Africanews RSS free and in real-time all news published by, by subscribing to our RSS feeds.Thu, 13 Dec 2018 12:00:48 +0000South Africa court orders ex-president to pay his legal fees High Court in South Africa has ordered former president Jacob Zuma to pay for legal costs of criminal prosecutions brought against him whiles in office. The North Guateng court’s decision means that Zuma will have to pay legal costs dating back to 2005. All decisions by the state attorney and presidency were set aside by the court. “The state is not liable for the legal costs incurred by Mr. Jacob …. Zuma in his personal capacity in criminal prosecutions instituted against him in any civil litigation, related or incidental thereto and for any other associated legal costs. “The state attorney is directed to compile a complete and full accounting of all legal costs that were incurred by Mr. Zuma in his personal capacity in the criminal prosecution instituted against him,” the judgment read in part. Former president Jacob Zuma will now be liable to pay his own legal fees dating back to 2005. The court has set aside the Presidency’s decision to continue footing the bill using state money. #ZumaFees— anathi majeke (@anathimajeke8) December 13, 2018 The country’s main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, DA, in March this year started a legal process to force Zuma to pay back over $1.3 million in taxpayers’ money which the party claims was used to fight “personal” legal battles. Party leader Mmusi Maimane at the time said any agreements between Zuma and President Cyril Ramaphosa on the state covering Zuma’s legal fees must be made public. Maimane who was in court for the verdict, reacted to the court decision in a tweet: “Today we managed to save the citizens of our country millions, we have stopped our people from being the atm (automated teller machine) that funds the corrupt’s litigation. The DA leader is also on record to have questioned an alleged agreement on legal fees between Zuma and former president Thabo Mbeki‚ which said his legal fees would be paid in the event that he was found guilty of the charges. #ZumaFees: Court rules that State is not liable for legal costs incurred by former president Zuma in his personal capacity in criminal prosecutions instituted against him. (J_chabalala)— Team News24 (TeamNews24) December 13, 2018Thu, 13 Dec 2018 12:00:48 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) transforming travel in Africa [Travel] transforming travel in Africa Few modes of transport evoke a sense of history and romanticism as rail. Africa’s first network of railways was started in Alexandria, Egypt in 1852. Today, fast-growing economies across the continent are upgrading rail infrastructure to support improved regional trade and transit. So today we look at a few railway systems that are changing the African travel system for various reasons. Kenya: Nairobi to Mombasa by rail Rail is the future of Africa’s industrialization; No wonder, the launch of the railway from Mombasa to Nairobi in 2017 was embraced with an overwhelming happiness. The benefits that accrue from its construction seem to far outweigh the concerns. Within just a week after its launch on May 31st 2017, over 7000 people had been transported on the Madaraka Express with foreign tourists making a large number of the people buying the train tickets. Morocco: Inaugurates Africa’s fastest train In November, after seven years of work on the high-speed railway line, King Mohammed VI and French President Emmanuel Macron inaugurated Africa’s fastest train which will halve travelling time between the commercial and industrial hubs of Casablanca and Tangier. The train, planned to run at 320 km per hour, reduced the journey from almost 5 hours to around two hours. It is about twice as fast as South Africa’s high-speed Gautrain. Blue Train: The Blue Jewel of South Africa The iconic Blue Jewel of South Africa, recently, walked away with Africa’s Leading Luxury Train accolade at the World Travel Awards Africa & Indian Ocean Gala 2018. The train includes all-inclusive coursed meals and beverages, butler service, stopover excursions and after-dinner premium cigars served in their ritzy Club Car. The recognition awarded to the Blue Train, 10 years running, affirms that there is a place for luxury rail travel in Africa’s tourism landscape. @NyashaKMutizwaThu, 13 Dec 2018 11:52:58 +0000editorial@africanews.com guts key election warehouse in DRC capital, Kinshasa of voting machines and ballot boxes due to be used in the December 23 presidential election have been gutted by fire at a warehouse in Congo’s capital, Kinshasa. A presidential adviser said 70% of the equipment due to be used for voting in Kinshasa, was destroyed in the fire. The elections body, CENI, however, says it was still doing an assessment of the damage. CENI shared photos that showed a huge cloud of smoke rising from the premises where the incident happened. Aside voting material, vehicles were also burnt along with other logistics. “There was a fire that occurred around one o’clock in the morning at the main depot of the Independent National Electoral Commission. That’s when we called the competent authorities who came to inquire about the situation. We do not know what is the real cause of this fire,” an eyewitness told AFP. DRC’s security minister is reported to have said the damage represents 10% of the voting machines for Kinshasa and that they will be replaced “very quickly”. With the keenly awaited polls barely ten days away, opposition groups are questioning the incident as being one that is instigated rather than a natural occurrence. Outgoing Kabila is due to handover to a new president after the election delayed for exactly two years. The ruling coalition is in the race with ex-Interior Minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary as its candidate. Other top aspirants include Martin Fayulu, leading the Lamuka coalition of three aspirants, Felix Tshisekedi leading a two-man coalition along with Vital Kamerhe.Thu, 13 Dec 2018 10:35:51 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) 'This Is Africa' - Central African Republic in brief countries have their peculiar challenges like all countries the world over. Amid these challenges are particular characteristics of countries on the continent. ‘This Is Africa (TIA)’ is an Africanews initiative aimed at sharing information about African countries and helping our audiences better discover the continent – in a small but significant way. For the next twenty weeks, we shall be sharing salient information about an African country such as their currency, political leader, population, date of independence etc. [Photos / Information] Ten of Africa’s long-serving political leaders Country of the Week: Central African Republic 1 – National capital / official languages = Bangui / French 2 – Currency in circulation = ‎ Central African CFA franc 3 – Current political leader = Faustin-Archange Touadéra 4 – Population estimate = 5,062,021 (July 2018 est.) 5 – Date of independence = August 13, 1960 6 – Country codes: telephone ‎(+236), internet (‎.cf) Profile of the country Faustin-Archange Touadéra, President of the country Flag of the country Central African CFA franc Boali Falls, one of the best known landmarks in the country Country of the Week: Republic of Guinea 1 – National capital / official languages = Conakry / French 2 – Currency in circulation = ‎ Guinean franc (GNF) 3 – Current political leader = Alpha Condé 4 – Population estimate = 12,413,867 (July 2017 est.) 5 – Date of independence = October 2, 1958 6 – Country codes: telephone ‎(+224), internet (‎.gn) Profile of the country Alpha Condé, President of the country Guinean franc (GNF) Flag of the country Fouta Djallon, a highland region in the centre of Guinea Capital city, Conakry Country of the Week: Republic of South Sudan 1 – National capital / official languages = Juba / English 2 – Currency in circulation = ‎ South Sudanese pound 3 – Current political leader = Salva Kiir Mayardit 4 – Population estimate = 13,026,129 (July 2017 est.) 5 – Date of independence = July 9, 2011 6 – Country codes: telephone ‎(+211), internet (.ss) Profile of the country Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the country Flaf of the country South Sudanese pound Streets of Juba, South Sudanese capital Fula Falls, Baḥr al-Jabal in South Sudan Country of the Week: Republic of Tunisia 1 – National capital / official languages = Tunis / Arabic 2 – Currency in circulation = ‎ Tunisian dinar 3 – Current political leader = Beji Caid Essebsi 4 – Population estimate = 11,532,127 (July 2017 est.) 5 – Date of independence = March 20, 1956 6 – Country codes: telephone ‎(+216), internet (.tn) Profile of the country Beji Caid Essebsi, President of the country Tunisian dinar Flag of the country _The remnants of ancient Carthage _ Country of the Week: Democratic Republic of Congo 1 – National capital / official languages = Kinshasa / French 2 – Currency in circulation = ‎ Congolese franc 3 – Current political leader = Joseph Kabila 4 – Population estimate = 83,301,151 (July 2017 est.) 5 – Date of independence = June 30, 1960. 6 – Country codes: telephone ‎(+243), internet (.cd) Profile of the country Joseph Kabila, President of the country Congolese franc Flag of the country Zongo Fall found in the city of Zongo in the Sud-Ubangi District Streets of Kinshasa Country of the Week: Gabonese Republic 1 – National capital / official languages = Libreville / French 2 – Currency in circulation = ‎ Central African CFA franc 3 – Current political leader = Ali Bongo Ondimba 4 – Population estimate = 1,772,255 (July 2017 est.) 5 – Date of independence = August 17, 1960 6 – Country codes: telephone ‎(+241), internet (.ga) Profile of the country Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of Gabon _ Central African CFA franc_ Libreville, Capital city Flag of the country Country of the Week: Arab Republic of Egypt 1 – National capital / official languages = Cairo / Arabic 2 – Currency in circulation = ‎ Egyptian pound 3 – Current political leader = Abdel Fattah el-Sisi 4 – Population estimate = 97,041,072 (July 2017 est.) 5 – Date of independence = February 28, 1922 6 – Country codes: telephone ‎(+20), internet (.eg) Profile of the country Abdel Fattah el-Sisi Capital City, Cairo Egyptian pound Great Sphinx of Giza Flag of the country Country of the Week: The Gambia 1 – National capital / official languages = Banjul / English 2 – Currency in circulation = ‎ Gambian dalasi 3 – Current political leader = Adama Barrow 4 – Population estimate = 2,051,363 (July 2017 est.) 5 – Date of independence = February 18, 1965 6 – Country codes: telephone ‎(+220), internet (.gm) Profile of the country Adama Barrow, President of the Country 200 feet high Arch 22 in the capital city of Banjul Flag of the country Gambian dalasi Banjul’s Royal Albert Market Country of the Week: The Republic of the Congo 1 – National capital / official languages = Brazzaville / French 2 – Currency in circulation = ‎ Central African CFA franc 3 – Current political leader = Denis Sassou Nguesso 4 – Population estimate = 5 092 million (2017 est.) 5 – Date of independence = Aug. 15, 1960 6 – Country codes: telephone ‎(+242), internet (.cg) Profile of the country Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of the Country An art gallery in the poto-poto school of painting Flag of the country Central African CFA franc Country of the Week: Federal Republic of Somalia 1 – National capital / official languages = Mogadishu / Somali, Arabic 2 – Currency in circulation = ‎ Somali shilling 3 – Current political leader = Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed 4 – Population estimate = 14.74 million (2017 est.) 5 – Date of independence = July 1, 1960 6 – Country codes: telephone ‎(+252), internet (.so) Profile of the country Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, President of the Country Somali shilling Independence Monument Flag of the country Country of the Week: Republic of Madagascar 1 – National capital / official languages = Antananarivo / Malagasy and French 2 – Currency in circulation = ‎ Malagasy ariary 3 – Current political leader = H.E. Mr. Rivo Rakotovao (Interim president) 4 – Population estimate = 24.89 million (2016 est.) 5 – Date of independence = 26 June 1960 6 – Country codes: telephone ‎(+261), internet (.mg) _ Profile of the country_ _ H.E. Mr. Rivo Rakotovao, interim president of the country_ _Tsingy de Bemaraha, an impressive greystone plateau of razor-sharp spikes located northwest Madagascar _ Malagasy ariary, country currency Flag of the country Baobab Avenue located around western Madagascar Country of the Week: Liberia 1 – National capital / official languages = Monrovia / English 2 – Currency in circulation = ‎ Liberian dollar 3 – Current political leader = George Weah 4 – Population estimate = 4,689,021 (July 2017 est.) 5 – Date of independence = July 26, 1847 6 – Country codes: telephone ‎(+231), internet (.lr ) Country Profile George Weah, Liberian President Liberian dollar Flag of the country Down Town Monrovia Country of the Week: The Kingdom of Morocco 1 – National capital / official languages = Rabat / Arabic 2 – Currency in circulation = ‎ Moroccan dirham 3 – Current political leader = Mohammed VI (King of Morocco) 4 – Population estimate = 33,986,655 (July 2017 est.) 5 – Date of independence = April 7, 1956 6 – Country codes: telephone ‎(+212), internet (.ma) Profile of the country Mohammed VI, King of Morocco Moroccan dirham Moroccan flag Mausoleum of Mohammed V in Rabat Country of the Week: The State of Eritrea 1 – National capital / Principal languages = Asmara / Tigrigna, Arabic, English 2 – Currency in circulation = ‎Eritrean nakfa 3 – Current political leader = Isaias Afwerki 4 – Population estimate = 5,918,919 (July 2017 est.) 5 – Date of independence = May 24, 1993 6 – Country codes: telephone ‎(+291), internet (.er) Eritrea country profile Isaias Afwerki, President of Eritrea Eritrean Flag The great Asamara Mosque Eritrean nakfa Country of the Week: Equatorial Guinea 1 – National capital / official languages = Malabo / Spanish, French, Portuguese 2 – Currency in circulation = ‎Central African CFA franc‎ (‎XAF‎) 3 – Current political leader = Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo 4 – Population estimate = 1,267,689 (2017 est.) 5 – Date of independence = 12 October, 1968 6 – Country codes: telephone ‎(+240), internet (.gq) Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of Equatorial Guinea The Freedom Tower found in the city of Beta Central African CFA franc‎ (‎XAF‎) Flag of the country Brief profile of the country Country of the Week: Libya 1 – National capital / official languages = Tripoli/ Arabic 2 – Currency in circulation = Libyan dinar 3 – Current political leader = Fayez al-Sarraj (United Nations-backed Prime Minister) 4 – Population estimate = 6.2 million (2016) 5 – Date of independence = 24 December 1951 6 – Country codes: telephone (+218), internet (.ly) Fayez al-Sarraj, Head of the Libyan Government of National Accord Tripoli, capital city Libyan Dinar _ Flag of the Country_ Country of the Week: The Republic of Mozambique / República de Moçambique (Portuguese) 1 – National capital / official languages = Maputo / Portuguese 2 – Currency in circulation = Mozambican metical 3 – Current political leader = Filipe Nyusi 4 – Population estimate = 26,573,706 (July 2017) 5 – Date of independence = June 25, 1975 from Portugal 6 – Country codes: internet (.mz), telephone (+258) Mozambque President, Filipe Nyusi Mozambican metical Capital city of Maputo Flag of the country Country of the Week: Republic of Benin / République du Bénin 1 – National capital / official languages = Porto-Novo / French 2 – Currency in circulation = West African CFA franc, XOF 3 – Current political leader = President Patrice Talon 4 – Population estimate = About 11,520,000 (2018) 5 – Date of independence = 1 August 1960 6 – Country codes: internet (.bj), telephone (+229) President Patrice Talon. Flag of the country. The West Africa CFA (XOF), currency used by most French countries in the region. A general view shows the Tokpa district in Cotonou, Benin’s largest city and economic center. Country of the Week: Republic of Kenya 1 – Capital / official languages = Nairobi / English, Swahili 2 – Currency = Kenyan Shillings (KES) 3 – Current president / PM = President Uhuru Kenyatta 4 – Population estimate = Over 49 million (2017) 5 – Independence Day = December 12, 1963 from Britain 6 – Country codes: internet (.ke), telephone (+254) The Kenyan flag Kenyan Shillings Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta Aerial photo of Kenyan capital, NairobiThu, 09 Aug 2018 12:49:56 +0000editorial@africanews.com troops allegedly torture ex-Al Shabaab deputy - Somali media outlets and journalists in Somalia are reporting that Ethiopian forces in the country had arrested the former al-Shabaab leader, Mukhtar Robow during a raid. Citing Robow’s campaign chief, Radio Dalsan, said the former number two of the insurgent group had also been tortured by the Ethiopians after the arrest. The incident took place in Baidoa, capital of Somalia’s South West regional state. Robow is currently in the race to become president of the region. Polls for the seat has repeatedly been delayed. BREAKING #Ethiopian forces in Baidoa arrest former #Alshabab deputy leader Mukhtar Robow and presidential candidate of south west regional state in raid #Somalia, Chief campaigner of Robow told Dalsan that Ethiopian troops tortured the candidate during the raid -SRC:DalsanFM</a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; HornDiplomat (HornDiplomat) December 13, 2018 The station has also stated that there is currently tension in Baidoa and that all communication had been shut down. The federal government has yet to comment on the issue. The repeated postponement of the regional polls had partly been blamed on federal government machinations to impede Robow’s political ambitions. He had risen as high as the deputy leader of Al-Shabaab, a group that continually carries out suicide attacks especially in Mogadishu. They also hold large swathes of territory in parts of the country. Mukhtar Robow was officially cleared by the South West State Electoral Commission to contest in the 19 December elections despite early protest by the Federal government seeking to have him barred #Somalia— Radio Dalsan (@DalsanFM) December 13, 2018Thu, 13 Dec 2018 09:58:49 +0000editorial@africanews.com for Ethiopia’s Oromos: Power, pain, protests [Review] Oromos – Ethiopia’s largest ethnic had been at the heart of mass anti-government protests spanning for three years. Opposition to land reforms in the Oromia region morphed into wider demands for democracy unearthing underlying tensions across the region, the effect had at a point spread to the Amhara region – the second largest after Oromia. A dogged activism – online and on ground, was often met by a heavy security clampdown. Foreign allies and rights groups weighed in and called for restraint. All that changed when the ruling coalition according to political and security watchers – faced with an implosion, opted the path of effecting change at the top. For the first time, an Oromo was handed the reins of the EPRDF and the government machinery. Abiy Ahmed had earlier been chosen leader of the Oromo bloc in the coalition, then OPDO now Oromo Democratic Party, ODP. Power had finally been handed to an Oromo, the task ahead was how Abiy could deliver on the demands on the protesters who marched despite knowing they would be met with bullets. At the top, the last eight months have admittedly been a largely historic run across different rungs of Ethiopia’s social ladder. It has been months of peacebuilding, concrete effort at political inclusion and freedom of expression. The main challenge has brought pain – insecurity. Most of the instances of deadly insecurity has been centered in Oromia where Oromo militia have reportedly been on rampage. Their lawlessness along Oromia’s borders the Somali regional state, the southern, SNNPR and clashes along the Beninshangul Gumuz states have claimed lives and led to mass displacement. The incidents largely shot Ethiopia to the top of a list of internally displaced persons. The Geneva-based IDMC found that Ethiopia was ahead of Syria and Afghanistan in the area of internal displacements due to armed conflicts. The federal government and Oromia regional state have stressed multiple times that it was going to do all it took to guarantee the safety and security of people living any and everywhere in the country but that hardly stopped the violent incidents. Oromia protests roll on – flags, insecurity Oromia, could be described in the past years as Ethiopia’s protest region. The anti-government protests had largely abated but protests still took place. The text new protests were largely making demands from government to get a grip on security and to stave off the actions of militias. Federal forces have been deployed in rare instances and government has as usual given assurances. Another cause of protest in the region was what became known as the flag crisis at the height of the return to town by exiled political groups specifically the Oromo Liberation Front, OLF, that had been operating in Eritrea. Young men from Oromia clashed with those residents in the capital Addis Ababa, Addis is a chartered city that lies in Oromia with parties in the region demanding explicitly that it be so recognized. Protests were also held in the aftermath of deadly attacks on the outskirts of the capital, specifically in the town of Burayu. The ethnic based attacks had led to loss of lives, property destruction and a mass displacement that saw thousands flee to Addis Ababa and other safer zones. ODP leading Oromia political alliances The region has in 2018 also welcomed some of its pro-democracy heroes back home – specifically the Oromo Liberation Front, OLF, and the Oromo Democratic Front, ODF. OLF led by Dawud Ibsa were based in next door Eritrea where they were pursuing armed opposition to the government. They returned after the peace deal of July 8, 2018 signed by PM Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki. ODF on the other hand officially returned to Ethiopia from exile with its leadership led by Lencho Leta holding meetings with Abiy. The ruling party in Oromia, ODP has also made significant efforts in the area of building alliances with other parties in the region, ahead of crucial 2020 polls which Abiy promises will be free, fair and credible. Release of Oromo leaders, return of top activist Another big return to town was that of activist Jawar Mohammed whose report on ongoings back home had led to a terrorism charge. The charge was dropped allowing the Oromo Media Network chief to return to Addis Ababa. Jawar, through social media organized series of protests. He is touted as leader of Oromia youth – Qeeroo. He has in interviews stressed the need for an organized transition to democracy raising red flags on issues as and when. Even ahead of Abiy’s rise to power, a mass prisoner release saw the release of Oromo Federalist Congress, OFC leaders – Merera Gudina and Bekele Gerba. The OFC, was the main Oromo party operating back home at a time when most of the notable ones were operating in exile. Gudina and Gerba were the face of the struggle back home. Their respective releases saw thousands throng the streets in jubilation. Visit our ’2018 Review’ page for more Shaban Abdur Rahman Alfa Digital journalist @alfaafricanThu, 13 Dec 2018 09:47:18 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) grants fishing licences to china [The Morning Call] has granted dozens of fishing licenses to China. The East African government signed 31 licenses with the China Overseas Fisheries Association in Mogadishu on Wednesday. According to Somalia’s fisheries ministry, the move would ensure the resources are exploited legally. For years there had been illegal fishing that dominated the horn of Africa nation.Thu, 13 Dec 2018 09:07:11 +0000editorial@africanews.com football federation gets new president weeks after losing hosting rights for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2019…Cameroon’s football governing body has some good news. After more than a year of interim management decided by FIFA, Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT) on Wednesday elected a new president. Seidou Mbombo Njoya, a former director of FIFA’s Central African sub regional office was elected president of FECAFOOT by 46 votes ahead of his close rival, former Cameroon national football team goalkeeper, Joseph Antoine Bell.Thu, 13 Dec 2018 09:04:11 +0000editorial@africanews.com'Incompetence, bankruptcy of chiefs' led to colonialism – Uganda president Kaguta Museveni, President of Uganda has given his view on why Europe succeeded in colonizing African countries and not those in Asia. Museveni, one of Africa’s longest serving presidents said it all came down to incompetence and bankruptcy of chiefs back in the day. “On strategic security, the question is around making Africa secure. Why was Africa easily colonized yet the Europeans failed to colonize China, Japan? “We were colonized because of incompetence and bankruptcy of our chiefs. They wore lion skins, and other regalia but could not defend their continent against external aggression. Politics therefore should be about survival and destiny of our people,” he said in a tweet. African countries were decades ago largely split between European colonizers – Britain and France being the main beneficiaries. Portugal and Belgium are other countries that colonized other African nations. In the late 1950s a wave of