Meet 15 of Africa’s Most Brilliant Young Scientists.

Meet 15 of Africa’s Most Brilliant Young Scientists.




The first global gathering of African scientists, the “Next Einstein Forum”, is taking place in Dakar, Senegal. With over 1,000 people from more than 100 countries in attendance, it is shaping up to be the most significant global discussion yet in harnessing Africa’s scientific talent.

Among the delegates is a small group of 15 young African “fellows” who were selected for the impact of their work and to showcase some of the incredible research that Africa’s scientists and technologists are doing.

Their biographies, to the lay-man, look like something akin to the work of a superhero. Their resumes include; research on the ability to predict biological outbreaks that are bound to happen, the use of green chemistry to solve fresh water issues, the creation of bioreactors that could save a city’s water supply, the causes of disease and immunity and predicting global behaviour through IT systems.

Others are Challenging Einstein’s theories on quantum properties, developing better therapeutic and diagnostic tools to fight Tuberculosis and other HIV-related opportunistic infections and intelligent applications that can bridge humans and large amounts of data.

But just who are they? Meet these incredibly talented scientists:

Noble Banadda, Uganda, Makerere University, Bio-processing engineering

Noble’s area of research is bioprocessing engineering, specifically mathematic modelling of biological systems and interactions.

The ability to predict what is bound to happen based on current biological observations before it happens is very important for prevention and control especially in countries that lack the resources to contain outbreaks. Noble led a team that has pioneered the first ever farmer-based low cost multiple purpose vehicle in Uganda and in 2015 he was honoured as a young scientist at the World Economic Forum in Dalian, China.

In waste management research, Noble is ranked 35th globally and 2nd in Africa according to Google Scholar rankings

Ghada Bassioni, Egypt, Ain Shams University

In terms of research, Ghada has been interested in a variety of sub topics within chemistry and chemistry related subjects. In her undergraduate, she dabbled in inorganic chemistry, then went into organometallic chemistry during her masters only to end up in physical chemistry and interfacial science phenomena in her postdoctoral studies in the field of construction materials and petroleum chemistry. Ghada plans to spearhead initiatives around chemical safety and the use of green chemistry. She hopes to use interdisciplinary approaches to solve societal challenges like fresh water supply.

Sherien Elagroudy, Egypt, Environmental Engineering, Ain Shams University

Shrien is an Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering at Ain Shams University in Egypt and the founding director of the first Solid Waste Management Center of Excellence in the country. For her PhD studies at Ryerson University, Sherien modelled the settlement of bioreactor landfills and then built a field-scale prototype of that novel landfill in Cairo. Her new bioreactor stopped methane emissions and the leaching of wastewater into Cairo’s water supply. Sherien is currently engaged in several research grants of more than $3.5 million in the fields of solid waste management, biochemical waste treatment technologies and waste to energy.

Mouhamed Moustapha Fall, Senegal, Mathematics, African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS)

In terms of research, Moustapha started in applied mathematics namely fluid mechanics and solid mechanics. Eventually he moved into pure mathematics namely geometric analysis which links partial differential equations and differential geometry. Moustapha believes mathematics can help you understand your surroundings therefore allowing problem solving of important challenges with less funding; a tool developing countries should leverage. Moustapha hopes to understand the interplay between non local geometry and relativistic quantum mechanisms (RQM).

Joseph Ben Geloun, Senegal, Mathematical Physics/Quantum Properties, Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics, Albert Einstein Institute

Joseph’s area of research is mathematical physics in particular quantum properties of matter. Today, there is a large consensus among physicists, that at very small distances, much smaller than the parts of an atom, the geometry of our spacetime are no longer in the form observed around us. Thus, this predicts that Albert Einstein’s laws fail at this very tiny scale. Building models consistent with this quantum understanding using mathematical scenarios is the focus of Joseph’s research. For his “pioneering work on Renormalisation on Tensor Field Theory and the discovery of their generic asymptotic freedom”, he was awarded a Young Scientist Prize in Mathematical Physics 2015-2017 by the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (Switzerland).

