Media Review for January 7, 2013

By Africa Center Media Review
Updated: 01/07/2013

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

Civil Society, Public Action and Accountability in Africa
This paper examines the potential role of civil society action in increasing state accountability for development in Sub-Saharan Africa. It further develops the analytical framework of the World Development Report 2004 on accountability relationships, to emphasize the underlying political economy drivers of accountability and implications for how civil society is constituted and functions. It argues on this basis that the most important domain for improving accountability is through the political relations between citizens, civil society, and state leadership. Harvard Kennedy School

A look at why quick intervention happened in Central African Republic rebellion but not Mali’s
Two land-locked, desperately poor African countries are gripped by rebellions in the north that have left huge chunks of both nations outside of government control. Neighboring countries are rushing troops into Central African Republic only a few weeks after rebels started taking towns but Mali’s government is still awaiting foreign military help nearly one year after the situation there began unraveling. Here’s a look at why there’s been quick action in one country, and not in the other. The Washington Post

Central African rebels seize one more town
Rebels in the Central African Republic have taken the southern town of Alindao around 100km from the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, a government spokesman has confirmed. The military advance on Saturday came after the UN Security Council called on rebels to halt their offensive and withdraw from other towns and cities they had seized earlier. Al Jazeera

C. African rebel spokesman: we could take capital
A spokesman for Central African Republic rebels says the fighters could take the capital but are holding their fire out of concern for civilians. Eric Massi told The Associated Press Monday in Paris that the rebels have several thousand armed fighters and the power to overrun the heavily fortified town of Damara. International forces protecting President Francois Bozize’s government have vowed to stop the rebel advance at Damara — 45 miles (75 kilometers) from the capital, Bangui. AP on the U.S.News & World Report

SA troops arrive to ’secure’ capital of Central African Republic
At least 200 South African soldiers have arrived in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, to try to secure it from advancing rebels, a military source said Sunday. Times Live

Al-Qaeda financier among seven killed in Algeria
The Algerian army has identified one of seven armed Islamists killed east of the capital earlier this month as a key financier of the local affiliate of Al-Qaeda, the El Watan newspaper reported on Saturday. Izza Rezki, also known as Abou Djaffar, took up arms against the government in 1994, early in Algeria’s devastating civil war, and was a key aide of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) leader Abdelmalek Droukdel, the paper said. The Nation

Terror risk persists in North Africa, survey shows
A new report from the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) holds some surprises for Maghreb countries. The Global Terrorism Index, published December 4th, is the first-ever ranking of 158 countries based on the number of terrorist attacks, the number of fatalities and injuries from terrorism, as well as the estimated property damage. Magharebia

AQIM members seek to renounce terrorism

Recent defections indicate that al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is becoming more fragile due to the disintegration of its internal structure over the last few months. Terrorism analyst Abdul Hamid al-Ansari explained to Magharebia that the breakdown of AQIM is not happening the way of other organisations. Magharebia

Obama taps Hagel for Pentagon, Brennan for CIA
President Barack Obama on Monday will nominate Chuck Hagel as his next defense secretary and counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, two potentially controversial picks for his second-term national security team. Hagel, even before being nominated, has faced tough criticism from congressional Republicans who say the former GOP senator is anti-Israel and soft on Iran. And Brennan, a 25-year CIA veteran, withdrew from consideration for the spy agency’s top job in 2008 amid questions about his connection to enhanced interrogation techniques during the George W. Bush administration. AP on the Boston Globe

Republicans Gird For Battle Over Hagel As Pentagon Chief
Comments from Republican lawmakers on Jan. 6 presaged a fierce confirmation battle for the man U.S. President Barack Obama is reportedly about to nominate as his defense secretary: Chuck Hagel. Obama has decided he wants the 66-year-old former Republican senator to succeed Leon Panetta at the Pentagon and will make his announcement as early as Jan. 7, U.S. media, including CNN and Washington specialists Politico, said. Defense News

South Sudan holds journalists for failing to cover president speech
South Sudan has arrested two state broadcast journalists for failing to ensure coverage of a crucial speech by President Salva Kiir, a government official said on Sunday, prompting an outcry from an international media watchdog. Reuters

Sudan, South Sudan agree to buffer zone, oil exports
The leaders of Sudan and South Sudan have agreed to set up a demilitarised buffer zone along their disputed border and to resume oil exports from South Sudan, an African Union mediator said Saturday following two days of talks in Ethiopia. France 24

China’s delicate diplomatic tango between the two Sudans
[...] China has been ratcheting up its investments, expanding new trade routes and forging new alliances in the newly independent South. Traditionally the ally of the Khartoum government, Beijing is heavily courting South Sudan with visits from senior officials and they became the first to establish a consulate general in Juba. They made efforts to assure continued access to its oil investments while providing arms to the North. Al Jazeera

