Africa Top10 News

1Cyclone Wreaks Havoc in Southern Africa

Cyclone South Africa

Almost 850 000 people have been affected by severe rains and flooding caused by cyclone Idai, a tropical cyclone that hit the Mozambican port of Beira on Thursday night then moved westward into Zimbabwe and Malawi. At least 126 people had died in Mozambique and Malawi, according to the Red Cross. In Zimbabwe, 89 people died from the floods, the information ministry said. Mozambique’s president, Filipe Nyusi, and the Zimbabwean president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, returned from foreign trips to attend to the emergencies caused by the storm.  Winds of up to 170 kilometres per hour, coupled with heavy rains, have dismantled homes and buildings and left much of the region without power. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa says he has deployed the South African National Defence Force to Mozambique to assist with recovery efforts after Cyclone Idai caused severe damage, knocking down pylons and affecting power supply to Eskom, which caused loadshedding.


2More Answers in Ethiopian Airlines Probe

Ethiopian Airlines Probe

Preliminary information from the flight data recorder of an Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed a week ago, killing 157 people, shows “clear similarities” with an earlier disaster involving the same kind of Boeing aircraft in Indonesia. Both planes flew with erratic altitude changes that could indicate the pilots struggled to control the aircraft. Shortly after their takeoffs, both crews tried to return to the airport. Suspicions have emerged that faulty sensors and software may have contributed to the crashes. The disclosure came as thousands of people marched on Sunday in the capital Addis Ababa, accompanying 17 empty caskets at a funeral for the Ethiopian victims of flight 302. The caskets were empty because authorities have said that recovering and identifying the remains will take months.


3A New Dictionary of African Politics

African Politics

The handbook reveals the witty and insightful political terminology that people in different African countries use to speak truth to power and discuss everyday developments. It shows the importance of language for understanding politics and the varied experience of different nations. It provides clear and concise overviews of hundreds of key personalities, events, and institutions from the colonial period to the present day. These range from Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir to former South African leader Jacob Zuma, through the late Kenyan environmentalist and Nobel Laureate Wangari Mathaai, and Aja Fatoumata Jallow-Tambajang, a leading gender activist and the vice president of Gambia. It explains a rich set of theoretical terms that emerged out of the research on Africa over the last 70 years. These include neo-patrimonialism and extraversion, which have become important for global debates about power and the way it’s exercised. Finally, allows for a better understanding of the contributions that the continent has made to the practice and understanding of everyday politics.


4Documenting the Slave Trade and its Ties to Africa

Slave Trade Africa

Archaeologists used DNA taken from a broken clay pipe stem found in Maryland to build a picture of an enslaved woman who died around 200 years ago and had origins in modern-day Sierra Leone. One researcher called the work “a mind-blower”. “To be able to get DNA from an object like [a pipe stem] is quite exciting. Also it is exciting for descendent communities … Through this technology, they’re able to make a connection not only to the site but potentially back to Africa.” The pipe stem was found at the Belvoir plantation in Crownsville, Maryland, where enslaved people lived until 1864 and where a likely slave cemetery was recently found. DNA taken from the pipe linked back to a woman either directly from or descended from the Mende people, who lived in west Africa, in an area now part of Sierra Leone.


5African Governments Should Improve Tax Collection

Tax Collection Africa

One country that illustrates this point was Tanzania. An inability to hold the executive to account, plus lack of transparency, seem to be the main drivers behind the country’s budgetary problems. Its tax collection rate is a mere 12.8%. In March 2018 the controller and auditor general, Mussa Assad, presented his annual audit report for the 2016/2017 financial year. This showed that state institutions had diverted trillions of shillings into ghost ventures. In particular, there was an unexplained mismatch between the collected revenue of  $10.88 billion and $10.24 billion government expenditure.


6No Letting Up in Sudan Riots

Sudan Riots

Hundreds of Sudanese took part in anti-government protests in the capital and other cities on Sunday as the government announced it had secured $300 million in loans to try and address an economic crisis that initially triggered the unrest. The demonstrations began in December over price hikes and food shortages, and quickly escalated into calls for President Omar al-Bashir to step down, posing one of the biggest challenges yet to his nearly 30-year rule. Security forces have responded with a fierce crackdown that has killed dozens of people.


7What’s Holding Up Kenya’s Gender Bill?

Kenya’s Gender Bill

 On February 27, Kenya’s national assembly once again refused to enact the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill 2018, also known as the Gender Bill, which seeks to legislate on the constitutional requirement that neither gender should have more than two-thirds in elective positions. The National Assembly did so by denying the bill the requisite quorum for a constitutional amendment which requires two-thirds of the members of the house to be present. So, the MPs didn’t just fail to pass the bill, but they refused to show up to even allow for the possibility of its enactment. The ramifications of parliament’s refusal to enact the bill extend beyond the struggle for gender equality. They are a repudiation of the constitution and the principles of democracy.


8Support for Bouteflika Wanes

Bouteflika Wanes

Thirteen independent Algerian unions have refused to back the newly-appointed prime minister’s efforts to form a government he hopes will placate protesters who are pressuring President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and his inner circle to step down. “We will not hold discussions with this system, we belong to the people and the people said ‘No’ to the system,” Boualem Amora, one of the leaders of the education sector unions, told reporters. Algerians, who have been demonstrating for more than three weeks, have rejected overtures by Bouteflika, who has reversed a decision to stand for another term after 20 years in power.


9The State of DRC’s Roads Back in the Spotlight

DRC's Roads

At least 24 people, mostly children, died and 31 others were injured in a train derailment in Kasai province in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday. A railway spokesperson says that dozens of stowaways were riding on the freight train when it derailed. Several freight cars went off the tracks while many more fell over a bridge and into the Luembe River. Those who suffered serious injuries in the accident were rushed to Kakenge hospital. This latest incident brings to three the number of rail accidents in the central African country in nearly a month. Rail accidents are common and fatal in the DR Congo due to minimal investment in an outdated rail system built during the colonial era and the continued use of old locomotives.


10The Man who Captures the Colours, Faces and Spirit of Ghana

Prince Gyasi

Prince Gyasi takes photos around Accra, the capital of Ghana, using only an iPhone. He captures scenes of city life and uses colours for impact. The photographer wants to use his work to inspire young people and encourage others to start shooting pictures. The photographer’s body of work conveys arresting and colorful compositions, often featuring portraits of friends, family and muses in emotive poses against colored backdrops. Some of Gyasi’s featured images are part of his ‘BoxedKids’ series, a photographic project turned GoFundMe campaign created by Gyasi and his partner. The nonprofit project attempts to help creative, underprivileged children in Jamestown to pursue their creative talents through access to education. The term ‘boxed kids’ describes children who are trapped in a place or situation; in this instance Gyasi is referring to the difficulties experiences by life in Jamestown.