Category Archives: Africa

(BBC) Germany to return Portuguese Stone Cross to Namibia

(BBC)

The Stone Cross on display in a Berlin museum
Image captionThe Stone Cross was placed by the Portuguese in 1486 and features the country’s crest

The German Historical Museum has announced it will return a 15th century monument to Namibia after it was taken during the colonial era.

The Stone Cross is a Portuguese navigation landmark placed on the southwest African coastline in 1486.

But when the area was under German colonial control in the 1890s, the cross was taken and moved to Europe.

Namibia asked for its return in 2017 and on Friday, the Berlin museum formally agreed to the request.

Germany has pledged to return artefacts and human remains to its former colonies.

At a ceremony, German Culture Minister Monika Grütters said it was a “clear signal that we are committed to coming to terms with our colonial past”.

Namibia’s ambassador to Germany, Andreas Guibeb, called it “important as a step for us to reconcile with our colonial past and the trail of humiliation and systematic injustice that it left behind”.

A museum press release said the cross would be returned in August.

Namibia's Ambassador to Germany Andreas Guibeb posing with the Stone Cross
Image captionNamibia’s Ambassador to Germany Andreas Guibeb attended the event on Friday

Portuguese explorer Diogo Cão first placed the 3.5m (11ft) stone cross – featuring the country’s coat of arms – on Africa’s southwest coast during one of his expeditions.

It became so well known it featured on old maps of the area.

But a German naval commander took the cross in 1893, during the country’s control of what became Namibia between 1884 and 1915.

The German Historical Museum foundation’s president, Raphael Gross, wrote in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that the cross represented “the slow beginning of colonial rule in present-day Namibia”.

A number of African nations have in recent years called on European museums to return artefacts taken away during the period of colonial control.

Experts recommended that French museums return African treasures to their countries of origin last year. President Emmanuel Macron announced 26 thrones and statues taken from Benin would go home shortly afterwards.

UK museums have also decided to repatriate artefacts to African countries.

The National Army Museum announced it would return a lock of Ethiopian Emperor Tewodros II’s hair in March, while the Victoria and Albert Museum offered to return Ethiopian treasures in November – albeit on loan.

(OBS) “Puxa para cima”. Os seis minutos em que os pilotos do Boeing 737 MAX 8 tentaram recuperar o controlo do avião

(OBS)

Durante o tempo em que estiveram no ar, os pilotos do Boeing 737 MAX 8 tentaram recuperar o controlo e puxar o nariz do avião para cima. Mas o sistema automático continuou a forçar a descida.Partilhe

70 segundos. Foi este o tempo após a descolagem que um dos sensores do Boeing 737 MAX 8 utilizado pela Ethiopian Airlines demorou a enviar informações erradas ao sistema do avião que, minutos depois, acabou por se despenhar na Etiópia, matando 157 pessoas. Esta foi uma das conclusões do relatório preliminar apresentado esta quinta-feira, que revelou que o acidente terá sido causado pelo sistema automático de compensação do avião, o MCAS.

Durante os seis minutos em que estiveram no ar, os dois pilotos lutaram contra este sistema automático e aplicaram todos os procedimentos recomendados pela Boeing para voltar a ter o controlo do sistema. Juntos, tentaram “puxar” o nariz do avião para cima, uma vez que os valores enviados pelos sensores estavam a fazer com que o nariz do avião fosse baixando gradualmente. Os pilotos tentaram recuperar o controlo quatro vezes, mas nas quatro tentativas a aeronave voltou a baixar. “Puxa para cima”, gritou um dos pilotos três vezes. Mas, a força descendente do avião era tal, que não conseguiram recuperar o controlo, conta a CNN, que teve acesso ao relatório preliminar.

Apesar de o relatório não abordar especificamente o sistema MCAS, que é ativado de forma automática e aplica um estabilizador horizontal quando a aeronave entra em situação de queda ou perda de sustentação, a desconfiança levantada por todos os resultados obtidos indicam um problema com este sistema. Caso se venha a confirmar este motivo, terá sido o mesmo problema do Boeing 737 MAX 8 da Lion Air que em outubro do ano passado se despenhou na Indonésia, provocando 189 vítimas mortais.

No mês passado, o diretor executivo da Ethiopian Airlines revelou ao Wall Street Journal que um dos pilotos reportou à torre de controlo minutos antes do avião cair que estava a ter problemas no sistema de controlo. O piloto “reportou aos controladores de tráfego aéreo que estava ter problemas no controlo do voo”, explicou Tewolde GebreMariam. Depois de reportar esses problemas, os dois pilotos tiveram autorização para regressar ao aeroporto.

Este foi o segundo acidente com um Boeing 737 MAX 8 num espaço de cinco meses. O facto de ter acontecido com o mesmo modelo de avião da Beoing fez com que várias companhias aéreas de todo o mundo temessem a segurança destes aparelhos e, por isso, suspendessem os voos com este aparelho.

(BBC) Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 pilots ‘could not stop nosedive’

(BBC)

Investigators with the US National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) look over debris at the crash site of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302.

The Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed last month nosedived several times before it hit the ground, a preliminary report has said.

Pilots “repeatedly” followed procedures recommended by Boeing before the crash, according to the first official report into the disaster.

Despite their efforts, pilots “were not able to control the aircraft”, Transport Minister Dagmawit Moges said.

Flight ET302 crashed after take-off from Addis Ababa, killing 157 people.

It was the second crash of a Boeing 737 Max aircraft in five months.

Last October, Lion Air flight JT 610 crashed into the sea near Indonesia killing all 189 people on board.

In a news conference in Addis Ababa, Ms Dagmawit said: “The crew performed all the procedures repeatedly [that were] provided by the manufacturer but were not able to control the aircraft.”

The 737 Max family of aircraft was grounded following the Ethiopian Airlines crash, a move affecting more than 300 planes.

What does the report say about the cause of the crash?

The preliminary report did not attribute blame for the crash and did not give detailed analysis of the flight.

Media captionEthiopian Transport Minister Dagmawit Moges seeks Boeing review

But it did suggest that Boeing review the aircraft control system and said aviation authorities should confirm the problem had been solved before allowing the 737 Max back into the air.

In a statement, the chief executive of Ethiopian Airlines, Tewolde GebreMariam, said he was “very proud” of the pilots’ “high level of professional performance”.

“It was very unfortunate they could not recover the airplane from the persistence of nosediving,” the airline said in a statement.

Investigators have focused their attention on the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) – software designed to help prevent the 737 Max from stalling.

The software reacts when sensors in the nose of the aircraft show the jet is climbing at too steep an angle, which can cause a plane to stall.

MCAS graphic

What happened to the Lion Air flight?

An investigation into the Lion Air flight suggested the system malfunctioned, and forced the plane’s nose down more than 20 times before it crashed into the sea.

