Top stories of the week (21 – 25 May)


«Malawi: President Promises to Lift Ban on Homosexuality» (Global Voices)

Just months after the Zambian netizens were up in arms against UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon for asking the country to be tolerant of homosexuals, President Joyce Banda says that Malawi will lift the ban on homosexual acts in the country angering some Malawi netizens over the pronouncement.

In her first national address Joyce Banda told Parliament that  her government will repeal laws that discriminates against people based on sexual orientation.
“The indecency and unnatural acts laws shall be repealed,” she said.


«Jacob Zuma goes to court over painting depicting his genitals» (The Guardian)

Photograph: Alexander Joe/AFP/Getty Image

It began with an impression of a man’s penis in an art gallery where only a tiny fraction of the population would normally set foot. Now it has become a national debate running the gamut from freedom of expression to the right to privacy, from the nature of racism to «what is art?», and is being seen as nothing less than a test of South Africa’s constitutional democracy.

On Wednesday the president, Jacob Zuma, will bring a court action to argue that a painting showing him with exposed genitalia should be removed because it violates his right to dignity and makes a mockery of his office.

And then on Tuesday morning this happened:


AU forces intensify attack on Somali rebels (Reuters)

African Union and Somali government troops stepped up their assault on al Shabaab militants in the capital’s northern outskirts on Wednesday, forcing hundreds of families to flee their makeshift homes and head for the city centre.
The AU force, which already controls most of the capital, is trying to advance through the Afgoye corridor, once a rural area northwest of Mogadishu but now home to hundreds of thousands of Somalis uprooted from their homes.
The corridor, believed to house the largest concentration of internally displaced people in the world, stretches some 30 km northwest of Mogadishu to the al Shabaab stronghold of Afgoye.
The AU force began its advance on Tuesday and seized part of Tre Disho village, 13 km from the capital.
Burundian troops with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) were advancing from Tre Disho towards Elasha and Afgoye on Wednesday but were meeting resistance from al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab militants, their spokesman Captain Ndayiragije Come said.


Gambling with Elections in Angola – Rafael Marques (Maka Angola)

With these acts, the president is sowing doubts and confusion over the elections and the democratization process to enable him to have the last word. He convened the Council of the Republic, a consultative body of the presidency, who advised him to call for elections on August 31. The electoral process is fraught with gross violations of the law and the international basic standards of electoral procedures, to which Angola has subscribed, but the president can claim that the decision was not his. Such an option would suffice for him to maintain international legitimacy, as major powerhouses wrestle to provide greater support to Mr. Dos Santos, in exchange for oil and access to Angola’s market.

The second option lies in public protest. On May 19, for the first time since the first-ever multiparty elections of 1992, the main opposition party, the Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) drew crowds far larger than MPLA, in some provinces of Angola, including in Luanda, to demand free and fair elections, as well as changes. While these street protests were conducted without incidents, the recent wave of violence against anti-government youth groups does not predict a positive scenario. On the contrary, it seems to point that the regime, rotting in its own pinnacle of power and without an exit strategy, will brutally repress any dissent, failing to take advantage of the historic opportunity to move Angola into a democratic path.

And here you can read an extense profile of Rafael Marques’ struggle for democracy and against corruption in Angola.

Demonstrators attack African migrants in south Tel Aviv (Haaretz)

African migrants with car windows shattered by demonstrators in south Tel Aviv, May 23, 2012.Moti Milrod

Some 1,000 protesters rallied in Tel Aviv’s Hatikva neighborhood on Wednesday and called for the ousting of African asylum seekers from Israel.
Demonstrators attacked African passersby while others lit garbage cans on fire and smashed car windows.
Another group of demonstrators stopped a shuttle taxi and searched for migrant workers among the passengers, while banging on the windows.
The crowd cried «The people want the Sudanese deported» and «Infiltrators get out of our home.»
>Likud MK Miri Regev participated in the protest and said that «the Sudanese were a cancer in our body.»
The protesters expressed their dismay with  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the government’s dealings with the «problem» of asylum seekers. Some people carried signs in support of Interior Minister Eli Yishai, who called for the detention and expulsion of all asylum seekers earlier this week.


It’s Africa Day! (follow the story on Twitter)

(from Wikipedia)
Africa Day is the annual commemoration on May 25 of the 1963 founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). On this day, leaders of 30 of the 32 independent African states signed a founding charter in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia… Africa Day is observed as a public holiday in only four African countries, Ghana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. However, celebrations are held in some African countries, as well as by Africans in the diaspora.

And the Bushfire Festival starts in Swaziland. I wish this could be my weekend plan!

Mango Groove will be playing today at the Bushfire Festival.

Picture of the week

Protesters occupy Mali’s presidential palace in the capital Bamako REUTERS/Adama Diarra

Click here for the full story.

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