Africa Media Review for December 12, 2018

Somalia’s President Dodges Impeachment Move
A bid to impeach Somalia’s president for alleged abuse of office was ruled “invalid” on Tuesday after the parliamentary clerk said over a dozen MPs had denied signing the motion. “We have received written statements from 14 lawmakers who claim their names have been used wrongly in the list of signatories of the motion against the president,” parliamentary clerk Abdikarim Haji Abdi Buh said in a statement. “These legislators are not withdrawing from the impeachment motion, but are confirming that they have totally never signed the document,” he added. The removal of the signatories leaves only 78 out of 275 legislators supporting the impeachment of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, which falls short of the legal requirements rendering the motion “invalid”, according to Buh.  AFP

Nigerian Candidate Absent from Election Accord Ceremony
Nigeria’s main opposition candidate did not attend an event on Tuesday to sign an election agreement stating a commitment to hold a peaceful election early next year, and his party attributed his absence to a “communication lapse.” The opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) confirmed in an emailed statement that its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, had not participated in the signing ahead of February’s election. President Muhammadu Buhari attended the event in the capital, Abuja. The peace accord ceremony was held days after the PDP said authorities had frozen the bank accounts of its vice presidential candidate, Peter Obi. Elections to choose the leader of Africa’s most populous country — the continent’s top oil producer and by many measures its largest economy — have in the past been marred by violence, vote-rigging and voter intimidation. VOA

‘It’s Getting Unbearable’ DRC’s Fayulu Decries Campaign Intimidation
Main opposition candidate in the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, Martin Fayulu is decrying intimidation on the campaign trail as the country nears the December 23 general elections. Fayulu, leader of the Lamuka coalition on Monday tweeted that his plane had been refused clearance to take off towards Kindu, capital of the Maniema province where he is due to campaign. “It’s getting unbearable,” stranded Fayulu stated. He kicked off his campaign last week in Beni in the North Kivu province and also in the town of Goma. The Fayulu campaign drew thousands of people during the day and even during campaign stops in the evening. The candidate shared his vision of a new DRC if elected President. Africa News

Congo Elections: Calm before the Storm?
The election posters are up, the candidates are doing the rounds and the party rallies are taking place almost without a hitch. But observers say plenty of nasty surprises remain in store as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa’s powder keg, barrels towards presidential and parliamentary elections on December 23. Beneath a relatively smooth campaign lie uncertainties that could lead to lasting political turmoil or violence, they warn. “The organising (of the elections) has not been transparent or credible and the people aren’t free” to choose, Nobel Peace laureate Denis Mukwege told AFP before he headed to Oslo for Monday’s award ceremony. “So it’s certain that the results will lead more likely to protests and this is not good for democracy,” said the surgeon, who has treated thousands of women raped by armed fighters.  AFP

Congo’s President Kabila on Elections, Corruption and His Future
Upcoming elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo could mark the country’s first ever peaceful transition of power. After 17 years as president, Joseph Kabila surprised many by announcing he will step down. His presidency has been dogged by allegations of corruption and human rights abuses. In a rare interview with the BBC, the president says he expects no formal role in the next elected government. However, he did not rule out standing again in 2023. BBC

Normalisation of SA-Rwanda Relations Has Been Suspended after Insults to Sisulu, Sources Say
The short-lived normalisation of South Africa’s fraught relations with Rwanda has been by frustrated by insults flung at International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu by the Rwandan government The website Rushyashya, which Rwandan exiles say is run by Rwanda’s military intelligence, went as far as calling her a prostitute. The story was quickly deleted from the site. Rwandan deputy foreign minister Olivier Nduhungirehe has also tweeted several messages which Pretoria has found offensive. 38 Sisulu suspended the normalisation of relations after the “prostitute” insult, according to some government sources. Her spokesperson, Ndibhuwo Mabaya, denied however that the process of normalising relations – ordered in March by both President Cyril Ramaphosa and Rwandan President Paul Kagame – had been suspended. But he did confirm that South Africa’s High Commissioner to Rwanda George Twala had been instructed to protest to the Rwandan government about the insults aimed at Sisulu. And Rwanda’s High Commissioner to South Africa, Vincent Karega, had been summoned to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation headquarters in Pretoria to explain the insults. Daily Maverick

