Africanews RSS Receive free and in real-time all news published by, by subscribing to our RSS feeds. Sat, 29 Apr 2017 18:24:49 +0000 Sat, 29 Apr 2017 18:24:49 +0000 Algeria: Media frenzy over French presidential election Sat, 29 Apr 2017 18:24:49 +0000 Former French colonies in Africa are showing interest on the French presidential election. In Algeria, the upcoming second round between centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron and far right candidate Marine Le Pen has been covered extensively by the press. Publishers say the wide coverage is justified by Algeria’s remarkable diaspora presence in France. “We are showing this interest because Algeria’s legislative election does not seem interesting to cover. The stakes are not really high as we expected,” Ihsane El Kadi, Editor of the Huffington Post Algeria said. Algeria’s vote for the parliamentary elections has been scheduled for May 2. While many handle the upcoming parliamentary vote in Algeria with less interest, the anti -immigration stance of far right candidate Marine Le Pen is seen as a major threat. “This does not mean that we love France more than our country. Remember that many of our nationals are based in France and we are therefore obliged to follow their policy and trends. The fate of immigrants is not so clear now. If the elected candidate supports immigration things will be better, if that is not the case we would find ourselves in a similar situation like in the United States,” an Algerian trader said. Algeria was at the centre of debates during the French presidential election. During a visit to Algeria in March, Emmanuel Macron refered to colonisation as a crime against humanity. Although the stirred controversy it was widely appreciated not only in Algiers but across Africa. Elvis Boh 'Gambians are a bit impatient but I understand' - Barrow after 100 days Sat, 29 Apr 2017 18:26:34 +0000 President of the Gambia, Adama Barrow, says he understands the impatience of the citizenry 100 days after he took over the reigns in the West African country. Barrow defeated long-serving leader, Yahya Jammeh in presidential elections held on December 1, 2016. He stood as an opposition coalition candidate and was sworn into office on January 19 on the expiration of Jammeh’s tenure. In an interview with the BBC’s Umaru Fofana, Barrow said he understood the impatience of citizens after over two decades under Jammeh but added that his team were calculating their steps. “Gambians are a bit impatient but I understand, it’s has been a long time (it’s 22 years) and they have put all their efforts together to make this change. The expectations are very high, I will not say we are slow but we are calculating our steps.” Counting the successes of his team, he said the full cabinet has so far held one meeting and were actively engaged in reforms in all sectors of the country. Addressing the issue of power supply, he bemoaned the sorry state of the sector and said a final solution would be found in 24 months. “Electricity has been erratic for past 20, 30 years. I have given a target, 6 months it should be stabilized, two years we have the final solution,” he stressed. Some of the reforms his government had undertaken included changes in civil service structure and within the top heirachy of the security service he also disclosed that the country was getting support from foreign countries. He promised young Gambians to be assured that with the investor flood that he was receiving daily, there will be no need to undertake the dangerous journey of seeking greener pastures using dangerous routes. “It has been just three months, a lot of investers are knocking at my door everyday and there will be a lot of investment in that country,” he added. He also touched on the truth and reconciliation commission indicating that there cannot be reconciliation without truth. Barrow said there will be prosecution of persons found to have abused their power. Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban Egypt's Eman: 'world's heaviest woman' moved to UAE after India surgery Sat, 29 Apr 2017 18:32:27 +0000 The Saifee Hospital in the Indian city of Mumbai confirmed on Thursday April 27, 2017; that the woman reputed as the world’s heaviest woman has left the facility to the United Arab Emirates to continue her recovery after a groundbreaking weight-loss surgery. The hospital said Eman Ahmed’s surgery was a ‘proud moment in Indian medical history,’ and that as at when she was leaving India her weight had dropped to 176.6 kg. She weighed 500 kg in September last year and she arrived in in India on a chartered cargo plane but flew out of the country as a passenger in Business Class. ‘‘The team of doctors at Saifee Hospital has done a fabulous job and her recovery has been unprecedented. She is stable and all parameters are under control. She will continue to need neurological rehabilitation and physiotherapy,’‘ head of the Saifee hospital’s bariatric surgecy section said. In explaining the decision to move her to the UAE, Dr. Aparna Bhasker said, ‘‘As the treatment here concludes she is being shifted to Burjeel hospital in UAE (A hospital initially introduced to the family by Dr. Lakdawala). ‘‘Secondary physiotherapy will continue over there as it is closer to home for Eman and her family,’‘ he added. He described Eman as an inspiration to critically obese persons around the world and added that they wished her well. The journey for an Indian surgery She was admitted to the Indian hospital in February 2017 after a Mumbai-based surgeon, Dr Muffazal Lakdawala, raised funds to have her flown over for treatment. Reports indicate that her weight is due to gland imbalance which caused an accumulation of liquids. Her family says she has not been able to leave home for 25 years. “Eman didn’t live life as everyone does, she didn’t enjoy her childhood or youth. She’s been battling with her illness for 36 years.” her younger sister and caretaker, Shaimaa Ahmed, told CNN. The Indian surgeon, said he believed that Eman suffers from obesity-related lymphoedema which causes swelling of her legs. It took the intervention of the surgeon who tweeted to India’s foreign minister before the Indian embassy in Cairo agreed to issue her a visa. The Hospital built a special facility to enable the weight reduction surgery. The BBC reports that the facility at the Mumbai Saifee Hospital has an operating theatre and an intensive care unit. She was flown out of Cairo to Mumbai on a chartered flight. Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban Nigerians slam New York Times for linking Buhari to Ghana MPs visa fraud Sat, 29 Apr 2017 15:35:26 +0000 Nigerians on Friday slammed the New York Times (NYT) over the use of President Muhammadu Buhari’s photo on a story that had to do with Ghanaian lawmakers engaged in alleged United Kingdom (UK) visa fraud. The NYT’s tweet on the visa story apparently used a photo of the Nigerian leader and his family. The Reuters photo was taken when Buhari returned from the UK after weeks of seeking medical attention. Britain accuses some lawmakers from Ghana of falsifying visa documents for family members— New York Times World (@nytimesworld) April 27, 2017 One of the earliest reactions came from a top government in charge of communications, Tolu Ogunlesi who put a humorous twist to it. Yeah. Then you use photos of the Nigerian President and his family. The thunder that will fire you is still applying for visa.— tolu ogunlesi (@toluogunlesi) April 27, 2017 He went further to proffer a possible reason and the situation that led the NYT to use a picture of Buhari on a visa fraud story. The NYT has since issued an apology, Ogunlesi posted that also with a tinge of humour. .nytimes Photo Desk: We can't find any Ghana photos .nytimes Photo Editor: Googles. Use this one. It’s the only African thing we have.— tolu ogunlesi (@toluogunlesi) April 27, 2017 “While Nigerian & Ghanaian Jollof are often mistaken for each other, the two countries are actually different.” #ApologizeLikeNYT— tolu ogunlesi (@toluogunlesi) April 28, 2017 Here are some of the tweets that followed the mistaken tweet. Whiles some asked for the tweet to be pulled down, others seemed to agree with the ‘fake news’ tag President Trump continues to associate with the NYT and other media outlets. But we start with the NYT’s twitter response. Correction: This photo of Nigeria’s president was published in error with the article. He was not involved in the visa fraud case in Ghana.— New York Times World (@nytimesworld) April 28, 2017 nytimesworld Delete the tweet!!! It's not ok to leave that picture like that. #deletethetweet— Rebecca Enonchong (africatechie) April 28, 2017 nytimesworld— FEMI (HackettDon) April 27, 2017 nytimesworld You need to fix this ,that's the First Family of Nigeria 🇳🇬 you just disrespected. Such display of ignorance and incompetent journalism— Toke Abdul (toke_abdul) April 27, 2017 nytimesworld— Zayyad Lamorde (ZayyadLamorde) April 28, 2017 nytimesworld Apologizing for this grievous error is meaningless without amending this tweet! Your colleagues elsewhere take down such erroneous tweets!— Ifedayo Adetifa (IfedayoTiffy) April 28, 2017 The UK earlier this week blacklisted three serving legislators of Ghana’s Parliament over visa fraud. A fourth person implicated is a former legislator. The UK High Commission sent a confidential letter to the speaker of Parliament alleging that the MPs had facilitated the entry of some relatives to the UK using their diplomatic passports and failed to ensure the people returned. Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban Nigeria: Biafra leader Nnamdi Kanu released on bail Sat, 29 Apr 2017 17:54:23 +0000 The Director of Radio Biafra and leader of the indigenous people of Biafra Nnamdi Kanu has been released following an order from the Federal High Court in Abuja. He has been in jail for two years for championing the secession of Biafra-an oil rich area in Nigeria. The judge who signed the release order also cited medical reasons. Kanu was granted bail earlier this week under very stringent conditions which include producing a Jew Rabbi as surety. However the charges of criminal conspiracy and leading an illegal movement have not been lifted and the next hearing will hold in July. Last year, Human Rights NGO Amnesty International accused the Nigerian government of killing some 150 separatists during a pro-Biafra protest. The Nigerian government rejected the allegations. Secessionist feeling has heated up in the region since the Biafra separatist rebellion pushed the country into a civil war from 1967 to 1970 that killed an estimated 1 million people. Elvis Boh Tanzania: President Magufuli sacks 9,932 civil servants Sat, 29 Apr 2017 17:54:02 +0000 Tanzania President John Magufuli on Friday fired 9,932 civil servants over forged educational qualifications. Magufuli made the announcement on state television after an investigative task force found that 9,932 government workers presented fake qualifications when they were employed. He ordered that the salaries of the affected workers for the month of April should be withheld. The president said the dismissed civil servants would have to defend themselves in court. About 3,000 other civil servants were suspended while their certificates were being verified. Magufuli ordered that other civil servants whose certificates have been found with discrepancies should be treated legally “so that they could be jailed for seven years as the law says. President Magufuli reiterated that government was losing Sh19.84 billion monthly or Sh238.1 billion annually to phantom workers. Speaking earlier,a Minister in the president’s office, Kairuki noted that a total of 435,000 had their certificates verified, whereby 9,932 civil servants were found with forged certificates. According to Kairuki 1,538 academic certificates were used by 3,076 public servants. The task force investigates the educational certificates of 435,000 civil servants throughout the East African nation. Pope Francis calls on Egypt's Catholics to embrace forgiveness Sat, 29 Apr 2017 17:54:06 +0000 Pope Francis on Saturday celebrated mass for members of Egypt’s small Catholic community, urging them to hope and forgive those who terrorized and persecute them. “True faith makes us see the other not as an enemy to be overcome, but a brother or sister to be loved.Do not be afraid to love everyone, friends and enemies alike,” he said. The Pope on Friday laid flowers and prayed for the 28 people killed in a Christmas season blast last year at Cairo’s largest Coptic cathedral in Egypt. Francis, accompanied by Pope Tawadros II, head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, who narrowly escaped a church bombing in Alexandria this month. Both met in an effort to bolster the frosty relations with Coptic churches. His two-day trip to Cairo is aimed at improving Christian-Muslim ties, and comes just three weeks after Islamic State suicide bombers killed at least 45 people in two Egyptian churches. Copts represent about 10 percent of Egypt’s 92 million population. Dibie Ike Michael Ethiopia jails 2 Al-Shabaab members over 2014 terror plot Sat, 29 Apr 2017 13:29:02 +0000 An Ethiopian court has sentenced two people for planning a terror attack on the country in 2014. The two are said to have links with Somali insurgent group Al-Shabaab. According to the federal attorney general, the two convicts, Bedris Yesuf and Anis Usman, had received training from Al-Shabaab and were also actively engaged in recruiting members and seeking to establish a terrorist cell in Ethiopia. Ethiopia’s state-affiliated portal, FANA broadcasting corporate reported that Bedris received a jail term of six years and six months while Anis got a year lesser – i.e. five years and six months of rigorous imprisonment. Bedris Yesuf is also said to have engaged in a shootout with African Union forces in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, nine years ago. Ethiopian forces are actively engaged in the fight against Al-Shabaab in neighbouring Somalia. They have recently been reported as pulling out their troops gradually, a situation which security watchers say will further weaken Somalia’s security. Kenya, unlike Ethiopia, has been at the receiving end of Al-Shabaab attacks for the role of its soldiers in the fight against the insurgency. The Westgate Mall and Garissa University attacks are typical cases. Ethiopia is currently under a state of emergency that was imposed to quell deadly anti-government protests in the Amhara and Oromia regions. Ethiopia’s security forces recently disclosed the arrest of 98 ‘Eritrean- sponsored anti-peace elements,’ stating that the arrested persons were trying to cross into the country after having received training to execute a mission by Eritrean-based terrorist organizations, Ginbot 7 and Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). A senior security official of the Tigray zone is reported to have disclosed that the ‘anti-peace elements’ were arrested as a result of coordinated efforts of the defense force and local residents. Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban Trump's 100 days in office: The highs and lows for Africa Sat, 29 Apr 2017 16:28:24 +0000 Today marks one hundred days since United States President Donald Trump took over the reigns of office from the first African-American leader of the country, Barack Hussein Obama. Opinions were split on how Trump’s relation was going to be with respect to the continent, given the relatively cordial and mutual stance of his predecessor. Many Africans saw a Hillary Clinton victory in the November 2016 as a continuation of the Obama relations but that was not to be as Trump won lesser popular votes but enough of the electoral college numbers to emerge winner of the polls. This article looks at the Trump presidency this far, from an African perspective. We will look at the angles of diplomacy, of security and what African leaders have said about President Trump. In the area of security – Travel ban, fight against violent terrorism Three African countries were affected in both travel bans the U.S. leader signed – Somalia, Libya and Sudan. However both orders have been suspended by courts.   The Trump administration has shown that it will continue the fight against violent extremism on the continent. The sale of combat planes to Nigeria and pledges by Trump in phone calls with Buhari and Kenyatta that he was ready to held fight against Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab respectively. The United States military recently confirmed that it will deploy troops to Somalia in the fight against Al-Shabaab. This will be the first such deployment in over two decades because the last US troops in the Horn of Africa country left in 1993. According to the US Africa Command, the latest deployment will help to train the Somalia National Army (SNA). The about 40 troops are to be deployed from the 101st Airborne Division. Diplomacy and Presidential meetings Trump has so far spoken to three African leaders via telephone. Nigeria’s Buhari, South Africa’s Jacob Zuma and Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta.   In each case, the need to strengthen bilateral ties and cooperation in areas of mutual interest was high on the agenda. His first meeting with an African leader was when Egyptian leader Abdel Fatteh Al Sisi met him in Washington DC. There again, Trump spoke about the desire to help fight Islamic State militants.   “Botched Diplomacy” – The meeting with Sassou that never was   The first meeting he was supposed to hold with an African leader was reported as one on Libya with Congo’s Denis Sassou-Nguesso. That was information given by Thierry Moungalla – Congo’s information minister. And that was before Trump was sworn in.   Hope Hicks of the Trump team said there had never been a meeting scheduled and that there would not be one before Trump takes office on January 20. This information was put out in late December. Trump trumpets his own achievements “My fellow Americans I truly believe that the first 100 days of my administration has been just about the most successful in our country’s history. Most importantly we’re bringing back jobs. You ask the people of Michigan, ask the people of Ohio, you can ask the people of Pennsylvania see what’s happening see the car companies come roaring back in. They don’t want to leave.” Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban Buhari's health status should not be like Trump's tax returns – Soyinka Sat, 29 Apr 2017 09:39:53 +0000 Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari should disclose his health status to the citizenry to lessen tension and speculation in Africa’s most populous nation. This is the view of the country’s literary icon and Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka. According to him, Buhari is ‘public property’ so long as he is the president. A video in which Soyinka makes his position was shared by Sahara Reporters news portal. Soyinka went as far as drawing parallels between Buhari’s health and the tax returns of U.S. President Donald Trump. There has been a row over whether Trump will release his tax returns or not. ‘‘Once you are in Aso Rock – the seat of presidency – you have a responsibility to come out frankly to your citizens, this is wrong with me. We are all mortal and we are subject to diseases. ‘‘What’s the big deal? Guarding your state of health like Donald Trump is guarding his tax returns, it’s not what we expect from a Nigerian president,’‘ he said at an event. Buhari Should Reveal His Health Status Immediately -Wole Soyinka— Sahara Reporters (@SaharaReporters) April 28, 2017 He added that there was too much problems in the country for all of that to be compounded with uncertainty about the health of the president. Buhari returned from a medical checkup for an undisclosed ailment. He has since his return to the country significantly cut down his public engagement. His handlers insist that he is fine and works from home. Over the last two weeks, his only public outing was to participate in Friday prayers at the mosque in the presidency. He was absent at today’s (April 28, 2017) session. Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban [LIVE] News Updates from Africa Sat, 29 Apr 2017 09:58:21 +0000 Africanews presents news updates on major stories making the rounds across the continent. The stream below contains news between Monday, April 24, 2017 to Sunday, April 30, 2017. U.S Baseball: First African-born MLB player gets hit in debut Sat, 29 Apr 2017 17:54:47 +0000 Pittsburgh Pirates rookie Gift Ngoepe became the first African-born player to appear in a Major League Baseball game on Wednesday (April 26) and marked his debut by getting a hit in his first at-bat. The 27-year-old South African, who was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis earlier in the day, entered the game against the visiting Chicago Cubs in the fourth inning. When Ngoepe took to the field to play second base, Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli and third baseman Josh Harrison each took turns holding their hands up to his chest as if to monitor the rookie’s heartbeat. In the bottom half of the fourth Ngoepe hit a single up the middle off Cubs left-hander Jon Lester. His first trip to the bases was short-lived, however, as two batters later Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer hit into an inning-ending double play. Ngoepe finished the game 1-for-2 with a single, walk and strikeout and the Pirates prevailed 6-5. S. Sudan army floods the streets of Juba after taking control of rebel HQ Fri, 28 Apr 2017 22:55:44 +0000 South Sudan’s government army has flooded the streets of Juba since it took control of the headquarters of the Riek Machar-led opposition forces in Kodok in the Upper Nile state after three days of fighting. The Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) said on Friday that it will continue to patrol the streets of the capital until rumours of coup allegations end, local media Sudan Tribune reported. “The South Sudan Liberation Army (SPLA) forces and other organised security forces will not pull out from the streets until the roots of the coup allegation are stemmed from the source,” army spokesperson Colonel Santo Domic told the media. There are rumours going round that President Salva Kiir is stepping down for the military to take over. Colonel Domic described the rumours as a deliberate and calculated campaign “aimed at misleading the public and causing disaffection between the people and the troops.” He maintained that the army had been deployed to protect civilians and property. The army took control of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement In-Opposition’s (SPLM-IO) headquarters in Kodok in the Upper Nile state on Wednesday after three days of fighting that displaced 25,000 civilians. Colonel Santo Domic told the media that they took over the town after reports of starvation by civilians which was blamed on the government accused of denying humanitarian access. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) confirmed the number of displaced civilians in a statement on Thursday, adding that the intense fighting had forced humanitarian organisations to suspend their activities in the town. “Without protection, many will have little other alternative than to leave for camps in Sudan where they can find refuge. With the rainy season approaching, it seems likely that the flow of people leaving for Sudan will increase as they avoid being trapped in the area,” said MSF’s head of mission for South Sudan, Marcus Bachmann. South Sudan descended into civil war in 2013 after President Salva Kiir fired Machar as his deputy, unleashing a conflict that has spawned armed factions often following ethnic lines. The United Nations has warned of a possible genocide as millions have fled their homes and crop harvests are devastated because of the worst drought in years with millions facing famine. Ismail Akwei Congo's ruling majority and opposition sign deal amid concerns Sat, 29 Apr 2017 06:00:26 +0000 Members of DR Congo’s ruling coalition and those of the opposition have come together to officially mark the signing of a political accord that was originally agreed on last year. The deal was sealed after a national dialogue mediated by the country’s conference of Catholic bishops (CENCO). Under the deal, president Joseph Kabila would stay in power for a year. It however added that the constitution cannot be changed to let him run again. The agreement comes weeks after late March, when there was a disagreement over the procedure for nominating a new prime minister from the main opposition bloc. “It’s my duty, as a leader. If a leader cannot recognise how much his population is suffering, then he is the devil. I refuse to be the devil. I looked at my people and I completed my duty that Etienne Tshisekedi sent me to do. Today I have done my moral duty,” Josephe Olenga Nkoyi, a member of opposition coalition, who signed the agreement said. In March, the Catholic bishops withdrew from their role as mediators, blaming lack of “sincere political will”. “We have two duties with this signature: the elections and improving the social situation of our people,” the spokesperson for opposition, Alain Atundu Liongo said. The faction of the opposition coalition that did not sign the deal said that the latest signing will worsen things, especially since the ruling majority showed little signs of compromising. “This will worsen the existing crisis. We know those who were meant to sign the agreement. They are a total of 32 delegates, who were part of the initial negotiations,” opposition member Pierre Lumbi said. Kabila’s failure to step down has fuelled further tension in recent times. Zimbabwean minister suspends mayor, 24 councillors over state land theft Fri, 28 Apr 2017 22:54:25 +0000 Zimbabwe’s Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has suspended the mayor of Chitungwiza municipality and all of its 24 councillors for suspected theft of state land worth $7 million. Minister Kasukuwere took the decision on Thursday after an audit report listed all the councillors and Mayor Phillip Mutoti as alleged illegal beneficiaries of the state lands. “These allegations include rampant abuse of state land for personal benefit by both councillors and officials, and flagrant disregard of laid-down procedures for estate management,” Kasukuwere was quoted by local media News Day . The accused officials were given seven days to respond to the allegations in the report. A three-member acting council was appointed to run affairs of the town. The officials – 14 from the opposition MDC-T party including Mayor Mutoti and 11 from the ruling Zanu-PF party – were accused of allocating commercial and institutional lands to themselves at a cheaper price and then selling to others at higher prices. The audit was conducted after President Robert Mugabe’s launch of a special committee to investigate illegal land sales in local authorities. The Chitungwiza municipality has nearly half a million people. Ismail Akwei Nigeria electrocution victims to be honoured at Manchester United game Fri, 28 Apr 2017 22:41:49 +0000 English Premier League side, Manchester United has decided to honour the victims of electrocution in southern Nigerian town of Calabar who died last week while watching a match between the English team and Anderlecht. The team announced that their players will wear black armbands during their English Premier League match against Swansea City on Sunday at the Old Trafford. “The #MUFC players will wear black armbands on Sunday in memory of the seven fans who lost their lives recently in Calabar, Nigeria,” the team tweeted. The #MUFC players will wear black armbands on Sunday in memory of the seven fans who lost their lives recently in Calabar, Nigeria.— Manchester United (@ManUtd) April 28, 2017 At least seven football fans died when high tension cables from a nearby transformer fell on a local football viewing centre built with zinc roofing sheets. Immediately after the incident, Manchester United and FIFA sympathized with the people of Nigeria. Our thoughts go out to the United fans, their friends and families affected by the tragedy in Calabar, Nigeria, yesterday.— Manchester United (@ManUtd) April 21, 2017 FIFA is deeply saddened by the deaths of several football fans in Calabar & offer our deepest condolences to family & friends of the victims— (@FIFAcom) April 21, 2017 Ismail Akwei Libyan forces capture two oil-smuggling tankers after firefight Fri, 28 Apr 2017 22:38:54 +0000 Libyan naval forces captured two vessels suspected of smuggling oil from the North African country after gun battles lasting several hours west of the capital Tripoli, a spokesman for the service said on Friday. Libyan forces frequently capture vessels smuggling oil and arms off the coast and the North African state has become a haven for migrant smugglers who take advantage of the country’s turmoil to ship people across to Europe. Ayoub Qassem, a spokesman for the Libyan naval forces, said Ukraine-flagged tanker Routa and a vessel with an unspecified African nation’s flag named Stark were captured early Friday. “Clashes lasted for three hours, but the two tankers were successfully seized,” Qassem said. The incident occurred in the Sidi Said area west of Tripoli. Qassem did not report any casualties or give details on what happened to the crew of the vessels or their nationalities. Six years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya is still caught in turmoil among rival military factions who once fought against the former leader but then turned against one another in a multi-sided power struggle. A U.N.-backed government in Tripoli is struggling to assert control since arriving in Libya more than a year ago. Libya’s oil infrastructure is also often targeted by fighting or blockades as rival groups seek to gain wealth or leverage. Reuters Egyptian president legally mandated to appoint judges Fri, 28 Apr 2017 22:36:57 +0000 Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has ratified legal amendments that allow the president to make judicial appointments to its top courts, a move judges said would erode the independence of the judicial system. Parliament passed the amendments on Wednesday but some judges had called on Sisi to hold off on ratifying them, calling the amendments an unconstitutional breach of separation of powers. The amendments were issued on Thursday in the official gazette, formally passing them into law. Elected in 2014 after leading the military’s 2013 overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood’s President Mohamed Mursi, Sisi has deflected Western criticism that he has suppressed political opposition and human rights and has sought to present himself as an indispensable bulwark against terrorism in the Middle East. Egypt’s judiciary has long enjoyed a degree of independence. But judges say a crackdown on the judiciary that started in 2014 has aimed at bringing it under tighter government control. The amendments stipulate that each court nominate three of its most senior members for leadership, one of whom the president will choose to be its head. This is a departure from the old system, in which leadership generally passed to the court’s most senior member and the president signed off in a largely ceremonial role. Egypt’s judges club, an informal professional association, said on Wednesday it would hold an emergency meeting on May 5 to discuss how to move forward after parliament passed the law. It called on Sisi at the time not to ratify it. Supporters of the amendments say they are necessary to strengthen Sisi’s authority on critical issues such as combating Islamist militants. Sisi declared a three-month state of emergency nationwide this month after two Islamic State suicide bombings at churches in Tanta and Alexandria killed at least 45. Reuters Crop-eating armyworm marches on to Angola Fri, 28 Apr 2017 22:35:44 +0000 The fall armyworm – which decimates fields as it marches ever forward – has spread to Angola as the caterpillar eats its way through southern Africa, a U.N. agency said. With Angola the latest country affected, only Lesotho and island nations in the region have escaped the pest, which devours crops in its path, U.N. officials said. Its spread has undermined hopes for a better harvest this year, they added, with swathes of southern, eastern and western Africa infested. “Now even Angola has confirmed (an outbreak),” said Joyce Mulila Mitti, a crop production and protection