Monday, September 25, 2017
Friday, September 22, 2017
World’s largest museum dedicated to African art opens in Cape Town this week: The world’s largest museum dedicated to contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora has been unveiled at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, and will officially open its doors to the public on Friday. The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) is the V&A Waterfront’s R500-million project aimed at transforming a nearly 100-year-old concrete grain silo into a cutting-edge museum.
Too Old for This
Ugandans took to the streets in the capital Kampalain protest of proposed legislation that would extend the rule of the nation’s longtime president, Yoweri Museveni.
Uganda’s constitution currently bars anyone over 75 years old from running for president, the Associated Press reports. Museveni, 73, has ruled the country for more than 30 years and would be ineligible to run for another term in 2021 unless that clause is removed.
The bill faces hefty criticism from civil society, as well as opposition groups and religious leaders who are calling for a national referendum on the matter before the new law goes into effect. They fear it would allow Museveni to rule for life.
Police responded to protesterswith teargas. Dozens were arrested, including the mayor of Kampala, Erias Lukwago, a prominent government critic. Police also raided two NGOs accused of supporting the anti-government protests.
Ironically, Museveni claimed in the past that problems on the African continent are due to leaders “who want to overstay in power.” He later said he was only referring to those who weren’t democratically elected.
Saturday, September 16, 2017
Thursday, September 14, 2017
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
The Second Battle
The Arab Spring of 2011 saw entrenched authoritarian regimes across North Africa buckle under the pressure of popular uprisings.
But reforms are still needed to usher this developing nation over the finish line.
Tunisia is the Maghreb region’s most secular state and most ardent proponent of women’s rights, writes the BBC. Both were ideologies spearheaded by the nation’s founding father, Habib Bourguiba.
But progressive social politics come with a brutal authoritarian streak in Tunisia, writes Al-Fanar. Bourguiba often jailed and tortured political opponents, a tactic continued by his successor, President Zine El Abdine Ben Ali, a perceived-reformer turned corrupt autocrat.
Ben Ali was forced to resign in 2011 during the nation’s bloodless Jasmine Revolution, and political elites set about piecing together a democracy where none had existed before.
Political Islam became – and remains – a delicate and divisive issue. Tunisia’s arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, Ennahda, banned under prior regimes, drew support from fringes of society and grew in prominence. The party quickly secured a plurality in the nation’s first free elections.
But in secular Tunisia, the party and its hardline Islamic platform soon faced public condemnation, writes Haaretz.
Rather than digging in its feet and holding on to power, Ennahda learned from the mistakes of other failed Islamic uprisings: It split its religious and political wings. Ennahda now declares itself a party of Muslim Democrats and shares power with secularists, the Economist writes.
Such concessions serve as an example for other Arab states going through democratic transitions. But democratic political parties alone don’t make a successful state.
Tunisia’s economy was left in tatters after the uprising, and the government, preoccupied by constitutional reforms, has been slow to act. Official unemployment rates hover around 15 percent, but analysts say the real amount is far higher. In rural areas, where citizens frequently demand better representation and more opportunity from the nation’s energy companies, unemployment is double the national average, writes Stratfor.
In need of outside loans to stay afloat, Tunis recently pushedthrough a package of austerity measures at the demand of the International Monetary Fund. It will prove to be a tough battle given Tunisia’s strong unions and social welfare state, as well as mass protests against benefit cuts.
After establishing democracy, now the real battle will begin to keep it running.
“This government would be like a war cabinet, in a war against the corruption, against rampant unemployment and a war to save the economy,” said Prime Minister Youssef Chahed recently.
Like the beacon that inspired millions across the region to take to the streets six years ago, many hope Tunisia will be a trailblazer once again and win this war. Observers say at the very least the nation has a fighting chance.