Africa Media Review for December 30, 2016

Jammeh Orders Electoral Commission Reopened, Appoints New Judges
The Gambia’s electoral commission building reopened on Thursday as the president said it had been shut for safety reasons rather than because of the country’s disputed presidential vote result. President Yahya Jammeh’s political party has lodged a legal complaint against the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) triggered in part by a vote recount in the days following a December 1 election, which ultimately confirmed opponent Adama Barrow’s victory, 22 years after Jammeh took power. The commission building was sealed off without warning by security forces on December 13, the same day the complaint to have the result annulled was lodged. A decree issued late Wednesday claimed the authorities had received reports the IEC would be burnt down, stating: “Now that the threat has abated, the IEC head office will reopen.” The Independent

Burundi President Nkurunziza May Run for Presidency in 2020 ‘If People Want It’
Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza has said he would consider running for the presidency again in 2020 if the people asked him to or if an amendment to the constitution allows him to. Burundi’s 18-month conflict pits supporters of Nkurunziza against those who say that his re-election in July 2015 for a third term violated the nation’s constitution. At a press conference in Rutana, in southern Burundi, Nkurunziza said he may run in 2020, contrary to earlier promises, if the people insist. “I promised I would not be candidate again in 2020, according to judicial decisions. But the people is above the Justice.” This move, which comes as ongoing debate on presidential term limits rages across the Great Lakes region, could see him extend his rule to 20 years. IBTimes

Zanu-PF’s Decision to Endorse Mugabe’s Candidature is ‘Pure Madness’, War Vets Say
Zimbabwean war veterans have reportedly described as “pure madness” Zanu-PF’s recent decision to endorse President Robert Mugabe’s candidature for the 2018 presidential elections. According to News Day, the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) vowed not to back Mugabe’s candidature for the first time since independence in 1980. “…we are very clear that the madness that came out of the Zanu-PF conference early this month cannot be supported by any right-thinking Zimbabwean,” ZNLWVA’s secretary general Victor Matemadanda was quoted as saying. “No Zimbabwean with their head screwed properly to their body will repose their trust for five years in an old man who will be 100 years old when their term ends.” The former freedom fighters said they would meet to choose a successor to Mugabe, 92. News24

Six Killed in Attack on Somalia Town
At least six people were killed and seven others injured when militants attacked Afgoye town, southwest of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, on Thursday night. Residents say they saw heavily armed militants take up positions before storming a government checkpoint in the town. “They were around 100 heavily armed militants. They took up positions and ordered residents to take cover in their homes before storming on a security checkpoint manned by government forces,” Mohamed Hirey, one of the residents said. “The militants used RPGs and heavy machine guns and were shouting with ‘Allahu Akbar’ or ‘God is greatest’ as they battled with the government forces,” said another resident, Nur Yusuf Kabale. VOA

Lawyer: 3 Nigerian Death Row Inmates ‘Secretly’ Executed
A human rights lawyer says three convicted criminals have been secretly executed in the first hangings in Nigeria since 2003. The executions breach a seven-year moratorium on the death penalty here. Chino Obiagwu of the Legal Defence and Assistance Project says three men who had been death row inmates for 20 years were hanged in Benin Prison in southern Edo state on December 23. All had been convicted of armed robbery. Obiagwu tells The Associated Press that his organisation wrote to the Edo state governor on December 21 warning that the men had outstanding appeals, making the hangings “an unlawful act”. News24

Nigeria: Senate Pushes for Diaspora Voting in 2019
The Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs is pushing for Diaspora voting in the coming general elections in 2019, Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Sen. Monsurat Sunmonu has said. Sunmonu told the Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York on Thursday that giving franchise to Nigerians abroad would give the impression that “they are part of the system”. “The first thing that we must do is for Nigerians to have their rights to cast their votes anywhere they are. “If you cast your vote, that makes you a part of the system,” she said. She also said her committee had suggested how Nigerians in the Diaspora could vote in future elections. According to her, the Diaspora Nigerians who have the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) can cast their votes as the PCV has all their personal data and fingerprint. “The Nigerian Passports that are issued to people outside the country is the same thing with fingerprints and personal data. “They can use that to cast their votes outside. So that shows they are Nigerians. Daily Trust

Guinea Soldier Wanted over Stadium Massacre Appears in Court
A Guinean soldier implicated in a 2009 massacre at a Conakry stadium has appeared before a court prosecutor in Dakar, as details emerged about his years living in neighbouring Senegal under a false identity. Fugitive Aboubacar Sidiki Diakite, who gained notoriety for the December 2009 shooting of Guinea coup leader Dadis Camara after a dispute over responsibility for the massacre, was arrested two weeks ago in Dakar. Diakite’s lawyer told AFP Thursday a prosecutor questioned him on Wednesday to confirm his identity and informed him he could be extradited to face justice in Guinea. News24

Three Killed, Four Injured in Republic of Congo Jail Mutiny
Three people died and four suffered bullet injuries Thursday during a short-lived mutiny at a jail in Congo’s capital Brazzaville, the prosecutor said. The unrest broke out in the afternoon at a prison near the city’s court when a few prisoners got hold of guns belonging to the wardens, Andre Ngakala Oko said. “They started shooting in all directions creating panic,” he said, adding that the three dead included a “gendarme, a mutineer and a civilian killed by a fleeing mutineer. “Four people were wounded: three mutineers and a civilian,” he said. The Nation

