Africa Media Review for April 26, 2017

US Urges New Sanctions Against South Sudan, Russia Says ‘No’
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley urged the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday to impose an arms embargo and additional sanctions on South Sudan to pressure the parties to end the civil war in the world’s newest nation — but Russia and China remain opposed. Two counties in South Sudan are already in the throes of famine and Haley warned the council that 5.5 million people — half the country’s population — face “life-threatening hunger if nothing changes soon.” “We must not wait for more deaths, more displacement and more destruction before we have the courage to act,” she said. There were high hopes that South Sudan would have peace and stability after its independence from neighboring Sudan in 2011. But the country plunged into ethnic violence in December 2013 when forces loyal to President Salva Kiir, a Dinka, started battling those loyal to Riek Machar, his former vice president who is a Nuer. AP

U.S. Slams South Sudan’s Kiir over ‘Man-Made’ Famine, Urges Truce
The United States slammed South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir on Tuesday for the African state’s “man-made” famine and ongoing conflict, urging him to fulfill a month-old pledge of a unilateral truce by ordering his troops back to their barracks. “We must see a sign that progress is possible,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told a United Nations Security Council briefing on South Sudan. “We must see that ceasefire implemented.” South Sudan descended into civil war in 2013 after Kiir fired his deputy, unleashing a conflict that has spawned armed factions often following ethnic lines. Reuters

Juba Says Khartoum’s Fake News Causing Panic in South Sudan
South Sudanese authorities have blamed Khartoum media for causing panic in Juba through warmongering reporting. The Presidential Press Secretary, Mr Ateny Wek Ateny, told the media in Juba on Tuesday that the Sudanese media claimed that President Salva Kiir was stepping down from office, hence causing panic in Juba. The South Sudan security forces have been put on high alert since Saturday following rumours of a coup attempt and President Kiir’s resignation. The East African

S. Sudan’s Kiir appoints Rebecca Garang to the National Dialogue
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Tuesday has appointed Rebecca Garang, the widow of late SPLM founding leader John Garang and a political rival, to the National Dialogue committee. In a decree read on state-owned South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC) on Tuesday evening, President Kiir also appointed Transport Minister John Luk and former finance minister Kosti Manibe. The duo together with Rebecca Garang are members of the Former Political Detainees (FDs), the politicians President Kiir detained and accused of treason for months at the onset of conflict in 2013. They were released when the government dropped the evident under pressure from the international community. Sudan Tribune

Egypt Ripped at Senate Foreign Aid Hearing
A bipartisan panel of experts ripped Egypt as a floundering authoritarian state April 25 and urged Congress to rethink its annual $1.5 billion aid package. The three witnesses at the Senate foreign aid hearing took turns describing Egypt under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as a military-run, economic basket case rampant with government-sponsored anti-Americanism. They argued that Egypt has lost the regional influence it had when the United States urged it to make peace with Israel in the late 1970s, making America’s generous military assistance both anachronistic and counterproductive. Lawmakers of both parties took the advice to heart. Al Monitor

Egypt Steps Up Security Ahead of Pope’s Visit
Egypt has heightened security in the area around the Vatican residence in Cairo ahead of Pope Francis’ visit this weekend, which comes weeks after suicide attacks on two churches killed dozens of people. In Zamalek, a wealthy neighborhood on a Nile island, police have been conducting door-to-door checks, searching passers-by and instructing business owners to close their shops for the visit, which begins Friday. Parking has been prohibited on major streets close to the residence. An official told The Associated Press on Tuesday that security forces will search for explosives in the area during the visit. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media. The two-day visit will include a Mass in a stadium on the outskirts of Cairo. Stars and Stripes

ICC Prosecutor Lobbies Niger Not to Leave Court
The International Criminal Court’s (ICC) chief prosecutor Tuesday met with members of Niger’s parliament in a bid to convince the government not to quit the court. Several African governments have recently made moves to leave the ICC over allegations of biased prosecutions against African leaders. After the presentation by the ICC’s Fatou Bensuda, MPs of the West African nation asked her scores of questions on the court’s integrity and independence, saying that it largely targets African leaders. “The ICC has never forced any state to join the court. Ratifications are made voluntarily based of the conviction of fairness in justice dispensation,” argued Bensuda, dismissing allegations of bias. Anadolu Agency

