– NEWS –
Angola decriminalizes same-sex relationships: Parliamentarians in the Southern African nation voted on Wednesday to decriminalize all same-sex conduct, and established a new penal code which will prohibit discrimination. Individuals who refuse people employment or services because of their sexual orientation could spend up to two years in jail under the new law. Angola’s parliament adopted a new penal code for the first time since it gained independence from Portugal in 1975, paving the way for lawmakers to remove the provision characterizing same-sex relationships as “vices against nature”. Colonial-era laws outlawing same-sex conduct give tacit state support to discrimination against gender and sexual minorities, contributing to a climate of impunity. Angola joins the growing but few numbers of African countries that have decriminalized same-sex relationships.
news.un.org, cnn.com, hrw.org
German president in Ethiopia: During a four-day trip, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will hold bilateral meetings with Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Sahle-Work Zewde, as well as meet with civil society representatives, to gather firsthand information about the country’s ongoing reform process. Steinmeier has praised reforms that have taken place under Ahmed. In Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, Steinmeier participated in signing ceremonies with Volkswagen, as the German automaker announced an assembly plant and related investments in the East African nation. On Wednesday, Steinmeier will meet with Moussa Faki Mahamat, the chairperson of the African Union, which is headquartered in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
EU and AU want to be Congo’s partner: The European Union and the African Union said on Tuesday they had taken note of the decision by the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Constitutional Court to back disputed president-elect Felix Tshisekedi, signaling they would work with him. The EU and the AU said they discussed the outcome of the election, noting the court’s support for Tshisekedi. Officials at a news conference did not explicitly say in public that they recognized him as the winner and declined to congratulate him, however. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the challenge of the new president was a large one on many issues. This required that the president must be a unifying force, Mogherini told a news conference, saying the EU would continue to work closely with Congo.
Nigerian leader suspends top judge: Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari triggered a political crisis just three weeks before a general election by suspending the nation’s top judge. The move has been condemned by opposition leaders and the legal community, while the US and EU said it could undermine the vote on February 16th. Buhari’s announcement that he had appointed the Supreme Court’s second-ranking judge, Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, in an acting capacity to replace Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen was roundly criticized by the Senate president and the Nigerian Bar Association. The main opposition People’s Democratic Party said it was an act of dictatorship. Buhari has said the criticism he has received from the EU, UK and the US over the suspension of the chief justice was based on rash and uninformed opinion. Onnoghen is facing charges over allegedly failing to declare his personal assets before taking office.
Museum of Black Civilizations opens in Senegal: The Museum of Black Civilizations in Senegal opened this month amid a global conversation about the ownership and legacy of African art. The museum, with its focus on Africa and the diaspora, is decades in the making. The idea was conceived when Senegal’s first president, internationally acclaimed poet Leopold Sedar Senghor, hosted the World Black Festival of Arts in 1966. At the museum’s vibrant opening, sculptors from Los Angeles, singers from Cameroon and professors from Europe and the Americas came to celebrate. Senegalese President Macky Sall called it an historic moment. There are four sections in the inaugural exhibition: The Cradle of Humanity, Continental African Civilizations, Globalization of Africa, and Africa Now.
UN finds 50 mass graves in the Congo africanews.com
Five dead after flooding in Algeria zeit.de
New terminal at Casablanca airport in Morocco maghreb-post.de
Bridge connecting Gambia and Senegal opens africanews.com
– BACKGROUND –
“Afrotopoia” calls for ways out of neocolonialism: In his book “Afrotopia”, Senegalese economist Felwine Sarr examines the causes of the continual crisis facing many African countries after they were released from colonialism some 50 years ago. He describes how Africa is actually always described from the outside as dying or in decline. His book is one of the most widely respected works in the post-colonial debate of recent years. Sarr concludes that the continual crisis in African countries is cementing the negative prejudices of a dark, catastrophic Africa that does not know how to help itself. He wants to enlighten Europeans, but Africans as well.
Africa’s male power structures: The theater festival “Lessingtage” in the German city of Hamburg is focused on Africa’s cultural heritage this year. The question of equal rights between men and women is a central one. 40 years ago, during a visit from the Nigerian Fela Anikulapo Kuti, who to this day is celebrated as an icon of black emancipation, caused an uproar. He had said that the women he traveled with had to be silent during press conferences, a comment which drew much criticism. Kuti rejected the criticism, saying no white person should tell him how to live his culture. Michael Laages concludes that not much has changed at the “Lessingtage” when it comes to equal rights.
Africa’s fear of dual citizenships: It is not possible to have two nationalities in Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Ethiopia. Experts believe that citizens with a second nationality have the potential to become a threat to authoritarian leaders – a possibility from which many African countries seek to protect themselves. Tanzanian political analyst Gwandumi Mwakatobe thinks that African leaders are consciously benefiting from the ignorance and misinformation of their citizens. People with dual citizenship living abroad might be able to get a different view on political issues and therefore be able to challenge the presidents of their countries, for example in the area of human rights.
– NUMBER –
Kenya’s earnings from tourism jumped by almost a third in 2018 from the previous year, after the number of visitors rose by 37 percent.
– QUOTE –
“The way that Ethiopia is progressing deserves our support. The Ethiopian leadership must assess for themselves whether this is support we can give, for example, domestically in Ethiopia, to pacify the situation at the Horn of Africa or help with the relations with Eritrea.”
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier wants to become more involved in the peace process between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
– AT LAST –
Sailing on flip flops: A traditional sailing boat made entirely of trash and flip-flops has set off on an expedition along the Kenyan coast to raise awareness about the harmful effects of plastic waste. On Sunday, the one-of-a-kind boat set off from the Kenyan coastal town of Watamu for the fourth leg of a 310-mile expedition that began on Lamu island on Thursday and is set to finish in Zanzibar on February 6th. Everyone involved in the project was a volunteer, with money coming from their own pockets, crowdfunding and small donations, before the United Nations Environment Program UNEP got involved and funded the expedition.