Media Review for October 19, 2015

Guinea’s President Alpha Conde Easily Wins Re-Election
Guinea’s President Alpha Conde has won re-election and will serve a second five-year term after avoiding a run off against his closest rival in last week’s presidential election. Guinea’s electoral commission declared Conde winner of the October 11 poll late on Saturday, gaining nearly 58 percent of the vote, compared to opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo, who won a tick over 31 percent. “The Constitutional Court still needs to render its verdict, but the National Electoral Commission proclaims President Alpha Conde winner in the first round,” commission head Bakary Fofana told a news conference. Al Jazeera

Turnout Low in Egypt Parliamentary Polls
Egyptians turned out in low numbers on Sunday to vote in the first phase of an election hailed by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as a milestone on the road to democracy but shunned by critics who say the new chamber will rubber stamp his decisions. With most of Sisi’s opponents behind bars, critics say the new chamber is unlikely to challenge the former army chief who toppled Egypt’s first freely-elected president in 2013. Egypt has had no parliament since June 2012 when a court dissolved the democratically-elected main chamber, then dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, reversing a key accomplishment of the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.  IOL News

Burkina Coup Leader Charged with ‘Crime Against Humanity’
Burkina Faso’s military said Friday a general accused of leading a failed coup last month would be prosecuted on an array of charges, including “crime against humanity”. “Eleven charges have been filed” against General Gilbert Diendere, “notably crime against humanity”, Colonel Sita Sangare, in charge of military justice, told a press conference. Diendere is accused of leading a power grab by presidential guards loyal to ousted head of state Blaise Compaore on September 17.  France 24

Uganda: Police Arrest Besigye, Attack Journalists
It was another day of chaos and violence yesterday, as the Uganda Police arrested key figures in the Forum for Democratic Change, and hit journalists reporting their actions. The police detained Dr Kizza Besigye and Kyadondo East MP Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda, leading to the cancellation of the FDC mobilization tour in Kireka, Mukono, Jinja and Iganga. It was the second time in five days that police was foiling FDC’s mobilisation efforts. On October 10, police arrested party officials including Besigye along Masaka-Mbarara road as they headed to Rukungiri for a rally.  The Observer (Kampala) on allAfrica

22 Killed in Fresh Suicide Attacks on Maiduguri
Hours after two suspected male suicide bombers caused the death of over 30 persons in an attack on a mosque in Maiduguri the Borno state capital, the city was again attacked early Friday when four suspected female suicide bombers launched a partially foiled attack that left 22 persons, including themselves, dead, security sources and officials said. Officials said the four women began their journey into Maiduguri through the Maiduguri-Biu road at about 5am with an attempt to launch multiple attacks on the city. But their mission was cut short at the outskirts of the city, near the neighbourhood where the Thursday night bombing took place, as soldiers on guard in the area tried to stop them, one official said.  Premier Times

Soldiers Foil Suicide Attack at Nigeria Army Base
Nigerian soldiers shot dead a suspected suicide bomber outside a military base in the northeast on Sunday, detonating explosives concealed in her handbag, a civilian vigilante and a military source told AFP. The target was thought to be the Maimalari army barracks – the main military base in Maiduguri, which has been hit repeatedly in recent months by Boko Haram Islamists. “Soldiers at Maimalari army barracks this morning [Sunday] foiled a suicide attack by a female bomber,” said Babakura Kolo, from the civilian volunteer force assisting troops against the rebels.  News 24

Boko Haram: A Growing Threat in West Africa
Eighteen months ago the world awoke to the kind of news that gives every parent nightmares: almost 300 young girls had been kidnapped from a school in the town of Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria. Responsibility for the kidnappings was claimed by Boko Haram, an Islamic jihadist and terrorist organization based in northeast Nigeria. As most of those girls still remain missing, we take a look at the group responsible. VOA

Military Officers Trained on New Peacekeeping Skills
Military personnel drawn from East Africa have completed a six-week course on peacekeeping missions. The training, also known as the Triangular Partnership Project, focused on strengthening Africa’s engineering and logistical capabilities which is core in peacekeeping missions. It was held at the Humanitarian Peace Support School in Embakasi, Nairobi. Mr Anthony Banbury, the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Field Support, who was the chief guest said the training of the senior officers will help fast-track deployment of troops and improve their response to crisis. The officers were drawn from the four East African Community countries of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda. The East African

