Africa Media Review for August 1, 2016

Different Recipes, One Dish: Evading Term Limits in Africa
In recent years, African politics have been marked by increasing numbers of leaders seeking to evade presidential term limits in order to extend their stays in office. These moves not only compromise national constitutions, but they also often trigger instability and conflict. While incumbents may argue that term limits are incompatible with African realities, this reasoning ignores African-led initiatives and institutions that demonstrate the opposite to be true. Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Tension as Riek Machar’s Forces Surround Juba
The South Sudan capital Juba is facing eminent full scale battle between the SPLA and the opposition forces any time from now. Sources from both sides have told ChimpReports that the fighters of the embattled First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar are already in the outskirts of the capital city waiting for the move with the aim of dislodging President Salva Kiir from the administrative seat or capturing more than half of Juba. The opposition forces who have branded themselves Freedom Fighters took offensive and defensive positions in strategic locations and routes for a decisive clash, according to intelligence sources. “The IO forces are already here (Juba). They want to fight the last war and their word is victory,” a source in Juba told this reporter. The opposition forces engaging the SPLA and the allied Mathianganyor militia group are said to be doing so just to divert the attention of the government fighters for Juba to remain vulnerable to any intruding force. Chimp Reports

U.N. Security Council Extends UNMISS Mandate until August 12
The Security Council renewed the mandate of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan until August 12th, determining that the situation in South Sudan constituted a threat to international peace and security. The decision was taken unanimously by the fifteen member Security Council, and it comes while an African regional force is expected to be debated. “Time is not on our side,” said U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, and drew attention to “very disturbing” reports emerging from the country. An IGAD summit this week is expected to be crucial in the decision to send African Union forces to demilitarize the capital. Radio Tamazuj

US Pushes for African Force, Arms Embargo on South Sudan
The United States urged the UN Security Council on Friday to back a regional force for South Sudan to shore up UN peacekeepers unable to cope with the violence. The council adopted a resolution extending the mandate of the UN mission in South Sudan, known as UNMISS, until August 12 to allow time to negotiate another measure authorizing the new force. The proposed resolution is also expected to slap an arms embargo on South Sudan and targeted sanctions on those seen as responsible for the violence. US Ambassador Samantha Power said the proposal by the African regional IGAD bloc to send an intervention brigade to Juba should be supported by the council. “We all need to support them,” said Power. “The United States believes the region’s proposal offers a basis to re-establish a secure environment in Juba, which is critical for the parties to make progress on implementing the peace agreement” and allowing aid deliveries, she said. The Independent

Caught between Juba and Khartoum: The Double ‘Game’ of China
Weapons manufactured by China and sold to Sudan have been funnelled to rebels in South Sudan, where two Chinese peacekeepers were recently killed. The London-based Conflict Armament Research group said that in May it documented 1,300 boxes of ammunition captured by the government military, which is still referred to by its civil war-era name, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. Government forces captured the ammunition from a rebel faction of the military known as the SPLA in Opposition, or SPLA-IO. The ammunition was discovered in northern Unity State, which borders Sudan, and the boxes had been painted to obscure shipping information that showed they originated in China, said Justine Fleischner, group’s South Sudan researcher. “Despite these efforts, we have identified that the materiel was part of a 2014 consignment to Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service,” she said. “The consignment date also suggests that the materiel was very quickly diverted to the SPLA-IO in Unity State, presumably by NISS. China is still struggling to co-ordinate its policy between the different actors in the Sudans.” The discovery highlights China’s complicated relationship with both countries, as a long time ally of Sudan as well as a supporter of newly independent South Sudan, where it has major investments in oil. The East African

