Thursday 18 January 2018
(Bloomberg 10/04/17)
Uganda’s parliament asked a legislative committee to scrutinize a proposed constitutional amendment that would enable President Yoweri Museveni to extend his three-decade rule. The proposal, introduced by lawmaker Raphael Magyezi on Sept. 27 amid fistfights between opponents and proponents of the bill, was referred to the committee after he presented it for first reading, the Kampala-based legislature said Tuesday on its Twitter account. Bills are sent to committees for scrutiny before they are debated. The bill, backed by the ruling National Resistance Movement, seeks the removal of a constitutional clause that sets the age limit for a presidential candidate at 75. If approved, the change would allow Museveni...
(Bloomberg 10/04/17)
South Sudanese government forces and rebels clashed in a northeastern state with both sides claiming victory, as East African countries attempt to restart talks aimed at ending the four-year civil war. Army spokesman Lul Ruai Koang said by phone that clashes around Waat town in Bieh state claimed the lives of four soldiers and 91 insurgents. Rebel spokesman Mabior Garang Mabior accused government forces of breaching a cease fire and said the ongoing fighting made it impossible to give casualty figures. Another rebel official, William Gatjiath Deng, claimed in a statement that 200 government soldiers were killed and 210 injured in a rebel attempt to retake Waat that began Oct. 1. There was no immediate independent confirmation of the violence...
(Bloomberg 10/04/17)
Kenya’s electoral commission said it’s made progress on meeting the demands of the main opposition coalition on how the rerun of August’s annulled presidential election will be handled. A day of talks between Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission officials and representatives of the opposition National Super Alliance, or Nasa, and the ruling Jubilee Party were “fruitful,” commission Chairman Wafula Chebukati told reporters Tuesday in the capital, Nairobi. A technical team is working with Nasa to produce a statement on what has been agreed, he said. “Most of the issues raised by Nasa have been addressed by the commission,” he said. “We shall publish what we have agreed with the Nasa team so that we can move on with the major...
(Bloomberg 10/04/17)
Ghana’s banks face a daunting race to meet new capital rules by the end of next year. Lenders will need to raise 9 billion cedis ($2 billion), which the local equity and debt market is too small to supply, according to George Bodo, the head of banking research at Ecobank Capital Ltd. in Nairobi, Kenya. While it may trigger mergers and acquisitions among the West African nation’s 34 banks, many will struggle to meet the requirement or complete deals on time, he said. Accumulating that kind of capital will top the 1.4 billion cedis that has been raised on the Ghana Stock Exchange through initial public offerings, share and rights offers and debt sales since 2012, according to data from...
(Bloomberg 10/04/17)
South Africa’s government is open to talks over the country’s much-criticized mining charter but the industry must do more to benefit the black majority, Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane said. The mining industry, represented by the Chamber of Mines, has rejected the government’s new rules, saying extra levies and black-economic empowerment requirements threaten to curb the appeal of investing in projects. A judicial review of the legislation is scheduled to be held in December, in which Zwane must justify the new measures to a bench of judges. The charter, which was published in the Government Gazette in June, is “a living document that’s the subject of the court,” Zwane said in a speech in Johannesburg Tuesday. “As government and this...
(BBC 10/04/17)
Zimbabwe’s Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko has launched an unprecedented attack on the country’s other Vice-President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, accusing him of undermining President Robert Mugabe by alleging he was poisoned at a political rally in August. Mr Mnangagwa's claim was a "calculated" challenge to Mr Mugabe's "public account that Mnangagwa’s medical doctor ruled out poisoning" as the cause of his "traumatising vomiting and diarrhoea" experience at the 12 August rally, Mr Mphoko said. "There’s now little doubt, if there ever was any, that there appears to be an agenda to undermine the authority of President Mugabe and to destabilise the country by using lies to fan ethnic tensions for political purposes," Mr Mphoko said. "This must stop and do so sooner rather...
