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Stories from and

2015 Presents an Opportunity for Free and Fair Elections in Africa

Wekesa Sylvanus hopes that 2015 will be a year of free and fair elections in Africa:
https://wekesasylvanus.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/will-2015-be-a-year-of-free-and-fair-elections-in-africa/

Since the advent of multi party democracy in Africa, electoral contests have become a do or die affair in majority of African countries. Elections in Africa are a high risk affair and in the recent times, they have been a trigger of conflicts. Kenya and Ivory Coast are good examples of how mismanaged elections can plunge a country into a conflict. Half a century after gaining independence, majority of African states have not got it right in terms of conducting and managing free and fair elections. The year 2015 will see a host of African countries go through elections. Presidential elections and/or legislative elections will be held in Nigeria, Sudan, Ethiopia, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, Togo, Ivory Coast, Mauritius, Central Africa Republic, Burkina Faso, Niger, Guinea, Chad, and Egypt and may be South Sudan depending on the peace deal to be signed. Most of these countries have struggled to institute the practice of democracy in recent times. 2015 therefore presents a great opportunity for them to show the world that they have matured democratically.

Human Rights Video: 2013 Year in Review

A video by WITNESS on the Human Rights Channel of YouTube wrapped up some of the most significant protests and human rights abuses of 2013. Dozens of clips shot by citizens worldwide are edited together to show efforts to withstand injustice and oppression, from Sudan to Saudi Arabia, Cambodia to Brazil.

A post on the WITNESS blog by Madeleine Bair from December 2013, celebrates the power of citizen activism using new technologies including video, while readers are reminded that the difficulty of verification and establishing authenticity remains a big obstacle.

“Citizen footage can and is throwing a spotlight on otherwise inaccessible places such as prisons, war zones, and homes,” says Bair. “But given the uncertainties inherent in such footage, reporters and investigators must use it with caution.”

Five Arab Countries Among Top 10 Corrupt Worldwide

Five Arab countries have been named among the top 10 most corrupt countries, according to Transparency International's newly released annual Corruption Perceptions Index.

Egyptian Amro Ali reacts:

And Sudanese Usamah Mohamed comments:

Concern over Subterranean Water in the Sahel

We are told that miners do everything to waterproof the soil and ensure that waste does not contaminate subterranean water. But it must be recognized that there is always a risk, as they can never be completely sure that they are not contaminating subterranean pools. Moreover, with the impact of climate change, people will increasingly rely on subterranean water to supply towns

Alain Tossounon, reporting comments [fr] from a meeting with Dam Mogbanté, Executive Secretary of the Global Water Patnership West Africa

Sudan: Why Clooney's Arrest is Both Good and Bad

Moez Alie explains why George Clooney's arrest outside Sudan Embassy in Washington, D.C. on 16 March, 2012 is both good and bad: “I will concede that George Clooney's arrest has shed some light on Sudan's issues, but it's shedding it wrong. Sudan's problems are far more complicated that Mr Clooney might think, and Sudan's situation is extremely volatile.”.

Africa: African Arguments Online

African Arguments Online is “a multi-blogging site that covers both contemporary African events as they unfold, and develops debates on themes we believe are centrally important to an ever-changing continent.”

South Sudan/Sudan: Refugee Narrates Her Emotional Story

Amanda Hsiao talks to Miriam, a Sudanese refugee in Ethiopia. The post is part of a series based on Enough interviews with Blue Nile refugees in Sherkole refugee camp and Kurmuk, Ethiopia. Details of these testimonies are impossible to verify, but accounts Enough heard have been generally consistent.

Sudan: Concern Grows About Detained Sudanese Writer

Concern grows about detained Sudanese writer and activist: “There’s been no word of Abdelmoniem Rahma, a poet and political activist, since he was arrested a month ago. Rahma was close to the ousted governor of Blue Nile State, Malik Agar, and involved in the arts.”

Sudan/South Sudan: Can the Issue of Ngok Dinka Citizenship be Resolved?

Hassan Barakya explains why the issue of citizenship for the Ngok Dinka of Abyei is so complex: “Now that South Sudan is independent, the Ngok Dinka are in legal limbo. While their stated loyalty has always been with the south, the geographical region they inhabit along with migratory groups officially belongs to the north.”

South Sudan/Sudan: Football Torn By Citizenship

What is the future of Sudanese football following the decision not to grant citizenship to Southern Sudanese living in the north?: “A large number of southern players have a significant presence on Sudanese football teams, including al-Hilal and al-Merreikh. They have also formed the mainstay of Sudan’s national team, as in the case of Richard Justin Lado, who played in a number of clubs, starting with al-Sahafa, followed by a move to al-Hilal before he went professional with the Ismaili team.”

