Africa Media Review for August 6, 2018

South Sudan’s Salva Kiir and Main Rebel Group Sign Final Power-Sharing Deal
South Sudanese arch-foes signed a final power-sharing deal on Sunday, aimed at ending a civil war that has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions in the world’s youngest country. President Salva Kiir and his bitter rival Riek Machar were in neighbouring Sudan to sign the deal, under which the rebel leader is set to return to a unity government as the first of five vice presidents, an AFP correspondent there reported. The deal, which paves the way to a final peace accord, was signed in the presence of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and his counterparts from Kenya, Uganda and Djibouti, along with foreign diplomats France 24

Zimbabwe Opposition Face Wave of Detentions, Beatings after Election Loss
Security agencies continued a crackdown on opposition activists in Zimbabwe on Sunday, less than three days after historic presidential elections won by Emmerson Mnangagwa, the leader of the ruling Zanu-PF party. Human rights groups reported dozens of abductions, beatings and rapes carried out by unidentified men overnight in the centre and north-eastern areas of the former British colony. The wave of repression began on Friday night with the army moving through neighbourhoods in Harare, the capital, and satellite towns, targeting supporters and officials of the opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). An MDC spokesman said thousands of its members were now in hiding. The Guardian

How Zimbabwe’s First Election after Mugabe Went Wrong
Zimbabwe’s July 30 elections were meant to be a new beginning for a nation driven to its knees during two decades of misrule by the autocratic Robert Mugabe. President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took office in November after the military briefly seized power and the ruling party forced Mugabe to quit, had promised a credible vote and invited Western observers who’d been banned from three previous elections to scrutinize proceedings. But by the time Mnangagwa was declared the winner of the presidential vote in the early hours of Aug. 3, the southern African nation’s hopes of a democratic revival lay in tatters. Six people died after the army open fire in response to unrest that erupted over the results in Harare, the capital. Nelson Chamisa, leader of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change Alliance, rejected the outcome as rigged and several observer groups noted flaws in the electoral process. Bloomberg

As Zimbabwe’s Leader Preaches a New Era, Military a Concern
As Zimbabwe’s president preaches democratic reform in a country emerging from decades of repression, the scenes of soldiers dispersing opposition protesters after a disputed election have cast a shadow on promises of a new era. Speaking to reporters after being declared the winner of the first vote since the fall of former mentor Robert Mugabe, a relaxed-looking President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday praised the “flowering of freedom.” But some observers said Zimbabwe’s future depends on whether he can convince the military hardliners and former generals who make up his inner circle to share his vision. After decades as Mugabe’s enforcer amid killings of thousands of people in Matabeleland in the 1980s, land seizures from white farmers and elections marred by violence, the 75-year-old Mnangagwa now faces what might be his biggest challenge: asserting control over the security apparatus that put him in office. AP

After the Poll: Protecting the Zim’s Democratic Façade
There’s been a steady flow of reports and pictures in the past few days of Zimbabwean opposition supporters in Harare getting harassed by the country’s security forces. It seems Zimbabwe is set to suffer from a coup hangover for quite a while yet. There was some excitement as scores of journalists waited for a joint press conference by the police and army, just after noon at the sports club inside the police’s Morris Depot, near the imposing police headquarters in Harare. Many of the non-local journalists, including the SABC, have started making their way home as the excitement of the elections has passed. It was a lazy Sunday at the depot, which has police housing quarters, a supermarket, sports fields and an empty swimming pool, but after an hour and a half of waiting – which included some cameramen relaxing on the green grass near the beer garden – journalists packed up and left. The Zimbabwe Republic Police spokeswoman said the press conference would be rescheduled. Daily Maverick

Piracy on the Rise in the Gulf of Guinea
Pirates have kidnapped 35 seafarers off Nigeria in the first half of 2018 as piracy continues to be problematic in the Gulf of Guinea, with Nigeria the focus of attacks.  According to the EOS Risk Group, Nigeria continues to be the world’s epicentre for piracy activity. From January through June 2018, EOS recorded 34 Nigerian pirate attacks on merchant and fishing vessels in the Gulf of Guinea. These attacks resulted in the kidnap of 35 seafarers for ransom and the hijacking of several vessels. “Most concerning this year has been the resurgence of ‘petro-piracy’, involving the hijacking of tankers for oil theft” said Jake Longworth, senior intelligence analyst at EOS Risk. “The return of petro-piracy has been accompanied by an associated increase in the geographical reach of Nigerian pirate gangs, leading to attacks in the waters of Benin and Ghana.” DefenceWeb