(BBC 10/04/17)
Boris Johnson has said Libyan city Sirte could be the new Dubai, adding, "all they have to do is clear the dead bodies away". The foreign secretary's comments at a Conservative conference fringe meeting have sparked anger, with Labour calling them "crass, callous and cruel". Conservative MP Heidi Allen said he should be sacked, as did the Lib Dems. Mr Johnson claimed his critics had "no knowledge or understanding of Libya" and accused them of playing politics. "I look at Libya, it's an incredible country," he told the meeting. "Bone-white sands, beautiful sea, Caesar's Palace, obviously, you know, the real one. "Incredible place. It's got a real potential and brilliant young people who want to do all sorts of tech...
(Bloomberg 09/29/17)
Kenya’s main opposition coalition walked out of negotiations on how a rerun of last month’s annulled presidential election will be managed and threatened street protests, setting back preparations for the Oct. 26 ballot. The officials quit the talks because of plans by the ruling Jubilee Party to remove powers from the Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission, James Orengo, a senator for the opposition National Super Alliance, told reporters Thursday in the capital, Nairobi. Proposed changes to the law include enabling commissioners to appoint a new chairman and reducing the number of people required to make a quorum, according to a copy of the bill provided by government spokesman Eric Kiraithe’s office.
(Voice of America 09/29/17)
After two days of talks among members of Kenya's electoral commission, the ruling party and the opposition fell apart apart amid disagreements over how to conduct fresh presidential elections set for next month. There are fears Kenya is headed for a political and constitutional crisis. The dispute centers in part on two proposed amendments to the electoral law ahead of the October 26 ballot. The ruling Jubilee Party wants the law changed so officials rely more on election results that are submitted via paper ballot, as opposed to those transmitted electronically. The second centers on mandating that the Kenyan Supreme Court order a recount if results are in dispute. The Kenyan Supreme Court struck down President Uhuru Kenyatta's August 8...
(Financial Times 09/28/17)
Cosatu backs Ramaphosa to succeed the president as ANC leader. South Africa’s biggest trade union federation brought thousands of workers on to the streets of cities to protest against corruption under President Jacob Zuma, and demand that Cyril Ramaphosa, the deputy president, replace him. Wednesday’s national strike, organised by Cosatu, which has 1.7m members, and the South African Communist party, took place in Johannesburg, Cape Town and other big cities across the country. That the protest was even called for reveals the deep fractures within the ruling African National Congress over Mr Zuma’s scandal-hit leadership — including his ties to the Gupta business family — as Cosatu and the Communist party are part of the ruling African National Congress alliance...
(Voice of America 09/28/17)
Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe is lashing out against businesses that he believes are defying his orders to reverse price hikes for basic commodities. Mugabe is accusing those who defy his order of being "saboteurs" against his government, some of whom he said were from within his own ruling Zanu PF party. He promised to take corrective measures but some analysts are calling for the government to stabilize the economy, rather than blame businesses. The past two weeks have seen a wave of panic buying as Zimbabweans react to reports on social media that shortages similar to those of 2008 are returning. The reports of price hikes prompted a strong response from Mugabe on his return this week from the U.N...
(Bloomberg 09/28/17)
Fistfights erupted in the Ugandan parliament for a second day as lawmakers discussed a proposal to introduce a constitutional amendment that would allow President Yoweri Museveni to try to extend his three-decade rule. The proposal to introduce the bill was adopted after the speaker ordered the eviction of 24 opposition legislators who attempted to block the discussion, the Kampala-based parliament said on its Twitter account. Wednesday’s violence started when the suspended lawmakers were dragged out by security agents, the Daily Monitor newspaper reported. A government minister was also told to leave after he entered the legislature with a firearm on Tuesday, it said.
(Bloomberg 09/28/17)
Libya’s oil output is rising again after disruptions ended at its biggest field, with production reaching about 950,000 barrels a day even as OPEC and allied suppliers step up efforts to contain a global glut. Output at the North African nation’s Sharara field has recovered to 230,000 barrels a day, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because they aren’t allowed to speak to the media. Libya was pumping 1.05 million barrels a day in August, the person said, before an armed group closed a pipeline linked to the field and caused Sharara to halt production for more than two weeks. Libya, with Africa’s largest crude reserves, is staging a modest recovery as...
