Africa Media Review for November 28, 2017

Kenyan Election: Kenyatta Sworn in amid High Security and Opposition Rally
President Uhuru Kenyatta begins his second term as leader of Kenya. But contested elections and months of political violence have cast doubt on his legitimacy and raised tensions in the capital. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has been sworn in for a second five-year term on Tuesday, bringing an end to a bitterly contested election season marred by street protests and police violence. Supporters of the 56-year-old Kenyatta arrived in their tens of thousands at a Nairobi sports stadium, where the ceremony took place, wearing the colors of the ruling Jubilee party and waving Kenyan flags. A military band in blue and gold uniforms serenaded heads of state from several African nations, including neighboring Ethiopia, South Sudan and Uganda. Deutsche Welle

Zimbabwe Cabinet Pick to Show If Mnangagwa Is Breaking with the Past
New Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to form a new cabinet this week, with all eyes on whether he breaks with the past and names a broad-based government or selects old guard figures from Robert Mugabe’s era. Of particular interest is his choice of finance minister to replace Ignatius Chombo, who was among members of a group allied to Mugabe and his wife, Grace, who were detained and expelled from the ruling party. Chombo is facing corruption charges and is due to appear in court for a bail hearing on Monday. In a tentative sign that he might do things differently, ZANU-PF cut the budget for a special congress to be held next month and also slashed the duration by half from six days, the state-owned Herald newspaper reported on Monday. Reuters

Zimbabwe Officially Declares Mugabe National Holiday
Zimbabwe has officially declared 21 February to be Robert Gabriel Mugabe National Youth Day, thereby making the former president’s birthday a public holiday, the Herald newspaper reports. New President Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to form a cabinet this week. Mr Mugabe resigned last week after a military intervention and days of mass protests. The police and army are to stage joint patrols as the country returns to normal, the authorities have said. They have already received reports of looting and illegal occupation of properties, particularly farms and houses. BBC

After Mugabe, Africa’s Other Longtime Leaders Feel a Chill
After the stunning fall of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, attention has turned to other longtime African leaders accused of trying to extend their rule. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s sudden move last week to decorate over 300 army officers in a rare mass promotion suggested the jolt of realization across the continent: If Mugabe, who ruled for 37 years, could be forced from power by the military, perhaps anyone can. With Mugabe’s departure, Museveni is one of just four African leaders in power who have ruled for more than three decades. The group also includes Cameroon’s Paul Biya, who has been head of government or president for 42 years; Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema, who has ruled since 1979; and Republic of Congo’s Denis Sassou Nguesso, who during two spells in office has ruled for 33 years. Museveni, a key U.S. security ally, is the most visible of the four. He has ruled this East African nation for three decades and now seeks to extend his rule by removing a presidential age limit from the constitution. The opposition has loudly objected.  AP

US Targets IS in Somalia Airstrike
One terrorist was killed in a targeted airstrike in Somalia conducted by U.S. forces in coordination with Somalia’s government, the U.S. military said Monday. The strike against Islamic State fighters was carried out around 3pm local time on Monday in northeastern Somalia, U.S. Africa Command said in a statement. “U.S. forces will continue to use all authorized and appropriate measures to protect U.S. citizens and to disable terrorist threats. This includes partnering with AMISOM and Somali National Security Forces (SNSF) in combined counterterrorism operations and targeting terrorists, their training camps, and their safe havens throughout Somalia and the region,” the statement read. VOA

Somali Al-Shabaab Jihadists Flee US Airstrikes
Militants loyal to the Al-Qaeda linked Al-Shabaab have reportedly fled to the central region following the US airstrikes on their bases in southern Somalia. The commander of Somali National Army (SNA) in Hiran region, Gen Mohamed Ahmed Tredishe, stated that they had received reports of the Al-Shabaab militants vacating parts of Hiran. “Villagers and pastoralists have been reporting that militants who appeared to have abandoned their bases in southern Somalia have reached some areas in the central region,” said Gen Tredishe at a press conference in Beledweyne town, the capital of Hiran region. Beledweyne town lies some 335km north of Mogadishu. The East African

Egypt’s Sufis Will Stay Indoors to Mark Birth of Prophet Muhammad
Egypt’s Sufi worshippers have said they will go ahead with celebrations to commemorate the birth of the Prophet Muhammad despite an attack on a mosque in the Sinai peninsula that left 305 dead and 128 injured. The attack on al-Rawda Mosque in the northern Sinai town of Bir al-Abed on Friday was the most deadly in modern Egyptian history. A bomb tore through the house of worship just after Friday prayers, killing many of those inside including 27 children. Egypt’s public prosecutor, Nabil Sadeq, said that up to 30 militants then surrounded the main entrances to the mosque and 12 of its windows with four-wheel-drive vehicles before opening fire on those inside. The militants reportedly then walked among the dead shooting those they believed were still breathing. The Guardian

