Moscow's African fans

Russia-Africa: From Kemi Seba to Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla, the continent’s pro-Putin ‘influencers’

By Jeune Afrique

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Posted on April 7, 2022 06:03

Many African political and media figures are taking advantage of the war in Ukraine and Russia’s growing engagement on the continent to revive the anti-French and decolonialisation movements. Considered a disinformation expert, oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, a member of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle and financier of the Wagner paramilitary network, is in the front line of the battle for hearts and minds in Africa.

He relies on associations such as the Association for Free Research and International Cooperation (AFRIC), led from Maputo by the Mozambican academic trained in psychology José Matemulane, to relay his messages. Chaired by Yulia Afanasieva, one of Prigozhin’s associates, this structure is linked to the Russian businessman’s network and allows him to carry out his media campaigns in Africa.

AFRIC maintains close links with several pan-Africanist websites, including Radio Révolution Panafricaine and Afrique Média TV, to convey pro-Russian and anti-French messages. Based in Cameroon, the latter channel belongs to the Afrique Média press group, headed by Justin B. Tagouh – who has been to Sochi twice and claims to have met Putin.

Cameroon’s Banda Kani, president of the Nouveau Mouvement Populaire party, openly defends virulent pro-Kremlin positions in the Ukrainian conflict, describing the

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