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Media Sweep

28 March 2018

This report features a selection of news articles relating to the humanitarian situation in eastern and southern Africa. The views expressed herein are attributable to the original source and do not in any way reflect an official position of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

SADC prepares for Zimbabwe, DRC elections (Independent Online)
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) on Tuesday said it was gearing up to support the holding of highly anticipated presidential elections in its member states — Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo.


Djibouti the latest to fall victim to China’s ‘debt trap diplomacy’ (Asia Times)
The US has nothing to fear – that’s the message broadcast loud and clear by Djibouti’s government after its annexation of a key container port in Djibouti City last month. But Djibouti’s veteran dictator, Ismail Omar Guelleh, gives Washington every reason to worry. Under Guelleh’s loan-thirsty leadership, Djibouti is succumbing to Beijing’s global influence policy of “debt trap diplomacy.”

Djibouti plans new container terminal to bolster transport hub aspirations (Reuters)
Djibouti is in talks with French shipping company CMA CGM to develop a new container terminal at an initial cost of $660 million (£465.9 million) as part of the tiny African country’s bid to expand into a sea and air transport hub for the continent.

African Horn Org. chief: Qatar using extremist group to sabotage Eritrea (Al Arabiya)
A top Eritrean diplomat has told Al Arabiya English that the statement of the Eritrean Foreign Ministry on the Qatari threat to Asmara came after “patiently waiting for a period of time for the Qatari brothers who have been trying in recent years to add Eritrea to the list of candidate countries for sabotage.”

Ethiopia’s ruling coalition names new prime minister (Reuters)
Ethiopia’s ruling coalition voted in Abiye Ahmed as new prime minister on Tuesday, following the resignation of Hailemariam Desalegn last month, the state-run Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation said.

Related articles:
Ethiopia’s Ruling Coalition Names New Chairman, Set to Be PM (US News)
Abiy Ahmed elected as chairman of Ethiopia’s ruling coalition (Al Jazeera)
Ethiopia selected a new prime minister (APA)

Accelerating Universal Health Coverage in Kenya-How do we get there? (IPS)
The Government of Kenya has prioritized universal health coverage (UHC) in its Big 4 agenda over the next 5 years.This is a significant and perhaps the most important strategic priority. Why? Every year over a million Kenyans get trapped into poverty because of a catastrophic out of pocket payments due to health reasons.

Facebook to be sued over election losses by Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga (The Times)
The leader of Kenya’s opposition has said that he will sue Facebook for portraying him as “the Devil incarnate” during elections in 2013 and 2017. Raila Odinga said that campaign ads featured on the social media company, which appeared at the top of Google searches, portrayed him as a “very, very evil man”.

Anti-trafficking charity launches materials aimed at Kenyan children (Reuters)
A Kenyan charity launched a range of educational materials on Tuesday to teach children about the dangers of trafficking, in a bid to combat child slavery and exploitation.

Kenya men rent wives to tourists to earn a living (Al Jazeera)
Poverty and unpredictable tourism industry forcing men on the east coast to send spouses into prostitution.

Kenya columnists quit Nation Media Group over ‘meddling’ (BBC)
Eight leading newspaper columnists have resigned from Kenya’s largest media group, citing a “loss in editorial independence”. In a joint statement, they suggested government interference in the Nation Media Group (NMG).

Related article:
Kenyan columnists resign accusing government of interference (Reuters)

Huge livestock losses may worsen food security in Somalia (Farmer’s Weekly)
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned that large-scale livestock losses as a result of drought have severely impacted the livelihoods of farmers, which could exacerbate Somalia’s food security.

Somalia: Flowing water brings livestock herders together (ICRC)
Sounds of bleating goats and sheep, camel bells ringing and running water signals the onset of a busy morning in Qodqod village, located in Galgaduud region. Herders fill their jerry cans with water as goats, sheep and camels jostle for room along the water troughs. At the centre of all this activity is a borehole.

Fight against maternal and newborn deaths intensifies in Puntland (UNFPA)
The Puntland State of Somalia is stepping up the fight against maternal and newborn deaths with the First Lady Dr. Hodan Said Isse taking lead in her capacity as Puntland’s Goodwill Ambassador for the Campaign for Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA).

