Africa Media Review for August 3, 2018

Mnangagwa Declared Winner of First Zimbabwe Election in Post-Mugabe Era
Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa won election Friday with just over 50 percent of the ballots as the ruling party maintained control of the government in the first vote since the fall of longtime leader Robert Mugabe. Mnangagwa received 50.8 percent of the vote while main opposition challenger Nelson Chamisa received 44.3 percent. The opposition is almost certain to challenge the results in the courts or in the streets. While election day was peaceful in a break from the past, deadly violence on Wednesday against people protesting alleged vote-rigging reminded many Zimbabweans of the decades of military-backed repression under Mugabe. France 24

Zimbabwe Election: Opposition Rejects ‘Fake’ Poll Results
Zimbabwe’s opposition leader has dismissed “unverified fake results” after President Emmerson Mnangagwa was declared winner of the first election since the ousting of Robert Mugabe. Nelson Chamisa’s MDC Alliance vowed to launch a legal challenge, saying the vote was rigged. Mr Mnangagwa has urged Zimbabweans to unite behind his presidency. Police are patrolling the streets of the capital, Harare, after protests on Wednesday left six people dead. A BBC correspondent in the city centre says a police vehicle with a loudspeaker is broadcasting the message: “Zimbabwe is open for business. We are here to protect you. Feel free to walk and open your business. All is well, fear not.”  BBC

Zimbabwe Election: Police Raid MDC HQ in Opposition Crackdown
Police in Zimbabwe have launched a crackdown on opposition leaders, raiding their headquarters and accusing them of inciting violence during protests in the capital, Harare, that left six people dead. A search warrant issued by a city magistrate and seen by the Guardian said Nelson Chamisa, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), and several others were suspected of the crimes of “possession of dangerous weapons” and “public violence”. The warrant authorises police to search for and confiscate any evidence, including computers and documents, as part of their investigation. The main headquarters of the MDC were closed on Thursday and guarded by a heavy contingent of police officers. A party official said 16 MDC workers had been taken away by the police for questioning. The Guardian

Zimbabwe: Government Says Troops to Remain in Capital
Zimbabwean authorities said Thursday military troops would remain in the capital Harare after post-election protests turned violent. On Wednesday, a government crackdown on opposition protesters resulted in the deaths of at least six people, according to local media. Police confirmed that three people have been shot dead as troops used live bullets to quell demonstrators who accuse the ruling Zanu-PF party of rigging the elections. Minister of Home Affairs Obert Mpofu said the government will not allow protests, accusing opposition party leaders of inciting the violence. Anadolu Agency

South Africa and SADC Do an Egg Dance over Zimbabwe Election Violence
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s statement calling on Zimbabwe’s law enforcement agencies “to protect citizens’ lives” is recalled. The South African government and the SADC regional body have evidently been caught in a dilemma about how to condemn the Zimbabwean security forces for shooting dead three protesters against allegedly rigged elections on Wednesday – but without offending their ally, Zimbabwe. International Relations and Co-operation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu refused to answer questions about the Zimbabwe election, except for a few fleeting remarks, during a press conference in Pretoria on Thursday. But a statement by President Ramaphosa, which Sisulu’s department apparently issued in error, was critical of the Zimbabwean government. Daily Maverick

Zimbabwe: UK’s Bet on Post-Mugabe Ex-Colony Hangs in the Balance
Ever since the then Africa minister Rory Stewart took the strategic bet to rush to Harare in November 2017 in the immediate aftermath of the fall of Robert Mugabe, the UK has invested heavily in nursing its former colony back to international respectability. The Foreign Office analysis was that a short window of opportunity had opened to encourage the ruling Zanu-PF party to turn away from the violent chaos and economic disaster of the previous 30 years. As soon as Stewart reached Harare, he stressed the rewards available to Zimbabwe if it took the path of reform. Stewart in private was not naive about Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mugabe’s successor, or the democratic instincts of the army. Any student of Mnangagwa’s record knew he had been Mugabe’s enforcer, deeply involved in money laundering and massacres. The Guardian

