28 May 2021

The Nok/Honey 3,500 years ago: To research diet and subsistence practices of the Nok culture, organic residues of prehistoric pottery excavated from Nok culture sites in Nigeria were analysed. Surprise: one third of vessels contained biomarkers pointing to the presence of beeswax. The article speculates how honey and beeswax were used – taking inspiration also from present-day practices of honey production, harvesting and consumption (alsoof bee larvae). “There are several groups in Africa, such as the Efe foragers of the Ituri Forest, Eastern Zaire, who have historically relied on honey as their main source of food.”

Mozambique: SADC’s record of military interventions (Lesotho 1998, eastern Congo-Kinshasa 2013) is not good and since it lacks “deep contextual knowledge of the drivers of conflict” in Cabo Delgado, “(r)ather than the folly of an intervention (in this quagmire), the region should be encouraging the Mozambican state to address the grievances of the communities in Cabo Delgado.” Decentralising the state, working with communities and making sure the locals benefit from the riches in the ground should be central elements of this.

Mozambique: SADC leaders have agreed to form a joint armed force led by Mozambique to combat terrorists in Cabo Delgado. No numbers were mentioned. Bizarrely though, the announcement was missing from a joint communique.
BBC Africa Live 28 May 2021. 5:33

Tropical rainforests: If all farmland in the tropics was abandoned overnight and left to turn back into forests or rather replanted with trees, this would not have the major effects on climate that one would think, the authors’ research shows. Oceans and soils elsewhere would absorb less carbon, that is why. Surprising – but purely hypothetical.

Mali: The article, apparently written before Wednesday midday, gives an overview (with a few errors) of events in Mali since Monday. A provision of the transition charter apparently “clearly stipulate(es) that the vice-president cannot himself replace the president of the transitional government”. According to the author, the transition government represents French interests, while Assimi Goïta & Co are critical of the French and are said to be close to Russia. The article’s author puts all his trust in the international community, especially France: “they are the only ones able to resolve this fast-moving situation”.

Congo-Kinshasa: With tremors continuing and cracks appearing in the earth, Goma is half empty amid fears of another volcanic eruption of Mount Nyiragongo, a tsunami in Lake Kivu due to lava flows into its waters and a toxic gas cloud. As many as 400,000 people are thought to have fled and need to be taken care of. Officials have yesterday Thursday ordered a partial evacuation of the city.
BBC Africa Live 28 May 2021. 7:21

27 May 2021

Rwanda: Relations between Rwanda and France seem to be on the mend. Paul Kagame has shown a lot of good will since the publication, in March, of an official French report absolving France of direct complicity but saying it bore serious and overwhelming responsibility for not foreseeing the killings of the Rwandan 1994 genocide. During his visit, Emmanuel Macron will visit the Kigali genocide memorial and deliver a speech there.
BBC Africa Live 27 May 2021. 5:05

Congo-Kinshasa: 22 villagers are reported to have been killed and several others abducted in an overnight raid in Beni (North Kivu, eastern RDC) by militants armed with knives and machetes allegedly belonging to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan militia active in eastern DR Congo since the 1990s.
BBC Africa Live 27 May 2021. 5:33

Mozambique: A SADC “technical team has recommended that SADC deploys a 3 000-strong robust intervention force comprised of land, air and naval assets to help quell the insurgency” in Cabo Delgado. The intervention risks being controversial, messy and expensive. “To succeed, SADCS’s intervention in Mozambique will require extensive investment in time, human resources and money.” But will Mozambique accept a big intervention at all? Also, the country will need to invest in reconstruction of destroyed infrastructure and will have to assist the more than 700,000 internally displaced.

Mozambique: Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders meet today in Mozambique to discuss the insurgency in Cabo Delgado (north of the country). Maputo has so far resisted almost all attempts at military assistance from abroad.
BBC Africa Live 27 May 2021. 7:05

Mozambique: Frelimo’s bad governance and an absent state are the roots of the problem which “will require a people- rather than security-centric strategy” for solving. The security personnel that will have to take care of the security side of things will have to strictly operate within the law – or it’ll provide new reasons for supporting or joining the insurgents. A disarmament, demobilisation, rehabilitation and reintegration programme will also be necessary. SADC military aid alone will not help.

Mozambique/South Africa: The former finance minister Manuel Chang is unlikely to be properly prosecuted in Mozambique, but Frelimo is putting a lot of pressure on South Africa to have him extradited to Maputo and not Washington. Ramaphosa is facing a dilemma.

Mali: After resigning yesterday, interim ex-President Bah Ndaw and ex-Prime Minister Moctar Ouane have been freed at 1:00 a.m. local time.
BBC Africa Live 27 May 2021. 7:47

Somalia: Mohamed Hussein Roble, the prime minister, and the presidents of the regional states have signed a deal to start the process of presidential elections within 60 days: clan elders will choose MPs who will elect the president.
BBC Africa Live 27 May 2021. 15:37

Angola: President Lourenço has apologised and asked for forgiveness on the government’s behalf for the May 1977 massacre where between 30,000 and 90,000 were killed following a split in the governing People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA).
BBC Africa Live 27 May 2021. 12:31