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  1. Nigeria's leader unveils budget amid recession
  2. Tanzanian blogging site's office 'raided'
  3. US arrests ex-Guinean minister on bribery charges
  4. Kenyan court orders 'deportation' of Iranians
  5. UN warns Gambian strongman of being 'sanctioned'
  6. Ethiopia 'systematically' bars internet access
  7. Nigeria's female football champions demonstrate over non-payment
  8. Nigerian victim of pyramid scheme speaks
  9. Ancient footprints found in Tanzania
  10. Email stories and comments to - Wednesday 14 December 2016

Live Reporting

By Dickens Olewe and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Wednesday's stories

That's it from us today

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:

After the race, we count the miles."

Sent by Jude Nwokolo, Lagos, Nigeria

Click here to send your African proverbs.

And we leave you with this photo of Fishermen laying out their catch on the streets of Zanzibar.

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Jammeh's pimped-out ride

The Gambia's Yahya Jammeh has indicated that he is going to remain president. 

The personalised headrest covers in his Rolls Royce, as spotted by two foreign journalists in the capital Banjul today, shows that he is a man who greatly values his high position: 

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

South Sudan's leader in dialogue pledge

BBC World Service

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir, has called for a national dialogue to end three years of civil war. 

Addressing parliament, he said a panel of eminent people would guide the dialogue for all South Sudanese. 

There was no mention of his rival, former vice president Riek Machar, who fled the capital after the most recent attempt at reconciliation collapsed into bitter fighting. 

South Africa says Mr Machar is in its "care", denying reports that he is under house arrest.

See earlier post for more details  

A member of the new activist movement #AnaTaban, paints a new mural at the Aggrey Jaden cultural centre in Juba, South Sudan, on September 18, 2016.
Artists launched a peace campaign in South Sudan in September

Tanzania blogging site's offices 'raided'

Sammy Awami

BBC Africa, Dar es Salaam

Tanzanian police have illegally searched the offices of popular blogging site JamiiForums in the main city Dar es Salaam, a day after arresting its co-founder Maxence Melo, his lawyer has said. 

The police took Mr Melo with them to the offices, and made copies of several documents, Mike Mushi, who launched JamiiForums with Mr Melo, said. 

Police also searched Mr Melo's home, his lawyer said. 

Police did not have a search warrant, and carried out the raids without Mr Melo's consent, he added. 

Police were due to present to present Mr Melo in court this morning, but failed to do so. 

They are apparently trying to find out the names of anonymous contributors to the Swahili language site, which often publishes sensitive information about the government.   

See earlier posts for more details

South African mayor rejects new car

A stream of polluted water runs through as a resident from Zandspruit carries an empty bucket to be filled from one of the few communal water taps available to the thousands of people living in the Zandspruit informal settlement on March 11, 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa
Many South Africans do not have running water in their homes

Politicians in South Africa are often accused of spending government money lavishly, but a mayor in the mainly poor Limopopo province has proved to be different. 

 Florence Radzilani  has turned down an offer to buy her a luxury car for about $110,000 (£86,000), saying the money should instead be spent on tackling water shortages in poor villages, South Africa's News 24 reports

Ms Radzilani, a senior member of the governing African National Congress, made the disclosure during a media briefing on her first 100 days as mayor of Vhembe district.

Municipality officials told her she qualified for a new mayoral car, but Ms Radzilani decided to stick with the old one. 

 She is quoted by News 24 as saying: 

I know it's very risky because the vehicle I'm using was bought by the previous mayor and has reached the mileage limit of 170,000km (105,000 miles). We are not allowed to use a car that has exceeded that, but I'm willing to take that risk so that all the villages might receive water."

The 'most ridiculous' church names

Sign post

A Ghanaian website has put together a list of what it calls the "10 most ridiculous church names in Africa".

The post also tries to decode the meaning behind the names. In the case of The Atomic Bomb Bible Brigade Ministry, the writer wonders if it denotes a church or a military base, only God knows, he concludes.