Tens of Thousands of Congolese Rally to Demand Kabila Step Down
Reflecting Kabila’s persistent popularity among many of Congo’s nearly 68 million people, tens of thousands of government loyalists held a counter-demonstration a day after Tshisekedi’s return, calling for the president to stay on. Protests against a potential poll delay have in the past turned violent and authorities arrested dozens of critics of Kabila in April, although last week’s rallies were peaceful. Foreign donors fear political tensions could easily lead to armed conflict—Congo’s mix of ethnic strife and foreign interference driven by competition over its fabulous mineral wealth has bloodied it for two decades. A regional war between 1996 and 2003 in east Congo—a treasure trove of rare metals used in phones and other gadgets—killed millions of people, spawned countless militias and sucked in soldiers from half-a-dozen African countries. Sunday’s protest was still peaceful by 2.30 p.m. (1330) GMT, watched by armoured police trucks. Some of those gathered said they would try to force Kabila out if necessary. The East African

Security Council Orders 228-strong UN Police Contingent for Burundi
The United Nations Security Council has requested Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to establish a United Nations police officers component in Burundi for an initial period of one year to monitor the security situation and to support the Office of the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) in monitoring rights violations and abuses in the crisis-gripped country. Acting on the recommendations of the Secretary-General, the Council adopted a new resolution by a recorded vote of 11 in favour with four abstentions (Angola, China, Egypt and Venezuela), which authorized the deployment of a UN police component of up to 228 officers. Further by the text, the UN police would be placed under the authority of a Senior Adviser to the United Nations and be deployed in the capital, Bujumbura and throughout Burundi. The Secretary-General was further requested “to ensure their progressive deployment.” Chimp Reports

Fighting between Rival Tuareg Groups Kills 6 in Mali
Fighting has broken out in northeastern Mali between a coalition of Tuareg rebels and a Tuareg group allied with the government of this West African country. Fahad Ag Almahmoud, secretary-general for GATIA, the government-allied group, said the fighting happened on Saturday in Edjerer, about 50km northeast of Kidal against the Coordination of Azawad Movements, a coalition of groups seeking autonomy in northern Mali that includes ethnic Arabs and Tuaregs. He said they killed at least six of the coalition’s fighters. News24

Nigeria: Joint Offensive against Niger Delta Militants Leaves 100 Dead
Nigerian security forces have started a joint offensive against militants from the Niger Delta that resulted in the death of 100 people. Estimates suggest the death toll could be as high as 114. The army, air force and navy carried out raids in Lagos and Ogun states where the country’s intelligence said the militants were hiding while planning attacks in the oil-rich Niger Delta, southern Nigeria. “The significance of this combined and very vibrant effort of the Nigerian armed forces is to ensure that the militants are flushed out from that general area where they have been causing mayhem and, more significantly, to ensure that their hideouts and camps are completely taken away from that place,” army’s spokesperson, Colonel Rabe Abubakar, said in a statement. He added the joint offensive is expected to continue in other parts of the country. IBTimes

UN Suspends Aid to Dangerous Areas of Northeast Nigeria
The United Nations is suspending aid to dangerous areas of Nigeria’s northeastern Borno state, where it says a half million people are starving, after Boko Haram ambushed a humanitarian convoy. Three civilians including a UNICEF employee and contractor for the International Organization for Migration were wounded in Thursday’s ambush, along with two of the soldiers escorting the humanitarian workers, according to the Nigerian army and the U.N. Children’s Fund. “Only the U.N. missions outside the capital have been suspended,” UNICEF spokeswoman Doune Porter told The Associated Press on Friday. “The normal assistance we have been giving will continue in Maiduguri,” the Borno state capital of 1 million people that hosts another million refugees from Nigeria’s 7-year-old insurgency. “This was not only an attack on humanitarian workers. It is an attack on the people who most need the assistance and aid that these workers were bringing,” Porter said. The attacked convoy was traveling from the city of Bama, newly freed from Boko Haram, where Doctors Without Borders has warned that children are dying every day with 15 percent suffering severe acute malnutrition and likely to die without food and medical aid. Daily Sabah

