Africa Media Review for August 4, 2016

SPLA Hints Declaring War on SPLA-IO Forces
South Sudanese national army, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), loyal to President Salva Kiir has for the first time in three weeks publicly admitted that it has “resolved to crush SPLA-IO” forces loyal to former First Vice President, Riek Machar, despite their earlier denials that there was no heavy fighting going on around Juba. “SPLA reiterates its resolve to crush SPLA IO warmongers under the leadership of power hungry former FVP Riek Machar. Machar’s bandits will have no where to hide,” declared Brigadier Lul Ruai Koang, the official military spokesperson of the South Sudan’s national army. The opposition group under Machar had been saying that tens of thousands of troops loyal to President Kiir have been on offensive in the bushes around the capital trying to hunt down Machar from his places of “hiding.” Although President Kiir’s officials have been downplaying the claims by the opposition, the revelation from the military spokesperson that Machar’s forces will be “crushed” and will have “nowhere to hide” indicates that heavy fighting had been going on in the deep forests around the capital. Sudan Tribune

Mabior Garang: “J1 Fighting Was a Coup Against Unity Government”
Mabior Garang de Mabior, spokesperson of the SPLM-IO faction led by ousted vice president Riek Machar said J1 fighting and targeted attack on the residence of his boss at Jebel area was a coup d’état instigated to dismantle the unity government formed under last August’s peace deal. Speaking to Radio Tamazuj, Garang said the current government led by Salva Kiir and Taban Deng does not represent the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU). “There is no unity government in South Sudan after the recent incidents in Juba,” said Garang. Mabior Garang, who was also dismissed from his position by Kiir yesterday evening, said President Kiir’s decree to replace Dr. Riek Machar with Taban Deng Gai was “illegal”. The leading SPLM-IO official disputed reports that the opposition faction is fragmented, saying Taban, Ezekiel and other opposition officials decided to defect to Salva Kiir. “This is not a split, Taban Deng, Ezekiel and others have just surrendered themselves to Salva Kiir. So to us they are part of Kiir’s group, but Taban Deng does not have forces in South Sudan,” he explained. Radio Tamazuj

South Sudan Leader Fires 5 Ministers Close to Opposition
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has fired five ministers, according to an official decree, in a move that removed figures known for close ties to ex-rebel leader Riek Machar. Under a peace agreement signed in August 2015, Kiir headed the government while Machar was given the position of first vice president. Thirty ministerial posts were distributed between their two parties and others. But a presidential decree issued on Tuesday showed that cabinet posts including the interior and petroleum portfolios in the oil-rich state had been filled with allies of the new vice president, Taban Deng Gai. News24

Khartoum Objects to Taban’s Appointment as New FVP in South Sudan
Sudan’s State Minister of Foreign Affairs Obaidallah Mohamed Obaidallah says the appointment of Taban Deng Gai as the First Vice President of South Sudan is inconsistent with last August’s peace deal that ended nearly two years of civil war in the country. In a Tuesday statement in Khartoum, Obaidullah said”there is no way to deal with a government that violates the implementation of the agreement in South Sudan, the agreement talks of the appointment of Riek Machar as the First Vice President”. The Sudanese diplomat pointed out that the African Union and the East African regional bloc IGAD agreed to cooperate with the unity government provided for in the peace deal in South Sudan.” So any move to work with a parallel body is a violation of the agreement” he stressed. Radio Tamazuj

Uncertainty over Boko Haram’s Leadership
Boko Haram, the Nigerian Islamist group that has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, may have a new leader, according to the jihadist group’s online weekly Al-Naba. In the interview, Barnawi makes no clear reference to the movement’s leader Abubakar Shekau, except for a mention of Boko Haram’s pledge of allegiance to ISIS in March 2015. Since the pledge, Barnawi has appeared in several videos distributed by Boko Haram, claiming responsibility for successive attacks, earning him the reputation of group spokesperson, experts say. Meanwhile, speculation over the fate -and alleged disappearance – of Shekau has been rife in recent months. He last appeared in a video posted on YouTube in March, looking weak and saying: “For me, the end has come”. News24

UN: Ebola After-effects Threaten Food Shortages in West Africa
Farmers in West Africa still reeling from the impact of Ebola, urgently need help or they could be forced to leave their farms to seek work elsewhere, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) said on Wednesday. During the epidemic, many farmers in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia were unable to grow or sell their crops because of measures to contain the virus, including travel restrictions, border closures and quarantines, as well as fear of infection. Rice, cassava and other crops went unharvested. Food production in Sierra Leone’s bread basket and epicentre of the epidemic stalled, and weekly markets ceased trading because there was nothing to sell, according to the World Bank. VOA

Niger’s Forgotten War: 40,000 Refugees Flee Rebel Violence as Lake Chad Conflict Escalates
Halima prods my knee to make sure I’m paying attention. “We people from Bosso are warriors, we’re famous for that. We never flee. We’ve been attacked ten times since last February and we never fled. 20 years ago there was a local rebellion and fighting swamped the town. We didn’t flee then either. But 3 June was different. And now here we are.” … Halima works with the nurses to help detect whether children are suffering from malnutrition. This myriad of huts has sprung up since the attacks on 3 June. She tells me about what happened in Bosso, her hometown right on Niger’s border with Nigeria that was attacked by hundreds of militants just one month ago, forcing 40,000 people to flee into the bush. IBTimes

