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Sudan Military Dissolves Omar Al-Bashir’s Dictatorship After Protests

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After months of anti-government protests, Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir was ousted by the military. The ouster ends Bashir’s three-decade rule, often termed as a dictatorship. He came into power through a coup in 1989 and was removed by a coup.

The president was replaced by a military council headed by Awad Ibn Auf. Auf, however, also resigned just days later and named Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Burhan as his successor. Although the protesters have achieved their main objective, the ouster of al-Bashir, they are now demanding for a civilian-led transition.

How the Protests Started

Ousted Sudan President Omar Al-Bashir

Ousted Sudan President Omar Al-Bashir

Omar Al-Bashir ruled Sudan since October 1993, marking over 25 years on the seat. His leadership style was criticized from both within and without. Add to this the rising inflation, a shortage of cash, high bread and fuel costs, and the Sudanese people felt that enough is enough. The Sudanese protests started as a way of people expressing their dissent on the rising cost of living. The protesters’ claims widened with the demand for Omar Al-Bashir to step down.

The protests gained new momentum after Algerian protesters forced president Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s resignation. Things escalated on April 6, 2019, when protesters camped outside the army headquarters in Khartoum. Following the ouster of the president and resignation of Ibn Auf, the military Council has called for a dialogue on the country’s transition.

Role of Social Media

Just like in other protests and the Arab spring, social media played a critical role in mobilizing protesters across the country. This is why Omar Al-Bashir came out to mock protesters, telling them change of government cannot be done through Facebook and WhatsApp. However, the protesters have succeeded in ending Bashir’s regime.

Although Sudanese women face restrictions on where they can go and how to dress, they were also at the forefront of the protests. Most of these women were born during Bashir’s reign and have never known any other president.

World Reaction

Several countries have backed the ouster of Bashir in Sudan. Egypt has expressed its full support for the people’s choice. The United Kingdom and the United States have called on the army to facilitate civilian leadership in the country. The AU, EU, and UN have expressed similar sentiments, advocating for civilian transition in Sudan.

What Next for Bashir

The ruling military council has stated that Sudan will prosecute Omar al-Bashir, and will not hand him over. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has been pursuing Bashir for years to face several charges. The former Sudan president faces five counts of crimes against humanity. In addition to the crimes against humanity, Bashir also faces two counts of war crimes.

The military’s decision not to extradite Bashir means that the ICC will still find it difficult to charge him. The United Nations has already called on Sudan to cooperate with the ICC. The ICC issued two arrest warrants for al-Bashir—one in March 2009 and another one in July 2010. The Sudanese military has declared a three-month state of emergency.

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Kenya to Begin Construction of New Kidney Center

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The Kenyatta National Hospital, the location of the new kidney center

The Kenyatta National Hospital

Kenya plans to build a new kidney center in its capital Nairobi. The center will be at Kenyatta National Hospital, Kenya’s largest referral hospital. The center is estimated to cost US $36m—an equivalent of Ksh 3.6B. Funding for the construction of the center is jointly provided by the African Development Bank and the Kenyan government.

This is an initiative of the Centers of excellence in non-communicable disease approved by the AfDB, and the center is considered a multinational project that covers East African states. Each country, however, will carry out a specific component.

Rise of Kidney Disease in the Region

Millions of people across the world die of chronic kidney failure due to lack of treatment. The kidney plays a critical role in the human body, helping in filtering of wastes and excess fluids from blood. The waste is then excreted through urine. Kidneys are not able to perform these functions when a person suffers from chronic kidney failure, and dialysis and kidney transplants are necessary in these situations. The kidney center in Nairobi will provide these services to patients.

Kidney disease is on the rise in Kenya and East Africa. In Kenya, it is estimated that by 2030, 4.8 million Kenyans will be suffering from kidney disease. Across the globe, it’s estimated that 50 million people have kidney disease. 2.4 million people in the world die every year due to kidney disease. The disease is now the sixth fastest growing cause of death in the world.

Significance of the Kidney Center

The new kidney center is expected to play a critical role in alleviating fatalities associated with chronic kidney failure. The center will have laboratories, high dependency units, surgical theaters, 25 wards, and vehicle parking. The center will not only be a hospital for kidney-related ailments, but also a regional medical school.

Construction

According to Kenya’s Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Health, US $2m is already available to start initial construction of the kidney center. Furthermore, the tendering process has been concluded. The African Development Bank is supporting three more health projects in the region. The AfDB is funding the East Africa Heart Institute in Tanzania and the East Africa Oncology Institute in Uganda. The institution is also funding the development of the East Africa Biomedical Engineering Institute in Rwanda.

The Principal Secretary further stated that US $3.6m has been injected in to the project for preparations. The preparations include purchase of medical equipment. In addition, at least 209 health workers will be trained. Already, around 172 of these health workers have been trained in dialysis.

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Rwanda Commemorates Genocide Victims

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Rwanda President Paul Kagame leads the 'Walk to Remember'.

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, center, gestures as he and first lady Jeannette Kagame, center-left, lead a “Walk to Remember” accompanied by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, far left, Prime Minister of Belgium Charles Michel, second left, France’s Herve Berville, third left, and Governor General of Canada Julie Payette, fourth left, from the parliament building to Amahoro stadium in downtown Kigali, Rwanda Sunday, April 7, 2019. Rwanda is commemorating the 25th anniversary of when the country descended into an orgy of violence in which some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were massacred by the majority Hutu population over a 100-day period in what was the worst genocide in recent history. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

Rwanda made global headlines in 1994 following a genocide that led to the killing of nearly a million people. Tensions between minority Tutsi and majority Hutu led to mass killings. The main trigger of the genocide was the killing of the then Rwanda President Juvenal Habyarimana. On April 7, 2019, the country began a 100-day-long period of mourning.

