MonitorsPublished on Feb 06, 2017
Africa Monitor | Vol VI Issue XXIX

The Continent

African Summit on Libya begins with Sudan participation

The African Summit on Libya began on January 27 in Brazzaville, the capital of Congo with participation of the Vice- President of the Republic, Hassabo Mohamed Abdul-Rahman. The delegation accompanying the Vice-President of the Republic at the summit includes the State Foreign Minister, Kamal Ismail, and a number of officials concerned with the Libyan and the African Union issues. Chadian President and current chairman of the African Union, Idris Deby, said that the summit is aimed for reaching a solution for the Libyan crisis. He indicated that the presence of terrorist movements, including the Islamic State (IS) organization, has complicated the Libyan crisis, adding that the impacts of the Libyan crisis has reached the neighbors of Libya and the Sahel and Sahara countries. Dr. said that solution of crisis in Libya remains responsibility of the Libyans themselves in the first place, stressing that the Libyans disputing parties shall give concessions for achieving a solution for the crisis. He said that the military solution will never lead to solution of the Libyan crisis, stressing that any solution shall take into account the unity and integrity of the Libyan territories. He said that the task of his high-level committee is to achieve agreement of all the Libyan parties, saying that the agreement reached by the Libyans in the year 2015 has paved the way for solution of the crisis. Source: Sudan news Agency (Khartoum)

African Union re-admits Morocco after 33-year absence

The AU has re-admitted Morocco despite the kingdom refusing to cede its claim to occupied Western Sahara. Officials from the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic hope to push Morocco into allowing an independence referendum.  Morocco was on January 30 readmitted into the African Union after a 33-year absence, despite resistance from several member states over the status of Western Sahara. Following an emotional debate at the 28th African leaders summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, member states decided to resolve the question of the disputed Western Sahara territory with Morocco "back in the family." Morocco, which maintains that the former Spanish colony is an integral part of its Kingdom, quit the AU in 1984 after the bloc recognized the independence of Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara. However, as the only African country not in the union, Morocco had been angling to rejoin the 54-nation bloc for several years and formally submitted its membership bid last year. Following the debate on January 30, 39 states approved Morocco's re-entry, although key members including Algeria and South Africa voted against the motion. Another key reason for Morocco seeking to rejoin the AU is its aim to drive the continent's economic agenda. Morocco is Africa's sixth largest economy and has been looking increasingly southwards for growth prospects. Observers had long maintained that Morocco could only realize its economic ambitions from the within the AU. Its membership could also be a boon for the bloc, which has been criticized for being overly dependent on donor funding. The AU lost a key financier in 2011, with the overthrow of Libya's later dictator, Moammar Gadhafi. It has since said it is working on becoming more financially independent. Leaders also on January 30 elected Chad's foreign Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat to chair the AU Commission. Faki, a former prime minister, vowed to bolster "development and security" across the bloc, saying he dreamt of an Africa where the "sound of guns will be drowned out by cultural songs and rumbling factories." He is to face an uphill battle to realize those ambitions, however, with the bloc appearing more divided than ever over issues such as Morocco, regional divisions and the jurisdiction of the ICC. Source: Deutsche Welle

Chad Foreign Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat to head African Union

Chad’s foreign minister has been elected as the new chair of the African Union Commission, pledging to place development and security at the top of his agenda and streamline the organisation’s bureaucracy. Moussa Faki Mahamat – a former prime minister who has been at the forefront of the fight against Islamist militants in Nigeria, Mali and the Sahel – was chosen by the 54-member body at a summit that has exposed splits over Africa’s relationship with the international criminal court and Morocco’s readmission to the union He edged out his closest rival, the Kenyan foreign minister Amina Mohamed, who had been regarded in some quarters as the frontrunner. In an interview last week with Radio France International, Moussa Faki said the AU needed strong leadership from someone who could “refocus on the basics”, adding that the body had implemented less than 15% of the 1,800 resolutions adopted since 2002. Moussa Faki said during his campaign that he harboured dreams of an Africa where the “sound of guns will be drowned out by cultural songs and rumbling factories”. He pledged to streamline the organisation during the course of his four-year term in office. Moussa Faki succeeds Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, of South Africa. Dlamini-Zuma stayed in the post an extra six months after leaders failed to agree a candidate in July last year. Source: Guardian Global Development Network (London)

