Africa Media Review for August 15, 2016

UN Votes to Send Regional Force into South Sudan over Government Objections
Diplomats at the United Nations have agreed to send 4,000 regional peacekeepers into South Sudan. At the UN, there were 11 votes in favor of the measure, which was written by the United States. Russia, China, Venezuela, and Egypt all abstained, and said the measure violated South Sudan’s sovereignty. Immediately, South Sudan rejected the measure, because the force was put under UN command and was different from the IGAD communique. … “The United States would point to the actions of the government. For while we expect the South Sudanese government to treat the United Nations like the partner that it is, that is simply not is happening on the ground in South Sudan today. Instead, as we all know, the Government of South Sudan’s troops are actively blocking United Nations personnel from carrying out their life saving work, which in some cases has led to the deaths of U.N. peacekeepers,” said U.S. deputy ambassador David Pressman. Radio Tamazuj

South Sudan Will Not Cooperate with Protection Force: Presidential Spokesperson
The Spokesperson of South Sudan President Salva Kiir angrily reacted on Friday to a resolution of the United Nations Security Council authorizing deployment of up to 4000 troops to protect civilians at risk of extreme violence and to help in the implementation of peace agreement. Presidential Spokesperson Ateny Wek Ateny, told the media late on Friday that the government of President Salva Kiir on whose behalf he spoke, will not cooperate with the United Nations approved force. “It is very unfortunate and we are not going to ‘cooperate’ because we will not allow our country to be taken over by U.N. Any force that will be called Juba Protection Force will not be accepted,” said Ateny. Sudan Tribune

President Kiir Wins Machar Allies Over, Consolidates Grip on Power
A month since he fled Juba, little has been heard from Dr Riek Machar, save for a brief interview with Al Jazeera TV. He is believed to be hiding in Yei, south of Juba. Meanwhile, President Salva Kiir has been consolidating his grip on power, reaching out to members of the South Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO). The effort seems to be paying off. In Kampala last week, for a debate on the “Cost of the violent conflict in South Sudan: implications for regional peace and security,” organised by the civil society group Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment, a high-powered delegation of members of the SPLM splinter group quickly distanced themselves from Dr Machar while insisting they were an official delegation of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU). The East African

Is Trusteeship an Option for South Sudan?
The African Union may be considering support for an international trusteeship arrangement for South Sudan, a US-based analyst told The EastAfrican last week. The AU has been discussing that option behind closed doors “for at least a year,” said Alex de Waal, a South Sudan expert and research professor at a leading US school of international relations. “It would be much more palatable on the continent, and more difficult for South Sudan to resist, if the idea were to be championed by neighbouring countries,” Prof de Waal added. The possibility of placing South Sudan under some form of international supervision is gaining influential backers. But the government has made it clear it will resist any attempt to impose trusteeship or protectorate status on South Sudan. The East African

Zambia’s Lungu Leads in Election, Main Opponent Alleges Irregularities
President Edgar Lungu was leading in Zambia’s presidential election on Monday, with 85 percent of the constituencies counted, but his main rival demanded a recount in a key district, citing irregularities. Lungu faces a stiff challenge from United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema, who accuses him of running the economy down, a charge the president has rejected. With 50.14 percent, Lungu was ahead of Hichilema, with 47.7 percent, after results were collated from 132 of 156 constituencies in Aug. 11 voting, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) told a news conference. But Hichilema told a separate media briefing his party wanted a recount of votes in Lusaka district “for the sake of free, fair, credible and transparent elections”. “The question is will the elections be defined as free and fair, transparent and credible in this environment? My answer is no,” Hichilema said. Reuters

Election Observers in Zambia Report Media ‘Biased’ in Vote
International election observers have praised Zambia for holding a “generally” peaceful election. But they also accused Zambian media of not being neutral. “We have regrettably noted a huge bias by the state media, so by no means was there any level playing field,” Michael Gahler, a German member of the European Parliament and participant in the EU’s observer mission, told DW. Gahler said the EU’s observer mission had been encouraged by the huge voter turnout and the motivated electorate but added that the voting process had not been without its hitches. “We noted some cumbersome procedures which delayed the processing of individual voters” Gahler said. Such delays led to the voting schedule running over the 12 hours required by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) at some of the polling stations. DW

