Africa Media Review for May 30, 2018

Envisioning a Stable South Sudan
The internal conflict and resulting humanitarian crisis embroiling South Sudan since December 2013 has exposed the country’s fragility. A weak national identity, ethnically based violence, a legacy of violent conflict resolution, personalized and patronage-based politics, weak institutional checks on the abuse of power, and the absence of encompassing leadership, among other factors, all pose obstacles to peacebuilding. As a result, envisaging a stable South Sudan has become increasingly difficult for many South Sudanese and external observers. With regional and international diplomacy rightly focused on negotiating an immediate end to hostilities, the Africa Center for Strategic Studies has asked a selection of South Sudanese and international scholars, security practitioners, and civil society leaders to share their visions of the strategic issues South Sudan must address if it is to make a transition from its current state of dissimilation to a more stable reality in the near to medium term. Africa Center for Strategic Studies

A Never-Ending Hunger Season Is Plaguing South Sudan
The hunger season came early this year. By February, once seen as a time of plenty, Nyabolli Chok had run out of food for her three children in their village here in South Sudan. She knew they had to leave. “We were eating leaves off of trees,” she said, describing how she boiled them into a watery soup.“ Ron reath,” she said — her words for the hunger season. South Sudan’s dozens of ethnic groups use different names for the months when food becomes scarce until the next harvest. But the fears are the same: malnutrition, disease, even death. And this year is expected to be the worst yet. More than four years of civil war — most of this young country’s existence — have chased millions from their homes, leaving countless farms abandoned. The economy has been obliterated. Fighting has overcome some of the nation’s most productive land. Food prices are ruinously high. The New York Times

Libya Rivals Agree ‘Historic’ Election Plan
Rival factions in Libya have agreed to hold parliamentary and presidential elections on 10 December. The four groups, meeting in the French capital, Paris, also agreed to adopt the necessary laws by mid-September. French President Emmanuel Macron described the accord as historic and an essential step towards reconciliation. Libya has been in a state of lawlessness since the toppling and killing of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.  Uganda Turns to Its Dark History to Attract Tourists The North African nation is now controlled by disparate armed groups and fighting is continuing in the east and south of the country. European leaders see stabilising Libya as key to tackling jihadist threats and migration from the country, which has become a departure point for hundreds of thousands of Africans trying to reach Europe. BBC

Libya: Haftar Forces Take Control of Entrance to Derna
Libyan forces led by Khalifa Haftar, commander of Libyan forces backed by the Tobruk-based parliament, announced it has taken control of the western entrance of Derna city in addition to another four sites in the city’s vicinity. On May 17, armed clashes erupted between Haftar-led forces and the Derna Protection Force (DPF) — formerly known as Mujahideen Shura Council (MSC)– in the vicinity of the city, causing killings and injuries on both sides. Ahmed al-Mesmari, a spokesman for forces loyal to Libya’s Tobruk-based parliament announced on his Facebook official page, that the Haftar-led forces took control on Monday over the highest area, which directly overlooks Bab Tobruk district in Derna. Anadolu Agency

Ethiopia Govt Confirms Release of Andargachew Tsige, 500 Others Today
The Ethiopian government has confirmed the release of Andargachew Tsige, a leading opposition member with British citizenship. Addis Ababa announced a pardon for Tsige and over 500 other prisonsers last Saturday. A keen wait for his release on Monday failed due to what was referred to as misinformation given to his family. There was elaborate welcome preparations at his residence in the capital Addis Ababa and the United Kingdom embassy is also said to be involved in the release process. Africa News

Ethiopia Drops Charges Against 2 US-Based Broadcasters
An Ethiopian court has dropped charges against two U.S.-based media outlets once accused of coordinating anti-government protests, as well as a high-profile politician and opposition activist.The developments reported by the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate are the latest under new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who since his installation in April has secured the release of several thousands of prisoners.Charges were dropped against broadcasters ESAT and OMN and activist Jawar Mohammed.Charges also were dropped against politician Berhanu Nega, who leads the opposition Patriotic Ginbot 7 group and was previously sentenced to death.Also Tuesday, Ethiopia-born British national Andgargachew Tsige walked free after being pardoned Saturday on special circumstances. AP