Mozambique: Refugees Shun Europe for Southern Africa
As the sun dips behind the giant brown hills that separate South Africa and Mozambique, a slim young man is busy doing final mechanical checks on a Toyota Land Cruiser at a house that clings to the side of the mountain. Wearing a white polo shirt, track suit and dark sunglasses, Eduardo is a well-known human trafficker in the town of Ressano Garcia, a sleepy border crossing 97km away from the capital, Maputo. A newly married father of one, Eduardo said he joined this illicit trade not to make money, but to answer God’s call. He sees himself as doing a job that heads of states and the international community should be doing – moving people in danger to safer, more prosperous surroundings.  Al Jazeera

70 Tunisia Hotels Closed Since Jihadist Attacks
At least 70 hotels have closed in Tunisia since September after two deadly jihadist attacks on foreign tourists, and more are expected to follow suit, an industry official said on Sunday. “The situation is very sluggish,” Radhouane Ben Salah, the head the Tunisian Federation of Hotels, told private Mosaique FM radio. With reservations at “no more than 20%, 70 hotels had to close since September because the lack of clients and more are expected to do the same,” he added. Ben Salah said he expected unemployment to climb as hotel staff would be forced out of work. News 24

African Union Urged to Hasten Troop Deployment to Burundi
The African Union’s peace and security council on Saturday recommended the organization hasten plans for sending troops to Burundi if violence in the central African nation worsens and called for investigations into rights abuses there. The council also said the union would impose sanctions against anyone who incited further violence in Burundi. Burundi has suffered months of violent turmoil since President Pierre Nkurunziza announced in April he would seek a third term, a move that triggered protests and a failed coup. The opposition said the president’s decision violated the constitution and a peace deal that ended a civil war in 2005. Reuters

Pope’s First Africa Trip Fraught With Security Concerns
Pope Francis will meet slum dwellers and refugees and call for dialogue between Christians and Muslims when he visits Kenya, Uganda and Central African Republic next month, the Vatican said on Saturday. The trip, his first to Africa, is fraught with security concerns and the pope will spend about two days in each country and visit only the capitals. Since his election as the first Latin American pope, Francis has met the most needy on each of his 10 foreign tours. In Nairobi, he will visit Kangemi, a slum that is home to 650,000 people. He will also hold an interreligious meeting and say a Mass at a university in the capital. VOA

Sudanese Troops Join Saudi-led Coalition in Yemen
A battalion of Sudanese troops arrived in Yemen’s southern port city of Aden on Saturday, military officials said, bolstering Saudi-led Arab forces trying to keep out the Iran-backed Houthis and curb the growing presence of Islamist militants. Aden, a strategic port and shipping hub, became the seat of the Yemeni government earlier this year after the Houthis, a clan from northern Yemen which follows the Zaydi branch of Shi’ite Islam, seized the capital Sana’a and forced President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee to the south. A military source in Aden said that 300 Sudanese soldiers and officers arrived by sea on Saturday.  VOA

Libyan ‘Black Masks’ Militia Takes on Refugee Crisis and Wins — for Now
The dead were laid in rows on the beach so they could be counted. A dozen bodies soon became a hundred. Somewhere off the coast, the dilapidated fishing boat was still bobbing, half-submerged. There would be more victims. Even in one of the world’s most notorious smuggling capitals, the Aug. 27 migrant disaster was a shock. The people of Zuwarah borrowed shovels to dig a mass grave. They found the tiny drenched clothes of infants strewn on the shore. For years, Zuwarah had looked the other way while local smugglers got rich. Migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Syria flooded into Libya’s northernmost city, boarding boats to flee their countries’ extreme poverty and war. But now, the city had enabled a major humanitarian disaster, one its residents could see close up. The Washington Post

ISIS Beheads a South Sudanese Citizen ’to Avenge Persecution of Muslims in the Country’
The Islamic State section in Libya (ISIS) released a video on Sunday purportedly showing the beheading of a man who identified himself as being a citizen of South Sudan. The captive, dressed in dressed in orange jump suit, made a short statement in which he uttered his name but was not audible and confirmed his nationality. Sudan Tribune

S Sudan Rebel Leader: President ‘Oblivious’ to Peace Deal
South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek Machar on Sunday accused the country’s president of ignoring and undermining a peace deal aimed at ending nearly two years of civil war. Speaking to reporters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, Machar said violations of an internationally-brokered August 26 ceasefire had become commonplace. “Salva Kiir is acting as if there are no agreements,” he said. “We see more violations every day rather than moving forward toward the implementation of the agreement.” Earlier this month Kiir ordered the number of regional states be nearly tripled from the current 10 to 28, rendering an agreed power-sharing formula redundant. News 24

