Africa Media Review for July 18, 2018

Q&A: Somalia Charts Security Transition
Somalia’s National Security Advisor talks about political will, security reforms in Somalia’s Transition Plan, and the commitment to domestic and international coalition building to sustain the country’s progress.  Somalia’s state-building efforts, including initiatives to strengthen security and rebuild the political system, have proceeded steadily since the inauguration of President Mohammed Abdullahi Farmajo in February 2017. Nonetheless, serious challenges remain. The Africa Center for Strategic Studies spoke with Abdisaid Ali, National Security Advisor to the President of the Federal Government of Somalia, to take stock of the progress. Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Eight Killed in Rebel Attack on DR Congo Army Base
Eight people were killed on Monday during an attack attributed to Ugandan Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels in the restive eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, according to sources. The attack targeted an army position in Kabasewa, 60km east of Beni in North Kivu province. “We deplore the death of three soldiers, while three others are wounded,” said Captain Mak Hazukay, spokesman for the army in the region, adding that two rebels were also killed. He said the attackers “looted the health centre pharmacy”, took cattle, and made the villagers carry their stolen goods. AFP

John Magufuli Says His Party Will Rule ‘Forever’
Tanzania’s President John Magufuli who has come under fire for his authoritarian leadership style has vowed that his ruling party will be “in power forever, for eternity”. In a speech broadcast on radio and television late Monday, Magufuli said that opponents of his Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party would “always have problems”. His intervention is the latest in a string of controversial comments that included a suggestion over the weekend that prisoners be made to work “day and night” and receive kicks if they are lazy. “The CCM is here and will continue to be here — forever. Members of the CCM, you can walk with your heads held high. There is no alternative to the CCM,” said Magafuli during a ground breaking ceremony for a new party training centre being built in Kibaha, outside the economic capital Dar es Salaam. Daily Nation

Cameroonians Fleeing Unrest Hide in the Forest with Little Help
Cameroonians fleeing an increasingly bloody separatist conflict have received little aid as humanitarian agencies struggle to access the area, the United Nations said. More than 200,000 people have fled their homes in the volatile western regions since late last year, in addition to at least 21,000 who have fled into Nigeria, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Tuesday. The regions have been gripped by violence since protests by the mainly Francophone country’s Anglophone minority morphed into a secessionist movement last year. There were no humanitarian agencies in the area before the insurgency, and bad roads, travel restrictions and unpredictable attacks have made it difficult for them to go in, said Modibo Traore, the head of OCHA in Cameroon. Al Jazeera

South Sudanese Parties Strike Deal on Governance: Mediation
Sudanese mediation team Tuesday announced that an agreement has been reached on outstanding issues of governance and the signing ceremony will take place on Thursday. But, the South Sudanese government spokesperson Michael Makuei said the Sudanese mediators will give them the final draft agreement on Wednesday and they will determine their position accordingly. On Monday Makuei voiced strong reservations on the text but said the final decision would be taken by President Kiir. For his part, the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) spokesperson Kwaje Lasu said they were preparing a written response rejecting this proposal. The proposed deal reduces the cabinet members to 35 ministers but creates a vice-president position for the SSOA. Also, it keeps the number of the legislators at 550 members. Sudan Tribune

1st Commercial Flight Goes from Ethiopia to Ex-Rival Eritrea
The first commercial flight from Ethiopia to Eritrea has taken off as air links are restored after the end of a 20-year state of war. Ethiopian Airlines has tweeted a photo of the flight leaving Addis Ababa for Eritrea’s capital, Asmara. Those on board include people seeking to reunite with family long separated by the conflict. The dramatic diplomatic thaw began last month when Ethiopia’s reformist new prime minister fully embraced a peace deal that ended a 1998-2000 border war. Breakthroughs swiftly followed, with the leader of each country visiting the other and being welcomed with an embrace.  AP

Eritreans Hope for Democracy after Peace Deal with Ethiopia
With Eritrea the only one-party state in Africa, many of its citizens are hoping that President Isaias Afwerki will introduce sweeping political reforms following the end of the “state of war” with neighbouring Ethiopia. Mr Afwerki has been in power since leading Eritrea to independence from Ethiopia in 1993. He was heavily influenced by Marxism during his early political career and – unlike other African leaders – has so far resisted pressure to embrace multi-party democracy. His grip on power was strengthened following the outbreak of a border war with Ethiopia in 1998. Tens of thousands of people were killed in the conflict, Mr Afwerki and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed signed a declaration last week to end the “state of war”, and to resume ties between the two nations. BBC

Rescue Group: Libya Left Migrants to Die in Mediterranean 
A migrant aid group has accused Libya’s coast guard of abandoning three people in the Mediterranean Sea, including a woman and a toddler who died, after intercepting 160 Europe-bound migrants near the shores of the North African nation. Proactiva Open Arms, a Spanish rescue group, said it found one woman alive Tuesday and another dead, along with the body of a toddler, amid the drifting remains of a destroyed migrant boat some 80 nautical miles from the Libyan coast. The organization posted images and videos of the wreckage and the dead bodies on social media, accusing both a merchant ship sailing in international waters and Libya’s coast guard for failing to help the three migrants. AP

