Happy New Year from the team at iAfrikan.com! We hope 2021 is kinder to you and those you love. This is our first issue of the iAfrikan Daily Brief for 2021.

I think any sensible person agrees that for the past four or so years the United States of America has had a "bad president" as far as having a leader that cared for all the country's citizens and being a good world citizen. Fair enough, Donald Trump was democratically elected to become the 45th president of the USA, all that means is that he had enough adults in the country who shared and supported his values. Something that is more a reflection of American society.

As the Brookings Institution put it:

"Trump isn’t the cause; he is a reflection of past policymakers, values, and practices."

However, that is a discussion that would require a whole article dedicated to it.

What has raised eyebrows over the past couple of days is what appears to be a coordinated and synchronized effort by various digital technology and social media companies that have gone on to ban all of Donald Trump's accounts linked to their companies.

Surely, allowing private companies, especially (social) media companies to silence, ban, or even censor a democratically elected president creates a bad precedent however bad the president was?

You have to look at this situation from an African perspective.

For the past decade, we have witnessed and observed (as well as suffered) as African presidents and their governments have used national security threats and incitement of violence as reasons to shut down the Internet or restrict social media in their countries before, during, or after elections. Surprisingly, incitement of violence is one of the reasons that social media networks such as Twitter have used to ban Donald Trump (after the disputed election results and spurred on his supporters in their protests).

African presidents must be feeling rather glad that "incitement of violence" after someone (say perhaps a political opponent) disputes election results is reason enough to ban such a person from media platforms.

Do you see how bad this can quickly go if the people being banned are our favs?

Over approximately the past decade, there has been a worrying and steady increase in internet shutdowns ad restrictions globally. These typically happen before or during elections of protests by citizens. Tanzania is the latest African country to implement internet restrictions and a shutdown in some cases before its 2020 elections.

Just last year in October, Tanzanian authorities shut down the Internet ahead of presidential elections. Although they didn't issue any statements on why they did this, like many previous African governments who have done the same, they could've issued any one of the following two common reasons that are generally given by African governments when they shut down the internet:

  • national security is under threat,
  • to calm down civil unrest.

We cannot, despite our dislike of the man, accept that social media companies can use "incitement of violence" to ban an elected president yet equally frown upon African governments that use the same reason to shut down social media (effectively and temporarily banning all of us from social media if I may continue with the theme).

What do you think?

Although the banning of Donald Trump is arguably one of the biggest stories, below are some stories we think you should read today.

πŸ“‘ Fake news around 5G and COVID-19 continue to cause real-life harm around the world. In South Africa, at least 3 cellphone towers have been vandalized during the first week of 2021 as some people believe 5G causes the spread of COVID-19. Link

πŸ’» No surprises as the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics reports that during 2020, digital devices sales grew by 84%. Thank you COVID-19. Link

πŸ‘€ Nigeria has suspended its National Identity Number registration exercise. Again, thank you COVID-19. Link

πŸ“² WhatsApp is introducing a new Privacy Policy from 8 February 2021 that has somehow enraged many of its users. Many have taken to social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram...WhatsApp 🀣) to complain and threaten to look for alternatives. What you need to be aware of is that it's not just WhatsApp with a bad Privacy Policy, it's many of the platforms you use every day. Link

πŸ•΅οΈ Authorities in Kenya are being sneaky as they say that they want landlords to keep a tenants' registry (e.g. they must collect data on tenants including nationality and employment details) as part of the fight against illegal trade. Sounds more like an invasion of people's privacy to us. Link

πŸ“‰ The price of Bitcoin has taken a steep nosedive as miners are reported to be selling their inventory and spot traders look like they are panicking. We got concerned over the weekend as soon as we saw rapper Meek Mill started tweeting that people should get interested in Bitcoin, peak! Link

🎧 With the hard work of our team and adapting to different and exciting ways of working, we managed to produce two new podcast shows and continued with the other two podcasts. Here are the top 10 podcasts of 2020 that we think you should take some time to listen to. Link

Quote of the day

We cannot, despite our dislike of the man, accept that social media companies can use "incitement of violence" to ban an elected president yet equally frown upon African governments that use the same reason to shut down social media. (Tweet this)

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