Kenyan Businesses Stage a Comeback after Terror Attack
Normalcy has returned to the 14 Riverside Drive complex, the scene of a bloody attack at the beginning of the year as high-end hotel DusitD2 reopened its doors to customers after seven months. The attack at the office and hotel complex, orchestrated by at least five al-Shabab-linked assailants, killed 21 people and wounded many others on January 15, echoing a 2013 assault on an up-market shopping centre in the capital. In a show of resilience, the DusitD2 complex reopened on Wednesday with staff at most of the local and foreign firms housed there shrugging off concerns to go back to work amid tightened security. Regional tech firm Cellulant, which was hardest hit by the attack by losing six of its staff, is in the process of getting a new office elsewhere in the city. Mwenda Mbijiwe, a Nairobi-based security analyst, said the reopening of DusitD2 Hotel was a show of resilience from the city and “the ability of the nation to rise from defeat”.SOURCE: AL JAZEERA
Somali Children become Collateral Damage in Prevailing Conflict
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “appalled” that more than 12,000 children were killed or maimed last year in some 20 countries at war or in a state of conflict. The unprecedented level of violence against boys and girls was recorded in the U.N.’s annual report naming and shaming countries and armed groups that perpetrate such violence. Both the Somali National Army and the terrorist group al-Shabab, as well as the Ahlu-Sunna Wal-Jama’a (ASWJ), were included in the report’s annex of perpetrators. In all, the U.N. recorded 24,000 grave violations against children in 2018, including killing, maiming, sexual violence, abductions, recruitment and attacking schools and hospitals. One of the more troubling trends emerging in the 2018 report is the growing targeting of schools and hospitals from Yemen and Syria to Afghanistan and South Sudan.
Is WhatsApp a Growing Threat to Democracy for African Nations?
Because WhatsApp is encrypted – and so offers users far greater protection from prosecution than Twitter or Facebook – it has become particularly notorious for spreading “fake news”. This is a major concern in Africa, where WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app in 40 countries. This is due to its low cost and the ability to easily share messages with both individuals and groups. A joint team from the CTentre for Democracy and Development (Nigeria) and the University of Birmingham (UK) has spent the last few months researching the impact of WhatsApp on the 2019 Nigerian elections held in February. Their report comes to conclusions that are both troubling, as well as encouraging. he research reveals that the platform was used to mislead voters in increasingly sophisticated ways. But it also shows that WhatsApp strengthened democracy in other areas.SOURCE: QUARTZ AFRICA
Phony Healers Arrested in Uganda
A British man and three Ugandans have been charged and held in remand in connection with carrying out illegal clinical trials and administering people with industrial bleach. Sam Little, 25, from Arlesey in Bedfordshire, Tim Tom, a pastor at Fort portal Christian fellowship, and herbalists Samuel Albert and Samula Tadeo were charged in Uganda for allegedly distributing a liquid called Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS) to villagers in poor areas, which they claimed cured HIV, malaria and cancer. Ugandan authorities said the charged individuals were part of a network under the Global Healing Christian Mission. There are other suspects who are still at large and are being hunted. According to Ugandan police, samples of the solution were found “to contain a dangerous toxin that [is] harmful for human consumption”. The United States Food and Drug Administration has issued a public warning that advises anyone with MMS to “stop using it immediately and throw it away”. The agency said several people have reported sickness after ingesting the chemical, suffering nausea, diarrhea and potentially “life-threatening low blood pressure caused by dehydration”.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
[OPINION] A Brand-new Following for Beyoncé by Collaborating with some of Africa’s Pop Culture Icons
Some of Africa’s biggest music stars look set for success on a global scale having been handpicked by US singer Beyoncé to appear on her Lion King-inspired album. While Nigerian stars like Wizkid and Burna Boy have already broken through to the mainstream in the UK and US, their collaboration with the superstar in The Lion King: The Gift is bound to give their careers a bigger boost. Beyoncé’s new project is a savvy attempt to blend “pure Afrobeats, mainstream pop and R&B sounds” for a non-African audience, said Nigerian broadcaster Adesope Olajide, popularly known as Shopsydoo. He said this is more accessible and “soothing” to such listeners. Beyoncé’s interest in the continent has been evident over the years in her photo shoots, music videos, lyrics, performances and fashion choices. Artists featured on The Lion King: The Gift say Beyoncé’s support for their talent underlines what African audiences have known all along.