Mali Election: Keita and Cisse Go to Runoff Vote
Mali’s presidential election will go to a runoff vote after President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita came in first but failed to secure enough votes to win a second term in office outright, according to preliminary figures. The Ministry of Territorial Administration said on Thursday that Keita won 41.4 percent of Sunday’s vote, while his main rival Soumaila Cisse came in second with 17.8 percent. The two, who also went to a runoff vote in 2013, will contest the second round of voting on August 12. A candidate needed to obtain more than 50 percent of the votes to win outright. Al Jazeera

Jean Pierre Bemba Registers as DRC Presidential Candidate
Jean-Pierre Bemba, an opposition leader and former rebel leader in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has officially launched his bid for the country’s presidency, putting forward his candidacy for the long-delayed election in December. The move by Bemba on Thursday came a day after he arrived home following 11 years in exile and prison. He lodged his documents at the electoral commission offices in the capital, Kinshasa, throwing down the gauntlet to his rival President Joseph Kabila, who has ruled for 17 years. “I can confirm that I indeed had a voting card and I filed all the papers,” Bemba said outside the electoral commission headquarters. Al Jazeera

South Sudan: A Neglected Conflict and Donor Fatigue
After decades of civil war, South Sudan has been named one of the worst places to be a child. Education, food and security are all difficult to access. DW speaks to Save the Children. […] South Sudan is a neglected response. Most of the attention of the donors is focused on Syria and Yemen because they are getting a lot of media attention. It is a complex problem for the European community. They want to contain the refugee influx into Europe. So they are investing more into Syria and Yemen. South Sudan is not posing the same threat to the European community and the Western world. There are signs of donor fatigue. So all of that will have a negative impact on the children of South Sudan. Deutsche Welle

EU Navfor’s Operation Atalanta Mission Extended
The European Union has extended the mandate of the maritime security Operation Atalanta off the Horn of Africa until 31 December 2020. The European Union Naval Force (EU Navfor) on 30 July said the mandate extension signals the EU’s commitment to continuing counter-piracy operations off the Somali coast. “Furthermore, the ongoing protection of vulnerable shipping gives confidence to the World Food Programme in delivering vital aid to Somalia. This mandate extension is a standard approach that allows the EU to regularly review its operations and extend as required.” Following the decision by the UK to withdraw from the EU, the EU Navfor Operational Headquarters (OHQ) will also relocate from Northwood (UK) to Rota (Spain) by 29 March 2019. DefenceWeb

Ethiopia Reform Push Faces Major Snag: Red Tape
Businessmen who have to deal with Ethiopia’s customs system like to joke that if you get a permit to import yellow paintbrushes, make sure every last one is yellow. If an orange brush slips into the batch, let alone a red one, forget it – your shipment will be tied up for months. Ethiopia has achieved one of Africa’s fastest growth rates over the past decade, averaging up to 10 percent a year. But investors complain about its stifling and antiquated socialist bureaucracy, where the default answer from fearful civil servants is “no” and importing something as mundane as cotton can take six or 12 months. Reuters

Russia ‘Becoming Part of the Conflict’ in the Central African Republic
The murder of three Russian journalists working in the Central African Republic has raised questions about Moscow’s role in the country’s ongoing war. DW spoke to expert Tim Glawion about Russia’s presence in the region. […] If you want to see more you have to leave the capital and head out towards Berengo. Russian military advisors have set up camp there. They are attempting to train the Central African army on how to use Russian weapons, as well as imparting strategic advice. Generally, the Central African people look favorably upon the situation. The Russian government was the first that was willing to deliver weapons and to actively and quickly train the army. Although the European Union has had a similar approach for years, cooperation has been slow due to restrictions over providing weapons, training, strategic advice, etc. Deutsche Welle