Somalia calls for UN action against UAE base in Berbera (Al Jazeera)
Somalia has urged the United Nations Security Council to take action against the construction of a United Arab Emirates (UAE) military base in Somaliland. Speaking at the Security Council on Tuesday, Abukar Osman, Somalia’s ambassador to the UN, said the agreement between Somaliland and the UAE to establish the base in the port city of Berbera is a “clear violation of international law”.

Somalia: Dozens arrested in operation in Bosaso town (Mareeg)
Somalia’s semi-autonomous state Puntland forces have on Tuesday arrested tens of people on suspicion of Al Shabaab militants in security operation in Bosaso town. The operation was conducted in villages of Bosaso town, the commercial hub of the region, following an assassination of a military officer, whose name identified as Shine in the town.

E.African bloc says S.Sudan rebel Machar should be freed from house arrest (Reuters)
An East African regional grouping known as IGAD has said South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar should be released from house arrest in South Africa as soon as possible on the condition he renounces violence, another sign of mounting diplomatic pressure on the Juba government.

U.S. Trump extends national emergency with respect to South Sudan (Sudan Tribune)
President Donald Trump extended for a year the country’s national emergency with respect to South Sudan on Tuesday, pointing to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the U.S. national security and foreign policy constituted by the situation in and in relation to South Sudan.

Pope meeting renews hope of South Sudan visit (The Tablet)
Pope Francis has met with Christian leaders in South Sudan in the Vatican last Friday raising hopes of a possible papal visit to the country.

South Sudan shuts down telecom firm Vivacell (Daily Nation)
South Sudan has shutdown telecom operator Vivacell over a tax dispute.  Information minister and government spokesman Michael Makuei on Tuesday said Vivacell had failed to pay over $60 million (Sh6bn) in taxes since its inception, hence the drastic action.

Sudan, Qatar to sign $4 billion deal to manage Red Sea port – ministry (Africa News)
Sudan and Qatar will sign a $4 billion agreement to jointly develop the Red Sea port of Suakin off Sudan’s coast, Sudanese media quoted Transport Minister Makawi Mohamed Awad as saying

Israel set to recognize hundreds of Sudanese as refugees — report (The Times of Israel)
Israel is reportedly willing to grant refugee status to hundreds of Sudanese migrants over the age of 40 who fled genocide in the Nuba region, in the first possible recognition of an ethnic cleansing similar to that in the country’s Darfur area.

Israel, don’t shut the door in the faces of asylum seekers like me (Jewish Telegraphic Agency)
Israel, don’t shut the door in our faces. My name is Monim Harun, an asylum seeker from Sudan. I was born in a small village nested between mountains and forests, where we lived together as one big family. At a young age I was separated from my family and the people I loved most in the world when the militia forces attacked our village. They went through the village killing every man and boy in sight, but by a miracle I survived.


UN extends Congo peacekeeping force after a deadly year (Washington Post)
The U.N.’s biggest and costliest peacekeeping force will remain in Congo as it heads toward a long-delayed presidential election, the Security Council decided Tuesday as Congolese expressed concern about the peacekeepers’ priorities.

Related articles:
Security Council renews UN mission in DR Congo (UN News)
UN strengthens role of DR Congo mission in elections (Times Live)

EU Urges Congo to Attend Aid Talks as Conflict Imperils Millions (Bloomberg)
The European Union’s aid chief urged the Democratic Republic of Congo to take part in a donor meeting on tackling a humanitarian crisis in the vast central African country that’s left more than 13 million people in need of aid.

Congo opens investigation into top opposition leader (Vancouver Sun)
Congo’s attorney general says he has opened an investigation against a main opposition leader after reports that he may have Italian citizenship. Attorney General Flory Kabange Numbi told Radio Okapi on Tuesday that former Katanga Gov. Moise Katumbi may have taken advantage of false documents.

