The Africa Report: 07 June

EWN's Africa Correspondent Jean-Jacques Cornish reports on today's top African news.

Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza. Picture: AFP


Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza, had once appeared to be a more progressive African leader but a new media law in the country has unfortunately seen Nkurunziza grouped in the same bracket as most majoritarian leaders who, when they have the vote, are likely to do as they please.

Nkurunziza, a former rebel leader, has approved a bill that will weaken the protection of sources, ban the reporting of state security matters, require journalists to hold a university degree regardless of their experience, and forbids reporting on the local currency.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon expressed regret that the new media bill has been approved.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Ban expressed regret, saying the "right to freedom of expression and pluralistic and free media are essential components of a healthy democracy".

The Secretary-General has also urged the Burundian government to ensure that they honour their country's democratic tradition and abide by international human rights standards.

International pressure groups have also spoken out against the bill.

Reporters Without Borders consider the new law's promulgation as setting Burundi back 20 years.

In an open letter to Nkurunziza, Reporters Without Borders warned him that, "with two years to go until the next national elections, its promulgation would have disastrous consequences for pluralism, transparency and democracy in general in Burundi".


Israel has garnered a lot of criticism for their treatment of illegal immigrants from Africa.

Some 60,000 African refugees have immigrated to Israel and approximately 2,000 are being detained. Israeli law makes provision for the detention of asylum seekers for up to three years.

Their requests for refugee status have never been approved, and in 2012, many African-run shops were looted in Tel Aviv with numerous attacks enacted on Africans.

Now, Israel has struck a deal with an unnamed African country that will absorb 2000 Eritrean immigrants in exchange for military assistance and training, as well as agricultural aid.

Of the possible countries, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria and Uganda have been mentioned in the Israeli Supreme Court.

This deal has increased criticism from human rights groups as Israel should not be negotiating with another country on behalf of asylum seekers; they need to voluntarily seek refugee status elsewhere.


The United States of America (US) have slammed the sentencing of 43 foreign nationals by an Egyptian court, deeming it "incompatible with the transition to democracy".

On Tuesday, an Egyptian court sentenced 43 non-governmental organisation workers with 15 of them sentenced to 15 years in absentia.

The group, populated by Americans, Europeans, Egyptians and other Arabs, included a German woman who was given a two-year sentence and an American man who received the same sentence but had already left Egypt.

US Secretary of State John Kerry expressed his government's outrage at the sentencing, describing it as a violation of democracy.

This move by Mohamed Morsi's government will certainly harm the relationship between them and the US who provide Egypt with $1.3 billion in military aid each year.