Africa Media Review for August 24, 2016

South Sudan’s Former Vice President Turns Up in Khartoum One Month after Fleeing Juba
The Sudanese government announced that South Sudan’s former Vice President Riek Machar is in Khartoum for undisclosed medical care. “Sudan has received Riek Machar on humanitarian grounds and so he can have medical treatment,” Sudanese government spokesman Ahmed Bilal said in a statement. Bilal said Machar, who was also a rebel leader in South Sudan, was in need of “immediate medical treatment” when he arrived in the Sudanese capital but he did not say when that occurred. “He is now stable. He will continue to stay in the country until he decides when to leave,” Bilal said, without giving any details on Machar’s treatment. Deutsche Welle

US Official Says Appointment of S. Sudan’s First VP “Legal”
The United States Secretary of State, John Kerry, said Monday in Nairobi that the appointment of South Sudanese First Vice President Taban Deng Gai to succeed Riek Machar was “legal” under the provisions of the 2015 peace agreement. Speaking to reporters after meeting five foreign ministers of Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan and Somalia Kerry said the US backed protection force has limited definition and scope with respect to restoring peace in the country. “With respect to Machar, it’s not up to the United States; it’s up to the leaders of South Sudan and the people of South Sudan and the political parties and the political process, and their neighbors, to weigh in on what is best or not best with respect to Machar,” said Kerry when asked by a reporter to comment on the controversial replacement of the armed opposition leader and former South Sudanese First Vice President, Riek Machar. Sudan Tribune

South Sudan Envoy Tells off Igad after Kerry’s Remarks on Leadership Changes
A South Sudan diplomat has told off regional leaders who have been pressing for the reinstatement of the sacked vice president Riek Machar asking them ‘to hear loudly and clearly’ US Secretary of State John Kerry’s endorsement of the changes. At press conference in Nairobi on Monday, Mr Kerry said the August 2015 peace agreement allowed for replacement of personnel in the transition government. “I think it’s quite clear that legally, under the agreement, there is allowance for the replacement, in a transition of personnel, and that has been effected with the appointment of a new vice president. And what they decide to do is going to be dependent on them in the context of the implementation of the peace agreement,” said Mr Kerry when asked by the media about the US position on the replacement of Dr Machar with Taban Deng Gai. The East African

Is a New Phase in Relations Looming for Sudan and South Sudan ?
Sudan and South Sudan appear to be on the verge of bringing their relations to a new level following the current visit of First-Vice President Taban Deng Gai to Khartoum which Juba hopes would normalize ties between the two nations particularly as it faces mounting international pressures. On the one side, Gai and his senior economic and military delegation who arrived in the Sudanese capital on Sunday, have discussed outstanding issues between the two countries including security, border and oil issues. However, South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit seems to have sought to gain support of the Sudanese government in the face of the heavy international pressure that he encountered following the escape of his former First Vice-President Riek Machar which exacerbated the humanitarian and security situation in the newborn state. Sudan Tribune

Ex-Dutch General to Lead Probe Into South Sudan Attacks
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed a retired Dutch general on Tuesday to lead an independent investigation into allegations that U.N. peacekeepers did not take action to prevent multiple cases of abuse and sexual violence against civilians and foreigners in South Sudan’s capital. The U.N. chief ordered the independent probe last week after expressing alarm at preliminary findings from the July 11 attack on a compound popular with foreigners in Juba, and reported rapes outside the U.N.’s main camp in the capital, Juba, where thousands of people have sought refuge from fighting. The investigation team led by retired Maj. Gen. Patrick Cammaert will review reports of attacks on civilians and sexual violence in or near the U.N. compound and will determine whether U.N. peacekeepers responded appropriately to prevent these incidents and protect civilians, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. AP on Stars and Stripes

Gang Rape of Aid Workers in South Sudan is a Turning Point 
It was a tragic turning point. On July 11, South Sudanese soldiers invaded a hotel in the capital city of Juba and gang-raped foreign aid workers. “The soldiers just came to the bathroom where all the girls were hiding and they just picked us out of the bathroom one by one,” says one of the women who was in the hotel. She asked that her name not be used. Despite calls for help to the U.N. compound a mile down the road, no one came. Even in a country where violence is commonplace, where a simmering civil war has been reignited, where the humanitarian needs are among the most pressing in the world, this attack sent shock waves through the aid community. NPR

