Africa Media Review for May 2, 2017

South Africa’s Zuma Quits May Day Rally after Boos from the Crowd
South African President Jacob Zuma made a hasty exit from a May Day rally on Monday after the crowd of workers that he was due to address became rowdy, with some booing and chanting slogans against him. The labour federation Cosatu abruptly cancelled Zuma’s speech and other addresses at the rally it had organised, as TV footage showed scuffles breaking out in the crowd, apparently between supporters who voiced their backing of Zuma and opponents of the president. Zuma and his entourage could be seen on live TV leaving the podium and being whisked away from the rally, in the central city of Bloemfontein, in a motorcade. Reuters

Advance Team of UN Peacekeepers Arrive in South Sudan
An advance party of peacekeepers with a bolstered mandate to use force have arrived in South Sudan, the United Nations said on Monday, the first blue helmets with a greater authority to protect civilians in the troubled East African nation. At least 13 peacekeepers from a regional protection force mandated by the Security Council have arrived in the capital of Juba, Shantal Persaud, a spokesperson for the UN mission in South Sudan told The Associated Press. The troops will reinforce existing engineering operations and help to prepare camp sites for the 4 000 peacekeepers expected to arrive later this year, Persaud said. “They are not troops but rather ‘enablers,'” Persaud said by email, adding that the rest of the troop contingent is expected to arrive in June or July. News 24

Humanitarian Crisis Deepens in CAR Amid Resurging Violence
Resurging violence in the Central African Republic has left full villages emptied and destroyed. The burned out houses are charred, with their thatched roofs totally gone. Inside the homes, evidence of a left-behind life is scattered throughout in the ashes: pots, pans, and bicycle frames. Other homes are looted with the doors kicked in and papers torn up. Aid workers here warn that the country may be sliding back into conflict. More than 100,000 people have fled their homes since September. In the north, predominantly Christian anti-balaka rebels used the village of Bambara as a base. But after the soldiers stole some cows from nearby nomadic people, an ex-Seleka militia came for revenge, killing about 25 people and burning more than 600 houses. VOA

Nigerian Civil Society Leaders Urge Buhari to Take Medical Leave
Nigeria’s ailing President Muhammadu Buhari, who had nearly two month’s medical treatment in Britain earlier this year, should take medical leave immediately, civil society leaders have said in an open letter. The 74-year-old president returned home in March and said he would need more rest and health tests. Details of his medical condition were not disclosed. In a letter titled “President Buhari should take medical leave immediately”, a group of political activists noted his absence from the last two weekly cabinet meetings and speculation about his ability to run Africa’s most populous nation and biggest economy. VOA

Polisario Says Ready for Western Sahara Talks with Rabat
The Algiers-backed Polisario Front independence movement said on Monday it was prepared to embark on negotiations with Morocco on the disputed territory of Western Sahara. The Polisario is “ready to hold negotiations with Morocco on the basis of the right of Sahrawis to self-determination”, senior official Mhamed Khadad told a news conference in the Algerian capital. He said the African Union and United Nations should both be involved in the peace process in which the Polisario would aim for “freedom and national independence”. On Friday, the United Nations set its sights on restarting political talks on the territory after the Polisario pulled back fighters from a tense zone on the border with Mauritania. News 24

Morocco Wins Battle over Guerguarat without Firing a Single Bullet
The rug has been pulled from under the Polisario’s feet in the battle over Guerguarat. The Algerian-backed separatists had to withdraw in extremis to avoid an outspoken condemnation by the UN Security Council. The adoption of the UN Security Council resolution 2351 last Friday was delayed to allow for the Polisario pullback from the Guerguarat area in the buffer strip on the border crossing with Mauritania. The strip, under the 1991 ceasefire agreement, should remain demilitarized. After months of simmering tension in the border crossing and provocation attempts against the Royal Armed Forces on the other side of the security wall as well as attempts at hindering the flow of commercial traffic between Morocco and West Africa, the Polisario was forced to abide by international law without Morocco firing a single bullet. North Africa Post

