Africa Media Review for October 1, 2018

Cameroon President Launches Campaign on Northern Border
Cameroon president Paul Biya says he has successfully pushed the militant group Boko Haram beyond Cameroon’s borders and urgently needs to be re-elected in the October 7 presidential poll so he can rebuild what was destroyed. Biya was in the northern town of Maroua in one of his rare outings from his presidential palace to launch his campaigns for the presidential election. Women dressed in President Paul Biya’s Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM) party attire sing Saturday to welcome Paul Biya to Maroua. They are assuring Biya that they will vote for him to lead Cameroon in a new seven year mandate beginning October 7. More than 30,000 people ferried by the CPDM party from all over northern Cameroon are present in Maroua. Biya’s campaign photos can be seen everywhere in the town.  VOA

Cameroon Braces for Anglophone ‘Independence’ Anniversary
Cameroon’s restive anglophone regions were in lockdown on Monday as separatists prepared to celebrate the one-year anniversary of a symbolic “independence” declaration just a week before nationwide presidential polls. A 48-hour curfew was imposed on English-speaking towns in the regions which have been rocked by deadly clashes sparked by the majority francophone country’s sensitive linguistic divide. Gunfire was reported on Sunday night in the flashpoint town of Buea in the country’s southwest which has been at the heart of the nascent insurgency. In other English-speaking areas, shops and bars were ordered to close, meetings of more than four people were banned and transport was suspended.  AFP

Chad Troops Kill 17 Boko Haram Fighters after Lake Chad Attack
Six people, including two soldiers, died in an overnight Boko Haram attack near Lake Chad with Chadian troops killing 17 assailants in a counter-offensive. Three forestry officials, a customs officer and two soldiers were killed in attacks on Moussarom and Ngueleya located in the Lake Chad region, a security source told AFP news agency on Saturday “The attackers were later repelled,” the source said. Chadian army spokesman Colonel Azam said “17 Boko Haram members have been killed”, although he put the civilian death toll at three instead of four.  Al Jazeera

Thousands in First Big Protest against Burkina Leader
Thousands of opposition supporters took to the streets of the Burkinabe capital Ouagadougou on Saturday, the first major protest against the leadership of President Roch Marc Christian Kabore. “No to insecurity, terrorism, to corruption, to unemployment,” chanted the protesters in the first such march organised by the opposition since the election of President Kabore in November 2015. “We are here because the country is in danger,” said opposition leader Zephyrin Diabre, rejoicing in “the very, very strong mobilisation”. Burkina Faso, which borders Mali and Niger, has been the scene of deadly jihadist attacks since 2015. AFP

Congo Opposition Pledges Unity and Joint Candidate at Rally
Seven key opposition leaders in the Democratic Republic of Congo pledged unity and promised to back a single candidate against President Joseph Kabilas chosen successor in Decembers election.Such an outcome would increase the chances of Kabilas opponents defeating Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, a former interior minister under European Union sanctions for his role in human rights abuses. The Dec. 23 poll is a one-round contest and multiple candidates would split the anti-Shadary vote. The opposition must be united behind a candidate that we will choose and that we will support, Jean-Pierre Bemba told thousands of people in Congos capital, Kinshasa. Only four of the seven politicians can run for the presidency. Bemba, who finished second to Kabila in 2006, was disqualified by the electoral agency and Moise Katumbi, a onetime ally of the president whos been in self-imposed exile for more than two years, was blocked by Congolese authorities in August from returning to the country to file his candidacy. The electoral commission also excluded Adolphe Muzito, a former prime minister. Bemba and Katumbi addressed the crowd from abroad by phone.  Bloomberg

Nigeria Ruling Party Nominates Buhari for Re-Election in 2019
Nigeria’s ruling party has nominated President Muhammadu Buhari as its candidate to stand for re-election in February 2019, a spokesman for Buhari said on Saturday. Buhari had run unopposed on Friday in a nationwide primary for nomination as the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress. The main opposition People’s Democratic Party has not yet selected a candidate to oppose him. Reuters

Burundi Suspends Some NGO’s for Violating New Law
Burundi has suspended some local and international non-governmental organizations for three months for violating a new law, a senior government official said late on Thursday. The move could deepen opposition concerns that a crackdown by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s government is being extended. In May, a referendum approved a change to the constitution that makes it possible for him to stay in power until 2034. Violence surged in 2015 when Nkurunziza said he would seek a third term in what many said was a breach of the constitution. He won a subsequent election but the decision to stand sparked protests and a crackdown. Reuters

