Africa Media Review for May 23, 2017

South Sudan’s Kiir Declares Unilateral Ceasefire, Prisoner Release
The president of war-ravaged South Sudan declared a unilateral ceasefire on Monday and promised to release political prisoners, but with no sign of a political deal with rebels it was not clear whether a truce would take hold. South Sudan has been mired in a civil war since 2013, when President Salva Kiir fired his deputy, Riek Machar. The conflict, fanned by ethnic rivalries, has sparked Africa’s worst refugee crisis since the 1994 Rwandan genocide and plunged part of the country into famine. “I directed the prosecutor general to immediately review the cases of those who have committed crime against the state, commonly known as political prisoners, and ensure the necessary steps taken are taken to lead their release,” Kiir said in a speech in the capital, Juba. Reuters

Sacked South Sudan Military Chief Meets President
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has held reconciliation talks with controversial former military chief Paul Malong. The Presidential Press Secretary, Mr Ateny Wek Ateny, confirmed to the media that the two leaders reconciled last Thursday in Juba after several days’ standoff. Was replaced “They have accepted to reconcile, and the reconciliation took place in front of all the delegates,” Mr Ateny said. Gen Malong was replaced by Gen James Ajongo. Following his removal from office, Gen Malong retreated to Yirol County, Eastern Lakes State, about 280km northwest of Juba. The East African

Gambian Ex-President Yahya Jammeh ‘Stole $50m’ from State
The Gambia’s former president stole “at least” $50m (£38.4m) from the state before he left the country in January, the justice minister has said. Yahya Jammeh is accused of withdrawing the money via a state telecoms company. A court has ordered all his remaining assets in The Gambia to be frozen. Mr Jammeh flew into Equatorial Guinea after 22 years in power. He lost an election in December and only agreed to step down after regional powers sent in troops threatening to force him out. BBC

EU Rejects Request to Lift Sanctions Imposed on Burundi
The European Union (EU) has rejected a request of the East African Community about abolishing restrictions on Burundi, saying the restrictions will continue until the political situation in the country changes. During the meeting of handing over the chairmanship of the regional block which took place in Dar es Salaam yesterday, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and President John Magufuli appealed to the European Union to drop the sanctions against Burundi. The Major political crisis has plagued Burundi since President Pierre Nkurunziza had decided to run for president for the third consecutive time with opponents arguing that it was a clear violation of the Arusha Accord that ended a civil war in Burundi. The Citizen

Three Killed in I.Coast Clashes Between Ex-Rebels and Police
Three people were killed when police clashed Tuesday with former rebels who had been blocking the road into Bouake, Ivory Coast’s second biggest city, to demand government compensation payments, an AFP reporter said. Three bloodied bodies were brought into the main Bouake hospital, the reporter said, shortly after police in the morning stepped in to clear the protesters who had blocked off the southern road into Bouake on Monday. AFP

Sudan, UN, AU Approve Plan for UNAMID Exit from Darfur
The tripartite mechanism of Sudan’s government, the United Nations and the African Union on Monday approved a joint work plan stipulating gradual withdrawal of the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) from many areas in the region. The tripartite mechanism on Monday held a meeting in Khartoum and reviewed the situations in Darfur with the focus on UNAMID’s exit strategy from the region. “At the end of the meeting the heads of the three delegations signed a joint communique,” said Sudan’s Foreign Ministry in a statement. “The communique reiterated full improvement of the security and humanitarian conditions in all Darfur states, and approved the recommendations earlier agreed upon which stipulate gradual exit of UNAMID from many areas and restructuring of the mission,” added the statement. Xinhua

Sudanese Official Hints to Egypt’s Involvement in Recent Darfur Fighting
A Sudanese official has hinted to the involvement of Egypt in supporting the recent rebels’ attacks in East and North Darfur states saying the attack aims to obstruct the permanent lift of U.S. sanctions imposed on Sudan. On Friday, fierce clashes erupted between government forces and the Sudan Liberation Movement – Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) and the SLM-Transitional Council, a splinter group from the SLM- Abdel Wahid in North and East Darfur. The government says the rebel fighters entered North and East Darfur states from Libya and South Sudan simultaneously. At a press conference in Khartoum Monday, the Sudanese Presidential Envoy for Diplomatic Contact and Negotiation for Darfur Amin Hassan Omer said it is well known that Egypt supports Libya and South Sudan militarily. Sudan Tribune

UN Libya Envoy Reveals ‘Road Map to Peace’
The UN envoy to Libya, Martin Kobler, revealed details of ‘A Road Map to Peace’ to The New Arab on Sunday, a recent initiative on resolving the Libyan crisis. “The idea came after my meetings with the various Libyan parties and neighbouring countries, which showed that there is consensus on moving forward in the implementation of the Libyan political agreement,” Kobler told The New Arab, adding that “all parties agree that must amendments and revisions made to allow progress towards peace and stability.” “The evidence is that we have seen the House of Representatives and the Supreme Council of the State forming dialogue committees to identify the main issues in the Libyan political agreement, which require further talks, a consensus on the agenda of these talks and decisions on the necessary amendments to allow the implementation of the agreement.” The New Arab

Lesotho’s Democratic Congress Signs Pledge to Accept Election Result
Lesotho Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s party the Democratic Congress has finally signed the Pledge to accept the outcome of the June 3 elections. This after the Christian Council of Lesotho expressed disappointment that the party hadn’t signed. This was a much awaited signature after churches were left wondering if the Prime Minister’s party was deliberately snubbing a pledge to accept the outcome of the upcoming elections. Deputy Leader Mathibeli Mokhothu finally signed, albeit five days later. Meanwhile, efforts continue to increase voter turnout from 46% in 2015 to 85%. SABC