African leaders discuss 'collective' withdrawal from ICC

African leaders are set to mull a motion that will recommend all 34 of the 55 African Union member states that are part of the International Criminal Court, withdraw from it. The discussion is set to be on the table on January 31, on the final day of the AU heads of states assembly. Last week's meeting of foreign ministers discussed the matter in detail, and came up with eight recommendations, the last of it being that the AU adopts a strategy for withdrawal. South Africa is one of the countries supporting such a withdrawal "to send a political message of Africa being fed up", a South African official with information about this country's position said. South Africa and Burundi have already started taking steps to withdraw from the court while Kenya is among the countries that have led the charge. The Gambia has done the same, but is likely to reverse this after the election of its new president. Nigeria has, however, indicated that it would not support such a strategy and that this was opposed by several countries in last week's meeting. Foreign minister Geoffrey Onyeama reportedly said should countries wish to withdraw, they should do so individually because they joined individually. He claimed Cape Verde, Senegal, Zambia, Tanzania, Liberia and Botswana did not support a withdrawal from the court. Chad foreign minister Moussa Faki Mahamat's election as AU commission chairperson might also scupper such a strategy. Mahamat has in the past supported the war-crimes court, while Kenyan foreign minister Amina Mohamed, who narrowly lost out against Mahamat, has been a strong opponent of the court. Source: news24WIRE

Paul Kagame presents reforms proposal to African leaders

President Paul Kagame, on January 29, presented his report on the African Union reforms at a Heads of State Retreat in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Kagame presented the report titled, "The Imperative to Strengthen Our Union," on the sidelines of the ongoing 28th African Union Summit in the Ethiopian capital. In July, last year, at the AU Summit in Kigali, Kagame took on a task to carry out a study and propose recommendations for institutional reforms to improve the efficiency of the Union. The January 29 retreat was chaired by Chad president Idriss Deby, the current chairperson of the Union. Following the presentation, African leaders present welcomed the proposed reforms, which seek to realign and re-energise the Union to improve performance and connect better with citizens by delivering on the institution's agenda. The retreat's final outcomes are set to be presented for adoption at the summit during a formal session on January 30, during which the proposal on reforms will be tabled to the General Assembly. To conduct the study and put together the reforms proposal, Kagame put together a committee made up of experts from various backgrounds to study challenges and propose solutions. The committee members included: Dr Donald Kaberuka, former president of African Development Bank; Amina J. Mohammed, minister for environment of Nigeria; Mariam Mahamat Nour, minister for economy, planning, and international cooperation of Chad; Cristina Duarte, former minister for finance and planning of Cabo Verde; Dr Acha Leke, senior partner at McKinsey & Co; Dr Carlos Lopes, former executive secretary of UN Economic Commission for Africa; Strive Masiyiwa, executive chair of Econet Wireless; Tito Mboweni, former governor of South African Reserve Bank; and Vera Songwe, regional director for West and Central Africa at the International Finance Corporation. The summit opened last week with a two-day meeting of permanent representatives to the union which made way for foreign affairs meeting at the same venue. The Heads of State assembly opens on January 30 and will run until tomorrow. Source: The New Times

Central Africa

DRC Opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi dies in Brussels

Etienne Tshisekedi, the main opposition leader of the Democratic Republic of Congo, has died in Brussels aged 84, according to diplomatic sources. Tshisekedi was set to take the top post in a transitional council agreed in December under a deal that would pave the way for President Joseph Kabila to leave power in 2017 and refrain from running for a third term. His death deprives the opposition of its principal figurehead as talks over implementation of the December accord falter. His son, Felix, is tipped to be named prime minister in a forthcoming power-sharing government. The Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) party said he went to Brussels last week for a medical check-up. Tshisekedi stood up to Mobutu Sese Seko, who ruled the country then known as Zaire, for decades before being overthrown by Rwanda, Uganda and other forces.  He was also the most prominent civilian opponent of Laurent Kabila, who took power in 1997, and his son, President Joseph Kabila, who has ruled since 2001. As such, he was a pivotal figure in DRC, a country whose history has been marked by foreign intervention, civil war, coups and authoritarian rule. Tshisekedi served as a minister under Mobutu before helping found the Union for Democracy and Social Progress party (UDPS), the first organised opposition platform in Zaire, in 1982. He was named prime minister four times in the 1990s as Mobutu contended with pro-democratic currents in the country, but Tshisekedi never lasted more than a few months as he repeatedly clashed with the autocrat. He finished runner-up to Kabila in the 2011 presidential election. International observers said the vote was marred by fraud and Tshisekedi's supporters have referred to him ever since as the "elected president". Source: Al Jazeera (Doha)

