Africa Media Review for August 28, 2019

Aid Groups Warn against Kenya’s UN Bid to Sanction Al-Shabaab
Kenya is urging the UN to list Al-Shabaab under the same sanctions as Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, but foreign donors say the move could leave millions in drought-stricken Somalia without aid. The proposed listing — which could take effect as soon as Thursday — comes at a critical time in Somalia, where 2.2 million people, or nearly 18 percent of the population, face the risk of severe hunger. Al-Shabaab is already targeted under broader sanctions imposed by the United Nations on Somalia, which is heavily aid-dependent after three decades of conflict and economic ruin. Right now, UN agencies and humanitarian organisations are exempt from these sanctions, which enables them to deliver urgent aid without prosecution when they venture into territory controlled by Al-Shabaab. … If no member state objects before August 29 the Al-Shabaab listing under Security Council resolution 1267 will take immediate effect. The East African

Amid Safety Fears, Burundi to Repatriate 200,000 Refugees from Tanzania
Burundi said on Tuesday it would start repatriating 200,000 of its refugees from neighbouring Tanzania in October, sparking fears of forced returns among those who have crossed the border to escape violence. Hundreds of Burundians have been killed in clashes with security forces since 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza ran for a third, disputed term in office. Over the same period, more than 400,000 have fled abroad, predominantly to Tanzania, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. A former ethnic Hutu guerrilla leader, Nkurunziza came to power in 2005 at the end of a civil war in which 300,000 died. Last year he won a referendum that could allow him to stay in office until 2034. Reuters

Chad Jails 243 Rebels over February Incursion from Libya
Chad’s justice minister has said a “special criminal court” handed jail terms to 243 rebels who crossed from Libya in February, before their incursion was halted by French air raids. Out of “267 people who were arrested, 12 were sentenced on Monday to 20 years in prison and 231 others to terms ranging from 10 to 15 years”, Djimet Arabi told AFP news agency on Tuesday. Twenty-four minors who had been detained were released, the minister said. The special court also handed down life sentences in absentia to nearly a dozen rebel leaders living outside Chad, including their chief Timan Erdimi, Arabi added. The Union of Resistance Forces (UFR), an armed group opposed to Chadian President Idriss Deby, is based in the desert of southern Libya. Al Jazeera

FFC Extends Nominees to Hamdok for Sudan’s Transitional Cabinet
Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok on Tuesday received the list of ministerial nominees made by the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) ahead of the formation of his cabinet on 28 August. Hamdok who was also nominated by the FFC will lead a technocrat government tasked with the implementation of a political programme set by the coalition that led protests that toppled down the former regime of Omer al-Bashir. “On the afternoon of Tuesday, August 27, 2019, I received the lists of the ministerial nominees submitted by the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC),” said Hamdok in a short statement released in the evening. The list of the Freedom and Changes forces include 49 nominees for 15 ministerial portfolios and 16 nominees to head four national councils. Sudan Tribune

Dozens Drown in Latest Shipwreck off Libyan Coast
The U.N. refugee agency says an estimated 40 people drowned when their boat capsized off Libya’s coastal city of Khoms, about 100 kilometers east of the capital, Tripoli, early Tuesday morning. Some 60 people reportedly have been rescued by the Libyan coast guard and local fishermen. U.N. refugee spokesman Charley Yaxley told VOA the UNHCR and other agencies are providing humanitarian aid and psycho-social counseling to the traumatized survivors. … Yaxley says survivors include refugees and migrants from Sudan, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and other nations. The latest tragedy comes just weeks after some 150 people lost their lives in a shipwreck considered to have been the worst single incident on the Mediterranean this year. The UNHCR spokesman says Tuesday’s shipwreck off the Libyan coast brings to about 900 the number of people estimated to have died in 2019 attempting the dangerous sea crossing to Europe. VOA

Nigeria Government ‘Detaining’ Trafficking Survivors: Report
Despite attempts by the Nigerian government to combat human trafficking and provide support for survivors, care for victims is still severely lacking, a new report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) says. According to the report, the Nigerian government is illegally detaining survivors of human trafficking, inhibiting the recovery of the traumatised survivors from the experiences they went through. “The Nigerian authorities are actually detaining trafficking survivors in shelters, not allowing them to leave at will, in violation of Nigeria’s international legal obligations,” the New York-based rights body said. “The detentions overwhelmingly affect women and girls, and put their recovery and well-being at risk.” The report is based on interviews with 76 survivors, 20 of them girls between the ages 8 and 17, who either were trafficked out of Nigeria and later returned, or were trafficked into the country. Al Jazeera

Nigeria: INEC, CSOs, Others Mull Ways to Tackle Fake News
The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) has expressed concern over the growing circulation of fake news through the social media and its possible threats on electoral integrity of Nigeria. CDD keynote speaker, Jibrin Ibrahim, said this while addressing the representatives of different media outfits, INEC, SSS, the Minister of Information, and many other stakeholders, at the first day of the 2-Day Conference on Combating Misinformation and Disinformation in Nigeria, on Tuesday, in Abuja. He said disinformation and misinformation have generated significant threat not only to the country’s democracy but human co-existence. … In his address, Mr Ibrahim added that “misinformation, disinformation and fake news through the social media has created a serious crisis for nation-states. “It has provoked a significant level of conflicts, it has generated hate speech which has been destructive for inter-community relations. Premium Times

