|Africa News Digest
Marburg Epidemic Continues in Angola
More than 400 have now died of Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever in the Angolan epidemic, according to ANGOP, the Angolan press agency, Sept. 28.
ANGOP reported that donated medicines and materials arrived from France Sept. 28 to help end the outbreak.
The World Health Organization issued its last update on the Angolan outbreak on Aug. 24, when it claimed there had been a total of 374 cases and 329 deaths. WHO and ANGOP have generally understated the numbers of cases and of deaths.
Electricity Generation Declines in South Africa
In South Africa, electricity generation has contracted 1.3% in the last 12 months, according to Statistics SA, the government statistical bureau, reports Fin24 (South Africa) Oct. 6. The decline is coupled with a sharp net increase in the import of electricity.
Algerian Charter for National Reconciliation May Not Function
The Algerian generals' Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation, approved by referendum Sept. 29 (according to the official results), may not achieve peace or national reconciliation. One of the charter's clauses states that Algerians "decide, as a sovereign people, to forbid all those who instrumentalize religion from taking part in any possible political activity under any form that may take." Despite this, leaders of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) have formally agreed to the charter to obtain the benefits of amnesty and the release of prisoners. (The FIS was denied its electoral victory in 1992 by the generals' coup.) However, not all FIS leaders agreed to do so.
Madani Mezrag, one of two leaders in the 1990s of the FIS armed wing, the Army of Islamic Salvation, now dissolved, told Reuters Sept. 26, "Our goal, as an Islamic movement, is to set up an Islamic republic in Algeria. Unlike [what] you would think, it is much more possible today than ever. The regime was responsible for this national tragedy, and we will work day and night to change the system through democratic means."
The government claims the charter was supported by 97% of voters. But the level of voter participation is in serious question. Reuters reported Sept. 30 that "many polling stations were half-empty." There were no independent organizations monitoring the balloting.
For national reconciliation to work, there would have to be economic progress; unfortunately, the generals destroyed the Algerian economy on behalf of the IMF. Thus, figures such as Mezrag may find fertile ground.