Media Review for August 20, 2015

Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza Sworn in for Third Term
Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza has been sworn in for a controversial third term in office. The BBC’s Prime Ndikumagenge in Burundi says the ceremony came as a surprise as Mr Nkurunziza had been expected to be sworn in next week. At least 100 people have died in protests since Mr Nkurunziza announced in April he would run for a third term. The government accuses the opposition, which says the third term is illegal, of causing the violence. The African Union, European Union and the US State Department have all expressed concerns that July’s election was not free and fair. BBC

Death, Murder, and Fear in Post-elections Burundi
At 6:30pm on Wednesday, August 5, Congolese Burundians Paul Ramadhan,29, and his nephew Mechak Ramadhan,17, whose family fled political violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo many years ago, were stopped by police and ordered onto the ground. There was gunfire and a grenade blast, and the two were dead. A witness, who was injured in the blast, said they were shot by the police who had asked them no questions. The police spokesman, Pierre Nkurikiye, told Africa Review two armed men were killed after attacking a police van. Mechak’s father Omar insists they were returning from prayers at the local mosque and had done nothing to warrant being killed. Al Jazeera

US to South Sudan: Sign Peace Deal or Face UN Sanctions
The US says it is consulting with other countries about imposing UN sanctions on anyone who undermined the peace process in warn-torn South Sudan. Susan Rice, President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, said in a statement on Wednesday that Washington was proposing such sanctions “if an agreement is not signed by the government within 15 days and a ceasefire is not implemented promptly by all parties”. On Monday, South Sudan President Salva Kiir declined to sign a peace deal proposed by regional leaders, saying he required more time. Al Jazeera

U.S. to Propose U.N. Arms Embargo on South Sudan: Diplomat
Aug 19 The United States will propose a United Nations arms embargo on South Sudan and further targeted sanctions on Wednesday, a U.N. Security Council diplomat said, after President Salva Kiir refused to sign a peace deal to end a 20-month conflict. A draft resolution was due to be circulated to the 15 Security Council members shortly, said the diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity. It was not immediately clear when the draft resolution could be put to a vote. Reuters

US Says South Sudan’s President Kiir Promises to Sign Peace Deal
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has assured the US he will sign a peace deal to end the fledgling country’s 20-month-old conflict, Washington said on Wednesday. According to a US State Department spokesman, Kiir told Secretary of State John Kerry by phone on Wednesday he had every intention of signing the peace agreement. “He said he need a couple of more days of consultations but he made it very clear it was his intention to sign, which is encouraging,” said spokesman John Kirby. Deutsche Welle

Mali’s Islamist Conflict Spreads as New Militant Group Emerges
Imam Elhadji Sekou Ba was one of the few people in his village of Barkerou who dared to speak out against the rise of Islamist militants in central Mali, denouncing in his sermons the young men taking up arms in the name of religion. Last Thursday, shortly after dinner, he was gunned down on his doorstep. Locals suspect the killing was carried out by the Massina Liberation Front (MLF), a new group blamed for a wave of attacks that is shifting Mali’s three-year-old Islamist conflict from the remote desert north ever closer to its populous south. The emergence of the new group, recruiting among central Mali’s marginalized Fulani ethnic minority, has sown panic among residents, forced some officials to flee, and undermined the efforts of a 10,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping mission to stabilize the West African state. Reuters

The Iranian-Saudi Proxy Wars Come to Mali
In a country where two-thirds of the adults are illiterate, it is a privileged few who have the chance to study at the Mustafa International School. Located in the western suburbs of Bamako, a few blocks from the U.S. Embassy, the college-level seminary has just 180 students ; 150 men and 30 women. They engage in an intensive curriculum that encompasses theology, history, philosophy, Arabic, Farsi, and world religions. They work in the school’s computer suite, equipped with 12 desktop computers, and get three meals a day at the seminary’s expense. And they do it all under the watchful eyes of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, former supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, whose likeness gazes down on them from his portrait, which hangs above the bookshelves of the school’s library. These young students are part of Mali’s tiny Shiite community: a group of about 10,000 families nationally, in a country where the Sunni majority makes up an estimated 95 percent of the population of 15 million.
They’re also the stuff of Saudi nightmares. Foreign Policy

Millions Going Hungry in Mali
More than 3 million people are suffering from hunger as insecurity persists in Mali’s north, Mali officials and the United Nations said on Wednesday. Food insecurity also means more than 715 000 children are at risk of acute malnutrition, said UN humanitarian co-ordinator Mbaranga Gasarabwe. “Additionally, there are significant needs for protection and access to basic services such as education and health,” she said on the United Nations’ World Humanitarian Day. Mali is a landlocked country in Africa’s dry Sahel region. News 24

