Media Review for June 29, 2016

Rebel, Army Clashes Kill 43 Near South Sudan’s Wau: Government
At least 43 people were killed in fighting between armed groups and government forces around the northwest South Sudanese town of Wau last week, a government official said on Tuesday. Thousands fled the clashes in the world’s newest country, still hit by violence almost five years after securing its independence from former civil war foe Sudan, and months after a peace deal with rebels inside its own borders. Government forces had battled fighters loyal to Ali Tamin Fatan, a militia leader trying to control territory further west near the border with Central African Republic, government spokesman Makuei Lueth told reporters. “So far up to this morning the report which I got is that there are 39 (civilian) bodies and another four belong to police,” Lueth said. Numbers could rise, he added, as there were currently no casualty figures from the army. Reuters

South Sudan Cancels Independence Celebrations
South Sudan has cancelled its Independence Day celebrations as it struggles to end a civil war that has left thousands dead and ravaged the economy. “We decided not to celebrate the July 9 Independence Day, because we don’t want to spend that much,” Michael Makuei, the minister of information, told reporters on Tuesday. “We need to spend the little that we have on other issues,” he said. In past years, even at the height of a civil war, the government organised military parades and other celebrations. But Makuei said this year the party would not happen. President Salva Kiir is still expected to address the nation on July 9, five years after South Sudan broke away from Sudan after decades of conflict. Al Jazeera

South Sudan Blames Donors for Not Supporting Peace
South Sudan’s government said lack of assistance from the international donors has slowed down the implementation of the peace agreement which ended 21 months of civil war between rival top leaders and armed factions in the country. In a press conference conducted on Tuesday in the national capital, Juba, information minister Michael Makuei Lueth, who is the official spokesperson of the government, said security arrangements could not be implemented due to “lack of resources.” He called on donors to assist the country by availing money for the implementation of the peace deal which President Salva Kiir and his first deputy, Riek Machar, signed in August last year. Susan Tribune

Khartoum and Juba Ask AU to Help Mark Border
Khartoum and Juba ask AU to help mark border The governments of Sudan and South Sudan have requested the African Union (AU) to commence the demarcation of their common border. The Juba-based Eye Radio quoted South Sudan’s Defence minister Kuol Manyang Juk saying the demarcation deadline was before the end of June. The minister disclosed that the appeal to the AU was agreed on by both countries at a meeting held in Khartoum early this month to discuss the implementation of the 2012 Cooperation Agreement. He said a technical team for the demarcation would comprise the forces of both countries. “When they arrive, they will demarcate those places and then our forces and the Sudan arm forces will move backwards to a 20km buffer zone,” General Juk was quoted by Eye Radio. The East African

Boko Haram Fighters Target Niger After Fleeing Nigeria Bases
Driven from its stronghold in northeastern Nigeria, the Islamist militant group Boko Haram is targeting the world’s least developed country: Niger. The Nigeria-based militants stepped up attacks in southeastern Niger this month, raiding villages for food and cattle and attacking the town of Bosso, near Lake Chad, to steal weapons. A looting spree in villages near the lake on June 21 was the latest in a string of raids that have left more than 40 people dead. “Boko Haram is on the defensive and trying to replenish their reserves,” Vincent Foucher, a political analyst at the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, said by phone from Senegal. The organization is facing “a regional response that’s become much more coherent.” Bloomberg

How Benghazi Forced the Military to Adapt in Africa
In the nearly four years since the deadly attacks on diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, the U.S. military has sought to close a gaping hole in military capabilities in Africa that the tragedy exposed. A report by the House Benghazi panel, released Tuesday, chastised U.S. forces for failing to mobilize any units from Europe to conduct a rapid response to the attacks, which resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. The question of whether the military could have done more to intervene in the crisis has been a source of fierce political fighting for years. Critics say the military was too passive, while military officials have said they were not in a position to respond fast enough. Stars and Stripes

