Africa Media Review for April 18, 2019

Five Killed in Second Car Bomb Attack in Mogadishu
Five people people were killed and over five others were injured in a car bombing around Debka junction in Mogadishu this afternoon barely four hours after another car bomb, both along Maka al Mukarama street. Deputy police commissioners Zakia Ahmed told journalists five people were killed in the attack and five others were injured. Emergency medical provider Aamin ambulance put the number of injured at 13. The first bomb outside Hotel Mubarak along Maka al Mukarama street destroyed three vehicles. No one was injured. The attacks come two days ahead of the National Security Council meeting slated for April 19-23. Heads of regional governments are expected to arrive in the city from tomorrow to participate in the meeting which comes close to a year after the last one. Goobjoog News

Two of Bashir’s Brothers Arrested: Military
The ruling military council in Sudan said on Wednesday that two brothers of ousted President Omar al-Bashir have been arrested in the capital Khartoum. Shams-Eddin Kabashi, a spokesman for the Transitional Military Council, said in a statement that former president’s two brothers have been arrested as part of a campaign of arrests against figures of the past regime. He pointed out that the detention of symbols of the previous regime was continuing, and the most prominent figures were Abbas and Abdullah, brothers of the ousted president Omar al-Bashir. Media reports also say Mr Bashir has been moved to Kober prison in Khartoum where he once detained those who opposed his government. Radio Tamazuj

Sudan’s Military Council Orders Seizure of “Suspect” Funds – State News Agency
Sudan’s ruling Transitional Military Council ordered the central bank to review financial transfers since April 1 and to seize “suspect” funds, state news agency SUNA reported on Wednesday. The TMC ousted former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir last week after three decades in power. … The TMC ordered the “suspension of the transfer of ownership of any shares until further notice and for any large or suspect transfers of shares or companies to be reported” to authorities. In a separate decree, the council said all state entities should disclose financial holdings within 72 hours, and that those who did not comply could be fined and face up to 10 years in prison, SUNA reported. The decree applies to bank accounts and holdings of foreign currency as well as precious metals and jewelry inside and outside Sudan, the council said. Reuters

Sudan: Journalists Picket Sudan News Agency for Liberation of Public Media
The Sudanese Journalists Network (SJN) have called on its members, prominent media cadres and academics to participate in the Journalists March on Wednesday, “to liberate the Sudan News Agency” (SUNA). In a statement, the SJN said the march will be followed by other marches to liberate all official institutions and media. In an earlier statement, the Network demanded an end to the manipulation of state-owned media and national institutions that served the regime of former president Omar Al Bashir and immediately “release” them. It called upon the signatories of the Declaration of Freedom and Change and the Sudanese Professionals Association to take steps towards “liberating the national institutions from the remnants of the abominable regime, especially the telecommunications sector, which endangered the lives of millions of Sudanese, as it was used as a vehicle for monitoring by the security apparatus”. International press watchdog Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF) and the Sudanese Journalists’ Network said in March that dozens of journalists have been arrested since December. Radio Dabanga

Algeria Protests Loosen Stranglehold on Media
Weeks of anti-government protests have helped Algerian journalists shake off the chokehold of state-imposed censorship but their work remains complicated and is often contested by demonstrators. After the first protests erupted in February, journalists working for state media complained that their bosses had imposed a news blackout on the rallies against Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s bid to seek a fifth presidential term. The protests have since become headline news on both private and public television channels, with live footage of nationwide demonstrations. … A small revolt has been brewing within the public sector media, with many journalists saying they refuse to be silenced. Over the past week, dozens of journalists employed by state radio and television have staged their own sit-in demanding more freedom. Journalists from EPTV, the public television company, gather weekly, chanting “free television” or covering their mouths with their hands to denounce censorship. AFP

Spreading Violence Triggers ‘Unprecedented’ Crisis in Burkina Faso
Attacks by Islamist militants, military operations, and waves of inter-communal violence have left hundreds dead and tens of thousands displaced since January in the West African nation of Burkina Faso, triggering an “unprecedented” humanitarian crisis that has caught many by surprise. Homegrown militant groups, as well as extremists linked to al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State group, had been in the country’s arid north since 2016, but have expanded to new fronts in eastern and southwestern Burkina Faso, threatening the stability of neighbouring countries – Ghana, Benin, Togo, and Ivory Coast among them. … As the state struggles to protect civilians, a growing number of ‘self-defence’ militias have thrown their hats into the ring, opening up a Pandora’s box of ethnic tensions in a country once considered a beacon of coexistence and tolerance in West Africa. The New Humanitarian

Ethiopia: MSF Launches an Emergency Response in Gedeo as Displacement Crisis Leads to Alarming Malnutrition Rates
Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has launched an emergency response in the Gedeo area of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR), and is calling on humanitarian agencies in Ethiopia to urgently scale up their support for internally displaced people (IDPs) in the numerous camps in the area. MSF is concerned for the welfare of tens of thousands of vulnerable people displaced in southern Ethiopia, following an assessment that revealed alarming findings about their nutritional status, poor living conditions and limited availability of safe drinking water. After screening children aged under five at eight IDP sites in the Gedeb woreda of Gedeo at the end of March, MSF teams found rates of severe acute and global acute malnutrition to be well above the emergency threshold. While they were not part of the assessment, MSF also saw a high number of malnourished pregnant women. Africa News

