News Brief
image of Congolese ballot via Monusco

Internet Shut Down in Democratic Republic of Congo Continues

Here are some updates on the contested election

The internet has been down in the Democratic Republic of Congo for three days now following a controversial voting process.

This year, President Joseph Kabila will be stepping down from office after 18 years in power. The presidential race between the new candidates Martin Fayulu and Felix Tshisekedi has been filled with controversy from the fire that destroyed voting machines earlier on in the elections. Following that incidence, BBC reports that 1.26 million voters were excluded from the voting process because of the ebola outbreak and logistical reasons, 20% of polling stations opened late, and the military was reported to be intimidating voters.



On Monday, the internet was shut down as voting ended. According to a representative from vodacom, the government ordered service providers to shut down the internet. The internet was shut down in Kinshasa, Goma, and Lubumbashi and might be down until the results come out at the end of the week.

Commenting on why this internet shutdown was necessary, the senior adviser to President Kabila, Barnabé Kikaya bin Karubi said that the government wanted to stop any fake results from circulating and inciting unrest. "That could lead us straight toward chaos," he concluded.

Alongside an internet shutdown, text messaging has been difficult for most people and the censorship against the media has escalated. The signal for Radio France Internationale (R.F.I.), a news source that was tracking the election, is also down. On Monday, the government had banned the main correspondent for RFI Florence Morice from commenting on the election after accusing her of putting out fake results. The ongoing censorship has caused many people to doubt the credibility of the elections.

The results of the election are scheduled to be revealed on January 6.



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Convener of "#Revolution Now" Omoyele Sowore speaks during his arraignment for charges against the government at the Federal High Court in Abuja, on September 30, 2019. (Photo by KOLA SULAIMON/AFP via Getty Images)

Nigerian Activist, Omoyele Sowore, Re-Arrested Just Hours After Being Released on Bail

Sowore, the organizer of Nigeria's #RevolutionNow protests, was detained by armed officers, once again, in court on Friday.

Omoyele Sowore, the Nigerian human rights activist and former presidential candidate who has spent over four months in jail under dubious charges, was re-arrested today in Lagos while appearing in court.

The journalist and founder of New York-based publication Sahara Reporters, had been released on bail the day before. He was arrested following his organization of nationwide #RevolutionNow protests in August. Since then, Sowore has remained in custody on what are said to be trumped-up charges, including treason, money laundering and stalking the president.

He appeared in court once again on Friday after being released on bail in federal court the previous day. During his appearance, Sowore was again taken into custody by Nigerian authorities.

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Still from YouTube.

Moroccan YouTuber, Moul Kaskita, Has Been Arrested for Insulting the King

The popular YouTuber posted a video wherein he criticizes King Mohammed VI—an inviolable law according to the kingdom's constitution.

The Star reports that popular Moroccan YouTuber Moul Kaskita, real name Mohamed Sekkaki, was arrested and appeared in court this past Tuesday after he was charged with "insulting Moroccans and constitutional institutions".

Moul Kaskita posted a video onto YouTube wherein he criticized King Mohammed VI's leadership and his fellow Moroccans' complacency when it comes to their rights.

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Photo by Lana Haroun

From #FeesMustFall to #BlueforSudan: OkayAfrica's Guide to a Decade of African Hashtag Activism

The 2010s saw protest movements across the continent embrace social media in their quest to make change.

The Internet and its persistent, attention-seeking child, Social Media has changed the way we live, think and interact on a daily basis. But as this decade comes to a close, we want to highlight the ways in which people have merged digital technology, social media and ingenuity to fight for change using one of the world's newest and most potent devices—the hashtag.

What used to simply be the "pound sign," the beginning of a tic-tac-toe game or what you'd have to enter when interacting with an automated telephone service, the hashtag has become a vital aspect of the digital sphere operating with both form and function. What began in 2007 as a metadata tag used to categorize and group content on social media, the term 'hashtag' has now grown to refer to memes (#GeraraHere), movements (#AmINext), events (#InsertFriendsWeddingHere) and is often used in everyday conversation ("That situation was hashtag awkward").

The power of the hashtag in the mobility of people and ideas truly came to light during the #ArabSpring, which began one year into the new decade. As Tunisia kicked off a revolution against oppressive regimes that spread throughout North Africa and the Middle East, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook played a crucial role in the development and progress of the movements. The hashtag, however, helped for activists, journalists and supporters of causes. It not only helped to source information quickly, but it also acted as a way to create a motto, a war cry, that could spread farther and faster than protestors own voices and faster than a broadcasted news cycle. As The Guardian wrote in 2016, "At times during 2011, the term Arab Spring became interchangeable with 'Twitter uprising' or 'Facebook revolution,' as global media tried to make sense of what was going on."

From there, the hashtag grew to be omnipresent in modern society. It has given us global news, as well as strong comedic relief and continues to play a crucial role in our lives. As the decade comes to a close, here are some of the most impactful hashtags from Africans and for Africans that used the medium well.

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Screenshot from the upcoming film Warriors of a Beautiful Game

In Conversation: Pelé's Daughter is Making a Documentary About Women's Soccer Around the World

In this exclusive interview, Kely Nascimento-DeLuca shares the story behind filming Warriors of a Beautiful Game in Tanzania, Brazil and other countries.

It may surprise you to know that women's soccer was illegal in Brazil until 1981. And in the UK until 1971. And in Germany until 1970. You may have read that Sudan made its first-ever women's league earlier this year. Whatever the case, women and soccer have always had a rocky relationship.

It wasn't what women wanted. It certainly wasn't what they needed. However, society had its own ideas and placed obstacle after obstacle in front of women to keep ladies from playing the game. Just this year the US national team has shown the world that women can be international champions in the sport and not get paid fairly compared to their male counterparts who lose.

Kely Nascimento-DeLuca is looking to change that. As the daughter of international soccer legend Pelé, she is no stranger to the game. Growing up surrounded by the sport, she was actually unaware of the experiences women around the world were having with it. It was only recently that she discovered the hardships around women in soccer and how much it mirrored women's rights more generally.

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