Africa Media Review for May 10, 2017

Wisdom from Africa on Ethical Leadership
The colonial legacy of security forces protecting the regime over the people persists in some parts of Africa. Consequently, there is a growing recognition on the continent of the importance of enhancing security sector professionalism. Yet, it is the day-to-day practice of ethical leadership that is key to institutionalizing accountability, professionalism, and service to citizens. Examples below from Uganda, Malawi, Rwanda, and Tanzania offer lessons of how ethical leadership is central to maintaining public trust in the security sector and ultimately preserving stability and peace. Ethical leadership is a central theme of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies’ ongoing Senior Leaders Seminar, which has brought together more than 40 military, police, and civilian security sector officials from 21 African countries and regional economic commissions. Africa Center for Strategic Studies

South Sudan’s Kiir Replaces Army Chief Paul Malong
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has dismissed Paul Malong, the war-torn country’s powerful army chief of staff. Malong was sacked via a presidential decree that was announced on Tuesday on national television by Kiir himself. General James Ajongo Mawut, the former deputy chief of general staff for administration and finance, was named new head of armed forces. Minister of Defence Kuol Manyang Juuk downplayed the move as “routine”, calling it “just a normal practice of changing somebody and bringing (in) another person”. South Sudan descended into conflict in December 2013 after Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar, who he had sacked earlier that year, of plotting a coup. Al Jazeera

Congo’s Kabila Names Transitional Govt, Defying Main Opposition
Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila on Tuesday named a new transitional government, state television said, defying opponents who say he is in violation of a previous agreement. Kabila, in power since 2001, struck a deal in December with Congo’s main opposition bloc to allow him to stay on after his mandate expired provided he held elections by the end of 2017. But talks to implement the deal broke down in March when Kabila refused to commit to the bloc’s choice of prime minister. The roughly 60 ministers and vice-ministers read out on state TV are largely holdovers from the previous government and key ministries – including foreign affairs, interior, justice and mines – remain in the hands of Kabila loyalists. Reuters

DRC Police Surround Opposition HQ in ‘Tomb Row’
At least 100 riot police surrounded the main opposition party HQ in the Democratic Republic of Congo capital Kinshasa on Tuesday, an AFP correspondent said, while a party spokesperson claimed authorities wanted to stop them building a tomb for their late leader. A troop transport vehicle was burning outside, while a large tent was also smoking under trees opposite the headquarters of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UPDS) in the central district of Limete. Neither the authorities nor police would comment on the deployment. But a UPDS spokesperson said security forces wanted to prevent the building of a tomb for party leader Etienne Tshisekedi, who died in Brussels on February 1 while undergoing medical treatment. He was 84. News 24

At Least 13 Killed in Somalia Fighting
At least 13 people were killed in fighting Tuesday between government forces and Islamist insurgents in southwestern Somalia, according to witnesses and officials. The fighting began early in the day when insurgents attacked the Somali National Army base in the district of Goofgaduud, about 35 kilometers outside, Baidoa, 250 kilometers (160 miles) northwest of Mogadishu. “About 100 heavily armed militants attacked the base with rockets and heavy machine-guns. The fighting lasted about an hour. The government forces in the camp were forced to retreat, but came back to their base immediately,” a witness told VOA on the condition of anonymity. VOA

Navy SEAL Who Died in Somalia Was Alongside, Not Behind, Local Forces
The member of the Navy SEALs who was killed last week in Somalia was moving alongside — not behind, as the Pentagon initially said — Somali security forces approaching a complex inhabited by Shabab militants when the insurgents opened fire, American military officials said on Tuesday. The SEAL member, Kyle Milliken, a 38-year-old senior chief petty officer, died on Friday during the mission in support of Somali Army forces fighting the Shabab, the Islamist militant group. Two other Americans, including a Somali-American interpreter, were wounded when they came under fire during the mission around 40 miles west of Mogadishu, the capital. The Navy SEAL members were in Somalia for “an advise, assist and accompany mission,” and Defense Department officials said that Somali forces were to have led the operation, with American forces hanging back. The New York Times

Yemen War Adds to Rising Fears for Ships in Horn of Africa
Yemen’s worsening conflict is contributing to a spike in piracy in the region, with Somali pirates taking advantage of a reduced international naval presence and more readily available weaponry to carry out attacks. “The regional instability caused by Yemen is important,” Colonel Richard Cantrill, chief of staff with the European Union’s counter piracy mission EU NAVFOR, told Reuters last week. Fighting between Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi rebels and a Saudi-led coalition has spilled over into the shipping lanes through which much of the world’s oil passes. And attacks on merchant ships in recent weeks by Somali gangs around the Gulf of Aden, the first since 2012, have raised fears of a return to hijackings and crews being taken hostage for long periods. Reuters