Tunisian Lawmakers Fire Prime Minister With No Confidence Vote
Tunisia’s parliament passed a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Habib Essid on Saturday, effectively disbanding the government of the U.S.-trained agricultural economist. The no-confidence motion was passed by 118 votes, easily crossing the country’s 109-vote threshold after a debate that stretched late into the night. Although the result was expected—Essid had faced criticism from across Tunisia’s political spectrum—the vote was a mark of the instability which has bedeviled the North African country since it kicked off a wave of pro-democracy rebellions across the Arab world in 2011. Time

Gabon President Warns of Election Unrest
Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba has warned of possible unrest during the August 27 election which he said was the “strategy” of the opposition challenging his eligibility to seek a second seven-year term. “It is to be feared, because it is the opposition’s strategy for many years,” Bongo said in an interview with the weekly “Jeune Afrique” published on Sunday which asked him if he feared “abuses and even violence” after the vote. The opposition “has started to heat things up by announcing that the election will not be transparent, that we will steal victory,” the president said. … Gabon’s constitutional court last week rejected appeals lodged by three opponents against his candidacy. The representative of the EU election observation mission on Thursday called on politicians to “do everything” to “avoid any violence or any form of provocation” with tensions high ahead of the presidential polls. News24

Food on the Frontlines: Sudanese Armed Forces’ War of Attrition in the Nuba Mountains
Poor harvests and the Sudanese government’s military strategy of targeting key farming areas will mean severe hunger later this year and potential starvation next. For more than five years, the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North and government forces have fought each other to a standstill in the border states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile. Neither side has attained a significant military advantage. The fighting generally takes place from November to June, before the region’s rainy season muddies all access points to the Nuba Mountains, making many roads impassable. This year marked one of the government’s largest campaigns yet. President Omar al-Bashir’s Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) attacked the Nuba Mountains in late March with seven offensives. The SPLA-N repelled all of these attacks except in two areas—but the damage to farmlands and markets has brought dire consequences for civilians. Bashir’s forces have long targeted food supplies. What has changed now is that they are accused of waging a systematic war of attrition designed to squeeze civilians out of rebel-held areas by destroying farmland and markets, and blocking planting by civilians during the rainy season. Nuba Reports

Ethiopia: Massive Protest Held in Gondar City
Tens of thousands marched in Ethiopia’s northwestern city of Gondar on Sunday morning. Residents descended to the city center “piazza” around 9 am. The rally lasted until noontime. In placards and chants, the protesters denounced what they see as putting Amhara people at a disadvantage. Among the slogans in the protest: “Restore the historic border”, “Wolqait is Amhara”, “Qimant and Amhara are one” and “Return the land given to Sudan”. The protesters demanded: “Respect for Amhara-ness”, “Amhara is not terrorist”, “Stop mass killing Amhara people” and an end to alleged TPLF dominance in the region. The city was hit by protests and violence two weeks ago. Shooting broke out when the Anti-Terrorism Taskforce moved to detain a group of individuals including those known as organizers of a movement for the reassignment of Wolqait district from Tigray region to Amhara region. The task force claimed the individuals were wanted for crimes, while the supporters of the movement deemed it as a political crackdown. The clash left eleven security officers and five civilians dead. It was also accompanied by ethnic violence in the city and in the nearby town Debark. Horn Affairs

Militants Launch Car Bomb, Gun Attack on Somali Police Base, Ten Dead
Militants set off two car bombs outside a police base in Somalia’s capital before gunmen stormed inside on Sunday, leaving at least 10 people dead, police said. Islamist group al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the assault on the headquarters of Somalia’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Mogadishu. It was the second major operation in the city this week by the group which has kept up a guerilla war on the Western-backed government in the face of U.S. drone strikes and African peacekeeping forces. Heavy gunfire rang out inside for about half an hour after the first blast, said witnesses. The bodies of four civilians lay in the street near the compound which was partially destroyed. A kiosk close to the wall caught fire. “At least 10 people including four militants, five civilians and a soldier died in today’s attack,” Hussein Ali, a police officer, told Reuters. Another 15 people were injured, some seriously, he added. Al Shabaab’s military operations spokesman, Abdiasis Abu Musab, said one of its suicide bombers had started the attack by ramming a car bomb into the building’s gate. Reuters