Evelyn Gitau, Kenya, Cellular Immunology, African Academy of Sciences

Evelyn’s studies focused on cellular immunology, investigating the changes in protein levels as markers of severe disease where she employed proteomic tools to identify protein differences in plasma and cerebrospinal fluid of children with cerebral malaria compared to children presenting with other encephalopathies (a disease in which the functioning of the brain is affected by some agent or condition). It is estimated that around 40-50% of infectious diseases remain undiagnosed in sub-Saharan hospitals mainly due to limitations of classical techniques such as microbiological culture of pathogens from patient samples, as well as the high cost of more sensitive molecular based techniques. This has a devastating impact on childhood survival, but also is a contributory factor to the over prescription of antibiotics with severe long-term consequences for the health of the population as a whole. Knowing the exact cause of disease may potentially improve decisions on therapy, reduce mortality and sequelae and lead to specific protective therapies. To do this, Evelyn believes that Africa needs to embrace new technologies to improve on how common diseases are diagnosed. With this in mind, Evelyn has played a key role in helping establish the technical platform necessary to undertake internationally competitive research on disease pathogenesis and immunity, in Kilifi Kenya.

Assane Gueye, Senegal, Cyber Security, University of Maryland

Assane’s current research focuses on investigating a science-based approach to the security and the performance of large-scale information and communications systems. His aim is to establish theories, develop models, and propose algorithms that can be used to design and operate information and communication systems for which (a) global behaviour can be predicted, (b) the risks of catastrophic events can be managed and mitigated, and (c) the effectiveness of control actions can be measured. Assane also dreams of implementing the Enabling African Universities (EAU) project. The goal of EAU is to “develop a collaborative platform that enables knowledge exchange and technology transfer between African researchers and researchers across the world.”

Mohlopheni Jackson Marakalala, South Africa, Infectious Diseases, Tuberculosis Research, University of Cape Town & Harvard School of Public Health

Jackson’s research is focused on the development of better therapeutic and diagnostic tools to fight Tuberculosis and other HIV-related opportunistic infections. He has published in leading peer-reviewed journals and has presented his work at international conferences. In 2014, Jackson was part of the first-ever Commonwealth Science Conference that was aimed at using science to tackle problems in Commonwealth countries. He was honoured as a Young Scientist at the 2015 World Economic Forum New Champions Meeting in China. He was also invited to the 2015 Commonwealth Day reception in London where he met Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh.

Wilfred Ndifon, Cameroon, Biological Dynamics, African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS)

The central focus of Wilfred’s research is the immune system – an extremely complex system of cells, tissues, and organs that protects us against diseases. Based on its job description, the immune system is mostly beneficial, but it sometimes malfunctions and becomes detrimental. Understanding the mechanisms that govern the functioning of the immune system is key to enhancing its ability to protect us against diseases (e.g. by designing vaccines), and bringing it back in line when it malfunctions. His research seeks to advance this understanding by applying mathematical thinking to the design of experiments that probe specific aspects of the immune system, and also to the interpretation of data. Applications being pursued include the design of an improved vaccine for malaria, and the development of technologies for predicting immunological predisposition to specific diseases so that they can be prevented before symptoms appear.

Axel Ngonga, Cameroon, Semnatic Web Technologies/Big Data, AKSW, University of Leipzig

Axel’s main area of research is semantic web technologies, which aim to facilitate the development of intelligent data driven approaches to support humans as they perform complex tasks as diverse as learning new subjects, analysing large volumes of data or even surgery. His vision is to develop intelligent applications that will bridge humans and large amounts of data. The resulting techniques support the development of intuitive information systems for bio medicine, agriculture and education that can provide contextually relevant information at low cost, thus fostering an equal opportunity data landscape for Africa.

Hallowed Olaoluwa, Nigeria, Mathematical Physics, Harvard University & University of Lagos

Hallowed is the youngest person to be awarded a PhD in Mathematics in Africa. His research focuses on Functional Analysis, with a focus on Fixed Point Theory which has its applications in optimisation of allocations of resources such as network, power, workforce and Government Budget. Comprehensive optimisation schemes have tremendous impact on transportation network (traffic control, construction of routes to decongest heavy traffic), services offered by hospitals, industrial productivity and national budgets taking into account various economic, financial and social constraints.

