Thursday, September 30, 2021

UN Officials Expelled from Ethiopia

 Ethiopia’s government has ordered the expulsion of seven senior United Nations officials from the country for “meddling” in its internal affairs. They have been declared “persona non grata” and given 72 hours to leave the country.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Uganda's Welcomie to Refugees

Uganda hosts nearly 1.5 million refugees – more than any other country in Africa, in fact, more than most countries in the world. Uganda's approach to refugees has been lauded as one of the most progressive, generous and favourable in the world by the UN, the World Bank and many others. 

For many, the term “refugee camp” conjures images of fences and hopelessness, and of “temporary” tent cities that everyone knows are near-permanent. This is not the case in Uganda. Here, refugees are given land to live on and farm; they are enabled to move freely, access social services such as education, start businesses, and find employment. Above all, they are treated with dignity. In other words, they are essentially Ugandan citizens, contributing to and strengthening our economy.

Jeje OdongoUgandan Minister of Foreign Affairs, writes, "Uganda’s doors will remain open. Open to those fleeing war, to those without homes, to those seeking hope in an increasingly callous and unpredictable world." 

Uganda’s doors will remain open to refugees | Refugees | Al Jazeera

 If Uganda can do it, why not Europe and America?

Friday, September 24, 2021

Tragedy continues in Tigray

  Famine-like conditions exist in the Tigray region. The crisis is driving residents to beg for food

During the past two months, the main hospital in Mekelle has received 60 children with severe acute malnutrition. Of those 60, six have died, according to Dr Abrha Gebregzabher, a paediatrician supervising the treatment of malnourished children at Ayder hospital.

According to the United Nations, more than 400,000 people are facing famine-like conditions and 1.8 million are on the brink of famine across Tigray. The region of some six million people remains under a “de facto humanitarian blockade”, the UN said earlier this month, warning of a “looming catastrophe” and urging all warring sides to allow and facilitate the unimpeded passage of aid.

The September 2 statement by Grant Leaity, the UN’s acting humanitarian coordinator for Ethiopia, said a minimum of 100 trucks of food, non-food items and fuel must enter the region every day – but access has been extremely difficult. “Stocks of relief aid, cash and fuel are running very low or are completely depleted. Food stocks already ran out on 20 August,” it added. Separately, the World Food Programme said last week that, since July 12, 445 contracted non-agency trucks have entered Tigray, but only 38 have returned, calling their disappearance “the primary impediment” to stepping up humanitarian response.

 In Ayder hospital basic medical supplies and medicines are also running out. 

“We are struggling to continue with extremely limited resources. We are struggling to provide food to patients,” said Dr Sentayhu Mesgana, the hospital’s deputy medical head. “We have suspended further diagnosis due to electric interruptions and lack of spare parts. By now, the hospital is only providing basic services.”

According to Dr Sentayhu, health centres across Tigray are unable to send patients to the referral hospital due to a lack of fuel affecting ambulance services.

“We don’t know how many people are dying across the region from malnutrition. We are disconnected with the health centres due to the telecommunications blackout. We could only know about patients who managed to arrive here. Only a few can make it,” said Dr Sentayhu. “We cannot do adult nutritional support to the general public which is very costly and ineffective given the dire situation we are in.”

With medical supplies running out, Dr Abrha, the paediatrician looking after malnourished children, feared the worst is yet to come.

“The stock of therapeutic milk will run out in three weeks given there are no new cases,” Dr Abrha said. “That means we will suspend the treatments after three weeks.”

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Climate solutions for Africa

 The level of energy poverty in Africa is unacceptable. Three-quarters of those without access to electricity now live in sub-Saharan Africa, a share that has risen over recent years. The majority of all Africans do not have clean energy sources for cooking. The number of deaths from respiratory infections is enormous and avoidable.

Africa's vast natural resources have been exploited for the benefit of others through transnational corporations and have left behind the majority of Africa’s people.

Climate change will hit Africa the hardest. In fact, global warming and extreme weather events are already threatening the poorest and most vulnerable people on the continent. 

The 6th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released 9 August 2021, exposed the fact that global warming has been more rapid in Africa than in the rest of the world. This warming is already having devastating impacts on people, their livelihoods, and ecosystems. It is being driven by a greedy energy system that is based on extracting and burning fossil fuels. It is an energy system that disrespects and destroys all life on earth. The time to move away from harmful fossil fuels towards a transformed energy system that is clean, renewable, democratic, and actually serves its people, has never been more urgent.

