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Summary

  1. Nigeria's leader vows to fight "terror"
  2. 'Three deadly blasts' hit Nigeria's Chibok town
  3. Sierra Leone religious leaders march against abortion
  4. Corruption a 'serious problem' in almost all African states
  5. Get Involved: #BBCAfricaLive
  6. Email stories and comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk - Wednesday 27 January 2016

Live Reporting

By Naziru Mikailu and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Wednesday's stories

We'll be back on Thursday

That's all for today from the BBC Africa Live page. Listen to the Africa Today podcast and keep up-to-date with developments across the continent on the BBC News website.  

A reminder of today’s African proverb:

The death of a neighbour should not scare you from living

An ‪‎Ateso‬ proverb sent by Prince Emro Matano, Nairobi, Kenya

And we leave you with this picture of a man reading a newspaper in front of a map of Africa in Senegal's capital, Dakar:

man reads his newspaper in front a map of Africa at the Place du Souvenir Africain, in Dakar, on January 27, 2016
AFP

Gbagbo 'confident' for ICC trial

upporters of Ivory Coast's presidential candidate Alassane Ouattara throw tyres onto a fire in the streets of Abidjan on December 3, 2010
AFP
Mr Gbagbo is accused of fuelling conflict in Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast's former President Laurent Gbagbo, 70, is "confidently" approaching his crime against humanity trial at the International Criminal Court, his lawyer has said, AFP news agency reports. 

Mr Gbagbo "wants the truth, the entire truth, the whole truth to be told, so that the people of the Ivory Coast can take ownership of their own history", Emmanuel Altit is quoted as saying. 

Mr Gbagbo, who is due in court tomorrow, will be the first former head of state to be tried at the ICC. 

He faces four charges of crimes against humanity, including murder, rape, and persecution arising out of the political upheavals which wracked the West African nation in 2010-2011. 

The former president is expected to plead not guilty to the charges. 

Chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said Mr Gbagbo would be tried fairly and impartially. 

"Our case is based on the law... and on the strength of the evidence our investigators have gathered," she said. 

Watch: Why is Gbagbo standing trial? 

Laurent Gbagbo on trial: Former Ivory Coast leader at ICC

Explosion 'kills' Egypt's troops

At least four Egyptian soldiers have been killed after an armoured personnel carrier exploded on the outskirts of the city of Arish in the Sinai Peninsula, security and medical sources say, Reuters news agency reports.

An improvised explosive device was planted on the road and remotely detonated as the vehicle conducted a search operation, the sources said.

Twelve others were also injured in the incident.

Egypt's official military spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment, Reuters reports.

A scene of car bomb attack in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on 24 July 2015
Getty Images
Miitants have carried out a spate of attacks in Egypt

Egypt has been battling a growing number of insurgents since the 2013 overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi. 

The insurgency, mounted by militants affiliated to the Islamic State group, has killed hundreds of soldiers and police and started to attack Western targets within the country.

Why are teenage pregnancies rising in Africa?

Africa has the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the world. Eighteen African countries appear on a United Nations list of 20 countries with the highest teenage pregnancies reported. 

South Africa's education ministry is now considering policies to introduce long-term contraception to school-going teenagers. 

The BBC's Ann Soy reports:

Why are teenage pregnancies rising in Africa?

Campaign for gay rights moving in 'right direction'

Southern Africa is moving towards greater acceptance of sexual and gender minorities, though there is still a long way to go, the United States' special envoy for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people has said, Reuters news agency reports. 

Randy Berry, an openly gay US diplomat, was speaking at the end of a 10-day visit to Malawi, Namibia, Botswana and South Africa. 

"I believe in all of these countries, there are seeds of hope," Mr Berry said, in a phone-in with journalists from South Africa.

"With government representatives, I found them to be sensitive to the issues, wanting to engage very clearly... After these consultations, I am quite hopeful," he added, Reuters reports.

Gay rights activists participate in a demonstration rally marking the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) at the North Beach in Durban, on May 17, 2014
AFP
Activists say gay people face abuse even in countries where it is legal

Homosexuality or acts of gay sex are outlawed in most of Africa's 54 states. 

Many people in Africa are socially conservative, and say homosexuality is against their religious and cultural beliefs.

