Africa Media Review for November 3, 2016

Kenya Pulling UN Peacekeepers from South Sudan in Protest
Kenya is pulling out its 1,000 troops deployed to South Sudan as part of the U.N. peacekeeping mission and stopping future deployments after the U.N. secretary-general fired the force’s Kenyan commander, the foreign affairs ministry said Wednesday. In a further blow to regional efforts to calm the civil war, Kenya said it is also disengaging from the South Sudan peace process, in which it has been instrumental as a broker, guarantor and monitor. The firing of Kenyan Lt. Gen. Johnson Mogoa Kimani Ondieki came after an independent investigation sharply criticized peacekeepers’ response to deadly attacks in July on a U.N. compound housing 27,000 displaced people in South Sudan’s capital, Juba. The probe also found that peacekeepers didn’t respond to calls for help as South Sudanese soldiers rampaged through a nearby compound popular with foreigners. The New York Times

South Sudan Analysts: Firing UNMISS Commander Long Overdue 
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s decision Tuesday to fire the U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) force commander is long overdue, say South Sudanese analysts. Ban fired UNMISS Force Commander Lieutenant General Johnson Mogoa Kimani Ondieki of Kenya following a U.N. report released Tuesday that concluded its peacekeeping force in South Sudan failed to protect civilians and aid workers when fighting broke out in Juba in early July. Ban had appointed Ondieki in May and he took up his post in mid-June. Political analyst Jacob Chol said UNMISS has weaknesses that hinder it from effectively carrying out its mandate. Chol said the international community must ensure that UNMISS undergoes critical reforms in the way it conducts peacekeeping operations in South Sudan. VOA

South Sudan Says 17 Accused in Attack Targeting Americans
Eight people have been accused of rape, eight others accused of looting and one accused of injuring a victim during a July rampage that targeted Americans at a South Sudan hotel popular with foreigners, the government announced Wednesday. Most of the accused are from the military, it said. It was the first word of accountability in the attack on the Terrain hotel compound. The Associated Press was the first to reveal details of the attack in which people were gang-raped, beaten, subjected to mock executions and forced to watch a local journalist be shot dead. Victims said dozens of armed men in uniform forced their way into the compound, breaking open the gate with gunshots and tire irons and outmanning security guards. AP on Fox News

20 People Killed in Clashes in West Darfur State
An eyewitness told Sudan Tribune Wednesday that gunmen attacked cattle herders in Mara area killing 16 people, saying that 4 gunmen were also killed in the clashes. He pointed out that the governor of West Darfur Fadl al-Mula al-Haga had attended the funeral at Umm Al-Qura cemetery, east of El-Geneina, but didn’t give any statement on the issue. For his part, West Darfur information minister Mustafa Jar al-Nabi confirmed the incident to Sudan Tribune, saying it was triggered by the killing of a cattle herder whose body was found in Jebel Moon in the locality of Kulbos. He added that the family of the victims hunted down the perpetrator who was riding a motorcycle which led to clashes between them and residents in the area in which dozens were killed. Sudan Tribune

18 Killed, 43 Injured as Farmers, Herders Clash in Niger
Officials in Niger say 18 people have been killed in fighting between farmers and herders in this West African nation. A government statement says another 43 people were injured and homes were burned in Tuesday’s fighting in the community of Bangui in the Tahoua region. The statement says an investigation is underway into the “atrocious acts.” Tensions between cultivators and herders are not uncommon in parts of West Africa amid disputes over land.  The New York Times

Kenyans Afraid Poll Violence May Occur in 2017: Survey
70% of Kenyan citizens are afraid that the country may experience another bout of post-election violence during the 2017 general elections, according to a survey Wednesday. “The high levels of fear about electoral violence may well be driven by Kenyans’ daily experiences of safety and security,” a statement from the research firm Twaweza East Africa said. “The prevalence of insecurity in the country has been an ongoing challenge and almost daily, the media contains reports of criminality and violence.” The report said that even though unrest had been on the decrease since the country’s last elections in March 2013, recent protest activity against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission in May and June 2016 had spread fear among the public. Anadolu Agency

