Africa Media Review for November 22, 2017

Robert Mugabe Resigns as Zimbabwe’s President, Ending 37-Year Rule
Robert Mugabe, who ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980 and once proclaimed that “only God will remove me,” resigned as president on Tuesday shortly after lawmakers began impeachment proceedings against him. The speaker of the Parliament, Jacob Mudenda, read out a letter in which Mr. Mugabe said he was stepping down “with immediate effect” for “the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe and the need for a peaceful transfer of power.” Lawmakers erupted into cheers, and jubilant residents poured into the streets of Harare, the capital. It seemed to be an abrupt capitulation by Mr. Mugabe, 93, the world’s oldest head of state and one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders. “It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to Zimbabwe,” Perseverance Sande, 20, said in central Harare minutes after news of the resignation began spreading, as crowds of people started singing around her. “I’ve been waiting so long for this moment.”  The New York Times

Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnanagagwa to Be Sworn-In as President on Friday- State Broadcaster
The swearing-in ceremony of Zimbabwe’s former Vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa as president is scheduled to take place this Friday. The former vice president, who had been out of the country after he was sacked from both party and government, will replace Robert Mugabe who resigned this Tuesday. Meanwhile, ZBC said Mnangagwa will be arriving in the country today at 6pm at the Manyame Airbase, in Harare.  Africa News

Harare Streets Erupt in Joy after Mugabe’s Resignation
Honking cars, loud music and dancing crowds. These were the jubilant scenes in Zimbabwe’s capital on Tuesday, as the news of President Robert Mugabe’s resignation triggered a wave of wild celebration across the city. Singing and cheering, many Harare residents said they are delighted Mugabe had stepped down after 37 years. They also expressed hope that this could signal the start of a different and better leadership for the country. Al Jazeera

South Africa, Angola Presidents to Visit Zimbabwe Wednesday
Angolan President Joao Lourenco said he and South African President Jacob Zuma would fly to Zimbabwe on Wednesday following talks between regional leaders on the crisis engulfing the country. “(South African) President Jacob Zuma and I have agreed to visit Harare tomorrow,” Angolan President Joao Lourenco told journalists Tuesday after a meeting of the southern African regional bloc in Luanda. The two leaders will represent the 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) bloc of which their countries are the leading members. The Guardian Nigeria

Mugabe Is a Goner, but His Looting Machine Is Here to Stay
[…] Zimbabwe’s economy is nearing free fall with a severe shortage of cash, but it won’t be righted until the government clears roughly $5 billion in unpaid arrears and secures a new line of credit. To be credible, however, the transitional authority would need to include figures like veteran opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, highly regarded former finance minister Tendai Biti, former vice president Joice Mujuru, and longtime politician Welshman Ncube, among others. No doubt these figures would require assurances that the transitional authority will wield actual power — especially to reform the election system — before they agree to participate. A more disturbing — but far more likely — outcome is that Mnangagwa simply takes power. Zanu-PF has built a well-oiled machine for dominating the country and stage-managing elections. In fact, Mnangagwa is one of the creators of that system of repression and control, which has enriched a small cabal at the top through a vast empire of corruption. Foreign Policy

Suicide Bomber Kills at Least 50 in Nigeria Mosque
At least 50 people were killed on Tuesday when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a mosque in northeast Nigeria, police said, in an attack blamed on Boko Haram jihadists. The blast happened during early morning prayers at the Madina mosque in the Unguwar Shuwa area of Mubi, some 200 kilometres (125 miles) by road from the Adamawa state capital Yola. It was the biggest attack in Adamawa since December 2016, when two female suicide bombers killed 45 people at a crowded market in the town of Madagali. Security analysts said Tuesday’s bombing again underlined the threat posed by Boko Haram, despite an overall decline in deaths from attacks by the group last year. RFI

US Military: Drone Strike Kills More Than 100 Al-Shabab in Somalia
A U.S. military drone strike has killed more than 100 al-Shabab militants in Somalia, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) said. Military officials told VOA that Tuesday’s strike hit an al-Shabab training camp in the country’s Bay region, about 200 kilometers northwest of the capital, Mogadishu. “It’s obvious from what we were seeing that these were militants,” AFRICOM spokesman Lieutenant Commander Anthony Falvo told VOA. VOA

