Africa Media Review for November 2, 2018

More than 200 Are Raped per Month in Congo’s Kasai Conflict, Says New Report
A brutal war has raged for over two years in southern Congo’s Kasai province. It is a region that is difficult to access for aid organizations due to its remoteness, hostility from the government, and, of course, the violence itself. Two United Nations investigators, an American and a Swede, were killed there around the beginning of the conflict in 2016. One of the few groups that is present is Doctors Without Borders, commonly known by its French acronym, MSF. It released a report this week that documents a disturbingly high rate of sexual violence perpetrated by armed groups in Kasai. Rapes are being committed many times a day, and they have treated more than 200 victims of sexual violence per month on average since May 2017. Eighty percent of victims said they were raped by armed men. “Of the 2,600 victims of sexual violence treated by MSF since May 2017, the vast majority were women,” says the report. “Thirty-two were men, some of whom reported having been forced under armed threat to rape members of their own community. Another 162 were children under the age of 15, including 22 under the age of five.”  The Washington Post

Kinshasa’s Archbishop, a Government Critic, Steps Down
Laurent Monsengwo, archbishop of Kinshasa and a vocal government critic, has stepped down, the church said on Thursday, just weeks before key elections to replace President Joseph Kabila. The 79-year-old Monsengwo passed the baton to Fridolin Ambongo, who will take over as de facto leader of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s powerful Catholic Church. “Pope Francis today accepted the resignation of cardinal Laurent Monsengwo,” Kinshasa archdiocese spokesperson Bruno Lusongakio told AFP, adding that “Fridolin Ambongo has taken over the reins.” Monsengwo is a harsh critic of the violence that has plagued his country for decades, including successive civil wars that killed millions.  AFP

Nigeria: ‘Villages Totally Burned’ in Deadly Boko Haram Attacks
At least 12 civilians have been killed in multiple Boko Haram attacks targeting two villages and a camp for those displaced by fighting in northeastern Nigeria, according to residents and civilian militia. Boko Haram fighters arrived in seven trucks late on Wednesday and attacked Bulaburin and Kofa villages, as well as a camp in Dalori village outside Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state. “The terrorists attacked and completely burned Bulaburin and Kofa villages and burned half the Dalori 2 IDP (internally displaced persons) camp,” Babakura Kolo, civilian militia leader, told AFP news agency. “They killed nine people in Bulaburin, two people in Dalori, and one in Kofa and looted food supplies before setting them on fire,” Kolo said.  Al Jazeera

Cameroon Begins In-Camera Trial for Secessionist Leaders over Anglophone Crisis
Trial for leaders of the self-proclaimed Republic of Ambazonia in the English-speaking region of Cameroon has begun in Yaoundé. Julius Ayuk Tabe, leader of this supposed state including his nine co-accused were brought before judges under strong military escort for this closed-door hearing. John Fru Nsoh is leader for the separatist leaders. “Since their arrest on January 5 in Nigeria, for the past 10 months, this is the only time they have had the opportunity to tell their side of the story before this court. This is the happiest day of my life as a lawyer and the happiest day of their lives as persons accused of being heard in this court’‘, Nsoh told Africanews.  Africa News

‘Thousands of Names’ Handed to Tanzania Authorities after Public Told to Report Gay People
There are fears for the safety of the LBGT+ community in Tanzania after a senior government official called on the public to report suspected homosexuals. Authorities have already been handed thousands of names as officials declared a desire to “educate” gay people. Paul Makonda, the regional commissioner of Dar es Salaam, announced that a 17-strong committee consisting of police, lawyers and doctors had been formed to identify homosexuals. The committee will scour the internet to identify videos featuring supposedly gay content and warned citizens to delete any “sex pictures” they had stored on their phones or face arrest. The Independent

Sudan Should Prosecute Darfur Crimes, Pursue ICC Arrest Warrants: UN
A U.N. watchdog told Sudan on Thursday to prosecute security forces for attacks in Darfur from 2014-2016 and cooperate with the International Criminal Court, which has issued an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir for alleged war crimes. Executions by crucifixion and stoning should be stricken from its statute books, and authorities should halt prosecutions and intimidation of journalists, critics and activists, it said. Thousands of people have been killed in Sudan’s civil wars, including the western Darfur region where rebels have been fighting against Bashir’s government since 2003. In July, the government extended until year-end a three-year-old unilateral ceasefire with rebels in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan.  Reuters

