Africa Media Review for December 12, 2017

What’s Next for Africa and the International Criminal Court?
Calls for African countries to withdraw from the ICC overlooked the strong role Africa had in establishing the Rome Statute and the ongoing support the Court retains on the continent. The 16th session of the Assembly of States Parties to the International Criminal Court (ICC) got underway on December 4, 2017, at the United Nations (UN) in New York with full African turnout. This has been a particularly eventful year for African states’ relationship with the world court. In January, the African Union (AU) adopted a non-binding resolution calling for member states to abandon the ICC, raising the possibility of a mass walk-out. African countries seemed to be signaling a collective vote of no confidence for the global community’s most prominent organization authorized with curbing the impunity of those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Africa Center for Strategic Studies

ICC Reports Jordan to UN Security Council over Sudan’s Bashir Visit
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has warned that it will refer Jordan to the U.N. Security Council for failing to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir when he visited Amman in March. Bashir travelled to Jordan for the annual meeting of Arab leaders at the invitation of King Abdullah II of Jordan. Jordan is a signatory of the Rome Statute of the ICC and is therefore obliged to enforce an ICC warrant like the one issued against Bashir in 2009. Bashir is wanted by the court for alleged genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur. But since the indictment in 2009, Bashir has blatantly defied the arrest warrant by travelling to countries that are signatories of the Rome Statute including Uganda, Rwanda and Egypt. Africa News

Uganda: House Committee Approves Age Limit Bill
A Ugandan parliamentary committee has approved changes aimed at scrapping presidential age limit. Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee members endorsed the most sweeping constitutional changes since 2005, with 18 votes— taking a significant leap forward as 10th Parliament seeks to increase presidential term from five to seven years. Although Article 105 (1), which provides for a five-year presidential term, was not among the proposed constitutional amendments, the Monitor understands that a polarised committee retreat on Friday approved a seven-year presidential term and recommended a referendum. President Yoweri Museveni has since backed a seven-year term and the age limit removal. Daily Nation

Congo’s Kabila Pledges to Honour Poll Calendar
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) President Joseph Kabila has pledged to honour his country’s new electoral calendar, media confirmed. The state-owned Jornal de Angola quoted Congolese Foreign minister Manuel Augusto conveying President Kabila’s message to a leader’s meeting in Brazzaville. “The tripartite summit (DRC, Republic of Congo and Angola) has taken place because Angola and Congolese Presidents wanted to get their DR Congo counterpart’s assurance that the new calendar would be accomplished to avoid instability,” Jornal de Angola quoted Mr Augusto saying. The East African

Political Instability Fuels Rebels in the DR Congo Conflict, Analyst Says
[…] Apart from the uncertainty surrounding the attackers, it is also unclear why peacekeepers at the UN base were unable to call in support from units elsewhere in the province during an attack that supposedly lasted 12 hours, Clark says. If it was an ADF attack, however, “it shows a considerable escalation of the ADF’s capabilities,” the DR Congo expert told DW. The rebels seem to have become more dangerous over the past months, he added – which begs the question of who has been supporting them, and how they got their hands on the necessary military equipment. “It’s caught many people off guard,” Clark says. The peacekeeping base is home to the UN mission’s rapid intervention force and located about 45 kilometers from the town of Beni in North Kivu province in DR Congo’s eastern region, which has been repeatedly targeted by ADF rebels. Deutsche Welle

Burundi Will Raise Funds From Citizens to Pay for 2020 Election
Burundi plans to raise money for an election in 2020 by deducting part of civil servants’ salaries and taking contributions directly from citizens, a government minister said on Monday, as it seeks to replace dwindling external funding. Until 2015, Burundi used external aid to pay for elections, but donors have suspended their assistance since a political crisis erupted when President Pierre Nkurunziza sought and won a third term. Pascal Barandagiye, the minister for interior, said the government will also seek contributions from every household, which will pay up to 2,000 francs ($1.14) a year. Gross national income per capita stood at $280 in 2016, and close to 65 percent of the population live below the poverty line, according to World Bank data. VOA

Congo Mines Say Revised Code Threatens Industry’s Future
Mining companies in Democratic Republic of Congo said on Monday that proposed changes to the mining code adopted by the lower house of parliament last week would do lasting damage to investment in Africa’s top copper producer. The process of revising the 2002 mining code in Congo has dragged on for over five years but the National Assembly on Friday approved a bill that would increase taxes and royalties and sent it to the upper house Senate for a second vote. The measure would also increase the state’s minimum unpaid share of new mining projects and require that Congolese investors hold at least 10 percent of shares in large-scale mines. Reuters

Six Nigerian Soldiers Killed in Boko Haram Ambushes
At least six soldiers died in two separate Boko Haram ambushes in northeast Nigeria, military and civilian militia sources said on Monday. Four troops were killed and 12 injured on Sunday when their convoy was attacked near Damboa, 90km from Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state. Two soldiers were killed in the same area on Saturday, the sources told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity as they were not allowed to talk to the media. A military officer in Maiduguri said Sunday’s ambush happened when troops were on patrol between the villages of Nyeneri and Falawani. AFP

Two Dead in Suicide Bombing in Cameroon Mosque
Two people were killed on Monday when a suicide bomber attacked a mosque in far northern Cameroon, a region that has been shaken by attacks blamed on Nigeria’s Boko Haram jihadists, sources said. “A suicide bomber blew himself up this morning in a mosque in Kerawa,” on the border with Nigeria, a regional security official reached by AFP said. “Two civilians and the bomber were killed,” the source said, confirming an account by an eyewitness, who said the event took place shortly after morning prayers, when the mosque was relatively empty. Boko Haram’s insurgency, begun in 2009, has progressively spread from Nigeria to Cameroon, Niger and Chad. The Punch

