Media Review for May 11, 2012

By Africa Center Media Review
Updated: 05/11/2012

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

Mali coup leader who stood aside now wants power back
The officer who led a military coup in Mali in March wants to take back power when the term of a caretaker president, appointed under an agreement brokered by regional mediators, runs out later this month, aides said. The military nominally handed over power last month to Dioncounda Traore. Regional bloc ECOWAS, Mali’s foreign donors and many political parties want him to stay in office to oversee a transition back to civilian rule even after his 40-day mandate expires on May 21. DefenceWeb

Algeria’s parliamentary elections run smoothly: EU monitors
The head of EU electoral monitor mission in Algeria, Jose Ignacio Salafranca, said Thursday the country’s parliamentary elections have been running smoothly so far. “Everything is running normally and peacefully, for the moment, ” Salafranca told reporters this morning after visiting some polling stations in the capital Algiers. Xinhua

France’s New President: Foreign Policy and Where North Africa Stands
The North Africa Journal | President-elect François Hollande of France has his work cut out on the foreign policy front. His predecessor is leaving office with a sense of missed achievements and a series of policies blunders that need urgent fixing. In a five-year period, Sarkozy failed to leverage appropriately and responsibly his country’s global leadership position as a major economic and military power. That started with his failure to impose a more assertive France on the burning issues of the Euro-zone and the serious topic of the future of Europe. The North Africa Journal

Dissident Congo Colonel Says His Men Won’t Disarm
A group of Congolese soldiers who created a rebel group after defecting from the army have no intention of laying down their weapons despite an ultimatum from the government and the expiration of a cease-fire with the military, one of their leaders said Thursday. AP on ABC News

Rwanda on alert: DRC violence could help Interahamwe rebels to regroup
The recent violent clashes between forces loyal to rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda and the Congolese army in the Eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo could help the Rwandan rebels of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda to regroup. The Rwandan army is now pushing for dialogue between the two parties after holding talks with top Congolese military officials last week. The East African

Guinea security forces clash with protesters
At least 41 people have been injured in clashes in Guinea between police and opposition protesters demanding long-delayed parliamentary elections. A total of 24 protesters were hurt in Thursday’s riots, including one in a serious condition after being shot, hospital sources said, while 17 police officers were injured by missiles, according to local television reports. Al Jazeera

In 2 Sudans, Familiarity With Path to War
The United States, the African Union and the United Nations have pushed both sides to stop fighting, saying the last thing this region needs is another major conflict. Sudan and South Sudan have agreed in principle in recent days to return to the negotiating table, though officials from the South say Sudan has continued to bomb areas along the border. Most South Sudanese, including top officials, are now convinced that more fighting is not a question of if, but when. “Khartoum will definitely be attacking us,” said South Sudan’s vice president, Riek Machar, who is leading the nationwide mobilization effort. “This is our history, this is our inbuilt way of coping with problems.” The New York Times

Sudan President Warns South Sudan His Forces Will ‘Chop Off Any Hand’ Trying To Take Land
Sudan’s president vowed revenge for any attacks by South Sudan against the north’s territory, saying Thursday his forces will “chop off any hand” trying to take Sudanese land. Omar al-Bashir also claimed his soldiers killed more than 1,300 South Sudanese troops during the 10-day fighting last month over the oil-rich border town of Heglig, which the south briefly captured. Heglig is claimed by the north and has since been reoccupied by Sudan. AP on The Huffington Post

Pirates seize Greek-owned tanker off Oman
Pirates have hijacked a Greek-owned oil tanker carrying 135,000 metric tonnes of crude oil while in the Arabian Sea, the first successful attack on an oil tanker off the Horn of Africa in more than a year. The vessel’s manager, Dynacom Tankers Management, said it had lost contact with the crew of the MT Smyrni, a Suezmax-class tanker, following the attack off Oman at 1115 GMT on Thursday. Reuters

Somalia set to unify anti-militant forces
The high-powered Joint Security Committee for Somalia Wednesday backed a plan to unify pro-government forces fighting the militant Al- Shabaab and Al-Qaeda extremist groups. The team, comprising representatives from the United Nations, African Union, Intergovernmental Agency on Development (Igad), United States and the United Kingdom, agreed that the forces would now all operate under the command of the Defence ministry. Africa Review

