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Summary

  1. US ambassador slams DR Congo government
  2. Former Tunisian PM Mehdi Jomaa launches 'alternative' party
  3. Ivory loses two-thirds of its value in China
  4. New Caf boss Ahmad backs Morocco World Cup bid
  5. Mourners at funeral of anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Kathrada criticise President Zuma
  6. Nigeria 'could stop playing' football friendlies in UK over visa issues
  7. Anti-deportation protests shut down UK's Stansted airport on Tuesday evening
  8. Human rights group urges Jordan to arrest visiting Sudanese leader Al-Bashir
  9. Kenyan court tells parliament to get more women MPs
  10. Rand falls as rumours persist about possible sacking of SA finance minister
  11. DR Congo leader Joseph Kabila to address parliament after opposition protests
  12. Email stories and comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk - Wednesday 29 March 2017

Live Reporting

By Damian Zane

All times stated are UK

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Scroll down for Wednesday's stories

We'll be back tomorrow

That's all from the  BBC Africa Live  page today. Keep up-to-date with what's happening across the continent by listening to the  Africa Today podcast  or checking the  BBC News website .

A reminder of today's wise words:

Even a leopard has a wife"

A Swahili proverb sent by Frans Gustafsson, Falun, Sweden

Click here to send us your African proverbs .

And we leave you with this beautiful image of a quiver tree and sunset outside Keetmanshoop in Namibia.

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A tombstone that doubles as a TV lounge

South Africans are sharing an image of the elaborate tombstone for the grave of actor Joe Mafela, who died earlier this month and was buried today.

He was a popular figure on some of the country’s favourite television sitcoms since the 1980s, hence the stone couch, table and plasma TV.

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The Sowetan Live reports that there is a QR code that can be scanned so visitors can get clips and photogrpahjs showing the Mafela at work.

The veteran actor, who was in his 70s when he died, was killed in a traffic accident.

Rollercoaster ride for the rand as Gordhan speculation continues

South Africa's rand has had another volatile day in trading against the US dollar, eventually ending the day close to where it began.

The chart from xe.com  shows that the currency dipped initially, rallied after midday and then fell away again.

Chart showing value of the rand
xe.com

The fluctuations reflect sentiment about the future of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, seen as a safe pair of hands by many investors.

There's been speculation that he is about to be sacked. But if that's the case President Jacob Zuma appears to have hesitated.

The South African Mail and Guardian reports that the top brass of the governing ANC are split over Mr Zuma's intentions, and those opposed to the sacking said they would publicly come out against the president if he went ahead with the move.

Former Tunisian PM founds 'alternative' party

Former Tunisian Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa has launched a new political party, which he says will be "non-ideological" and provide an alternative for voters frustrated by the country's political transition since  Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was forced from power in the Arab Spring.

Mr Jomaa's new party is called Albadil Ettounsi, which means the Tunisian Alternative. A number of technocrats and former ministers have joined him, including former central bank governor Mustafa Kamal Aabli and former economy minister Nidhal Ourefelli.

For the past two years, Tunisia has been governed by a coalition led by the secularist Nidaa Tounes party and Islamist Ennahda.

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After two years since 2014, we passed from hope to frustration, a difficult situation, a lack of strategy, favoritism and corruption.

We want to restore hope for Tunisians through our alternative party."

The party's first major electoral test is expected to come in local elections at the end of this year. 

More than 140 migrants 'missing' in Mediterranean

One-hundred-and-forty-six people are believed to be missing after a boat carrying migrants was wrecked in the Mediterranean on Tuesday. 

One survivor, a young Gambian man, has been speaking to the UN's High Commissioner for Refugees about his ordeal. 

He says the boat started to take on water after it left Sabrata in Libya earlier in the week. 

The survivor was rescued by a Spanish military vessel taking part in Operation Sophia, the EU's anti-smuggling mission, and is in hospital on the Italian island of Lampedusa. 

The International Organization for Migration says almost 600 migrants have died or gone missing along the Libyan coast since the beginning of this year. 

Migrants on a rescue boat
Getty Images
Rescue missions often pick up people from sinking boats in the Mediterranean

Afcon-winning coach threatens to quit Cameroon

Hugo Broos with Afcon-winning Cameroon team
AFP

Cameroon's Africa Cup of Nations-winning coach Hugo Broos has threatened to quit over management and funding problems in the national team set-up.