Niger’s President Warns Malian State ‘Could Collapse’
In an exclusive interview with FRANCE 24, Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou said that if Sahel countries do not take measures, the security situation in the region could “continue to deteriorate”. Amid a rise in violence in neighbouring Mali, Issoufou warned that the Malian state “could collapse and we must prevent that”. He added: “We must do everything so that together we can put an end to the [terrorist] threat”, noting that the multinational G5 Sahel force is not yet fully funded. France 24

Amnesty Accuses EU of Complicity in Libya Migrant Abuse
European Union countries are complicit in the abuse of migrants held in Libya, Amnesty International said in a report released Tuesday that accused the EU of turning a blind eye to allegedly brutal tactics of the Libyan coast guard and dangerous detention facilities. The human rights group also alleged that the Libyan coast guard accepted kickbacks from smugglers to let migrant boats leave for Europe. Amnesty said it had video and other documentary evidence that a boat donated by Italy was involved in an interception operation in which up to 50 people drowned. “European governments have not just been fully aware of these abuses,” Amnesty Europe Director John Dalhuisen said. “By actively supporting the Libyan authorities in stopping sea crossings and containing people in Libya, they are complicit in these crimes.”  AP

S.African Prosecutors Give Zuma Jan 31 Deadline to Make Representations in Graft Case
South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said on Monday it had extended the deadline for President Jacob Zuma to submit arguments on why he should not be prosecuted for corruption to the end of next month. The 783 charges against Zuma relate to a 30 billion rand ($2.20 billion) government arms deal arranged in the late 1990s. They were filed but then dropped by the NPA shortly before Zuma ran for the presidency. South Africa’s High Court reinstated the charges last year and the Supreme Court upheld that decision in October, rejecting an appeal by Zuma and describing the NPA’s decision to set aside the charges as “irrational”. Reuters

Liberian Authorities Tight-Lipped over Run-Off and Electoral Roll Clean-Up
Liberia’s election commission has yet to make an announcement for the date of the second round run-off vote, four days after a Supreme Court ruling dismissed irregularities that could have forced a re-run. The electoral body is expected to announce a new date for the run-off and outline measures for a technical clean-up of the country’s voter register. “We are trying to make a decision on that and it will be made very shortly,” Henry Flomo, a spokesperson for the National Elections Commission, told RFI, refusing to be drawn on the likely date for the run-off. RFI

Kiir Declares State of Emergency in 3 States
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has declared a three-month state of emergency in Gok, Eastern Lakes and Western lakes states, where inter-communal clashes intensified. Kiir, in a decree read on the state-run SSBC on Monday night, ordered the army chief to disarm all armed youth involved in deadly clashes between communities in the states under lock down. The decree gave powers to the military to stop the tribal fight and ordered the army to use force against whoever rejects the disarmament exercise. The South Sudanese leader also ordered SPLA soldiers previously tasked to carry out a disarmament exercise in Gogrial state to move to Tonj state to prepare for the new assignment. Radio Tamazuj

TV Journalist in Somalia Killed by Car Bomb
An explosion in the Somali capital killed a television journalist late on Monday, witnesses and security sources say. Mohamed Ibrahim Gabow was killed in an explosion from a device fitted to his car, a security official told VOA’s Somali service. Gabow was a news anchor for Kalsan TV, a satellite television channel watched in many parts of Somalia. Osman Abdullahi Gure, a television manager at Kalsan TV, said Gabow was traveling in his car in Mogadishu’s Wadajir district when the explosion occurred. “He was badly injured, he died soon after. He was one of our best journalists,” Gure said. VOA

Clashes in Northern C Africa Threaten Security Plan
Plans by Central African Republic’s beleaguered government to reassert control in the north of the country were in difficulties on Monday after clashes marred the return of the state’s top representative to a key city. Colonel Augustin Tombou was formally installed on Saturday as prefect in the town of Kaga-Bandoro – a politically important step in the strategy to restore state authority in strife-torn provinces. But sources reported a surge of violence, including mortar rounds fired against UN peacekeepers, gunfire targeting a camp for displaced people and a grenade that was thrown during Tombou’s induction ceremony. AFP

Russia Signs $30bn Nuclear Plant Deal with Egypt
Egypt and Russia have signed a $30bn deal to build North Africa’s first nuclear power plant as the Kremlin moves to expand its influence in the region. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi witnessed the signing ceremony in Cairo on Monday. The project increases Russia’s economic presence and political influence in the Middle East, already on the rise since Putin intervened in Syria’s war in 2015 and began a more active role in Libya, conflicts where he and El-Sisi see eye to eye. The Cairo visit comes less than two weeks after the countries said they were in talks to use each other’s military air bases. El-Sisi praised the closer ties with Russia, saying in a press conference the relationship was based on “strength and continuity” on regional and economic issues. The Egyptian leader said he and Putin agreed to “settle any hurdles confronting the projects we plan to implement”. Fin24

Nigeria Is Getting More People to Pay Taxes by Not Punishing Them for Tax Evasion
[…] Earlier this year, as part of a planned increased tax collection drive, the government introduced a Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) to try to plug the gap. The idea of the scheme was simple: within an amnesty period (July 2017 to March 2018), the government would allow anyone who hadn’t paid taxes or had under-declared their income to pay what they owe without being prosecuted or paying penalties. After the deadline, tax evaders could face criminal prosecution. The hope for the tax amnesty period was to widen the tax base by registering more individuals and businesses that previously didn’t pay taxes and, so far, it appears to be paying off. Babatunde Fowler, head of Nigeria’s internal revenue service, says the country has collected nearly $47 million from former tax evaders through the scheme in the past six months. Increasing its tax base means Nigeria can also improve its tax to GDP ratio which currently ranks among the lowest globally. Quartz



Photo: Adam Jones