso, which has been plagued by an unprecedented increase in violence with a jihadist majority for more than five years, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Friday in Ouagadougou.
africanews.com

– AT LAST –

Tanzania to use local herbs instead of vaccine against Covid-19: Tanzania has signalled that it is not intending to use any Covid-19 vaccine but instead will settle on local herbs for protection against the disease. Speaking to the EastAfrican Gerald Chamii, a spokesman at the Ministry of Health said, “There are no plans in place yet of importing vaccine for Covid-19, our health experts and scientists are still researching and undergoing clinical trials for the local herbs for covid-19.” Tanzania is among the first countries in Africa to order for the touted Madagascar Covid herb in the fights against the virus. Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina is the promoter-in-chief of the substance, marketed as Covid-Organics and sold in the form of a herbal infusion.
africanews.com

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