Media Review for October 30, 2015

Today’s News

Tanzania Poll: John Magufuli of CCM Defeats Edward Lowassa
Tanzania’s governing CCM party candidate John Magufuli has won the presidential election with 58% of the vote, the electoral commission says. His main rival Edward Lowassa has rejected the official results that gave him 40% of the ballots cast. The opposition Ukawa coalition candidate earlier claimed he had won with 62% of the vote. The elections on Sunday were the most fierce the governing party faced after 54 years in power. BBC

Tanzania’s New President, ‘The Bulldozer’ Magufuli
Tanzania’s new leader John Pombe Magufuli rose from humble beginnings to win the presidency of east Africa’s most populous nation in the country’s hardest ever fought elections. The win, on his birthday, by the 56-year old former chemistry teacher cements the long-running Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party’s firm grip on power, ruling Tanzania since 1977 when two independence-era parties merged. The elections, held on Sunday, were the hardest fought electoral race in the east African nation’s history, with the opposition providing the first credible challenge to the CCM since the introduction of multi-party democracy in 1995. AFP on Yahoo News

Tanzania’s Opposition Slams Elections Body over Magufuli’s Presidential Victory
[…] The opposition has rejected the official results, claiming that the electoral commission falsified the tallies. “We refuse to accept this attempt to rob the citizens of Tanzania of their democratic rights, which is being done by the National Electoral Commission by announcing results which are not the actual results,” said Lowassa, according to AFP news agency. “We are requesting that the National Electoral Commission announces that Edward Lowassa is the winner of the presidency,” the opposition candidate said. Lowassa served as Tanzania’s prime minister from 2005 to 2008, when he stepped down amid corruption allegations. Deutsche Welle

The Republic of Congo’s Flawed Referendum Process
The United States is disappointed by the deeply flawed process that culminated in the recent referendum on a new constitution for the Republic of Congo. The credibility of the referendum process was marred by violence, intimidation, and severe restrictions on basic freedoms. In its aftermath, the United States strongly urges all parties to come together peacefully to participate in an inclusive political dialogue. This dialogue should lead to urgently-needed and agreed-upon electoral reforms which will build confidence in and increase the transparency and credibility of the political process and encourage full participation by all parties. We also call on the Government of Congo to respect its citizens’ rights to freedom of expression, assembly, and association, which are fundamental to a stable, democratic society.

Rwandan Parliament Votes to Extend President Paul Kagame’s Rule
Rwanda’s lower house of parliament voted on Thursday to allow President Paul Kagame to extend his rule beyond a second term that ends in 2017 and possibly stay on until 2034, a move opposed by the United States and other aid donors. Draft amendments to the constitution approved by the lower house still have to be backed by the upper house and also put to a referendum, but are not expected to stumble at either stage. After debates on Wednesday and Thursday, lawmakers agreed that presidential terms be cut to five years from seven with a limit of two terms, but an exception has been made for Kagame. France 24

US Congratulates Ouattara re-Election as Ivory Coast President
The United States on Thursday congratulated Alassane Ouattara on his re-election as president of Ivory Coast, calling it a “significant victory.” Ouattara’s landslide win in Sunday’s peaceful election in the former French west African colony is a sharp contrast with the previous race in 2010. In that election the sitting president, Laurent Gbagbo, refused to concede defeat, unleashing months of violence that killed some 3,000 people. Gbagbo is now awaiting trial before the International Criminal Court in The Hague on charges of crimes against humanity. “The United States congratulates the Ivoirian people for a peaceful presidential election on October 25, which observers have judged to be credible, transparent and inclusive,” US State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement. AFP on Yahoo News

Battle for Control of the DRC: Who are the Raia Mutomboki?
The battle for control in DRC is coming to a head as the country prepares for a presidential vote in late 2016. Political stability has created a window of opportunity for positive change to arise, but significant obstacles to the nation’s transition to stability and democracy still remain in the form of more than 50 different armed groups operating in DRC’s eastern borderlands. “While some have a few thousands of combatants (such as the FDLR) and highly sophisticated structures of command, including supply and training, others are 10 or 20 people rag-tag gangs whose composition can change on a weekly basis,” according to political analyst Christoph Vogel.  International Business Times

