#54DegreesAcrossAfrica: #ZimbabweanLivesMatter, flooding in Sudan and other stories across Africa

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Zimbabwe author took a risk to defend civil rights 

Zimbabwean author, Tsitsi Dangarembga, who was arrested during a protest Friday, has said she took a risk to defend what she saw as shrinking civil rights in the country.  

Dangarembga, who was later released on bail, believes there is a need for the civil society to defend the constitution. She said the government should respond to the protests by creating space for dialogue. 

However, the hashtag #ZimbabweanLivesMatter has been trending on Twitter in Zimbabwe and South Africa as people share stories of arrests and violence. 

Go deeper: #ZimbabweanLivesMatter has garnered the world’s attention and there is an expectation of a possible ease in the tension. To a large extent, we can credit the power of the media in getting world leaders to intervene in situations like in Zimbabwe. But, the trend goes on to show how disregard for human and civil rights has become a norm.

Floods destroy thousands of homes in Sudan 

The Sudanese authorities say at least five people have been killed and thousands of homes damaged by heavy floods over the weekend. 

Interior Minister, Eltrafi Elsdik, said nearly 3,500 houses were either completely or partially destroyed. 

Last week, heavy downpours led to a dam wall collapsing in Blue Nile state which destroyed more than 600 homes. Torrential rains often hit Sudan between June and October, resulting in significant flooding. The UN says flooding killed more than 70 people last year during those months. 

What else? Khartoum was hit by heavy rains on Friday and Saturday. Floods covered large parts of East Nile locality in Khartoum North.

In an emergency meeting, the concerned officials assessed the situation in the flood-affected areas in the locality. They decided to form a “high committee”, to be headed by the governor, that will “operate round-the-clock”, in addition to an operating committee.

The operating committee immediately begun preparing lists of fully and partially-collapsed homes. They will as well supervise the evacuation of the affected families to safe places, and provide them with drinking water, food, tents and tarpaulins.

The officials have appealed to civil society organisations to intervene and support the affected people.

Two killed in Somalia restaurant bomb attack 

Two security guards have been killed in Somalia after attempting to stop a suicide bomber from entering a busy restaurant in the capital, Mogadiushu. 

Several customers were injured during the blast in the city’s Hamar Jajab district. 

No group has said it was behind the attack but the Islamist militant group, al-Shabab, frequently carries out bomb attacks on civilian and military targets. 

Go deeper: Damaging assaults, occurring almost daily and often in the capital, Mogadishu, have put a strain on the country’s fragile government. In recent years, al-Shabab have continued to gain strength, carrying out deadly attacks in both Somalia and Kenya.

There are reports that Iran is aiding al-shabab in Somalia and the U.S. has been called to intervene. Reports have it that Iran has a proxy network in Somalia and uses facilitators to provide support to violent extremist organizations to counter the influence of the United States and Persian Gulf states.

Despite attempts by American drones and a 20,000-strong African Union peacekeeping mission fighting the Shabab, the internationally backed Somali government has remained weak and has appeared unable to secure the capital, much less the entire country.

Tanzanian miner makes new multi-million dollar sale 

A Tanzanian small-scale miner, Saniniu Laizer, made headlines in June for discovering two rough Tanzanite stones valued at $3.4 million. Now he has sold another one for $2 million, weighing 6.3kg, on Monday morning. 

Laizer has promised to use the money from the finds to build a school and a health centre. 

Go deeper: Some small-scale miners like Laizer acquire government licences to prospect for Tanzanite, but illegal mining is prevalent especially near mines owned by big companies.

In 2017, President Magufuli ordered the military to build a 24km (14-mile) perimeter wall around the Merelani mining site in Manyara, believed to be the world’s only source of Tanzanite.

A year later, the government reported an increase in revenue in the mining sector and attributed the rise to the construction of the wall.

Tanzanite is only found in northern Tanzania and is used to make ornaments. It is one of the rarest gemstones on Earth, and one local geologist estimates its supply may be entirely depleted within the next 20 years. 

Shot Tanzanian politician wins presidential nomination 

Prominent Tanzanian opposition figure, Tundu Lissu, has been nominated to run for the presidency in October’s general elections by his Chadema party. He will now challenge incumbent President John Magufuli

The nomination was a test for Lissu who had to prove to opponents that he’s still a force to be reckoned with. He got 405 votes out of 442 cast by members of the party’s national council. 

Lissu’s nomination will be approved by the party’s national congress on Tuesday.

Backstory: Lissu fled the country after being shot 16 times by unknown gunmen outside his home in the administrative capital, Dodoma, in September 2017.

A fiery critic of Tanzanian President Magufuli, Lissu had had a series of encounters with the police in the months before the gun attack. He was arrested several times, accused of insulting the president – whom he had called a “dictator” over alleged assaults on the opposition and the media – and disturbing public order.

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