01 April 2022

Boko Haram: Boko Haram as well as the government’s responses to terrorism are hampering economic activity (fishers, farmers, traders, transporters). Women are particularly concerned. People have reacted and adapted in many different ways, some have started to deal with Boko Haram. Quite a few find themselves “entirely dependent on governments and NGOs”. The article has some suggestions how to improve people’s economic situation. Securing farms, markets and transport routes would be important, rebuilding infrastructure including markets where they were destroyed. Grants need to be available to rebuild livelihoods. Excesses of government employees need to be curbed and taxes lowered. People also need training to improve productivity. “Rebuilding local economies will (…) make communities less vulnerable to co-option by violent extremists.”

eSwatini/SADC: “(T)he national dialogue Ramaphosa persuaded King Mswati III to hold is threatening to be stillborn” – the king seems to want to do it Sibaya (an advisory council) style, where traditionally he “talks down to his people and they listen in silence”. In March, the Multi-Stakeholder Forum (MSF), eSwatini’s most representative political group including political parties, civil society, churches, businesses, etc., in an open letter called for a “genuine all-inclusive political dialogue, not the Sibaya Monologue”. SADC has neglected its duties agreed in the July agreement with the king last year – it will have to weigh in on the king to get a real national dialogue between the king and his people going.

South Africa/Xenophobia: As “(o)rganised groups such as Operation Dudula increasingly target African immigrants in South Africa” and to help “extinguish the flames of xenophobic sentiment before it is too late”, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) is organising an online event on 12th of April “How to extinguish South Africa’s flames of xenophobia”.

Sudan/Darfur: Between Tuesday and Thursday, clashes between the Rizeigat (Arabs) and Fallata (= Fulbe) communities have killed dozens and injured hundreds in Darfur – the article does not state in which part of Darfur.
BBC Africa Live 01 April 2022. 6:47

Sudan: At yesterday Thursday’s protests, 1 was shot dead, more than 50 suffered gunshot wounds. Security forces use guns “which fire shells that contain multiple pellets” – according to local medics, removing of these projectiles “can require complex surgery”.
BBC Africa Live 01 April 2022. 13:01

Angola: The government says the indefinite nationwide strike started last week by the National Union of Angola Medical Doctors to obtain higher wages and which has paralysed public health services is illegal. It has suspended the salaries of the more than 5,000 striking doctors.
BBC Africa Live 01 April 2022. 14:29

31 March 2022

The tongue stays in the shade but exposes its owner to the sun
BBC Africa Live 31 March 2022. 4:33 Proverb of the day. An Oromo proverb from Ethiopia sent by Yadessa Abishu

Niger: 5,000 additional soldiers are to be recruited to better fight terrorism.
BBC Africa Live 31 March 2022. 11:06

Somalia: Two states – Hirshabelle state (6 seats) and Jubbaland (16 seats) – will miss the 31 March deadline for voting for delegates for the new parliament. Hopefully, in April all 275 MPs will be sworn in.
BBC Africa Live 31 March 2022. 7:59

Mali/Russia: While “(a)bout 75% of French troops are reported to have departed” from Mali, Russia has just sent “two combat helicopters and two sophisticated radar systems” to Mali to help fight terrorists.
BBC Africa Live 31 March 2022. 14:39

Mali/Mauritania/Niger/Nigeria/old manuscripts: Mali Magic, an online gallery hosted by Google, “displays 45 very photogenic manuscripts from one private library” in Timbuktu, but “the site doesn’t begin to tell the full story of the wealth of West Africa’s manuscripts that are found from the Atlantic to Lake Chad.” However, there is now “a bilingual, open-access, online union catalogue of nearly 80,000 manuscripts at the West African Arabic Manuscript Database.” Besides Timbuktu, Mauritania, Niger and Nigeria also need attention. The topic most dealt with in the old manuscripts are legal issues. Next come Prophet Muhammad, mysticism (Sufism), the Qur’an, Arabic language and theology. Rather few contain locally-written poetry and literature. Finally, there are texts in African languages (Fulfulde, Soninké, Wolof, Hausa, Bambara, Yoruba, Hasaniyya, etc.) written in Arabic script. Many more old manuscripts will be available online in future.

Wars & Culture: Beyond loss of life, wars have “caused huge losses to cultural heritage”. The article provides examples from the Ethiopian-Eritrean 1998-2000 war, from Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and the ongoing war in Tigray/Ethiopia. Cultural heritage is protected by international laws (the article lists them) – but they need to be domesticated to become effective.

Tigray war & culture: Tigray is home to many old treasures. Religious, historical and cultural sites of immense value have been destroyed in the ongoing war. Heritage sites have been deliberately targeted. Hundreds of civilians were massacred around the yard of the Church of Aksum Tsion, the dwelling place of the Ark of the Covenant, then the church was vandalised. The “al-Nejashi Mosque, a symbol for the first introduction of Islam in Africa, was bombed”. “Precious medieval manuscripts have been burned and vandalised. Thousands of artefacts have been looted and smuggled for an international market.”

Ethiopia: Two Associated Press journalists are to be released by police by order of the Supreme Court. They had been arrested under terrorism laws in November 2021 while working on violence in Oromia region, but have never been charged. The police might yet appeal, so it is not sure they will really be released.
BBC Africa Live 31 March 2022. 15:16

Kenya: The Supreme Court has decided that President Kenyatta “had acted unlawfully” with his Building Bridges Initiative trying to make fundamental changes to the constitution. Kenyatta had appealed court verdicts which had found the Building Bridges Initiative bill “to be irregular, illegal and unconstitutional”.

Nigeria: After the gunmen attack on an Abuja-Kaduna train on Monday which killed at least 8 and saw several others abducted for ransom, the government has announced that military aircraft will accompany passenger trains on that “vital” rail connection in future.
BBC Africa Live 31 March 2022. 16:05