By Musah Idriss
source

Meet Caroline, the 24 year old CEO of Potters International College. Read Full Story

Meet Caroline, the 24 year old CEO of Potters International College. Read Full Story




At age 19, shy, passionate and friendly Caroline Esinam Adzogble knew what the future held for her was to become an expert in education and technology.

In our part of the world, certain grounds are seen as unbreakable for a woman but for the now 24-year-old CEO of Potters International College, it is time to prove the world wrong and changing things around her.

Due to this, while awaiting her secondary school examination certificate; she enrolled at IPMC to study database technology, hardware and networking programme.

How the Journey Started
“I always knew I wanted to own a school where knowledge could be imparted into people. I started school business since I was 19.

“While pursuing those courses my love grew for the IT industry so I got home one day from school and told my dad I was going to start an IT school and call it AITC (Ashley Hills IT Center) at Tema,” she said.

Her father had a few computers at home and an abandoned office space. She asked him to give them to her which he gladly did. After using it and running AITC for some time, she wanted more hence her decision to incorporate other programmes.

“In 2014 I wanted to include other programmes so I decided to change AITC into a full time college and added other programmes so then came the name Potters International College.”

How was growing up for Caroline
The young CEO describes herself growing up as a very inquisitive person, who wanted to know everything and have answers to everything so on anyday, anytime, would prefer books to toys or sweets.

She never had the typical senior high school experience because her dad always wanted her close to home. She completed senior high school at Ideal College and continued with her college studies with Edinburgh Business School which happens to be an online college so she had the flexibility to work and school at the same time.

Why the desire to open a school
“I believe knowledge is power and is very important in our day to day lives. Education is a right to people and not a privilege and that everyone, one way or the other has to educate him/herself. I also believed technology is the answer to everything. It runs our world.”

Difficulties
Age has been one of her hindering blocks because people tend to see her as crazy. It’s normally rare to have a girl at her age wanting to do things like that.

“A few don’t take me seriously because of my age. I also sometimes get surrounded by opportunists because they think at my age I don’t have a fair ground as to how I manage my finances and resources.”

Just like any other female, Caroline has been through bad breakups, backstabbing from friends and all the normal things girls go through but she draws strength from the fact that she is living her dreams and trying to make a change in the Education and Technology industry.

Caroline loves writing, reading and singing. She used to be the worship leader and solo singer at her church. On a typical day she will be found spending time with her family.

For the youngsters coming Caroline said; “I want them to know that there is beauty in independence. And independence doesn’t come cheap. They need to work very hard for it. They shouldn’t place their happiness into anyone’s hand.”

credit – starrfmonline.com

By Musah Idriss

Mauritian Prime Minister to Hand over Power to His Son. Read Full Story

Mauritian Prime Minister to Hand over Power to His Son. Read Full Story




Mauritian Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth has announced his intentions to hand over power to his son Pravind Jugnauth, who is currently serving as the country’s Minister of Finance.

In a public address aired on the state television on Saturday, the 86-year-old Prime Minister revealed his plan to step down on 23 January saying that the country needs a younger and more dynamic leader, according to the Reuters.

“The time has come for the country to have a young leadership that represents the future. I ask the population to support Pravind Jugnauth as it did for me,”.

The Prime Minister however insisted that he will continue serving in government in another unspecified capacity.

Banana Republic

Mauritian opposition leaders led by former Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam have criticized the move saying the royal family wants to turn the island nation into a banana republic.

However, there is nothing the opposition can do to stop Mr. Jugnauth from appointing his son since the ruling coalition, Lepep, enjoys a majority in parliament.

A seasoned politician, Mr. Jugnauth was appointed Prime Minister in December 2014 after Lepep, a coalition of three main political parties, won a majority of the seats in parliament.

Even though one of the three coalition parties has since quit the alliance following a parliamentary row in December last year, the remaining two parties still have a lot of influence in the house.

The younger Jugnauth, 55, is the head of the Militant Socialist Movement, one of the parties that form the ruling coalition.

Political System in Mauritius

Mauritius, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, practices a parliamentary system of government, whereby power is shared among three branches of government, namely; the Executive, Legislature, and Judiciary.

Being a British colony, Mauritius still operates on the Westminster System of government with the unicameral house of parliament being the official National Assembly.

