A reminder of today's proverb:
If God had been human, there would have been no rains."
We leave you with this photo of a horse being transported by boat in the Nigerian city of Lagos:
A reminder of today's proverb:
If God had been human, there would have been no rains."
We leave you with this photo of a horse being transported by boat in the Nigerian city of Lagos:
The president of Ivory Coast, Alassane Ouattara, has named a new cabinet a day after appointing Amadou Gon Coulibaly as prime minister.
The cabinet will have 28 ministers, compared with 35 in the previous administration.
It includes seven fresh members and despite the recent mutiny which rocked barracks across the country, the defence and interior ministers have been retained.
The mutiny, mainly involving former rebels who are now integrated into the army, was the second such army uprising in less than three years.
New PM Mr Coulibaly is from President Ouattara's party, but many ministers come from other parts of the coalition that helped Mr Ouattara win the last two elections.
On Tuesday, Mr Coulibaly's predecessor, Daniel Kablan Duncan, was named vice president - a new post created in the constitution voters approved in last October's referendum.
A political deal in the Democratic Republic of Congo which was brokered by the Catholic Church to prevent the country descending into chaos over an electoral calendar has been rejected by a senior ally of President Joseph Kabila.
According to the deal signed on New Year's Eve, President Kabila, whose second and last term ended last month, should stay on as president with a prime minister picked from the main opposition coalition to lead a transition with the aim of organising a presidential election by the end of the year.
Now, a former senior MP, Sami Badibanga, appointed last month as prime minister by Mr Kabila under a previous unilateral agreement says he rejects the deal as unfit for purpose.
Mr Badibanga argues there is no point in replacing an unpopular deal by another one just because this time the main opposition coalition is in favour of it.
Several allies of Mr Kabila have previously expressed a similar view and Mr Badinbanga's public stand is likely to resonate with them.
BBC Africa, Maputo
The Mozambican authorities have expressed concern over the continuous theft of fuel, particularly from fuel tankers in the country’s central region.
In November a tanker in the western Mozambican province of Tete exploded killing more than 100 people and injured others, some of whom are still in hospital with severe burns.
The explosion happened when the Malawian driver turned off the main road to sell fuel to villagers.
Criminal gangs were reported to be looting fuel and merchandise from trucks leaving the central Mozambican port of Beira.
Privately-owned Mozambican STV said the criminals keep the stolen fuel in informal deposits at their homes.
The sense of impunity is such that some of the thieves in the Beira theft had no problem being filmed by STV and boasted openly of their crimes.
One youth admitted attacking vehicles and said it was the only thing they could do for survival.
The BBC has been speaking to students and lecturers at the University of The Gambia, who have launched an exam boycott until President Jammeh steps down.
One student said his parents were worried:
Our families are very concerned about our safety but we have a moral obligation for our country."
A lecturer said the action was representing the Gambian people:
The University of the Gambia is responsive to the broader Gambian society."
The Nigerian army has recovered the bodies of 16 soldiers who had been declared missing in action after an operation against Boko Haram militants in Borno state on 16 October last year, the Daily Trust reports.
"The corpses were recovered along Kamadugou River line area in Maiduguri," the newspaper quoted Maj-Gen Lucky Irabor as saying.
For more details, follow the link below.
The mayor of Kisangani in DR Congo says inhabitants of the town beat 16 suspected criminals to death between October last year and the beginning of this year, Radio Okapi has reported.
The latest was a man aged about 30 who was beaten to death on Sunday night after being accused of trying to steal a motorcycle.
Mayor Augustin Osumaka told his employees to refrain from violence, while the local police chief told residents to call the police when they identified a suspect.
AP news agency has a report from the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, on the difficulties being caused by a doctors' strike, which has entered its second month.
Reporter Tom Odula talks to Sharon Andisi, 23, who was turned away from Kenya's only public maternity hospital when she was about to give birth.
She was driven to a private hospital where she gave birth in the reception area.
Others have not been so lucky - local media followed another woman who was turned away from the same hospital, Pumwani hospital, and whose baby subsequently died.
About 350 women give birth at Pumwani hospital every week when it is staffed.
The doctors are demanding that the government honour a 2013 agreement to raise their salaries by 180%.
The strike has caused a near-total paralysis in the health sector and dozens are believed to have died from a lack of emergency services, AP says.
For more, follow the link above.
Abdullahi Yusuf Osman
BBC Monitoring, Nairobi
Somalia's al-Shabab Islamist group has introduced a new unit of police to monitor people's mobile phones to see what they watch, privately-owned Dhacdo website reports.