Over 30 Killed in Fighting Between Congolese Army and Rebels
More than 30 people were killed in eastern Congo in fighting between the army and a rebel group of Ugandan origin, the army said on Thursday. Twenty members of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and 11 government soldiers have been killed since Monday in villages north of the town of Beni, the military said. The army regained control of the area Wednesday and the rebels fled, spokesman Mak Hazukay Mongba said. The army launched an offensive in January 2014 against the Islamist ADF, which was founded in 1995 in Uganda and later moved to Congo. The group massacred hundreds of people in the Beni area last year. News 24

Four People Lynched in Central African Republic’s Capital: Sources
Four people were killed by mobs in Central African Republic’s capital Bangui on Thursday, witnesses said, in escalating religious violence that could threaten a December election. That brings this week’s death toll to 11, including three senior negotiators for the Muslim Seleka alliance visiting the capital for peace talks aimed at resolving a two-year conflict. The spike in violence might wreck plans to hold long-delayed elections this year, as former colonial power France and other Western countries push for an end to a transition period. The electoral commission on Wednesday set Dec. 13 as the date for both presidential and parliamentary elections. Witnesses say three Muslims were attacked early on Thursday as they left the city’s only Muslim enclave, PK5, to enter the Christian sixth district. Reuters

Defence, Security Ministers Fired in C.Africa Reshuffle
Central Africa’s ministers of defence and public security have been fired in a reshuffle following renewed sectarian clashes, the government announced on Thursday. The new defence minister was named as Joseph Bidoumi, president of the Central African League of Human Rights, while Chrysostome Sambia, a gendarmerie general, was appointed minister of public security, presidential spokesman Clement Thierry Tito said on national radio. The announcement came after members of the country’s interim parliament fiercely criticised Prime Minister Mahamat Kamoun for his handling of the unrest. Violence between members of the Christian and Muslim communities flared again in September, leaving scores dead and hundreds injured before an international force restored calm. AFP on Yahoo News

Central African Republic Schedules Fresh Elections after Cancelling October Poll
The Central African Republic has scheduled presidential and parliamentary elections for 13 December, the electoral commission has said, reviving delayed efforts to restore democracy in a country rocked by fighting since 2013. The polls were initially to have been held on 18 October but were postponed, in part due to violence in the capital. A run-off presidential vote would be held on 24 January if needed, state radio said. The elections are intended to usher in a government with authority to restore order in one of Africa’s most turbulent states and pave the way for the departure of UN and French peacekeepers. The Guardian

One Day, We Will Start a Big War
See the communities of Bambari on a mapThe east bank of the Ouaka is controlled by remnants of the Seleka, a largely Muslim rebel coalition that pillaged and raped its way across CAR before seizing power over the country for a brief period in 2013. The west bank belongs to the anti-Balaka, the knife- and machete-wielding Christian self-defense militias that sprang up to counter the Seleka but managed to make the Muslim rebel coalition’s abuses look relatively mild by comparison. “Muslims are too afraid to travel to the [west] bank,” the mayor of Bambari, Abel Matchipata, told me recently. “Some Christians are traveling to the [east] bank, but they are doing so with a lot of fear.” […] Bambari’s stark divisions mirror those in the rest of CAR, a Texas-sized swath of rainforest and savannah that is sandwiched between Chad, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, among other troubled neighbors. Now, after two-and-a-half years of turmoil stemming from the Seleka coup, the country is de facto partitioned: anti-Balaka in the southwest and former Seleka fighters in the northeast, where they fled after the coalition was disbanded and its leader stepped down under intense international pressure in January 2014.  Foreign Policy

Mali’s Army Says it Kills Five Islamists near Burkina Border
Mali’s army has killed five Islamist fighters believed to have been behind a series of attacks along the border with Burkina Faso, a spokesman said on Thursday. Clashes erupted on Wednesday in the Tiebanda Forest, in central Mali’s Mopti region, and ended in the early evening, said Colonel Souleymane Maiga. A number of Islamist militants were also wounded, he said, while the army suffered no casualties. “These are elements that carried out several attacks in the region, notably against security posts. The army located them a while ago thanks to witness accounts from villagers,” he said.  Reuters

