Africa Media Review for August 14, 2018

Lost Opportunity in Zimbabwe
Despite a relatively peaceful lead-up to Zimbabwe’s July 30 polls—the country’s first without Robert Mugabe’s name on the ballot—the post-election period has been marred by deadly violence and allegations of wrongdoing. The electoral commission has reported that incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa garnered 50.8 percent of vote—just enough to avoid a runoff. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance has challenged these results, citing a series of irregularities including vote-rigging. Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court must rule on the petition within 14 days. Nelson Chamisa Nelson Chamisa Eager to secure much-needed donor assistance that was promised on the condition of a peaceful and credible election, the government had been at pains to reiterate its stated public commitment to a democratic process. However, in scenes reminiscent of Zimbabwe’s past, seven civilians were killed by soldiers who had been deployed to quell the protests that erupted in Harare after the results were announced.  Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Mnangagwa Says Disputed Zimbabwe Election ‘Behind Us’’
Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday called for the country to move on from its disputed election, despite his victory being challenged in court over alleged fraud and his inauguration delayed. The country’s first election since the fall of Robert Mugabe was mired by the army opening fire on protesters, allegations of vote-rigging and a crackdown on opposition activists. Mnangagwa, who narrowly won the July 30 vote, took power last year when military generals ousted Mugabe after 37 years in office. “It’s now time to put the election period behind us and embrace the future,” the president-elect said at a speech on the annual day honouring Zimbabwe’s independence heroes.  AFP

MDC Election Results Petition – a Test for Judiciary Independence
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change Alliance has filed a court application at Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court contesting the outcome of the 30 July elections, which saw ruling Zanu-PF candidate Emmerson Mnangagwa officially leading with 50.8% against Nelson Chamisa’s 44.3%. The court challenge by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance comes as no surprise as it has become tradition for the leading opposition party in the country to contest the results of every election since its inception. The president-elect’s inauguration ceremony, which was scheduled for Sunday, has since been put on hold as a result of the court application filed by the MDC Alliance contesting the election outcome. Former MDC Senator David Coltart, who is part of the legal team, told Daily Maverick that if they get a fair ruling, the chances of the MDC Alliance winning the case are overwhelming.  Daily Maverick

Ethiopia: Paramilitaries ‘Kill at Least 40’ in Oromia Region
At least 40 people were killed by paramilitary forces in eastern Ethiopia over the weekend, a senior regional official said, in the latest spate of violence driven by ethnic divisions. On Monday, the Oromia regional administration’s spokesman Negeri Lencho said heavily armed members of a paramilitary force from the Somali region had carried out cross-border attacks in Oromia’s East Hararghe district. “We still do not know why Liyu forces raided the areas on Saturday and Sunday,” he said, referring to the paramilitary soldiers. “But we know that all the victims were ethnic Oromos. At least 40 were killed in the attacks.”  Al Jazeera

Mali: Soumaila Cisse Rejects Results as Ballot Counting under Way
Opposition leader Soumaila Cisse says he will reject the results of Mali’s presidential runoff vote, urging people in the country “to rise up”. Sunday’s poll, which was marked by a low turnout amid security concerns and voter apathy, pitted Cisse against incumbent President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. Ballot counting was underway on Monday across the country, with official second-round results expected for a few days. “The fraud is proven; this is why there are results we will not accept,” Cisse told reporters on Monday at his party’s headquarters in the capital, Bamako.  Al Jazeera

Somalia: Eritrean Delegation Arrives in Mogadishu
A high-level Eritrean delegation led by foreign minister Osman Saleh arrived in the Somali capital, Mogadishu on Monday for talks on re-establishment the diplomatic ties between the two countries, Garowe Online reports. The delegation – which was received by Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire at Aden Adde International Airport – also included Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki’s adviser and right-hand man Yemane Gebreab. “Regional cooperation for stability and economic progress is crucial for common prosperity of the Horn,” Somali PM tweeted. It is the first time in more than a decade that a top-level delegation from Asmara visits Somalia, a move that signals the improving ties with Mogadishu. Garowe Online