Mali Presidential Challengers Go to Court Alleging Vote Fraud
The three main opposition candidates in Mali’s presidential election announced Sunday they were mounting a legal challenge in the country’s constitutional court alleging “ballot box-stuffing” and other irregularities, after incumbent Ibrahim Boubacar Keita took the lead in the first round of the vote last month. Keita won 41.42 percent of votes in the July 29 presidential poll in the sprawling west African nation, easily ahead of the second place rival Soumaila Cisse with 17.8 percent. They will face off in a runoff vote next Sunday. “Soumaila Cisse filed last night (Saturday) around 20 submissions to the constitutional court for ballot box-stuffing, violations of the electoral law and other irregularities,” a spokesman for the candidate told AFP. AFP

DRC’s Katumbi Won’t Quit Trying to Get Home for Poll Deadline
Democratic Republic of Congo opposition leader Moise Katumbi, repeatedly blocked from returning home to contest presidential polls, will try every avenue to get through, his spokesman said Sunday. On Friday and Saturday, Katumbi was refused entry from Zambia as he tried to get home before a deadline Wednesday to submit his candidacy for presidential polls due December 23. “It is a violation of the constitution, of the Saint-Sylvestre accord and of two UN Security Council resolutions,” Katumbi spokesman Olivier Kamitatu told AFP. He is going to take his case “to every forum” possible, Kamitatu added. The 2016 Saint-Sylvestre agreement negotiated with the opposition allowed President Joseph Kabila to remain in office beyond the end of his second and officially last mandate on December 20 of that year in return for his agreeing to the holding of new, credible elections. AFP

43 Ebola Cases Recorded in Eastern DRC since August 1
A total of 43 cases of Ebola haemorrhagic fever, 13 of which have been confirmed, have been recorded since the beginning of the new epidemic in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo declared on 1 August, according to a report published on Saturday by Congo’s Ministry of Health. The health minister announced on Wednesday that a new epidemic was spreading around the city of Beni, in North Kivu province, barely a week after announcing the end of a previous epidemic in the north-west of the country which killed 33 people. Africa News

Nigeria Population at 182 Million, with Widening Youth Bulge
Nigerias population reached 182 million this year with more than half its people under 30 years of age, putting a severe strain on a nation suffering from a slowing economy and declining revenue to provide enough schools and health facilities. The latest estimate is based on the population of 140 million recorded in the last census a decade ago, using an annual growth rate of 3.5 percent weighed against other variables such as rising life expectancy and a declining infant mortality rate, Ghaji Bello, director general of the National Population Commission, said in an interview Monday in the capital, Abuja.Nigeria, Africas most populous country, is witnessing a growing youth bulge, with those under 14 years accounting for more than 40 percent of its citizens, he said. This is happening at a time when the International Monetary Fund has forecast the West African nations gross domestic product will shrink 1.7 percent this year, the first full-year contraction in more than two decades. Bloomberg

Suicide Bomb Attack Kills at Least Three Somali Soldiers outside Mogadishu
At least three Somali soldiers were killed in a suicide bomb attack in Afgoye district, a town 30 kilometres to the north west of the capital Mogadishu, police and militants said. The attack was claimed by Islamist militants al Shabaab. Somali soldiers were deployed in Afgoye this week in efforts to tighten security in the town ahead of an expected visit by President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo. “Police and military fired at a speeding suicide car bomb today and it exploded in Afgoye district. So far we know three soldiers died,” Captain Nur Ali, a police officer, told Reuters by phone from Afgoye. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, citing a higher death toll than the police. Deutsche Welle

Army Takes Control of Key Roads, Buildings in Troubled Ethiopian Region
Ethiopian soldiers have taken control of major highways, government buildings and the airport in the eastern Somali region after violence in the capital of Jigjiga left at least 29 people dead. Fighting broke out Friday after an apparent rift between local authorities and the central Ethiopian government. It is unclear exactly what led to the violence. A senior official with the region’s Somali People’s Democratic Party, Khadar Abdi Ismail, tells VOA the federal forces are responsible for the deaths.  He blames the violence on what he calls public anger over “the illegal entry of the dangerously armed troops” into the city. Ismail says non-Somali ethnic communities were targeted, shops looted, buildings burned and at least one church destroyed. VOA

