Media Review for March 2, 2016

Census of Foreigners in Burundi Sparks Fears
Burundi launched a drive today to register all foreigners, sparking fears among overseas nationals that the scheme could be a pretext for government surveillance. All non-Burundians in the crisis-hit country will be required to report to border police offices in the coming two months, according to a public security ministry spokesman. Several foreigners told AFP they feared it was a pretext to track them, and Rwandans said the process could lead to their community being victimised. But Public Security Minister Alain-Guillaume Bunyoni insisted last month that the move was aimed at granting foreigners a biometric ID card. Foreign nationals — who also include people from West Africa including Congolese, as well as Indians — will be required to attend police stations in person and carry their travel documents. AFP on Yahoo News

Burundi: African Union’s Actions ‘Limited by Jacob Zuma’s Interests in the Region’ Claims Opposition
The Burundian opposition has questioned South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma’s proposed solution to try to resolve the Burundi crisis that has left up to 900 dead, claiming the head of state’s alleged ‘personal interests’ had got in the way of solutions for a real resolution. Zuma, who was a facilitator of the 2000 Arusha peace agreement that ended Burundi’s 12-year civil war that left 300,000 dead, led an African Union (AU) mission aimed at helping facilitate talks between Burundi’s president Pierre Nkurunziza and opposition parties in strife-town Burundi on 25 and 26 February. The four African heads of state and a prime minister were expected to discuss the deployment of a 5,000-strong Maprobu peacekeeping force, and set out conditions for an ‘inclusive dialogue’ between Nkurunziza’s government and opposition groups, but the high-level delegation dealt the final blow to Maprobu project. Instead, the delegation settled for the deployment of 100 observers of human rights, as well as 100 “unarmed” military experts to monitor the situation.  International Business Times

Mbabazi Narrowly Beats Election Petition Deadline
Independent presidential candidate Mr Amama Mbabazi has finally filed his petition before the Supreme Court, challenging president Yoweri Museveni’s victory in the February 18 elections. Journalists who had been waiting to cover the petition in the Kampala based court since morning breathed a sigh of relief when Mr Mbabazi’s lawyers arrived at the court, from downtown Kampala, at 5:07pm. The court’s registrar Tom Chemtai received the lawyers and took them through the requirements for a petition. He spent four minutes on this. Among other requirements, the lawyers had to pay Shs400, 000 to file the petition and Shs1 million, which serves a security for costs in case the petition fails, which they did. The respondents named in the petition are president–elect Yoweri Museveni who was declared winner with 60.75 of votes cast, the Electoral Commission (EC) and the Attorney General (AG). Mr Severino Twinobusingye, one of the two lawyers who petitioned the court on behalf of Mr Mbabazi, said they are petitioning the court on several grounds. Daily Monitor

Besigye Arrested Again, Police Vow to Keep Siege
Dr Kizza Besigye was yesterday arrested again as police insisted on keeping the siege on his Kasangati home despite the Opposition leader insisting that there is a court order against him being detained at home. He was trying to leave his home to an unspecified place. Speaking to Daily Monitor before his arrest yesterday, Dr Besigye claimed the order issued by the Kasangati Magistrates Court in 2011 against him being held at home is still valid, but that the police were acting with “impunity” by continuing to detain him there. “This can only be stopped if there is a court order against the police [continuing to restrict Dr Besigye],” police spokesman Fred Enanga told police at the police headquarters in Naguru yesterday. Mr Ernest Kalibbala, one of Dr Besigye’s lawyers, told Daily Monitor on Sunday that they had filed another application for an order to bar the police from besieging Dr Besigye’s home. In the 2011 order, then Grade One Magistrate Jessica Chemeri of Kasangati ruled: “His detention was unlawful as he was not kept in a lawful detention centre and this was beyond the constitutional 48 hours.”  Daily Monitor

