Africa Media Review for February 10, 2017

Eastern Forces Strike Base in Central Libya as Rival Groups Clash in Tripoli
Eastern Libyan forces attacked an air base in the central region of Jufra on Thursday, killing at least two people according to a force spokesman and a medical source, hours after factional fighting flared in the capital Tripoli. A U.N.-engineered Government of National Accord (GNA) that was installed in Tripoli last year has struggled to assert its authority over various armed groups in the capital alone, let alone elsewhere in sprawling, oil-producing Libya. The eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) has clashed with rival brigades in the Jufra area in recent weeks, accusing them of trying to attack Mediterranean coastal oil ports that the LNA took control of last September. Reuters

Founder: Police Close Egyptian Center for Torture Victims
An Egyptian organization that treats victims of torture and trauma was closed down by police on Thursday morning, according to the center’s founder, a prominent psychiatrist. Aida Seif el-Dawla told The Associated Press that when the staff arrived at Al-Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence it had been sealed off by police and the building’s doorman was taken into police custody for questioning, but later released. The closure of the center, which offers therapy for torture victims and documents cases of police violations, comes as Seif el-Dawla has been fighting a court order to have the center shuttered. News24

Searches across Mali and Burkina Faso for Kidnapped Nun
Security forces were searching territory in Mali and Burkina Faso on Thursday for a Colombian nun kidnapped by self-declared jihadists, a Malian security ministry source said. Gloria Cecilia Narvaez Argoti, 56, was seized by armed men in the village of Karangasso close to the Burkina Faso border on Tuesday night. “The search goes on. We have men on the ground,” the source told AFP. “We have also alerted the authorities in Burkina Faso who are mounting searches from their side because the group headed in the direction of the border,” the source added. Two arrests have been made in Mali after four men seized the nun and drove her away in a vehicle belonging to her Franciscan order. In Bogota, the head of the order said the men had said they had “an order to kill” when they grabbed her, adding that she had spent six years in Mali. News24

EU Gives ‘Virtually Bankrupt’ Gambia 225 mn Euros Aid
The European Union announced aid worth $240m on Thursday for The Gambia’s new government as President Adama Barrow said his nation was “virtually bankrupt” due to economic mismanagement by the former regime. The EU froze assistance to The Gambia in December 2014 over the dire human rights record of ex-president Yahya Jammeh, whose security services were accused by rights groups of extrajudicial killings, torture and forced disappearances. Barrow’s victory in December’s election is seen by foreign donors as a new chance for human rights and the rule of law to be better respected in the tiny west African nation. News24

Ghana Presidential Fleet ‘Missing 200 Cars’
Ghana’s new government is trying to track down more than 200 cars missing from the president’s office, a government spokesman has said. The ruling party counted the cars a month after taking power following victory in December’s elections. After previous transfers of power, state-owned cars have been seized from officials who did not return them. A minister in the former government said the implied allegation of wrongdoing by his colleagues was false. Former Communication Minister Omane Boamah told the BBC’s Thomas Naadi that this was “a convenient way for the new government to justify the purchase of new vehicles”. BBC

EU Envoys, North Darfur Officials Discuss Post Conflict and Recovery Plans
European Union envoys to Sudan Thursday discussed with the North Darfur officials the state government post-conflict plans to collect arms and recovery strategies. The European envoys are visiting Darfur to assess the efforts of the Sudanese authorities to deal with the post-conflict environment which is characterized by insecurity and lawlessness, badly functioning economies, and a lack of social services and social cohesion. Following a meeting with the visiting EU delegation, North Darfur Deputy Governor Mohamed Birama told reporters that the delegation of 16 European diplomats asked them about disarmament issues. “We conveyed to them that the issue has received a considerable attention from the state government and the Sudanese presidency, and that the collection of arms is implemented in accordance with a specific strategic plan designed by the central government,” he said. Sudan Tribune

Top UN Official Says President Kiir Not Committed to Peace
The United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, has condemned South Sudanese President Salva Kiir for lack of commitment to end violence in the war-torn country. Mr Dieng said the peace process has yet to be accompanied by a complete cessation of hostilities, undermining the likelihood that the national dialogue proposed by the government will be seen as credible. “President Salva Kiir has made a commitment to end the violence and bring about peace, yet we still see ongoing clashes, and the risk that mass atrocities will be committed remains ever-present,” Mr Dieng said. East African

Uganda: IGG Dismisses Corruption Report
The Inspectorate of Government has dismissed the recent Transparency International findings that suggested corruption in Uganda was on the rise. Munira Ali, the spokeswoman of the inspectorate, says perceptions cannot be used to evaluate Uganda’s status because the TI report compared countries without considering the different environments, particularly the history, culture and constraints in the fight against corruption. “The IG is fighting corruption in Uganda…not engaging in a competition with other countries about successes or failures of its efforts,” Ali said in an email to The Observer. Late last month, Transparency International released its annual corruption perceptions index report, where Uganda, with a score of 25 per cent, dropped 12 places to the 151st position out of 176 countries surveyed. These scores put Uganda behind East African counterparts Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya. The Observer

