Africa Media Review for September 7, 2017

Togo Records Huge Turnout at Anti-Govt Protest despite Internet Setback
Images from the Togolese capital, Lome, shows hundreds of thousands of citizens have turned out for the latest round of anti-government protest called by main opposition parties. An opposition leader, Jean-Pierre Fabre is quoted as describing the turnout as ‘unprecedented.’ Spokesperson for international rights group, Amnesty International put the figure at 100,000 according to AFP. A key activist Farida Nabourema even pegged estimates at a million people. The turnout comes despite two key actions by the government on Tuesday evening. Mobile internet was blocked particularly affecting social media networks – Whatsapp and Facebook. Wi-Fi access was available till Wednesday afternoon when it was also shut down. Africa News

Togo Cabinet Passes Draft Bill to Limit Presidential Terms
Togo’s cabinet has adopted a draft bill to modify the constitution and reintroduce presidential term limits, the government said in a statement on Wednesday as hundreds of protesters gathered on the streets of the capital Lome. “This bill to modify the constitution concerns specifically the limitations of mandates and voting procedures,” said the government statement, referring to article 59 of the constitution. The West African country’s President Faure Gnassingbe has ruled since his father died in 2005 after 38 years in power. Reuters

Lesotho Detains Army Major over Killing of Military Leader
Lesotho has detained a senior army officer in connection with the killing of the country’s military leader and two other soldiers, a Defence Ministry official said Wednesday. The shooting took place at an army barracks on Tuesday, but it was not clear what the motivation was. An army major, whose name was not disclosed, was taken into custody to help police with the investigation, Defence Ministry Principal Secretary Colonel Tanki Mothae said. The kingdom has been subject to several coups and periodic political violence since gaining independence from Britain in 1966, and South Africa called for calm after the shooting. Reuters

Kenyan Police Not Cooperating with Watchdog over Election-Related Deaths: Sources
Kenyan police are not cooperating with investigations by a government-funded watchdog into violent deaths that followed last month’s election, two sources with direct knowledge of the probes said. The head of the Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) told Reuters in mid-August it was fast-tracking investigations of all deaths and injuries for which the police were alleged by rights groups to be responsible following the Aug. 8 national ballot. Macharia Njeru had attended autopsies of a young girl and a baby and called the probes into those deaths “priority cases”. But the sources told Reuters that police had to date not transferred any documents or evidence to IPOA, which is mandated to investigate cases reported by individuals or police or referred to them by human rights organisations. Reuters

Kenyan Electoral Body Says Staff Refuse to Resign despite Ruling
Kenyan officials who mishandled last month’s presidential vote have refused to resign, even as a new team was appointed to conduct a rerun, an electoral commissioner said. The Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission on Tuesday appointed six people to handle the Oct. 17 ballot after the Supreme Court ruled that last month’s presidential election wasn’t conducted in accordance with the constitution. It didn’t criticize any individuals in the ruling and a written judgment detailing its decision will only be released later this month. “In a normal democracy, people would have introspected, they would have opted to step aside,” IEBC commissioner Roselyn Akombe said Wednesday by phone from the capital, Nairobi. “They have failed to do that. They have refused.” Bloomberg

Kenya: Re-Run Election to Cost Almost U.S.$100 Million
The October 17 presidential election ordered by the Supreme Court could cost at least Sh10 billion, an analysis of previous Budget estimates shows. This will be made up of the cost of hiring polling clerks and officials, transport and security, all of which do not change even though Kenyans are only going to the poll for one elective seat, as opposed to the six on August 8. The Sh10 billion estimate does not however include the cost of printing ballot papers, which the Raila Odinga-led National Super Alliance (Nasa) has demanded must be done by another firm other than Dubai-based Al Ghurair. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission had paid Sh2.5 billion to the Dubai firm for the printing of 120 million ballot papers for the elections covering Kenya’s 1,882 elective seats. Daily Nation

