04 September 2021

Sahel: The G5 Sahel’s defence ministers have met in Niamey to discuss changes in strategy against terrorism made necessary by the partial withdrawals of French (Barkhane) and Chadian troops. Niger, Burkina, Mali, Mauritania, Chad (= the G5 Sahel) are “planning more joint military operations and greater ‘hearts and minds’ engagement” for the future. France seems to want to concentrate more on the countries on the West African coast (Côte d’Ivoire first of all) while Takuba, which is to take over from Barkhane, will be only part-French with stronger support from other European countries.

Mozambique: The insurgency’s threat is not limited to the interior; it is also maritime. Drawing on experiences from other countries, the article makes suggestions of how to prevent the insurgent threat (as yet unrealised) to spread out to sea.

South Africa: Bearing in mind that there is bound to be a lot of underreporting: 19.8% of children are victims of sexual abuse in South Africa. “What’s needed is to start early to invest in boys’ and girls’ capacities to transform the norms which give rise to sexual entitlement and rape.” Families, communities, media, online technologies, schools – all must contribute. In schools “male power based on sexual entitlement, misogyny and violence (…) limits girls’ agency.” The article reflects on “rape culture” in South African schools. Ideally, schools and teachers should address sexual violence from the time children start school…

Chad: Hissène Habré, who just died, had been tried by a totally unprecedented tribunal set up by an agreement between the African Union, Senegal and Chad. Though the conviction of the dictator was a great success in terms of international criminal law, the article’s author argues that it “was only able to neutralise Hissène Habré, the man, and not the criminal state governance practices he oversaw. The repressive state apparatus and practices Habré built up remain in place today.”

03 September 2021

South Africa/Covid: In South Africa, men are slower to get vaccinated against Covid-19 than women. Only 40% of those vaccinated are men. Since men also tend to get tested less for HIV and less likely to access treatment, maybe research in matters of HIV can be used for Covid-vaccination reluctance also. Reasons there “range from ideas about masculinity and health, ideas about the health system as a place for women, and ability to avoid the risk of infection.” These three reasons look like they could well apply to men’s Covid-vaccination reluctance.

Ethiopia: In a war, only negotiations lead back to peace. But such negotiations become feasible only once “one side has more-or-less won or when both are stalemated. Then the conflict becomes ripe for solving.” The Tigray conflict seems far away from negotiations for the time being, as “(d)omestic and geopolitical factors mean that this conflict has enough fuel to burn for some time, and there are no easy extinguishers at hand.” Look at other African civil wars, from Biafra to Mozambique to Angola and Sudan. And don’t forget that for really ending the war “the blood and tears of a long-drawn conflict must be propitiated through justice and reparations” – see Sierra Leone’s Special Court or South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission or Rwanda’s gacaca courts, all “bringing justice closer to the communities of both survivors and perpetrators”.

Nigeria: Almost 60,000 people have been infected and 2,000 people have died from cholera in 2021 in at least 24 of Nigeria’s 36 states. Cholera is endemic in the country. According to Unicef, “only about a quarter of Nigeria’s population use improved sources of drinking water and sanitation facilities”.
BBC Africa Live 03 September 2021. 14:41

Nigeria: While Cameroon has said that hundreds of Boko Haram fighters have surrendered recently, there were 6,000 Boko Haram fighters who have surrendered in the past fortnight in Nigeria according to the army. The death of Abubakar Shekau and the recent military offensive of Nigeria’s army could be reasons for the surrenders. The challenge now is to reintegrate these former fighters into society.
BBC Africa Live 03 September 2021. 12:07

Zambia: Lusaka lawyer Nelly Mutti has been elected speaker of the country’s National Assembly – she will be the first woman to occupy the post.
BBC Africa Live 03 September 2021. 1511:15