Africa Media Review for October 24, 2017

In Africa, US Envoy Haley Voices Concern over South Sudan
The U.S. ambassador to the U.N. says her government will continue sending aid to South Sudan despite the stalling of a peace process to end the civil war that has killed tens of thousands. Nikki Haley spoke Monday in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa after meeting with Ethiopian and African Union leaders to discuss Africa’s peace and security challenges. Haley said South Sudan’s president “doesn’t care if we pull USAID. He doesn’t care if his people suffer. That’s the concern we have.” Haley warned South Sudan could become a breeding ground for extremist groups amid the suffering. South Sudan plunged into conflict in December 2013 after a dispute in the capital Juba between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and his deputy at the time, rebel leader Riek Machar. AP

U.S. Mulls South Sudan Pressure, Cutting Aid May Not Work: U.N. Envoy
The United States is considering how to pressure South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir into peace, but withdrawing aid may not work, U.S. envoy to the United Nations Nikki Haley said ahead of a visit to South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia on Tuesday. Haley plans to visit Gambella in western Ethiopia, where nearly 350,000 refugees have flooded across the border from South Sudan since the country spiraled into civil war in 2013, just two years after it gained independence from Sudan. “You have to really think hard before you pull U.S. aid because President Kiir doesn’t care,” Haley said. “He doesn’t care if his people suffer and that’s the concern we have as we don’t know that will make a difference.” “That’s a conversation we will have and we will try and see exactly what will move President Kiir so that he does … start to really look at creating a safe position for his people,” she told reporters in Addis Ababa late on Monday. Reuters

Africa Eyes Senior Trump Envoy Visit for U.S. Policy Hints
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley arrived in Ethiopia on Monday, among the first visits to Africa by a senior member of President Donald Trump’s administration that diplomats hope will shed light on his plans to engage with the continent. While Africa is traditionally overshadowed by more urgent issues, the Trump administration has so far been hands-off. “The president is sending me because we want to build (our Africa policy) back up to what it was under (President George W. Bush); it has fallen and our African friends feel that,” Haley told a George W. Bush Institute event in New York on Thursday. Trump has been vocal about North Korea, Iran and tackling Islamic State militants during his first nine months in office, but said little about Africa until he held a lunch last month with nine leaders on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. Reuters

Gambian Foreign Minister Urges Togo President to Resign 
Togo’s leader Faure Gnassingbe should resign immediately and the African Union and West African regional bloc ECOWAS should persuade him to step down if he does not, Gambia’s Foreign Minister Ousainou Darboe said. Darboe’s comments are an early sign that opinion is shifting against Gnassingbe who took power in 2005 on the death of his father who had ruled since 1967. Togo is enduring a political crisis in which at least 10 people have been killed in protests since August. “I think the African Union and ECOWAS should engage Togo and persuade the president to step down,” Darboe told Reuters this weekend, adding that other countries need to step in. “When it goes against accepted norms I don’t think it should be treated as an internal affair.” Currently, Gambia and Togo are the only countries in the 15-nation ECOWAS bloc without time limits on mandates. ECOWAS sought to make this law across the region in 2015 but Togo and Gambia voted against it, although Gambia is now changing its constitution. Reuters

Togo Cancels International Conference amid Anti-Government Protests
The Togolese government has cancelled the Francophonie ministerial conference scheduled to be held in the capital Lome in November. The cancellation comes amid opposition protests against President Faure Gnassingbe’s rule and the call for the reinstatement of the 1992 constitution. The government announced the cancellation on Monday without stating the reason. This follows the call by the opposition for another series of demonstrations on November 7, 8 and 9 – which are weekdays – despite the ban on weekday protests. Africa News

Kenya President Says Polls Must Be This Week, despite Doubts
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said the re-run of the presidential election must go ahead as planned on Thursday, despite the chief electoral officer’s recent statement that he cannot guarantee that the polls would be credible. Kenyatta met Monday with electoral commission chief Wafula Chebukati and said the commission has a responsibility to conduct the election, Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper reported. “We have made funds available for the IEBC (the electoral commission) to do its job. Now they really should deliver,” Kenyatta said following the meeting, according to the newspaper. Kenyatta also addressed campaign supporters, saying that the elections must go ahead despite a boycott by the main opposition candidate, divisions within the country and disagreements within the electoral commission. AP

Envoys Issue Stern Warning to Kenyan Politicians Ahead of Poll
Western nations on Monday warned starkly of Kenya’s “deteriorating political environment” ahead of a presidential election re-run and urged the major parties to halt incitement and verbal attacks on institutions. US Ambassador Robert Godec said that if the electoral commission felt it was not ready for Thursday’s poll, it should ask the courts for a delay. “We would be fine with that,” he said. Godec read a statement from 20 Western envoys, including the 28-nation European Union, calling for political rivals to unite to allow a credible election to take place, after weeks of political drama that has gripped and divided the nation. The East African

S. Sudan Armed Opposition Fighters Defect to Rival Faction
A group of South Sudan Democratic Front (SSDF) fighters under the overall command of Lt. General Gordon Kong Chuol that fought alongside the armed opposition faction headed by former first vice-president Riek Machar have defected and joined the Gabriel Changson Chang-led Federal Democratic Party-South Sudan Armed Forces (FDP-SSAF). The group, in a statement, said they opted to quit the Machar-led armed opposition faction (SPLM-IO) owing to shortcomings in the rebel movement. “When Dr. Riek Machar knew that we fight for change, he deceived us to bring our armies to Kuek and fight to SPLM/A-IG side by side for the right of the people of South Sudan, he told us that take your soldiers to Kuek and stay over there with his forces,” partly reads the group’s statement. Sudan Tribune

