Media Review for October 13, 2015

Guinea Opposition Calls for Election Results to be Canceled
“We cannot accept this ballot, we request it be annulled. We will not accept the results of this vote,” said Diallo at a press conference on Monday. Diallo was accompanied by six other candidates running against President Alpha Conde. “It was a masquerade, a massive fraud throughout the day,” Diallo added. While the week prior to the election witnessed violence between Diallo and Conde’s supporters – resulting in the deaths of more than 10 people – the vote was hailed for being peaceful, although candidates cited voting irregularities. Deutsche Welle

Guinea’ Cellou Diallo Demands Presidential Election re-Run
Guinea’s opposition is calling for a re-run of Sunday’s presidential election even before the votes have been counted. It alleged widespread fraud, including ballot boxes being stuffed and some 400 polling stations staying closed. This is the country’s second democratic presidential election since it gained independence from France in 1958. Several people were killed in clashes during the election campaign. BBC

Cracks Widen Within Burundi’s Army
A central pillar of the peace accords that ended a civil war in Burundi a decade ago – integrating former Hutu rebels into the Tutsi-dominated army to create a more ethnically balanced force – is looking distinctly wobbly.   A recent post on a Burundi news blog by Thierry Vircoulon of the International Crisis Group (ICG) said the institution was “dangerously close to rupture.” IRIN’s interviews with more than a dozen people, including leading Burundian civilians, analysts and members of the military, indicate that a faction of former Hutu rebels has embarked on a campaign of harassing, abducting, detaining, and in some cases killing, members of the army’s old guard, as well as others perceived to oppose President Pierre Nkurunziza, himself a former rebel leader. IRIN

Burundi asks Belgium to Replace Envoy
Burundi has asked its former colonial power Belgium to replace its ambassador because it has lost confidence in him, a senior official said on Monday. Salvator Ntacobamaze, permanent secretary in Burundi’s Ministry of External Relations and International Co-operation, gave no further explanation for the action. A Belgian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Belgium viewed the request as an “unfriendly act” but had yet to decide on a course of action and would keep channels of communication open with Burundi’s government. Bilateral relations have deteriorated since Belgium said this month it would halt some aid in protest at Pierre Nkurunziza securing a third term as president of the central African country. News 24

Burkina Faso Begins Inquiry Into Coup
Burkina Faso on Monday launched a judicial inquiry to identify all the players involved in last month’s failed coup, with 30-day deadline to reach its conclusions. Prime Minister Isaac Zida said the commission of inquiry — headed by an appeal court prosecutor — was charged with “determining responsibility, identifying the perpetrators, accomplices, soldiers and civilians involved in the attempted coup”. The September 17 coup was carried out by members of an elite army unit loyal to former president Blaise Compaore, throwing the impoverished west African country into chaos. AFP on Yahoo News

Rwanda MPs Set to Debate Kagame Bid for Third Term
Rwanda’s parliament was set to open a debate on Monday on amending the constitution to let strongman and President Paul Kagame run for a third term in 2017. MPs were due to “examine the relevance of the draft of revision of the Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda as amended to date,” said a parliamentary statement. Mr Kagame has run Rwanda since his rebel army ended the 1994 genocide. He won elections in 2003 and 2010 and, under the current law, is due to step aside in 2017 at the end of his second consecutive term.  AFP on the Daily Nation

Ugandan Army Confirms it Will Leave South Sudan
Ugandan troops will start leaving South Sudan by the end of this week, according to the head of the Ugandan force in the country. This was a key rebel demand during drawn-out talks which led to a peace deal in August. All foreign forces were meant to have left by 10 October. Meanwhile, a rebel leader has told the BBC the deal is unlikely to work and said he may take up arms again. Tens of thousands of people have died since the civil war began in 2013.  BBC

Guinea-Bissau Forms new Government after Stalemate
Guinea-Bissau has been in turmoil since President Jose Mario Vaz fired prime minister Domingos Simoes Pereira on August 12 over a series of disputes, placing the head of state at loggerheads with his ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC). The new team includes 15 ministers and 14 secretaries of state, mostly from the previous government and the PAIGC. The natural resources and interior portfolios have not yet been assigned and will be managed by 81-year-old acting premier Carlos Correia, who became the third prime minister in just over a month after he was appointed in September. “The choice of Cabinet members is the responsibility of both the president and the prime minister. Selecting from the names put forward requires a level of agreement that has not yet been met in full,” said a statement from the presidency released on state media.  Mail and Guardian

