02 October 2022

Zimbabwe/Art: Cyrene Mission (near Bulawayo) was the first mission school to offer art to its black students from the school’s foundation in 1939 onwards. The truly wonderful “paintings toured Europe and the US from 1947 until 1953 and were then lost in storage at a church in London.” Rediscovered in 1978, then bought by a private collector, they are now on show at Zimbabwe’s National Gallery (in Harare) in an exhibition called “The Stars Are Bright”. See some of the art works in this BBC article.

Burkina Faso: With French troops accused of harbouring president Damiba, leader of the January coup d’état, the French embassy was attacked and partly set on fire by protesters yesterday Saturday. In the country’s second city Bobo-Dioulasso, the French Institute was vandalised. The French foreign ministry has denied the hosting of Damiba. “The new junta leadership (under Ibrahim Traoré) said it would commit ‘all fighting forces to refocus on the security issue and the restoration of the integrity of our territory’.” The question is, of course, whether “the latest political volatility would further distract the military and allow the jihadis to strengthen their grip” on ever larger parts of the country.

Equatorial Guinea: Teodorin Nguema Obiang Mangue, son of the country’s long-time (since 1979) ruler Teodoro Obiang Nguema and the country’s vice-president (since 2012), has been convicted of embezzling public money in France. A luxury mansion and other assets of his were then confiscated in 2017. “Now Equatorial Guinea has launched a new case against France at the ICJ (International Court of Justice) and has asked the court to block the sale of the mansion.” Obiang Jr. assets have also been confiscated in Brazil, Switzerland and the US and he was “subjected to anti-corruption sanctions in the UK last year”.

Burkina Faso: Damiba has agreed to step down. Himself come to power by means of a military coup in January, he was ousted on Friday by a military coup. Worsened security was given as the reason for deposing Damiba – only 60% of the country are said to be under state control.

01 October 2022

Polio: The recent resurgence of the disease is worrying – polio was as good as eradicated, now it is making a comeback. “In 2020, Africa was classified as free from endemic polio.” Covid did harm to the eradication campaign. In late 2021, a wild poliovirus case in Malawi “marked a return of the virus to Africa”. In 2022, Nigeria has counted 415 circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV) cases. The Lancet article is titled “Polio eradication: falling at the final hurdle?” The question mark is a sign of optimism in the face of lots of challenges.

South Sudan: The continuing crisis in the country is made much worse by the use of arms by civilians to fight each other. In South Sudan, Lakes State is a useful example: formerly “the most violence-stricken place in the country”, security there improved significantly once disarmament was started in 2021. Now “total disarmament of young people throughout the country” should follow.

Uganda/Ebola: Four Ugandan districts are now affected by Ebola. 35 cases and 7 deaths have been confirmed so far.
BBC Africa Live 30 September 2022. 19:21