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Summary

  1. Nigerian state to consult on law banning poor men from taking more than one wife
  2. New pyramid discovery made in Egypt
  3. Kinshasa turns into 'ghost town' after opposition strike call
  4. S&P downgrades South Africa credit rating to junk status
  5. Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa calls for 'total renewal' amid crisis
  6. New SA finance minister promises 'tough and unpopular' choices
  7. EU navy locates hijacked ship off Somalia
  8. Indian official says they have not demanded a ransom
  9. Trump to meet Egypt leader al-Sisi
  10. Kenya police to investigate execution-style killing in Nairobi
  11. Email stories and comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk - Monday 3 April 2017

Live Reporting

By Dickens Olewe and Hugo Williams

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:

You stand on a crooked branch to cut a straight one. "

An Akan proverb sent by Kwame Effa, San Marcos, Texas, US

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

And we leave you with this picture of models at a fashion show over the weekend in Ghana's capital, Accra.

Models
Kofi O. Darko

Isabel dos Santos: I face prejudice because of who I am

Isabel dos Santos, the eldest daughter of Angola's president and one of the richest women in Africa, says that people are prejudiced against her because of her background. 

She has been speaking to the BBC's Paul Bakibinga: 

Isabel dos Santos: I face prejudice because of who I am

What does junk credit rating mean for South Africa?

Matthew Davies

Editor, BBC Africa Business Report, Johannesburg

Standard and Poors lowered South Africa's sovereign credit rating to double B plus, taking it below investment grade and setting the country on a path to higher borrowing costs. 

S&P also lower its long-term foreign currency rating cut to so-called junk status, citing concerns over political uncertainty in the country. 

The ratings agency said its move was directly related to the firing of the well-respected finance minister, Pravin Gordhan. 

Analysts fear replacing Mr Gordhan with Malusi Gigaba will lead to budgetary slippage - with the risk that government spending will escalate now the fiscal prudent Gordhan is no longer at the Treasury. 

If another ratings agency follows suit, many international investment funds - under their owns rules - will be unable to buy South African government debt. 

The rand lost some ground on the news, which has fuelled fears of inflation.

At the same time, borrowing costs are predicted to rise for ordinary South Africans as well.

The leader of the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) has made his feelings clear on the downgrade:

View more on twitter

Trump hails Egypt's Sisi for 'fantastic job'

Trump and Sisi in the Oval office
Reuters

US President Donald Trump welcomed Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to the White House, the first such visit from an Egyptian president in almost a decade. 

"I just want to let everybody know that we are very much behind President al-Sisi, he has done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation," Mr Trump said as the pair met in the Oval Office.

Sisi looking at Trump with a smile
AFP

Egypt has long been a staunch US ally, but ties were strained by Mr Sisi's decision to launch a crackdown on his Islamist and secular opponents.

The Obama administration froze military aid for 18 months in response.

Sisi and Trump at entrance to the White House
EPA
Trump and Sisi shake hands in the oval office
Gett

President Donald Trump now wants to "reboot" the two countries' bilateral relationship, US officials say.

Read more: Paying the price for seeking freedom in Egypt

EU naval force locates hijacked Indian ship

Map showing Hobyo up the coast from Mogadishu
Google

An Indian cargo ship seized by pirates off the coast of Somalia on Saturday (see earlier entries) has been located by the European anti-piracy force in the region.

The vessel is now in the vicinity of Hobyo, a port town in the semi-autonomous region of Galmudug, the EU Naval Force said, giving a location for the vessel for the first time.

Hobyo used to be a major meeting point for pirates at the height of their strength in 2011, Reuters news agency reports

"An EU Naval Force maritime patrol aircraft has confirmed the exact location of the dhow [boat] and has attempted to establish radio communications but without success," it said in a statement on its website. 

"Investigations and operations are ongoing." 

Read the full statement below:

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South Africa downgraded to junk status

South Africa has been downgraded to junk status after a review by ratings agency Standard & Poor's (S&P), the AFP news agency reports.  

The rand has been under pressure after rumours began swirling that President Jacob Zuma was planning to fire the widely respected Pravin Gordhan as finance minister. 

The rand lost 5% of its value once the president went ahead with the controversial plan at midnight on Thursday, in a cabinet reshuffle dubbed the "midnight massacre".

The currency is currently down by 1.9% against the US dollar in today's trading.

S&P says the overall economic outlook for the economy is "negative," which reflects its views that political risks will remain elevated this year, and that the country might see policy shifts that would "undermine fiscal and economic growth outcomes more than S&P currently projects."

