Top of the Blogs 2016 (1)

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Top of the Blogs 2016 #1

Uganda has chosen

The Twitter hashtag #MuseveniDecides is telling of how low people’s expectations were for real political change in Uganda. The elections on the 18th of February showed that the Twitter community was right. Yoweri Museveni won with 60 percent of the votes, securing his sixth term as president. Kenyan-born arts and culture writer and womanist Josephine Opar gives an overview of the election process and its consequences.

Social media during the election campaign in Uganda

"What is a Social Media election?" asks blogger and United Nation Social Good Connector Ruth Aine. In 2011, there were a handful of young people on Twitter and Facebook who talked about the elections. This year on a good day there could be about 1000 tweets with the hashtag #UgandaDecides. Ruth discusses on her blog whether social media will also be able to sustainably change the political outcomes.

Presidential debate in Uganda

Three days before the presidential election in Uganda, two television journalists interrogated seven candidates from the different parties on a stage; the one person missing was President Yoweri Museveni. Chapter Four author Masake Anthony describes the event in detail and considers its significance for democracy in Uganda.

Student protests in South Africa

The statue of the racial theorist Cecil John Rhodes was the trigger for the first student protests in March 2015 at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Soon after the statue was removed, other South African students went to the streets, protesting against an untransformed education system. Constitution law professor at UCT, Pierre de Vos, questions the student demonstrations critically. In his point of view the principle of the demonstration is no longer peaceful protest.

Fight against corruption in Nigeria

In May 2015, the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari began his term, his stated goal being the fight against corruption. Although he has brought substantial changes along the way, the budget planning for 2016 raises questions. Matthew Page expresses his doubts about the reforms and shows gaps in the work of the new government.

Autobiographies of women from Uganda

In 2014, the first African Women's Writers' workshop was held in Kampala in Uganda. With success: three women wrote down their life stories. Blogger Rebecca Rwakabukoza, herself from Uganda, looks at the new autobiographies about to be published and the issues discussed in on her website Mon Pi Mon.

Pregnant women in Kenya

If a woman talks about her pregnancy, it brings misfortune and she will lose her child - this is a Kenyan superstition, which is widely believed especially in the west of the country. For this reason many women don't do a medical check-ups before birth and keep the pregnancy secret. The American radio journalist Marco Werman tells in his blog post, how the Kenyan Government and two care organizations are succeeding in bringing the pregnant women into prenatal examinations.

Top of the Blogs 2016 #2

Elections in Benin
The Internet has an impact on democratic processes as shown by the Arab Spring. Social networks like Twitter and Facebook especially have the power to bring people together and mobilize them. Annemarie Befoune has observed this trend in Benin as well. She describes how this could affect the presidential election on the 6 March this year and what role the youth can play.

Political violence in Nigeria
Since the early 2000s, the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram has been active in northern Nigeria. John Campbell, senior fellow for Africa Policy Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in New York, has created data visualisations depicting the political violence by Boko Haram; he also shows in which other countries the terrorist group is active.

Regulation of social media
The recent elections in Uganda has shown that disabling and barring access to social networks like Facebook or Twitter is a reality. There seems to be a fear of politicians failing due to social. Last week blogger Ruth Aine considered the growing importance of social media in elections in Uganda, now she looks at the fundamental question: Should social media be regulated?

Blogosphere in Kenya
In addition to the biggest newspapers, the Daily Nation and the Standard Media, many Kenyans get their information from blogs on the Internet. Daniel Ominde warns of an exaggerated depiction of reality and appeals for more truth in the blogosphere in Kenya.

Social Problems in Africa / African politics
Our community – the system - is a game and each member of the community is a player. So it is only the players - the individuals - that have the power to change their society. Blogger Maureen Elavisa has met and talked with a number of young individuals who want to find solutions to social problems. She explains how it works and at what points of so many of them fail.

Top of the Blogs 2016 #3

International Women`s Day in Africa
The 8th of March was the International Women's Day - worldwide. But what does that exactly mean and in particular how relevant is this day for Africa? Blogger Ida Horner questions also other aspects of this day and uses the example of Ugandas major disparities that still exist between rural women and women in urban areas.

