Media Review for June 1, 2016

National Security Strategy Development in Africa
With the end of apartheid, South Africa needed a new national security vision. South Africa’s 1996 White Paper on Defense and 1998 Defense Review were not merely technocratic exercises, therefore, but “assisted the nation in moving beyond apartheid.” They “allowed South Africa to enter the 20th century with a very different approach to national security from the past.” Both processes were driven by parliament and “uniquely supported by the significant inclusion of civil society.” Ultimately they reflect a larger strategic dialogue for the nation while remaining rooted in sound technical methodology. South Africa also serves as an important case study for national security strategy development in other African countries undergoing transition. Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Polisario Front Leader Mohamed Abdelaziz Dies
Mohamed Abdelaziz, the secretary general of the Polisario Front, a movement fighting for independence of the largely desert region of Western Sahara, has died. Abdelaziz, in his late sixties, died on Tuesday afternoon after a long battle with illness, the official website of the separatist movement said. The movement ordered a 40-day mourning period, after which a new secretary-general will be chosen, it added. “This is a great loss for the Sahrawi people,” Polisario Front official Mohammed Keddad told the AFP news agency. “He sacrificed his life for the liberation of Western Sahara. He embodied the wisdom and a sincere and firm commitment to its liberation,” he added. Khatri Abdouh, the head of the Saharawi National Council and a long-time aide of Abdelaziz, was appointed as interim Polisario Front leader. Al Jazeera

Kenya Announces Dadaab Refugee Camp Will Close by November
The world’s largest refugee camp will close in November, Kenya’s Interior Minister Joseph Nkaisserry has announced. The Dadaab camp in Kenya is home to more than 300,000 Somalis. Mr Nkaisserry said Kenya would work closely with the UN and the Somali government to repatriate the refugees. Dadaab was set up in 1991 to house families fleeing conflict in Somalia, and some people have been living there for more than 20 years. Kenya says it wants to close the camp over security concerns, saying attacks on its soil have been planned there. BBC

Kenya Covers Up Military Massacre
On January 15, a massive blast shattered the dawn calm at El Adde military base. A suicide bomber had detonated a truck loaded with explosives, the cue for hundreds of fighters clad in camouflage gear to attack. The raid lasted the entire day; thousands upon thousands of bullets fired by some 300 Al-Shabaab militants in a brutal assault on Kenyan soldiers stationed in Somalia to fight the terrorist group. By the time the sun set, as many as 141 Kenyan soldiers were dead — some shot at point-blank range. That figure would make what happened at El Adde Kenya’s largest military defeat since its independence in 1963. But in the months since, there has been no national day of mourning, no roll call of honor, and no explanation. The only clues to what happened are contained in a propaganda video made by Al-Shabaab itself. CNN

Lost Year in Nigeria Under Buhari Leaves Economy on Knees
Muhammadu Buhari took office as Nigeria’s president a year ago on a wave of optimism that the ex-military ruler could revive a nation battered by falling oil prices and decades of corruption. Now, Africa’s biggest economy is on its knees, forcing Buhari to throw in the towel on a central pillar of his economic policy — a currency peg. “It was difficult to imagine a scenario in which things got worse,” said Malte Liewerscheidt, a Nigeria analyst at Bath, U.K.-based consultant Verisk Maplecroft. “But it’s been a lost year. What’s missing is sound macroeconomic policies.” Bloomberg

Buhari’s Crackdown in Nigeria Fails to Stamp out Boko Haram
Time is up for Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s president and former army general, who promised before his inauguration on 29 May last year to stamp out Boko Haram within 12 months – and has singularly failed to do so, despite a tough military crackdown in the country’s north-east. While the terrorist group, blamed for 20,000 deaths over the past seven years, has taken a beating, it is down but not out. Analysts warn, meanwhile, that Buhari’s harsh approach to unrest of any kind may be causing more problems than it solves across Nigeria as a whole. At a summit in Abuja earlier this month, Buhari appeared to admit the difficulty of fulfilling the task he set himself. The meeting included representatives from Benin, Cameroon, Chad and Niger. France, the US, Britain and the EU, who back the anti-Boko Haram campaign, also attended. The Guardian