Congo Inks $5.6 Million Lobbying Deal Amid Election Strife
The Democratic Republic of Congo is spending millions on a coordinated lobbying campaign aimed at the United States amid rising tensions over the future of its leader, Joseph Kabila. The country signed a $5.6 million contract with Mer Security and Communication Systems, an Israel-based security consulting firm, according to new disclosure forms released by the Justice Department. The contract is large even by the standards of foreign lobbying, which is a lucrative niche. While the contract appears to cover mostly advisory services — in addition to organizing a trip to Washington for the country’s special envoy to the United States — forms say that Mer Security “will hire/has hired U.S. entities to set up meetings with senior U.S. administration officials and key policy makers in various Congressional committees.” The Hill

Egypt Denies Plans to Build Military Base in Eritrea
An Egyptian military source has denied reports about planning to establish a military base in Eritrea. A Sudanese newspaper earlier claimed that Eritrea has accepted an Egyptian request to build a military base on its territory. The daily claimed Egypt will be the third Arab country to have bases in Eritrea after Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which allegedly use the port of Asab in their air campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen. “This report is untrue,” the source told Anadolu Agency on Monday. Anadolu Agency

Zimbabwe: Alliance to Defeat Mugabe Comes Under Fire
Opposition labor leaders in Zimbabwe Monday questioned why an opposition party was allying itself with a former vice president under longtime leader Robert Mugabe. During Workers Day commemorations in the capital Harare, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) asked the Movement for Democratic Change’s Morgan Tsvangirai “why they entered into that coalition” with the former vice president, Joice Mujuru. “In the ZCTU we have no permanent friends or enemies but permanent interests,” said ZCTU Secretary General Japhet Moyo. Anadolu Agency

Germany Pledges 70 Million Euros to Aid Somalia Fight Hunger
Germany says it will double the 70 million euros ($76 million) it has already pledged to help Somalia cope with the severe drought and hunger that is threatening millions of people across this Horn of Africa nation. The promise was made during a surprise visit by Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel to the Somali capital, Mogadishu, Monday. Somali prime minister Hassan Ali Khaire met with Gabriel and thanked Germany for its support. Germany has already pledged aid worth 70 million euros, Gabriel said after arriving in Mogadishu under tight security. “We are ready to at least double that,” he said. AP

U.S Africom Commander Meets Somali President in Mogadishu
As the U.S Military preparing to intensify airstrikes on Al-Shabab militant group in Somalia, the U.S AFRICOM Commander General Thomas Waldhuauser met with Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and military officials during a visit in Mogadishu this week, Somaliupdate reports. The U.S Ambassador to Somalia Stephen M. Schwartz and other U.S Military officials attended the closed-door meeting at Villa Somalia Presidential Compound in Mogadishu. A Presidential source told Somaliupdate that President Farmajo and the U.S AFRICOM Commander discussed enhanced cooperation between U.S Military and the Somali forces in combating the militant group Al-Shabab. The AFRICOM commander General Thomas Waldhuauser briefed President Farmajo on the expected new U.S military counter-terror operation in Somalia which U.S Special Forces and U.S-trained Somali soldiers will jointly conduct. Somali Update

Ethiopia Is Facing a Killer Drought. But It’s Going Almost Unnoticed
The announcement by the United Nations in March that 20 million people in four countries were teetering on the edge of famine stunned the world and rammed home the breadth of the humanitarian crisis faced by so many in 2017. Yet even as donors struggle to meet the severe needs in the war-torn nations of Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen, another crisis, more environmental in nature, is taking place nearby — nearly unnoticed. On Thursday, the Ethiopian government increased its count of the number of people requiring emergency food aid from 5.6 million to 7.7 million, a move that aid agencies say was long overdue. The figure is expected to rise further as southeast Ethiopia confronts another fierce drought. The Washington Post

Illicit Capital Flows in Developing World as High as $3.5 Trillion in 2014-Study
Illicit capital flows into and out of developing economies ranged from $2 trillion to $3.5 trillion in 2014, with Africa the region most vulnerable to the flight of capital needed for investment and other purposes, according to a new study. Released on Monday by Washington-based think-tank Global Financial Integrity (GFI), the report comes before the World Economic Forum on Africa in Durban this week, where the region’s development and financial challenges will be in the spotlight. It shows that combined, illicit outflows and inflows amounted to 14.1 to 24 percent of total developing country trade from 2005 to 2014, the last year for which comprehensive data are available. Reuters

