Africa Media Review for May 11, 2017

S.Sudan’s Sacked Army Chief Quits Juba, Raising Concern amid Civil War
South Sudan’s sacked former army chief Paul Malong has left the capital Juba for his home state, its defence minister said, raising concerns over his next move as a civil war drags on. Malong’s removal followed a slew of resignations by senior generals in recent months alleging tribal bias and war crimes. Some of the departed officers subsequently said they might join the revolt against President Salva Kiir. Malong left Juba in a convoy of several vehicles for Aweil state in the country’s northwest shortly after his dismissal was announced on Tuesday, Defence Minister Kuol Manyang Juuk said. Reuters

South Sudan Army Chief Sworn In One Day After Malong’s Ouster
General James Ajongo was sworn in Wednesday as the new SPLA army chief, a day after South Sudan President Salva Kiir fired his predecessor, General Paul Malong, with no explanation. Ajongo said he would work to implement the security arrangements stipulated in the 2015 peace agreement and strive to end the fighting. He also said he would address the increasing numbers of armed groups across South Sudan who are trying to topple Kiir’s government. Amid tight security in and around the Presidential Palace, Ajongo was sworn in by South Sudan’s chief justice in front of a small audience of government officials. Afterward, Ajongo told reporters he recognized that the conflict is South Sudan’s biggest problem. VOA

China’s Success in Africa Depends on Peace in South Sudan
In less than one week, Chinese president Xi Jinping will convene a summit of roughly 30 global leaders to discuss what is arguably China’s most ambitious economic project to date: “One Belt, One Road” (Obor). The project’s two main initiatives – the “Silk Road Economic Belt” (SREB) and the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road” (MSR) – involve billions of dollars’ worth of trade, development and connectivity projects spanning three continents: Africa, Asia and Europe. It is no surprise, then, that Obor is being projected as China’s articulation of a new global financial order. For the moment, reports seem to suggest that a small group of African nation-states, including Kenya, Djibouti and Egypt, are official participants of Obor – though certain blueprints and maps also include South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Tanzania. It is inconceivable that South Sudan will not be central to any Obor strategy targeted towards the eastern part of the continent. In addition to serving as a key repository of valuable oil reserves, South Sudan also acts as the end-point for major infrastructure and connectivity projects being planned and implemented in Kenya. A new railway line is expected to link up Mombasa port, the capital Nairobi, and Kenya’s neighbouring countries. Mail and Guardian

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Somalia?
This Thursday, the great and the good will descend on London to discuss Somalia, a country that has topped the Fragile States Index for eight of the past 10 years. The London Somalia Conference, co-chaired by the UK, Somalia and the United Nations, will be held in Lancaster House, a grand mansion in the exclusive district of St James’s. Many of the delegates will stay in swish hotels nearby. This is the third such London gathering since 2012, and there is an element of “cut and paste” to its agenda, which focuses on security, governance and the economy. BBC

Final Push for Peace in Somalia?
Despite global efforts to combat terrorism in Somalia, al-Shabaab’s attacks continue and the group still controls large parts of the country. The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has been active in Somalia for 10 years, and while it has raised hopes for peace and security, the country is still not safe. The recent election of President Mohamed Abdullahi ‘Farmajo’ Mohamed also inspires optimism – yet again, attacks continue. Famine due to drought and a cholera epidemic add to the hardships faced by the Somali population. Al-Shabaab has taken its gap here. Its publicity campaign to highlight how it is providing food in areas under its jurisdiction – despite having blocked aid in the past – is winning over some of Somalia’s starving people. This is just one example of a government that remains unable to effectively provide services, even as the African Union (AU) plans to exit the country by 2020. ISS