The Utopia that We Are All Sudanese

Dalia Haj Omar discusses ‘The Utopia that We Are All Sudanese’:

Following the sad events of March 11, at the University of Khartoum, GIRIFNA did what it usually does. It issued a brief statement based on eyewitness accounts of its members about the death of student Ali Abbaker Musa. And the violent treatment and arrest of the Darfuri students who organized and attended a political debate and a peaceful march inside the campus, in order to highlight the latest deterioration of the humanitarian and security situation in Darfur.

What followed was a vibrant debate resulting from messages of concern that poured in from within the movement questioning why the title of the press statement was, “Darfuri Student Killed at University of Khartoum” and not simply, “Student Killed at University of Khartoum”.

Many felt strongly that singling out the ethnicity of the killed student served the regime’s tactics of dividing us as “Sudanese” into ethnicities rather than what many of us dream of being–Sudanese citizens of one nation before and on top of our ethnic and/or tribal affiliations. Others insisted that the suffering is generalized and we should focus on issues and not tribes/regions. It is important to note that the Darfurians and members from the East within the movement had an opposing opinion, and argued for the importance of pointing out Musa’s geographic origin.

I would like to argue that in this particular context it is important to stress that a Darfuri student was murdered by the regime. The event inside the campus was organized by the Darfur Student Union who wanted to raise the awareness of the rest of the student body about the worsening humanitarian crisis and ongoing conflict in their region.

Reason for President of Central African Republic Djotodia Imminent Resignation

Multiple sources report [fr] that Michel Djotodia, Interim President of Central African Republic (CAR) will step down tomorrow (January 9) as his country is rocked by violent inter-community conflicts. Although the minister of Communication denied [fr] the president's resignation earlier, Simon Koitoua in Bangui, CAR opines that it was bound to happen because of the president's recent ill-advised decisions regarding weaponry [fr]:

Le chef de la transition aurait approuvé et validé un montage financier colossal lié à l’achat d’armes via le Soudan et Tchad malgré l’embargo imposé sur les armes en destination de la Centrafrique

The head of the transition allegedly approved a financial package that green lighted the purchase of heavy weaponry via Sudan and Chad. The purchase was validated in spite of the embargo on weaponry in the Central African Republic

7 Must-See African Moustaches

President Omar al Bashir

In honor of Movember: President Omar al Bashir of Sudan and his moustache. Via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

(more…)

Chinese Weapons Flooding Africa

Deborah Brautigam from China in Africa provided more background information about the importation of Chinese Weapons in African countries and explained the incentive of arms sale is from private sector:

As we saw in the notorious Libya case, it appears that Chinese companies with their own balance sheets are “going global” and making arms export decisions and deals.

Africa: Colonial PR Films Provide a Window to Africa's More Recent Past

African Urbanism discusses the UK's Colonial Film Catalogue, a database of more than 6000 films, which provides a window into British colonial period: “…these videos find their value in providing a fantastic trip through time into life in these places — showing people as they were (or, rather, how the government/companies would like you to see them), and life at the time (again, likely how we're supposed to see them).”

Sudan: A View From Blue Nile

Read Nenad Marinkovic's field dispatch from Blue Nile, Sudan: “The fighting in Blue Nile has, from the start, followed the pattern of previous clashes in South Kordofan, using frequent aerial bombardments that have repeatedly fallen on the civilian population.”

Sahel Region: Slavery still very much a Reality for Some

In an interview carried out by François Mauger with Mme Sophia Lakhdar [fr], Director of the Comité Contre l’Esclavage Moderne (Comittee Against Modern Slavery) published on the mondomix.com blog, she states: “Today human trafficking has taken over as the notion of modern slavery, which is a bit contrived.  However it helps raise awareness and mobilize public opinion in the 1990's.  That does not mean that in certain countries slavery no longer exists.  I am thinking most notably of Mauritania, Sudan and Niger”

Sudan: Sudan's Desire to Join the East African Community a Headache

Flight Africa notes that Khartoum’s application to join the East African Community is causing a diplomatic headache the member states: “No longer having any direct borders with any of the East African Community, the regime in Khartoum is thought to have placed their membership application to not only spite the new Republic of South Sudan but also to cause maximum diplomatic discomfort and division between the 5 present members.”

Sudan: Coup Against Public Liberties

Osman Shinger examines the uncertain future of media freedom in Sudan: “Journalists and rights activists have expressed concern about diminishing press freedom in Sudan. Reporters attribute their pessimism to what they call a “coup” against public liberties. Chief among their concerns is the press freedom that was stipulated in the 2005 peace agreement, whose duration concluded with South Sudan’s independence that took effect on 9 July.”

Sudan: An Abyei Timeline: The Long Road to Khartoum’s Military Invasion

Following Sudan's military invasion of Abyei, Eric Reeves provides a schematic chronicle of events from 1905 to demonstrate, “(1) just how fully the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime calculated and prepared for its military invasion; (2) when de facto military control of Abyei was achieved; (3) what served as pretext for actual military invasion; (4) and the civilian consequences of the past week of violence, looting, and burning.”

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