Africa in the News: M23 Signs Peace Treaty, Former Nigerian President Condemns Goodluck Jonathan, and the World Mourns Nelson Mandela

DRC Rebels Sign Peace Deal

M23 rebels have reportedly signed a peace treaty with the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  The signing comes a few weeks after the rebel group surrendered.  The document was signed by a whole host of leaders in the region including Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, and Malawi’s president and current South African Development Community Chairperson, Joyce Banda.  Some observers have argued that the treaty is a result of more aggressive military operations by the United Nations in the country:  Its Force Intervention Brigade in the DRC has gone on the offensive against armed rebel groups like M23 more than U.N. forces have in the past.

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo Blasts Current President Goodluck Jonathan

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has written a very scathing and very public letter to current Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.  Obasanjo accuses Jonathan of acting in a dictatorial manner and tolerating an excessive amount of corruption.  The letter has elicited a number of heated responses, including one prominent op-ed in Nigeria’s Premium Times, which called the letter “Satanic” and “the most narcissistic action of any Nigerian ruler.”  The Youth and Conflict Resolution Initiative, a human rights organization active in the country, also lambasted the letter, calling it hypocritical and lacking sufficient respect.  The two men were both in attendance at a celebration of Kenya’s 50th anniversary of its independence yesterday.

South Africa and the World Celebrate Mandela’s Life at Memorial Service

This week, South Africans bid their farewells to former President Nelson Mandela, who died on December 5.  Public viewings of Mandela’s body have elicited very large crowds, and a memorial service held on Tuesday was attended by some 80,000 observers, including more than 90 heads of state.   Among the attendees was U.S. President Barack Obama who offered a stirring tribute.  The atmosphere at the service was both somber and jubilant, as thousands of attendees danced and sang songs celebrating the life of the man.