September 18, 2020

If you blinked, you missed it: on the morning of August 18th, reports first emerged of a mutiny at a military base near Bamako, the capital of Mali. Yet by midnight, President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta was on national television, submitting a public resignation and dissolving his government - the morning mutiny had revealed itself to be a major coup. As the dust cleared in the early hours of August 19th, five military officers calling themselves the National Committee for the Salvation of the People were claiming authority as the new "interim government". 

As far as coups go, it was relatively bloodless; of the 4 fatalities, all were seemingly accidental, killed by stray bullets from celebrating soldiers shooting into the air. But the real bloodshed may be yet to come. 

First, some context: Presiden...

July 19, 2020

In 2017 Kenya annulled an election. Now Malawi has done the same and it is only the second African country to do so. Following the annulment, in the rerun election, Lazarus Chakwera triumphed against the sitting president of Malawi, Peter Mutharika, in a surprising turn of events.

In May 2019, Malawi’s incumbent Mutharika won the vote. 13 months later in an historic ruling, Malawi’s constitutional court annulled the result, citing “wide-spread, systematic and grave irregularities”. The now infamous fact emerged that TipEx was used in the first election when counting votes, with votes for the opposition literally being painted out of existence. 

Chakwera led a coalition of nine opposition parties to an eventual victory, aided by a change in the electoral system. It is no longer First Past The Post...

May 19, 2020

Countries around the world are implementing lockdown measures to slow the spread of Covid-19. More than a third of the world’s population is under some form of restriction. South Africa went into lockdown on March 26th, and since May 1st have been allowed to leave their homes between 6 am and 9am for exercise. Previously, only essential businesses could remain open, and soldiers and police patrolled and monitored the streets. For a country already grappling with an almost 30 percent unemployment rate and low economic growth, the lockdown has been tough, although temporary funds and economic packages have been implemented. Kenya initiated lockdown procedures a week earlier than South Africa. Their lockdown measures included a night-time curfew, the closure of pubs and restaurants as well as bloc...

April 18, 2020

A future after Covid-19 is a daunting thought. How might we be able to return to normality is an even more daunting question, as the Ithaca that we seek to harbour in again is no longer there. Writing at the beginning of April, what will come to be known as the early days of this history, leaves a lot liable to change. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has recently been moved out of intensive care suffers under the heavy burden of leading the country and fighting through the debilitating effects of this new Coronavirus, which has claimed the lives of thousands of people around the world. Whatever the outcome, Johnson’s is a historic premiership which will be catalogued in great detail in the future. 

The most immediate shock to our livelihoods, lucky we will be to have them back, is the spect...

April 16, 2020

As the BBC’s Emily Maitlis said in her refreshingly candid monologue last week, ‘the [Coronavirus] is not a great leveller, the consequences of which everyone rich and poor suffer the same.’ Whilst she may have been referring to Britain in her now viral broadcast, the same could be said for areas outside the Occidental spheres. All eyes are now on Africa to see if it will be the next place to be hit by the Coronavirus wave.

Whilst Europe has become the epicentre of the epidemic since the

first case was announced in late January this year, now, over three months on and 250 million people in lockdown later, Africa may be the next to follow in its path. The continent now has over 12,000 cases, with 600 deaths and counting. These statistics suggest the continent is on a similar trajectory to Italy an...

April 11, 2020

Do you remember the surprise when an Ukranian actor won his bid for the presidency, beating his experienced incumbent by a landslide? Or when a Brit-pop drummer fought the Conservative Mark Field for Parliament in 2008 London? Or in a most implausible move, a certain florid-faced TV personality becoming the president of the United States? 

Whilst we may be still acclimatising to such unexpected turns of events, this blend of celebrity and politics is a concoction Ugandan citizens, unlike their Western counterparts, have gotten used to. The country’s 2021 election will see current PM Yoweri Musevini pitted against a more contemporary rival - hip-hop star and activist Bobi Wine. Robert Kyagulanyi, who opts to use his Wine moniker on both musical and political stages, is still relatively new to the...

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