Nigeria Fears Fiscal Crisis as Debts Take Big Slice of Revenue
Africa’s largest oil producer could run out of money if it doesn’t boost revenues urgently. Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari warned that the country could struggle to fund its expenses unless it’s able to raise the tax take after querying the revenue chief over poor collections. That could complicate Buhari’s efforts to turn around the economy, a mandate on which he was re-elected in February. Bloomberg

Namibian Refugees Refuse to Leave Botswana
More than 800 Namibian refugees in Botswana have vowed to stay put despite a court ruling saying they must return to their country, 20 years after fleeing following a secessionist uprising. Felix Kalula and hundreds of other Namibian refugees fled to Botswana in 1999, after violent clashes with Namibian government forces broke out over the disputed Caprivi strip, which wanted to secede from the rest of the country. The Namibian and Botswana governments say it is safe for the refugees to return home, and the migrants have until Aug. 31 to leave. But Kalula says the issues that made them flee have not been resolved. … Rights group Amnesty International has urged the Botswana government not to repatriate the refugees, and instead is calling for dialogue. Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi recently told his Namibian counterpart, Hage Geingob, that Botswana revoked the refugees’ status, as the country deemed it fit for their return. VOA

Southern African Nations Threaten to Leave Global Wildlife Pact
Namibia threatened to lead Southern African nations, home to the bulk of the world’s rhinos and elephants, out of a global convention that governs trade in wild plants and animals and their products. The southwest African country was angered after losing a bid to ease controls over products from its white rhino population, which numbers more than 1,000 of the endangered beasts. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora decided in Geneva to retain restrictions on the trade. Bloomberg

U.S. Increasingly Disappointed with Zimbabwe Government -U.S. Official
U.S. disappointment with Zimbabwe’s government keeps growing amid the heavy-handed response of authorities to any form of opposition, a senior State Department official said on Monday following a crackdown last week against protesters. “The disappointment just keeps getting worse and worse, unfortunately,” said the official, speaking on background to reporters. “The government seems to be getting even more violent in their response to any form of opposition.” The official said Washington had made clear to the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa what it would take to improve relations between Zimbabwe and the United States. U.S. officials have previously called on Mnangagwa to change Zimbabwe’s laws restricting media freedom and allowing protests. Reuters

Gambia’s 1st President, Dawda Jawara, Dies at 95
Gambia’s government says the country’s first democratically elected president, Dawda Kairaba Jawara, has died at the age of 95. The Gambian presidency said Tuesday that Jawara died in the capital, Banjul, and called him a “champion of international peace, justice and humanity.” Jawara was known as the father of the nation. He spearheaded the talks that led to Gambia’s independence from Britain in 1965. He served as prime minister while Queen Elizabeth II was head of state before he succeeded her in 1970 with his election as president. Jawara remained in office until a 1994 coup. The soldiers who overthrew him were led by Yahya Jammeh, who also would lead Gambia for more than two decades. AP

Japan to Drive Africa Investment with Enhanced Trade Insurance: Abe
Japan will offer enhanced trade insurance to boost private sector investment in Africa, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Wednesday as his country competes with rival China for influence in the resource-rich continent. “Let me make a promise,” Abe told the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) attended by a few dozen African leaders and representatives of international organizations such as the World Bank. “The Japanese government will do its utmost so that our private-sector investment in Africa, which came to $20 billion over the past three years, will be expanded continuously,” Abe added. The enhanced insurance would fully cover loans to African governments, their affiliated institutions or private companies buying Japanese goods for infrastructure projects in Africa, according to government briefing materials and a state-run firm offering trade insurance. Reuters

Russia Pushing ‘Unsuitable’ Nuclear Power in Africa, Critics Claim
Russia is attempting to gain influence in Africa and earn billions of pounds by selling developing nations nuclear technology that critics say is unsuitable and unlikely to benefit the continent’s poorest people. Representatives of Rosatom, the Russian state corporation responsible for both the military and civil use of nuclear energy, have approached the leaders of dozens of African countries in the past two years. The company, which is building a $29bn reactor for Egypt, has concluded agreements with Uganda, Rwanda, Ghana, South Africa and others. Nigeria has a deal with Rosatom for the construction of a nuclear reactor, and less ambitious agreements of cooperation have been signed with Sudan, Ethiopia and the Republic of the Congo. The Guardian

Special Report: African Development
Boasting some of the world’s fastest growing economies, youthful demographics and an abundance of commodities, foreign investors are vying to enter Africa. Notwithstanding widespread poverty, dubious elections and social problems, the continent in general is doing better than many people imagine. Financial Times



Photo: Adam Jones