Burundi Rejects UN Police Force after Security Council Vote
Burundi said it would refuse to allow United Nations police onto its territory to monitor the security and human rights situation after the UN Security Council voted to send 228 officers. … The Security Council voted on Friday to authorise the police deployment, though four of the 15 members abstained. “Concerning the deployment of the police force, the government of Burundi reminds the Security Council that … every resolution … has to be approved by the host country, which was not, unfortunately, the case,” government spokesman Phillipe Nzobonariba said in a statement late on Tuesday. “The government … rejects any resolution measure in connection with sending any force on its territory in violation of elementary rules governing the family of United Nations and especially violating the sovereignty of its territory.” Burundi’s UN Ambassador Albert Shingiro said in July his country would only accept up to 50 unarmed UN police. The East African

Kenya’s Polling Body Officials to Exit Office Ahead of Election
Commissioners in Kenya’s polling body have finally agreed to leave office after months of anxiety regarding their fate as the country inches closer to the 2017 elections. The nine commissioners, led by Chairman Issack Hassan, on Wednesday told a joint parliamentary committee comprising members of the country’s National Assembly and the Senate that they are ready to leave office through a political settlement for the sake of peace. That means the joint committee, co-chaired by Senators Kiraitu Murungi and James Orengo, will now have to craft a bill that allows the commissioners of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to leave office before the end of their term in September 2017 as part of the larger electoral reforms. “We have been pleading with the commissioners to be patriotic and leave peacefully to enable the country hold peaceful elections in 2017. Kenya is a peaceful country and we don’t want a repeat of the 2007 post–election violence,” said Mr Kiraitu in final address to the committee Wednesday. The East African

Zambia’s Lungu Issues Warning on Election-linked Violence
Zambian President Edgar Lungu says he is ready to use draconian means to ensure the country remains peaceful after next week’s presidential, parliamentary, local and referendum elections. Lungu from the ruling Patriotic Party says he has intelligence that members of the main opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) plan to cause havoc if the party is unable to win the polls. But in an interview with VOA, Canisius Banda, deputy leader of the UPND, says Lungu’s statement is unfortunate and regrettable. He says the president has the backing of the constitution to ensure the unity of Zambia. Banda, however, says the president would rather plunge the country into tension, violence and chaos if he uses draconian means to enforce peace. VOA

Zimbabwe: Protesters Beaten As ZRP Brutally Break-Up Anti-Bond Notes Demo
Anti-riot police used batons to break up a peaceful march in Harare on Wednesday, the latest public protest against President Robert Mugabe’s government’s handling of the economy. Mugabe, 92, and in power since independence from Britain in 1980, is increasingly under pressure from angry Zimbabweans, as well as his war veterans allies, who last month rebuked him as a manipulative dictator, calling on him to step down. Zimbabwe has witnessed several anti-government protests in recent months, including the biggest stay at home demonstration by activist pastor Evan Mawarire’s #ThisFlag movement in July. Hundreds of people marched on the streets of Harare on Wednesday against the government’s plans to introduce local bank notes, as authorities grapple with a serious shortage of dollars. New Zimbabwe in AllAfrica

#ThisFlag Movement Leader Pastor Evan Mawarire ‘Will Face More Death Threats’
Pastor Evan Mawarire, leader of the #ThisFlag protest movement that has spearheaded largely successful nationwide ‘stay-away’ days in Zimbabwe will face more threats to his life once he returns to his country, a prominent lawyer has warned. Since May, the social media campaign dubbed “#ThisFlag” has seen Zimbabwean citizens stay put at home and successfully paralyse the capital Harare in a series of protests against corruption, poverty and abuse of office by President Robert Mugabe’s regime, amid fears of “economic collapse” in the nation of almost 16 million. … “If I say to you I am not afraid of going home, I would be lying. The president of the country of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, in the last two weeks, in his last two public speeches, has attacked me,” Mwarire told Cape Argus, Cape Town daily newspaper, during his stay in neighbouring South Africa. IBTimes

Day of Reckoning for ANC as South African Poll Results Due
South African municipal election results due out Thursday will reveal whether the long-ruling African National Congress (ANC) is losing its grip on power two decades after the end of apartheid. The ANC has won more than 60 per cent of the vote at every election since Nelson Mandela was sworn in as the country’s first black president in 1994. But 22 years after the fall of white-minority rule, a faltering economy, rampant corruption and soaring unemployment have eaten into the party’s popularity. … Polls leading up to the vote had the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), which controls Cape Town, trouncing the ANC in the capital Pretoria, economic powerhouse Johannesburg and seaside Port Elizabeth. But a final Ipsos survey earlier this week placed the ANC slightly ahead, as previously undecided voters climbed down from the fence. The Nation

African Spy Chiefs in Kigali to Debate Security Violations on Africa
African chiefs of intelligence services are gathering in Kigali, Rwanda Thursday to debate on ways to counter indictments by Western countries that subject Africans to non-African jurisdiction. This comes at a time when African leaders are increasingly facing pressure from the international community for human rights abuse and poor governance. Under the auspices of the African Union, the spy chiefs from 51 countries will centre their discussion on “countering the growing threat of abuse of universal jurisdiction against Africa.” “The gathering sends a clear message to the international community that Africa needs change in the way the principle is applied” observed Dr Alfred Mwenedata, an expert in international criminal law and the dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Kigali. The African intelligence chiefs are expected to recommend to the African Union Commission what can be done to tackle what they refer to as “the seemingly intractable security challenges confronting Africa.” The East African

Panama Papers Probe Exposes New Secret Deals Across Africa
International journalists’ networks investigating the use of offshore bank accounts which enable wealthy clients to reduce the level of scrutiny of their dealings have published new revelations about businessmen in Nigeria, Kenya, Namibia, Egypt and Algeria. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) says the latest research on the Panama Papers—leaked documents from the Panama-based law firm, Mossack Fonseca—has exposed “fresh details about the misuse of corporate secrecy and hidden wealth in Africa …” The ICIJ says that businesses in 52 African countries used offshore companies created by Mossack Fonseca. AllAfrica



Photo: Adam Jones