Africa – 19 August 2016

SA won’t interfere in Zimbabwe’s affairs: minister

South Africa shouldn’t get involved in Zimbabwe’s affairs — unless it’s asked to. That’s according to International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane. She made the remarks during an interview with eNCA’s Thulasizwe Simelane.

The minister was responding to calls by Zimbabwean activists for South Africa to pressure President Robert Mugabe’s government. But, Nkoana-Mashabane argues that President Mugabe was lawfully re-elected in 2013.

She says the only way Zimbabweans can effect change is through voting.

“It’s going to take Zimbabweans to do what they think is good for themselves through the polls, because in SADC we believe in democracy,” she said.

Nkoana-Mashabane also defended SADC’s decision to allow Africa’s last absolute monarch, King Mswati the third, to chair the regional body.

“It is the people of Swaziland who would say we would want to move to a situation like Lesotho, where the King reigns but not necessarily governs, and then SADC sees how they support that.”



Absolute King Takes Chair of SADC

Swaziland assumes the chairmanship of the Southern African Development Community for the first time ever on Wednesday, despite protests from Swaziland and abroad that the small absolute monarchy is not fit to chair the organisation, writes Kenworthy News Media.

The charter of the Southern African Development Country (SADC) clearly states that member states should observe basic human rights such as the right to strike and gender equality, and one of the main objectives of SADC is to support “regional integration, built on democratic principles,” something that SADC’s new chair Swaziland clearly does not.

In fact, American research NGO Freedom House ranks Swaziland as the least free country of the 15 members of SADC, in regard to political rights and civil liberties, below countries such as DRC Congo, Angola and Zimbabwe.


President Edgar Lungu elected in disputed vote

Opposition party challenges result of presidential election, claiming the electoral commission colluded to rig the vote.

Zambia’s incumbent President Edgar Lungu has been declared the winner of a closely fought presidential election, but the result was immediately challenged by his main opponent Hakainde Hichilema.

Lungu, leader of the Patriotic Front (PF), won 50.35 percent of Thursday’s vote, against 47.67 percent for Hichilema, of the United Party for National Development (UPND), the Electoral Commission of Zambia said on Monday.



Zambia’s Lungu Says to Cut Spending, Boost Growth

Zambia will control expenditure and take measures to boost economic growth, President Edgar Lungu who was re-elected to the helm of Africa’s second-largest copper producer at a vote on 11 August, said on Thursday.

“I have five years now which is sufficient time to take more decisive action. I will take measures to grow the economy and control expenditure,” Lungu said in a statement after a meeting with business leaders.

The recent election was fought around the issues of rising unemployment, mine closures, power shortages and soaring food prices which Hichilema, an economist and businessman, blamed on Lungu’s mismanagement.


Zimbabwe – 19 August 2016

Opposition leaders vow to end reign of Mugabe’s Zanu-PF in historic show of unity

Leaders of Zimbabwe’s opposition have united as they denounced ageing President Robert Mugabe’s hold on power and called for citizens and political parties to join hands in ending the ruling Zanu-PF party’s alleged misrule. In a push to unseat Mugabe, five parties recently came together to create the Coalition of Democrats – dubbed Code – a coalition they hoped would challenge the head of state and his ruling Zanu-PF party in the 2018 general elections.

Mugabe has ruled with an iron fist, side-lining his rivals through a combination of shrewd politics and force. The nonagenarian has recently quashed any debate about his succession by stressing his intention to stand for re-election in 2018 when he is 94.

The International Business Times


Zimbabwe shifts all Beit Bridge police over suspected corruption

The Zimbabwe police headquarters has transferred all Beitbridge district police officers over suspicions they were engaged in corrupt activities.

In a shock move, police officers from the highest rank to the lowest were transferred from the border town to other parts of the country. The transfers were effected by a police radio communique.

The communique, gleaned by African News Agency (ANA), showed that more than 750 police officers were transferred from Beitbridge to other areas, while a corresponding number replaced them.


Swaziland – 19 August 2016

Civil platform urges multiparty democracy

An umbrella platform of civil groups is calling on Swaziland’s king to re-introduce multiparty democracy in the Southern African kingdom of about 1.2 million people.

The call by the Southern African People’s Solidarity Network (SASPN) comes barely two weeks before a heads of state summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) where King Mswati III will assume chairmanship of the regional organization.

The SASPN is an umbrella group of NGOs, social movements, trade unions, and other civil groups coming from the 15 SADC states.


