Africa Media Review for May 7, 2019

Militant Attacks in Mozambique Kill Seven, Threaten Voter Registration
Suspected Islamists have killed seven people in northern Mozambique in weekend attacks, threatening aid to victims of Cyclone Kenneth and paralysing ongoing voter registration for October elections, local sources said on Monday. Islamist fighters have terrorised remote communities in Mozambique’s gas-rich, Muslim-majority Cabo Delgado region since October 2017, killing around 200 people and forcing thousands from their homes. Between Friday and Sunday at least four separate villages were attacked in northern Cabo Delgado, local sources said. “Armed men invaded the district of Meluco, specifically the village of Minhanha, killed three people, and burned about 100 houses on Sunday night,” a local source, who did not want to be identified fearing retaliation, told AFP.  AFP

Envoy Says African Union to Discuss Sudan Report in Two Weeks
The African Union’s envoy to protest-hit Sudan said Monday that a progress report on the country’s political transition will be discussed by the bloc’s peace and security council in a fortnight. “One week has passed and two weeks remain for this report to be presented and studied and for adequate measures to be taken”, Mohamed El Hacen Lebatt told reporters in Khartoum. On May 1 the AU gave Sudan’s military rulers another 60 days to hand over power to a civilian authority, after they missed a deadline of April 30. The original deadline was set by the AU on April 15, some four days after president Omar al-Bashir was deposed and a military council seized control of the country.  AFP

Sudan’s Military Council Agrees to Proposals of Mediation Team
The Sudanese team mediating between the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the forces of Freedom and Change has proposed the formation of a leadership council for Sudan, consisting of seven civilians and three military personnel, to be headed by the current chairman of the TMC, Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan. The mediation team further suggested the establishment of a National Security and Defence Council, consisting of seven military and three civilians. The TMC has agreed to the proposals. The team which includes prominent journalist Mahjoub Mohamed Saleh and businessman Osama Daoud, has been set-up to bridge the gap between the opposition coalition and the TMC over the division of powers and the formation of a new government.  Radio Dabanga

Sudan’s Military Council Issuing Draft Constitution
Sudan’s ruling Transitional Military Council has said it will publish its own suggested constitutional draft after disagreeing with some points in the opposition’s draft. A revised constitution is part of negotiated efforts between the military and protest groups to form a joint military-civilian council before elections. But protesters remain skeptical. Sudan’s Transitional Military Council is to publish its own draft constitution on Monday, after disagreeing with parts of one proposed by an alliance of activists and opposition groups. Spokesman for the TMC Shams El-Din Kabashi at a news conference Sunday said while there was some dispute, there was still room for negotiation. He said, “for us it’s a good draft, it has many points we agree on it. With them (protesters), there are a lot of points of disagreement. And that can be handled with negotiations between us and them.”  VOA

In South Africa Elections, A.N.C. Can’t Count on Black Middle-Class Voters
[…] The A.N.C., the party that was led by Nelson Mandela and helped free black South Africans, is all but certain to garner the most votes nationally in the election, ensuring that Mr. Ramaphosa will win a five-year term as South Africa’s president. Nearly as significant, the political fate of Gauteng — the nation’s richest province, home to Johannesburg and Pretoria as well as the biggest concentration of black middle-class voters — rests on how they will cast their ballots. The loss of Gauteng would be a big blow to the A.N.C., which lost control over the nation’s second richest province, the Western Cape, a decade ago. It would increasingly transform the A.N.C. into a party dependent on poor urban and rural voters — the people over whom it holds sway through social benefits and patronage.  The New York Times

Post-Apartheid South Africa Is World’s Most Unequal Country
[…] Unemployment in the country of 56 million people soars past 25%. There are tire-burning protests almost every day over the lack of basic services like working toilets in mostly black neighborhoods. Whites still hold much of the wealth and private levers of power, while blacks trim their lawns and clean their homes. “We find virtually no whites living below the middle class,” Fazila Farouk and Murray Leibbrandt with the Southern Africa Labor and Development Research Unit wrote last year. “Whites have, in fact, comfortably improved their economic status in post-apartheid South Africa because our economy channels such a big share of national income to the top 10%.” Half of South Africans are in households with per capita income of 1,149 rand ($90) or less a month, they wrote, with little chance to change their fortunes despite working hard as maids or security guards. “Put bluntly, they’re stuck,” Farouk and Leibbrandt concluded. AP