High Court Suspends Portions of Kenya Cybercrime Law
The High Court in Kenya has temporarily suspended sections of the Cybercrime law. Justice John Mativo issued the directive Tuesday in a case in which the Bloggers Association of Kenya sued the Attorney-General, the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Inspector-General of Police and the Director of Public Prosecution over the Computer Misuse and Cyber Crimes Act 2018. The Kenya Union of Journalists and Article 19, a lobby that deals with freedom of expression and information, are listed as interested parties in the case. According to the bloggers, the disputed law contains provisions which deny, infringe and threaten freedom of expression, media and persons besides the right to privacy, property and a fair hearing. They said the millions of internet users were at risk of being arrested and prosecuted for unconstitutional offences. The East African

Congo Ruling Party Shows All Signs of Seeking Kabila Third Term
From the sprawling capital Kinshasa to villages deep in the equatorial forests, Congo’s ruling PPRD is in full-on election campaign mode – and President Joseph Kabila’s face is everywhere. The deadline for declaring candidates for Democratic Republic of Congo’s scheduled Dec. 23 poll is just over two months away, and Kabila, 46, is officially not allowed to run again. But his bearded portrait smiles down from billboards and T-shirts being printed by his People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD), while there is no sign of a successor. After a reshuffle this month of Congo’s Constitutional Court and provocative comments from members of his inner circle, suspicion is rife that Kabila – in power since the death of his father, Laurent, in 2001 – intends to bypass the constitution and run for a third term. Reuters

Bongo Bids to Entrench Power in Gabon before Parliamentary Vote
Gabons Ali Bongo almost lost his grip on the oil-producing central African nation in its closest-ever presidential elections in 2016. Signs are that hes trying to make sure it wont happen again.Armed with constitutional reforms in January that give him the power to push through policies without consulting parliament and that impose no presidential term limits, Bongo, 59, is strengthening his position since he replaced his father, Omar Bongo, who ruled for 41 years until his death in 2008. Legislative elections have been postponed twice since December 2016, and while theyre supposed to be held this year, no date has been set.The new constitution overwhelmingly concentrates power in the presidency and specifically ensures that the head of state retains influence over national policies even when the opposition wins the majority of parliamentary seats, said Maja Bovcon, senior Africa analyst at risk analysis company Verisk Maplecroft. Bloomberg

A Quarter of Central African Republic Population Displaced by Conflict: UN
More than a quarter of the Central African Republic’s population have left their homes because of conflict, new UN figures published on Tuesday showed. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the number of people who had been internally displaced within the CAR reached 669 997 in April, a rise of more than 70% over the year. Added to this are people who have fled the violence in CAR to take up refuge in neighbouring countries – 570 000. Together, the total comes to more than 1.23 million, out of a population of 4.5 million. One of the world’s poorest countries, the CAR plunged into a religious-tinged conflict in 2013 when a mainly-Muslim rebel alliance, the Seleka, overthrew the majority-Christian country’s president, Francois Bozize. AFP

Somaliland Authorities Arrest Demonstrators, Journalists Covering Protest
Police in Somalia’s breakaway Somaliland region arrested more than 40 protesters and two journalists at a demonstration in a town whose ownership is disputed by a neighbouring region, a police officer said. Protesters marched through the town of Las Anod on Monday, shouting in support of rejoining the federal government, based in Mogadishu, residents said. “We arrested 47 demonstrators including women and youth who were misled,” said Abdirisak Mohamed Faarah, police commander for Somaliland’s Sool region, said at a news conference in Las Anod on Monday. Africa News

