Africa Media Review for June 26, 2017

Human Rights Key to Security: A Conversation with Ibrahim Wani
Is there a tradeoff between human rights and security? “It is a false debate,” says Dr. Ibrahim Wani. In an interview with the Africa Center, Dr. Wani discusses the historical tensions between human rights and security sector institutions and how to align policies to achieve their common objectives. Since security in Africa often depends on good community relations, a strong emphasis on human rights can build trust and cooperation between security sector actors and citizens. African countries that are most stable tend to have strong civil societies, he notes. Dr. Wani is an independent consultant who has previously served as the Chief of the Research and Right to Development Division at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights; the Regional Representative in the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Ethiopia; and Academic Dean at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies. Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Chad’s Deby Warns Tight Cash Could Limit Fight against Terrorism
Chad’s president, Idriss Deby, an important Western ally in the fight against Islamist militants, warned in an interview that cash-strapped Chad could be forced to withdraw some of its troops from the fight if it does not get financial help. Chad has one of the most capable armies in the region and Deby has played a key role in efforts backed by the West to combat neighboring Nigeria’s Islamic State-affiliated Boko Haram fighters as well as al-Qaida. Chad has in recent years sent troops to fight militants in Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Mali. “Chad is a small country with no financial means which has known huge problems in its recent history. It is the duty of those who have more means to help it,” Deby told RFI-TV5-Le Monde in a joint interview released on Sunday. VOA

Mali and the G5 Sahel Force: Who’s Paying for It, and Will It Work?
The G5 Sahel summit next Sunday in Bamako is likely to serve as a turning point in the years-long struggle for security, in a region where the threat of terrorism has only appeared to deepen and armed ethnic and jihadist groups remain firmly entrenched. The G5 nations – Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger – will be joined by French President Emmanuel Macron, who plans to attend. It will be the second such visit for Macron, who visited Mali in May immediately after his election win. This time, though, the G5 will be focused on moving forward following a United Nations Security Council “welcome” of the G5 Sahel joint force (FC-G5S) on June 21. The UNSC resolution gives the go-ahead for a counterterrorism effort of up to 10,000 military and law enforcement personnel drawn from the G5 nations, while also placing responsibility for resources and funding squarely on the regional G5 body. Africa Times

Canada Commits $450M for Africa Peace Operations
Canada is committing CAN$450 million to support peace operations in Africa, the country’s ambassador to West Africa said Friday. Forty percent of that fund will be spent on fighting terrorism, Lise Filiatrault said in an interview with sub regional broadcaster West Africa Democracy Radio. Her comments came as Canada and the region marked 75 years of bilateral cooperation. “Since 2010, we have invested CAN$39 million ($29 million) to fight terrorism, training of government experts to track illegal financial flows to stop terror financing,” she said. Anadolu Agency

White House Pushes Military Might over Humanitarian Aid in Africa
If ever there was an example of American and African military bonhomie, it was at a recent summit meeting here over glasses of South African Pinotage and expectations of Pentagon largess. Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, vice chief of staff of the United States Army, gave the African generals advice from his days in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. Maj. Gen. Joseph P. Harrington, the head of United States Army Africa, gave a shout-out to the West African military leaders who helped prod the former Gambian president, Yahya Jammeh, out of office after he lost his bid for re-election last year. Lt. Gen. Robert Kariuki Kibochi, the commander of the Kenyan Army, got understanding nods from the Americans when he made clear how much blood African peacekeepers put on the line. But even here, among men who have been given every reason to expect that they will be receiving more money from the Trump administration, there is unease that the additional American heft may come at a steep price. Pentagon officials are themselves concerned that shifting to a military-heavy presence in Africa will hurt American interests in the long term by failing to stimulate development. An absence of schools and jobs, they say, creates more openings for militant groups. The New York Times

