News Brief

Post-Election Violence in Benin Threatens One of Africa's Most Stable Democracies

The threat of authoritarian rule is rattling the country as demonstrators, calling for an annulment to Sunday's election, were met with live bullets and tear gas.

Protestors and police have clashed for a second day in a row following Sunday's elections in Benin.

Demonstrators have gathered in the economic capital of Cotonou since Wednesday, denouncing the election, which had a notably low turnout, and left opposition candidates out of the running. Many are in support of former leader Thomas Boni Yayi and are demanding the annulment of the vote and for incumbent President Patrice Talon to step down.

Police forces fired live bullets at protestors who were gathering in the capital, reports Al Jazeera. One woman died on Thursday after being wounded during a protest. The violence has largely quelled on Friday according to Yahoo News, but police forces have maintained their presence on the streets of Cotonou.


Videos being shared online appears to show polices forces shooting at demonstrators and dispersing water hoses and tear gas.

The post-election violence has come as a shock to some, as Benin has been considered one of the most stable democracies in Africa since its shift to democratic rule in 1990. "Democracy is precious to us, the people of Benin," one demonstrator told Al Jazeera. "That is why we have protested.

Talon, a former businessman who took office in 2016 and promised to modernize the country, is being accused of reinstating authoritarianism by changing the country's election eligibility requirements, which made it impossible for opposition parties to qualify and left only two parties with allegiances to him on the ballot.

Ahead of the election, the government initiated an internet block, which prevented citizens from accessing social media sites such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Observers called the move an obvious encroachment on freedom of speech. "The decision to shut down access to the Internet and social media on an election day is a blunt violation of the right to freedom of expression," said François Patuel, Amnesty International's West Africa researcher. "It is effectively silencing human rights defenders, journalists and bloggers who are monitoring contested parliamentary elections without opposition candidates."

Several online are lambasting the government for its deadly use of force against civilians, while others are pointing out the worrying effects of





Interview
Justice Mukheli. Courtesy of Black Major/Bongeziwe Mabandla.

Interview: Bongeziwe Mabandla's New Album Is a Calm Meditation On Relationships

We speak with the South African artist about his captivating new album, iimini, love cycles, and the unexpected influence of Bon Iver.

"I've been playing at home for so many years and pretending to be having shows in my living room, and today it's actually happening," Bongeziwe Mabandla says, smiling out at me from my cellphone as I watch him play songs on Instagram Live, guitar close to his chest.

Two weekends ago, Mabandla was meant to be celebrating the release of his third album, iimini, at the Untitled Basement in Braamfontein in Joburg, which would no doubt have been packed with some of the many fans the musician has made since his debut release, Umlilo, in 2012. With South Africa joining many other parts of the world in a lockdown, those dates were cancelled and Mabandla, like many other artists, took to social media to still play some tracks from the album. The songs on iimini are about the life and death of a relationship—songs that are finding their way into the hearts of fans around the world, some of whom, now stuck in isolation, may be having to confront the ups and downs of love, with nowhere to hide.

The day before his Instagram Live mini-show, Mabandla spoke to OkayAfrica on lockdown from his home in Newtown about the lessons he's learned from making the album, his new-found love for Bon Iver, and how he's going to be spending his time over the next few weeks.

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Interview
Lueking Photos. Courtesy of emPawa Africa.

Interview: GuiltyBeatz Proves He's Truly 'Different'

The Ghanaian producer talks to us about his debut EP, Different, the massive success of "Akwaaba," producing for Beyoncé and more.

GuiltyBeatz isn't a new name in the Ghanaian music scene. A casual music fan's first introduction to him would've likely been years ago on "Sample You," one of Mr Eazi's early breakout hits. However, he had scored his first major hit two years before that, in the Nigerian music space on Jesse Jagz' and Wizkid's 2013 hit "Bad Girl." In the years to come, the producer has gone on to craft productions for some of Ghana's most talented artists.

In the years to come, the producer has gone on to craft productions for some of Ghana's most talented artists, having worked with the likes of Efya, Pappy Kojo, Sarkodie, R2Bees, Stonebwoy, Bisa Kdei, Wande Coal, Moelogo and many more over the last decade. The biggest break of the talented producer's career, however, came with the arrival of his own single "Akwaaba".

In 2018, GuiltyBeatz shared "Akwaaba" under Mr Eazi's Banku Music imprint, shortly afterwards the song and its accompanying dance went viral. The track and dance graced party floors, music & dance videos, and even church auditoriums all around the world, instantly making him one of Africa's most influential producers. Awards, nominations, and festival bookings followed the huge success of "Akwaaba." Then, exactly a year later, the biggest highlight of his career so far would arrive: three production credits on Beyoncé's album The Lion King: The Gift.

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Image via Wikimedia Commons

Nollywood Actress, Funke Akindele, Arrested for Throwing Party During Coronavirus Lockdown

Naira Marley, who was also in attendance, has also turned himself in according to local reports.

Star Nigerian actress, Funke Akindele, and her husband, rapper JJC Skillz, were arrested on Monday after hosting a party at their home which violated Lagos' coronavirus lockdown order.

The actress came under fire over the weekend, when footage of a party she threw for her husband's birthday began circulating on social media. The clips showed several people, including fellow Nollywood actress Eniola Badmus and Nigerian rapper Naira Marley, gathered inside of Akindele's Lagos home. According to a report from Pulse Nigeria, Marley also turned himself in on Monday for attending the function and will be arraigned.

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