Kenya in 'just war' against al-Shabab

Uhuru Kenyatta (C) prepares to lay a wreath to pay respects to the Kenyan soldiers serving in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), who were killed in El Adde during an attack, at a memorial mass at the Moi Barracks in Eldoret, January 27, 2016
Reuters
Mr Kenyatta attended the memorial with the leaders of Nigeria and Somalia

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta has said the government will not "waiver" in its commitment to fight militant Islamist group al-Shabab, despite the deadly assault on government troops in neighbouring Somalia. 

The main opposition party in Kenya has called for the withdrawal of troops, but Mr Kenyatta ruled out the possibility at a memorial for the killed soldiers in the town of Eldoret.   

"This is not the time to waiver or to listen to the voices of defeat and despair," Mr Kenyatta said in a televised address. 

"We fight because our cause is just, because we want to restore a productive peace in Somalia and we also wish to protect ourselves from an enemy that would seek to destroy us."   

Family and comrades of slain Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers wait to be addressed by Kenya"s President Uhuru Kenyatta, Somalia"s Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud and Nigeria"s Muhamadu Buhari who arrived to pay their respects at a memorial, on January 27, 2016
AFP
Relatives and comrades of the killed soldiers attended the memorial

The al-Qaeda-linked militants said they killed more than 100 soldiers in the attack on an army base in south-western Somalia on 15 January. 

Kenya has refused to say how many of its troops were killed or wounded. 

Chibok was 'packed' when bombers struck

The remote north-eastern Nigerian town of Chibok was packed with traders from surrounding villages for the weekly market when suicide bombers detonated themselves, killing 13 people, town elder Ayuba Chibok has told the AFP news agency. 

The blasts, at about midday (11:00 GMT), bore the hallmarks of militant Islamist group Boko Haram, AFP reports. 

"Ten died on the spot and another one died on the way to hospital," health worker Dazzban Buba is quoted as saying. 

 "A woman and a child died as they were being admitted (to hospital), so now the death toll stands at 13. Thirty others were injured, 21 critically," the health worker added. 

Chibok came to prominence in April 2014 when the militants stormed a boarding school and kidnapped 276 girls, causing global outrage.

Former Nigerian Education Minister and Vice-President of the World Bank's Africa division (3rd L) Obiageli Ezekwesilieze speaks as she leads a march of Nigeria women and mothers of the kidnapped girls of Chibok, calling for their freedom in Abuja on April 30, 2014
AFP
A global campaign was launched to attention to the kidnappings

Fifty-seven girls managed to escape in the immediate aftermath but 219 are still being held and have not been seen since they appeared in a Boko Haram video in May that year. 

Chibok was briefly overrun by the Islamic State group-allied insurgents in November 2014 but recaptured by the military after several days.

Read: Surviving Boko Haram

Morocco bloggers trial postponed

Rana Jawad

BBC North Africa correspondent, Tunis

The trial of the seven Moroccan bloggers accused of undermining state security has been postponed to 23 March, a lawyer of one of the defendants has told me. 

Abdel-Aziz Nouaydi said one of the defendants had failed to show up resulting in the postponement.

The six men and a woman have denied all the charges and said they were politically motivated. 

Al-Jazeera sues Egypt government

Al-Jazeera is suing Egypt over its crackdown its activities and journalists following the 2013 overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi, the Associated Press news agency reports. 

The Qatari-owned broadcaster says it incur losses of $150m (£110m) and has "no other option" but taking legal action through the Washington-based International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

The move came months after Cairo declined to respond to the network's complaints, it said in a statement.

Egyptian government spokesman Hossam Qawish told AP that the authorities have not seen the report. 

Staff members at Al Jazeera America attend 'Journalism Is Not A Crime', a campaign calling for the release of journalists imprisomed in Egypt, at Al Jazeera in New York city, 25 September 2014
AFP
The journalists maintained their innocence

Three al-Jazeera journalists were sentenced to up to 10 years imprisonment in June 2014 on charges of affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood. All three were released last year.  

Buhari: "Take battle to terrorists"

Here are more tweets from the media adviser to Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari on the speech he has given at the inter-faith memorial in Kenya to honour Kenyan soldiers killed in Somalia by militant Islamist group al-Shabab:

PMB in Kenya: "We must take the battle to terrorists, whoever they are, and wherever they are."

View more on twitter

Al-Shabab said its fighters had killed about 100 troops in the 15 January assault on the Kenyan base in Somalia's south-western el-Ade town. 

Kenyan troops are in Somalia as part of an African Union force trying to defeat the militants.

