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  1. Zimbabwe's Kariba dam '9% full'
  2. UN negotiates release of children in custody of Nigeria's army
  3. Kenya investigates '$50m theft' from health ministry
  4. ANC veterans launch attack on Zuma's leadership
  5. Campaigning for Ivory Coast constitutional referendum
  6. Kenya moves to stop exam cheating
  7. Zimbabweans to consume 10 tonnes of meat at world record attempt
  8. Get Involved: #BBCAfricaLive WhatsApp: +44 7341070844
  9. Email stories and comments to - Friday 28 October 2016

Live Reporting

By Clare Spencer and Damian Zane

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Friday's stories

We'll be back on Monday

That's all from us this week.  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:

No matter how hot the water from your well, it will not cook your rice."

Sent by Charles Geoffrion, Tucson, Arizona, US

Click here and scroll to the bottom to send us your African proverbs.  

And we leave you with this photo of models backstage in Lagos from this week's top shots.

Models backstage at an event in Lagos, Nigeria - Wednesday 26 October 2016
Getty images

'Will people worship us after we're gone?'

Our resident presidents Olushambles and Kibarkingmad have turned their satirical eye to the way the King of Thailand was celebrated following his recent death.

They ponder if their own citizens are as adoring as they could be.

Unicef 'frees 876 children held by Nigeria's army'

troops in Nigeria
Getty Images
The army has retaken territory in the north-east from Boko Haram

The UN has negotiated the release of 876 children detained by Nigeria's army and security forces after they have retook land from Boko Haram militants, a senior official has told Reuters. 

The children had been held in the barracks in the city of Maiduguri in north-eastern Nigeria Unicef's Manuel Fontaine told AFP.

The army routinely detains civilians who have been living in areas that had been ruled by the Islamist militants on suspicion that they too might be linked to militant activities. 

However, rights groups complain there is no proper legal process since they do not get formally charged.  

Some end up rehabilitation centres, which the groups say are like prisons.

Drug trafficking former navy chief asks president for his job back

Jose Americo Bubo Na Tchuto
Getty Images

A former Guinea-Bissau navy chief who was convicted in the US of drug trafficking has asked the president if he can resume his military career, reports the AFP news agency. 

"I have returned from a trip which took me away from the country for three years. It's normal that on my return that I come and see the armed forces' commander in chief," Jose Americo Bubo Na Tchuto told reporters. 

He was captured off the West African coast by US agents in 2013. 

The indictment against him said he and two others were middlemen in a huge drug-smuggling operation which transported cocaine by vessel from South America to Guinea-Bissau, and then to store the cocaine in Guinea-Bissau before its shipment to other locations, including the United States.

Na Tchuto pleaded guilty at his trial in May 2014 and was detained in the US until his sentencing on 4 October. 

He was sentenced to four years in jail by a New York federal court this month but was released for time already served and has returned home, the agency adds.

Kenya 'investigating $50m' health scam

Idris Situma

BBC Swahili, Nairobi

The Kenyan authorities have confirmed that they are investigating allegations that $50m (£40.6m) has been stolen from the health ministry budget.

News of the potential fraud was leaked in Kenya's Business Daily newspaper earlier this week.

It reported that money had been spent on non-existent projects.

Speaking today, Health Minister Cleopa Mailu was annoyed that information about the probe got out before it was completed. 

The minister said the report was leaked before accounting officers at the ministry could respond to queries raised by the investigation.

He said the final report will be published next week.

Uhuru Kenyatta
President Uhuru Kenyatta has expressed his frustration at the levels of alleged corruption

Brazil scandal affects Mozambique's commuters

Jose Tembe

BBC Africa, Maputo

Maputo roads
Getty Images
The new bus system was supposed to go across Maputo

Funding from Brazil for a rapid bus transport scheme in Mozambique's capital, Maputo, is in doubt after the country was involved in a massive corruption scandal.

Preliminary work on identifying which buildings will be demolished and who will need to be rehoused has already been done.

Construction should have begun but nothing has started.

Maputo City Councillor Joao Mcaringue said the Mozambican authorities have not been formally notified by Brazil that they are suspending funding. 

