Top of the Blogs 2015

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Tops of the Blogs 2015 #21
What Obama Did Not Find The Courage To Say

In a leaked conversation of 2006, then opposition leader and now president of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta challenged then senator and now US president Barack Obama to expose him publicly in case he would not have reformed the country by the time of Obama’s next visit. Blogger Patrick Gathara has mixed feelings if this has really happened during Obama’s stay in Kenya last week.

President Obama: Tear Down the Wall Between Eritrea and Ethiopia

The second country Obama visited in the Horn of Africa was Ethiopia. Daniel Ogbaharya urges the US president to try and end the cold war due to border disputes between Ethiopia and Eritrea to stabilize the region. Because in a way, he says, the US bears at least some of the responsibility for it.

Zimbabwe: Chasing the dream of an independent media

Tinashe Mushakavanhu has a dream: He wants to fulfill his uncle’s mission enabling Zimbabweans to have access to good quality journalism. In this very personal blogpost, Mushakavanhu criticizes the Zimbabwean information policy and the state media’s poor development since the 1980s. However, there is hope for future generation, he says.

Sustainable Development – the Ugandan way: How do we get there?

#africablogging-fellow Ruth Aine is optimistic about the future of Uganda after the government's medium-term goals were presented at the reading of the National Development Plan. However, she has some suggestions on how to reach the Millennium Development Goals. This time it should be for the people – not only for the books!

The Gambia's Increasingly Isolated President Frees Almost All Prisoners

President Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia freed all prisoners in his country and gave amnesty to political opponents living in exile. Is this good news or rather bad? Blogger Demba Kandeh gathered some reactions and there is no distinct answer.

Zambia's falling education standards!

Mocking pupils of private schools for being dull is a story of the past in Zambia. The former high class education system is deteriorating, says Michael Chishala. In a guest post on one of our #africablogging-blogs, he says: “I think all public schools are candidates for being taken out of government hands, either ownership or management (or both).”

Beyond Cecil the lion: Issues the media need to cover about Zimbabwe

#CecilTheLion and #JeSuisCecil have been prominent twitter-hashtags after the majestic lion has been killed unjustly by a dentist from the US. Blogger Fungai Machirori is amazed about this being the incident causing the world to pay attention to Zimbabwe again. In her opinion, it’s another proof for the two stereotypes about Africa dominating the Western world’s view: wildlife and poverty. However, there's so much more to it!

Tops of the Blogs 2015 #20
On Obama's Second Coming

US president Barack Obama has Kenyan roots. However, he has not travelled to Kenya yet. Blogger Patrick Gathara wonders about Obama’s motivation and what people can expect from his visit.

Some Nigerians Don't Think Obama's Nigeria Snub Is Such a Bad Thing

But Kenya is not the only African country on Obama’s trip. Ethiopia is also included, although this visit is highly criticized because of the government’s human rights violations. This leads to an obvious question: Why does Obama not go to Nigeria? Blogger Ndesanjo Macha has collected the social media community’s opinions on the issue.

BAKE, an Organization That's Helping Kenya's Blogging Community Grow

Corazon Mwende interviews James Wamathai, a co-founder of the Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE), about the start of BAKE, its successes as well as future challenges. Last month, the association released a report on the state of blogging and social media.

What You Need to Know About Ethiopia v. Zone9 Bloggers: Verdict Expected July 20

Getting confused about the case of the jailed Zone 9 bloggers in Ethiopia? Last week, five out of ten bloggers have been released suddenly and presumably because Obama will visit the country soon. Blogger Endalk summarizes what has happened so far and gives a preview of possible outcomes.

The Political crisis leaves Burundi on the Brink of Economic Collapse

The political trouble in Burundi surrounding President Pierre Nkurunziza’s attempt to serve an unconstitutional third term has economic consequences: Streets are empty, people lose their jobs and capital flees the country. Moreover, journalist Lorraine Nkenguruts fears that foreign aid could also be stopped if Nkurunziza wins the election.

What does being African mean?

“The one who controls the narrative has the power”, writes blogger Darren Elzie. He urges Africans to unite, rediscover their common history and live in community again because: “Our ancestral wisdom is love.”

Tops of the Blogs 2015 #19

Zimbabwe’s game of political musical chairs is not really about us

The cabinet of Zimbabwe changes a lot due to power struggles within the Zanu-PF. Recently, Jonathan Moyo from the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity has been downgraded to the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development. Blogger Fungai Machirori wonders if Zimbabwe can really afford to publicly diminish the importance of the ministry of education.

