Boko Haram reject calls for amnesty

EWN's Africa Correspondent, JJ Cornish, reports today's top African stories.

State police headquarters burnt by members of the Boko Haram Islamist sect in Damaturu in northeastern Nigeria. Picture: AFP

YOBE STATE - Nigeria's president rebuffs calls for an amnesty deal for extremists

Against the backdrop of calls for the granting of amnesty for Nigerian extremists, Goodluck Jonathan, the Nigerian President, indicated that the granting of amnesty to extremists is predicated on the physical leadership and elements of the said group.

Earlier this week a call was made for outright amnesty when Jonathan was touring the Northern Areas where the Jama'atul Ahlus Sunnah Lidda'awati Wal Jihad, otherwise known as Boko Haram, is most active.

The Jihadists responded with a video showing a man being beheaded and asking the questions, "Amnesty? What amnesty? We don't want amnesty".

Some observers are saying that this is the only way of getting past this spiral of violence but Jonathan has predicted that at this point, he wants to keep fighting extremists.

NAIROBI

The Kenyan presidential election slips into further disarray

Plagued by technical glitches and vote-tallying delays, the Kenyan presidential election was thrown into further disarray on Thursday.

In addition to candidate Raila Odinga's running mate pushing for the resort back to manual counting, Odinga proponents, the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD), have said that the electronic voting has been doctored and fraudulent and that CORD have evidence thereof. Furthermore, CORD has warned that they plan to reject results if it is not in theirs and Odinga's favour.

At present, Raila Odinga is in second place with four million votes with rival, Uhuru Kenyatta of The National Alliance (TNA), continuing to lead with 4.5 million votes.

Kenyatta's lead has taken somewhat of a dip since reports of preliminary results, slipping just under the 50%-plus-one mark that would give him an outright victory.

It has been reported that there is a bug in the system with rejected votes being increased by a factor of eight. Thus far, there are 600 000 rejected votes which is more than the third candidate in the race has received.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) maintain that counting will conclude today and that they will announce a result by the end of the day. If not, the final result has to be announced by Monday. However, it is hoped that the announcement is made today as to diffuse the situation.

The urgency for the race to conclude is as a result of Kenya's history of political violence just five years ago.

Already 19 Kenyans were killed in attacks on Monday and the age-old tension between the Kenyattas and Odingas is well-documented.

WASHINGTON

Prominent Washington senator warns that the US is losing ground to China in Africa.

"America is losing ground and ceding economic opportunities in Africa to competitors,'' Senator Chris Coons, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs, said in a report issued by his office.

Senator Coons, accompanied by Kenya's ambassador to Washington, Elkanah Odembo, has warned the US government to act swiftly in renewing trade benefits for Africa.

This warning comes as part of a broader strategy to counter Chinese investment in Africa where the Asian superpower has been flexing what muscle it has. Chillingly, China's investment in Africa has grown from 15 billion dollars ten years ago to, currently, a staggering 200 billion dollars.

China's new president, Xi Jinping, is set to make his first foreign visit to Africa, to South African shores at the fifth BRICS summit in Durban later in March.