Senegal goes to the polls for second time after months of protest

March 22, 2012

Byron Clark

Last February, The Spark reported on the Occupy Nigeria protests that were taking place. Nigeria is not the only African country where massive demonstrations are erupting, indeed some commentators, such as Al Jazzera are starting to talk of an ‘African Spring’ similar to the ‘Arab Spring’ of 2011. As a continent subjected to colonial exploitation for a century, and neo-colonial exploitation ever since, Africa has many reasons to rebel.

 Protests have flared up in Senegal, centered on Independence Square in the capital, Dakar but large enough to extend much further, with demonstrators seizing control of a three block stretch of road during a clash with police. The target of these protests is president Abdoulaye Wade, who at 86 years old is running for his third term in office. While an election was held in February, a new election has already been called.

 Many Senegalese believe that Abdoulaye is preparing his son to take power when he dies, setting up a “neo-monarchy” similar to that accomplished by Assad in Syria and attempted by Ben Ali in Tunisia, Murabak in Egypt and Qaddafi in Libya. Of those dictators of course, only Assad remains, due to the extremely violent repression against protesters in Syria. The others were toppled by popular uprisings, providing inspiration to countries further south. Read the rest of this entry »


Kony 2012: Or, how not to do charity

March 12, 2012

Founders of Invisible Children, which produced the Kony 2012 video, posing with the Ugandan army.

Originally published on Scoop, this piece by Anne Russell looks into the problems with the Kony 2012 campaign which has spread virally online, advocating US intervention in Uganda. The Workers Party opposes all Western imperialist intervention in the Third World.

Like many, I only recently heard of Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Africa. The LRA was founded in Northern Uganda in 1987 by a group of militant Christians, but its ideology is unclear these days, as it seems merely determined to maintain power. The LRA’s atrocities, committed over the course of 25 years, have included rape, and the kidnapping and use of child soldiers. Although their power has waned in recent years, social media has brought them back into the spotlight. The charity Invisible Children Inc recently released a documentary called Kony 2012, designed to make Kony infamous, encouraging concerted efforts to arrest or kill him. The wonders of the information age have worked equally well in the two directions; the video has gone viral, and criticism of the documentary and its makers has rapidly sprung up in response, prompting discussion on the nature of benevolent racism, charities and foreign aid. Watch the video below. Read the rest of this entry »


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