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Summary

  1. President Zuma recalls Pravin Gordhan back from foreign trip
  2. Rand loses value against the dollar
  3. Tanzania rapper detained over song now free
  4. Kenya says it has killed 31 al-Shabab fighters in Somalia
  5. Zimbabwe malaria cases rise after rains
  6. UN says the killing of aid workers in South Sudan makes it harder to deliver vital supplies
  7. Email stories and comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk - Monday 27 March 2017

Live Reporting

By Hugo Williams and Damian Zane

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Monday'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 ring of a child does not fit an elderly person, but his food can be eaten by one."

An Akan proverb sent by Kwasi Baafi, Accra, Ghana

Click here and scroll to the bottom to send us your African proverbs .

And we leave you with this picture of a vendor in Egypt's coastal city of Alexandria heating up some corn for sale at the end of the day:


          a vendor heats up a grill to roast corn on the Mediterranean Sea coast, in Alexandria, Egypt
AP

Rand steadies as markets wait for news on South Africa finance minister

The story of the day has been the fate that awaits South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

He's due to fly home from London tonight after being called back from a foreign trip during which he was promoting investment in South Africa.

When news of his recall broke this morning the rand dropped in value against the dollar and continued its downward movement until it stabilised towards the end of the day, according to this chart from xe.com.

Chart showing the value of the rand to the dollar
xe.com

There have been concerns that Mr Gordhan, seen by investors as a trusted figure, could be removed from his government post.

Five dead in plane crash near Zimbabwe-Mozambique border

A small plane has crashed neat the Zimbabwe-Mozambique border killing at least five people.

There were six people on board the plane flying from Mozambique to Zimbabwe, the AFP news agency reports. 

It quotes a Mozambican official saying that one person may have survived.

Four of those on board were executives with a Mozambican transport company.

Benin defence minister resigns

Benin's Defence Minister Candide Armand-Marie Azannai has announced his resignation in a shock move.

In a post on his Facebook page, Mr Azannai said he had delivered a letter early this morning to President Patrice Talon asking him to accept his resignation.

His announcement comes at a time when Benin is preparing to put through constitutional reforms, which would include limiting the president to a single six-year term.

Mr Azannai said he had taken the decision due to "recent developments in the political situation in our country", without giving further details.

The proposal to change the current rules, under which a president can serve two five-year terms, have proved highly contentious.

The amendments also suggest changes to how the judiciary is made up. 

Last week, an opposition movement organised a sit-in in front of the parliament saying that the people should have had a chance to debate the changes first.

In Benin, any constitutional amendment can be approved either by referendum or by a four-fifths majority vote in parliament.

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British-Rwandan woman freed from detention in Kigale

We posted earlier  about a Rwandan court ordering the release from custody of British-Rwandan woman Violette Uwamahoro.

She was arrested while on a trip to Rwanda on allegations that she was spreading state secrets.

We've just heard from her lawyer that she has now been freed, but cannot leave the country as the prosecution can still appeal the release, should they argue that there is enough evidence to go to trial.

Ghana-born female doctor blazes trail in US neurosurgery

Dr Nancy Abu-Bonsrah, who migrated to the US from Ghana 11 years ago, has become the first black woman to be accepted as a neurosurgery resident at the prestigious Johns Hopkins Hospital - in other words she's training to be a neurosurgeon.

She has been speaking to the BBC's Focus on Africa radio about how humbled she is by the opportunity and how regular trips back to Ghana inspired her:

Dr Nancy Abu-Bonsrah

South Africa axe murder trial postponed

Mohammed Allie

BBC Africa, Cape Town

In South Africa, the murder trial of the Cape Town man who is alleged to have killed his parents and brother with an axe in their upmarket home was today postponed in the Cape Town High Court until the 24 April.

Twenty-two-year-old Henri van Breda is accused of having committed the gruesome murders in January 2015. 

There was a large media and public presence outside the Cape Town High Court today when Mr Van Breda made his way into the building for the start of his eagerly-awaited trial. 

Mr Van Breda arriving in court
AFP

Today’s proceedings ended after the judge granted a request for a postponement by the defence, who said they were still waiting on police to provide original photos of the murder scene as well as DNA reports. 

Earlier the defence lawyer said his client was chomping at the bit to tell his side of the story.

Tanzania rapper 'will work on song' after Magufuli suggestions

Nay wa Mitego
BBC
Emmanuel Elibariki aka Nay wa Mitego (R) said he

Tanzanian rapper Nay wa Mitego has been speaking to media outside the central police station in Dar es Salaam, following his release. 

