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Summary

  1. Nigerian migrants find love in Libya
  2. Mugabe's son sells $300 T-shirts
  3. Zimbabwe budget makes 'leaner government'
  4. Socialite's grave 'dug up' after money buried with him
  5. Somalia's first female icon dies
  6. South African police summon investigative journalist
  7. Nigerian army chief sacked

Live Reporting

By Clare Spencer and Natasha Booty

All times stated are UK

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Scroll down for Thursday's stories

We'll be back tomorrow

That's all from BBC Africa Live today. Keep up-to-date with events from Liberia, where a landmark court ruling is due to determine whether there will be a run-off or re-run of the presidential election, by listening to the Africa Today podcast or check the BBC News website.

A reminder of today's wise words:

A chick can give advice to the mother hen."

Sent by Sylvester Hangi in Beni, Democratic Republic of Congo

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

And we leave you with this photo of one of Dakar's public minibuses, known as car rapides:

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What does a 'purpose fulfillment commissioner' do?

There's been a lot of talk about what was meant by a Nigerian governor when he created the the job title "commissioner for happiness and purpose fulfillment".

Rochas Okorocha created a new role for his sister.

The BBC's Jimeh Saleh explains that the term purpose fulfillment is something you hear very often from inspirational speakers and some preachers in Nigeria.

"It is very common to come across a handbill or a banner saying ‘join us if you want to fulfill your purpose in life'."

It was originally reported that the full job title was " Commissioner of Happiness and Couples' fulfilment". This provoked ridicule on social media.

But Ogechi Ololo, the woman with the new job, told the BBC that the "couples' fulfillment" was a mistake:

The governor of Imo State creates a new role for his sister: happiness commissioner

A spokesman told Sahara Reporters that it was "a typographic" error.

Senegal's new airport opens

Laeila Adjovi

BBC Africa, Dakar

A picture taken on October 17, 2017 shows people visiting the Blaise Diagne International Airport in Diass, some 50 kms from Dakar.
AFP
The airport took ten years to build at a cost of more than $600m (£447m)

Senegal’s new international airport has opened ten years after construction began.

It is hoped Blaise Diagne International airport will become a regional hub with a capacity for three million passengers per year, up from 1.9 million.

The $600m (£447m) airport is in the town of Diass, 29 miles (47 km) from the Senegalese capital Dakar.

It is named after the first African to be elected as an MP in France, in 1914.

Senegal's President Macky Sall cut the ribbon of the new airport at noon and called it a "source of satisfaction and legitimate pride", before officials visited the control tower and watched the first take off.

Dancers performed at the opening ceremony
AFP
Dancers performed at today's opening ceremony
Senegal's President Macky Sall (centre) arrives alongside Gabon's President Ali Bongo (left), Gambia's President Adama Barrow (far-left) and Guinea-Bissau's President Jose Mario Vaz (right)
AFP
Senegal's President Macky Sall (centre) arrived alongside Gabon's President Ali Bongo (left), Gambia's President Adama Barrow (far-left) and Guinea-Bissau's President Jose Mario Vaz (right)

The work was completed by a Turkish consortium after a dispute with the Saudi firm that started the building.

There is hope this new infrastructure will help expand the tourism sector in the country and boost the economy.

The airport is part of the "Emerging Senegal" plan, which includes a regional railway, and building the new city of Diamnadio on the outskirts of Dakar.

A picture taken on October 17, 2017 shows a general view of the Blaise Diagne International Airport in Diass, some 50 kms from Dakar.
AFP

Somalia's first female icon dies

Abdinasir Ahmed Bashir

BBC Somali, Nairobi

Shamis Abokor Ismail also known as Guduudo Carwo
Cumar Seerbiya/ Facebook
'She took the stage name Guduudo Carwo to hide her identity from her family'

Somalia's first female music star has died at the age of 82.

Shamis Abokor Ismail, better known by her stage name Guduudo Carwo, began recording songs for radio as a teenager in the 1950s, after a group of musicians visiting her home in Hargeisa discovered her magnetic voice.

