Africa Media Review for October 25, 2017

Judges No-Show Means Kenya Poll to Proceed
Kenya’s Chief Justice has said the Supreme Court is unable to hear a petition calling for a delay in Thursday’s presidential re-run. David Maraga said not enough of the court’s seven judges were available to hear the case. The deputy chief justice was not available after her bodyguard was shot by gunmen on Tuesday. The BBC’s Alastair Leithead in Nairobi says the election is now expected to go ahead as planned. The Supreme Court annulled the original election in August, saying there had been “irregularities and illegalities”.  BBC

EU Downsizes Election Observation Mission to Kenya
The EU election observation mission sent to Kenya late on Tuesday announced that it is downsizing their monitoring team due to the disruption of Kenya’s electoral body training exercises, tension, and criticism on the international community. Kenyans are set to take part in a presidential-election re-run on Thursday. In a statement, the EU mission has called for a delay of the election, saying: “We have assessed the safety of our observers considering the extreme tension, disruptions of polling preparations, and strong criticism that has been made of the international community.” “Based on this, we have had to reconsider the extent to which we can observe across the country, therefore, the mission will have a reduced number of observers. Rather than giving a comprehensive assessment of election day and tallying, the mission will focus its observation on systemic issues, including results transmission and the availability of results forms.” Anadolu Agency

Raila Tells Supporters Not to Protest during Oct 26 Poll
Opposition leader Raila Odinga has denied claims that he has instructed supporters of the National Super Alliance (NASA) to hold demonstrations during the fresh presidential election on Thursday. In an exclusive interview with BBC Africa on Tuesday, Odinga said the Opposition alliance had only urged its supporters to keep off from polling stations on Election Day.” We’ve not told people to demonstrate on the polling day. We’ve not said that at all; we told people to stay away,” the NASA presidential candidate told BBC. Capital FM

Trump Envoy ‘Mad’ after Meeting South Sudanese Refugees in Ethiopia
“I was mad when I left the camp. The fact that this is a man-made conflict, that one man has done so much harm to so many people, it’s heartbreaking,” Nikki Haley said after meeting South Sudanese refugees living in western Ethiopia. Haley, the United States ambassador to the United Nations adds that the South Sudanese President Salva Kiir must be held accountable for the social and security tragedy that the country has been subjected to. “At some point President Kiir needs to be held accountable for all of the tragedy that he’s caused these people,” Haley stressed after meeting South Sudanese refugees in Gambella. Africa News

Haley: Africa’s Violence Could Become US Security Threat
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley warned that Africa’s violence and humanitarian disasters could spread into larger security threats to the United States. In order to stem the growing conflicts, the U.S. envoy is traveling to South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo in one of the first visits to the continent by a senior member of the Trump administration. President Donald Trump has said little about Africa since taking office but the killing of four U.S. soldiers during an ambush by Islamic State-affiliated fighters in Niger earlier this month has focused attention on Washington’s expanded military presence and counter-terrorism operations against militants in Africa. After meetings on Monday with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and a senior African Union official, Haley told reporters she hoped this was the beginning of “a stronger relationship with the AU and our African partners.” VOA

Kenyan Banks Ordered to Freeze Accounts of Six South Sudan Generals
Kenya’s central bank has instructed commercial banks to freeze accounts of six top South Sudanese generals in line with UN sanctions against them. The UN Security Council imposed travel bans and asset freezes on the military commanders – three from each side – for human rights violations and blocking the implementation of the peace agreement in the war-torn country. They include General Santino Deng, General Gabriel Jok Riak, and General Chanuong Yol Mangok from the government Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army (SPLA); and General James Koang, General Simon Gatwech Dual, and General Peter Gatdet from the opposition SPLA-In Opposition (SPLA-IO). In a circular dated October 10, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) directed banks’ chief executives to give a detailed report on accounts operated by the six generals as well as on assets they own or control directly or indirectly through other persons. The East African