The Dwindling Number of Opposing Voices in Rwanda
Opposition politicians and supporting party members say they face intimidation, violence, jail time or the prospect of disappearing for opposing the President and his ruling party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). At least five FDU members who have gone missing under mysterious circumstances over the last few years in Kagame’s Rwanda. It’s leader Victoire Ingabire was released from jail in October after serving eight years of her 15-year sentence as part of a presidential pardon. Diane Rwigara, a 37-year-old human rights activist and the leader of the People Salvation Movement (Itabaza) — an activist group to “encourage Rwandans to hold their government accountable” — had hoped to run for president in 2017. Instead she was disqualified by electoral authorities who said she had falsified signatures needed for her election bid. She was eventually jailed on charges of incitement and fraud, charges her family and supporters say were politically motivated. She spent over a year in jail, facing a 22-year prison sentence until she was acquitted of charges of fraud and inciting insurrection by Kigali’s High Court in December.
Something Old, Something Borrowed and Something New in Modern African Society
Marriage is an institution common to all cultures. Very often it’s accompanied by transfers – in most cases in the form of payments – between the families. Bride price, on the other hand, refers to the payments that a prospective groom and his family make to a prospective bride and her family. It is a very common cultural practice in Africa. Historically, bride price payment served to validate customary marriages in most African societies. It strengthened new family bonds created by marriage and legitimised children born to marriages. Ghanaian society has undergone major changes to its cultural practices over the past years. One that’s altered significantly is bride price. In the old days, payment was a family affair. A woman’s bride price was paid by her groom and his family. Bride price was not negotiated: the groom and his family usually decided on what and how much to pay. This would be voluntarily and willingly paid to the family of the bride. But times have changed. Bride price payment has become a more individual practice. A groom mainly funds the expenses of his marriage, though some families still provide financial support to their sons during marriage. An even more drastic evolution is the involvement of cash and bargaining.SOURCE: THE CONVERSATION
Africa On Track Towards Information Black Hole
It is an image of resistance that went viral across the world. Alaa Salah, a young Sudanese student, dressed in a traditional white thobe standing atop a car with an enthralled crowd surrounding her as she and they boldly chanted Al-Thawra—Arabic for revolution. It is what many remember of the peaceful ouster of Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir and one of Africa’s most towering dictatorial regimes. Sudan had finally broken away from an era characterised by media censorship and harassment, or so the story goes. Sudan is ranked 175th out of 180 countries in the 2019 World Press Freedom Index conducted by Reporters Without Borders, an international media watchdog. Unfortunately Sudan is in good company as press freedom and access to social media is under siege in an increasing number of African countries.SOURCE: AFRICA.COM
Mozambique Foes Sign a Truce
President Filipe Nyusi will sign a peace agreement to put a formal end to military hostilities with the main opposition party, Renamo, almost three decades after the end of a civil war. Renamo and Nyusi’s ruling party fought on opposing sides of the 16-year conflict that killed an estimated 1 million people before a peace accord ended the fighting in 1992, although violence has flared up sporadically in the years since. Nyusi, keen to sign a final peace treaty before presidential, parliamentary and provincial elections in October, has hailed progress towards peace, but at the same time infighting within Renamo and an Islamic insurgency in the north continue to threaten the country’s security. The government intends to disarm Renamo fighters and reintegrate some back into the army or police. Previous clashes with the party have been sparked by disputed election results, such as after the last presidential election in 2014.
SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA
Bringing Egypt’s Buried Secrets to the Surface
Divers swimming through Heracleion, an ancient Egyptian city that’s now under water, have discovered a trove of artifacts, including the remains of a temple, gold jewelry, coins and the missing piece of a ceremonial boat. Heracleion — named after the legendary Hercules, who ancient people believed actually visited the city — was a bustling metropolis in its day. When it was built in about the eighth century B.C., it sat on the edge of the Nile River, next to the Mediterranean Sea. Cleopatra was even crowned in one of its temples. Then, about 1,500 years ago, it flooded, and now sits under about 150 feet (45 meters) of water. Ever since archaeologists discovered it in 2000, Heracleion (also known as Thonis) has slowly revealed its ancient secrets.
SOURCE: LIVE SCIENCE