Mail & Guardian - - Africa -

Jus­tice on trial

Nige­rian au­thor­i­ties have be­gun the tri­als of more than 1 500 sus­pected Boko Haram mil­i­tants — a mile­stone in the eight-year fight against the Is­lamist mil­i­tant group that has ter­rorised lo­cal pop­u­la­tions dur­ing its at­tempt to over­throw the gov­ern­ment. But can Nige­ria’s no­to­ri­ously cor­rupt judicial sys­tem cope with the com­plex­ity and vol­ume of these cases?

The fear fac­tor

In yet an­other blow to the rep­u­ta­tion of Rwan­dan Pres­i­dent Paul Kagame, a new Hu­man Rights Watch re­port re­veals how tor­ture and il­le­gal de­ten­tion are com­mon­place un­der his ad­min­is­tra­tion. The re­port doc­u­mented 104 cases of de­tainees be­ing sub­jected to bru­tal in­ter­ro­ga­tion, in­clud­ing the use of as­phyx­i­a­tion, elec­tric shock and mock ex­e­cu­tions. Kagame won a re­cent elec­tion with nearly 99% of the vote but these rev­e­la­tions sug­gest that fear may un­der­pin his ap­par­ent pop­u­lar­ity.

More work, less pray

Ugan­dan Pres­i­dent Yow­eri Mu­sev­eni has urged his peo­ple to spend more time work­ing, not “pray­ing and shout­ing as if God is deaf”. He was talk­ing at the coun­try’s 19th Na­tional Prayer Break­fast, where he also claimed that, while Africans were busy pray­ing, Euro­pean coun­tries had been mak­ing sci­en­tific dis­cov­er­ies. Iron­i­cally, Mu­sev­eni’s many op­po­nents would like the pres­i­dent to work a lot less — they are call­ing for him to step down.

Mada­gas­car plagued

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