Africa Weekly: new coronavirus cases reach Eastern Africa | AFP

This week in Africa Kenya and Ethiopia record their first coronavirus cases, the Democratic Republic of Congo records first COVID-19 positive diagnosis as Ebola outbreak nears end and South Africa repatriates over 120 nationals from virus-hit China.
And in other news: African leaders agree to Libya peace talks in July, Ethiopian Airlines marks one year since Flight 302 crash, Malawi security forces fire teargas at protesters as activist detained, Hunger, economic slump as Zambia battles drought, Business booms for Seychelles’ suggestive love coconuts and French-Rwandan artist Gaël Faye debuts film based on bestseller.

#Coronavirus #COVID-19

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Malawi’s Rastafarians win landmark dreadlock ruling | AFP

Dreadlocks dominate headlines in Malawi after a landmark court ruling forces schools to accept children with Rastafarian hairstyles. Despite the absence of legislation on hair length or hairstyles, children in Malawi have long been banned from sporting dreadlocks in state-run schools. A Rastafarian father says the verdict is “just the beginning”.

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Africa Weekly 7/2/2020: political turmoil in Malawi and Seychelles’ tourism problem | AFP

This week on Africa Weekly, we head to the perilous border zone between Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, where the French army is fighting alongside the G5 Sahel forces in an attempt to eliminate the threat posed by jihadists. From there, we take a contrasting look at the beaches of the Seychelles islands, a byword for luxury holidays. But there’s trouble in paradise, as the ever increasing tourist numbers start to pose a threat to the islands’ fragile ecosystem. We also take a look at the main headlines from across the continent this week.

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Malawi: opposition supporters celebrate after election results annulled | AFP

Supporters of the main opposition Malawi Congress Party take to the streets to celebrate a court verdict nullifying the May 2019 presidential election. They are marching to their national headquarters where party president Lazarus Chakwera is expected to address them. IMAGES

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Malawi braces for ruling on alleged election fraud | AFP

Malawi’s constitutional court is to rule on whether to annul a controversial vote result that got President Peter Mutharika re-elected, with the verdict likely to stoke turmoil no matter which way it goes. The case has gripped the southern African nation and kept Malawians glued to radio stations for hours on end listening to live broadcasts of witnesses presenting evidence of alleged vote rigging. IMAGES of political figures and lawyers arriving for court

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Malawi anti-bribery protest draws thousands | AFP

Tens of thousands of Malawians took part in protests on Thursday at alleged attempts to bribe judges overseeing a legal challenge to the re-election of President Peter Mutharika last year.

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First malaria vaccine given to babies in Africa

Babies in three African nations are getting the first and only vaccine for malaria in a pilot program. World health officials want to see how well the vaccine works in Malawi, Ghana and Kenya before recommending its wider use. (Jan. 19)

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Malawi tobacco pressured as US butts in over labour abuses | AFP

Malawi’s minister of agriculture Kondwani Nankhumwa says all efforts are being taken to ensure the nation eradicates all forms of child labour, admitting the issue exists in some areas where tobacco is grown. Malawi is being forced to confront child and forced labour practices after the US restricted tobacco imports from the impoverished southeastern African nation over allegations workers including children were being exploited. The trouble began in late October. British law firm Leigh Day announced it was preparing a landmark class action case against British American Tobacco (BAT) on behalf of 2,000 Malawian farmers, including hundreds of children, for forced labour and poverty wages. The US suspended imports of tobacco from Malawi, saying it had information that reasonably indicated it was being produced using forced labour and forced child labour.

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Prince Harry lays wreath for soldier killed in Malawi elephant attack | AFP

Prince Harry lays a wreath at Liwonde National Park in Malawi in honour of British soldier Mathew Talbot. The guardsman was killed by an elephant in May while training Malawian rangers in anti-poaching techniques. Prince Harry is in the middle of a tour of southern African nations. IMAGES

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Reactions in Zomba after Malawi top court outlaws single-use plastic | AFP

Residents of Zomba in Malawi react after Wednesday’s ruling in favour of a ban on plastic, upholding a 2015 government bar on producing, distributing and importing thin single-use plastics typically used in packaging and wrapping.