Mozambique Names Top Ex-Rebels to Army Command
Mozambique has appointed three top commanders of Renamo, Mozambique’s largest opposition party and former rebel movement, to key army command posts as part of peace-building efforts between the government and Renamo. The appointments following a deal struck between Renamo’s interim leader, Momade Ossufo, and President Filipe Nyusi in July are a first step towards comprehensive peace, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement on Tuesday. Renamo’s generals were named to the key positions of Director of Operations, Director of the Military Information, and Director of Communications. Renamo fought a brutal 16-year civil war against the Frelimo government that left one million people dead before the fighting stopped in 1992. The peace talks began in December 2016 when Renamo declared a unilateral truce to end the armed conflict that re-erupted in 2013.  AFP

Suspect in Rwanda Genocide Home after Denmark Extradites Him
A Rwandan teacher accused of participating in the country’s 1994 genocide has arrived home to face charges after his extradition from Denmark. Prosecution spokesman Justin Nkusi confirmed the arrival Tuesday of 50-year-old Wenceslas Twagirayezu and said he is considered a key perpetrator of the genocide that killed over 800,000 ethnic Tutsi and moderate Hutus. A Danish court in September ruled that the Danish citizen could be extradited on suspicion of taking part in a massacre in a church and at a university where more than 1,000 people were killed. Twagirayezu maintains he is innocent and has said that “if I’m being extradited, I will accept that my time to die has come.”  AP

Trump Admin Looks to Counter China, Russia’s Growing Power in Africa with New Strategy
The Trump administration plans to unveil a new strategy for Africa this week focusing on countering China’s growing influence on the continent, as well as Russia’s attempts to gain footholds in resource-rich, unstable countries, two senior U.S. officials told NBC News. The strategy will call for bolstering U.S. ties with countries deemed potentially vulnerable to overtures from China and Russia, as well as seeking to fend off attempts by North Korea and Iran to make inroads through economic investments or arms sales, said the senior administration officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The plan, drafted by the White House National Security Council and due to be presented this week at a Washington think tank, will signal a shift by the administration — already underway — that emphasizes America’s rivalry with China and Russia as a top priority rather than an exclusive focus on fighting terrorist threats, the officials said.  NBC News

President Kiir Flies to South Africa for Bilateral Talks
President Salva Kiir headed to South Africa for talks on bilateral relations with his counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa, said the South Sudanese presidency in Juba. Kiir and his accompanying delegation left Juba on Tuesday afternoon, further said a short statement without elaborating on the names of his delegation, the time he will spend there or the issues to be discussed during the visit. The presidency only said that the visit takes place at the invitation of President Ramaphosa. The visit comes after a visit by South African Deputy President David Mabuza who is also the Special Envoy to South Sudan, to Kenya and Uganda on 7 December for talks with the leaders of the two east African nations on South Sudan peace process. Sudan Tribune

France Gives Weapons to Central Africa, Favors End to Embargo
France on Tuesday delivered hundreds of assault weapons to Central African Republic (CAR) to fight the growing influence of armed groups in its former colony and said it had no objections in principle to lifting a U.N. arms embargo on the country. Paris is worried about growing Russian influence and military presence in CAR, which has struggled with fighting since a 2013 civil war, often between Christian and Muslim militias. Speaking in the capital Bangui, Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said the 1,400 assault weapons would be for the 7,000 national forces, who face an equivalent number of armed militia. “What is important is that Central African armed forces are equipped, armed. If they were not then it would be the armed groups who would have the advantage and this is obviously not the goal,” Parly told reporters. VOA

War, Hunger and a Housing Boom: Welcome to Africa’s Most Crowded City
Conflict, drought and floods have pushed a record number of Somalis into Mogadishu, making it Africa’s most crowded city, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center said Tuesday. With more than 340,000 people forced to flee their homes in the first half of 2018, the year is likely to produce Somalia’s highest number of displacements in a decade, said the Geneva-based center, part of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). “Somali families are fleeing to Mogadishu seeking shelter, protection and aid,” Evelyn Aero, the NRC aid agency’s regional adviser, told Reuters. “With nowhere else to go, crowding into these camps means that they will be living in unhealthy environment that is unsafe.”  VOA

European Union Releases Facts and Figures for Migrant and Refugees Arrivals in 2018
The European Commission released updated statistics about the numbers of refugees and migrants who tried to make their way to Europe in 2018, via the Mediterranean sea. In all, there were about 134,000 migrant arrivals to Europe in 2018, which is actually a significant decrease from 2017, which saw nearly 180,000 arrivals. Spain was by far the biggest destination for migrants and refugees in 2018, having received some 60,000 migrants and refugees this year. This compares to nearly 46,000 in Greece and 23,000 in Italy. The number of refugees and migrants who died at sea trying to reach Europe decreased in 2018 as compared to 2017. According to data from the European Commission, 2,160 people died trying to reach Europe in 2018 as compared to 3,129 deaths in 2017. UN Dispatch

