Media Review for October 26, 2015

Africa’s Strategic Future: Why Ethical Leadership is Key
[…] Much of this hinges on ethical political and security sector leadership. Addressing this deficit is a central theme of the three week “Next Generation of African Security Sector Leaders” seminar currently being conducted by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies in Washington. While noteworthy cases of ethical leadership in Africa are few, they are nevertheless striking. Two cases often cited in this regard are those of former Presidents Nelson Mandela of South Africa and Julius Nyerere of Tanzania. Their power of example shows how ethical leaders navigated their nations through internal divisions to stability and how ethical norms became inculcated into the security services that they left behind. Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Turnout Low as Congo Votes on Extending Presidential Term
Turnout in a referendum in Congo on Sunday was reduced to a trickle in the capital after the opposition asked voters to boycott the poll on whether the president can legally stand for a third consecutive term in an election due next year. President Denis Sassou Nguesso, 71, is the latest long-serving African president to try to prolong his grip on power by changing the constitution. Several other such efforts have provoked violence, and four died in Congo Republic last week when security forces opened fire on protesters. In some parts of the capital, the only voters were members of the security forces, witnesses said. There was no information on turnout in other parts of the country. Polling booths closed at 6 p.m. (12:00 p.m. ET) and vote counting began. Sassou Nguesso appeared confident of victory when he voted and said he regretted that the opposition had called for a boycott. Reuters

High Turnout in Tight Tanzania Poll
Turnout has been high in Tanzania’s most competitive general elections, officials say, as a new opposition coalition tries to end the governing party’s 54-year grip on power. In some areas, voting was extended to allow those still in queues to cast their ballots, officials added. Opinion polls have put the governing Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party ahead, but the result is expected to be close. Four opposition groups are backing one candidate, a former prime minister. The BBC’s Tulanana Bohela reports from the main city Dar es Salaam that usually busy streets and markets are deserted, and large queues have formed at polling stations as people wait patiently to cast their ballots. BBC

Tanzanian Voters Frustrated at Long Wait at the Polls
Waiting since the polls opened, Basil Daniel Manulao is positioned close to the door of the polling station at Umoja Wasichana Kariako primary school in Ilala district, but he told RFI he was frustrated. “I’m not really sure I’ll vote because I came here at seven, it’s now noon, and the polling stations are closed at four o’clock. I’m not sure I’ll vote, but I’m not giving up,” he said. These elections are considered the tightest race between current Works Minister John Magufuli from Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM), the ruling party, and his strong contender, Edward Lowassa, a former prime minister from the Chadema party. Registered voters have been peacefully waiting to vote, but many expressed frustration that it is taking so long, especially considering they possess biometric voter cards. RFI

With This Election, Zanzibar Could Make History and End One-Party Rule
Through June and July police and paramilitary units in Zanzibar unleashed a campaign of intimidation against opposition supporters as they tried to register to vote. It went beyond verbal harassment and threats – potential voters were beaten and intimidated. It was no coincidence that most of the human rights violations occurred in and around registration centres. Eye witnesses saw how anyone associated with the opposition became a potential target for harassment. But for Zanzibaris this treatment is nothing new. Violence has been a feature of virtually all elections on the island since 1995. In 2000, more than 2,000 CUF supporters fled to Kenya after deadly clashes with police in which 35 people were killed and another 600 were injured. In 2005, the death toll was similar. The Guardian

Will Elections Steer Tanzania in a New Direction?
On Sunday, Tanzanians will head to the polls for the country’s fifth multiparty elections. Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM, in English: Party of the Revolution) is Africa’s longest ruling party and through its 50 plus years in power has engineered transitions from single-party rule to multiparty competition; from a collapsing socialist economy to sustained growth under capitalism; and from “Donor Darling” status to having endemic corruption. CCM has never been more vulnerable as it faces a unified opposition front backing a popular candidate. In this post, we highlight six important things to know about the upcoming elections in this East African nation.  The Washington Post