Drought-hit Swaziland imposes four-day water cuts

Drought-stricken Swaziland on Thursday said it would begin sever water rationing in the capital Mbabane after levels in the main dam supplying the city fell to a critical low.

Swaziland Water Services Corporation (SWSC) said the restrictions would begin on Friday and probably last until the arrival of summer rains expected around October.

Under the measure, there will be no mains water for four days a week. Residents will collect water from mobile tanks instead.

“This is because of the dire drought situation which has decreased water levels at the Hawane Dam,” said SWSC spokesperson Nomahlubi Matiwane.


Western Sahara – 19 August 2016

No evidence of Morocco incursion in disputed Western Sahara: UN

The United Nations on Thursday (Aug 18) said it had found no sign of any suspicious military activity by Morocco in the disputed Western Sahara, after a separatist group complained about a Moroccan security operation in the region’s far south.

The Polisario Front campaigning for the independence of the Western Sahara had protested to the UN about the operation earlier this week, claiming it had involved large numbers of military units and had taken them beyond the sand wall that marks Morocco’s normal area of control.

Responding to the complaint, UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said the UN mission in the territory, MINURSO, had investigated the allegations and had “not observed military presence or equipment in the buffer strip”.

Channel News Asia


Western Sahara a ‘shameful stain’ on United Nations, says Polisario spokesman

Another generation cannot “grow old as refugees”: The UN must “assume its full responsibility” for advancing resolution of the conflict between the Saharawi people and Morocco over Western Sahara.

Last month the people of Western Sahara marked an important milestone in the 40-year history of our country.

Although thousands of Saharawi citizens live as refugees in southwest Algeria – displaced from our homeland and separated from our families by Morocco’s colonial occupation – we have nonetheless developed an inclusive democracy and a well-functioning government in the refugee camps and liberated territory of our country.

Open Democracy

Madagascar – 19 August 2016

Wang Yi Meets with Foreign Minister Béatrice Attalah of Madagascar

On July 28, 2016, Foreign Minister Wang Yi met in Beijing with Foreign Minister Béatrice Attalah of Madagascar, who was in China to attend the Sherpa Meeting on Implementing Outcomes of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Johannesburg Summit.

Wang Yi said that China and Madagascar enjoy a long-standing friendship, and bilateral relations have smoothly developed since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. China appreciates Madagascar for upholding the justice and publicly supporting China’s just stance on the South China Sea issue. China is willing to make joint efforts with Madagascar and take the implementation of the FOCAC Johannesburg Summit outcomes as an opportunity to jointly build the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and focus on carrying out mutually beneficial cooperation in the five major areas of agricultural modernization, infrastructure construction, energy resource development, processing and manufacturing industries and industrial park development, as well as marine economy, so as to open up a new prospect of China-Madagascar cooperation.

Foreign Ministry of the People’s republic of China

South Sudan – 19 August 2016

Riek Machar flees S Sudan, ‘in care’ of DRC authorities

UN spokesman says Machar is in the care of authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo after fleeing South Sudan.

South Sudan’s former vice president and opposition leader Riek Machar “is in the care” of the authorities in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the United Nations has said, several weeks after he withdrew from the capital Juba during fierce fighting with government troops.

The news on Thursday came after a statement by the leadership of the SPLA in Opposition party said Machar had left South Sudan on Wednesday to a “safe country within the region”, without giving any further details on his exact whereabouts.



South Sudan army denies killing county commissioner allied to Machar

South Sudanese national army, known as the Sudan People’s liberation Army (SPLA), has denied any connection to the death of up to 46 people, including Commissioner of Mayendit county in Unity region. 30 others were injured in an attack.

“The SPLA forces in the area have nothing to do with these allegations. We heard about them but when we contacted our forces and verified, we found out they were not a party to that incident. It was just a smear campaign by anti-peace elements and those who would like to tarnish the image of the SPLA for political reasons,” said SPLA spokesperson, Brigadier General Lul Ruai Koang when reached to comment on the development on Thursday.

Sudan Tribune

Sudan – 19 August 2016

UN chief urges Sudan’s warring parties to resume peace talks

United Nations Secretary-General,Ban Ki-moon, Thursday has urged the Sudanese government and rebel groups to resume talks to reach a cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access agreements in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

Last week, four groups from the opposition umbrella Sudan Call including the National Umma Party (NUP) and three armed groups; Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N), Sudan Liberation Movement – Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) had signed the Roadmap Agreement for peace and dialogue brokered by the African Union.