Africa Puts Security Hopes in Foreign-Funded, Home-Grown Strike Force
Backed by tanks, armoured vehicles and plenty of EU cash, thousands of African soldiers took on an imaginary enemy in the arid heart of South Africa this week, the last joint exercises before a homegrown continental strike force goes live. Standing on far-away hilltops, commanders peered through night vision goggles and issued orders through helmet-mounted radios to the 5,400 troops simulating a dawn assault on rebels in the fictitious city of Kalasi marked out in the bush. The orderly manoeuvres and high-tech kit elicited purrs of approval from military chiefs who tout the rapid-reaction battalion – a key part of a long-awaited African Standby Force (ASF) – as the antidote to insurrections spiralling into civil war or even genocide. Reuters

ECOWAS Adopts Disaster Management Model
A Model for National Disaster Management Agencies (NDMA) has been adopted by Ministers of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)By the adoption, Member States are expected to ensure the adaptation of the Model elements to their specific country contexts, while prioritizing capacity building for disaster management. The Ministers deliberated upon and adopted the ECOWAS Model National Disaster Management Agency as well as the specific recommendations emanating from the Experts report from the meeting which held at the Coconut Grove Hotel Accra, Ghana on the 24th of October 2015. Some of the key elements embedded in the 15-paged Model are effective preparedness in the event of pandemics, contingency planning, response to disasters as well as coordination. African Defense

Africa’s Army Still Waiting for Orders
Backed by tanks, armoured vehicles and plenty of EU cash, thousands of African soldiers took on an imaginary enemy in the arid heart of South Africa this week. The 5400 troops simulated a dawn assault on rebels in the fictitious city of Kalasi marked out in the bush. The battalion is a key part of a long-awaited African Standby Force that will deal with insurrections spiralling into civil war or even genocide. But analysts say the ASF, which attains “full operational capability” in December, still faces two major challenges: funding, and forging the political agreement among 54 countries to send in troops – if need be without being invited.  Reuters on Times Live

Mideast, North Africa Leads in ‘Opaque’ Defense Spending: NGO
Overall lack of accountability in arms purchases leads to weapons ending up in hands of armed militant groups The Middle East and North Africa region is a leader in the field of ‘opaque’ defence spending without proper oversight, corruption watchdog Transparency International said in a report Thursday. […] “Oversight is weak. There is no evidence in any countries in the region that parliamentary defense committees can exert meaningful influence on defense decision making,” it said. The report argues that rampant corruption has helped mobilize popular support for non-state militia groups, using Yemen as a prime example. “There’s examples of planes and ships going missing that have been provided by the US,” Dixon was quoted by The Intercept as saying. “It feels pretty difficult to lose a ship and a plane.” I24 News

India Can Rival China in Nigeria, by Being Exactly What China is Not: Open and Free
Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari spent the year 1973 in India as a young army officer receiving training at the Defence Services Staff College in Tamil Nadu. This week, Buhari returns as his country’s newly-elected civilian leader, and head of its delegation to the India-Africa Summit in New Delhi. He will be one of the around 40 leaders at the summit, but his country has the most in common with India in terms of structure and scale. For many years, India has spoken warmly about Nigeria. There is a sense that the two countries are peers. This is borne out of shared British colonial rule, the solidarity of the Non-Aligned era, and mutual aspirations to regional leadership and significance on the world stage. Jawaharlal Nehru visited Nigeria in 1962, but the reality of the relationship has lagged behind its potential. It took 45 years for another Indian prime minister to visit Nigeria. During Manmohan Singh’s visit in 2007, the two countries signed a “Declaration on Strategic Partnership” with a lofty preamble but few deliverables. Now, as the Narendra Modi government drums up Africa ties, it’s time for a more ambitious relationship with Africa’s largest country.  Quartz

Modi Turns on Charm for African Leaders
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi turned on the charm for African leaders on Thursday, promising $10 billion in credit to back a “partnership of prosperity” and pitching a broad alliance for global reform. Hosting 54 nations for the biggest India-Africa summit, Modi laid on a lavish cultural programme with dancers, drummers and videos in a sports arena. “The dreams of a third of humanity have come together under one roof,” he said in a speech. Behind the aspirational rhetoric lies a fundamental shift in India’s outlook under the 65-year-old leader, who wants Asia’s third-largest economy to break out of a history of isolation and non-alignment to become a global player. Yet India, soon to become the world’s most populous country, has its work cut out to catch up with China, whose annual trade with Africa is three times larger than its own $72 billion. IOL News

