By Dana Malcolm
#Rwanda, June 25, 2022 – As the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting heads to Rwanda on June 20th two young women have an appeal for Prince Charles and the other heads of state. “Don’t shake hands with the tyrant who kidnapped our father.”
In an article of the same name published by CNN, Carina and Anaïse Kanimba urge the heads of state to hold Rwandan President Paul Kagame accountable for what they say is his record of human rights abuses and the kidnapping of their father, Paul Rusesabagina. Rusesabagina is the real man behind the movie ‘Hotel Rwanda’ and is recognized as a hero of the Rwandan genocide of 1994 he saved more than 1200 lives by keeping them safe in his hotel.
He has been a longtime critic of Paul Kagame who has been accused of altering election results. Then in August 2020, he disappeared. The girls explained how their father was, “Lured from our home in San Antonio, Texas, through Dubai, where he was tricked into boarding a flight to Kigali. An agent of the Rwandan Government, posing as a Bishop, asked our father to come to Burundi and speak to church groups about reconciliation. Having boarded a plane in Dubai expecting to fly to Burundi, he was drugged, waking only to realize he had landed in Kigali, Rwanda — a place to which he would never voluntarily return.”
The girls say he was tortured forced to make a false confession and sentenced to 25 years in prison. His daughters reject the accusations and they are backed by the United Nations, The United States, and several other high-profile human rights agencies and countries. They describe the recent deal between the UK and Rwanda as heartbreaking.
Rusesabagina, a cancer survivor, has allegedly suffered untreated strokes while in detention and his daughters say they are desperate.
“The Prince of Wales and other CHOGM leaders can choose to focus on their shared values and principles and push those members who do not uphold those values in practice to do so. This includes Kagame & #39;s Rwanda. Although Prince Charles is not a political figure, he can seek dialogue behind closed doors, or even ask to visit our father…we urge the Prince of Wales and all of the other leaders assembled not to stay silent and to ask Kagame to provide our father with a compassionate release now, before it is too late.”
That Rusesabagina was kidnapped by Rwandans is not far-fetched. Human Rights Watch, a UN agency, says between 2010 and 2017, they found evidence that Rwanda’s military “frequently arbitrarily detained and tortured people, beating them, asphyxiating them, using electric shocks, and staging mock executions in military camps”. They also maintained that most of the detainees were “forcibly disappeared” and held without communication with their families for months on end in “deplorable conditions.”
Rwanda has hundreds of documented cases of human rights abuses and just last year 99 UN Member Countries during a review of its human rights records found so many irregularities that they made 284 recommendations to improve the state of human rights in the country.
The United Kingdom was one of the 99 countries that admitted Rwanda had serious gaps in its upholding of human rights, which makes the decision to ship refugees there nothing short of baffling.
In fact not only did the UK recommend fixes to shortcomings in how Rwanda handles human trafficking victims they also recommended the country.
“Conduct transparent, credible, and independent investigations into allegations of extrajudicial killings, deaths in custody, enforced disappearances and torture, and bring perpetrators to justice.”
Rwanda did not accept these recommendations, merely marking them as ‘noted.’ So far Prince Charles has not responded to the girl’s letter and the world will have to wait until
June 20th to see the outcome of the visit.
First time, African Football Club makes World Cup Finals
By Dana Malcolm
#Qatar, December 12, 2022 – In what is being described as one of the most unpredictable in the tournament’s history some of the biggest names in football including the No.1 team in the world was booted out of the FIFA World Cup last weekend and one African team in particular made history.
We are down to four; defending champions France; former finalists Croatia; hopefuls Argentina and complete wildcards Morocco who managed to send home one of the world’s top teams.
It was a weekend of tears and disbelief as Croatia first sent Brazil packing on Friday with some brilliant goalkeeping by Dominik Livakovic in penalty shootouts denying the No.1 team all but a single goal. It caused pandemonium in football fans worldwide as bets were lost and a select few won big.
It was a dramatic scene following the match as a crowd favorite Neymar Jr. collapsed on the ground in shocked tears.
But the drama was not over, on Saturday for the first time in history, an African team made their way to the semi-finals of the World Cup as a determined Morocco barreled past Portugal, denying Cristiano Ronaldo any chance of a World Cup title this year.
France the title holders, unsurprisingly, sent England home to the chagrin of English fans and Argentina won a nail biting match over the Netherlands in penalties.
This week Argentina takes on Croatia on Tuesday at 2PM and France goes head to head with Morocco on Wednesday at 2pm.