Spain Grapples with Surging Number of Teenage Migrants
Slouched on a bench at a Barcelona police station, five teenagers waited patiently on a recent Friday evening to find out where they would sleep that night: a shelter for young migrants or on that bench. Earlier that day, another group of boys had been successfully transferred to a nearby shelter, but it was uncertain if any more beds were available. The boys from Morocco and sub-Saharan Africa had all entered southern Spain as unaccompanied minors, crossing from Morocco on what this year has become the biggest migrant route into Europe. Like thousands of other teenagers, mostly Moroccans, they made their way to Barcelona, a city known to many of them for its legendary soccer club. Official figures show that 11,174 unaccompanied minors were registered from January until the end of September — up from 6,414 in all of 2017. Sabir, 13, tried to explain why he made the perilous journey, leaving his mother behind. “The reason every Moroccan comes to Spain: To work,” he said. The Associated Press is identifying the boys interviewed for this story only by their first name in line with Spanish privacy rules on minors. AP

In Morocco, Cooperation on Migration Proves Tricky
The route to Europe can take months, sometimes years, to cross. Migrants making their way from Sub-Saharan African countries like Senegal and Guinea often go through Morocco before crossing into Spain, whether it’s by jumping one of two fences separating Morocco from the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla or by getting on a dinghy to cross the Mediterranean Sea. Depending on how much money they have — and the opportunities for crossing — migrants can depart as soon as they reach Morocco. Sometimes, however, they choose to stay. They work and save money, or just wait until the time to cross is right. “[Migrants] need time to arrange the trip… some of them need to work to get money, others have the money but don’t have the contacts, so they stay in houses,” says journalist Cristina Mas, who reported on the issue for the Catalan publication Ara. But this summer, being a Sub-Saharan African migrant in Morocco became more challenging. In an attempt to keep them from crossing into Spain, Moroccan authorities have cracked down on Sub-Saharan migrants living in the northern part of the country.  OpenCanada.org

Bobi Wine Scoffs at Museveni Promise to Fight Corruption
Ugandan singer-turned-politician Robert Kyagulanyi, better known as Bobi Wine, has said Yoweri Museveni lacks the will to decisively tackle corruption The Kyaddondo East MP scathingly reacted to President Museveni’s latest promise to fight the vice as he was presiding over the most corrupt system. “All property belonging to corrupt officials will be confiscated. But I will first get first-hand information before confiscation of the property and I will order organisations fighting corruption to avail me with more details of stolen money,” President Museveni said. However, Mr Kyagulanyi, said in a statement he circulated on his social media platforms that President Museveni has no capacity to clean the mess. “It is because of that corrupt system that hospitals have no drugs. That schools are rotting. That the levels of unemployment are sickening. That we have no public transport,” Mr Kyagulanyi said in the statement. The East African

Kenya Coins Replace Leaders with Animals
Kenya has dropped the images of presidents from newly minted cash coins, in what is seen as an attempt to prevent their glorification. Previous coins bore the images of Kenya’s three ex-rulers: Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel arap Moi and Mwai Kibaki. Many Kenyans saw this as an attempt by their leaders to promote themselves, and to personalise the state. The new ones have images of the country’s famous wildlife, including lions, elephants, giraffes and rhinos.  BBC

Half the World Is Now Connected to the Internet—Driven by a Record Number of Africans
This year will prove to be a transformative moment for the internet. For the first time ever, more than half of the world’s population will be using the internet, according to the International Telecommunication Union. The United Nations specialized agency estimates that 3.9 billion, over 51% of the global population, will gain access by year’s end. Already, 90% of those people can use the internet through a 3G or higher speed network, while 96% of the global population now live within a range of a mobile network. Much of that progress was seen in Africa, which recorded the highest growth globally in just over a decade. From just 2.1% in 2005, those with internet connections grew to over 24% in 2018. The number of households in Africa with access to a computer also increased to 9.2% in 2018 from 3.6% in 2005. Similar steady growth was also recorded in developing countries where internet penetration grew to 45.3% at the end of 2018 from 7.7% in 2005. ITU says attaining the 50/50 milestone is both historic and crucial given the number of people who will not only be connected but will also be able to attain crucial services online including education and healthcare.  Quartz



Photo: Adam Jones