Africa Media Review for July 10, 2018

South Sudan Rebels Reject New Peace Deal
South Sudanese rebels have rejected a new peace deal that according to the government had been agreed to by both sides. The news has deflated hopes for an end to South Sudan’s nearly five-year civil war. In a statement issued Monday, the opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement said a power-sharing agreement was discussed during talks in Uganda but no formal deal was made. “The proposal presented by President Yoweri Museveni was discussed verbally, in a cordial environment, but there was no official document presented to the Chairman and Commander in Chief of the SPLM/SPLA (IO), Dr. Riek Machar… Therefore, the proposal is not official,” it said. The statement went on to reject the proposal because it “only focuses on accommodation of politicians and ignores radical reforms needed” in South Sudan. VOA

Ethiopia, Eritrea Restore Diplomatic Relations, Phone Calls
Ethiopian and Eritrean leaders formally restored relations Monday, ending 20 years of enmity, and citizens from both counties immediately began phoning each other to get back in touch. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, 42, and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, 72, also signed agreements to open embassies in their respective capitals, restore flight services and use port facilities in Eritrea. The signing took place in Eritrea’s capital, Asmara, before Abiy flew back to Ethiopia. “The march toward peace might have been a long time coming but we have faith in the love and solidarity of our people,” said Abiy at the signing. “We can now imagine a future where we see no national boundaries or high walls dividing us. The people of our region are joined in common purpose.” AP

Ethiopia to Roll Out Eritrea Deal Fast to ‘Make Up for Lost Opportunities’: PM
Ethiopia’s prime minister said on Tuesday his government wanted to implement a deal restoring relations with former foe Eritrea quickly, to “make up for lost opportunities” after a two-decade military standoff. Abiy Ahmed signed an agreement with Eritrean President Isaias Afkwerki on Monday, formally declaring the “state of war” between the neighboring states was over. “My government is keen to implement the terms we laid out in our Joint Declaration so as to quickly make up for lost opportunities and create even better ones for our people”, Abiy said in a letter to Isaias that was posted on Twitter by Abiy’s chief of staff.  Reuters

Ethiopia-Eritrea Peace Deal Boost for Regional Peace – AU, EU
The African Union (AU) says the normalization of relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea is a boost for peace and security in the Horn of Africa region and on the continent as a whole. The AU’s view is also shared by the European Union (EU). Both blocs issued statements on Monday congratulating leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea – Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Isaias Afwerki respectively, for resolving to establish friendly relations after two decades of armed hostilities. According to an AU statement attributed to the Chairperson of the body, “the ongoing normalization process between Eritrea and Ethiopia is a milestone in Africa’s efforts to silence the guns by 2020.”  Africanews

Congo’s Kabila Delays UN Chief’s Visit, Refuses to See U.S. Envoy Haley
Congolese President Joseph Kabila has put off a planned visit this week by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and refused to see U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who diplomats said had also separately planned to visit Kinshasa. Kabila, who succeeded his assassinated father Laurent in 2001, was busy organizing Dec. 23 elections and had to postpone a visit by Guterres and African Union Commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat, said Congolese government spokesman Lambert Mende. “As for Nikki Haley I don’t see why and how the president’s refusal to see her has created so much controversy. Nikki Haley … was already in DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) and she met President Kabila,” Mende said. Reuters

DRC Churchgoers Plan Political Protests in August
A group of Roman Catholic lay movements in Democratic Republic of Congo has announced three days of nationwide “major actions” in August aimed at forcing President Joseph Kabila to resign. “Times are serious – the peace and stability of the country as well as that of the region are under threat,” the Lay Coordination Committee (CLC) declared in a statement released after weekend planning. Lay leaders of the church, which is a powerful force in the vast central African country, “will issue an appeal for general mobilisation in all key sectors of the nation in its first big actions to take place on August 12, 13 and 14,” it said. AFP

12 Fishermen Killed in Uganda/DRC Lake Clashes: Official
At least 12 fishermen have died and a dozen more are missing after deadly clashes on Lake Edward, which is shared by Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, a Congolese official said on Monday. “The 12 bodies of our compatriots are still floating on Edward Lake” after violent exchanges between the Ugandan navy and DRC armed forces, said Muhindo Kyakwa, a senior official of the DRC province of North Kivu. “We can’t retrieve them because Ugandan troops are opening fire on anything that moves,” he told AFP, adding that “a dozen fishermen” were still missing. His statement follows an earlier Congolese announcement that 16 fishermen were missing on the lake.  AFP

‘Mum, Please Pay or They’ll Kill Me’: Congo’s Child Kidnapping Crisis
[…] More than 730 people in North and South Kivu have been abducted or kidnapped for ransom since the beginning of the year, according to the Kivu Security Tracker, a joint project between Human Rights Watch and the Congo Research Group that has tracked the number of kidnappings since April last year. But the kidnapping of children for ransom is a relatively new phenomenon, particularly in Goma, the capital of North Kivu. Exact figures are hard to come by, but one child protection group in North Kivu says that, in 2017, 215 children were abducted in the province and 34 killed. Between January and June this year, 97 children have been abducted and 21 killed. The Guardian

Malian Army Cracks Down on Militia as Election Looms
The Malian army is cracking down on a militia in the country’s troubled centre in a bid to quell communal violence ahead of a July 29 presidential election, sources said. The Dana Amassagou, a militia which groups traditional Dogon hunters, has said it will stop the vote from being held in parts of central Mali, where it emerged several months ago. Violence has increased in the past three years in central Mali between nomadic Fulani herders and Bambara and Dogon farmers over accusations the Fulanis were colluding with jihadists. “On Saturday, we intervened in the centre, in Kanou-Bombole, to ensure the security of locals,” a Malian security source told AFP. AFP