officer at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. In a statement, the FAO said it carried out a joint mission with the government that detected the caterpillar in four municipalities of the southern province of Huila, one of the country’s main maize producing areas. Another pest, known as the maize stem borer, was found in a fifth municipality. Overall, more than 19,000 hectares of maize, millet and sorghum crops were devastated, causing about $1.8 million in damages, it said, with small and medium size farmers affected most. Native to North and South America, the caterpillar was first detected in Western Africa in 2016 and has since spread across sub-Saharan Africa, ravaging maize and other cereal crops. In southern Africa, the invasion follows an El Nino-induced drought that scorched the region last year, leaving millions in need of food aid. “The rainfall was better this season so we all expected a very good harvest. The outbreak of fall armyworm undermines what we expected would be a different story,” Mulila Mitti said by phone from Nairobi, where the FAO is meeting to discuss the infestation. Some countries with confirmed outbreaks have faced bans on exporting their agricultural products. Over the past two months, the armyworm reached Kenya and Ethiopia, in eastern Africa, threatening to further affect food security in a region already struggling with widespread drought and hunger. Small farmers often lack money or expertise to use pesticides effectively, said Mulila Mitti. Experts in Nairobi said spotting the pest early – when it is still a larva – was key to prevention. “We need to put in place effective surveillance systems and respond in time to confirmed outbreaks,” Gabriel Rugalema, FAO country representative in Kenya, said in a statement. The caterpillar can fly long distances, leading the United Nations to fear it could reach Asia and the Mediterranean in the next few years. Reuters Pope Francis denounces barbarity during Egypt visit Fri, 28 Apr 2017 22:56:37 +0000 Pope Francis, making a two-day visit to Egypt, urged Muslim leaders on Friday to unite in renouncing religious extremism at a time when Islamist militants are targeting ancient Christian communities across the Middle East. Francis’s trip, aimed at improving Christian-Muslim ties, comes just three weeks after Islamic State suicide bombers killed at least 45 people in two Egyptian churches. “Let us say once more a firm and clear ‘No!’ to every form of violence, vengeance and hatred carried out in the name of religion or in the name of God,” the pope told a peace conference at Egypt’s highest Islamic authority, Al-Azhar. “Together let us affirm the incompatibility of violence and faith, belief and hatred,” he said at the 1,000-year-old Sunni Muslim seat of learning. Francis headed straight to meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi after landing in Cairo, driving through heavily guarded streets but eschewing an armoured motorcade and instead using a normal car with his window wound down. “Pope of Peace in Egypt of Peace,” read posters plastered along the road leading from the airport to central Cairo. His visit comes at a time of high tensions in Egypt, the most populous Arab nation. Besides the Palm Sunday bombings, Islamist militants last week attacked a police checkpoint close to St. Catherine’s monastery at Mount Sinai. He will celebrate an open air Mass on Saturday at a military arena. Liberia mystery deaths linked to funeral of religious leader Fri, 28 Apr 2017 22:29:38 +0000 Nine people have died and eight are sick in Liberia after attending the funeral of a religious leader, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday. A WHO spokeswoman said initial results reported by Liberian authorities had ruled out Ebola as the cause, but could not say whether samples were being sent to other laboratories for confirmation. On Wednesday, the WHO said Liberian health authorities were taking rapid precautionary steps after eight people died of a mystery illness, 10 months after the end of a two-year Ebola virus outbreak. “It seems all of these people were attending the funeral of a religious leader,” WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib told a briefing in Geneva. “They have taken samples from the dead bodies, and all the samples came back negative for Ebola. They will be looking of course for other haemorrhagic fevers and for bacteria, if there was any common exposure to water contamination or food contamination,” she said. Eight people remain under observation in hospital in Sinoe county, a four-hour drive southeast of the capital Monrovia, with symptoms including fever, vomiting and diarrhoea, she said. Hospital staff are wearing protective equipment and contacts of the sick are being traced in the community to see if they have fallen ill, Chaib added. “WHO, CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control) and other partners are providing technical and logistical support to the rapid response team that has been activated at district and county levels,” she said. In June last year, the WHO declared Liberia free of active Ebola virus transmission, the last of three West African countries at the epicentre of the world’s worst outbreak of the disease. The epidemic killed more than 11,300 people and infected some 28,600 from 2013 as it swept through Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, according to WHO data. A WHO advisory group of vaccine experts is due later on Friday to issue their findings after a three-day regular meeting on vaccines. The statement would include an update on “efficacy, safety and timelines for licensing Ebola vaccines”, Chaib said. Reuters DR Congo's 'lost' languages Fri, 28 Apr 2017 17:03:31 +0000 The Democratic Republic of Congo is home to a tenth of the world’s languages. In the capital Kinshasa, Cocolette Collo was born a Luba, a people who come the central part of the country mainly in the troubled Kasai region. But, she cannot speak Tshiluba. She she is fluent in Swahili, Kinyarwanda Lingala and French. She is worried that some of the local languages will become extinct in a few years to come. “I do not believe that my mother tongue will still exist in 10 or 15 years to come it will disappear because we the parents are not speaking Tshiluba and how can we teach it to our children? it is difficult.” Kambayi Bwatshia, who lectures in history at Kinshasa’s UPN university, said “old people speak in the language of the village to survive” while young people, “especially in big urban centres, adapt to their environment.” “Today our children do not learn the Tshiluba, Lingala ,the Lomongo the Kingwaka, the Kingwandi, the Kimbala, the Kisuku at school. There are almost 450 languages. We are told that it prevents development, no, it is knowingly done by those who colonized us, Belgium first and all the others.” When the former Belgian colony became independent in 1960, authorities chose French as the official language, though even today not all of the population understands it. While some in the country of over 70 million people may speak several local languages, the upwardly mobile will often teach their children only French or French and English. Thousands of Tanzanian civil servants sacked over fake certificates Fri, 28 Apr 2017 16:42:18 +0000 9,932 civil servants have been ordered to resign after an audit named them to have gained employment with fake certificates. President John Magufuli, who received the nationwide audit report from state minister Angela Kairuki on Friday, said their salaries for this month should be withheld and the law should be applied. He gave them until May 15 to resign or face legal action. They should be dragged to court “so that they could be jailed for seven years as the law says. They are thieves like any other thieves … You cannot perform if you don’t have deserving qualifications,” he was quoted by local media The Citizen. President Magufuli also directed the Prime Minister to immediately publish the identities of the accused who either had forged documents or none at all. 435,000 civil servants were cleared during the nationwide audit, Ms Kairuki said, adding that 1,538 certificates were used by 3,076 civil servants. Last year, the government cleared over 10,000 non-existent workers from the civil service payroll that cost the country millions of dollars per month. Tanzania spends more than $260 million per month to pay salaries of civil servants. Ismail Akwei Ethiopian gov't invites UN human rights chief for talks Fri, 28 Apr 2017 16:07:08 +0000 The United Nations Human Rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, will be in Ethiopia between May 2 – 4 at the invitation of the government. He will meet with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, the speaker of parliament and other top government officials to discuss issues of human rights and the work of the UN office in the country. He is expected to hold a press conference to round up his visit. Ethiopian human rights have been a top issue following anti-government protests and attendant security clampdown which led to deaths and mass arrests. The UN rights body officially requested to send independent investigators, a position that was rejected by Addis Ababa. The PM stated last week that Ethiopia was competent enough to probe the deaths. The country’s human rights outfit in a recent report stated that 669 people were killed as a result of the protests and the parliament directed subsequently that security officers found culpable of highhandedness be prosecuted. The country has been under a state-of-emergency since October 2016. Hundreds of protesters were arrested, some have been released after receiving training. The worst hit areas are the Amhara and Oromia regions. Meeting with AU chief and top officials A statement from Zeid’s office further disclosed that he will take the opportunity to meet with the African Union (AU) chief, Moussa Faki Mahamat, and other top officials at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa. ‘‘His talks with African Union officials will focus on plans to reinforce coordination between the UN and AU on human rights, in line with other recent steps to strengthen their partnership, including the recent signature in New York of a framework agreement on enhanced cooperation in peace and security,’‘ the statement added. Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban Nigerian entrepreneurs rush for growing snail market Sat, 29 Apr 2017 17:54:41 +0000 African Snail is sought after in various parts of the world for its nutritional and cosmetic benefits. In Nigeria, some entrepreneurs have found opportunities to export the food abroad. Oluwatobilola Ohioma-Belo said quitting an events planning job last year to invest in snails was the best career move she has ever made. The entrepreneur sources snails from farmers in Lagos, Nigeria, and sells them to clients locally and abroad. “The export business came when I started here in Lagos and I had a lot of inquiries from the US from the UK from Holland. Like a lot of Nigerians like, even when I knew that I have not even covered Lagos, even till now I have still not covered Lagos you know, so when I started having inquiries via email, via phone calls, then a lot of African stores were calling me,” Ohioma-Belo said. The Giant African Snail is native to East and West Africa, and is mostly found in agricultural areas, shrubs and wetlands. Snails are hermaphrodites meaning they can all lay eggs. The farm currently has over 20,000 snails. The Snail Care Farm managing director, Tadzio Okhiria said demand for his snails has been growing fast in recent years. “Because of its amazing benefits, not just nutritional benefits, but other benefits, for instance the slime now, it is being harvested massively and used in cosmetics and cosmetics and pharmaceutical products. It has rejuvenating properties and helps with skin rejuvenation,” he added. Oluwatobilola said she had spent about 4,000 dollars to procure and ship consignment of snails and expects to make a healthy profit. She also plans to expand her business and open a snail factory in Nigeria that can process snail meat and collect mucus, as well as grind snail shells into powder for fertilizer and poultry feed possessing. Dibie Ike Michael Chad's Hissene Habre gets appeal verdict for war crimes Fri, 28 Apr 2017 15:03:43 +0000 The appeal verdict on the final conviction in the case of ex-Chad dictator Hissein Habré was held on Thursday in the Senegalese capital, Dakar. The appeal verdict was a huge victory but also a warning for the president following his landmark conviction last year. “This is a strong message directed to all African dictators: attention, you will only remain unpunished, you no longer cultivate this impunity. It is impossible,” said Jacqueline Moudeina, one of the lawyers of the victims. The Extraordinary African Chambers, a body created by Senegal and the African Union (AU), sentenced Habre last May to life behind bars, an unprecedented ruling seen as a blow to the impunity long enjoyed by autocratic rulers. In July, the court further ruled that Habre should give up to 30,000 euros ($33,000) to each victim of abuses committed during his 1982-1990 rule, as well as to their relatives. “The innocence of President Habré was recognized all over the world. Today, the opinion is mostly widespread in the world, it is a bad trial which was given to President Habré. No demonstration of his guilt has been made,” said Mbaye Sène, Hissein Habre lawyer. The trial, the first of its kind held in Africa, was given legitimacy to the Extraordinary African Chambers. “The International Criminal Court was always giving its role, which is a role that simply complete the national courts. So if today we demonstrate that we are capable, Africa is capable of judging Africans, and well there will be no more need to appeal to this Court, because we have shown our capacity, demonstrated a capacity to judge ours,” said Jacqueline Moudeina, Counsel of the victims. The announcement of the verdict marks the end of the activities of the extraordinary African Chambers as expected by their status. Approximately 82 billion CFA francs or more than EUR 125 million will be paid to nearly 7,400 victims. Dibie Ike Michael Congo-Brazzaville's new oil pipeline Sat, 29 Apr 2017 17:54:36 +0000 The Republic of Congo is set to build an oil pipeline from the South to the North to ensure the availability of petroleum products. This news comes after the oil producing nation has been facing oil and gas shortages. The technical shutdown of the Congolese refinery (Coraf), has slowed down the country’s economic activity. The oil pipeline will span 1,200 km from the economic capital Pointe-Noire in the South all the way to Ouesso in the north. According to Norbert Mabiala, director of studies and development of the National Society of Petrol in Congo (SNPC), this pipeline will respond to the need for the growing domestic consumption. For more than a decade consumption of petroleum products has tripled in Congo from 250,000 to 800,000 tons per year. The country’s oil production is estimated to grow by more than 350 000 barrels per day in 2018 from 232 000 barrels a day in 2016. In the last two years, oil prices have remained relatively low in the international market, thus complicating Congo’s economic situation, which essentially depends on this resource. Press Agencies SA's Gift Ngoepe is first African-born player in US top-flight baseball Fri, 28 Apr 2017 13:23:12 +0000 Pittsburgh Pirates rookie Gift Ngoepe became the first African-born player to appear in a Major League Baseball game on Wednesday and marked his debut by getting a hit in his first at-bat. The 27-year-old South African, who was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis earlier in the day, entered the game against the visiting Chicago Cubs in the fourth inning. When Ngoepe took to the field to play second base, Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli and third baseman Josh Harrison each took turns holding their hands up to his chest as if to monitor the rookie’s heartbeat. In the bottom half of the fourth Ngoepe hit a single up the middle off Cubs left-hander Jon Lester. His first trip to the bases was short-lived, however, as two batters later Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer hit into an inning-ending double play. Ngoepe finished the game 1-for-2 with a single, walk and strikeout and the Pirates prevailed 6-5. “It’s a dream come true for me because it’s been my dream since I was a 10-year-old boy, but it also means so much to the people of South Africa and baseball in Africa,” Ngoepe said before the game. “Baseball is still very much in the development stages (in Africa), and hopefully this gets more people interested.” Nigeria's presidency plays down Buhari's health Fri, 28 Apr 2017 21:12:57 +0000 Nigerian president’s health status continues to make news. The presidency says that President Muhammadu Buhari’s doctors have advised him to take take things slowly as he continues to recover from an undisclosed illness. On Wednesday, Buhari chose to rest and work from home failing to attend a cabinet meeting scheduled on that day. The meeting was Buhari’s second consecutive absence from the weekly meeting chaired by his deputy Yemi Osinbajo. Buhari’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu, said the decision by the president not to attend the meeting was last minute and he could have notified his cabinet and Nigerians. Rumours about the 74-year old president’s health have continued to circulate since January, when he left the west African county for what was termed as a vacation in the UK. His return to the country in March has done little to quell the hearsay. Egypt steps up security ahead of Pope's visit Fri, 28 Apr 2017 21:12:48 +0000 Egyptian authorities have stepped up security across the country ahead of Pope Francis’ visit. Security has been heightened in the area around the Vatican residence in Cairo and streets in the area have been cleared of cars and blocked off. Pope Francis is hoping to mend ties with Islamic religious leaders just as Egypt’s ancient Christian community faces unprecedented pressure from Islamic State militants who have threatened to wipe it out. His visit comes weeks after suicide attacks on two churches killed dozens of people. During his two day visit, the pope is scheduled to meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and also travel to Al-Azhar university and mosque, a key centre of Sunni Islamic learning. This is the first papal trip to Cairo in 20 years. Reuters Another 'high-profile athlete' fails doping test Sat, 29 Apr 2017 17:54:52 +0000 Another Kenyan high profile athlete is reported to have failed a doping test, just weeks after it emerged Olympic marathon champion Jemima Sumgong tested positive for a banned substance. According to Reuters, the chairman of Athletics Kenya said that the sport’s global governing body, IAAF, had found the positive test. However, Jackson Tuwei declined to reveal the identity of the athlete. Kenya is well known for producing some of the world’s best athletes but some 50 of its athletes have been banned for doping in the last four years. Last year, IAAF president Sebastian Coe, hinted that the country risks international bans if they do not improve their anti-doping programmes. Following the warning, Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta signed an anti-doping bill into law. Reuters Coaches to get world track medals in London IAAF World Championships Sat, 29 Apr 2017 17:54:56 +0000 With 100 days to go until the IAAF World Championships London 2017, the local organising committee has announced that for the first time ever, coaches of medal-winning athletes will also receive medals. The coaches medal will be based upon similar themes to the athlete medals but will differ in design, with both set to be unveiled in May. Bryan Yongo, a sports commentator says: “This is a very good initiative because the hard work of the coaches will be recognized. Because people might think that athletes are working and training alone to win gold medals. Now in the shadows there are people who push them, who draw them, who inspire them. “ “The coach-athlete relationship is so special and important so it is fantastic that, at the World Championships in London, coaches are set to be recognised for the efforts they put in to getting an athlete onto the podium,” said Olympic long jump finalist Jazmin Sawyers, who was part of the creative panel that fed into the medal design process. “It is great that organisers are leading the way with this form of recognition. “As an athlete, standing on the podium is a very special and proud moment. You are not just representing yourself but everyone who has helped you get to that point. There are lots of people who you would love to have with you on the podium but it just isn’t possible, so it is fantastic for them to be recognised with a medal in London.” “We are incredibly proud to be the first IAAF World Championship hosts to make provision for a coaching medal, and we would like to thank the IAAF for their support in this matter,” added championship director Niels de Vos. “It is right that the podium moment should belong to the athletes, but the coach plays such a key role in their success so we are pleased to be able to support the athlete to share that success.” The new move will be a gesture of recognition of the unique and valued working relationship between athletes and their coaches. The coaches will however not be called to the podium. The London World Championships will take place from 4 to 13 August. Follow @Muisyo_ Victor Muisyo Nigerian army kills at least 15 suspected Boko Haram militants Fri, 28 Apr 2017 21:12:52 +0000 Nigeria’s military said on Friday that it has killed at least 15 gunmen believed to be Boko Haram extremists. According to a statement, military spokesperson Kinsley Samuel, said the militants were killed during a battle with soldiers. The fighting is said to have occured Thursday morning when the fighters attacked a base in Sambisa forest in nothern Nigeria, which had been a Boko Haram stronghold, until Nigeria’s government declared the group ‘crushed’ last year. Samuel added that a large cache of weapons belonging to the militants was seized by the army. Boko Haram’s insurgency in north-east Nigeria is now in its eighth year and has killed at least 20,000 people and left millions homeless. US issues travel alert for Ethiopia's Gondar zone following explosions Fri, 28 Apr 2017 10:36:34 +0000 The United States embassy in Ethiopia has issued a security message to citizens in respect to Gondar zone located in the country’s Amhara region. The embassy noted that the reason behind its decision was as a result of a series of grenade explosions in the zone. Amhara is one of the regions worse affected by protests that started in November 2015 and extended into much of last year. They listed four instances in the month of April alone with the most recent being on Monday, April, 24. On April 1, a grenade exploded at the Florida International Hotel. On April 18, a grenade exploded in the Kebele 18 neighborhood.  