Africa Media Review for September 12, 2016

South Sudan Leaders Amass Great Wealth as Nation Suffers, Report Says
Leaders of the two sides responsible for mass killings and rapes in the South Sudan conflict have amassed enormous wealth inside and outside the country, at least some of it illegally, according to an investigative report released on Monday by a Washington advocacy group. The families and top associates of the principal opponents in the conflict, President Salva Kiir and his rival and former vice president, Riek Machar, own multimillion-dollar properties, drive luxury cars and stay at expensive hotels, “all while much of their country’s population suffers from the consequences of a brutal civil war and, in many places, experiences near-famine conditions,” according to the report. Neither of the two men nor members of their immediate families are among the half-dozen South Sudanese officials facing the international sanctions imposed last year. But the report said the leaders had “benefited financially from the continuing war and have effectively ensured that there is no accountability for their human rights violations and financial crimes.”  The New York Times

Israel’s Role in South Sudan Under Scrutiny Amid Violence
Escalating violence in South Sudan is casting a light on Israel’s murky involvement in that conflict and raising questions about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new strategy of strengthening ties with African countries. Netanyahu has been forging alliances across Africa in an effort he says will help blunt Palestinian diplomatic initiatives against Israel at the United Nations. But critics says these new ties — illustrated by Netanyahu’s high-profile visit to several African countries in July — have come without regard for the human rights records of those allies. Such concerns have been magnified by Israel’s close ties to South Sudan, whose government has used Israeli arms and surveillance equipment to crack down on its opponents. Critics say Israel’s global arms export policies lack transparency and proper oversight, and ignore the receiving country’s intended use. AP on  The Washington Post

Uganda Transferred Israel-procured Arms to S. Sudan: Report
Israel sold rifles to Uganda in 2007, which the latter transferred to South Sudan’s national security service in 2014, the United Nations said in a report. According to the Associated Press(AP) Israel said it didn’t receive a request from the East African nation for weapon transfer. Eitay Mack, an Israeli lawyer was quoted saying that weapons export licenses require knowledge of end users and mid users, meaning the transfer would either have been done with Israel’s knowledge or would have prompted an investigation into the offending company. He said no investigation was known to have been opened. Sudan Tribune

US Ambassador ‘Outraged’ over South Sudan Harassment
The US ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, says she is “outraged” that South Sudan’s government has harassed civil rights activists who met with a UN Security Council delegation during a visit to the young nation. Power said in a statement issued Sunday that the delegation observed “chilling” living conditions for civilians trapped in the ongoing conflict between the government and rebel forces. She says the South Sudanese government should elevate, not suppress, the voices of activists “who organize peacefully and provide constructive criticism.” She says the Security Council is “engaging directly with the government of South Sudan to underscore that intimidation and threats toward civil society must cease immediately.” News 24

Congo Elections Unlikely Until Mid-2017
After four days of talks there seems to be some meeting of minds at the Democratic Republic of Congo’s political dialogue. Politicians from the ruling coalition and from an opposition grouping agree that holding elections this year is not realistic and are looking at a date from next May onward. Only a few of the DRC’s opposition parties are at a dialogue and their presence is viewed with suspicion by the others. But they say there are real issues that need to be discussed and agreed to if the DRC is to hold peaceful elections. VOA

110 Amnestied Prisoners Released in DRC
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s government on Friday announced the release of another wave of prisoners in response to demands from opposition parties as a precondition to their involvement in a political dialogue in Kinshasa. Last week, the government responded by releasing eight pro-democracy activists and another 170 prisoners held for various offenses. On Friday, the justice minister signed a ministerial order for the release of 110 prisoners found guilty, according to the order, of ‘insurrection, acts of war and political offences’. The news was welcomed Friday by Edem Kodjo, the African Union appointed facilitator of the DRC’s political dialogue that started this week. VOA

Female Jihadists Attack Kenyan Police Station
At least two policemen were injured in the attack, which also caused a fire in the building, authorities said on Sunday. The three women entered the busy police station saying they wanted to report a stolen phone. “In the process one hurled a petrol bomb at the report office as the others confronted two officers and stabbed them,” Mombasa County police chief Peterson Maelo told journalists at the scene. The women had hidden the weapons under their Buibui robes, traditionally worn by Muslim women in Mombasa. A witness of the scene said one of the women had jumped onto a counter and stabbed an officer in the thigh before being shot. Deutsche Welle

Thirteen Dead and More Than 200 Injured in 5.7 Tanzania Earthquake
At least 13 people have been killed and 203 injured in north-west Tanzania in a 5.7 magnitude earthquake, local authorities said. “The toll has climbed from 11 people dead to 13 and from 192 injured to 203,” said Deodatus Kinawilo, district commissioner for Bukoba, the town close to the epicentre of the quake that struck on Saturday. “For now, the situation is calm and under control,” said Kinawilo, who was reached by telephone. “Some people have been discharged from hospital. We don’t expect many more injuries. We’ll see tomorrow.” Residents of Bukoba had said that some houses had caved in, and Augustine Ollomi, the Kagera province police chief in charge of the Bukoba district, said rescue operations were ongoing. The Guardian