Ivorian Polls Close after Peaceful Vote
Ivory Coast’s election commission extended voting in Sunday’s presidential poll after logistical problems in many areas delayed the start of the vote, seen as crucial to turning the page on a decade-long political crisis and a civil war in 2011. President Alassane Ouattara, whose leadership has helped the West African nation re-emerge as a rising economic star on the continent, is facing a divided opposition and is heavily favoured to win re-election. However, there were concerns that a boycott by part of the opposition coupled with voter apathy could result in low turnout. France 24

President Poised to Cement Power in Ivory Coast Vote
Ivory Coast has voted in a presidential election likely to give President Alassane Ouattara a second term, an event that is closely watched by investors after a decade-long political crisis that ended with a civil war in 2011. Ouattara faced a divided opposition on Sunday, although a partial boycott and voter apathy could result in low turnout. “This is a high-stakes election for Ivory Coast. It could draw a line under the violence that exploded after the last election and cement Ivory Coast’s economic revival which has all happened under current President Alassane Ouattara who is heavily favoured to win this vote,” Al Jazeera’s Tania Page said, reporting from the capital Abidjan. Al Jazeera

Rwanda Rejects Burundi Meddling Accusations
Rwanda has dismissed accusations it was meddling in neighbouring Burundi’s political crisis, with Kigali’s foreign minister saying Rwanda only wanted peace. “Burundi’s problem is not Rwanda’s, Burundi’s problem is Burundi’s,” Louise Mushikiwabo told reporters in Kigali late Thursday. “We believe, as leadership, that when leaders take decisions they should be able to live with the consequences of the decisions.” Burundi, where a 13-year civil war ended in 2006, has been rocked by violence since April, when President Pierre Nkurunziza launched his now successful but highly controversial bid for a third term in power. Relations between Rwanda and Burundi grew tense after Rwanda President Paul Kagame urged Nkurunziza to end his bid for a third term. Capital FM

Subcommittee Hearing: Africa’s Great Lakes Region: A Security, Political, and Humanitarian Challenge
Witnesses : The Honorable Linda Thomas-Greenfield Assistant Secretary Bureau of African Affairs U.S. Department of State [full text of statement]
The Honorable Thomas Perriello Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa U.S. Department of State [full text of statement]

45 in Custody over ‘Boko Haram Plot’ in Lagos: Sources
Nigeria’s secret police have arrested and charged 45 suspects over an alleged Boko Haram plot to attack the country’s financial hub, Lagos, sources with knowledge of the matter told AFP on Sunday. “About 60 suspects were picked up from different locations in Lagos by the Department of State Services acting on intelligence information they were planning to attack Dolphin Estate in Ikoyi last month,” said one source, referring to an upscale area of Lagos. Both sources, who asked not to be identified for security reasons, said some of the suspects were released after preliminary investigations, while 45 others were taken to a magistrate court on Friday. AFP on Yahoo News

Nigeria Denies Presence of Mercenaries to Combat Boko Haram
The Nigerian Defense Headquarters has denied the presence of foreign mercenaries in the ongoing counter insurgency operation in restive northeast part of the country. Local media had reported that the military has resorted to using mercenaries in the ongoing fight against Boko Haram militants. Reacting to the report, Colonel Rabe Abubakar, the defense spokesperson, told Xinhua on Saturday that the insinuation and media reports are utterly scurrilous and a calculated attempt to smear the good image of the Nigerian military. He said the orchestrated campaign is aimed at rubbishing the efforts of the Nigerian Armed Forces and other security agencies who are working hard to contain the insurgencies in the northeast.  Xinhua

Nigerian Court Annuls State Governor Vote in Southern Oil Hub
A Nigerian court on Saturday annulled the governor’s election in the country’s oil hub Rivers State due to irregularities and ordered a fresh vote within three months in a ruling likely to add to tensions in the sensitive region. Former militants in the southern region have said they might resume a fight for a greater share of oil revenues if President Muhammadu Buhari ends an amnesty due to expire in December. A special election petition tribunal in the federal capital Abuja declared void the April election of Nyesom Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as state governor. “The process of accreditation for the election was compromised,” tribunal chairman Justice Suleiman Ambursa said. “It is the view of the tribunal that the election was held contrary to guidelines.”  Reuters