Understanding the Underlying Drivers of Armed Conflict in South Sudan (video)
The crisis in South Sudan remains one of the most overlooked humanitarian tragedies in the world today. Since falling into civil conflict in December 2013, South Sudanese civilians have endured repeated, ethnically based attacks and a proliferation of armed groups. An estimated 400,000 people have been killed as a result of the fighting, a third of the population (over 4.3 million people) has been displaced, and 6.5 million people face acute food insecurity. On the occasion of the release of the book, The Struggle for South Sudan: Challenges of Security and State Formation (I.B. Tauris), edited by Luka Biong Deng Kuol and Sarah Logan, the Africa Center for Strategic Studies hosted a panel discussion to assess the fundamental challenges to stability in South Sudan including impediments to state formation and national identity, the need for a social contract, the securitization of governance, the role of ethnicity, and the lack of accountable leadership. Panelists, including several of the book’s contributors, represented decades of experience grappling with these issues in South Sudan. Africa Center for Strategic Studies

South Sudan Activists’ Bodies Dumped in River: State Agents
The bodies of two prominent South Sudan activists were dumped in Achwa River in Nimule after being killed, intelligence sources said. The sources said the two critics of President Salva Kiir’s government Mr. Dong Samuel, a lawyer and human rights defender and opposition politician Izbon Agrey Idri corpses were transported from Juba to Nimule where they were dumped in the river. “They were taken the same day they got killed in Juba,” one intelligence source told Africa Review. He added that the river was a notorious dumping site of people executed by the state agents.  The East African

South Sudan: 17 Killed, 10 Injured in Boma Inter-Communal Clashes
At least 17 people were killed, 10 wounded and 104 others are reported missing in inter-communal clashes in parts of South Sudan’s Boma State since last week Thursday, an official said. Boma State local government minister Natabo Abraham Nyitaak told Radio Tamazuj that the clashes which were ongoing until Saturday evening broke out when heavily armed Murle youth attacked a neighboring community in Nachumajori area near Jebel Boma County on Thursday afternoon. “According to the report I received, 2 were killed from Jie and 15 from the attackers. We have 43 women and 61 children missing. Up to now, it is confirmed that 60,000 cows and over 140, 000 goats and sheep were raided,” he said.  Radio Tamazuj

Exiled Opposition Leader Katumbi to Return to DR Congo ‘On May 20’
In an exclusive interview, DR Congo’s exiled opposition leader Moïse Katumbi on Monday told FRANCE 24 and its sister station RFI that he plans to return to his homeland on May 20 – three years on the day since he left. “It is certain, on May 20, I will be in Lubumbashi,” Katumbi told FRANCE 24’s Marc Perelman and RFI’s Christophe Boisbouvier in an exclusive interview on May 6. Katumbi said that after returning to Lubumbashi he plans to set out on a nationwide tour, saying he wants to “comfort” the people of DR Congo, especially “families who have been ill treated […] and who have lived through hell”.  France 24

Millions Hungry as Drought Grips Somalia
Drought has left nearly two million Somalis in desperate need of food, a humanitarian agency warned Monday, as poor rainfall pushes communities to the brink across East Africa. The Norwegian Refugee Council said hundreds of thousands of children were already suffering malnutrition in Somalia and millions had abandoned their homes in search of food in the arid, conflict-torn nation. “The humanitarian situation has deteriorated at an alarming rate as a result of the drought,” Victor Moses, the council’s country director in Somalia, said in a statement. The failure of the so-called long rains that usually sweep East Africa between March and May has caused widespread crop failures and heaped immense pressure on livestock-dependent communities in the greater region. Somalia is enduring its third-driest long rains season since 1981.  AFP