Diamond mines in Zimbabwe
Like many African countries, Zimbabwe has a lot of mineral resources, especially diamonds. Currently, in addition to a number of private companies, the government of Robert Mugabe holds a large share of the diamond mines. Sarah Logan, an economist and lawyer at the International Growth Center in London describes how the government benefits from the mines and how the distribution of shares should be changed.

Run-off Ballot in Benin
On the 6th of March 2016, Benin has voted. 33 candidates stood for election. But the counting of votes is slow. Benoit Illassa from Benin informs about current trends and intermediate results.

Internet in Cameroon
Internet is the fuel of all 2.0 initiatives, says Bewaka Doul from Cameroon. In his definition, 2.0 initiatives are mainly political changes, such as the Arab Spring, which benefitted from the possibilities of Social Media. He therefore calls for free access to the worldwideweb for everyone in Cameroon.

Policy of protest in South Africa
South Africa is experiencing a time of revolution, that is the view of Jacques Rousseau, politics lecturer at the University of Cape Town. A Twitter post gives him the occasion to discuss the nature of the protests in the internet as in reality.

Corruption in Malawi
Multinational corporations are often worth billions. Similarly high are the taxes which they have to pay. Therefore, the companies often try to move into countries with more favorable conditions. But these revenues are extremely important, especially in poorer countries. Ruth Aine writes for #africablogging about the corruption that contributes to the persistence of the poverty of a large part of the population in Malawi.

Terror in Ivory Coast The terroristic attack on Grand Bassam in Ivory Coast was the third attack in West Africa within a short period of time. After the massacre, Blogger Bernard Lugan analyzes the terrorist movement in detail. He points out: The terror moves increasingly towards the south of Africa.

Top of the Blogs 2016 #4

“Migrophobia” in Africa
Anxiety stokes xenophobia. That is a big issue, not only in Germany, but also in South Africa, Angola and many other African countries. But how could the population deal with migration and how will the migration change in the long term? Fatou Ndiaye writes about the lack of media coverage, the resulting lack of attention and the impact of those lacks on African countries.

Upcoming elections in South Africa
The future of South African President Jacob Zuma is in the hands of the voters. That should be the conditions in a democracy, writes Pierre de Vos. But in South Africa the elected judges take a dominant role in the awarding important offices. The Constitution law professor at the University of Cape Town explains how this is enshrined in the constitution and how responsible the citizens in South Africa are in general – also in due to the approaching local elections.

Drought in Zimbabwe
The drought in Zimbabwe was declared a national catastrophy by President Robert Mugabe earlier this year. But the President does not respond to the drought and the state of the population. Blogger Blessing Vava calls for transparency and honesty of the government in dealing with the drought. At least the government should be able to learn from previous droughts.

Lent and political reality in Africa
For blogger Darren Elzieit, lent is the reflection on the nature of man and the necessary tension between life and death. In the 40 days before Easter, she thinks about the political reality in Africa as well about the political reality worldwide. Colonization is still a part of the continent; leaders are still comprehending themselves as a whole and not as a part of the whole.

NGOs in Uganda
FBOs are faith-based organizations. They are in addition to NGOs (non-governmental organizations) an important component in the fight for civil rights freedom. Chapter Four Author Masake Anthony is convinced about that. The Ugandan government already tried to win the control over the activities of NGOs with the NGO Bill last year. Although the Bill failed in Parliament, the situation for civil rights groups in Uganda seems most alarming, writes Anthony.

Urbanization in sub-Saharan Africa
Megacities in developing countries? In most cases, no one would combine these two things. But the same percentage of population lives in urban areas both in Nigeria and in China. Nevertheless, many developing countries, though urbanized, are not yet industrialized. The three professors Dietrich Vollrath, Doug Gollin and Remi Jedwab write for the International Growth Center about how this has to do with commodity exports, and why precisely this factor is so crucial for the industrialization of countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Top of the Blogs 2016 #5

The saga of the South African presidency
After the constitutional court ruling over the Nkandla saga, many people feel that Jacob Zuma should resign as president of South Africa. Professor of Public Affairs Mashupye Herbert Maserumule argues that the only feasible way of removing him lies with the African National Congress (ANC) and he explains why the party’s defense of the president is a missed opportunity to reclaim credibility and the moral high ground.

