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Summary

  1. Abuja airport to receive its last flight for six weeks before shutting for repairs
  2. Kenyan MP charged with inciting land invasions
  3. Attempt to overturn controversial Tanzanian cyber law fails
  4. Dakar mayor detained over alleged embezzlement of city funds
  5. SA man and pregnant fiancee locked up in UAE
  6. US embassy in Abuja says no reason for Nigerians with visas not to travel
  7. Armed groups clash in Libyan town after bank shooting
  8. South Sudan edging closer to genocide, says UN
  9. Thieves disguised as police carry out heist at Johannesburg airport
  10. Medics investigate mysterious fatal disease in Nigeria's Zamfara state
  11. Ghana election boss rejects 'sex favours' jibes
  12. South Africa revokes withdrawal from International Criminal Court
  13. Two people reported dead in Madagascar cyclone
  14. Bongo family's LA villa on market for $17.5m
  15. Email stories and comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk - Wednesday 8 March 2017

Live Reporting

By Dickens Olewe

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Scroll down for Wednesday'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: If people come together, they can even mend a crack in the sky." from A Somali proverb sent by Abdifatah Muse Gas, Somalia
    A Somali proverb sent by Abdifatah Muse Gas, Somalia

    Click here to send us your African proverbs

    And we leave you with this photo from Instagram of a tattoo artist at work in Kenya's capital, Nairobi:

    View more on instagram
  2. DR Congo rejects proposed UN probe

    Sammy Maina

    BBC Monitoring

    The Democratic Republic of Congo government has rejected a call for a UN probe into civilian killings in the central Kasai and Lomani provinces, French broadcaster RFI reports.

    Congolese government spokesman Lambert Mende told RFI: "It is our judges who uncovered more than three mass graves and all manner of horrific acts by the Kamuina Nsapu [militants]."

    Mr Mende was reacting to UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein's appeal earlier, asking the UN Human Rights Council to consider opening a high-level investigation into alleged abuses against civilians by the DR Congo military following the discovery of the mass graves.

    Mr Mende said local militia, whom he accused of "killing local administrators, intellectuals or even police in cold blood", were behind the deaths, RFI said.

    A graphic video posted on social media in February appeared to show evidence of a massacre of unarmed men and women in Kasai, allegedly by soldiers. The government later agreed to open a probe into the killings.

    Speaking at the time, Mr Mende said: 

    Quote Message: The Congolese justice [system] is not so weak that it needs to be supported by non-governmental organisations. NGOs are not fit to conduct judicial investigations... We must exactly understand why those images are on social media platforms and seriously accuse the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo."
  3. Call for Kenya to 'hire politicians at lower cost'

    The Kenyan doctors' strike is edging towards its fourth month and it has inevitably conjured up other debates over the use of public money. 

    In the early days of the strike, the doctors adopted a hashtag #LipaKamaTender which translates to - pay like a tender - a jibe at the government after media reports exposed that it had allegedly paid dubious entrepreneurs, who had won state tenders, inflated amounts and in record time. 

    The government and county governors have also been saying that the doctors are being selfish and their demands cannot be met because of lack of funds. 

    Now that governors are planning to recruit foreign doctors to replace the medics who have refused to return to work one tweeter has a suggestion - replace Kenyan politicians too. 

    She has shared a screenshot of a chart in a 2010 edition of the Economist magazine that shows the ratio of pay to GDP per person in various countries - and Kenya tops the league table:

    View more on twitter
  4. Clashes in Libyan town of Gorji after bank shooting

    The BBC North Africa correspondent is reporting that clashes are taking place in the Libyan town of Gorji after a man was shot dead by a guard at a bank. 

    Our correspondent says it is being reported that the dead man's family and other residents then attacked the armed group that guards the bank.

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
  5. Could you be an anti-corruption tsar?

    One of the biggest challenges facing Africa is corruption.

    It is an old story with apparently no immediate solution - unless you’re satirist Ikenna Azuike, who went to solve the problem in Kenya for What's Up Africa.

    Video content

    Video caption: What's Up Africa quiz: Could you be Kenya's anti-corruption tsar?
  6. Debate closed. Will Smith is in the 'Soul of Africa'

    We posted earlier that three east African countries had claimed that Will Smith was in their country. 

    Uganda's government account welcomed the US actor to the 'Pearl of Africa'. Tanzanians celebrated his presence in the 'Soul of Africa' while tweeters in Kenya said the US actor was in their country. 

    A Twitter account that promotes tourism in Tanzania has shut down the debate with several pictures to show that he is (or has recently been) in the Soul of Africa:

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
  7. US 'clarifies' visa situation for Nigerians

    The US embassy in Abuja has issued a statement saying it wishes "to clarify that there is no reason for Nigerians with valid visas to postpone or cancel their travel to the United States". 

    It comes after Nigeria on Monday advised its citizens against non-urgent travel to the US after several Nigerians with valid visas were denied entry.

    The US statement goes on:

    Quote Message: Nigeria is not named in the Executive Order on Immigration issued on March 6, and there is no prohibition against Nigerian lawful permanent residents or persons with a valid visa or other US government authorisation from entering the United States."

