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  1. Zimbabwe "blundered" by adopting US dollar as currency
  2. Kenyan prisoner pardoned by president "caught stealing in church"
  3. "Sorcery" led to Zamalek's defeat in football championship
  4. Trains collide in South Africa's economic hub
  5. Retired judge says South Africa is being run like a "corner shop"
  6. Anti-UN protest in CAR "leaves three dead"
  7. Burundi bans 10 organisations
  8. Get Involved: #BBCAfricaLive WhatsApp: +44 7341070844
  9. Email stories and comments to - Monday 24 October 2016

Live Reporting

By Dickens Olewe, Farouk Chothia and Lamine Konkobo

All times stated are UK

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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 drums of war are the drums of hunger."

A South African proverb sent by William Gol Chok, Wau, South Sudan.

We leave you with this photo from Instagram of a hawker selling sunglasses at a beach in Senegal's capital Dakar:

View more on instagram

Mahrez and Aubameyang in Ballon d'Or shortlist

Riyad Mahrez
Riyad Mahrez is one of 30 players nominated for the award

Leicester City's Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez and Gabon's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have been named in a 30-man shortlist for the annual Ballon d'Or award. 

The shortlist has traditionally been trimmed to three players before the awards evening in January.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is also in contention

The last time a player other than Argentine Lionel Messi or Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo won the award was Brazilian Kaka, who took the honour when at AC Milan in 2007. 

The prize has been awarded by France Football every year since 1956, but for the past six years it became the Fifa Ballon d'Or in association with world football's governing body.  

Read full story

Anti-UN protest in CAR 'leaves three dead'

United Nations (UN) peacekeeper in Bangui
The peacekeepers have battled to win the confidence of all groups in CAR

Three people have been killed during protests against the UN peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic.

Peacekeepers opened fire when demonstrators tried to force their way into the UN headquarters, reports BBC Afrique's Max Allaroum from the city. 

The UN denies using live bullets and says its soldiers only used tear gas.

A group of Central Africans wants the UN mission to withdraw, saying it is failing to protect people.

The peacekeepers were deployed after civil war which broke out in 2013 when then-President Francois Bozize was ousted by mainly Muslim Seleka rebels.

But it has been hit by several allegations that its troops have been sexually abusing children.

Read the full BBC story here

'My innocent brother is in Guantanamo'

The US' "extraordinary rendition" programme allows it to swoop on terror suspects and transfer them for interrogation in another country, which will often have less strict laws than its own on the treatment of prisoners.

Kenyan citizen Mohamed Abdulmalik was seized in Mombasa nine years ago, eventually ending up at the US' Guantanamo Bay detention centre, where he is still being held.

A new report has revealed details of 165 cases of rendition in East Africa, raising questions about whether governments are sacrificing sovereignty in their co-operation with the US' "war on terror".

Video journalist: Michael Onyiego

'Innocent' Kenyan held in Guantanamo Bay for nine years

Dangote's company sacks staff

Chris Ewokor

BBC Africa, Abuja

Aliko Dangote
Getty Images
Mr Dangote is reported to have lost $5.4bn (£4.4bn) of his fortune this year

Nigeria’s economic recession seems to have hit the Dangote Group, owned by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote. 

The company has reportedly fired 48 staff - 36 expatriates and 12 Nigerians. 

Reports say the sackings were due to the current high cost of doing business in the recession-hit country, and the firm had been unable to raise foreign currency to pay the expatriate workers.   

 But Dangote Group spokesman Tony Chiejina told the BBC the dismissals were unconnected to the recession. The company was streamlining its activities, and some jobs had been taken over by its subsidiaries. 

Dangote group is one of the biggest employers in the private sector. 

Two months ago, Bloomberg news agency reported that Mr Dangote had lost $5.4bn (£4.4bn) of his fortune this year due to the fall in the value of NIgeria's currency, the naira, and the decision of the central bank of Nigeria to ration dollars to stem huge capital outflows. 

Zimbabwe's adoption of US dollar was 'dangerous'

man wearing a hat decorated with worthless note bearers' cheques during a protest against government plans to introduce bond notes -- a local token currency equivalent to the US dollar, and unemployement on August 3, 2016 in Harare.
Opposition supporters say their money has become worthless because of government policies

Zimbabwe's decision to adopt the US dollar as a trading currency in 2009 was a "major mistake" and a "dangerous" move, central bank chief John Mangudya has said, the state-owned Herald newspaper reports.

However, Mr Mangudya ruled out reintroducing the Zimbabwean dollar, saying this was not possible in the current economic climate. 

