Africa Media Review for January 11, 2017

The Evolution of Militant Islamist Group Activity in Africa 2010-2016
The geographic spread and frequency of attacks of militant Islamist groups in Africa has expanded steadily since 2010, with a peak in 2015. Eight African countries now regularly face attacks by an assortment of militant Islamist groups. […] Militant Islamist group activity in Africa dropped in 2016 from the previous year. With the exception of al Shabaab, fatalities related to each militant Islamist group declined as well, with those linked to Boko Haram dropping the most (from 11,519 in 2015 to 3,455 in 2016). Boko Haram, by far the most lethal of all African militant Islamist groups, has become increasingly confined to an area straddling Nigeria, Niger, Chad, and Cameroon. Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Amadou Gon Coulibaly Named Ivory Coast’s New Prime Minister
Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara on Tuesday named outgoing prime minister Daniel Kablan Duncan as the country’s first vice-president and chose a key aide, Amadou Gon Coulibaly, as the new premier. Addressing a special session of parliament, Ouattara described 73-year-old Duncan as “devoted, a loyal collaborator” and “a patriot and great servant of the state”. The new post of vice-president was set up under constitutional changes voted by referendum and approved in November. Some analysts have said the new VP could be well-placed to step into Ouattara’s shoes in the future. France 24

Tensions Rise Over Still-unpaid Bonuses to Ivory Coast Mutineers
Ivory Coast’s government has yet to pay bonuses promised to soldiers to end a two-day army revolt, mutineers said Tuesday, and confusion over how much has been agreed risked a repeat of the unrest that paralyzed the country. Soldiers — most ex-rebels now serving in the army — seized control of Bouake, the second-largest city, on Friday and troops in military camps across the country, including in the commercial capital Abidjan, then joined the mutiny. “Our comrades want their money now,” said a negotiator for the mutineers, who asked not to be identified. “People aren’t happy because they haven’t received their money, so everything could start up again.” VOA

Jammeh’s Gambia Election Challenge Postponed Until May
The Gambia’s Supreme Court is unable to hear the petition seeking to annul last month’s election until May, chief justice Emmanuel Fagbenle says. The Nigerian judge due to oversee the seven-member panel was not available till then, he said. Longstanding ruler President Yahya Jammeh, 51, initially accepted defeat but later rejected the result. It is not yet clear what will happen after Mr Jammeh’s term ends on 18 January. President-elect Adama Barrow is due to be inaugurated the following day. But Mr Jammeh has said he will not step down and he has the support of the head of the army. BBC

Al-Shabab Militants in Somalia Announce Public Execution of Homosexuals
The al-Shabab extremist group announced Tuesday it has killed a teenage boy and a young man for engaging in sexual conduct. This is the first known time that al-Shabab has carried out what it calls executions over homosexuality. The Somalia-based extremist group announced the killings via its Andalus radio, saying they were carried out in a public square in Buale, a town in Middle Jubba region. The group said it killed 20-year-old Isaq Abshirow and 15-year-old Abdirizak Sheikh Ali after they were arrested by al-Shabab’s Islamic police and convicted by a court run by the extremists. Speaking at the site of the killings, the group’s self-proclaimed judge called the sexual acts “immoral and reprehensible,” the Andalus announcement said. Also killed was Said Mohamed Ali, accused of spying for the Ethiopian army, the group said. AP

IS Claims Attack on Egyptian Troops in Sinai
The Islamic State group’s Egyptian affiliate on Tuesday claimed an attack on a security checkpoint in the Sinai Peninsula the day before that killed at least eight people. The group, which has carried out scores of attacks mainly targeting Egyptian security forces since the 2013 military overthrow of an elected Islamist president, posted the claim on a militant website. In an interview with the private ONTV network late on Monday, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi said the country faces a tough struggle ahead in combatting terrorism and that the “price will be very heavy.” News 24

Ugandan Leader Makes Son His Adviser, Critics See Succession Plan
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has appointed his son as his senior adviser, officials said on Tuesday, a move analysts said was part of a plan to groom him to take over the top job. The president’s son, Major General Muhoozi Kainerugaba, was moved from his position at the head of the army’s special forces, the military said, in what it called a normal change in command. But political rivals have regularly accused the 72-year-old president of handing powerful positions to members of his family and adopting an increasingly autocratic style – charges his supporters dismiss. His brother, Salim Saleh, is another presidential adviser and his wife, Janet Museveni, is minister of education. “Muhoozi … is going to play a significant role in a post-Museveni Uganda, there’s no doubt about it,” said political commentator and rights activist Nicholas Opiyo. Reuters

