Africa Media Review for July 16, 2019

Gunmen Kill 10 in Revenge Attack on Nigerian Village: Police
About 300 gunmen raided a village in northwestern Nigeria in a revenge attack, killing 10 people, burning cars and stealing cattle, police said. The assailants “invaded” Kirtawa village in Katsina state late Saturday, shooting residents and stealing cows, regional police spokesman Gambo Isah said in a statement. “Ten persons were found dead, five injured,” Isah said. The bandits set fire to five cars and four motorcycles after stealing “an unspecified number of cows”, he said. Police said the gunmen opened fire on security forces as they arrived on the scene, shooting out the tyres of an armoured vehicle and wounding a soldier and a paramilitary officer, before fleeing. The raid was a “reprisal attack” for an earlier assault on the bandits by vigilantes from the village, police said. Katsina state has seen a surge in attacks by kidnapping and cattle rustling gangs, prompting villagers to form vigilantes groups to defend themselves. AFP

Obasanjo Writes Buhari, Says Nigeria Reaching a Tipping Point
Former president Olusegun Obasanjo on Monday wrote an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, saying, “Nigeria is on the precipice and dangerously reaching a tipping point where it may no longer be possible to hold danger at bay”. Obasanjo, in the letter released by his media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi said, he intended to use the open letter to address weighty issues. In the letter to Buhari, Obasanjo said, “I am constrained to write to you this open letter. I decided to make it an open letter because the issue is very weighty and must be greatly worrisome to all concerned Nigerians and that means all right-thinking Nigerians and those resident in Nigeria.” … He said, “When people are desperate and feel that they cannot have confidence in the ability of government to provide security for their lives and properties, they will take recourse to anything and everything that can guarantee their security individually and collectively.” Punch

Nigeria: Stop Accusing Us of Killings – Fulani Leader
The Sarkin Fulani of Lagos and Chairman, Association of Fulani Chiefs in the South West, Alhaji Mohammed Bambado said Fulani people should not be accused of killings in the country. This came as pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere and the Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE, Monday, lampooned National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Senator Bola Tinubu over his statement that herdsmen should not be stigmatized in the country. Tinubu, while commiserating with Pa Reuben Fasoranti over the death of his daughter, Mrs. Funke Olakunri had said it was wrong to blame kidnappings and deaths on the herdsmen. The remarks, however, elicited angry reactions from Afenifere and YCE who warned the former Lagos State governor not to water down seriousness of Fulani invasion in the South West. Vanguard

Night Protest in Sudan over Civilian’s Death
Scores of Sudanese demonstrators took to the streets in a Khartoum district on Monday night to protest against the killing of a civilian allegedly by paramilitaries the previous day. Riot police looked on as a crowd waved Sudanese flags and chanted revolutionary slogans in the capital’s eastern district of Burri, a hotbed of protests since demonstrations first erupted in December, witnesses said. The rally, which came hours after another protest was broken up by police in the city, was against the killing of a civilian on Sunday in the town of El-Souk in the state of Sinnar, southeast of Khartoum. The civilian was killed in unrest when residents gathered in El-Souk to demand that members of the feared paramilitary Rapid Support Forces leave the town, according to residents and doctors close to the protest movement. AFP

FFC Agree to Include Peace Preamble to Sudan’s Interim Constitutional Declaration
The Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) ’s political and armed factions agreed in a consultations-meeting in Addis Ababa on a draft text on ways to achieve peace during the transitional period to be added as a preamble to the Constitutional Document. The Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa is currently hosting a joint meeting between political and armed factions of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF). Among the participants there Minni Minnawi, Malik Agar, Girbil Ibrahim, Yasir Arman, Mariam al-Mahdi, Ibrahim al-Sheikh, Mohamed Nagy al-Assam and Wajdi Saleh. Mohamed Zakaria SRF Spokesperson told Sudan Tribune Monday that the participants discussed peace issues within the framework of the transitional process, the challenges facing the formation of a transitional government, and the FFC organizational structure. Sudan Tribune

