Archives for May 2011

How can Nigeria's security situation be dealt with?

Charlotte Attwood | 12:32 UK time, Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Bystanders look on at the scene after a bomb blast at a market in Bauchi in northern Nigeria - Reuters

There were more bomb blasts in northern Nigeria on Monday. Police say two were in Zaria, the home town of Nigeria's Vice-President, Namadi Sambo. There are also reports of explosions in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri. 

 

This comes after three explosions near a military barracks in Bauchi state on Sunday night - just hours after President Goodluck Jonathan was sworn in. The latest spate of bombings have killed at least 14 people. No group has claimed responsibility.

Why does violence keep erupting in Nigeria? What can the president do to unite the country? Are you in Nigeria? What impact have these recent explosions had on you? Are you more nervous than usual?

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Tuesday 31 May at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.

Should modernisation be forced?

Charlotte Attwood | 15:48 UK time, Monday, 30 May 2011

The Rwandan government has given itself until the end of May to enforce their anti-thatch campaign. The government says the policy to eradicate all thatched roofs 'is about decent housing for all'.

Corrugated iron is replacing thatched housing across the country but critics have said it has left many of Rwanda's most marginalised people without shelter. Thatched roofs have been traditionally used all over Africa. It's cheaper and some say more practical. Is it right that tradition be sacrificed in favour of modernisation? Should thatched really be banned or should it be a personal choice? Have you ever lived in a thatched house? Did you aspire to have a more modern house? If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Tuesday 31 May at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.

Time for Africa to take sides?

BBC Africa HYS Team | 13:55 UK time, Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The African Union is meeting to discuss the crisis in Libya. As Nato continues its attacks on Tripoli, does Africa have a role to play?

US President Barack Obama has said there will be no let up in the campaign against Col Muammar Gaddafi.  Until now, African leaders have tried to act as neutral mediators.

Is it time for the AU to take a tougher line and back one side or the other in this stand-off?

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Wednesday 25 May at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published. 

Truth first, reconciliation later?

BBC Africa HYS Team | 13:50 UK time, Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Amnesty International has released a report accusing both sides of war crimes during Ivory Coast's recent post-election crisis. Will it help or hinder nation building?

The Amnesty report speaks of a long period of "amnesia" in Ivory Coast during which "successive governments have deliberately refused to accept their responsibility to fight impunity".

And an Ivoirian political observer told the BBC that "Ivorian politicians have a long history of avoiding the real issues facing the country. And that's dangerous because sooner or later, these issues of Ivoirite and national identity could explode again."

But at a time when peace has so recently been restored, is it helpful to start apportioning blame so soon? What should be prioritised, justice or reconciliation? Can Ivory Coast learn from the experience of other nations such as Kenya and Sierra Leone?

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Wednesday 25 May at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.

Does Abyei threaten the future of South Sudan ?

AfricaHYS Team | 13:10 UK time, Tuesday, 24 May 2011

20,000 local residents have fled the town of Abyei after soldiers from the north captured it over the weekend.

Abyei is an oil producing and fertile border region contested by both sides. A military spokesman for the South Sudan government has described the seizure of the town as an act of war.

The northern army says it will continue to occupy the areas until an accord that will guarantee security and stability is reached. 

US senator John Kerry who has visited  Sudan several times describes the country as ''ominously close to the precipice of war''. 

With South Sudan independence celebrations just weeks away, does the dispute over Abyei  threaten the stability of the continent's newest country?

What do want to know about the Abyei situation, send us  your questions.

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Tuesday 24 May at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.

How should we treat beggars?

Charlotte Attwood | 16:33 UK time, Wednesday, 18 May 2011

In an effort to sanitise the Nigerian city of Lagos, the state government is returning all beggars on the streets to their states of origin. Is it right to ban begging?

They say they have already removed at least 3,000 beggars in the last year but have now upped the commitment and banned giving alms to beggars as well. Violators will face two year imprisonment without the option of paying a fine. Do you give to beggars?

Senegal attempted a similar project last year but the number of beggars on the streets of Dakar remains high. Is this really the best way to deal with beggars? What else should be done?

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Thursday  26 May at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.

 

 

Does Somaliland deserve recognition?

BBC Africa HYS Team | 15:48 UK time, Tuesday, 17 May 2011

 

Freedom Square, Hargeisa, Somaliland

 

This week marks the 20th anniversary of Somaliland's self-declared independence. In May 1991, after the fall of Mohamed Siad Barre, the northern third of Somalia seceded and established a capital in Hargeisa. Somaliland now has a functioning political system and its own currency but is yet to gain international recognition as an independent country.

Meanwhile, in Africa both Eritrea and South Sudan have become countries and, thanks to their official status worldwide, are able access assistance from global financial institutions.

Elsewhere, separatists are agitating for independence in Cabinda in Angola, in Casamance in Senegal, and in Western Sahara on the Moroccan border.

What should qualify a country for independence? Should the political considerations of other countries determine this? Or should there be criteria such as economic viability? Do you think recognising breakaway countries like Somaliland sets a dangerous precedent? Would an officially recognised Somaliland help bring peace and stability to the rest of Somalia? If you are from Somaliland we'd particularly like to hear from you.

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Tuesday 18 May at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.

 

Is suicide shameful?

BBC Africa HYS Team | 12:20 UK time, Tuesday, 17 May 2011

There is great shock and sadness in Kenya at the news that Olympic gold medallist Samuel Wanjiru has died. 

Many questions are being asked including whether he committed suicide as one police chief has reported. Here at Africa Have Your Say we were surprised by the strong reaction the idea of suicide provoked among some contributors on social media. Some posted comments like ''suicide is for losers, real men brave the odds'' and ''suicide is a shortcut to hell''. These comments have prompted us to discuss Africa's attitude towards suicide.

