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Gone! Omar al-Bashir and his failed identity politics

Ethnicity and religion have been the driving force of Sudan’s politics, until now

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Sudanese demonstrators chant slogans as they gather in a street in central Khartoum on April 11, 2019, immediatly after one of Africa's longest-serving presidents was toppled by the army. - Organisers of protests for the ouster of Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir rejected his toppling by the army Thursday as a "coup conducted by the regime" and vowed to keep up their campaign. (Photo by AHMED MUSTAFA / AFP)

Ethnicity and religion have framed Sudan’s politics since its independence in 1959. The country’s two civil wars have been understood as conflicts between the predominantly Arab, Muslim North and the largely African, Christian South.

President Gaafar Nimeiry deepened the crisis when in 1983 he decreed sharia would be national law. President Omar al-Bashir cemented the divide with his own aggressively Islamist policies which included harbouring Osama bin Laden in the 1990s. His patent objective was to create an Arab Islamist state but it was met with an equally direct response from the South; a fight for their independence.

The narrative of a Christian South being persecuted by a Muslim north was set and the international community helped to amplify it. The US, facilitated by the bipartisan, congressional “Sudan Caucus”, was especially active in keeping the peace process on the global agenda.  A peace agreement was eventually signed with the backing of President George W. Bush, an evangelical Christian himself.

South Sudan’s independence did not bring an end to the ethno-religious troubles of the country. Atrocities committed in Darfur again received significant international media attention with Hollywood stars like George Clooney, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon and Brad Pitt shining a light on the issue.

Declaration of war

The coin has two faces and the other side of this one is economic.

Decades of corruption, sanctions, economic ineptness, loss of oil income to South Sudan and the final nail, IMF austerity prescriptions, left Sudan’s economy in tatters.

With 80% of the oil going to South Sudan in 2011, al-Bashir was adamant about retaining the remaining 20%, which lies in South Kordofan, one of three contested regions along with Darfur and the Blue Nile.

Faced with the certain secession of the south, a defiant al-Bashir declared in 2010, “If South Sudan secedes, we will change the constitution, and at that time there will be no time to speak of diversity of culture and ethnicity…Sharia and Islam will be the main source for the constitution, Islam the official religion and Arabic the official language.”

This was clearly not to be countenanced by people already engaged in armed struggle for their cultural, religious and economic freedom.

Kamal Kambal, of Nuba Mountains Solidarity Abroad, responded by saying “this is the reason why the southerners want to break away.” He reiterated that the Nuba (of South Kordofan) had been fighting side by side with the south “to prevent the imposition of sharia law and Arabic culture”.

“For us, this statement is a declaration of war,” Kambal concludes.

By the time protests broke out in December 2018, al-Bashir’s ethno-religious incitement was a well-established tactic that he must have credited, at least partially, for keeping him in power all those years. So after failing to repress the protests with teargas and live ammunition, Omar al-Bashir pulled out a familiar weapon, ethno-religious division.

‘We are all Darfur!’

In late December a group of 32 Darfurian men were arrested, tortured, and paraded on state media as a Mossad-trained terror cell. Bashir accused the men of planning to bomb the protests they had apparently instigated. No doubt expecting that the well-worn trope of the hyper-aggressive, dangerous and anti-Islamic Darfurian would do its work.

It did not. The Darfurian men were all identified by their university mates as fellow students and the protests took up a new chant, “You racist egomaniac, we are all Darfur!”

This latest uprising against Sudan’s political establishment has been more Sudanese, in the truest sense, than any other before. The protests first began in the countryside, not in Khartoum. They have not been confined to middle class professionals and unemployed students.

Reports emerged of tea sellers in Khartoum – typically women at the bottom of the societal rung – sharing their daily earnings to defray each woman’s losses as they took turns to attend the protests. People’s transportation costs were crowdfunded online to allow them attend marches and sit-ins.

Images of the protests have shown Sudanese – Arab, Afro-Arab, Arabised Afro, African, Muslim, Christian, Civilian, Military, Men, Women – standing side by side; and on the same side of the country’s historic moment irrespective of their differences.

On Thursday April 11, they won. Omar al-Bashir’s 30-year rule came to an end.

It is only the first victory though. The road to true revolution will be long and perhaps winding but the Sudanese people, together, have begun that journey.

In the end, under the right (or wrong) conditions, people will revolt and longstanding tricks will lose their hold as they did under al-Bashir.

All politicians under-serving their people, should take note.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect News Central’s editorial stance.