US Says Drone Strike Kills 3 Al-Shabab Extremists in Somalia
A U.S. military drone strike has killed three members of the al-Shabab extremist group in Somalia, the U.S. Africa Command said Wednesday. The airstrike was carried out Tuesday morning local time in the Bay region, about 75 kilometers (45 miles) west of the capital, Mogadishu, the U.S. statement said. “We assess no civilians were anywhere near the site,” a spokesman for the U.S. Africa Command, Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Falvo, told The Associated Press. He said he did not have the identities of the extremists killed. The al-Shabab members were operating “in close proximity to” Somali army forces and African Union forces in the area “and were deemed as a credible threat,” Falvo said. AP

Somalia: Govt Puts Bounties on Al Shabaab Leaders
A number of Kenyans fighting for Al Shabaab in Somalia want to return home after a fallout within the militia, according to intelligence gathered by the police. A confidential police report shows the Kenyans include Ahmed Iman Ali aka Abu Zinira and at least five other terrorists. According to the report, some of Iman’s loyal followers likely to decamp alongside him include Juma Ayub Otit Were aka KB, Erick Achayo Ogada aka Nabhan, Ramadhan Kioko aka Pinji aka Abu Nuseiba, Suleiman Irungu Mwangi aka Karongo aka Maalim Zakariya aka Idriss, and Mohamed Tajir Ali aka Wahome. The five each have a Sh2 million police bounty on their heads. They were all among the co-founders of MYC in Majengo and looked up to Iman for guidance. Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu)

Cameroon Builds Anti-Terror Trench to Keep out Boko Haram Suicide Bombers
Cameroon’s far north region, on the border with Nigeria, is facing a rise in suicide bombings blamed on Boko Haram extremists. To deal with the spate of attacks, Cameroonian authorities are digging a major defence mechanism: a trench that will stretch for some 100 kilometres along the border. The aim is simple: to keep the extremists out. Our correspondents report. France 24

Burundi Rejects UN Accusations of Crimes against Humanity
The UN is accusing Burundi’s government of severe human rights violations. Burundi says it is the target of an international conspiracy. Is this case headed for the International Criminal Court in The Hague? […] In a final report issued on Monday, the UN accuses Burundi’s government of severe human rights violations. Many victims, the report says, were tortured and raped, while demonstrators, members of the opposition, journalists and human rights activists were arbitrarily arrested by police over the past two years. The crimes that violate international law were committed by members of the National Intelligence Services, Burundi’s national police and the army, according to Fatsah Ouguergouz, president of the commission. The ruling party’s youth league is also said to have participated in the violence. Deutsche Welle

US Imposes Sanctions on 3 South Sudan Officials
The Trump Administration has imposed sanctions on two senior members of South Sudan’s government and the country’s former army chief. The measure Wednesday freezes any assets that Information Minister Michael Makuei Leuth, deputy defense chief Malek Reuben and former army chief Paul Malong have under U.S. jurisdiction. The three are also barred from entering the United States. The U.S. also imposed sanctions on three South Sudanese companies by owned or controlled by Reuben. The State Department says it is targeting the men for their roles in threatening the peace, security or stability of South Sudan, which is in the fourth year of a bloody civil conflict that has displaced four million people. VOA

As US Weighs Lifting Sudan Sanctions, South Sudan a Concern
As the United States considers lifting sanctions on Sudan, one of the most sensitive issues is on display in these tense borderlands: weapons. South Sudan’s government accuses its neighbor of supplying arms to rebels fighting its bloody civil war. On a visit last month, The Associated Press spoke with opposition fighters who recently defected to the South Sudan government side. They described how weapons flow in from Sudan — and how rebels flee there to find safe harbor. Past documentation by arms experts that Sudan has supplied weapons to South Sudan’s rebels are a concern as the Trump administration considers permanently lifting sanctions on Sudan in October. The sanctions have been in place for two decades because of grave human rights concerns. Sudan’s government has denied arming the rebels. Human rights groups disagree and say Sudan’s actions should weigh heavily against lifting sanctions. AP

