If George Floyd’s death created a worldwide protest movement, Africa should not be overrun. In Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, protesters take to the streets. Others would like to see their leaders grasp the issue more firmly, in solidarity with their “African American brothers”.
The death of George Floyd, this African-American was choked by a police officer on May 25 in Minneapolis, USA, has become a world symbol. The case of police violence has given rise to a wave of anti-racism protests throughout the world that sung the slogan “I can’t breathe” – “the last words of the 46-year-old giant. In Africa, protests have also erupted, calling on African leaders to take action against their own problems with police violence, which are often punished.
A special resonance in South Africa
In South Africa, the movement’s other big slogan, “Black lives matter” – “The blacks life count”, finds a special resonance, in a country still marked by apartheid and still torn apart by sharp inequalities.
On Monday, June 8, at the call of the Fighters for Economic Freedom (EFF, radical left), more than a hundred people gathered in front of the US Embassy in Pretoria to protest against racism, police violence and President Donald Trump.
EFF supporters paid tribute to the victim by observing a knee on the ground, 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence, the time of George Floyd’s immobilization, which led to his death. “There is enough police brutality on our black bodies,” EFF leader Julius Malema told the crowd, next to the wife of a man recently killed by the South African army responsible for enforcing incarceration against Covid-19.
Kenya against police violence
In Kenya, portraits of George Floyd have heated on the walls of Nairobi. And the same day as in South Africa, about 200 people demonstrated in the Mathare slums, in the capital, against police violence. These have claimed the lives of at least 15 people in Kenya since the introduction of a curfew to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The audience consisted mainly of young people and mothers who carry placards with the names of their friends, neighbors or sons who have been killed in recent years in police operations. “Stop killer policemen”, or “Save our future”, was their slogan.
The Kenyan police are regularly accused by human rights groups of excessive use of force and extraordinary murders, especially in poor neighborhoods. In April, Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused the police of imposing a curfew “in a chaotic and violent way, from the beginning”, sometimes by whipping, hitting or using tear gas to force people to leave the streets.
The organization has specifically cited the case of a 13-year-old boy, Yassin Hussein Moyo, who died in Nairobi on March 31 after being shot while standing on his balcony and on the street below, police forced residents to return home.
A new scandal broke out on June 10 with the viral broadcast of a video where we see three police officers hanging, hanging behind a motorcycle, a woman partially stripped and molested. The three police officers were arrested.
“Three officers were arrested yesterday … Following the broadcast of a video showing a woman who had been treated badly and shot behind a motorcycle in Kuresoi South County,” the Criminal Investigation Directorate said in a statement. “The suspects are in police custody and are participating in the investigations into this file.”
Ghana and Senegal doenttribute to George Floyd
At the Almadies ledge in Dakar, facing the sea separating Africa from the United States, a gathering of 50 people – the highest allowed by Covid-19 – held representatives of various Senegalese civil society associations in tribute to George Floyd in this very symbolic place: the cornice should really soon welcome the memorial of slavery.
Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo, was one of the first heads of state to respond to the murder of George Floyd.
“Blacks are shocked and appalled at the murder of an armed black man by a white police officer in the United States […]This is not possible in XXIecentury that the United States, this great bastion of democracy, continues to struggle with the problem of systemic racism, “he wrote in a statement released on 1yourJune on Twitter and where the deceased’s face appears on a black background. “We hope that George Floyd’s unfortunate and tragic death will inspire lasting changes in how America faces problems of hate and racism.”
Nigerian President Mahamadou Issoufou said Thursday that George Floyd’s death was “the symbol of the old world he[faut]change, “during a video conference with comrades from the African Union.
“The symbol of the old world that needs to change and that constantly violates these values (solidarity, equality, justice, dignity) is the murder of George Floyd,” the Nigerian president said in his speech. “Our conference must condemn this heinous act without reservation.”
The African Union is addressing the problem
The President of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, had been very quick to respond to George Floyd’s death, calling him “murder” from May 29. In a press release, “he strongly condemns the murder of George Floyd in the United States, at the hands of law enforcement agencies”.
“Recalls the historic resolution of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) on Racial Discrimination in the United States of America[…]At the OAU’s first conference, held in Cairo (Egypt), from 17 to 24 July 1964 “, the AU Commission President reiterated” the organization’s refusal “of persistent discriminatory practices against black citizens of the United States”.
3/3: I firmly confirm + reiterate the AU’s rejection of persistent discriminatory practices against black citizens in the United States.
– Moussa Faki Mahamat (@AUC_MoussaFaki) May 29, 2020
The Chadian diplomat refers to the very first OAU conference in July 1964 in Cairo, in which the emblematic leader of the Nation of Islam, MalcolmX, attended as an observer. The latter had given a pan-African speech there to “his African brothers and sisters” about the discrimination that African Americans then fell victim to, on the other side of the Atlantic.
For some intellectuals, however, the fact that the continent’s leaders are addressing the problem is opportunistic. Like Cameroonian economist Célestin Monga, who calls on African politicians to sweep in front of their door first.
If he congratulates in a tweet “(the) anger and (the) outrage of the African political leaders over the murder of George Floyd and police brutality to[États-Unis]”he would like” to be just as quick to pronounce condemnation when our police and soldiers martyr our citizens daily “.
Angry and annoyed by African political leaders over murder #GeorgeFloyd and police brutality in the United States. Well done. I also want them to be quick to condemn when our police and soldiers martyr our citizens on a daily basis. pic.twitter.com/W0DZxO2k0g
– Celestin Monga (@CelestinMonga) June 2, 2020
Reactivate the pan-African dream
Hundreds of African writers hope that the effects of the murder of George Floyd will allow the pan-African dream to return. In an open letter, they pray that Africa may be a “sanctuary” for its diaspora.
“We ask the African governments to acknowledge our alliance and our ties with our brothers and sisters across borders, from America to Brazil and across the rest of the diaspora. That they offer those who choose it a refuge, home and citizenship in the name of pan-Africanism” , the African authors claim.
“We are dismayed that MalcolmX told Ghana in 1964 that” for 20 million of us in America who are of African descent, it is not an American dream, it is an American nightmare that remains true for 37 million (African Americans). 2020. “