Africa Media Review for August 21, 2018

Mali’s Top Court Confirms Keita as Presidential Election Winner
Mali’s constitutional court on Monday confirmed President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s re-election in a run-off ballot, rejecting fraud accusations by the opposition candidate. The decision clears the way for Keita to be inaugurated next month for a second five-year term, at a time when Malian authorities are contending with rising violence by jihadist groups and ethnic militia. Challenger Soumaila Cisse had contested the electoral commission result of the Aug. 12 vote, which showed Keita winning 67 percent. The election was tainted by armed attacks in the centre and north, where hundreds of polling stations remained closed, and a turnout of only 34 percent reflected fears of violence as well as voter apathy. Reuters

Mogae Resigns as Head of South Sudan Peace Monitoring Body
The Chairperson of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), Festus G. Mogae, has decided to resign from his position by the end of September 2018. In a short statement released on Monday, the JMEC said Mogae who proposed the peace revitalization process sent a letter to the IDAG chair and Ethiopian prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali to inform him of his decision. “as the process to revitalize the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan draws to a close, I have adjudged it appropriate to allow for the new phase of the transition period for South Sudan to be in fresh hands,” said the Former President of the Republic of Botswana in his letter. Sudan Tribune

Kabila’s Government Rejects Thabo Mbeki as Special Envoy to DRC
Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila has rejected President Cyril Ramaphosa’s appointment of former President Thabo Mbeki as South Africa’s Special Envoy to that country. Mbeki’s appointment was confirmed by Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko at the weekend, after the summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in Windhoek. At first Kabila’s government appeared to welcome the appointment. DRC minister of communication and government spokesman Lambert Mende said on Monday that his government had been informed of the decision and was open to any proposals from SADC. But later Kabila’s foreign policy adviser Barnabe Kikaya bin Karubi told DRC media that Kabila’s government would not be accrediting any further special envoys to DRC. He said that the special envoys of the past, including those of the European Union, the UK and the US, had not served the DRC’s interests. Daily Maverick

Blow for MDC Alliance Court Bid
The MDC Alliance’s Nelson Chamisa has been dealt a major setback in his Constitutional Court appeal against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s narrow July 30 presidential election victory in Zimbabwe. With the matter set to be heard in front of a full bench of nine judges on Wednesday‚ Chief Justice Luke Malaba on Friday rejected some of the evidence lodged by the opposition. According to a memorandum addressed to Chamisa’s lawyers‚ some of the evidence was allegedly submitted after the set deadline had passed. “After consultation with the Chief Justice a decision was made that these documents could not be accepted‚” reads a letter written by the Registrar of the Constitutional Court. Times Live

Teargas, Live Bullets Rock Kampala Streets
Teargas and live bullets have rocked Kampala streets this Monday afternoon. Police and the army have fired teargas and bullets to contain rioters who have lit fire in the middle of roads in Kisekka Market, Namirembe Road and Kikuubo Market Lane. The crowds are chanting Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine’s slogan, “People Power. Our power” demanding his release. At least a dozen people have been arrested in an operation commanded by ACP Dennis Namuwooza. The protesters accuse the government of arresting and torturing MPs Bobi Wine, Francis Zaake and others who were arrested in Arua last Monday, following a fracas that happened between MP-Elect Kassiano Wadri’s supporters and those of NRM candidate Nusura Tiperu. Daily Monitor

Mozambique Captured Rebel Leader in Gas-Rich North, Sources Say
Mozambican security forces carried out a major attack on a base of an Islamist militant group in the gas-rich north last week, killing at least four fighters and capturing a suspected rebel leader, according to three people familiar with the matter. The assault took place Aug. 16 near the village of Pundanhar in Cabo Delgado province, close to the Rovuma river that separates Mozambique from Tanzania, the people said, asking not to be identified because they’re not authorized to comment publicly on an ongoing operation. Government forces caught a man named Abdul Raim, who police identified this month as a suspected leader of the group, they said. Known as Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama, which means followers of the prophetic tradition in Arabic, the group has been carrying out attacks in the north of Cabo Delgado since October, killing dozens of people, burning hundreds of houses, and forcing thousands to flee their villages. The raids have created security concerns for companies including Exxon Mobil Corp. and Anadarko Petroleum Corp., which plan to develop natural gas projects worth tens of billions of dollars in the region. The group wants Sharia law introduced and comprises Mozambicans, Tanzanians and people from other countries in the region, according to researchers. They have beheaded many of their victims in night raids on villages.  Some roads out of Palma, where the gas projects are based, were closed on Aug. 17, the people said. Several militants tried to escape across the Rovuma river, and Mozambican authorities are cooperating with officials in Tanzania to intercept them, according to one of the people. Bloomberg

