Africa Media Review for October 26, 2017

Kenyan Police, Protesters Clash During Repeat Election
Kenyan police on Thursday fired tear gas at stone-throwing protesters in some opposition areas during the second presidential election since August, reflecting bitter divisions in a country whose main opposition leader urged his followers to boycott the vote. Violence erupted in Nairobi’s Kibera slum and Kisumu, a major city in the west where protesters set fires and blocked roads, and many polling stations didn’t open because of security concerns. One Kisumu primary school that saw huge lines of voters when it served as a polling station in the Aug. 8 election was closed this time around, its gates locked. “We are not going to vote and we are not going to allow it,” said Olga Onyanga, an opposition supporter in Kisumu. Voting, meanwhile, proceeded in areas where President Uhuru Kenyatta has support, but fewer voters were turning out in comparison to the August election that the Supreme Court nullified because it found illegalities and irregularities in the election process. AP

Kenya Is Barreling Toward an ‘Illegal’ Election
A day after the bodyguard of Kenya’s deputy chief justice was shot and seriously injured by unknown assailants, the Supreme Court failed to raise a quorum to rule on a petition to delay the country’s fraught presidential rerun, paving the way for elections on Thursday even as the main opposition leader calls for a boycott and top election commissioners say they cannot guarantee a credible vote. Just two of seven justices were present Wednesday at the Supreme Court, which previously nullified incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Aug. 8 re-election victory and ordered Thursday’s revote. Kenyatta pledged to abide by that decision but derided the justices as wakora — or “crooks” — and threatened to “fix” the court. Chief Justice David Maraga did not speculate as to whether his colleagues’ absence was due to intimidation, saying only that they were “out of town,” “ill,” or “indisposed.” Foreign Policy

Uhuru Kenyatta’s Party Now Sues Raila Odinga over Poll Impasse
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party has filed a contempt of court case against opposition Nasa leader Raila Odinga on his no elections call. Jubilee’s secretary-general Raphael Tuju alleges that Mr Odinga and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka are in contempt of the Supreme Court order for a fresh presidential poll. Kenya’s highest court annulled the August 8 re-election of President Kenyatta on September 1 and directed the electoral commission IEBC to conduct a repeat poll within 60 days. In the petition filed on Thursday, Mr Tuju said that Nasa leaders were leading their supporters in “violent protests” aimed at “intimidating the IEBC and ensure that the court’s orders are not implemented.”  The East African

In Kenya, Revote Raises Challenges for a Young Democracy
It was always about more than a single election. Kenya’s judiciary, which has battled for years to establish its independence, asserted itself last month with a decision that surprised the world, nullifying a tainted presidential election and demanding a repeat to prevent fraud. It was a moment of democratic triumph, of an independent court defending a young constitution — or at least it seemed like that, until the last minute. This week, for the second time, Kenyan activists and lawyers pinned their hopes on the Supreme Court, which agreed to hear a petition on the credibility of the new election. Chief Justice David Maraga issued an order requiring all judges to work on Wednesday, despite a hastily declared public holiday, and he promised a 10 a.m. hearing that might make or break the next day’s poll. But when the time came, only one of the other six judges showed up. Mr. Maraga, sitting alone on the bench, announced that, lacking a quorum, the hearing couldn’t happen. The New York Times

US Ambassador to UN Evacuated from Volatile South Sudan Camp
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, was evacuated from a U.N. camp for displaced people in South Sudan on Wednesday because of a demonstration against President Salva Kiir, witnesses said. Shortly after Haley left the camp, U.N. security guards fired tear gas to disperse the crowd of more than 100 residents who looted and destroyed the office of a charity operating there, an aid worker at the camp said. The aid worker spoke on condition of anonymity out of safety fears. Haley, in the middle of a three-country African visit, met earlier Wednesday with Kiir over the country’s long civil war. Speaking later to U.N. station Radio Miraya, Haley said she warned Kiir that the U.S. no longer trusted South Sudan’s government and was no longer prepared to wait for change. She did not give details.  AP

Haley to S. Sudan’s Kiir: Stop Violence or Lose US Funding
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley issued a stern warning Wednesday to South Sudan’s president, telling him “the hate and the violence that we are seeing has to stop” or the U.S. will reconsider its financial support for the country. “It was a very honest conversation. I basically said the United States had invested well over $11 billion in South Sudan and into him, and that we were now questioning that investment. I told them that he couldn’t deny the stories about his military,” Haley said to reporters after meeting with President Salva Kiir. This was an about-face from Tuesday in Addis Ababa, when Haley sounded hesitant to withdraw U.S. aid from South Sudan despite human rights abuses and the ongoing fighting. VOA

