Media Review for October 7, 2015

Buhari Finally Names a New Nigerian Government Cabinet—But it’s not That New
Four months after getting elected in landmark polls, Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari has finally given his 21 nominations for a new government cabinet to the senate, but is yet to identify specific portfolios for each nominee. The list of names, which was expected to break from a tradition of rewarding party cronies and supporters, includes former governors of Lagos, Rivers and Ekiti states, as well as a few operatives from Buhari’s APC party. There are also a few new names. After being sworn in on May 29, there was eager anticipation of Buhari’s changed approach to governance as would be evidenced through his key appointments. After four months of waiting for names, it became a local social media meme with the hashtag #theList in recent weeks.  Quartz

Nigeria Arrests Oil tycoon as Corruption Probe Widens
Nigeria has arrested the chairman of a local oil firm, a security official said on Tuesday, as part of a widening graft investigation in Africa’s biggest petroleum producer that has also netted former oil minister Diezani Alison-Madueke. Days after British police detained Alison-Madueke, one of Africa’s most powerful women, the official said their counterparts in Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arrested Atlantic Energy chairman Olajide Omokore on corruption and money laundering charges. The arrests, which follow pledges by President Muhammadu Buhari – a former military dictator – to “clean up” Africa’s biggest economy, have sent shockwaves through Nigeria’s globe-trotting corporate and political elite.  Reuters

Nigeria’s Buhari Warns the Corrupt: ‘No Longer Business as Usual’
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday warned there was no longer any hiding place for the corrupt, as he hailed British and Swiss support for the recovery of stolen public funds. “Switzerland and Britain have been very helpful indeed in the recovery of our assets. But we must build on what we have started,” he told both countries’ ambassadors separately in Abuja. “It is also important to send a signal to the elite that it is no longer business as usual,” he said, according to a statement from his office. Buhari has vowed to recover “mind-boggling” amounts of stolen oil money and bring those responsible to book, as part of a drive against corruption and to replenish depleted government coffers.  AFP on Yahoo News

Kenyan Lawman Vows To Defeat Terrorism The Way He Fought Crime
Can you fight terrorists the same way you battle ordinary criminals? A prominent Kenyan crime fighter, Mohamud Saleh, is betting you can. He’s testing his theory in Garissa, a city in northeastern Kenya thrust into the spotlight this April when Islamist militants attacked a campus dorm, killing 147 students. Long before Garissa had a terrorism problem, it had a problem with bandits, as Daud Yussuf, a Kenyan journalist, remembers. Back in 1993, Yussuf was a ninth-grader whose father couldn’t afford his school fees. So Daud traveled 60 miles to his uncle to get the money. On the way back home, the bus was hijacked. “They took all the personal belongings that we had, including my shoes and my school fees,” he says. “So banditry was a menace.”  NPR

Burkina Faso Coup General, ex-Minister ‘Charged with Attacking State Security’
The general behind Burkina Faso’s failed coup was charged, together with a former top aide to ousted president Blaise Compaoré, with “murder” and “attacking state security” on Tuesday, judicial sources said. General Gilbert Diendere and Djibrill Bassole, a former foreign minister under Compaore, were also charged with “collusion with foreign forces to destabilise internal security”, “causing intentional injury” and “intentional destruction of property” over the short-lived September 17 putsch, the sources said. The pair were remanded in custody.  France 24

EU Urges S. Sudan’s Kiir to Suspend Unilateral Decree Over Creation of 28 States
European Union (EU) has issued a strong-worded statement condemning the Friday’s unilateral decree issued by South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir which created 28 new states, saying this was a violation of the peace agreement he signed with the former vice president and armed opposition leader, Riek Machar. “The announcement by President Salva Kiir of the presidential order to replace the 10 existing states with 28 new states goes against the spirit and the letter of the Peace agreement signed by the Government of South Sudan on August 26,” partly reads the statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Tuesday. Sudan Tribune

Africa: “Decisive Moment for Democracy” by John Kerry
Last May, I shared in an extraordinary moment. I had the privilege, together with many leaders from across Africa, of bearing witness to the first peaceful, democratic transition of power between two parties in Nigeria. I traveled to Lagos earlier this year to emphasize that for the United States, Nigeria is an increasingly important strategic partner with a critical role to play in the security and prosperity of the region. I also said that it was imperative that these elections set a new standard for democracy across the continent. There is no question that this is a decisive moment for democracy in Africa. Later this month, four countries — Guinea, Tanzania, Côte d’Ivoire, and the Central African Republic — are scheduled to hold presidential elections, and soon after we hope to see elections in Burkina Faso. People across Africa must seize this opportunity to make their voices heard; and leaders across the continent must listen.