The new police unit will monitor and arrest people who watch "inappropriate" films on their phones, according to Sheikh Abu Osama, al-Shabab's leader in the southern region of Lower Shabelle.
Abu Osama urged locals to work with the police, saying they would "not harass people but will advise them on what is right and wrong".
The new unit operates in all al-Shabab-controlled areas.
In 2013, the al-Qaeda-linked group banned the sale and use of smartphones in areas under its control in the south of the country.
Watching satellite television is also not allowed in al-Shahab areas.
Read more: Who are Somalia's al-Shabab?
The authorities in Cameroon say they have exposed and dismantled a network of unscrupulous civil servants who defrauded the government out of more than CFA 1bn (£1.3m, $1.5m) in 2016.
The scammers were said to number about 700, with some working for the Ministry of Finance.
A BBC reporter in Cameroon says they operated the fraud by tampering with payslips, pay grades and other payroll details in order to channel cash into their own accounts.
An internal probe revealed that fraudsters in the Finance Ministry were in charge of masking traces of the scam in the government computer system.
All those involved are now being prosecuted, our reporter says.
Transparency International's corruption index has persistently suggested that Cameroon has a serious fraud problem.
In 2006, under pressure from foreign investors, the government launched Operation Hawk, an anti-corruption drive, which has led to several high-profile court cases.
MPs in Somalia have elected a speaker for the country's new parliament, a key step toward the forthcoming presidential election.
The vote by 259 MPs amid tight security around the police academy building saw the re-election of Mohamed Osman Jawari to the role, AP news agency reported.
The country's clan-based system means that the re-election of Mr Jawari, a member of the Digil and Mirifle clan, means that his fellow clansman, the president of Somalia's federal South West state, Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan, will be forced to withdraw from the presidential race, AFP news agency reported.
The remaining frontrunners are from two of the major clans, the Hawiye and Darod.
The election has been delayed several times amid allegations of fraud and intimidation. No official date for the vote has been set, but officials say it will be in late January.
MPs elect Somalia's president, who is not chosen directly by popular vote.
The country is trying to rebuild after decades of chaos. The country is riven by clan rivalries and threatened by al-Shabab Islamist extremists opposed to Western-style democracy.
Read more: Somalia's rocky road to democracy
Angola has reported its first two cases of Zika virus, Reuters reports.
"Up until two months ago, we didn´t have any detected case, but, now, we have two cases of Zika," the news agency reported Health Minister José Luis Gomes Sambo as saying.
"We have to take preventable measures, especially in the anti-vectorial fight against the mosquitoes."
Zika is a viral disease carried by mosquitoes and has spread to dozens of countries since an outbreak in Brazil in 2015. The disease is believed to cause the birth defect microcephaly.
For more, follow the link below.
Wanyama wa Chebusiri
The Kenyan opposition has unveiled an alliance in a bid to defeat President Uhuru Kenyatta in the forthcoming general elections scheduled for August.
The announcement of the opposition parties unity, which was made in Nairobi and attended by 4,000 people, brought together President Kenyatta’s bitter rival Raila Odinga and former Vice Presidents Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi.
The opposition chiefs however did not name their torch-bearer, saying they will do so “in the next few weeks”.
They also announced that they have shelved street protests against the controversial electoral laws favoured by Kenyatta’s ruling Jubilee coalition.
Today’s opposition meeting is akin to the 2002 popular National Rainbow Alliance (NARC) that defeated Uhuru Kenyatta when President Daniel arap Moi preferred him as a presidential flag-bearer for the then ruling party KANU.
BBC Africa, Johannesburg
South Africa’s transport minister wants to make drink driving as serious an offence as murder and rape after more than 1,700 people died in drink driving incidents over the December holiday period.
The figures are up 5% from the previous year.
Visibly agitated, Dipuo Peters said:
We are seeking to reclassify drunken driving from schedule three which is less severe, to a more severe schedule five offence to ensure that those who negligently cause crashes on the road do not get bail easily and spend time behind bars.”
Ms Peters said that consultations with the Justice Department were underway to finalise and introduce minimum sentences for negligent and reckless driving.
Some 5,943 motorists were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, which accounted for 65% of all traffic violations arrests.
We cannot have people dying like this. Emergency services and traffic chiefs are traumatised by what they see on the roads.”
The announcement comes just a week after the release on parole of the hip-hop musician and rapper Molemo "Jub Jub" Maarohanye. He had been serving an eight-year sentence for culpable homicide or manslaughter after killing four pupils who were walking from school while he was drag racing with a friend in Soweto back in 2010.
