Africa Media Review for July 27, 2016

South Sudan’s Stability Hinges on Controlling the “Gun Class”
In this interview with the Africa Center, Majak D’Agoot assesses the underlying challenges to stability in South Sudan, the world’s youngest state. Dr. D’Agoot cites the dysfunctional emergence of a dominant political class that uses its class position, violence, corruption, ethnicity to keep itself in power. The entrenchment of this political class from the outset of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005 that set South Sudan on a path to independence has stunted democratic political and economic development as well as a national dialogue that could build a unifying national identity. For South Sudan to move forward, the influence of this “gun class” will need to be brought under control and the political environment must be reshaped such that guns are not a major factor in determining political outcomes in the country. Lacking this, South Sudan will face a prolonged clash of militias acting on behalf of political actors advancing their personal interests. Africa Center for Strategic Studies

4,000 South Sudanese Flee to Uganda Daily
“The situation is extremely worrying. Daily arrivals were averaging around 1,500 10 days ago but have risen to more than 4,000 in the past week. Further surges in arrivals are a real possibility,” UHNCR’s Charlie Yaxley said in a statement to journalists.  Yaxley said so far 37,890 South Sudanese have fled their country into Uganda due to the fighting in South Sudan that broke out on July 8 between rival factions loyal to President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, who leads rebels and was on Monday replaced as the country’s vice president. In the past three weeks alone, there have been more refugee arrivals in Uganda than in the entire first six months of 2016, which counted 33,838 refugees. The Africa Report

S. Sudan President Swears In New VP to Replace Machar
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has sworn in a new deputy to replace opposition leader Riek Machar, who went into hiding this month after deadly clashes between his forces and government soldiers. South Sudan’s new first vice president is Machar’s former peace negotiator, General Taban Deng Gai, who also replaced Machar as head of the opposition party last week. In his acceptance speech Tuesday, Deng said he will focus on three priorities: ending South Sudan’s conflict, ensuring internally displaced people (IDP) can return home, and merging government and opposition armies into one. VOA

UN Warns South Sudan President to Keep to Terms of Peace Agreement
Last year’s peace agreement states that the vice president must be chosen by the South Sudan Armed Opposition. But President a former minister of mining and chief opposition negotiator who has broken ranks with previous vice president, Riek Machar. The opposition leader and previous vice president has left the country. “Any political appointments need to be consistent with the provisions outlined in the peace agreement,” UN spokesman Farhan Haq said in New York on Tuesday. “We call on all parties to ensure that the ceasefire is maintained and that any divisions within the opposition or between the parties be dealt with peacefully through dialogue,” the UN official said. Deutsche Welle

SPLM-IO Accuses President Kiir’s Forces of Fresh Attacks
South Sudanese forces loyal to President Salva Kiir have been accused of carrying out fresh attacks against forces of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) led by the former First Vice President, Riek Machar. Machar was replaced on Monday with his ex-minister of Mining, Taban Deng Gai, in a process described as illegal by his officials but accepted by President Kiir, who appointed Gai as acting First Vice President. President Kiir said he did not know where Machar has been hiding and could not respond to his 48 hours ultimatum. His former deputy has been demanding deployment of third party force in order to guarantee his safety in Juba following fighting two weeks ago which forced him to flee from the capital. Sudan Tribune

Suicide Bombers Kill Seven at Peacekeeping Base in Somalia
Suicide bombers killed at least seven people as they tried to blast their way into the African Union’s main peacekeeping base in Somalia’s capital on Tuesday, police said. The force of the explosions shattered windows at Mogadishu’s nearby airport, showering arriving passengers with glass, said witnesses. Al Shabaab, the Islamist militant group fighting to topple Somalia’s Western-backed government, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it had killed more than 12 people. It regularly reports higher death counts than the authorities. Police said the first attacker detonated a car bomb and the second tried to storm the base on foot, but was shot and exploded at the gate. SABC

US Condemns Somalia Airport Bombing, Pledges Support
The United States has condemned “in strongest terms” a double bombing that took place at the main entrance of Mogadishu’s airport during morning rush hour Tuesday, killing at least 13 people. A spokesman for the U.S. National Security Council, Ned Price, said Tuesday that the United States “stands squarely with Somalia and our partners in the fight against despicable acts of terrorism that seek to destabilize Somalia.” He said the United States remains “committed to helping Somalia progress along a path towards peace and prosperity and the defeat of terrorist groups.” VOA

