Africa – 27 May 2016

Sudan and Eritrea Crackdown on Migrants amid Reports of EU Incentives

Authorities in Sudan have launched a crackdown on Eritrean migrants – arresting those living in the capital, Khartoum, and intercepting hundreds travelling north through the country towards Libya, the launching point for smugglers’ boats heading for Europe.

Reports that 900 Eritreans were rounded up in Khartoum on Monday and that a further 400 arrested en route to Libya have been deported to Eritrea, come amid recent revelations in the British and German media that the EU is planning to deepen its cooperation with a number of African countries, including Sudan and Eritrea, to stem migration towards Europe.


AU is UN’s most important peacekeeping partner

The UN Security Council this week stressed the importance of strengthening existing co-operation between itself and the African Union (AU), a regional organisation described by a senior UN official as “the most important peacekeeping partner.”

Adopting a Presidential Statement, the 15-nation Council commended the increased AU contribution to the maintenance of peace and security and acknowledged progress made in ongoing co-operation between the UN and the AU.

The Council also welcomed the development of the new roadmap for 2016-2020 to make the African peace and security architecture fully operational and noted the recent reviews of the UN peacebuilding architecture, peace operations and the implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on ‘women, peace and security’ provided an opportunity to build a stronger, forward-looking partnership between the two organisations.



A brighter future for Africa

The month of May bears particular significance for the African people. It was during this month in 1963 that the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which has now transformed into the African Union (AU), was formed.

The OAU/AU united the African people behind the common vision of eliminating colonialism and apartheid so Africans could claim their right to self-determination.

The Africa of 2016 is vastly different from the Africa of 1963. Within the framework of its Agenda 2063, our 50-year vision of the Africa we want, the continent is making progress and growing economically.



Egypt hosts meeting between Security Council, African Peace

Egypt’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta, hosted a consultation between the UN Security Council (UNSC) and the African Union’s Peace and Security Council (PSC) on Tuesday.

Egypt is supposed to head the UNSC in May, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs earlier announced, vowing to push African issues forward and put the spotlight on security challenges facing the international community.

The meeting held on Tuesday is special as it comes on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the first talks held between the two councils, Aboulatta said in a statement.

Daily News Egypt

Zimbabwe – 27 May 2016

Export incentives to ease cash crisis — Mangudya

ZIMBABWE could soon boost its exports driven by a cocktail of measures announced by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe recently.

The Reserve Bank Governor John Mangudya told a breakfast meeting hosted by the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) two weeks ago that incentivising exporters could help ease the liquidity problems in the economy.

He mentioned that gold, diamond, tobacco, ferrochrome and tobacco accounted for the greatest percentage of exports.

The US$ 200 million from Afreximbank scheme focuses on the output level as opposed to the input level which is open to abuse.

Mangudya implored citizens to embrace the export incentive scheme which will help to replenish nostro balances.

The Independent


Thousands stage pro-Mugabe march in Zimbabwe

Several thousand Zimbabweans joined a march through Harare in support of veteran President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday after the main opposition party staged its own rally last month.

The marchers, many of whom were transported to the capital by bus, sang songs praising Mugabe and wore t-shirts displaying his image as they gathered at a central square to hear him address the crowds.

“We are happy that we are marching for our president to prevent the opposition from distracting the country’s leader,” Taremedzwa Chikara, 56, a housewife and supporter of Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party, told AFP.


Swaziland – 27 May 2016

Opposition calls for the disruption of Swazi elections

Voters have begun registering for elections in Swaziland, Africa’s last absolute monarchy, with unions calling for a boycott of a “rubber-stamp” poll.

Authorities expect some 600 000 eligible voters – slightly more than half of the 1.1-million population – to put their names down for the legislative elections, expected by October.

But the country’s opposition and unions have rubbished the vote as undemocratic and a mere rubber-stamping of the autocratic rule of King Mswati III.

“We call on people not to register but if they can’t … we call on them to peacefully disrupt the vote,” said Kenneth Kunene, secretary general of the Communist Party of Swaziland, one of the leading opposition parties on Monday. Kunene, in exile in South Africa, alleged that police had been deployed to “intimidate” and coerce people to register to vote.



