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AFRICA BRIEFS: Anti-Corruption Group Taps Angolan Blogger for Prize

Global Information Network | 11/13/2013, 11:16 a.m.

Bloggers from China and Angola will share the "Integrity Prize" for taking on the corrupt elites in their respective countries despite great personal risk.

The award was launched by the Berlin-based Transparency International (TI) to honor journalists, government officials and civil society leaders who bravely challenge corruption around the world.

Chinese journalist Luo Changping and Angolan human rights activist and journalist Rafael Marques de Morais "exemplify in every way the courage and determination of the many individuals and organizations confronting corruption around the world," TI said.

Marques writes extensively on corruption in his website "Maka Angola." The word "maka " comes from the local language Kimbundo and means "problem." The website, www.makaangola.org, publishes reports on money laundering, illegal asset transfers and nepotism.

"My work is about educating society and monitoring the work of those who lead this country," said Marques, who is backed up by a small team of freelancers and permanent staff based in Angola, Europe and North America.

Speaking at the award ceremony in Berlin this month, Marques dedicated his prize to Manuel Chivonde Nito Alves, a 17 year-old activist jailed for attempting to print T-shirts criticizing the president of Angola, Africa’s second longest serving leader. Nito Alves has been released but the charges have not been dropped. "The institutionalization of corruption is a crime," said Marques, "and sooner or later Angolan justice will punish the corrupt politicians." w/pix of R. Marques

Saudis Give Boot to Ethiopians for Visa Infractions

A violent round-up of African and other foreign workers in Saudi Arabia whose visas are expired has struck fear into the immigrant community which was once welcomed in the Arab country to perform the low-level jobs Saudis did not want to do.

Unemployment in Saudi Arabia has reportedly risen to 12%, putting pressure on the government to resolve the job shortage. With work visas no longer valid, hundreds of thousands of foreign workers have departed Saudi Arabia in the last seven months. Thousands more have been arrested since the amnesty period expired on Nov. 4.

In Riyadh's Manfuhah neighborhood, plainclothes police were captured on video beating and arresting the immigrants. Vigilante Saudi residents reportedly joined the fighting and even detained some Ethiopians.

Manfuhah is home to many migrants, mostly from east Africa. An estimated nine million migrant workers are in Saudi Arabia - more than half the workforce - filling manual, clerical, and service jobs.

Later on Sunday, thousands of mostly African workers gathered in the capital to prepare for repatriation.

Ethiopian Foreign Affairs Minister Tedros Adhanom said he heard that three Ethiopian citizens had been killed, one last Tuesday and two in the latest clashes.

"This is unacceptable. We call on the Saudi government to investigate this issue seriously. We are also happy to take our citizens, who should be treated with dignity while they are there," he said.

Meanwhile, Ethiopia’s social media community has jumped into the fray, creating a Twitter feed called #SomeoneTellSaudiArabia which has drawn hundreds of Ethiopians sharing outrage over reports of Saudi abuse of their compatriots. "Saudi Arabia Exploits and Abuses Migrant Workers and then Deports them," tweeted Daniel Yilma. "Dear Humanity, I miss you, in the midst of all these Barbarity," wrote Zelalem Kibret. Protests are planned in D.C., Stockholm and Frankfort, Germany.