Africa Media Review for December 9, 2016

Ghana Opposition Leader Wins Presidential Election, Radio Stations Say
Ghana’s main opposition leader, Nana Akufo-Addo, has won the west African country’s presidential election with an absolute majority over President John Mahama, two influential private radio stations said on Friday. In his first comment since the election, Mahama said on Twitter on Friday he would wait for official results, in a seemingly softer tone from Thursday when a senior member of his National Democratic Congress (NDC)camp said Mahama was ahead. “Let’s allow EC (Electoral Commission) to carry out its constitutional mandate. We’ll make Ghana proud no matter outcome” of the election, he said in a tweet on his official account. Ghana’s record of peaceful elections since 1992 and regular changes of government through the ballot box stands as a beacon in a region that has seen a series of civil wars and coups. Reuters

NDC Confident of Winning Elections
Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) said his Party is confident of winning the December 7 Presidential elections and justified the delay in the declaration of results. Addressing a press conference in on Accra on Thursday, Mr Nketiah said the NDC had a coalition centre which monitored and collated results from across the country which indicated victory for President John Dramani Mahama. According to him the NDC as a law abiding part will not put out any figures contrary to the agreement reached at the Inter-Party Advisory Committee IPAC) level and the National Peace Council. GhanaWeb

Barrow: Political Prisoners Will be Released, Gambia Won’t Withdraw from ICC
A top opposition politician and 18 others jailed under the outgoing Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh, have been released following the victory of Adama Barrow in last week’s presidential election. As celebrations continue throughout the country, the president-elect vows to release more prisoners and says the country will not withdraw from the International Criminal Court. Mariama Diallo reports. VOA

Gambians Seek Justice after a 22-year Reign of Terror
As the dust settles on The Gambia’s historic election, which saw the nation oust longtime dictator Jammeh after a 22-year reign of terror, the national debate over his eventual prosecution has reached fever pitch. Jammeh’s brutal regime locked up and tortured countless journalists and opposition figures. Some, such as Solo Sandeng, an activist who was arrested at a protest in April, died in custody. Others have simply disappeared into the system, their fate a mystery to grieving families and friends. After a week of euphoric celebration, Gambians have high expectations of how the incoming coalition government will handle the process of truth, reconciliation, and justice that will enable the country to move on. On the streets of Serrekunda, a town on the outskirts of Banjul, Al Jazeera found a clear majority calling for Jammeh to face trial. Al Jazeera

Gambia: Adama Barrow to Serve Only 3 Years as per Coalition Accord
President-elect of the Gambia, Adama Barrow, says he will only serve for a three-year transition period after winning December 1 presidential polls. Jeffrey Smith, a journalist who extensively covered the last polls reported from Barrow’s first press conference since winning that the decision to rule for the 3-year transition period was a key part of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by all coalition parties who united before the polls. Seven opposition parties united behind Barrow in the run up to the polls. He succeeded in unseating long serving Yahya Jammeh who had ruled the Gambia for over two decades. Africa News

Explosion in Cairo kills 6 Egyptian Police
An explosion on a main Cairo thoroughfare killed six police and wounded another three on Friday, in what appeared to be the deadliest attack on security forces in several months. The state-run MENA news agency said the explosion took place near a mosque on Pyramids road, the main avenue leading from the city center out to the Giza pyramids, which is often used by tour buses. It says the blast targeted security forces, without elaborating on what caused the explosion. Insurgents have carried out a number of attacks in Egypt since the 2013 military ouster of an elected Islamist president. The violence has been concentrated in the northern Sinai Peninsula, but there have also been several attacks on the mainland, including in the capital. AP on Fox News

Cameroon Police Shoot Dead 4 Protesters in Anglophone Region
Police in Cameroon shot dead four anti-government demonstrators in one of the Central African nation’s minority anglophone regions on Thursday, police sources said, after a month of sometimes violent protests in the area. The protesters were marching on a meeting of the ruling Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (RDPC) in Bamenda, a city in the northwest that is a traditional opposition stronghold when they were confronted by police. Officers initially tried to scatter the demonstrators using tear gas. A Reuters reporter then saw the police open fire on the crowd, which had continued to grow in size. SABC

