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Summary

  1. Today's top headlines:

Live Reporting

By Lucy Fleming

All times stated are UK

Get involved

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:

The load is lighter when two people carry it."

An Akan proverb sent by Mercy Levin in Trelleborg, Sweden

Click here to send in your own African proverbs.

And here's a photo of unadulterated Eid fun to end - snapped by the BBC's Bashkas Jugsodaay in the north-eastern Kenyan town of Garissa:

A girl on a slide in Garissa, Kenya
BBC

Has Oscar Pistorius got off lightly?

Pumza Fihlani

BBC News, Johannesburg

Oscar Pistorius talking to his lawyer in court
EPA

Once the world's golden boy and the poster child for the resilience of the human spirit, Oscar Pistorius will now forever be remembered as a murderer.

It has been a gruelling trial for the man known as the "blade runner", not just inside the Pretoria courtroom where his fate was decided but in the court of public opinion.

To say many South Africans are shocked at the sentence would be a gross understatement.

While what the public thinks has no bearing inside a courtroom, in the eyes of the man on the street, Judge Thokozile Masipa has failed Reeva Steenkamp.

Read Pumza's full analysis here

Zimbabwe denies blocking internet

Zimbabweans have held a national protest over the state of the economy and alleged government corruption (see earlier posts).

The protests were organised on social media and when the internet went down, many people assumed the government was blocking access.

But this was denied by Information and Technology Minister Supa Mandiwanzira in a BBC interview:

Zimbabwe denies blocking internet

Six-year-old Ugandan boy sees for the first time

Six-year-old boy Criscent Bwambale was born with cataracts and was able to make out only vague areas of light and dark.

But thanks to a simple operation he can now see. Here he is striding out of an eye hospital in Uganda with new glasses:

Criscent Bwambale
Sightsavers

For more: In pictures: Criscent Bwambale sees for the first time in Uganda

Rise and fall of Oscar Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius running on his prothestics
Getty Images

  • August 2012: Competes in London Olympics and Paralympics, where he won a gold medal
  • February 2013: Shoots dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
  • March 2014: Trial begins
  • September 2014: Judge finds Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide
  • October 2014: Begins five-year sentence
  • October 2015: Transferred to house arrest
  • December 2015: Appeal court changes verdict to murder
  • July 2016J: Sentenced to six years in jail for murder

Read more: Pistorius, a fallen idol

How to stop Africa's brain drain

Foreign Policy tweets...

Mauritian President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim and Ory Okolloh of the Omidyar Network discuss the continent's brain drain and debate the best ways to keep talent at home.

View more on twitter

Israeli PM lays wreath at Rwanda genocide memorial

Benjamin Netanyahu laying wreath at genocide memorial
AP

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has visited a memorial for victims of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and laid a wreath at mass graves honouring those killed. 

"We are deeply moved by this memorial to the victims of one of history's greatest crimes and reminded of the haunting similarities to the genocide of our own people," he and his wife, Sara, wrote in the visitors' book at the site in Kigali.

His trip to Rwanda came during the first visit by a sitting Israeli prime minister to sub-Saharan Africa in three decades. 

Mr Netanyahu, who has spoken of wanting closer trade and security ties with African nations, has already been to Uganda and Kenya. He finishes his tour in Ethiopia on Thursday.

Mozambique suspends salaries for 26,000 'ghost workers'

Jose Tembe

BBC Africa, Maputo

The Mozambican government says civil servants who have failed to present “proof of life” will have their salaries stopped from the end of this month.

The “proof of life” is a check to confirm the existence of staff on the payroll to avoid ghost workers.

Government spokesperson Mouzinho Saide said that more than 26,000 people had so far failed to complete the process and would have their pay suspended.

Their salaries will remain suspended until they can prove their existence."

Tanzania fines mobile firms over unregistered cards

Leonard Mubali

BBC Africa, Dar es Salaam

A woman on a mobile phone in Tanzania
BBC
Tanzania is cracking down on phone security

Six major mobile phone firms in Tanzania have been fined for failing to deactivate unregistered sim cards. The fines were:

  • Airtel: about $34,000 (£26,000)
  • Halotel: about $167,000
  • Smart: about $3,200
  • Tigo: about $43,000
  • Vodacom: about $22,000
  • Zantel: about $17,000.