UNHCR Begins to Relocate S. Sudanese Refugees in DRC
The UN Refugee Agency in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has started relocating South Sudanese refugees from the border to a site located in Biringi in Aru territory in the northeast. Thousands of South Sudanese refugees fled from their country to the DRC and other neighboring countries after fighters loyal to former vice president Riek Machar started fighting with government forces. Currently over 60,000 South Sudanese refugees have crossed into the DRC. “The UNHCR estimates that by early 2017, 40,000 refugees could move to the sites which are further away from the border. The refugees are civilians who fled the conflict in South Sudan. The majority of the refugees are women and children,” said UNHCR spokesman Andreas Kirchhof. Anadolu Agency

South Africa’s Jacob Zuma May Finally Have to Step Down after a Report Confirms Corruption Allegations
Not since the negotiated settlement to end apartheid have such a diverse group of South Africans rallied together behind a cause. Several thousand people gathered in Pretoria on Nov. 2, to demand that president Jacob Zuma step down, and cede control of the state institutions he has used for his own political gain. Along the streets of South Africa’s capital, the red berets of the Economic Freedom Fighters sang as they marched. A short distance away, the blue T-shirts of the Democratic Alliance. Inside a cathedral, an influential gathering of activists, business leaders, religious leaders and politicians from Zuma’s own party, demanded an end to corruption. On the next block, a court battle was underway, as Zuma tried to suppress the release of evidence of his alleged wrongdoing and state capture, the term used to describe hijacking of the state for personal and political interests. Quartz

Amid Scandal, South African Leader Visits Zimbabwe’s Mugabe
South African President Jacob Zuma has traveled to neighboring Zimbabwe following the release of a state watchdog report indicating possible South African government corruption linked to him and some associates. Zuma and half a dozen Cabinet ministers were in Harare on Thursday to discuss trade with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. On Wednesday, a South African court ordered the release of a report about an allegedly improper relationship between Zuma and the Guptas, a business family of Indian immigrants that has been accused of meddling in top government appointments for its own financial benefit. AP on The Washington Post

A Cashless Economy in Zimbabwe? With Little Cash, There’s Little Choice
[…] Of all the places speeding toward a cashless economy, this nation in southern Africa may not come to mind. About 90 percent of Zimbabweans work in the informal economy, where cash is usually a must. The country, despite the spread of cheap smartphones in recent years, remains low-tech. Blackouts are part of everyday life. But Zimbabwe is hurtling toward a plastic future for a simple reason: It is running out of cash, specifically the American dollars it adopted in 2009 before abandoning its own troubled currency. Anxious about their nation’s political and economic troubles, many Zimbabweans have been hoarding dollars or taking them out of the country. Banks have slashed daily withdrawal limits. A.T.M.s now sit empty. Debit card machines are proliferating in Zimbabwe’s cities — not only in churches but also in supermarkets, betting parlors, nightclubs, parking areas and every other business happy to accept paper cash but unable to dispense it. If there are no card-reading machines around, many shoppers now text payments on their cellphones. The New York Time

Zim Minister Hands Self over to Anti-graft Agency – Reports
A Zimbabwean minister accused of corruption has reportedly handed himself to the country’s anti-graft unit, the Zimbabwe anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc). According to the state-owned Herald newspaper, Higher Education Minister Jonathan Moyo handed himself to Zacc in the presence of his lawyers on Wednesday. Reports indicated that Moyo and his deputy Godfrey Gandawa allegedly embezzled a combined amount of $400 000 from the taxpayer funded Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef). A NewsDay report said that Moyo handed himself over to the anti-graft agency, ending weeks of mudslinging between him and country’s opposition. News 24

