Africa Media Review for October 28, 2019

Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi has been re-elected with 73% of the vote and his Frelimo party will have 74% of seats in parliament, according to official results announced Sunday following elections on Oct. 15. The main opposition party, Renamo, has rejected the results, alleging the elections were marked by fraud and intimidation. After drawing enthusiastic crowds during the campaign, Renamo candidate Ossufo Momade took 22% of the vote, according to Mozambique’s electoral commission, which reported an overall voter turnout of 51%. In the 250-seat National Assembly, Frelimo won 184 seats, Renamo 60 seats and the MDM party got six seats. … A two-thirds majority in parliament would allow Frelimo to change the constitution without needing the agreement of the opposition. AP

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed warned on Saturday of further instability and vowed to bring to justice those responsible for violence that left at least 67 people dead this week. “The crisis we have faced will become even more fearsome and difficult if Ethiopians don’t unite and stand as one,” Abiy said in a statement issued by his office, his first remarks since the violence broke out. “We will unswervingly work to ensure the prevalence of the rule of law and to bring perpetrators to justice.” … “There has been an attempt to turn the crisis into a religious and ethnic one. In the process our comrades have become victims in terrible circumstances,” he said. He added that homes, businesses and places of worship had been destroyed, and that an untold number of Ethiopians had been displaced. Violence erupted in Addis Ababa, the capital, and in much of Ethiopia’s Oromia region on Wednesday after a high-profile activist accused security forces of trying to orchestrate an attack against him – a claim police officials denied. AFP

Two international rights groups have accused the government of Tanzanian President John Magufuli of increasingly repressing political dissent. Since Magufuli’s election in 2015, Tanzania has implemented laws that stifle independent journalism and severely restrict the activities of NGOs and opposition parties, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in two separate reports released on Monday. Civil society activism and public discussions on human rights-related issues have also been suppressed, while the authorities’ “regressive” policies have restricted the playing field for those seeking to challenge the ruling party, they added. “With elections around the corner, people don’t feel that they can comment honestly,” said Jehanne Henry, HRW’s East Africa director, referring to Tanzania’s polls scheduled for next year. Al Jazeera

In Mali, one of the major parties of the 2015 peace agreement on Saturday called for other groups that share a common core to rally behind one umbrella to form a political movement to represent the Northern parts of the country. The call was made by the head of the High Council for Azawad Unity (HCUA), which defines itself as a multi-community “politico-military” movement, Alghabass Ag Intalla, at the opening of a “congress” of its movement in Kidal, in the northeast of the country, following prolonged jihadist fighting in Mali and it’s neighboring countries. This group is one of the components of the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA, a former Tuareg-dominated rebellion) with the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and the Arab Azawad Movement (MAA). Africa News with AFP

The Nigerian military has planned a nationwide operation to demand identity cards from citizens across the country. ‘Operation Positive Identification’ would see soldiers accosting citizens on the streets or highways and asking them to produce means of identification on the spot. Soldiers had been taking similar measures to separate citizens from terrorists in the Boko Haram-ravaged northeastern part of Nigeria. The military claimed last month that citizens in the North-east had been cooperating with troops to make the exercise successful by carrying with them valid identity documents. But the military announced on September 25 that the exercise will be extended nationwide to “checkmate bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers, ethnic militia, cattle rustlers as well as other sundry crimes across the various regions of Nigeria.” … Millions of citizens do not have voting credentials, driver’s licence or international passport. Millions are unemployed and do not have work-issued ID cards. Premium Times

The federal government has launched a modern garment factory to produce uniforms for the armed forces and other security agencies in the country. This is to ensure standardisation and guard against the misuse of military and security uniforms by impostors and criminals in Nigeria. Mohammed Manga, Director Press and Public Relations of the Ministry of Interior, made this known in a statement on Sunday in Abuja. He said the launching of the garment factory, which was tagged, DICON-SUR Corporate Wears Nigeria Limited, was held at the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) at Kakuri, Kaduna. Mr Manga quoted President Muhammadu Buhari speaking at the occasion as saying that the security of lives and property of Nigerians and the integrity of the nation’s territory was very important to the present administration. Premium Times

Camerooon’s military freed a group of people this week who had been taken hostage by rebels from the Central African Republic. The rebels took 22 locals hostage two weeks ago and held them for ransom. But the military’s raid Thursday night on Garoua Boulai freed 13 Central Africans and Cameroonians. Residents in the Cameroon villages of Mbaimbum, Tchabal and Bigao were still discussing the raid days later. Cattle rancher Muhamady Issa was one of those abducted. He said the kidnappers had killed some of the hostages. Issa said that while in captivity in the mountains on the border with CAR, he decided to escape to the surrounding bushes and hills instead of being slaughtered, as had happened to seven fellow captives within 10 days. Issa fled and was found in the hills by the Cameroon military. At least two of the people kidnapped were still missing. … Cameroon shares a boundary of over 1,000 kilometers with CAR. Since conflicts in the neighboring state erupted in 2013, many armed gangs have established bases in eastern Cameroon. VOA

