Joy on Harare’s streets as Mugabe exit ends standoff

    Harare, Zimbabwe - It was an unexpectedly low-key conclusion to an era that many ordinary Zimbabweans were beginning to fear might never end.

Residents of this beleaguered capital took to the streets to celebrate as the news leaked out that autocratic President Robert Mugabe, the only leader most here have ever known, had resigned under pressure, bringing to an end both a weeklong standoff over his presidency and his 37 years running the country.

Read more at The Washington Times

What's next for Zimbabwe as uncertainty prevails over Mugabe's future

    HARARE, Zimbabwe — Talent Zvinorwadza, who has been unemployed for years, hopes that his life will improve following the apparent ouster of the world's oldest leader after nearly four decades of rule in this southern African nation.

"I have a family to look after and I am excited by this development," Zvinorwadza, 35, an unskilled laborer, said following news that President Robert Mugabe and his wife and intended successor, Grace, have been placed under house arrest by the military. "I am looking forward to getting a job very soon."   

Read more at USA Today

Zimbabwe grapples with new reality after military sidelines longtime President Robert Mugabe


HARARE, Zimbabwe — Residents along the streets of this capital city grappled with a new reality Wednesday after the military sidelined President Robert Mugabe, its leader for the past 37 years.

Once heralded for seizing power from British rule and the nation's white elites, the 93-year-old's tenure in recent years has been marked by human rights abuses and economic collapse in what was once one of the African continent's most promising and prosperous nations.  

Read more at USA Today

In Odinga strongholds, Kenyans grapple with frustrating election loss

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_KEN161616aa001.jpegKISUMU, Kenya — Under a scorching sun on the shores of Lake Victoria, fishmongers shout themselves hoarse to gain the attention of fishermen selling their catch. Fishing is the economic engine of Kisumu, Kenya’s third-largest city. But the waterfront has been quiet since election violence hit this opposition stronghold in the lead-up to an Oct. 26 vote that declared President Uhuru Kenyatta the winner of another term in office.

Kenyatta skeptics here see the election as a halfhearted do-over of an August presidential election marred by charges of electoral fraud.

Read more at The Washington Times

Mugabe in custody as Zimbabweans await army’s next move

    HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabweans woke up in a state of shock on Wednesday morning as an apparent “soft coup” against longtime authoritarian President Robert Mugabe continued to unfold.

“He should have left power a long time ago when Zimbabweans were still in love with him,” said Agency Gumbo, 33, a Harare resident. “The army is merely representing the aspirations of the people.” 

Read more at The Washington Times

Senegal tried to crack down on schools forcing children to beg.

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_AFR171717aa001.jpegLooking tired and hungry, Bouba and Moussa Cisse, brothers aged 5 and 7 respectively, were begging recently near the Liberté Six street market in Dakar.

Hailing from the Senegal’s southern region of Kolda, they aren’t the only ones who have come to the country’s capital to earn a living on the street. But they are part of a particular community of mendicants known as talibés. The money they collect on the street goes to their Quranic instructors, known as marabouts, in exchange for teaching, food and housing.  

Read more at PRI

Half of Refugee Children Are Not in School, Report Says

More than half of refugee children worldwide were not enrolled in primary or secondary school last year, says a recent report from the United Nations’ refugee agency, UNHCR.

That means 3.5 million children under UNHCR protection are out of school, says the report, “Left Behind: Refugee Education in Crisis.” The report, released last month, outlines the state of refugee education in 2016 compared with the previous year using data from UNHCR’s education surveys and population database and UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics.   

Read more at Al Fanar

How these African leaders subvert democracy to cling to power for life

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_AFR151515aa001.jpegLOMÉ, Togo — Protesters in this west African capital have been burning tires and barricading roads to force political change in a country ruled by the same family for five decades.

“He must go! We don’t need him anymore,” demonstrator Henri Alifoe, 35, said of President Faure Gnassingbé, who succeeded his father in 2005. "We demand change. He must step down to give others opportunity.”

