Algeria Offers Mediation in Niger’s Transition to Civilian Rule

In a fresh development, Algeria has taken the initiative to mediate a return to civilian control in Niger, and the military junta in Niger has accepted the offer. Algeria’s proposal, put forward in late August, outlines a six-month transition plan that would be overseen by a civilian authority.

Algeria’s role as a mediator is bolstered by several factors. The country maintains good relations with the United States while expressing opposition to French intervention in Africa, a stance shared by the Nigerien junta. Algiers has also condemned the coup and provided support to ousted President Mohamed Bazoum. Importantly, Algeria firmly opposes any military intervention against its southern neighbor.

Pressure is mounting on countries to the south and west of Niger to take action against this coup, which is the latest in a series of similar events in the region. Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, who also leads the political bloc of West African states known as ECOWAS, has activated a response force and issued a warning of potential military action against Niger as a last resort.

However, ECOWAS has shown hesitancy in taking immediate action, partly due to the complexities and potential entanglements that intervention in Niger may entail. The involvement of countries like Mali and Burkina Faso, which have pledged support to the junta, could further complicate the situation. Nevertheless, if Algeria is able to make progress through its mediation efforts, it would provide President Tinubu with a compelling argument against resorting to the measure of last resort.

While Algeria presents this mediation as a pathway to a peaceful resolution, some experts remain skeptical. Amaka Anku, the head of Eurasia Group’s Africa practice, notes that Niger’s previous statements about being open to negotiations with ECOWAS have yielded limited results. Diplomatic missions by both ECOWAS and US officials have made little headway in restoring civilian control in Niger. Consequently, the success of Algeria’s mediation efforts is uncertain.

Despite the challenges ahead, the involvement of Algeria as a mediator brings a new dimension to the ongoing discussions about Niger’s transition to civilian rule. The outcome of these efforts will play a crucial role in determining the future stability and governance of the country.

South Africa Faces Egg Shortage and Rising Prices Amid Avian Influenza Outbreak

In South Africa, concerns are mounting as the country grapples with a shortage of eggs and a surge in prices, prompting consumers to question the cause of this predicament. Many speculate that the avian influenza outbreak currently affecting the nation’s poultry industry may be to blame.

Reports indicate that certain retailers are experiencing limited supplies of chicken products, with some even issuing notifications urging customers to purchase no more than one pack of eggs due to the scarcity. One prominent retail store posted a notice stating, “Due to the national shortage of eggs supply, we need to limit you to 1 pack size. Rest assured, we will do everything possible to get you eggs.”

In response to the crisis, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has addressed the issue in a media statement, urging the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, to provide urgent assistance to farmers. The DA has specifically requested support in the procurement and registration of vaccines, as well as financial aid to help affected farmers rebuild their businesses.

Noko Masipa, the DA’s shadow Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development, expressed concern over the slow response from the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development, emphasizing that the situation poses a threat to food security and contributes to increased chicken prices, which disproportionately impact vulnerable families. The outbreak has also led to the suspension of chicken imports from South Africa by Namibia.

To address the crisis, the DA proposes several measures, including financial support for affected farmers, accurate reporting of bird deaths and financial losses, expedited procurement, testing, registration, and distribution of poultry vaccines within a 30-90 day timeframe, and the establishment of emergency funding packages in collaboration with the private sector.

Agricultural economist Paul Makube explained in an interview that the shortage of eggs is a result of the avian flu outbreak. When an outbreak occurs, the birds are depopulated, leading to an immediate halt in egg production. However, Makube reassured the public that there should not be a shortage of chicken and meat at the moment.

As news of the egg shortage and avian influenza outbreak spread, social media became a platform for South Africans to express their concerns. One user, Thinelihle Tootsmathela, wrote on X platform, “By the end of October, prices could reach R200. There is no chicken or egg production due to the Avian Flu. Chicken and egg prices are increasing.” Another user, Kgaogelo Mosetsa, commented on the government’s handling of the situation, stating, “This virus will wipe out the entire poultry industry. The truth is, our government leaders lack agricultural expertise, as they spent many years in exile while our white communities dedicated their lives to farming and agricultural studies.”