Children in a graveyard in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo

The World Health Organization says on average three thousand people commit suicide everyday around the world, which amounts to 1 million deaths every year. South Africa has one of the highest rates in the world with more than 20 people attempting to take their own lives every day.

Is suicide a taboo subject in your community or country? Should we condemn those who commit, or attempt to commit suicide or should we feel sympathy for someone who is suffering so much they no longer wish to live? Do you know someone who committed suicide and want to share with us? Do you have support systems to identify and prevent people committing suicide?

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Tuesday 17 May at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is the middle class the key to Africa's future?

AfricaHYS Team | 14:44 UK time, Wednesday, 11 May 2011

The African Development Bank has published a report claiming that 1 in 3 Africans is a member of the middle class. The report suggests that Africa's strong economic growth over the past two decades is a result of an emerging middle class and that this group is critical to the continent's positive political development.

 

But what is the middle class? The bank defines the middle class as those who spend $2-$20 a day. Members of the African middle class are likely to be people who have a salaried job or who own a small business and who have fewer children. They may pay for private health care and education.  
  
Do you feel part of the middle class in Africa? What does a growing middle class mean for governance and democracy on the continent? Does having the ability to spend more than $2 day make you truly middle class? How have living standards changed around you in the last five years? 
If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Thursday May 12th at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.

How important is reggae in Africa?

Charlotte Attwood | 19:34 UK time, Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Jamaican reggae legend Bob Marley (Getty Images)

Wednesday marks 30 years since the death of Bob Marley, the Jamaican reggae legend who had an active interest in Africa with songs like Africa Unite and Get Up Stand Up. 

He also performed at a concert in Zimbabwe in 1980, held to celebrate the country's independence.

Three decades on, how important is reggae to Africa and why is it so popular?
African reggae has a history of carrying strong political messages. But does it have any effect? Should musicians influence politics? What kind of a role, if any, do you think the likes of Ivorian reggae star Alpha Blondy should play?
If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on BBC Africa Have Your Say on  Wednesday 11 May at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.

Should Africa have fewer babies?

AfricaHYS Team | 14:20 UK time, Tuesday, 10 May 2011

A UN report  says that Africa's population will more than triple by the end of the century to three and a half billion.

In Nigeria, for example, the population is projected to reach 730 million from the current 160 million; while Malawi's population is expected to rise from 15 million to nearly 130 million.

According to the UN's Department for Economic and Social Affairs, much of the growth is expected to occur in the next 50 years.

One of the reasons given for the high birth rate in Africa is lack of access to contraceptives.

How would your country cope with such a big population explosion? How do you think it would affect your life? Are you worried about sharing your neighbourhood with so many more people? Is it time to step up family planning campaigns or perhaps introduce a one-child policy like in China?

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Tuesday 10 May at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.

 

How much of a threat is al-Qaeda in Africa now?

BBC Africa HYS Team | 13:50 UK time, Thursday, 5 May 2011

Aftermath of bombing of US embassy in Nairobi Kenya in 1998

President Barack Obama has

announced that photographs of the body of the al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, who was killed this week by the US military, will not be released. They could be used as a propaganda tool by elements which threaten US national security, he said.

How much popular support do you think al-Qaeda and its anti-Western ideology have in Africa today?

Will the death of Bin Laden make it more difficult for radical Muslim groups such as the Nigerian sect Boko Haram to attract recruits?

Will it have any impact on al-Shabab, which has aligned itself with al-Qaeda, and its grip on Somalia?

Were you caught up in the bombings in Uganda's capital, Kampala, last July, or the US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998? Does Bin Laden's death make you feel any safer?

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on BBC Africa Have Your Say on Thursday 5 May at 1600 GMT, please include your telephone number. It will not be published.

 

 

 

Is the government in Uganda over-reacting?

BBC Africa HYS Team | 13:15 UK time, Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Lawyers in Uganda have started a three-day strike in protest at the excessive force used by the security forces on demonstrators in the capital, Kampala, last Friday. 

Video footage circulating on the internent shows the protesters being violently beaten by policemen and soldiers.

The unrest began at the rough treatment of position leader Kizza Besigye when he as arrested by police for his partcipation in a series of ''walk-work'' protest over high prices.

 

Dr Besigye, who is now receiving treatment in neighbouring Kenya for his injuries, has vowed to continue the protest over high fuel and food prices even though the government says they are illegal.
The lawyers have offered to mediate in the dispute.

 

How much do you think developments in Uganda are being influenced by public uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East? Is Uganda's opposition jumping on the bandwagon of protests elsewhere, or is this a genuine mass movement signifying wide dissatisfaction with the government? For its part, is the government being too heavy handed because it has seen regimes topple in Tunisia and Egypt?

Did you witness Friday's events? Do you support the demonstrators, or are they just opportunists? Do you think events in Uganda will have repercussions in other African countries?

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on Africa Have Your Say Today at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.

 

 

 

 

 
  

How much freedom should reporters have?

AfricaHYS Team | 12:31 UK time, Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Today is World Press Freedom Day, yet journalists continue to be arrested and attacked in the course of duty. The International Federation of Journalists says last year more than 90 reporters were killed as they worked, 15 of those in sub-Saharan Africa.

Irina Bokova, director general of Unesco, is calling on governments to uphold their commitments to protect and promote freedom of expression and freedom of the press.

What is the situation in your country? Are journalists free to do their job?

With the killing of Osama Bin Laden this week, it seems timely to ask: Has the "war on terror" been used as an excuse to restrict reporting?

The advance of technology and social networks such as Facebook and Twitter are changing the way news is reported. How do you see citizen journalism impacting on the way events in your country are reported?

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Tuesday  3 May at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.

 

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