South Africa’s Second Day of Chaos
President Cyril Ramaphosa has condemned “acts of wanton violence” against foreigners as crowds of people plundered shops and set fire to buildings for a second day in the country’s commercial capital, Johannesburg. “I’m convening the ministers in the security cluster today to make sure that we keep a close eye on these acts of wanton violence and find ways of stopping them…There can be no justification for any South African to attack people from other countries,” he said in a post on Twitter. Police fired rubber bullets and arrested seven people in the township of Alexandra on Tuesday morning, a day after clashing with looters who local media said targeted foreign-owned businesses in several parts of the city. Monday’s riots came after hundreds of people marched in Johannesburg’s Central Business District demanding foreigners leave. Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama reacted strongly to the scenes of violence, “Received sickening and depressing news of continued burning and looting of Nigerian shops and premises in #SouthAfrica by mindless criminals with ineffective police protection,” he said on Twitter. “Enough is enough. We will take definitive measures.” In 2015, Nigeria had recalled its ambassador to South Africa following a spate of attacks against immigrants.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA
Nigerians Put the Brakes on New Fleet for Lawmakers
A coalition of civil society groups has launched a lawsuit to block the purchase of luxury cars for principal officers in the Nigerian Senate at an estimated cost of $15m. The activists said in the lawsuit that spending such an amount on cars in Nigeria’s present economic state was “unjust and unfair” and contradicts their oath of taking office to prioritize the welfare of citizens. The class action was brought forward by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), BudgIT and by 6,721 Nigerians including Bring Back our Girls campaigner and former presidential candidate Oby Ezekwesili. News of the proposed vehicle’s purchase has also drawn fierce criticism from Nigerians against the lawmakers. Legislators and top government officials get car allowances on assuming public offices in Nigeria. But the advocacy group SERAP argued that lawmakers make up a small fraction of the country’s population and their needs should be not placed above the welfare of 200 million Nigerians.
WEF Africa: Focus on Inclusive Growth in the Fourth Industrial Revolution
Sub-Saharan Africa’s future prosperity hinges on the ability of its leaders to create inclusive, sustainable growth at a time of rapid transformation in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This will be the main message coming from the 28th World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, South Africa 4-6 September. The meeting will bring together 1,100 leaders from government, business and civil society, including ten heads of state or government. Top of the agenda will be new partnerships to create sustainable employment opportunities for Africa’s large and growing workforce. The meeting will highlight: improving the funding and regulatory environments for start-ups; developing new partnerships for re-skilling and upskilling workers; identifying opportunities for green growth such as the circular economy; scaling-up e-commerce for rapid business growth, especially in the SME sector; and how to leverage the new Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement to drive regional integration.
The Financial Toll of Al Shabaab’s Grip on Somalia
Interviews with a dozen business owners in Mogadishu reveal al-Shabab’s quickly growing ability to tax the country’s most lucrative businesses, which analysts and former government officials say earns the group tens of millions of dollars per year, which it uses to fund its attacks on government and military targets, as well as on those who refuse to pay up. In most of rural Somalia, al-Shabab is in firm control and operates a parallel government. It has its own courts, road tolls and tax collection. But that system is spreading into Somalia’s capital, undermining the legitimacy of the U.S.-backed federal government in the only city that government reliably controls. The growth of al-Shabab’s tax revenue stands at odds with the federal government’s claims that the insurgency is on its back foot — and in sharp contrast to the U.S. military’s claims that its operations in Somalia are weakening the insurgency.
SOURCE: THE WASHINGTON POST
More than 60,000 People are being Removed from Kenya’s Mau Forest
The authorities want them to move out as they accuse the illegal settlers of invading the area and cutting down trees to create farmland. Since Monday, some families have been leaving voluntarily, rather than face forceful eviction. Kenya Forest Service has been ferrying hundreds of their armed officers on trucks into the Mau forest to offer reinforcements to police officers. The area is known as the country’s water tower as it stores rain during the wet seasons and pumps it out into rivers during the dry months. Thirty-one schools remained shut on the first day of term on Monday, affecting 10,000 students, as part of efforts to get the community to move. Environment Minister Keriako Tobiko says it has become necessary to evict people as the region is a critical water catchment basin that has a huge influence on rain patterns. The planned eviction has been marred in controversy with some regional leaders accusing the government of failing to resolve the issue through dialogue.
