Africa Media Review for July 31, 2020

9 Civilians Die in Two Attacks in Northern Mozambique
At least nine civilians were killed in new attacks carried out by Islamist insurgents in the restive province of Cabo Delgado in northern Mozambique, local sources said. The attacks on the districts of Mocimboa da Praia and Macomia of Cabo Delgado on Wednesday forced the local population to flee their homes, seeking safety in nearby woods, residents told VOA. A group of armed men “hooded with Islamic handkerchiefs” invaded the village of Tandacua in Macomia, searching for food, according to a local resident. The insurgents “arrived around 6 in the evening [local time], so many residents fled the village,” the resident, who declined to give his name, told VOA. … On Tuesday, Islamist militants entered the district of Mocimboa da Praia, killing one civilian at a flour mill before seizing food and livestock. … Since 2017, militant attacks on civilians and government security forces in Cabo Delgado have killed more than 1,000 people and displaced over 210,000 others, according to the United Nations. Locally known as al-Shabab, Ahlu Sunna wa Jama is the main militant group responsible for these attacks in northern Mozambique. VOA

3 Hours after [Governor] Zulum Returns to Maiduguri, Multiple Explosions Rock City
Many people were reportedly dead in multiple explosions that rocked some parts of Maiduguri, Borno State capital. The incident took place nearly three hours when Governor Babagana Zulum, who survived twin attacks on his convoy in Baga and Gajiram general areas returned back to Maiduguri safely. Sources told our Correspondent that four Improvised Explosive Devices, EIDs, were detonated at Customs general area of the metropolis at about 6:30p.m. There was also another report of a bomb blast around Gidan Dambe area, an unspecified number of casualties has been brought to University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, UMTH. A credible security source told Vanguard that about 1720hrs, at least four IEDs reportedly exploded around Customs area in Jere Local Government Area of the state, while two persons were said to have been killed and scores injured. Vanguard

Nigeria: Inside Oyo Transport Tax Scheme where Corruption, Violence Reign
Amoo struggled to pick up broken parts of his Nissan car’s wing mirror, his demeanor lifeless. He mumbled a few words of complaint, threatening to seek justice. The 35-year-old commercial cab driver had just engaged in a brawl with an official of the Oyo State Park Management System (PMS) on the busy end of Mokola-Roundabout area of Ibadan, the Oyo state capital. … In February, the Oyo State Government launched a new Park Management System (PMS) with the intention of instilling sanity in motor parks and boosting the state Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). … The government thereafter appointed Mukaila Lamidi a.k.a Auxilliary, a former factional chairman of the NURTW in Oyo State, as the Chairman of the State Motor Parks Disciplinary Committee. The appointment of Mr Lamidi, a staunch supporter and political ally of Governor Seyi Makinde, has been a subject of controversies. Opposition elements and other stakeholders have raised concerns about his appointment, because of his criminal past. Premium Times

Africa Closes in on One Million Covid-19 Cases
COVID-19 infections in Africa will exceed one million cases in the coming days as the pandemic surges in several hotspot countries. In a little more than three weeks, the number of cases on the continent almost doubled to 889 457, with 18 806 deaths. Overall, the pandemic is accelerating with the number of new cases increasing by 50% during the last 14 days compared with the previous fortnight. However, only five countries account for about 75% of the cumulative COVID-19 cases – they are Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa. South Africa alone accounts for around half of the continent’s total cases. Deaths are also increasing. A total of 4376 new deaths were recorded during the last 14 days, representing a 22% increase from the previous two weeks. Seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa which had imposed lockdowns and have now started easing them have experienced a 20% jump in cases over the past two weeks. Some countries such as the Republic of the Congo and Morocco have had to re-implement partial restrictions because of an increase in cases. WHO

