From Episode #4: What we’re reading this week

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet His Excellency Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh, President of the Republic of The Gambia, and Mrs. Zineb Jammeh, in the Blue Room during a U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit dinner at the White House, Aug. 5, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
Former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, pictured with his wife, Mrs. Zineb Jammeh, in the Blue Room during a U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit dinner at the White House, Aug. 5, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

Gambia finally saw Yahya Jammeh, its president of 22 years, leave office after he refused to step down following his loss in the December 1st elections. (His departing plane was stuffed, including two Rolls Royces, a Mercedes-Benz, and other cars and luxury items.) The new president, Adama Barrow, was sworn into office in the Gambian embassy in neighboring Senegal on January 19th and just this week announced his vice president will be Fatoumata Tambajang.

For those of you who don’t know her, Gambian Vice President Tambajang made headlines last month when she said in an interview with The Guardian newspaper that Yahya Jammeh would be prosecuted for crimes committed by his regime. In that same interview, she also questioned the wealth Jammeh amassed during his rule and threw some shade at the former first lady:

“We’re going to investigate, to follow up not only him but his wife. His wife is a gold-digger. She has emptied our coffers. Each time you see her here it’s to empty our coffers.”

For a little levity this Monday morning, here’s one of our favorite tweets, written before Jammeh finally left office:

This past holiday season, Lagos custom officers stopped 2.5 tons of plastic rice from entering Nigeria. The BBC reports that it is unclear what would have happened to people if they had consumed the fake rice. (HT to Antoinette Isama in OkayAfrica)

In an Op-Ed in The East African, Kaddu Sebunya, the president of the African Wildlife Foundation, comments on China’s decision to ban all domestic ivory trade by 2017. Sebunya reasons that by compelling the legal ivory trade to shut down, the market for illicit ivory will thin out. This would be good news for the vulnerable African elephant, seeing as about 70% of traded ivory ends up in China. Conservationists have called the ban a “game changer” while others are skeptical about the motivation and efficacy of the ban.

See also this Africa is a Country film review by Lina Benabdallah, our most recent guest on the podcast. Lina reviews Guangzhou Dream Factory, which shifts perspective from “China in Africa” to “Africa in China,” documenting African migrants navigating life in one of China’s major cities.

Here are a few bonus links we found interesting but didn’t have time to share on the podcast:

  • The 2017 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) continues this week — and our colleagues at Africa Is a Country are holding a contest, calling for you to share your favorite AFCON goal on Twitter with the hashtag #MyAFCONGoal. You could win a sweet new football jersey made by AMS (African Manufacturing Solutions), the official apparel supplier to several emerging national football teams in Africa.
  • Check out this longread at OkayAfrica on Cape Verde, migration, and music, that also teaches us about the country’s political history.
  • Somaliland has set dates for its upcoming elections: presidential elections will be held October 10, 2017 and parliamentary elections will be held a year later, on October 10, 2018.

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