AFRICA Roundup

AFRICA Roundup

Ramaphosa to accelerate land transfer from white owners to Black owners

Under the rule of European colonists, South Africa’s Natives Land Act of 1913 stripped most Black people of their right to be property owners. The National Party and its system of apartheid reinforced this policy decades later, and its effects are felt today throughout the nation.
On February 27, South African lawmakers overwhelmingly voted in a motion for ‘expropriation without compensation.’
This new law will result in land being seized from the white farmers without giving them any financial compensation. The radical left Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party leader, Julius Malema, proposed it.
“We must ensure that we restore the dignity of our people without compensating the criminals who stole our land,” he said after the motion was passed.
South Africa’s new president, Cyril Ramaphosa, pledged to accelerate the process of land transfer from white owners to Black owners after his inauguration, but stressed it must be conducted in a manner which preserved food production and security.
The official opposition opposed the motion, arguing that this move could ward off potential investors as it undermined property rights.


Shutting Churches in Rwanda

The Rwandan Governance Board on religious organizations has shut down over 700 churches and a mosque in Kigali following a crackdown.
In a bid to bring change, the government has brought new regulations such as standard structures, hygiene and sanitation requirements, and certificates of operation.
One of the proposed new law states that all preachers must have theological training before opening a church. Pentecostal and charismatic churches have felt particularly beleaguered by this action and have condemned the move, saying authorities are being too strict.
The president, Paul Kagame, fully supported the actions by the Rwanda Governance Board. “Seven hundred churches in Kigali? Are these boreholes that give people water?” he asked.
Kagame pointed out that had there been proper planning, the situation would not have got to a level where the government has to close churches.
He said that Kigali has not reached a level where it needs a high number of churches. Furthermore, the churches need to comply with the new rules in order to keep operating in the city.
The news of the closure of these churches has been received with mixed reactions among residents of Kigali. While some believe the move will protect the public from nuisance and health risks, a good majority felt that this was a way to gag any form of opposition, as only churches that side with the political class seem to be in operation.


Blockchain technology in S. Leone elections

Setting a new precedent for Africa, Sierra Leone employed the use of blockchain for their recently concluded elections on March 7.
Although Blockchain is not new technology, it is used to keep records and track crypto currency. Each block (a continuously growing list of records) typically contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp and transaction data. By design, a blockchain is resistant to modification of the data.
This offers great confidence in the electoral system, as it proves difficult for votes to be tampered with using this system.
The process was made possible by blockchain voting startup, Agora, which helped in keeping track of each vote, and through its proprietary distributed ledger it then relayed the data to individuals entrusted to oversee and verify the nation’s democratic process.
The results have not yet been announced as they are still being tallied. This election could soon become a landmark in Africa and around the world if all goes well.