News Briefs 05 October 2018


The country formerly known as Swaziland adapts to ‘more African’ name eSwatini

One of the world’s last absolute monarch’s took the decision to rename the country without warning or consultation.

At the main campus entrance, a large concrete sign welcomes students and visitors to “The University of…” followed by a blank space.

After Swaziland changed its name earlier this year to eSwatini, the nine letters spelling out the old name of the country were removed from the university sign, and new letters have not yet arrived.

“We are still waiting,” said a security guard at the gate.

On the other side of the road, Banele Syabonga, 25, contemplated his country’s sudden change of name in April, which took many citizens by surprise.

“I like the new name – it is more African,” Syabonga, who is unemployed, told AFP, standing outside Lucky’s Hair Cut shop, a tin shack in Manzini, the second city of what is now known as eSwatini.

The Citizen

Government Group Calls for Investigation into Violence During Swaziland Election

Swaziland’s Commission on Human Rights and Public Administration Integrity (CHRPAI) has called for an investigation into the violence that occurred during the recent election.

CHRPAI Commissioner Sabelo Masuku urged the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) to investigate the causes of violence and take necessary action.

He was delivering a report on the conduct of the election. He said it was important to maintain peace and order during such an important national event.

CHRPAI is a group that comes under the kingdom’s Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.



Price hikes hit Zimbabwe government warned against repeat of 2008

The Zimbabwean government has reportedly said that it would soon launch the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) aimed at addressing industry concerns and help improve its competitiveness for regional and international markets.

According to the state-owned Herald newspaper, this came as the southern African country struggled with a wave of price increases which the government described as “largely unjustified”.

The report quoted the Industry and Commerce Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu as saying: “I have not received a brief on price increases and the magnitude, but I know it is a culture that has been developing in the last few weeks, people just increase prices.”

Ndlovu said that the TSP would promote local production.

The Financial Gazette reported on Friday that prices of basic goods such as mealie-meal, meat, soap, toiletries, rice, sugar and vegetables were spiralling out of control due to a currency crisis precipitated by foreign currency shortages.

News 24



Zimbabwe to unveil key industrial policies

President Mnangagwa yesterday said the country will soon unveil critical pieces of legislation including the new Industrial Development Policy, as the drive towards an export-led industrialisation agenda gathers momentum.

The President said this while officially opening the 2018 ZimTrade Exporters’ Conference in Harare.

The conference ran under the theme “Accelerating export growth for sustainable economic development”.

Said President Mnangagwa: “The new Industrial Development Policy, National Trade Policy and the National Export Strategy that will drive Zimbabwe’s export-led industrialisation agenda, will soon be unveiled for implementation.”

Zimbabwe wants to boost exports and fight the widening trade deficit, which rose by 34 percent to $1,26 billion between February to June 2018.





Democratic Republic of Congo

UN Security Council Heads to DR Congo Ahead of Polls

The UN Security Council is heading to the Democratic Republic of Congo this week ahead of December elections, amid tensions between Congolese authorities and the UN and concerns over a risk of poll violence.

The UN wants “free, fair and peaceful elections,” Karel Van Oosterom, Dutch ambassador to the global organisation said Wednesday.

Van Oosterom will be among those in the Security Council delegation, joined by representatives from the United States, Bolivia, France and Equatorial Guinea.

The trip is planned Thursday to Monday and will be limited to Kinshasa.


Red Cross Suspends Burial of Ebola Victims in DRC After Staff Attacked

The International Committee of the Red Cross has suspended burial of Ebola victims in the Democratic Republic of Congo where volunteer health workers were attacked.

At least 106 people have died since July in the latest Congolese outbreak of this deadly haemorrhagic disease.

Persistent violence in the Kivus area of the DRC, where the outbreak has occurred, and community resistance to preventive measures and treatment are major obstacles to fighting Ebola.

The World Health Organisation says there’s a very high risk of the disease spreading to other areas and across the DRC border into Uganda and Rwanda.



Somalia car bomb strikes EU convoy, no casualties – police

A suicide car bombing by Islamist group al Shabaab hit a European Union armoured convoy in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Monday, damaging one vehicle but causing no casualties, police and the Islamists said.

A Reuters witness saw men towing their damaged vehicle after the explosion hit its rear end. The armoured vehicles had Italian and EU flags on them. Police said the blast caused no casualties.

