Africa Media Review for November 29, 2016

Ending South Sudan’s Civil War
Three years of civil war have left South Sudan on the cusp of full-scale genocide, with its sovereignty discredited by warring elites, asserts Africa Center for Strategic Studies Director Kate Almquist Knopf in a new report for the Council on Foreign Relations. In Ending South Sudan’s Civil War, Almquist Knopf argues, “The only remaining path to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity, restore its legitimacy, and politically empower its citizens is through an international transitional administration, established by the United Nations and the African Union, to run the country for a finite period.” Almquist Knopf makes the case that an international transitional administration is the only realistic path to end the violence and to allow South Sudan the kind of “clean break” from its leaders and power structures that can restore the country to viability. A transitional administration led by the United Nations and African Union with a 10 to 15-year executive mandate would maintain the country’s territorial integrity, provide basic governance and public services, rebuild the shattered economy, and establish the political and constitutional framework for the transition to full sovereignty. Council on Foreign Relations on Africacenter.org

South Sudan Prevents Ceasefire Monitoring Team from Visiting Yei
South Sudanese authorities Monday barred a team a ceasefire monitoring team from reaching Yei to assess the security situation in the troubled Central Equatoria region. In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune, the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM) said one of its teams was “denied freedom of movement while trying to reach Yei to conduct an assessment of the area and carry out its mandated activities”. The ceasefire monitoring mechanism said they got the green light from all the concerned authorities including the Joint Military Ceasefire Commission since early this month. “However when the MVT began their journey from Juba this morning they were stopped at a check point on the outskirts of the city and told they would not be allowed pass beyond that point,” said the statement. Sudan Tribune

Canada Extends UN Deployment in South Sudan Despite Concerns: Memo
Canada has extended its small deployment of soldiers with the United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan this year despite concerns about its viability and soldiers’ safety, an internal Canadian government memo showed. A senior official said the extension would help to achieve the Liberal government’s goal of increased U.N. participation, according to the April memo from Canada’s foreign affairs ministry, obtained by Reuters under access-to-information laws. Canada’s Liberals, who took power last year, are eyeing a U.N. Security Council seat in 2021-2022, seeking to repair relations with the world body that deteriorated under their Conservative predecessors. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on Sunday his government had reengaged with the U.N. peacekeeping mission, offering C$500 million ($373 million) and up to 600 soldiers. The Globe and Mail

Sudan: Three UN Workers Abducted in Darfur
Unidentified gunmen have kidnapped three workers from the United Nation’s refugee agency in Sudan’s restive Darfur region. The three workers – one from Sudan and two from Nepal – were kidnapped on Sunday from Geneina, the capital of West Darfur state, and were taken to an unknown location, Abdallah Gar al-Nabi, West Darfur government spokesman, said on Monday. UNHCR officials were not immediately available for comment, but its spokesman in Khartoum said a meeting was underway to discuss the “urgent incident”. A resident from Geneina said the gunmen came in a 4×4 vehicle. “I saw some armed men ordering the three UN employees to get into their vehicle. They then drove off quickly,” he said on condition of anonymity. Al Jazeera

Death Toll in Western Uganda Fighting Rises to 62
Death toll from the fighting in Kasese District, western Uganda over the weekend has risen to 62, according to police. Forty six royal guards were killed at the Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu Palace in an exchange with joint operation by the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) and police. Rwenzori East police spokesperson Mansur Suwed also said 139 royal guards were arrested and are being detained at the Kasese Police Station. Several items were recovered at the palace including 16 patrol bombs, 42 knives, three metal detectors, one SMG rifle, and one pistol with two magazines. Others include four radio calls and 47 pangas. Mr Suwed said 16 officers have died after two officers succumbed to their injuries, having risen from 14. East African

Silent Victims of Violence: 4 Million Kids Orphaned in Congo
More than 4 million children have lost at least one parent in Congo over the past two decades, the silent victims of continuous cycles of violence. And more than 26 million orphans live in West and Central Africa, where Congo is located — the second highest number in the world behind South Asia, according to the United Nations. These children have grown up amid conflict fueled by ethnic strife and the fight over valuable minerals. The violence and displacement are eroding the tradition of families caring for their own. The breakdown in family means some orphans are forced to look after themselves and their younger siblings. Some are vulnerable to recruitment by armed groups. And many also face sexual exploitation, in a country where rape has become commonplace on the streets.  AP on Stars and Stripes

Burundi’s Willy Nyamitwe Survives Assassination Bid
A top adviser to Burundi’s president has survived an assassination attempt in the capital Bujumbura which left one of his bodyguards dead, officials say. Willy Nyamitwe was slightly wounded on his arm and another bodyguard was injured in the attack on Monday night, the officials added. Burundi descended into turmoil last year when President Pierre Nkurunzinza began his bid for a third term. More than 500 people have died and at least 270,000 have fled the country.  BBC

