Media Review for January 12, 2016

Tanzania Supports Plan to Send 5,000 Troops to Troubled Burundi
Tanzania has become the first East African Community member to openly support the deployment of peacekeeping troops to troubled Burundi, despite Bujumbura referring to the proposed mission “an invasion”. During a meeting with African Union Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma last week, Tanzanian Foreign Minister Augustine said the peacekeeping mission was essential as it would protect civilians, even as the community looked for a permanent solution to the crisis. The two met in Durban, South Africa on Tuesday and the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia released a statement on Friday saying the leaders reiterated calls to have troops deployed to Burundi “as soon as possible”. “The Chairperson of the commission and the Tanzanian Minister of Foreign Affairs — bearing in mind the importance of ending acts of violence and human rights violations — urged the Government of Burundi to fully cooperate with the AU towards the early deployment of Maprobu,” it said, referring to the official acronym for the African Prevention and Protection Mission in Burundi force. Daily Nation

Burundi Journalist Wins French Press Prize
Burundi journalist Esdras Ndikumana, the AFP and Radio France Internationale correspondent who was forced to flee last year, was awarded the 2015 French diplomatic press prize on Monday for his work covering the troubled country. Ndikumana, 54, who sought refuge in Kenya and is the first foreigner to be awarded the prize, won it for “his courage and will to inform”, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said. The award is also “a message of support to all your Burundian and African colleagues who carry out exemplary work”, Fabius added. Ndikumana, who covered events in the central African country from 2001 for AFP and 2002 for RFI, fled in August after being badly beaten following his arrest during the violent political crisis. AFP on Yahoo News

Uganda Feels the Strain of the Burundi Crisis
For the past three years, the war raging across Uganda’s northern border in South Sudan has been pushing its refugee-hosting abilities to breaking point. But it is now the simmering violence to the south in Burundi that could tip the situation over the edge. “We are overwhelmed and overstretched,” Musa Ecweru, Uganda’s state minister for relief, disaster preparedness and refugees, told IRIN. “We have to meet the dire needs of these people… [but] we already have high numbers of refugees in the country.” Uganda is sheltering 173,747 South Sudanese who have fled the war being waged between supporters of the country’s President Salva Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar, and now 18,427 Burundian refugees have crossed its southern border, according to the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR. IRIN

Rights Group Highlights Election Media Clampdown in Uganda
Uganda’s presidential and parliamentary elections are just over five weeks away on on February 18, 2016 and campaigning is in full swing. 71-year-old President Museveni is facing seven other candidates in the polls. Museveni’s long-time opponent Kizza Besigye and former prime minister Amama Mbabazi are seen as his main rivals. Human Rights Watch (HRW) is concerned that Ugandan voters are not receiving the access to information about candidates and campaignl issues to which they are entitled. Journalists are not able to cover sensitive issues like corruption or mismanagement of funds, Maria Burnett, a senior Africa researcher for at HRW told DW.  Deutsche Welle

Can Third-Term Kagame Prove His Critics Wrong?
Like it or not, Paul Kagame will run for another term as president of Rwanda in 2017, and he’ll win. While there is plenty of reason to doubt the wisdom of this decision, there is also no arguing with the status quo. Now it’s up to Kagame to prove that he’s not an ‘eternal leader’, and that third terms don’t have to be a disaster. […] As Paul Kagame’s expensive western PR firms no doubt advised him, there is a long and ignoble tradition of burying controversial stories in the holiday period. With most journalists on leave, and most readers choosing novels over newspapers, bad news attracts a lot less attention at this time of year. It is no surprise, then, that the Rwandan President chose New Year’s Eve to confirm his intention to contest the 2017 presidential election. Daily Maverick

CAR Seeks Lessons from Rwanda on Post-Genocide Recovery
A delegation from the Central African Republic was expected in Rwanda Monday for a week-long mission to understand the East African nation’s post-genocide recovery process. According to the Rwandan daily The New Times, the expected 21-person delegation comprises of top government officials, civil society members, religious leaders, academics and journalists. The visit follows a previous one to CAR by a Rwandan delegation led by the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission to share experiences on the reconciliation and recovery process following the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. It will be coordinated by Aegis Trust, which has been working in CAR for close to a year at the invitation of the Central African government and civil society. The CAR was plunged into sectarian violence in 2013 when Muslim rebels toppled the government of President Francois Bozize, forcing him to flee. The East African