Somalia: Ex Army Officer Calls for Security Forces Shake up after Attack
A former Somali army colonel has called on the federal government to shake up its security forces following series of deadly attacks in Mogadishu by Al Shabaab militants in recent weeks. Speaking with Radio Shabelle, Col Abdinur Jama Jokar has urged police and National Intelligence (NISA) services to come up with new measures to prevent the frequent bombings by Al Shabaab. “The army officers who are in charge of the security should be fired from the post since they are incompetent to protect the civilians and stop Al Shabaab from carrying out attacks,” Jama said. Shabelle News

Ghana: Over 30 Chinese Nationals Deported
Over 30 Chinese nationals have been deported by the Ghana Immigration service in the Ashanti region. The foreigners were deported after they were caught engaging in illegal mining activities popular called ‘galamsey’. “We repatriated during the period 37 foreign nationals mostly Chinese nationals engaged in illegal mining,” the regional Commander for Immigration Service, Mr. Isaac Luortey told the Interior Minister Prosper Bani on his visit to the Ashanti region. Mr. Luortey also assured that the service will play its part to ensure peaceful polls come December. GhanaWeb

Uganda: Country in Shock as Police Truck Intentionally Knocks Besigye Supporter
Dust has barely settled of emerging revelations of how the Uganda Police Force continues to inhumanely treat civilians; another shocking example has Saturday afternoon come to the open. A phone video footage showing a police truck driver intentionally knocking down a man cheering FDC’s former Presidential candidate Col Dr Kizza Besigye, has gone viral. In the video which was captured by a one Henry Nsubuga in Kyebando, the police pickup truck following Dr Besigye’s mild procession slows down, turns slightly into the pavement and knocks down one of the supporters, who is cheering the passing politician. It then rolls back on the road and speeds off without stopping. Another man who is running on foot and presumably a police officer kicks hard on the knocked man who is rolling in pain on the ground. This person in civilian attire is wearing a headdress, perhaps to hide his identity. The video comes in the midst of an ongoing trial of up to 9 police officers who were filmed less than three weeks ago, brutally beating up supporters of the Dr Besigye who was celebrating his release from Luzira prison. Chimp Reports

Zimbabwe: Has a Police Crackdown on Mugabe’s Once Loyal Supporters Begun?
Zimbabwe police have detained the spokesman of the veterans association that turned on President Robert Mugabe last week and called him dictatorial, raising concerns that a crackdown on what had been the president’s most loyal supporters has begun. Douglas Mahiya’s detention comes a day after the 92-year-old Mugabe vowed “severe” punishment for the authors of the harshly worded statement by the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association. Mahiya was detained on Wednesday night, police spokeswoman Charity Charamba said Thursday. The veterans have been Mugabe’s core loyalists since the southern African country’s 1970s liberation war against white rule, often using violence to crush the opposition. Frustration is growing in Zimbabwe over its rapidly deteriorating economy and alleged corruption, which the veterans’ statement blamed on “bankrupt leadership.” CS Monitor

ANC Faces Tough Test in S. Africa Local Elections
South Africans vote Wednesday in municipal elections widely seen as a referendum on President Jacob Zuma, with the stalling economy overshadowing progress made since the end of apartheid. Zuma’s African National Congress (ANC), which controls the majority of the 278 municipalities, has been weakened by graft scandals and growing public discontent since it led the fight that ended white-minority rule in 1994. The government struggle to provide basic services as such electricity to many of the poor could fuel support for the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) and the radical leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). The ANC has easily won all post-apartheid elections, but its rivals hope this week’s vote could shake its previously impregnable hold on power. Analysis of the results, expected to be released from late Wednesday, will focus on the battle for three key metropolitan municipalities—the capital Pretoria, the economic hub Johannesburg and the coastal city of Port Elizabeth. Polls suggest the DA, which already holds Cape Town, could win all three cities, providing it with a major boost ahead of the 2019 general election. The Independent



Photo: Adam Jones