Africa Media Review for October 21, 2016

South Africa to Withdraw from War Crimes Court
South Africa has formally begun the process of withdrawing from the International Criminal Court (ICC), notifying the UN of its decision. South Africa did not want to execute ICC arrest warrants which would lead to “regime change”, a minister said. Last year, South Africa refused to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the ICC on charges of genocide and war crimes. He was attending an African Union summit in Johannesburg. Mr Bashir denies allegations he committed atrocities in Sudan’s troubled western Darfur region. BBC

South Sudan Monitor Says Cease-fire Violated Almost Daily
The monitor of South Sudan’s peace deal is reporting “near-daily violations” of the cease-fire and says fighting could “trigger an uncontrolled escalation of violence”. Festus Mogae said on Wednesday that both sides have perpetrated “egregious violations of human rights” including gang rape and killing of civilians. The UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous this week told the UN Security Council behind closed doors that South Sudan’s government is delaying “as much as possible” the deployment of an additional 4 000 peacekeepers. News 24

South Sudan Rejects New Peace Deal With Machar’s Faction
South Sudan government under President Salva Kiir has reiterated objection to any political initiative aiming at striking a new peace deal with a group allied to the former First Vice President, Riek Machar, claiming the current deal is “not dead.” Presidential Advisor on Security Affairs, Tut Kew Gatluak, told Sudan Tribune Thursday that there was no reason to negotiate a new peace deal while the current peace agreement is being implemented.. “When people talk of a new initiative, they talk of new process it means the parties have failed to implement the first agreement, which is not the case here. The agreement is being implemented fully and moving at an exceptional speed,” said Gatluak. Sudan Tribune

S. Sudan President Threatens to Personally Run Military if Road Attacks Continue
President Salva Kiir has threatened to personally lead military operations against armed groups in central South Sudan if gunmen continue to attack civilians along a key road. Kiir said Thursday that he would go to Yei River state to plan military operations if the gunmen do not stop shooting at civilians traveling on the Juba-Yei road. He made the remarks while speaking to members of his party during an event in the capital, Juba. VOA

Israeli Arms ‘Helping to Fuel South Sudan War,’ Says UN
United Nations panel of experts found evidence of “well-established networks” of arms suppliers in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, including from Israel, that are fueling the war in South Sudan. In a confidential report to the Security Council obtained by AFP on Thursday, the panel described the arms deals that are not recent and involve Israeli and Bulgarian firms. The Council has threatened to impose an arms embargo on South Sudan to try to end the fighting that has killed tens of thousands of people and driven 2.5 million from their homes. While the arms deals date back to 2014 or earlier, “this evidence nevertheless illustrates the well-established networks through which weapons procurement is coordinated from suppliers in Eastern Europe and the Middle East and then transferred through middlemen in eastern Africa to South Sudan,” said the report. Times of Israel

South Sudan Rebel Leader Says He Could Return Next Month
South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar says he could return to the turbulent country as early as next month, even if he has to enter the way he fled — on foot. He has begun speaking out again after a long silence, during which he trekked 40 days through the bush into neighboring Congo as South Sudan’s capital erupted in renewed fighting. In an interview Thursday with The Associated Press in South Africa, Machar said his country’s peace deal had “collapsed” and a new political process is needed to revive it. But he did not commit to rejoining the peace deal on the same terms. Under the agreement signed in 2015 that sought to end a bloody two-year civil war, he had been vice president in a fragile national unity government under his rival, President Salva Kiir. US News and World Report

South Sudanese Refugees in Congo Double in September -UNHCR
The number of South Sudanese refugees registered in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo nearly doubled last month to reach about 54,000, the U.N. refugee agency said on Thursday, as heavy fighting continues to ravage the world’s youngest nation. Hundreds have been killed in South Sudan in battles that broke out in July between troops loyal to long-time rivals President Salva Kiir and former vice-president Riek Machar. Dozens more died in fighting last weekend. South Sudan has now leapfrogged Burundi to become the third-largest source of refugees in Congo, after Rwanda and Central African Republic. The vast central African nation hosts a total of nearly 430,000 refugees registered by the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR). Reuters

Ethiopia ‘Detains 1,600’ Under State of Emergency
The Ethiopian authorities have detained more than 1,600 people under the state of emergency, a government minister has told the BBC. A statement, quoted by state-affiliated FBC website, lists arrests in the Oromia and Amhara regions, which have recently seen massive demonstrations. This is in addition to Monday’s arrests of 1,000 people near the capital. A six-month state of emergency has been declared in the face of a wave of unprecedented anti-government protests. Under the emergency measures, people can be detained without an arrest warrant for the duration of the state of emergency. BBC

Where Is Libya Five Years After Gadhafi’s Death?
Moammar Gadhafi died five years ago today — ignominiously pulled from a drainage pipe and executed by a young fighter whose parents had likely been children themselves when the Libyan dictator first came to power in 1969. In the intervening years, Gadhafi systematically stripped the country of its ability to self govern, installing a cult of personality where his mercurial political predilections prevailed. In short, he was creating a state ready to fail as soon as he did. I clearly remember being in the luxurious Rixos hotel in Tripoli, as NATO bombs were falling outside, when one of Gadhafi’s trusted lieutenants told me “you will see,” no one but Gadhafi can keep this country together. “You in the West think this is easy but when he is gone you will understand.” CNN

Tunisia’s Ruling Party in Crisis
Tunisia’s ruling Nidaa Tounes party has been dealt with another internal crisis over resignations and membership suspensions. Four members have reportedly handed in their resignation while 16 others have requested the suspension of their memberships. The moves are seen as a protest against the non-adoption of the competence criterion in assigning responsibilities within the Bureau of the Parliament and the composition of committees. Chairman of Nidaa Tounes, Sofiene Toubel, denied the extent of the crisis saying that only one member of parliament “made a request for resignation” while two others “reconsidered their decision to resign”. Middle East Monitor

