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Live Reporting

By Clare Spencer

All times stated are UK

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  1. 'Today is a great day to be Nigerian'

    Baby taking polio immunisation

    Nigeria's head of primary health care, Dr Faisal Shuaib, has been speaking about the announcement that the country has gone three years without a new case of the wild polio virus.

    This date is significant because in order for the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare a country free of polio it has to go three years without a new case.

    But Dr Shuaib, who called the announcement "a historic milestone" said there is still a " huge amount of work... to do before we are certified polio-free".

    The WHO has to work out whether the surveillance networks are robust enough so that they can safely say that there really have been no polio cases for three years.

    In a final flourish, Dr Shuaib told journalists that "today is a great day to be Nigerian... we have proven that we can do great things when we put our minds and resources to efficient use."

  2. Son of Liberia's ex-president accused of printing $16m

    Jonathan Paye-Layleh

    BBC Africa, Monrovia

    Charles Sirleaf in March
    Image caption: Charles Sirleaf was charged in court in March

    Authorities in Liberia have re-arrested the son of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, over with the unlawful printing of local currency worth millions of dollars.

    Last year $15.5bn Liberian dollars ($104m;£82m) of freshly minted currency disappeared from Liberia's ports.

    Charles Sirleaf, who was a deputy governor of Liberia's Central Bank, was arrested over this and due to face trial for economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy and theft.

    He was arrested on Tuesday after state prosecutors added a further charge of money laundering to the accusations.

    Specifically, he is accused of being involved in asking the printing company who printed the $104m to print a further $16m.

    He has denied all wrongdoing.

    The solicitor-general, Sayma Syrenius Cephus, told me that Mr Sirleaf was released shortly after his arrest for health reasons.

    “We wanted him to be alive when we prosecute him,” he said.

    Read more: Where are Liberia's missing millions?

  3. Museveni and Kagame commit to end tensions

    Samba Cyuzuzo

    BBC Great Lakes

    Yoweri Museveni, left, and Paul Kagame, right,
    Image caption: Yoweri Museveni (L) and Paul Kagame (R) promised to resolve the problems caused by the feud

    Presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Paul Kagame of Rwanda have signed a peace deal to end their diplomatic feud.

    The agreement was reached on Wednesday in the Angolan capital, Luanda.

    The two signed it in the presence of the leaders of Angola, Congo-Brazzaville and the Democratic Republic of Congo - who have all played a mediation role.

    The relationship between the two neighbours has been fraught over the last three years - both trading accusations of interference in each other's affairs:

    • Rwanda accuses Uganda of illegally jailing and torturing its citizens
    • Uganda accuses Rwanda of being involved in espionage on Ugandan soil.

    “We are going to address all these problems,” President Kagame told journalists after signing the document.

    The tension has affected trade along their common border as Rwandans have not been allowed to cross to Uganda.

    The agreement says that they will "resume as soon as possible the cross-border activities between both countries”.

  4. Video content

    Video caption: South African car 'spinner' wants to conquer sport

    Zameer wants to become the best car spinner in South Africa.

  5. Tanzania tanker explosion: '32 patients die from burns'

    Carcass of a burnt-out motor bike at the scene of the tanker explosion in Morogoro, Tanzania - August 2019
    Image caption: More than 60 people died at the scene of the tanker explosion on 10 August

    Tanzania's main hospital says of the 47 patients admitted after a fuel tanker explosion 11 days ago, 32 have died from their injuries.

    Spokesperson Aminiel Aligaesha told journalists that most of those being treated at Muhimbili Hospital in Dar es Salaam had suffered 80% burns in the blast.

    Quote Message: We are doing our best for the remaining 15 patients, but most of them are in critical condition." from Aminiel Aligaesha Hospital spokeperson
    Aminiel AligaeshaHospital spokeperson

    The incident occurred in Morogoro region, about 200km (124 miles) west of Dar es Salaam, the country's commercial hub.

    People were trying to recover fuel from the vehicle, which had overturned on a major road, when it exploded.

    More than 60 people died at the scene and dozens more were injured.

    It not clear what the official death toll now stands at. According to the AFP news agency, it was 95 on Sunday.