Ghana’s Ruling Party to Launch Campaign for December Polls
Ghana’s ruling party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), will officially launch President John Dramani Mahama’s re-election bid on Saturday, four months before the West African country’s presidential, parliamentary and local elections. The NDC will present Mahama and his running mate, Vice President Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, as well as 235 candidates for parliament to voters at a ceremony in the Central Regional capital, Cape Coast. Joyce Bawa Motgari, spokesperson for the Mahama 2016 re-election campaign, says the NDC is confident that Ghanaians will express their confidence in the president and re-elect him on December 7 for a second and final full four-year term. Supporters of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) and other opposition groups have accused Mahama of gross incompetence. They contend he has failed to manage the economy effectively, resulting in suffering for many Ghanaians. VOA

Boko Haram: Abubakar Shekau Using New Chibok Girls Video ‘to Show his Power’
A video purportedly showing some girls kidnapped by Nigeria-based terror group Boko Haram is a strategy used by the group’s contested leader Abubakar Shekau to show he still controls the group, a security analyst has told IBTimes UK. The footage released by Boko Haram on 14 August shows around 50 of the nearly 300 schoolgirls kidnapped by the group in 2013. In the video, a Boko Haram militant called on the government to release militants who had been arrested in return for the release of the girls. The video came as Boko Haram split into two factions after the group’s ally, the Islamic State (Isis), appointed Abu Musab Al-Barnawi as its new leader. Abubakar Shekau, who has been leading the group since 2009, denied he had been replaced and vowed to continue his fight. David Otto, chief executive of global security provider TGS Intelligence Consultants, believes the latest video could be a strategy used by Shekau to show he is still in power. IBtimes

Nigerian Journalist Wanted over Chibok Girls—Army
Nigeria’s army has declared three people, including a journalist, wanted for allegedly concealing information on more than 200 girls abducted from their school in Chibok in April 2014, a spokesperson said on Monday. Colonel Sani Usman told AFP that local journalist Ahmad Salkida had been in contact with the Islamists, as had Ahmed Bolori and Aisha Wakil. “There is no doubt that these individuals have links with Boko Haram terrorists and have contacts with them,” he said. “They must therefore come forward and tell us where the group is keeping the Chibok girls and other abducted persons to enable us rescue them.” News24

Sudan: U.S. Demands Release of Darfuris Arrested after Meeting with Special Envoy Booth
Darfuris arrested for meeting with U.S. special envoy for the Sudan Donald Booth—all of them civil society representatives of displaced persons in Darfur—are paying a heavy price for their forthrightness. Belatedly, in a Statement from the Office of Press relations, the Obama administration yesterday declared publicly its recognition of the crisis created by Ambassador Booth’s interviews with courageous Darfuris witnesses to the recent horrors generated by Khartoum’s massive and continuing assault on Jebel Marra (Central Darfur): The United States is gravely concerned about the Sudanese government’s ongoing detention of at least 15 Darfuri individuals, including one Sudanese national employee of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). The detentions followed a visit by Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan Donald Booth to Sudan’s North and Central Darfur states as well as internally displaced persons (IDP) camps at Sortoni and Nertiti in the Jebel Marra region of Darfur from July 26 – 28, 2016. Many others who were not detained were nonetheless questioned by security officials about the nature of their contact with the Special Envoy. Sudan Tribune

U.S Special Forces Kill 30 Al-Shabaab Militants in Southern Somalia
The United States Special Forces have killed more than 30 Al-Shabab militants including senior commanders during two separate security operations in southern Somalia in the past four days. Sources close to the government army told Xinhua on Sunday that the operations which took place on Aug. 10 and 13 targeted insurgents in Sakow town in Middle Jubba region. “The U.S. backed by Somali commandos hit Al-Shabaab targets in Sakow town, killing 30 militants in separate security operations that took place on Aug. 10 and Aug 13. Senior members of the terror group were killed,” the source who declined to be identified told Xinhua by telephone. He said Al-Shabaab leader, Abu Ubeida is suspected to be either killed or captured during the operation. Three of his deputies including the spokesman of the group, Abu Mus’ab and another identified as Abu Omar were among those killed.
Source: Xinhua.

UN Experts Warn of ‘Genocidal Rhetoric’ in Burundi
A United Nations watchdog on Friday urged Burundi to immediately address a long line of abuse, including hundreds of extrajudicial killings and widespread torture and sexual abuse, with disturbing ethnic undertones. The UN Committee Against Torture also voiced alarm at the use of “genocidal rhetoric” in national political discourse, echoing concerns that ethnically-motivated verbal attacks could spiral into something far more serious. “We have reports and information that indicates that the torture and the murder is politically motivated, and whether it also has an ethnic component, there are certain indications for that,” committee chair Jens Modvig said. He pointed out that the UN’s top expert on the prevention of genocide had warned that “we are in the early stage of something that could develop towards genocide”. Adama Dieng warned late last year that the government and the opposition were manipulating ethnic tensions in Burundi, pitting Hutus and Tutsis against each other and using rhetoric resembling that seen ahead of the 1994 genocide in neighbouring Rwanda. News24