The National Assembly is supreme and is responsible for electing the President and the Prime Minister.

While the President of Mauritius must be voted by a single majority vote in parliament, the constitution allows the Member of Parliament who holds a majority of seats in the house to be the automatic Prime Minister.

The President is the Head of State while the Prime Minister is the Head of Government with full executive powers. The premier is usually assisted by a council of ministers.

BY FREDRICK NGUGI
Source

Former Somali Refugee Becomes Minister of Immigration in Canada. Read His Story

Former Somali Refugee Becomes Minister of Immigration in Canada. Read His Story




A former Somali refugee is now the new Minister of Immigration in Canada following his appointment in the latest cabinet reshuffle by the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Ahmed Hussen, who arrived in Canada in 1993 as a teenage refugee, will now be in charge of the important and often controversial portfolio, determining who is allowed to enter Canada.

The appointment of 40-year-old Hussen to the Canadian cabinet comes at a time when Somali migrants around the world are facing serious rebuff, with some countries like the U.S. accusing them of furthering terrorist ideologies.

Those who know him say he is unquestionably qualified to run the ministry since he will be able to draw from his personal experience as a child refugee fleeing war in Somalia.

“I am a Canadian. Somali is my heritage and I’m proud of my heritage but I have a lot to contribute to Canada. And I’m a mainstream guy. I’m not limited by my community,” Hussen was quoted by the Africa Review.

Robust Human Rights Advocate

Hussen’s colleagues tag him as someone who is not afraid to talk openly about the problems that the Somali community faces in Canada.

Mahamad Accord, his longtime friend, told Africa Review that Hussen is gifted with the ability to address a complex problem diplomatically without putting his community at the risk of being stigmatized.

His diplomatic flair enabled him to fight for the interests of his community in Regent Park, a multi-ethnic public housing complex in downtown Toronto, where he lived with one of his brothers.

Hussen, a social activist and lawyer, was able to convince the Canadian government to upgrade the crime-ridden neighborhood without jeopardizing the accommodation of refugee tenants.

“He was someone who spoke with a calmness and an informed knowledge and a maturity that defied his circumstances, both as someone who was young and someone who had taken this awesomely courageous step of leaving Africa for Canada,” former representative of Ontario, George Smitherman, said.

Speaking in the House of Commons last April, Hussen passionately spoke about the current problem of refugees drowning in the Mediterranean Sea saying that asylum seekers are not criminals.

“They are human beings in need of protection and assistance and deserving of our respect,” Hussen said.

Tough Job Ahead

With his new role, Mr. Hussen is faced with numerous challenges, including the hundreds of refugees from Somalia and other African countries moving to Canada.

His predecessor John McCallum recently introduced a contentious law that calls for the use of a lottery system to randomly choose 10,000 migrants seeking to enter Canada. Critics of this law say family reunification shouldn’t depend on luck of the draw.

Hussen will also have to deal with the recent decision by a section of liberals to reduce Canada’s intake of Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

Prior to his appointment, Hussen was serving as an Member of Parliament in the House of Commons representing York South-Weston.

BY FREDRICK NGUGI

Ex-President Yahya Jammeh Flees Gambia And Goes On Exile.

Ex-President Yahya Jammeh Flees Gambia And Goes On Exile.




Gambia's former leader Yahya Jammeh on Saturday flew into exile in Equatorial Guinea after stepping down under pressure from West African nations to accept that he lost a December election to President Adama Barrow, mediators said. His exit ends rising tension as thousands of troops from Senegal and Nigeria who entered the tiny country on Thursday were poised to swoop on the capital Banjul. It also paves the way for the return home of Barrow, who was sworn in as leader at the Gambian embassy in Senegal on Thursday. Jammeh took power in a coup in 1994, and his government is accused of torturing and killing perceived opponents. There were few celebrations in Banjul as news of his departure spread, but some people said they felt relief after years of fear. "The rule of fear has been banished from Gambia for good," Barrow told a crowd at a Dakar hotel on Friday, once it became clear a deal had been struck for Jammeh to relinquish power.

A Post-Colonial Mentality Persists in Africa. Read Full Story

A Post-Colonial Mentality Persists in Africa. Read Full Story




After enduring many years of servitude and domination by their colonizers, Africans decided to take up arms and reclaim their freedom and possessions. The battle was tough and many people paid the ultimate price, but it was eventually won.

