Africa Media Review for October 27, 2017

Low Turnout Taints Kenyatta Victory in Kenya Repeat Election
Results of Kenya’s presidential repeat election started to trickle in on Friday, with early estimates of the turnout at below 35 per cent, dealing a blow to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s hopes for a decisive second-term mandate. With nearly all followers of opposition leader Raila Odinga heeding the veteran’s call for a boycott, Mr Kenyatta’s victory is not in question. Less clear is his ability to unite the country, whose deep ethnic divisions have been exposed during a bloody and chaotic election process stretched over the last three months and multiple court cases. The first election, in August, was annulled by the Supreme Court because of procedural irregularities, denying Mr Kenyatta a simple victory over his long-term political rival. East African

Four Dead in Kenya Repeat Presidential Vote Chaos
At least four people died and more than two dozens injured as opposition protests sparked violence during Kenya’s presidential re-run, according to police and hospital sources. Two of the victims died after police and anti-election protesters, allied to the National Supper Alliance (Nasa), clashed in its western strongholds of Kisumu and Homa Bay counties on Thursday. The third, an unidentified man, was killed when a mob attacked him in the wee hours of Thursday morning at an estate in Kisumu. A 19-year-old man was shot in Kisumu and died while undergoing treatment at the main hospital in the county. In Homa Bay, a 14-year-old pupil was shot dead as he watched running battles between police and protesters. The East African

In Kenya, a Third of Voters Went to Polls in Second Presidential Election
Kenya’s election commission says about 6.5 million people, or one-third of the country’s registered voters, went to the polls Thursday for the second presidential election in 2017. There were opposition protests and violence at a number of polling stations. At least two people were shot dead during clashes between police and protesters. The vote was incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta’s second attempt at re-election. Kenya’s Supreme Court nullified his victory in an Aug. 8 poll, citing “irregularities and illegalities” in the transmission of results. The voter turnout for the August vote was nearly 80 percent of registered voters. Opposition leader Raila Odinga withdrew his candidacy earlier this month, arguing the national electoral commission had not made improvements to the voting process. Odinga urged his supporters to boycott the vote, a measure they seemed to have upheld, insuring Kenyatta’s victory. VOA

Kenya Vote Delayed to Oct. 28 in Four Counties – Commission
Kenya’s election commission said polling stations had opened in the much of the country on Thursday but voting had been hampered by “security challenges” in a number of places where voting would be delayed until Oct. 28. Wafula Chebukati, head of the election commission, said areas where voting would be delayed included Homa Hay, Kisumu, Migori and Siaya – all in the opposition stronghold of western Kenya. Reuters

Burundi Is Officially Not a Member of the International Criminal Court (ICC)
Burundi’s request to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) has elapsed the one year period making the country the first in history to officially withdraw from the Rome Statute. On October 27, 2016, Burundi presented its letter of intent to the immediate past Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon to begin the one year withdrawal process. This follows the court’s decision to initiate an investigation into possible war crimes violations related to the violence in 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced that he was seeking a third term. The process of withdrawal from the ICC was also started by The Gambia under exiled former President Yahya Jammeh due to alleged bias by the ICC to investigate and prosecute crimes committed by some Western countries and seeking only to prosecute Africans. Africa News

Burundi Government Backs Constitution Change
The government of crisis-torn Burundi has approved changes to the constitution that could pave the way to a potential 14-year extension in President Pierre Nkurunziza’s stay in office, senior officials said Thursday. Ministers, meeting on Tuesday in an extraordinary session, gave their agreement in principle to the proposed reforms, they said. The present constitution derives from the country’s 2000 peace agreement, which was signed in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha to end a 12-year civil war that claimed more than 300,000 lives. The East African

Blast Kills UN Peacekeepers from Chad in Northern Mali
Three United Nations soldiers from Chad were killed and two others wounded by an explosive device as they were escorting a convoy in northern Mali on Thursday, the peacekeeping mission in the West African nation said. More than 80 members of the UN mission, known as MINUSMA, have been killed since 2013 in attacks by militant groups active in the country’s north and centre, making it the world’s deadliest peacekeeping operation. The mission said in a statement that the peacekeepers’ vehicle struck the explosive device between the northern towns of Tessalit and Aguelhok around 2:30 p.m. (1430 GMT). MINUSMA spokesman Olivier Salgado later told Radio France Internationale that the soldiers involved were from Chad, which has one of the region’s most effective armies. France 24

US Ambassador to UN Arrives in Congo, to Meet with Kabila
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has called on Congo’s president to organize long-delayed elections in the vast Central African nation and step down peacefully. Nikki Haley, who arrived in Congo on Thursday and is expected to repeat that message in a meeting with President Joseph Kabila, made the comment to Radio France International earlier this week on her three-nation Africa visit. Haley is also expected to meet with Congo’s election commission Friday before returning to the U.S. “We believe that President Joseph Kabila will follow the right voice in organizing elections to ensure his respect, and that he has the respect of the Congolese people,” she told RFI. AP