The preliminary report from Indonesian investigators found that a faulty sensor on the aircraft wrongly triggered MCAS without the pilots’ knowledge.

Boeing has been working on an upgrade of the MCAS software since the Lion Air crash.

It has said the system can be disabled – allowing pilots to regain control if there appears to be a problem.

But the latest comments from Ethiopian officials suggest that pilots could not regain control, despite following procedures recommended by Boeing.

Presentational grey line

Analysis: What does the report mean for Boeing?

By Tom Burridge, BBC transport correspondent

Boeing 737 Max 8 jets belonging to SouthWest Airlines
Image captionHundreds of 737 Maxs are grounded worldwide

Two crashes, five months apart, with a total of 346 people dead.

Both preliminary crash reports suggest a new design to the 737 Max 8 malfunctioned, pushing each plane repeatedly into a nosedive.

One lawsuit has been filed. More are likely.

The suffering of those who’ve lost loved ones can’t be quantified. But the commercial toll for the manufacturer and damage to its reputation, at this stage, can’t be either.

Hundreds of 737 Maxs are grounded worldwide. Thousands of orders are, for now on ice, and some could even be in jeopardy.

The Max was Boeing’s answer to Airbus’ A320: a single-aisle, fuel-efficient short-haul plane.

But in the opinion of one experienced 737 pilot, the new anti-stall system, which was added to the aircraft and contributed to both crashes, was “flawed”.

Boeing is working to fix it. It needs to get the aircraft certified as safe and back in the air as soon as it can.

Read more from Tom here.

Presentational grey line

What has Boeing done since the crash?

Boeing has issued guidance to pilots on how to manage MCAS.

It plans to install an extra warning system on all 737 Max aircraft, which was previously an optional safety feature.

It is also revising pilot training to provide “enhanced understanding of the 737 Max” flight system and crew procedures.

The planemaker says the upgrades are not an admission that MCAS caused the crashes.

(EuroNews) Algeria’s President Bouteflika resigns after mass protests

(EuroNews)

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika,  April 28, 2014

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, April 28, 2014 -CopyrightREUTERS- file

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has submitted resigned after a two-decade rule, according to a statement he issued to the state news agency APS.

The ailing 82-year-old president has been facing mounting pressure to step down following six weeks of nationwide protests and has rarely been seen in public since a stroke in 2013.

The resignation followed a demand by Algeria’s army chief of staff for an immediate constitutional procedure to remove Bouteflika from office.

Bouteflika also wrote in a letter “I have taken this step because I am keen to put an end to the current bickering.”

Adding, “I have taken the suitable measures needed for the continuity of the nation’s institutions during the interim period.”

Hundreds and thousands of Algerians have been flooding the streets since February after Bouteflika announced he would be standing for a fifth term in an election scheduled for April 18.

But he then reversed his decision to re-run for election and said he would postpone the election but he stopped short of saying when he would go, which further angered the protesters.

Most of the demonstrators have been young Algerians under the age of 30, hit hardest by the lack of economic reforms and a high rate of unemployment.

Scenes of jubilation unfolded on the streets of Algiers on Tuesday night.

Embedded video

Who is Bouteflika?

The National Liberation Front (FLN) party has ruled Algeria since the country won independence from France in 1962 after seven years of conflict.

Bouteflika came to power in 1999 and established himself by ending a civil war with Islamist militants that killed around 200,000 people.

What is article 102?

Article 102 of the Algerian Constitution will be invoked following his resignation. The Constitutional Council needs to get together and declare the presidency vacant. After that, this decision needs to be approved and upheld by the Parliament’s two houses: the lower house that is the People’s National Assembly, and the Council of the Nation, which is the equivalent of the Senate in France.

Under the constitution, once Bouteflika’s resignation is tendered and the presidency is declared vacant, the speaker of Algeria’s upper house of parliament, would act as interim leader for up to 90 days. The current speaker is 77-year-old Abdelkader Bensalah. If for some reason, the speaker’s seat is empty, the president of the Consitutional Council assumes office, equally for 90 days. Tayeb Belaiz, who is 70 years old, is the leader of the Council.

REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi
Algeria’s Senate President Abdelkader BensalahREUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi

At the end of the tunnel, a presidential election

During this period of 90 days, a presidential election must be organised, but the interim president does not have the right to contest the elections. Pending the outcome of the vote, no reshuffle or resignation of the government in place can be accepted.

What about the younger brother, Saïd?

Does Saïd Bouteflika, the mysterious and influential brother of the outgoing president, have a final card to play? Will the powerful military hierarchy, that has not yet lifted a finger, position itself strategically? Will the National Liberation Front be forced to let go of the reigns it held on to preciously since independence in 1962? The opposition, which has lost its credibility by remaining too passive, even by participating in power, could it find a real leader?

Many questions abound, but the answers remain elusive. What’s certain is that the Algerian population has lost its faith in the current ways of the state.

(DN) “Foram os árabes muçulmanos que começaram o tráfico de escravos em grande escala”

(DN) “

O antropólogo e economista franco-senegalês Tidiane N’Diaye considera que o tráfico de escravos árabo-muçulmano realizado durante quase mil anos ainda não foi reconhecido em toda a dimensão. Falta virar esta página.

O tráfico de escravos árabe-muçulmano é o tema da investigação de Tidiane N’Diaye o comércio

Tidiane N’Diaye publicou O Genocídio Ocultado em 2008, mas mais de uma década depois o que acusa de ser um encobrimento de práticas esclavagistas árabo-muçulmanas entre o sétimo e o décimo sexto, quase mil anos, ainda se mantém.

Sem ignorar o tráfico transatlântico que se segue durante quatro séculos, considera que “os árabes arrasaram a África Subsariana durante treze séculos ininterruptos” e que a “maioria dos milhões de homens por eles deportados desapareceu devido ao tratamento desumano e à castração generalizada”.

Para o investigador franco-senegalês, é mais do que tempo de “examinar e debater o genocidário tráfico negreiro árabo-muçulmano como se faz com o tráfico transatlântico”.

A sua introdução ao ensaio O Genocídio Ocultado é muito violenta. Pode dizer-se que a escravatura arábo-muçulmana foi a mais dura?
É preciso reconhecer que as implosões pré-coloniais inauguradas pelos árabes destroem sem dúvida os povos africanos, que não tiveram um intervalo desde sua chegada. Como mostra a história, os árabes-muçulmanos estão na origem da calamidade que foi o tráfico e a escravatura, que praticaram do século VII ao século XX. E do sétimo ao décimo sexto século, durante quase mil anos, eles foram os únicos a praticar este comércio miserável, deportando quase 10 milhões de africanos, antes da entrada na cena dos europeus. A penetração árabe no continente negro iniciou a era das devastações permanentes de aldeias e as terríveis guerras santas realizadas pelos convertidos a fim de obter escravos de vizinhos que eram considerados pagãos. Quando isso não era suficiente, invadiram outros alegados “irmãos muçulmanos” e confiscaram os seu bens. Sob este acordo árabe-muçulmano, os povos africanos foram raptados e mantidos reféns permanentemente.