Some say it will be hard for the transport minister to achieve her goal because Jub Jub was initially convicted of murder but a separate court reduced this to culpable homicide on appeal.
South Africa has one of the highest rates of road fatalities in the world with more than 10,000 deaths recorded annually. This is in spite of having the most advanced national road network on the African continent.
BBC Africa, Nairobi
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has appointed Ahmed Hussen - a former refugee from Somalia - as the minister for immigration, refugees and citizenship
Just over a year ago, Mr Hussen was celebrating becoming the first ethnic Somali MP in Canada.
Now he has even risen further, by becoming the country's first ethnic Somali minister. He came to Canada as refugee from Mogadishu two decades ago aged 16.
He is a strong supporter of welcoming migrants and will now be in charge of government policy on the matter.
Canada already has a refugee-friendly policy and offered a new home to almost 40,000 Syrian refugees last year.
The Guardian has a piece on the footballers of Guinea-Bissau, the "intrepid outsiders" who will be playing in their first major tournament in this year's African Cup of Nations.
Here's how the reporter, Nick Ames, introduces their achievement in qualifying:
Seven years ago an impoverished state was in football’s wilderness, unable to reliably support a national team and in the midst of an exile during which nearly three years passed without it playing an international game; on 4 June last year, amid delirious scenes in Bissau, an injury-time goal from the former Liverpool winger Toni Silva defeated Zambia and a seemingly impossible mission had become reality."
BBC Africa, Lagos
In some ways the Borno governor's gripe may be legitimate. In the last six months his city of Maiduguri has been transformed. Whereas before it was rare to see foreign aid workers, now the tiny airport in Maiduguri is full of staff from non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
It is a struggle to get a booking in the city's few hotels and armoured vehicles - each costing about $500,000 - are visible all around. The UN in particular has a policy of using them, many other NGOs do not. But they have reason - last July a UN convoy returning from a camp in rural Borno was attacked by Boko Haram fighters; Unicef staff survived direct gunfire thanks to their armoured vehicle.
It is not the first time the UN has been criticised for wasting money, but the idea that Unicef is profiting from the crisis is probably a step too far. It is involved in various nutrition programmes in camps around Borno state that are undoubtedly contributing to feeding the thousands at risk of starving to death.
BBC Africa, Johannesburg
South Africa has granted one of its last remaining struggle prisoners, Kenny Motsamai, full parole after he served 27 years in prison for the murder of a white traffic officer in 1989 in the town of Rustenburg, north-west of Johannesburg.
The announcement by the prison authorities comes after a campaign by the Pan African Congress (PAC), of which Motsamai was a member, and civil rights organisations to have him released after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission denied him amnesty.
Correctional service department spokesman Singabakho Nxumalo confirmed Motsamai's day parole was lapsing, but could only say the prisoner would be released pending the parole board's decision.
"I'll be free on the 11th," Motsamai said last week.
The PAC said his release was a bittersweet moment as it reminded them of the many fighters still behind bars.
It said the release proved how little was being done by the governing African National Congress (ANC) to ensure all those who fought for freedom were recognised.
Its spokesperson Kenneth Mokgatlhe said: “So we’re saying to the ANC that they must go back as they did during the government of President Thabo Mbeki because in that period we saw lots of our cadres being released and the issue was taken more seriously.”
He said it was shocking that 133 prisoners were still behind bars.
PAC supporters met at the Boksburg Correctional Services Centre, east of Johannesburg, for Motsamai’s release.
At the time of his arrest, then 26-year-old Motsamai was a member of the PAC’s armed wing, the Azanian People’s Liberation Army (APLA).
Here's a taster:
There are dozens of armed groups, each one controlling its own turf. When any of them have something to say to the world, they do so on social media, mostly Facebook. But you can never be certain that their declarations really reflect what is going on. Which can make for a mess. Especially since Facebook is where most of the country’s population gets its news...
Much of my work takes place at night. Libyans go to bed, and wake up, very very late. So most information comes out at night. Which is problematic if you want to go to the scene of an event. There are a myriad of checkpoints throughout the country, and with crime levels sky high, you never know at whose mercy you’ll find yourself.
The capital presents its own challenges. You have to know when you can work in the open and when to remain discreet. No one knows exactly how many militias there are in the city and the areas under their control. It’s certain that there are dozens, with at least five controlling others. But how many exactly? No one can say.