  6. Burundi anger over 'illegal drummers' on TV talent show

    Samba Cyuzuzo

    BBC Great Lakes

    Burundian drummers pictured in 2015
    Image caption: Burundi's drumming tradition is recognised as a protected cultural activity by Unesco

    Burundi has accused of a group of Burundian refugees of illegally playing the country’s famous traditional drums on the show East Africa’s Got Talent.

    The producers of the show, which is broadcast in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda on Sundays, tweeted a clip of their contentious performance:

    View more on twitter

    The law in Burundi prohibits people from playing the national drums without the government's authorisation.

    Burundi’s ritual royal drum playing was recognised as a protected cultural activity by Unesco in 2014.

    The UN cultural body said it was a spectacle that combined “powerful, synchronised drumming with dancing, heroic poetry and traditional songs.

    “The entire population of Burundi recognises it as a fundamental part of its heritage and identity.”

    The drummers who took part in the talent show had sought refuge in neighbouring Rwanda, which seems to be at the crux of the matter.

    The two countries do not have friendly relations, and exchange accusations that they are harbouring the other’s enemies.

    “The country that we don’t have good relations with now wants to steal our drum beat,” Burundi’s Culture Minister Pelate Niyonkuru said in a statement.

    She added that the TV display had been “damaging to the culture of Burundi”.

    One of the troupe members told the BBC they did not want to comment on the accusation as they were still in the competition.

    Alphonse Rugambarara, a former Burundian minister of culture who went into exile after a failed coup attempt in 2015, told the BBC that the matter was being politicised.

    The Burundi drums were played by Burundian communities around the world without them seeking authorisation from the government back home, he said.

    “If the drummers on the show were not based in Rwanda, there could be no such claims,” Mr Rugambarara said.

  7. South Africa nullifies inquiry into Zuma's 1999 arms deal

    Vauldi Carelse

    BBC Africa, Johannesburg

    One of the Saab Gripen fighter jets, bought by the South African military
    Image caption: One of the Saab Gripen fighter jets, bought by the South African military

    A High Court in South Africa has nullified the findings of a commission that found no wrongdoing in a 1999 arms procurement deal.

    South Africa spent more than $2bn (£1.6bn) on military hardware for its armed forces, 20 years ago.

    But the deal was mired in allegations of large-scale bribery and corruption.

    Under former President Jacob Zuma a commission of inquiry was set-up to investigate these claims.

    This commission cost taxpayers more than £9m.

    The inquiry was meant to investigate serious corruption allegations but instead cleared politicians of wrongdoing and failed anyone accountable.

    That finding has now been nullified by a High Court.

    Judges found the commission ignored "highly material" evidence in its possession and failed to investigate properly.

    It will now be up to the country’s prosecutors to review the evidence.

    Mr Zuma is the only politician who has been charged with wrongdoing in the arms procurement - he’s currently facing 16 charges of racketeering, fraud, corruption and money laundering relating to this deal.

    He denies wrongdoing and is due to stand trial in October. He has applied for a permanent stay of prosecution,

    If his request is granted it would mean there can be no further action or prosecution relating to those charges.

    The result of his request is expected to be revealed later this week.

    Read more: What you need to know about the South Africa arms deal that landed Zuma in court

  8. SA court rules against 'gratuitous display' of apartheid flag

    Milton Nkosi

    BBC Africa, Johannesburg

    Man waving apartheid flag at a protest in 2010
    Image caption: Displays of the flag, such as this one at a protest in 2010, are now considered a form of hate speech

    South Africa's equality court has ruled that gratuitous displays of the apartheid-era flag is a form of hate speech, discrimination and harassment.

    The Nelson Mandela Foundation asked the court to ban "gratuitous displays" after the flag was on show during protests against the murders of white farmers in October 2017.

    They weren't asking for a complete ban of the flag. The flag would still be allowed in "museums, documentaries and cathartic creative works", the foundation explained previously.

    But the Afrikaner lobby group AfriForum challenged the request, arguing that any restriction would threaten freedom of speech.

    Judge Phineas Mojapelo ruled in favour of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, saying that the apartheid-era flag "represents racial segregation, separation and oppression”.

