Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The First African American Woman White House Journalist Pioneered in Civil Rights
 Alice Dunnigan on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in 1947. (University of Georgia Press)

By Leslie Guttman
Washington Post
September 15

It was rare to be a woman or African American covering the White House in the 1940s, and Alice Dunnigan was both.

The Kentucky-born journalist was the first African American woman to be granted access to cover the White House, as well as Congress, the Supreme Court and the State Department.

Yet even at the height of her career in Washington, she had to pawn her watch every Saturday night so that she would have enough money to eat until her paycheck arrived Monday morning.

It was a “humiliating practice,” she wrote in her 1974 autobiography, “A Black Woman’s Experience — From Schoolhouse to White House.” “I was never allowed more than five dollars on it, just enough for Sunday dinner,” she wrote. After pawning it, Dunnigan headed home to her one-room basement apartment in Washington D.C.’s Brookland neighborhood, where she shoveled coal for the furnace to get a break on rent.

Dunnigan was the Washington bureau chief for the Associated Negro Press for 14 years, beginning in 1947.

“For black readers of the era, the Associated Negro Press was a combination of CNN, MSNBC and The Washington Post,” says Gerald Horne, a professor at the University of Houston and one of the country’s foremost historians on racism. “It generated protest and energized organizations in the ongoing struggle against Jim Crow.”

By 1940, the circulation of the black press was 1.27 million readers, and that didn’t take into account every newspaper issue had multiple readers, according to a book by Horne.

“Nobody in the white press was covering the issues important to black Americans in the 1940s and 1950s. Alice stood up to three presidents, and sometimes they didn’t like what she said,” said Carol McCabe Booker, who edited Dunnigan’s book and republished it in 2015.

Shortly after becoming an accredited White House reporter, Dunnigan wanted to accompany President Harry S. Truman on his tour to the West Coast. No African American reporter had ever been on such a tour. The cost: $1,000 — over $10,000 in today’s dollars. As she recounted in her autobiography, when Dunnigan asked Claude Barnett, founder of the Associated Negro Press, if he would provide the funds, he replied, “Women don’t go on trips like this.”

Dunnigan ended up paying her own way, and it led to one of her first big scoops: “Pajama Clad President Defends Civil Rights at Midnight.”

When the train stopped in Missoula, Mont., in the middle of the night, Truman came out in his robe to talk to hundreds of students waiting for his arrival. One shouted, “Mr. President, what do you say about civil rights?” Truman indicated the issue would be part of his 1948 platform.

Dunnigan later challenged Truman for not issuing an order banning segregation in Washington in 1948 so that African Americans could attend his inauguration without being barred from hotels and restaurants. Truman refused, “but the idea, like a large stone tossed into a sea of calm, generated a huge ripple of discontent that never subsided until integration in Washington came to fruition years later,” Dunnigan wrote in her book.

When Dwight D. Eisenhower became president, he stopped calling on Dunnigan during news conferences for two years because of her questions on civil rights. She would jump up and down, yelling, “Mr. President! Mr. President!” to get Eisenhower’s attention but to no avail. “She was iced,” Booker said. “But she kept going. She didn’t just give up. She went to every news conference.”

When John F. Kennedy took office, the silent treatment of Dunnigan ended. About eight minutes into his first news conference on Jan. 25, 1961, Kennedy called on Dunnigan. She asked the president about a dramatic voting rights conflict in Fayette County, Tenn. White landlords had evicted black sharecroppers for voting, prompted by their rights to do so under the Civil Rights Act of 1957. The situation escalated after the blacks won a lawsuit over the situation.

Kennedy responded to Dunnigan’s question by saying, “ … the Congress of course enacted legislation which very clearly placed responsibility on the executive branch to protect the right of voting. I … supported that legislation. I am extremely interested in making sure that every American is given the right to cast his vote without prejudice to his rights as a citizen, and therefore I can state that this administration will pursue the problem of providing that protection with all vigor.”

Dunnigan was born in 1906 in Russellville, Ky. — two years before the lynching of four black men in her hometown. Historian Michael Morrow says the terror of the lynching hung over the small town for decades.

“I think this community put a lot of fight in Alice,” Morrow said. “You almost had to jump out the womb fighting here if you hoped to make it. She understood young enough that she would have to chart her own course.”

The historian said that even though people in Washington did not accept her, Dunnigan persisted no matter what because “she knew she was fighting battles for her entire race.”

Morrow has spent three decades attempting to make her as well known as other civil rights figures, and those efforts are paying off.

A bronze statue of Dunnigan will appear from Sept. 21 to Dec. 16 in Washington at the Newseum. The 6-foot-tall, 500-pound bronze statue, made by Kentucky sculptor Amanda Matthews, portrays the reporter clad in one of a handful of her good dresses and scuffed pumps. She holds a 1947 copy of The Washington Post with headlines about civil rights. The statue is based on a photo of Dunnigan standing on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in 1947.

“It is my fondest hope,” Dunnigan wrote in her book’s preface, “that the story of my life and work will … encourage more young writers to use their talents as a moving force in the forward march of progress and that their efforts will soon result in giving Americans the kind of nation that those of my generation so long hoped and worked for.”

Leslie Guttman is a journalist and nonfiction author based in Lexington, Ky. She worked at the San Francisco Chronicle for over a decade.
Simon Pulse Acquires YA Novel Inspired by 'Black Panther'
By Claire Kirch
Sep 18, 2018
Courtesy of Simon Pulse
Brittney Morris.

After a lively auction involving seven editors from the Big Five, Simon Pulse, the Simon & Schuster teen imprint, acquired North American and audio rights for Brittney Morris’s debut novel, Slay, in what Quressa Robinson of the Nelson Literary Agency disclosed was a six-figure deal for two books. Morris, 27 and a graduate of Boston University with a B.S. in economics, who recently quit her job in Seattle as a business analyst to write full-time, says that the Black Panther movie inspired her to make her first serious attempt at writing fiction.

“I left the theater a Wakandian queen,” she explained. “And then I went back to work the following Monday, back to the same routine. Nothing had changed after my religious experience that weekend. It felt like I was living a double life in a way, like I had a secret identity that stepped into a whole different world when I left the office.” The solution to this dichotomy for her was to sit down and whip out—in 11 days—Slay.

Slay is the tale of 17-year-old Kiera Johnson, a black teen game developer battling a real-life troll intent on ruining the Black Panther-inspired online role-playing card game she has created and that has become especially popular among black gamers worldwide. But when an African-American teen, Jamal Rice, is murdered during a dispute over the in-game currency (“Slay Coins”), Slay is widely disparaged in the mainstream media and elsewhere as a racist, exclusionist, and violent hub for thugs and criminals.

Faced with the threat of an anti-white discrimination lawsuit, Kiera suspects that a rich, white, male classmate at the private school that she attends, Wyatt, is behind it. Desperate to maintain her secret identity as Slay’s developer, Kiera proposes a virtual duel to resolve the dispute: if she wins, Wyatt drops the idea of litigation. If Wyatt wins, Kiera hands over to him complete control of the game.

“It was a perfect storm,” Simon & Pulse editor Jennifer Ung recalled of her initial response to the manuscript. “It’s a commercial concept with deep emotional themes and a voice that really pulls you from page one. The book beautifully explores what it means to be a person of color in a world without a lot of safe spaces; as an editor of color, that really resonated with me. It’s a well told story with nuanced characters you want to root for as they navigate difficult situations.”

Slay will be published simultaneously in hardcover, audio, and digital formats under the Simon Pulse imprint in fall 2019. The author and agent, who retain television/film rights, report that they have received queries to date from close to 20 TV and movie studios interested in adapting the book for the big or small screen. Nelson Literary Agency also disclosed that it is fielding “multiple offers” from U.K. publishers, and that Slay will be the agency’s featured title at Frankfurt in October.

After writing Slay in 11 days, Morris participated in the Twitter-based pitch extravaganza, #PitMad, on the 12th day, and received responses from 140 agents. Realizing that her tale resonated with the publishing industry’s gatekeepers, she then decided to query in the traditional way her “dream list” of a handful of agents, including Robinson, whom she selected out of the several agents who responded to her query with offers to represent her.