Migrant Crossings from Niger to Europe Fall by 95% Says EU
The flow of migrants crossing through Niger in a bid to reach Europe fell by 95% last year, European Parliament President Antonio Tajani announced ahead of a visit to Niger this week. “Through financial support and a strong partnership, the European Union has helped Niger to reduce migratory flows to Libya and the EU by over 95 percent,” said Tajani, who will begin a two-day mission to the country on Tuesday. In 2016, 330 000 people crossed Niger, primarily directed to Europe via Libya. The number fell to 18 000 in 2017 and to around 10 000 so far this year. But Tajani called for more resources to help Niger, one of the poorest countries in the world, to protect its borders, manage migratory flows and guarantee security. AFP

Mali: Hundreds Killed in Intercommunal Violence This Year
At least 289 civilians have been killed in intercommunal violence in Mali this year, according to the United Nations human rights office. More than 75 percent of the incidents occurred in the country’s central Mopti region, Rupert Colville, UN human rights spokesman, said on Tuesday. He added that the civilians were killed in 99 incidents of communal violence since the start of the year, with more than half of the killings taking place after May 1. “MINUSMA has documented … an escalation of attacks allegedly carried out by Dozos (traditional hunters) and elements of Dogon militias against villages or parts of villages occupied primarily by members of the Fulani community,” Colville said. Al Jazeera

Mali Town Learns to Live without a State
[…] Last year, police dispatched to the town were instead sent to restive areas around Mopti, some 70 kilometres (45 miles) away, according to deputy mayor Yaya Traore. “The police officers who came here said they were leaving, but that soon we would have a new team here, at the station,” he said. The new officers are yet to arrive, leaving the town’s security in the hands of the “Konna surveillance squad,” which was set up in 2016 to fight crime. “We set it up all by ourselves with the youngsters,” said Traore, who sits on the board of the surveillance squad of 486 people. “They are the ones who go everywhere, if there’s a problem they will solve it,” he says as his radio crackles. AFP

China Battles France for Business in Its Former African Colonies
[…] Loans from China to Ivory Coast surged in the first five years of this decade 1,400 percent to a total of $2.5 billion and 1,268 percent to Senegal reaching almost $1.4 billion, according to data compiled by the China Africa Research Initiative at the Johns Hopkins University in Washington D.C., in 2015, the most recent year for which data is available. While Chinese companies are also working in former French colonies such as Mali, Niger and Togo, their main focus in the region now is Ivory Coast. It initially missed out on China’s investment boom in Africa because of a violent political conflict that ended in 2011. Now, it’s catching up as the government focuses on infrastructure and energy projects to boost a $40 billion economy that’s expanded an average 8 percent per year since 2012. And as the Chinese come, West African officials and engineers are doing their homework. They’ve followed the experience of big-ticket investment destinations such as Angola, where Chinese companies have been criticized for using their own workers and supplies almost exclusively to complete projects and providing little opportunity for local employment and businesses. Bloomberg

Twitter Users in Egypt with More than 5,000 Followers Will Be Classed as Media Entities amid Crackdown on Dissent
Twitter and Facebook users in Egypt with more than 5,000 followers will be monitored under the state’s media regulator as part new laws tightening free speech and cracking down on dissent. Egypt’s parliament passed a bill regulating the press that includes restrictions on social media, one of the few remaining forums for critcisim in the increasingly authoritarian country. The bill allows the government-appointed Supreme Media Council to monitor and take action against bloggers and Twitter and Facebook users with more than 5,000 followers who publish “fake news or incitement to illegal actions, violence or hate”. Violations may be punished by blocking the website, the law says, among other “appropriate actions”. The Telegraph

Zambian Leader Orders Arrest of Political Violence Instigators
Zambian President Edgar Lungu on Monday sent a strong message to instigators of political violence, saying they were criminals who must be arrested. The Zambian leader said it was time the police moved and arrested anyone behind the violence whether they were from the governing party or opposition parties. Addressing hundreds of supporters in Chawama constituency in Lusaka, the country’s capital, to drum up support for the ruling party’s candidate in the mayoral elections scheduled for July 26, he said all citizens should condemn violence that has plagued elections in the country. “Those perpetrating violence are criminals, don’t spare them, just arrest them,” he told jubilant supporters. Xinhua

Nelson Chamisa – Zimbabwe’s Young Political Crusader
In his tailored suits and designer jewellery, Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa can work a crowd with all the drama of the Pentecostal preacher that he is. At 40, he is nearly half the age of his main opponent Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took over as president after Robert Mugabe was forced from office in November. Mr Chamisa only became leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in February, following the death of Morgan Tsvangirai – the former union leader who founded the party in 1999. Years earlier, Mr Tsvangirai had been drawn to the student leader’s charisma and eloquence, taking him under his wing. BBC

Obama: Despite ‘Strange and Uncertain’ Times, Nelson Mandela’s Legacy Endures
Despite the “strange and uncertain” times President Barack Obama says we’re living in he still believes in “a vision of equality and justice and freedom” he said in a speech on Tuesday to commemorate the late Nelson Mandela – Obama’s first visit to Africa since leaving office. “I believe in a vision of equality and justice and freedom and multiracial democracy built on the premise that all people are created equal,” Obama said. “They are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights. I believe that a world governed by such principle is possible and it can achieve more peace and more cooperation in pursuit of a common good. That’s what I believe. I believe we have no choice but to move forward. Madiba shows that those of use who believe in freedom in democracy, we’re going to have to fight harder to reduce inequality and promote lasting economic opportunity for all people.” ABC News



Photo: Adam Jones