Africa Media Review for August 28, 2018

Scrapping Presidential Age Limits Sets Uganda on Course of Instability
The lifting of the age limits was the second time Uganda’s constitution has been amended to prolong President Museveni’s rule. Ongoing protests reveal public frustration over political retrenchment and the lack of a clear succession plan. The July 26 Constitutional Court ruling that approved the lifting of the presidential age limit of 75 from Uganda’s constitution has cleared the way for 73-year-old Yoweri Museveni to run for a sixth term in 2020. A series of protests, arrests, and violent episodes involving the security sector has revealed a level of instability in Uganda that has caught many observers by surprise. Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Top Islamic State Group Official Killed in Mali, Says France
France said on Monday it had killed a top official from Islamic State’s affiliate in West Africa in an operation in Mali that also killed another member of the group and two civilians. The defence ministry, in a statement, named him as Mohamed Ag Almouner and said he was one of the top officials of the Islamic State (IS) group in the Greater Sahara (ISGS). It did not name the second member of the group who was killed. The ministry said two civilians – a woman and a teenager – were killed in the operation which was carried out on Sunday.  France 24

Nelson Chamisa Wows to Fight on While Mnangagwa Talks about a ‘Shared’ Zimbabwe
With all the legal options within Zimbabwe exhausted, the country’s opposition is fighting and is now looking at a coalition while the MDC Alliance would appeal to the African Commission for Human and People’s Rights for help with the “stolen votes”. As far as MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa is concerned, Emmerson Mnangagwa’s presidential inauguration might as well not have happened. Chamisa – “president” to his supporters – said the inauguration was “false”, because the election had been cooked. Even though his legal team failed to convince the court, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission had admitted to some errors, but to date hasn’t announced any result other than the 50.8% win by Mngnagwa. Daily Maverick

Eyes on Court after DR Congo Excludes Bemba from Presidential Race
Former warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba was expected to appeal to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s top court on Monday after he was banned from running in upcoming presidential elections. Bemba and five other candidates, including three former prime ministers, were barred by the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) late Friday. The move sent shock waves through the country’s volatile politics ahead of the twice-delayed elections, triggering angry accusations of a fix. A major rival to President Joseph Kabila, Bemba returned to the DRC on August 1 to file his candidacy after he was acquitted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on war crimes charges. AFP

Congo Trial over Killings of U.N. Experts Resumes after Long Suspension
The trial of more than two dozen people, including a former intelligence agency informant, suspected in the killings of two U.N. sanctions monitors last year in central Congo resumed on Monday after a 10-month suspension, defense lawyers said. Zaida Catalan, a Swede, and Michael Sharp, an American, were killed in March 2017 while investigating an armed conflict in Democratic Republic of Congo’s Kasai region between government forces and the local Kamuina Nsapu militia. Congo’s government has blamed their kidnappings and killings on the militia but some Western governments and rights groups suspect state officials may have been involved as Catalan and Sharp were conducting investigations in an area where the United Nations has accused Congo’s military of war crimes.

Militia Fighting in Libya’s Tripoli Kills 5
Libya’s U.N.-backed government says fierce fighting between rival militias in the capital Tripoli has killed at least five people. The Health Ministry said Monday in a statement that the fighting also wounded at least 27 people. The United Nations Support Mission in Libya has voiced concerns over “the use of indiscriminate fire and heavy weapons in densely populated residential areas.” It called on all sides to immediately cease hostilities. Libya was plunged into chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed ruler Moammar Gadhafi. Today it is split between rival parliaments and governments in the east and west, each backed by a set of militias, tribes and political factions.  AP

Burkina to Vote on New Constitution in March
The Sahel state of Burkina Faso will hold a referendum to usher in a “semi-presidential” constitution on March 24 next year, the election commission announced Monday. The electoral rolls would be updated ahead of the vote, said commission chairman Newton Ahmed Barry. President Roch Marc Christian Kabore promised during the 2015 election campaign to bring in a new constitution to replace the 1991 version put in place by Blaise Compaore, who had seized power in a 1987 coup. Compaore was ousted in a popular revolt in October 2014 after he tried to extend his 27-year grip on power. AFP