Theorising in Kenya
The word "theory" has become a dirty word in Kenya, writes Patrick Gathara. There is a marked preference for promoting hands-on practical learning and neglecting theoretical content in the school curriculum. The blogger explains what consequences Kenyans can expect in the long term if they accept outdated frameworks and don’t focus on finding better solutions.

Budget planning in Uganda
In the past few months the parliament of Uganda has worked hard; the recently completed election period has coincided with the adoption of a new budget. The overlapping schedules present a number of difficulties explains Winnie Watera.

Research fellowship for Zambian blogger
Paul Shalala works as a reporter for the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation, the national broadcaster in the country. He blogs about politics, elections, the government and other issues of national and international interest. The US Department in Zambia has now rewarded this fact: the journalist has been awarded the Mandela Washington Research Fellowship and will be heading to New York in a few weeks time. He describes what he has to expect.

Innovations in Sub-Saharan Africa
Ruth Aine is proud to be an African, she writes on Africablogging. The innovations showcased at this year's World Government Summit of more than 150 countries, provided the proof for her pride. Ruth Aine introduces some of the innovations and inventions from sub-Saharan African governments and describes the potential they hold for African countries.

Investments in Sub-Saharan Africa
"La capacité des Jeunes à créer of emplois et à réduire la Faim" (‘The ability of the youth to create work instead of hunger’ was the motto of this year's Youth Agribusiness, Leadership, and Entrepreneurship Summit on Innovation (YALESI) in Dakar. Papa Ismaila Dieng reports on his blog about the three-day summit and explains why investments in agribusiness are important for the countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

African companies in Panama Papers
Since last week's revelations by international journalists of the contents of the Panama Papers, the world is still in revolt. The leaked revealed hidden accounts in tax havens and the names of some African leaders and ministers appeared as well. The Congolese Jeannot Kabuya writes about some of these well-known African personalities in the Panama Papers.

Top of the Blogs 2016 #6

SABC censorship weakens SA’s democracy
This week the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) ordered the South African Broadcast Corporation (SABC) to withdraw its decision to no longer broadcast footage of destruction of public property during service delivery protests. However SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng says the broadcaster would not change its censorship policy. Pierre de Vos explains why this weakens South Africa’s democracy.

Violence in South Sudan
Five years after independence, fighting broke out between opposing factions. Despite President Kiir and Vice-President Machar’s calls for calm, hundreds have been killed and thousands displaced in Juba over the past few days. Clémence Pinaud analyses who’s behind South Sudan’s return to fighting and calls on the international community to take responsibility.

Zimbabwes new consciousness
A one-day stay away was organised last week and led to a complete shutdown of schools, businesses and shops across Zimbabwe. It was the biggest strike action since 2005. #AfricaBlogging author Takura Zhangazha considers the internet and social media a crucial factor. Especially WhatsApp was used by all actors and players in their calls for strikes, protests and stay-aways. When it was temporarily shut down, this became a major talking point on other platforms, such as twitter and facebook.

The gap year memories of a Scottish woman in Zambia
The hashtag #LintonLies has been trending on social media since British newspaper 'The Telegraph' published an extract of a book written by US-based Scottish actor Louise Linton about her "nightmare" gap year volunteering in Zambia. Zambians, other Africans and friends of Africa are using humor to criticize the book's factual errors, deceptive generalisation and misrepresentation of Zambia, a peaceful nation in southern Africa, as a rebel-infested country.

AU Commission leadership
Ugandas former Vice President, Dr. Specioza Wandira Kazibwe is Eastern Africa’s Candidate for the African Union Commission (AUC) chairperson job. #AfricaBlogging author Rebecca Rwakabukoza describes why it is difficult to fully support Kazibwe for the job, reminding us that her name is linked with corruption scandals and dubious taxpayer money allocations.

21st International Aids Conference in Durban
Globally, the HIV/AIDS community has worked hard to realise the Sustainable Development Goal of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030. Ahead of the 21st International AIDS Conference, Professor Glenda Gray, President of the South African Medical Research Council, explains the importance of 90-90-90, a concept introduced by the United Nation’s programme on HIV/AIDS in 2013.

