COVID-19 responses across Africa built on lessons learned from combatting infectious diseases such as cholera and tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and Ebola, using World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines tailored to local demands.
A rapid and evidence-led response has managed the tensions between saving lives and preserving local culture - for instance between tradition and the need for rapid burials. Credible communication is key to building trust and many states set up COVID-19 national taskforces to co-ordinate responses from governments, health organization, business, and the security sector, aided by community support networks, faith-based and religious organisations.
The importance of the informal sector to national economies also led governments to allow a level of self-monitoring, while making sanitisers and other equipment available, and encouraging mutual responsibility on social distancing.… Seguir leyendo »
Robert Mugabe's death at age 95, after nearly 60 years at the helm of Zimbabwe's liberation and post-independence politics, is a momentous occasion. Mugabe was the founding father of modern Zimbabwe, with all its stunning successes and grievous failures. As he moves into national legend, contestations over his legacy demonstrate that, in death as in life, the man known as Gushungo (from his family lineage) still continues to polarize opinion.
His failings are well known, including the mass murders of more than 30,000 civilians in Matabeleland during the 1980s Gukurahundi campaigns, and the killings and torture of opposition activists in the 2000s and 2010s.… Seguir leyendo »
Before Zimbabwe’s general election on 30 July, there was a lot of talk about there being ‘landmark change’ and ‘credibility.’ But in many ways it was déjà vu. President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ruling ZANU-PF party won the parliamentary vote, taking a majority 144 seats out of 210. The opposition MDC Alliance, a seven-party coalition led by Nelson Chamisa, won 64 seats—an improvement on their 2013 showing of 44 seats, but still falling far short of expectations.
The presidential results were much closer. After clashes on Wednesday, the incumbent Mnangagwa was declared winner early Friday morning, taking 50.8 per cent of the vote against Chamisa’s 44.3 per cent.… Seguir leyendo »
The death of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai is a loss for Zimbabwe. In nearly three decades of speaking truth to power, Tsvangirai helped to change his nation and the region.
Southern Africa's new politics
His death marks a period of transition for regional governments and opposition parties alike. The Zuma era has ended in South Africa while Mozambique, Namibia and Angola have also seen political transitions, pushing modernization agendas to appeal to young citizenries that increasingly see politics in separate terms from the liberationist struggles of the previous generation.
Regional opposition movements also face winds of change: the longstanding opposition leader in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Etienne Tshekedi, passed away in 2017, and Mozambique’s Afonso Dhlakama and Kenya's Raila Odinga are both aging.… Seguir leyendo »
The ecstatic scenes said it all – Zimbabweans around the world are celebrating the resignation of Robert Mugabe as president. In January 1980, hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans thronged Zimbabwe Grounds stadium in Highfields township, Harare, to welcome Mugabe back from exile. In March 1980, with reggae icon Bob Marley and Britain’s Prince Charles in attendance, thousands filled Rufaro Stadium to witness the handover from Rhodesia to the new nation of Zimbabwe. Thirty-seven years later, the largest crowds Harare has ever witnessed flooded the streets once again; not to welcome Mugabe in, but to see him out. One simple, taut phrase summed up the day’s events: 'This is our second independence day.'… Seguir leyendo »
A closely contested and unpredictable election saw Zambia's incumbent President Edgar Lungu of the Patriotic Front (PF) emerge victorious – but with just 50.35 per cent of the vote, protesters clashing with the police in the streets, and support mostly concentrated in the north and east of the country, much needs to be done to unite a politically divided nation.
Lungu is now charged with creating that unity while also steering Zambia from its current economic downturn; this will require political will and careful control of government spending.
China's economic downturn and the subsequent fall in copper prices greatly impacted Zambia, where copper accounts for over three-quarters of export earnings and 16 per cent of GDP.… Seguir leyendo »
Robert Mugabe was declared winner of the Zimbabwean election on Saturday, but the struggle over the meaning of the outcome continues. For some it represents a "patriotic vote" by millions of Zimbabweans who are returning to the party of liberation. For others it has simply been an illegitimate election. Beyond the sound and fury, what does it all mean for Zimbabwe?
Concerns about the election are real, and cannot simply be dismissed as sour grapes. On polling day many urban voters failed to find their names on the electoral roll, for reasons which the electoral commission is yet to adequately explain.… Seguir leyendo »
Six weeks is a long time in African politics. In late November a UN report on the crisis in Mali acknowledged that the country "is at risk of becoming a permanent haven for terrorists", but expressed serious reservations about whether, and when, a regional force should intervene. The UN security council authorised a regional military intervention, but insisted that the earliest this force could be in place was September 2013. Fast forward six weeks and the multinational intervention in Mali is now happening. French air power and ground forces have already been deployed, and in Algeria we've seen the prospect of this conflict spreading across the region.… Seguir leyendo »
For decades, Libya has been an integral part of Africa. Indeed Sirte, the Colonel Gaddafi stronghold where fighting still continues, was the birthplace of the Organisation of African Unity in 1963. About a quarter of indigenous Libyans are black, while African migrant workers in Libya exceed one million; and during his 40-year rule Gaddafi championed pan-Africanism and African multiculturalism.
But the Libyan uprising, while toppling the old order, has also become an ugly race war. The rebels were angry that black African mercenaries were hired to buttress the old regime – even though most of them were actually migrant workers or indigenous black Libyan soldiers.… Seguir leyendo »
The events of this week mark a milestone in Zimbabwe's history. The Harare agreement is a breakthrough that represents the country's last, best chance of averting apocalypse. Sceptics insist that the deal cannot work; but for millions of suffering Zimbabweans, it is a sweet tea. And the risk is now that the international community might inadvertently undermine this source of hope.
It will not be easy to make this deal work; and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe's new prime minister, has no illusions about the size of the task facing him. In yesterday's Guardian interview he spoke of the "inherent suspicion" between the reluctant partners.… Seguir leyendo »
Morgan Tsvangirai's decision to pull out of Friday's presidential run-off is disappointing, but not entirely unexpected. Ever since the March 29 election and its bitterly contested results, opinion in Zimbabwe had been divided over whether or not the Movement for Democratic Change should be part of this second-round vote. Tsvangirai will be criticised for withdrawing, but his MDC was damned if it did, damned if it didn't.
The MDC's participation in the run-off would have made it harder to condemn the outcome, and Zanu-PF believed that MDC participation would effectively legitimise Mugabe.
But Tsvangirai's exit is a propaganda coup for Zanu-PF, which will portray Tsvangirai as weak and vacillating.… Seguir leyendo »
Dan Van der Vat gave a good account of the history and personality of Ian Smith, the former prime minister of Rhodesia (Obituary, November 21). For Zimbabweans of all races, Smith's death brought back to mind the horrors of the war of liberation against white minority rule.No one can say that any side - guerrilla or Rhodesian - was blameless with regard to the atrocities inflicted on civilians in the rural areas; however, the indiscriminate slaughter of men, women and children by Rhodesian forces in the refugee camps in Mozambique, Zambia and Botswana from 1975 to 1979 will always linger. And, as Van der Vat points out, Smith "expressed not a word of remorse or regret for his actions"
Black Zimbabweans remember the Smith years as a period when we were not allowed to vote in any meaningful way, we could not eat in "white" restaurants, or swim in community pools, or start school until the age of seven (two years later than white children).… Seguir leyendo »