Africa Media Review for April 26, 2018

Tanzania Braces for Anti-Government Rallies
Tanzania is trying to avert mass demonstrations planned for Thursday, organized through social media to protest curbs on political and press freedoms imposed since President John Magufuli assumed power three years ago. Officials have warned residents against street protests in the East African nation, one of the continent’s most peaceful countries. The protests also are planned at the country’s foreign embassies, including in Washington, where at least a dozen people staged an early demonstration Wednesday morning. Some wore masks as they circled outside the embassy in light rain, carrying signs with messages such as “Magufool must go!”  VOA

Tanzania Police Threaten to Beat Protesters ‘Like Stray Dogs’ to Halt Demos
Tanzania deployed heavily armed police officers across major towns and cities on Wednesday in a bid to block anti-government protests called by a U.S.-based Tanzanian social media activist. The banned demonstrations – timed to take place on Thursday’s anniversary of the union between mainland Tanzania and the Indian Ocean archipelago of Zanzibar – have been organized by self-exiled activist Mange Kimambi. “Those who plan to demonstrate tomorrow will seriously suffer … they will be beaten like stray dogs,” Gilles Muroto, police chief in Tanzania’s administrative capital Dodoma told journalists on Wednesday. In the northern town of Arusha, an opposition stronghold, police on Tuesday arrested seven people accused of mobilizing fellow Tanzanians to take part in the planned protests. Reuters

New ‘Islamist’ Attacks in North Mozambique
Three new attacks allegedly by radicalised Muslim youth in northern Mozambique have left one dead and three injured in recent days, sources told AFP on Wednesday. A spate of violence has erupted in the region since October when an apparent jihadist assault targeted a police station and military post, leaving two officers and 14 attackers dead. In that attack, dozens of armed men, known locally as “al-Shabaab” – Arabic for “youth” though with no confirmed link to the Somali jihadist group of the same name – were involved. The latest assaults, on Saturday and Sunday, targeted two villages near the towns of Mocimboa da Praia and Palma, not far from the border with Tanzania, said sources on condition of anonymity. AFP

Weapons Stolen from UAE Training Facility in Somalia, Sold on Open Market
At least 600 weapons were stolen in the past week from a former United Arab Emirates-run training center in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu and are for sale in the city, weapons dealers said on Wednesday. The weapons, including new Kalashnikov assault rifles and Chinese versions of them, were stolen by Somali National Army soldiers who had been trained by the UAE at its facility, three Somali men who purchased weapons from the soldiers told Reuters. The Gulf nation has trained hundreds of Somali troops since 2014 as part of an effort boosted by an African Union military mission to defeat an Islamist insurgency and secure the country for the Somali government, which is backed by Western nations, Turkey and the United Nations. Reuters

With Details of Canada’s Deployment to Mali Still Murky, Conservatives Demand House of Commons Vote
As details remain scarce around Canada’s prospective deployment to a UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, Conservatives are asking the Liberal government for a formal debate and vote in the House of Commons. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came into government on a promise to “renew Canada’s commitment to peacekeeping operations,” and later said that such missions would be subject to parliamentary debate. But fewer peacekeepers are on the ground than when he took office, and the six-helicopter deployment to Mali announced last month is well shy of the 600 troops and 150 police the government announced in 2016 would be part of unspecified future missions. The Edmonston Journal

Rwandan Security Forces Enter Refugee Camp
There’s tension at a camp in western Rwanda for refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo after Rwanda security forces entered the camp Wednesday morning. According to refugees at the Kiziba camp, the security forces want to arrest some of their leaders accused of masterminding demonstrations and acts of disobedience against the Rwandan authorities. Two months ago, the refugees marched to the headquarters of the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, in the town of Karongi to protest against bad living conditions and asking to be repatriated to DR Congo. Rwandan security forces used live bullets to disperse them, killing around 11 and injuring many others, according to the UNHCR. BBC

East Libya Commander Haftar Returning after Treatment in Paris
Khalifa Haftar, the military commander who dominates eastern Libya, will return to Benghazi on Thursday, a spokesman for his forces said on Wednesday, after he received medical treatment in Paris.Haftar had been in Paris for about two weeks, where his spokesman earlier said he had been treated after feeling unwell.From Paris, Haftar flew to Cairo for talks with officials from Egypt, his main backer, several Libyan and Egyptian sources told Reuters.Haftar, 75, has long been seen as a contender for national power, and reports about his health sparked a flurry of speculation inside Libya, including claims that he was gravely ill and that rivals were maneuvering to replace him. The New York Times

‘Libyan Unity Government to Be Formed by End of 2018’
Libya’s speaker of the Tobruk-based parliament said on Tuesday he expects the formation of a unity government by the end of the year. “I expect that by the end of this year, the problems in Libya will be resolved and one unity government will be formed,” Aqila Saleh said at Rabat-Salé Airport before his departure from Morocco. Saleh said during his visit, he had officially asked Morocco to urge the Libyan parties — as well as Ghassan Salame, the UN envoy to Libya — to expedite a solution needed to amend the political agreement for Libya to get past its crisis. Leaving Rabat, Saleh concluded a visit that started on Sunday evening, including discussions with Habib al-Maliki, the head of Morocco’s House of Representatives, and Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita. Saleh said Rabat wants to help resolve Libya’s crisis. Anadolu Agency

