#021: On Trial

  • On Trial

Diane Rwigara, the woman who attempted to run against Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, is now on trial for "inciting insurrection and forgery". If convicted, Diane faces up to 22 years in jail.

In 2017, Diane wasreported missing after the police raided her home, but was found (along with other members of her family) in their own home. She was later arrested with her mother for over a year before being released on bail. Both Diane and her mother, Adeline, now finally have charges brought against them - Adeline is being tried on charges of inciting insurrection and ethnic hatred. 

Diane denies all charges, claiming they are politically motivated by President Kagame, in retaliation for her critical comments against him and Rwanda.

Read for:“Watching proceedings in court was Victoire Ingabire, another woman who sought to run for the presidency in 2010, but was blocked from competing, arrested, tried and spent six years in jail before her release in September."


  • Getting to Work

Here's a fascinating piece from the New Yorker's Leslie Chang, which primarily follows Rania, a twenty-two year-old Egyptian woman as she navigates working as a factory supervisor, staying in a loveless marriage, and her husband taking a second wife without consulting her first. Titled "Egyptian Women and the Fight for the Right to Work", the article explores right to work, gender equality, and the role of Islam in contemporary Egyptian society. Definitely worth a read!

Read for:"Almost no one works in an Egyptian factory because she wants to. The teenage girls are saving for their dowries, and they will quit when they have enough money. Some of the older women are divorced and have children to support. The married ones usually need money badly enough that their husbands have reluctantly allowed them to work."


  • Tanzania loses World Bank Loan

Turns out bad behavior has consequences...

President Magufuli of Tanzania might be learning the hard way; the World Bank has pulled a $300 million loan it intended to grant Tanzania, in direct response to the President'spregnant schoolgirl ban. The loan was to help improve access to secondary education. So yes, bad behavior has consequences but as is often the case with powerful men - everyone seems to get punished for their actions but them.

While withdrawing the loan sends a strong message of the World Bank's disapproval of the pregnant schoolgirl ban (the right message to send), the loss of the loan will heavily negatively impact school children in Tanzania who greatly need access to education. It is certainly a catch 22 of sorts...but one with a rather straightforward solution. If Magufuli ends the pregnant schoolgirl ban and withdraws other outlandish comments (including condemning the use of birth control), it is likely that the World Bank would reconsider reinstating the much-needed loan.

Read for:“In a double blow for the country, the World Bank announcement came on the same day that Denmark, Tanzania's second biggest donor, said it was withholding $10m of aid funding due to unease over human rights abuses and 'unacceptable homophobic comments' by a government official.”


  • Come as You Are

Lagos, the economic capital of Nigeria, has lifted the ban on hijabs for schoolgirls. The issue of hijab bans in public schools has been in and out of courts in Lagos since 2014. The state government has conceded that no student should be discriminated against on basis of religion.

Read for:“However, in a new circular, the state government asked that the status quo be maintained in order to avoid contempt of court. It, however, said the hijab must be 'short, smart, neat and in the same color as the uniform'”



Nneoma Nwankwo