6.7 C
Munich
Friday, February 21, 2020
Array

Moments that made history in Africa in 2018

It has been a year where one is tempted to invoke the “always something new out of Africa” theory.

It is not every day you have a prime minister leading a group of soldiers into doing press-ups, particularly not when the armed soldiers had tried to force their way into the compound of the prime minister to protest against unpaid wages.

It is the type of scenario that used to end up in coups in the old days.

But Abiy Ahmed has been doing the seemingly impossible ever since he unexpectedly became prime minister of Ethiopia in April.

He is 42-years-old, and currently Africa’s youngest leader.

There is nothing predictable about the man and how he has set about doing his job.

Ethiopia had been seen by critics as an authoritarian state that brushed off criticism and remained an implacable foe to neighbour Eritrea.

But within a few months of taking office, Abiy had lifted the state of emergency, released thousands of political prisoners, allowed dissidents to return home and unblocked hundreds of websites and TV channels.

 

Peace with long-time foe

Just as people were digesting the dizzying changes on the domestic front, the prime minister, in the sphere of diplomatic relations, did the equivalent of making the sun rise from the west.

He ended the state of war with Eritrea by agreeing to give up disputed border territory thereby normalising relations with the long-time foe.

This came in an unexpected visit to the Eritrean capital, Asmara, and publicly holding hands with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki to declare the end of the two-decade old war.

 

Women in power

Flights and telephone communications have been restored and there has been an outbreak of love between the two nations that has stunned the world.

READ ALSO:  Top 8 Black-Owned Handbag Brands That You Should Support

And if anyone thought there had been enough surprises, in October, Abiy appointed women to half of all cabinet posts.

If that does not sound impressive enough, there were other changes. Ethiopia now has a female president (Sahle-Work Zewde), a female head of the Supreme Court (Meaza Ashenafi), a female head of the electoral commission (Birtukan Mideksa), and the official spokesperson of the government is a woman (Billene Aster Seyoum).

South Africa was another country which saw a major change of leadership, but the optimism that came with the accession of Cyril Ramaphosa to the presidency has fizzled out.

He took over after the scandal-hit President Jacob Zuma was forced to resign in February.

Ramaphosa was not doing press-ups but he did start with a lot of enthusiastic jogging that attracted a lot of attention from his compatriots.

 

‘Brooding shadow’

When he started the hashtag “the tummy must fall”, many South Africans felt the time for smiles had returned to their country.

But the brooding shadow of Zuma looms large as Ramaphosa tries to tackle the alleged corruption which came to define his his predecessor’s time in office.

READ ALSO:  Trump defends embattled son, calls Russia controversy

Zuma maintains his innocence, and has asked the courts to throw out 16 corruption charges brought against him over a notorious arms deal.

For a brief period this year, all 54 countries on the continent appeared united in outrage in January when US President Donald Trump was reported as not wanting migrants from Africa coming to the US because their countries were “sh**holes”.

Later in the year, his wife Melania undertook a four-nation African tour when she visited Ghana, Malawi, Egypt and Kenya. Whilst she was still on the continent, President Trump was tweeting that Africans loved his wife.

Indeed, Melania cut a swathe with her pith helmet, even though it does not seem to have started a new fashion trend yet.

READ ALSO:  Introducing a New Black-Owned Line of Ready-to-Bake Frozen Cookie Dough

Whilst some people were still debating Trump’s reported insult against migrants, a young man from Mali held Paris spellbound as he scrambled up the wall of a high-rise apartment block to save a dangling child.

He earned himself the title of Spiderman, and was granted French citizenship by President Emmanuel Macron.

 

Weah honours Wenger

If the Parisian Spiderman temporarily forced the French to look at migrants in a different light, President Macron himself was forced to listen to an eight-minute exposition on how Africa does not want the generosity of the world by the Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo when he visited the West African state.

That video went viral and many Africans cheered that a leader had articulated their feelings.

But other things went viral which did not make too many people proud.

Bobi Wine, the Ugandan pop star-turned-MP, shook Uganda for a few weeks in August and attracted the attention of the world when he was arrested by the police and charged with treason.

After leaving the country for medical treatment for injuries that he alleged were sustained during his arrest, he is now back in Uganda and his first performance as a singer in November showed his popularity remained solid.

A good man was recognised for his good deeds when Denis Mukwege, the Congolese doctor, shared the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize with Yazidi activist Nadia Murad.

Dr Mukwege has been described as “the world’s leading expert on repairing injuries of rape”, and is known to grateful patients as “Doctor Miracle” for his work in his homeland of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where unfortunately his skills are always needed because of the continuing unrest.