However, Brazil announced that is was halting $4.7bn (£3.8bn) of funding for 25 projects in seven different countries by companies being investigated in the corruption case.

The investigation is into allegations that Brazil's biggest construction firms overcharged state-oil company Petrobras for building contracts. 

Gulen school reopens in Guinea with new name and teachers

Boubacar Diallo

BBC Afrique, Conakry

A private school in Guinea's capital, Conakry, run by an organisation belonging to the Turkish preacher Fethullah Gulen has been reopened under a new name and personnel sent by the Turkish government. 

The school had been shut down by the local authorities after a request from Ankara.

Mr Gulen - who lives in the US - has been accused of fomenting revolt in Turkey.

Former teachers and administrators had left Guinea and are now in neighbouring Senegal. 

They have been replaced by new personnel sent by the Turkish government and a new NGO is running the school.

Parents who had been worried about their children's education were happy that the school had reopened.

Since last July's failed coup in Turkey, many African countries have reportedly been under pressure from Ankara to close schools linked to Mr Gulen.

Fethullah Gulen
Mr Gulen was accused of masterminding the attempted putsch - he has denied this.

Barred Ghana presidential candidate allowed to resubmit forms

Thomas Naadi

BBC Africa, Accra

Supporters of the Progressive People's Party were in a jubilant mood after the result.

Ghana's High Court has ordered the electoral commission to allow a disqualified presidential candidate to resubmit his nomination papers after he was barred from taking part because of a problem with the forms.

The ruling is the first case of the multiple law suits against the electoral commission to go in favour of a candidate who had been barred from running.

Ghana's electoral commission disqualified Papa Kwesi Nduom and 11 other presidential candidates over problems with their nomination papers.

The Accra High Court ruled that the electoral commission was wrong in failing to give an opportunity to Mr Nduom, the candidate for the Progressive People's Party, to correct the mistakes. 

He was disqualified because one voter endorsed his nomination forms twice.

Three more presidential candidates have sued the electoral commission challenging their disqualification. 

Ghana goes to the polls on 7 December.

Zimbabwe's biggest dam 'only 9% full'

Zimbabwe's drought has left the country's largest dam - Kariba - at just 9% of its capacity according to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, quoted by the Reuters news agency.

Mr Mnangagwa said that overall the country's dams are at 42% of their capacity, Reuters adds.

He was speaking as he launched a drought alleviation programme.

The lack of rainfall earlier this year, caused by the El Nino weather pattern, left millions short of food and President Robert Mugabe declared an emergency in parts of the country.

A photo taken on February 7, 2016 shows the fast drying catchment area of the Umzingwani dam in Matabeleland
Zimbabwe's drought has left people short of water and food

'For sale' signs for sale

If you've ever needed a hand-painted sign but didn't have time - or skill - to do it yourself then one Kenyan stall holder has the answer:

Stall selling hand painted signs

The BBC's Tomi Oladipo snapped this on the Ngong road in the capital, Nairobi.

You can buy 

  • Plot For Sale
  • Reserved Parking

And the classic

  • We give credit to those over 80 years accompanied by both parents

Cameroon train crash: 'I am seeing it all over again'

A week after a train derailment which killed nearly 80 people in Esseka in central Cameroon, people living in the area are still in shock but are trying to reclaim their lives.

A religious ceremony in honour of those who died has been held near where the accident happened.

Woman praying

The packed train was travelling between the port city Douala and the capital Yaounde when it came off the rails.

Many in the area where the accident happened are reluctant to talk to the media due to fears of reprisals from the authorities but the BBC's Richard Onanena managed to speak to some of the residents:

If the police see me talking to you, I can get in trouble. The truth is that there are so many dead, and they are hiding so many things regarding these deaths."

Even when you are asleep, you still have that image in your head and I am not comfortable. I say even today, there are bodies that are still there because there is a smell coming from that place."

It's like I am seeing it all over again, it cannot disappear from my head, it cannot. I have never seen a train accident like that since I was born."

Carriage on its side
More carriages had been added to the train to ease overcrowding

Top Kenyan civil servant apologises to journalists

The civil servant who runs Kenya's health ministry, Nicholas Muraguri, has said he's sorry for threatening a journalist who was investigating government corruption.

