Blog entries from: African Arguments

African Arguments

1 to 10 of 165

April 24 2014

From African Arguments Thu Apr 24 2014, 10:47:05

The spectre of ethnically-motivated killings, and the use of ethnic rivalry or hatred to mobilize and incite one community against another, hangs over the conflict in South Sudan. Coming just weeks after the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, which will forever be associated with the use of radio to incite hatred and help direct genocidal killings, the UNMISS report that a rebel commander in Bentiu used the local FM radio station to incite hatred against Dinkas, Darfuris and other non-Nuer, sent a shiver down my spine. In a country with an estimated 80 per cent illiteracy rate, South Sudanese are particularly reliant on radio as a means of getting news and of communicating information.  It reaches those who cannot read or cannot access or afford to buy newspapers. It can be ...

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From African Arguments Thu Apr 24 2014, 04:50:00

On May 20th this year, the southern African nation of Malawi will go to the polls to elect a president, members of parliament and local government representatives. The forthcoming elections will be the tightest since the introduction of multiparty democracy in 1994 as 12 presidential candidates line up to battle over about seven million votes. The incumbent President Joyce Banda is pitted against three strong challengers. Most high profile is Peter Mutharika, brother of the late President Bingu wa Mutharika and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) - the party Banda herself represented during the 2009 election as a running mate to Bingu. She was booted out of the party two years down the line and formed her People's Party after it was apparent ...

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April 23 2014

From African Arguments Wed Apr 23 2014, 11:39:06

To date, there have been no effective responses to impunity for perpetrators of international crimes in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which have been on going since the start of violence in 1996. Despite the publication of the UN's 'Mapping Report', which called for specific measures to address impunity and foster reconciliation, the Congolese government and anti-impunity stakeholders are yet to identify and implement the most strategic ways to respond to the accountability deficit. Most recently, the Congolese government has proposed the establishment of a specialised chamber within the national justice system to try those responsible for serious crimes since 1993. With reforms in the justice sector continuing to be slow and hard earned, what kind of mechanisms can realistically ...

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From African Arguments Wed Apr 23 2014, 06:38:02

The news that over 200 school children were last week abducted by the Boko Haram terrorist group in North East Nigeria makes for depressing reading. Pupils sitting their end of school examinations were rounded up, packed in to vehicles and taken away after their school was invaded in a 4 hour operation. The Nigerian military then issued a statement that almost all the girls had been rescued. This proved to be a lie as the school principal gave a statement to the contrary. It now appears that a few of the girls were able to escape with the rest still held captive. Of course the military later issued a statement to retract their earlier one. So far no one knows the fate of the missing 200 or so girls. Or maybe we do. We know the fate of girls who are usually caught up in conflict situations ...

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April 22 2014

From African Arguments Tue Apr 22 2014, 06:57:47

There is a trend emerging in social media, mostly amongst people in their 30s and 40s and sometimes even 50s that consists of sharing family pictures from their childhood days. It is a wonderful visual record of an era that was charmingly optimistic. The fashions are compelling - as anyone who is paying attention will have noticed there is a surge in post-independence era styles amongst the fashionistas of the African diaspora and beyond. The photos give away something of the character of what I like to call Generation Independence, people who have graduated to elder status now. It is there in the His and Hers individual photographs: lovely studio portraits in black and white with the subject usually looking off to the side of the camera, bristling with youthful vitality. He will be ...

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April 18 2014

From African Arguments Fri Apr 18 2014, 05:03:06

Very good news on Wednesday when Barclays Bank agreed to give Dahabshiil, the Somali remittance company, sufficient time to find another way of transferring money from the UK and elsewhere to Somalia before closing its account with them. Up to $2 billion a year is sent from Somali exiles to their families back home, mainly through Dahabshiil. With much of the country destroyed by war, this inflow keeps millions of Somalis and their families alive, drives what business there is and enables more Somalis to stay and rebuild the country rather than seek exile. Under international money transfer rules, Dahabshiil can collect money from Somali families in the rest of the world and dispense it from shops in Somalia, but only a bank can transfer it across borders. That is what Barclays have been ...

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April 17 2014

From African Arguments Thu Apr 17 2014, 06:32:00

Diamonds and Rubber in Sierra Leone, oil in Angola and Sudan, tantalum and gold in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, copper in Zambia - the list of the natural resource wealth the Africa possesses is a long one. However, these riches have not always been a blessing for the continent. The development of African states is often said to be hindered by a 'resource curse' and, not surprisingly, most contemporary instances of armed contest over state power, authority, and legitimacy contain their fair share of a 'natural-resources' story. Civil Wars ...and natural resources? Intra-state conflicts usually turn out to be a 'mess' of intertwined, related and opposing interests, strategies and actors. This has rarely been more obvious than in the ongoing conflict in the Central African Republic ...

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April 16 2014

From African Arguments Wed Apr 16 2014, 09:32:33

The current conflict in South Sudan has now lasted nearly half a year, killing thousands and displacing hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese. Oil, South Sudan's only major source of revenue, has neither been the reason for nor the focus of the conflict up to this point. But this is rapidly changing as the flow and whereabouts of the oil revenue, as well as the security of the oil fields themselves, moves to the very centre of the conflict. Although production is only at half-capacity, oil revenue continues to fill Juba's coffers with roughly $15 million a day. The income from the oil sector is the main financial support for the government of Salva Kiir in Juba and its armed fight against former vice president Riek Macher and rebel groups. Riek Machar has, in recent weeks, been ...

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From African Arguments Wed Apr 16 2014, 03:26:39

In March, the AU and the Somali National Army (SNA) launched their long-awaited offensive against Al-Shabaab. As was expected, Al-Shabaab withdrew from most areas without putting up much resistance. On the surface, the Somali government has won a huge chunk of territory back from the insurgent group. However, the facts on the ground suggest something else. It would seem that Al-Shabaab has been cut in half, with the allied forces controlling the main roads from Mogadishu to Beledweyne, and from Mogadishu to Baidoa. However, Al-Shabaab continues to ambush allied troops using these roads, and is known to cross from east to west of the main roads whenever it wants. This is made possible because the allied troops occupy the main cities on the roads, with Al-Shabaab continuing to rule some ...

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April 15 2014

From African Arguments Tue Apr 15 2014, 09:57:39

The recent outbreak of Ebola virus in West Africa has captured international public attention that seems disproportionate to the scale of the outbreak itself.  This is not surprising.  Ebola is a communicable disease - that is to say, it is transmissible between humans.  In this regard, Ebola is unlike, for example, obesity, which affects c10-30% of adults in Europe and which the WHO has identified as one of the greatest public health challenges of the 21st century.  The Ebola virus also has a long incubation period - up to 21 days before symptoms become detectable; and a high fatality rate - up to 90%.  The communicability of Ebola, and the long incubation period of the virus, mean that an outbreak may not be contained to a small geographical location, and may ...

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