S. Sudan’s Kiir Seeks U.S. Role in Mending Ties with Sudan
South Sudan President Salva Kiir has requested the United States government to play its role in mending and helping to improve its current relations with neighbouring Sudan. The senior presidential adviser and special envoy, Nhial Deng Nhial said president Kiir held a meeting with the US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley on Wednesday, reiterating the role Washington played in negotiating the settlement of the conflict that led to the secession of South Sudan from Sudan in July 2011. “Such roles can be replicated, enhanced and turned into building ties,” Nhial told Sudan Tribune Thursday. “The Government of South Sudan thinks the US can do more and provide additional inputs that will improve the relations,” he added. Sudan Tribune

French Army Kills 15 Mali Jihadists
The French army said on Thursday it had eliminated an “armed terrorist group” linked to Al-Qaeda in northern Mali, killing 15 jihadists. Army spokesperson Patrick Steiger said troops from France’s regional Barkhane anti-terror operation had carried out a joint strike against the group with French special forces about 100km northeast of Kidal. The operation, which was backed by fighter jets and helicopters, took place overnight on Monday. It “allowed us to take 15 members of this katiba out of action”, Steiger said, using a local word for a militant unit. The group was a branch of Ansar Dine, which has links to the regional Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQMI) group, he added, saying weapons and ammunition including assault rifles and grenades were destroyed in the raid. AFP

At Least 10 Killed in Ethiopia Protests, Residents Say
Witnesses in Ethiopia say at least 10 people are dead after security forces fired on angry protesters in the restive Oromia region. One resident says the killings occurred around midday on Thursday in the town of Ambo. Another resident says gunshots could be heard since morning. The residents spoke on condition of anonymity because of fear of retaliation. The town has seen multiple demonstrations since anti-government protests erupted in Ethiopia in 2015 and caused a months-long state of emergency that was lifted earlier this year. Ethiopia’s government spokesperson was not immediately available to comment. AP

Boko Haram Kills Eight Nigerian Soldiers in Raid
At least eight soldiers were killed in heavy fighting when Boko Haram raided a military camp and looted food from villagers in northeast Nigeria, a military source disclosed on Thursday. The attack in Sasawa village, some 45km from the Yobe state capital, Damaturu, happened at about 05:00 (1600 GMT) on Tuesday. It was the third Boko Haram attack on the military in the remote region in the last two weeks, after a relative lull during the rainy season, which ended last month. The spokesperson for 3 Division Nigerian Army in Damaturu, Colonel Kayode Ogunsanya, on Wednesday confirmed the attack, saying only that there were “casualties on both sides”. AFP

Equatorial Guinea Leader’s Son Found Guilty of Embezzlement by French Court
Millions of euros of assets belonging to the son of Equatorial Guinea’s president were ordered to be seized by a French court that found him guilty in absentia on Friday of using money plundered from his country to buy property and luxury cars. Teodorin Obiang, eldest son of President Teodoro Obiang and a vice-president himself, was also handed a three-year suspended prison sentence and a suspended 30 million euros ($35 million) fine. The Paris court found Obiang, 48, guilty of embezzlement, and ordered the confiscation of more than 100 million euros worth of his French assets. Obiang denied the charges. The case is the first of several to reach court in a broader judicial investigation into allegations of illicit acquisitions in France by long-time leaders and family relatives in several African countries including Gabon and Congo Republic. Reuters

Officials: Somalia Preparing for Large-Scale Offensive against Al-Shabab
Somali government troops and their African Union allies are preparing a large-scale offensive against al-Shabab militants, according to multiple witnesses and government officials. Somali leaders including the president have threatened to retaliate for the truck bombing of a busy Mogadishu intersection on Oct. 14 that killed more than 300 people. Al-Shabab did not claim responsibility for the blast, but officials blamed the group and few Somalis doubt the accusation. A resident of Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region told VOA on Thursday that thousands of troops are massing in the area. “We have seen unusual government military buildup. We have witnessed trucks carrying military supplies, technical vehicles mounted with heavy machine-guns and APCs in Afgoye,” Mohamed Muse said. VOA

Two Months after, Buhari Still Works from Home
Two months after he returned from his medical sojourn in London, United Kingdom (UK) for an undisclosed ailment, President Muhammadu Buhari still operates from his official residence located in the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The president had, two days after returning from the medical vacation which spanned 103 days, written to the National Assembly, in line with constitutional provisions, intimating the parliament of his return to the country and resumption of office in the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The letter dated August 21, 2017 stated in part: “In compliance with Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), I write to intimate that I have resumed my functions as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with effect from Monday, 21st August, 2017, after my medical follow-up in the United Kingdom.”‎  The Guardian Nigeria

Plague Alert over Madagascar’s Dance with the Dead
In Madagascar, ceremonies in which families exhume the remains of dead relatives, re-wrap them in fresh cloth and dance with the corpses are a sacred ritual. But an outbreak of plague sweeping the Indian Ocean island nation has prompted warnings that the macabre spectacle, known as the turning of the bones or body turning, presents a serious risk of contamination. On a recent baking hot Saturday in Ambohijafy, a village outside the capital Antananarivo, a “turning” procession snaked through the streets in a fevered carnival atmosphere bound for the cemetery. For the community’s few hundred residents, the time for “famadihana” — the local name for the ceremony — had arrived. The unique custom, originating among communities that live in Madagascar’s high plateaux, draws crowds every winter to honour the dead and to honour their mortal wishes. AFP



Photo: Adam Jones