Africa – 29 July 2015

US President Barack Obama says time for world to ‘change approach to Africa
US President Barack Obama said Tuesday that it was time for the world to change its approach to Africa, as he made the first address to the African Union by a US leader.
“As Africa changes, I’ve called for the world to change its approach to Africa,” Obama said in a speech at the AU’s headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital.
“A half century into this independence era, it is long past time to put aside old stereotypes of an Africa forever mired in poverty and conflict. The world must recognise Africa’s extraordinary progress.”
The Economic Times

Obama tells Africans to build democracy, create jobs to thrive
ADDIS ABABA, July 28 (Reuters) – Barack Obama told African nations on Tuesday they needed to respect democratic rules and create jobs to avoid a slide into disorder.
In the first speech by a serving U.S. president to the 54-nation African Union, he said violence unleashed in Burundi by the president’s bid for a third term in office showed the risks of ignoring constitutional rules.
“Africa is on the move, and a new Africa is emerging,” he said at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, adding the continent’s rapid economic growth was changing “old stereotypes” of a continent of war and poverty.
But he said there was an “urgent task” facing a continent whose 1 billion people will double in a few decades.

ANC bemoans slow growth of SA economy
The ANC has bemoaned the sluggish state of the South African economy and has admitted to incapacity within the state and the ripple effect it is having on the economy.
In its three-day mid-year lekgotla, the ruling party paid significant focus on the economy at a time when mining companies have threatened mass retrenchment.
“Lekgotla noted that the economy is growing at a disappointingly low rate,” ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe told reporters in Johannesburg on Monday.
He said the party was concerned with how mining companies deal with challenges in the economy.
Mail& Guardian

At least 25 people killed by militants in Nigeria’s northeast
At least 25 people were killed by suspected Boko Haram Islamist militants in raids on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning on three communities in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno state, military and police sources said.
Fighters in pick-up trucks attacked the town of Dille and two smaller communities in the Askira/Uba area in Borno state about 250 km (160 miles) south of Maiduguri the capital of Borno state and the epicenter of the insurgency.
Vigilantes resisted the attack on Dille that came around 1 p.m. local time (1200 GMT), the sources said.

Swaziland – 29 July 2015

King Mswati’s tyranny in Swaziland shows some cracks
Swaziland has recently experienced two events with potential significance for the country’s democratisation.
The first was the issuing of a warrant of arrest for Chief Justice Michael Romodibedi in April.
The second is the release on bail of human rights activists Thulani Maseko and Bheki Makhubu, banned political party People’s United Democratic Movement (Pudemo) leader Mario Masuku and youth leader Maxwell Dlamini.

Ex-Swazi Chief Justice Report Leaked
Swaziland’s sacked Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi was ‘generally corrupt’ and acted in a ‘highly disreputable way’, an official report leaked to a South African newspaper has revealed.
Ramodibedi was sacked by King Mswati III, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, after three charges of abuse of office were found against him.
Ramodibedi had barricaded himself in his home in the Swazi capital Mbabane for 38 days after an arrest warrant was issued.

Zimbabwe – 29 July 2015

We should stop being myopic: Makarau
Zimbabwe’s electoral processes have come under scrutiny since the turn of the century, but chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) Justice Rita Makarau thinks Zimbabweans need to look beyond the polling booth for answers to the problems in these processes. NewsDay (ND) senior reporter Richard Chidza interviewed Justice Makarau (RM) about these and other issues.


