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Summary

  1. Akon flies to Liberia to install solar power at schools
  2. Conjoined twins in Malawi die before delayed operation
  3. Prominent Muslim cleric 'abducted' in Nigeria along with three women
  4. Former BBC correspondent Chris Simpson dies
  5. Top Ugandan bank hit by financial crisis
  6. Monarch crowned in Nigeria's Benin kingdom
  7. Ethiopia detains 'more than 2,600' under state of emergency
  8. Kenya frees 7,000 inmates 'to fight corruption'
  9. Email stories and comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk - Thursday 20 October 2016

Live Reporting

By Farouk Chothia and Lucy Fleming

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Scroll down for Thursday's stories

    We'll be back tomorrow

    That's all from the BBC Africa Live page today. Keep up-to-date with what's happening across the continent by listening to the Africa Today podcast or checking the BBC News website

    A reminder of today's wise words:

    Quote Message: You cannot run and scratch your foot at the same time." from A Mandinka proverb sent by Mohammed V Massallay in Monrovia, Liberia
    A Mandinka proverb sent by Mohammed V Massallay in Monrovia, Liberia

    Click here to send your African proverbs.  

    And we leave you with this photo of Zimbabwe's 92-year-old President Robert Mugabe, attending a ceremony at Harare Institute of Technology for the graduation of more than 2,000 students earlier today:

    President Robert Mugabe in graduation robes, Harare, Zimbabwe - 20 October 2016
  2. Mozambique jails 'are life-threatening'

    Jose Tembe

    BBC Africa, Maputo

    Mozambique’s jails and police cells are a threat to the lives and health of inmates, the country’s ombudsman has warned.

    Jose Abudo said the places he visited between April 2015 and March 2016 had serious problems, including leaking roofs, a lack of ventilation and toilets with flushes that did not work.

    He said that tn the prison in the northern city of Lichinga, for example, the prisoners were kept indoors 24 hours a day, because the prison wall was so low guards feared the inmates would escape.

    With no exposure to sunlight, the prisoners there were in danger of vitamin D deficiency, which could weaken their bones and prevent their blood from clotting, Mr Abudo added.

    In several police cells he visited in Niassa, Cabo Delgado, Nampula and Tete provinces, the floors on which the prisoners were obliged to sleep became soaked on rainy days.

    While prisoners held in jails run by the prison services received meals regularly, he found that those held in police cells were less fortunate as food was not covered by the police budget.

    In some cases, individual policemen bought food from their own wages to prevent prisoners from starving to death, he said.

  3. 'More than 2,600' detained in Ethiopia

    The total number of people arrested in Ethiopia since a state of emergency was imposed on 9 April stands at more than 2,600. 

    On Monday, 1,000 arrests were reported by the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate, while today it reported on the detention of more than 1,600 people. 

    All the latest arrests have taken place in the Oromia and Amhara regions, where the country's two biggest ethnic groups have been protesting against the government.

    map

    They are demanding more political freedom and economic benefits in a country ruled by the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front coalition since 1991. 

    Here is a breakdown of where the latest arrests took place:

    • 670: West Arsi zone, Oromia
    • 450: Shashamane, Oromia
    • 302: West Guji zone, Oromia
    • 110 "key actors and co-ordinators of the violence": Kelem Wolega zone, Oromia
    • 93: Gondar zone, Amhara
    • 13 businesspersons for closing their shops, 13 for calling for a strike and three teachers for "abandoning school": Gondar zone, Amhara
    • 29 businesspersons for closing their shops: Bahir Dar, Amhara.

    Source: FBC

  4. Ivory Coast opposition leaders freed after protest

    Opposition supporters holding placards reading "No to a presidency for life", Abidjan, Ivory Coast - 20 October 2016
    Image caption: Some placards at the protest today read: "No to presidency for life"

    Police in Ivory Coast's main city of Abidjan have released several opposition leaders arrested after they led a protest against a proposed new constitution (see earlier post).

    Among those briefly detained was the former speaker of the national assembly, Mamadou Koulibaly, along with other well-known political figures.

    They object to a draft constitution which they say favours President Alassane Ouattara.

    The draft, which has been adopted by parliament, changes the rules on eligibility to run for president and establishes a senate.

    Ivorians will vote in a referendum on whether to adopt it at the end of the month.

  5. King crowned in Nigeria

    The new monarch of the ancient kingdom of Benin has been crowned at a ceremony in Nigeria's southern Benin city. 

    Eheneden Erediauwa will be known by the royal name Oba Ewuare II, Nigeria's Tribune newspaper reports

    King

    Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo led the federal government delegation to witness the coronation of the 39th monarch of the kingdom. 