Disclosing that she was the first African-American female graduate of her high school in [Corvallis, Ore.]- and the only African-American woman at her previous place of employment, a large company, Morris says that her background has had a significant impact upon her interactions with the world that seeped into her fiction writing. “I got used to feeling out of place in a room full of people who don’t look like me, and shrinking myself down to something that’s ‘acceptable’ by everyone,” she said, explaining that her efforts included “toning down” her hair, “policing” her vocal inflections and tone of voice, and omitting cultural references from her conversations “when I thought nobody in the room would understand” them.

Morris said, “I wrote Slay for black teens who live between worlds as I did, who feel pressure to be one version of themselves at work or school, and only get to be themselves among people who share their experiences.”
Chicago: Three Artists Challenging African-American Stereotypes
15 September 2018
BBC World Service

Three photographers are exhibiting work that confronts the way African-Americans are often perceived in art, the workplace, and through their physical appearance.

The work, by artists Alanna Airitam, Endia Beal and Medina Dugger can be seen in an exhibition called How do you see me? at the Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago.

Here is a selection of highlights.

The Golden Age, by Alanna Airitam

Alanna Airitam addresses the absence of black people in the history of Western art, with rare appearances showing dark-skinned people "represented in paintings and films as domestic workers, slaves or barbarians".

In her series The Golden Age, the artist invited African-Americans to pose in the style of classic Dutch portraiture, to celebrate black identity and highlight the racial divide seen in art history.

Airitam said: "When I see the beauty and power in the eyes of the people in the portraits, it immediately counters all the negative stereotypes and narratives we receive on a daily basis.

"It is (and always will be) especially important for me to combat the barrage of dehumanising messages black people face through media with messages that clearly state that we are beautiful, powerful, valuable, worthy human beings and we're here to stay."

Airitam pays homage to the Harlem Renaissance, a period of American history in the early 20th Century that saw a boom in African-American social and cultural expression, centred around Harlem in Upper Manhattan, New York.

The image above is named after Dapper Dan, the Harlem-based clothes designer who defined hip hop fashion in the 1980s and 90s.

Many of her images are named after places in Harlem.

Airitam says that the absence of black people in Western art made an impression on her as a child going into museums and galleries.

"I never saw anyone who looked like me. We were not on the walls (unless shown in a way in which we were serving white people). We did not work there (unless we were cleaning or acting as security; again, serving).

"I remember being young and feeling confused, sad, and embarrassed about that."

The portrait below, named Queen Mary, is of a model named Mary. Her family is from Saint Croix, an island in the Caribbean Sea.

Mary shared a story with Airitam about three women who led a successful rebellion against Dutch colonialism in Saint Croix in 1878. One of the women was called Mary Thomas.

Airitam decided to name the portrait Queen Mary in honour of the story. The model is symbolically showing that the key to abundance is self-love, beauty, majesty.

Am I What You're Looking For? by Endia Beal

In her series, Endia Beal positions her models against a fake backdrop of a traditional office setting, wearing an outfit that the model would choose to wear in the workplace.

Sabrina and Katrina, 2015

Beal, a professor at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina, has spent the last four years using photographic narratives and video testimonies to examine the personal stories of minority women working within the corporate space.

The artist's previous personal experience of working in mostly white corporate workplaces includes people talking behind her back and making comments about her hair, which did not conform to their view of beauty.

She says of the creative industry: "As a black, female photographer, I witnessed the under-representation of contemporary minority stories within fine art circles and photojournalism."

Many of the subjects in her series are students at the university where she works. She also travelled around North Carolina and photographed women in their childhood homes.

"These environments foster comfort allowing the women to be open about their concerns. I asked each woman to wear what she would love to wear to an interview and imagine she is waiting for the interview."

The women shared their personal difficulties in gaining employment after graduation: "Employers would tell them that their natural hair was unprofessional or their name was too difficult to pronounce and would suggest they alter themselves for the job.

"Rarely are these stories shared to colleagues or management in fear of rejection or lack of opportunities."

Chroma: An Ode to JD 'Okhai Ojeikere, by Medina Dugger

In her portrait series, Medina Dugger pays homage to Nigerian photographer JD 'Okhai Ojeikere, who spent 40 years creating black and white photographic studies of African women's hairstyles.

Purple Kinky Calabar, 2017

Ojeikere's work helped establish modern celebration of black hair culture, documenting African hair-braiding methods that date back thousands of years.

Nigerian hair culture is often an extensive process, which begins in childhood, with methods and variations being influenced by social and cultural patterns, historical events and globalisation.

Traditionally, Nigerian hairstyles can be purely decorative or convey deeper meaning and symbolism around social status, age and family traditions.

Blue Coiling Penny Penny, 2017

Dugger said: "As a white American living in Nigeria, creating work on Nigerian hair culture, I understood from the beginning that I first needed to learn about the history of the practice and knew that I wanted the process to be collaborative in nature."

In her portraits, Dugger experiments with historical and imagined hairstyles inspired by Ojeikere but also by Nigerian hairstylist Ijeoma Christopher, along with hairstyles she has seen in Lagos.
Stacey Abrams Knows How Important Black Women Are In Elections, That’s Why She’s Not Taking Their Vote For Granted
Sep, 18, 2018

If Stacey Abrams wins Georgia’s gubernatorial race this coming November, she will be the first Black woman to ever become governor in the United States. Period.

But despite being a Black woman herself, Abrams is not taking the Black female vote for granted just because she may remind many of us of our aunts, sisters, nieces. She has been firm and consistent in her message from the jump, detailing plans to address health care and education, issues that she knows are important to Black women.

“We are leveraging the enthusiasm and support of the African-American women’s community to motivate and galvanize the communities that they touch — and that means every community in the state of Georgia,” Abrams told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

And it is a level of outreach that has not gone unnoticed. Paula Benton, a resident of Stone Mountain, said that she is happy that Abrams is actively targeting black women.

“It’s time black women started getting the recognition they’re getting,” Benton told AJC. “We’ve always been the backbone of everything.”

And there is a lot of truth in that. In fact, it was so much of a present theme throughout many of the panels and discussions at the Congressional Black Caucus’ 48th annual conference, that it felt like the theme should have been more of a “Listen to Black women” instead of the chosen “The Dream Still Demands,”…that being said, the dream still demands that we listen to and respect black women.

Of course, not all Black women are considering voting for Abrams (because we are not monolith.) Vivian Childs, a minister from Warner Robbins, has already decided that she’s backing Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp.

“Why would you change things when they’re working? And Georgia is working right now,” Childs, who unsuccessfully ran as a Republican for U.S. House in 2014. “At what point do we stop telling people to just vote based on how someone looks instead of what’s going to make everyone in the community better off?”

However, there are many Black women who disagreed, pointing at troubles with access to health care and early childhood education, as reasons why things have got to change.

But, still, Black women typically vote for Democrats, and Abrams is hoping to get even more Black women out to the polls in November, to build a strong and secure support base.

“Black women have demonstrated an enthusiasm and engagement in politics that is unmatched,” Abrams said. “So, for me, using and leveraging that community is critical to winning, but it is the beginning.”
Princeton University Library Builds Collection of Newspapers Published for African American Audiences
Steven Knowlton, Princeton University Library
Sept. 5, 2018 3:42 p.m.

Princeton University Library’s collection of current newspapers published for African American audiences features 72 newspapers from cities and towns in 32 states.

Photo by Steven Knowlton, Princeton University Library
Princeton University Library (PUL) has begun a nearly comprehensive collection of current newspapers published for African American audiences throughout the United States.

The collection features 72 newspapers from cities and towns in 32 states, ranging from New York City to Eutaw, Alabama. Included in the collection, for example, are Hudson Valley Press from Newburgh, New York; Tuskegee News from Tuskegee, Alabama; Tri-City Voice from Fremont, California; African-American News and Issues from Houston, Texas; and Black Chronicle from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The African American newspaper collection is intended for research purposes; current issues are held for processing for up to a year, after which they are housed in high-density, climate-controlled storage. Researchers may request them from storage and read them in Firestone Library. The earliest available issues date from January 2017.

Collecting newspapers is an important part of PUL’s mission to “ensure continuing access to the world’s diverse intellectual and cultural heritage,” for journalism, in the words of the late journalist Alan Barth, provides a “first rough draft of history.”

