CW 15/2023: Ice Age
Press Review 7 April 2023 to 14 April 2023

Germany expels Chadian Ambassador

On Tuesday, the German Federal Foreign Office announced the expulsion of Chadian Ambassador Mariam Ali Moussa, who has been in charge of the Chadian Embassy in Berlin since 2018. This is the reaction of the German government and the Foreign Office to the expulsion of the German ambassador in Chad, Jan-Christian Gordon Kricke, who was declared persona non grata by the military government in N’Djamena on Good Friday and had to leave the Central African country within 48 hours. The Chadian government did not give any detailed reasons for this; it solely accused him of being impolite and of not respecting diplomatic customs. According to media reports, the German diplomat, who took up his post in Chad in 2021 and was previously head of the Sahel working group at the Federal Foreign Office, was expelled because of his ongoing criticism of the Chadian government led by President Mahamat Idriss Déby. Kricke had repeatedly called for the observance of human rights and insisted that the ruling military junta keep its promise to hold elections, which the junta regarded as interference in internal affairs. The German ambassador had already been called in several times and had recently been threatened with expulsion. The Foreign Office reacted with incomprehension and emphasised in a statement the exemplary work Kricke had done in Chad. Protests broke out in the Central African country in October 2022 after the military junta announced that it would extend the transition process to civilian rule for another 24 months (Press Review CW 41/2022). The German embassy as well as the representations of European countries and the EU had called for the observance of human rights after the violent suppression of the demonstrations. The head of the military junta, Mahamat Idriss Déby, seized power in April 2021 after the death of his father and long-term ruler Idriss Déby and announced at that time that elections would be held after 18 months (Press Review Week 16/2021).

Delay in transition to civilian rule in Sudan

In Sudan, the transition to civilian rule has been delayed. The signing of the relevant agreement and the transitional constitution planned for 11 April, the planned formation of a transitional authority as well as the appointment of a new prime minister, which had been announced only three weeks ago, failed (Press Review week 12/2023). A new date for the signing has not yet been announced. According to the largest pro-democracy group in Sudan, Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC-CC), the main reason for this is the disagreement between the Sudanese military chief and de facto head of state Abdel-Fattah Burhan and the deputy Sudanese head of state and commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) Mohammed Hamdan Daglo. The biggest point of contention is the integration of the RSF into the military. While there is consensus in general on the integration of the RSF, there are different views on the timetable. The RSF is calling for a transition period of 10 years, arguing that this is the only way to ensure optimal training of officers before integration. The military, on the other hand, is pushing for the transition phase to be completed in two years. In addition, the RSF demands a restructuring of the army as well as internal reforms. These include, for example, the demand that the joint command be chaired in future by the civilian head of state instead of the commander-in-chief of the army. Reactions to the failed agreement came from the US, among others. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, addressing General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, emphasised US support for Sudan’s democratic aspirations through the transition to civilian rule and urged that this be implemented as soon as possible. Already during the negotiations, protests erupted in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, led by the pro-democracy Resistance Committees. The demonstrators and other political actors in Sudan reject the agreement with the military leadership and feel excluded from the planned agreement.

In other news

The winner of this year’s edition of the Challenge App Afrique RFI – France 24 is Rabeb Fersi from Tunisia, as announced earlier this week in a special broadcast by RFI in cooperation with France 24. Her app, Crop’s Talk, aims to increase the productivity of smallholder farmers and improve their resilience to climate change. For the implementation of her project, she will now receive a grant of €15,000 from the competition’s sponsors, Digital Africa, CIRAD, IRD, AIMS, 10,000 Coders and Fanaka & Co. This is the seventh edition of the competition organised by the French media company France Médias Monde. This year it awards innovative digital solutions for sustainable agriculture. Young entrepreneurs from the entire African continent were invited to apply.

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