George Weah became president of Liberia in January and demonstrated his gratitude to those who helped him at the start of his football career as later in the year he gave his former coach, Arsene Wenger, the country’s highest award.

READ ALSO:  Malagasy Wins the 2019 African Media Agency Journalist Competition

If Nelson Mandela had been alive, he would have been 100 years old this year and to mark the anniversary of his birth, lots of activities were organised around the world.

Former US President Barack Obama went to South Africa to give a lecture and there were concerts to celebrate Madiba, as the anti-apartheid icon is affectionately known.

READ ALSO:  Zeepay, Claudia Lumor, My Home Teacher & Kantanka Automobile Win Big at Premium Bank Ghana Startup Awards

 

‘Predatory loans’

Hugh Masekela, the famous South African trumpet player and anti-apartheid campaigner, died earlier in the year and was widely mourned.

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the ex-wife of Nelson Mandela and the much-loved and sometimes controversial anti-apartheid leader, also died this year and was given a befittingly rousing send-off.

Kofi Annan, the former secretary-general of the United Nations, celebrated his 80th birthday and continued with his peacemaking activities when he led a delegation to Zimbabwe ahead of July’s elections.

He died unexpectedly in Bern, Switzerland, in August.

His remains were brought to his homeland of Ghana where he was given a state burial and a grand funeral in true Ghanaian style.

The love affair between China and Africa continued and at a conference in Beijing this year, President Xi Jinping announced an extra $60 billion of financing for the continent.

Meanwhile, the Americans went public with their scepticism about China’s intentions and accused China of predatory loan arrangements.

But the infrastructure deficit on the continent is huge, and the view of African governments seems to be that money should be taken from anywhere and anyone to build roads, bridges, railways, airports, schools, hospitals and universities.

Their citizens will not complain, provided they can see the results with their own eyes.

BBC

Related articles

Leave a Reply

Latest article

2020 United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld Fund for Journalists from Developing Countries

British American Tobacco (BAT) Global Graduate Programme 2020 (Finance) for young Nigerian graduates

Application Deadline: Unspecified BAT Global Graduate Programme (Finance)enables you develop exceptional commercial skills, equipping you with a deep understanding of the dynamics of the market...

Apple issues revenue warning due to slowdown in China

Apple posted an update to its quarterly guidance to investors from January, informing them to expect lower revenues and slower iPhone business. Due to the...

General Lamine Cissé Women, Peace and Security Research Fellowship 2020 for young African women ($USD 3,000 Grant)

Application Deadline: March 15th 2020 April 19, 2020 will mark the first anniversary of the death of General Lamine Cissé, a renowned figure in West...

Anzisha Prize 2020 for Africa’s top young Entrepreneurs

Application Deadline:April 30, 2020 If you are a young African Entrepreneur trying to grow a small business or you’ve created something that makes your community...

Popular Posts

He Wanted to be A Musician or Doctor but He is now Ghana’s Best Blogger, Meet Ameyaw Kissi Debrah!

The world is going digital and those who master the digital way of doing things are surely ahead. Mark Zuckerberg is one of the...

He is championing the fight against Revenge Porn in Ghana. Meet the ‘Chief Blogger’, Barimah Amoaning Samuel.

Revenge porn is the revealing of sexually explicit images or videos of a person posted on the Internet, typically by a former sexual partner, without the consent of the subject and in order to cause them distress or embarrassment. It may refer to all sexually explicit videos and images of a person by former partner, old friend, hacker, blackmailer or whoever for whatever motive. One man has decided to stand in the gap and end the act and his name is Barimah Amoaning Samuel.

From A Broken Home to Being the Inspiration of Many in Nandom; Meet Jacob Kuutuome.

Jacob Kuutuome was born to Mr. and Mrs. Kuutuome Tang and Marciana respectively in Kumasi and spent all his early childhood development and education...

Meet Mojolaoluwa Olaifa, The Young Law Graduate Championing Peace in Nigeria.

Just like Mirabelle Morah and Feyisayo Adanlawo, Mojola is also a young Nigerian making waves in her small corner to make sure peace becomes a...

Meet the Award Winning Health Journalist Providing Free Hygiene Kits for Girls in Nigeria

When Yecenu saw school girls who couldn't afford sanitary towels, she decided to find a solution and that solution is the reason why Wundef.com considers her a game changer. Today we are looking at the motivation and works of a young game changer in Africa's most populous country, Nigeria. I believe her story will inspire you to do greater things for your community, country and Africa as a whole.