    He went on to say:

    Quote Message: Not a single person has suggested feeling embraced by the display of the flag and not a single white person has suggested that the display is a demonstration of love and tolerance towards black people. On the very contrary the evidence of those who oppose the complaint application confirms that the display of the flag has potential to cause harm.

    The orange, white and blue flag was first used in 1928, and came to represent white-minority rule during the apartheid era.

    It was replaced in 1994 by one which sought to represent the entire "Rainbow Nation", as South Africa came to be called:

    South African flag
  9. Kenyan row over ‘rotten ginger’

    Sheila Kimani

    BBC Africa, Nairobi

    Newly harvested fresh ginger - generic shot
    Image caption: Imported ginger is often cheaper than Kenya's locally grown crop

    A row has erupted in Kenya after 23 tonnes (about 3,610 stone) of fresh ginger imported from Vietnam was released despite being found to be unfit for human consumption.

    Port authorities in Mombasa discovered that the shipment of ginger was mouldy with 14% moisture instead of the maximum 12%.

    “The said ginger had failed to comply with the standards and thereby condemned and recommended the same for destruction,” Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper quoted Jaji Kombo, public health officer at the port, as saying.

    The Standard newspaper quotes official laboratory analysis as saying it was dirty and also “moist, mouldy, was rotting and emitting a pungent smell upon a physical examination”.

    But the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) went ahead to clear the ginger, saying the port authorities had no right to intervene.

    Kebs spokesperson Phoebe Gituku told the Nation that the importers had an official customs form, known as a certificate of conformity, from Vietnam which allowed the ginger to go to market.

    Kenya often imports ginger from Vietnam for industrial use because, it is cheaper than locally grown ginger.

    The revelations have come as a shock to many Kenyans, judging by reactions on Twitter, who feel let down by Kebs given a number of recent food-contamination scandals.

    View more on twitter
  10. Nigeria marks three years clear of polio

    Child being immunised
    Image caption: Polio is preventable with an immunisation but for years Boko Haram made it hard for health workers to access some areas

    Nigeria marks three years on Wednesday since its last case of wild polio virus (WPV).

    This date is significant because in order for the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare a country free of polio it has to go three years without a new case.

    But it's not quite official yet that Nigeria is polio-free.

    First the WHO has to work out whether the surveillance networks are robust enough so that they can safely say that there really have been no polio cases for three years.

    That is not likely to happen until early next year, according to Chairman of Nigeria's polio committee, Dr Tunji Funsho.

    Nevertheless, Nigeria has undoubtedly come a long way.

    In 2012, the country had more than half of all polio cases worldwide, with 223 cases, the WHO says.

    Dr Funsho puts this success down to, among other things, the reduction of fighting with Islamist militants Boko Haram.

    The Boko Haram insurgency in north-east Nigeria had made some areas of Borno state hard to access.

    That is reflected in where the most recent cases of polio have been and the last case of wild polio was detected on 21 August 2016 in Borno.

  11. Gabon 'suspends judge' in President Bongo’s health case

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    Gabon's Ministry of Justice has suspended the judge who allowed opposition campaigners to demand the president has a medical check-up, according to the privately-owned Gabonese news website Gabonactu.

    On 12 August the president of Libreville Court of Appeal, Paulette Ayo Mba, declared admissible a complaint by the Call for Action movement that was asking for President Ali Bongo to have the check up to determine whether he is capable of performing his duties, Gabonactu reports.

    She scheduled the hearing for 26 August.

    There has been speculation for some time about the state of Mr Bongo's health.

    He returned to Gabon at the end of March after five months of recovery abroad following after suffering a stroke in Saudi Arabia last October.

    On Friday a video of Mr Bongo looking frail was widely shared on social media:

    View more on twitter
  12. Uganda using Huawei for nationwide CCTV roll-out

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    CCTV cameras - generic shot
    Image caption: Uganda's police spokesman said CCTV cameras were transforming modern-day policing

    Uganda's police force has confirmed it is using China technology giant Huawei to install CCTV cameras countrywide "as a measure to strengthen law and order".