Catholic Church Plays Leading Role in Congo Protests [VIDEO] (Voice of America)

Burundi, Tanzania and UNHCR officials meet to boost repatriation of refugees (The Herald)
Delegates from Burundi, Tanzania and UNHCR on Monday started a three-day meeting in the Burundian capital Bujumbura to seek ways of boosting the repatriation of Burundian refugees living in Tanzania. “We are glad that the repatriation process is going on well, but the figures need to be boosted,” said Therence Ntahiraja, assistant to the Burundian interior minister at the launch of the tripartite meeting.

Tanzania: Opposition quintet remanded in custody (APA)
The leaders of Tanzania’s main opposition Chadema party, including Freeman Mbowe and four other are being remanded in custody over alleged subversive activities against public order.The quintet appeared before the Kisutu Resident Magistrate Court on Tuesday accused of staging an illegal demonstration.

Related article:
Tanzania opposition leader charged for ‘inciting hatred’ (News 24)

Demand for drugs soars across Tanzania (Tanzania Daily News)
Demands for illicit drugs is soaring in Tanzania and law enforcement authorities say cartels are now targeting school children from rich homes to ‘harvest’ even more profit from the limited drug supplies.

Sex Scandal: Underage refugee girls forced into prostitution in Uganda, report reveals (Newsweek)
Refugee girls as young as 17 are being forced into prostitution in Uganda, a country that has experienced a historic influx of people fleeing violence, according to a gut-wrenching report in Uganda’s Daily Monitor.

Refugee School Gives Hope, Free Education in West Uganda (Voice of America)
In 2005, four young Congolese refugees in western Uganda opened a school for kids like themselves, separated from their families when they fled conflict in neighboring countries. Today, the school boasts about 500 students and continues to provide free education to unaccompanied refugee children or those whose families cannot afford to pay.

Spreading Islamic Banking in Uganda, One Friday Sermon at a Time (Bloomberg)
Islamic preacher Imam Idi Kasozi’s Friday sermons in the Ugandan capital typically focus on three subjects: faith, mercy — and religiously compliant banking products. Whether speaking from the pulpit in Kampala or at social functions, the 59-year-old has become Uganda’s most ardent promoter of Islamic banking, a practice the nation is set to follow neighbors Kenya and Tanzania in adopting after years of debate.


Social protection of DRC refugees in Angola guaranteed (Agência Angola Press)
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is to spend USD 64 million to respond to the needs of social protection of the about 24,000 refugees from the DR Congo sheltered in Angola.

Authorities seize food contaminated with listeriosis (Agência Angola Press)
The fact was announced on Monday by the head of the sanitary department of General Health Inspection, Luísa Harmuyaela, adding that the said products will be destroyed. The official, who was speaking at a press conference, said the Angolan authorities took this measure to prevent epidemic cases of listeriosis in the country.

HSBC froze account linked to alleged $500m Angolan fraud (Financial Times)
HSBC froze an account connected to an alleged $500m fraud by the son of Angola’s former president, according to people briefed on the matter, in a development the bank is hailing as a sign its compliance systems are working.

Angola’s governor sees kwanza depreciation tailing off –report (Reuters)
Angola’s central bank governor, José Massano, expects the kwanza to depreciate further but more slowly after the currency lost nearly 30 percent of its value so far this year, according to the newspaper O Pais.

Meet the nurses fighting on the front lines — with no ammunition (Bhekisisa)
Why do nurses have such little decision-making power in countries where they drive the healthcare system? They have huge responsibility, but little authority. I’m one of almost 5 000 nurse-midwives in the mountain kingdom of Lesotho. We serve a country of just over two million people. Nurse-midwives make up 80% of my country’s health workers, a 2018 Nurse Education in Practice study found.

Plant drought tolerant crops- agriculture expert (MANA Online)
Promotion the adoption of drought tolerant crop varieties is one of the best ways to address food insecurity challenges in areas that experience erratic weather conditions, an agricultural expert has said.

Word Bank impressed with Malawi social support programme (Nyasa Times)
Initiatives to improve the livelihoods of rural populations in Malawi are registering positive results and offer an optimistic view of bailing many people out of poverty, the World Bank has said. Country Manager for the bank in Malawi, Greg Toulmin said this Monday in Fisimulipe Village in Dedza when he visited some of the rural livelihoods activities government is implementing through the Malawi National Social Support Programme (NSSP).