Kenyans Support Dadaab Camp Closure, Return of its Troops
Two-thirds of Kenyans say they support closing the Dadaab refugee camp and sending all Somali refugees back home, a new survey shows. In recent months, the Kenyan government has stated repeatedly it intends to close the camp in northeastern Kenya, which hosts more than 300,000 refugees, mostly from Somalia. The United Nations has urged Kenya to reverse its decision, citing the difficulties Somalis will face if they are forced to return to an unstable country. But IPSOS research analyst Tom Wolf says its survey shows that 69 percent of Kenyans support closing Dadaab. VOA

Boko Haram Blamed in Looming Humanitarian Crisis in Nigeria’s Northeast 
[…] Nearly 244,000 children are suffering from severe acute malnutrition in Borno state and an estimated 49,000 of them, about 1 in 5, will die if they don’t receive urgent treatment, UNICEF said in a new report. Africa’s most-dangerous terror groups “Some 134 children on average will die every day from causes linked to acute malnutrition if the response is not scaled up quickly,” said Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF regional director for Western and Central Africa, who recently returned from a visit to Borno. CNN

U.S. Special Envoy Starts Visit to North Darfur
The United States special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Donald Booth on Tuesday has started a visit to North Darfur state to assess the security and humanitarian situation on the ground particularly in Jebel Marra area. On Tuesday, Booth has discussed with North Darfur’s deputy governor Mohamed Braima Hassab el-Nabi and senior military and security officials in El-Fasher several issues including IDPs conditions and government efforts to achieve security and stability in the state. Sudan Tribune

UN Extends Mandate of CAR Peacekeeping Mission
The U.N. Security Council has voted unanimously to extend its peacekeeping mandate in the Central African Republic until November 2017, just weeks after France announced it will end its military mission in that country. The Security Council on Tuesday adopted a French-drafted resolution extending the mission, nicknamed MINUSCA, until November 15, 2017. It expresses support for new C.A.R. President Faustin-Archange Touadera, who assumed the office in March. The United Nations has a peacekeeping force of about 11,000 troops that are tasked with protecting civilians, monitoring human rights recognition and enabling the delivery of humanitarian aid. VOA

Interview: CAR President Touadera Speaks to Al Jazeera
Faustin-Archange Touadera, the president of the Central African Republic (CAR) was elected in February in a peaceful election that many lauded as a first step towards restoring peace after years of sectarian violence. He took office in March but his government is weak, has very little control outside the capital Bangui and is struggling to implement a disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration programme. Al Jazeera

Libya Army Commander Threatens to Bomb Oil Tankers
Libya’s chief of staff has threatened to bomb foreign oil tankers if they entered territorial waters, after a controversial deal struck between the UN envoy to the country and a militia commander in control of the oil terminals. Brigadier General Abdel-Razek al-Nadhouri on Monday warned foreign companies against signing oil deals with any party except for the state-run National Oil Corporation branch in Benghazi. Libya’s oil corporation has been split between eastern and western branches. Benghazi’s branch falls under the authority of the internationally-recognised parliament seated in the eastern city of Tobruk. The western one falls under the UN-brokered government based in Tripoli. News 24

Algeria Has Confiscated 1000s of Weapons Smuggled from Libya Since Gaddafi’s Fall
The Algerian security forces have confiscated thousands of weapons and their ammunition smuggled from Libya during the past five years, it has been revealed. Former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was killed by rebel forces in October 2011. According to a security source speaking to Al-Khabar news online on Monday, Algerian army units have seized no less than 4,000 weapons of various sizes. Around 1,000 of them were confiscated in the first six months of this year. Data available from the government identifies the security officers involved as part of a paramilitary group working with the army in the fight against smuggling; “dozens of weapons” are confiscated every six months. The list of weapons seized includes Kalashnikov assault rifles as well as pistols of various kinds, rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine-guns. Middle East Monitor

UN: Western Sahara Peacekeeping Not Fully Operational
The U.N. peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara is not fully operational four months after Morocco expelled most civilian staff members to protest U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon’s use of the word “occupation” to describe the status of the disputed territory, the Security Council said Tuesday. Japan’s U.N. Ambassador Koro Bessho, the current council president, said members welcomed progress in returning civilian staff and expressed “strong hope” that the mission will return to full operation as soon as possible. But he said “there was an agreement by the (U.N.) Secretariat as well as the council members that we have not reached that goal of full functionality, and that moves are certainly needed.” AP on ABC News