This Invention by Burkinabe and Burundian Student Scientists Could Save Thousands from Malaria

Students from Burkina Faso and Burundi made an effort to conquer Malaria. Their invention does not cost much and is thus easily accessible. Find out what it is on Lova Rakotomalala’s blogpost.

Angola’s saga of repression

Last month, a group of 13 activists were jailed in Angola. There are no reliable reports about what has happened to them yet. Blogger Mandeep Tiwana gives a summary of how the government tried to silence opposition and media over the past year.

Burundi: How Should the International Community Respond?

The conflict in Burundi following president Nkurunzizas bid for a third term is not an ethnic one, says Steve McDonald. However, it could develop into one and destabilize the region as a whole. McDonald lists eight things the international community could do to prevent this scenario.

Zambia's Crippling Energy Crisis Is Changing Life for Everyone. And Not for the Better

Zambia’s government-owned electricity company has been forced to extend load shedding. Blogger Gershom Ndhlovu gathers all the different explanation on why that happened – opposition and social media included.

Tops of the Blogs 2015 #18
Three Ethiopian Journalists Freed From Prison, But Others Remain Behind Bars

It was a pleasant surprise and the social media community shouted with glee when two jailed bloggers and one university professor were released from prison in Ethiopia this week. There was also some speculation: Did the government let them go because of the upcoming visit of US president Barack Obama?

Silent society: Why is abuse under-reported?

480 allegations of sexual abuse have been made against UN peacekeepers between 2008 and 2013 according to a report leaked a month ago. Blogger Clenia Gigi is repulsed by the almost non-existent reaction of society. Everyone is silent, she says, and she calls for action.

The Farlam Commission is being unfairly targeted

The recently published report on the massacre in Marikana in 2012 stirred up a lot of emotions. The majority of the people, trade unions and politicians were not happy. However, blogger William Saunderson-Meyer thinks the commission that investigated the matter did a good job considering the circumstances.

Zambia's borrowing spree!

#africablogging fellow Chola Mukanga is not happy. With his recent blogpost, he evaluates Zambian Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda’s speech to parliament last month. Conclusion: Zambia is in a debt spiral!

What does feminism mean to me?

Blogger Kennedy Kanyali is a feminist – and a queer cisgender male. He gives a very personal account on how he perceives feminism in Kenya today and why is it important to overcome patriarchal structures. #africablogging

Chad’s Veil Ban Risks Increasing Radicalisation

In response to terrorist attacks by Islamists, the government of Chad decided to criminalize the wearing of veils. Hilary Matfess questions if this is really the way to go in preventing suicide bombings and criticizes the government’s non- transparent decision-making processes.

Tops of the Blogs 2015 #17

Kenya’s National Budget 2015/16: An Analysis

Kenya has introduced its new budget plan. It is supposed to boost the Kenyan economy in the upcoming year. Brenda Wambui gives a detailed account of current economic challenges and how they will be met by the plan. Conclusion: Don’t waste money in corruption and we’ll be fine.

Family therapy: Dynasty and change in Uganda

Current Ugandan politics are more similar to a divorce than real electoral competition, states journalist Angelo Izama. On the one side, there is current president Museveni and his family with influential relations to the business and security sector as well as the defence forces. On the other side, Museveni’s former right hand, Mbabazi, decided to pick up a fight. Izama has a feeling about who will win it.

With 120 Million Facebook Users in Africa, Facebook Officially Opens For Business

Facebook has opened up a bureau in Johannesburg to coordinate its expansion in Africa. On the techloy-blog, you can find information on how the multinational corporation intends to grow on the continent.

Growing up black, foreign and legal in South Africa

Wadeiso Rukato has spent almost her whole life in South Africa, but she is Zimbabwean. In this article, Rukato reflects on her experiences going to school in South Africa being a foreigner, the xenophobic attacks in 2008 as well as her own identity crisis.

Is it the end of the line for African Women as street vendors?

The number of street vendors in African cities is rising due to urbanization. Ida Horner says that it is mostly women who work in this branch of the informal sector. Now, some cities start “cleaning up” and forbidding these small enterprises. Horner argues that the consequences of this policy for poor African women will be disastrous.

Tops of the Blogs 2015 #16
An Official White House Visit to Ethiopia? Africans Tell Obama ‘Don't Do It!’

Ethiopia is one of the worst human rights abusers in sub-Sahara Africa, claims blogger Ndesanjo Macha and illustrates this accusation with many examples. That’s not new. However, US president Barack Obama decided to visit Ethiopia before the end of his term to strengthen bilateral relationships. Macha collects reactions from the social media community which is confused and disapproving.