Broos, who led the team  to the trophy in Gabon in February , said he was "seriously considering whether I should continue or not".

He also said his players and staff had to work in "poor conditions" while Cameroon Football Federation (Fecafoot) officials "sit in their chairs doing nothing".

"I cannot accept this," he added.

Broos made his comments in a news conference after a 2-1 defeat by Guinea in a friendly in Belgium on Tuesday, revealing the extent of the problems he has faced since his appointment in February 2016.

Fecafoot says it is looking into the allegations.

Read more on this from BBC Sport.

Kenyan pastor waiting for wife's resurrection

#PastorGithumba is trending on social media in Kenya as people share news about the religious man who believes that his wife will come back from the dead.

He is spreading his message outside a funeral home in Embu, 130km (81 miles) north-east of the capital, Nairobi.

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Some Kenyans on Twitter are not impressed:

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US accuses UN of aiding corrupt Congo government

The US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has delivered a stinging criticism of UN peacekeeping missions saying they can often lose their focus and become a never-ending presence in some countries.

In a speech at think tank the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), she had particularly harsh words for the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Monusco.

She said:

The government is corrupt and preys on its citizens. At the same time the UN peacekeeping mission is mandated to partner with the government to consolidate peace and security.

In other words, the UN is aiding a government that is inflicting predatory behaviour against its own people.

We should have the decency and common sense to end this."

She also spoke about the difficulties of the UN mission in South Sudan where it is not working with the government. But she appeared to praise leaders in the Central African Republic for wanting to take on more responsibility.

Her comments come as the UN Security Council is considering a new mandate for Monusco. Earlier this week, Reuters news agency reported that the US was hoping to reduce the number of troops in the mission.

You can read the transcript or watch her remarks to the CFR here. She spoke about DR Congo at 11 minutes 48 seconds:

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New Caf boss backs Moroccan World Cup bid

Piers Edwards

BBC Africa Sport

Ahmad
AFP
Ahmad (who uses only one name) was supported by Morocco in the Caf vote earlier this month

New Confederation of African Football president Ahmad has used the occasion of his first news conference to discuss a possible African World Cup bid. 

He did so in Morocco - a country that heavily backed him in the Caf elections earlier this month. 

It is also one of very few on the continent that could realistically stage a World Cup, especially after its expansion to 48 teams in 2026.  

We are already [discussing] how we can do it because we are convinced that Morocco will be able to organise this competition – just as South Africa did in 2010."

Morocco has bid before to host the World Cup, but failed to land the 1994, 1998, 2006 or 2010 finals.

Kenyan Clifton Miheso complains to Fifa over gun-threat allegation

Kenya international Clifton Miheso has filed a complaint to Fifa over his claim he was forced at gunpoint to end his contract with Golden Arrows.

Miheso alleges  the incident  took place on 14 January at the South African club's offices in Durban.

The 24-year-old is seeking a transfer ban or other sanction to be placed on Golden Arrows and also wants $22,000 he claims he is owed in wages.

Golden Arrows denied the allegations and have since declined to comment.

The winger's legal representative says the club has failed to provide any satisfactory information about the incident.

Clifton Miheso
BBC

Mogadishu-Nairobi flights resume after 10 years

Passengers on the first direct commercial flight linking the Somali and Kenyan capitals for a decade have been marking the occasion on Twitter:

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It landed at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport this morning.

Somalia's ambassador to Kenya was on hand to join the celebrations:

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The resumption of flights was agreed last week between Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta and Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo Mohamed.

Kathrada 'takes bad news to heaven'

The South African government, particularly President Jacob Zuma, came in for criticism at today's funeral service for anti-apartheid hero Ahmed Kathrada.

One key moment was when former President Kgalema Motlanthe read out an open letter Mr Kathrada, affectionately known as Kathy, had written, in which he called on Mr Zuma to resign.

His words were met by applause from the mourners ( see earlier entry ).

A South African TV station speculates on what might be happening in heaven now:

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Ivory price drop 'will help save elephants'

Nancy Kacungira

BBC Africa, Nairobi

The price of ivory in China has dropped by almost two thirds in the last three years, as the Chinese government plans to ban the legal trade of ivory, conservation group Save The Elephants says.

Ivory processing factories in China are to be shut down by Friday, followed by the closing of retail outlets by the end of this year. 

Conservationists say the end of the legal ivory trade distinctly improves the survival chances for elephants.