Libyan Troops Recapture key oil terminals from militia
Libyan forces loyal to a powerful general on Sunday recaptured two key oil terminals from militias in a surprise attack, according to officials familiar with the operation. They said forces led by General Khalifa Hifter, who heads the Libyan National Army, took over the Ras Lanuf and al-Sidra terminals on Libya’s Mediterranean coast and were battling militias at a third terminal, al-Zueitina. The majority of Libya’s oil exports went through the three terminals before a militia known as Petroleum Facilities Guards seized them about two years ago. The return of the oil terminals could help Libya recover from the turmoil that has gripped the country since the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed Moammar Gadhafi. The resumption of oil exports would also help address Libya’s severe cash crunch. News 24

Seychelles LDS Coalition Opposition Scores First Victory in 40 Years
The Seychelles opposition LDS coalition scored a victory in national polls, authorities announced on Sunday. It marked the first time since 1977 that parliament will not be controlled by the People’s Party of President James Michel or its previous iterations. The final tally gave the LDS, a union of the two main opposition parties, 19 seats in the National Assembly. The People’s Party garnered 14 in the tiny Indian Ocean nation’s 33-seat legislature. President Michel, who narrowly won his reelection last December by a margin of only 193 votes, promised to work together with the new parliament. Deutsche Welle

Zambia: Opposition Leader Arrested
Zambian police have arrested opposition leader Nevers Mumba on Saturday after he expressed doubt on the validity of the recent presidential election results. The head of the opposition Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) was taken into custody a day after he directed supporters of the opposition Union Party for National Development (UPND) to fight for their votes allegedly stolen by the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) in the Aug. 11 general and presidential elections. Lawyers representing Mumba told journalists Saturday afternoon that police went to his house with a search warrant reportedly looking for stolen firearms and other offensive weapon. “Unfortunately, the search ‘drew a blank’ but the police went ahead and detained Dr. Mumba,” Jack Mwiimbu told journalists. Anadolu Agency

After Boko Haram, Nigerians Return Home to Perilous Northeast – U.N
Hundreds of Nigerians who fled Boko Haram in northeast Borno State have returned to devastated towns and villages in recent days after the army seized back the militant group’s last remaining strongholds, said the United Nations. Families will return to find their homes and farmland destroyed, basic services wiped out and will live under the persistent threat of attacks by the jihadist group, Leo Dobbs, spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “Many of the areas they are going back to have been completely devastated,” said Dobbs. Homes and healthcare, agriculture, and security services are in ruin after around two years of Boko Haram rule, he added. Reuters

Guinea Bissau Agrees to Deal Aimed at Ending Crisis
Guinea Bissau political rivals have agreed to a road map that includes the formation of a new government, according to a statement from regional mediators seeking to end a year-long political crisis in the West African country. President Jose Mario Vaz dismissed prime minister Domingos Simoes Pereira in August 2015 and the country’s political institutions have been paralysed by infighting since then. Observers hoped the appointment of Baciro Dja as prime minister in May would ease the deadlock but he has failed to win the support of a key faction within the ruling PAIGC party. Reuters

East African Community Only Group Left to Act to Restore Burundi Dialogue
[…] The UN, with whom the Burundian government played nice after rejecting the AU’s efforts, finally managed in July to approve resolution 2303, authorising the deployment of 228 UN police to Burundi. Their mandate would be to monitor the security situation and assist the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Burundian government has rejected the UN force. The missing element in getting the Burundian government to accept any of these proposed deployments is leverage. The rejection by African heads of state represented on the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the PSC’s proposed deployment of a 5 000-strong force is a strong signal to the Nkurunziza government that AU member states will not take punitive action against it anytime soon. Without the necessary muscle, the AU’s options are limited, and Nkurunziza knows this. Likewise, the Burundian government knows that the UN Security Council is divided over Burundi, and that resolution 2303 was a compromise solution. Angola, China and Egypt do not support stronger action against Burundi, and abstained from the vote on resolution 2303. This leaves the East African Community (EAC), which held the 17th Extraordinary Summit of EAC heads of state in Arusha, Tanzania on Thursday. One agenda item was former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa’s report on the Inter-Burundian dialogue. Mail and Guardian

Kenyan President Launches New Political Party
Kenya’s president on Saturday launched a new political party that he intends to use for a second and last term in office in the 2017 election. The launch of the Jubilee Party followed days of political haggling in Nairobi as 12 parties dissolved and united under the new organization. Tens of thousands of people dressed in party colors thronged to a stadium in Kasarani, a residential area of Nairobi, to witness the launch of the Jubilee Party. The ruling party and the current government took the opportunity to show how people had benefited under their rule. President Uhuru Kenyatta told the crowd that the new party affirmed togetherness and peace. VOA

