This Week Africa 12: Not Again, Chamisa…

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 24-Aug-2018

As much as the one-week mourning of the Late Kofi Annan was declared by the Ghanaian President as a national mourning, it does not in any way suggest that that mourning is just national; Kofi Annan’s death affects the entire Africa, nay, the whole world. That is to say that we are still mourning our great hero this week. Maybe the AU should have declared that mourning.

However, for the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance in Zimbabwe, another kind of mourning has been ‘declared’ by the constitutional court that upheld President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s contested victory.

Recall that it has been hail and brimstone on the political scene of Robert Mugabe’s country since 30 July. Remember the protests, the shootings, the arrests and, unfortunately, the deaths in Harare? Well, Nelson Chamisa went to court and on Friday, the tension was again high in the build up to the ruling.

In the end, the president is still the president in Zimbabwe. Chamisa and the MCD Alliance will have to wait till 2023.

The next big wahala is in Uganda. Bobi Wine is still in custody after the controversial arrest of last week. It was reported of his arraignment in court earlier this week and how he was granted bail. Journalist present at the court report of his physical weakness and how he could not walk properly but he was re-arrested as soon as he walked out of the court!

So, ‘MP Wine’ is still in prison and Kampala has been under serious fire, locally and internationally for his release. Ugandans have protested. But surprisingly, there was another protest in Kenya’s Nairobi on Thursday organised by Lawyers Society of Kenya, Amnesty International and other CSOs who claimed that Bobi Wine had transcended being a singer or politician but was now an ‘idea’ that must be protected.

President Yoweri Museveni is a well known I-don’t-care person in some of these things. Everyone waits if he will back down even as the European Union subtly reprimanded him to adhere to the practices of modern democracy.

Some journalists were brutally handled by the Ugandan forces as well after they were caught taking pictures of soldiers’ treatment of protesters. One of the affected journalists told his story; you can read here

Last week, we brought you the report of an uncanny social media policy in Zambia where the government is making internet calls a difficult option for the Zambians. While that is still being challenged, lawyers in Chad this week, sued the network providers for still cutting away social media access to the Chadians.

For five months now, social media apps have not been operable in Chad. The lawyers were angered by the double standards and what looks like a collusion by the service providers and the government. The government said they were no longer banning the use of the social media and after that declaration, it is a surprise that the network providers still do not let it work hence the legal challenge.

Fuel hike in Kenya had got the Kenyan Motorists Association so angry that last Monday, they declared a total Wednesday as a day to lock down the entire country.

The association had called on all car owners to bring out their cars to the roads, all around Kenya and park the cars there, to bring everywhere to a standstill.

By Wednesday, nothing happened and no one knows why, except, maybe, the leaders of the association and the authorities in Kenya. What the rest of us know is that the pump price was not reduced and we are still trying to understand why there was no protest because there was free flowing traffic everywhere.

Imagine how that would have been if they succeeded in the protest and the effect it would have had on the Kenyan economy. Maybe there is another way around it or the Kenyans have accepted their fuel fate finally.

Back to Ghana; while the mentioned mourning of Kofi Annan is on, the family of one Promise Atsu Dayi which involves a wife and a one-month old baby had another tragic reason to mourn.

The said Dayi was a mobile money vendor and was attacked by armed men while on duty. He was not spared by the robbers who shot him dead. Some persons claimed the deceased tried arguing with the armed robbers which led to his losing his trade and his life.

That is going to seriously affect the mobile money business in Ghana and the security network has more work to do.

The whole world expects President Donald Trump of the United States to be sober and embattled after his two ex-aides were implicated in a fund scandal, the US President looks uninterested as he rather seems to be more interested in the land expropriation issues going on in South Africa.

Trump turned his tweeting attention to South Africa on Thursday, raising questions on the rumoured deaths of white South African farmers and why they should be taken land from without compensation.

President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Pretoria crew wasted no time to respond to Trump’s misinformation and kind of warned him to not remind them of the colonial past they are trying to forget. We all know what that means.

