Friday, October 20, 2017

Mali: Africa's Newest Fighting Force Battles For Funding

Liberia: Political Football


Political Football

Former football (or soccer) star George Weah will face Vice President Joseph Boakai in a run-off election to select Libera’s president next month.
Weah won the first round with 38.4 percent of the vote, 10 points ahead of Boakai, Reuters cited the country’s election commission as saying Thursday.
The only African ever to win FIFA World Player of the Year and the Ballon d‘Or, Weah, 51, has served as a senator from the opposition Congress for Democratic Change since 2015. Though he’s wildly popular with young people and the poor, who feel they have not benefited from Liberia’s post-war recovery, his campaign has not offered much in the way of concrete policies.
Provided he wins the run-off, he’ll have a hard time matching his supporters’ aspirations, with the resource-based economy reeling from endemic corruption and low commodity prices.
On the plus side, whichever candidate wins the run-off will make history – marking Liberia’s first democratic transfer of power in 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Who Actually Killed The American Soldiers In Niger?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Somalia: A Chilling Future


A Chilling Future

The devastating terrorist attack in Mogadishu over the weekend was a chilling dose of reality for Somalia, a nation that continues to struggle against the Islamist militants of al-Shabab, all while international troops propping up the government prepare for withdrawal early next year.
Locals are calling the twin truck bombings that killed more than 270 people Somalia’s 9/11. The president has declared three days of mourning, and heads have already begun to roll for what is widely perceived as an egregious security failure, the New York Times reported.
In the wake of the attack, many locals expressed fears that the country could soon fall under the control of al-Shabab.
Noting al-Shabab’s ability to wreak havoc is as strong as ever – the fragile veneer of peace in the country is cracked almost weekly by a new, deadly attack – Warwick University professor David Anderson called this latest attack a “cold, cold blast of reality” for Somalis about the future of their beleaguered nation.

Monday, October 16, 2017

"No Place Like Home" China Gives The Birthplaces Of African Leaders A Lot Of Aid

Ethiopia's Ethnic Federalism Is Being Tested

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Friday, October 13, 2017

East Africa Curbs Imports Of American Hand-Me Downs

Silicon Valley Firm Invests In South Africa Start-Up

South Africa: Anti Apartheid Activist Was Murdered And Did Not Commit Suicide


A Second Look

A judge in Pretoria overturned a previous ruling classifying the death of an anti-apartheid activist as a suicide, and accused the police who held him in custody of murder, raising the possibility of new inquiries into other cases in which detainees died in police custody during apartheid.
Anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol was killed after a fall from a 10th floor window at a Johannesburg police station in October 1971. A 1972 inquest had found that he jumped from the window to commit suicide. But Judge Billy Mothle ruled Thursday that he was pushed from the window or thrown off the roof – an act that amounted to murder, NPR reported.
72 other political detainees died in custody between 1963 and 1990, according to the Associated Press.
The ruling offers closure of a sort for Timol’s family. Though most of the main perpetrators have already died, the judge recommended Joao Rodrigues, a police officer involved in interrogating Timol, be investigated and prosecuted. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Kenya: Splitting Hairs


Splitting Hairs

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga deepened the country’s ongoing political crisis with the surprise announcement that he’s backing out of the nation’s do-over presidential elections just two weeks before votes are slated to be cast.
Odinga said we was dropping out because he couldn’t be sure the Oct. 26 poll would be free, fair and credible. He also demanded new elections, citing a 2013 Supreme Court decision that calls for the cancellation of polls if a major candidate dies or drops out, NPR reported. But lawyers for President Uhuru Kenyatta say other regulations mandate that if one of only two candidates drops out of the race, the remaining candidate is automatically declared the winner.
NPR quoted an expert on Kenyan constitutional law as saying that the document clearly supports Kenyatta’s position. That means the issue is less of legality than legitimacy – which could prove dangerous.
More than 30 people were killed during protests following the disputed Aug. 8 election, and post-election tribal violence left more than 1,000 Kenyans dead in 2007 and 2008.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Liberia: Personality Politics


