News Briefs 13 October 2017


Democratic Republic of Congo

Congo Elections Won’t Be Held Before April 2019

Elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo that were due last year won’t be held before April 2019, the electoral commission said, a delay that undermines a pact President Joseph Kabila’s supporter made with his political opponents for him to step down this year.

The commission said in a statement that it will need 504 days to organize the polls once it completes the enrollment of voters. The body says it has finished the registrations in all of Congo except the conflict-ravaged Kasai region, where it began in early September and said it will take three months.

The commission also said it will need almost 17 months to allow for the passing of a new law drawing elected representatives’ constituencies, obtaining voting materials and recruiting personnel.


President Zuma to undertake working visit to The Democratic Republic of Congo

President Jacob Zuma will visit Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on 15 October 2017, in his capacity as chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The President will hold discussions with President Joseph Kabila Kabange on the issues of peace and security in the Great Lakes region, particularly the situation in the DRC.

SADC is committed to assist the Government and the people of the DRC to achieve sustainable peace, security and stability.

CNBC Africa


Somalia’s Top Military Chiefs Resign, No Reason Given

Two of Somalia’s highest-ranking military officials have resigned, state outlets said on Thursday, in moves that could deal a blow to the war-torn Horn of Africa country’s efforts to fight Islamist militants.

Somalia has been at war since 1991, when clan-based warlords overthrew dictator Siad Barre and then turned on each other.

For a decade, the weak UN-backed government has also been fighting alongside African Union troops against Al Shabaab, which aims to topple the government and impose its own strict interpretation of Islam.


How the Gulf crisis is destabilising Somalia

The Saudi Arabia-United Arab Emirates (UAE) decision to break relations with Qatar, and more importantly their insistence for others to follow their lead, has pitted the Federal Government of Somalia (‘Somali government’) against many of its federal member states. This has created a serious challenge for the country’s nascent state-building process. 1

When Saudi Arabia cut ties with Qatar in June this year, it was the third time in three years that the nation (with the UAE close behind) had called on the Horn of Africa to remake its foreign policy in line with Riyadh. In 2015, Saudi Arabia convinced the entire Horn – except Ethiopia – to sign up to its coalition against the Houthi movement in Yemen; a key priority given Iran’s support for the Houthis, who are also Shia Muslims. Then in early 2016 when Saudi Arabia broke relations with Iran, Djibouti, Sudan and Somalia did so as well.

Daily Maverick

Central African Republic

New allegation of sexual abuse surfaces at UN mission in Central African Republic

United Nations Spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said Wednesday that the UN Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) reported it had received an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor that took place in Bambari by UN peacekeepers.

“The alleged victim was immediately referred to our humanitarian partners on the ground for appropriate medical and psychological assistance,” said the Spokesman, adding that the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services has carried out a verification of information inquiry and preserved evidence, which will lead to the matter being referred to the Member State for further investigation and action.

Last month, during a high-level event on the margins of the UN General Assembly’s annual general debate, Secretary-General António Guterres announced the appointment of Jane Connors as the first-ever UN Victims’ Right Advocate, who, he said would develop system-wide mechanisms and policies to promote reliable gender- and child-sensitive processes for victims and witnesses to file complaints.

UN News

Home is close, but so far away for Central African Republic refugees

More than 60,000 refugees have crossed the Ubangi and Mboumou rivers in the past five months, fleeing the war-torn Central African Republic.

Sporadic gunfire interrupts their conversations. Further downstream, a dozen canoes with women, men and children cross the river to safety.

Rose Yasambia, 30, stands in the crowd and weeps. “They are setting all the houses on fire,” she says. “Soon they will be at our house.”

Rose and her family crossed from Mobaye, a town just across the river in the Central African Republic (CAR), four months earlier. Armed groups and the fires have destroyed any hope they had of returning home soon.



U.S. lifts sanctions on Sudan banks, ports, railways

The U.S. has lifted sanctions on dozens of Sudanese entities, including banks, ports, oil and industrial corporations, the Treasury Department said on Thursday.