KDF To Stay in Somalia Longer, Says Uhuru
Kenyan soldiers in Somalia are not about to come home anytime soon, their Commander-in-Chief, Uhuru Kenyatta has said. He said the reason the soldiers crossed the border are yet to be achieved and KDF will stay in Somalia until the country regains peace and stability. “Somalia should be defended by the Somalis themselves. But as good neighbours, we, under Amison, will continue to work with the Somali government to restore peace and security in that country,” Uhuru said, hours before he flew to London to attend a conference on Somalia. He briefed journalists at State House, Nairobi, on Tuesday night. The President left for London yesterday to attend the 3rd London Conference on Somalia. The conference will focus on accelerating the progress of security reforms in Somalia, build on the international response on the ongoing drought and humanitarian crisis and agree on the new international partnership needed to keep the Horn of Africa nation on course. The Star (Nairobi)

Aid Groups Question Timing of Military Offensives in Somalia Amid Famine Risk
Humanitarian agencies operating in Somalia say they are concerned about reports of upcoming military offensives in the country at a time when the risk of famine still persists. The agencies made the statement Wednesday ahead of an international conference on Somalia to be held in London on Thursday. The director of the humanitarian NGO umbrella organization, Abdurahman Sharif, told VOA Somali that the “verge of a famine is not a good time to start military offensive.” VOA

Burundi Crisis: Is Michel Kafando Up to the Task?
Former Acting President of Burkina Faso Michel Kafando has been appointed as the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. His role includes leading and coordinating the United Nations political efforts to promote peace and sustainable development in Burundi and also provide assistance to the efforts of the East African Community for political dialogue among Burundi role players. Africa News

Chinese Vice President Visits Conflict-Scarred Burundi
Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao has arrived in Burundi for a two-day state visit. Yuanchao was welcomed to the capital, Bujumbura, by his Burundian counterpart, Vice President Gaston Sindimwo, on Wednesday. Yuanchao is expected to meet Thursday with Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza, whose government receives foreign aid from China. He will also visit projects that are supported by China, including technical schools and a new presidential palace that is still under construction. AP

EAC Summit Now Set for May 20
The East African heads of State Summit has been postponed for the third time to May 20, raising concerns about the EAC leaders’ commitment to regional integration. The Summit, which had been scheduled for April 28 in Dar es Salaam, was postponed following a request by Kenya through its Ministry of East African Community, Labour and Social Protection. The ministry cited undisclosed “other commitments,” — April 28 would have coincided with party primaries in preparation for the August 8 general election. Originally scheduled to be held last December, the Summit was first moved to March, and then to April at the request of Burundi and Tanzania respectively. The East African

ECOWAS Works Towards Eradicating Statelessness in the Sub-Region
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has adopted strategies to eradicate statelessness in the sub-region by 2024. During a 3-day ministerial conference that began on Monday in Gambia’s capital Banjul, experts from the bloc’s 15 member states resolved to finalize a plan of action developed in line with the Abidjan Declaration adopted in February 2015, as a commitment to set measures to end the phenomenon. Estimates indicate that over one million people in West Africa are stateless, while 60 million lack documentation proving their identity or nationality. Africa News

Libyan Coastguard Turns Back Nearly 500 Migrants After Altercation With NGO Ship
Libya’s coastguard said it had intercepted nearly 500 migrants packed onto a wooden boat and returned them to Tripoli on Wednesday after warning off a ship that was preparing to pick them up for passage to Europe. Footage filmed by Sea-Watch, a non-governmental organisation, showed a Libyan coastguard vessel coming within metres of its own ship as it sped to stop the migrants. Tripoli coastguard spokesman Ayoub Qassem said the incident occurred about 19 miles (30 km) north of Libya’s coast. It highlighted the confusion in the crowded waters as desperate migrants try to reach a better life and authorities scramble to deal with the chaos. The New York Times