South Sudan: Yei Bishop Decries Lack of Media Coverage as Violence Continues
A South Sudanese Catholic Bishop has decried media indifference as killings continue in remote areas in the country, Radio Easter reported. Bishop Erkolano Lodu Tombe of Yei said that the media is not reporting what is happening in villages and blames the international community for its inability to take action. “Notwithstanding a return to calm in the South Sudanese city of Yei, those living in rural areas continue to die immersed in the deafening silence of the media and before the indifferent gaze of the international community,” he said. The religious leader said that the country has been hit by a wave of murders and massacres, which are believed to have been carried out by mixed military-civilian groups that target suspected supporters of former vice president Riek Machar. Tombe said that hundreds of people have lost their lives in violent attacks in villages on the outskirts of Yei and said they are dying also due to lack of food and medicine. He pointed out that the local residents are currently living in fear of new waves of violence. He decried the lack of security on the roads and said that villagers are unable to reach the city of Yei and farmers are unable to travel to their agricultural fields to be able to cultivate them. Radio Tamazuj

Sudan Parliament Ratifies Constitutional Amendments
On Wednesday, Sudan’s National Assembly ratified in the fourth and final phase of the constitutional amendments, which give the President the power to appoint and relieve Ministers at national level, in consultation with the Prime Minister, along with the allocation of seats in the National Reconciliation Government. The ratification was announced on Wednesday by the Chairperson for the Emergency Constitutional Amendments Committee in Sudan, Badria Suleiman. The amendments include formation of a government of national reconciliation, creation of the position of Prime Minister in the presidential system, modifying the membership of Parliament and state legislative councils, in addition to the separation of the position of the Attorney General from the Ministry of Justice. Dabanga

U.S. Proposed to Deliver Drugs to Civilians in Rebel Areas: Sudanese Officials
Sudanese presidential aide Thursday said the U.S. proposal that his government has accepted is about the delivery of medicines to the civilians in the rebel held areas, providing it be inspected by the competent authorities. Sudanese humanitarian commissioner and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) dismissed statements by political figure Mubarak al-Fadil that the government had accepted the delivery of 20% of humanitarian aid to the civilians in the rebel controlled areas through Asosa in Ethiopia. Commenting on the issue on Thursday, Presidential Assistant and head of the government negotiating delegation, Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid reiterated Khartoum’s rejection to allow delivery of one-fifth of humanitarian assistance directly to the rebel held areas in blue Nile State through Ethiopia. The SPLM-N sticks to the direct delivery of humanitarian assistance from abroad because they want to abolish the government sovereignty over its territory, Hamid said stressing that “the government would not sign any agreement giving rebels a sovereignty over a territory ” Sudan Tribune

Sudanese Journalists Rally for Press Freedom
A group of Sudanese journalists, including several leading figures in the Khartoum newspaper world, staged a rally in front of the National Council for Press and Publications in Khartoum yesterday. The protestors called for an end to the curbs on press freedom in Sudan, and against the ongoing campaign on confiscations by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS). Journalists from El Jareeda newspaper journalists handed a memorandum to the council in protest against their newspaper’s repeated confiscation. On Thursday Journalist Khaled Fathi told Radio Dabanga that the rally was intended to be a strongly worded protest against the practices of National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) against the newspapers and the steps taken by confiscating El Jareeda newspaper for the eleventh times since November 27. Dabanga

Dos Santos Daughter Cleared to Head Angola Oil Giant
Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos’s daughter, reportedly Africa’s richest woman, has been cleared to head the national oil company Sonangol, after a court rejected a legal challenge. Isabel dos Santos was put in charge of Sonangol in June in a move some analysts said was the first sign of succession plans for the country’s long-time ruler. The president, in power since 1979, later announced that he would stand down in 2017, though no successor has officially been named. His daughter’s appointment was disputed by 12 lawyers who said the law did not allow public officials to nominate family members, but the Supreme Court ruled in her favour on December 22, an official said Thursday. “According to the decision… the appointment of Isabel dos Santos by her father does not violate the law on public probity or the Angolan Constitution,” said David Mendes, a spokesman for the lawyers. The country’s opposition had equated her Sonangol appointment with nepotism, prompting the legal challenge. The Independent

In Angola, Two Journalists Charged over Report on Corruption
Angolan authorities should immediately drop charges against two journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Rafael Marques de Morais, who runs the anti-corruption website Maka Angola, and Mariano Bras, of the weekly, O Crime, were charged with “crimen injuria,” which is similar to insult laws, the journalists told CPJ. Marques de Morais told CPJ a prosecutor questioned him for three hours on December 27 before charging him with crimen injuria over an article he wrote and published on Maka Angola in October. The article alleged wrongdoing by Angola’s attorney general, João Maria de Sousa, in his purchase of state-owned land. Bras, who republished the article in his paper, told CPJ he was questioned for three hours the following day, before being charged with the same crime. Bras said he was questioned about the veracity of the report in his paper and for details about who owned the publication. CPJ

Relative Calm Descends on Mozambique as Optimism Grows for Long-Lasting Truce
A sense of calm has descended on Mozambique after long-standing civil war foes the Mozambique National Resistance Movement (Renamo) guerrillas and the Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo) government agreed to a new year ceasefire. Almost a quarter century after the end of its 16-year civil war that killed a million people, violence has escalated in the southern African nation, despite the international community’s efforts at keeping the peace. Mozambique is one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies and the country is looking to escape years of poverty and conflict by tapping into its huge energy resources. A peace deal held until 2013, but since the middle of 2015, conflict has simmered again and so far an estimated 15,000 Mozambican refugees have fled to government-run camps or neighbouring Malawi and Zimbabwe. IBTimes



Photo: Adam Jones