The horrifying reality of Cameroon’s Anglophone ‘civil war’

Children in Cameroon are bearing the brunt of the Anglophone crisis with schools becoming “battlefields,” says one resident. 
Since 2016, a wave of violence has swept the North West and South West regions of Cameroon – where English-speaking people in Cameroon reside.
The conflicts left children as young as seven in regions like Bamenda and Kumbo witnessing the everyday violence, says South west born James.
“A lot of these children have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. What they have seen and experienced I can not  explain it. It’s too awful and there are not enough services that can help them deal with this.”
“Anyone who speaks the Anglophone will be shot and killed, and when this is happening you cannot film, you can not even bring your phone out or else you will be targeted too,” he told The Peoples News.
Over the last three years 80% of schools closed as a result of the “crisis”, denying more than 600,000 children access to education. 450,000 people within the NW and SW regions – half of them children – have been displaced to neighbouring areas, according to a report published by the UN. 
The violence, which has often been described as a civil war, started after English-speaking lawyers and teachers protested against their perceived marginalisation and called for more autonomy away from the French regions. 
Instead, President Paul Biya used force to break up the Anglophone demonstrations – which James believes radically changed the atmosphere in the country and started an uprising of violence. 

Impact of violence 

 In November  2018, 80 people were kidnapped from the region of Bamenda from the Presbyterian Secondary School Nkwen.
Several months later a total of 176 people, mostly students, were kidnapped by unidentified gunmen at Saint Augustin’s College in Kumbo, in the North West region of Cameroon. They were released the next day – after negotiations to shut down the school were made.
James admitted that over the last three years it was not just the French-speaking who incited violence. 
He said: “They (Anglophones) kidnap or hurt you if you advocate for school resumption, just like my uncle who is a pastor in Bamenda was kidnapped because he is in support of schools continuing.”
“ To them they think when schools are not functioning, it will push the government to negotiate. But this is not the case.”
The two Anglophone regions have requested greater authority from the government since former territories held by the British and French were federated into one central African nation in 1961.
The 25 year-old said people, particularly the young, have become “scared to the point where they avoid going outside to identify their families bodies.”
This is to ensure no one identifies them as also being part of the English-speaking community.
“I had to move from the South West to escape everything that was happening but my family was still living there so I would visit often. But like others they have all moved from there now to neighbouring regions {Limbe}. No one is left in my home town,” James said.
 He added: “It makes me sad knowing that children in some of the cities in these regions can’t go to school, it’s almost like a battlefield for them. And the fact that my father cannot go back to the house he recently built before the crises began.”
“All of these things have had a toll on me mentally and sometimes I wake up at night when its raining thinking about those in the bushes in those regions with no shelter it sends chills down my spine each time I think about it.”

Resolutions

James believes that one day the violence in Cameroon will change the same way Rwanda’s violence did. 
“In my opinion I think the United Nations and African Union needs to set up some sort of a peace keeping mission to keep the military and the separatists at bay so the civilians can return.”
“The UN and other organisations push for dialogues by urging a monitored negotiation  but unfortunately the government is reluctant,” he said. 

Names of individuals mentioned in this article have been changed for their protection.

Image by: Stringer 2019

AROUND THE WORLD: Zimbabwe’s criminalisation of under-age marriage will decriminalise deliberate HIV transmission

Zimbabwe’s new proposed law which stops girls under the age of 18 from legally entering marriage and criminalises marrying off minors will decriminalise the deliberate transmission of HIV.

Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi told the Zimbabwean Parliament last week the recent decision was in line with international developments but failed to name which countries also followed suit.
Ziyambi said the Marriage Amendment Bill, currently at drafting stage, will repeal the crime of deliberately passing on HIV in order to remove the stigmatisation of the virus.
“When this legislation came into effect, the thinking then was that we need to control the spread of HIV by criminalising those who transmit it to partners willingly. But the global thinking now is  that law stigmatises people living with HIV/AIDS and studies have shown that it does not produce the results that were intended,” Ziyambi said in response to a question by Zengeza West MP Job Sikhala (MDC).
Section 79 (1) of the Criminal Codification and Reform Act on deliberate transmission of HIV states whether or not he or she is married to the other person they shall be liable to imprisonment for a period not exceeding twenty years.
The act requires proof beyond reasonable doubt, however, Zimbabwean health organisations such as NAC Zimbabwe believe there’s a difficulty in proving such a crime.

