Africa Media Review for May 9, 2019

South Africa Election: ANC Leads as Votes Counted
Votes are being counted in South Africa’s general election, with President Cyril Ramaphosa hoping to prevent a slide in support for the governing African National Congress. With results declared in some 34% of districts, the ANC has won about 56% of the ballot, well ahead of the opposition Democratic Alliance on 25%. The governing party took 62% at the last election in 2014. Anger over the economy and corruption may have eroded its appeal. The radical Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), is in third place with 9%, based on the official early results. BBC

CSIR Predicts Biggest ANC Loss since ’94
The ANC will see its biggest decrease in support in its history once the vote count has been completed. This is according to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the SABC. With over 3-million votes counted the CSIR — in partnership with the SABC — predict that the ANC will only get 57.39% votes. This is a decline of 5.5% from the 2014 elections where the party attained 62% of the vote. Currently, the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has counted close to 30% of voting districts and it appears the ANC will see a substantial decline in support. According to the CSIR, it can make predictions after at least 10% of voting districts have been counted, despite large parts of metropolitan areas having yet to be declared. “On the provincial forecast, we are a bit worried because there are a lot of fluctuations still happening, but we are predicting that the ANC will get just above or below 50%. But Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal usually come in last, because these areas are quite large,” the CSIR said.  Mail and Guardian

IEC ‘Extremely Pleased’ with Smooth Election, but Not Everyone’s Happy
The Electoral Commission of South Africa remained upbeat about the 8 May poll even as reports came in of voting stations running out of ballot papers, quick-fading ink to mark voters’ thumbs and various glitches, ranging from 16 temporary voting stations in Mangaung blown over in strong winds to power outages caused by wind and cable theft that affected voting after sunset in uMlazi, KwaZulu-Natal, Vuwani and Giyani in Limpopo and parts of Johannesburg. The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) was “extremely pleased” with the smooth voting process, according to its update after voting stations closed at 9pm on Wednesday. But as complaints about voting glitches and snarl-ups continued throughout the day, the IEC appealed for formal complaints to be brought to it.  Daily Maverick

South Africans Are Lining up at the Polls, but Young Voters Are Staying Home
Sleeping in could be a sign of protest in South Africa’s on May 8 election. As the country heads to the polls 25 years after its first euphoric election, disillusionment has set in, particularly among those who are as old as South Africa’s democratic regime—the twenty somethings. Universal franchise is still a relatively new concept in South Africa, so much so that democracy in South Africa is itself a twenty something. The first democratic election in 1994 was met with the excitement from celebrating the end of apartheid. A generation later, the act of voting is no longer as exciting and the realities of enduring inequality have taken their toll. While some have argued that this is a sign of apathy, others argue that there are other ways to exercise democratic freedom. Nine million South Africans eligible to vote have not registered to vote, most of them young people, 46% of this group are aged 20 to 29, according to the Independent Electoral Commission. The numbers were disappointing for the commission, which has embarked on its own campaign to get young people to register. Quartz

Sudan Protesters Call for Civil Disobedience Campaign
Protest leaders in Sudan on Wednesday threatened to launch a nationwide civil disobedience campaign in response to the military’s “disappointing” response to their proposals for a civilian government. Thousands of protesters remain camped outside the military headquarters in Khartoum almost four weeks after the armed forces ousted autocratic president Omar al-Bashir as demanded by a months-long protest movement. “We call for and prepare for civil disobedience,” Madani Abbas Madani, a leader of the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF), said at a news conference in Khartoum. The DFCF, the opposition groups’ umbrella body, did not provide details of the action it might take. The group has organized work strikes, marches, protest sit-ins and other acts of civil disobedience for weeks. Protesters have also blocked bridges, roads and rail tracks, disrupting Sudan’s transport infrastructure.  Deutsche Welle

South Sudan President Says Formation of Unity Government Should Be Delayed a Year
The president of oil-rich South Sudan said on Wednesday that the formation of a unity government should be delayed by at least a year, despite a May 12 deadline in a September peace agreement that ended the civil war. President Salva Kiir said the government had been unable to disarm, house, train and integrate South Sudan’s various forces since the deal had been signed, and rejected a suggestion by former rebel leader Riek Machar that the new government be formed in six months. Kiir said that postponement came at Machar’s request, but said the rainy season would make it hard to accomplish the integration of their forces within six months. “Instead of six months let us call for one year, because from May up to November, there will be rain still and you cannot move with a car to any location,” Kiir said in his speech. “We can form the government by April or May.”  Reuters