Human Rights in Morocco Deteriorate in 2017–18: Rights Group
Morocco’s most influential rights group AMDH deplored on Thursday what it said was a surge in political and arbitrary detentions of human rights campaigners, journalists and social activists. In a report covering last year and the first half of 2018, the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH) said there had been serious violations in remote parts of Rif – a predominantly Berber area which has been shaken by protests – as well as Jerada, Zagora and other regions. “The numbers of political detainees surpassed those reported in the 1990s,” AMDH president Ahmed ElHaij told a news conference, noting that 1,020 are either detained or being tried for their involvement in or support for peaceful protests across the kingdom.  Reuters

Morocco Imposes Online Entry Permit Rule for African Travelers
Morocco, struggling with an influx of African migrants seeking passage to nearby Europe, on Thursday imposed a new rule requiring such travelers to fill out an online travel form for approval at least 96 hours before leaving home. The procedure on a website carrying the Moroccan Foreign Ministry logo applies to a range of African countries whose citizens currently can enter Morocco without visas, except for Algeria and Tunisia. The North African country has been grappling with a surge in migrants, arriving mainly on flights into Casablanca. Many intend to get into Europe and claim asylum by taking boats across a narrow Mediterranean strait to Spain, or scaling fences into the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta or Melilla bordering Morocco. Reuters

Refugee Centers in Tunisia ‘Out of the Question,’ Says President
Visiting Berlin for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s African business summit, Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi spoke to DW about political turmoil in his country, migration issues, and when a leader should step down. […] Beji Caid Essebsi: Above all, the citizens of my country want to know the truth. I am the first democratically elected president of Tunisia. That means I am directly accountable to them. I cannot respond to them by pretending the situation in which they live is any different than it really is. Terrorism is not part of our culture. Which is why we struggle so much to fight it. Terrorism is brought in from the outside and it forces us to change our priorities. We are doing everything in our power to stop terrorism and have already achieved a lot. But no country is immune to terrorism. It is an international phenomenon and so Tunisia is not entirely immune to it, either. Deutsche Welle

Pressure Mounts on Belgian Government over Libya Payments
Pressure is mounting on Belgium’s government to explain why payments of hundreds of millions of euros flowed to unknown recipients from frozen accounts in Brussels that once belonged to Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Opposition lawmakers are demanding that the administration of liberal Prime Minister Charles Michel answer questions after a public broadcaster this week linked the payments from the Libyan accounts in Brussels to arms shipments. The lawmakers are focusing their attention on answers they regard as inadequate from Foreign Minister Didier Reynders over why funds were paid out from accounts that were supposed be frozen under U.N. sanctions. They are also seeking assurances that the money did not end up in the hands of militia in the volatile African nation. Politico Europe

Somalia: President Lambasts Federal States over Foreign Policy
Speaking to the Somali community in Juba on Wednesday night, President Farmajo said the regional State leaders lack federal system understanding and how it works amid a clash over foreign policy representation. During his address, Farmajo stated that the presidents of the country’s Federal States continue to meddle with some responsibilities of his UN-backed Federal Government in Mogadishu, especially the foreign policy. “The Federal States in the country are obliged to fulfill public service duties, including education, healthcare, and care for the people in their areas, that is how the federal governments in the world operate,” he said. The President underlined that the heads of the states eager to pay for overseas trips, sit down with world leaders, foreign firms and strike deals on national resources, which is the mandate of his government. Garowe Online

Murder of Rwandan Dissident Spymaster Karegeya to Come to Court at Last
An inquest in January 2019 will try to establish who killed Rwandan dissident spymaster Patrick Karegeya in the plush Michelangelo Hotel in Sandton five years ago. Who ordered the murder of dissident Rwandan intelligence officer Colonel Patrick Karegeya in the Michelangelo Hotel in Sandton five years ago could be revealed in an inquest which starts in January 2019. Karegeya’s family and his political party have no doubt that it was Rwandan President Paul Kagame who ordered a trusted confidante of Karegeya, businessman Apollo Kiririsi Gataranga, to arrange for him to be strangled with a curtain cord in his room in the hotel on New Year’s Eve, 2013. Kigali has denied this. Karegeya’s nephew David Batenga, who knew Gataranga well, said on Thursday that after waiting “four years, 10 months and one day”, he and his family were relieved the case was now finally going to court. Daily Maverick

Public Hearings Show Support for Land Expropriation – S.Africa Parliament
South Africans overwhelmingly support changing the constitution to allow land to be expropriated without compensation, parliament said on Thursday, announcing the findings of a draft report that followed public hearings on the issue. President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ruling African National Congress has made the acceleration of land redistribution a key issue ahead of 2019 elections, unnerving investors despite pledges to do so in a way that does not threaten food security or growth. Most private land remains in the hands of the white minority more than two decades after apartheid’s demise, making it a vivid symbol of wider disparities. Reuters

