Africa Media Review for January 31, 2018

Kenyan Opposition Leader ‘Inaugurated President’ by Supporters
Kenya’s Interior Ministry has declared the opposition alliance known as the National Resistance Movement, or NRM, a criminal organization after the group’s leader, Raila Odinga, in front of thousands of supporters, symbolically took the oath of “president” in defiance of last year’s controversial election and of authorities who said his actions would be considered treason. Odinga was greeted by thousands of frenzied supporters at Nairobi’s Uhuru ParkTuesday afternoon, despite a seven-hour delay that some endured in the hot sun. As the 73-year-old and his entourage drove through the crowd, his supporters jostled, and some scuffled, to see him inaugurated as the so-called “people’s president.” After swearing an oath of office on a green bible, Odinga called it a “historic day for the people of Kenya.”  VOA

Kenya Govt Declares Odinga’s Resistance Movement a Criminal Group
The Kenyan government has declared the main opposition National Super Alliance’s offshoot, National Resistance Movement (NRM) as an illegal entity. According to a special gazette notice issued today under the Prevention of organized Crimes Act, the government declared as follows: “IN EXERCISE of the powers conferred by section 22 of the organized Crimes Act of 2010, the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Interior and National Government declares National Resistance movement (NRM) to be organized criminal group for the purposes of the Act.”  Africa News

Thousands Flee across Congo’s Borders after Violence in East Rages
A surge of violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is driving thousands of refugees into neighboring Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda, the United Nations said. A Congolese military offensive against armed groups in South Kivu province caused 7,000 people to flee for Burundi and 1,200 for Tanzania since last week, mainly by crossing Lake Tanganyika on small fishing boats, UN Refugee Agency spokesman Babar Baloch said Tuesday in Geneva. They “fled forced recruitment, direct violence and other abuses by armed groups” or “in anticipation of military operations,” he said. More than 15,000 others have fled to Uganda from the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri to escape inter-communal violence and military operations, according to Baloch, who said daily arrivals in January are four times higher than the previous month. Bloomberg

UN to Slap Sanctions for Hate Speech in CAR
The UN Security Council on Tuesday maintained an arms embargo on the Central African Republic and added incitement to hatred as well as attacks on aid workers as criteria for sanctions. The council unanimously adopted a French-drafted resolution that would pave the way to targeted sanctions against those fomenting anti-Muslim or anti-Christian violence in the strife-torn country. Resurgent armed groups in the Central African Republic (CAR) have resorted to hate speech to stoke tensions, prompting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to warn of a risk of ethnic cleansing. The council condemned incitement to violence on an ethnic or religious basis and decided that any individual or entity that commits such acts or supports them could face sanctions. AFP

Camerounian Soldiers Invade Nigerian Community
More than 80 Cameroonian soldiers, early yesterday, crossed the international border between Nigeria and Cameroun and invaded Danare in Boki Local Government Area of Cross River State, claiming they were fighting Cameroon militants who took refuge in the community. Vanguard learned that more than 3,000 refugees from Cameroun are currently taking refuge in Danare, which borders the Central African country. A group of Danare indigenes, led by a former councillor in Boki coucil, Dauglas Ogar, who addressed journalists in Calabar, yesterday, said the gendarmes stormed their village about 2p.m., yesterday and started shooting, sending people running for safety. Vanguard

Nigeria: 168 Killed in Herdsmen-Farmer Clashes in Jan
At least 168 people have been killed in clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria so far in January, while 549 were killed in 2017, according to Amnesty International on Tuesday. The rights group said the government’s response to the violence was unimpressive and that its deployment of soldiers to villages caught in the crisis had only worsened the situation because troops displayed “excessive force”. “Nigerian authorities’ response to communal violence is totally inadequate, too slow and ineffective, and in some cases unlawful,” Osai Ojigho, Amnesty International country director, said in a statement issued in the Nigerian capital, Abuja. Anadolu Agency

