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Africa – News and Analysis is a news and comment aggregation site for the best stories and analysis of what is happening in sub-Saharan Africa.. It will bring you the most important stories and sharpest comments. The stories linked to do not necessarily reflect the views of the site.

USA to sell combat aircraft to Nigeria

Reuters

ABUJA The United States has agreed to sell fighter jets to Nigeria to help in its fight against Boko Haram and talks underway include possible U.S. assistance in training, surveillance and military intelligence sharing, a senior Nigerian military official said on Monday.

“Yes, I can confirm to you that the U.S. has agreed to sell some fighter jets to us to support in the ongoing insurgency war,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“The ongoing negotiation is not only in the supply of fighter jets but also assistance in training, surveillance and military intelligence,” the official added.

(Reporting by Felix Onuah in Abuja; Writing by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by James Dalgleish)

Many deaths in Ghana waterfall accident

BBC

A map showing the location of Kintampo in Ghana, where the waterfalls lie

Up to 20 people have died and many have been injured after a large tree fell on them at a popular waterfall spot in Kintampo, Ghana.

They were swimming during a storm when the freak accident happened, emergency officials said.

The tree had seemingly been brought down by the storm.

Ghana National Fire Service spokesman Prince Billy Anaglate said the incident happened at the Kintampo waterfalls in the Brong-Ahafo region.

A combined team of police and fire service personnel attended the accident site, in a bid to rescue those trapped by the tree.

“A huge tree fell at the top when the rains began and crashed the revellers,” an eyewitness told Ghana’s Starr News.

“Most of them are students of the Wenchi Senior High School. Others are tourists. We are trying to save those who are trapped by cutting the trees with chainsaws.”

Fire Service spokesman Mr Anaglate told AFP that 18 students had died at the scene, while two others died in hospital.

He said 11 people were receiving treatment, including one of the school administrators in charge of the trip.

Other reports put the number of injured at over 20. They are being treated at the Kintampo Municipal hospital.

“We extend our condolences to the families of the dead and pray for the injured,” Ghana’s tourism minister Catherine Abelema Afeku said in a statement.

No winner again for Mo Ibrahim’s African leadership prize

Reuters

African leadership prize fails to find a winner – again

 

JOHANNESBURG Sudanese telecoms magnate Mo Ibrahim failed to award a $5 million African political leadership prize on Tuesday, the second year running the gong designed to foster regional democracy has gone begging due to a lack of suitable candidates.

Since its launch in 2006, the Ibrahim Prize has only been awarded four times – to Mozambique’s Joaquim Chissano, Botswana’s Festus Mogae, Cape Verde’s Pedro De Verona Rodrigues Pires and Namibia’s Hifikepunye Pohamba in 2014.

Candidates have to be democratically elected African heads of state or government who have left office in the previous three years at the end of their constitutional terms.gerontocrats, a peaceful departure after years of plunder does not guarantee the prize as the hopeful’s record while in office is also considered.

“The Prize is intended to highlight and celebrate truly exceptional leadership, which is uncommon by its very definition,” prize committee chairman Salim Ahmed Salim said in a statement accompanying the 2016 non-award.

The prize is meant to set the winner up for life, with $5 million paid out over 10 years followed by a $200,000-a-year pension. However, it does not appear to be gaining much traction with Africa’s ruling elite.

Congo Republic’s Denis Sassou Nguesso and Rwanda’s Paul Kagame have recently pushed through changes to their respective constitutions to extend their stays in power, while Democratic Republic of Congo’s Joseph Kabila has gone nowhere since his mandate expired in December.

One surprise late entry could have been eccentric Gambian autocrat Yahyah Jammeh, who stunned his 1.8 million countrymen – and most of the rest of Africa – when he accepted defeat in a December election after 22 years in charge.

However, he then changed his mind and only left power a month later after an invasion by thousands of Senegalese, Ghanaian and Nigerian troops.

(Reporting by Ed Cropley; Editing by Ed Osmond)

South Africa – state of crisis as budget cuts loom and student protests continue

2016-10-09 06:00

Police attempt to arrest activist Mcebo Dlamini on the Wits campus during this week’s protests. (Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)

Police attempt to arrest activist Mcebo Dlamini on the Wits campus during this week’s protests. (Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)

The battle for free university education is headed for a crisis after government revealed plans to announce a draconian mid-term budget, which will include cutting its numbers of civil servants.

Senior government officials told City Press that Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s medium-term budget – to be delivered in two weeks – will put the squeeze on salary budgets across departments, as well as those for goods and services.

While students take to the streets for a fourth week, government remains mum on new solutions, and the country’s clergy is calling for President Jacob Zuma to declare a state of crisis.

A senior government official privy to Cabinet matters said:

“There is no money to subsidise free universities. It is already a struggle to find money to fund the special dispensation announced by Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande to subsidise all households who earn less than R600 000 annually.”

