2018 has been an eventful one for Africa with happenings that caught the attention of the world.
There were political crisis and changes in some countries and many lives were lost elsewhere to conflicts.
The continent also lost some of its illustrious sons and daughters who have helped shaped history. At the same time, some of the continent’s young people have been inspiring, pushing for a better outlook of Africa.
Let’s take a look back at some of the most notable events in the year 2018.
- Museveni signs law removing presidential age limit
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed into law a bill passed by the country’s parliament to remove the age limit of 75 years placed on presidential aspirants in the east African nation. The move was opposed by the opposition politicians. Museveni who is now 73, can now seek re-election in 2021 to extend his stay in power beyond the current 31 years.
- Equatorial Guinea foils coup attempt
Officials in Equatorial Guinea claimed that Cameroonian officials helped in foiling an attempted overthrow of the government. The country’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema has been in power for the past 38 years.
- Protests erupt in Tunisia over economic reforms
Tunisians staged series of protests over rising prices of commodities and new economic reforms. Several buildings were destroyed during clashes between protesters and police officials.
- The Nigerian doctor who operates on babies with tumor in wombs
The story of a Nigerian Physician, Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye who joined a team of doctors from Texas to perform a special surgery on a baby in a woman’s womb went viral on social media. Olutoye successfully cut open a pregnant woman whose baby was just 23 weeks old, operated on the baby by taking out a tumor and placed the baby back into the womb.
- Trump calls African countries “shitholes”
The President of the United States of America, Donald Trump launched a scathing attack on African countries, Haiti and El Salvador calling them “shithole countries”. His comment drew a lot of criticisms from many Africans.
- Liberia: George Weah sworn in as President
The former football star, George Weah was sworn in as the new president of Liberia taking over from the continent’s first democratically elected female president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. This was the first time in over 70 years that Liberia witnessed the peaceful transfer of power from one government to the other after a peaceful electoral process.
- Kenya’s Odinga accused of attempting to overthrow government
The Kenyan government accused the opposition leader, Raila Odinga of attempting to overthrow a legitimate regime following his inauguration as “people’s president”. Mr Odinga took an oath holding a green bible at an event held at the Uhuru Park in the Kenyan capital Nairobi after declaring himself “People’s President”.
- The Gambia re-joins the Commonwealth
The Gambia re-joined the Commonwealth which was branded as a “neo-colonial institution” by its former leader Yahya Jammeh. Jammeh withdrew his country from the Commonwealth – an organization for former British colonies, five years ago.
- Zuma resigns as President of South Africa
The President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma resigned from his position after refusing to do so for weeks. He was initially defiant in resigning following the decision by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) to recall him.
- Ramaphosa sworn in as President of South Africa
Cyril Ramaphosa was sworn in as the South African parliament after his election following the decision of Jacob Zuma to resign. Ramaphosa had earlier been elected president of the ruling African National Congress sparking speculations he would soon take over from Mr Zuma.
- Nigerian school attacked by Boko Haram, scores of girls ‘missing’
Boko Haram attacked a girls’ school in the Yobe state of Nigeria abducting hundreds of girls. The girls were abducted from the Government Girls Science Secondary School in Dapchi. The government however negotiated for their release days later.
- Mugabe turns 94, no ‘lavish’ celebrations
During his 93rd birthday, Zimbabwe was forced to standstill and mark a lavish birthday party in his honour. Months after his exit from power, Robert Mugabe celebrated his 94th birthday but without any lavish celebrations.
- Buhari’s offer to help Ghana fight corruption mocked
The President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari offered to help Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo Addo fight corruption in his country, but that offered has been ridiculed by Nigerians and other Africans. Nigeria, is ranked at 148 out of 180 on Corruption Perceptions Index for 2017, while Ghana which Nigeria’s President offered to help fight corruption placed 81 out of 180.