 ‘A Just Recovery Renewable Energy Plan for Africa’ report, which is based on the research and modelling of renowned academic Dr. Sven Teske, shows that it is technically and financially feasible to achieve a 100% renewable energy goal for Africa by the year 2050. It shows a way to power Africa with renewable energy while also trying to stem the climate crisis, supporting employment, gender justice, reducing inequality, and pushing for a just recovery.

The continent surpasses all other regions in having the most potential for renewable energy. It is technically feasible.

Opinion | 100% Renewable Energy Is Possible: A Plan for Africa | Dipti Bhatnagar (

Doctors Strike in Nigeria

 There are currently about 42,000 doctors in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with more than 210 million people. 

Of the doctors, 16,000 are resident doctors who participate in the strike organised by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).

It is the fourth time that Zubaida and her colleagues have gone on strike since the coronavirus pandemic began last year. This time around, they insist their action would not be suspended until the demands – including pay rise and payment of previous unpaid salaries; an increase of hazard allowance; better facilities and equipment – are met by the government.

Those doctors, who are pivotal to the country’s front-line healthcare, have long complained of being ill-equipped, overworked and underfunded. Some of them, even in metropolises such as Lagos and Abuja, have not received their salaries for months.

This year, the government has reportedly allocated just 4 percent of the entire budget for the health ministry, leaving already crumbling public hospitals due to chronic underfunding under a lot of strain.

"Samihana Mustafa", a doctor in central Nasarawa state, explained, the system was in an “appalling condition” as people die in the hospitals because of “avoidable causes”.

“I once had to refer a patient that was presented with severe hematemesis (vomiting blood) to another hospital, as the endoscopy machine wasn’t functional. Sadly, the patient died on the way.”

Others are left to die in hospital beds without being diagnosed or receiving treatment. The ruling elite and wealthy Nigerians travel abroad to seek medical services, spending an estimated $2bn annually on medical tourism. President Muhammadu Buhari, 78, recently faced criticism as he returned from London following a regular medical checkup while doctors were on strike. Buhari has spent 200 days in total on official medical trips in London since he came to power in May 2015.

“What the ruling elite forget is that they may have medical emergencies and have to depend on the weak health system,” said Dr Ifeanyi Nsofor, Senior New Voices Fellow at the Aspen Institute. “It is in the best interest of everyone – rich or poor, for the system to work.”

Thousands of Nigerian doctors have moved abroad in recent years for better salaries and working conditions. Last month, in the midst of the latest strike, hundreds of Nigerian doctors participated in a recruitment exercise in an attempt to work in Saudi Arabia – though only seven positions were available.

According to a 2018 survey by Nigeria Health Watch, 88 percent of doctors are actively seeking opportunities abroad. Almost half of the respondents said they have between five to 15 friends and colleagues working in the medical profession who had moved out of the country within the last two years.

Najah Nuhu moved to the United Kingdom in 2019. She said she has had “a love-hate relationship” with the system during her time working as a doctor in Nigeria.

“The love part of it obviously comes from wanting to help out the people of your community because actually the country and the community did invest in you in a lot of ways,” Nuhu said. “The hate part is the failed system in which you always feel like your hands are tied. You want to help but you can’t because somehow the service, the facility is not available.”

As Nigeria’s healthcare bleeds, striking doctors pledge to fight | Health News | Al Jazeera

Threat of war is never far away

 A brewing conflict between Sudan and Ethiopia has the most basic of motivations: control over land and water.

The land dispute between the two countries dates back more than a century to colonial-era agreements demarcating the border between the two countries. The greatest dispute is over a portion of land known as al-Fashqa, which both countries have claimed as their own. The most recent settlement of the territorial dispute came in 2008, when the TPLF-led Ethiopia agreed to recognise formal Sudanese sovereignty over the area in exchange for Sudan, led by longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir, allowing Ethiopian settlers to remain in the area. 

Since then, however, both governments have fallen, and with them the agreement. When Ethiopian forces were diverted from defending al-Fashqa to go fight in Tigray, the Sudanese military moved back into the area. The Sudanese military has been adamant about defending its control of the territory, and Sudan’s interim Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was recently quoted during a visit to al-Fashqa as declaring that, “We want our relationship to be good with Ethiopia, but we will not give up an inch of Sudan’s land.”