Allies fret as Canada Drags Feet on Troops for U.N. Mali Mission
Canada, fearful of possible casualties, is taking months longer than expected to decide whether to send troops to a United Nations mission in Mali, worrying allies and potentially undermining Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s commitment to peacekeeping. Trudeau replaced a Conservative government in November 2015 that had little time for the United Nations. Trudeau’s Liberals declared “Canada is back” in August 2016 and said they would commit up to 600 soldiers for possible U.N. deployment. Officials said one option was Mali, where the United Nations has a 10,000-strong force to help deal with Islamist militants. “This would be a combat mission. Casualties are inevitable,” said one person familiar with the matter. Reuters

Uganda Seeks $2 Billion for South Sudan Refugees at Planned Summit
Uganda hopes to raise $2 billion in donations at a U.N. refugee summit next month to help fund relief operations for refugees flowing in from neighboring South Sudan, Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda said on Tuesday. The east African country hosts a total of 1.2 million refugees, of which almost 800,000 are South Sudanese who fled the world’s youngest country since the outbreak of civil war. Rugunda said Uganda faced difficulties in coping with the influx, which ballooned recently since the latest wave of violence erupted in July. “The … numbers are placing a huge strain on our already stressed ability to cater for food,” he told a news conference. Reuters

Egypt Air Force Destroys Vehicles Crossing from Libya
The Egyptian military has flown multiple raids and destroyed 15 4X4 vehicles crossing from Libya, deploying fighter jets and helicopter gunships in an operation that spanned 48 hours. The military didn’t say who was driving the vehicles or give details of any casualties, news agencies reported. The only information provided on Monday came on the Egyptian military’s Facebook page, which claimed the trucks were carrying weapons and other contraband. The air force operation came as security forces killed eight fighters identified as members of the Muslim Brotherhood in an attack in the country’s south, according to the interior ministry. Al Jazeera

After The Storm: Envisaging a Post-Zuma, Post State Capture South Africa
There is little doubt that President Jacob Zuma is on the way out. It is a matter of time before the chapter closes on his presidency – either through an early, forced exit or through the slow death of his final term. In December, a new ANC leader will be elected, which will begin the transition to a post-Zuma South Africa. There are various organisations and initiatives working on the country’s recovery and rebuilding processes, including the National Foundations Dialogue Initiative and Save South Africa. But an essential part of the recovery will be the full exposure of the rot of the Zuma years. Daily Maverick

Nigeria Seeks to Trade Captured Militants for More Kidnapped Schoolgirls
Only days after securing the release of dozens of schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram, the Nigerian government is going back to the negotiating table, using captured militant commanders as bargaining chips to free the rest of the abducted girls. Talks to release the girls, who were taken three years ago in a mass kidnapping that drew the world’s attention to Nigeria’s battle with Islamist militants, are likely to begin this week, according to Shehu Sani, a Nigerian senator who has been involved in the negotiations. The girls were preparing for exams in April 2014 when Boko Haram fighters stormed their boarding school, loading nearly 300 of them in trucks and carting them off into the forest. A few dozen quickly escaped, and more than two years passed before others were released. Yet the government found leverage, Mr. Sani said: Boko Haram wanted its commanders back. The New York Times

Nigeria Approves $186 Million for Anti-Piracy Operations
The Nigerian government has approved a 186 million emergency budget to fund the acquisition of new military aircraft, patrol boats and armoured personnel carriers that will be deployed on anti-piracy operations. Details of the planned expenditure were released by Transportation minister Rotimi Amaechi last week when he addressed a conference that was held in Abuja to discuss the implementation of government plans for maritime and port security. Amaechi said to secure Nigerian waterways and ports, President Muhammadu Buhari had approved a $186 million budget for the acquisition of surveillance and security assets that include three helicopters, three fixed wing aircraft and twelve patrol boats. DefenceWeb

Italy Builds New Detention Centres to Speed Up Migrant Deportations
Italy will open new detention centres across the country in the next few months as part of its push to speed up deportations of illegal migrants, despite critics saying that the centres are not only inhumane but also do not produce the desired result. Violent protests and difficulty identifying migrants has led to the closure of similar centres over the past few years, but on Tuesday the Interior Ministry asked regional governments to provide a total of 1,600 beds in such centres. Interior Minister Marco Minniti says migrants must be detained to stop them from slipping away before they can be sent home. The plans include reopening one for men at Ponte Galeria on the outskirts of Rome where migrants had sewed their mouths shut in protest before it was destroyed by interned migrants in 2015. Reuters

