Africa Media Review for August 23, 2018

Zimbabwe’s Top Court to Rule Friday on Presidential Election Challenge
Zimbabwe’s highest court is expected to issue a ruling Friday on a petition in which the country’s main opposition group is seeking a nullification of July 30 presidential election won by the incumbent Emmerson Mnangagwa. “The judgment is reserved and the court should be able to come with a judgment at 2pm on the 24th of August which is Friday,” said Zimbabwe’s chief justice Luke Malaba, after hearing submissions for nearly 10 hours from lawyers of the country’s main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, Mnangagwa and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) accused Zimbabwe’s election commission of rigging the vote in favor of President Mnangagwa and his ruling ZANU-PF party. According to the official results, Mnangagwa won nearly 51 percent of the vote to defeat MDC leader Nelson Chamisa, who received just over 44 percent. VOA

Rebel Faction Rejoins South Sudan Army
A group of rebel soldiers is rejoining the South Sudanese army in the wake of last month’s peace deal between rebel factions and the government. Brigadier General Chan Garang told reporters in Juba Tuesday that he and more than 300 officers and soldiers are coming back to the government. Army spokesman Brigadier General Lul Ruai Koang confirmed the development. Meanwhile, government and rebel faction representatives are expected to sign a follow-up agreement this weekend in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum. Last month’s agreement, which revitalized a 2015 peace deal, has led to a reduction in fighting across South Sudan. VOA

Uganda’s Bobi Wine: Pop Star MP Charged with Treason
The Ugandan MP and pop star Bobi Wine has been charged with treason in a civilian court shortly after a military court freed him. Bobi Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, was immediately re-arrested after being released. His lawyers say he has been assaulted in detention, which the military and President Yoweri Museveni deny. He was detained along with 30 others ahead of last week’s by-election in the north-western town of Arua.  BBC

Bobi Wine, Uganda’s ‘Ghetto President’, Upstages the Real Head of State
Robert Kyagulanyi cannot remember the day that Yoweri Museveni was first inaugurated as president of Uganda. It was 33 years ago, and he was just three. Since then, Museveni has been inaugurated a further four times, most recently in 2016. Meanwhile Kyagulani, better known by his stage name Bobi Wine, has grown up to become perhaps the most serious threat to the president’s efforts to further extend his residence in State House. Even two years ago, this would have been impossible to predict. Sure, Wine had forged a spectacularly successful career as a reggae musician and entertainer, and crowned himself ‘the Ghetto President’ — a reference to his childhood in one of Kampala’s poorest slums. But he was more famous for his slick lyrics and his high-profile ‘beefs’ with rival musicians than for his politics. Mail and Guardian

Algeria President Replaces Top Military Officials
Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on Wednesday dismissed the army’s security chief, Mohamed Terche, replacing him with General Osman Ben Meloud, according to local media reports. Bouteflika also dismissed the army’s inspector-general, Major-General Boumediene Benattou, who was replaced by Major-General Haji Zerhouni. According to Algerian daily Ennahar, the raft of new appointments comes within the context of a “partial reorganisation” of Defense Ministry-linked institutions. Recent weeks have seen the Algerian presidency replace a number of senior security officials from both the army and police. Middle East Monitor

Burundi’s President Warns against Coup Plots
President Pierre Nkurunziza has warned that whoever attempts to overthrow democratic institutions in Burundi, will himself fall in the trap he would have laid. Mr Nkurunziza who gave the warning in his message to the nation at his third anniversary of rule, called on the east African country’s citizens to continue contributing to the country’s 2020 general elections. “We’re engaged on the path of democracy. The most recent example is the organisation of the constitutional referendum successfully held on May 17 this year where citizens voluntarily contributed necessary funds for the organisation of the referendum. “I take this opportunity to thank all Burundian citizens and those of the Diaspora to continue contributing to the 2020 elections,” said Mr Nkurunziza. According to him, citizens have been “showing their enthusiasm” in contributing to the 2020 elections because they have understood their past and now know where they are heading to.  Xinhua

Congo ‘Ninja’ Leader Agrees to Disarm after Ceasefire Deal
The leader behind an insurgency in the Republic of Congo on Tuesday accepted the principle of laying down arms in his first public appearance since he agreed to a ceasefire last December. Frederic Bintsamou, also known as Pastor Ntumi is head of a powerful militia called the Ninjas which launched a revolt in April 2016 in the southern region of Pool, prompting more than 138,000 people to flee their homes. On December 23, 2017, Bintsamou’s group signed a ceasefire deal with the government which was touted as laying the groundwork for peace. In it, Bintsamou committed to “facilitating the collection of weapons held by the ex-combatants” but did not follow up on this, saying he opposed “unilateral” disarmament. The Punch

Expectations of Possible Political Crisis in Tunisia Soon: Experts
Tunisian political experts expressed their expectations of a possible political crisis in Tunisia, as the tension between the presidency and government increased with the approaching legislative and presidential elections. In separate interviews with Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), local experts said there are indications that Prime Minister Yousif Al-Shahid may not remain in office, despite his current control over the political crisis in the country. Political journalist Salaheddine Jourshi said Tunisia is expected to have a tense political season, which would affect several levels, including economic and social. Jourshi said “cooperation” between the government coalition parties is essential for maintaining the balance of political life and limiting the negative impact of the current crisis on the country. For his part, Tunisian media and political analyst Rashid Khashana said the current crisis in Tunisia resulted from a struggle for positions among the leaders of the ruling party. Kuwait News Agency