The official said the continuing drought is placing additional strain on the economy.

“The question is, what would it take for government to yield to the demand for free education? Does it mean we stop social grants or building houses? Something has to give for that to happen.”

The official said it was likely that after the mid-term budget policy statement on October 26, government would start encouraging older civil servants to take early retirement to save money.

The officials also said government’s appetite to negotiate with students was waning because they negotiated in bad faith.

“Both the president and Nzimande have met with students on several occasions, but whatever was agreed on was discarded after the meetings,” the official said.

TARGETED ARRESTS

The police have decided on a strategy of targeting students who have allegedly committed particular crimes, rather than conducting mass arrests that end up with failed prosecutions.

According to senior police sources, some of these arrests have already been effected and some are due to be carried out in the next few days and weeks.

It is understood that some of those due to face the law include the #FeesMustFall leadership.

The arrests relate to incidents of public violence, intimidation, arson and assault.

The officials told City Press that the police decided to move away from a scattered response that involved dispersing protesters and arresting them en masse.

Last year and early this year, the arrest of student protesters ended in prosecutions being dropped because evidence was not properly gathered. Now the approach is to gather enough prosecutable evidence before pouncing on suspects.

The solidity of the evidence will be such that bail will be difficult to access.

Some of the crimes targeted will carry sentences of several years and the authorities believe successful convictions will deter future violent behaviour.

“We must deal with the criminals,” one police official said.

Discussions are also under way around the feasibility of moving lectures and final examinations to venues away from universities, which will be heavily guarded.

This, however, would only be done if the impasse is not resolved in the next week.

STATE OF CRISIS

General secretary of the SA Council of Churches (SACC), Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana, told City Press this week that the SACC wrote to Zuma this week asking him to declare a state of crisis.

The SACC also wants him to form a Cabinet committee that includes parents of students to find a solution to the crisis and avoid protest action beyond Friday to save the academic year.

The presidency confirmed that the SA Union of Students wrote to its office on Thursday requesting a meeting with Zuma. This request is “being considered”.

But Zuma is expected to be out of the country from Tuesday on a trip to Kenya, after which he will travel to India for a Brics meeting.

It is not clear whether Nzimande has scheduled any meetings with students to try to resolve the impasse.

Meanwhile, Gordhan invited South Africans to make suggestions about how to fund university fees in time for his mid-term budget.

“As usual, there is a balancing act that must be struck to give attention to various competing priorities,” Treasury said on Friday.

Treasury said Gordhan particularly wanted public views on funding free tertiary education, as well as how South Africa can achieve inclusive economic growth and use its resources more efficiently.

WITS TALKS COLLAPSE

This week, mediated talks between students and management at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) collapsed.

Mediators – including university alumni Tiego Moseneke (brother of university chancellor and former deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke), Economic Freedom Fighters national chairperson Dali Mpofu and Independent Electoral Commission deputy chair Terry Tselane – failed to help both sides find common ground.

Students insist that free education should be provided immediately and that the university should be closed down until this is declared.

The university said it could not commit to the latter as most students wanted to complete the academic year.

A number of lecturers at Wits said they would not teach tomorrow – both in protest of the “militarisation” of the campus and in solidarity with protesting students.

A Wits insider said the institution battled to communicate with police deployed there this week when they launched stun grenades at students and observers who were marching peacefully, leading to a morning of running battles with police.

“Previously, the vice-chancellor [Adam Habib] was able to ask that police leave when he deemed their presence unnecessary, but on Tuesday, they would not comply,” the insider said.

Habib was not available for comment yesterday.

Police spokesperson Mashadi Selepe said the police needed no invitation to be on premises where “criminal activity or violence is taking place or lives and/or property is under threat”.

Selepe declined to comment on command and control on campuses, saying:

“The department will not peddle command and control issues through the media. Commanders on all levels within the department are well-equipped and competent to exercise command and control within the confines of their mandate.”

University of Cape Town (UCT) spokesperson Elijah Moholola said police were “called on to UCT campuses only on the explicit request of the vice-chancellor or acting vice-chancellor”.

UCT vice-chancellor Max Price was unavailable for comment on police deployments.

Wits student leader Mcebo Dlamini, who was involved in a violent confrontation with police, told City Press that students were undeterred.

“There is no fear because there is no brutality above what we have already [endured], so we are going to continue because what is driving us is the determination and commitment to achieve the cause of free, decolonised education for all,” he said.

He added that students planned to march on either Treasury, the Union Buildings or both this week to demand free education and deliver their model on how it could be achieved.

Universities and the department of higher education had hoped a temporary shutdown would discourage students and that fatigue would set in, but students say they can’t “allow the moment to pass”.

“We are close, so we cannot turn back now. If it does not happen now, it will never happen. We also want to be in class, but we also know that if we back down, this will be an annual event and we will be divided as students,” said a student leader.

CONCOURT BID

Informal discussions are also under way to take the call for free education to the Constitutional Court. Mpofu said students made compelling arguments that could be presented to the court.

“There are a number of arguments to be made around inequality brought about by things such as Bantu education and that government must prioritise the question of education to redress imbalances of the past,” Mpofu said.

“We could use the past imbalances to anchor the argument and use the equality clause as a springboard, coupled with section 29. We would also have to consider whether we head to the high court first or directly to the Constitutional Court. Those are just some of the considerations.”

Questions to Nzimande regarding new plans to deal with the crisis were directed to Harold Maloka, deputy CEO of the Government Communication and Information System, who said government’s only comment was that stakeholders should continue with engagements.

South Africa – racism entering RhodesMustFall as non-black students barred from dining room

City Press

Students question #RhodesMustFall
Biénne Huisman
2016-02-21 15:00

The burning of paintings and the racist exclusion of students from a dining hall at the University of Cape Town has started to rattle the legitimacy of the #RhodesMustFall campaign.

Some students in residences affected by the destructive protests this week said they wanted to get on with their studies. They said they had withdrawn their support for the #RhodesMustFall campaign and feared for their lives. They were too afraid to let City Press identify them.

Students said that members of the #RhodesMustFall movement took over the food service in Fuller Hall’s dining room.

They barred white, coloured and Indian students from entering the hall, and served black students only.

The meal was chicken, rice and cauliflower with gravy. After that, they removed paintings from the dining room’s walls and set them alight in the parking lot.

Ivy-covered Fuller Hall houses 229 women students and shares a dining room with nearby Smuts Hall, where 230 male students live.

City Press spoke to a male resident of Smuts Hall and a female resident of Fuller Hall. They were both allowed to eat on Tuesday night, but they asked not to be named for fear of intimidation.

The woman student, dressed in a Fuller Hall house committee T-shirt, said she feared for her life.

The 22-year-old third-year BA social sciences student said: “I have a lot to worry about; home, my studies. I mean I need really good grades to be accepted for honours. I can’t risk participating in this violence.”

She said she had supported the #RhodesMustFall movement until Tuesday.

“They are taking something that was pure and good and turning it into a fight: black against white. It’s that narrative, these generalisations which I don’t like.

“I have white friends, coloured friends and Indian friends. It was terrible to eat while they were watching from outside. Then Rhodes Must Fall took down the paintings in the dining room, at least 22 paintings, some dating from the 1930s…

“I used to support the #RhodesMustFall movement and Shackville [a campaign to support students looking for accommodation], but on Tuesday that changed.”

She has had her own room at Fuller Hall for three years. She said her studies were funded by the university’s financial aid programme. Her parents, a retired policeman and teacher from Eshowe, KwaZulu-Natal, contributed R18 000 a year.

She has applied to have this revised as her mother retired last year due to ill health, and now both her parents cannot afford to pay for her studies or those of her two brothers.

One brother studied civil engineering at UCT, but left in 2013 after he failed. He is set to resume his engineering studies this year at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

However, like many students at UCT, he has nowhere to stay.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen. I have a huge comfortable room, but can’t let him sleep here at Fuller Hall because of the rules. It’s very stressful. One can’t really focus on studies when your brother is homeless.”

The 19-year-old male Smuts Hall resident, a first-year student from Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal, matriculated with seven distinctions and an 89% average last year. He said his admission and application for financial aid through the university had been simple, but he was disturbed by the Rhodes Must Fall developments.

“At around 6.45pm, when I got to the dining room, there was a whole bunch of people at the doors, keeping some students out and saying: ‘No black child will go hungry.’ I was let in.

“We all stood in line … I had mixed feelings because I was hungry, but I felt bad for my friends outside, the Indian, white and coloured people.

“Before it got violent, I empathised with the protesters. But I don’t agree with the burning of paintings and they were ripping our stuff off the walls; announcements and textbook adverts, and so on.”

Nigeria – Dasuki doing everything to avoid trial and hide his secrets

Punch

Immediate Past National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.)

 

The Federal Government has accused the immediate past National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, of avoiding trial in order to keep “the magnitude” of his alleged wrongs against the country away from the public.

It stated this in a counter-affidavit which it filed before a Federal High Court in Abuja in opposition to an application by Dasuki seeking an order discharging him from further standing trial on charges of money laundering and illegal possession of firearms instituted against him.

The ex-NSA had predicated his application on the grounds of Federal Government’s alleged “brazen” disobedience of a series of orders of court granting him bail.

He urged the court in his application to discharge him and prohibit the Federal Government from further prosecuting him on the grounds that his re-arrest by the DSS was tantamount to Federal Government’s alleged act of assault on the court which had released him on bail.