PUL librarians anticipate that future scholars of African American history and culture will be able to make use of the newspapers in the collection to trace the activities, attitudes and thoughts of people living in United States during the 21st century. As community-oriented newspapers, the titles in the collection provide not only the “hard news” of the day, but coverage of school and church events, opinions of citizens and local politicians, and advertisements that serve to reveal the consumption habits and aspirations of their readers.

A changing publishing environment has made it necessary for libraries to more vigorously collect newspapers.

In the 20th century, news publishers often found a robust secondary stream of income as microfilming companies made compact, long-lived copies of the newspapers and sold them on demand to libraries when research needs dictated a purchase.

However, the rise of “aggregator” digital databases that gathered news from hundreds of titles led many libraries to drop their microfilm purchases and rely on online news resources. This led to a decline in the fortunes of microfilming companies, which then terminated contracts with many smaller newspapers, leaving many titles unavailable except to current subscribers. Despite their ease of use, the aggregator databases lack both permanence and coverage; titles many be excluded with little notice, and the databases often omit advertising and graphical content.

To provide a permanent record of African American communities, in its full context, it is necessary to collect and preserve newspapers in their entirety. Because PUL is using standard archival methods, the newspapers are expected to last in usable condition for many decades. 
Group Focused on Improving Black Voter Turnout Statewide
Tyler Whetstone
Knoxville News Sentinel
6:00 a.m. ET Sept. 17, 2018

Tequila Johnson and Charlane Oliver of The Equity Alliance speak before Mt. Zion Baptist Church on getting voter turnout. Courtesy of Mt. Zion Baptist Church

A Nashville-based group is working to register 55,000 voters this fall before registration to vote in the state general election closes in October, and it's about halfway there.

Tequila Johnson is the statewide manager of the Tennessee Black Voter Project. The campaign is using churches and local organizations to help sign up black voters and will visit college campuses to register African-Americans across the state.

In Knoxville, the group is working specifically with the Knoxville-Knox County NAACP and with SEED.

More: Why black churches in Nashville are ramping up voter registration efforts in 2018

“We’re meeting people where they are, engaging and educating African-American community members to get them involved,” Johnson said Friday.

One of the largest challenges in any community, she said, is sometimes people don’t know elections are coming up. This is why they’re working with local groups, she said.

Johnson said the goal is to get “people in the game” and signed up to vote. Currently, she said, the group has registered 20,000 to 25,000 people, on track for where she hoped to be in the middle of September.

While African-Americans are largely Democratic voters, she said, the goal is to sign people up, regardless of party.

“Democracy works best when we all participate,” she said. “And what it looks like depends on that individual’s values. … This project isn’t to encourage them to lean any one way but to explore what democracy looks like to them.”

Getting people to register and vote in Tennessee is already a challenge.

According to the PEW Charitable Trust’s much-cited analysis of the 2014 midterm elections, the most recent figures it has, Tennessee was a dismal 40th in voter registration at 74 percent of voting age population, and was 50th in voter turnout, just 28.5 percent, that November. PEW's data is based on responses to the U.S. Census Bureau's Voting and Registration Supplement.

Katie Cahill, of the Howard H Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee, on the state's voting registration and turnout numbers. Tyler Whetstone, USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee

During the 2016 presidential election, only 49 percent of the 519,000 African-Americans registered to vote in Tennessee did so, according to U.S. census figures gathered by the USA TODAY NETWORK - Tennessee.

Voters can register to vote in Tennessee online or with the GoVoteTN app. The last day to register to vote is Tuesday, Oct. 9.

Early voting will be held from Wednesday, Oct. 17, through Thursday, Nov. 1. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6.

The Commercial Appeal’s Tonyaa Weathersbee contributed to this report.
The Black Women's Agenda Is America's Agenda, As Stacey Abrams Has Reminded Us
Sep, 17, 2018

When it you’re voting in the next election, think about who has your best interest at heart, who really has America’s best interest at heart and vote accordingly.

The fact of the matter is, the Black women’s agenda is America’s agenda, as Stacey Abrams, Georgia’s 2018 gubernatorial candidate so aptly put it who is well on her way to become the first black female Governor in America (let’s speak life into this.)

“The reality is if we want to live a Black women’s agenda then we have to elect people who live the Black women’s agenda. And as everyone in this room knows the Black women’s agenda is America’s agenda. It’s about educating our children from cradle to career,” Abrams said while speaking at the Black Women’s Agenda, Inc. Awards Luncheon where she was honored on Friday.   “It’s about making sure that access to healthcare is not an argument, it is a right.”

Abrams made her remarks while accepting the “Women on the Rise” Award, as was most fitting.

Other astounding black women were honored at the luncheon including:

Dr. Helene D. Gayle –  President and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust, one of the nation’s leading community foundations. The Trust works with donors, nonprofits, community leaders and residents to lead and inspire philanthropic efforts that improve the quality of life in the Chicago area. Dr. Gayle serves on public company and non-profit boards including Colgate-Palmolive Company, The Coca-Cola Company, the Rockefeller Foundation, Brookings Institution, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, New America and the ONE Campaign.

Tina Knowles-Lawson – Entrepreneur, designer and managing partner of the House of Deréon and Miss Tina fashion brands. Ms. Knowles-Lawson is also an author, philanthropist, and the mother of Grammy award-winning recording artists Beyoncé and Solange.

Tanya L. Lombard – Head of Multicultural Engagement and Strategic Alliances, AT&T. Lombard’s responsibilities focus on creating, promoting, and managing AT&T’s brand-messaging to minority communities through the development and stewardship of strategic community-based relations and projects.

The Honorable Sheila Y. Oliver – Lieutenant Governor, State of New Jersey – A former member and Speaker of the New Jersey State Assembly, Oliver is one of only three African-American women to hold statewide office.

Dr. Sandye Poitier Johnson – A renowned educator and retired principal widely credited with raising the academic standards and stature of the Thurgood Marshall Academy for Learning and Social Change in Harlem and helping it earn the prestigious designation as an International Baccalaureate World School.

The Honorable Karen W. Weaver – Mayor, City of Flint, Michigan – As mayor, Dr. Weaver declared a state of emergency in connection with the discovery of unsafe levels of lead in the water residents used for cooking, drinking, and bathing. She became a prominent figure as the resulting crisis and ongoing recovery captured national attention.

Eugena King – An Indianapolis, IN resident and matriculating freshman at Gustavus Adolphus College, a liberal arts college in St. Peter, MN, King was honored as the recipient of BWA’s Bright Futures Award and scholarship.

“We can live the black women’s agenda by electing people across this country who reflect our values,” Abrams encouraged, reminding people that mid-term elections are right around the corner and that some of the most impactful change comes from the local, state elections.

Every election is important, a notion that has been decidedly a theme throughout the Congressional Black Caucus Conference.

So really and truly, make sure you are registered to vote (I hope everyone is registered to vote at this point,) and make sure you know where your polling location is. Brush up on the campaign points of your candidates, remember your own agenda, America’s agenda and then vote. The health and the future of our country depend on it.
Mother of Murdered African-American Humboldt Student Fights for Justice
September 18, 2018
Laurie Kelso
Staff Writer

On Wednesday morning, CSU Board of Trustees discussed the murder of African American student, David Josiah Lawson. Lawson was a student from Riverside, CA who was murdered at a Humboldt State party on April 15, 2017.

An article from the California Faculty Association explained that Lawson’s mother, along with other Faculty and Students intention at the meeting is to urge the CSU Board of Trustees to take action and “act on the unsolved case”.

The CFA gave more insight on to what exactly happened the night of the murder. Lawson, a 19-year-old Criminology and Justice Studies major, was attending a party on Easter Weekend with his girlfriend and other friends, when he was stabbed. The local police were said to respond to the call, but mainly focused on crowd control, instead of assisting Lawson.

The party was located in the neighborhood of Arcata, a mostly white community. It has been over a year since the murder happened, and the case still remains open. There are no known suspects as of now.

The CFA explains this was not the only irresolvable murder at Humboldt State. In 2001, a student named Corey S. Clark was shot at an apartment in Eureka. No suspect or motive was found.

On Wednesday morning, Lawson’s mother, Michelle Charmaine-Lawson spoke in front of the Board of Trustees members, wearing a “Justice for Josiah” t-shirt, with friends and family members standing behind her. She called on the board for action. “My son was 19 years old when he was viciously murdered on April 15th at an off campus party in Arcata. What are you doing to implement changes between the CSU system?” Lawson questioned.

