Africa Media Review for September 6, 2016

Gabon’s Ping Calls for Strike to Topple Tyrant’ President
Gabon’s failed presidential candidate Jean Ping called for a general strike after days of violence following incumbent Ali Bongo’s disputed re-election, saying an economic blockage would “topple the tyrant.” But the centre of the capital Libreville was its usual bustling self, despite Ping’s appeal for a massive work stoppage. After being shuttered for days over the post-election violence, banks and shops were re-opened in the seaside city and taxis were returning to the streets. Many shops however offered only limited provisions as the unrest had stalled deliveries. Post-election chaos has claimed at least seven lives in the oil-rich central African nation, ruled by the Bongo family since 1967. News 24

Internet Restored, Social Media Still Blocked in Gabon 
The internet has been restored in Gabon after being cut off for five days, but social media still remains blocked, following the announcement last week of President Ali Bongo as the winner of the presidential elections, BBC reports. The internet and social media platforms were blocked after the re-election of Bongo in a close fought presidential election that saw Bongo defeat his main opposition candidate, Jean Ping by a mere 5 000 votes. There has been no official explanation by the government why the internet was cut off, with many TV stations choosing to broadcast anything but news on the protests happening across the country. News 24

French PM Suggests Recount of Gabon Election Results
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Tuesday a recount should be held of the votes in Gabon’s disputed presidential election. France, the former colonial power, has already joined the European Union and the United States in calling for the results from Ali Bongo’s wafer-thin 6,000-vote victory to be published. “There needs to be a clear electoral process,” Valls told French radio station RTL. “There are arguments and some doubts. European observers in the country have already made criticisms on the basis of objectives. It would be wise to do a recount.” AFP on Yahoo News

Gabon Election: Justice Minister Quits over Disputed Result
Gabonese Justice Minister Seraphim Moundounga has resigned in protest over the disputed presidential election. He is reported to have warned the incumbent, Ali Bongo, that he could cancel the results of the election if they did not “tally with reality”. Mr Bongo was declared the winner by a narrow margin last Wednesday, but the opposition say the poll was fraudulent. His rival Jean Ping has called for a general strike and says dozens of his supporters have been killed. Mr Moundounga is the first senior government minister to resign over the election result. BBC

Several French Citizens ‘Unaccounted fFor’ Amid Gabon’s Post-electoral Violence
France expressed concern on Monday about the safety of several of its nationals following violence in its former colony Gabon triggered by a disputed presidential election. “Arrests have taken place in the past few days. France is without news about several of its compatriots,” Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said in a statement. Ayrault welcomed the African Union’s offer to help the feuding sides resolve the dispute and called on the Gabonese authorities to work with a heads of state mission that hopes to visit the country soon. France 24

South Sudan Agrees to More UN Troops in Bid to Avoid Arms Embargo
The government of South Sudan agreed on Sunday to accept 4,000 extra peacekeepers in a bid to avoid an arms embargo threatened by the United Nations Security Council, but said the details of the deployment were still being discussed. The announcement came after a meeting in the South Sudanese capital, Juba, between President Salva Kiir and the UN Security Council, led by US Ambassador Samantha Power. The 15-member council last month authorised the deployment of a 4,000-strong regional protection force as part of the UN peacekeeping mission already on the ground, known as UNMISS. It threatened to consider an arms embargo if Kiir’s government did not cooperate. The East African

South Sudan Peace Possible Without Rebel Chief: Diplomat
The absence of South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek Machar should not delay the implementation of a peace deal, an envoy to the UN Security Council said on Monday. Former vice president and rebel leader Machar is undergoing medical treatment in Khartoum after being chased from South Sudan’s capital in July by forces loyal to President Salva Kiir. Machar has since been replaced by former ally Taban Deng Gai. “Taban Deng is serving as vice president and he will stay in that position until the return, if there is a return, of Riek Machar,” Alexis Lamek, France’s deputy UN ambassador told AFP after meeting the African Union’s Peace and Security Council in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. “For us, what is certain is that this issue should not delay implementation of the peace agreement. It is necessary to move forward,” he said. SABC

Machar Reaches Out to Rebels to Salvage Fortunes
South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar is said to be consulting various armed groups to form an alliance after he was kicked out of the transition government. The rebel groups are the SPLM-Democratic Change of former Agriculture minister Dr Lam Akol and the new People’s Resistance Army (PRA). Former detainees — who were the third signatory to the August 15 peace agreement — have expressed interest in joining the so-called “Grand Alliance” should the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad) fail to deploy a regional protection force to rescue the peace agreement. The consultations started in Nairobi between August 18 and 20 where Dr Akol — who recently resigned as Agriculture minister citing lack of progress — met a group of seven political parties opposed to President Salva Kiir’s government. Dr Machar was represented by former education minister Peter Adwok Nyaba. The East African

