Africa Media Review for August 24, 2018

Zimbabwe Court Set to Rule on Presidential Election Petition
Zimbabwe’s top court will on Friday decide whether President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s disputed July 30 election victory should stand against complaints by his main rival that it was rigged. The election, in which Mnangagwa and opposition leader Nelson Chamisa were the main contenders, was touted as a crucial step toward economic recovery and shedding Zimbabwe’s pariah reputation, but instead has left the nation deeply polarized. An army crackdown in response to post-election violence by opposition supporters left six people dead on Aug. 1, recalling the heavyhanded security tactics that marked the 37-year rule of Robert Mugabe, who was removed in a coup last November. The Constitutional Court planned to deliver its judgment on the opposition challenge at 2 p.m. (1200 GMT).  Reuters

South Sudan Conflicting Parties to Sign Final Peace Deal in Khartoum Next Week
South Sudan’s conflicting parties have reached consensus on a final peace deal draft expected to be signed in Khartoum on August 27, South Sudan’s Information Minister said Wednesday. “We are expected to sign with initial letters on a comprehensive peace agreement next Monday,” South Sudan’s Information Minister and government spokesman Michael Makuei told Xinhua Wednesday. “The parties have overcome most of the issues of differences which we discussed during the third round of South Sudan’s peace talks starting in Khartoum on August 13,” he noted. He said the current round of talks discussed issues that were not resolved in the framework and the power-sharing and security arrangements agreements.  Xinhua

South Sudan’s Army, Rebels in Fresh Blame Game over Cease-Fire Violations
The South Sudanese army and the main rebel group are trading blame for the renewed fighting that erupted in the northern parts of the country earlier this week. The Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the rebel group SPLA-in Opposition (IO) led by former first deputy president Riek Machar on Thursday renewed counter accusations of truce violation in the former Unity State. South Sudan’s warring factions on Aug. 5 signed a new power sharing and cease-fire deal in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum aimed at ending five years of civil war. The foes in the country’s civil war had previously violated several cease-fires brokered by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an East African regional bloc since the conflict erupted in December 2013. Xinhua

South Sudan’s Telar Deng Returns to Juba Ending Self-Imposed Exile
South Sudanese politician and former diplomat Telar Deng Thursday has returned to Juba after several months of self-imposed exile in Nairobi after his resignation from his ambassadorial role and sack from the government. On 25 January 2018, Juba summoned for consultations Deng who was South Sudan’s ambassador to Moscow but instead of returning to Juba he resigned from his position. Following what his old friend President Salva Kiir issued a presidential decree sacking him from the government services. Since Telar Deng appeared with the opposition leaders in Nairobi and rumours emerged that he was allied to the former SPLA chief of staff Paul Malong but he strongly denied the allegations. Sudan Tribune

Ghana’s Ex-President Mahama Announces Bid for 2020 Vote
Ghana’s former president John Mahama on Thursday announced his bid to seek the nomination of the main opposition party and contest the 2020 election. Mahama, who became president in 2012 but lost his re-election bid to President Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in 2016, said he had decided to give the country’s top job another shot. “I have submitted my letter to the General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) confirming my decision to contest for the leadership of the party with a clear view on victory in 2020,” the former leader announced on his Facebook page. Mahama said his decision was due to a groundswell of support from Ghanaians. AFP

US Delegation Visits Ethiopia to Discuss Reforms, Human Rights
A U.S. delegation is heading to Ethiopia on Wednesday to talk about the country’s reform efforts since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in April. Republican Congressman Christopher Smith, who led the congressional delegation, said he “is cautiously optimistic” about the political reforms in the country. In an interview with VOA’s Horn of Africa, Smith says he will meet Prime Minister Abiy and Foreign Minister Affairs Minister Workineh Gebeyehu and push for continued reforms, as well as reinforcing human rights issues. “We are going to meet with him [prime minister] and encourage him and try to get our own sense of how well the reform process is moving,” Smith said. VOA

Congo Has 75 Confirmed Ebola Cases, WHO Says on Twitter
The World Health Organization said there are 75 confirmed cases and 27 probable cases of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo.There have been 59 deaths while 10 people have recovered from the disease and been discharged, WHO said in a post on Twitter on Thursday.Its the second time the African nation has battled the hemorrhagic virus this year. This outbreak is in North Kivu province, a region in the northeast that’s home to more than one million displaced people. It shares borders with Rwanda and Uganda and has been wracked by violence committed by numerous militias, making it difficult for aid workers to try contain the outbreak. Bloomberg

Central Africa’s Armed Groups Want Blanket Amnesty, Plus 96 Other Demands
Blanket amnesty, renegotiating military deals with Russia and restructuring the army are among the several demands that armed groups in the Central African Republic have presented to an African Union expert panel seeking to broker peace in the country. An AU document, seen by AFP, lists 97 demands by the armed groups in return for peace, with a government of national unity required along with the amnesty and a restructuring of the army. The African Union has been leading a peace process in the Central African Republic but there has been little progress. CAR descended into violence in 2013 following the ouster of the majority-Christian country’s president, Francois Bozize, by a coalition of Muslim-minority rebel groups called the Seleka.  Africa News

