Media Review for September 4, 2015

Suicide Bombings in Cameroon Leave 143 Wounded and At Least 19 Dead
Cameroonian officials said the first explosion occurred at a morning market on Thursday. The second blast happened 200 meters away near a camp housing infantry troops. The number of wounded was put at 143. One local government official quoted by Reuters said he had been told that the attackers were female bombers. The news agency AFP put the death toll higher at 30. Cameroon is part of a five-nation coalition fighting Boko Haram, a radical Islamist group which has waged insurgency in neighboring northern Nigeria for six years and staged cross-border attacks. The coalition includes Cameroon, Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Benin. Kerawa in Cameroon’s Far North region was the scene of clashes between Boko Haram militants and soldiers in February. In July, suicide bombings in another Far North town, Maroua, claimed dozens of lives. Deutsche Welle

Cameroon: The Threat of Religious Radicalism
The emergence of radical religious groups in Cameroon risks destabilising the country’s climate of religious tolerance. Traditional Sufi Islam is increasingly being challenged by the rise of stricter Islamic ideology, mostly Wahhabism. Within Christian communities, the rise of Revivalist Churches has ended the monopoly of the Catholic and Protestant Churches. Yet, the religious changes are not perceived as problematic by Cameroonian political and religious authorities, which underestimate their potential for conflict. International Crisis Group

Nigerian Army Reinstates 3, 032 Dismissed Soldiers
The Nigerian Army has confirmed the reinstatement of 3,032 out of 5000 dismissed soldiers whose cases were reviewed by a committee constituted by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai. The acting Director of Army Public Relations, Sani Usman, made this known at a news conference in Abuja on Thursday. Mr. Usman, a colonel, said the cases presented to the disciplinary review committee were treated on merit, adding that the review process was still on. According to him, only soldiers with disciplinary cases have been reinstated as those with criminal cases were not even considered by the committee. “You would recall that the Nigerian Army sometime ago instituted a committee to review the recent disciplinary cases in the service, especially of those soldiers in the defunct ‘Operation Zaman Lafiya’, he said. Premium Times

Dead or Alive: The Seven Lives of Boko Haram’s Leader
Early in August 2015, the President of Chad, Idriss Deby, announced the death of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau and a possible change in the militant group’s leadership. A purported picture of Shekau’s corpse was circulated in the media, but the Nigerian military neither denied nor confirmed the story. That was not the first announcement of its kind. Army officers in Cameroon and Nigeria had made similar claims about Shekau in the past. But a few days after Deby’s pronouncements, in an audio recording, Shekau thanked Allah for still being alive and promised to continue his orgy of violence. It looks as if, like Saddam Hussein, Shekau has seven lives. ISS

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari Declares Assets
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has declared he has $150,000 (£100,000) in his personal account, in a move aimed at promoting transparency and curbing corruption in government. The amount showed that he had been living a “Spartan lifestyle”, his spokesman Garba Shehu said. Mr Buhari has five homes and two mud houses, as well as farms, he added. The former military ruler was elected in March largely on a promise to tackle corruption and insecurity. BBC

Zuma Meets Al-Bashir in China‚ Agrees to Visit Sudan
President Jacob Zuma‚ despite a storm of controversy in South Africa over wanted “war criminal” President Omar Al-Bashir‚ today met the Sudanese leader and agreed to visit that country.  Just this week‚ the opposition DA had tried to ask Parliament to investigate the circumstances under which Al-Bashir had been allowed to leave South Africa when he was ordered by the International Criminal Court not to leave; whether the Constitution had been breached; and whether Zuma should be removed from office for failing to effect the ICC arrest warrant on Al-Bashir when he attended the African Union summit in Johannesburg in June.  Times Live

Kenya: Majority of Kenyans Want KDF to Stay in Somalia – Survey
Majority of Kenyans at 57 percent support the continued deployment of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) to Somalia, according to a new IPSOS survey. The report indicates that among those who support, 70 percent are aligned to the Jubilee coalition while 39 percent are CORD supporters. Of the supporters, Central leads at 80 percent, followed by Rift Valley at 62 percent while North Eastern and Western support least at 39pc and 37pc respectively. Kenya Defence Forces under the African Union Mission in Somalia has played a huge role in reducing cases of terror attacks in the country but the survey indicates that 70 percent of Kenyans still find terror as the major threat in the country. Capital FM on allAfrica

Analysis: Al-Shabaab’s Revenge Sparks Another Crisis in Somalia
The African Union Mission in Somalia suffered another devastating setback this week as Al-Shabaab stormed a military base, killing dozens of peacekeepers in the process. The incident was yet more proof that there’s still plenty of bite to Al-Shabaab’s bark. It also raised difficult questions for the African intervention force, which is struggling to adapt to the militants’ changing tactics, Daily Maverick

Kerry Warns South Sudan Leader on Ceasefire
US Secretary of State John Kerry rang the president of South Sudan on Thursday to warn him to respect an oft-broken ceasefire. The UN Security Council is to meet on Friday to discuss the latest fighting, having already threatened to impose sanctions on any parties imperiling a deal to end the nearly two-year war. Under the agreement signed by President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar, a ceasefire was due to enter into force last weekend, but fighting has continued in Upper Nile state. AFP on Yahoo News

