Media Review for April 26, 2012

By Africa Center Media Review
Updated: 04/26/2012

Please note: The following news items are presented here for informational purposes. The views expressed within them are those of the authors and/or individuals quoted, not those of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, the National Defense University, or the Department of Defense.

Today’s News

U.S. Policy to Counter the Lord’s Resistance Army
The Honorable Donald Yamamoto, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, U.S. Department of State – The Honorable Earl Gast Assistant Administrator for Africa, U.S. Agency for International Development – Ms. Amanda Dory, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Department of Defense. U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Subcommittee on African Affairs

Ugandans Pelt ‘KONY 2012′ Leaders With Rocks, But White House Door Is Open
The apparent disconnect between Invisible Children’s White House-enabled public relations push and on-the-ground sentiment of Ugandans whose needs IC purports to champion can be in part explained by a little-known fact — Invisible Children is a ministry, tied closely to the evangelical right, which launched its KONY 2012 campaign with a February 23, 2012 rally at the giant Mt. Soledad Cross overlooking San Diego. The Huffington Post

Questions swirl around hunt for Kony
The hunt for alleged Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony is heating up on international radars, but foot soldiers who have spent years searching for the man are starting to ask a question their top commanders prefer to ignore: Is it possible he is dead? Mail and Guardian

The Ghosts of Africa’s Military Past
[...] There was a time on the African continent when coup d’états were hard to judge, ethically and morally. While countries like Nigeria witnessed several military coups without much improvements in subsequent political leadership, others like Ghana, were put on the path of democracy by military leaders. The years immediately following most African independence chronicled the overthrow of freedom fighters turned dictators and their replacement with colonels and brigadiers, some of whom pursued their own dictatorships, while others conducted façade referenda to accentuate their so-called civilian leadership. Policymic

West Africa bloc to send troops to coup-hit Bissau: sources
West African regional bloc ECOWAS plans to send more than 600 troops to Guinea-Bissau in coming days to protect institutions and political figures after a military coup there, a senior ECOWAS source and another informed official said on Wednesday. Reuters

Taylor faces verdict in ‘blood diamond’ trial
Liberian ex-president Charles Taylor is set to hear a historic verdict on charges of arming Sierra Leone’s rebels in return for “blood diamonds” in the 1990s. The decision on Thursday will be the first ever judgement against a former head of state by an international court. Taylor is on trial at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague, Netherlands. He is charged with 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Al Jazeera

Charles Taylor Trial: Awaiting Justice and Reconciliation in Liberia
[...] Taylor, once a charismatic and powerful leader, enjoys a significant amount of support in Liberia nearly a decade after he was compelled to step down, despite the fact that many also regard him as a war criminal. It is unclear how his supporters will respond to the verdict. In Taylor’s former stronghold of Gbarnga, the former capital of the makeshift state he carved out and ruled over, known as Greater Liberia, many Liberians hope that Taylor will be found not guilty and will return to Liberia. Think Africa Press

Uganda: powerful party of longtime president opposes bid to restore term limits
A bid to limit the tenure of Uganda’s longtime president looks set to fail, Ugandan politicians said Wednesday, as ruling party officials argue he needs more time than the 26 years he has already served. But critics and opposition politicians say the ruling party’s reluctance to limit President Yoweri Museveni to two more terms is a sign he is interested in ruling for life. Museveni originally seized power in the East African nation in 1986. His term ends in 2016. The Washington Post

The Heart of the Matter in the Worsening Relations between the Sudans
As Antonovs from bases in Sudan continue to miss their targets amidst the ear-splitting sounds of AK47s in parts of the disputed border areas between Sudan and South Sudan, it is perhaps only the careful choice of words that prevents this from being called a new war between the two Sudans. ISS

China non-committal on financing South Sudan pipeline as Kiir cuts short his visit
The South Sudanese president Salva Kiir unexpectedly cut short his five-day visit to China as the latter showed reluctance to give green light for Juba’s request that Beijing finance an alternative oil pipeline. Sudan Tribune

Detentions display UN’s impotence in Ethiopia
Ethiopia’s government has held one United Nations employee in jail without charges for well over a year, while another is facing prosecution under a notorious anti-terrorism law. CS Monitor

Mali’s interim prime minister forms government
Mali’s interim prime minister Cheick Modibo Diarra on Wednesday formed a 24-member government, including three military representatives seen as close to the outgoing military junta. The interim government’s main task will be to resolve the crisis in the north of the country, which has been seized by Tuareg and Islamist rebels. Times Live