Ethiopia Frees Muslims Jailed after Protests over Religion
Ethiopia’s chief prosecutor says the country has pardoned hundreds of convicts, among them Muslims jailed under anti-terror laws for opposing what they called government interference in their religion. Prosecutor-General Getachew Ambaye said Saturday that the president signed the pardon for members of the Muslim groups after they expressed regret. Getachew says that around 1 000 people have been pardoned ahead of the Ethiopian new year on Sunday and 135 of them were serving a time for terrorism charges and for religious extremism. News 24

Tunisia Takes Over from Bahrain at Presidency of Arab League
Tunisia has taken over from Bahrain at the presidency of the Arab League Council in its 146th session until March 2017 in the opening session of the Ministerial regular meeting held at the league’s headquarters in Cairo, attended by the Secretary-General and Arab Foreign Ministers. Chairing the meeting, Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui stressed “Tunisia’s commitment as Chairperson of the session in the exceptional circumstances experienced by the Arab world to serve the causes of the Arab nation, strengthen Arabic solidarity, one of the tenets of Tunisia’s foreign policy, work for the reform of the league and to boost efficiency of joint Arab action. ” TAP

Will Morocco’s Imam Training Program Work?
Morocco imam training program is seeking to counter extremism by taking a holistic approach to moderate teaching, undermining the power of ISIS. The recent spate of horrific attacks in Baghdad, Dhaka, Jeddah, Qatif, Medina, Sholakia, and Nice, all within days of each other and all claimed by ISIS, has raised a question in the minds of observers everywhere: how do we stop them? The rapid pace with which ISIS took territory in 2014, as well as the spread of its ideology, has left the world perplexed. Actors around the globe have responded to this threat through military force with coalitions: with the U.S, France, Russia, and the UAE conducting airstrikes and ground combat, as well as through intelligence sharing cooperation. The White House also launched its Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Summit to devise a counter-strategy with input from local, federal, and international leaders. Glonbal Risk Insight

Africa Discussing Ways to Stop the Continent’s Mass Rural Exodus
Representatives of 30 African countries have been working this week to map out ways to stop the continent’s mass rural exodus at the Forum on Rural Development in Yaounde. Emmanuel Afessi works on his desk top at Odja center in Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde, where he is training 30 youths on information technologies at the center he created when he returned from the United States a year ago. “Africa needs to produce its own knowledge, its own equipment and that is why we want to train people within the continent,” he said. “ICTs help close the gap between the developed and the developing world much faster than any technology including the motor vehicles. It is a large contributor to most African countries GDPs today. Think about just the whole aspects of internet and mobile phone. That is a huge multi-billion dollar market.”  VOA

Deeper Gets Deadlier in South Africa’s Aging Gold Mines
Finding minerals in South Africa after more than a century of digging often means going deeper than ever before. Now, it’s also becoming deadlier. In a country that remains one of the biggest producers of gold, platinum and diamonds, the toll of 60 mining deaths this year through August was 20 percent higher than the same period in 2015, according to the Chamber of Mines, an industry group. The annual tally is heading for its first increase in nine years and the biggest in at least two decades, escalating concerns among both workers and mining executives. Many of those killed labored in the searing heat of gold mines that can be more than 2 miles under ground and traditionally are among the most deadly in South Africa. Various causes have been cited, from falling rock to miners failing to obey safety protocols. But in all cases, that means losses for producers when they are forced to shut mines until government investigations are completed. Bloomberg

As the Land Dries Up, Diamond Mining Companies Are Turning Their Sights to the Sea
Twelve miles off Namibia’s arid southern coastline, 150 metres below rolling ocean waves, diamond miners are hard at work securing a future for the practice of romancing by stone. With the precious gems expected to run out on land in as little as 15 years, diamond company De Beers is building up a naval fleets to protect its interests. Namdeb, De Beers’ 50:50 operation with the Namibian government, estimates that 95 per cent of its diamonds will in future come from the sea bed off Africa’s southwest coast and the marine gems are already the fetching the highest prices from all of its seven mines. Five specially-adapted ships fitted with giant tractors and drills between them mine more than one million carats a year from rich alluvial deposits scattered out to sea by the mighty Orange River since dinosaurs roamed the earth. The Telegraph

In Tiny Lesotho, Evidence of US Trade Deal’s Success, and Its Limits
Most months, Mamoleboheng Mopooane’s paycheck passes through her hands like water. There are her children’s school fees and groceries, rent, winter jackets, and the open palms of unemployed relatives back home asking again and again if she can spare just a little something, anything, to help them get by. All of that is a lot to ask of the $100 she earns every month stitching seams into American bluejeans at a garment factory here, and most of the time, the days trail out long after the money is gone, a quietly ticking countdown to the next paycheck and the next set of demands. “There’s no life in these factories,” she says. CS Monitor



Photo: Adam Jones