Agency Reunites 6,000 South Sudan Children with Families
A South Sudan family of seven was reunited after five years on Tuesday under the Family Tracing and Reunification programme. Save the Children, the agency that runs the programme, said this brings to 6,000 the number of children reunited with their families since 2014 following separation by war. However, more than 8,000 children in the country are still missing as long distances and poor connections make the tracing by case workers quite labour intensive. The East African

South Sudan Opposition Urges Delay to Unity Government
South Sudan opposition leader Riek Machar is not ready to return to Juba and wants to postpone the formation of a unity government until security issues are resolved, an official from his party said Wednesday. Machar was meant to return to South Sudan in May and join a power-sharing government as vice president with President Salva Kiir after the signing of a peace deal in September last year. The deal is the latest effort to end almost six years of conflict which erupted due to a fallout between the two men in 2013. Observers, though, have been warning that implementation of the deal has stalled. AFP

Egypt to Hold Referendum on Extending Sisi’s Rule on April 20–22
Egypt’s election commission said on Wednesday that a referendum potentially allowing President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to stay in office until 2030 will take place on April 20-22. The ballot, featuring several constitutional amendments, was given final approval in parliament on Tuesday. The changes, if approved, would extend Sisi’s current term to six years from four and then allow him to run again for a third term lasting six years. They would also grant the president new powers over the appointment of judicial officials, bolster the role of the military and create an upper parliamentary chamber. Reuters

Zimbabwe: ED Ready to Discuss Gukurahundi, ’It’s a Platform for Government to Explain Itself’
President Emmerson Mnangagwa treading into an area that his predecessor former President Robert Mugabe feared to tread, the emotive issue of the post-independence massacres commonly known as Gukurahundi. Mnangagwa told State television in an interview to mark Zimbabwe’s 39th independence anniversary that some of the issues around Gukurahundi should have been resolved by Mugabe. A few years after independence in 1980, Mugabe unleashed a North Korean trained crack military unit known as the 5th Brigade, ostensibly to hunt down a handful of dissidents in the western provinces of the country. However, critics argued Mugabe’s plan was to decimate then opposition Zapu leader Joshua Nkomo’s supporters. As it turned out, Mugabe only withdrew the army after Nkomo agreed to fold his party and join Zanu PF under a “Unity Accord” inked in December 1987. Mnangagwa,at the time seen as Mugabe’s longtime enforcer was Intelligence Minister and reports claim he described Nkomo’s supporters as “cockroaches that needed to be exterminated” by a deadly chemical known as DDT. New Zimbabwe

As Ebola Outbreak Rages, Vaccine is 97.5% Effective, Protecting over 90K People
An experimental vaccine against the Ebola virus is 97.5 percent effective at preventing the disease, protecting well over 90,000 people in the massive, ongoing outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, according to preliminary data. The outbreak has flared since last August, involving 1,264 cases (1,198 confirmed; 66 probable) and 814 deaths (748 confirmed, 66 probable), making it the second-largest Ebola outbreak recorded. So far the outbreak has stayed within the DRC’s North Kivu and Ituri provinces, which sit on the eastern side of the country, bordering South Sudan, Uganda, and Rwanda. But, response efforts have been severely hampered by community distrust of public health campaigns. … Still, the outbreak could have been far worse if it had not been for an experimental vaccine. Ars Technica

South Africa: Court Bid to Allow Independent Candidates in 2019 Elections Fails
An application to have South Africa’s electoral laws amended before the May 8 elections to expressly allow independent candidates to stand in the election, has been dismissed in the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday. Judge Siraj Desai dismissed the New Nation Movement and others’ application without a cost order. The applicants asked the court for an order compelling Parliament to remedy the “invalidity” of electoral laws to allow independent candidates to stand for national or provincial election before the May 8 poll. The applicants’ case was based on Section 19(3)(b) and reads: “Every citizen has the right to stand for public office and if elected, to hold office.” They argued that an individual’s right to stand for public office is unjustifiably limited by the current electoral system in that an individuals has to be a member of a political party, and can’t stand as an individual. In his written judgement Desai quoted an earlier Constitutional Court judgment which states: “The Constitution itself obliges every citizen to exercise the franchise through a political party.” News24

Netflix Announces First African Animation Series and Calls for Female Writers
Netflix is still on its Africa campaign after successfully working with African directors and acquiring original African movies. It seems the next quarter of 2019 will be set aside to focus on original content for children while working with African scriptwriters. To kick off its campaign, the company announced its first Animated series from Africa; Mama K’s Team 4 which follows four teenage girls living in a futuristic version of Lusaka, Zambia, who are recruited by a retired secret agent to save the world. Created by Zambian writer Malenga Mulendema in 2015 who was inspired by the experience of watching cartoons as a child , the animation script was one of the 8 winning scripts from the Triggerfish Story Lab, a pan-African talent search and is a dream come true for the Zambian creator to see it come to life on a huge platform such as Netflix. Face2FaceAfrica



Photo: Adam Jones