On Wednesday, the Business Daily newspaper revealed that $50m (£40.6m) had gone missing from the health ministry's budget according to a leaked internal audit.

For example, $7.9m was supposed to be spent on mobile health clinics which had not been delivered.

In his response Mr Muraguri told the journalist that the government had spies at Nation media which publishes Business Daily. 

You don’t know government. We can get what you write even before you publish it, including getting... screenshots of the story... If there is a need to hack Nation’s system we can. We can even confirm how much money is in your account now."

The civil servant then came under fire for his comments and he has now said sorry.

In a brief statement he said:

My comments were unfortunate, and regrettable, and do not represent my philosophy or stand as a public servant."

Copy of the letter

He made no comment on the allegations.

Suez: The MI6 secretary with a ringside seat

Jennifer Boyle

Jennifer Boyle is thought to be the last surviving person to have worked in the British embassy in Cairo during the Suez Crisis in 1956.

The crisis occurred after the UK and France backed Israel in its invasion of Egypt after Egypt's government nationalised the Suez canal.

Recalling events 60 years on, she told the BBC's Luke Jones of her last moments in Egypt.

They were put on the last flight out of Cairo. The aircraft had four seats too few for those wanting to fly and Jennifer said she moved to the back of the queue in the hope of staying.

However "that was foiled," she said.

As they took off - quickly and "straight up" - an elderly American gentleman turned to her and said "ooh gee, I hope he doesn't rush it".

"I looked out of the window and there, each side of the runway, were the Egyptian tanks."

Read more on the BBC News website.

Nigeria to spend $10bn to end oil war

Niger Delta
Getty Images
There have been many catastrophic oil spills in the Niger Delta over the years

Nigeria will invest $10bn (£8bn) in its oil-rich south to end an insurgency by militants, the oil minister has said.

"Our target is to ensure zero militancy in the area," Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu said.

The money would be used to build infrastructure, including roads and railways,Mr Kachikwu said.  

Militant attacks have severely disrupted oil production and the groups have been demanding that the government spends more of its oil wealth on tackling widespread poverty in the Niger Delta region.

Read more on the BBC News website

Giving land to refugees 'contributes to economy'

Patience Atuhaire

BBC Africa, Kampala

A man carrying a bag of produce in Uganda
Getty Images
The study found refugees would work on land and buy extra food locally

When the Ugandan government gave plots of land to refugees, up to $220 (£181) was generated annually per plot for the local economy, a study by the World Food Programme and the University of California, Davis, has found.

Money went back to Ugandan households when refugees bought food and other items from them, said the lead researcher Prof Edward Taylor.   

In comparison, Each household that received cash added $1,100 to the local economy annually and food aid recipients added $850.

Uganda is currently host to close to 800,000 refugees from neighbouring countries. About 50% are South Sudanese and 33% are from the Democratic Republic of Congo.  

Some 1503 households and 385 businesses were surveyed. 

Fears that Mozambique could be sued over debts

There are fears that Mozambique could be vulnerable to being sued in the courts in London over money that it owes to so-called vulture funds, the Guardian newspaper reports.

These kinds of funds specialise in buying up loans where there is a high risk of default. 

Earlier this week, Mozambique admitted that its debt levels were unsustainable and it had to restructure its repayments to get more help from the International Monetary Fund.

But some of the debts are owned by vulture funds which have the right to go to court to get the money that they are owed.

The Guardian reports that some think that Mozambique could be the first of many countries to face this issue.

The recent drop in commodity prices has put many African economies into difficulty and has affected their ability to repay loans.

Maputo skyline
Mozambique's economy has been booming in recent years off the back of large offshore gas discoveries

Gabon league players call for strike

Remy Ebanega
"Stop the slavery of footballers" demands the president of the Gabonese footballers' association

Local footballers in Gabon, the host nation of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, have threatened to strike in a row over non-payment of salaries.

Chief among four main demands is the back payment of salaries dating from the present day back to 2013.