Mozambique Poised to Impose Controversial Media Fee
Beginning Wednesday, journalists working in Mozambique are scheduled to start paying what may be the highest registration fees in the world. The new fees have been widely criticized, with Human Rights Watch calling them “outrageous,” and Amnesty International saying they will keep the media from reporting on Mozambique. A foreign correspondent living in the southeast African country would have to pay $8,300 a year, and a new national radio station would be charged $35,000. Local journalists reporting for foreign media would be charged $3,500 for annual accreditation in a country whose gross domestic product, per capita, is $1,200. “We think that this is completely exorbitant and out of any reasonable proportion,” said Arnaud Froger, who heads the Africa desk for the watchdog group Reporters Without Borders. VOA

Puntland Threatens War with Somaliland over Border Lands
Somalia’s semiautonomous Puntland says it will not negotiate with the self-declared republic of Somaliland over their disputed border. Puntland’s defence committee at the weekend threatened war in order to liberate “Puntland territories occupied by Somaliland.” The two regions in northern Somalia have been locked in a standoff over control of Sool and Sanaag areas for nearly three decades. The land stretches from the Gulf of Aden to the Ethiopian border. “There is no way we will negotiate with an aggressor. We can only talk to Somaliland if its army retreats from territories that belong to Puntland,” said Abdullahi Ali Hersi, Puntland’s Interior minister. The East African

Anti-Graft War Heats up in Somalia but How Far Will It Go?
Recent arrests of high-level public officials in Somalia over graft amid tough anti-corruption talk by the country’s Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre have left many observers wondering how far the purge would go and whether the momentum would continue. The latest graft-related arrests occurred on Saturday when the head of Mogadishu Port Tax Authority Ahmed Ali Samow and 9 other top officials were nabbed for allegedly diverting taxes collected from the busy sea port. The port arrests have attracted considerable public attention since the sea port is the highest revenue earner for the Federal government of Somalia and is believed to be a hotbed of graft with tax funds ending in private pockets. Standard Media

The Never-Ending Battle For Libya’s Oil Crescent
The recent turmoil in Libya’s Oil Crescent – a region which stretches along the coast from Sirte to Ras Lanuf, and which extends down to the Jufra district – has underscored the competition for the control of state revenues, as Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s Libya National Army (LNA) has intensified its attempts to seize key national institutions ahead of the December 2018 presidential elections. Seven years after the fall of the Gaddafi regime, Libya remains locked in a cycle of offensives and counter-offensives between militias loyal to rival political groups. Although oil production experienced a significant increase in 2017, continuing insecurity and the vulnerability of oil infrastructure to disruptions from armed groups and local protesters still largely constrain Libya’s oil potential.  OilPrice

At Least Six Dead in NE Nigeria after Boko Haram Attack
At least six people were killed when Boko Haram jihadists raided a village in northeast Nigeria, burning houses and looting food supplies, a local militia leader and residents said on Sunday. Boko Haram militants arrived in trucks at Mairari village, 10 kilometres (six miles) from the garrison town of Monguno in Borno state, on Saturday evening, firing guns and rocket-propelled grenades. “In the confusion, the Boko Haram gunmen seized six men and slaughtered them,” militia leader Babakura Kolo told AFP from the state capital of Maiduguri. “The bodies of the six victims were found this morning (Sunday) when residents returned to the burnt village,” Kolo said. A village resident, Aisami Grema, gave a similar death toll, adding that police stationed in the village did not fight the Islamists. AFP

How a Social Media Movement against Police Brutality Prompted Nigerian Government to Act
For more than a quarter of a century, Nigeria’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS)– has taken the lead on the country’s most serious crimes — armed robbery, kidnapping, assault, and murder. But following a months-long social media campaign known as #EndSARS by activists protesting alleged human rights abuses by the squad, Nigeria’s acting president has issued an order overhauling the controversial unit. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo — deputizing while President Muhammadu Buhari was on a working vacation outside Nigeria — said the decision was made following “persistent complaints” and allegations. Speaking after the announcement last week, he said: “Any unit that emerges from the process will be intelligence-driven and restricted to the prevention and detection of armed robbery and kidnapping, and apprehension of offenders linked to the stated offenses, and nothing more.”  CNN