Among other names on the list are: 

  •   Satan in Trouble Ministries
  •   Guided Missile Church
  •   The Ministry of Unclad Wire
  •    High Tension Church

Do you know of a church name that you think should be on the list? Let us know on the BBC Africa Facebook page

Gambia's business lobby asks Jammeh 'to go'

The organisation which represents the business sector in The Gambia has backed calls for President Yahya Jammeh to hand over power to opposition leader Adama Barrow, who beat him in the 1 December elections. 

The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the crisis caused by  Mr Jammeh's refusal to accept defeat was causing "great uncertainty" in the business community and was having a negative effect on the economy. 

It urged Mr Jammeh to reconsider his decision to reject the election result. 

The full statement has been shared by a tweeter: 

View more on twitter

Kenyan MP promotes self-defence law

Abdinoor Aden

BBC Africa, Nairobi

A Kenyan lawmaker has proposed a bill to allow individuals to defend themselves when they are threatened. 

Moses Kuria from the governing party says the  "Kenya Stand Your Ground Bill" would allow individuals to defend themselves without facing prosecution. 

The bill proposes that individuals should be allowed to apply what normally be regraded as unlawful force to protect themselves and their property from destruction. 

However, the law will not apply to individuals involved in illegal activities.    

Mr Kuria claims that the government’s methods of dealing with insecurity have failed. The bill is expected to be discussed by parliament in February.

He campaigned for the bill in a Facebook post: 

The bill will empower any Kenyan to use whatever force or weapon against anyone who tries to threaten their lives, businesses or property even under the cover of mass action.

If you find your brains spread on the streets, don't say I didn't warn you. The Kenyan Stand Your Ground Bill will cushion Kenyans from prosecution if they use force to defend their lives, property or business."

Mr Kuria, a controversial figure who is currently facing hate speech charges, told the BBC he is confident the bill will pass. 

He said similar laws already existed in other countries. 

But Kenyans are divided on the issue. Some fear it could lead to more violence, but others support the bill. 

Nigeria's Buhari unveils record budget

President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari signing his first budget in 2015
President Buhari's budget is more ambitious in scope than previous spending plans

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari, has unveiled a record budget of more than 7 trillion naira ($24bn; £19bn) which is aimed at pulling the country out of its first recession in  25 years, Reuters news agency reports. 

Presenting the budget at a joint sitting of the National Assembly and Senate, Mr Buhari said It marks an increase of more than 20% on last year's spending plan. 

The budget seeks to boost spending to revive the economy, he added.   

The recession was largely caused by low global oil prices, as crude sales account for two-thirds of the Nigerian government's revenue.  

The president also said he wants to restore oil output to 2.2 million barrels per day. 

It had been severely disrupted following a series of attacks on energy facilities in the oil-rich Niger Delta by militants demanding a greater of the region's oil wealth. 

The budget unveiled to the National Assembly is now to be debated by the MPs. 

It must be agreed by the parliament before Mr Buhari can sign it into law. 

Warning of 'Rwanda-like genocide' in South Sudan

A South Sudanese checks a wall of photos, in search of clues about missing relatives
Many South Sudanese are trying to find out if their relatives are dead or alive

The international community can stop a "Rwanda-like" genocide in South Sudan if it immediately deploy a 4,000-strong protection force across the country and set up a court to prosecute those behind atrocities, the head of the UN Human Rights Council has said. 

Speaking at a special meeting of the council in Geneva, Yasmin Sooka said that South Sudan "stands on the brink of an all-out ethnic civil war, which could destabilise the entire region". 

South Sudan, the world's newest state, has been hit by conflict since December 2013 after President Salva Kiir accused his sacked deputy, Riek Machar, of plotting a coup - a charge Mr Machar denied. 