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control published a list of entities that are now formally removed from the U.S. sanctions list, including African Drilling Company, Bank of Sudan, Sudan Air, Sudan Railways, Petroleum General Administration and African Oil Corporation, among dozens of others.

Thursday’s Treasury Department Action formally marks the end of decades of US-imposed sanctions on the country, though some measures related to the conflict in Darfur will remain in place.

The News Nigeria

First foreign currency comes into Sudan as sanctions end

For the first time in 20 years Sudan started receiving foreign currency inflows, the central bank said on Wednesday, days after the US government lifted decades-old trade sanctions on the northern African country.

A statement by the bank confirmed the receipt of international transfers in US dollars to two Sudanese banks, the first signal of recovery for Sudan’s battered economy.

The decision to suspend sanctions and lift a trade embargo, unfreeze assets and remove financial restrictions came after a US assessment that Sudan had made progress on counter terrorism co-operation and resolving its long internal conflicts such as in Darfur.

Defence Web

South Sudan

South Sudan peace talk process now includes more groups

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) will hold talks to find a solution to the South Sudan crisis.

The talks titled “Revitalisation Forum” are a product of the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State summit of June 12, 2017, when the regional body agreed to revitalise the South Sudan peace process. Brazille Musumba, IGAD’s communications advisor said the talks come after the IGAD Council of Ministers held its 58th extra-ordinary session under the chairmanship of Workneh Gebeyehu, Ethiopia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Chairperson of the IGAD Council.

The session held in Juba, South Sudan, was also attended by Amina Mohamed, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and others from the eight-member bloc.

Standard Media

Ex-S. Sudan rebel commander says optimistic on IGAD forum

A former South Sudan rebel commander says he is optimistic that the peace revitalization forum, spearheaded by Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) will help end the country’s conflict and bring about peace.

General Peter Gatdet made these remarks on Monday after meeting the revitalization forum team in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum.

Gatdet, who broke away from the armed opposition faction led by former First Vice President Riek Machar, urged IGAD to consider all options required to restore peace and stability in the war-torn nation.

Sudan Tribune

Western Sahara

Sahrawi leaders willing to cooperate with UN for Western Sahara’s decolonization

Sahrawi Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Salem Ould Salek reaffirmed Wednesday, in Algiers, the “sincere” willingness of the Sahrawi leaders to cooperate with the United Nations (UN) and its mission in Western Sahara for the decolonization of the occupied Sahrawi territories, on the basis of the agreement of 1991, welcoming the expected visit to Western Sahara of the personal envoy of the United Nations Secretary General for Western Sahara Horst Kohler.

The Sahrawi government and its leaders of the Polisario Front reaffirmed “their sincere willingness” to cooperate with the United Nations and its mission to Western Sahara for the decolonization of the occupied Sahrawi territories, on the basis of the agreement concluded in 1991 between Morocco and Western Sahara, under the aegis of the United Nations and the African Union (AU), which stipulates that the Sahrawi people are able to decide about their future through a democratic, free and regular referendum in accordance with the charters and resolutions of the two organizations, he said in a press conference.

Sahara Press Service

US Congress demands implementation of UN Security Council resolution on Western Sahara

The US Congress, through the Committee on Appropriations, has called on the United States Permanent Mission to the United Nations to work hard to accelerate the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2351 of 28 April 2017 on the issue of Western Sahara, according the Polisario Front representation in the US.

The source added that the US Congress, during its discussion of the Sahrawi issue, stressed that the support allocated under article 3 of this law, would be available to assist the people of Western Sahara after consultation and coordination among the Committees of Appropriations and representatives of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO).

Sahara Press Service



HIV prevention efforts must reach vulnerable girls and young women

More than one in five adults in Swaziland are HIV-positive, according to the most recent data, and the rates are highest among women. Despite these dangers, young people – and young women in particular – often lack the information and services they need to keep themselves safe.

Takhona, 17, says that, until recently, she did not know anything about HIV or sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

“I believed, before, that having sex, you just enjoy. Nothing can happen. I didn’t know about pregnancy and HIV and STIs,” she said.