In Kenya, Doctors’ Strike Leaves a Nation Ailing
Two months ago Kenya’s public sector doctors walked out on strike, and millions of Kenyans who normally depend on them are beginning to overwhelm the nation’s private hospitals, particularly in rural areas. One nurse in the accident and emergency ward at Kijabe estimated they were taking in twice as many patients as before the strike began. Each 12-hour shift has turned into a nonstop frenzy of activity. Meanwhile, people with non-emergency health issues are being triaged. “We’ve been here for five hours,” said one worried-looking mother sitting with her adolescent son in the hospital’s waiting room. In 2013, Kenya’s government agreed to increase salaries for doctors, dentists and other medical professionals. Currently, starting doctors earn as little as $14,800 annually. … But four years on, officials still haven’t begun to implement any of those changes. Al Jazeera

Burundi: Tutsi Not Sufficiently Represented in Dialogue, Says Political Opponent
Tutsi minorities were not sufficiently represented in inter-Burundian dialogue rounds held in Arusha, according to a member of UPRONA party, the wing not recognized by Burundi government. He asked the Facilitator in the Burundi conflict to enhance the representation of Tutsi in the next dialogue rounds. «We expressed our concern to the facilitation office asking it to enhance the representation of the Tutsi minority in the next dialogue rounds. We noticed that Tutsi were not sufficiently represented, “says Tatien Sibomana. Iwacu

Deadly Disease Combination Claims Thousands in Angola
Raging yellow fever and malaria outbreaks claimed more than 15 000 lives in Angola over the past year. Speaking in the capital Luanda, the health minister, Luís Gomes Sambo, disclosed there were with 4,2 million cases of malaria, leading to the death of 15 000 people. Coupled with a yellow fever outbreak that infected 4 159 people, with 384 deaths, this resulted in a mortality rate of 8,3 percent. Meanwhile, the country is gripped by a deadly outbreak of the ZIKA virus that has already claimed three victims, affecting a French citizen and two Angolans, who have been attended and medicated. At this moment, the government minister said, more attention was being given to the cholera epidemic that plagues the provinces of Zaire, Cabinda and Luanda, with 252 cases, including 11 deaths this year. AllAfrica

I Will Not Rush into Ejecting Zambia from the International Criminal Court-President Lungu
President Edgar Lungu said that he will not rush into ejecting Zambia from being a part of the International Criminal Court but will instead consult with Zambians on what they would like. Speaking to journalists before his departure to Luapula today, President Lungu said democracy dictates that he consults with stakeholders who in this case are the Zambian people before making decisions. President Lungu said he believes in widespread consultation with stakeholders as the right path to govern. He said he would not dictate to Zambians what they should adopt with regard to the country staying or pulling out of the ICC. The African Union (AU) wants its member states to pull out of the International Criminal Court (ICC). This is a message to the international community to stop “harassing” Africans, the AU said. The decision was arrived at in a closed session of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Tuesday. However, Nigeria, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Mali, Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Tunisia, Cape Verde, Botswana and Chad want to remain members of the court. Lusaka Times

Violent Brawl Breaks Out at Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address in South Africa
Lawmakers traded punches in South Africa’s Parliament during the annual State of the Nation address delivered by President Jacob Zuma. Opposition MPs from the radical Economic Freedom Fighters’ party (EFF) scuffled with security and other lawmakers live on national TV. Dressed in red, they denounced Zuma as a “scoundrel” and “rotten to the core” over recent corruption allegations before being ejected them from the chamber. Zuma had twice been shouted down by EFF MPs. The address, taking place in Cape Town, was met with increased security measures, with hundreds of extra police and military watching anti-Zuma protesters closely. There were reports that police used stun grenades to disperse opposing factions. Zuma has been dogged by allegations of corruption and cronyism. Zuma has been forced to deny that he had an improper relationship with the Guptas, a business family that has been accused of meddling in government appointments. IBTimes

I’m Going Back Home but I Fear for My Life, Says Lesotho’s Exiled Ex-PM Tom Thabane
Lesotho’s former prime minister Tom Thabane says he fears for his life as he prepares to return to the mountainous kingdom after two years of self-imposed exile in South Africa. Thabane said this while confirming during an interview with News24 that he was set to head back home on Sunday. He maintained that although the risk on his life was “still there”, he wanted to find lasting solutions to the country’s political instability. “I am taking a huge risk by going back to Lesotho. The threat on my life is still there. However, politics is a risky business. You cannot try to take someone’s position in leadership and expect them to sit down and do nothing,” said Thabane. Lesotho plunged into a political crisis following the 2014 failed coup attempt by an army general. News24

Google Coding Champion Whose Cameroon Hometown is Cut Off from the Internet
The first African winner in Google’s annual coding competition is 370km (230 miles) from home, sitting outside his cousins’ house in the Cameroonian capital, Yaounde, because the government has cut off his hometown from the internet. As cocks crow in the background, 17-year-old Nji Collins Gbah tells the BBC about the series of complex technical tasks he completed for Google between November and mid-January. Nji had thrown himself into the contest, using knowledge gained from two years of learning how to code, mainly from online sources and books, as well as other skills he was picking up on the fly. The prestigious Google Code-in is open to pre-university students worldwide between the ages of 13 and 17. This year more than 1,300 young people from 62 countries took part. By the time entries closed, Nji had completed 20 tasks, covering all five categories set by Google. One task alone took a whole week to finish. And then just a day after the deadline for final submissions, the internet went dead. BBC



Photo: Adam Jones