Militant Groups Look to Exploit Somaliland-Puntland Tensions
As fighting and fiery rhetoric increase between the Somali region of Puntland and the self-declared independent state of Somaliland, some analysts fear that Islamist militant groups may try to exploit any instability to plant deeper roots in the area. “Our concern is that were there to be a direct conflict between Somaliland and Puntland, the security forces will be preoccupied with that, and would not be in a position to contain Al-Shabab or the Islamic State,” says E.J. Hogendoorn, deputy director of the Africa Program at the International Crisis Group. “Obviously, this will give them the chance to expand their reach.” VOA

Can Angola’s New President Get Rid of Corruption and Revive His Party’s Reputation?
Angola’s President João Lourenço has been making a great show lately of advocating for free and fair elections in nearby countries. Following a canceled summit in July, Lourenço met with Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) leader Joseph Kabila this week to discuss the upcoming December elections — presumably to encourage Kabila to keep with constitutional term limits and hold to his promise to abstain from running. And Lourenço sent officials to observe Zimbabwe’s July 30 elections, knowing they would be volatile. So, is Angola a model of electoral democracy? Hardly. Lourenço helms a government with a record of political repression and electoral fraudulence. Elected in 2017 with the slogan “improve what’s good, correct what’s bad,” Lourenço is the first new president the nation has had in 38 years. As his ruling party faces a legitimacy crisis, Lourenço has an opportunity to introduce greater levels of fairness and transparency into his country’s electoral practices.  The Washington Post

Ebola in a Conflict Zone
[…] The Congolese health ministry made the announcement this week, stating that at least 26 people have fallen ill with what appears to be hemorrhagic fever near the town of Beni and 20 have died. Laboratory tests have confirmed that four of the patients were infected with Ebola. North Kivu is a lawless, mineral-rich area in the northeast of the country, close to the border with Uganda. The previous outbreak in Equateur province was 1,500 miles away in the northwest of the DRC near the Congo River. “This new cluster is occurring in an environment which is very different from where we were operating in the northwest,” says Dr. Peter Salama, head of emergencies for the World Health Organization, in a statement. “This is an active conflict zone. The major barrier will be safely accessing the affected population.” Over the last decade armed groups in North Kivu have massacred civilians and each other while vying for control of the province’s deposits of gold, diamond and coltan, an ore used in cellphones and other electronics. NPR

Growing Wealth Brings Rise in Deadly Conflict in Northern Ghana
Agricultural development in northern Ghana is lifting people out of poverty, but researchers say progress has come at a deadly cost, worsening an age-old conflict between farmers and herders. Rising prosperity in Ghana’s semi-arid north, the poorest part of the West African country, has led to more people buying cows, drawing in more semi-nomadic herders who are hired to look after them. But as agriculture expands and grazing for cattle becomes scarcer, enmity between farmers and herders has intensified, with cows straying into crop-growing areas, leading to more frequent clashes – and record high deaths. “In large swaths of northern Ghana, there is a real danger that successful agricultural programming triggers conflict,” said Sebastiaan Soeters, who co-authored a report for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and charities. Reuters

Europe Has Criminalized Humanitarianism
Over the course of June and July, through a patchwork of frantic stopgap measures and pledges, European leaders fortified Europe’s borders along its southern perimeter in another push to restrict migration to the continent. This clampdown now also includes efforts to beach the last of the charity-run rescue boats that scoop up refugees out of the Mediterranean Sea—where more than 10,000 have perished since 2014. The amalgam of restrictions, which effectively truncate the right to political asylum by limiting refugees’ access to Europe, has staunch supporters beyond hard-right populists. Many center-of-the-road liberals claim that further curbing refugee flows is the only way to arrest the nationalist right’s stunning ascent in Europe—and salvage what’s left of asylum rights before populists such as Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini and his peers manage to annul it completely. It’s not yet clear whether paring down migrant arrivals will successfully halt the far-right’s rise. Either way, the plan raises deeper questions about just how much compromise Europe’s vaunted humanitarian values can withstand before they’re jeopardized entirely. Foreign Policy



Photo: Adam Jones