A recente islamização dos povos africanos excluiu as práticas de escravidão?
O islão só permite a escravização de não-muçulmanos. Mas em relação aos negros, os árabes utilizaram os textos eruditos como os de Al-Dimeshkri: “Nenhuma lei divina lhes foi revelada. Nenhum profeta foi mostrado em sua casa. Também são incapazes de conceber as noções de comando e de proibição, desejo e de abstinência. Tem uma mentalidade próxima da dos animais. A submissão dos povos do Sudão aos seus chefes e reis deve-se unicamente às leis e regulamentos que lhes são impostos da mesma maneira que aos animais. “

Considera existir um “desprezo dos árabes pelos negros no Darfur”. Mantém-se até à atualidade?
Sim. No inconsciente dos magrebinos, esta história deixou tantos vestígios que, para eles, um “negro” continua sendo um escravo. Eles nem podem conceber que os negros estejam entre eles. Basta ver o que está a acontecer na Mauritânia ou no Mali, onde os tuaregues do norte jamais aceitarão o poder negro. Os descendentes dos carrascos, como os das vítimas, tornaram-se solidários por motivos religiosos. Mas existem mercados de escravos na Líbia! Somente o debate permitirá superar essa situação. Recorde-se que em França, durante o comércio de escravos e a escravatura, havia filósofos do Iluminismo, como o Abade Gregório ou mesmo Montesquieu, que defendiam os negros, enquanto no mundo árabo-muçulmano os intelectuais mais respeitados, como Ibn Khaldun, também eram obscurantistas e afirmavam que os negros eram animais. Nenhum intelectual do Magrebe levantou a voz para defender a causa dos negros. É por esta razão que este genocídio assumiu tal magnitude e continua. No Líbano, na Síria, na Arábia Saudita, os trabalhadores domésticos africanos vivem em condições de escravatura. A divisão racial ainda é real na África.

Quando se fala de genocídio o holocausto surge logo. Pode-se fazer comparações, apesar da duração temporal, com a do tráfico negreiro árabe?
Desde o início do comércio oriental de escravos que os muçulmanos árabes decidiram castrar os negros para evitar que se reproduzissem. Esses infelizes foram submetidos a terríveis situações para evitar que se integrassem e implantassem uma descendência nesta região do mundo. Sobre esse assunto, os comentários de uma rara brutalidade das Mil e Uma Noites testemunham o tratamento terrível que os árabes reservavam aos cativos africanos nas suas sociedades esclavagistas, cruéis e depreciativas particularmente para os negros. A castração total, a dos eunucos, era uma operação extremamente perigosa. Quando realizada em adultos, matou entre 75% e 80% dos que a ela foram sujeitos. A taxa de mortalidade só foi menor nas crianças que eram castradas de forma sistemática. Mas 30% a 40% das crianças não sobreviveram à castração total. Hoje, a grande maioria dos descendentes dos escravos africanos são na verdade mestiços, nascidos de mulheres deportadas para haréns. Apenas 20% são negros. Essa é a diferença com o comércio transatlântico.

Afirma que o tráfico negreiro transatlântico foi menos devastador que o comércio árabo-muçulmano. O que os diferencia?
Eu só falo de genocídio para descrever o comércio de escravos transaariano e oriental. O comércio transatlântico, praticado por ocidentais, não pode ser comparado ao genocídio. A vontade de exterminar um povo não foi provada. Porque um escravo, mesmo em condições extremamente más, tinha um valor de mercado para o dono que o desejava produtivo e com longevidade. Para 9 a 11 milhões de deportados durante essa época, existem hoje 70 milhões de descendentes. O comércio árabo-muçulmano de escravos deportou 17 milhões de pessoas que tiveram apenas 1 milhão de descendentes por causa da maciça castração praticada durante quase catorze séculos.

O autor Tidiane N’Diaye © DR

Pode dizer-se que os árabes são os “inventores” da escravatura tal como a definimos hoje?
Na verdade, foi o Império Romano quem mais praticou a escravidão. Estima-se que em determinada altura quase 30% da população do império era escrava. Quanto à África, deve-se notar que, enquanto a propriedade privada não existia, as pessoas funcionariam em cooperativa. Quando a propriedade privada cresceu, eram precisos mais braços para trabalhar. Foi então que os conflitos começaram e cresceram e os vencidos foram então reduzidos à escravidão. Estima-se que, no século XIX, 14 milhões de africanos estavam escravizados. A escravatura interna existia antes e durante o tráfico árabo-muçulmano e transatlântico. Foram os árabes muçulmanos que começaram o tráfico de escravos em grande escala. Como Fernand Braudel apontou, o tráfico de escravos não foi uma invenção diabólica da Europa. São os muçulmanos árabes que estão na origem e o praticaram em grande escala. Se o tráfico atlântico durou de 1660 a 1790, os muçulmanos árabes atacaram os negros do sétimo ao vigésimo século e foram os únicos a praticar o tráfico de escravos.

Acusa o mundo árabe-muçulmano de fazer um genocídio meticulosamente preparado. É uma questão de que não se fala porquê?
Este é realmente um pacto virtual selado entre os descendentes das vítimas e os algozes, que resulta em negação. Este pacto é virtual, mas a conspiração é muito real. Porque neste tipo de “Síndrome de Estocolmo ao estilo africano”, em que tudo se coloca sobre as costas do Ocidente. É como se os descendentes das vítimas tenham decidido nada dizer. Que os estudiosos e outros intelectuais árabes-muçulmanos tentassem fazer desaparecer essa realidade até ser uma mera lembrança dessa infâmia, como se nunca tivesse existido, até pode ser compreendido. No entanto, é difícil perceber a atitude de muitos cientistas – e mesmo de afro-americanos que se convertem cada vez mais para o islão -, pois é uma espécie de auto-censura. É por isso que decidi publicar este livro, uma tentativa para quebrar o silêncio porque a história e antropologia não estão ao nível de uma crença religiosa ou de uma ideologia, mas de factos provados que não podemos esconder para sempre.

