Media Review for July 5, 2016

‘This is the End Game’: Anger Spreads in Harare
While social media updates flowed fast and furious on developing unrest in the Zimbabwe capital Harare on Monday, the ruling party’s own paper The Patriot peacefully tweeted a link to its story on – wait for it – tips for growing winter peas. President Robert Mugabe’s party has been accused of turning a blind eye to the frustrations of ordinary Zimbabweans, fleeced by traffic police on a daily basis and now blocked by new import regulations from the informal trading that has been a lifeline to so many in the cash-strapped southern African nation. Riot police were reported to have used teargas against some angry Harare bus drivers who gathered on roads near a smattering of townships on Monday morning. Some buses had earlier stopped operating, leaving hundreds of commuters stranded. News 24

AU Elects Dlamini-Zuma’s Successor
African leaders are set to elect the next chairperson of the African Union Commission during their meeting in Kigali, Rwanda from July 10 to 18. Incumbent, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is due to end her four-year term next week, having declined to run for a second term. During the Rwanda meeting, the leaders are also expected to replace Erastus Mwencha, Dlamini-Zuma’s deputy. AU Commission chief of staff, Jennifer Chiriga said the leaders’ assembly will start with a closed session aimed at discussing strategic issues. She said the summit, among other things, will be electing the chairperson and the deputy. The three candidates currently vying for the position are Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi of Botswana, Specioza Naigaga Wandira Kazibwe of Uganda and Agapito Mba Mokuy of Equatorial Guinea. Four candidates – Yacin Elmi Bouh of Djibouti, Ibrahim Ali Hussein of Somalia, Thomas Kwesi Quartey of Ghana and Emmanuel Djomatchoua of Cameroon – are running for deputy position. The Africa Report

Uganda Reconsiders Pull-out From Somali Mission
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni says his country will reconsider plans to pull its troops from Somalia if the AU stabilization mission there moves in the right direction. Speaking to reporters at the end of a regional security summit in Kampala Monday, Museveni said the military mission in Somalia has not been working successfully. “Our main reason for going to Somalia was to help the Somali people to create their own army, but after 9 years we have not created the army,” he said. He added “We cannot support that type of thing, the type of poor planning is something that we don’t support.” VOA

Nigeria’s Oil Minister Replaced as State Oil Company Boss
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has replaced Oil Minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu as group managing director of state oil company NNPC as part of a wider board overhaul. Oil accounts for about 70 percent of Nigeria’ revenue, but the OPEC member has been hit hard by a prolonged drop in crude prices that has caused the deepest crisis in Africa’s biggest economy for more than a decade. Dr Maikanti Kacalla Baru, previously group executive director for exploration and production, will take the reins from Kachikwu, who will remain on the board as chairman, the president’s spokesman said on Monday. Buhari, elected last year, has accused the previous administration of failing to save when crude oil cost more than $100 a barrel. In 2013 the central bank governor said that tens of billions of dollars in oil revenue had failed to make it into state coffers, which the company denied. Reuters

Triple Suicide Bombing Averted in Nigeria
Nigeria’s army said it thwarted a suicide bombing on Monday when soldiers killed two female suspects before they were able to attack displaced people, while a third died when her explosives detonated prematurely. Army spokesperson Colonel Sani Usman said the trio tried to attack internally displaced people (IDPs) collecting water at a well on the outskirts of Monguno, in Borno state, at about 06:15 (05:15 GMT). Two of the three women, who he described as “Boko Haram terrorists suicide bombers” were shot and killed, causing their explosives to detonate, injuring two civilians. The third suspect’s explosives went off about an hour later at a nearby location, Usman said. News 24

Buhari’s Pair Fight and Dialogue in Battle Against Boko Haram
It is just over a year since General Muhammadu Buhari swept to power amid promises to the Nigerian people that he would succeed where his predecessor Goodluck Jonathan had failed – by defeating the Islamist militant group Boko Haram. Buhari’s approach has been twofold: he has pursued a determined military onslaught against Boko Haram and taken some significant steps to boost security in the most affected northeastern states. And he has started rooting out corruption in the military. On Jonathan’s watch, three Nigerian states – Adamawa, Borno and Yobe – were placed under a state of emergency because of the deadly insurgency. Several communities in these states had fallen to the terrorist group. Millions of people have been internally displaced, sheltering in refugee camps within Nigeria. Others have fled to neighbouring states. SABC

Nigerian Oil Militants Claim 5 Attacks in Blow to Cease-Fire
Niger Delta Avengers, a militant group operating in Nigeria’s southern oil-producing region, said it attacked five crude-pumping facilities overnight Sunday, dealing a blow to the government’s effort to enforce a cease-fire. The targets included Chevron Corp.’s oil wells 7 and 8 and three trunk lines belonging to Nigerian Petroleum Development Corp., the exploration unit of the state oil company, according to tweets from an account claiming to represent the militants. The Twitter account hasn’t been verified. Bloomberg