South Sudan President Orders to Release PoWs and Detainees
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Thursday ordered to release all the prisoners of war, and detainees in line with the revitalized peace agreement In his Republican Order N° 17, President Kiir directed the Chief of Defence to release the prisoners of War (PoWs) and detainees immediately under the supervision of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). In his decision, Kiir stressed the need to register and hand over the released Pows and detainees to a third party (the ICRC). The presidential decision comes in line with Chapter II (Permanent Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements) article 6 of section one dedicated to the permanent ceasefire. Manawa Peter Gatkuoth SPLM-IO Deputy Chairperson of the National Committee for Information and Public Relations said they had already released all the PoWs.  Sudan Tribune

9 Killed, 35 Injured in ‘Grenade’ Explosion in Yambio
In a shocking incident, at least nine people were killed and 35 others injured in a grenade explosion at a memorial service in the town of Yambio on Friday, officials said. Gbudue’s Information Minister Gibson Wande told Radio Tamazuj on Sunday that nine people were killed and 35 others sustained injuries when a man hurled a hand grenade at a memorial service in the area on Friday night. According to the local official, the incident occurred in an area located15 kilometers north of Yambio town. He explained that the function was in progress in the area when a man lobbed the hand grenade at guests. Gibson pointed out that the injured including women and children were taken to hospital for treatment.  Radio Tamazuj

Hit Men and Power: South Africa’s Leaders Are Killing One Another
Their fear faded as they raced back home, the bottle of Johnnie Walker getting lighter with each turn of the road. Soon, Sindiso Magaqa was clapping and bouncing behind the wheel of his beloved V8 Mercedes-Benz, pulling into familiar territory just before dark.Minutes later, men closed in with assault rifles. Mr. Magaqa reached for the gun under his seat — too late. One of his passengers saw flashes of light, dozens of them, from the spray of bullets pockmarking the doors. The ambush was exactly what Mr. Magaqa had feared. A few months before, a friend had been killed by gunmen in his front yard. Then, as another friend tried to open his front gate at night, a hit man crept out of the dark, shooting him dead. Next came Mr. Magaqa, 34. Struck half a dozen times, he hung on for weeks in a hospital before dying last year.All of the assassination targets had one thing in common: They were members of the African National Congress who had spoken out against corruption in the party that defined their lives. The New York Times

Ebola Likely to Spread from Congo to Uganda, W.H.O. Says
The risk of Ebola escaping from the Democratic Republic of Congo is now “very high,” and the outbreak already is nearing Uganda, the World Health Organization said on Thursday. The W.H.O. raised its official alert level because of violence by local militias, which has slowed efforts to contain the outbreak, and population movements in eastern Congo, where the latest outbreak erupted in August. But the risk of Ebola spreading globally remains low, the agency said.Since 2000, Uganda has had three Ebola outbreaks, with a total of about 600 cases. Although it is a poor country, its health care system is relatively well organized, and its health ministry said it would start a vaccination campaign if it detected cases there. Inside Congo, the response to the outbreak has been hampered by fighting and by small numbers of victims leaving or refusing to go to treatment centers, spreading the virus to new areas. The New York Times

Somali FM Calls for End to UN Arms Embargo
Somalia’s foreign minister is telling the U.N. General Assembly that his young government has made significant strides in fighting violent al-Shabab militants, and called on the world body to lift its long-standing arms embargo. Ahmed Awad Isse says young people are no longer joining al-Shabab as they used to because “that ideology is no longer popular.” In his address on Saturday, Isse said the Somali government has been engaging with religious leaders, young people, the elderly and women to “turn the tide against the twisted ideology of hate and religious intolerance.” Isse also notes that many, including some of the militant group’s senior commanders, have taken the government’s amnesty offer and surrendered peacefully. AP

Libya: Deal Reached between Rival Factions on Reshaping Presidential Council
Libya parliament member Saleh Afhima told Al Arabiya English that an agreement has been reached between the warring factions to reconstitute the Presidential Council with two presidents and two vice presidents representing the three Libyan provinces, instead of the current 9 members. Afhima said: “The parliament’s Dialogue Committee reached an agreement this week with the members of the committee represented by the Council of State on the date of the selection of the new presidential council, which the parliament stipulated before mid-October through an agreed mechanism upon sharing of posts by region.” He added that parallel to the process of forming the new presidential council, “a referendum on the draft constitution” will be held in order to “prepare for the organization of parliamentary and presidential elections,” ruling out that this will happen before the end of this year.  Al Arabiya

