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One Next Step, By Sesugh Akume – The Maravi Post

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There hasn’t been more relieving news coming from the National Assembly, or from the government in general, than the news of the Senate authorising, as should, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) election management body, to conduct elections as they deem it best, precisely, to transmit elections results electronically as they are cast and collated at the polling centres.



Election results tend to be different from what voters expect because many times what is counted and recorded at the polling centres ends up being different when the votes from various polling centres are collated, counted, and reported. The process of announcing the winner usually isn’t transparent. It then becomes difficult to establish that the election results were tampered with and the wrong person returned. This is a major cause of voter apathy. The long term result of this and more dangerous outcome is the system of government we practise in Nigeria, a kakistocracy ie government by the worst and least qualified persons.

Had Nigeria quality too quality persons in public office with the competence, capacity, character, the courage to do the right thing, and conscience to serve as best they can, we wouldn’t be where we are, and keep complaining about the way things are going, as we do. Hopefully, with transparent elections by way of electronic transfer of election results, the people can have a better say in determining who occupies public office. Better quality persons would be elected in office, and we can start the journey to nation having a proper country, well run. 

There are other issues like diaspora voting, etc which need to be looked into an implemented as soon as possible, but this is a great start.

Thumbs up should be given to INEC for staying the course on this one. And to the people for organising to insist against the National Assembly standing in the way of transparent elections, as they had in the past.

Next to credible elections is the issue of a constitutional amendment. If democracy is government of the people and by the people, for the people then, they should be able to participate in it by determining who serves them. They should also, very importantly, determine the laws by which their society is regulated. They should be able to determine what is most important to them, and how they want their society to be regulated. Critical issues shouldn’t start and end with the 469 representatives at the National Assembly, but from the people directly. This is how to build a country and a nation. By making the not feel but indeed belong and own the processes.

It’s why it is critical for room to be made in the constitution for referendum, a means whereby the people can vote and decide on issues that are important to them. As of now, the constitution doesn’t provide for one. But it is essential it does.

Various suggestions have been offered on how to make the country work, by amending this or that section of constitution. 

Most of these are never quite taken board in all the numerous constitutional amendments done every 4 years since 1999. The people have not been heard from, therefore, many of these suggestions remain unimplemented. Not implementing these make the problems grow larger and get more complicated. 

Look at the issue of security and policing. In refusing to listen the government commits or endorses illegality in attempt to solve this problem. Outfits like Amotekun, Hisbah, Livestock Guards, Ebube Agu, and the numerous other security agencies set up by the states are unconstitutional, illegal because the constitution is clear that states cannot make laws with respect to security. But is this workable, is it sustainable, is it what the people want? 

There are numerous instances of where the constitution as is, stands in the way of progress as against enhancing it. A referendum provides an opportunity to hear the people out, and provides an channel for them to ventilate. Such engagement eases tension and angst in the land. It gives the people a sense of ownership. After all, the constitution itself says sovereignty lies in the people from whom government itself derived its authority. Why then can’t the people be listened to directly? Eritrea, Ethiopia, Uganda, South Africa, and many other countries on the continent have this provision in their constitution and exercise it. Why shouldn’t Nigeria?

If there is one more thing this 9th National Assembly can do, further to empowering INEC to carry out electronic transmission of results, is to simply provide for a referendum in the constitution, among whatever other amendments they hope to carry out this time.

But, this won’t happen by citizens keep quiet. The people have to organise and keep at it until this too is done. For this reason, everybody who can read and has Internet access will do well to sign the #FixPolitics (in collaboration with 100 other organisations of like mind) online petition and urge others to do same, and even chip in a little amount to push the campaign further, so that as many Nigerians that have access to the Internet can lend their voices to this critical endeavour of a lifetime, making the National Assembly including referendum in our constitution.

Please sign the petition here: https://www.change.org/p/petition-to-amend-nigeria-s-1999-constitution-to-provide-for-a-referendum

Sesugh Akume, a public policy analyst, wrote from Abuja. He is reached by [email protected]

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Mali maestro’s message of peace to Sahel region’s youngsters drawn to extremism – The Maravi Post

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An ambitious project to raise awareness about rising insecurity and mass displacement in the Sahel has resulted in an original musical score from Mali songwriter Vieux Farka Touré. 

NEW YORK, USA, October 14, 2021,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/-In partnership with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Mr. Toure’s A Song For The Sahel, highlights the crisis in many countries of the region, while also spotlighting its rich musical heritage.

In an exclusive interview with UN News, the respected musician described how he no longer felt comfortable driving across the country to perform, as he used to do. Malians now “sleep with one eye open”, he said, in reference to the insurgency led by extremists, who have taken advantage of the lack of opportunities for the country’s youngsters.

“The youth must show courage, strength and fight against this crisis,” he said. “Peace and solidarity are the tools. If peace is built now, our children tomorrow will thrive.

“Music is a fantastic tool to share messages. Sharing awareness is of paramount importance. It has a strong impact on what happens in our countries.”