Fresh fighting flares up in South Sudan

Fresh clashes have erupted around Malakal in South Sudan's oil-producing northern region. Both government troops and fighters loyal to rebel leader Riek Machar are blaming each other for the violence. Renewed fighting has once again been reported around South Sudan's second largest city, Malakal. The capital of the oil-rich Upper Nile region is not far from the northern border with the Republic of Sudan. Both the United Nations and South Sudan's ruling Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) confirmed the fighting. Riek Machar's rebels and the government are blaming each other for initiating the latest unrest. "The rebels had been trying to provoke the SPLA all this time because the SPLA has been given instruction not to wage offensives against the rebel forces," said military spokesman Colonel Santo Domic Chol. However, rebel spokesman, William Gatjiath Deng, said that government forces attacked them on January 31. The two sides are fighting to control the city. Neither the rebels nor the military were able to confirm the number of casualties. The area around Malakal is under the stronghold of Johnson Olony, a former army general who joined hands with other rebel forces in April 2015. Sporadic fighting initially erupted a week ago and officials were forced to shut down the Malakal airport. Meanwhile, fighting also erupted in Kajokeji town, in Yei district on the very southern tip of the country near the border with Uganda. Yei's information minister, Steven Onesmus Ladu, confirmed that at least six soldiers had been killed in the fighting. "Some of the soldiers of the government were killed. But in the process the were repulsed and there was an arrest of their commander. So the commander is now under custody," Ladu said. Since the outbreak of the fighting, residents are reported to have fled their homes and crossed into neighboring Uganda. Emmanuel Marial, head of the Kajokeji Episcopal Church, said that the development of the refugee situation in the area was very worrying. "Right now people are now moving out in big numbers. Even in our compound children are suffering," he said. The civil war in South Sudan initially broke out in 2013 when President Salva Kiir and his deputy Riek Machar broke ties following a power struggle. In 2016, the country saw a short-lived period of peace which ended with Machar fleeing the country. The conflict has displaced more than 3 million people who have either sought refuge at internal UN refugee camps or crossed into neighboring Kenya and Uganda. At the end of 2016, a group of UN human rights experts warned of gross human rights violations in South Sudan. "There is already a steady process of ethnic cleansing underway in several areas of South Sudan using starvation, gang rape and the burning of villages," said Yasmin Sooka of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan. Source: Deutsche Welle

North Africa

Libyan trafficking camps hell for refugees, say diplomats

The Libyan camps where traffickers hold would-be migrants resemble concentration camps, German diplomats say. Their report comes as the EU mulls a migration deal with the North African country. Would-be migrants and refugees in Libya are being subjected to torture, rape and even execution by the human traffickers who are holding them, a newspaper report said on January 29, citing German diplomats posted in Africa. "Executions of migrants who cannot pay, torture, rapes, blackmail and abandonment in the desert are the order of the day there," the "Welt am Sonntag" quoted an internal report from the German embassy in the capital of Niger, Niamey, as saying. The diplomats' report, intended for the office of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and various ministries, spoke of "the most serious, systematic human rights violations," the paper said. The report said that the "concentration-camp-like" conditions in the "private prisons" were documented by credible photos and videos shot with cell phones. "Eyewitnesses spoke of exactly five executions by shooting every week in one prison - announced in advance and on January 27 to make room for new arrivals: in other words, to increase the human 'throughput' and thus the profit of the operators," the "Welt am Sonntag" said. The head of the parliamentary party of the Greens in the European Parliament, Ska Keller, told the paper that the European Union should not strike any deal with the Libyan government with regard to its taking back refugees and migrants. She said that people would be "sent back to a catastrophic and inhumane situation," and that the German government should oppose any new deal with Libya "with all its might." On January 27, EU heads of state and government plan to meet in Malta to discuss how to reduce the flow of refugees to Europe from Libya and other North African states. A deal with Libya similar to the one with Turkey has been mooted. Chancellor Merkel said in her regular podcast on January 28, however, that a deal with Libya could only be considered "when the political situation in Libya has improved." More than 180,000 people came over the Mediterranean from North Africa to Italy last year, with almost 90 percent setting out from Libya. Many are fleeing conflict or poverty in their native countries. Thousands have died attempting the sometimes dangerous crossing. Source: Deutsche Welle

Algeria, Zambia to establish joint commissions with Ethiopia

Algeria and Zambia have expressed readiness to establish joint commissions with Ethiopia to further deepen their relations in various spheres. Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Workineh Gebeyehu had discussions with his Algerian and Zambian counterparts on January 27. Algeria's Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Ramtane Lamamra said he had held fruitful talks about ways of further strengthening the bilateral ties between the two countries. "We will be preparing for the session of joint economic cooperation commission", he said, adding that the occasion was likely to produce a number of new agreements. According to the minister, the political relation between Algeria and Ethiopia is excellent but economic relations need to be strengthened. Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Workineh Gebeyehu said Ethiopia and Algeria have strong strategic partnership and they run similar agenda on international arenas. He added that they, however, need to focus on additional works in economic integration and investment. Dr. Workineh Gebeyehu also conferred with his Zambian counterpart Harry Kalaba on ways of advancing bilateral cooperation. During the discussion, Dr.Workineh said Ethiopia and Zambia have a historical relationship and are working together in international and regional agendas to make the African Union stronger. He added that the first joint Ethio-Zambia ministerial commission will take place in March in Lusaka. Dr.Workineh thanked the government and people of Zambia for the immediate release of the 147 Ethiopian illegal immigrants that were detained in Zambia. Zambia's Minister of Foreign Affairs said that Ethiopia has been a friend of Zambia from the time when the country got independence and Zambia has been a close ally of Ethiopia. Minister Kalaba added that the two sisterly countries have been working together for the good of the African continent. Source: The Ethiopian Herald