    The new king, a former diplomat who holds a bachelor of science degree in economics, succeeds his father who died in April. 

    See earlier post for more details

  6. Kenya frees 7,000 inmates 'to fight corruption'

    Prisoners in Kenya
    Image caption: The UN estimated in April this year that Kenya's prison population was 57,000

    Almost 7,000 prisoners have been released from Kenyan prisons in order to create space for "more serious offenders", local media reports.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta told Kenyans during the Mashujaa Day celebrations - a holiday to commemorate those who took part in the country's liberation struggle - that petty offenders such as chicken thieves would be released:

    Quote Message: There is now space to bring in more people with serious offences like corruption... The space is there and there is enough beans for them to eat in there."

    Mr Kenyatta admitted that corruption remained a fundamental issue affecting Kenya, instructing the new chief justice to be vigilant in fighting corruption cases.

    Earlier this week, the president criticised various government agencies for hampering the fight against corruption.

  7. Akon in Liberia to install electricity at schools

    Jonathan Paye-Layleh

    BBC Africa, Monrovia

    Akon pictured in 2013
    Image caption: Akon said he did not know that electricity existed until he moved to the US at the age of eight

    Senegalese-born hip-hop musician Akon is in Liberia to install solar electricity at two primary schools in the West African country.

    It is part of his Lighting Africa project to bring electricity to 600 million people across the continent.

    In this instance he has partnered up with Bridge International Academies, which, in association with other international organisations, is behind a pilot project in Liberia to run 50 government junior schools.

    As his motorcade drove into the capital, Monrovia, under police escort, the musician said it was “crazy” that he could not see a single street light on the 50km (32-mile) road from the airport.

    Liberian schoolchildren hold signs to welcome Akon to Monrovia

    Akon told the BBC that he was moved by the resilience of the Liberian people after 14 years of civil war and the recent Ebola epidemic.

    “A lot of people don’t realise that it’s the people that develop countries; all government does is to try to manage the process; and in Africa we have a tendency of thinking that the government does it all for us.”

    “This is our country, we have to live in it, we have to sleep, we have wake up in the same environment, so we have to be the ones to create that environment for ourselves; and we can’t put it on government,” he said

    The musician said Africans should look beyond race and address the continent’s education and other problems.

    “It’s not a black or white problem; it is an African problem,” he said.

    And he told school children in Liberia to take their learning seriously, saying:

    “We all benefit if we are educated.”

    Read more: The country which wants to privatise its primary schools

  8. Ghana mayor braids woman's hair to woo voters

    BBC Monitoring

    News from around the globe

    With around two months to Ghana's parliamentary and presidential poll, candidates appear to be using every trick in the book to woo voters.

    Typically, they hand out clothing, cutlery and cash in to endear themselves with the electorate.

    However, the outgoing mayor of the capital, Accra, Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, has taken his bid to clinch a parliamentary seat a notch higher.

    Earlier this week, photos emerged on social media showing the mayor, popularly known as Tsentse (bearded father), braiding a woman's hair and also cooking banku, a local delicacy made from a mixture of corn and cassava flour.

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter

    A commentary on the Ghana Pulse news website has criticised the 61-year-old candidate saying:

    Quote Message: This could just be an act of kindness from the AMA [Accra Metropolitan Area] boss. But let's face it. This is 2016. An election year. Less than two months to the polls to be precise. Votes are needed. And candidates will do anything for it. Please, let's be serious."

    Mr Vanderpuije, who is the ruling National Democratic Congress parliamentary candidate in Greater Accra Region's Ablekuma South constituency, is no stranger to controversy.

    He has been nicknamed "Rick Ross" for his resemblance to the US rapper.

    His quest for parliament began in earnest in August 2015 when he dropped his US citizenship to meet the requirement that dual citizens cannot contest elections.

    In January 2015, he was accused of ordering his security guards to shoot the tyres of a motorist in the capital for tailgating his motorcade. He denied the allegations.

    He also caused public outcry in 2011 after he renamed a stadium in Accra, usurping the mandate of the National Sports Authority.

    As the campaigns gather momentum, observers are curious to see what other tricks the Accra mayor and his fellow political aspirants will use to secure much-needed votes.

  9. Tanzania in North Korean ship spat

    Aboubakar Famau

    BBC Africa, Dar es Salaam

    The Tanzanian flag
    Image caption: Tanzania's foreign minister said the vessels were flying the East African nation's flag without consent

    Tanzania has deregistered several North Korean vessels for illegally flying its flag.

    Foreign Minister Augustine Mahiga told the BBC the ships had recently been spotted in the Indian Ocean not far from Tanzania.

    He did not give the exact number of vessels involved.

    North Korean vessels were subject to UN sanctions and were not allowed to travel or dock, Mr Mahiga said.

