Africa

Turmoil has engulfed the impoverished west African country of Guinea since an army special operations unit announced that it had captured president Alpha Condé and dissolved his government on Sunday. The coup leader and head of the country’s special forces, Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya, announced on the state broadcaster on Sunday that the country’s constitution had been suspended and the borders closed. He also announced a 24-hour curfew in all areas except the mining areas.

On 2 August, the Liberia National Police (LNP) stormed the Capitol Hill campus of the University of Liberia (UL). They allegedly fired live ammunition and teargas to disperse hundreds of protesting students, leaving many severely injured. Many more were arrested. 

A decade after the 2010/11 revolution threw out the hated dictator Ben Ali, a wave of anti-government protest has rocked Tunisia. The government has been ousted in a palace coup, but there can be no faith in any bourgeois faction. The masses can trust only in their own strength. A new revolutionary upsurge by workers and youth is necessary to win a real future. 

Over the last few days two of South Africa’s most economically important provinces have been rocked by widespread rioting. Riots in Kwazulu-Natal and Gauteng have been fuelled by anger, desperation and frustration over deepening poverty and the economic impact of COVID-19 restrictions.

The civil war in the northern Ethiopian region of Tigray entered a new phase over the last few weeks when Tigrayan rebels recaptured Mekele, the regional capital, and forced the federal government forces to retreat. The swift defeat of the Ethiopian forces was a stunning reversal in a civil war that has led to the displacement of nearly two million people in the Tigray region, widespread hunger and atrocities on all sides.

Late on 28 June, news started emerging in the South African media that the monarch of eSwatini (formerly known as Swaziland), a landlocked kingdom in Southern Africa, had fled the country due to an ongoing protest movement. King Mswati III has ruled this kingdom, which is bordered by South Africa and Mozambique, with an iron fist since 1986. He is the last absolute monarch in Africa, and the masses have forced him to run.

The 12 June parliamentary election was meant to give the Algerian regime a degree of legitimacy and put an end to two years of revolutionary hirak (movement). Instead, the call for boycott was overwhelmingly observed, despite a widespread clampdown in the run up to the polls.

The so-called “assault” on the Ceuta border (a Spanish enclave on the African side of the Strait of Gibraltar) by thousands of young migrants in the past few days is part of the same migration crisis that has plagued Africa in recent decades. However, the most recent events have been triggered by a new diplomatic dispute between Spain and Morocco, rooted in the economic crisis unleashed by the pandemic and the worsening of the conflict in the Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara.

Over the last few days, dockworkers of the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) in the port city of Durban have refused to handle cargo from an Israeli ship, in protest against Israel's bombardment of the besieged Gaza strip over the last few weeks. Currently, the ship is still lying in the Durban harbour waiting to take on cargo. 

Concerns are rising about the impact that the catastrophic situation in India could have on the COVID–19 pandemic on the African continent. Africa’s vaccine supply relies heavily on India’s Serum Institute, the source of the AstraZeneca vaccines distributed by the global COVAX project which is supposed to provide vaccines to poor countries. India’s export ban on vaccines has severely impacted the predictability of the rollout of vaccination programs and will continue to do so for the coming weeks and perhaps even months.

Huge fires have inflicted massive damage on Cape Town, destroying priceless cultural artefacts and forcing thousands to evacuate. This preventable disaster was a product of the decrepit capitalist system, and has thrown the deep inequality and social rot in South African society into sharp relief.

Over the last few days, a social eruption has shaken the West African country of Senegal. The movement, emerging apparently from nowhere, has quickly gained insurrectionary features with the state completely losing control of big parts of the capital Dakar to the demonstrators.

On Wednesday, 24 February, 21 unions of the South African Federation of Trade Unions went on a general strike against deep and sustained cuts in the living standards of workers, and to fight for a radical change in the country’s economic policies. Frustration runs high amongst the working class over mass retrenchments, wage freezes and brutal austerity measures in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. 

A new, powerful mass movement has erupted in Tunisia. The explosion of anger is due to the economic crisis, which has degraded the lives of Tunisians to a life of poverty and suffering. Exactly 10 years after the 2011 revolution that toppled Ben Ali, none of the problems of the Tunisian masses have been solved.

Just before Christmas, outgoing US Attorney General Bill Barr announced additional charges relating to the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie in 1988. This announcement is clearly politically motivated, and is symbolic of how the entire investigation has been focused on imperialist interests, rather than a genuine desire to bring the perpetrators to justice.

At 3am on Wednesday, November 4, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed appeared on state television to declare a six-month state of emergency in the country’s northern Tigray region. According to Abiy, the Tigray regional security forces had committed ‘treason’ by attacking federal military bases in the regional capital Mekelle as well as Dansha, killing and injuring an unspecified number of soldiers in the process. This announcement set in motion a chain of events which could eventually lead to the breakup of Ethiopia itself with far-reaching consequences for the Horn of Africa.

On Wednesday 18 November, Ugandan opposition politician Bobi Wine was violently arrested once again in the Luuka district. Various reports speak of violence towards him. One vehicle branded with incumbent President Museveni's campaign brutally ploughed into a group of bystanders in Kampala that same afternoon, leaving several people dead – although the number of casualties is still unknown. It is reported that the car was being stoned shortly before the attack. Another presidential candidate, Patrick Amuriat has also been arrested. Other candidates are pausing campaigning until Wine is released.

On 6 October 2020, just five days after the celebration of so-called Nigeria Independence, Nigerians woke up to one of the most unprecedented youth movements in the history of the country. This article attempts to highlight some of the key lessons that can be drawn from this experience.