Throughout the colonial era, Africans longed for a return to their original ways of life, free of subjugation and abuse. So when freedom finally came, there was a sense of optimism as Africans hoped to shape their own path to the future.

But decades after independence, questions still abound as to whether Africans were indeed decolonized, since a sincere look at modern African society reveals the existence of numerous colonial legacies that continue to dictate life across the continent.

While it would be naïve to imagine that Africans could have gone back to many of their original traditions after independence, it’s sickening to see many of them behaving like they are still under colonial rule. The fact that many Africans continue to choose Western cultures and doctrines over their own means they still view themselves as inferior and inadequate.

Here are just some examples of the enduring post-colonial mentality in Africa.

During the colonial era, Africans were made to perceive their skin tone as inferior, and in the process, many ended up hating themselves while others suffered from a serious race-based identity crisis.

Sadly, many Blacks still suffer from an inferiority complex, and this is illustrated by the rising cases of skin bleaching and plastic surgeries in many African countries.

In Ghana, dangerous skin bleaching products — most of which are known to cause cancer and other serious physical deformities — have flooded the market due to the desire to look White.

This phenomenon has forced Ghanaian authorities to ban the importation of skin-lightening products in the country.

Although East Africans do not dress in cow hides and banana leaves anymore, it’s unfortunate that many are no longer proud of their African attire, which was once a gateway to our true identity. Instead, many Africans now prefer the latest fancy fashion trends from abroad.

It has gotten to a point where Africans are now buying the so-called “African attires” imported from overseas over the locally made ones, which are high-quality and authentic.

This mindset has also led African women to spend humongous sums of money on fake human hair extensions from China and India.

Although it’s every woman’s prerogative to wear the kind of hair she likes, some women wear these extensions to feel complete and look like their White counterparts, which is definitely a demonstration of an inferiority complex.

The colonial mentality has forced many Africans to ditch their indigenous foods, which have been scientifically proven to be healthier, and go for foreign foods simply because they make them look posh.

Some African parents have also resorted to giving their children foreign names just because they are considered to be cool. There’s also a certain perception of opulence that is given to native Africans with foreign names.

While Africans have to interact with the rest of the world in this era of globalization, it is foolish for anyone to consider themselves inferior because of their skin color or shape of their nose. It is also stupid for any African to drop their culture and indigenous identity simply because the West says it’s not ideal.

Nigerian Club Owner Arrested for Leading Women on a Dog Leash. Read Full Story

Nigerian Club Owner Arrested for Leading Women on a Dog Leash. Read Full Story




A Nigerian nightclub owner is in custody and has sparked widespread outrage for repeatedly appearing in public leading two women by a dog leash. Buzz Nigeria reports that Mike Nwogu, popularly known as “Pretty Mike,” has incurred the wrath of many Nigerians for turning up at events with an entourage of young ladies led before him on a dog leash.

The 30-year-old co-owner of Club Uno, an upscale night club in Lagos, first caused a stir on social media late last year when he attended an event with two girls on a dog leash. The girls were wearing elaborate costumes, which included party masks.

The pictures soon surfaced online and Nigerians were not immediately sure what to make of it. Was it another publicity stunt to get the media into overdrive?

However, Pretty Mike, in an apparent disregard for moral decorum, has staged even more daring public appearances with the girls led from a leash in 2017.

Popular Nigerian entertainment blogger Linda Ikeji was one of the first people to slam Pretty Mike. In n a blog post, she wrote, “This man pays these girls peanuts just so he can put them on a leash and walk the around like a dog when he goes to events. Silly little man!”

She was followed in tow by a number of local celebrities, including Nollywood actress Georgina Onuoha who took to her social media page to lament.

“When did our society become numb to everything morally wrong and inexcusable? When did we as a nation and people descend to this level?

If there were to be a White man today on the streets of Lagos tying two Black girls or boys to a leash, I bet we [would] all cry foul and call for his execution, so why do we think this is ok? Because he is a Black man?”

The Nigerian social media community took it up from there, with users weighing in on the issue on Twitter and Facebook. Outraged commenters likened Pretty Mike to a beast as “only an animal would do that to a human being.”