Southern Africa

Zambia’s highest court strikes down deportation of industrialist

In a major human rights decision, Zambia's highest court has declared that the government's deportation of a prominent industrialist was unlawful, and that his treatment by the authorities had been 'high-handed' and a flagrant breach of his human rights. The decision is particularly significant for several reasons. The Minister of Home Affairs who authorised the 2012 deportation was Edgar Lungu, now President of Zambia. Lungu has been strongly criticised for being behind a number of deportations carried out during his term as Minister of Home Affairs, and his critics will now have the weight of the courts behind them as they challenge Lungu's continuing, dubious human rights record. It was also significant because the judgment, written by Chief Justice Ireen Mambilima with the agreement of two Supreme Court colleagues, is clearly pushing the country's courts towards a more human rights approach. Through their decision these three top judges effectively give notice that the courts will require more accountability from government, even when the law seems to leave little room for the courts to question whether the exercise of public power has been legitimate. The case concerns a Nigerian-born British national, Fola Esan, at the time managing director of the cement giant Lafarge in south east Africa. He was issued with a two-year Zambian employment permit in February 2012. Less than a year later, however, he was intercepted and detained by Zambian immigration offices on his return from a trip to Malawi. He was served with various documents to the effect that his employment permit had been revoked and that he had been declared someone whose presence in Zambia was 'inimical to the public interest'. Under circumstances that the High Court would later describe as tantamount to abduction, he was refused access to his lawyers, refused permission to collect prescription medicine from his home and given no reasons for his detention and hurried deportation. Some time later, from outside the country, Esan challenged the action taken against him. Initially he won half his battle in the High Court, where the judge said the notice rescinding his work permit was invalid, but that the court could not set aside the notice purportedly issued by Lungu, declaring Esan a 'danger to public peace and good order' in Zambia. The court found, however, Esan had been treated in a way that was 'shocking and unacceptable', that his rights were violated and that the law was disregarded by officials. Esan took the outcome on appeal to the Supreme Court where the matter was argued last month. Now the Chief Justice has held that the High Court did not go far enough: the notice declaring Esan a danger to the country was also invalid and his removal from Zambia was thus unlawful. In her decision, the Chief Justice noted the 'high handedness' by the authorities in the way they treated Esan. She agreed with the High Court that the behaviour of the officials involved was 'to say the least shocking and unacceptable', and that '(while) Zambia is a country of laws ... it is quite clear that (Esan) was treated as though he had no rights whatsoever.' The Chief Justice said: 'We could not agree more. Clearly there was an affront to (Esan's) human rights. We must state that there is an obligation upon those entrusted with the exercise of public power to treat persons fairly and respect their human rights.' The role of the courts was to ensure that individuals were given fair treatment by the authorities, she said. 'Persons within the boundaries of Zambia are entitled to the protection of the law and, for the Bill of Rights to have any meaning, there must be sanctions for arbitrary behaviour.' There could be no such thing as an 'unfettered discretion immune from judicial review'. In a situation such as this, where the law appeared to grant absolute discretion and left little room for questioning the legitimacy of the exercise of public power, 'courts ought to be conscious of emerging trends towards a more open and transparent government that promotes the rule of law (and) human rights and curbs arbitrariness. The court should go behind the orders' particularly where there seemed to be evidence of arbitrary or 'perverse' actions and establish whether the law had in fact been followed. No reasons were given for why Esan had been declared a danger to public interest, but in the 'new dispensation of open government' there was a growing school of thought advocating that reasons must be given for administrative decisions. In fact it could be argued that 'failure to give reasons for a decision amounts to a denial of justice and is, in itself, an error of law.' Where the Minister appeared not to be required to give reasons for deporting someone, the courts should no longer only consider whether the Minister's powers were exercised 'according to the law'. Instead, the court ought to protect people against 'arbitrariness', even more so when 'excesses are apparent'. In doing so, the court should interpret the legislation and the relevant provisions 'strictly'. Applying this strict approach to Esan's case the court found that the law required the Minister to state, in writing, his view that the affected person was a danger to Zambia, but that no such document was produced in court. The breach of human rights in the case was so bad that it would not be far fetched to conclude the director general of immigration alleged the Minister declared Esan's presence 'inimical to the public interest' so that no reasons needed to be provided for the detention and deportation order. This is not the first important decision on unfair deportations in which Mambilima has been involved. In 2011, as Deputy Chief Justice, she was a member of the Bench which ruled the government had wrongly deported hunter and artist John Eric Tolmay in 2003. Again a crucial issue was government's failure to give reasons for the deportation. This led to the appeal judges upholding the high court's finding that Tolmay's deportation had been 'unreasonable, oppressive and outrageous'. Source: Legalbrief (Capetown)

