Africa – 29 July 2016

AUC chair shocked by Burundi assassination

Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has expressed her horror at the assassination of Hasfa Mossi, a member of the East African Legislative Assembly and a former minister in Burundi, in the capital Bujumbura on Wednesday.

Dlamini Zuma, the African Union Commission Chairperson (AUC), currently attending the 27th AU Summit in Kigali, condemned the “barbaric act” and called on all Burundians to exercise utmost restraint and to refrain from any acts of retaliation that would only further escalate and complicate the tension in the country.



Mali’s peace pact under strain

Violent protests that were met with deadly force in Mali this week are the latest sign a peace pact between rival ethnic groups risks unravelling, threatening to plunge the nation back into the chaos that made it a launchpad for jihadi attacks.

It has been a year since Tuareg-led separatist rebels signed the accord with the Malian government after a conflict that destabilised this West African country.



MP wants Kenya-Somalia border opened for tree trade, tracking of entrants

Wajir East MP Abass Sheikh Mohamed wants the Kenya-Somalia border opened for free movement of goods and services. He said the “official but unpractical” closure of the border has led to inflow of contraband goods and illicit weapons.

Kenya shares more than 800km-long border with the war-torn Somalia; this stretches from Kiunga in Lamu to Mandera. Mohamed urged the government to establish offices for revenue, immigration and standards agencies to ensure proper inspection and taxation of inbound products.

“This will generate revenue. Above all, it will bar entry of contraband goods and illegal weapons,” he told the Star on the phone on Friday.



AU self-funding plan cautiously welcomed

The African Union’s decision that all African countries will impose a 0,2 percent levy on their imports to enable the organisation to finance its own activities, including peacekeeping operations, has been cautiously welcomed.

The continent’s leaders made the decision at the AU summit in Kigali, Rwanda, which was due to end on Monday. After struggling for years to agree on a formula for greater self-funding of the AU – which is now 76% financed by foreign donors – the leaders eventually agreed on the 0,2% levy on “eligible imports”.


Zimbabwe – 29 July 2016

Zimbabwe war veterans’ spokesman arrested

Veterans of Zimbabwe’s 1970s independence war, who had previously been loyal Mugabe supporters, issued a statement bitterly denouncing the ninety-two-year-old president, who faces growing signs of opposition.

Douglas Mahiya, spokesman for the association, was arrested late on Wednesday in Harare, according to Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).



Protesters Fume as Zimbabwe Vice President Runs Up a Hotel Bill

The country’s A.T.M.s have run out of cash. Even the police and the army — linchpins of the government’s control — are not getting paid on time.

But as economic protests have multiplied and shut down the capital recently, Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko has enjoyed a special privilege, courtesy of the state: nearly 600 nights in the presidential suite of Zimbabwe’s most luxurious hotel while his official mansion is being prepared.

The vice president’s extended stay in the Rainbow Towers presidential suite — he checked into the hotel in December 2014, at a taxpayer cost of $1,000 a night, including meals — has drawn regular demonstrations outside the five-star landmark, where visiting dignitaries stay.

New York Times


Zimbabwe’s cash crisis deepens

Zimbabwe will pay July salaries for the army on Monday, more than a week late, but teachers will only receive their wages next month, a union official said, as the government grapples with an acute currency shortage.

President Robert Mugabe’s government is facing its biggest financial squeeze since it dumped its hyperinflation-hit currency in 2009 and adopted the US dollar, and is struggling to secure international financing.


Swaziland – 29 July 2016

King of impoverished Swaziland gets millions in budget

King Mswati III’s royal budget has been increased to $69.8 million in the current financial year at a time when Swaziland continues to struggle with rising poverty and a sluggish economic growth, official documents reveal.

According to official figures mentioned in the “Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland’s estimates for the years from April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2019” report, the royal budget was $55.3 million in the last financial year, but this year it has been increased by $13.9 million.

The budget also has an extra $6.7 million allocation for the king’s private jet.


Swazi Children’s Rights Abused

Children’s rights in Swaziland are under protected and are in a ‘difficult situation,’ according to a global survey.

The kingdom, ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, scored 6.07 out of ten in The Realization of Children’s Rights Index (RCRI).

This is a grade between zero and ten that shows the level of realization of children’s rights in a country. The lower the score, the lower is the realisation of rights. The RCRI index classified rights for children in Swaziland as a ‘difficult situation’.

Madagascar – 29 July 2016

IMF says approves $305 mln credit for Madagascar

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved an equivalent to $304.7 million in financial assistance for Madagascar under a 40-month Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement to help shore up its economy, the fund said.

The IMF and international donors broke ties or cut aid to the Indian Ocean island nation after a coup in 2009, but resumed them after a peaceful presidential election in late 2013.



Surge in gold prices brings no change in fortune for Madagascar’s miners

Lack of investment and regulation means life is hard for the men, women and children panning for tiny fragments of gold along Madagascar’s river beds. A drumming sound reverberates across the bridge and over the valley: the gold panners are hard at work.

Dotted along the edges of a river bed are hundreds of people, rhythmically banging wooden poles into the red earth. They are gold miners “sampling” the dry soil for the precious metal. Crouched alongside them are other workers, carefully panning piles of earth through homemade metal sieves.

The Guardian

Western Sahara – 29 July 2016

U.N. Western Sahara mission still recovering from Morocco dispute

A United Nations peacekeeping mission in disputed Western Sahara is still not fully functional, the U.N. Security Council president said on Tuesday, months after Morocco expelled dozens of civilian staff in anger at remarks by U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon.

