Media Review for June 23, 2016

Gunmen Kidnap Two Australians and a New Zealander in Nigeria
Two Australians and a New Zealander have been kidnapped by gunmen in southern Nigeria who killed their local driver in an early morning attack. The workers, two of whom police said later escaped, were contractors for cement company Lafarge Africa. There was confusion over the nationalities of those involved. But Irene Ugbo, a spokeswoman for Cross River state police, said two were Australians and one was a New Zealander. A second police spokesman later said another foreigner abducted was from South Africa. The Guardian

Uncertainty Hangs Over Truce With Nigeria’s Avenger Oil Militants
A cease-fire between Nigeria’s government and a militant group that has claimed responsibility for a series of crippling attacks on oil infrastructure may be on shaky ground. A senior official with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation told VOA on Tuesday the government had reached a truce with the Niger Delta Avengers militant group. But the Avengers responded on Twitter saying that no such truce had been reached. The confusion surrounding the cease-fire shows the challenges President Muhammadu Buhari faces as his administration aims to quell a resurgent militancy in the oil producing Niger Delta region. “It might be some factionalism. It might be they want to see a credible hand or offer from President Buhari or his government,” said Mark Schroeder, vice president for Africa operations at intelligence firm Stratfor. VOA

Boko Haram Fracturing over Islamic State Ties, U.S. General Says
A senior U.S. military general on Wednesday said Boko Haram had been fractured internally. Lieut.-Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, the nominee to lead U.S. military’s Africa Command, disclosed this in Washington during his nomination hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee. He said that the problem in the group resulted from some members splitting from shadowy leader, Abubakar Shekau, over his failure to adhere to guidance from the Iraq and Syria-based Islamic State. Waldhauser said that the internal division was illustrative of limits of Islamic State’s influence over Boko Haram so far, in spite of the West African group’s pledge of allegiance to it last year. “Several months ago, about half of Boko Haram broke off to a separate group because they were not happy with the amount of buy-in, if you will, from Boko Haram into the ISIL brand,’’ he explained. Daily Trust

MSF: Nearly 200 Die of Starvation at Nigerian Refugee Camp
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) on Wednesday warned of a “catastrophic humanitarian emergency” unfolding at a camp sheltering refugees who fled the Boko Haram militant group in northeast Nigeria. “Since 23 May, at least 188 people have died in the camp – almost six people per day,” MSF said in a statement, adding that the deaths were mainly caused by starvation and dehydration. The aid organization said the camp hosts 24,000 people, including 15,000 children. Roughly one in five of over 800 children MSF examined had acute malnutrition. “This is the first time MSF has been able to access Bama but we already know the needs of the people there are beyond critical,” said Ghada Hatim, the organization’s head of mission in Nigeria. Deutsche Welle

France Reduces C. Africa force to 350 Soldiers
France has reduced its force in the Central African Republic to 350 soldiers, effectively bringing an end to its military operations there, the army’s chief of staff said Wednesday. “The Sangaris will henceforth act as a tactical reserve team of 350 soldiers to the benefit of the 12,500 Blue Helmets,” the chief of staff wrote on Twitter. France deployed an intervention force, dubbed “Operation Sangaris”, to the Central African Republic in December 2013 after the outbreak of inter-communal violence between Muslim and Christian militias that has killed thousands. Daily Mail

Moise Katumbi: DR Congo Presidential Hopeful Sentenced to Jail
Congolese presidential hopeful Moise Katumbi has been sentenced in absentia to 36 months in prison. The wealthy businessman, who owns one of Africa’s biggest football clubs, is currently out of Democratic Republic Congo seeking medical treatment. The 51-year-old was found guilty of illegally selling a property in Lubumbashi, his eastern power base. He had the backing of seven opposition parties to run for the presidency in elections due to be held in November. BBC

Congo’s Paris Embassy in Ramraid Attack
Congo’s embassy was attacked on Tuesday night by assailants who used a car to break into the building, set light to car with Molotov cocktails and smashed windows and equipment. An investigation is under way. Staff blame opponents of President Denis Sassou-Nguesso. The attackers rammed the embassy building with an Opel Corsa before entering armed with Molotov cocktails which they threw at a car parked in the courtyard as well as the security post. Inside the building they broke windows and IT equipment and tipped petrol on the fire caused by the Molotov cocktails before setting fire to the car they had used to enter the building. The fire spread to a room located just above the ambassador’s office. RFI

Hate Speech Raises its Ugly Voice as Kenya Drifts Into Election Mode
The unprecedented arrests and detentions in Kenya of seven members of parliament and a senator capped a wave of rising political tensions and violence on the streets. These tensions were inflamed when a member of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee political party appeared to call for the assassination of opposition leader Raila Odinga. Police arrested Member of Parliament Moses Kuria, along with the others, pending court hearings on charges of incitement to violence. A university student leader was also held. Prosecutors said more specific charges of hate speech and inciting ethnic hatred could follow. The detention of senior politicians is highly unusual – they are usually given bail and rarely see the inside of a jail. The history of hate speech and incitement to violence in Kenya is a long, widespread and unhappy one. Hate speech and the fanning of ethnic discord was linked with violence after the fraudulent 2007 elections that left nearly 1,500 dead and 600,000 displaced. News 24