800 People Arrested in Ethiopia amid Fresh Regional Violence
Ethiopian authorities have arrested 800 people accused of causing fresh violence in the East African nation, officials said on Thursday. Some 500 people were arrested over the past week in Oromia on suspicion of murder, illegal land invasion, burning down coffee plantations and setting up barricades, according to Beyissa Kuma, a spokesman for the restive region. Regional officials said in the so-called Southern region, about 300 people have been detained over the past few days for inciting violence. It was unclear on Thursday what motivated the clashes. In the past, unrest in those regions has been prompted by calls for political reform and ethnic inclusion. Premium Times

Eritrea Mulls Port as Ethiopia Rapprochement Spurs Investors
Eritrea is considering building a port on its Red Sea coastline to export potash from deposits being developed in the Horn of Africa nation, a mines ministry official said.Plans for the harbor signal the country’s reemergence as a potential investor destination after its surprise rapprochement with neighboring Ethiopia last month ended two decades of political tensions. The facility could be used to ship potash from Ethiopia and adds to a series of port developments in the strategically located region by nations including Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan and the self-declared Republic of Somaliland.. The port would be situated at the Bay of Anfile, 75 kilometers (47 miles) east of the 1.2 billion-metric-ton Colluli potash deposit, Alem Kibreab, director-general of mines in the Ministry of Energy and Mines, said in an interview in the capital, Asmara. A feasibility study is under way to decide on the specific site, with the start of construction envisaged about five years after a mine starts operating there, he said. Bloomberg

Algeria Sources Predict Dramatic Army, Intelligence Shake Up
The Algerian presidency is preparing for significant changes pertaining to army and intelligence personnel following anti-corruption judicial proceedings which have led to the dismissal of civil servants, Algerian sources said. “The presidency is in the process of dismissing Major General Saeed Shankarijah, commander of the third military zone (southwest of the country near the Moroccan border) and Colonel Kamal Bin Mouldi,” an official source told Asharq Al-Awsat under the condition of anonymity. Listing more names up for forced resignation, the source said that the information has not yet been communicated to Algerian media and is expected be made through official announcement in coming days. Mouldi is in charge of the military security in the capital, and Maj. Gen. Mohammad Tirash, also facing termination of duty, is the director of a central military security center in the Defense Ministry. Asharq Al-Awsat

Government Sends 116 Migrants Who Jumped Fence Back to Morocco
The Spanish government has sent back to Morocco the 116 Sub-Saharan migrants who managed to get over the border fence on Wednesday at the Spanish North African exclave city of Ceuta, police sources have told EL PAÍS. The operation is based on an agreement that Spain and Morocco signed in 1992 on the readmission of foreigners who illegally enter Spanish territory. In the document, Morocco agreed to readmit nationals from third countries who enter Spain illegally, if there is a “formal request from [Spanish] authorities.”  […] The Spanish government contacted the authorities in Rabat to reactivate the mechanism of express deportations after the July incident. Spanish ministers requested that Morocco take back migrants in the case of another mass assault on the border, like the one seen on Wednesday. Rabat accepted the request, but the deal had been kept secret until now.  El Pais

E Guinea Lawmakers Banned from Foreign Travel
Equatorial Guinea’s lawmakers have been banned from foreign travel unless authorised by Vice President Teodorin Nguema Obiang, the president’s son, according to a note from the presidency obtained by AFP on Thursday. “On the grounds of national interest,” lawmakers must submit a request to travel abroad to the head of the National Assembly or the Senate “with the agreement of the vice president,” said the note dated July 27. Some lawmakers in Malabo confirmed the information to AFP. In June, the country’s civil servants were hit with a similar ban. According to sources, the move is linked to an attempted coup that took place in December, the details of which were announced by the Equatorial Guinean government in January.  AFP

UN Says Political Settlement Is Crucial before Burundi Vote
The UN Security Council says a political settlement in Burundi is crucial ahead of elections in 2020 and is urging all parties, especially the government, to participate “actively and unconditionally” in an inter-Burundian dialogue. The council reiterated its concern at the slow pace of talks and stressed in a statement on Wednesday night that “dialogue is the only viable process for a sustainable political settlement in Burundi.” Council members urged “all relevant parties, including national, regional and international actors” to ensure a successful new round of negotiations. AP

Blockchain Won’t Solve All of Kenya’s Elections Problems
Kenya held one of Africa’s most expensive elections in 2017, with its electoral body alone using more than $530 million to conduct the polls. Allegations of tampering and hacking, voter boycotts, and violence dogged the voting, and the supreme court eventually annulled the August presidential results and ordered a new election in October. After the electoral irregularities of 2007 and 2013, the crisis solidified mistrust of the electoral commission. Now the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is planning to look into blockchain technologies that could allow candidates to “securely access” real-time results, hence improving transparency and easing public suspicion. The plan has kicked off an impassioned conversation about the role of technology in governance, the legality of the ledger framework, and how it can ensure a fair vote. It comes at a time when Kenya is looking favorably at blockchain, with companies using it to disrupt key industries like agriculture. In February, the government set up a task force to study the benefits and challenges of blockchain in the hope of using it to create foolproof land registries and tackle corruption.  Quartz



Photo: Adam Jones