Africa Media Review for June 5, 2018

Ethiopia Parliament Lifts State of Emergency: State Media
Ethiopia’s parliament on Tuesday voted to lift a nationwide state of emergency imposed after the former prime minister’s surprise resignation in February, state media said. Parliament put an early end to the planned six months of emergency rule imposed after Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn stepped down, state-run Ethiopian News Agency reported, citing the country’s “relative stability and calm.” Hailemariam resigned after nearly two years of anti-government protests led by the country’s largest ethnic groups, the Oromo and the Amhara. AFP

US Airstrike Kills 27 Terrorist Fighters in N. Somalia
A U.S. airstrike in northern Somalia Saturday killed 27 al-Shabab militants, the U.S. Africa Command said. It posted a Twitter message Monday saying the strike near Bosaso, in semi-autonomous Puntland state, was carried out in coordination with the Somali government. U.S. commanders said no civilians were killed. “U.S. forces will continue to use all authorized and appropriate measures to protect U.S. citizens and to disable terrorist threats,” the command said. Targets will include terror training camps and safe havens throughout Somalia and the region. Another U.S. airstrike killed 12 al-Shabab militants Thursday south of Mogadishu. VOA

Somalia Eyes December Date for New Constitution
Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo hopes to deliver a new constitution by the end of this year, but this could prove a major undertaking. Though the review timetable expects the new document to be ready by the end of 2019, President Farmajo, who came to power in February 2017 with a new constitution as one of his three key promises, is determined to complete the process ahead of schedule. The country recently convened the first constitutional review conference in Mogadishu since the process started in Djibouti in 2000 to set up a roadmap for the review process. The East African

Murders, Kidnappings Close Africa’s Oldest National Park
Murders and kidnappings are forcing Africa’s oldest national park to close to visitors for a year. Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo is home to endangered mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, elephants and other wildlife. “It is clear that the Virunga region is deeply affected by insecurity and that this will be the case for a certain time,” park director Emmanuel de Merode said Monday. “So that Virunga can be visited in safety, much more robust measures are needed than in the past.” A ranger was killed and two British tourists and their driver kidnapped in Virunga last month. The Britons and driver were freed two days later. VOA

France’s Macron Calls on Quickly Financing Sahel Force
French President Emmanuel Macron called on international donors to quickly make financing available for the Sahel regional counterterror force. In a news conference in Paris with visiting Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou, Macron said money “now needs to be disbursed” to allow the five-nation regional force, known as the G5 Sahel, to keep functioning. He said the European Union started financing the force last week and will provide equipment in coming weeks. He called on other donors like Saudi Arabia to meet their financial commitments. Issoufou expressed his concerns over the financial sustainability of the force. Earlier this year, international donors pledged 414 million euros ($510 million) to help Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger set up a counterterror force to combat the deadly jihadist threat in the Sahel region. AP

Kenya: State Officers Suspended under War on Corruption
Heads of procurement and accounting units in a host of Kenyan state bodies were ordered to step down on Monday pending new measures President Uhuru Kenyatta wants to marshal against corruption. A new vetting process will include the use of lie detectors to establish whether the employees in ministries, departments, agencies, and state corporations are corrupt. “Whereas the exercise is geared towards determining suitability to continue holding public office in the public trust and promote confidence in the public service, the same will be undertaken in a fair and objective manner, exercised with due care and regard to officers’ rights as enshrined in the constitution,” said government spokesman Eric Kiraithe. Anadolu Agency

Tunisia Migrant Shipwreck Death Toll Reaches 112
The death toll has risen to at least 112 people after a boat packed with migrants sank off the coast of Tunisia on Saturday, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) says. On Sunday, it was reported that some 50 people had died after it capsized. Sixty-eight others – from Tunisia and elsewhere – were rescued by the coastguard. The country has become an important new route for migrants trying to make the crossing to Europe in the past year. This comes after moves were made in neighbouring Libya against human traffickers, who have regularly enslaved, tortured or murdered migrants. BBC

1 UN Peacekeeper Dead, 7 Wounded in Central African Republic
The United Nations said Monday that a Tanzanian peacekeeper was killed and seven others wounded in the Central African Republic when a U.N. patrol was ambushed. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the attack happened Sunday in Dilapoko, a village in Mambere-Kadei Prefecture in the country’s southwest. He said one of wounded peacekeeper was in critical condition and was taken to the capital, Bangui, for treatment at the U.N. Mission’s military hospital along with three other soldiers whose condition was serious. AP

Mozambique’s New Opposition Leader Goes into Hiding
The new leader of Mozambique’s main opposition has followed the lead of his predecessor and gone into hiding in the forests of the country’s interior, his party said on Monday. Ossufo Momade has been living in the remote Gorongosa mountains like the former leader of the rebel-turned-opposition Renamo movement, Afonso Dhlakama, who had lived there until his death on May 3. Dhlakama led Renamo, created in 1976, through a brutal civil war against the Marxist-inspired Frelimo government until the conflict ended in 1992. The 16-year war devastated the economy and left one million people dead. He later transformed Renamo into a political party which has participated in elections since the first multi-party democratic vote in October 1994. AFP