Libya to Impose Full Lockdown as Pandemic Cases Grow
Libya’s internationally recognised government in Tripoli will impose a full lockdown in areas of the country it controls, it said on Thursday, after a sharp rise in coronavirus cases. Libya, split since 2014 between areas held by the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli and a rival administration in the east, managed to avoid an early surge of the pandemic. However, the disease has been spreading more quickly this month and Libya’s National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), one of the few bodies that operates across the country despite the conflict, has confirmed 3,222 cases. Libya’s health system is in tatters after nearly a decade of chaos and war that has fragmented the state, destroyed infrastructure and left many people living in crowded conditions after fleeing their homes. Reuters

Ivory Coast: Ouattara Names New Prime Minister but Declines to Confirm Election Bid
Ivory Coast president Alassane Ouattara, who is yet to confirm whether he’ll be seeking a third mandate, has named a new Prime minister. Hamed Bakayoko, 55, has been chosen as replacement of Amadou Gon Coulibaly, who died suddenly in July. Coulibaly had been Ouattara’s choice to run as his successor in the race, but his untimely death plunged the party into uncertainty. As he was nominated candidate by his party on Wednesday, Ouattara asked for a time of mourning before confirming his bid. … The country’s opposition is strongly opposed to Ouattara running for a third term. Political opponents, such as former president Henri Konan Bédié, have already said that should Ouattara running for a third term would be illegal. The parties have until the 1st of September to declare their candidates for the election, scheduled for the end of October. Africanews with AP, AFP

Fear & Stigma Keep Nigerians from Helping Contact Tracers
As the number of confirmed COVID-19 infections in Nigeria increases, contact tracing of patients in the country’s communities is becoming more difficult for health officials. Nigeria’s Presidential Task Force Committee on COVID-19 has criticized Nigerians who refuse to assist contact tracers due to fear and stigma. But in some communities, local leaders have stepped up to help the tracers do their job. Daniel Sila is the town crier in this Mabushi village near Abuja city. Occasionally, he disseminates vital information from the village chief to people who live in the community. But in recent weeks, his message has been about COVID-19, and ways to prevent it. Silas said he also helps health officials with their contact tracing mission in the village. … So far Nigeria has recorded more than 41,000 cases of COVID-19. But the fear and stigma attached to the disease have limited the number of people who show up for testing or report symptoms. VOA

E.U. to Train Security Forces in the Central African Republic
The European Union unveiled this Thursday the launch of a 2 year training program for Security forces in the Central African Republic. The progam will be led by head of mission Colonel Paulo Soares, whose expertise in Security after 25 years of experience will be of great help to developp Central African Forces. The main mission of the progam will be to deliver support to Police and Gendarmerie forces, and enable them to move with ease accross the country. After close to two decades of political instability and insecurity in the Central African Republic, peacekeeping is essential to ensure development in the country. The mission will be conducted alongside international forces, the UN mission in country MINUSCA, and the European Union Training Mission in Central African Republic EUTM RCA. It should be fully operational on August 9th. Africanews with AFP

Zimbabwe Security Forces Clear Streets Ahead of Planned Protests
Security forces have vigorously enforced a lockdown in Harare, blocking people from entering the capital a day ahead of planned anti-government protests, while activists warned of mounting human rights abuses. Police and soldiers manned checkpoints and ordered hundreds of people trying to enter the city to return home. In the city centre, security agents ordered people to leave and businesses to close. A police statement said no demonstrations would be allowed. “All security arms of government are on full alert and will deal decisively with any individuals or groups fomenting violence and sending threats or provocative messages through the social media or any other means,” it said. Activists organising the protests on social media said they would press on and people would demonstrate in their neighbourhoods. Al Jazeera

