Africa Media Review for December 8, 2017

Liberia Election: Court Gives Go Ahead for Run-Off Poll
Liberia’s Supreme Court has ruled that evidence of fraud during October’s first round of presidential elections was insufficient to merit a re-run. This means the final round of voting between the two leading candidates – ex-footballer George Weah and Vice-President Joseph Boakai – can go ahead. The electoral commission will now set a date for the delayed vote. Liberty Party’s representative Charles Brumskine, who came third in the first round, had challenged the result. The second round of voting to succeed President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had initially been set for 7 November. BBC

UN Says 1.25 Million South Sudanese Are 1 Step from Famine
The U.N. humanitarian chief says 1.25 million people in war-torn South Sudan are one step away from famine — twice as many as the same time last year. Mark Lowcock told the U.N. Security Council that 7 million people in the world’s newest nation — almost two-thirds of the population — need humanitarian aid. And he warned that in early 2018, half of the country’s population will be reliant on emergency food. “The next lean season beginning in March is likely to see famine conditions in several locations across the country,” Lowcock said. U.N. peacekeeping chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix called the security situation in South Sudan “precarious.”  AP

Buhari Appoints Nicholas New Commander to Head Boko Haram Fight
Nigeria has replaced the officer leading troops fighting Boko Haram, the army said on Thursday, after a recent surge in deadly attacks in the country’s remote northeast. “A new commander has been appointed for Operation Lafiya Dole,” army spokesman Brigadier General Sani Usman said in a statement, identifying him as former military logistics chief Major General Rogers Ibe Nicholas. He takes over from Major General Ibrahim Attahiru, who was appointed to the post just seven months ago and now has been reassigned to the army’s policy and planning department. No reason was given for the change. Vanguard

They Fled Boko Haram, Only to Be Raped by Nigeria’s Security Forces
[…] Rape has been a defining horror of the war with Boko Haram, which has consumed northeastern Nigeria for eight years and spread beyond its borders. At least 7,000 women and girls have endured Boko Haram’s sexual violence, the United Nations estimates. Militants kidnap and rape young girls, teenagers and women, handing them out as so-called brides who are sometimes passed from fighter to fighter. But Nigerian security forces have also raped victims of the war, preying on the people they are assigned to protect. Dozens of cases of rape, sexual violence and sexual exploitation were reported in seven camps in Borno State last year alone, carried out by guards, camp officials, security officers and members of civilian vigilante groups, the United Nations says. The New York Times

Cameroon’s Military Moves in on Separatist-Held Villages
Cameroon’s military has taken over two villages held hostage by separatists whom the government called terrorists. The separatists had been collecting taxes, rendering justice in their courts and imposing prison sentences on people who refused to collaborate with them. The separatists have killed at least eight soldiers and policemen over the past month in their campaign to break from francophone Cameroon and form a separate anglophone state called Ambazonia. They also aim to loosen President Paul Biya’s long grip on power. In the southwestern village of Bafia, one of those retaken, hundreds of people have returned, nearly two months after they fled. VOA

Dozens of Ugandan Troops Withdrawn from Somalia Duty
Uganda’s military has begun withdrawing dozens of its troops from a regional force in Somalia, a military official said Thursday, marking the beginning of the end of an African Union team that has battled violent Islamic extremists. Some 281 troops will leave Somalia by Dec. 31, said Lt. Col. Deo Akiiki, deputy spokesman for the Ugandan military. Uganda was the first country to deploy troops to Somalia in 2007 to back a weak federal government in Mogadishu against an insurgency by the extremist group al-Shabab, which is responsible for many deadly attacks in Somalia and elsewhere in the region.  AP

Congolese General Related to President Detained over Alleged Coup Plot
An army general in the Republic of Congo has been put under house arrest over an alleged coup plot in the Central African country. According to local media portal, ICIBRAZZA, General Norbert Dabira, who incidentally is a relative of president Denis Sassou Nguesso is currently under arrest by the General Directorate for Territorial Surveillance (DGST) as at Thursday December 7, 2017. The were no further details on the date of the alleged coup and how it was foiled by the security agencies. Political watchers are, however, branding the arrest as part of government efforts to silent critics. President Sassou Nguesso has ruled the country for over three decades spanning two periods. From 1979 to 1992. He returned five years later in 1997 and has been president till date. He is one of the continent’s longest serving leaders. Africa News

Conflicts, Drought Drive Hunger despite Strong Global Food Supply – UN Agriculture Agency
Despite strong global food supply, localized drought, flooding and protracted conflicts have intensified and perpetuated food insecurity, the United Nations agriculture agency reported Thursday. The new edition of the UN Food and Agriculture Agency’s (FAO) Crop Prospects and Food Situation report revealed that some 37 countries – 29 of which are in Africa – require external food assistance. “Ongoing conflicts continue to be a key driver of severe food insecurity, having triggered near-famine conditions in northern Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen, as well as widespread hunger in Afghanistan, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo – and Syria,” FAO stated.  UN

Congressman Says Africa Next ‘Hot Spot’ for Islamic State
The chair of the House Homeland Security Committee says Africa will be the next “hot spot” for Islamic extremism, amid growing concern about Islamic State migration and recruitment after U.S.-led forces in Iraq and Syria reclaimed the group’s so-called caliphate in the Middle East. “They seek ungoverned territories and safe havens,” Republican Congressman Michael Thomas McCaul Sr. of Texas said Wednesday. “Africa is going to be the spot, it’s going to be the hot spot.” Speaking at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan said keeping track of where Islamic State fighters are fleeing is a priority for his department. “We are very focused on where those terrorist fighters that are leaving the caliphate, what’s left of it and there isn’t much in Syria and Iraq, where they’re going,” he said. VOA