Zimbabwe’s Joice Mujuru Forms ZPF to Oppose Mugabe
A powerful former ally of Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has launched a party to challenge his 35-year rule. Joice Mujuru said the Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) party had been formed because “Zimbabwe is a broken country”. Ms Mujuru was Mr Mugabe’s second-in-command until he sacked her in 2014 after accusing her of plotting to oust and kill him. “I’m neither a witch nor an assassin,” Ms Mujuru said, at the party’s launch in the capital, Harare. She is the most senior former Zanu-PF leader to form an opposition party, and is tipped to be its presidential candidate in the 2018 election.  BBC

Zimbabwe Could Really Use a Super Tuesday
In what has become an annual event in bad political judgment, Zimbabwe’s longtime leader President Robert Mugabe celebrated his birthday this weekend with a lavish party, even as millions of his citizens continue to suffer his economic legacy. This time though it was impossible to ignore the political drama that has seized the country in recent months. At 92, it’s clear that Mugabe’s time as president is limited even as no one knows exactly when it will end. There is no indication that he will step down even as his advanced age starts to show more readily. That has left his ZANU-PF party to work out succession itself, which might just tear the party – and country – apart. Even though elections are not scheduled in Zimbabwe until 2018, the jockeying for the potential to succeed Mugabe started shortly after the flawed 2013 elections. Internal strife within ZANU-PF saw Joice Mujuru, a government minister since independence in 1980 and long believed to be a natural successor to Mugabe, lose her position as vice president and ultimately kicked out of the party in 2014. That followed bizarre allegations that Mujuru engaged Nigerian witchdoctors in a bid to kill Mugabe and take power for herself. UN Dispatch

Why Is it So Hard to Reintegrate Libyan Fighters Into Society?
“You fought or you died,” explained Ashraf Al-Meer, who in March 2011 joined the revolutionary fight against the 42-year rule of Moammar Gadhafi to protect his family. At the age of 28, after two weeks of military training and armed with a Kalashnikov, he would fight for the next eight months for the liberation of his country. Following Gadhafi’s fall, Al-Meer joined the military, but suddenly decided to hand in his weapon in 2012. Thanks to the organization The Libyan Program for Reintegration and Development (LPRD), which offers training for ex-combatants, he realized that fighting wasn’t the only way to rebuild the future of his country. “We needed to move the youth from arms in a peaceful way,” explained LPRD’s founder Mustafa El Sagezli from Benghazi. “The youth need to be given a chance to build the future of Libya,” he said. Al Monitor

UK Troops Sent to Tunisia to Bolster Libyan Border
Britain is sending a training team of around 20 soldiers to Tunisia to help stop people illegally entering from neighbouring Libya, Defence Minister Michael Fallon told parliament on Monday. “A training team of some 20 troops from the 4th Infantry Brigade is now moving to Tunisia to help counter illegal cross-border movement from Libya in support of the Tunisian authorities,” he said. Britain should not have a “combat role” in Libya but would be ready to provide military advice and training for the Libyan government if asked to do so and only with the prior consent of British MPs. He denied that British pilots embedded with other air forces had taken part in missions over the country. Libya has had rival parliaments and governments since 2014, after an Islamist-led militia alliance overran Tripoli and forced the internationally recognised administration to flee to the remote east of the oil-rich nation. News 24

Chad: 23 Candidates File to Contest April Presidential Election
Twenty-three candidates have submitted their applications to contest Chad’s presidential election scheduled for April 10 this year, according to the national electoral board. Ngarledji Yorongar, a federal party member was the last to present his papers on Monday just before the deadline. It is a custom for many candidates to arrive even an hour to the closure of filing of nominations. After announcing that he will seek a fourth term in office, President Idriss Deby submitted his application ten days before the deadline. The country’s main opposition leader, Saleh Kebzabo, has also filed his nomination. Chad’s opposition led a nationwide shutdown last week to protest President Idriss Deby Itno’s bid for a fifth term in office. A large number of shops and schools remained closed, and traffic stayed off the streets in the capital, N’Djamena, and several other cities. The strike was under the slogan, “That’s enough,” and was staged by several opposition groups who oppose Deby’s bid. Africa News

