Some links: Nigeria talking points, DRC mining, US and two stories from Swaziland


– Yar’Adua’s death last Wednesday, which closed the latest chapter on Nigeria’s politics, has undoubtedly been the most important stroy coming from the country in the past few days, and to know all about it, Loomnie gives us a few links to follow the story.
– Another important talking point in Nigeria has been the BBC documentary «Welcome to Lagos», which has generated radically opposite opinions: from anger of the Nigerian ambassador to the UK to the accusation that a colonial view underpinned the film voiced by Wole Soyinka, to those that enjoyed it, or those that wondered about what these reactions revealed about Nigerian public opinon.
– And yesterday on «The Globe and Mail» – whose online edition was guest-edited by Ory Okolloh (post on this coming soon) – writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie shared the view that a new Nigerian-ness was becoming more visible and that «nothing exemplifies this growing confidence more than the explosion in Nigerian pop music».


Much has been said about minerals and the DRC, and Adam Hotschild – author of «King Leopold’s Ghost» adds his own take about it, on this month’s Mother Jones – nevertheless a very well written piece on gold mining on the country.


Yesterday opened the African Land Forces Summit, with the presence of over 100 senior military leaders from African countries. judging from the inaugural remarks made by George W. Casey, U.S. Army Chief of Staff, it appears that the war-on-terror is the main preocupation for the US (or at least this is what is being said). Thus Casey said:

“Two trends that worry me most are weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorist organizations and safe havens — countries and parts of countries where the local government can’t or won’t deny their countries to terrorists,”

(h/t Sahel Blog’s twitter)


And finally two pieces news-stories – of very different nature – coming from Swaziland, a country that usually does not get much media attention.
First, the good news: this is that the Goldman Prize – aka the most prestigious environmental award in the world, aka the «green Nobel» – has been awarded to Thuli Brilliance Makama. According to the UK’s «The Independent» newspaper:

Leading the Swazi green group Yonge Nawe, she has worked with local communities to help them to file lawsuits against the kingdom’s flourishing private game parks. While the prize committee said it had made the award on the basis of her victory in a three-year effort to open up Swaziland’s Environment Authority to public participation, Ms Makama is better known for standing up to private game reserves whose rangers have been accused of indiscriminate killings of poachers. By defending poachers, she could, arguably, be presented as an anti-conservationist, but that would ignore the complexities of African politics…
(T)he world’s leading environment prize gave its verdict: «For many years, these communities have endured brutality and abuse at the hands of armed reserve owners, and a number of suspected poachers have been killed in the name of conserving the fenced-in wildlife»

And now, the bad news, which refer to the political situation on the country, and specifically to the death of Sipho Jele, who was arrested on the May Day celebrations in Manzini allegedly for wearing a PUDEMO (People’s United Democratic Movement)T-shirt. According to the Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA) website:

PUDEMO activist Sipho Jele was arrested during Workers’ Day celebrations after being found wearing a PUDEMO T-shirt. He was taken away for questioning by police who also searched his home. On Tuesday 2 May, whilst in police custody, he was found hanging in his cell. Police have claimed that Jele committed suicide whilst being held at the Sidvwashini Reman Centre; but this has been rejected by opposition movements in the region, who have alleged that police officers were involved in Jele’s death. His family have been contacted by authorities, advising them to proceed with a swift burial. Juliet Jele, Sipho’s aunt said:
“The family is yet to meet to discuss what to do next on the matter, but the police should give me an explanation why my son died like this. As a family, we want our own doctor,”

Here, you can read PUDEMO’s statement, and here you can follow all the updates on the reactions to the death, which include a demonstation being called by trade unions for next Friday (14th May), following the autopsy of the body, which is expected to take place tomorrow.

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