    “So, these vessels have been trying to find ways of evading or violating the sanctions so that they can continue with their business - and one of the tricks is to fly flags of different countries.”

    The minister said a complaint had been sent to the North Korean government, which denied involvement - blaming trickster businessmen.

    The International Maritime Organisation has also been approached to bring owners of the vessels to account, Mr Mahiga said.

  10. Botswana mine workers to be 'retrenched'

    Thousands of workers at Botswana's largest copper and nickel mine will have their employment contracts terminated at the end of the month because of the operation's losses, liquidator KPMG has said, Reuters news agency reports. 

    Botswana's government cannot afford the cost of about 7.6bn pula ($713m; £580m) needed to keep the state-owned BCL mine running, it quotes Mineral Resources Minister Sadique Kebonang as saying. 

    Copper mines in Botswana have been struggling in the past two years with two others, African Copper's Mowana Mine and Discovery Metals, being liquidated in 2015. 

    BCL mine posted a 1.2bn pula loss in operating costs in 2015 because of a slump in commodity prices, Reuters reports.  

    It employs 5,000 workers, but it is unclear how many of them will lose their jobs.

  11. Deadlock over South African student protests

    Pumza Fihlani

    BBC News, Johannesburg

    Students from various universities march to the Union Buildings during ongoing protests against the cost of higher education in Pretoria, South Africa, 20 October 2016.
    Image caption: Students took their demands to the main government buildings today

    At a meeting of South Africa's cabinet today there seemed to have been no shift in the government's position on free tertiary education, despite continuing protests by students. 

    While a task team made up of cabinet ministers has been set up to to look at ways to resolve the impasse, the cabinet merely reiterated what Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said more than a month ago when he proposed that fees be hiked next year but by no more than 8%. 

    At the time, Mr Nzimande said the government would provide a subsidy for poor students and the so-called "missing middle" - a reference to students whose parents are employed but cannot afford university fees. 

    But students have continued to reject the offer because it would be a government loan.

    Meanwhile, universities are under pressure to resume teaching and prepare for examinations in a bid to salvage the academic year. 

    Thousands of students marched to the Union Buildings, the seat of government in the capital, Pretoria, today to hand over a memorandum of listing their demands. 

    Police intervened to break up the protest. 

    See earlier post for more details

  12. Ugandan tycoon's crown jewel loses sparkle

    Catherine Byaruhanga

    BBC Africa, Kampala

    Uganda's Crane Bank, whose management has been taken over by the central bank because it is in deep financial trouble, was seen as the jewel in the crown of Sudhir Ruparelia, one of Africa's wealthiest men with a fortune of $800m (£650m) in 2015, according to Forbes magazine

    He has a 48% controlling stake in the bank.  

    Forbes

    Mr Ruparelia has a huge empire - in Uganda, you can go to a Ruparelia school, gym and even listen to their radio station.

    Crane Bank, which is the third biggest in Uganda, established him as a powerful businessman in the country.  

    He has said he wants to sell part of his share in order to attract more investment to help the bank expand in the region. It opened its first branch in neighbouring Rwanda in 2014.

    But many suspected the proposed sale was an attempt to raise capital for the struggling bank - and the suspicion will grow following the central bank's announcement today that it is taking over the day-to-day running of Crane in an attempt to knock it back into financial shape after it reported a $2.14m loss in 2015.

    See earlier post for more.

  13. Malawi conjoined twins die before delayed operation

    Chipiliro Kansilanga

    BBC World Service

    Conjoined twins born in Malawi in October 2016
    Image caption: The twins, pictured here just after their birth, were connected by the liver and heart

    Conjoined twins in Malawi have died this morning barely two hours before they were due to be separated.

    Lead surgeon Dr Carlos Valera at Kamuzu Central Hospital told the BBC that the week-old babies had died because of lung complications:

    Quote Message: I am very depressed. They had a high chance of survival despite being born prematurely and I was optimistic the procedure would go well, but then, there are things we have no control over."

    The babies, who were connected at the heart and liver, had been due to be operated on at the hospital in the capital, Lilongwe, yesterday, but Dr Valera says the surgery was postponed because of a shortage of blood.

    The operation, involving a team of four doctors and other hospital personnel, had been expected to last a minimum of three hours.

    The hospital has successfully separated conjoined twins in the past.

    And there were high expectations for today’s operation with Malawians on social media sending their best wishes to the surgical team as well as the babies.

  14. SA police break up student protest

    Students demonstrate downtown Pretoria, South Africa, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016.

    South African police have fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse several hundred university students protesting outside the main government buildings in the capital, Pretoria, to demand the scrapping of tuition fees. 

