21 July 2022

South Africa/Gender Based Violence: Framing GBV as a ‘crisis’ won’t help, it is as if it were out of control, as if we were helpless against it. “(A) different conversation is needed”. It needs to be framed – first and foremost by researchers and journalists – “as a social problem, produced by choices made by corporations, governments, politicians, faith-based organisations and individual South Africans. It is not a crisis out of our control but a social condition that can be interrupted through deliberate efforts.” Calling for harsher punishments won’t help.

Ethiopia/Violence in Oromia: Oromo are estimated to constitute between a third and half of all Ethiopians. They consider themselves “colonial subjects” of the Amhara, who have “dominated Ethiopia’s political economy for almost 150 years”. Under Menelik II, most Oromo were reduced to serfdom and most lands were allotted to the occupiers (Amhara, Tigray, etc.). The nationalist Oromo Liberation Front was created in the 1970s. According to the article’s author, “violence in Oromia is mainly driven by the federal government and its agents. The Oromo Liberation Army is responding to state terrorism and gross human rights violations.” In 2018, Prime minister Abiy Ahmed came to power before a background of Oromo struggle – but his vision of a centralised state effectively perpetuates the subordination of colonised peoples, in the first place the Oromo. A solution would need negotiations and the help of an independent reconciliation body.

Transboundary rivers: The article discusses advantages and disadvantages of different forms of management of transboundary rivers. River basin institutions and regimes often seem to not protect rivers enough. Giving rights to rivers (implemented by an authoritative body or custodian on their behalf) has been suggested as a solution, but comes with its own problems. If the Nile and conflict around the Renaissance Dam provides the featured image of the article, its examples are all drawn from southern Africa.

Uganda/Kenya/Tanzania: With prices rising, Kenya and Tanzania have announced subsidies, for wheat and maize flower for the first and fuel for the second. Uganda’s Museveni continues to oppose subsidies as they would send the wrong signals, deplete reserves and delay infrastructure projects. He urged citizens to take trains instead of cars and turn to “cassava, plantains and millet amid the high cost of wheat”.
BBC Africa Live 21 July 2022. 6:14

Ethiopia: More than 400 Amhara have been killed last month in farming villages in Tole area of Gimbi district in the country’s west, in Oromia region. The Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) has been blamed for the killings by the authorities while OLA says they were “the work of a militia group set up by the government”. Amnesty International demands an impartial investigation into the killings.
BBC Africa Live 21 July 2022. 4:39

South Africa: In as far as foreign policy is concerned, the ANC continues to perceive itself as revolutionary, opposing a US-dominated international order while pursuing its own progressive agenda. This is evident from the foreign policy chapter of the ANC’s 2022 discussion paper, to be discussed later in July at the ANC’s policy conference. The African continent is seen as “a battleground between neo-liberalism and revolutionary progressivism.” And the ANC holds on to “its former liberation movement comrades”, e.g., Zimbabwe.

20 July 2022

Sexual and reproductive health: One of the several fronts on which the East African Community is pushing for integration is the sexual and reproductive health bill. First tabled in 2017, the bill has faced fierce opposition in EAC member countries. With unsafe abortions, “complications arising from early pregnancy and child birth (…) among the leading causes of death among girls aged 15 to 19 years (and) (y)oung girls (…) disproportionately exposed to new HIV infections and sexual violence”, gender disparities need to be addressed and the proposed bill in its 2021 version does just that. Resistance to the really very comprehensive bill comes mainly from religious and conservative groups “who maintain that some provisions of the Bill are part of the Western agenda, and against East African cultural values.” The three most controversial topics are sexuality education, abortion (albeit only on grounds already sanctioned by the Maputo protocol) and surrogacy (a woman carrying and giving birth to a child on behalf of another person). Some also reject the ban on child marriage.

Namibia/South Africa/India: No animal runs faster than cheetahs. With Asiatic cheetahs declared extinct in India 70 years ago, 50 cheetahs are to be relocated from Africa to India over the next five years. 8 cheetahs from Namibia are to arrive in a national park in Madhya Pradesh (central India) in August. South Africa is also to send cheetahs later on.
BBC Africa Live 20 July 2022. 10:52

Sudan: The clashes last week between Berti and Hausa in Blue Nile province (south-east of the country) are now known to have caused at least 105 dead and 291 dead. Calm has returned, but 15,000 are said to have had to leave their homes. Hausa have staged street protests in cities across Sudan calling for justice.
BBC Africa Live 20 July 2022. 14:24

Benin: Business tycoon and opposition figure Sébastien Ajavon has been condemned to 20 years in prison in absentia because of drugs charges which he has always denied will. “His conviction was labelled illegal by the African Court on Human and People's Rights” but Cotonou could not care less. Luxury items of his will now be auctioned off.
BBC Africa Live 20 July 2022. 12:47

Frantz Fanon: The article points to 5 The Conversation articles published in the past on the “Martinique-born psychiatrist, philosopher, revolutionary and leading pan-Africanist, (who) would have been 97 on 20 July 2022”.

Kenya: With food and energy the main drivers, inflation – 7.91% in June – is increasing, maize and wheat flour has gone up 67% in three months. The Ukraine war, Covid, weather (lack of rain), campaign spending, corruption and mismanagement and other factors put upward pressure on prices. The solutions suggested by presidential candidates are vague or unsustainable in the author’s view – he himself has only advice that could work against inflation in the long run: improve productivity.

Kenya: Surprise: President Kenyatta has halved the price of maize flour. The move cannot have anything to do with the country heading for elections. The suspension of the railway development levy and import declaration fees on imported maize must be a sign of the president’s altruism.
BBC Africa Live 20 July 2022. 16:08

Malawi: Amid growing anti-government sentiment and a worsening economic situation, a demonstration against ‘selective justice’ in cases of corruption and against economic woes (with protesters apparently unaware that the High Court had forbidden the protests shortly before they started) and calling for the removal of President Chakwera degenerated into running battles with the police with people suffering injuries and vehicles and buildings destroyed. 40 protesters or more were arrested.
BBC Africa Live 20 July 2022. 17:15
BBC Africa Live 20 July 2022. 15:20

Chad: Young girls (no age specified) are now banned from leaving the country without parental permission. The authorities say it is to stop exploitation. Maybe this is in connection with a “report by the global initiative against transnational crime (which) said human trafficking in Chad has increased in recent years. It also said there has been an increase in the number of Chadian sex workers in neighbouring countries in 2021.” But the country’s Women's Rights League protests and calls the ban sexist, young Chadian boys also being victims of trafficking.
BBC Africa Live 20 July 2022. 16:57

Tanzania: After criticism of recent human rights violations by the security forces, President Samia Suluhu Hassan has replaced the inspector-general of police (the old one was made ambassador in Zimbabwe – probably because police there also have little respect for human rights). She furthermore announced the creation of a “committee to assess police performance”.
BBC Africa Live 20 July 2022. 15:52