Libya Rival Forces Oppose U.N.-Proposed Peace Deal
Libya’s rival parliament and government both showed opposition to a U.N.-proposed peace deal installing a unity government Monday, with one lawmaker saying it would deepen rifts in the country. “This government is rejected… it will deepen differences between the Libyan people,” said Mahmud Abdel Aziz of the General National Congress, which has yet to vote on the plan. The Tripoli-based GNC is refusing to discuss the proposed government until its demands are met for amendments to the U.N.-proposed plan for Libya, which plunged into chaos after the 2011 uprising that toppled dictator Muammar Qaddafi.  In the aftermath of his fall and murder, the country has been ruled by powerful armed militias and has had two governments and two parliaments since August 2014.  AFP on Al Arabiya

How Justice is Delivered in the Islamic State’s New Capital Along Libya’s Mediterranean Coast
[…] Officials suspect that up to 1,200 jihadists are now fighting in Sirte under the banner of the Islamic State. They are part of one of three “provinces” the group has established across Libya since last year, together making up what the Obama administration believes is the strongest of eight branches the group’s leadership has established across the Muslim world. In contrast to other Libyan cities, like Derna to the east, the Islamic State has flourished in Sirte in part because it has been able to capitalize on local discontent with authorities in Tripoli and Tobruk, where rival governments are now battling for legitimacy. The group has also succeeded in co-opting Islamists already in Sirte and attracting foreign fighters from Tunisia, sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere.  The Washington Post

Algeria Shuts TV Station After Airing Interview with Former Islamist Insurgent
Algerian authorities on Monday shut down a private TV station after it aired an interview with a former Islamist insurgent leader who criticised President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and warned him to not get in his way of starting up a political party. The communication ministry lodged a complaint against the El Watan TV station following the broadcast of comments from Madani Mezrag earlier this month, in which he attacked Bouteflika for barring him from creating a political party. The channel “operates in an illegal manner and broadcasts subversive content and was detrimental to state symbols”, the ministry said in a statement. France 24

Boko Haram Stages Suicide Bombings in Cameroon, Chad
Nigeria’s Islamic extremist insurgents Boko Haram are blamed for using teens and women to carry out suicide bombings in neighboring Chad and Cameroon this weekend, killing more than 45 people in what Cameroon’s government spokesman said is a move to spread terror as a multinational force prepares to deploy against them.  Two girls between the ages of 13 and 17 carried out suicide bombings in the northern Cameroon village of Kangeleri near Mora town on Sunday, killing at least 9 and wounding 29 others, said Cameroon’s Minister of Communications Issa Tchiroma Bakary. The Cameroon explosions come after five coordinated suicide bombings in neighboring Chad on Saturday killed at least 36 people and wounded some 50 others in a village near Lake Chad that is home to thousands of Nigerians who have fled the extremists’ violence. The government said a man, two women and two children carried out the attacks.  AP on Yahoo News

Nigeria’s Military Says it is Closing in on Boko Haram
Nigeria’s military Sunday called on Boko Haram militants to surrender, saying it was closing in on them. Spokesman Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman said the army knows all the Boko Haram hideouts and camps. The military’s warnings came as twin suicide bombings killed at least nine people, and wounded 29 others, in northern Cameroon, in an attack local and security officials have blamed on Boko Haram. Colonel Usman said the militants have resorted to suicide bombings as a way to remain relevant even though their capacity has been greatly diminished by the Nigerian military.  VOA

Seven Die in Military air Crash in Nigeria
Seven people died when a military plane crashed into a house in northern Nigeria on Saturday, killing everyone on board, the air force and disaster management officials said. The Dornier-228 had set off from a military airfield in the city of Kaduna at 06:45 (05:45 GMT), bound for the capital Abuja, air force spokesperson Air Commodore Dele Alonge said in a statement. “Though no casualty was recorded on ground, there were no survivors among the passengers on board the aircraft,” he said. He told AFP the number of dead was not yet clear but a spokesperson for the National Emergency Management Agency told AFP that “four crew members – including two engineers – and three other passengers were on board”.  News 24