External Actors Urged to Stop Meddling in Somalia’s Affairs
The chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, has expressed concern over “increasing instances” of interference by “non-African actors” in Somalia’s internal affairs. During a meeting at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa on Sunday with Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire, Faki said such actions threaten peace-building efforts in Somalia, according to a statement from the AU. Without referring to specific countries, Faki urged all “concerned external actors” to “refrain from any actions that might undermine Somalia’s progress”, saying such action “risks reversing the hard-won gains so far made in the country thanks to the sacrifices of African Union Mission in Somalia [AMISOM] forces and the Somali security forces”. Al Jazeera

Piracy Grew off East Africa in 2017
Pirate activity off East Africa doubled in 2017 compared to the previous year, according to a new report, indicating that Somali criminal networks are still capable of sophisticated attacks. Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP), in it’s The State of Maritime Piracy 2017 report, said that for 2017 it recorded a total of 54 incidents in the Western Indian Ocean Region, an increase of 100 percent from 2016, which saw 27 incidents. These incidents included one hijacking, three kidnappings, three robberies, 15 failed attacks and 32 incidents of suspicious activity. 2017 saw an increase in the number of seafarers affected by incidents of piracy and armed robbery at sea, from 545 in 2016 to 1 102 in 2017. For the first time in two years, OBP recorded incidents of hijacking and kidnapping at sea off East Africa. Suspicious activity continued to be the highest represented incident in the region in 2017. There was a significant increase from 13 recorded incidents in 2016, to 32 in 2017. DefenceWeb

On Mali Visit, UN Chief Asks Donors to Back G5 Sahel Force
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed to donors Tuesday to provide more predictable support to the G5 Sahel force fighting to contain West African jihadists. He spoke while on a visit to Mali, the country worst affected by Islamist militants. A conference in February of about 50 countries including the United States, Japan and Norway pledged 414 million euros ($509 million) for the G5 Sahel force, made up of troops from Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania. But the force has been planned for years, yet has only got off the ground in the past few months as little of the pledge donations appear to have reached the force to keep it afloat. VOA

Zimbabwe to Have Elections on July 30, Says President
Zimbabwe will hold elections on Jul. 30, according to an announcement by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in a government notice. These will be Zimbabwe’s first ever elections since independence from white minority rule in 1980 without the participation of Robert Mugabe, who resigned in November amid pressure from the military, his party and the public. The elections will be for president as well as for parliamentary and council seats. Nelson Chamisa, 40, head of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change will be Mnangagwa’s main challenger, and there are many smaller parties. AP

Uganda Turns to Its Dark History to Attract Tourists
Looking to attract more tourists, the government of Uganda plans to unveil a war museum showcasing colonial-era wars and more recent conflicts. It will feature a figure many Ugandans would rather not remember — the late president Idi Amin. Gifted by Nature is a slogan Uganda uses to promote its tourism, especially wildlife, primates, and freshwater lakes. The tourist trade brings in more than $1.3 billion per year. Now, Uganda plans to join countries such as Germany, Cambodia, Japan and Rwanda as destinations for what is known as dark tourism. A planned war museum will showcase Uganda’s long history of conflict. Exhibits will focus on the colonial era, the Lord’s Resistance Army war, and President Idi Amin’s bloody eight-year rule, when as many as 500,000 people were killed in political or ethnic persecution. VOA

Credit Agency Warns of Debt Crisis in Africa
Interests on debts owed by 11 African countries were at a crisis level, a new report says. The 11 were part of the World Bank’s Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) Initiative of the early 1990s. The report from international credit agency Standard and Poor’s (S&P) lists Uganda, Rwanda and Ethiopia among the 11 countries where the HIPC Initiative had failed. It says that more than two decades after HIPC, debt-servicing costs were back to pre-crisis levels and have been increasing since 2011. “Does this mean that the World Bank’s aim to ensure that the world’s poorest countries were not burdened by unmanageable or unsustainable debt has faltered? Arguably, yes,” the report says. The East African