While the #EndSARS movement held against police brutality in Nigeria became world news, some African countries leveraged the window of attention to create awareness on going-ons in other countries across the continent. The hashtags #CongoIsbleeding, #CameroonIsBleeding, #ShutItAllDownNamibia, #ZimbabweanLivesMatter became common. Consequently, we thought it made sense to highlight four African countries that have experienced uprising.
Since the first civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo(DCR) leaving six million people dead, killings and abuse have only heightened by the ongoing exploitation of Congo’s natural resource, Coltan. A dull black metallic ore, used to manufacture tantalum capacitors used for mobile phones, personal computers, automotive electronics, and cameras.
Children work under harsh conditions with no pay or little pay just so big companies can profit while women are raped and used as weapons. There are also cases where children are forced to take up arms.
It is reported that the United State of America, the United Kingdom, France, and other countries provide financial and military aid to Uganda and Rwanda to invade regions filled with Coltan reserves. As they invade, millions of civilians are killed and multinational mining companies are created to extract the Coltan.
Everything you need to know about the genocide in Congo
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— Eve got greedy (@Femimaximumfire) October 14, 2020
Cameroon is currently enmeshed in the Anglophone crisis, known as the Ambazonian war. It takes its roots from the marginalization of twenty percent of the population, Anglophones, by eighty percent left, Francophones. Protests began in October 2016 as a sit-down strike initiated by the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (CACSC), an organization consisting of lawyer and teacher trade unions from the Anglophone regions of Cameroon asking for the common law system to be practiced in Anglophone courts, not the civil law used by the French-speaking magistrate.
This crisis poses a threat to efforts to building national harmony and unification in Cameroon and led to the re-establishment of strong contentions and conducts in support of secession and federalism by Anglophones. This is because at the center of this conflict is the Anglophones’ wish to secede from Cameroon and form an independent state called Ambazonia.
The first attempt to break away from the Francophone government was a peaceful protest march by the Anglophones in September 2017. They would go on to lead another protest in October. However, the government responded to both protests by deploying fully armed soldiers to Anglophone regions. This crisis led to general strikes, internet shutdown, and loss of academic years.
Next, schools were targeted. The death of eight children and a dozen wounded by a group of armed men at the Mother Francisca International Billingual Academy Kumba, in the Southwest Region of Cameroon sparked the tag #CameroonIsBleeding and reinforced the Anglophone problem driven by marginalization and discrimination of the Anglophones in Cameroon.
The protests against gender-based violence started on 7th October after the body of a twenty-two-year-old woman, Shannon Wasserfall, who had been missing since April was found murdered in the port city of Walvis Bay. Hundreds of Namibian activists, students, working youths, and artists took to the streets of Windhoek and other towns demanding the resignation of Namibia’s Minister of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, Doreen Sioka.
A petition was forwarded to the parliament by the Anti- sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) activists demanding political action to address femicide, rape, and sexual abuse. Although the Prime Minister, Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, issued a statement saying that the protesters’ petition would be prioritized, young activists and established gender equality advocacy groups such as Sister Namibia pointed out that the government promulgated two national plans of action against SGBV before, in 2016 and 2018, of which little has been implemented.
On October 10th, protesters were forced to scatter in central Windhoek after security forces threw tear gas and shot rubber bullets at them. Also, twenty-six activists were detained but charges leveled against them were later dropped. The youths motivated by Cardi B’s recent hit single, WAP, jeered at the police force with radical hip-hop moves inspired by the song as they launched the tag, #ShutItAllDownNamibia
Zimbabwean journalist, Hopewell Chin’oo was imprisoned for forty-five days and charged with inciting violence after publishing an investigation on abuse and prison conditions and launching the tag, #ZimbabweLivesMatter modelled after the #BlackLivesMatterMovement as a tool of protest against economic turmoil and human rights abuses in the country. Chin’ono’s arrest attracted huge criticism from western governments and human rights groups.
Zimbabwe is facing an economic crisis, with inflation at the rate of seven hundred and thirty-seven percent accompanied by food and fuel shortages, and a collapsing currency. At least sixty people, including the Booker Prize shortlisted novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga, were also arrested for demonstrating, according to Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa labeled the planned street protests an insurrection meant to topple his administration. In a televised speech, he said dark forces within and outside the country were undermining economic recovery.
Mnangagwa came to power in 2017 after the military-led ousting of former president Robert Mugabe. The former spy chief promised political and economic reform in a bid to attract international investment but has been accused of clamping down on civil liberties, arresting opposition leaders, activists, and journalists.
The mothertag, #AfricaIsBleeding, puts the spotlight on issues confronting African nations ranging from violation of human rights, police brutality to bad governance.