 NAC Zimbabwe recently commented that “it is very difficult to apply this concept because health systems cannot determine who infected who and it could be a situation where the victim in the criminal case is the perpetrator.”
High profile figures such as Zimbabwean director of TB and Aids in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr Owen Mugurungi, have also supported the recent proposal. Dr Mugurungi has stated that “If we look closely, the law was put up to slow transmission of HIV and Aids, but the situation on the ground is not pointing that way.”
“We are actually having new infections by the day and the worrying issue being that those infecting others and those infected are not coming out in fear of the same law,” he added.
Speaking to The Peoples News, Issac Gundani, 31, from Harare said he believed whether or not Parliament kept the law the main issue lied in the lack of awareness and education on HIV.
“We have HIV centres in Harare but they’re not as visible as they should be, but even if they were -would people go for check-ups?”
“What needs to happen is we need to instil more responsibility on schools and parents to actively educate their children and themselves on this issue and the effects of not getting a check-up and this should be done from a young age,” he told The People’s News.
He added that the current law is difficult and ineffective because people struggle to prove someone has intentionally transmitted the virus. He also questioned how someone could prove their innocence and whether or not people feel comfortable revealing their status in case their loved ones are imprisoned.
Gundani suggested an increase in proactive lessons for students to be taught on sexual viruses in order for them to realise they too can catch the virus. He believes teaching them on where to seek help will also encourage a larger and more open conversation on viruses, while also making the HIV centres more visible because it’s not something that should be hidden.
According to a report published by AVERT last year on Zimbabwe’s HIV epidemic, in 2017, the issue of gender inequality was still present within relationships and marriages, and drove HIV infections.
For example, only 69% of men believed a woman has the right to refuse sexual intercourse if she knows he has sex with other women. Although in the minority, 23% of females also believed women do not have the right to ask their partner to use a condom if he has a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
The study also found that more than a third of women who have been married have experienced physical or sexual violence from their partner. This prevents women from being able to negotiate using a condom, and puts them at higher biological risk of HIV.
Some have argued these are the main factors and why the HIV law needs to remain, in order to protect women and men who’re in vulnerable situations, such as abusive relationships where the husband will deliberately transmit the disease as punishment.
A 19 year old Zimbabwean student, who preferred to remain anonymous, said: “To me decriminalising this is almost as if to say we don’t care, and gives these people the power to do whatever they want without consequence. If this is causing stigma then lets put in more education and make the conversation on HIV the norm. But we should not remove this law.”

Migration: The perpetual cycle

Failure to find safe haven

Europe’s perpetual cycle of migrants and refugees is intensifying the on-going immigration debate, primarily on how it can be handled and managed.  A copious number of migrants are coming in from the Middle East and Africa due to war, poverty, and many other contributing factors. But they face disappointment as many of them face abuse, both physically and emotionally, during their journey across the Mediterranean, and even when they land on the continent are still being rejected from entering certain countries.

Whilst some hard-line central and eastern European governments, such as Hungary and Poland, are pushing for tougher and stricter borders, others are still hopeful for a fairer distribution of new arrivals.

Recurring issues

In a statement made by Red Cross secretary General Elhaj As Sy, he addressed the recent rejection which migrants received from Italy and Malta. Italy’s denial of a safe and accepting welcoming for the refugees led to an outcry over the laws of migration, whilst people in Valencia, where a rescue ship with over 600 individuals was diplomatically stranded, joined together and saw the vessel accepted.

“People are coming to Europe seeking values. European values, values of solidarity and support and welcoming and helping those in need. So, doing anything less than that is really a betrayal to Europe itself.” The statement made by As Sy was regarded as a true reflection of what is currently going on. As Spaniards joined together to cheer and help the refugees, refugee activist Anira Lappara told Aljazeera News that “Europe is trying to turn a blind eye but we want to respect the rights and offer them a home, our land is their land.”

This is a frequently occurring issue, with tens of thousands of migrants travelling weeks and enduring extreme hardships, only to be left with nothing but a return ship back home and promises of safer environments or holding camps. French President Emmanuel Macron is an embodiment of false promises and hopes. Last year he backtracked after suggesting Libya was, in fact, a safe country for returns and he was in the process of planning camps there as well as in Chad and Niger. However, the people of Libya are still suffering from the recent trauma of the slave trade, poverty and the turmoil from the Arab Springs in 2011.

