It’s always interesting to read what African leading journalists, analysts and commentators have to write.

It’s interesting to see what’s their take on several news, but it is also interesting to see which news are for them worth commenting–news whose importance we have missed or failed to appreciate.

So what grabbed the attention of African leading journalists this week?

Well some, after realizing that 11 African countries blocked the internet when they were holding their elections in 2016, now worry about whether internet will also be blocked for the Augsut 8 elections, see: https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/oped/comment/Internet-shutdown-Kenya-elections/434750-4033186-c3s2h0z/index.html

One of our favourite journalists devoted his weekly article to miniskirts in Africa (https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/oped/comment/Answer-to-the-miniskirt-debate/434750-4033240-v3h6g3/index.html).

One article discussed Museveni’s long term in office -31 years already – wondering whether he will stay in power as long as possible, see: https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/oped/comment/Museveni-is-the-Messiah/434750-4033218-10u75q7/index.html

One piece had a more historical perspective and discussed the Kanu regime (https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/oped/comment/Kenya-Kanu-regime/434750-4042034-6iiommz/index.html), while the final piece was on the Rwandan elections, which, with all due respect, are not terribly interesting because everbody expects President Kagame, who has done a fantastic job over the years, to be re-elected.

These are interesting topics: elections, history, term limits, miniskirts, free internet, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.

But, while the topics were interesting and the article informative in an intellectually stimulating way, there were at least 2 bit of news that failed to make the news and that’d have instead captured the interest -in our very modest opinion- of African newspeople.

The first bit of new concerns South Sudan, where the chances to achieving and securing a stable peace, are compromised not only by the divisions between the government and the rebel, but also within the rebel camp. This is news because the South Sudanese tragedy affected the whole region. In South Sudan there are food crisis, famine, ongoing violence, conflict (in the noorth, we are told), diseases. Because of all these problems the South Sudanese economy has been devastated, the East African GDP’s slowed down because of South Sudan’s toubles, refugees have scattered around the region seeking shelter, in a way that made South Sudan’s problems East Africa’s problems. So, for us, whatever fails go to right in South Sudan is news, because the whole region will be affected by what happens in the world youngest (and possibly most short-lived) nation.

The second bit of news is Magufuli. Magufuli was elected on a good governance platform and that’s great. He then tried to push it even at the cost compressing, if not repressing, Tanzania’s democracy and that was not something for which he should be congratulated. Now, Magufuli has launched a war against mining companies which do not pay, in his view, enough and impoverish Tanzania’s underground wealth without creating a sufficient amount of wealth on the surface. This is an excellent point. A proper balance has to be found. Trying to force the mining companies to pay a lor more than they do, even if for the noblest of reasons, may be more economically detrimental than finding a compromise solution. And this is something that media people should have commented upon not only because it concerns the well being of Tanzania and his wondeful people but also because a slowing down of the Tanzanian economy would have profound reperussions at the regional level. And perhaps the media people should have reminded Tanzanian leaders and policy makers of that mild voice of reason that for James Madison was the single most important condition for promoting the well being of the people.

riccardo pelizzo

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