The chief of the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority, James Kilaba, said the firms were still selling sim cards without registration.

He gave them until 31 July to pay their fines and deactivate all unregistered phones.

The move is part of efforts to boost security.

Recently, the East African nation joined other African countries in switching off all fake phones that did not have an International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number – in a move also intended to protect financial transactions.

Get Involved: Pistorius sentenced

Reaction to Oscar Pistorius’s six-year sentence on the BBC Africa Facebook page (requires login) and to africalive@bbc.co.uk has been mostly critical:

The sentence still seems pretty lenient – very strange that the same judge as for the original trial is expected to put right the mistake the Supreme Court says she made originally. The state should appeal – and the follow-up trial be heard by an independent judge or panel of judges. Justice has not been served – and has been severely and unreasonably delayed.

Trevor Kappes

Only poor people are subjected to long-term sentences but because Pistorius has money that’s why he has been given a six year term

Emmanuel Nkhonjera Mwai

If it was a black man he could be sentenced up to 25 years behind bars; Pistorius is a white man - anyway money talks

Richard Chizengeni

This morning in Scotland, a mother was sentenced to life for murdering a family member. Oscar gets six years, for taking that beautiful lady’s life. Money talks. South Africa’s legal system should be ashamed of itself. Oscar should have got life.

John D Murray

For one tweeter, the whole case is still unresolved:

View more on twitter

Africa is 'open for business'

US entrepreneur and investor tweets...

South African tennis player into Wimbledon men's doubles semi-final

Nick Cavell

BBC Africa Sport

Raven Klaasen of South Africa and Rajeev Ram of the United States
Getty Images

South African tennis player Raven Klaasen is into the semi-finals of the men’s doubles at Wimbledon along with his partner, Rajeev Ram of the US. 

The number 11 seeds beat the second seeded Bryan brothers, Bob and Mike, in straight sets. The Bryans are three-time winners at Wimbledon.

The South African-US pair will play the winners between French duo Julien Benneteau and Edouard Roger-Vasselin and the third seeds, Jamie Murray of Britain and Bruno Soares of Brazil (who are on court at the moment).

How to catch and safely transport a five-tonne Zimbabwean elephant

Outside Magazine tweets about one of Zimbabwe's conservation efforts - selling off some wildlife:

View more on twitter

Brahim Ghali 'only candidate' to head Polisario Front, report says

The Western Sahara independence movement needs a new leader after the death of its long-standing secretary general, Mohamed Abdelaziz, last month.

Visiting fellow at European Council on Foreign Relations tweets:

View more on twitter

Invasion of Iraq 'illegal' - Kofi Annan

In the aftermath of the UK inquiry into the Iraq war, which has found that ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair overstated the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, a spokesman for former UN chief Kofi Annan says the Ghanaian diplomat stands by his earlier comments:

View more on twitter

Read Chilcot Report Live - for more reaction.

SA murder sentence comparisons 'drawing outrage'

LA Times Johannesburg correspondent tweets...

Nigerian Avengers denounce Twitter 'imposters'

Image of NDA Twitter account
AFP

Nigerian militant group the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) says its only Twitter account remains suspended and other accounts purporting to represent it are "imposters". 

The group has previously used Twitter to publicise its claims of having carried out attacks on oil infrastructure in the Niger Delta. Its account was suspended on Monday but others with similar names have since sprung up.

Twitter declined to comment on the reasons for suspending the NDA account but said its policies included a "specific rule pertaining to violent threats" which states that "you may not make threats of violence or promote violence, including threatening or promoting terrorism". 

The NDA has carried out a barrage of attacks on oil installations, causing a huge decline in oil production in the Niger Delta, which is the mainstay of the West African state's economy. 

You can read more about the NDA in this BBC profile of the group.

Largest anti-Mugabe protest in years

Woman walking on empty street in Harare, Zimbabwe
Reuters
Central Harare is deserted today

The mass stay-at-home protest in Zimbabwe is the biggest large-scale demonstration against the government in many years (see earlier post).