Sudan Tribune


‘Aid Workers On the Front Lines of Conflict’ – UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan

United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Marta Ruedas, has highlighted the importance of aid workers in a statement an address to mark World Humanitarian Day 2016.

She says that every day, humanitarian aid workers stand on the front lines of conflict and disaster around the world, braving danger and difficulty to deliver assistance to those who need it most.

“World Humanitarian Day, which takes place every year on the 19th of August, pays tribute to the aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service, and mobilises people to advocate for humanitarian action.

Central African Republic – 19 August 2016

After standoff, UN force detains 10 armed men, recovers weapons cache

The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic (CAR) has reported that after a standoff with a convoy of heavily-armed men near Sibut, the capital of Kémo Prefecture, UN forces detained 10 of the suspects and recovered a “significant quantity” of weapons and munitions.

According to a press release from the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), the convoy of some 35 men, which was believed to include several people who are the subject of arrest warrants, had departed Bangui, the nation’s capital, late Friday.

The heavily-armed men exchanged fire with national security forces at several checkpoints en route, and these incidents resulted in a number of deaths and injuries, according to MINUSCA.

UN News


President of Central African Republic Hopes to Boost Ties with Russia

President Faustin Archange Touadera told Sputnik in an exclusive interview that the Central African Republic and Russia have a great potential for stepping up partnership.

The Central African Republic (CAR) and Russia have a history of strong cultural ties which they need to restore, CAR President Faustin Archange Touadera told Sputnik in an interview.

“We have very good relations with Russia,” Touadera said. “But we’d like our relationship to become more robust to increase cooperation because we used to have very good cultural ties in the past in terms of educating students and teachers. So I think there is room for improved cooperation.”



Aid agencies race to contain cholera outbreak in Central African Republic

Aid agencies in the Central African Republic said on Thursday they were racing to prevent the first outbreak of cholera in five years from spreading across the conflict-stricken country.

The outbreak, which was declared last week, started in the southern Kemo prefecture before spreading to the capital Bangui, and has infected more than 150 people and killed at least 18 people to date, according to the latest government figures.

Medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has opened a cholera treatment center in Bangui, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is supporting an awareness-raising campaign along the country’s entire southern border.


Somalia – 19 August 2016

AU Mission Denies Shelling Residential Areas

The Africa Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on Wednesday refuted reports that its peacekeeping troops fired rounds of mortars on residential areas near the southern port city of Marka.

In a statement, AMISOM said its routine weapon testing exercise had the impact site pre-determined and was carried out far away from residential areas.

“The local administration was also aware of the planned weapons’ testing,” it said.

The statement comes after residents in Marka claimed that AMISOM troops shelled residential areas on Tuesday. There were reports that AU forces stationed at Ayub camp bombed villages located on the outskirts of Marka, causing casualties and property damages.


Al Shabaab Claims to Have Killed a U.S. Soldier in Raid

Al Shabaab said its fighters killed a U.S. Soldier in an attack on a convoy carrying Somali, KDF and American forces near Kismayo city on Wednesday morning.

Al Shabaab claimed the coalition forces’ convoy came under deadly surprise ambush by armed militants at Abdalla Birole area, about 40Km west of Kismayo town.

According to a statement posted on pro-al Shabaab Andalus Radio’s website, an American Elite soldier was among several soldiers killed in Today’s attack.

Unites States of America has a contingent of elite troops acting as military advisers helping Somali forces in assaults on Al Shabaab bases in south and central Somalia.

DRC – 19 August 2016

Scores hacked to death in Democratic Republic of Congo

At least 45 bodies have been found hacked to death in north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, with more expected as the search continues.

The attack was reportedly carried out by suspected rebels, Al Jazeera reported. The attack happened Saturday night in the town of Beni’s ‘s Rwangoma district, Beni Mayor Nyonyi Bwanakawa said. DRC troops recovered the machete-hacked bodies and said they expect to find even more, CRJ English News reported.

Bwanakawa said at least 45 people were found dead. He said the assailants attacked the village of Rwangoma on the city’s rim, killing civilians.

DR Congo President Joseph Kabila, who is staying in the province of North Kivu, labelled the massacre as terrorism.



Third Kabila term will doom DRC

The United States has warned of further violence in the already war-wracked Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) should President Joseph Kabila hold on to power after his mandate expires in December.

Washington has been keeping a close eye on the DRC, where tensions are running high ahead of the December 20 deadline for the end of the president’s second term.

He is barred from running again under the constitution. The opposition and Western powers are worried Kabila is pulling strings to keep his post as head of state, and may try to delay an election due to be held on September 19.

Herald Live