The risk of war over al-Fashqa is serious. Twenty years ago, a similar dispute over a less commercially valuable tract of borderland between Ethiopia and Eritrea led to the bloody war between those two countries.

Meanwhile, a so-far non-violent but potentially larger clash has been brewing over control of the Nile River. After 10 years of construction, Ethiopia has begun filling the reservoir of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Ethiopia asserts that the GERD project, one of the world’s largest hydroelectric facilities, is necessary to meet the country’s growing energy needs. Downriver countries Sudan and Egypt, on the other hand, have warned that disruptions of the flow of the Nile River would be devastating. Khartoum and Cairo have demanded that Ethiopia share information and coordinate control of the dam’s operations with them, a request that Ethiopia has dismissed as a violation of its own sovereignty.

Sudan and Egypt have hinted that military action could be on the table if a peaceful solution is not achieved. Earlier this year, both countries held joint military drills, giving the exercises the unsubtle name, “Guardians of the Nile”.

Sudan and Ethiopia are nearing a fight over land and water | Ethiopia | Al Jazeera

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Rwanda's Mysterious Deaths

Revocant Karemangingo, 2021

Millionaire businessman Revocant Karemangingo was sprayed with bullets by gunmen near his home in Maputo. The outspoken Kagame critic had settled in Mozambique after being ousted from his home country in 1994. The Rwandan government has denied any involvement in the killing. However, Cleophas Habiyaremye, president of the association of Rwandan refugees in Mozambique, rejects the denial. "If there is any real independent inquiry, Kagame and his government should be held responsible," Cleophas Habiyaremye told DW.

Ntamuhanga Cassien, 2021
Rwandan journalist Ntamuhanga Cassien disappeared in Maputo in May after being taken into custody by Mozambican police, and has not been heard from since. There are rumors he was handed over to Rwanda.

Abdallah Seif Bamporiki, 2021
The leading Rwandan opposition politician and member of the Rwanda National Congress was shot dead in South Africa, where he was living in exile. South African police initially said they were treating the killing as a robbery. A week before his murder, Bamporiki had led a memorial service for Rwandan opposition activists killed worldwide.

Kizito Mihigo, 2020
The singer and government critic died under suspicious circumstances in police custody. Police claim Mihigo strangled himself — but days before his arrest, hereported to Human Rights Watch that he was being threatened.

Anselme Mutuyimana, 2019
The assistant to Victoire Ingabire, president of the opposition United Democratic Forces (FDU-Inkingi) party, was found dead in the woods in 2019. The year before, Mutuyimana had been freed from a six-year prison sentence for "political activism."

Jean Damascene Habarugira, 2017
The opposition politician disappeared after being called to a meeting with an officer responsible for local security. A few days later, authorities called Habarugira's family to collect his body from a local hospital.

Illuminee Iragena, 2016
The opposition activist went missing in 2016, and has not been seen since. There are fears she was forcibly disappeared. 

Patrick Karegeya, 2014
The former Rwandan intelligence chief was found dead in a hotel room in South Africa. He had fled to South Africa in 2007 after allegedly plotting a coup against President Kagame. According to a 2019 article in The Guardian, before his death, several Rwandans in South Africa had warned Karegeya that Rwanda's military intelligence was looking to hire contract killers. 

Theogene Turatsinze, 2012
The former head of the Rwanda Development Bank was found dead in 2012 in a river near Maputo, days after he went missing. Before he was fired from his position, Turatsinze was believed to have taken with him to Mozambique a list of clandestine payments made by top Rwandan government officials.  

Charles Ingabire, 2011
The Rwandan reporter founded Inyenyeri Newssite, which was highly critical of Rwanda's government. Ingabire was shot and killed in Uganda, where he lived as a political refugee.

Andre Kagwa Rwisereka, 2010
The deputy chairman of Rwanda's Democratic Green Party was found murdered and partially beheaded in Rwanda in 2010. An inquiry into his murder by Rwanda's Bureau of Investigation never saw the light of day. 

Jean-Leonard Rugambage, 2010 
The journalist was shot dead in 2010 after he published an online article about the attempted murder of a former army chief, Lieutenant-General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa. Rugambage was viewed as highly critical of  Kagame's government.  

Seth Sendashonga, 1998  
A moderate ethnic Hutu involved in the post-genocide unity government with Kagame's RPF party, Sendashonga served as interior minister until he fell out with the RPF before Kagame became president in 2000. Sendashonga survived an attempt on his life while in exile in Kenya, but was subsequently killed by unknown gunmen in 1998.  