She called on the President of Humboldt State directly. “Citizens and my family have expressed deep concerns, demanding that you act immediately on the behalf of students of color. We demand parents and safety checklist as part of the recruitment process.” Lawson said.

Lawson then addressed the campus police and the town of Arcata. “What are the procedures and training processes for campus police involved in an off campus event related to the students?” Lawson asked. “Has Arcata updated their policies to protect students?”

Lawson stressed she wanted a change in a safe environment for students of color to be able to learn. She also called for more Professors of color to be in positions of leadership roles. “Humboldt county is not a welcoming place for students of color” Lawson said. “It’s going to be fifteen months on Saturday September 15th, since I lost my son” Lawson proclaimed, holding back tears. “His murder still remains unsolved.”

Lawson continues on to address the issue. “There is a systematic racism in Humboldt county that has been swept underneath the rug by Humboldt State University and the Arcata Police department for decades”.

Megan Haap, a Senior year Hutchins major, was shocked to learn the murder has not yet been solved. “It’s very sad to hear that Humboldt State and the Arcata neighborhood has not much of an effort to resolve the murder” Haap said. “I’ve heard of many fights happening off campus hear at Sonoma, and I would hope our University and the Rohnert Park police would do everything they could to ensure students safety if something as terrible as that happened here.”

David Dougherty, the Chief of Police at Sonoma State explained who would be responsible with dealing with incidents off campus. “The law enforcement agency having primary jurisdiction over the location of the crime would generally be responsible for the response and investigation. We do enjoy a collaborative relationship with other agencies and work together as/if/when needed.”

Dougherty also explained the University’s policy. “UPD shares concurrent jurisdiction on adjacent streets/areas surrounding University properties and UPD is visible in these areas in an effort to prevent crime and promote the safety of students, faculty and staff. The agency having primary jurisdiction over these areas is generally responsible for the response and investigation” Dougherty said.

Lawson chokes through tears at the end of her speech. “My son was smart,” Lawson said. “My son was compassionate. He was giving, ambitious, a leader. He was driven to succeed. My beloved son was destined for greatness”. 
The African-American Men Who Fought with John Brown
By Dan Rodricks
Baltimore Sun

Roughly Speaking episode 423:

Among John Brown's band of raiders were five African-American men, who have been largely overlooked by historians.

In the late summer of 1859, the fierce abolitionist John Brown assembled a small army in a farmhouse in rural Maryland and prepared to raid the federal arsenal across the Potomac River at Harpers Ferry. Brown hoped to inspire a rebellion and establish a government of liberated slaves in the Appalachian Mountains. Among Brown's band of raiders were five African-American men, one of them an escaped slave, who have been largely overlooked by historians — John Copeland, Shields Green, Dangerfield Newby, Lewis Leary and Osborne Perry Anderson. Their stories are now told in "Five For Freedom," a new book by longtime journalist Eugene Meyer, a former reporter and editor of the Washington Post. In this episode: A visit to the Kennedy farm where Brown's army stayed in the weeks before the raid and a conversation with Gene Meyer about Brown and the five African-American raiders who joined his cause.

Eugene Meyer is scheduled to speak at the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore on Thursday, Sept. 20 at 6:30 pm.
South Africa's Highest Court Legalizes Cannabis Use
BBC World Service

South Africa's highest court has legalised the use of cannabis by adults in private places.

Pro-marijuana activists cheered in the public gallery and chanted "Weed are free now" when the Constitutional Court gave its landmark ruling.

In a unanimous ruling, judges also legalised the growing of marijuana for private consumption.

South Africa's government had opposed its legalisation, arguing the drug was "harmful" to people's health.

It has not yet commented on the ruling, which is binding.

Three cannabis users who had faced prosecution for using the drug brought the case, saying the ban "intrudes unjustifiably into their private spheres".

In his judgement, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said: "It will not be a criminal offence for an adult person to use or be in possession of cannabis in private for his or her personal consumption."

It will, however, remain illegal to use cannabis in public, and to sell and supply it.

The Cannabis Development Council of South Africa welcomed the ruling, and called on the government to drop charges against people found in possession of the drug.

Jeremy Acton, the leader of the Dagga Party, which campaigns for the use of cannabis, said the ruling should have gone further to legalise the carrying of marijuana in public.

Cannabis is referred to as "dagga" in South Africa.

Court brushes aside opposition
By Andrew Harding, BBC News, Johannesburg

This judgement is a reminder that South Africa's hard-won constitution is among the most liberal in the world, backing individual rights, and in this case the right to grow and smoke your own marijuana in private, against the government's concerns about public health and public order.

The Constitutional Court's ruling focuses on the issue of privacy, and a person's right to do as they please in their own home.

The potential implications of the binding judgment are enormous, and unpredictable - particularly in terms of the criminal justice system, which routinely locks up thousands of overwhelmingly poor South Africans for using or dealing in small amounts of cannabis.

It is possible that the ruling, by allowing users to grow their own marijuana at home, could undermine the stranglehold of powerful drug gangs that blight so many communities. But the police, who argued against this change, will worry that the ruling will create more ambiguity and send the wrong signal to criminals.

The court has not approved - in any form - the trade in marijuana, meaning the government will not be able to profit from taxing a legalised industry.

In political terms, the landmark ruling emphasises the primacy of South Africa's constitution, which brushed aside the united opposition of numerous government ministries at a time when the authority and credibility of many of this young democracy's other institutions have been eroded by corruption and poor governance.

The court gave parliament 24 months to change the law to reflect its ruling.

Adults who used marijuana in private would be protected by the ruling until the law was amended.

The court did not specify the quantity of cannabis a person can grow or use in private.

Parliament would have to decide on this, it said.

In April Zimbabwe became the second country in Africa, after Lesotho, to legalise the use of marijuana for medical use.
South Africa's Crime Statistics: Denial At Its Worst
18 September 2018, 10:08

According to our minister of police, Bheki Cele, South Africa has not reached a state of lawlessness, nor will we.

When first reading this ludicrous proclamation, all I could do was sit in my chair and wonder if perhaps Mr Cele was reporting on the crime statistics of the same South Africa, the rest of us call home.

It didn’t take long to dawn on me, that it was wishful thinking.

Now, to put things in perspective, if we are rating the seriousness of crimes and placing the most serious acts at the top, murder always takes top priority. Fifty seven (57) people are murdered in South Africa EVERY DAY.

It’s hard to fathom really, but to give you an idea of how insane that figure is - picture a bus carrying 57 people, driving off a cliff each and every day. War torn countries have fewer fatalities than South Africa does annually.

Now, if that isn’t enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end, the murder rate obviously doesn’t include attempted murders or other forms of intended grievous bodily harm.

Other statistics that beggars belief are the cases of rape (the ones that are reported), hi-jackings, home invasions, assault, theft, cash in transit heists, vandalism, looting, corruption, domestic violence and the list just continues.

To say that South Africa has not reached a state of lawlessness is an insult to every citizen in our country, a serious betrayal to all those who have been victims of crime either directly or indirectly and a scandalous downplay of the situation we find ourselves in.

The brazen manner in which Mr Cele announced this statement is proof that our ministers and high-ranking government officials are completely out of touch with the people they are meant to serve.

As an ordinary member of society, we are not able to afford personal body guards, motorcades that drive dangerously often breaking the law to transport the self-important official inside a luxurious sedan, or live in a compound with state of the art security systems.

If our own government is unable to admit that we have a crisis on our hands when it comes to crime in South Africa, then I’m afraid that we have very little hope for what lies ahead. With our economy dwindling day by day and the unemployment rate soaring to record highs, it only makes sense that more people will resort to crime in order to survive.

So, we’re left with two possible explanations why Minister Cele would make such an unsubstantiated statement; either our government acknowledges that crime is out of control and it is too scared to admit it, or they have convinced themselves of their own lie and are in serious, serious denial.

Either way, we are statistics waiting to happen and already victims of denial.
South Africa Crime: Can the Country Be Compared to a 'War Zone'?
BBC News
18 September 2018

South Africa's police minister Bheki Cele has said a surge in murders has turned his country into a place that "borders on a war zone."