Mali Armed Groups Sign Peace Deal
Former Tuareg rebels in northern Mali and rival pro-government armed groups said they sealed a peace deal on Thursday to end hostilities after days of talks. Mali was hit by violence between the two sides in August and September despite a peace deal signed earlier this year. But jihadist armed groups still represent the main threat in the region, carrying out regular attacks and laying mines. Officials from the Tuareg-led Coordination of Movements of Azawad (CMA) and the Platform, a coalition of pro-government groups, told AFP they reached agreement on a “pact of honour” after nearly three weeks of talks in Anefis, 100km southwest of the regional capital Kidal. News 24

Ethiopia is Facing its Worst Drought in 30 Years. Can the Government Stop Famine this Time?
For decades past, poor Ethiopians lived at the mercy of a royal court that neglected them and a military junta that imposed upon them a dysfunctional command economy. When the rains didn’t come, hundreds of thousands of people starved to death. Government officials say this year the drought is just as bad as those infamous events that sparked famines in 1965/66, 1972/73 and 1984/85. It’s harvesting time in North Wollo, the most drought-sensitive area of the country, and farmers here say their crops have failed. The annual meher rains fell only for three days. Hunger and malnutrition has risen sharply, affecting millions.  Globalpost

Ghana: Anti-Corruption Clampdown Campaign Intensifies
Anti-graft crusaders in Ghana have stepped up efforts in the fight against corruption by launching social media platforms to empower citizens to report and document acts of corruption in state institutions. The have also launched an advocacy and legal advice centre with toll free to facilitate victims and witnesses of corruption to quickly report their experiences in state agencies. The Ghana Integrity Initiative – local chapter of Transparency International, SEND-Ghana and Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition, which form the consortium, encouraged citizens to visit the “I paid a bribe” website to report all demands for and payment of bribes. Africa Reports

Zuma in Bid to Sway Kabila
President Jacob Zuma, accompanied by nine ministers, held bilateral talks with Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) President Joseph Kabila on Friday amid the worst political turmoil in the country since Kabila took office in 2006. Given the strong economic and political relations between the two countries it was an opportunity for Zuma to prevail upon Kabila not to pursue a third term in office, which is prohibited under the country’s constitution. South Africa invested immense political and financial capital in ensuring a smooth transition to democracy following the 2002 Inter-Congolese Dialogue in Sun City, and played a key role in assisting with the holding of the 2006 democratic elections – the first to be held in the DRC after four decades. IOL News

Kenya: The New Factory of the World?
The East African nation of Kenya has seen an average economic growth of five percent for the past decade. But it has bigger goals: it wants ten percent growth by 2017, which means a population which is currently 75 percent dependent on farming, needs to expand, diversify, and industrialise. The economy is expected to expand 6.5 percent on average over the next three years. This makes Kenya one of the fastest-growing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the World Bank.    But the poverty index is high, and Kenya still has the the highest number of slums in Africa and 42 percent of the population, or almost 20 million people, are living on less than a dollar a day.  Al Jazeera

Mobile Money Now Crosses Borders in Four East Africa Countries
It will be a lot easier and cheaper to transfer money across four countries in East Africa on different telecommunication platforms following the adoption of  harmonised money transfer services. Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and South Sudan have adopted the harmonised money transfer guidelines and uniform rates developed by their central banks and communication commissions with the aim of boosting trade in the region. According to Joseph Nyagah, Kenya’s national co-ordinator for the Northern Corridor Integration Programme, the new harmonised rates will be formally published but will become operational immediately after the Northern Corridor Heads of State Summit scheduled for October 17. The East African

World’s Worst Currency Prompts Call for Divine Intervention
God save the kwacha. That’s what Zambian President Edgar Lungu wants his people to pray for on a national day of devotion and fasting on Sunday to reverse a decline in the world’s worst currency and fix a litany of problems from plunging copper prices to electricity shortages. All bars, nightclubs and entertainment venues have been instructed by the government to shut on the day, while the Football Association of Zambia has canceled domestic games. Church leaders are rallying their members to heed the president’s call in a nation where more than 80 percent of the 15 million population are Christian. “These days are like the last days,” Gordon Chanda, a driver for a law firm, said as he sipped a Mosi beer at Sylvia’s Comfort bar, taking cover from a heat wave that hit the capital, Lusaka, this week. “We need more prayers.”  Bloomberg