Ramaphosa Says Corruption Inquiry Shedding Light on Dark Period in South Africa
Cyril Ramaphosa, the president of South Africa, has said he will appear before a judicial anti-corruption inquiry to account for his actions as a senior official during what he described as a “very dark period of our recent history”. Ramaphosa took power in February, three months after winning a close-run internal party election, but has struggled to overcome the legacy of his predecessor, Jacob Zuma. Zuma has been accused of presiding over an immense system of corruption and patronage that drained billions from the exchequer and damaged the reputation of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) beyond repair. Ramaphosa served as deputy president under Zuma. Speaking to a small group of reporters in Johannesburg on Thursday Ramaphosa spoke of a “new dawn” for South Africa and for the ANC, which has been in power since the country’s first free elections in 1994.  The Guardian

Rising Star of South African Politics Entangled in Scandal
Once a rising star in South Africa’s ruling African National Congress and mentioned as a possible future presidential contender, Malusi Gigaba is now fighting for political survival. Anti-graft ombudsman Busisiwe Mkhwebane has given President Cyril Ramaphosa 20 days to take disciplinary action against the former finance minister for lying under oath. Her finding comes seven months after the High Court said Gigaba, now home affairs minister, committed perjury when he denied authorizing a company owned by the billionaire Oppenheimer family to operate a private immigration terminal at Johannesburg’s main airport. The latest decision may make it difficult for Ramaphosa to keep him in the cabinet after vowing to clean up the government following Jacob Zuma’s scandal-tainted nine years in office. Bloomberg

Egypt Arrests 19 Rights Activists, Lawyers: Amnesty
Egyptian authorities arrested at least 19 lawyers and rights activists on Thursday, Amnesty International said in a statement. The London-based advocacy group said the arrests were made in house raids that began in the early hours. Among those arrested was the 60-year-old human rights lawyer Hoda Abdel-Monaim, a former member of the National Council for Human Rights, Amnesty said. “Today’s chilling wave of arrests targeting the human rights community is yet another appalling setback for human rights in Egypt,” said Najia Bounaim, Amnesty’s Campaigns Director. “With these arrests the Egyptian authorities have once more demonstrated their ruthless determination to crush all activism and dismantle the human rights movement in the country.” Deutsche Welle

Study: Uganda Losing Billions Due to Inability to Stem Illicit Money
Uganda has lost billions of dollars in recent years from illegal financial flows, including tax evasion, crime, and corruption. Uganda’s Financial Intelligence Authority – set up to track illicit money – says it lacks resources to stem the flow. Tax evasion, money laundering, and related corruption are costing Uganda at least $1 billion a year, according to Global Financial Integrity. The Washington, D.C.-based non-profit said in a September report that tax evasion from imports and exports alone cost Uganda $6.7 billion dollars from 2006 to 2015. Nearly $3 billion more was lost to errors and omissions in balance of payments over the last decade.  VOA

Thousands Shelter in Hospital during CAR Clashes: MSF
Fighting between armed groups in Batangafo, Central African Republic, forced more than 10 000 people to take refuge in the town’s hospital, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said on Thursday. “Three camps for displaced people, many houses, and the central market were all burned down” during Wednesday’s clashes, said MSF, which supports the hospital there. “More than 10 000 people took refuge inside the hospital” in the northern town, it said. Their teams at the facility treated 20 people for wounds, 10 of whom needed emergency surgery. One of them died in hospital from severe burns, the medical charity said in a statement. Several hundred other people fled into the bush, said MSF.  AFP

Wealthy Madagascar Candidates Woo Sceptical Voters Trapped by Poverty
No matter who wins Madagascar’s presidential election next week, Soloniaina Rakotomamonjy wants the victor to bring jobs to a country shackled by poverty despite immense resource wealth. In an irony in one of Africa’s poorest countries, the result of the first round of voting could hinge in part on which of the three front-runners — all wealthy men — has spent the most money campaigning for the Nov. 7 contest. Rakotomamonjy, 20, does odd jobs in construction and works at a roadside open-air restaurant when the owner has enough business to hire extra staff. He will vote in the Indian Ocean island nation’s election on Wednesday, he says, for the first time in his life because he wants to participate and “make the choice like everyone else”. Reuters



Photo: Adam Jones