Guinea Opposition Confirms Participation in Presidential Vote
Guinea’s opposition candidates said on Tuesday they would participate in the first round of the October 11 presidential election, while cautioning that “dysfunctional” aspects of the voting process must be addressed. The country’s main opposition had called on Thursday for the vote to be postponed until later in October to allow the election commission time to correct “anomalies” in the electoral roll. Clashes between supporters of Guinea’s ruling party and opposition activists left at least one dead and more than 80 wounded last week, as tension mounted ahead of the presidential election. News 24

Illegal Overfishing and the Return of Somalia’s Pirates
A hundred years ago, it was a bustling port that served the vibrant fishing community living along Somalia’s coastline, the longest on mainland Africa. Now, Durduri is a sun-bleached, wind-swept, white-sand graveyard of stone structures. There is no harbour, no jetty. The drying and smoking house is just a tumble of bricks.  This is one of many historical coastal trading towns that have risen and fallen with empires. When the busy trade routes moved away, fishing was one of the few lifelines left. Talk to locals now and you will find this too has dried up – they say there are no more fish in the sea. They blame not the pirates who brought the attention of international law enforcement to Somalia’s waters, but the foreign fishing boats that have plundered sea-life stocks. Al Jazeera

Nigerian Navy Acquires Falcon Eye Maritime Surveillance System
The Nigerian Navy (NN) has acquired the Falcon Eye Israeli-designed mass surveillance system to monitor the country’s territorial waters and track movements within the broader Gulf of Guinea maritime zone. The Falcon Eye is a sophisticated mass surveillance system designed in Israeli but manufactured by United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based Falcon Technologies. The company also manufactures unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Its mass surveillance system uses a number of electro-optic systems and cameras operated from a command centre to detect and pinpoint vehicular and human movements within prescribed security environments. DefenceWeb

Kenya, Tanzania Step up War on Poaching, Terrorism, Drugs
Kenya and Tanzania have agreed to scale up joint onslaughts against poaching, terrorism and drug trafficking. Elephant and rhino poaching has become a big concern in East Africa, affecting tourism which is a key foreign exchange earner. Experts estimate Africa’s elephant population has fallen by more than 60 per cent over the past decade. More than 30,000 elephants are killed every year in Africa, many of them to meet demand for ivory from Asian nations. Most seized savannah elephant tusks came from a region spanning parts of southeastern Tanzania and northern Mozambique. Drug trafficking is also a growing concern in East Africa following recent huge seizures. The region is largely a transit point to other parts of Africa and beyond. The East African

Somali Militants Vow to Welcome British Peacekeepers ‘with Fire’
Somalia’s militant Islamist group al Shabaab pledged on Tuesday to greet British troops “with fire” when they arrive to provide support to a peacekeeping force in the conflict-ravaged country. Last week Prime Minister David Cameron announced plans to deploy up to 70 troops and experts to provide logistical, medical and engineering support to the African Union-led peacekeeping force in Somalia, which is struggling to emerge from two decades of chaos and is also battling the Islamist insurgency of the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab. Like other Western powers, Britain has long avoided the Horn of Africa country, which until recently was widely viewed as a failed state, but it has made some progress in restoring order and setting up a functioning government. “We hope we shall see the beheaded bodies of whites,” Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage, al Shabaab’s spokesman, said in a radio broadcast.  Reuters

