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Live Reporting

By Dickens Olewe and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

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  1. Scroll down for Wednesday's stories

    We'll be back tomorrow

    That's all from BBC Africa Live 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: The heat the pot endures would burn a mortar, and the pounding endured by the mortar would break the pot." from An Igala proverb sent by Odih Daniel Nuhu in Lokoja, Nigeria
    An Igala proverb sent by Odih Daniel Nuhu in Lokoja, Nigeria

    Click here to send us your African proverbs.

    And we leave you with this image of a woman plaiting a young girl in western Uganda.

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  2. England to play Nigeria ahead of World Cup

    Nigeria football team
    Image caption: Nigeria is among five African teams representing the continent in the World Cup

    England will play Nigeria in a friendly match ahead of the World Cup in Russia.

    The match will be played at Wembley stadium on 2 June.

    England's first match at the World Cup is against Tunisia on 18 June.

    Morocco, Egypt and Senegal are the other African representative in the tournament.

    England manger Gareth Southgate said:

    Quote Message: We're going into a World Cup where we will play African and Central American opposition, so we get that [exerience] with the games against Nigeria and Costa Rica, but it's not just about the games we've got in the group but hopefully beyond that as well.
    Quote Message: We want to expose the team to different styles and different experiences."
  3. Tear gas fired at Sudan bread protesters

    Man baking bread
    Image caption: Bread prices have gone up after the state removed subsidies

    Police in Sudan's capital Khartoum have fired tear gas to disperse university students protesting against increase in bread prices, Reuters news agency reports.

    Security officers sealed off main roads leading to Khartoum University, forcing about 400 protesters to retreat to the campus.

    They were chanting "No, no to price rises".

    The bread price increase came after the government removed subsidies in its 2018 budget.

    A high school student was killed and six others wounded on Sunday in similar protests in the south-western city of Geneina.

    Finance Minister Magdi Hassan Yassin blamed the price rises on the "black market manipulation of the exchange rate", which he vowed to end.

    Reuters reports that inflation in November hit 24% but the government has ruled out floating its currency, as has been advised by the International Monetary Fund as a measure to revive the economy.

  4. Senegal mourns Sufi cleric

    Alex Duval Smith

    BBC Africa, Dakar

    Tens of thousands of people in Senegal are travelling to the holy city of Touba to pay their respects, following the death of a powerful Muslim leader.

    Businesses across the country have remained shut.

    The head of the Sufi Mouride sect, Serigne Sidy Mokhtar Mbacke, was buried on Tuesday night. He was in his mid-nineties.

    The Senegalese president Macky Sall cancelled his weekly meeting with government ministers to travel to Touba to visit the tomb.

    Senegal's Muslim brotherhoods play a key role in politics and business.

    A member of the Mouride Brotherhood, a large Sufi order largely present in Senegal, reads a religious book outside the Great Mosque in Touba on November 19, 2016 during the religious festival of the Magal and the 122nd edition of celebrations of the return from exile of its founder, the great marabout Sheikh Amadou Baba.
    Image caption: Many Senegalese Sufis regard Touba as a holy city

    Watch: Inside the grand mosque in Touba

  5. Sound of 2018: Unsigned artist IAMDDB comes third

    Video content

    Video caption: IAMDDB takes third place on the BBC Music Sound Of List 2018

    IAMDDB, a UK-based vocalist whose music is full of fearless attitude and sensual soul, is at number three on the BBC's Sound of 2018 list.

    The singer was inspired to pursue her musical and artistic ambition after a trip to Angola, where her father is in one of the country's most popular bands.

    IAMDDB comes across as a fully-formed superstar who's waiting to step out of the shadows.

    Her sound, which melts together neo-soul, urban jazz, hip-hop and R&B, is by turns sharp and seductive. That, and her stylistic vision, are astonishingly assured for an artist who only started making waves six months ago.

    Her vocal and production talent are fuelled by a fierce independence and a single-minded determination that nothing is going to stand in her way.

    Read more about her here

  6. Kenya spars with EU over election report

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    Kenya has reacted angrily to the release of a critical report by the head of the European Union (EU) election observer mission on last year's presidential election.

    Marietje Schaake released the report earlier today in Belgium's capital, Brussels, because, she said, the Kenyan government was not ready to meet her.

    A statement from the Kenyan embassy in Brussels says the claim was dishonest and that she had breached a memorandum of understanding between the country and the EU.

    It goes on to say that a visit had been agreed on for "between mid-February to mid-March".

    Ms Schaake said in her statement that she was releasing the report to meet an EU guideline of presenting a report three months after an election.

    The report highlights concerns about the use of state resources and the intimidation of electoral officials during the disputed poll.

    It makes 29 recommendations on how to improve the electoral system, but Ms Schaake told the BBC's Focus on Africa radio programme that it's up to Kenyans to fix the problems.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta was elected in a repeat election in October which was boycotted by opposition leader Raila Odinga.

    The first election in August, which Mr Kenyatta won, was annulled by the Supreme Court.

    The election period was marred by violence, with rights groups saying that at least 50 people, mostly opposition supporters, were killed by the police.

