Africa Media Review for April 20, 2017

Uganda Ends Pursuit of Joseph Kony
The Ugandan military says it is ending its manhunt for fugitive warlord Joseph Kony after years of chasing him and bands of loyal fighters across Central Africa. A military spokesman, Brigadier General Richard Karemire, told a reporter for VOA’s Swahili service Wednesday that the search for Kony has been suspended. Ugandan newspapers report the first batch of soldiers have returned from the Central African Republic, where the soldiers searching for Kony have been based. The U.S. military announced last month it will remove its personnel from Operation Observant Compass, the Ugandan-led task force pursuing Kony and members of his rebel Lord’s Resistance Army. VOA

Zimbabwe’s Tsvangirai and Mujuru in Anti-Mugabe Alliance
Two of Zimbabwe’s best known opposition figures have agreed to form an alliance against President Robert Mugabe. Long-time Mugabe critic Morgan Tsvangirai and former Vice-President Joice Mujuru say they will work together in next year’s election. However, it is not yet clear which of them will be the presidential candidate. Mr Mugabe, 93, has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980 and has said he will seek re-election.  BBC

Zambia and Zimbabwe: Why Fair Elections Are Essential for Africa’s Development
Zimbabwe is used as a case study of a broken society; a country in which those in power concern themselves only with maintaining power and amassing wealth. Zimbabwe is also often cited as an exceptional case. However, while it’s situation undoubtedly has its own peculiarities, Zimbabwe has not followed a path that is impassable for others. It is dangerous to think otherwise. Daily Maverick

Nigeria’s Buhari Suspends Spy Chief After $43m Found in Lagos
Nigeria’s foreign spy chief Ayo Oke has been suspended after anti-corruption officers found more than $43m (£34m) in a flat in the main city, Lagos, the president’s office has said. Muhammadu Buhari has ordered an investigation into how the spy agency headed by Mr Oke came into possession of the money, his office added. Mr Oke has not yet commented. However, unnamed intelligence officials told local media that the money was kept in the flat for covert operations. Anti-corruption officials have uncovered bundles of cash in Nigeria this year. Mr Buhari took office in 2015 with a pledge to root out corruption in government. BBC

Two Oil Giants Could Face Trial in Italy over Nigerian Deal
“Etete can smell the money. If, at 70 years old, he does turn his nose up at 1.2 bilion he is completely certifiable.” That’s a quote from a confidential email which is embarrassing the oil giant Shell. For years, Shell had strenuously denied that it knew anything about the involvement of convicted money launderer and former Nigerian oil minister Dan Etete in its purchase of the rights to one of Nigeria’s biggest oil fields. But last week, the British environmentalist and anti-corruption organization, Global Witness, published confidential emails written by a Shell employee. This correspondence, which went right to the top of the Shell management hierarchy, proves that there was a direct link to the convicted Nigerian. After publication, Shell then decided that further clarification of its correspondence was needed. One had to negotiate with Etete “whether one wanted to or not,” it said. Deutsche Welle

US Command Seeks African Liaison Officers at Stuttgart Headquarters
U.S. Africa Command wants to better coordinate the battle against Islamic extremists in Somalia by adding liaison officers from participating African nations to its headquarters here. “We could add them here or we could go there or both,” said AFRICOM’s Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, who is hosting some 40 African defense chiefs for two days of talks in Stuttgart. “The purpose is to get a better picture of what is going on.” AFRICOM also wants to establish closer links with the task force countering extremists in Africa’s Lake Chad region, where the Nigerian-based Boko Haram group poses a threat to several countries. “One of the ways we can improve our common operating picture is to have liaisons here in Stuttgart,” Waldhauser told the defense chiefs. Stars and Stripes

Fight Against Armed Groups Tops US-Africa Defence Meet
The US has brought together defence chiefs from 40 African countries. A meeting is taking place in Germany at the headquarters of the United States Africa Command – or AFRICOM – which was set up 10 years ago. Its mission is to foster “security, stablity and prosperity”. It says it wants to help in the fight against armed groups such as Boko Haram, al-Shabab and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS). But critics are questioning Washington’s motives. Al Jazeera

