25 May 2022

Eritrea: In a clear-sighted analysis of world politics rare elsewhere, President Isaias Afewerki in a speech on the occasion of Eritrea's 31st Independence Day said that “developments in Ukraine are a continuation of a long-term Western strategy to contain Russia, and that Ukraine and its people are ‘victims’.”
BBC Africa Live 25 May 2022. 9:13

Nigeria: Chima Williams has been awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize. The Nigerian lawyer helped the victims of Royal Dutch Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary’s widespread environmental damage to bring a case before a Dutch court in The Hague by partnering with Friends of the Earth Netherlands. “(I)n January this year a court of appeal ruled that Royal Dutch Shell ultimately had oversight and control over its subsidiary's operations to the point that it had a duty to prevent oil spills” – meaning that the victims will receive compensation (amounts yet to be determined).

Traditional contraception tested: Amongst the 23 medicinal plants reported to be used for contraception in South Africa, the researchers chose a herbal mixture that is commonly used for contraception by traditional practitioners mixing three plant species (Bulbine frutescens, Helichrysum caespititium and Teucrium trifidum). The mixture was administered to rats in an experiment testing different doses. The herbal mixture was found to be safe and to have some contraceptive efficacy.

Environment/Global consciousness: The article deals mostly with the Stockholm conference of 50 years ago that can be seen as the starting point of global environmental consciousness and which resulted in the foundation of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), the first UN body to be located in the developing world (Nairobi). In November 2022, COP 27 will be the first such conference to be held on African soil (Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt). Africa, of course, only contributes 4% to global emissions of greenhouse gases, but bears “the brunt of their impacts, with the combined effects of severe drought, flooding and pestilence”.

Zambia: President Hakainde Hichilema announced that Zambia would be working towards abolishing the death sentence. No executions have taken place in the country since the late 1990s.
BBC Africa Live 25 May 2022. 8:37

Tanzania: At an AfDB forum in Accra, on her first official trip to West Africa, President Samia Suluhu told how it was a major challenge to make people trust her because of her being a woman. “In the course of one year I have shown women’s power”, she said, and: “I led the country the same way men did and in some circumstances better than they did.”
BBC Africa Live 25 May 2022. 8:04

Mining/Glencore/Bribery and corruption: The chairman of Glencore has admitted that “‘unacceptable practices’ had taken place in relation to the bribery charges it pleaded guilty to at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Tuesday”. Glencore had paid bribes worth more than 25m USD between 2011 and 2016 for preferential access to oil in Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, and South Sudan. Glencore said that it would also pay more than 1bn USD for similar wrongdoings in the USA and in Brazil.
BBC Africa Live 25 May 2022. 7:17

Gambia: In response to the report of the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission, having waited to the last day of the 25th of May deadline for reacting, the “government says it is ready to prosecute former President Yahya Jammeh for what it called ‘the myriad of crimes’ he committed during his rule.” Jammeh lives in exile in Equatorial Guinea.
BBC Africa Live 25 May 2022. 13:57

24 May 2022

Angola: Frustration with MPLA politics that have not substantially changed despite João Lourenço’s taking over in 2017 has led to the formation of the broad United Patriotic Front that brings together key opposition leaders and civil society organisations. But MPLA is likely to win the upcoming elections, partly because of electoral fraud and obstruction. The reforms introduced by João Lourenço were mainly targeted at the international community (where Angola’s image stands much improved). As for the broad masses, their socio-economic situation has worsened and most are disillusioned. And: “The MPLA is reverting to old authoritarian reflexes – legal-administrative obstacles, harassment and intimidation, physical violence, arbitrary detention, extra-legal killings, media manipulation, judicial bias and electoral fraud – to thwart any possible opposition threat to its dominance.” They are likely to stay in power.

Senegal: The article reports on the author’s research on coastal erosion on Palmarin peninsula in the south of the country’s Petite Côte. According to the article, Senegal’s coastline has retreated an average of 2.2 metres per year 1954-2002 and by 3 metres 2014-18. Caused by climate change et al., the effects are dramatic and difficult to counteract.

Gabon: Libreville has banned an anti-French opposition march because it could “jeopardise the ‘excellent relationship’ between the two countries” which have a defence agreement.
BBC Africa Live 24 May 2022. 12:14

WHO: In elections which were a mere formality because he was the only candidate, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was re-elected head of the World Health Organization (WHO) for another five years. The Ethiopian ex-minister of health, later of foreign affairs is now 57 years old.
BBC Africa Live 24 May 2022. 16:07

Uganda: Dr Kizza Besigye took part in protests against the high cost of living with megaphones on his car. He is reported to have “caused business in the local area to come to a standstill” – he was arrested on charges of inciting violence. Well, he’s been in prison so many times…
BBC Africa Live 24 May 2022. 17:05