Africa Media Review for August 23, 2017

Angolans Choose New Leader to Replace Jose Eduardo Dos Santos
Angolans are heading to the polls to vote for a successor for their veteran leader. Jose Eduardo dos Santos has been in power in the oil-rich country since 1979, making him the world’s second-longest serving president. He is not contesting this election – Defence Minister Joao Lourenco is standing for the governing MPLA party. His main challenger is expected to be Isias Samakuva, from the MPLA’s rival in the 27-year civil war, Unita. BBC

On Eve of Vote, Angola’s Lourenco Denies He’d Be Puppet President
João Lourenço, Angola’s ruling party candidate for president, said on Tuesday he would not be hamstrung by his powerful predecessor if he wins election as he pledged to revive Africa’s third largest economy and tackle rampant corruption. Speaking the day before a general election that will see the first change in president for 38 years, Lourenço said he wanted to lead an “economic miracle” and would consider seeking help from the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund. Lourenço is widely expected to win Wednesday’s vote, though it remained uncertain whether his party, facing discontent over the state of the economy and allegations of graft, would secure the two thirds majority needed to govern alone. The ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) won 72 percent of the vote at the last election in 2012. SABC

U.S. Slaps Egypt on Human Rights Record and Ties to North Korea
The Trump administration on Tuesday denied Egypt $96 million in aid and delayed $195 million in military funding because of concerns over Egypt’s human rights record and its cozy relationship with North Korea. Analysts said they were surprised by the moves, which followed an Oval Office meeting in April between President Trump and President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, during which Mr. Trump lavished praise on the military strongman. “I just want to let everybody know, in case there was any doubt, that we are very much behind President el-Sisi,” Mr. Trump said. “He’s done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation. We are very much behind Egypt and the people of Egypt. The United States has, believe me, backing, and we have strong backing.” Egypt is among the largest recipients of United States aid. But on Tuesday, the State Department confirmed that it was curtailing its funding to the country because of its lack of progress in human rights and a new law restricting the activities of nongovernmental organizations. The New York Times

Boko Haram Nigerian Child Bombings This Year Are Quadruple 2016’s -UNICEF
Boko Haram militants in northeast Nigeria have sent out four times as many child suicide bombers this year as they used in all of 2016, the United Nations Children’s Fund said on Tuesday. Eighty-three children had been used as bombers since Jan. 1, 2017, UNICEF said. Of those, 55 were girls, mostly under 15 years old and 27 were boys. One was a baby strapped to a girl. Nineteen children were used last year, UNICEF said. The Boko Haram insurgency, now in its eighth year, has claimed over 20,000 lives and forced more than two million people to flee their homes over eight years. The frequency of suicide bomb attacks in northeastern Nigeria has increased in the past few weeks, killing at least 170 people since June 1, according to a Reuters tally. Reuters

UN Official Sees Genocide Threat in Central African Republic
U.N. humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien said Tuesday he saw “the early warnings of genocide” during a recent visit to Central African Republic, which has faced sectarian fighting since 2013. He said in an interview with The Associated Press that “there’s a terrible development of militias now using ethnic or religious” reasons for attacks. He spoke with AP after briefing the U.N. Security Council on his trip behind closed doors at the request of France. During a visit to the southeastern town of Bangassou last month, O’Brien said, he saw 2,000 Muslims trapped in a Catholic church where they fled after their homes were burned by mostly Christian anti-Balaka militiamen who were “just lying in wait to kill them if they tried to move.” By contrast, he said, “every Christian family’s house was left standing.” AP

