Media Review for September 9, 2015

US Reopens Somalia Mission in Kenya
The US has reopened its mission to Somalia, the latest step in restoring diplomatic ties since it withdrew from the country two decades ago. The mission will be located in the US embassy in neighbouring Kenya. An ambassador has not yet been appointed. The State Department said US officials would travel to Somalia when security conditions allowed. The US withdrew from Somalia in 1993 after 18 American servicemen were killed in the capital, Mogadishu. Hundreds of Somalis also died in the incident, known as Black Hawk Down. BBC

Kenyan Police Foil Potential Bomb Attack in Nairobi Mall
The Garden City Mall in Kenya’s capital was evacuated on Tuesday after security guards stopped the potential attackers from going into the upscale shopping mall. “We have detained three men who were found with an improvised explosive device,” local police chief Robinson Mboloi told reporters. He said the suspected homemade bomb was detected at the security point by the mall’s guards. Two sniffer dogs immediately confirmed that it was a live device and police cordoned off the area. “Bomb disposal unit officers have detonated it and the area is now safe,” he added. The suspects would now be “investigated to establish their links to terrorism and al-Shabab,” the police chief told journalists, referring to the Somali rebel group. Deutsche Welle

U.S. Warns of Possible Attack in South Africa Targeting Americans
The United States warned its citizens on Tuesday of a possible attack by “extremists” against U.S. facilities or interests in South Africa, a rare security alert in a stable democracy seldom associated with Islamist militancy. In a statement on its website, the embassy said it had no information about a specific target or timing, but advised U.S. citizens to review their personal security plans and maintain their vigilance. A spokeswoman for the police in Gauteng, the province that is home to both the U.S. embassy in Pretoria and its consulate in Johannesburg, said she was unaware of the U.S. warning.  Reuters

Corruption: A Major Threat to Military Effectiveness
Corruption contributes directly to insecurity. It has a corrosive effect on combat readiness and effectiveness, undermining the ability to meet national security threats. Such were the messages that emerged from a recently concluded workshop on Managing Security Resources in Africa hosted the Africa Center for Strategic Studies in Kampala. Dr. Assis Malaquias, Faculty Lead for the workshop and Professor of Defense Economics and Resource Management at the Africa Center for strategic Studies, discusses the pressing challenge of corruption for African security in this interview.  Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Sudan, U.S. to Hold Talks on Sanctions, Terrorism: Sudanese FM
Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said Tuesday that he is expecting to meet U.S. State Secretary John Kerry later in New York on lifting U.S. sanctions on Sudan and excluding the country from a U.S. list of countries sponsoring terrorism. The meeting will take place on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meetings, slated for Sept. 19 in New York, in order to resume bilateral dialogue between Khartoum and Washington. “Dialogue with the U.S. administration will not stop. We are working on building ties between the two countries,” Ghandour told reporters in Khartoum Tuesday. Xinhua

South Sudan’s Peace Deal Never Stood a Chance
In the middle of a hot, clear day on Aug. 21, roughly 2,000 people packed around the John Garang Mausoleum in downtown Juba to shout down the latest deal to end South Sudan’s nearly two-year-long war. Organized by the government, it was an event for true believers, those somehow insulated from the economic ravages of the war: young boys and girls in school uniform, men in suits, and women in colorful dresses. As a DJ sang over pre-recorded music blaring on massive speakers, praising South Sudan and its president, Salva Kiir, participants held large signs written in English declaring “one army, not two” and “no regime change through violence.” For regime loyalists in the crowd, the nation’s success or failure was connected inextricably to Kiir, seen by them as the liberating hero who brought independence to South Sudan. On Aug. 19, a letter was distributed on the letterhead of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, the ruling party, calling on the government not to sign any peace agreement with the opposition. It opposed the “recolonization” of South Sudan by foreign powers, Sudan, the U.N., or the African Union — a fear expressed by many locals.  Foreign Policy