Osama Bin Laden’s Files: Al Qaeda Considered a Truce with Mauritania
Abdelmalek Droukdel (also known as Abu Musab Abdel Wadoud), the emir of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. A newly declassified memo recovered in Osama bin Laden’s compound reveals that al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) considered a truce with the government of Mauritania. It is not clear what, if anything, came of the proposal. But al Qaeda’s senior leadership drafted the terms of a possible deal. The authors of the undated file state that the matter was raised after AQIM’s leader, Abdelmalek Droukdel (also known as Abu Musab Abdel Wadoud), sent a letter to al Qaeda’s management team. “The brothers discussed the matter, and Shaykh Mahmud [Atiyah Abd al Rahman] and Shaykh Abu Yahya [al Libi] were tasked to write a legal research on the truce matter with the apostates and as to whether it was permissible – also to propose it to the leadership, after which we would send it to Abu Musab [Abdel Wadoud]…and to correspond with the Mauritanian brothers to convince them,” the US government’s translation reads. Atiyah Abd al Rahman and Abu Yahya al Libi served as al Qaeda’s general managers before being killed in US drone strikes. Rahman was killed in August 2011 and Libi was struck down in June 2012. Long War Journal

Bin Laden Left 29 Million Dollars in Sudan for ‘Jihad’ in Handwritten Will
Former Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had millions of dollars stashed in Sudan and wanted most of it to be used to fund ‘jihad’, according to a handwritten will. In one of the declassified documents, Bin Laden outlines that at least 29 million dollars stashed in Sudan should be apportioned after his death, requesting that most of it be used to continue the global ‘jihad’, reports the Dawn. The document part of a cache of 113 documents has been described by intelligence officials as Bin Laden’s will. The documents are mostly dated between 2009 and 2011 and comprise the second cache from the raid to have been declassified. Osama had set down specific amounts in Saudi riyals and gold that should be apportioned between his mother, a son, a daughter, an uncle, and his uncle’s children and maternal aunts. Documents seized by US special forces personnel during the 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan have revealed that Al Qaeda leaders were increasingly worried about spies in their group, drones patrolling the skies and secret devices tracking their movements. Business Standard

Two-thirds of African Countries Now Using Chinese Military Equipment, Report Reveals
China’s military equipment is now being used by more than two-thirds of African countries, a report into the military capabilities of powers around the world has revealed. According to the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, in their new report the Military Balance, China has been making significant inroads into the African defence market, “reflecting the broader growth in Beijing’s influence and investment in the continent”. Using an analysis of the exports into 51 countries on the continent the IISS determined that 68 per cent of them currently use Chinese military equipment. Speaking to The Independent, the author of the research Joseph Dempsey, a research analyst who worked on the wide-ranging report, said African nations were increasinly using military exports supplied by Beijing.  The Independent

Arusha Ready for EAC Summit
It is the first East African Community Heads of State Summit to be attended by President John Magufuli since he assumed power after winning the general election last October. Already, the Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU) has written to the summit asking the heads of state not to allow Burundi to be given any leading task in the community until the chaos in Bujumbura is cleared. However, observers here are also not sure if Mr Nkurunziza will agree to chair the summit for the next 12 months amid controversies in his country. Top on the agenda is the consideration of reports by the EAC Council of Ministers on: the negotiations on the admission of the Republic of South Sudan into the Community; sustainable financing mechanisms for the EAC; and the EAC Institutional Review. The 17th summit will also consider Council reports on: the Model, Structure and Action Plan of the EAC Political Federation; and Implementation of the Framework for Harmonised EAC Roaming Charges. Until Tuesday night, Nkurunziza had not yet appeared for the Arusha Summit, though reports had it that he may arrive today. Daily News

Uncertain Future for Algerians
With the oil prices that subsidize life in Algieria falling and prices rising, people feel uncertain about their future. They can’t even protest the worrying economic conditions: It’s officially a democracy, yet even peaceful protest is banned.  Deutsche Welle

