Africa Media Review for August 16, 2018

Mali President Keita Wins Re-Election with 67 Percent of Vote: Official Result
Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita won re-election with 67 percent of the vote in a run-off against opposition rival Soumaila Cisse, the Ministry of Territorial Administration said on Thursday. The victory hands Keita a second term in the mostly desert West African country where militant violence and claims of fraud by the opposition marred the poll.  Reuters

Zimbabwe’s Mnangagwa Moves to Stop Chamisa’s Eection Court Challenge
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has filed submissions in the land’s highest court opposing a court challenge to his victory by main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, one of his lawyers said on Wednesday. The first election since Robert Mugabe was forced to resign after a coup in November had been expected to end Zimbabwe’s pariah status and launch an economic recovery but post-election unrest has brought back uncomfortable reminders of its violent past. Mnangagwa has urged Zimbabwe to unite behind him but questions remain over the death of six people in an army crackdown on protests against the ruling party’s victory. Chamisa has said the vote was rigged and has challenged the result by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, which gave Mnangagwa 2.46 million votes against 2.15 million votes for the 40-year-old Movement for Democratic Change leader. Zimbabwe

US Ambassador to Zimbabwe: Sanctions Removal Linked to Genuine Reforms
U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe Brian Nichols has said the southern African country must embark on genuine reforms if it wants Washington to remove sanctions against some of the country’s top officials. The ambassador spoke Wednesday after meeting with Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the State House in Harare. The approximately hour-long meeting took place a week after U.S. President Donald Trump signed the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Amendment Act of 2018, also known as ZIDERA. The act renewed sanctions the U.S. imposed on Zimbabwean individuals and companies starting in 2002, following accusations of human rights abuses and election rigging against then-president Robert Mugabe.  VOA

Nigerian Soldiers Protest as Boko Haram Attacks Surge
Disillusioned and exhausted, Nigerian troops battling a surge in Boko Haram jihadist attacks have reached breaking point, protesting less than six months before presidential polls. The Nigerian army dismissed it as a “misunderstanding”, but on Sunday hundreds of soldiers protested in the airport of Maiduguri, the capital of restive northeast Borno state, for several hours, shooting into the air and disrupting flights. They were furious about a planned redeployment to a battlefront in the remote Lake Chad region after fighting Boko Haram jihadists for years without relief. “We should not have been here for more than a year but this is our fourth year and still they are asking us to move to Marte,” one of the protesting soldiers told AFP on condition of anonymity. AFP

Darfur Rebels Strengthen Foothold in Libya: UN Report
Rebel groups from Sudan’s Darfur region are strengthening their foothold in Libya, building up their military strength in a bid to return to Sudan and fight on, according to a confidential report seen by AFP on Wednesday. The report by a UN panel of experts said Sudan was continuing to pour weapons into Darfur to support its military campaign there, in violation of a UN arms embargo. “In recent months, most of the Darfur rebel groups have consolidated their presence in Libya,” said the 53-page report sent to the Security Council this month. Many of them have joined Libyan armed groups and are “reportedly building up their military capabilities in order to be ready to return to Sudan when the environment becomes more conducive.”  AFP

Jihadist Conflict in Cameroon Diminishing, Says Thinktank
Violence in northern Cameroon by Nigeria’s Boko Haram jihadists has diminished but rooting out their threat will need deft handling, the International Crisis Group (ICG) warned on Tuesday. “The intensity of the conflict against Boko Haram in Cameroon’s Far North has diminished, though the movement still poses a threat and the humanitarian situation remains precarious,” the think tank said. Two major challenges must be overcome to consolidate long-term stability, it said: “First, dealing with former combatants and other Boko Haram members; and, secondly, determining the future of community self-defence, or vigilante, groups.”  AFP