A strong commitment from the Chinese government to close down the trade and crack down on corruption, coupled with an economic slowdown resulting in fewer purchases of luxury goods, have contributed to the price drop.  

Lucy Vigne, the lead researcher behind these latest findings, says the fall in prices will have a significant effect on the larger players in the illegal ivory trade.

She told the BBC:

These people will begin to think what’s the point of working in ivory as a commodity in illegal trade if the price is going to continue to fall, and if the hassle of law enforcement is going to be greater than the benefit."

Ivory pyres burning
AFP
Kenya set fire to a huge hoard of tusks in an effort to discourage the poaching of elephants

Why do African airlines often go bust?

Ethiopian Airlines plane
AFP

African airlines are struggling to compete globally and often go bust because of high fuel prices and high taxation, Tewolde Gebremariam, chief executive of Ethiopian Airlines, has told the BBC.

Mr Gebremariam said aviation was a critical and essential public service in Africa and should be taken more seriously by governments.

He advocates African airlines putting their resources together as a way of protecting each other from going out of business.

He said:

We will not be able to face challenges if we work alone and independently. There must be a formula where we work together as African indigenous airlines to counter the competition coming from the rest of the world, because we are in a globalised world."

Mr Gebremariam heads Africa's biggest and most successful carrier, which flies to more than 90 destinations worldwide. 

The success of Ethiopian Airlines prompted Nigeria's government to request Ethiopian help to re-establish its national carrier, Air Nigeria, which collapsed five years ago.

'Shame' of attacks on anti-apartheid hero Kathrada

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

Ahmed Kathrada
AFP
Mr Kathrada was a persistent critic of corruption in government

The request to South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma not to attend Ahmed Kathrada’s funeral suggests that family and friends of the anti-apartheid veteran want to distance themselves from the scandal-hit president.

Mr Zuma's allies - especially youth leader Collen Maine - launched a sustained attack on veterans like Mr Kathrada, after they raised concern about his leadership and the corruption in government.   

South Africa's former high commissioner to the UK, Cheryl Carolus, told me: "It's just a shame to imagine that in the last few years, even weeks and months, he [Mr Kathrada] was subjected to the most outrageous vitriol from kids who weren't even born when he went to jail - and that other elders in our ranks actually allowed that."

So the absence of the 74-year-old Mr Zuma - who spent about a decade in the notorious Robben Island prison with Mr Kathrada - from the funeral can only be described as a snub.

Eyewitness: South African hero laid to rest

Pumza Fihlani

BBC News

Ahmed Kathrada was a simple man - that was the sense you got at his funeral. 

There was nothing lavish or grand in sight, just a tent filled with people from all walks of life here to show their love for Uncle Kathy, as he was affectionately known, one last time. 

While some of the country's top leaders were in attendance, there wasn't the usual special treatment for them that these sort of events have become known for. 

Instead there was great reverence for his widow and lifelong partner Barbara Hogan and the family. 

The sombre mood was then quickly overtaken by an unmistakable renewed energy to "speak truth to power". 

Speaker after speaker, invoking the values of the African National Congress which Mr Kathrada dearly loved, decried what they said was a state of moral decay, the culture of corruption and plundering within the Zuma-led government. 

Former President Kgalema Motlanthe, giving the eulogy, reminded those in attendance of a 2016 open letter to Mr Zuma in which Kathrada said: "I appeal to our president to submit to the will of the people and resign."

And while the people here are in mourning, there seems to be more vigour to protect the future of the country - and that is perhaps the most fitting tribute to Ahmed Kathrada's memory.

Coffin being carried
EPA

Gordhan avoids question on his future

While the focus in South Africa has been on the funeral of anti-apartheid hero Ahmed Kathrada this morning, the other big subject is the future of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

There have been rumours of his imminent removal following his recall from a foreign trip on Monday.

One journalist door-stepped Mr Gordhan at the funeral, asking him if he's confident that he'll still be in his job in the next few days.

"Are you confident that you're going to be in your job?" he shoots back.

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New Somali cabinet confirmed

Somali PM Hassan Ali Kheyre has won the support of parliament for his cabinet.

Some MPs had expressed misgivings about those appointed, but in the end the list of ministers was overwhelmingly endorsed.

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Kathrada funeral turns political

Mourners at the funeral of South African anti-apartheid hero Ahmed Kathrada appear to be using it as a platform to express their views on the current state of politics.

