NC Op-ed Kambale Musavuli on #EndSars protests
“When the #LekkiMassacre took place, I knew that the government would say that the number of deaths is low, because they’ve done it in #Congo”. Congolese human rights activist Kambale Musavuli shares thoughts on the #Lekki shootings which occurred on Tuesday. #CongoisBleeding
Changing Attitudes Towards Disability in Africa
We are all an accident or misfortune away from incapacitation! Worldwide, the most common disability in people under the age of 50 is depression, followed by hearing disorders and visual impairments.
Welcome to the world of many.
WHO records show that over a billion persons in the world have some form of disability. Depression is a common mental disorder with about 264 million persons suffering significant difficulties in functioning due to various forms of depression. A condition so exhausting, it numbs the mind and demobilises the senses.
We are, at our finest when our faculties work at best and in sync. Consider, however, that sometimes, for no reason of physical exhaustion, breathing could become difficult or problematic…an overwhelming feeling of despair or inadequacy hits hard due to the many vicissitudes of life – heartbreaks, out of work, emotional meltdown, burnouts et cetera.
In no time, pessimism sets in with a despondent lack of activity sucking every modicum of energy in you. At such times, the teeth of suicidal impulses may flash here and there, making the victim less beneficial to himself or society.
Having restricted mental or physical functioning as a consequence of injury or illnesses are easily noticeable in the forms of blindness, amputation, paraplegia, spinal cord injuries, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis and other forms of disabilities, mental and emotional forms of disabilities have more persons in its net.
From those suffering multiple traumas to those who wake up daily distraught –apologising, rationalising, explaining their existence or shortcomings to others between hysteria or through self-talk.
They struggle with private internal dialogues through faint whispers or silent incoherent thoughts that are so incapacitating, they feel trapped.
Often used to denote physical impairment, cognitive impairment, sensory damage, intellectual impairment, mental illness, and various types of chronic diseases, disability may be present from birth or occur during a person’s lifetime.
People with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to deficiencies in health care services. They may experience greater vulnerability to secondary conditions, co-morbid conditions, age-related difficulties. Many have been found to engage in risky health behaviours making them more susceptible to premature death.
They are more prone to ulcers, fragility in bones, UTIs, co-morbid conditions, premature ageing, and higher rates and risks of engaging in unhealthy lifestyle due to physical or mental inactivity. People with mental health disorders and intellectual impairments have been shown to have a lower life expectancy.
Recent statistics show that people with disabilities often receive less education and have disadvantaged living conditions. These may include insufficient food, lack of access to safe water, poor housing, and sanitation.
This exposes disabled individuals to the highest risks for infectious and non-infectious diseases.
Over time, due to negative attitudes and misunderstanding about the significance of their handicapping conditions, disabled persons have been stigmatised and underrepresented.
Negative attitudes revolving around children with disabilities have seen many denied of education or employment especially in developing nations of the world.
Worthy of note is the establishment of the African Rehabilitation Institute (ARI)established in 1988 in Harare. A dedicated agency of the AU which coordinates and reports on all matters relating to disability in Africa.
Since then, heads of government, civil liberties organisations, NGOs, continue to partner with ARI. These bodies include Pan African Federation of Disabled Persons (PAFOD), the African Union of the Blind (AFUB), and other regional organisations of persons with disabilities.
Disability inclusion and catalysation of positive actions must clear the harmful perceptions which suggest that disabilities were linked to some divine curses or family sins. Many are perceived as serving penalties due to gross disobedience to God’s commandments; ancestral violation of societal norms or other alleged offenses against gods of the land; village witches and wizards; inherited curses from societal taboos like ‘arguing and fighting with the elders’; possession by evil spirits among others.
In October, 32-year-old Naddy Zialor made history as the first Seychellois living with a disability to be sworn into the country’s National Assembly. Zialor was born with cerebral palsy, a group of disorders that affects movement and causes involuntary spasms. This is one of such bold steps towards inclusivity.