Bomb kills at Least Five Somali Soldiers Outside Mogadishu
A roadside bomb set by the Somali Islamist group al Shabaab killed at least five soldiers and injured eight others on Tuesday outside the Somali capital Mogadishu, security forces and a spokesman for the militants said. Al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab frequently targets Somali and African Union security forces in its bid to overthrow the Western-backed Somali government and impose its own version of sharia law in the country. “A bomb hit a commando convoy,” Abdullahi Hussein, a senior police officer in the area told Reuters. He said the attack took place in Alamada village, about 20 km northwest of Mogadishu. An al Shabaab spokesman confirmed that it had targeted the convoy and claimed a slightly higher death toll. “We killed six commandoes, injured seven others and the bomb totally destroyed one of their pickups,” Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab told Reuters. Reuters

Nigerian President Warns Against Iranian Activities in Africa
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has warned of what he called Iranian missionary activity in Africa, which he said posed an increased danger by spreading information aimed at ‘sowing division and sectarian sedition and unrest.’ And Buhari, launched a new warning against Iranian activity promoting what he described as revolutionary ideology in Africa.  Al Arabiya

RFI Reporter Faces Cameroon Military Court Accused of Helping Boko Haram
A reporter for Radio France Internationale’s Hausa service appeared in a military court on Monday accused of being an accomplice of the Boko Haram armed Islamist movement. The trial was adjourned until 28 March to allow judges to examine claims by Ahmed Abba’s lawyers that he has been tortured and suffered other rights abuses.  RFI

West African Clergymen Demand Action Against Terrorists
Catholic Church leaders from West Africa have condemned terrorist attacks in the region and urged governments to act decisively to end the scourge. The 120 bishops, cardinals and archbishops made the call in a communique after a seven day meeting conference who theme was: ‘The new evangelisation and specific challenges for the church, family of God in West Africa.’ Their concerns followed a spate of terrorist attacks in Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Cameroun and Chad that left thousands of people dead. Bishop Anthony Fallah Borwah of Liberia, who read the communiqué, said the clergymen were concerned about the level of intolerance. The bishops urged African governments to protect gains made on the road map towards peaceful co-existence for all – irrespective of religion or race, and step up efforts to crack the whip on terrorist groups. Africa Report

Tunisia Troops Clash with Militants
Tunisian troops killed four suspected militants in a counter-terrorism operation overnight that was still continuing on Tuesday, the interior ministry spokesperson said. There were no security force casualties in the operation in the Ain Jaffel area on the border between the central provinces of Kasserine and Sidi Bouzid, Yasser Messbah told AFP. Kasserine province, which neighbours Algeria, has seen repeated clashes between security forces and Islamist militants. Late last month, a suspected jihadist was killed in an exchange of fire in the Mount Mghila area of the province. It lies next to Mount Chaambi, which is considered to be the militants’ main rear base and has been the target of repeated sweeps by the security forces since 2012.  News 24

South African Ruling Party Defeats Vote Against President
South Africa’s ruling party defeated a no-confidence vote Tuesday against President Jacob Zuma, who also faced a court challenge from an opposition party that wants corruption charges reinstated against him. The parliamentary motion against Zuma followed increasing criticism of the president on a range of issues, including a scandal over millions of dollars in state spending on his private home. The ruling African National Congress, which has a majority in parliament, defeated the motion brought by the Democratic Alliance, the biggest opposition party. Before the vote, opposition leader Mmusi Maimane described Zuma as a “sellout,” using a term that ruling party lawmakers have often used against Maimane, the first black leader of the Democratic Alliance. The opposition party’s roots lie in white liberal opposition to apartheid, the system of white minority rule that ended in 1994, and it has sought broader representation in South Africa’s black-majority population. AP on The Washington Post