Ethiopia and Kenya to Hold Terror Talks
The need to secure the Horn of Africa from attacks by Al-Shabaab terror group will form the core of talks between President Uhuru Kenyatta and visiting Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. The Ethiopian PM is set to begin a three-day visit in Kenya Wednesday at the invitation of Mr Kenyatta to among other things attend a Kenya-Ethiopia business forum. A presidential security note, which was prepared for talks with the European Union last week in Brussels, Belgium, says that the member states of the Horn of Africa must find ways of curbing the influence of the terror group in the region. It warns that Al-Shabaab and its elder siblings—Al Qaeda and ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria)—were determined to spread a violent streak of Islam called Salafism (an ultra-conservative reform movement within Sunni Islam) at the detriment of economic development and stability of the region. The East African

Somalia’s Limited Polls Overshadowed by Clan Rivalries and al-Shabaab
As Somalia prepares to choose a new government in August, there are concerns that the powerful clans who have long dominated political life in the country may try to manipulate the ballot while al-Shabaab militants also pose a threat, a senior UN official has said. Michael Keating, the head of the UN mission in Somalia, said there are significant security challenges around the electoral process. After years of conflict and a 2011 famine, and with al-Shabaab launching frequent attacks against peacekeeping forces and civilians, there is no possibility of holding a popular vote in Somalia. Instead, clan elders, as well as representatives from community groups and civil society, will choose members of parliament, who then choose the head of state. The Guardian

Defiance is Legal, Besigye Tells Court
Dr Kizza Besigye has defended his defiance campaign in the Constitutional Court, saying it is a lawful means by which citizens can boldly resist the illegal and unconstitutional acts and conduct of any person or authority to keep themselves in power against the provisions of the Constitution. The former Forum for Democratic Change presidential candidate submitted a written defence in court yesterday in response to the petition filed by the Attorney General seeking to permanently ban the Opposition party’s defiance campaign activities. Dr Besigye did not deny using the word “defiance” throughout his presidential election campaigns or even calling on citizens to peacefully resist actions of any person who illegally retains themselves in power. “I occasionally told those who attended my campaign meetings or rallies or events that my candidature would win the election through defiance. The import of this message was that even with the odds, the law, systems and processes heavily lopsided against my candidature, triumph would still be possible because of defiance by the citizens of Uganda of any unlawful and unjust actions, directives or practices of public authorities relating to elections,” reads his written reply to the Attorney General’s petition. Daily Monitor

Uganda: Cabinet – Museveni Admits Patronage Played Part in Selection
President Yoweri Museveni has for the first time explained how he finally arrived at his 80-member-strong cabinet. Museveni used the swearing-in ceremony of ministers yesterday at State House, Entebbe by noting that he appointed members of the opposition to his cabinet for purposes of unity. A total of 76 ministers were sworn after four of the nominees Adriane Tibaleka, Harriet Ntabazi and Ismeal Orot were rejected by parliament’s appointments committee and UPC’s Joy Ruth Aceng’s name was withdrawn at the last minute. In the cabinet, Museveni appointed opposition leaders Beti Kamya (President of Uganda Federal Alliance (UFA) minister for Kampala, UPC’s Betty Amongi as minister for lands, housing and urban development and DP’s Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi as minister of state for youth and children affairs. “That is why we have brought in a few people in the opposition. So, we welcome all those who have joined us, you can bring those who are still there,” Museveni said. The Observer on allAfrica

Muslim Brotherhood is all But Snuffed out. Can it Reinvent Itself?
The Muslim Brotherhood lost its last real stronghold in the Arab world when Jordan shuttered the movement’s headquarters in Amman this spring. Just five years after the movement’s star seemed to be rising, as Qatar and Turkey sought to export Islamism after the Arab Spring from the Gulf to North Africa, the Brotherhood is suffering from a fatal crackdown in Egypt and bans in much of the Arab Gulf – and now Jordan. The latest knell puts the movement at an ideological crossroads, at which it must decide whether to yield to younger members agitating for a more aggressive approach or carve out a new identity – perhaps in the model of Tunisia’s “Muslim democrats.” Some worry that if it fails to regain clout as a legitimate political movement, that could spur further extremism in the region. CS Monitor

War Vets Leaders Living in Fear after Mugabe Threats
Zimbabwe’s ex-freedom fighters are reportedly living in fear after President Robert Mugabe threatened to “squash” them over their stance on his successor, a report said on Wednesday. According to NewsDay, the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) leaders were on high alert and had beefed up their “personal security” after the threats by Mugabe. The war veterans recently claimed that they had endorsed Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa to take over from the ailing veteran leader. The former freedom fighters claimed that Mnangagwa was the next in line to take over the presidency, adding that their decision to endorse him was “irreversible”. They also allegedly threatened bloodshed should Mnangagwa’s bid to succeed Mugabe fail. News 24

