Blog entries from: African Arguments

African Arguments

1 to 10 of 176

September 2 2014

From African Arguments Tue Sep 2 2014, 05:18:30

In a shock move, the Zambian President Michael Sata last week dismissed one of his closest lieutenants and long-time confidante, the Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba (he had also been the General-Secretary of the governing Patriotic Front.) He was removed from both positions with immediate effect. No reasons were assigned. The statement was brief and said only that his cabinet appointment had been "revoked" and that he had been relieved of his party position too. Since he was only a nominated member it also means that he has lost his seat in parliament. Until it happened, few would have believed it possible that Mr. Sata would discard his long-time "fixer" so swiftly and thoroughly. The two men were close and historically it has been more usual for the president to spring to his defence. ...

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September 1 2014

From African Arguments Mon Sep 1 2014, 11:38:28

In recent months, the UK government has worked closely with the Somali community on the issue of remittances.  I understand the levels of anxiety in the community, as a result of changes to banking arrangements for key Somali MSBs and the fragility of many peoples' situation in Somalia. Since coming into my new Ministerial role earlier this year, I have made sure that the government is doing what it can to ensure remittances continue to flow through accessible, secure channels from the UK to all regions in the world, including Somalia. At a number of community meetings over the last month, government officials have listened to your concerns and given you more information about the work we are doing. The issue is complex and international.  Across the world, banks have been ...

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From African Arguments Mon Sep 1 2014, 08:06:05

"Oh, dis Ebola business!" was a familiar exclamation in Sierra Leone's Krio language during my time in Sierra Leone's second city, Bo, this summer. Sierra Leone was the last of the three West Africa nations to confirm a case of Ebola, but it has arguably been hit the hardest in terms of numbers. The reality of Ebola is ghastly, unsettling and above all, scary, and its impact on the country has run along some familiar fault lines in Sierra Leonean society: namely deep mistrust in the authorities, outsiders and the healthcare system. But so far, the international community's response to the crisis has not gone any further than reflecting their own self-interest. In the early days, when cases were largely confined to Kailahun district on the Guinean border, public information on Ebola ...

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August 29 2014

From African Arguments Fri Aug 29 2014, 10:07:43

For decades, Egypt has felt like a world unto itself. The state's preoccupations were internal: containing protests and arresting its critics and alleged terrorists. National concerns revolved around the availability of bread and work, the daily challenges of power blackouts and traffic jams, the latest football results. Increasingly, however, Cairo is becoming more involved with events in neighbouring countries. This is because the effects of those wars -- in Sudan, Syria, Gaza and Libya -- are coming to Egypt. One year ago the Egyptian army overthrew the Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, amid widespread support by Egyptians who held massive protests calling for Morsi's removal. Tens of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters, as well as secular protesters, remain imprisoned. After a ...

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From African Arguments Fri Aug 29 2014, 05:55:36

In July 1994, with the RPF was about to win the war against the Habyarimana regime and thus put an end to the genocide, a massive exodus of Hutu refugees took place to Rwanda's neighbours. The vast majority of them, about two million, ended up in huge refugee camps in the then Zairean provinces of North and South Kivu (present day DRC.) Almost immediately, the regular army and the militias involved in the genocide reorganized life along the old lines, forcing the people to live under their authority and continuing the war by other means. The continuing disintegration of the Zairian state and the illness of its dictator Mobutu gave the rump of the Rwandan regime greater scope to operate without disturbance. Very soon the camps became an excellent base for hit and run actions intended on ...

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August 28 2014

From African Arguments Thu Aug 28 2014, 09:02:01

Sadiq al-Mahdi, leader of the National Umma Party (NUP) and patron of the Ansar brotherhood, held a brief round of talks earlier this month in Paris with leaders of the rebel Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), the umbrella organisation whose main members are the Sudan People's Liberation Army/Movement-North (SPLA/M-N), the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the two factions of the Sudan Liberation Army/Movement (SLA/M). The talks concluded with the signing of political statement by the two sides on 8 August which they chose to name the 'Paris Declaration'. From the French capital, Sadiq al-Mahdi flew to Cairo where he hopes to market his new document to an international audience, while the SRF figures, Yasir Arman, secretary general of the SPLA/M-N, and al-Tom Hajo, a former functionary ...

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From African Arguments Thu Aug 28 2014, 04:59:14

The historic US-Africa Summit has now passed and it is worth making an early assessment of what it accomplished.  Although it will be months before we know whether all the business, security and political commitments that were made are fulfilled, it was by most accounts a success and probably achieved a great deal more than observers expected. Prior to the Summit, critics claimed the Washington gathering was only being held to counter China's growing influence in Africa, but there would be no major new American initiatives on Africa to rival those that emanated from China over the last decade.  Other critics claimed that President Obama would avoid discussing the thorny issues related to democracy and human rights and that some African leaders might skip the event because the ...

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August 27 2014

From African Arguments Wed Aug 27 2014, 05:39:40

Current events in the elite politics of the DRC should be of great concern for those who follow developments in the country. Systematic efforts are being made by the Presidency and sections of the Presidential Majority to modify the 2006 constitution or, more likely, to have a new constitution passed by referendum. This would enable the incumbent President to abolish the current two-term limit to his presidential mandate. This new constitution would open the door for a lifetime presidency, leaving President Kabila in power until he dies or until he goes into exile. The extensive efforts made since 1998 to turn the bullet into the ballot risk being wasted. However, if concerted action is taken then the lifetime presidency can be prevented before it's too late. A first effort from the ...

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August 26 2014

From African Arguments Tue Aug 26 2014, 09:32:16

Before, during and after the US Africa summit one of the most frequently repeated factoids supporting the Africa Rising meme was that 'seven out of ten fastest growing economies are in Africa.' In reality this is both a far less accurate and much less impressive statistic than it sounds.  More generally, narratives on African economic development tend to be loosely connected to facts, and instead are driven more by hype. *** The 'seven out of ten' meme derives from a data exercise done in 2011 by The Economist. The exercise excluded countries with a population of less than 10 million and also the post-conflict booming Iraq and Afghanistan. This left 81 countries, 28 of them in Africa (more than 3 out of 10) and, if you take out the OECD countries from the sample, (which are unlikely ...

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August 21 2014

From African Arguments Thu Aug 21 2014, 13:02:56

Maban county, Upper Nile state, South Sudan, August 2014 Until early August, Maban county was mostly famous for the misery of others. Nearly 130,000 Sudanese refugees live - and sometimes die - in desperately difficult conditions in several makeshift camps in Maban, having fled the fighting in Blue Nile, over the border in Sudan. Their suffering has been a recurring news story over the last few years: Sudan's troubles exported to South Sudan. On August 4 and 5, Maban's own problems made the headlines. At least five South Sudanese aid workers (some reports said six) were killed. They were singled out on the basis of their ethnicity. All were Nuer - the same ethnic group as the rebel leader Riek Machar, and the vast majority of his fighters. The UN and other bodies say the aid workers were ...

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