Media Review for October 22, 2015

Protesters March in Congo Republic Capital for Second Day
Security forces in Congo Republic’s capital fired warning shots and tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters marching against a referendum they say is a ploy to extend the president’s grip on power, a day after police killed four opposition supporters. President Denis Sassou Nguesso’s critics accuse him of seeking to use a referendum on Sunday on whether to lift a limit on the number of terms a president can serve to extend his rule ahead of an election next year. Four people were killed on Tuesday when police opened fire on a crowd of protesters. Reuters on Yahoo News Army Disperses Anti-Government Protesters in Congo Republic
Security forces in Congo Republic’s capital fired warning shots and tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters, a day after police killed four opposition supporters. Protests began in early October against a referendum that critics say is a ploy by President Denis Sassou Nguesso to prolong his grip on power, much as protests have broken out in Burundi, Burkina Faso and other African counties where leaders tried to remain in power. Sunday’s vote in Congo Republic will decide whether to amend the constitution to raise the age limit and number of terms a president can serve. If the changes are made, 71-year-old Sassou Nguesso is widely expected to run for re-election next year, although he has not stated his intention to do so. He has been in office 31 of the past 36 years. Reuters

Congo Opposition to Meet Western Envoys
The leader of the Republic of Congo’s opposition Congolese Movement for Democracy and Integral Development (MCDDI) said opposition and civil society groups would meet Thursday with envoys of the United States and the European Union to talk about the political situation in the country. Perfect Kolelas said discussions about ending violence in Congo would be high on the agenda. He called on the international community, including the African Union, to intervene in Congo to ensure the constitution is not violated. Kolelas’ comments came after violent clashes between police and opposition supporters left at least four people dead and many injured. The opposition youths were protesting attempts by President Denis Sassou Nguesso to use a referendum set for Sunday to change the constitution by removing age and term limits for the presidency.   VOA

Nigerian Troops Kill 150 Boko Haram Extremists
Self-defence fighters say they fought alongside Nigerian soldiers to kill 150 Boko Haram militants and rescue 36 child and women captives of the Islamic uprising in the country’s northeast. Jubilant civilians who participated in Tuesday night’s assault said they went to the Madagali and Gwoza areas acting on intelligence that the extremists were planning a large attack. Self-defence fighter Bukar Jimeta said they killed at least 150 militants and recovered guns and explosives used in suicide bombings that have killed hundreds in recent months.  News 24

20 Shot Dead by Suspected Islamists in NE Nigeria: Locals
Twenty people were shot dead by suspected Boko Haram gunmen Wednesday on a road outside a village in Nigeria’s northeast Borno state, local sources said. A large group of Boko Haram gunmen fleeing a military offensive on their camp in Nganzai district opened fire on four cars just outside Jingalta village, 70 kilometres (45 miles) north of Maiduguri, killing all 20 passengers inside, a vigilante and a villager said. “We received information of an attack by Boko Haram gunmen on four cars near Jingalta village where they shot dead all 20 occupants of the vehicles before setting the cars ablaze,” Babakura Kolo, a member of a local vigilante group assisting the military in fighting the Islamist sect in Maiduguri, told AFP. AFP on Yahoo News

US Offers Niger Surveillance Planes as Islamist Attacks Continue
The United States offered Niger two military surveillance planes Wednesday as attacks by suspected Boko Haram extremists continued in the country’s south-east region bordering Nigeria. Two Niger soldiers were killed and several injured Wednesday in a foiled suicide attack by suspected Boko Haram fighters, Defence Minister Mahamadou Karidjo said. Karidjo spoke as he took possession of two Cessna C-208 planes equipped with intelligence and reconnaissance systems, as well as around 30 military vehicles and ambulances. A US official said the aid was worth around 32 million euros. AFP on Yahoo News

Students Breach South Africa Parliament During Fee Demo
More than 1000 South African students have broken through the gates of parliament in Cape Town in a protest against university tuition fees. Inside Story: How corrupt is South Africa? Police fired stun grenades at the students when they refused to vacate the parliamentary precinct on Wednesday, where President Jacob Zuma is attending a budget speech delivered by the country’s finance minister. Inside the building, security barricaded the doors inside the National Assembly, where the speech was being delivered. Students have rioted across South Africa this week after the education minister announced that university fees would increase by more than 10 percent. Al Jazeera

U.S. Says Concerned by Police Action in South African Protests
The U.S. State Department expressed concern on Wednesday over reports that South African riot police had fired stun grenades at hundreds of students protesting tuition increases. State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters at a briefing that the agency had seen the reports and would closely monitor the situation. “Obviously our position … in terms of the right of peaceful protest remains the same,” he said. The protests, some violent, have disrupted at least 14 of South Africa’s universities in the past week. At issue is a proposed 11.5 percent tuition increase. Reuters