Zuma Bows to South African Student Fee Demands Amid Protests
South Africa’s government bowed to student demands to cap university fees next year, after thousands of demonstrators gathered outside President Jacob Zuma’s offices at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, the capital, and clashed with police. Zuma made the announcement in a nationally televised address following 10 days of demonstrations that led to violent clashes with the police and more than 100 arrests in the biggest student protests since the end of apartheid in 1994.  Bloomberg

Humanitarian Groups Say 80 Civilians Killed in One Month in one South Sudan County
A group of humanitarian organizations monitoring civilian casualties in South Sudan says 80 civilians, including 57 children, were killed in just one county in war-torn Unity state between Oct. 4 and 22. The Protection Cluster, representing 60 local and international organizations, said 29 of the children drowned after running into swamps to hide from attacks in Leer County. The group said there were reports of widespread use of sexual violence, including more than 50 rape cases. South Sudan army spokesman Philip Aguer said Saturday that he had no reports of fighting in Leer County. The U.N. and human rights groups have documented widespread abuses against civilians including rapes and killings by government soldiers and their militia, in Unity state this year. Fighting persists despite a peace deal signed in August.  LA Times

Malakal: The City that Vanished in South Sudan
The roads of central Juba, the capital of South Sudan, bear witness to the British colonial town it once was: They are lined with neem trees, tall and narrow-leafed, their seeds transported from India. In their broad shade, there is another familiar sight: Lines of men, in plastic chairs, most of them jobless. They wait and talk, scouring the thin pickings of the local newspapers. Victor Lajar is one of them. He is 51 – his purple-striped shirt is perfectly pressed; his grey trousers have crisp vertical creases. Over a cup of clove-laced tea, he tells me he used to be a local government official. BBC

South Sudan’s Rival Parties to Sign Minutes on Security Arrangements
South Sudanese rival parties have reached a breakthrough and are set to sign minutes of the security arrangement produced from the five-day military workshop in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, in implementation of the peace agreement signed in August. The workshop attended by top military commanders from president Salva Kiir’s government and armed opposition faction led by former vice president, Riek Machar, aimed to reach an understanding on deployment of joint forces in the capital, Juba, and other major towns. Earlier on Friday, the East African regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), issued a position statement calling on both parties to share forces which will be deployed in Juba under a unified command. The East African

US Wants ‘Concrete Steps’ to Prepare for DRC Elections
A senior U.S. diplomat visiting the Democratic Republic of Congo has urged the government there to take concrete steps to prepare for future elections, and to cooperate fully with the U.N. mission working to resolve conflicts in the DRC. Sarah Sewall, the U.S. undersecretary of state for civilian security, democracy and human rights, also warned of consequences for those who violate constitutional processes. Sewall spoke to reporters Saturday in Goma, in the eastern part of the country.   Sewall was wrapping up a weeklong visit to the DRC, which she said focused on two key issues: elections and cooperation between the Congolese army and the U.N. mission here, known as MONUSCO. The American diplomat said there was a need to move forward with registering voters and with making and communicating preparations for ensuring security during the elections, and there was also a need to agree on an electoral timetable. She called for a dialogue to settle electoral issues. VOA

Ghanaian Opposition Leader Fears Election Fraud Could Create ‘Combustible Cocktail’
When President Barack Obama made his first official trip to the African continent in 2009, it was no surprise that he chose to visit Ghana — the first African country to liberate itself from the holds of European colonization and a nation that has long been touted by the West as one of Africa’s best models for a free and fair democracy. But despite Ghana’s relative success in hosting largely transparent elections and maintaining rule of law, opposition leaders from the country’s New Patriotic Party are now increasingly worried the ruling party has slipped into a pattern of corruption and malfeasance that could threaten the progress of Ghana’s young and fragile political institutions. In an exclusive interview with Foreign Policy in Washington this week, NPP presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo blasted what he deemed dangerous interference in the electoral process by the federal government, which is led by President John Mahama.  Foreign Policy
Kenya: 15 Islamic Extremist Rebels Killed in Somalia
Kenya’s military says it has destroyed a base in Somalia operated by the Islamic extremist rebels of al-Shabab and killed 15 of its fighters. Kenya has been hit several times by al-Shabab, which opposes Kenyan military involvement in Somalia. Kenyan military spokesman Col. David Obonyo said in a statement Sunday that Kenyan troops under the African Union mission in Somalia destroyed an al-Shabab base at Yantooy by Jubba River in southern Somalia in a dawn attack. He said two boats the rebels have been using to cross the river were also destroyed. He added that Yantooy has been the main base used by rebels to cross the river from Jilib, an al-Shabab base in Lower Shabelle region, and infiltrate the Lower Jubba region near the border with Kenya. AP