Solidarity over Justice: The Ties That Bind South Africa and Zimbabwe
Had Grace Mugabe not been granted immunity, would her equally irascible husband, President Robert Mugabe, have thrown his toys out the cot, evicted South Africa’s diplomats and business people, cut of all commerce and isolated South Africa in the region? Or would he have had to swallow his hurt pride, knowing how entirely dependent tiny and ailing Zimbabwe is on its giant neighbour for economic survival? Experts differ on this. Most analysts believe Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane had no choice but to let Grace get off scot-free. Chris Landsberg, professor of African diplomacy and foreign policy at the University of Johannesburg, told Radio 702 that preventing Grace Mugabe from going home last weekend and charging her would have dropped an “unbelievable ton of diplomatic bricks” on South Africa. The “cantankerous” President Robert Mugabe would have stopped at nothing to “humiliate, embarrass, cut ties, recall his ambassador to South Africa,” Landsberg said. Daily Maverick

Zuma Tightens Grip as South Africa Ruling Party Censures Rebels
It’s payback time for South African President Jacob Zuma as his ruling African National Congress censures its lawmakers who openly backed a move to oust him, increasing his sway over who’ll succeed him. The ANC fired Makhosi Khoza as chairwoman of parliament’s public service committee last week after saying it would punish three legislators who announced they’d back an opposition motion of no confidence in Zuma. It then wrote to Derek Hanekom, the head of its disciplinary committee, rebuking him for his Twitter postings calling for the president’s removal. The ANC’s response shows the balance of power within the party is still tilted in favor of Zuma, who’s due to step down as its leader in December and as president in 2019, according to Ralph Mathekga, an analyst at the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection, a Johannesburg-based research group. Zuma has indicated he wants to be replaced by former African Union Chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, his ex-wife and the mother of four of his children, rather than her rival, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. Bloomberg

Moroccans Shaken by Links to Extremist Attacks in Europe
Morocco has long considered itself a haven of stability in a volatile region and a key ally in the fight against Islamic extremism, but in recent months, it has found itself shaken by carnage in Europe blamed on Moroccans who moved abroad. Young men from the North African nation have been involved in deadly attacks in Paris and Brussels, and — just last week — emerged as suspects in violence in Spain and Finland. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility. In the days after attacks on Barcelona’s famed Las Ramblas and a seaside resort killed 15 people, shocked and horrified relatives and friends of the suspects gathered with the Muslim community in their Spanish town of Ripoll to denounce terrorism. AP

Worldwide Remembrance of the Slave Trade ‘a Tribute to Every Victim’
While the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is a tribute to every victim and their resistance against slavery, it is also a reminder of the importance of teaching history, a senior United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural (UNESCO) has stressed. “The legacy of the slave trade is a symbolic victory for human rights freedom; and the International Day acts as a reminder of the eternal effort to reaffirm human dignity and break down ignorance” Nada Al-Nashif, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences told UN News ahead of the International Day of remembrance, marked annually on 23 August. Since its 1998 establishment, the commemoration has provided an opportunity to look back at the legacy of the slave trade and to understand how the uprising that began in 1791 in what is now Haiti was symbolic of a victory for freedom and human rights. UN

Raila Odinga Launches Truth and Electoral Justice Drive
Kenya’s opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa) leader Raila Odinga says he will not bow to internal and external pressure to move on after the August 8 poll, which he insists was rigged. Speaking during the inauguration of coastal Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho on Tuesday, Mr Odinga launched what he termed “national campaign for truth and electoral justice in Kenya”. “We have reached a point that Kenyans must wake up. Stealing of elections must stop and this was the last time,” he said at Mama Ngina Drive gardens. “From Mombasa to the entire country, I call on Kenyans to reject a stolen poll. The way Kenyans voted should be respected by the court and those who were defeated,” he said. The East African

Congolese Troops to Protect World’s Richest Untapped Tin Deposit
The Democratic Republic of Congo has promised to help Alphamin Resources Corp. to protect the world’s highest-grade untapped tin deposit. Construction of the mine has already started in a remote part of North Kivu, an eastern province, and Alphamin intends to have the $152 million project fully funded by the end of the year, Chief Executive Officer Boris Kamstra said Tuesday. A large part of the project’s success will depend on maintaining security in an region that hosts armed militia groups and eliminating illegal mining. “The DRC government has been hugely supportive in that we now have a very strong military presence in our area,” Kamstra told reporters at a Johannesburg briefing attended by North Kivu Minister of Mines Anselme Kitakya. “In essence we’ve got a military curtain between ourselves and the east of us which is largely unpopulated forest.” Bloomberg