U.S. Has Lost Trust in South Sudan, Trump Envoy Tells President
The United States has lost trust in South Sudan’s government for fueling the country’s civil war and it must bring peace or risk losing support from Washington, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the nation’s President Salva Kiir. Haley was the first senior member of President Donald Trump’s administration to visit South Sudan, which spiraled into civil war in 2013, just two years after gaining independence from Sudan. She met one on one with Kiir for some 45 minutes. “I let him know that the United States was at a crossroads and that every decision going forward was going to be based on his actions,” Haley told reporters after the meeting in the capital Juba. Reuters

Ethiopia Sends 200 Peacekeepers to South Sudan
Ethiopia has sent 200 peacekeepers to neighbouring South Sudan to help with the restive security situation in the country, the Sudan Tribune reports citing an Ethiopian official. South Sudan’s Foreign Minister was also quoted as stating that the Ethiopian deployment was in line with a United Nations resolution to stabilize Africa’s youngest nation. The U.N. Security Council in December last year voted to increase the number of security personnel in the war-torn country. The unanimously adopted resolution 2327 sought to push the overall personnel to 17,000 military and 2,101 police. The U.N. also extended the mandate of its mission – the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) – to December 2017 and handed it powers to protect civilians who were the worst affected by the crisis. Africa News

West African Leaders Break Silence on Togo Violence
West African leaders have made their first comments after two months of increasingly bloody violence in Togo, calling on the presidency and the opposition to sit down for talks. France also called for an “immediate dialogue” between the two sides in its former colony, saying it was concerned by reports of civilian militia working alongside security forces. At least 16 people have been killed and scores more injured in anti-government protests that have seen hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets across the country. Three new marches have been announced for November 7,8 and 9, despite a government ban on weekday protests and recent clashes between gangs of youths, police and soldiers. AFP

Congo Loyalist Militia Executed Dozens in April Rampage, UN Says
A pro-government militia in the Democratic Republic of Congo was backed by Congolese soldiers as it executed dozens of people during a two-week rampage in the central Kasai region in April, the United Nations said. Protracted violence broke out in Kasai, which comprises five provinces in southern and central Congo, in August 2016 after state forces killed a traditional chief, triggering fighting with a militia of his followers known as Kamwina Nsapu. An armed group, Bana Mura, emerged this year and has received support from the security forces as it’s killed hundreds of people from the ethnic groups from which Kamwina Nsapu recruits, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said in August. Bana Mura militiamen summarily executed at least 64 people, including nine women and 21 children, and raped at least 41 women and two children during the April 13-26 period in Kasai province’s Kamonia district, the UN’s Congo-based Joint Human Rights Office said Wednesday in a report. Bloomberg

Land Clashes Test Côte D’Ivoire’s Fragile Security
Fresh clashes over land in western Côte d’Ivoire, following a spate of army mutinies, attacks on police stations, and jailbreaks, represent a growing challenge to the country’s nascent and hard-won stability. Côte d’Ivoire descended into civil war in 2011 after Laurent Gbagbo, who had been president since 2000, refused to accept defeat to Alassane Ouattara in a run-off election. About 3,000 people were killed in the conflict, mainly in clashes in Abidjan and in the west of the country, before French forces arrested Gbagbo in April 2011. Last week, seven people were killed and 5,000 fled their homes as rival communities clashed over a 9,000-hectare cocoa plantation inside a protected forest in the Cavally Region. In the end, the army had to intervene to put a halt to the fighting. IRIN

Ugandan Opposition MP’s Reject Payments as Bribes
The ruling party’s bid to remove the presidential age limit from Uganda’s constitution is stirring up controversy again, this time over the disbursement of a total of $3.5 million to lawmakers to fund ongoing consultations on the proposed amendment. The opposition has rejected the payments as a bribe. Each of Uganda’s 445 members of parliament has received a transfer of $8000 since late Tuesday, a total sum of $3.5 million. The opposition is calling it dirty money as parliament prepares to vote on a constitutional amendment to remove the presidential age limit. Opposition lawmakers led by chief whip Semujju Nganda stormed the parliament accounts office to give it back Wednesday. VOA

