Media Review for August 19, 2015

Why President Kiir Declined to Sign Addis Peace Deal
South Sudan President Salva Kiir refused to sign a peace deal with rival Riek Machar after finding the text of the accord had been altered from the one that had been agreed upon, the government camp now says. South Sudan’s deputy ambassador to Kenya John Morgan told The EastAfrican that President Kiir was aware of the deal in store when he left Juba on Monday for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where the last-ditch talks were to be held to forestall economic and military sanctions being imposed on the warring factions. Later that day, President Kiir refused to endorse a deal backed by IGAD and the troika – the US, the UK and Norway – saying he needed 15 days for consultations as Mr Machar put pen to paper, gaining some mileage as a pro-peace leader. “The president left for Addis because he thought the deal he was meant to sign was reasonable. This was until he realised that some of the controversial clauses removed during the Entebbe meeting were reinstated in the Addis peace deal,” Mr Morgan said. The East African

US, Britain Push for UN Sanctions on South Sudan
The United States and Britain pushed for UN sanctions against South Sudan’s government Tuesday, over its failure to sign a peace deal to end a brutal two-year civil war. South Sudan rebel chief Riek Machar met a Monday deadline to sign the power-sharing agreement, but President Salva Kiir only initialed part of it and said he would return to the table in early September to finalize the accord. US National Security Advisor Susan Rice accused Kiir’s government of a “failure of leadership” and said it had “squandered” another opportunity to end a conflict that has killed tens of thousands and which has plunged the world’s youngest nation into chaos. AFP on

Forget Egos, Sign Peace Deal: Uganda Tells South Sudan Leaders
Uganda told South Sudan’s warring factions on Tuesday to put their egos aside and make peace, a day after President Salva Kiir refused to sign a deal to end a 20-month-old conflict. The blunt words from a regional power underlined growing exasperation among African and global leaders over a string of broken ceasefires and accords in the world’s newest nation. Washington has threatened sanctions if no deal is reached. Kiir asked for another 15 days of discussions, shrugging off pressure from regional mediators to meet a Monday deadline for an agreement. His spokesman told journalists in Juba on Tuesday the deal on the table had been a “sell-out”, without going into details. Reuters

Inside South Sudan, Hopes for Peace But Rebels Ready to Resume Fighting
As the morning sun illuminates the lush-green fields surrounding Pagak in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state, a group of young Nuer men chase a half-inflated soccer ball across the muddy airfield. It is a rare respite – despite their youth, many have already fought in South Sudan’s ongoing conflict. “When we heard about the fighting in Juba, we decided to join the soldiers,” said Nynon Kuon, 23, the eldest of the group. Like many young men in Pagak, he is a member of the White Army, a Nuer militia that has been fighting alongside rebel troops. Kuon and many of his peers are ready to go back into battle. “I’d much rather do something useful with my life, but as long as President Salva Kiir remains in power, I don’t see how we can make peace.” The Guardian

Kiir Government Calls South Sudan peace Deal a ‘Sellout’
The deal was signed by rebel leader and former vice president Riek Machar and a representative of the South Sudanese government. The president had originally stated that he would need 15 days to study the deal before signing it. “We strongly believe that this document cannot save the people of South Sudan,” Information Minister Michael Makuei told reporters, as President Kiir returned home from Ethiopia. “It is a sellout, and we will not accept it,” Makuei said, adding that the government would now discuss the deal with the people for 15 days. Along with regional leaders and representatives from the US and the EU among others, the two sides have been negotiating the agreement since August 6. It is unclear why the Kiir government decided to come out so strongly against a deal just hours after seeming to accept its terms. Kiir has previously objected to any agreement because of the split among rebel groups in the country. Deutsche Welle