Huge South Africa march over unemployment

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

Members of the Democratic Alliance display placards during a march for jobs in Johannesburg on January 27, 2016
AFP

Thousands of people have protested in South Africa's main city, Johannesburg, against high levels of unemployment. 

The march was organised by the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party, whose members turned up in blue T-shirts and caps. 

DA leader Mmusi Maimane told the crowd that if you asked President Jacob Zuma about jobs, he would laugh.

Mr Maimane made the comment while mimicking the president who is known to laugh at awkward times, even during parliamentary question time. 

The DA leader added that the youth were "now saying genoeg is genoeg [an Afrikaans phrase for "enough is enough"] and they are joining the blue brigade.” 

South Africa is expected to hold crucial local government elections in the next few months and there is no doubt that protest was partly aimed at helping the party boost its standing among voters ahead of the polls. 

South Africa's unemployment rate stands at around 25%. 

Protests in Sierra Leone over abortion

Sierra Leone's Muslim and Christian leaders have marched to parliament in the capital, Freetown, to protest against a controversial draft law on abortion.

The clerics want the Safe Abortion Bill, which allows for pregnancy of up to 12 weeks to be terminated without reason, to be dropped.

Pro-abortion activists have been staging a rival protest.

A BBC reporter has been tweeting from the scene: 

View more on twitter

Kenya judge probed over '$2m bribe'

judge
Judicial Service Commission
Judge Philip Tunoi says the allegations are a smear campaign

Kenya has begun a judicial inquiry into allegations that a Supreme Court judge accepted a $2m (£1.4m) bribe.

Phillip Tunoi denies taking money to rule in favour of Evans Kidero, whose election as Nairobi governor was challenged in 2014.

Mr Kidero, who became governor in March 2013, has also denied that he paid a bribe to influence the ruling.

Both men deny meeting the person who alleges that he was their intermediary and facilitated the bribe.

Chief Justice Willy Mutunga said he had ordered the inquiry into Geoffrey Kiplagat's allegations because of their "gravity" and "the public interest this matter has generated".

"We are committed to running a clean judiciary and any matter that is brought before us is investigated and acted on fairly without prejudice to individual rights or public interest."

Read the full BBC story here

Chibok death toll 'rises'

The number of people killed by suicide bombers in Nigeria's north-eastern Chibok town has risen to 13, a witness has said, the Associated Press news agency is reporting. 

There were three bombers - all of them females, AP reports. 

Militant Islamist group Boko Haram caused global outrage in 2014 when it abducted more than 200 schoolgirls from the town in  April 2014. 

Foreign powers - including the US and China - pledged to help find them, but Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari said recently that there was no credible intelligence on the whereabouts of the girls. 

Special report: Nigeria's missing schoolgirls

Buhari vows to 'fight terrorists'

A media adviser to Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has been tweeting about his speech at the memorial for Kenyan soldiers killed by Somalia's militant Islamist group al-Shabab: 

PMB in Kenya: "We must take the battle to terrorists, whoever they are, and wherever they are."

There are reports of at least 10 people killed in suicide bombings in Nigeria's Chibok town, from where militant Islamist group Boko Haram abducted more than 200 schoolgirls in 2014. 

The Nigerian government has not yet commented on the reports.  

Welcome, Adebayor

Crystal Palace and Congo midfielder Yannick Bolasie wants to make new signing Emmanuel Adebayor feel at home:

View more on twitter

Buhari lays wreath in Kenya

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari is at a memorial in Kenya's Eldoret town for Kenyan soldiers killed in Somalia on 15 January by al-Shabab insurgents. 

The leaders of Kenya and Somalia are also at the memorial, as a BBC reporter tweets from there:

View more on twitter

Mr Buhari has not yet commented on reports that multiple bombs have exploded in north-eastern Nigeria's Chibok town. 

Two Chibok 'bombers at large'

A former resident of Chibok town has told the BBC that five suicide bombers entered the town this morning and three of them managed to detonate their explosives. 

The other two are still at large, Malam Ayouba said. 

"People I spoke to are in shock, some of them are still crying," he told the BBC Hausa service.

Mr Ayouba said the attack took place despite the presence of security forces in the town.   

Map of Nigeria
BBC

'Suicide bombers' struck in Chibok

At least 10 people were killed when three suicide bombers blew themselves up in the north-east Nigerian town of Chibok where Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls, a town elder had confirmed to AFP news agency. 