Mali Defence Minister Fired after jJihadists Temporarily Seize Town
Mali’s defence minister Tieman Hubert Coulibaly was fired Saturday, officials told AFP, a day after jihadists briefly took control of a town in the country’s centre. A decree released by the government stated his post had been revoked after militants stepped up attacks in the country’s centre in recent months, targeting government and military installations. A senior official in the Malian defence ministry told AFP it came following “the latest waves of insecurity in central Mali,” referring to jihadists’ seizure of the town of Boni on Friday and an attack on a central Mali military base in Nampala that killed several soldiers in July. France 24

Nigerian Military: Some Officers Selling Arms to Boko Haram
Nigeria’s military says some officers are selling arms and ammunition to Boko Haram, indicating the corruption bedeviling the country’s fight against the Islamic extremists continues despite government efforts to halt graft. The admission comes three weeks after the Nigerian army said a military tribunal is trying 16 officers and troops accused of offenses related to the fight against Boko Haram, including the theft and sale of ammunition. Maj. Gen. Lucky Irabor, the theater commander in northeastern Nigeria, told a news conference on Thursday that military authorities have confirmed that some soldiers were selling arms and ammunition to Boko Haram. He called it a betrayal of the Nigerian people. He gave no more details. VOA

Ethiopia: Fire at Addis Ababa Prison ‘Leaves 23 Dead’
At least 23 people died when a fire broke out at a prison housing high-profile politicians in the Ethiopian capital, state-controlled media have said citing a government statement. The blaze erupted on Saturday at Addis Ababa’s high security Qilinto prison, where many opposition figures and journalists are held in a country gripped by a wave of protests. Fana Broadcasting Corporate cited a government statement on Monday as saying 21 inmates died during a stampede and from suffocation. Two others were killed while trying to escape, Fana said. An earlier government statement had said only one person died in the fire. The cause of the fire has not been given. Local media and opposition activists on Saturday reported that gunfire was heard from inside the prison as it burned. Amateur videos posted online showed a thick plume of dark smoke rising from the prison located on the outskirts of the capital. Al Jazeera

Lungu to Be Sworn in Sept. 13 as Zambian Poll Dispute Dismissed
Zambian President Edgar Lungu will be inaugurated Sept. 13 after the Constitutional Court dismissed an opposition petition to nullify elections held last month, without hold a hearing, Cabinet Secretary Roland Msiska said. Three of five judges ruled that a 14-day deadline for hearing the challenge filed Aug. 19 by opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema lapsed by midnight on Sept. 2, contradicting the court’s decision on that day to adjourn proceedings until Monday, when the trial would begin. “Where the time for hearing a petition is limited, the court is bound,” Judge Anne Mwewa-Sitali said in Lusaka, the capital, reading the ruling. “Our position therefore is, the petition stands dismissed for want of prosecution as at midnight” on Sept. 2. Bloomberg

Security Beefed Up as Mogadishu to Host IGAD Summit
Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, which only a few years back was categorized by many as the most dangerous capital on Earth, is preparing to host the 53rd summit of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) this weekend for the first time, following decades of civil war and instability in the war-torn horn of Africa state, officials said. Leaders from Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda are expected to attend the summit, focusing on political and security progress made in Somalia, the country’s upcoming 2016 elections, and the political crisis in South Sudan, diplomats said. In an interview with VOA, Somalia’s Foreign Minister Abdisalam Omer Hadliye said this will be a historic moment for Somalia. VOA

Analysts: Negotiating with Nigeria’s Oil Militants Could Encourage Them
If Nigeria’s government plans to sit down with the militant groups that have wreaked havoc on its oil industry, they will need a lot of chairs. More than a dozen groups have appeared since attacks on oil pipelines started earlier this year, each claiming their own constituencies and making their own demands. While some in the Niger Delta say dialogue is the best way to save lives and quell the ongoing insurgency, others say the government’s July decision to talk with the militant groups is merely encouraging them. VOA

Sudan’s Bashir Invited to Attend UN Climate Meeting in Morocco
Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir has been invited by the Moroccan King Mohamed VI to participate in the 2016 United Nations Climate Summit which will be held in Rabat in November. On Monday, Morocco’s ambassador to Khartoum Mohamed Maa al-Ainain has handed al-Bashir a written letter from the Moroccan monarch inviting him to attend the conference and discussing bilateral relations between the two countries and ways to promote them. Sudan Tribune

British Warship Sent to Libya to Target People-Smugglers
A British warship will arrive off the Libyan coast in the next few days in a dramatic attempt to intercept and arrest people smugglers as the flow of migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean for Italy reaches record levels. Libyan navy admits confrontation with charity’s rescue boat Read more The unprecedented and risky intervention comes as Europe steps up its efforts to deal with the growing crisis, which has seen Libya become the primary route for migrants, following the closure of Greece’s borders to refugees last spring. The smugglers last week sent record numbers of migrants to sea, with more than 13,000 people being picked up by charity rescue boats and the Italian coastguard. At least 100,000 men, women and children have crossed the sea to Italy from north Africa since the start of the year, leading to more than 3,100 deaths from drowning. But fewer than 100 traffickers have been arrested in international waters. The Guardian