(Bloomberg 09/28/17)
Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara will propose to his counterpart in Ghana that the two neighboring countries and world’s biggest cocoa producers narrow a gap in producer prices to discourage smuggling of beans, according to a person familiar with the matter. Ouattara will call Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo on Thursday before Ivory Coast announces a new minimum price for cocoa purchases on Oct. 1, said the person, who asked not to be identified because he’s not authorized to speak about the matter. Ivory Coast is proposing payments of 750 CFA francs ($1.31) per kilogram for its farmers for the bigger of the two annual harvests that starts next month, compared with 1,100 francs for the previous main crop, said the...
(Bloomberg 09/28/17)
Nigeria plans to sell as much as $5.5 billion of Eurobonds in the next three months to fund capital projects and replace local-currency debt, according to the Debt Management Office. Yields on existing bonds rose. That would bring the amount raised through Eurobond sales by Africa’s most-populous nation this year to more than $7 billion as President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration restructures its debt portfolio to almost double the portion of foreign borrowing in a bid to reduce financing costs. The government wants to raise $2.5 billion in October to help fund 2017’s 7.4 trillion-naira ($20.8 billion) budget
(Bloomberg 09/28/17)
As the battle to succeed South African President Jacob Zuma as leader of the African National Congress grows increasingly fractious, party Treasurer-General Zweli Mkhize is emerging as a possible compromise choice to keep the continent’s oldest political movement from tearing itself apart. While the race for the top job is widely seen as a head-to-head contest between Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the president’s ex-wife and former chairwoman of the African Union Commission, Mkhize, a 61-year-old medical doctor, has two advantages: he’s stayed above the infighting and has strong support in his home region of KwaZulu-Natal, which has the most ANC members of the nation’s nine provinces.
(Bloomberg 09/28/17)
The country is suddenly brimming with high-end options. From the balcony of my villa at daybreak, I can see the nearby village creaking to life. Children are walking to school in their blue uniforms, and a farmer slings a hoe into the ground. The Africa of travelers’ imaginations is defined by vast open spaces—the treeless plains, the lonely desert—but Rwanda is the most densely populated country on the continent, and a trip here comes with an awareness that you’re sharing this space. I sip my coffee in the morning breeze, and my eyes wander out to the mountain dominating the landscape. Mount Bisoke is one of several volcanoes in the Virunga chain, and every room at Bisate Lodge offers a...
(Voice of America 09/28/17)
The U.N. Human Rights Office warns rival governments and armed militias in Libya are in violation of international humanitarian and human rights laws and their abusive actions threaten the stability of the country. The U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva is reviewing a report on the situation. The report makes for grim reading. Six years after former Libyan dictator, Moammar Gadhafi was toppled, it finds armed groups including the internationally recognized Government of National Accord and the opposition Libyan National Army and its allies are creating havoc in the country. U.N. Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore says these armed groups are committing widespread, gross violations of human rights, including hostage holding, torturing and killing men, women and...
(Financial Times 09/28/17)
Albert Woodfox spent 44 years in solitary confinement in Louisiana. At 1,440 square feet, Albert Woodfox’s new house is nearly 27 times the size of the place he called home for more than four decades. When he meets me at the door, one of America’s most famous prisoners is smiling brightly, and squinting into the Louisiana sun. He has reason to be happy. It has been a year and a half since he was released after serving nearly 44 years in solitary confinement in one of the country’s most notorious prisons. “By any standards I am extraordinarily lucky . . . I lost family members but never the support of my family. The African-American community embraced me when I was released from prison and...
(Voice of America 09/28/17)
Business activity has come to a standstill as Cameroon has sealed its northern border with the troubled Central African Republic following escalating violence in the neighboring country. Cameroon says several of its citizens have been kidnapped and taken to C.A.R. by armed groups. Hundreds of villagers in the Cameroon northern town of Mayo Rey celebrated the return home of three traders captured by armed groups from their town two weeks ago. They were taken across the border to the Central African Republic and their families asked to pay $10,000 each the hostages release. Among the crowd was Julie Nelem, 25, whose uncle was kidnapped . She is very happy her uncle has returned, allowing her to continue to have money...

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