News Summary: Friday, November 17th, 2017 – AFRICOM

News Summary: Friday, November 17th, 2017 – AFRICOM

Must Reads:

  1. Dos Santos’ removal from Sonangol a political and strategic move

-CNBC Africa – Gary van Staden – 11/16/17

BLUF: Angolan President Joao Lourenço on Wednesday, November 15, sacked Isabel dos Santos as head of the board at State-owned oil company Sonangol in a move that cements his power and influence over a key sector while at the same time addressing the concerns of international investors. While the removal of Ms Dos Santos has clear political connotations – she was one of the kingpins in the financial empire of her father, former President José Eduardo dos Santos, as well as a symbol of the former president’s influence – the action was also widely welcomed as a decisive move to improve efficiency and productivity at the crucial State-owned enterprise. Ms Dos Santos was proving an ineffective leader and was accused of frustrating international oil companies with a series of unexplained project delays that damaged foreign investment sentiment and harmed domestic production. In the wake of the recent Angolan elections, local media reported that international oil companies operating in Angola wrote to Mr Lourenço outlining grievances with the state of the oil industry.

 

  1. Where are Burundi’s missing witnesses to crimes against humanity?

-IRIN – 11/16/17

BLUF: In Burundi, it’s not just witnesses to the politically motivated string of murders, torture, and rapes who are going missing, it’s also the perpetrators, underscoring the enormous scale of the challenge now facing the International Criminal Court. So great are the risks to the “life and wellbeing” of potential witnesses to alleged crimes against humanity committed by state agents here that ICC judges agreed for the first time to deliberate in secret before deciding the tribunal’s chief prosecutor could step up her enquiries. Several people with first-hand knowledge of crimes implicating police, soldiers, and militia members have disappeared or been killed in Burundi, according to relatives and rights groups. An ICC judges’ ruling has authorized Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to elevate her “preliminary examination” to an “investigation”, paving the way for eventual arrest warrants, criminal charges, and trials.

 

  1. South Africa envoys meet Mugabe in bid to end Zimbabwe crisis

-Financial Times – Joseph Cotterill and Tony Hawkins – 11/16/17

BLUF: South African envoys held talks with President Robert Mugabe and his army chief on Thursday as regional powers sought to resolve a stand-off triggered by the military’s takeover of Zimbabwe. Mr Mugabe’s motorcade was seen leaving his home in a Harare suburb, The Herald, a state-controlled newspaper, published pictures showing the president meeting with the two South African ministers and General Constantino Chiwenga, the army commander, in State House. The army chief led the military intervention on Wednesday when Mr Mugabe was put under house arrest. The 93-year-old leader, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980, has been resisting military pressure to publicly resign. Members of the Southern African Development Community, a regional bloc that has called on the Zimbabwean army to avoid an “unconstitutional” change in government and urged “calm and restraint”, met in Botswana on Thursday to respond to the crisis. The meeting was called by Jacob Zuma, the chair of SADC and president of South Africa, which has long worried about instability in Zimbabwe spilling across its borders. Hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans have fled to South Africa during the past two decades as their economy collapsed.

 

Algeria:

  1. Vietnam a priority in Algeria’s economic development policies

-Voice of Vietnam – 11/16/17

BLUF: Benmeradi said Algeria wants to elevate bilateral trade ties to the same level as their sound political relations. He added that Algeria is diversifying its economy to avoid dependence on oil and gas. In 2018, the Algerian government will consider removing its wood import ban. To promote bilateral trade, the two sides agreed to continue improving legal frameworks, re-negotiate a bilateral free trade agreement (inked in 1994), and facilitate businesses’ operations. They decided to increase trade promotion activities, enable enterprises to partake in trade events in their respective countries, and inform each other about changes in new policies and trade measures. Vietnam and Algeria also agreed to set up cooperative ties in the banking sector and build a coordination mechanism to help businesses address trade disputes.