Court Orders Release of 3 Zimbabwe NGO Leaders
A Harare magistrate today ordered the immediate release of three civil society leaders who were arrested Saturday after finding that the state had violated the constitution.
Combined Harare Residents Association director Mfundo Mlilo, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition’s programs manager, Nixon Nyikadzino, and deputy national chairperson of the Africa Unity Square pressure group, Dirk Frey, who were arrested outside the magistrates court on Saturday were arraigned before Harare magistrate today facing charges of violating the Public Order and Security Act and the Protected Areas Act.
Voice of America

Iran, Zimbabwe call for closer cooperation
Iran’s minister of cooperatives, labor and social welfare said on Mon. that the country will always have on agenda boosting cooperation with Zimbabwe and other African states.
Ali Rabiei told reporters upon arrival in the Zimbabwean capital on Sunday, adding that Iran will never decrease its ties with countries that were friendly with Iran before the nuclear deal was reached in Vienna on July 14.
MEHR New Agency

Madagascar – 29 July 2015

Symbion Power signs deal to develop seven energy projects in Madagascar
Symbion Power has signed an agreement with the Madagascar Government to develop seven power projects in the country.
Symbion will partner with local investor Vision Madagascar (ViMa) to create a company, called Symbion Madagascar for development of these projects.
The power projects will use biomass, solar and heavy fuel oil as feedstock to generate energy. A 10MW solar power plant and a 5MW biomass facility will be built in the city of Mahajanga.
Symbion will build further biomass facilities at strategic sites on the east coast of the country.

Farmer to Increase Rice Yield Using Chinese Hybrid Rice
Like other rice farmers in Madagascar, 19-year old Patrick Razanakoto is hopeful of increasing his rice yield after using Chinese hybrid rice seeds.
“I decided to use hybrid rice when I saw my neighbour’s yield,” Razanakoto told Xinhua in his hometown of Ambatondrazaka, 268 km northeast of Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo.
“Before, I was only cultivating one hectare of land and harvesting less than two tons of rice. But I decided to increase the piece of farmland by renting additional three hectares and I now expect to harvest at least four tons of rice per hectare after I started using hybrid rice seeds,” the young farmer said.

Western Sahara – 29 July 2015

Kerry Kennedy: Morocco has pressured UN to ignore Western Sahara
The president of Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights accuses Moroccan government of widespread abuses in Western Sahara.
Mohamed Lamine Haidala was 21 years old when he died from wounds that his family say were inflicted by five Moroccan men.
An ethnic Saharwi, Haidala was attacked, beaten, and stabbed in the neck in El Aaiun, Western Sahara on 31 January. His family insist he was yet another victim in a territory where the native Sahrawis are constantly subjected to abuses by Moroccan authorities or by Moroccan settlers who enjoy an environment of near-total impunity.
The Guardian


Uber Morocco Removes ‘Western Sahara’ from its List of Countries
Following the wave of outrage after listing ‘Western Sahara’ as a country, Uber Morocco has officially removed the self-proclaimed independent State.
A report by Morocco’s news website Yabiladi said that ‘Western Sahara’ no longer exists within countries where Uber is set to expand. The name was also removed from the worldwide mobile application. Last week, the picture of the list including ‘Western Sahara’ was widely shared on Twitter, enraging Moroccan social media users.
Morocco World News

South Sudan – 29 July 2015

Keeping faith with the IGAD peace process
After struggling to secure a deal to end South Sudan’s civil war in the face of deep regional divisions and truculence on the part of the parties, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development has announced a revised, expanded mediation – IGAD.
For more than 18 months, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the regional body mediating peace negotiations to end South Sudan’s civil war, has struggled to secure a deal in the face of deep regional divisions and the parties’ truculence. To overcome these challenges, it announced a revised, expanded mediation – “IGAD-Plus” – including the African Union (AU), United Nations (UN), China, the US, UK, European Union (EU), Norway and the IGAD Partners Forum (IPF).
Daily Mavericks

Obama pushes East African leaders for end to South Sudan conflict
The US President has appealed to East African regional leaders to strive to end the South Sudan conflict. He also praised host country Ethiopia’s fight against militants in Somalia, but challenged it over democracy.
US President Barack Obama on Monday made an appeal to African leaders for their help in bringing peace to South Sudan.
“The possibilities of renewed conflict in a region that has been torn by conflict for so long, and has resulted in so many deaths, is something that requires urgent attention from all of us,” said Obama. “We don’t have a lot of time to wait.”