For many Somalis, the icon is remembered for her bravery in being the female voice to appear mainstream media which was then a taboo. She became a regular vocalist for Radio Hargeisa.

She was given the stage name Gududo Carwo to conceal her identity from her conservative family, but she would became very popular among Somalis in 1960s and 1970s when theater and songs became accepted cultural norms.

"Gududo Carwo is one of the greatest products of Somali stage history," says Omar Serbia, a Somali journalist specialising in the arts.

Her death is seen as a blow to Somalia's musical canon, which has already suffered significantly since the fall of central government in 1991. Since then stage acting has stopped, and legendary singers like Halimo Khalif Magol and Mohamed Saleban Tubec has passed away with few talents to replace them.

South African police summon investigative journalist

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

The South African police have summoned investigative journalist and author Jacques Pauw for questioning.

Mr Pauw recently published a book containing corruption allegations against president Jacob Zuma titled The President’s Keepers:

Book
BBC

The South African National Editor’s Forum deputy chairperson Katy Katopodis told me that this is an intimidation tactic by the police.

She told me: “The work that these journalists are doing is not criminal.”

The book alleged that Mr Zuma had for four months received a "salary" from a businessman - over and above his government-paid presidential salary - and had failed to declare it to the tax collection agency, the South African Revenue Services.

After excerpts of the book were published in newspapers, Mr Zuma's spokesman issued a statement, denying any wrongdoing by the president and saying he was the victim of a "smear campaign".

"The tax matters of the president are in order," the statement added.

Mr Pauw says he stands by his work.

Protecting Morocco and Botswana's at-risk cultures

A Moroccan war dance and folk music from Botswana have been added to the UN's list of intangible cultural practices which face dying out.

This year, the Unesco List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding features six new entries -from Botswana, Colombia and Venezuela, Mongolia, Morocco, Turkey and the UAE. Their new status will help them attract international support to preserve their heritage.

People in Botswana are reviving Dikopelo - folk music which features singing and patterned choreography - by "competing with groups from other districts". Here is a performance:

View more on youtube

Young people's disdain for tradition is blamed for the decline of the Moroccan war dance, Taskiwin, which is practised by communities in the Atlas mountains.

It involves shaking one’s shoulders to the rhythm of tambourines and flutes.

Taskiwin, martial dance of the western High Atlas in Morocco
Unesco
Taskiwin, martial dance of the western High Atlas in Morocco
Unesco

Cameroon detains US-based author

Cameroonian writer Patrice Nganang
Stimmen Afrikas
Patrice Nganang is a writer and academic

The wife of prominent Cameroonian writer Patrice Nganang says he was arrested as he tried to board a flight out of the country and is now being held by the police.

This week, Mr Nganang, who is a professor at an American university, published an article in Jeune Afrique magazine in which he strongly criticised the government's response to the crisis in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon.

His wife, Naysha Bakare, told the BBC's Focus on Africa radio programme that she believed he had been detained because of the article.

Cameroonian police have not yet commented.

Zimbabwe softens indigenisation law

Zimbabwean Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa reacts as he arrives to present his budget at Parliament in Harare, Zimbabwe, December 7, 2017
Reuters
Patrick Chinamasa has the job of knocking Zimbabwe's finances into shape

Zimbabwe has taken steps towards ending its economic isolation in its first budget since the end of Robert Mugabe's 37-year authoritarian rule.

Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa announced a package of measures aimed at wooing international investors, including new curbs on laws that require firms to be 51% locally owned.

The Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, a flagship policy of Mr Mugabe's government, would apply only to the platinum and diamond sectors from now on, Mr Chinamasa said.

At the same time, export taxes on processed platinum would be deferred until 2019.

Privatisation of some state firms was also being considered, the minister added.

He also announced plans to cut spending as the government aims for a 2018 budget deficit of below 4% of GDP.

