Africa Media Review for July 19, 2017

Kenya Is Set to Hold One of the Most Expensive Elections in Africa
Kenya is set to hold its most expensive election ever. It’s expected to top $1 billon in aggregate spend and could be Africa’s most expensive on a cost-per-voter basis. The public and private spending are both at an all-time high, with both the government and candidates spending hundreds of millions of dollars to secure the electoral process or campaigning to get elected. In a new pre-election economic and fiscal report released before the Aug. 8 polls, Kenya’s national treasury said the preparation and execution of the election will cost 49.9 billion shillings ($480 million). The largest allotment in the budget goes to the electoral commission, which is using almost 43 billion shillings ($413.2 million) to hire personnel, procure election materials, conduct voter education exercises, besides collecting and transmitting results. An additional 4 billion shillings will also be spent on enhancing security in hotspot counties and border areas, ease the process of acquiring national identity cards, and ensure peaceful coexistence during and after elections. Quartz

ICC Judges to Decide Whether to Release Laurent Gbagbo
War crimes judges will rule whether former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo can be released from prison for the rest of his trial on charges arising from deadly election violence in 2010. Gbagbo, the first ex-head of state to be tried by the International Criminal Court (ICC), has appealed a March decision that he must stay behind bars in a UN detention centre until the end of the legal process. A five-judge appeals court will “deliver its judgement” on the appeal at 1430 GMT on Wednesday, the court said in a statement. Both Gbagbo, now 72, and his former militia leader Charles Ble Goude, 45, have pleaded not guilty to four charges of crimes against humanity including murder, rape, and persecution in five months of bloodshed that wracked the Ivory Coast. Al Jazeera

Call for Boko Haram Peace Talks Masks Ethnic Tensions
A group of community elders in northeast Nigeria where Boko Haram has waged a bloody eight-year insurgency are urging the Islamists to enter peace talks, a move some see as motivated by ethnic self-interest. The Borno Elders Forum of retired military and civilian officials, all ethnic Kanuri, said it was “time they (Boko Haram) put down their arms” and they should “repent and rejoin the larger society”. “If our leaders had the leeway to negotiate with the Boko Haram for the release of some of their captives, they should employ the same tactics to negotiate for the end of the insurgency,” they said in a newspaper advertisement last Friday. “The Government of Nigeria had earlier negotiated with the Niger Delta militants and succeeded. Let the Government do the same with Boko Haram. AFP

DRC May Be Linked to UN Experts’ Murder: Report
UN experts say they are not ruling out the possible involvement of Democratic Republic of Congo state security forces in the murder of two of their colleagues. In a confidential report seen by AFP on Tuesday, the group of experts says it has conducted preliminary analysis of phone records, a video and interviews on the March 12 murder of American Michael Sharp and Swedish-Chilean Zaida Catalan. “The preliminary evidence does not yet allow the group to attribute responsibility for the murder,” reads the report by the experts to the Security Council. “However, the available evidence does not preclude the involvement of different actors, such as pro- or anti-government Kamwina Nsapu factions, other armed groups as well as members of state security services.”  News 24

Facing Multiple Security Crises, Congo’s Kabila Reshuffles Police
Congolese President Joseph Kabila has replaced the national police chief of police and the police commander in the capital Kinshasa, as security concerns rise following his refusal to step down when his mandate expired. Mass prison breaks, kidnappings, rising militia violence and surging lawlessness since Kabila failed to step down in December have raised fears Democratic Republic of Congo could slip back into the chaos and conflict of the turn of the century that killed millions. About 4,000 inmates escaped from Kinshasa’s main prison in May and unidentified assailants killed at least two people and wounded six police officers in an attack last Friday on the city’s largest market, leading some Kabila allies to call for a state of emergency. In an decree read late Monday evening on national television, Kabila named Dieudonne Amuli Bahigwa to replace Charles Bisengimana as chief of the national police. Reuters

