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Summary

  1. UN report says crimes against humanity committed in Eritrea
  2. Eritrea rejects report
  3. Nigerian football legend Keshi dies at 54
  4. His family says he died of a cardiac arrest
  5. South Sudan leaders propose truth commission
  6. Political rallies banned in Tanzania
  7. Get Involved: #BBCAfricaLive WhatsApp: +44 7341070844
  8. Email stories and comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk - Wednesday 8 June 2016

Live Reporting

By Clare Spencer and Damian Zane

All times stated are UK

Get involved

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:

It is what you have given birth to that redeems you."

A Dinka proverb from South Sudan sent by Ayuel Aleer Deng, Melbourne, Australia

Click here to send us your African proverbs.     

And we leave you with this photo from Egypt's capital, Cairo:

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The changing face of Eritrea

Eritrea’s government has been accused by a new UN inquiry of carrying out systematic crimes against humanity (see earlier post), allegations which the government strongly denies.

When the BBC gained rare access to the East African nation for its 25th independence anniversary celebrations, many people said that they did not recognise the version of Eritrea which the media often shows to the world.

Did South Sudan's Machar write article with President Salva Kiir?

We've just done an entry (below) about a joint article South Sudan's President Salva Kiir and Vice-President Riek Machar wrote in the New York Times about setting up a truth commission to help heal the wounds of the civil war instead of a judicial process.

The proposal has caused some controversy.

But a journalist in the region has just cast doubt on whether Mr Machar was involved writing the article:

View more on twitter

South Sudan leaders propose a truth commission

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir and Vice-President Riek Machar have proposed that the country should set up a truth commission similar to South Africa to help heal the nation after the civil war.

An amnesty would be offered to those who disclose their crimes.

In a joint article in the New York Times, the two men, who were until recently on opposite sides in the civil war, said "we are determined to reconcile our communities and create unity".

They argued that a judicial process "would destabilize efforts to unite our nation by keeping alive anger and hatred among the people of South Sudan".

Human Rights Watch has criticised the proposal as a "self-serving attempt to evade justice".

In last year's peace deal the two men agreed to create a AU-backed court to try war criminals.

The president and vice-president have asked the international community to reconsider this part of the deal.    

Riek Machar and Salva Kiir
AFP
Riek Machar (left) joined a unity government led by Salva Kiir (right) in April

More of your tributes to Keshi

Stephen Keshi
Getty Images

We have been receiving tributes from all over the continent to Stephen Keshi.

From Malawi, Osward Mwale says:

Rest in peace Keshi. You changed African football. You were really an African football icon."

Opeyemmi Ajala in Lagos, Nigeria says thank you:

My greatest Nigerian player, that made me covert to the number 4 jersey. Big Boss thank you for all the sweet memories from my childhood."

James Olaoluwa Ezekiel from Nigeria simply says:

His legacy will never be forgotten in the history of African football."

The former Nigeria football coach Stephen Keshi who died from a suspected heart attack and died last night, aged 54.  

Kenya opposition welcome move to end election commission stand-off

Sammy Maina

BBC Monitoring, Nairobi

Kenya's opposition Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) has welcomed the move by President Uhuru Kenyatta to form a special parliamentary panel to spearhead electoral reforms ahead of next year's general election, the privately-owned Citizen TV reports.

But at the same time Cord has criticised a ban on demonstrations, reports the AFP news agency.

It said the president has "effectively declared a state of emergency".

The country has been hit by protests, some of which has ended in violence, as Cord have been complaining about the make up of the electoral commission, the IEBC.

Odinga at a rally
AFP
On Monday, Raila Odinga led a peaceful rally in the capital, Nairobi, calling for changes at the IEBC

Ugandan officials threatened with the sack for unnecessary trips

Patience Atuhaire

BBC Africa, Kampala

Uganda Finance Minister Matia Kasaija has said officials could be sacked if they're found to have taken unnecessary trips on government money.

The announcement was part of cost-cutting measures to help fund other parts of government spending.

In parliament today, Mr Kasaija outlined the country's largest ever government budget amounting to around $8bn (£5.5bn) of spending in the next financial year.

He wants to boost spending on infrastructure development, and invest in agriculture, tourism and trade, as well as technology.

But he said that there will be no new taxes which begs the question about how the country going to afford it.

One way is through increased government borrowing. The budget deficit is set to be around $4bn.