"Our bottom line is that this situation must reverse," he said.

Crime statistics released by the government show there were more than 20,000 murders in 2017, a 7% increase over the previous year.

The minister highlighted that this was 57 murders every day.

But was he right to compare South Africa to a war zone?

The murder rate, which takes into account a country's population, is a good way to show the scale of the deaths.

Nationally the figures paint a pretty grim picture.

In South Africa last year there were 35.8 murders per 100,000 people. In the last five years there's been an increase after more than a decade of decline.

However, the murder rate was twice as high in 1993, the year before apartheid ended.

We'll take a look at where murder rates are worst within South Africa in a moment, but first, how does the country compare with others around the world?

South Africa had the fifth highest murder rate in the world in 2015, according to the UNODC's most recent data.

It is higher in South Africa than in other countries on the continent with similarly sized economies.

There were 2,751 murders in Kenya in 2016, according to recent police statistics. Using the World Bank's population estimate, the murder rate in Kenya was 5.7 per 100,000 people.

In Nigeria in 2015 there were 9.79 murders per 100,000 people.

Further afield in Brazil, the murder rate in 2017 was 30.8 per 100,000 people, according to one recent study.

The UNODC notes that some countries have different legal definitions for offences, and different methods of counting and reporting crimes. There may also be significant differences in the levels of the reporting to the police and statistical authorities.

So how does South Africa compare to war zones?

The International Institute for Strategic Studies' (IISS) Armed Conflict Survey counts conflict-related deaths - this excludes murders outside of the conflict.

It also includes victims of terror attacks where the perpetrators of the attack are part of a conflict.

So to test the police minister's claim, one could look at murders in South Africa alongside figures for conflict-related killings. These figures aren't directly comparable but do provide a useful indictor of the scale of South Africa's murder rate.

We haven't added the number of murders in war zones to the figures for conflict-related because there may be an overlap in the statistics, or a lack of reporting.

We have estimated the overall rate for each country using the World Bank's population figures. This measure gives an indication of the extent to which the whole country is affected by conflict. But one would expect the rate to be much higher in specific war zones.

In Somalia, where government troops backed by the African Union are fighting al-Shabab militants, the IISS recorded 5,500 conflict-related deaths in 2017, which is a rate of 38.4 per 100,000 people. That's higher than South Africa, even excluding homicides.

For Afghanistan, there were 14,000 deaths last year in the conflict between insurgent groups and pro-government forces. That's a rate of 40.4.

IISS uses the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights' death toll figure for the Syrian conflict, which reported 39,000 deaths in 2017. That's equivalent to 212 per 100,000 people.

In Yemen there were 17,000 deaths - a rate of 61.6. In Iraq, there were 15,000 conflict-related deaths - a rate of 40.3.

So while the overall murder rate in South Africa is very high, the level of killing is lower than in all the conflict-affected countries considered here, even without taking into account non-conflict related murders in those countries.

The South African government said it planned to increase the size of the police force
But it's also worth looking at areas of high violent crime within South Africa, some with very high murder rates indeed.

There are 1,144 police station precincts across the country and 20% of all the murders were recorded at just 30 stations, according to the South African police service.

Last year, half of all murders were recorded at only 13% of stations.

According to ISS' Crime Hub, several precincts have a murder rate estimated at more than 100 per 100,000. That's higher than in most of the war zones considered above.

In Philippi East, a township of Cape Town, the rate was estimated at 323.4 per 100,000. It was 214.52 in Madeira in the Eastern Cape province and 177.3 at Pietermaritzburg's central city station in KwaZulu-Natal.
Why Three South African Firefighters Died from Lack of Water
By Pumza Fihlani
BBC News
17 September 2018

The death of three firemen in South Africa has shocked the country, with many feeling the blaze at a 26-floor government building in Johannesburg reveals a reckless attitude to health and safety by elected officials.

"If there was water in the building, our brothers would have survived and we would have been able to save the building," Muzikayise Zwane, a fireman from the Johannesburg Central Station, told mourners at an emotional memorial for his colleagues.

"They were robbed of their lives because the building did not have water. They died because the building was non-compliant, it wasn't safe."

Mr Zwane was part of the first team to respond to the fire on 5 September in central Johannesburg.

It was meant to be a routine call-out, but something went terribly wrong.

The firemen discovered the building had no water too late - and three men who had gone into it to save lives, lost theirs.

Twenty-eight-year-old Simphiwe Moropane was the first to die in the tragedy, after he slipped and fell from the 23rd floor.

He had run out of oxygen and had gone to the ledge to try to get air, fellow firefighters revealed at the memorial service held at Ellis Park stadium on Wednesday.

"I couldn't even recognise him. I had to search his pockets to find a form of identifying him - that's how crushed his body was," Mr Zwane told mourners.

The City of Johannesburg tweeted updates from the memorial, using the hashtag "JoburgsBravest".

The two other firefighters, 40-year-old Mduduzi Ndlovu and 37-year-old Kathutshelo Muedi, suffocated to death after they became trapped in the building.

Family members sobbed and comforted each other during the memorial as the details of the tragedy were shared.

Old and shabby
Investigations into what caused the fire are on-going but many believe the men were doomed from the beginning because of the shoddy state of the building.

It was old and the lifts were not working, so the firefighters had to walk all the way up to the 23rd floor where the blaze started. Not a single floor had water, the memorial was told.

Some are calling for danger money to be paid to civil servants who work in sub-standard buildings
The building housed the departments of health, human settlements and cooperative governance and traditional affairs for Gauteng, South Africa's wealthiest province - home to Johannesburg and the capital, Pretoria.

A government report that has surfaced in the last few days revealed that the building was only 21% compliant with occupational health and safety standards, as opposed to the expected norm of 85%.

The report was commissioned in 2017 by the Gauteng Infrastructure Development to assess various buildings around the city.

Many have questioned why the government was still being used as office space, knowing it was below standard.

At the time of the fire, 14 people were working in the building, which opened in 1970 and is still known as the Bank of Lisbon.

Jacob Mamabolo, the provincial minister, said his department was working on a project that would ensure all government buildings in Gauteng were refurbished.

But the timeframe on this is unclear.

Days after the deaths, Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba, whose opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) took control of the City of Johannesburg from the ruling African National Conference (ANC) after local elections in 2016, said his municipality had inherited more than "500 problem" buildings from the previous authority.

He alleges that he has faced opposition from the government when trying to clean up the city, including ridding it of unsafe buildings.

'I lost my husband, my best friend'
The outpouring of grief continues, and the funeral for Mr Moropane was broadcast live on SABC television - the public broadcaster - for more than two hours on Friday.

On the day of the fire, his wife posted on Twitter: "#JoburgFire today I lost my husband, my best friend, father to my children. I love u so much."

In response a crowd-funding page was set up to pay for the funeral and education of their children.

Mr Ndlovu's fiancée, Thanda Ngcobo, is quoted in local media as saying that she still can't come to terms with her partner's death.

The couple had two children together - an 11-year-old and a 10-month-old.

"I really don't know what I will do without him. How I will raise these two kids without him because he was doing everything for them. He had plans for them," she is quoted as saying by Drum magazine.

At a wreath-laying ceremony at the Lisbon building before the memorial service on Wednesday, many family members broke down.

Some of those attending the event carried banners demanding a monthly "danger allowance" of 4,000 rand ($270; £205) for civil servants made to work in unsafe working environments.

Zwelinzima Vavi, a veteran trade union leader, has promised to sue the government over what he alleges is negligence.

"I have never ever seen anywhere a government allowing people to work in a place where there is no fire extinguisher, where there is no water," he said.

There are also concerns about the poor funding of the emergency services. About five million people live in Johannesburg and for the city and surrounding areas, there are only 28 fire engines - four were added to the fleet this year.

In response, many have described the work of a firefighter as a calling not a job.

Scores of firefighters raised their helmets in salute at the ceremony, vowing to serve their communities in honour of their fallen comrades.

On social media, a fireman's prayer has been widely shared: "And if, according to my fate. I am to lose my life; please bless with your protecting hand my children and mate."
South Africa and Nigeria Supremacy Battle on Space Investment
Space in Africa 
September 17, 2018

Comparison between Nigeria & South Africa's space allocation

South Africa and Nigeria have always been in a supremacy battle on who is the number one in Africa.

