Africa Media Review for August 1, 2017

Kenyan Official Found Tortured and Killed Days Before Presidential Election
An official crucial to running Kenya’s presidential election next week has been found tortured and killed, the electoral commission chairman said Monday, as concerns grew that the East African nation’s vote again would face dangerous unrest. Wafula Chebukati helped identify the body of Christopher Msando at the city morgue and said he had injuries to the neck and head. Mssando had been reported missing a few days ago. … Msando had been in charge of managing information technology systems at the electoral commission. Kenya will be using biometric technology to identify voters and electronic transmission of results, which reduces the chances of fraud. Msando had publicly sought to reassure voters that the election results would not be tampered with. Time

Last Moments of Slain IEBC Official Chris Msando Captured on Camera
For more than an hour Chris Msando drove within and outside the central business district before CCTV cameras lost him on the Thika superhighway. … Throughout the drive and until the car disappeared along the Thika superhighway at around 3am, the woman is in the front passenger seat while the men, said to be ‘young’, sat in the back. Msando appears to be uncomfortable with the presence of his three passengers. His car is captured exiting the CBD through Harambee Avenue a few minutes to 2am and cruising along Mombasa Road. The ICT manager drives up to Mlolongo, then he is seen returning to the city centre. After a few metres the car stops. Msando steps out and he is captured speaking on a phone. The female occupant comes out of the car and stands next to the IEBC manager. “It appears the man (Msando) was under duress,” said a source. Standard Media

Al-Shabaab Commander Thought Killed in Somalia Airstrike
The US military said on Monday it carried out a drone strike in Somalia that killed a member of the al-Shabaab extremist group, while Somalia’s government said it believes the strike killed a high-level al-Shabaab commander responsible for several deadly bombings in the capital. A US Africa Command statement said the airstrike occurred on Saturday near Tortoroow, an al-Shabaab stronghold in Lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia. President Donald Trump earlier this year approved expanded military operations against al-Shabab, including more aggressive airstrikes and considering parts of southern Somalia areas of active hostilities. The al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab is the deadliest Islamic extremist group in Africa. News24

Dozens Detained in Congo as Opposition Urges Elections
Congo’s political opposition says dozens of people have been detained following demonstrations in the capital calling for presidential elections by the end of the year. Victor Tsesongo with the group known as LUCHA says protesters gathered Monday in Kinshasa for a peaceful march. He says at least 50 people were brought in for questioning. Authorities in Congo did not respond to requests for comment following the demonstration that was broken up by police. Tensions are growing in the vast Central African country after officials failed to organize elections late last year. A political agreement brokered by the Catholic church calls for the vote to be held by the end of 2017. But Congo’s electoral commission has indicated that the deadline will not be met. AP

Briefing: The Conflict in Kasai, DRC
Militia attacks and army reprisals have uprooted 1.4 million people in a previously stable region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The conflict has helped double the number of displaced people in the country in the year to June. The Catholic Church reports killings of over 3,000, amidst UN reports of mass graves and widespread abuse of civilians. Refugees have fled to Angola, agricultural land lies idle and humanitarian agencies are ringing the alarm bell at the prospect of food shortages and continuing violence. The clashes have pushed the DRC to the top of an unenviable league table: it is the country with the most internally displaced people (IDPs) in Africa. At the end of June, 3.8 million people out of the DRC’s population of 75-85 million were displaced, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Just 12 months ago, the figure was 1.7 million. … Why has this formerly sedate region exploded and who is responsible? IRIN

Senegal Polls: Macky Sall’s Prospects for Re-election in 2019 Bolstered
The ruling coalition of Senegal’s president Macky Sall won a widely expected landslide in a legislative election, his prime minister said Monday, bolstering Sall’s prospects for re-election in 2019. The Benno Bokk Yakaar (BBY) coalition swept all but three of the country’s 45 electoral departments, Prime Minister Mahammed Boun Abdallah Dionne told the public Senegalese press agency APS ahead of the official release of results. The ruling coalition had “emerged victorious” following the vote on Sunday, Dionne said, while the turnout was 54 percent among Senegal’s 6.2 million registered voters, an increase on voting in 2012. News24

