29 September 2022

Zimbabwe/Free Speech: Tsitsi Dangarembga and her friend Julie Barnes “holding placards on the side of a main road that called for a better Zimbabwe, for reforms and for the release from jail of two government critics”. In the court’s view that means they were “inciting public violence and breaching the peace”. They have until Tuesday to pay 70,000 Zimbabwe dollars (220 USD) or go to jail for three months. They will be jailed for 6 months should they reoffend within five years.
BBC Africa Live 29 September 2022. 17:15

Mozambique: The Observatory for Women says sexual abuse of women and girls in higher education is much too common in the country and Tete province is worst hit. To put a stop to the practice, it offers “to pay the legal costs of students wanting to take their cases to court”.
BBC Africa Live 29 September 2022. 15:47

Algeria: Authorities have ordered the closure of catholic charity after 60 years of activities in the country because it “was deemed an unauthorised organisation”.
BBC Africa Live 29 September 2022. 7:40

Ghana: The country’s north is much less developed than the south. The article’s author did research into the reasons. “The south received almost all the colonial public investments.” It is the after-effects of these that explain most of the difference. According to the article, it is investment in infrastructure that is necessary for the north of the country to begin closing the gap.

Wildlife trade: Illegal wildlife trade – estimated to be worth a minimum of 7bn USD and up to 23bn USD a year – is driving rhinos, elephants, tigers, lions, pangolins, etc. towards extinction. Conservationists tend to turn to technology (drones and satellites and AI-supported cameras for surveillance) to prevent it – but in the article’s author’s view, this is not the solution. It would be better to address the underlying factors – poverty, inequality – and not forget that colonial-era dispossession leaves people hailing from national parks little economic alternatives to poaching. Addressing wildlife protection as a dominantly security issue will be less effective than developing “sustainable livelihoods for would-be poachers and reducing demand in wealthier countries”.

28 September 2022

Lesotho: Amnesty International in a report accuses the country’s security forces of brutality, torture and unlawful killings.
BBC Africa Live 28 September 2022. 15:50

Nigeria: The Osun-Osogbo sacred grove is one of two Nigerian Unesco world heritage sites (the other being Sukur in Adamawa state). Beyond that, the Osun River is of great environmental and economic importance. But pollution has become a big problem – plastic first of all, but also heavy metals being the main culprits, with artisanal gold mining and poor waste management practices contributing.

Abortion/Kenya/Benin: Social safety – to avoid prosecution and social stigma – is more important to girls and young women seeking abortion than medical safety. In both Kenya and Benin, abortion is socially frowned upon. So abortion needs to be done discreetly. In high-income countries, “self-care for abortion” is the solution, meaning managing abortion “on one’s own as much as one wants to” including the accessing (also by using digital platforms) of “information and medical abortion pills without prescription”. But this is no way out in poor-income countries, where few have a smartphone or access to the internet. For the time being, the article suggests “investing in user-centred discreet abortion services, for example through health intermediaries” – for example “partners, relatives and community champions”.

Child marriage: It is well-known that girls who marry before 18 are more exposed to domestic violence, less likely to continue schooling and generally face worse economic and health outcomes. The article reports on a study (statistical analysis) undertaken in Congo-Kinshasa, Malawi, Mali and Niger and ends with the recommendations “for governments in these countries to introduce programmes that promote delaying the age at which girls first have sex and to equip adolescents with knowledge about responsible and safer sex.” On top of that “(p)olicymakers should also work to promote prolonged enrolment in school for adolescent girls. And, crucially, laws are needed – and must be enforced – that criminalise child marriages.” Now that’s really new!