According to the records, more than 75% of farmlands in the country are held by the white farmers who are not even up to 10% of the population of South Africa and this has raised serious concerns which is why the president and his ANC have decided to review the constitution and redistribute lands.

He however mentioned that it portends political instability if not done well. The Trumpian interjection was not expected by the Ramaphosa-led ANC and government.

From Madagascar, we saw a rather interesting development in their political scene as they prepare for a presidential election in the approaching November.

46 candidates, yes, 46 of them are ready for the presidential race! really?

What is interesting about it is that two of the former presidents,  Marc Ravalomanana (2002 to 2009) and Andry Rajoelina (2009-2014), are back in the game. What did they forget in the government house?

Meanwhile, the incumbent, with the longest surname on AU’s list, President Heri Rajaonarimampianina, is also contesting. It will really be interesting to see how they slug it out in the following weeks.

If you are under 25 in Morocco, chances are that you will soon be a soldier! Good luck, in advance. How you take it makes it either good news or otherwise.

This is because the government of Morocco is considering reestablishing their one-year compulsory service for youths aged between 19 and 25. This, some critics have argued, is a move to curtail the rising youth protests in the north African country.

They argue that the government wants to retain the loyalty of those youths and forestall further protests and headstrong attitudes against government policies and programmes.

That notwithstanding, we should be questioning how useful it is to the economic and social lives of both Morocco and the Moroccans. They are yet to finalise on the programme reestablishment.

President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi is getting the UN Security Council upset with his aversion for holding peace talks with those against his government in Burundi.

Burundi is to hold a presidential election in 2020 and due to the pressures, the president has declared his decision not to run again after all the political brouhaha in 2015.

The East African Community is working to broker a peace deal between the government and the aggrieved opposition ahead of the election but the president’s feet seems very heavy. The UN has therefore called on him to fast track the process and get it sorted out so that no familiar pogrom erupts come 2020.

Chiefs and traditional heads in the war-torn southern Cameroon are finally on the run. The fons joined the fleeing natives after one of them was brutally killed by the rebels for allegedly cooperating with the government forces against their interest.

The sight of aged chiefs carrying loads and fleeing from the (dis)comfort of their homes can be anything but pathetic. Everyone needs safety.

A week ago, as VOAnews reports, gunmen pulled the supreme chief of the Balondo people out of the Baptist church in Ekondo Titi village and shot him dead.

But the Governor of the Southwest Region of Cameroon, Bernard Okalia Bilai, has called on the chiefs to return. He says the military has been deployed to defend the people, including the chiefs.

“The traditional rulers, we invite them to come back. They should come back to their homes. The forces of law and order are there to protect them against all acts of terrorism.”

It is one thing to assure them of safety, it is another thing to accept the that assurance and take the risk.

Moving on to Mozambique, it is another sad news for the African media. The government of President Filipe Nyusi has prepared a new operational fee that is very scary.

According to the rules, foreign media are to register their outfit for operation in Mozambique with the equivalent of 1,500 euros and up to 7,500 euros per year if the journalist is to settle as a correspondent.

For the domestic outfits, it is not rosy either. For instance, the tax required by the authorities to record a television channel has risen to 45,000 euros.

And the more African leaders handle the media with uncaring policies, which even looks like it is one of the agenda at an AU Summit anyway, one would want to ask what exactly they intend to achieve with that in a world that has changed this much.

And talking about government and the media, we finally move to Nigeria where a journalist, Jones Abiri, has now got his freedom after being held for two years without any legal charge. In case you do not know, Nigeria practices democracy or better when spelt ycarcomed.

Meanwhile, in another political episode in the West African heavyweight, President Muhammadu Buhari has been tagged ‘Johnnie Walker’ on the social media after he bravely walked a whooping 800 metres from the mosque during the Eid ul-Adha activities.

He had returned from a medical routine days earlier and used the opportunity to show the world how fit it was to walk, no, run for another term in 2019.

There is our wrap of news around Africa for this week.

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