South Africa’s EFF and Charleston

The third biggest party in South African parliament, the Economic Freedom Fighters, has issued a letter to express condolence with the victims of the Charleston shooting. Nine African-Americans were shot dead in a church. However, there is more to it, says blogger John Campbell. The letter portrays the US as breeding ground for racism and even poses a threat.

The Untold Story of Social Media and the 2015 Nigerian Elections

If you want to be president Nigeria, you need to get on the social media track, says blogger Nwachukwu Egbunike. He argues that Twitter and Facebook have played an important role in the recent Nigerian elections. Its presence and impact cannot be denied, although opinions about its value are mixed as Egbunike shows.

Understanding Musa Hilal and Mohamed Hamdan “Hametti” in Sudanese politics

In Sudan, the manipulation of ethnic interests plays a big role in politics. Darfur is still the core of the conflict. Development practitioner Hamdan Goumaa gives interesting insights about two Arab leaders in the region and their possible influence to alter the political landscape.

Small victory against corruption

The former Zambian labor minister was convicted to spend two years in prison. He had hid money on his farm which is suspected to be retrieved through criminal activity. Blogger Chola Mukanga praises the law changes to fight corruption that made this conviction possible. The only drop of bitterness: Trials still take too long, in this case more than four years! #africablogging

The spectre of apartheid lives on

Thorne Godinho calls it the sting of Apartheid: On the day, Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir fled the country despite domestic court order, Godhino ironically visited a discussion about the Rule of Law. He was confronted with the very personal story of Anton Lubowski’s widow. Lubowski was a lawyer for anti-apartheid activists and assassinated in 1989. His murder was never found. This experience motivates Godinho to give a thoughtful account of past and present problems in South Africa.

Tops of the Blogs 2015 #15

‘By letting Omar al-Bashir escape, South Africa has sided with tyrants’

South Africa has gained street cred, writes Justice Malala from the African Guardian Network sarcastically. In 2009, the International Criminal Court (ICC) indicted Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir for alleged genocide and war crimes in Darfur. Earlier this week, he attended a summit of the African Union in South Africa and left the country again in a private jet, despite domestic court orders. South Africa is a signatory to the ICC. However, it has lately joined the criticism posed by the African Union that the ICC would no longer serve its purpose. Blogger Malala is deeply troubled by the government’s sidelining with “the dodgiest leaders”.

Al-Bashir: flouting court orders are anti-poor and anti-democratic

Although blogger and constitutional expert Pierre de Vos is not a fan of the ICC himself - and he gives good reasons why he is not -, he harshly criticizes the South African government for letting al-Bashir go. First, he says, South Africa has joined the ICC voluntarily and thus, it has decided to play by its rules. Second and more important, with disobeying the domestic court order to prevent Al-Bashir from leaving the country the government has undermined the rule of law.

The June 16s of tomorrow

On Tuesday, South Africa was celebrating Youth Day in remembrance of the massacre in 1976 when hundreds of young people were killed while protesting against the Apartheid regime. On this occasion, blogger Kopano Matlwa Mabaso gives a thoughtful account of South Africa’s problems today and pleads for more equality, especially in education. She fears that otherwise the South Africa of tomorrow “could be a frightening (and possibly hopeless) place to live in.”

Reflections on the Purpose of Media in Africa

What should the media’s role be? A watchdog, the fourth estate, the people’s voice? Eric Chinje, CEO of our partner, the African Media Initiative, reflects on this question and comes up with an interesting approach and – of course – more questions and challenges.

Arbitrary Arrests, Cybercrime, and Mass Mobile Adoption: Monitoring Digital Rights in Sub-Saharan Africa

What’s the deal with freedom of expression in Subsahara-Africa at the moment? Ndesanjo Macha from Global Voice’s interviews Tom Rhodes from the Committee to Protect Journalists and provides insights in current challenges as well as prospects of today’s media landscape.

Why I am skeptical about Africa's Free Trade Area

Free trade from Cape to Cairo. Sounds great, says blogger Aine Ruth Tindyebwa. However, it’s nothing new. Tindyebwa gives a historical account of earlier ideas about a free trade agreement in Africa and criticizes that it does not necessarily go hand in hand with free movement of people. Conclusion: There’s still a long way to go. #africablogging

Tops of the Blogs 2015 #14

Protecting South Africa's President With a Chicken Run, Swimming Pool, Amphitheatre and Sacred Cattle Kraal

South African President Jacob Zuma’s has a swimming pool, a cattle kraal, a chicken run, a visitor’s center and an amphitheatre. His house is called Nkandla. The question many South Africans posed in 2013 was: Why? And even more strongly: Why did it cost 250 Million Rand (25 Million US Dollar) of our tax money? A report revealed on May 28th now confirms what was stated back then: The president needs these features due to security reasons. This blog post summarizes some of the humorous reactions of the social media community.