As South Africa grapples with the avian influenza outbreak, the shortage of eggs and the potential impact on the poultry industry remain pressing concerns. Swift containment measures, support for affected farmers, and effective vaccination strategies will be crucial in safeguarding the industry, preserving jobs, and ensuring a continued supply of affordable chicken to consumers.

Former Nigerian Oil Minister Faces Bribery Charges In London Court

A former Nigerian oil minister appeared in court in London on Monday charged with receiving bribes in the form of cash, luxury goods, flights on private jets and the use of high-end properties in Britain in return for awarding oil contracts.

Diezani Alison-Madueke was Nigeria’s minister for petroleum resources between 2010 and 2015, during the administration of former president Goodluck Jonathan.

Appearing at Westminster Magistrates Court, she spoke only to give her name, date of birth and address. She was not asked to formally enter a plea, although her lawyer Mark Bowen told the court she would be pleading not guilty.

She is the second high-profile Nigerian politician to face prosecution in Britain in recent years, following James Ibori, a former state governor who was convicted of fraud and money-laundering in 2012 and received a 13-year jail sentence.

Nigeria is Africa’s top oil producer but it suffers from systemic corruption in the political class which has hampered development and prevented its oil wealth from benefitting wider society.

Alison-Madueke was arrested in London in 2015, shortly after stepping down as minister, and was charged in August with six bribery offences. She has spent the past eight years on police bail, living in St John’s Wood, an expensive area of London.

The charges against her, read out in court, all related to events alleged to have taken place in London.

Prosecutor Andy Young said she was alleged to have accepted a wide range of advantages in cash and in kind from people who wanted to receive or continue to receive the award of oil contracts which he said were worth billions of dollars in total.

The advantages included a delivery of 100,000 pounds ($121,620) in cash, the payment of private school fees for her son, and the use and refurbishment of several luxurious properties in London and in the English countryside.

They also included the use of a Range Rover car, payment of bills for chauffeur-driven cars, furniture, and purchases from the upmarket London department store Harrods and from Vincenzo Caffarella, which sells Italian decorative arts and antiques.

District Judge Michael Snow granted Alison-Madueke bail but imposed terms including an 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, an electronic tag to be worn at all times and a 70,000-pound surety to be paid before she could leave the court building.

Her next court appearance will be at Southwark Crown Court, which deals with serious criminal cases, on Oct. 30.

Britain, Nigeria’s former colonial ruler, has long been a destination of choice for affluent members of the Nigerian political elite seeking to enjoy the benefits of their wealth.

London is a global money-laundering hub but it remains rare for public figures like Alison-Madueke to face prosecution for corruption-related offences.

($1 = 0.8222 pounds)

Ugandan Court Moves Toward Hearing Challenge To Anti-gay Law

Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act, which was signed into law by President Yoweri Museveni in May, is one of the world’s harshest anti-gay laws and punishes some same-sex acts with the death penalty. Lawyers in the case met before the court registrar and agreed to reconvene on Oct. 12, when the matter will be forwarded to the court’s judges to set a hearing date, according to Nicholas Opiyo, an attorney for the organizations contesting the law. At least six people have been charged under the law so far, and rights groups said last week they had documented hundreds of cases of torture, evictions, and intimidation against LGBTQ people this year.

The Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023 violates multiple fundamental rights guaranteed under Uganda’s constitution and breaks commitments made by the government as a signatory to a number of international human rights agreements. Uganda’s penal code already punishes same-sex conduct with life imprisonment, but the new law creates new crimes such as the vaguely worded “promotion of homosexuality” and introduces the death penalty for several acts considered as “aggravated homosexuality.” It also increases the prison sentence for attempted same-sex conduct to 10 years. Museveni’s signing of the anti-homosexuality bill is a serious blow to multiple fundamental rights, including the rights to freedom of expression and association, privacy, and equality.

