Africa Media Review for August 7, 2019

Mozambique Government, Rebels Seal Final Peace Deal

Mozambique’s government and the ex-rebel group Renamo completed a long-awaited peace pact on Tuesday, inking a final deal aimed at ending years of conflict. The deal was signed by President Filipe Nyusi and Renamo leader Ossufo Momade in Maputo’s Peace Square and witnessed by former presidents and regional and continental leaders. Thousands of people applauded as the two leaders showed the signed document, an AFP correspondent said. The pact brought the curtain down on marathon negotiations initiated by Afonso Dhlakama, the historic leader of the Mozambique National Resistance (Renamo), who died in May last year. The UN’s special envoy on Mozambique, Mirko Manzoni, said it was a “truly historic day”. AFP

Malawi Protesters, Police Clash in New Wave of Post-vote Demos

Police and demonstrators battled in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe on Tuesday before troops intervened to restore calm, in the latest protests against the outcome of presidential elections, witnesses said. Demonstrations have been regularly staged since the May 21 elections, aimed at forcing out Electoral Commission chairwoman Jane Ansah over her handling of the poll. The protest organisers, the Human Rights Defenders Coalition, had dubbed Tuesday’s rally the “One Million March,” in a quest to draw a million marchers to the cities of Lilongwe, Blantyre and Mzuzu. A Lilongwe-based journalist, Golden Matonga, estimated the turnout in the capital in the hundreds of thousands. … The opposition alleges fraud, saying that many vote tally sheets were altered using typewriter correction fluid. It has filed a lawsuit to try to overturn the outcome. On Monday, the High Court threw out a petition by the country’s attorney-general, who had sought to ban protests. AFP

Tunisia’s biggest political party Ennahda named a candidate for presidential elections on Tuesday, the first time the moderate Islamist party has put up a nominee for the post since the country transitioned to democracy after the 2011 revolution. Party vice president Abdel Fattah Mourou, 71, a lawyer, will run in elections due to be held two months early on Sept. 15 following the death of president Beji Caid Essebsi last month. Liberal Prime Minister Youssef Chahed will also stand, his Tahaya Tounes party said last week, making him one of the likely frontrunners to succeed Essebsi. Other candidates who have announced their intention to run include liberal former Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa and Moncef Marzouki, who served as interim president for three years after autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was toppled. Reuters

An Algerian court has issued an arrest warrant against a former defence minister and army chief, along with his son, for alleged “conspiracy”, state television reported Tuesday. The warrant against Khaled Nezzar follows a series of legal moves against high-profile figures in the regime of ousted President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. The court in Blida, southwest of Algiers, said Nezzar was suspected of “conspiracy and breach of public order”, according to a news ticker on national TV. The retired general has for weeks been on the run in Spain, where he has been joined by his son, according to Algerian media reports. Nezzar recently claimed that as protests mounted against Bouteflika in April, the president’s powerful brother had sought his advice on how to crush the protest movement. AFP

Three Sudanese Armed Movements Form ‘Kush Alliance’

Armed opposition groups in South Kordofan, eastern Sudan, and Darfur have formed the United Sudanese National Congress or the Kush alliance. They signed a joint charter on Tuesday. The Kush alliance was established by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North faction in South Kordofan under the leadership of Abdelaziz El Hilu, the Corrective Beja Congress headed by Zeinab Kabbashi, and the Sudan Liberation Forces Alliance led by El Tahir Hajar. In a statement on Tuesday, chairman Mohamed Hashim described the establishment of “this historic alliance” as an important step to achieve peace and democracy in Sudan. … The ruling Transitional Military Council and the Forces for Freedom and Change signed a Political Charter on July 17 that stipulates the way Sudan will be governed during a coming interim period of three years and three months. On Saturday, they agreed on the contents of the Constitutional Declaration that complements the charter. … The Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), a coalition of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North faction led by Malik Agar in Blue Nile state (SPLM-N Agar), the Sudan Liberation Movement faction headed by Minni Minawi (SLM-MM), and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), has rejected both documents. Radio Dabanga

US Supreme Court to Hear Kenya, Tanzania 1998 Embassy Bombings Case

Lawyers representing hundreds of Kenyan and Tanzanian victims of the 1998 embassy bombings are optimistic that the United States Supreme Court will rule to award a total of $4.3 billion (Ksh440 billion, Tsh9.8 trillion) to their clients. The top US court agreed in June to take up the case during its term beginning in October. A ruling on whether the multibillion-dollar payment must be made to the Kenyans and Tanzanians by the government of Sudan will be handed down sometime prior to June of next year. At issue is an appeals court’s rejection in 2017 of the $4.3 billion award in punitive damages that a trial court had ordered as part of the $10.2 billion (Ksh1.1 trillion, Tsh24.5 trillion) compensation from Sudan. Daily Nation

