Africa Media Review for May 29, 2019

Malawi President Sworn into Office after Securing Re-Election
Malawi’s May 21 elections came to an end – in the absence of any court challenge after the electoral commission (MEC) declared incumbent Peter Mutharika as winner in a hotly contested presidential race. A High Court lifted an injunction allowing the MEC to announce final results of the poll on Monday. Mutharika secures his second and final term as president. He has since been sworn in at a ceremony in the city of Blantyre. Citizens went to the polls on Tuesday, May 21, casting their votes to elect a president, members of parliament and local government councillors. His main challengers were his former deputy, Saulos Chilima, and the leader of the country’s biggest opposition party, Lazarus Chakwera. Africa News

US Removing Eritrea from Counterterror Non-Cooperation List
Eritrea is being removed from the United States government’s list of countries deemed not to be cooperating fully with U.S. counterterror efforts. The reclusive East African nation is no longer listed on the announcement that will be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday. Still listed on the U.S. announcement are Iran, North Korea, Syria and Venezuela. Eritrea is one of the world’s most closed-off nations but last year it agreed to a remarkable restoration of ties with neighboring Ethiopia, two decades after a bloody border war. The diplomatic breakthrough contributed to the United Nations Security Council lifting sanctions on Eritrea late last year. A U.S. congressional delegation earlier this year visited Eritrea for the first time in 14 years. VOA

Sudan’s 48-Hour National Strike: Flights Disrupted, Offices Shut
A two-day general strike in Sudan started in the wee hours of Tuesday morning with public services largely grounded across the country, multiple reports have shown. The latest move is a resort being used by the protest leaders to push for a civilian-led transition. The country is in a state of flux since April 11 when the military ousted long-serving Omar Al-Bashir. A significant effect of the action is the paralyzing of airports with staff having joined the strike call. Travelers have been left stranded in the wake of the compliance. Hours to the start of the action, several government-run institutions expressed their support with activists posting photos and statements to that effect on social media platforms.  Africa News

Strikers in Sudan Push Military to Cede Power
Chanting anti-government slogans, workers lined up outside the upscale al-Waha shopping center in downtown Khartoum, demanding an end to the country’s 30-year military rule. “Our martyrs lost their lives,” they shouted, referring to the dozens of people killed since December in Sudan’s revolution. “We can lose our jobs.” Tuesday was the first day of a two-day nationwide strike called by opposition leaders demanding that Sudan’s military junta transfer power to a civilian government. The junta took power in April following the ouster of longtime president Omar al-Bashir after months of street protests. Bashir had ruled for nearly 30 years and was accused of human rights abuses and corruption. VOA

Fighting Resumes in South Sudan
Fighting between government forces and fighters of the National Salvation Front (NAS) led by General Thomas Cirillo has resumed in South Sudan’s Yei River State. In a statement seen by the press, NAS spokesperson Suba Samuel said government forces caused unrest in Lanyia and Wonduruba on Sunday and in Yei River State on Monday. He alleged that the attack was a plot by Juba to defeat the rebels and force them to surrender and join the revitalised peace deal. “Fighting started on Sunday 26 and continue until 27th May,” the statement reads. The number of casualties has not yet been established. South Sudan army official spokesperson was unavailable for comment when contacted.  The East African

Villagers Kill Ebola Health Worker in Eastern DR Congo
Villagers in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo killed a health worker engaged in the fight against a major Ebola outbreak and looted a treatment centre, according to an official report seen Monday by AFP. “Part of the population of Vusahiro village, in the health sector of Mabalako (North Kivu province), rose up and attacked the local team fighting back against Ebola,” said the daily health ministry bulletin dated Sunday. It said the incident happened on Saturday. “A hygiene agent in the team for the prevention and control of infections died of his injuries during his transfer to the hospital,” health authorities said in the bulletin. “The health centre in Vusahiro was trashed and looted and three village houses were burned down,” the bulletin added.  AFP

Uganda’s Ex-Prime Minister Nsibambi Dies
Uganda’s former prime minister Apollo Nsibambi, who occupied the office for 12 years from April 1999 to May 2011, passed on on Tuesday, according to local media reports and the government spokesperson. Ofwono Opondo tweeted saying government had been informed of the prime minister’s death and would be issuing a statement shortly. Africa News