Opinions were however split on the legality of Pretty Mike’s actions, with some arguing that since the the ladies involved were consenting adults, there was little to hold against him. Others choose to pillory the girls he led by the leash for giving up their personal dignity in exchange for money.

Chidi Okereke wrote on Twitter that “what Pretty Mike is doing may not be illegal, but it is disgusting on so many levels and anyone with a sense of decency would condemn it.”

Nigerian authorities have since arrested Pretty Mike and charged him with committing an offense against morality.

A statement released by the Lagos State Ministry of Justice on Wednesday explained that Pretty Mike was arrested “for dehumanizing young girls by turning them into human puppies with chains around their necks.”

BY MARK BABATUNDE
Source

Morocco To Ban the Wearing of the Burka To Fight Terrorism. Read More Info

Morocco To Ban the Wearing of the Burka To Fight Terrorism. Read More Info




Morocco has banned the wearing, sale, and importation of the burka, a traditional Islamic veil for women covering the entire face and body. The garment, which is worn as a symbol of religious and personal modesty, also hides the identity of its wearer.

According to local media, the Interior Ministry ordered the ban on Monday and announced that it would go into effect later this week. Reports added that letters announcing the ban gave businesses 48 hours to get rid of their stock.

According to Le360, a senior interior ministry official said, “We have taken the step of completely banning the import manufacture and marketing of this garment in all cities and towns of the kingdom.”

The official, who cited security concerns as the reason behind the ban, added that “bandits have repeatedly used this garment to perpetrate their crimes.”

The report, which remains largely unconfirmed, has been received with mixed reactions in many circles.

Morocco is not considered a hotbed for terrorism and religious motivated violence — at least not in recent times. Also, there is no research linking a ban on the wearing of the burka to a decline in terror activities. Furthermore, the majority of Moroccan women actually prefer to wear the hijab, which resembles the burka but does not cover the face.

Several European countries, including the Netherlands, Bulgaria, and Germany have in recent years also passed laws banning the wearing of the burka, or at least limiting its use in public places.

France, Morocco’s former colonizer, is known for taking an especially harsh position against the burka. In 2010, the French parliament passed a law banning the wearing of the burka in all public places and imposed a fine of about $160.

France has a significant Muslim population, many of them immigrants from its former colonies in north and west Africa. While the French ban on the burka was mostly for cultural reasons and less about security, there has been an upswing in the number of terror-related attacks across France in the years following the ban. Clearly, the numbers appear to show that a ban on the burka is not the silver bullet in the war against terrorism.

In Africa, Morocco may be seen to be following a precedent set by Nigeria. In 2015, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who is a Muslim, proposed a ban on the wearing of the hijab for security reasons. Buhari cited instances where male suicide bombers belonging to the Islamist terror group Boko Haram carried their attacks while dressed as women wearing the hijab.

“Banning hijab is not an option but if these attacks continue, hijab has to be banned,” Buhari explained.

While the move was welcomed by many Nigerians as a necessary step towards tackling the Boko Haram crisis, others were quick to caution that it amounted to a government encroachment on the rights of the citizens, even as it walks the tightrope between securing the state and respecting an individual’s right to religious and personal freedom.

Many human rights groups have also expressed fears that government incursion into matters of personal preference, such as the decision to or not to wear a burka, could result in a slow descent into a dreaded totalitarian or big brother state.

If Moroccan authorities confirm the burka ban, the country would become the first Arab nation to ban the wearing of the burka in public.

BY MARK BABATUNDE
Source

7 African Presidents Some People Say Should Step Down in 2017. (Must See)

7 African Presidents Some People Say Should Step Down in 2017. (Must See)




Teodoro Obiang Mbasogo, 74 years old

Time in Office: 43 years

Teodoro Obiang Mbasogo has been at the helm of affairs in Equatorial Guinea since he seized power in a 1979 coup. Despite the vast natural resources (crude oil and timber) at his disposal, Obiang’s 47 years in power has been marked by a declining quality of life among Equatorial Guineans, with the majority of his countrymen living below the poverty line.

