Africa Media Review for April 10, 2019

Rival Security Forces Clash in Sudan amid Anti-Government Protests
Rival security forces clashed in Sudan on Tuesday as huge crowds of protesters kept up their vigil outside army headquarters to call for the overthrow of the country’s longtime authoritarian president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir. Seven people were killed on Tuesday, said Sara Abdelgalil, a spokeswoman for the Sudanese Professionals Association, which is organizing the protests. The eruption of violence between different armed government forces is a major development in the four-month long protest movement against the president, said Magdi el-Gizouli, a fellow at the Rift Valley Institute, a think tank based in Kenya. “In a way, it has been turned into an internal dilemma between security forces,” said Mr. el-Gizouli, who is Sudanese. The New York Times

With Army Appeal, Sudan Protesters Test Bashir’s ‘Coup-Proof’ Regime
Protesters’ decision to place their faith in the Sudanese army poses a challenge to longtime leader Omar al-Bashir, who has built an extensive and multi-pronged security apparatus designed to ensure he is not forcefully removed. Sudan has been rocked by more than three months of protests that erupted over a hike in bread prices before spreading into nationwide demonstrations against Bashir’s repressive 30-year rule. At the biggest rally so far, tens of thousands of protesters, many of them women, have camped out around the army headquarters in Khartoum since Saturday, setting up tents in scenes reminiscent of the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011. France 24

US, Britain, Norway Demand ‘Political Transition’ Plan in Sudan
The U.S., Britain and Norway demanded Tuesday that Sudanese authorities deliver a “credible plan for political transition” as deadly demonstrations seeking the ouster of President Omar al-Bashir continued for a fourth day. Activists behind the protests said at least 13 people were killed in the capital of Khartoum, bringing the death toll to 21 since the weekend, including five soldiers. Police used tear gas, rubber bullets and fire to disperse the protesters. The three Western countries said that failing to offer a transition plan “risks causing greater instability. The Sudanese leadership has a grave responsibility to avoid such an outcome.”  VOA

UN Postpones Libya National Conference amid Fighting in Tripoli
The United Nations has been forced to postpone a carefully planned and potentially watershed national conference on Libya’s political future after the assault on Tripoli by forces under the command of the eastern warlord Khalifa Haftar. The two-day conference in the town of Ghadames was due to be attended by 120 delegates on 14-15 April. The decision to shelve the summit is a blow to Libya’s democratic forces, who had hoped it might open a path to presidential and parliamentary elections by the end of this year. Ghassan Salamé, the UN special envoy for Libya, said the UN intended to convene the conference as soon as conditions permitted, but it would be impossible to hold the talks “to the backdrop of artillery shelling and air raids”.  The Guardian

The West and Its Allies Legitimized a Renegade Libyan General. Then, They Remained Silent as He Marched on the Capital.
With renegade eastern commander Khalifa Hifter at the gates of the Libyan capital, the United Nations and Western and Arab governments have called for a halt to the fighting — to no avail. By Tuesday, the urgency for a cease-fire grew: Dozens have been killed, thousands have fled their homes or remain trapped by fighting, and Tripoli’s only functioning airport was hit by an airstrike, shutting it down and dimming hopes for a U.N. peace conference scheduled for this weekend. Reports also surfaced Tuesday that the Islamic State, seemingly taking advantage of the turmoil caused by Hifter’s moves, staged an attack that killed two officials in southern Libya. Yet a handful of influential governments including France, Russia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have not condemned Hifter. France and Russia are permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, which ostensibly backs the U.N.-installed government in Tripoli that Hifter is seeking to oust.  The Washington Post

Suffering Grows from Libya Conflict, Jihadists Exploit Vacuum
Casualties from the battle for Libya’s capital mounted on Tuesday while Islamic State killed three people in a desert town, illustrating how jihadists may exploit renewed chaos. Medical facilities reported 47 people killed and 181 wounded in recent days as eastern forces seek to take Tripoli from an internationally-recognised government, the World Health Organisation said. That was a higher figure than numbers given by either side, and appeared to be made up mainly of fighters, although it also comprised nine civilians including two doctors, WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said in Geneva. Reuters

Algeria Interim President Vows ‘Transparent’ Polls in 90 Days
Algeria’s interim president Abdelkader Bensalah pledged Tuesday to organise a “transparent” presidential election within 90 days as laid down by the constitution. “We — citizens, the political class and state institutions — must work to ensure the conditions, all conditions, are right for a transparent and regular presidential poll,” he said in a televised address. Bensalah, who as upper house speaker was appointed interim president by parliament earlier Tuesday following veteran leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s resignation, committed to hold the elections within 90 days.  AFP

Uproar in Algeria as Ally of Former President Named New Leader
Algerian lawmakers have appointed a regime stalwart as the country’s first new president in two decades, to the dismay of protesters seeking sweeping change after the resignation of Abdelaziz Bouteflika. The appointment of Abdelkader Bensalah, the speaker of the upper house, as interim president follows constitutional rules but goes against the demands of demonstrators, who are pushing for him and other veteran politicians to stand down. “I want to work towards fulfilling the interests of the people,” Bensalah, a trusted ally of Bouteflika, told parliament on taking up the 90-day interim presidency. “It’s a great responsibility that the constitution demands of me.”  The Guardian

AFP Says Algerian Government Expelled Its Bureau Chief
The Agence France-Press news agency said the Algerian authorities have expelled its bureau chief amid nationwide protests against the government. AFP chairman Fabrice Fries said in a statement Wednesday that the “arbitrary decision” of not renewing Aymeric Vincenot’s press accreditation is “unacceptable” and that it is “out of the question for us, in these circumstances, to appoint a successor for the time being.” AFP said Vincenot has been stationed in Algiers since June 2017 and left the country after the expiration of a final police deadline to leave. His accreditation was not renewed at the end of 2018. The move comes after Algerian authorities expelled on March 31 a Reuters journalist after he was arrested for covering protests that prompted ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s resignation earlier this month.  AP