Sadc Rejects Burundi’s Application to Join Bloc
President Hage Geingob yesterday revealed that the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc), of which he is chairman, has rejected the latest application by Burundi to become part of the regional bloc. Burundi’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ezechiel Nibigira paid a courtesy call on President Geingob in April to trump up support for his country’s attempt to become a member of Sadc. The regional body’s evaluation team visited Burundi this month for inspections on whether the country meets the requirements before being admitted as Sadc member. Nibigira is a special envoy of Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza on the matter. But Burundi has for the past few years failed to meet the admission requirements. Much of this is attributed to the fact that Burundi first needed to resolve the internal political instability that Nkurunziza is alleged to have provoked in 2015 when he sought a third term in office. The New Times

Don’t Take Our Troops for Granted, France Warns West African States
West African states fighting Islamist militancy in the region should not take France’s military presence for granted because Paris will not be there forever, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Tuesday. The Sahel region is suffering from a spike of violence from militant groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State, highlighting the difficulty international partners face in restoring regional stability. The northern region of Burkina Faso, bordering Mali and Niger, has been especially hard hit in recent months, while spiraling ethnic conflicts have also added to the instability. “The authorities of the countries in the Sahel should not stay in the comfort zone of thinking Barkhane (French forces) is behind them,” Le Drian told the parliamentary foreign affairs committee.  Reuters

Ghana Is Getting Pulled into the Global War on Terror as Local Churches Go on Alert
[…] Ghana is in a state of alert because this staunchly religious country is grappling with a question it has never had to contemplate: how will it keep its places of worship safe—particularly churches? The security concerns have been precipitated by terror attacks in northern neighbor Burkina Faso where extremists have attacked churches. The latest attack occurred on May 26 with four worshippers being killed. Since April, 18 worshippers and two priests have been killed in four separate attacks in Burkina Faso. Since 2015, nearly 400 people have been killed—according to a tally by the AFP news agency. While no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks on churches, the finger is being pointed at Sahelian militants aligned to global terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda. Quartz

Northwest Nigeria Violence Drives 20,000 into Niger -UNHCR
Violence in northwest Nigeria has forced around 20,000 refugees to flee to neighbouring Niger since April, the United Nations refugee agency said on Tuesday. It voiced concern about deteriorating security conditions in the West African country, where military and police have been deployed to tackle criminal gangs behind a spate of killings and kidnappings. Security forces are already stretched tackling the decade-long insurgency by Islamist group Boko Haram in the northeast. “This is not Boko Haram related in any way,” UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch told a media briefing. “People are reportedly fleeing due to multiple reasons, including clashes between farmers and herders of different ethnic groups, vigilantism, as well as kidnappings for ransom,” he said.  Reuters

Nigeria Accused of ‘Scurrilous’ Attempt to Gag Press
Strict new conditions for covering government proceedings and the re-arrest of a prominent journalist on terrorism charges have raised concerns about deteriorating press freedom in Nigeria. To be permitted to report on the country’s National Assembly, the highest law-making authority, journalists will now have to prove that their media outlet has a daily circulation of 40,000 copies or online media 5,000 daily views. Journalists will also have to show they have two years’ experience covering the assembly on a temporary basis, be members of the Nigerian journalists’ union, and fit other criteria listed by the assembly’s director of information, Emmanuel Rawlings Agada. The new rules, due to take effect on 11 June, are “primitive, undemocratic and blatantly anti-press and anti-people”, the Nigerian Guild of Editors said in a statement. The Guardian

Algeria Students Protest against Army Chief
Thousands of Algerian students and teachers took to the streets of the capital Tuesday chanting slogans against the armed forces’ chief currently dominating the country and plans for an election in July. Protesters are keeping up the pressure on the ruling elite with demands for more sweeping changes in the North African state nearly two months after veteran president Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned. Military chief Ahmed Gaid Salah has emerged as a de facto strongman after easing his former boss from power but demonstrators insist he and other Bouteflika-era stalwarts must go before a new presidential poll can be held. “No elections, mafia gangs,” shouted the crowds as they marched peacefully through Algiers in the face of heavy police deployment. The latest protests came as Gaid Salah called for “mutual concessions” between the country’s interim leaders and those taking to the streets.  AFP