Macron’s Africa Tour: Security, Business and New French-African Ties?
Emmanuel Macron begins a three-day tour of Africa Tuesday which will take him to Burkina Faso, the Ivory Coast and Ghana. The French leader wants to redefine his country’s waning relationship with the continent. Will he succeed? Emmanuel Macron promised a fresh start. On Tuesday, he will begin his November 28-30th Africa tour not in Senegal like his predecessors, but in Burkina Faso, a country with a proud tradition of independence. During his first speech, he will lay out his Africa policy not to the country’s politicians or intelligentsia but its youth: 800 students at the University of Ougadougou, from whom he will take questions afterwards. France 24

Ten Soldiers Standing Trial for Allegedly Plotting to Overthrow the Government of Adama Barrow
A military court in Gambia on Monday accused ten soldiers of treason and mutiny in a plot to overthrow the country’s new government, while two others are also being tried for aiding a sergeant to escape. Some elements of the armed forces remain loyal to former president Yahya Jammeh, who was overthrown in January after 22 years in power. But the evidence of a coup plot against the new government has only just emerged. The ten soldiers are alleged to have “prepared or attempted to overthrow the democratically elected government of The Gambia by illegal means which is a violation of the law”, according to a court document seen by AFP. Africa News

AU/EU Summit: Libya’s Modern Slavery, Western Sahara Tensions under Scrutiny in Abidjan
The theme of the three-yearly African Union-European Union summit which starts in Abidjan on Wednesday is “Investing in youth for a sustainable future”. A lot of good work will be done to increase youth employment, for example. Much of the curiosity though is on what the expected 83 leaders representing 55 African and 28 European countries will do about slavery. And will Zimbabwe’s new President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was only sworn into office last Friday – after a de facto coup – attend? Also, will there be a rumpus between the “Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic” (SADR) and Morocco? SADR is one of the 55 official member states of the AU, though its territory, the Western Sahara, is claimed and occupied by Morocco. Morocco stormed out of the AU’s predecessor, the OAU, in 1984, because the SADR was admitted as a member. Rabat returned to the AU fold this year but it has been creating scenes at previous AU meetings over the SADR’s presence. There was talk a few weeks ago that Cote d’Ivoire has not invited SADR to this week’s summit because of Morocco’s concerns. Eventually it was invited and said it would attend. But will Morocco again create a scene? Daily Maverick

Sudan Says Militia Leader Musa Hilal Arrested
Sudanese authorities have arrested a powerful militia leader suspected of human rights abuses in the Darfur region. Musa Hilal was detained after fighting with Sudanese forces near his hometown in North Darfur, state media reports. He is a former ally of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and led the government-allied Janjaweed militia. Musa Hilal is subject to UN sanctions for his suspected involvement in the Darfur conflict of the mid-2000s. His son Habeeb was also detained in the clashes in North Darfur, Sudan’s defence minister, Lt Gen Ali Mohamed Salem, said. BBC

Sudan General, Nine Soldiers Killed in Darfur Clashes-SUNA
A Sudanese general and nine soldiers were killed in clashes in the war-damaged region of Darfur on Sunday after their vehicles were ambushed by militants, state news SUNA reported on Monday. Conflict in Darfur erupted in 2003 when mainly non-Arab tribes took up arms against Sudan’s Arab-led government and has led to intermittent clashes ever since, though the government announced a unilateral ceasefire last year. Fresh clashes erupted on Sunday following a military effort by government forces in the southern Darfur region to collect weapons from militants, SUNA reported. Reuters

Turkish, Sudanese Intelligence Agencies Catch and Return Alleged Coup Suspect: Anadolu
Turkish and Sudanese intelligence agencies have captured and returned to Turkey a man believed to be a financier for the U.S.-based cleric accused of orchestrating a failed coup in Turkey, the state-run Anadolu news agency said on Monday. Citing security sources, Anadolu said Turkey’s MIT and Sudan’s NISS intelligence agencies carried out a joint operation targeting Memduh Cikmaz in Sudan and returned him to Turkey early on Monday. Cikmaz, labeled by Turkish media a “money safe” for the network of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, is believed to have transferred millions of dollars to Gulen’s network from Sudan since he fled there in January 2016, Anadolu said. Reuters