U.N. Says 82 Aid Workers Killed in South Sudan’s Three-Year War
A United Nations official said on Wednesday 82 aid workers had been killed in South Sudan’s civil war and the number of its citizens displaced by the fighting now stands at 3.5 million. Two years after its much celebrated birth as an independent state, South Sudan plunged into conflict in December 2013 as rivalry between President Salva Kiir and his then-vice president, Riek Machar, exploded into violence. A 2015 peace deal was signed but the terms were never fully respected. Persistent suspicions between Machar and Kiir triggered a fresh bout of fighting in July 2016 and violence has since spread to large areas of the country. Eugene Owusu, the United Nations resident and humanitarian coordinator in South Sudan, said 82 aid workers had been killed in the violence since December 2013. Reuters

Agencies Withdraw Staff from South Sudan’s Upper Nile
Several humanitarian agencies operating in South Sudan’s troubled Upper Nile have started withdrawing their staff. The agencies were pulling worker out from Waat, Walgak and Akobo in Jonglie State, citing safety concerns as tensions rise between rebels and government forces, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Juba. OCHA said in weekly brief that over 60 aid workers were moved last week from several locations in Upper Nile, due to intensified conflict. The East African

Mali Extends State of Emergency as Jihadist Attacks Persist
A state of emergency that has been in force almost non-stop for 17 months in Mali was extended by 10 days from Thursday, the government said. The measure has been renewed several times since jihadists stormed the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako in November 2015, killing 20 people in an attack claimed by Al-Qaeda’s regional branch. The west African nation’s troubled north has witnessed a spate of jihadist strikes despite the emergency. On Tuesday armed men killed five soldiers and injured 10 others in an attack on an army post in the tense Timbuktu region. Daily Maverick

Burundi’s Political Instability Is Worsening the Country’s Food Crisis
In recent months, East Africa has been hit with a serious food crisis. Extreme and erratic weather, related to the “La Niña-El Niño” weather phenomenon, has led to stock shortages and sent food prices soaring in several countries, including Kenya and Tanzania. Aid agencies are ringing the alarm, calling for immediate action to avoid any repeat of Somalia’s disastrous 2011 famine. In some cases, however, political instability is compounding the problem. In Burundi, unpredictable weather patterns, characterised by heavy rains and long droughts, have hit crops. The resulting food shortages have affected school attendance and has even led to starvation-related deaths. In January, humanitarian agencies and the government investigated and called for international assistance, although ministers refuse to describe the situation as being a result of ‘famine’ preferring the term ‘deficit‘ of agricultural production instead. Global Voices

Famine-Stricken South Sudanese Hide in Swamps to Escape War
[…] The population has fled Thonyor, about 420 kilometers (260 miles) north of South Sudan’s capital, Juba, and all that’s left are scorched buildings. It’s controlled by rebels fighting President Salva Kiir’s army, which holds Leer town, less than 10 miles away. Sporadic fighting erupts even as both sides say they respect a cease-fire. These northern reaches of the country are mainly inhabited by the Nuer, South Sudan’s second-largest ethnic community, to which rebel leader Riek Machar belongs. The UN says pro-government forces have committed atrocities against Nuer civilians, as have insurgents against Kiir’s Dinka people. There was no choice but to hide in the swamps, said Nyageng Nguen, a 45-year-old with six children, who’s been living there since gunmen stormed her village in December. “It was indiscriminate — random shooting of civilians, burning houses, looting cattle, raping of girls, kidnapping,” she recalled. “When we lost our livestock and couldn’t farm anymore, life became unbearable.”  Bloomberg