During a visit to refugee camps for Sahrawi people in March, Ban described Morocco’s 1975 annexation of Western Sahara as an “occupation,” sparking the worst dispute between Rabat and the world body since the U.N. brokered a ceasefire to end a war over the disputed region and established the U.N. mission MINURSO.



Morocco to retry 24 jailed over Western Sahara clashes in 2010

The cassation court on Wednesday ordered a retrial in a civilian court for the defendants who were jailed for between 20 years and life by a military court in 2013, Mohamed Sebbar, head of the National Human Rights Council, said. Morocco outlawed military trials for civilians in 2014.

Two lawyers confirmed the news, which comes as Morocco negotiates with the United Nations about the return of members of its Western Sahara mission expelled from the country after U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon described Morocco’s 1975 annexation of the territory as an “occupation”.


South Sudan – 29 July 2016

At Least 120 Cases of Sexual Violence in South Sudan Capital – UN

UN said it continued to receive deeply disturbing reports of sexual violence, including rape and gang rape.

The United Nations said on Wednesday there has been at least 120 cases of sexual violence and rape against civilians in South Sudan’s capital Juba since fighting erupted three weeks ago between troops loyal to the country’s rival leaders.

Heavy fighting involving tanks and helicopters raged in Juba for several days between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and those backing Vice President Riek Machar earlier this month. At least 272 people were killed before the leaders ordered a ceasefire.



Foreign ministry imposes restriction on UN personnel entering South Sudan

South Sudan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said on Thursday it decided to apply new immigration procedures to all personnel of the UN mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) entering the country.

In a statement seen by Radio Tamazuj, the ministry said the UN mission is required to submit names of all its personnel arriving in South Sudan three working days before arrival date for verification.

According to the government, only passengers that have been notified to the ministry will be permitted to proceed through immigration and enter the country. The new procedures apply to all UNMISS personnel arriving by both UN and commercial flights.

Sudan – 29 July 2016

Sudan hosts JMEC partners meeting on South Sudan peace process

The Sudanese capital Khartoum will host next Sunday a meeting for the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) Partners Group to discuss implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) and the recent developments in Juba.

The meeting which will be co-chaired by Sudan and China, includes representatives of Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Sudan, Somalia, Chad, China, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States, the African Union Commission, the European Union, the IGAD Partners Forum and the United Nations.

Sudan Tribune


Mbeki to meet Sudanese opposition in mi-August : NUP

The head of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) Thabo Mbeki will meet with the opposition Sudan Call forces during the next week of August, said the National Umma Party (NUP).

The head of NUP political bureau Mohamed Mahdi Hassan Thursday told Sudan Tribune the AUHIP Executive Director Abdel Gader Mohamed (Abdul) informed the Sudan Call groups that Mbeki would meet them in the second week of August without giving the exact date.

Sudan Tribune

Central African Republic – 29 July 2016

Renewal of MINUSCA mandate

France applauds the unanimous adoption, by the UN Security Council, of the resolution renewing the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) until November 15, 2017. This renewed mandate will allow MINUSCA to better protect civilians and deal with armed groups.

It expands its role in the country’s long-term stabilization by giving it additional responsibilities, particularly in the areas of disarmament and reforms of the security and justice systems. MINUSCA will also provide support for the elected Central African government in its efforts to conduct an inclusive national dialogue and re-establish state authority over the entire country.

Together with the UN and its international partners, France will continue to support the Central African Republic.

France Diplomatie


CAR Rebels Attack Despite Disarmament Efforts

At least three people have been killed in the Bambari region in the centre of the country.

Some ex-Seleka rebel militants and armed Fulani members are trying to rubbish the ongoing efforts to effectively implement the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) of former rebel fighters in the Central African Republic.

Somalia – 29 July 2016

PM names new Immigration Director

Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke has appointed Mohamed Adan Kofi as the new Director of Immigration and Naturalization Department on Wednesday, Garowe Online reports.

Kofi—former Banadir Intelligence Commander and the head of Presidential Security Unit (PSU)—will be succeeding long serving Abdullahi Gafow Mohamud.

On June 14, Somali President fired Intelligence Boss Abdirahman Turyare, replacing him with Mohamud. The decree pointed to the experience of the new Director in immigration affairs. He is expected to take over in the coming days.



UNHCR Appeals Funds for Return of Somali Refugees

The United Nations refugee agency today appealed to donors for an additional $115.4 million to fund the voluntary return and reintegration of Somali refugees from Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp.

In a press release, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that funding is also required for the relocation of refugees from Dadaab to Kakuma refugee camp, as well as related projects and infrastructure in Kenya and Somalia.

“UNHCR is committed to ensuring that all returns to Somalia are voluntary and carried out in dignity, safety and with the protection of refugees paramount at all times,” said Valentin Tapsoba, Director of UNHCR’s Africa Bureau.

DRC – 29 July 2016

DR Congo judge ‘pressured’ to convict Moise Katumbi

A judge in the Democratic Republic of Congo has said she was pressured by the intelligence service to convict opposition politician Moise Katumbi. Chantal Ramazani, who is now in hiding, believes the intention was to block Mr Katumbi’s bid for the presidency in elections due in November.

President Joseph Kabila is required by the constitution to step down this year but no poll date has been set. The intelligence services deny the accusations. Last month, Mr Katumbi was convicted of illegal property selling and sentenced to three years in prison, in absentia.



World Bank suspends funding for DR Congo’s Inga 3 power project

The $14 billlion Inga 3 power project in the Democratic Republic of Congo could be in jeopardy after the World Bank suspended its funding.

The lender said on Monday that it withdrew its funding following disagreements over the the “strategic direction” of the project.

“This follows the Government of DRC’s decision to take the project in a different strategic direction to that agreed between the World Bank and the government in 2014,” the lender said in a statement.

Africa News