US Drops Terror Reward for Somali al-Shabab Leader
The Trump administration has quietly rescinded a reward of up to $5 million for information about a top member of the al-Qaida-allied extremist group al-Shabab in Somalia amid reports he may be in talks with the Somali government to leave the organization. Sheikh Mukhtar Robow was removed from the “most wanted list” of terrorist suspects run by the State Department’s “Rewards for Justice” program in recent days, a U.S. official said Friday. The official, who was not authorized to speak to the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said Robow’s removal followed consultations with the Somali government but had no additional information about the step. The official said Robow remains subject to U.S. sanctions imposed against him in 2008 when he was identified as a “specially designated global terrorist,” but is no longer a Rewards for Justice target. A cached version of the program’s website identifies Robow as an al-Shabab spokesman, military commander and spiritual leader who planned and executed deadly attacks on Somali government troops and African Union peacekeeping forces. AP

Military Coordination Resumes between Sudan and America
Local sources have revealed the resumption of military cooperation between Sudan and the US, with the military attachés of both countries returning to their respective embassies in Khartoum and Washington. According to Al-Shorooq TV, Colonel Abu Dar Dafaa Allah Al-Amin has arrived in Washington to reopen the military bureau of the Sudanese embassy which has been closed for 28 years. He was received by Deputy Head of Mission Walid Al-Sayyid and members of the mission in the US capital. Al-Amin’s American counterpart, Colonel Jorn Bong, is now in Khartoum to serve as US military attaché. The American officer has already taken part in a number of military exercises, the most recent being linked to the anti-terrorist Operation Eagle Claw in South Darfur. Negotiators in Khartoum revealed in March that Sudan and the US have agreed upon joint action and reached a compromise on an appropriate strategic vision. Middle East Monitor

U.N. Begins Investigation of Congo Atrocities
The United Nations Human Rights Council opened an investigation on Friday into killings and other atrocities in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The 47-member Geneva forum adopted by consensus a resolution brought by African countries that also called on the government of President Joseph Kabila to cooperate with the team of international experts. U.N. rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, who is to name the fact-finding experts, had called repeatedly for the inquiry into events in Kasai, an opposition stronghold. “We fully support the establishment of an international investigation by the Human Rights Council as a step forward in identifying the perpetrators of gross violations and bringing them to justice,” Zeid said in a statement. Reuters

UN Chief to Lobby Congress Tuesday against UN Financing Cuts
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is heading to Washington on Tuesday to press Congress not to accept the deep cuts in U.S. funding for the United Nations proposed by the Trump administration, which he said “would create an unsolvable problem to the management of the U.N.” Spokeswoman Eri Kaneko announced Friday that Guterres will meet Republican and Democratic leaders of Congress and members of the appropriations and foreign affairs committees. She said he is also expected to meet “senior members of the president’s cabinet.” The United States pays 22 percent of the U.N.’s operating budget and over 28 percent of its peacekeeping budget. AP

Speculation Grows about the Health of President Koroma of Sierra Leone
The departure last week of president Koroma for Germany has sparked growing concern and speculation about the state of his health. A statement issued by Presidential Spokesman Abdulai Bayraytay last Sunday, 8th of June 2017, simply says that: “The general public is hereby informed that His Excellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has left Freetown today for the Federal Republic of Germany on a private visit as part of his leave vacation. “Whilst in Germany, the President will meet with Sierra Leoneans in continental Europe to apprise them on a wide range of government issues, including but not limited to, the country’s preparedness for the March 2018 general elections. His Excellency the President is expected in Freetown on Wednesday, June 28, 2017.” The Sierra Leone Telegraph

Zambia Arrests Senior Leaders of Opposition Party
Zambia police Friday arrested and detained the entire provincial executive committee of the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) in the country’s Western province. The arrests came after the UPND leaders held a news conference in the provincial capital Mongu to protest the continued incarceration of the party leader Hakainde Hichilema, who has been in police custody for over 70 days on treason charge without trial. The party’s Secretary General Steven Katuka told journalists that several other party supporters that attended the news conference not sanctioned by the police in the opposition stronghold were also arrested. “It is not clear what offense the UPND leaders have committed but today they held a press briefing to lodge a protest against arrest of Hichilema.” Anadolu Agency

