Africa Media Review for November 9, 2017

Ousted Zimbabwe Vice President Flees into Exile, Claiming Assassination Attempts against Him
He was one of Zimbabwe’s most powerful men: right-hand man to President Robert Mugabe with strong links to the security services. But Emmerson Mnangagwa’s fall and sudden removal as vice president was swift after he fell afoul of Mugabe’s ambitious wife, Grace, who recently called him a “snake” whose head must be crushed. Zimbabwe faces economic paralysis and critical shortages of hard currency as members of the ruling ZANU-PF party exchanges accusations of witchcraft, poisoning, assassination plots, treachery and the theft of billions of dollars in diamond wealth. Two days after dismissing Mnangagwa, Mugabe on Wednesday accused him of using witchcraft as part of his plot against him. Mnangagwa fled Zimbabwe on Wednesday, citing death threats. Los Angeles Times

Zimbabwe: First Lady Grace Set to Get the Nod for Second Top Party Post, alongside Mugabe
President Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace Mugabe was endorsed on Wednesday by all 10 provinces, including the women’s and youth leagues, as their chosen candidate for the vice presidency post at a youth rally held in Harare. This will see the ruling party’s constitution being ammended to provide for a woman candidate in the presidium.[…] The ball is now on the “one centre of power”, as was the slogan at Wednesday’s youth rally to implement the will of all 10 provinces including the women’s and youth leagues, to confirm Grace Mugabe as Mnangagwa’s replacement. Grace Mugabe in her speech said, “I will help him (President Mugabe) to make the country prosper.” Robert Mugabe hinted that the resolutions and recommendations will be discussed and looked into at the coming congress. These include the endorsement of his wife by 10 provinces, including the women’s and youth leagues. Daily Maverick

Zimbabwe War Vets ‘Expel’ Mugabe as Their Leader
Zimbabwe’s War Veterans Association says it has expelled President Robert Mugabe as its leader and has formed a revolutionary council to take over the ruling Zanu-PF party. “We have completely disowned Mugabe,” says the statement issued on Wednesday in Johannesburg by war veterans leader Chris Mutsvangwa. The association of former fighters for independence is loyal to fired vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, who says he has left Zimbabwe after threats. Mugabe accuses his former deputy of plotting to take power, which Mnangagwa denies. The war veterans’ statement uses language similar to that used by Mugabe’s guerrillas during their fight against white minority-ruled Rhodesia in the 1970s. AP

Uganda Says to Start Withdrawing Troops from Somalia
The Ugandan military on Wednesday said it will start the phased withdrawal of its peacekeepers deployed in Somalia late next month in line with African Union and United Nations Security Council resolutions. Military spokesperson Brig. Richard Karemire told Xinhua that plans have been put in place for the condition-based drawdown of its over 6,000 troops serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) by Dec. 31. “The mission in Somalia is mandated by the United Nations. The Security Council in May extended the mandate but also a condition-based drawdown,” said Karemire.”As a troop contributing country we are going by it and have plans in place.” Karemire said the troop’s withdrawal is also pegged on the ability of the Somali National Security Forces to ably take over the security of the Horn of Africa country. Xinhua

11 Killed in Attack in Central Nigeria
At least 11 people were killed and four injured Tuesday night when gunmen opened fire at a community meeting in the central Nigerian Plateau state, according to a police spokesman. “I can confirm that 11 people were killed while four others were injured […] on Tuesday night,” police spokesman Terna Tyopev told Anadolu Agency by phone on Wednesday. Tyopev said no arrest has been made but that police were on the trail of the gunmen, whose identities are not known yet. The community is located in Riyom local government of Plateau — recently a hotbed of deadly clashes between farmers and herdsmen. Anadolu Agency

Nigerian President Sacks Senior Official amid Claims of Corruption
Nigeria’s highest ranking civil servant has been sacked by President Muhammadu Buhari following allegations that he diverted aid funds intended for the humanitarian crisis in the country’s north-east. Babachir Lawal, secretary to the government of the federation, was suspended in April amid allegations that contracts to administer projects in refugee camps and areas affected by the Boko Haram insurgency had been awarded to companies that he set up. A preliminary report by the Nigerian senate alleged that funds intended to cover the cutting of weeds to prevent flooding in refugee camps and other vulnerable areas had been diverted through companies set up by Lawal. The East African

Cameroon Separatists Kill at Least Two Gendarmes as Anglophone Dispute Escalates
Anglophone secessionists in Cameroon killed at least two gendarmes on Wednesday, two secessionist leaders and a security official said, signalling an escalation in their protracted dispute with the central government. The attacks in the English-speaking city of Bamenda marked the worst fighting in recent years between secessionist militants and government forces in the central African state after a year of mostly peaceful protest. Anglophone lawyers and teachers launched demonstrations a year ago against what they see as a marginalization of English-speakers by President Paul Biya’s government in the Northwest and Southwest regions who were forced to work in French. Reuters

Western Armies Face Uphill Battle in Africa’s Sahel
Snipers from a new West African force lie prone on a rooftop in central Mali, scanning the horizon for Islamist fighters who have infiltrated this sparsely populated region south of the Sahara and made it a launchpad for deadly attacks. Thousands of UN peacekeepers, French troops and US military trainers and drone operators have failed to stem a growing wave of Muslim fighters in Mali, leading international powers to pin their hopes on a new regional force. The so-called G5 Sahel initiative faces immense challenges in decisively controlling the arid Sahel region than its countries, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger have managed so far. Security sources and analysts say too strong an emphasis on military might over tackling the underlying causes of Muslims in the region taking up arms, logistical shortfalls and a lack of cooperation from regional powerhouse Algeria all raise doubts over whether the G5 can succeed where years of Western intervention has not. Al Jazeera