Niger Court Rejects Bail for Presidential Hopeful
A Niger court on Monday denied bail to Hama Amadou, a leading opposition figure and contender in next month’s presidential election who has been jailed for his alleged role in a baby trafficking scandal. An appeals court upheld the decision of another court in late December that the former premier and parliament speaker, arrested on November 14 upon his return from exile in France, should not be granted conditional release. “The judge said the appeal could be admitted in theory but he turned down the request” for bail, said Ibrahim Bana, a member from Amadou’s party who was present in the Niamey court. Amadou’s lawyers were not in court as lawyers across the west African country staged a one-day strike over the authorities’ refusal to let them assist clients who have been detained since last month in connection with an alleged coup plot. News 24

‘Air Strikes Reported Near Libya’s Sirte’
Unidentified aircraft attacked an Islamic State convoy on Sunday near the Libyan city of Sirte, a resident told Reuters. The coastal city has been controlled for months by the militant group, which has used it as a base from which to try to expand its presence in Libya. The witness account could not be verified, and the air force allied to one of Libya’s competing governments, based in the east of the country, said it had not carried out any strikes. Also on Sunday, a spokesman for the Petroleum Facilities Guard said three boats had tried to attack the oil port of Zueitina. The guards repelled the attack before the boats reached the port, hitting one of the vessels and setting it on fire, Alial-Hassi said. He said Islamic State militants were suspected of carrying out the attack. SABC

Two Rulings Likely to Determine Fate of Ruto ICC Case
Two rulings will decide the fate of the case which Deputy President William Ruto is facing at the International Criminal Court. The first will be on the no-case-to answer motion that starts Tuesday and the second will be on the appeal against the use of recanted evidence. The rulings could make the difference between freedom for Mr Ruto and his co-accused, former radio journalist Joshua arap Sang, or the continuation of the case until 2017. The later is likely to complicate Mr Ruto’s role in the 2017 election and make his case a campaign issue. After the oral hearings which start Tuesday, the Trial Chamber judges Chile Eboe-Osuji (presiding judge), Olga Herrera Carbuccia and Robert Fremr will be retiring to decide whether or not he has a case to answer. Daily Nations

Kenya Has Become a “Bandit Economy”, Says Chief Justice Willy Mutunga
According to Kenya’s chief justice, Willy Mutunga, the country’s citizens are at war with mafia-style cartels run by political bosses and corrupt businesspeople. He says that Kenya harbours mafia-style criminals similar to Al Capone’s mob in 1920s America, and that this “cartel collects millions every day”. In a recent interview with Dutch newspaper, NRC Handelsblad, the respected Mutunga claims that corruption stretches from the very bottom to the very top of society. He says, for instance, that a Kenyan policeman who extorts a bribe from a motorist must share the booty with the head of the local station, who in turn shares the money with superiors possibly all the way up to police chiefs in Nairobi. Larger cartels, he explains, make money through trafficking illegal migrants, counterfeit money, weapons, drugs and consumer goods.  African Arguments

Congo’s Forgotten War: The Militia of Mambasa
In spite of the death more than a year ago of key commander Paul Sadala, known as “Morgan”, his Simba militia continue to wreak havoc in Mambasa, a vast territory of more than 35,000 square kilometres in Ituri Province, in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo. On the night of 5th and 6th of December, armed militiamen attacked two Mambasa mining facilities, located between the towns of Niania and Isiro. During the attack, 47 people were kidnapped, one woman was gang-raped by nine assailants, and a horde of valuable goods was carted off into the forest. This was just one of several incidents in December. Some 40 other civilians, most of them women, were also kidnapped from the Bakaiko mining area, also by Simba militia. “We have no news of these hostages,” Alfred Bongwalanga, administrator of Mambasa Territory, told IRIN. IRIN

South Sudanese President Vows to Leave Work to Those Opposed to 28 States
President Salva Kiir has vowed to leave the fate of 28 states he unilaterally created on 2 October to those who will continue to oppose them, insisting that he had not violated the peace agreement he signed with opposition parties on the basis of the constitutionally recognized 10 states in South Sudan. The comment he uttered during the closing session of the extraordinary convention of his ruling faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), did not however clarify what he meant to “leave.” “Many people have been blaming the government and myself that we have violated the agreement. But I always tell them that we have not violated the agreement. This is a demand of the people and they have been asking for it for a very long time,” president Kiir told the gathering at the convention on Saturday.  Sudan Tribune

