Blog entries from: African Arguments

African Arguments

1 to 5 of 5

December 3 2014

From African Arguments Wed Dec 3 2014, 02:15:51

Fatima Akilu's office is located within a smart new building near the Nigeria's National Assembly in the capita city Abuja. The building houses the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) which is drawing up the Federal Government's non-military strategy for tackling the Boko Haram insurgency in the country's north east. Akilu, a softly-spoken academic with international experience, has been brought in to design and run the country's first ever Countering Violent Extremism Programme. This is a sophisticated and research-based attempt to understand and address the causes and effects of the insurgency. It is clearly needed. Whilst I have been in Nigeria there have been three large Boko Haram attributed bombings in the north, the last of which targeted the Central Mosque in Kano, and ...

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December 2 2014

From African Arguments Tue Dec 2 2014, 12:56:45

Turkana, Kenya's poorest county, is once again experiencing a spate of violence. The situation in Turkana, and Kenya more widely has become so bad, that John Githongo, a highly esteemed whistle-blower of regime malfeasance, has called it a "security meltdown... unprecedented in Kenya's independent history". Writing in the Star, Githongo suggests that collapsing public confidence in Kenya's internal security apparatus has in part been driven by the government's mishandling of badly needed security and policing reforms. Instead of following through on reforms that should have come after Kenya's successful 2010 plebiscite, President Uhuru Kenyatta has, instead, increasingly turned to the military to address violence. Githongo notes that Kenya has descended into the absurd, where ...

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From African Arguments Tue Dec 2 2014, 08:50:15

Sudanese social media has been buzzing about a video poem by Sara Elhassan, a retort to a Sudanese professor who claimed that most Sudanese women were ugly. For Making Sense of the Sudans, Elhassan explains what the episode reveals about Sudanese society. On October 13, 2014, I performed a spoken word piece, titled Video Response, at an open mic event in Khartoum. The performance was recorded and uploaded to YouTube, along with other pieces that were performed that night. In the weeks that followed, Video Response received a staggering number of views, and sparked a fascinating response of its own. But first, some background. In June, I was tagged in a Facebook video post by a cousin, with a message that read, "I thought you should see this". The video was a clip from a program aired on ...

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December 1 2014

From African Arguments Mon Dec 1 2014, 02:04:00

A shopping centre in Harare's smart northern suburbs demonstrates the dichotomies in Zimbabwe ahead of a critical ZANU-PF national congress scheduled for early December.  A regional fast food chain displays a massive sign bearing the Zimbabwean flag, proclaiming that Chicken Inn has "that original Zimbabwean taste we luv (sic)."  The establishment competes with a new KFC franchise, located just on the other side of the parking lot, proudly bearing the image of Colonel Sanders. The indigenization versus liberalization struggle is mirrored in the political realm, too. Internal divisions in both major political parties threaten the recent economic success that enabled the return of international establishments like KFC to Zimbabwe following nearly a decade of hyperinflation. ...

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From African Arguments Mon Dec 1 2014, 01:00:54

When politicians, fund managers and development professionals look to highlight the success of democratic Nigeria, they typically point to one, key statistic: when the military stood down in 1999 after an almost unbroken generation in power, per capita income in Africa's most populous state was USD1,940; by 2013, under civilian rule, it had leapt to USD5,360. Growth in GDP has been robust, foreign reserves are up (on the precarious levels of 1999, although currently under pressure as revenues drop), debt is down, telecoms and banking have boomed. The international media regularly contrasts Nigeria's vibrant private sector in the South with the apocalyptic brutality of the Islamist insurgency that has been sweeping the North-East of the country. A rather less heralded statistic associated ...

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