Will Argentina and France go against each other again in the final, recalling their 2018 match when the French sent home the blue and whites in the round of 16? Will Morocco make history yet again and become the first African team in the World Cup final? Will Croatia steamroll over Argentina and face France in the finals, a callback to 2018 once again?
Given the nature of the tournament so far football fans must be prepared for anything.
Putin in pursuit of Africa labelled ‘opportunistic’ and ‘calculating’
By Dana Malcolm
#Africa, October 28, 2022 – Vladimir Putin, president of Russia says he is seeking closer ties with African countries according to Russian state controlled media and the push seems to be working.
TASS says, in a recent meeting with Umaro Sissoco Embalo, Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Putin described the trade volume between ECOWAS and Russia as “rather hefty” citing the regions 400 million inhabitants.
The renewed and ‘up-scaled’ interest in Africa comes as the Kremlin is frozen out of Western relations because of the Ukraine invasion. Russia now has significant animosity against Britain, the EU and the United States which is certainly mutual.
“We hope that a significant contribution will be made to the development of relations—with members of the organization, and the entire African continent in general during your presidency in ECOWAS,” Putin told Embalo.
Earlier this year several African countries remained neutral to the war in Ukraine. In the UN General Assembly’s vote to suspend Russia’s membership on the Human Rights Council of the 54 African states in the UN only 10 voted in favor of the resolution, nine openly opposed, and 35 abstained or refused to turn up.
Despite worldwide condemnation of the atrocities committed in Ukraine, Europe’s long and sordid history of African exploitation is now working to Putin’s advantage. Many criticisms of African nations’ reluctance to comment on the invasion are met on social media by lashing criticisms on Europe’s own sins committed on the continent. In addition Russia is still recognized in countries like South Africa for their help in overturning European regimes like apartheid.
Germany’s embassy to South Africa criticized Russia for thanking SA for remaining neutral back in March.
“Sorry, but we can’t stay silent on this one, it’s just far too cynical. What Russia is doing in Ukraine is slaughtering innocent children, women and men for its own gain. It’s definitely not “fighting Nazism”. Shame on anyone who’s falling for this…” the Embassy said.
Replies ranged from: “How far are you with paying reparations to Namibian people?” to “Why is the Federal Republic of Germany taking more action against the invasion of Ukraine then it did against the invasion of Iraq?”
And while President Joe Biden recently hosted South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in talks at the White House regarding his neutral stance on Russia and other issues, so far South Africa and the rest of the continent for the most part has stuck to its guns.
The issue is a polarizing one though, as at the same time thousands of citizens across Africa have openly disagreed with the neutral lot cast by their countries.
Also taken into account is the fact that the Russian war has pushed several African countries further into famine faster than expected thanks to the rising prices of staples like grain.
The Africa Center for Strategic Studies describes the Russian foray into the continent as:
“Expanding geo-political influence through low-cost ventures that hold economic windfalls for Moscow and President Vladimir Putin’s close associates. In this way, Russia’s strategy in Africa is both opportunistic and calculating.”
Whatever the motive, the strategy to ‘make nice’ with the continent seems to be progressing for Putin as his foreign minister Sergei Lavrov just finished a tour where he was welcomed into at least four nations to further diplomatic relations.
768 Million People and their Homelands in jeopardy says Ecological Threat Report
By Dana Malcolm
#Africa, October 28, 2022 – A great portion of Sub-Saharan Africa may become completely unsustainable in just 28 years. This prognosis is according to the Institute for Economics and Peace in their most recent Ecological Threat Report.
The Institute assesses major ecological threats of food risk, water risk, rapid population growth, temperature anomalies and natural disasters and rates countries on their Ecological Threat Resistance (ETR)
This year it identified 27 ‘hotspot countries’ across the globe that face ‘catastrophic ecological threat with extremely low societal resilience.’ It puts 768 million people at serious risk.
None of the countries identified are located in Europe or North America which have the highest ETR, instead the victims mainly spread across Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and South Asia.
Seven of the eight of the most affected countries are in SSA., which also has the highest rate of food insecurity.
“Of the 52 Sub-Saharan African countries, 37 recorded an extremely high level of food insecurity in the ETR,” said the report which was published on October 19.
Extreme drought and extreme floods in the past year have caused record lows in food production with the Red Cross warning that casualties could become heavy if residents remain without food.
In addition mass migration and natural disasters will also put populations in sub-Saharan Africa at serious risk.
In order to slow the disastrous process, countries will have to fix the high rates of violence, air pollution and high birth rate, even as climate change ravages their shoes.
Only one Caribbean country, Haiti, was listed on the 27 most at risk countries.
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