Ouster of Zuma Loyalist Bolsters South Africa’s Corruption Fight
South Africa on Monday took an important step toward restoring a more independent justice system, removing a chief prosecutor widely seen as an obstacle to reining in the country’s rampant corruption. The prosecutor, Shaun Abrahams, the director of public prosecutions, was ordered to step down immediately by the country’s highest court, a decision that left room for South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, to take a tougher stance on the endemic graft within his party, the African National Congress. When he took office in February, Mr. Ramaphosa pledged to usher in a new era of clean government, which he would accomplish in part by clearing out officials tied to the abuses of his predecessor as president, Jacob Zuma.With the power to name a new chief prosecutor, Mr. Ramaphosa can now put his stamp on the office that effectively determines “who or what gets prosecuted” in South Africa, said Sithembile Mbete, who teaches politics at the University of Pretoria. The New York Times

Uganda Opposition Figure Detained after His Driver Is Slain
A prominent opposition figure in Uganda has been detained following violent clashes Monday night that allegedly started when President Yoweri Museveni’s motorcade was pelted with stones, a military official said Tuesday. Lawmaker Kyagulanyi Ssentamu was held overnight in the northwestern town of Arua, where he and other politicians, including Museveni, had been campaigning for a lawmaker, said Capt. Jimmy Omara, a spokesman for the Special Forces Command. Ssentamu, a popular pop singer in his 30s who was elected to the National Assembly last year, has emerged as a powerful voice with his calls for young people to “stand up” and take over this East African country from what he says is the current government’s failed leadership. Many of his followers are urging him to run in the next presidential election in 2021. AP

Mozambique Police Name “Ringleaders” behind Islamist Threat
Mozambique’s security forces have identified six men they regard as the ringleaders of a nascent Islamist insurgency that has killed over 100 people in the north, and called on local people to help capture them, news agency Lusa reported on Monday. Bernardino Rafael, chief of police, said Abdul Faizal, Abdul Remane, Abdul Raim, Nuno Remane, Ibn Omar and a sixth known only as Salimo, were leading attacks in Cabo Delgado – a poor province on the border with Tanzania where companies are developing one of the biggest gas finds in a decade. The names are the first clear sign that authorities have detailed information about the people behind the attacks that began last October and have grown into the potential beginnings of an Islamist threat. Previously, authorities would only say that attacks had been carried out by “unknowns.”  Reuters

New Wave of Arrests in Moroni
A new wave of arrest has emerged in Comoros, less than two weeks after the constitutional referendum. Among those arrested, are writer Said Ahmed Said Tourqui, known as “Sast”, arrested on Thursday night with one of his relatives. On Saturday, Me Bahassane Said Ahmed, brother of the ex-vice-president who fell in disgrace for having criticised the referendum – was summoned. The arrests come after many others in recent weeks related to the referendum boycotted by the opposition, it considerably strengthened the powers of President Assoumani, who can now run for two consecutive terms, and abolished the positions of Vice-President and the Constitutional Court.  AFP

Sudan’s President Al Bashir: ‘Cut Off Limbs and Necks of Those Who Refuse to Surrender Illegal Arms’
President Omar Al Bashir has ordered Sudan’s judges to “apply the law and cut off limbs and necks of anyone who refuses to hand over his illegal weapon, in the public arena and in the market”. Speaking at the end of the National Congress Party consultation conference in Khartoum on Saturday, Al Bashir, who accepted nomination from the council for a third term as president, said illegal weapons have caused killings and cases of tribal conflicts over land or livestock. He said that 81 youths had been killed in a dispute over 150 sheep in East Darfur.  Radio Dabanga

South Sudan Peace Talks Ongoing through Committees
Peace talks between South Sudan’s government and opposition groups on the pending issues are continuing in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, a spokesman for the government said. Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth told state media that on Monday that the negotiations were ongoing between the parties through thematic committees to resolve outstanding issues in the peace deal. He explained that the negotiators broke up into three committees on Monday.” One committee will look into Article 4 which talks about the states and other one will look into Article 5 which talks about the powers of the president, the first vice president and the vice presidents,” Makuei said. “As for the other three issues that is the five ministries, the new five ministries, the composition of the constitutional amendment committee and the composition of the judiciary reform committee, these ones will be handled by one committee,” he added.  Radio Tamazuj

