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Summary

  1. Key ally of Nigeria's leader returns 'stolen $500,000'
  2. Christians 'finance Uganda mosque renovations'
  3. Oscar Pistorius in bid to overturn murder conviction
  4. Ex-Ugandan spy 'cannot be traced' since arrest
  5. Teaching resumes at militant-hit Kenyan university
  6. Anglican church risks split over homosexuality
  7. Email stories and comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk - Monday 11 January 2016

Live Reporting

By Naziru Mikailu and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

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We'll be back tomorrow

That's all for today from the BBC Africa Live page. Listen to the Africa Today podcast and keep up-to-date with developments across the continent on the BBC News website.

Today's Africanproverb: "Get to know me, before you reject me." A Somali  proverb sent by Abshir Fire Cadde in Nelspruit, South Africa.   

Click here to send us your African proverbs.

We leave you with this photo of England cricketer Jonny Bairstow practising in Johannesburg ahead of the next Test against South Africa on Thursday:

Jonny Bairstow of England catches in a practice session during England media access at the Wanderers Stadium on January 11, 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa
AFP

Ghana leader's son turns musician

The son of Ghana's President John Mahama has released his first song.

Rasheed Mahama, known as Hama, is a second-year computer science student at the private Ashesi University.

The track, Bodam, which means madness in the local Akan language, was released on Saturday. You can listen to it here: 

View more on Soundcloud

Nigeria moves to protect currency

detail of some Nigerian Naira,(NGN) being counted in an exchange office on July 15, 2008 in Lagos, Nigeria
AFP

Nigeria's central bank has announced it is stopping the direct sale of US dollars to bureaux de change to protect the West African nation's naira currency, and conserve depleted foreign reserves. 

"Operators in this segment of the market would now need to source their foreign exchange from [an] autonomous source," Bank chief  Godwin Emefiele said in a speech in the capital, Abuja, AFP news agency reports. 

"Commercial banks will now be allowed to accept cash deposits of foreign exchange from their customers," he added. 

Oil sales contributed some 90% of Nigeria's foreign exchange earnings. But as the cost of a barrel plunged below $40 (£27) a barrel this month, forex earnings have fallen to as low as $1bn a month, said Mr Emefiele, AFP reports. 

At the same time, forex demand in Nigeria's import-heavy economy has risen, which, combined with rising inflation and slowing growth, has led to the depletion of foreign reserves, he added.

Christians help 'upgrade Uganda mosque'

More than 100 Ugandan Christians living in the US and other countries have raised about 13 million Ugandan shillings ($3,600; £2,500) to help renovate a dilapidated mosque in a village in Uganda's central region, the state-owned New Vision newspaper reports

Geoffrey Nsereko Simple, the chairman of the organizing committee of Uganda North American Association, said he decided to raise the money when he visited Namaiba village, where he was born, last year.

"I was driving around the village when I saw the mosque in a terrible state. This moved me and I promised myself to do something for my community in Uganda after consulting the mosque leaders on what was needed," Mr Nsereko is quoted as saying. 

Muslims in Uganda
AFP
Muslims are a minority in Uganda

He said he had to convince people to donate towards the mosque, which was built about 80 years ago. 

“Everyone expressed concern why me, a non-Muslim, was the one leading the campaign to revamp a mosque. They always asked me: 'Why not it do for a church. You are a Christian',” Mr Nsereko told New Vision.

Samuel Senfuma, a Ugandan based in Boston, welcomed his fund-raising effort.

“This is rare - finding a Christian building a mosque. He has challenged all of us. It is a good gesture which we must all emulate,” he is quoted as saying.

Tunisia ruling party loses parliament majority

Rana Jawad

BBC North Africa correspondent, Tunis

Supporters of Tunisian presidential candidate for the anti-Islamist Nidaa Tounes party, Beji Caid Essebsi attend his last meeting on December 19, 2014 on the Avenue Bourguiba in Tunis
AFP
Mr Essebsi's Nidaa Tounes party won elections in 2014

Tunisia’s Islamist Ennahda party has become the biggest in parliamant following  splits in President Beji Caid Essebsi's secular Nidaa Tounes party. 

The crisis in the party deepened after eight members resigned today, bringing to 27 the number who have quit more Nidaa Tounes since Friday. 

The dispute started last year between a faction led by the president's son, Hafedh Caid Essebsi, and another faction led by Mohsen Marzouk, a founder of the party.

Dissidents accuse the president of excluding them from formulating policy, and arranging the hereditary transfer of power to his son. 

Mr Essebsi denies the allegations.