African Union Urges Quick Talks to Solve Burundi Crisis
The 15 members of the African Union Peace and Security Council have urged quick and inclusive talks to solve Burundi’s year-long crisis, the Council said while concluding a four-day visit in Burundi. “For four days, we have met various groups and authorities including the Burundian president, religious groups, civil society organisations, the UN system and diplomats accredited in Burundi. ‘’All Burundian stakeholders said that they need a quick solution to the crisis,” Mr Lazare Makayat Safouesse, head the African Union Peace and Security Council delegates, told a press conference on Monday. According to him, all groups expressed “urgency” of an inclusive dialogue to settle Burundi’s year-long crisis. The East African

Zambia Accused of Attacking Press Freedom as Newspaper is Closed and Editor Jailed
Zambian police on Tuesday charged three people including two editors of a newspaper critical of the government that was shut down last week, as tensions rose in the run up to elections in August. The Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) shut down the Post newspaper last week, demanding $6 million in unpaid taxes but the newspaper accused the authorities of trying to silence it, and claimed the outstanding bill was part of a court dispute. Tax officials have not commented on the matter, but Zambian President Edgar Lungu on Monday defended the ZRA’s action, saying it did so to recoup unpaid taxes. On Tuesday, the Post’s managing editor Joan Chirwa said police arrested its editor-in-chief Fred Mmembe, his wife Mutinta and deputy managing editor Joseph Mwenda late on Monday. The Telegraph

Zambia: Ahead of August’s Election, is the Fix Already In?
Earlier this month, a Zambian news outlet released what it claimed was the ruling party’s top-secret strategy to steal the presidential election scheduled for August this year. While the document itself has yet to be verified, there is no doubt that the strategy is already being implemented, almost to the letter. The fix appears to be in. Daily Maverick

Tanzania Helium Discovery a ‘Game-changer’
With world supplies running out, the find is a “game-changer”, say geologists at Durham and Oxford universities. Helium is used in hospitals in MRI scanners as well as in spacecraft, telescopes and radiation monitors. Until now, the precious gas has been discovered only in small quantities during oil and gas drilling. Using a new exploration approach, researchers found large quantities of helium within the Tanzanian East African Rift Valley.  BBC

Ethiopia Gets Non-permanent UN Security Council Seat
The vote at the UN General Assembly electing Ethiopia as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council turned out to be largely a formality because Ethiopia ran unopposed in its regional grouping. Africa heads of state and government had agreed on Ethiopia as a joint candidate at their summit in January, when Kenya and the Seychelles withdrew from the contest. Ethiopia may have run unopposed but it still had to pick up two thirds of the votes cast in the 193-nation assembly. It was backed by numerous African states, including Rwanda whose candidacy Ehtiopia backed in 2013/2014, and by Brazil. Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Viera said Ethiopia “with its extensive experience in regional, African and global peacekeeping missions” could make “an immense contribution” to the UN Security Council. Deutsche Welle

UN Aid Appeal for More Than $21B Going Unheeded
The United Nations says a record number of people caught in conflict and natural disasters are in need of humanitarian assistance. At the same time the world body warns the funding response to these crises falls far short of what is needed. The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has just released its 2016 mid-year Global Humanitarian Overview, which says the situation is very worrisome. OCHA reports the number of people worldwide in need of humanitarian assistance has soared to a record-breaking 130 million, nearly 44 million more than when the United Nations launched its annual multi-billion-dollar appeal in December. VOA

UN Forces Returning Control of Security to Liberia
After devastating back-to-back civil wars in Liberia, the UN launched a peacekeeping mission in September 2003 to ensure security, rebuild police and military forces from scratch, and disarm rebels. On June 30, the mission known as Unmil finally hands back security to Liberia’s military and police. But have its goals been achieved and why did it take so long? News 24

More EU-bound Migrants Leaving from Egypt
The head of the EU’s border agency voiced concern on Tuesday that growing numbers of Europe-bound migrants were turning to Egypt as a departure point for their perilous sea journey. “Egypt is starting to become a departure country,” said Frontex chief Fabrice Leggeri in an interview with the Funke group of German regional newspapers. “The number of boat crossings from Egypt to Italy has reached 1 000 [so far] this year,” he said. “The route is gaining popularity. The crossing is extremely dangerous, the journey often takes more than 10 days,” Leggeri said, adding that there were “few ships on this route that could save migrants from sinking boats”. News 24