UN: Sale of Migrants as Slaves in Libya May Be Crime against Humanity
The sale of migrants into slavery in Libya may amount to crimes against humanity, the United Nations Security Council said Thursday, voicing “grave concern” after footage appearing to show Africans being auctioned there sparked global outrage. The 15-member council unanimously adopted a formal statement calling on Libyan authorities to investigate the reports of migrants being sold and bring the perpetrators to justice. Libya’s U.N.-backed government last month said it would take action after a video broadcast by CNN, which appeared to show the auction of African migrants as farmhands for $400, led to protests across Europe and Africa. VOA

Putin to Visit Egypt next Week
Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Egypt next week to discuss expanding political, economic, energy and trade ties, officials said Thursday. During Monday’s trip the Russian leader will hold talks with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi on issues related to stability and security in the Middle East and North Africa, the Kremlin said. The Egyptian government said Putin’s visit reflects the shared commitment to “strengthening the historic and strategic relations” between Moscow and Cairo. Putin’s visit follows the Russian government’s announcement last week that Moscow and Cairo have drafted an agreement for Russian warplanes to use Egyptian military bases. AP

South African Police Summon Author of Book Critical of Zuma
The South African author of a book critical of President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday he had been summoned by police, but no reason had been given for the meeting. “The President’s Keepers – Those keeping Zuma in power and out of prison” by journalist Jacques Pauw alleges millions of dollars in taxpayers’ money flowed into the bank accounts of spies and members of Zuma’s government. The president’s office has denied the accusations in the book. Pauw confirmed in an interview with eNCA television that his attorney had received a request for him to meet with police on Monday or Tuesday. Reuters

Ramaphosa Says South Africa’s ANC Faces Challenge to Unite Party
Cyril Ramaphosa, one of two leading candidates to win a divisive contest for the presidency of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress, said the party’s leaders must unite the party after this month’s elective conference. “Our movement is divided and there are factions,” Ramaphosa, the country’s deputy president, said in a Thursday late-night program on Johannesburg-based 702 Talk Radio. “The challenge that we face, particularly going into this conference, is how we are going to unite the ANC and how we will emerge out of this conference united.” The winner from the Dec. 16-20 conference to pick a successor to President Jacob Zuma as the party’s head will be its presidential candidate in the 2019 elections that are set to be the toughest since Nelson Mandela led the party to power at the end of apartheid in 1994. The election has caused deep rifts within the 105-year-old ANC, weighed on the rand and nation’s bonds and unnerved investors seeking political and policy clarity. Bloomberg

Kenyan Opposition Remains Defiant despite Warnings over ‘Inauguration’
Kenya’s opposition NASA party on Thursday said it will go ahead with a planned swearing-in of Raila Odinga in spite of warnings from the country’s attorney general. The Kenyan government’s top legal advisor described any potential inauguration of the opposition leader as “unlawful, illegal, null and void”. “The will of the people cannot be stopped,” said Raila Odinga, according to local media reports, responding to criticism of the opposition’s planned inauguration. RFI

Report: Ethiopia Targeted Dissidents, Journalists with International Spyware Attacks
Since 2016, the Ethiopian government has targeted dissidents and journalists in nearly two dozen countries with spyware provided by an Israeli software company, according to a new report from Citizen Lab, a research and development group at the University of Toronto. Once their computers are infected, victims of the attack can be monitored covertly whenever they browse the web, the report says. Based on an in-depth analysis of the methods used to trick victims into installing the software, Citizen Lab concluded that “agencies of the Ethiopian government” deployed the spyware to target individuals critical of their policies. More than 40 devices in 20 countries were infected, according to Citizen Lab’s research. It’s unknown how many individuals might have been targeted. VOA

Burundi Refugees Refuse ‘Biometric’ Registration in DRC
More than 2 000 Burundian refugees living in a transit camp in Democratic Republic of Congo are resisting plans to register them on a biometric database, claiming it would violate their religion. They belong to an obscure Catholic sect that follows a female prophet called Zebiya and claim to have fled their homeland due to religious persecution. “2167 refugees are resisting the identification scheme despite several efforts” by refugee agencies, including the UN, local NGO worker Augustin Bulimuntu told AFP in the South Kivu region which borders Burundi. Bulimuntu said guidelines in DRC mandate that refugees register on a biometric database that includes fingerprints and iris scans. AFP

Tanzania’s Magufuli to Launch Nationalism Campaign
Tanzania’s President John Magufuli will Friday launch a nationalism campaign at the University of Dodoma. The drive, organised by the Ministry of Information, Culture, Sports and Arts, is aimed at inculcating patriotism among Tanzanians. Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, the minister, briefing reporters in Dodoma on Thursday, said in recent days unity and solidarity had been diminishing among the people, including leaders, due to lack of nationalism. He added that the ‘Nchi Yangu Kwanza’ (My Country First) campaign, which is part of the Independence commemorations, will help revive the spirit of nationalism as espoused by the founding leader Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere. The East African

Gunmen Assassinate South Sudan MP in Uganda
A South Sudanese MP was shot and killed by unknown gunmen in northern Uganda. Jacob Kuwinsuk Gale, MP for Yei River State died of his wounds while being taken to hospital, officials said. In a written statement, Alfred Kenneth Duku, the Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports for Yei River State, said the MP was in the company of other people making consultations as part of the national dialogue for South Sudanese refugees in Uganda. He said the incident occured around 7pm on Wednesday. Daily Nation



Photo: Adam Jones