Looking back over events that have taken place since his last such briefing in June, Mankeur Ndiaye reiterated his observation that hopes have been raised, following the signing of a peace and reconciliation agreement in February, in the capital Bangui, the implementation of which has been a major preoccupation of MINUSCA. He outlined both the progress made, and the challenges faced by the vast nation. On the positive side, monitoring of the peace agreement is now operational at local and national levels, said Mr. Ndiaye, with MINUSCA helping to contain or avoid crises. In the town of Bossangoa, for example, Muslim civilians have been able to return home, and move freely, for the first time since large-scale inter-communal killings in 2013. Special security units have now been launched in the north-west of the country, continued the MINUSCA chief, and the Government is planning to despatch similar units to the north-east and south-east of the country as soon as possible. It is expected that this will ensure the continued engagement of armed groups in the peace process. UN News

Regional special envoys met in Djibouti Thursday and agreed to improve their coordination on South Sudan’s peace, IGAD said. The IGAD special envoy for South Sudan, Ismail Wais, Kenya special envoy to South Sudan, Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, and the Sudan special envoy to South Sudan, Jamal El Sheikh, met in Djibouti, to assess the status of implementation of pre-transitional tasks under the peace agreement. The regional envoys met against the backdrop of the peace process that is at a critical stage with three weeks remaining before the 12th November deadline set for the formation of a unity government with critical tasks still pending. … The East African regional body pointed out that the special envoys deliberated at length on critical outstanding tasks in the peace agreement namely: transitional security arrangements, number and boundaries of states, allocation of ministerial portfolios and the issue of the non-signatories to the peace agreement. Radio Tamazuj

Hundreds of rights campaigners have taken to the streets of Malawi’s capital to call for a government investigation into allegations of rape by police officers during ongoing post-election violence. The EU ambassador to Malawi condemned the alleged sexual violence and called for “light to be shed on what happened.” The British high commissioner also reportedly called for a thorough investigation. Earlier this month demonstrators set up roadblocks in the capital, which led to the deployment of the police. In the pandemonium that followed, a police officer was killed. Security officers stormed the area the following day, spraying teargas and attacking the public. The NGO Gender Coordination Network (NGO-GCN) documented accounts from women and girls who said they had been sexually assaulted by police officers. The Guardian

Germany’s foreign minister says he’s seeking an end to all “foreign interference” in war-torn Libya. Heiko Maas says this issue is a “fundamental problem” in Libya that will be discussed at a conference on the North African country, which will take place in Berlin later this year. Maas spoke late on Sunday to reporters Libya’s western town of Zuwara, along with Mohamed Siala, the foreign minister of the U.N.-supported government in Tripoli, and Ghassan Salamé, the U.N. special envoy to Libya. Libya has been embroiled in another outbreak of violence since April, when the self-styled Libyan National Army launched its offensive to take the capital, Tripoli, away from militias aligned with the U.N.-supported government. Egypt and the United Arab Emirates back the offensive while Turkey and Qatar support the government. AP

Russia targets to more than double its trade volumes with Africa to $40 billion in five years even though its business ties with the continent remain largely centred on defence pacts. President Vladimir Putin made the announcement at the first Russia-Africa Summit held in Sochi last week, where more than 40 African heads of state attended. Trade between Russia and Africa is currently about $20 billion, just about 10 per cent of China’s $200 billion. … Touted as the first step to expanding ties with Africa, the Summit ended with a number of bilateral agreements between Moscow and African governments. Most of these deals, however, were statements of intent or deepening of existing projects, mostly in defence and also in energy. Russian oil company Lukoil signed a memorandum for drilling rights in Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria. This added to MoUs signed earlier by nuclear energy firm-Rosatom-to establish nuclear power stations in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Egypt and Kenya. … A resolution was passed to have the Summit every three years, borrowing from the Chinese, Americans and Japanese who hold conferences with Africa on a regular basis. The East African

Below the towering mahogany trees that blanket this lush mountainside, hidden beneath the brown-red soil, lie millions of tons of very valuable rock. This world-renowned forest reserve, called the Atewa, is the source of three major rivers that provide water to 5 million people. It is also home to an estimated 165 million tons of bauxite, a sedimentary rock used to create aluminum products such as aircraft parts, kitchen utensils and beer cans. Ghana’s leaders want to mine the bauxite, which they see as the country’s ticket to economic growth, thanks to a big-name partner – China. Campaigners and water experts say the environmental cost is too high: Mining would taint the water, they claim. Ghana is looking to mine bauxite to uphold what it calls a barter deal with China’s Sinohydro Corp. Limited. Sinohydro delivers $2 billion worth of infrastructure projects across the country, which Ghana would pay back with proceeds from the sale of the refined bauxite. The Washington Post



Photo: Adam Jones