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Editor's Note

Greetings from the LéO Africa Review!

Regarding the covid19 pandemic, it seems the worst is now behind us as countries across the world contemplate re-opening for business. However, for the East African region there is worry some of the stringent lock down measures taken by countries like Uganda and Rwanda may be undone by actions of neighbours like Tanzania. 

The number of cases in Tanzania jumped to 299 on April 25, moving the country only second to Kenya in the number of confirmed cases. President Magufuli has ruled out the possibility of a lock down insisting the economic cost of such measures would be unbearable for hubs like Dar es Salaam that generate over 80% of the country's revenue. 

Tanzania's decision underscores the concern of neighbours Uganda and Rwanda whose new cases over the last 14 days have all come from Kenyan and Tanzanian truck drivers. EAC health ministers held a virtual call on April 24 to find possible solutions to the cross-border truck drivers problem. Meanwhile, an earlier planned Heads of State virtual meeting, called off at the request of South Sudan, is yet to be rescheduled.

For now gains by the community in the fight against covid19 remain under threat from the lack of a cohesive regional mechanism to contain spread that threatens to push back the timeline for recovery. 

While we prepare for life after covid19 and the phased return to normalcy, I am pleased to share with you articles from our contributors. In this week's issue, I revisit my conversation with Professor Yash Tandon, a member of the "Gang of Four"--a group of Ugandan intellectuals Edward Rugumayo, Omwony Ojok, Dani Nabudere and Yash Tandon--who played a critical role in the post-Amin national consultative council that led Uganda from 1979 to 1980.

Patricia Twasiima and Rushongoza  also reflect on two activist movements led by women in Uganda and Sudan.  

Stay well,
Kwezi Tabaro

Prof. Yash Tandon: The Economic Control of our Country is Not in our Hands

The 1970s were "one of the most dramatic and fruitful" decades for intellectual inquiry and thought, writes Ngugi wa Thiong'o in the preface to Yash Tandon's new book, A Common People's Uganda. Tanzania under Nyerere was a melting pot for progressive ideas from all over Africa and the global south, and nurtured many great intellectuals of the period, Walter Rodney, Dani Nabudere, Issa Shivji, Mahmood Mamdani,Yash Tandon, among others. In what were famously referred to as the "Dar Debates" arose some of the most serious attempts at diagnosing newly independent Africa's problems. 

Now 80, Prof Tandon thinks much of that progressive thinking has taken a back seat, replaced by cut throat politicking among the elite class in Africa today. 

On May 10, 2019 Kwezi Tabaro had a conversation with Professor Tandon and a panel of experts to discuss his new book, A Common People’s Uganda. You can read the full interview here.
Lessons from the Women's March Uganda

On 30 June, 2018 women activists in Kampala led a peaceful protest through the city to draw attention to violence against women. The march followed the unexplained murders of up to 42 women in Kampala and the surrounding district of Wakiso between 2017 and 2018. 

Patricia Twasiima, one of the March's organizers suggests that young people can no longer be bystanders in matters that directly affect them. "The greatest call for our generation goes way beyond leadership and extends to the ability to stand up loudly for the things we believe in," she writes here.
Like Sudan 
A relentless 12-month protest movement in Sudan brought to an end the nearly 30-year reign of Omar Bashir. Starting in December 2018, the movement attracted Sudanese from all walks of life: doctors, journalists, lawyers, students, among others. 

Key in the protest movement, however, was the role of women activists like then 22-year-old Alaa Salah (pictured above), an engineering student in Khartoum. Rushongoza's poem is dedicated to the efforts of this new generation of women activists. Read it here.
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