Africa Media Review for June 21, 2019

Hundreds Demonstrate for Civilian Rule in Sudan’s State Capitals
Hundreds of Sudanese demonstrated in state capitals on Thursday, putting pressure on the ruling military council to cede power to civilians in ongoing tumult since the overthrow of former President Omar al-Bashir more than two months ago. There were gatherings in each of the state capitals of Wad Madani, Al-Ubayyid and Port Sudan to call for the Transitional Military Council to relinquish power. Dozens also demonstrated in the national capital Khartoum, including employees from the private Bank of Khartoum, chanting “Civilian!” and waving Sudanese flags. … Stability in the nation of 40 million is crucial for a volatile region struggling with conflict and insurgencies from the Horn of Africa to Egypt and Libya. Al Arabiya

Sudan Military Leader Says Perpetrators of Crackdown ID’d
The deputy chief of Sudan’s ruling military council said Thursday the military has identified the perpetrators of the violent dispersal of a pro-democracy sit-in earlier this month, but said he won’t reveal their identities because of an ongoing investigation. Sudan’s security forces violently swept away a camp of demonstrators in the capital of Khartoum on June 3. They had been holding a sit-in to pressure the military council to hand power over to civilians. At least 128 people have been killed and hundreds wounded during the break-up and since then, according to protesters. However, authorities say only 61 have died, including three security forces. AP

Sudan’s Regional Partners Call to Resume Talks on “Pending Aspects” of Transitional Authority
Regional Partners of the Sudan called on the Sudanese parties to reach an agreement on the “remaining pending aspects” of the transitional authority and reiterated their support to the African efforts to settle the crisis. The call for the resumption of talks on sticking points increases regional and international pressures on the military council which seeks to renegotiate the deal struck with the opposition Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), opening the door for further political instability. Upon an invitation by Egypt, the current chairman of the African Union, top diplomats from Chad, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan and Uganda, held a meeting in Addis Ababa to discuss the situation in the Sudan. The participants voiced their support to the regional initiatives, in particular, those led by the African Union Commission and IGAD, to bring the Sudanese parties to resume talks over the formation of the transitional authority. Sudan Tribune

In Sudan, Internet Users Find Ways to Beat Blackout
[…] Internet on mobile phones and fixed land connections has been widely cut across Sudan since the violent dispersal of a protest camp outside army headquarters on June 3 that left dozens dead and hundreds wounded. The ruling military council imposed the blackout to prevent further mobilisation of protesters, according to users. … The impact of the blackout was felt Tuesday night when few came out onto the streets, even as protest leaders called for new night-time demonstrations. … Kamal, an employee of an international travel agency, said his company — which regularly books tickets for embassies and UN agencies — has been forced to make bookings through phone calls and text messages, because they can’t access the internet. AFP

Mauritania Prepares for Historic Election as Discontent Simmers
Mauritanians will vote for a new president on Saturday in what is expected to be the West African country’s first peaceful transfer of power since independence from France in 1960. President Mohammed Ould Abdel Aziz will step down after serving two five-year terms since he took power in a coup in 2008, resisting a trend in which post-colonial African leaders have sought to extend their rule beyond constitutional limits. Togo and Chad have in the past two years capped their presidential mandates to two five-year terms – but those laws will not be applied retroactively, allowing the current presidents to stay in power potentially for over 10 years more. … Saturday’s candidates include former prime minister Sidi Mohamed Ould Boubacar, ruling party candidate Mohamed Ahmed Oudl Ghazouani and anti-slavery campaigner Biram Dah Abeid, Abdel Aziz’s closest rival in 2014. Reuters

Boko Haram: New UN Report Highlights Worsening Humanitarian Disaster in Nigeria
The internally displaced people’s population in North-eastern Nigeria is expanding, according to a new United Nations’ report, spotlighting the unabating humanitarian disaster precipitated by the Boko Haram terrorism in the region. At the end of 2018, there were 2.2 million internally displaced persons in Nigeria, representing a 27 per cent increase during the year, according to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in its newly released Global Trends report. Yemen and Afghanistan are behind Nigeria as countries with the highest number of internally displaced persons due to conflict. All over the world, 70.8 million people were forcibly displaced by the end of 2018, according to the report released to coincide with World Refugees’ Day on Wednesday. Premium Times

Despite Peace Deal, Central African Republic’s Population Faces Daily Acts of Violence, UN Envoy Warns
Although the Government of the Central African Republic (CAR), armed groups and civil society representatives are all taking part in the process that followed the signing of a deal signed in February, civilians continue to suffer daily acts of violence, the top UN official in the country told the Security Council on Thursday. In a briefing, Mankeur Ndiaye, head of the UN Mission to the country, known by the French acronym, MINUSCA, made reference to the “cowardly killing” of 39 people by members of the “3R” armed group – one of the signatories to the accord – in the Ouham-Pendé region of the country on May 21, which led to some 12,000 people being displaced from their homes. Following a joint mission of the UN, African Union and Economic Community of Central African States, the leader of the 3R group committed to collaborate with the investigations into the killings. UN

Network of Wartime Rape Survivors Seeks to End Stigma
Sexual violence is a devastating weapon of war accompanied by fear and misunderstanding. Perpetrators are often soldiers who act with impunity. “Rapists have to be brought to justice, but how can we do this when the rapists are those in power?” said Mildred, a survivor of conflict-related sexual violence from Zimbabwe. Mildred is one of the women featured in a new initiative from the foundation of Nobel Peace Prize recipient Dr. Denis Mukwege designed to empower victims and educate the public about rape in conflict zones. … African countries are among the most affected by conflict-related sexual violence. VOA