- Kenyatta and Odinga resolve differences, call for peace
The two political rivals in Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition Nasa leader, Raila Odinga held a rare meeting and resolved to let go their differences as they call for peace. The meeting which was held at the Harambee House in Nairobi comes months after the two politicians contested the 2017 presidential elections.
- Mauritius’ President to quit over financial scandal
The Mauritius’ President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim was forced to resign after the country marked its 50th independence anniversary celebrations. At the time she was Africa’s only serving female president. Gurib-Fakim resigned to avoid an impeachment process initiated by the government over financial scandal
- Ghanaians angry at deal for U.S to build military base in Ghana
The United States of America intention to set up a military base in Ghana attracted anger from Ghanaians after the government of West African nation approved an agreement to that effect. Under the agreement the US government would also have unrestricted access to facilities and enjoy tax exemptions on those facilities.
- Tunisia: Women march for equal inheritance rights
Hundreds of women took to the streets in the Tunisian capital to demand equal inheritance rights as men, a subject often seen as taboo in the Arab world. The North African Muslim country grants women more rights than other countries in the region, and since 2016 has allowed Muslim women to marry non-Muslim men.
- African leaders sign deal for ‘largest’ free trade area
44 African leaders signed onto the world’s largest free trade area at a gathering in Rwanda with countries like Nigeria and Uganda missing out for the mean time. The African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) with 55 African Union (AU) members would mean the African Union would have a cumulative gross domestic product of US$2.5 trillion.
- South African freedom fighter Winnie Mandela dies
The renowned freedom fighter in South Africa who opposed the Apartheid, Winnie Madikizela Mandela was announced to have died. A family spokesperson confirmed the death of the former wife of late South African President Nelson Mandela. She was 81.
- 50 “fake” Ghanaian journalists deported from Australia
Some fifty Ghanaians claiming to be journalists were deported from Australia where the commonwealth games were taking place. The said deportees obtained genuine visas and other traveling documents but were without equipment like recorders and recommended mobile phones for coverage. It was a major embarrassing moment for Ghana.
- Julius Maada Bio sworn in as new president of Sierra Leone
A former military leader and opposition candidate in Sierra Leone’s highly contested presidential run-off election, Julius Maada Bio was sworn in as new president of the country. The 53-year old’s swearing in, took place hours after he was declared winner of the poll by the country’s elections commission.
- Hooligans invade Nigerian parliament, steal official mace
Some hooligans invaded Nigeria’s national assembly in the capital, Abuja, and made away with the official mace, a ceremonial staff that represents the authority of the legislature. The hoodlums invaded the house led by another senator Ovie Omo-Agege who had been suspended for 90 days.
- Chaotic protests erupt in South Africa over Jobs
Chaotic protests erupted in South Africa’s North West province over jobs, housing and corruption forcing police officers to fire rubber bullets into crowds. The protests in Mahikeng led to looting of shops and the setting of cars ablaze as police assure everything is being done to bring the situation under control.
- Senegal police tear gas crowd protesting electoral reforms
Police in Senegal fired tear gas into a group of demonstrators in the capital, Dakar during a protest over a controversial bill. The new bill which is focused on reforming the electoral system of the country wants to increase the number of signatures individuals require before contesting in presidential elections.
- Buhari returns to London for Medical check-up
The Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari travelled to London in the UK for medical check-up. The Nigerian President has often visited the UK for heath check, which has usually caused a stir among citizens.
- DR Congo hit by new Ebola outbreak
The Democratic Republic of Congo was hit by new Ebola outbreak in the country’s north-west region. 17 people died from the outbreak in the town of Bikoro.
- Somali woman stoned to death for polyandry
Members of the militant group al-Shabab stoned a Somali woman to death accusing her of engaging in polyandry. The woman was accused by the group of marrying eleven men at the same and didn’t divorce previous husbands.
