Africa Media Review for July 9, 2019

Gunmen Kill Six Villagers in Nigeria’s North – Police
Gunmen shouting “Allahu Akbar” raided three villages in northern Nigeria’s Katsina state, killing six people, a police spokesperson said on Monday. The black-clad group, riding on motorcycles, attacked Makers, Dan Sabau and Pawwa villages in Kankara district late on Sunday, firing guns and rocket-propelled grenades, Gambo Isah told AFP. “Six people from the attacked villages were killed but we killed many of the bandits in a shootout that lasted for more than an hour,” Isah added. He said police were combing the bushes for the bodies of the assailants. … Cattle rustling and kidnapping gangs have long operated in this volatile region, but recently there has been concern that jihadists have infiltrated them. The gangs maintain camps in the vast Rugu forest which straddles Katsina, Zamfara, Kaduna and Niger states, from where they launch attacks. AFP

25 Civil Society Organisations Petition AU over Militarization of Public Spaces in Khartoum
A coalition of 25 Sudanese and African civil society entities have petitioned the African Union over the militarization of public space, increase in sexual violence cases and intimidation in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum. The group, in a July 8 release, said during the 3 June massacres that took place in Khartoum, the Sudan Doctors’ committee documented 70 cases of rape and sexual violence, adding that harassment in the aftermath of the massacres had continued to be documented by women’s right and civil society organizations. “To date, female students and workers, women traders and street vendors continue to report incidents of aggressive sexual harassment including grabbing and the use of demeaning sexist and insulting language on the streets of Khartoum and other towns and cities of Sudan by the RSF/Janjaweed soldiers,” partly reads the release. Sudan Tribune

Al-Shabab Kills 18 in Surge of Executions
Somali militant group al-Shabab has executed 18 people since Wednesday, an unprecedented rate of executions for the group, which is under pressure from U.S. airstrikes. Militants put to death four people in the southern town of Jamame on Sunday, immediately after the judge in an al-Shabab court declared them guilty. Firing squads shot and killed two men accused of being Somali government soldiers and a woman accused of being a spy for Kenya. The militants identified the woman as 20-year-old Iqra Abdi Aden. Afterward, an 18-year-old man, Nur Bakar Jirow, was publicly stoned to death for allegedly raping a 16-year-old girl. The man argued the sex was consensual, but the judge said he deserved the death penalty because he was married at the time. VOA

AMISOM, Somali Commanders to Enhance Coordination in Operations
The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) commanders ended their three-day meeting in Mogadishu on Monday featuring further enhances coordination with the Somali security forces to implement the transition plan. Under the transition plan, the AU mission will transfer security responsibility to Somali security forces ahead of AMISOM’s anticipated exit in 2021. Francisco Madeira, the special representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia who closed the meeting, lauded the Somali security forces for carrying out recent offensives to liberate areas in the Lower Shabelle region. “This commitment shows that Somalia wants to move forward despite existing challenges. The work of their national forces deserves increased support,” Madeira said in a statement issued after the meeting. The commanders, along with their Somali counterparts, met in Mogadishu to evaluate the progress made in implementing the mission’s concept of operations (CONOPs). Goobjoog

South Sudan: No Public Independence Day Celebrations
The government has announced that there will be no public celebrations of the country’s 8th independence anniversary. South Sudan became independent on July 9, 2011, after South Sudanese overwhelmingly voted for secession from Sudan in a referendum. Government spokesman and Information Minister Michael Makuei told Radio Tamazuj that a private function will take place at the state house. “There will be no celebration at the public level, but there will be a celebration at the Presidential level whereby there will be a function to be held in the office of the president J1 to be attended by all the guests and this is where the president will address the nation,” he said. Makuei added that the government is facing harsh economic times and would wish to use available resources sparingly. Radio Tamazuj

Int’l Prosecutor Seeks War Crimes Charges against Mali Suspect
The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on Monday asked judges to approve war crimes and crimes against humanity charges against a man suspected of committing atrocities in Timbuktu in Mali. Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz is suspected of crimes including destroying cultural monuments and enforcing policies that led to the sexual enslavement of women and girls, allegedly committed while he acted as the de-facto chief of Islamic police in Timbuktu during a 2012-2013 rebel takeover of the city. In a hearing to determine whether her case against Al Hassan can proceed, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda argued that he bore important responsibility for abuses of the civilian population during the 2012-2013 conflict in northern Mali. Reuters

Museveni Signs Stringent Wildlife Law; Poachers Face Life in Jail
President Museveni has assented to a stringent wildlife law that would see poachers jailed for life if found guilty, Chimp Corps report. The law was passed by the Ugandan Parliament in February 2019. “The President of Uganda, has assented to Uganda Wildlife Bill, 2017 into law,” UWA announced on Tuesday. The new law provides for community participation in wildlife management strengthened through Community Wildlife Committees for each Protected Area. It also introduces up to life sentence and fine of Shs 20Bn or both for wildlife crime involving endangered species. The legislation reforms revenue sharing program into conditional grants to communities and introduces compensation for wildlife induced damage outside protected areas. The law further promotes commercialization of wildlife on private land through sustainable utilization. Conservationists had argued the now repealed Wildlife Act 1996 was not deterrent. Chimp Reports