The situation means that the government would be spending more to offset its external debt and would have less cash to fund its internal projects. 

Pensioners will also see the values of their savings go down. 

The new Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has promised to broadly stick to his predecessor's fiscally disciplined policies, but it seems this has done little to reassure the currency markets. 

Ghana electoral chief nominated for prize after successful polls

Charlotte Osei
BBC
Ms Osei speaking live to BBC Africa Facebook before elections in December

Ghana's electoral commission chief Charlotte Osei has been nominated for the annual Chatham House Prize, given by the London-based think tank.

Ms Osei, who was appointed to the role in 2015, is the first woman to hold the position.

She oversaw the hotly contested 2016 elections which saw incumbent John Mahama lose to opposition candidate Nana Akufo-Addo. 

The prize is awarded to the person, persons or organization deemed to have made the most significant contribution to the improvement of international relations in the previous year.  

Other nominees are: 

  • Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia: nominated for formally ratifying a peace agreement with the FARC rebel group and bringing an end to the war in Colombia.
  • Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary-General of NATO: nominated for steering NATO through one of the most complicated periods in its recent history.

The winner will be announced later this year, and an award ceremony will take place in the autumn, a statement from Chatham House says. 

Watch her BBC Africa Facebook live interview from November 2016

Anti-Guptas protest in South Africa

A small group of protesters gathered at the upmarket estate of Saxonwold in South Africa's main city Johannesburg to protest against the controversial Gupta family, who are accused of wielding undue influence over President Jacob Zuma. 

Allegations of such influence over policy, referred to in South Africa as "state capture", are strenuously denied by the Gupta family.

The BBC's Milton Nkosi has snapped these pictures of the group holding up banners condemning Indian-born family, one of the country's wealthiest:

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Read:The Guptas and their links to South Africa's Jacob Zuma

Tanzania's 'psychological portrait' artist

Sammy Awami

BBC Africa, Dar es Salaam

Artist Ibrahim Kejo contemporary art
Ibrahim Kejo

A two-week exhibition of contemporary art has opened in Dar es Salaam displaying a range of thought-provoking paintings by one of the few Tanzanian contemporary artists. 

Artist Ibrahim Kejo’s work introduces what he terms as psychological portraits titled “An Accidental Coronation”. 

Artist Ibrahim Kejo contemporary art
Ibrahim Kejo

In a country where paintings of culture and nature, collectively referred to as Tinga Tinga paintings, dominate the art industry, Kejo's work is not familiar to many. 

The theme of the exhibition, the artist says, represents a wide range of human experience coupled with touches of dark humour and irony. 

Artist Ibrahim Kejo contemporary art
Ibrahim Kejo

“I call this 'psychological portraits', as they are depictions of the various psychological landscapes that people go through in their experience,” Kejo says.

I snapped these displays at the exhibition:

Artist Ibrahim Kejo contemporary art
Ibrahim Kejo

New pyramid discovery in Egypt


          An undated handout photo made available on 03 April 2017 by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities showing a general view for the remains of a 13th dynasty pyramid, north of King Senefru"s bent pyramids in Dahshur necropolis, 40km south of Cairo, Egypt
EPA

The remains of a pyramid built around 3,700 years ago have been discovered near the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

The antiquities ministry says the new find is close to the bent pyramid of King Sneferu in the Dahshuhr's royal necropolis, 30km (18 miles) from the capital.

It includes an alabaster block engraved with ten vertical hieroglyphic lines and blocks showing the interior design.   


          An undated handout photo made available on 03 April 2017 by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities showing an alabaster block engraved with ten vertical hieroglyphic lines,
EPA

The ministry said all the discovered parts were in good condition.   


          An undated handout photo made available on 03 April 2017 by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities showing a general view for the remains of a 13th dynasty pyramid,
EPA

Kinshasa turns into 'ghost town' after opposition strike call


          A picture taken on April 3, 2017 shows few cars on the Lumumba boulevard in Kinshasa during a general strike called by the opposition.
AFP

The usually busy streets of the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kinshasa, are deserted as the result of a general strike.

The opposition platform called for the strike in protest against President Joseph's Kabila's failure to implement a power-sharing deal. 

"We've followed the call... because we are suffering greatly. Let him quit power, he has finished his mandate, we want no more of him," Mamie Biamba, a resident of the capital, Kinshasa, told AFP news agency. 