Angolan President Fires Finance Minister Manuel
Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos fired Finance Minister Armando Manuel on Monday two months after the government of Africa’s biggest oil producer broke off talks with the IMF over emergency funding. In a cabinet reshuffle, dos Santos also replaced his agriculture minister and dropped the powerful Chief of Staff in the presidency, Edeltrudes da Costa, who was implicated in a recent land eviction. A statement said Manuel, who was appointed in 2013 and whose term had been due to run to 2017, would be replaced by capital markets commission head Augusto Archer de Sousa Hose, more commonly known as Archer Mangueira. VOA

New Massacre of Cult Members in Angola
Only a few people are said to have survived the attack by Angolan security forces against members of the Luz do Mundo” (“Light of the World”) sect in a village inhabited by them in Kassongue province in central Angola. The incident occurred in mid-August. Angelo Kapuacha, chairman of the Angolan NGO “Regional Forum for University Development” (FORDU), told DW that he was informed of the occurrence by neighbors of the village and relatives of those killed during the fighting. “People told me about the shooting and bomb explosions.” According to Kapuacha the village community was attacked twice by the police. “The first attack was on August 9. At the time, five believers died. Then soldiers and police besieged the village. On Saturday, August 13, a further massive attack took place.”  Deutsche Welle

Mugabe Returns to Zimbabwe, Ending Speculation He Died on Flight
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, 92, returned to his country on Saturday, ending speculation that he’d died or suffered a stroke on board an Air Zimbabwe flight. “I went to sort out things with my child in Dubai,” he told reporters at Harare International Airport, adding, “yes, I was dead, it’s true I was dead. I resurrected as I always do once in get back to my country. I am real again.” Mugabe had last been seen after a Southern African Development Community meeting in Swaziland. His airplane appeared to be heading across the Indian Ocean towards Singapore, where he seeks regular medical attention, before turning north and landing in Dubai, according to the Flight Tracker website. Bloomberg

UN Paying Blacklisted Diamond Company in Central African Republic
The Bureau d’Achat de Diamant en Centrafrique (BADICA) was placed on the UN Security Council sanctions list in August 2015 for its role in the diamond trade in CAR. The UN accuses the company of funding one of two major militias in CAR, known as the Séléka, by purchasing diamonds from Séléka-controlled mines, which were then smuggled out of the country to BADICA’s sister company, KARDIAM, in Antwerp, Belgium. And yet the UN’s stabilisation mission in CAR, whose mandate includes the disarmament and demobilisation of fighters, has a base on land owned by BADICA. In an official response to IRIN, the UN department of peacekeeping confirmed that it holds a leasing contract with BADICA for premises in the capital Bangui. In a written response, a spokesperson said all rent paid to BADICA goes into a frozen account, which is monitored by CAR authorities. A UN payment of rent arrears to the BADICA Ecobank account was authorised in June, suggesting payments were held back for several months. IRIN

A.N.C.’s Combative Response to Election Losses Startles South Africa
When South African voters last month handed the African National Congress its worst-ever losses, seemingly chastened party leaders said they would engage in “introspection.” They promised to reach out to South Africans disillusioned by the A.N.C.’s apparent transformation from a celebrated liberation movement with cherished ideals to a corrupt party interested in self-preservation and self-enrichment. But in the weeks since the Aug. 3 municipal elections, the A.N.C, which remains in power at the national level, has brushed aside calls from inside and outside the party to replace the scandal-tainted president, Jacob Zuma, before the end of his term in 2019. Instead of introspection, Mr. Zuma and his allies have moved aggressively to tighten their grip on the state’s coffers, surprising opponents and allies alike with their undisguised moves. The New York Times

South Africa’s Murder Rate Climbs 4.9 Per Cent to 51 People Killed eEvery Day
South Africa’s murder rate increased by 4.9 per cent in the last year, to more than 50 people killed every day. In total, there were 18,673 homocides in the 12 months to March 2016, official statistics show. This is up from 17,805 in the previous year. The police minister said the country was struggling with “a prevalent culture of violence”, AFP report. Police minister Nathi Nhleko said the sharp increase was largely down to domestic violence and alcohol abuse. “What it says about us South Africans is that we are violent, we have a prevalent culture of violence,” he told journalists. “It’s not about what the government can do, it’s about what we can [all] do. It’s a huge societal issue that we have to deal with.” The Independent

Burundi Says Will Not Sign EPAs; Dar Mulls Decision as Uganda Backs Kenya, Rwanda
Tanzania has said that its decision on whether to sign a trade deal with the European Union will be known after Monday’s EAC Council of Ministers meeting in Arusha, as Burundi declared it will not sign since it still faces sanctions from the EU. “The government of Burundi will not sign the EPAs because the EU stopped the partnership with Burundi,” said Minister of EAC Affairs Leontine Nzeyimana. Kenya and Rwanda caught their East Africa Community partners by surprise on Thursday when they signed the Economic Partnership Agreements in Brussels, the seat of the EU, just before the regional ministerial conference was to take a common position on the matter. The East African



Photo: Adam Jones