Media Review for May 21, 2012

By Africa Center Media Review
Updated: 05/21/2012

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

Obama’s $3 billion boost for Africa
The US president will also urge the world’s biggest economies to make good on their own financial promises. Mr Obama is due to unveil the food security initiative in a speech today in Washington that begins four days of international summitry. World leaders are gathering at Camp David, the presidential retreat in the Maryland mountains, later in the day for a summit of the Group of Eight leading industrial nations. Obama heads to Chicago on Saturday evening for NATO meetings. The Telegraph

U.S. Serves Up New Food Security Effort In Africa
The Obama administration is announcing a major new initiative to boost investments in rural Africa in hopes of lifting millions out of poverty. Several African leaders are in Washington, D.C., for the announcement, which comes as President Obama hosts leaders of the Group of Eight in Maryland. Food security is a key agenda item. NPR

Convicted Lockerbie Bomber Dies After Cancer Battle
A former Libyan intelligence officer convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing has died of cancer in Tripoli, nearly three years after Scottish authorities released him from prison on compassionate grounds. Abdel Baset al-Megrahi died at his home Sunday at the age of 60. He was the only man convicted of the Pan Am Flight 103 attack that destroyed a U.S. passenger jet over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, killing 270 people, 11 of them on the ground. VOA

The Passing of the Lockerbie Bomber: Have More Secrets Died in Libya?
[...] The rumpus over Megrahi’s release obscured another issue. Was he in fact innocent? Megrahi has protested his innocence from the start, intimating that he was the fall guy in a far bigger political drama (A codefendent, Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah was acquitted in the 2001 trial). The fathers of two British victims, who sat through the trial in the Netherlands, have told journalists, including TIME, that they believe Megrahi was innocent. “I came away 80 to 90% convinced that this man was not guilty,” John Mosey, whose 19-year-old daughter died aboard PanAm 103, told me in 2010. Time

U.S. Calls on Mali Junta to Withdraw from Politics
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson says Malian soldiers who overthrew the government on Mar. 22 have neither the right to remain in power nor the strength to deal with humanitarian and security challenges facing the West African country. IPS

US mulls Nigeria’s Boko Haram for terror watch list
The Nigerian militant group Boko Haram has killed more than 1,000 in a three-year insurgency, and may have ties with Al Qaeda. Will putting the group on a terror watch list help? CS Monitor

Nigeria: FG loses $7billion to crude oil theft
The Federal Government said it is losing about $7billion annually to crude oil theft in Nigeria, at the rate of 180,000 barrels per day. To stem the trend, which government claimed rose rapidly in the last 12 months because of the collusion of some foreign nationals , a new industry joint task force, JTF, has been set up to tackle the menace. Vanguard

Ugandan army chief roots for African standby force
Regional security systems are the last chance to rid the continent of security threats, Uganda’s Military Chief has said. Speaking at the closure of the second African Land Forces Summit in Kampala yesterday, Gen. Aronda Nyakairima called on the security forces to remain focused on the continent’s present and future challenges. New Times

Uganda beats Kenya on donor diplomacy
Uganda has been more effective than Kenya in its diplomacy toward donor nations in recent years, especially in the context of the global war on terror, a scholar specialising in Ugandan foreign policy told an audience at a Washington think tank last week. The East African

Hunt for Kony buoyed by capture of top aide
With the capture of Caesar Acellam, the third in command in the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) on May 12, the tide seems to be turning against the elusive rebel outfit, promising a return to stability in the remote triangle straddling several countries in the Great Lakes Region where it operates. The East African

Resolving the Political Stalemate in Mali
The latest developments in Mali, coupled with the coup on 12 April in Guinea-Bissau, have left the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) overwhelmed by an extremely challenging situation. Among the important issues that urgently need to be resolved is finding consensus over who should assume the interim presidency in Mali. Failing to resolve the political confusion in Bamako could have disastrous consequences, especially for people living in the north of the country. ISS

Gallup survey finds support in Egypt for Muslim Brotherhood dropping as presidential vote nears
Support for Egypt’s Islamist political parties has plummeted ahead of this country’s presidential election next week, a Gallup survey released Friday has found, while early returns showed the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, thought to be Egypt’s dominant political group, running third among Egyptians voting overseas. McClutchy

Morocco pursues salafist reconciliation
The recent return of Moroccan salafists to the public arena is reviving the issue of how former prisoners can encourage others to repudiate extremist beliefs. On Monday night (May 14th), Moroccan radical clerics Hassan Kettani and Omar Hadouchi were stopped at the Tunis-Carthage airport and denied entry onto Tunisian territory. They had been invited to by “Dar Assalam” (”House of Peace”) in Bizerte to hold lectures on Islamic science and attend a May 20th Kairouan conference on Sharia. Magharebia

After A Free Fall, Zimbabwe Finds A Bit Of Stability
When hyperinflation spiraled out of control in Zimbabwe in 2008, huge numbers of citizens flocked across the border to find jobs, and escape food and water shortages. That economic nightmare came on top of years of decline. While the country still hasn’t fully recovered, Zimbabwe is much more stable and economic life is picking up, at least for some. On Robert Mugabe Road in the capital Harare, taxi drivers shout out their destinations. Street vendors sell leather belts and cellphone accessories to passersby. NPR

Zimbabwean MPs to be circumcised as part of HIV/Aids campaign
More than 170 Zimbabwean MPs and parliamentary workers will be circumcised in the coming weeks to set a public example and defend themselves against catching HIV/Aids. The Telegraph

Analysis: Division and stasis in Guinea-Bissau
On 16 May a transition pact brokered by the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) and signed by all parties except the majority PAIGC [African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde] – officially nominated Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo as Interim President of Guinea-Bissau for one year. The decision was made after weeks of political wrangling following a military coup on 12 April that interrupted presidential elections, in which ex- Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior from the PAIGC party was the clear front-runner. IRIN

Guinea-Bissau parliament, opposition, junta sign accord on electoral commission
Guinea-Bissau’s parliament, opposition parties and junta on Sunday signed an accord on a new electoral commission in another step to move the West African country out of the political crisis following the April 12 coup. Xinhua

Seven killed in Mogadishu blasts
At least seven people, mostly Somali soldiers, were killed on Saturday in bomb explosions in the Somali capital Mogadishu, officials and witnesses said. Times Live

The Ethiopian Engima
Since the 2010 elections Meles’s government has detained dozens, and possibly hundreds, of opposition members, perceived opposition supporters, and others. No one knows exactly how many people have been arrested because no independent organizations have access to all of Ethiopia’s known and secret detention facilities, where torture and ill treatment are common. There are few Ethiopian human rights groups to investigate the detentions because in 2009 Ethiopia passed a law on non-governmental organizations that strangled most local human rights groups by cutting off foreign funding. And the government has regularly detained and deported journalists who try to access the embattled Ogaden region, successfully cutting off news of the situation.  HRW on The Huffington Post

Land grabbers: Africa’s hidden revolution
Vast swaths of Africa are being bought up by oligarchs, sheikhs and agribusiness corporations. But, as this extract from The Land Grabbers explains, centuries of history are being destroyed. The Guardian

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