South Sudan: Sides Trade Accusations After Deal Falters
Rebels have accused South Sudan’s government of resuming military attacks, a day after President Salva Kiir failed to sign a peace deal aimed at ending the civil war. Rebel leader Riek Machar said the government had chosen war over peace. But Mr Kiir’s chief negotiator said the deal was a sell-out that could not be implemented as the rebels are split. A key issue is thought to be a proposed power-sharing deal which could see Mr Machar return as vice-president. The deadline for a peace deal expired on Monday night, and South Sudan’s warring parties may now face international sanctions. BBC

South Sudanese Rebels Overran Key Town in Eastern Equatoria
South Sudanese rebel forces have on Tuesday overrun key town in Eastern Equatoria state after they allegedly came under attack by government forces in intense battles confirmed government sources and residents in the area. Forces under the overall command of Major General Martin Kenyi, deputy chief of general staff for morale orientation loyal to the former vice president Riek Machar, captured Pageri town on Tuesday before they tactically withdrew several hours later. Rebels said government forces attacked their position on the morning of Tuesday, prompting their forces to fight back and repulsed the attackers, resulting to brief capture of the town, north east of the border town of Nimule. Sudan Tribune

Up to 150 Drowned, Shot Dead Fleeing Boko Haram in Nigeria
Up to 150 people drowned in a river or were shot dead fleeing Boko Haram gunmen who raided a remote village in Nigeria’s northeastern Yobe state, residents said on Tuesday. Dozens of militants arrived on motorcycles and in a car on Thursday last week and sprayed automatic gunfire, scattering terrified inhabitants of Kukuwa-Gari. “They opened fire instantly, which forced residents to flee. They shot a number of people. Unfortunately many residents who tried to flee plunged into the river which is full from the rain. Many drowned,” Modu Balumi, a resident of the village, told AFP. AFP on Yahoo News

Cameroonians Donate Blood for Soldiers Fighting Boko Haram
Hundreds of Cameroonian youths are gathered at asports complex in Yaounde, the nation’s capital,to donate blood for their soldiers fighting Boko Hara in the northwest of the country. Soldiers are also being injured while searching for rebels crossing the border to avoid fighting in the Central Africa Republic. More fighting means a greater need for blood. One of the people waiting to donate is Iyawa Fadimatou. She said that she is donating the blood so that the military can avenge the death of three of her relatives killed in a recent suicide bomb attack in northern Cameroon. “I am a Cameroonian and this is a civic engagement for me to show my patriotism. This is my own way to react against Boko Haram,” said Iyawa. Joel Neba, a French teacher, said that donating blood is his way of supporting the soldiers. “My motivation for donating blood today is to help those who have been injured on the battlefront and to tell them that even though we are not at the battlefront with them, we believe that by donating our blood it will help those who are in need,” said Neba. Deutsche Welle

U.N. Deploys Troops Around Northern Mali Town After Clashes
Mali’s U.N. peacekeeping mission deployed troops around a northern separatist stronghold on Tuesday, seeking to prevent an escalation of clashes between rebels and pro-government militias that threaten to torpedo a peace deal. The separatists, led by Tuareg tribesmen, and the pro-government Platform militias signed the U.N. sponsored peace accord in June. Its aim was to pacify the north and allow the Malian army to focus on tackling Islamist militants in the west African country. The two sides have traded blame for the clashes, which began on Saturday. On Monday, Platform fighters seized the town of Anefis from the separatist Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA), raising the prospect they could advance on the town of Kidal, the group’s main stronghold. Reuters

Guinea Opposition Strikes Deal with President Ahead of Polls
Guinea’s political opposition said on Tuesday it had reached a compromise with President Alpha Conde to name new mayors and redistribute local government posts as part of talks to pave the way for peaceful elections in October. The opposition has for months accused the government of breaching a deal to hold local polls before the presidential vote, a factor they say gives Conde an advantage since municipal authorities are packed with his supporters. The government has said that the elections calendar cannot be changed and the presidential poll must go ahead as scheduled on Oct. 11. But after meeting with Conde on Monday, Sidya Toure, a former prime minister who is now part of the opposition, said the president had accepted a change to the composition of the local administrations ahead of the vote. Reuters