Congo President Turned Down Predecessor’s PM Pick: Sources
Former Congolese President Joseph Kabila wanted his successor, Felix Tshisekedi, to appoint Albert Yuma, a Kabila ally and chairman of state mining company Gecamines, as prime minister, but Tshisekedi refused, sources familiar with the matter said. Yuma backed a new mining code adopted last year under Kabila that raised taxes on companies operating in Democratic Republic of Congo, the world’s leading cobalt miner and Africa’s top copper producer. The companies, which include Glencore and Barrick, have been lobbying the government to reconsider the law. Reuters

Delayed Elections in DR Congo Give Boost to Opposition’s Fayulu
Legislative elections in eastern DR Congo that were postponed because of an Ebola epidemic in the region have resulted in victories for Martin Fayulu, runner-up in the country’s controversial presidential ballot. Legislative and presidential elections that took place on December 30 were postponed in Beni and Butembo in North Kivu province, which is battling an Ebola outbreak. Out of 14 seats which were belatedly contested, 10 went to Fayulu supporters, three to followers of former president Joseph Kabila and one to his successor, Felix Tshisekedi, according to provisional results announced by the electoral commission on Tuesday. Voting also took place for the single legislative seat in Yumbi in the central-western province of Mai-Ndombe, which had been postponed because of bloody ethnic violence. AFP

No One Can Defeat Magufuli, So No Need for 2020 Elections: Tanzania MP
A lawmaker in Tanzania has proposed extending president John Magufuli’s stay in office, beyond 2020, when the latter’s current term of office expires. Mtera MP, Livingstone Lusinde, who is also a member of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party told his colleagues in parliament, that there is no reason the country should conduct a costly presidential election in 2020. ‘‘It is costly to hold presidential election, and as we all understand, no one can defeat president Magufuli,’‘ Lusinde said. Lusinde’s proposal would keep Magufuli in office until 2025, while maintaining civil and legislative elections next year. ‘‘The country should let president Magufuli proceed for another five years.’‘  Africa News

Trump Welcomes Egypt’s President to White House
President Donald Trump said trade and military issues would top the agenda as he welcomed Egyptian President Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi to the White House on Tuesday for a second official visit. Trump, speaking to reporters at the top of the meeting, did not mention human rights as a topic for discussion despite concerns from some advocacy groups that Egypt is stifling dissent before a planned constitutional referendum that would potentially allow el-Sissi to remain in power until 2034. Trump instead praised Egypt’s efforts to confront terrorism, saying “a lot of progress had been made in a lot of different ways in terms of terrorism.” Both leaders also said the relationship between the U.S. and Egypt had never been better. AP

Twin Bombings in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula Leave 8 Dead
Eight people were killed on Tuesday, including at least four policemen, by twin attacks in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. “A suicide bomber blew himself up near a security force that was on patrol in the city of ​​Sheikh Zuwaid,” the Interior Ministry said in a statement. In addition to the bomber, six people were killed in the attack, including four policemen and a six-year-old child, according to the ministry. Shortly afterward, a second attack reportedly occurred near the Rafah police station, killing one person and injuring another.  Anadolu Agency

Nigeria: 2,000 Flee Village as Army Prepare Boko Haram Offensive
Some 2,000 people have been forced to flee to the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri ahead of a major offensive against Boko Haram, emergency services and residents told AFP on Tuesday. Nigerian troops herded residents of Jakana village into trucks and ferried them 40 kilometers (25 miles) to a displacement camp in the Borno State capital, said a National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) spokesman. Evacuated residents were taken to “Bakassi IDP [internally displaced persons] Camp by the military for their safety as a result of ongoing operations to flush out insurgents in the area,” said Abdulkadir Ibrahim.  VOA

China-South Sudan Oil Deal Raises Red Flags
China has long been criticized for imposing massive debt on developing countries as well as securing their natural resources to help them build up infrastructure with funding by Beijing, something about which the U.S. has been especially vocal, particularly in Africa and South Asia. Now, that criticism will likely be taken to a new level. On Friday, South Sudan’s information minister Michael Makuei Lueth told reporters in Juba, the capital, that the country will provide 30,000 barrels of oil per day to state-owned lender Export-Import Bank of China to help fund South Sudan’s largest infrastructure project, which is being funded by Beijing. The amount has tripled from the 10,000 barrels of oil per day it provided to China in February. South Sudan, which produces around 170,000 barrels of oil per day, gained its independence from Sudan in 2011 after years of Civil War which saw China supply Sudan with arms and financing in-spite of allegations of human rights abuses.  Oil Price

Resistance Growing to Chinese Presence in Zambia
Zambia’s ties with China are among the longest of all African countries. DW’s Abu-Bakarr Jalloh and Fang Wan have been investigating how Zambians feel today, more than half a century after the relationship began. […] Chinese state-controlled firms are flourishing in Zambia, winning almost every mega government project, funded not coincidentally by Beijing. Airports, hydropower stations, highways and others — such multi-billion dollar infrastructure projects have become the new signature of China in Zambia. Zambia is an important part of China’s “One Belt, One Road” program. Ordinary Chinese describe the program as dasabi, a Mandarin term which can be roughly translated as “throwing money around”. Beijing, however, sees it as its way of assisting developing countries, especially in Africa. Due to its negative connotations, dasabi is only used in secret.  Deutsche Welle



Photo: Adam Jones