Islamists Have Returned to Mali – and the People are Fleeing
Usman Keita had vivid memories of the day in February two years ago when François Hollande came to Timbuktu. French troops had driven out the jihadists and people threw off the shackles of the harsh sharia code which had been imposed, put on their most colourful clothes and belted out music to welcome the French President as the saviour of Mali. We, the journalists, were caught up in the swirl of optimism that day as we walked around the wonderful city, glad to be part of the celebrations, glad that the Islamists had departed before they were able to carry out more killings and mutilations, destroy more historic sites and manuscripts. “We felt so good, we felt so free, we were sure that everything was going to be fine. I wish I had met you and your colleagues that day, I would have invited you for dinner at my home,” said Usman. “I won’t be able to do that now, unfortunately.” The Independent

Europe Seeks More Action Against Mediterranean Migrant Smugglers
The European Union is set to intensify its actions against migrant smugglers in the Mediterranean, the bloc’s top diplomat said on Thursday, seeing sufficient political support to start searching and diverting smuggler vessels. As Europe struggles to respond to its worst refugee crisis in decades, France, Britain and Italy want to stop the smugglers who pack people onto rickety boats for the dangerous journey by sea, part of a wider plan to include taking in asylum seekers. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said she saw “a broad consensus” among defence ministers meeting in Luxembourg to go beyond intelligence gathering on smuggler routes in the Mediterranean and to search vessels and make arrests. Reuters

Taylor and Bashir: A Tale of Two Warlords
After all, both of them earned their political stripes running militias that killed and maimed tens of thousands of civilians and both have faced charges of crimes against humanity. There, the similarity ends. Where was the solidarity of African leaders when Nigerian police arrested Taylor and his erstwhile brother Olusegun Obasanjo then handed him over to the United Nations-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone? Sudan’s Bashir has skilfully linked the charges against him by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to African leaders’ concerns about national sovereignty. There is also the sense that the court is targeting Africa, although most of the cases before it were referred by African regimes keen to prosecute their armed opponents. The Africa Report

Who is DR Congo’s ‘Terminator’ Bosco Ntaganda?
Former Congolese rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda is due to go on trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague for war crimes. He denies all 18 charges which include murder, rape and the recruitment of child soldiers. Anna Holligan has been looking at the accusations faced by the man nicknamed “The Terminator”.  BBC

Ghana to Decide on Calls for Fresh Voter Register
Ghana’s main opposition New Patriotic Party has petitioned the Electoral Commission to compile a new voter list for next year’s presidential and parliamentary elections. Some other opposition parties have backed the call for a new voter register, but some civil society groups and the ruling National Democratic Congress say the current voter register compiled in 2012 is credible. Christian Owusu-Parry, the Electoral Commission’s Acting Director of Public Affairs says the electoral body plans to organize a September 22 stakeholder’s workshop. He says parties will be able to present their views before a decision is made about a new voter list. VOA

Kizza Besigye to Face Yoweri Museveni in Uganda 2016 Elections
Founding Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) leader Dr Kizza Besigye late Wednesday night bounced back as party flagbearer for the 2016 Uganda election after beating incumbent president, Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu, with 718 votes to 289 votes. One vote was invalid in results announced at exactly 12.17am local time by the party’s elections chief Dan Mugarura. 1,043 delegates had been lined up to vote. The veteran Uganda politician will now present himself before The Democratic Alliance, a coalition platform, where he will bid to become the joint Opposition candidate. “This marks the beginning of the real work, hard work, difficult work… I have every confidence that we can achieve what is ahead of us,” he told delegates in his victory speech.  The East African

Raila Odinga Criticises Paul Kagame, Yoweri Museveni over Term Limits
Kenya’s Opposition leader Raila Odinga has asked Rwandan President Paul Kagame and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni not to extend their stay in power and allow other people to lead instead. Mr Odinga criticised them for clinging to power, saying it was not right to change the law to suit individuals.  He said democracy in Africa had been ruined by few selfish leaders who wanted to rule for life. Speaking at Strathmore University in Nairobi, where he gave a public lecture titled ‘And Live Accordingly’, the former prime minister asked the two leaders and their Burundi counterpart Pierre Nkurunziza to allow democracy to thrive in their countries by quitting office at the end of their term limits. The East African

War Crimes Complaint Filed Against Chad Leader Deby
War crimes accusations have been filed against Chad’s President Idriss Deby, a Senegalese court which is already trying ex-Chadian dictator Hissene Habre said Thursday. Deby, who overthrew Habre in 1990, has been accused of “genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and torture, at the initiative of some victims”, lawyer Mbaye Jacques Ndiaye told radio station RFI. The tribunal confirmed a case against Deby had been filed on Wednesday at the special African tribunal but would not comment further. AFP on Yahoo News

