King Philippe’s apology receives backlash | #54DegressAcrossAfrica

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Mixed reactions have trailed King Philippe’s acknowledgment of Belgium’s brutal colonial past in the Democratic Republic of Congo and ‘regret’ that those events were allowed to happen.  

Go deeper: In a letter the Monarch addressed to President Félix Tshisekedi on the 60th anniversary of the country’s independence, Philippe expressed unprecedented sadness for the colonial acts that led to the deaths of millions of Congolese citizens. 

This follows increased pressure to end racism with the #BlackLivesMatter trend, but many people opine that expressing regret and apologising is not enough – there should be consistent intentional effort to stop racism in the country (Belgium) and beyond. Many have suggested reparations as a way to even the odds between both nations.  

Also, five biracial women born in Congo who were taken away from their Black mothers during Belgian rule have filed a lawsuit for crimes against humanity targeting the Belgian state. 

Zimbabwe nurses decry low pay, poor living standard 

Zimbabwe’s largest nurses’ union has announced that its members are now incapacitated and unable to attend work, citing low pay that it said could no longer meet basic needs. 

Go deeper: A nurse in Zimbabwe earns an average of Z$3 000 per month (less than R1 000) at the official exchange rate. This amount, nurses said, is not sufficient to cover basic needs in an economy ravaged by hyperinflation, which came out at 786% at the last count in May. 

African leaders and its elite are quick to travel out of the continent to access world class healthcare and as such have routinely siphoned money meant to improve the welfare of local healthcare workers into personal coffers. This leads to epileptic health systems in the continent and increased death rates, also accelerating the mass migration of healthcare workers to first world countries.  

Sudan begins cash transfer to poor families 

The Sudanese government announced Wednesday, the experimental launch of cash transfer programme to protect vulnerable families in the country ahead of economic reforms. In a joint statement, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Labour and Social Development said they transferred in the first payment (3000 Sudanese pounds) to support poor families in five suburbs, in Khartoum state. 

Go deeper: The pilot phase includes poor families in five areas of Khartoum state: Western Soba, Al Baqaa of Umbadda locality, Alnasr of Jebal Awlia, Wadi Soba and Um Doban, in the eastern Nile. 

The statement added that the government plans to generalise the social protection programme to the whole country within six months after the beginning of the experimental phase to reach 32 million people, 80% of the country’s population. 

Gabon reciprocates EU ban 

Gabon has suspended issuing visas to European travellers after its citizens were included in the EU ban list. 

Gabonese foreign affairs ministry said it had applied the “the principle of reciprocity”. 

With this, nationals of the 27 EU member states will not be allowed into Gabon. 

Back story: The European Union, in reopening states and the economy listed 14 safe countries whose nationals will be allowed to visit the EU, citing the coronavirus pandemic. The 14 countries include four in Africa: Algeria, Morocco, Rwanda and Tunisia. 

Coronavirus dashboard 

Burundi’s new president has signaled that his government will take the coronavirus pandemic more seriously than his dead predecessor, calling the virus the country’s “worst enemy”. 

Confirmed COVID-19 cases have reached 418,211. Reported deaths have reached 10,406 and recoveries 198,182. 

Kenya has launched an electronic court filing system that will allow parties to file cases online. 

All schools in Tanzania have reopened after three months of closure due to the coronavirus.  

Kenya will leverage on robust economic and trade ties with China to hasten safe reopening of local enterprises after months of shutdown linked to COVID-19 pandemic. 

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