More reforms needed in Zimbabwe, says IMF

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says Zimbabwe should put in place a comprehensive economic reform plan to ensure successful transformation of the economy. The economy continues to face obstacles due to internal and external factors blocking attempts at improving the socio-economic lives of ordinary Zimbabweans. IMF deputy spokesperson William Murray said more reforms were needed to support the dollarised economy. "A comprehensive economic transformation plan will be important to ensure the viability of the dollarised Zimbabwean economy," he said in a statement. "The authorities need to take action to streamline public sector wages urgently. They also are encouraged to accelerate public enterprise reform, improve public financial management and develop key infrastructure." Last year, Zimbabwe successfully completed an IMF Staff Monitored Program (SMP), a reform plan Harare undertook to kick-start normalisation of ties with the bank. Under the SMP, Zimbabwe  committed to undertaking reforms such as consolidating its fiscal position so that more resources are allocated towards areas including infrastructure and social spending, clarifying the indigenisation laws and restoring confidence in the financial services sector. Other measures Zimbabwe is pursuing to assist in growing the economy include an arrears clearance plan, dubbed the Lima plan, which was agreed to in October 2015 in Peru, by the IMF, World Bank and the AfDB. So far it has managed to clear arrears owed to the IMF and is now working on clearing those owed to the AfDB and the World Bank to unlock fresh funding. The lack of access to credit lines over the years has seen many companies closing as costs of production rose against prices of cheap imports from mostly neighbouring SA and abroad as well as obsolete machinery. Zimbabwe has also committed to improving the ease of doing business to attract foreign direct investment. Source: The Herald

Calls mount for resignation of Gauteng premier over 94 deaths in South Africa

The DA, Cope and ANC Youth League have all separately called for Gauteng Premier David Makhura to step down after at least 94 mentally ill patients died in the province during cost-cutting measures. The EFF laid charges against Makhura and former health MEC Qedani Mahlangu on February 2 morning. The ANCYL was expected to do the same later in the day. The families of those who died were also considering legal action. DA MPL Jack Bloom said Makhura could not escape accountability for the "horrifying deaths". He should have acted decisively when it was first disclosed on September 13 last year that 36 patients had died in unsuitable NGOs after they were transferred there from Life Healthcare Esidimeni facility, Bloom said. There was enough evidence that things had gone disastrously wrong. There had been many reports in the media, two court cases, and demonstrations by the relatives of the deceased patients, according to Bloom. The Gauteng ANCYL said Makhura's administration had presided over the "cruel and untimely deaths". It gave him 14 days to resign, failing which its members would occupy his office. Cope said President Jacob Zuma and his entire government had to be fired. Zuma, Makhura and Qedani Mahlangu had to be prosecuted on charges of capable homicide. "The buck stops with Zuma," the party said. The Treatment Action Campaign said Mahlangu should have been dismissed, or at least suspended, months ago, given that sufficient evidence of the tragedy was already public knowledge. "We do not consider Mahlangu's resignation to provide sufficient accountability for the lives lost, due to her gross mismanagement of mental healthcare in Gauteng. She must face criminal charges." Gauteng government spokesperson Thabo Masebe told News24 on February 2 that the report made no recommendations about criminal charges. "Anyone has a right to lay charges, we can't stop them. We are confident authorities will look at the merits." Masebe said Makhura had apologised and accepted "political accountability" on behalf of the provincial government. "His primary aim right now is to act according to the recommendations in the report," Masebe said. The patients died of thirst, hunger and cold, after being transferred from the Life Esidimeni facility in Randfontein, on the West Rand, to numerous NGOs after the department cancelled its contract as part of cost-cutting measures. Life Esidimeni looked after about 2 000 patients and was funded by the department. In September, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi appointed Health Ombudsman Malegapuru Makgoba to investigate the transfers, after it was revealed that at least 36 people had died in the new facilities. Both Makhura and Motsoaledi on February 1 expressed their anger and frustration that the department had not been forthcoming with information surrounding the deaths, and that it had taken an investigation by Makgoba to reveal the facts. Source:  news24WIRE