According to the 2018 National Budget of Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology received ₦75,677,747,631 ($209m) and ₦5,573,471,146 ($15.4m) of this was allocated to the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) headquarters located in Abuja. A total of ₦13,688,991,138 ($37.8m) was budgeted for space science and technology which is approximately 18.1% of the total budget of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.

The breakdown of this allocation is:

Centre for Atmospheric Research ₦618,394,407 ($1.7m)
Advanced Space Technology Application Laboratory Uyo Akwa Ibom State ₦588,631,420 ($1.6m)
Advanced Aerospace Engine Laboratory Oka Akoko, Ondo State. ₦350,000,000 ($970k)
NASRDA Institute of Space Science and Engineering, Abuja ₦275,000,000 ($760k)
Zonal Advanced Space Technology Application, Kashere, Gombe State ₦250,000,000 ($691k)
Zonal Advanced Space Technology Application, Langtang, Plateau State ₦250,000,000 ($691k)
Centre for Geodesy and Geodynamics – Toro Bauchi State ₦766,908,554 ($2.1m)
African Regional Centre for Space Education – Ile Ife, Osun State ₦661,825,984 ($1.8m)
Centre for Space Transport Propulsion – Epe, Lagos ₦1,199,579,288 ($3.3m)
Centre for Basic Space Science – Nsukka ₦1,052,103,658 ($2.9m)
National Centre for Remote Sensing – Jos, Plateau State ₦2,103,076,081 ($5.8m)

Nigeria’s Space allocation for 2018

This is a slight improvement on the 2017 budget which granted the National Space Agency headquarters ₦5,204,153,832 ($14.5m) while the total budget for space science and technology in 2017 was ₦10,535,073,754 ($29.3m)

In contrast, South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology (DST) budget this financial year increased to R7,79 billion ($550m) – out of this, the South African National Space Agency receives R138 million ($9.7m). This is an improvement on the last financial year’s budget for the space agency which was R131-million ($8.6m). The Square Kilometer Array project receives R709 million ($50m) this year; altogether, approximately, R 847 million ($60m) about 10.9% of the total budget of the department of science and technology is spent on space activities.

The allocation will be used to address transformation, through key research, development and support initiatives.

South Africa’s space allocation for 2018/2019 financial year

South Africa’s department of science and technology has more than twice the budget of Nigeria’s Ministry of science and technology even though only 10% of the budget is spent on space science and technology compared to Nigeria’s 18.1%. South Africa’s total allocation for space is $22.2m more than Nigeria’s.

The major part of South Africa’s funding is going into the SKA project with the agency also pioneering the Pan African Institute of Space Science in collaboration with CPUT. South Africa’s influence on Small Satellite development is top notch in Africa after building and launching 3 nanosatellites (ZACube-2, designed and built mainly by postgraduate students at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) in conjunction with SANSA as part of the CubeSat programme will be launched before the end of 2018.

Nigeria on the other hand is working towards the establishment of an Institute of Space Science and Engineering which aim to offer postgraduate training and courses on space applications and space engineering. In the past, the centre has worked with local institutions like the Federal University of Technology, Akure on small sat development – the NigeriaEduSAT project and is also working with Landmark University on the development of another nano-satellite even though most of these endeavors are highly dependent on foreign partners. With the establishment of this institute, the nation is expected to build more capacity development on small satellite technologies and space applications.

Nigeria is also in the race to host the proposed African Space Agency, according to a top official in the agency, the country has offered $10million to the African Union to host the agency and is currently building a Satellite Assembly Integration and Test Centre at its headquarters.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Uganda Accuses EU of Trying to 'Hijack Institutions' Over Bobi Wine Saga
Africa News

Uganda’s government on Monday responded to a European Union Parliament resolution that called out alleged torture of opposition politicians and asked government to drop charges against legislators.

Robert Kyagulanyi, a Ugandan musician and lawmaker, and MP Francis Zaake were allegedly tortured after they were arrested last month on suspicion of participating in stoning the motorcade of President Yoweri Museveni.

The government has denied that security staff tortured the two men, saying the injuries visible on their bodies could have been sustained in scuffles as they tried to resist arrest.

For EU parliament to pass a resolution asking the courts of Uganda to drop charges is inconceivable...we see this as a premeditated attempt to hijack and subvert our institutions.

“For EU parliament to pass a resolution asking the courts of Uganda to drop charges is inconceivable…we see this as a premeditated attempt to hijack and subvert our institutions,” government spokesman Ofwono Opondo told a news conference on Monday.

The EU is a key source of budget support to Uganda and has helped fund construction of major highways and other infrastructure.

Arua chaos and the aftermath

Museveni’s convoy was stoned as he left the West Nile town of Arua where he had travelled to campaign for a ruling party candidate participating in a parliamentary by-election.

Kyagulanyi, Zaake and dozens of their supporters were charged with treason for their roles in the incident. The two MPs are now in the United States and India respectively seeking treatment for their injuries.

The detentions of the MPs and their supporters and reports of their torture sparked days of protest in different parts of Uganda.

“Uganda takes objection to the tacit approval of undisciplined behaviour by EU and some of its institutions of some of the politicians in the country,” Opondo said, adding that the EU was hostile to Uganda because of “our emerging relations with China”.

‘We will win or die trying’: Bobi Wine tells Ugandans to fight for freedom
Critics of Museveni accuse him of using security forces to suppress opposition to his rule but officials say Museveni, 74, enjoys genuine mass support.

Parliament, which is tightly controlled by his ruling party, last year voted to remove an age cap on the presidency that would have barred him from seeking re-election in 2021.

South Sudan Government Accused of Violating Ceasefire
Nyasha K Mutizwa
Africa News

South Sudan’s main rebel force SPLM-IO has accused government forces of attacking their defensive positions a day after both sides signed a peace deal, while the U.N. mission said one of its peacekeepers was shot and wounded by a government soldier.

President Salva Kiir signed a peace agreement with rebel factions in the Ethiopian capital on Wednesday to end a civil war that has killed at least 50,000 people, displaced some three million and held up the country’s progress since it gained independence seven years ago.

“The regime’s forces heavily stormed our position at Mundu in Lainya county,” said Lam Paul Gabriel, the rebels’ deputy military spokesman, in a statement seen on Saturday.

This direct attack on UN peacekeepers here to help the people of South Sudan is unacceptable

He said the attack happened in the early hours of Friday and that eight government troops were killed in the ensuing battle. Another attack took place in Mangalatore, near the site of the first attack, where four government soldiers were killed, the statement said.

Both Mundu and Mangalatore are in Yei River State, close to the border with Uganda.

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said one of its peacekeepers from Nepal was shot in the leg on Saturday in Yei, the state capital, by a government soldier.

The peacekeeper was wounded when a soldier opened fire on a convoy of vehicles that left the U.N. base in the town in the morning to fetch water. UNMISS said the peacekeepers could not return fire due to the presence of civilians in the area.

Government officials were not immediately available to comment.

Ethiopia: Opposition Parties, Oromia President Speak Out on Burayu Violence
Daniel Mumbere
Africa News

Opposition political parties in Ethiopia have condemned the recent violence that erupted in the capital Addis Ababa and the Oromia town of Burayu, leaving several people dead.

Police on Monday said at least 23 people were killed in a weekend of violence targeting minorities in the ethnic Oromo heartland near Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.

State-affiliated Fana Broadcasting said so far police had detained 200 people over the violence.

Mobs of ethnic Oromo youth then marched here in Ashwa Meda and attacked our homes and looted businesses chanting ‘leave our land’.

The violence escalated on Saturday, the day of a rally marking the return to Ethiopia of leaders of the exiled Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), which had waged a four-decade insurgency for self-determination for Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group.

Opposition parties condemn violence

Leaders of seven parties including Oromo Federalist Congress, Oromo Liberation Front, Oromo Democratic Front, Oromo Unity for Freedom, Oromo Unity Front, Blue Party and Patriotic Ginbot 7 Movement for Unity and Democracy issued a statement after a two-day meeting.

‘‘The situation is very worrying and should be stopped,’‘ they said.

The parties urged the youth to refrain from being used by forces fighting ongoing political reforms, championed by the prime minister, Abiy Ahmed.

