Tag: Africa

Mnangagwa Declared Winner in Historic Zimbabwe Election

By Ryan Lau | @agorisms

Early Friday morning, Zimbabwe voted for Emmerson Mnangagwa to be their president. Though he has held the office since Robert Mugabe’s ousting this past November, it was previously a temporary position. Now, Mnangagwa will hold the office for the entire five year presidential term.

A Victory for Mnangagwa

Polling results show Mnangagwa with 50.8% of the vote, just over the 50% needed to prevent a runoff election. Said runoff would have occurred against opponent Nelson Chamisa, who received 44.3% of total votes.

Mnangagwa, a member of the Zanu-PF party, was formerly a close aide of Mugabe, who belonged to the same party. Yet, he was also responsible for ending the tyrant’s 37-year iron rule.

However, not all is quiet in a country that Mugabe’s brutal rule has torn apart. In fact, many, including Chamisa himself, are saying that the results are fraud. He and his opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), are keen to link the newly elected president with his former party leader.

Protest and Opposition

Morgan Komichi, the chair of the MDC, stated that the election results were not accurate or legitimate. “We were not given time to verify the results,” he declared early Friday. “These are bogus figures. They are bogus results.”

Chamisa also pitched in on the possible inaccuracy of the vote, tweeting about “unverified fake” results.

https://twitter.com/nelsonchamisa/status/1025249973439549440

He also pointed towards the Zanu-PF party’s history of rigging elections, a common occurrence in the Mugabe era.

Amidst the election tension, protests broke out, some turning deadly. In the streets of Harare, six people have died in protests stating that the election was rigged. After police failed to stop the protesters, Zimbabwe deployed their army to do so. Some of the protesters called for war, while others simply demanded that Mnangagwa step down from office.

Through the protests, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has stated that the results are legitimate.

A Unified Path

Despite the clear divide in the African nation, Mnangagwa hopes that he can unify the country once more. He tweeted Friday, calling for a new, unified path forward.

Remaining firm, he hopes to set the nation on the right path once more, seeking to satisfy the more than 3.5 million citizens who voted in the election.


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Part III- Humans and Animals: Big Game Hunting

By. Joshua D. Glawson | United States

Delving into the issues of big game hunting, I have found many protests against the killing of elephants for their ivory tusks and rhinos for their horns. Big game hunting involves hunting the “big five“: lions, leopards, rhinoceroses, elephants, and Cape buffalo.I agree, this issue appears as though an especially major waste to kill an animal solely for its tusks or horns. Consequently, some animals have been hunted to extinction, while others are on the brink of becoming extinct. We, in the West, do not typically know what it is like to even have such large and majestic animals roaming about freely to the extent in African and Asian countries. However, we also do not know what it is like to constantly be starving, in need of clean water, constantly struggling to survive, etc., as much as they do.

Essentially, Westerners are judging the means in which certain people in African countries make a living by using animals for parts. Such judgments are oddly arrogant and naive. In Zimbabwe, for instance, where some of the big game hunting and poaching exists, the average annual income is around $909 USD as of 2016. The unemployment rate is soo volatile and measurements are insanely unreliable that organizations have ranged that rate anywhere from 4% to a whopping 95%. Before they ended their currency in 2009 and switching to USD by 2015, their inflation rate by mid-November, 2008, reached around 79,600,000,000% making $1 USD equal to around $2,621,984,228 ZWD.

Some other countries where big game hunting occurs are Namibia, Kenya, and South Africa. In Namibia, the average annual income hovers around $6,000 USD with a 34% unemployment rate. $1 USD is equal to about $13.75 NAD today. Namibia’s economy is said to be on a constant downward spiral with little hope in the near future. In Kenya the average annual income is around $1,143 USD with an 11% unemployment rate, and $1 USD is equal to about $101 KES today. Kenya’s economy is doing even worse than Namibia, and is on a perpetual downward slope. Lastly, in South Africa the average annual income is around $12,260 USD with an almost 27% unemployment rate, and $1 USD is equal to around $13.73 ZAR. Keeping in mind the struggling economic situations of this region of the world, it is easier to see how people can result to hunting and poaching, especially when the benefits far outweigh the losses.