struggles led to liberation movements that secured independence for most countries south of the Sahara. European nations however wield some ties with nations they once governed. His comments posted on social media came after he met a section of Ugandan opposition parties for an inter-party dialogue. He jabbed a section of opposition he claimed had refused to attend the event. The Inter-Party for Dialogue, IPOD, is a grouping of parties with representation in parliament. Museveni also addressed issues of security, torture and democratic gatherings within the context of other peoples’ rights. “I have been accused of threatening to wipe out the opposition. Truth is, they are in danger of wiping out themselves because of miscalculation & leaving the NRM to offer solutions to all problems. As long as they oppose what Ugandans see as beneficial, they cause their own defeat “On the issue of torture, we are against it. I spoke to the soldiers who were caught on video beating up people. I have given them guidelines but I urge political players to be disciplined. “We also take issue at times with motive and message of these gatherings. We will not accept political actors who purport to use constitutional means to engage when actually they have another leg in unconstitutional arrangements. That we shall not allow,” he stressed.Thu, 13 Dec 2018 08:38:47 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) of the day, December 12, 2018 samples the pictures of the day’s news.Wed, 12 Dec 2018 19:13:02 +0000editorial@africanews.com president in Somalia for official visit, will proceed to Kenya of Eritrea, Isaias Afwerki, is expected in Somalia today, December 13, 2018; on an invitation by his counterpart, Mohamed Abdulahi Farmaajo. The presidency, Villa Somalia, confirmed the visit as did Eritrea’s information minister, Yemane Meskel, on Twitter. The Minister added that Afwerki ,will after Somalia proceed to Kenya on an invitation by President Uhuru Kenyatta. The visit comes at a time when a parliamentary move to impeach Farmaajo flopped. Some lawmakers had filed the motion claiming the president had signed secret deals with neighbours, Eritrea and Ethiopia. President Isaias Afwerki has departed to Mogadishu today for a working visit to the Federal Republic of Somalia. President Isaias's historic visit is part and parcel of the consultative Tripartite Summits of the Heads of State and Government of Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia— Yemane G. Meskel (@hawelti) December 13, 2018 The two leaders have met thrice in the last couple of months. In late July, Farmaajo flew to Asmara on a three-day official visit. The two nations reestablished ties after the visit. Farmaajo returned to Asmara in the first week of September to join a tripartite Joint Cooperation Agreement with Afwerki and Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed. It is an honour to sign a Joint Cooperation Agreement with Their Excellencies President Isaias Afwerki and PM Abiy Ahmed in Asmara today. We agreed to enhance economic, political, social, cultural and security cooperation. Through meaningful cooperation we can attain development.— Mohamed Farmaajo (@M_Farmaajo) September 5, 2018 The most recent meeting between Farmaajo and Afwerki was in Ethiopia’s Amhara region. The duo joined PM Abiy for the second round of talks around the tripartite summit. An Eritrean delegation led by Foreign Affairs Minister Osman Saleh has also visited Mogadishu months back. Saleh and presidential advisor Yemane Ghebreab, met with Farmaajo and Somali Prime Minister during the visit. Saleh along with Ethiopia Foreign Minister, Workneh Ghebeyehu also visited Somalia as part of efforts to bolster the tripartite agreement signed in Asmara.Thu, 13 Dec 2018 06:58:42 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) review: Africa presidential polls - Liberia, Egypt and Madagascar African countries continue to routinely conduct elections, in keeping tradition with the values and principles of democracy. 2018 had its fair share of presidential elections, producing a number of new leaders while some incumbents also secured re-election. In the second part of our election reviews on our 2018 news review, we shine the light Liberia, Egypt and Madagascar where presidential elections were held. Football star George Weah is confirmed president Liberia’s presidential election was a spillover from last year, following the October 10, 2017 polls where ex-football star George Weah emerged winner with 38.4% of the vote against his closest rival vice president Joseph Boakai’s 28.8%. Weah’s win was not enough to secure an outright victory and a second round was necessary to determine Liberia’s next president. After unsuccessful petitions to halt the election run-off by the candidate who came third, Charles Brumskine of the Liberty Party and Boakai, the second round was finally held on December 26, 2017. Brumskine petitioned the Supreme Court calling for a re-run of the entire presidential poll, citing electoral fraud, while Boakai questioned the competence and integrity of the electoral commission. Weah eventually won the second round, and was declared president-elect on December 28, 2017 having secured 61.5% of the total votes cast. The 52-year-old ex-PSG star, who is the only African footballer to have been named the best in the world, took over as president of Liberia on January 22, 2018. He has since embarked on implementing his campaign pledges including cracking down on corruption, liberalising the economy to attract investment and extending free education to all public universities. Sisi wins ‘strong’ second mandate Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi secured a second term with a resounding victory, garnering 97% of the votes cast at the March 26 polls. The election, which featured one challenger, Moussa Moustafa Moussa, was dismissed by critics as a sham, after the leading opposition candidates withdrew from the race, citing intimidation from the state. Voter turnout became a key issue during the election, as Sisi had repeatedly said he sought a strong mandate to empower the government in reviving the economy and delivering the aspirations of the people. Voters said they were offered incentives including money and food to go out and vote. The opposition had urged Egyptians to boycott the vote. Madagascar incumbent loses, second round ongoing The Malagasy people cast their votes in the presidential election on November 7, choosing their next leader from a pool of 36 candidates that included president Hery Rajaonarimampianina, and ex-presidents Marc Ravalomanana and Andry Rajoelina. The three were expected to be frontrunners, having outspent and ‘outcampaigned’ all the other candidates, but when the votes were finally tallied, it turned out to be a two-horse race. On November 28, Madagascar’s High Constitutional Court confirmed that former presidents Marc Ravalomanana and Andry Rajoelina, would contest a second round of the presidential election, after none of the candidates secured the required 50 percent of votes cast to win outrightly. The court sealed the fate of the incumbent president who came third, securing 8.82 percent, and would therefore not participate in the run-off, scheduled for December 19. Ravalomanana got 35.35 percent of the vote, while Rajoelina got 39.23 percent. All three candidates had filed complaints against the electoral process, citing fraud and malpractices, but these were dismissed by the High Constitutional Court. Rajoelina and Ravalomanana have since embarked on campaigns for the second round, calling for a higher voter turnout. READ MORE: Timeline of the Madagascar presidential electionWed, 12 Dec 2018 21:04:17 (Daniel Mumbere) will not bid to host AFCON 2019: sports minister organisation of the African Cup of Nations 2019 (AFCON 2019) has received a fresh setback, after Morocco on Wednesday said it would not bid to host the tournament. Morocco, which this year lost a bid to host the 2026 World Cup, had been seen as one of the leading contenders to host Africa’s biggest football tournament. But Moroccan Minister of Youth and Sports, Rachid Talbi El Alami told AFP that the North African nation would not attempt to host the tournament, that had originally been awarded to Cameroon. READ MORE: CAF withdraws hosting rights for AFCON 2019 from Cameroon “Morocco did not intend to apply to host the 2019 African Cup of Nations and will not do so,” the minister said. The Confederation of African Football (CAF) is receiving bids to host the tournament, until Friday this week. The winning bid is expected to be announced on January 9, after a meeting of the Executive Committee in Dakar, Senegal. Possible hosts Now that Morocco has taken itself out of contention, fans will hope that other African nations that have the infrastructure to host the expanded tournament featuring 24 teams for the first time, will step up and bid to host. Egypt last week said they would not launch a bid to host AFCON 2019 if Morocco expresses interest. South Africa’s football federation has also confirmed that it is considering a bid to host the tournament. The Southern African nation is the only country to have hosted a World Cup, which features 32 teams. ALSO READ: Congo sports ministry denies reports of bid to host AFCON 2019 With less than six months to the tournament, that will be held in June for the first time, time is surely running out for CAF to find a host. SUGGESTED READING: Is it time for CAF to revise process of awarding AFCON hosting rights?Wed, 12 Dec 2018 19:27:31 (Daniel Mumbere)'s opposition leader Atiku signs elections peace pact’s main opposition candidate, Atiku Abubakar signed an election peace pact on Wednesday, saying a ‘communication lapse’ had prevented him from participating in the initial process with other candidates. Atiku, Donald Duke and Oby Ezekwesili, were some of the opposition candidates, who were notably absent at Tuesday’s ceremony in Abuja, at which President Muhammadu Buhari and dozens of other candidates vowed to ensure non-violence. Voters in Africa’s most populous nation go to the polls to elect a new president and parliament on February 16 next year. Gubernatorial and state assembly elections follow two weeks later. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said Abubakar was not at the event “due to (a) communication lapse between the National Peace Committee (NPC) and our party’s national secretariat”. But it added that both the party and Abubakar were “fully committed to a peaceful electoral process and elections in 2019”. Earlier today, I appended my signature to the Peace Accord. I also urged the President to sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law. #LetsGetNigeriaWorkingAgain— Atiku Abubakar (@atiku) December 12, 2018 ALSO READ: Atiku knocks Buhari for refusing to sign electoral bill Ezekwesili, who was education minister under Olusegun Obasanjo and is an ex-World Bank vice-president, also signed the peace accord on Wednesday. Abubakar, a former vice-president under Olusegun Obasanjo from 1999 to 2007, was known as a “global ambassador of peace”, it added in a statement issued on Tuesday night. His spokesman earlier told AFP Abubakar was “not invited” to the event, which was organised by the National Peace Committee. Several other candidates were also absent. But the committee’s chairman, former military ruler Abdulsalami Abubakar, denied any snub and maintained: “Everybody was invited.” Security around polling is a recurrent concern in Nigeria, which has a history of violence stoked by identity politics, ethnicity and religion. In 2011, some 1,000 people were killed after clashes between supporters of Buhari after his defeat to Goodluck Jonathan.Wed, 12 Dec 2018 21:29:47 +0000editorial@africanews.com machines for DRC polls delivered, as 3 killed during opposition rally Fayulu, the leader of an opposition coalition in Democratic Republic of Congo’s presidential election, faced a second day of clashes with the authorities as he sought to hold a rally in the Eastern part of the country. Sources told AFP news agency that three people were killed on Wednesday in clashes with police in Kalemie, a town on Lake Tanganyika, where Fayulu was scheduled to campaign. It came a day after two of Fayulu’s supporters were killed and 43 hurt in clashes at a rally in Lubumbashi, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s second-largest city. Two witnesses said “live rounds” were fired after the opposition candidate arrived in Kalemie and headed to the venue. Fayulu blamed the violence on police as well as on “armed youths on drugs” who, he said, were “dressed in PPRD clothing,” a reference to the country’s ruling party. “I saw people shooting and I saw a lady fall in front of me,” he told AFP. He added: “Despite everything, we reached the venue for the rally, we held the rally.” Fayulu’s