See earlier post for more details 

Third of Borno medical centres 'destroyed'

maiduguri health centre
Only a third of the remaining facilities in Borno are said to be functioning

About 35% of 743 health facilities in Nigeria's north-eastern Borno state have been "completely destroyed", a report by World Health Organisation says. 

It says only one third of the facilities remaining are functioning at all.

WHO's representative in Nigeria Dr Wondi Alemu said several factors were behind the dire situation:

"High insecurity, difficult terrain and lack of health workers, medicines, equipment and basic amenities such as safe water are making access to essential, lifesaving health care extremely difficult for people in this conflict-affected area.

He added that an estimated 6m people were in need of health assistance and the organisation was working to reach them. 

Released Iranians are 'lawyers'

Abdinoor Aden

BBC Africa, Nairobi

Two Iranians who had terror-related charges dropped and an order for their deportation issued by a Kenyan court are lawyers, Iranian officials say.

Sayed Nasrollah Ebrahim and Abdolhosein Gholi Safaee were arrested early this month by the elite anti-terrorism police unit in the capital Nairobi where they were charged with collecting information to facilitate terror attack.

They were accused of filming and photographing the Israel embassy in the capital.  

Iranian authorities denied the accusations, saying the two were from the justice ministry and were in Kenya to follow up on cases involving two Iranian prisoners in Kenya. 

Kenyan prosecutors had told the court the men visited Iranian nationals Ahmad Mohammed and Sayed Mousavi in prison to pass information. 

Mohammed and Mousavi are currently serving 15-year jail terms following their arrest in 2013 after they were found guilty of possessing explosives.

UN official warns Gambian strongman

Mr Jammeh was defeated in elections

The Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh will be "strongly sanctioned" if he refuses to give up power when his mandate ends on 19 January, the UN special envoy for West Africa has said. 

In an interview with Reuters news agency, Mohammed Ibn Chambas said:   

For Mr Jammeh, the end is here and under no circumstances can he continue to be president."

The electoral commission said that opposition candidate Adama Barrow obtained 222,708 votes (43.3%) compared with Mr Jammeh's 208,487 (39.6%) in the 1 December poll. 

A third candidate, Mama Kandeh, won 89,768 votes (17.1%). 

Mr Jammeh first took power in a 1994 coup and has been accused of leading one of the most repressive regimes in Africa.  

Read: The man in charge for 22 years

UN condemns seizure of Gambia election HQ

Gambia's army chief Ousman Badjie
On Tuesday army chief Ousman Badjie appeared to be wearing a badge with a photo of Mr Jammeh

The UN special envoy for West Africa, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, has condemned The Gambian military's decision to seize the headquarters of the electoral commission in the capital, Banjul, AFP reports.

Mr Chambas said they should immediately leave the building:

It is a violation of the independent character of the electoral commission as guaranteed by the constitution, with [these] soldiers now in possession of equipment which was used in the electoral process."

Soldiers took control of the building on Tuesday after President Yahya Jammeh changed his mind about accepting defeat at the hands of property developer Adama Barrow in the 1 December election. 

He is now challenging the result in court, and has called for a new election organised by a "God-fearing" commission. 

Kenya NGO's reject 'regime change' claims

Abdinoor Aden

BBC Africa, Nairobi

President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses guests during the national celebration to mark Kenya"s Jamhuri Day (Independence Day) at the Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi December 12, 2016.
Mr Kenyatta's government is a strong ally of the US and UK

Civil society groups in Kenya have rejected claims by President Uhuru Kenyatta that they are planning "regime change" through their activities. 

Mr Kenyatta made the remarks during Independence Day celebrations on 12 December. 

He accused some NGOs of trying to influence elections through their civic education programmes. 

The Civil Society Reference Group, a consortium of Kenyan NGOs, says the claims are "baseless" and that they are being unfairly targeted. 

The NGOs say their projects are aimed at empowering women and young people, and encouraging their participation in governance issues.  

The United States, which finances many of these programmes, says it will continue to do so and that it is not involved in funding political activities. 