The current market estimate for elephant tusks, which are made of ivory, is around $730 USD per kg, 1 kg is equal to a little over 2 lb, and the average African elephant tusk weighs anywhere from 23 to 45 kg, or 51 to 99 lbs; some alpha bull elephants known as “tuskers” can weigh around 100 kg, or 220 lbs. This means one elephant with two tusks, just counting the average market price in USD times the weight in pounds and times two, can bring in anywhere from $74,460 USD to $321,200 USD. If your average income is around $900 USD per year in Zimbabwe, that is over 8 years pay for you and 9 of your friends for the $74,460, and up to a little over 35 years of work for you and 9 of your friends for the $321,200.

You can do the math to continue the enormous positive impact this has on the families and the regions these are sold, and the incentive to kill elephants for their tusks. The elephant meat can fetch anywhere from $1 USD to around $5.55 USD per pound with an average of 1,000 pounds per elephant, equaling $1,000 USD to almost $6,000 USD per elephant in meat alone. In many of these kills, if the hunter came from a Western nation to hunt on these hunting reservations, they take little-to-none of the meat, and that meat is then either sold by the company running the operation or donated to local villages. This practice is standard across all of the animals killed on these big game hunting expeditions.

Many Westerners will then respond that this is still wrong to kill elephants, because these are glorious and majestic fauna who are kind and loving, and they see humans as cute puppies. Well, according to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), that is not entirely correct.

In fact, in most areas of Africa, elephants are seen as giant rats who destroy fences, destroy and eat crops around 200 to 600 lbs per day. They also threaten the lives of especially farmers, where around 200 people have been killed in the past 7 years in Kenya alone, and drink around 50 gallons of water per day. This has a detrimental impact on people living in these regions, threatening their livelihood almost daily. Due to constant drought in these African nations, elephants are often on the move for more water and food and will go into populated areas to get necessary sustenance. However, that comes at the expense of people within those areas, such as loss of precious clean water, food, crops, property damage, and at times the people’s lives. Thus, big game hunting is often in protection of much-needed natural resources.

Rhino horns are another thing people hunt for, and it is an ongoing issue in these regions and others. The price tag on rhino horns ranges from $60,000 USD per kg to $100,000 USD per kg, and the average weight of 1.5 to 3 kilograms, or 3 to almost 7 lbs; this means one horn can fetch from $90,000 USD to $300,000 USD. The drive for such an item is really found in Asian medicine, especially found in Vietnam where the idea is that if the horn is grounded into a powder and put into medicine it will help fight cancer.

The same is true for lions and tigers being killed for their bones, teeth, and claws. The bones are ground down to powder for alternative medicine, while the teeth and claws are used for jewelry. Of course the heads and skins of lions and tigers are also a prized possession for those in that market.

So, when there is severe drought, it is a cultural norm, it is difficult to leave or build fences strong enough, these animals are destroying crops along with the drought, people’s water is evaporating and being drank in large amounts by these animals, there is little-to-no work and the pay is low, these animals have plenty of edible meat, and the price tag on them is soo high, it is easy to understand that these people see far more pros than cons when it comes to big game hunting.


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Why Feminism is Still Needed

By Osh | USA

Before you all start screaming at me in the comments about how women have the same rights as men and the wage gap is a myth, etc. I think I should clarify is that I am completely aware that feminism has basically almost completed its goals that can be achieved through legislation in the developed world. But what about the developing world?

When you hear the word “feminist,” what do the majority of you picture? You probably picture an obese woman with dyed hair screaming about the patriarchy and that men are pigs. What if I were to tell you that was not the case in the majority of instances? What if your entire perception of feminism and feminists became skewed because of a loud extremist minority? The vast majority just wish for men and women to be equal. And while we may have achieved as much equality as we can, there are still several nations in the world where women are oppressed and treated as second-class citizens.

