World weekly brief. August 19

Updated: Aug 29


Maternity is still very risky for women across Africa, due to the poor public health system. Credit photo: CC

Dying while giving life in Mozambique

Death of the Mozambican actress and Director Hermelinda Simela, while giving birth to a baby girl.

The 38-year-old was known for her role in the 2012 Virgem Margarida, a film that recounts the dramatic true stories of young girls during the decolonisation period, when prostitutes were forcefully arrested and sent to reeducation camps in the countryside in order to turn them into clean and acceptable citizens. Simela won Best Supporting Actress at the Africa Movie Academy Awards.


Dying while giving birth is still common in many regions of Africa. Its Health system is known for not being effective and the civil society across the continent is calling out loud for a policy that prioritises sound management for funds allocated to health.

The Covid 19 pandemic has revealed the abyssal gap that exists between the African health system and the rest of the world.


The Nigerian diaspora is very vocal in calling out to president Buhari who regularly seeks medical treatment in a hospital in London. On Thursday August 12, the authorities announced the closure for 10 days of the High Commission in London in order to abide by Covid rules when two staff of the embassy were tested positive.

However activists said that the non official reason for the closure is due to the embarrassment caused to Buhari, currently in London, because of a 14-days protest in front of the High Commission in Trafalgar Square in London. Omoyele Sowore, a promoter of the hashtag "Buhari must go" tweeted his conviction that “Nigeria has temporarily shut its UK Embassy due to embarrassment by #BuhariMustGo protesters. They, however, claimed it was COVID-19 related”.

Sowore is a vocal critic of the Nigerian president.



Afghanistan

American troops have left the country and the Taliban have seized powers and taken control of the presidency in Kabul On August 15. The rapid control by the religious group over the official Afghan military forces trained by the US plunged the international community in shock.


In a televised message, The US president stood by his decision to withdraw US troops and had threatened the Taliban of "forceful and swift response" should they attack any American citizens.

Chaos and scenes of desperation were seen at the airport of Kabul where hundreds of Afghans flooded the tarmac, climbing and clinging on moving airplanes, in an attempt to flee the country while it was still possible.

The Taliban are known for their strict rules and especially their interpretation of the Islamic law that does not allow women to hold any public role. Girls are forbidden to go to school and women are not authorised to go out if not accompanied by a guardian male. During their rules from 1998 to 2001, music, dance and many cultural activities were forbidden.


Afghans who worked for and with the allied forces to install a democratic government are desperate to escape in fear of retaliation from the Taliban.

Uganda is among the countries that have accepted Afghan refugees. On August 17, authorities in the East African Country announced that upon request from the US, they will host 2000 civilians for a period of three months, before being relocated to the US.



Haiti

The 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti on Saturday 14 August has claimed 2000 deaths so far, while almost 400 people are still missing.

According to authorities, 13.312 houses were destroyed.


To add to the already catastrophic situation, the tropical storm Grace is hampering efforts to distribute humanitarian aid coming from across the world to support the nation “ on its knees”. Haitian Prime Minister, Henry Arial said that his country was physically and mentally broken after this nth catastrophe.

Memories are still fresh on the 2010 earthquake that caused the death of over 300. 000 people according to figures from Haitian authorities.


In 2016, the tropical storm Matthew hit the battered country, destroying entire areas and causing the death of more than 900 people.

Recently, Haiti made headlines on July 7 when its president Juvenel Moise was assassinated in his house by gunmen. He was shot 12 times. 20 people were arrested, among them mercenaries from Colombia and Venezuela. Also arrested and currently in jail was Christian Sanon, a well known political opponent to the late Moise. According to the country's investigators, Sanon hired the mercenaries who killed the head of state in order to pave his way to the presidency..



Zambia

Zambia has a new elected president.

Hakainde Hichilema defeated the ongoing president Edgar Lungu.

Peaceful power transitions in the continent are still unpredictable and the eyes of the world were focused on the development of the elections which took place on August 12.

The 59-year-old Hichilema, called HH by his supporters, is a millionaire businessman. It was his sixth attempt on the road to presidency.

Lungu conceded defeat.


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