The Southern Africa Human Rights Roundup is a weekly column aimed at highlighting important human rights news in southern Africa. It integrates efforts of human rights defenders and facilitates evidence-based engagement with key stakeholders, and institutions on the human rights situation across the region. The weekly roundup is a collaboration between the Southern Africa Human Rights Defenders Network and Maverick Citizen.

February 2020. The year is young. It is warm in many parts of southern Africa, the rich and famous are lounging in bikinis in Tofo Beach. Despite being battered by varying climatic conditions, farmers are out in the fields harvesting or preparing soil for the next season. Even when our states failed, it was always small-scale farming, often led by women, that kept our region’s people fed.

Hunger in a region with the resources to feed itself is hard to accept, but is real, with estimates by several agencies that 14 million people were facing hunger at the beginning of this year.

From Cabinda, Lilongwe, Lusaka, Harare and Johannesburg, decades of broken politics have run our economies down. Our political elites squandered two decades of the minerals boom, failing to distribute the economic benefits from minerals equitably, and presided…

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