UN Requests Release of 28 Opposition Members in DRC
The UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo has requested that authorities immediately release 28 opposition members who were arrested by security forces on Sunday. Head of the MONUSCO mission, Maman Sidikou said in a statement released Monday that they had been arbitrarily arrested in Lubumbashi, the country’s second biggest city located in the southwestern Haut-Katanga province. “I urge the Congolese authorities to release immediately and unconditionally those arbitrarily arrested yesterday in Lubumbashi,” he said. “Such restrictions on fundamental freedoms are incompatible with ongoing efforts to promote the dialogue and serenity needed to hold free, credible and independent elections in a timely manner,” he said. Anadolu Agency

Egypt Says Destroyed Arms Convoy Crossing from Libya
Egypt’s military says it has destroyed eight vehicles loaded with weapons, ammunition and explosives, and killed militants in the western desert, after they crossed borders with neighbouring Libya. The air attack comes a few days after authorities officially announced that at least 16 policemen were killed in a brazen ambush by militants in the al-Wahat al-Bahriya area, about 135km southwest of Cairo. Military spokesperson Col. Tamer el-Rifai said in a statement on Monday that airstrikes destroyed eight vehicles and killed suspected militants, without elaborating. Friday’s attack took place near Egypt’s vast western desert, where a previous series of attacks were blamed on Islamic militants pouring in from Libya.  AP

Egypt’s Human Rights Record Casts a Shadow on Sisi’s Visit to France
As Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi makes his first trip to France since the election of French President Emmanuel Macron, human rights groups are calling on the European nation to stop ignoring human rights abuses in Egypt. Sisi and Macron are scheduled to have their first formal meeting in Paris on Tuesday, where they are expected to discuss regional crises and counterterrorism. The Élysée Palace issued a statement saying that the presidents would also talk about ways to enhance cultural, economic, educational and military relations between their nations. France 24

EU Extends Sanctions against Burundi for One Year
The European Union (EU) on Monday decided to renew sanctions against Burundi until Oct. 31, 2018, the EU embassy in Burundi said in a press release. According to the press release, lack of progress on the situation in Burundi explains the “renewal of sanctions” against Burundi for another year. “There are still extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and forced disappearance,” said the press release. In October 2015, the EU imposed sanctions against four Burundian police officers for their alleged participation in the repression of protests against the east African country’s President Pierre Nkurunziza’s third term bid in April 2015. Xinhua

Burundi Rebel Leaders ‘Extradited from Tanzania’
Senior leaders of the Popular Forces of Burundi (FPB) rebel group were arrested in eastern Tanzania on Saturday and extradited to Burundi the following day, the FPB said on Monday. “Four FPB leaders, including the number 1 and 2, Jeremie Ntiranyibagira and Edouard Nshimirimana, were arrested in Ngara on October 21 by security forces from Tanzania and Burundi,” it said in a statement. “On October 22, they underwent an irregular extradition to Burundi, where their lives are in danger,” it said, giving no further details. The statement was authenticated as genuine by several senior figures in the FPB, the name given to the Republican Forces of Burundi – a rebel militia active in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo that opposes Burundi’s president, Pierre Nkurunziza. AFP

Working to Stop the Human Exodus from Gambia
Gambia has the highest number of people trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea into Italy, than any other country in Africa, according to the United Nations. The government of Adama Barrow has promised that it will work to revert this trend which affects mostly young people. There will aslo be input from those who have returned via Libya and begun to share their experiences to try and discourage people from leaving. RFI

End of Apartheid in South Africa? Not in Economic Terms
The end of apartheid was supposed to be a beginning. Judith Sikade envisioned escaping the townships, where the government had forced black people to live. She aimed to find work in Cape Town, trading her shack for a home with modern conveniences. More than two decades later, Ms. Sikade, 69, lives on the garbage-strewn dirt of Crossroads township, where thousands of black families have used splintered boards and metal sheets to construct airless hovels for lack of anywhere else to live. “I’ve gone from a shack to a shack,” Ms. Sikade says. “I’m fighting for everything I have. You still are living in apartheid.” In the history of civil rights, South Africa lays claim to a momentous achievement — the demolition of apartheid and the construction of a democracy. But for black South Africans, who account for three-fourths of this nation of roughly 55 million people, political liberation has yet to translate into broad material gains. Apartheid has essentially persisted in economic form. The New York Times

Ivory Seizures Hit Record Levels Last Year, Report Says
Ivory seizures around the world hit record levels last year, with elephant poaching in Africa declining for a fifth year in a row, a report says. About 40 tonnes of trafficked ivory was recovered, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) report says. While poaching killed 111,000 African elephants over the last decade, in most places it appears to be levelling off. Cites has welcomed the news but sounded a note of caution. “The global collective effort that is underway is starting to reap positive results, but we are certainly not there yet,” the organisation’s Secretary-General John Scanlon said. BBC

Advancing Military Professionalism: A Discussion with Brig. Gen. Saleh Bala
In an interview with the Africa Center, retired Brig. Gen. (ret.) Saleh Bala discusses the role that training, procurement, and international partnerships play in advancing military professionalism. What progress are African countries making in increasing military professionalism among senior leaders, as well as emerging officers? In an interview with the Africa Center, retired Brigadier General Saleh Bala said, “We do not have a dearth of professional capacity among the officer corps.” The main issue is training for the enlisted. “Only a few countries have focused, local institutions to train their noncommissioned officers to be as good as NCOs from the West.” Africa Center for Strategic Studies



Photo: Adam Jones