Africa Media Review for August 2, 2019

Mozambique Govt, Opposition Renamo Sign Historic Peace Pact
Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi and Renamo opposition leader Ossufo Momade on Thursday signed a landmark agreement aimed at formally ending decades of military hostilities, state TV said. The signing took place in the Gorongosa National Park in central Mozambique, nearly 27 years after the end of the southern African country’s first civil war. The two leaders hugged after penning the deal on a mounted stage in Gorongosa where a white tablecloth carried the inscription “Peace: Final agreement on cessation of hostilities”, according to live broadcasts of the ceremony. Thursday’s agreement brought an end to a long peace negotiation process initiated by Renamo’s historic leader, Afonso Dhlakama, who died in May last year, and comes just months before general elections in October. AFP

Dozens Killed in Nigeria Fighting between Army, Jihadists
Fierce clashes between a regional force and IS-affiliated fighters in northeast Nigeria left 25 soldiers and at least 40 jihadists dead, two military sources and a militia leader said Thursday. Fighters from the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) group launched a dawn attack on Monday against a base near the town of Baga on Lake Chad, setting off fierce gun battles that killed 20 Nigerian and five Chadian troops, the sources said. “The terrorists killed 20 Nigerian troops and five Chadian soldiers in the intense fight in which soldiers killed 47 of the terrorists,” a military officer said. The head of a local anti-jihadist militia confirmed the military death toll and put ISWAP losses at “more than 40”. … ISWAP on Wednesday claimed that it had killed 15 soldiers in clashes near Baga. The MNJTF base located four miles from Baga has been repeatedly attacked since 2014. AFP

Nigerian Military Denies Burying 1000 Soldiers in Secret Mass Grave
The Defence Headquarters on Thursday pushed back against news reports that the military had been secretly dumping the remains of fallen heroes of Boko Haram war in unmarked mass graves. Military spokesperson Onyema Nwachukwu said The Wall Street Journal was ignorant of military burial procedure when it reported on Thursday morning that fallen Nigerian soldiers of Boko Haram insurgency were being transported to an unmarked gravesite near Maiduguri for a secret and undignified burial. The American newspaper quoted families of fallen servicemen as saying that the military was untidy in its handling of the tragic deaths of their loved ones. It also reported that the military sometimes failed to open up on the fate of fallen soldiers to their families. Prior to running the story, the paper said it made several attempts to speak with the Nigerian military and the Buhari administration officials without success. The report drew a collective outrage from Nigerians, with opposition politicians like Atiku Abubakar expressing serious concerns and demanding urgent investigation into the allegations. Premium Times

Sudan’s Military, Opposition on Verge of Deal on Transitional Authority
The Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) have resumed talks on the constitutional declaration on Thursday evening amid pledges to reach an agreement very soon. The meeting which took place at the Friendship Hall and not at a private hotel just nearby as it was the case during the recent rounds began at 07:30 pm on Thursday and ended around 07:00 am on Friday. The meeting will resume on Friday at 08:00 pm. According to different participants, the meeting despite the bloody events in El-Obeid and Omdurman was positive and the parties agreed on almost all the issues related to the three bodies of the Sovereign Council, government and parliament. On the legislative assembly, it was agreed that 67% of the appointed parliament will go to the FFC groups while the remaining 33% will be allocated to the opposition groups that are not members of the opposition coalition but took part in the six-month revolution that toppled al-Bashir’s regime. … Also, the parties agreed that the immunity of the Sovereign Council members will not be absolute but can be lifted in some cases including war crimes and crimes against humanity among others, ending the debate about the immunity of the five generals who will join it. Sudan Tribune

Doctors Say Four Protesters Killed at Sudan Rally as Talks Start
Four protesters were shot dead at a rally in the Sudanese city of Omdurman Thursday, medics said, as protest leaders and ruling generals started talks to thrash out remaining issues on transitioning to civilian rule. The gunfire occurred as thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in several cities across Sudan, including the capital Khartoum and its twin city Omdurman, to demonstrate against the killing of schoolchildren at a protest earlier this week. “Four protesters have been killed by live ammunition and several wounded at a rally in Omdurman,” the doctors’ committee linked to Sudan’s protest movement said in a statement. On Monday, four secondary school students were among six killed at a rally in Al-Obeid, the capital of North Kordofan in central Sudan. Thursday’s rallies denounced those killings, which took place when crowds of students demonstrated against growing commodity shortages. A top general from the ruling military council, Jamal Omar, accused members of the feared paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of opening fire on Monday’s rally. AFP