The LGBTQ+ community in Uganda has been facing persecution and discrimination for years, and the Anti-Homosexuality Act has only made things worse. The law has been widely condemned by human rights organizations and governments around the world, and many have called for its repeal. The case against the law is ongoing, and it remains to be seen what the outcome will be

Nobel Laureate Dr. Denis Mukwege Announces Candidacy for Presidency in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Nobel laureate Dr. Denis Mukwege has announced his candidacy for the presidency of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mukwege, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in for his work fighting sexual violence, made the announcement to a jubilant crowd of supporters at a conference center in the capital Kinshasa. Nicknamed the “man who repairs women,” the-year-old doctor has treated hundreds of war rape victims at the Panzi Hospital he founded in conflict-ridden east Congo in .

Mukwege will be running against President Felix Tshisekedi, whose first term was mired by economic hardship, epidemics, and worsening insecurity in the east, where the M23 rebel group launched a major offensive last year. Opposition leader Martin Fayulu, who came second to Tshisekedi in the last vote in , has also announced his candidacy.

Mukwege’s work has been dangerous, and in , he and his family were held at gunpoint and threatened with death by armed men in his home. Despite the risks, he has continued to advocate for women’s rights and has become one of the world’s leading experts on the treatment of internal injuries suffered by women subjected to gang rape. His hospital has so far treated more than 50,000 survivors of sexual violence.

If elected, Mukwege would face significant challenges in addressing the country’s ongoing conflicts and humanitarian crises. The DRC has been plagued by violence and instability for decades, with numerous armed groups operating in the east of the country. The COVID-19 pandemic has also hit the country hard, with a surge in cases in recent months.

Mukwege’s candidacy has been met with enthusiasm by many, who see him as a symbol of hope and change in a country that has long been plagued by violence and corruption. However, he will face significant obstacles in his bid for the presidency, including opposition from powerful political and military figures.

President Ruto Reveals Foreign Digital Companies Eyeing 300,000 Job Opportunities for Kenyan Youth

President William Ruto has announced that several foreign digital companies have expressed keen interest in hiring around 300,000 employees for the digital industry in Kenya. Speaking during a church service in Nairobi’s Langata area, President Ruto highlighted that the government has successfully facilitated employment opportunities for Kenyan citizens in renowned companies like Google, Intel, and Apple.

“We have been engaged in negotiations with multiple companies. During my visit to the United States, I had the opportunity to tour Google, Intel, and Apple, and they have shown active interest in recruiting young Kenyans for the digital sector,” stated President Ruto.

The President emphasized that the government is currently working on establishing Information, Communication, and Technology (ICT) hubs in every ward across the country. These hubs will provide training to young Kenyans, equipping them with the necessary skills required for employment opportunities overseas.

“We are fully committed to constructing ICT hubs in every ward throughout Kenya, equipped with computers and essential facilities. Our aim is to facilitate employment for 300,400, or even up to 500 young individuals in the digital sector,” added President Ruto.

In a bid to enhance digital opportunities for the nation’s youth, the Ministry of ICT has recently initiated the provision of free Wi-Fi hotspots. This move aims to increase internet access and connectivity, enabling young Kenyans to explore digital platforms and harness their skills in the digital industry.

The government’s efforts to secure job opportunities in the digital sector and establish ICT hubs reflect a commitment to empowering the youth and leveraging digital technologies to drive economic growth in Kenya. With the support of foreign digital companies and the implementation of initiatives like free Wi-Fi hotspots, the nation’s youth are poised to tap into the vast potential of the digital economy and contribute to Kenya’s overall development.

Tunisia Rejects EU Aid Offer, Citing Conflict with July Agreement

Tunisia’s President Kais Saied has rejected the European Union’s (EU) recent offer of 127 million euros ($133 million) in aid, stating that it conflicts with the memorandum of understanding signed in July. This move has the potential to jeopardize the “strategic partnership” between Tunisia and the EU, which includes measures to combat human trafficking and strengthen border controls—an agreement that was reached during a period of increased migration from North Africa to Europe.