Parents of Freed Nigeria Schoolgirls Still Wait to See Them
Parents of the 82 Nigerian schoolgirls released over the weekend from Boko Haram captivity said Wednesday they still were awaiting word from the government on exactly when they will be able to meet their daughters. Community leaders were headed from the capital, Abuja, to the town of Chibok with photos of the newly released girls so that families can identify them, presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said. “They will then organize to bring the parents to Abuja to see their daughters,” he said. One father said he was thrilled to find out his daughter was among those released in exchange for five Boko Haram commanders. But Abana Ishaya said he cannot travel the long distance from his home in northern Nigeria to the capital without the government’s invitation and assurance that he will see her. AP

Thousands Flee Congo Conflict, Swelling Villages over Border in Angola
Thousands of people have fled fighting in Democratic Republic of Congo over the past month and sought refuge in neighbouring Angola, a provincial governor said, an exodus that is straining resources in villages along the border. Ernesto Muangala said officials had counted more than 20,000 refugees in his Lunda Norte province, almost double the number recorded a month ago. All had fled clashes between Congolese government and militia forces that erupted in Congo’s Kasai-Central province in July, then spread to four other provinces. Reuters

Shops Looted, Roads Barricaded as South African Protests Spread
Protests in South Africa over a lack of access to housing, water and electricity that erupted in Johannesburg at the start of the week spread to parts of the capital, Pretoria, with police firing rubber bullets at a group who looted shops, barricaded roads and set tires and trash bins alight. Several people who joined the demonstrations in the Laudium township, southwest of Pretoria, were arrested and will face charges of public violence, Isaac Mahamba, a senior superintendent for the metropolitan police force, said Wednesday by phone. While the crowds dispersed after being addressed by city officials, the police remain on high alert, he said. Bloomberg

Faced with Xenophobia, Congolese Immigrants in South Africa Feel Abandoned
In South Africa, clashes between South Africans and foreigners have become a regular occurrence. Our correspondents went to meet members of the Congolese community, who have to deal with violent attacks, insults and their shops being looted. These immigrants claim they not only face a hostile local population but must also deal with the lax attitude of the police. France 24

Zanu-PF Plans Ruthless Action to Ensure Victory
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party is discussing using a press clampdown and intimidation in rural areas to thwart a newly united opposition’s challenge to its three-decade rule in elections next year, said three senior officials. Officials of Zanu-PF are worried that the health of Mugabe, 93, may undermine his campaign and alternative candidates would struggle to beat a coalition of parties united behind opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change, said members of the party’s politburo who asked not to be identified. Among the methods being discussed are police clampdowns on opposition rallies and using state-controlled media to target opposition figures for alleged misbehaviour in their private lives and alleged meetings with Western diplomats, the officials said. Times Live

Tunisia Deploys Army Amid Protests over Jobs, Corruption
Tunisia’s president is deploying the army to protect petroleum and phosphate facilities amid growing demonstrations over unemployment and corruption, and Tunisian police fired tear gas Wednesday on protesters after a vendor tried to set himself on fire. The vendor was treated for burns after the tensions in Tebourba, according to the TAP news agency. While the incident appeared to be quickly contained, the self-immolation recalled a similar desperate act by a vendor that unleashed Tunisia’s 2010-2011 revolution and subsequent uprisings around the Arab world. President Beji Caid Essebsi took the unusual step of deploying the army, announcing in Tunis that “the state must protect the people’s resources” after protests in impoverished inland provinces in recent weeks. AP

All Eyes on Khartoum as Bashir Set to Name an Inclusive New Government
Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir is forming a new government that includes the opposition as part of his efforts at national reconciliation. The National Accord Government, which was initially set to be launched on Thursday last week but has now been pushed to anytime this coming week, is also part of President al-Bashir’s efforts to end the war in Southern Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur, and to continue strengthening Khartoum’s relations with the United States in an effort to have the remaining sanctions by the latter lifted. Sudanese ambassador to Kenya Elsadig Abdalla Elias, told The EastAfrican that the country is expecting an announcement anytime and that the idea is to accommodate as many political parties and other organisations as possible that participated in the National Dialogue launched in 2014 and concluded last October after the signing of the National Document. The East African



Photo: Adam Jones