Over 1,000 Migrants and Refugees Have Died Crossing the Mediterranean So Far this Year
According to the International Organization for Migration, 1,089 migrants are believed to have died while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea since Jan. 1. Of that number, just over a thousand (1,002) are thought to have died while trying to make the journey along the central Mediterranean route between Libya and Italy. Thirty-seven more died on the eastern Mediterranean route toward Greece and Crete and 50 died along the western Mediterranean route toward Spain. The grim milestone received little notice around the world. The number of deaths appears to be down from the previous two years; in 2016, the final number believed to have died in the Mediterranean surpassed 5,000, which the U.N. refugee agency said was the “worst annual death toll ever seen.” AP

Zambian Opposition Chief Sick in Jail, Bishops Decry ‘Dictatorial’ Regime
The United Party for National Development (UPND), Zambia’s main opposition party, says its leader, Hahainde Hichilema, has fallen ill in prison and that authorities have refused to give him access to medical care. Hichilema is due to appear before a court over treason charges brought by the State. He is accused of blocking the motorcade of President Edgar Lungu a few weeks back. […] Meanwhile, the Roman Catholic Church in the country is expressing concerns over the rising tension in the political atmosphere. A statement from the church called for the release of the opposition chief and for the state to stop using dictatorial measures on opposition members. Africa News

ECOWAS Threatens Sanctions in Guinea-Bissau Amid Political Impasse
West African regional bloc ECOWAS said on Tuesday it was ready to impose targeted sanctions against those it deems responsible for blocking the implementation of a deal to resolve a political crisis in Guinea-Bissau. The former Portuguese colony’s parliament has not sat in over a year amid a dispute between rival factions, including supporters of President Jose Mario Vaz and backers of former Prime Minister Domingos Simoes Pereira. The parties agreed to a deal following talks in Conakry, capital of neighbouring Guinea, last year, but key aspects have not been respected and there has been little let-up in the tensions that have racked the coup-prone nation. Reuters

UN: Aid Funds to Stop Famine in Nigeria’s Northeast may Dry up by June
Aid organizations working to stop the famine in Nigeria will run out of money by June if donors do not give the cash they pledged at a conference in February, worsening an already difficult situation, a U.N. official said on Monday. The famine in the northeast of the West African country is one of four hot spots, together with South Sudan, Yemen and Somalia, that constitute the worst humanitarian crisis the world has faced since 1945, the U.N. said in March. In Nigeria, 4.7 million people, many of them displaced by the conflict with Islamist insurgency Boko Haram, need rations to survive. Of these, an estimated 43,800 people already experience famine, the U.N. said. VOA

Tanzania Expels UNDP Head Awa Dabo
Tanzania has expelled the head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the country, the foreign ministry has said in a statement. It blamed Awa Dabo, a Gambian national, for the “deteriorating performance” of her office, driven by what it called her “strained relations” with staff. Neither she nor the UNDP has commented. But local media have linked the shock move with Ms Dabo’s alleged criticism of controversial elections on the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar last year. BBC

UN Council to Vote on Re-Launching Western Sahara Talks
The UN Security Council is expected to vote Thursday on a draft resolution backing a UN bid to re-start talks on settling the decades-old Western Sahara conflict. The draft resolution would also put pressure on the Polisario Front independence movement to immediately withdraw fighters from a tense buffer zone after Morocco pulled back its forces in February, according to the text seen by AFP. The United States circulated the proposed resolution to the Security Council on Monday after consulting with France, Russia and Britain on the measure that would also extend the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara for a year. France 24

White People in SA Still Hold the Lion’s Share of All Forms of Capital
The role of “white monopoly capital” in post-apartheid South Africa has been in the news lately. In the South African context, it can be understood as the white population’s extensive control over the country’s economy. The debate reflects a recanting view against the rainbow nation dream sold when the country gained political freedom 22 years ago. The idea is that white monopoly capital is the source of the problem of multiple failures of the South African political economy. The response has been a rising chorus of white monopoly capitalism deniers who argue that the governing African National Congress (ANC) is using the concept as a shield against criticism. Instead of addressing its failings such as a faltering economy, widening inequality, unemployment, corruption and incompetence, the argument goes, the ANC is deflecting attention for the country’s difficulties by blaming white monopoly capital. Mail and Guardian

