Africa Media Review for April 26, 2019

Huge Rallies in Sudan as Protesters Vow to ‘Protect Revolution’
Huge crowds of protesters have rallied in the streets of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, stepping up pressure on the country’s ruling military council to cede power to an interim civilian body. Tens of thousands of people chanting “We will protect the revolution with our blood” marched through Khartoum’s main streets on Thursday before converging outside the military headquarters, where hundreds of demonstrators have kept up a weeks-long sit-in demanding democratic rule. Sudan’s military assumed power after overthrowing longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir on April 11. Al Jazeera

Sudan: TMC – Opposition Agreement after Three Islamist Generals Resign
Three members of Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC) have resigned, following pressure from the from the Forces for Freedom and Change, including the Sudanese Professionals association, who have spearheaded the public uprising across Sudan since December 2018, and are coordinating a rolling sit-in in front of the General Command of the Sudanese army in Khartoum, demanding a transition to civilian government. The official Sudan News Agency (SUNA) has confirmed that the Lt Gen Omar Zeinelabdin who headed the TMC’s political committee, Lt Gen Jalaleldin El Sheikh, and Police Lt Gen El Tayeb Babikir have all tendered their resignations. Sources close to the TMC say that while the resignations have not yet been officially accepted, they are on the desk of the chairman Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, and “the three will take no further part in the TMC”.  Radio Dabanga

Igad Calls Meeting on South Sudan Stalemate
The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad), the Horn of Africa’s regional stability watchdog, has called a meeting to iron out friction between President Salva Kiir and former rebel leader Dr Riek Machar over formation of a government of National Unity. IGAD Special Envoy to South Sudan Imail Wais asked all the parties on Thursday to attend a meeting on May 2 and 3 aimed at reaching a consensus on formation of the new government. Delays in creating a neutral security force and enacting legislation essential to improving governance have led to a clash between President Kiir and Dr Machar on whether the new government should be formed on May 12, as scheduled.  The East African

In South Sudan, Illness Is as Deadly as War
By the time he was brought into the remote clinic in northeastern South Sudan, two-year-old Nyachoat was already convulsing from the malaria attacking his brain. After being given medication he lies fast asleep, naked and feverish, attached to a drip, his anxious mother sitting on the bed next to him. Nyachoat could be saved, but others are not so lucky. In South Sudan mind-bending horrors abound of war, ethnic violence, rape, hunger and displacement. But for civilians living in the shadow of conflict, the greatest danger is often being cut off from health services, whether due to violence or lack of development in the vast, remote areas that make up much of the country.  AFP

‘Neighbourhoods Turning into Battlefields’ around Libyan Capital
The humanitarian situation has greatly deteriorated in and around the Libyan capital Tripoli, where “densely populated residential areas are gradually turning into battlefields”, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has said. Hospitals are struggling with chronic shortages of medical supplies amid power outages and weakened water pumping stations, the aid agency said on Thursday, after three weeks of clashes around the capital between renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar’s eastern forces and troops loyal to the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA). “More than 30,000 people are said to have fled their homes and are sheltering with relatives or in public buildings,” it said, a figure which the United Nations said has risen to 36,000.  Al Jazeera

Thousands Protest against Algeria’s Ruling Elite
Thousands of protesters demanding the departure of Algeria’s ruling elite rallied in Algiers for a tenth Friday. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika stepped down after 20 years in power this month, bowing to pressure from the army and weeks of demonstrations mainly by young people seeking change. “The system must go” and “We are fed up with you,” read banners held up by protesters in central Algiers. The protests, which began on Feb. 22 and have been largely peaceful, have continued as many want the removal of an elite that has governed Algeria since independence from France in 1962 and the prosecution of people they see as corrupt. Bouteflika has been replaced by Abdelkader Bensalah, head of the upper house of parliament, as interim president for 90 days until a presidential election on July 4. AFP

The Faceless Insurgency in Mozambique That No One Can Explain
In June last year, the Mail & Guardian wrote about a “mysterious insurgency” in Cabo Delgado province in northern Mozambique, in which villages and government buildings were attacked. There were few details about who was behind the attacks, or what their motivation might be, but the consequences were serious: 40 people were killed, some with extreme cruelty; at least 400 homes were burnt to the ground; and more than 1 000 people were displaced. For such a significant conflict, there was surprisingly little reliable information available. The article concluded: “Before anyone can begin to grapple with the problems, they need to understand the nature of the threat. So far, the rumours far outweigh the research.” Nothing has changed. This month, we revisited the story, expecting by now that researchers, analysts and other journalists would have a better understanding of what is going on. But even though the violence has intensified — there are an average of two to three attacks a week, and at least 120 people have now died — the people who normally have answers to these kinds of questions are even more confused than before.  Mail and Guardian

Mali’s Rebel Leaders Face UN Sanctions over Continued Attacks (Video)
Fighting continues in Mali four years after peace accords were signed, with at least 4,000 people killed since 2013 and 167 in the latest attack. People are taking to the streets calling for French and foreign troops to leave Mali. Al Jazeera’s Nicolas Haque met with a rebel leader facing UN sanctions over his refusal to stop attacks. Al Jazeera

Kenyatta Meets Chinese President over $3.6 Bn Loan
Chinese President Xi Jinping met his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta again on Thursday. President Kenyatta is in Beijing to attend the Second Forum for Belt and Road Initiative, a high-level global meeting on China’s infrastructure projects. This is the third meeting between the two leaders in less than a year, highlighting high-level relations between China and Kenya. The Kenyan President’s new visit is to obtain a loan of more than $3.6 billion to finance transport infrastructure, according to local media reports. The loan will finance a railway between the cities of Naivasha and Kisumu, then to Uganda to boost trade in the sub-region. Africa News