Nkandla: yes the decision may be irrational and can be reviewed

The Nkandla scandal is not only stirring up the social media community, but also has some interesting legal aspects. Blogger and constitutional expert Pierre de Vos summarizes possible legal arguments of the case and concludes that Zuma could possibly be held accountable by court to pay for his security upgrades.

Do Economists Get It Wrong About Africa

African economies should be assessed individually in contrast to European standards, claims Morten Jerven in his book “Africa – Why Economists Get It Wrong”. This revision agrees. However, there is no reason to be content with economic development in Africa, blogger Christopher Ejugbo says and poses the question: Does positive data really translate into better living conditions?

Startup West Africa Is ‘Crowdmapping’ The West African Startup Community

There is a new platform called It attempts to gather all important information about start-ups in Western Africa as well as to map them. This blog-post gives some interesting background about the project and its initiators.

Is the problem of Kenya really that it is full of Kenyans?

Is there a culture of corruption in Keya that hinders development? Blogger Patrick Gathara provides a very strong opinionated answer on the topic. To blame Kenyan culture for corruption, he says, is simply another way to shield Kenyan elites and authorities from taking responsibility. A majority of bribes come from the very poor of society and are paid to public offices. Thus, the author is calling for a grassroot-change. #africablogging

Zambia’s mining taxes collapses

A hot tempered Facebook discussion has started on the Zambian Economist’s Facebook page. Taxes on mineral royalties have been lowered by Zambian government to six percent. Blogger Chola Mukanga takes this as cause for complaint about inconsistent economic policy in Zambia and questions the economic expertise of the government. #africablogging

Tops of the Blogs 2015 #13

10 Most Censored Countries

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has released a list of those 10 countries where the press is most restricted. It finds that Eritrea and North Korea are the first and second most censored countries worldwide. The list is based on research into the use of tactics ranging from imprisonment and repressive laws to harassment of journalists and restrictions on Internet access.

Befeqadu Hailu: An Ethiopian Writer Who Refused to Remain Silent

In April 2014, nine bloggers and journalists were arrested in Ethiopia and charged under the country’s Anti-Terrorism Proclamation. They have been behind bars ever since, their trial postponed time and again. This article is the fourth from the series – “They Have Names” – that hopes to highlight the individual bloggers who are currently in jail. It is about the book author, poet and co-founder of the Zone9 blogger collective, Befeqadu Hailu.

President Buhari and the long road ahead

On 29 May, Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in as Nigeria’s new President. This author believes that while excitement still abounds, the feeling of elation is slowly being replaced with one of caution as the myriad problems the country faces become more apparent.

What Sepp Blatter’s Resignation Could Mean for Africa

This author wonders about the consequences of the recent FIFA scandal for Africa. With Sepp Blatter now leaving the FIFA leadership, and a new election impeding, what becomes of the relationship of FIFA with its (notoriously corrupt) African members?

Tops of the Blogs 2015 #12

Burundi: country suffers media black-out after coup attempt

This Burundian journalist describes the situation of the country’s media after the attempted coup earlier this month. He claims the media has been silenced. A day after the failed coup, three influential radio stations and one widely watched private television channel were destroyed, reportedly by policemen and military said to be loyal to president Pierre Nkurunziza. The absence of information has left the field free to fear and rumour and it has become very difficult to remain informed. The author considers this fear of not knowing what is happening as one of the main factors pushing people to flee the country.

Africa, where are we headed?

On 25th May, the world celebrated African Union Day. This author asks himself the question of whether or not there is anything to celebrate about the AU and their achievements on the continent. While for example the European Union has made it much simpler for citizens of member nations to travel to and from one member state to another, the freedom of movement in Africa remains a mere promise by the AU.

What Africa Day Means to Africans and Friends of Africa

Many Africans and friends of Africa celebrated Africa Day on Facebook and Twitter by sharing messages of unity and optimism about the continent. This is a collection of some of these messages.

Privileged schools could help township schools

Although South African township schools have proven that they are capable of producing very successful careers, much of their potential remains untapped. This author calls on privileged schools to help level the educational playing field that is often characterised by endemic inequality. He believes that this can be done if schools shared their educational resources.

Tops of the Blogs 2015 #11

Ethiopian Blogger Atnaf Berahane: Young, Courageous, and in Jail

In April 2014, nine bloggers and journalists were arrested in Ethiopia and charged under the country’s Anti-Terrorism Proclamation. They have been behind bars ever since, their trial postponed time and again. This article is the second from the series – “They Have Names” – that hopes to highlight the individual bloggers who are currently in jail. It is about the youngest of the Zone9ers, Atnaf Berahane.

