Africa Media Review for January 23, 2018

George Weah Sworn In As President of Liberia
Football legend George Weah’s inauguration ceremony has marked the country’s first democratic transition of power since 1944. Liberians are placing their hopes on him, but he has a daunting task ahead. Thousands of Liberians queued for hours to get into Samuel Kanyon Doe stadium near the capital, Monrovia, where George Weah was sworn into office. Several African heads of state were in attendance. Referring to his past as an international football star, the 51-year-old newly inaugurated president said: “I have spent many years of my life in stadiums, but today is a feeling like no other.” He went on to reiterate that his first priorities as president would be to root out corruption and pay civil servants “a living wage,” as well as encourage the private sector. DW

Liberia: Weah Calls for Unity
Liberia’s President George Manneh Weah says his government can do better when there exist unity and cooperation among the branches of government backed by unity among citizens, while pleading with the citizenry that it is time to put aside political differences and work together. … President Weah says the inaugural gathering also celebrates an important precedent that Liberians can and will rely on established institutions and the rule of law to resolve their political disagreements. … The President promises to do all in his power to be the agent of positive change, but he says he will not do it alone. He calls on the Legislature to work with him and create and pass essential laws that are needed to complete the foundation of this nation. He also promises to deliver on the popular mandate of Liberians to end corruption, warning those who corrupt government resources that they will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. New Dawn

Three Killed by Suspected Rebels in DR Congo
Suspected Ugandan Islamist rebels killed three civilians in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, despite an offensive by government troops, sources said on Monday. The deaths occurred on Sunday in the Beni region of North Kivu province, where government forces launched a campaign against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militia on January 13. “There was an incursion by the ADF yesterday (Sunday) in Kokola. Three people — a motorcycle taxi driver and his two customers — were killed before the army intervened,” the administrator of Beni district, Bernard Amisi Kalonda, told AFP. … Present in DR Congo since 1995, the ADF was initially created by Muslim radicals to oppose Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s rule. Today, they are a number of armed groups that hold swathes of territory in eastern DR Congo, battling for control of mineral resources. The East African

Gambia Arrests Top Jammeh Generals after They Return from Exile
Military authorities in Gambia arrested two of ex-strongman Yahya Jammeh’s generals after they returned unexpectedly from exile over the weekend, the army said in a statement on Monday. Gambia’s current President Adama Barrow was sworn in a year ago as a West African regional intervention force closed in on the capital Banjul forcing Jammeh, who had refused to accept his defeat in elections, to flee to Equatorial Guinea. Umpa Mendy, Jammeh’s principal protection officer, and the former head of the State Guards Battalion Ansumana Tamba had both accompanied the former leader into exile. But the army statement said they flew back into Gambia on Sunday. … The new government has replaced or dismissed a number of senior military officers, some of them suspected of being members of a group called the Jungulars, which many Gambians say carried out killings on behalf of the government. However, the army still contains many former supporters of Jammeh. Barrow’s allies have repeatedly warned of the possibility that exiled officers were working to undermine the new government from abroad. Reuters

One Year On, Victims of Gambian Dictator Demand Justice
[…] Since Jammeh was forced into exile in Equatorial Guinea a year ago, the victims of his brutal rule have been driving the demand for justice. … In October, an umbrella group of victims joined forces with national and international human rights organisations to form the “Jammeh2Justice” coalition, with the goal of bringing Jammeh and his accomplices to account for the human rights violations perpetrated under his 22-year regime. The Jammeh2Justice coalition is following the lead of the successful prosecution in Senegal of the former Chadian dictator Hissène Habré for crimes against humanity in 2016. IRIN

Militia Leader Convicted in Central African Republic
Human rights groups in Central African Republic say a former warlord who fought in the anti-Balaka militia has been sentenced to life in prison, a first for this conflict-wracked country. The International Federation for Human Rights said on Monday that the conviction of Rodrigue Ngaibona, known as “General Andjilo,” is the first of its kind since communal tensions erupted in 2013. A coalition of human rights group said on Monday it was a “decisive first step.” The anti-Balaka are an armed group that rose in opposition to the Muslim rebels who had overthrown the government in 2012. News24

Sudanese Migrants Tortured to Death in Libya
On Friday, two Sudanese died as a result of torture at the Tajoura Prison in Libya. Sudanese activist Adam Hari Bosh told Radio Dabanga from Tripoli that he could not give any details about the victims so far. He pointed to two videos that appeared on social media on Saturday, showing Sudanese being tortured by Libyan militiamen. “Libyan gangs sent shocking videos showing two young Darfuris from Kutum being subjected to brutal torture to their families, demanding a ransom of SDG 120,000 ($17,000) for each of them,” he said. “Dozens of such video’s have been made in Libya. These practices happen in the official Libyan prisons administered by the Libyan Ministry of Interior. Radio Dabanga