Instead, Zimbabwe was on course to introduce "bond notes", the equivalent of the US dollar, next month to deal with a shortage of the currency caused by low imports while exports rose. 

Mr Mangudya added: 

The major mistake was made in 2009 when government liberalised the economy, which led to the use of the US dollar as a trading currency instead of a reserve currency. This resulted in some investors coming to Zimbabwe only for the US dollar and [they] took the money out.

Since 2009 we gave the impression that Zimbabwe manufactured the US dollars. The move taken in 2009 was dangerous. It was both economic and political and maybe we spent more time on the political side."

A power-sharing government, led by President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tavangirai, introduced the US dollar to stem hyperinflation which made its currency worthless.

The official portrait of President Robert Mugabe hangs on the wall as Zimbabwaen dollar bank notes are shown June 28, 2008 at the airport in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
Runaway inflation forced Zimbabwe to scrap its currency

The opposition's Tendai Biti was the finance minister, and strongly argued for the abandonment of the Zimbabwean dollar. 

He was widely praised for his efforts to stabilise the economy. 

The power-sharing government ended in 2013 after Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party won disputed elections. 

Read: Zimbabwe's flag fury

Rights group condemns Tunisia

Rana Jawad

BBC North Africa correspondent, Tunis

The US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) has criticised Tunisia for using house arrests calling it "abusive". 

Its latest report includes interviews with 13 individuals placed under house arrest under the state of emergency that has been in place for nearly a year.  

HRW  say scores have been confined without charge for a prolonged period of time.

It adds that Tunisians under house arrest are often isolated by society, and have little opportunity to finish their studies or to work. 

The organization says orders of this kind should be subject to court appeals and time limits.

 Those interviewed by the rights group say they were denied a written copy of the house arrest order.  

The exact number of people under house arrest is unknown.  However, the Ministry of Interior has previously confirmed at least 139 cases. 

It described the suspects as returnees from conflict zones and people with suspected links to domestic militant groups.

Hafedh Ghadoun, one of the lawyers representing at least 10 people under house arrest, told the BBC that he believes the number under house arrest is more than 139.  

He also said that “house arrest has never been a deterrent to terrorism" and that it could lead to more extremist acts.  

Zamalek chairman blames sorcery for loss

Zamalek chairman Mortada Mansour has blamed "sorcery and bad luck" for the team's defeat at the hands of South Africa's Mamelodi Sundowns in the African Champions League final. 

"There were many chances for us in both games but the ball did not want to enter the goal" Mansour added, after losing 3-1 on aggregate.

He also backed the coach Moamen Soliman to stay in his role despite the loss.

"We have good technical staff and I'm not going to sack them," said Mansour, who has used six coaches this year.

"Moamen will stay till the end of this season with Zamalek."

Read Full story

Zamalek coach Moamen Soliman

Another freed prisoner arrested for stealing

Another Kenyan man who was set free after President Uhuru Kenyatta pardoned 7,000 petty offenders last week, has been arrested for stealing. 

George Kimani allegedly stole a neighbour's sheep in a village in Kenya's central region of Othaya.

He had hidden the sheep in his bathroom as he looked for a potential customer, the Nairobi News publication reports

The area police boss Joseph Mwika says that the man was lucky to escape lynching by the villagers, it adds. 

He was also found with marijuana in his possession. 

Police say he will be arraigned in court for stealing and for handling banned drugs, the report says. 

Mr Kimani has not commented on the allegations.

When he announced the pardon during the Heroes' Day celebrations, President Kenyatta said that the move was to "open space to jail the big corrupt government officers".

Sheep grazing

See earlier post for more on the story

Burundi bans right groups

Burundi has banned nine rights groups and a journalists union, in the latest crackdown on dissent. 

Five groups have been permanently banned, including the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons (APRODH), the interior ministry has said. 

It was headed by activist Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, who moved to Europe last year after surviving an assassination attempt by unidentified gunmen in the capital, Bujumbura,. 

A picture taken on March 19, 2015 shows president of the Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detainees A.P.R.O.D.H, Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, posing in Bujumbura.
Mr Mbonimpa was shot by men on motorbikes

A further five, including Iteka, SOS-Torture and Burundian Union of Journalists, have been temporarily banned, the ministry said. 

The ministry accused the 10 groups of "sowing hatred" in Burundi and "disturbing public order and state security", Reuters news agency reports. 

Burundi has been hit by instability since President Pierre Nkurunziza announced in April 2015 that he was running for a third term, sparking mass protests and an attempt by some generals to overthrow him. 

Read: Has AU let down Burundi?