- Prince Harry and Meghan married at Windsor
Africans were watching as Prince Harry and his American bride Meghan set off on a carriage procession around the town of Windsor after marrying in a dazzling ceremony in front of British royalty, celebrities and a global TV audience of millions.
- Families of Ghanaians killed under Jammeh demand Justice
Families of victims of the 2005 Murders of 44 Ghanaian Migrants launched a major campaign with the support of some human rights groups to seek justice and bring former Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh to book. These renewed calls for justice came on the back of fresh evidence from Human Rights Watch and Trail International that links Jammeh to the killings.
- Jammeh sued by victims of his fake AIDS therapy
The former Gambian leader, Yahya Jammeh was sued by victims of his fake HIV/AIDS treatment program. This was the first time Jammeh was sued since he left office and went into exile in Equatorial Guinea in 2017. Three victims of the fake AIDS treatment program have filed a motion at the high court in the capital Banjul demanding compensation.
- Egypt’s al-Sisi sworn in as president for a second term
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi was sworn in for a second four-year term after being re-elected in a vote in which he faced no serious challengers. Al-Sisi took the oath of office before parliament amid tight security enforced throughout Cairo.
- Morocco fails to win bid to host 2026 World Cup
Morocco failed to win the bid to host the 2026 World Cup, losing out to the United States, Canada and Mexico. United States, Canada and Mexico presented a joint bid beating Morocco’s proposal during voting.
- ICC orders the release of DR Congo’s Bemba
The International Criminal Court ordered the release of former vice-president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Jean-Pierre Bemba. The ICC Judges say Bemba can be freed from detention after his lawyers filed for his release. Bemba’s release became imminent after his 2016 conviction for war crimes was overturned following series of appeals.
- Mali’s ‘Spiderman’ returns home
Malian national Mamoudou Gassama returned home after receiving global recognition for saving a toddler on a building in France. The migrant became famous when he climbed a building in Paris to save the baby he barely knows.
- Ghana’s Electoral Commission boss sacked by President
Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo sacked the Chairperson of the country’s Electoral Commission Charlotte Osei. Two other deputies of the chairperson were also sacked by the President for misbehaviour.
- Zimbabwe’s Mnangagwa unhurt after blast at rally
Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa escaped unhurt after an explosion rocked a stadium where he was addressing a political rally, just before a general election. However, vice presidents Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi and a minister sustained minor injuries following the blast at the White City Stadium in the second city of Bulawayo.
- Social media tax takes effect in Uganda
A tax regime for using social media platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook took effect in Uganda. Uganda’s Parliament passed a law that imposes a tax of $0.05 daily for each social media user. The controversial law affects users of all social media platforms accessing the internet.
- Macron in historic visit to Fela Kuti’s nightclub
France’s President, Emmanuel Macron visited a nightclub founded by Nigerian legendary musician, Fela Kuti. The French President travelled to Lagos to visit the New Afrika Shrine after meeting Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.
- Ethiopia and Eritrea declare end to “state of war “
Ethiopia and Eritrea officially ended their “state of war” after their leaders signed an agreement to that effect. The deal was signed after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afkwerki held historic talks on the matter.
- Zimbabwe opposition wants country renamed “Great Zimbabwe”
The opposition leader in Zimbabwe Nelson Chamisa demanded a change in the name of his country. He said the current name Zimbabwe was “cursed” and is to blame for the country’s economic woes.
- France are Fifa World Cup Champions
France won the Fifa World Cup for the second time by overcoming Croatia’s bold challenge in a thrilling final in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.
- Zimbabwe holds historic election in post-Mugabe era
Zimbabweans voted in a historic election, the first since former President Robert Mugabe resigned from office. 5 million voters participated in the voting process to choose a new leader.
- Six people killed in Zimbabwe election violence
Six people were killed in the violence that erupted in Zimbabwe following the general elections. Soldiers clashed with opposition supporters from the MDC who were disputing the election results. The soldiers reportedly shot into the protesters.