Leading Islamist Party Faces Test in Local Moroccan Elections
Campaigning for Friday’s local elections, Moroccan lawmaker Ahmed Sakdi made sure to hammer home his Islamist party’s anti-corruption message to a few dozen voters listening to his speech in the desert town of Imider. Turnout may have been meager, but Friday’s vote in towns and villages across Morocco will pose an important test for Sakdi’s Justice and Development Party (PJD), which leads Morocco’s governing coalition. The local elections are the first since King Mohammed put forward a new constitution and devolved some of his powers to stifle protests that erupted in 2011 when three other North African nations — Tunisia, Egypt and Libya — all toppled their autocratic rulers. Reuters

New Round of Libyan Political Dialogue Starts in Geneva
A new round of the Libyan political dialogue commenced at the United Nations Office at Geneva on Thursday, and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya, Bernardino Leon, will hold a number of meetings with the parties on Thursday and Friday. The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) announced on Thursday that all parties invited to the meetings have confirmed their attendance. During the latest similar talks the participants agreed that it is high time to conclude the talks that have been under way for seven months and there was reportedly consensus to make the final push to expedite the dialogue to conclude the agreement, according to the timelines they committed earlier.  Xinhua on GlobalPost

Malawi: Who’ll Remember Cashgate?
High-level corruption has long been endemic in Malawi, but two important changes provide promising signs of this being challenged. The first is the attitude of President Peter Mutharika towards the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB). Unlike former president Bingu wa Mutharika, who led the country from 2004 to his death in 2012 and who was Peter’s brother, the current President Mutharika is not actively obstructing the ACB’s work. In fact, he appointed the industrious and brave Mary Kachale to be his Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), and the DPP and ACB are reportedly working without obvious political interference from the top – though how long this will last is anybody’s guess. African Arguments

Major Gas discovery in Egypt Could Pose Challenges for U.S. Exports
[…] The news was initially taken as a good sign for Europe, as potentially a new stream of supply for the continent and a hedge against Russian imports. If that were true, it may have thrown a wrench into U.S. natural gas companies’ plans to export their gas to Europe in a few years. The International Energy Agency projects the U.S. becoming a major gas exporter in 2020. The industry has been lobbying for a swifter approval process for export licenses. In July, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee passed a bill that would expedite the approval process. That bill is expected to go to the full chamber for a vote in the fall, aides say. But Europe’s prospect were dashed in the last 36 hours, as Egyptian officials said the gas developed in the newly discovered field will be used for the country’s own consumption and that exporting was not being considered for the immediate future. The Washington Examiner

Tide May Turn for Senegal Oil
Along with the rest of the world’s energy producers, west Africa is being pummelled by the collapse of the oil price. Senegal, however, although yet to produce its first barrel, may be the breakout story of the decade. After nearly half a century of searching for oil off the country’s coastline and coming up empty, explorers are now increasingly confident that Senegal is going to be the next major energy play in coming years. In mid-August the Scottish explorer Cairn Energy said it was to begin evaluation and a multi-well exploration and appraisal programme, which it hopes will reveal reserves of up to two billion barrels. The company has rights to nearly 7,500 square kilometres off the Atlantic coast of Senegal and last year announced it had made what could be one of the biggest discoveries of the year. More than 140 offshore wells have been drilled since the 1950s off the Senegalese coast, by various explorers, with little to show for it – until now. The National

EU Diplomats Reveal  Devastating Impact of Ethiopia Dam Project on Remote Tribes
A controversial World Bank-funded scheme to dam a major Ethiopian river and import up to 500,000 people to work in what is planned to be one of the world’s largest sugar plantations has led to tens of thousands of Africa’s most remote and vulnerable people being insensitively resettled. According to reports, released this week, by two teams of British, American and EU diplomats who visited the resettlement areas in the Lower Omo Valley in southern Ethiopia last year, the lives of 20,000 Mursi, Bodi and other semi-nomadic tribespeople are being “fundamentally and irreversibly” changed by the mega-project. The Guardian

Falling Currencies Raise Debt-Service Fears Across Africa
In the past decade, countries across Africa, encouraged by surging commodity prices and a global appetite for high-risk debt, sold dollar bonds to finance everything from roads to railways to tuna-fishing fleets. Now commodity prices have halved and African currencies are tanking, making the bond payments tougher and raising the possibility of a debt crisis on the world’s poorest continent. The risk of such an outcome is denting the outlook for countries from Ghana to Mozambique. Africa in recent years boasted most of the world’s fastest-growing economies and lured investors hungry for assets yielding more than those in the rich world. Bloomberg

South Africa’s Johannesburg Tops Africa Millionaires List
According to a report by AfrAsia Bank and New World Wealth, Johannesburg alone, known as the “city of gold”, is home to 23,400 millionaires. South Africa has 30% of the total. Egypt’s Cairo comes second with 10,200, with Nigeria’s Lagos third with 9,100. The study defines millionaires as people with net assets worth at least $1m (£650,000). It estimates there are close to 163,000 millionaires living in Africa, with a combined wealth of $670bn (£440bn). The number of millionaires is rising fastest in Ghana’s capital, Accra, the report said, even though at the moment, with 2,300, it does not make the top five. After Lagos, comes Cape Town with 8,900 and Nairobi with 6,200. BBC



Photo: Adam Jones