Tens of Thousands Have Fled Violence in Congo Republic
More than 80,000 people have fled their homes in Pool province surrounding Congo Republic’s capital since the government began a military operation there last year, a joint U.N. and government statement said. The campaign, involving occasional aerial bombardments, aims to curb what the government says is a resurgent rebellion led by Pastor Ntumi, an enemy of President Denis Sassou Nguesso from the oil-rich country’s 1997 civil war. While it has been hard to confirm death tolls and the impact on residents, any clear evidence of escalating violence could be damaging to Sassou Nguesso’s ruling party, the Congolese Party of Labor, ahead of legislative elections next month. VOA

Congo President’s Daughter Charged with Corruption in France
Congolese President Denis Sassou N’guesso, whose daughter and son-in-law were charged this week in connection with an investigation into “ill-gotten assets”. Investigators have widened a corruption probe into the French assets of three African ruling families, charging the daughter and son-in-law of Congo’s President Denis Sassou Nguesso, judicial sources told AFP on Sunday. Julienne Sassou Nguesso, 50, and her 53-year-old husband Guy Johnson were placed under investigation this week for “money laundering and misuse of public funds”, the sources said. Investigators are trying to determine how the couple in 2006 were able to purchase a mansion valued at 3 million euros ($3.4 million) in the swanky Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine just north of the ritzy 16th arrondissement, according to a judicial source. The tentacles of the case also reach out to ruling families in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. France 24

Satellite Images Show Botswana Military Personnel Doing Construction Work at Khama Residence
Satellite images commissioned by the INK Centre for Investigative Journalism support allegations by military sources that Botswana Defence Force (BDF) personnel are based at President Ian Khama’s private holiday home in Mosu in central Botswana – and that they are carrying out construction work there. This contradicts the presidency’s claim that Khama is not making use of the BDF for major building work at the remote compound. Daily Maverick

Corruption Crackdown Intensifies in Tunisia, and the People Cheer
The Tunisian prime minister has embarked on a sweeping crackdown against organized crime, arresting nearly a dozen mafia bosses and smuggling barons in recent weeks in an effort to stamp out what has become a nearly existential threat to the young democracy. The campaign, led by Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, is proving popular among Tunisians frustrated at increasingly brazen corruption, a stagnating economy and an ever-widening gap between rich and poor. The drive has surprised nearly everyone for its vigor, but it is not without risks, as the mafia bosses have become so powerful that financial and political analysts say they present a threat as dangerous as terrorism. “It is a war, not a one-off battle,” Mr. Chahed, 41, a soft-spoken agricultural engineer, who worked for several years on development programs at the United States Embassy in Tunis, said in an interview this month. “We are going to continue to the end. It is very important for the Tunisian economy, for the security of the territory.” The New York Times

Mozambique: Audit into ‘Hidden Debts’ Shows at Least $713M Missing
Auditors cannot account for at least 36% of the over two billion US dollars borrowed from European banks (Credit Suisse and VTB of Russia) in 2013 and 2014 by three Mozambican security related companies, Ematum (Mozambique Tuna Company), Proindicus and MAM (Mozambique Assets Management). The Mozambican Attorney-General’s Office (PGR) on Saturday published the long awaited executive summary of the audit of the three companies by the London branch of Kroll Associates, reputedly the world’s foremost forensic auditing firm. This audit is a key condition for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other western partners to resume financial assistance to Mozambique. The Kroll audit report is devastating, not merely for the financial mismanagement that it reveals, but also because it points to huge gaps in the information available, indicating that perhaps more than $700 million, and maybe as much as $1.2 billion is missing. IOL News

East Libyan Forces Claim Control of Central Benghazi Neighbourhood
East Libyan forces said they had gained control on Saturday over one of two remaining districts of Benghazi where they faced armed resistance. The advance in the central Souq al-Hout neighbourhood was the latest step in the slow progress of the self-styled Libyan National Army commanded by Khalifa Haftar, which has been waging a campaign against Islamists and other opponents in Libya’s second city for more than three years. In unusually heavy fighting in Benghazi over the past two days at least 13 men from the LNA were killed and 37 wounded, a medical official said. Many of those who died were killed by land mines, a military source said. Reuters