They also called on the government to strengthen its capacity to prevent conflicts and administer justices.

‘Oromia region to take full responsibility’

Local online portal, Addis Standard reported on Monday afternoon that the Oromia president, Lemma Megerssa, said the region will take full responsibility to rehabilitate victims of the mob attack in Burayu.

According to Megerssa, 300 households have been returned to their homes.

Efforts to placate the tensions in the Oromia region are ongoing.

Victims narrate ordeal

In the latest unrest, local residents said shops were looted and people attacked by mobs of Oromo youth who stormed through streets targeting businesses and homes of ethnic minorities on Saturday after two days of sporadic attacks in the Oromiya region’s Burayu district northwest of Addis Ababa.

“Mobs of ethnic Oromo youth then marched here in Ashwa Meda and attacked our homes and looted businesses chanting ‘leave our land’,” said Hassan Ibrahim, a trader in an ethnically diverse part of the district told Reuters.

The violence threatens to weaken reformist Abiy’s efforts at reconciliation.

Abiy, himself the first Oromo leader in the ethnically diverse country’s modern history, has pursued a reconciliation strategy since taking power in April, steering the state away from a hardline security policy in place for decades.

Photo credit: Tom Gardner @TomGardner18
Eritrea, Djibouti Leaders Hold Historic Meeting in Saudi Arabia
Daniel Mumbere
Africa News

The historic meeting between the leaders of Eritrea and Djibouti on Monday ‘opens a new page to promote peace and stability in the region’, the Saudi Arabia foreign minister, Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir said.

Eritrea’s president Isaias Afwerki met his Djibouti counterpart, Ismail Omar Guelleh met in Saudi Arabia, one day after the Gulf nation recognised the peace efforts of Afwerki and Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed.

Djibouti and Eritrea, normalised relations two weeks ago after a delegation of Eritrean, Somali and Ethiopian foreign ministers initiated dialogue to resolve a long-standing border dispute.

We have never ceased to call for the settlement of the dispute between us and Eritrea by means of dialogue.

The disputed land in question is the Dumeira mountain and Dumeira island which Djibouti claims is being illegally occupied by Eritrea.

While Djibouti had petitioned the United Nations and the African Union to ‘facilitate an agreement between the two countries, Guelleh on Tuesday said his country has always favoured dialogue as a means to resolve the dispute.

‘‘We have never ceased to call for the settlement of the dispute between us and Eritrea by means of dialogue,’‘ Guelleh said, adding that the region can only ‘achieve sustainable development and real economic integration without the prior realization of lasting stability’.

The Djibouti – Eritrea standoff is seen by most political and security analysts as the final rift needed to be solved to restore durable peace to the Horn of Africa region.
Sudan Unveils New Cabinet
Nyasha K Mutizwa
Africa News

Sudan’s new 21-member cabinet were sworn in on Friday and will be hard pressed to deal with a growing economic crisis.

Sudan has been grappling with an acute foreign exchange shortage and inflation above 65 percent for several months, prompting Omar al- Bashir to sack his 31-member cabinet to “fix the situation”.

Prices of food items and other products more than doubled over the past year across Sudan as the economic crisis grew, while the foreign currency market has seen the Sudanese pound plunge against the US dollar.

The ruling National Congress Party (NCP), in a late meeting Thursday, approved the ministers chosen by Prime Minister Moutaz Mousa Abdallah, who had been tasked with forming a new government after he was sworn in.

Finance minister Osman al-Rikabi was replaced by Abdallah Hamdok, while Ahmed Bilal was named new minister of interior.

Sudan’s economic crisis has deepened despite the United States lifting in October its decades old trade embargo on the African country.


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Ethiopia, Eritrea Sign Agreement in Saudi Arabia
September 16, 2018 1:52 PM
VOA News

In this photograph released by the state-run Saudi Press Agency, Saudi King Salman, center, receives Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, left, and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, right, in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia on Sept. 16, 2018.

Eritrea and Ethiopia signed an agreement at a summit in Saudi Arabia Sunday, further bolstering relations between the two countries which had been at war for twenty years.

The details of Sunday's specific agreement, signed in the presence of Saudi Arabia's King Salman and U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, were not immediately made clear.

"The Jeddah Peace Agreement signed today before the CTHM is a historic milestone for the peoples of Ethiopia and Eritrea and will contribute to strengthening security and stability in the region at large," Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said in a Tweet.

Relations between the Horn of Africa neighbors have improved since Prime Minister Abiy announced in June that Addis Ababa would finally honor a U.N.-brokered deal signed in 2000 to end a two-year border war that killed an estimated 70,000 people. The war was followed by nearly two decades of cold war, proxy conflicts and, at times, open hostilities.

The announcement led to a historic peace deal signed last month by Abiy and Afwerki that formally ended one of Africa’s longest, most intractable conflicts.

Eritrea, a former province of Ethiopia, broke away from its much larger neighbor in 1993.
Ethiopia PM Condemns Cowardly Violence, Vows Appropriate Response
Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban
Africa News

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has described as cowardly recent attacks in the outskirts of the capital, Addis Ababa.

Despite being outside of the country, Abiy’s chief of staff tweeted a strong condemnation of the killings and acts of violence against innocent citizens.

“These cowardly attacks represent a grave concern to the unity & solidarity of our people & will be met with appropriate response,” the tweet added.

The PM is in Saudi Arabia where he attended a summit with the Eritrean leader Isaias Afwerki, both leaders signed a peace agreement in the presence of the Saudi king and the United Nations Secretary-General.

Reports by the Addis Standard said the army had been deployed as at Sunday September 16 to deal with the situation which is said to have birthed a fresh humanitarian crisis. Already, Ethiopia is having a huge crisis with over a million people internally displaced by insecurity.

Thousands of people are said to be fleeing to the capital Addis Ababa given that the violence is said to have occured largely in the outskirts particularly in Burayu in the Oromia region. Deputy mayor of the capital has confirmed that displacements and says plans are afoot to give necessary support.

The Reporter news outlet confirmed ethnic undertones to the incidents reporting that the attacks by organized mobs, which began since Thursday, have primarily targeted ethnic Gamos, Wolayitas, Guraghes & Siltes.

There are no known official casualty figures even though a journalist, Dawid Endeshaw of the Ethiopia reporter says 15 bodies had so far been recovered.
Brutal 'Ethnic' Attacks on Outskirts of Ethiopia Capital Addis Ababa
Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban
Africa News

There are reports of increasing insecurity in the town of Burayu in the Oromia regional state located on the outskirts of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

The Addis Standard portal said on Sunday that the attacks which had been ongoing for some days now included deadly armed attacks, rape and burning of structures which situation has led people to flee the area.

Some reports say it had ethnic undertones. Addis Abba deputy mayor is said to have confirmed the incident adding that the city administration had set up a committee to organize support for the displaced.

It is the latest round of violence to hit the country in the midst of democratic reforms being undertaken by the Abiy Ahmed administration.

Prime Minister Abiy is on record to have tasked the security agencies to do all it takes to get a grip on the insecurity and to defend the rule of law.
Big Dreams for Special Economic Zones
Edwin Kondo
Zimbabwe Sunday Mail

As is now public knowledge, our regulations were published on the 17th of August, 2018.

These are the legal instruments that allow us to discharge our mandate to licence — which is to designate areas, attract investors in those specified zones, (and) administer the zones we would have established.

We have been pre-occupied with building the institutional framework.

It has really been about building the institutional framework, but further to that, if I can add, we have also been building the institution itself from the ground up, starting off with my appointment four months ago, and we have been working with a fantastic team of deployees from various ministries.

But it has also necessitated that as an organisation, we begin the recruitment process to populate our organogram and we have been busy doing that.

We have also been busy developing various plans and at this stage, I wouldn’t want to go into the various plans because they must go through the due processes, but we have been developing the various plans, including spatial distribution plans.

Spatial distribution plans look at where you are going to position zones.

And these are based on competitive advantages of each province.

So, you have heard the President, His Excellency, talking about Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, Beitbridge, Mutare and other areas and we are busy putting those declarations into actual legal-designated areas.

We will be publishing those very soon.

Also, we have been busy developing the processes because to be able to say this applicant has qualified for a license or not, we have to have a process; we have to have a very sound and robust technical process for us to be able to do so.