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Malawi: albino busker becomes internationally acclaimed musician | AFP

From a street busker in Malawi, albino singer Lazarus Chigwandali– born to a poor family in rural Malawi– becomes an internationally acclaimed musician.

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Political protests in Malawi turn violent | AFP

Thousands of opposition supporters participate in demonstrations in Lilongwe, demanding the immediate resignation of Malawi Electoral Commission chairperson Jane Ansah. Some police officers were severely injured after being beaten up minutes after an armoured vehicle threatened the protesters at Capital Hill. IMAGES

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Malawi opposition party march on court, seeking election annulment | AFP

Members of the main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP), led by their president Lazarus Chakwera, march to the constitutional court in Lilongwe, as their lawyers continue to fight for the country’s May 21 presidential election results to be nullified because of “many irregularities.” IMAGES

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Inauguration of Malawi president Peter Mutharika | AFP

After being sworn-in on Tuesday, Malawi President Peter Mutharika is inaugurated at a sports stadium in the commercial capital Blantyre. IMAGES

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Mozambique Is Struggling To Recover From Cyclone Idai (HBO)

BEIRA, Mozambique — Hundreds of thousands of people are still without food, clean water or homes almost two weeks after Cyclone Idai tore through Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, killing at least 700 people and impacting millions more.

Now, the first outbreak of cholera has been reported, sparking fears that this disaster recovery will soon become a long-term health emergency.

The cyclone hit the port city of Beira at midnight on March 14, bringing winds of 125mph and torrential storms that burst the banks of two major rivers and flooded an area covering more than 1,600 square miles.

A major international aid operation is now underway in Beira as waters begin to recede. But villagers in the hardest hit communities remain stranded while relief efforts struggle to reach them on roads decimated in the disaster. A lack of helicopters in the country has further hobbled response efforts.

More than 100,000 people are now living in refugee camps. Many others are taking shelter in schools, churches and orphanages; their over-crowded temporary homes surrounded by pools of putrid flood water, which some are still using to drink and wash.

Ignasio Augusto’s home, in the coastal village of Praia Nova, was decimated by the storm.

“Nothing is left. The house fell down,” Ignasio said.

He’s now sheltering with his family, packed alongside hundreds of others, in an elementary school which was itself partially destroyed by the winds.

“This is how we sleep,” he said, pointing to the small plot of floor his family now occupies. “On sleeping bags, on the pavement. Women and men together,” Ignasio said.

The cyclone’s destruction is breathtaking: Whole towns are flooded, roads are blocked by mud and bridges are ruined. The destruction stretches as far inland as Gôndola, more than 120 miles from the epicenter of the crisis.

Even this far from the eye of the storm, the rains have made access slow or impossible. An aid team attempting to survey the damage using drones was stricken by mud during our journey. It took four hours of digging by men from a nearby town to free their 4×4 from the water.

Only in the past few days has it become possible to pass — slowly — along the battered road to Beira Airport, which has become the makeshift headquarters of the international aid operation.

Villagers here are facing the same problems as the hardest hit communities on the coast: food is not being delivered; supplies are not reaching them fast enough.

Gerald Bourke, from the United Nations World Food Programme, told VICE News that despite the obstacles, the recovery is slowly coming together.

“It’s gathering pace, but we need to do a lot more and we need to accelerate,” he said.

But it could take several months to establish the true death toll and longer term impact of this storm on crops and food supplies. For now, the priority remains survival.

“It has been difficult to get out there. You have communities who have been isolated for a long time. The full dimensions of it have yet to become clear.”

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Cyclone, flooding wreak havoc in Southern Africa

Hundreds are dead, many more missing and thousands at risk from massive flooding in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe caused by Cyclone Idai and persistent rains. (March 19)

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Football juggling skills impress Trump

Video clips of a Tanzanian football juggler, Hadhara Charles Mnjeja, have gone viral prompting US president Donald Trump to post a tweet. The 29 year-old footballer is in Malawi until March, where she is earning a living through street performance, charging up to US$5 for a two minute performance.

Malawi: former President Banda presents candidacy for May vote

Malawi’s former president Joyce Banda states her intention to run as candidate in the country’s elections this May. She has chosen Jerry Jana, former Chief Executive Officer of the Malawi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as her running mate. IMAGES of Joyce Banda at the Malawi Electoral Commission