Mr Kenyatta also referred to alleged foreign interference in the US elections in his speech. 

He warned that Kenyans would not take kindly to any such interference in their elections.  

Earlier this week, the office in charge of  NGOs was moved from the planning ministry to the internal security ministry.

Gambia election crisis: What next for Jammeh?

Gambians voted and a winner was declared; the loser conceded but later rejected the results. 

The loser, incumbent strongman President Yahya Jammeh, is now seeking to have the election overturned in court. Will this dispute create a constitutional crisis in the tiny West African nation? 

The BBC's Umaru Fofana explains the latest developments. Read his report here

Yahya Jammeh, right, lost the election to Adama Barrow, left
Yahya Jammeh, right, lost the election to Adama Barrow, left

Kenyan court orders 'deportation' of Iranians

A court in Kenya has ordered the deportation of two Iranian men who were facing charges of taking pictures of Israel's embassy in the capital, Nairobi, a leading Kenyan broadcaster has tweeted:  

View more on twitter

The AFP news agency reported on 2 December that the men, along with their Kenyan driver, were charged with being "in facilitation of a terrorist act" after "taking video clips of the Israeli embassy using mobile phones". 

They denied the charges. 

The three men were allegedly driving in an Iranian embassy car at the time of the arrest, the report said.  

 Prosecutor Duncan Ondimu told the court at the time that the men had also been to Kamiti Maximum Security Prison outside Nairobi where they had visited two other Iranians, Ahmad Mohammed and Sayed Mousavi, who were serving a 15-year sentence for possessing explosives after being convicted in 2013. 

Mamelodi Sundowns gets a hiding

With South African football team Mamelodi Sundowns given a 4-1 thrashing by South Korea's Jeonbuk Hyundai in their Fifa Club World Cup fifth-place playoff match, our football correspondent has tweeted:   

View more on twitter

Ex-Guinean minister arrested in US

Seal of the US Department of Justice
The US Department of Justice accuses the ex-minister of money laundering

Guinea's former Minister of Mines, Mahmoud Thiam, has been arrested in the United States for allegedly accepting kickbacks from two Chinese companies in exchange for mining contracts, AFP reports.

Mr Thiam is a dual national, who also holds US citizenship.

His arrest was announced by the US Department of Justice (DOJ).

His lawyer have not yet commented on his arrest.  

According to AFP, the 50-year-old Mr Thiam is accused of taking about $8.5m (£6.7m) in bribes when he was Minister of Mines in exchange for giving lucrative investment rights to two Chinese firms.

He is alleged to have deposited the cash from the companies in a Hong Kong bank account under a disguised identity.

It became an issue for the US when he allegedly transferred the money to New York and used it to buy a property.

DOJ official Leslie Caldwell is quoted by AFP as saying:

"We cannot tolerate the US becoming a money laundering paradise for foreign corrupt government officials."

Opinion split over Ethiopia 'ban on social and news sites'

Opinion is heavily divided on the BBC Africa Facebook page over Amnesty International's report on what it calls the "systematic and illegal" blocking of social media and news sites in Ethiopia. 

Leroi Nanthambwe  in Malawi writes: 

In 1993, we had no cellphones, no sms's, no facebook, no whatsapp but change came in Malawi. We moved from one party autocratic rule to multiparty (thou I don't see any difference today as we are sliding back to one-party system).

I think there is something wrong with African leadership. But surely, change will come in Ethiopia.

Henok Yared in Ethiopia is very critical of Amnesty:  

What is your definition of illegal? Which law did the Ethiopia government break? As far as I concerned the government is still under the constitutional frame work. And please stop judging us before having all the facts. Ethiopia’s social media reality is very different from the rest of Africa."

Ethiopia’s social media reality is very different from the rest of Africa. We have a mass extremist diaspora who live in the west and use the social media to cause havoc and disturbance. Social media is not serving us any good. I am for total banning of every social media site!"