U.S. Carries out Air Strikes against Islamic State in Libya
The U.S. military said on Tuesday that it had conducted two air strikes against Islamic States militants in Libya in the past few days. In a statement, U.S. Africa Command said one strike was carried out on Friday and another one on Sunday. It said both strikes were carried out near the city of Fuqaha, but did not say how many militants had been killed. The statement said the strikes were carried out in coordination with Libya’s Government of National Accord. Islamic State took over Sirte in early 2015, turning it into its most important base outside the Middle East and attracting large numbers of foreign fighters to the city. The group imposed its hard-line rule on residents and extended its control along about 155 miles (250 km) of Libya’s Mediterranean coastline. Reuters

Burundi Opposition to Boycott New Round of Talks: UN
A new round of talks aimed at ending the political crisis in Burundi will open later this month in Tanzania, but the main opposition alliance will not take part, the UN envoy said on Monday. The meeting will bring together President Pierre Nkurunziza’s government and opposition representatives in Arusha from November 27 to December 8. Envoy Michel Kafando told the UN Security Council the CNARED opposition alliance “was not ready to take part.” East African leaders will then meet in January to assess the outcome of the talks in Arusha, he said. Burundi was thrown into a political crisis in April 2015 when Nkurunziza decided to run for a third term that his opponents said was unconstitutional. AFP

Ruling Party’s Bihi Abdi Wins Somaliland Presidential Poll
The electoral commission of the self-declared Republic of Somaliland Tuesday declared Mr Muse Bihi Abdi the country’s president-elect. Mr Abdi of the ruling Kulmiye party won the election that took place in the breakaway region on November 13. He beat Mr Abdurahman Mohamed Irro and Mr Faysal Ali Warabe respectively of the opposition parties Wadani and UCID. The electoral commission announced that Kulmiye party garnered 55.59 per cent of the votes, while Wadani got 40.73 per cent. UCID managed a paltry 4.17 per cent. Africa Review

Blast at Concert Shows Central African Republic’s Religious Rift
Emmanuel Ngallos was playing a keyboard at a concert meant to bring Central African Republic’s Muslims and Christians together when the blast knocked him to the ground — and highlighted the war-ravaged nation’s religious rift. “We’re all used to grenades, unfortunately,’’ the 35-year-old said from his narrow bed in a cramped hospital ward in the capital, Bangui. A rectangular bandage showed where shrapnel had torn into his abdomen. “I just didn’t expect this to happen at a reconciliation concert.’’ Ngallos was among two dozen wounded when men on a motorbike threw a grenade during the Nov. 11 party in an apparent bid to sabotage over a year of relative peace in the city. At least five died in reprisal violence between Muslims and Christians. Inter-communal violence has surged since mainly Muslim rebels overthrew President Francois Bozize, a Christian, in March 2013.  Bloomberg

Heavy Fighting Erupts in South Sudan’s Fangak State
Heavy fighting erupted in Fanjak, one of South Sudan’s newly-created states when pro-government troops allegedly launched offensives against the armed opposition forces. The press secretary of the rebel-appointed governor of Phow state, Khan Rom claimed pro-government troops attacked their positions. The rebel official said the government forces had attempted to capture Wau county, a territory, he said, was under rebels’ control. “The negative forces were then instantly repulsed badly and destroyed by Division 7 forces in Wau where the enemy incurred heavy loses,” Khan told Sudan Tribune Tuesday. A source in Fangak state also confirmed the fighting in Ayod county between government and opposition forces, during which dozens of people were wounded, but later taken to Akobo area for treatment. Sudan Tribune

U.S. Vows Tough Sanctions If South Sudan Doesn’t End Conflict
The U.S. will enact far-reaching sanctions on South Sudanese officials and rebel leaders if they undermine new talks seeking to end a four-year civil war, the top American diplomat in the country said. An arms embargo and economic and banking restrictions are all being considered after limited sanctions “definitely got the attention” of the warring sides, according to Michael Morrow, the U.S. Embassy’s charge d’affaires. The country hasn’t had a U.S. ambassador since July as a successor nominated by President Donald Trump’s awaits Senate approval. The U.S. has made it clear to participants in the negotiations that if “there are any spoilers of the process, if there is anyone who reneges on their commitment, they can expect to face harsh measures,” Morrow said Monday in an interview in the capital, Juba. Bloomberg

Red Cross Resumes Humanitarian Work in Darfur
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) announced the resumption of its humanitarian work in Darfur region after it came to a halt more than three years ago. In February 2014, the Sudanese government ordered the ICRC to halt its activities in the country saying that the aid organisation needs to comply with the humanitarian work guidelines and the voluntary work law in order to continue operating in the country. The ICRC information officer Ataf Youseff told reporters Tuesday in Nyala, South Darfur capital they reached an agreement with the Sudanese government to resume the humanitarian activities in Darfur. She pointed out that the ICRC has “provided great humanitarian assistance since the outbreak of the armed conflict in Darfur region more than ten years ago”, describing resumption of the organization’s work as “big gain for the Darfur residents”.  Sudan Tribune