I am always very careful when the situation is calm. Because when it’s calm, things can get nasty very quickly. You just have to stumble on a bad checkpoint. All of this means that social life is reduced to a bare minimum. Criminality is sky-high, with foreigners especially at risk. Since most locals are armed, robbers don’t risk breaking into their homes - they can stumble on someone with a rocket launcher…"
Ghana's former Foreign Minister Hanna Tetteh has tweeted a picture of a letter sent by former President John Mahama on Tuesday in which he tells his successor that he is withdrawing his request to remain in his official residence. The letter also says he is withdrawing a request for an office.
Mr Mahama's failure to vacate the house when his term ended on Saturday has caused huge controversy in Ghana. Critics say his continued presence there is unlawful and has also left incoming Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia without an official residence. Officials have insisted that Mr Mahama's request to stay on, and also receive an office, were not approved.
Germany's cabinet has approved the deployment of eight helicopters and 350 more soldiers to Mali as part of the UN peacekeeping mission there, Reuters reports.
The aircraft, which comprise both attack and transport helicopters, will replace Dutch ones.
After the deployment, which must be approved by the German parliament, the European nation will have 1,000 troops in Mali, out of the total peacekeeping force of 15,000. The UN mission is overseeing a 2015 peace deal between the Malian government and rebels.
Zimbabwean blogger Takura Zhangazha has fired back at the "appalling disdain" with which he says European football clubs and international media treat the Africa Cup of Nations.
In a piece published on Africa Blogging, he says the sports media treat the tournament as "inconvenient" and an "unnecessary aberration" interrupting the football season in Europe, where many of Africa's best players ply their trade.
It's obviously up to us as Africans (and those of African origin) to give greater value to our football (and other sporting disciplines). Prejudices against our sporting capacities, including the disdain shown over and about our continental sporting tournaments will remain with us for a while."
But we cannot accept the belittling of our own African Cup of Nations. Be it by coaches, leagues and sports commentators from the same said soccer leagues. If we are to say no to racism, we have to also respect each other’s continental football showcases."
The tournament, hosted by Gabon, kicks off on Saturday.
BBC Africa, Freetown
In what appears to be the clearest indication yet that the Gambian president is stepping down, Yahya Jammeh has appointed a mediator general to help resolve the political impasse in the country.
In a nationwide address, he assured all of a peaceful resolution saying he'd instructed the justice ministry and parliament to come up with an amnesty law to avoid any "witch hunt". He called all to forgive each other, especially the political class.
See earlier post for more details
BBC Africa, Addis Ababa
At least one person has been killed and nineteen others injured in an explosion in a hotel in the northern Ethiopian city of Gondar.
It was not immediately clear who was behind Tuesday night's blast but police have linked the attack to months of violent demonstrations in the Amhara region.
This is the second explosion in a week in the restive area after a grenade attack in the city of Bahir Dar last Wednesday.
Earlier this week, Ethiopia's prime minister said a state of emergency declared last October had helped restore calm in the country after more than a year of protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions, where people say they have been marginalised economically and politically.
Human rights groups say hundreds of people have been killed and thousands arrested since protests began in November 2015.
Read more: Are Ethiopian protests a game changer?
People in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, have been tweeting about deteriorating living conditions there. Tweets speak of long power cuts in cold weather, lack of water, hours-long queues to withdraw cash and cancelled school classes.
The BBC's North Africa correspondent, Rana Jawad, says the political and military scene in Libya remains fractured, despite a UN-brokered agreement that formed a presidency council, which includes a prime minister and several deputies.
The proposed unity government has so far been rejected by the parliament that sits in Eastern Libya. And the presidency council itself is deeply divided, with members either jostling for greater powers, boycotting it, or having resigned from it.
The Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh has insisted that his country must wait for the supreme court to rule on who won last month's election.
It follows a court announcement on Tuesday that the court would not be able to convene before May, when the Nigerian judge appointed to lead the panel of judges is available.
In a speech on Gambian TV, Mr Jammeh also denounced "foreign interference" in the wake of the election - which the election commission said had been won by opposition candidate Adama Barrow - and said he had appointed his own mediator "in this trying period".
Mr Jammeh said he and his party the APRC had rejected the election result because of anomalies that "could not be explained".
He said only the supreme court could now appoint someone president:
I ask everyone to respect the supreme law of our republic and wait for the Supreme Court review and ruling on the election results."
Mr Jammeh also denounced what he called an "unprecedented level of foreign interference in our election and internal affairs and a sustained smear campaign, propaganda and misinformation".
He accused the UN and regional body Ecowas of taking "hasty" resolutions over the election.