Leader of Nigeria’s Ruling APC Party Warns of Coup Threat
Nigeria has paid a high price to achieve democracy and will foil any attempts by those hoping to stage a coup, the national leader of Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party said on Monday. Bola Tinubu’s warning came after the chief of army staff last week ordered officers to steer clear from politics and said he had received information that some soldiers had been approached by individuals for “undisclosed political reasons”. “Just a few days ago we heard a warning that some people were trying to entice the military out of the barracks. I want to add my voice to that warning,” Tinubu, who leads President Muhammadu Buhari’s APC party, said in a speech to the state assembly in Lagos. Reuters

South African Deputy President Supports Independent Probe into “State Capture”
South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday called for the establishment of an independent judicial commission to thoroughly investigate all allegations of “state capture.” “Only through such a commission will we be able to establish the extent to which the institutions of our state have been used to improperly – and illegally – enrich a few individuals and families,” Ramaphosa said while giving a lecture in the platinum-mining hub of Rustenburg, North West Province. He was referring to the Gupta saga in which the wealthy Indian Gupta family allegedly exerts undue influence on President Jacob Zuma in the appointments of cabinet ministers and CEOs of state-owned enterprises. Xinhua

The Dead Are Bidding for Government Business in South Africa
South Africa’s National Treasury has discovered about 12,000 dead people in its register of companies that do business with the state. This is among the outcomes of a clean-up of the information system that the Treasury’s procurement office undertook as the government battles to rein in spending, said Schalk Human, the unit’s acting head. It has also identified about 14,000 state employees who are listed as directors of companies that have been awarded state contracts in violation of regulations. “We will report on them even if we drag those 14,000 to court by their hair and lock them up,” Human said in an interview this month in Pretoria, the capital. Fighting graft and achieving savings have become even more necessary since two ratings companies downgraded the debt of Africa’s most-industrialized nation to junk. Fraud and inflated prices from suppliers consume as much as 40 percent of the state’s 600 billion-rand ($46 billion) budget for goods and services, Human’s predecessor, Kenneth Brown, said last year. Bloomberg

Why Dlamini-Zuma is Unlikely to Be South Africa’s Next President
While South African President Jacob Zuma is doing all in his power to ensure his pick — his ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma — is the next leader of the ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), and quite possibly of the country, the outcome of who will govern both is far from certain. Despite Zuma’s efforts to ensure ‘more of the same’ under his ex-wife’s leadership, others are determined to end the scandal-rich corruption and patronage system imposed by the president and which has severely hampered SA’s ability to grow new jobs, enhance living standards for the poor and deliver on basic services. Daily Nation

Zambia Considers Treason Charge Against Opposition Leader
A Zambian court will rule on whether it will proceed with a case of treason against the leader of the opposition. Haikande Hichilema was arrested and detained last month for allegedly obstructing President Edgar Lungu’s motorcade. Opposition members say the charges are baseless and are evidence of increasing authoritarianism. Al Jazeera

Millions of Dollars at Play as Kenyans Go into Their Most Expensive Election Yet
International propagandists, bulging campaign kitties and investments in modern technology are the key factors driving the campaigns of Kenya’s main political groupings — the Jubilee Party and National Super Alliance — in the run-up to the August 8 polls. Both Jubilee and Nasa have crafted classy campaign strategies, whose implementation, analysts said, will cost hundreds of millions of dollars to implement beginning May 28, when the official campaign period kicks off. According to Johnson Sakaja, a statistician and former chairman of The National Alliance, the party that catapulted President Uhuru Kenyatta to power in 2013, a successful presidential campaign requires about Ksh5 billion ($50 million). “Sometimes this figure can go up. Media and publicity take the lion’s share of the budget,” said Mr Sakaja, who is flying the Jubilee flag in the Nairobi senatorial race. The East African

As Ethiopian Seeks to Head WHO, Outbreak at Home Raises Questions
Ethiopia is battling an outbreak of acute watery diarrhea (AWD) that has affected more than 32,000 people. At the same time, Ethiopia’s former minister of health, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is a candidate to lead the World Health Organization. The two facts are linked in that critics of Tedros say he has tried to minimize the outbreak by refusing to classify it as cholera, a label that could harm Ethiopia’s economic growth. The WHO’s 194 member states will gather in Geneva for a 10-day assembly starting Monday. One of their first tasks is to choose the organization’s next director-general. Tedros is one of three top contenders for the position, along with candidates from Britain and Pakistan. VOA

Congo Breaks Ground on $58m China-Funded Parliament Building
The Republic of Congo broke ground on a new Chinese-funded parliament building in the capital Brazzaville on Monday estimated at over $58m. The investment from China’s government was criticised by opposition groups which pointed out that Congo is in the midst of an economic downturn. “This project helps to open the capital city to modernity” and “remains one of the biggest collaborative projects done by China in sub-Saharan Africa,” said planning minister Jean-Jacques Bouya. Congo’s longtime leader Denis Sassou Nguesso attended the inauguration ceremony in the presence of Qian Keming, China’s vice minister of commerce. News 24

These Are the Most Peaceful Countries in Africa in 2017
The stability of African countries were highlighted in the latest Fragile States Index released by United States think tank, Fund for Peace. The index ranks countries per their vulnerability to collapse based on twelve key political, social and economic indicators using the Conflict Assessment System Tool (CAST) analytical approach. The annual report released since 2005 has Mauritius ranked the least fragile country in Africa and 148th in the world. Mauritius is followed by Seychelles, Botswana, Ghana, Cape Verde, Namibia, Sao Tome and Principe, South Africa, Gabon and Tunisia. Africa News



Photo: Adam Jones