Mali: Barkhane Presses on Armed Groups Signatory to the Peace Agreement
An official of the French force Barkhane on Tuesday put pressure on the signatories of the peace agreement in Mali , denouncing the “collusion” between some of the armed groups and jihadist movements active in the north of the country. “The various operations that we conducted recently (…) demonstrate the collusion between some signatory groups (of the agreement) and armed terrorist groups,“Christian Allavene, the commander of Barkhane forces in Mali , told reporters in Bamako. “Today we have material evidence that demonstrates this collusion, a certain porosity,” he added, without giving details. Signed in 2015, this agreement is supposed to isolate definitively the jihadist groups, which had seized northern Mali in March-April 2012 before being largely driven by an international military intervention launched in January 2013 at the initiative of France and continues today. Africa News

Nigeria Promotes 137 Officers to Rank of Army Generals
Nigeria has promoted 137 senior officers of the military to the rank of generals, the highest number of promotions under Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. In a statement issued late Monday, Sani Usman, the military’s spokesman, said the Nigerian Army Council approved the promotion of 45 Brigadier generals to the rank of major generals and 92 colonels to the rank of Brigadier generals. A major general is a two-star general while a Brigadier general is a one-star general in military parlance. Nigeria’s highest military rank for the army is the Field Marshall — a five-star general — often assumed by longstanding dictators, which none has ever attained. Only commissioned officers can attain the rank of general in the Nigerian army. Anadolu Agency

Ghana: No Longer an African Role Model?
For many years, Ghana has been seen as a role model on the African continent. But the country’s development has been floundering as of late. A recent study conducted by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation reveals a slowdown. Only a few years ago, cars constantly got stuck in traffic jams at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, a roundabout in the middle of Accra. But, since the end of 2016, traffic there has been flowing smoothly. Shortly before the last presidential election, former President John Mahama opened what he called the “longest flyover and the highest in West Africa.” The problematic roundabout had been converted into a multilevel interchange — the president’s showcase project. But that was all his government had to show after eight years of rule, and the electorate ultimately turned against him. Deutsche Welle

Morocco to Host 2nd China-Africa Investment Forum
The second China-Africa Investment Forum (CAIF) will be held in the Moroccan city of Marrakech on Nov. 27-28, the organizers said in a statement on Monday. The forum will bring together more than 400 high-level Chinese and African business leaders. The event will facilitate business meetings between the main stakeholders of trade and investment between China and African countries in order to foster sustainable partnerships with high added value, particularly in the industrial sector, the statement said. The forum dedicates two days of conferences and debates to the financial implications for African economies and making the continent a true industrial platform, it pointed out. Xinhua

U.S. Bribery Case Sheds Light on Mysterious Chinese Company
Patrick Ho flew to New York in fall 2014. His intention, according to the Justice Department, was to bribe African officials on behalf of a private Chinese conglomerate with global ambitions and enormous wealth. In meetings at the United Nations, Mr. Ho, a former Hong Kong civil servant, laid the groundwork for millions of dollars of payments to the president of Chad and Uganda’s foreign minister in exchange for oil rights in the two countries, federal prosecutors say. The accusations against Mr. Ho, detailed in a criminal complaint filed in Manhattan, became public this week after officials charged him and Cheikh Gadio, a former Senegalese official who acted as a fixer for Mr. Ho, with international money laundering and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Mr. Gadio was arrested on Friday and Mr. Ho on Saturday, the Justice Department said. The complaint does not name the Chinese company Mr. Ho represented, but the specifics of the case make clear the company’s identity: CEFC China Energy Company. The New York Times

Ethiopia Bets on Clothes to Fashion Industrial Future
Checkered shirts for American chain Gap. Slate leggings for Swedish store H&M. Twill shorts for Germany’s Tchibo. They are among a growing list of clothes being stitched together for big brands in Ethiopia. As labour, raw material and tax costs rise in China – the world’s dominant textiles producer – the Horn of Africa country is scrambling to offer a cheaper alternative, and go up against established low-cost garment makers like Bangladesh and Vietnam. It is still early days, and most of the clothing companies to source production in Ethiopia are testing the waters with small volumes. But the government is working hard to attract their business with tax breaks, subsidies and cheap loans. The landlocked nation is also about to open the final stretch of a 700 km (450-mile) electric railway to Djibouti’s coast. Reuters



Photo: Adam Jones