Africa Media Review for November 19, 2018

Two Ex-Presidents Ready for Second Round Madagascar’s Presidential Poll
Former presidents Andry Rajoelina and Marc Ravalomanana won most votes in Madagascar’s presidential election, according to provisional results issued on Saturday that pointed to a likely second round. Rajoelina led with 39.19 percent of the vote followed by Ravalomanana with 35.29 percent. The incumbent President Hery Rajaonarimampianina, seeking a second term in office, was a distant third with about 9 percent. A total of 36 candidates ran for president. Turnout was 54.23 percent, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said. The final results will be announced in nine days by the constitutional court and if no candidate has a majority the top two will compete in a second round on Dec. 19. Standard Media

Central African War Crimes Suspect ‘Rambo’ Handed to Global Court
A war crimes suspect wanted for alleged murder, deportation and torture of Muslims in the Central African Republic has been handed over to the International Criminal Court in the Hague, the tribunal said. CAR officials transferred Alfred Yekatom on Saturday to officials from the global court, which is investigating six years of violence that has destabilised a region at the heart of the continent. Yekatom, a sitting MP once nicknamed “Rambo”, had been under arrest in Central African Republic since Oct. 29, when during a parliamentary session he first pointed a gun at a fellow lawmaker and then shot twice at the ceiling. CAR government officials did not respond to requests for comment, but the country’s justice minister was expected to make a statement on Monday. Reuters

AU Warns Gabon as Bongo Remains Incapacitated
The African Union on Saturday warned Gabon to respect constitutional order after a high court intervened in a crisis surrounding the country’s hospitalised President Ali Bongo. A statement by AU Commission chair Moussa Faki Mahamat emphasised that the 55-member group of African nations had a “strong commitment to the full respect of constitutional order in the country”. Mahamat “will deploy a fact-finding mission to Libreville in the shortest delay,” the statement added, after Gabon’s Constitutional Court said it had modified the country’s basic law to address Bongo’s “temporary incapacity”. Bongo, 59, has been hospitalised in the Saudi capital Riyadh since October 24, and after first saying he suffered from “severe fatigue,” the president’s office admitted this week that he had undergone surgery. AFP

Seven Ugandan Fishermen Shot Dead by Congolese Militia
Suspected Congolese militiamen shot dead seven Ugandan fishermen and wounded another on Lake Albert, which straddles the two countries’ border, police said on Sunday. Uganda’s deputy police commander in the region Amos Muhindo said the gunmen opened fire on the fishermen as they went to retrieve the body of a colleague killed by the same group earlier last week. “Seven Ugandan fishermen were shot dead by the Congolese militia on Saturday as they went into the water near Kaiso landing site (in Hoima district, Uganda) to search for the body of their colleague,” he said. “One person survived and has been taken to Hoima hospital with gunshot wounds.” He said the attack was reportedly carried out by five armed men in military uniform, adding that it was the third time in a week the alleged militia members crossed to the Ugandan side of the lake for illegal fishing and attacked locals.  AFP

DRC Efforts to Fight Ebola Resume in Beni after Deadly Violence
Health authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have resumed efforts to fight a major Ebola outbreak in eastern Beni region after a brief suspension following clashes. “Despite deadly attacks… Ebola response activities are continuing,” the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Sunday. Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga had announced the suspension of operations on Saturday, a day after clashes broke out a few metres away from a local emergency centre and the hotels of several responses teams in Beni, North Kivu province. Peacekeepers from the United Nations’ mission in the country (MONUSCO) repelled an offensive by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militia in the city’s northern Boikene neighbourhood late on Friday. Al Jazeera

UN Chief Reports Significant Results against Rebels in Congo
A joint military operation by U.N. and Congolese troops to rout rebel forces from their strongholds in the Ebola-hit northeast Congo has “achieved quite significant results” and is still under way, the U.N. peacekeeping chief said Friday. Jean-Pierre Lacroix clarified at a news conference that seven U.N. peacekeepers — six from Malawi and one Tanzanian — were killed in attacks and exchanges of fire Wednesday with Allied Democratic Forces rebels along with 12 Congolese soldiers. The Security Council said late Thursday that eight peacekeepers were killed. Lacroix said the U.N. and Congolese troops faced two separate attacks by ADF fighters near the regional capital, Beni, which is the largest city affected by the current Ebola outbreak and the center of efforts to fight it. “They returned fire. They repelled the first attack successfully,” he said. “But then the armed group reorganized and in the second attack, unfortunately our peacekeepers appear to have been killed and injured.”  AP

