Africa Media Review for July 25, 2016

Armed Opposition in S. Sudan Names Replacement for Vice President
A senior faction of South Sudan’s armed opposition has moved to replace its leader, First Vice President Riek Machar, who went into hiding this month for fear of being killed by supporters of his longtime rival, President Salva Kiir. The push to replace Machar surfaced Saturday after he failed to heed a 48-hour ultimatum from the president to return to the capital, Juba. Kiir demanded the vice president’s return, in his words, to “continue building and promoting peace” in the aftermath of fighting this month between Kiir loyalists and troops backing Machar. Combat in Juba between the rival militias killed at least 300 people and wounded hundreds of others July 8-11. Machar has not been seen in public since then. He fled the capital as fighting raged, and his residence came under attack. He has since said he will not return until an outside force can guarantee his safety. VOA

South Sudan Vice President Machar Sacks Minister after ‘Defection’
South Sudan Vice President Riek Machar has fired a minister who he said had defected to his long-time rival President Salva Kiir’s party. The rift between Machar and Taban Deng Gai has raised the prospect of further turmoil after months of fighting, as members of a faction led by Gai threatened to replace their leader. Two years of civil war that erupted after Kiir sacked Machar as Vice President in 2013 has killed more than 10,000 people and displaced over 2 million, many of whom fled to neighbouring countries. In a letter to party members and his military commanders late on Friday, Machar said Gai will be relieved of his position as mining minister, and had been expelled from the party. Reuters

South Sudan: Opposition Split Deepens Turmoil Amid Crumbling Peace Acord
On Saturday, a breakaway faction of opposition politicians replaced First Vice President Riek Machar with Taban Deng, a top opposition leader. The group said that because Mr. Machar was not in Juba and they had not spoken to him in days, they had to turn to someone else to carry out a faltering peace agreement. The internal party coup comes shortly after Juba saw days of running street battles between President Salva Kiir’s government forces and those of the opposition, and just three months after a unity government between Mr. Kiir and Machar was formed to put an end to civil war. The fighting killed at least 500 people. […] “The United Nations and African Union will need to impose an international transitional administration for the country that will give pause to stabilize the humanitarian and security situation and allow time for institutions to develop that can manage political competition nonviolently” says Kate Almquist Knopf, director of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies in Washington D.C. “South Sudan needs a clean break from the current failed approach.”  CS Monitor

Ugandan President Advises S. Sudan to Accept Deployment of Regional Forces
Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, has advised his South Sudanese counterpart, President Salva Kiir, to not reject deployment of additional regional third party force in Juba, but to instead focus on negotiating the level of their mandate as they deploy in the country. Museveni said failure to comply with the African Union’s endorsed deployment of the troops to Juba will complicate the matter and result to further tougher measures which can be taken against the country and its leadership, cautioning President Kiir not to fall into “traps of western countries.” This came in a meeting on Saturday in Kampala between President Kiir and President Museveni. Sudan Tribune

Mali: Up to 20 Dead as Fighting Threatens Peace Deal
Up to 20 people have been killed and at least 40 others wounded, according to health workers, in two days of fighting in northern Mali threatening a shaky year-old peace deal. The Tuareg-dominated Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) and rival Gatia militia fighters, who had peacefully shared control of the town of Kidal since February, clashed for a second day on Friday, the UN mission in Mali (MINUSMA) said in a statement Both groups signed a UN-backed deal a year ago with the government in Bamako, the capital in southern Mali, that was intended to ease tensions and let the army focus on defeating other armed groups in the desert north. Al Jazeera

Mutual Mistrust Reignites Fight in Kidal, Mali
All afternoon and into the evening, Kidal residents hunkered down in their homes, waiting for the clashes raging at their doorsteps to subside. “They were fighting inside town, next to my house. I could hear the cartridges bouncing off the street. The fighting lasted for hours,” Mohamed Ag Balssaty, a former official reached by phone in the Malian city, said of Thursday’s fighting. The conflict in Mali was supposed to be over. Last year, the northern separatist rebels and the southern government signed a peace agreement that allowed for the fighting factions to be disarmed and reintegrated into the army. Authorities who fled Kidal when rebels and Islamist militants occupied the city in 2012 would return under a power-sharing agreement with the Platform, loyal to the Bamako government, and the Coordination of Movements of the Azawad or CMA, which currently controls the city. VOA

Libya Oil Exports Threatened as NOC Warns Against Port Deal
Libya’s hopes to boost crude exports have been dealt a blow after the head of the National Oil Corporation (NOC) objected to a deal between the government and local guards to reopen key ports. In a letter seen by Reuters to United Nations (UN) Libya envoy Martin Kobler and a number of oil and diplomatic officials, NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla said it was a mistake to reward Ibrahim Jathran, head of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG), for a blockade of the oil ports of Ras Lanuf, Es Sider and Zueitina. The PFG confirmed on Friday that it would implement an agreement with Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) to reopen the ports within days, following a visit by Kobler to meet Jathran in Ras Lanuf. SABC