Labor Unrest in Cameroon after Clashes over Language Discrimination
Efforts by the Cameroonian government to defuse tensions between the country’s French and English-speaking regions appear to be making little headway. Lawyers and teachers in Bamenda, capital of the English-speaking North West region, say they have embarked on an open-ended strike. Cameroon is still reeling from violent clashes between police and protestors in the town, which local media say left at least four people dead last week. In a sign of the concern with which the government of majority French-speaking Cameroon views the rioting, President Paul Biya dispatched Prime Minister Philemon Yang to the region from the nation’s capital Yaounde to try and calm the unrest. Deutsche Welle

Egypt’s Press Syndicate Under Fire
For the first time in its 75-year history, the Egyptian Press Syndicate has been taken to court by the state. Three senior members of the Syndicate now join numerous other journalists, dissidents and activists fighting harsh rulings that could leave them in jail for years. Never before has the Press Syndicate been taken to court by the state and for many citizens it’s more than an organisation, it’s a safe place. The Press Syndicate’s headquarters is a five-minute walk from Tahrir Square and is, in some ways, is just as symbolic. A place that the security forces had never breached, and would never breach, until April of this year, when two journalists wanted by the police took shelter there. “Now that that’s been violated, this marks a significant escalation in the repression of the press in Egypt,” says writer and commentator Timothy Kaldas. This latest chapter in the Syndicate’s story goes back six months, when two reporters, wanted by the police, took shelter there. Al Jazeera

Tunisia Hosts Investors to Revive Post-revolution Economy
Tunisia is hoping to reverse a decline in foreign investment and shake off some of its post-revolution economic malaise at an international conference that opens Tuesday. The two-day event is aimed at drumming up interest in projects worth some $30 billion and boosting an economy hurt by militant attacks, labor unrest and political instability. It comes as Prime Minister Youssef Chahed’s government tries to contain a fresh wave of resistance against austerity measures demanded by international creditors. “We have to revive hope among our youth,” Chahed said before the conference, in which the government says representatives from at least 40 countries are expected to take part. VOA

Somalia’s Presidential Election Postponed for Third Time
Somalia’s presidential elections, scheduled to begin this week, have been postponed for a third time, the electoral body said Monday. Omar Mohamed Abdulle, head of Somalia’s electoral body, said elections slated for Wednesday will not happen as planned. Abdulle did not offer a new date, but said the next president will be elected before the end of this year. Somalia’s parliament members will elect the new president. However, parliamentary elections to elect new lawmakers have not been completed in all regions of the country. VOA

Residents in Somali Town Resist Al-Shabab Taxes, 10 Dead
Clashes between the Islamic extremist group al-Shabab and villagers in a central Somali town have left 10 people dead and dozens wounded, say local residents. The fighting erupted Monday after al-Shabab fighters who control the port town of Harardhere ordered nomadic villagers to pay a tax, said resident Ahmed Mohamed. Harardhere’s inhabitants, who have lost hundreds of animals in the current drought, dismissed the demand, leading to fighting between the two sides, he said. Six militants and four residents have been killed in the ongoing fighting, he said. Villagers ambushed al-Shabab fighters traveling near Harardhere on Monday afternoon, and destroyed one battlewagon, another resident, an elder in the area, told The Associated Press by phone. Militants burned down homes in Dumaya, a village outside the town, he said. He insisted on anonymity for fear of reprisal by al-Shabab.  AP on ABC News

Somali Forces Approach Port Town, Ready to Attack Islamic State
Hundreds of pro-government Somali forces began moving toward the port town of Qandala on Monday for an offensive against Islamic State fighters who seized it last month, Qandala’s mayor said. The forces include militia fighters, soldiers from the semi-autonomous region of Puntland and fighters from the same clan as Abdiqadir Mumin, the Somali insurgent leader who has pledged allegiance to Islamic State, Somali security officials said. “We and our forces left Bosasso today with the intention to capture to Qandala, which is now only 100 km (60 miles) away from us. We shall keep on moving until we liberate the town,” Jamac Mohamed Khurshe told Reuters. Bosasso is a major Somali city. Reuters

Libya’s Hollow Victory Over the Islamic State
Little noticed by the outside world, Libyans have almost succeeded in achieving a long-awaited victory over the Islamic State. For months, bolstered by air strikes from their international allies, local militias have been tightening a ring around IS forces in the coastal city of Sirte. The jihadis have been corralled into an area of less than one square kilometer. The battle is all but won. You’d think that Libyans and their friends in the international community would be thrilled. Actually, though, there’s little sense of triumph to be detected anywhere. The reason is simple: Victory in Sirte, however welcome, will have little positive effect on the country’s power vacuum. When the Islamic State first conquered the city in June 2015, many observers hoped that the threat would serve as a rallying point for Libya’s myriad warring factions. The need to strike a resounding blow against the Islamic State, it was thought, would finally provide the catalyst for unity. Foreign Policy