"If our concerns are not met, we will tell the players not to start the championship [next month]," Remy Ebanega, president of the Gabonese footballers' association (ANFPG), told BBC Sport.

The Gabonese league has yet to respond to ANFPG's request.

Read more on the BBC Sport website.

'Melaniin Goddess' challenges beauty standards

The mainstream media are giving 19-year-old Senegalese model Khoudia Diop a lot of love this week. 

"Khoudia Diop used to get bullied for her dark skin. Now she's going viral for it," says today's Cosmopolitan article.  

She's been an Instagram star for a while under the name Melaniin Goddess:

View more on instagram
View more on instagram

The Daily Mail says she moved to France from Senegal when she was 15 and became a model when she was 17. 

It says she was teased growing up and still gets negative comments online for her dark skin colour. 

She told the Huffington Post that it did not happen in Senegal:

“I was picked on by other kids, when I was a bit younger because [of the darkness] of my skin tone. But this is something that is actually quite normal in Senegal."

While Teen Vogue uses her as inspiration to push for change in society. 

"There are so many things telling black girls that having a lighter skin tone is ideal. That's not true, though, it's just one of so many silly ideas society pushes," it says to its teen audience.

View more on instagram

ANC should 'reclaim moral high ground'

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

A group of 101 senior African National Congress stalwarts are calling for their party to start a corrective process to “reclaim the trust of society and moral high ground”.

In a strongly worded statement the former anti-apartheid veterans also came out in support of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan who is facing fraud charges.

The group which includes former speaker of parliament Frene Ginwala, former finance minister Trevor Manuel, and Ahmed Kathrada who spent decades in prison together with Nelson Mandela said that they held a meeting on Tuesday following unsuccessful attempts to reach President Jacob Zuma through individual letters.

"Communities that have looked to the ANC for leadership and who we should serve, increasingly see self-enrichment, corruption, nepotism and the abuse of power – the moral high ground that the ANC enjoyed being lost," they wrote in a statement.

President Zuma is under pressure from some in the party to step down following the ANC's poor performance in August’s municipal elections.

Trevor Manuel (left) Nelson Mandela (right)
Trevor Manuel (left) was the finance minister in President Nelson Mandela's government

South African families of dead psychiatric patients demand justice

Pumza Fihlani

BBC News, Johannesburg

The families of 37 psychiatric patients who died while in the care of the Gauteng provincial health service want the minister responsible to be held criminally liable and jailed for the deaths of their loved ones. 

The patients died after being transferred from a private health facility, Life Healthcare Esidimeni, to what the families describe as "unfit” facilities.

They were moved because the provincial health department terminated its contract with Esidimeni.

They marched to the minister Qedani Mahlangu’s office with a memorandum of demands calling for a speedy completion an investigation on the circumstances around the deaths.

The government has explained the practice of transferring hundreds of patients to different treatment centres, including the ones involved in this current case, has been going on for more than 10 years and nothing had happened to them.

Tweeters share pictures of empty supermarket shelves

Catherine Byaruhanga

BBC Africa, Kampala

One of East Africa’s biggest supermarket chains, Nakumatt, says it’s looking for an investor to buy a 25% stake in its struggling business. 

This comes after pictures were shared on social media of empty shelves at its stores in Uganda. 

View more on twitter

One of Nakumatt's directors, Neel Shah, told Kenya’s Business Daily newspaper that talks were in place to sell at least a quarter of the family-owned company. 

This would help pay off bank loans and other debts. Nakumatt blamed a downturn in economic activity and high operating costs for its troubles.

On Thursday it responded to the social media posts by saying that "the business is solid despite transient challenges triggered by a harsh operating environment".

The Kenyan firm owns over 60 stores in the region.   

Zimbabwe gears up for meat-eating world record

Zimbabweans are getting ready for an attempt to break the world record for the amount of meat consumed at a barbecue - or braai as it's known in southern Africa.

In an event sponsored by Castle Lager, the plan is to cook and eat 10 tonnes of meat on Saturday at a sports club in the capital, Harare.

The beer company's Facebook page is full of videos encouraging people to turn up and it has also shared some on Twitter:

View more on twitter

Zimbabwe's Sunday Mail quotes marketing manager Patricia Murambinda:

To add to the excitement, a ‘braaiometer’ will be on site showing the meat consumption levels as the day progresses."