Why #TeamPositivity Is Wrong

This Kenyan blogger criticizes the belief that the key to the change the people in Kenya so desperately require is positive thinking. She claims that this insistence on an optimistic outlook removes the responsibility and accountability from those who have it, and leaves it to forces such as karma, or God. It informs the mantra “accept and move on”, which encourages Kenyans not to critically think about situations that have occurred. She believes that what is required is deep reflection on past events, since the frequency with which Kenya finds itself in crises is worrying.

Africa’s Latest Democratic Awakening: Implications for Western foreign policy

Given recent events in Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Burundi, this author believes that a new wave of democracy is making its way throughout the continent. While the advent of new technologies, social media and other innovative methods of communication have breathed new life into pro-democracy citizen movements, it is also due to a change in relations between many African countries and their most engaged Western partners, the United States and France.

What former Chadian dictator Hissène Habré’s July trial in Senegal means for his victims

In June, Chad’s former president Hissène Habré, who had ruled the country for eight years until 1990, is to go on trial in Senegal, in a special tribunal set up by the African Union. The author, a Chadian lawyer and President of the Chadian Association for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights, considers this case a great lesson for the country: Impunity no longer has its place in Chad.

We Are Working To Prevent Explosions: Spoken Word in East Africa

Fatuma’s Voice is a weekly event in Nairobi where people are invited on stage to recite poems, make statements, and perform music. What started as a small student-run initiative quickly emerged to a popular platform for expressing political and social concerns, speak out and share opinions.

What’s the deal with China’s new military base in Djibouti?

China is extending its military presence in Africa as negotiations with Djibouti on establishing a navy base are entering the final phase. What remains to be unveiled are the intentions behind and the form of its military presence in Djibouti: It could be a permanent military base or simply a secured access to the port. It could be part of a power game between China and the US or simply a means to provide better protection to China’s various activities in Africa.

Tops of the Blogs 2015 #10

BAKE Kenyan Blog Awards 2015 Winners

Beginning of May, the blogger association of Kenya (BAKE) announced the winners of the Kenyan Blog Awards 2015 in 18 different categories, from technology to creative writing, from fashion to travel, from environment to health. If you want to learn more about the Kenyan blogging landscape, it’s worth checking them out.

#AfricaBlogging at re:publica 2015 in Berlin

Last week, KAS hosted a panel on #AfricaBlogging at re:publica in Berlin and invited three bloggers from Uganda and Kenya to discuss the state of political blogging in Sub-Saharan Africa. Moreover, the launch of the blogging platform #AfricaBlogging has been announced for the upcoming two months.

Twitter question hour – a success?
Twitter #AskMmusi

On Wednesday, newly elected leader of the opposition party DA in South Africa held a twitter question hour in order to directly talk to the people. In the process, the tweet #AskMmusi was used more than 100.000 times and was trending for days. The questions were not all entirely serious...

Journalism Threat

Independence of journalism in Kenya has once again come under scrutiny after a Standard Newspaper journalist was summoned to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) to reveal sources of information. This is just one out of several worrying cases on the government’s attempt to restrict press freedom. Kenya Monitor, a citizen journalism site, gives some background on recent developments in Kenya’s media landscape.

Burundi: Reflecting on ten days of unrest in Bujumbura – By Jean-Benoît Falisse

Serious violent protests have rocked Burundi’s capital Bujumbura during the last days, after president Nkurunziza announced his candidacy for a third term. Burundi’s constitution contains a two term limit, however, Nkurunziza argues, and the Constitutional Court agreed (albeit reportedly under pressure), that a third term would be legitimate. Does Burundi stand on the edge of another deadly civil war?

Tops of the Blogs 2015 #9

Why aren’t Uganda’s journalists asking the tough questions?

Despite challenges to press freedom from the government, Uganda generally has a vibrant media industry. But some argue that the quality of journalism in Uganda is ‘going to the dogs’. Stories and analyses lack depth and quality. Several issues, particularly those of a political nature, remain ignored because journalists do not have the courage to questions about what is going on in the country. Many have even been accused of corruption. Now, Ugandan citizens start challenging journalists on twitter to investigate questions relevant to them.

Mozambique's Life-Saving Surgeons Aren't Doctors at All

Many African countries lack professional surgeons. Mozambique has 20 surgeons for a total population of 25 million people. Read here the story of So Vaz, who is a surgeon and came up with what started out as a temporary solution: Train lower-level health workers to do lifesaving surgery — a tactic several other African countries have also adopted.