See earlier post for details

'We fell in love in a Libyan detention camp'

Abdulmalik Fahd Abdulmalik

BBC Pidgin

Mabel Emmanuel and Steven Ekhiator began a romance in a most unlikely place – detention camp for African migrants in Libya.

Theirs is a story of hope amidst the chaos.

It all started when Mabel asked to use Steven’s mobile phone to call her mother. She needed to urgently get money.

Upon hearing from a tearful Mabel that her mother could not send the money, he paid off her debts.

He told the BBC News Pidgin: “I must confess – I fell in love.”

Skip forward a good few months and Mabel gave birth to the couple’s son, David, in the detention camp.

Mabel Emmanuel and Steven Ekhiator
BBC

The couple are among 401 Nigerians who returned home on two government-sponsored flights, overnight, on 5 December.

Speaking with the BBC News Pidgin shortly after they arrived Nigeria on 5 December, she said she was happy to be back home and looking towards a bright future raising her son with her partner.

“Libya is a terrible country, I won’t advise anyone to think about the place, or talk about going,” Steven added.

In the last ten months, over 4,000 citizens have been repatriated to Nigeria from Libya.

Many West Africans risk their lives on flimsy boats, trekking through the Sahara to get to Europe in search of greener pastures.

It’s a journey that neither Steven nor Mabel ever sees themselves embarking on again.

But Steven now has no regrets because he met Mabel.

“You can’t determine your wife-to-be, where you can find her, it can just happen suddenly,” he says.

Nigerian opposition politician abducted

Chris Ewokor

BBC Africa, Abuja

A prominent member of the Nigerian opposition has been abducted in central Nigeria.

Damishi Sango and his son were allegedly kidnapped, alongside three others on their way to Abuja to attend the party’s convention.

They were on their way to attend the People’s Democratic Party's national convention, which is happening this weekend.

The abduction on Wednesday is the latest in the wave of kidnapping across the country.

In November last year former Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Bagudu Hirse, was kidnapped in Kaduna state.

Two months ago four Britons on missionary work were kidnapped in the Niger Delta. One of them, a medical doctor, was killed by the captors before they were set free three weeks later.

ANC warns against bribery in leadership vote

Andrew Harding

BBC News, Harare

Jacob Zuma
Getty Images
South Africans are waiting to see who will replace Jacob Zuma

In South Africa, the governing ANC party has warned members not to be influenced by bribery, as the party prepares to pick a successor to President Jacob Zuma.

Party spokesperson Zizi Kodwa acknowledged the danger, but tried to make light of it, telling a local radio station “if somebody... runs around with bags of money, take the money,” but don’t change your vote.

The race will be settled at the end of next week, when thousands of delegates vote in a secret ballot here in Johannesburg.

The party is bitterly divided between the two leading candidates Cyril Ramaphosa, and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Regional branches have already made their nominations - but the secret ballot means their delegates could be persuaded to change their minds.

Read more:

- Can Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma succeed her ex-husband as South Africa's president?

- Cyril Ramaphosa - the man who wants to make South Africa great

Over 50 elephant tusks seized

Chris Ewokor

BBC Africa, Abuja

Nigeria's customs authorities say they have seized 55 elephant tusks at the Cameroon border which were being smuggled into Nigeria.

It is not clear where the elephant tusks were headed.

The comptroller of the border area told the BBC that the tusks were of different sizes and weights but could not say how much they weighed.

Analysts believe the international price of tusks vary between $750 and $1,500 per kg.

In 2011, the Nigerian government introduced strict legislation to clamp down on the ivory trade, making it illegal to display, advertise, buy or sell ivory.

Elephants
Getty Images
The illegal ivory trade is killing some 30,000 elephants

Zimbabwe budget: 'leaner government' post-Mugabe

Zimbabwe's finance minister Patrick Chinamasa says his budget reflects a "new economic order”.

Our reporter Shingai Nyoka says Mr Chinamasa has announced sweeping cost-cutting measures in government to curb expenditure.