Trouble in Peaceland
In May 2010, in an attempt to bring state authority back to war-torn parts of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) began helping the Congolese police deploy officers to particularly volatile villages. Aided by other international peacebuilding organizations, the U.N. built new police stations and flew in officers from other parts of the country — part of a strategy to avoid corruption by introducing detached and uncompromised ranks. Once the police were established and the area was secured, or so the plan went, other government representatives would soon follow. After the deployment process had finished, U.N. officials in New York claimed that an important step had been accomplished toward fulfilling their mandate to stabilize Congo and return peace. In reality, however, it only made the situation much, much worse. Foreign Policy

Ruling Party Behind Congo Attack: HRW
Rights campaigners accused police and ruling party officials in Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday of recruiting thugs to attack a peaceful opposition rally last month in which more than a dozen protesters were injured. Tensions are high in Congo, where the opposition accuses President Joseph Kabila, who must step down at the end of his term next year according to the constitution, of manipulating a packed elections calendar in order to cling to power. Young men with clubs and sticks stormed into the crowd at the Sept. 15 event in the capital Kinshasa, organised against Kabila’s perceived attempts to extend his rule. One of the attackers was killed when demonstrators fought back. IOL News

Congo’s Opposition Coalescing to Stop Kabila From Extending Rule
Opposition parties in the Democratic Republic of Congo are coalescing around a campaign to stop what they describe as President Joseph Kabila’s intention to extend his 14-year rule in Africa’s biggest copper-producing nation. Moise Katumbi, the former governor of the copper-rich Katanga province, quit the president’s People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy last week, signaling he may run against Kabila in a vote scheduled for November 2016. His resignation was welcomed by opposition leader Vital Kamerhe and came days after a group of politicians known as the G7 were banished from the ruling Presidential Majority for criticizing the president in an open letter. “Investors will have to brace themselves for increasingly erratic decision-making as Kabila tries to figure out who’s loyal to him and who isn’t,” Christoph Wille, senior analyst at London-based Control Risks, said in an e-mailed response to questions. Bloomberg

Mugabe’s Allies Fear Ousting Him Could See them Sidelined, So They Help the 91-Old Veteran Hang On
President Robert Mugabe’s oldest allies favour letting the 91-year-old remain in office indefinitely rather than trying to oust him even as Zimbabwe’s economy collapses, members of the decision-making body of the ruling party said. While frustrated by his resistance to changes needed to rescue the economy, they’re concerned that if pushed out of office he would place allies, including his wife and younger politicians, at the head of government, sidelining them, three members of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front’s politburo said. They asked not to be identified because the discussions aren’t public. Doubts about Mugabe’s competence surfaced last month when he read the wrong speech at the opening of parliament without realising he had delivered the same address a few weeks earlier. Mail and Guardian

Africa’s Fastest-Growing Displacement Crisis
Boko Haram-related violence has forced 2.5 million people from their homes across Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger, turning it into Africa’s fastest-growing displacement crisis. Governments’ measures to counteract the armed group are starting to take effect, but the humanitarian response to the crisis that the violence has caused across the region is starved of funds and strained at the seams.  Some 2.1 million people have fled within Nigeria, while around 200,000 people have sought refuge across Nigeria’s borders to an area near Lake Chad in Cameroon, Chad and Niger, which is known as the Lake Chad Basin. A further 200,000 Cameroonians, Chadians and Nigeriens are displaced within their countries. Over half of the 2.5 million displaced people are children.  United Nations OCHA

Nearly 100 Migrants Reported Dead off Libya: IOM
Nearly 100 migrants are reported to have died in the Mediterranean off Libya since Sunday, the International Organization for Migration said on Tuesday, citing unconfirmed reports from the Libyan Red Crescent. The figures were based on two sightings of bodies found near Libya’s coast: 85 corpses in one area and 10 in another, IOM said in a statement. A total of 557,899 migrants and refugees have arrived in Europe across the sea this year, and 2,987 people have died attempting the crossing, it said.  Reuters