Kenyan nurses end strike

Nurses in Kenya have ended their strike after their union signed a return-to-work deal. 

The Ministry of health has been tweeting details of the agreement:

View more on twitter

Nurses joined doctors in a nationwide strike on 5 December paralysing services in public hospitals.   

Doctors have ignored several calls to return to work saying they would only do so when a pay package deal agreed in 2013 is honoured.   

What colour are angels?

The Bones Remember, an exhibition by conceptual Kenyan visual artist and filmmaker Jim Chuchu, examines the evolution of African spirituality.

He wants his work to encourage Africans to ask themselves the question: Where do we fit and what colour are our gods?

Kenyan artist Jim Chuchu examines evolution of African spirituality

Ethiopia's frustrated internet users

Emmanuel Igunza

BBC Africa, Addis Ababa

Internet service blocked

Ethiopia's authorities have been restricting access to the internet leaving a lot of people frustrated. 

I met several of them at an internet cafe in the capital, Addis Ababa. 

Access to social media sites remains restricted but most use Virtual Private Network which allows backdoor access to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and WhatsApp.

An Amnesty International report has accused Ethiopia's government of "systematically and illegally" blocking access to social media and news websites in its efforts to crush dissent.  

Internet cafe
Internet users
People users VPN to go past the internet blockade

Ancient footprints found in Tanzania

The footprints may have been made by a male walking with smaller females and juveniles
wid A. Iurino
The footprints may have been made by a male walking with smaller females and juveniles

Footprints made by early humans millions of years ago have been uncovered in Tanzania close to where similar tracks were found in the 1970s.

The impressions were made when some of our distant relatives walked together across wet volcanic ash.

Their makers, most likely Australopithecus afarensis, appear to have had a wide range of body sizes.

Scientists say this gives clues to how this ancient species of human lived.

Australopithecus afarensis is one of the longest-lived and best-known early human species.

The fossil of "Lucy", a young adult female who lived in Ethiopia 3.2 million years ago, is perhaps the most famous individual.

The newly discovered footprints may have been made by a male walking with smaller females.

Read the full BBC story here

Nigerian victim wants money back from pyramid scheme

 In Nigeria, small investors are in a panic after a massively popular investment scheme froze all their accounts. 

The Mavrodi Mondial Moneybox or MMM scheme describes itself as a peer to peer money exchange, but it appears to be acting as a classic Ponzi or pyramid racket, using new investors' money to pay out dividends promised to earlier participants. 

Such a structure is illegal in many countries and can only be sustained by an ever expanding pool of new investors with ready cash. 

Olawale Quadri from Lagos invested in the scheme last week.  

In an interview with the BBC's Newsday radio programme, he said he wanted his money back. 

Listen to Mr Quadri's interview:

Many Nigerians fear they may lose money

In a statement on its website yesterday, MMM Nigeria said there had not been any payment delays but to avoid "taking risk... all confirmed Mavro will be frozen for a month".

It added: 

The reason for this measure is evident. We need to prevent any problems during the New Year season, and then, when everything calms down, this measure will be cancelled. (Which we will definitely do.:-))"

JamiiForums founder 'not brought to court'

Sammy Awami

BBC Africa, Dar es Salaam

Tanzanian police have failed to bring Maxence Mello, the co-founder of popular blogging site JamiiForums, to court in the main city of Dar es Salaam. 

His lawyer said was considering bringing court action to secure his release as it was unlawful for a person to be held for more than 24 hours without being charged.

Mr Mello was arrested yesterday after resisting attempts to force him to release the names of contributors to JamiiForums, which publishes in the Swahili language. 

Seer earlier post for more details

Super Falcons march to Buhari's villa

Naziru Mikailu

BBC Abuja editor

Protesting Super Falcons marched to the presidential villa where they were received by Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Malam Abba Kyari.

Mr Kyari told the African women's football champions that the government was aware of their situation and promised that their grievances will be resolved in two days.

