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Pambazuka News Pambazuka News is produced by a pan-African community of some 2,600 citizens and organisations - academics, policy makers, social activists, women's organisations, civil society organisations, writers, artists, poets, bloggers, and commentators who together produce insightful, sharp and thoughtful analyses and make it one of the largest and most innovative and influential web forums for social justice in Africa.

The Inagural 2016 Pan African Colloquium, Barbados

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Letters & Opinions

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Refugee crisis in Europe: A wider deabte is needed

2015-09-09, Issue 741

I would like to comment on the articles by Abayomi Azikiwe and Yohannes Woldemariam. The online link didn’t work, so I send it by email. I am concerned. I see the causes that are driving hundreds of thousands from Africa and the Middle East to Europe; the large (though not exclusive) responsibility of Western powers for these causes; and the terrible humanitarian crisis to which it all leads. But I also see how mass immigration is undermining what is left of the welfare state in Western countries; how capitalists are using this immigration to increase the exploitation of their workers; how this threatens to pave the way for a new rise of fascism in Europe; and how many middle class progressives in Europe are closing their eyes to these realities. Merely lamenting the egoism, stupidity or hypocrisy of Western governments or their citizens will not help. Could Pambazuka News not start a debate on what a really fundamental response to the migration crisis could be? All the best, Niek Koning (Wageningen, the Netherlands)

Sierra Leone: Democracy without opposition

2015-09-03, Issue 740

Dear Editor, Below is my comment on the article written by Sankara Kamara. The problem with SLPP is that after losing the 2007 election to the APC the party reverted to live in the days of Siaka Stevens. Learning from our history that after Siaka Stevens took the reins of power in the late 60s, the APC fought to dismantle the opposition through an unprecedented violence. In less than a decade of Siaka Stevens and the APC rule, the opposition was completely dismantled and for the following two decades, the political system became a One Party affair. Has Sierra Leone fully recovered from this experiment? In his political slogan for the 2007 election, candidate Koroma preached that the next round of APC rule will be different but only for the country to be fooled. Every policy of the 2000s APC is not only a replica of the 70s, 80s and 90 APC but the new brand of APC leadership has decided to increase exponentially the repressive and corrupt practices of the old. And so, as the APC has decided to repeat history, the SLPP has followed; fearing the imprisonment and loss of life from false treason trials, the SLPP have become invincible, hoping and praying for another savior to take the APC out. To the average opposition SLPP member in the country, no political pressure will take the APC out of power while on the otherhand, the APC is doing everything in her power to ensure that the savior is not born this time. I will therefore agree with you in part that SLPP share the blame for the disfunctioning of the democratic system but I don’t believe that the APC will accept the role of a vibrant opposition to make democracy work for the good of the country. The APC leadership will not live with a check their misrule of the country. In our most recent history, Kabba called on the APC in opposition and challenged them to be a functional opposition by putting their house in order when the party was gradually disintegrating from internal squabbles. Will the APC challenged the SLPP to do likewise? Did the country experience any attack on APC offices during the SLPP rule? What justification can anyone give for the attacks on SLPP facilities which have become the order of the day since the APC rule took back power? Yes, the SLPP has a fault but there is no doubt that the APC has control over the making of a dormant and toothless opposition. A vigorous opposition will only meet with more repressive APC who will careless for the loss of Sierra Leonean life in their determination to hold on to power. Truly, history is been repeated. John Yanguba, MSCE, PE.

On feeling with Nkrumah, thinking with Nyerere

2015-04-30, Issue 724

I appreciate the effort you took to make your case. I am happy to hear you refer to pragmatic PanAfricanism. Whatever cannot be built piece-by-piece is a project at-risk. Only a Napoleon of sorts can build such a continental government. Some of the hurdles to a united Africa - and I use "united" with reservation - are language/cultural diversity, dictatorial or corrupt politicians, religious extremism, and perceptions of racial divide between black and Arab Africa. The United States of America was practically envisioned to be a unity of white, English-speaking, Christian, free-market and democracy loving immigrants. The Americans did not have as many hurdles as we Africans. Let's be pragmatic about our future, Africa ! Saint John [email protected]

On 'Hedge funds and corporate raiders in Africa: Space invaders of the third kind'

2015-03-26, Issue 719

By Dhiru Soni, Ahmed Shaikh, Anis Karodia and Joseph David 2015-03-16, Issue 718

On OAU suspensions: Nigerian students and repression

Samson Akinola

2015-03-12, Issue 717

What Nigerian students are experiencing now is just the beginning of bigger repression that the present governance structure has in store for them.

