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Summary

  1. Court says Mr Lungu would not be breaching the constitution
  2. Mob kills suspected arsonist in South Africa
  3. Liberia leader orders officials to declare assets
  4. Africa 'world's worst for road traffic deaths'
  5. Dozen health workers die in DR Congo Ebola outbreak

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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  1. Dissent still not tolerated in Rwanda

    Anne Soy

    BBC Africa, Nairobi

    Diane Rwigara

    The acquittal of Diane Rwigara and her mother Adeline could be seen as a significant step in Rwanda's democracy.

    But it is also hard to ignore the fact that there was international pressure, including from the US Congress, to drop charges against her - not that Rwandan authorities are in the habit of listening to external voices.

    Critics still see Ms Rwigara's arrest and detention, and the auctioning of her assets, as a continuation of a trend of intimidation against anyone who opposes the government. And there's a long list of dissidents who have been punished severely.

    Opposition leader Victoire Ingabire was released from prison this year having served time for "conspiracy against the country through terrorism and war" and "genocide denial". She - just like Ms Rwigara - had intended to run for president against Paul Kagame, back in 2010.

    Another opposition leader, Boniface Twagirimana, went missing from prison in October. His whereabouts remain unknown.

    Ms Ingabire was released in September under the president's prerogative of mercy, a move that could be interpreted as painting Mr Kagame as the benevolent leader.

    But the underlying message remains that dissent will not be tolerated.

  2. Anglophone separatists insist they are not Cameroonians

    Killian Ngala Chimtom

    BBC Africa, Yaoundé

    Map

    Anglophone separatists insisted they were not Cameroonians as they appeared in military court today.

    When asked what their nationalities, each ten of the defendants answered the same:

    "I am not a Cameroonian. I am an Ambazonian."

    Ambazonia is the name of the state separatists have been fighting to establish for two years now. Many English speakers accuse the Francophone majority of discrimination.

    The 10, including leader Sisiku Ayuk Tabe Julius, are accused of terrorism, secession, civil war and revolution, among other charges.

    Their court case today was adjourned because the defence argued that the prosecution were too late to submit a list of witnesses.

    It will continue on 10 January.

  3. Patrol set up to find mystery big cat in Benin

    Lion
    Image caption: Could a lion like this one in Benin's Pendjari National Park be the feline scaring residents?

    A patrol has been set up in south-western Benin to track down a mystery animal that has been panicking residents for the last three weeks.

    The patrol is made up of foresters, police and hunters.

    Little is known about the animal. Witnesses, including a young girl and a midwife, have reported seeing the big cat.

    It is also not clear where the animal came from.

    One suggestion, put forward by Col Leopold Kanhonou, is that it comes from an area of Benin, called Zou, where people have been known to tame big cats.

  4. UN envoy hopeful for peaceful solution of W Sahara conflict

    a Saharawi man holding up a Polisario Front flag in the Al-Mahbes area near Moroccan soldiers guarding the wall separating the Polisario controlled Western Sahara from Morocco.
    Image caption: The conflict started in 1975

    The UN envoy for Western Sahara has said that a peaceful solution to the region's conflict could be possible, after the parties met for the first talks since 2012, reports AFP news agency.

    Morocco and the Polisario Front, which fought a war over the region until a 1991 ceasefire, have just taken part in two days of discussions along with Algeria and Mauritania.

    UN envoy Horst Koehler told reporters in Geneva that he was "very pleased" to say the parties have agreed to further talks at the beginning of next year.

    Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita told reporters that there had been "a very good atmosphere" during the talks. But he added that "it is not enough... A good atmosphere should be translated into a genuine will".

    Western Sahara has been the subject of a territorial dispute between Morocco and the Polisario Front since 1975.

    In a UN-brokered deal in 1991, a referendum on independence was promised to determine the future of the region but it is yet to take place.

  5. Rwigara's acquittal 'should herald new era'

    Victor Kenani

    BBC Africa, Nairobi

    Diana Rwigara
    Image caption: The 37-year-old faced up to 22 years in prison

    Amnesty International is hopeful that the acquittal of Rwandan politician Diana Rwigara will bring in a new era of "greater tolerance and acceptance of critical views".

    The 37-year-old opposition leader was acquitted of forgery and inciting insurrection - a term used to mean calling people to revolt.

    Joan Nyanyuki, the rights group's director for East Africa and the Great Lakes, said more still needed to be done:

    Quote Message: “We call on the Rwandan authorities to build on this judgement and work towards developing greater tolerance and acceptance of alternative and critical views. The judgement must be a first step in reversing the ongoing trend of repression in Rwanda.”

