News Briefs 24 January 2020

Central African Republic.

Half Central African Republic’s population needs humanitarian aid: UN

More than half the population in the Central African Republic — around 2.6 million people — needs humanitarian aid and more than one million are in an extremely vulnerable situation, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

Central African Republic is still struggling after a conflict that forced half of the country’s population to flee their homes.

A fragile peace agreement between the government and armed groups signed nearly a year ago has eased violence, but attacks continue and most of the country is outside of government control.

“The Central African Republic is still experiencing a dire and complex humanitarian crisis. 2.6 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection,” the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a statement.

“Among them, 1.7 million people require immediate assistance to survive.”

Modern Ghana

Lt Gen Daniel Sidiki Traoré appointed as force commander of UN mission in CAR

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today announced the appointment of Lieutenant General Daniel Sidiki Traoré of Burkina Faso as the Force Commander of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).

Lieutenant General Traoré succeeds Lieutenant General Balla Keita of Senegal, who will complete his assignment on 29 February 2020. The Secretary-General is grateful for his tireless dedication, invaluable service, and effective leadership.

As the current Military Adviser to the Chief of General Defence Staff of Burkina Faso, Lieutenant General Traoré has had a distinguished career since joining the Army of Burkina Faso in 1977. He also has extensive Peacekeeping experience, having recently served as Deputy Force Commander in MINUSCA in 2018, and as the Sector West Commander in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) from 2014 to 2016. He also previously served as Sector Commander in the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) in Western Darfur from 2012-2014.

Dev Discourse

Zimbabwe tycoon’s offer seeks to end doctor strike

A funding offer by a billionaire Zimbabwe telecoms tycoon on Wednesday prompted the country’s doctors to consider ending a long-running strike over wage payments.

Doctors and the government have failed to agree on a wage increase since September last year, leading the medics to walk off the job.

Strive Masiyiwa, a philanthropist and owner of Econet Global, has now offered to pay the doctors a subsidy to cover living costs through his Higherlife Foundation.

“We have asked all our members to apply so we can go back to work, and provide patients with the best service we can under the circumstances,” Tawanda Zvakada, the acting secretary general of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association, told AFP.


Zimbabwe’s main opposition warns of more protests

Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader warned his supporters to prepare for more demonstrations to force political and economic change in a country lurching from one crisis to another.

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Nelson Chamisa addressed thousands of supporters in Mbare township at a rally that had previously been barred by authorities, who cited security concerns.

Officials gave the go-ahead on Tuesday after stopping it earlier this month saying they were too busy to police the rally.

Police were absent from the venue, but officers stood in clusters along the road leading to the grounds of Stoddart Hall, once a popular venue for political meetings that gave birth to nationalist movements during colonial rule.



EU Gives Swaziland Humanitarian Aid to Feed Hungry While Absolute Monarch Buys His Family 15 Rolls-Royce Cars

Only two months after King Mswati III, the absolute monarch of Swaziland (eSwatini), spent E53 million on a fleet of Rolls-Royce cars for himself and members of his family the European Union has announced it will give Euro 1 Million (E16 million) in aid for the hungry because the kingdom cannot feed its own people.

About 232,000 people (25 percent of the rural population) are expected to experience severe acute food insecurity, according to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC).

A statement from the European Commission said the money was to help people affected by drought to get food. European Union Ambassador to Swaziland Esmerelda Hernandez Aragones said areas in the Lubombo, Hhohho and Shiselweni regions would get the money.


Six in Ten School Support Staff in Swaziland Not Paid for Three Months as Financial Crisis Bites

Six in ten people working as support staff in schools across Swaziland (eSwatini) have not been paid for the past three months, a trade union reported.

Phumelele Zulu of the Swaziland Union in Learning and Allied Institutions (SULAI) said 60 percent of its 860 members were owed salaries dating back to October last year.

In total they were owed more than E5 million.

Swaziland which is ruled by King Mswati III as an absolute monarch is in financial meltdown and public services across the kingdom are grinding to a halt.


Democratic Republic of Congo.

DRC’s new dawn snagged by power play and empty promises

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Friday marks a year since it began its first peaceful transition of power, but the road to the future is proving a bumpy ride.

On January 24 2019, after election results rivals bitterly contested, opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi succeeded President Joseph Kabila, who stepped down after 18 iron-fisted years at the helm.

To relief in the DRC and beyond, the handover defused fears that sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest country would plunge once more into civil strife.

But Tshisekedi’s promises of fast-track change, with radical reforms to ease poverty and tackle corruption, have also dimmed.

Business Day

Joint UN-Congolese strategy needed to address insecurity following deadly attacks

Authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the UN peacekeeping operation in the country, MONUSCO, are being urged to develop a comprehensive joint strategy to address insecurity in Beni territory, located in the east.

The recommendation follows an independent assessment into deadly attacks allegedly carried out by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) armed group during the latter part of last year, which sparked violent protests against the Government and the UN.

The assessment team—which included political, military and logistics specialists—sought to establish the circumstances surrounding the attacks in Beni, located in North Kivu province, as well as assaults in Mambasa territory in neighbouring Ituri province targeting the national and international response to the deadly Ebola virus outbreak.

UN News


No, Somalia Is Not Poised for Economic Success

On January 12, Ali Sharif Ahmed, Somalia’s ambassador to the United States, penned an article suggesting Somalia had turned the corner and is poised for success, so long as American taxpayers grant it $1 billion in debt relief.

Alas, many of his declarations appear completely disconnected from reality.