28,000 People Face Starvation in South Sudan: Minister

Some 28,000 people are facing serious starvation in South Sudan’s Aweil State, a minister has said. Those in the rural areas are most at risk, Aweil State Minister of Agriculture John Amar Akook added. The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification also said that some 275,000 people have been facing a food crisis between May and July in the same area. Mr Akook, quoted in the local English daily Juba Monitor, added that the food gap has contributed to looming poverty and hunger in rural areas after seasonal rains caused flooding. People living in the lowlands were most affected — they were unable to cultivate their farms as a result of the floods. Recently, aid agencies warned that about 8.1 million South Sudanese are at risk of being food insecure. The East African

Help African Farmers Cope with Climate Change Threats, UN Food Agency Urges

In a statement released on Tuesday, at the conclusion of the high-level Africa Food Security Leadership Dialogue, in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, the FAO stated that building resilience is one of the agency’s priorities in Africa, and is key to meeting the challenge of feeding over two billion by 2050. Small-scale food producers and their families, says the UN agency, are particularly vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change, but they have always been innovators: “What they need are policies that protect them and increase their resilience to climate change”, Helen Semedo, FAO’s Deputy Director-General, told the conference. “They need access to information, technology, and investment, and they should be brought to the conversation on innovation”. According to the latest FAO data, hunger is on the rise in almost all parts of Africa, and the continent has the highest prevalence of undernourishment in the world, at almost 20 percent. UN News

#RevolutionNow: Nigerian Govt Seeks Court Order to Detain Sowore for Months

The State Security Services has asked a federal high court to grant it the permission to detain the publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, for 90 days. Mr Sowore, an activist and presidential candidate of the African Action Congress in the 2019 elections, was arrested in Lagos early Saturday by SSS operatives. The government accused him of planning to overthrow the Buhari government after Mr Sowore called for nationwide protests to enthrone good governance in the country. The police inspector general, Mohammed Adamu, said the call for a “revolution” constituted an “act of terrorism”. The protests, under the #RevolutionNow banner, held in different cities, including Lagos and Abuja, on Monday despite Mr Sowore’s arrest. The government responded with immense force, with armed security officers attacking and brutalising protesters and journalists who attempted to cover the events. Prominent Nigerians have condemned Mr Sowore’s arrest and the clampdown on peaceful protesters, with some accusing the Buhari administration of curbing civic rights in ways not seen since 1999. Premium Times

Reporter’s Diary: Boko Haram and the Battle of Ideas

In the decade-long war between the Nigerian government and the jihadist group Boko Haram, few places have suffered more than Baga, a fishing town on the shores of lake Chad in the remote northeast of the country. Repeatedly fought over, much of Baga was torched by the Nigerian army in 2013, when the garrison went on a rampage after a clash with Boko Haram. It was set alight again two years later as the jihadists left the town after driving out the military. During its six-week occupation in 2015, Boko Haram killed more than 2,000 people – mostly young men, hunted down and executed as punishment for the resistance the town’s vigilante had put up even as the army fled. … So, at the end of December 2018, when the army melted away once more and the jihadists rode in on motorbikes and captured military vehicles, Baga residents feared the worst. But the expected retribution did not materialise. The young men in turbans and tan uniforms were, instead, courteous and disciplined. … The men that drove into Baga belonged to the Islamic State of West Africa Province, a breakaway faction of Boko Haram based in the northern fringes of Borno State and the islands in Lake Chad. They have not only proved a militarily potent threat, capturing a string of bases and a significant amount of equipment since mid-last year, but just as importantly they represent a political challenge to the Nigerian state. The New Humanitarian

Anglophone Journalists in Cameroon Fear for Their Lives

The crisis in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions has led numerous journalists in affected areas to quit their careers for their safety. Those who stay and insist on reporting on the crisis face threats from all sides. Cameroonian journalists who choose to remain in the Anglophone regions increasingly prefer to report on non-controversial issues such as health, education and infrastructure and avoid discussing the ongoing conflict. Separatists and government troops alike will not hesitate to harass authors of reports that are not in their interest. Raymond Ndingana is one of many journalists who have been harassed by government troops. “The last time I fell into the hands of the military, they almost destroyed my working tools simply because they asked me a question in French and I responded in English,” Ndigana told DW. “They got angry and called me all sorts of names.” DW

Uganda: Bobi Wine Charged with ‘Annoying’ Ugandan President

Singer-turned-politician Robert Kyagulanyi, better known as Bobi Wine, has been charged with intending to annoy, alarm or ridicule the president, reports BBC. These charges are in addition to treason charges he was charged with in 2018 for allegedly stoning a vehicle in President Yoweri Museveni’s convoy during an election rally in the northern town of Arua. Wine said in a Facebook post the troops tortured him and many of his colleagues in detention and spared “no part of my body”. If he is convicted, he could face up to life in prison. He is still facing charges in another court, for meeting with his fans to protest against the introduction of the new social media tax of U.S.$0.054 daily, as well as mobile money tax. AllAfrica

