Ep5: War in Ethiopia, Uganda unrest, Western Sahara fighting, Kenya constitution changes, Burkina Faso and Ghana elections
Africa Calling podcast takes a look at the top stories for the week from the African continent, including reports from the field and analysis with regional experts. We’re talking about the war in Ethiopia and fighting in the disputed Western Sahara, how insecurity is affecting Burkina Faso's elections, as well as what possible changes to the constitution mean for Kenya. Our correspondent in Accra, Ghana gives a preview of the upcoming presidential polls next month.
The death toll is rising following unrest on the streets of Kampala and other towns. Supporters of popular opposition presidential candidate Bobi Wine reacted to news of his arrest, taking to the streets, and Ugandan security forces cracked down—resulting in at least 27 deaths, but police say the number could rise.
Military operations continue in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared war. Hundreds have reportedly been killed - there have been reports of bombing and airstrikes, as well as attacks against neighbouring Eritrea. @Daniel_Finnan has been following this story for Africa Calling, looking at the consequences of this on the Tigrayan people. He spoke to writer and activist Befeqadu Hailu (@befeqe), and political analyst Yohannes Woldemariam.
Voters go to the polls on Sunday to pick their next president and MPs, a vote that has been hampered by ongoing violence from attacks linked to hardline Islamists. The issue of insecurity is on the minds of voters throughout the country, and a key campaign point with the 13 presidential candidates. The UN estimates there are one million displaced people throughout the country due to violence by jihadists and military. RFI French Africa service reporter @CarineFrenk went to Kaya, 100km from Ouagadougou, the capital, to find out if displaced people can vote.
Reports of gunfire in the disputed Western Sahara over the past week are the result of a military operation by Morocco to reopen a highway at the Guerguerat border with Western Sahara and Mauritania, in the south. In reaction, the Polisario Front, who say Morocco have no claim over the territory, declared war again on Morocco, breaking a 29-year UN-brokered ceasefire. Africa Calling spoke to Mohamed Mayara (@WeldMayara), an activist and reporter in El Aaioun, Western Sahara, to tell us about what is happening on the ground.
The government has tabled a set of proposals called the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) to help heal the divisions in Kenya left over from the last elections. But not everyone is happy about this, says RFI Kiswahili’s editor Emmanuel Makundi (@emmamakundi) in Nairobi. The BBI includes an increase in the number of high-ranking officials in government, re-adding positions such as prime minister, with two deputies, and appointing cabinet ministers from members of the National Assembly—posts that some say would just add more top-ranking positions to an already bloated government.
Although election observers are on the ground in Ghana for the upcoming presidential elections on 7 December, campaigning came to a halt after news that former two-time Ghanaian president Jerry Rawlings had died. Accra correspondent Zubaida Mabuno Ismail (@Dereal_Zami) explains how his death looms large over the upcoming polls.
And on a musical note, @AlisonSaraHird picks our song this week. She spoke with veteran Ghanaian High Life musician Pat Thomas in 2019. He made a comeback to the vibrant Accra music scene with a new band, the Kwashibu Area Band, named after a neighbourhood of Accra, the capital. The song “Onfa Nkozi Nchwee” warns people about the dangers of being too arrogant— perhaps something to avoid if you want people to vote for you!
Follow us on Twitter: @Africa__Calling
This episode was mixed by Thibault Baduel and Cécile Pompeani.
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