Court Hearing for 107 ‘Burkina Faso Coup Plotters’
A military court in Ouagadougou on Wednesday began an indictment hearing for 107 people, including two generals, who face charges over the failed 2015 coup in Burkina Faso. Lead figures are generals Djibrill Bassole and Gilbert Diendere – key allies to former president Blaise Compaore, whose bid to return to power was thwarted when protesters and the army attacked the barracks of elite troops loyal to him. The defendants are accused of a range of crimes, including undermining the security of the state, murder and property damage. Former transitional president Michel Kafando – who replaced Compaore in 2014 – was briefly overthrown in the coup led by the Presidential Security Regiment (RSP), but resumed power within days when plot leaders admitted they lacked popular support. AFP

Tanzania Daima Ban Adds to Press Freedom Concerns
A 90-day ban on a popular Swahili daily in Tanzania – the fourth newspaper to be shut down since June – has prompted concern over press freedom in the East African country. Journalists and activists urged President John Magufuli on Wednesday to overturn the ban on the Tanzania Daima newspaper, and accused him of undermining the country’s democracy by muzzling the media. The call came a day after the opposition-leaning paper, which has a daily circulation of 30,000, was shut down for three-months. Authorities accused it of continuously spreading “false information” after it published an incorrect claim about the number of Tanzanians taking anti-retroviral drugs used to treat HIV. Al Jazeera

Zimbabwe Elections 2018: Intimidation and Threats Affect Voter Registration Turnout
Voter registration in Zimbabwe ahead of next year’s poll is off to a slow start. The Zimbabwe Peace Project, a human rights and peace-building initiative in the country, has cited apathy among citizens as being among the reasons why only 10% of the seven million targeted voters having registered to vote so far. Taurai Chisvo, 28, an entrepreneur, is one such potential voter. “I have no time and interest in registering to vote. I believe elections will not change my current situation. As an entrepreneur I would want an environment that promotes and supports my business ventures but it is not the case in this country,” Chisvo told Daily Maverick. “Voting is a futile process that has never changed my plight as I continue to wallow in poverty and have seen no progress as the economy continues to go down,” he said. Voter registration kicked off on 18 September following its launch by President Robert Mugabe. Daily Maverick

Rwanda ‘Recalls Ambassador to France’
Rwanda has decided to recall its ambassador to France after Defence Minister James Kabarebe was summoned to appear before a magistrate investigating the death of former President Juvenal Habyarimana in 1994, the Rwanda News Agency (RNA) has reported. Jacques Kabale was recalled to Rwanda for “consultations”, according to French publication Jeune Afrique. This latest move comes after an anti-terrorism magistrate in France decided to summon Mr Kabarebe for questioning after a witness accused the Rwandan Patriotic Army – the former rebel group now in power in Kigali – of downing the plane carrying Mr Habyarimana on 6 April 1994, RNA reported. France has not had an ambassador to Rwanda since the departure of Michel Flesch in 2015 after Kigali failed to approve the appointment of his successor. The East African

Morocco to Become Space Power with First-Ever Spy Satellite
Morocco will become a space power in the coming weeks with the launch of the kingdom’s first ever spy satellite which experts say could increase tensions with Algeria and Spain. An Arianespace Vega rocket will launch the Moroccan satellite, dubbed EO Sat 1, from French Guiana on November 8, according to Spanish newspaper El Pais. A second satellite with similar specs will be launched in 2018. According to space specialist websites, it is a high resolution optical reconnaissance system built by a consortium that includes Airbus Defence and Thales Alenia of France. Surrounded by extreme secrecy, the construction of the first Moroccan spy satellite is thought to have been commissioned in 2013 during a visit by French President François Hollande to Rabat. The two space-based spy systems are estimated to have set the kingdom’s taxpayers back by around $590 million. Arab News

Angola’s Lourenco Orders Review of Oil and Mining Sectors
Angola’s new president has ordered a 30-day review of the nation’s oil industry to address the “significant” challenges it faces, his first foray into the key business since he took office last month. President Joao Lourenco directed a working group to determine how it can “improve the current conditions of investment in the oil and gas industry,” and develop a “framework of cooperation” directly between the executive and oil companies. The move, announced in a decree on October 13, came as Lourenco appointed Carlos Saturnino, a former head of Sonangol P&P, as secretary of state for oil. The president merged the ministries for oil and mining into one group, led by Diamantino Azevedo. Africa News

 



Photo: Adam Jones