Ramaphosa’s Bid to Lead South Africa Buoyed by Zuma Missteps
Cyril Ramaphosa’s campaign to become South Africa’s next president has gone into overdrive. After months of playing coy about his aspirations to become the next leader of the ruling African National Congress, the deputy president has started crisscrossing the country speaking out against corruption. He’s picked up endorsements from labor unions, church leaders and some of the ANC’s most respected leaders, including former president Kgalema Motlanthe and ex-finance minister Pravin Gordhan. Ramaphosa’s biggest electoral asset may be his boss, the increasingly unpopular President Jacob Zuma, who’s indicated that he wants to be succeeded by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, his ex-wife and former head of the African Union Commission. While Dlamini-Zuma, 68, initially appeared to be the front-runner in the race, the balance of power seemed to have shifted on May 1 when persistent booing forced Zuma to cancel an address at a union rally in the central Free State province, one of his traditional strongholds.

Nigeria Wakes Up to Its Growing Vigilante Problem
Residents throughout the region have turned to the CJTF to provide protection against Boko Haram. For many, its fighters are hometown heroes, a reflection of the community’s resistance to the jihadists, and a response to the military’s failings. They are the eyes and ears of the counter-insurgency campaign. It was the CJTF, as a spontaneous community movement, that rose up. Armed with little more than sticks, they chased the jihadists out of Maiduguri, the main city in the northeast. They have proven stubborn defenders of towns throughout the region, and the first people to be executed whenever Boko Haram takes over. Though the CJTF is not a part of the police nor the military, it’s encouraged by state authorities, who sometimes provide equipment, training, and weapons. But as the threat from Boko Haram wanes, there are mounting cases of the CJTF targeting the civilian population they claim to protect. They enjoy near-impunity, and the current lack of a comprehensive demobilisation plan, points to a potential crisis ahead.

Four UN Peacekeepers Killed in Central African Republic
Four UN peacekeepers have been found dead and one remains missing after an attack on a convoy in the Central African Republic (CAR), United Nations officials said on Tuesday. The UN’s MINUSCA mission said the convoy was attacked by fighters of the “anti-Balaka” armed group near Yogofongo village, more than 470km east of the capital, Bangui, close to the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. CAR has been plagued by conflict since early 2013, when mainly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power, triggering reprisals by Christian “anti-Balaka” militias. Al Jazeera

Overhaul of C. African Republic’s Security Forces Faltering
Even the name “Training Mission” was a source of bewilderment to local residents in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic (CAR). Who was training whom and for what? In theory, the European Training Mission for the Central African Republic (Republique centrafricaine), also known as EUTM RCA, has a clear mission. It is to advise the Central African Armed Forces in strategic questions and matters of training and organization. The European Union (EU) gave the green light for the mission in July 2016 and some 170 civilian and military personnel are now assisting in the reform of CAR’s armed forces, along the lines of similar missions in Somalia and Mali. Deutsche Welle

EU Criticizes US for $640 Million Cut to UN Agencies
Putting money into U.N. agencies, where the Trump administration has just cut U.S. funding by $640 million, is as important to global peace and security as defense spending — “and sometimes even more,” a top European Union official said Tuesday. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told the U.N. Security Council that she wanted to speak directly to the bloc’s “American friends” with a clear message: Military capabilities are only one element in the EU’s security strategy, which also stresses economic development, strong state institutions, good health care, education and democracy. While the U.S. budget through September approved by Congress last week cut $640 million from U.N. agencies, it added $15 billion to the U.S. defense budget. AP

China Doubled Its Investment Spend in Africa in 2016 as US and UK Fell
Like the rest of the rest of the world, Africa remains uncertain about what’s to come after high-stakes elections in the United States of America and United Kingdom resulted in wins for Donald Trump and Brexit. But amid the uncertainty, China is poised to take advantage and strengthen its influence on the continent. That much was clear last year as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from China to Africa grew sharply with a 106% rise in projects, according to Ernst & Young’s Attractiveness Program Africa 2017. In comparison, FDI projects by the US and UK fell 5.2 and 46.8% respectively. While still behind UK and the US in terms of number of FDI projects on the continent, the value of China’s was vastly superior. In fact, China’s FDI investments in 2016, was worth more than the other foreign national investors analyzed in the report. Quartz

Mixed Picture for Africa In 2017 Armed Conflict Survey
The IISS Armed Conflict Survey, published on Tuesday, lists the war in Syria as the most deadly in 2016. Four African conflicts – Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Nigeria – count among the ten most lethal. Deutsche Welle



Photo: Adam Jones