South Sudan Launches Civil Registry
South Sudan on Wednesday launched nationwide civil registry, in an attempt to count every South Sudanese citizen. The exercise was launched by President Salva Kiir in the capital Juba. “The civil registration process is very important to the people and it will be there because it will act as a headcount to the people,” Michael Chiangjiek, Minister of Interior told Radio Tamazuj. The civil registration process, according to Chiangjiek, will be a continuous and permanent recording of the personal data of South Sudanese citizens. The minister said they commenced the process in the capital Juba.” We have started with Juba today and we will extend it to the states very soon,” he said. Radio Tamazuj

France’s Macron Calls for Ceasefire in Libya after Meeting Sarraj
French President Emmanuel Macron has called for a ceasefire in the month-long battle for Libya’s capital Tripoli after meeting with Fayez al-Sarraj, the prime minister of the country’s internationally recognised government. “Noting that there is no military solution to the Libyan conflict … the proposal was put forward to delimit a ceasefire line, under international supervision,” Macron’s office said in a statement on Wednesday, backing a UN peace plan and elections. “The two leaders agreed on the importance of extending and deepening the dialogue with all stakeholders in Libya, including in the east, south and west of the country, and with civil society,” the statement added. France has said it views eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar, who mounted the Tripoli offensive on April 4 under the banner of combatting “terrorism”, as a key player in rebuilding Libya after years of strife. Al Jazeera

Zimbabwe Court Says Main Opposition Leader Illegitimate, Party to Challenge Ruling
Zimbabwe’s High Court on Wednesday declared Nelson Chamisa an illegitimate leader of the main opposition MDC party and ordered the movement to convene an extraordinary congress to choose a new leader after a month. The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) immediately said it would appeal the ruling and that it would press on with a planned leadership congress this month where it is expected to elect Chamisa as a permanent successor to founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who died in February 2018. Chamisa, 41, rose to become the MDC interim leader last year amid opposition from internal rivals, which split the party into two factions. He lost a presidential election to the ruling ZANU-PF’s Emmerson Mnangagwa, but says that poll was rigged.  Reuters

The Crisis in Cameroon is Getting Worse
There is an escalating humanitarian crisis in Cameroon where more than half a million people have been displaced by conflict. This conflict erupted in earnest in late 2017 and early 2018 in a series of attacks and reprisals between Anglophone separatists and the French dominated government. In international affairs circles, this is known as the “Anglophone Crisis” in Cameroon. As my guest today Jan Egeland says, when hundreds of thousands of civilians are displaced, it usually sets off international alarm bells. But this is not the case with Cameroon. There is virtually no international mediation, very little media attention, and the humanitarian response has been woefully inadequate.  UN Dispatch

Cameroon: Hundreds of Militants, Terrorists Surrender
Authorities in Cameroon say 165 Anglophone separatists and Boko Haram terrorists have voluntarily surrendered in the past two months, while hundreds of other separatists have stopped fighting. Cameroon’s military and groups loyal to the government have been been circulating a video for the past week of an alleged former separatist fighter named Yannick Kawa. The video, divided into two parts, first shows Kawa saying he would never stop commanding his fighters to crush the military. However, the second part shows Kawa telling a crowd that a stranger online convinced him to surrender to the military’s Rapid Intervention Battalion, the BIR. “I was in touch with one man online, he started encouraging me,” Kawa said in the video. “Then I decided to surrender myself to the BIR. From that day up ’til today, I am free.”  VOA

Nigeria Tribunal to Hear Petitions on President’s Election Win
A panel of five judges at Nigeria’s appellate court opened a hearing on Wednesday into legal challenges filed by the country’s main opposition against the outcome of February’s presidential polls, as a throng of protesting women converged outside. The tribunal fixed May 15 as the date to begin hearing the filed petitions in the capital, Abuja. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, former vice president Atiku Abubakar, are challenging the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari of the ruling All Progressives’ Congress (APC), which triumphed with more than four million votes. Local and international observers said the election was tarnished by low turnout and a number of irregularities, including deadly violence and vote-buying.  Al Jazeera