Steve, a Congolese born and bred who currently lives in the United Kingdom stated that “These people do not understand what goes on in Africa. The desperation you must be in order to flee your homeland with nothing but shoes and clothing. Setting up these camps where we may endure abuse, endangerment and more, what good does it really do? They know what we will endure but as long as we stay in our “African soil” and not on there’s that’s all that matters.”

Will there be any change?

The rise in anti-immigration sentiments across the continent means many of these migrants will be rejected despite being in desperation and looking to the continent that gave the world the enlightenment for help.

They come from far and wide. Those from Syria are fleeing a country still gripped by civil war in which has no hope in ending. Many Syrians flee to neighbouring countries, but even in doing this they are left with barely anything to survive. Vast quantities live in these countries as refugees and are not permitted to work, a restriction which leads them into a deeper hole of poverty.

It is said that many of those who flee are at great personal risk if they stay in the country. A report published by Think Progress concluded that “Refugees are also at risk of religious persecution.” According to Amnesty International, people from Nigeria, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Egypt have been “abducted, tortured, unlawfully killed and harassed because of their religion” in Libya, particularly by ISIS.

In Kasserine, Tunisia, where many of the migrants can be found, there is a long political frustration which has led to mass unrest. Furthermore, life in Tunisa is becoming harder as incomes and employment opportunities are no longer available. According to the 2014 census, unemployment in Tunisia runs at roughly 15% leaving many without a job and onto the route of sever poverty.

Sterlite Industries: The under reported truth

A copious number of copper smelting plants owned by Vedanta were started in the outskirts of the Thoothukudi district and many other villages. After a decade of increased cancer rates, breathing issues and polluted groundwater the people of Tuticorin have been coming forward to show their frustrations and demand a change.

Western media outlets have failed to report on this recurring issue despite the fact that there is an increased number of deaths and illness’ in the villages of India, thousands of people within the districts of India are being affected by these plants. Many people have failed to understand the intensity of the issue,  it is difficult to know or pinpoint which factory, in particular, has caused this outbreak. There has been no official proof that these cases are due to Sterlite.

According to Senior correspondent journalist Smitha from ‘The Quint’ who I recently interviewed on this issue. She states that “there are several factories and power plants who could also be responsible. But villagers and the people of Tuticorin have been believing that Sterlite is to be blamed, these accusations are based on the visible harmful effects they have seen near the factory. The main contention here is, in spite of so many complaints, why has the state government not taken any initiative to conduct a health survey to find the cause.”

Whilst journalists like Smitha continue searching for the truth and helping those that are affected the government has failed to do even the most basic of surveys to find the cause of this perpetual cycle of death and illness. Even with the continuous protests and marches, there was no immediate action.

The most recent march was on March 24th 2018 where thousands of frantic and angry citizens gathered with their loved ones on the streets of this south Indian coastal town in a bid to close down the Vedanta Sterlite’s copper operations. An article by Nityanand Jayaraman explains the long history of gas leaks, discharging chemicals in water bodies and scrutinises the beginning times of ‘Sterlite’ which was 1992.

Smitha explains the process of change

“So, in January, people went to the district Collector to submit a petition asking for the factory to be shut down. Their petition was accepted but they didn’t get any response. So they decided to protest for 100 days. People of all religions and castes would come together from even the outskirts to voice their dissent. The 100th day was supposed to mark their victory as they marched towards the Collectorate to submit a  petition asking for the factory to be shut down . But all hell broke loose when the police opened fire in order to control the crowd, but that killed over 14 and injuring at least 250. This only angered them more. Their agitation and wails grew louder that the government was forced to order a shutdown of the factory. “ said Smitha

After a frustrating time of protests and demanding, the factory was at last shut down. It was reported by Smitha that The district Collector and Superintendent of Police were transferred and new officers were appointed in their place. Since they have taken an oath, they have cleaned up all water bodies, installed new water pump systems, ensure water lorries sent at regular intervals.