Some activists behind the action are calling for 92-year-old President Robert Mugabe to resign.

The shutdown follows strike action this week by doctors and nurses and protests from taxi drivers and traders amid an economic crisis which has led to a chronic shortage of cash.

The BBC’s Brian Hungwe in the capital, Harare, says what has irked most people today was that the internet and messaging app WhatsApp seemed to be blocked – or were very slow.

The government's Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority has issued a statement warning people against what it described as "irresponsible use of social media and telecommunication services”:

Notice from POTRAZ
WhatsApp contributor

But the government has denied there has been any jamming.

According to AP news agency, police detained several journalists and forced them to delete pictures of skirmishes between police and Harare residents.

Meanwhile, President Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980, met his ruling party’s politburo – though it is not clear what was discussed.

UN envoy urges international action on African droughts

Emmanuel Igunza

BBC Africa, Tigray, Ethiopia

UN envoy Mary Robinson visiting aid project in Ethiopia
BBC

The UN envoy for climate change and El Nino, Mary Robinson, has hit out at the international community for being distracted by issues such as migration and Brexit while millions of people in eastern and southern Africa face the worst drought in decades.  

The former Irish president, who is visiting Ethiopia, says pledges made by the West to help countries such as Ethiopia, Somalia and Zimbabwe have not been honoured despite millions facing the worst drought in nearly half a century.

In Ethiopia alone, more than 10 million people are now entirely dependent on food aid and the UN has warned that the number could further rise towards the end of the year. 

The situation has been compounded by the El Nino weather pattern, which has led to the deaths of more than 100 people in floods. 

Mrs Robinson spoke as she toured projects funded by three Irish aid agencies aimed at improving the resilience of communities during drought.

Kenyan police camp set on fire

BBC Monitoring

A Kenyan police station has been set ablaze by an angry mob protesting about the deaths of an abducted lawyer and two others.

According to Kenya’s Capital FM website, the police camp is in Syokimau in Machakos district, south of the capital, Nairobi, where lawyer Willie Kimani, his client and their taxi driver were allegedly detained before being murdered.

Protesters demanding justice marched along the main highway to the camp.

"They stormed into the container [containing cells, an office and an armoury] and removed valuables before setting the whole place on fire," a witness told Kenya’s Star newspaper.

An activist tweeted this footage from the scene.

View more on twitter

Team Rwanda cyclists prepare for UK racing tour

Team Rwanda cyclists
Team Rwanda

Team Rwanda, the national cycling team of Rwanda, arrive in the UK tomorrow for their first ever UK racing tour. They will take part in 12 elite road races and other events known as criteriums in four weeks.

The team was formed by survivors of the 1994 genocide as a way to begin the healing process. 

Many lost family members in the violence and are now their immediate family's only breadwinners.

The team is now considered the leading sports team in Rwanda, giving hope and inspiration to others hoping to overcome the legacy of conflict.

You can read more about the team's plans here.

And go here for details of Team Rwanda's race schedule.

Eight key quotes from Pistorius judge

Judge Masipa
BBC

Here is a selection of remarks made by South African High Court judge Thokozile Masipa in the sentencing hearing of the athlete Oscar Pistorius:

He cannot be at peace. I'm of the view that a long term of imprisonment will not serve justice.

He's a first-time offender. Considering the facts of this matter he's not likely to re-offend

Our courts are courts of law, not courts of public opinion.

I take the view that mitigating circumstances outweigh the aggravating factors.

There is no indication at all that the deceased was in an abusive relationship.

The sentence that I impose on the accused... is six years' imprisonment.

Thankfully, healing has already started, Mr and Mrs Steenkamp have stated they have forgiven the accused.

The life of the accused shall also never be the same. He is a fallen hero who has lost his career and he is ruined financially."

Olympic basketball: Can Angola, Senegal and Tunisia qualify?

Nick Cavell

BBC Africa Sport

Maurice Ndour from Senegal playing against Canada
Fiba

Senegal lost 55-58 to Canada in their opening game of their men's Olympic Basketball qualifying event in the Philippines.

It means Senegal must beat Turkey tomorrow in order to keep alive their hopes of playing at the Games in Rio. 