Still, Obiang has maintained his hold on power by the use of state-sponsored violence to silence the opposition, rampant corruption, and an overall poor economic performance. Even as he positions his controversial son, Teodorin Obiang Nguema, to succeed him as president, he is one leader who needs to step aside in 2017.

Robert Mugabe, 92 years old

Time in Office: 29 years

At 92, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is the oldest “elected” head of government in the world. Mugabe and his ZANU PF party have ruled Zimbabwe since 1987.
Initially revered in his country and around the continent for his role in pushing out the British colonial government, but some people say Mugabe has now overstayed his welcome and squandered most of the goodwill he enjoyed from the majority of Zimbabweans.

Jose Eduardo Santos, 74 years old

Time in Office: 42 years

Like Theodore Obiang of Equatorial Guinea, President Jose Eduardo Santos has led Angola since 1979, presiding over an immensely oil-rich state. Angola is one of Africa’s biggest exporters of crude oil, second only to Nigeria. However, the effect of all those petrodollars has been lost on the average Angolan as more than 50 percent of the population continues to subsist on less than $2 a day.

Much of that oil wealth has instead gone directly to President Dos Santos, his family, and closest aides. His daughter, Isabel dos Santos, is Africa’s richest woman with an estimated worth of $3 billion. Her business interests include telecoms, banking, media, energy, and retail.

Last year, Santos announced plans to step down from office come 2018; yet, he has spent recent months inserting his children in to key government positions. In June, he shocked many when he sacked the entire board of state-owned oil company Sanongol and appointed his daughter Isabel as the new CEO.

Omar al-Bashir, 72 years old

Time in Office: 28 years

Sudan’s strongman leader Omar al-Bashir seized power in his country after a 1989 coup that kicked out then-Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi. By 1993, al-Bashir stepped down from his military position and appointed himself as president. Since then, al-Bashir has continued to hold on to power in Sudan despite overseeing some of the darkest periods in the country’s history.

In the ’90s, the country suffered one of its worst inflation periods, when its official currency, the Sudanese pound, lost nearly 90 percent of its value. In addition, the brutal 2nd Sudanese civil war of 1983 to 2005 was fought mostly under his watch. The war led to the creation of South Sudan in 2011. Also under his watch, the Darfur war occurred; it is largely regarded as one of the greatest humanitarian crises in modern times.

In 2009, al-Bashir, 72, became the first sitting president to be indicted by the International Criminal Court. He was charged with war crimes, including rape and genocide, during the crises in the Darfur region.

A Wikileaks revelation estimates that Omar al-Bashir is worth almost $9 billion. Meanwhile, 44.8 percent of the Sudanese population live under the poverty line. In 2015, al-Bashir won a Sudanese presidential election riddled with irregularities and the intimidation of the opposition with 94 percent of votes cast.

Isias Afwerki, 70 years old

Time in Office: 23 years

Isias Afwerki became Eritrea’s president following its independence from Ethiopia in 1993. Afwerki rose to prominence as a leader of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front, leading the EPLF to victory in its war of independence from Ethiopia.

In the years since independence, though, Afwerki became increasingly tyrannical and his extremely repressive leadership style has been compared to the regime in North Korea. In addition, his government has consistently ranked at the very bottom of the Reporters Without Borders index of press freedom.

Amnesty International estimates that Afwerki may have imprisoned as many as 10,000 political prisoners. Torture, imprisonments, and forced disappearances are a standard feature of his government.

The youths of Eritrea, many of whom are fleeing the country in droves and traveling across the Mediterranean in overcrowded vessels to escape his repressive regime, surely can’t wait to see Afwerki out of office.

Paul Biya, 83 years old

Time in Office: 35 Years

Despite having no military background, President Paul Biya of Cameroon consistently ranks as one of the worst dictators in the world. Biya is a career politician who previously held several leadership positions under former President Ahmadou Ahidjo. In 1982, Ahidjo resigned from office and installed Biya as a chosen successor. Relations between the two, however, quickly deteriorated and Ahidjo fled in to exile.

In 1984, Biya foiled a military coup against his government. In the aftermath, he solidified his hold on power. President Biya regularly makes elaborate pretensions of conducting democratic elections, but in practice, Cameroon remains under his tyrannical grip.