Egypt Violence: Three Police Killed in Cairo Attack
Suspected militants have killed three police officers and wounded five others in an attack in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, the interior ministry says. The assailants, riding in two vehicles, opened fire on a security convoy on the main ring road in the Nasr City area. No group has yet said it was behind the attack, which occurred on Monday night. However, jihadist militants have killed hundreds of police and soldiers since the military overthrew Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in 2013. BBC

How I Smuggle People from Nigeria to Europe (Video)
Meet one of the men involved in trafficking people from Nigeria to Libya as they make their way to Europe. BBC

Kenya Set to Make History with First Female Governors
Female politicians are poised to make history in Kenya’s upcoming August elections.A handful of women have made it to the gubernatorial ballot — and a win will mark the first time women have held Kenya’s powerful governor positions. For years, women have struggled for equal political representation in Kenya, which has East Africa’s lowest rate of women in parliament at only 19 percent. They often lack the political clout and money to run a campaign, but they also struggle to mobilise support given how politicians campaign in Kenya. RFI

Why EU Is Sending Poll Observer Mission to Kenya But Not Rwanda
The contrast in elections in Rwanda and Kenya, which both go to the polls in August, has come to the fore with the European Union saying it will not send an expert mission to assess the preparedness in Kigali even as it prepares to send one to Nairobi. The EU will also not send an observer mission to monitor the Rwanda election, something which should not be entirely surprising given that it did not send one in 2010 “for lack of resources.” However, this is the first time that the EU will not commit to any of the missions. Unlike an observer mission, which assesses the credibility of an election, an expert mission assesses the potential political, social, media and economic risks before the polls and examines likely interventions. The East African

Former Tanzanian President Mkapa Talks Magufuli, Burundi and Slavery
He reformed Tanzania’s economy and led the country to a massive international debt relief. Former president of Tanzania Benjamin Mkapa tells DW that President Magufuli is also on the right track. Deutsche Welle

Sudan Threatens to Apply Similar Deportation Measures Against Egyptians 
Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour Monday threatened to reciprocate Cairo’s recent deportation measure if the latter continues to deny entry of Sudanese nationals at the airport. On 25 April, the Egyptian authorities denied entry and deported journalist Iman Kamal al-Din from Al-Sudani newspaper just 24 hours after a similar move against journalist Al-Tahir Satti of Al-Intibaha daily. Ghandour, who addressed the National Assembly Monday, said the government would apply the principle of reciprocity if any Sudanese was deported from Egypt. Sudan Tribune

Ghana Crackdown on Illegal Gold Mining Inflames Tensions with Beijing
Ghana’s push to crack down on illegal gold mining is winning praise from the public but inflaming tensions with China, its biggest trading partner. Beijing is accused by advocacy groups — and increasingly by the Ghanaian government — of standing by while its citizens break laws as they drive a boom in small-scale mining that began more than five years ago when gold prices were soaring. More than a third of the country’s 2.7m ounces of production last year came from small mines, up from less than a quarter before the boom. In many cases the mines are officially owned by Ghanaians who have the correct permits but in practice are run by Chinese businessmen who are violating regulations in their attempt to extract gold as quickly as possible, according to government officials and local experts. Financial Times

Echoes of Colonial Conflict in Algeria Reverberate in French Politics
When asked about this year’s presidential election, French historians often draw a comparison that could initially seem outlandish. The war that France fought in Algeria, they said, cleaved French society, opening crises of identity and integration that still drive politics, much as the Civil War lurks within the racial and regional politics still roiling the United States. “The Algerian war was a French civil war,” Benjamin Stora, the conflict’s foremost historian, said in a recent interview from his home in Paris. In Algeria, independence groups fought to end 130 years of French rule. Within France, Mr. Stora said, the war was an ideological conflict over “two conceptions of the nation,” one that saw France as an empire and Algeria as core to its greatness, and another that rejected colonialism. The war also became a struggle over whether French identity could expand to include the mostly Muslim Algerians. Continue reading the main story When France withdrew in defeat in 1962, the guns quieted, but those tensions over identity only intensified in France. The New York Times



Photo: Adam Jones