Africa Media Review for May 15, 2018

Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir Sets Big Cabinet Reshuffle
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has ordered a major Cabinet reshuffle, including seven ministers of state and eight regional governors. In filling the most important posts, Bashir named Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid as interior minister, Al-Dirdiri Mohamed Ahmed as foreign minister and Mohamed Ahmed Salim as justice minister. The changes were announced in a report published on the state news agency SUNA late Monday. In April, Bashir fired former Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour a day after he spoke in parliament and complained how diplomats have received no salaries the previous seven months. Reuters

Thousands Newly Displaced by Jebel Marra Fighting
Thousands of civilians have reportedly been newly displaced from villages in southern Jebel Marra as fighting broke out between government forces, allied militias and armed rebels in the area of Kass on Friday. Witnesses told Radio Dabanga that the fighting in the Jebel Marra mountains in South Darfur has pushed “thousands of civilians to flee to Kara, Kabu, Kor, Saboun El Fagur, Girlanjabang, Waglem, Karoo, Wrangla and Daruna”. Their numbers add to the reported 11,500 displaced people who have fled from the fighting in northern Jebel Marra at the end of April. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) at least 2,280 newly displaced households (about 11,500 people) arrived in Rokoro town and nearby Jemeiza village after 18 April. Radio Dabanga

Sudan Death Sentence Ruling Sparks International Campaign
The social media campaign #JusticeForNoura has gained traction after 19-year-old Noura Hussein was sentenced to death in Sudan on May 10 for killing her husband after he attempted to rape her. The campaign has sparked a plethora of responses from human rights organisations and activists worldwide calling for action against this ruling. Petitions from change.org and avaaz.org have gone viral on social media platforms, calling for the Sudanese government to reverse the sentence and retry Hussein. The campaigns have collectively gained more than 300 000 total signatures in support . According to human rights organisation Amnesty International, Hussein was 16 when her family forced her to contractually marry her cousin, Abdulrahman Mohamed Hammad. Mail and Guardian

Firefight between Puntland and Somaliland States in the Disputed Sool Region
Clashes between Military forces of Puntland state and the breakaway Somaliland erupted on Tuesday morning in Sool region. The fighting which is reported to be ongoing flared up in a disputed town, Tukaraq about 90 km from Garowe which is an administrative capital of Puntland. Puntland Minister for Information, Abdi Ali Hirsi Qarjab accused Somaliland of “aggression” saying Somaliland forces raided bases manned by Puntland troops. “Early hours of Tuesday, Somaliland forces invaded our troop near Tukaraq town. Our forces are wording off the attackers,” said Qarjab. Mareeg

Ebola Has Infected Dozens So Far in Congo, Killing 19, WHO Says
Nineteen people have died of Ebola in Congo as health officials plan to send an experimental vaccine to prevent the spread of the virus that killed thousands in West Africa a few years ago. The World Health Organization said there have been 39 confirmed and suspected cases of Ebola over the past five weeks as the virus spreads across three rural areas covering nearly 40 miles in the northwest part of the country. Among the dead were three health-care workers. Health officials are following up with nearly 400 people identified as contacts of Ebola patients. The global health agency announced last week its plans to send the vaccine, developed in 2016 by the pharmaceutical company Merck. The Washington Post

WHO Deploys Vaccines, Emergency Teams to Control Ebola Outbreak
The World Health Organization has deployed 4,000 doses of vaccine along with emergency teams and equipment to the Democratic Republic of Congo to control an outbreak of Ebola, which is suspected to have infected 39 people, including 19 deaths. The UN agency is working with the country’s Ministry of Health and international nongovernmental organization Médecins Sans Frontières to conduct ring vaccinations across the affected region, where contacts of those infected, followed by contacts of those contacts, would all be vaccinated. Though 4,000 doses have been shipped, more are expected to be sent out, WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevik confirmed. The latest outbreak is occurring in the northwest of country, in the Bikoro health zone, 400 kilometers (about 250 miles) from Mbandaka, the capital of Equateur province. CNN

‘They’re Killing Them’: Burundians Flee in Fear of President’s Power Play
A line Niragira was five years old when Burundi’s first democratically elected Hutu president was assassinated by Tutsi extremists, sparking mass killings and a brutal civil war that would last 12 years. During a raid on her home in Ruyigi province the girl was pelted with stones and her neck was slashed with a machete by attackers. Her father and three brothers were murdered but, miraculously, she survived. Now 30 and with her own young family, Aline finds her life in turmoil once more due to the violence and instability that blights Burundi. She fled to neighbouring Rwanda in December and now lives among an estimated 64,000 Burundians at the Mahama refugee camp in Kirehe province. The Guardian

Exiled Ethiopian Opposition Group Holds Talks with Government
An exiled Ethiopian opposition party from the country’s restive Oromiya region said it had held talks with the government, a tentative step in its aim of returning to the political fold. The talks on Friday and Saturday followed pledges by Ethiopia’s new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, to push through democratic reforms in the wake of unrest, mainly in the Oromiya region, that threatened the ruling coalition’s tight hold on Africa’s second most populous nation. The Oromo Democratic Front (ODF) was formed in 2013 by former members of the secessionist Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and seeks self-determination for ethnic Oromos, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group. ODF leaders have been living in exile in Europe and North America since the early 1990s when OLF turned against the ruling coalition and was designated a “terrorist” group by the government. VOA

Mali Opposition Chief Launches Presidential Bid for July 2019 Polls
In the run up to the 2019 July presidential election, Mali’s opposition chief Soumaïla Cissé, was on Saturday appointed presidential candidate for his party in front of thousands of his supporters in a stadium in the capital Bamako. Cissé also launched his presidential bid during the event and warned against fraud in next year’s polls. “Let us be vigilant, no cheating, no fraud as in 2013… we will no longer accept that,” he said. The 68-year old former minister of finance will be contesting against current president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita,who is yet to officially confirm his candidacy, although he was appointed candidate on May 7 by a coalition of nearly 70 parties. Africa News