Nigeria: Soldiers In Frontline Complain Of Neglect
Some officers and soldiers of the 121 Task Force Battalion based in Pulka, Borno State, have voiced their grievance against officials at the Nigeria Army Headquarters in Abuja, accusing the officials of indifference to their needs and effective abandonment of soldiers in the frontlines of the war against Islamist insurgents. Sahara Reporters

Italian Police Smash Suspected People-smuggling Ring, Arrest Dozens
Italian police on Monday arrested 25 Eritreans, 12 Ethiopians and an Italian who they said belonged to an organisation that had smuggled thousands of migrants into Europe from Africa. The arrests were made in ten cities across Italy, Sicilian police said, and the suspects were accused of people smuggling, drug trafficking and various financial crimes in a swoop made possible by the testimony of an Eritrean man arrested in 2014. The man had “for the first time in Italy, given a complete reconstruction of the criminal activity of one of the most ruthless international migrant-trafficking bands, operating in North Africa and in Italy,” a police statement said. His testimony allowed the police to raid a small perfume shop in central Rome on June 13, where they seized 526,000 euros ($585,000) and $25,000 in cash, as well as an address book containing information on the members of the ring, it said. Reuters

Amnesty Documents ‘Horrifying’ Abuse of Migrants in Libya
An international rights group on Friday published “horrifying” accounts by migrants of exploitation and sexual abuse in Libya, including Christians who were abducted by Islamic State group militants and forced into sexual slavery. In a report titled “Libya is full of cruelty,” Amnesty International collected the testimonies of 90 migrants, including 15 women, interviewed in reception centers in Italy and Sicily after escaping Libya in recent months. The group said that sexual abuse is so widespread that some women take contraceptives before their sea crossing. AP

As Elections Loom, There’s a Crisis at South Africa’s Public Broadcaster
While the ANC has dominated South African politics since the fall of apartheid in 1994, these elections could prove to be a turning point. The party is riven by factional infighting, it presides over a flatlining economy, and its head, President Jacob Zuma, has been accused of corruption. To try to turn its dismal numbers around, it’s no wonder the ANC has resorted to manipulating one of the country’s most influential broadcasters. “[The SABC] is a crucial media machine and source of information for so many people that it does have the power to profoundly influence elections,” said Micah Reddy, an organizer at the Right2Know Campaign, a local organization that works to advance freedom of expression and access to information. With three TV channels and 18 radio stations, the broadcaster enjoys the lion’s share of South African media audiences. Foreign Policy

Binyamin Netanyahu Visits Scene of Brother’s 1976 Entebbe Airport Death
Binyamin Netanyahu has made an emotionally charged visit to Uganda’s Entebbe airport, where his brother Yonatan was killed 40 years ago leading a daring commando raid to free Israeli hostages. After an Israeli band played on the shore of Lake Victoria, the prime minister stood in silence with the Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni, as a relative of one of the hostages lit a memorial flame. Three hostages, 45 Ugandan soldiers and all the hijackers were were killed during the rescue. Among the dead were Yonatan, or Yoni as he was known, who had been newly installed as the head of Israel’s elite Sayeret Matkal commando unit and planned and took part in the raid. The Guardian

Kenyan Police Officers Detained after Killings of Lawyer and Client
Human rights campaigners in Kenya are calling for the UK to reconsider its extensive assistance programmes to security authorities in the country after three police officers were detained on suspicion of abducting and killing a lawyer, his client and their taxi driver. The case is the latest apparent extrajudicial killing blamed on police officers in Kenya, but has prompted exceptional outrage. Willie Kimani, a high court lawyer in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, was representing Josephat Mwendwa, a motorcycle taxi driver who had filed a complaint that he had been shot and injured by police in April. Following the complaint, Mwendwa was subject to a campaign of police harassment, rights activists said. The two men went missing with a taxi driver who picked them up after a 23 June court hearing in Machakos County, on the outskirts of Nairobi. The Guardian

Political Flash Points Ahead for DRC
President Joseph Kabila is due to step down as head of state of the Democratic Republic of Congo in December but it is looking increasingly likely that this year’s election will be delayed. Statements this week by the president and the lead opposition figure, now in exile, underscore the uncertainty of the central African nation’s political future, and the potential flash points ahead. President Joseph Kabila’s Independence Day speech was pre-recorded, as usual — Kabila is a famously reluctant public speaker — but his words were anything but timid. The defiant head of state summoned the Congolese people to resist what he called “untimely and unlawful foreign interference.” He repeatedly praised his security services. His comments are seen as a direct response to targeted sanctions imposed by the U.S. government on one of Kabila’s most senior police chiefs on June 23. VOA

UN Health Agency Confirms 3 Zika Cases in Guinea Bissau
The UN health agency says three cases of the Zika virus have turned up in Guinea Bissau, but it’s unclear whether the strain is the same strain as one behind outbreaks linked to head and brain abnormalities in Brazil and elsewhere. World Health Organisation spokesperson Christian Lindmeier says samples sent to a reference laboratory in Senegal showed Zika but could not determine any link to the virus’ recent outbreak in the Americas and the western Pacific. The agency has been in contact with Guinea Bissau’s government, and has previously warned that any country where the Zika-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito is prevalent could be at risk for Zika spread. News 24