Sudan’s Military Council Detains 9 Soldiers for the Student Killings
Sudan’s military council spokesman said on Friday that nine soldiers from the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) were dismissed and detained in connection with recent violence in the cities of Omdurman and El-Obeid. Spokesman Lieutenant General Shams El Din Kabbashi added that the governor of North Kordofan state and its security council will be held accountable for the killings that took place in the state’s capital city of El-Obeid on Monday. Four school children and an adult were killed in the Sudanese city of El-Obeid when security forces broke up a student protest. Reuters

South Africa: Now FNB Probes Mkhwebane
The personal bank account of Mkhwebane is currently under investigation by FNB for possible exchange-control violations. Violations mean that money is being moved between countries without permission being sought from a bank, and without an explanation for why the money is being moved. Over the past six weeks, four independent sources, who all spoke to the M&G on condition of anonymity, have confirmed that Mkhwebane’s account was flagged by the bank earlier this year. The account is currently under investigation by a senior bank executive, and, if the letter of the law is being followed, has also been reported to the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC). Mkhwebane told the M&G last week that she was not aware of the investigation. However, the M&G understands that Mkhwebane has asked for more time to provide documents to explain the transactions, which are described by sources as several payments of odd amounts between 2014 and the present day. Some of these payments, which are in the region of a few thousand dollars each, emanate from accounts in Brussels and Paris. Mail & Guardian

Burundi Opposition Offices ‘Smeared with Faeces’
More than 10 offices of the Burundi’s main opposition party have been set alight or defaced with human faeces over the last two months, a party official has told the BBC. Therence Manirambona, the spokesperson for the National Congress for Freedom (CNL), said it was part of efforts to discourage democracy and terrify the opposition ahead of 2020 presidential elections. The interior ministry has not commented on the incidents. The CNL spokesman said the latest office to be vandalised was on Tuesday night in Gatete in western Rumonge district. He said it was not known who had set it ablaze and there had been no investigation by the authorities. “Coating our offices with human faeces is an act of hate beyond imagination,” Mr Manirambona said. “For this, we assume that these are politically motivated activities against us, because at lower levels some officials believe the CNL should not have office in their areas.” Last month, investigators from the UN Human Rights Commission released a report detailing “serious human rights abuses targeting Burundi’s opposition”. BBC

Human Rights Watch Accuses Kenyan Police of Extrajudicial Killings
Human Rights Watch has accused Kenya’s police force of carrying out the extrajudicial killings of around two dozen young men and boys in the low-income areas of Nairobi over the past year. In a report published earlier in July, the rights group said it documented the cases but that many more have occurred in these areas, known as informal settlements. Police have not responded to VOA requests for comment. Fedisia Wamburu remembers vividly that Friday night in February when the news broke. She said at about eight in the morning, her youngest son came into the house and asked, “Mom, you are sitting here and my brother has been killed.” VOA

Border Friction in DR Congo on Anniversary of Ebola Outbreak
An Ebola epidemic in eastern DR Congo marked its first anniversary on Thursday with two more cases in the densely-populated frontier city of Goma and accusations by Kinshasa that Rwanda had rushed to shutter its border in response to the crisis. The two new cases of infection are the wife and baby of a man who had died of Ebola on Wednesday, health workers said. More than 1,800 lives have been lost in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo since Ebola broke out on August 1 2018. Fears that the disease could spread to neighbouring countries have mounted since mid-July, when the first of two fatalities occurred in Goma, a transport hub lying adjacent to the Rwandan city of Gisenyi. DRC President Felix Tshisekedi’s office on Thursday said Rwanda had made a “unilateral decision” to close its border — a move, it said, that was reversed eight hours later. … An AFP reporter in Goma in Gisenyi said at mid-morning that the frontier had been closed. In Rwanda. A Rwandan government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said “it is closed”, without giving further details. But the Rwandan health ministry later said the border had never been closed. AFP

A Timeline of Congo’s Latest Deadly Ebola Virus Outbreak
The deadly Ebola outbreak in Congo now enters its second year. Containing it just became more challenging with the first direct transmission of the virus in the city of Goma, which has more than 2 million residents and sits on a busy border with Rwanda. More than 1,800 people have been killed since this outbreak was declared on Aug. 1, 2018. Here’s a timeline of key events in what has been declared a rare global health emergency. AP

US Sanctions Zimbabwean Official over Post-election Killings
The United States on Thursday placed on its sanctions list a former Zimbabwean army general who commanded troops accused of killing six civilians after a disputed election a year ago. The listing of Anselem Sanyatwe signals U.S. frustration over the lack of accountability in the Aug. 1, 2018 killings in the capital, Harare. There was no immediate response by Zimbabwe’s government to the U.S. announcement, which was likely to bring fresh anger from an administration that has pressed for the lifting of U.S. sanctions over past rights abuses. Sanyatwe is the first to be sanctioned over the crackdown and the first Zimbabwean official listed since the fall of longtime leader Robert Mugabe in November 2017. Sanyatwe and his wife are now barred from traveling to the U.S. Soldiers were deployed to suppress a protest against delays in announcing results of Zimbabwe’s first election without Mugabe on the ballot. The U.S. statement says it has “credible information” that Sanyatwe was involved. AP