Others policies announced include:

  • Retirement of those over 65
  • End of first-class travel except for the president and vice-president
  • Cutting down international travel
  • Reducing embassies
  • Abolishing Mugabe-era youth officers.

“Some of the measures are to restore market confidence to instill and uphold discipline policy consistency, clarity and predictably," Mr Chinamasa has said.

Armed police presence ahead of Liberia ruling

Armed police have been deployed to secure Liberia's Supreme Court ahead of a landmark ruling later today to determine whether there will be a run-off or re-run of the presidential election.

Our reporter, Jonathan Paye-Layleh, has sent this photo from outside the court in the capital Monrovia.

An armed police officer stands outside the court in Liberia
Jonathan Paye-Layleh/ BBC

See our earlier post for more details about the ruling expected today.

AU promise to repatriate 20,000 migrants

BBC World Service

African migrants gather at the Tripoli branch of the Anti-Illegal Immigration Authority, in the Libyan capital, 23 March 2017
Getty Images
The International Migration Organization says it has gathered evidence of slavery in Libya

The African Union says it now plans to repatriate 20,000 African migrants in detention centres in government-controlled parts of Libya in the next six weeks - an increase on previous plans.

African governments are under pressure to act after TV reports showed sub-Saharan Africans being sold as slaves in the country.

The AU said it was working to organise consular services for stranded migrants and landing rights for planes to fly them out of Libya.

Some countries have already begun flying their citizens back home.

'Football is a common language'

Eden Habtemichael was one of the few female football referees in Eritrea, before she was forced to flee in fear of her life.

Now living in the UK, she has started a team to help young asylum seekers.

For more special content linked to this year's BBC African Footballer of the Year award, head tobbc.com/africanfootball. The winner will be revealed on Monday 11 December.

Eritrean referee Eden Habtemichael helps refugees through football

Controversy over Nigerian campaigner's arrest

Bukayo Atiba

BBC News

Controversy has erupted in Nigeria over the arrest of campaigner Moses Motoni.

Mr Motoni is a member of BudgIT NG, a civil society group that encourages Nigerians to monitor government spending and was arrested and detained in Kaduna on Tuesday.

He was granted bail the next day.

According to a statement released on the Nigerian Police Force Facebook page, Mr Motoni was arrested on charges of "inciting public disturbance".

View more on twitter

He claims he was helping locals in Niger state to monitor spending on a solar project commissioned by the government.

Mr Motoni also claimed the arrest was ordered by a Nigerian senator and told BBC Pidgin that he was arrested by the Intelligence Response Unit.

Israeli spyware 'used against Ethiopian dissidents'

Residents of Bishoftu crossed their wrists above their heads as a symbol for the Oromo anti-government protesting movement during the Oromo new year holiday Irreechaa in Bishoftu on October 2, 2016. Several people were killed in a stampede near the Ethiopian capital on October 2 after police fired tear gas at protesters during a religious festival, according to an AFP photographer at the scene.
AFP
Anti-government protests by Ethiopia's Oromo people began in November 2015

Surveillance software from an Israeli company has been used to spy on Ethiopian dissidents living abroad, says a Canadian research group.

Citizen Lab, based at the University of Toronto, says it has seen evidence that Ethiopian dissidents living in the UK, US and other countries had been sent emails containing malicious software with the intention of infecting their computers with surveillance tools.

Those tools, it says, are created by an Israeli defense contractor called Elbit Systems Ltd.

In its report, Citizen Lab says:

Targets include a US-based Ethiopian diaspora media outlet, the Oromia Media Network (OMN), a PhD student, and a lawyer.

During the course of our investigation, one of the authors of this report was also targeted."

Elbit Systems Ltd has denied the report findings, saying in a statement: “The intelligence and defences agencies that purchase these products are obligated to use them in accordance with the applicable law."

The Ethiopian government has not commented on the report by Citizen Lab which lists a number of Oromo people and groups it says the government targeted.

Oromo people, who make up a third of Ethiopia's population, have long complained of being excluded from the country's political process and economic development.

Widespread anti-government protests by Oromo people began in 2015.