Tunisia’s Nidaa Tounes Party Chooses New Leader
A former director of Tunisia’s presidential cabinet was elected leader of Nidaa Tounes, the secularist political party announced on Tuesday. According to a party statement, Selma Elloumi Rekik was elected unanimously at a Tuesday meeting of Nidaa Tounes leaders. In the statement, Nidaa Tounes welcomed “this important step taken towards building the party”. On May 15, Rekik abruptly resigned as director of Tunisia’s presidential cabinet — a position she held since last November. Established in 2012, Nidaa Tounes won a majority of seats in Tunisia’s 2014 parliamentary election. In the same year, party founder Beji Caid Essebsi won Tunisia’s presidential election.  Anadolu Agency

Tunisia Media Magnate Announces Presidential Bid
The controversial founder of a major private television channel in Tunisia has said he will run for presidency of the North African nation in November polls. Nabil Karoui, 50, announced his decision late Monday in a live interview with his broadcaster Nessma TV, playing up his highly-publicised charity work. Karoui is looking to take over from outgoing President Beji Caid Essesbi, 92, whom he backed during the last election in 2014. The media boss has been accused by regulators and some politicians of using Nessma to bolster his ambitions. Karoui has launched high-profile charity campaigns in recent years, handing out food and clothing in front of cameras from Nessma, which he launched in 2007.  AFP

Uganda Seeks $927 Million to Support Refugee Population
The Ugandan government and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees are calling on the donor community to extend $927 million to support the over 1.2 million refugees living in Uganda. But the appeal is complicated by the alleged misuse of previous contributions. Located next to several countries in conflict, Uganda has become host to huge refugee populations. Currently there are 792,000 South Sudanese, 417,000 Congolese and more than 35,000 Burundians, among others. The $927 million sought would pay for water, sanitation, food, health care, shelter and other basic needs for the refugees. Jens Hessemann is the senior field coordinator for the U.N. refugee agency in Uganda. VOA

Confusion over Hand-Over of Remains of Angola’s Rebel Leader Jonas Savimbi
The exhumed body of Angolan rebel leader Jonas Savimbi was expected to be received by his family and members of the opposition UNITA on Tuesday, but a last-minute decision by the government has added confusion ahead of his long-awaited burial. Members of his family and UNITA had asked the government to bury Savimbi in his home village near the city of Kuito. His body has been buried since his death in 2002 in the neighbouring province of Moxico. The government had agreed to bring his remains to Kuito in Blé province, but a last-minute decision by the office of the President meant the remains were sent to a military convoy in Andulo, where no family or UNITA members are present. RFI

Tanzania, Zambia Plan $1.5 Billion Oil Products Pipeline: Tanzania Minister
Tanzania and Zambia plan to build a refined products pipeline to transport petroleum between the two countries at a cost of $1.5 billion, Tanzania’s Energy minister said on Tuesday. Zambia, Africa’s top copper producer, imports most of its petroleum requirements, mainly from the Middle East, through the port of Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania. Medard Kalemani said in a presentation of his ministry’s 2019/20 (July-June) budget that the pipeline would run from the commercial capital Dar es Salaam to Zambia’s mining city of Ndola, some 1,349 km away. Kalemani, speaking in Tanzania’s administrative capital Dodoma, did not give a time frame for when the project would kick off, but said that in the coming fiscal year, they planned to complete a feasibility study. He also gave no details on how it would be financed.  Reuters

Africa’s Elephant Poaching Is in Decline, Analysis Suggests
Elephant poaching rates in Africa are declining, according to a study published in the journal Nature Communications. The annual poaching mortality rate fell from a high of more than 10% in 2011 to less than 4% in 2017, but the researchers warned that current levels were still unsustainable and could spell trouble for the future of the animals on the continent. An estimated 350,000 elephants remain in Africa, but 10,000 to 15,000 are killed by poachers every year. The team, from the University of York, University of Freiburg and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, analysed data from 53 protected sites across 29 countries between 2002 and 2017. The Guardian

Who Brings the Internet to Africa’s Remote Regions?
African countries are now the world leaders when it comes to the use of mobile networks for everything from money transfers to government services. And Africa’s digital revolution could be much more advanced if it weren’t for the blatant lack of reliable infrastructure across the continent. However, things are changing. US tech giants such as Facebook, Amazon and Google are pushing their way into Africa’s digital market. They’re investing in satellites, helium balloons and drones so that even the most remote corners of the continent can remain connected. The Chinese-led ‘Digital Silk Road’ project has also been getting lots of attention, which aims to help developing countries expand their digital infrastructure. The project involves China taking technology from telecommunications company Huawei to Africa. Deutsche Welle



Photo: Adam Jones