17 March 2022

Namibia: The old slogan “SWAPO is the nation, and the nation is SWAPO” no longer works. With the prestige of having accomplished liberation a thing of times long past, “unifying” the country has become the new aim or promise – but Namibia is the second most unequal country in the world (after South Africa) and the last few years have been economically bad and 40% of the population are estimated to live in poverty. Add the #Fishrot scandal to this and you see that SWAPO may be in difficulty.

Algerian (and Libyan) instead of Russian gas for Europe? Despite important reserves, Libya is presently unlikely to be capable to supply Europe with much extra gas. Algeria, on the other hand, could. But will it want to? The article’s authors think that not – because Russia has always been a close ally of Algeria. Except, maybe, if the US and Europe offered to change their attitudes in the Western Sahara/Morocco question.

Nigerian food prices: “(D)earth of capital, technology, infrastructural facilities and insurgency” are the country’s real “drivers of food inflation” and they are the reason why government policies to keep down food prices have been and continue to be unsuccessful. Import dependence (52% for rice, 99.7% for wheat, 70% for dairy products) means that world market price rises cost the country heavily – this augurs badly for the Ukraine war effects.

Nigeria: The country is a major oil exporter, but it does not refine enough and must thus import refined products like fuel. Last month’s measures against adulterated fuels (which caused harm to cars) have led to fuel shortages and also to power cuts (fuel being used for generating electricity during power cuts). On the black market, petrol prices have more than tripled. Power cuts are due to “technical problems at thermal stations, gas pipelines to power stations being vandalised and a dip in hydroelectric generation because of ‘seasonal pressures’ on dams”.
BBC Africa Live 17 March 2022. 13:54

Mozambique: According to the latest count, cyclone Gombe has killed at least 48 and destroyed at least 3,000 homes. Mossuril area in Nampula province has been the most affected.
BBC Africa Live 17 March 2022. 6:01

Mauritania/Slavery: A meeting of more than 1,000 anti-slavery activists is being held in Nouakchott – a big step forward in as far as the Mauritanian authorities are concerned. The country was the last in the world to outlaw the practice in 1981 but the practice is still widespread – but so far, “more anti-slavery campaigners were being locked up than slave owners”. Now, the government’s human rights commissioner has declared that eliminating slavery and ending discrimination are priorities of the government.
BBC Africa Live 17 March 2022. 11:01

16 March 2022

Widows/UN: The General Assembly of the United Nations has passed a resolution in support of the rights of women, calling for an end to widows’ “discrimination, violence, marginalisation, stigmatisation and exclusion”. Member countries are “to ensure widows have full access to inheritance and social protection”. More generally, all barriers against women owning or inheriting land and property are to be removed.
BBC Africa Live 16 March 2022. 11:59

Somalia: The deadline for completion of parliamentary elections has once more been pushed back – now to the end of March. 50 seats are yet to be filled.
BBC Africa Live 16 March 2022. 12:20

Kenya: 100,000 USD worth of condoms, mosquito nets and tuberculosis drugs are thought by the UN Global Fund to have been stolen from a Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa)-operated warehouse and sold on the black market. On top of that, Kemsa is accused of grossly inflation prices of the tuberculosis medicine.
BBC Africa Live 16 March 2022. 9:31

South Sudan: The UN Security Council’s peacekeeping force’s mandate has been extended for another year. 17,000 soldiers and 2,101 police officers will, amongst others, continue to help “prevent sexual and gender-based violence” and “provide electoral assistance”.
BBC Africa Live 16 March 2022. 8:50

Rwanda: Human Rights Watch accuses the Rwandan authorities of being far too harsh on critical people, harassing, threatening or prosecuting them. HRW furthermore demands “the urgent release of activists, journalist and opposition leaders”. Even if it is true that hate speech in the media played an important role in the 1994 genocide, this cannot now justify censoring speech, restricting journalists, bloggers and YouTube commentators, banning debates, opinions, criticism of government policies.
BBC Africa Live 16 March 2022. 18:32

Zondo/South Africa: A biography of the country’s new Chief Justice, Raymond Zondo, of course focusing on his professional career, from lawyer to judge to head of the judicial commission of inquiry into allegations of rampant corruption, fraud and state capture during former President Jacob Zuma’s tenure to Chief Justice.