Suicide Blast in Northern Cameroon Kills 4
At least four people, including a gendarme were killed in a suicide bombing in a small town in northern Cameroon on Wednesday, according to a military official. “The explosion took place at around 10 a.m. local time [0900GMT] in Kolofata [town]… near the town hall,” Gen. Bouba Dobekreo, commander of a joint military operation in the region, told Anadolu Agency. The suicide attack, which the general blamed on the Boko Haram militant group, took place a few hours after another attack in Mbreche village, which is also in the Far North Region. A woman was killed and three girls were abducted in the attack, which was also attributed to Boko Haram. Anadolu Agency

Cameroon Denies Forcibly Repatriating Nigerian Refugees
A two-day-old baby boy cries as his parents take seats in a Cameroonian military truck in the border town of Fotokol. They were being transported home to the Nigerian village of Gamboru Ngala. In northern Cameroon, the military says some 7,000 Nigerian refugees have gone back to their towns and villages in the past month as part of a voluntary repatriation program. However, Cameroon continues to face accusations that refugees have also been forcibly removed. Many refugees fled their homes in that area two years ago as Boko Haram attacked villages, looting, kidnapping and killing locals. VOA

Lesotho Coalition Parties Enter Into a Voting Pact
Lesotho’s Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s Democratic Congress (DC) party, Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing’s Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and other coalition parties have entered into a pact to vote for one another. This as the announcement of candidates for 80 constituencies for the 3rd of June snap election gets underway on Wednesday. The three main partners in the governing coalition say they will jointly field one candidate per constituency for all their supporters to vote together. Lesotho uses a mixed member proportional system. SABC

Mineral Governance in Southern Africa Undermined by Implementation Failures, Says Watchdog
When it comes to managing its natural resource bounty, southern Africa has plenty of rules – but not nearly enough enforcement. This is the headline conclusion of the Mineral Governance Barometer, a pilot project from the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, which examines the effectiveness of states when it comes to establishing and enforcing regulations. “There is a strong contradiction between the level of natural resources and the poverty in the region. We are trying to understand the reason why it is so difficult to get full benefit from our resources,” said Claude Kabemba, director of the Southern Africa Resource Watch, another Open Society initiative. Across the 10 countries measured – Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe – the Mineral Governance Barometer found that some 63% of necessary regulations were in place, which was higher than researchers had expected. Daily Maverick

UN, AU Sign Enhanced Cooperation Pact
The United Nations and the African Union took a step toward increasing cooperation and coordination between their organizations Wednesday, signing a Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security. The agreement is intended to boost cooperation in preventing and responding to conflict in Africa. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters at a joint news conference with African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat that it would enhance cooperation at all levels. VOA

Gambia’s Bankrupt State Risks Failing Families Seeking Justice
A gutted court system and bankrupt state risks leaving those seeking justice for victims of the dictatorship out in the cold in the new democratic, Gambia. From the outside, Gambia looked much the same on April 7 – the day after the first parliamentary elections since the end of Yahya Jammeh’s dictatorship. But inside the main market of the capital Banjul, away from the bustle of the traders, there was something radically different: the sound of people arguing about politics. This never would have happened under Jammeh. Ibrahima Manga, Pa Mundiaye and Alaji Baboucar Mane lived most of their lives under Jammeh’s rule when people silently vanished and politicians, activists, journalists and ordinary people who disagreed with the government were jailed without trial for speaking their mind publicly. The Africa Report

Africans Wary of US Travel after Series of Border Denials
Nigeria is not on the list of countries affected by the US government’s temporary travel bans. But several Nigerian citizens claim to have been denied entry since they were introduced. Real estate businessman Femi Olaniyi travelled to Los Angeles on February 21 with a two-year multiple entry visa. He says the experience proved to be an ordeal. “When I got to the point of entry at Los Angeles Airport, an immigration officer interrogated me,” he told CNN. “He said I should come for biometric (tests) to check whether I have any criminal offence. I told him that I’m not a criminal and that he should go ahead.” “Later, he brought some documents for me to sign and I told him that I would need to read before I sign. He quickly withdrew the document and put me in a cold cell. From there he held me for four days. He collected all my phones so that I would not get access to my family. He later revoked my visa and sent me back to Nigeria.” CNN



Photo: Adam Jones