Ugandan President Reshuffles Top Military Officers, Drops Army Chief
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has announced changes in the top army command on Tuesday that has seen his son, Maj Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, head of the elite Special Forces Command, move to a presidential advisory role. Equally notable, the president has replaced the army chief Gen Edward Katumba Wamala, moving him to a civilian post as a junior minister in the Ministry of Works. Maj Gen David Muhoozi has been promoted to the rank of full general and takes over from Gen Wamala as the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF). Until his promotion, Maj Gen Muhoozi was the Chief of Land Forces. Maj Gen Kainerugaba had been in charge of the president’s security since his promotion to the rank and to the head of the Special Forces Command in May last year. The East African

Uganda to Host Military Intelligence Base to Monitor Eastern DR Congo
Countries in the Great Lakes Region will at the end of January set up a military intelligence base in Kasese, Uganda, to monitor “negative forces” in eastern Congo. The Joint Follow-up Mechanisms (JFM) comprising 12 military intelligence officers from all the countries of the Great Lakes Region will be based at the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda to monitor the Ugandan rebel group, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), which has been accused of recruiting from the entire region after forging links with terror groups Al Shabaab and Boko Haram. The executive secretary of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Zachary Muburi-Muita told The EastAfrican that efforts to get rid of negative forces in eastern DRC have suffered because of lack of permanent intelligence and monitoring. The East African

Kenyan President Signs Election Amendments Law Despite Opposition Rigging Fears
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta approved a law on Monday requiring back up plans for an August election if electronic voting systems fail, despite fierce opposition from rivals who say any manual arrangements will open the ballot to rigging. Veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga disputed the result of the 2013 race, which he lost to Kenyatta after electronic voter identification and other election systems collapsed. He has led opposition to the new law. The build-up to the 2017 vote has already been marred by protests and clashes with police that led to at least four deaths. Last year’s demonstrations were sparked by a row over who sat on a committee overseeing the conduct of the election. The government agreed to replace the commissioners in a deal with the opposition. Odinga has tried and failed to win the presidency in three previous elections, including in 2013 and 2007 when Odinga said the poll was rigged and about 1,200 people were killed in ethnic fuelled violence. Reuters

Military Intervention in Gambia ‘Not Ruled Out’, Interview Nigerian Foreign Minister
West African leaders will encourage Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh to respect his country’s constitution in a visit scheduled for Wednesday, Nigeria’s foreign minister Geoffrey Onyeama has told RFI. Onyeama said that leaders from the Ecowas regional bloc have not ruled out sending troops if Jammeh does not step aside when Gambia’s President-elect Adama Barrow is expected to be sworn into office on 19 January. RFI

Nigeria Boko Haram Crisis: Aid Agencies ‘Wasting Funds’
Most aid groups operating in Nigeria’s north-east are wasting funds meant to help victims of the Islamist Boko Haram insurgency, a state governor has said. Only eight of 126 registered agencies in Borno state were there to genuinely help, Kashim Shettima said. He criticised the UN children’s agency (Unicef) for buying bullet-proof cars, saying he did not use such vehicles. Last month, the UN launched a $1bn (£825,000) appeal for those facing hunger and starvation in the region. BBC

Only Religion Can Defuse Nigeria’s Demographic Time Bomb
Part of the optimism surrounding Nigeria’s population growth no doubt stemmed from the country’s natural resource wealth, which was supposed to enable investments in infrastructure, industry, and education, among other things. But with markets as volatile as they are, it’s clear that oil and gas revenue — which accounts for 95 percent of export earnings and 70 percent of government revenue — isn’t enough to keep a country the size of Nigeria afloat. Indeed, since oil prices started to drop in mid-2014, Nigeria’s currency has depreciated more than 170 percent against the dollar while the country’s GDP has contracted accordingly in dollar terms. The 2017 national budget will be the largest ever when measured in local currency, but at the current market exchange rate though not the official one, which is largely fictitious, it amounts to a meager $15 billion. The government of Kansas, population 2.9 million, has a bigger budget than Nigeria. In per capita terms, the situation is even bleaker. The government has just $77 to spend on each citizen in 2017. A nation with a population fast approaching 200 million has earmarked just $290 million for education this year (including capital spending), less than a third of what Harvard University will spend on research and development alone. Barring an unexpected jump in commodity prices, this situation is unlikely to change anytime soon, meaning many of the country’s newest citizens are likely to join the 62 million Nigerians who are currently illiterate. Foreign Policy

S. Sudan Renews Rejection To Regional Protection Force
South Sudan government now says it will not accept the deployment of regional protection forces, claiming the country’s security situation has improved. In an interview with Sudan Tribune, the presidential advisor on security affairs, Tut Gatluak questioned whether it was still necessity to send regional protection forces. “They were talking about security but now security situation has improved. Juba is safe and everyone is the witness. The Christmas and New Year celebrations went well, now you can move freely because security situation has improved. The national dialogue has been launched and the agreement is being implemented,” said Gatluak. Sudan Tribune