No escape for Mozambique as debt troubles mount (The Citizen)
Mozambique’s renewed efforts to solve its spiralling “secret debt” crisis have again collapsed, leaving the country struggling to recover its reputation as one of Africa’s potential growth hotspots.
Last week, Finance Minister Adriano Maleiane flew to London to present creditors with a long-awaited restructuring plan for the $2.2-billion (1.77 billion euros) debt that Mozambique has defaulted on since last year.

Related article:
Creditors Did Not Reject Debt Proposals, Claims Maleiane (Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique)

The Emergence of Violent Extremism in Northern Mozambique (Africa Center for Strategic Studies)
The emergence of a new militant Islamist group in northern Mozambique raises a host of concerns over the influence of international jihadist ideology, social and economic marginalization of local Muslim communities, and a heavy-handed security response.

Government overspending crippled economy (The Namibian)
The Government’s inability to contain public debt as well as overspending crippled Namibia’s economy to “unknown levels” during the past three years from 2015. This was revealed in a global report published by the Bertelsmann Stiftung on Transformation Index of countries which looked at governance, economic performance, political stability and the effectiveness of democracies in various countries.

Namibia needs China to transform economy: president (Xinhua)
Namibia needs China to transform its economy through value addition, diversification and creation of new industries. President Hage Geingob said this in Windhoek before he left for a seven-day visit to China on Tuesday.

South Africa land protest turns violent; 30 arrested (Washington Post)
South African police have arrested about 30 people after violent protests in which demonstrators tried to occupy state-owned land and set a police station on fire.

Rating agency doubles South Africa growth forecast (Financial Times)
S&P has doubled its growth forecast for South Africa this year but the rating agency warned that it was a long way from lifting the continent’s most industrialised nation out of junk status.

South Africa Plans to Create 330,000 Youth Jobs Over Next Year (Bloomberg)
South Africa’s government, businesses and labor unions plan to create at least 330,000 jobs for youth over the next year, addressing one of the country’s biggest economic challenges, President Cyril Ramaphosa said.

All aboard for a new life in Zambia (UNICEF)
There’s a buzz of excitement as hundreds of Congolese refugees look for seats on the minibuses that will take them further inside Zambia. As the 246 refugees take their places, conversations with friends and family continue through open bus windows – the Congolese hold hands and chat, while staff from UNHCR count numbers.

Zambia Should Protect Customary Land Rights (Human Rights Watch)
As activists and policymakers from across the globe gather in Washington D.C. for the World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty, it’s a good time to reflect on how commercial agriculture leaves peasants landless in Zambia.

Zambian Opposition’s Impeachment Motion Is Frivolous, Government Says (Bloomberg)
The Zambian government said President Edgar Lungu hasn’t committed any offence that warrants the impeachment motion the opposition has brought to parliament.

Nuclear could turn Zambia into regional food basket (The Citizen)
Despite contributing 6.5% to GDP and accounting for 9.6% of national export earnings in 2016, the industry is one of the most under-developed in the country. Agriculture in Zambia employs about half the labour force while it remains the sector offering the largest opportunity for rural women to find employment according to the Agriculture Ministry.

Letter from Africa: Will age be a factor in Zimbabwe’s poll? (BBC)
In our series of letters from Africa, Zimbabwean journalist-turned-barrister Brian Hungwe considers whether the age of the two main presidential candidates will sway voters in elections. The candidates to watch ahead of the July poll are the incumbent, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, 75, and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa, 40.

Zimbabwe’s new president is pitching himself to investors as the anti-Mugabe (Quartz)
In a room full of Africa’s leading business executives and leaders, Zimbabwe president Emmerson Mnangagwa made the case for why, after years of economic stagnation under Robert Mugabe, investors should pay attention to his country. His pitch was simple: He’s not Robert Mugabe.

President Mnangagwa says US misinformed about situation in Zimbabwe (Xinhua)
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Tuesday the United States government made its recent decision to extend sanctions against Zimbabwe on the basis of misinformation by local opposition parties which are afraid of losing the forthcoming general elections.