He thanked all those who had supported him following his arrest over the weekend after the release of his new song, which was deemed to contain lyrics insulting to the government.

President John Magufuli, who is mocked in the song for not tolerating criticism (see previous entries), came out after the arrest to say that he "loved" the track and had encouraged the rapper to add more lyrics about the fight against corruption. 

Nay wa Mitego said:

I’m grateful that the song has been approved... Now let it be played hard and widely."

Asked whether he was going to change anything on the track after the president's comments, he said:

I can't say now what exactly I’ll add because I've just been released... but I’ll work on it, because this is everybody’s song, it's Tanzania's song."

SA finance minister to return home tonight

South Africa's government has released a statement to say that Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan will leave London tonight and be back in South Africa by the morning:

View more on twitter

Earlier, President Jacob Zuma ordered him to return home from a foreign trip where he was trying to drum up investment for the country.

The order has led to speculation that Mr Gordhan will be sacked in a cabinet reshuffle. 

This, in turn, has led to the price of the rand falling against the dollar, with traders worried about the fate of a minister they consider to be a safe pair of hands. 

Court orders release of British-Rwandan woman over Kagame plot

A Rwandan court has ordered the release from custody of British-Rwandan woman Violette Uwamahoro, who was being held on allegations that she was spreading state secrets to undermine President Paul Kagame.

Her husband, an opposition activist, said at the time of her arrest that she was being made a scapegoat.  

Ms Uwamahoro's family had asked the UK government to intervene, saying they fear the trial is fixed and cannot be fair.

She is currently still being held, as the prosecution may appeal the court order.

Ms Uwamahoro outside the court room
BBC
Ms Uwamahoro (right) was arrested on 14 February after travelling to Rwanda for a family funeral.

Al-Shabab denies Kenya killed 31 of its fighters

Al-Shabab has denied reports that its base in Badhade, southern Somalia, was attacked by Kenyan soldiers.

Earlier, Kenya's government said that its soldiers killed 31 al-Shabab fighters and seized a number of weapons including improvised explosive devices ( see earlier entry ).

IED
Kenya government
Picture of one of the IEDs the Kenyan army says was recovered

The commissioner for the Badhade region told the BBC Somali service that an attack had taken place but could not confirm casualties.

Kenyan soldiers are part of the African Union force supporting the Somali government.

South Sudan aid workers' families await release of bodies


          Relatives of the six aid workers who were ambushed and killed grieve as they wait to collect and bury the bodies of their loved ones, outside the morgue in Juba, South Sudan Monday, March 27, 2017.
AP

Families of aid workers killed in an ambush in South Sudan on Saturday have been at the morgue in the capital, Juba, waiting to collect the bodies of their loved ones.

The UN has called it the worst attack on humanitarian workers since the start of the civil war more than three years ago. 

The number of people killed in the attack has now risen to seven, after the driver of the vehicle also died, according to AP news agency.

The four South Sudanese and three Kenyans worked for a local NGO and were attacked while on a routine food convoy from Juba to Pibor. 


          Relatives of the six aid workers who were ambushed and killed grieve as they wait to collect and bury the bodies of their loved ones, outside the morgue in Juba, South Sudan Monday, March 27, 2017.
AP

Rand under pressure over recall of finance minister

The South African currency, the rand, has lost nearly 3.5% in value against the US dollar today as traders digest the news that Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has been ordered to return home from an investment trip abroad ( see earlier story ).

This graph from xe.com shows how the rand fell in price from 08:40 GMT (10:40 am local time) as the news started to come in:

Graph showing rand/dollar value
xe.com

There are concerns that his recall is the prelude to a cabinet reshuffle in which Mr Gordhan will lose his job.

Mr Gordhan is viewed by economists as a safe pair of hands in managing the country's finances.

Cheptai delight after Kenyan women's clean sweep

Kenya dominated the women's senior race at the World Cross Country Championships in Uganda this weekend, taking all top six positions in an unprecedented finish.

Head of the pack was Irene Chepet Cheptai, who has been speaking to the BBC about her "unexpected" victory: 

Kenyan women fill top 6 at World Championships

Buhari's health leads to 'slim-downed' schedule

There are concerns that the health of Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari is reducing his working day, the Reuters news agency reports.

He returned from extended medical leave in London earlier this month where he was being treated for an undisclosed illness. He said on his return that he would still need medical check-ups.

Reuters says that the president is spending between one and four hours a day in the office.

His spokesperson, Garba Shehu, has retweeted reports of his comments about Mr Buhari working from home.