 

Angola:

  1. Dos Santos’ removal from Sonangol a political and strategic move

-CNBC Africa – Gary van Staden – 11/16/17

BLUF: Angolan President Joao Lourenço on Wednesday, November 15, sacked Isabel dos Santos as head of the board at State-owned oil company Sonangol in a move that cements his power and influence over a key sector while at the same time addressing the concerns of international investors. While the removal of Ms Dos Santos has clear political connotations – she was one of the kingpins in the financial empire of her father, former President José Eduardo dos Santos, as well as a symbol of the former president’s influence – the action was also widely welcomed as a decisive move to improve efficiency and productivity at the crucial State-owned enterprise. Ms Dos Santos was proving an ineffective leader and was accused of frustrating international oil companies with a series of unexplained project delays that damaged foreign investment sentiment and harmed domestic production. In the wake of the recent Angolan elections, local media reported that international oil companies operating in Angola wrote to Mr Lourenço outlining grievances with the state of the oil industry.

 

Burundi:

  1. Where are Burundi’s missing witnesses to crimes against humanity?

-IRIN – 11/16/17

BLUF: In Burundi, it’s not just witnesses to the politically motivated string of murders, torture, and rapes who are going missing, it’s also the perpetrators, underscoring the enormous scale of the challenge now facing the International Criminal Court. So great are the risks to the “life and wellbeing” of potential witnesses to alleged crimes against humanity committed by state agents here that ICC judges agreed for the first time to deliberate in secret before deciding the tribunal’s chief prosecutor could step up her enquiries. Several people with first-hand knowledge of crimes implicating police, soldiers, and militia members have disappeared or been killed in Burundi, according to relatives and rights groups. An ICC judges’ ruling has authorized Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to elevate her “preliminary examination” to an “investigation”, paving the way for eventual arrest warrants, criminal charges, and trials.

 

  1. Will other African countries follow Burundi out of the ICC?

-Daily Maverick – ISS Today – 11/16/17

BLUF: The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has been authorised to begin investigations into alleged crimes against humanity in Burundi between 26 April 2015 and 26 October 2017. Burundi decided to withdraw from the Hague-based international court to protest against the investigation of its leaders. It accused the court of focusing on prosecuting African leaders. “The withdrawal of one state … is a setback in the fight against impunity,” warned Senegal’s Justice Minister and President of the Assembly of ICC State Parties Sidiki Kaba. His statement expresses the underlying concern that other African states may follow Burundi’s example. Senegal, together with countries like Nigeria, Botswana, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Malawi, Sierra Leone and Tanzania oppose the notion of withdrawing. But with Burundi having made good its threat to leave, there are concerns that some African governments will be emboldened to seek withdrawal despite civil or legal barriers. A number of African states including Gambia, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia have over the past two years threatened to pull out.

 

Cameroon:

  1. Why Cameroon’s Anglophones dream of independence

-France 24 – Patrick Fandio – 11/16/17

BLUF: Over the past year, dozens of people have died in Cameroon fighting for the independence of an English-speaking area of the state, known as Ambazonia. Now their supporters are determined to turn their dream for independence into a reality. Ambazonia is a merging of two Anglophone provinces of Cameroon, a ghost state that separatists have dreamt of since the unification of the country 56 years ago. The drive for independence has been fueled by a feeling of marginalisation amongst Cameroon’s Anglophone community.

 

  1. Cameroon and France pen $83m deal

-Africa Review – Ndi Eugene Ndi – 11/16/17

BLUF: Cameroon and France have signed two development and debt relief contracts worth $83 million. The contracts, signed in Yaoundé on Wednesday, will finance several development projects in the Central African nation. “This agreement will expand the portfolio of shares and programmes financed by AFD in our country,” said Mr Motaze. The development money will finance the public enterprises, human resource development and the management of state finances, says the contract document.

 

DR Congo:

  1. DR Congo militia chief arrested: judicial source

-Enca – 11/16/17

BLUF:  A man believed to be a leader in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Kamwina Nsapu militia has been detained over a beheading in the troubled Kasai region. The presumed militia chief is undergoing questioning from military justice,” said the source, adding that the man was believed to be a leading figure in the Kamwina Nsapu rebel group. He is suspected of ordering the decapitation of six people who were supervising exams at a school before they were ambushed on May 31.