On April 20, a grenade was thrown into a private residential compound. On April 24, a grenade exploded at the Lodge du Chateau. ‘‘Injuries have been reported in some of these cases.  The Embassy is closely monitoring travel for U.S. Chief of Mission employees to Gondar and is approving official travel on a case by case basis. ‘‘The Embassy recommends U.S. citizens carefully consider whether travel to Gondar is necessary at this time.  All U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to Gondar should be aware of their surroundings at all times and re-assess their personal safety plans in light of these events,’‘ the statement added. They referred citizens to their existing travel alert which was last updated on December 6, 2016. The directive continues to warn against travel to Ethiopia ‘‘due to the potential for civil unrest related to sporadic and unpredictable anti-government protests.’‘ The US embassy has had cause to state that its work was affected by the State-of-emergency imposed in October 2016. The government has relaxed most of the tough rules but have renewed it last month. The anti-government protests were largely in the Oromo and Amhara regions of the country. A security crackdown on protesters is said to have killed hundreds. A recent government report put the deaths at 669. Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban Google celebrates S. African who sung 'God Bless Africa' 120 years ago Fri, 28 Apr 2017 09:47:38 +0000 ‘‘Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika’‘ (God bless Africa in Xhosa) is a hymn composed by a South African Methodist teacher, Enoch Sontonga, 120 years ago. What was supposed to be a religious song turned out to be received more on the political sphere when it became an integral part of South Africa’s liberation struggle. It was adopted by the ruling Africa National Congress (ANC) as its anthem during the anti-apartheid struggle. It was associated with the country’s first black leader who cited it a number of times in his book, ‘Long Walk to Freedom.’ As South Africans celebrated the 23rd anniversary of its first non-racial vote on April 27, 2017, Google South Africa honoured the memory of the man who sought God’s blessings for the continent. The song was used during the inauguration of Nelson Mandela after winning the 1994 polls. It is currently a part of the country’s national anthem. Zambia (adopted in 1964) and Tanzania (adopted in 1961) have maintained it as their respective anthems till date. Two other countries that adopted it back in the day, Namibia and Zimbabwe, have gone on to change their anthems. Enoch Sontonga died in 1905, at the age of 32. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban South Africa: Fresh protest against President Zuma on Freedom Day [no comment] Fri, 28 Apr 2017 09:47:17 +0000 Some 2,000 people gathered in Pretoria on Thursday to demand Zuma’s exit on the occasion of the “Freedom Day”, which marked the first free elections in the country’s history in 1994 as well as fall of apartheid. Ex-Gabon player dies in training: Aubameyang, others pay tribute Fri, 28 Apr 2017 08:48:23 +0000 Moise Brou Apanga, a Gabonese footballer of Ivorian origin died on Wednesday during a training session, the football association has disclosed. The 35-year-old was a member of the Gabonese club, FC 105, and was said to have succumbed to a heart attack, according to the Football Federation (FEGAFOOT). The association said the country had lost a brave son who defended the national flag. Members of the football fraternity have been paying tributes on the demise of the former national team player who represented the Panthers in two successive African Cup of Nations – 2010 and 2012. Gabon’s biggest football export and current skipper, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang used his social media accounts to mourn his former colleague. He posted a message on Twitter and Instagram in French, a translation of which was: ‘‘We played together, we played against each other! Anyway it was always a pleasure to be by your side. Rest in peace my brother, Moïse Brou Apanga.’‘ On a jouer ensemble, on a jouer l’un contre l’autre! quoi qu’il en soit c‘était toujours un plaisir d‘être à tes côtés repose en paix mon frère 🙏🏽😞Moïse Brou Apanga A post shared by Aubameyang (@aubameyang97) on Apr 27, 2017 at 2:21am PDT Ex-Gabonese national team coach, Alain Giresse, also paid tribute to Apanga, “I made him get his naturalization when he was Ivorian, he played in the country and I then helped him to join Brest – (a lower division French side)” ... “It is really terrible, it is not possible,” he added. Sunderland and Gabonese midfielder Didier Ndong also wrote on social media, ‘‘I take this moment to tell you that I’ll be thinking about you every minute of this match – rest in peace big brother,” the match in question was Sunderland versus Middlesborough. The player opted for Gabonese citizenship and represented his new nation for the first time in 2007. He then competed in two AFCONs. On the club side, he has stints with French side, Brest – he joined in 2008. In 2012, he canceled his contract with the Breton club to return home and play for FC 105. Death of African players while in action September 11, 2016: Burkina Faso international Ben Idrissa Dermé died in a French Cup match between his club AJ Biguglia and Furiani, in the 5th division of France. On May 5, 2016, Cameroonian international Patrick Ekeng died under the same conditions during a meeting between his club Dinamo Bucharest and Viitorul Constanta in Romania. Two days later, it was Djomnang Jeanine Christelle, goalkeeper of the Femina Stars team from Ebolowa of Cameroon who died in a warm-up session. 26 June 2003: The most publicized of such deaths was that of Cameroonian international, Marc-Vivien Foé, who died on during the FIFA Confederations Cup match. Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban Western countries are playing ostrich in the face of famine in Africa - Erdogan Thu, 27 Apr 2017 23:02:45 +0000 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused developed western countries of doing little to help famine-hit countries in Africa where 14 million people are affected. Erdogan made the remark on Wednesday in Ankara during a joint press conference with Somali President Mohamed Farmajo who is in Turkey on a three-day state visit. “Many developed western countries are playing the ostrich in the face of such human tragedies. We, on the other hand, are doing everything in our power through the Turkish Red Crescent and Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) to deliver aid,” Erdogan said. He added that: “6 million people in Somalia and 1 million people in South Sudan cannot even find bread to eat. 14 million people, mainly women and children, are suffering from famine across Africa.” President Farmajo commended Turkey for its role in Somalia and signed bilateral agreements with Turkish government in areas including security and economy. Somalia is the largest receiver of Turkish aid and Erdogan has visited Mogadishu three times since 2011 when he helped turn attention to the deadly famine that ravaged much of southern Somalia at the time. In June 2016, Erdogan opened Turkey’s largest Embassy building in the world in Mogadishu during his East African tour. He also signed agreements including treaties to train the Somali national army. First Turkey-Africa Agriculture Ministers Meeting and Agribusiness Forum Somali President Mohamed Farmajo opened the first Turkey-Africa Agriculture Ministers Meeting and Agribusiness Forum on Thursday in the city of Antalya. The two-day event organized by the Turkish Agriculture Ministry has over 300 participants, including agricultural ministers of African countries, ambassadors, representatives of international organizations and the private sector. Farmajo told participants that the conference is timely in the face of food insecurity, climate change challenges, high youth unemployment and unprecedented urbanization. “It is up to us to ensure that we overcome these devastating challenges, which holds us all back and further challenges our public expenditure through the need for direct interventions such as medical care which is expensive. “With investment in Agriculture and the value added agribusiness, not only can we mitigate the negative policy impacts of food insecurity, but we can also turn the tide of our young and brightest leaving our continent for better opportunities for themselves and their families,” he said. Farmajo added that the Somali government is determined to sustainably overcome the famine by prioritizing food security, climate change and the creation of Agribusiness as a means of feeding, employing, upskilling and economically empowering our people. He invited Turkish companies to “invest in Somalia’s agriculture and agribusiness for the progress and prosperity of our two sides.” Ismail Akwei Nigeria meningitis death toll climbs to 813 Fri, 28 Apr 2017 07:25:20 +0000 Death toll in Nigeria’s meningitis outbreak some four months ago has climbed to 813 since last week’s reported 745 deaths. The new figure was disclosed by Health Minister Isaac Adewole on Wednesday after a cabinet meeting in Abuja, local media report. He acknowledged that there is a decline in the number of deaths and expressed confidence that the epidemic will end in the next weeks. Over 8,000 suspected