Nigeria: Revealed at Last – Salary and Allowances of National Assembly Members
The controversy over the monthly salary of a Nigerian lawmaker has finally been laid to rest with a formal disclosure of what the legislators earn. The National Institute of Legislative Studies, NILS, apparently worried by growing public outcry against the Nigerian lawmakers, on Friday released a set of documents, showing what constitutes the earnings of the 109 Senators and 360 members of the Nigerian House of Representatives. The documents, which were made available to Vanguard in Abuja on Friday, indicated that the Nigerian lawmakers earn perhaps one of the least salaries among legislators in the world, as against the notion that their pay was outrageous. Apart from releasing global comparative figures drawn from nine countries, the NILS also gave a breakdown of what constitutes the monthly take-home pay of each Nigerian lawmaker. The figure shows that while a Nigerian Senator gets an annual basic salary of N2,026,400,00 a member of the Nigerian House of Representatives goes home with N1,985,212, 50 per year.  Vanguard on allAfrica

Rebels Kill at Least 7 Civilians in Attacks in Eastern Congo
A representative of civil society groups in eastern Congo says rebels have killed at least seven civilians in two attacks. Omar Kavota said Monday that rebels from the Allied Defense Forces-NALU launched attacks against Congo’s military and during clashes in Mukoko four civilians were killed. He said members of the group also attacked the army in Tenambo, killing three civilians and injuring four. Fighting continued in the villages near the town of Beni in Congo’s North Kivu province. Kavota, the executive director of the rights group, said many families were forced to flee. The area has been the site of repeated attacks by the rebels, who have origins in neighboring Uganda. Eastern Congo is home to myriad armed groups, many vying for control of the region’s vast mineral resources. AP on ABC NewsUN Mission Looking Forward to Full Cooperation with DRC Army
The U.N. mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, MONUSCO, said it is looking forward to a full resumption of strategic cooperation with the Congolese army. The new head of MONUSCO is to arrive soon. The U.N. mission in Congo put a temporary halt to its collaboration with the Congolese army, the FARDC, in February, after two generals suspected of human rights abuses were placed in charge of what was supposed to have been a joint FARDC-U.N. operation against FDLR rebels. Citing U.N. human rights policy, the mission withdrew support for that operation, although it has continued supporting the army against other armed groups. Saturday, DRC communications minister Lambert Mende said the government is waiting to resume talks with the new head of MONUSCO, Maman Sidikou, after what he described as “certain difficulties” encountered with Martin Kobler, Sidikou’s predecessor. VOA

DRC: The Final Countdown to the 2016 Elections or Just Another Transition?
Last month, three separate events shook the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) fast-evolving political landscape and the administration of Joseph Kabila, who has been president since 2001. Firstly, the opposition UDPS party broke off negotiations with the government. The talks aimed to define conditions for a national dialogue regarding the electoral process. Secondly, seven party leaders from within the ruling alliance signed an open letter urging President Kabila, whose second term comes to an end in 2016, to respect the constitution. The signatories of the letter, known as G7, were later expelled from government. And thirdly, on 29 September, Moïse Katumbi, the influential governor of Katanga province, resigned from the ruling party.  African Argument

UN Appeals for $86M in Food Aid for Zimbabwe
The UN has issued an urgent appeal for $86m in food aid for Zimbabwe. The country’s debilitating economic downturn has made food supplies unstable. The government earlier this year began providing meat from wild animals to prisoners after they rioted over their meatless diet. Bishow Parajuli, UN resident coordinator in Zimbabwe, said on Monday that 1.5 million people in the southern African nation need food aid. Paula Vazquez Horyaans, EU ambassador to Zimbabwe, said that food insecurity there is aggravated by climate change’s effects. The looming El Nino weather system is expected to make matters worse.  News 24

Egypt Court Orders Release of Hosni Mubarak’s Sons
A court has ordered the release of the two sons of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, taking into account they have completed their three-year sentences on corruption convictions. The brothers are expected to walk free later today or tomorrow after the Cairo Criminal Court announced its verdict in the multi-million dollar embezzlement case on Monday. Alaa and Gamal Mubarak were convicted of embezzling state funds allocated for the renovation of Egypt’s presidential palaces.  The brothers still face trial on insider trading charges, however, with the next hearing due October 17. Al Jazeera

South Africa Plans to Leave International Criminal Court: ANC
South Africa plans to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC), a deputy minister said on Sunday, as the government faces criticism for ignoring a court order to arrest Sudan’s president earlier this year. The ICC has “lost its direction” and the ruling African National Congress (ANC) wants to withdraw South Africa after following certain processes, Obed Bapela, deputy minister in the Presidency, told reporters after a ruling party policy meeting. Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, accused of genocide and war crimes, visited the country in June, but was allowed to leave despite a court order to detain him. The government last week asked the ICC for more time to explain why it allowed this. But the ruling party this weekend resolved to leave the ICC, with Bapela saying powerful nations “trample” human rights and pursue “selfish interests”.  The East African