The MPs who have resigned say they will continue to support the coalition government, and vote on legislation in line with their political and ideological beliefs.  

Nigeria economic crisis worsens

Russell Padmore

Business correspondent, BBC News

Nigeria might be the richest economy in Africa but that does not impress hard-nosed investors who buy and sell shares at the local stock exchange.

The West African financial market had another losing day today, closing at its lowest level for more than three years, down 2.5%.

Investors are growing increasingly worried about the outlook for the biggest economy in sub-Saharan Africa, largely because the country is too dependent on revenues from the energy industry and the price of oil has fallen through the floor.

Last week, Brent crude oil, the benchmark blend of oil traded in London, fell below $35 (£24) a barrel and prices of West Africa’s Bonny Light crude oil has followed the downward spiral.

Last year, the benchmark gauge of Nigerian shares fell more than 17 % as the market reflected investors fears about the huge economic challenge the government faces.  

A Nigerian businessman
Reuters

Six months ago, Nigeria's central bank imposed measures to restrict access to US dollars, used to import certain items, in an effort to conserve its reserves of foreign currency, amid sinking oil prices. 

However, the move has made it more difficult for Nigerian manufacturers to buy raw materials from sources abroad, because of limits of supplies of dollars and that is restricting economic growth.

The top shares among the losers today reflect the impact of the central bank’s policy, the cement maker Lafarge Africa is down 9.6%, Unity Bank 9.4% and Dangote Cement, which accounts for about a third of total market capitalisation, shed 4.3%, according to Reuters news agency.

It is reported pension funds are selling shares bought last year to hold cash as a buffer against expected losses caused by Nigeria’s weak economy.

Watching Kenyan lions at home

Lions
Make It Kenya

People around the world can now enjoy a Kenyan safari from the comfort of their homes following the launch of the first ever live web broadcast of lions in the Maasai Mara game reserve. 

It follows a between the government's Make It Kenya campaign to promote tourism, and HerdTracker

animals
Make It Kenya

Kenya's Tourism MInister Najob Balala said in a statement that the live broadcast had started with "spectacular live night footage of the majestic lions". 

There would be more than  50 live broadcasts across 11 days to "show a global audience the beauty of Kenya," he added. 

animals
Make it Kenya

'Deadly shootout' after Nigeria poll

Several people, including two soldiers and four police officers, have been killed in clashes following gubernatorial elections in Nigeria's oil-rich Bayelsa state, an election monitor has told the Associated Press news agency.

Gunmen from rival political parties opened fire after the result was announced on Sunday, Philip Okolo of the Society for Peace Studies and Practice is quoted as saying.

Incumbent Governor Dickson Seriake of the People's Democratic Party PDP) won the vote by a landslide, defeating Timipre Sylva of President Muhammadu Buhari's All Progressives Congress (APC) .  

The election was a re-run because violence and the theft of ballot boxes marred the 5 December poll in former President Goodluck Jonathan's home state.

Despite a relative calm, militants are still active in the oil-producing Niger Delta region which is the source of most of Nigeria's income.

Ivory Coast's Bony 'unlikely' to return to Swansea

Wilfried Bony
Getty Images

In football, Swansea City interim manager Alan Curtis does not expect striker Wilfried Bony to return to the club during the English Premier League's January transfer window.

Bony, 27, left Swansea to join Manchester City in January 2015.

The Ivory Coast international has been linked with a surprise return to Swansea, who are 17th in the Premier League.

"He's playing fairly regularly at City and scoring goals and would be a fantastic addition," Curtis said.

"But I'm not holding out any hopes for that one."

Bony joined Swansea for $17m (£12m) from Vitesse Arnhem in 2013 and was the Premier League club's top scorer in 2013-14 with 20 goals.

Read the full BBC sport story here

Pistorius' final bid to overturn murder conviction

Karen Allen

BBC Southern Africa correspondent, Johannesburg

It is expected to be a highly technical case – Oscar Pistorius' lawyers are seeking leave to appeal to the highest court in the land.

If successful it could keep the athlete out of jail despite shooting his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp dead on Valentine's Day in 2013. 

The athlete, who remains under house arrest at his uncle’s home in Pretoria insists he believed an intruder was in the house.

This is his last chance to overturn the conviction. 

But if the bid fails, he could face 15 years in jail – the minimum sentence for murder.

Pistorius' lawyers have filed papers in the Constitutional Court, which has decide whether it will hear the case: 

Screen grab
BBC

BreakingPistorius applies to challenge murder conviction

South African Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius has applied to the country's Constitutional Court to be allowed to overturn his murder conviction for shooting dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013.