The Gambia Swears In New Vice-President, 8 Ministers
The President of The Gambia Adama Barrow presided on Monday over the swearing ceremony of new Vice-President Ousainou Darboe along with eight ministers at State House in Banjul. The new ministers include Ebrima Sillah as the Minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure, Mambury Njie, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Lamin N. Dibba, Minister of Agriculture, Momodou Tangara, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Gambians Abroad, Musa Drammeh, Minister of Lands and Regional Government, Amadou Sanneh, Minister of Trade and Regional Integration, Hadrammeh Sidibeh, Minister, of Youth and Sports and Dr. Isatou Touray, Minister of Health and Social Welfare. Xinhua

Italy Promises Billions of Euros to Libya If It Accepts the Return of Migrants
Italy and Libya have agreed to reactivate a friendship treaty signed a decade ago that allowed migrants to be returned to Libyan territory. “We agreed to reactivate the 2008 Italian-Libyan friendship treaty,” said Libya’s foreign minister Mohamad Siala in a joint press conference in Tripoli with Italian counterpart Enzo Moavero Milanesi. He hailed the agreement reached during his first visit to Tripoli as “significant and promising”. The original treaty was signed by former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi and Italy’s then prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, as they sought to turn a page on 40 years of stormy relations between the North African country and its former coloniser. But the deal was suspended in February 2011, after the start of the uprising that saw Gadhafi forced from power and killed. Euronews

Nigeria’s Army Releases Children Suspected of Boko Haram Ties
The Nigerian army on Monday released 183 children after clearing them of any ties to Boko Haram, Unicef said in a statement. The children, aged between seven and 18, were released in Maiduguri, the capital of northeast Borno state, after being detained and investigated for any links with the jihadists. “These 8 girls and 175 boys are first and foremost victims of the ongoing conflict and their release is an important step on their long road to recovery,” said Mohamed Fall, Unicef’s representative in Nigeria. The statement did not say how long the children had been detained. AFP

Nigerian Opposition Says to Pick Joint Candidate for 2019 Election
Nigeria’s main opposition parties have agreed to form an alliance to field a joint candidate to challenge President Muhammadu Buhari in next year’s presidential election, they said in a memorandum on Monday. Buhari’s ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) split last week when one faction declared it no longer supported his government, threatening the 75-year-old former military ruler’s hopes of securing a second term in the Feb. 2019 elections. The splinter group, known as the Reformed-All Progressives Congress (R-APC), the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and 37 other political parties are in the new alliance hoping to defeat the APC. “The parties agreed to ensure the emergence of a joint presidential candidate,” said the memorandum, which was read out by Tom Ikimi of the PDP. Reuters

Cameroon to Hold Presidential Election on October 7
Cameroon will hold presidential elections on October 7, head of state Paul Biya said in a decree issued on Monday. Elected in 1982, the 85-year-old is Africa’s oldest and longest-serving president, but has yet to say whether he will bid for another term, although his supporters are already urging him to put his name forward. The vote will take place in a context of mounting problems in the oil-rich state, which faces an insurgency by anglophone separatists in the west and bloody incursions by Boko Haram jihadists in the north. The main opposition, the Social Democratic Front (SDF), has already designated its candidate, Joshua Osih. AFP

Officer Accused of Burkina Coup Admits ‘Attack on State Security’
Chief Warrant Officer Moussa Nebie told the hearing in Ouagadougou he had been given an order by his regimental sergeant major Eloi Badiel to arrest the transitional government’s president and his prime minister. He said he took some men and went to the presidential headquarters where a cabinet meeting was being held. “I went in and told President Kafando (Michel) that there was an attack and that we had to get him to a safe place. “Without hesitation, the president followed me and I took him in his vehicle with his bodyguard,” Nebie said. Eighty-four defendants are on trial over the September 2015 attempt to overthrow the transitional government, which took power after president Blaise Compaore was ousted a year earlier. Africanews

Will Uganda Hand Over Power Firm to Chinese?
Chinese investors have submitted a proposal to take over Uganda’s electricity transmission and distribution business, leaving Selestino Babungi, the managing director of Umeme and its shareholders, worried. Rather than take the usual route of the stock exchange to buy into the utility firm, the Chinese have offered the government $3 billion, which officials consider an unsolicited bid. The China Electric Power Equipment and Technology Company proposal promises to resolve the reliability and quality challenges plaguing the grid by investing in “smart grid technologies.” The East African

African Leaders Vow to Fight Safe Havens for Corrupt Funds
Corruption drains $148 billion annually from Africa, according to the African Union. At an estimated 25 percent of the continent’s average gross domestic product, the AU calls it a huge drain on Africa’s productivity. At the 31st AU Summit in Mauritania last week, African heads of state said they want to prevent billions more being stolen by seeking to abolish banking secrecy and tax havens. They also discussed a mechanism to return corruptly acquired funds, most of which are hidden in countries that allow the practices. However, Senegalese tax inspector Elimane Pouye says the fight against corruption in Africa requires more than just statements at international summits. VOA

South Africa Ex-president Jacob Zuma’s Son Charged with Corruption
The son of South Africa’s former President Jacob Zuma has been charged with corruption in a court in the commercial city of Johannesburg. Duduzane Zuma is alleged to have been part of attempts to bribe a former deputy finance minister to agree to a top role in government. The allegation is related to the activities of the controversial Gupta family who are accused of exerting undue influence over President Zuma. All parties deny any wrongdoing. In 2015, former Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas claimed he had been offered the position of finance minister and a bribe of 600m rand ($44m; £36m)) during a meeting with Duduzane Zuma, businessman Fana Hlongwane and Ajay Gupta. BBC