The BBC's Pumza Fihlani is tweeting from the service in Johannesburg:

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The embattled finance minister has also been welcomed enthusiastically:

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There is a history of turning funerals and memorial services into political events in South Africa.

President Jacob Zuma was booed during the official memorial service for Nelson Mandela in 2013.

Mourners carrying the coffin
EPA

Arrest Bashir, Amnesty urges Jordan

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir should be arrested by Jordan and handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Amnesty International has said. 

Mr Bashir, who is wanted by the ICC for genocide and war crimes committed in Darfur, is in Jordan for an Arab League summit. 

Amnesty International said in a statement:  

As a signatory to the Rome Statute that set up the ICC, Jordan is obligated to arrest Omar Al-Bashir and hand him over to the court.

Failure to arrest him would be a grave violation of the treaty and a betrayal of the hundreds of thousands of victims of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur. The international community must not allow this to happen.”

Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo tweeted this photo showing him at the summit, standing behind Mr Bashir and the king of Bahrain.

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Previous calls for Mr Bashir to be arrested have been met with inaction. 

In 2015, South Africa's government snubbed an international arrest warrant and a court order , allowing the Sudanese president to fly out of the country where he was attending an African Union summit.  


          President Al-Bashir of Sudan and his South African counterpart, Jacob Zuma
Getty Images
In 2015, President Al-Bashir caused an uproar in South Africa while attending an AU summit

Kenya told to get more women MPs

BBC World Service

The Kenyan high court has given parliament 60 days to implement a rule on gender balance or risk being dissolved. 

According to the Kenyan constitution, no more than two-thirds of the members of elected public bodies should be of the same gender. 

There are only 69 female MPs out of a total of 349 - this includes 47 seats reserved for women representatives. There should be 117 women if the two-thirds rule is applied.


          A general view taken on March 26, 2015 in Nairobi shows the Kenyan parliament, as President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses two Houses the Senate and the National Assembly
AFP

So far parliament has failed to find alternative ways of bridging the gap, and in May last year it voted to reject the gender rule altogether.  

A group of civil society organisations brought the case in an attempt to compel the government to enact the law before the general election in August. 

Judge John Mavito said anybody would be able to petition the chief justice to dissolve parliament if the law was not passed. 

Kenya currently ranks 100th out of a list of 193 countries in terms of the proportion of female MPs, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union .

Rwanda is at the top of the list with 61.3% of its MPs being women.

Rand remains under pressure with rumours of finance minister's sacking

The value of South Africa's currency, the rand, has continued to fall against the dollar as rumours persist that Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan is about to be sacked.

A chart from xe.com shows the latest dip began at 04:50 GMT this morning.

Rand-Dollar chart
xe.com

The rand first came under pressure on Monday when Mr Gordhan, seen as a safe pair of hands by many investors, was recalled from a foreign trip.

It was thought this was a prelude to his sacking.

South Africa's top business daily leads today's edition with a story that the finance minister and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas are "on their way out".

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Somali parliament to vote on new cabinet

Somali MPs have gathered for a vote of confidence in the cabinet nominated by Prime Minister Hassan Ali Kheyre. 

President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo, who is out of the country for an Arab League meeting in Jordan, has urged MPs to support the cabinet so it can begin work tackling what he says are the most pressing problems facing Somalia - corruption, mismanagement and insecurity.

Some Somali political figures have objected to the cabinet, saying power should be spread more evenly among the country's various clans.

A reporter at the scene says the atmosphere is tense.

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UN boss to press for justice over DR Congo experts' killings

Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General
Getty Images
Antonio Guterres says experts were killed while serving the people DR Congo

The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, has vowed to press for justice in the killing of two UN experts who were found dead on Tuesday in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mr Guterres said he was devastated over the death of US citizen Michael Sharp and Swiss national Zaida Catalan who had been missing since 13 March.

He said in a statement:

Michael and Zaida lost their lives seeking to understand the causes of conflict and insecurity in the DRC in order to help bring peace to the country and its people.

I trust that the Congolese authorities will conduct a full investigation into this incident. The United Nations will also conduct an inquiry. In case of criminal acts, the United Nations will do everything possible to ensure that justice is done."

Forensic pathologists are due to formally identify the bodies of the two experts, using dental and DNA samples taken from their remains. 

Mr Guterres also urged the Congolese authorities to continue the search for the four others still missing. 