The Federal Government, through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation is prosecuting Dasuki before Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court in Abuja on four counts of money laundering and illegal possession of firearms.

In its counter-affidavit to Dasuki’s application filed by the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Dipo Okpeseyi (SAN), the Federal Government denied the allegation of disobeying the order granting bail to Dasuki with respect to the case.

A lawyer in Okpeseyi’s firm, Emmanuel Ikpebe, who deposed to the counter-affidavit, stated that while the prosecution was ready to proceed with the case, Dasuki was allegedly reluctant to go on in order to keep the details of his wrongs from the public.

The counter-affidavit stated, “That the respondent (FG) is willing and ready to proceed to prove the case with the order of this court at the last hearing on January 20, 2016 fixing the case for definite hearing.

“That I know that the applicant is not interested in facing his trial before this court.

“That I also know that the applicant is averse to general public knowing the magnitude of the wrongs against the Nigeria state he has been charged with in court.”

The prosecution insisted that Dasuki was re-arrested because of “multiple criminal cases” pending against him in different courts.

On Tuesday, at the resumed hearing before Justice Ademola at the Federal High Court, both the prosecution and the defence disagreed on the alleged violation of the order granting bail to Dasuki.

Dasuki maintained a blank facial expression while seated in the dock throughout the Tuesday’s proceedings.

His lawyer, Mr. Joseph Daudu (SAN), insisted before Justice Ademola that the Federal Government had violated the court’s order granting bail to his client.

He said his application sought to prohibit the Federal Government from continuing to prosecute his client, adding that by further indulging the prosecution, which was allegedly in contempt of the orders of the court, to go on with the case, would amount to “mockery of the judiciary” and “an assault on the rule of law.”

He asked for an adjournment to file a response to the prosecution’s reply to his client’s application.

But in response, prosecuting counsel, Okpeseyi, opposed the application for adjournment as he also denied the allegation of disobeying court order.

But in his ruling, Justice Ademola granted the application for adjournment and directed that the defence should file its final reply within seven days.

The judge adjourned till March 3 and directed that the prosecution must produce the ex-NSA in court at the next sitting and subsequent ones.

The judge also said he would deliver a pending ruling on an application by the prosecution for witness protection on March 3.

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Kenya – after poisonings is the Marsh in Maasai Mara a no-go area for lions?

Jonathan and Angela Scott

The Marsh Pride: The Future?

December 9th, 2015

150415-111516 _DX14316

The Paradis Pride who share the same pride males – the 4 Musketeers – with the Marsh Pride.

The poisoning of members of the Marsh Pride will make a sorry end note to our Autobiography (Published by Bradt in August 2016). To be honest there is no longer a Marsh Pride – the Musiara Marsh area that gave the pride its name has become a ‘no go area’ for a proper pride with nowhere safe for them to breed now that Bila Shaka and the Marsh are cattle country. Remnants of the Marsh Pride are eking out an existence wherever they can – along Rhino Ridge and over on Paradise or keeping to the fringes of the riverine forest. But that means trying to avoid hostility from neighboring prides. Prime lion territory is fiercely contested – nobody is willing to cut any slack to their neighbors.

We do retain hope that all the furore over this incident may force some changes. The problem is ‘Where do all those cattle go?’ Sub-Division of Masailand has changed the landscape around the Reserve – it is no longer suitable in the main for large scale pastoralism. One suggestion is to set aside some of the Greater Mara as pasture for cattle that could be used on a rotational basis. In the Wildlife Conservancies surrounding the Reserve, use of the land for wildlife based tourism exists alongside pastoralism by rotational use of the area – tourists and cattle avoid being in the same place at the same time. Ideally of course it should be an absolute given that no cattle be allowed inside the Reserve – day or night. But with night time grazing becoming the accepted norm with the authorities simply pretending it isn’t happening, how do you revert to a NO CATTLE INSIDE THE RESERVE regime? The damage to the ecosystem by unregulated cattle incursions has been documented by the Hyena Research Team at Talek – showing a loss of biodiversity (less pasture for wild herbivores) and a drop in lion numbers, among other findings. There are no easy solutions to please everyone. We must try to think of the Masai Mara as sacred again – a place where wild animals can live in safety from humans. If we cannot set aside an area of just 1500 sq km for that purpose what hope is there?

There is no question that this has been a public relations disaster for the Masai Mara and Kenya. The Marsh Pride, along with the other star big cats such as Kike and Half-Tail, Bella, Honey and Toto, brought a sense of wonder and joy to millions of people around the world. Big Cat Diary changed people’s lives and promoted Kenya Tourism the world over. We can only hope that the fate of the Marsh Pride will prompt the relevant authorities in government to address the issues that have plighted the reputation of the Masai Mara for years. If it does that then something positive will have come of this and a new Marsh Pride will be able to reclaim the land of the lion around Musiara Marsh and Bila Shaka.