Dos Santos’ Retirement Changes Nothing, and Everything, in Angola
Last week, state media in Angola announced that President Jose Eduardo dos Santos would step down from office before the presidential election in August 2017. It is difficult to overstate the significance of this announcement. Dos Santos has ruled Angola for 37 years, becoming Africa’s longest-serving leader in the process. It is almost impossible to imagine what the country looks like without him at the helm. Already, the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) has moved to anoint a successor, choosing defence minister João Lourenço as its presidential candidate. Given the nature of Angola’s political system, in which the MPLA enjoys a near-unassailable majority, this means that Lourenço will be the next president – and dos Santos’ long rule will be over. So what does this mean for Angola? Will a new face at the top usher in a period of transformative change? Or are the networks of power, patronage and corruption in Angola too entrenched to allow for better governance? Daily Maverick

ISIS Remains Threat in Libya Despite Defeat in Surt, U.S. Officials Say
The Islamic State, though driven from its coastal stronghold in Surt this week, still has several hundred fighters who have dispersed across Libya and pose a threat to the country, its neighbors and, potentially, Europe, according to American officials and the Pentagon’s Africa Command. The government’s top counterterrorism official, Nicholas J. Rasmussen, said the Islamic State’s defeat in Surt had dealt a major setback to the militancy’s ambitions to expand its caliphate in North Africa. But he said he remained “very concerned” about the ability of surviving fighters to exploit the country’s economic and political vacuum. “The concern we have about external attacks from Syria and Iraq extends to Libya if ISIL is able to maintain a stable foothold there,” Mr. Rasmussen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, told a security conference here on Wednesday. The Islamic State is also known as ISIL or ISIS. The New York Times

In the Battle for Control of Key Oil Installations in Libya, a Military Man Takes Center Stage
With Islamic State driven from its last urban stronghold in strife-ridden but energy-rich Libya, fresh turmoil is brewing over control of lucrative oil installations. And a polarizing military figure who once enjoyed close U.S. support — Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar — is at the heart of the unfolding struggle. The North African country is splintered by an array of rival armed groups, some of them loyal to one of two competing governments. Haftar has carved out a powerful fiefdom independent of the weak but internationally supported administration in the capital, Tripoli. Three months ago, forces loyal to Haftar seized the main terminals at the heart of Libya’s “oil crescent,” a concentration of oil-shipping ports and facilities on the Mediterranean coast. That gave him and his ally, a rival government based in the country’s east, control over crucial oil exports, which currently amount to about 600,000 barrels of crude a day. LA Times

US Extends Ethiopia Travel Warning Citing Potential for Unrest
The United States Department of State has extended its travel warning for Ethiopia citing the potential for civil unrest related to sporadic and unpredictable anti-government protests that began in November 2015. This new alert issued on Monday December 6, replaces the last one issued by the United States on October 21, 12 days after the Ethiopian government imposed the October 8 state of emergency which is expected to last for six months. The US also cited the fact that the government’s clampdown on communication continues to affect their work. Africa News

Somali Political Leaders OK Presidential Polls for Dec. 28
Somalia’s political leaders say they have agreed to hold presidential polls on Dec. 28 after three delays and amid allegations of bribery, fraud and voter intimidation. Presidential polls had been pushed back to Nov. 30, but the electoral commission last month announced they would be in December instead. In a statement issued after political stakeholders met late Thursday, Somali leaders said they expected a new parliament to elect a speaker on Dec. 22 before parliament members elect a president Dec. 28. The delays reflect the challenges of holding elections in this Horn of Africa nation riven by clan rivalries and threatened by Islamic extremists, al-Shabab, opposed to Western-style democracy. AP on The Washington Post

Gabon Delays Parliamentary Poll Citing Lack of Funds
Gabon’s parliamentary elections, which had been due to take place this month, have been postponed for up to seven months, the interior ministry said, citing a lack of funds. The decision to delay the vote, which must now take place no later than July 29, 2017, was taken by Gabon’s constitutional court after the electoral commission told Prime Minister Emmanuel Ngondet it would be impossible to organise such an election this month. In his statement, Interior Minister Lambert Matha referred to a “shortage of funds” to organise the ballot in time, with the court taking into account the “unforseen costs” resulting from clashes which erupted following Gabon’s divisive August presidential race. Times Live