Theoneste Lizinde, 1996
The former intelligence official was found dead in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1996. 

Rwanda: The mysterious deaths of political opponents | Africa | DW | 15.09.2021

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Hunger threat in Kenya's drought

 2.1 million Kenyans face starvation due to a drought in half the country affecting harvests. The affected regions are usually the most food-insecure in Kenya due to high levels of poverty. 

People living in 23 counties across the arid north, northeastern and coastal parts of the country will be in “urgent need” of food aid over the next six months, after poor rains between March and May this year.

Asha Mohammed, secretary general of the Kenya Red Cross, said most of the affected counties had already had to deal with desert locust invasions, flash floods and tribal conflicts driven by diminishing resources.

“You have two seasons of depressed rains, desert locusts ravaging farmlands in the same counties and people fighting over the few resources available. That is the making of a disaster,” said Mohammed. She said it was not only farmers who had been affected by the drought, but also people in urban areas who had been forced to pay higher prices for the little available food. “There is some food reaching the urban areas within these counties but there is little purchasing power because many have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic.” 

Last week, President Uhuru Kenyatta declared the drought a national disaster promising “comprehensive drought mitigation measures”.

In July, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Kenya said the country needed 9.4bn Kenyan shillings (£62m) to mitigate the effects of the drought between July and November.

Canada's African Business

 Canadian mining investment in Africa according to Natural Resources Canada put it at $37.8 billion in 2019. 

 Many companies based and traded in Canada have taken African names (African Queen Mines, Asante Gold Corporation, Tanzanian Royalty Exploration, Lake Victoria Mining Company, Société d’Exploitation Minière d’Afrique de l’Ouest, East Africa Metals, International African Mining Gold (IAMGOLD), African Gold Group, etc.).

Justin Trudeau’s government has put up more than $100 million in assistance for mining related projects in Africa, signed Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements and backed Barrick Gold during a high-profile conflict with the Tanzanian government.

Ghana is the biggest gold producing country in Africa and 8th in the world, but 93.3% of Ghana’s gold is owned by foreign corporations, mainly America and Canada.

 Ghana owns less than 2% of all the Gold in their land. Ghana has to borrow money from the IMF and World Bank to buy their own Gold, which is on their land, mined by Ghanaian workers, using Ghana’s resources. The price of the Gold is set in New York and can only be purchased with the American dollar.

After a high profile Canadian-financed structural adjustment program in the late 1980s NGO worker Ian Gary explained its impact: “Ghana’s traditional sources of income — gold, cocoa, and timber — have benefited from the program, but this has only exacerbated the colonial legacy of dependence. Nearly all of the $1.5 billion worth of private foreign investment has been in mining, with most of the profits being repatriated overseas. ‘User fees’ for health care services and education have been introduced. Disincentives to food producers, and the damage caused to local rice producers by cheap rice imports, led to increased malnutrition and lower food security. Rapid and indiscriminate liberalization of the trade regime hurt local industry, while cutbacks in the public sector shed 15 per cent of the waged work force.”

Canadian Imperialism in Africa -

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Mercenaries for Mali

 Mali's military government is close to hiring 1,000 mercenaries from the Russian Wagner company. The Wagner Group would be paid about six billion CFA francs ($10.8m) a month for its services

The French see it as a threat to their own influence and power in the Sahel region.

“If the Malian authorities entered into a contract with Wagner, it would be extremely worrying and contradictory, incoherent with everything that we have done for years and we intend to do to support the countries of the Sahel region,”  French Defence Minister Florence Parly told a parliamentary commission.

Russian paramilitaries, “security instructors”, companies and advisors have grown increasingly influential in the war-torn Central African Republic (CAR)

Wagner are also reported to be present in various countries elsewhere in Africa, including in Libya in support of renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar, in Sudan and in Mozambique.

France warns Mali against Russian Wagner mercenary deal | Armed Groups News | Al Jazeera

Sunday, September 12, 2021


 The Socialist Party always held a world-view of events around the globe, even in its infancy. This essay on Africa is from January 1905, only months after the Socialist Party was founded. The article is focused on the reluctance of Africans to become wage-slaves.


