Category Archives: International

Kenyan Passport is the Eighth Most Powerful

By Shujaa Kwanzaa

A Kenyan passport allows one to travel to 71 nations without a visa.

A Kenyan passport allows one to travel to 71 nations without a visa.

According to new research, the East African nation of Kenya has the eighth most powerful passport in Africa. The research does show however, that the passport slipped down three places compared to the previous years.

The ranking by Henley & Partners, a citizenship and planning firm, takes into account how many countries can be visited without applying for a visa.

Kenyan citizens can travel to 71 countries without visas out of a possible 218, ranking behind Seychelles, South Africa, Mauritius, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Globally, Kenya was in position 72, which is an improvement from last year’s 73, in a ranking that placed Japan on the top, with Japanese citizens able to travel to a record 190 countries without visas.

“Kenya ranked 72nd in 2019 with 71 destination visa free access,” says the report that is produced in partnership with International Air Transport Association (IATA).

“As the world economy has become increasingly globalised, the need for greater visa-free access has grown steadily,” said the report.

Some of the countries that Kenyans can access without visa or get one on arrival include Singapore, Hong Kong, Jamaica, and Fiji among others. In the eastern African region, Kenya was ahead of its peers with Ethiopia, arguably the fastest growing economy in the region, ranked among the bottom five in Africa.

Countries linked to terror networks like Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq were at the bottom of the pile, with their citizens requiring visas to access the majority of countries. A recent survey by the African continental body showed East Africa leading in free movement of people in the region, affirming the gains of an open visa policy for the continent aimed at spurring trade and tourism. The liberalized visa regime was set up to promote more open borders across the continent and to boost trade, security and Africa-wide integration.

It has been widely publicized, with the African Union Commission voicing the need for countries to follow Kenya’s example.

African Union Announces Wakanda One Village

By Shujaa Kwanzaa

Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao

Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao

According to international reports, in late December 2018 African Union (AU) Ambassador to the United States, Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao officially announced the Wakanda One Village in Washington D.C. The project will be built both in Zimbabwe and Zambia as a nerve center for African development.

Wakanda One village is a concept that seeks to bring Africans living in the diaspora back to Africa to spearhead development at identified sites on the continent.

It expresses a desire by African leaders for all people of African descent living in the diaspora to return home and participate in building the continent.

Wakanda One – the building of African Centers of Excellence across Africa – is looking to build five centers, one in each region, which serve as growth nods for each region which should have downstream benefits for the population.

It will provide state of the art healthcare facilities using advanced technology and onsite pharmaceutical manufacturing.

According to international reports several African governments have pledged land to the African Union for the Wakanda One village. The village would be shared by Zimbabwe and Zambia as part of joint development efforts across southern Africa.

The Zimbabwean pledge comes in handy in the country’s re-engagement efforts where it also seeks to court Zimbabweans in the diaspora to contribute to the nation’s economic turnaround.

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa has also set an ambitious target to turn Zimbabwe into an upper middle-class economy by 2030 with tourism, agriculture, and mining driving the vision. Dr Arikana Chihombori-Quao, confirmed President Mnangagwa’s pledge recently.

“I met His Excellency President Mnanagwa recently and he offered us 2000ha for the regional Wakanda One in Victoria Falls.

“The offer also comes in when the Zambian Government has also offered some land across the river in Livingstone. So we are looking at building the village straggling the border between the countries,” she said.

Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao is a native of Zimbabwe and the African Union Ambassador to the United States of America since December 1, 2016. She was nominated by Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, to lead the African Union Mission to the USA, the first bilateral diplomatic Mission opened by the AU in 2007.

As the African Union Ambassador to the U.S., Dr. Chihombori-Quao works reinforcing the longstanding and deep historic, cultural and economic relations between Africa and the U.S. She plays a key role in reinforcing the African Union strategic partnerships with the United States, grounded on shared values and mutual interests. Ambassador Chihombori-Quao is a strong believer in the promise that the African Union-U.S. partnership is a shared strategic interest.