cases of the disease have been reported across the country over the past five months, some 93 percent of which occurred in five northern states (Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Niger and Kebbi), a statement said. Meningitis is caused by different types of bacteria, six of which can cause epidemics. It is transmitted between people through coughs and sneezes and facilitated by cramped living conditions and close contact. The illness causes acute inflammation of the outer layers of the brain and spinal cord, with the most common symptoms being fever, headache and neck stiffness. Nigeria lies in the so-called “meningitis belt” of sub-Saharan Africa, stretching from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia in the east, where outbreaks of the disease are a regular occurrence. Ismail Akwei I remember Gaddafi; Africa is suffering due to egoism - Obiang Nguema Fri, 28 Apr 2017 14:37:32 +0000 Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo remembered the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi during a two-day state visit to Uganda where he stressed on pan-Africanism. Obiang Nguema told the media at the Ugandan State House in Entebbe on Wednesday that Africa’s problem is due to lack of unity to counter its challenges. “I remember our hero Gaddafi who used to promote this African solidarity but sadly most countries would not still agree with him … The instability Africa is suffering is due to the egoism of each country,” he was quoted by local media Daily Monitor. “We forget that we are Africans. Things are not moving in the right direction for our countries and it is not that Africa is not self sufficient but Africans look at ourselves as people who cannot develop ourselves yet we have many resources. Africans think all civilisation lies in the Western world,” he added. His host, President Yoweri Museveni also called on Africans to work together and ensure security and development on the continent. Our cooperation is informed by Pan-Africanism. It's not just sentimental. It is for our security, prosperity, historical & cultural reasons.— Yoweri K Museveni (@KagutaMuseveni) April 26, 2017 “Our pan Africanism is not sentimental. It is for prosperity, security, and historical and cultural reasons. We look at Africa as Africa. We do not care whether the country is Francophone or Anglophone,” he said. Museveni questioned: “Why can’t we work together and fight against terrorists taking over countries like Mali and Somalia or negotiate better trade deals with a bigger market?” The two leaders signed bilateral agreements in diplomatic cooperation, trade, culture and oil and gas exploration. We led our delegations in bilateral discussions that resulted into our countries signing four memoranda of understanding.— Yoweri K Museveni (@KagutaMuseveni) April 26, 2017 Oil-rich Equatorial Guinea also pledged to support Uganda in its exploration of the oil and gas industry with the recent discovery of 21 oil and gas fields in Uganda estimated at over 6.5 billion barrels. Obiang Nguema cautioned the East African country to be careful when negotiating oil and gas deals. “Oil can be linked to honey. Honey attracts many bees but some of those bees are the bad ones. Uganda needs to be vigilant to sieve the bad from the good,” he said at a joint oil and gas convention and regional expo. President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo left Uganda Thursday afternoon. His Excellency Obiang thereafter left the country at the end of his two-day state visit. I thank him for honouring my invitation.— Yoweri K Museveni (@KagutaMuseveni) April 27, 2017 Ismail Akwei 7000 Ghanaians face deportation from the United States Fri, 28 Apr 2017 13:28:25 +0000 About 7,000 Ghanaian immigrants in the United States face deportation for visa-related offences including staying illegally, over staying their permits. This was disclosed to local media by the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana Robert Jackson on Thursday. “In fact about 7000 of them are currently at different stages of the deportation process. And we are not apologetic about that,” the U.S. Ambassador was quoted by local news portal Starr FM Online. This comes hours after the United Kingdom blacklisted three serving legislators of Ghana’s Parliament over visa fraud. The MPs had left their relatives to live in the UK illegally after travelling with them to the country. “The British High Commission considers the actions completely unacceptable. In some cases these behaviours may arguably be criminal in nature,” the British High Commission noted. Last year, the United States deported 108 Ghanaian immigrants for reasons including drug-related offences, staying illegally, over staying their permits and other crimes. They were returned to the Kotoka International Airport in November. The deportees refused to disembark from the plane in protest of alleged inhumane treatment including shackling before and during the journey. It took the intervention of Ghanaian security and immigration officials to convince them to disembark after over an hour. U.S. President Donald Trump has vowed to deport illegal immigrants and immigrants with criminal records as part of his immigration laws to be rolled out. Despite former President Barack Obama’s push for immigration reforms, a record 2 million deportations have been executed during his administration. Ismail Akwei South Africa's Freedom Day protest held against Zuma Fri, 28 Apr 2017 05:51:07 +0000 A major protest has taken place in South Africa against embattled President Jacob Zuma. Some 2,000 people gathered in Pretoria on Thursday to demand Zuma’s exit on the occasion of the “Freedom Day”, which marked the first free elections in the country’s history in 1994 as well as fall of apartheid. The group, “Freedom Movement”, combining parties and civil society groups hostile to Zuma, gathered in a park in the capital, holding placards that read “Zuma must go “. “Coalition governments are the way forward and this indicates to me that it actually is possible, people can work together across political spectrum, labour, religious sectors and come together to say we need to build a government of a coalition that will take South Africa in the right direction,” Mmusi Maimane, Democratic Alliance Leader said. Accused of corruption, Zuma has been accused of being insensitive. A controversial ministerial reshuffle in March also led to tens of thousands of people marching in the streets. Zuma, whose term expires in 2019, is expected to survive a parliamentary debate on a motion of no confidence brought against him by several opposition parties. Unlocking the potential of South Africa's ocean economy Fri, 28 Apr 2017 06:10:29 +0000 Endowed with picturesque beaches and a coastline stretching for more than 2,500 km that is surrounded by waters from both the Indian and Atlantic oceans, South Africa is a tourist’s play ground. The Western Cape province is home to Cape Town, that is described as the crown jewel of South Africa’s tourism. A sector that contributes about 3 percent to the country’s GDP. Tim Harris, CEO of Wesgro, the tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and Western Cape delves into tourism prospects in Cape Town. “Obviously tourism has been a big earner for the Cape particularly business tourism. I mean the World Economic Forum has been coming to Cape Town every other year for the past decade and I think most of the WEF delegates have a real appreciation for there conference when its hosted in Cape Town because it’s a chance to enjoy the lifestyle factors of the Cape on top of these critical conversations of the World Economic Forum.” Apart from tourism, South Africa’s waters have a huge potential for further boosting economic growth. The government is already undertaking an ambitious plan dubbed ‘Operation Phakisa’ a Sesotho word meaning ‘hurry,’ which identifies key opportunity areas within the ocean. According to government estimates the ocean economy could lift national growth by 4 % by 2019 and create over 1 million jobs by 2033. “Generally, the oceans economy is offshore oil and gas, aquaculture, ports and ports services, coastal tourism and specifically what we in the environmental departmental affairs are looking at is marine protection and governance, setting up support systems for the oceans economy,” said Ashley Naidoo, chief director for oceans and coasts research at the department of environmental affairs. A factor supported by Dr. Kingsley Makhubela, CEO, Brand South Africa. “It’s a new area and these are strategies that are contained within our National Development Plan. To really invest more resources in the ocean economy to try see some development. So we hope that would change the dynamics moving forward.” Even with all these grand plans, marine conservation remains priority. “What we decided to do two years ago as part of our planning was to identify those areas that require more protection and there maybe varying reasons. To this end we are undertaking surveys on our research ships. We are working with other national departments, we are collating the existing information and we’ve published some areas about 22 that we are saying these areas are potential areas that require some protection,” added Ashley Naidoo, chief director for oceans and coasts research at the department of environmental affairs. Going forward, economic diversification offers an opportunity to take advantage of the demographic dividend in order to achieve inclusive and sustainable economic growth in South Africa. “Longer term really the growth prospects for South Africa and of Cape Town and the Western Cape are very strongly linked to our ability to position ourselves as access points to the rest of the continent. Essentially the African growth story, the growth of the largest consumer population in the world, demographers estimate by 2050 the population of Africa will be 2.4 billion, that is the biggest economic story of our lifetimes,” said Tim Harris, CEO of Wesgro. Claire Muthinji Sub-Sahara Africa's growth to reach 2.6% in 2017-World Bank Sat, 22 Apr 2017 13:29:29 +0000 Sub-Saharan Africa’s growth is showing signs of recovery this year after a tumultuous period in 2016. The World Bank estimates that GDP growth will rise to 2.6 percent in 2017 compared to 1.3 percent last year and rise further to 3.2 percent in 2018 and 3.5 percent a year later. “Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to grow at a moderate rate of 2.6 percent in 2017, and somewhat improve towards three percent in 2018. This timid recovery is certainly better than the 1.6 percent we had in 2016, the lowest in a decade, but it is still below population growth in Africa,” said Albert Zeufack, Africa region chief economist at World Bank. The growth is attributed to an up tick in global commodity prices, improving global economic