Refugees in Uganda: The Value of a Million Human Lives
Uganda is a front runner when it comes to forward-looking refugee policy. But financial aid from abroad only trickles in and the situation is worsening. Who should pay — Uganda or the international community? In the first half of November, 1,750 new refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan entered Uganda. This brings the total from these two countries for this year to 100,000. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 1.4 million refugees live in Uganda, men, women and children who need food, a roof over their heads and healthcare. Uganda, itself a developing country, is a front runner when it comes to progressive refugee policy. Duniya Aslam Khan, UNHCR spokeswoman for Uganda, explains: “Refugees are granted freedom of movement, they have access to medical and educational institutions and have the right to work.” But, she says, schools and hospitals are not well enough equipped and the local population also needs to be provided with these services. Deutsche Welle

African Union Set to Sanction Countries for Non-Payment
The African Union has decided to start imposing sanctions on member states that fail to live up to their financial commitments. Speaking at a press conference Sunday at the conclusion of the 11th extraordinary summit of the heads of state and government of the African Union, Moussa Faki, the union’s chair, said so far only up to 50 percent of the amount expected in member state contributions is being made. “The leaders have decided on a battery of sanctions, including the suspension of states that do not make their annual financial contributions from membership,” said Faki. “The first duty of a member state is to make its contribution,” he said.   Anadolu Agency

AU Leaders Agree Reforms to Reduce Donor Dependence
African Union leaders on Sunday finally agreed measures compelling members states to pay their dues as part of a drive to reform a body often seen as toothless and donor-dependent. Heads of state and ministers had gathered at the body’s headquarters in Addis Ababa for what was seen as a last-ditch attempt to push through reforms that have been mulled for nearly two years. The AU in 2016 charged its chairperson and Rwandan President Paul Kagame with getting reforms passed, but observers have said time is running out because Egypt – which is set to assume the chairmanship – is thought to oppose aspects of the agenda. In proposals unveiled last year, Kagame envisioned a more narrowly focused AU headed by a powerful commission whose bills were covered by its 55 member states rather than foreign donors.  AFP

Rights Group Says Egypt Arrests 40 Lawyers, Activists
An international rights group says Egypt has rounded up at least 40 lawyers and activists since last month, the latest arrests in a wide-scale crackdown on dissent. Human Rights Watch said Sunday that many of those arrested were people who provided humanitarian and legal support to families of political detainees, and that some have been disappeared. Citing family members, it said the security forces did not present arrest warrants and authorities refused to say where detainees were being held. Michael Page, the deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s regional office, says “the Egyptian security agencies’ repression now extends to disappearing those brave men and women who have been trying to protect the disappeared and to end this abusive practice.”  AP

‘Life Is Miserable’: Even When There’s Food in South Sudan, Many Can’t Afford It
If a teacher in South Sudan wants to buy a chicken for dinner, he would have to save everything he earns for two full months — and it still wouldn’t be enough. Five years of intense civil warfare have decimated South Sudan’s economy and killed an estimated 380,000 people. A third of the population is displaced, every second person is going hungry, and hundreds of thousands are at risk of starving to death in the world’s newest country, according to the United Nations. Parts of South Sudan — including key agricultural areas — are nearly emptied of people; they fled for safety or to find food. That means those who remain in South Sudan are relying on imports, even though a plunging exchange rate means imported food is overwhelmingly expensive. And despite the influx of billions of dollars in food aid, attacks on deliveries, bad roads, flooding and deliberate government interference mean that food often doesn’t get to the people who need it. The Washington Post

South Africa: Rwanda Bristles over Lindiwe Sisulu’s Apparent Support for Dissidents
The Rwandan government is incensed with International Relations and Co-operation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu for apparently endorsing attempts by dissident Rwandan expatriates in South Africa to negotiate with the Rwandan government. Rwandan President Paul Kagame officially regards the dissidents as terrorists who must be dealt with legally and militarily rather than political opponents who deserve to be negotiated with. Sisulu disclosed at a press conference last week that she had recently met the Rwandan émigrés under the leadership of Kagame’s former defence force chief General Faustin Nyamwasa Kayumba. Three assassination attempts have been launched against Kayumba since he fled to South Africa in 2010. Kagame’s government is widely believed to have been behind the attempts. After the last known attempt in 2014, Pretoria expelled three Rwandan diplomats from the Rwandan High Commission in Pretoria as well as a suspected Burundian diplomatic accomplice. Daily Maverick

South Africa’s Ramaphosa to Repay Campaign Donation
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is to repay $35,000 (£27,300) given to his leadership campaign by a firm accused of corruption. The donor, a firm called Bosasa, has won lucrative government contracts but is under investigation. Mr Ramaphosa initially told MPs the money had been paid to his son, Andile, for consultancy work for Bosasa. By later admitting it was a donation, he undermined his own anti-corruption fight, the BBC’s Will Ross reports. The controversy is a setback for a president who has vowed to fight corruption, our Africa editor adds. Mr Ramaphosa also ordered a review of all payments to his campaign for the leadership of the African National Congress (ANC).  BBC