In Libya, a City Once Run by Islamic State Struggles to Start Again
A year and a half since so-called Islamic State was ousted from Sirte, his property is half rubble, his mother’s downstairs bedroom piled high with sand and soil where the militants dug underground tunnels. Once the Libyan “capital” of IS, this city became infamous in February 2015 when the group filmed an execution of 21 people on a nearby beach. In AbuBaker’s house, walls of rooms emptied of furnishings are covered with graffiti, first from IS fighters, then over-scored with victorious scrawls by Libyan soldiers. Behind his house, the streets are lined with more crumpled houses and bullet-ridden shipping containers turned into barricades. The once densely populated centre of Sirte, which used to have an overall population of 150,000, was so fiercely defended by IS that it took Libyan forces three months to liberate it, leaving behind utter destruction. IRIN

eSwatini Stands by Taiwan despite Chinese Overtures
eSwatini, formerly known as Swaziland, has chosen to maintain relations with Taiwan after a diplomatic tussle between Taiwan and China. The tiny country is Taiwan’s last remaining ally in Africa. China had said it wants eSwatini, formerly known as Swaziland, to establish diplomatic links with Beijing. However, Taiwan says its relationship with the African nation is “extremely firm”. The Chinese government does not allow countries to have official ties with both itself and Taiwan, which Beijing considers its own territory.  BBC

South Africa: What Will the Fallout Be from Fraud Inquiry?
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has vowed a crackdown on government corruption. And he could end up implicating members of his own African National Congress (ANC) party. A judicial inquiry into alleged corruption at the top levels of government opened on Monday, but it doesn’t have powers to arrest anybody or seize assets. It will examine claims of fraud in the public sector during former President Jacob Zuma’s time in office. Zuma was accused of being under the influence of the wealthy Gupta family. Billions of dollars of state funds were allegedly stolen using corrupt practices. But how far can the investigation go?  Zimbabwe

The U.N. Kofi Annan Left Behind
Kofi Annan, who died last weekend, was arguably the most consequential United Nations secretary-general since the second, Dag Hammarskjold, who served in the 1950s and 1960s. Unlike the dashing Swedish diplomat, Annan was an organization man, the first to rise through the U.N.’s own ranks to its highest position. And yet he used his knowledge of the U.N. system, and his dignity, to good effect, becoming an eloquent advocate for a flawed organization and embodying the conscience of what some hopefully call “the international community.” His tragedy was to occupy his post during the greatest crisis in the troubled history of U.S.-U.N. relations—namely, the run-up to the Iraq War and its turbulent aftermath. Although his tenure ended in disappointment, he will be remembered for his defense of humanitarian intervention, his advocacy for U.N. peacekeeping, and his insight that security, development, and human rights are inseparable. Annan was the first U.N. secretary-general from sub-Saharan Africa. Foreign Policy

Africa’s Dark Dividend: The Emergent Criminal Economy
The greater political freedom that has come to many African countries over the past three decades, and their opening to world markets, has brought a dark dividend — the proliferation of highly efficient crime syndicates. These syndicates have easy access to arms thanks to, among other things, the chaos in Libya after the death of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and peace accords in countries like Mozambique. About 100-million small arms and other light weapons are believed to be stockpiled or in circulation in Africa, a rich resource for criminal gangs seeking weapons to help them protect their routes and create new markets. Three separate studies conducted recently show, among other things, that the trade in Colombian cocaine via West Africa and Afghan heroin via East Africa is soaring, with political elites and crime syndicates working hand in hand; and that tax avoidance by multinational companies, particularly in the extractive industries, is equivalent to 11.6% of trade lost to Sub-Saharan Africa. Financial Mail

The Heroes Who Stood Up to the Gambia’s Dictator Are Telling Their Stories
Yahya Jammeh once promised to rule the Gambia for “one billion years.” Yet after a mere 22 years as one of Africa’s most volatile autocrats, Jammeh conceded defeat live on television following the presidential election of December 2016. He retracted his concession days later but—threatened with military action from neighboring states—he left and went into exile in mid-January 2017. It was a hopeful moment for many Gambians. For decades, opposition members were detained, journalists abducted, and human-rights activists tortured. As the country’s economy became mired in debt, Gambians left in droves, risking their lives to reach Europe. The story of those who stayed and defied Jammeh’s rule is now the subject of a compelling documentary titled We Never Gave Up. Produced by Louise Hunt and Jason Florio for Amnesty International, it documents the unsung heroes who suffered emotional, physical, and mental trauma to defend human rights in mainland Africa’s smallest country. Quartz

More than 100 Migrants Storm Border of North African Spanish Enclave
More than 100 African migrants managed to force their way into the Spanish enclave of Ceuta from Morocco on Wednesday when hundreds tried to storm the highly fortified border, a Spanish police spokesman said. Television images showed some of the migrants with bloodied arms and legs, apparently caused by the razor wire that tops the border fences, cheering as they walked towards a temporary reception centre. Most of them were young men. “I love Spain!” shouted one. Some were draped in European Union and Spanish flags. More than 3,800 migrants have crossed the Moroccan border into the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla so far this year, according to the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR. The route accounted for 14 percent of the total 27,600 who arrived, mainly by sea, between January and July, a 130 percent increase on the previous year.  Reuters

Man’s Racist Rant Sparks Social Media Outcry in South Africa
A video of a man making racist comments while on a beach has prompted widespread outrage and sparked a conversation about racism in South Africa. In video apparently taken on a beach in an unknown place, the man who was named in South African news reports and on social media as Adam Catzavelos, uses a derogatory term for black people widely known in South Africa as the K-word. The video has caused widespread outrage since a Twitter user posted it on the platform on Tuesday. The hashtag #AdamCatzavelos has since been trending as people used Twitter to condemn his comments, with some sharing his personal and work details as well as those of his wife, Kelly Catzavelos, who South African media says works as a merchandising director for sportswear firm Nike in South Africa. CNN



Photo: Adam Jones