Jawar Mohammed’s Red-Carpet Return Signals Ethiopia’s Political Sea Change
Jawar Mohammed never travels alone. When the US-based Ethiopian activist returned to his home country on 5 August, he was treated like royalty. A posse of sharply suited young men hovered by him at all times. Jeeps carrying security guards patrolled his hotel in central Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. Supporters from the provinces arrived in droves to pay their respects. Over the course of a two-week visit he held about 25 to 30 meetings a day, according to an exhausted aide. After meeting with the Guardian in his hotel suite he rushed off to give a lecture at the capital’s main university, entourage in tow. Nothing demonstrated the breathtaking transformation in Ethiopian politics over the past four months quite like the red-carpeted return of a figure who was once the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front’s (EPRDF) most wanted man. The Guardian

Russia, Egypt Pledge to Strengthen Military Ties
Russia and Egypt have discussed ways to expand their military ties and boost anti-terrorism cooperation. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said during Monday’s talks with his Egyptian counterpart, Mohamed Zaki, that Moscow strongly supports Egypt’s efforts to combat militants in the Sinai Peninsula. Shoigu said the Russian military is ready to share the experience of its military campaign in Syria with Egypt. Zaki noted that Moscow and Cairo have a shared view of current security challenges. An Islamic State affiliate downed a Russian airliner over Sinai in October 2015, killing all 224 people aboard and raising concerns over security at Egyptian airports. Moscow suspended flights to Egypt and only allowed them to resume in April after Egyptian authorities enhanced the airport security. AP

Malema Turns up Heat on South Africa’s ANC
Julius Malema, the enfant terrible of South African politics, feels hes got President Cyril Ramaphosa just where he wants him.Since his expulsion from the ruling African National Congress five years ago, Malema, 37, and the Economic Freedom Fighters have targeted setting the national agenda before next years elections. The party has been key in pushing the ANC into more forceful support for expropriation of land without compensation and free university education. Now its demanding that the ANC fulfill a pledge it made eight months ago to nationalize the central bank. Ramaphosa last month announced plans to amend the constitution to allow the state to take land without paying for it to address skewed ownership patterns that date back to apartheid and colonial rule. The prospect of property rights being eroded has spooked investors, who the president is trying to persuade to pour $100 billion into the country to spur growth. Bloomberg

Cameroon Chiefs Flee Separatist Violence in Southwest
Dozens of Cameroon’s tribal rulers have fled their palaces in the English-speaking southwest region after armed men pulled the chief of the Balondo people out of church and killed him. Separatists have abducted and killed other chiefs in the region, allegedly for collaborating with the government. At the Catholic church in Buea, southwestern Cameroon, people gathered to pray on Sunday afternoon for the late chief Stephen Itoh Esoh. A week ago, gunmen pulled the supreme chief of the Balondo people out of the Baptist church in Ekondo Titi village and shot him dead. Among those praying was Peter Njumbe, a Cameroon lawmaker. He said if the chief had listened to them, he might still be alive. VOA

First Lady Melania Trump to Make Solo Trip to Africa
First lady Melania Trump will make a solo trip to Africa later this year, she announced Monday. “This will be my first time traveling to Africa and I am excited to educate myself on the issues facing children throughout the continent, while also learning about its rich culture and history,” the first lady said in a statement. She added that she plans to use the trip to highlight the humanitarian work and development programs underway in many African countries. “We are a global society and I believe it is through open dialogue and the exchanging of ideas that we have a real opportunity to learn from one another,” the first lady said. News of the trip was first reported by the Associated Press. AP

‘The Rich Man’s Road’: Nairobi Slum Demolished for Highway
Early on Sunday morning on the outskirts of Nairobi, hundreds of people gathered amid the rubble where their church once stood. Pastors preached atop bare foundations. Worshippers, dressed in their Sunday best, sat on shattered bricks and broken concrete. Pamphlets, family photos and school papers littered the ground. Days before, they had watched as bulldozers tore through their neighbourhood, mowing down churches, schools and businesses, to make way for a highway extension that aims to ease Nairobi’s notoriously bad traffic congestion. The new road will pass through the heart of Kibera, the largest informal settlement in Africa, where many of the homes are built from mud bricks and corrugated metal, and house some of the capital’



Photo: Adam Jones