One of the chief complaints of the capitalist-class and its parasites is that the native at home and abroad does not fully appreciate the ”dignity of labour.” It is in vain that so mild and popular a reformer as John Ruskin has pointed out that to labour with the hands all day is degrading, for the capitalist maintains that labour is dignified—if it is performed by someone else.

Labour, manual labour, is good, wholesome, and above all, necessary; but whatever of dignity it may have possessed in the days of handicraft has been lost amidst the whirr of machinery. To labour hour after hour, day after day, year after year, at some mechanical work is wholly degrading, nor can any amount of education awaken the power of thought in minds dulled by the excess of purely mechanical labour.

That useful machine called the worker, whose engine, the mind, is stoked with the rubbish and lies of newspapers and politicians, can work only along the lines laid down for him by the master-class. That, at least, is the intention of the capitalist, and not until the worker realises that his interests are entirely antagonistic to those of his owner will he make any real progress. He will then cease to cry for “work” as the remedy for the evils of unemployment; he will not demand the expulsion of alien labour from England, nor will he work himself into a passion because Chinese labour is introduced into South Africa. He will rather find in all such troubles the natural results of the modern system of production for profit instead of for use.

The South African Labour question is a typical case. The possible employment of white men is not to be considered: the white worker is too apt to demand a fair wage and a vote; he does not realise the dignity of cheap labour; he forms trade unions and other unpleasant societies. The white labour market is already over-stocked and unemployment is rife in South African towns. The question is whether the Kaffir, Indian, or Chinaman is to appreciate the “dignity of labour” in the mines, and the “Bloemfontein Weekly Post” explains why alien labour is necessary. The attitude of the native is the cause of the trouble. To begin with, he is better off than his fellow in England. In our country the English native has no possessions, is divorced from, and not permitted to cultivate, the soil, and is forced, therefore, to sell himself in the labour market for the mere cost of subsistence. In “our” colony, however, the native is allowed to squat on the land, paying little or nothing to the farmer. He can cultivate the soil without becoming the farmer’s servant, and sometimes the farmer even enters into an alliance with the native and they work the land on the “half” system, which is unsparingly condemned by those in want of cheap labour, and who urge that the native should be nothing but a servant.

This custom among many of the farmers has made cheap labour scarce, and the “Bloemfontein Weekly Post” suggests the remedy for this “bad state of things.” It is found that the “dignity of labour” is lost on the native, for “he does not want work, and prefers revelling in the pleasures of sun and shade, and waxing fat on mealies and Kaffir beer.” When we remember how in England the master-class urges the workers to lead this simple, thrifty life, we may well be amused to find the same class falling foul of the native for that very reason, and it shows how little reliance is to be placed in the Christian ethics of capitalism.

So the native’s “life of ease” is a source of annoyance to his would-be employers, and the “Bloemfontein Weekly Post” suggests that the farmers in Orange River Colony—no longer a free state —should be forced to employ the natives as servants or else turn them off their farms, for “the native must work.” “There need be no forcing” says this paper, only “he must he taxed so heavily that he is compelled to sell himself and live laborious days in order to exist“. In fact, he must occupy the same position in his country as we English workers do in our country. Otherwise, it is suggested, “Indians should be imported on the same system of indenture as is adopted in Natal.” That is to say, if the native cares naught for the “dignity of labour,” he must be compelled to enslave himself or else alien labour must be imported.

It is absurd and useless for the English wage-slave to complain that his masters told him that the Boer War would open up a new market for his labour; it is, and always has been, evident that the capitalist is indifferent whether yellow, white, or black labour is used—cheapest is best. Socialists continually warn the wage-slave that when he fights he is not fighting for the benefit of himself, but of his master. If, instead of crying over spilt milk, he begins to study his own affairs from the point of view of his own class-interests, he will realise that every catch phrase, “dignity of labour,” “glory oi England,” etc., is a species of bait to lure him on to his own destruction.

A real “dignity of labour” may be found if belabours for the “glory of England,” and of all other countries, in the ranks of The Socialist Party of Great Britain, for the overthrow of Capitalism and the establishment of that Socialist Republic which is the aim and ideal of the International working-class


The Dignity of Labour, at Home and Abroad – (

France, Rwanda and Mozambique

 An interesting essay from Vijay Prashad on the role of Rwanda. He explains that Rwandan troops are being used as a proxy force for the French.

He points out the motive for why Rwanda intervened in Mozambique. It was to protect the energy corporations now operating in Mozambique. The French government already involved in the Sahel were reluctant to intervene directly.