Zambian Newspaper Shut Down Ahead of Vote
Zambia’s biggest independent newspaper has been shut down by authorities over unpaid taxes, the editor said on Wednesday, calling the move an attempt to silence it ahead of August elections. Police and tax officials physically closed the Post newspaper’s offices in Lusaka late on Tuesday, managing editor Joseph Mwenda told AFP, leaving staff gathered outside the locked building on Wednesday. Mwenda said staff had managed to produce the daily paper overnight with the help of a private printing company. The Post admits owing about 53 million kwacha ($4.8m) in unpaid taxes, but Mwenda said the closure of the paper was illegal. News 24

Two Shot dead in South African Capital as Looters Ransack Shops
South African police said on Wednesday that two suspected looters had been shot dead in the capital in violence triggered by the ruling party’s choice of a mayoral candidate for local polls. Police said they also arrested 40 rioters who had been attacking foreigners’ shops as public anger mounted over economic hardship in the build-up to Aug. 3 elections likely to become a referendum on President Jacob Zuma’s leadership. Residents of Pretoria’s townships began setting cars and buses alight on Monday night after the ruling African National Congress (ANC) named a candidate in the Tshwane municipality where the capital city is located, overruling the choice of regional branches. Burned-out cars still blocked roads on Wednesday. The two killed were shot on Tuesday night, said Colonel Noxolo Kweza, police spokeswoman for Gauteng Province. She did not say who had shot them.  Reuters

The Extreme Divide of Rich and Poor in South Africa Captured by Drones
The landscape of South Africa clearly displays the lasting legacy of the apartheid, which drastically divided people by race and wealth. In a series entitled ‘Unequal Scenes’ Seattle-born photographer, Johnny Miller captured South Africa using a drone’s eye view. While studying in Cape Town the photographer experimented with capturing racism and segregation, which led him to reconsider the urban experience from above. Amongst his collection there are images of Kya Sands in Johannesburg and Papwa Sewgolum Golf Course and Umgeni River in Durban. Miller writes on his website: ‘Discrepancies in how people live are sometimes hard to see from the ground.The beauty of being able to fly is to see things from a new perspective – to see things as they really are. ‘Looking straight down from a height of several hundred meters, incredible scenes of inequality emerge.’ Miller adds that some of the communities were ‘expressly designed with separation in mind, and some have grown more or less organically.’ Daily Mail

Gabon’s Prosecutor Orders Ping to Appear Before Judicial Authorities
Gabon’s leading opposition candidate Jean Ping has been ordered to present himself to the country’s judicial authorities. On Tuesday, Gabon prosecutor Steeve Ndong Ndong Essame said Ping had been ordered to do so after he refused to obey court summons. He has been accused of incitement but has denied the allegations. “No one is above the law,” argued the prosecutor who insisted that Ping must comply with the summons. Ping, who is also a former chairman of the African Union Commission has declared his candidacy for Gabon’s top seat in the polls scheduled for August 27.  Africa News

Who Will Succeed Dlamini-Zuma?
African countries are battling to find a worthy successor to South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as African Union Commission chairperson at next month’s AU summit in Kigali, Rwanda. Officials say the three candidates who have so far put their names forward are “below par” and moves are afoot to find someone better. Former Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete and current Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra are being considered. The officials said the last minute search for a better person to occupy the top AU job could delay the election from next month until the next AU summit in January next year in Addis Ababa. If so, either Dlamini-Zuma herself or her deputy, Kenya’s Erastus Mwencha, would probably stay on as caretaker chairperson. Dlamini-Zuma is due to end her term next month, having declined to run for a second term which she is entitled to do. “It’s a big mess, we can agree on that,” the official said. IOL News

E.Guinea President Names Son Vice-president
Equatorial Guinea’s veteran ruler, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, on Wednesday named his son Teodorin Nguema Obiang vice president of the tiny oil-rich nation, in charge of defence and security. Obiang, who seized power in a military coup in 1979 and was re-elected again in April with 93.7 percent of the vote, promoted the 47-year-old second vice-president by a presidential decree read on state television. Obiang senior is currently Africa’s longest-serving leader. Daily Mail

Luanda Second Most Expensive City in the World
[…] According to Mercer’s 2016 Cost of Living Survey, Hong Kong tops the list of most expensive cities for expatriates, pushing Luanda, Angola to second position. Zurich and Singapore remain in third and fourth positions, respectively, whereas Tokyo is in fifth, up six places from last year. Kinshasa, ranked sixth, appears for the first time in the top 10, moving up from thirteenth place. Other cities appearing in the top 10 of Mercer’s costliest cities for expatriates are Shanghai (7), Geneva (8), N’Djamena (9), and Beijing (10). The world’s least expensive cities for expatriates, according to Mercer’s survey, are Windhoek (209), Cape Town (208), and Bishkek (207). Mercer’s widely recognized survey is one of the world’s most comprehensive, and is designed to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation strategies for their expatriate employees. allAfrica



Photo: Adam Jones