    The police issued the statement to clarify its relationship with Huawei and to reiterate the government's dismissal of allegations, made in the Wall Street Journal last week, that alleged Ugandan officials had worked with technicians from the telecoms firm to hack into musician-turned-MP Bobi Wine's WhatsApp messages.

    Police spokesperson Fred Enanga said the story was "malicious" and it was not using Huawei to spy on the opposition.

    He said the CCTV roll-out was going well,with nearly 85% of areas already covered in the capital, Kampala.

    Quote Message: We wish to assure all Ugandans that there are no concerns in using Huawei technology. Our relationship is purely business... The cameras are already transforming modern-day policing in Uganda with facial recognition and artificial intelligence as part of policing and security.

    On Friday, Zambia, mentioned in the WSJ report, has also denied allegations of spying on the opposition.

  13. Somalia’s Kismayo port city in lockdown

    Ahmed Mohamed Islam known as “Madobe” - archive shot
    Image caption: The Jubbaland leader, "Madobe" is seeking re-election

    Security forces in Kismayo are blocking all entry to the southern Somali port city ahead of contentious local elections.

    The authorities ordered the closure of air, land and sea borders until Friday - a day after the vote.

    Before the lockdown, the head of the African Union (AU) force, an Ethiopian commander, was supposed to arrive in the city to resolve a dispute between Kenyan and Ethiopian troops over the poll.

    Both Ethiopia and Kenya are part of the more than 20,000-strong AU force, first deployed in 2007 to try and help stabilise the country beset by decades of unrest.

    The UN and government, backed by Ethiopia, want the Jubbaland provincial elections postponed, but the regional authorities, backed by Kenya, want them to go ahead.

    The current leader of Jubbaland, Ahmed Mohamed Islam known by his nickname “Madobe”, is seeking re-election.

    His Ras Kamboni militia seized Kismayo from the control of Islamist al-Shabab militants in 2012 - with the backing of the Kenyan army.

    But the UN-backed government is no fan of Madobe and sees him as an obstacle in its attempt to stamp authority on the country, BBC Monitoring reports.

    Madobe fears the government may use Ethiopian troops to stop the vote – which observers say is the likely reason for the blockade.

    According to the Reuters news agency, the stakes for all parties are high as Jubbaland is one of Somalia's more stable regions with lush farmland – and the port is a lucrative source of income.

  14. Sudan new era: ‘Picking ministers the real test’

    The formation of a sovereign council to oversee Sudan's transition to democracy is a positive move, but a Sudanese analyst says many more challenges lie ahead.

    Hafiz Mohammed, an opposition activist and a co-ordinator for the human rights organisation Justice Africa, told BBC Newsday:

    Quote Message: I think it’s a good step in the right direction… but the real problem is going to be on the selection of the ministers and also the legislative assembly."

    Mr Mohammed said the problem lies with the opposition coalition, which is finding it difficult to come to quick decisions.

    The process for picking ministers needed to be speedy given the “big vacuum” there has been since President Omar al-Bashir was ousted by the military in April.

    Listen to his interview:

    Video content

    Video caption: Generals and protest leaders agreed on its final composition late on Tuesday
  15. #SayNoToRacisim trends in Africa after Pogba abuse

    Mildred Wanyonyi

    BBC Africa, Nairobi

    The hashtags #IStandWithPogba and #SayNoToRacisim are trending in several African countries following online racist abuse aimed at Premier League footballer Paul Pogba.

    The Manchester United player was trolled after missing a penalty in a 1-1 draw with Wolves on Monday night.

    Fellow Manchester United player Harry Maguire has called on social media companies to stop such "pathetic trolls".

    And African football followers have been lending their support to the Frenchmen, whose parents come from Guinea.

    A Kenyan tweeter pointed out Pogba's admirable attributes, like raising money for charity, and said he didn't choose his birth place or to be black:

    View more on twitter

    Another Kenyan tweeted some comments that Pogba had made in June about how he had dealt with racism in the past, including: "Don't think about people who hate, because they just want to pull you back."

    View more on twitter

    A Ghanaian tweeter quoted a famous Martin Luther King line: "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

    View more on twitter