An appeal court changed his initial conviction for killing Ms Steenkamp from manslaughter to murder in November.

But his lawyers claim the court made fundamental errors

Pistorius faces a minimum sentence of 15 years' imprisonment if he fails in his bid to overturn his conviction for murder.

South African Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius
Getty Images

'Deadly' violence in Darfur

Four people were killed in West Darfur's capital, el-Geneina, during protests against militia attacks on Sunday, AFP news agency reports. 

"Security services, supported by tribal militiamen, opened fire on civilians protesting outside the buildings of the secretariat of the government of West Darfur," the agency quotes the Sudan Liberation Movement rebel group in Darfur as saying. 

Local media reports that up to nine people - both residents and militiamen - were killed in the conflict.

Local government spokesman Abdallah Mustafa told AFP that security forces had dispersed protesters who had burned three vehicles. 

He denied there were any casualties.

The UK ambassador to Sudan has tweeted about the violence: 

Concerned at reports of fighting & many deaths in El Geneina #Darfur. Call on all to remain calm & for law and order to be restored #Sudan

Sudan's Darfur region has been hit by conflict since 2003. 

The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, accusing him of genocide in the region. 

He denies the allegation, and says the charges are political. 

He has refused to stand trial at the ICC. 

Zanzibar poll 'could lead to chaos'

Tulanana Bohela

BBC Africa, Dar es Salaam

Tanzanians cast their ballots for the Tanzanian presidential elections as others queue at a polling station on October 25, 2015 in Zanzibar
AFP
Voting in Zanzibar was marred by allegations of irregularities

The main opposition leader in Tanzania's semi-autonomous region of Zanzibar has warned that a re-run of annulled elections will lead to chaos. 

Seif Sharrif Hamad said at a press conference that the crisis could be resolved only through dialogue. 

"A re-run of the election is a desperate attempt by the ruling party to gain political legitimacy after losing the election," he added. 

Zanzibar's election officials annulled the October election for the achipelago's president and parliament, citing gross irregularities. 

No formal date for a new poll has been announced, although Mr Hamad said he understood it could be on 28 February. 

Al-Shabab 'free' to join Somalia football tournament

John Nene

BBC Africa, Nairobi, Kenya

Al-Shabab fighters
AFP
Al-Shabab is opposed to footballers wearing shorts

The head of Somalia's Football Federation says militant Islamist group al-Shabab is welcome to take part in the country's Premier League. 

Abdiqani Said Arab told me in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, that if the militants like to play, they will be given a chance.

"We are not against them and they are not against us," he said. 

Al-Shabab, which practices its own extreme version of Islam, orders footballers to wear full-length trousers, and has banned music  in areas under its control.

However, Mr Arab said he believed some al-Shabab supporters were attending football matches, but he declined to give further details. 

Somalia football
BBC
Improved security has given football a boost

Last month, a Somali football match was broadcast live on national TV for the first time.

The league is attracting foreign players because of the improved security situation, Mr Arab said. 

"More than 20 foreign players are now playing in our Premier League in about six clubs," he added. 

Government-backed African Union troops have regained control of many areas from al-Shabab, which fighting to impose Islamic rule in Somalia.  

CAR vote recount demanded

Central African Republic presidential candidate Martin Ziguele gestures during a campaign rally in the Muslim district of PK5 in Bangui on December 25, 2015 ahead of the country's presidential election
AFP
Mr Ziguele says results were "muddled up"

A top candidate in presidential elections in Central African Republic (CAR) has demanded a manual recount of first-round votes because of alleged irregularities, his party has said, the AFP news agency reports. 

Martin Ziguele, a former prime minister who came fourth out of 30 candidates in the 30 December vote, planned to go to the Constitutional Court to demand a manual recount, said his Movement for the Liberation of the Central African People (MLPC) party. 

It accused election officials of breaching the electoral code by "muddling up" results coming in from different parts of CAR, and "rendering any checks and follow-up impossible", AFP reports. 

Provisional results show there was no clear winner, forcing a run-off between two other former prime ministers - Georges Dologuele and Faustin Archange Touadera. 

The election was the first since violence broke out along religious lines in 2013, pitting mainly Christian and Muslims militias against each other. 

More than a quarter of the population has been forced from their homes. 

UK man to appear in Ghana court

Arthur Simpson-Kent
Reuters
Arthur Simpson-Kent (right) was brought into a police station in Accra on Sunday

The partner of a UK actress found dead with her two young sons is set to appear before a court in Ghana.

Arthur Simpson-Kent, 48, is being held by police in the capital, Accra, after his arrest in a beach resort on Saturday.