Fast growing emergency

The Sahel crisis is one of the world’s fastest-growing emergencies. According to OCHA, this year, almost 29 million people need life-saving assistance and protection, that’s five million more people than last year.

Amid this fast-deteriorating humanitarian situation, the UN agency has warned that people’s vulnerability has increased owing to escalating conflict, rising food insecurity, multiplying climate emergencies and the pandemic.

OCHA’s hope, nonetheless, is that The Song for the Sahel will provide a little hope for all those who need assistance there today.

“This song celebrates the persistent resilience, generosity, solidarity and strength that Sahelians continue to display despite the crisis that surrounds them, as well as their vibrant music and cultural heritage,” said Bounena Sidi Mouhamed, Deputy Head of UN OCHA’s Regional Office for West and Central Africa.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of UN News.

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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Cathy Smith of SAP Africa Scores a Spot on the Africa.com Definitive List of Women CEOs of the Biggest & Most Complex Businesses in Africa – The Maravi Post

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JOHANESBURG, South Africa, October 14, 2021 -/African Media Agency(AMA)/- Africa.com undertook a rigorous research project to identify the women who run the largest, most complex businesses on the African continent. The result of this extensive research undertaking is The Africa.com Definitive List of Women CEOs.

SAP’s Cathy Smith, MD Sub-Saharan Africa, made the list of 50 women CEOs leading corporate Africa. The list was compiled over many months through a deep research effort to examine the management of big business in Africa. Big business, for this purpose, is defined as being listed on one of Africa’s stock exchanges and having a market capitalization of over $150 million USD or being a global publicly listed company with a market capitalization of over $50 billion USD and significant operations in Africa.  

Harvard Business School Professor Tony Mayo will present his research findings on what it takes for African American women to reach the top spot in the corporate sector as part of the Summit on October 13. At this event, the names of the 50 women on the list will be revealed. In addition, a panel of women from the list will tell the stories of their rise to the top of Corporate Africa, and comment on Professor Mayo’s research by addressing what it takes to make it to the top in Africa, specifically. Another high-profile panel will address what stock exchanges are doing globally to advocate for more women in big business, and will feature the heads of the major African stock exchanges.  Registration for the summit is free and can be accessed at Africa.com’s Virtual Event Center. (https://virtualeventcenter.africa.com/)

Cathy Smith was appointed Managing Director of SAP Africa in March 2018. She is the first female head of an emerging markets market unit in SAP’s history. She started her career in the insurance industry as an application developer and spent three years in the UK, consolidating her expertise. Overall, she has more than 30 years’ experience in the IT industry, working for major global industry players like IBM and Cisco.

“I am truly humbled by this recognition from Africa.com and to be in the company of so many incredible, successful and inspirational women leaders. My congratulations to each of them,” says Smith. “I believe that diversity of every kind brings enormous value to organisations and is something we should constantly strive for. I would love to see more young women studying in the STEM fields and encourage more women to enter the technology industry. It is such an exciting space to be in and there is so much positive impact we can make, not only in business but also in African communities.”

Methodology for The Definitive List

The Africa.com Definitive List of Women CEOs is the product of a data-driven research project that began by identifying all publicly listed companies on all of the twenty-one stock exchanges in Africa – a list of over 1400 companies. From there, the researchers screened the companies to focus on the largest companies – those with a market capitalization of $150 million USD or larger, resulting in a list of 355 corporations. Once the researchers had identified these 355 companies, the largest in Africa, they then searched the public information available on the management teams of these companies. In order to qualify for the List, women had to have a CEO or managing director title at the head of one of these companies. The titles were then vetted further by examining where the women fit within the company’s overall organizational structure to ensure that the women truly hold authority that is consistent with their title.  

In addition to the women selected through the process above, the analysis went on to identify two additional groups of women running Corporate Africa. One additional group of women are those who run divisions of very large African corporate entities, such that their division, if spun out on its own, would qualify for the list with its own divisional market cap of $150 million USD or more. The roles of the women running these divisions were vetted within the context of the company’s organizational structure – the title alone was not sufficient to make the list. The women in this group have profit and loss responsibility for a revenue generating division that would be valued at $150 million or more, on its own.

Lastly, women who run the entire African region, a region within Africa, or an African country for global corporations listed on international exchanges were then identified. To qualify for this group, only international companies with a market cap of $50 billion or more are included. The women running these businesses range from those who run a country, such as Kenya or Nigeria, to those who run all of sub-Saharan Africa for these global behemoths.

Sources: We acknowledge African Business Magazine for contributing to the financial data on the African publicly listed corporations.

For more information, email thedefinitivelist@africa.com or contact Africa.com at: +27 11 881 5941.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of SAP Africa.

Visit the SAP News Center. Follow SAP on Twitter at @SAPNews.