Analysis: Nigeria Election Too Close to Call as Campaigning Gets Underway
Campaigning for Nigeria’s 2019 presidential polls kicked off on Sunday with incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari up against former vice president Atiku Abubakar. Buhari’s bid for re-election is likely to be characterised by problems with his health, security challenges and a number of high profile political defections. Veteran challenger Abubakar is making his fourth bid for the country’s top job and is positioning himself as best-placed to help boost Nigeria’s economy. “It’s going to be incredibly close-run and I think that the pendulum is still ticking towards the opposition,” says Matthew Page, a Nigeria expert at London-based international think tank Chatham House. “The question is – is Buhari going to pilot his party across the finish line by a nose or run out of gas before crossing the finish line.”  RFI

Migrants Fleeing Libya Refuse to Leave Ship and Be Sent Back to Camps
Eighty-one migrants have refused to disembark from a merchant ship off the coast of Misrata in Libya, according to reports. The migrants were rescued by the ship’s crew a week ago on 10 November, 115 miles east of Tripoli, after leaving Libya on a raft. Fourteen people decided to leave the cargo ship and were transferred to Libya, while the remaining 81 have refused to disembark in Misrata for fear of being sent back to Libyan detention camps. “I prefer to die on this ship,” one of the migrants told Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) when offered to be transferred to a Libyan medical facility. MSF’s Twitter account stated that “others aboard the ship, including minors, had been imprisoned and tortured for over a year at the hands of human traffickers”.  The Guardian

Trouble in the Congo: The Misadventures of Glencore
A dozen years ago the future of technology bounced out of a remote corner of Africa on the back of a truck, along with a world of potential trouble. Both, embodied in the same load of rock, landed in the hands of Ivan Glasenberg, chief executive officer of Glencore Plc, the world’s largest middleman for the raw materials that fuel, feed, and underpin civilization. Glasenberg’s obsession was copper, because China’s appetite for it was insatiable, with copper wire electrifying the nation’s rising cities and running through the appliances its factories sold to the West. The metal’s price had quadrupled in less than three years, triggering a global frenzy. Miners blasted it from Chilean mountaintops and dug it from the African earth as fast as they could. At a processing plant in Zambia, Glencore was buying up all the ore containing copper it could get its hands on when technicians noticed something extraordinary. One trader consistently rolled in with rocks showing levels of purity that were off the charts—not just for copper, but also for the blue metal cobalt. Bloomberg

UN: Number of Hungry Children in Africa’s Sahel Hits 10-Year High
The number of hungry children in West Africa’s Sahel region reached a 10-year high in 2018 because of poor rains, conflict and high food prices, the United Nations said Friday. More than 1.3 million children under age 5 suffered from severe malnutrition this year in the six worst-hit countries in the semi-arid belt below the Sahara — a 50 percent increase from 2017, the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF said. “When children suffer from severe acute malnutrition, they are more vulnerable to illnesses such as malaria and waterborne diseases,” Marie-Pierre Poirier, UNICEF regional director for West and Central Africa, said in a statement. Hunger is a recurrent scourge in the region, whose growing population grapples with high poverty rates and periodic droughts, the agency said. This year the problem was particularly acute across Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal, it added. VOA

Algeria Shelves Subsidy Reforms before Presidential Elections
Algeria is backtracking on some economic reforms such as cutting costly subsidies as the country wants to minimise the risk of protests before presidential elections next year, according to the budget data and experts. The North African oil producer country had said at the start of the year subsidies for fuel and other products would be lowered from 2019 to rein in spending following a fall in oil revenues from 2014 to 2017. It gave no specifics. But its draft budget for next year includes a 7 percent increase in subsidy spending, accounting for 21 percent of the budget. The rise will be used to subsidise basic food items including milk and cereals as well as housing, officials say. The government had also approved this year higher and new taxes for some products and increases in subsidised fuel prices for the third straight year. But no new such hikes are planned for next year, according to the draft. Reuters

Tanzania Forced to Deploy Military to Purchase Cashew Nuts from Farmers amid Price Row
Tanzania has been forced to deploy the military to purchase cashew nuts from farmers in a bid to resolve the current row over prices. President John Magufuli ordered an increase in cashew nut prices, the country’s most valuable export crop, in an attempt to safeguard farmers from unsustainably low prices. Farmers had halted sales after saying the amount the crop could command was too low for them to continue to operate. After fixing prices of the commodity, Mr Magufuli rejected offers of $1.3 (£1) per kilogram from the private sector. Instead he ordered the military to buy the produce for $1.43 per kilogram. The president fired two ministers and dissolved the industry regulator over the price row for failing to manage the industry properly. Charles Tizeba, minister of agriculture, and his trade counterpart Charles Mwijage were sacked from their posts. The Independent



Photo: Adam Jones