Links this week: Elections in the U.S. and Somaliland

Malcolm X
Photo of Malcolm X taken in 1964. (Herman Hiller/Library of Congress)

In this week’s episode with Kenyan activist Boniface Mwangi, we talked about his book Unbounded, which is available in Kenya through his website and in the United States through Amazon. Mwangi will donate a book to a school for every book purchased in Kenya. During our conversation, he shared that he is currently reading Mao Zedong, and recommended the late historian Manning Marable‘s award-winning book, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention.

Uncharacteristic of our typically Africa-centric news roundup, this week we shared some U.S. election results. In particular, we drew listeners’ attention to two races in the American heartland:

  • In Iowa City, Iowa, on Tuesday, community organizer Mazahir Salih won the at-large seat on the city council. Salih is Iowa City’s first Sudanese-American council member, and also likely the first Sudanese-American person elected to governmental office in the United States, according to Majed Khalifa, a board member of the Sudanese American Public Affairs Association. During her campaign, Salih talked about issues facing low-income residents in Iowa City, focusing in particular on expanding affordable housing, improving local transportation, and promoting quality jobs. Congratulations, councilwoman-elect Salih!
  • In neighboring Nebraska, Wilmot Collins won the mayoral election in Helena, defeating the four-term incumbent mayor. Collins came to Montana 20 years ago as a refugee from Liberia. He is the first black person to be elected mayor of any city in Montana. For the record, Montana has the smallest proportion of black people of any state in the U.S.; less than 1% of Montana’s population is black.
A woman shows she’s just voted in Somaliland’s 2010 election by displaying her inked fingers. (Teresa Krug/CC license via Flickr)

Today Somaliland is holding presidential elections. The Monkey Cage has a pre-election report worth reading for those who are unfamiliar with Somaliland politics. No state recognizes Somaliland’s independence from Somalia, which considers the breakaway state an autonomous region. We learn in the pre-election report that unlike Somalia, Somaliland has a long history of elections and peaceful leadership transitions. There’s every expectation that today’s election will also lead to a peaceful transition.

Here are a few bonus links:

  • Workers and others wasted at least $6 million meant to fight Ebola in West Africa confirmed the Red Cross in excellent reporting by the Associated Press. (AP/Denver Post)
  • Cape Verde aims to use only renewable energy by 2025 and it might reach its goal. (The Conversation)
  • In Ethiopia, the government is everywhere. (New York Times)
  • A high court in Zimbabwe has granted bail to a U.S. citizen charged with subversion. (Reuters)
  • Filming has begun in Malawi for the adaptation of The Boy Who Harnessed the Winda book about William Kamkwamba‘s ingenuity in making a windmill from scrap parts and an old physics textbook during a famine. Academy Award winning actor Chiwetel Ejiofor will star in the film, which also marks his directorial debut. (The Hollywood Reporter)

Finally, we have two videos for you to check out. This first is from our friends at OkayAfrica (@okayafrica):

The second video prompts us all to ask: Is age just a number?

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