The bodies of Sian Blake, 43, and the boys were found in the garden of their south-east London home on 5 January.

Ghanaian police cannot hold a person for more than 48 hours without putting them before a judge. 

Police in the UK say an extradition request will be "made by officers and partner agencies in due course".

Ghanaian Police say Mr Simpson-Kent arrived in Ghana on 19 December.

The country's police force became involved on 7 January and arrested him in Busua, a south-west coastal resort, two days later.

Read the full BBC story here

Garissa student happy to return to class

Students at Kenya's Garissa University College have resumed classes today, nine months after the killing of 148 people in an attack by militant Islamist group al-Shabab (see 09:02 post).

This student told the BBC that she was happy to continue with her studies:

Kenya's Garissa university student happy to resume classes

Niger presidential candidate denied bail

Abdourahmane Dia

BBC Afrique

A court in Niger has refused to release on bail a leading opposition presidential candidate accused of being involved in trafficking and selling babies from neighbouring Nigeria. 

Hama Amadou's supporters say the charges have been fabricated to prevent him from running against President Mahamadou Issouffou in the 21 February election. 

Mr Amadou was arrested in November when he flew in from France, where he was exiled for about a year.

Supporters of Niger presidential candidate Hama Amadou hold a protest in Niamey on November 14, 2015
AFP
Supporters of Mr Amadou are demanding his release

He has five days to appeal against the court's refusal to give him bail - or risk following the election from his prison cell. 

Campaigning for the poll is due to officially start on 31 January. 

Mr Amadou is among 14 candidates challenging Mr Issouffou for the presidency

His candidacy was approved by the Constitutional Court two days ago.

Tension is high in Niger, with the president alleging last month that an attempt by some military officers to stage a coup had been thwarted (see 09:53 post). 

Buhari ally returns 'stolen money'

A close associate of Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has returned $500,000 (£350,000) he allegedly received from the embattled former national security adviser Sambo Dasuki, the respected Daily Trust newspaper reports.

Lawal Jafaru Isa, a leading member of the governing All Progressive Congress, was arrested last week as part of an ongoing investigation into $2bn, meant to buy military equipment to fight militant Islamist group Boko Haram, that had allegedly gone missing during the rule of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.

Mr Isa was the first ally of Mr Buhari to be arrested over alleged corruption. 

He was accused of receiving $850,000 from Mr Dasuki. 

Local media reports say he has been released after promising to return the remaining $350,000 he allegedly received.

Mr Isa has said he was given the money to buy a house for Mr Dasuki, and was unaware that the money had come from government coffers. 

Mr Dasuki has not commented on the allegation concerning Mr Isa, but has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

Lawal Jafaru Isa
Daily Trust
Mr Isa said he was not aware that the money was allegedly stolen from government coffers

Mr Dasuki, a close ally of the ex-president, is standing trial for allegedly diverting $68m of government money.He has pleaded not guilty to the charge. 

Several leading opposition politicians are facing trial over the the alleged fraud. 

Some 17,000 people have been killed in north-eastern Nigeria during Boko Haram's six-year insurgency to create an Islamic state.

South Africa currency plunges to new low

South African currency
BBC

The South Africa's currency, the rand, has hit a new record lows against the dollar, reflecting the country's growing economic crisis as growth slows and investors lose confidence, the AFP news agency reports.

The rand plunged as much as 9% on Monday morning, the most since October 2008, to 17.91 per dollar, before making a partial recovery.  

Last year, the currency fell 25% against the dollar, dipping sharply in December when President Jacob Zuma fired his respected finance minister and then ousted the new minister four days later.

The rand is particularly vulnerable because it is one of the globe's most highly traded emerging market currencies.

Ex-Ugandan spying 'missing'

Catherine Byaruhanga

BBC Africa Uganda correspondent

Charles Rwomushana
Charles Rwomushana
Mr Rwomushana was arrested over a Facebook post

Human rights activists and friends of former Ugandan spy Charles Rwomushana say they cannot trace him since his arrest by police on Friday. 

Activist Andrew Karamagi told me he went to the headquarters of the Special Investigations Division (SID) in the capital, Kampala, on Saturday, but was told that Mr Rwomushana was not being held there.

This was despite the fact that Mr Rwomushana was initially taken to the SID headquarters, he added. 

A spokesman for Uganda's Internal Affairs Ministry told me that Mr Rwomushana was in police custody, and denied claims that he had been denied access to his lawyers. 

She did not say where he is being held.  

Mr Rwomushana was arrested after publishing a picture on Facebook, which he alleged showed the dead body of Christopher Aine, the security chief of opposition presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi. 