Kenyatta overturns death sentences

Kenya's president has tweeted about his decision to commute to life in prison the death sentences handed down to more than 2,700 prisoners: 

View more on twitter

CAR's capital hit by anti-UN protest

UN peacekeepers in the Central African Republic
The UN peacekeepers in the Central African Republic are blamed for the continued violence from armed groups

The Central African Republic's capital, Bangui, is at a standstill after a coalition of civil society groups called for a stay away to demand the withdrawal of UN peacekeepers, reports the BBC's Max Allaroum from the city. 

The Working Group of the Civil Society on the Central African Republic called on residents to boycott the workplace to demand the withdrawal from the country of the UN peacekeeping mission (Minusca), our reporters adds. 

The coalition says the UN force, known by the acronym Minusca, is supposed to protect civilians, and reduce the number of armed groups in the city. 

However, there are "more killings" in areas where troops are deployed, its coordinator, Gervais Lakosso, is quoted by AFP as saying. 

Minusca, a 10,000-strong force, has rejected similar accusations in the past. 

The Central African Republic is recovering from a civil war which broke out in 2013 when then-President Francois Bozize was ousted by rebels. 

'Deadly' train crash in South Africa

At least one person has been killed and 50 wounded in a train crash in South Africa's Gauteng province, the economic hub of the country. 

Images shared on social media show a mangled wreckage with rescue staff at the scene.

View more on twitter

A private news station says the number of wounded in the crash, east of the main city Johannesburg, may be more than 150:

View more on twitter

A Malawian in Johannesburg has posted images of crowds gathering at the crash site:

View more on twitter

Freed prisoner 'caught stealing in church'

Kenyan money

A Kenyan man, who was among 7,000 petty offenders freed on Heroes' Day on Thursday after being pardoned by President Uhuru Kenyatta, has been caught allegedly stealing in a church in the central region of Laikipia, the Daily Nation reports

Lucas Ngugi Njoroge, 26, was caught by worshipers as he allegedly dipped his hand in the offertory basket and stuffed his pocket with the money, it adds. 

He had taken $9 (£7) from the basket at the time he was caught, the report alleges.

Some of the church members confronted him and wanted to beat him up before he was rescued by a local chief who was attending the service.

Mr Njoroge has not yet commented on the allegation.  

The chief said he had admitted that it was "wrong to steal from the church" and was in the process of returning the money when he was caught.

Mr Njoroge, who is currently being held in a local police station, will be taken to court as soon as investigations are complete, a local police boss told the paper. 

Mandela's comrade accuses Zuma of 'killing ANC'

Mr Zuma and Nkandla home
The Nkandla residence has been a political headache for President Zuma

A leading stalwart of South Africa's governing African National Congress (ANC) has accused President Jacob Zuma of "killing" the party, the Johannesburg-based Star newspaper reports. 

Andrew Mlangeni, the chairman of the party's integrity committee, said the ANC's top leadership body should have forced Mr Zuma to step down after the country's top court, the Constitutional Court, ruled in March that he had violated the constitution by failing to repay government money used to upgrade his private home in the rural area of Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal, it reports.

A High Court has also ruled that Mr Zuma should be charged with 783 counts of corruption in relation to a multi-billion dollar arms deal. 

Mr Zuma has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, and has said he intends to continue to "shepherd" the nation.

He has appealed against the High Court's ruling, but the case has not yet been heard.  

In the interview published in The Star, Mr Mlangeni, who was imprisoned on Robben Island with South Africa's first black president Nelson Mandela, said the ANC's National Executive Committee (NEC) should have acted after the Nkandla judgement:   

They could have taken a decision and asked him to resign because by not resigning he has killed the organisation and the economy of the country has gone down."

See earlier post for more details

Read: How Zuma's Nkandla home has grown

Kenyans call for order in public transport

Kenyans on Twitter are using the hashtag  #StopMatatuMenace to call for respect for women and for laws to be enforced in the public transport industry dominated by minibus taxis known as matatus.

The call comes after news that a matatu crew allegedly assaulted and attempted to drug a woman. 

The woman, Caroline Karimi Mwari, recounted her ordeal on social media which was later picked up by the mainstream media leading to the arrest of a man who allegedly attempted to drug her in the capital, Nairobi. 

He has not yet commented on the allegation. 

Ms Mwari says there was an attempt to prevent her from getting off the matatu and she was "rouged up" by a group of men. 

One of the crew tried to inject her with a substance she assumes was harmful, Ms Mwari adds. 

Other women have recounted similar experiences, the Daily Nation reports.

Here's a sample of reactions on Twitter: 

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Appeal for blood in Cameroon after deadly train crash

Train crash site
A day of mourning is being observed in Cameroon

Officials in Cameroon have called on the public to donate blood to assist with the treatment of 600 people wounded in Friday's train crash.