Angola’s Election Commission Dismisses Opposition Complaints
Angola’s election commission has dismissed complaints by opposition parties that questioned provisional results declaring the ruling party to be the winner of the August 23 vote. The Portuguese news agency Lusa reported on Wednesday that the election commission concluded that opposition complaints of alleged irregularities were aimed at disrupting the “stability of the electoral process.” The commission last month said the ruling MPLA party won the national election but lost ground to the opposition in the oil-rich but impoverished southern African nation. The results set the stage for Defense Minister Joao Lourenco to replace President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who has ruled for 38 years and is expected to remain head of the ruling party. News 24

Corruption Fuels Ivory Trade in Central Africa, Study Says
A new study says the illegal sale of ivory in open markets in Central Africa has been disappearing or going underground. But it warns that corruption and weak governance are undermining efforts to curb regional trafficking. Wildlife trade monitoring group TRAFFIC says in an analysis released Thursday that while law enforcement operations put pressure on open ivory markets, criminal syndicates are exploiting “official collusion, confusion and corruption” to benefit from elephant poaching. The survey was conducted over the last decade, most recently in 2015. TRAFFIC investigators visited cities across Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Republic of Congo and Gabon. China, the world’s largest ivory consumer, says it plans to shut down its ivory trade by the end of this year in an effort to curb the slaughter of African elephants. AP

Egypt’s Security Forces Are Enforcing ‘Torture Assembly Line’
Egypt’s president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, has given police and national security officers a green light to use torture with impunity, according to Human Rights Watch. Arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances and torture against perceived dissidents by police and security forces is common, leaving people with no hope of justice, the rights group said. Egypt’s epidemic of torture, with techniques including an “assembly line” of beatings, electric shocks, stress positions and sometimes rape by security forces, could amount to a crime against humanity, it said. Torture is against the Egyptian constitution, as well as international human rights law. The Guardian

Tunisia’s Chahed Names New Cabinet Ministers: Sources
Tunisia’s Prime Minister Youssef Chahed on Wednesday named a new cabinet, after reaching a compromise deal with political parties following weeks of infighting over minister posts, government and party sources said. Chahed appointed Ridha Chalgoum, a former finance minister close to ruling Nidaa Tounes party, as finance minister, and Lotfi Braham, another Nidaa Tounes ally, as interior minister, the sources said. Reuters

Resource-Rich DRC Losing $1.3b Every Year in Unpaid Taxes
The Democratic Republic of Congo is losing up to $1.3 billion in revenue each year due to a failure by public bodies, tax agencies and the state mining firm Gécamines to remit levies, and the pillage of revenue in suspicious deals. The DRC tops the list of African countries whose resources are being plundered. Zimbabwe, Mauritania, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Sudan and Eritrea have also featured in the complex corruption web in the production and sale of commercial crude oil, natural gas and minerals amounting to trillions of dollars in revenue. Investigations by London-based lobby Global Witness have found more than $750 million of DRC’s revenue earned from mining went missing between 2013 and 2015, as the Kinshasa administration struggled with providing public services to the people. The East African

From Bozizé to Zuma, the African Leaders’ Children in the Hotseat over Graft Allegations
Is being the son or daughter of a president the best way to get rich in Africa? You could try asking Duduzane Zuma, Teodorin Obiang or Julienne Sassou-Nguesso. But the justice system and public opinion are poised to have their say, too. Over the past year, Duduzane Zuma, South African leader Jacob Zuma’s son and one of 21 Zuma children, has been fighting accusations of corruption and collusion with the Guptas, a wealthy and controversial Indian-born business family. The junior Zuma told the BBC last week that there was “nothing untoward” about his business ties with the Gupta family. “I don’t think they wanted anything from me. They liked me. As I liked them,” Duduzane said, calling himself “a likeable guy”. He added, “I’ve not involved myself in any corrupt practice, in any corrupt business.” France 24



Photo: Adam Jones