Railway track
AFP
Spending on a railway linking Uganda and Kenya is expected to get a boost

Protesting Dangote cement workers complain of racism

protesters
Curtis Slimar

We reported in an earlier post that police in northern Zambia used teargas to disperse over 300 workers at the Dangote cement plant in Ndola this morning.

Local journalist Curtis Slimar has just told the BBC's Akwasi Sarpong that some workers have complained of racism saying that many of the management are of Indian origin.

A few of Keshi's feats

The Nigerian footballing legend Stephen Keshi who died unexpectedly last night has left behind some incredible records:

datapic
BBC

What does today's proverb mean?

Child
Getty Images
Is this literally about children or is it a metaphor?

Every day we kick off the BBC Africa live page with a proverb courtesy of a reader. And for that we are grateful. But sometimes the meaning is opaque. 

Take today's:

It is what you have given birth to that redeems you."

A Dinka proverb from South Sudan sent by Ayuel Aleer Deng, Melbourne, Australia

If at first it makes sense to you, then check out the many and varied interpretations of this by readers on our Facebook page.

Joseph Ochwo Okoro suggests:  

The meaning of the proverb is that, just like parents care for their children when they are young, the children have an obligation to take of their parents especially in old age."

While Malok Mumaize from Juba in South Sudan gives an entirely different interpretation:

If you are born poor it's not your mistake But to die poor is a mistake for you and your young ones."

And Chindefu Aubrey Kasonu from Lusaka in Zambia decided to use the opportunity to tell the world just how proud he is of his own children:  

A lawyer son, I am a proud father. Another one studying medicine in Pennsylvania, USA. Indeed God's grace is upon me."

Chad sending troops to Niger to help fight Boko Haram

Chad is reported to be sending additional troops to help Niger fend off an assault by jihadist militants on its southern frontier. 

On Monday, fighters from the Nigerian group Boko Haram seized the town of Bosso in Niger, after a series of attacks which left 30 local soldiers dead. 

Tens of thousands of townspeople are reported to have fled into the bush.

A military source in Chad told the French news agency AFP that about 2,000 heavily-armed soldiers were being deployed.

Ivory Coast's Bailly heading for Manchester United

Manchester United have completed the signing of Villarreal defender Eric Bailly, subject to a work permit.

The 22-year-old Ivory Coast international joins for about $50m on a four-year deal.

Bailly said: "It is a dream come true to be joining Manchester United. To play football at the highest level is all I have ever wanted to do."

United manager Jose Mourinho said: "Eric has the potential to become one of the best around."

Liverpool and Ivory Coast defender Kolo Toure says Bailly's move is a huge boost for Ivorian football. 

Read more here.

Eric Bailly playing for Villareal
Getty Images

Who is the people-smuggling 'kingpin' extradited to Italy?

An Eritrean man believed to be at the heart of the operation to smuggle migrants from Africa to Europe has been extradited to Italy, prosecutors say.  

Mered Medhanie
PA

But who is Mered Medhanie?

  • The 39-year-old Eritrean once lived in Italy, where he came under the radar of anti-mafia investigators after trying to open a bank account in Dubai
  • Later moved to Libya, where most African migrants start the treacherous journey to Europe, and finally to Sudan, where he was arrested
  • His wife and family live in Sweden
  • Called "the General", as he styled himself on late Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi
  • Said to have driven around in a tank and boasted: "Nobody is stronger than me"
  • Amount of money that went through him estimated in the billions of dollars

  Mr Mered has not commented on the allegations.  

Read more about him here.

'I made West Africa's wedding theme tune'

Go over to Facebook live to watch Ghana's Reggie 'N' Bollie speaking to BBC Africa's Akwasi Sarpong about their UK X-Factor talent show experience, new found stardom and latest top 10 video.

They were runners up in last year's X-factor series on British television, where viewers are asked to vote for their favourite acts.

Bollie has been speaking about the song he thinks he'll be remembered by:

View more on youtube

 When Akwasi Sarpong asked what he thought to it being played a lot in West African weddings he said that even when he is dead he thinks people will still be playing it.

'No-one believes the UN report on Eritrea'

Eritrea's information minister has been mocking the UN's Commission of Inquiry (COI) over its conclusions that the country is committing human rights violations.