Top of the Blogs 2016 #7

Mandela Day and Sustainable Charity
In November 2009, the United Nations General Assembly declared that 18 July should be commemorated as “Nelson Mandela International Day”, in recognition of his “struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace”. #AfricaBlogging author Jacques Rousseau explains why any day can be a Mandela Day, while the actual day may not be more than meaningless symbolism.

Those Who Don’t Learn From History
Many in the international community have expressed confusion, been dismayed, and shaking their heads at the recent racial unrest and protests, which have erupted recently in the United States. Since the deaths of two men and five police officers the hashtag #blacklivesmatter is going global and has been dominating last week’s social media. Why, almost 50 years after the end of the Civil Rights era, is there racial unrest? Have the United States made so little progress? These questions are raised by the African blogger Daren Elzie.

The AU passport: Are we getting closer to African integration?

The barriers to a pan-African passport may be insurmountable

The issuing of the two first ever copies of the African Union passports to Rwanda President Paul Kagame and AU Chairperson Idris Deby at the AU Heads of State summit in Kigali, Rwanda represents a milestone in African integration efforts. The new travel documents will be issued to other heads of states and top diplomats in the coming weeks. Two bloggers, Daniel Okoth from #AfricaBlogging and Cristiano D’Orsi from the University of Pretoria, bring in opposing views as to whether they expect the passport to succeed and become a real benefit to the African people.

Why migration patterns are so important to designing responses to HIV
Significant progress has been made in the global response to HIV. But there is an urgent need to rethink the ways that prevention and treatment programs are developed and implemented. Ntokozo Yingwana is a researcher and PhD candidate at the African Centre for Migration & Society, University of the Witwatersrand. For The Conversation she analyses the important role of migration and mobility in mediating the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa.

Top of the Blogs 2016 #8

South Africa’s municipal election
Author John Campbell presents first conclusions on two surprises from the 2016 elections in South Africa: the first is the revival of IFP, a Zulu cultural movement as well as a political party. Its electoral support has doubled, perhaps reflecting ANC splits in predominately Zulu KwaZulu-Natal province. The other is the EFF. Many had expected that it would do well, perhaps gain more than 10 percent of the vote, given the accelerating demonstrations in the townships with reference to poor service deliveries associated with ANC politicians. It did do better, but not as well as was expected. The loser of the elections doubtless is the ANC.

Young South Africans rather protest than vote
On Wednesday this week, local municipal elections took place in South Africa. With 66 percent of the population under 35 years of age, the youth’s impact at the polls cannot be understated. The Pretoria-based Institute for Security Studies (ISS) recently conducted a research study to understand the voting behaviour of young South Africans. The results show that young South Africans consider protest action more effective than voting to get their issues addressed. The youth are disillusioned with the current political structure. They would rather opt to instead go out and engage in protest action because they believe that’s the best way they can get their voices heard.

Zimbabwe: Sowing the seed for a social media “revolution”
The past few weeks have seen an upsurge in online activism in Zimbabwe and reignited questions on the efficacy of online activism in the country. Especially the #ThisFlag campaign spawned activism, both online and offline, as Zimbabweans use their national flag as symbol to air their frustration with the state of the economy and the country, leading to a “national shutdown” in July. Few short years ago, communication in Zimbabwe was the preserve of the mainstream media, with the government dominating most channels of communication, analyses the Zimbabwean journalist Nqaba Matshazi. But now the subaltern is speaking and government is scrambling for ways to respond to so many voices speaking at once.

Malawi, a country of short-term fixes and permanent crises
In the last few months barbaric killings of people with albinism occurred in Malawi. In addition, seemingly against the state of the national economy, the University of Malawi Council increased, students’ university fees contribution. The decision has since sparked bitter protest by students of the university’s four colleges; leading to violence, crashes with the police and damage of property at Chancellor College, forcing its closure. In his latest article, #AfricaBlogging author Jimmy Kainja analyses the way the Malawian government is dealing with these two subjects and blames the state for wishing problems away instead of dealing with them.