182 Inmates at Large after Nigeria Jail Break: Govt
More than 180 inmates in a medium-security prison in central Nigeria were at large after unidentified gunmen opened fire on the facility, the government said on Monday. The attack happened late on Sunday at the jail in the Tunga area of the Niger state capital, Minna. Guards were overpowered and inmates were able to escape. “Out of the 210 inmates that escaped from prison custody, 28 have been re-arrested while 182 are still at large,” Nigeria’s interior minister Abdurrahman Dambazau told reporters. “We have identified some lapses… part of it is that the prison personnel on duty yesterday were inadequate,” he said after touring the prison. An investigation has begun but it was not immediately clear who or what was behind the incident. AFP

HRW Accuses Morocco of Cracking Down on Peaceful Protesters
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused Moroccan authorities of using excessive force against protesters in the eastern city of Jerada, following months of demonstrations over economic hardship. The rights group denounced the indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force in a new report released on Monday after a series of protests that began after two brothers accidentally died inside a coal pit they were mining illegally in December, 2017. “The repression in Jerada has gone well beyond an effort to bring allegedly violent protests to justice,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. Al Jazeera

Rwanda’s Church Closures Leave Religious Faithful Unsettled
Patmos church in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali holds two services everyday – the more popular session is the afternoon miracle service. Self-titled prophet and founder of the church, Jean Bosco Nsabimana promises to deliver his congregants from any problem including illness, poverty, missed opportunities and even “demons”. With a following of around 2,000 people across Rwanda, Patmos Church is among a few churches in Kigali that were not closed in a recent government clamp down on illegal places of worship. Authorities said the move to tighten rules on registration of churches was aimed at stemming fraud. Africa News

South Africa Justice Minister Backs Beleaguered Chief Prosecutor
South African Justice Minister Michael Masutha said he has “full confidence” in chief prosecutor Shaun Abrahams and he had supported the 2016 decision to bring charges against then-finance minister Pravin Gordhan — a move that knocked the rand but was reversed two weeks later. Abrahams had been accused by opposition parties and rights groups of delaying decisions on or refusing to prosecute allies of former President Jacob Zuma accused of looting state funds. Last year the High Court ruled that his appointment was invalid because the removal off his predecessor was unlawful. The ruling party forced Zuma to resign in February and replaced him with Cyril Ramaphosa, who fired several cabinet ministers who were seen as being close to Zuma but retained Masutha in his post. Bloomberg

Ghana’s Unlikely Marriage of Mining and Malaria Control Draws Envious Glances
Nestled in the Ashanti region of southern Ghana, the small town of Obuasi is encircled by hills, largely forested but bearing scars from open-cast and illegal mining. Eighty kilometres south of the country’s second city, Kumasi, it is a community of subsistence farmers and miners. One of the world’s largest gold mines, it has been quarried since the 1890s. But right now the underground drills are silent and a quieter operation is underway, digging out one of the world’s smallest but most deadly predators: the malaria mosquito. Ghana has the world’s fifth worst malaria burden. It is the number one reason outpatients go to hospital. But from 2004, this rural community began a turnaround that others now want to emulate. Key to the change was a partnership between a mining company, the local community and the government that led to a 75% drop in malaria cases in the Obuasi mine area in just eight years. The Guardian

New Rule Compels Whatsapp Admins in Zambia to Register Groups or Be Arrested
All WhatsApp group administrators in Zambia will now be required to register the groups and set up codes of ethics or risk being arrested if there is a breach. The new rule was announced by Zambia Information and Communications Technology (ZICTA) boss Mofyta Chisala on Thursday, in a move widely perceived by many as efforts by the Zambian government to control free speech. “We are coming up with a law where now every administrator must be registered so that he can put ethics or codes of conduct for anyone who is going to be on that blog because at the end of the day, we are going to arrest that person who created the WhatsApp group or the editor or co-odinator of the blog and that should not be the end game,” said Chisala. Nairobi News

Kenya: Barack Obama Coming to Kenya Next Month
Former US President Barack Obama is set to visit Kenya on July 16. The one-day visit will see him hold talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi, before travelling to his ancestral home of K’Ogelo to visit with his relatives. He will then proceed to South Africa where he will deliver the annual Nelson Mandela lecture the next day. The former president will not be accompanied by members of his family. This will be the first visit to Kenya after he left office on January 20, last year. He has visited Kenya three other times in 1987, 1992 and the high profile visit in 2015 when serving his second term as president. Nairobi News

 



Photo: Adam Jones