Infant Deaths Fall Sharply in Africa with Routine Antibiotics
Two doses a year of an antibiotic can sharply cut death rates among infants in poor countries, perhaps by as much as 25 percent among the very young, researchers reported on Wednesday.Their large study — of nearly 200,000 children in three African countries — raises the exciting possibility that deploying antibiotics as doctors do vaccines could rapidly reduce deaths among newborns and infants. Death rates in this age group have remained stubbornly high in poor countries even as deaths among all children under age 5 have dropped by half, thanks to vaccines against childhood diseases.As a result of the study, the World Health Organization is considering whether to recommend routinely giving antibiotics to newborns.“Our independent expert panel says this holds a lot of promise,” said Dr. Per Ashorn, a W.H.O. expert in maternal and child health. “But we will review it with very rigorous procedures.”  The New York Times

Algeria Sentences Liberian to Death over Espionage for Israel
An Algerian criminal court has awarded death penalty to a Lebanese-born Liberian national over a case of spying for Israel. The court also sentenced six individuals from Guinea and Mali to 10 years in jail in the same case. A legal source said on Tuesday that the “Ghardaïa court south of Algeria has condemned seven individuals of different African nationalities on a case related to espionage for Israel.” “The main accused Elm al-Deen Faisal, a Liberian national, earned death penalty, while six others were sentenced to 10-year imprisonment. Each one of them will also pay an $8,000 fine,” the source added. Al Arabiya

French Tycoon Vincent Bolloré Indicted over Suspected Africa Corruption
A French judge has indicted businessman Vincent Bollore in a corruption investigation related to his group’s businesses in two countries in Africa, the company said on Wednesday. “Vincent Bolloré has been indicted by Judge (Serge) Tournaire,” the Bolloré Group said in a statement. “Bolloré, who continues to be presumed innocent, will now have access to this dossier (of evidence) whose content he had no knowledge of and will have the opportunity to answer these unfounded accusations,” it added. The decision to place the French tycoon under formal investigation over allegations his company undercharged for work on behalf of presidential candidates in Guinea and Togo in return for port contracts came after two days of questioning by police. France 24

Algeria: President Bouteflika and the Army’s Political End Game
He last addressed the nation six years ago, but officials from Algeria’s ruling party insist that President Abdelaziz Bouteflika run for a fifth consecutive term in next year’s election. Aged 81, Bouteflika has been severely ill and confined to a wheelchair since suffering a stroke in 2013. A year later, Abdelmalek Sellal, the prime minister at the time, announced that Bouteflika would run again, assuring Algerians he was fit for office. This time, there has been no official announcement yet by the ruling National Liberation Front but a number of party executives and government officials have publicly said that Bouteflika would again be their candidate. Al Jazeera

South Sudan’s Kiir Vows to Crush Rebels
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has vowed to crush the rebels fighting to dislodge him from power. President Kiir told a military parade at the army headquarters in Juba on Tuesday that many people were lured into rebellion by the prospects of higher ranks in the military or the government. He said such intentions posed a major threat to the nation’s peace and stability. President Kiir said the war waged against his leadership had no national agenda but was the work of individuals keen to get higher positions. “The war being fought is a war without a clear national direction and political goals. It is a selfish war to gain ranks and positions in the government without effort,” President Kiir noted. The East African

24 Governors Endorse Buhari Second Term Bid
Twenty-four out of Nigeria’s 36 governors have endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari’s candidature for the 2019 presidential election. The endorsement comes as leadership crisis rocks the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party. The 24 governors supportive of President Buhari’s second term are from APC, but there were also others from the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State in the South East, declared his and the colleagues’ position following a closed-door meeting with the president on Tuesday. President Buhari had at the last APC National Executive Committee meeting, declared his intention to run for a second term in 2019. The East African

Africa in 2018 World Press Freedom Index: Ghana Best, Eritrea Worst
The West African nation of Ghana has the continent’s best atmosphere for media personnel, a report by the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has said. The 2018 World Press Freedom Index published on Wednesday showed that Ghana dethroned Namibia who were tops in 2017. Ghana placed 23rd on the 180 country list, sandwiched between Samoa and Latvia on 22nd and 24th respectively. Completing the top three slots for Africa were Namibia in 26th and South Africa in 28th slot. At the bottom of the ranking was Eritrea at 179th, Africa’s worst placement. Others in the not free bracket were Sudan, Egypt, Burundi, Equatorial Guinea, Djibouti and Somalia. Africa News

World Cocoa Conference: Low Prices Still Hurt African Farmers
When Sayina Riman thinks back to his early days in the cocoa trade he becomes nostalgic. “When cocoa prices were at $5,000 (€4,102) per ton in the 1980s, most of the finest houses in our community used to be from the cocoa farmers,” recalls Riman who heads Nigeria’s Cocoa Association. He is one of around 1,500 delegates who have come to Berlin for the World Cocoa Conference. There’s a tense mood at this year’s meeting. “The future of the cocoa sector as a whole is at stake,” explains Jean-Marc Anga, director of the International Cocoa Organization. The reason is the low prices. Cocoa currently stands at around €2,200 ($2,680) per ton. In 2016 prices were even lower. For African farmers and governments, that is simply too little. “We need prices from which the farmers can make a living,” complains Souleymane Diarrassouba, trade minister of Ivory Coast. The country is the world’s largest cocoa exporter. Deutsche Welle



Photo: Adam Jones