Top of the Morning: Unrest in Gabon; After Massacre, Soul Searching in South Africa

Top stories from DAWNS Digest. 

Riots and Unrest in Gabon

Gabon is experiencing its worst political unrest since the 2009 succession of Ali Bongo who replaced his father Omar Bongo, thus extending 42 years of family rule. Those arrested in protests last week are reporting being starved. “Tensions in Gabon’s capital Libreville have been simmering since police stopped an unauthorised protest on Wednesday in support of opposition leader Andre Mba Obame, who claims he won a 2009 election against current President Ali Bongo Ondimba. Youths threw stones and bottles at police when they broke up Wednesday’s protest, drawing tear gas in return. ‘There were 63 or 64 people [detained] to begin with. Six or seven have been released. There are still 57’ being held, said Mike Jocktane, a high-ranking member of Mba Obame’s dissolved National Union (UN). ‘They have only been given dry bread since Wednesday and they are being refused access to food brought by their families,’ added Jocktane, who said he had spoken to the detainees by phone at a police barracks in Libreville. ‘Some say they have been hit, and they all say they’ve been subjected to verbal abuse.’” (News24

Still Searching for Answers After South Africa Mining Massacre

There is a great deal of soul searching in South Africa after Thursday’s shooting at a platinum mine owned by the Lonmin company. “After more than a week of violence there are now 42 dead workers, two dead policemen and a burning question: what does this mean for South Africa’s biggest industry, and its people?​​​​ Professor Adam Habib, deputy vice chancellor of the University of Johannesburg, says the event has prompted an “existential crisis” among South Africans nearly two decades after the end of apartheid. “I think this also provokes a crisis for who we are, the levels of inequality in our society, how is it that this brings to the fore so graphically how the third-biggest provider of platinum in the world, Lonmin, located in the JSE [Johannesburg Stock Exchange] and the London stock exchange, which pays its CEO and executives exorbitant amounts of money, and yet the very people who dig platinum out of the ground live in the most awful of conditions. The conditions, how women are treated, all of these things, suggest that this society is riven by inequality,’ he said. ‘How can you, after 18 years after the democratic transition, not address the basic elements of this kind of stuff?’” (VOA