Eleven more bodies were recovered on Sunday, taking the death toll to 80.

France's ambassador in the country was one high-profile donor who donated blood and urged others to follow suit.

The passenger train was travelling from Yaounde, the capital, to the port city of Douala when carriages flipped over at high speed.

Read the full BBC story here

Ivory Coast kicks off campaign for constitutional vote

A woman dances during a rally for Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara
The constitution is likely to be approved in the referendum

Supporters of a controversial new constitution have launched their campaign to get voters to approve it in a referendum on 30 October, despite an opposition call for a boycott. 

The Yes-Camp, led by President Alassane Ouattara's government, is billing the referendum as an opportunity to turn a new page in Ivory Coast's turbulent history by addressing the divisive issue of who is eligible to run for president. 

The text scraps the requirement that both parents of a candidate must be native-born Ivorians.

The clause barred Mr Ouattara from running for the presidency in the past.

The new constitution also scraps the age limit of 75 for candidates, fuelling speculation in opposition circles that Mr Ouattara, 74, plans to seek a third term in elections due in 2020. 

Dismissing the government's upbeat message that the new constitution will promoter peace and modernity in a nation scarred by conflict, political scientist Jean Alabro is quoted by AFP new agency as saying:

Just as the current constitution was against Ouattara, so this one is for Ouattara and his camp."

The draft also proposes the creation of a vice-presidency, which opponents say Mr Ouattara will give to someone he intends to groom as his successor when he eventually steps down.

Secirity forces broke up an opposition protest against the constitution in the main city, Abidjan, last week. 

The constitution is expected to be approved at the referendum, as Mr Ouattara's supporters will go out to vote, in contrast to opposition  supporters who will heed the boycott call made by their parties.  

Read: Ivory Coast country profile

Sundowns owner 'gives prize money to team'

In this handout photo provided by the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee, Patrice Motsepe sttends the Red Carpet event prior to the 2010 Soccer World Cup Final Draw at the CTICC on December 4, 2009 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Getty Images
Mr Motsepe says he hopes the team does not "waste the money"

South Africa's mining magnate Patrice Motsepe, who owns football club Mamelodi Sundowns, says the team will share the entire prize of $1.5m after winning the 2016 African Champions League, the local IO news site reports.

Mr Motsepe, the richest black man in the country, would only keep the trophy after the team beat Zamalek 3-1 on aggregate to be crowned as the African champions, it adds.

Mr Motsepe is quoted as saying:     

The prize money is theirs. All of the $1.5m. They must sit down now and start to think that how are they going to divide that money among themselves.

We got into football as a family in a humble way to give back. I hope that the guys don’t waste the money now. Put it into something that will benefit you when your football is over.”

See earlier post for more details

Fairytale African triumph for Sundowns

Mamelodi Sundowns win against Egypt's Zamalek makes the club the second South African club to win the African Champions League. 

The BBC's Mohammed Allie describes the win, including how Egyptian authorities let in 75,000 fans into the Borg El Arab Stadium after saying they would only allow 20,000. 

Listen below:

South Africa's Sundowns win African Champions League

Somali pirates' hostages 'ate rats' to survive

The sailors, including Arnel Balbero (right), flew to Kenya after their release
The sailors, including Arnel Balbero (right), flew to Kenya after their release

A group of sailors who were held hostage by Somali pirates for nearly five years survived in part by eating rats, one survivor has told the BBC.

Filipino sailor Arnel Balbero said they were also only given small amounts of water and felt like "the walking dead" by the end of their ordeal.

The 26 sailors were seized on board their ship in 2012 and were eventually taken to Somalia.

They were freed on Saturday, reportedly after a ransom was paid.

The sailors were from China, the Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Taiwan.

Read full story

Burkina Faso dismantles 'terror recruitment network'

An hotel in Ouagadougou in the wake of a Jihadist attack in January
The January deadly attack on an hotel in Ouagadougou marked a turning point in Burkina Faso approach to fighting extremist groups.

Officials in Burkina Faso say they have dismantled an extremist network which was trying to recruit people for al-Qaeda-linked movements in the Sahel, the AP news agency reports. 

Police shot a man who was carrying a gun and a grenade Saturday and are pursuing three others, who are Burkina Faso nationals, the news agency quotes an unnamed senior police officer as saying.  

Burkina Faso, which had relatively been spared by militant Islamist groups, is now becoming a new front-line in the fight against jihadists. 

At least 30 people were killed in January an attack by militants on a hotel in the capital, Ouagadouou.