Personality Politics

Liberians take to the polls Tuesday in a historic election that marks the first time in 73 years that a democratically elected leader in this West African nation will peacefully relinquish power to another elected president.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the African continent’s first elected female leader, swept to power on a platform of reconstruction and reform in 2005 after 14 years of civil war that devastated the nation’s infrastructure and claimed 250,000 lives.
Sirleaf, a Nobel Prize winner, will step down this year in observance of the nation’s two-mandate limit on presidential power, a move she said signals the “irreversible course that Liberia has embarked upon to sustain its peace and consolidate its young democracy.”
Her poetic waxing notwithstanding, a motley crew of presidential candidates and dire systemic issues in this nation founded by freed American slaves some 200 years ago could present serious detours in that irreversible course.
There are 20 candidates vying for the Liberian presidency – including a soccer superstar, a former Coca-Cola executive, a former warlord once videotaped torturing a former president while drinking a beer, and a super model.
And those are just the frontrunners.
Despite such diverse biographies occupying the political field, many lament that no single candidate has presented concrete reforms for rehabilitating an economy ravaged most recently by 2014’s Ebola crisis and plagued by graft, opined.
And no one – from Sirleaf to her predecessor – has moved to implement reconciliation, an action needed for the country to move past its brutal civil war.
That’s led to indecision among Liberians as to where to cast their vote. Many are relying on personalities and platitudes to make their decision, a development ushered along by candidates’ lavish campaign parties that offer cold hard cash as parting gifts for patrons, the New York Times reported.
Still, there is reason to celebrate: When Sirleaf took power 12 years ago, Liberia was a country in ruins with little electricity or transportation infrastructure, kept afloat by international aid, Bloomberg reports.
Despite setbacks during the Ebola crisis, the country has secured $4.6 billion in debt relief and increased government revenue seven-fold over the past decade.
But friction between political candidates means that there’s a chance that the results will be contested, presenting a catalyst for violence. EU observers said they’ve seen “good will” from all parties that they’ll conduct elections according to international standards, but still fear democratic slips, FrontPage Africa Online reports.
That’s not hard to imagine considering that the ex-wife of former-President Charles Taylor, currently serving a 50-year sentence for war crimes, is a vice-presidential candidate who’s said she wants to put her husband’s agenda “back on the table,” the New York Times notes.
With such a cast of characters, Tuesday’s poll will likely amount to a first-round, with a runoff election between the top two candidates to take place in November.
That peaceful transition is a milestone in and of itself, Freedom House opined. But personality politics alone won’t smooth out the trying path ahead.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Egypt: Think Canals, Not Aliens

Think Canals, Not Aliens

For centuries, humans have posited various theories for how the Egyptians constructed their dazzling pyramids more than four millennia ago.
Thanks to an ancient scrap of papyrus, we now know that it wasn’t aliens that gave us the pyramids, but rather good old-fashioned human ingenuity.
Near the seaport of Wadi Al-Jarf, some 200 miles from the Great Pyramid in Giza, archaeologists discovered the diary of a witness to the colossal project, an overseer named Merer.
According to his descriptions, the ancient Egyptians used intricate, manmade canal systems and various boats joined together by ropes to utilize the Nile river to transport some 170,000 tons of limestone needed for construction from 500 miles away in Aswan, the International Business Times reported.
The estimated 2.3 million blocks were then hauled inland to a port just yards away from the base of the pyramid. Following the breadcrumbs, archaeologists stumbled upon waterways running underneath the Great Pyramid that were likely used for construction.
Archaeologists also uncovered a 2,500-year-old ceremonial boat woven together from loops of rope. Scientists speculate that such a technique was used for the boats used to transport the building materials for the pyramids, completing the puzzle.
Alien conspiracy theorists are likely bummed – but fans of the human condition rejoice.

