05 April 2022

Darfur/ICC: Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-al-Rahman alias Ali Kushayb, a former leader of the Janjaweed militia, has been charged with 31 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court (ICC). He “will be the first person to be tried by the ICC over a conflict that left about 300,000 people dead and more than two million homeless” since Omar al-Bashir was never brought to the ICC.

South Africa: Anti-immigrant activism (Operation Dudula, All Trucker Foundation, South Africa First Party, etc.) are by no means a response to an immigration crisis, there is no such crisis. Rather, South Africans are expressing their frustration with unfulfilled promises, with corruption, crime, and unemployment. “Popular embrace of nationalism, street justice, and anti-immigrant activism reflects the ascendency of an extra-legal order.” The article’s thesis is that this fits into the “system of indirect rule” that the country has inherited from Apartheid times, “relying on civic associations, local chiefs and other ‘community leaders’ to deliver votes and maintain order”.

Zimbabwe: Leeroy Spinx Brittain, popularly known as Bow, says that “he was raised by a Ndebele grandmother and a Shona grandfather”. With Zimbabwe to this day deeply divided along this ethnic divide (the Shona rule and marginalise Ndebele), he on 22nd of January created a mural in the country’s second-biggest city Bulawayo that has created controversy – the mural was removed within two days by the municipality. In the mural, the Ndebele king Lobengula was portrayed with an arm around the shoulders of Mbuya Nehanda, a Shona ancestral spirit here incarnated by Charwe Nyakasikana who led the Shona resistance against Cecil John Rhodes’ colonising forces. The mural clearly advocated unity between the country’s two main ethnic groups. The uproar it created was inspired partly by the government’s unwillingness, to this day, to recognise the “genocide” of Gukurahundi – the “ethnic cleansing atrocity which claimed up to 20,000 lives in Matebeleland and parts of Midlands in the 1980s”.

Tunisia: Participants in the online meeting of parliament (which had been suspended by the president) last week may face the death penalty for their “failed coup attempt”. At the online meeting, “they voted to nullify exceptional measures taken by President Kais Saied last summer, which included the suspension of the parliament.” The President subsequently dissolved Parliament.
BBC Africa Live 05 April 2022. 8:35

Ghana: The country has security concerns. On the one hand there are separatists in the south-east campaigning for a Western Togoland state who might perpetrate attacks. And then, in the north, there is a danger of armed groups crossing over from Burkina Faso, though there has not yet been an islamist terrorist attack on Ghanaian territory so far. The security minister said Ghana needs to be proactive. He also said that security has been sufficiently beefed up including along the border with Burkina Faso.
BBC Africa Live 05 April 2022. 17:30

Mozambique: The Bakers’ Association is warning that a hike in bread prices is unavoidable, as flour now costs 13% more than before the Ukraine war. In 2010, a 30% price rise in bread sparked riots which left “a dozen people” dead and over 400 injured.
BBC Africa Live 05 April 2022. 17:01

04 April 2022

South Sudan: After revived tensions and clashes, President Salva Kiir and First Vice-President Riek Machar have agreed on the formation of a unified armed forces command – a central point of the 2018 peace agreement. Kiir’s faction will have 60%, Machar’s faction and other opposition groups 40% of key positions in the army, police and security forces. The deal was brokered by Khartoum.
BBC Africa Live 04 April 2022. 5:31

City governance: How do you effectively govern rapidly growing cities? According to the article’s author, there are three aspects of city institutions that are decisive: allocation of responsibility, capacity, and legitimacy.

Lagos: The former capital remains Nigeria’s and even West Africa’s economic powerhouse, by far bigger than any other city in sight. Yet since 1991, when Abuja became the country’s capital, political decisions are taken elsewhere – and Lagos may be ruled by a different party from that in power nationally. Also, informal governance institutions have often more influence on everyday life than the formal institutions. “For the average Lagosian, these conditions result in a lived experience which delivers poorly on infrastructure and quality of life.” With taxation poorly managed, basic services like primary healthcare and public education are chronically under-resourced. So the question is: What works? Which structures – and most of all which local structures supporting and delivering physical and social infrastructure for communities – manage to successfully navigate the complex governance frameworks of Lagos? The article only formulates the question, setting out the course for future research.

Urban food security: An “urban food system encompasses production, processing and packaging, distribution, retail, consumption and wastes”. Producing enough food (availability) is not enough – in most cities of the Global South, there is enough food yet it is unaffordable for many. And besides availability and accessibility (affordability), what needs to be looked after is utilisation (including food storage and refrigeration), stability and sustainability (political, environmental) and agency (of consumers).

Kenya: The 27km four-lane dual carriageway from near Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in the east to the western edge of Nairobi is nearing completion. The Chinese-financed toll road will improve the traffic situation, but only for the rich who can afford it. The congestion of other roads is unlikely to improve. The government had better invest in public transport, as “most commuters in Nairobi rely on walking or public transport.”

Kenya: In a highly symbolic public act, former first lady Mama Ngina Kenyatta (also the current president’s mother), shaved the long grey-haired dreadlocks of Muthoni Kirima, a Mau Mau freedom fighter. Mau Mau fighters had vowed not to cut their hair for as long as the British colonialists ruled the land. Muthoni Kirima – now aged over 90 – never cut hers, despite Kenyan independence, apparently not believing in the country’s freedom. She is quoted as stating: “This signifies that I am contented that our country has had freedom, at last, generations are now free, what we fought for in the forest during clamour for freedom has finally been achieved”. But many ask why now would be the right moment to cut her six-foot long hair. Could it have to do with Raila Odinga (supported by president Kenyatta for the upcoming presidential elections) having difficulties to get support in the Mt Kenya region - where Muthoni Kirima hails from?
BBC Africa Live 04 April 2022. 10:45