He says people don't take the COI seriously:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

In their defence the UN investigators said: "Torture and rape are not normally perpetrated in the open; the commission nonetheless gathered a large amount of corroborated evidence and observed the physical and emotional scars of such violence."

South Africa rebukes terror warnings

South Africa has sent a letter US and British diplomatic missions complaining after they issued alerts about possible militant attacks, reports the Reuters news agency.

The warnings were based on "very sketchy" information foreign ministry spokesman Clayson Monyela said in a statement. 

Security officials say no known militant groups operate in South Africa, which has seldom been associated with Islamist militancy. 

This has not changed the US stance:

View more on twitter

Keshi's many achievements

We've been mentioning the fact that the late Nigerian football legend Stephen Keshi will be remembered for winning the Africa Cup of Nations as both a player and a coach.

But there are two other milestones, among many, worth mentioning:

  • He was the first African to get two nations to the World Cup finals. Togo in 2006 and Nigeria in 2014.
  • He was the first African coach to get a team to the knockout stages of the World Cup finals. Nigeria got to the last 16 at Brazil 2014.

Ivory Coast and Manchester City player Yaya Toure is the latest star to pay tribute to Keshi:

View more on twitter

He tweeted: "A legend of African football is gone."

Ugandan President Museveni heckled at budget speech

Our reporter in Uganda's capital Kampala tweets that the president has been heckled during a budget speech:

View more on twitter

Opposition leader Kizza Besigye is currently in prison, charged with treason.

BBC Monitoring's Sammy Maina reports that after President Museveni thanked the National Assembly speaker for insisting the speech "be heard in "silence".

Mr Besigye is due in court on 15 June.

Police fire teargas at protesting Dangote workers

Police
Curtis Slimar

Zambian police have fired tear gas at workers who were protesting for higher salaries at a cement factory owned by Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote in Ndola city in northern Zambia, reports Curtis Slimar from the local Sky FM Zambia radio station. 

Protesting workers
Curtis Slimar
protesting workers
Mike Mubanga

About 130 Dangote workers and 450 contracted workers are reportedly protesting at the plant which was established in May 2015.

protesting workers
Mike Mubanga

More talks aimed at solving Kenya's electoral commission problem

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta has said that after talks with religious leaders and the speakers from the two houses of parliament a committee will be set up to look at the stalemate over the electoral commission, the BBC's Anne Soy reports.

Recent opposition demonstrations in protest over the make up of the electoral commission, which it accuses of bias, have ended in violence.

Clashes with police on Monday in the western city of Kisumu left at least two people dead.

Yesterday, the interior minister banned opposition demonstrations on this issue.

Two demonstrators in front of a burning tyre
EPA
Monday's protest in Kisumu turned violent

UN reports accuses Eritrea of enslavement, torture and rape

In its report on the human rights situation in Eritrea the UN's Commission of Inquiry has said the Security Council should refer the country to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

In its introduction it says:

The commission has reasonable grounds to believe that crimes against humanity, namely, enslavement, imprisonment, enforced disappearance, torture, other inhumane acts, persecution, rape and murder, have been committed in Eritrea since 1991."

The Eritrean government has rejected the criticism and said the commission "ignored Eritrea’s significant achievements in political and civic rights".

Eritrea parade
BBC
The report complained of indefinite military conscription

Read more form Eritrea here.

Keshi was 'outspoken'

BBC Focus on Africa's Peter Okwoche has been remembering the late Stephen Keshi who he met on a number of occasions.

Peter told BBC World News that he was not afraid to speak out and was forthright in his view that African coaches were not treated with the same respect as European ones.

He felt he fell victim to this when he coached Togo when they qualified for the 2006 World Cup, but was replaced by a German before the tournament began.

Stephen Keshi
AFP
Keshi coached Togo between 2004 and 2006

Keshi was 'in discussions with Orlando Pirates'

An African football website has claimed that former Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi was "in discussions" with South Africa's Orlando Pirates near to his death.

He died last night of a heart attack, aged 54.

His agent Tim Sukazi told Africanfootball.com that previous reports that he was joining Orlando Pirates were untrue but that the idea was a "work in progress".

Read more on the African Football site

Error of over $2bn on Mozambique - Malawi rail plans

A journalist in Mozambique has spotted a humongous error:

View more on twitter

Macau Hub reports that the investment is intended to increase its capacity to transport coal mined. 

