What’s Going On: Angola Opposition rejects election results, Tigray Soldiers loot from WFP & More
Notable headlines from across the continent
Notable headlines from across the continent
“What’s Going On” Tallies Notable News Headlines From Across The Continent — The Good, The Bad, And The Horrible — As A Way Of Ensuring That We All Become A More Sagacious African Generation. With This Column, We’re Hoping To Disseminate The Latest Happenings In Our Socio-Political Climate From Across The Continent, Whilst Starting A Conversation About What’s Important For Us To All Discuss. From Political Affairs To Socio-Economic Issues, ‘What’s Going On’ Will Discuss Just That.
Last Thursday, four journalists from Zimbabwe were injured by suspected followers of the country’s ruling party ZANU-PF. The journalists were covering the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) campaign rally headed by its leader Nelson Chamisa in central Zimbabwe. The CCC party has been attacked twice in less than a week, and the party officials blame ZANU-PF. The four journalists were injured as they filmed the ZANU-PF convoy in hot pursuit of Nelson Chamisa’s motorcade.
10 suspected Zanu-PF supporters who donned ruling party regalia punched and kicked the journalists, the reporters were ordered to delete photos and videos before their equipment was seized. According to witnesses, the Zanu-PF vehicles attempted to block Nelson Chasima’s car from entering Chitekete as it was the campaign rally venue. CCC was formed early this year and went on to win the majority of parliamentary and local government by-elections held on March 26th forming the opposition party.
As the country gears up for elections in 2023, more campaign rallies are being held. Emmerson Mnangagwa has been the president of Zimbabwe since 2017 after he carried out a coup in November. In 2018, he beat Nelson Chamisa who was vying for the presidency after a delayed announcement from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. The delay resulted in street protests in central Harare which authorities controlled by firing live bullets at the protesters, killing six and injuring others. ZANU-PF has been the ruling party since 1980 after the late Robert Mugabe led the country to independence and assumed presidential leadership. Emmerson Mnangagwa took over from Mugabe. Many citizens believe the 2018 elections were rigged and Chasima should be in power.
The committee to protect journalists denounced the attack castigating the crackdown on journalists as Zimbabwe’s human rights record has been in the spotlight recently. This is after two opposition leaders, Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole were arrested on charges of inciting public violence and have stayed in jail more than two months after their arrest.
On Wednesday morning, a group of armed men entered WFP’s compound in Mekelle and forcibly seized 12 tankers filled with over half a million liters of fuel. The fuel had recently been purchased by WFP and arrived just days before it was stolen. The WFP director David Beasley issued a statement condemning the act which occurred as fighting has resumed between Ethiopian forces and separatists following a five-month humanitarian truce.
The Ethiopian government and the Tigray soldiers have been at loggerheads since 2020, leaving many displaced and hundreds dead. According to the WFP, the theft will impact humanitarian processes as it is now impossible to distribute food, fertilizer, medicines, and other emergency supplies across Tigray, as an estimated 5.2 million people are at risk of starving to death before the next harvest in October. Ethiopia’s government has joined the World Food Program in condemning Tigrayan forces. The government demanded in a statement that the fuel be returned and the international humanitarian community take action against the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front
The Tigrayan soldiers released a statement claiming they did not steal but instead said it was taking back 600,000 litres of fuel it had loaned to the WFP a few months ago.
Libya’s Ministry Of Health confirmed at least 32 people are dead and 159 injured after a clash between Libyan militias in Tripoli. The attack ended Tripoli’s one month of calmness and the Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah stressed the need for elections. The national elections which were scheduled for 2021 as part of a UN-sponsored peace process were abandoned amid disputes about rules governing the vote.
Throughout Saturday, intense fighting erupted in Tripoli as rival factions engaged in the intense crossfire. Dozens of buildings were destroyed and several cars were smashed and burned. Forces aligned with the parliament-backed administration of Fathi Bashagha failed to take control of the capital and oust the Tripoli-based government of the country’s interim Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Ddeibah.
The UN-backed government of National Unity (GNU) led by Abdul Hamid condemned the act calling the Libyan parties to forget all issues of the past as the only solution is elections. The attack on Saturday was instigated by Fathi Bashagha who has been trying to install his government in Tripoli. Fathi Bashagha was elected as the prime minister by the Libyan government in early 2022 but Abdul Hamid rejected the appointment stating he will only hand over power through an election warning that his dismissal would lead the country back to “division and chaos.”
The main opposition party in Angola, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), has rejected the provisional results of the national electoral commission. UNITA claims the process was full of counting irregularities. The elections which were won by the ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) will maintain its nearly half-century in power by a slim majority.
According to Adalberto Costa Junior, UNITA leader, the victory by MPLA is misguided and henceforth they will not recognize the results. He vowed to challenge the results as MPLA is set to extend its reign for another five years, giving it a total of 52 years in power. Incumbent president Joao Lourenco won for the second time after garnering 51% of the votes with more than 97% of the votes tallied.
The opposition UNITA say they are doing their own tallying and are preparing to share their results. MPLA’s popularity in the election had dropped as they lost the votes in the country’s capital Luanda with more than 60% of the voters casting ballots in favor of UNITA The two parties have been rivals since the country gained independence from Portugal in 1975 as the two sides fought a civil war for more than 25 years, where hundreds of thousands died.
Critics of MPLA say it has failed to deliver on its promises to fight corruption and uplift people from poverty. Meanwhile, there has been a quieter reaction from MPLA after Joao Lourenco failed to show up for a press statement on Friday. The party stated the only official results were from the national electoral commission, which attribute 51 percent to the MPLA and 44 percent to UNITA.
Featured image credits/WSJ