Olympian in Self-Imposed Exile Will Return to Ethiopia
After winning the silver medal in the men’s marathon at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Feyisa Lilesa spent two years in self-imposed exile in the United States. Now, he’s returning home. Feyisa will return to Ethiopia in the coming weeks with his wife and children after two athletics groups notified him that he would receive a hero’s welcome upon arriving. Ashebir Woldegiorgis, the president of the Ethiopian Olympic Committee, told VOA Amharic that the call for Feyisa to return is meant to better the country. “He can teach his exemplary ways to other athletes and teach strength to our youngsters. That’s the main call, so he can come back to participate in the sport he loves and pass it on by running and by advising to elevate Ethiopia’s sport,” Ashebir said. VOA

U.S. Embassy Suspends Consular Services in Abuja Indefinitely
The U. S. Embassy in Nigeria says it has shut down its visa and consular services section in Abuja until further notice. The embassy which did not give any reason for the action in message posted on its website said scheduled visa and American Citizen Services (ACS) applicants for Abuja would be contacted for rescheduling. “Until further notice, all consular appointments at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja have temporarily ceased for both visa and for American Citizen Services. Consular functions in U.S. Consulate Lagos are not affected and will continue. “Scheduled visa and ACS applicants for Abuja will be contacted for rescheduling. Vanguard

Deadly Lack of Security Plagues Nigeria as Buhari Seeks Re-Election
Nigeria is beleaguered by security threats. In the northeast, Islamist extremists from Boko Haram and its splinter groups are waging increasingly complex attacks on military forces and civilians. In the middle part of the country, more than 1,300 people have been killed in increasingly vicious land disputes between cattle herders and farmers. Farther to the south, violence spikes from time to time in the Biafra region, where separatists are pushing to secede. And in various pockets throughout the country, like a major highway between Kaduna and Abuja, kidnappings of prominent figures and regular Nigerians alike have become common. The threats are becoming a major issue for President Muhammadu Buhari as he tries for a second term in February. Increasingly, critics, and even allies, complain about his failure to take control of the security situation.After Mr. Buhari took office in 2015, he made advances in pursuing Boko Haram, but he has not delivered on his promise to defeat the group once and for all.  The New York Times

‘Ramaphoria’ Evaporates as Reality Sets In for South Africa
If there were any doubts that the euphoria following Cyril Ramaphosa’s election as president of South Africa has evaporated, this week’s slump in the rand has removed them. The currency has plunged to a level last seen when Jacob Zuma was still in charge, having retreated from a three-year high against the dollar amid a toxic cocktail of negative economic news, political risks and falling commodity prices. An investor retreat from emerging markets has accelerated its slide of almost 10 percent against the dollar this month. When Ramaphosa took over as president in February, he promised to stimulate growth and attract investment, fix the finances of state-owned enterprises, and root out the corruption that marked Zuma’s administration. Investors took note: the rand surged to a three-year high in February and borrowing costs fell as inflows into the country’s bonds and stocks surged. The mood was dubbed “Ramaphoria.” There’s no sign of it now. Bloomberg

S. Africa’s ANC Chairman Backs Seizing Land from People with Over 12,000 Hectares
The chairman of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress was quoted as saying the state should take without compensation land from those who own more than 12,000 hectares, comments that sent the rand weaker. More than two decades after the end of apartheid, white people still own most of South Africa’s land. Ownership patterns remain highly emotive as the government has been slow to transfer land to the black majority after centuries of colonial and racial oppression. The ANC’s plans to amend the constitution to redistribute land have been interpreted negatively by some investors, who see them as undermining property rights. VOA

WHO Chief Calls for End to Fighting in Congo to Halt Ebola Spread
The director general of the World Health Organization has appealed for an end to fighting in the north-east Democratic Republic of the Congo to allow humanitarian groups to tackle the Ebola outbreak there. On his return from a trip to North Kivu where there have been 57 probable cases and 41 deaths so far, a sombre Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was “actually more worried after the visit than before the visit”. He spoke as the DRC’s health ministry confirmed the outbreak had spread into the neighbouring northern province of Ituri. A man who was treated for heart problems in Mangina, where the main health centre for North Kivu is located, died on return to his home in Ituri and was confirmed to have had Ebola. The Guardian