Through the diplomatic intermediation of Macron, the Mozambique government invited Rwanda to send in its army to assist in suppressing the al-Shabaab insurrectionists who threaten the oil and gas operation.

France got what it wanted.

Rwanda’s Military is the French Proxy on African Soil -

Friday, September 10, 2021

Somalia Suffers

  Nearly 3.5 million people across Somalia are expected to face food insecurity. The key drivers of acute food insecurity in Somalia include the combined effects of poor and erratic rainfall distribution, flooding and conflict.

1.2 million children under the age of five are likely to be acutely malnourished, including nearly 213 400 who are likely to be severely malnourished. 

Rural populations are experiencing multiple declines in food and income sources.

A majority of the estimated 2.9 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) across Somalia are poor with limited livelihood assets, few income-earning opportunities, low communal support and high reliance on external humanitarian assistance.

Based on the results of household surveys and field assessments conducted in June and July 2021, more than 2.2 million people face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes in the presence of planned and likely humanitarian assistance during the July to September 2021 period. 

An additional 3.4 million people are Stressed (IPC Phase 2), bringing the total number of people experiencing acute food insecurity to 5.6 million. Humanitarian assistance for food security and nutrition, as well as government support, reached more than 1.6 million per month on average between January and June 2021. This assistance likely prevented the worsening of food security and nutrition outcomes across many parts of Somalia.

From October to December 2021, food insecurity is expected to further deteriorate among poor rural, urban, and displaced populations due to the impacts of anticipated, below-average 2021 Deyr (October-December) season rainfall, continued insecurity and other food security-related risk factors, including rising food prices and cost of living, declining availability of milk for both consumption and sale, and a likely reduction in agricultural employment opportunities during the forthcoming Deyr season.

 Without sustained humanitarian food assistance, 3.5 million people across Somalia are expected to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes between October and December 2021. An additional 3.7 million people are expected to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2), bringing the total number of people facing acute food insecurity to 7.2 million.

Urgent treatment and nutrition support are required for approximately 1.2 million children under the age of five years (total acute malnutrition burden), who will likely face acute malnutrition between August 2021 and July 2022, including 213 400 who are likely to be severely malnourished.

FSNAU-FEWS NET 2021 Post Gu Technical Release - September 9, 2021: Approximately 3.5 million people in Somalia face acute food insecurity Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes in late 2021 [EN/SOM] - Somalia | ReliefWeb

DRC is still in chaos

 UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is alarmed by violence committed against civilians by armed groups in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) that continues to cost lives and drive people from their homes.

UNHCR and its partners recorded more than 1,200 civilian deaths and 1,100 rapes this year in the two most affected provinces of North Kivu and Ituri. UNHCR has recorded 25,000 human rights abuses this year. In total, more than a million Congolese have been internally displaced in the east of the country in 2021.

Repeated displacement has put enormous pressure on those forced to flee and the host families that have taken in 94 per cent of DRC’s forcibly displaced population. Host families have shown huge generosity towards their compatriots but are exhausted and in need of support if they are to continue as first responders.

Harsh living conditions and a lack of food often trigger a premature return by displaced people to their place of origin, further exposing them to abuse and violence. Returnees account for 65 per cent of the serious human rights abuses recorded by UNHCR and partners.

Attacks attributed to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) armed group have increased in brutality since late 2020, and the frequency of killings of civilians has not abated despite the state of siege declared in early May 2021 to counter the activities of these armed groups. 

Millions need urgent humanitarian assistance in eastern DR Congo [EN/AR] - Democratic Republic of the Congo | ReliefWeb

Kenya's Drought

  More than 2.1 million people in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) of Kenya are severely food insecure, following two consecutive poor rainy seasons that have hampered crop production. 

This is an increase of about 70 per cent since February 2021, when an estimated 1.4 million people (10 per cent of the population in ASAL counties) were classified in Crisis (IPC 3) or worse levels of food insecurity

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

ANC and the working class

An analysis well worth quoting from

 "...Almost three decades of ANC rule have shown the true content of African nationalism. It is nothing more or less than capitalism controlled by people with black faces, and it is violently opposed to the interests of the working class. The years since the ANC took power in 1994 have shown that they oppose the working class just as violently as the apartheid regime which they replaced. We only need to mention the Marikana massacre of August 2012, where its police shot and killed 34 striking miners, to illustrate this. For the SA working class giving support to the ANC has been shown to be a disaster. We wrote in our paper Workers' Voice in 1990:

"Many black workers look to Mandela as the man who will free them from exploitation and hardship. They are greatly deceived. … In fact the ANC’s objectives have nothing to do with the working class’s interests, they are to use the power of the state to foster a black capitalist class. … South African workers have no interest in placing themselves in the infantry of the African nationalists."

