Top of the Blogs 2017 #15

Why Kenyans Must Keep Their Feet Firmly on the Ground

The Supreme Court of Kenya recently annulled President Uhuru Kenyatta’s barely three-week old re-election. #AfricaBlogging’s Patrick Gathara points out that in Kenya’s 50 years of independence this is not the first election that is manifestly full of irregularities. However, he explains, “the integrity of the process today matters much more than it did a decade and a half ago. Elections are much more closely fought and the electoral infrastructure is much more elaborate. Methods for stealing them have also become more intricate and difficult to detect.”

The Burundian army’s dangerous over-reliance on peacekeeping

Following the article on tensions in Burundi published in the Top of the Blogs #12 a few weeks ago, this article deals with the thorny issue of the military in Burundi. The army has always been at the heart of the Burundian government and its history sheds light on the recent events. The article highlights how Burundi needs international peacekeeping missions to keep its troops paid and happy. And peacekeeping missions need Burundian troops. But, the question is, for how long?

In South Africa, political sex scandals don’t hurt powerful men, just the women entangled in them

The presidential campaign of South Africa’s current Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa got off to a rocky start last weekend. The Sunday Independent lead story implicated him in a sex scandal claiming that while his campaign is modelled on moral and ethical leadership, he doesn’t seem like he is applying those principles to his personal life. Though Ramaphosa is likely the victim of a political smear campaign, this piece considers the strong undercurrent of patriarchy in South Africa that ensures that the scandalous behavior of powerful men doesn’t affect their standing in society. As one commentator is quoted as saying, “gender issues are always collateral damage.”

Togo has shut down the internet to counter anti-government protests

After last week’s Top of the Blogs article on the protests in Togo, this article documents the latest response by the government of Faure Gnassingbé - to shut down access to the internet. The activists on social media had to go to the Ghanaian frontier to access internet and express their concerns. Togo is just one of many African countries that uses internet shutdowns to silence protesters.

Zambia: New World Bank Financing to Improve Quality Education for 1.2 Million Children

Nearly a quarter of children from Zambia’s lowest income groups are currently out of school. However a $60million line of credit from the World Bank looks set to change that. The Zambia Education Enhancement Project (ZEEP) is aimed at increasing the number of children with access to primary and secondary school in Zambia. “ZEEP will tackle head on some of the main challenges faced by the country’s education sector,” said Xiaonan Cao, World Bank Senior Education Specialist and project lead.

Africa’s Two largest Economies Come out of Recession

South Africa and Nigeria, the two largest economies in Africa, have both recently come out of recession with South Africa’s economy expanding by 2.5 percent and Nigeria’s by 0.55 in the second quarter. The main areas of economic growth in South Africa are agriculture, forestry and fishing and though the growth was more marginal in Nigeria, the government optimistically stressed the efforts that made this economic growth possible: the “enhanced security and stability in the Niger Delta.”

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