#WeekendUpdate A dark cloud hovers Africa

While Friday 13th bore an Angel of death in Japan, Lebanon, Mexico and France, our continent wasn’t spared. Violence looms over Central African Republic and Burundi. Fatal road accidents in Botswana and South Africa have led to lost lives of our future leaders. Although the dark cloud looms over our continent, there are communities and organizations who are piecing our nature of Ubuntu together.

In Southern Africa, road accidents occurred in Botswana and South Africa. In the Free State Province of South Africa, ENCA reported that a bus carrying school children crashed along the road and burst into flames on the road to Warden. Luckily, most of the passengers fled the bus before it engulfed in flames, however only two children were caught in the flames of the bus. While to two children (believed to be three year old twins) passed on in the vehicle, two other children were critically injured, four with serious injuries and 17 others treated for minor injuries.

The road accident in Botswana was more fatal. With children packed in the back of a truck teaming with their luggage, the truck reportedly burst a tire and overturned, resulting in the fatal death of 7 children who had just completed their form 5 final exams (form 5 being the last year of secondary school) and 126 of the children hospitalized. It should be noted that this was an illegal means of transportation, as a policy that was passed shy of a decade ago depicted the illegalities of transporting students by truck. According to Mmegi online, Minister of Education and Skills Development Unity Dow mentioned that the policy still stands, but can be derailed from time to time. “It depends on a number of things,”she tells Mmegi reporter, “maybe because of the terrain or maybe that the bus is not available for whatever reason, officials may take the decision. But for this particular case, at the moment I cannot say why they used a truck to transport the students. After an investigation is complete I will be in a position to tell the public what happened”.

In Central African Republic 22 citizens were killed in continuous raids in the past week. Reuters reports that the violence escalated even further this past Friday. The violent attacks are based on a polarizing difference in religious views, with the Muslim Seleka rebels and Christian anti-balaka militias. The deep rooted conflicted between these two groups has been ongoing for two and a half years. Armed forced slit throats of 10 villagers in Ndassima on Monday, and carried out an overnight attack in Mala, not so far from the village. Currently, eight villagers are kidnapped in Mala and dozens of others have gone missing. It is unconfirmed which of these groups were attacking innocent lives. Read more at

Political tensions are deepening in Burundi as President Pierre Nkurunziza uses controversial tactics to stay in power. After a controversial re-elections in July that handed him a third term in office. Having been president for the past ten years and at his 80th day into the new term, protests against his stronghold to power rise as he is currently violating the two term limit that was set in peace accords in 2005. The same peace accords that ended a 12 year civil war between the Hutu and Tutsi tribes. Over the past months, AP reports that 200 000 Burundians have been displaced from their homes and 250 killed. These also include journalists, activists and political opposition figures who want to campaign against his rule.

 

President Pierre Nkurunziza, a former Hutu rebel leader, and others in his government have been using incendiary language to energize an official crackdown that aims to stamp out violent protests against the president’s controversial re-election last summer to a third term in office, after a failed coup attempt. His rivals contend that this violates a two-term limit set out in peace accords in 2005 that ended a 12-year civil war between the country’s large Hutu majority and Tutsi minority in which 300,000 died.

In recent months some 200,000 Burundians have been driven from their homes, and 250 have been killed, including opposition figures, journalists and rights activists. The President has called over a handover of illegal arms, citing that failure to do so would have opposition leaders be ‘dealth with as enemies of the nation’. Although the country faces such resistance from the leader, opposing political parties have formed together to create a unified umbrella body called the Council for the Respect of the Arusha Agreement and the Restoran of the Rule of Law (CNARED). With hope to not kill more civilians, but use the 2005 peace agreements as a blueprint, political leaders hope to crack down this unsavoury iron clasp for power.

In order to move past this dark cloud, Africa needs to work together in implementing policies – particularly in the case of Botswana and Benin, where rules are bent by the very policy makers who have made them.