East Africa

Ugandan President pushes for joint regional operation to flush out LRA rebels

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has urged a regional leaders meeting on the sidelines of the ongoing 28th African Union summit to agree to joint military operations to flush out remnants of the Lords Resistance Army in the Central African Republic. The regional leaders are frustrated that despite a strong regional effort to deal with Joseph Kony and his LRA, the lack of a decisive action to deal with the remnants has led the insurgency force to continue wrecking havoc among the civilian populations and in the process prolonging the war. Museveni called on all engaged in the fight against the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) insurgency in the Central African Republic to commit themselves and allow military commands to jointly work out a plan to flush out remnants of the LRA and put an end to the suffering of the civilian population. "It is true the capacity of the LRA has been reduced. In the past they would ambush our troops and try to fight, they no longer do that. Are they attacking troops in camp? No. Are they attacking troops on the move? No. The LRA no longer has that capacity. What they do is attack soft targets. That is not a strength; it is a weakness but it embarrasses governments because then they are not protecting their people enough. This is dangerous because it still attacks civilian populations," Museveni said, The meeting, chaired by Museveni, included the President of the Central African Republic Faustin-Archange Touadéra, the President of the Republic of South Sudan Gen. Salva Kiir, Ministers from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan and representatives from the United Nations, European Union, USA, African Union etc. "They (LRA) have been downgraded. Our concept of counter insurgency is for mobile forces to go in to hunt the terrorists by foot and chopper etc. Once we receive credible intelligence information, we must move in day and night and hunt them down. After, we must have a zonal force which remains there. The force must be disciplined... not killing, looting, raping women or talking badly to the people. This will give confidence and security to the people," Museveni said. Museveni urged the international community to support the regional force to flush out the LRA remnants and put an end to the war by supporting their efforts through reinforcements of multiplier forces like helicopters, airlifts, a disciplined army, relief and aid support and infrastructure for both populations and army to move. The meeting agreed that the Minister of the DR. Congo be allowed to consult President Kabila on cross-border cooperation in the Garamba forest. They also agreed that the AU commissioner follows up with the respective governments on the military command of each country to work out a plan to make a final push and end the LRA insurgency. Source: The Independent (Kampala)

Kenyan varsity students demand end to lecturers strike

University of Nairobi (UoN) students have staged demonstrations to demand for speedy resolution of the ongoing strike by the lecturers which enters its second week on February 2. In Nairobi, students from UoN's Main campus, Chiromo and Kabete campus expressed displeasure with the slow pace at which the matter was being resolved, urging the Education Ministry to move with speed to address issues raised by the lectures on the 2013-2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). "We want to compel the government to have negotiations with the lectures," said Apiyo Apiyo, Organizing Secretary, Students Organization of Nairobi University (SONU) while addressing students at UoN Main Campus on February 1. "Whether they are signing the CBA or not, we want our lectures back in class." According to Apiyo, the stalemate occasioned by the strike was unfortunate and ought not to have come up if an atmosphere of dialogue was put in place by stakeholders. "We've been patient for too long that is why we have resorted to demonstrations," he said adding, "We consulted the ministry and all other stakeholders but nothing has been forthcoming." The students also demanded for the release of funds by the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB), which they say have been delayed, making their survival in halls of residences difficult. "HELB is yet to credit students' accounts so we want that money disbursed as soon as they can release it," the student leader told Capital FM News.  Other universities as well are taking part in the demos sanctioned by the Kenya University Students' Association (KUSA) - the umbrella body for all university students organizations - with the clarion call, "we want our lectures back to class." Earlier on February 1, Justice Hellen Wasilwa of the Employment and Labour Relations Court adjourned a case filed by the Inter Public Universities Consultative Council Forum (IPUCCF) and the Federation of Kenya Employers in January to pave way for negotiations. Source: Capital FM

Slain UK pilot's family to build school in Tanzania

The family of a British pilot who was shot dead by poachers in Serengeti early last year is planning to raise £1 million (Sh2.7 billion) to build a new secondary school in Manyara Region. The pilot, Roger Gower, 37, who was tracking poachers, who had killed three elephants near the Serengeti National Park, died after the poachers opened fire on 29 January last year. Roger's family have marked the one-year anniversary of his death by launching a charity, called 'Born to Fly', aimed at promoting education and conservation in Africa to help curb elephant poaching across the continent. A memorial fund that was set up after the pilot's death raised £250,000 (Sh675,000), which is being put towards building basic amenities, including the only toilets for a school of 200 pupils in Kipsing, Kenya. The family now hope to raise close to Sh2.7 billion to build a new secondary school in Tanzania, according to The Guardian. Mr Roger's brother, Max Gower, was quoted by the British newspaper this week as saying: "We were left with a big void and feeling of senselessness when Roger died. It was just a pointless death, it didn't achieve anything, so we wanted to try and get some good to come out of that." The 43-year-old said the work would "make Roger proud" because he was passionate about conservation and educating underprivileged children. "It's been a terrific focus for all of us, even my parents who were a bit reticent about committing to anything in the first place," he said. Scores of people were arrested as the government conducted operation following the killing of the pilot. The killed pilot worked for the Friedkin Conservation Fund which has had operations in Tanzania for several years now. According to World Animal Protection (WAP) 53 rangers had died while trying to protect animals in 2015 in areas under serious poaching threat. Source: The Citizen