Uganda’s Burgeoning Refugee Burden
[…] Ensconced between at least three active conflicts in the Great Lakes region and proud of its open-door policy, Uganda’s refugee population has since 2016 sharply risen to more than one million. The country hosts more than 825,000 South Sudanese refugees and nearly 105,000 from countries such as Burundi, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia—in addition to the Congolese. With the ongoing Congolese influx comes another worry: Ebola. … For 2019, UNHCR estimated the refugee response across Uganda would require $927m. So far it has received $150m. Less than 20 percent of what is needed. Al Jazeera

EU Gives South Sudan $54m for Humanitarian Aid
The European Union (EU) has given South Sudan 48.5 million euros ($54.8 million) to avert the growing humanitarian crisis. Last week, the EU gave South Sudan one million euros ($1.13 million) to step up Ebola prevention in the country. Despite a recent peace deal, humanitarian needs remain high in South Sudan with nearly two million people internally displaced and almost seven million in need of emergency food aid. … Part of the money will be used for provision of food and nutrition assistance to families in need, provision of basic health care in hard-to-reach areas and prevention of epidemic outbreaks in South Sudan. … Since 2014, the EU has contributed more than €551 million ($623 million) in aid in South Sudan. The East African

Former SA President Jacob Zuma Called to Graft Inquiry
Former South African president Jacob Zuma was on Thursday called to give evidence next month at a judicial inquiry into alleged corruption during his nine years in office. The commission headed by Judge Ray Zondo is investigating a web of deals involving government officials, the wealthy Gupta family and state-owned companies during Mr Zuma’s presidency. He has been scheduled to appear at the inquiry between July 15 to 19 “to enable him to give his side of the story”, the commission said, after he was implicated by other witnesses in alleged corruption. AFP

Malawi Protesters Call for Electoral Commission’s Head to Step Down
Nearly 15,000 opposition supporters brought business to a standstill in the capital Lilongwe as they marched to the Capitol Hill, the seat of government offices. They wanted to present a petition, demanding the resignation of election commission chief Jane Ansah. However, government representatives stayed in their offices. Human Rights Defenders Forum deputy chairperson Gift Trapence said protesters will maintain the pressure until Ansah resigns. “If she is not resigning we are coming back into streets. When going back into streets, we are not going anywhere. We will have vigils even at her own house,” he said. VOA

Uganda: Besigye Asks Youth to Take over Bid to Remove Museveni
The former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) presidential candidate, Dr Kizza Besigye, has challenged the youth to join the struggle for change of political leadership because those in the lead, including him, are aging. “Have you ever seen young people such as Bobi Wine (Mr Robert Kyagulanyi, the Kyadondo East MP) coming out and the whole world shakes? Youth, this is your time to come out because for me I am getting older. Therefore, youth should join the struggle and we support you…” … Dr Besigye, also founder president of FDC, has challenged President Museveni four times. He said corruption and injustices in the country have defined Mr Museveni’s reign of more than three decades. Daily Monitor

Morsi’s Death Spotlights Systematic Mistreatment of Prisoners
The death of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has cast the spotlight on the dire conditions faced by political prisoners in Egypt under the government of army chief-turned-president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president was declared dead on Monday after collapsing inside a soundproof cage while on trial in a Cairo courtroom. The 67-year-old, who had a long history of health issues, including diabetes and liver and kidney disease, had been behind bars for nearly six years following his toppling in a July 2013 military coup led by el-Sisi. Since then, Morsi was denied medical care; his family was allowed to visit him in prison only three times; and he was held in solitary confinement for as much as 23 hours a day, which under United Nations guidelines classifies as torture. … But the former president was just one of tens of thousands of prisoners suffering under similar conditions. Al Jazeera

Cameroon Truckers Resume Work after CAR Rebels Release Hostages
Truckers from Cameroon are crossing into the Central African Republic again, after the C.A.R. government convinced rebels to release abducted drivers. The truckers provide an important lifeline to the landlocked C.A.R. Cameroonian truckers cautiously resumed routes into the Central African Republic this week, after C.A.R. authorities persuaded rebels last Friday to release drivers they took hostage. Three weeks ago, the rebels abducted 10 Cameroonian drivers along with three female passengers as they returned from the C.A.R. capital, Bangui. The security incident halted truck deliveries from Cameroon, a serious matter for the land-locked C.A.R., which depends on Cameroon’s Douala seaport for about 95 percent of its supplies. VOA

Zimbabwe to Introduce New Currency Within 9 Months
Government is working on modalities to introduce a new currency, which will be the sole legal tender for domestic transactions, within the next nine months, President Mnangagwa has said. Speaking in an interview with Bloomberg on the sidelines of the 12th US-Africa Business Summit in Maputo, Mozambique, yesterday, the President said “it is necessary that we have our own currency” since it is presently difficult to determine the level of money supply in the economy. “Then of course there is an issue which is critical also for any economy: this is the question of currency. I am not aware of any country which has no currency of its own, but that is not my field – I am a lawyer – but I am told that except for Zimbabwe I haven’t been told of another country which doesn’t have its own currency. The Herald

500 Vultures Die in Botswana after Eating Poisoned Elephants
More than 500 endangered vultures died of poisoning after eating the carcasses of three elephants killed by poachers in Botswana, the government said in a statement. A total of 537 vultures, along with two tawny eagles, were found dead at the site in the north of the African country. The Botswanan wildlife and national parks department did not say when the dead vultures had been found or why the three elephants were laced with poison after being killed. But poachers are known to poison carcasses to target vultures as the birds circle in the sky and help rangers to track poaching activity. … “The poisoning was believed to have been caused by lacing of three poached elephant carcasses with a poisonous chemical,” the wildlife department said. AFP



Photo: Adam Jones