Como vê o papel de Portugal nesse trafico transatlântico?
Os portugueses tinham acidentalmente capturado um nobre mouro Adahu, em 1441. Este último ofereceu-se para comprar sua liberdade em troca de seis escravos negros e isso ocorreu em 1443. Depois disso, Dinis Dias desembarcou no Senegal e trouxe para Lagos quatro cativos, situação que marca o início do tráfico sistemático. Os portugueses foram, assim, os primeiros a importar escravos para o trabalho agrícola. Eles transportavam entre 700 e 800 cativos por ano desde os postos comerciais e fortes na costa africana. Os pioneiros neste tráfego foi Gonçalves Lançarote em 1444. Em seguida, foi a vez do navegador Tristão Nunes comprar aos mouros um número significativo de cativos africanos, para aumentar o seu número em São Tomé e Portugal. Em 1552, 10% da população de Lisboa consistia de escravos mouros ou negros. Aqui também há um trabalho de memória a ser feito…

A colonização europeia de África suavizou a anterior crueldade sobre os povos do continente ou manteve-a?
Se essa colonização pudesse ter um rosto, seria aquele que está na origem de dramas inesquecíveis. Depois dos compromissos históricos dos pensadores iluministas com ideias racistas, desde meados do século XIX que também há teorias que se infiltraram nas cabeças de um grande número de intelectuais como a do racismo científico. Se no início das conquistas, os ingleses apresentavam a superioridade científica e técnica da sua civilização sobre a dos povos “atrasados”, em seguida procuraram uma “justificativa racial” para fazer a colonização. Sociólogos e cientistas britânicos decidiram elevar essa manobra ao apresentar os povos negros como sendo “seres vivos, semelhantes aos animais”. E foram inspirados por uma das referências científicas da época, Charles Darwin, que concluiu o seu trabalho da seguinte forma: “O homem subiu da condição de grande macaco para o homem civilizado, passando pelas fases do homem primitivo e do homem selvagem. O melhor grau de evolução foi alcançado pelo homem branco.” Todas essas construções levaram a calamidades como a do apartheid.


O Genocídio Ocultado – Investigação histórica sobre o tráfico negreiro árabo-muçulmano

Tidiane N’Diaye

Editora Gradiva, 233 páginas

(Economist) The new scramble for Africa

(Economist)

This time, the winners could be Africans themselves

Mar 7th 2019

The first great surge of foreign interest in Africa, dubbed the “scramble”, was when 19th-century European colonists carved up the continent and seized Africans’ land. The second was during the cold war, when East and West vied for the allegiance of newly independent African states; the Soviet Union backed Marxist tyrants while America propped up despots who claimed to believe in capitalism. A third surge, now under way, is more benign. Outsiders have noticed that the continent is important and becoming more so, not least because of its growing share of the global population (by 2025 the un predicts that there will be more Africans than Chinese people). Governments and businesses from all around the world are rushing to strengthen diplomatic, strategic and commercial ties. This creates vast opportunities. If Africa handles the new scramble wisely, the main winners will be Africans themselves.

The extent of foreign engagement is unprecedented (see Briefing). Start with diplomacy. From 2010 to 2016 more than 320 embassies were opened in Africa, probably the biggest embassy-building boom anywhere, ever. Turkey alone opened 26. Last year India announced it would open 18. Military ties are deepening, too. America and France are lending muscle and technology to the struggle against jihadism in the Sahel. China is now the biggest arms seller to sub-Saharan Africa and has defence-technology ties with 45 countries. Russia has signed 19 military deals with African states since 2014. Oil-rich Arab states are building bases on the Horn of Africa and hiring African mercenaries.Get our daily newsletter

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Commercial ties are being upended. As recently as 2006 Africa’s three biggest trading partners were America, China and France, in that order. By 2018 it was China first, India second and America third (France was seventh). Over the same period Africa’s trade has more than trebled with Turkey and Indonesia, and more than quadrupled with Russia. Trade with the European Union has grown by a more modest 41%. The biggest sources of foreign direct investment are still firms from America, Britain and France, but Chinese ones, including state-backed outfits, are catching up, and investors from India and Singapore are eager to join the fray.

The stereotype of foreigners in Africa is of neocolonial exploiters, interested only in the continent’s natural resources, not its people, and ready to bribe local bigwigs in shady deals that do nothing for ordinary Africans. The stereotype is sometimes true. Far too many oil and mineral ventures are dirty. Corrupt African leaders, of whom there is still an abundance, can always find foreign enablers to launder the loot. And contracts with firms from countries that care little for transparency, such as China and Russia, are often murky. Three Russian journalists were murdered last year while investigating a Kremlin-linked mercenary outfit that reportedly protects the president of the war-torn Central African Republic and enables diamond-mining there. Understandably, many saw a whiff of old-fashioned imperialism.

However, engagement with the outside world has mostly been positive for Africans. Foreigners build ports, sell insurance and bring mobile-phone technology. Chinese factories hum in Ethiopia and Rwanda. Turkish Airlines flies to more than 50 African cities. Greater openness to trade and investment is one reason why gdp per head south of the Sahara is two-fifths higher than it was in 2000. (Sounder macroeconomic policies and fewer wars also helped.) Africans can benefit when foreigners buy everything from textiles to holidays and digital services.

Even so, Africans can do more to increase their share of the benefits. First, voters and activists can insist on transparency. It is heartening that South Africa is investigating the allegedly crooked deals struck under the previous president, Jacob Zuma, but alarming that even worse behaviour in the Democratic Republic of Congo has gone unprobed, and that the terms of Chinese loans to some dangerously indebted African governments are secret. To be sure that a public deal is good for ordinary folk as well as big men, voters have to know what is in it. Journalists, such as the Kenyans who exposed scandals over a Chinese railway project, have a big role to play.

Second, Africa’s leaders need to think more strategically. Africa may be nearly as populous as China, but it comprises 54 countries, not one. African governments could strike better deals if they showed more unity. No one expects a heterogeneous continent that includes both anarchic battle zones and prosperous democracies to be as integrated as Europe. But it can surely do better than letting China negotiate with each country individually, behind closed doors. The power imbalance between, say, China and Uganda is huge. It could be reduced somewhat with a free-trade area or if African regional blocs clubbed together. After all, the benefits of infrastructure projects spill across borders.

Third, African leaders do not have to choose sides, as they did during the cold war. They can do business with Western democracies and also with China and Russia—and anyone else with something to offer. Because they have more choice now than ever before, Africans should be able to drive harder bargains. And outsiders should not see this as a zero-sum contest (as the Trump administration, when it pays attention to Africa, apparently does). If China builds a bridge in Ghana, an American car can drive over it. If a British firm invests in a mobile-data network in Kenya, a Kenyan entrepreneur can use it to set up a cross-border startup.

Last, Africans should take what some of their new friends tell them with a pinch of salt. China argues that democracy is a Western idea; development requires a firm hand. This message no doubt appeals to African strongmen, but it is bunk. A study by Takaaki Masaki of the World Bank and Nicolas van de Walle of Cornell University found that African countries grow faster if they are more democratic. The good news is that, as education improves and Africans move rapidly to the cities, they are growing more critical of their rulers, and less frightened to say so. In 1997, 70% of African ruling parties won more than 60% of the vote, partly by getting rural chiefs to cow villagers into backing them. By 2015 only 50% did. As politics grows more competitive, voters’ clout will grow. And they will be able to insist on a form of globalisation that works for Africans and foreigners alike.

