Africa Media Review for September 1, 2017

Kenya Presidential Election Cancelled by Supreme Court
Kenya’s Supreme Court has annulled the result of last month’s presidential election, citing irregularities, and ordered a new one within 60 days. The ruling makes Kenya the first African country to have a presidential poll invalidated by a court. The election commission had declared incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta the winner by a margin of 1.4 million votes. But the opposition argued that the commission’s IT system had been hacked to manipulate the results. BBC

Machar, South Sudan Rebels to ‘Join’ National Dialogue
Key South Sudanese rebel leaders have expressed readiness to join in the National Dialogue following pressure from the international community. They include Dr Riek Machar, Dr Lam Akol, Mr Joseph Bangazi Bakasoro and former army chief General Thomas Cirilo. The deputy co-chair for the National Dialogue, Mr Gabriel Yoal Dok, confirmed that the key opposition leaders were currently in talks with the steering committee. He added that the talks were bearing fruits for the first time. “We are in a dialogue with Dr Machar, Dr Akol and Gen Cirilo, among others, because they responded positively when contacted. “There is no way they can ignore it,” Mr Dok said after holding a closed door meeting on Wednesday in Juba with the African Union Representative for Peace in South Sudan, Mr Alfa Musa Konario. The East African

South Sudan’s Sacked Army Chief ‘Confined’ to Juba Home, Minister Says
South Sudan’s former army chief is being confined to his home for security reasons, the country’s defence minister said on Thursday. Paul Malong was sacked in May by President Salva Kiir amid resignations by senior generals alleging military abuses and tribal bias as the country’s ethnically charged civil war ground on. “He was not arrested, but he confined. There are no charges against him,” Defence Minister Kuol Manyang Juuk told Reuters in an interview. The oil-rich nation gained independence from neighbouring Sudan in 2011. The world’s youngest nation plunged into civil war in 2013 when Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, fired his deputy, Riek Machar, a member of the rival Nuer community. A peace deal between the two sides signed in 2015 collapsed last year amid fighting in the capital. Machar is now in exile in South Africa. SABC

Status Extension Urged for Sudanese, South Sudanese Nationals in US
Activists are asking the Department of Homeland Security to extend Temporary Protected Status for over 1,000 Sudanese and South Sudanese nationals living in the United States. By September 3, DHS is expected to decide whether to extend, redesignate or terminate the program for the two countries. The current period ends November 2 for 49 South Sudanese and 1,039 Sudanese TPS beneficiaries. Patrice Lawrence of UndocuBlack Network, an advocacy group for undocumented black immigrants, wants an extension. VOA

Suicide Bomb Attack in Algeria Kills Two Policeman
A suicide attack on a police station in western Algeria killed two policeman after one officer jumped on the attacker to protect his colleagues from the blast, state news agency APS and police said on Thursday. Later on Thursday, the Islamic State group’s news agency claimed responsibility for the attack. Attacks and bombings have become rarer in Algeria since the end of the country’s 1990s war against armed Islamists, but al Qaeda and small brigades of militants tied to Islamic State are still active and often target armed forces. France 24

Opposition Leader Warns Zambia Faces Violence If Talks with President Fail
Zambia faces violence if a national dialogue brokered by the Commonwealth between the government and the opposition fails to reconcile the two sides, the main opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema said on Thursday. Hichilema was freed from prison in August after the state dropped charges of plotting to overthrow the government, but a judge warned him he could be arrested again at any time. The case heightened political friction in Zambia, a major copper producer which is seen as one of Africa’s more stable democracies, after a bruising election last year in which President Edgar Lungu’s Patriotic Front defeated Hichilema’s United Party for National Development (UPND). Reuters

Congo and Angola: A Tale of Two Kleptocracies
[…] For over a year Angolan goods have flooded into Congo—so much so that on August 28th the government announced that it would try to ban the imports. Congolese businessmen complain that they cannot compete with Angolan traders, because their aim is not to make a profit, but to acquire dollars (access to which is restricted in Angola). Yet it is not just Angolan economic policy that affects Congo; so too do its politics. Of the country’s nine neighbours, none matters more. The presidency of Joseph Kabila, in power since 2001, depends in part on Angolan support. But as Angola inaugurates a new president, to replace José Eduardo Dos Santos, its egregious dictator for the past 38 years, relations between the two countries may be tested. Angola and Congo are intimately linked by geography. First, there is oil—the mainstay of Angola’s economy. Cabinda, the exclave where much of Angola’s oil is produced, is separated from the mainland by a strip of Congo. Much of Angola’s offshore oil production happens in Congolese waters. Second is the 2,600km border between the two countries. During the long civil war in Angola, enemies of the MPLA, its ruling party, found in Congo a useful hiding place. The Economist