aides said three people were killed. A local doctor told AFP there were three bodies at the hospital morgue, while an emergency responder said his team had picked up four bodies. Fayulu, 62, a little-known lawmaker and former oil executive, has made a late surge after being named the joint candidate for several opposition parties. As well as Fayulu, the front-runners are Felix Tshisekedi of the mainstream opposition Union for Democracy and Social Progress and Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, Kabila’s handpicked successor. ALSO READ: Background to DR Congo’s delayed 2018 presidential polls Lubumbashi rally The violence on Tuesday in Lubumbashi came as Fayulu sought to attend a rally there. A civil rights group, the Congolese Association for Access to Justice (ACAJ) said two people were killed and 43 hurt, 15 with gunshot wounds, according to a provisional toll. The police said 11 police and two civilians were injured. It did not mention any fatalities. Fayulu said on Tuesday he had been prevented by police from reaching the rally in Lubumbashi. On Wednesday, he said the authorities had blocked him from flying from Kalemie to the next stop on his schedule, the southern mining city of Kolwezi. “I am in Goma. They diverted us. They told us that we have no other choice, either Kinshasa, Goma or Bukavu,” he said, referring to a phone conversation with the powerful National Intelligence Agency (ANR). The UN’s special envoy for the DRC, Leila Zerrougui, issued a statement deploring lives lost in pre-election violence and called on the government to “take the necessary steps to avoid new incidents.” Election equipment delivered In a separate development Wednesday, the DRC’s election commission said it had completed the deployment of voting equipment and tested it. In a posting on Twitter, the Independent National Election Commission (CENI) said that, despite “difficulties,” it could “reassure (the public) that all the election equipment has arrived across the country and in towns and, after technical verification, is in a good operational status.” The technical and logistical side of the vote has become a fierce political issue. Some opposition parties are contesting the use of Korean-made electronic voting machines, saying the touchscreen devices can be hacked or the results manipulated. CENI argued in return that the machines, which also provide a printout to the voter, were completely secure and the only way to quickly tally results across the DRC, a country four times the size of France but hobbled by poor infrastructure. ALSO READ: DRC govt supplies poll logistics: lorries, planes and helicoptersWed, 12 Dec 2018 21:43:12 +0000editorial@africanews.com’s rag-and-bone man roams the streets of Cairo for customers morning, Mina roams the streets of Cairo with his cart calling out the Italian word “Roba Vecchia”, a trademark cry in Egypt’s streets. The word has been used since the early 20th century for junk collectors looking to buy or trade unused household items from residents. Over the years, the job has seen many changes, from apparent ones like shifting from handcarts to donkey-drawn carts and small vehicles, to less obvious changes such as competition from the internet. A rag and bone man will collect just about anything, says Mina Thabet, who has been in the trade for many years. “I buy washing machines, refrigerators, stoves, scrap iron, aluminium, and copper. But there were more items available in the past, now there are fewer. People now know everything and if they have even a small piece of iron, they ask for a price based on price per kilo,“he said. People who want to make some quick cash off of items that they no longer need, trace the sound coming from the loudspeakers and find Thabet. Then the bargaining begins, until Thabet and the seller agree on a price. Once the transaction is complete, Thabet goes on looking for the next buy, filling up his donkey-drawn cart in the process. At the warehouses, the items and machines are dismantled and sold as separate pieces, With computer screens for example, copper is pulled is out to be sold, while the glass is thrown away. Over the years, the job’s main clientele has shifted, says trader Gamal Shaarawy who said he spent his “whole life” in working in this trade. “We have the ‘Tuesday Market’, which is held on Tuesdays and Mondays, where we display items to sell them to people who come from the rural areas, all the way from Aswan to Cairo and from all over the country. Merchants come and buy items at wholesale prices, old closets, beds. The tyre technician comes and buys tyres,” Shaarawy said. The ever-changing nature of the job has brought on some changes that Shaarawy does not approve of, including the use of the loudspeaker which he described as disturbing. Yet, even after ventures in other jobs, Shaarawy’s love for the rag-and-bone trade has always brought him back to it.Wed, 12 Dec 2018 19:53:22 +0000editorial@africanews.com war crimes suspect arrested in France, ICC awaits extradition authorities have arrested a man suspected of committing war crimes in the Central African Republic and he will face extradition to The Hague, the International Criminal Court (ICC) said on Tuesday. Prosecutors say Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona was the “senior leader” of the Anti-Balaka militia that carried out systematic attacks on the country’s Muslim population in 2013-2014. Ngaissona, who denies wrongdoing, was elected in February to the executive committee of the Confederation of African Football despite objections from groups including Human Rights Watch. It named had him as a leader of the Anti-Balaka in a report in 2016. The ICC said Ngaissona was suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity including murder, extermination, deportation, persecution, torture, attacking civilians, and recruiting child soldiers. A chamber at the court “found reasonable grounds to believe Mr. Ngaissona is liable for having committed jointly with others… the above mentioned crimes.” Ethnic and religious conflict has raged for years in Central African Republic. Christian Anti-Balaka militias have been fighting mainly Muslim Seleka rebels after the rebels ousted President Francois Bozize in 2013. Thousands have died in the violence. A court spokesman confirmed French authorities had carried out the arrest after the warrant was issued on Dec. 7. The ICC had formally requested Ngaissona’s transfer. REUTERSWed, 12 Dec 2018 15:28:49 +0000editorial@africanews.com vs. Raja: 2018 CAF Super Cup will be played in Qatar Confederation of African Football, CAF, has announced that the final of the 2018 Total Super Cup will be staged outside of the continent. The decision was taken by the Executive Committee of the continent’s football governing body. CAF said the final between Esperance of Tunisia and Moroccan side Raja Casablanca will be played in Qatar. Details it said were going to be announced in due course. The Super Cup is is the final between club cup champions – winner of the elite CAF Champions League and the second-tier Confederation Cup. Esperance won their third Champions League title beating eight-time champions Al Ahly of Egypt. Whiles Raja dispatched Congolese side AS Vita to their second Confederation Cup triumph – both matches were played over two legs. ? BREAKING NEWS: CAF executive committee decided that Total CAF Super Cup 2018 between Espérance Sportive de Tunis & Raja Club Athletic will be played in Qatar .. Date & Time will be announced later .. More to follow … #TotalCAFSC— CAF (@CAF_Online) December 12, 2018 The match will be played between the 16, 17 or 18 August 2019. This season will be the first to be played in August, as per the decision of the CAF Executive Committee on 20 July 2017. It is the first time that African teams are going to play a competitive fixture outside the continent. CAF had mooted the idea of staging the Cup of Nations outside Africa but the idea was shot down earlier this year.Wed, 12 Dec 2018 14:23:43 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) discover the heartbeat of Africa it comes to tourism, Kenya is a hotspot in Africa. And it’s not by chance that it is featured high up on the list of the most visited countries on the continent. However, this remarkable country still holds some rare gems – from elephants by the thousands, breathtaking natural treasures to its warm and friendly people who are proud of their heritage. Rukinga Wildlife Sanctuary, a sanctuary of biodiversity The Rukinga Wildlife Sanctuary is one of a kind. Set up inside a 500,000 hectare reserve, the sanctuary is an example of an ecologically responsible safari at the heart of Tsavo National Park in southern Kenya. The founding principle of this site was to combine the development of village communities with the protection of nature, flora and fauna. Founded in 1997 by Mike Korchinsky from Canada, the sanctuary is not only home to cattle farming villages, but also to more than 300 bird species and over 50 large mammal species, including buffaloes, Grévy’s zebras, African wild dogs, and even lions. Concerted efforts to provide incomes to local populations have paid off, and today the reserve is proud to have created 327 jobs in surrounding communities thanks to two factories that manufacture fair-trade, carbon neutral products. Diani Beach, a paradise between land and sea Diani Beach… where the crystal-clear waters of the Indian Ocean meet glorious white sands: a place for nature-lovers and thrill-seekers alike. This is where you can find the only parachute jump in East Africa – an idea brought to life by Gary Lincoln-Hope, a passionate Englishman in his early forties and former parachutist in the British Army. You don’t need to be an experienced skydiver to do the big jump. The adventure starts with a speedy registration process before being given the relevant safety instructions by an experienced instructor. You’re told there is still time to pull out, but before you know it it’s time to board the small twin-engine plane and you’re soon up in the air. The instructor jumps out – with you in tow – and you free fall for a minute, emotions running high, with a stunning view of the landscape that will take your breath away. Then the parachute deploys and everything suddenly becomes calm, your body gliding above the green and blue lagoon. Six minutes later you’re back on the white sand, listening to the sound of the waves caressing the reef. Welcome to Diani Beach, Kenya’s most beautiful beach. Kilifi, the coastal pride of Kenya Where Diani Beach is a paradise between land and sea, Kilifi is an authentic Garden of Eden situated on the Indian Ocean coastline. Fine vegetation interspersed with coconut trees completes the postcard-perfect scene of blue sea and immaculate white sands that run along it. Kilifi has some hidden treasures. The seaside town is an unobtrusive place, located just 56 kilometres from Mombasa. Take a leisurely stroll around town and it won’t take long to discover what the people and attractions of this town have to offer. Bofa Beach, the main beach of the town, is a must for surfing enthusiasts who are seduced by the rhythm of the waves. Kilifi is also great for walking. The stone ruins of Mnarani, a 16th century Swahili settlement, and a breathtaking view of the Indian Ocean are the prizes waiting for avid walkers. For those who like to get out on the water, a boat tour is just the ticket. If you’re looking to while away some time with simple pleasures, you can spend a lazy day strolling around the bay, take a break from the sun under the shade of the lush mangroves, or have a dip in the sea – a pleasure that can be enjoyed at any time of year thanks to the climate here. Round off the day sampling the local cuisine with a dish of freshly caught fish accompanied by a traditional chapati flatbread. All aboard the Madaraka Express! Launched in 2017, the Madaraka Express combines comfort with a chance to enjoy the beautiful Kenyan wildlife. The railway track was built at a slightly raised height to give passengers the best possible view of the country’s natural scenery. The route is all mapped out: Nairobi to Mombasa in six hours. While the train speeds along the track, a voice-off, reminiscent of a skilled tourist guide, provides information on the various places of interest, as passengers try to catch a glimpse of elephant or buffalo herds wandering through the landscape. There is delight and excitement at having witnessed such a unique and unexpected spectacle. While the mysteries of African wildlife draw your attention outside, inside passengers can enjoy all the comforts of a train designed by advanced Chinese technology). The Madaraka Express is more than an alternative means of travel between the two main cities of Kenya, in the long term it hopes to link Kenya to Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan. A