Africa Media Review for October 9, 2019

UN Security Council Urges Progress in South Sudan

The U.N. Security Council said Tuesday that a peace deal in South Sudan signed a year ago is “a window of opportunity” to end the civil war in the world’s newest nation and achieve “sustainable peace and stability” – but it must be fully implemented. The U.N.’s most powerful body said in a statement approved by all 15 members and read at an open meeting that it welcomes “initial progress” in implementing the agreement. That includes a reduction of political violence and the return of some opposition representatives to the capital Juba. It welcomed recent meetings between President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar, who returned to Juba in early September for the first time in nearly a year for talks in preparation for the formation of a coalition government in November. … It singled out “the ongoing conflict in the Equatorias region and continued use of sexual violence as a tactic by the parties to the conflict against the civilian population.” Council members called on parties to the peace deal to quickly implement transitional security arrangements and work toward agreement on internal political boundaries. AP

Some Progress Made towards Security in Mali, but Still a Long Way to Go, Security Council Hears

Briefing on the Secretary-General’s latest report via videoconference from the capital Bamako, Mahamat Saleh Annadif, Special Representative and head of the UN Mission to the country (MINUSMA), said that while accounts of violence continue to surge, some efforts to accelerate disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR), as set out in the 2015 Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali, have proved fruitful. “The report under your consideration is being presented at a time, when latest developments from Mali are not very encouraging,” Mr. Saleh Annadif lamented, citing attacks near the Burkina Faso border last week, and the death of a MINUSMA ‘blue helmet’ and wounding of another, just 48 hours ago. “In spite of these repeated attacks committed by enemies of peace, significant strides forward have been achieved in implementing the agreement, in particular as far as the political and institutional reform are concerned, security issues and matters of socioeconomic development,” he said. UN News

Malawi Policeman Stoned to Death by Protestors

A policeman was stoned to death Tuesday in Malawi during clashes between pro- and anti-government protesters ahead of President Peter Mutharika’s first public meeting since a disputed election, police said. A wave of protests over the May poll has gripped Malawi since May and Msundwe – a trading outpost west of the capital – has been a hotbed of demonstrations. … Anti-government protesters had blocked the main road in Msundwe to stop supporters of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party from travelling to Mutharika’s first rally in the city since his poll win. An eyewitness told AFP police fired teargas to disperse the protests but demonstrators “kept regrouping and they fought back with stones”. “In the ensuing chaos, they cornered one policeman whom they stoned to death,” Ulemu Phiri, who witnessed the chaotic scenes said. At a rally in the city of Lilongwe, the stronghold of the country’s largest opposition, the Malawi Congress Party, Mutharika stuck a conciliatory tone, urging the country to unite. AFP

Elite Mozambique Police Unit Linked to Poll Observer’s Murder

Mozambican police said members of one of its elite units were involved in the murder of a poll observer in a ruling party stronghold just ahead of next week’s election. Anastacio Matavele, 58, the head of a local election observation mission, was shot dead Monday while driving away from a workshop in Xai-Xai, the capital of the southeastern Gaza province. National police commander Bernardino Rafael said there were five perpetrators involved in the “homicide,” of whom “four (were) police officers of the Republic of Mozambique assigned to the Gaza rapid intervention sub-unit.” … Gaza is a stronghold of Mozambique’s ruling Frelimo party, which has dominated power since the southern African country gained independence from Portugal in 1975. President Filipe Nyusi is widely expected to win re-election in next Tuesday’s election. The opposition alleges that the government has already started tampering with the electoral process. Mozambique’s poll observation mission has accused Frelimo supporters of attacking opposition members, blocking campaigns and burning their homes. The European Union (EU), the US embassy and local civil society groups have condemned Matavele’s assassination. AFP

Sudan Opposition Leader Says Reform a Slow Process

Months of peaceful protests helped force Sudan’s autocratic President Omar al-Bashir out of office in April after 30 years. The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), a coalition of labor unions, led the way in organizing the protests. Now, the group and other opposition organizations are working with the military to create a new democratic government. It is slow work, says Mohammed Nagi al-Assam, the SPA spokesperson who has been at the forefront of the protest movement. The country has a new Cabinet and six civilians sit with five military officers on the Sovereign Council, the country’s new executive body. There is a commitment to hold elections and have a fully civilian government in three years. … So far, most of the change in government has been in the capital, with state governors who worked under Bashir remaining in place. Part of the problem, he said, is that the Sudan Revolutionary Front, or SRF, an armed rebel group that has battled the government for years, has not yet signed a peace deal. The SRF has been involved in drafting the new constitution, he said, and it will be part of the government once it signs a peace deal. VOA