Sudanese Authorities Release Reuters, AFP Journalists
Sudanese authorities on Monday released a Reuters journalist and an Agence France-Presse (AFP) reporter who were detained while covering protests in Khartoum on Wednesday last week. Reuters regained contact with its Sudanese reporter, Khalid Abdelaziz, on Monday evening for the first time since before his arrest. He said he had not been mistreated, and was released alongside the AFP reporter and another local journalist. No charges were filed against the reporters, who were detained in Khartoum’s Kobar prison. … The journalists were detained while covering protests and clashes with security forces which broke out across Sudan early this month after Khartoum imposed tough economic measures in line with recommendations by the International Monetary Fund. VOA

Ugandan Army Says 29 Cattle Raiders Killed in Three Months
Uganda’s army said on Monday it had killed 29 armed cattle raiders in the porous northeastern region bordering South Sudan and Kenya, in a military operation which has entered its third month. “There have been isolated cases of contacts and clashes between the UPDF (the Ugandan army) and the warriors. In all these contacts we have killed 29, the most recent being Friday January 19, where we killed one (raider),” army spokesperson Captain Albert Arinaitwe told AFP. … Pastoral communities in the region often graze their cattle across borders. Kenyan herders are allowed to do so in Uganda in the dry season provided they are not armed. News24

28 Aid Workers Killed in South Sudan in 2017: U.N.
At least 28 aid workers were killed in war-torn South Sudan in 2017, the United Nations said in a statement. The UN office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs (OCHA) said there were also several incidences aid workers were involved in while doing their work, with violent related cases recorded, including killings, looting and threats. “In 2017, 1,159 humanitarian access incidents were reported by aid agencies in South Sudan. This is the highest number of incidents in a year, representing a significant increase, compared to 908 in 2016 and 909 in 2015,” OCHA said in its latest bulletin. Tens of thousands of people have been killed and more than two million displaced in the country’s worst civil war, now in its fifth year. Sudan Tribune

Kenya Gov’t Working to Release Pilots Detained in South Sudan
The Kenyan government said all efforts are underway to secure the release of two Kenyan pilots being held in South Sudan after their plane crashed in a rebel-controlled territory of Upper Nile state. The abductors, according to Kenya’s foreign affairs office, are demanding a fine after the plane killed a person and a few animals. The state-owned television (KBC) reported that the abductors, believed to be under the control of Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO) allied to ex- first vice president, Riek Machar have vowed that Captain Frank Njoroge and co-pilot Kennedy Shamalla will not be released until a Ksh20 million fine is paid. The two Kenyans were reportedly abducted and put under tight security in a town near the Ethiopian border soon after the incident. Sudan Tribune

Ethiopia Refuses World Bank Arbitration over Nile River Dam
Ethiopia’s leader has rejected arbitration by the World Bank on a disagreement with Egypt over the hydroelectric dam that Ethiopia is building on the Nile River. Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on Saturday refused the suggestion made by Egypt in late December that the World Bank should be brought in to resolve the dispute with Ethiopia over the construction of the dam on the Nile River that Egypt says threatens its water security. Sudan is also part of the negotiations because the Nile flows through it on the way to Egypt. … Ethiopia maintains that the dam’s construction will not reduce Egypt’s share of the river’s water. It insists the dam is needed for development, pointing out that 60 million of its citizens don’t have access to electricity. But Egypt fears that if the reservoir behind the dam is filled quickly and if too much of the Nile waters are retained each year, the reduction of the river’s flow would have negative effects on Egypt’s agriculture. News24

UN Report Backs Peacekeeping Changes in Face of Deaths
UN peacekeeping forces need to change the way they operate and not shy away from using force to reverse a worrying trend of escalating fatalities, according to a new report made public Monday. The recommendations were submitted to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in December by a team of experts headed up by Brazilian lieutenant general Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz, a former UN commander in Haiti and the Democratic Republic of Congo. “The United Nations and troop- and police-contributing countries need to adapt to a new reality: the blue helmet and the United Nations flag no longer offer ‘natural’ protection,” the report stated. “Unfortunately, hostile forces do not understand a language other than force. To deter and repel attacks and to defeat attackers, the United Nations needs to be strong and not fear to use force when necessary,” it recommended. The East African

Namibia: Genocide Case in Court This Week
Germany is expected to appear in New York City’s District Court on Thursday, or risk losing the case to the descendants of the genocide victims by default. This comes after the German government pointedly rejected summons to appear at a pre-trial conference where information would be reviewed before the case goes to trial. Just last week, the German embassy in Windhoek issued a statement, where they pointed out that they had refused the latest summons delivered in November. The case was launched in January last year, and would within this week make possible progress to trial stage should Germany send a representative, which failure could lead to a default judgement for the Ovaherero/Nama groups. … The Namibian



Photo: Adam Jones