France’s Changing Relationship with Africa: Backyard, Backstop or Backdoor?
Historically, there have been four drivers behind France’s Africa policy: security, people, business and aid, and the importance of an international ‘voice’. These still remain, to an extent. But French policy on Africa has been on a trajectory of change since the mid-1990s, reflecting generational changes and institutional imperatives. This past month, Paris was bedecked with Malian flags flying side-by-side with the Tricolour. Remarkably it was the first state visit by a Malian president since the African country’s independence from France 56 years ago. Not that Mali’s leaders are unfamiliar with the French capital. To the contrary. A home away from home, a place of education, a preferred trading partner, a security stop-gap – France is all of these things, so much so that the area around the Line 9 Metro stop of Porte de Montreuil, says one French official, is like “little Bamako”.  Daily Maverick

U.S. Repatriates Long-Cleared Guantánamo Detainee to Africa
The U.S. military on Wednesday sent home a long-held captive who was cleared for release six years ago, and the government of Mauritania said he was reunited with his family on Thursday. The transfer reduced the number of war-on-terror prisoners here to 113. Of them, 53 are approved for release, with security assurances, to other countries. Ahmed Ould Abd al Aziz, 45, was among the least known detainees. He spent more than 13 years in U.S. military custody and was never charged with a crime. His leaked 2008 prison profile says he got to Guantánamo on Oct. 28, 2002, four months after Pakistani security officials captured him and his wife at a suspected al-Qaida safehouse in Karachi. Attorney Clive Stafford Smith, who represented the Mauritanian, said Aziz plans to work as a copy editor at a newspaper run by his brother-in-in the West Africa sub-Saharan nation. He has a wife and 15-year-old son, the attorney added. “While it’s great that Ahmed is home with his family, it’s 14 years late, and long after he was cleared,” he said. “His release was only delayed because he, an innocent man, routinely protested his mistreatment.The Miami Herald

Massive Search for Shabaab Air-Crash Hostages
A search operation was under way in Somalia on Thursday for a cargo plane that crash-landed south of Mogadishu and whose crew were taken hostage by the Islamist group al-Shabaab, officials said. Coming from Nairobi, the plane was carrying cargo for African Union troops in Somalia when it hit the ground in heavy rain on Wednesday. The plane had been on its way to Ballidogle airport about 100km north-west of Mogadishu. The massive search operation involved AU military commanders and “Western military experts,” said Mohamed Hussein Shine, a spokesperson for the Lower Shebelle administration. He did not give details on the Western experts. US experts are believed to be present in Somalia to help the government fight al-Shabaab. News 24

Algeria to Slowly Move to Free Private Sector
Algeria will take steps to free up its private sector in response to the plunge in its energy earnings, but change will be slow because of entrenched government bureaucracy, former presidential adviser Abdelmalek Serrai said. “The economic model will change in the short run because of the crisis, but things will move slowly,” said Serrai, an economist and consultant who has taken part in discussions with officials on how to manage an era of low oil and gas prices. “Reforms will come at a slow pace due to bureaucracy,” Serrai added in an interview for the Reuters Middle East Investment Summit. Africa Reports

African Powerhouses Seek a Nuclear Energy Future
Many African countries are in the grip of a nuclear fad. They believe nuclear energy will bring with it an international currency of prestige. Countries with nuclear energy programmes are seen as rich and technologically advanced and, as a result, possess advanced status compared to other developing countries. Nuclear is not new to Africa. It has been active since the 1950s when the Democratic Republic of the Congo built Africa’s first nuclear reactor. But now, more African countries are planning to develop atomic power for energy security. There are 12 nuclear research reactors hosted in eight African countries. South Africa is the only African country with an operational nuclear power plant.  Mail and Guardian

Poison Attacks: 60 Elephants Dead
Suspected poachers have used cyanide to kill 23 elephants in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, raising the death toll there and in the northern part of the country to 60 since late September, officials said on Thursday. Hwange National Park in western Zimbabwe currently hosts 53 000 elephants, twice the park’s carrying capacity. Park rangers recovered most of the tusks after the 23 elephants were killed with the deadly poison last Friday but poachers got away with three tusks, officials said. Cyanide is widely used in Zimbabwe’s mining industry and is relatively easy to obtain. IOL News