War-Torn Congo Has Been Called The “Rape Capital of the World.” Here Is How Fighters Think about Sexual Violence.
Over the past decade, sexual violence during conflict has gotten a lot of attention from researchers, advocates and journalists. Until now, researchers have largely concentrated on either examining why fighters commit sexual violence during war or how conflict-driven sexual violence affects its victims. Here’s what we’ve missed until now: How do rebels think about sexual violence? That’s what we asked former rebels in Congo, where the complex and long-standing conflicts have become infamous for the intensity of sexual violence. In 2010, one U.N. representative called Congo the “rape capital of the world.” News media have commented on its “rape epidemic.” A few studies have looked at the Congolese armed forces (FARDC) involved in sexual violence, but little is known about rebels or foreign combatants. Therefore, we interviewed over 100 former rebels from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). The Washington Post

Airstrikes Kill 5 Top Boko Haram Commanders in Nigeria
Nigerian military claimed to have killed five top commanders of Boko Haram militant group in the country’s northeast. According to military spokesman Sani Usman, the security forces conducted airstrikes on suspected militant hideouts in Borno state Wednesday, leaving the militant commanders dead. The commanders killed in the offensive included Abu Dujana; Man Tahiru, deputy to Boko Haram terrorist group Hisba leader; Man Chari; Malam Abdullahi Abu Sa’ad and Goni Bamanga. “Video clips obtained on battle damage assessment shows clear success of the exercise,” according to the army spokesman, who said several other militants were also killed in the air raids. Anadolu Agency

Rwanda: Where Is Political Activist and Kagame’s Opponent, Diane Rwigara?
Diane Rwigara recently ran for the presidency of Rwanda and was disqualified by the electoral commission amid claims that she had forged signatures of support for her campaign – Paul Kagame went on to win the elections with 98% of the vote. Now the Rwandan police claim that they searched the Rwigara household but did not arrest her or members of her family. However, Rwigara’s brother (as well as other sources) claim to have seen her being handcuffed and driven away by police on Tuesday 29 August. Their current whereabouts are unknown. Previously, Daily Maverick covered the story of Shyaka Kanuma who was arrested under dubious claims of tax evasion shortly after he announced himself as a peaceful activist in Rwanda who hoped to bring about democratic gains within that country. Disappearances are a recurring theme of the RPF’s regime, and with Rwigara and her family’s current location unknown, it is reasonable to fear that this a continuation of this trend. Daily Maverick

United States to Give Ethiopia $91 Million in Drought Aid for Food and Medicine
The United States will provide an additional $91 million in humanitarian aid for Ethiopia to cope with a third straight year of drought, the top U.S. official in charge of assistance said Thursday. The extra funding brings U.S. aid for food and medical care in Ethiopia to $454 million this year, said Mark Green, the new administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. An extra $210 million in U.S. aid has gone to development projects. Green announced the additional aid after he met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. In a statement that he read to reporters, Green said he had also urged the Ethiopian leader to take “concrete steps to create political space for all voices to be heard and to uphold constitutional and guaranteed rights.” The Washington Post

To Be or Not to Be Chadian? Fleeing Central Africans Defy Traditional Ideas of Nationality
For Idrissa Haroum, the decision was pure and simple– he wants to live where he is accepted. The 55-year-old Muslim from the Central African Republic says that he was called a Chadian in his own country. He now owns that moniker, and has the birth certificate to prove it. “I was 100 percent Central African. From the moment of Bokassa, Kolingba, up until Bozizé and Djotodia, I have been Central African,” he says, rattling off the names of former heads of state of CAR. “But from the time I arrived here, I recognized in my head that I’m a Chadian, 100 per cent,” says Haroum, who is classified as a returnee. The Chadian government, along with the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), has worked towards recognizing those Central Africans who claim to have Chadian ancestry. In 2013, Chadian President Idriss Deby called for Central Africans who were originally Chadian to come to his country if they felt persecuted. Landlocked Chad shares its southern border with Central African Republic, and Haroum’s dilemma is particularly found in southern Chad as RFI witnessed. RFI

