Monthly Archives: July 2010

Friday Afternoon Africana

Because Zakee Kuduro infuses Philly’s dance-hall scene with Senegalese beats to contribute to the awesome and growing Afro-electronica genre:

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This Week in the Great Lakes

1. Global witness takes the British Government to court over their complicit trade in Congolese conflict minerals; Enough Project wags advocacy tail between legs in envy.

2. Lauryn Hill makes decade awaited comeback in Kigali; Kagame makes awkward pun about strumming his pain with her fingers.

3. International observers baffled by Burundi’s ruling party CNDD-FDD to only capture 81% of the vote after all other parties boycott the election.

4. Ceremonial Commonwealth Observers to arrive in Rwanda to monitor ceremonial elections in order to produce ceremonial report.

5. DRC warlord Thomas Lubanga’s trial ridden with more procedural irregularities; African countries begin to welcome the ICC as they acknowledge it’s incompetence and inefficacy.

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No Eyes, Noises or Hands Allowed

Only ears welcomed at this guest-house in Cyangugu Rwanda.

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Rwanda Rocks the Vote, Kagame Rocks the RPF

Its election time in Rwanda and the public image of the world’s favorite development playboy is splintering to reveal that the RPF – Kagame’s political party in power – is fairly unstable.

Back story goes like this. A few weeks ago, ex-Rwandan Army Chief, Lieutenant General Kayumba Nyamwasa, who decided to go on an indefinite vacation in South Africa after a falling out with Paul Kagame, was shot. South Africa’s Foreign Minister claimed that ‘foreign operatives‘ were responsible for the assassination attempt. Their statement essentially claimed that it was Kagame in the billiard-ball room with the candlestick. After some backdoor politicking, they then denied everything they said and Rwanda has done everything in their power to refute involvement in the assassination attempt.

Behind the back story, however, it’s a bit trickier. Kayumba was initially exiled because of his involvement in starting a new political party that challenged Kagame’s authority. Debate crumbled into violence and Kayumba is thought to be responsible for this season’s grenade attacks in Kigali. Kayumba’s support within the Rwandan Army has been growing over the past six months – before and during his exile – among a splinter faction disenfranchised with the powers that be. This is fairly serious. Rwanda has seen its fair share of civilian opposition parties emerge, and, well, be put in jail. However, the power in Rwanda rests with the army. If the army fragments, so goes Kagame’s ability to rule with an iron fist and reinforce the security and intelligence structures he’s built throughout the provinces.

So what’s a semi-autocrat to do? Word on the street in Kigali is that Kagame has been purging the army of Kayumba-supporters. This follows the government’s recent strategy of “removing” political dissidents. However, opposition groups within the army and civil society run deeper than their leaders. The political tectonics of this year’s election has revealed the depth of these fissures.

Kagame’s development-as-always agenda seems to buckling beneath the weight of the politics it masks. Rwandans see beyond the image that international organizations and European governments so often laud – the fragmentation of the army and the burgeoning opposition is testament to the fact that Rwandans are dissatisfied with the regime’s policy choices and governance.  Worse, Kagame’s own RPF party is fracturing.

Elections provide insight into RPF cohesion and political disenfranchisement in Rwanda. However, they will come and go. The fundamental question is how Kagame decides to address these problems in the coming month.

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Friday Afternoon Africana

Because Ugandan singer Maurice Kirya knows that any true African love song includes getting your boda boda to go faster:

Hattip to the Scarlett Lion

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This Week in the Great Lakes

1. Ben Affleck: sexy movie star, Boston pride, and excellent celebrity NGO manager.

2. Transparency International ranks Burundi the most corrupt country in East Africa; Burundi celebrates rewards by using public funds to throw a beach party.

3. Paul Kagame claims, ‘coincidence!’, that all opposition leaders assassinated or jailed.

4. Children witches on the uprise in the Congo, replacing older, less effective witches.

5. National University of Rwanda moves up in rankings to 3,300 best university in the world, beating out all internet-providing PhD programs.

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Rebel Group Collector’s Items

Cruising around the communities just outside of Bukavu, Mai Mai flags adorn the roads, donning glitz and glamor on these lucky villages. People definitely wear Mai Mai t-shirts and word on the street is that this rebel group will be distributing bejeweled booty shorts in the near future.

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