How the Glow of the Historic Accord between Ethiopia and Eritrea Has Faded
A year ago Eritreans could hardly contain their joy as Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed touched down in Asmara. The city had seen nothing like it in a generation that knew war rather than peace. Men and women lined the streets and waved Ethiopian flags as Abiy arrived to seal a peace deal. Less than a week later Eritrea’s president Isaias Afwerki made a reciprocal visit, landing in Addis Ababa to an equally rapturous welcome. In September a formal treaty was signed between the two leaders in the Saudi capital, Jeddah, witnessed by King Salman and the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, who described it as an “historic event.” … But there has been little apparent progress on either front. Economic co-operation was probably one of the key drivers of this reconciliation. These included plans to develop a massive potash mine that would straddle the border. But little has been heard of the project in recent months. Mail & Guardian

Kenya: How Sex Tourists Trick Young Girls into Fake Marriages in Nairobi
Some time in 2018, a young girl of Somali origin shared her story of a sham marriage to a sex tourist from the west. A thousand of miles away, a woman heard her cry for help after social media users created the hashtag #Justice4Jamila. When Fardowsa Abdirahman saw the story of Jamila she was touched and decided to help her out. Fardowsa, who lives in Melbourne, Australia, set up a GoFundMe page which raised more than Sh1million which she used to transform the life of Jamila and her little baby back here in Kenya. Jamila was only 15 year old when she was tricked into the sham marriage after being introduced to a rich Somali national who lived in America. Her friend told her the man was looking for a wife, only that they didn’t know he meant ‘temporary wife’. Similar tales of such young men in posh fuel guzzlers and loads of cash to spend in luring young girls into their traps have become all too common in Nairobi. Most of these young girls inevitably fall prey to sexual exploitation. Nairobi News

Is Uganda’s Rising Public Debt Worth It?
Uganda’s public debt is projected to reach $18 billion —or more than 50 per cent of the country’s GDP — by the end of financial year 2022/23, according to economists, with critics questioning the returns on investment in large infrastructure projects and spikes in domestic government borrowing. … The sharp growth in public debt is mainly attributed to heavy borrowing to fund large infrastructure projects in the transport and energy sectors, occasional surges in military spending and humanitarian needs, observers say. But experts ask, where are the returns on investment in big infrastructure projects to justify the surging national debt? These returns would help determine a country’s ability to repay loans obtained from foreign lenders, potential impact on economic growth and lead to increased revenue collection, employment and local savings. The East African

Zimbabwe Requires at Least US$14M per Month to Meet Power Deficit – CEO
Zimbabwe requires at least US$14m a month to meet its 600MW power deficit, acting chief executive officer of the country’s power utility Patrick Chivaura said Monday. Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa has since engaged his South African counterpart President Cyril Ramaphosa for help. … According to authorities in Zimbabwe, the country should have had power cuts long before the current deficit but relied on the central bank for bail outs. These bail outs, however, stopped last year October after the new minister of finance put an end to central bank financing of electricity imports. Fin24

Zimbabwe: ED Govt Renews Bid to Mend Ties with Britain, Unlock Elusive FDI
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has renewed its bid to mend long lost relations with colonial master Britain with Foreign Affairs Minister Sibusiso Moyo set to engage officials in attempts to unlock foreign investment into Zimbabwe. In a statement, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said Moyo will seek to engage with officials of Her Majesty’s government with a view to further strengthen Zimbabwe’s bilateral relations with United Kingdom, Great Britain and Northern Ireland. “While in British capital, the Minister will address a gathering of Westminster Africa Business Group Executives on investment opportunities and Ease of Doing Business in Zimbabwe,” said the statement. “This is furtherance of the Ministry’s economic recovery diplomacy policy to secure International Financial Support and Foreign Direct Investment. New Zimbabwe

Africa’s Free Trade Agreement: Curse or Blessing?
“A good thing, but …” That was the gist of reactions all around the world and in Africa itself concerning the continent’s new intra-continental free trade agreement on the weekend. It took 17 years of difficult negotiations, but at Sunday’s summit in Niger’s capital Niamey, the African Union (AU) finally launched the “operational phase” of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Nations agreed to common “rules of origin, the monitoring and elimination of non-tariff barriers, a unified digital payments system and an African trade observatory dashboard,” according to the AU Commission. DW

Satire on Tradition Wins Top African Writing Prize
The Caine Prize for African Writing has been won by British-born Nigerian writer Lesley Nneka Arimah. Her satirical short story Skinned focuses on the challenges faced by women in African societies still dominated by traditional rituals. The story follows the fortunes of Ejem, who comes from a culture where girls are uncovered at a certain age and go naked until they are claimed by a husband. The 36-year-old told the Literary Hub that the idea came from a conversation about the difference between married and single women in Nigeria: “A newly wed friend marvelled at how her family — usually difficult — became easy going after her wedding. Marriage gave unconventional women cover to be themselves, we observed.” BBC