27 April 2021

Algeria/France: “(T)he nuclear tests carried out by France in the desert of its former colony, Algeria, continues to pollute relations between the two countries”. Gerboise bleu (Blue Jerboa) was detonated 100m above ground near Reggane in the Sahara on 13 February 1960 was three times more powerful than the Nagasaki bomb. 16 other nuclear weapons were subsequently exploded in Algeria. Reggane had 6.000 inhabitants in 1960, many suffered from (long-term) effects of the atomic tests on their health. “Immediately after the Blue Jerboa blast, there were protests across the region as nuclear fallout from the bomb would be detected as far as Senegal, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Sudan.” After four above-ground tests, the rest were conducted underground in Ekker in the Hoggar mountains – even those caused nuclear pollution. Finally, France shifted its nuclear experiments to French Polynesia. Algerian “researchers estimate that thousands of Algerians have suffered the effects of nuclear radiation across the Algerian Sahara, and many of the sites are yet to be decontaminated.” 60 years later, is it not time for France to assume responsibility? But to this day, the Algerian government still waits to be handed the complete maps of the French experiments in Reggane and In Ekker.

Kenya: In what seems to be a victory of nature conservation over corporate business, an “avocado farm located near a key wildlife park in Kenya has lost a bid to have its licence reinstated and resume operations”. Conservationists had feared the 40ha avocado farm “would interfere with wildlife habitats as well as affect some of the residents' pastoral livelihoods”. This may not be the end of the matter, “but the ruling is an indication that Kenya will take seriously the health of environment, and wishes of local communities, when faced with negative consequences of corporate-led ‘development’.”
BBC Africa Live 27 April 2021. 7:54

Nigeria: Channels Television has been suspended by Nigeria’s National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and fined 9,300 USD for breaching the broadcast code: in a live broadcast last Sunday, a leader of the Indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB) had been allowed “to make secessionist and inciting declarations on air without caution or reprimand by the station” and “to make derogatory, false and misleading statements about the Nigerian army”. Only the day before the live broadcast, security forces had “killed commander Ikonso and six other IPOB militia members of IPOB’s armed wing”. In October 2020, Channels Television had already been fined “for ‘unprofessional coverage’ of the EndSARS protests and the crisis that followed”.
BBC Africa Live 27 April 2021. 7:02

Nigeria: Of the 20 students and 3 non-academic staff kidnapped at Greenfield University/Chikun area/Kaduna state in the night of Tuesday of last week, another 2 students have been found dead (3 dead students had been found on Friday, one member of staff had been killed during the kidnapping). Unlike other Nigerian states, Kaduna does not negotiate with kidnappers and does not pay ransom.
BBC Africa Live 27 April 2021. 6:17

Ghana/Togoland: After the First World War, German Togoland was split into two: the western part was handed over to Britain, the eastern part to France, both as UN trust territories. With Ewe-speakers living in Gold Coast, British Togoland and French Togoland, a movement formed to campaign at the UN for the political unification of the Ewes. The question re-emerged when, “(i)n November 2019, the Homeland Study Group Foundation declared the independence of ‘Western Togoland’. Its call was for the secession of Ghana’s Volta region and parts of the Northern and Upper East regions. At first peaceful, this demand led to violence in September 2020 with the emergence of the Western Togoland Restoration Front.” According to the article’s two authors, this secessionist conflict has its roots in how the old colonial powers framed it: secessionism was defined as a threat to state-building instead of as an expression of self-determination. Totally ignoring Ewe demands, the response from the authorities was one of “securitisation”. The UN Trusteeship Council followed the colonial powers, also ignoring Ewe demands. The UN, against its own principles of self-determination and decolonisation, rather stuck to colonial borders.

Burundi/Rwanda: Of the 100,000 refugees who fled in 2015 from Burundi to Rwanda, 60,000 still live in Rwanda. Since last August, more than 23,000 have been repatriated. “Many more have registered to go back home since March, when the UN's food agency reduced food aid by 60% to Rwandan refugees blaming a sharp fall in international aid.”
BBC Africa Live 27 April 2021. 14:57

26 April 2021

Ethiopia: Endale Haile, the country’s chief ombudsman, said that recent clashes between Amharas and Oromos in northern Amhara region may have caused 200 deaths – significantly more than the 50 reported so far. On top of that, almost 330,000 were displaced. In Ataye, a town 250 km north-east of Addis, half of all houses were burnt down.
BBC Africa Live 26 April 2021. 4:35

Somalia: In the 1960s, Somalia was a paragon of democracy in Africa, with democratic transfers of power in 1964 and 1967. But the chaos of the past 30 years has all but erased that memory.
There was a promising attempt at ending civil war in 2006, when the Union of Islamic Courts, “a home-grown alliance of religious leaders” pacified Mogadishu and surroundings “and were about to set up local administration for the city and the surrounding settlements.” But US-led international community, crying “Islamism” stopped that and put in place a warlord-dominated government – that has since proved incapable of winning against Al-Shabaab. The country’s tribal-based political system provides for segregation “into exclusive genealogical units in all spheres of political and public life” – which makes it hard to transcend tribal boundaries and makes national unity illusory. The result is “a dysfunctional order inept in all of its operations except in looting public resources and alienating Somalis from each other.”

Somalia: Following Sunday’s armed clashes, forces supporting the Somali opposition are occupying key parts of Mogadishu, the country’s capital.
BBC Africa Live 26 April 2021. 12:37

South Africa: While there seems to be a constant battle going on between the rich and the poor inside the ANC and also with the Economic Freedom Fighters, “all politics is still, as it was before 1994, insider politics”, while “the majority who try to survive outside the formal economy are talked about, but are never heard”. The article provides some examples for the majority being without voice.

South Africa: It can be said that the post-1994 order “merely perpetuates white privilege. Non-racialism has been dismissed as ‘colour-blindness’ that hinders the correction of race-based inequalities.” But along with Ugandan academic Mahmood Mamdani, the article’s author argues, that changes have been substantial, that enemies have, for example, become adversaries under the new order. But the country’s national project is yet an “incomplete success”.

Kenya: UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, has submitted plans for the future of Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps that the Kenyan government last month threatened to close within 14 days. According to Filippo Grandi, the High Commissioner for Refugees of the United Nations, Kenya will not close the camps, it only wanted a solution.
BBC Africa Live 26 April 2021.

South Africa/UK: The assets of three of the Guptas (Ajay, Atul and Rajesh) and their associate Salim Essa have been frozen and they themselves banned from travelling to Britain. Overall, 22 individuals from six countries are to be prevented from using the UK as a haven for their dirty money under the UK’s new regime dealing with international corruption.
BBC Africa Live 26 April 2021. 17:40