Burundi Shuts ‘Unhygienic Bars and Restaurants’ amid Cholera Outbreak

Burundi’s main city has been hit by a cholera outbreak forcing the authorities to shut unhygienic bars and restaurants, Bujumbura’s mayor has said in a statement. So far 126 people have been infected by the acute diarrhoeal infection, which is caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholera. In severe cases, the disease can kill within hours if left untreated. … Lake and river water, that some city residents use, have also been banned. The mayor’s warning comes a day after a UN report said the country was dealing with a malaria epidemic with more than 1,800 dying of the disease this year. BBC

Zimbabwe: UN Launches Us$331.5m Aid Appeal for Zim

The United Nations Tuesday launched a US$331.5 million international aid appeal to help Zimbabwe tackle a drought which has left a third of its population in need of relief over the next nine months. Presenting the appeal to government officials and the diplomatic corps, UN ambassador Bishow Parajuli said the total requirement needed to address the humanitarian situation between July 2019 to April 2020 would be US$331.5 million. “The total requirement to address the humanitarian needs of these 3.7 million people by the international humanitarian community between the period July 2019 to April 2020 is approximately USD 331.5 million,” he said. Parajuli further revealed that the 2019 Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) Rural Livelihoods Assessment estimates that 5.5 million people in the rural areas are food insecure. New Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Opposition Plans Demonstrations over Economy Next Week

Zimbabwe’s main opposition party is planning street demonstrations next week to protest against the government’s handling of the economy, which is mired in its worst crisis in a decade and has plunged most citizens into poverty. The southern African nation is enduring shortages of foreign currency, fuel and bread as well as 18-hour power cuts. The power outages threaten mining and industrial output and have upended lives. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) will hold marches in the capital on Aug. 16 against corruption, unemployment and power and fuel shortages and a deteriorating economy, the party said in a notice to the police dated Aug. 5. Reuters

Ebola Outbreak in East Congo’s Main City Tests Flexibility of Response

Goma, a city of nearly 2 million people, is on high alert after the first transmission of the virus within it was confirmed last week. That raised fears the outbreak could spread within the densely-populated city and beyond via its border with Rwanda and the international airport. A gold miner carried the virus from the epicentre of the epidemic, which is several hundred kilometres (miles) to the north. He spent a week at home ill with his wife and 10 children before being transferred to hospital, where he died the next day. His wife and daughter then tested positive for the disease. Goma has had time to get ready for Ebola, given a nearly year-long head start as the disease raged near the cities of Beni and Butembo. Most residents appear to have taken the latest developments in their stride, queuing up at the dozens of washing stations set up on sidewalks by the government and private businesses and avoiding shaking hands. Still, there are shortcomings in the preparations, and medics are encountering some of the same suspicion and hostility they have faced in other outbreak hotspots. Reuters

Glencore Plans to Shut Giant Cobalt and Copper Mine in Congo

Glencore Plc is planning to halt production at one of the world’s biggest cobalt mines after prices for the battery metal collapsed and costs at the project increased, according to a person familiar with the situation. The announcement that Glencore will close its Mutanda mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo is expected to come as the company lays out an overhaul of its key African copper and cobalt business when it releases first-half results on Wednesday. It would be another setback for Glencore, which has been dogged by operational problems, legal challenges and a rift with Congo’s government over a new mining code. Bloomberg

In Botswana, Elephant Hunting Divides Opinion

Witnesses say the 78-year-old former wildlife ranger fired several shots to scare the animal away, but the wounded elephant charged and mauled Chombo to death. “The elephant was shot several times, but it ran away and came back. When he shot the last bullet, the elephant came, we could no longer do anything to protect ourselves,” said Julius Chiabeswahu, Chombo’s friend who was with him that night, and now fears that an elephant will invade his field. … Botswana has lifted a ban on elephant hunting, which was imposed in 2014, citing the challenges faced by small-scale farmers by a growing elephant population. Home to Africa’s largest herd of 130 000, Botswana is famed as the continent’s last safe haven for the world’s largest mammals, but that could change as President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s administration rolls out its controversial policy, aimed at reducing human-wildlife conflict. Al Jazeera

The ‘Amazon of Africa’ Faces a Big Challenge: No Addresses

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast – She had eight hours, 32 packages to deliver and no addresses. So, the woman on the front lines of Africa’s burgeoning e-commerce industry stayed on the phone, listening to directions: Look for the ice cream cart. Viviane Lakpa’s job was to find the customers – even if they were nowhere near the ice cream cart – and stay polite, even when they demanded to open an order before handing her money. Few people in her West African city of 4.4 million have numbers on their houses. Credit cards are rare. So is trust in online shopping. … Internet users in Africa now outnumber America’s population by some estimates, but reaching that exploding market is among the continent’s most pressing business challenges. Hopes of leaping into the world of same-day delivery are colliding with the lack of street signs, dominance of cash, threat of robbery and fear of knockoffs. Labyrinths of red tape, meanwhile, stall packages at the borders, making it easier for someone in Ivory Coast to buy something from Germany than neighboring Ghana. Washington Post



Photo: Adam Jones