Convert or Die: Ethnic Cleansing in CAR
Muslims are only newsworthy when behind the gun, not in front of it. Modern journalism continually reaffirms this baseline with regards to domestic crises and, perhaps even more so, international human rights calamities. The systematic targeting of Muslims in the Central African Republic (CAR), a nation ravaged by strife since March of 2013, has devolved into massive scale ethnic cleansing. However, few outside of the African nation and beyond the human rights community are even minimally aware of this humanitarian crisis. In the past several weeks, armed militias have roved through the western part of the nation,intimidating and brutalising Muslims. Al Jazeera

Egypt Makes it Iillegal for Journalists to Contradict Official Account of Terror Attacks
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has approved stringent new counter-terrorism laws establishing special courts and imposing heavy fines on journalists and bloggers who contradict official accounts of militant attacks. Under new laws introduced on 17 August, trials for suspected Islamist militants could be fast-tracked through special courts, with anyone found guilty of joining a militant group facing 10 years in prison. The BBC reports that journalists can be fined between 200,000 and 500,000 Egyptian pounds (£16,000-£41,000) for reporting incidents and figures about terrorist attacks which differ from the Egyptian Defence Ministry’s official accounts. The original draft of the law initially called for an additional two-year prison sentence. The Independent

Blocked Adoptions in DR Congo: ‘It’s Like our Children are in Prison’
More than a thousand legally adopted children from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have spent the past two years languishing in their orphanages, their arrivals at their new homes blocked by a diplomatic deadlock. Florence and David (names have been changed) have wavered for two years between hope and disappointment. They have been repeatedly told that the arrival of their new son is imminent, only to have it postponed indefinitely. “What more do we have to do to show that we are ‘clean’?” they ask despairingly. “They have been announcing his arrival since May, only to have it blocked in the end.” France 24

South Africa’s Disabled Children ‘Excluded from School’
An estimated 500,000 disabled children are being excluded from South Africa’s education system, US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) says in a report. HRW says the government has discriminated against disabled children in its allocation of school places. Children are excluded from mainstream schools and forced to wait years for places at special schools, it says. The government said it was disappointed by the report, which “trivialised” efforts to help disabled children. In a statement, South Africa’s Department of Basic Education said that HRW had failed to include the ministry’s submissions to the final report. BBC

Is Eritrea the North Korea of Africa?
Is Eritrea guilty of crimes against humanity? The question evidently matters to the UN Human Rights Council, which last month extended for another year the mandate of its Commission of Inquiry (COI) on human rights in the Horn of Africa nation. This extension followed the COI’s release in June of a 500-page report detailing its abuses. The question should also matter to the rest of the world, given Eritrea’s serious contribution to the global refugee crisis, as seen through the continued flight of 5,000 Eritreans monthly from their homeland, many of whom are heading north to Europe. The COI report confirmed what the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), on which we serve, has documented for years: Eritrea is the North Korea of Africa. It is a totalitarian police state which rules by fear, not law, producing a tragedy for human rights, including religious liberty, which the world must not ignore. CS Monitor

Marines to Place Europe-Africa Command Under 2-star in Germany
Command of Marine forces in Europe and Africa will fall under a two-star general stationed in Germany beginning Wednesday, a milestone in the command’s 35-year history and a reflection of the Corps’ growing role in both theaters. The incoming commander, Maj. Gen. Niel Nelson, said Tuesday that the streamlined force and his presence overseas will improve the Corps’ ability to work with U.S. commanders and allies alike. “I think it sends a definite signal that we are serious about our commitment out here to our (combatant commanders) and our partners,” he said. Nelson replaces two general officers in the U.S. who shared command of Marine Forces Europe-Africa on top of other duties. Lt. Gen. Robert Neller, commander of Marine Corps Forces in Norfolk, Va., and the new Marine commandant, oversaw Marine Forces Europe. Maj. Gen. William Beydler, commander of II Marine Expeditionary Force out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., was responsible for Marine Forces Africa. The two men shared a common staff in the Stuttgart garrison, which will continue to work with Nelson. Stars and Stripes