Junta Wants Sudan Internet Cut Off Again
The Transitional Military Council (TMC) filed appeal against the recent court decision to restore internet services in Sudan after an shut-down of a month that was ordered by the TMC. Sources close to the junta expect that the internet will be cut off again. The appeal of the junta was filed by a consultant at the Ministry of Justice, sources close to the junta said. The TMC probably decided to appeal because of videos that were spread in the past few days, showing atrocities and the brutal way the sit-in at the army command was disbanded on June 3. … The shut-down that lasted from June 10 until July 9 was ordered by the ruling TMC citing reasons of ‘national security’ following the massacre during the break-up of the sit-in in front of the army command in Khartoum on June 3. Dabanga

Jacob Zuma Says Corruption Allegations Were a Conspiracy to Oust Him
Jacob Zuma, the former president of South Africa whose tenure was marred by scandals, told a high-profile corruption inquiry on Monday that he was the victim of a long-running smear campaign, and had been “vilified” and “alleged to be the king of corrupt people.” … In a long, meandering opening statement on Monday, Mr. Zuma, 77, invoked what he said were multiple conspiracies against him, and argued that the entire concept of state capture had been exaggerated in a campaign to oust him from power. … He went on to claim that spies from the former apartheid government and two unnamed foreign intelligence agencies had begun plotting against him in the early 1990s, when he was serving as the A.N.C.’s head of intelligence. And he said he had survived multiple assassination attempts, including a suicide bombing. … Aubrey Matshiqi, a political analyst, said Mr. Zuma’s testimony showed that he was willing to jeopardize the A.N.C. in order to protect himself. “The claims he’s making will divide the party further, perhaps even paralyze it,” Mr. Matshiqi said. NY Times

Ugandan Singer Bobi Wine Plans to Run for President in 2021
Ugandan pop star and opposition figure Bobi Wine said Monday he will challenge longtime President Yoweri Museveni in a 2021 election “on behalf of the people.” But Wine, whose real name is Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, said he is concerned about his safety after what he believes was an attempt on his life last August. His driver was shot dead in his car after protesters threw stones at the president’s motorcade. Wine’s arrest at the time sparked protests in Uganda’s capital, Kampala. The 37-year-old said he is fearful of harm from running for president because “there has never been a threat to this regime like the threat we pose to it today as a generation.” “I live every day as it comes, not being sure of the next day,” Wine said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I am not blind to the fact that the regime wants me dead and wants me dead as soon as possible.” Authorities have repeatedly denied Wine is being targeted. VOA

Jailed Zimbabwean Lawmaker Facing Subversion Charges Freed on Bail
A Zimbabwean opposition politician facing charges of advocating the overthrow of President Emmerson Mnangagwa was freed on bail by the High Court on Monday after spending six days in detention, his lawyer said. Job Sikhala, the deputy chairman of the Movement for Democratic Change, was arrested last week and charged with attempting to subvert the government, a crime that carries a 20-year jail term upon conviction. Sikhala, through his lawyers, has denied the charge. … More than a dozen government opponents have this year faced similar charges, with critics saying this shows that under Mnangagwa, the government is reverting to harsh Robert Mugabe-era security laws to muzzle the opposition. Reuters

Could New Figures Forecast Hyperinflation for Zimbabwe?
The spectre of hyperinflation is looming over Zimbabwe again, a decade after runaway prices forced the country to abandon its currency. Annualized inflation in Zimbabwe surged to 175.66 percent in June, up from 97.85 percent in May, the country’s statistical office said Monday. On a monthly basis, consumer prices rose 39.9 percent in June compared with 12.54 percent in May. Hyperinflation occurs when prices rise 50 percent per month. “This is surprising. No one was expecting it was gonna be this bad,” economist John Robertson of Robertson Economics, told Al Jazeera. … This year, Zimbabwe started laying the groundwork for a new sovereign currency with the introduction of the Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) dollar or “Zimdollar”, which has become a target of black market speculators. In a bid to defend the Zimdollar against such speculation, the country’s finance minister in June outlawed using foreign currencies in local transactions. But the Zimdollar continues to lose ground against foreign currencies. As Robertson points out, this creates serious problems for Zimbabwe because the country relies heavily on imports of goods and raw materials that are paid for in foreign exchange. Al Jazeera