And this is precisely what has occurred. The ANC has used the state to create a narrow echelon of African capitalists, some of them multi-millionaires, while the working class has suffered unemployment and poverty and hunger worse than under apartheid. The president, Ramaphosa, whose assets at the last count were $450 million, is a representative of the few, mostly ANC members, who have enriched themselves via their control of the state or its policies such as the Black Economic Empowerment programme..."

South African Riots: The Social Crisis Erupts (

Friday, September 03, 2021

Lesotho's Murder Rates

 Lesotho, with a population of just over 2 million people, has more homicides than countries in conflict such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Mozambique. DRC has a homicide score of 13.55, and Mozambique 3.4. Lesotho’s much more populous neighbour, South Africa, has 33.97 murders per 100,000 people and is the only other Southern African Development Community country in the top 10 for highest rates of murder.

The global average murder rate is seven per 100,000 people, found the report, and Lesotho had a rate almost six times higher at 41.25. The report ranked Lesotho as only safer than El Salvador (82.84 per 100,000 people), Honduras (56.52), Venezuela (56.33), Virgin Islands (49.26) and Jamaica (47.01).

Thursday, September 02, 2021

Malawi and Climate Change

 With less rain to fill the rivers that ran into Lake Chilwa in Malawi it almost disappeared in 2012.

“Many fishermen were forced to scramble for land near the lake banks, while others had to migrate to the city,” says Alfred Samuel. “We could barely feed our children because the lake could not provide enough fish, or water for rice growing.” According to Samuel, projects designed to encourage farmers to change their methods – such as the Lake Chilwa Basin Climate Change Adaptation Programme – have not had a lasting impact.

In 2018 the lake shrank by about 60%, forcing most of those fishing on it to relocate to Lake Malawi to sustain themselves. There are fears that the trend could be repeated this year as the Lake Chilwa basin received less than 1,000mm of rain this season. The lake requires more than a metre of rain across the basin every year to sustain water levels. The lake can cover more than 2,000 sq km (775 sq miles) during the rains. But recent years have seen it contract to less than 1,200 sq km.

The weather has become increasingly unpredictable, threatening the livelihoods of more than 1.5 million people that depend on Malawi’s second-biggest lake.

The unreliable rainfall patterns are, according to experts, the result of human activity, especially deforestation, which plays such a critical role in environmental degradation and the climate crisis.

Prof Sosten Chiotha, regional director at Leadership for Environment and Development Southern and Eastern Africa, says the lake is drying out more frequently as the climate crisis causes more extreme weather.

“Climate change has introduced extremity in weather. We are having more dry spells and that is why the lake seems to be drying more frequently than it used to in the past,” he says. “If you compare the previous drying-out years, it was 2018, before that it was 2012, 1996, and 1973 or thereabouts – before that, it was in the 1940s. It was a 25 to 40-year natural drying cycle. But now, recession of Lake Chilwa happens every three to five years.”

Nickson Kamete Masi, Zomba’s senior fisheries officer, says bad farming practices are also taking their toll in the region.“Some people grow their crops on the lake’s shoreline and on riverbanks that feed into the lake, in the process cutting reeds and other plants that prevent soil erosion and siltation of the lake,” he says.

Alufeyo Mwalomo, a conservationist, says cutting down trees has particularly affected rice cultivation.

“Rice growing does not have a direct impact on the dwindling water levels on Lake Chilwa, but we have cut a lot of trees along the rivers that feed into the lake and it affects us economically and socially,” he says.

 In money terms of fishing, and cultivating rice and maize along its shores, the productive value of the lake should be about $17m (£12m) a year, but that has now fallen to about $5m.

N’kagula of Zomba, a traditional leader, says farmers are getting poorer as declining water levels have left them struggling.

“We live in a society where everything is changing,” he says. “We have to accept that climate change is real and we are equally responsible for what is happening. Let’s just be responsible.”

‘Everything is changing’: the struggle for food as Malawi’s Lake Chilwa shrinks | Global development | The Guardian