Special Envoy Thomas Perriello Returns to the African Great Lakes Region
Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa Thomas Perriello will return to the region on August 18 to visit Rwanda, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R.C.), and Angola. The Special Envoy’s trip will focus on upcoming elections in the region in furtherance of President Obama’s policy in support of democratic transitions. Special Envoy Perriello will also engage regional leaders on continued efforts to address the deteriorating situation in Burundi. The United States strongly supports the immediate resumption of dialogue among Burundian stakeholders as the best route to ending the escalating violence and restoring democratic legitimacy to the country. Special Envoy Perriello will focus as well on efforts to end the continued depredations ‎of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), and pursue the unresolved implementation of the Nairobi Declarations guiding the reintegration of ex-M23 combatants in the D.R.C.

Uganda-DRC Border Reopens
Normal operations and services have resumed at the Vurra-Aru customs along the Uganda- Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC border, APA can report Tuesday. The border was flagged open on Tuesday by a joint team of Uganda and DRC officials assigned to ensure the smooth operations by both country’s customs. The Vurra-Aru customs post was closed two months ago after a group of armed Congolese youths extended their border post inside Ugandan territory. The move escalated tension between officials of both countries leading to a series of meetings to resolve the dispute. Officials from Uganda and DRC met over the weekend in Bunia and made several resolutions, one of which was to reopen the Vurra-Aru border point to allow the smooth flow of business. Star Africa

Malawi: New Cabinet Announced – Full List
His Excellency the State President, Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika, in exercise of the powers conferred upon him by Section 94 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi, has made some changes to the Cabinet with effect from today, 17th August, 2015. allAfrica

Kenyan Police Name ‘al-Shabab Recruiters’
Kenyan police have named three men it believes to be the major recruiters of young Kenyans to Islamist terror groups, especially Somalia’s al-Shabab. All three were operating in Kenya but are now based in Somalia, the police report said. One is believed to have helped plan the 2013 Westgate shopping centre attack in Nairobi, the other two are clerics. The report said young Kenyans from around the country were being targeted without the knowledge of their parents. BBC

Injured AMISOM Soldiers, Families Go Years Without Compensation
Last month, the United Nations Security Council authorized the African Union to maintain the deployment of its peacekeeping mission in Somalia, AMISOM, until next May. The Council also extended the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia, UNSOM until 2016. Some injured soldiers and families of dead soldiers say they feel abandoned and that it has taken years to receive benefits. Thirty-year-old Nkunzimana Jeanette goes through a file full of papers, looking for two certificates that show the death of her husband, who served with the AU mission in Somalia. Her husband was deployed in Somalia when militant group al-Shabab controlled much of the country, including most of the capital, Mogadishu. He died in June 2011 after serving six months. Jeanette remembers the day he was killed. VOA News

Propaganda or Proper Journalism? China’s Media Expansion in Africa
From huge infrastructure projects to ubiquitous cheap goods, evidence of China’s presence across Africa today is unavoidable. But over the past few years, there is one area in which China’s deepening footprint on the continent has been particularly notable − turn on the radio, switch on the TV, or check out the newsstands, and China’s expansion into Africa’s media is clear to see. Chinese journalists have been present in Africa for a long time, but as the China-Africa relationship has flourished, there has been a concerted effort from Beijing to build its media agencies in Africa and around the world so they can compete with the likes of the BBC, CNN and Aljazeera. As many Western media houses have been cutting back on foreign reporting budgets, Beijing in 2009 allocated $7 billion to increasing China’s state-owned media presence around the world. The effects have been impressive, not least in Africa. On television today, CCTV Africa’s host of programmes provide up-to-date coverage on a wide range of issues; stories from Xinhua feature frequently in national newspapers across the continent; China Daily Africa rolls off the press once a week; and China Radio International confidently rides the African airwaves. African Argument