'Al-Shabaab' militants raid police camp in Mandera

Unknown number of police officers were killed when suspected Al-Shabaab militants attacked an Administration Police camp in Mandera. The February 2 1.25am raid happened at the camp in Arabia. Speaking to the Nation on phone, Lafey Deputy County Commissioner Eric Oronyi said the unknown number of heavily armed attackers also vandalised a Safaricom mast in Khoror Farar at around 3am. Mobile phone communication has been cut off in the area. "Communication has been cut off and we cannot confirm the exact damage but things are not good," Mr Oronyi said. Reinforcement from Kenya Defence Forces in Mandera was dispatched to the area. The attack came days after Inspector-General of police Joseph Boinnet together with his key lieutenants visited officers in camps in the area. It also happened barely a week after Al-Shabaab killed nine Kenyan soldiers in camp in Kulbiyow, Lower Jubba, Somalia, some 18 kilometres from the Kenyan border. The numbers of the soldiers killed in the attack is, however, disputed, with Al-Shabaab putting it at over 60. On the dawn of January 15, 2016, Kenya also lost over 100 troops when Al-Shabaab overran a KDF camp in El-Adde, Somalia. Kenyan soldiers are fighting the rag-tag militia under the UN-backed African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) that has lost hundreds of soldiers in camp attacks. Amisom is a 22,000-strong force comprising soldiers from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. Source: Daily Nation

West Africa

Gambian President  removes 'Islamic' from Gambia's official name

Gambia’s new President, Adama Barrow, has removed the word "Islamic" from Gambia's official name. Formerly called The Islamic Republic of The Gambia, the new President, while fielding questions during a first Presidential press conference said the country no longer bears the name, The Islamic Republic of The Gambia but will now be called The Republic of The Gambia. Source: Vanguard

Nigeria, Chad seek U.S. $ 50 billion to recharge shrinking Lake Chad

Nigeria and Republic of Chad have called on the African Union, AU, and international donors to assist in raising $50 billion dollars for recharging of drying Lake Chad. Nigeria's Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, said the two countries made the call at the Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) alongside of the ongoing 28th AU Summit. He said there was also an agreement by the two countries to have a formal international donor conference on recharging the lake, as well as having a direct engagement with possible sponsors. The minister explained that the APRM consisting 33 countries was a self-monitoring policy through peer review mechanism to ensure social, economic and political development among member states. Mr. Onyeama said the peer review mechanism was a process where the member states submit themselves to review each other, where Nigeria had peer reviewed Republic of Chad. He said that the two issues that came up on the Chad review were the impact of Boko Haram and shrinking of the Lake which affected about 30 million people around the lake basin. "We recognised the role that Chad has been playing in the framework of the International Joint Task Force and we pointed out the impact of the Boko Haram on the task force. "On the question of Chad, we pointed out that the Lake had shrunk to about 10 per cent and has had catastrophic effect on the people living in that area. "And the challenge is how to address such situation, I pointed out that what Nigeria is looking at in that context is the possibility of recharging the lake from a river from Central Africa, the Rangin River," he said. He said that Nigeria had already paid about $5 million towards a study on recharging the lake. Mr. Onyeama added that it was going to cost about $15 million or more to do a comprehensive feasibility study on recharging of Lake Chad. "The cost of recharging is in the neighbourhood of $15 billion to 20 billion. I pointed out that we are looking at the possibility of organising international donor conference to look for fund to addressing this issue. The President of Chad, Idriss Deby, followed up with us also elaborated on the issue, calling on the world to assist us in addressing the Lake Chad issue. "Because there is ecological issue, there is environmental issue, social and of course we have seen that we can also have illegal migration of the youth and also war within the area." He said that after the discussion, it was agreed that to have a formal international donor conference "and that is why we were really engage directly with possible sponsors". Source: Premium Times