Diggers, Drivers, Diamonds: How Congo’s Zoe Kabila Makes Money
Zoe Kabila, the brother of Congolese President Joseph Kabila, owns a business empire that encompasses everything from tourism to mining. His companies have sold diamonds, owned a luxury hotel on Congo’s Atlantic coast, built roads, invested in farming, set up a fast-food franchise and printed driver’s licenses, according to a review of corporate filings obtained by Bloomberg. That’s in addition to contracts and partnerships with Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. and Nzuri Copper Ltd. Zoe’s businesses, along with those of his siblings, have brought hundreds of millions of dollars to the Kabila clan, a Bloomberg investigation in December found. His father and former Congolese president, Laurent-Desire Kabila, fathered at least 25 children, according to a biography published in 2003. As of last year, one sibling, Jaynet, a member of parliament like Zoe, owned a stake in the local unit of mobile-phone company Vodacom Group Ltd. Gloria, another sister and a fashion designer, held a 40 per cent share in one of the country’s largest banks. Bloomberg

EU Limits Boat Sales to Libya in Effort to Stem Migrant Flow
The European Union on Monday agreed to limit the sales of inflatable boats to Libya in an effort to stem the flow of migrants into Europe. The plan set out by the bloc’s 28 foreign ministers covers outboard motors and rubber dinghies. “We took a decision to introduce restrictions from today onward on the export and supply to Libya of the inflatable boats and motors,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said. “These are devices are used by traffickers for smuggling activities. This decision we have taken on the European Union level will help make their businesses and lives even more complicated,” the former Italian foreign minister told journalists. Deutsche Welle

Surviving the Deadliest Migration Route from Libya to Italy
The UN refugee agency says the number of deaths on the migrant route from Libya to Italy is increasing and that traffickers are becoming ever more ruthless. It wants $420m (£320m; €360m) to stop people risking their lives on the Mediterranean crossing. Rami Ruhayem spent weeks on a rescue boat with Médecins Sans Frontières and heard the harrowing testimony of those who survived. BBC

Egyptian Security Forces Kill Prominent Islamic State Militant in North Sinai
Egyptian security forces killed a prominent Islamic State militant on Tuesday suspected of being involved in recent attacks in North Sinai, an Interior Ministry statement said. Egypt faces an Islamist insurgency led by the Islamic State group in the Sinai Peninsula, where hundreds of soldiers and police have been killed since 2013. The statement said security forces conducted a raid on a building under construction in Arish, a city in North Sinai, where militants had set up a base of operations. An ensuing firefight led to the death of one of the group’s leaders, Ahmed Hassan Ahmed Al-Nashu, who is known as Ghandur Al-Masri, and the escape of another, the statement said. Reuters

IGAD FMs to Meet in Juba over Peace Agreement Implementation
Foreign Ministers of the east African regional bloc IGAD will meet in Juba on Sunday to discuss the report of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) on the implementation of South Sudan’s peace agreement, said Sudan’s Foreign Ministry. South Sudan’s peace agreement signed in Addis Ababa in August 2015 failed following the eruption of hostilities in the capital, Juba in July 2016. The conflict has since spread to Equatoria and Bahr El Ghazal regions, which were initially considered peaceful during the earlier periods when violence broke out in mid-December, 2013. Last month, South Sudan’s Minister of Information Michael Makuei said Juba would host a meeting for the IGAD countries and the Chiefs-of-Staff of Chiefs of the countries participating in the regional protection force during July. Sudan Tribune

Khartoum to Allow Aid Flow to South Sudan for One Year
The Khartoum government, Juba and the United Nations have signed a one-year deal to facilitate the flow of relief aid to the victims of famine in South Sudan until July 2018. The three partners signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Monday in Khartoum for the agreement that aims to deliver 90,000 metric tons of aid, especially to the Upper Nile and Unity states. The Sudanese Aid Commissioner, Mr Ahmed Mohammed Adam, said Khartoum was committed to the food delivery to the neighbouring state, adding that they would open more corridors this year. “There is going to be an extension for one year, not six months as we used to do before,” said Mr Adam. The East African

Nobel Winner Malala, in Nigeria, Speaks out against Boko Haram
Nobel Peace laureate Malala Yousafzai was greeted with cheers Tuesday by dozens of young women in northeastern Nigeria, where she spoke out for the many girls abducted under Boko Haram’s deadly insurgency. The Pakistani activist, 20, told The Associated Press she was excited by the courage of the young women who are undaunted as they pursue an education amid one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. “This is part of my girl power trip, visiting many parts of the world,” said Yousafzai, who also met with the freed Chibok schoolgirls taken in a mass abduction by Boko Haram more than three years ago. “I am here now because of the Nigerian girls, fighting for them and speaking up for them.” Yousafzai visited internally displaced camps in and around Maiduguri, where thousands have sheltered from Boko Haram’s violence. The extremist group continues to carry out deadly attacks there, often using young female suicide bombers. VOA