Direct Flight to Kismayu Sparks Another Somalia-Kenya Row

Somalia has protested what it said is the violation of its airspace by Kenya after an aircraft flew from Nairobi directly to Kismayu instead of first landing in the capital Mogadishu. The Somalia Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA) filed the complaint against Kenya to the UN agency International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO), Somali online platform Hiraan said quoting unnamed officials. On Saturday, a Kenyan-registered Fokker 50 plane, 5Y-JXJ, carrying politicians, landed in Kismayu, the capital of Jubbaland state without making a stop over in Mogadishu as required. In September, Somalia directed that all civilian aircraft to first stop in the capital Mogadishu before proceeding to Kismayu. The directive followed the re-election of Jubbaland president Ahmed Madobe, whose victory was endorsed by Nairobi and rejected by Mogadishu. … The protest against Kenya comes amid deteriorating ties between Nairobi and Mogadishu over the maritime border dispute which is before the UN’s International Court of Justice. The East African

Uganda Police Cancel Bobi Wine’s Independence Day Concert

Police in Uganda have cancelled a concert that was to be held in the capital Kampala by Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine. Inspector General of Police Martin Okoth Ochola in his letter dated October 2, but released on Tuesday to Kampala Metropolitan Police, said Bobi Wine did not consider plans for medical care, traffic control, crowd control and security. … Bobi Wine, a musician turned politician, had scheduled a music show ‘Osobola’ for October 9, which coincided with Independence Day. … As police announced the cancellation, the singer was doing rehearsals at his music studio in Kamwokya in Kampala. He said he had not received any letter from the police and he would proceed with the concert as planned. On April 22, 2019 police stopped another Bobi Wine concert on grounds that he had not followed procedure. Field Force Unit (FFU) officers used force to foil the concert plans. Daily Monitor

Electioneering Engulfs Namibia …as SADC Advisory Team Lands

Electioneering has engulfed Namibia two months before the much anticipated presidential elections which will also decide parliamentary representation, depending on the percentage of votes garnered by participating political parties. As part of the preparations, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Advisory Council this week sent their fact finding team to the country to engage with various stakeholders which include government, political parties, civic societies and the media. … As the momentum towards the polls gathers, the Electoral Commission of Namibia director of elections, Theo Mujoro, last week announced the opening of the nomination process for candidates willing to throw their names into the hat for the country’s political hot seat. Perhaps more interesting is that the election, slated for November 27, is pinned on issues rather than political inclination with youth unemployment high, at 44 percent, a rather challenging economy that has been in a recession, as well as the need to satisfy the women quota in parliament, only but a few of Namibia’s pressing needs so far. Southern Times

Cameroon’s Efforts to Improve Army Image Greeted with Skepticism

But lately there seems to have been a change of tactics by Yaounde. President Byia launched a national dialogue to put an end to the conflicts, which, while much criticized by opponents and analysts for its shortcomings, is a huge step for the 86-year-old autocrat known for his intransigency. Meanwhile, probably at Biya’s instigation, the army is showing a new and unusual side as purveyor of humanitarian help to needy populations. Unusual in as much as the country’s military is mainly known for its heavy-handedness when dealing with civilians and has often been accused of committing atrocities. Recently, lieutenant colonel Nkoo Ella, operational commander of the troops fighting separatists in the Anglophone regions, arrived in the south western village of Baossa last with relief material, books and pens for the population. He was accompanied by journalists. … Both Ako [analyst] and Allegrozi [HRW] agree that this new activity by the Cameroonian government could be downright dangerous for civilians, exposing them to more violence. This happened in the Far North Region, where Boko Haram targeted the population working with army medics and engineers. DW

Nigeria: Borno Govt in Fresh Recruitment of Traditional Hunters to Help Fight Boko Haram

The Borno State government has begun a new round of recruitment of local hunters to join the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency that entered its eleventh year in July. Governor Babagana Zulum said he was seeking alternative approaches to ending the long-running conflict. Sources in the state government and the Civilian-JTF told Premium Times that the government plans to recruit 10,000 men[.] … A state government source said the governor “is tired of the conventional means of prosecuting the Boko Haram war that seemed not to have provided the needed solution in the last 10 years. “Even the military has been calling for civil-military cooperation to end the Boko Haram insurgency. We all have appreciated the role the Civilian-JTF is playing in assisting the military to fight Boko Haram.” … “Over 2,000 of them have arrived in different batches and are enthusiastic about moving into the forests, with the military of course.” Premium Times learned that the hunters were screened and profiled by the military before they were enlisted. Premium Times

