Category Archives: International

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.

Nigerian Officials Seize Illegal Arms

By Shujaa Kwanzaa

Illegal weapons seized by Nigerian Officials this November

Illegal weapons seized by Nigerian officials

According to various international reports customs authorities in Nigeria have recovered a large arms haul seized at a port in the commercial capital, Lagos.

The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) reported what it called a “spectacular: seizure of a deadly 1 X 20ft Container laden” with three different types of rifles whose number came up to 1,100 pieces.

The NCS said the seizure at the Tincan Island Port Command (TICP) was made on the 6th of September but news of the discovery was disclosed to the press on September 11.

The class of seized weapons included: Jojef Magnum Pump Action and Jojef Magnum Plastic Single Barrels Hunting Gun Pump Action Rifles.

The Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) displayed the seized rifles at a press conference and said that investigations were still ongoing to nab the culprits. This is the second such seizure. A similar consignment was impounded months back.

Joseph Attah, spokesman of the NCS, told reporters that the arms were smuggled into the country from Turkey. The seizure is the largest the customs office has made this year.

Attah also revealed that a customs officer and a clerk at the Tin-Can Island command were in custody. And in his words, the “investigation is ongoing”


Saving Njuu Language in South Africa

By Chuma Kisu

Ms. Esau teaching the Njuu language.

Ms. Esau teaching the Njuu language.

Ms. Esau, a South African speaker of the N|juu language, is leading efforts to ensure her native tongue is not lost forever. Ms. Esau is one of three remaining fluent speakers of the language. She is 84 year old. The other remaining fluent speakers are all related to Ms. Esau.

Ms. Esau is of the South African San people called by many the “Bushman.” After centuries of White colonial oppression of the San language, it is not considered by the United Nations (UN) as an endangered language.

N|uu is considered the original language of southern Africa. The San are believed to have been in South Africa at least 26,000 years.

According to Ms. Esau when she was a child they would be beaten if caught speaking their language. “When I was a child, I only spoke N|uu and I heard a lot of people speaking the language. Those were good times, we loved our language but that has changed,” says Ms Esau in Upington, a town in the Northern Cape Province.

For centuries, the San roamed this region freely, gathering plants and hunting animals to feed their families. But today the traditional practices of the San have all but died out. Their language is one of the only things left that connects them to their history. N|juu has clicks as one of the major sounds of the language.

Inside a small wooden hut, she teaches

Over 1,00 Killed in Sierra Leone Mudslides

Sierra Leone residents look over damage.

Sierra Leone residents look over damage.

By Shujaa Kwanzaa

According to various international reports, more than 1,000 people have died from the mudslides and flooding in the Sierra Leone capital of Freetown in mid-August.

The Sierra Leone government had initially reported that the death toll for the August 14 mudslide was about 450 people. Rescuers and aid groups warned that many of the additional 600 people missing would likely not survive and significantly raise the death toll.

“Over 1,000 perished in the mudslide and flood disaster, and we will never know the exact number now,” Elenoroh Jokomie Metzger, the head of the women of Regent, said on August 27, during services honoring the disaster’s victims.

Hundreds of burials have taken place, while rescue and recovery efforts have continued through rain that could bring fresh tragedy due to unsafe housing conditions.

Reverend Bishop Emeritus Arnold Temple, who delivered the Sunday sermon at a Methodist church near Regent, said an accurate count was important for accountability.

“It may well be over 1,000 Sierra Leoneans we are mourning now. But why should about 1,000 of our compatriots’ lives end tragically like this?” Temple said.

“Who should we really blame? We are bound at a point in the blame game to attribute the blame so that corrective measures can be put in place so that never again should we allow this to happen.”

First lady Sia Koroma, wife of President Ernest Bai Koroma, also spoke during the ceremonies. “I stand here with a heavy heart. We have been through many calamities in our country,” she said.

“We should all do self-examination and learn to be obedient to man-made laws, especially when the government plans to take action for the development of the country.”

Thousands of people living in areas at risk during heavy rains have been evacuated. Aid groups are delivering supplies and helping provide clean water to prevent a health crisis.

According to reports some critics accuse Sierra Leone’s government of failing to learn from past disasters in Freetown, where many poor areas are near sea level and lack good drainage. The capital is also plagued by unregulated construction on its hillsides.