The strike is aimed at pressurising President Joseph Kabila to back a political deal which fell apart week.


          People walk near a train in Kinshasa on April 3, 2017 during a general strike called by the opposition
AFP

The deal outlined the creation of a new government paving the way for a general election.

Mr Kabila was supposed to step down last year but the vote to replace him was not held.


          People walk in an empty street in Kinshasa on April 3, 2017 during a general strike called by the opposition
AFP
Kinshasa streets which are usually busy are deserted as a result of the strike

Security forces have been deployed to protect business owners who have chosen to ignore the strike.  

African envoys: India attacks on Nigerians 'racial'

Envoys from African nations in the Indian capital, Delhi, have condemned the handling of recent attacks on Nigerian students in the city.

In a statement, the African Heads of Mission said the attacks were "xenophobic and racial".

Indian authorities had failed to "sufficiently condemn" the attacks or take "visible deterring measures", the envoys added.

The students were attacked last month in Greater Noida, close to Delhi.

Five Nigerian students were attacked by crowds, while another was beaten by a mob inside a shopping mall.

Read full story

African students
AFP
Last month's violence happened in Greater Noida, close to the Indian capita

Nigerian state to debate monogamy law

The speaker of Nigeria's northern state of Kano has said that the public will be consulted on a bill that aims to ban poor men from marrying more than one wife. 

Alhassan Rurum told BBC Hausa that Muslim religious leaders and scholars will also be consulted on defining who can be considered to be poor. 

The controversial proposal was made by Muhammad Sanusi II, the Emir of Kano, to ensure that men have families that they are able to take care of. 

Muhammad Sanusi II
.
Since taking office in 2014 Emir Muhammad Sanusi II has made several progressive proposals upending traditional views

Haile Selassie: Statesman or dictator?

Emperor Haile Selassie was the last in the line of Ethiopia’s ancient monarchy. 

During his long rule he was revered as an international statesman and reformer, demonised as a dictator, and even worshipped as a God incarnate by the Rastafarians of Jamaica. 

He was without doubt a controversial figure, but achieved a status in the global arena previously unheard of for an African ruler.

Bridget Kendall the presenter of the BBC's Forum discusses Haile Selassie’s life and legacy.

The life and legacy of the man who became ‘the Father of Africa’

Taking part in the discussion were  Prince Asfa-Wossen Asserate, political analyst and author and also the great-nephew of Haile Selassie; Gerard Prunier, is a former director of the French Centre for Ethiopian Studies in Addis Ababa; and Laura Hammond, an anthropologist specialising in Ethiopia at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.  

South Sudan drops plan for $10,000 work permit fee

President Salva Kiir
Getty Images
South Sudan has been embroiled in civil war since 2013, when President Salva Kiir fired his deputy Riek Machar

South Sudan's government has dropped plans to charge foreign workers a $10,000 (£8,000) work permit fee, the Finance Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau announced, the Reuters news agency reports. 

The 100-fold hike in the fee for foreign professionals announced early last month was criticised on grounds that that it would create a huge expense for aid organisations.

"The Ministry of Finance acknowledges these significant issues... and steps are being taken to formulate the best way forward," Mr Dhieu Dau told a news conference. 

"The implementing agencies will continue with old rates charged," he said, adding that parliament was expected to repeal the legislation that approved the fee hike. 

The previous rate was $100 per foreign worker. 

South Sudan has been embroiled in civil war since 2013, when President Salva Kiir fired his deputy Riek Machar, sparking a conflict that has increasingly split the country along ethnic lines. 

In February, the United Nations declared that parts of the country were experiencing famine. 

Nearly half the population, or about 5.5 million people, is expected to lack a reliable supply of food by July. The fighting has uprooted more than 3 million people. 

BBC Minute in Uganda to celebrate 2nd birthday

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BBC Minute is marking its second birthday with a special 24 hours from Uganda.

The team in the capital Kampala has joined forces with local partner station XFM in the capital Kampala (see above), as well as students from the prestigious Makerere university.

It's just as well they're getting some help, as they'll be producing 48 editions of the 60-second shareable news programme in just one day! 

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The team even got a dedicated hip-hop welcome from some of the university students:

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Listen to BBC Minute here

Pirates have not demanded ransom - Indian official

Pirate looks out from the shore
AFP
Piracy off the coast of Somalia has fallen sharply in recent years

More details are emerging about the hijacking of an Indian cargo ship off the coast of Somalia ( see earlier entry ).