French Rwanda Massacre Inquiry Recommends No Prosecutions
An inquiry into an alleged French failure to prevent a massacre during the 1994 Rwandan genocide has ended with no prosecutions recommended. Campaign groups have vowed to fight on to prevent a “denial of justice”. The inquiry into the Bisesero massacre was closed in July, French media revealed this week. Six survivors joined NGOs in 2005 in accusing the French army of knowingly leaving hundreds of members of the Tutsi minority to be slaughtered by militias linked to the Hutu-dominated government, which had previously enjoyed French support. Despite promising to save them on the 27 June, the military failed to intervene until the 30, they claimed, leaving hundreds of Tutsis to their fate. RFI

Cartoons That ‘Humiliate’ Officials in Rwanda Now a Crime
A new law in Rwanda says drawing cartoons or producing writing that “humiliates” a government official is now a criminal offense. Journalists say the law that took effect on Thursday will greatly affect work that is meant to hold public officials, including Cabinet members and security officers, to account. A cartoonist who breaks the law faces up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $1 145. If the cartoon targets a member of parliament or top-ranking official, the penalty doubles. At least one Justice Ministry official is asking who will determine whether someone has been humiliated. The Rwanda Journalists Association’s executive secretary says it’s easy for officials to take cartoons negatively. AP

Comoros Political Dust Refuses to Settle
Southern African Development Community (SADC) new member, Comoros, is still seized by a political crisis despite the African Union’s intervention, and SADC’s willingness to help the island nation. On September 11, the African Union High Representative, Ramtane Lamamra travelled to Comoros to help set up a meeting aimed at bringing about a dialogue between the government led by President Azali Assoumani, and members of the opposition. The dialogue is necessary to restore peace in the small island nation after Assoumani plunged it into crisis in April when he suspended the Constitutional Court, the highest court in the country, sparking opposition protests. On July 30, Comoros passed a referendum to revise the nation’s constitution. Among other changes, the referendum extended presidential term limits and abolished a power-sharing system that had rotated the presidency every five years between the main islands of Grand Comore, Anjouan and Moheli. The Southern Times

Al-Bashir Says Ready for 2020 Elections as Sudanese Opposition Calls to Campaign against Him
Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir repeated Sunday that his government is ready for the 2020 elections and would not postpone it, while the opposition Sudan Call launched a campaign against his re-election for a third term. The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) Saturday quickly denied reports about the possible postponement of the elections to give the party the needed time to improve the economic situation in the country and better prepare for the popular vote. In remarks he made on Sunday before an NCP youth meeting in Khartoum, al-Bashir who is also the NCP leader said elections will be held as scheduled, pointing out there is no reason to postpone it. “The Sudanese people have the right to vote. We respect their opinion and have prepared ourselves for the elections,” he said.  Sudan Tribune

Former Ivory Coast Leader Gbagbo Begins Freedom Bid before ICC
Former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo will Monday ask the International Criminal Court to acquit him of crimes against humanity and free him after seven years in detention. Gbagbo, 73, is the first-ever head of state to be handed over to the Hague-based ICC, where he has been on trial since 2016. He faces four counts of crimes against humanity for his role in fomenting a wave of post-electoral violence eight years ago in the west African nation. After more than two years on trial, Gbagbo’s lawyers believe the prosecution failed to prove the charges and are demanding a “full dismissal, an acquittal on all charges” and Gbagbo’s immediate release. France 24

U.N. Asks Morocco and Algeria to Meet on Ending Decades-Old Conflict over Western Sahara
The United Nations has invited Morocco and the Algerian-backed Polisario Front to talks in December on ending their decades-old conflict over Western Sahara, diplomats said Saturday. U.N. envoy Horst Koehler, a former president of Germany and ex-director of the International Monetary Fund, has invited the two sides along with Algeria and Mauritania to Geneva for talks on Dec. 4 and 5. In letters sent to the four parties on Friday, the envoy requested a response by October 20, according to diplomatic sources. Morocco and the Polisario Front fought for control of Western Sahara from 1975 to 1991. Diplomatic efforts to end the conflict have been deadlocked since the last round of U.N.-sponsored talks in 2008. AFP



Photo: Adam Jones