Rwanda records a world first as commercial drone delivery service is launched; President Buhari says wife “belongs in the kitchen”
In a bid to solve transport problems in the country, Rwanda’s government in collaboration with US robotics and drone company, Zipline have introduced the world’s first commercial drone delivery service. The service will be delivering blood to health centres in remote areas, bypassing traffic and rough terrain. Rwanda previously used motorbike deliveries and Keller Rinaudo, Zipline’s CEO says the costs are the same with the new technology but would not divulge how much the government is paying. Health workers can now request a blood delivery via text message which will arrive around 30 minutes later. According to Quartz Africa, “Blood loss after birth is one of the reasons maternal mortality is much higher in poor countries than rich ones; it’s the leading cause of death in Rwanda for pregnant women.” The government of Rwanda has therefore blazed a trail for other countries to follow but drones have generally been received with a much skepticism and fear by other countries like Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria. The major fear pertains to how they could be used for terror attacks.
In a move widely suspected to be a way to curb protests in the Oromia region and other areas, Ethiopia has unveiled strict rules to tighten controls in the country. The rules were announced late Saturday and restrict the movement of diplomats 40 kilometers outside of Addis Ababa without official permission. It also prohibits contact with groups regarded as terrorist and watching media channels like Oromia Media Network and Ethiopia Satellite Television and Radio. Voice of America says the emergency also outlaws rallies and public meetings without permission from authorities and gives security forces the right to detain and search suspects without a court order. According to an official statement by Siraj Fegessa, Ethiopia’s minister of defense and head of the Command Post, those who break the rules may face jail terms of three to five years. Ethiopia’s turmoil has been driven by the move to annex some of the land belonging to the Oromo, the nation’s largest ethnic group. The country is trying to bolster its manufacturing industry but had to abandon the idea which decision came too late as protests had ceased to be solely inspired by the land proposal. The protests have evolved into demands for for more freedoms and release of opposition politicians, journalists and activists.
The Nigerian President seems to have kicked a hornet’s nest for making a joke that largely reflects a patriarchal view of the place of women in modern society. The President’s wife, Aisha Buhari had said in a BBC interview, she would not support his re-election if he chose to run again in 2019. She also criticized his leadership style saying she (and the President too) did not know many of the people he had appointed into various offices in the country. In response, he said, “I don’t know which party my wife belongs to, but she belongs to my kitchen and my living room and the other room.” The Associated Press reported that the German chancellor, Angela Merkel who was standing next to him gave him a short glare and then laughed. Buhari went on to outline the various contextual issues his administration has had to face and also claimed to have “superior knowledge over” his wife and the rest of the opposition. The President’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu has brushed it aside as a joke saying, “My friends, can’t a leader get a sense of humor anymore? Mr. President laughed before that statement was made.”
After a two day mission in Niger, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has called for more international efforts to address the massive needs in the four countries affected by conflict in the area. Commenting on the situation in the area, he said, “I have been deeply moved this week by the people I’ve met. So many lives have been torn apart. The village of Garin Wanzam is just one example of the vast human tragedy playing out across the entire Lake Chad region, where some 2.6 million people have been driven from their homes and more than 6 million are caught up in a daily struggle to put food on the table.” Garin Wanzam, a village in Niger has become a refuge for 30,000 displaced people dependent on humanitarian aid and unable to return home. The village has one well providing water for everyone in the area. The ICRC president has also called upon all parties involved in the regional conflict to protect and respect civilians, detainees and the wounded.
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