DRC Refugees Flooding Into Uganda to Escape Armed Conflict
Aid workers in Uganda say armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has doubled the flow of refugees in past weeks, straining humanitarian funding. Many DRC refugees brave cold nights and risk big waves on Lake Albert to reach the Ugandan border. In the pitch-black hours of the early morning, a boatload of refugees from the DRC arrives on Uganda’s side of Lake Albert. Some of the babies are hysterical. Aid workers say the number of Congolese refugees fleeing armed conflict to Uganda has more than doubled since June to about 300 per day. Refugee Gipato Margaret says there has been intensive fighting in the last two weeks in the DRC town of Chomya. VOA

‘We Won’t Get to Zero Cases of Ebola Without a Big Scale-Up in Funding,’ UN Relief Chief Warns
Deadly, attacks on health workers in Ebola-hit areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), including one at the weekend that left two dead, are an indication that combating the disease outbreak will require far greater international support, UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said on Monday. Speaking in Geneva, Mr. Lowcock, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, insisted on the need to “be honest with ourselves” on tackling the haemorrhagic disease … unless there’s a big scale-up in the response, we’re unlikely to be successful in getting to zero cases”. At his side, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus confirmed the attacks in Beni and the identification – for the first time – of an infected patient in Goma, a city of one million people bordering Rwanda. According to WHO, almost 3,000 health workers have so far been vaccinated against the disease in Goma. UN News

Measles is Killing More People in the DRC than Ebola—and Faster
As the world anxiously monitors the outbreak of Ebola in Democratic Republic of the Congo, health officials note that a measles outbreak declared last month in the country has killed more people—mostly children—and faster. Since January 2019, officials have recorded over 100,000 measles cases in the DRC, mostly in children, and nearly 2,000 have died. The figures surpass those of the latest Ebola outbreak in the country, which has tallied not quite 2,500 cases and 1,665 deaths since August 2018. The totals were noted by World Health Organization Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in a speech today, July 15, at the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland. Ars Technica

Drought Breeds Multi-Faceted Crises for Border Communities
The recent El-Nino induced drought has spawned a multi-faceted crisis for Basotho communities in the border areas with South Africa who are often forced to illegally graze their livestock in the neighbouring country. The practice of seeking pastures in South Africa has opened up the border communities to a whole range of conflicts with their neighbours who have retaliated by either stealing or impounding the livestock and demanding hefty fines of as much as M2500 for the release of each cow. In addition, some of the impoverished families have forced their young girls into early marriages of convenience in the neighbouring country due to the financial inducements associated with the practice which has been defined by the United Nations Population Fund (UNPA) as a human rights violation. Lesotho Times

Garbage Overflow In The Streets Of Monrovia: The Impact On Human Health And The Environment
The world has a garbage crisis. All nations generate an estimated 1.3 billion tons of garbage annually, and that number is expected to grow in the coming years. The United States, China, Brazil, Japan, and Germany account for the largest proportion of garbage generated, according to an LA Times story written by Ann Simmons. Overpopulation, urbanization, industrialization, the lack of regular trash collection and disposal are key drivers for the surging garbage crisis. … What we are seeing in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, where garbage is swallowing up major streets and markets in Duala, West Point, Paynesville and other key parts of the city, is not an uncommon phenomenon; it is prevalent in Mombasa, Kenya, Lagos, Nigeria, and Beirut, Lebanon. The causes of this phenomenon cannot be separated from overpopulation, the lack of regular garbage collection and proper disposal. New Dawn

‘More than Three in 10’ in East Africa Undernourished
The United Nations says the number of people going hungry has increased for the third year running. A report from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the UN Children’s Fund, the World Food Programme and the World Health Organization, said reaching the target of zero hunger by 2030 is “an immense challenge”. More than 820 million people worldwide are not getting enough food, with the situation most alarming in Africa, the report says. Africa “has the highest rates of hunger in the world” and the rates are rising in some of the continent’s sub-regions. The report says that in East Africa more than three in 10 of the population are undernourished. Across the continent, “in addition to climate and conflict, economic slowdowns and downturns are driving the rise. “Since 2011, almost half the countries where rising hunger occurred due to economic slowdowns or stagnation were in Africa,” it added. BBC



Photo: Adam Jones