30 November 2021

Distant cotton trees have no thorns
BBC Africa Live 30 November 2021. 4:43. African proverb of the day. A Krio proverb sent by Sahid A Jah in Sierra Leone

Mozambique: After the 1992 peace deal, Frelimo and Renamo continued to consider each other enemies and the climate was one of mutual distrust. It was simply not enough for the external mediators to get the “warring parties to quickly agree to end hostilities, instead of supporting deep peace-building processes”. With Frelimo de facto assured victory in all elections, by whatever unfair means (especially in the 1999 elections), Renamo’s only path to power seemed to take up arms again, which they did in the years 2010. And so, “the country remains in a state of war – in the centre of the country because of military activity by Renamo, and in the North, by radical Islamist insurgents, starting in 2017.”

South Sudan: The country is yet to draft a constitution – it started doing so in 2012, but conflict in 2013 and again in 2016 interrupted this. To get this done in a meaningful i.e. participatory way, the article makes three recommendations: prioritising grassroots reconciliation; facilitating the return and resettlement of IDPs and refugees (4.3 million displaced of whom 2 million abroad); allowing freedom of expression. “(E)ffective people’s participation in building their democratic future” could in this way be assured. It all sounds a bit naïve though true.

Wetland protection/Nigeria: The article’s author found a variety of damselflies (small dragonflies) that counts amongst the threatened species in Ekor Waterfalls in Cross River state. To maintain the “high ecological integrity” of this “freshwater system”, the author argues for its protection.

Western Sahara: Decolonisation never happened. Western Sahara is the only African representative remaining on the UN’s list of non-self-governing territories. In the occupied two thirds of the Western Sahara (its ‘southern provinces’), Morocco exploits renewable energy, it has built 3 large wind farms (5 more are planned) and 2 solar farms (1 more is planned). By 2030, Rabat may get 50% of its wind and 30% of its solar energy from the occupied territories – this “energy dependence entrenches the occupation and undermines the UN peace process”.

South Africa: The ANC power base – which used to be both rural and urban – has become dominantly rural (Eastern Cape, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West – in this order). Eventually, “this is likely to shift the orientation of the ANC, and further reduce its ability, and willingness, to engage with the intensity of metropolitan dynamics. Furthermore, policies may eventually change to reflect its more traditional and conservative base.”

Congo-Kinshasa/Uganda: In eastern Congo-Kinshasa, camps of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) – allied to the IS and considered responsible for the twin bomb attacks in central Kampala a couple of weeks ago – have been targeted by air and artillery strikes of Uganda’s army.
BBC Africa Live 30 November 2021. 9:52

Covid: At the China-Africa summit in Dakar, China’s President has promised 1 billion Covid vaccine doses.
BBC Africa Live 30 November 2021. 6:23

Rwanda/Covid: All over 50 will get third vaccine doses. The younger only if they are health workers or “have an underlying condition”.
BBC Africa Live 30 November 2021. 4:44

Malawi: Protests against high prices and corruption have prompted the President to cancel all public engagements so as to “attend to emerging national and regional matters”.
BBC Africa Live 30 November 2021. 12:04

Democracy: Where in Africa is democracy progressing, where is it regressing? On the demand side, there does not seem much to worry about, people and youths even more “want better and more accountable governance and insist on democracy and development simultaneously, rather than one or the other.” It is the supply side that is often lagging, with third-termism, coups, internet shutdowns, etc.

Kenya: The conflicts between pastoralists and farmers in central Kenya have historical (colonial) roots and are worsened by climate change.

Sudan: There is another big protest against the military mingling in politics in Khartoum. Demonstrators chanting “No militia can rule a country” and “Burhan your barracks awaits” have partly been met by security forces firing tear gas.
BBC Africa Live 30 November 2021. 14:11

Nigeria: According to a report published by the NGO “Centre for Democracy and Development” today Tuesday, 13,000 civilians have been killed by security forces over the last ten years, with torture, extra-judicial killings and unlawful detention “common”.
BBC Africa Live 30 November 2021. 16:51

29 November 2021

Corporal punishment in schools: It doesn’t work and it must stop. It doesn’t work first of all because “in a state of panic, the brain is in fight or flight mode and cannot integrate information deeply, let alone allow for intellectual expansion into higher order thinking such as synthesis, creativity or evaluation”. Furthermore, the message sent out by teachers – i.e. role models for students – is that violence is acceptable. In fact, “corporal punishment breaks young people and brutalises them” Research “shows, convincingly, that across gender, race and parenting styles, corporal punishment does not improve behaviour, it makes it worse.”

Botswana: The Appeal Court has ruled that the 2019 landmark ruling which decriminalised gay sex stands. Two sections of the country’s penal code have thus de facto been abolished. The president of the Appeal Court stated that “(t)hose sections have outlived their usefulness, and serve only to incentivise law enforcement agents to become key-hole peepers and intruders into the private space of citizens”.
BBC Africa Live 29 November 2021. 11:03

HIV-Aids, inequality and girls/women: 37 million people live with HIV. 680,000 died from AIDS-related causes in 2020. Of the more than 1.5 million new HIV infections in 2020, 25% were girls/women aged 15 to 24 – they are twice as likely as boys/men of the same age group to live with HIV. Important factors in this heightened risk are power in relationships (especially in age-disparate sexual relationships) which render discussions about sexual health difficult, gender-based violence which often happens inside relationships characterised by female dependency because of economic inequality, and, thirdly, by “lack of knowledge about sexual health, inequitable gender norms around sex, and conservative social norms about adolescent sexual well-being contribut(ing) to poor uptake of sexual and reproductive health services”. To change the high infection rates, it is essential to understand “the social context in which adolescent girls and young women manage and negotiate sex” and to tailor interventions accordingly.

Zambia: From tomorrow Tuesday onwards, the non-vaccinated will only have restricted access to government buildings. In consultation with unions, the government also wants to oblige civil servants to get vaccinated in order to be able to continue working. For arrivals from abroad, a 10-day-quarantine has been decreed.
BBC Africa Live 29 November 2021. 8:10

Niger: More than 5,400 have been infected with cholera across the country this year and 156 have died from it. The Maradi region in the east is the most affected.
BBC Africa Live 29 November 2021. 17:21