Africa Media Review for August 1, 2019

A Truth and Fact-finding Committee set up by the Darfur Bar Association (DBA) to look into rape cases during the violent dismantling of the sit-in in front of the army command in Khartoum on June 3, which left more than 100 people dead and hundreds more wounded, has reported that it has “ample evidence” that the ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) is responsible for the abuses and massacre. The Committee said in a report on Tuesday that eight young women who were raped are receiving psychological treatment. … The decision to disband the sit-in was taken at a meeting in which all members of the [Transitional Military Council] TMC, the Attorney-General, police chiefs and security directors participated. Radio Dabanga

The European Union (EU) has warned the Sudanese military rulers that it may no longer engage with them unless civilians “exercise demonstrable authority” in running the affairs of the country. In what appears to be new pressure to stop chaos in the country, the European Union said Khartoum’s need for a civilian-led government is “urgent”. “Further delays risk upsetting the achievements reached so far and could fuel further violence,” a statement from the bloc’s Spokesperson said on Wednesday, in the wake of renewed violence in Sudan. The East African

Negotiators from Sudan’s ruling military council and main opposition coalition have made progress on the sticking points in discussions on the transition from military rule and are set to hold direct talks within 48 hours, an opposition leader said. The on-off talks on how to run the country after the overthrow of long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir had been halted on Tuesday after the killing of six people at a rally on Monday, at least four of whom were children. But on Wednesday, Khalid Omar, from the opposition Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) coalition, said their lower-level technical committees isolated the key points of contention in a constitutional declaration that will set the path from military rule to a new sovereign council. The main delegations will meet for further discussions within 48 hours, Omar told Reuters, without giving details on what had been ironed out. Reuters

At least 15 Ethiopians died after the boat trying to smuggle them into Yemen broke down and left them stranded in the sea without food or water for a week, a UN migration agency said. Survivors said some died from hunger and thirst and others drowned themselves, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said. A number reached Yemen but died before they could get medical help, it added. Yemen is more than four years into a civil war that has killed tens of thousands of people and pushed the impoverished nation to the brink of famine. But thousands of migrants mostly from the Horn of Africa arrive there every year in the hopes of moving on to wealthy Gulf Arab states and escaping poverty and unemployment at home. Reuters

Rwanda closed its border with Congo over the deadly Ebola outbreak on Thursday, while a Congolese official said a person who had contact with the second confirmed Ebola case in the border city of Goma was receiving treatment after showing signs of the disease. The Ebola coordinator for North Kivu province, Dr. Aruna Abedi, told The Associated Press that the person in treatment is a suspected case. Congo’s health ministry said it is the 1-year-old daughter of the man who died on Wednesday and had spent several days at home with his large family while showing symptoms. … Rwanda’s state minister for foreign affairs Olivier Nduhungirehe confirmed the border closure to The Associated Press, a day after WHO officials had praised African nations for keeping their borders open. Last week Saudi Arabia stopped issuing visas to people from Congo while citing the Ebola outbreak, shortly before the annual hajj pilgrimage there this month. AP

President Yoweri Museveni has said that mutual talks between Uganda and Rwanda to revive the cross border trade between the countries which was disrupted after the closure of the Gatuna post, are progressing. “Recently we met the Rwandan leader in Angola and we discussed about the border issue. Leave it to us. Talks shall continue until the matter is completely resolved. It does not make sense to keep talking on radios but what is important is to ensure that the border issue is resolved,” Mr. Museveni said. “[The issue] took me to Angola to meet President [Paul] Kagame [Rwanda’s president] and other leaders and I will not reveal what we discussed.” The Citizen

A pro-Iranian Shia group in Nigeria has announced that it is temporarily halting street protests to demand the release of its leader Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, who has been in detention since 2015. The announcement by the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) comes days after the government banned it, accusing of it of being violent – an allegation the group denies. In a statement, the IMN said it was suspending street protests in “good faith out of respect for some eminent people and groups” who had intervened to try and resolve the crisis over the “illegal” detention of Sheikh Zakzaky. The IMN also said it would challenge the government’s decision to ban it in court. BBC

Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi vowed Wednesday to hunt down and unmask attackers involved in a string of deadly assaults that have battered the country’s northern region and killed at least 250 people. For nearly two years, suspected Islamists have staged raids on remote communities in the gas-rich, Muslim-majority Cabo Delgado province, torching homes and sometimes even beheading civilians. The identity of the militants remains unclear and their motives unknown. “We will fight and hunt them,” Nyusi told lawmakers during an address. “So far they have never showed their faces, but the security forces are hunting and fighting them relentlessly,” Nyusi said. “We hope that the arrests in recent weeks will help us discover who they are,” he said without specifying when the arrests occurred or the numbers of suspects detained. AFP