Mozambique Overtakes Venezuela as World’s Riskiest Nation: Chart
Mozambique has overtaken Venezuela as the world’s riskiest issuer of dollar-denominated bonds. The southern African country told investors on Oct. 24 it needed to restructure its commercial debt, sending yields on its 2023 Eurobonds soaring about 900 basis points to 24.5 percent. Holders of the securities have lost 24 cents in the dollar. Bloomberg

Congo Election Body Said to Pay Millions to Kabila-Tied Bank
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s cash-strapped electoral commission paid more than $2 million in fees to a bank with ties to President Joseph Kabila’s family, according to a former senior bank employee. That transaction is now drawing scrutiny as a delay to presidential elections — in part attributed to a lack of funding — has triggered violence in the mineral-rich country. Belgium’s foreign minister is calling for the deal to be investigated for possible embezzlement. Congo’s government on Tuesday rejected its former colonial ruler’s call for an international probe, saying the country’s own law enforcers would decide whether action is necessary. At issue are alleged payments made by the country’s electoral commission for a facility that would give it access to U.S. dollars. Bloomberg

Romanian Held By al-Qaeda Affiliate Demands Release
A Romanian mineworker kidnapped by an al-Qaeda affiliate last year has appeared in a video urging his government to secure his release as soon as possible. Iulian Ghergut, then a security officer, was taken on April 4, 2015, when five armed men attacked a manganese mine in Tambao in northeast Burkina Faso, officials said at the time. Monday’s video is the first occasion in more than a year that Ghergut has appeared since being taken by al-Murabitoun, led by one-eyed Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar. The group, which has since affiliated itself with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), has claimed responsibility for several spectacular and bloody attacks in sub-Saharan Africa. AFP on Al Arabiya

Ghana Journalists Reject Fee to Cover Elections
In Ghana, the electoral commission is now requiring journalists to pay a fee to be accredited to cover the presidential and parliamentary elections next month. Journalists are rejecting the requirement, which they say will reduce election transparency. The electoral commission has not said how much the accreditation fee will be, but according to the statement released Monday, the fee will cover the printing and lamination of accreditation badges. Journalists have until next Monday to apply and make payment. Kojo Yankson is a journalist at Joy FM radio. “Let the media houses provide identification for their journalists and let the journalists go to work.” VOA

Museveni orders Makerere University closed over strikes
President Yoweri Museveni Tuesday evening ordered the closure of Makerere University following a long running stand-off between management and lecturers over payment of $13.5million allowance arrears. The lecturers have been on strike for a fortnight and were Tuesday joined by students prompting the President’s action. President Museveni holds the title of University Visitor but ordered the closure in his capacity as Head of State. In a short statement issued late evening, Mr Museveni invoked powers granted him by the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act to order the University shut. The East African

Gambian National Goalkeeper Dies During Mediterranean Crossing
The goalkeeper of the Gambia’s national women’s football team died crossing the Mediterranean in the hope of starting a new life in Europe, her former coach has said. Fatim Jawara, believed to have been just 19, was on board a boat that ran into trouble in the Mediterranean last month while crossing from Libya to Europe. More than 3,300 migrants have lost their lives in the Mediterranean this year, according to figures from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). Jawara made her debut for the national team, known as the Scorpions, a year ago in a friendly against a team from Glasgow. The Guardian

Egypt Will Allow Its Currency to Float Freely
Egypt will float its currency in a move that is expected to see it fall by almost 50% against the dollar. The price is expected to see one US dollar buying 13 Egyptian pounds, up from the nine Egyptian pounds the central bank was trying to keep it at. The country’s central bank said the move was one of a list of reforms designed to strengthen confidence in the economy. Egypt’s main stock index jumped by more than 8% on Thursday. The central bank has also increased interest rates by 3 percentage points to 14.75%. The move is a key requirement of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), from which Egypt is asking for a $12bn loan over three years. BBC

 



Photo: Adam Jones