Mozambique Opposition Leader Vows to Sign Peace Deal by November
Afonso Dhlakama, the leader of Renamo, the Mozambican opposition, says he will sign a peace deal with the government by early November, in a bid to end almost three years of sporadic violence. Renamo and the ruling Frelimo party fought on opposing sides of a civil war from 1976 to 1992 in which a million people died before a peace accord ended the fighting. Violence has flared up again since Renamo challenged results of the southern African nation’s 2014 elections. “It will be in October or November, no later than the beginning of November,” Dhlakama told the weekly independent newspaper Canal de Moz. His remarks were quoted by Noticas, the pro-government daily paper, on Thursday. VOA

Tanzania, Burundi to Cooperate on Burundian Repatriations
Tanzania, Burundi and the U.N. refugee agency announced Thursday that they have reached an agreement to repatriate Burundian refugees who want to go home. Tanzania has been impatient to get the process started, and all parties now say they will work to facilitate the safe, dignified return of the refugees beginning in early September. Tanzania’s president has faced criticism since he publicly urged Burundian refugees to go home last month. Tanzania hosts more than 350,000 refugees from neighboring countries. More than two thirds of them are from Burundi. Tanzania’s minister for home affairs, Mwigulu Nchemba, insists no refugees will be forced out of the country. “These people have decided in their own, to us as stakeholders and governing body, we are only trying our level best to make sure that we facilitate and it’s provided,” said Nchemba. VOA

Border Dispute with Sudan Could Isolate Egypt in Nile Talks
A longstanding border dispute between Egypt and Sudan could isolate Cairo in negotiations over sharing the Nile as Ethiopia presses ahead with the construction of a large upstream dam. Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said this week that the decades-old dispute over the Halayeb Triangle, which is held by Egypt but claimed by Khartoum, is a “thorn in the side of relations” between the two countries. In remarks to Sudan’s Ashorooq TV, he said Egypt’s refusal to submit the dispute to international arbitration supports Sudan’s claim to the desert region. Egypt has expressed increasing concern in recent years over the dam project in Ethiopia, fearing it could reduce its share of the Nile. News 24

Eritrea Rebels Struggle as Government Strengthens Ties with Gulf Arab States
UN figures show 5,000 people are leaving Eritrea every month to escape political repression, violence and poverty. Armed opposition groups, which have been backed by neighbouring rival Ethiopia, have been struggling to put an end to the 25-year rule of Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki for many years. But new alliances between the Eritrean government and some Gulf Arab states could make that fight a lot harder now. Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford reports from Ethiopia’s Afar region near Eritrea. Al Jazeera

China’s Nigerian Misadventures
[…] Despite what ought to be strong mutual interests, the world’s biggest energy consumer and Africa’s biggest oil producer have a history of misadventures stretching back at least a decade. Wooed by President Hu Jintao in multiple visits during the 2000s as a potential source for the country’s voracious petroleum needs, Nigeria’s crude exports to China have since fallen behind not just Angola — which is often a bigger supplier to China than Saudi Arabia — but even relative minnows such as Ghana, South Sudan and Gabon,  Bloomberg

Ivory Coast Is Said to Fear Losing Fifth of Cocoa to Smuggling
Ivory Coast’s cocoa regulator forecasts that the nation may lose a fifth of its cocoa crop to smuggling in the next harvest if neighboring Ghana refuses to cut payments to farmers after international prices fell, according to a person familiar with the matter. The prediction by Le Conseil du Cafe-Cacao comes after the world’s biggest cocoa producer cut farmers’ pay by 36 percent to the equivalent of about 700,000 CFA francs ($1,251) per metric ton in April to cope with global prices that have fallen by more than a third in a year on forecasts of an oversupply. Ghana, the second-biggest grower, has kept farmer payments at the equivalent of 7,600 cedis ($1,708) per ton since October and has ruled out any cuts for the main harvest that starts next month. Cocoa is harvested twice a year in West Africa. The Ivorian regulator expects losses of as much as 400,000 tons of cocoa for the new season, said the person, who asked not to be identified because he’s not allowed to speak publicly about the matter. One of the nation’s biggest exporters has a similar forecast, according to a separate person familiar with the matter. Bloomberg



Photo: Adam Jones