Although, it was a glory to see the factory shut down this now means an increased process of copper and huge losses. Sterlite being one of the largest producers in the country means that everyone that was once depended on them will suffer and possibly lose out on profit due to the increased prices. It has been argued that if the state government been cautious and ensured the factories worked along the norms specified, people wouldn’t be facing this issue.

Smitha says that it “Shows the lethargic attitude and irresponsibility of the government.”

Vedanta’s response to the closure seems to ignore the recent protests and demands of the community, in an interview with BT economy said: “The closure of Sterlite Copper plant is an unfortunate development, especially since we have operated the plant for over 22 years in most transparent and sustainable way, contributing to Tuticorin and the state’s socio-economic development. We will study the order and decide on the future course of action,”

The road to Zimbabwe’s 2018 election

Image result for zimbabwe elections 2018

President Emerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa is a notorious figure in the politics of Zimbabwe. Commonly referred to as the ‘Crocodile’, he is known for his infamous political cunning.

Yet, the landscape appears to be changing. Having recently vowed to hold free and fair elections, he promises the citizens of Zimbabwe a better economy and foreign policy drive, if elected on 30th July. Even so, whilst Mnangagwa is confident that the elections will be fair, many have disputed this will be the case, citing Zanu-PF’s previous association with violence during elections. His main rival is Nelson Chamisa, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), who has started gaining support in Zanu-PF’s rural strongholds.

Chamisa believes that Mnangagwa does not have the ability to match the zeal and enthusiasm of the young people of Zimbabwe. In an exclusive interview with DW.com, the opposition leader stated that “Time is up for a particular generation”. In numerous interviews, Chamisa continues to make clear his belief that age will give him the advantage during these elections. Yet, even with his eighteen years in politics, many people still question whether this “youth ticket” will be enough to be up against the experienced and distinguished Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Mnangagwa too questions whether Chamisa is much of an opposition. Indeed, according to New Zimbabwe.com, he describes the opposition party as “barking puppies”, and has been quoted saying that “Zanu-PF is in power”.

He added: “Let it be known that nothing will change in this country even if we go for elections because people will vote for our party.” Elections on July 30 belong to Zanu-PF. We dictate what happens in this country. We already have an upper hand and the elections have been won already by us. Let those who want to argue do so, but just vote for Zanu-PF,”

What do the people of Zimbabwe have to say?

The months of July and August will be crucial for Zimbabwean millennials. It is said by the content creator and YouTuber, Pardon Gambakwe, that it is the “middle age citizens who suffer the most” when it comes to economic and social issues in Zimbabwe, and they want serious change.

Journalist Linda Mujuru argues that the opposition is “too weak to challenge Mnangagwa”. Chamisa’s past battle with Vice-President Thokozani Khupe over the leadership of the MDC-T has led people to speculate about a lack of organisation and unity within his party.

Yet, Joel Mutsindikwa believes that “Chamisa is the only way forward when we are about to rebound our economy”. He added: “I would rather vote for a dreamer than a Mugabe’s former right-hand man. We are in a deep economic shambles because of Zanu-PF. ” On the other hand, Noble Ngara has suggested that “it is better to vote for a guy who is doing a great job of fixing his mistakes than a guy who is not even mature enough to realise that he is heading for bigger blunders than Bob.”

Although many remain uncertain as to which candidate will take presidential office, Britain is said to support of Mnangagwa. The basis of its backing has been clear for the past few months- if the election is free, fair and credible. Indeed, during the Commonwealth Heads of government meeting, the UK government reiterated that the restoration of “democracy and human rights” must occur in Zimbabwe before any engagement is made with the country. Rather interestingly, many believe that Britain’s endorsement has stemmed from a desire to achieve foreign policy success, especially in light of the current Brexit storm. 

With just over a month to go now until polling day, the prospect of a progressive and democratic Zimbabwe may just be on the horizon.

 

 

 

 

Who is to blame for the deaths of 340,000 Syrian civilians?

More than 340,000 people died since what started as a ‘peaceful’ uprising of president Bashar al-Assad almost seven years ago. After succeeding his father in 2000 , protests began during the Arab Spring calling for al-Assad’s resignation. This followed the government’s prevention of freedom of speech and opinion when it came to calls for democracy. 

In Assad’s attempt to bring back government control the protests and violence worsened leading to the formation of hundreds of rebel groups which ultimately led to this civil war.   

