Africa Report

Niger: FGM, fistulas, and heroism. Citing a Wall Street Journal piece by Roger Thurow, Neo-Neocon writes about female genital mutilation, the early "marriage" of young girls to adult men, and the agonizing and debilitating phenomenon of fistulas - infections that result from childbirth in girls whose bodies are too young for labor. The article follows the story of Anafghat Ayoub: after an early pregnancy led to a stillbirth and a fistula, Anafghat endured a costly and difficult journey to the nation's capital for medical treatment. Her father, Mr. Mahomed, spared no expense or effort to help Anafghat. While recovering in the hospital, 'Anafghat noticed a woman from Niger who was a medical student making the rounds with the American doctors. Anafghat, the goatherder's daughter from the rural village, was extremely taken with her, saying: I want to live in Niamey, be a doctor and be an important woman.' Read the rest at Neo's post, at the link.

Ethiopia: Tension and hope in electoral dispute. Ethiopia's governing and opposition parties have promised to refrain from further violence, the Head Heeb reports. 'With the party reaffirming its commitment to calm, the investigation of electoral irregularities can now go ahead - although, with the situation inflamed as it is, the truce may last only until the results are announced.'

Mbeki fires Zuma. South African President Thabo Mbeki has fired his deputy Jacob Zuma. Reuters reports: 'South African President Thabo Mbeki said on Tuesday he had sacked his deputy Jacob Zuma who has been implicated in a high-profile corruption trial in a move seen as strengthening Africa's declared drive against graft. "I've come to the conclusion that the circumstances dictate that in the interests of the honorable deputy president, the government and our young democratic system ... it will be best to release honorable Jacob Zuma from his responsibilities as deputy president of the republic and member of the cabinet," Mbeki told a special joint session of parliament. Zuma's former financial adviser Schabir Shaik was convicted of corruption and fraud this month in a Durban High Court ruling that also implicated Zuma and said the pair's relationship was "generally corrupt," sparking calls for Zuma to resign. Zuma, popular with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) rank and file as well as its trade union and Communist allies, had refused to step down saying he believed he had committed no crime and had not been tried in a court of law.' AllAfrica: 'This came almost two weeks after Zuma was implicated in corruption during the Durban High Court trial of businessman Schabir Shaik, who acted as his financial advisor. ... Zuma said he accepted and respected Mbeki's decision to sack him as deputy president.' (Reuters, AllAfrica)

UN expects Sudan to drop charges against Dutch MSF workers. Reuters via Sudan Tribune reports: 'The United Nations expects the Sudanese authorities to drop charges against two officials of the Dutch branch of the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) on Tuesday, a senior U.N. official said. "I have reason to assume that the charges against the two MSF officials will be dropped today," U.N. envoy to Sudan Jan Pronk told reporters in Khartoum. "That would be very positive because that might make it possible that MSF, which has saved the lives of tens of thousands, in particular children, in Sudan, can continue that humanitarian work," he added. The two officials, Vincent Hoedt and his British superior Paul Foreman, were arrested in May over an MSF report about hundreds of rapes in Sudan's troubled western Darfur region.' (Reuters via Sudan Tribune)