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In this week’s round-up of the best of the African blogosphere, Sokari Ekine remembers Malcolm X on his birthday and calls for solidarity with Malawian gay couple Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, found guilty on Tuesday of ‘unnatural acts and gross indecency’.

An interesting story from The Haitian Blogger. A former business associate of Uday Hussain (Saddam Hussain’s son) Arthur Morrison is trying to get US$25 million of frozen funds released so he can donate them to Haiti. Morrison is also the former manager of Muhammed Ali. President Obama’s nemesis, Jeriemiah Wright has been asked to help get the funds released.

China in Africa comments on the recent US$28.5 billion deal between China and Nigeria to build three oil refineries and a petrochemical plant asking ‘how real is the deal?’ The question is pertinent because so many other China/Nigeria deals have never actually materialised. One example is the Mambila Hydropower Project in Nigeria:

‘How many times have you read that "China" is building the Mambila Hydropower Project in Nigeria? Folks, as of right now, this project is moribund.

‘Yes, two Chinese companies, China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC) and China Geo-Engineering Corporation (CGC), signed a contract to construct the dam. But the expected China Eximbank financing was never finalized. The Mambila dam fell victim to the review of President Obasanjo's murky "oil-for-infrastructure" deals ordered by his successor, the late President Yar'Adua, in October 2007. This was nicely detailed in an August 2009 Chatham House report, Thirst for Oil. The Chinese companies have a contract, but without secure financing, the project will not go forward.”

‘So is the latest “deal” any more secure that the Hydropower project? Yes and No - from the sound of it anything could happen. It seems strange to me and probably to most readers but the comment that “signing a contract is more attractive than actually building one” implies there is something to be gained at the initial stages such as monies exchanging hands…

‘Because of financial and political spoils, signing a contract for a big infrastructure project is more attractive than actually building and operating it. This is one reason why so many deals are announced but then never materialize. (See more on this in his blog post: Money for Nothing (Or How Corruption Fuels Dam Building in Nigeria).’

Bunmi Oloruntoba of A Bombastic Element takes a journey back to 1972 when Idi Amin expelled thousands of Indians from Uganda. The post is based on a CNN Inside Africa report that Asians were slowly returning after years of exile, most of whom are newcomers – sons and daughters of those expelled. In addition to the many films on Idi Amin, he discovers a French comic book ‘Les Mercenaires’ with a special edition on Idi Amin.

Malawian gay couple, Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, were found guilty on Tuesday of “unnatural acts and gross indecency”. House of Rainbow asks that we show our solidarity with the couple by writing to them at the following address: Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, Prisoners, Chichiri Prison, PO Box 30117, Blantyre 3, Malawi.

Canary Bird comments on the threat to Nigeria’s traditional media by bloggers and the appalling environment under which Nigerian journalists have to work, often going long periods without pay:

‘In Nigeria, the greatest threat to traditional media seems to come from online bloggers who are more often than not, based outside the country. It is interesting to note that a greater percentage of news about Nigeria is being broken by online citizen media and citizens themselves through text and blackberry messaging, social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Bebo and other interactive means. It should therefore not come as a surprise that the Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan recently stated he was planning to join the social networking site Facebook to enable him pass his message across to the most vibrant segment of the Nigerian society - the youths.’

Sahel Blog reports on the continuing impasse between Egypt and Sudan and the rest of the Nile Basin countries over the new Nile sharing agreement. In 1929 when the British gave Egypt sole rights over the Nile and the right to veto any construction on the river. This has meant the majority of the waters from the Nile going to Egypt at the expense of the other countries.

‘There is a lot at stake for all the players in the region and perhaps for Arab-African relations as a whole, already strained by years of neglect and outright conflict in Sudan.’ She lays out some of the different interests at stake: ‘It would be hard for both Egypt and Sudan to fundamentally change their development models based on a reduced share of water’ BUT ‘The remainder of the Nile Basin countries are getting tired of waiting around for Egypt and Sudan to sign the [Common Framework Agreement">.’

Zanele Manhenga on Kubatana asks ‘If your vagina could talk, what would it say?’

‘The Vagina Warriors have an agenda; to show women and men alike that there is an issue here and as long as it is not discussed they are going to come right out and ask if the vagina had a mouth what would you hear it say? To be a bit precise these are called The Vagina Monologues.
‘If you did not attend a function by the Young Women’s Leadership Initiative (YOWLI) that was themed reclaiming our bodies, demystifying sex and sexuality, let me then tell you it was about dissecting issues relating to young women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights.

‘Yes, you read right; this is not from foreign lands but stories of young Zimbabwean women in our communities subjected to a whole lot of different experiences. I was shocked at what other people think and feel about sex. From the monologues that were there, issues ranged from having sex without using condoms to shoving some liquids down your privates so that you are relatively tight for him.’

Black Looks remembers Malcolm X on his birthday which is also her son’s birthday:

The Insurgent
Give me my freedom lest I die for pride runs through my veins not blood and principles support me so that I with lifted head see Liberty . . . . not sky! For I am he who dares to say I shall be Free, or dead - today. . .


* Sokari Ekine blogs at Black Looks.
* Please send comments to [email protected] or comment online at Pambazuka News.