And the Winner of the 2015 Mo Ibrahim Prize Is…

Outgoing Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba, who proves that it pays to be an African Head of State who obeys the Constitution and leaves office when his term expires. “The award, with an initial $5 million prize and an annual $200,000 gift for life, “recognises and celebrates African leaders who have developed their countries, lifted people out of poverty and paved the way for sustainable and equitable prosperity,” according to organisers the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. The foundation, founded by and named after the Sudanese born philanthropist, grants the award to democratically elected African heads of state or government who have left office democratically in the previous three years, served their constitutionally mandated term, and demonstrated “exceptional leadership.” At the event in Nairobi, President Pohamba was named just the fourth winner of the prize since its inception in 2007, and the first winner since 2011. (IPS

What Africans Want the Most…It’s pretty simple. And probably the same as everyone everywhere: decent employment prospects and good jobs.  A new report says sub-Saharan Africans rate their health and health care systems among the worst in the world. Nevertheless, improving health is not their top priority. (VOA

 Comings and Goings… USAID announced Ariel Pablos-Mendez as Child and Maternal Survival Coordinator, to focus on the goal of ending preventable child and maternal deaths. Katie Taylor, who has served as interim Coordinator, is named Deputy Coordinator.


The death toll from a cholera epidemic in Mozambique that broke out after widespread flooding has risen by almost 50 percent in two weeks to 41, health officials said Monday. (AFP

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir arrived in the Ethiopian capital Monday for talks with rebel leader Riek Machar, just days before a deadline for the two men to reach a final peace deal for their country. (VOA 

In a land where witchcraft is sought after more than science for curing illness, medicine men in Guinea say the Ebola epidemic would be over by now if they had been properly included in the outbreak response. (Reuters

Nigeria’s Boko Haram militants have released a video showing the beheading of two men the group accused of spying. (VOA 

A former head of Burundi’s ruling party and leading dissident has escaped from prison where he was serving a 13 year sentence for plotting against state security, police in the central African nation said Monday. (AFP

Lesotho appeared to be heading for a coalition government on Monday following a snap parliamentary election aimed at bringing stability to the tiny southern African kingdom following an alleged coup attempt. (AFP

Hundreds of Ghanaians reported to police stations around the country over the weekend thinking they were new police recruits, only to find out they were the victims of a scam, police said. (AP

A news agency describing itself as Africa’s “first syndicated multimedia content service”, has been launched by a group of leading African entrepreneurs, the agency said Monday. (AFP

The International Criminal Court Prosecutor’s visit to Uganda has prompted fresh calls for the tribunal to investigate atrocities allegedly committed by government forces fighting the Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency in the north of the country. (IRIN 

The Japanese company behind an experimental Ebola treatment says it offers new hope for thousands of people infected with the deadly virus in west Africa, but acknowledged it is “not a miracle drug”. (AFP

Thousands of women staged a march for peace in the Republic of Congo’s capital Brazzaville Sunday as pressure builds over mooted constitutional changes that would pave the way for the president to extend his hold on power. (AFP


UN Middle East peace envoy Robert Serry criticised the international community Monday over the failure to deliver aid promised for reconstructing Gaza, on his final trip to the Palestinian territory. (AFP

A new study says “a record drought that ravaged Syria in 2006-2010 was likely stoked by ongoing man-made climate change, and that the drought may have helped propel the 2011 Syrian uprising.” (IPS

The World Food Programme and other United Nations agencies have urged on donors to continue their food aid for the Sahrawis living in refugee camps Tindouf (Algeria), warning of the insufficient funding to meet their needs in the second half of current year. (Sahara Press Service

Four Syrian refugees died on Monday when their mobile home caught fire in Jordan’s Zaatari camp near the Syrian border, the United Nations refugee agency and a witness said. (Reuters


Authorities in Pakistan arrested more than 470 parents and issued warrants for hundreds of others for refusing to have their children vaccinated against polio.  The crackdown is part of renewed efforts to eradicate the crippling disease from Pakistan, one of only three countries where polio remains endemic. (VOA

Bangladesh’s anti-terrorism unit has arrested what it called the prime suspect in the killing of Avijit Roy, a prominent Bangladeshi-American blogger who wrote against religious fundamentalism. He was hacked to death in Dhaka last week. (VOA

The first comprehensive study of China’s growing aid program in the South Pacific has found that Beijing provided financial assistance worth more than a billion dollars in the past decade. China is poised to overtake Japan as the region’s third-biggest donor after Australia and the United States, according to the Sydney-based Lowy Institute for International Policy. (VOA

A documentary by a former state media investigative journalist about the dangerous health impact of China’s smog has gone viral on the Chinese Internet, just days before the country hosts top level meetings in Beijing. (VOA

Myanmar President Thein Sein had a rare meeting on Monday with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to discuss constitutional changes and the first election under the country’s new democratic system, a minister said. (VOA

Thirteen Vietnamese Montagnards have been recommended for refugee status by Cambodian authorities, pending approval by the Minister of the Interior. But even as the news came Monday, so, too, did reports that 36 others who had fled Vietnam were arrested and deported last week. (VOA

Lives and livelihoods are being lost unnecessarily in Sri Lanka because local communities are ignoring disaster warnings, according to officials. (IRIN

The America

The most important U.S. agricultural delegation to visit Cuba in more than a decade began three days of meetings on Monday, hoping to find potential business partners, while urging the U.S. Congress to lift the U.S. embargo on trade with the island. (Reuters

Technical problems have prevented election authorities from getting a tally in El Salvador’s tightly contested congressional vote, officials said on Monday. (AFP

Colombia’s ELN guerrillas have released a mayor they kidnapped in December amid preliminary talks between the rebels and government on opening a peace process, officials said Sunday. (AFP

…and the rest

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has criticised member states for ‘cherry-picking’ human rights – advocating some and openly violating others – perhaps to suit their own national or political interests. (IPS

Discrimination, racism, islamophobia and anti-semitism are among the many disquieting issues to be explored at the session of the U.N. human rights council. The four-week meeting is opening with a four day high-level segment, during which senior officials will discuss issues of national interest and global concern. (VOA

Satellite images suggest tropical forests from the Amazon to the Philippines are disappearing at a far more rapid pace than previously thought, a University of Maryland team of forest researchers say. (Reuters


The Washington Director of Human Rights Watch, Sarah Margon is Mark’s podcast guest this week.

Everyone Benefits from More Women in Power (Inter Press Service

The Brother Went To Fight Ebola. So Did His Sister. Mom Was ‘A Wreck’ (Goats and Soda

Why Nigeria’s restive oil region will only accept Jonathan (Reuters

5 signs that Cuba is already very much open to Americans (GlobalPost

Water loss: seven things you need to know about an invisible global problem (Guardian

Africa Rising – Myth or Reality? (Fahumu

How ‘Flower Beds’ Give Love And Lentils To Moms And Babies (Goats and Soda