21 February 2021

Congo-Kinshasa: In 2010, the UN published a report documenting 617 war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of genocide committed in the DRC between 1993 and 2003. “By then, Congolese people had already been ravaged by years of imported conflicts, which killed more than 5.4 million people between 1998 and 2008 – mostly through starvation or disease.” The perpetrators were not brought to justice. “(T)he international community chose to turn a blind eye, ostensibly for ‘peace’.” Even 17.000 UN troops cannot assure peace. The culture of impunity has fuelled insecurity and emboldened killers and rulers such as Kabila. With more than 100 militia groups killing, raping, looting and displacing people (6.6 million Congolese are IDPs), violence is omnipresent and farming and food production has been destroyed. 22 million Congolese now face starvation.

And Vava Tampa in this Guardian article concludes: “This is an internationally sanctioned catastrophe to which we all need to open our eyes.” #CongoIsBleeding

Côte d’Ivoire/Child Slavery: Eight young adults, originally from Mali, have launched legal action in a US court in Washington DC against Nestlé, Cargill, Barry Callebaut, Mars, Olam, Hershey and Mondelēz. They claim to have been among thousands of children used as slaves (forced to work without pay) on cocoa farms and they accuse the corporations of aiding and abetting such enslavement in their supply chains.
The article contains details of the accusation and short, rather vacuous reactions of the accused.

Tanzania/Covid-19: The country stopped publishing Covid-19 data in May 2020. One month later, president Magufuli declared Tanzania coronavirus-free. Now the World Health Organization has urged Tanzania to start reporting coronavirus cases and share its data. After a spate of deaths of government officials – the vice-president of Zanzibar, Seif Sharif Hamad, among them – fears have increased that there may be a hidden epidemic.

20 February 2021

Algeria: Because of Covid-19, the Hirak – the big anti-system movement that brought down Bouteflika – stopped its weekly protest marches in March 2020. But it seems to be back now. On Tuesday, thousands marched in Kherrata, a town 200 km east of Algiers. The government is afraid of the Hirak’s return to the capital and has increased police presence there. President Tebboune has taken appeasement measures: relaxing anti-Covid-19 measures and curfews, inviting six political parties to discuss the current political climate, granting a presidential pardon to about 30 Hirak prisoners. He’s also called snap parliamentary elections and a government reshuffle. But all that may be too little too late. The Hirak wants change – Tebboune, a former Bouteflika prime minister, has done nothing to provide change.