About SAP

As the Experience Company powered by the Intelligent Enterprise, SAP is the market leader in enterprise application software, helping companies of all sizes and in all industries run at their best: 77% of the world’s transaction revenue touches an SAP® system. Our machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced analytics technologies help turn customers’ businesses into intelligent enterprises. SAP helps give people and organizations deep business insight and fosters collaboration that helps them stay ahead of their competition. We simplify technology for companies so they can consume our software the way they want – without disruption. Our end-to-end suite of applications and services enables more than 440,000 business and public customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and make a difference. With a global network of customers, partners, employees, and thought leaders, SAP helps the world run better and improve people’s lives. For more information, visit www.sap.com.

About Africa.com

Africa.com is a media holding company with an extensive array of platforms that reach a global audience interested in African content and community. Africa.com’s interests include a business publisher’s ad and content syndication network, the website at www.iafrica.com, email newsletters, various social media platforms, and internet domain names ending with the “africa.com” extension. Africa.com operates from Johannesburg, Lagos, and New York, and has a presence in Cape Town and Nairobi.

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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Egyptian modelling agency ‘decolonising beauty standards’ – The Maravi Post

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Between the frenzied rush of wardrobe changes and photographers readying for shoots, Iman Eldeeb’s agency is slowly breaking new ground for Egypt’s fashion scene by hiring a diverse line-up of models.

Cutting a slender figure, the curly-haired Eldeeb forged an international career in European fashion capital Milan, where photographers told her she was “the first Egyptian model they had ever seen”.

Seven years later, she returned to Egypt in 2018 and set about shaking up a fashion scene where old stereotypes prevail.

In the Arab world’s most populous nation, modelling has long been dominated by “girls from Eastern Europe, with fair complexions,” said Eldeeb.

The 28-year-old said such “obsolete” standards have made it difficult for Egyptian and Arab models to break into the industry.

“Beauty cannot be limited by the appearance and shape of a face and so on. I feel this is a misconception of beauty,” Eldeeb told AFP.

“Hair colour, eye colour, all these things were part of a very old understanding of beauty and this is something we are moving away from as much as we can.”

According to The Fashion Spot, a website specialising in the industry, “models of colour” accounted for more than 43 percent of those on global catwalks in fall 2021 — making it “the most racially diverse season on record”.

Travelling the world as a model, Eldeeb said she sensed a new trend of more diverse faces and bodies was emerging.

Back in Egypt, she and her sister Yousra then founded UNN Model Management — whose name means “rebirth” in the language of the black Nubian minority.

The agency offers a platform for budding talents in Egypt who lack support in the fiercely competitive industry.

“The fashion industry is still developing in the Arab world,” said Eldeeb.

Today, UNN oversees around 35 contracts with top brands including Louis Vuitton, Adidas and Levi’s, making it a leader on the nascent Egyptian scene.

Race issues

Mohsen Othman, a freelance photographer also known as Lemosen who works with UNN regularly, praised the agency for its “daring” approach.

In the industry in Egypt, “we have creative people but we lack the means, and training remains old-fashioned,” he said.

For Sabah Khodir, an Egyptian activist against gender-based violence, UNN is a force for “decolonising beauty standards” and “deconstructing internalised racism”.

“Being more represented in fashion, on screen or elsewhere, can save lives. It humanises you in the eyes of the world,” Khodir said of the situation for under-represented women.

Adhar Makuac Abiem, a model from South Sudan, has long endured racial taunts and insults in the unforgiving streets of Egypt’s bustling capital Cairo.

When she settled in Egypt as a refugee in 2014, she never imagined she would be hired by a local agency.

Often she was told that she was “too black” or “too ugly” to get any work, she said.

But since 2019, the 21-year-old has managed to build a career as a model working with UNN.

Egypt is similar to “the West where prejudices persist about dark-skinned” people, said Marie Grace Brown, a University of Kansas researcher who authored a book on women’s fashion in Sudan.

But that has not stopped Abiem from trying to “become a positive role model” for young black women in the industry.

‘A form of healing’

Mariam Abdallah, 22, who was busy styling her hair before a photoshoot, said she has been doing more modelling overseas than in Egypt.

“We’re not very interested in ‘exotic’ top models,” she told AFP.

Beyond battling discrimination in a highly predatory industry, where there have been high profile cases of sexual misconduct, getting parental consent is another challenge in the conservative Muslim country.

According to Eldeeb, three-quarters of parents fear images of their model daughters could be “misused” online.

There are also concerns about revealing clothing, as well as working “inappropriate hours” for young women.

“Whatever the profession, parents always try to decide for the girls,” she added.

The World Bank says that fewer than 20 per cent of Egyptian women had a job in 2019.

But Eldeeb has managed to secure work visas for some of her models in France, a first for home-grown talent.

Abdallah left Egypt for the first time recently thanks to the contracts she now has with around a dozen agencies in Europe and the United States, giving her a sense of independence and purpose.

For the activist Khodir, the emphasis on developing Egyptian talent for global fashion houses is much more than just good business.

“It’s a form of healing that we badly need,” she said.

Source: Africanews

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