    Ms Rwigara had denied the charges, saying they were politically motivated.

    A three-judge panel told a packed court all the charges were "baseless".

    Read the BBC News story for more.

  6. Rwanda government critic 'happy' with acquittal

    Diane Rwigara
    Image caption: Ms Rwigara was greeted with a hug outside court

    The Rwandan opposition politician Diane Rwigara has reacted to being acquitted of inciting insurrection and forgery.

    "I am very happy with the court decision. I am continuing with my political journey... everything I talked about in the past has not been resolved. There are still many political prisoners in the country," Reuters reports Ms Rwigara as saying.

    She tried to run in the presidential elections last year but was barred.

    She was disqualified after investigators alleged Ms Rwigara had committed an electoral offence by collecting forged signatures to endorse her candidacy.

    She had always denied the charges, saying they were politically motivated after she decided to run against Paul Kagame in presidential elections.

  7. The Tanzanian viral video maker

    Self-taught filmmaker Timoth Conrad says he's going to be Tanzanian's first Hollywood director.

    The comedy videos he makes regularly go viral in his home country, being shared on social media and WhatsApp.

    He told BBC Minute: "I'll be a somebody one day. That's why I don't quit."

    Video content

    Video caption: 'I'll be the first Tanzanian Hollywood director'
  8. People with albinism compete in beauty pageant

    The Albinism Society of Kenya have held a Mr and Miss Albinism beauty pageant in Nairobi to support those with the hereditary condition.

    Albinism competition
    Competitor
    Competitor

    See more pictures of the pageant in our photo gallery.

  9. BreakingRwanda government critic acquitted

    The high court in Rwanda's capital, Kigali, has acquitted government critic Diane Rwigara and her mother on charges of inciting insurrection and forgery.

  10. More mass graves 'discovered in Rwanda'

    Kabuga
    Image caption: Mass graves were discovered in Kabuga

    Officials in Rwanda will resume efforts to exhume bodies of victims of the 1994 genocide in the Kigali suburb of Kabuga, according to Rwandan newspaper The New Times.

    This comes after 41 mass graves were unearthed in Kabuga town and Gasabo and Kicukiro districts, which are all roughly half an hour drive from the capital city of Kigali.

    The exercise to work on the newly identified mass graves is expected to start next week, Naphtal Ahishakiye, the Executive Secretary for lobby group Ibuka, told The New Times.

    Another exhumation started in April. The New Times reports that more than 30,000 bodies have since been exhumed.

  11. Togo 'bans opposition protests'

    A Togolese woman dressed in black and wearing a pair of masquerade sunglasses, takes to the streets of the capital Lome during a protest rally against Togo's president on January 20, 2018.
    Image caption: Protests calling for a two-term presidential term limit have been common over the last year

    Togo's government has banned a series of planned opposition protests, saying the marches posed a security risk, reports AFP news agency.

    A coalition of 14 opposition parties announced earlier this week that they would boycott a parliamentary election planned for 20 December and instead try to stop the electoral process.

    The opposition wants constitutional reform to reintroduce a two-term limit for presidents.

    Coalition coordinator Brigitte Adjamagbo Johnson told local radio that there are no grounds for the ban and they intend carry on with the protest.

  12. South Africa hit by blackouts

    Pumza Fihlani

    BBC News, Johannesburg

    Eskom power plant
    Image caption: Eskom insist they have not run out of coal

    South Africa is experiencing a return of blackouts, prompting fears here of a repeat of widespread outages in 2008 which crippled the country’s economy.

    The rotational cuts known here as "load-shedding", resumed in recent weeks.

    The power utility Eskom switches off power in certain areas for some hours, this is done to prevent the grid from collapsing when demand is greater than can be met.

    While some have blamed the power cuts on a shortage of coal at the Eskom plants and mismanagement, the company says the disruptions are due to repair work at its generating units.

    "Eskom would like to sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused," it said in a statement today.

    "We continue to appeal to residents and businesses to use electricity sparingly during this period. Please switch off geysers as well as all non-essential lighting and electricity appliances to assist in reducing demand," it added.

    Eskom has also refuted claims that it does not have enough coal reserves to meet the country’s electricity needs.

    Since the beginning of the year the company has signed nearly 30 contracts to get coal to their power stations, local media report.

    It’s not clear how long the planned outages will last this time. With businesses and major industries shutting down for the year over the next few weeks, some are hopeful this will take off some pressure off the grid and prevent further cuts in the country.

