Category Archives: International

Gas Tanker in Accra, Ghana Explodes

Gas tanker explosion in Accra, Ghana.

Gas tanker explosion in Accra, Ghana.

By Chuma Kisu

According to international reports, a tanker explosion near a gas station in Accra, Ghana has killed at least seven people and injured nearly seventy others Saturday night October 7, 2017. Accra is the capital of Ghana.

The blaze and blasts gutted a liquefied gas filling station and a nearby petroleum station in the Atomic Junction area of the Legon suburb of Accra, The blast sent a giant fireball into the sky and local residents fleeing.

The head of the Ghana Standards Authority, Alex Dodoo, on Sunday said there had been eight gas explosions in four years, including in June 2015, when a similar fire and explosion at a petrol station in Accra killed more than 100 people.

In December last year, a gas tanker caught fire in another residential area of Accra, creating a fireball that caused five deaths and damaged a nearby school.

“This is a time for concrete action,” Dodoo was quoted as saying by Citi FM radio after Saturday’s incident. “Fixing it and making sure that it doesn’t happen again is a responsible thing to do.”

President Nana Akufo-Addo offered his condolences, and said his “government is resolved, now more than ever, to ensure such an incident does not occur again”.

Akufo-Addo said cabinet ministers will meet on Thursday and will likely come out with a “comprehensive program” and policy to prevent future explosions.

“I would like everybody involved in the industry to recognize we will all have to make adjustments to be able to guarantee the safety and the security of our people so these things do not happen again,” he said.

But the OccupyGhana pressure group feared nothing would change once the messages of condolences and anger passed.

“One would have thought that after the June 3 (2015) disaster there would have been a massive clampdown on how filling stations are sited in residential areas,” the group’s spokesman, Nana Sarpong Agyeman-Badu, told AFP.

“We have not really done much or learnt anything. We all go back to sleep and the issue will come back up again, we will talk about it then go back to sleep.

“I am pretty sure in the next couple of weeks we will see back and forth – people going around shutting down filling stations – and then we go back to as we were.”

Madagascar Plague Gets UN Aid

By Chuma Kisudownload(1)

According to international reports The World Health Organization (WHO) said on October 1 that it was boosting its response to a plague outbreak in Madagascar that has killed 24 people.

In a televised address on Saturday, Prime Minister Olivier Mahafaly Solonandrasana said no public meetings or demonstrations would be allowed in the capital Antananarivo, which has seen six deaths in recent days.

“At airports and bus stations, measures will be taken for passengers to avoid panic and to control the disease,” he added after an emergency meeting with the UN health agency.

According to these reports Madagascar has suffered plague outbreaks almost every year since 1980, often sparked by rats fleeing forest fires. The current outbreak was unusual as it had affected large urban areas, increasing the risk of transmission, the WHO warned.

 The outbreak is a mix of bubonic plague, which spreads by infected rats via flea bites, and pneumonic plague spread person-to-person. The highly infectious disease killed millions of people across the world in the past before being largely wiped out.

“WHO is concerned that plague could spread further because it is already present in several cities and this is the start of the epidemic season,” Charlotte Ndiaye, WHO representative in Madagascar, said in a statement Sunday.

“Our teams are on the ground in Madagascar providing technical guidance.”

The first death this year occurred on August 28, 2017 when a passenger died in a public taxi in route to a town on the east coast. Two others who came into contact with the passenger also died.

Officials are trying to identify people who came into contact with a basketball coach from the Seychelles who died of plague in Antananarivo on Wednesday while visiting the island for a sports event.

Plague can be cured with antibiotics but can be fatal within 24 hours if it affects the lungs. On Saturday, the health ministry said the death toll had risen to 24 from 19 on Thursday, with more than 100 infected.

The recurrent outbreaks in Madagascar have been attributed to poor hygiene and insufficient healthcare.

WHO has released $300 000 in emergency funds, as well as extra supplies of antibiotics and protective equipment. It appealed for $1.5 million to fund the emergency response.

Trump Adds Chad to List of Banned Countries

By Chuma Kisuindex

The West African nation of Chad has been listed in a new list of countries whose citizens are prohibited from entering the United States by president Donald Trump.

In a White House Press release issued Sunday, Libya and Somalia remained on the banned list. The other nations now affected by the ban are Iran, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen.

The release stated that although Chad’s government is “an important and valuable counterterrorism partner of the United States”, it does not share enough information to enable the U.S. to judge whether its citizens pose a threat to public safety.

“Additionally,” the release goes on to say, “several terrorist groups are active within Chad or in the surrounding region, including elements of Boko Haram, ISIS-West Africa, and al-Qa’eda in the Islamic Maghreb.”

According to reports, though the release did not directly mention Sudan, White House administration officials said that Sudan’s “cooperation on national security and information-sharing showed it was appropriate to remove it from the list.”

Senegalese Activists Demand End to Colonial Currency

By Chuma Kisudownload

According to international news sources, a number of protesters gathered in several West African capitals Saturday, September 16, 2017 to demand their countries abandon the CFA franc in favor of a common African currency.

Passions over the issue have been reignited since Senegal arrested and expelled an activist for burning a CFA bill at a rally last month.

According to reports, the PanAfrican Emergencies group called for the protest. Senegal recently expelled the movement’s founder, French-Beninese activist Kemi Seba, after he burned a 5,000 CFA note during a rally in Dakar in August.

France created the CFA in the 1940s for its African colonies. The CFA is pegged to the euro and guaranteed by national currency reserves deposited with the French treasury. Senegal is one of 14 countries in West and Central Africa’s two monetary unions still using the CFA.

“It is not an African currency, so we consider it a Nazi currency imposed by our colonizer,” said Senegalese trader Adama Badiane.

Shop owner Mariama Seydi also favors a new currency.

“I would like Senegal to have its own currency,” she said. “In the same way as we used to talk about the French franc, I would like us to say the Senegalese franc.”

Moudou Gaye, the head of Marche Tilene, agrees.

“We are Africans. We need to get organized and mobilized for a single currency,” Gaye said.

Advocates of the CFA say it has prevented inflation and instability. They point to the experiences of neighbors like Guinea and Nigeria as cautionary tales of going it alone. But critics argue the currency is too strong and stifles economic growth. Regional trade has expanded outside the eurozone to partners like China and the United States.

“When you have a currency fixed to a strong currency like the euro, it is easy to import. But when you want to export, your products cannot compete with other foreign countries,” said Ndongo Samab Sylla, an economist at Rosa Luxemburg Foundation.

Countries using the CFA are free to abandon it, but none of the 14 governments has announced any such intention. And for onlookers at this latest anti-CFA protest, this may be for the best.

“I do not blame them. Everyone has their way of thinking. But we will go nowhere if Senegal creates its own currency and leaves the CFA,” said Ahmadou Bamba Badiane, while watching the protest.

For now, the debate continues. But in the past year, the presidents of Senegal and Ivory Coast have publicly reaffirmed their support for the CFA, making it unlikely it will disappear any time soon.