    Abike Dabiri-Erewa, a special adviser to the Nigerian president on foreign affairs, had said on Monday that in the past few weeks there had been cases of Nigerians with valid multiple-entry US visas being denied entry and sent back immediately on the next available flight with their visas cancelled.

    She said the US immigration authorities had given no reason for these actions.

  8. Parenting magazine launched in Ivory Coast

    Tamasin Ford

    BBC Africa, Abidjan

    This year's International Women's Day theme is #BeBoldForChange. 

    Two entrepreneurs in Ivory Coast who say they are being "bold for change" are 29-year-old Delali Damessi and 26-year-old Rim Assad. 

    Together they have set up the country's first parenting magazine, BabiMams - after they both became pregnant and felt they had nowhere to turn for information. 

    About 10,000 copies of the first edition are being printed in Abidjan today:

    Video content

    Video caption: Two young entrepreneurs in Ivory Coast have set up the country's first parenting magazine
  9. Tanzania court says controversial cyber laws are legal

    The High Court in Tanzania has ruled that two controversial clauses of the cyber crime act, being challenged on grounds of contradicting freedom of expression laws, are constitutional. 

    Articles 32 and 38, which cover disclosing of the identity of sources, collection of internet traffic and content data - also give power to police to search and seize suspects' communications devices.

    Jamii Media company, which owns a popular Tanzanian whistleblowing website, Jamii Forums, had challenged the two articles, arguing they violated citizens’ rights to privacy, freedom of expression and the right to be heard. 

    Last December, police in Tanzania arrested Maxence Melo, the Jamii Forums co-founder, and demanded that he reveal identities of the website's users.   

    Mr Melo says the ruling means that freedom of expression in the country both on and offline is under threat:

    Quote Message: With this kind of ruling, I am seeing the police force in the country using these clauses to pressurise website owners to reveal identities of their contributors. And with that, I don’t think whistleblowers will be safe.”

    Jamii Media’s lawyer, Benedict Alex, has vowed to appeal against the decision.   

    The website has been credited as being the source of stories about major corruption scandals in Tanzania, and many of these stories went on to be picked up by the mainstream media in the country.

    The cyber crime act was enacted in 2015 and has since been constantly criticised by freedom of expression campaigners.

    Jamii Media’s lawyer Benedict Alex
    Image caption: Jamii Media’s lawyer Benedict Alex has vowed to appeal against the decision.
  10. Kenyan MP charged with incitement

    Mathew Lempurkel, the MP for Laikipia North, in northern Kenya, has been charged with incitement. 

    At the Nanyuki Law Courts, the politician’s supporters caused rowdy scenes demanding his release.   

    Mr Lempurkel denied the charges and was released on bail, Capital News reports

    He is expected in court again on 23 March, the report adds. 

    Police had arrested Mr Lempurkel yesterday following an investigation into the killing of a British rancher, Tristan Voorspuy, at the weekend, allegedly by armed cattle herders.

    The ranch is in Mr Lempurkel's constituency and the government has deployed extra security personnel to the area amid allegations that land invasions are being fueled by politicians seeking votes from certain ethnic blocs in the upcoming national election in August.

    A persistent drought has also been blamed for driving armed migrant cattle herders onto private farms in search of pasture.

  11. Why is the airport in Nigeria's capital closing?

    Abuja airport will close from midnight for six weeks to undergo repairs on its runway which have been overdue for 15 years. 

    Aircraft will now use Kaduna airport, 190km (120 miles) to the north, to and from which passengers will be transferred by bus along a road where there have been kidnappings.

    About 12,000 people usually fly in and out of Abuja every day - so what do frequent travellers think about the relocation of flights to Kaduna? 

    Video content

    Video caption: Why is Nigerian capital's airport closing?
  12. African whistleblower platform launched

    Leone Ouedraogo

    BBC Africa

    A protection platform for whistle blowers in Africa (PPLAAF) has been launched in the Senegalese capital, Dakar. 

    The group formed of lawyers, legal associations and non-governmental organisations aims to reduce the risks that whistleblowers face by providing technical, legal and media assistance.

    So called whistleblowers are under increasing threat, the group said.  

    The platform's goal is to provide a support system for those "who choose to do what is right by defending the common good" without having to pay for it sometimes even with their lives. 

    The platform, which is available in French and English, also aims to defend whistleblowers by helping to find funding for legal representation.

    The group also allows users to send information via a secure, encrypted messaging service. 

    PPLAAF says it is not only intended for African journalists but for anyone "whether they come from Africa or the information they wish to share concerns Africa".

    View more on twitter
  13. Death of Kenyan tusker 'inconclusive'

    Satao2

    Kenya Wildlife Service has been in touch with us about a post we had on Monday's live page about a famous elephant called Satao II, known as a tusker because of his giant tusks. 

    We reported that it was believed the elephant had been killed by poachers in Kenya's Tsavo Conservation Area.

    Kenya Wildlife Service says: "We wish to confirm that the elephant was found dead on January 4, 2017 in Tsavo East National Park near Satao area. The initial inspection by a joint Kenya Wildlife Service and Tsavo Trust team during the removal of tusks did not find any unusual marks on the carcass and, therefore, was considered to have died from natural causes.