Fourteen Bodies Found after ‘Execution’ in Benghazi, Libya
Fourteen unidentified bodies with shot wounds to the head have been found in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, a hospital official said on Friday. U.N. Libya envoy Martin Kobler said he was “shocked and dismayed by the summary execution,” labelling it a war crime and calling for those responsible to be brought to justice. The bodies were recovered from Laithi, a neighbourhood that forces loyal to eastern commander Khalifa Haftar captured this year from a loose alliance of Islamists and other opponents. Military officials from Haftar’s forces refused to comment, saying the incident was under investigation. Benghazi has seen some of the heaviest violence of the sporadic conflict that developed after Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in an uprising in 2011. Reuters

French Ambassador to Libya Summoned Over Military Presence
Libya’s government has summoned the French ambassador amid concern over the French military presence in the country. Three French officers were killed last week in eastern Libya, and the French government acknowledged that special forces are operating there as part of Western efforts to support the unity government. Ambassador Antoine Sivan, who is based in neighboring Tunisia for security reasons, is expected to go to Libya in the coming days to answer the summons, according to a French diplomatic official. The official said Sunday France is focused on supporting the unity government, and encouraging Libyan forces to work together to fight extremists. The official was not authorized to be publicly named. AP on ABC News

Ivory Coast Parliament Votes to Hold Referendum on New Constitution
Ivory Coast’s parliament on Friday voted overwhelmingly in favour of holding a referendum on a new constitution that would among other measures remove a controversial nationality clause that contributed to years of unrest and civil war. President Ouattara pledged during his campaign for re-election last year to scrap the clause, which states presidential candidates must prove both their parents are natural-born Ivorians. They must also have never claimed citizenship of another country. The motion to hold a referendum was approved in the National Assembly with 233 votes in favour and six against. Seven lawmakers abstained. The plebiscite is expected to be held in September or October ahead of parliamentary elections later in the year. However, opposition parties and some civil society groups are against the referendum, arguing that Ivory Coast must make progress towards post-war reconciliation first. Reuters

12 ANC Candidates Gunned Down in Election Hell
The road to the August 3 local government elections has been bloody for the ANC. The party has already lost 12 councillor candidates and ordinary members this year, allegedly as a result of infighting. Phillip Dlamini, 68, was killed at an SACP meeting in Nchanga outside Durban on January 23. His death heightened tensions in the Tripartite alliance, with the SACP saying they had been “shut out” by ANC members. ANC PR councillor in eThekwini Municipality, Zodwa Sibiya, 47, was murdered at Glebelands Hostel where she lived, in uMlazi on April 16. She was lauded as a fighter who lobbied for women to live in hostels. IOL News

Prominent Zimbabweans Eye ‘National Transitional Authority’ to Run Country Until ‘Fair’ Elections
A group of prominent Zimbabweans calling themselves “concerned citizens” have proposed a non-political National Transitional Authority to take over the running of the country from the Mugabe regime until “fair” elections can be held. The group, which includes leading former supporters of Zimbabwe’s autocratic and ageing president Robert Mugabe, senior business people and former veterans of the war against minority white-rule, is calling for the establishment of an 18-member technocratic ruling council. Amid an open political revolt by a growing number of Mr Mugabe’s former staunch supporters, the citizens’ group has warned that Zimbabwe risks descending into chaos unless a politically neutral body can be established to steer the country towards reforms and free and fair elections. The Telegraph

Watch: A Film on Curbing Illicit Financial Flows from Africa
A new 16-minute documentary from the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)’s High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa explains why the AU and Africa’s finance ministers decided in 2010 to bring the issue of curbing illicit financial outflows–i.e., financial outflows from Africa through the illicit activities of multinational companies and rich individuals–to the world stage. Burgeoned by the aftermath of the Panama Leaks, H.E Thabo Mbeki, Chairman High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows; Abdalla Hamdok, Deputy Excecutive Secretary/Chief Economist – ECA and others in the documentary make the case that Africa, through Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs), cannot continue to subsidize richer Western nations. United Nations Economic Commission for Africa on allAfrica

Panama Papers Reveal Wide Use of Shell Companies by African Officials
Entrepreneurs and corrupt officials across Africa have used shell companies to hide profits from the sale of natural resources and the bribes paid to gain access to them, according to records leaked from a Panamanian law firm. Owners of the hidden companies include, from Nigeria alone, three oil ministers, several senior employees of the national oil company and two former state governors who were convicted of laundering ill-gotten money from the oil industry, new reports about Africa based on the Panama Papers show. The owners of diamond mines in Sierra Leone and safari companies in Kenya and Zimbabwe also created shell companies. Some of the assets cycled through the shell companies were used to buy yachts, private jets, Manhattan penthouses and luxury homes in Beverly Hills, Calif., the law firm documents show. The New York Times