    The police, however, disputed the allegations.

  7. Zambia shuts passport office to curb cholera spread

    Zambia has closed its main passport office in the capital, Lusaka, in order to prevent overcrowding as it tackles the spread of cholera which has so far killed 67 people since September, news agency Reuters reports.

    Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo said the normally busy Passports and Citizenship Office would remain closed until further notice:

    "In the meantime officers will only attend to travel emergencies. This is to allow for measures to be put in place to avoid the spread of cholera," Mr Kampyongo said.

    Street vending and public gatherings have also been banned.

    The authorities have also declared a curfew in a poor township in the capital which has been badly affected by the outbreak.

    A vaccination drive has been launched, targeting two million people. A total of 2,905 have fallen sick since the outbreak started.

    Cholera causes acute watery diarrhoea. It can be treated with oral hydration solutions and antibiotics but spreads rapidly and can kill within hours if not treated.

  8. EU fisheries deal with Morocco 'invalid'

    BBC World Service

    One of the main legal advisers to the European Court of Justice has said a fisheries agreement between the European Union and Morocco is invalid, as it involves the disputed region of Western Sahara.

    Melchior Wathelet said it failed to respect a right to self-determination of the people in the region, a former Spanish colony that was annexed by Morocco in 1975.


    He said the agreement also lacked adequate safeguards to ensure that the money paid by the EU for the right to fish off the coast of Western Sahara benefited its people.

    The opinion is not binding on the court.

    Find out more about Western Sahara

  9. Nigeria's Obasanjo speaks out on drug policy

    The Global Commission on Drug Policy - a group of eminent world leaders - has called for a rethink on drugs policy. They've released a new report saying the current attitude of stigmatising drugs is hindering effective policy-making, and argue that governments should be talking about 'harm reduction' rather than criminalisation.

    BBC Newsday spoke to former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, who is the chairman of the West Africa Drugs Commission and a signatory to the report:

    Video content

    Video caption: War on drugs needs rethink says global drug policy group
  10. Lukaku to seek legal advice over voodoo claim

    Romelu Lukaku
    Image caption: Romelu Lukaku has scored 10 Premier League goals for Manchester United this season

    Manchester United forward Romelu Lukaku is to seek legal advice over claims made by Everton owner Farhad Moshiri that he opted to leave the club after receiving a "voodoo message".

    Farhad Moshiri told an Everton shareholders' meeting on Tuesday that Lukaku received the message "on a pilgrimage to Africa" having been set to sign a new deal.

    Lukaku, 24, joined Manchester United for £75m in the summer.

    A representative for the player told BBC Sport: "Romelu's decision had nothing to do with voodoo.

    "He distances himself from these beliefs and this statement and will now see what judicial steps can be taken in relation to them."

    Read the full BBC story here

  11. Botswana shuts controversial church

    Botswana has cancelled the registration of a church linked to controversial Malawian pastor Shepherd Bushiri.

    A government notice says that the Enlightened Christian Gathering Church International had failed to respond to a letter, asking it to give reasons why it should not be closed.

    A local paper is reporting that the church solicits what it calls "miracle money", and the government regards this as illegal.

    It also says that other groups linked to the church have been ordered to cease their operations.

    View more on twitter

    Mr Bushiri is a renowned religious leader in southern Africa, and is famous for his preaching style which involves make-belief miracles.

    He caused a stir two years ago when he released a video on You Tube purporting to walk on air.

    View more on youtube

    Read: The men who claim to be Africa's 'miracle workers'

  12. Zimbabwe extends voter registration

    Shingai Nyoka

    BBC Africa, Harare

    Former President Robert Mugabe launched the voter registration exercise in September last year
    Image caption: Ex-President Mugabe launched the voter registration exercise in September last year

    Zimbabwe’s electoral commission has announced a month-long extension to its voter registration exercise, as the country inches towards a general election in August.

    Close to five million of the anticipated seven million people have registered so far under a new biometric system.

    The country is under pressure to deliver free and fair elections following the forced resignation of long-serving ruler Robert Mugabe in November.

    The electoral commission says it is targeting “aliens” - hundreds of thousands of citizens who have lived in neighbouring countries for decades but who only recently, through a Constitutional Court ruling, won the right to vote.

    Last year, the government announced it would scrap the old electoral rol,l which the opposition believed had been used to rig previous elections.

    All Zimbabweans, including those who have voted before, are required to register afresh under the new biometric system which uses fingerprint and facial recognition.

    Read: Zimbabwe hopes to rise from ashes in 2018

  13. DR Congo footballer dies in training

    Sagrada Esperança signed Ntaku Zibakaka in 2015
    Image caption: Sagrada Esperança signed Ntaku Zibakaka in 2015 (photo courtesy of Sagrada Esperança)

    Top Angolan club Sagrada Esperança have announced the death of Ntaku Zibakaka during a pre-season camp in the western city of Benguela, BBC African Football reports.

    The 23-year-old defender, originally from DR Congo, was taken ill during training, but he was pronounced dead before he could reach hospital.

