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Should african countries get rid of colonial symbols? [Culture TMC]

The presence of colonial symbols in Africa is still a sensitive subject. The recent controversy about the statue of former colonial leader Louis Faidherbe in Senegal is a good example.

A few weeks ago, heavy rains in the city of Saint Louis in Senegal caused some damages, including the fall of a statue. The story could have stopped there, but it didn’t.

Instead, it sparked a controversy because it is not just any statue. It’s the statue of a former colonial leader: Louis Faidherbe (French governor of Senegal in the 1800s).

When the statue fell, many Senegalese people saw a positive sign and said that it should be replaced with a monument paying tribute to a local historical figure.

Despite protests, the Ministry of Culture of Senegal reinstalled the statue a few days ago claiming that the city of Saint-Louis was a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the statue was thus part of Senegal’s heritage.

And this story shows that the presence of colonial-era symbols is still a sensitive subject. And these symbols are scattered across the continent, it’s not just statues.
The names of countries and cities for example. Some countries have decided to change their names inherited from colonization. This is the case, for example, with Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe or cities such as Leopoldville, named after the King of the Belgians, who became Kinshasa.

In English-speaking countries there are relics of British colonialism in the courts. With funny blond wigs (symbol of the English legal system) still worn today by judges and lawyers in countries like Kenya, Zimbabwe or Nigeria.

So in this rather passionate debate, there are those who think that some relics of colonization are offensive and must be removed. And on the other side, there are those who feel that this colonial history, however painful it may be, can not be erased.

It is the opinion of historian Doulaye Konaté, president of the association of African historians. According to him, a solution could be to give more acknowledgment to national historical figures, but above all to better teach colonial history.

And this debate on colonial or slavery symbols does not affect only Africa. Western countries are also concerned.

Remember a few months ago in Charlottesville in the United States there were demonstrations of white supremacists. They were protesting against the city’s decision to withdraw the statue of General Lee, a warlord who was in the camp of the slave-owners during the American Civil War (from 1861 and 1865 the northern states of the United States who wanted to abolish slavery fought against the southern states that wanted to maintain it).

Sethembile Msezane is a South African artist. Her country is full of monuments paying tribute to personalities that have played a role in creating and maintaining apartheid. And this artist had had enough to find these symbols in her daily life. She wanted to protest in her own way by posing as a living statue. She aimed to create a debate on all these apartheid monuments in public places in South Africa.

Ethiopia govt reviewing speaker’s quit request, parliament opens

The Ethiopian parliament on Monday (October 9) opened for a new session which marks the third year of the fifth parliament.

The joint session of the House of People’s Representatives (HPR) and House of Federation (HoF) was opened with a remark from President Mulatu Teshome.

His opening remarks as reported by the state-affiliated FANA broadcasting corporate concentrated on economic strides chalked by the East African country. He also presented government’s plan for the 2017/2018 Ethiopian fiscal year.

The government, meanwhile, confirmed a resignation request by Abadula Gemeda, Speaker of the House of People’s Representatives (HPR).

Minister of Information, Dr Negeri Lencho, said Abadula’s request submitted to the Prime Minister and his organization, the Oromo People Democratic Organization (OPDO), was under review.

Reports of his resignation started last Saturday when local media portal, Addis Standard, quoted top government officials as confirming the move.

In a televised address barely 24-hours later, Abadula told local media networks that he had requested to resign from his post, but that he will make known the reason for his resignation in the future.

At the time of the initial reports, the media said he had opted to step down over the internal security challenges and its handling by the government. The Oromia – Somali crisis led to deaths and massive displacements. Gemeda, a former Defence Minister is also a former Oromia regional state president.

Top Anglophone lawyer enters race to unseat Cameroon’s Biya

A prominent Cameroonian lawyer, Akere Tabeng Muna, has announced his presidential bid. He made the announcement via a video address on Sunday.

Muna, 65, who hails from the Anglophone region, in the address and a statement cited by AFP said it was time for the Central African country to reset its direction hence his decision to enter the race.

“We have to walk to a new Republic”, which will be “based on good governance” and “the rule of law,” he asserted, saying that there would be no “tolerance for corruption, tribalism, nepotism and favoritism,” with him in charge.

Together Towards a New Republic.
Full announcement here
👉https://t.co/uNOa1Rrkcz👈https://t.co/3PhwU7vCyB#Akere2018 #Cameroon #237NOW pic.twitter.com/WRgJ0Fnzu5— Akere Muna (@AkereMuna) October 8, 2017

Aside having served as president of the country’s bar association, he is also an anti-corruption crusader who once served as Vice President of the NGO Transparency International. His work with Transparency has earned him strong international credentials.

Cameroon is due to go to the polls in 2018 and incumbent Paul Biya is expected to contest to extend his over three decades in charge. John Fru Ndi, the main opposition leader who lost the 2011 race to Biya, has also yet to confirm his participation.

Muna’s announcement comes at a time that Cameroon’s anglophone areas are facing a serious social and political crisis since November 2016. The two regions – North West and South West – are pushing for independence under the Ambazonia republic.

Their attempted symbolic independence declaration on October 1, 2017 was met with heavy security crackdown which led to official deaths of eight people. Rights group, Amnesty International, puts the casualty figure at 17. Scores were reported injured and mass arrests made.

The United Nations, United States, United Kingdom and other religious groups have all called for the need to open dialogue between the government and leaders of the restive region. President Biya has also condemned the violence and called for dialogue.

[Photos] Kenya protesters clash with police at anti-IEBC march

Supporters of Kenya’s main opposition, National Super Alliance (NASA) clashed with police on Monday as they embarked on a protest to the main offices of the elections body.

NASA, led by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, has resorted to weekly protests against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in their continued push for some of its officials to be fired.

Local media portals are reporting injuries to protesters as police fired tear gas and in some cases live bullets. The offices of the IEBC remains under high security presence.

A video also showed how a car rammed into protesters injuring a number of them.

RAW: Several people injured as vehicle runs over anti -IEBC protesters #NTVToday pic.twitter.com/sgaWgZL4zU— NTV Kenya (@ntvkenya) October 9, 2017

NASA secured a September 1 annulment of presidential elections held in August. The Supreme Court asked the IEBC to conduct a rerun which it has slated October 26 to undertake.

NASA, however, insists that it would only participate if necessary electoral reforms are undertaken – part of which reforms should include firing of some IEBC officers.

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