(DN) A capa do racismo – José Kaliengue


(DN)

Nesta semana ouvi muita coisa sem sentido por causa da atuação da Polícia de Segurança Pública portuguesa sobre cidadãos angolanos no bairro da Jamaica, no distrito de Setúbal. Vi o vídeo e pensei em desacatos, apesar de o direito à indignação ser um inalienável quando os nossos direitos são violados. E reagir à pedrada contra a polícia? Não me parece correto.

Entretanto, por cá, em Angola, começaram a correr vídeos e áudios de pseudorreportagens feitas por angolanos (alguns jornalistas e apresentadores angolanos coincidentemente estavam por Lisboa), quase todas mais interessadas em denunciar um suposto ato racista da PSP do que em narrar os factos. E houve portugueses também que se alinharam. Normal, depois do fracasso das manifestações dos coletes amarelos portugueses. Há gente a precisar desesperadamente de uma razão para sair à rua e incendiar contentores, carros e partir montras.

Voltei a ouvir alguns áudios e percebi que tudo tinha tido início em cuecas que não gostam de ficar no lugar, caem, com homens ou com mulheres já comprometidos, e, obviamente, isto às vezes dá em confusão. Então passou-se de um assunto de cuecas, de meninas acusadas de andarem a colher em ceara alheia, e transformou-se num caso de racismo com apelos à retaliação angolana e a uma tomada de posição firme por parte do Estado angolano.

“Vivi em Lisboa muitos anos, sei bem como os tugas reagem ao negro, sobretudo ao mais desfavorecido, e sei bem como o negro reage a quase tudo o que não o favorece na relação com o outro: é racismo.”

Liguei a um membro do governo angolano para confirmar se tinha havido mesmo uma carta de protesto como até a imprensa oficial (do Estado) tinha noticiado. Bem, alguns colegas agiram emocionados, como se diz por cá. O alto responsável limitou-se a dizer que “a maka não é nossa, e muito menos os desacatos que estão sendo feitos, nem sabemos se são mesmo angolanos os que agora andam a fazer confusão”.

Posição acertada, a do Estado angolano, não é necessário arranjar mais makas numa relação tipo amor à italiana nos filmes de Ettore Scola. Há demasiada adrenalina.

A coisa é simples: Portugal ainda não conseguiu uma forma de inserção social das comunidades das ex-colónias. Há aqui algum “irritante racista”? Talvez sim. Digamos que uma “falta de vontade racista sem querer”, sobretudo para os mais pobres, porque os abastados, pelo menos de frente, “não são assim tão negros”. Talvez até seja mais uma questão de cultura, de encontro de hábitos e de costumes, porque ainda persiste a lógica do assimilacionismo em ambas as partes. É coisa muito forte. Aliás, entre negros em Angola este é um problema enorme que cria uma barreira que não se quer discutir. E em Portugal há também portugueses por assimilar.

Vivi em Lisboa muitos anos, sei bem como os tugas reagem ao negro, sobretudo ao mais desfavorecido, e sei bem como o negro reage a quase tudo o que não o favorece na relação com o outro: é racismo. Esta fórmula tem sempre um efeito psicológico importante, vantajoso. Quase que me atreveria a dizer que se tem em Portugal algumas pessoas racistas, num Estado que não quer ser racista, e pessoas que precisam de sofrer racismo para se fazerem ouvir. E todos, ao mesmo tempo, sabem que nada disso lhes resolve a vida.

Diretor do jornal angolano O País

(EUobserver) France summons Italian ambassador over colonial remark

(EUobserver)

The Italian ambassador to France was summoned Monday to explain comments by Italian deputy PM Luigi Di Maio. The leader of the Five Star Movement blamed French policy on colonial-era French African currencies for holding back development. “If people are leaving today it’s because European countries, France above all, have never stopped colonising dozens of African countries,” said Di Maio. French diplomatic sources called it “hostile and without cause”.

(BBC) In pictures: Portugal’s lingering influence in Zanzibar

(BBC)

  • 12 August 2018
  • Pemba, part of the Tanzanian archipelago of Zanzibar, recently held a week-long festival that revealed cultural influences dating back to the 16th Century when Portugal colonised the Spice Islands, writes Catherine Tilke.
Participants performing a martial arts dance

One of the highlights of the Pemba Bonanza Festival is “the kirumbizi”, a dance-cum-martial art, which has its origins in guerrilla training against Portuguese rule.

Portugal colonised parts of the East African coast in the early 1500s – and Zanzibar remained part of its empire for about 200 years.

Khamis Ali Juma, from the Pemba museum, says Pujini village – where the festival was mainly held – was one of the first areas to be settled by the Portuguese.

Men and women line up and take turns to 'fight' with batons while a band plays folk music

Women also take part in kirumbizi fights, which involve the use of batons with musicians accompanying the contestants.

Shoka Hamad, one of the event organisers, says that the game is a battle of strength and endurance.

“When you step into the ring, you take on challengers until you feel tired – the winner is the person who shows the most endurance,” he says.

“The aim isn’t to hit or hurt your opponent, but show off your speed and agility. It’s possible that players might get hit, but this isn’t the objective of the dance.”

Bulls also feature prominently in the festival.

Bullfighting

Bullfighting was introduced by the Portuguese, but it differs from the Spanish version as the aim is not to kill the animal, but to tire it out and entertain the crowd.

There is a belief that the spectacle brings rain and a good “mpunga” (rice) harvest, and so traditionally bullfights are held at times of drought.

Bullfighting

There has also been a romantic element to bullfights, with young women encouraging their lovers to take part to prove their bravery – although this happens less so these days.

A woman would choose a new kanga (a colourful cloth usually wrapped around the waist) for the fight and sit on a platform next to the arena to watch.

If her beau got through the fight unscathed, she would give him her kanga to keep as a trophy.

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A donkey procession through many of the island’s villages is also an important part of the festival.

Donkeys riders procession

The riders wear traditional dress and carry umbrellas, trotting behind a brass band.

Donkeys are used for transport and farming and their prominence in the festival highlights their important role on the island. The umbrellas are also thought to encourage a good rainy season.

Participants riding donkeys

From donkeys to bicycles as cyclists compete in a race from Mkoani, Pemba’s port town, north through the countryside.

The 87km route is gruelling- it climbs the island's highest slope and takes most competitors over 2 hours to complete

The 87km (54 miles) route is gruelling and riders must climb the island’s highest slope. It takes most competitors more than two hours to complete.

And they are greeted at Vumawimbi beach with much fanfare and dancing.

The cyclists finish at Vumawimbi beach with much fanfare. Here, women dance dressed in colourful kangas.
Alongside, men wearing white kikoi dance to entertain those who turned out at the finish line

The women wear the kangas and the men wear white kikoi (a woven sarong) as they entertain the crowds at the finish line.

The island’s first marathon was also held as part of the festivities.