    "With a painful heart the club would sadly inform the public, fans, and other members about the sudden death of our player Ntaku Zibakaka," the club announced in a statement.

    "With a great honour to our departed star and in grief we convey our deepest sympathy to his family as they try to come to terms with their loss."

    Zibakaka joined the 2005 Angolan champions from his native DR Congo in 2015.

    The trio of Sagrada Esperança, 15-time champions Petro de Luanda and Kabuscorp are all involved in a training camp in Benguela ahead of the national championship.

  14. Bus 'crushes three to death' in Zimbabwe

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    Three people, including two schoolchildren, have been crushed to death by a bus trailer in the Zimbabwean capital Harare's high-density suburb of Glen Norah B, the state-run Herald newspaper reports.

    Police spokesman Paul Nyathi was quoted as saying:

    Quote Message: The bus was moving along a road in Glen Norah B near Farai bar when the trailer suddenly moved off the hook and hit two pupils who were going to school and a male adult.
    Quote Message: One child and the male adult died on the spot while the other child died at a local hospital."
  15. Tunisia arrests protesters

    BBC World Service

    Officials in Tunisia say more than 200 people were arrested as protests against the government's austerity measures continued overnight in several cities.

    Khelifa Chibani, a spokesman for the interior ministry said almost 50 police officers were injured in clashes with demonstrators.

    He did not say how many protestors were hurt.

    The protests began after the Tunisian government announced an increase in value-added tax and social contributions.

  16. Africa's key security challenges for 2018

    Whether it's political oppression, uprisings or terrorism, African countries will face many security challenges in 2018.

    BBC Africa security correspondent Tomi Oladipo predicts what the key issues will be.

    Video content

    Video caption: Africa's key security challenges for 2018
  17. Zuma's 'fate will not be discussed'

    South Africa's governing African National Congress (ANC) will not discuss the possible removal of President Jacob Zuma from office, at a meeting of its top leadership body today, party secretary-general Ace Magushule has said.

    Newly elected African National Congress (ANC) President and current South African deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa takes images of unseen media representatives with his cellular telephone at the 54th ANC conference in Johannesburg on December 18. 2017
    Image caption: Mr Ramaphosa defeated Mr Zuma's preferred candidate, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, in the battle for control of the ANC

    The party's national executive committee is meeting for the first time since Cyril Ramaphosa was elected ANC leader last month, ending Mr Zuma's 10-year reign as party boss.

    It led to speculation that Mr Ramaphosa, South Africa's deputy president, will oust Mr Zuma and become the president ahead of general elections next year.

  18. Uganda 'undermines' Kenya's plastic bag ban

    Woman sorting out plastic bags

    Kenya's environment agency has said that the country's plastic bag ban is being undermined by imports from neighbouring Uganda, Kenya's privately-owned Daily Nation newspaper reports.

    It quotes the agency's boss, Robert Orina, saying that plastic bags are still finding their way to major towns.

    “We have information that some business operators are still getting the commodity in bulk from the neighbouring countries, mainly Uganda, despite the ban that took effect in August 2017,” said Mr Orina.

    He added that the ban will continue to be undermined as most countries in the region are still manufacturing plastic bags, making it easy for people to get them.

    He said that the main target of the illegal business are small scale traders, who sell goods like vegetables and snacks in small portions.

    The ban, which came in force about five months ago, criminalises carrying, selling and manufacturing plastic bags with offenders found guilty risk facing fines of up to $38,000 (£28,000) or prison sentences of up to four years.

    The government says the ban will help protect the environment.

    But manufacturers of the bags have argued that 80,000 jobs could be lost.

  19. Zuma to set up inquiry into 'state capture'

    Lebo Diseko

    BBC News, Johannesburg

    Jacob Zuma
    Image caption: Mr Zuma was replaced as leader of the governing ANC party

    South Africa's President Jacob Zuma has relented to calls to set up a commission of inquiry into into corruption allegations at the heart of government - known as state capture.

    Mr Zuma has been accused of conspiring with a wealthy business family, the Guptas, to control lucrative state contracts.

    Both Mr Zuma and the Guptas deny the allegations.

    In a statement President Zuma said that "allegations that the state has been wrestled out of the hands of... the people of South Africa, are of paramount importance" and were "deserving of finality and certainty".

    It came after a high court ruling in December gave him 30 days to abide by the recommendations of the anti-corruption watchdog to appoint the commission of inquiry, and to let Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng choose the judge who will head it as Mr Zuma is "conflicted" in the matter.

    Chief Justice Mogoeng has chosen his deputy, Ray Zondo, to head the inquiry, Mr Zuma said.

    Mr Zuma's announcement came ahead of today's meeting of the top leadership body of the governing African National Congress (ANC).

    There has been much speculation that the party might try to force Mr Zuma out as president, now that he is no longer leader of the party.

  20. Cyril excites morning joggers

    Joggers in Cape Town took a break this morning to greet and take selfies with Cyril Ramaphosa, the new leader of South Africa's governing African National Congress (ANC), as he was out for his morning run:

    View more on twitter

    Some were intrigued by his colorful socks:

    View more on twitter

    Read: Ramaphosa - unionist to boss