Prior to her appointment, Ambassador Arikana Chihombori-Quao was a family medicine doctor in Murfreesboro, Tennessee where she had been practicing medicine for the last 25 years. Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao is known internationally for her diligent efforts to improve healthcare systems, particularly in African countires, and to promote women’s rights around the globe. Nearly 20 years ago, at a conference organized by then-Africa Resources, Presidents Nelson Mandela and Robert Mugabe presented the noted philanthropist with an Achievement Award. This was her first major distinction which she highly appreciates and cherishes.

Black South Africans Protest Racism at Beach

A sheep was slaughtered in Cape Town to protest racial discrimination on the city's beaches.

A sheep was slaughtered in Cape Town to protest racial discrimination on the city’s beaches.

By Chuma Kisu

According to international reports security guards working on Clifton beach in Cape Town allegedly told Black citizens to leave the site on December 23, 2018 to keep “criminals” away from the hundreds of holiday tourists who visit each year.

In response, a group of protesters slaughtered a sheep on the beach in a ritual to ward off racism, while others sang and burned incense. Making such offerings is according to Black South African traditions.

According to reports the beaches as well as other public areas, were segregated under White-minority apartheid rule. Since the ending of apartheid these areas have been flashpoints of racial tension in South Africa.

The mayor of Cape Town has denied that the security firm PPA, which was hired to secure the beach, was only asking Black residents to leave the beach and that it “did not single out any race groups.”

Alwyn Landman, the chief executive of PPA, said the company’s guards did not close the beach and were only trying to protect local residents from criminal activity which had caused “mayhem” in the area.

However, Chumani Maxwele, a local activist, said the guards had deliberately told Black people on the beach to leave.

According to Maxwele, the private security guards were briefed to not allow Black people who appear to look like they are from the townships. “The offering of the sheep is calling on our ancestors to respond to our trauma at the hands of White people,” he added.

Patricia de Lille, the former mayor of Cape Town, also waded in to the row, insisting that PPA had no lawful basis for closing off the beach to residents.

“It is shocking to learn that a private security company has been permitted to police our magnificent Camps Bay and Clifton Beaches,” she told the Daily Telegraph.

“Public amenities have no closing times. We have long passed the days of curfews and restricted movement.

“[This] tramples on our hard-won constitutional rights and anyone who was forced to leave the beach should lay criminal charges with the police.”

It is the latest in a series of controversies over the issue of racism on South Africa’s beaches. In 2016, South African estate agent Penny Sparrow likened Black beach-goers to monkeys in a social media post, triggering widespread outrage. She was fined 150,000 rand which is nearly $11,000.00.

According to reports in September 2018, South African tourist Adam Catzavelos ignited another storm of protest after he used a racial slur in a phone video message from Greece, boasting that the beach had no Black people on it.

Petition Demands Disney Relinquish “Hakuna Matata” Trademark

The Lion King characters.

The Lion King characters.

By Chuma Kisu

According to international news reports an online petition is calling on Disney to relinquish its trademark of the Swahili phrase “Hakuna Matata.”

The phrase, which roughly translates to “no problems” or “no worries” and is a common expression in parts of eastern and southern Africa, is perhaps best known by westerners as a song in Disney’s 1994 hit movie “The Lion King.”

The company trademarked the expression the same year, according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

According to reports the petition posted on the week of December 17th was created by Zimbabwean activist Shelton Mpala. It had received more than 176,000 signatures by December 30.

Mpala told reporters that he started the petition “to draw attention to the appropriation of African culture and the importance of protecting our heritage, identity and culture from being exploited for financial gain by third parties.”

“This plundered artwork serves to enrich or benefit these museums and corporations and not the creators or people it’s derived from,” Mpala said.

Disney has not responded to reporters request for comment. A remake of the “The Lion King” is due for release in 2019.