  13. Malaysia 'torches $9m worth of African pangolin scales'

    Pangolin scales
    Image caption: The authorities showed off the haul in front of the press

    Malaysian authorities have burned nearly three tonnes of seized scales of endangered pangolins worth $9m (£7m), reports AFP news agency.

    "Such a huge seizure and torching of it is definitely a blow to smuggling syndicates," Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim, the director-general of the Wildlife and National Parks Department told AFP.

    Pangolin scales

    Some 3,000 pangolins would have been killed to obtain the 2.8 tonnes (2,800 kilograms) of scales, Abdul Kadir estimated.

    The scales were confiscated by customs officials at Malaysia's Port Klang between May and September 2017.

    Pangolin scales are used in some traditional medicine as they are believed to have magical properties to increase blood circulation and lactation.

    However, they are in fact made of keratin, the same substance in human hair and fingernails.

  14. Burundi 'to shut UN rights office'

    The Burundi government has ordered the United Nations Human Rights Council to shut its office in the country within two months, foreign ministry and UN sources told AFP news agency.

    "The Burundi government is growing more radical and defiant towards the international community," the anonymous UN source told AFP.

    Burundi boycotted an East African Community summit in November which was meant to focus on Burundi's ongoing political crisis.

    In 2017 Burundi left the International Criminal Court after it launched an investigation into the alleged atrocities in the country.

    A wave of violence started in the country in 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza said he would run for a third term.

    The political crisis led to hundreds of deaths, and more than 400,000 people fled the country, according to the UN..

    Man in front of fire
    Image caption: The violence broke out in 2015
  15. Senegalese president to unveil Museum of Black Civilisations

    Louise Dewast

    BBC Africa, Dakar

    Art piece
    Image caption: This piece is one of the more modern inclusions in the museum

    Senegalese President Macky Sall will be inaugurating the country’s new Museum of Black Civilisations in the capital Dakar today.

    The new Museum of Black Civilisations has changed the landscape of downtown Dakar.

    Built in a circular shape, the architecture was inspired by traditional homes typical to southern Senegal.

    Museum

    The idea for this museum dates back more than 50 years, to the country’s late poet-president, Léopold Sédar Senghor.

    After years of inaction construction was finally made possible after a $34m (£27m) Chinese investment.

    Among the first temporary exhibitions to be shown is work from artists from Mali and Burkina Faso as well as from Cuba and Haiti.

    The museum won't be a commemorative monument, its director says, but rather a creative laboratory to help shape a continent's sense of identity.

  16. Wise words

    Thursday's African proverb:

    Quote Message: It’s easy to catch fire with someone else's hand." from An Oromo proverb sent by Kinbeyen in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
    An Oromo proverb sent by Kinbeyen in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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

  17. Good morning

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

  18. Scroll down for Wednesday's stories 👇

    We'll be back on Thursday

    Lucy Fleming

    BBC News

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

    A reminder of our wise words:

    Quote Message: The cleverness of the chicken does not worry the hawk." from A Bemba proverb sent by Kambole Mukanwa and Derrick Musonda, both from Lusaka, Zambia
    A Bemba proverb sent by Kambole Mukanwa and Derrick Musonda, both from Lusaka, Zambia

    Click here to send us your African proverbs.

    And we leave with this photo of some of the hundreds of people dancing before work on Wednesday to music played through wireless headsets at a dance session in South Africa's city of Johannesburg:

    People dancing in Johannesburg, South Africa - 5 December 2018
  19. Buyoya says arrest warrant is 'ethnic revenge'

    Pierre Buyoya
    Image caption: Pierre Buyoya

    Burundi’s former President Pierre Buyoya has told the BBC that an arrest warrant issued for him is “a political maneuver to hide the difficulties” the current government is facing.

    He and 16 other officials are accused of being behind the 1993 assassination of the country's first elected Hutu president.

    The killing of Melchior Ndadaye triggered a brutal ethnic civil war.

    Mr Buyoya, an ethnic Tutsi who is the African Union’s special envoy to Mali, has told the BBC's Alou Diawara in Bamako that the move was “probably also a nod to the people in relation to the elections coming in 2020, especially to the Hutu population".

    He said most of those on the list belonged to the Tutsi community “which means that this case is also perceived as an ethnic revenge".

    Quote Message: “It is a very dangerous step that will break the whole rope that still binds the Burundian people.”

    The 69-year-old politician said his name had never come up in connection with the killing of Mr Ndadaye in various inquires and he did not fear being extradited.