Nigerian President Meets with Regional Leaders on Ethnic Unrest
Nigeria’s acting president met with regional leaders in an effort to quell ethnic tensions, his office said, as threats grow of conflict between northern Muslims and southeastern Igbo people. The two groups have been trading barbs since the beginning of the month, after Muslim activists demanded the eviction of Igbo from the north over their calls for a separate southeastern state, known as Biafra. The expulsion notice is an echo, 51 years later, of the anti-Igbo pogroms across the north that helped spark the secession of Biafra in 1967. The resulting civil war ended with Nigeria’s victory in 1970, after an estimated 1 million people died. Reuters

Gambia: The Business of Human Trafficking
According to the United Nations, 26,000 unaccompanied minors crossed the Mediterranean to Europe last year, most of those coming from sub-Saharan Africa were Gambians. In the past three years, almost 15,000 people lost their lives trying to reach European shores. Undeterred, young men and women continue to take this route in what the UN’s describes as the biggest humanitarian catastrophe of our times. The UN estimates the illegal trade of smuggling people to be worth more than $35bn, and it is booming. Despite joint efforts by police forces from Europe and Africa, few smugglers have been arrested or prosecuted. Mohammed Lamine Jammeh, also known as L-Boy, help many execute this journey. For many, he is a hero. Families save up for years and take loans in order to send one of their children on this journey. But who profits from this? Do these young men and women know the risks they are taking? How much do they pay for this journey? Al Jazeera

Kagame Stands Firm, Kenya Retreats in US Used Clothes Row
Kenya has retreated from a proposed ban on used clothes, reversed tariff increases and held confidential meetings with US officials ahead of a decision by Washington to review duty-free access for Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda to markets under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa). The EastAfrican has learnt that the retreat occasioned after a US lobby filed a petition accusing the four East African countries of violating Agoa rules by proposing the ban and increasing the tariffs on secondhand clothes. Lobby group Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (Smart) has filed a petition for an out-of-cycle review of the countries’ Agoa eligibility and duty-free access to the US market. Kenya’s Trade and Industrialisation Principal Secretary Dr Chris Kiptoo said the country had decided to enforce the policy changes to comply with the Agoa conditions. The East African

China Pledges US$15BN to Ghana’s Development Agenda
China has pledged some $15 billion dollars to fund Ghana’s government’s massive economic transformation agenda, with the likelihood that a further four billion dollars would be committed for various development projects across the country. The commitment by the Chinese is based on a financing module presented by the government of Ghana, seeking for partnerships to fund its development agenda, leveraging on the utilization of a minute fraction of its untapped and proven mineral resources, instead of outright borrowing which strangulates the economy. Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia, at the head of a high level government delegation to China, returned home on Sunday after a four-day official visit to that country with an armful of new economic agreements that are expected to kick-start the New Patriotic Party government’s ambitious plan to improve Ghana’s economic performance and fortunes. News Ghana

Angola’s Corrupt Building Boom: ‘like Opening a Window and Throwing out Money’
An ambitious reconstruction plan after Angola’s civil war was meant to reach even the country’s most faraway corner, a region known as the Land at the End of the World. But the area’s new paved road abruptly turns to dirt about five miles before reaching the city of Cuito Cuanavale, the result of a mysterious disappearance in public funds. “They’re building, but they’re not doing it well,” said Domingos Jeremias, 48, a farmer whose assessment was echoed by the other men milling around the center of the city, obliterated during the war, which lasted from 1975 to 2002. “There’s always something missing.” When the war ended, Angola enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Its production of oil was set to swell and prices would remain high for years. Unlike many other African nations emerging from war, Angola had more than enough money to rebuild, on its own terms, a landscape destroyed by conflict. The New York Times



Photo: Adam Jones