Voices from Zimbabwe and the Great Lakes

Zimbabwe: Last weekend Zimbabwean politics were rocked by the flamboyant reentry of former student activist turned rocket scientist turned businessman Arthur Mutambara. Mutambara, who captivated the nation's imagination with his radical and sometimes violent opposition to Mugabe over a decade ago, emerged as the uncontested new leader of the MDC's pros-enate faction.

The response from Zimbabwe's bloggers has been a cautioned skepticism. Said This is Zimbabwe,

Like most people, I’ve been miserable over the impact that a shattered opposition party has had on the struggle for human rights and freedom that everyone in our country deserves. So I’m not making any judgements now, simply saying that I’ll be keeping a close eye on Arthur G.O. Mutambara, a name that will no doubt start appearing in the media. Will his arrival on the political scene make a difference to the struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe? With the way things are now, we can only hope so … but experience says that only time will tell.

Zimpundit is less optimistic and feels Mutambara already sounds a lot like Mugabe.

In another shocker, Zimbabwe endured an earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale. Zimbabwe is not prone to earthquakes so when one does occur, it shakes everything to the core, not just the buildings. This was the experience as recorded by blogger Accoustic Motorbike,

From a long way off, I hear a dull roar. Of a lorry on Lomagundi Rd, perhaps, or an aeroplane echoing off the low clouds. There’s been lightning flashing the whole night. Perhaps the thunder is finally catching up.

But the roar turns into a rattle and I swear I can feel my bed shaking. I stand up, thinking maybe its just me. But the windows are jerking and the door is banging. The whole house is moving. Something triggers deep in the recesses of my reptilian brain and I know Something Is Not Right. Im squatting on my bedroom floor in my night shirt trying to remember the Earthquake Emergency Procedure.

–Stop Drop and Roll? No, that’s for if you’ve found yourself on fire.
–Storm Cellar? No, I think that’s for tornadoes.
–Earthquakes! Go to the ground floor and sit under a door frame. Or a table. Or something.

But instead I just stand there. Thinking, surely, this is not really happening. I’m in Zimbabwe. We don’t do earthquakes.

Burundi: Agathon Rwasa has a report in which Human Rights Watch called for donors to press for the end of human rights violations.

D.R.C: Congogirl feels culpable of “comparing apples to oranges” for this dissection of the amount of UN funding going towards staving of a financial crisis in Palestine as opposed to the amount they are putting into putting and to the crisis in the DRC.

She also announces that the DRC has a new constitution and new flag.

Malawi: Mike of Hacktivate is thrilled that Soyapi, a Malawian proggramer, found the solution for a problem Mike had put a “bounty” for. Curious? Read this for an explanation. Soyapi blogs about it here too.

Mike is also excited about the possibility of low cost broadband in Africa.

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