- Germany returns bodies from Namibian genocide
Germany returned skulls of people murdered during the Namibian genocide a century ago. Tens of thousands of Namibians were slaughtered between 1904 and 1908. Germany then colonized the Southern African nation and was responding to an anti-colonial uprising. Victims were from the Herero and Nama people who were indigenous Namibians
- South Sudan finally gets a peace deal signed by rivals
A peace deal aimed at ending the civil war in South Sudan was finally been signed by the government and opposition rivals. The president of South Sudan, Salva Kiir was joined by the country’s main rebel group leader Riek Machar to sign the deal in Sudan.
- Mnangagwa wins Zimbabwe presidential poll
The President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa was declared winner of Monday’s Presidential election. He beat his main rival from the opposition party the MDC, Nelson Chamisa who came second. President Mnangagwa secured 50.8 percent of the votes while MDC’s Chamisa obtained 44.3 percent of total votes.
- Mali’s President Keita wins run-off election
Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was declared winner of a presidential run-off. He won the heavily disputed run-off election with 67.17% of the votes. His opponent, the opposition candidate Soumaila Cisse, won 32.83% of the votes.
- The world mourns late former UN Chief Kofi Annan
There was an outpouring of condolences from global leaders and well-wishers following the death of former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan. The Ghanaian born diplomat died in sleep at the hospital according family sources in Berne, Switzerland. He died after a short illness at the age of 80.
- Bobi Wine recounts his ordeal in the hands of Ugandan soldiers
The vocal Ugandan lawmaker, Robert Kyagulanyi also known as Bobi Wine gave a chilling account of how Ugandan soldiers brutalized him. The MP had to travel to the United States for medical treatment after falling seriously sick and unable to walk shortly following his arrested. The pop star turned MP was arrested together with several others for allegedly playing a role in an attack on the country’s President, Yoweri Museveni.
- Congo’s top court bars Bemba from presidential race
The highest court in the Democratic Republic of Congo barred former vice president, Jean-Pierre Bemba from contesting December’s presidential election. The top court gave the ruling, upholding an earlier decision taken by the country’s election commission.
- Women in Cameroon protest abuses in Anglophone region
Hundreds of women in Cameroon staged a protest, against abuses committed during fighting between the government forces and Anglophone separatists. The women were calling for an end to instances of rape endured by their daughters and the killings of civilians.
- Burkina Faso: 50 girls hospitalized after genital mutilation
Officials in Burkina Faso said about 50 girls were hospitalised after undergoing female genital mutilation. Some of the girls were as young as four years. Police arrested two 60-year-old women who carried out the exercise which was botched putting the lives of the girls in danger.
- Liberia’s ‘banknotes worth $104m’ missing
The government of Liberia launched investigations into the disappearance of two huge consignments of money printed abroad. The consignments of money were brought into Liberia between November 2017 and August 2018. The money, all local banknotes worth $1040m could not be located by officials.
- Hundreds feared dead after ferry capsized in Tanzania
Hundreds of people in Tanzania died after a ferry carrying passengers capsized on Lake Victoria in the northern part of the country. Officials said the ferry was carrying over 400 people, exceeding its actual capacity of about 200.
- Melania Trump tours some African countries
The first lady of the United States, Melania Trump visited some African countries. Mrs. Trump during her Africa tour visited Ghana, Malawi, Kenya and Egypt. That was the first time Mrs. Trump was visiting Africa and she did so without her husband.
- DR Congo’s Mukwege wins 2018 Nobel Peace Prize
A doctor from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Denis Mukwege was named winner of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize. The gynaecologist was awarded for how he treats victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He won the prize together with Iraq’s Nadia Murad, a Yazidi human rights activist and survivor of sexual slavery.
- Paul Biya declared winner of Cameroon presidential poll
Cameroon’s President Paul Biya was declared winner of the country’s Presidential election. He won with 71 percent of the vote. That means the 85 year old leader will now extend his 36-year rule.
