“Afrophobia”? “Xenophobia”? “Black on black racism”? on phobic violence in South Africa, by Achille Mbembe

“Afrophobia”? “Xenophobia”? “Black on black racism”? A “darker” as you can get hacking a “foreigner” under the pretext of his being too dark — self hate par excellence? Of course all of that at once! Yesterday I asked a taxi driver: “why do they need to kill these “foreigners” in this manner?”. His response: “because under Apartheid, fire was the only weapon we Blacks had. We did not have ammunitions, guns and the likes. With fire we could make petrol bombs and throw them at the enemy from a safe distance”. Today there is no need for distance any longer. To kill “these foreigners”, we need to be as close as possible to their body which we then set in flames or dissect, each blow opening a huge wound that can never be healed. Or if it is healed at all, it must leave on “these foreigners” the kinds of scars that can never be erased. Continue reading

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Defeating the power of incumbency in the 2015 Nigerian presidential election, by Henrik Angerbrandt

While the presidential election was anticipated to be close, there were still doubts that it would be possible to unseat an incumbent president in Nigeria. So when Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) was declared as winner of the election, Nigerian democracy has entered a new stage that will contribute to set the standard for coming elections in Africa.  Continue reading

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The streets speak in Africa! by Mirjam de Bruijn

Students on their moto bikes, accompanying the corps of a fellow student to Walia. The student was killed during the demonstration on 9 March in N’Djamena.

The cruel death of my friend’s cousin during the demonstration of students from high school and university in N’Djamena on 9 March, hits hard, the photo of the tortured body sent via whatsapp showing useless violence. The family will bury the young man in the village after they refused the 3 million Francs CFA (4,573 Euros) offered by the government that some interpreted as money to silence them.
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Is the struggle against Boko Haram entering a new phase? By Henrik Angerbrandt

A week and a half before Nigeria’s presidential election was scheduled, the military declared in a letter to the chairman of the electoral commission that they would not be able to assist with security measures for another for six weeks due to a major offensive to be concluded in the north-east. As a result, the elections were postponed for six weeks. Observers posed the question on what could be done in six weeks when the insurgency has lasted for close to six years. Now it seems like President Jonathan has intensified the struggle and at the moment gives the insurgency the priority he has been criticised for not showing before. Continue reading

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Postponed Nigerian elections: Less about security than about politics, by Henrik Angerbrandt

Since 2009, Boko Haram attacks and military counterattacks have created widespread insecurity in Nigeria, killing more than 13 000 people. Since mid-summer, Nigeria has lost a territory by the size of Belgium to the insurgents. The military has proven unable to both prevent and withstand attacks. Soldiers unwilling to meet better equipped insurgents have been sentenced to death in a court martial. Last week, the military realised they need six weeks to conclude “a major military operation” against the insurgency in the northeast. Continue reading

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Nigerian elections: Will demands for postponement be heeded? by Henrik Angerbrandt

As the Nigerian presidential election is less than two weeks away, matters come to a head. Calls for a postponement of the election was written off as dubious months ago but have now intensified again as the outcome of the election gets ever more unpredictable.

In September last year, there were some voices connected the Nigerian PDP government that suggested that the elections coming up next week should be postponed considering the security situation in the country with frequent Boko Haram attacks and the loss of territory to the group. “There is no question of election, it is not even on the table. We are in a state of war”, Senate President David Mark declared. Facing fierce resistance, the government later dissociated itself from the statement. Continue reading

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Monsters of Our Own Creation: How Nigerian Corruption & Climate Change Gave Rise To Boko Haram, by Andrew Gibson

40 years ago, the town of Baga was bustling with an industry and a commerce born of the body of water that had given its residents life for as long as anyone could remember. Nestled in the most northeasterly corner of Nigeria along the shoreline of Lake Chad, Baga served as the piscine midwife for tens of thousands of fishmongers all across the country, providing roughly 135,000 tons of smoked and dried fish a year. Today, thanks to the construction of dams on the lake’s feeder rivers, excessive irrigation and the effects climate change, Lake Chad has shrunk to less than one-fifth of its original size. The massive body of water that locals used to refer to as “an ocean” is now a shriveled imitation of its former self and Baga, which used to sit right on the water, is now twelve and a half miles away from its shores.The fish, which used to be so plentiful and served as the lifeblood of the community, have all but vanished from the Nigerian side of the lake, leading many locals to give up fishing and try their hand at farming or finding work in the city of Maiduguri, more than 120 miles away. Left in dire straits, the people of Baga hoped that the Nigerian government would come to their aide and try to replenish the lake by pumping water up from the nearby Congo River, enforcing more water-efficient irrigation methods and rebuilding wasteful dams. Put simply, Baga needed water. It would get only fire. Continue reading

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