John Kerry Warns Nigerian Military on Human Rights Abuses
Secretary of State John Kerry issued a carefully worded warning on Tuesday to Nigeria’s military against committing human rights abuses as it goes about battling the Islamist militant group Boko Haram. Nigeria’s military has long been dogged by evidence that it has killed civilians, tortured prisoners and, more recently, detained mothers, children and other victims who had been kidnapped by Boko Haram. “It is understandable in the wake of terrorist activity, some people are tempted to crackdown on everyone and anyone who could theoretically pose some sort of a threat,” Mr. Kerry told a group of religious leaders and politicians during a visit to Nigeria on Tuesday. “I caution against that today. Extremism cannot be defeated through repression.” The New York Times

Nigerian Police Arrest ‘Boko Haram Spiritual Head’
Eight terror suspects have been arrested by the Nigerian police, including a man believed to be the head a Boko Haram sleeper cell in the northwestern Kano state as the mastermind of a mass killing in 2013. Tony Opuiyo, spokesman of the country’s department of state service, or the secret police, said in a statement on Monday that the suspects were arrested following surveillance targeted at halting terrorist activities. “The service arrested one Mudaisiru Jibrin aka Namakele/Alarama on 17 July, 2016, at Sauna quarters, Yankaba area in Kano. Jibrin was the spiritual leader of a newly uncovered Boko Haram cell in Kano,” said the statement. Anadolu Agency

Inside the Brutal But Bizarrely Bureaucratic World of the Islamic State in Libya
[…] Even as they ruled through fear and brutality, as their counterparts have in Syria and Iraq, Islamic State officials in Libya aspired to create a government with a functioning bureaucracy, public services and a credible judicial system. Residents in the fractured coastal city of Sirte described the militants’ ambitions in interviews last week, offering a portrait of the group’s efforts to extend its self-proclaimed caliphate into Libya. With its defenses crumbling in Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State increasingly saw Sirte as a possible substitute capital, especially if its Syrian haven of Raqqa fell. That goal now appears distant as pro-government militias, backed by the United States and other allies, have captured key positions that were held by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, and are pursuing hundreds of militants remaining in Sirte. The Washington Post

Debunking Mauritania’s Islamist Militancy Mythology
Fast-modernising Mauritania presents itself as something of a showcase for how “to do” countering violent extremism, or CVE, in Africa. […] President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz has spoken confidently of Mauritania’s unique approach to tackling the challenge of “radical Islam” in a country that has been a self-styled Islamic republic since independence. “De-radicalisation” has become the mantra – and the drop in radical violence over the last five years has been attributed to the Mauritanian way: a mix of a security clampdown that has driven extremists out of the country, and the softer approach of CVE. Prison dialogues held in 2011 between extremist prisoners and senior Muslim moderates are portrayed as a pioneering initiative, offering an inspiring example to neighbouring countries like Mali and Niger, contending with similar problems. IRIN

DR Congo Elections: Opposition Strike Cripples Kinshasa
A strike called by the opposition to force the Democratic Republic of Congo’s President Joseph Kabila to step down at the end of his term has crippled businesses in the capital. Shops in Kinshasa were closed and streets were mostly empty, says the BBC’s Poly Muzalia in the city. The government dismissed the strike as the work of “radicals having some old fashioned fun”. The opposition fears Mr Kabila wants to delay elections due in November. BBC

‘No One Is Safe’: Zimbabwe Threatens to Seize Farms of Party Defectors
Dozens of angry young men jumped off a truck in front of Agrippah Mutambara’s gate, shouting obscenities and threatening to seize his 530-acre farm in the name of Zimbabwe’s president. They tried to scale the fence, scattering only when he raised and cocked his gun. Zimbabwe made international headlines when it started seizing white-owned farms in 2000. But Mr. Mutambara is not a white farmer. Far from it, he is a hero of this country’s war of liberation who served as Zimbabwe’s ambassador to three nations over two decades. But when he defected from President Robert Mugabe’s party to join the opposition a few months ago, he immediately put his farm at risk. “When it was happening to the whites, we thought we were redressing colonial wrongs,” said Mr. Mutambara, 64, who got his farm after it had been seized from a white farmer. “But now we realize it’s also coming back to us. It’s also haunting us.” The New York Times

Zimbabwe’s War Veterans Flee Mugabe’s Sinking Ship
[…] Over the years, Zimbabwe’s war vets – organised through the ZNLWVA – have been more than just enthusiastic supporters of the regime. All too often, they have also been its enforcers, implicated in many major outbreaks of violence, including the 2008 post-election violence, and the violence that accompanied the controversial land reform process in the early 2000s. They have been the regime’s thugs of choice, and willing accomplices to its abuses. So what has changed? According to the ZNLWVA statement, the precipitously declining economy played a major role. ‘[Mugabe’s] leadership has presided over unbridled corruption and downright mismanagement of the economy, leading to national economic ruin for which the effects are now felt throughout the land,’ the organisation said. ISS