- Women secure half of Ethiopia’s ministerial posts
Half of ministerial positions in Ethiopia were occupied by women. The list of new ministers was approved by lawmakers. This was the first time the Cabinet for the country was occupied by a record 50% female. The appointments were made by the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed
- South Sudan: Rebel leader Riek Machar returns from exile
South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek Machar returned to the country’s capital, Juba. That was his first time returning to the country after fleeing into exile in 2016. Mr Machar clashed with President Salva Kiir sparking a civil war that has killed hundreds of people and displaced millions.
- Ethiopia gets it’s first female president
Lawmakers in Ethiopia elected Sahle-Work Zewde as the country’s first female president. She replaced Mulatu Teshome Wirtu, who resigned from the position. Ms Sahle-Work is an experienced diplomat who until her election served as U.N. under-secretary general and special representative of the secretary general to the African Union.
- Cameroon: Journalist imprisoned over social media post
A well-known journalist in Cameroon was been placed in preventive detention for some social media comments she made. Mimi Mefo who is a television presenter from the country’s restive anglophone region, was accused by the government of “attacking state security”.
- Prince Charles describes era of “slave trade” as shameful
The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles has described Slave Trade as shameful and hopes it doesn’t recur. The British royal says “Britain can be proud that it led the way in the abolition of this shameful trade”.
- 81 students abducted from school in Cameroon
Officials in Cameroon said 81 students from a Presbyterian school in restive northwest region were kidnapped by gunmen. They were later released by their captors.
- Gabon amends constitution amid Bongo’s illness
Gabon’s Constitutional Court said the country’s constitution had to be amended following President Ali Bongo’s illness. Mr. Bongo was hospitalized in Saudi Arabia after visiting the country to attend an economic forum. He was later brought to Morocco for further treatment.
- Christians and Muslims clash in CAR, 37 killed
Clashes between Muslim and Christian Militias left at least 37 people dead in Central African Republic. The UN said that a church was torched during the clashes. The clashes were sparked after Christian militiamen, known as anti-balaka, killed some Muslims.
- Women sexually exploited for jobs at the African Union
An internal investigation at the African Union revealed that women are often exploited sexually in exchange for jobs. The report said most of the victims are female short-term employees, youth volunteers and female interns. Many of them are hoping to secure eventual job positions.
- Zambia’s Edgar Lungu cleared to run for third term
The top court in Zambia has ruled that the country’s President, Edgar Lungu can run for a third term in 2021. The court said Lungu’s decision to run in 2021 does not breach the constitution of Zambia.
- Rwanda: Kagame’s critic Rwigara finally gains freedom
After spending almost a year in prison and facing trial for months, one of the famous critics of Rwanda’s President, Diane Shima Rwigara was set free by a court. She and her mother Adeline Mukangemana were cleared of charges of insurrection and forgery by a high court.
- UN migration pact adopted at Morocco meeting
A controversial compact on migration called The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration was formally adopted by UN member states. The compact was adopted at a conference in Morocco’s capital Marrakech. The adoption however faced some dissents.
- Statue of India’s Gandhi pulled down in Ghana
A statue of former Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi was pulled down in a Ghanaian University. The statue was unveiled in June 2016 by the President of India Pranab Mukherjee at the University of Ghana campus in the capital Accra. The statue however became a centre of controversy after a group of professors in the University called for it’s removal
- Zimbabwe’s army and police indicted for post-election killings
The police and army in Zimbabwe were indicted for killing six people shortly after the July general election. The security agencies were accused of the killings in a report from a commission of inquiry set up to investigate the post-election violence.
- Sudan: Protesters clash with police, call for Bashir’s exit
Protests in Sudan over the country’s economic crisis resulted in clashes between protesters and the Police. Hundreds of these protesters were demanding the exit of President Omar al-Bashir.