ICC Rejects Gbagbo Request for Release on Health Grounds
Appeals judges at the International Criminal Court on Tuesday rejected a request for the temporary release of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo on health grounds. Gbagbo, 70, is accused of plunging his country into civil war rather than relinquishing his grip on power after losing a presidential run-off vote in 2010. His trial has been scheduled to start in November.  France 24

Egypt Kills 56 Militants in First Two Days of Major Operation in Sinai
Egypt’s army has announced a “major military operation” against Islamic State’s affiliate in the Sinai peninsula, Sinai Province, in which 56 militants have been killed in two days. It said the operation was launched on Monday morning to “eliminate terrorist elements” around the towns of Rafah, Sheikh Zuweid and Arish. The army claimed 29 jihadis were killed in Monday’s fighting, while an Egyptian officer and a soldier died, and four were wounded, when their vehicle was blown up by a bomb. A subsequent statement said another 27 militants had been killed and 154 had been arrested on Tuesday.The Guardian

Nigeria Considers Closing Embassies
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari is considering closing some embassies abroad, his office said on Tuesday, as public finances have been hit hard by a slump in vital oil revenues. A committee will review all Nigerian embassies to determine those that are essential, the presidency said in a statement. It quoted Buhari as telling foreign ministry officials there was no point keeping embassies “all over the world with dilapidated facilities and demoralised staff.” “Let’s keep only what we can manage. We can’t afford much for now. There’s no point in pretending,” Buhari said. News 24

Resentment Still Stirring in Nigeria’s Former Biafra
It’s been decades since Nigeria’s southeast tried to secede, renaming itself Biafra and sparking a civil war that left nearly 1 million people dead. Biafra is long gone, but some in the southeast are still agitating for separation. Since independence in 1960, Nigeria has seen periodic conflicts between the country’s many ethnic groups. Perhaps none were as wrenching as the civil war, which started in 1967 when the country’s southeast, which is dominated by the Igbo people, seceded. Biafra didn’t make it to its third birthday. But 45 years after it was reabsorbed into Nigeria, its name lives on among pressure groups, who say they haven’t benefited as citizens of Nigeria. VOA

DRC Court Orders Review of Election Schedule
Democratic Republic of Congo’s highest court on Tuesday told election authorities to take a fresh look at the country’s voting timetable, raising the prospect of a delay that would enable President Joseph Kabila to stay in office beyond 2016. The court ordered the national election commission to re-evaluate its calendar, saying that budgetary and political constraints had made it untenable. Critics say Kabila intends to hold on beyond the election set for November 2016, when he is due to step down, and delay the first peaceful handover of power in a country whose eastern regions have endured years of conflict. VOA

Zimbabwe’s Joice Publishes Manifesto
Zimbabwe’s ousted vice president has released a political manifesto, signalling her possible intention to launch a new party to challenge President Robert Mugabe. Joice Mujuru published a policy statement on Tuesday, titled the Blueprint to Unlock Investment and Leverage for Development, or BUILD. The statement outlines her plans to revive Zimbabwe’s ailing economy and strengthen democratic rights. The manifesto calls for all Zimbabweans to have access to land. In 2000, thousands of white farmers were stripped of their land in often violent evictions. News 24

Uganda Govt Trains Militias to Harass Them – Opposition
Uganda’s opposition and rights groups on Tuesday accused President Yoweri Museveni’s government of training militias to intimidate opposition supporters during next year’s elections, a claim denied by the government. In recent weeks, Ugandan police have been training thousands of civilian youths across the country as “crime preventers” to help with intelligence gathering and security among the local population. Shaban Bantariza, deputy government spokesperson, said the young men being trained were part of community policing efforts, adding: “There’s no militia either existing or being trained anywhere in Uganda”.  News 24

Europe Seeks U.N. Blessing to Confront Human Smugglers in the Mediterranean
Straining to contain their worst migration crisis in generations, European powers have begun laying the groundwork for the passage of a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing the boarding and interception of people-smuggling ships in the Mediterranean Sea. The effort, which is being led by Britain, is aimed at stemming the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Middle Eastern and African migrants and refugees seeking to reach Europe on rickety boats from Libya, a primary transit point on the illicit human smuggling trade. Britain is hoping to see the resolution adopted before world leaders arrive in New York later this month for the start of the U.N.’s annual General Assembly debate. It has begun circulating key elements of a resolution with certain Security Council members. Foreign Policy