Mali – Barely Surviving As One Country Let Alone Two
[...]Tabisou is one of nearly 270,000 refugees who have had to flee their homes since January, when conflict erupted in northern Mali. That had begun after hundreds of Tuareg mercenaries, formerly hired by slain Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to fight alongside him, returned to Mali after he was toppled with heavy weapons to restart their own five-decade-old rebellion. The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) claims to fight against the marginalisation and oppression of the Tuareg people in northern Mali. The Tuareg are a Berber people of the desert and traditionally are nomadic and have long complained that the Malian government has marginalised them. IPS

Congo Security Sector Reform Urgently Needed, Report Says
Five months after Congo’s contested presidential elections, civil society groups are calling on the Kabila government and the international community to address the country’s catastrophic security situation. “Despite nearly a decade since the end of the war, and billions of dollars in aid spent, the DRC [Democratic Republic of the Congo] remains in last place in the current UN Development Index. There are a number of reasons for Congo’s slow progress [...] yet underpinning these challenges is the problem of chronic insecurity,” said Ben Affleck, the actor and founder of the Eastern Congo Initiative, in a new video calling for urgent action. The Huffington Post

US Gives $120 Million More to Drought-Stricken Horn of Africa
The United States is providing an additional $120 million in aid to the Horn of Africa, where a lack of rain is again threatening food supplies. This is the second time this month the United States has announced major humanitarian aid to the Horn, following a $50-million contribution April 5. VOA

Tanzania: South African Navy in Joint Pirate Bust
The South African Navy played a key role in a major multi-national operation that saw 12 suspected pirates captured and six Sri Lankan hostages rescued off the coast of Tanzania last week. Revealing the operation on Wednesday, the navy said a suspected pirate mother ship had coincidentally been spotted off the Tanzanian coast during a search the previous weekend for the South African yacht Dandelion. allAfrica

Nigeria bought massive corruption for cheap fuel: report
‎For the price of cheap gasoline, Nigeria paid billions of dollars into a corrupt government system of fuel subsidies that saw huge contracts awarded to shady companies without any oversight, according to a lawmakers’ report. Times Live

King Mswati III gets birthday jet
Swazi King Mswati III has received a jet for his 44th birthday, despite the tiny country’s crippling financial crisis, the prime minister said on state radio on Wednesday. Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini said the king now owns a McDonnell Douglas DC-9 twin-engine jet, but insisted the plane was a gift to be used by Mswati and his 13 wives. News 24

Mnangagwa admits army involvement in diamond trade
Zimbabwe’s Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa has confirmed fears of ongoing military involvement in the country’s diamond industry, which human rights campaigners have for years linked to abuses in the Chiadzwa diamonds fields. Mnangagwa reportedly told an audience at Midlands State University in Gweru that army deals were struck with diamond companies from China, Russia and other nations as part of efforts to counter Western targeted sanctions. He said the trade deals “to a large extent, stabilises industry and eliminates chances of internal economic sabotage.” SW Radio Africa

Using U.S. Dollars, Zimbabwe Finds a Problem: No Change
[...] Zimbabweans call it “the coin problem.” Simply put, the country hardly has any. Coins are heavy, making them expensive to ship here. But in a nation where millions of people live on a dollar or two a day, trying to get every transaction to add up to a whole dollar has proved a national headache. The New York Times

Rise of the ‘repats’: Africans shun crisis-hit West for jobs back home
For decades, many African countries saw some of their most skilful young people take their talents to other parts of the world, lured by the financial prospects outside the continent. But lately, as much of Europe continues to shrink under the weight of austerity, an increasing number of Africans are turning their backs on cash-strapped western economies to return to their continent, seeking jobs and new economic opportunities. CNN

How Not to Write About Africa
It’s hard out here for us old Africa hands. We are desperate to see more coverage of important stories from the continent and for our neighbors to become more educated about the places where we study and work. Yet when we get that coverage, it tends to make us cringe. Foreign Policy

In Southern China, A Thriving African Neighborhood
China and Africa have become major trading partners in recent years. Chinese companies have made a big push into Africa seeking raw materials like oil. And enterprising Africans now travel to China to buy cheap goods at the source and ship them home. Today, the city of Guangzhou, near Hong Kong, is home to some 10,000 Africans, the largest such community in China. The city’s Little Africa neighborhood is a world unto itself, with restaurants specializing in African food to money changers who deal in the Nigerian currency. But doing business in the city’s informal economy is full of risks. NPR

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