Fake Coastguards and Taxi Cabs Fuel Libya’s Migrant Trade
When uniformed men boarded the overloaded rubber dingy carrying Christelle Timdi and her boyfriend to a new life in Europe she thought the Italian coastguard had come to rescue them. But the men took out guns and began to shoot. “Many people fell in the sea,” the 32-year-old Cameroonian said as she described seeing her boyfriend, Douglas, falling in the water and disappearing into the darkness. The gunmen took Timdi and her fellow passengers back to Libya where they were locked up, raped, beaten and forced to make calls to their families back home for ransom payments to secure their freedom. Timdi, who flew back to Cameroon last week, told her story as international outcry escalated over a video which appeared to show African migrants being traded as slaves in Libya. Reuters

Chad: The Unexpected Migration Debate
Many Chadians are surprised: Since France’s President Emmanuel Macron has been planning to set up asylum centers in Chad, the country has been the focus of a migration debate. But on the ground, it’s not really an issue. Marie Larlem sits in her office near the US Embassy in the heart of the Chadian capital N’Djamena. She runs the Association for the Promotion of Fundamental Liberties in Chad (APLFT) and, together with her 118 employees, deals with numerous socio-political issues such as education and poverty reduction. The organization also provides legal assistance. However, migration is not part of their portfolio. “Europe deals with it a lot. But it’s not much of an issue here,” says Larlem. Chad, with a population of about 14 million, has suddenly become a hot topic in international discourse on migration. Deutsche Welle

President Koroma’s Sacking of Vice President Sam Sumana Was Illegal – Says Ecowas Court
Reports from Abuja, Nigeria, says that the West African Regional Court of Justice – the ECOWAS Court, has today ruled that president Koroma’s sacking of the country’s vice president Sam Sumana in 2015, after accusing Sam Sumana of “abandoning” his duties by seeking political asylum in the US embassy, was illegal. Koroma must now pay restitution damages. This court ruling comes against the earlier decision of the Sierra Leone Supreme Court Judges, who said that president koroma as Supreme ruler of Sierra Leone, has the right to sack the vice president. But the ECOWAS Court of Justice disagrees, and has ordered the government of Sierra Leone to pay the former vice president Sam Sumana his full salary along with other emoluments lost since his dismissal in 2015. The Sierra Leone Telegraph

8 Ugandan Media Workers Charged over Rwanda Attack Report 
Eight Ugandan media workers have been criminally charged over a report saying Uganda’s government is planning to overthrow the president of neighbouring Rwanda. The charge sheet against the employees of local tabloid The Red Pepper doesn’t include the more serious charge of treason that police cited last week. They instead are charged with libel, offensive communication and publishing information prejudicial to security. The suspects include five managers and three editors. The story was published November 20. News 24

Guinea Cracks down on Media as Education Strike Grinds on
Guinea suspended broadcasting by a radio station on Monday after it attempted to interview the leader of a teachers’ strike which has drawn thousands of pupils onto the streets in support. Several teachers have been arrested and two teenage protesters killed since the walkout was called on November 13 over salary increases, with President Alpha Conde taking a hard line this weekend on media he described as aiding an “illegal” movement. Alpha Fady Diallo, director of BTA FM in Guinea’s second city, Labe, said that broadcasting was interrupted on Monday morning just as an interview began with key union official Aboubacar Soumah. News 24

Egypt-Ethiopia Tensions over New Dam Rise Again
Ethiopia is pushing on with construction of its massive new dam, despite growing objections from Egypt. The controversial project has strained relations between the two nations, because Egypt, which lies downstream, sees it as a risk to its water supply from the Blue Nile. Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Vall has visited the site of the $5bn project, which will one day be Africa’s biggest hydroelectric dam. Al Jazeera

Are West Africa’s Gunsmiths Making Violence Cheap?
The trafficking and illicit circulation of small arms and light weapons are often discussed in the context of fuelling instability and insecurity in West Africa. Rarely, however, is the issue of locally manufactured weapons given appropriate attention in these conversations. The production of firearms by local artisans is not new to the region. It has existed in many countries – including Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo – for decades, and in Ghana for centuries. Over time, local manufacturers’ knowledge has improved and the level of activity seems to have increased. Firearm production, and the dynamics that shape it, vary considerably from one country to another. The little empirical research available provides a glimpse into it in some countries – for example Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Togo and Nigeria. Studies describe an artisanal, informal and mainly clandestine industry, animated by blacksmiths whose knowledge is passed on to the next generation, and occasionally to apprentices. ISS

 



Photo: Adam Jones