African Overview – South Sudan / Angola / Cameroon / Kenya

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Source: Notas Periodismo Popular / The Dawn News / June , 2017

Photo Source: The Famous People
Angolian president, José Eduardo dos Santos. Photo Source: The Famous People

Child murders in South Sudan

The youngest country in the world had been torn by a civil war for the last four years, which has led its people to a critical situation.

The most recent news inform of a cholera epidemic that has infected over 8,200 people and has taken 248 lives so far. Besides, famine is affecting over 6 million of the 11 million inhabitants of the nation. A similar number (5.5 millions) have been displaced from their homes as a consequence of the ongoing war.

On top of this concerns, there’s the situation of children and youth. Over a million have fled South Sudan to seek refuge in neighboring states, according to statistics by UNICEF and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

They represent 62% of the total number of South-Sudanese refugees, most of whom went to Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Besides, 75 thousand children left their country either entirely alone or without their families.

A million more children have been internally displaced, and a million more are malnourished. The war has also prevented 75% of them from going to school.

Finally, according to official statistics (which are always incomplete due to the difficulty to gather data), more than a thousand children were murdered since the conflict began and 16 thousand more have been recruited as child-soldiers.

South Sudan’s civil war began when current president Salva Kiir (of the dinka ethnicity) denounced a coup attempt by his Vice President, Riek Machar (who is of the nuer ethnicity and is currently in exile). Although there were many attempts to negotiate, including the signing of a peace agreement on August 2015, which then derived in a brief Government of national unity in April 2016, the conflict persists to this day.


Six alliances will compete for the presidency of Angola

Angola closed the presentation of lists for the general elections to be held on August 23. The Constitutional Court allowed, on June 1, six lists: the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA, currently in power), the National Liberation Front of Angola, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), the National Patriotic Alliance, the Broad Convergence for the Salvation of Angola–Electoral Coalition and the Social Renovation Party.

Over 9.3 million Angolans are enabled to vote and choose the 220 legislators of the National Assembly. The President will be elected by the party that wins the most seats.

The current President of Angola, Eduardo Dos Santos, has announced he won’t run for the presidency again, thus ending a 38-year-long mandate. His party will be represented by the current Defense Minister, João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço. Prior to his ministerial seat, he was a deputy (since 1984), the President of the party and the Vice President of the National Assembly.

Since the country became independent in 1975, the presidency has always been held by the MPLA— an organization of Marxist origin that managed to expel the Portuguese colonial troops. Since its victory over the metropoli, it had to fight off a US-funded civil war and the South African apartheid regime. Even Praetorian troops invaded Angola’s territory in the 70s and 80s.

In 1992, the Constitution was reformed and a period of multi-party elections began. In 2002, the civil war ended when Jonas Savimbi, historic leader of the UNITA, was murdered. Thus, this organization became the main political opposition to Dos Santos’ government. In the latest election, MPLA obtained nearly 75% of the vote, while UNITA came in second with 18%.

Nine refugees died in a double suicide attempt in Cameroon

The refugee camp of Kolofata, north Cameroon, suffered a double suicide murder last Sunday. Two girls detonated explosives causing the death of nine people, plus themselves. 15 more were hospitalized with serious injuries.

Mijiyawa Bakary, governor of the Extreme North region of Cameroon, where the attack took place, blamed the Nigerian Islamic group Boko Haram for the attack. Populations of this part of the country are frequently targeted by this terrorist group. In November 2015, another suicide attack killed nine people.

Boko Haram has carried out attacks, kidnappings and armed attacks on populations of the Nigerian states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe with the goal of installing an Islamic government. They’ve also expanded their area of activity to neighboring countries. It is estimated that, in the last few years, they have killed 20 thousand people and caused the displacement of around 2.6 millions.

Kenya’s new train, a bit of China in Africa

The Madaraka Express train has been inaugurated in Kenya. This train will connect Nairobi with the Mombasa harbor in the Indic Ocean. The work cost 2,800 million dollars and will remain under Chinese administration for 10 years before being transferred to the Kenyan state.

The train has the capacity to transport four thousand tonnes of goods and 1,220 passengers per trip, and can make the 472-kilometer journey in 5 hours. There’s more work to do still, because the train will reach the border with Uganda, which will cost an additional 13 thousand million.

Although this wasn’t officially stated, this project is a part of the new Chinese silk road, which seeks to facilitate commerce between Asia, Africa and Europe.

Specifically in the region of the African Horn, China has made other investments such as the harbor that is being built in Djibouti, which has a strategic position in the Mandeb Strait, which connects the Indic Ocean with the Red Sea and the Suez Canal.

There’s also the train that connects Addis Abeba (capital of Ethiopia) with the harbor, which costs four thousand million dollars. Besides, in Ethiopia, China is paying for 30% of the Renaissance dam, the biggest in Africa and 8th biggest in the world.

Direct investments in China in 2016 amounted to 66.4 million dollars, making the Asian giant the biggest investor in the continent, by far.

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