Tunisia’s Islamist Ennahda Becomes Biggest in Parliament
Tunisia’s Islamist Ennahda Party became the biggest in parliament after more lawmakers in President Beji Caid Essebsi’s Nidaa Tounes party resigned on Monday over the role of his son, saying they feared a return of the hereditary transfer of power. The rift does not present an immediate threat to the coalition government, which includes Ennahda, but it comes at a delicate time as the North African state struggles to contain jihadist violence and encourage economic growth. With a new constitution and free elections, Tunisia has been praised as a model of democratic transition since the ouster of Zine Abidine Ben Ali and has mostly escaped the violent upheaval seen in other countries in the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings. Divisions have been growing inside Nidaa Tounes, a secular party formed after the 2011 revolt, since a dispute emerged last year between a wing of the party led by the president’s son, Hafedh Caid Essebsi, and another led by Mohsen Marzouk, one of its founders. VOA

ISIS Attack Repelled in Libya
Libyan guards said on Monday they repelled a maritime assault by the Islamic State jihadist group on Zueitina oil terminal in the north of the country. ISIS tried last week to seize export terminals in the so-called “oil crescent” of northern Libya, killing 56 people in two suicide bombings in Zliten and Ras Lanouf, east of Tripoli. “On Sunday night, the guards intercepted three boats trying to enter the oil port of Zueitina,” Ali al-Hassi, spokesperson for the guards protecting oil facilities for Libya’s recognised government. “They opened fire and hit one of the boats. The other two made off but returned a short while later to tow the vessel which had been hit,” he said. News 24

Zanzibar Opposition Wants Magufuli to Lead Talks, Reject Poll Rerun
Zanzibar’s main opposition party, the Civic United Front (CUF), wants Tanzania President John Magufuli to take over the chairmanship with the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) leaders in the ongoing talks to resolve political dispute in the Isles following cancellation of election results. CUF says it has lost confidence in CCM’s Zanzibar President Mohammed Shein’s ability to lead the talks in a bipartisan manner. CUF is also opposed to a rerun of elections and wants the electoral commission to declare it winner of the nullified October polls. The Zanzibar government has announced that the elections would be repeated on February 28. CUF, however, says a rerun would be illegal and unconstitutional and would plunge Zanzibar into further political crisis and chaos.  The East African

Terror Group’s Video Letter to SA, Sweden
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has said the governments of Sweden and South Africa should meet its demands for “faster release” of their two respective nationals Johan Gustafson and Stephen Malcolm McGown who have been in detention since November 2011. The remarks were made by the Al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist group through a video released on a Mauritanian website, Al Akhbar, which is always well informed on activities of armed terrorist groups in Northern Mali. In the video titled “Letter to Sweden and South Africa,” AQIM urged the two governments not to resort to French mediation to resolve the issue of the hostages. The video shows the two hostages who were kidnapped on November 25, 2011 when they were in a hotel in Timbuktu in northern Mali, as well as a masked man who was reading the statement in English. Xinhua on IOL News

Mali: UN Must Enable Peacekeepers to Confront Terrorists
U.N. peacekeepers in Mali should have a mandate to confront terrorist groups threatening a fragile process, the West African country’s foreign minister said Monday. Abdoulaye Diop said Malian security forces are on the front lines in the battle against terrorist groups but “cannot by themselves confront this phenomenon.” He urged the Security Council to consider bolstering the operational capacity of the U.N. mission “to adapt to this security context.” He declined to offer specifics but said Mali fears becoming a convergence point for various terrorist groups, including the Islamic State, which has a presence to the north in Libya and Boko Haram, which operates in Nigeria. Various Islamic extremists groups operate in northern Mali, including al-Qaida’s North Africa branch. The groups continue to carry out attacks against U.N. peacekeepers nearly three years after they were pushed out of cities and town in northern Mali by French forces. AP on Yahoo News

Nigeria to Receive Another $300 Million Abacha Loot from Switzerland
The Switzerland government has expressed its readiness to return $300 million (N59, 742, 000,000 billion) stolen from the coffers of the Nigerian treasury. The aforementioned sum was reportedly recovered from the family of former military ruler, Sani Abacha. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama made the disclosure on Monday evening. Sani Abacha is reported to have stolen an estimated $5 billion from the country, which he stashed in several foreign accounts. The late dictator carried out the massive looting when he served as the de facto President of Nigeria from 1993 to 1998.