The people smugglers of the Mediterranean

Who are those people, smuggling thousands and thousands of Africas across the Mediterranean? European leaders are intent on propagating the myth of the human trafficker. But are they? This article seeks to give some more background on who starts smuggling fellow Africans and why.

South Africa attacks - lessons that we can learn

Aine Ruth is a Ugandan blogger who recently participated in the Africa Blogging panel at the re:publica in Berlin. In her most recent article she shines light on what she considers one of the main reasons for the increasing xenophobic attitude of many South Africans: a lack of education in African history, culture and traditions. Especially younger South Africans seem to know barely anything about other African countries and about the history they share.

Tops of the Blogs 2015 #8

On World Press Freedom Day and journalists' safety

In light of yesterday’s World Press Freedom Day, the author reflects on what it means to be a journalist in today’s world. He wonders if journalism has any chance to thrive when journalists are being attacked for exposing abuses and corruption and being killed and imprisoned for carrying out their work. Given the alarming figures and individual examples of journalists prosecuted, it is ever more important to create conditions in which one can report and work safely.

One year on, jailed Ethiopian bloggers are still awaiting trial

In 2012, nine Ethiopian bloggers created a blogging collective known as Zone 9. Believing that citizens can hold their government accountable through a free press, they wanted to strengthen the country’s civil society. On April 25 2014, the writers were detained by police and charged under Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism laws. More than a year after, they are still waiting for their trial.

Media freedom and the Importance of a Free Press in the Development of Society: the African Experience

On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day 2015, Eric Chinje, CEO of the African Media Initiative reflects on the debate on the media's roles and responsibilities that is currently taking place in Africa.

What’s at stake when Ethiopians vote next month

This article looks at some of the political and economic issues at stake in the run-up to Ethiopian parliamentary elections on May 24. It points out both the way Ethiopia likes to portray itself and is often seen from the outside, as well as some of the more troubling facets, such as high unemployment and growing repression by the police.

Tops of the Blogs 2015 #7

Xenophobic Statement - is King Zwelithini Guilty of Hate Speech?

Durban and Johannesburg have been engulfed in Afrophobic/xenophobic violence after the traditional Zulu leader King Goodwill Zwelithini – in a speech delivered in March – fanned the hatred and envy among some South Africans towards black foreigners living in our country. Is the King guilty of hate speech and if so, what can be done to hold him accountable for his dangerous and reckless utterances? Those questions are answered by constitutional expert Pierre de Vos’ latest blog post.

Futurphobia - South Africa has a bigger Problem than Xenophobia

Am I the only person who is tired of hearing about South Africa’s problems, Marius Oosthuizen asks in his reader’s comment on Thought Leader. Especially after the xenophobic attacks in Johannesburg and Durban, South Africa seems to be reduced to bad news. At the same time, constant complaining, assignment of guilt or even denial cannot be a solution. “South Africans have to stop waiting for ‘leaders’ and take practical steps to address our problems”.

Tanzania's Cyber-Crime bill gives more power to Police, less to people

Beginning of the month, the Tanzanian parliament passed a cyber-crime bill that attempts to address a wide range of crime, from child pornography to cyber bullying and publication of false information. When published online, the draft instantly caused a controversial debate. Opponents claim it shows disregard for press freedom and freedom of expression, grants excessive powers to police, and limits the protection of ordinary citizens.

Meet Africa's HeroRats - The lonely voter

Wednesday was Earth Day, a great opportunity to draw some attention to Africa’s HeroRats. Those up to 90 centimeters long and 12 kilograms heavy creatures have proven to be highly capable of sniffing-out land mines and screening scrutum samples for tuberculosis. Without putting themselves in danger. Up to date, they have detected 48.000 land mines and unexploded ordnances, the screened srcutum samples add up to 290.000.

Angola's sovereign wealth fund pays us 100 million to a Shell company

The investigative journalist Rafael Marques de Morais is currently facing trial in Angola: The claimed sentence: nine years in jail and $1.6 million. The accusal: Criminal defamation. With his book on the blood diamonds business in Angola and the corruption, torture and murder coming along with it, he seemed to have annoyed the government and several generals. In appreciation of his achievements for journalism in Angola and Africa, here is a recent investigative read from his blog. There, you can also find updates on his court case.

Tops of the Blogs 2015 #6

Dear government, you've let things slide too far

Ravi Machenjee of Thoughtleader addresses the South African government in an open letter after the xenophobic attacks. He criticizes the lack of decisive leadership and the incapability of tackling the currently relevant problems, mostly the increasing xenophobia and the insufficient energy supply. The public utility Eskom executes load shedding on a regular basis, up to a couple of times per week.