Guinea Bissau’s Dominant Party to Boycott New Government
Guinea Bissau’s dominant political party on Monday rejected President Jose Mario Vaz’s newly-appointed prime minister and said it would refuse to join his new government, likely extending a year-long political paralysis. Vaz had to dissolve the previous government after the last prime minister, Baciro Dja, failed to win the full support of his ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), an organisation hit by regular infighting Political rivals in September agreed to a roadmap to form a consensus government with a view to ending the crisis that has frozen international aid and shut parliament. However, the PAIGC said it would not join the government of Umaro Mokhtar Sissoco Embalo, a brigadier general who was appointed the West African country’s fifth prime minister in a little over a year on November 18. Reuters

Will a United Opposition Finally Unseat Gambia’s Strongman?
Human rights organisations have warned that the conditions leading up to Thursday’s vote are not conducive to a free and fair election. There has been a spate of arrests of journalists and opposition activists in a country in which disappearances, arbitrary detention, and torture is commonplace. The Sandeng family is all too aware of those dangers. In April, they were forced to flee, crossing the border with Senegal at night, at a point they hoped would be unguarded. A week before, on 14 April, the head of the family, opposition activist Solo Sandeng, had allegedly been tortured to death by Gambia’s security forces for leading a peaceful protest near the capital, Banjul. IRIN

Ghanaian Chiefs Urged to Stop Supporting Political Parties
Chiefs and traditional leaders have been advised to put an end to the attitude of publicly showing or declaring their support for leaders of political parties that visit their palaces during political campaign seasons. The advice was given by Nii Bortey Klan I, Chief of Klangon, a town along the Nungua-Ashaiman highway in the Tema Metropolitan area of the Greater Accra Region. According to him, apart from the fact that such attitudes would reduce the respect of their subjects, and most times expose them to public ridicule, the 1992 Constitution frowns on chiefs actively getting involved in politics. Speaking in an interview with this paper, the Klangon Mantse said chiefs, who are leaders of their respective communities with a huge support base, are highly revered in the country. The Chronicle

Unease As Zimbabwe Rolls Out ‘Surrogate’ Dollars
The crisis-hit southern African country has used multiple foreign currencies, including the greenback, since 2009 after a rate of inflation that peaked at 500 billion percent rendered the Zimbabwe dollar unusable. The introduction of $2 and $5 bond notes into circulation follows the issuing of bond coins over a year ago to ease shortages of change in smaller denominations. The country has experienced a severe shortage of US dollar banknotes in recent months which prompted President Robert Mugabe’s government to print what locals have dubbed “surrogate money”. “The government is only treating the symptoms without attending to the problems and it’s not going to solve anything,” Antony Hawkins, an economist at the University of Zimbabwe’s Business School, told AFP.  AFP on Times Live

3 of Zuma’s Cabinet Ministers Want Him to Resign
Three of the South African president’s Cabinet ministers have called on scandal-plagued Jacob Zuma to resign. Local media say Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, and Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi called on Zuma to step down at a meeting of the ruling African National Congress, or ANC, over the weekend that was extended into Monday. Political analyst Ranjeni Munusamy wrote on the Daily Maverick website that, “There is no doubt that Zuma is fighting for his political life.” Zuma’s time in office has been mired in numerous controversies and increasingly his fellow ANC lawmakers and activists have called on him to step down. VOA

A Forgotten Step in Saving African Wildlife: Protecting the Rangers
Despite the critical role rangers play in the poaching crisis, conservation organizations tend to overlook the need for everyday resources, said Peter Newland, the director of training at 51 Degrees, a private security company in Kenya.“Donors outside of Africa want to see sexy, high-tech solutions like drones and ground sensors, not to hear about the need for warm clothing, boots and better food for rangers,” he said. “Large nongovernmental groups spend huge amounts, yet there are rangers calling me for socks.”The wildlife fund study also found that 82 percent of rangers had faced life-threatening situations, including attacks by poachers and animals. The New York Times

Kenya’s Little Cab App Is Set to Take on Uber in Uganda and Nigeria
Little Cab, the ride-hailing app backed by telecoms operator Safaricom, is slowly giving Uber a run for its money in Kenya. Since its launch in July, it has signed up 1,600 active drivers, outnumbering Uber’s just over 1,000 drivers since began operations in Jan. 2015. This month, Little Cab also slashed its charges from 55 Kenyan shillings ($0.54) to 30 shillings ($0.30) per kilometer, with no flat rates or price surges like Uber—effectively making it the cheapest e-taxi service in the country. The competition between the two companies in Kenya is now expected to go continental, as Little Cab plans expansion into Uganda and Nigeria in 2017. Little hopes to use cheap pricing to gain entry into new markets and attract more passengers. The ride-hailing app was developed by the Kenyan tech firm Craft Silicon, which operates across the continent and has subsidiaries in India and the United States. Quartz



Photo: Adam Jones