In various nations in Africa, women suffer through intense abuse by their society and culture. According to the World Health Organization, in Ethiopia, 74% of women have gone through some form of female circumcision. In Mali, the number is even higher at 89%. Female circumcision offers zero health benefits to the woman and could, in fact, be quite harmful. Their governments, however, offer no services and no laws to help protect them.

Probably one of the most glaring examples of feminism still needing to exist is in Saudi Arabia. In Saudi Arabia, women must cover their faces with a burqa, whether they want to or not. In fact, women were not even allowed to drive cars for the longest time. It was not until late 2017 that the Saudi government announced that starting June 2018, women will be allowed to drive. Bus companies in Riyadh and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia’s biggest cities, do not allow women at all on their buses. Women also can not own property.

It is quite obvious that feminism is still very much needed in these places. The developing world lags far behind in female rights. They are denied the right to live their life as they please, they are denied liberty, and in most nations, they can not even own property. They are denied the three basic rights of humans, and as Libertarians, we should not stand for this.


Sources.

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/

http://www.nvvn.nl/artikel/female-genital-mutilationcutting-in-africa/

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-41408195

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/saudi-arabia-womens-rights-driving-ban-lifted-marriage-custody-bank-accounts-travel-medical-a7969551.html


Image from the Japan Times.

The Land Of Upright Men: Thomas Sankara & The Marxist Revolution of Burkina Faso

By Spencer Kellogg | AFRICA

I am often asked, ‘Where is Imperialism?’ Just look into your plates: you see imported corn, rice or millet. This is imperialism. Our country produces enough to feed us all. We can even produce more than we need. Unfortunately, for lack of organization, we still need to beg for food aid. This type of assistance is counterproductive and has kept us thinking that we can only be beggers who need aid.

Africa has long been a testing ground for some of the world’s most appalling and dangerous ideas. Raped of their land and wealth, Africa as a continent still lags severely behind all other land masses though their nations are blessed with a bounty of natural resources. Even after the uprising and reclamation of many African nations from their colonialist masters, today these countries still suffer at the hands of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other global political & economical conglomerates that seek to push through often failed large-scale agricultural and industrial projects to the detriment of Africa leaving these poor people mired in unresolved debt and slaves to a new order – that of a globalist economy. In 1983 in the former French Upper Volta, one man was determined to stand against the tyrants who used his land and abused his people for wealth to be exported to the other side of oceans and seas. This man was Thomas Sankara.

Landlocked to the North by the Malian desert and cut off to the Atlantic Ocean by The Ivory Coast and Ghana to the South, The Former French Upper Volta has long been one of the poorest nations in the entire world. Although the country achieved independence in 1960, the following two decades were known best for their lackluster development and incompetent leadership often bankrolled by their former colonizers in France. Dressed in military garb and sporting the classic red beret, Sankara immediately went about slashing the salaries of public servants, eliminating all colonial taxes levied on the country and breaking up powerful unions that hoarded wealth while reinvesting the nations small abundance back into the communities that lived in abject poverty. Socially, Sankara rejected the patriarchal undertones of colonialism and allowed women to enlist and serve in the military alongside men while also creating a holiday where men would go to the market to buy goods while the women stayed home. This challenge to societal norms set a precedent not only for Africa but also for countries far and wide which still reverberates today.

When you are bearing arms that can spit fire and death and when you can receive orders standing to attention in front of a flag without knowing who will benefit from this order or this arm you become a potential criminal who’s just waiting to spread terror around you. How many soldiers are going around such and such country and bringing grief and desolation without understanding that they are fighting men and women for the same ideals as their own. A soldier without any political or ideological training is a potential criminal.

Sankara questioned the use of force and allegiance to a war machine that often pitted mutualistic philosophies against one another. As we are witnessing throughout the Middle East today, African nations were wrought by civil and border wars often gaslit by European powers seeking to gain footholds in their shadow wars against other global and regional enemies. Here, Sankara reads like Rothbard with his condemnation of war for tribe’s sake and suggestion that his people deserved a greater understanding of the impact that their blood and death played outside the battlefield.