Is South Africa off Limits to other Africans?

Shortly after the recent outburst of racism in South Africa: Using the hashtags #XenophobicSA and #AfrophobicSA South Africans and non-South Africans immediately took to Twitter to express their disgust and shock at the brutality displayed by South Africans and lack of action from the South African government. Read some of the twitter reactions here.

Achille Mbembe writes about xenophobic South Africa

Stricter immigration laws, xenophobic attacks – what is happening in South Africa at the moment? The philosopher, political scientist, and public intellectual Achille Mbembe analyses the increasingly racist attitude of many South Africans and attempts to explain them in a broader context. One of the main reasons: Many South Africans feel superior to other Africans and not in their debt in any way.

Sudan Election Diary - The lonely voter

Elections in Sudan: As author James Copnall describes it draws little attention, neither in Sudan nor abroad. President Omar al Bashir is almost certain to win the re-elections as most opposition candidates are boycotting. The polling stations report a turnout of less than 10%. Foreign officials, media and NGOs announced previously not to recognize the elections.

Tops of the Blogs 2015 #5

Emotive inconclusive Rhodes Debate

For weeks, South African students have been demonstrating against a statue of the Colonialist Cecil John Rhodes at their university in Cape Town. Rhodes is considered as the poster boy of colonialism but has also donated the land where the university is built on. This protest fuels a year-long, often highly emotional and polarizing debate about how to deal with the colonialist past and the Apartheit. Can dark aspects be simply airbrushed from a country’s history or should they stay as a reminder for a time South Africa does not want to go back to?

Nigerian Netizens already have a to do list for Buhari, the country's president elect

Social Media played a crucial role in the run up to the recent elections in Nigeria. According to media reports they increased political participation of the people and contributed to a more transparent and less violent electoral process. In the aftermath of the elections, the urge of the Nigerian population to shape the politics of the future does not seem to wane. On twitter, people keep on adding policy suggestions to a virtual to do list for just-elected president Buhari.

Big question for big data and what it can do for african economic development

Big Data seems to offer a solution to everything. It is especially said to revolutionize development work and boost African economic development. But are those expectations realistic? An analysis by Morten Jerven, Associate Professor at Simon Fraser University and author of the book Poor numbers: how we are misled by African development statistics and we can do about it.

Sudan's great Depression - mental illness dangerously ignored by country's health services

With the recent, most likely intentional plane-crash in the French Alpes, mental illness has been in the news again. But despite its prominence in Western media, it should not be mistaken as an exclusive problem of rich and developed nations. Mental illness can affect people of all ages, ethnicities, nationalities and socioeconomic classes. Worldwide, hundreds of millions suffer from mental illness. However, in developing countries, there are insufficient resources to cope with it. A perspective from Sudan.

Tops of the Blogs 2015 #4

Mugabe’s AU election sends wrong signals

Robert Mugabe was appointed chairman of the African Union. However, if the 90-year old president is capable of this role is viewed critically. This Blog questions some of Mugabe’s standpoints, as well as the meaning of his election for relations of the AU to the West.

After 29 Years in Power, Ugandan President Museveni Won't Leave Office

"No African president should be in power for more than 10 years," stated Ugandan president Museveni 29 years ago, when he first became president. Now however, he seems to have changed his mind. Prudence Nyamishana has collected Twitter posts and other web entries to mirror the critical public opinion about this in Uganda.

A Memo to President Lungu

On the 25 January 2015 Edgar Lungu became president of Zambia. Congratulating the president and with a very positive approach towards Lungu this Blog entry shares some ideas about how to tackle the problems Zambia faces as a president.

Nigeria Forum: In the event of a Buhari win

Mohammadu Buhari can be seen as the strongest competition for the current president Goodluck Jonathan in Nigeria’s elections on February14. Tolu Ogunlesi undertakes a hypothesis on how Buhari will reign the country concerning the cabinet, the economy and security.

Estimating the Economic Cost of Ebola

Ebola influenced the economy of the affected countries in different sectors. Mark Roland Thomas investigates the loss experienced in the agricultural harvests, food and drink processing, informal markets and tourism sectors. By this he tries to estimate what Ebola must have cost for the economy.

Tops of the Blogs 2015 #3

The Impact Of Low Oil Prices On African Economies

The oil prices have fallen and European countries are already seeing their benefits. But what about Africa? Although there are many countries in Africa that rely heavily on this resource, Kabukabu Ikwueme sees a chance for Africa in the low oil prices: A chance of diversification of economies away from fossil fuels.