Nigeria’s Buhari to Visit Niger Delta for First Time this Week
The visit was announced a day after Buhari said the government would hold talks with leaders in Nigeria’s main oil-producing region to address their grievances, in a bid to stop a surge in pipeline attacks. Buhari will visit a Niger Delta area called Ogoniland to launch a much-delayed programme to clean up areas heavily polluted by oil spills, the official said. People in the southern swamps, where oil giants such as Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron operate, have for years complained about the oil industry’s pollution and about economic marginalisation by the state. Some have taken up arms, and a surge in attacks on oil installations has cut Nigeria’s oil output to a 20-year low. Times Live

Niger Delta Crisis Escalates
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari announced his visit to the southern oil producing region as a new militant group, Niger Delta Avengers, issued a warning to oil firms in the region that “their facilities and personnel will bear the brunt of our fury.” The group has been blowing up oil and gas pipelines in the region after seven years of relative peace in the oil producing region. “It is going to bloody this time round,” the group said in a statement on Monday (30.05.2016) without elaborating. Residents in the Niger Delta, where oil giants such as Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron operate, have complained for years about pollution by the oil industry and economic marginalization by the government. Some have taken up arms, and a surge in attacks on installations has cut Nigeria’s oil output by nearly a half sending oil production to a 20-year low. Deutsche Welle

Uganda Opposition MPs Walk Out on Museveni
Two Opposition MPs Tuesday stormed out of the Serena Conference Centre in the middle of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s State-of-the-Nation address. Makindye West MP Allan Ssewanyana (Democratic Party) and Kawempe South MP Mubarak Munyagwa (Forum for Democratic Change) walked out just after President Museveni said that all Ugandans were intelligent and were able to tell what is good and what is bad if “you are able to show it clearly”. President Museveni had started talking about illegal fishing on Ugandan lakes and rivers only to be interrupted by the Opposition MPs who started waving placards. “Release Besigye… Release Besigye,” the placards read. The East African

‘T-shirt Arrests’ as Uganda’s Besigye is Due in Court
Kizza Besigye appearance in court on Wednesday (01.06.2016) is expected to be the latest round in a battle with his long-standing opponent President Yoweri Museveni. Besigye has been charged with treason, which carries the death penalty in Uganda. He was arrested because he had declared himself the winner of the national elections in February 2016. Besigye came second in the poll, but he rejected the official results as fraudulent and called for an international audit. Uganda’s top court heard a petition against Museveni’s victory and ruled that he had been validly reelected. However, Ugandan human rights lawyer Nicholas Opiyo told DW “there is a question about the legitimacy of that win.” Deutsche Welle

With Africa Trip, Turkey’s Erdogan Aims to Quash Influence of Islamic Cleric
When Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan visits Uganda and Kenya this week, he will be seeking not only to increase trade but to stamp out the influence of an Islamic cleric whose network was long an instrument of Turkey’s soft power in Africa. Ankara officially declared the Hizmet organisation of preacher Fethullah Gulen, which claims millions of followers worldwide, a terrorist group this week, stepping up pressure on a movement Erdogan once looked to for help in spreading Turkish cultural influence and commerce overseas. Erdogan now accuses his former ally of building a “parallel state” through followers in the police, judiciary, media and business, and of using it to try to overthrow him, allegations which Gulen denies. The president has made eradicating the Hizmet movement a top priority at home and abroad. “This network organises itself swiftly in the countries it goes to by using Turkey’s name and power, and opportunities are offered to it as a result,” a senior Turkish official said ahead of Erdogan’s departure for Uganda on Tuesday. Reuters