France And Rwanda: There's No Moving On

South Africa Has Large Deposits Of Shale Oil In The Karoo|AMUpdate&

Sunday, October 8, 2017

A Protest Against The African National Congress In South Africa

~  106 BMW X5's, 
~  211 BMW 5 or 7 series sedans, 
~  11 MASERATI's, 
~  103 MERCEDES BENZ sedans (C & E Class), 
~  6 HUMMERS, 
~  9 FERRARI's.                             
Apart from the fact that the tax payer is paying to get all these cars to the conference, paying for the luxury accommodation, decadently luxurious and excessive food and drinks (all free!!), wives, spouses, lovers, friends and family - all catered for - all at tax payers expense.
And then we wonder why the government says they don't have money for RDP housing, a proper education system, proper healthcare facilities, a properly trained and corrupt-free police force and crime control - and all the other things they promised and haven't honored !!!!
And then this ................
Public sleeping competition - Hosted at the Budget Speech

And the winner is…
As the SILENT MAJORITY, let's simply take a stand!!! 
Zuma and his cronies:
Schooling: A decent pass rate not a manufactured one!
Culture:  Western Standards - not 40 wives to be cared for by the suffering, struggling tax payers of Mzansi!
Corruption Free; No one with a criminal record to have any position in any tier or department of government!
We, the real people are coming…our vote will speak !!
Only 86% will send this on; it should be 100%                                                                                                  
What will you do?

"The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money." 
Margaret Thatcher 

 Remember, a Nation of Sheep Breeds a Government of Wolves!
I'M 100% for PASSING THIS ON!!! 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

The US Lifts Sanctions On Sudan

Friday, October 6, 2017

Deadly Ambush Of Green Berets In niger Belies 'Low-Risk' Mission

WASHINGTON — The reconnaissance patrol was supposed to be a routine training mission along the border between Niger and Mali for the nearly dozen United States Army Special Forces trainers and the Nigerien soldiers with them.
The American team leaders told their superiors in seeking approval for the mission that there was a “low risk” of hostile activity in the region 120 miles north of Niamey, Niger’s capital, according to a senior United States military official briefed on the mission planning.
Late Wednesday afternoon, that mission proved anything but low risk. The patrol was ambushed by what commanders believe was a heavily armed Qaeda force from Mali, leaving three Americans dead and two others wounded. The combat casualties were the first that the United States has suffered in a widening counterterrorism mission in Niger, in northwest Africa.
Pentagon officials expressed shock on Thursday at the deaths during such a routine mission. The brazen daytime attack raised serious questions about how the Special Forces — elite Green Berets who have spent years operating in shadowy combat zones — conduct threat assessments in the country and how their chain of command approves them.
Pentagon officials vowed to examine how many Special Forces training missions had been conducted in border areas before Wednesday’s assault — and whether the Americans in Niger had inadvertently settled into a pattern of predictable activities that Qaeda fighters could exploit with deadly consequences.
Continue reading the main story
The concerns are particularly acute given that the ambush took place near the village of Tongo Tongo, just inside Niger in a region recently destabilized by cross-border jihadist attacks on the Nigerien army and refugee camps. In mid-June, the Nigerien army mounted an operation in this same northern Tillaberi region to take on the jihadists.
American military advisers are playing an essential role in combat zones around the world, including Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. But in countries like Niger, a vast, largely desert nation with porous borders that terrorists can easily traverse, these trainers must strike a balance between offering instruction in a real-world counterterrorism environment and taking appropriate precautions against violent regional insurgencies.
In a statement on Thursday morning, the Pentagon’s Africa Command said the Americans were providing “advice and assistance to Nigerien security force counterterror operations” when they came under fire. Two other American troops, members of the 3rd Special Forces Group, were also wounded and a Nigerien soldier was killed.
“Our country has just been attacked once more by terrorist groups, an assault which sadly has resulted in a large number of casualties,” President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger said at a regional meeting on Thursday in Niamey.
The firefight lasted roughly 30 minutes and involved less than a dozen United States troops and more than 20 Nigerien soldiers. The official said they ran into a large group of militants traveling in pickup trucks mounted with machine guns, known as technicals, that took them by surprise. United States drones were in the area, but it is unclear how close they were at the time of the attack given the mission’s perceived low risk.
French attack helicopters responded to calls for help but it is unknown if they fired on the militants or only made a show of force. The wounded were evacuated to the capital of Niamey and the wounded Americans were then put on a plane to Germany where they were receiving medical treatment.
The military has not yet released the names of the American soldiers killed, pending notification of their families. Dana W. White, the chief Pentagon spokeswoman, would not give new details about the episode in response to questions on Thursday, citing “ongoing operations.”
While no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, officials believe that Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb was involved. The extremist group, pushed from its territory in northern Mali after the French military intervened in 2012, has been increasingly active in recent years. Since 2016 the group has staged a number of attacks across the broader Sahel, a stretch of territory that runs from Senegal to Sudan, and routinely ambushes United Nations peacekeepers in the region.
While the United States provides limited support to the French troops in Mali, namely sharing drone feeds and other intelligence, it has invested a significant amount of resources to the south in Niger, where about 800 American troops are stationed.
Since 2013, unmanned American aircraft have launched from a clandestine airfield in Niamey. Americans are also helping construct a $50 million drone base for French and American aircraft in Agadez. When completed next year, it will allow Reaper surveillance drones to fly from hundreds of miles closer to southern Libya, to monitor Islamic State insurgents flowing south and other extremists flowing north from the Sahel region.
More than two dozen Army Special Forces — like those attacked on Wednesday — train the Nigerien military and help with intelligence gathering for the local forces.
The deaths of three Americans in the country highlight the inherent risk associated with conducting even noncombat missions in a region beset with violence and a growing assortment of militant groups. In May, a member of the Navy SEALs was killed and two other American troops were wounded during a raid in Somalia, the first American combat fatality there since 1993.
“The clash demonstrates the seriousness of the militant threat in the region,” Michael R. Shurkin, a senior political scientist at RAND and former C.I.A. analyst, said of Wednesday’s ambush. “Since Trump took office, U.S. policy in the region has been more or less adrift. This could force someone finally to take the tiller by the hand.”
Continue reading the main story