Ghana President Says Will Not Extend Three-Year IMF Aid Programme
Ghana said on Tuesday it will not extend its three-year aid programme with the International Monetary Fund beyond April 2018, but the IMF urged it to do so to give it time to complete the programme’s goals. President Nana Akufo-Addo’s announcement is a surprise turnaround after government officials said last month that Ghana was considering a request by the Washington lender to extend the programme to December 2018. An extension would have reassured markets of the government’s commitment to fiscal discipline, analysts say. Akufo-Addo said, however, the government was on target with its policy to restore growth and create private sector jobs. “There is no question about the IMF programme being extended beyond April 2018. We want to complete it and move on,” he told reporters. Nasdaq

Cash-Strapped Zimbabwe Needs $274 Million for 2018 Election
Zimbabwe’s election agency said on Tuesday it needs $274 million to finance next year’s presidential and parliamentary elections, in which President Robert Mugabe plans to contest aged 94. Zimbabwe is suffering severe cash shortages and Mugabe’s government is struggling to pay its workers on time while many businesses can’t fund the imports they need. But Rita Makarau, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson, told a parliamentary committee that she was confident the national treasury would make the money available. “A consolidated budget requirement has since been submitted to treasury for funding in the sum of $274 million,” said Makarau, adding that a new voter register would be completed by December. Reuters

Botswana Distances Itself from the Dalai Lama Visit
The Botswana government has distanced itself from the planned visit by the exiled Tibet spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, local media confirmed. The Southern Times newspaper on Monday quoted government spokesperson Jeff Ramsay as saying: “The government of Botswana has no official involvement in a three-day conference entitled “Botho/Ubuntu: A Dialogue with the Dalai Lama Spirituality, Science and Humanity.” According to the publication, the conference organised by the Mind and Life Institute, is scheduled for August 17-19. Speculation was rife that the government’s stance was due to the fear of a backlash from China. “President (Ian) Khama shall not be delivering the opening address at the event, neither shall he be participating in the said conference in any other way,” Dr Ramsay was also quoted. The East African

Jailed Cameroon Journalist Named Winner of Top Press Freedom Prize
Radio France International’s Hausa service journalist Ahmed Abba who was sentenced to 10 years in prison this year by a Cameroon military tribunal has been named the 2017 International Press Freedom Award recipient. The annual prize is awarded by media rights body Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) to honour journalists who show courage in defending press freedom despite facing attacks, threats, or imprisonment. Ahmed Abba is the only African to be awarded the prize this year, which he jointly shares with Patricia Mayorga, a Mexican journalist; Pravit Rojanaphruk from Thailand; and Afrah Nasser, a Yemeni reporter and blogger. Africa News

Ex-Somali President Granted $40,000 Monthly Retirement Income
Somalia’s government has approved a monthly retirement income of $40,000 for former Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. The cabinet gave its approval last week after a meeting over the retirement package of the former president who is currently living in Tanzania. The amount is expected to cover security, living and travel expenses as well provision for family members, local media report. Minister of Information Abdirahman Osman disclosed the decisions taken after the cabinet meeting on his Facebook page which includes the approval of an amended media law and new laws against terrorism. Africa News

Chinese, South Korean, Indian Apparel Makers Landing in Ethiopia
Ethiopia is fast developing into a dynamic apparel-sourcing hub as low labor costs lure international clothing makers to the African nation. Manufacturers from China, South Korea, India and other countries have opened new plants in the continent’s second most populous nation while a growing number of European and U.S. brands are sourcing garments there. A significant factor in Ethiopia’s emergence on the clothing scene is the planned opening of a new railway line to a port in neighboring Djibouti, located on the Horn of Africa in the Arabian Sea. The railway will facilitate transport of goods from the landlocked country’s industrial areas, like the Bole Lemi Industrial Park, an hour’s drive from the capital Addis Ababa. Nikkei Asian Review



Photo: Adam Jones