Migrant Crisis: Who does the EU Send Back?
For months now Europeans have been witnessing chaotic scenes of migrants pouring into Greece, Italy and Central Europe. The EU is playing catch-up, struggling to co-ordinate asylum policy between 28 member states. But it is a sensitive issue, affecting sovereignty and national relations with diaspora communities, such as Afghans in the UK, or Algerians in France. The UK and Ireland opted out of most EU asylum policy, sticking to their own rules. The focus now is on a mechanism to distribute new asylum seekers across the EU – but countries are arguing over that. BBC

How the UN Can Shield Civilians From War
Of all the efforts the United Nations undertakes to make the world a better place, none is more vital than its work to keep people safe from war. Yet the organization’s global peacekeeping missions are among its most troubled endeavors. This month’s annual General Assembly opening offers an opportunity to do something about that. The UN has 16 peacekeeping operations going on at the moment, the largest in hot spots such as the Central African Republic, Congo, Darfur and Lebanon. Most are undermanned: The Congo mission has 24,000 troops and police to quell violence among a population of more than 68 million. And most are either inadequately protecting civilians or mired in scandals. They are also outgunned: Many of the 56 peacekeeping deaths in Mali, which has been desperately short of armored vehicles, have come from ambushes involving homemade bombs.  Bloomberg

Maritime Dispute With Cote d’Ivoire: Ghana files Statement of Case
Ghana has filed a detailed memorial urging the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) to ward off Cote d’Ivoire from disputed oilfields. The memorial (statement of case), which was filed on September 4, 2015, was filed on time, thereby making it possible for Ghana to meet the deadline. Attached to the memorial are voluminous documents aimed at building a solid case for the country. The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mrs Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong, in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra on Monday said, “we have met the deadline of September 4, 2015 and I am glad the team worked around the clock to meet the timeline”.  GhanaWeb

Raw Materials in Focus at German-Africa Summit
Falling oil prices, empty state coffers – the raw materials boom has slowed in a number of African countries. But the continent still regards itself as a place of opportunity, also for German investors. […] In Berlin Germany’s black, red and gold German flag flutters alongside the green, yellow and gold of Ghana. The West African country’s president, John Dramani Mahama is in the German capital. His mission: to whet German companies’ appetite for investment in Africa. Mahama has come with a wealth of arguments. “You are looking for a place that is conducive to doing business – and I think Ghana offers that,” he said, listing democracy, transparency, freedom of speech, a good natural resource base, and a fast growing middle class. Deutsche Welle

What Is South Africa Doing to Tackle Its Electricity Crisis?
South Africa’s government has established a “war room” to tackle energy shortages that have led to managed blackouts and contributed to the economy’s contraction in the second quarter. While there have been 99 days of scheduled power cuts this year, none have taken place since Aug. 8. About 95 percent of the nation’s electricity is supplied by state-owned Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., which had installed generating capacity of 44,262 megawatts at Sept. 2. More than 85 percent of the utility’s output comes from coal-fired plants.  Bloomberg

Student Protests in South Africa Highlight Dissatisfaction With Pace of Change
It was only when he landed at the University of Cape Town, a bastion of the fight against apartheid, that Ramabina Mahapa became truly conscious of his race. Mr. Mahapa, 23, grew up in a village with only black South Africans, and he graduated at the top of his high school class. But when he got to the University of Cape Town, the gap between black and white students became clear to him: Of the 15 people who owned cars in his dorm, only one was black. When the first test results came in, the black students ranked at the bottom. “That’s why I then started feeling black,” said Mr. Mahapa, who was born two years before the end of apartheid and is now a third-year psychology and philosophy major, as well as the president of the university’s student government. The New York Times



Photo: Adam Jones