Hundreds of thousands 'enslaved' in Eritrea

A panel of UN human rights investigators has said that hundreds of thousands of Eritreans have been enslaved in unending national service.

The head of the inquiry Mike Smith told a press conference in Geneva:

We probably think there are 300,000 to 400,000 people who have been enslaved."

Eritrea has rejected the UN report calling it politically motivated.

Eritrean officials are currently giving their response at a press conference in Geneva which you can see here.

Eritrean at press conference
UNTV

Tuaregs' version of reggae is called Tuareggae

Tuareg musician Bombino has been inspired by Jamaican reggae music to create a whole new genre of music - Tuareggae. Have a listen:

Bombino, aka Omara Moctar, is from Niger -  8,933km (5550 miles) from the birthplace of reggae music, Jamaica.  

But he told BBC Newsday that his people in the desert have nothing to do with reggae culture but still like it.

'Keshi was a born leader'

Football's world governing body Fifa has paid tribute to the late Stephen Keshi.

Its obituary has described him as "a born leader".

He took games by the scruff of the neck and dictated matches from his position of influence as captain."

View more on twitter

The head of the Confederation of African Football Issa Hayatou has also paid a "glowing tribute" who described him as a "jewel" in the Nigerian football family.

'Keshi was an African legend'

Nigerian sports journalist Sulaiman Folarin has been looking at the achievements of Stephen Keshi who has died at the age of 54.

He said that he blazed a trail for Africa as well as Nigeria.

Folarin told the BBC's Newsday radio programme: "As I'm talking to you my voice is trembling... to hear that he has gone is really sad." 

Listen to more of the interview:

Keshi won the Africa Cup of Nations both as a player and a coach

'Mr President we were very stingy, here's $5m'

Sammy Awami

BBC Africa, Dar es Salaam

A woman has her finger inked after casting her ballot at a polling station during the presidential and parliamentary election in Ubungo ward in the Kinondoni district of Dar es Salaam, October 25, 2015
Reuters
The October election used the ink method to guard against fraud

The Tanzanian Electoral Commission (TEC) has returned $5m (£3.4m) to the state after it wasn't spent during last year’s general election.

TEC Chairman handed over a cheque to President John Magufuli.

He insisted that the election ran smoothly without the money:

Mr President, we were very stingy yet very diligent in our duties. So this surplus shouldn’t mean that our work was compromised anyhow.”

TEC Chairman Damian Lubuva

President Magufuli called the gesture patriotic:

You could have easily kept all this money and claim that you spent it all. Or even say that it wasn’t enough. And nobody would have questioned it”

He has directed the money to be used in construction of the electoral commission’s offices.

Keshi remembered around the world

The late Nigerian football legend Stephen Keshi is being remembered around the world.

Chelsea have tweeted their condolences:

View more on twitter

The Confederation of African Football has tweeted:

View more on twitter

And one fan has been moved to quote Shakespeare:

View more on twitter

Sit back and relax on Uganda's newest 'beach'

A BBC reporter in Uganda has noticed a new beach concept:

View more on twitter

UN report on Eritrea is an 'attack against Africa'

We've already posted some Twitter reaction from Eritrea's information minister to the damning UN human rights report on the country.

The Commission of Inquiry (COI) said that the situation in Eritrea should be referred to the International Criminal Court.

In a statement, the Eritrean government said the COI "has no solid evidence or firm legal basis to support its extreme and unfounded charges".

It called the report "politically motivated":

[The recommendations] are an unwarranted attack not only against Eritrea, but also Africa and developing nations. [The government] calls on members of the Human Rights Council and all UN member states to uphold justice and fairness and to end a long train of injustices against the Eritrean people."

Isaias Afewerki
BBC
Eritrea's President Isaias Afwerki says the West's generous asylum polices are weakening the country

Read more from Eritrea here

South Africa survives another junk status downgrade

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

Rand
Getty Images
If ratings agencies give a country 'junk' status, investors aren't allowed to by their bonds

South Africa has survived another junk status downgrade as ratings agency Fitch maintained its stable outlook for the country, but said the low GDP growth in Africa's most industrialised country posed a risk:

The 'BBB-' rating reflects low trend GDP growth, significant fiscal and external deficits, and high debt levels, which are balanced by strong policy institutions, deep local capital markets and a favourable government debt structure."

Fitch ratings agency

South Africa has just published its latest figures showing that Gross Domestic Product turned negative to the tune of 1.2% in the first quarter of this year, compared to growth of 0.4% in the last quarter of 2015. 