"The casualty toll is not conclusive but so far at least 10 people have been confirmed dead and over 30 injured," said Ayuba Chibok, adding that the blasts happened on market day.  

'Three explosions' rock Chibok

Three bombs have exploded in north-eastern Nigeria's Chibok town, targeting three different places, the BBC Hausa service is reporting.

The first bomb went off at a weekly market while another detonated at a security checkpoint, it added.

It is unclear where the third bomb exploded. 

Reports say the attacks were carried out by suicides bombers, but this has not been independently verified.

Militant Islamist group Boko Haram raided the town in April 2014, and abducted more than 200 girls. 

The abductions caused international outrage. 

Boko Haram video
Boko Haram video
Boko Haram has waged an insurgency in Nigeria since 2009

Egyptian 'executed' in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has executed an Egyptian convicted of murder, adding to a surge in death sentences carried out since late 2014, AFP news agency report. 

Mahmud Jumaa Morsi was found guilty of fatally strangling and robbing a Saudi, the interior ministry said, adding that he was executed in Riyadh. 

Most executions in Saudi Arabia are done by beheading with a sword. 

 Fifty-four people have been put to death already this year by the kingdom, including 47 in a single day on 2 January for "terrorism". 

New York-based Human Rights Watch urged the country to abolish these "ghastly punishments". 

Breaking'Deadly blast' in Nigeria's Chibok town

Muhammad Kabir Muhammad

BBC Africa, Abuja

A powerful explosion has rocked a weekly market in the north-eastern Nigerian town of Chibok, where militant Islamist group Boko Haram abducted more than 200 schoolgirls in 2014, a former resident of the town has told me.

Details are sketchy but some reports say more than ten people have been killed in the blast.

A campaign group seeking the release of the girls has tweeted the news of the attack:

View more on twitter

Morocco bloggers due in court

Rana Jawad

BBC North Africa correspondent, Tunis

The controversial trial of seven Moroccan bloggers, journalists and a historian is due to begin later today in the capital, Rabat, on security-related charges.

International media and human rights organisations have criticized the proceedings and are calling for the charges to be dropped.

The Moroccan authorities accuse the seven writers of undermining state security and failing to report foreign funding. These are just two of the several charges they face.  

The six men and a woman were part of a foreign-funded project to promote citizen journalism, through the use of smartphone technology.  

Five of the seven defendants could be jailed for up to five years under state security laws.  

In a statement to the BBC, one of the defendants, Hicham Kreibshi, described the accusations against them as politically-motivated.  

He said the state is aiming to silence advocates for reform, “while projecting a false image of openness to the rest of the world.” 

Mobile firms in WhatsApp row in South Africa

Pumza Fihlani

BBC News, Johannesburg

Facebook and WhatsApp logos are displayed on portable electronic devices on February 19, 2014 in San Francisco City
AFP

Representatives of mobile phone giants MTN and Vodacom were in South Africa's parliament, arguing for over-the-top (OTT) internet services, such as WhatsApp and Skype, to be regulated. 

But competitor Cell C has challenged this stance, saying the two companies' attempts to have these services regulated will stifle innovation and investment.

MTN and Vodacom are concerned that the OTT services are freely using their networks to provide much cheaper data services, and even making it possible for users to make phone calls - without investing at all in infrastructure development. 

The issue is being discussed at a meeting of the parliamentary portfolio committee on telecommunications and postal services. 

It called yesterday's meeting to discuss "necessary policy interventions on how to govern" OTT services, following a request by MTN and Vodacom.

'Bid to settle' MTN-Nigeria row

A street vendor walks past a MTN service board in Lagos, on October 27, 2015
AFP
MTN is Africa's biggest mobile phone operator

MTN is seeking an "amicable" out-of-court settlement with Nigeria's telecommunications regulator which has fined the mobile phone operator $3.9bn (£2.7bn), a senior Nigerian official has said, Reuters news agency reports. 

MTN has filed a suit against the fine which was imposed on the company for its failure to deactivate unregistered Sim cards. 

"Our lawyers communicated to us that indeed MTN is resorting to a settlement out of court," said Umar Garba Danbatta, the executive vice-chairman of the Nigeria Communication, Reuters reports. 

"They [MTN] are trying to get this settled amicably," Mr Danbatta added.   

Libya peace deal could be 'changed'

Libya's peace deal could be changed after the internationally recognised parliament rejected a clause which would strip a powerful army chief of his post, UN envoy Martin Kobler has said, the Associated Press news agency reports.