Runners

And wrapping it all up is the “ngalawa” boat race. Ngalawas are traditional dug-out canoes of Swahili design with sails used by fishermen off Zanzibar.

Wrapping up the festival is an ngalawa boat race. Such boats are a typical Swahili design- here, a man climbs the mast to unfurl the sail which, if all goes according to plan, will send his crew gliding into first place over the finish line.

All photos by Catherine Tilke

(Economist) Angola’s go-to app for delivering live goats to your door

(Economist) In Africa, the gig economy can benefit rich and poor alike

African cities are tasty markets for food-delivery apps. The continent has 21 of the world’s 30 fastest-growing urban areas, where an expanding middle class boasts smartphones and spare cash. These cities also have hideous traffic, so it’s a chore to drive a car to a restaurant. But delivery scooters can slalom through jams.

These were the ingredients that made possible the rise of several food-delivery startups in Africa. Jumia Food delivers meals to urban dwellers in 11 countries. In South Africa Mr D Food competes with Uber Eats, an offshoot of the American ride-hailing app. Tupuca has been bringing meals to residents of Angola’s capital, Luanda, since 2016.th restaurants. Delivering prepared food still accounts for most of its revenue. The firm’s 140 drivers make 17,000 deliveries a month for consumers who spend an average of $40 per order. Since October, however, users of the Tupuca app have begun to see other options alongside pizzas, burgers and sushi. They can buy coal, petrol, fruit and vegetables. Or they can purchase live animals, such as chickens ($7 for a big clucker, $5 for a middling one), pigs ($124 and $103) or goats ($82 and $64).

To offer these animals, Tupuca has teamed up with Roque Online, a startup named after Mercado Roque Santeiro, a huge, open-air informal market in Luanda that was closed by the nanny state in 2011. Roque Online employs an army of runners who track down the best produce. They buy the goat, say, take it to a driver and, before too long, the animal is on its way to a party (where it will be slaughtered amid great jollity).

Erickson Mvezi, Tupuca’s ceo, says the new feature is “breaking down barriers between informal and formal markets”. Luanda has a sizeable middle class, plus plenty of expats and a rich elite. But it also has millions of poor people living in slums wedged between skyscrapers. More than a third of households have at least one person living by informal vending. Through Tupuca and Roque Online they can sell to more people.

In the West many people fret that the gig economy encourages insecure work. But in sub-Saharan Africa, where the informal economy is equivalent to more than a third of gdp, about twice that in rich countries, it may do the opposite. By opening bigger markets for vendors, technology may help them grow richer, one goat at a time. No kidding.

(BBC) Benin artworks: France to return thrones and statues

(BBC)

Three Great Royal Statues of ancient Dahomey (currently Benin, West Africa) are displayed at the Quai Branly Museum-Jacques Chirac in ParisImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionA report commissioned by the French president recommends that disputed artworks should be returned to their countries of origin

French President Emmanuel Macron has said that France will return 26 artworks taken from the west African state of Benin in the colonial era.

His announcement follows an experts’ report recommending that African treasures in French museums be returned to their countries of origin.

The 26 thrones and statues were taken in 1892 during a colonial war against the then Kingdom of Dahomey.

They are currently on display in the Quai Branly museum in Paris.

Benin officially asked for their return some years ago. President Macron said the statues would be returned “without delay”.

His office said the return of art to Benin should not be an isolated case.

The president “hopes that all possible circulation of these works is considered: returns but also exhibitions, loans, further cooperation”, the Elysee palace said.

A panel of experts, commissioned by the president to study the issue of African artworks in French museums, presented their findings to him on Friday.

Ousmane Aledji, director of the Benin cultural centre Artisttik Africa, told the AFP news agency he was pleased to see “a new form of cultural exchange” with France.

During colonial rule in Africa, thousands of cultural artefacts were seized from the continent by Western countries.

The official report states that most of the Africa collection in the Quai Branly museum – approximately 46,000 pieces – was acquired with some degree of duress.

France’s announcement comes as major museums across Europe have agreed to lend key artefacts back to Nigeria.

(Economist) What to do about Africa’s dangerous baby boom

(Economist) African countries do not need to resort to Asian-style illiberalism

THE 21st century, in one way at least, will be African. In 1990 sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 16% of the world’s births. Because African birth rates are so much higher than elsewhere, the proportion has risen to 27% and is expected to hit 37% in 2050. About a decade later, more babies will be born in sub-Saharan Africa than in the whole of Asia, including India and China. These projections by the UN, if correct, are astounding (see article). There is good reason for the world to worry about Africa’s baby boom.

The danger is not a Malthusian crisis, in which countries run out of food or farmland at some point in the future. It is true that Africa, although vast, is already a net food importer. But that would be fine if Africans were otherwise productive.

The real problem is that too many babies sap economic development and make it harder to lift Africans out of poverty. In the world as a whole, the dependency ratio—the share of people under the age of 20 or older than 64, who are provided for by working-age people—stands at 74:100. In sub-Saharan Africa it is a staggering 129:100.

In stark contrast with most of the world, notably Asia, the number of extremely poor Africans is rising, in part because the highest birth rates are in the poorest parts of the continent. On September 19th the World Bank reported that the number of people living in extreme poverty rose in sub-Saharan Africa between 2013 and 2015, from 405m to 413m (see article). Many African countries already struggle to build enough schools and medical clinics for their existing children, let alone the masses to come.

The experience of other countries where birth rates have fallen sharply is that the number of babies is determined more by parents’ wishes than by anything else. As people move from villages to cities, children become more costly, so couples want fewer of them. As they become wealthier, they have less fear that their children will die. So, on the face of it, economic and social forces should be left to do their work. Moreover, an odd chorus of leftists (who hate racism and Western meddling) and Christian conservatives (who hate abortion and some kinds of contraception) argue that nothing should be done.

The trouble is that the reduction in fertility—the number of births per woman—is happening much more slowly in Africa than elsewhere. Half of Nigerians already live in cities, compared with one-third of Indians. Yet Nigeria’s fertility rate is more than double India’s. Overall, the fertility rate in sub-Saharan Africa is dropping about half as quickly as it did in Asia or Latin America when families were the same size.

Four mouths good, two mouths better

African countries need not, and should not, go down the coercive route to smaller families once taken by India, which carried out mass-sterilisation campaigns, or China, which long enforced a one-child policy. This led to, among other horrors, large-scale sex-selective abortions.

Instead there are good examples from within Africa of how to make things better. These involve “small is beautiful” public-information campaigns combined with a government drive to get varied birth control to poor rural areas. Many African governments already have fine-sounding policies to promote contraceptive use, yet too few act on them. Where such policies are a priority, as in Ethiopia, Malawi and Rwanda, fertility rates fall faster than average (though they are still high). Just as many Africans leapfrogged from no phones to mobile phones, and from no power to solar power, so they can jump to innovations like self-injected contraceptives.