The slump in commodity prices was the main culprit as mining output fell by 18%.

Rating agencies use different systems involving a long list of letters:

  • A top mark is AAA or Aaa
  • Down to BBB or Baa3 is also safe
  • BB or Ba1 down to C is speculative - or "junk"

Read the BBC News explanation on ratings agencies.

'Keshi was a shining star'

Stephen Keshi, who has died at the age of 54, had success as a player and coach with Nigeria, but he also coached Togo when they qualified for the their first World Cup in 2006.

He also took Mali to the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations.

The head of the African Union has been paying her own tribute:.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

South Africa's sports minister has added his tribute:

View more on twitter

Eritrea reject UN report on systematic torture

Eritrea's information minister has rejected the UN report claiming (Commission of Inquiry or COI) that crimes such as rape, torture, murder, enforced disappearance and enslavement have been going on in the country since 1991 (see our earlier post):

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

UN: 'Systematic crimes against humanity in Eritrea'

Mary Harper

Africa editor, BBC World Service

A United Nations Commission of Inquiry has found what it describes as widespread and systematic crimes against humanity being committed in Eritrea. 

The commission - appointed by the UN Human Rights Council - says the violations have been going on since Eritrea became independent in 1991. 

The commission says the crimes against humanity include torture, rape, murder, enforced disappearance and enslavement. 

One man says his testicles were crushed by repeated beatings. 

Women trying to flee Eritrea describe sexual abuse by border guards, including of a five-year-old girl. 

The commission recommends the UN Security Council refers the situation to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. 

It says it has identified individuals who bear responsibility for the crimes, and will pass their names on to the relevant institutions in due course. 

Eritrea has described the report as null and void. 

Asmara street
BBC
Eritrea recently celebrated 25 years of independence

Keshi 'elevated the African brand'

Africa Live page readers have been paying tribute to Nigerian football legend Stephen Keshi who has died at the age of 54.

Very shocking news of the death of the legendary Keshi. We loved him here in Kenya since he elevated the African brand. His contribution to football will provide a benchmark for current and future football players, coaches and administrators. We remember his family at this sad moment. RIP boss."

Nicholas Nzioki, Nairobi, Kenya

The pain is not on the day our dear ones pass. The pain is really when you realise you have to live without them. We will miss our great football icon. You will forever be in our hearts. RIP great icon of football.

Shadrach La'ah Augustine, Ghana

Goodbye to the Big Boss. We know he has gone to be reunited with his dear wife."

Ifeanyi Obi, Lusaka, Zambia

If you want to pay tribute WhatsApp us on +447341070844.

Stephen Keshi
AFP

Keshi: Nations Cup winner as player and coach

Stephen Keshi
Getty Images

Stephen Keshi, who has died of a heart attack aged 54, was only the second person to have won the Africa Cup of Nations as both a player and a coach.

He was part of the Super Eagles team (pictured right) when it won the cup in Tunisia in 1994 after beating Zambia 2-1 in the final.

Stephen Keshi in the right
Getty

And in 2013, Keshi was Nigeria's coach when the Super Eagles beat Burkina Faso 1-0 in the final of the Cup of Nations in South Africa.

Stephen Keshi
AFP

Egypt's Mahmoud el-Gohary is the other African who won the Cup of Nations as both coach and player.

EgyptAir makes 'bomb threat landing'

EgyptAir plane
AP

An EgyptAir plane flying from Cairo to Beijing has been forced to make an emergency landing in Uzbekistan due to a bomb threat, Uzbekistan Airways says.

All 118 passengers and 17 crew on board the Airbus A330 were evacuated at Urgench International Airport, in the east of the country, a statement said.

There has so far been no comment from EgyptAir on Wednesday's incident.

But Egyptian officials told the Associated Press news agency that an anonymous caller had telephoned security agents at Cairo's airport to say a bomb was on board the flight to Beijing.

Read more on the BBC News website.

'Football has lost one of its legends'

Here are more tributes to the former Nigerian football coach Stephen Keshi who died overnight:

A Nigerian sports pundit thanks him:

View more on twitter

A South African sports presenter can't believe the news:

View more on twitter

A sports presenter in Kenya also pays tribute:

View more on twitter

And Kenya's football federation has tweeted:

View more on twitter