The paper adds that for every kilogram of meat consumed the equivalent amount will be donated to local hospitals.

Earlier this year, President Robert Mugabe declared a state of disaster in rural parts of the country hit by a drought.

An estimated 2.4 million people are now in need of food aid - more than a quarter of the population.

Divorce judge demands real worth of 'Africa's youngest billionaire'

Ashish Thakkar
Getty Images

Ashish Thakkar is sometimes referred to in the media as Africa's youngest billionaire.

But now he is saying he is worth a lot less, reports Bloomberg.

The news service reports he said in the divorce court he is worth just £445,532 ($544,000).

It goes on to say that his wife is arguing he has a lot more money. 

And now a London family court judge has denied his request for a final divorce decree until the court knows his real worth.

Bloomberg calculates his net worth at $425m.

That's based on his disclosed public and closely held assets. But the story says he has a "complex web of offshore assets".

Mr Thakkar has made no comment.

The 35-year-old started in business importing computers from Dubai to Uganda and went on to co-found banking conglomerate Atlas Mara with ex-Barclays boss Bob Diamond.

Read his life story on the BBC News website

Can a comic teach South Africa's young hustlers?

Andile Dube has been buying and fixing up residential buildings in South Africa since he was at university, but now he is trying to teach other young people the secrets of his success - using a comic book.  

He spoke to the BBC's Christian Parkinson.

Machar spokesman denies South Sudan abduction

The governor of South Sudan's Amadi state, Joseph Ngere Paciko, has accused rebel leader Riek Machar of being behind the abduction of 30 schoolchildren in his state. 

He told the BBC that a group of around 150 armed rebels attacked two schools earlier this week.

But a spokesman for Mr Machar has denied any involvement.

"Our rules and regulation do not allow anything like that," Andrew Kuong told the BBC's Newsday programme.

US embassy in Nairobi closes after shooting

The US has closed its embassy in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, for the day following Thursday's shooting dead of a man who had stabbed a policeman outside the embassy building:

View more on twitter

A statement from the embassy to US citizens in Kenya says:

Review your personal security plans, remain aware of your surroundings, including local events, and monitor local news stations for updates. Be vigilant and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security."

The man who was shot dead has been identified as a Kenyan Somali from Wajir and was known to the authorities, according to a police spokesman.

Scene outside the embassy

The US's FBI is investigating the incident.

The AP news agency is reporting that the attacker was shot dead by the policeman who was stabbed.

Ivory Coast gets ready to vote on constitution

Ivory Coast is heading to the polls Sunday for a referendum on a new constitution.

So the BBC's Lamine Konkobo has looked at the most important change in the suggested new constitution. 

It removes the age limit of 75 and scraps the requirement that both parents of presidential candidates must be native-born Ivorians.  

These both matter for President Alassane Ouattara.

Alassane Ouattara
Getty Images
President Ouattara is campaigning for people to vote yes to a new constitution

He's 74 so will be over the current age limit at the end of his first term.

Plus, in 1999, Mr Ouattara was banned from standing in the presidential race on the grounds that his parents came from Burkina Faso, which he denies.

That led to a flare-up of social and political tension, and Ivory Coast had its first military coup and then a civil war.

Read more on the BBC News website

Kenya's new measures to stop cheating in exams

Kenya's education authorities have introduced some new rules to try and curb exam cheating which has dogged the school system in recent years.

According to a statement the regulations are intended "to seal loopholes that have previously enabled pupils to cheat".

These include the banning of the use of "clipboards and geometrical sets from examination rooms".

Maths tables and calculators are not allowed to be taken into exams where they are not needed.

The use of mobile phones near the exam rooms is also banned.

And headteachers and teachers will also be watched more closely to ensure that they are not enabling cheating to take place.

Earlier this year the exam board was dissolved over "irregularities" in 2015's secondary school exams, which saw 5,000 results cancelled.

National exams are due to start at the beginning of next week.

Read more: What exam cheating tells us about distrust in Kenya

Woman taking exam

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