High fertility can also be tackled indirectly, by concentrating on the things that are known to affect it—above all, education for girls. Granted, many African schools are awful, with ill-educated teachers who rarely turn up. One way to change that is to encourage private providers, as Liberia has done. Better schools would bring many other benefits to African children—the living as well as the yet-to-be conceived.

(MDT) ANGOLA, PORTUGAL PUT AN END TO DOUBLE TAXATION

(MDT)

Angola and Portugal are due this week to sign a convention to end double taxation between the two countries, as part of a two-day visit to Angola that the Portuguese prime minister is due to start on Monday, financial newspaper Jornal de Negócios reported last Friday.

The newspaper reported that although Portugal’s finance ministry did not confirm that the agreement will be signed during the prime minister’s visit, the Angolan Secretary of State for International Cooperation, Domingos Vieira Lopes had already admitted the possibility of signing the agreement during Costa’s visit to Luanda.

“The agreement to avoid double taxation between Angola and Portugal is in progress and practically concluded,” the newspaper wrote quoting the Secretary of State for International Cooperation.

The Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, said the visit “will have a very important economic component because the commercial relationship and in terms of reciprocal investments of Portugal and Angola is very intense.”

Santos Silva said in Brussels on the sidelines of a NATO summit in July that Portugal and Angola will also sign the new strategic cooperation programme and meet with the Portuguese community in Luanda.

Jornal de Angola reported that the Portuguese prime minister spoke yesterday at the “Angola-Portugal Economic Forum: for a strategic partnership.”

The Forum is organised by Angola’s Private Investment and Export Promotion Agency (AIPEX) and its equivalent Agency for Investment and Foreign Trade of Portugal (AICEP). The Minister of State for Economic and Social Development, Manuel Nunes, is to to make the opening speech at the meeting.

The schedule shows that the General Investment Plan will be presented during the meeting, with contributions from the presidents of Aipex, Licínio Contreiras and AICEP, Luís Filipe de Castro Henriques, as well as a letter of intent signed to support the Development Finance Company (Sofid) of Portugal for a project of Angolan company Metalser.

O.P. (JN) João Lourenço “rasgou compromisso” com Eduardo dos Santos

…E do meu ponto de vista rasgou muito bem …

(JNEsta leitura é feita por Alex Vines, director do Programa Africano no instituto de estudos britânico Chatham House. Segundo este especialista, o Presidente de Angola “rasgou um acordo de compromisso” feito com o seu antecessor.

O director do Programa Africano no instituto de estudos britânico Chatham House, Alex Vines, considerou esta quarta-feira, 22 de Novembro, que a onda de exonerações em Angola demonstra que o novo Presidente “rasgou o acordo de compromisso” negociado com José Eduardo dos Santos.

“Ao fazer isto [a onda de exonerações dos últimos dias], João Lourenço rasgou o Governo de compromisso negociado com (José Eduardo) dos Santos por alturas da sua tomada de posse como chefe de Estado, em Setembro”, disse Alex Vines em entrevista à Lusa.

“O Presidente (João) Lourenço também demonstrou que a família dos Santos já não é intocável”, acrescentou o conhecido analista britânico, que é também director de Estudos Regionais e Segurança Internacional na Chatham House, o Instituto Real de Estudos Internacionais.

“A Sonangol é a principal mudança, mas as mudanças nos meios de comunicação social e nas relações públicas também levaram a demissões nos membros da família” do antigo líder angolano.

O Presidente de Angola, na última semana, tem-se multiplicado em exonerações nos principais cargos da estrutura de poder no país, desde a principal empresa, a Sonangol, até aos chefes de polícia e também na área judicial.

“A prioridade de João Lourenço foi a reforma económica, como a indústria petrolífera”, diz Vines, acrescentando que “o despedimento de Isabel dos Santos é parte desta estratégia que apontou aos principais pilares da economia angolana: o petróleo, com a Sonangol, a indústria dos diamantes, com a Endiama, e as finanças, com o Banco Nacional de Angola”, cujos líderes foram exonerados.

No geral, vinca Alex Vines, “isto significa que a família dos Santos vai ter de andar com cuidado e mostrar cada vez mais as suas capacidades tecnocráticas”, apontando ainda que “o erro de Isabel dos Santos foi que tinha pouca experiência na indústria petrolífera e subcontratou [a gestão] a consultores quando ela própria não estava preparada para se focar completamente na Sonangol até chegar aos últimos meses”.

O panorama para a família do antigo Presidente pode até piorar, considera este analista, salientando que apesar de José Eduardo dos Santos “ainda ser o presidente do Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA), está a perder força e com a saúde fraca”, por isso “não é certo quando o MPLA vai fazer um congresso para alinhar Lourenço como chefe de Estado e do partido” no poder.

“Quando deixar de ser presidente do MPLA, ou a sua saúde piorar, poderá haver mais pressão política sobre a sua família”, vaticina Vines.

Desde que tomou posse, a 26 de Setembro, na sequência das eleições gerais angolanas de 23 de agosto, João Lourenço procedeu a exonerações de várias administrações de empresas estatais, dos sectores de diamantes, minerais, petróleos, comunicação social, banca comercial pública e Banco Nacional de Angola, anteriormente nomeadas por José Eduardo dos Santos.

P.O. (BBC) Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe resigns, ending 37-year rule

P.O.  

Personally I wouldn’t hold talks with Mr Mugabe even on a choice of ice creams…

Got it?

FCMP

(BBC) Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has resigned, bringing an end to 37 years of rule and sparking jubilant celebrations in the nation’s streets.

A letter from Mr Mugabe read out by the speaker of parliament said the decision was voluntary and he had made it to allow a smooth transfer of power.

The news abruptly halted an impeachment hearing that had begun against him.

The ruling Zanu-PF party says former vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa will succeed Mr Mugabe, in power since 1980.

Mr Mnangagwa’s sacking earlier this month triggered a political crisis.

It had been seen by many as an attempt to clear the way for Grace Mugabe to succeed her husband as leader and riled the military leadership, who stepped in and put Mr Mugabe under house arrest.

After the resignation announcement, lawmakers roared in jubilation.

Mr Mugabe, 93, was until his resignation the world’s oldest leader. He had previously refused to quit despite last week’s military takeover and days of protests.

Media captionScenes of jubilation on the streets of the capital

According to the constitution his successor should be the current vice-president, Phelekezela Mphoko, a supporter of Grace Mugabe.

But Zanu-PF chief whip Lovemore Matuke told Reuters news agency that Mr Mnangagwa would be in office “within 48 hours”.

Speaking from an undisclosed location earlier on Tuesday, Mr Mnangagwa said he had fled abroad two weeks ago when he learned of a plot to kill him.

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An untypical end

Analysis by BBC world affairs editor, John Simpson

Robert Mugabe in 1980Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Most people assumed that the only way Robert Mugabe would give up being president was to die in his bed. He probably thought so too.