Famine Looms in Northeast Nigeria as Food Crisis Worsens
“We are hungry”. This is currently the commonest expression in the northeastern part of Nigeria. Amongst the displaced are women and children from Bama, a severely conflict- affected town and hard to reach area in Borno state. Most have lost their husbands and children. They have nothing to eat and are often forced to beg on the street. People are very hungry in Lambu settlement, old Maiduguri. In the heat of the insurgency orchestrated by Boko Haram, several families fled with their families from Marte, a town hundreds of kilometers away to the settlement. Now they are very hungry and urgently need food in order not to starve to death. … Food security is one of the main challenges in Northeast Nigeria at present. Many families do not have the economic means to purchase food, or food is less available due to lack of farming and markets. Vanguard

Bidi Bidi One Year on: Inside the World’s Largest Refugee Camp
The Bidi Bidi refugee settlement, in northern Uganda, opened in August 2016 to home thousands of people fleeing the South Sudanese civil war. In April, the 250km2 settlement became the world’s largest refugee camp, giving shelter to 270,000 people. Three months later, the number of refugees stands at 272,168, with Ugandan officials expecting it to increase to 300,000, due to family reunions and births. As South Sudan’s conflict continues to displace thousands of people, humanitarian organisations say some 2,000 South Sudanese cross into Uganda every day. Of these, an average of 100 are children, who are often unaccompanied and whose mental and physical health is at risk due to the atrocities they witnessed and were subjected to. IBTimes

South Sudan: Media Body Petitions President Kiir over Blocked News Websites
The Association for Media Development in South Sudan (AMDISS), an umbrella for all media outlets asked President Salva Kiir to help stop blocking access to four news websites in the country. In the last two weeks, South Sudanese authorities blocked websites of at least four independent media outlets including Radio Tamazuj over claims “they have been reporting critically of the government.” Alfred Taban, a veteran South Sudanese journalist, told Radio Tamazuj on Monday that the media lobby had delivered a petition officially to the office of the president and demanded unblocking of news websites in South Sudan, but there is no any positive response so far. Radio Tamazuj

Malawi Issues Warrant of Arrest for Former President Banda
Malawi police on Monday issued an arrest warrant for former president Joyce Banda in connection with the country’s “Cashgate” corruption scandal, which involved large-scale looting of government coffers. “Malawi fiscal and fraud police have unearthed credible evidence which raises reasonable suspicion that the former president committed offences relating to abuse of office and money laundering,” national police spokesperson James Kadadzera told AFP. Banda has been living in self-imposed exile since she lost to President Peter Mutharika in the 2014 election. Kadadzera said Banda is “suspected of abusing her office” in the Cashgate scandal. … Cashgate is the biggest financial scandal in Malawi’s history and helped push Banda out of power in 2014. News24

China Formally Opens First Overseas Military Base in Djibouti
China formally opened its first overseas military base on Tuesday with a flag raising ceremony in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, the same day as the People’s Liberation Army marks its 90th birthday, state media said. Djibouti’s position on the northwestern edge of the Indian Ocean has fuelled worry in India that it would become another of China’s “string of pearls” military alliances and assets ringing India, including Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. China began construction of a logistics base in Djibouti last year. It will be used to resupply navy ships taking part in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions off the coasts of Yemen and Somalia, in particular. It is China’s first overseas naval base, though Beijing officially describes it as a logistics facility. Reuters

Ex-Warlord, Footballer Begin Liberia Presidential Campaign
Liberia’s 20 presidential candidates kicked off campaigning on Monday for an October election, among them a former warlord, a footballer and a fashion model, as Africa’s first woman head of state Ellen Johnson Sirleaf steps down. There is no obvious frontrunner to lead the fragile west African state the Nobel Prize-winning Sirleaf was elected to run in 2005 following a long civil war which left deep scars on Liberia’s economy and social fabric. Elections for the presidency and House of Representatives take place on October 10 – the first time since the end of the conflict in 2003 that Liberia will be holding a vote without UN peacekeepers providing security. News24



Photo: Adam Jones