    President Jacob Zuma has appointed a ministerial team to try to end the month-long protests, but the government has said it cannot allocate extra funds to education at the expense of health or housing.  

  15. Nigeria footballer 'not paid by Lazio for two months'

    Ogenyi Onazi
    Image caption: Onazi say he has not received May's and June's salary from Lazio

    Nigeria international Ogenyi Onazi has asked Fifa to intervene in a dispute with his former club Lazio which he says owes him two months' salary.

    The 23-year-old left Lazio for Turkish side Trabzonspor in August.

    "We have no option but to go to Fifa to ask the disciplinary committee to act on Lazio's refusal to pay me," Onazi told BBC Sport.

    Read the BBC Sport story for more.

  16. Illegal miners on the rampage in Ghana

    Thomas Naadi

    BBC Africa, Accra

    Illegal miners in Ghana
    Image caption: Ghana is one of Africa's biggest gold producer, but illegal mining is a problem

    About 200 illegal miners in Ghana have gone on the rampage destroying property at the headquarters of both the ruling and opposition parties in Obuasi town in the Ashanti region.

    The protest comes after they were asked to relocate as AngloGold Ashanti has bought a concession in the area.

    Illegal mining remains a major problem in Ghana and experts have blamed politicians for failing to find a solution to the problem.

    The miners contend that they have been in the area for many years and have invested heavily in equipment.

    The security forces have now intervened to restore order.

  17. Nigerian cleric abducted with 'three women'

    Yusuf Yakasai

    BBC Hausa, Abuja

    Police have confirmed the abduction of a prominent Muslim cleric while he was travelling on the main road linking the capital, Abuja, to the main northern city, Kano. 

    Gunmen abducted Sheikh Muhammad Lawal Madoki along with his wife, her sister and the wife of his younger brother. 

    The cleric is the head of the Sokoto state government’s charity and endowment commission.

    We incorrectly reported in an earlier post that he was abducted in Sokoto city. We regret the error. 

  18. Chad PM faces no confidence vote

    Abdourahmane Dia

    BBC Afrique

    Albert Pahimi Padacke
    Image caption: Albert Pahimi Padacke became PM in February

    MPs from Chad’s opposition parties have filed a petition for a vote of no confidence against the prime minister in an attempt to remove him and his government from office.

    They accuse him of mishandling the financial difficulties that the country is facing and the measures taken to save money.

    Chad has suffered from the current drop in oil prices.

    Ildjima Abdraman, an opposition MP, told the BBC that Prime Minister Albert Pahimi Padacke and his government had taken a series of measures without consulting civil society or the opposition.

    Among the measures they are angered about is the cancellation of financial aid for students.

    There have been budget cuts to several ministries and many officials have also seen some of their allowances frozen.

    But Ali Kolotou, an MP from the ruling party, has called the opposition's move a "non-event".

    The vote of no confidence has little chance of passing as the majority of the MPs are from the ruling party. 

  19. Financial crisis at top Ugandan bank

    Patience Atuhaire

    BBC Africa, Kampala

    Crane Bank brach in Kampala

    Uganda's central bank has taken control of the country's third biggest bank after it ran into deep financial trouble. 

    Crane Bank's manager has been suspended, and it will now be run by a central bank official. 

    Central bank chief Tumusiime Mutebile told journalists that Crane had been on a "watch list" since September 2015 following an external audit. 

    Its capital had fallen below the legally acceptable limit of 50%.

    A further audit is to be done to check whether bad debts and high non-performing loans contributed to the low capital.

    The bank will remain open to customers. 

    Neighbouring Kenya, the region's biggest economy, has also been hit by a banking crisis.  

    In April, Chase Bank became the third to be placed under receivership in Kenya in the past year. 

    Read: Kenya's bank boss who spurns luxury

  20. Malawi 'most dangerous country to walk and cycle'

    People on a bicycle in Malawi
    Image caption: In Malawi 66% of deaths on the roads are cyclists and pedestrians

    Malawi, Kenya, and South Africa are the countries where it is most dangerous to walk and cycle, the UN says in a survey about traffic accidents.· 

    Of the 1.3 million people dying each year from traffic accidents, 49% are pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) says. 

    Here’s the UNEP’s breakdown of pedestrians and cyclists killed in road accidents: 

    • Malawi: 49% pedestrians, 14-17% cyclists
    • Kenya: 47% pedestrians, 14% cyclists
    • South Africa: 50% pedestrians, 3% cyclists.

    The UNEP said urgent investment was needed to improve infrastructure for walking and cycling to save millions of lives.

    Get involved: Do you agree? How dangerous are your roads? Let us know via Twitter #BBCAfricaLive or WhatsApp +44 7341070844.