Read more: UN Experts found dead in DR Congo

Historic SA women's march leader in Kathrada tribute

Sophia de Bruyn was the next speaker at Ahmed Kathrada's funeral. She is the last surviving leader of the historic women's march that took place in Pretoria in 1956.

The march was in protest at a law which forced black people to carry passbooks with them at all times. It happened despite a ban on unauthorised gatherings and was one of the most influential demonstrations against the apartheid regime.

Many participants were arrested and prosecuted, but activists say it was the moment which brought women into the anti-apartheid struggle.

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'No more Nigeria friendlies in UK' after visa problems

The coach of Nigeria's national football team has said the country could stop playing friendlies in the UK after visa problems prevented one of their matches this week, AFP news agency reports.

Gernot Rohr's comments come after the Super Eagles' match against Burkina Faso, due to take place in London two days ago,  had to be called off after several Burkina Faso players failed to gain visas to enter the UK. 

Rohr said some of his players had also been affected and been unable to get to London.

AFP quotes him as saying that "it's better to stay in Schengen, in Europe, than go to London where the people have problems".

The UK is not part of the Schengen travel area, a multinational European zone in which there are no internal border checks and travellers need only a single visa to enter.


          The Nigeria team leave the field together at half time during the International Friendly match between Nigeria and Senegal
Getty Images
Nigeria did manage to play a friendly against Senegal in London last week

'Deportation flight to Nigeria' halted by protests

A protest at a British airport targeting a plane said to be carrying Nigerian and Ghanaian deportees to Nigeria temporarily halted flights yesterday evening.

Demonstrators at Stansted Airport, north-east of London, got onto the runway and "locked themselves onto an aircraft destined for Nigeria", a police statement said.

Videos published on the Facebook page of campaign group Stop Charter Flights - End Deportations show protesters lying on the runway chanting: "We want freedom from your racist charter flights."

The group behind the demonstration also tweeted pictures from the runway:

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The protest temporarily shut down operations at the airport. It is not clear if the flight was able to take off later.

Police broke up the demonstration and arrested 17 people for aggravated trespass.

Large gathering for Kathrada funeral

The BBC's Pumza Fihlani and others are tweeting images of people at the funeral of Ahmed Kathrada. 

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Mr Kathrada will be buried later on this plot in the West Park cemetery in Johannesburg, under a tree next to Afrikaner anti-apartheid activist Christiaan Frederick Beyers Naude.

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Zuma to stay away from apartheid hero's funeral

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma is not attending today's funeral of anti-apartheid hero Ahmed Kathrada "in compliance with the wishes of the family", a statement from the presidency says

Mr Kathrada died on Tuesday morning aged 87.

He was one of the country's most prominent figures in the struggle against apartheid and was jailed alongside Nelson Mandela in 1964.

Mr Kathrada remained active in politics throughout his life and in recent years was critical of President Zuma and called on him to resign  following a scandal over improper spending at his private home.

It is not clear though why his family did not want the president to attend the funeral.

A statement from the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation said "members of the public... are welcome to attend the funeral ceremony". 

The funeral was due to start at 08:00 GMT (10:00 local time), according to the foundation.

The service is being shown live on South African television.

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Read more:  Ahmed Kathrada: South Africa's anti-apartheid veteran dies

Journalists are tweeting pictures from the service as people arrive:

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Kabila to address DR Congo parliament

Joseph Kabila
AFP

President Joseph Kabila is due to address the Democratic Republic of Congo parliament today after the collapse of the latest round of negotiations between the government and opposition.

It comes a day after police fired tear gas and bullets to disperse opposition protesters in the capital, Kinshasa.

The protests had erupted after negotiations aimed at securing the departure of Mr Kabila after 17 years in power fell apart.

Religious leaders mediating the talks said politicians were acting selfishly.

The outline for a power-sharing deal in the country was agreed last year but the details have proved difficult to agree.

Bishops who had mediated between the government and the opposition called off the talks because, they said, politicians had failed to agree on issues such as the choice of a transitional prime minister.

Mr Kabila was supposed to step down by December last year, when his constitutionally limited time in office came to an end.

But the electoral commission failed to organise an election to choose a replacement, citing logistical and financial difficulties.

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Today's wise words

Our African proverb for the day:  

Even a leopard has a wife"

A Swahili proverb sent by Frans Gustafsson, Falun, Sweden
Leopard in Botswana
Getty Images

Click here to send us your African proverbs

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