The New Africa: Reality Check as Boom Time Ends
T he Chinese presence across Africa has become ever greater over the past dec- ade. From Khartoum in Sudan to Lomé in Togo, ostentatious presidential palaces have been built with Chinese money and labour. Mine shafts have been sunk, oil pipelines laid, and countless roads,bridges and airports constructed. Vast amounts of oil, coal, copper and iron ore have been shipped eastward to satisfy China’s hunger for Africa’s raw materials. A flood of Chinese manufac- tured goods, from dumper trucks to toys,hascomeintheoppositedirection. At times China’s presence has been controversial, but it has been a core themeofAfrica’srecentgrowth. Now the slowdown in China’s economy and the global ripple effects, particularly the collapse in commodity prices, are combining to present many African nations with the toughest eco- nomic challenges they have faced in years. The Financial Times

UN Envoy Says Peace Process is ‘Back on Track’ in Mali
The U.N. envoy for Mali said Tuesday “the peace process is back on track” after violence in August threatened to disrupt an agreement between the government and separatist rebels. But Mongi Hamdi told the U.N. Security Council that “vigilance will be required as the peace process remains fragile.” Following confrontations near the Algerian border at the beginning of September that severely threatened the peace process, Hamdi said he brought together the top military leadership of pro-government militias and Tuareg and Arab rebels for the first time. He said they agreed to cease hostilities, return to their positions prior to the June 20 peace agreement and return to the peace process. Hamdi said he was pleased to report “that the cease-fire and the terms of these agreements are now holding.”  AP on The Washington Post

Guinea-Bissau President Rejects Proposed Government
Guinea-Bissau President Jose Mario Vaz rejected on Tuesday a cabinet proposed by his new prime minister, dealing a blow to efforts aimed at turning the page on a crisis that has threatened to destabilize the coup-plagued West African nation. Carlos Correia was appointed premier on Sept. 8 following weeks of political turmoil triggered by Vaz’s dismissal of Prime Minister Domingos Simoes Pereira and his government over a row between the two rivals within the ruling PAIGC party. After more than a month of political haggling, Correia submitted a list of ministers to the president on Oct. 2. However Vaz said the cabinet was too large. “The presidency asks Carlos Correia to reformulate his 34-member government because the state budget will not be able to cover the cost,” said a statement released by Vaz’s office.  Reuters

Ivory Coast Opposition Candidate Suspends Participation in Presidential Vote
Former Ivory Coast foreign minister turned opposition candidate Amara Essy said on Tuesday he had suspended his participation in this month’s presidential election, saying the process was undemocratic and dominated by the incumbent. President Alassane Ouattara is heavily favored to win re-election in the Oct. 25 ballot, meant to draw a line under a decade-long crisis that ended in a civil war that killed over 3,000 people after the last presidential vote in 2010. Investors, drawn to an economic boom in the West African nation, also hope the poll will provide assurances of political stability. Essy, a member of the National Coalition for Change (CNC) opposition bloc, stopped short of saying he would boycott the election, but said his participation was conditional upon certain demands being addressed by the government. Reuters

Baby, Maternal Deaths Soar in Sierra Leone on Ebola Fear
Maternal and newborn deaths in Sierra Leone have soared since the Ebola outbreak in West Africa as fear of being infected and mistrust of health workers deter pregnant women from giving birth in health facilities, researchers said on Tuesday. Deaths of women during or just after childbirth rose by almost a third and those of newborns by a quarter between May 2014 and April 2015 compared with the previous year, a study by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) found. The number of women giving birth at health centres fell by 11%, and those receiving care before or after birth fell by around a fifth, despite most facilities across Sierra Leone being functional and adequately staffed, the study said. News 24

South Africa – The Opposition Takes on the Ruling Party in its Heartland
There is precious little similarity between the liberal-leaning Democratic Alliance (DA), led by the smooth and managerial Mmusi Maimane, and its rival as standard-bearer of South Africa’s opposition, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), a fiery mob of radical leftists with the bombastic Julius Malema at its helm. At a recent rally celebrating “Heritage Day” in South Africa, Mr Maimane quoted Nelson Mandela and invoked non-racism; the EFF marked the day by calling for the Afrikaans section of South Africa’s multi-tongued national anthem to be axed. But these near-opposites, united only in hostility to the ruling party, could end up as coalition partners in some of South Africa’s biggest cities if the African National Congress (ANC) continues its political slide. The Economist