Currently Syria’s Eastern Ghouta region outside Damascus, home to 400,000 people, continues to be under mass destruction leaving families displaced and desperate. 500 people have been killed by the deadly bombing campaign by the regime of Bashar al-Assad and his allies during the seven-year war. Syrian Civil Defence workers state that government forces targeted the town with a number of deadly weapons including barrel bombs which were dropped from helicopters.  

On 24 February, the UN Security Council unanimously passed resolution 2401 in favour of a month-long ceasefire, but this has failed to materialise.  Hospitals, schools, and shops are still being destroyed by air and artillery strikes, despite this Russia have taken action and enforced a “humanitarian pause”, replacing the UN ceasefire. The pause was to occur  for five hours a day allowing civilian corridors to let people flee and evacuate in order to get aid and medical attention. However, reports from Al Jazeera say that many of the victims say there is no guarantee of their safety if they choose to evacuate, whilst they continue to stay in their shelters in an attempt to avoid being seen or bombed they’re still far from safe. A man who recently spoke to Al Jazeera, spoke of being forced to go to a shelter in Douma after the area he lived in with his family was indiscriminately shelled.

Throughout the civil war the Syrian government has denied the use of poisonous gasses but those monitoring the situation have reported otherwise, claiming that there has been at least 200 incidences of poison gas attck. It has been said by local medical and other sources that gases released during a dawn rocket attack caused “cases of suffocation,” Reuters reported. Sadly, these allegations of using illegal chemical weapons is nothing new for the President, rather more of the same.

The blame game for who is responsible for the deaths of civilians continues, with both sides alleging the other is responsible for the number of deaths and destruction that is occurring. Russian Spokesman Dmitry Peskov, states that the accusations that Russia bears some of the blame for civilian deaths in Eastern Ghouta is “groundless”, while  the Syrian Observatory claims that they’re able to distinguish between Russian and Syrian planes because Russians aircraft fly higher and they’re not to blame for the deaths.Who

Australia passes law to legalise assisted death

The UK’s absence of legal euthanasia, assisted death and assisted suicide forces people to travel to other nations for the right to die, some of these countries include Switzerland and Belgium.

Belgium was one of the first countries to legalise assisted dying for terminally ill minors, given that their parents have provided consent, in many other countries the patient must be aged 18 and over.

Many people are confused when it comes to the terms Euthanasia, assisted suicide and assisted death. These terms are often not used consistently. Euthanasia is an intervention undertaken with the intention of ending a life to relieve suffering, for example, a lethal injection administered by a doctor. Assisted suicide is an act that intentionally helps another person kill themselves, for example by providing them with the means to do so, most commonly by prescribing a lethal medication.

The quest to legalise assisted dying has been denied several times by a number of countries including Australia, but just three months ago on the 29th of November 2017, lower house MPs in Victoria Australia voted in favour of the bill that will allow people who are terminally ill and in intolerable pain to end their lives The debate which consisted of 100 hours of disagreements and amendments, as well as two all-night sittings led to the decision: patients will be able to request the assistance for their death from doctors. The law will be made legal In Victoria from 2019.

Despite legalisation, like other law, there are conditions, the patient must be at least 18, and have less than six months to live, additionally patients must have lived in Victoria for at least 12 years and must also be considered sane and of sound mind.

Fiona Patten, MP, told the Guardian: “It’s very clear the vast majority of Victorians are happy the parliament has done this work.” Although joyous celebrations continue in Australia, here in Britain many citizens are disappointed with the government’s decision to not legalise assisted death.

Terminally ill Noel Conway brought a judicial review which challenges the current law on assisted dying, Mr Conway was granted the permission to appeal his earlier rejection on the 18th of January 2018. In a recent BBC video, Mr Conway says “It’s my body, I have a right to die I have a right to determine how I should die and more importantly when I should die and I want to do so when I have a degree of dignity left”. But, when MP’S last voted a few years ago they rejected a change in the Law in a free vote in the Commons, 118 MPs were in favour and 330 against plans to legalise. Noel Conway is amongst the thousands of patients campaigning for the right to control their deaths.