Will 2015 be a year of transformation for African women?

The African Union has declared 2015 the year of “Women’s empowerment”. Susana Edjang looks at the meaning of 2015 for women, informing about feminist organisations and important female leaders in Africa. However she points out that it is about the “ordinary African” to make this year count – the real changes lie in their hands.

U.S. Efforts to Power Africa

Power for Africa - In Subsaharan Africa two thirds of the population still live without electricity. The U.S. has now launched a program to reach 60 million households by 2020. Aala Abdelgadir on the hopes and the concerns of this project.

Xenophobic attacks: apartheid-thinking alive in South Africa

In Soweto there have been xenophobic attacks on foreign-owned stores last week. Pierre de Vos looks at the “foreigner issue” from a constitutional point of view and concludes that alarmingly Apartheid-thinking seems to still be alive in many brains.

Homeless of Nairobi: Facebook project gives rough sleepers a voice

“A virtual home” - Facebook page „Homeless of Nairobi“ tries to create an awareness for the homeless people. The page was launched last year by a young Kenyan. Hopes are to help get the people of the streets through this project or at least improve their living conditions on the street.

Tops of the Blogs 2015 #2

Nigeria: Time For More International Community Attention And Action

The national elections in Nigeria lie ahead which brings back the focus on Nigeria’s problems. Johnnie Carson analyses the Boko Haram matter, the safety of the upcoming elections and the developments in the economy, while appealing clearly to Washington, London and Brussels to take action and help Nigeria.

How Muslim and Christian Women in Nigeria Banded Together to Fight Violent Extremism

Women leading the way in the religion conflict: Ibanga and Hawaja have founded the “Women Without Walls Initiative” to break down barriers in religion, ethnicity and social class. Christians and Muslims now stand together in the fight against violence in Nigeria.

Why we must fight for online freedom - #iFreeKe

Kenya’s Blogger Daniel Ominde calls out to everyone to fight for internet freedom after the recent developments in Kenya where several Bloggers have been arrested. Fear is rising in the rest of the Blogger-community yet that only encourages Ominde to speak up against the wrong doings in his country.

Achille Mbembe on How the Ebola Crisis Exposes Africa’s Dependency on the West

The fight against Ebola raised many political questions. Mbembe voices strong criticism against the West regarding the help for Ebola. His views may be a bit drastic at times, yet they bring out clearly the frustration many Africans carry. Extracts from an Interview from the German newspaper “Die Zeit”.

I have decided to leave Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean patriot Jimmy has had enough – he has decided to leave the country despite his love for it. In this blog entry he tells his story and explains the reasons for his decision. Although very simple and straight forward, Jimmy captures perfectly what Zimbabweans face every day.

Tops of the Blogs 2015 #1

Why did the world ignore Boko Haram’s Baga attacks?

“I am Charlie, but I am Baga too.” While the terrorist attack on the French satirical magazine “Charlie Hebdo” receives the full attention of the media, making headlines around the world and mobilizing 3.7 million people to march for solidarity, the attacks and massacres in northern Nigeria remain almost unnoticed. Maeve Shearlaw gives this a voice by trying to find reasons for this conduct.

European Court often condones restrictions on free speech to accommodate “sensitivities”

The events around Charlie Hebdo have raised the subject of freedom of speech, or rather the question where the limits of freedom of speech lie. Pierre de Vos gives a few examples of cases that went through to the European Court where the publishing of certain material was prohibited by the state. It becomes clear that certain limitations in the freedom of expression do not attack democracy.

They Are Not Charlie: They Torture, Jail and Kill Journalists in Their Own Countries

More than 40 world leaders were united in the march for solidarity and freedom of expression in Paris, France. Yet when looking more closely at this picture the presence of some leaders is dubious. Using examples of Tweets from all around the world Amira Al Hussaini depicts the hypocrisy of many world leaders attending the rally.

The Man Behind 263Chat, an Award-Winning Platform for Conversation in Zimbabwe

A step towards more freedom of speech in Zimbabwe: 263Chat is an initiative combining different social networks and platforms to encourage conversation and discussions on different topics, ranging from corruption over service delivery to day-to-day conversations. An interview with prizewinner Nigel Mugamu at the Africa New Media Awards in 2013:

Africa 2030, the next 25 years: From video games, eco-buildings, robotics, and cycling

Africa – continent of hope. Samantha Spooner looks at the likely developments in Africa until 2030 covering topics from sports and cosmetics over universities and healthcare to population growth and alcohol producing. A bright future seems to lie ahead. (Although this article does not fall under the category „Blog“, it is a very interesting read)