Conflict Drives ‘Unacceptable’ Figure of 795 Million People Facing Hunger
Levels of hunger in the developing world have fallen by nearly one third since the turn of the century but an “unacceptably high” number of people still do not have enough food to eat, largely because of the spread of armed conflicts, this year’s global hunger index has warned.  There are 27% fewer hungry people in the world today than at the turn of the century, according to the 2015 index, which was released on Monday by theInternational Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide. But despite this progress, “the level of hunger in the world remains unacceptably high, with 795 million people still going hungry, more than one in four children affected by stunting, and 9% of children affected by wasting”, the index said.  The Guardian

Can the Global Public Health System Learn From its Ebola Mistakes?
The worst of the Ebola crisis in West Africa has passed. This week the three countries where the epidemic was the worst recorded no new cases of the disease for the first time since the outbreak began in March 2014. In a few months, the World Health Organization will officially declare it over in Sierra Leone and Guinea, as it already has for Liberia. But the repercussions of the epidemic, criticisms of the WHO’s handling of the situation, and calls for radical change in the global health landscape are beginning to pour forth and will continue for months to come. Sadly, it appears likely that no coherent scheme for saving lives in the next epidemic will emerge. Rather, the din of pontificating and criticism will resound in a sort of global anarchy. Little will actually change. Every crisis begets soul-searching, and the global public health world is as prone to self-analysis as any other professional arena. But what really matters isn’t the process of airing discontents and offering suggestions for improvement. More important is what comes next.  Foreign Policy

Moroccan Government Cracks Down on Journalists and Activists
As he sits in a jail cell with seven other inmates, Hicham Mansouri, an investigative journalist, worries about his colleagues on the outside. For now, at least, they remain free. “They got to me as a warning to the others,” said Mr. Mansouri, referring to other members of the Moroccan Association of Investigative Journalism. “Moroccans should start getting concerned about what is happening in their country. The media is more repressed.” About a year ago, Morocco, a monarchy that cultivates a pro-democracy image, embarked on a campaign of intimidation against the press, arresting journalists and activists and even deporting foreign reporters. Mr. Mansouri’s case is one of the examples of the crackdown on opposition independent voices that emerged after the 2011 revolutions in the region emboldened democracy advocates. In May, a judge sentenced Mr. Mansouri, 35, to 10 months of prison on adultery charges in a country where sex outside marriage is illegal.  The New York Times

Trawlers from China and Russia are Threatening to Destroy West African Fishing Communities
On a beach jammed with pirogues, the brightly painted wooden boats of West Africa, a crew of fishermen sing as they haul their vessel from the sea: “Thanks to God we have returned alive.” While Mauritania is almost entirely a desert country, along its coast are some of the richest fishing grounds in the world. But canoe-like pirogues are little match for the enormous European and Asian trawlers that also ply these waters, pulling enormous hauls of fish and other seafood from the deep ocean. Local fishermen complain that their catch is dwindling, and they must travel far out into the Atlantic, risking collisions with trawlers and other dangers at sea, in order to earn a living. “Their boats are so big and they can’t see us,” said Samba Diallo, a fisherman.  Globalpost

Mali’s Voice of Reason
[…] Mali was ruled by military regimes and one-party governments from its independence from France until 1991, when President Moussa Traoré was overthrown by the military. Free and open elections soon followed, and the right of free speech enshrined in the country’s 1992 constitution. That freedom took a hit when a group of officers, angry with the state’s failure to manage a Touareg rebellion in 2012, overthrew President Amadou Toumani Touré and suspended the constitution. A coalition of Touareg and jihadist militias took advantage of the diversion to invade much of the north of the country, prompting a French-led intervention in early 2013. But after the coup leaders stepped down, the constitution was restored and journalists — at least those sympathetic to the state — were able to get back to work. But the independence of many outlets is still compromised by the need to placate wealthy backers. Studio Tamani’s independence is ensured because its funding comes from Fondation Hirondelle, the Swiss NGO that founded it. But the station is now preparing to find its own sources of income with the aim of becoming entirely self-financing by 2018. Foreign Policy



Photo: Adam Jones