Africa Now May 6, 2015 Afro-Colombians & Peace Talks, Burundi Political Crisis

Topics: Colombia’s Peace Talks and the Marginalization of the Country’s Afro-Descendants; and Update on the Political Crisis in Burundi.  On November 19, 2012 talks between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, FARC) and the Colombian government to end the 50-year conflict began in Havana, Cuba. The conflict has disproportionally affected Afro-Colombian and the indigenous communities with millions displaced from their lands and hundreds of thousands dead.  But these communities continue to be marginalized in the peace process.  Today Africa Now continues to focus on what the peace process actually means for Afro-Colombians—will a post-conflict Colombia include better representation for the community?   To discuss this issue Africa Now! features a conversation with Afro-Colombian activist Mr. Luis Ernesto Olave Valencia. 

Bahati Jacques

Bahati Jacques

Amid protests yesterday, May 5, Burundi’s constitutional court approved incumbent two-term President Pierre Nkurunziza of the governing National Council for the Defense of Democracy–Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) to run in the June 26 election.   On April 25 CNDD-FDD chose the incumbent as its presidential candidate.  Feeling that this violates the two-term limit people have been protesting in the capital city Bujumbura and other towns for over a week now.  Over 40 people have been wounded in the clashes between protesters and the police and there have been 11 deaths.  The UN High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) has reported 21,000 have fled Burundi to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda.  Joining Africa Now! to discuss the political crisis in Burundi is Mr. Bahati Jacques.

Guests: Mr. Bahati Jacques is a Policy Analyst at Africa Faith and Justice Network (AFJN).  Mr. Jacques is originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is co-founder of the Association for Abandoned Elderly (AVA) which addresses the increased number of elderly people begging on the streets of Bukavu during the conflict in DRC.  Since joining AFJN, he has written and spoken in different circles across the U.S. on the socio-political issues of the DRC, Rwanda, Uganda, and Burundi.  He is the author of “Tribe not an Idea, but a True Identity”, a piece published in Recherches Africaines. Co-author of the paper “Promoting International Support for Community-Based Justice Mechanisms in Post-Conflict Burundi and Uganda” (2009).  Policy papers of his include “Two Rebel Groups, One solution” (2008) and “Evaluating Peace and Stability in DRC” (2009).   Mr. Luis Ernesto Olave Valencia, leads the “Afro-Colombian Seats are for Afros” Campaign and Coordinator for the Afro-descendant Latin American and Caribbean Network for Democracy (RedLad).  Mr. Valencia is a political scientist by profession.  The campaign “Afro-Colombian Seats are for Afros” aims to develop a strategy to ensure that the two Congressional seats that belong to Afro-Colombians by law are maintained.  Recently that law has been violated by non-Afro-Colombian people occupying those seats.

Originally broadcast on WPFW 89.3FM, Washington, DC.  Tune into Africa Now! live on WPFW 89.3 FM in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area or visit www.wpfwfm.org on Wednesdays from 1:00 to 2:00PM (Eastern).