Thousands Missing in Nigeria after a Decade of Conflict

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says their highest caseload of missing persons in the world is currently in Nigeria. Nearly 22,000 Nigerians have been reported as missing and 90% of the cases are linked to the Boko Haram insurgency, the Red Cross reports. It’s estimated that 2 million people have been displaced by the conflict and many ran to the Borno state capital of Maiduguri to seek safe haven. … Children are especially vulnerable, with nearly 60% of those in the registry minors at the time they disappeared. … But the government of Borno State, the heart of the insurgency, admitted that it’s struggling to reunite families. “When you don’t have the capacity, either in terms of human resources or in terms of institutional strength, it becomes a challenge to carry out the responsibility because we are learning from our international partners who have the expertise, especially the ICRC, the UNHCR and UNICEF,” said Ya Bawa Kolo, the executive chairperson of Borno State’s Emergency Management Agency. The nature of the insurgency means that people have been displaced many times making it harder to find them. VOA

Nigerian President Offers Record $34Bn Budget for 2020

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari presented a record 10.33 trillion-naira ($33.8bn) budget for 2020 to lawmakers on Tuesday as he aims to spur growth in Africa’s largest economy at the start of his second term in office. The plan for Africa’s top oil exporter assumes crude production of 2.18 million barrels a day and an oil price of $57 per barrel, although an analyst said the budget implementation may “deviate dramatically” from the figures unveiled. Nigeria emerged from its first recession in 25 years in 2017. Growth is still sluggish, although higher oil prices and recent debt sales have helped the country to accrue billions of dollars in foreign reserves. … Buhari, who in his re-election campaign vowed to implement a road and rail construction programme, said 2.46 trillion naira had been allocated for capital projects and 2.45 trillion naira for servicing debts. A budget deficit of 2.18 trillion naira – representing 1.52 percent of the estimated GDP – was to be financed through foreign and domestic borrowing, plus the proceeds of privatisation, he said. Al Jazeera

China Injects $72B in Africa as Its Continental Influence Gathers Pace

China is rapidly expanding its influence in Africa with increased investments in the services sector such as retail, financial, telecoms, media and technology, business and leisure. Latest study by global consultancy firm Ernst and Young shows that the world’s second largest economy has pumped a total of $72.23 billion worth of foreign direct investment into the continent between 2014 and 2018. It is followed by France ($34.17 billion), US ($30.85 billion), United Arab Emirates ($25.27 billion) and the UK ($17.68 billion). … The report which was released last week shows that East African countries-Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda-have lost grounds in terms of attracting FDI. … According to the report dated September 2019, foreign investors are gradually shifting interest from the telecoms and financial sectors to a broader spread with technology playing a key role. The report notes that in the telecoms sector, the voice business is reaching maturity and the next area of focus for operators will lie in data rollout. “In Africa this inevitably comes at greater cost than most other regions, given the lack of suitable infrastructure in many instances, adding to the costs of importing and moving the needed equipment to the right locations,” the report says. The East African

Rwanda Launches “First Made-in-Africa” Smartphones

Rwanda has opened Africa’s first smartphone manufacturing plant in the capital, Kigali, in an event attended by President Paul Kagame. Manufactured by technology company Mara Group – the Mara X and Mara Z smartphones – will use Google’s Android operating system and cost 175,750 Rwandan francs ($190; £155) and 120,250 Rwandan francs ($130; £106) respectively. “This is the first smartphone manufacturer in Africa,” Mara Group CEO Ashish Thakkar told news agency Reuters during a tour of the plant on Monday. The company was targeting customers willing to pay more for quality, Mr Thakkar said. But most phones sold in Africa are from Chinese companies, which offer dual SIM cards and are cheaper than Mara’s planned price point. … “We are actually the first who are doing manufacturing. We are making the motherboards, we are making the sub-boards during the entire process… There are over 1,000 pieces per phone,” he added. BBC

Africa’s 6 Wealthiest Cities – and Where to Find the Continent’s Billionaires

Johannesburg is the wealthiest city in Africa, according to the 2019 Africa Wealth Report by New World Wealth and Afrasia Bank. … Most of this wealth in Johannesburg is concentrated in Sandton – home of the JSE and of head offices of most of Africa’s largest banks and corporates. Cape Town comes in second place on the list with its exclusive suburbs such as Clifton, Bishopscourt, Camps Bay and Bantry Bay. It is also popular among wealthy second homeowners from around the world. Cairo in Egypt is in 3rd place. It is home to more billionaires than any other African city. For the purposes of the report, billionaires are defined as individuals with net assets of $1bn or more. Lagos in Nigeria is in 4th position. It is also the largest city in Africa in terms of population and gross domestic product – but not in terms of wealth. … Total wealth in Africa has risen by 14% over the past 10 years, according to the report. Africa’s performance was constrained by poor performance in the three largest African markets, namely South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria. Fin24



Photo: Adam Jones