07 June 2022

South Africa/United Arab Emirates: In 2021, an extradition treaty was signed between the two countries. But will the Gupta brothers, who were arrested yesterday, ever be extradited? It could take years… “The Guptas have been accused of using their association with Mr Zuma to cash in on huge government contracts by paying bribes.” They fled South Africa in 2018, around the time that Jacob Zuma lost power. They have been on a US sanctions list since 2019.
BBC Africa Live 07 June 2022. 12:50

Congo-Kinshasa: According to an announcement by the government, Codeco (Congo Economic Development Cooperative) – one of the many militia groups of Eastern Congo and one of the deadliest – is ending its insurgency. This comes after peace talks between the government and different ethnic groups, amongst them the Lendu who Codeco is linked to.
BBC Africa Live 07 June 2022. 7:22

Congo-Kinshasa: The Belgian king, his wife and some ministers start a 7-day DRC visit today that will take them to Kinshasa, Lubumbashi and Bukavu. The king, in June 2020 had expressed his “deepest regrets” for colonial abuses – “the first time a Belgian monarch had formally expressed remorse for what happened during the country's colonial rule.”
BBC Africa Live 07 June 2022. 6:31

Natural Reforestation: By defecating the seeds of the fruits they eat and spreading them over large distances, fruit bats have a very high potential for reforesting Africa. The authors’ research in Ghana, Burkina Faso and Zambia (deploying the bats with small GPS loggers) established that fruit bats can fly up to 95 km to find food and 95 km back to their sleeping places for the day. And they defecate slowly, which favours a large dispersal of the seeds. The benefits for biodiversity are enormous. Unfortunately, the numbers of fruit bats have dwindled of late – “(t)hey are primarily at risk from hunting and persecution out of superstition, fear or simple annoyance due to the noise they make when they roost.” We should rather leave them alone.

Somalia: After the long-delayed and by no means one (wo)man-one vote elections providing the country with a president who is a modern traditionalist, “the test will be how to marry the social power of the clan system with a democratic future.” Constitutional reforms will be necessary so that the importance of clans and the traditional “xeer” law can be integrated. Seen that Mogadishu is unlikely to be able to establish a monopoly on the use of force, it should apply a system of subsidiarity, where it intervenes only when traditional and local mechanisms fail to work. In the article’s author’s view, “a system in which rights and duties are based on clan affiliation rather than place of residence” would be most appropriate for Somalia.

Cameroon/USA: The almost 40,000 Cameroonians who fled the anglophone crisis in the country’s west or the Islamist attacks in the north and live in the USA have been granted temporary protected status and can stay and work in the USA for 18 months. The measure could be renewed should the security situation not improve.
BBC Africa Live 07 June 2022. 15:10

06 June 2022

Migration: Cape Town-based organisation STEPS (Social Transformation and Empowerment Projects) uses “film as a tool for social change and in developing talent from the continent”. “Generation Africa”, its latest initiative, had produced 25 documentaries giving an insider view of migration inside Africa and from Africa to elsewhere. Impact strategies are part of the project – which is not only about gaining recognition at film festivals (e.g. No U-Turn by Ike Nnaebue/Nigeria, No Simple Way Home by Akuol de Mabior/South Sudan, The Last Shelter by Ousmane Sammassekou/Mali) but about “shifting the contemporary narrative about migration and the people who move from country to country, and continent to continent, dreaming of a better future..

Biodiversity: With the planet, in the view of many a scientist, entering the sixth mass extinction in its history and with the UN about to convene an international conference in Kunming (China – COP15 on 1st of October 2022) “to establish new goals for protecting Earth’s ecosystems and their biodiversity”, this article gives an overview of the thinking about biodiversity and the different kinds of advantages biodiversity brings with it.

Uganda: The article tells the story of the 45 or more Catholics and Protestants whom Kabaka (king) Mwanga, because he felt threatened, had murdered between 31 January 1885 and 27 January 1887 – commemorated every 3rd of June on Martyrs’ Day in a country that is nowadays more than 80% Christian. The article sees parallels with today’s situation: “Like the martyrs who were not properly tried in court, Ugandans are imprisoned for flimsy reasons or without trial because others want to maintain the status quo. Examples include the state targeting critical journalists, civil society activists and opposition political leaders with ‘arbitrary arrest, intimidation, threats and politically motivated criminal charges’.”

The UK’s Poor Laws: Between 1598/1601 and 1834, parishes, when food became too expensive, “were obliged to give cash or food to those who could not afford to eat”, with landowners and tenants funding this by paying a tax in proportion to their holdings. In 1834, this system was deemed too expensive and replaced by the poor receiving gruel only “in return for tedious chores in degrading workhouses. The fear of the workhouse was designed to force the poor to prefer work – for whatever abysmal wages the market offered.” Just like the original Poor Laws, the British welfare state after the 2nd World War with its National Health Service created conditions for a period of economic bloom. Should we not learn the lesson from the past and the original Poor Laws?

Lockdown effects on learning: A big study of school results in Western Cape province estimates that pupils “have fallen 40% to 70% of a school year behind earlier cohorts in language learning and much more – 95% to 106% of a school year – in maths.” For maths (and languages), learning is more than for other subjects a cumulative process and there is a “greater need for it to be formally taught, face to face”. To compensate for the losses, schools now “need to allocate more time for language and mathematics”. The article specifies which curriculum areas need to be prioritised.

Rwanda/Mozambique: According to Mozambiquan authorities, about 3,000 Rwandan refugees live in the country. An extradition deal between the two countries has just been signed. Those who have fled Rwanda for political reasons are now afraid of forced repatriation. In September of last year, prominent critic of Paul Kagame, Rwandan businessman Revocant Karemangingo was killed in Maputo.
BBC Africa Live 06 June 2022. 12:26

Botswana: The prosecuting authority is thinking about asking South Africa for the extradition of ex-President Ian Khama after he “failed to appear in court for a second time for his trial on firearms charges” while his co-accused – the heads of police and intelligence amongst them – attended.
BBC Africa Live 06 June 2022. 16:23

Sudan: The Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) have rejected a UN plan for resolving Sudan’s crisis. Parties representing the coup camp or linked to the former regime must not “inundate” the political process to end the crisis.
BBC Africa Live 06 June 2022. 17:21

South Africa/UAE: Atul and Rajesh Gupta – of the state capture Guptas – have been arrested in the United Arab Emirates where they fled when investigations started into their mingling with South African state affairs.