Top of the Blogs 2016 #9

How will Zambians remember Patriotic Front?
On Thursday Zambians started voting in presidential and parliamentary elections. #AfricaBlogging author Bruce Chooma analyses the performance of the ruling Patriotic Front in the past years saying that “PF has achieved a lot in a short period of time but has also made significant mistakes some of which it has attempted to correct. The chances of a re-election largely depend on the feeling of Zambians as to whether the PF has delivered on the economy and on good governance. Tribal and ethnic balancing is another important factor given the regional voting that characterizes Zambian elections.”

Local elections show that South African’s women continue to play second fiddle
Lisa Vetten from Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research considers three converging events in August in South Africa: the 60th anniversary of the march by women to the Union Buildings; the finalisation of the local government elections; and the tenth anniversary of the trial of President Jacob Zuma for rape. “The recent municipal elections do not show that political parties consider women’s issues relevant or important. Sixty years after women marched to Pretoria and 22 years after the first democratic elections there are no visible champions of women’s rights. In fact, the gains that have been made risk being rolled back".

Ethiopian authorities killed 100 protesters over the weekend
As hundreds of protesters took to the streets over the weekend in Oromia and Amhara, two of Ethiopia’s largest administrative regions, security forces violently disbanded demonstrators with live bullets. According to news sites and social media reports, about 100 protesters were killed. The UN human rights chief has urged Ethiopia to allow international observers to investigate the killings of 90 protesters at the weekend. Blogger Endalk who is also a lecturer at Arba Minch University in Ethiopia analyses the “weekend of killing in Amhara and Oromia”.

Uganda: 4 years on: no justice as NGO office break-ins escalate
In the past four years more than 30 NGO office break-ins have been documented in Uganda. Some of the break-ins have even been bloody. “A systemic pattern of attacks targeting legitimate work of organizations is worsening as perpetrators, with impunity, continue to remain at large”, writes Blogger Masake Anthony. He appeals to the police and the Director of Public Prosecutions to take decisive action to bring closure to these cases. “Continuing to ignore doing so is tacit approval of the attacks.”

Top of the Blogs 2016 #10

Zambia re-elects Lungu in disputed rolls
After many hours of waiting beyond the expected 48 hours, Edgar Lungu from the Patriotic Front, was declared President-elect with Inonge Wina as Vice President. His main rival, Hakainde Hichilema, won 47.67%. #AfricaBlogging author Bruce Chooma analyses the 2016 general elections. They "came with a lot of enthusiasm and excitement given that the country was voting under new electoral regulations after amending the constitution earlier in the year. The polls also had the highest number of voters in the country’s history with over 1.6 million new voters added, mainly young people born in the 1990s".

One of the biggest vaccination drives is underway to beat yellow fever
A yellow fever outbreak in parts of Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has led to more than 400 deaths since December. The United Nations has embarked on a massive vaccination campaign with the aim of reaching 14 million people. Jacqueline Weyer, senior medical scientist at South Africa’s National Institute of Communicable Diseases, explains how and why.

It's "no mean feat" being a female human rights activist in Timbuktu
Fatoumata Harber is a professional psychologist teaching educational psychology in a bilingual teacher training institute in northern Mali. She's also a human rights activist and a blogger based in Timbuktu, a city that was under militant jihadist occupation for many long months until it was liberated in January 2013. Global Voices interviewed her to get a better understanding of the conditions in which her people are living and the challenges they face in order to survive under the constant threat of conflict.

AU Passport, Yamoussoukro decision and Open Skies in Africa
There has been a lot of discussion on the AU Passport and what it has to offer Africans after its launch in Kigali in June. For African development practitioners this is a huge step in the right direction. For the normal person it is not being seen as an achievement at all. Blogger Ruth Aine happens to be on both sides: "I have mixed feelings. We have lobbied for free movement on the continent and so the passport is definitely a start. But I think that we still have issues that we need to solve before this is widely implemented".

Tanzania’s president Magufuli: man of the people, man of the party?
Since independence, Tanzania's president has always led the ruling party. But the appointment of John Pombe Magufuli to the head of the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) last month has raised concerns amongst many within the party. Writing for African Arguments Tanzanian freelance journalist Erick Kabendera discusses whether president Magufuli is a powerful politician saying his "approach to governance and his decisiveness could be seen as good attributes for president, but they more likely to be an impediment in his role as CCM chair. If Magufuli doesn’t get his hands dirty in party business, it will be tough for him to lead it".