These absurd assumptions and perceptions are unreliable and mostly preposterous as they make access to support more difficult for victims of disability. Most persons living with disabilities need medical rehabilitation or some forms of assistive devices like hearing aids, prostheses, and wheelchairs.
As we mark the international day of persons with disabilities, we must uphold and domesticate conventions on the rights of persons with disabilities, continue to create programs to overcome these perceptions in order to promote, protect the vulnerable group.
Insecurity, Revolts and the Insurance Industry
In most cases, the corporate entities take on fire and burglary insurance for their buildings but more often, individuals never “insure” properties.
In an industry that is yet to be fully grasped by the average Nigerian on the street, the insurance industry is pretty much uncharted and untapped territory. Yet, its place in a bustling city like Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital cannot be downplayed.
Its growing awareness has been triggered by the recent wave of awakening that swept across the country, beginning from Lagos.
It soon spread to other parts of the country and in diaspora, leading to a movement dubbed #ENDSARS.
This movement against police brutality championed by youth in one of the world’s most populous cities was a cry for every man, a conversation tha had been ongoing, although not taken to the streets in form of protests.
The month of October saw an unprecedented display of oneness and solidarity by the Nigerian youth, as they took to the streets, including notable places like Oshodi, Surulere, Alausa and the Lekki Toll gate demanding an end to police brutality.
Unfortunately, this movement was cut short on October 20, 2020, with the alleged shooting and sporadic killings taking place at the Lekki tollgate, now dubbed “The Lekki Massacre.”
Like something out of a horror movie, what followed was widespread destruction, including looting and arson at notable malls, stores, bus parks, police stations, banks, as well as a prominent television station.
In most cases, the corporate entities had taken on fire and burglary insurance for their buildings but more often, individuals never “insured” properties.
In a highly religious country, the phrase “God is my insurance” is widespread. Ironically the big churches in the city of Lagos insure their buildings.
Now individuals who were caught in the crossfire of wanton destruction of lives and property have to start all over again. The loss of cars, stores, commercial goods and other property means that they have to begin to save up money to replace these valuables.
In case these properties were insured, individuals would have only had to make claims and receive reimbursements.
Are insurance companies doing their bit to ensure that people are adequately informed about the benefits and cost benefits of insurance? Does the poverty index play a critical role in the unacceptance of insurance in the country? Do these companies pay their “claims” to clients? Are insurance companies able to thrive in this sort of environment, especially with fraudulent claimants who want to use their insurance providers as a money-making scheme?
Christmas is here now. How are insurance companies dealing with pending claims which arose as offshoots of the #ENDSARSPROTESTS, inflation, ridiculous dollar to naira exchange rate, as well as the drunk driving episodes that characterise the Christmas frenzy and claims from insurance buyers?
What is it like for insurance sales in Nigeria? What is the terrain like? What is the insurance / insurable culture in Nigeria?
As Burkina Faso Heads to the Polls
Burkina Faso goes to the polls on Sunday. As the country smatters under security challenges,threats from extremist groups could prevent people from casting their votes on the day of the election .
Ahead of the Presidential and legislative elections on Sunday, amid escalating extremist violence that’s harvested over 2,000 persons this year and leaving millions of others distraught and displaced from their homes, the land of upright men finds itself at another epochal threshold of history.
When results of the November 2015 elections were announced, they were greeted with respite and excitement.
Most Observers adjudged it as the most transparent and democratic ever in the country. They ushered in the first elected civilian leader in nearly 50 years, President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré.
Earlier in the month at a rally in the country’s second most populous city, Bobo-Dioulasso, President Kaboré who is seeking a second five-year term promised to continue fighting until his country is secure.
Since taking office five years ago, Kaboré has been blamed for his inability to secure one of Africa’s most hopeful democracies.
Many had hinged their hopes on improved living standards, enhanced health care system, trial of the corrupt leaders, equity and social justice.