performance and accommodative domestic conditions. Zeufack however warned that growing protectionism in the west could pose a risk for sub-Saharan African economies, but could also present opportunities for the continent to be self-sufficient. He also added that the economies of Angola, Nigeria and South Africa, which make up 60 percent of GDP, were recovering but at a weak pace and per capita income was growing in negative terms. Tackling infrastructure was key to stability. Only 35 percent of Africans have access to electricity which is the lowest among developing countries and that road density on the continent was also the lowest in the world. While his counterpart at the bank stressed the need for African countries to undertake necessary reforms to boost investment. “One of the challenges for the region is to be able to boost investment, both public investment and private investment. And we are making a case that public investment needs to increase in Africa because of the vast development needs of the region. But public investment will not be sufficient to meet these investment needs and we need to crowd in private investment,” said Punam Chuhan Pole, lead economist, World bank. The bank singled out seven countries, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Rwanda, Senegal, and Tanzania, which have continued to exhibit economic resilience, supported by domestic demand, posting annual growth rates of above 5.4% in the last two years. These countries house nearly 27% of the region’s population and account for 13% of the region’s total GDP. Africa growth rebounding while Sudan takes the lead in white sugar production [Business Africa] Thu, 27 Apr 2017 15:20:45 +0000 Africa growth rebounding-World Bank The World Bank said economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa was rebounding in 2017 after registering the worst decline in more than two decades. Projections show GDP growth up by 2.6 percent this year compared to 1.3 percent in 2016. Sudan kenana sugar Kenana sugar company ,the world’s largest white Sugar factory is located in Sudan generating up to 250 000 million dollar annual income , and worth some 3 billion dollars. The firm is not only investing in sugar production but also in food and energy. Here is the inside story. Afolake Oyinloye China is keeping to promise as it expands Foreign Direct Investment in South Africa [Business Africa] Thu, 27 Apr 2017 15:08:18 +0000 Chinese investment in South Africa Chinese investment in Africa is growing by the day. Hi Sense one of China’s leading electronic manufacturing firm is one of many expanding operations in the Western Cape Province. Africanews’ Tshepiso Radebe takes a look at China’s growing investment in South Africa. Afolake Oyinloye DRC's Lucha activists protest against filth in Kinshasa; dozens arrested Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:05:27 +0000 Over a dozen youth activists of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s pro-democracy movement Lucha were arrested on Thursday during a march against filth in the capital Kinshasa. They were rounded up by the Kinshasa police into pick up trucks and sent to the Lufungula police station where they were detained, the group said. Nous avons pu compter sept militants arrêtés, dont ceux de la Lucha et quelques uns de Il Est Temps. À confirmer. #KinPropre #RDC— 19/12/16 +#4MoisDeja (@luchaRDC) April 27, 2017 According to the group on their Twitter page, 23 activists were arrested. They added that the Governor of Kinshasa who refused to meet them earlier visited the station and ordered their release on condition that they remove their branded Lucha T-shirts. “André Kimbuta, orders the release of 23 comrades, on condition that they remove their Lucha T-shirt. Ridiculous! #KinPropre,” they tweeted. URGENT: André Kimbuta, ordonne la libération de nos 23 camarades, à condition qu’ils enlèvent leurs T-shirt Lucha. Ridicule ! #KinPropre— 19/12/16 +#4MoisDeja (@luchaRDC) April 27, 2017 The arrested activists were reportedly released and driven out of the police station in the afternoon after refusing to remove their Lucha branded T-shirts. #KinPropre: nos camarades viennent d‘être chassés violemment du camp Lufungula, sur ordre de Kimbuta. Refus d’argent et de retirer T-shirt— 19/12/16 +#4MoisDeja (@luchaRDC) April 27, 2017 The activists staged the peaceful march through the streets of Kinshasa in the morning wearing branded T-shirts and carrying placards with inscriptions calling on the city authorities and residents to keep the city clean and free from dirt-related diseases. One of their leaders, Bienvenu Matumo, on Wednesday told local news portal that they notified the city authorities about the march on April 21, but received no response. They decided to go ahead with the scheduled march which was supposed to end at the Governor’s office where they will deliver a petition on measures to be taken to help keep the city clean, he added. On Wednesday, Lucha activists in the southeastern town of Lubumbashi staged a sit-in protest in front of the United Nations Mission in Congo (MONUSCO) office demanding that they intervene in the implementation of the fragile peace agreement signed by the government and opposition last year to hold elections this year. They cited the UN Security Council Resolution 2348 as a mandate for MONUSCO to intervene. Rdc: Resolution 2348= réelle protection de la population et élections 2017(sans Kabila). Sit-in Lucha à la Monusco à Lubumbashi— for children4 (@forchildren4) April 26, 2017 Lucha was created in 2012 in Goma, the capital of North Kivu, to advocate for democracy in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Members of the group has suffered arrests and imprisonment as a result of its strained relationship with the Congolese authorities. In December last year, dozens of Lucha activists were arrested for protesting against the stay in power of President Kabila after the official expiration of his term on December 20. They were released after weeks in prison and several international condemnations and pressure. Ismail Akwei Kenya's ex-PM accepts to lead opposition coalition into August polls Thu, 27 Apr 2017 19:53:54 +0000 Kenya’s main opposition coalition, the National Super Alliance (NASA) has picked a former Prime Minister of the East African nation as its presidential candidate heading into highly anticipated August polls. Odinga, originally the leader of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) was Premier of Kenya between April 2008 and April 2013 under a power-sharing deal with then President Mwai Kibaki. ‘‘It is with great honour that I accept Team NASA’s nomination as its 2017 Presidential Candidate,’‘ he said in a tweet. 72-year-old Raila Odinga will come up against incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta who represents the Jubilee alliance. NASA on Thursday also unveiled its official symbol to party faithful who thronged the Uhuru Park. It is with great honour that I accept Team NASA's nomination as its 2017 Presidential Candidate #MamboYabadilika— Raila Odinga (@RailaOdinga) April 27, 2017 Odinga was the country’s second PM because the only other person to hold the post was Jomo Kenyatta back in 1964. The office was abolished after 2013. He has also handled different ministerial portfolios including Roads, Public Works and Housing as well as energy. The NASA was formed eight months ago with the aim of wrestling power from Uhuru Kenyatta who will be running for his second five-year term. He won the 2013 race against Odinga, whose ODM is one of the five main opposition parties uniting. Kenyatta’s presidency has seen the economy grow at a steady 5 to 6 percent a year, but has faced headwinds from a spate of militant attacks that have killed hundreds of people. He has faced criticism for not doing more to tackle corruption. Some opinion polls have suggested Kenyatta is ahead. However, voting in Kenya in the past has tended to be driven by tribal loyalties rather than policy. Odinga will by his current nomination be taking a fourth shot at the presidency. He disputed the results of the last vote in 2013 and the election in 2007, which was followed by weeks of ethnic violence in which about 1,200 people died. South Sudan: East African states, South Africa oppose Machar's return Thu, 27 Apr 2017 18:28:41 +0000 East African states and South Africa believe that allowing South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar to return to the war-torn country would not “necessarily be positive at this stage,” United Nations envoy David Shearer said on Wednesday. Machar, who fled to Democratic Republic of Congo in August after fierce fighting in South Sudan, is being held in South Africa to prevent him from stirring up trouble, diplomatic and political sources told Reuters in December. Shearer, who heads a U.N. peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, confirmed that was the case. South Sudan descended into civil war in 2013 after President Salva Kiir fired Machar as his deputy, unleashing a conflict that has spawned armed factions often following ethnic lines. The United Nations has warned of a possible genocide as millions continue to flee their homes. Court delays trial of Burkina Faso's Blaise Compaore to May 4 Thu, 27 Apr 2017 21:36:39 +0000 A court in Burkina Faso has postponed to May 4, the trial of former leader Blaise Compaore and his cabinet for their alleged role in killing at least 24 protesters. The group are standing trial for their role in the act during an uprising in October 2014 that led to an overthrow of Compaore’s government. The decision was reached following a request from a lawyer for the defence. At least 25 ministers from Compaore’s former cabinet turned up on Thursday for the trial. “The people of Burkina have high expectations from this judgement and we must believe that justice will measure up to the expectations of the people of Burkna and that justice will be served,” Herve Ouattara, President Of The Anti-Referendum Collective said. “I have no expectations at all, because I saw what happened. I have seen the whole drama they are displaying here today and so I hope for nothing at all, nothing,“Safiatou Lopez, Honorary President, National Organisation Of Civil Societies said. Hundreds of thousands marched in the capital Ouagadougou against Compaore’s attempt to prolong a 27-year rule. They subsequently forced him into exile. “Until now the situation has not changed since the departure of Blaise Compaore and the Burkinabès continue to suffer in total misery, in the greatest misery. We don’t know why and the people are trying to understand what is going on,” a resident said. After the incidents, Burkina Faso has completed a shaky transition period during which a close ally of Compaore sought to seize power in a thwarted coup. Elections held in 2015 brought Roch Marc Kabore to power.