Desperate Journeys: Migrant Flow to Italy from Libya Increasing
The number of people crossing the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa to southern Europe has been steadily increasing since the defeat of armed groups that combated illegal migration in the western coastal city of Sabratha. Refugees and migrants are fleeing onwards to Europe to escape life-threatening dangers and dire economic conditions plus widespread exploitation and abuse in Libya. Al Jazeera’s Mahmoud Abdelwahed reports from Tripoli, the Libyan capital. Al Jazeera

Surge in Morocco Migrants Raises Alarm in Spain
[…] The numbers are still far below the migrant flows from conflict-ridden Libya to Italy, which has been the main source of European concerns. But European officials worry that the increase in migrants travelling from Morocco comes as efforts to stem the migrant traffic from Libya to Italy are finally bearing fruit. Frontex, the European border agency, has described “a steady increase in irregular migration” across the western Mediterranean route, saying that people reached Spain aboard vessels from the “cheapest toy dinghies,” to inflatable boats with engines and even jet skis. Juan Ignacio Zoido, Spain’s interior minister, said last month that migrant arrivals had soared by more than 88 per cent in the first eight months of this year compared to the same period in 2016. About 15,500 people have entered Spain illegally this year, including 11,000 who were rescued from rickety boats that sailed from Moroccan shores, he added. Financial Times

Aid Group Halts Sea Rescues in Mediterranean
The international aid group Save the Children is suspending its efforts to rescue migrants making the dangerous Mediterranean Sea crossing from Libya. Tuesday, the organization said the combination of falling numbers of crossings and worsening security forced it to stop sending its ship, the Vos Hestia, out from its port in Italy. Save the Children said the ship rescued as many as 10,000 migrants over the past year after the smugglers’ vessels they were in foundered at sea. The announcement comes just a day after Italian authorities searched the Vos Hestia as part of Rome’s efforts to deter people smuggling across the Mediterranean. Save the Children said the decision to suspend operations wasn’t related to the search and it told journalists that Italian prosecutors had given assurances it is not under investigation. It seems the search might be linked, however, to crew members on the boat. VOA

Hundreds of Cameroonians Seek Refuge in Nigeria amid Political Crisis
Nigeria has received about 300 Cameroonians who registered as refugees after entering the neighbouring country through the Nfum border of the southeastern Cross River State. The head of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Mohammed Babandede said at a meeting with the Cross River State government on Monday that they are ready to ensure the safety of the refugees. “We will respect human rights but wont allow the migrants to spoil our security situation. We will treat them with dignity. The Cameroonian government has done the same for us during the Boko Haram crisis,” he said. Africa News

Morocco’s King Fires Ministers over Slow Progress in Restive Tribal Area
Morocco’s king dismissed several ministers and top officials on Tuesday for failing to improve the economic situation in a region shaken by protests, a statement said. Protests erupted in the Rif region around the northern city of Al-Hoceima last October, triggered by the death of a fishmonger whose produce was confiscated by police. The man’s crushing to death in a garbage truck during a confrontation with police became a symbol of corruption and official abuse. Protests, also fueled by economic underdevelopment, continued there this year. Reuters

Pierre Kangudia Mbayi Quits DR Congo Coalition Government
A key opposition party in the Democratic Republic of Congo said on Monday it was withdrawing its representative from the country’s transitional government because a hard won peace accord was not being implemented. The Union for the Congolese Nation (UNC) said in a statement it was pulling out Pierre Kangudia Mbayi, who is currently DR Congo’s minister of state in charge of budget. The UNC — the third opposition party in parliament — signed onto a peace deal at the end of 2016 aimed at avoiding fresh political bloodshed after President Joseph Kabila refused to step down when his second and final mandate ended in December. Kabila was allowed to remain in office pending the elections, ruling in tandem with a transitional watchdog and a new premier, to be chosen within opposition ranks. Daily Nation