 

Djibouti:

  1. Djibouti signs preliminary deal with China’s POLY-GCL for $4 bln gas project

-Reuters -Abdourahim Arteh – 11/16/17

BLUF: China’s POLY-GCL Petroleum Group Holdings Ltd has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to invest $4 billion in a natural gas project in the tiny Horn of African nation of Djibouti. The project includes a natural gas pipeline, a liquefaction plant and an export terminal to be located in Damerjog, near the country’s border with Somalia. The country hosts large U.S. and French naval bases and China is also building a naval base. Energy minister Yonis Ali Guedi told Reuters after the signing of the MoU on Monday that further negotiations over concession agreements for the project would happen within the next six months and construction would begin next year. He said the project would “generate substantial income for the state.” The gas pipeline will transport 12 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year from Ethiopia to Djibouti. The liquefaction plant has a target capacity of 10 million tonnes per year of liquefied natural gas.

 

Eritrea:

  1. UNSC renews sanctions but opens path for lifting embargoes

-Onuitalia – 11/16/17

BLUF:  For the first time the UN Security Council has recognized today Somalia’s progress in arms control and has committed to revising the embargo once Mogadishu has met all the conditions, the Italian Permanent Representative Sebastiano Cardi said today after the vote on a resolution renewing sanctions towards Somalia and Eritrea. taly shares deep cultural, economic, historical and strategic ties with the whole horn of Africa and it is deeply committed to the full restoration of peace and security in the region. Turning to Eritrea, the Security Council recognized – for the first time in the operative part of the resolution – that there is no conclusive evidence of the alleged support of Eritrea to Al-Shabaab, as the Monitoring Group has been stating for four years. “Sanctions are an instrument, not an end. Like every instrument, they must be revised when new circumstances require it. Somalia and Eritrea should seize the opportunities offered by the resolution adopted today.

 

Kenya:

  1. Kenya court to rule on presidential election cases on Monday

-Reuters – Reuters Staff – 11/16/17

BLUF: Kenya’s Supreme Court will rule on Monday on cases that seek to nullify the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta last month and the judges could order a fresh vote or clear the way for the incumbent to be sworn in for a second term. The two cases appear to represent a final chance for legal scrutiny of the Oct. 26 election and the ruling could end a protracted political crisis

 

  1. Kenya’s election feud deepens secession calls

-Bloomberg – Felix Njini – 11/16/17

BLUF: Kenya’s protracted election dispute has spawned secession calls from opposition supporters who say their vote has no influence on how East Africa’s biggest economy is governed. The increased agitation follows the declaration of President Uhuru Kenyatta as the winner of October’s election rerun that the main opposition alliance boycotted, alleging it wouldn’t be a fair vote. His victory in the poll may be encouraging secessionist ideas among those in the west of the country and on its southeastern coastline. While pro-secession sentiments were previously fueled by notions of “economic marginalization,” they’re “being deepened by what they perceive as electoral thefts,” said Abdullahi Boru Halakhe, an East Africa researcher at Amnesty International. “They feel they vote and their vote doesn’t count. Secession is now in the mainstream.”

 

Liberia:

  1. US Embassy expresses confidence in Liberia disputed election

-Fox News – Associated Press – 11/16/17 (update)

BLUF: The U.S. Embassy in Liberia is expressing confidence in the credibility of the West African nation’s elections as the runoff vote is postponed for investigations into allegations of fraud and irregularities.

 

Libya:

  1. Libya’s NOC opening U.S. purchase office as it pursues Trump support

-Reuters – Reuters Staff – 11/15/17

BLUF:  Libya’s National Oil Corp plans to open a U.S. procurement office, its first international facility since a 2011 revolt left the country in disarray, to expand suppliers and convince the Trump administration to support its oil sector. Mustafa Sanalla, chairman of the state-run energy company, said on Wednesday that NOC and its partners will spend about $20 billion over the next three years to restore output crippled by the nation’s political divides. A Houston office will open to begin building its roster of U.S. equipment and services suppliers, he said. “We hope to secure new investment. We hope a political solution will be reached,” Sanalla said.  He said he hopes to meet on Thursday with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to seek U.S. support for the country’s oil sector.