The most recent survey of doctors in the UK was in 2007-08. The rate of euthanasia was reported to be 0.21% of all deaths, and a similar rate has been reported in France (in 2009), even though euthanasia remains illegal in both countries. Many people are aware that although assistance in death is illegal it STILL occurs, a social worker who preferred to remain anonymous said “Britain should quickly rethink their decisions of making this illegal because too many people are suffering and doctors are being placed under immense pressures.”

An interesting comment made by Rita Joseph on the subject – she says: “The terminally ill, although they are dying, are still alive. It is their live humanity, their living membership of the human family that entitles them to human rights. We are obliged to travel in human solidarity with them, to provide them with the best attainable palliative care, in their homes or hospices or intensive care units, to be attentive to their needs, to be with them to the moment of natural death. While every person has a right to refuse burdensome medical intervention intended to prolong life, no person has a right to demand of carers a medical intervention intended to kill”

Whether or not the law will become legal in a couple years time, the question that still remains is will doctors actually want to be partly responsible for the death or suicide of another person, if not what will happen to these medical professionals. Many people have already protested the law with the statement “don’t let doctors kill they’re meant to heal.”

Gender inequality rife throughout Africa

The largest gender gaps are observed in West and Central Africa, where 79 girls are enrolled in secondary school for every 100 boys.

Although, African leaders declared that this year was “the African youth decade” and launched a number of youth employment strategies to help the increasing unemployment figures, its still on the rise. There is no doubt that more needs to be done to give the youth the educational resources they need to thrive, but as the region continues to increase its military spending, they are cutting education which is having a devastating effect on rural areas.

The rural poverty across the continent is something that is constantly spoken about, so it is not surprising when it is stated that the rural children are at a disadvantage learning only key skills needed for manual labour work. Many parents who send their children to school see this as a way to climb out of poverty, this would be the case if the money is continuously invested, and many of the African countries weren’t exploited by their leaders.

Teachers must be paid a fair salary, and students need up to date resources.

Many of the children who are sent to school still severely lack in the skills necessary for employment. A large focus has been placed on urban areas by ensuring new infrastructure and leisure facilities are built, which is all well for tourism but, does not ensure youth are given the skills they need to contribute to the economy of the region.

To address this education crisis, African governments must direct more resources towards rural areas by implementing policies that give the youth of the region the opportunity to succeed.
Surely, the most urgent priorities for the government besides taking care of the welfare of its citizens should be the provision of schooling for its children. Many were perplexed on the announcement back in 2012 that Western Cape government was considering closing 27 schools in the province but, since then there have been many additional schools built providing the Western Cape with some of the largest campuses in the southern hemisphere.

In South Africa public spending on education is 6.4% of GDP; the average share in EU countries is 4.8%. However the issue that continues to affect school children is not the amount spent on schools, but the quality of the teaching. This has massively affected the results of science and mathematics tests, ranking South Africa 74th out of 75th in the league tables.

A Professor at the Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol said: “The key message is that a first step to improving education quality and equity in rural areas is through improving monitoring and evaluation systems. The evidence indicates that providing value added data to policymakers and practitioners will improve evaluation processes at all levels of the education system – national, regional, county, school, class and learner”

Another way in which the education system can be ‘enhanced’ is employee education, many children from poor and underdeveloped regions cannot afford education fees and many of them end up giving up school in order to take care of their families or undergo child labour, providing them with skill based subjects and teaching them the fundamentals of surviving in the tough industries whether its crafts, dairy, carpentry etc. This will allow them to have a better and safe employment option rather than core labour.

Libya – The conflict we forgot about

The battle between whether or not Europe’s borders should be open for immigrants has been a continuous war between political parties. Over the years governments have been limiting the numbers of immigrants allowed to cross the boarder of European countries such as Italy. However, the people of these war torn countries are desperate, and therefore forced to rely on people smugglers who charge an extortionate fee for the service. In 2015, a statement was made by Italian leaders stating that they would allow a more even distribution of refugees to pass the border more safely without resorting to illegal people smuggling, since then we have seen no major change.

In London’s most recent news the topics have been centered around the prolific slave trade in Libya. Many of these people were caught trying to escape the country and start a new life in Europe, but as it becomes increasingly difficult to leave, those without the means to pay for safe passage, end up stuck in a vicious trade cycle.

