Africa Media Review for November 2, 2016

UN Sacks South Sudan Peacekeeping Chief over Damning Report
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has sacked the commander of the UN force in South Sudan after a report said it had failed to protect civilians in July. The report backed claims by aid workers that the UN troops refused to respond when government soldiers attacked an international aid compound in Juba. In the fighting between the army and former rebels, a local journalist was killed and aid workers were raped. The clashes derailed efforts to form a unity government and end the civil war. BBC

UN Failed to Protect Civilians in South Sudan, Report Finds
The UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan failed to protect hundreds of civilians from death or rape because of a risk-averse culture and chaotic leadership, according to an independent report. In Maj Gen Patrick Cammaert’s damning assessment, Unmiss – the UN mission in South Sudan – did not respond effectively to three days of intense fighting in Juba in July that contributed to the collapse of a fragile ceasefire between the president, Salva Kiir, and his former deputy Riek Machar. Cammaert, a former military adviser to the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, cites an overall lack of leadership, preparedness and integration within Unmiss, judging the command and control arrangements inadequate and citing a risk-averse culture among UN peacekeepers. The Guardian

Ivory Coast Voters Back New Constitution
An overwhelming majority of voters in Ivory Coast have backed a new constitution in a weekend referendum that was boycotted by the opposition, according to provisional results announced by the electoral commission. The results on Tuesday showed 93.42 percent of voters had supported the new charter. Turnout was 42.41 percent of registered voters, commission president Youssouf Bakayoko said on state-owned television. The opposition had previously said it believed only around six or seven percent of voters took part. The boycott meant there had been little doubt about the outcome and the focus was on turnout as the key measure of whether there was broad public support for the new constitution. Al Jazeera

Kenya Criticises ICC as Other African Countries Defend it
Kenya is monitoring African withdrawals from the International Criminal Court “with very keen interest,” Ambassador Tom Amolo has told the United Nations General Assembly. “Something radical and urgent must be done if this court is to stand any chance of long-term survival as a viable and credible international institution,” the Kenyan envoy said. Ambassador Amolo on Monday stopped short of threatening that Kenya would join three other African nations — Burundi, Gambia and South Africa — in walking out of The Hague-based court. Tanzania, Nigeria and Senegal, however, expressed their support for the court during the General Assembly meeting in New York. The East African

Sudan to Bear Pain of US Sanctions for Another Year
President Barack Obama has renewed sanctions against Sudan for another year, dashing Khartoum’s hope of relieve. Sudanese embassy in Washington regretted the move saying it was an unjustified decision against human rights and Sudanese people. A statement released by the State Department on Tuesday quoted President Obama saying that Khartoum’s policies remained an “extraordinary threat” to the national security of the United States. “The actions and policies of the government of Sudan continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States,” President Obama said. This comes a few weeks after Amnesty International report revealed that Sudan had carried out 30 chemical attacks against rebels in Jebel Marra from January 2016 to September 2016 in which 367 civilians, including 95 children were killed. The East African

9 Killed in Car Bomb Blast at Checkpoint in Northern Nigeria
A car bomb targeting a military checkpoint on a road leading to Nigeria’s northeastern city of Maiduguri exploded on Tuesday, killing all nine people in the vehicle, police and witnesses said. It was unclear if any soldiers were hurt in the attack, which was blamed on Boko Haram extremists. Preliminary reports indicate that those killed were the driver and passengers in the explosives-laden minivan, said police deputy superintendent Victor Isuku. The van came off a rural road and blew up shortly after turning onto the tarred main road near Gubio town in a “massive blast,” said truck driver Habib Isa. News 24