 

  1. UN envoy confident Libya political deal ‘close’

-Yahoo – AFP – 11/16/17

BLUF: UN-led talks on a new political deal to unite Libya’s rival governments are making progress, the UN envoy said Thursday, expressing optimism that a deal is within reach. The United Nations in September launched a new plan to bring stability to Libya which has been in chaos since the 2011 ouster of long-time dictator Moamer Kadhafi. Two meetings have since been held in Tunis to agree on changes to a 2015 political deal that set up a Government of National Accord led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj. Once a deal is struck on a unity government, a national conference will be held in February 2018 to adopt a new constitution that would pave the way for elections.

 

Mali:

  1. Canada will not send peacekeepers to Mali in near future

-Reuters – Julie Gordon – 11/15/17

BLUF: Canada will not be sending hundreds of peacekeepers to support a United Nations mission in Mali in the near future, officials said on Wednesday, a move likely to disappoint allies who want Canadians to play a role in the West African country. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last year promised to contribute up to 600 troops to peacekeeping operations and Canadian defense experts made three trips to Mali, where soldiers under the U.N. are fighting Islamist militants. Canada said it would split its soldiers among various missions instead, with no more than 200 going to any one spot, and will offer transport aircraft and helicopters in a series of “smart pledge” initiatives. It will also help train peacekeepers.

 

South Africa:

  1. South Africa envoys meet Mugabe in bid to end Zimbabwe crisis

-Financial Times – Joseph Cotterill and Tony Hawkins – 11/16/17

BLUF: South African envoys held talks with President Robert Mugabe and his army chief on Thursday as regional powers sought to resolve a stand-off triggered by the military’s takeover of Zimbabwe. Mr Mugabe’s motorcade was seen leaving his home in a Harare suburb, The Herald, a state-controlled newspaper, published pictures showing the president meeting with the two South African ministers and General Constantino Chiwenga, the army commander, in State House. The army chief led the military intervention on Wednesday when Mr Mugabe was put under house arrest. The 93-year-old leader, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980, has been resisting military pressure to publicly resign. Members of the Southern African Development Community, a regional bloc that has called on the Zimbabwean army to avoid an “unconstitutional” change in government and urged “calm and restraint”, met in Botswana on Thursday to respond to the crisis. The meeting was called by Jacob Zuma, the chair of SADC and president of South Africa, which has long worried about instability in Zimbabwe spilling across its borders. Hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans have fled to South Africa during the past two decades as their economy collapsed.

 

Zimbabwe:

  1. Robert Mugabe makes post-coup appearance but where is his wife, ‘Gucci Grace’?

-NBC News – Alexander Smith – 11/17/17

BLUF: The world’s oldest ruler, Robert Mugabe, made his first public appearance on Friday since this week’s coup, but there was no indication when he would quit — nor any sign of the first lady, Grace, seen as a key figure in Zimbabwe’s military power grab. With his four-decade rule in the balance, the 93-year-old despot briefly attended a graduation ceremony at the Zimbabwe Open University and sang the national anthem dressed in a blue and yellow academic gown and hat. He was escorted by a security detail, but it was not immediately clear if he was able to move freely. He has been under house arrest since Wednesday when generals moved to target “criminals” around him. The military said Friday that it was making “significant progress” in talks with Mugabe about his exit, referring to him as their “commander in chief.” But again there was no sign of Grace Mugabe. Rumors suggested she had fled Zimbabwe after Wednesday’s coup, to Namibia or Dubai. However, Reuters reported Friday that both Mugabes’ remained under house arrest.

By |2018-01-12T14:01:02-06:00January 12th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Leave A Comment