There is no conspiracy against Somalia to deny its rightful place; but the problems Somalia faces—corruption, insecurity, and increasingly dictatorship—are of its own making.

Ambassador Ahmed targets Dr. Michael Rubin for pointing out that the Republic of Somaliland is more peaceful, secure, and democratic than areas controlled by the Somali government in Mogadishu. It is a truism that officials opt for ad hominem attacks when they are unable to win a debate on its merits. Alas, the ambassador must have missed other prominent news outlets that agree with Rubin’s grim assessment of Somalia’s progress against terror. Let me cite only a few of the dozens of such analysis:

National Interest

Somalia Invites Turkey to Explore for Oil

Somalia has invited Turkey to explore for oil in its seas.

Turkey President Tayyip Erdogan confirmed the invitation and said his country would take steps in line with the approach.

“There is an offer from Somalia. They are saying: ‘There is oil in our seas. You are carrying out these operations with Libya, but you can also do them here.’ This is very important for us,” Erdogan said.

“Therefore, there will be steps that we will take in our operations there.”

Turkey is a key ally of Somalia. They are playing a major role in rehabilitating the infrastructure of the war-torn nation.

Turkish engineers are helping build roads in Somalia, and Turkish officers have trained Somali soldiers as part of efforts to build up the country’s army.

East African Business Week


Hamdok Says Sudan Government Seeks to Establish Partnership with the Army

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok ruled out differences between the civilian and military members of the Sovereign Council, the country’s ruling body.

On the contrary, he stressed that his government was seeking to establish a partnership, which will be “a model in the region and the world,” to spare the Sudanese people the same fate of Libya, Syria and Yemen.

Hamdok described the performance of the current ministers as “satisfactory”, noting that a cabinet reshuffle would be made when necessary, in consultation with the forces of the Declaration of Freedom and Change, as stipulated in the constitutional document governing the transitional period.

The Sudanese premier is scheduled to leave in the next few days on a tour that includes Kuwait, Kenya and Djibouti.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Sudan’s deep state still poses a threat to the democratic process

There have been a number of signs suggesting that Sudan’s leadership needs to accelerate the dismantling of the country’s internal security structures. And that it needs to develop a clear strategy on how they will work, and who will manage them. The most recent signal was a mutiny by the operation units of the General Intelligence Directorate on 14 December, 2019.

The mutiny demonstrates that disbanding the roots of the security apparatus, and the deep state will take longer than the three-year transitional period. The deep state was created by the Sudanese Islamic Movement and consolidated by former president Omar al-Bashir.

The transitional government needs to recognise the fact that, for decades, the Sudanese Islamic Movement followed by the National Congress Party embedded themselves within every institution throughout the country, including the security structures. This extended to civil society and businesses, including the commercial and banking sectors as well as the legislative system that governs Sudan.

The Conversation

South Sudan

More than a dozen killed in attack in South Sudan border region

At least 19 people were killed and dozens wounded in an attack in the disputed Abyei region on the Sudan-South Sudan border, according to UN peacekeepers, although a local official gave a higher toll.

Suspected nomadic Misseriya herders from Sudan attacked the Dinka village of Kolom, about nine kilometres (5.5 miles) northwest of Abyei on Wednesday, the United Nations Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA), said in a statement.

UNISFA said the attack wounded at least 25 others, while three children were reportedly missing and 19 houses were set ablaze.


S. Sudan govt accuses rebel groups of recruiting child soldiers

Authorities in South Sudan are accusing opposition rebel groups of enrolling child soldiers, even as the country prepares to implement a historic peace deal next month.

Officials said the Sudan People’s Liberation Army – In Opposition (SPLM-IO) was forcibly recruiting youth and children into their military ranks in areas like Rubkona County, in Northern Liech State.

South Sudan State Information minister David Gai alleged that the forceful recruitment in Rubkona County was launched by SPLA-IO two weeks ago and had seen some civilians flee from their homes.

“Now areas like Nhial-Diu, which is part of Greater Rubkona, are almost empty because those communities have fled their homes to avoid the exercise,” Mr Gai said.

The East African

Western Sahara

AU called upon to take urgent measures

The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) called on the African Union (AU) and its members to take urgent measures to bring African states to reconsider their grave decisions of opening “consulates” in the occupied Sahrawi territories.

The opening by Côte d’Ivoire, the Comoros, Gambia, Guinea and Gabon of consulates in the occupied territories of Western Sahara is a “dangerous act which violates all the principles leading to the creation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), in particular the intangibility of the borders existing at the time of independence in accordance with Article 4 of the Constitutive Act of the African Union,” said the Sahrawi Foreign Ministry in a press release.

Through their unilateral decisions to open consulates in the occupied Western Sahara, these African states have transgressed other African Union principles and objectives, notably its Non-Aggression and Common Defense Pact, added the source.

Sahara Press Service

Morocco to extend maritime borders over Western Sahara territorial water

The Moroccan parliament’s Committee of Foreign Affairs and National Defence has recently approved two bills extending Rabat’s maritime boundaries over the territorial water of the Western Sahara disputed region.

Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita who presented two draft bills before the committee members on 16 December said they aim to consolidate Rabat’s authority over its naval territory.

On 21 December the ruling Spanish Socialist Party rejected the bills, saying the demarcation of Morocco’s maritime borders should be done within the framework of a joint agreement and not as a unilateral step.

Meanwhile, President of the Spanish Canary Islands Angel Torres said: “Spain will not allow Morocco to touch a single mile of Canary waters.”

Middle East Monitor