We have come up with those processes and now they are in place.

We have been looking at the backlog in terms of those that have applied and trying to clear that, but going forward, we are, as we speak, now busy going through the applications.

The applications have different levels of information, some of them are very bare, some of them are just letters, some of them — 50 percent, some of them are almost there, towards licensing.

But for us, the key issue is that it is really about establishing the areas first and designating those areas, and applications will then be placed into each zone.


In very layman terms, the regulations specify what needs to be done for different processes.

Let me give examples. The regulations specify how you approach land owners as an investor, how you approach an application and the requirements for that application.

The regulations specify the issue of gazetting of land, they specify the different types of investors we have.

In Special Economic Zones, you can have land owners with no money to develop — those can apply as land owners then partner with developers.

Developers will come with the technical and financial muscle to work with the land owners to develop infrastructure.

Then after the infrastructure is developed, there are what we call users.

Users are the plethora of investors that can come in and use a factory, use a medical facility that has been put in place, use an agricultural hub, the logistics hub or any of that.

Then there are operators. These are, in essence, estate managers like Old Mutual.

So, in terms of the land owners and developers, they tend to be very few, but we are talking of over 30 and that is a thumbs-up figure. In terms of users, we have a lot more, I would hazard a guess at more than 50.

Lastly, the regulations are very specific in terms of the fees.

The key issue being that the fees, considering that Zimbabwe is open for business, are very minimal and the process of paying those fees is very easy because we want to make the process less cumbersome.

The regulations, in a nutshell, are the legal instruments guiding people on how to approach designation, investors, administration, pay fees and work with Government departments.

Investor interest

The predominant sectors in terms of investor interest have been in manufacturing, agriculture and agro-processing, mining and the energy sector, particularly solar.

In terms of application, you must remember that licenses come in various forms, including land owners, developers, the infrastructural people and then users.

Some of the applications are just letters expressing interest, but for an application to be considered, you need to provide information like your directorship, where the money is coming from, your business plan, your marketing plan and so on.

A lot of applicants, as we speak, do not have that and we are busy engaging them for that information.

There is a lot of interest in the SEZs. Applicants can be in three forms — in the private sector, Government and local authorities.

Time-frames and targets

The plan that we have is that by end of next year, we should be talking about an industrial park. By the end of the next five years, we should be talking about two industrial parks, maybe one in Harare and one in Bulawayo, but attracting a lot of users.

When we are talking about industrial parks, we are talking about mini-cities that focus on certain value chains. We are not talking about a single factory, it is on a vast scale.

Therefore, in an industrial park, you could have 20 to 100 users.

For the next 20 years, it is for us to dream as a country. We are talking about 10 industrial parks, we want to go into every province of the country.

Mr Edwin Kondo is the chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe Special Economic Zones Authority. He was speaking to our Senior Reporter Lincoln Towindo in Harare last week.
The ED Cabinet: An End of History
Richard Mahomva
Zimbabwe Sunday Mail

Opinion has naturally been split with regards to Cabinet appointments made by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

But to be fair, the new Cabinet appointments reflect a reasonable bargain between the State and the electorate.

From another perspective, the appointments represent a rebranded structure of governance as this marks a departure from what others have referred to as the ‘recycling of old wood’.

The 2018 Cabinet is also reflective of the much anticipated distribution of roles between the ruling party stalwarts and experts drawn from other sectors outside Zanu-PF. It also has an even demographic spread which responds to the general clamour for youth and women’s inclusion in policy-making.

Most importantly, the structure of the new Cabinet demystifies the perception of Government top posts as rewards for loyalty, which often opened up the State to criticism over ostensible nepotism.

At the same time, this has neutralised the overrated rhetoric on the militarisation of the State post the November 2017 transition, which led to the resignation of former President Robert Mugabe.

Analysts are agreed that the new Cabinet represents an inter-gender and inter-generational balance, which, in essence, was the subject of political debate before the July 30 harmonised elections.

Political scientists and analysts also agree that the new-look Cabinet marks the beginning of an epoch-making era that could redefine the ethos of the country’s contemporary politics. Such a consensus on the structural realignment of Government is in tandem with the philosophical premise identified by political theorist Francis Fukuyama in his 2011 work “The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution”.

Fukuyama submitted in his work that modern politics have reached the “end of history”. However, what he terms “history” in his book neither refers to epochal shifts nor the flow of political events.

Instead, this implies that the successive stages of societal quest for political liberties across the globe had reached its final stage.

This perspective can also be likened to the Marxist prognosis of socialism as the final stage of human civilisation.

While Marxism has been criticised for being utopian, Fukuyama’s argument finds traction in the reality of how liberal democracy now defines the ultimate political culture of the modern State, notwithstanding the cultural super-imposition that comes with the adoption of Western democracy as a universal benchmark for governance. Fortunately or unfortunately, Fukuyama posits that there are no future regimes beyond modern democracy and capitalism.

Fukuyama argues that this climax of history under the auspices of modern democracy aptly fits into the key tenets of human security and liberties; as well as the universally embraced turn to capitalism.

Guided by this perspective, I submit that the era preceding the Second Republic marked Zimbabwe’s experience of the “end of history” – the history of cronyism, nepotism, mal-administration, corruption, limitations to democracy, governance equity restraints and the subtle exclusion of youth and woman in policy-making. As one would recall, part of the election discourse was dominated by discussions on the ‘generational consensus’ mantra, whose inadequacy was to limit matters of a generational interest to a single political party and attaching a particular face to that proposition. Nonetheless, this parochial view to unpacking a national question undermined the logic of this so-called ‘consensus’.

The other limitation of this narrative was its pre-occupation with “blacklisting” a particular age-group in Zimbabwean politics by calling them the “old guard”.

The same narrative was used in the futile attempt to discount Zanu-PF’s relevance.

One academic, Professor Eldred Masunungure, was, however, able to see through this rhetoric. Some time this year, he remarked that “incumbency and experience will defeat youthfulness”.

As predicted, Chamisa, the leader of the MDC-Alliance, lost the election. But the current Government restructure is sensitive to age and gender.

From the recent Cabinet appointments, it has now become clear that Zimbabwe has transitioned to a merit-based system.

This shows statecraft and a marked departure from the old sytem.

Zanu-PF’s renewal

On the other hand, the fact that some former Cabinet Ministers have been reassigned to serve the ruling party is indicative of how Zanu-PF is transforming itself into a institution that moves with the times.

It affords the party time to competently craft solid policy blueprints. Further, the recruitment of former ministers as full-time workers represent an addition of new skills.

With wide consultative mechanisms being employed from the ward to provincial structures, Zanu-PF will be able to tap grassroots support. By continuing to define itself as a party that espouses nationalist values that are grounded in history, the revolutionary party will naturally be able to spread its influence beyond card-carrying members.

It will also be able to assume its historic nationalist relevance of being a pro-people movement. It is worth noting that the ruling party has now recruited people who have acquitted themselves in the public and private sector.

This defines an “end of history”, but what needs to be done for that history to fully come to an end? First, corruption in the high places must be visibly eradicated.

Beyond speeches and resolutions, we must work hand-in-glove in fighting the rot in the public and private sector.

This fits with the pursuit of the values that gave birth to the Second Republic – the need to extricate the country from a fast deteriorating social, political and economic situation. Our parastatals must be engines for harnessing capital that meaningfully contributes to the national purse. This means there is need for creative minds to run parastatals.

Industry must be re-tooled

Government must create a policy environment which naturally capitalises our industry.

This will naturally create jobs.

Captains of industry must also be alive to the need to create opportunities for strategic partnerships with foreign counterparts in their shared and respective areas of specialisation. While a policy friendly environment is key and unavoidable in setting the pace for economic transformation, the retooling of our industry also takes the form of investments in relevant intellectual capital.

There is need for uninterrupted and dedicated investment in scientific innovations that will effectively grow our industry.

Our industrial sector must take the lead in inventions and universities must play a crucial role in ensuring that our engineering departments are not ornamental.

This is part of the many remedies that Zimbabwe needs to excel under the new system of governance.

Pamberi neZimbabwe!

Richard Mahomva is a political-scientist with avid interest in classic and modern political theory. He also has a distinct passion around the architecture of governance in Africa and is a literary aficionado.