SOURCE: STANDARD MEDIA
Another Big Drug Bust as Guinea Bissau Shakes Off its Narco State Rep
Police have seized more than 1.8 tonnes of cocaine hidden in flour bags in the biggest seizure in the country’s history. Police condcuted a two-week intelligence operation and were able to arrest eight people: four Bissau-Guineans, three Colombians and a Malian, who had brought the shipment by sea. : “The drugs belong to the terrorist network Al Qaeda. The cocaine comes from Colombia. But the destination is the Arab Maghreb,” said Domingos Monteiro, deputy director of the judicial police. It was the second large drug shipment to be caught this year, an 800 kg haul was seized in March. Guinea-Bissau is home to just 1.8 million people and covers just 10,800 square miles, but its plethora of remote islands and unpoliced mangrove creeks makes it ideal territory for smugglers. For years, the United Nations described Guinea-Bissau as a “narco state” in which drug traffickers had become so powerful they controlled parts of the government. But after the arrest of some politicians implicated in the trade by the United States’ Drug Enforcement Administration in 2012, Bissau’s cocaine traffic seemed to decline or go underground.
SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA
Officials Say there’s Nothing to Worry About in Gabon
The Gabonese presidency has belied a report suggesting the President Omar Bongo Ondimba had been admitted to a London hospital as his health deteriorated. The presidency in a statement of September 2, 2019 described the Bloomberg report as hearsay and speculation that lacked professionalism and ethics. “At no time has the President’s health deteriorated. On the contrary, His excellency the President of the Republic, Mr. Ali Bongo Ondimba, is in recovery phase of the fullness of his physical abilities. There has been speculation for some time about the state of Mr Bongo’s health. He returned to Gabon at the end of March after five months of recovery abroad after suffering a stroke in Saudi Arabia last October. Since returning in March, the 60-year-old Bongo made his first public appearance in September on the eve of celebrations to mark Gabon’s 1960 independence from France. He laid a wreath at the tomb of the country’s first president, Leon Mba. Before the next day he presided over independence celebrations.
SOURCE: AFRICA NEWS
How Africans Survive When the Internet Goes Off
Internet shutdowns have become one of the defining tools of government repression in the 21st century — mainly in Asia and Africa, that are seeking to quash dissent. “People always had this simplistic view that technology could only be used in one way — that it was this great tool for democracy,” said Kuda Hove, a digital rights researcher at the Media Institute of Southern Africa. But after the emergence of the shutdown, he said, “it dawned on them that the government could use technology against the people.” In Sudan, the interim government shut down the internet for a month, principally to obstruct opposition activity after the ouster of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. But it also stopped Sudanese doctors from ordering new medicine, leading to shortages of diabetes treatment, and prevented protest leaders from using WhatsApp to call for medical assistance, according to Dr. Sara Abdelgalil, who coordinates supplies in Sudan via the internet from her home overseas.
SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES
The Small Steps Made to Manage Nigeria’s Waste Crisis
Nigeria generates an estimated 32 million tons of solid waste per year, one of the highest amounts in Africa. Of that figure, plastic constitutes 2.5 million tons. Environmental engineer Maryann Atseyinku, the founder of Community Waste and Recycling, says that while small in scale, local recyclers are making an impact exchanging trash for cash. Local recyclers buy plastic and aluminum waste at a low price, then converts it into reusable products, especially pots, local burners and cookware before they are sold. In 2009, the government awarded contracts for the procurement and installation of recyclers in 26 Nigerian cities, including the capital, but little of what they recycle is plastic. Solid waste management is the most pressing environmental challenge facing urban and rural areas. Nigeria’s population is estimated to double by 2050 and that could mean more solid waste hanging around and more plastic for recycling.
The Writing’s On the Wall in Brazzaville’s Shopping District
Shops in the Republic of the Congo’s capital use colourful depictions of the goods they sell to get around the lack of a common tongue. In Brazzaville languages spoken include French, Lingala and Kituba, alongside about 60 others. Many businesses use such paintings as a visual lingua franca to communicate what goods they sell. The most popular paintings concern personal grooming and sharp dressing and are seen on beauty salons, barbershops, shoe stores, clothes and fabric shops. In the commercial sections of the city, there are murals of electrical appliances, mobile phones, televisions and computers. There are also advertisements for photographic portraits, paintings of music stars – as well as pictures of food, especially meat.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN