Thursday 18 January 2018
(AFP (eng) 01/11/18)
Equatorial Guinea said Wednesday that an attempted coup against its government was organised in France, amplifying charges that an exile living in Europe was behind the plot. "The plan was organised on French territory," Foreign Minister Agapito Mba Mokuy told a press conference. "It has nothing to do with the French government," he said, adding, "we will cooperate with France as soon as we have more information". Mokuy also said that in the light of the purported coup, his country was suspending participation in a new scheme to allow visa-free travel among six countries in central and western Africa. Equatorial Guinea is a small, oil-rich state that has been ruled since 1979 by Teodoro Obiang, Africa's longest-serving president. Critics accuse...
(AFP (eng) 01/11/18)
A 78-year-old prelate is likely to play a key role this year in shaping the future of one of Africa's most important and volatile states. The man in the spotlight is Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo, archbishop of Kinshasa and de-facto leader of the Democratic Republic of Congo's powerful Catholic church. For decades, the cardinal has spoken out against the violence that has swept through parts of the sprawling country, including successive civil wars that killed millions. His outspokenness has now turned him into a rallying figure for protest against President Joseph Kabila, whose regime is tarred with a reputation for corruption, repression and incompetence. Last week, Monsengwo placed himself on a potential collision course with Kabila over a New Year's Eve...
(AFP (eng) 01/10/18)
South Africa's ruling ANC party met behind closed doors Wednesday as pressure grew on President Jacob Zuma to step down ahead of elections next year when the party risks losing power. Zuma was replaced as party leader by his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa in December, and analysts predict Ramaphosa faces an uphill task to recover public support ahead of the 2019 vote. Zuma's future was not on the official agenda at the ANC national executive committee meeting in the port city of East London, but the party is engulfed in a struggle over when he should leave office. Many ANC supporters want Zuma to resign and Ramaphosa to become president immediately to bring an end to a rule tainted by graft...
(Quartz 01/10/18)
Rwanda is often touted as an example of what African states could achieve if only they were better governed. Out of the ashes of a horrific genocide, president Paul Kagame has resuscitated the economy, curtailed corruption and maintained political stability. This is a record that many other leaders can only dream of, and has led to Rwanda being cited as an economic success story that the rest of the continent would do well to follow. In countries like Kenya and Zimbabwe some have argued that their leaders should operate more like Kagame. In other words, that job creation and poverty alleviation are more important than free and fair elections. In response, critics have sought to puncture Kagame’s image by pointing...
(AFP (eng) 01/10/18)
The United Nations' political affairs chief traveled to Libya on Tuesday seeking progress in a new UN push to unite the country and end years of chaos. Jeffrey Feltman, the UN under-secretary of state for political affairs, will also travel to neighboring Tunisia during his visit until Friday, said a UN statement. The United Nations has launched a plan to bring stability to Libya through elections and changes to a 2015 political deal that set up a government of national accord led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj. After two meetings were held in Tunis last year, there appears to have been little progress. "The United Nations urges all Libyan actors to engage in earnest in an inclusive political process leading...
(AFP (eng) 01/10/18)
South Africa's graft-tainted president Jacob Zuma on Tuesday announced a probe into corruption at the highest levels of the state after parliament indicated it would this week deliberate procedures for impeachment. Corruption allegations have tarnished Zuma's image as well as eroded his support base and he was ordered last month to appoint a judicial inquiry into the alleged graft within 30 days. The beleaguered leader has faced growing pressure to resign before his term as president ends in 2019. Zuma's announcement comes the day before parliament is to take up a draft of a process for removing the nation's president from office. The Constitutional Court had ruled nearly two weeks ago that MPs failed to hold Zuma...
(AFP (eng) 01/10/18)
The United Nations peacekeeping chief on Tuesday condemned the Democratic Republic of Congo's security forces for violently cracking down on protesters and said authorities must prosecute those responsible. At least five people were killed during clashes on December 31 when police burst into churches, firing tear gas and shooting bullets in the air to break up protests in the capital Kinshasa and in the central city of Kananga, according to UN figures. The demonstrations took place on the first anniversary of a political deal brokered by the Catholic church that was to pave the way for elections in 2017 and the end of President Joseph Kabila's rule. The elections were pushed back to December 2018 after the government cited delays...
(AFP (eng) 01/10/18)
DR Congo's electoral body trumpeted on Tuesday the arrival of the first voting machines from South Korea for long-delayed elections that the government has pledged to hold in December. The vote is supposed to bring about the belated departure of President Joseph Kabila, in power since 2001, who was supposed to step down last year but postponed the polls. But it remains unclear if the 45 million Congolese voters who registered in 2017 will finally get to choose a new president, deputies and elected representatives in the vote set for December 23, 2018. "The first lot of eight voting machines were received today for the purpose of civic and electoral education of the Congolese," said the National Electoral Commission (CENI),...
(AFP (eng) 01/09/18)
Lawyers for former Congolese vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba Tuesday slammed his conviction for war crimes, accusing judges of "prejudice" and calling for the judgement to be scrapped. Bemba, 55, is appealing an 18-year jail term handed down by the International Criminal Court in June 2016 after judges found him guilty on five charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in atrocities committed by his troops in the Central African Republic (CAR). Once the powerful leader of the Congolese Liberation Movement (MLC) and a wealthy businessman, the court said Bemba had failed to stop...