SADC Motivating for a Rapid Force in the DRC 
Southern African Development Community and the Great Lakes region are expected to lobby against cutting down the UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Monusco) and to motivate for the deployment of a Rapid Force. As the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley travels to Ethiopia, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) this week, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula says the region is concerned that the Security Council has already withdrawn Tanzania and planning to cut down the budget of Monusco. More than 20% of contributions to the United Nations come from the United States of America. A visit by Ambassador Haley is key to how the UN will approach Africa’s hot spots, including the DRC and even its Foreign Policy. SABC

EU Announces $124 Million in Aid for Sudan
The European Union has announced a $124 million humanitarian and development aid package for Sudan. The EU Commission said Monday the money would go toward urgent food, water, sanitation, health and education needs, as well as supporting people who have been forced from their homes and the communities that are hosting them. Christos Stylianides, the EU’s commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis management, said during a visit to South Darfur that the aid is necessary to meet the needs of displaced Sudanese as well as refugees who came from neighboring South Sudan. “The humanitarian aid I am announcing today will help bring life-saving relief to the most vulnerable populations,” Stylianides said. “Full humanitarian access throughout the country is crucial so that humanitarian workers can deliver aid safely to those in need.”  VOA

Ugandan MPs Get $8,000 Each for Work on Extending President’s Rule: Spokesman
Ugandan legislators have each pocketed 29 million Ugandan shillings ($8,000) as a payout for consultations on legislation to extend the president’s rule, a parliamentary spokesman said on Tuesday, a move opponents denounced as a bribe. The bill would scrap a constitutional age cap preventing President Yoweri Museveni, 73 and in power for 31 years, from standing in the next election. It is likely to pass, given the ruling party’s majority, when it is voted on later this year. A staunch ally of Western powers, Museveni is widely seen as an anchor of stability in the often volatile Great Lakes region after decades of violent Ugandan dictators. Critics say he has evolved into just another African strongman using corrupt and ruthless tactics to retain power for life. Reuters

Mozambique’s Nyusi Replaces Intelligence Head, Fires Army Chief
Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi replaced his head of intelligence and removed the army chief, Julio Dos Santos Jane, who was the police commander, is now director general of the State Intelligence and Security Service, the government said in an emailed statement on Tuesday. Jane replaced Lagos Henriques Lidimo, who was appointed in January, while Graca Tomas Chongo was dismissed as army chief. Nyusi didn’t name a new police chief or head of the army. Bloomberg

Pirates Kidnap Six Crew from German-Owned Ship off Nigeria
Six crew members from a German-owned container ship, including the captain, have been kidnapped off the coast of southern Nigeria, maritime security analysts said. The Sea Guardian consultancy said the Demeter “was attacked by pirates” at about 7:00am (0600 GMT) on Saturday south of the Nigerian oil city, Port Harcourt. “Pirates boarded the ship, kidnapped six crew, including (the) master, chief officer, second officer, second engineer, bosun and cook,” it said on its website on Monday. Reports suggested the attack was carried out by eight pirates in a black speedboat, it added. The Demeter had been travelling from the capital of Equatorial Guinea, Malabo, to the Liberian capital Monrovia at the time. AFP

Boko Haram Strapped Suicide Bombs to Them. Somehow These Teenage Girls Survived.
The girls didn’t want to kill anyone. They walked in silence for a while, the weight of the explosives around their waists pulling down on them as they fingered the detonators and tried to think of a way out. “I don’t know how to get this thing off me,” Hadiza, 16, recalled saying as she headed out on her mission. “What are you going to do with yours?” she asked the 12-year-old girl next to her, who was also wearing a bomb. “I’m going to go off by myself and blow myself up,” the girl responded hopelessly. It was all happening so fast. After being kidnapped by Boko Haram this year, Hadiza was confronted by a fighter in the camp where she was being held hostage. He wanted to “marry” her. She rejected him. “You’ll regret this,” the fighter told her. A few days later, she was brought before a Boko Haram leader. He told her she would be going to the happiest place she could imagine. Hadiza thought she was going home. He was talking about heaven. The New York Times



Photo: Adam Jones