View more on twitter

But people are worried that the pace of work is being affected.

Reuters quotes an anonymous diplomatic source as saying that: "Things are slowing down, particularly on the economic front, which is a concern."

Muhammadu Buhari
AFP
President Buhari said he was "felling much better" on his return from London on 10 March

Warning over illicit Libyan oil contracts

Rana Jawad

BBC North Africa correspondent

Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) has warned international buyers against illicit contracts to purchase the country’s crude oil. 

The NOC is state-run and is one of the few remaining independent institutions in the conflict-ridden, and politically divided country.  

The latest warning comes following this month’s battle between rival armed groups for control of the oil crescent in central and eastern Libya.  

The NOC statement suggests that a group of individuals has already signed illegal oil contracts with unknown companies.  

The corporation has been vague on the details of who exactly is involved in the alleged attempted transaction, and when this took place, but it says Libyan crude oil is being offered at a "huge discount" to unqualified companies.  

It warns that the country stands to lose millions of dollars in revenues if these contracts get implemented.  

Libya’s chaos, with its rival regional administrations and armed groups, often challenge the work of state institutions. 

The highly contested oil crescent and its lucrative export terminals recently changed hands twice between rival armed groups. 

Read more on the battles for Libya's oil

Ras Lanuf oil terminal
AFP
Ras Lanuf is one of four key oil terminals in the 'oil crescent'

Tanzania rapper Nay wa Mitego released from custody

Tanzanian rapper Nay wa Mitego has now been freed from police detention after being arrested over the lyrics of his latest song.

Photos show him being greeted outside a police station in the main city, Dar es Salaam. 

Nay wa Mitego outside a police station
Munira Hussein
Nay wa Mitego outside a police station
Munira Hussein

The song emerged last week and has been widely shared on social media.

One line in it asks: "Is there still freedom of expression in the country?" and refers to a "doctor" who can't tolerate criticism.

Earlier, Information Minister Harrison Mwakyembe said he should be freed but the song could be improved. 

He later clarified that President John Magufuli loved the song and said that more verses could be added condemning corruption and tax evasion ( see earlier entry ).

South Africa's Gordhan says he was 'planning' to go home

The Reuters news agency has managed to grab a word in London with South Africa's Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan who has been ordered back home.

The order has led some to suggests that it foreshadows a cabinet reshuffle in which he might be sacked. This, in turn, has unnerved the markets and the currency, the rand, has dipped in value against the dollar.

Speaking to Reuters on the sidelines of an investor meeting, Mr Gordhan denied this was a recall and said he had been panning to return home. 

He said he was not scheduled to go onto the next leg of the South African investment roadshow in the US.

Pravin Gordhan
Reuters
Mr Gordhan said a cabinet reshuffle was President Zuma's prerogative

Tanzania president 'loves song' that led to rapper's arrest

Tanzania's President John Magufuli "loves" the song that caused a popular rapper to be arrested over the weekend after it was deemed to be critical of the government, according to the country's information minister. 

The president appreciated the way the song dealt with relevant issues facing the country and has suggested that rapper Ney wa Mitego could add even more lyrics that condemn corruption and tax evasion to the song, Information Minister Harrison Mwakyembe told local media.

The president has said the song can be played on all radio stations without any restriction, the minister added.

In light of that, here it is (in Swahili): 

View more on youtube

Malaria rise in Zimbabwe after heavy rains

Health officials in Zimbabwe say heavy rain in recent months has led to a dramatic increase in cases of malaria. 

They say more than 150 people died of the disease over the past two months. 

About 90,000 cases of malaria have been recorded during that period. 

The manager for Zimbabwe's malaria control programme says the heavy rains have increased the breeding grounds for mosquitoes spreading the disease. 

Mosquito
Science Photo Library
The anopheles mosquito spreads the malaria-causing parasite

Zuma recall of Gordhan 'major setback for SA economy' - opposition

Pravin Gordhan
Getty Images
Many analysts believe the president wants to replace Pravin Gordhan (C)

South Africa's main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) has issued a statement calling on the president to explain what it describes as "the bizarre recall" of the country's finance minister from a foreign investment trip to London (see previous entries).

It called the decision "a major setback for the economy in South Africa", where the rand has fallen by as much as 1.7% amid speculation over the move.

The DA said:

The instruction to cancel the international investor roadshow without explanation is so bizarre that it appears, at best, calculated to humiliate the minister or, at worst, to suggest that the minister is about to be fired in a cabinet reshuffle.

Whatever the case the instruction to cancel the international investor roadshow could not have come at a worse time as the minister battles to restore investor confidence among international investors in one of the financial capitals of the world.