War Is Over. Now Comes the Hard Part for Eritrea
Eritrea’s rapprochement with Ethiopia may have removed the threat of conflict, but it poses a new challenge for the one-party Red Sea state that’s long prioritized a war-footing with its giant neighbor over democracy. After decades of conflict and tension, the calm is a novelty for the nation that sits on a key shipping route to the Suez Canal and has known only five years of official peace since seceding from Ethiopia in 1993. After the two fought a 1998-2000 war, Eritrea stifled dissent and indefinitely suspended time limits on national service, spurring tens of thousands of people to flee to neighboring countries and Europe. Now, as Ethiopia’s leader promises multiparty democracy, a top Eritrean official says President Isaias Afwerki’s government will “have to respond and provide options for people to consider.”  Bloomberg

Ugandan Ragga Star’s Songs of Oppression Play Out in Real Life
For years, Uganda’s best-known musician-turned-politician has sung about intimidation and oppression. But with his latest prosecution on treason charges, Bobi Wine’s life is starting to imitate his art. The message of the 2016 single, “Situka” – or “rise up” in the Luganda language – is hitting uncomfortably close to home for the singer-songwriter, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, better known as Bobi Wine in his native Uganda and the rest of the world. “When the going gets tough, the tough must get going – especially for when leaders become misleaders, and mentors become tormentors. When freedom of expression becomes a target of suppression, opposition becomes our position,” croons Wine as the video clip display news footage of Ugandan security officials storming the offices of an opposition party.  France 24

Sudan’s Security Apparatus Confiscates Two Newspapers
Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) on Monday seized copies of Al-Jareeda and Al-Saiha newspapers from the printing house without stating reasons. Journalists working for the two newspapers told Sudan Tribune the confiscation comes in continuation of previous confiscations which began prior to Eid al-Adha holiday. They pointed out that the NISS director Salah Gosh, in a recent meeting with Chief-Editors of the newspapers, has stated redlines that mustn’t be crossed including the president of the republic. Gosh also warned the Chief-Editors against covering news of the armed movements in Darfur, and the Two Areas. Sudan Tribune

Igad Warned against Rewarding S. Sudan Faction Leaders
A South Sudanese lobby group has cautioned the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad) against rewarding the opposition military generals who deserted their bosses and declared themselves leaders of their factions. The Community Empowerment for Progress Organisation (CEPO), in a statement, said the split among the armed opposition presented a major setback to the peace process. “CEPO calls upon Igad-Sudan mediation process not to reward the culture of political splits for delaying the peace,” said the statement. “South Sudanese are tired of the on-going violence because of individuals’ love for political power. The East African

Somalia: Government Accused of Fueling Unrest in Gedo Region
The Federal Government of Somalia has been accused of not contributing to political stability in Gedo region in the wake of further tension between locals and Jubaland State, Garowe Online reports. In the region’s capital, Garbaharey, hundreds took to the streets on Friday to protest against the arrival of a ministerial delegation led by Jubaland’s Minister of Planning and Int’l cooperation, Aden Ibrahim Aw Hersi. Hersi has suffered a slight injury after being hit in the head with a stone thrown by angry demonstrators attacked the state delegation in the city, forcing his security guards to fire in the air to disperse the mob. The latest reports indicate that the phone lines in the town are down due to the escalating unrest. No casualties have been reported since the breakout of the anti-Jubaland protests. Garowe Online

Tense Local Polls in Mozambique Could Signal Major Political Shift
The tension and complexity of Mozambique’s upcoming municipal elections — which may signal a major political shift in the Southern African nation — can be seen by looking at the poll’s highest-profile contest: the mayoral race in the capital. Last week, the electoral commission kicked the two top candidates for mayor of Maputo off the ballot. They include the top candidate for the opposition Renamo Party, Venancio Mondlane, and the man who many thought would be a natural choice for the ruling party, Samora Machel Jr. Machel is a son of Samora Machel, Mozambique’s first president and co-founder of the powerful Frelimo Party, which has ruled the nation since 1975. VOA

