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July 29, 2021

Zambia
Warning Signs Appear Ahead of Zambian Elections

The stage being set for next month’s Zambian elections looks worryingly like a case study in ongoing democratic decline. Polls slated for August 12 will elect the country’s next president and members of its National Assembly. They will feature a tight contest between incumbent Edgar Lungu and his ruling Patriotic Front versus opposition stalwart Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development.

Zambia President Edgar Lungu stands looking towards a crowd at a meeting of the African Union.

July 28, 2021

Nigeria
Nnamdi Kanu’s Trial Turns Up Pressure on Nigerian Government

Nigerian security agencies failed on Monday to produce Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the increasingly radical secessionist group Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), in Federal High Court for his arraignment. While government lawyers cited “logistical problems” for Kanu’s absence, his lawyer told the court that he had been unable to access his client in ten days and that he believed his client’s life was in danger.

Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, emerges from a room wearing patterned clothing and holding a shield with the flag of Biafra, a breakaway state defeated in Nigeria's civil war in 1967-70. A flag of Israel is also next to the doorway, signifying Kanu's Jewish faith.

July 26, 2021

Space
Colonizing Space Is Not the Solution to Our Problems on Earth

The dawn of a new space age is upon us. It warrants taking a step back to ask more fundamental, long-term questions, namely: Just what is humanity hoping to accomplish in space?

Billionaire American businessman Jeff Bezos wears goggles owned by Amelia Earhart which he carried into space at a post-launch press conference after he flew on Blue Origin's inaugural flight to the edge of space, in the nearby town of Van Horn, Texas on July 20, 2021.

July 23, 2021

Oceans and Seas
Five Movies Worth Watching About Conflict at Sea

Every summer Friday, we suggest foreign-policy-themed movies worth watching. This week: films about stormy relationships and battles at sea.

Three movie posters in black frames. From left: Run Silent, Run Deep (two men in khaki uniforms above a sinking ship); Mister Roberts (four men in khaki uniforms look off the edge of a ship); Dunkirk (a young man looks out into a chaotic ocean).

July 20, 2021

Democratic Republic of Congo
Political Uncertainty in DRC Highlights Need for Sustained Outside Attention

Back in 2019, the international community acquiesced to undemocratic dealmaking that preempted the will of Congolese voters and brought current President Felix Tshisekedi to power. President Tshisekedi, who has been extremely clear about his intention to seek a second term, has been more ambiguous about whether elections slated for December 2023 will occur on time.

Current President of the Democratic Republic of Congo Felix Tshisekedi and his predecessor Joseph Kabila sit on plush orange seats while wearing suits in apparent conversation.

July 16, 2021

Wars and Conflict
Five Movies Worth Watching About Love and War

Every summer Friday, we suggest foreign-policy-themed movies worth watching. This week: films about romance amid conflict.

Three movie posters in black frames. From left: Casablanca (black and white, a man and a woman look at each other); A Farewell to Arms (a man and woman look worriedly off to the side); The English Patient (a man and woman look off to the side, a desert and airplane behind them).

July 15, 2021

South Africa
South Africa Sees the Best of Times and the Worst of Times

South Africa is in the midst of urban rioting not seen since the end of apartheid. South African and international media carries pictures of mayhem featuring looted televisions and burned-out strip malls, and some commentators are saying that South Africa is what a failed state looks like. However, the South African judiciary has reaffirmed the rule of law by sending to jail former President Jacob Zuma for contempt of court.

A South African soldier walks through a looted mall with an assault rifle in hand. Shards of broken glass litter the area under his feet.

July 13, 2021

Nigeria
T.B. Joshua: A Preacher Who Held Outsized Influence in Nigeria and Africa

Policy makers, diplomats, and commentators in the secular West often fail to take into account the profound influence of religious leaders in sub-Saharan Africa, whether among Christians, Muslims, or adherents of traditional religions. Heaven, hell, and what secularists regard as magic are literal realities, more immediate than government policy or the pronouncements of political leaders. What the preacher says is more credible than the utterances of politicians.

T.B. Joshua, a now-deceased Nigerian pastor, holds his hand on a woman's face. The woman holds her hands raised with her palms upward.

July 12, 2021

Women and Women's Rights
#MeToo Helped Put Cosby in Prison. His Release Doesn’t Diminish the Movement’s Global Triumphs.

Bill Cosby's release from prison may have some raising the question: Is the #MeToo movement over? Our answer is a resounding no.

Tarana Burke at #MeToo Survivors' March

July 12, 2021

Nigeria
Nigeria Security Tracker Weekly Update: July 3–9

This update represents violence in Nigeria and related to Boko Haram in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger from July 3 to July 9, 2021.

Map of Nigeria shaded in red to reflect Nigeria Security Tracker-documented deaths per state. Borno state, the northeastern-most state, is dark red, while the rest of the country are shades of pink. Regions of Cameroon, Chad, and Niger that have experienced Boko Haram-related violence are also shaded.