Burkina Faso is almost slipping into a humanitarian disaster due to the debilitating activities of various terrorist attacks linked to al-Qaida and JNIM militants from neighbouring Mali.
Eddie Komboigo, head of the Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDP) is his major challenger. He belongs to the party of former President Blaise Compaore. Compaore’s overthrow by a popular insurrection in October 2014 brought to a halt, an authoritarian phase that had dogged the country for decades.
Komboigo explained that Burkina Faso was in a “catastrophe” and blamed Kaboré for being averse to the use of enhanced intelligence-gathering approach, dialogue, and a more diplomatic approach in the fight against terror.
Under the slogan, “let’s save the country”, a third contender in the person of Zephirin Diabre, candidate for the Union for Progress and Change party (UPC) is running against Kaboré for the second time. Diabre who challenged Kabore in 2015 secured 30% in the polls. He wants the fractured nation to reconcile and present a formidable front against the gunmen. In his words, “you can’t fight the war and win it if you’re not united and together.”
For a country which had spent 49 of its 55 years of independence under military rule, if this election runs smoothly, it will be the second time in its history that an election proceeds without incident.
In a statement issued by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres, the UN Chief commended the Government, the political leaders and citizens of Burkina Faso for “upholding an atmosphere of mutual respect throughout the electoral process, despite the challenges facing the country.”
He further called on stakeholders to maintain this posture and ensure that the elections are conducted and decided in a peaceful and credible manner.
The winner of the polls will need at least 50% of the total votes cast to win. While Kaboré is projected to be re-elected, the opposition seeks to split the vote, deprive the President of an outright win in order to form a coalition behind the strongest candidate for a second round. The National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) spokesperson says election results should be out between 48 to 72 hours after the completion of the polls.
This election will be a major test for the nation’s nascent democracy and a failure to ensure a transparent and peaceful election will offer terror groups operating in the region more material for its nihilist propaganda against the state.
A wave of attacks in recent weeks has already threatens the legitimacy of the electoral outcome in the country as large swaths of the country will be unable to exercise its franchise. Denying a large number of voters this inalienable franchise delegitimises the process and undermines the winner’s acceptability.
Burkina Faso’s voter apathy saw less than 2 million voters representing 10 percent of the population determine the emergence of President Kaboré.
Areas subsumed in violence account for at least 400,000 voters. According to its electoral commission, over 160,000 new voters, especially young adults were unable to get registered.
The mass disenfranchisement of this demography who are mostly rural voters and young people equally dents the legitimacy of the election. Any chance that opposition groups contest the election result or Extremist groups exploiting divisions within the country may throw the country into another round of highly destabilising deadlock.
In August an electoral code triggered a law that says, in the event of “force majeure” (unanticipated situations preventing the organisation of elections in part(s) of the country), the election may continue based on the results from polling stations that remain open.
This supposes that election results will be considered binding even if people are unable to vote in parts of the country.
That is not all, two years ago, the National Assembly changed the electoral code to prohibit the use of widely used ‘consular cards’. The card issued by the Embassy to Burkina Faso citizens registered in its jurisdiction serves as voter registration document.
This year however, citizens must switch to a national ID card or passport. For those who do not have any, a new passport costs as much as 110,700 CFA Francs and not everyone currently has these documents. These modifications may keep thousands of persons from voting.
Burkinabé denizens in hard hit areas are apprehensive about exercising their franchise as terrorist groups continue to warn them against voting. Few days ago, terrorists backed groups took credit for the murder of 14 soldiers in Oudalan province. Another attacker threw an explosive into a mosque in the capital, Ouagadougou where many were injured.
Although similar incidents should be expected around polling stations, against voters, passers, and against authorities, the country’s security network must be on alert to ensure that the radical elements do not dictate the tempo of the polls.
The deployment of significant military reinforcements to flashpoints, probable hotspots and strategic locations around the country may offer reprieve for many and see a slightly higher number thronging out to entrust their fate and lives in a process that may, in the next five years mean life or death for them.
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