China Wants to Use the Power of Global Media to Dispel Belt and Road Debt Risks
Beijing wants to deploy international media outlets to allay fears about its trillion-dollar global trade and infrastructure initiative. President Xi Jinping called on media outlets in the countries involved in the Belt and Road plan to fashion stories about the scheme in a way that boosts public support. Xi made the comments at the first council meeting of the Belt and Road News Network (BRNN), an association consisting of 182 media outlets from 86 countries which include China Daily newspaper, French daily La Provence, Russian news agency Tass and South Africa’s Independent Media. The BRNN was first proposed by Xi in 2017 and is positioned as a platform to help nations along the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to cooperate in news gathering, improve technological support and enhance cultural exchanges. […] Since 2012, state-run media outlets have also pitched up in the continent, among them the Africa bureau of China Global Television Network (CGTN) and China Daily Africa newspaper. China also takes African journalists to Beijing for training, while state-linked firms have made investments in local media outlets including buying a 20% stake in South Africa’s Independent Media firm.   Quartz

Nigeria Revives Plan to Double Crude Oil Output, Triple Refining
Nigeria plans to almost double oil production and triple its refining capacity by 2025, reviving previous pledges that turned out to be hard to achieve in practice. The OPEC member is looking to pump 4 million barrels a day by 2025 and increase refining capacity to 1.5 million barrels daily, Maikanti Baru, managing director of state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp., said at a conference Thursday in the capital Abuja. Nigeria needs to unlock new barrels as quickly as possible, he said.  Africa’s biggest oil producer previously set a 4 million-barrel-a-day production target for 2010, and successively delayed it over the years. The country, where output peaked near 2.5 million barrels a day in the middle of the last decade, has grappled with militant attacks, leakages and theft at its oil infrastructure. Bloomberg

Tunisian Police Switch Off Broadcasts of Private TV Station
Tunisian police stormed the offices of a private television station and cut it off the air on Thursday over accusations it had breached broadcasting rules, which the channel called an attempt to silence its voice criticizing the government. Dozens of members of the security forces stormed the headquarters of Nesma television, switched off its transmissions and seized equipment, journalists at the station told Reuters. The move followed a ruling by broadcasting regulator HAICA, which revoked the channel’s license last year. The HAICA had fined the channel for broadcasts the body described as exploiting poor people and promoting the political agenda of the channel’s owner, businessman Nabil Karoui. The channel rejected the fines and said it did not recognize the rulings by the body, which it said were motivated in response to the broadcaster’s criticism of the government. The government has denied any responsibility for rulings by the HAICA. Officials at Nesma were not immediately available to comment on Thursday’s raid.  AFP

Cyclone Kenneth: Thousands Evacuated as Mozambique Is Hit with the Strongest Storm in Its History
Thousands of people were being evacuated to shelters Thursday as powerful Tropical Cyclone Kenneth bore down on northern Mozambique. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 220 kph (140 mph) — the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane. Kenneth comes a little more than a month after the country was dealt a devastating blow by the deadliest and costliest storm in its history — Tropical Cyclone Idai. Kenneth is the strongest tropical cyclone to hit Mozambique in known history. The National Institute of Disaster Management in Mozambique said it had provided shelters and begun “compulsory evacuation” of families to the shelters. In addition to the dangerous winds and storm surge, Kenneth will bring torrential rainfall and significant flooding. More than 20 inches of rain is projected over the next four days — roughly four times the average monthly rainfall for the region.  CNN

Guinea’s President Eyes Controversial Third Term
The billboard outside Guinea’s National Assembly building reads: “I am young. Yes to a referendum. Yes to a new Constitution. We support you for life.” Similar signs have popped up in other parts of the country. The publicity campaign is in support of a constitutional referendum to scrap term limits, which would allow President Alpha Condé to run for a third or even fourth term in office. Third-termism, the catch-all phrase for presidents looking to extend their stay in power beyond constitutionally mandated limits, has well and truly arrived in Guinea. Guinea’s constitution, adopted just nine years ago, limits the president to two five-year terms. Condé’s second term ends in 2020, but he has repeatedly hinted that he wants a longer stint in the presidential palace.  Mail and Guardian

Zimbabwe Draws Criticism for Assisting Burundi’s SADC Bid
Burundian Foreign Minister Ambassador Ezechiel Mbigira met with Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Wednesday, to seek support for admission into the 16-member Southern African Development Community (SADC). In meeting with Mnangagwa, Mbigira, who was representing President Pierre Nkurunzina, told journalists gathered at State House that he was seeking Zimbabwe’s support in its application to join SADC and said he was confident Zimbabwe will support it given the two country’s strong diplomatic and historical ties. “Zimbabwe is a sister country, it’s a country with which we have a common history and a common future that’s why we need to relate with this country in a very special way,” Mbigira told journalists.  VOA

African Migrants Left in Limbo at Yemen Football Stadium
In a disused football stadium in the Yemeni city of Aden, hundreds of African migrants find themselves in limbo – banned from onward travel, but unable to return home. The majority from Ethiopia, the migrants are facing tough conditions after being confined to the stadium in the government bastion, according to the United Nations’ migration agency. “The site is not fit to be hosting anyone, not even one person, let alone thousands,” said Olivia Headon, the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Yemen spokeswoman. While most of the 1,789 migrants are adult men, they also include 389 boys and 28 girls under the age of 18, Headon said. The youngest is believed to be 11 years old.  AFP



Photo: Adam Jones