Did the World Fail Ebola Orphans in Sierra Leone?
When Save the Children found David Nyorkor in November 2014, he had been locked in his bedroom for six weeks. It was at the height of the Ebola epidemic and Yenga, a small village along Sierra Leone’s eastern border with Guinea near the epicentre of the outbreak, was devastated. David had contracted an unknown illness long before Ebola swept through the village and killed nine members of his family. But accurate information about the disease was scarce and superstition was rampant, so community leaders locked him in a bedroom in his empty family home, where he remained until Save the Children arrived. “I tried to get out but I was never able, so I stayed in the room, in bed always,” remembers David, who is now 15 years old. Al Jazeera

Sudan’s ex-VP was Behind Assassination Attempt on Egypt President: Turabi
The late Secretary General of the National Islamic Front (NIF) in Sudan Hassan al-Turabi has revealed in a recorded interview from 2010 the involvement of his deputy and former Vice President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha in the assassination attempt against former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in Ethiopia in 1995. In episode 12 of a series of testimonies broadcasted by the Qatari-based Al-Jazeera TV on Sunday, the late Islamist leader said that Taha told him on the same day of the failed attempt about his personal involvement in the assassination plot alongside the General Security Services which was then headed by Nafie Ali Nafie. Al-Turabi pointed that neither him nor the Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir were aware of the assassination plot, saying the operation was arranged by Taha and Nafie. Sudan Tribune

Liberté, Egalité, Impunité: French Peacekeepers Unlikely to Face Prosecution for Alleged child Sex Abuse
As French investigators prepare to return to Central African Republic to look further into two-year-old accusations that French soldiers deployed in the country sexually abused children, there is no sign of any criminal charges being laid any time soon, let alone of convictions being secured. This is despite the fact that accounts provided to UN staff by child victims and witnesses in May and June 2014, and given to French authorities in July 2014, included the names of the children and some nicknames and physical characteristics of 11 alleged perpetrators serving in France’s Sangaris military mission. The force deployed with the blessing of the UN Security Council and at the request of CAR’s president in December 2013, a time when clashes between rival armed groups gave rise to fears of genocide and forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes. The reported abuse occurred in a camp for displaced civilians at Bangui airport, under the protection of French and UN peacekeepers. IRIN

Egypt President Defends Army Overthrow of Islamists
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Thursday described as a “revolution” the protests that led to the army ousting his Islamist predecessor, in remarks on the third anniversary of the demonstrations. Millions took to the streets of Cairo and other cities on June 30, 2013 to call for the removal of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, whose one-year rule had been deeply divisive. Sisi, then the army chief, gave Morsi a 48-hour ultimatum to respond to “the people’s demands” before ordering the military to overthrow and detain him. Egypt is celebrating “this revolution, with which the Egyptian people have regained their identity and corrected its path… proved to the whole world that their will cannot be broken nor curbed,” Sisi said in a speech broadcast on national television.” His decision to order the removal of Morsi unleashed protests by the Islamist’s supporters, and in turn a crackdown in which hundreds of demonstrators were killed. Daily Nation

Mission (Not) Accomplished: Uganda Gives Up the Hunt Too Soon for Kony and the LRA
Uganda’s announcement earlier this month that it plans to withdraw troops hunting the feared Lord’s Resistance Army has triggered alarm that it could encourage a resurgence in attacks and abductions by the notorious rebel group. Uganda has 2,500 troops, backed by US special forces, hunting the LRA and its elusive leader Joseph Kony as part of an African Union Regional Task Force (AU-RTF) in Central African Republic. They have been on the trail of the remaining members of the group, hiding out in the region’s remotest areas, for five years. The phased pullout of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), which is set to start from October and run to the end of the year, will deprive the task force of its largest and most effective contingent. IRIN

Tanzania Launches Crackdown on Child Marriage with 30-Year Jail Terms
Tanzanian men who marry schoolgirls or get them pregnant now face 30 years in prison as the government takes tougher measures to tackle child marriage and teenage pregnancy. The east African nation has one of the highest adolescent pregnancy and birth rates in the world, and 21 percent of girls aged 15 to 19 have given birth, according to a 2015/16 survey conducted by the Tanzania Bureau of Statistics. While sex with underage girls is already a criminal offence, poor parents often marry off their young daughters for cash using a special dispensation under the marriage law which allows girls as young as 14 to marry with parental or court consent. But new provisions passed by the parliament in June make it illegal for anyone to marry primary and secondary school girls under any circumstances. Reuters

Aid, Trade and Friendship: Will Brexit Hurt the World’s Most Needy?
As the shock of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union sent world stock markets tumbling and triggered global concern, some began to calculate the toll it might take on the world’s most needy. Would aid to the world’s developing nations be impacted? Would there be an effect on trade deals and benefits? To what extent might Britain’s closest friends in emerging markets suddenly get short shrift? Or, might there actually be new opportunities for emerging economies? “A lot depends on how Brexit happens,” said Owen Barder, vice president and director for Europe at the Washington-based Center for Global Development. “There are some very significant threats for developing nations and some opportunities too.”  LA Times



Photo: Adam Jones