Canada have won their two group games and will now play in the semi-finals on Saturday.

Meanwhile in Italy, the Tunisians must beat Croatia at 19:00 GMT to have a chance of progressing and that's the same for 11-time African champions Angola as they play hosts Serbia at 16:00 GMT.

Only the overall winners from the three qualifying events progress to the Olympics.

Security tight for Eid in Nigeria

Isa Sanusi

BBC Africa, Abuja

Women queuing
BBC

Security was tight across all prayer grounds this morning in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, for Eid al-Fitre.

A security guard screening someone at a prayer ground in Nigeria's capital, Abuja
BBC

Armed security guards screened everyone seeking entrance into prayer premises.  

Eid prayers in Aubja, Nigeria
BBC

South African golfer withdraws from Open Championship

Jaco van Zyl
Getty Images

There will be one fewer South African playing in this month's Open Championship at Royal Troon in Scotland. Jaco van Zyl has withdrawn because of injury. He will be replaced by England's Luke Donald. 

Nine South Africans will play in the tournament, headed by former champions Louis Oosthuizen and Ernie Els.

Read the BBC Sport story for more

Pistorius sentence 'an insult to women'

Members of the women's league of South Africa's governing African National Congress (ANC) attended the trial of Oscar Pistorius in support of Reeva Steenkamp, and said the sentence handed down today was not sufficient.

"First five years, now six years? She [Judge Masipa] is an embarrassment to the justice system," women's league spokeswoman Jacqueline Mofokeng told Reuters.

It is an insult to women in this country."

Jacqueline Mofokeng
A member of the ANC Women's league wears a pin for Reeva Steenkamp in Pretoria in 2014
AFP
The ANC Women's League supported Reeva Steenkamp's mother June during the trial

Rights activists urge respect for ICC

African human rights activists have released a video in which they urge African governments to support the International Criminal Court (ICC). 

It comes after an African Union committee suggested AU member states could leave the ICC unless the court met certain conditions. These included that sitting heads of state should be immune from prosecution.

The activists said the court had the ability to deliver justice in cases, such as war crimes, where national systems had failed.

View more on youtube

Key points from Pistorius sentencing

Oscar Pistorius in court
BBC

If you're just joining us, here's a recap of today's news about Oscar Pistorius.

  • The South African athlete has been jailed for six years for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp
  • It's far less than the minimum prescribed term in South Africa of 15 years for murder
  • The judge said she found mitigating factors, such as the athlete's remorse and vulnerability, outweighed aggravating ones, such as his failure to fire a warning shot
  • The 29-year-old runner had previously admitted shooting Ms Steenkamp in 2013, but said he had mistaken her for an intruder and acted out of fear
  • Today's sentence comes after the Olympic runner's conviction for manslaughter was changed to murder last December on appeal
  • Time served will not count, suggesting Pistorius will serve three years before he is eligible for parole
  • The athlete's legal team have said they will not appeal against today's sentence.

Zimbabwe 'shuts down' in protest over economy

Many Zimbabweans are staying away from work in what activists are describing as a national shutdown.

The protest was called to put pressure on the government, which activists blame for the deteriorating economic situation.

The BBC’s Brian Hungwe says the centre of the capital, Harare, is very quiet, with many people not at work and only limited public transport running.

On Twitter, #ThisFlag, the social movement backing the shutdown call, #shutdownzimbabwe2016 and #zimshutdown2016 have been trending.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Someone tweeted this video showing shops closed in one area of Harare:

View more on twitter

The second city of Bulawayo is also empty:

View more on twitter

The term “WhatsApp” is also trending as the social messaging serve was down – reportedly for six hours. Some said Facebook had also been inaccessible to users in Zimbabwe.

Jonathan Moyo, a cabinet minister who loves tweeting, says in the countryside life is continuing as normal:

View more on twitter

On Tuesday, doctors, nurses and teachers went on strike because their salaries had not been paid for more than a month because a chronic cash shortage.

Pistorius sentence 'very lenient'

South African legal expert tweets...

Abducted Kenyan lawyer 'tortured before death'

Ferdinand Omondi

BBC Africa, Nairobi

Pathologist Andrew Gachie
BBC
The pathologist addressed a packed courtroom

A Kenyan court has been told that an abducted lawyer, his client and their taxi driver were tortured before they were killed.