Unresolved Eritrea-Djibouti Tensions Threaten Regional Peace
When Eritrea and Ethiopia agreed last month to end their decades-long conflict, the international community responded enthusiastically. Less than a day after the countries signed a joint declaration of peace, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres suggested that sanctions against Eritrea, imposed for alleged support of al-Shabab, an extremist group based in Somalia, may soon be lifted. That action would further undo Eritrea’s isolation. But lingering grievances with its neighbor, Djibouti, could complicate regional integration, experts say. VOA

Egypt’s Military Says 52 Fighters Killed in the Sinai Peninsula
Egypt’s military says it has killed 52 fighters in the Sinai Peninsula over the past few days as part of its ongoing efforts to eliminate armed groups in the sparsely populated desert region. The army announced in a statement on Sunday that security forces had additionally destroyed 15 vehicles laden with weapons and ammunition while trying to infiltrate its western border and 17 more in the southern military region. “Over the last few days, the operations have led to … the elimination of 52 extremely dangerous … individuals,” the military said in a statement. During these operations in North Sinai and the centre of the peninsula, 49 fighters were also arrested in joint raids conducted by the armed forces and the police, the statement added. Al Jazeera

Italy’s FM Visits Egypt, First since Killing of Researcher
Italy’s foreign minister said Sunday he was pleased to hear from Egyptian officials that they are committed to completing an investigation into the 2016 killing of an Italian graduate student in the capital Cairo with a “concrete result.” Enzo Moavero Milanesi arrived in Egypt on the first visit by a top Italian diplomat since the death of Giulio Regeni. His trip comes on the heels of a visit last month by Italian Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini. Milanesi met with Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Cairo. He said at a news conference with Shoukry that they discussed “important” topics including Libya, illegal migration and the controversial death of Regeni. AP

Uganda, Rwanda yet to Restore Cordial Relations
Relations between Rwanda and Uganda remain strained despite a meeting in March between Presidents Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni to ease tension. Reliable sources intimate that in the months that followed the meeting in Entebbe the tension between the neighbouring countries escalated. “If anything, the situation is worse than it was in March when the two Presidents met. Rwanda believes Uganda did not act on the issues highlighted in the diplomatic note. Arrests and deportation of Rwandans by Uganda increased,” an intelligence source told The EastAfrican.Kigali accuses Kampala of arbitrarily arresting Rwandans in Uganda and backing Rwandan dissidents seeking to destabilise Rwanda while Uganda on the other hand intensified its crackdown on Rwandans it says are on espionage missions in Uganda. The East African

South Africa Vows to End Corruption. Are Its New Leaders Part of the Problem?
[…] One of the party’s [ANC] historic promises had been to provide a good education for black people, who had been deliberately denied the opportunity under apartheid. A.N.C. leaders like Nelson Mandela often spoke about freeing black South Africans through school, and Mr. Mabuza, whose first big post in the province was education minister, got his political start by promising just that. But under the A.N.C., the education system has been in shambles, so gutted by corruption that even party officials are dismayed at how little students are learning, in schools so decrepit that children have plunged to their deaths in pit toilets. The New York Times

Internet Censorship in Africa Threatens Democracy, Economy
“At first I thought my cell phone had been hacked or something was broken,” says a DW correspondent who reported from Mali about last Sunday’s presidential elections. Social networks were suddenly unavailable; in many African countries, this is almost par for the course in the days leading up to elections. Critical websites suddenly go offline, communication apps send error messages. According to the organization, Internet without Borders (ISF), this was also the case during Mail’s presidential election. ISF relies on data from an international observatory that checks the regional accessibility of certain websites and apps several times a day. According to this data, WhatsApp and Twitter, among other apps and sites, were not available for several hours on election night. It was suspected that the sites were closed on the orders of the government. But African internet users not only struggle with temporary shutdowns around election time, or during large demonstrations. Government agencies in countries such as Rwanda, Uganda and Cameroon routinely censor certain online content. Times Live



Photo: Adam Jones