Angola’s Adoption of Social Media Legislation ‘May Set Dangerous Precedent for Zimbabwe’
While Zimbabwe’s Parliament is yet to set a date for the examination of a controversial Cybercrime bill, analysts have warned that Angola’s adoption of a similar legislation may have set a dangerous precedent for the region. In the wake of growing discontent over the deepening socio-economic problems in Zimbabwe, the government is trying to tighten its grip on cyberspace and social media with the potential introduction of the draft Computer Crime and Cybercrime Bill. Faced with protests driven by social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and What’sApp over the last three months, President Robert Mugabe has turned his guns on social media users. International Business Times

Zambia Government Switches off TV Station, Radio
Zambia authorities Monday shut the country’s main private television station, Muvi TV, and two radio stations for alleged “misconduct”. But commentators have argued the move is part of the wider crackdown on dissent by the government. “The Independent Broadcasting Authority Authority (IBA) has revoked the Broadcast Licences of Muvi Television, Komboni Radio and Itezhi Itezhi Radio for wide and flagrant breach of terms of their licences and for broadcasting material that could cause incitement that might break the peace and security of the country,” said a statement issued by the government. The stations are accused of deliberately breaching the broadcasting standard operating procedure and terms of their licences. The authority accused the broadcaster of promoting falsehood and impartial news reporting. Muvi is also cited for airing material not suitable to be classified as adverts. The East African

Regional Troops Clash with Al-Shabab in Southwest Somalia
Two days of clashes between al-Shabab and regional forces in southwestern Somalia have killed at least 15 people, officials said. The fighting took place outside Moragabey village in the Bakool region. Forces of the Bakool government and surrounding regions have recently stepped up military operations to open roads blocked by al-Shabab. Intermittent clashes continued Tuesday after al-Shabab attacked a base used by regional government forces Monday, according to officials. Sources close to the Somali military told VOA that the dead include eight soldiers and seven al-Shabab militants. VOA

UNHCR Says 24,000 Refugees Voluntarily Leave Dadaab Camp for Somalia
At least 24,000 refugees from the expansive Dadaab camp in northeastern Kenya have so far been assisted to voluntarily return to Somalia since a tripartite agreement was signed in 2014, a senior UN official has said. Speaking during the commissioning of a power station in Dadaab, Wella Kouyou, the deputy representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to Kenya, said in 2016 alone, 18,000 have voluntarily gone back to Somalia. Earlier this year, the Kenyan government announced that it would shut down the camp, saying it was a breeding ground for terrorists. The country had witnessed a series of attacks instigated by Al-Shabaab militia. One of the deadliest attacks was at Garissa University College in April 2015 in which over 140 people died, most of them students. The East African

Olympics Protest Runner Not Going Back to Ethiopia – Agent
Olympic marathon silver medallist Feyisa Lilesa will not return to Ethiopia despite assurances he would not be punished for his Rio protest over political repression in his country, his agent said on Tuesday. “I don’t think that there is any way that he will [go back to Ethiopia]. There are many people who say that it would not be good for him to go back,” his agent, Federico Rosa, told AFP. Rosa, who is based in Italy and has been the athlete’s agent for three years, said he did not know exactly what his client was planning to do next, having stayed on in Rio at the end of the Games. “I cannot say for sure because I have not spoken to him since just after the race, when we had a very short conversation,” Rosa said. News 24

World’s Worst Currency Slump Gleaning Rewards for Nigeria
More than two months after Nigeria allowed its currency to devalue, the country is starting to reap some dividends. In the past two weeks, Exotix Partners LLP and Standard Bank Group Ltd. have told clients, most of whom fled after the country started imposing capital controls from late 2014, that they should start buying naira assets again. The worst-performing currency this year among more than 150 globally has depreciated 37 percent against the dollar since the central bank abandoned its peg on June 20, while bond yields have jumped to more than 20 percent. The naira strengthened 4.6 percent to 315 per dollar on Tuesday after falling to a record 350.25 on Aug. 19. “The cheap naira is attracting foreign investors,” said Lutz Roehmeyer, a money manager at Landesbank Berlin Investment, which oversees about $12 billion of assets. “At 325 per dollar, the naira is too weak” and Landesbank anticipates a rebound, he said . Bloomberg

WHO to Hold Emergency Meeting to Advise on Yellow Fever
The World Health Organization has announced that an emergency meeting will take place next week to discuss counter-measures for a yellow fever outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola. An estimated 500 individuals have already been killed across the two African countries, according to the international charity Save The Children, which warned last week that the outbreak could soon spread globally if not contained. WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told reporters on Tuesday that Director-General Margaret Chan had asked the committee of independent experts to meet on August 31 to analyse the situation and respond accordingly. Al Jazeera



Photo: Adam Jones