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A review on how Africans dealt with some 2012 political events

posted 26 Dec 2012, 06:11 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 26 Dec 2012, 06:12 ]

This year saw various news events shape attitudes on the continent and many Africans told us how this had affected their lives. While some nations experienced conflict, others made progress in restoring peace at home. South Sudan celebrated its first independence anniversary as Somalia made strides electing a new government but in Northern Mali Islamist rebels took hold of the region forcing many to flee from their homes.

SHOWS: MOGADISHU SOMALIA (REUTERS) -  This year saw Somalia work to transform its reputation from a country infamous for its chaotic battle scenes between militants and African soldiers to one with prospects of reconstruction.

Somalia made strides by successfully electing a new government led by president,Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in September marking the first vote of its kind since warlords toppled military dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.

Many were encouraged with the improving security and Mogadishu's main beach saw an upsurge in crowds after African Union and Somali forces squeezed out al-shabaab, last year.

"People in the city feel free and secure in their capital and they are free to relax at the beach and gather. Praise be to Allah," said Mogadishu resident Guled Abdikarin.

It's hoped the newly elected leaders will help steer the country towards peace and development. Many Somalis remain happy with the country's progress so far and hope that the country will soon become stable.

In Douentza, central Mali a group of young men were getting ready for an imminent attack on rebels who've occupied northern Mali, since April, with an aim to create an independent state.

The Ganda Izo 'defense group' or sons of the earth, in the Songhai language has over 1,000 combatants in its ranks and is headed and trained by commander Ibrahim Dicko.

"The territory has been occupied for a while now and this seems like an eternity to us. We have waited a long time and we've said to ourselves that it's out of the question to wait any longer. Enough talking, we go fight now," Dicko said

The crisis in Mali has already displaced over 300,000 people. Many families braved the scorching Sahara heat trekking to seek refuge at the Mali-Niger border.

"Everyone has left because we all fear the army. They said they were going to bring planes to kill everyone. We left because we are afraid of the army. That's why we looking for a place to hide," said Imighirame Almoustapha who arrived at the crowded camp in Sinagodar with his family.

Over 6,000 refugees arrived in Sinagodar, 50 kilometres from the Nigerien capitalNiamey, a desert region already hit hard by an ongoing food crisis.

In July, Ghanaian's received sad news on the passing of the country's president, John Atta Mills. Thousands gathered to pay tribute to the fallen leader at State HouseAccraand held a night vigil in his honour.

The vigil was part of a three day funeral arrangement and guests dressed in red and black, the traditional colours of mourning.

"The President has left Ghanaians a good legacy, I hope and trust that the rest of us will carry on, work hard and give it our all and we will carry this great nation forward," saidAccra resident, Dorcas Buston.

Mills was internationally celebrated during his leadership for presiding over a stable democracy in an often volatile region.

After taking office in 2009, he went on to oversee Ghana's emergence as one of Africa's newest oil producers.

Mills' death came months before he was due to stand for re-election in December.

Across the continent in South SudanAfrica's newest nation was getting ready to celebrate its first birthday in July 10th.

Software engineer and entrepreneur, Justin Ding, shared his thoughts on the country's progress as analysts said development expectations were high but nation-building remained slow.

Violent border confrontations with Sudan and a shutdown of oil in January crippled the government's ability to improve life for its citizens.

After seceding from Sudan last year, South Sudan was busy dealing with corruption scandals. The President asked corrupt politicians and businessmen close to the government to return an estimated 4 billion US dollars taken since 2005.

"I wouldn't be able to grade them but I would give them 'poor' in regards with services that are rendered. All this is due to corruption and I think this year's theme should be all about corruption, this independence," Ding said.

On the other side of the globe, as millions of Americans followed the US elections closely in November, miles away in President Obama's ancestral Kenyan village, Kogelo, residents were praying for another win.

His grandmother Sarah Obama also lives here and has become a popular figure since her grandson took office, and now schools and roads are named after her.

Residents like Winnie Okungu have seen a number of improvements in the area since Obama's 2008 election win.

"Before Obama became president we didn't have a tarmacked road or electricity so I think that if he wins a second term this area may be developed further," she said.

The Obama craze four years ago saw babies and drinks named after the president while pop stars sang his praises.

Though Obamamania had died down and the fact that Obama did not visit during his term in office left a lasting impression many, Kenyans still celebrated his re-election.

In neighbouring Uganda, we went to see a play titled "The River and The Mountain". A controversial production about homosexuality, religion and politics that was forbidden byUganda's Media Council but went ahead anyway.

The story revolves around Samson, a gay man whose mother hires pastors and witchdoctors to "cure" her son's homosexuality.

Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, along with more than 30 other countries in Africa.

Joel Okuyo, who plays Samson, said it didn't bother him that the character he played would make him an outcast and even a criminal in his country.

"People will talk, people will definitely say things about me, people will definitely judge me, I have heard that a couple of times already because of the first gay role that I did in a play, a stage play but let them talk, at the end of the day it is up to me... so should I drop my acting carrier because somebody is going to talk and if they want to do anything to harm me or anything, then bring it on," he said.

Popular gay activist, David Kato was beaten to death with a hammer in 2011, a few months after his photo was printed on the cover of a newspaper calling for gays to be executed under a headline that read: "Hang them".

The play wanted to normalize the debate about homosexuality in the country and preach tolerance.

For a better part of the year, Nigeria continued to suffer attacks from suicide bombers targeting security forces and citizens in the north, where members of the Islamic sect, Boko Haram continue to stage attacks targeting government establishments and citizens.

The continued killings motivated 25-year-old Lisa Ezekiel Tomitope, or Mallam T Bass, to write and produce a song condemning the carnage.

"The song came not like every other song, of course I wasn't really thinking of doing something about Boko Haram, but seeing the news, I am seeing everything, seeing people die everyday being shown in the news, some how it just kept coming into my spirit, the song kept flowing somehow, I think it is the fastest song I have ever written," said Mallan T Bass.

The artist dared to tackle a subject most Nigerian musicians would not take on.

Several people in the north including journalists have been summarily executed by the sect for talking bad about it or giving information to security about its movements or members.

Many fans who had watched the video, which is now posted on YouTube were happy with it, however, a few others were fearful of the final outcome.


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