It is truly an absurd situation. After two and half years of a bloody civil war in South Sudan, we have the same political situation as it started. A unity government will force the two main rivals to work together and bring the “youngest state” of the international government back on track.Doubts remain how peace can be uphold due to the destruction of the country’s weak infrastructure and the poor revenue of the state due to low oil prices. The key question though is how to bring about reconciliation, justice and peace in a divided country. Continue reading “Getting back to the start: South Sudan establishes a unity government”
One year and one week ago, Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in as the new president of Kenya. In early March 2013, largely peaceful elections were held. I have myself been in Eldoret, in the northern Rift Valley, for one week during the times of the elections and I was a “local” election observer with the VUP Foundation. The talk of the time were about sanctions as Western governments, particularly the UK, threatened that they might impose some sort of sanctions against a Kenyan government that would include the ICC suspects Kenyatta as well as his running mate, vice-president William Ruto. Continue reading “Kenyatta one year in office: mediocre at best”
20 years ago the 1994 Rwandan genocide started. In just 100 days some 800,000 to a million people were killed. The world stood by, the international community did literally nothing. The phrase “never again” coined after the Holocaust got an empty phrase. Although, very ironically, Rwanda was on the UN Security Council at the time, the killings were only stopped by the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) that invaded the country from Uganda and stopped the killings. Today, Rwanda and the world are remembering the 1994 genocide, although not all victims are commemorated. Continue reading “Remembering the Rwandan Genocide: The Difficulty to Remember All Victims”
The chaos in South Sudan after an alleged coup attempt on 14 December 2013 led to a diplomatic as well as military intervention by its neighbors. It was Uganda that went ahead and openly backed up South Sudanese president Salva Kiir a week later in his struggle to regain control in the youngest country in the world. A few days later, Uganda’s forces were included in an Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) mission that was set up. This raises the larger questions of how the East African security architecture looks like and where it is heading to in a fragile region as the famous commentator Charles Onyango-Obbo has done in the The East African Times. While a regional security architecture has been started to be in place since the 1990s, the region’s security institutions are still guided by the national self-interest of its members and not for the good of the broader region. Continue reading “Constructing a Security Architecture in East Africa”
“We are yet to reach the promised land. We have missed opportunities in the last 50 years,” admitted Uhuru Kenyatta. The Kenyan President’s speech on 12 December 2013 celebrating the 50th anniversary of Kenya took place in front of 60,000 people in the national stadium, including 14 heads of states. You can see some amazing pictures from the ceremony on Thursday which reflects Kenya’s cultural diversity, may it be old or new, with more than 40 ethnic communities in this East African country. However, the promise of Uhuru’s father, Kenya’s first president Jomo Kenyatta, has not been fulfilled yet, as he said 50 years ago that the new government would eliminate three great scourges – poverty, ignorance and disease. Ever since the population quadrupled to more than 43 millions but their voices and concerns still need to be heard. Continue reading “Kenya at 50: Unfulfilled promises, ethnic division but hope for a bright future”
Somalia was in the news last week. Yet another time it was negative news. A suicide bombing at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) building in the Somali capital Mogadishu killed 18 people on 19 June 2013. Of course, the radical Islamist group called al-Shabab (Arabic for “the boys”) carried out the blast as they announced responsibility on their Twitter account. Despite this setback, Somalia has, on relative terms, a surprisingly positive development over the past months. Although attacks continue to happen, the amount of such incidents is decreasing and the overall development of the country is a positive one. Somalia is taking “baby steps” forward and there is a tendency towards more stability. Thus, Somalia deserves to be also positively mentioned in the international media!
Headings like “Is ICC recolonizing Africa?” were common during the past weeks in African newspapers across the continent. It does not come as a surprise, as African leaders decided on 26 May 2013 during an African Union (AU) meeting that the trials against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto should be sent back from The Hague to a national court in Kenya. The motion was brought up, quite ironically, by Uganda and reportedly supported by all AU member states with the notable exception of Botswana. This move is short-sighted and strengthens impunity on the African continent.
Yesterday, I returned from Tanzania back to Austria. After six months of volunteering for the Kilimanjaro Hope Organization (KIHO), I am able to look back to a fantastic time in this East African country! It was a time full of learning and creating new bonds across cultures and boundaries. I have practically learned how to approach and work with local communities and realized the need to work with group initiatives. Also, I had the opportunity to meet and live together with various community initiatives from the rural areas. In this blog post, I want to share some of my thoughts and experiences with you during these six months in Tanzania.
In early May, “an act of terrorism” disrupted the consecration of a church in Arusha. A bomb blast outside this Roman-Catholic church killed two and injured 30 people. Until today, it is not yet clear who carried out the attacks, although six people have been taken into custody, among them two Christians from Tanzania and four individuals from Saudi Arabia. During the past years, Tanzania has been passing through increased religious bigotry, although the country experienced for decades a high degree of toleration between the two main faith communities in this East African country.
Today, fighting has resumed in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), one of the most troubled regions in the world. The BBC reported that the M23 rebel movement attacked government troops outside of Goma. These are the first clashes ever since M23 withdrew its forces from Goma in November last year. The incident happens just days before United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon planned to visit the city.