Takhona is from Shiselweni, one of the poorest regions in Swaziland. “Sometimes I had no uniform or other school supplies,” she said.

Relief Web

UPDATE: Locals charged with terrorism in Swaziland

Three Lowvelders who were charged with poaching and terrorism in Swaziland last month will apply for bail in the country’s High Court tomorrow.

In Swaziland, the Suppression of Terrorism Act acknowledges poaching as an act of terrorism.

Sources confirmed that the accused are two Swaziland citizens, Muzi Dlamini and Sipho Mhlanga, Lowvelders, Isaac Mkhabela and Stanley Khlakalufu (a police reservist) and a third man whose identity remains unknown because his only form of identification was fake.

A Mozambican accomplice was killed during their arrest on August 11 near the Hlane Royal National Park.



Zimbabwe Ruling Party Plans Vote to Strengthen Mugabe’s Hand

Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF is planning a special vote to give veteran President Robert Mugabe a fresh five-year mandate as party leader, three sources said, strengthening his hand as rivals plot to succeed him.

One member of the party’s politburo told Reuters the 93-year-old president could also use the party election in December to end divisions in its top ranks, raising the prospect of the removal of some of his challengers.

“Comrade Mugabe is the only one centre of power in Zanu-PF and that will be re-affirmed in December,” another politburo member told Reuters.


Zimbabwe War Veterans Say Grace Mugabe Is Behind New Cabinet

Zimbabwe war veterans say the powerful first lady Grace Mugabe is behind the latest cabinet reshuffle by president Robert Mugabe.

The controversy started when Mugabe fired three ministers this week accusing them of being loyal to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and appointed new ones.

The veterans reassured Grace will be prevented from succeeding the 93-year-old president. They insisted that they wanted one of theirs to take over from Mugabe.

“We want them in the card that’s what I will canvass for. And also if we don’t have good leaders from the war veterans, we are for the people, we will chose from the people”, said Christopher Mutsvangwa, Zimbabwe War Veterans Association Chairman.

African News



Africa in General

Results of Liberia’s election delayed

Liberia’s election results were delayed on Wednesday by hitches at a number of polling stations, with Vice President Joseph Boakai and footballer George Weah seen as the front runners to succeed Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

The National Elections Commission (NEC) is expected to announce the first official results from the presidential and legislative elections on Thursday.

If no candidate wins 50% of the presidential vote, a run-off between the top two contenders will be held on November 7, an outcome analysts say is a near certainty.


Kenya bans opposition protests prior to election re-run

Kenya’s government on Thursday banned opposition protests in their strongholds in the country’s three biggest cities because of “imminent danger of breach of peace” as the fresh presidential election approaches.

Interior Minister Fred Matiangi said demonstrations are banned in Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa.

The right to protest is enshrined in Kenya’s constitution, “but we shall not allow a few people while purportedly exercising their freedoms to infringe on the rights of others,” Matiangi said.



Former Lesotho Defence Force chief Kamoli faces police interrogation

Lieutenant-General Tlali Kamoli, former commander of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF), accused of overseeing atrocities, including an August 2014 coup, is in police custody.

Spokesperson Inspector Mpiti Mopeli said Kamoli had handed himself in on Wednesday and remains in custody pending the outcome of an interrogation.

Under Kamoli’s leadership, Lesotho lurched from one crisis to another. Assassination of government opponents became routine and at one stage all opposition leaders fled into exile until the collapse of the government of Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, Kamoli’s main benefactor, earlier this year.


UN rights chief decries ‘endemic’ abuses after vist to Libya

The UN human rights chief warned on Thursday that serious violations were “endemic” in many detention centres in Libya, but said he was “optimistic” that authorities were intent on improving the situation.

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, who this week became the first UN rights chief to make an official visit to Libya, welcomed commitments he received from authorities, including Prime Minister Fayez Serraj, and the ministers of Justice and Interior, to address a wide range of abuses.

But he warned that “the human rights situation in Libya continues to be marked by widespread abuses and violations perpetrated by all sides to the conflict with complete impunity”.