11 August 2022

Sierra Leone: Violence has erupted during protests “against the high cost of living, corruption and police brutality” – these protests, in several parts of the country, started on Monday. On Wednesday, “some protesters and policemen were killed”. President Bio is currently out of the country – it was Vice-President Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh who declared a night curfew yesterday Wednesday. Politics seem to be part of the protests: some protesters demand the resignation of the president, others that he must not seek re-election next year. Protests continued today Thursday. According to Reuters, 21 civilians were killed, according to police, “dozens of civilians and six police officers” have died during the protests. Meanwhile, President Bio is back in the country. Around 130 are reported to have been arrested in connection with the protests.
BBC Africa Live 11 August 2022. 6:36
BBC Africa Live 11 August 2022. 16:36
BBC Africa Live 11 August 2022. 19:16

BRICS: An alternative to the Global North? “Could an expanded BRICS really emerge as an alternate power bloc?” Besides Argentina and Algeria, Egypt, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, Senegal and Thailand are thought to be possible additional members. But – besides being regional hegemons – do the BRICS countries have enough in common? The wish to weigh more on the global stage does provide common ground. But the challenge to the now existing global system is not for tomorrow – though it looks unavoidable, given Covid and the Ukraine war etc.

10 August 2022

Mali/Russia: Upon receiving 5 military jets and 1 combat helicopter, Sadio Camara, the defence minister, “paid tribute to what he called Mali's win-win partnership with Russia”.
BBC Africa Live 10 August 2022. 7:50

Angola: A ten-year drought in the southwest of the country came to a head in 2019. Despite substantial national and international responses, the crisis is not yet over. Several factors – the article lists them – are responsible for this. Assistance was irregular and unsystematic. More importantly, local authorities and local communities were not implicated enough, they were sometimes not even informed. Three years later, Lourenço’s promises in his election campaign that “efforts to manage the effects of the drought would be his priority in the next cabinet” come incredibly late.

Mozambique/Unions: While trade unions are the largest mass-based organisation in Mozambique (larger than the National Union of Peasants) and a union density of around 30% of the formal private sector is not bad for the region, their political weight is insignificant. Part of the reason is their “perceived acquiescence to political power and (their) inability to adequately represent the interests of Mozambique’s working classes”.

South Africa/Racism: Transcending race, non-racialism remains an illusion. “Apart from the workplace and in schools, ordinary blacks and whites continue to live racially segregated lives.” According to the author, doing something against the persistent racialised wealth inequalities would require transcending non-racialism.

Rwanda/Congo-Kinshasa: Since the 1994 Rwandan genocide and beyond the two Congo Wars with their millions of dead, the two countries are suspicious of each other and accuse each other of working towards bringing down each other’s government. Though another major war is unlikely, tensions are likely to persist or to resurface.

Congo-Kinshasa/UN Peacekeepers: Around a third of allegations worldwide against UN peacekeeper-perpetrated sexual exploitation and abuse have been made in eastern Congo-Kinshasa. According to the article’s author’s research, about half of those who were left pregnant were under 18 years of age, with the youngest “impregnated by a UN peacekeeper was just ten years old”. Very little has been done about it so far – although “(t)he UN’s zero-tolerance policy bans almost all sexual relations between peacekeepers and local civilians, deeming them exploitative or abuse due to the context (conflict, poverty, displacement) in which they occur”. The article gives room to what victims and especially also their children – conceived by foreigners, thus carrying stigma – have to say. This – very long and extremely shocking – article also provides a good basis for evaluating recent outrage against UN peacekeeping troops in eastern Congo.

Nigeria: The article discusses the chances of Atiku Abubakar of becoming president. He has been trying to get there since 1992 and is again candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, the country’s main opposition party. One thing in his disfavour is “that he only appears during electoral seasons to contest for the presidential election and withdraws to his base in Dubai after losing (which) does not convince the public that he holds the nation’s interests at heart.” But he is rich. And has lots of political experience…

Sierra Leone: Protests against the rising cost of living, corruption and police brutality in Freetown and several northern towns have led to clashes with the police in the capital and several people have reportedly been killed, police among them. A nationwide curfew has been declared and there is a near-total internet shutdown.
BBC Africa Live 10 August 2022. 18:13