Read more at USA Today

Kenyan election descends into chaos as top candidate pulls out of presidential race

    NAIROBI, Kenya — Carrying a stick and placard and chanting, “No reforms, no elections,” George Nyongesa vowed not to participate in the do-over presidential elections scheduled for this month.

“I won’t vote again,” vowed Mr. Nyongesa, 27, as he held up a placard of opposition leader Raila Odinga during a recent protest. “I cannot participate in an election that has already been rigged. We have to send electoral officials home before we can go to another election. They are all thieves. They stole our elections.”

Read more at The Washington Times

A Nation Searches for Teachers

 BANGUI, Central African Republic—War made Emma Mbathas a teacher.

Four years ago, armed members of the Muslim militia called Ex-Seleka attacked the 31-year-old courthouse worker’s village of Molangue, a village south of the capital, Bangui.   

Read more at Al Fanar Media

Political divisions, corruption scandals threaten South Africa’s ANC party

The African National Congress led the fight to end South Africa’s racist apartheid regime in the early 1990s and has used that narrative to dominate the country’s politics ever since.

But now the ANC, transitioning a civil rights movement led by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nelson Mandela to a conventional political party, is threatening to break apart at the seams amid corruption claims against its embattled standard-bearer, President Jacob Zuma.  

Read more at The Washington Times

Strife in South Sudan Puts Children at Risk

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_AFR171717aa001.jpegTORIT, South Sudan and BIDI BIDI REFUGEE CAMP, Uganda – As he stood waiting for a meal at the Church of SS. Peter and Paul in Torit, a South Sudanese town near the Ugandan border, 12-year-old Teddy Kuol lamented how the civil war in his country has forced him and others to drop out of school.

“I’m not in school right now because of the war,” he said. “There is no bright future for us. There are no lessons going on because soldiers live and operate in classrooms. They have abducted many students and trained them as soldiers.”

Read more at Al Fanar

Ugandans pose as refugees for food because the drought is so bad

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_AFR171717aa001.jpegAs the intense heat of the midday sun beats down, Gladys Nekesa is often found standing in line to receive food at a refugee shelter in northern Uganda.

Nekesa, though, is not one of the nearly 285,000 South Sudanese refugees living in the Bidi Bidi refugee camp. She is a Ugandan from Gulu, a district about 100 miles away from the shelter site.   

Read more at PRI

Mugabe threatens new round of land seizures from Zimbabwe’s white farmers

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_AFR151515aa001.jpegHARARE — Land grabs of white-owned property have hit Zimbabwe for the second time as the southern African country’s strongman, 93-year-old Robert Mugabe, calls a familiar play as he seeks yet another term in office.

Ruling Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980 — the country holds regular elections that critics say Mr. Mugabe routinely rigs — the president is evicting all the white farmers remaining in the impoverished nation and giving their highly productive farms to his supporters.  

Read more at The Washington Times

Kenya's Supreme Court declares presidential election result null, orders do-over

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_Africanwomen130318AA001.jpegNAIROBI — Kenya’s Supreme Court on Friday overturned last month's presidential election, citing voting irregularities, and ordered a new election within 60 days. It declared President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election null and void.

It is the first time a presidential election in East Africa's economic hub has been nullified. Supporters of opposition candidate Raila Odinga, 72, danced and cheered in the streets, and said they felt vindicated because he had contended that he lost because the electronic tally had been hacked.

Read more at USA Today

Violence erupts in Kenya after losing candidate charges presidential election 'hacked'

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_KEN161616aa005.jpegNAIROBI, Kenya — At least three people were killed as violent protests broke out Wednesday after the losing presidential candidate charged that Tuesday's election results were hacked to hand a victory to incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta.

Supporters of Raila Odinga in this capital city — mainly its huge slums — burned tires, smashed shacks, blocked roads and threw stones at police, yelling, "no Raila, no peace.   

Read more at USA Today

This African nation transformed itself from a killing field to a tourist mecca. Here's how

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_RWA161616aa001.jpegKIGALI, Rwanda — Waving the national flag ahead of Friday's election, Arnold Kayira praises President Paul Kagame for transforming Rwanda from a horrific genocidal battleground to a thriving nation that lures tourists to see its famed mountain gorillas.