Uhuru, Trump Agree to Improve Trade and Security
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and his US counterpart Donald Trump have agreed to bolster tourism, trade relations and improve security, especially in the Horn of Africa. Speaking on Monday during a bilateral meeting at the White House, President Kenyatta said the US has been instrumental in the fight against terrorism and seeks to partner with it in streamlining other sectors. “We have had very strong and excellent cooperation with the US in security and defence, especially in the fight against terrorism. Most importantly, we are here looking to enhance our partnership in trade and investment,” President Kenyatta said in Washington, DC. Daily Nation

May Begins Africa Trip with Nod to Rightwing Tories on Overseas Aid
Theresa May will set a condition that the UK ensure its overseas aid spending matches “wider national security priorities” as well as tackling poverty, in a speech due to be delivered in Cape Town as she begins a three-day trip to Africa. The prime minister will recommit to maintaining the aid budget at 0.7% of GDP, a pledge David Cameron originally made, but will seek to deflect criticism of the level of spending by the right of the Conservative party by saying it has to have a wider political and security purpose. “I am unashamed about the need to ensure that our aid programme works for the UK. So today I am committing that our development spending will not only combat extreme poverty, but at the same time tackle global challenges and support our own national interest,” May will say on Tuesday. “This will ensure that our investment in aid benefits us all, and is fully aligned with our wider national security priorities.” The Guardian

Britain Supports Land reform in South Africa – PM Theresa May
Britain supports South Africa’s land reform programme provided it is carried out legally, Prime Minister Theresa May said in Cape Town on Tuesday, adding that she would discuss the issue with President Cyril Ramaphosa. “The UK has for some time now supported land reform. Land reform that is legal, that is transparent, that is generated through a democratic process,” May told reporters. “It’s an issue that I raised and discussed with President Ramaphosa when he was in London earlier this year. I’ll be talking about it with him later today.” The land should be shared in South Africa so that everyone has an opportunity to benefit from what it has to offer, President Cyril Ramaphosa has previously said. “We must make sure that everything which is in our country we share… It must never be that a small group of people just take what this country has to give and hold it to themselves and say it belongs to them only,” he said at the Biodiversity Economy Innovation conference last week in Thohoyandou in Limpopo.  Reuters & ANA

‘It’s True Whites Stole the Land, but They Also Have Namibian Blood’: President Geingob
Namibia’s President Hage Geingob on Sunday urged citizens to take part in the debate over mooted land reforms, including the expropriation of land, in order to avoid chaos. The southern African country will hold a “national land conference” from October 1-5, for discussion of policies that will accelerate the land reform programme. “I believe that we should have difficult conversations, as Namibians, with the aim of finding peaceful and sustainable solutions to the challenges of inequality, landlessness and outstanding pains of genocide,” Geingob said during Sunday’s heroes day commemorations in northern Namibia. According to Geingob. the October conference will examine a policy of voluntary redistribution of land but also compensated expropriation by the government. Times Live

A Dangerous Twist to the Latest Ebola Outbreak
It was the news they’d been dreading. Last week, world health officials learned that a doctor’s wife had contracted Ebola. She is from Oicha, a town in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo that is surrounded by a violent insurgent militia called the Allied Democratic Forces. Her case is one of many in an outbreak that’s been ongoing since the start of August. But it was the first to be confirmed in a location that is extremely dangerous for health workers to reach because of the conflict raging in that part of the country. So far, the number of confirmed cases — more than 80 since the start of this month – has been in line with previous flare-ups in that country that were controlled in a matter of months. But the dangerous twist to this outbreak is requiring health workers to come up with creative strategies to reach those in need.  NPR



Photo: Adam Jones