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Op-Ed

Wanna meet your match? 5 best makeup tips to keep you winning

Here are some recommendations that could come in handy when you go makeup shopping, unsupervised

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Wanna Meet Your match? Use These Unbeatable Tips | News Central TV
Photo credit: House of Tara International

One of the most difficult things for women when getting their makeup (when there are no makeup tips) done by themselves is getting their foundation shades right.

Most times, the shade appears correct but the texture is all wrong, leaving them with a ‘cakey’ finish or simply a dripping hot mess! Sometimes, it oxidizes during the day and leaves an ashy shade.

It’s almost like we never win! Well, we spoke to some makeup artists to get tips that would save you from this recurring facial misadventure.

5 Best Makeup Tips

Here are some recommendations that could come in handy when you go makeup shopping, unsupervised.

1. Know your skin type

Wanna Meet Your match? Use These Unbeatable Tips | News Central TV
Photo credit: House of Tara

Sometimes, your skin can be oily, dry or a combination of both. Whilst knowing your skin type will not automatically help you pick your right shade, it would help you know the right foundation type for you.

To narrow down your options:

  • Choose cream or stick foundation if you have dry skin
  • Choose a matte finish or oil-free liquid or powder foundation if you have oily skin.
  • Choose a powder foundation if you have combination skin
  • Choose a foundation that offers full or medium coverage if you have an uneven complexion and want to cover most of your skin

2. Test under natural light

Find a door or window to see how the foundation holds up in daylight. Sometimes, what you see isn’t always what you get.

3. Test before buying

Wanna Meet Your match? Use These Unbeatable Tips | News Central TV
Photo credit: House of Tara

Choose the foundation shade that looks closest to your skin tone. Test by swathing on your jawline (it is the closest to your natural tone and would show you better how the foundation matches against your neck).

The idea here is to find one that blends in perfectly, not one that you can easily see.

The best foundation will disappear into your skin and provide an even canvas for your other makeup application.

4. If it’s broken (or wrong), fix it – of the very essential makeup tips

Some of us have multiple bottles of wrong shades of foundation- too light or too dark. Don’t throw them away because you now know the shade is wrong. Fix it and use it!

When it is too light, customize to get your right shade by mixing the foundation with a darker shade of concealer, foundation or powder.

When it is too dark, mix with a lighter shade.

5. Choose a Beauty Store that has artists or beauty experts

They would help you narrow down your options and even teach you some cool tricks.

Some other helpful makeup tips:

  • Change makeup sponges regularly if you use them to apply foundation because they can harbour germs and bacteria.
  • Always remove makeup and apply moisturizer before bed. Your skin will repair itself when you sleep.
Wanna Meet Your match? Use These Unbeatable Tips | News Central TV
Photo credit: House of Tara

There are over 21 shades of foundation and 15 shades of powder to choose between.

Hopefully, with our tips and tricks, you would find your match in this mix and maze of shades.

Now you never have to use your face as a permanent testing ground. Find your match and make your move.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect News Central TV’s editorial stance.

Copyright News Central

All rights reserved. This post and other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcasted, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central.

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Op-Ed

Nigeria’s economy: Preview of the week ahead

This week’s major risk event will be Thursday’s annual meeting at Wyoming where leaders from major central banks gather

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Nigeria's economy: Preview of the week ahead | News Central TV
(File photo)

Lingering concerns over a global recession will continue influencing market sentiment in the week ahead, with world equities, emerging markets and riskier currencies in the direct firing line.

Although treasury yields are recovering from record lows, the movements in bond markets are poised to be closely monitored by investors.

In Nigeria, there will be a strong focus on the second-quarter GDP report which should provide fresh insight into the health of the Nigerian economy.

A disappointing figure is seen fuelling expectations over the Central Bank of Nigeria cutting interest rates. Markets are predicting growth of 1.8% during the second quarter of 2019.

READ: Will oil prices help or harm Nigeria’s economy in Q3?

Across the Atlantic, Dollar traders will be closely looking at July’s FOMC minutes for clues on the future pace of rate cuts. Market expectations over a September rate should rise if the minutes are presented with a dovish touch.

However, some are still questioning whether the Fed will move forward with further rate cuts given how US retail sales grew 0.7% in July and the latest job report suggested moderate growth. 

This week’s major risk event will be Thursday’s annual meeting at Wyoming where leaders from major central banks gather. If major central banks express a readiness to cut interest rates further and implement new quantitative easing programs, the mood across markets has the potential to improve.

READ: Gold: Positioned to thrive in low-interest-rate environment

Appetite towards Gold will be influenced by trade developments, the Dollar’s valuation and global growth concerns. The precious metal could still hit $1550 once bulls can secure control above $1530.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect News Central TV’s editorial stance.