Israelis Protesting Pending Deportation of African Migrants
A government plan to deport tens of thousands of African migrants has sparked an unexpected backlash from liberal Israelis and their American Jewish allies who say Israel — established in the wake of the Holocaust — should never be turning away those in need. The showdown could come to a head on April 1, when the state plans to start expelling Africans, some of whom have been in Israel for years and have children who know no other home, to an uncertain fate. In recent weeks, groups of Israeli pilots, doctors, writers, former ambassadors and Holocaust survivors have all appealed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to halt the deportation plan, warning it was unethical and would cause grave damage to Israel’s self-described image as a light upon the nations. AP

Egypt’s Ex-army Officers Pose Growing Security Threat
In October, Emad al-Din Abdel Hamid, a former army commando who had embraced Islamist violence, led a desert ambush against Egyptian police. His decision illustrates a growing threat from ex-officers ready to turn their guns on the security forces. Abdel Hamid, whose group Ansar al-Islam claimed the attack and hailed him as one of their leaders, was later killed in a retaliatory air strike. But his death has not discouraged more army officers and police from joining Ansar, three Egyptian security sources said. The October attack was the group’s first public claim, and the first appearance of the name Ansar al-Islam. Reuters

Mali Vows to Stabilize Militant-Hit Central Region before Vote
Mali will deploy additional troops to its central region in a bid to halt an escalation of Islamist militant attacks as pressure mounts to stabilize the West African nation before elections later this year. “Our biggest concern is the security of central Mali,” Security Minister Salif Traore said Monday in an interview in the capital, Bamako. “We are under time constraints because we have major elections scheduled in six months.” Mali has been gripped by violence since ethnic Tuareg rebels began a separatist insurgency and joined forces with Islamist militants to seize control of the sparsely populated north in 2012. While a 2013 French military intervention prevented the insurgents from marching southward to the capital, jihadists resorted to attacking Mali’s military and the United Nations peacekeeping force that arrived after the French operation. Bloomberg

George Weah Vows to Change Liberia’s Citizenship Laws
Liberia’s President George Weah has called for the removal of a “racist” clause in the constitution which restricts citizenship to black people. The clause was “unnecessary, racist and inappropriate”, the ex-football star said in his first State of the Nation address since being elected president. He also pledged to scrap the law that prohibits foreigners owning land. Liberia was founded by freed US slaves in 1847 as “a refuge and a haven for freed men of colour”. Its constitution defines black people in the language of the time, as “persons who are Negroes or of Negro descent”. BBC

UN Says over 5.5 Mln Displaced across Horn of Africa by End 2017 
More than 5.5 million people were displaced across the Horn of Africa by the end of December 2017, including around 4.1 million internally displaced and 1.4 million living in the region as refugees and asylum seekers, the UN said in a report released on Tuesday. The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its humanitarian outlook that the Horn of Africa remains a major migration transit route including to and from the Arabian Peninsula and to Europe. “The Horn of Africa is both the host and the source of significant population displacement and mixed migration movements, and this is expected to continue in the first six months of 2018,” said OCHA. “The combination of drought, conflict and insecurity have worsened protection concerns, with violations against civilians, including sexual and gender-based violence as well as against children, expected to continue in the months ahead,” it said. Xinhua

Cameroon Confirms Detention of Separatist Leaders
“A group of 47 terrorists, which includes Mr Ayuk Tabe, has been in the hands of the Cameroonian justice system for a few hours,” Cameroon’s government spokesman Issa Tchiroma Bakary announced on Monday. Anglophone separatist leader Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, who in October 2017 declared himself the president of an independent ‘state’ of Ambazonia,  and at least six other leaders were reportedly taken away from a meeting at the Neras Hotel in Abuja on Friday, January 5, 2018. Both Nigerian and Cameroonian authorities had initially denied the arrest of the separatists. According to their lawyers and Amnesty International, Ayuk Tabe and nine others were held at a hotel in Abuja for the past few weeks. The other separatists were most likely arrested at different points. Local Nigerian newspapers had reported of the arrest of a group of 37 English speaking Cameroonians who were arrested in December 2017. Deutsche Welle

South Sudan President Rejects Two Army System in Revitalization Forum
South Sudan president Salva Kiir has rejected any views which advocate either retention of the two armies system during the interim period in the revitalization forum, citing the July 2016 events at the presidential palace. Within days, the signatories of the South Sudan peace agreement will meet in Addis Ababa to discuss its implementation. The security arrangements of the deal provide the establishment of separate camps for cantonment of the two armed forces “to enable personnel, weapons and equipment accountability, screening, re-organization and/or disarmament and demobilization”. However, President Kiir used the opportunity of the African Union summit in Addis Ababa to explain to several African leaders the need to review this disposition during the revitalization process when it resumes its meeting soon. Sudan Tribune