Why Has Sudan Ditched Iran in Favour of Saudi Arabia?
Long one of Iran’s few Sunni Arab partners, Sudan announced that it will sever ties with Tehran after the execution of a Saudi Shia cleric inflamed tensions in the region. But with Khartoum hungry for Saudi investment, the move has been characterised by Sudanese analysts as motivated by the promise of financial reward. Though the government says it was in response to retaliatory attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran, Al-Tayeb Zein al-Abidine, professor of political science at Khartoum University, said it had been made for “pragmatic reasons” at a time when the country’s economy is in tatters. “The government realised it was very isolated, even within the Arab world, and decided to change sides,” Abidine said. The Guardian

U.S. Top Court Rejects Nestle Bid to Throw Out Child Slavery Suit
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a bid by Nestle SA, the world’s largest food maker, and two other companies to throw out a lawsuit seeking to hold them liable for the use of child slaves to harvest cocoa in Ivory Coast. The high court left in place a December 2014 ruling by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that refused to dismiss a lawsuit against Nestle, Archer-Daniels-Midland Co and Cargill Inc filed by former victims of child slavery. The plaintiffs, who were originally from Mali, contend the companies aided and abetted human rights violations through their active involvement in purchasing cocoa from Ivory Coast. While aware of the child slavery problem, the companies offered financial and technical assistance to local farmers in a bid to guarantee the cheapest source of cocoa, the plaintiffs said. The case focused in part on how lower court judges have interpreted a 2013 Supreme Court decision that made it harder for plaintiffs to sue corporations in U.S. courts for abuses alleged to have occurred overseas. Reuters

Mozambique Refugees Fleeing to Malawi
Malawi continues receiving hundreds of refugees from Mozambique, six months after RENAMO fighters carried out two attacks in Tete province. The fighting in July forced more than 700 people into Malawi, and refugees say they continue to flee atrocities and killings by militias. Refugees are entering daily at the newly established Kapise ll camp in Malawi’s Mwanza district. It is home to more than 2,500 refugees. Refugees tell stories about people they believe are FRELIMO government fighters torching their houses and killing their relatives on suspicion of hosting RENAMO fighters. Flora Emberson is one of them. “My uncles’s son was shot dead just a few meters from where I was. When I rushed to see what had happened, he could not speak and was almost dead. I did not hesitate, but run way for safety,” she said. VOA

Reimagining the Refugee Camp
[…] By necessity, refugee camps like Dadaab offer a window into the experiences of a large fraction of the world’s 60 million displaced people. Despite recent efforts by western states to accept more asylum seekers, they can only do so much. Even with the best intentions, only a small fraction of the world’s refugees can be absorbed by distant lands, so refugee crises primarily affect neighboring states. Recent reforms in the U.N.’s refugee policy has centered on finding alternatives to camps, like “refugee self-settlement”: having refugees integrate directly into the host country with no official assistance. But in the U.N., change is implemented slowly, and host states are typically unwilling to allow an influx of refugees to integrate into their societies. So, for the foreseeable future, many refugees will continue to live in camps run by the international community. With the migrant crisis in the spotlight, it is now time to reimagine the refugee camp. Foreign Policy

Social Changes to Watch Out for in Africa
The BBC’s southern Africa correspondent Karen Allen looks at the areas in which Africa can expect big social change this year, some of which have seen campaign groups turn to the internet to state their case. BBC

South African Rand Plunges as Investors Fret over Economy, Politics
South Africa’s rand plummeted to a record low on Monday as global concerns about China’s economy added to investors’ worries about domestic political and economic strains before municipal elections later this year. The rand fell more than 9 percent to 17.9950 against the dollar, by far its weakest level on record, on fears that China wants to weaken its currency aggressively and boost its export competitiveness. The South African unit had recovered somewhat to 16.5910 by 1300 GMT, but was still down 1.7 percent over Friday’s close. It was the weakest performer in a basket of 25 emerging market currencies tracked by Reuters. The rand has been wobbly since President Jacob Zuma plunged Africa’s most industrialised economy into uncertainty in December by firing Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene in what some analysts saw as a sign of strife within the ruling African National Congress party.  Reuters