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Conflicts, coups, drought dominate Africa in 2022

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NAIROBI, KENYA: Supporters of presidential candidate Raila Odinga protest the election results at Kibera district after Kenya’s electoral commission announced Samoei Ruto as the fifth president of the East African nation, in Nairobi, Kenya on August 15, 2022. (Stringer - Anadolu Agency)
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Jan 02, 2023 - 12:40 AM

JOHANNESBURG (AA) – Conflicts and military coups continued to haunt the African continent in 2022.

But there were some accomplishments by several countries aimed at strengthening democracy on the continent.

On Jan 24, military leaders in Burkina Faso ousted President Roch Marc Christian Kabore and replaced him with Lieut. Col. Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba.

The 41-year-old soldier trained by the US and France dissolved the government and suspended the Constitution. Damiba promised disgruntled citizens he would pursue the militants who have been destabilizing the country.

Hundreds of people dissatisfied with Kabore’s leadership quickly celebrated his ouster in the national capital of Ouagadougou. The security situation did not change and celebrations were short-lived as Burkina Faso experienced a second coup on Sept 30 — led by Army Capt. Ibrahim Traore.

Ethiopia, Tigray rebels sign truce

After two years of conflict that claimed thousands of lives, the Ethiopian government and Tigray rebels agreed to a cease-fire that was reached on Nov. 2 in the South African capital of Pretoria.

The parties agreed to the restoration of law and order, the return of basic services in Tigray, and unimpeded humanitarian access to all in need.

The truce was mediated by the African Union which hailed the parties for stopping the conflict which had displaced millions of Ethiopians.

Several basic services, including communication and transport, had been cut off in Ethiopia’s northernmost region of Tigray, but the government said this week that most services have been restored, including flights.

Drought affects millions in Horn of Africa region

Millions across the Horn of Africa region continued to face the worst in four decades, according to the Un.

Countries, including Somalia, Ethiopia, and parts of Kenya, missed the fourth consecutive rain season leading to the deaths of thousands of livestock, a source of livelihood in the region.

The UN Children’s agency, UNICEF, said this week that around 20.2 million children are under the threat of severe hunger, thirst, and disease — compared to 10 million in July as climate change, conflict, global inflation, and grain shortages devastate the region.

The agency said nearly 2 million children in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia are estimated to need urgent treatment for severe acute malnutrition, the deadliest form of hunger.

More than 700 children have already died in stabilization centers and medical facilities in Somalia due to drought-related illnesses and severe malnutrition.

The drought has internally displaced over 2 million people and driven approximately 2.7 million children out of school, with an additional 4 million at risk of dropping out.

Somalia, which faces the threat of the al-Shabaab terror group, is the worst drought-affected country in the region.

Terrorism, conflicts continue

The al-Qaeda-affiliated terror group al-Shabaab, which has been fighting the government in Somalia for years, continued to wreak havoc in the country. They continued to plant explosives on streets and cars that have killed hundreds and maimed dozens.

Terror groups also continued to operate in northern Nigeria, in the Sahel region, and in northern Mozambique, inflicting pain on communities.

Meanwhile, in March, a gang in Nigeria attacked a passenger train and took several passengers hostage, demanding ransom. Kidnapping for ransom has become common in Nigeria.

In the Great Lakes region, thousands continued to flee their homes in the eastern Congo (DRC) following renewed clashes between M23 rebels and the Congolese army. The DRC accuses Rwanda of supporting the rebels, which Kigali denies.

South Africa’s president survives impeachment

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa survived an opposition motion to start an impeachment process earlier this month after an independent panel found he may have violated the Constitution.

An independent panel led by former Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo released a report in November that found Ramaphosa guilty of not reporting the theft of $ 580,000 at his private farm in the Limpopo province in 2020.

Lawmakers debated the report in parliament but when it came to voting, Ramaphosa won using his ruling African National Congress’s (ANC) majority in the House.

A week later, Ramaphosa, 70, was reelected to a second term as leader of the ANC.

Kenya Supreme Court confirms Ruto’s election win

Kenya’s Supreme Court in September upheld William Ruto’s win in the Aug. 9 presidential election, dismissing nine petitions seeking to nullify the result.

The head of Kenya’s Electoral Commission, Wafula Chebukati, declared Ruto the winner with 50.5% of the vote to 48.8% for his rival, Raila Odinga.

But Odinga and others approached the court alleging massive fraud, but the court said Ruto had been properly elected.

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