Thursday, December 17, 2009

News in ... Africa

The BBC reports that Nigeria is facing a constitutional crisis. The President is sick and out of country. He has not turned power over to the vice-president, from the other part of the country and his presumed successor. So one branch of government is in trouble. Making matters worse is that Nigeria's chief justice ends his job this month and the new one has to be sworn in by none other than the President. So come January, they could have two branches of government lacking leadership. What they choose to do about these problems will be a real test. (Hat tip: MR)

The NYTimes has a nice photo essay on the relationship between China and Africa. With some half a million Chinese now living and working in various African countries, the relationships get interesting. Some photos show very traditional colonial images: Chinese leader, African servant/workers. Some reverse that image: Chinese woman serving her African guests at a restaurant. Others deal with the complicated inter-racial romantic relationships and their potential, shunned offspring. (Hat tip: Texas in Africa)

The Archdiocese of Bakuva released a letter recently sent to the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, citing begging for protection from the increased violence directed against priests and religious workers. Texas in Africa includes a number of comments on the important roles the Catholic church has filled in the DRC, including:
The Catholic Church is far and away the most stable and enduring social institution in South Kivu. Along with a handful of large Protestant communities, it was basically the only organized institution to survive the region's severe economic decline, the collapse of the state, and the wars. This is the primary reason that the churches are the main instruments of social service provision in the Kivus. Absent their efforts, there would be almost no education or health care available in the region. Most of the region's public hospitals, clinics, and schools are essentially contracted out to the churches. Where international medical NGO's are involved, they are either providing emergency care in field hospitals or, more often, working in conjunction with the churches that run the hospitals. Even when they don't have international support, church-run health facilities and schools continue to do the best they can to serve the region's population. In Bukavu in particular, the Catholic Church and its leaders played a major role in the push for democratization that occurred prior to the Rwandan genocide and Mobutu's fall.

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