The International Criminal Court Really Wishes Djibouti Had Arrested an Accused War Criminal
The International Criminal Court wants to know why Djibouti didn’t arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir when he visited the tiny African nation earlier this month, and is giving the government there until next month to explain itself. Bashir joined dignitaries from across the region as well as a delegation from the United States to celebrate the inauguration of Djibouti’s president, Ismail Omar Guelleh, who was sworn in for an unprecedented fourth term on May 8. Bashir had a unique distinction among the dozens of guests: He was the only one wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity. Now, the ICC wants to know why Djibouti did nothing to apprehend him. In a May 17 letter, the court gave the government of Djibouti until June 24 to submit its observations with respect to their failure to arrest and surrender Omar Al-Bashir while present on the territory of the Republic of Djibouti. The existence of the letter has not been reported before. The letter highlights a central weakness of the court, which was established in 2002. Djibouti is one of 139 signatories to the Rome Statute that established the institution, which technically obligates Djibouti to act against Bashir. But the ICC doesn’t have the power to sanction any member country which fails to arrest a suspect within its borders. (The United States is not a signatory to the Rome Statute.) Foreign Policy

DR Congo’s Bemba in ICC Dock for Bribing Witnesses
Convicted Congolese war criminal Jean-Pierre Bemba found himself back in the dock at the International Criminal Court on Tuesday — this time accused of bribing witnesses and falsifying evidence. Prosecutors at the first such trial in ICC history said the alleged bribery and forgery was a sign of “how far the accused were prepared to go to hide their illegal behaviour.” Bemba stands accused, along with two of his lawyers and an MP from his party, of presenting fake documents to the court and giving backhanders to witnesses in his war crimes trial. In March, the ICC convicted the former militia chief of war crimes and crimes against humanity for rapes, mass murders and looting from late 2002 to March 2003 in the neighbouring Central African Republic. The East African

Malawi ‘Jails’ 119 Ethiopian Migrants
Malawi has come under fire from human rights activists for locking up 119 Ethiopian illegal migrants in its prisons. Human rights activists faulted the southern African nation for its policy of jailing immigrants who were arrested over illegal entry and travelling without documents. A local non-government organisation, Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (Chreaa) told News24 that the Ethiopian migrants were detained at Maula, Dedza and Ntchisi prisons in central Malawi. “The number keeps changing with each passing day as a week hardly passes without arresting these illegal migrants. These are all Ethiopians,” said the centre’s executive director Victor Mhango. When quizzed about why the migrants were kept in prisons, government officials explained that the country did not have money for deportations. News 24

This Radio Station Is Trying To Heal One Of The Most War-Torn Parts Of Africa
There is a river that runs through Bambari, one of the largest cities in the Central African Republic. The city’s Muslim community lives on one side of the river. The Christians reside on the other. The river is called Ouaka, and it has morphed from the life source of the fishing and farming community to a bitter dividing line. Christians and Muslims lived together for decades in Bambari, and throughout the Central African Republic. But the sectarian bloodshed that erupted three years ago has wrenched the country apart. The River Ouaka now demarcates a tense truce. Few venture over the river these days, for fear of sparking more of the reprisal killings that have repeatedly flared in this city since 2013. Yet one group of Muslims and Christians in Bambari are trying to reclaim the river’s name as symbol of unity. The Huffington Post

Ivory Coast confronts Brutal Past with Trial of ‘Iron Lady’ Simone Gbagbo
The trial of Simone Gbagbo, the former first lady of Ivory Coast, on charges of crimes against humanity opened Tuesday in the Ivorian city of Abidjan as the West African nation faces a pivotal moment in confronting its violent past. The infamous “Iron Lady” of Ivory Coast, once considered the most powerful woman in her cocoa-rich West African nation, is facing charges in yet another high-profile trial. A trial against Gbagbo for alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes opened Tuesday in the country’s highest criminal court, the Cour d’Assises. The accusations stem from a brutal period of post-electoral violence following the 2010 presidential poll, which saw more than 3,000 people killed in a span of just five months. France 24