In fact the last of the old-style 1970s and 80s liberation leaders, most untypically, resigned in writing. Perhaps that says something about the way the world has changed in the 21st Century.

No storming the presidential palace, no ugly end at the hands of a crowd like Col Gaddafi, no execution by firing squad like President Ceausescu of Romania, no hanging like Saddam Hussein.

Zimbabwe, in spite of everything Robert Mugabe visited upon it, is essentially a peaceable, gentle country. And despite all the immense crimes for which he was responsible, he is in some ways an intellectual, rather than a brutal thug along the lines of, say, Idi Amin.

He’ll be remembered for the massacres in Matabeleland in the 1980s, for the farm invasions of the 1990s and later, and for the brutal repression of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change when it seemed on course to win the 2008 presidential election.

The man who seems about to take his place, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was deeply involved in most of those crimes, yet people in Zimbabwe, like the outside world, will be so relieved to see Mr Mugabe go that they will be tempted to forget all that.

They’ll also forget the few unquestionably good things Robert Mugabe did. Zimbabwe, for instance, has an extraordinarily high literacy rate, because of him. But that’s certainly not what he’ll be remembered for.

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‘Let him rest in his last days’

UK Prime Minister Theresa May said Mr Mugabe’s resignation “provides Zimbabwe with an opportunity to forge a new path free of the oppression that characterised his rule”.

She said that former colonial power Britain, “as Zimbabwe’s oldest friend”, will do all it can to support free and fair elections and the rebuilding of the Zimbabwean economy.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai told the BBC he hoped that Zimbabwe was on a “new trajectory” that would include free and fair elections. He said Mr Mugabe should be allowed to “go and rest for his last days”.

In other reaction:

  • The US Embassy in Harare, the capital, said it was a “historic moment” and congratulated Zimbabweans who “raised their voices and stated peacefully and clearly that the time for change was overdue”
  • South Africa’s main opposition Democratic Alliance welcomed the move, saying Mr Mugabe had turned from “liberator to dictator”
  • Prominent Zimbabwean opposition politician David Coltart tweeted: “We have removed a tyrant but not yet a tyranny”
  • Civil society group the Platform for Concerned Citizens called for dialogue between all political parties, which it said should lead to the formation of a national transitional authority

Robert Mugabe won elections during his 37 years in power, but over the past 15 years these were marred by violence against political opponents.

He presided over a deepening economic crisis in Zimbabwe, where people are on average 15% poorer now than they were in 1980.

Media captionActivist and political candidate Vimbaishe Musvaburi breaks down in tears of joy

However, Mr Mugabe was not forced out after decades in power by a popular mass movement but rather as a result of political splits within his Zanu-PF party.

The leader of the influential liberation war veterans – former allies of Mr Mugabe – said after the army takeover that Mr Mugabe was a “dictator”, who “as he became old, surrendered his court to a gang of thieves around his wife”.

Both he and Grace, 52, are believed to be at a mansion in Harare.’

Mr Mugabe’s decision to finally resign sparked joy in the streets.

Media captionMorgan Tsvangirai told the BBC he hoped that Zimbabwe was on a “new trajectory”

“We are just so happy that things are finally going to change,” Togo Ndhlalambi, a hairdresser, told the AFP news agency.

“I am the happiest person under the sun right now, because I always believed that Mugabe was going to step down in my lifetime and it has happened,” human rights activist Linda Masarira told the BBC.

“And now going forward it’s time for the opposition to reorganise and ensure that we will have a government that cares for the people. And everyone has to be included.”

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Robert Mugabe – Timeline of a political life

Grace and Robert Mugabe togetherImage copyrightAFP
Image captionPresident Mugabe was accused of preparing the presidency for his wife Grace
  • 1924: Born in Kutama
  • 1964: Imprisoned by Rhodesian government
  • 1980: Wins post-independence elections
  • 1996: Marries Grace Marufu
  • 2000: Loses referendum, pro-Mugabe militias invade white-owned farms and attack opposition supporters
  • 2008: Comes second in first round of elections to Morgan Tsvangirai who pulls out of run-off amid nationwide attacks on his supporters
  • 2009: Amid economic collapse, swears in Mr Tsvangirai as prime minister, who serves in uneasy government of national unity for four years
  • 2017: Sacks long-time ally Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, paving the way for his wife Grace to succeed him. Army intervenes and forces him to step down

Media captionMugabe: From war hero to resignation

(BBG) Mugabe Faces Impeachment as He Resists Zimbabwe Resignation

(Bloomberg) — Zimbabwe remains in political limbo after
President Robert Mugabe failed to announce his much-anticipated
resignation in a televised address and said he’ll preside over a
ruling party conference next month.
Mugabe deviated from his agreed-upon speech, and
impeachment proceedings spearheaded by his ruling Zimbabwe
African National Union-Patriotic Front will begin on Monday to
force an end to this 37 years in power, according to three
senior party officials who declined to be identified because
they aren’t authorized to comment.
Delivering the nationally televised address with the armed
forces commanders who took power last week looking on, Mugabe,
who is the world’s oldest serving leader at 93, frequently lost
his place and had to repeat himself.
“We cannot be guided by vengefulness or bitterness,” he
said. “Let us all move forward.”
Earlier Sunday, Zanu-PF central committee decided to fire
him as its leader and ordered him to step down. Emmerson
Mnangagwa, who Mugabe dismissed as vice president this month,
will be reinstated, take over as interim president and be Zanu-
PF’s presidential candidate in elections next year, the party
said. It also expelled the president’s wife, Grace, Phelekezela
Mphoko, the nation’s other vice president, along with several
other senior officials.
The ruling party’s decision to dump Mugabe came four days
after the military placed him under house arrest and detained
several of his closest allies — a move triggered by his
dismissal of Mnangagwa, 75. Seeing the likelihood of Mugabe’s
ouster, joyous crowds turned out in Harare and Bulawayo —
Zimbabwe’s second-largest city — on Saturday to celebrate.
“It’s not clear what happened but we are proceeding
tomorrow,” Chris Mutsvanga, the head of the Zimbabwe War
Veterans Association, said in reference to the planned
impeachment proceedings in parliament. “Mugabe is deaf to the
people of Zimbabwe. The people are 100 percent behind removing
him.”
The political crisis comes at a time when the economy is in
free-fall. An estimated 95 percent of the workforce is
unemployed, public infrastructure is crumbling and about 3
million Zimbabweans have gone into exile.
“We all thought he was going to resign. Then it became
clear he was disassociating himself from this and was
positioning himself as the answer to Zimbabwe’s problems,” Nic
Cheeseman, professor of democracy at the University of
Birmingham in the U.K., said by phone from Harare. “This might
be a last gambit by Mugabe. It’s unclear why the military
allowed him to make this speech.”