Citizen participation is a right, not a privilege

Nicholas Meitiaki Soikan

2015-03-05, Issue 716

The constitution of Kenya places great importance on citizen participation in their governance. Under the devolved system, county governments should do everything they can to ensure citizen’s voices are taken into account in decision-making process.

Rwanda genocide: Reply to Erlinder and Black

Odora-Obote Alex

2015-02-25, Issue 715

The position that whenever a prosecutor makes decisions that are unpopular to the defence Counsels, then such decisions are political is bizarre. Defence counsels ought to separate legal issues from their own political views about Rwanda.

On Obote-Odora: There was no genocide conspiracy in Rwanda

Peter Erlinder

2015-02-16, Issue 714

Fact: Four trial chambers and the Appeal Chamber acquitted the entire national political and military leadership of the Habyarimana government of conspiracy to commit genocide, or any other crimes, before April 7, 1994, the day after the assassination of the President.

A quick response to Alex Obote-Odora

Edward S. Herman and David Peterson

2015-02-16, Issue 714

As former Chief of Appeals and Legal Advisory Division at the ICTR, Obote-Odora surely knows that sworn testimony as well as public assertions of fact exist from members of Kagame-Power circles concerning the events leading to the genocide, including the names of RPF personnel participating with Kagame in planning the shoot-down of the plane carrying President Habyarimana.

On Obote-Odora: Kagame ordered Habyarimana assassination

Christopher Black

2015-02-16, Issue 714

Prosecutors at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) made a political decision to give complete immunity to President Paul Kagame and the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) for their crimes and as a result they have been granted impunity to commit the terrible war crimes in Rwandan and Congo since: because they know they can get away with it.

On the ICTR, ‘Enduring Lies’ authors keep denying own claims

Odora-Obote Alex

2015-02-11, Issue 713

My exchange with Herman and Peterson has reached a dead end. I do not want to communicate with them any more, particularly as they are constantly denying what they write and revise their narratives as they go along.

Pan Africanism is the antidote to xenophobia

Fr Khosi Maqetuka

2015-01-29, Issue 711

The developments of the past week in Soweto [widespread attacks on foreigners] manifest from sectional politics that our people were exposed to. When the Pan Africanist Congress adopted the noble idea of Pan Afrikanism it was seen by others as racist. Mangaliso Sobukwe, the first president of the PAC, a visionary, a thinker, speaking about South Africa said: “I wish to state that the Afrikanists do not at all subscribe to the doctrine of South African exceptionalism. Our contention is that South Africa is an integral part of the indivisible whole; that Afrika cannot solve her problems in isolation from the rest of the continent.” We have a mission as true Pan Afrikanists to educate our people. People might be slow to understand Sobukwe’s noble ideology but that is what will bear the best for human kind. Good ideas are not adopted automatically; they must be driven into practice with courageous patience. The failure of addressing the National Question by the current ruling party has exposed it as not having a clear vision. FORWARD TO PAN AFRIKANISM,TOMORROW THE UNITED STATES OF AFRIKA!

Concerning Ferguson unrest

William M. Hart

2015-01-07, Issue 708

Dear Editor, Ordinarily, I would say police violence is more of a police militarization problem than one of race. However, this is St. Louis County we're talking about here. There is still Klan activity in STLCO-- white robe-wearing, cross-burning KKK. Check out the Wikipedia entry for Rosa Parks Highway. That was where the Klan used to participate in the state adopt-a-highway program. About five months before the Michael Brown shooting, an STLCO PD lieutenant was fired for directing those under his supervision specifically to target racial minorities. I, myself, was prosecuted for having re-published some of the words of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. on-line. Here is my crime: ‘[U]nenforceable obligations are beyond the reach of the laws of society. They concern inner attitudes, genuine person-to-person relations, and expressions of compassion which law books cannot regulate and jails cannot rectify. Such obligations are met by one's commitment to an inner law, written on the heart. Man-made laws assure justice, but a higher law produces love.’ --ML K, Strength to Love p. 37 I would like to get this story out. It never drew media attention the way that the shooting did. I think Alemayehu G. Mariam is the right one to tell the story. Please forward this on to him. Thank you.

Whose role is it to redeem Makerere University?

Vincent Nuwagaba

2014-11-13, Issue 702

With diminished state funding and a management that does not seem to be competent in handling its affairs, the once famous Makerere University risks losing its stature in East Africa and beyond. But it is not too late to stop the slide.

The killer of Thomas Sankara

Danny Matiko

2014-11-13, Issue 702

There has been much speculation on the death of the former military leader of Burkina Faso, Thomas Sankara. Now that his successor, Blaise Compare, has been removed from power, it is high time that the international community should seriously consider starting the investigations to know who really killed Sankara.