UN Renews South Sudan Sanctions
The U.N. Security Council has voted to renew sanctions on a number of individuals allegedly obstructing a peace agreement in South Sudan, where tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced by over two years of fighting between the government and rebels. The resolution, approved Tuesday, extends sanctions for a year and welcomes the formation of a coalition government between South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and his rival, Vice President Riek Machar, in April, but it also recognizes much remains to be done to achieve a peaceful settlement. South Sudan’s Ambassador to the U.N., Joseph Moum Malok, said his government was working to implement the peace agreement and was disappointed that the resolution failed to recognize his country’s right govern and manage its own affairs. AP on Stars and Stripes

Power-Sharing No Quick-Fix for African States Riven by War
For Africa’s insurgents, the spoils of war can include top roles in national government. A power-sharing deal in the continent’s youngest country may push this formula to breaking point. From the Central African Republic to the Democratic Republic of Congo, former rebels have found themselves in uneasy coalitions with those they bitterly opposed. In most cases, bloodshed has continued; in some instances it’s worsened as other armed groups see how violence can bring political rewards. Now it’s happening again, as South Sudan’s president, who once dubbed his former deputy a “prophet of doom” and fought him in an often ethnically charged conflict that killed tens of thousands of people, accepts him back in government. Among the fractious revolutionaries’ tasks: cooperating with an African court intended to try them for atrocities and rescuing an oil-dependent economy driven to the brink of collapse. Bloomberg

Libya Unity Govt Allies Capture IS-held Towns
Fighters allied with Libya’s UN-backed unity government have captured two coastal towns from the Islamic State group in an advance towards its bastion Sirte, a spokesman said on Tuesday. The Petroleum Facilities Guard overran Ben Jawad and Nofiliya as they thrust westwards along the Mediterranean coast from their base in Libya’s eastern oil ports, the spokesman for the force said. Five people were killed and 18 wounded in Monday’s fighting, sector commander Colonel Bashir Buthefira said. “Our forces have taken control of Nofiliya and are now advancing towards Harawa” about 75 kilometres (45 miles) east of Sirte, he said on Tuesday. Sirte was the home town of slain dictator Moamer Kadhafi and, since seizing it in June last year, IS has turned it into a recruitment and training camp. Gulf Times

Making do in Mali. A Long Way from Home: Syrians in Unexpected Places 
The last year witnessed a small but growing trend of Syrians taking the long way round to Europe via Mauritania, and then overland to the north African coast. But some have end up settling for a while in Mali, along the way. IRIN

Envoys Demand Apology from Egypt, Accuse Representative of Racism
African diplomats attached to the United Nations Environmental Programme in Nairobi have accused an Egyptian envoy of making racist remarks during the recent environmental conference. In a note written by the Africa Diplomatic Corps Technical Committee, the ambassadors demanded that Egypt be barred from representing the continent because its head of delegation had misbehaved by calling his colleagues “dogs and slaves.” Yvonne Khamati, the Kenyan diplomat who chairs the committee, wrote in the protest memo on Sunday that the Egyptian head of delegation to the meeting had “undiplomatic, irresponsible, uncivilised and insulting behaviour” during the second session of the United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA). The envoys demanded an apology from Egypt. But on Tuesday, Mahmoud Ali Talaat Mahmoud, the Egyptian ambassador to Nairobi, told the Nation the issue had been blown out of proportion. Daily Nation

Mysterious Hemorrhagic Fever Outbreak Stumps Disease Detectives
The last time, we heard about a “mysterious hemorrhagic fever” in a country, it was February 2014. The outbreak was in Guinea. And by the time doctors had pinpointed the culprit, Ebola was spiraling out of control in West Africa. The situation in South Sudan today is a far cry from that in West Africa a few years ago. But it’s still concerning, the World Health Organization said. So far, there have been 51 cases — including 10 deaths — from an unknown disease in the northern part of South Sudan. The main symptoms of the disease are similar to those seen with Ebola: unexplained bleeding, fever, fatigue, headache and vomiting. But the culprit definitely isn’t Ebola. First, the symptoms “rapidly resolve following supportive treatment,” WHO said. And the disease doesn’t seem to spread from person to person. In fact, scientists don’t know yet how the disease is transmitted. NPR



Photo: Adam Jones