The European Commission’s decision to disburse the aid was aimed at supporting Tunisia’s efforts to combat illegal immigration from Africa to Europe. However, President Saied expressed Tunisia’s rejection of the offer, not due to the amount itself, but due to the potential conflicts with the previous July agreement. The July deal entailed a commitment of 1 billion euros in aid to Tunisia, encompassing economic support, financial recovery, and addressing the migration crisis.

The recent offer of a smaller amount from Europe has frustrated Tunisian authorities, as they grapple with the challenges of improving public finances. It has also raised concerns among credit rating agencies about Tunisia’s ability to meet its foreign debt obligations in the coming months.

The disagreement between Tunisia and the EU comes at a time when record numbers of migrants from Tunisia and North Africa have been arriving on Italy’s island of Lampedusa. This migration surge further underscores the urgency of finding effective solutions to address the root causes of migration and enhance cooperation between the involved parties.

Tunisia’s response to the migration agreement has included postponing a visit by a European Commission delegation that was intended to discuss the specifics of the agreement. Additionally, Tunisia recently denied entry to five members of the European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee, who sought to hold meetings on Tunisia’s political situation, citing concerns of interference in its internal affairs.

It is worth noting that some European countries, including Germany, have expressed opposition to the migration deal. Critics argue that the agreement fails to adequately address human rights concerns and the political situation in Tunisia following President Saied’s assumption of power, the closure of the Tunisian parliament, and the governance by decree—a move that the opposition has labeled as a coup.

The ongoing dispute between Tunisia and the EU highlights the complex challenges associated with managing migration and fostering cooperation between nations. As both parties navigate their respective priorities and concerns, it remains crucial to strike a balance that ensures the protection of human rights, addresses the root causes of migration, and promotes stability and prosperity for the people of Tunisia and the wider region.

Rwandan High Commissioner in London Criticizes UK’s Human Rights Record and Migration Policies

In a recent development that has caused embarrassment for the British government, the high commissioner of Rwanda in London, Johnston Busingye, was secretly filmed criticizing the United Kingdom’s historic human rights record and expressing disagreement with its hardline interior minister’s stance on migration.

Johnston Busingye, a former Rwandan justice minister who now serves as Rwanda’s top diplomat in Britain, was covertly recorded by the campaign group Led By Donkeys, where he denounced London’s centuries-old human rights abuses while downplaying concerns about his own country’s contemporary record.

The UK government had entered into an “asylum partnership arrangement” with Rwanda, aiming to resettle thousands of migrants who regularly arrive in southeast England on small boats from northern France to the East African nation. However, this plan has faced widespread criticism from rights groups and others and is currently facing legal challenges in UK courts.

Interior Minister Suella Braverman has been at the center of controversy over migration, with her recent questioning of the suitability of the United Nations Refugee Convention for the modern age. Busingye, in the undercover recording, expressed his disagreement with the British government’s stance on migrants, stating that they were “absolutely wrong.” He emphasized the need for a long-term policy that would provide alternatives for people to avoid risking their lives in their attempts to reach the UK, highlighting that migrants were driven by hopelessness and a lack of future prospects.

Busingye further criticized Britain’s historical imperial legacy, stating that it was immoral for the country to perceive itself as a refuge, protection, and compassion provider while disregarding its history of enslaving millions of people for 400 years and causing devastation in India, China, and Africa.

The British government, including Suella Braverman, has repeatedly asserted that Rwanda is one of the safest countries in the world to send asylum-seekers and refugees, despite evidence of ongoing rights abuses in the country. In the covertly filmed conversation, Busingye appeared to dismiss concerns about previous incidents involving the killing of refugees in Rwanda casually.

The revelations from the covert recording have further intensified the scrutiny and debate surrounding the UK government’s migration policies and its relationship with Rwanda. Critics argue that the focus should be on addressing the root causes of migration and creating sustainable solutions, rather than relying on partnerships that raise concerns about human rights and accountability.