Africa Media Review for June 15, 2018

Jean-Pierre Bemba Squarely Back in Congolese Politics
The ICC has provisionally released former Congolese Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba after his accquital for war crimes. What does this mean for the Democratic Republic of Congo? Jean-Pierre Bemba is a former warlord and adversary of Congolese President Joseph Kabila. His supporters were understandably happy about his acquittal for war crimes and provisional release and made no secret of their wish to see Bemba return quickly to national politics. “It’s his duty and his destiny. We want him to take up his work from when it was interrupted,” Fidele Babala, deputy secretary general of Bemba’s opposition party Movement pour la Liberation du Congo (MLC), told DW. Deutsche Welle

Togo Unrest: Ghana, Guinea Unite Effort to Bring Peace
Guinean leader, Alpha Conde, has made a day’s visit to Ghana, to confer with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on the political situation in Togo. Their discussions were held behind closed doors but believed to have centred on speeding up the negotiation processes to end the bitter political crisis and bring enduring peace to the country. Mr. Conde is the head of the ECOWAS Monitoring Committee, tasked by the regional body during its last meeting held in Lome, to support the efforts of President Akufo-Addo at helping the government and the opposition political parties to find a common ground. My Joy Online

Egypt Changes Defense, Interior Ministers in Cabinet Reshuffle
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi (1st R) meets with new Defense Minister Mohamed Zaki (1st L) and his predecessor, Sedqi Sobhi (2nd L) in Cairo, Egypt on June 14, 2018. The Egyptian new cabinet under Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli was sworn in on Thursday with newly appointed defense and interior ministers, the Egyptian state TV reported. Xinhua

Igad in Another Mover to Reconcile South Sudan Leaders
A historic meeting between South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and the leader of armed opposition, Dr Riek Machar, has been slated for June 20 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad) says the talks are aimed at making the rival leaders commit to building lasting peace and stability in the war-torn country. The regional bloc has already extended the invitation letters to the two leaders. The letters were dispatched by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The East African

S. Sudan Dismisses Reports of Officials’ Loot Hidden in Kenya
The South Sudan government has dismissed claims some of its senior officials in Juba are investing illegally acquired wealth in Kenya. The political and military elite in the oil-rich country has been accused of corruption in a hard-hitting report by US-based NGO The Sentry. Sentry co-founder John Prendergast said that the report has already been presented to Kenyan government officials. The US on Wednesday asked the Kenya to put sanctions on corrupt South Sudanese officials who have invested in Nairobi. Among the sanctions recommended are freezing accounts of the officials linked to illegal investments, mowing down of networks associated with the officials and visa restrictions among others. The Star Kenya

Armed Rebels Attack Libyan Oil Terminal Held by Strongman Khalifa Haftar
Rebels from the Benghazi Defense Brigades (BDB) attacked Libya’s largest oil terminals — the al-Sidra reserve and Ra’s Lanuf refinery — which are under the control of strongman Khalifa Haftar and his self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA). The attackers were quickly fought off, according to the LNA. Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) said the facilities had been evacuated: “Due to armed conflict in the area.” It estimated production would fall by 240,000 barrels per day (bpd) and advised two tankers scheduled to arrive at the ports to remain at sea until the situation was under control. Deutsche Welle

Seychelles Cancels Agreement for the Establishment of Indian Naval Base
Seychelles President Danny Faure says his government has cancelled the security cooperation agreement signed early this year for the establishment of an Indian naval base on the remote island of Assumption. Addressing the media during his second presidential conference of 2018 on June 8, President Faure said the construction of the Indian naval base will not ‘move forward’. Instead, the Seychelles Coast Guard (SCG) will, in 2019, start setting up its own base on Assumption, one of the many land masses of the 115-island archipelago on the Indian Ocean. DefenceWeb

New Madagascar Govt Fails to End Political Strife
After weeks of crisis and intervention by the country’s top court, Madagascar now has a unity government supposed to bring rivals together and steer the island nation to elections. But, among the opposition, the mood is sour and resentment still simmers. The government was unveiled on Monday by President Hery Rajaonarimampianina and his prime minister, Christian Ntsay, the technocrat he appointed at the behest of the Constitutional Court. But many opposition supporters have reacted with disdain, dismissing the new cabinet as stuffed with old faces tainted by corruption. AFP