Power Crisis Turns Night into Day for Zimbabwe’s Firms and Families
Around 9 p.m., a siren pierces the pitch-black night at the Willowvale industrial park in Zimbabwe, signalling that power has been restored after a day-long outage. Moments later, eight men in blue overalls walk into a factory and begin shovelling a mound of gypsum into a drying machine to make wall plaster. Zimbabwe’s worsening power shortages have effectively turned day into night for many businesses, with most work happening well after dark, when lights flicker on for a few hours. … The southern African country is producing just half of its 1,700 MW peak demand, the result of a prolonged drought that has reduced output at its largest hydro plant and ageing coal-fired generators that keep breaking down, according to state-owned power utility ZESA Holdings. The company has imposed rolling blackouts that last up to 18 hours a day, crippling factories and mines and compounding the country’s worst economic crisis in a decade. The International Monetary Fund expects Zimbabwe’s economy to contract by 2.1% this year. Annual inflation surged to 175.66% in June, eroding earnings and stirring memories of economic chaos under former president Robert Mugabe, when hyperinflation forced the country to abandon its currency in 2009. Reuters

Ugandan Court Finds Controversial Don Guilty of Insulting Museveni
A Ugandan court on Thursday found controversial Makerere University academic Dr Stella Nyanzi guilty of cyber harassment. Dr Nyanzi was charged with insulting President Yoweri Museveni, First Lady Janet Museveni and his late mother, Ms Esteri Kokundeka, in a Facebook post. She was, however, acquitted of offensive communication. The offence of cyber harassment attracts a three year sentence or a fine of 72 currency points. Each currency point is Ush20,000 ($5). The Court proceeded without Dr Nyanzi’s lawyers leaving her to represent herself during the ruling. “I can sacrifice motherhood to whatever altar I need to. I was born for this moment. I will speak to dictators in any language possible,” Dr Nyanzi told the Court presided over by Gladys Kamashanyu. The East African

Focus on Africa: Uganda’s Bobi Wine Vows to End Museveni’s Rule
Popstar turned politician known as Bobi Wine says his bid for the 2021 presidential election is a defining moment for Ugandans yearning for change. The 37-year-old lawmaker spoke to RFI after unveiling a 150-man taskforce to coordinate campaign operations throughout the country and in the diaspora. Members of the People Power campaign team include officials from Norbert Mao’s opposition Democratic Party, Kizza Besgye’s Forum for Democratic Change, JEEMA, independents legislators and defectors from President Yoweri Museveni’s ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM). “They want a Uganda that works for all Ugandans and that is why they are joining us massively,” the Kyadondo East MP, real name Robert Kyagulanyi, explains. In the latest sign of the ravages Kyagulanyi’s candidacy is causing to the ruling NRM, a member of the party dragged him to court for “running a self-styled unregistered political organisation operated under different names”. RFI

Mogadishu Mayor Dies in Qatar from Injuries Sustained after Al-Shabaab Attack
Mogadishu Mayor, Eng Abdirahman Omar Osman “Yarisow” has died at a Qatari hospital from injuries sustained during the July 24 suicide bomb attack in his office. He was seriously wounded when a female suicide bomber detonated a bomb and was airlifted to Qatar for treatment. The spokesman for Somalia’s president said Eng yarisow died Thursday in Qatar. Prior to being appointed Mogadishu mayor in January 2018, he was the minister for education. Eng Yarisow has been involved in Somali politics for the last 14 years. He served the Government of Somalia as a senior advisor, minister for twice and spokesperson of the government. The East African

Guinea Battling a Drought Caused by Deforestation
Farmers in Guinea are complaining of the drought threatening their livelihoods due to deforestation. “We are suffering today because it doesn’t rain here any more. It doesn’t rain anymore. When you talk about the Guinee Forestiere region, over there, yes, it rains there. It rains there. But here in Upper Guinea, there’s no rain. And the sun is hot, and the land is hard. We can’t dig it. Our hands suffer,” said Ibrahim Toure, farmer in Faranah region, in Upper Guinea. It is the start of the rainy season in Guinea but farmers says there hasn’t been even a drop on the ground yet. The season which goes through June to September with occasional storms. AfricaNews



Photo: Adam Jones