Mr Mbabazi's team accuse the police of kidnapping Mr Aine last month. 

The authorities deny this and say he is on the run, wanted for leading an attack on President Yoweri Museveni's supporters. 

Police chief Kale Kayihura has issued a $5,800 (£4,000) reward for information leading to Mr Aine's arrest.

Church split over homosexuality would be a 'failure'

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby
Getty Images
Some 80 million Anglicans look up to Archbishop Welby for leadership

A split in the Anglican Church over the issue of homosexuality "would not be a disaster, but it would be a failure", the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

Speaking ahead of a meeting of Church leaders, Justin Welby said he wanted "reconciliation", but that would mean "finding ways to disagree well".

Church leaders in North America are on opposite sides of the debate to their more conservative African counterparts.

There are fears of a permanent schism in the third largest Christian Church.

Read the full BBC story here

Niger lawyers on strike

Bashir Sa'ad Abdullahi

BBC Africa, Abuja

Niger President Issoufou Mahamadou arrives at the White House for a group dinner during the US Africa Leaders Summit August 5, 2014 in Washington, DC
AFP
The president is accused of being authoritarian

Lawyers in Niger have started a 24-hour strike to protest against what they call the arbitrary arrest of government opponents, and the refusal of authorities to give them access to their clients.

The arrests come after President Mahamadou Issoufou last month accused some senior military officers of trying to overthrow his government, they said.

Opposition and civil society organisations have complained of intimidation since the alleged coup attempt. 

Tension is running high in Niger ahead of next month's general election in which President Issoufou is seeking a second term.

He is the favourite to win the poll, but critics say he has become increasingly authoritarian and repressive ahead of the elections.

Niger is rated by the UN as one of the world's least-developed nations. 

South Sudan police shake-up

BBC Monitoring

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir has sacked several top police generals, including the police chief and his deputy, local media reports say. 

The dismissals come after Mr Kiir agreed to give the interior ministry - which is in charge of policing - to rebels as part of a peace deal brokered by regional mediators. 

Police chief Pieng Deng Kuol and his deputy, Andrew Kuol Nyuon, have been replaced with Makur Arol and Biel Ruot respectively.

The two sides held talks in the capital, Juba, where they reached an agreement on Saturday on sharing portfolios in a new unity government.

Close up of South Sudanese soldiers' rifles during a parade at the John Garang Mausoleum in Juba on July 30, 2014 to celebrate the countrys 9th annual Martyrs' Day
AFP
South Sudan has been hit by conflict since 2013

The government got 16 ministries, including finance, defence and national security, while the rebels got 10, including petroleum, interior and humanitarian affairs. 

Former political detainees got foreign affairs and transport, while smaller opposition parties were given cabinet affairs and agriculture.  

Conflict broke out in 2013 in the world's newest state after Mr Kiir accused his sacked deputy, Riek Machar, of plotting a coup. 

Mr Machar denied the allegation, but then formed a rebel army to fight the government. 

Kenya teaching resumes after attack

A class at Grissa university
BBC

Teaching has resumed at the Kenyan university where 148 students died in a gun attack last April but only a few students have turned up for its reopening.

Security has been tightened at Garissa University College nine months after the attack by militant Islamist group al-Shabab.

But it appears that many potential students have stayed away.

Last year's attack was the deadliest so far by the Somali-based group in Kenya.

Staff reported to work last week to get the campus in north-east Kenya ready.

Read the full BBC story here

Uganda media 'intimidated'

Uganda's government and ruling party officials are intimidating journalists in a bid to stifle criticism ahead of tightly contested presidential and parliamentary elections next month, a leading rights group says in a report released today.

"Journalists have been suspended under government pressure, and radio stations threatened for hosting opposition members as guests or when panelists expressed views critical of the ruling party," US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said.

A protester at the Daily Monitor newspaper poses in Kampala on May 20, 2013
AFP
Ugandan journalists have long complained of media restrictions

The intimidation was having a "chilling effect" on the media, it added. 

"How can Uganda hold fair elections if the media and independent groups can't criticise the ruling party or government leaders without fear?" HRW researcher Maria Burnett said. 

The government has not yet commented on the report.   

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni is facing one of the strongest challenges to his 30-year rule. Seven candidates are running against him, including his former ally and Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi and three-time loser Kizza Besigye.

Wise words

Our African proverb for the day: "Get to know me, before you reject me." A Somali  proverb sent by Abshir Fire Cadde in Nelspruit, South Africa. 

Click here to send your African proverbs.

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