14 South Sudanese Governors Have to Quit Their Positions for Rivals, Kiir Says
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Wednesday told the 32 governors to be prepared for the implementation of the peace agreement adding that his government will lose 14 positions of state governors in line with the power-sharing deal In accordance with the revitalized governance agreement signed on5 August in Khartoum, the government of President Kiir will retain 55% of the 32 states, the SPLM-IO 27%, 10% for the South Sudan Opposition Alliance and 8% will go to the Other Political Parties. The deal further provides that this percentage will be applied in the power-sharing at the level of local governments, a matter that the government had refused first but accepted later. “The government will have only 18 out of the current 32 states and that means the remaining 14 states will have to go to the opposition,” said Kiir told the governors in a meeting at the South Sudanese presidency in Juba.  Sudan Tribune

Kenyatta’s War on Corruption: Lasting Legacy or Political Theater?
Two top-ranking officials in Kenya were charged with corruption this week in a $3 billion Chinese-built railway project, as part of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s efforts to show no official is out of reach in the war on graft. However, some analysts question if the charges will lead to convictions or if they are simply political theater. Kenya Railways’ managing director Atanas Maina and Lands Commission chairman Muhammad Swazuri are accused of overseeing $2 million in fraudulent compensation payments. More than a dozen other Kenyan officials and business people are also facing charges related to the illegal buying and selling of the state corporation’s land. VOA

Libya Condemns 45 to Death for 2011 Demo Killings: Ministry
A Libyan court on Wednesday sentenced to death by firing squad 45 militiamen for killing demonstrators in Tripoli during the 2011 uprising against dictator Muammar Gaddafi, the justice ministry said. Dozens of demonstrators were killed on August 21, 2011 when pro-regime militiamen opened fire near the Abu Slim district of the capital as rebel forces closed in on the capital, eight months into a NATO-backed revolt. The ministry said in a statement that 54 other defendants were sentenced to five years in jail, 22 were acquitted, and three others had died before the verdict was reached. AFP

Sudan: 22 Children Drown as Boat Taking Them to School Sinks
At least 22 children have drowned in Sudan when their boat sank in the Nile while they were on their way to school, according to official media. A woman also died when the vessel went down around 750km north of the capital, Khartoum, with more than 40 children on board, the SUNA news agency reported on Wednesday. The accident occurred when the boat’s engine broke down as result of heavy rains and winds in Beheir district in the Nile River state. Civil defense forces were still searching the Nile river for the bodies of the victims. Al Jazeera

Sudan Opposition Calls for Censure against Bashir’s Third Term Bid
Sudanese main opposition leader has called on the international community to condemn President Omar Al-Bashir’s endorsement to seek a third term. Sadiq al-Mahdi, chairman of the National Umma Party (NUP), said Sudan had suffered under Bashir’s presidency. “His re-nomination came without an objective evaluation of his performance in the past 30 years, or with regard to the constitutional impediment,” al- Mahdi was quoted as saying by a local radio Dabanga. Last week, ruling National Congress Party (NCP) unanimously amended its constitution to allow President Bashir to stand as its flagbearer in the 2020 elections. The amendment paves the way for NCP to change the Sudanese Constitution that allows a president to serve a maximum of two five-year terms. AFP

Ugandan Legislator Bobi Wine Charged with Treason
Uganda’s vocal legislator, Robert Kyagulanyi, who is popularly known as Bobi Wine has been charged with treason, in the aftermath of the deadly clashes that rocked the West Nile town of Arua on the last day of campaigns to elect a member of parliament for the municipality. The Deputy Prime Minister, Moses Ali has told parliament on Wednesday that Bobi Wine, who was campaigning for independent candidate in the race, Kassiano Wadri will face the Army Court Martial on Thursday. Ali also informed the legislators that Bobi Wine is receiving treatment at a military hospital in the Northern Uganda town of Gulu. Africa News

 



Photo: Adam Jones