Central African Republic: New Sex Abuse Claims Against UN
Members of the the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic (CAR) have been accused of sexually abusing three young females, including a minor. The latest allegations follow the sacking last week of the UN’s CAR envoy amid multiple allegations of sexual abuse by peacekeepers. The UN said that alleged rapes occurred on an unspecified date in Bambari city. The 10,000-strong UN force was deployed in 2014 to restore order in the CAR. BBC

US Says AGOA Much More Than Simple Economic Agreement
The African Growth and Opportunities Act is much more than a simple trade agreement, top US officials said this week as they prepare to meet later this month in Gabon for a summit on the US-Africa agreement. AGOA was recently renewed for 10 years by the U.S. Congress. The act, which was originally signed in 2000, provides 39 sub-Saharan African nations with liberal access to the U.S. market. But, says Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield, it also allows the U.S. to export many of its intangible values — among them, an open-market system and an emphasis on development, democratization and women’s empowerment. VOA

Economic Drivers of Mass Atrocities: Implications for Policy and Prevention
The relationship between violent conflict and economic factors has engaged scholars, practitioners, and policymakers for decades. Some scholars have theorized that competition for land, labor, and capital has led to wars between countries, others have asserted that intrasocietal economic inequalities have fueled civil unrest, while still others doubt the existence of a causal link. Empirical research by Paul Collier and Anke Hoeffler popularized the notion of “greed vs. grievance” and sought to explain violence perpetrated by armed nonstate actors by analyzing their motivations relative to the presence of mineral resources. Their work revisited prior scholarship, notably by Jeffrey Sachs and Andrew Warner, on the purported relationship between violent conflict and natural resource endowment in fragile regions. In spite of criticisms of their methodology, the robustness of their empirical analysis, and policy relevance of their conclusions, the “greed vs. grievance” debate paved the way for more nuanced considerations of economic drivers relative to noneconomic factors. The Stanley Fundation on

Hundreds of Women in Guinea on Hunger Strike
A woman in Guinea’s forest region has said that hundreds of women have gone on a hunger strike to demand the return of an ex-junta leader who wants to come home from exile and run for president. Helene Zogbelemou on Wednesday called on the president to facilitate Moussa “Dadis” Camara’s return. She spoke for 400 women in N’zerekore in Guinea’s southeast who have joined the strike that began Sunday. Camara comes from the region. Camara, who seized power in 2008, went into exile in Burkina Faso in 2010. News 24

France Plans to Reduce Troops in CAR
The French government considers withdrawing more of its troops from Central African Republic by the end of the year. Government spokesperson Stephane Le Foll said on Wednesday preparations for elections in CAR seem to go well, which has allowed the French defence ministry to predict further reductions. Presidential and parliamentary elections are set to be held in CAR in October and November. French troops have already been reduced from 2 000 to 900 this year. France sent troops to CAR in December 2013 to stabilise the country after sectarian violence erupted, killing at least 5 000 people. A UN mission took over peacekeeping duties from an African Union force in September 2014. News 24

Broader Response to Help Libya Debated
Libya’s internationally recognized government is urging Arab countries to launch airstrikes against Islamic State-affiliated militants who have carried out beheadings and crucifixions and taken control of the coastal city of Sirte. After an emergency meeting in Cairo Tuesday, the Arab League pledged support for Libya’s call for military action and a need to form a joint Arab force, but did not offer any specifics. On Wednesday, Libyan Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Dairi said the Arab League agreed to meet August 27 to discuss the possible formation of a force. VOA

US May Pull out Sinai Force That Helps Keep Israel-Egypt Peace
The Obama administration is quietly reviewing the future of America’s three-decade deployment to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, fearful the lightly equipped peacekeepers could be targets of escalating Islamic State-inspired violence. Options range from beefing up their protection or even pulling them out altogether, officials told The Associated Press. The American forces have helped marshal peace in the peninsula since Egypt’s 1979 historic peace treaty with Israel. Some 700 members of an Army battalion and logistics support unit are currently there. They mainly monitor and verify compliance, and have little offensive capability. Several other countries also provide personnel. AP on The Time of Israel

Divided and Dispersed, Eritrea Opposition Struggles to Harness Spirit of Resistance
The brute strength of president Isaias Afwerki’s regime has been the weakness of the Eritrean opposition. As leader of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front, the tall, austere man led the country to freedom from Ethiopian rule in 1991 following a 30-year war, promising hope and autonomy to his war-wearied citizens. But today, Eritrea is a one-party state, and the threat of war hangs over its people. The constitution has never been enacted, there is no independent media and the only legal party is the ruling People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ).b All independent political activity is banned, and power is concentrated in the hands of the president and a small clique that surrounds him, a gaggle of army officers and senior party officials who serve at Afwerki’s whim. The Guardian

