It should have been a democratic success story. The presidential election in Côte d'Ivoire, West Africa in October 2020 was expected to put an end to three decades of political unrest with the first peaceful transfer of power. Instead, though the constitution says the president can only stay in power for two terms, Alassane Ouattara ran for and won a third presidential term amid ethnic violence, extreme police brutality and the jailing of his opponent, thus barging his way to a presidency for life.
Activism and Art are a potent combination for addressing problems that are both enduring and unendurable. The play, Eclipsed, transports the audience into the intimate dwelling of women struggling to survive while living as sexual slaves in a rebel forces encampment at the end of the Liberian civil war in 2003. The story follows a 15-year-old African girl as she escapes from the encampment to become a child soldier in the rebel forces.
Three months after Yoweri Museveni was re-elected president of Uganda for a sixth term, citizens of this strategic East African state are trying to come to terms with the dismal likelihood that he will never be unseated in free and fair elections. Ever since 1986, when he came to power in the country’s first plural elections, this African strongman has enjoyed the continued and tacit support of successive US administrations. The fact that Uganda discovered oil in 2006 has also enhanced his value as a close ally to the West in a turbulent neighborhood. Today, Uganda is described as having the fourth largest onshore oil reserves in sub-Sahara Africa.
Throughout the month of January, nightly demonstrations rocked underprivileged neighborhoods in the capital and many cities across the country for more than a week. Scores of youths between the ages of 15 and 30 clashed with security forces. Some incidents of looting and vandalism were reported. The military and police responded with excessive use of force and mass arrests of over 1,600 mostly- young people, one third of whom are minors.
The coronavirus lockdown has enabled hundreds of illegal gold diggers to swarm into the mountains of Chimanimani to tunnel their way to gold. They have vandalized traditional sites held sacred by local people, and hassled tourists who have ventured into the park, despite weapons being wantonly fired by rival digging groups. These marauders have turned the river brown with tailings from their gold digging, harming the ecosystem that sustains human life in two countries, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
IN 2019, Erik Prince, the founder of the notorious mercenary firm Blackwater and a prominent Donald Trump supporter, aided a plot to move U.S.-made attack helicopters, weapons, and other military equipment from Jordan to a renegade commander fighting for control of war-torn Libya. A team of mercenaries planned to use the aircraft to help the commander, Khalifa Hifter, a U.S. citizen and former CIA asset, defeat Libya’s U.N.-recognized and U.S.-backed government.