Aid Worker Killings Rise, Fueled by Conflict in South Sudan, Syria
Nearly 140 aid workers were killed last year, a 23 percent rise on 2016, according to data released Monday that showed South Sudan was the most dangerous country in which to deliver aid for the third year running. The figures revealed a dramatic increase in aid worker kidnappings and fatal shootings in South Sudan — the world’s youngest country — and a trebling of attacks in Central African Republic (CAR). South Sudan, Syria, Afghanistan and CAR accounted for two-thirds of 158 major incidents targeting humanitarian operations last year, according to the annual Aid Worker Security Report compiled by independent research group Humanitarian Outcomes. It recorded attacks on 313 aid workers in 22 countries with 139 people killed, 102 wounded and 76 kidnapped, four of whom were killed. The death toll was the second highest recorded.  VOA

Russia Wary to Take Sides in Libya as Hifter Offers Lucrative Deals
The spokesman of Gen. Khalifa Hifter, who heads the Libyan National Army (LNA), called on Moscow Aug. 8 to intervene into Libya “to get rid of foreign players in the country.” Ahmed al-Mismari told Russia’s state-owned media Sputnik that the situation in Libya requires a Russian presence similar to that in Syria, and urged President Vladimir Putin’s personal intervention “to directly eliminate foreign players in Libya such as Qatar, Turkey and Italy.” He added, “We are very confident that Russia is a superpower and its words will be heard if it holds talks with Italy, Turkey and Qatar or other countries such as Sudan, regarding the smuggling of terrorists into Libya.” Mismari also argued that Russia’s intervention in Syria was successful, noting that its role in eliminating foreign players there was “prominent.” “What’s happening in Syria is happening in Libya. The Libyan people are looking for a strong ally like Russia,” he concluded. Al Monitor

Kenya: A ‘Sweet’ Deal Gone Sour
Kenyans are outraged by reports that legislators took bribes to bury an investigation of a dodgy sugar trade deal involving government representatives. The issue also threatens Kenya’s trade relations in East Africa. A disaster: that’s what Samuel Nyandemo, senior lecturer on economics at Nairobi University, calls the refusal by lawmakers to investigate finance minister Henry Rotich and East African community minister Adan Mohamed, previously minister for trade, for their roles in the importation of contaminated sugar from Brazil last year. “Members of Parliament are supposed to be truth seekers. But they have resorted to rent-seeking,” Nyandemo told DW, pointing out that there is ample proof that lawmakers took bribes from the industry to ditch the investigation. “A good number of those members of parliament that didn’t want to take bribes have come out openly and they say they saw bribes being received,” he said.  Deutsche Welle

Tunisian President Proposes Equal Inheritance Rights for Women
Tunisia’s president on Monday proposed giving women equal inheritance rights despite protests from thousands of people objecting to any challenge to Islamic law. The North African Muslim country, which toppled autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011, grants women more rights than other countries in the region, and since last year has allowed Muslim women to marry non-Muslim men. But in a show how divided society remains, thousands demonstrated on Saturday in front of parliament against any changes to inheritance rules. The current system is based on Islamic law which typically allows men to inherit double what a woman would receive.  France 24

Wider Use of Rotavirus Vaccine Urged after ‘Potent’ Success of Malawi Trial
A rotavirus vaccine introduced in rural Malawi has reduced deaths from infant diarrhoea by more than a third, proving for the first time that a major intervention in a low-income country can be highly effective. The findings, published in the Lancet Global Health, are likely to add further weight to calls by global health experts for rotavirus vaccine to be included in all national immunisation programmes. “These findings are very, very encouraging indeed,” said Malawi’s chief of health services, Dr Charles Mwansambo. “Rotavirus is a major problem in Malawi, but since the introduction of the vaccine we’ve seen remarkable drops in hospital admissions, proving that the vaccine is a worthwhile investment.”  The Guardian

How Libraries in Kenya Are Turning into Digital Hubs
A partnership between global digital books provider Worldreader and the Kenya National Library Service (KNLS) is boosting access to reading resources for young learners across Kenya. The project — Libraries, E-Reading, Activities & Partnerships (LEAP) — launched in 2014 to test the adoption of digital reading and increase the availability of learning materials in Kenyan libraries has already delivered more than 500,000 digital books across the country. According to data released last week, at least 3,000 e-readers — mobile devices designed primarily for the purpose of reading digital books — with about 200 books each have been delivered to 61 libraries a cross the country, translating into about 600,000 e-books.  The East African



Photo: Adam Jones