“We targeted officers of EU forces with (a) suicide car bomb. We shall give details of casualties later,” Abdiasis Abu Musab, the group’s military operations spokesman told Reuters.

Al Shabaab frequently carries out attacks in the Horn of Africa country.

The al Qaeda-affiliated militants want to topple Somalia’s Western-backed central government and impose their own rule based on their strict interpretation of Islam’s sharia law.



Somalia says ‘no’ to al-Shabab defector’s run for office

Somalia’s government has issued a sharp “no” to the candidacy of a high-level al-Shabab defector for a regional presidency.

A statement by the internal security ministry says Mukhtar Robow is not eligible to run for the leadership of the South West region because he is still under sanctions.

Robow is the highest-ranking official to have ever quit the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab. He surrendered to the government last year after the United States cancelled a $5 million reward offered for his capture.

He remains under U.S. sanctions imposed against him in 2008 when he was identified as a “specially designated global terrorist.”

Robow announced his candidacy for the regional presidency this week, joining several candidates challenging former Somali parliament speaker and incumbent regional president Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden. The election is Nov. 17.

Star Tribune

Central African Republic

From UN Assembly podium, Central African Republic leader appeals for lifting arms embargo

The UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in CAR (MINUSCA) was established in 2014 with the protection of civilians its top priority, after fighting between the mostly Christian anti-Balaka militia and the mainly Muslim Séléka rebel coalition tore the country apart.

An arms embargo imposed at the same time was renewed for another 12 months earlier this year.

“Our ambition is to contribute at MINUSCA’s side to the immense effort for the stabilization and return to peace in CAR,” Mr. Touadera declared. “But to fulfil this, allow me to reiterate from this lofty tribune our call for the total lifting of the arms embargo which still weighs heavily on our national army.”

Only last month armed anti-Balaka fighters attacked MINUSCA personnel is in the southern-central part of the country, killing a Burundian member.

UN News

UN special envoy says Central African Republic need for weapons is undeniable, but wants transparency

The United Nations special envoy to the Central African Republic called on Thursday, September 27 for transparency on the flow of arms into the war-torn country and urged diplomatic “coherence” as Russia’s role in the country grows.

In an interview with AFP, U.N. Special Representative Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, whose term expires at the end of the year, said he felt “a measured, but definite, hope” for Central African Republic even as armed groups covet its natural wealth.

Despite reserves of diamonds, gold, uranium, copper and iron, Central African Republic is one of the world’s poorest countries.

Defence Post


‘Sudan Forms Body of Bankers & Exchange Bureaus to Set Daily Exchange Rate’

Sudan will begin on Sunday using a body comprised of bankers and exchange bureaus to set its daily currency exchange rate, the central bank governor said.

The Sudanese pound is likely to lose value against the dollar initially, and later stabilise, Governor Mohamed Kheir al-Zubeir said.

The new exchange body will also set the purchase price of gold to counter smuggling, Zubeir said.\


Sudan protests at EU holding journalists meeting

Sudan summoned the European Union ambassador to Khartoum on Wednesday to protest against an EU-organised meeting of journalists that called for strengthening of press freedoms in the African country.

The meeting held on Tuesday by the EU at its office in Khartoum was attended by representatives of several European embassies and the US charge d’affaires to Sudan.

“The ministry complained to the EU ambassador that the meeting he organised was held in a way that only a select group of journalists were called,” the Sudanese foreign ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said it also protested at the statement issued by the EU after the meeting, which suggested that the meeting was for all Sudanese journalists.


South Sudan

South Sudan main opposition calls for swift release of Machar’s spokesperson

SPLM-IO condemned statements by the South Sudan Presidential spokesman that his government has political prisoners and stressed they will not compromise over the release of James Dak, the spokesperson of the Movement’ leader.

On Monday Ateny Wek Ateny denied the existence of political prisoners in South Sudan. He told Radio Tamazuj that “all political detainees had been released. We have prisoners of war and not political detainees”.

Also, on Wednesday, Juba released twenty political prisoners but James Gatdet Dak, the imprisoned-spokesperson SPLM-IO’s leader was not among them.