Pravin Gordhan's appointment as finance minister was intended to restore confidence after President Zuma sacked his two predecessors in the space of five days in 2015.

Tanzania rapper ordered to 'improve' song critical of government

Tanzania's Information Minister Harrison Mwakyembe has ordered the rapper Ney wa Mitego to be released.

He was detained on Sunday for releasing a song deemed insulting to the government.

The song emerged last week and has been widely shared on social media.

One line in it asks: "Is there still freedom of expression in the country?" and refers to a "doctor" who can't tolerate criticism.

A tweet from the account of the spokesperson for the government says that the rapper should now "improve" the song.

View more on twitter

The tweet says in Swahili: "Information Minister Dr Harrison Mwakyembe orders rapper Nay wa Mitego to be released but go and improve his song."

Tanzanians mock Magufuli over press freedom warning

Tanzanians have been taking to Twitter to poke fun at President John Magufuli, as criticism mounts against his government's attitude towards freedom of the press and freedom of speech.

Last week he warned the media not to exaggerate coverage, saying journalists "thought they had freedom". 

And over the weekend, popular rapper Ney wa Mitego was arrested ( see earlier entry ) over a new song deemed to be insulting to the president. 

People have been using the hashtag  #ReportersUnderMagufuliEra to imagine what journalism might be like if everyone were to write stories portraying the country and its leader in a positive light: 

View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter

As you have probably guessed, the photo above is not of Dar es Salaam, but the New York skyline. 

Analysis: SA finance minister called back from London

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

South African President Jacob Zuma’s instruction ordering Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to cancel an international investment roadshow to London has sparked speculation about a possible cabinet reshuffle. 

The move brings into sharp focus the divisions within his administration and within the governing African National Congress (ANC).

Mr Gordhan has made some political enemies after being seen as a bulwark against corruption and opposed to spending money on grand plans that are perceived as being politically motivated.

Markets are reacting negatively to the news of the recall. Consequently the country’s currency, the rand, has weakened by at least 2% since this controversy began this morning.

Some believe that Mr Zuma wants to create space in his cabinet for his ex-wife, the former chair of the African Union, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma who is tipped to be a candidate in the ANC leadership contest later this year.

Pravin Gordhan
AFP
Pravin Gordhan is seen as a safe pair of hands by the financial markets

What was SA finance minister planning?

South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has had his international investor roadshow cancelled but what was he planning to do on his foreign trip? 

According to a treasury statement shared by one local journalist (see below), he would have spent two days in London, one day in Boston and two days in New York. 

Described as a "non-deal" trip, the Treasury said that it would "provide an update on the most recent developments, engage constructively with investors and share government's thinking behind its latest policy proposals". 

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Zuma orders finance minister back home

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma has ordered Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to return home from a foreign trip where he was trying to drum up investment for the country, according to a government statement being shared on social media.

View more on twitter

The Reuters news agency is quoting a source saying that Mr Gordhan did not get permission for the trip.

There are concerns that the recall could foreshadow a cabinet reshuffle in which Mr Gordhan is sacked.

This sentiment has led to a rapid plunge in the value of the currency, the rand, this morning:

View more on twitter

Ghana coaching staff member leaves hotel after seven-week protest

A former member of Ghana's coaching team, Gerard Nus, has ended his sit-in as the football association settled his bonuses.

He had been refusing to leave his Accra hotel  since the end of the Africa Cup of Nations in early February.

The Ghana Football Association (GFA) says it  "finally managed to raise the funds to pay all his outstanding bonuses on Saturday."

The Spaniard finally left Ghana on Monday to return home to Spain.

"Thanks to all people of Ghana. Great memories always from this passionate football country,"  Nus posted on his Twitter feed.

According to the GFA statement there were disagreements over who should settle payments to the hotel where Nus had been staying.

More from BBC Sport

Gerard Nus (right) with Avram Grant
BBC
Gerard Nus (right) had refused to leave his hotel in Accra after working with Avram Grant (left) at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.

Sudan opens humanitarian corridor for 'brothers' in South Sudan


          Sudanese workers offload US aid destined for South Sudan from the World Food Programme (WFP) at Port Sudan on March 18, 2017
AFP
The food aid has arrived at Port Sudan

The government of Sudan is opening a humanitarian corridor to enable aid to get to South Sudan, where a famine has been declared in parts of the country. 

“Sudan will spare no effort to assist its brothers... until peace and stability are achieved there,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdel-Ghani al-Nai’m said in a statement carried by the Sudan Tribune website .