Pathologist Andrew Gachie, who submitted his report to the court today, said an examination of the body of lawyer Willie Kimani showed that his genitals had been crushed.

His skull had also been crushed – and he had died from a blunt force trauma to his head, he said.

The taxi driver had had a rope tied round his neck and died from strangulation.

Mr Kimani's client, Josephat Mwendwa, had died from head, neck and chest injuries.

Many Kenyans believe police officers carried out the killings. The bodies were found a week after the men went missing. Mr Kimani's client had been making an official complaint against the police.

Four police officers are in detention pending an investigation. No-one has been charged yet.

The Law Society of Kenya is staging a demonstration in Nairobi today, calling for the resignation of the police chief, the internal security minister and the head of the administration police service:

Protesters in Kenya holding up a sign saying: "Stop extra judicial executions"
BBC
Protesters in Kenya holding up a sign saying: "#IAmWillie"
BBC

BBC reporter answers reader questions on Pistorius sentencing

BBC reporter Nomsa Maseko
BBC

BBC reporter Nomsa Maseko was outside the High Court in Pretoria, taking readers' questions and talking to a legal expert during a Facebook Live event. 

You can catch up with what she said here.

Eid al-Fitr celebrated in Kenya

Eid Mubarak to all our Muslim readers – celebrations are under way across the continent to mark the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

The BBC’s Bashkas Jugsodaay attended prayers in the north-eastern Kenyan town of Garissa. As his photos show, it’s a time to dress up:

Garissa prayer ground
BBC
Boys dressed up in sunglasses and headdresses in Garissa, Kenya
BBC

One little boy was showing off his water pistols:

A boy with two water pistols
BBC

In Eastleigh, a suburb of Kenya’s capital known as Little Mogadishu because of its many residents of Somali origin, it’s also fun and games, as photos from the BBC’s Ahmed Adan show:

Children playing in Eastleigh, Nairobi, Kenya
BBC
Children on swings in Eastleigh, Nairobi, Kenya
BBC

… and it's a time to bring out the selfie stick:

People taking Eid selfies in Eastleigh, Kenya
BBC

First reaction from Reeva Steenkamp's best friend

Gina Myers tweets...

Her comment refers to the new sentence being for only one year more than the original one, under which Pistorius was handed five years imprisonment for culpable homicide (manslaughter).

View more on twitter

Read more: Gina Myers was interviewed by the BBC in February 2013  

Athlete's brother says judge is 'remarkable woman'

Oscar Pistorius's brother tweets...

The first of these tweets was posted before the new sentence was announced. The second one afterwards.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Confirmation that Pistorius team not planning to appeal

BBC reporter tweets...

Shock and dismay at six-year sentence

Pumza Fihlani

BBC News, Pretoria

Judge Masipa
Getty Images

Many have expressed shock at Oscar Pistorius' sentence, which is much less than the prescribed minimum for murder here. South Africans have taken to social media to express their unhappiness, with some describing the prison term as an insult. 

Outside court, legal experts told me the sentence was too lenient.

"The judge was sympathetic and empathetic to Pistorius. It was clear in the tone of her entire judgement," one said. 

But Judge Masipa said she carefully considered the circumstances around Reeva Steenkamp's death and her sentence needed to be fair to both Pistorius and the family of the deceased. She told the court she did not believe that a lengthy sentence was in the interests of justice. 

South Africa has one of the highest murder rates in the world, and some say a short sentence will send the wrong message to would-be offenders.

The Pistorius family though may breathe a small sigh of relief. If the term is unchallenged the athlete, known as the "blade runner", would have to serve only half of his term to be eligible for parole - that means he could be home in three years' time.

Steenkamp family 'pleased trial is over'

A BBC reporter tweets...

No defence appeal - Reuters

Oscar Pistorius's defence team have said they will not appeal against the athlete's six-year sentence, Reuters reports.

Will prosecutors appeal?

A South African journalist tweets that she expects state prosecutors to appeal and for the Supreme Court of Appeal to back them:

View more on twitter