Manawa Peter Gatkuoth SPLM-IO Deputy Chairperson of the National Committee for Information and Public Relations told Sudan Tribune they learnt that Dak was told that he is not included in the presidential decree for the release of the political prisoners and detainees.

Sudan Tribune



Presence of Darfur rebels in South Sudan has declined: UN official

The chair of UN Sanctions Committee on Sudan’s Darfur weapon embargo said the presence of Darfur armed groups has diminished in South Sudan but it is growing in Libya, threatening regional security.

Ambassador Joanna Wronecka who is also the chair of South Sudan sanctions committee made her remarks during the quarterly briefing to the Security Council members on her committee’s work, on Wednesday 3 October.

“While the presence of Dafuri armed groups in South Sudan had declined due to diminishing support from the South Sudanese authorities, their presence in Libya continued to grow,” she said.

Her statements confirm previous UN reports about the “mercenary activities” by armed groups from the Darfur region ” with South Sudanese government and the different warring parties in Libya.

Sudan Tribune

Western Sahara

U.N. invites Western Sahara parties for new talks in December

The United Nations has invited Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and the Polisario Front, a Western Sahara independence movement, for talks in Geneva on the conflict in the desert region next December, a U.N. spokeswoman said on Monday.

U.N. efforts have repeatedly failed to broker a settlement over the territory, contested between Morocco and the Algerian-backed Polisario since Spanish colonial power left in 1974.

U.N. Special Envoy for Western Sahara, Horst Kohler, has invited the foreign ministers of Morocco, Algeria and Mauritania as well as the secretary general of the Polisario Front for a meeting in Geneva, the spokeswoman said.


Morocco Accepts UN’s Invitation to Western Sahara Talks in Geneva

The Moroccan government has officially responded to the Horst Kohler’s invitation and will attend the Western Sahara roundtable.

On Thursday, the government expressed its willingness to attend the talks on December 4 and 5 in Geneva.

Morocco’s Government Spokesperson Mustapha El Khalfi said today in a press conference after the government council meeting that Morocco “decided to respond to the invitation of the Personal Envoy of the [UN] Secretary-General, Horst Kohler.”

He explained that the invitation was also addressed to Algeria and Mauritania.

Morocco World News




Africa in General

African Union adopts Sudan’s initiative for peace in Central African Republic

The African Union has adopted Sudan initiative for peace in the neighbouring Central African Republic (CAR) said the Sudanese foreign ministry.

The announcement was made after a meeting held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meetings in New York on Friday including Faustin-Archange Touadéra CAR President, Moussa Faki Chairperson of the African Union Commission, El-Dirdeiry Ahmed Sudan’s Foreign Minister, and Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo.

“The meeting discussed the developments in the situation in the Central African Republic and means of implementing the African Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation and linking it to Sudan’s initiative, which aims to achieve the same goal,” said a statement released by the Sudanese foreign ministry.

Last August, the Sudanese government hosted a meeting for peace in CAR including the main armed groups, the Christian anti-Balaka militia of Maxime Mokom and Muslim Seleka armed faction led Noureddine Adam. The Central African government was not part of the Russian brokered meeting.

Sudan Tribune

Sudan urges UN to double South Sudan regional force

Sudan’s foreign minister is calling for implementation of the latest agreement to end the civil war in neighbouring South Sudan and urging the U.N. Security Council to quickly approve doubling a regional protection force to monitor the accord.

Eldirdiri Mohamed Ahmed told Monday’s final session of the General Assembly’s ministerial meeting that Sudan hopes rival leaders in South Sudan will “give peace a chance.”

He said regional leaders have called for the regional protection force in South Sudan to be doubled from 4 000 to 8 000 soldiers — with Sudan, Uganda, Djibouti and Somalia contributing troops.


Melania Trump visits Malawi school on solo Africa tour

US First Lady Melania Trump toured a primary school in Malawi on Thursday on the second leg of her solo tour of Africa as her husband poured praise on her work from back home.

A small handful of protesters held signs along roads in the capital Lilongwe, with one criticising President Trump’s reported use of offensive language to describe some African countries earlier this year.

Melania Trump, who is in Africa to promote her children’s welfare programme, described her visit to the Chipala primary school as “an amazing experience”.

“Meeting those children and understanding their different way of life is why I wanted to travel here,” she said in a short speech afterwards at the US embassy.