Sudan – 29 July 2015

Sudan’s Bashir in Mauritania despite ICC arrest warrant
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir arrived in Mauritania on Sunday to attend a summit, despite an international arrest warrant issued against him in 2009 over charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
The visit came weeks after South Africa refused to arrest Mr Bashir during an African Union summit, and even threatened it may withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) after an outcry.

African leaders demand end to Sudan sanctions
African leaders issued a joint statement from a conference in Mauritania on Monday calling for the lifting of sanctions against Sudan, whose president is wanted for a string of atrocities.

Omar al-Bashir, indicted for genocide in Sudan’s western region of Darfur was among 11 leaders or government representatives at the meeting in Nouakchott of countries grouped by the “Great Green Wall” ecological initiative.

Somalia – 29 July 2015

US President Barack Obama rules out sending troops to Somalia
US President Barack Obama said that his government would not consider sending troops to Somalia, as he sees regional allies Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda as being highly qualified to lead an anti-terrorism operation on the ground.

“I think there’s been complementarity in the work that we’ve done together. So we don’t need to send our own Marines, for example, in to do the fighting,” Obama said on Monday during a joint press conference with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
The Economic Times

Al Shabaab offer nothing but death and destruction – Obama
U.S. President Barack Obama has urged allies in the East African region to join together in routing al-Shabaab, a day after the militants carried out a deadly car bomb attack in Mogadishu.
Mr Obama who was speaking in Addis Ababa after meeting Ethiopian leaders said that the bombing of a popular Mogadishu hotel shows what the al-Qaeda-linked terrorists aiming for.
‘’Yesterday’s bombing in Mogadishu reminds us that Terrorist groups like Al Shabaab offer nothing but death and destruction and have to be stopped.’’
Horseed Media

Toll for Somali hotel truck bomb rises to 15, including journalists, sparking escalation fears
The massive truck bomb that killed 15 people, including a Kenyan diplomat, and wrecked Somalia’s premier hotel has stunned the capital and raised fears Monday that the Islamic extremist al-Shabab rebels are escalating their violence.
Senior police official Capt. Mohammed Hussein said the toll has risen to 15. “This is a very worrying situation,” he said as he stood outside the Hotel Jazeera near a dead body. “This happened despite all the security precautions in place.”
US News

CAR – 29 July 2015

UN rights official resigns over Central African Republic child sexual abuse
Deputy high commissioner for human rights Flavia Pansieri had admitted not following up for months on allegations of child sexual abuse in CAR. The UN rights official who admitted not following up for months on allegations of child sexual abuse by French soldiers in Central African Republic has resigned.
The UN confirmed on Wednesday that Flavia Pansieri has left the post of deputy high commissioner for human rights “for health reasons”. No more details were given.
The Guardian

Refugees to Be Able to Vote
Central African Republic’s highest court has overturned a decision by the transitional Parliament that would have barred tens of thousands of refugees in neighboring countries from voting in October’s presidential election. The court, in a decision made public Tuesday on state radio, said Parliament’s June 30 decision to exclude refugees violated the 2013 Constitution. The United Nations refugee agency says about 460,000 Central African refugees have fled religious violence since early 2013; they represent the majority of Muslims from a Christian-dominated population of around 4.5 million people.
New York Times

DRC – 29 July 2015

Repressive climate’ in DR Congo ahead of polls
Human Rights Watch on Wednesday warned of a “repressive climate” in restive Democratic Republic of Congo ahead of an election cycle due to start later this year.
Local and provincial elections are scheduled for October, followed by presidential and parliamentary elections in November 2016, in which the opposition fears President Joseph Kabila, in power since 2001, will try to extend his rule.
Yahoo News

Crackdown on Dissent Tops Rights Concerns
Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth urged Congolese authorities to halt the crackdown on peaceful activists and political opponents during his visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo from July 15 to 22, 2015, Human Rights Watch said today.
In recent months, Congolese security and intelligence officials have clamped down on peaceful activists, political leaders, and others who oppose attempts to allow President Joseph Kabila to stay in power past his constitutionally mandated two-term limit, which ends in late 2016.
Human Rights Watch