Video footage of Libyan citizens being auctioned for less than $400 were released Mid November by CNN. The footage brought to light the conditions and concerns for migrants who try, but fail, to escape the borders.The EU have forged a plan to launch “concrete military action” with additional humanitarian aid to maintain stability of the region. However, it is difficult to forget that just 2 years earlier the EU were propping up detention centers with funding and training to ensure desperate migrants did not leave the war torn region.

Libya is the perfect destination for these ‘slave masters’ because of the perpetual flow of Africans trying to travel to Europe by sea. It has been estimated that more than 1000 people try to cross the Mediterranean Sea every few months. To try and mitigate the crisis, the Rwandan government issued a press release headlined “Rwanda’s door is open for migrants held captive in Libya”. Although. Rwanda has offered a very generous offer, it is quite clear to say that it may not be the best option, below are three reasons why.

Despite the abundance of natural resources, Rwanda is currently over populated with a population of 11.2million – with 57% of people living below the poverty line.The most immediate argument AGAINST sending the Libyan citizens to Rwanda is the fact that the people within Rwanda are already physically and mentally abused. Like many African countries today, corruption continues to tear the country apart.Government Protection and healthcare is scarce, which only serves to exacerbate the devastating impact of poverty and HIV/Aids on Rwanda’s development.

Many disagree with the idea of migrating the victims of the slave trade to a country that is already overwhelmed by its native population, while others have applauded the country for taking immediate action to help those in desperate need. But one issue about the whole tragedy is the lack of coverage by economically stable nations. This is what provoked the people of London to create a petition in order for the UK government to have a more active role in securing the stability of the region. It seems the conflict is beginning to get more attention on the global stage with celebrities such as Giggs getting involved on twitter by sharing a petition started by Constance Mbassi which led to a further 10,000 signatures.

Even though our governments have been slow to respond, people with prominent platforms are helping keep the story relevant, and hopefully this will lead to an organised effort to stop the suffering of the Libyan people.

A modern revolution: How Zimbabwe got rid of Mugabe

November was a time of celebration for the citizens of Zimbabwe as the brutal Mugabe era finally ended.

Mugabe’s failing regime caused continuous devastation; a lack of healthcare, minimum funding for the education system and underpaid doctors. This forced the people of Zimbabwe to strike and march for his resignation.

The former president was highly respected at the beginning of his 37 years in power, because of his victory against the segregationist rule in the 70’s, and winning the country’s first independent election in the 80’s. Several people have blamed his wife Grace Mugabe, also known as Gucci Grace for his downfall. The former first lady, who had hopes of succeeding her husband, had only one qualification for the role, being Mugabe’s wife. The news that Robert Mugabe had fired his powerful vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, which cleared the way for his wife, sparked immediate attention and her ambitions were impeded when the army seized power. The army insisted it was not a coup, though, it was quite clear, it was.

A week later former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, a 75-year-old liberation war veteran and stalwart of the ruling Zanu-PF party, nicknamed the crocodile has been appointed.

In his first speech on Friday at a graduation ceremony west of the capital, Harare, he announced his ambition to modernise Zimbabwe and fix the country’s failing economy. He said: “the world has grown fiercely competitive and Zimbabwe must learn to deliver finished products to markets and extract the most profit from the country’s natural resources.”
Despite his gravitas many people do not believe that he is the right man for the job. He has a fierce reputation, as Mugabe’s enforcer, he was also directly involved in the Matabeleland massacres of the 1980s, in which 20,000 killings occurred. Whilst many hold his past mistakes against him, others believe he will undoubtedly be a less awful president but, he is hardly considered a democrat.

Zimbabwe’s new President Emmerson Mnangagwa has named his cabinet, appointing senior military figures to high-profile positions.

As read on Times Live – Africa a major outcry surfaced from the youth and adult citizens of Zimbabwe stating that Mr Emmerson had made poor decisions on the cabinet positions, the education minister who was rewarded a cabinet due to his participation in the removal of Robert Mugabe has been dropped earlier today [2nd December 2017] due to the continuous outcries made by the people, in addition to this removal Mnangagwa has also taken action to remove primary and higher education minister Lazaraus Dokora after a number of people complained about his poor performance and undermining Zimbabwe’s education system.

Despite these changes there is no doubt that copious numbers of Zimbabweans are disappointed with the line up as they hoped that things would change and drift away from the Mugabe era.