Zambia: Guy Scott is the right person to act as president

Henry Kyambalesa

2014-11-05, Issue 701

The constitution is clear on who should be Acting President when the head of state dies. So, Zambians should stay calm during this period of mourning and wait to chose their next president when the time comes.

Zambian student kills herself after being denied bursary

Munyonzwe Hamalengwa

2014-10-01, Issue 696

Real tragedy in Zambia as evidenced by the suicide of a student who was denied a bursary to attend the University of Zambia. More than 4000 students out of 6000 were denied bursaries at UNZA this starting academic year. However, for some of us from poor families, education is the only pathway to a different future. During my time at UNZA everybody got a bursary. Of course those were different times. Fewer students. Plenty of money in government coffers etc. There was also a government policy to fund education. I also put it as a proposition that there was less corruption. There was the Leadership Code. It wasn't a solution to all ills but it was something. Youth and Sports Minister Hon. Kambwili now says it is the job of parents to pay for their children's education. How can poor parents and peasants afford university education? Where are our priorities if they do not include the future welfare of our children? I am very distressed by this death.

On militaising epidemics in Africa

Helen Lauer

2014-10-03, Issue 696

There is just too much scaremongering about Ebola in the West, meant possibly to boost the humanitarian industry. The realities of public health concerns throughout Africa have been given little attention

On the heroic Ebola doctor myth

Brooke G. Schoepf, Ph.D.

2014-10-03, Issue 696

The "Heroic Ebola Doctor Myth” article by Jon Rappoport (9/22/14), a U.S. journalist, takes aim at the wrong targets.

Soyinka, Jonathan and Uhuru’s kidney PR

Henry Makori

2014-09-17, Issue 694

It is unacceptable for national leaders to resort to populist manoeuvres, even taking advantage of the suffering of poor citizens, to gain political capital. Tokenism replaces comprehensive policy responses to critical national challenges

Challenges of small-holder farmers in Nigeria

Henry Ekwuruke

2014-07-09, Issue 686

Smallholder farmers in Nigeria remain underprivileged, lacking access to critical information required for their agricultural activities. We are often not able to produce sufficiently for our communities and often see limited incentives to produce more than what is needed for our own livelihood. This is primarily caused by the limited access to the inputs, support services, markets and credit, which would enable us to increase our production and sales volumes. * Henry Ekwuruke, a smallholder farmer, writes from Umuahia, Abia State.

Saluting Nelson Mandela, colossus of the liberation struggle

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

2013-12-19, Issue 659

Father of the successful African struggle for the restoration of independence in South Africa after centuries of the European conquest and occupation. This resistance is surely one of the momentous liberation upheavals of recent human history. At its apogee, we mustn’t forget, quite a few seemingly influential global public figures and intellectuals had variously dismissed eventual African victory as “impossible”, “couldn’t achieve such a feat”, “[European rule] here to stay”… What a year, this 2013 – Africa and the world have bidden farewell to the dual-colossi of 20th/21st centuries’ African renaissance: Nelson Mandela and Chinua Achebe, Father of African Literature. * Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe is visiting professor in graduate programme of constitutional law, Universidade de Fortaleza, Brazil

On gender, class and race

2013-10-30, Issue 652

Dear Chambi, I love this [url=<[/url]. It is brilliant. However, I am not convinced of the need to 'collapse' gender, class and race into one grand category called patriarchy .. and wonder how others feel about it? I don't agree with the idea that patriarchy as patriarchy is a gendering classing and racializing system of domination .... for me, I remain comfortable with the idea of intersecting social forces of patriarchy and neoliberalism and racism [you may assist me in updating what conceptual tool is used these days for 'intersecting' or interweaving ..] However I agree and believe you have advanced our analysis forward by insisting on the primacy of gender analysis of patriarchy when analysing any form of power relations in society .. though I would still add 'along with eg imperialism and race' Thanks for this thoughtful essay. Marge

Walter Rodney lives

Eric Kisanga

2013-07-30, Issue 641

I am Eric ‘gifted’ Kisanga, a Tanzanian living in Arusha City, Eastern Africa. With all my all my reading, I've never been inspired the way Dr. Walter Rodney did in my life. At the University of Dar es Salaam where Rodney once taught, there is until today 'Rodney Square' where students meet to discuss matters relating to equality and activism. I am a recent father, blessed with a baby boy, and his name is Walter Rodney. A combination of names that I believe will take over his life forever, with the spirit of defending peoples' rights and breaking the classes in society. The fire started by Rodney will keep on burning forever... Blessed are ones who died in fighting for equality!