S. Sudan Former Detainees Call for 5-year Interim Administration
South Sudanese ex-political detainees are lobbying the international community to support an interim administration to be managed by experts for a five year period. The group, led by Pagan Amum, Secretary General of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) which has now split into three separate groups, said the new administration, if formed, would prepare the country to go into the general elections after all the governance matters have been addressed through national dialogue and other processes, including the drafting of an all-encompassing constitution and establishing vibrant and independent judicial system in the country. Sudan Tribune

UK, Norway Plan Doha Meeting to Restore South Sudan Peace Talks
Two key sponsors of the South Sudan peace process are organising roundtable talks next month in Doha, Qatar, between the government, the rebel movement and other stakeholders to review the August 2015 Peace Agreement. The talks being organised by two Troika members — United Kingdom and Norway, who have been the main funders of the peace talks together with the United States since the war broke out in December 2013 — are expected to begin in early February to look at the Peace Agreement and challenges facing its implementation.  The EastAfrican has learnt that the main agenda is to bring back rebel leader Riek Machar as a key partner in the peace talks. The new efforts were initiated by the UK and Norway in conjunction with the African Union. The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad), which mediated the peace agreement, will be represented as an observer, but will not be an active participant. The East African

Gabon Reshuffles Cabinet, Replaces Oil Minister
OPEC-member Gabon has replaced three ministers, including the oil minister, the government said in a statement late on Monday. The former French colony’s 220,000-barrel-per-day oil sector has long been dominated by French firm Total but U.S., Chinese and British firms have made inroads into the central African country. Pascal Houangni Ambourouet will replace Etienne Dieudonne Ngoubou, who defended the government’s interests during a year-long spat with British-based Tullow over an oilfield stake. Noel Mboumba was named economy minister and Edgar Anicet Mboumbou Miyakou is the new budget minister. VOA

Victims of Ex-Chad Dictator Risk Losing Compensation: Lawyer
Thousands of victims of rape, torture and arbitrary detention under former Chadian dictator Hissene Habre could lose their right to compensation, their lawyers said on Tuesday. A special African Union court ruled in July that Habre should give up to $33 000 to each victim of abuses committed during his 1982-1990 rule, as well as to their relatives. Philippe Houssine, a lawyer for victims under Habre’s rule, told journalists in Dakar that those who had not been identified by name could lose their right to claim. He was speaking to journalists at the former strongman’s appeal case. Lawyers have said that 4 733 civil plaintiffs were involved in the July case. News 24

Morocco Bans Burqa over Security Concerns
Morocco has banned burqas from being made or sold because of security concerns, the country’s media has reported. Although the government did not issue a formal announcement of the move, reports have emerged of burqa producers and retailers being issued written warnings telling them to stop making and selling the garments. The ban is understood to apply only to full-face covering burqas. The majority of Muslim women in the country wear headscarves without the veil, or niqab. “We have taken the step of completely banning the import, manufacture and marketing of this garment in all the cities and towns of the kingdom,” the Moroccan Le360 news site quoted a senior interior ministry official as saying.  The Independent

Erdogan to Visit Eastern, Southern Africa Jan. 22-25
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will pay a four-day, three-country visit to eastern and southern Africa from Jan. 22 to Jan. 25, a statement from the Presidential Press Office said Tuesday. Erdogan will first visit Tanzania on Jan. 22-23, followed by Mozambique on Jan. 23-24. He will then proceed to Madagascar on Jan. 24-25. The Turkish president visited Senegal in February 2016, followed by Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria and Guinea in April, and Uganda, Kenya and Somalia in May and June. During his latest visits to Africa, Erdogan vowed to boost Turkish-African relations. “The growing cooperation between Turkey and Africa shows that a lot can be accomplished by engaging our partners genuinely and finding solutions that serve the interests of both sides,” Erdogan said in June 2016. Anadolu Agency

Wildlife Trafficking: The Sordid Connection
Despite public announcements, displays for the media and signed Memoranda of Understanding, these countries are doing little to combat the criminal networks involved in the flood of wildlife products out of Africa. The four countries have become a nexus of an international criminal network that rivals drugs, arms and human trafficking in both scale and profitability. Organised criminal syndicates once hired Vietnamese nationals with no hunting experience to hunt rhino to illegally procure rhino horn – a practice known as pseudo-hunting. This was eventually stopped, but according to a recent report by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), the flow of rhino horn from South Africa continues unabated. The budget for the SA Department of Environmental Affairs represents less than 1% of total government expenditure in the financial year 2015-16. This leaves wildlife enforcement agencies — both nationally and for the provinces – woefully underfunded allowing law-enforcement officials to become easily corrupted. Daily Maverick



Photo: Adam Jones