Week of Memorial Events

On April 7 2019, Rwanda began a week of memorial events for the victims of the 1994 genocide. The three months of genocide led to killings of an estimated 800,000 people. President Kagame laid a wreath at the site of the memorial where 250,000 people are buried. At the site in Kigali, poems were recited and songs sung, marking the beginning of the week-long events of commemoration.

The President reiterated that history will never repeat itself. Kagame stated that the bodies and minds of Rwandese people bear the scars, but they are not alone. Although wounded and heartbroken, the Rwandan people are unvanquished. The Rwandan President also stated that Rwandans had granted themselves a new beginning.

Part of the memorial events included a “walk to remember”, starting from Rwanda’s parliament and ending at the national football stadium. Foreign officials and dignitaries joined Rwandans in the walk, culminating in a night vigil where candles were lit.

Tutsi Genocide Memorial Day

Every year, Rwanda remembers and mourns the atrocities that plunged the country a quarter of a century ago.  The country has set April 7 as a public holiday dedicated for this remembrance. The Memorial Day is the only public holiday in Rwanda that is not replaced on a working day—if April 7 falls on a weekend. The holiday is named Tutsi Genocide Memorial Day.

Most of the victims of the genocide were Tutsis, although there were a few Hutus. The Hutus who were killed were those that opposed the extremist position at the time. This memorial is not only observed in Rwanda but across the world, with the United Nations observing the memorial on a similar date—April 7.

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African Ingenuity

Tanzania Blockchain Baby is the World’s First

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Tanzania blockchain baby

Tanzania blockchain baby is the first in the world and is making headlines all over. Africa is doing all it can to improve the lives of its citizens in all spheres of life.

Blockchain is a technology that allows distribution (and not copying) of digital information. It was originally created for digital currencies (cryptocurrencies) such as Bitcoin. A blockchain is simply a series of absolute or immutable data records. A bunch of computers not owned by any single entity manage these records. Each of these single blocks is bound to the other using cryptographic technology and principles, what is called a chain. In this way, a blockchain is a way of passing information from one point to another in a safe and automated manner. This is the technology on Tanzania blockchain baby.

“The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.” – Don & Alex Tapscott, authors Blockchain Revolution (2016).

Blockchain Technology and Maternal Health

In an effort to improve access to good healthcare, Africa is making history in the world. The latest feat towards improving maternal health is Tanzania blockchain baby. It is difficult to connect blockchain technology and maternal health (leave alone a baby) but be as it may, Africa has a baby through blockchain. As if this is not amazing enough, blockchain does not have only one, but three babies in Tanzania.

The project by Irish AID: Tech and Dutch PharmAccess was initially funded to tackle controversies in the charitable industry in areas of equitable distribution of donations. In order to track the aid given to susceptible women, the project decided to use blockchain technology in facilitating proper distribution of this aid. Additionally, they used this technology to share important data and to streamline the entire support process. This record keeping technology for cryptocurrencies and bitcoins is a major breakthrough for the Tanzania blockchain baby.

Tanzania Blockchain Baby Technology

According to reports, Tanzania blockchain baby feat was born last July but has just come to the limelight. Aid:Tech is an Irish project and it seems it has finally found a humanitarian application of blockchain technology. The technology seeks to digitally identify pregnant women and provide them with the support and care they require in Tanzania. These digital IDs allow women to get proper access to vital elements such as folic acid. The technology also uses IDs to track the pregnancy progress from the initial women data entry to the blockchain, to delivery.

On 13th of July 2018, the first Tanzania blockchain baby was born. Two more followed this Tanzania blockchain bay a week later on 19th July 2018. This brought the blockchain babies to a total of three bundles of joy. Currently, the technology has made it possible for the mothers to get access to postnatal care as well as following up on doctor’s appointments and receiving needed medications. This distributed ledgers technology is lighting a new path towards better access to better maternal health in Africa.

How Blockchain Technology Works for Blockchain Babies   

According to recent reports by Forbes, the technology works like this;

  • Each pregnant woman receives a digital ID.
  • The digital ID entitles the woman to get access to important vitamins such as folic acid.
  • Additionally, the ID tracks the pregnancy progress through data added to the blockchain.
  • The tracking starts after the woman is first registered, through medical appointments to birth.
  • Currently, the system also allows women to receive postnatal care and follow-up doctor’s appointments as needed.

This Tanzania blockchain baby technology project has well-meaning goals for infants and mothers in Tanzania. The country has high infant mortality rates that currently stand at 556 deaths per 100,000 live births. In addition to other healthcare challenges, Tanzania also has difficulties in getting fund donations from well-wishers to deserving women. For these two reasons, the project was established and it is working quite well.

Joseph Thompson co-founded AID:Tech in order to provide more transparency in the distribution of aid to deserving people. The idea came as a result of his previous encounter with aid distribution fraud. The organization made the first successful attempt at aid distribution to Syrian refuges in Lebanon in 2015 using blockchain technology. The system encountered fraud in food vouchers where wrongful beneficiaries would benefit. The system invalidated these vouchers.

Global Recognition

The United Nations named AID:Tech one of their ten global Sustainable Development Goal Pioneers for 2017. Additionally, many private investors got interested in blockchain technology and how it can deliver important aid. For this reason, the organization drew interest from private investors such as Enterprise Ireland, TechStars, SGInnovate and American backer Jason Calacanis. The list also includes Rockefeller and Expo2020.

Despite immense global recognition, it is the Tanzania blockchain baby that elevates the project to international limelight and popularity.

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