The Great Lakes Research Journal

In-depth reviews of issues and challenges facing Central Africa – ISSN: 1554-0391

Germain Ngota, managing editor of the Cameroon Express, died in prison. He was held under the charges of using false documents and fraud. He was one of the three reporters being held by authorities under the same charges.

Reportedly, Mr. Ngota suffered from high blood pressure and did not receive any medical attention while in custody.

SNJC’s (journalist union) Henriette Ekwee said, “I am shocked and appalled by his death.”

“The authorities failed to provide Ngota with adequate medical treatment despite repeated requests by his family and colleagues,” the CPJ’s (New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists) Tom Rhodes said in a statement.

According to CPJ, at the time he was brought into custody, Mr. Ngota was in the process of investigating a corruption scheme between a state-run oil operation and a presidential adviser.

According to Reporters Without Borders, “draconian laws regularly put journalists behind bars.”

The circumstances under which Mr. Ngota are suspicious indeed. Hopefully a more thorough investigation is able to shed some more light on the situation, although it seems like it will be a tough task with the way the country is run.

Ultimately, it is reporters who are able to shine the light of truth on entities such as the government, and one hopes that this incident doesn’t scare off Cameroonian journalist from doing their jobs.

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The landmark elections held in Sudan did not meet international standards but, according to observers they should still be recognized.

“It is obvious that the elections will fall short of international standards,” said former US president Jimmy Carter, who was present during the elections along with his group from the Carter Center.

According to Carter’s mission, “unfortunately, many political rights and freedoms were circumscribed for most of this period, fostering distrust among the political parties.” It also “observed important flaws and found that the process fell short of Sudan’s obligations and related international standards”.

The Carter mission added that the elections “lacked sufficient safeguards and transparency necessary to verify key steps and build confidence and trust in the process.” It listed problems such as voter identification issues, ballot box seals, and ink.

Despite these problems, Carter stated that the elections gave the people of Sudan “an opening to participate and present their views,” and that the results should be recognized worldwide.

“My belief is that most of the international community, as represented by their governments, will accept the result of the election,” he said.

While it’s a shame that the elections had so many problems, it was still a huge step for the country and people of Sudan. Hopefully lessons can be learned and applied to future elections in which the citizens of Sudan can continue to form their own future.

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In accordance with the peace deal between South and North Sudan elections will be held for the positions of president, parliament and state assemblies.

Unfortunately, some key opposition leaders have dropped out of the race due to fears of voting fraud by current president Omar al-Bashir.

The situations is also being muddied by the Darfur conflict.

These elections are incredibly important for Sudan, paving the way for it to change to a democratic nation instead of being a militarized Islamist one. This event may also lead to a referendum in which South Sudan will seek to become independent.

An observer mission is being led by former American president Jimmy Carter.

“It’s not going to be a perfect election – there are no such things,” he said in Khartoum.

“But if we feel that in the elections the will of the voters has been expressed adequately then that would be the primary judgment we will make.”

While there are a variety of issues with this election, it doesn’t change that this is an historic moment for the country of Sudan. It’s an important first step for the people of the nation to change their futures.

Although it’s important to note that the referendum on South Sudan’s independence could lead to more violence in the already violence striken area.

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Senegal has celebrated 50 years of independence. Despite that, France (Senegal’s old colonial ruler) still had control of several military bases within Senegal. This will no longer be the case as now the bases will be turned over to Senegal.

France and Senegal came to an amicable agreement in February of last year, in which the majority of the 1,200 French troops still in the country would leave this year.

This is an important development for Senegal. Now it can fully get past its colonial rule and begin to fully plan its future, and know that it is truly independent from any other nation. This should be a big boost to the psyche of the nation, and hopefully it can be used as a springboard to grow.

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