Blog entries from: African Arguments

African Arguments

1 to 10 of 190

September 17 2014

From African Arguments Wed Sep 17 2014, 05:04:28

Before the 2011 presidential election in Liberia, I was relaxing on a beach in Monrovia when a man walked by wearing a t-shirt with a candidate's face on it. We made eye contact, and I asked him, "Do you think he's going to win?" Not skipping a beat, he smirked back at me and said, "You tell me, you are the ones who choose." Three years later, Liberia is in the midst of its worst crisis since fifteen years of brutal civil war came to an end a decade ago. Ebola cases are mounting, the health system is all but broken, and last week security units fired shots at people who were attempting to break a quarantine that had overnight been imposed on West Point, a neighborhood of over 75,000 people. A 15-year-old boy was killed in the tragic incident, sparking outrage and sadness in a country whose ...

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September 16 2014

From African Arguments Tue Sep 16 2014, 06:53:12

At the beginning of August, the minutes of a meeting of intelligence chiefs from African states were released, revealing the extent to which poaching and the smuggling of ivory and rhino horn were being used to fund insurgent groups in South Sudan, Al Shabaab in Somalia and the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). A separate report - published in the 19 August volume of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences - estimated that poachers have killed 100,000 elephants in Africa in the last three years.  The rate of killing has been in excess of 7% - even higher in Central Africa - while the average annual population increase is only 5%.  This suggests a process of attrition that could lead to the extinction of the elephant, including in South Sudan. Ivory funds insurgency ...

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From African Arguments Tue Sep 16 2014, 04:55:09

The New Radicals: A Generational Memoir of the 1970s,  Jacana Media, Auckland Park, 2014 Reviewed by Martin Plaut This book brought me up with a jolt; it was hard to read at times. Not because it is badly written, quite the reverse. It was difficult for me because it was walking into my past. Let me explain. I was born and brought up in Cape Town at the height of apartheid, going to University in 1968. That first year was dominated by one event - a student protest against the failure of the University of Cape Town to confirm the appointment of Archie Mafeje in the Department of African Law. Mafeje was well qualified for the post, but he had one fatal flaw - he was black. And when the government heard of the appointment the Minister made it clear he would not tolerate a black lecturer ...

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September 15 2014

From African Arguments Mon Sep 15 2014, 11:15:44

Its medals gleaming under the baking Bangui sunshine, the African Union International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA) has just said its official au revoir to CAR, as the new UN mission takes over the national security mandate. On Saturday 13 September, almost nine months to the day since MISCA was launched with 6,000 troops from seven regional African nations, its closing ceremony was a military parade attended by national bigwigs, a handful of international VIPs, and CAR President Catherine Samba-Panza. It was also the warm-up to Monday's launch of the UN MINUSCA mission, which marks the official deployment of UN peacekeepers in CAR. MINUSCA (the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic) is scheduled to be at ...

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From African Arguments Mon Sep 15 2014, 05:42:29

Anyone living in the Horn of Africa, along the Nile, or near Lake Chad knows that water-related issues are among the most severe and wide-reaching security threats in Africa, and have been for some time now.  International partners have, however, been slow to get on board, often grouping water with other 'future' or 'emerging' challenges. Water-related security threats are only future threats in that, unlike with other types of threats, hard science can predict that water-related insecurity in Africa will inevitably become more severe, but this in no way detracts from the severity of the effects of water insecurity today. The impending famine in the Horn, proxy conflicts over Nile watershed water usage, and insecurity surrounding the shrinking of Lake Chad urgently demand a reframing ...

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September 12 2014

From African Arguments Fri Sep 12 2014, 06:02:21

China's economic engagement with South Sudan, the world's youngest country, is growing rapidly since the latter's independence in 2011. According to the Chinese and South Sudanese official statistics, around 100 to 140 Chinese enterprises currently operate in South Sudan. Since 2008, they have concluded agreements worth about 10 billion USD with the South Sudanese government, and the latter through official channels has expressed willingness to have Beijing's support for projects worth 8 billion USD. The outbreak of violent conflict in December 2013 poses challenges to China's burgeoning economic engagement with South Sudan and the normal operations of Chinese companies there. Prior to the on-going conflict, oil evidently featured as the most significant component of the bilateral economic ...

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From African Arguments Fri Sep 12 2014, 03:36:59

From New York to New South Wales people have waited with baited breath to find out if Oscar Pistorius would be found guilty of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in South Africa's version of the OJ Simpson trial. As commentators analyzed every evidentiary turn, the trial revealed the paranoid world in which many wealthy white South Africans live. From the assignment of a highly regarded prosecutor and judge to the case, it also showed that the South African state is willing to expend incredible resources to bring a high profile suspect to justice. Yet even as the Pistorius trial has dominated international headlines about South Africa, two lesser known public hearings - the Khayelitsha and Marikana Commissions of Inquiry - reveal more about the challenges with crime and policing ...

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September 10 2014

From African Arguments Wed Sep 10 2014, 08:05:06

On 24th August a video surfaced featuring the Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau boasting about his organization's exploits in northeast Nigeria. Shekau went on to state that the town of Gwoza, an area with a Christian population, is now under Boko Haram control and ruled by 'Islamic law.' The statement was surprising in that, until recently, Boko Haram has made little attempt to hold territory during the course of its five year struggle, and Shekau's words echoed the Islamic State's declaration of a caliphate under Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in late June. However, while Shekau's video likely falls short of the establishment of a caliphate in the ever expanding areas of northern Nigeria under the organization's sway, it does suggest a significant evolution in Boko Haram's strategy, with severe ...

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September 9 2014

From African Arguments Tue Sep 9 2014, 03:01:26

South Sudan's internecine civil war broke out almost 9 months ago and has already claimed tens of thousands of lives, displaced nearly two million people and left nearly five million at the mercy of impending famine. It shows no sign of abating any time soon. In part, this is due to a series of failures by South Sudanese leaders and the international community. The Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), the East African regional body mediating in South Sudan, seems paralysed and out of ideas. They have extended the deadline for the warring parties to reach a peace deal, having earlier threatened to levy heavy punitive measures on those derailing the peace process. A consensus is fast developing that IGAD may be unable to deliver on its own promise of taking the peace spoilers, ...

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September 8 2014

From African Arguments Mon Sep 8 2014, 07:14:01

On the 1st September 2014, at around 19:00, American drones fired several missiles in the Sablaaleh/ Hawaay and Dahay Tubako areas, between 35 and 55 km from Brawa, one of the Somali islamist group Al Shabaab's remaining strongholds. The drones that fired the missiles targeted Ahmed Abdi Aw Muhammad 'Godane', a northern Somali, from the Isaq clan (sub-clan Arab) and the leader of Al Shabaab. The strike was the most recent in several US attacks since the 2013 Westgate attack in Kenya, targeting both Shabaab and Al Qaeda leaders either by killing or snatching them alive. The Pentagon, Somali authorities, and seemingly the Shabaab themselves (or at least one alleged spokesperson), confirmed the death of Godane. However, there is yet to be an indication of who the other five individuals ...

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