Cameroon: I Spent a Week Embedded with Anglophone Armed Separatists
Ex-farmers, armed with basic weapons and little training, are taking on the might of the Cameroonian army in the country’s Anglophone regions, according to an exclusive series of reports published by the IRIN news agency. Journalist Emmanuel Freudenthal spent a week embedded with rebels from the Ambazonia Defence Forces who have been fighting against security forces sent by Yaoundé to quell unrest. His two-part series documents alleged abuses by the security forces and the stark choice some Anglophones felt they were left with – either flee across the border to Nigeria and become a refugee, or take up arms and fight the Cameroonian military. RFI

Cattle Thieves Kill at Least 10 People in Northern Nigeria
At least 10 people were killed in raids by suspected cattle thieves on four remote villages in northern Nigeria, police said Thursday, in the latest violence to hit the region. Armed bandits stormed the villages in the Birnin Magaji area of Zamfara state, in an apparent reprisal attack after local militia killed one of their number, said locals. Police spokesman Mohammed Shehu told AFP “10 people were killed by the bandits”. “From our reports, the attackers fled to the Rugu forest in neighbouring Katsina state,” he added. Local residents, however, gave a higher death toll. “We lost 26 people in the attacks on Dutsin Wake, Oho, Badambaji and Kabingiro (villages),” said Dantani Bube, who lives in Dutsin Wake. AFP

VOA Interview: Mother of Boko Haram Leader Speaks Out
Driving west from the city of Maiduguri, Nigeria, the roads get narrower as the towns get smaller. Along the road lie bullet-ridden buildings and security check points as vigilante members patrol gates, all signs of a region where people are trying their best to protect themselves. After three hours VOA ends up in Yobe state, at a village called Shekau. Here, elders and community leaders take VOA to meet Falmata Abubakar, who they say is the mother of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau. His father was a local district imam before passing away a few years ago. VOA

Zimbabwe’s Mnangagwa, Main Rival Sign Up for First Post-Mugabe Election
President Emmerson Mnangagwa registered on Thursday for Zimbabwe’s first national elections of the post-Mugabe era, with his main rival Nelson Chamisa hoping to rally younger voters against the generation that won independence. Western governments and investors will be closely watching the July 30 presidential and parliamentary ballots, for which monitors got clearance to deploy for the first time since 2002. Mnangagwa and Chamisa, who also signed up on Thursday, are both campaigning on a pledge to revive an economy crippled by a legacy of often violent seizures of land from white commercial farmers and a black economic empowerment drive that targeted foreign-owned businesses. Reuters

Nearly Two Dozen Candidates Enter Zimbabwe’s Presidential Race
Nearly two dozen individuals have registered as presidential candidates in Zimbabwe’s upcoming elections. But some who did not make the cut are crying foul. Among the 23 candidates whose names were announced by Japhet Murenje, the head of the nomination court in Harare, are incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa, former vice president Joice Mujuru, and Nelson Chamisa, who is leading the coalition of most opposition parties. Priscilla Chigumba, the chairperson of Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC), said the registration process ran smoothly. VOA

EAC States Budget 2018/2019 Highlights
East African Community member states — Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, and Rwanda — presented the 2018/2019 budgets before their respective parliaments on Thursday afternoon. The MPs are expected to debate and approve the budget proposals. The governments’ financial year starts on July 1. EAC Budget Day’s theme was “Industrialisation for Job Creation and Shared Prosperity”. The East African

Blockchain Opens Up Kenya’s $20 Billion Informal Economy
Janeffer Wachekes fresh-vegetable stall in Nairobi uses technology thats helping crack a problem Kenyan banks have so far failed to solve — measuring the creditworthiness of traders in the countrys $20 billion informal economy. The 40-year-old mother of two is among hundreds of small-scale retailers who can use her mobile phone to access loans to buy tomatoes, onions or bananas directly from producers and have them delivered by Kenyan startup Twiga Foods Ltd. That saves Wacheke a trip to the market, where she would have to haggle over prices and then transport the goods herself. Its cutting her costs and helping her build a credit track record.My prayers have been answered, Wacheke said as she packed tomatoes into a crate under a corrugated-iron roof at her stall on the outskirts of Nairobis city center. In business, you need to be fast. Bloomberg

Google’s Next A.I. Research Center Will Be Its First on the African Continent
Google has announced that it will open an artificial intelligence (AI) research center in Africa, its first on the continent. The Silicon Valley giant said that the new research hub will open in Accra, Ghana, later this year, announcing the move in a blog post published on Wednesday. “We’re committed to collaborating with local universities and research centers, as well as working with policy makers on the potential uses of AI in Africa,” Google’s blog post said. Accra, located in the west of Africa, joins cities including Paris, New York and Tokyo, as well as Google’s Mountain View headquarters, in hosting an AI research center. CNBC



Photo: Adam Jones