Read: How Burkina Faso's different religions live in peace

Sundowns crowned Kings of Africa

Sundowns crowned Kings of Africa
Mamelodi Sundowns win the 2016 African Champions League

South Africa's Mamelodi Sundowns held out after being under siege for almost 90 minutes to be crowned as the African champions for 2016 after restricting hosts Zamalek of Egypt to a 1-0 win in the second leg of the Champions League in Alexandria on Sunday.

It meant Sundowns won 3-1 on aggregate after a convincing first leg triumph in Atteridgeville last Saturday.

It was a first triumph for the club, whose only previous final appearance came in 2001 when they lost to Zamalek's arch rivals Al Ahly.

Zamalek got their only goal after 62 minutes from Stanley Ohawuchi despite dominating the game and bombarding the Sundowns goal.

Read full story

Kenya's javelin champ recovering after car crash

Julius Yego of Kenya competes during the Men's Javelin Throw Final on Day 15 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 20, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Yego won silver at the Rio Olympics

Kenyans have taken to Twitter to send well wishes to world javelin champion Julius Yego after he was involved in a car accident on Sunday night. 

Yego was taken to a hospital in Kenya's Eldoret town where he's receiving treatment. 

He was alone when the accident occurred, the Daily Nation reports. The paper also shared a picture of his mangled car. 

View more on twitter

Yego, the reigning javelin world champion, became famous for learning his javelin skills on YouTube

He won a silver medal at the Rio Olympics after an injury forced him to retire early.

"God is living and great! I'm OK my people. Can't believe am alive. @mungu yupo! (There's a God) I'm in stable condition," Yego posted on his Facebook page, the Nation reports.

It's unclear what led to the accident. 

Cameroon in day of mourning over deadly train crash

The site of Friday's train crash in Esaka, Cameroon.
Investigations are still taking place to establish the cause of the crash

A day of mourning is being observed in Cameroon in the wake of Friday's train crash which killed at least 80 people, BBC Afrique reports. 

The passenger train was travelling from Yaounde, the capital, to the port city of Douala when the accident happened, with carriages flipping over at high speed. 

The train was carrying more than 1,400 people. 

Reacting to the tragedy, President Paul Biya told state TV: 

I have ordered an in-depth inquiry into the causes of this accident. I have ordered for victims' [medical] costs to be paid for by the state."

Throughout the country, flags are flying at half-mast as part of the day of mourning, the BBC Richard Onanena in Yaounde says.   

Efforts are still under way to identify some of the dead. 

South Africa being run like a 'spaza shop'

Pravin Gordhan, Minister of Finance of South Africa, discusses poverty during a seminar discussion at World Bank Headquarters during the annual World Bank - International Monetary Fund (IMF) meetings in Washington, DC, October 9, 2013.
Mr Gordhan is the first government minister due to stand trial while in office

South Africa is being run like a "spaza shop" (a corner shop), a retired judge has said, as his legal group filed court papers in a bid to force prosecutors to drop fraud charges against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, the local TimesLive newspaper reports

Retired Constitutional Court Judge Johan Kriegler said it was "scary" that Mr Gordhan was being asked to stand in a dock like a "common criminal".

A group of South African supporters chat in front of a Spaza, or informal shop in an impoverished suburb about 20Km from the centre of Cape Town, on June 16, 2010
Spaza shops are common across South Africa

Mr Gordhan is due to appear in court on 2 November on a charge of fraudulently approving an early retirement package of about $72,000 (£59,000) for a former employee at the tax agency about a decade ago.

He has dismissed the charges - brought by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) following an investigation by the Hawks police unit - as "political mischief". 

The NPA says it is an independent body, applying the law without fear or favour.   

Judge Kriegler's Freedom Under Law group and the Helen Suzman Foundation have lodged an urgent application in the HIgh Court, asking for the charges to be thrown out.

The retired judge is quoted as saying:   

"It is our [country's] chief accounting officer, for Heaven's sake. The Hawks and the NPA say he is guilty of fraud. It is horrific. The country of Madiba is being run like a spaza shop."

The CEOs of 80 leading South African companies also pledged support for Mr Gordhan in advertisements in Sunday newspapers, saying the charges had no "legal foundation". 

The NPA's critics fear that the charges are aimed at removing Mr Gordan from office, opening the way for an elite, perceived to be corrupt, to take control of the ministry. 

Read: Is South Africa's governing party tearing itself apart? 

Today's wise words

Our African proverb of the day: 

The drums of war are the drums of hunger."

A South African proverb sent by William Gol Chok, Wau, South Sudan.

Click here to send us your African proverbs

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