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Quick Reads + Sub-Saharan Africa

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Latest stories from Quick Reads + Sub-Saharan Africa

The New Government of Prime Minister Roger Kolo Announced in Madagascar

Tananews in Madagascar has published the full list of the 31 members of the new Malagasy government [fr]. Mitsangana Madagascar notes that the list includes 6 women and that 7 ministers were already part [fr] of  the previous transitional government. Former prime minister Beriziky wished the new government well on twitter :

Introducing Roger Kolo (@kolo_roger) as the new prime minister. Many thanks to all Malagasies #Madagascar 

The Last Place of Cultural Dynamism in Luanda is No More

Marissa Moorman writes about the destruction of Elinga Theatre, the centre of cultural life in Luanda, Angola:

Since 1988, Elinga Theater, has anchored cultural life in the Angolan capital. On March 22, 2014 José Mena Abrantes, director of Elinga Theater, as well as poet, dramaturge, journalist, and communications consultant (read: sometimes speechwriter) for Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos, announced the impending destruction of Elinga’s historic space.

This comes after the theater group was told in January this year to vacate by the end of last month.

Come April 1, fear turned to action. Central Angola launched a campaign on Facebook to get bodies in front of Elinga and stall the destruction. A petition began circulating on April 2 (online and at Luanda schools), after Ângela Mingas, professor of Architecture at Lusíada University, suggested that 1,000 signatures delivered to the National Assembly on April 18, UNESCO’s international day for monuments and sites, would pack symbolic punch.

On 15 October, 2014, Global Voices Online wrote an article the theatre titled “Angola: Elinga Theatre, from Glory to Oblivion.”

20-40% of Water Sector Finances Are Lost to Corruption in Africa

Access to water is a human right; Source: actionaid.org with permission

Mustapha Sesay, West Africa Water Integrity Ambassador wrote about corruption in the water sector on the West Africa WASH Journalists Network :

The issue of accessing pure and affordable water is a fundamental human right but this is not given the much needed attention. Corruption in the water sector is ripe and involves all classes of people ranging from the ordinary man, politicians, Heads of Water Institutions and even Non-Governmental organizations working in this sector.Report on “Corruption in the water sector” by Water Integrity Network in a book titled “Training Manual on Water Integrity” states that in the sub-Sahara Africa, forty-four percent (44 %) of the countries are unlikely to attain the Millennium Development Goal target for drinking water eighty-five percent (85%) are unlikely to attain the sanitation aspect. Estimate by the World Bank report suggests that twenty –forty percent (20 – 40% ) of water sector finances are being lost to dishonest practices.

The Overlooked Crisis in Burundi

While neighboring Rwanda is making news with the commemoration of the 1994 genocide and the increased tension with France, Burundi is marred in an overlooked political crisis and surge of violence that opposes, again, Hutus and Tutsis.  Tshitenge Lubabu in Burundi opines that the roots of the crisis [fr] are the current political leaders:

 La plupart de nos dirigeants, bien ou mal élus, malgré de longues années de pouvoir, se sont illustrés par leur impéritie [..] Tous les mensonges sont bons pour confisquer le pouvoir. Quand leurs mandats, limités par la Constitution, arrivent à terme, des courtisans zélés, jamais repus, les supplient de ne pas partir. Comme si, sans eux, le soleil risquait de ne plus apparaître 

Most of our leaders, properly elected or not, despite long years in power, stand out by their incompetence [..] Any lies are good to seize or stay in power. When their mandates come to an end as stipulated in the Constitution, their overzealous entourage, never sated, beg them not to leave power. As if without them, the sun might not rise tomorrow. 

Project Uses Mobile Phones to Encourage Reading

Lauri writes about a project in South Africa, FunDza Literacy Trust, that takes advantage of mobile phone technology to encourage reading among kids:

What I find lovely, though, is when Africans sort out innovative solutions to their problems. FunDza Literacy Trust is one such solution. Cellphones have taken off big in Southern Africa and FunDza has latched on to that to get kids reading. I'm proud to be writing regularly for them.

How it works is a story begins on a Friday. Each story has seven chapters and one chapter goes out on the kids’ cellphones each day. Here is my author's page with all of the stories I've written at FunDza. Click on any story and see the comments the readers leave. The kids are reading and seriously engaging with the stories! I think this is wonderful!

A 80 Year-long Wait: Niger Gets its First Train Station

On April 7, Niger inaugurated in the capital Niamey its first train station ever [fr]. The authorities already projected the construction of the train station 80 years ago but the project never took off. The event will kick start the construction of railroads between Niger, Benin, Burkina Faso and Côte d'Ivoire. Twitter user Tanoussou in Niamey posted a photo of the train station :

 

The Kidnapping Industry Takes Hold in Cameroon

The Matango Club blog reflects upon the kidnapping of two italian priests and a canadian nun [fr] on April 4, 2014 in Northern Cameroon:

 Pour l’histoire, les kidnappings de ce genre ne datent pas d’aujourd’hui. Rappelons que  dernièrement, le rapt du prêtre français Georges Vandenbeusch, 42 ans, a fait beaucoup de bruit. Il avait été kidnappé un 14 novembre 2013 dans son monastère, la paroisse de Nguetchewe, près de Koza, dans le nord du pays, à 700 kilomètres de la capitale Yaoundé, une zone considérée comme très dangereuse. Avant lui, le 19 février 2013, la famille Moulin-Fournier avait elle aussi été enlevée. Ces deux derniers kidnapping avaient connu un tapage médiatique international à tel point que les soupçons qui pesaient sur le groupe islamique Boko Haram ont fini par être confirmés par le chef Abubakar Shekau, leader du groupuscule depuis 2009.