Continental Body Loses its Head
The failure by the African Union Heads of State Summit in Kigali to elect a new chairperson of the commission has painted the continental body in a bad light. Three candidates had applied by the April deadline, but 28 countries, mostly from the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) boycotted the elections on the grounds that none of the three met the requisite standards. It therefore denied the three candidates — Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi (Botswana), Agapito Mba Mokuy (Equatorial Guinea) and Dr Speciosa Kazibwe (Uganda) — the required two-thirds majority. Thus, the current Chair, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, will continue until the January 2017 summit in Addis Ababa. What that means is that the AU has violated its own election rules when those who have applied are ruled out with the intention of head-hunting probably a former president. What is the message the leaders are sending to the governments that supported these candidates? The East African

Africa’s Push to Withdraw from ICC Blocked, Countries Divided
A draft motion pushing for the mass withdrawal of African countries from the International Criminal Court was blocked during the recent Africa Union summit in Kigali where it was to be endorsed. While we could not immediately establish the behind-the-scenes negotiations leading to the motion’s withdrawal, Botswana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia and Algeria — a non-ICC member — had previously rejected calls for withdrawal. “The best defence is not to abuse, but to stick to the law. We would never allow our president to get away with murder. We are not being prescriptive, we are just asking that we up the game,” Botswana’s Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi said in an interview with Bloomberg on the sidelines of the summit. While the draft motion was crafted during the 26th Summit in January and anchored in the AU resolution for the ICC to terminate the case facing Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto, Nairobi was not keen on pushing the agenda in Kigali because all the cases facing its leaders had been dropped due to “insufficient evidence”. The East African

Rwanda: We Can Go it Alone on FDLR 
Rwanda is threatening to go it alone and fight the Hutu rebels in eastern Congo, outside a United Nations-backed Great Lakes initiative. Kigali says it is frustrated that the military operation against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), which was launched in January 2015, has lost momentum and that the rebels are regrouping. Ferdinand Safari, director of policy and planning at the Ministry of Defence, told The EastAfrican that the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) has held many meetings and crafted “good” programmes to eradicate FDLR but these remain on paper. “The military operation in eastern Congo started very well and resulted in the eradication of M23. This was to be followed by the eradication of FDLR and ADF, but the momentum has been lost,” he said. The East African

In Morocco, Diplomacy Hints at Broader Ambition
A flurry of diplomatic activity over the past week has revealed Morocco’s renewed focus on pursuing its interests in Africa. But Rabat’s complicated relationships on the continent and its claims over disputed territory in the Western Sahara will make the realization of its goals neither easy nor uncontroversial. To meet its goals, Morocco will have to contend with Algeria, its powerful eastern neighbor and one of its top rivals. For decades, the two states’ relationship has been marred by hostility and mutual distrust; they even fought a short war in October 1963 known as the Sand War. Today, Morocco and Algeria remain at an impasse over the status of a disputed slice of land: the Western Sahara. Stratfor

‘85% of Morocco’s Foreign Direct Investment is in Africa’ – AfDB 
Morocco is not only in line with the African Development Bank’s High 5 priorities, the Kingdom is also “one of the Bank’s best performing portfolios on the continent,” said AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina during his first official visit to Morocco as AfDB president. He also hailed Morocco’s role on the continent: “85% of your foreign direct investment is in Africa” and applauded the wish expressed by Morocco a few days before his visit to re-join the African Union (AU). Read more. African Development Bank on allAfrica

Sao Tome Election Goes to Second Round after Court Ruling
A Sao Tome and Principe court ruled on Sunday that the island nation’s presidential election will go to a second round between incumbent Manuel Pinto da Costa and ex-speaker of parliament Evaristo Carvalho. In provisional results from elections held last Sunday, Carvalho looked to have won with 50.1 percent of votes, with De Costa coming second with 24.8 percent. But the supreme court overturned them, saying the electoral commission should have waited for results from a town, Maria Louise, that voted on Wednesday, and for results from the diaspora. When factored in, they left Carvalho just shy of the 50 percent needed for an outright win, it said. The run-off will take place on August 7. Reuters

The Crisis of Political Islam
First Egypt and now Turkey show the perils of ideological religious parties (and strongman rule), but other Muslim countries are faring better with democracy. […]  In response, many of the Islamist movements that sprang up under the influence of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood—groups that include Mr. Erdogan’s party—have gradually embraced the language of pluralism and the idea of democratic politics and elections. Crucially, however, these modern Islamists have often viewed democracy not as a value in itself but merely as a tactic to bring about a “true” Islamic order. To them, the voting booth was simply the most feasible way to dismantle the postcolonial, secular systems that, in the eyes of their followers, had failed to bring justice or development to ordinary Muslims.  The Wall Street Journal



Photo: Adam Jones