23 March 2023

Kenya: Is the country’s police more of a problem than a solution, making people feel less safe? As “extortion and extrajudicial killings by the police are rampant”, shouldn’t police be abolished altogether? Since 2008, serious efforts have been undertaken to reform police, but they have failed. Alternatives already exist. “To provide for their own safety, residents increasingly organise themselves into networks of friends, family and neighbours for basic safety.” In richer environments, private security firms are paid to do police work. The only police function that may prove difficult to replace is the protection of “the state against society. Officers uphold and protect a rarefied governing class and political elite against the population.”

Ethiopia/Tigray: Continuing to implement the peace agreement, Addis has appointed TPLF-nominated Getachew Reda as head of the interim administration of Tigray which will be in place until regional elections – it is not yet known when these will be held.
BBC Africa Live 23 March 2023. 10:20

South Africa: Noni Jabavu, 1919 to 2008, was a far-travelled writer known for her memoirs and also for her “witty, insightful and politically charged columns (…) for the Daily Dispatch newspaper”. Now “writer and academic Makhosazana Xaba and historian Athambile Masola” have published a book about her: “Noni Jabavu: A Stranger at Home”.

22 March 2023

Ghana: Five members of prohibited Western Togoland Restoration Front (WTRF) have been sentenced to 5 years in prison and hard labour. In 2020, they had attacked a police station, freed inmates, and blocked roads into the eastern Volta Region which they want to secede from Ghana.
BBC Africa Live 22 March 2023. 6:57

Aquifers: There is lots of water in Africa stored in underground earth formations – aquifers. “Groundwater is part of the solution to water scarcity, but not the entire solution.” Challenges in using it include distance from where it is needed, quality, not all water being good for drinking, overpumping, which may exhaust underground water reserves. So, even though useful, “aquifers aren’t a silver bullet”.

Kenya: In drylands, drought is part of normal life. Climate change and population pressure are making things harder. While top-down projects trying to improve resilience have mostly failed, what will work better is building “resilience from below, drawing on local practices and networks”. Because “herders have a long-established repertoire of drought responses” combining “livestock movement, sharing and distribution of animals through loans, splitting herds and flocks, supplementary feeding and watering, careful herding, negotiating access to farmland or conservation areas, shifting species compositions, selective marketing of animals, and diversification to other income sources to support the herd or flock.”

Ghana: By means of 30 in-depth interviews and a focus group in Offinso in southern Ghana, the research reported in this article explored the effects of climate change on farmers. Importantly, with rains having become unpredictable, Nnoboa – a system of communal labour where labour is exchange, farmers help each other thus building social bonds – is becoming hard to organise.

Zimbabwe: Civil servants are to get 100% more pay, from 1st of March onwards for those in the security sector and from 1st of April for all others. Surprising – “(i)n 2020, the Zimbabwean government said it could not afford to increase salaries during a doctors' strike that lasted more than four months, paralysing the country's healthcare sector.”
BBC Africa Live 22 March 2023. 9:19