5 March 2021

Hopes kill a hunter
BBC’s wise word of the day. BBC Africa Live 05 March 2021. A Lhukonzo proverb sent by Geofrey Baluku in Kasese, Uganda

South African author Sindiwe Magona: Born in 1943, five years before apartheid was officially introduced, “Magona refused to be muted and instead spoke back through writing about her lived experiences”. In her two autobiographic books, To My Children’s Children (1990) and Forced to Grow (1992) “(h)er self-storying shows us that it is not just the suffering that can be passed on from one generation to another, but also resilience, love, compassion and hope.” Magona, now 77 years old, has published more than a dozen books for adults, including the novel Beauty’s Gift, poems, plays, biographies and over 130 children’s books. An homage.

Sudan: The road to national renewal is by no means smooth: yes, there are achievements (removal from the US’ list of states sponsoring terrorism and the Juba peace agreement with many of Sudan’s armed groups), but there are protests over price rises, a resurgence of violence in Darfur, an attempted mutiny, an attempted assassination of Prime Minister Abdulla Hamdok, conflict with Ethiopia over al-Fashaga, Covid-19, locusts... The 2019 agreement between Transitional Military Council and Forces of Freedom and Change alliance (creation of a new executive, legislature, judiciary, and other state institutions) is by no means fully implemented yet.
What’s to be done? “The vision for a better Sudan must be delivered through a national project that establishes new avenues of political control, and reverses and restructures how state power has been used and exploited by former regime members and elites since independence in 1956.” True, but this could and should be a demand on just about every state worldwide – as could and should the following: “Throughout Sudan’s modern history, wealth has served the interests of a small group of well-connected people who have gone to great lengths to extract economic benefits from the country’s vast resources at the expense of everyday Sudanese. Hamdok must tackle the historical misappropriation of wealth head-on.”
Added to such high-flying general objectives, there is one specific to Sudan: “Ultimately, for peace to be achieved, the new Sudan must embrace civilian leadership and dismantle the old military system.”

Ethiopia/Tigray/UN: The UN Security Council has NOT issued a joint statement – Russia, China, India think that possible war crimes in Tigray are an internal matter.
At 5:13, BBC Africa Live had reported that “Human Rights Watch has added its voice to calls for an urgent United Nations-backed inquiry into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Ethiopian region of Tigray.”
BBC Africa Live 05 March 2021. 8:25

Tanzania: Steam inhalation machines are being installed in the country’s main referral hospital. 5 minutes of inhaling steam infused with herbal remedies is meant to treat respiratory problems and curb the spread of Covid-19. “The World Health Organization (WHO) and health experts do not recommend steam therapy for treating coronavirus.”
BBC Africa Live 05 March 2021. 7:52

South Africa: BBC Africa Live 05 March 2021. 7:18 draws our attention to South Africa’s incomplete families. The majority of the country’s children grow up without their fathers. According to the recent report “Education Series Volume VII. Children’s education and well-being in South Africa, 2018”, only 31,7% of Black children aged 0-17 years in 2018 stayed in the same household as their father. The corresponding figure for White children is 80,2%. The campaign #BlackFathersStandUpZA seeks to kick-start conversations around the issue of absent fathers (https://web.facebook.com/BlackFathersStandUpZA/?_rdc=1&_rdr).

Senegal/Elusive media freedom: Sen TV and Walf TV have been suspended by the National Audiovisual Regulatory Council (CNRA) for “focusing too much on protests triggered by the arrest of an opposition leader, Ousmane Sonko.”
At 10:59, BBC Africa Live reported that social media and messaging apps have been restricted Friday morning in Senegal but that access to Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp and Telegram had been restored later.
BBC Africa Live 05 March 2021. 4:35

Seychelles: As from 25 March, upon presenting a negative Covid test taken 72 hours prior to departure will be welcome (with the exception of visitors from South Africa) and there will be no restriction on their movement.
BBC Africa Live 05 March 2021. 10:00

Covid-19/Men vs. Women: Diseases affect men and women differently, Covid-19 is no exception. But there are almost no concrete results yet – there are not enough data available. Writes Sylvia Kiwuwa Muyinga in her The Conversation article, based on work of a team tracking the latest COVID-19 global data broken down by sex at the Kenya-based African Population Health Research Centre.
Here’s the article’s only concrete results: “From what we have seen so far, men accounted for a larger proportion of cases (60%) and deaths (70%). South Africa however was an exception. In South Africa, men account for a smaller proportion of cases (42%) and a similar proportion of deaths (51%).”

4 March 2021

South Africa: The two authors of this The Conversation article analyse Jacob Zuma’s language. The ex-president, under attack for corruption and state capture, “uses warfare metaphors to defend himself and persuade his supporters to continue supporting him” presenting himself “as the ultimate warrior for the economic liberation of the poor.” According to him, it is his “stance on the transformation of this country and its economy” that makes him the “target” of a campaign of “propaganda, vilification and falsified claims.” He draws a parallel between the apartheid system and his enemies of today, “security agencies, ‘white monopoly capital’, the commission and Constitutional Court”. Against them, Zuma is a defenceless victim. And “evidence of his alleged wrongdoing can be (…) rejected, or be reinterpreted, as falsehoods concocted by his opponents.”

Ethiopia: The Oromo Federalist Congress/OFC withdraws from the June parliamentary election until its jailed leaders be released and its offices allowed to operate. For the same reasons, the Oromo Liberation Front/OLF is also considering withdrawing from the election.
BBC Africa Live 04 March 2021. 8:40

When you find yourself in the same place in the forest twice, then you are lost"
BBC’s African proverb of the day. A Beti proverb sent by Christian Messina Mvogo in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
BBC Africa Live 04 March 2021. 4:30.

Ethiopia: Michelle Bachelet, the UN’s human rights commissioner, has asked Ethiopia to allow independent investigations into possible war crimes in Tigray. According to corroborated information, “Ethiopian and Eritrean armed forces, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front and Amhara Regional Forces are all implicated.”
BBC Africa Live 04 March 2021. 12:06

Nigeria: Boko Haram has developed links with bandits in north-western and north-central Nigeria. Expanding to outside the north-east of the country has several advantages, enlarging the recruitment and financial (ransom, income from gold-mining) basis and drawing the security forces’ attention away from the north-east. Bad governance – corruption, human rights abuses, but most of all bad policing (“(m)any communities don’t feel the presence of government, especially in the area of safety and protection”) allows criminals to step in and to establish social contacts with local communities.