While many African leaders promised reform and advancement for their people, Sankara wasted little time enacting policies to make a concrete change in his burgeoning country. He set up a nationwide vaccination program to tackle the deadly trio of Polio, Measles & Meningitis and within one month had vaccinated over two and half million citizens earning him the respect of the World Health Organization. To increase physical activity, he instituted once a week sporting rituals and himself participated in the new decree by playing soccer and suggesting the practice was important to promote “a healthy mind and a healthy body”. By the early 1980’s, Africa was just beginning to recover from a generational drought and Sankara took the lead by planting millions of trees and instituting policies against the desertification of Burkina Faso. While building new housing for the impoverished cities Sankara also poured money into building railroads and highways that would connect the disparate villages and cities of his nation.

For all of his Marxist tendencies, Sankara showed a reliable libertarian streak in his aims to decentralize and localize the production of goods and services in his land. His arguments against the global economic structure that stood against the needs and prosperity of his own people were rooted in the idea that what is locally produced by his people was best for his people’s economic and ideological strength. While the majority of Africa was used as a production hub for cheap labor, he rallied a new way in Africa by demanding food and goods come from Burkina Faso for Burkina Faso. In his aims to transform Burkina Faso into a truly independent state, he championed the “Faso Dan Fani” (History of Faso Dan Fani) a local cloth woven of cotton that all public servants were required to wear. While skeptics could point to this institutionalized clothing requirement as authoritarian in nature, it could also be seen as a liberating force that stood to question the reliance of outside industrialization that was the driving force of Africa’s weakened economic and philosophical power.

We think that France’s politic in Africa is very French. That is to say that it resembles other French politics. In the past, the French were present in such and such African country in order to either support one particular leader, one kinglet, or to take away another chief and fly him out. France still proceeds that way today.

At the Vittel conference of 1983 in France, the French President François Mitterrand met with Sankara and other African heads of state. In the preceding weeks many, including the French-owned state of Côte d’Ivoire, had expressed doubt and worry over the revolutionary ideas of Sankara and Burkina Faso. Most of the nations that met at the Vittel Conference were dependent on the French treasury and there was a sense that Sankara and his ideas needed to be suppressed before uprisings and counter-revolutions sprang up throughout the continent. There, Mitterrand reminded the nations of their precious alignment with the west and struck out against the sovereignty of rising independent states who sought new allegiances with the Soviet Union and Cuba. At the Organization of Africa Unity Summit later that year, Sankara pointed accusingly at the African heads of state who grew richer while their people grew poorer. He spotlighted the mounting debt and rising interest rates hoisted upon Africa by their former colonizers and called on leaders to stand with him against the global economic tyranny of African nations.

I would like this conference to clearly declare that we cannot pay the debt. Not in a rebellious spirit. But just to avoid being assassinated individually. If Burkina Faso is the only one to refuse, I won’t be at the next conference. When we are saying that we should not pay the debt, we’re not refusing our responsibilities or not keeping our words. It’s just that we don’t have the same moral standards as others. Between the rich and the poor, moral standards cannot be the same. The Bible or the Koran cannot serve those who exploit people and the exploited ones, in the same way. We should have two editions of the Bible and two editions of the Koran. Brothers, with everybody’s support, we will make peace at home. We’ll be able to use Africa’s full potential as well to develop our country because our land is rich. We have enough manpower and we have a very large market, from the North to the South, the East to West. We have enough brainpower to create or at least to go and learn science and technology where it can be learnt.

Mister President, let’s present a united front against the debt here in Addis Abbeba. Let’s make sure that this conference will decide to limit the arms race between poor and weak countries. The clubs and knives that we buy are useless. Let’s make sure that the African market belongs to Africans. Let’s produce in Africa, manufacture in Africa and consume in Africa. Burkina Faso came here to show you our locally produced cotton woven in Burkina Faso and tailored in Burkina Faso to clothe our people. I, along with my delegation, am dressed by our tailors, our farmers. Not a single thread comes from Europe or America. I am not presenting a fashion show here but I simply would like to say that we must accept to live the African way, it’s the only way to live in freedom and with dignity.  Our homeland or death, we will win.