The director of India's Ministry of Shipping has told local media that the pirates have not demanded a ransom and are instead interested in the ship's cargo, which has not been disclosed.

"There is a possibility of the vessel being released without the cargo once it reaches the shore this evening," Malini Shankar  told  the Press Trust of India.

The Indian-flagged ship was sailing from Dubai to Yemen when it was hijacked, with 11 crew Indian nationals on board, she added.

But there are conflicting reports about the ship's course.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO), which coordinates shipping in the Gulf of Aden, says that the ship was en route from Dubai to Bosasso in Somalia's semi-autonomous region of Puntland, Reuters news agency reports. 

"This confirms that the pirates still have the ability to go to sea and take vessels, and the international shipping industry need to take additional precautions," John Steed of the aid group Oceans Beyond Piracy, told Reuters.  

Dancing in the slums: Kenya's rising ballet star

Joel Kioko grew up in a poor area of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, and is now seen as the country’s most promising ballet dancer. 

He has been training in the US but wants to teach young Kenyans about the beauty of ballet.

Kenya's rising ballet star Joel Kioko

SA deputy president calls for 'renewal' amid Zuma backlash

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa
AFP
Ramaphosa says the moment to renew the country had arrived

South Africa's  Eye Witness News  has shared an audio recording of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa calling for a renewal of the country and criticising "greedy and corrupt people."

In the two-minute clip Mr Ramaphosa calls on South Africans to "be in support of those who will be leading that charge because a moment of great renewal is upon us, so let's act together in unity."

He says: 

What you are required to do as citizens of this country is to support the efforts that are going to be made by those who want to make sure that our country lives up to the values of Nelson Mandela. The values of Oliver Thambo. Be in support of those who will be leading that charge because the moment of the great renewal is upon us. "

It appears the clip is from a speech he delivered in KwaZulu-Natal this weekend, EWN reports. 

His comments come at a time when President Jacob Zuma is facing widesperad criticism over his sacking last week of widely respected Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, a decision Mr Ramaphosa described as "totally unacceptable". 

He calls on South Africans to unite to make the country great and corruption free: 

In other excerpts from the speech, he says:

Let us remain hopeful as South Africans. The events that are unfolding now are not events that should make us scared. They are not events that should make us afraid of the future that beckons.

Our people are yes yearning, for yes, leadership. They are also yearning for a government that is going to serve the interest of the people.

What is happening now is a process that is going to trigger that renewal. That renewal that we all need.

He says that the moment to renew the country has arrived and that South Africans must not let it pass."

The comments may be seen as Mr Ramaphosa positioning himself to take over from Mr Zuma when he steps down as the leader of the ruling African National Congress later this year, or before then, should opposition plans to oust or impeach Mr Zuma prove successful.

You can listen to the recording below, which has also been shared by local news channel eNCA:

View more on youtube

Rand falls as finance minister promises 'tough and unpopular choices'

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The big drop you can see in the graph above is what happened this morning to the value of the South African rand, as markets continued to digest the sacking on Friday of widely respected Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

The rand fell as far as 1.5% against the US dollar on Monday.

In his first major speech since replacing Mr Gordhan, new Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba on Saturday promised " radical economic transformation ", while agreeing to broadly stick to his predecessor's fiscally disciplined policies.

This morning, he spoke of making "tough and unpopular choices" to oversee economic growth and a redistribution of wealth to the country's black majority and help grow a flagging economy, Reuters news agency reports. 

Despite the fall in the rand, foreign purchases of South African bonds are still up, as this journalist for Bloomberg news reports:

View more on twitter

Read more: Fallout from South Africa's ministerial 'massacre'

Mali urged to negotiate with jihadists

BBC World Service


          Participants attend the opening of the National Peace Conference on March 27, 2017 in Bamako, boycotted notably by former rebels and opposition parties
AFP
The peace conference closed on Sunday in the capital Bamako

The government of Mali has been urged to open talks with Islamist rebels in the north of the country. 

The recommendation was made by delegates at a conference organised to help national reconciliation and implement a peace deal agreed in 2015. 

Jihadists who failed to sign the deal have continued their campaigns of violence in northern Mali. 

A group led by the Algerian Mokhtar Belmokhtar said it killed 60 people in January in a suicide attack on a military base.

Kolo Toure celebrates league win in style

A video of Ivorian Kolo Toure dancing in celebration of his club's Celtic historic sixth league win has been widely circulated on social media. 