Swaziland Groups Kick Against Amendment Bills

Civil society and pro-democracy groups have called on parliamentarians in Swaziland to scrap debates on three proposed amendments that they say would further erode the fundamental human rights of citizens in the southern African kingdom.

Parliament is debating the amendment of the public order act, the professional terrorism act and the police act.

The proposal for the public order act of 1973 states that groups of at least 15 people cannot convene without first giving reasons for the meeting, presenting the agenda and getting permission from the commissioner of police.

Voice of America

Madagascar – 27 May 2016

Business opportunities beckon in Madagascar

Singapore and Madagascar are looking to work more closely together in areas like master-planning, capacity building and small and medium-sized enterprise development. The initiative follows a memorandum of understanding inked between the Madagascan government and Singapore Cooperation Enterprise, an arm of IE Singapore, yesterday at the first ever Madagascar-Singapore Business Forum.

The event at Conrad Centennial Singapore was held in conjunction with the first state visit of Madagascan President Hery Rajaonarimampianina and business and political leaders. The President spoke of the “distances that separate” Singapore, adding: “When we look at all the indicators… GDP, access rate to education… Singapore is far ahead.

Straits Times


Bass Metals to move forward with Madagascar graphite buy

Australia’s Bass Metals said on Thursday that it would move ahead with the acquisition of a large flake graphite mine in Madagascar. Announcing the completion of a due diligence, chairperson Rick Anthon said that the acquisition of the operating Graphmada mine from Aim-listed StratMin Global Resources would set Bass apart from its peers as the only ASX-listed graphite mining company delivering cash flow.

A due diligence and site visit to Graphmada confirmed that the mine had potential for low capital expenditure and low cost production. “The company is now seeking to add an experienced CEO and management team to lead the business and implement Bass’s low capital expansion plans,” Anthon said.

Mining Weekly

Western Sahara – 27 May 2016

Morocco continues to hamper negotiations between parties to conflict in Western Sahara, says Saharawi diplomat

Saharawi ambassador to Nicaragua, Sulaiman Al-Tayeb, said in a statement to Cuban News Agency, Prensa Latina, that Morocco continues to impede negotiations with the Polisario Front in order to find a just solution that ensures the right of the Sahrawi people to self-determination.

The Sahrawi diplomat indicated that following its crisis with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Morocco expelled the civil contingence of the United Nations Mission in Western Sahara (MINURSO).

Sahara Press Service


Security Council Refuses Inclusion of Western Sahara in Annual Meeting with AU

The Security Council has shown once again that it is not ready to accept the involvement of any other organization in the settlement of the Western Sahara, in particular the African Union.

Thanks to Egypt, which holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council this month, the Sahara issue was not on the agenda of the annual meeting between the UN Security Council and the African Union’s Peace and Security Council, which took place Monday afternoon in New York.

A similar position was taken by the Chinese Ambassador in April.

Morocco World News

South Sudan – 27 May 2016

South Sudan calls for priority in World Humanitarian Summit

Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, Eugene Owusu has called on the World Humanitarian Summit convened this week in Istanbul, Turkey (23-24 May, 2016) to prioritize the world’s youngest nation in the humanitarian interventions.

In his speech he delivered to the Summit and extended to Sudan Tribune, Owusu, also said the gathered global leaders should also recognize the centrality of political will to prevent and end conflicts, to address root causes, to reduce fragility and strengthen good governance in countries like South Sudan.

Sudan Tribune


South Sudan to release “true” report on army conduct in Bahr el Ghazal region

The government of South Sudanese and the high command of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), will in coming days release a “true” report of the activities of the army in the states of Bahr el Ghazal region where it forces in the month of April were involved in civilian abuses, according to a United States-based rights group.

The army, Human Rights Watch said, committed human right abuses in the form of killings, rape, torture, burning down and looting of civilian properties, while hunting armed men loyal to politicians allied to the first vice president, Riek Machar in the region.

Sudan Tribune

Sudan – 27 May 2016

Detained students face an ‘increased risk of torture’

Security forces in Sudan have reportedly detained and is currently holding dozens of students and activists. Human Rights Watch (HRW) is calling on the Sudanese government to release or charge these individuals.