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Aubergine Restaurant In The Cape Town Gardens

Great Day Tours In Cape Town

The Best Pizza Places In Cape Town

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Tgo: Of Witchcraft, Protests And Whats App: How African Leaders Stay In Power So Long


Of Witchcraft, Protests and WhatsApp

The killing of a cow in Kparatao, Togo, explains a lot about the unstable situation in this tiniest of West African countries.
Troops loyal to embattled President Faure Gnassingbé were sweeping the village for weapons recently when they shot the animal, the Guardian newspaper of Nigeria reported.
Authorities said the cow was threatening the police. But in truth they likely killed the animal because they believed opposition leader Tikpi Atchadam, who grew up in Kparatao, was somehow using it as a familiar – an animal-shaped spirit that assists in witchcraft.
“Animist beliefs are still very common in Togo,” said Comi Toulabor, a researcher at the Institute of Political Studies of Bordeaux in France. “The military wanted to symbolically kill Tikpi Atchadam.”
The cow’s shooting is among several developments that have galvanized opponents of Gnassingbé.
Protesters in recent days have called for term limits for the president, whose family has ruled Togo for 50 years, the longest of any African family. Gnassingbé took over after his father Eyadéma died in office in 2005. Eyadéma abolished term limits from Togo’s constitution in 2002.
Sound familiar?
Throughout Africa, strongmen and their dynasties often stay in office far longer than the letter of the law would allow. Think Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda for some recent examples.
Now that Gambian President Yahya Jammeh was forced to quit after losing his reelection earlier this year, following a campaign where protesters also called for change, Togo is the only country on the continent without a constitutional term limit. However, Uganda’s parliament is preparing to vote on a bill to remove an age-limit clause from its constitution – a move that would allow 73-year-old President Yoweri Museveni, who has ruled Uganda for three decades, to run for re-election in 2021.
In Togo, the president has responded to the civil unrest by shutting down the internet, with the effect of pouring cold water on his constituents’ sex lives. The Guardian of Britain reported that Togolese use WhatsApp as a dating tool for a culture where “casual sex is commonplace.”
The shutdown has more short-term serious consequences, too, as folks depending on Western Union and MoneyGram remittances from abroad suddenly had their income cut off.
Things might change.
Gnassingbé’s ruling Union for the Republic party has proposed legislation that would impose a 10-year term limit. The president has called for a nationwide referendum on the question this month.
The yes camp is almost sure to win, though the vote has yet to be scheduled. But the opposition rejects the premise of the referendum because they want the term limits to be retroactive.
With an entrenched political machine and the support of the military, Gnassingbé would likely win presidential elections in 2020 and 2025, setting the stage for him to remain in power until 2030.
This change, if one can call it that, might be the best the Togolese people can expect for now.