Facebook Spreads Truth And Lies Amidst Strife In Congo
While the Congolese government was keeping the public in the dark about the fall of Goma to the M23 rebels in mid-November, here the news had already gone viral on Facebook. Soon after the rest of Congo was checking in on a variety of social networks to follow news updates and the latest photos coming out of Goma, the capital of the war-torn North Kivu region. On the other side of the country, a young man sitting in a cyber café in the city of Matadi, could shout out “Goma has fallen!” And if no one believed him, he could say: “Come see the photos…” Worldcrunch – Syfia International

Prospects for Congolese Peace Talks Grow Shakier
Congolese rebels threatened to pull out of peace talks with the Congolese government, after accusing the Congolese military of arming militias to reinforce positions along the front lines in eastern Congo. The accusations come amid reports from international observers of heavy militarization in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo by both sides since hostilities formally ended last month to pave the way for peace talks. The rebel threat cast a new cloud over the long-delayed negotiations, which were supposed to get under way Friday here in the Ugandan capital. The New York Times

UN sanctions complicate Congolese peace efforts
The UN Security Council travel ban and asset freeze against the M23 rebels, and the rebels’ insistence that Kinshasa signs onto a permanent ceasefire, could jeopardise ongoing peace talks which were due to resume on January 7, in Kampala. The ban against M23 as a group and its chairperson Bishop Jean-Marie Runiga Lugerero, announced on New Year’s eve, essentially restricts the M23 team from travelling to the venue of the talks at the lakeside Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort in Uganda, unless the Ugandan government is willing to defy the sanctions. The East African

Ghana’s inauguration boycotted

Ghana’s main opposition party has boycotted the swearing-in ceremony of President John Mahama following last month’s disputed elections. The New Patriotic Party (NPP) said Mr Mahama won the election fraudulently. Official results gave Mr Mahama 50.7% of the vote, enough to avoid a run-off against the NPP’s Nana Akufo-Addo, who won 47.7%. BBC

9 dead in clashes between Somali forces, al-Shabaab
At least nine people died in clashes between al-Shabaab militants and Somali and Ethiopian forces in the southern Gedo region on Saturday (January 5th), AFP reported. Al-Shabaab fighters ambushed a convoy of several hundred Somali and Ethiopian troops that was advancing on Baardheere and Burdhubo. The ambush took place between Luq and Garbaharey, two towns lying within 100 kilometres from both the Kenyan and Ethiopian borders. Sabahi

Sierra Leonean president announces new cabinet ministers
Newly elected Sierra Leonean President Ernest Bai Koroma has named his new cabinet of 16 ministers one month after he was sworn-in. The names of the appointed ministers were announced through state radio late Saturday night. Four more ministerial appointments — Tourism, Sports, Labor, Political and Public Affairs — are to be announced. The office of the President said they “will be announced shortly.” Xinhua

‘Assassination bid’ on Libyan leader: spokesman
Mohammed Megaryef, president of Libya’s national assembly, has escaped an attack on his hotel in the southern oasis of Sabha in an incident his spokesman on Sunday called an assassination attempt. “The hotel he was staying in was attacked for three hours. There was sniper fire. It seems to have been an assassination attempt,” the assembly chief’s spokesman, Rassmi Beruwien, told AFP of the incident that happened on Thursday. France 24

Morsi unveils cabinet reshuffle as economic crisis bites
The Egyptian president, Mohammed Morsi, yesterday presided over a shake-up of the cabinet, replacing 10 of the 36 ministers as his government comes under increasing pressure to introduce measures to correct a teetering economy. The National

Hyundai paid Nigeria kidnap ransom, police say

South Korean firm Hyundai paid a ransom of $190,000 (£118,000) to free six workers kidnapped last month, Nigerian police say. Bayelsa state police say they learned of the ransom after capturing members of the criminal gang believed responsible. Hyundai Heavy Industries has not commented on the reports. BBC

Tourism: Is Uganda the region’s new bigwig?
When National Geographic recently named Uganda among the world’s top 20 destinations for tourists in 2013, it may have not been the first time a ranking of its kind was in favour of the country. However, the catch line used to describe Uganda spoke volumes. Describing Uganda as “Africa’s new frontier” in the rankings, which only had Malawi as the only other African country, sends out a strong message to neighbours Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda, who have invested heavily in marketing their countries. National Geographic, one of the world’s largest non-profit scientific and educational institutions, has done a good job blowing Uganda’s trumpet. The Observer

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