“He saved us,” the 35-year-old street hawker in this capital city said of the 1994 mass killings of mostly Tutsi tribal members by Hutus, a murderous rampage made famous by the 2004 movie Hotel Rwanda.

Read more at USA Today

At 45% of population, children carry rampant struggles from corruption into Nigeria’s future

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_AFR171717aa001.jpegGOMBE, Nigeria — Sitting with a metal bowl in his hands, 7-year-old Isiaka Ibrahim begged for food outside the entrance of a bus station. “I was brought to Gombe to learn the Koran,” said Isiaka, who comes from Kona, a town in northwestern Nigeria about 280 miles away.

But his teachers wouldn’t provide him with room and board, so he took to the streets. “On nights that people don’t give me food, I sleep on empty stomach,” said the shoeless boy. 

Read more at The Washington Times

Savior or dictator? Government critics challenge Rwanda's one-party state and president

Sitting outside his grocery shop in the Nyabugogo slum in Kigali, Rwanda, in June, Francis Nduwimana described his longing for a change in leadership in the presidential election on August 4. “We are tired of Kagame, but we cannot express our views openly,” said Nduwimana, an ethnic Hutu, in his vernacular language of Kinyarwanda. “If you criticize him, you will be accused by the government agencies of dividing the country, and you will either be imprisoned or killed.”

As Rwandan President Paul Kagame — an ethnic Tutsi who has been in power since 2000 — runs for another seven-year term, many Rwandans, particularly ethnic Hutus, share Nduwimana’s fear.

Read more at Newsweek

Uganda's other refugee crisis

Sitting on a crate outside his mud-walled house in Kibera, the largest slum in Kenya, 30-year-old George Mukhwezi explained how he fled his home country of Uganda because he was gay.

“My life was in danger when people and the police realized I was gay,” said Mukhwezi, who arrived in Kenya last year. “I was attacked and assaulted [several times] by residents and even arrested by police. I decided to escape and save my life. Uganda is a dangerous country for LGBT people like me.”

Read more at PRI

What is a whopping 709-carat diamond worth? It's a mystery in Sierra Leone

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone — The recent find of a mammoth diamond the size of a hockey puck has everyone in this small West African nation wondering how big a fortune it will fetch.

Giddy talk about the gem's worth is providing a needed uplift in a country long plagued by misfortunes that include a deadly Ebola epidemic in 2013-16 and a decade-long civil war that broke out in 1991.    

Read more at USA Today

In South Sudan, every male child is a soldier in devastating civil war


LONGUTE, South Sudan — In this village near the Ugandan border, vultures constantly hover in the sky and dogs prowl the streets. A repugnant, choking smell fills the air. Human remains lie unburied.

Much of the village is a killing field that underscores the brutality of a 4-year-old civil war tearing apart the world’s newest nation.  

Read more at USA Today

Central African Republic on road to recovery as Christians, Muslims make peace


BANGUI, Central African Republic — Three years after his grocery stand was looted during this country’s civil war, Andre Cola is busy rebuilding.

“We are now feeling safe and everything is returning to normal,” said Mr. Cola, a father of three who lost his family in the war, as he hammered nails into his kiosk’s roof. “We can now operate businesses and people can walk freely.”


Read more at The Washington Times

More South Sudanese children are fleeing their country alone

Sitting outside a makeshift tent in the Bidi Bidi refugee camp in northern Uganda, 12-year-old Josephat Bieli was dusty and tired. He said he had trekked 80 miles by himself from Yei in South Sudan to the camp to escape his country’s civil war.

“Solders burned down our home — we had to escape in different directions to save our lives,” Josephat said. “I don’t know where my parents and siblings are. I have not seen them since the attack.” 

Read more at PRI

Residents flee as suspected cases of Ebola outbreak in Congo grow

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo — Ebola drove Kevin Balenge, his wife and three children to get to this capital city as fast as they could to try to outrun a suspected new outbreak.

“We can’t stay here because there are no hospitals, and once you get the virus you simply die,” said Balenge, from Bas-Uele province in the north of the country, about 51 hours away from Kinshasa.

Read more at USA Today

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