Category Archives: International

Rwanda’s National Cabinet is Now Fifty Percent Women

By Shujaa Kwanzaa

Soraya Hakuziyaremye, Rwanda's head of Trade and Industry is one of Rwanda's 13 women cabinet members.

Soraya Hakuziyaremye, Rwanda’s head of Trade and Industry is one of Rwanda’s 13 women cabinet members.

According to international reports, in late October the central African nation of Rwanda announced that women would be making up 50 percent of its now 26-seat cabinet.

This happened just days after Ethiopia became one of the few countries in the world to introduce a “gender-balanced” cabinet.

The two African countries join a small number of countries around the world that have gender-balanced national cabinets. Most European nations do not have gender balanced cabinets.

Rwanda presently has sixty-one percent women in its parliament.

Canada formed the country’s first gender-equitable cabinet in 2015. Presently the United States (US) has not achieved such a balance.

According to reports earlier this year, the Trump administration touted the number of women he has appointed to senior-level positions on both his campaign and his administration. But within the U.S. leader’s cabinet, just over 27 percent of roles are held by women, with the cabinet composed of 16 men and six women.

That number is also lower than those of his more recent Democratic predecessors. Former President Barack Obama’s administration saw women occupy 30 percent of cabinet positions during his first term. That number rose to 35 percent in his second term.

Women in high-level cabinet positions within the Trump administration currently include Central Intelligence Agency Director Gina Haspel; Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who was preceded by Elaine Duke, who served as acting secretary until Nielsen was confirmed as her replacement in December 2017; as well as United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao and Linda E. McMahon, administrator of the Small Business Administration.

USA To Reduce Troops Based In Africa

The US looks to reduce its military presence in Africa by ten percent.

The US looks to reduce its military presence in Africa by ten percent.

By Shujaa Kwanzaa

According to international reports, the US army will withdraw hundreds of troops conducting counterterrorism operations across Africa over the next several years.

This was stated by the Pentagon Thursday, November 15, 2018. According to these reports this is in a move to prioritize resources “for long-term competition with China and Russia.”

Currently, about 7,200 US military personnel are based in dozens of African nations, with notable footprints in countries such as Somalia, Nigeria and Libya.

Commander Candice Tresch, Pentagon spokesperson, said on Thursday that US troops  would be reduced by about 10 percent over the next few years.

Tresch did not specify which countries would see a drawdown but said the cuts would leave “counter-violent extremist organization” activities largely untouched in several countries, including Somalia, Djibouti and Libya.

In other parts of the continent, including West Africa, the emphasis would shift from “tactical assistance to advising, assisting, liaising and sharing intelligence,” Tresch added.

The role of the US military on the African continent has received increased attention after an ambush last year in Niger killed four US soldiers and several members of Nigerian partner forces. The ambush was claimed by a local Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) affiliate.

The announcement by the Pentagon comes as it works on implementing President Donald Trump’s sweeping National Defense Strategy, which highlights a new era of “Great Power competition” with Moscow and Beijing.

Bus Explosion Kills Over 42 People in Zimbabwe

Wreckage of Zimbabwe Bus Explosion.

Wreckage of Zimbabwe Bus Explosion.

By Shujaa Kwanzaa

According to international reports at least 42 passengers have been confirmed dead in a bus explosion in Zimbabwe.

On Friday, November 16, 2018 Zimbabwean police said a suspected gas tank exploded on a bus killing over 40 people.

According to reports the accident happened late on Thursday, November 15, 2018 in Gwanda district, about 341 miles south of Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital.

“At the moment we know that more than 42 people died,” police spokeswoman Charity Charamba told reporters after the accident late on Thursday.

“Our police officers are at the scene,” Charamba added.

“Dozens have been confirmed dead and several others injured through burns.”

Earlier, Charamba told news agencies that at least 20 other people were injured, some with severe burns, in the accident.

United Nations Lift Eritrean Sanctions

The United Nations Security Council meets and lifts sanctions on Eritrea.

The United Nations Security Council meets and lifts sanctions on Eritrea.

By Chuma Kisu

According to international reports, the United nations (UN) has lifted its sanctions on  Eritrea nine years after they were imposed.

In 2009, the UN imposed a nationwide arms embargo, travel ban and asset freezes on certain people and entities after accusing Eritrea of supporting armed groups in Somalia.

Eritrea has denied those allegations.

According to reports on Wednesday, November 14, 2018 the decision to lift the sanctions was made during a meeting of the UN Security Council. It follows a rapprochement between Eritrea and neighboring Ethiopia.

According to reports the Security Council “welcomed the improved relationship between the two countries” but added that Eritrea needs to strive for closer ties with its other neighbor, Djibouti.

Eritrea and Djibouti have been at odds over a border dispute since June 2008 that led to military clashes which killed a dozen Djiboutian troops.

Repeated violence over the disputed territory raised fears the conflict could engulf the entire Horn of Africa region.

Earlier this year, Eritrea and Ethiopia signed a peace deal after a decades-long dispute.

Following that peace agreement, Eritrea asked the UN to lifts its sanctions, pointing to the region’s diplomatic shifts.

The dispute started in the early 1990s, when Eritrea gained its independence from Ethiopia, after which a war broke out later that decade over border disputes.

A 2002 UN-backed boundary demarcation was meant to settle the dispute for good, but Ethiopia refused to abide by it.

In September 2018, two border crossings were reopened just days before the countries signed a peace deal in Saudi Arabia, officially ending hostilities.

After the signing of that deal in Saudi Arabia, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told journalists “a wind of hope” was blowing in the Horn of Africa.

“It is not only the peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea – it is the fact that tomorrow and the day after tomorrow we will have, here in Saudi Arabia, the president of Djibouti and the president of Eritrea – two countries that have also been at odds with each other,” the UN chief said.