West Africa: 300,000 New Jobs If Western Africa Invests in Fisheries Industry
Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is at the centre of a crisis of sustainability. Nowhere is that crisis more visible than in western Africa. Current rates of extraction are driving several species towards extinction while jeopardising the livelihoods of local fishing communities across Senegal, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Mauritania. Drawing on a unique satellite tracking database, this report by ODI and porCausa presents new evidence of the scale and pattern of IUU fishing. It focuses on ‘reefers’ – large-scale commercial vessels receiving and freezing fish at sea – and the use of containers. It provides evidence of practices that undermine multilateral governance rules aimed at curtailing IUU fishing and promoting sustainable, legal practices. The report identifies pathways for countries in sub-Saharan Africa to move towards greater transparency and sustainable management of fisheries to prevent the irreversible depletion and possible extinction of species, and to preserve the marine ecosystems where the fishing activities take place. Overseas Development Institute

Escaping Brexit Pushes S. Africa Stock Buying to 7-Year High
As markets tumbled after last week’s Brexit vote, foreigners bought South African shares at the fastest pace in more than seven years, seeking havens in gold producers and dollar-earners. Investors purchased a net 4.22 billion rand ($276 million) of the country’s stocks Friday after the U.K. referendum result was known, bringing inflows for the week to 14.5 billion rand, the most since March 2009, according to Johannesburg Stock Exchange data. The flows came even as the country’s benchmark stock index fell and the rand weakened against the dollar.  Bloomberg

Nigeria’s Buhari Questions Benefit of Currency Float Amid Weakened Naira
Nigeria’s central bank abandoned the naira’s 16-month old exchange rate peg, of 197 naira to a dollar, a week ago in an effort to alleviate the chronic foreign currency shortages that have choked growth in Africa’s biggest economy. The naira ended at 282 to the dollar on Monday but was trading at round 350 on the black market. “I don’t like the returns I get from the CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria),” said Buhari, addressing a group of business leaders that included Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, Zenith bank founder Jim Ovia and oil billionaire Femi Otedola. The 73-year-old former military ruler, addressing the group at his official residence in the capital, Abuja, said the devaluation of the naira in 1985 saw the naira trading at 1.3 to the dollar, whereas “now you need 300 or 350 naira to a dollar”. The Africa Report

SADC Gives Lesotho Ultimatum
The Southern African Development Community Summit has resolved to assist the Kingdom of Lesotho in implementing reforms in the security sector and constitutional reforms. The SADC Double Troika was held in Gaborone and attended by SADC Heads of State Chairperson Lieutenant General Ian Khama, Filippe Nyusi, Jacob Zuma, King Mswati III, Robert Mugabe and Kassim Majaliwa, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, Botswana Foreign Affairs Minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, SADC Executive Secretary Dr Stegomena Lawrence-Tax and Judge Mpahpi Phumaphi. Lesotho Prime Minister Phakalitha Mosisili was invited to the Summit and he was urged to lead in implementation of SADC decisions. IOL News

Botswana’s President Ian Khama: ‘Diamonds are Not Forever’
In 1966 Botswana was one of the least developed and poorest nations in the world, its per capita income then just $83. By the turn of the 21st century, Botswana’s per capita GDP, at $7,300, was 15% greater than its powerful neighbour, South Africa. All of that even as, according to president Ian Khama, South Africa has stifled attempts at industrialisation of the neighbouring states. Daily Maverick

107 Renamo Attacks in 9 Months
Since October 2015 there have been 107 Renamo attacks, in which 40 people died and 79 had been seriously injured. By province, there were 56 in Sofala, 21 in Manica, 11 in Tete, 8 in Zambezia, 6 in Inhambane, 3 in Nampula and 2 in Gaza, according to Agostinho Vuma, a Frelimo MP and a senior figure in the Confederation of Mozambican Business Associations (CTA), speaking in parliament 23 June. Education Minister Jorge Ferrao said Friday 24 June that 52 schools are closed due to Renamo military action in Barue, Mossurize and Manica districts in Manica province, affecting 22,000 pupils. The spokesperson of the Frelimo parliamentary group, Edmundo Galiza-Maros Junior, said the latest Renamo attack was on 22 June when Renamo killed a local Frelimo secretary in Mossurize, Manica. Club of Mozambique



Photo: Adam Jones