Canadian Mining Company Accused of Exploiting Eritrea’s Forced Labour
The UN has accused a Canadian company of using forced labour at Eritrea’s only active mine in a hard-hitting report released in June. Nevsun Resources, which owns a majority share of the Bisha copper and gold mine and oversees its operations, has repeatedly come under fire over the use of conscripted labour since construction of the mine began in 2008. Sheila Keetharuth, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in Eritrea who collected the evidence, said in July: “Forced labour was used, especially in the construction phase, for the simple reason that all construction [operations] are done under the government.” The Guardian

ICC Orders Review of Kenya Non-Cooperation Decision
The International Criminal Court on Wednesday told judges to review their decision not to refer Kenya to the court’s oversight body for failing to cooperate in the case against President Uhuru Kenyatta. Prosecutors in late 2013 asked the Hague-based ICC to rule that Nairobi failed to act on a prosecution request to hand over Kenyatta’s financial records, phone statements and other documents they said could prove their crimes against humanity case against the president. The prosecutors also asked the ICC to refer the matter to the Assembly of States Parties (ASP), the court’s 123-country legislative and oversight body. AFP on Yahoo News

China, South Africa and the ‘Currency Wars’
China has devalued its currency once again sparking fears of a global currency war that is unsettling global financial markets. Emerging and developing nations have been the hardest hit and have seen their currencies fall to multi-year lows. Analysts say the move is designed to keep Chinese products competitive with weaker exchange rates. But as it manipulates its currency to eke out an economic advantage for its exports, economies such as South Africa are felling the pinch as demand for commodities and raw materials wanes. Al Jazeera

Lesotho PM Under Fire at SADC Summit
Lesotho Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili had wanted to continue with suspended court martial proceedings against more than 50 soldiers accused of supporting ex-army chief Maaparankoe Mahao in an alleged mutiny, his press attaché Motumi Ralejoe told African News Agency. Mahao was shot dead by soldiers in June and last month Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders appointed an independent commission of inquiry to investigate his death and surrounding circumstances. Mail and Guardian

Zambia Faces Crisis as Biggest Man-Made Reservoir Dries Up
The last time Munandi Siatambika remembers Lake Kariba being this empty was 20 years ago. As the world’s largest man-made reservoir dries, the economic fortunes of Zambia continue to fall. “The situation is quite serious, looking at the rate the water level is going down,” Siatambika, a 35-year-old tour guide at a lodge in Sinazongwe, on the northern lake shore, said in an interview. “It’s likely to be even worse than in 1995.” The southern African nation, the second-biggest copper producer on the continent, typically generates almost half of its electricity output from a hydropower plant at Kariba. The power shortage is deepening an economic crisis as President Edgar Lungu’s government struggles to cope with a plunge in metal prices, a widening budget deficit and a collapse in the nation’s currency. Bloomberg

Africa has Been ‘Exporting Brains.’ Now it’s Trying to Lure Them Back
That’s the motivational message from Homecoming Revolution, a recruitment firm aiming to reverse the “brain drain” in African economies by wooing back talented professionals living abroad. A common path for ambitious Africans involves heading to Britain or the United States for college, earning degrees at top schools — and then staying overseas after being hired by big companies. Meanwhile back home, a skills gap means that foreigners are recruited at a higher cost to do certain jobs. Thabo Mbeki, the former South African president who has long touted a vision of an “African renaissance,” told a recent event in Johannesburg that African immigrants to Europe and the United States are among the best-educated immigrants. But this comes at a cost. Globalpost

Ebola’s Lessons: How the WHO Mishandled the Crisis
In a biological sense, last year’s Ebola epidemic, which struck West Africa, spilled over into the United States and Europe, and has to date led to more than 27,000 infections and more than 11,000 deaths, was a great surprise. Local health and political leaders did not know of the presence of the hemorrhagic fever virus in the 35,000-square-mile Guinea Forest Region, and no human cases had ever been identified in the region prior to the outbreak. Its appearance in the tiny Guinean village of Meliandou in December 2013 went unnoticed, save as a domestic tragedy for the Ouamouno family, who lost their toddler son Emile to a mysterious fever. Practically all the nonbiological aspects of the crisis, however, were entirely unsurprising, as the epidemic itself and the fumbling response to it played out with deeply frustrating predictability. The world has seen these mistakes before.

Ghana to Bring Cuban Doctors to Mitigate Medical Strike
Ghana plans to bring in more than 170 doctors from Cuba to help mitigate the deficiencies from a crippling strike by medics over pay and training. Health Minister Alex Segbefia said on Wednesday that several people have died without proper emergency attention since the strike began early this month. About 2,800 public sector doctors started withdrawing services to out-patient departments before extending the strike to emergency wards. Staff at the police and military hospitals that have remained open in the capital say they have been stretched thin as civilians come there for medical services. Al Jazeera