    "The carcass was subsequently not touched by any scavengers which led to the deduction that the elephant could have died from poisoning. However, this remains inconclusive as to whether it was as a result of poaching or retaliatory attack by community members due to human wildlife conflict."

  14. Mali's Yves Bissouma extends Lille contract

    Yves Bissouma

    Mali international midfielder Yves Bissouma has signed a new contract to stay with French club Lille until 2021.

    Bissouma penned a professional deal with the northern club only in July 2016, four months after joining the reserves from AS Real Bamako.

    The 20-year-old, whose previous deal ran until June 2019, says he is very happy at Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

    "In football, when you put in the work you always get rewarded," Bissouma told the  club's website.

    Read the full story at BBC Sport.

  15. Five top tips for women in the media

    In this week's African Women You Need to Know, we speak to Susan Makore, head of Zimbabwean media company AB Communications.

    She gives her five tips for women who want to be successful in media.

    Look out for a longer interview with her on Focus on Africa TV and radio, to mark International Women's Day.

    Video content

    Video caption: Zimbabwe media boss gives five tips for women in the industry
  16. Lessons to prevent Zanzibaris from drowning

    Despite being surrounded by water, many people in Zanzibar do not know how to swim.

    Official figures are not available but it is believed that the number of drownings are on the rise. 

    A local NGO, with the backing of UK charity the Royal National Lifeboat Institute, is now trying to change that, by teaching swimming skills to young people.

    The BBC's Sammy Awami, a non-swimmer himself, has been along to try it out.

    Video content

    Video caption: BBC man learns to swim in Zanzibar
  17. Ghana election boss responds to 'sex favours' insult

    The head of Ghana's electoral commission, Charlotte Osei, has dismissed attacks by a member of parliament that she got the job by giving sexual favours:

    Quote Message: My sense of self should not come from somebody who does not know me. If the person thinks I got my job through sexual favours, surely, there are other more rewarding and less difficult jobs I could use those sexual favours for."

    Ms Osei, the first woman to hold her position, was being interviewed on a special programme to mark International Women's Day on Joy FM's Super Morning Show.

    She said men's tendency was to try to prevent women from coming into their space and to disparage or belittle them:

    Quote Message: So they are going to throw everything at you to just get you out of that space. Once you recognise that, then you recognise those comments for the distractions that they are and you just focus on doing what you have been called to do and do an excellent job."
    View more on twitter
  18. Ethiopian Airlines plane lands at Kaduna

    The first international flight has touched down in Kaduna, in northern Nigeria, since aircraft began being diverted from Abuja airport, which is being closed for repairs. See earlier post.

    The Ethiopian Airlines plane came from Addis Ababa and is due to return there later.

    Passengers are being taken by bus to and from Abuja. 

    View more on twitter
  19. Kenyan doctors' union: Return to work is career suicide

    Leaders of Kenya's doctors' union have been responding to the government's decision to pull out of negotiations to resolve the 95-day strike and order the medics to return to work or be sacked.

    The strike has paralysed medical services in public hospitals and has been blamed for several deaths.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday denounced the doctors' demands  as "blackmail".

    Ouma Oluga, secretary-general of the union, says that resuming work under the imposed order would amount to career suicide: 

    Quote Message: While all doctors have been ready to resume duty, doing so under threats, intimidation and show of disrespect is tantamount to career suicide.”

    The government on Tuesday said it would review the registration and role of the doctors' union with a view to reverting its functions to the health ministry, the Daily Nation reports .

    Dr Oluga called on members to stay united:

    Quote Message: The success of the union depends on the very resolve and the unity we exhibit. Let us guard it.”

    He said doctors were committed to an agreement that had been negotiated with religious leaders and overseen by the appeals court, which remains unsigned.  

    Meanwhile, the chairman of the council of governors, a body that brings together governors from 47 counties, Peter Munya, has said that doctors who do not report to work will be given dismissal letters. 

    View more on twitter
  20. SA man and pregnant fiancee locked up in UAE

    Pumza Fihlani

    BBC News, Johannesburg

    Emlyn Culverwell and Iryna Nohai

    A mother in South Africa is pleading for the release of her son and his pregnant fiancee after they were arrested in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for unlawful sex.  

    The couple were arrested after visiting a doctor when Iryna Nohai complained of stomach cramps. 

    The doctor discovered that the 27-year-old woman was pregnant and when the couple couldn’t produce a marriage certificate they were reported to the authorities and arrested in the hospital.  

    South African national, Emlyn Culverwell‚ 29, and his fiancee from Ukraine have been in detention since January.  

    "The only thing they did wrong was fall in love," News24 quoted Mr Culverwell’s mother, Linda as saying. 

    He’s been working for five years in Abu Dhabi, where he met his future bride. There has been little news since they were arrested.  

    The Culverwell family want the South African authorities to help secure the couple's release. 

    The government has advised the couple to get legal assistance. 

    Sex outside marriage is punishable by law in the UAE. 

    If found guilty under the Islamic legal system, they can be locked up for months or even years.