UN Rights Chief: Cameroon Has Brief Window to Try to Halt Violence
Cameroon needs a rapid and deep-rooted effort to tackle a crisis of violence that has erupted in several areas of the country, U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said on Monday at the end of a visit to the West African country. Violence has spilled over Cameroon’s borders from Nigeria, Chad and Central African Republic, while crackdowns on separatists in the southwest and Islamists in the northeast have caused long-running tensions to flare up, the U.N. has said. Bachelet said the situation could spiral out of control and the challenges are immense, with ten or more separatist movements. “I believe there is a clear — if possibly short — window of opportunity to arrest the crises that have led to hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people, as well as the killings and brutal human rights violations and abuses that have affected the northern and western areas of the country,” she said in a statement.  VOA

Kenyan Activist Arrested for Allegedly Plotting Revolution
A Kenyan police official says activist Boniface Mwangi is a person of interest in an alleged plot to stage a revolution against President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government. George Muchiri, the officer investigating the case, said Monday that he has “reasons to believe that Boniface Mwangi has information that may assist the police with the inquiry over a revolution (plot).” Mwangi told The Associated Press by telephone that he gave police a statement denying the accusations and was released without charge. Mwangi said in a Facebook post after his release that Kenyans are angry, hungry and broke. “They feel like revolting against bad governance and corruption, and the government is afraid it’s going to happen. Revolution is not treason.”  AP

Kenya’s Controversial Biometric Project
A 60 million dollar government initiative to collect the data of millions of Kenyans has been criticised by civil rights groups. The aim is to store the fingerprints, personal data and ID numbers of the entire population of Kenya. Some civil rights groups are so concerned that they have taken the matter to Kenya’s High Court that will in a few weeks time make a decision about the project. Keren Weitzberg is a teaching fellow at the University of London and is currently working on a project on ID cards and biometrics in Kenya.  BBC

Namibia Declares National State of Emergency over Drought
The Namibian government has declared a national state of emergency with respect to a drought that has hit several areas in the southern African nation. A statement from the presidency attributed to the president Hage Geingob said: “the State of Emergency exists on account of the natural disaster of drought in all regions of the Republic of Namibia.” “Offices, Ministries and Agencies and all other stakeholders will be mobilized to ensure that the necessary assistance is rolled out to affected communities,” the statement added. The government has this month confirmed that it will subsidise farmers who reduce their herds as part of its drought intervention. The top official of the department of agricultural development, Sophia Kasheeta, is quoted by the Namibian news portal as saying the ministry will give marketing incentives to farmers who want to sell their livestock to encourage them to reduce the numbers. Africa News

Report: Ethiopia’s Garment Workers Are World’s Lowest Paid
Ethiopian garment factory workers are now, on average, the lowest paid in any major garment-producing company worldwide, a new report says. The report by the New York University Stern Center for Business and Human Rights comes as Ethiopia, one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies, pursues a bold economic experiment by inviting the global garment industry to set up shop in its mushrooming industrial parks. “The government’s eagerness to attract foreign investment led it to promote the lowest base wage in any garment-producing country — now set at the equivalent of $26 a month,” according to the authors of the report, Paul M. Barrett and Dorothée Baumann-Pauly. In comparison, Chinese garment workers earn $340 a month, those in Kenya earn $207 and those in Bangladesh earn $95.  AP

African Nations Call for an End to Ivory Ban
African nations home to more than half the world’s population of elephants on Monday called for an end to the ban on sales of ivory. Delegates from six countries attended a summit in Botswana this week where they discussed how to persuade the world to lift the 30-year-old ban imposed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, CITES. The attendees, which included heads of state from Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia, stressed they want to be able to sell huge stockpiles of ivory to boost funds for conservation and anti-poaching. Mokweetsi Masisi, the president of Botswana, said on his arrival at Kusane that the summit’s theme was: “Towards a common vision for the management of our elephants.”  The Telegraph



Photo: Adam Jones