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Stories from Africa

Togolese Bloggers Poke Fun at President for Over the Top BillBoard

Someone sure wanted people to know that he was thankful for Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé generosity. This week, a giant billboard was raised in Lomé, Togo that praised the president's action in favor of providing lunch for school children. The billboard seen below reads in french :” Thanks Daddy Faure for the children's school lunch“. Togolese citizens were taken aback by the message and its exuberance. They took to twitter to poke fun at the Billboard and create the hashtag #merciPapaFaure (Thank you Daddy Faure). 

OK, how about some fun with the hashtag #mercipapaFaure ? 

The photo above has been shared widely on twitter. Adzima provides some background on the state of the affair for the Togolese children at school.

Conversations and Images From Highway Africa 2014

Highway Africa 2014 took place on 7-8 September, 2014 at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa. The theme of the conference was Social Media – from the margins to the mainstream. Find images and conversations about the conference here.

Lesotho Political Crisis Updates on Twitter

Follow @nthakoana (Nthakoana Ngatane) for updates on the political crisis in Lesotho. Nthakoana Ngatane is a writer, speaker, singer, actor and South Africa Broadcasting Corporation correspondent in Lesotho.

On 30th August 2014, Lesotho Prime Minister Tom Thabane claimed there was a coup attempt against him. He later flew to South Africa fearing for his life.

Was There a Coup in Lesotho?

Listen to a podcast explaining what is really happening in Lesotho following allegations of a military coup:

The prime minister has fled to South Africa and says it’s a coup. The Lesotho military says it isn’t. The politics are a bit confusing. African Defence Review talks to SADC Wrap’s KRISTEN VAN SCHIE and correspondent DARREN OLIVIER to ask what exactly is happening, and how much is it anything like the past?

An Election Film Week in Lebanon to Say #NoToExtension of Parliament Term

What better than the seventh art to mobilize? In another effort to push for Elections in Lebanon and prevent an extension of the Parliamentary term #NoToExtension, Lebanese NGO Nahwa Al Muwatiniya (meaning Towards Citizenship) held an “Election Film Week”.

Six works from Chile, Iran, China, Ghana and the US, varying between documentaries and fiction are being screened between August 28 to September 2 at Cinema Metropolis (a theater promoting indie movies)  in collaboration with the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections (LADE).

On the Facebook Page of the event, where the programme is listed, the organisers note:

We have been struggling with a fragile democracy in Lebanon, ever since its independence. Today, more than in the darkest days of the civil war, the foundations of our democracy are at risk. But we’re not alone in this. The world is full of stories about the human struggle for self-determination and democratic participation. Broadening our perspective serves our effort to improve the quality of the political system in Lebanon. 

The films we picked share stories from different countries, all which portray the election process. Collectively, they reveal a combination of human values and ideals and the efforts politicians make to win an election.

To see a glimpse of the movies, check out the trailer posted on Nahwa Al Muwatiniya Youtube Page.

The current parliament extended its four-year stay for the first time in May 2013. And like a year before, various parties are supporting the move this time around under the pretext of security conditions.

The end of the parliamentary term comes amidst a period of turmoil in Lebanon. The country has lacked a president since May 25 after parliament failed to elect a new head of state and top officials could not reach political consensus. A general strike by syndicates demanding to approve a new enhanced wage scale for civil servants has threatened to paralyze the entire country. Lebanon has experience instability on both Syrian and Israeli borders after soldiers were kidnapped by members of Islamic militant organization ISIS.

Building Sustainable Peace in The Central African Republic

As the UN launchs its peace keeping mission with the arrival of 1,500 troops in the Central African Republic (CAR), a few observers were wondering why it took so long given the extent of the casualties. Les Cercles nationaux de Réflexion sur la Jeunesse (CNRJ) is an NGO in Bangui, CAR that strives to build the foundation for sustainable peace in the country in partnership with the University of Bangui. Here is a video that illustrates the work in process :    

What If 75% of All Cities Were Deprived of Electricity by Design?

A Night in Madagascar when electricity is out  by Augustin- CC-BY-2.0

A Night in Madagascar without electricity by Augustin- CC-BY-2.0

There are about 105 cities listed in all of Madagascar. The Minister of Energy Fienena Richard recently announced that 80 cities of Madagascar are curently deprived of electricity because JIRAMA, the public company in charge of providing electricity across the territory is running short on fuel. As a result, JIRAMA has to pick and choose the cities that will receive electricity. That is close to 75% of all cities in the nation, a ratio that would be unfathomable in most countries of the world. The JIRAMA company is also plagued by the threat of a general strike from employees who demand more safety measures against angry customers.  One those unhappy customers was the Malagasy president himself who threatened to sue the company after an electrical malfunction at his home. Blogger Andriamihaja in Tulear (South East of Madagascar) wrote a humorous open letter to the company picturing life without power outage in his town. 

The Ebola Truth

The Ebola Truth is a Facebook page that aims to document the situation with the Ebola virus on the African continent.

How Bloggers Ended Up in Prison for Writing About Human Rights in Ethiopia

Melody Sundberg analyses freedom of expression in Ethiopia after detained Ethiopian bloggers spent 100 days in prison:

Ethiopia is with its almost 94 million population the second most populated country in Africa. Nevertheless, it does not according to an interview with Endalkhachew Chala by Global Voices, have an independent daily newspaper or independent media. There was a need of an alternative voice and the Zone 9:ers therefore began blogging and using social media to write on subjects related to human rights. The name of the group, Zone 9, refers to the zones of the notorious Ethiopian Kality prison, where political prisoners and journalists are being held. The prison has eight zones, but the ninth “zone” refers to the rest of Ethiopia. Even if being outside of the prison walls – you are never truly free; any freethinking individual may be arrested. The bloggers wanted to be the voice of this ninth zone.

In the interview, Endalkachew says that the group had campaigns about respecting the constitution, stopping censorship and respecting the right to demonstrate. The group also visited political prisoners, such as journalists Eskinder Nega and Reeyot Alemu. They wanted to bring the publics’ attention to them by using social media.

Locusts Invade Madagascar's Capital City

Twitter and Facebook users from Madagascar's capital city, Antananarivo, have posted several photos of locusts invading the city. Locust invasions are not unusual in Madagascar, especially after tropical storms, but they are very uncommon in larger cities. Locusts can have a devastating effect on crops, especially in a country that has struggled with bouts of famine in past years.

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