Mr Kobler said there was a "mechanism" within the Libya Political Agreement for amendments to be made  in apparent contradiction to earlier warnings against making changes to the deal.

On Monday, Libya's House of Representatives also rejected the unity government proposed under the peace deal, giving rivals ten days to come up with a new, smaller cabinet.

The agreement was reached after nearly a year of talks between the Islamist-backed parliament in Tripoli and the internationally recognised administration in the eastern city of Tobruk.

Libya has been in chaos since the 2011 overthrow of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

Libya fighters
Getty Images
Areas of Libya are still controlled by rival militias

Buhari flies in for Kenya memorial

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has arrived in the Kenyan town of Eldoret for the memorial in honour of Kenyan troops killed in Somalia. 

Mr Buhari was welcomed by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

A Kenyan government media website tweets a photo of his plane touching down at the airport in Eldoret, from where many of the soldiers came:

View more on twitter

Mourners pack Kenya memorial service

A BBC reporter is tweeting from the Kenyan town of Eldoret as crowds wait for the start of the inter-faith memorial service in honour of soldiers killed by militant Islamist group al-Shabab at their base in Somalia's el-Ade town on 15 January:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Mugabe accused of favouritism over burials

Heroes Acre
AFP
More than 100 people are buried at the cemetery

The main opposition in Zimbabwe has accused President Robert Mugabe Zanu-PF party of turning Heroes Acre, where leading figures in the campaign against white-minority rule are buried, into a "shrine" for members of his Zanu-PF party, the Associated Press news agency reports. 

"We have come to accept that this is a Zanu-PF cemetery, but the use of state funds to pay for such a partisan shrine is criminal,'' said Luke Tamborinyoka, a spokesman for the MDC party, led by Morgan Tsvangirai. 

AP reports that MDC official Alex Musundire and lawyer Tinomudaishe Chinyoka filed papers earlier this month in the Constitutional Court, accusing President Mugabe of not always acting lawfully when deciding who should be buried at Heroes Acre in the capital, Harare.

They also accuse him of favouritism, and cite the burial of his sister as an example, AP adds.

"Sabina Mugabe ... is not chronicled in any government or other publication that I am aware of with having done anything of note,'' Mr Chinyoka is quoted as saying. 

mourner holds a sign reading 'Long Live our Independence' as another wears regalia bearing the face of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe during the burial of the late vice-president John Landa Nkomo at the National Heroes Acre, in Harare, on January 21, 2013
AFP
Mr Mugabe has ruled since independence in 1980

In an address at Heroes Acre last year, Mr Mugabe, 91, said: "The misguided elements whom we share Zimbabwe with have absurd, weird and wayward opinions on who should be declared a hero. 

"Let me make it abundantly clear that these sacred shrines are solely for our heroes who sacrificed their lives for the liberation of this country," he added.  

Veterans of the anti-colonial campaign buried at Heroes Acre include Vice-President Joshua Nkomo and military chief Solomon Mujuru. 

No date has still been set for the court case.   

Kenyatta arrives for Eldoret memorial

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta has arrived in the town of Eldoret for the memorial in honour of soldiers killed in neighbouring Somalia by militant Islamists (see earlier posts).

Watch the video of Mr Kenyatta's arrival:

View more on youtube

Earning through the hard way

US-based Nigeria lawyer tweets a picture of a courageous person living with disability in the west Africa nation:

View more on twitter

The world of Nigeria's sex-trafficking 'Air Lords'

A BBC team has been given rare access by Spanish police to an investigation into a Nigerian sex-trafficking gang. 

Our reporter Orla Guerin spoke to traffickers and women rescued from sexual slavery before filming an early morning raid in November, which led to 23 arrests.

She also discovered that the gang is now using London as gateway into Europe: 

Cracking Europe's human trafficking rings

You can also read a text piece by producer Sam Piranty here.

Trevor Noah writes book on childhood

South African comedian and the host of America's The Daily Show, Trevor Noah, will release a book about being the child of an illegal mixed race relationship under apartheid, his publishers say, AFP news agency reports.

Mr Noah, who grew up in the township of Soweto, was born to a black woman and a white Swiss father - a mixed relationship which was prohibited during minority rule in South Africa.

Trevor Noah
AFP

The book details "growing up in South Africa during the last gasps of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that came with its demise," said Pan Macmillan South Africa in a statement.  