timeless trip you’d never want to end! About MyChicAfrica MyChicAfrica invites globetrotters and sightseers to re-discover the African continent with a new vision, inspiring ideas, exclusive accounts and striking images. To find out more about these unique experiences that only Africa can offer, visit, 11 Dec 2018 10:29:02 +0000editorial@africanews.com prosecutor to appeal acquittal of govt critic, Diane Rwigara’s prosecution agency has said it will appeal the recent acquittal of a government critic, Diane Rwigara and her mother Adeline Rwigara. The Rwanda New Times portal said prosecutor Jean Bosco Mutangana told reporters that the National Public Prosecution Authority, NPPA, was set to challenge the Kigali High court’s decision. The court last week acquitted the Rwigara’s who were facing charges of inciting violence and forgery on the part of Diane during the presentation of her candidature to contest presidential polls in 2017. The duo were acquitted with the court citing insufficient evidence on the part of the prosecution. This is the first time government is responding to the acquittal. The NPPA boss on Wednesday held a press conference with an aim of giving an update on the international cooperation on genocide fugitives. This follows the extradition Tuesday of Wenceslas Twagirayezu from Denmark. The 37-year-old opposition leader faced up to 22 years in prison for charges she said were politically motivated. A three-judge panel told a packed room all the charges were “baseless”. “I am very happy, very satisfied with the court’s decision. No, I really did not know what to expect so I’m surprised – pleasantly surprised. I am going to continue. I will continue what I started and continue with politics,” she said outside the court after acquittal. Her mother also shared her joy: “I praise the lord, I do not have much to say apart from saying that I had not committed any crime neither me nor my daughter. “ The court ruled that Diane Rwigara’s criticisms of the government did not constitute “incitement to insurrection” because they are part of her right to freedom of expression guaranteed by the Rwandan Constitution and international laws. .Wed, 12 Dec 2018 11:46:30 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) Review: Eritrea’s year of significant peace with neighbours prior to July 2018 had been projected as an isolated nation. Stifled by perceived Ethiopian aggression following a border war and also by a United Nations Security Council, UNSC, sanctions regime dating back to 2009. Information Minister Yemane Meskel in an interview with the BBC says, all was okay with Asmara’s relations in the international community save for a deliberate smear campaign . So much has changed since one peace deal was signed – the July 9, 2018 peace and cooperation deal between Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki in Asmara. Not only has it opened the two countries and its people up to each other in different areas, its effect has been concretely felt across the wider Horn of Africa region. ‘Let the photos speak’ – Eritrea’s history capturing photographer In 2018, Asmara became a diplomatic hub with regional leaders flying in, to hold talks on different levels. So far three leaders across the region have been hosted by the Eritrean government. Abiy has been to Asmara twice in as many months. The historic trip that culminated in the peace deal in July and then an unannounced visit in September as he returned from Beijing where he attended the FOCAC summit. The first trip was largely diplomatic and the first step to the normalization of ties, the second had more business to it as the PM visited Eritrean ports of Assab and Massawa. It wasn’t long before it emerged that the Somali president Mohammed Abdullahi Mohammed Farmaajo was due in Asmara. The two leaders of government announced the normalization of relations between them. Someway, somehow their rift remotely tied with the then regime in Ethiopia. Farmaajo returned to Asmara in September and joined Abiy during the unannounced visit referred to earlier. That was when the first tripartite summit was held between the three leaders of government. The second such summit was recently held in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia’s Amhara region. Then there was the trip of South Sudanese president Salva Kiir. Afwerki hosted Kiir whiles admonishing South Sudanese to work to achieve the gains of independence – stressing that Eritrea was ready to support as best as it could. The Djiboutian normalization of ties is only a matter of time, according to political watchers and experts on the Horn of Africa. It took a regional push in part and Saudi Arabia to bring Afwerki and Djibouti’s Omar Guelleh to meet in Riyadh. Before their meeting, Foreign Affairs chiefs of the tripartite group – Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea – had flown to Djibouti where they held high-level talks on the situation between Asmara and Mogadishu. The foreign ministers have since met in Mogadishu to continue talks on issues of mutual interests – during the trip holding meetings with the Prime Minister Ali Hassan Khayre and President Farmaajo. Afwerki is also on record as stressing the importance of Kenya in the ongoings in the region. He met with Kenyan intelligence chiefs in November and disclosed that he could visit Nairobi soon. Ethiopia has been Afwerki’s most visited destination in the year. Thrice overall. First in reciprocating Abiy’s visit. Then a return where he held talks with Abiy and visited the southern region. More recently fulfilling a promise to visit the Amhara region. That trip was tied to the second leg of the meeting of leaders of the tripartite group. Farmaajo flew in to join as leaders spoke on economic and closer regional integration and the need to always speak on international issues with one voice. Despite once jabbing Washington as the source of Eritrea’s international sanctions, Asmara twice received top US government officials in 2018. And it took a US shift largely for the UNSC to have agreed to lift the sanctions – which Eritrea had long tagged useless and without basis. The Middle East has also played different roles in Eritrean politics especially within the context of the Ethiopia peace deal. Abiy and Afwerki twice met in the United Arab Emirates and in Saudi Arabia – in each case they were awarded gold medals for their respective roles in bringing peace to the region. The European Union, Russia, Germany, Italy and Switzerland are among other European countries that have moved in to revamp relations with Eritrea. The country seems refreshed in diplomatic circles but till when before reforms are rolled out back home? Visit our ’2018 Review’ page for more Shaban Abdur Rahman Alfa Digital journalist @alfaafricanWed, 12 Dec 2018 09:29:29 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) firms to build Tanzania's 'controversial' $3 bn dam Sewedy Electric Co and Arab Contractors will be involved in building a $3 billion hydroelectric plant in Tanzania that is to more than double the country’s power generation capacity, the Tanzanian energy minister said. The project is located in a World Heritage site and has faced opposition from conservationists, who say the construction of a dam on a river that runs through the Selous Game Reserve could affect wildlife and their habitats. The minister, Medard Kalemani, said in comments broadcast on state television on Wednesday that the plant would have an installed capacity of 2,115 megawatts. “The project will be implemented by Egyptian firm Arab Contractor, with a joint venture with El Sewedy Electric,” Kalemani said, adding: “This is a very huge dam project.” Representatives of state-run Tanzania Electric Supply Co, El Sewedy and Arab Contractor signed the agreement in the presence of President John Magufuli and Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, TV broadcasts showed. Magufuli said on Tuesday the East African country was moving ahead with the project due to improved revenue collection by the government, without giving details. Arab Contractors will have a 55 percent stake in the project and El Sewedy 45 percent, El Sewedy’s head of marketing, Ahmed Hassouna, said on Tuesday. Covering 50,000 square km, the Selous Game Reserve is one of the largest protected areas in Africa, according to UNESCO. It is known for its elephants, black rhinos and giraffes, among many other species. The World Wildlife Fund conservation group said in a report in July last year the proposed hydropower dam “puts protected areas of global importance, as well as the livelihoods of over 200,000 people who depend upon the environment, at risk”. “The impact on Tanzania’s largest river would affect many ecosystem services it provides. It would affect tourism in Selous downstream in some of the most abundant wildlife areas in the game reserve,” it said. REUTERSWed, 12 Dec 2018 10:09:38 +0000editorial@africanews.com's new currency coins [The Morning Call] with the old, in with the new. Kenya has dropped the images of presidents from new cash coins. This is in line with the country’s 2010 constitutional requirements that banned the use of presidential portraits on Kenyan currency. The currency also contains features that make it accessible to visually impaired people.Wed, 12 Dec 2018 10:05:47 +0000editorial@africanews.com to free elephant in South Africa zoo [The Morning Call] outsiders think of Africa, many often think of wild animals. Our beautiful continent contains some of the world’s most dense population of wildlife and the richest diversity of fauna. Therefore today we would like to highlight one particular case. In South Africa a heated debate between zookeepers and elephant welfare experts has been ongoing. Should Johannesburg Zoo’s last elephant stay or go? When the last African elephant at the zoo lost her male companion, some people said that Lammie the elephant should be sent to a bigger sanctuaryWed, 12 Dec 2018 10:03:57 +0000editorial@africanews.com rubbishes corruption claims against family, ready to handover Democratic Republic of Congo’s outgoing president, Joseph Kabila, has rubbished claims that members of his family were unduly profiting from mining concessions in the country. He challenged those peddling such allegations to provide tangible evidence if they really had any. The most known such report is one published in 2016 by the Bloomberg news portal. “I probably believe that people who write those reports live on another planet which is not this planet. Feel free to give me the names of those family members and those permits, they don’t exist. Asked whether his wife and children were not holding mining rights, he responded: “Do you know how old my children are in order for them to have mining rights? “That’s where stupidity begins, allow me to use the word. I hope that one of these days someone will come up with something that is tangible instead of them being allegations left and right,” he added. Kabila was speaking in an interview with the BBC in Kinshasa. He also touched on other areas of interest like life after the presidency and the extent to which democracy had grown under his watch. He said he would have a lot on his plate when he leaves the presidency adding that it was going to be easy to handover power to anyone who emerged winner of the December 23 polls which he said was going to be free and fair and that people were going to be allowed to vote freely.Wed, 12 Dec 2018 08:57:57 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) of the day, December 11, 2018 samples the pictures of the day’s news.Tue, 11 Dec 2018 18:18:22 +0000editorial@africanews.com worried about France's 'Yellow Vests' protests in Egypt say they have been instructed to restrict the sale of ‘yellow vests’ to companies, and avoid selling to individuals, signalling fears of possible protests inspired by those in France. The move comes ahead of the eighth anniversary of the uprising that toppled Egypt’s longtime president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011 and left the country in political and economic turmoil. “We received instructions from the police around a week ago to sell yellow vests to companies only, and not to individuals,” one importer said. He said two yellow vest shipments were currently en route to Egypt and that no instructions had been issued to halt such imports. Arrested for distributing Yellow Vests However, a rights lawyer, Mohamed Ramadan, was Tuesday remanded in custody for two weeks over charges including the distribution and possession of leaflets and yellow vests. He was arrested on Monday in the northern city of Alexandria, his lawyer Abdelrahman al-Gohary said. Launched in early November, weekly “yellow vest” protests in France against planned increases in fuel tax price have spiralled into violence in Paris and other cities, taking