Kenya Beefs up Security Amid Terror Alert
Kenyan police on Friday issued terror alert, saying Somali militants plan to stage attacks in northeastern and the coastal regions as well as Nairobi during this rainy season. Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet cautioned Kenyans to be vigilant at all times and report promptly any suspicious characters to security agencies. “Available information indicates that others could be mobilizing in Somalia and may take advantage of the rainy season to infiltrate through our borders and stage attacks in Northeastern and the Coast regions as well as in Nairobi,” Boinett said in Nairobi. He said the police are reliably informed that other Al-Shabaab operatives in Somalia are planning to take advantage of the El Nino rains to cross into Kenya. Xinhua

Death Toll in Libya Anti-Peace Deal Rally Shelling Hits 12
The death toll for the shelling of a rally in Libya’s second city Benghazi, protesting against a UN-proposed peace deal has jumped to 12, medics said. At least 12 people died and 39 were wounded after a volley of shells hit the rally attended by hundreds of people, the LANA news agency close to the internationally recognised Libyan government reported Saturday. Those present were demonstrating against a proposed power-sharing deal put forward by Libya’s UN envoy, Bernardino Leon. On their Facebook pages, the Benghazi Medical Centre announced eight dead, while the city’s Al-Jalaa hospital announced four had died. Medics initially said five people were killed. AFP on Yahoo News

The Challenges of Arab Counterinsurgency
The Arab War on Terror is in full swing. Never has the region seen as many terrorist networks, guerrilla groups and militias fighting against governments as now. In Egypt, Iraq, Algeria and Yemen, central governments are struggling with insurgencies of one type or another, with Western governments providing tacit or overt support. Unfortunately, counterinsurgency is a difficult business for Arab states – for all states for that matter. Egypt’s Sinai campaign is now in its fourth year; Yemen’s Houthis have come back with a vengeance after a decade in which six military campaigns were run against them; Algeria fought an outright war against Islamist networks in the 1990s but low levels of terrorism have persisted since then and are now on the rise. Al Ahram

Sam Pa: The Fall of China’s Trailblazer in Africa
[…] Key to the deals were his relationships with African military and government leaders dating back several decades. These relationships were developed, in part, during his time as a Chinese intelligence operative and weapons trader, according to a detailed investigation of his activities in Africa by US researcher JR Mailey. JR Mailey describes the Queensway Group as “the prototypical predatory investor.” In much-cited report published earlier this year he said it frequently appears in resource-rich African nations where it could operate without a great deal of accountability. “In Angola and Zimbabwe, for example, few details from the contracts pertaining to Queensway’s investments – reportedly worth up to $9bn in each country – have ever been disclosed to the public. In states where contracts have been unearthed, such as Guinea and Tanzania, the deals were revealed to be flagrantly unfavourable to the citizens of the host country. Having allegedly bribed African government officials and engaged in illicit arms trafficking and diamond smuggling, Queensway’s deals in Africa have often had a disastrous impact on governance,” his report found. The Independent

India Ups Race with China, Looks to Africa for New Trade at Major New Delhi Meet
India on Sunday hailed Africa as a frontier of new opportunities ahead of a major gathering of the continent’s leaders in New Delhi to boost trade and investment. Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said India was committed to Africa’s economic rise, as it ramps up the race for resources on the energy and mineral-rich continent where rival China already has a major head start. “Today, with substantial trade and investments, Africa is a frontier of new opportunities,” Swaraj told African dignitaries in Delhi on Sunday. “We are interested in Africa’s economic growth and its integration with the global economy,” she said ahead of Monday’s official start of the India-Africa Forum. Mail and Guardian



Photo: Adam Jones