Cameroon Govt widens clampdown to curb Anglophone protests

After cutting off the English-speaking regions from the Internet, targeting media outlets and stripping Cameroon's beauty queen of her crown for speaking her mind, the government has now set its sights on journalists. The Cameroonian Government seems especially worried that word gets out into the world about the situation in Anglophone regions. Journalists working for the international media, including DW's correspondent in Cameroon, have been threatened with sanctions if they report on the conflict. In the meantime, the media regulator CNC (Conseil National de la Communication) has warned media outlets that they could see their licenses revoked if they report favorably on separatist or federalist demands by the English-speaking minority. In a statement, the regulator wrote that allowing English-speakers to voice their grievances in the media is likely "to adversely affect the Republican system, unity and territorial integrity, and the democratic principles on which the state stands," Journalists have reacted by accusing the CNC of trying to muzzle the press. The widening clampdown by President Paul Biya's government aims at strangling a protest movement by a segment of the population that feels it is being politically and economically sidelined by the Francophone majority. Both French and English are official languages in Cameroon. But many in the two English-speaking regions claim they have been discriminated against since independence in 1961, for instance in education and judicial system. They do not feel adequatley represented in government and complain of an erosion of the Anglophone identity. Journalists are far from being the only targets of the clampdown. This weekend, Miss Cameroon Julie Frankline Cheugue was stripped of her crown. Earlier, the beauty queen had been accused of supporting strikes by professional groups of the English speaking regions. Cheugue had reportedly called on the Government of Cameroon to listen to the worries of the Anglophone. She told DW that she had learned about her dismissal through social media, and added that she was not going to accept this sanction, since she had been elected by the Cameroonians. "I am not in a political party. I am simply doing what a Miss is supposed to do. Concerning the Northwest and the Southwest: We are a united country and peace is everything. That is my only advice," Cheugue said. But Solange Ingrid Amougou, president of the committee that organizes the Miss Cameroon election, told DW that Cheugue's dismissal had come about because of insubordination and gross indiscipline. "As a model, she is supposed to promote the image of our country. She is not there to create disorder. She is not there to practice politics, because we are an apolitical organization," Amougou said. Source: Deutsche Welle

Mass protest in Monrovia over economy

Central Monrovia, Paynesville and their environs were unusually empty this January 31 morning. Marketers and local business owners decided to close their stores and refrain from selling in a show to bring government's attention to rising inflation and increment in tariffs and taxes which they say is killing their businesses and making life difficult. "Enough is enough. We can't let this continue, we must take action to let them know that we are fed up with this. All stores will remain closed, we make sure they listen to us today," Massa Tulay, a shop keeper downtown Monrovia told Front Page Africa in a rather angry tone. The usually busy Waterside Market is empty - no one allowed to sell. Yanah boys are off Randall Street - they, too, say they are frustrated. No one seller is being allowed to enter Rally Time Market. Petty traders and local business entrepreneurs are grouping themselves at various locations to for an onward march to the Capitol, where they are expected to petition lawmakers. Hannah Jarpah, a local trader in Red-Light, Paynesville told FrontPageAfrica, "I support the protest. If people can't buy food for three days it will call their attention. Even if some of them have food in their homes, they will still need things from the market and it will draw their attention. The government needs to come to our rescue. We are citizens, we are giving taxes to government. If the store owners pay high taxes, they will increase to commodities' prices for us the petty trader and consumers will feel the pain." In Paynesville, stores owned by Liberians were seen closed while businesses own by foreign nationals were opened. A resident of Paynesville Joshua Flomo supports the action of Liberian merchants adding that the increase in taxes is "unacceptable." "Those people have their right to demonstrate, nowhere in the world government will increase taxes in the midst of economic harsh condition and everybody fold their hands, what they are doing is call citizen action," Flomo said. Flomo urged the protesters to remain peaceful adding that message has already gone and there is no need to resort to violence. Business owners engaging in cross-border trade have in recent time decried the continuous depreciation of the Liberian Dollar against the U.S. dollar. Currently, US$1.00 is LD$110. Those selling their goods in Liberian dollar have to exchange it for U.S. dollars, often at higher rate to be able to purchase their goods from abroad. At the same time, government taxes are charged in U.S. dollars which is now scarce. In two separate meetings with the protestors, the Inspector General of the Liberia National Police attempted persuading them to back down on the protest, citing security implications. He plea, however, did not yield any positive result. The protestors maintain it would be peaceful and only intended to draw the attention of government to their plights. Source: Front Page Africa

Five officials of UN, Boundary Commission killed in Cameroon

Five officials of the United Nations, the National Boundary Commission and Adamawa State Ministry of Land and Survey have been confirmed killed, while on a delineation mission to the border towns between Adamawa and the Republic of Cameroon. The officials, who were said to be on a mission to the area, were attacked by bandits from Cameroon. Adamawa State Commissioner for Justice, Silas Sanga, who confirmed the incident on February 1, said the corpses have been returned to the state in preparation for onward movement to their states and country of origin. Meanwhile, suspected members of Boko Haram, on January 31, ambushed a police patrol vehicle along Maiduguri-Damboa-Biu Road, leading to the death of a policeman, while some of the attackers fled with bullet injuries. It was gathered that the incident took place around Kubuwa village of Damboa Local Government Area of Borno State. The attack came barely four days after a group of insurgents ambushed motorists and military escorts around Komola village near Damboa, claiming over 10 lives. Source: Vanguard This monitor is prepared by Harish Venugopalan, Research Assistant, Observer Research Foundation, Delhi
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