U.N. Warns That 60% of Zimbabweans Threatened by Hunger
he U.N. food agency on Thursday appealed for an additional $250 million to provide relief to millions of Zimbabweans as the COVID-19 pandemic bites and warned that 60% of the population could become “food-insecure”. Zimbabwe is gripped by a climate- and recession-induced economic crisis, its worst in more than a decade, which has seen shortages of foreign currency, medicines and soaring inflation. The World Food Programme (WFP) said the number of food-insecure Zimbabweans will reach 8.6 million by December, which is 60% of the population, owing to the combined effects of drought, economic recession and the coronavirus. … The WFP said a national lockdown would cause more job losses while rural hunger was rising as unemployed citizens returned to their village homes. Reuters

Nile Dam Row: Egypt Fumes as Ethiopia Celebrates
As Ethiopia celebrated rains which began filling a controversial dam on a tributary of the River Nile, Egypt was fuming. The North African nation had long been opposed to any development on the Nile upstream that could reduce the amount of water it receives from the river and has regarded the Ethiopian project as an existential threat. The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Gerd), which has been in construction since 2011, is now holding back water – and contains 4.9 billion cubic metres (bcm) of the Blue Nile’s water after this season’s rains. This is despite Egypt’s insistence that no filling should take place without a legally binding agreement about how the process will be managed. In another four to six years the reservoir, which sits behind what will be Africa’s largest hydroelectric plant when it comes into operation, is expected to reach 74bcm. BBC

Zimbabwe: Mnangagwa, Chiwenga in Epic Politburo Clash
There were heated exchanges in an explosive Zanu-PF politburo meeting on Wednesday, where President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his deputy Constantino Chiwenga openly confronted each other in front of bemused party bigwigs, as factional intrigue hit a climax. As reported by the Zimbabwe Independent in the past two years, there is a simmering power struggle between Mnangagwa and Chiwenga since the two men conspired to overthrow the late former president Robert Mugabe in November 2017. Chiwenga is widely seen as leader of a faction in Zanu PF and is reportedly itching to take over from the 77-year-old incumbent, who is planning to seek a second term in 2023. … Analysts say since the November 2017 coup, Mnangagwa’s camp has been working to decimate Chiwenga’s power base by weakening his influence on the military and other state departments. Mnangagwa has been making sweeping changes in the military and reassigning those perceived to be loyal to the vice-president. However, the former Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander, who orchestrated the coup, remains influential in the military. Tension between the two has escalated dramatically over the past month amid claims some senior Zanu PF officials are working with opposition parties to organise today’s planned nationwide protests against corruption by Mnangagwa’s administration. Zimbabwe Inependent

South Africa Covid-19 Deaths Higher Than Reported, Experts Say
Medical researchers in South Africa found a “huge discrepancy” between the country’s confirmed Covid-19 fatalities and the number of excess natural deaths, providing further evidence that the number of people who have perished from the disease is higher than the government reports. South Africa has the world’s fifth-worst epidemic, with 471,123 cases. The Health Ministry reported 7,479 Covid-19 deaths to date on Wednesday, significantly lower than Iran or the U.K., which have a similar total case count. Yet the number of excess deaths has shown a “relentless increase” in the past weeks, reaching 22,279 between May 6 and July 21, far higher than what would have been expected based on historical data, the South African Medical Research Council said in a report Thursday. Bloomberg

Tanzania: Milestone as Poaching Falls By 80%
Elephant poaching has gone down by 80 percent during the past five years, a government official said on Wednesday. Assistant director of Anti-poaching (Wildlife Division) in the ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Mr Robert Mande, said the move was possible due to the involvement of various stakeholders in the anti-poaching drive. The players include members of the business community – through the apex body, the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) – and ordinary citizens. Mr Mande was speaking at a breakfast debate on biodiversity conservation and combating wildlife crime in Tanzania, that was organised by Journalist Environmental Association in Tanzania (JET), with funding from USAID. … During the past five years, the Wildlife Division identified 3,000 suspected poachers countrywide, about 2,000 of whom have been arrested. Also, 11 major ivory dealing syndicates were disbanded, including the infamous ‘Queen of Ivory’ syndicate. The Citizen



Photo: Adam Jones