Kenya’s Western Allies Urge Talks to Break Elections Impasse
Kenya’s key western trading partners and political allies urged talks to resolve a deadlock over the country’s presidential elections, as the nation’s top court began considering petitions challenging the outcome of last month’s vote rerun. The Oct. 26 rerun of an annulled vote two months earlier has polarized the East African nation and exposed “deep tribal and ethnic rifts” that have characterized Kenyan politics in the past, the Atlanta-based Carter Center said Wednesday in an emailed statement. Its appeal for negotiations echoed similar calls by the European Union and the U.S. last week. “Kenya is in dire need of dialogue and reconciliation,” the Carter Center said. “Though both President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga have made calls for peaceful co-existence, it is also important for the politicians to engage in dialogue to resolve this protracted political standoff.”  Bloomberg

Ethnic Violence Displaces Hundreds of Thousands of Ethiopians
“They poured petrol over me then lit it,” said 28-year-old Husaida Mohammed. “They were Somali boys.” When IRIN met Mohammed she was in a camp of about 3,500 displaced Oromo people on the outskirts of Harar, the ancient walled city in Ethiopia’s Harari Region. It had taken her over a month to make the 100-kilometre journey to safety from Jijiga, the capital of Ethiopia’s far eastern Somali Region. For weeks she lay hidden in an empty Oromo-owned house tended to by friends as she recovered from her injuries. Next to her in the large warehouse being used to shelter the displaced was a woman in a striking pink robe. She had no visible injuries but didn’t utter a word. IRIN

ICC Vows New Libya Charges if Crimes Continue
The prosecutor at the International Criminal Court warned Wednesday that the situation in Libya “remains dire” and promised to seek new arrest warrants if serious crimes don’t stop. Fatou Bensouda also demanded the arrest and transfer of suspects already subject to arrest warrants, including the son of former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, the former head of Libya’s Internal Security Agency and a Libyan military officer alleged to have been involved in the killing of 33 captives “in cold blood.” Bensouda told the U.N. Security Council that the security situation in Libya “remains unstable with violent clashes occurring between various factions across Libya.” Widespread violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by different parties to the conflict also have been reported, she said. VOA

Defected S. Sudan Military Officer Calls for United Opposition to Topple Government
A South Sudanese military officer, who recently defected with over 200 soldiers to the country’s main rebel group, has called for a united opposition to topple the government led by President Salva Kiir. Lt. Col. Chan Garang, an ally of South Sudan’s former army chief of staff, Paul Malong Awan, openly declared his defection to the rebel faction led by the country’s former first vice-president, Riek Machar. “The unity of all the forces is very important. [President] Salva Kiir and his friends in the government are taking advantage of these divisions among South Sudanese leaders. So we are encouraging all our brothers to come together and coordinate efforts so that the government of Salva Kiir and his friends is dismantled,” Garang told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday. Sudan Tribune

Magufuli: Tanzania Is Not a Grazing Land for Kenya’s Cows
Diplomatic tensions between Kenya and Tanzania threaten to flare-up over pastures for cattle belonging to the Maasai community who live on the two sides of the border. On Tuesday, President John Magufuli said his country was not a grazing land for the neighbouring countries’ cows. This followed complaints by Nairobi over Dar’s decision to burn 6,400 chicks imported from Kenya for fear of bird flu and auction 1,300 cows belonging to Kenyan herders after they were confiscated for grazing in Tanzania. Kenya said the “hostile actions” against its citizens and their business interests risked soiling historical relations between the two neighbours. The East African

Africa Will Take China’s Place as the next Factory of the World
[…] I’ve visited more than fifty Chinese factories in Africa and talked to numerous Chinese businesspeople involved in other African sectors, along with a hundred-odd African workers, entrepreneurs, government officials, journalists, and union organizers who are partnering with and responding to Chinese interest in their countries in a variety of ways. It was on one of these research trips in eastern Nigeria that I had my aha! moment. At the end of a long, hot day of visiting factories, I showed up at the address of my last appointment and found myself in a courtyard ringed by buildings painted blue and white. The blue of the walls matched the blue of the heavy industrial trucks parked in the courtyard, and something about that blue tugged at a half-buried memory. All in a rush, I realized that this blue felt familiar because it wasn’t just any blue—it was FAW blue. I was standing in a brand-new FAW truck factory in Africa. FAW had come a long way since I first sat in one of its cars, twenty five years earlier. It had sold 18 million cars and counting in seventy countries, and employed 120,000 people in the process. Quartz

Smartphones in Egypt Bring Biting Humor but Also Scrutiny
[…] In 2016, Egypt ranked 146th out of 150 countries for fixed broadband download speeds, according to Speedtest. The only worse country in North Africa was war-torn Libya. It’s surprising given that a major data cable, linking hundreds of millions of users, passes through one sleepy Egyptian village. The problem stems from a lack of investment in telecommunications infrastructure locally since the Arab Spring in 2011 and stifling state monopolies. […] Egyptians adore their smartphones. People have crazy-looking cases and a range of dramatic ringtones — Quranic verses for conservatives, melodramatic pop tunes for everyone else. Lionel Richie’s “Hello” and anything by Celine Dion are very popular. The flip side to the smartphone mania is that it also inspires deep paranoia among the police and some ordinary citizens, known popularly here as “honorable citizens.” I know people who’ve been threatened with arrest for taking a photo of the Suez Canal (after the pyramids, one of Egypt’s most famous features). A photographer friend was admonished by an “honorable citizen” for trying to take a photo of the Nile with her phone. He accused her of being a spy. The New York Times



Photo: Adam Jones