Mr Jammeh said the government would "ensure the supremacy of the rule of law and the constitution in the next few days" - an apparent reference to the approaching end of his term in office on 18 January and the stated intention of Mr Barrow to proceed with his inauguration the following day.
The governor of Borno state in Nigeria, Kashim Shettima, has strongly criticised UN agencies and other NGOs working to provide humanitarian services to people displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency.
Mr Shettima said the agencies appeared to be spending the bulk of their funds on their own overheads and personnel costs rather than on the people they are purporting to help. He referred to aid workers flying in by helicopter to inspect toilets and riding around in "flashy bullet-proof jeeps". Only eight of the 126 agencies active in Borno were providing useful services, he said.
Mr Shettima did single out for praise the work of the World Food Programme, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Norwegian Refugee Council, the Danish Refugee Council, the International Organisation for Migration and the UNHCR.
Read more via the link below.
The senior civil servant at the British Foreign Office has tweeted this image of a name card at a dinner hosted by the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Khartoum on Tuesday.
There seems to have been some confusion about the position held by "Mr Edwin". Is he a spokesman or a spook (spy)?
Investment banker Ken Ofori-Atta has been appointed finance minister in Ghana following last month's elections, Bloomberg reports.
Mr Ofori-Atta, 57, was executive chairman of Accra-based investment bank Databank Financial Services for 12 years until 2012 and served as fundraising director during the New Patriotic Party's successful election campaign.
Read more via the link below.
News from around the globe
A South Sudanese woman, Akuja de Garang, is among the people who have been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours list 2016.
Akuja, team leader of Girls Education South Sudan (GESS) programme, an initiative funded by the UK to support girls’ education, has been awarded an MBE for the significant contribution she has made to the development of South Sudan, Catholic Radio Network reported.
On learning of her award Ms de Garang said: “This is wonderful. More so for the GESS programme and the people of South Sudan.”
The BBC's Emmanuel Igunza has tweeted about a blast at a hotel in the Gondar area of Ethiopia.
Nigeria's former President Goodluck Jonathan did not receive kickbacks from a $1.3bn deal involving oil giants ENI and Shell which is under investigation in Italy, his spokesman said on Tuesday.
In a statement, Mr Jonathan said he had not been "accused, indicted or charged for corruptly collecting monies" linked to the 2011 deal for an offshore oil block in Nigeria.
His spokesman also said - "for the umpteenth time" - that Mr Jonathan did not hold assets outside Nigeria.
We will like to point out for the umpteenth time that whether in office or out of office, former President Jonathan does not own any bank account, aircraft or real estate outside Nigeria. Anyone with contrary information is challenged to publicly publish same."
Italian prosecutors late last month released court documents that outline criminal proceedings against the two oil majors and 11 people, including senior executives from the companies, AFP news agency reported.
Mr Jonathan, who left office in May 2015, and Diezani Alison-Madueke, his long-time oil minister who was also the first female president of Opec, do not feature on the list.
But the prosecutors alleged in court papers that they played a key role in the deal in which $466m went to remunerate Nigerian government officials, including Mr Jonathan and Ms Alison-Madueke.
No formal charges have been brought and the parties usually have 20 days to respond to a preliminary investigation report before any formal prosecution.
Businesses in Morocco have been told they can no longer sell, produce or import the burka.
Letters announcing the ban gave 48 hours to get rid of stock, according to reports.
There was no official announcement from the government, but unnamed officials told outlets the decision was made due to "security concerns". It is unclear if Morocco is now intending to ban the garment outright.
Hassan Alaoui in the capital Rabat told the BBC World Service that there was some uncertainty about why the burka would be banned when it wasn't something he'd seen women wearing:
Africa editor, BBC World Service
'Impunity on a staggering scale' - that's how Amnesty International describes justice or the lack of it in the Central African Republic, as the country tries to get back on its feet after a devastating civil war.
The rights group says people who are suspected of committing war crimes during the conflict - including murder and rape - are evading investigation and arrest.
In some cases, Amnesty says, they are living side by side with their victims. It is calling for major investment to rebuild the justice system, and to help set up a Special Criminal Court.
The first steps to establish the court have already been taken, but Amnesty says more needs to be done, including providing funding and foreign judges.
The situation in the Central African Republic remains extremely fragile, and there are frequent outbreaks of violence.
Although UN peacekeepers have helped arrest nearly 400 suspects for crimes linked to the civil war, many others remain free, heightening insecurity - and the sense of injustice many people feel.
Welcome to BBC Africa Live where we will bring you the latest news and views from around the continent.