Tout juste après la libération de la famille Moulin-Fournier, la presse camerounaise et beaucoup d’opinion diverses soupçonnaient le gouvernement camerounais d’avoir donné une rançon au groupe islamique Boko Haram pour la libération des français. Ces soupçons se sont encore renforcés lorsque la même France a encore eu maille à partir avec le kidnapping du prêtre Georges qui a été libéré quelque semaines après. Ces séries de rapts et de libérations à n’en plus finir font penser que c’est devenu un marché tant du côté du Nigeria que du  Cameroun.

 Kidnapping of this kind is not new in Cameroon. The abduction of French priest Georges Vandenbeusch, 42, made ​​a lot of noise recently. He was kidnapped on November 14, 2013 in his monastery, in the parish Nguetchewe near Koza, 700 kilometers north of the capital city Yaoundé, an area that is considered very dangerous. Before him, on February 19 2013, the Moulin-Fournier family were also kidnapped. These last two kidnappings were covered to a certain extent in the international media with suspicions aimed at the Islamic group Boko Haram. These suspicions were eventually confirmed by Boko Haram's leader since 2009 Abubakar Shekau.  Just after the release of Moulin- Fournier family, the Cameroonian press suspected that the Cameroonian government paid a ransom to Boko Haram for the release of the French hostages. These suspicions were further strengthened when France seems involved in the release of priest Georges Vandenbeusch some weeks later. These series of kidnappings and releases suggest that the kidnapping industry has become a booming sector in Nigeria and now in Cameroon as well.

Why The President of Madagascar Has Not Named a New Prime Minister Yet

The new president of Madagascar Hery Rajaonarimampianina was elected president on December 20, 2013. A few months later, he's yet to name a prime minister for his new government. Many observers wonder what is taking so long. Malagasy blogger Michael Rakotoarison has a different take on the situation; he argues that maybe the president taking his time is not such a bad thing [fr]: 

J’étais dans l’attitude ambiante de celui qui doute, moi qui de base n’ai jamais soutenu le Président [..]. De source sûr, le président missionne à l’étranger une poignée d’hommes discrets chargés de débusquer des compétences. Le pari est donc de dégager la politique, pour ne se soucier que de l’économie. 

 I was one of of skeptical ones especially since I have never shown any support for this President [..]. However a reliable source told me that the President has currently commissioned a handful of men to discreetly identify people who possess specific skill sets. The challenge is to get rid of the political side of the equation and to focus on the economy.

Why Rwanda Accuses France of Aiding 1994 Genocide

As Rwanda pays tribute to the victims of the genocide 20 years after the tragedy, President Kagame states again that France must “face up to the difficult truth” of its role in the 1994 genocide [fr]. As a result of this statement, France has pulled out of the commemorative events and former Foreign Affairs Minister of France demands that president Hollande defends the Honor of France and its army.  Rémi Noyon at French site Rue 89 lists the reasons why Rwanda accuses again France of aiding the genocide [fr] :

 1) La France va « de facto » prendre le commandement de l’armée rwandaise face au rebelles du Front patriotique rwandais (FPR).

2) La France craint alors que l’offensive tutsi ne soit télécommandée via l’Ouganda par les Anglo-saxons, et ne vise à enfoncer un coin dans l’influence de la France sur la région

3) La France ne semble pas s’intéresser outre mesure aux négociations de paix.

4) Les soldats n’embarquent pas le personnel tutsi présent à l’ambassade de France (sauf une personne). Ils seront tous massacrés.

5) Quant à l’opération Turquoise, elle continue à diviser : elle a certainement permis de sauver des vies tutsi, mais l’armée est accusée d’être restée passive – et donc complice – face aux atrocités.

1) France commanded some branches of the Rwandan army against the rebels of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).

2) France feared that the Tutsi offensive was remotely piloted via Uganda by anglophone countries and was intended to drive a wedge into the influence of France in the region. 

3) France did not seem overly interested in peace negotiations before the conflict.

4) The soldiers did not evacuate any  of the Tutsi staff present at the Embassy of France (except for one person). They ended all being killed.

5) As for Operation Turquoise, it continues to divide: it certainly saved Tutsi lives, but the army is accused of having remained passive – and therefore was accomplice – to the atrocities.

 

 

A Kibera Love Story

This is a fascinating love story between Sam from Kibera, a slum in the city of Nairobi, Kenya and Alissa from Minnesota, USA:

This has to be the love story of the year!!!!! Alissa is from Minnesota while Sam is born & bred from Kibera. So how did these two lovebirds come to meet?

Alissa had come to Kenya and for several months she had been working with the people living in Kibera. For several months as she took the Matatu (Public transport) home she would spot Sam, a young talented man who ran his own Africanised jewellery store just by the road side. One fine day, as Sam was having a banana next to his shop, he spotted a beautiful white lady seated on the right hand side of the Matatu. He was mesmerised by what he saw and with the last remaining 5 shillings that he had in his pocket, he decided to buy her a banana too. So he asked the nice lady at the shop for another banana and went to give it to the beautiful lady that he had just spotted. Luck was not on his side, since as soon as he got to the window next to where she sat, the matatu sped off. He ran after it but it was too late, the matatu had left and so had the girl of his dreams.

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