Nigeria’s Centuries-Old Kano Emirate Is Broken Up
The government in northern Nigeria’s Kano state has approved a law to split the 200-year-old Kano emirate into five. The controversial move is seen by many as a strategy to weaken the current emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, who has been critical of the government. But the authorities say his emirate – the largest in the country – has been broken up with the aim of moving the traditional institution closer to the people. The emir of Kano – one of the most influential traditional and religious leaders in Nigeria – will now be left with just one-fifth of his domain. The four new emirates are Rano, Gaya, Karaye and Bichi. The district heads of these areas were answerable to the emir of Kano but they will now have equal status as him. Emir Sanusi – a former governor of Nigeria’s central bank – has not yet commented on the decision.  BBC

Uganda’s Besigye, Bobi Wine Join Forces against Museveni
Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine and former presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye have agreed to work together to remove the National Resistance Movement (NRM) from power. NRM is led by Ugandan President Museveni, who has been in power since 1986. A joint statement signed by both Bobi Wine and Dr Besigye indicates that after their meeting on May 6, they have concluded discussions on key issues as they bring their political forces together against Mr Museveni. “We took note that we are on the same mission to free Uganda from dictatorship and oppression. We agreed that despite belonging to different formations/ fronts, we must work together as partners on the same mission,” the statement says. Addressing the media at Fairway Hotel in Kampala, People Power spokesperson Joel Ssenyonyi and Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze, who is the spokesperson of the ‘People’s Government’ led by Dr Besigye, on Wednesday said the two movements would be carrying out joint activities in a bid to unseat Mr Museveni.  The East African

Free Press Should Be Barred from 2020 Poll: Burundi Commissioner
A senior Burundi election official has called for independent media to be barred from covering the country’s presidential polls in 2020, local press and witnesses reported Wednesday. Jean Anastase Hicuburund, from the National Independent Electoral Commission, urged that official steps be taken to “block the way for those media who do not want to follow the path taken by the government”. “They have done everything to bring the country to its knees,” he told an audience of journalists and civil society groups in Bujumbura. The comments were reported by SOS Media Burundi and confirmed to AFP by two sources present. SOS Media Burundi is one of the few independent outlets left in a country ranked one of the worst in the world for press freedom.  AFP

A New Ebola Vaccine Strategy in Africa: Smaller Doses
Confronting an Ebola outbreak spiraling out of control in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the World Health Organization announced plans on Tuesday to change its vaccination strategy, offering smaller doses and eventually introducing a second vaccine.The outbreak, which has lasted nine months, has now claimed more than 1,000 lives. Rebel groups have attacked health care centers or medical teams on dozens of occasions, leading many relief organizations to withdraw from the area. According to a W.H.O. official quoted by The Associated Press, 85 health workers have been killed or wounded since January. Because driving to villages with Ebola victims is so risky, the agency intends to launch brief and unexpected “pop-up” vaccination campaigns in communities considered safe. The W.H.O. also wants to shift to immunizing as many people in each target area as possible, instead of relying solely on its current tactic: “ring vaccinating” the immediate contacts of each known case, along with health care workers.  The New York Times

The Kidney Brokers: Yemeni Organs Sold for $5,000 in Egypt
An Egyptian hospital and officials at the Yemeni embassy in Cairo were involved in a large-scale organ-trafficking ring from 2014 that included hundreds of patients and brokers from Yemen and Egypt, an Al Jazeera investigation has revealed. Through interviews and documents obtained by Al Jazeera, the investigation exposes officials who have been giving out false papers for personal gain in order to facilitate the organ trafficking. The organ-trafficking ring preyed on poor Yemenis willing to travel to Egypt and sell a kidney in a desperate bid to gain income that would keep them going, at least for a while. One of these Yemenis was Ahmed, who was told in 2014 by a friend that he could get $5,000 for one of his kidneys. He agreed, and before he knew it, he was on a plane to Cairo. Al Jazeera



Photo: Adam Jones