a heavy financial toll. In a downtown Cairo street, several yellow vest sellers told AFP that their sale was being “prohibited” under instructions from police. “National security officials came by and asked us not to sell them to individuals because they fear protests in France could reach us here,” one trader said. The interior ministry spokesman did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Restricting protests in Egypt Egypt imposed heavy restrictions on demonstrations under a 2013 law, passed after the military ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi following mass protests against his rule. General-turned-president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has repeatedly criticised the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011, pointing to their repercussions on neighbouring countries like Syria, Yemen and Libya. His government has overseen harsh austerity measures including the removal of subsidies and introduced steep price hikes aiming to revive Egypt’s economy. SUGGESTED READING: Egyptians petition court to scrap presidential term limitsTue, 11 Dec 2018 16:29:47 +0000editorial@africanews.com polls: Fayulu clashes with police during Lubumbashi campaign candidates in Democratic Republic of Congo say they are being prevented from campaigning, despite assurances of a free, fair and credible election by president Joseph Kabila’s government. Martin Fayulu, who leads one of two opposition coalitions contesting the December 23 presidential elections, said police blocked his Tuesday rally in Lubumbashi, the country’s second largest city. “They made us follow an itinerary… (preventing us) from reaching the venue,” Fayulu said in a tweet. The 62-year-old former oil executive and lawmaker is contesting against Kabila’s prefered successor, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, another coalition leading opposition candidate, Felix Tshisekedi, in a field of 21 presidential candidates. READ MORE: 20 men, 1 woman aiming to replace Kabila One of Fayulu’s supporters is Moise Katumbi, a former governor whose power base is Lubumbashi, but who has been barred from contesting the elections. Katumbi also tweeted on Tuesday, saying there cannot be a credible election without free and democratic campaigns. Ce qui se passe en ce moment à #Lubumbashi est intolérable ! Gazage des militants de #Lamuka, arrestations arbitraires, dispersion de la foule venue en masse accueillir MartinFayulu</a>.<br>Une vraie élection, cela passe d’abord par une vraie campagne, libre et démocratique !</p>&mdash; Moise Katumbi (moise_katumbi) December 11, 2018 The city, located in the southeastern province of Katanga, is also a Kabila stronghold. Shadary launched his elections campaign there on November 26. High-stakes election Voters on December 23 will choose a successor to outgoing President Joseph Kabila, who has constitutionally remained in power as caretaker leader even though his second and final elected term ended nearly two years ago. At stake in the ballot is stewardship of mineral-rich country that has never known a peaceful transition of power since independence from Belgium in 1960. The 47-year-old has been in power since January 2001, taking the helm after his father, president Laurent-Desire Kabila, was assassinated. ALSO READ: Nobel prize winner Mukwege warns of war if DRC polls are ‘fraudulent’Tue, 11 Dec 2018 22:14:08 +0000editorial@africanews.com's ruling party plots to block Chamisa from contesting 2023 polls have taken to social media to challenge the women’s league of the ruling ZANU-PF party which on Friday endorsed president Emmerson Mnangagwa as their sole candidate for the 2023 presidential elections. The Women’s League, which last year endorsed ex-president Robert Mugabe as their prefered candidate for the 2018 presidential candidates, has been described as a rubber stump arm of the party. The women also supported a proposal to raise the age limit for presidential candidates, a move that is seen to be targeting opposition leader Nelson Chamisa. The veterans faction in the ruling party last week, called for the amendment of the constitution to raise the age limit for presidential candidates from 40 to 52. Women’s League Secretary for Administration Comrade Monica Mutsvangwa said the party women were in full support of the war veterans’ proposal. “We support the resolution made by war vets, their proposal to say that age limit be set on eligibility to presidential candidates,” she said. Nelson Chamisa is 40, and would be ineligible to contest the 2023 elections, if the constitution is amended to that effect. ZANU-PF enjoys a parliamentary majority, secured in the July 30 elections. Reactions on social media Several Zimbabweans called out the women’s league for targeting Chamisa, rather than lobbying the party to field a female presidential candidate. Most people in Zanu PF lack ambition and foresight that’s why the women’s league supports the idea of Presidential age limit increase from 40 to 52 years. Instead of women fighting for one of their own to rise into the Presidium they are supporting mediocrity.— Setfree N Mafukidze (@cdesetfree) 11 décembre 2018 Zanu PF Youth League is campaigning for young people to be banned from standing in presidential elections. If MDC chose a woman leader, Zanu PF Women’s League will campaign for all women to be banned from contesting— All Things Zim ?? (@Zimtweets) 11 décembre 2018 ZANU-PF Women’s League joins ZNLWVA call to raise Presidential age limit to 52 reports HeraldZimbabwe The madness in ZANU-PF never seize to amaze, the shortsightedness in ZANU-PF never seize to amaze. No reason to wonder why we are here. BANKRUPTCY & IDIOCY #ZimbabweYadzoka— Dr. Victor Chimhutu (DrVChimhutu) 11 décembre 2018 SUGGESTED READING: Forbes 2018 Most Powerful Women: Ethiopia president sole AfricanTue, 11 Dec 2018 22:19:48 (Daniel Mumbere) polls: Atiku snubs election peace deal, Buhari signs* READ MORE: Buhari’s anti- corruption agenda vs Atiku’s economic growth plans “We, the candidates pledge to uphold the highest standard of conduct and encourage our teeming supporters to do the same,” Buhari said, while attending the event in the capital, Abuja. The 75-year-old former military ruler was joined by representatives of dozens of other parties to commit to what he said should be “peaceful and credible” elections. Peaceful polls are critical Security around polling is a recurrent concern in Nigeria, where there has been a history of violence stoked by identity politics, ethnicity and religion. In 2011, some 1,000 people were killed after clashes between supporters of Buhari after his defeat to Goodluck Jonathan. The text of the peace accord is the same as that signed before the 2015 polls, which saw Buhari win. Candidates are required to publicly speak against religious, ethnic and electoral violence. Weakened peace pledge? Atiku was not the only absent candidate. Donald Duke, a former governor of Cross River state, and Oby Ezekwesili, who was education minister under Olusegun Obasanjo and is an ex-World Bank vice-president, also skipped the evnt. Asked about Abubakar’s absence, his media advisor said he was “not invited”. “Atiku didn’t get any invitation to the event,” he told AFP. But Abdulsalami Abubakar, another former military ruler and the current chairman of the National Peace Committee, denied any snub. “Everybody was invited. What reason do we have not to invite somebody?” he said. “This peace accord was for all political parties to sign to be of goodwill and good behaviour during the elections.” At the last election, Jonathan, Buhari and other presidential candidates also signed a pledge of non-violence in the presence of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan. SUGGESTED READING: Nigeria’s ex-prez refutes neutrality reports, says Buhari must goTue, 11 Dec 2018 22:29:38 +0000editorial@africanews.com Kagame says Rwanda's army can deal with 'enemies'’s defence forces are well equipped and capable of dealing with the country’s enemies, president Paul Kagame declared on Tuesday. Kagame, who joined the soldiers at the Gabiro Combat Training Center, tipped the army on optimal utilisation of resources. ‘‘Every bullet you shoot counts. Every resource you use must accomplish its purposes. We do not have room to waste,’‘ the president said. The president also explained that the country’s meagre resource envelope means that government prioritises education, health and other development needs over ‘salary increment’ for the soldiers. ‘‘When we look at salaries or other resources, we know that even though you deserve to be given more, we do not have enough means.’‘ In June, Rwanda’s finance minister, Uzziel Ndagijimana presented a Rwf2.44 trillion ($2.8bn) budget, saying the economy is expected to grow by 7.2% in 2018. Kagame, who witnessed demonstrations on how different military capabilities are integrated and synchronised during a military operations, commended the soldiers’ bravery and hard work. ‘‘What you have showed us here today is proof that you are capable of dealing with those who wish ill to our nation. There is no room for them to succeed with the courage, determination and the skills we have within us.’‘ President Kagame and Commander in Chief is now meeting with members of the Rwanda Defence Forces at Gabiro Combat Training Centre— Presidency | Rwanda (@UrugwiroVillage) December 11, 2018Tue, 11 Dec 2018 22:24:12 (Daniel Mumbere) of the Museum of Black Civilizations in Dakar [No Comment] President Macky Sall recently inaugurated Museum of Black Civilizations (MCN) in Dakar, a 50 year-old project which aims at celebrating the achievements of black men from the beginning of humanity to the present day.Tue, 11 Dec 2018 09:53:27 +0000editorial@africanews.com More than 150 UN members adopt global migration pact than 150 countries adopted the United Nations Global Migration Pact on Monday in Marrakech (Morocco), defending it with strong pleas in the face of criticism from nationalists and supporters of border closure. The non-binding pact seeks to better manage migration in a safe and orderly manner. Like several leaders present in Marrakech, Mr. Guterres also denounced what he considers as the “many lies” about the Pact, which has generated political tensions in several countries. The document still needs to be the subject of a final ratification vote on 19 December at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Some countries announced their withdrawal or the freezing of their decision after approving the text on 13 July in New York. Despite this opposition, Mr. Guterres expressed confidence in the outcome of the process and lauded the presence of more than 150 countries during the conference.Tue, 11 Dec 2018 13:58:17 +0000editorial@africanews.com's hometown celebrate Nobel Peace Prize dancing and cheers broke out inside a viewing hall in the town of Bukavu, home to doctor Denis Mukwege, who received his Nobel Peace Prize on Monday. Hundreds gathered at the viewing hall to watch on a big screen the Congolese doctor receive the coveted prize at a ceremony in Oslo. Residents from his hometown said his award was a source of pride for the central African nation. “The prize that Denis Mukwege has just received is a prize he deserves. This prize is now a source of pride for Congo and Central Africa in general,” Bukavu resident, Jeanette Bisimwa said. Mukwege was co-recipient of the 2018 prize for his work as a doctor helping victims of sexual violence in the eastern city of Bukavu. He has performed surgery on scores of women and campaigned to highlight their plight after they were raped by armed men. He shared the prize with Nadia Murad, a Yazidi rights activist and survivor of sexual slavery perpetrated by Islamic State.Tue, 11 Dec 2018 13:42:50 +0000editorial@africanews.com The rise of Congolese photographer Robert Nzaou is a form of expression that several people all around the world use to document different aspects of their lives. In Africa, a number of photographers have come up, who try to change the perception traditional media has had of the African continent. One such photographer is Robert Nzaou-Kissolo, a self-taught photographer from the Republic of Congo. He speaks to Africanews journalist Linnete Bahati. Notable photographers who captured images from Africa were those from Europe and and the United States. But the trend has significantly changed over the years. Names like Kenya’s Osborne Macharia, Senegal’s Siaka Soppo Traoré, Cote d’Ivoire’s Joana Choumali, etc continue to dominate the world of photography in Africa and beyond. The list continues to grow, as we have seen with Congo’s Robert Nzaou, to engage audiences in the visual representation of the African continent.Thu, 06 Dec 2018 11:06:35 +0000editorial@africanews.com president's impeachment flops as 14 MPs back down impeachment motion brought against