Since the 1994 coup d’état that saw President Yahya Jammeh rise to power, the Gambian media has been forced to work under repressive and restrictive conditions. The disappearance of editors and journalists, destruction of property and threat of imprisonment and harm by Jammeh’s National Intelligence Agency officers mean Gambian media outlets must either praise the ruling party or close their doors. Alagi Yorro Jallow, once an editor of a now closed private Gambian publication, discusses the Gambian government crackdown on the media and regulations under which a Gambian journalist must work.
Kigali felt muggy on July 20, the temperature unusually high. The police and army were on high alert at every corner as the Rwandan capital was getting ready for the big political event. About to begin was the two-week election campaign leading up to presidential elections on August 9.
As part of the sweeping financial reform bill signed into law this past week by President Barack Obama, a surprising legislative rider took effect seeking an end to the internal conflict plaguing Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The provision, which resulted largely from intensive lobbying efforts by the Enough Project to stop genocide, is designed to prevent destabilizing elements within the DRC from feeding off the country’s lucrative trade in precious metals. The DRC boasts rich deposits of tungsten, tantalum, and tin—metals commonly found in cell phones, laptops, video game consoles and other electronic devices—profits from which have long been seen to fuel the activities of non-state combatants there.
The international terrorist attack on Kampala, Uganda, by Somalia’s al-Shabaab militants is clearly a wakeup call for the U.S. and its allies in the Eastern Africa region. The militants claimed responsibility for bombs planted in two Kampala venues showing the World Cup final on July 11. The attack killed over 76 people.
Just as America’s fear of communism stampeded it to make disastrous decisions, its fear of Islam drives its self-defeating policy toward Somalia.
With widespread allegations of fraud, voter intimidation, and the withdrawal of nearly all opposition candidates, the conclusion of Sudan’s elections is unsurprising. Receiving 68 percent of the national vote, indicted war criminal Omar al-Bashir has maintained his grip on the presidency. Post-election Sudan appears very similar to pre-election Sudan.
In its 2011 budget, the White House asked for over $80 million in military programs for Africa, while freezing or reducing aid packages aimed at civilians.
The East African Community has accelerated negotiations with Europe for an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). The race is on for negotiators and lobbyists to either let Europe in or keep it out. And so far, influential EPA advocates are in the lead, according to Yash Tandon, former head of the South Centre and critic of African EPAs with Europe. As corporate proponents advance the trade deal, negotiations threaten East African unity at a critical time in its still early development.
Congo has long been the focus of resource exploitation. The first era of colonization in Africa, beginning in the mid-1880s, was most pronounced in this central African country. Belgium’s King Leopold brutalized the population in his quest for rubber and riches, leaving a legacy of natural resource exploitation by white Europeans in the heart of Africa.
The United States managed to foil the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) adoption of the crime of aggression as part of its mandate during this month’s review conference in Kampala, Uganda. But the U.S. presence at the conference demonstrates a new engagement with the ICC, and the Obama administration’s interest in helping to shape international law.