Copyright News Central

All rights reserved. This post and other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcasted, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central.

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Op-Ed

Gold: Positioned to thrive in low-interest-rate environment

Rising concerns surrounding the health of the global economy is another one of the engines that will help drive Gold prices

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Gold: Positioned to thrive in low-interest-rate environment

The investment case for Gold is set to remain robust as speculation mounts that major central banks will ease monetary policy in an effort to counter a global economic downturn.

The yellow metal shone with extreme intensity during the second quarter of 2019, rallying roughly 9 per cent to levels not seen above $1,435 in over six years, thanks to an environment that included ongoing global growth concerns, geo-politics, trade tensions and Dollar weakness.

Weak macro data, which reflects downward revisions in global growth over the past 12 months, is prompting a handful of central banks including the European Central Bank (ECB), Federal Reserve (Fed) and Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to signal a willingness to ease monetary policy and increase economic stimulus to support growth.

In a low-interest-rate environment filled with chronic uncertainty, Gold can climb another 5 per cent over the course of Q3 – claiming the title as one of the high flyers among safe-haven assets, in competition with the Yen. 

Will Gold’s fortunes hang on the Fed’s actions?

Will Gold’s fortunes hang on the Fed’s actions?

What investors need to watch as the second half of the trading year gets underway are the actions of the Federal Reserve. Will the US central bank confirm market expectations and cut interest rates as early as July? If it fails to do so, Gold risks rapidly surrendering its second-quarter surge.

Essentially, if the Fed sits on its hands beyond July, profits will be taken from the table on the $120+ rally that transpired in Gold throughout June. 

Unfavourable global conditions to keep Gold in fashion

Rising concerns surrounding the health of the global economy is another one of the engines that will help drive Gold prices.

Although a sense of optimism has returned after the Trump-Xi Jinping meeting at G20 ended in a trade truce on tariffs, it does not change the reality that global growth is decelerating.

The World Bank recently downgraded it’s 2019 world growth forecast to 2.6 per cent from 2.9 per cent and if the recent disappointing PMI releases across the manufacturing sectors in Europe, China and the United States are anything to go by, global growth is moving towards the lower bound of 2 per cent as the decade draws to a close.

Warning signals over potential cracks in the largest economy in the world, indications of tepid growth in the EU, disappointing data from China’s manufacturing sector and lacklustre growth in the United Kingdom amid Brexit-induced uncertainties are likely to sweeten appetite for safe-haven assets. 

It’s all about central bank stimulus and lower yields 

In the longer term, Gold should also find support from lower treasury yields, especially if the 10-year treasury dips below 2 per cent again as persistent growth fears and trade developments result in lower interest rates across the globe.

While the outlook for the precious metal points to the upside, potential roadblocks on the horizon include easing trade tensions and signs of global growth stabilizing. Both outcomes would pose a challenge to buyers.

What do higher Gold prices mean for African markets?

What do higher Gold prices mean for African markets?

Gold-producing nations on the continent, like South Africa and Ghana will certainly benefit from higher prices.

Economic conditions in Africa’s most industrialised economy remain unfavourable thanks to a tornado of domestic and external risks. Economic growth contracted by 3.2 per cent during the first quarter of 2019 thanks to a sharp decline in manufacturing, agriculture and mining.

Given how Gold remains one of South Africa’s most valuable exports, rising Gold prices have the potential to stimulate growth – especially when factoring in how exports account for roughly 30 per cent of GDP.

Economic growth in Ghana remains robust with GDP expanding 6.7 per cent during the first quarter of 2019. With Ghana claiming the title of Africa’s top Gold producer, higher prices will be supportive of the mining sector which expanded 20.9 per cent in Q1.

When adding to the fact that roughly 5.7 per cent of Ghana’s GDP and 40 per cent of gross foreign earnings are acquired from the mining sector, Gold’s bullish outlook brightens Ghana’s growth prospects.

Gold bulls to dream big and reach for the stars 

Taking a look at the technical picture, Gold remains firmly bullish on the monthly charts as there have been consistent higher highs and higher lows.

Prices have scope to push higher on the monthly charts should $1360 prove to be reliable support.

For as long as bulls are able to defend $1360, there should be enough confidence to challenge $1430 and $1500 – a level not seen since April 2013. Alternatively, a decline back below $1360 will most likely swing open the doors towards $1324 and $1300, respectively.

This bullish setup becomes invalidated if prices find comfort below $1300.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect News Central TV’s editorial stance.

Copyright News Central

All rights reserved. This post and other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcasted, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central.

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