Somalia president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo has been dropped after the required number of petitioners was not met. The main crust of the petition was because of international deals Farmaajo had signed with neighbouring Ethiopia and Eritrea. The issue of unilateral appointments in the army and judiciary was also highlighted. Fourteen out of an initial 92 MPs who signed a petition last Sunday rescinded their decision crippling the motion which had insufficient members to proceed with. Reports indicate that the fourteen said they did not support the motion but had been included wrongly.Tue, 11 Dec 2018 13:06:54 +0000editorial@africanews.com, mistress of deceased Ghana MP jostle for his parliamentary seat deceased ruling party lawmaker in Ghana whose funeral is yet to be organized is having drama behind him as his wife and mistress reportedly jostle to replace him in parliament. Emmanuel Agyarko, MP for Ayawaso West Wuogon in the Greater Accra region, died in November and by law is supposed to be replaced. Even before the Electoral Commission, EC, sets a date for the seat – traditionally a ruling party stronghold, the party primary is shaping up to be an interesting duel. Supporters of his wife, Josephine Agyarko, said they were presenting a petition for her to be made the New Patriotic Party, NPP, candidate. On the other hand, another group backing his mistress, Lydia Alhassan, have also petitioned for her to be picked as the candidate. In a statement, she said she was interested in burying the father of her kids and that party politics be toned down at this moment. “The wife and the supporters are with due respect taking tradition out of the way, are we supposed to be encouraging that?” a high ranking party official said on local radio network, Joy FM.Tue, 11 Dec 2018 12:46:02 +0000editorial@africanews.com trade union protests austerity, constitutional tweak’s largest trade union called on its members to lay down their tools in a double-edged protest against recent actions by government. The union asked members to strike in protest against austerity measures initiated by Libreville in June 2018. The second reason being a mid-November constitutional amendment. Even though over 100,000 workers were expected to abandon their posts for the three-day strike, reports said not as many people heeded the call. A union leader, Louis Patrick Mombo, is quoted as saying: “We call all Gabonese workers to strike to demand the cancellation of the austerity measures, the respect of the Gabonese constitution which was violated on November 14th by the Constitutional Court and to demand the resignation of the court.” The country’s top court in November inserted a clause that allowed a delegated official to lead the cabinet meeting which was by law solely the job of the president. The move followed the ill health and subsequent hospitalization of President Ali Bongo Ondimba in a Saudi hospital. The court ruled that the vice-president could chair the meeting which had not been held for weeks. Before being amended by the Court, the Gabonese Constitution stipulated that only the president could authorize his vice-president to organize a meeting of Council of Ministers. The union, however, held that the amendment was a manipulation of the Constitution for which the President of the Constitutional Court, Marie-Madeleine Mborantsuo should be removed from office. The union also dismissed talk that it was taking on a political colour and announced that in the event, that their concerns remained unattended, they were going to organize a major march on December 18th. “These are not political demands when we talk about the Constitution because the constitution is the fundamental law of a country, so the fight for its respect is a republican fight,” Mombo told a local news portal. President Ali Bongo Ondimba has been hospitalized for several days in Rabat, where he is recuperating. On Saturday, for the first time since his hospitalization in Saudi Arabia on October 24, Vice President Pierre Claver Maganga Moussavou acknowledged that President Bongo had a stroke. Until then, no official source had revealed the evil suffered by the Gabonese president.Mon, 10 Dec 2018 21:03:07 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) uncovers 30,000 ghost workers on govt payroll has identified some 30,000 non-existent civil servants on its payroll, the Public Service ministry said on Monday. It said the ghost workers had cost the country €220 million in salaries and wages. The fraud was detected following a two-year audit that spanned between 2015 and 2017. Following the operation, Maputo put its public sector workforce at 318,000. Mozambique, which has over 50% of its budget devoted to the payment of government workers, has been going through financial difficulties over the past two years, which has weighed heavily on its economic performance. In 2016, president Filipe Nyusi’s government was forced to admit to secretly borrowing $2 billion to buy arms. Donors have sanctioned it by freezing their budget support. Maputo has since suspended its payments to its creditors and is seeking to renegotiate its debt.Tue, 11 Dec 2018 11:09:25 +0000editorial@africanews.com to shut down Airtel [The Morning Call] telecommunication firm is set for closure in Niger. Barely a month after the closure of French telecoms group Orange because of a tax dispute, the country’s biggest telecoms operator Airtel, a subsidiary of the Bharti Airtel group is on the chopping board. On Saturday the government ordered the closure of Airtel which has been present in Niger since 2001 and holds a 51 percent market share. According to the government the company has unpaid taxes of 107 million dollars.Tue, 11 Dec 2018 11:09:21 +0000editorial@africanews.com Prize winner battling sexual violence [The Morning Call] is known as Dr. Miracle in the Democratic Republic of Congo for his surgical skill and dedication in helping women overcome the injuries and trauma of sexual abuse and rape. Denis Mukwege has spent more than two decades treating thousands of women in a country once called the rape capital of the world. On Monday, Mukwge was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2018 in Oslo, Norway together with Iraqi activist Nadia Murad for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.Tue, 11 Dec 2018 11:08:06 +0000editorial@africanews.com needs to invest more on Science and technology [Sci tech] technological capability remains one of the major constraints to Africa’s efforts to achieve sustainable development. Many pan-Africanists believe fostering technological transfer and identifying critical innovation barriers will go a long way to boost development in the continent. It is true that measures have been taken in that light in recent years but a lot still has to be done. Why are most African countries still backward in terms of innovation and technological development? How can this be solved? Find out more in this segment as Elvis Boh reflects on this with his guest Dr. Connie Nshemereirwe, Science and Policy Facilitator based in Kampala Uganda.Tue, 11 Dec 2018 11:05:09 +0000editorial@africanews.com's wildlife prominent on new coins unveiled by central bank’s apex bank on Tuesday unveiled a new set of coins for circulation in the country. Four coins in all were launched, one, five, 10 and 20 shillings. The country’s rich wildlife heritage are a prominent feature on the coins with elephants, rhinos, giraffes and a lion all featuring on respective sides of the note whiles the coat of arms is on the other. President Uhuru Kenyatta was the special guest at the Central Bank of Kenya, CBK, when the currencies dubbed ‘new generation coins,’ were launched. The inscriptions on either side of the coins are in English and Kiswahili – the official languages of the country. They have since been gazetted and are in use. Info brief: The Republic of Kenya 1 – Capital / official languages = Nairobi / English, Swahili 2 – Currency = Kenyan Shillings (KES) 3 – Current president / PM = President Uhuru Kenyatta 4 – Population estimate = Over 49 million (2017) 5 – Independence Day = December 12, 1963 from Britain 6 – Country codes: internet (.ke), telephone (+254) Governor njorogep</a> announces that the new-generation coins have been gazetted and will begin to circulate today. <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Central Bank of Kenya (CBKKenya) December 11, 2018Tue, 11 Dec 2018 09:26:38 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) Yahya Jammeh, family banned from entering U.S. United States has slapped a ban on former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh and his family from entering the country. The measure announced on Monday is largely related to charges of corruption and gross rights abuses during his 22 years in charge. His wife, Zineb Yahya Jammeh, and his children, are also on the US blacklist relating to foreign leaders involved in large-scale corruption or serious human rights violations, according to a State Department statement. The statement stressed the resolve of Washington in assisiting the Adama Barrow -led government in the area of support for a transition to greater transparency, accountability and democratic governance. Jammeh ruled The Gambia, a small English-speaking West African country, for 22 years until his defeat at the polls in 2016 by Adama Barrow. He left power after the West African bloc ECOWAS threatened a military intervention. He is currently resident in Equatorial Guinea where regional leaders arranged for him to live in exile.Mon, 10 Dec 2018 21:29:23 +0000editorial@africanews.com of the day, December 10, 2018 samples the pictures of the day’s news.Tue, 11 Dec 2018 08:31:55 +0000editorial@africanews.com to DR Congo’s delayed 2018 presidential polls process leading to the first peaceful transfer of political power A country blessed with abundant natural resources yet suffering Suffering insecurity, disease – Ebola – poverty and corruption With the main alibi of ‘no credible register’ and ‘lack of funds’ A poll delayed for 48-months scheduled after intense pressure Pressure from within – Catholic church, activists and opposition And from without, the U.N., E.U., United States and other allies Kabila agrees to go – one part of the uncertainty all but settled But the biggest test, Congolese look to scale the hurdle of voting And with that, a new page in the life of a nation – full of promise Since independence from Belgium in 1960, the Belgian Congo, one time Zaire and now the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, if you want; Congo-Kinshasa has been a theatre of heat – on the political and security fronts especially. Congolese, however, have the opportunity to turn a page and begin afresh. Previous page turns have been a game of ousting and assassinations. Two assassinations and an ouster. But as registered voters across the country line up on December 23, 2018 to vote, they are taking steps towards the first peaceful transfer of political power. The seventeen years of Joseph Kabila winds down – all things being equal. The run up to the polls has not been without twists and turns. A significant death, disqualification of two main opponents, back and forth over voting machines, pro-democracy protests and a crackdown – largely expected. Away from home, the European Union sanctions on Kabila’s chosen successor, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, meeting of opposition heavyweights in trying to forge a united front plus international support for and caution about potential flash points. The opposition have all but failed to have the voting machines scrapped in favour of traditional ballot papers. The Independent National Electoral Commission, CENI, insists it is their best bet, a move unsurprisingly supported by the ruling party. Many different groups can claim portions of victory for the ‘change’ that is underway, lives have been lost since 2016 when Kabila’s mandate was expiring. Opposition protests were clamped down upon severely. Then the Catholic Church, CENCO, stepped in with a strong voice – voice of condemnation and of mediation. CENCO managed to broker what became known as the St. Augustine’s deal on the eve of 2017 – it has hardly been implemented. Members of the church were at a point at the end of protest crackdown when they hit the streets in an anti-government march. CENCO along with groups like LUCHA were at the heart of domestic pressure on Kinshasa to organize the polls. The same CENI that at a point averred the earliest polls could be organized was April 2019 will now back down and set a December 2018 date. Kinshasa bravely says it would organize the entire process with state funds to keep out foreign interference. All eyes are on the presidential poll even though the process is a general election meant to vote in lawmakers and other governors