By 1986, Sankara was paranoid by threats mounting from political opponents in every direction. He tried enemies of the state and the upper-class citizens of Burkina Faso became agitated by his authoritative demeanor. For crimes against the country, Sankara forced the guilty to address their treason on radio and television for all to see. Public servants found guilty were often made to work without pay and the trials administered by The People’s Revolutionary Tribunal did not guarantee rights to a lawyer or proper defense. Even worse, the prosecution was not tasked with proving the defendant guilty. Instead, the defendant was presumed guilty of charges and expected to prove his innocence. The once shining beacon of new liberty on the African continent was being extinguished by the very man who lit the flame.

Later in the year, French President Mitterrand would visit Burkina Faso with the aims of squashing the increasingly important player in international politics. The environment was heated as many saw Mitterrand as representative of the same policies that had created and fostered apartheid in South Africa. P.W. Botha, President of South Africa, had visited France only months before Mitterrand made his way to The Land of Upright Men and Sankara, with an international audience watching, took the opportunity to speak out in protest against Mitterand’s relationship with the South African ethnostate:

Killers such as Pieter Botha have had the right to travel through beautiful France. They dirtied it. With their bloodied hands and feet. And all those who allowed them to act the way they did will bear the responsibility for it, here and elsewhere, now and forever.

Though Sankara could not be bought or sold, his second in command, Blaise Compaoré, was growing weary of the revolution and seized on a section of the nation who wished for a more liberal regime. Compaoré, in collusion with the newly elected right wing of France, began to speak out against Sankara. Once close friends, by 1987, Compaoré had disowned Sankara and used his control of the nation’s army to lead a coup against his closest friend. Within weeks, Sankara was murdered in a staged attack by Compaoré’s associates and buried in a shallow grave before nightfall. In the following weeks, Compaoré championed many of Sankara’s ideas while back peddling into a subsistent relationship with the French. In France & The Ivory Coast congratulations were extended to Compaoré and Sankara’s name was dragged through the mud. Throughout Africa however, Sankara’s name still remains synonymous with Pan Africanism and the struggle for complete independence and liberty from neo-colonialist empires.

The modern prism by which we view and define the failures of Marxism is often distorted by the ills of the Soviet Union archipelago and the postmodern academic bastardization of collectivism as seen throughout Asia in the late 20th century. In Africa and South American too, Marxism has played chief doctrine to the murder and widespread poverty of millions of citizens. However, we are aggrieved if we cannot also correctly assert that Capitalism and its determined march against the sovereignty and freedom of poor people is not also to blame for massive death and unrest. Sankara was a poor man who stood for a poor people. He refuted the tone and nature of ‘Afro-pessimism’ and believed wholeheartedly that his people deserved respect, dignity and ultimately freedom. His message today still strikes with the tone of Jefferson. He carried a torch where once no light existed.  In a world full of slanted men hungry for money and power, Sankara stood upright with pride and love of his country and people.

Zimbabwean President Mugabe Misses Deadline to Resign; Faces Impeachment

By Vaughn Hoisington | ZIMBABWE

Robert Mugabe’s 37-year rule in Zimbabwe was supposed to come to an end on Sunday, but he refrained from mentioning a resignation during a national address and still hasn’t formally stepped down. Some Zimbabweans were so surprised that they believed Mugabe could have read the wrong speech.

The situation became clearer when the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party expressed great interest in impeaching Mugabe within the week. Mugabe had been the leader of the ZANU-PF until he was stripped of his position on Sunday.

Mugabe is also under fire for releasing his Vice President from his position in an attempt to set up his wife as his Presidential successor.

Many protests are expected to be held until Mugabe is impeached, some of which are expected to be led by war veterans and opposition leaders. One protest at Zimbabwe University has taken place. It involved students refusing to sit down for their exams until Mugabe steps down.

Mugabe’s former Vice President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was elected as the new head of the ZANU-PF party and is expected to be the successor to Mugabe.

The impeachment process will begin “when Parliament resumes on Tuesday.”