In Somalia, The Show Must Go On
In Mogadishu, artists have been forced to work underground for the past 21 years. Now as the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab warlords lose their grip on the city, Somalian culture rises from its ashes, as symbolized by the reopening of the once bombed Mogadishu National Theater. Worldcrunch – Die Welt

Ethiopia: Development over democracy
International financial institutions rank Ethiopia as one of the fastest growing economies but debates rage over its political strategy and regional role. Africa Confidential

Ethiopia’s Meles Blames African Corruption on Foreign Investors
What is the poison that corrupts many African leaders, no matter how honorable their intentions when they take office? That was the question put to a panel of that included heads of state and government at the World Economic Forum on Africa on Thursday. The question received a surprisingly candid answer. VOA

South Africa troubled by corrupt cops
More than 630 police officers were arrested in South Africa’s Gauteng province in 2011, mainly on charges of fraud and corruption, but also for rape and murder, according to the latest statistics. “It’s good news,” said Lieutenant-General Mzwandile Petros, police commissioner of Gauteng, the province that includes the cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria, in describing the arrests. “If there is one thing the people of this province are sick of, it’s corruption in the police,” he told reporters. Globalpost

Presidential front-runners face off in historic TV debate
The two front-runners among Egypt’s 13 presidential candidates, Amr Moussa (right) and Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh (left), discussed their pasts, Islamic law and relations with Israel in a heated TV debate on Wednesday ahead of May 22-23 elections. France 24

Thousands remain in secret Libya militia prisons: UN
About 4,000 people are still being held in militia detention centres in Libya, often in secret and many are tortured, a UN envoy said. Times Live

Libya heavy weapons seized by Egypt
An Egyptian police official says security forces have confiscated dozens of heavy weapons seized from smugglers near the Libyan border. The official says the weapons include 40 surface-to-surface missiles, 17 rocket-propelled grenade launchers, mortar rounds, automatic rifles and around 10 000 artillery shells. News 24

Libya’s transitional council faces difficult path ahead
Libya’s first national democratic elections are scheduled to take place in June. But the ruling transitional council is hardly functional and the country faces a number of major problems. Deutsche Welle

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi ‘gave direct orders for Libyan opponents to be killed’
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi gave direct orders for opponents in the country’s east who had rebelled against the regime to be killed, taped telephone calls have revealed. The Telegraph

China and Angola A Marriage of Convenience?
There has been an explosion of attention on China’s interests and activities in Africa and on the wide spectrum of Chinese actors involved in countries across the continent, but the terms and implications of the China-Angola partnership remain unclear. This book focuses on the increased co-operation between Angola and China and shows that although relations with China might have bolstered regime stability and boosted the international standing of the Angolan government, China is not regarded as a long term strategic partner. Pambazuka Books

Zambia’s President Accuses Foreign Diplomats of Meddling
Zambian President Michael Sata has warned foreign diplomats against meddling in Zambia’s internal affairs. The warning came after opposition leaders reportedly met with European Union officials in Lusaka over the government’s suspension of three judges. Information Minister Fackson Shamenda said President Sata was simply reminding the diplomats to follow protocol, including informing Zambia’s foreign minister before meeting with Zambian opposition or NGOs. VOA

Malawi: Dream fades for inland port project
[...] For former President Bingu wa Mutharika, the construction of an inland port at Nsanje meant linking land-locked Malawi with the Indian Ocean port of Chinde, 238 kilometres away in neighbouring Mozambique, through the Shire-Zambezi Waterway project. The aim was to reduce the high costs of importing and exporting goods by road via Malawi’s commercial capital, Blantyre and the Mozambican port city of Beria – a round trip of about 1,200 kilometres. But Mutharika’s enthusiasm for the project was not matched by his counterpart in Mozambique. IRIN

The collapse of the Euro; the Fall of the CFA
The euro zone continues to falter as uncertainty surrounding the fiscal actions of Greece and Italy, skyrocketing unemployment figures and living costs lead to ever gloomier predictions. Conversely, most African economies are increasingly recording impressive growth rates in GDP and in other yardsticks. One sore point of convergence in the Euro-Africa recession and growth dichotomy, however, is the Franc Zone. That is, those former French colonies still under the economic protection of France as evidenced by their use of the CFA franc as a unifying currency. While the rest of sub-Saharan African countries have in recent times recorded between 5 – 11 per cent growth rates, the CFA franc zone has lagged behind at 2 – 3 per cent and even less. Pambazuka News

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