The Somali are not born pirates

K Vijayakumaran

2013-05-30, Issue 632

The greed of the rich to propagate their interest at the cost of fellowmen in other countries is the root cause of piracy in the Indian Ocean. In a sense, piracy is good for conservation of tuna and other African resources

Igbo Genocide Day of Remembrance

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

2013-05-16, Issue 630

Wednesday 29 May 2013, a fortnight away, is the 47th anniversary of the beginning of the Igbo genocide. Starting from that fateful mid-morning of Sunday 29 May 1966 and through the course of 44 months of indescribable barbarity and carnage not seen in Africa for 60 years, the composite institutions of the Nigeria state, civilian and military, murdered 3.1 million Igbo people or one-quarter of this nation´s population. The Igbo genocide is the foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa. It inaugurated Africa´s current age of pestilence. This year´s commemoration will, as in the past, be a day of meditation and remembrance in every Igbo household in Igboland and the Igbo diaspora for the 3.1 million murdered, gratitude and thanksgiving for those who survived, and the collective Igbo rededication to achieve the urgent goal of the restoration of Igbo sovereignty. There will also be lectures, discussions and exhibitions on varying features and phases of the genocide organised by individuals, students, the youth, women, family unions, village, town, district, regional and professional associations. The 50 million Igbo people heartily welcome all peoples of goodwill across the world to join them in commemorating the 47th anniversary of the launch of the genocide. * Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe is the author of Readings from Reading: Essays on African Politics, Genocide, Literature (Dakar and Reading: African Renaissance, 2011).

'Unmasking terrorism in imperialism and capitalism'

Tsitsi Dangarembga

2013-05-09, Issue 629

Hi Colleagues, Thank you for this edition [Issue 628]. It brings into the public space a phenomenon or cluster of phenomena that we have to label appropriately. For my part I have been calling it 'existential terrorism', meaning the terror that is brought to bear on certain groups by other groups by virtue of the fact that the former group exists in the relation it does to the former. Definitions are notoriously difficult, so it is wonderful that we have found the words to open up this discussion. Tsitsi Dangarembga Director Institute of Creative Arts for Progress in Africa (ICAPA) Trust (incorporating Women Filmmakers of Zimbabwe and Nyerai Films) Founder International Images Film Festival for Women (IIFF) Harare, Zimbabwe

Why is Central Africa Republic forgotten?

2013-04-09, Issue 625

Dear editor, I enjoyed reading the article 'What’s at stake in the Central African Republic?'. Since it was published in January, no other contribution has been published ever since, which is very frustrating. I think it's sad for this country forgotten by most African and world media. In spite of your article, I can't help wondering if the CAR is considered a geopolitical issue at all. I've been trying to grasp why this country has been so unstable since it took independence from France in 1960. The CAR gave birth to one of the few panafricanists from the colonial era : Barthélémy Boganda, who died under dubious circumstances. Since his death, the CAR has gone to the dogs. Why? Why has the CAR remained one of the few African states epitomizing instability with its many coups? I would be very grateful if you would contribute an article about the issue. Jeanne Nyock

Chinua Achebe: Our Eagle lives on…

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

2013-03-28, Issue 623

Our Eagle on the Iroko has flown home... No, not really... Our Eagle is right here – with us. Our Eagle lives on. This has been the solemn promise made since age 28 with ‘Things Fall Apart’ and followed by the unrelenting, exemplifying rigour of the entire consummate stretch of discourses and reflections and yet more discourses during the course of 54 subsequent years that culminated in that towering testament of our age, ‘There was a Country’. Our Eagle lives on. Focusing on the Eagle´s first discourse, a classic, Kwame Anthony Appiah, literary scholar and philosopher, has argued: ‘It would be impossible to say how ‘Things Fall Apart’ influenced African writing. It would be like asking how Shakespeare influenced English writers or Pushkin influenced Russians. Achebe didn't only play the game, he invented it’. Chinua Achebe has indeed run a great race. Ka Chukwu anyi gozie his blessed soul and give comfort to his loving family. Odogwu Mmadu, ije oma. Our pledge at this time: Igbo will be free and we will surely bring to a halt this ongoing genocide against our people, which started on 29 May 1966, and we will transform Igboland to an advanced state and society as duly resolved in the Ahiara Declaration.

British ex-PM Blair’s campaign for Rwanda

Theogene Rudasingwa

2013-03-07, Issue 619

'The pretense that everyone is wrong about Rwanda’s involvement with M23 except President Kagame, Tony Blair and Howard Buffet is in itself a symptom of the corrupting power of money and unchallenged political influence'

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