What’s Going On: Mass Protests In Kenya, Malawi Declares State of Emergency & More
notable headlines from around the continent
notable headlines from around the continent
“What’s Going On” Tallies Notable News Headlines From Across The Continent — The Good, The Bad, And The Horrible — As A Way Of Ensuring That We All Become A More Sagacious African Generation. With This Column, We’re Hoping To Disseminate The Latest Happenings In Our Socio-Political Climate From Across The Continent, Whilst Starting A Conversation About What’s Important For Us To All Discuss. From Political Affairs To Socio-Economic Issues, ‘What’s Going On’ Will Discuss Just That.
Mass protest have broken out in Kenya. For the better part of Monday morning, police officers pitched camp at different areas in Kenya ahead of the expected protests by the Azimio la Umoja coalition. The strike dubbed #Maandamano was created by the opposition led by Azimio leader, Raila Odinga to compel the current regime to honour various issues the country including the high cost of living, discrimination in state appointments as well as purported lack of transparency in the country’s electoral body.
Odinga’s opposition believes that the election was stolen despite Kenya’s highest court upholding victory for incumbent President William Ruto in last year’s election. Odinga is also calling for a reinstatement of the four commissioners sacked by Ruto’s government from the electoral body. Despite being deemed illegal, the protests continued as planned with roads leading to government buildings now blocked and the president’s official residence sealed off.
Police clashed with protesters in Nairobi’s city centre, with businesses in the city centre shuttered for the day, and in Nairobi’s Kibera slum, where Odinga has substantial support. Clashes were reported in the city of Kisumu, in western Kenya, which is considered a stronghold for Odinga. One university student is reportedly shot dead in Kisumu. According to the National Police Service, the protest was termed illegal since it didn’t meet the threshold of the law. Nairobi police commander Adamson Bungei, says Azimio failed to meet the threshold to hold the protests as the law requires that one informs the police of the intended protest at least three days prior. Following this, Raila Odinga informed the government that mass protests will take place every Monday until the government meet their demands.
Thousands of protesters marched through South Africa’s cities on Monday, calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa to resign over the lack of jobs and electricity. In response, the country’s security forces guarded and sealed off malls and streets to prevent any violence and looting. Current reports state that more than 550 protesters have been arrested since Sunday night on charges of public violence, intimidation, damage to critical infrastructure and theft, the national intelligence body said in a statement.
In several parts of Johannesburg, protesters waved banners saying “Ankole must go”, referring to Ramaphosa’s love for the Ankole cattle breed. Other banners read “our people sleep hungry,” as many join the demonstrations to push back against prolonged economic turndown. The Marxist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) led by their leader Joseph Malema protested against social and economic challenges faced by South Africans, including crime, corruption, load shedding and unemployment amongst others.
The Battalion of Economic Freedom Fighters have now entered the Nelson Mandela road.
— EFF Free State (@EFF_FreeState) March 20, 2023
Prior to the anti-government protests, 87 people were arrested after Julius Malema addressed followers in the streets of Pretoria. Dubbing the protests #NationalShutdown, many shops were closed down due to fear that the demonstrations would grow and mirror the 2021 protests in the country.
According to authorities in Malawi, Mozambique and Madagascar, the death toll in southeast Africa due to the exceptionally long-lasting Tropical Cyclone Freddy has risen to 522. Of the countries, Malawai has been hit hardest by the cyclone and disaster management authorities in Malawi reported on Saturday that the death toll had risen to 438. Malawi’s president, Lazarus Chakwera, declared a 14-day national mourning period last Thursday.
The cyclone which is named Freddy has now dissipated, causing widespread devastation in Malawi, including critical infrastructure. Roads have been cut off and electricity poles have fallen down, according to the Electricity Generation Company Limited (EGENCO). Malawi has declared a state of emergency. Cyclone Freddy first made landfall on February 21 in Madagascar. From there, the storm moved on to Mozambique and then back across the Indian Ocean. On March 11, it reached Mozambique for the second time and then moved on to Malawi.
“A lot of areas are inaccessible, restricting the movement of assessment and humanitarian teams and life-saving supplies,” said Paul Turnbull, the World Food Program’s director in Malawi. “The true extent of the damage will only be revealed once assessments have been concluded.” Both nations were already facing a cholera outbreak before the cyclone hit and there are fears that the flooding could worsen the spread of water-borne diseases. Mozambique was also dealing with Freddy’s first battering and floods earlier in the year.
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