Reintegrating Child Soldiers in Burundi
Jean-Pierre* is almost indistinguishable in the blur of schoolchildren. Only as he approaches, among a group of boys, clasping a book to his chest, does his unusually immaculate uniform come into focus. It is bright and clean, bearing no trace of the torrential afternoon downpour in Busoni, Burundi, that has sent capillaries of rainwater racing across the playground. The 17-year-old waves on his friends and hangs back, slowly breathing in air that tastes of mud. “I was so afraid that I would die,” he says softly, once the last of his classmates has disappeared. “I thought about my family and I was afraid that I would never see them again.” Jean-Pierre is one of an unknown number of children from the East African nation of Burundi who were forced to become fighters after a political crisis broke out last April. Al Jazeera

Suspected Rebels Kill at Least 36 in Eastern Congo
Suspected rebels killed at least 36 civilians in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the provincial governor said on Sunday, marking the deadliest massacre in the conflict-ravaged region this year. The assailants hacked to death 22 men and 14 women late on Saturday in their homes and fields on the outskirts of the local commercial hub of Beni, Julien Paluku said in a statement. The population of Beni “has once again been hit by terrorist acts of diverse origins whose objective is to sabotage the efforts at peace undertaken over the last two years,” he said. Local activists say more than 500 civilians have been killed near Beni since October 2014, most in overnight raids by rebels carried out with machetes and hatchets. VOA

Zimbabwe: Opposition Leaders Vow to End Reign of Mugabe’s Zanu-PF in Historic Show of Unity
Leaders of Zimbabwe’s opposition have united as they denounced ageing President Robert Mugabe’s hold on power and called for citizens and political parties to join hands in ending the ruling Zanu-PF party’s alleged misrule. In a push to unseat Mugabe, five parties recently came together to create the the Coalition of Democrats—dubbed Code—a coalition they hoped would challenge the the head of state and his ruling Zanu-PF party in the 2018 general elections. Mugabe has ruled with an iron fist, sidelining his rivals through a combination of shrewd politics and force. The nonagenarian has recently quashed any debate about his succession by stressing his intention to stand for re-election in 2018 when he is 94. IBTimes

Drought Ravages Lesotho as Water is Exported to S. Africa
According to the World Food Programme (WFP), the 2016 harvest for Lesotho’s primary crop maize is estimated at 25,000 tonnes, a dramatic drop from last year’s 78,000-tonne haul. Instead, the mountainous kingdom—entirely landlocked by South Africa—must import food from its larger neighbour. But it too has been hit by the drought after the El Nino weather phenomenon wreaked havoc on the region’s rainfall patterns, and maize prices have sky-rocketed by 60 percent in the last year. According to the United Nations, 40 million people across southern Africa risk malnutrition by next year’s harvest. The Independent

Mozambicans Flee to Malawi Again as Fighting Restarts in Tete
Mozambicans in Tete province are again fleeing to refugee camps in Malawi to escape a new wave of fighting and political persecution that followed a period of relative calm during May and June. A makeshift camp at the village of Kapise on the border between Malawi and Mozambique’s Tete province received more than 11,000 refugees between mid-2015 and April 2016, when the Most of the refugees at Kapise did not move to Luwani, however, which currently holds less than 2,000 Mozambicans. Currently 774 refugees are in Kapise, and around 200 have returned to Mozambique, fearing the loss of their harvest. But the rest—around 10,000—have dispersed to various districts in Malawi and built their own homes, according to UNHCR field officer Elsie Mills-Tettey. Zitamar News

Non-Surrender Deals Make it Hard for Africa to Leave ICC
African countries’ oft-stated stated wish to resist prosecution in “foreign courts” will not be all smooth sailing as the majority of countries (34) have ratified the Rome Statute, giving jurisdiction to the International Criminal Court (ICC). It will be difficult for the countries to take a common position to deter enforcement of the principle of international judicial jurisdiction, thanks to existing supplementary bilateral agreements. Prominent among these are bilateral non-surrender agreements with the US. “I think the point is objectivity, impartiality and sovereign equality. If traces of politics in the court appear to everybody else except the court, legitimacy falters,” argued Johnston Busingye, Rwandan Minister of Justice and Attorney-General. Mr Busingye said that the controversy surrounding universal jurisdiction is not whether the concept validly exists but rather the manner of its application. The East African



Photo: Adam Jones