S. Sudan President Orders Deployment of Troops to Oil Fields
South Sudan president Salva Kiir has ordered for the deployment of additional troops to the oil producing region, saying it would ensure no armed elements disturb operations of the oil workers. “We are working to stabilize the situation and improve the economic situation. Now I have instructed the chief of general staff to work with his team to send more troops to Bentiu and other oil areas to ensure there is adequate security for oil workers and the community,” the South Sudanese leader told the state-owned SSBC. “They will ensure those who want to cut the pipeline do not get access to disturb security of oil companies. This is one of the priorities and will be done”, he added. Sudan Tribune

Washington Panel Discusses Options in Preventing South Sudan Violence
Earlier this month, a U.N. human rights monitor warned that “ethnic cleansing” is under way in parts of South Sudan, and warned the country is on the brink of a genocide. After a 10-day visit to South Sudan, Yasmin Sooka, head of a U.N. Human Rights Council team, said people are being displaced from their homes through a process of starvation and gang rape, and the burning of villages. On Thursday, panelists gathered by the United States Institute of Peace and the Holocaust Memorial Museum discussed how to prevent mass atrocities in the country where many observers have said that type of violence is being used for ethnic cleansing. VOA

Burundi: Mkapa Arrives to Revive Peace Talks
Tanzania’s former president Benjamin Mkapa arrived in Burundi’s capital Bujumbura on Wednesday to revive the collapsed Inter-Burundi Dialogue peace talks. Mkapa was appointed to facilitate the talks by the East African Community heads of state in March. Mkapa’s visit comes following an invitation from the Burundian presidency, and is scheduled to meet President Pierre Nkurunziza on Thursday. He will also meet political parties and stake holders in Burundi’s civil society, religious leaders and the international community representatives. Since his appeal in May 2016 to Parties to the Conflict to desist from violent acts and give dialogue a chance, there has been a noticeable improvement on the security situation in Burundi. Africa News

African Governments Urged to Aid Millions Uprooted From Homes in 2015
As many as 3.5 million people in Africa were uprooted from their homes in 2015 because of conflict and natural disasters and left stranded in their own countries, with many governments overlooking this growing problem, a report released Friday said. Figures from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center showed an average of 9,500 people fled their homes daily last year, bringing the total number of Africans displaced internally to 12.4 million, with the number set to rise in 2016. The country affected most was Nigeria, with as many as 736,000 fleeing their homes in 2015 as a result of violence associated with the Boko Haram militant Islamist insurgency. The report calculated that the number of internally displaced people was double the number of the continent’s refugees, estimated by the United Nations to have reached 5.4 million in 2015, highlighting the scale of Africa’s comparatively overlooked “internal displacement crisis.” VOA

Spain: 400 Migrants Storm North African Border Fence
The Spanish Interior Ministry says some 400 migrants from Africa have stormed a border fence to enter Spain’s North African enclave of Ceuta from Morocco. A ministry official in the city said two police officers and three migrants suffered cuts and bruises in the early morning crossing Friday. Hundreds of African migrants living illegally in Morocco try to enter Ceuta and Spain’s other North African enclave city of Melilla each year, hoping to reach a better life in Europe. Most are intercepted on the spot and returned to Morocco. Those that make it across the six-meter (20-foot) -high border fences head for temporary migrant accommodation centers. They are eventually repatriated or let go. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with ministry regulations.  AP on The Washington Post

Italy Says Thousands of Nigerian Women Who Arrive as Migrants Are Forced to Work as Prostitutes
A steep rise in the number of Nigerian prostitutes working in Italy is being linked to the arrival in the country of well-organized Nigerian mafias, which are using violence and religious rites to terrify trafficked women into submission, police say. Police say their operations this year have revealed the presence in Italy of a host of Nigerian gangs with names such as the Black Axe, the Vikings, the Buccaneers, the Eiye and the Maphites. The gangs have arrived in Italy as the number of Nigerian women sailing to the country from Libya has risen from 1,454 in 2014 to 10,624 between January and the end of November. Of those, as many as 80% are forced to work as prostitutes, according to the International Organization for Migration. La Times



Photo: Adam Jones