Last week, two US ships carrying 47,000 tonnes of the cereal crop sorghum docked at Port Sudan, nearly half of which is due to be delivered to South Sudan through Sudan, it adds.

A senior UN official in Sudan welcomed the government's decision to allow food aid through to Bentiu, a town in Unity State, South Sudan, experiencing famine. 

Marta Ruedas said:

This decision also comes at a critical time just before South Sudan’s rainy season, which starts in May and usually renders these roads impassable.”

At least 7.5 million people across South Sudan, almost two thirds of the population, need humanitarian assistance. 

Sudan is also currently hosting more than 350,000 South Sudanese refugees, who have arrived since the conflict erupted in December 2013.    


          Sudanese workers offload US aid destined for South Sudan from the World Food Programme (WFP) at Port Sudan on March 19, 2017
AFP

South Sudan conflict: The hungry emerge from swampland for aid

South Sudan rebels 'blame government for aid worker killings'

A South Sudan rebel spokesperson quoted by the Reuters news agency is blaming the government for the deaths of six aid workers at the weekend.

They were travelling between Juba, the capital, and the town of Pibor.

Spokesman for rebel SPLM-IO forces Lam Paul Gabriel told Reuters: "We don't have forces in that area. Instead it's the government forces and militias who control that area."

The government said it was too early to blame any side.

Kenya hails success against al-Shabab

BBC Monitoring

Ibrahim Haithar

Kenyan soldiers have reportedly killed 31 al-Shabab militants after raiding their base in Badhade in southern Somalia. 

According to a government press release, the Kenyan army seized 11 AK-47 riffles, four improvised explosives, communication equipment, food and military uniforms. 

Press release
Kenya Government

The Sunday raid was carried out by ground troops supported by helicopter gunships. 

The government released pictures of some of the weapons it captured, included improvised explosive devices:

Pictures of IED
Kenya government

Kenya first deployed soldiers in Somalia in October 2011 in Operation Linda Nchi before they were absorbed into the United Nations-backed African Union Mission in Somalia the following year.

Uganda celebrates gold at World Cross Country championships

Kenya were the big winner's at Sunday's  World Cross Country championships , but the press in the host country this morning is focusing on a Ugandan winner:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Sixteen-year-old  Jacob Kiplimo  came first in a time of 22 minutes 40 seconds, three seconds ahead of Ethiopia's  Amdework Walelegn .

Kenya took the top two spots in the men's senior race and totally dominated the women's senior race coming first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth.

Top 6 places all from same country
BBC
Kenya believe it? Top 6 all from same country

Attacks on aid workers 'threaten South Sudanese lives' - UN

Boy carries provisions past UN blue helmets
AFP
South Sudan has been wracked by more than three years of civil war

The UN has condemned the killing of six aid workers in South Sudan over the weekend, warning that further attacks could complicate efforts to deliver vital humanitarian relief to millions of people in the country facing starvation. 

The UN's Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, Eugene Owusu said:

For us to continue to provide life-saving relief to the civilians suffering immensely across this country, the safety and security of aid workers must be upheld, the impunity that has prevailed to date must end, and perpetrators must be held to account.”

These attacks against aid workers and aid assets are utterly reprehensible... They not only put the lives of aid workers at risk, they also threaten the lives of thousands of South Sudanese who rely on our assistance for their survival."

The full statement is below:

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Tanzania rapper arrested for 'insulting president'

Sammy Awami

BBC Africa, Dar es Salaam

Ney wa Mitego
Ney wa Mitego

Popular Tanzanian rapper Emmanuel Elibariki, who performs as Ney wa Mitego, has been arrested for releasing a song called deemed insulting to the government. 

The song, Wapo, which has not made it to the radio airwaves yet, emerged last week and was widely shared on social media, especially on Whatsapp. 

Part of it asks:

Is there still freedom of expression in the country?”

It makes reference to a doctor who lances boils but cannot tolerate criticism. 

President John Magufuli has often spoken of "lancing boils" in reference to his no-nonsense approach to governing. 

The police told a local newspaper:

Ney wa Mitego will be questioned for releasing a song with words that malign the government."

The rapper is popular for his scathing lyrics attacking not only the government but even his fellow artists. 

On his social media accounts he uses the name Nay true boy (translated from Swahili), saying he always speaks his mind and tells the truth.

His arrest comes just days after President John Magufuli warned media owners to be careful on how they use their press freedom.

Good morning

Welcome to the  BBC Africa Live  page where we'll be keeping you up-to-date with news stories on the continent.