Celtic players burst into the chant of "Kolo, Kolo" in his honour after their  5-0 win  over Hearts. 

Celtic players serenade Kolo Toure after title win

The 36-year-old former Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool defender made a cameo appearance, playing the last three minutes at Tynecastle.   

Kenya police 'shoot dead hundreds of cows'

A report by Kenya's NTV station says that security forces deployed to the central region of Laikipia following attacks on private farms and lodges by traditional herdsmen, have been shooting dead animals belonging to the pastoralist community. 

The authorities have previously denied reports of police killing livestock in retaliation for attacks.

An ongoing drought is said to have forced herders to seek pasture on private farms but some have gone on to loot and set fire to some of the private lodges. 

One of the herders interviewed described how police indiscriminately shot his animals: 

View more on twitter

Read more: Are Kenya ranch invasions driven by drought or politics?

Uganda's female body builders

Irene Kasuubo is one of the very few women taking the sport of body building seriously in Uganda.

But as well as lifting weights, she also needs to fight off the negative perceptions of muscular women.

People have told her that no man will ever love her, and she has lost friends due to her decision to pursue the sport.

Video journalist: Mark Sedgwick

Uganda's female body builders battling stigma

Pirates hijack Indian ship off Somalia

Somali pirate stands on the rocks looking out from the shore
AFP
There are fears that piracy is returning to the region after

Pirates have hijacked an Indian cargo ship off the coast of Somalia, authorities in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland have confirmed. 

Puntland's deputy Minister for ports, Mohammud Gabbah, confirmed the hijacking to the BBC Somali service. 

There are conflicting reports about where the ship was heading from and to. 

"We understand Somali pirates hijacked a commercial Indian ship and [it is heading] towards Somalia's shores," Abdirizak Mohamed Dirir, a former director of Puntland's anti-piracy agency told Reuters news agency. 

There were 11 people on board the vessel, which was taken on 1 April, Indian media report.

Last month, pirates launched the first successful hijacking of a major commercial vessel since 2012. 

Fuel strike in Nigeria

BBC World Service

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Oil tanker drivers in Nigeria are due to go on strike on Monday. 

Members of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, one of the country's two main oil industry unions, say they are protesting against low pay and badly maintained roads that wear out their trucks. 

A spokesman for the union, Cogent Ojobo, warned of shortages of petrol, diesel and kerosene across the country as deliveries come to a halt. 

He said no date had been set for the end of the strike. 

Sisi to meet Trump


          Donald Trump (L) meets with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
AFP
The two leaders met in September last year during the annual UN general assembly

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is in the US capital, Washington for a meeting with President Donald Trump. 

He'll be the first African leader to meet Mr Trump as president.

Mr Sisi was also the first African leader to speak to and congratulate Mr Trump after his shock election victory. 

The Palestinian-Israeli peace process is expected to be on the agenda, as is the fight against so-called Islamic State group, Reuters news agency reports. 

The two leaders met last September in New York when Mr Sisi was in the country to attend the annual UN general assembly. 

Kenya police to investigate viral shooting video

Kenya's police boss Joseph Boinnet has ordered an investigation following a video that was widely shared over the weekend showing a man reported to be a policeman shooting dead a young man in Eastleigh district in the capital, Nairobi, the Star newspaper reports.

The minute-long video shows a man with a gun grabbing a young man, reported as a suspected criminal, by the collar and engaging in a heated exchange.

The young man is then ordered to lie on the ground next to a bloodied-dead body, reported to be his accomplice, who had already been killed, and is then shot at least four times. 

Police spokesman Charles Owino said that the the police are investigating the identity of the shooter:

"The important thing is the person must be identified whether they are policemen or not," the Star quotes him as saying.

But Nairobi Police Commander Japheth Koome told the paper on Saturday that the video "was acted".

"It is not true it was acted. It is not true, it did not happen. It was only shot in one place. It is not true," the report says.

Human rights groups have condemned the police and called for an independent investigation of the incident. 

The Independent Policing Oversight Authority, the body that investigates police conduct, said police commanders are to blame for the pervasive cases of extrajudicial killings in the country, the report says.

A report by Amnesty international released in February ranked Kenya top in Africa in cases of extrajudicial killings by police.

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Today's wise words

Our African proverb of the day: 

You stand on a crooked branch to cut a straight one.

An Akan proverb sent by Kwame Effa, San Marcos, Texas, US

Good morning

Welcome to   BBC Africa Live   where we will bring you the latest news from around the continent.