Ugandan Rebels Hack Six DRC Civilians to Death
Six civilians were hacked to death in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo in an attack by Ugandan Islamist rebels, local officials have said on Tuesday. Fighters from the Ugandan Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) attacked a small village in North Kivu province on Monday, an administrator in the Beni region, Amisi Kalonda, told AFP. “The provisional toll is six dead, all civilians [killed] with machetes, two injured and a medical centre plundered,” Kalonda said of the raid in the village of Kitevya. Noella Katsongerwaki, Beni’s civil society president, speaking by telephone from Goma, the capital of North Kivu, said two men and four women were killed. News 24

Ethiopia Appoints 21 New Ministers Amid State of Emergency
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has announced a Cabinet reshuffle, following months of often-violent protests which led the government to declare a state of emergency. Ethiopia’s parliament has unanimously approved 21 new appointees, the prime minister said Tuesday. He said the new ministers were picked for competence and commitment rather than “party loyalty.” The appointees include a new minister of foreign affairs, Workneh Gebeyehu, who replaces Tedros Adhanom, a former health minister who has been one of Ethiopia’s most recognizable public figures in recent years. Adhanom is currently a candidate vying to be the next World Health Organization’s chief. VOA

Investors Shy Away from Ethiopia in the Wake of Violent Protests
[…] Once held up as the hot, new investment destination in Africa because of its cheap labor, plentiful water and stability, Ethiopia’s industrialization program is at risk of faltering — along with its impressive economic trajectory — as current investors reconsider their options and new ones shy away. The unrest has shown the limits of the authoritarian nation’s Chinese-style development plan, which favors growth over public accountability, even as residents in some areas have defended the factories as their main source of employment. A largely agricultural economy, Ethiopia has been luring foreign investors for the past decade to set up light industries, such as textile companies, and agribusiness ventures, such as flower farms. Foreign investment has increased 10-fold, from $265 million in 2005 to $2.16 billion in 2015, according to the World Bank, and the country has surpassed Kenya as East Africa’s largest economy. The Washington Post

Somalia Remains the Global Capital of Unsolved Murders of Journalists
With militant group al-Shabaab waging war and the government suppressing press freedom, being a journalist in Somalia is a difficult, and even life-threatening, job. The Committee to Project Journalists’ 2016 Global Impunity Index “spotlights countries where journalists are slain and the killers go free.” For the second straight year, Somalia is ranked as the worst country in the index. The annual ranking is based on the number of unsolved murders (cases with no convictions) over a 10-year period as a share of a country’s population. It defines murder as “a deliberate attack against a specific journalist in relation to the victim’s work,” and excludes cases where journalists are killed in combat, street protests, or while covering other dangerous events. Quartz

Protests over Moroccan Fishmonger’s Death Echo Arab Spring Trigger
Moroccan authorities have arrested 11 people over the gruesome death of a fishmonger last week that triggered the country’s largest protests in years and stirred memories of a similar incident in Tunisia in 2010 that set the Arab Spring in motion. News of the arrests comes a day after thousands of Moroccans took to the streets Monday protesting for the fourth day over the death on Friday of Mouhcine Fikri, who was crushed in a garbage truck after a confrontation with police who confiscated his produce. Fikri’s death in the Rif — an ethnically Berber region long neglected under the former king and at the heart of a 2011 protest movement for reform — has triggered outrage in other cities, including the capital Rabat. France 24

Liberia Seeks $1.3 Billion to Revive Economy After Ebola
Liberia will need $1.3 billion to revive an economy that was ravaged by a slump in its key export commodities and the worst-ever Ebola epidemic, Finance and Development Planning Minister Boima Kamara said. The West African nation will invest in energy projects to spur its manufacturing sector while prioritizing agriculture after economic expansion almost came to a standstill over the past three years, Kamara said in an interview in the capital, Monrovia. The country is targeting average annual economic growth of about 6 percent for the seven years starting 2018, after averaging about 8 percent between 2006 and 2013, he said. Bloomberg