S. African Police Minister Tells Police to “Shoot to Kill”
The South African Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula told the police to “shoot to kill” on Tuesday if they are confronted by rogue and criminals in the line of their duty. Mbalula who vowed to get rid of criminals had a stern warning for criminals and promised to hunt the criminals down with fire. “Police must be ruthless against those who are armed…But what I am saying is if they are shooting at you, you shoot back,” Mbalula told journalists while addressing the South African Police Service (SAPS) training center in Pretoria. On March 3, the South Africa Police Service (SAPS) released a report, tracking the changes in crime in the 9 months from April to December 2016. Xinhua

UN Renews Call for Negotiated Solution to Kasai Conflict in DRC
A U.N. official in the Democratic Republic of Congo has repeated calls for a dialogue to end the deadly, months-long conflict in the Kasai region of the central DRC. “There is no solution in Kasai other than a negotiated solution,” said Mamadou Diallo, the coordinator of humanitarian affairs for the U.N.’s mission in DRC. Diallo addressed a news conference in Kinshasa the day after DRC government spokesman Lambert Mende showed journalists grisly videos of executions he said were carried out by the Kamwina Nsapu rebels, including the murders of two U.N. experts who disappeared in Kasai in March and were later found dead. VOA

Namibia’s Defence Spending Shrouded in Secrecy
Namibia’s defence minister, Penda ya Ndakolo, announced in the National Assembly two weeks ago that money was returned to the finance ministry last year, but did not explain in detail what it was meant for and why it was recalled. The minister said the N$156-million payment to Poly Technologies was returned by the Chinese company via the Bank of New York (BNY) because it was end of the financial year. However, several government officials, who asked to remain anonymous, confirmed this week that the Namibian defence ministry was forced to withdraw the payment. The Namibian understands that the BNY informed Namibia’s central bank, the Bank of Namibia, and the finance ministry about the transaction. Daily Maverick

King Mswati III of Swaziland Wants to Ban Divorce Across African Nation
The king of Swaziland is attempting to ban divorce and has instructed religious leaders to inform citizens of the decree, according to reports. King Mswati III issued the decree during a meeting at the Engabezweni Royal Residence, Daily Nation reports, instructing those gathered to inform people they cannot pull out of a marriage. “In our culture, once you marry, there is no turning back,” he reportedly told the Times of Swaziland. The Independent

DRC and Rwanda Agree to Explore for Oil in Lake Kivu
The Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda have signed a five-year joint exploration agreement for oil under Lake Kivu. Lake Kivu lies on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda in the Albertine Rift valley. It is approximately 90 kilometers (56 miles) long and 50 km (31 miles) wide. An officer at the DRC’s Information Ministry, Raphael Mukendi told Anadolu Agency on Monday that the agreement had been signed a few days ago by DRC’s Minister for Hydrocarbons Aime Ngoi-Mukena and Rwandan Minister for Natural resources Vincent Biruta. ”The two countries signed an agreement in which they agreed to work together in exploring for oil in Lake Kivu. They will carry out joint exploitation of oil resources in Lake Kivu if any hydrocarbons are discovered under the shared cross-border area of the lake.” Anadolu Agency

CDC Travel Notice Issued for Burundi Due to Malaria Outbreak
The Burundi Ministry of Health declared a malaria epidemic on Mar. 13 due to increased numbers of malaria in the country. In fact, all of the country’s 18 provinces are reporting higher numbers of malaria cases than expected and nine provinces—Gitega, Kirundo, Muyinga, Karusi, Kayanza, Ngosi, Ruyigi, Cankuzo and Cibitoko—have been especially hard-hit. Just during the first three months of 2017, Burundi has reported 1,960,620 with 869 deaths. This prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to issue a travel notice for Burundi today. CDC continues to recommend that travelers to Burundi take prescription medicine to prevent malaria. Outbreak News Today

Mauritians Are Africa’s Wealthiest People
Mauritians are the wealthiest people in Africa per capita, a study shows. The Africa Wealth Report 2017 was produced by New World Wealth for Mauritian private and corporate bank AfrAsia and published Monday by The Namibian newspaper. The April 2017 report defines wealth per capita as the average wealth of a person living in each country, excluding what the government lays claim to. The study compiled data from last year. The East African



Photo: Adam Jones