Somalia: Heavy Fighting Broke Out In Galkayo Town
Heavy fighting erupted on Thursday morning between forces loyal to Puntland and Galmudug in Galkayo city, the administrational capital of Mudug region, Garowe Online reports. Both forces used heavy artillery and gunfire that could be heard across the town, according to eyewitnesses. Security official in Galkayo, told GO that Galmudug forces have instigated the fighting whose been regrouping in the past days to re-launch attacks against Puntland. Earlier, Puntland government official has denied any peace agreement with neighboring Galmudug but indicated there were ongoing talks between officials from both administrations. Garowe Online

Kenya Accused of ‘Dumping’ Somali Refugees Back Over the Border With No Support
Authorities in Somalia have denounced the way refugees are being repatriated from neighbouring Kenya, after the Kenyan government announced it would close Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp, by the end of 2016. Over the past five months, makeshift camps in Somalia’s southernmost border state have been swelling with families as thousands of refugees are repatriated as part of a UN scheme. But Jubaland state authorities have now suspended the returns process, saying local services are overwhelmed and the repatriation process amounts to the “dumping of human beings in an undignified way”. The Guardian

Uhuru Releases 7,000 Inmates to ‘Free Space for the Corrupt’
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday released 7,000 offenders who were about to clear their sentences to “open space to jail the big corrupt government officers.” President Kenyatta urged Chief Justice David Maraga to crack the whip on corruption cases currently in courts and jail those he said had been stealing from Kenyans. During Tuesday’s charged anti-corruption summit at State House in Nairobi in which the President blamed different government agencies for derailing the war on graft, the Head of State promised to free up the cells for the corrupt officials. On Thursday, President Kenyatta again said his government is committed to the war against the vice. Daily Nation

Chibok Girls: Freed from Terrorists, They Smile Through Pain to Give Thanks
Giggling and chatting among themselves, it’s hard to imagine that just one week ago, these girls were at the mercy of one of the world’s deadliest terrorist organizations. As the Chibok girls waited patiently Wednesday to meet the man who signed off on their release — Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari — it was remarkable to see the physical transformation from emaciated and haggard looking former hostages to seemingly carefree and happy young women. The faded and torn clothes they arrived in have since been replaced with tailored and brightly colored fabrics that concealed their still painfully-thin frames. In their first interactions with any media organization, CNN’s Isha Sesay met most of the 21 girls at the meeting held at the presidential villa. CNN

Ivory Coast Arrests Opponents of Proposed Constitution
The controversial constitution which changes contentious rules on presidential eligibility will be put to a referendum on October 29. A vast deployment of anti-riot police greeted protesters carrying banners saying “No to the Ouattara monarchy”, referring to President Alassane Ouattara who says the amendments will help end years of instability and conflict in the world’s top cocoa producing nation. Police fired tear gas at the crowd after warning them that they did not have permission for their protest. Times Live

Ghana Launches Talks to Engage, Educate Voters Ahead of Election
Officials from the electoral commission of Ghana plan to meet the chiefs and elders as well as the media next week as part of an engagement program to educate the public ahead of the December 7 presidential, parliamentary and local elections. The electoral commission says officials will go across the country to meet and explain the electoral process and answer voter concerns. Called “time with the commissioners,” the media engagement was recently launched in the capital, Accra, when the chairperson of the electoral commission, Charlotte Osei, met with editors and media representatives to underscore the measures the election body would deploy to ensure a transparent, peaceful and credible general election. VOA

Long Queues Outside Zim Banks as Cash Crisis Deepens
Depositors with indigenous banks in Zimbabwe are spending nights in bank queues as the cash crisis in the country deepens. People who spoke to the African News Agency in different interviews Thursday narrated how they spent nights on end on pavements in the central business district in Harare hoping to get their hard earned cash from the banks. The most affected banks are Central Africa Building Society (CABS), People’s Own Savings Bank (POSB) and FBC among other local banks. “I came from Chawona in Mazowe, but now I don’t have transport money to return home. I only had enough to get me here hoping that I would get my money and be able to go back home,” said a pensioner who spoke on condition of anonymity. AFP on IOL News

The Power To Make Or Break Nations—The World’s $1.7 Trillion Oil Business
The oil bust, today’s volatile market and relentless OPEC chatter, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that the oil market—even at current valuations—is somewhere near the $1.7 trillion mark, and as such, has the unique power to build or break nations. Often referred to as the oil curse, many countries, such as Venezuela, Algeria and others, depend almost entirely on oil and gas income to sustain their economies. And while oil—or any single resource for that matter—is seldom a saving grace for a country with limited growth, the recent fall of crude oil prices have introduced a whole new level of desperation in governmental entities that have allowed their economies to rely solely upon oil. The thirst for oil and natural gas drilling never seems to die, regardless of price. In fact, there is an increasing number of countries that become entangled in this oil curse in order to bring new wealth to their citizens, despite today’s difficult price environment. OilPrice

Tanzania Makes Tree-planting Mandatory for Students
Starting next year, Tanzania’s first graders will be required to report with, in additional to their new books, a tree seedling. The primary school children are not alone. Those joining secondary schools will also be mandated to bring with them three seedlings. The Environment Minister January Makamba said the new directive, which is part of government efforts to protect the ecosystem, will apply to both public and private schools, and will form part of the end-of-school assessment. Mr Makamba said the children will have to take care of and nurture the young trees they plant through their schooling years – a new requirement for granting of leaving certificates. The East African



Photo: Adam Jones