Western Powers Voice Support Libyan PM in Standoff with Rivals
Western and some Middle Eastern powers expressed support on Monday for Libya’s U.N.-brokered unity government and Prime Minister Fayez Seraj’s push to restore order across the chaotic country and revive its oil-based economy. In London, officials from the United States, Britain, Italy, France, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia met Seraj for talks to tackle a standoff preventing the Government of National Accord (GNA) from expanding its authority outside the capital. After the meeting, a spokeswoman for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the ministers, who included British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Italy’s Paolo Gentiloni, said they had reaffirmed the “strong international support” for the GNA. Reuters

Boko Haram Militia Surrender in Nigerian Military Operation
About 240 members of the Boko Haram militia and their families gave themselves up to the Nigerian army in neighboring Chad, the military’s Chief Public Information Officer Muhammad Dole said. “Boko Haram terrorists and their families abandoned their locations and surrendered with their arms to the nearest locations of the ground forces in the operation areas,” Dole said late Monday in an e-mailed statement. “They are being profiled and camped in Bagasola” in northeastern Nigeria. The group brings to 464 the number of people that have abandoned the group in the Bagasola region of Chad, according to the statement. Bloomberg

Nigerian Leader Holds Inconclusive Talks to Halt Oil Attacks
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari held inconclusive talks Tuesday aimed at halting attacks that have slashed the country’s oil production, raising fears of more militancy, civil society leaders said. The militants responsible for most of the attacks, the Niger Delta Avengers, were not represented and dissociated themselves from Niger Delta representatives they called corrupt. International oil companies and state governors also attended. Representatives of the southern oil-producing region wanted the government “to commit to some credible process of dialogue,” said Ledum Mitee, secretary of the Niger Delta Forum. Instead, Buhari said he would consider what they said, align that with a report expected from security agencies and then make an “appropriate response,” Mitee said. AP on ABC News

Spate of Political Killings Rock Mozambique
At least three politicians have been killed in less than a week in Mozambique, where peace talks are faltering after fighting erupted between the military and ex-rebel fighters, police said Tuesday. Two local members of the ruling Frelimo party were assassinated on Saturday in the town of Mutua by a group of “bandits” from the opposition Renamo, Police Spokesperson Inacio Dina told reporters in Maputo. “They were kidnapped, held and killed. A third man who was injured managed to flee and confirmed that the bandits said they were from Renamo,” the Spokesperson told AFP, naming the dead pair as Arao Chiguemane and Antonio Macurreia. SABC

South Africa’s Jacob Zuma Backs Down on Corruption Report
South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has dropped his court bid to block the release of a report into his allegedly improper relationship with businessmen. Mr Zuma’s lawyer informed the High Court in the capital, Pretoria, of the decision, but the reasons are unclear. Opposition groups are rallying in South Africa’s major cities to demand Mr Zuma’s resignation. He has been dogged by corruption allegations for more than a decade, but has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. BBC

Tanzania Suspends HIV Programmes for Gay Men
Tanzania has suspended community-based HIV/Aids prevention programmes for gay men, the health minister said on Monday, in the latest crackdown on the high-risk group. Ummy Mwalimu, Tanzania’s minister for health, said the government had received reports that some local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were promoting and normalising same-sex relationships as part of their HIV programmes. Gay sex is illegal in Tanzania and punishable by up to 30 years in prison. In September, the government threatened to ban groups that “promote” the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in its first public statement against the minority group. IOL News

Canada Defence Minister Plans Visit to Mali, Senegal as Liberals Mull Next Peacekeeping Mission
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan will travel to Mali and Senegal next week as the Liberal government considers where to send hundreds of Canadian peacekeepers. The UN has made no secret of its desire to see Canadians deployed to Mali, which is home to one of its largest and most dangerous peacekeeping missions. More than 100 blue helmets have been killed in Mali over the past four years, including 32 this year. Sajjan’s office says the defence minister is simply collecting information and the visit should not be seen as an indication Canada is about the join the Mali mission. The Toronto Star



Photo: Adam Jones