Bodies of 20 Egyptian Christians Beheaded in Libya Arrive in Egypt
The bodies of 20 Egyptian Christians beheaded in Libya by Islamic State in 2015 were flown back to Cairo on Monday, Egyptian state television reported. The victims had been among the many poor Egyptians who risked their lives to find work in the lawless chaos of Libya following the downfall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and civil war. The Coptic Christians were beheaded on a beach in Islamic State’s former Libyan stronghold of Sirte, wearing orange jumpsuits, according to a video posted by Islamic State. Their bodies were recovered in October after the area where they were buried was recaptured from the militant Islamist group. Reuters

Anti-Corruption Fight Helps Ghana’s President Win Over Skeptics
Few Ghanaians were surprised when President Nana Akufo-Addo pledged that he would fulfill his campaign promise to fight graft. But whats caught their attention was his appointment this year of an opposition stalwart to the newly created role of Special Prosecutor of corruption cases. The establishment of the anti-graft office headed by former Attorney General Martin Amidu is among a string of measures that Akufo-Addo, 74, has taken to bolster the cocoa- and gold-rich West African nation that was weighed down for years by power outages, state bureaucracy and pervasive corruption. Since he assumed office last year, Ghana has become one of Africas star economic performers, recording 8.5 percent growth in 2017 after hovering around 4 percent in the three preceding years. While that success is partly tied to a surge in oil and agricultural output, Akufo-Addo, a lawyer, has earned widespread praise for his energetic approach and bold political statements. Bloomberg

South Africa Government Takes Control of Troubled North West Province
South Africa’s national government on Sunday took control of the country’s troubled North West province. The province has seen crowd protests over poor public services and widespread graft allegations in recent weeks. Public anger boiled over last month as protesters looted shops, burnt cars and clashed with police officials. Protesters have also demanded the resignation of local government leader Supra Mahumapelo, a member of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) and close ally of scandal-plagued former President Jacob Zuma. Mahumapelo has so far refused to step down but has since gone on a leave of absence. Deutsche Welle

Guinea Opposition Resumes Strikes over Disputed Polls
Guinea’s opposition on Monday resumed protests over disputed local elections in February, with a strike crippling parts of the seaside capital Conakry. Traffic was disrupted in Matoto and Ratoma, the city’s biggest areas where opposition supporters set up barricades, as well as at the main markets of Madina and Bonfi. “We will continue to put spokes in the wheels of the majority,” said Alpha Mamadou Sane from the main opposition UFDG party. “Only the ministers and their deputies have opened their offices so that they can say the administration was functioning,” he said. “Secretaries, delivery boys, orderlies, technicians and workers all stayed away.”  AFP

Multinational Exercise Aims to Further Reduce Piracy in 5th Fleet
Operation Three Arrows, a counter-piracy exercise that brought together warships and patrol aircraft from the United States and six other nations, has concluded in the Gulf of Aden after 12 days of naval drills. The U.S.-led Combined Maritime Forces, based in Bahrain, combined with the European Union Naval Force to coordinate the event, which began May 1. Warships from Japan, Spain and Italy and maritime aircraft from Germany, Spain, Japan and the United Kingdom practiced interacting with fishing vessels and dhows in the region. The small Djiboutian navy also assisted by informing local vessels of the warships in the region and collecting information on suspicious activity.  Stars and Stripes

The Gambia’s Capital City Banjul Elects First Female Mayor Rohey Malick Lowe
The City of Banjul made history by electing its first female mayor. Mayoress-elect Rohey Malick Lowe will be the first woman to steer the affairs of The Gambia’s capital; which houses the country’s Central Bank and is the country’s economic and administrative center. 205 Rohey Malick Lowe follows the footsteps of her father Malik Lowe who was also once a mayor of the city running and winning under the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) ticket. She won her seat in the first mayoral polls after Yahya Jammeh’s party lost presidential hold on Banjul in the December 2016 elections. The election ended Jammeh’s two decade rule of The Gambia. In the election Lowe beat another woman, Lizzie Eunson, a Banker by profession who was vying for the mayoral seat of the Banjul City Council, under an Independent ticket. This is Africa

How Africa Is Building a $3 Trillion Free-Trade Future
While the U.S. and China are trying to outdo each other with import tariffs and the U.K. is wants to break away from the European Union, African leaders are working on a free-trade agreement that will cover a whole continent. Talks to establish the African Continental Free Trade Area started in 2015 and while many signatures of the 55-member African Union are still outstanding, Ghana and Kenya on May 10 became the first countries to ratify the deal. Supporters dream that every nation on the continent will eventually join and create a trade bloc with a combined gross domestic product of more than $3 trillion. Bloomberg

Moroccan Economy Reels under Campaign to Boycott Consumer Goods
The Moroccan government is deeply concerned over an unprecedented popular campaign to boycott consumer goods from leading national companies marketing milk, mineral water and gasoline in the country, These companies which provide jobs for thousands of citizens have been hit my huge losses, while the government is worried that the boycott campaign may be extended to include other goods. The campaign which was launched on social media and targeted national companies one is owned by a minister, has succeeded in inflicting losses according to figures from the Moroccan stock markets. Moroccan citizens decided to boycott buying from these companies before the reduction of prices, while the government’s response fell to meet the citizens’ expectations, threatening otherwise to prosecute those who are boycotting buying these goods. Al Arabiya



Photo: Adam Jones