(AFP (eng) 01/09/18)
Egyptian lawmakers on Tuesday extended for three months a state of emergency first declared following deadly April church bombings, state TV reported. Egypt had extended the state of emergency for a second time in October. The latest extension is set to come into effect on Saturday, according to the official gazette. The emergency law expands police powers of arrest, surveillance and seizure, and can limit freedom of movement. Under Egypt's constitution, the three-month state of emergency can only be renewed once, but the president can subsequently reinstate it. Parliament approved the current state of emergency in April last year, after two suicide bombings at churches on Palm Sunday, claimed by the Islamic State group, killed at least 45 people in...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/09/18)
CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt will hold a presidential election in late March, authorities said on Monday, starting the countdown toward a likely second term in office for incumbent Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Sisi has yet to announce his candidacy for the ballot, which was scheduled for March 26-28. But he is widely expected to run, having won a landslide victory in the previous election in 2014, the year after - as a military commander - he led the overthrow of elected president Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood. The national election commission said candidates must register between Jan 20-29 and that, in the event of no single participant winning a majority first time around, a run-off would be held on April...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/09/18)
HARARE (Reuters) - If Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai were to stand down - as he has hinted - the party he founded would face immediate instability and could even split, handing a gift to new President Emmerson Mnangagwa in an election this year. The most visible opposition figure in the southern African nation since independence from Britain in 1980, Tsvangirai said on Monday it was time for the older generation to make way for younger leaders in the party. Mnangagwa, 75, rose to power last November after Robert Mugabe stood down following a de facto coup, ending a 37-year reign marked by economic mismanagement, corruption and vote rigging allegations. Investors and Western governments who cheered the end of Mugabe’s...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/09/18)
TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisia’s main opposition party on Tuesday called for protests against the “unjust” 2018 budget including price and tax hikes to continue until the government scraps it, a day after one demonstrator was killed in clashes. Protests erupted in more than 10 towns across Tunisia on Monday against the price and tax increases imposed by the government to reduce its ballooning deficit and satisfy its international lenders. One protestor was killed in Tebourba, a town 40 km (25 miles) west of the capital Tunis. While Tunisia is widely seen as the only democratic success story among the “Arab Spring”...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/09/18)
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe’s anti-corruption agency is investigating whether former first lady Grace Mugabe was wrongly awarded a university doctorate more than three years ago, an official said on Tuesday. Grace, whose efforts to take over the leadership of the ruling ZANU-PF party prompted a de facto military coup against her husband, then-president Robert Mugabe, in November, graduated in 2014, just months after she had registered to study at the University of Zimbabwe. Up to now, her dissertation for the doctorate has not been published and is not available in the university library, as such academic qualifications usually are. “We indeed received a report from the sociology department at the university...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/09/18)
KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan has renewed a complaint at the United Nations demanding Egypt hand over control of the “Halayeb Triangle” border territory, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday. Relations between Egypt and Sudan have been soured in recent months by disputes over the ownership of the triangle, and over the broader issue of use of water from the River Nile that passes through their territories. The triangle lies between Egypt and its southern neighbor and the borders have been contested by Sudan since 1958. Cairo says it is Egyptian territory. The Foreign Ministry did not say what action it wanted the United Nations to take, if any. Egypt rejected in 2016 a request from Khartoum to enter negotiations to...
(AFP (eng) 01/09/18)
A United Nations special envoy has assured oil-rich Equatorial Guinea it will be supported in its "stabilisation efforts" following a "coup attempt" against President Teodoro Obiang, Africa's longest-serving leader. Francois Lounceny Fall, a former prime minister of Guinea, arrived in Equatorial Guinea over the weekend to meet Obiang and to "gather more information" on the putsch that Malabo said was mounted by foreign mercenaries on December 24. "We are leaving here comforted by the assurances we have received from the President of the Republic, and I can say that the United Nations will continue to support Equatorial Guinea in its stabilisation efforts...
(AFP (eng) 01/09/18)
Sudan has shut its eastern border with Eritrea, state media reported Saturday, days after Khartoum declared an emergency in the neighbouring state of Kasala. "The governor of Kasala issued a decree to close all border crossings with Eritrea from the night of January 5," the official SUNA news agency reported. It did not explain why the border was closed but said the decision comes after President Omar al-Bashir declared on December 30 a state of emergency in Kasala and in North Kordofan state for six months. Officials have said that decision was part of a government campaign to collect illegal arms in those two states. A resident of Kasala told AFP that hundreds of Sudanese soldiers, several military vehicles and...
(AFP (eng) 01/09/18)
Angolan President Joao Lourenco on Monday denied "any tension" with his long-serving predecessor Jose Eduardo dos Santos, many of whose relatives and friends he has sacked from public office in a fight against corruption in the oil-rich southern African nation. In November, within three months of taking control of Angola, Lourenco sacked dos Santos's daughter -- Africa's richest woman -- as head of the state-run oil company Sonangol. In recent weeks, he has fired a string of other business figures closely associated with his predecessor. A long-standing pillar of the regime, the new president had promised to distance himself from the dos Santos clan during his successful campaign ahead of the August 23 poll. Dos Santos, 75, finally quit power...
(AFP (eng) 01/08/18)
The trial of soldiers accused of involvement in a purported bid to overthrow Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou in December 2015 will get under way on January 23, a source said Monday. Those implicated in the alleged coup include General Souleymane Salou, former chief of staff; Colonel Idi Abdou Dan Haoua, in charge of an air base near the capital Niamey; and Major Nare Maidoka, head of the 1st artillery battalion in Tillaberi. A military tribunal, meeting in a police camp in Niamey, "agreed to reschedule the trial to January 23 at the request of the defendants' attorneys," the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The source was unable to say how many would be going on trial. The allegations...
(AFP (eng) 01/08/18)
Zimbabwe's main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Monday signalled a coming change of leadership in his party following the removal of long-time ruler Robert Mugabe, saying it was time a new generation took over. "I am looking at the imminent prospects of us as the older generation leaving the levers of leadership to allow the younger generation to take forward this huge task that we started together so many years ago with our full blessing and support," said Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), in a statement.

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