It had been five days since water had stopped flowing out of the taps at Eneres Kaitano’s bungalow in southern Harare, Zimbabwe’s modern and tidy capital city. Five days since she had done any laundry. Five days since she had forbidden her children to use the toilet more than once a day. On the sixth day, she again rose at 3 a.m. to fetch water from a communal borehole. By the early afternoon, she was still waiting her turn at the tap with her six buckets and cans. Much of the city had the same idea. More than half of the 4.5 million residents of Harare’s greater metropolitan area now have running water only once a week, according to the city’s mayor, forcing them to wait in lines at communal wells, streams and boreholes. … Zimbabwe’s acute water shortage is a result of a particularly bad drought this year, a symptom of climate change. Poor water management has wasted much of the water that remains. New York Times

The soldiers who opened fire on protesters in the aftermath of the general elections in Zimbabwe last year, killing at least six of them and causing injuries to scores more, have still not been held accountable for their actions, Amnesty International said today. The army, which was illegally deployed, used live ammunition to disperse protests in the capital Harare, after delays in the release of the presidential election results by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. “The tragedy of the post-election shootings is compounded by the fact that no one in the army suspected to be responsible for the bloodshed has been held to account for these brutal killings. This is despite the fact that the alleged perpetrators have been identified through the media and social media videos and pictures,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa. Malawi24

Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema is celebrating 40 years in power, a record time for any current President in the world. The 77 year old leader is grooming his 51 year old son Teodorin and his current vide president to take over the top job of the small oil state in central Africa. Teodoro Obiang came into power in August 3, 1979, he and his officers overthrew his uncle, the bloodthirsty dictator Francisco Macias Nguema, who was shot two months later. President Obiang managed to escape the threats of coup d’état and worked hard to install omnipotent security services under his direct authority. Since coming to power, he claims to have foiled at least ten coup attempts or assassinations and, at each attempt, Malabo has responded with repression, accusing the army, the opposition or foreign powers alternately. … At the same time, Equatorial Guinea is regularly cited by NGOs as one of the most corrupt countries in the world[.] AFP

On April 4, 2019 Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio celebrated his first year in office at an orphanage on the outskirts of the capital Freetown promising the children a bright future. “Every child is important. We are here to show you all that we love and value you,” he said, while renewing his pre-election promises. A year earlier, President Bio was sworn into office hours after he was declared winner of the tightly contested presidential elections that brought his Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) to power. He defeated his closest rival from the main opposition All Peoples Congress (APC) party in the second round of the polls. President Bio had campaigned on the platform of uprooting corruption, which he believed had denied millions of Sierra Leoneans prosperity under his predecessor’s decade in power. His critics, including the opposition, say he has done well in improving governance. The East African

Algeria’s interim president fired the justice minister on Wednesday and named the Algiers public prosecutor to replace him, the presidency said, amid a series of corruption investigations involving allies of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Abdelkader Bensalah appointed Belkacem Zeghmati to replace Slimane Brahmi “after consultation with the prime minister,” the presidency said in a statement. The judiciary has been conducting probes and several former senior officials, including ex-prime ministers Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sellal, have been placed in custody over charges including “dissipation of public funds.” The investigations followed mass protests that erupted in the North African country on Feb. 22, with demonstrators calling for the removal of the ruling elite and the prosecution of people involved in corruption cases. … Protesters are now demanding the departure of Bensalah, a former head of the upper house of parliament, and Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui, regarding them as part of the old guard. Reuters

The bail application for freelance journalist Erick Kabendera, who is being held by police over his citizenship status, is set to be heard on Monday, August 5. The ruling was made by senior Kisutu Resident Magistrate Augustine Rwizile earlier today, Thursday August 1. He made the decision due to a request by the prosecution side. Senior state attorney Mr. Wankyo Simon asked [the] court to give their side time to go through [the] bail application lodged by Mr. Kabendera. Mr. Kabendera, who was forcefully taken from his Mbweni residences on Monday, was first seen in public yesterday (Wednesday, July 31), when he accompanied the police, who carried out a search at his house. The Citizen

At least 33,000 people succumb to cancer annually in Kenya. Affluent politicians are flocking to India for therapy, due to a lack of adequate facilities at home. Kenyans now want the disease declared a national disaster. … Cancer is now the third leading cause of death in Kenya after infectious and cardiovascular diseases. The Global Cancer Observatory (Globocan) estimates that in 2018, there were over 48,000 new cases of cancer recorded in the East African country. … According to NCI-K, Kenya has only 35 oncologists in both private and public hospitals. “The country has only one public hospital, that is Kenyatta National Hospital, which can offer radiotherapy treatment,” Odiyo said, adding that there are several private entities that offer the same treatment but the majority of Kenyans cannot afford it. DW

States in the North East part of Nigeria recorded no fewer than 21,011 cases of measles with 100 deaths in the past few months. A survey by News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) indicated that while cases were recorded in Bauchi, Borno, Yobe and Gombe states, officials in Adamawa and Jigawa said no such cases were recorded in their states. In Borno, where the highest number of cases was recorded, officials said security challenges in the state made it difficult to address the situation. The Director of Borno State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Sule Mele, said 18,204 measles cases were recorded in the state from January till date, with 93 deaths, mostly children. He attributed the outbreak of the disease to inability of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to access healthcare services due to the ongoing conflict between security forces and Boko Haram insurgents. Premium Times



Photo: Adam Jones