13 June 2022

Africa’s Youth: According to the African Youth Survey – which interviewed more than 4,000 young Africans face-to-face –, 80% plan to start their own business and more than 50% want to emigrate in the next few years. The governments’ priorities should be the creation of well-paid jobs as well as fighting corruption and climate change.
BBC Africa Live 13 June 2022. 5:15

Congo-Kinshasa/Belgium: The article gives a brief historical overview, focussing on relations between Belgium and Congo. Though there has been some progress of late, with – for example – the Belgian king saying sorry for past atrocities, much more needs to be done, handing back a few stolen artefacts will not be enough. “In October 2021, the Belgian parliament set up a commission to deal with colonial injustice. Ten experts were tasked with discussing several issues, including possible financial reparations”. Will anything substantial come from this?

Nigeria: With more than 500 languages, fear of being dominated by one ethnic group has haunted independent Nigeria all along – none of the attempts to solve the “multicultural dilemma” has worked so far. The article’s author somewhat naively suggests that “the country’s leadership should minimise the politicisation of ethnicity and religion. And it should replace nepotism and sectionalism with meritocracy.” And that “(t)he excessive powers vested in the federal government should also be decentralised. This would enable different regions to regain autonomy, thus spreading the putative benefits of federalism.”

Nigeria: Many people feel disenfranchised, have no chance to participate in the political game, with women and young people strongly underrepresented. The two big parties (All Progressives Congress; Peoples Democratic Party) sell expression of interest forms and nomination forms for lots of money to members who are aspiring to contest political offices under their platforms. This means that such political offices are out of reach for the big – poor – majority of Nigerians. The solution, according to the article’s author: “These problems can be solved by enactment and enforcement of laws. You also need ethical campaigns and political education. And the leaders must set the example.”

Nigeria: Today 12th of June (and no longer 29th of May) is the country’s new Democracy Day. On 12th of June 1993, presidential elections were held for the first time since the military coup of 1983 and these elections are “still viewed as the freest, fairest and most peaceful election ever held in Nigeria.” The winner was Moshood Abiola, a businessman from the south-west. But the election results were annulled by the military head of state Babangida. Nigeria returned to democracy only in 1999 – after the death of dictator Sani Abacha. Olusegun Obasanjo was sworn in on 29th of May 1999.

Rwanda/UK: Appeal court judges have decided that the flight transporting asylum seekers who have “illegally” entered Britain to Kigali is in the “public interest” and can go ahead tomorrow Tuesday for the concerned to apply for asylum there. A full hearing on whether the policy is lawful will only be held in July. According to Care4Calais – one of those who had appealed against the High Court decision – only 8 people are now due to fly because of legal challenges.

West Darfur/Sudan: More than 100 have reportedly been killed last week in fighting between the Gimir and the Arab Rizeigat communities. A land dispute had triggered the clashes.
BBC Africa Live 13 June 2022. 16:01

12 June 2022

Gambia: Ex-dictator Yahya Jammeh’s 22-year rule is known for its human rights abuses. One of them were the “witch hunts” which started in 2009 when he blamed an aunt’s death on witchcraft and lasted for seven years, occurring sporadically. “They struck deep terror and divisions in communities in Gambia.” In Memory House (run by the African Network against Extrajudicial Killings and Enforced Disappearances/ANEKED), the exhibition “We Are Not Done” shows portraits of 11 people who with their families “horrific abuses” under Jammeh. Memory House’s objective is the “unlearning a dictatorship” and besides the present exhibition, workshops about human rights and transitional justice are organised, first of all for young people who – born under Jammeh – need to be made aware “that dictatorship is not a normal system of government.” The Gambia may have gotten rid of Jammeh, but after-effects are ongoing: “Many Gambians did not testify before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), which heard witness testimony between January 2019 and mid-2021 about life under Mr Jammeh. Some (…) because they were frightened of possible repercussions.”