South Sudan Slams African Union, US Sanctions Drive
South Sudan has slammed the African Union and the US for calling for all-out sanctions against Juba. Foreign Affairs ministry spokesman Mawien Makol said the latest campaign and threats of sanctions against the young nation would derail the peace process. “When you talk of sanctions, it cannot bring peace to the country. “What we need as a government is encouragement from the region, the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (Igad) and from the members of the international community,” Mr Makol was quoted saying by the Juba Monitor newspaper. The East African

Inside the EU’s Deeply Flawed $200 Million Migration Deal with Sudan
In interviews with over 25 Eritrean and Ethiopian asylum seekers in Khartoum and the eastern city of Kassala, as well as local journalists, and lawyers working on behalf of refugees, IRIN has documented allegations of endemic police abuse, including extortion, violence, and sexual assault. The pattern of corruption and rights violations uncovered feeds into broader concerns over whether the EU’s migration policies are making a difficult situation worse. Across Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, some 30,000 Eritrean, Ethiopian, and other African refugees are crammed into decrepit, non-descript houses, waiting for their chance to escape the country and make it to Europe. IRIN

Sudan Opposition Calls for Mass Demonstrations
Various opposition groups in Sudan have expressed their support of a mass rally scheduled to take place in Khartoum on Wednesday in protest against the recent austerity measures and the crackdown on civic liberties in the country. Political parties, civil society organisations, rebel movements, and women and youth groups in Sudan announced they will participate in the ‘Great Salvation Rally’. The event is to take place on the Shaabiya Square in Khartoum North at 3 pm on January 31. The opposition has called on the people in the rest of Sudan to organise demonstrations on Wednesday as well against the recent austerity measures that caused the prices of basic consumer goods to double and in some case to triple. Radio Dabanga

Senegalese Protest Killing of Fisherman Near Mauritania
Protests erupted Monday in Senegal’s coastal city of St. Louis over the weekend killing of a fisherman in Mauritanian waters. Fishermen and young people demanded justice for the shooting, burning tires and condemning their own security forces for failing to act. Senegal’s Interior Minister Aly Ngouille Ndiaye condemn the killing and consoled the victim’s family. The minister spoke in St. Louis alongside the governor of the area, Alioune Aidara Niang, after the incident. Security sources said the 19-year-old fisherman from St. Louis was shot dead Saturday when the Mauritanian coastguard opened fire on a boat carrying nine Senegalese fishermen operating in waters near the border between the two countries on the Mauritanian side. The other fishermen were arrested. Anadolu Agency

Guinea-Bissau President Names New PM in Bid to End Crisis
Guinea-Bissau’s President Jose Mario Vaz named a new prime minister late on Tuesday, appointing Augusto Antonio Artur Da Silva by decree after the previous PM resigned in a bid to end a political crisis. The new prime minister’s first job will be to organise fresh parliamentary elections in the coming months. The impoverished West African nation has been in the throes of a power struggle since August 2015, when Vaz sacked then prime minister Domingos Simoes Pereira. Vaz and Pereira – who heads the ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) party of which the president is a member – have accused each other of blocking the implementation of an accord reached in 2016. AFP

Dangerously Low on Water, Cape Town Now Faces ‘Day Zero’
It sounds like a Hollywood blockbuster. “Day Zero” is coming to Cape Town this April. Everyone, be warned. The government cautions that the Day Zero threat will surpass anything a major city has faced since World War II or the Sept. 11 attacks. Talks are underway with South Africa’s police because “normal policing will be entirely inadequate.” Residents, their nerves increasingly frayed, speak in whispers of impending chaos. The reason for the alarm is simple: The city’s water supply is dangerously close to running dry. If water levels keep falling, Cape Town will declare Day Zero in less than three months. Taps in homes and businesses will be turned off until the rains come. The city’s four million residents will have to line up for water rations at 200 collection points. The city is bracing for the impact on public health and social order. The New York Times



Photo: Adam Jones