Egypt Loyalists Take the Lead in Parliament Elections
A political alliance loyal to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has scooped all 60 list seats up for grabs in the first round of a parliamentary election in which opposition parties were all but absent, official results showed on Wednesday. The initial round of voting for what will be Egypt’s first parliament in three years was held on Sunday and Monday, with turnout at just over a quarter of the electorate and images of empty polling stations splashed across local media. The vote has been hailed by Sisi as the final step in a political transition that is meant to lead Egypt to democracy but critics say it has been undermined by widespread repression. Reuters
EU, Battling Migrant Crisis, Urges Eritrea to Respect Human Rights
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini called on Tuesday for greater respect for human rights in Eritrea, a major source country of refugees who risk their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe. The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR says 5,000 people flee the impoverished Red Sea state each month, with those who make it to Europe often saying they fled indefinite military conscription and other human rights abuses. Officials in Asmara deny the charges, saying human traffickers, not rights abuses, are to blame for the large exodus of people from the Horn of African country. “In Eritrea there is a relevant need for important reforms inside the country, to improve on the one side the human rights record and on the other the living conditions of the population,” Brussels’ top diplomat told reporters during a visit to Addis Ababa, capital of neighbouring Ethiopia. Reuters

Tensions Running High Between South Sudanese Refugees and Ugandans
[…] “The South Sudanese mistreated us so much in their country and anything bad that Ugandans do to them here, I am not surprised. They robbed and even killed some.” After fleeing violence which has killed tens of thousands in South Sudan, many refugees feel stranded. “We hear we have an ambassador here in Uganda, but he never comes to our rescue. While we were still at Jaipi transit camp, he came there but didn’t even address us. He just spoke to a few officials there and then drove off. I guess its the two governments that have a link as head of states but not for the sake of us the citizens,” said Elijah Machar, a clinician. The Niles

Secessionist Protests Hit Southeast Nigeria
Demonstrators Tuesday took to the streets of the Niger Delta states following the arrest and arraignment in court of the director of the secessionist southeast Nigeria radio, Mr Nnamdi Kanu. Supporters of Radio Biafra, the platform of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the oil-rich Rivers State, demonstrated in Port Harcourt to demand the unconditional release of their leader and presenter. The different groups, appeared peaceful, but were chanting war songs and calling for the creation of the sovereign state of Biafra. The continued campaign for the Republic of Biafra is being championed by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB). Many leaders of the movement have been arrested but never prosecuted. Africa Review

Rwanda Aid Shows Reach and Limits of Clinton Foundation
[…] Born of a deeply respectful friendship between Mr. Kagame and Mr. Clinton, the partnership has been sustained by a shared conviction that with the right kind of help — the teach-a-man-to-fish kind — developing nations can wean themselves from foreign assistance and take ownership of their futures.“We’re literally going to be in a position to work ourselves out of a job in a lot of parts of Africa in the next few years,” Mr. Clinton told the foundation’s Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York last month. Clearly, the Clinton Foundation functions both to do good deeds and to enhance the Clinton brand, never more so than while Hillary Rodham Clinton is running for president. But from the start, her campaign has been nagged by concerns about how the foundation raises its money. Far less attention has been paid to how that money is spent. In Rwanda, a review of the foundation’s history shows that it has done vital, often pathbreaking work, particularly in health and rural development. But with Mrs. Clinton campaigning as Mr. Kagame faces sharpening criticism about human rights, it also highlights the potential for conflict of interest, the outsize access to power and the delicate global politics that inevitably arise when such work is conducted by a former president whose wife is a former United States senator and secretary of state and a two-time contender for the Democratic presidential nomination. The New York Times

Ethiopia, a Nation of Farmers, Strains Under Severe Drought
Every day, Yasin Mohammed Aliye stakes out a spot on his small farm to chew khat leaves, a stimulant, and guard against intruders. The khat, he explains, helps to dull the hunger. “We got just one day of rain each month during the rainy season,” Mr. Yasin said, referring to the days from July through September. “It should have been raining every other day. Now my harvest has failed.” The green hills and full fields around here belie an alarming fact: This is the worst drought Ethiopia has experienced in more than a decade. The New York Times

South Africa and France to Conduct Cooperative Patrols in the Southern Ocean
South African and France are ready to sign an intergovernmental agreement for cooperative patrols in the southern Indian Ocean, against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in each country’s EEZ. The Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is the area extending 200 nautical miles (370 km) out from the coast. Within the EEZ, a coastal state has sovereign rights in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) over the living and non-living resources of the sea and the seabed. South Africa’s EEZ includes both that next to the African mainland and that around the Prince Edward Islands, totalling 1 535 538 square kilometres.  DefenceWeb

Money Replaces War in West African Champion Ivory Coast
Fresh out of France’s best business school, Issa Sidibe flew to his native Ivory Coast hoping to start a business in 2011. He quickly returned to Paris after finding a country devastated by almost 10 years of conflict. Today, Sidibe, 31, is part of a wave of Ivorians flocking back to invest as President Alassane Ouattara promises to spend $25 billion on infrastructure and energy until 2020. That’s lured companies to the world’s biggest cocoa producer including Carrefour SA, which is set to open its first store in sub-Saharan Africa, and put the economy on pace to expand 8.2 percent this year, more than twice the continent’s average. “It was a good time to come back,” said Sidibe, who is seeking $2 million to finance the taxi-booking company TaxiJet, a service similar to Uber Technologies Inc., he set up with two Ivorian business partners. “The country is rebuilding, and it looks like everyone has learned from the mistakes of the past.”  Bloomberg

