Monthly Archives: January 2010

Friday Afternoon Africana

If  Benin’s Godfather of Funk, El Rego, ever joined the forces of Detroit Motown, it would have been unreal:

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This Week in the Great Lakes

1. Tennis player Justine Henin goes to DRC and finds tennis inspiration; rubbing the bellies of Congolese children proved to increase the probability of winning Aussie Open.

2. Rwanda fails to sweep warlords with pet goats into past memories; surge in goat-as-pet purchase in Great Lakes.

3. Head of UN Mission to Burundi kicked out of country; ex ante headless bureaucracy is now actually headless.

4. “Kagame Says Good Politics is About Dev’t,” not about craaazy free and fair democratic elections.

5. Jina Moore reports on DRC mortality debate; articulates nobody knows how the hell to count.

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Witchcraft at Kigali Council Meeting

In last weekends Kigali City Council meeting,  hundreds of attendants came down with food poisoning. Which really means witchcraft. According to the New Times:

The meeting had been called to present KCC’s achievements in 2009, also attracted several senior government officials.

Bruno Rangira, the Director of Communication at KCC, confirmed that out of the 3000 people who attended, 350 later had food poisoning problems while 6 others were admitted in hospital.

Nothing like the systematic poisoning of political meeting goers to suggest dubious macrobiotic processes. While the director of the venue where the meeting took place blamed the incident on an incompetent cook, the police are investigating:

In her statement to the police, Sumwiza [the cook] said that there was no intention of serving contaminated food to the masses.

“This problem was caused by the fact that the food served to the people that day had been prepared a day before the function and unfortunately, it later went bad.”

Rangira asserts that police is apparently handling the matter.

And, the negative correlation between civic participation and cooking time is established.

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Francophonics and the Democratic Republic of Awesome Rhumba

Congolese super-musician Franco has just been re-mastered. Word on the street about Francophonic Volume 2 is its good, really good:

But this 2xCD sequel to the first Sterns anthology of Franco’s recordings (which covered 1953-1980) is thunderbolts and fireworks, start to finish. Maybe it’s just canny song selection by compiler/annotator Ken Braun, who boiled down the dozens of albums Franco released in the 1980s to these 13 songs, but it sure sounds like the final quarter of TPOK’s career was its best, which would make them close to unique in pop history.

The compilation is thoughtful and well-laid out with a perfect mix of mainstream pop songs and garage serenades. Check it out.

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The Full Encyclopedia of (most) of the War Crimes Committed in Rwanda

Human Rights Watch has just published the definitive tome on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. “Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity” meticulously documents all of the cases, convictions, precedents set by the court.  In this 522-page beast, HRW even details which local bars the ICTR justices frequent.

This digest is an excellent follow up to Alison des Forge’s, “Leave None to Tell the Story”, giving HRW a monopoly on all exhaustive accounts surrounding the Rwandan genocide. Before embarking on the body of its legal content, the book uses its dedication to des Forge to indict the current regime in Kigali and highlight the shortcomings of the court:

Despite having documented the killings of hundreds of thousands of Rwandans during the genocide, Alison drew the wrath of the current Rwandan government by insisting on justice not only for those responsible for the genocide but also for those in the Rwandan Patriotic Forces (RPF), the precursor to today’s government, who were themselves responsible for serious crimes. Although the RPF defeated the genocidal regime, Alison believed passionately that senior RPF officials should also be held to account for the crimes that they directed or tolerated, including the murder of up to 30,000 people during and just after the genocide. To date, the ICTR and Rwandan authorities have rarely pursued these cases and even then only in a way that downplayed the nature of the crime and the involvement of senior level officials.

In memory of des Forges, HRW’s report mixes serious academic scholarship with refreshing defiance. This piece will undoubtedly be remembered as a cannon. You can read the report for free online, or, if you a purchase a copy it is thick enough to use a weapon.

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Friday Afternoon Africana

Because, when they first gave you the radioclit, it was good. And now, the Very Best is back with a new funkier, dancehall sound:

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This Week in the Great Lakes

1. Vodacom Congo in trouble; claims they can’t cell ‘Blood Cellphones’ to the people who produce them fast enough.

2. Burundi starts voter registration for presidential election to ensure individuals can vote multiple times.

3. Opposition leader Victoire Ingabire visits genocide memorial in Rwanda; Government pissed, claims, “we have a monopoly on the genocide industry.”

4. Completely non-dubious mineral prospective report finds Coltan in Rwanda; government happy to preventively pretend it doesn’t extract from DRC.

5. Nicholas Kristof back in the DRC; plans to fill void of trite reports on sexual violence.

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