Nigeria's first gay memoir

What's it like growing up gay in Nigeria? Lives of Great Men, by Chike Frankie Edozien, is the first memoir of its kind from the country.

"As a writer, this story was nagging at me," Edozien tells BBC Focus on Africa radio.

He noticed "a rush of anti-gay sentiment" in 2013, sensing "a shift in the gentle way that we as Africans acknowledged each others differences". The next year, Nigeria introduced a law prohibiting same-sex marriage.

Western narratives suggest that "gay people in Africa are under threat", he says, and on the continent the narrative is "this is something that was imported by the white man". He wants to debunk both ideas.

As well as telling the story of his life, the book tells the stories of other Africans who are gay, bi-sexual or somehow 'other' on the sexual spectrum.

Writer Chike Frankie Edozien on growing up as a gay man in Nigeria

Should Paris get rid of its colonial names?

A retired French doctor, Patrick Silberstein, has taken up the task of highlighting his country's colonial and slave-trading past by co-writing a book called A Guide to Colonial Paris.

"It's an insult to people who have conquered and brutally involved in our story", he says of the 200-plus streets in the French capital which are named after colonial figures and events.

He speaks to our colleagues at BBC Newsday in the clip below, who first gauged opinions from people on the streets of Paris:

A book lists the Paris streets bearing the names of places conquered by the French

Mugabe's son sells $300 T-shirts

Robert Mugabe Jr, the son of Zimbabwe's former president, has launched his own clothing label which he hopes will be "competitive on the international scene", News24 reports.

The brand is called xGx and sells T-shirts and neck chains at eye-watering prices - a man's T-shirt costs $300 (£226), while a women's T-shirt would set you back $250 (£187):

View more on twitter

Last month, Robert Jr and his younger brother Chtatunga lauched an entertainment company called TripLife, inviting American-Nigerian musician Jidenna to perform at their first event in a Harare nightclub after Nigerian artist Tekno cancelled his appearance.

The Mugabe sons are known for displaying their wealth on social media, with Chatunga posting a photo of his wristwatch with the caption: "$60,000 on the wrist when your daddy run the country ya know!"

Jidenna is known for being outspoken about politics and social justice, so his performance at an event run by Robert Mugabe's sons has raised eyebrows among some.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Socialite's grave 'dug up' after money buried with him

Ugandan authorities have launched an investigation to determine who dug up the grave of socialite Ivan Ssemwanga, reports the New Vision newspaper.

The flamboyant businessman was buried in June in a lavish send off where mourners doused his coffin with champagne and threw wads of cash into the grave:

View more on facebook

It is not clear how much money was buried but it is reported that Ugandan shillings, South African rands and US dollars were thrown into the grave.

Ssemwanga, who was 39 at the time of his death, was famous for his partying lifestyle. He led the so-called Rich Gang, a group of wealthy men in Uganda.

South African retailer in accounting scandal

Matthew Davies

Editor, BBC Africa Business Report

Shares in the global retailer Steinhoff, which has its roots in Germany and is headquartered in South Africa, are still falling.

It comes in a week where the company announced that it has "accounting irregularities" and that its chief executive, Markus Jooste, had resigned.

The shares are down another 30% on Thursday - they've lost 75% of their value on the Frankfurt and Johannesburg stock exchanges this week.

Analysts at Royal Bank of Canada and JP Morgan have downgraded their views on the shares.

The company is incorporated in the Netherlands, has its primary share listing in Frankfurt and a secondary listing in Johannesburg.

At the start of 2017, the shares traded for around five euros each ($5.90; £4.40). Now they trade for around 80 cents.

Conformia
AFP
Steinhoff owns Conforama in France, Poundland in Britain and Pep in southern Africa

Kenyan Attorney General: swearing in parallel president is treason

Kenya's Attorney General Githu Muigai has said that any attempt to hold a parallel swearing in of a president would be high treason, reports Reuters.

It comes after opposition leader Raila Odinga said last month he would be inaugurated on 12 December.

Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in as president on 28 November, at a ceremony boycotted by the opposition.

Uhuru Kenyatta
AFP

The original election on 8 August was held again after being annulled by the Supreme Court on the grounds of irregularities.

Mr Kenyatta was officially re-elected with 98% of the vote but Mr Odinga had boycotted it and doesn't recognise his victory.

Nigeria sacks army general

Ishaq Khalid

BBC Africa, Abuja

Commander of the Operation Lafiya Dole Major General Ibrahim Attahiru speaks at the army headquarters, in Maiduguri, Borno State in northcentral Nigeria, on October 4, 2017. The United Kingdom is providing expert training to the Nigerian military in helping to develop the skills necessary to tackle the terror threat of Boko Haram in North East Nigeria. Boko Haram's Islamist insurgency began in 2009 and has killed at least 20,000 and forced more than 2.6 million from their homes.
AFP
Major General Ibrahim Attahiru was appointed in May this year

The Nigerian military has sacked its commander leading the fight against the militant group Boko Haram in the north of the country.

It follows a string of deadly attacks by the insurgents in recent weeks - including an attack that killed at least 50 people at a mosque in the town of Mubi in Adamawa state.

The Nigerian army has not said why Major General Ibrahim Attahiru was removed.

A Nigerian army spokesman told the BBC that the outgoing commander will now take up another role at Nigeria's defence headquarters in Abuja.

He has been replaced with another general, Nicholas Rogers, who recently led a special joint military and police force in the volatile central region of the country, where ethnic clashes frequently occur.

Zimbabwe to unveil post-Mugabe budget

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa officiates at the swearing in ceremony for his cabinet at State House in Harare, Zimbabwe December 4, 2017.
Reuters
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has promised "jobs, jobs, jobs"

Zimbabwe's new government is set to unveil its first budget since the fall of long-serving ruler Robert Mugabe.

It comes a day after Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa signed a $153m (£115m) loan agreement with China to upgrade the international airport in the capital, Harare, in a bid to attract investors and tourists.

The deal meant cash-strapped Zimbabwe was "back in business", and was "serious about reshaping" the economy, Mr Chinamasa said.

Addressing the inaugural meeting of his cabinet yesterday, President Emmerson Mnangagwa called for the "high-speed execution" of development projects ahead of what are expected to be tightly contested general elections next year.

The International Monetary Fund has said that government spending and foreign debt are too high and Zimbabwe's economy needs structural reform.

Mr Mnangagwa took office on 24 November with a pledge to grow the economy and provide "jobs, jobs, jobs".

Mr Mugabe, 93, was forced to resign after 37 years in power.

The military and Mr Mnangagwa engineered his downfall after he was accused of planning to anoint his controversial wife, Grace Mugabe, as his successor.

Read: Are 90% of Zimbabweans really unemployed?

Read: Five ways to revive Zimbabwe’s economy

Liberia Supreme Court to decide on election run-off

George Weah (L) and Joseph Boakai (R)
Reuters/ EPA
George Weah (left) andJoseph Boakai were meant to compete in the second round

Liberia's Supreme Court is expected to rule later today on whether there will be a run-off or re-run of the presidential election.

Ex-football star George Weah and Vice-President Joseph Boakai were due to go head-to-head in the 7 November vote.

But at the beginning of November the Supreme Court ordered preparations for a run-off to be halted to allow for investigations about allegations of fraud in the first round.

The Liberty Party's Charles Brumskine, who came third in the first round, has challenged the result.

Mr Brumskine and the Liberty Party said the first round was "characterised by massive systematic irregularities and fraud", including polling stations opening late and therefore preventing people from voting.

Liberia's privately owned Daily Observer says:

What remains to be answered is that, if the court accepts to clean up the voter roll, how soon will that be? This is one of the questions the court will be answering today."

Mr Weah obtained the highest number of votes in the first round, but failed to secure an outright win. Mr Boakai came second, making the two the main contenders in a new election.

Good morning

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