Burundi Ruling Party Youth Wing Imbonerakure Gang-raped Hundreds of Women and Girls Says HRW
Burundian women have been repeatedly gang-raped by members of the ruling party’s youth league, the Imbonerakure, since a wave of political protests began in 2015, a human rights organisation has claimed. Burundi has a long history of rape, including during periods of armed conflict or political crisis. Earlier this year, IBTimes UK reported that armed men, including the Burundian National Police, the Imbonerakure and lawbreakers had raped or sexually assaulted women and girls in so-called “dissenting” neighbourhoods, where protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s third term sprang in April of last year. At the time, activists had launched the #‎BurundiStopRape campaign as women were finding themselves increasingly vulnerable to sexual violence. International Business Times

Kenya: East Africa’s Biggest Independent Publisher Battered by Job Cuts and Political Pressure
In recent weeks, Nation Media Group – one of the largest players in the media sphere in Kenya and East Africa – has gone on a firing spree, with more than 200 journalists losing their jobs. Founded in 1959 by the Aga Khan, even his deep pockets are struggling to keep the media house afloat in the digital era. On 30 June, management ruthlessly shut down Nation FM, QFM and Rwanda FM, and merged its QTV Swahili Station with NTV, sending workers home. In a statement, the group claimed that this would rationalise its broadcasting division, helping it to secure an increasingly fragile business position. In the last two years, the company has fired more than 300 correspondents from its satellite bureaus including Nakuru, Kiambu and Mombasa. It is now heavily relying on interns, engaged for three months at a time, to supply news content. Daily Maverick

#ThisFlag Leader Not Returning to Zimbabwe
Reunited with his family in South Africa, Evan Mawarire, the part-time pastor of a small, informal Harare congregation, and architect of Zimbabwe’s fast-growing social media protest site, #This Flag, says he is not going home. His family, his wife and two daughters arrived from Zimbabwe late last week and he is now prepared to say on record that he is too nervous to return just yet. Shortly after he encouraged people to stay away from work on 6 July, President Robert Mugabe targeted him by accusing him of working for the French and US governments on a “regime change” agenda. ENCA

Namibia to Abolish Visa Requirements for all Africans Says President Geingob
Namibian President Gage Geingob says the country will soon start issuing African passport holders with visas on arrival at ports of entry as a first step towards the eventual abolition of all visa requirements for all Africans. According to “The Namibian” newspaper, Geingob revealed the plan while addressing top government officials and locally-based international diplomats during the official opening of a Foreign Policy Review conference in Windhoek. Geingob said the new visa policy would be an extension of the visa-free entry privilege Namibia recently offered to diplomats and AU passport holders. Mail and Guardian

Swazi King Prepares Lavish SADC Summit as Population Starves
Next month, Swaziland will host the 36th Southern African Development Commuinty (SADC) Heads of State summit, with King Mswati III set to take over as chairman of the regional body. In Swazi media King Mswati’s ascendance as chairman of SADC is hailed as historic mainly because ever since the regional bloc was established in 1992, Swaziland has never occupied the chairmanship role. King Mswati is currently deputising for the current chairman, Botswana’s Ian Khama, and will officially replace him when the summit starts in Mbabane on August 17. Mswati’s new role as SADC chairman has already come in for sharp criticism from civil society organisations who bemoan what they call the “institutionalisation” of dictatorship in the region. In a seminar held last week in South Africa, the Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) in conjunction with the People’s United Democratic Movement (Pudemo) condemned SADC for giving this important role to Mswati. Daily Maverick

How to Wreck Africa’s Most Promising Economy
Even by the standards of Africa, it’s been a wild ride for Mozambique. There’s little sign it will end well. Blowing through more than $2 billion of borrowed money just as the currency and the price of commodity exports plunged has left the former Portuguese colony with near-empty coffers. Its creditors, which bought debt sold by Credit Suisse Group AG and VTB Group, may be left holding the bag. Nor does it help that the International Monetary Fund is raising questions about the government’s transparency and its finances. “Mozambique is not in a state of development where it can maintain a credible foothold in the global financial markets,” said Jan Dehn, head of research at Ashmore Group Plc, which manages $53 billion of emerging market assets and opted not to buy Mozambican bonds. “It was more like, someone got an idea one day to issue a bond.” Bloomberg

Tanzania Says Government Capital Will Move to Dodoma from September
Tanzania’s Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa yesterday said he will permanently move his office from Dar es Salaam to the designated capital of Dodoma in September. Addressing Dodoma’s residents, Mr Majaliwa said he was setting the pace for the execution of President John Magufuli’s directive of moving the government to the capital before 2020 when his term ends. The PM said he has already instructed minister in Prime Minister’s Office Jenister Mhagama and the permanent secretary to ensure his residence is readied for him to move in by September. “On that note, I order all Cabinet ministers to pack their bags with me. I know they all have houses and sub-offices here in Dodoma,” he said. The East African



Photo: Adam Jones