Al-Shabab Recruits Return to Kenya after Quitting Group
Nearly 700 recruits have returned to Kenya after quitting militant groups, a report by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) says. The report warns that a failure to reintegrate returnees may lead to further radicalisation. Somalia’s Islamist al-Shabab militants are believed to be recruiting heavily in neighbouring north-eastern Kenya. Kenya has seen a series of militant attacks with one at a university earlier this year killed 148 people. BBC

Sudan’s Requests Saudi Mediation over Halayeb Dispute with Egypt
Sudanese president Omer al-Bashir has asked Saudi Arabia to mediate between his country and Egypt to resolve the dispute over Halayeb area disclosing that Riyadh played a role in securing the release of Sudanese miners from Egypt’s prisons. The Halayeb triangle overlooks the Red Sea and has been a contentious issue between Egypt and Sudan since 1958, shortly after Sudan gained independence from British-Egyptian rule. The area has been under Cairo’s full military control since the mid-1990’s following a Sudanese backed attempt on former Egyptian president Mohamed Hosni Mubarak’s life. Egypt brushed aside Sudan’s repeated calls for referring the dispute to international arbitration. Sudan Tribune

Two Groups Sign Peace Deal in DRC
Leaders of two ethnic groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo have signed an agreement intended to end a conflict which has killed hundreds and displaced tens of thousands, a local activist says. Violence since May 2013 in southeast Congo between militias representing the Luba, a Bantu ethnic group and Twa, has included large-scale massacres. David Ngoy Luhaka, a priest and member of the Diocesan Commission for Justice and Peace, said leaders from the two communities had signed the accord outside the town of Kalemie. News 24

India Reaches Out to Africa in Resources Race with China
India will host an unprecedented gathering of Africa’s leaders next week as it ramps up the race for resources on the continent, where its rival China already has a major head start. Postponed since December over the Ebola crisis, the India-Africa Forum Summit from October 26-29 will be the first under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the biggest gathering of foreign dignitaries in India since 1983. Hotels have been block-booked and intense security is expected to add to the chaos on Delhi’s congested streets. More than 40 leaders have confirmed their attendance, with controversy looming over the possible appearance of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court. The Express Tribune

China Pledges $50bn to Industrialise South Africa and Africa
“The pledge was announced during a courtesy visit by the Vice Minister of Commerce of China, Mr Zhang Xiangchen to the Director-General of the Department of Trade and Industry, (the DTI), Mr Lionel October in Pretoria,” South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said on Tuesday. The Chinese government was focusing on initiatives that would “further promote industrialisation and development of the African continent as a whole,” Xiangchen said. October said he welcomed the pledge, and praised China for its efforts in continuously supporting the African cause. He said that China remained an “inspiration” for many developing countries, especially Africa. Speaking about the upcoming Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) which would be hosted in Johannesburg from December 4 to 5, October said that such forums “can bring about progress on industrialisation”.  Mail and Guardian

The French are Back in Booming Côte d’Ivoire—But so is Everyone Else

Côte d’Ivoire, the biggest economy in French-speaking West Africa, hasrevved back to life under president Alassane Ouattara—the overwhelming favorite to win a second term in the October 25 election. And at first glance the French, its former colonial masters, are all over it. In Abidjan, a new lagoon bridge allows crosstown traffic to avoid the congested center. French construction giant Bouygues built it, and is a partner in the deal to build Abidjan’s light-rail system. Bolloré, which operates the container port, has signed a deal to manage a second terminal that has is now under construction. Retailers Carrefour and FNAC are opening. Sofitel has revamped the venerable Hotel Ivoire. Air France flies Paris-Abidjan with the mammoth Airbus A380. Le Monde hosted an Abidjan summit featuring Thomas Piketty. This activity reflects renewed appeal for an economy of 25 million people with some of West Africa’s best infrastructure. A decade of stagnation and conflict that ended in 2011 has given way to GDP growth of 8% to 10%. Côte d’Ivoire has earned IMF praise and scored a big leap in the World Bank’s “Doing Business” rankings. Quartz

Kenya: Microsoft Introduces Swahili Language Translator
People can now translate web text in Swahili language following Microsoft’s introduction of the translation option in collaboration with Tanslators Without Borders. The Swahili language, used by over 150 million people in East and Central Africa, is the first native African language to be supported by the company’s automatic translation service.  Microsoft will integrate the Swahili language translation service across its products range including Bing, Microsoft Office, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, Publisher, OneNote, Cortana among others. The translator, running on Microsoft cloud services, will see Lumia phone users and personal computers running on Windows translate any language to Kiswahili.  Daily Nation



Photo: Adam Jones