In April 2016, government security forces, including national security and riot police, clamped down on student demonstrations against the sale of Khartoum University buildings, as well as the earlier detention of protesters and a range of other issues at campuses across Sudan.

According to HRW, some have been held for more than a month in unknown locations without access to lawyers or contact with their families.

Why the EU migration deal with Sudan is so dodgy

Sudan is a lynchpin in the flow of migrants out of Africa. It is also a serial human rights abuser. For a European Union keen to throttle that flow, it’s an unfortunate combination. Sudan is already benefitting from a $45 million regional programme to “better manage migration” in the Horn of Africa, under the European Commission’s $2 billion Emergency Trust Fund for Africa.

The EC has also announced a $112 million aid package “to address root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement” in Darfur, east Sudan, South Kordofan and Blue Nile. The problem is that the Sudanese military is involved in much of the instability in those regions.

“Sudan is not only important as a major transit route north to Europe, it is also a producer of migrants,” said Magnus Taylor, Horn of Africa analyst with the International Crisis Group.

Irin News

Central African Republic – 27 May 2016

Central African Republic Rebels Demand Positions in Government

An armed group of Muslim fighters in the Central African Republic said it will only hand over weapons if some of its representatives are appointed to government positions.

Leaders of the so-called Seleka rebel group “must be represented in decision-making state institutions in order to facilitate the disarmament process,” Abdoulaye Hissene, a Seleka commander, told reporters Wednesday in the capital, Bangui. Hissene is based in the last remaining Muslim enclave in the city known as PK5.



Head of UN mission in Central African Republic pledges to end troop abuses

The head of the UN mission in Central African Republic (CAR) has vowed to do everything possible to wipe out sexual exploitation and abuse by his troops, pledging to bring about a rebirth of peacekeeping.

To reach his goal of “zero occurrence” of abuses, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, the head of Minusca, says UN member states need to take peacekeeping seriously and train and equip their troops adequately to deal with conditions in a brutalised land.

UN peacekeepers, as well as French and European troops, have been accused of sexually abusing children and adults in CAR, as well as other misconduct, since violence exploded in 2013, when mainly Muslim rebels ousted the president at the time and went on the rampage, killing men, women and children and triggering the formation of equally brutal anti-balaka militias.

The Guardian

Somalia – 27 May 2016

Somalia president raises concern of over plans to shut Dadaab refugee camp

Somalia’s president is not happy about Kenya’s resolve to close down one of the world’s largest refugee camps.

The Dadaab camp, home to more than 300,000 Somalis. President Hassan Sheik Mohamed says forced repatriation is not in the best interest of either country.

He says it is important to agree “on the best way to bring the refugees in an orderly and dignified manner and in accordance with international law,” adding that he “did not want relations with Kenya to be affected.” Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto earlier this week reiterated the government’s stance on the closing of the camp, citing insecurity as the reason behind it.

Africa News


UN’s top court to hear Kenya-Somalia border dispute

The UN’s top court said on Thursday it will hold hearings in September into a maritime border dispute between Somalia and Kenya which may decide the fate of potentially lucrative oil and gas reserves.

Kenya will respond to a Somali complaint that Nairobi wrongly claims swathes of seabed that Mogadishu insists are its own during four days of hearings at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague from September 19.


DRC – 27 May 2016

Pressure builds for Democratic Republic of Congo election

International pressure is building on the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC’s) president to put a plan in place for elections, raising the possibility of sanctions against members of the ruling elite.

European Union (EU) foreign ministers briefly discussed the situation on Monday, after urging the DRC’s government to “revive as soon as possible the electoral process.” Senior officials said there was no discussion of sanctions at the meeting.

The DRC’s vote is currently scheduled for November, but few expect it to actually take place until 2017 after apparent foot-dragging on the part of the government.



Scores arrested in Democratic Republic of Congo clashes

Police and demonstrators have clashed in the Democratic Republic of Congo amid growing fears that elections scheduled for later this year will be postponed.

One protester died during running battles in Goma, the largest city in the east, while security forces in the capital, Kinshasa, fired teargas at an opposition march.

Opposition parties and civil society groups had called for nationwide demonstrations to protest against a ruling earlier this month by Congo’s highest court that would allow President Joseph Kabila to remain in power if presidential and parliamentary elections due in November are not held.

The Guardian