of the different provinces. Twenty men and a woman are in the race to replace Kabila. When the process is done and a winner is elected and finally sworn in, it would be a break from a post that saw leaders assassinated or forced out of office. The winner becomes the fifth political leader of DRC. The first, Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba was arrested then assassinated in 1961, a year after taking office Lumumba’s boss, president Joseph Kasavubu and second PM Moise Tshombe were ousted by Joseph Mobutu in 1965 Mobutu Sese Seko took over in 1965 till he was also ousted in 1997, died in exile in Morocco. Laurent Desire Kabila entered in 1997 till his assassination by a personal guard in 2001. Joseph Kibenga Kabila took over in 2001 and won polls in 2006 and 2011, stayed for two extra years. Congolese and the world await the fifth occupant of the presidency. Follow our ‘Africa Elections page for moreTue, 11 Dec 2018 08:28:40 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) chief brands Ethiopia PM 'anti-reformist' at regional rally of the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front, TPLF, says Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed could not be labeled a reformist because he was presiding over chaos. The latest round of ‘attack’ by Debretsion Gebremicheal was during an address at a regional rally held across the northern Tigray region over the last weekend. Dubbed the ‘Respect the Constitution,’ rally, protesters waved the national and regional flags amid calls for the government to stop alleged targeting of Tigrayans in a corruption and human rights crackdown. “It is bizarre that a leadership that cannot govern people other than causing chaos and violence is termed reformist, but a leadership that properly governs people is termed anti-reform,” Debretsion is quoted to have said. PM Abiy who came into office in April 2018 has been tagged a reformist for changing the political, democratic and diplomatic landscape of a country that was stressed by incessant anti-government protests. The protests which were concentrated in his home region, Oromia, have since cooled amid a raft of reforms strongly hinged on a call for peace and unity. More recent protests in Oromia are demanding government gets a grip on rising insecurity that has led to deaths and displacements. The November 8 rally was the second such in a matter of weeks. During the first, the Tigray chief cautioned against what he said was a political attack on Tigrayans. The arrests… targeting individuals accused of corruption and human rights has veered from course and is being used to bring Tigrayan people to their knees,”  “We do not compromise on the issue of rule of law, all of us should be accountable for our actions, but the mass arrests should not be used as a cover for political aims,” Debretsion warned. TPLF is one of four blocs of the ruling coalition, the Ethiopia Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front, EPRDF. The others are the Oromo Democratic Party, the Amhara Democratic Party and the the Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement, SEPDM.Tue, 11 Dec 2018 08:24:25 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) Sports Review [2]: Africa tests authority of sports governing bodies football, Africa’s athletes had such an impressive year, notably Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge, who ran the fastest marathon in history, in September, and was eventually named Male Athlete of the Year by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). In this article, we continue to review the highs, lows and notable sports takeaways over this year. FIFA clashes with African nations Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone violated FIFA’s rules of non-interference by political authorities, earning the wrath of the global football governing body. Ghana and Nigeria settled their differences with FIFA, agreeing to work with the organisation to fight corruption and resolve leadership disputes respectively. READ MORE: FIFA imposes its will on Nigeria, Ghana over football management disputes Sierra Leone, on the other hand, were banned by FIFA in October, after they defied calls to reinstate the federation’s president Isha Johansen and general secretary Christopher Kamara. The federation officials are accused of corruption by government officials and were removed from their positions, a move that FIFA protested. FIFA who do not tolerate interference by governments in the respective country football federations are conducting investigations into allegations of match-fixing in Sierra Leone and Ghana. Ghana Football boss exposed, banned In October this year, FIFA handed former Ghana Football Association president Kwesi Nyantakyi a life ban, the climax of a fall from grace for a man who was one of the most powerful football officials on the continent. Nyantakyi, a former member of FIFA’s General Council, was found guilty after being filmed by an investigative journalist in a hotel room appearing to take a $65,000 bribe from a supposed businessman seeking to sponsor the Ghanaian football league. ALSO READ: Malawi football chief Nyamilandu elected to FIFA council IAAF vs Caster Semenya One of the biggest athletics stories on the continent this year was the introduction of new regulations for female classification by IAAF. The regulations,which regulate women who naturally produce testosterone levels above five nanomoles per litre of blood, were protested by South Africa and its star athlete Caster Semenya. READ MORE: IAAF refuses to soften stance against Semenya Harnessing basketball talent in Africa The National Basketball Association’s (NBA) relationship with the African continent continues to grow, and was in September, cemented by an endorsement from Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame in his capacity as African Union chairman. The NBA, which features several players from the African continent, organises several boot camps to identify talent and has an off-season initiative where it organises a show match between Team Africa and the rest of the world. Fashionable African teams Nigeria’s Super Eagles grabbed all the headlines ahead of the World Cup, when their new jersey was voted the ‘most beautiful’ at the tournament in a Sky sports poll. In August, South African club side, Kaizer Chiefs also made fashion headlines when sports magazine FourFourTwo said they have the best kit of the 2018/19 season. The magazine which ranked the top 20 kits for the new season, called the new Kaizer Chiefs outfits ‘delightful’. ALSO READ: Winners, losers and questions facing African football in 2018Mon, 10 Dec 2018 22:12:00 (Daniel Mumbere) to promote intra-African trade: Sisi’s president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has declared his intentions to champion intra-African trade when he takes over as chair of the African Union next year. Egypt, which seeks to be a model of economic reform, hosted a high-level business forum on Saturday and Sunday in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh that will be followed by an intra-African trade fair in the coming week in the capital, Cairo. In a speech to the forum, Sisi encouraged investors from inside and outside Africa to take advantage of opportunities on the continent as countries including his own pursued economic reform. As chair of the African Union, “we will seek with sincere effort to build on what has been achieved over the past years and to complete our continent’s development agenda,” Sisi told the forum, which was attended by heads of state from countries including Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Niger and Madagascar. Egypt’s economic progress Egypt has been praised by international lenders for moving swiftly to implement structural reforms agreed with the IMF in late 2016, though austerity measures and inflation have left many Egyptians struggling to get by. Egypt’s economy grew by 5.3 percent in the 2017-18 fiscal year, the highest rate in a decade, and growth is forecast to surpass 5 percent again in 2018-19. In off-the-cuff remarks, Sisi – who is known to demand ambitiously rapid execution of projects from his ministers – questioned whether African governments could enact change fast enough, recalling that he had insisted on completing an expansion of the Suez Canal in a single year when others had suggested three years or five. Critics have criticised the canal expansion as a waste of money. Intra-African trade Intra-African trade is low, limited by problems including armed conflicts, political rivalry and a lack of logistical and transport connections between states. Speakers voiced hope that the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), which aims to bring together all African Union states with a combined population of more than one billion into a single market, would be ratified by 22 countries and enter into force in 2019. Eritrea, Nigeria, G-Bissau only African countries yet to commit to free trade deal Egypt increased its investments in Africa by $1.2 billion to $10.2 billion in 2018, Sisi said. The forum, which Egypt organised jointly with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), was attended by more than 1,000 “leaders in business and policy from across Africa and the world”, according to its website. ALSO READ: AU leaders adopt key reformsMon, 10 Dec 2018 22:07:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com'Fraudulent election could lead to war': Mukwege warns ahead of DRC polls Peace Prize winner Denis Mukwege has warned that the forthcoming elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo could lead to conflict if they are not free, fair and peaceful, adding that indications show that they will not be. The elections on Dec. 23 will mark Congo’s first democratic transfer of power and end President Joseph Kabila’s rule that began in 2001 after the assassination of his father. Mukwege jointly received the 2018 prize in Oslo for his work as a doctor who helps victims of sexual violence in the eastern Congo city of Bukavu. He has performed surgery on scores of women after they were raped by armed men and has campaigned to highlight their plight. Nadia Murad, a Yazidi rights activist and survivor of sexual slavery by Islamic State, will also receive the prize. ‘Lots of military preparation’ “What I have seen as I was leaving my country did not reassure me,” Mukwege told Reuters, hours before receiving the Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony in front of King Harald. “There is very little electoral preparation and a lot of military preparation. I am very worried that these elections will not be free, fair, credible and peaceful and that if there are massive frauds …. supporters (from losing candidates) will not accept them.” He said election authorities were struggling to meet deadlines ahead of the vote and that violence was worsening in the eastern borderlands with Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi. “These … elements suggest to me that oppression is being prepared, at the very minimum, and it could be that a war against its own people is being prepared,” he said. What is Kabila’s game-plan? Kabila was due to step down in 2016 at the end of his constitutional mandate. But the election to replace him was repeatedly delayed, igniting protests in which dozens were killed. Kabila told Reuters on Sunday preparations for the election were proceeding smoothly and he wanted it to be “as close to perfection” as possible. He also said he planned to stay in politics when he steps down after elections and did not rule out running again for president in 2023. Critics say he could rule from behind the scenes if his candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, wins. READ MORE: Kingmakers behind ‘little-known’ candidates in DRC polls Mukwege said Kabila had the right as every Congolese citizen to run for president in 2023 but he hoped voters would remember Kabila’s “broken promises”. “None of the elements needed to install a real democracy have been made during his time in power,” he said. A war in which some 5 million people died, most from hunger and disease, ended in 2003, but violence is still a problem and militias target civilians. Mukwege’s appeal to DRC’s allies Mukwege called for pressure on manufacturers that use cobalt and coltan that Congo produces to control their supply chains to prevent child and slave labour. He also called for pressure on Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda to pacify armed groups that fight in eastern Congo. He also called on “serious mining players” to push the government to pacify the country’s east so they can mine and do so ethically. .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%; } Follow our ‘Africa Elections page for moreMon, 10 Dec 2018 22:02:12 +0000editorial@africanews.com