Top of the Blogs 2019 #12

Eine wöchentliche Zusammenstellung unabhängiger Stimmen aus der afrikanischen Blogger-Szene

To keep you updated on the issues discussed in the continent's blogger scene, we publish a "Top of the Blogs" at the end of each week - interesting new blog posts commenting on media, culture, politics and news from all over Africa.

Top of the Blogs 9.08. – 16.08.

In this week’s Top of the Blogs, we are going to look at the reasons for Zimbabwe’s current food crisis. Meanwhile in Ethiopia, tensions are escalating between the central government and the Sidamas, who want more autonomy. The perceived impunity of Cameroon’s army comes under scrutiny. And Ivorians, along with fans all over the world, are paying homage to a DJ of many nicknames.

Zimbabwe: Bad harvests meet poor economics

5.5 million Zimbabweans will be food insecure by January 2020, according to the World Food Program. The drought during the start of this year’s planting season is one reason for this situation. Additionally, Cyclone Idai inflicted severe damage on the country. All this has caused the maize harvest to more than halve compared to last year. However, agricultural economist Wandile Sihlobo points out that the government’s economic policies have aggravated this crisis further, instead of lessening its impact.

Ethiopia: Statehood for Sidamas?

Ethiopia’s federal system was designed to allow the country’s biggest ethnic groups a measure of self-government. However, the nine regional states are far from homogenous. More than 40 different ethnicities co-exist in the “Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region”. For the last two decades, the biggest group of them, the Sidamas, have been demanding a region of their own. A delayed referendum on the question has caused deadly fighting between activists and security forces recently. The political scientist Yohannes Gedamu warns that their secession could lead to the unraveling of Ethiopia’s federal system.

Cameroon’s army: “All powerful and untouchable” French)

In Cameroon, the army is fighting on two fronts: Boko Haram in the far North and Anglophone separatists in the West. Multiple cases of wrongdoing have been reported, where soldiers have burned houses and villages, tortured and executed presumed terrorists and humiliated young women in a crackdown on student protests. Although NGOs such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have spoken out about these abuses, they are rarely investigated. The Cameroonian blogger Fotso Fonkam describes the army’s impunity.

Ivory Coast: A country mourns its DJ French)

The Ivorian musician DJ Arafat has died at the age of 33. Born as Houon Ange Didier, the DJ took on many personas throughout his career. He was one of the most famous “coupé décalé” artists, who helped make this Ivorian style of music famous far beyond the Ivory Coast. For the blogger Luc Kouade, he was first and foremost an influencer, in every sense of the word: “Until proven otherwise, Dj Arafat, the Daishikan, remains the only public figure (excluding politics) who, alongside his music, knew how to influence the actions of his fans.”