How Eritrea is Turning to Dutch Courts to Silence its Critics
A quiet but well orchestrated campaign is under way in the Netherlands as individuals associated with the Eritrean government try to use the Dutch courts to silence its critics. Eight such court cases have been launched against liberal newspapers, a radio station, a website, the Dutch government and an academic who have criticised its authoritarian regime. The cases have been initiated by leaders of the youth wing of Eritrea’s ruling party, the Young People’s Front for Democracy and Justice, but the campaign appears to be guided by senior government officials, including some close to the president, Isaias Afewerki. Last year Yemane Gebreab, President Isaias’s closest adviser, told 550 young Eritreans attending the party’s youth rally in Germany that fighting the country’s “enemies” was their top priority. The Guardian UN Seeks Durable Solutions for DRC Displacement Crisis
The United Nations reports that efforts are under way to bring an end to the long-standing displacement crisis in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. DRC remains the longest and most protracted humanitarian crisis on the African continent, with ongoing conflict in North and South Kivu, Ituri Province and north Katanga.  Instability in neighboring countries has forced thousands of people to seek refuge in DRC. The U.N. refugee agency reports there were more than 2.5 million internally displaced people and more than 100,000 refugees in DRC at the end of last year. It is beyond time to bring the crisis to a close, said Mamadou Diallo, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in DRC. VOA

Raw Tensions Over Race Fester in South Africa
It would be hard to find a land so steeped in the torments and conflicts of race as South Africa. Apartheid’s ghosts still stalk the land, conjuring dire warnings about its very fabric. For those who yearned for a rainbow nation, it was not supposed to be this way. When Nelson Mandela was freed from prison in 1990 and went on to become president in the country’s first democratic elections in 1994, he offered a narrative of racial inclusiveness as an antidote to a poisoned past in this regional and continental powerhouse. But, since January, a series of bitter controversies, inspired and sometimes accelerated by social media, have shown that two decades of democracy have muted neither the perception nor the reality of inequality. Long after political power shifted to the majority, time may have instead amplified them. In many ways, the debate is far more nuanced than in the supremacist past, exposing myriad resentments of privilege and entitlement, victimhood and reward, and even raising the question of who may set the racial agenda and on what terms.  The New York Times

Shell Being Sued in two Claims over Oil Spills in Nigeria
Oil giant Shell is being sued in London for the second time in five years over spills in the Niger Delta. Two communities are claiming compensation and want Shell to clean up their land. Shell said it is at an “early stage” in reviewing the claims and that the case should be heard in Nigeria. The Ogale community of about 40,000 people in Rivers State, on the coast of Nigeria, who are mainly farmers or fishermen, are some of the claimants. Their case is being handled by law firm Leigh Day. Spills since 1989 have meant they don’t have clean drinking water, farmland or rivers, their claim says.  BBC

Barclays to Exit Africa in ‘Transatlantic’ Makeover
Barclays Plc will sell its Africa business as part of a plan by new Chief Executive Jes Staley to simplify the bank’s structure and seek higher shareholder returns, after reporting a 2 percent profit drop and slashing its dividend. The British bank said on Tuesday it planned to sell its 62 percent stake in Barclays Africa Group over the next two to three years, ending its presence on the continent after more than a century and becoming a “transatlantic” bank focused on the United States and Britain. It would then concentrate on two divisions, Barclays UK and Barclays Corporate and International, to comply with ring-fencing regulations aimed at safeguarding its retail banking business from riskier operations. Barclays is “fundamentally on the right path,” Staley said in his first results announcement since taking over one of the most prominent roles in British business in December. Adjusted pretax profit fell to 5.4 billion pounds ($7.5 billion) for the year to Dec. 31 from 5.5 billion a year earlier, below an average forecast of 5.8 billion. Reuters

Nokia Networks and Hacking Team Accused of Selling Surveillance Equipment to Egyptian Government
Human rights advocacy group Privacy International has accused Finnish telecommunications firm Nokia Networks and controversial Italian cybersecurity firm Hacking Team of secretly selling surveillance equipment to the Egyptian government so it could spy on Egyptian dissidents. In a new investigative report entitled The President’s Men?, Privacy International alleges that Nokia Networks, when it was previously in a joint venture with Siemens as Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), sold surveillance equipment to the General Intelligence Service (GIS), one of three national intelligence agencies in Egypt. The Egyptian government has been accused of a myriad of human rights abuses and the Privacy International points to the existence of a top-secret Technical Research Department (TRD) that sits within the GIS headquarters in Cairo. The TRD is in charge of surveillance operations and has been purchasing more equipment over the years, completely unimpeded by the Egyptian revolution, with the intent of spying on all who oppose it. International Business Times



Photo: Adam Jones