Under Cameroon’s constitution, Biya has sweeping executive and legislative powers. In 2008, he forced a constitutional amendment that removed presidential term limits and made him eligible to seek re-election indefinitely.

At 83 years old, Biya rarely makes public appearances in Cameroon, choosing instead to spend as much as three months straight holidaying in exclusive European resorts at the expense of his fellow countrymen.

He is also Africa’s highest paid head of government with an annual salary of nearly $500,000 — more than 229 times that of the average Cameroonian. He surely needs to save his countrymen all that money.

Time in Office: 8 years

Life-long politician and African National Congress (ANC) stalwart, Jacob Zuma became South Africa’s third post-Apartheid president when he was elected by parliament in 2009. Zuma had previously served as a deputy under President Thabo Mbeki, and like most frontline ANC leaders, Zuma suffered imprisonment, exile, and human right’s abuses under the former Apartheid government of South Africa.

Zuma’s time in office, however, has been mired by several controversies. Allegations of fraud and financial misconduct are never far away from him. On assumption of office, he refused to declare his assets and other financial interests as required by the constitution.

It must also be said that Zuma has a well-documented history of general impropriety and financial misconduct. Earlier in 2005, during his time as vice president, Zuma was charged with the rape of a woman who considered him a father figure.

Indeed, he did not manage to see out his tenure as vice president as he was summarily dismissed from office following an indictment over charges of corruption and abuse of office.

More recently, Zuma has been embroiled in a corruption scandal over the use of public funds for the renovation of his private residence.

Zuma’s leadership has served to undermine the credibility of the ruling ANC, and the party lost ground for the first time in the last municipal elections, securing only 54 percent of the total votes cast.Jacob Zuma, 74 years old

MARK BABATUNDE
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Why President Mugabe Free Zimbabwe’s Female Inmates?

Why President Mugabe Free Zimbabwe’s Female Inmates?




For most of Zimbabwe’s female inmates, Monday was a happy day following the decision by President Robert Mugabe to pardon all of the nation’s female prisoners except those on death row or who are serving life sentences.
The announcement was made through a government notice on Monday requiring all female prisons in Zimbabwe to release close to 2,000 inmates.

“A full remission of remaining imprisonment is, hereby, granted to all female prisoners regardless of offences committed, save for those sentenced to life imprisonment and to death,” part of the notice read.

According to the Herald, Mugabe’s amnesty has left some female prisons in Zimbabwe literary empty. The newspaper claims that a prominent women’s prison in Harare was left with only two inmates who are serving a life sentence.

As for male inmates, Mugabe’s pardon also freed 200 male inmates, including all juveniles, those who have served two-thirds of their jail term, those over the age of 60, the terminally ill and all convicts serving in open prison.

Critics Infuriated

Monday’s announcement and the mass release that followed have aroused mixed reactions among Zimbabweans, with some critics arguing that the country is likely to see a drastic surge in crime.

“It’s either we have no money to continue feeding the inmates or we’re trying to create space for the next political prisoners for the coming elections,” a disgruntled Zimbabwean commented on a post published by News Day.

“What kind of logic is this? A murderer be either female or male is a murderer and should not receive pardon. You cannot have blanket amnesty like that,” another enraged Zimbabwean wrote.

Zimbabwe’s National Prosecuting Authority has also criticized the move, saying the pardon of nearly all female prisoners was a slap in the face of justice.

“We work hard to ensure that criminals are sent to prison and rehabilitated, justice is served when one serves their time and pays their dues to society,” an anonymous source was quoted by AllAfrica.

Reasons behind the Presidential Pardon

According to Reuters, President Mugabe’s decision to give amnesty to 2,000 inmates was informed by the increasing food shortage in the country, as most Zimbabwean prisons are struggling to feed inmates.

In a 2013 report, the US Embassy in Harare said scores of inmates in Zimbabwe have died from nutrition-related complications, largely induced by food shortages and other natural causes.

In March 2015, five prisoners were reportedly shot dead by police during a protest in a Zimbabwean prison over a food shortage. However, police said the five were shot while trying to break out of prison.

The Herald reports that the presidential pardon on 2,000 inmates will help to decongest the nation’s already crowded and cash-strapped prisons.

BY FREDRICK NGUGI
SOURCE