One of the players told me that they have decided to go back to their hotel and wait for Mr Kyari to fulfil his promise. 

The players had earlier protested outside the National Assembly against the delay in paying their allowances. 

See earlier post. 

Mr Kyari speaks to the players who are led by their captain Rita Chikwelu
Mr Kyari meets with the players who are led by team captain Rita Chikwelu ( second from right)

South Sudan 'expels' aid workers

South Sudan's government has forced two senior employees of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) to leave the country in  the past week, the aid agency has said. 

No explanation was given for the expulsions, it added. 

NRC secretary-general Jan Egeland said:

Aid organisations bringing relief to millions in South Sudan must be permitted to operate without interference, intimidation or fear of expulsion.

Humanitarian principles must be respected. Ordering aid workers to leave the country without due process restricts the ability of relief organisations to save lives and reduce human suffering."

South Sudan has been gripped by a humanitarian disaster since fighting broke out in December 2013 between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and his sacked deputy, Riek Machar. 

South Sudanese wait for food
Hundreds of thousands of people have fled their homes because of the conflict

Ethiopia 'illegally' blocked news and social media sites

AFP PHOTO / LIONEL BONAVENTURE (Photo credit should read LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images) Restrictions Restrictions: Contact your local office for all commercial or promotional uses. Full editorial rights UK, US, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Canada (not Quebec). Restricted editorial rights elsewhere, please call local office. Details Keywords Whatsapp, Logo, Mobile App, Digital Tablet, Finance, France, Horizontal, Paris - France, Symbol, Technology, The Internet Editorial subscription SML
WhatsApp is a popular messaging service

Ethiopia's government "systematically and illegally" blocked access to social media and news websites in its efforts to crush dissent during the wave of protests which started in November 2015 and culminated with the declaration of a state of emergency in October this year, leading rights group Amnesty International has said in a report published today.

 Amnesty said research it had conducted jointly with the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI) showed that access to at least 16 news outlets and WhatsApp messaging service had blocked between June and October 2016. 

Amnesty also said that Ethiopia's government uses Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology to filter access to websites. 

DPI is a technology that can be bought and deployed on any network. Though it has many legitimate functions, it can also enable monitoring and filtering of internet traffic.

Maria Xynou of OONI said:   

Our findings provide incontrovertible evidence of systematic interference with access to numerous websites belonging to independent news organizations and political opposition groups, as well as sites supporting freedom of expression and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex rights."

Read: Seven things banned under state of emergency

Nigeria's football champions protest outside parliament

Nasidi Adamu Yahya

BBC Hausa Service, Abuja

The Nigerian women's football team, the Super Falcons, have protested outside the National Assembly in the capital, Abuja, over the non-payment of their allowances by the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), the Punch newspaper reports

The team has refused t o leave a hotel in Abuja since returning from Cameroon where they won the 10th edition of the African Women championship on 3 December. 

NFF promised to pay the players $17,150 ( £13,500) each for winning the tournament. 

One of the players recently told BBC Sport that their sit-in at the Agura hotel would not end until they receive  $23,650 each.

The players are hoping to petition President Muhammadu Buhari, who is due to visit the National Assembly today to present the 2017 budget.

Pictures of the team holding placards have been shared on social media with many people supporting their cause: 

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Top Tanzanian blogger 'arrested'

Sammy Awami

BBC Africa, Dar es Salaam

The co-founder of Tanzania's most popular blogging site, JamiiForums, has been arrested after he ‘resisted’ attempts by the authorities to force him to release the names of anonymous contributors, his lawyer has said. 

Maxence Mello is due to appear in court this morning following his detention yesterday, the lawyer Benedict Ishabakaki added.   

JamiiForums is known for publishing sensitive information about the government. 

Jamii Forum's screen grab
Jamii Forum

Today's wise words

Our African proverb of the day: 

After the race, we count the miles."

Sent by Jude Nwokolo, Lagos, Nigeria

Click here to send us your African proverbs

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