Blog entries from: African Arguments

African Arguments

1 to 10 of 227

October 30 2014

From African Arguments Thu Oct 30 2014, 11:04:25

Democracy is on the line in Burkina Faso. What happens there over the next few weeks and months may determine whether democracy continues on its positive trajectory across sub-Saharan Africa or whether it stalls or begins to slowly unravel and collapse. Those states in the international community that follow democratic norms need to speak out clearly against African leaders who seek to change their government structures in order to remain in power indefinitely. For the past week, tens of thousands of people in Burkina Faso have taken to the streets of their  capital, Ouagadougou, to protest a planned parliamentary vote to alter the country's democratic constitution, which would allow President Blaise Compaoré to remain in power for another term.  Compaoré, a former ...

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From African Arguments Thu Oct 30 2014, 06:29:17

Tribal clashes between Ma'alya and Rizeigat tribes broke out in early January of this year, multiple clashes throughout the year culminated in an all-out war last August in the oil rich State of East Darfur, leaving scores dead and injured from both tribes. Conflict between the two neighbouring tribes over rights to land, shared resources and leadership has spanned several decades, the last two years has seen an upsurge in conflict between the two tribes, which left thousands dead and hundreds injured.  The peace agreement which was signed by tribal chiefs and elders last September 2013 was broken, on the 14th of this month; the government announced an open ended state of emergency, a 7am-6pm Curfew and a ban on carrying weapons in and around the capital of East Darfur- Ed-Daein, the ...

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October 29 2014

From African Arguments Wed Oct 29 2014, 07:53:46

Headline Findings In order to win the Presidency in 2015, the successful party will have to control the majority of Nigeria's 36 state Governorships. In the 2015 elections half of the State Governors will have completed their maximum two terms, so state-level elections are likely to be extremely competitive across the country. Of the 28 governorship elections taking place, 18 states (or two-thirds) will have vacant seats. 10 of these 18 states have 40.9% of all registered voters. This numerical analysis indicates both the PDP and APC could each secure 17 states in Governorship elections. To win, a Presidential candidate needs an overall majority and at least 25% of the votes in two-thirds of the states (24 states). On current indications, if President Goodluck Jonathan runs as PDP ...

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October 28 2014

From African Arguments Tue Oct 28 2014, 10:38:59

In August 2014, Africa's spy chiefs met in Nairobi as part of the African Union's Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA). They expressed deep concern about the growing threat of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the likelihood that the radical outfit might influence the continent's own jihadi groups. Areas of concern for the chiefs included an "alliance being built by terror groups worldwide, sophisticated sources of funding, and [Africa's] porous borders." A major risk of ISIS establishing itself in Africa is through the continent's organized jihadi groups. This begs the question: Does ISIS has a relationship with these groups? Here is where major African groups stand: Boko Haram This Nigerian group is currently the most lethal of all African terror ...

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October 27 2014

From African Arguments Mon Oct 27 2014, 09:50:48

All life is political and art doubly so. But I thought African Arguments readers might be especially interested in the 5 films below; all of which are being shown at the RAS's upcoming festival: Film Africa 2014. Timbuktu - Dir. Abderrahmane Sissako Not far from Timbuktu, recently occupied by militant jihadists, Kidane lives peacefully in the dunes with his wife Satima, his daughter Toya, and the family shepherd, Issan. In the culturally rich city of Timbuktu, the people suffer - music, laughter, cigarettes and soccer have all been banned and unveiled women are chastised. The local imam calmly argues against their narrow, ultra-orthodox dogma, but he has little influence over the religious intruders. Back in the dunes, an unfortunate incident draws Kidane into the heart of the historic ...

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From African Arguments Mon Oct 27 2014, 06:12:06

On October 1, 2014, BBC broadcasted its documentary Rwanda's Untold Story. The documentary features two academics, Christian Davenport and Allan Stam, who put forward a controversial argument that 200,000 Tutsi were killed during the genocide (a figure that is much lower than conventional estimates). Several claims were made in the documentary, but the 200,000 estimate stood out, triggering outrage from diverse sources. Rwandan genocide survivor groups, in an open letter to BBC, call the documentary a "blatant denial of the Genocide against the Tutsi". In another open letter, 38 prominent international signatories, refer to the 200,000 estimate as "an absurd suggestion and contrary to all the widely available research reported". Professor Filip Reyntjens, who also features in the ...

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October 24 2014

From African Arguments Fri Oct 24 2014, 04:56:12

Questions about the health of the Zambian President Michael Sata are stubbornly refusing to go away having simmered ever since he dropped out of sight at the end of May this year. For a known extrovert who has never shied away from the limelight, this was particularly uncharacteristic. He has made only sporadic appearances since. Media reports in late September were of his having died in a New York hotel room while leading the Zambian delegation to the 69th session of the UN General Assembly. He was scheduled to address it but was not present when his turn came. No explanation was forthcoming. Only two days later did Foreign Minister Harry Kalaba deliver a speech on his behalf. Reports of his death turned out to have been "grossly exaggerated". It is clear though that he was attended to by ...

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October 23 2014

From African Arguments Thu Oct 23 2014, 09:13:43

In September 2014, the Congolese government carried out a reorganization  of its armed forces (FARDC). Congo is a huge country covering many local realities, each of which has its own threats, balance of power, conflict potential and economic assets. The Congolese officers in question are individuals who have been trained in military schools or whose experience is the result of the years which they served in rebel movements, defending or attacking the nation. Many have, over the years, made a serious attempt to provide some rule of law, but many others are notorious violators of human rights considered by many Congolese citizens as being as much a part of the problem as the solution. All of the officers grew up in a context where bad governance had sunk to such low levels that we had ...

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From African Arguments Thu Oct 23 2014, 04:53:39

Last year, Diana Cammack and I concluded our book on Governance for Development in Africa with the thought that more aid for development should be delivered by organisations that are not donor agencies. Successful facilitation of institutional change is about problem solving. That means getting and retaining serious local knowledge. It means working in an adaptive, learning-oriented way. It excludes solution-driven approaches that try to implement detailed plans according to a blueprint. It seems doubtful, we argued, that official development agencies will ever achieve the quality of understanding and the management flexibility that this implies. Therefore, donors should be doing more things 'at arm's length', delegating assistance to organisations that have demonstrated ability to work in ...

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October 22 2014

From African Arguments Wed Oct 22 2014, 06:34:05

Last week, a colleague forwarded me an email purportedly written by Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram. Addressed to the International Criminal Court and penned in perfect English, it made the outlandish claim that Nigeria's President Jonathan has been a key sponsor of the Boko Haram insurgency all along. It even claimed many of Boko Haram's attacks have actually been carried out by the government. Even aside from its unbelievable claims, the email bore all the hallmarks of a fake - written in English, the language of the insurgency's Western enemies, and referring throughout to "Boko Haram", a name the group itself eschews in favour of Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'Awati Wal-Jihad (People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad). As news of Nigeria's ...

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