Flexibility, Planning Cut Somali Famine Threat, Report Says
People suffering in Somalia’s latest drought have fared better when donors deftly shift funding to emergency projects that help residents save money and stockpile food, a charity said Tuesday. Severe drought in the Horn of Africa nation is expected to deepen until the October rainy season, and humanitarians are racing to avoid a repeat of the 2011 famine when more than 250,000 people died of starvation. Funding from major donors, including the United States, Britain and the European Union, has been used effectively in Somalia for community warehousing of food and for savings and loan programs, the rights group Refugees International said in a report. Flexible use of that funding allowed agencies in Somalia to switch to emergency preparedness projects once it became clear in June 2016 that the drought would be prolonged, it said. VOA

Uganda Jails Terror Suspects to Life Imprisonment 
The International Court Division of the High Court in Uganda’s capital, Kampala has sentenced six terrorism suspects to life imprisonment. Among them is the leader of Tabliq Sect in Uganda Sheikh Mohammad Yunus Kamoga, Sheikh Siraje Kawooya, Sheikh Murta Mudde Bukenya, and Sheikh Fahad Kalungi. The court, presided over by a panel of three justices also sentenced two others to 30 years in jail for terror related charges terming the two as “mere followers and not leaders” unlike Sheikh Kamoga and his colleagues. But, Justice Muhanguzi said the two convicts have a right to appeal within 14 days. Their lawyer Fred Muwema said he would appeal and called for calm. The East African

Senegal to Send Ambassador Back to Qatar
Senegal announced on Tuesday that it has reappointed its ambassador to Qatar who had been recalled amid Gulf crises triggered by the cut-off of ties between Doha and four Arab states. “Senegal has decided to send its ambassador to Doha back to Qatar,” tweeted Ahmed bin Saeed Al Rumaihi, Director of the Information Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Senegal. Senegal said that it strongly encourages the pursuit of ongoing initiatives aimed at a peaceful settlement of the crisis between Qatar and its neighbouring countries. Senegalese government said that in the spirit of Islamic solidarity, it is willing to contribute to the ongoing efforts in this direction. The Peninsula, Qatar

Tunisia Seeks to Become Member of ECOWAS before End of 2017: PM
Tunisia is working to become a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) before the end of 2017, Prime Minister Youssef Chahed said on Tuesday. Speaking at the opening of the “Tunisian African Empowerment Forum” held at the Convention Centre, Chahed stressed that Tunisia aims to establish a solidarity partnership with African countries, whose objective is to guarantee the sustainable development of human resources and preserve the dignity of African peoples. “The security, stability and growth of the African continent are the greatest political challenges of our countries,” he said as quoted by Tunis Afrique Presse (TAP) , adding that the forum aims to promote bilateral relations between Tunisia and African countries. Emirates News Agency

Rhino Horn Auction Opens in S. Africa amid Controversy
The first legal auction of rhino horns after years of suspension opened in South Africa on Monday despite opposition from the government. This came after private rhino breeder John Hume won a court victory that allows him to proceed with the auction in South Africa. The last-minute bid in the Pretoria High Court on the eve of the auction overturned a declaration by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) that it would be unlawful to grant a permit to Hume allowing him to trade rhino horns. After the opening, bidding will commence on Wednesday to allow registered bidders sufficient time to be informed that the permit will shortly be obtained and the auction will commence as planned. This is not the first time that Hume has prevailed against the DEA. Earlier this year, he won a case to overturn the almost decade-long moratorium on the sale of rhino horn within South Africa’s borders. Xinhua



Photo: Adam Jones