"I couldn't find a good book about myself so I decided to write one," added the 31-year-old comedian. "And just like me this book doesn't have an appendix."  

Mr Noah shot to fame last year when he was surprisingly chosen to replace Jon Stewart's celebrated 16-year stint as the host of the nightly satire show.

He has often joked about his upbringing as a mixed-race boy among black children in Soweto where both Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu once lived. 

The book is due out in November.

Kenya ready to welcome Nigeria's Buhari

Preparations are well under way in Kenya to receive Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari for a memorial in honour of Kenyan soldiers killed by militant Islamist group al-Shabab (see earlier post). 

The Kenyan presidency has tweeted these pictures of dancers waiting to welcome the Nigerian leader:

View more on twitter

Somalia's leader is already in Eldoret for the memorial, as Kenya's deputy president tweets:

View more on twitter

African leaders to honour killed Kenyan troops

Odhiambo Joseph

BBC Africa, Nairobi

Kenyan activist Boniface Mwangi lights a candle near a replica of a gun and helmets placed on the ground to symbolise Kenyan soldiers serving in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), who were killed during an attack last week, at a memorial vigil within the "Freedom Corner" in Kenya"s capital Nairobi, January 21, 2016
Reuters
Kenyan has refused to say how many troops were killed

At least three African leaders are due to attend an inter-faith memorial in the Kenyan town of Eldoret for Kenyan soldiers killed by militant Islamist group al-Shabab in Somalia. 

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari and Somalia's Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud will join Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta at the memorial at a barracks near Eldoret town, from where many of the soldiers came. 

The decision of Mr Buhari and Mr Mohamoud to attend is seen as a sign of solidarity with Kenya, as it finds itself under increasing threat from militants.    

Al-Shabab says it killed about 100 Kenyan soldiers in a 15 January assault on a military base in el-Ade, which is in the south-western region of Gedo.

Kenya's military has refused to divulge casualty figures.

If the al-Shabab number is confirmed, it will be the deadliest assault on Kenyan soldiers since they crossed into Somalia in 2011. 

Kenya has about 4,000 troops in the 22,000-strong African Union force battling the militants in the neighbouring state.

Read: What happened during the al-Shabab attacked? 

Sierra Leone anti-abortion protest

Umaru Fofana

BBC Africa, Freetown

Christian and Muslim leaders in Sierra Leone have called on the public to join them on a march to parliament today to demand the withdrawal of a controversial draft law on abortion. 

The proposed legislation allows for pregnancy of up to 12 weeks to be terminated without reason.

This is the most controversial aspect of the bill, with religious leaders saying it is "tantamount to murder".

Supporters of the bill says it will help end back-street abortions, which often cause the death of women.   

The draft law also says that pregnancy from 13-24 weeks can be ended only if there is a threat to the life of the mother, a fetal abnormality is detected, or if the pregnancy is as a result of rape or incest.

Parliament passed the bill unanimously in December but the president refused to sign it into law after religious leaders made representations to him. 

He has sent the bill back to parliament, and religious leaders hope the march will increase pressure on MPs to kill it.

'Worrying picture' of corruption in Africa

Corruption is a "serious problem" in 40 of the 46 states in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a new report by anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI). 

It ranked Somalia - which has not had an effective central government since the overthrow of long-serving ruler Siad Barre in 1991 - as the most corrupt in the world, along with highly repressive North Korea. 

"This year's index presents a worrying picture, with 40 of 46 countries [in sub-Saharan Africa] showing a serious corruption problem and no improvement for continent powerhouses Nigeria and South Africa," TI said. 

"Indicators for rule of law and justice score particularly badly. 

While some governments are reducing risks for business, there's little change for citizens - as systemic corruption leaves many countries struggling to uphold basic rule of law," it added.

A man counting dollar notes
Getty Images
Experts say corruption level is high in most African countries

However, there had been an improvement in several countries, notably Senegal where the government had introduced a series of anti-corruptions laws, TI said.

Its anti-corruption index is based on expert opinions of public sector corruption, looking at a range of factors like whether government officials are held to account or go unpunished for corruption, the perceived prevalence of bribery, and whether public institutions respond to citizens' needs.

Today's wise words

  Our African proverb of the day:

The death of a neighbour should not scare you from living

An ‪‎Ateso‬ proverb sent by Prince Emro Matano, Nairobi, Kenya

Click here to send us your African proverbs