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News about our programmes 30, Sept. 2014

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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.

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This site has been established by Fahamu to provide regular feedback to African civil society organisations on what is happening with the African Union.

Perspectives on Emerging Powers in Africa: December 2011 newsletter

Deborah Brautigam provides an overview and description of China's development finance to Africa. "Looking at the nature of Chinese development aid - and non-aid - to Africa provides insights into China's strategic approach to outward investment and economic diplomacy, even if exact figures and strategies are not easily ascertained", she states as she describes China's provision of grants, zero-interest loans and concessional loans. Pambazuka Press recently released a publication titled India in Africa: Changing Geographies of Power, and Oliver Stuenkel provides his review of the book.
The December edition available here.

The 2010 issues: September, October, November, December, and the 2011 issues: January, February, March , April, May , June , July , August , September, October and November issues are all available for download.

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Elections & governance

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Sierra Leone: Obasanjo election 'meddling' outrages Sierra Leone opposition

2012-11-07, Issue 605

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo is no stranger to controversy, especially in Sierra Leone. This time round he has angered opposition supporters by openly endorsing and campaigning for the incumbent President Ernest Bai Koroma ahead of elections set for November 17. The former Nigerian leader arrived in Freetown Sunday unannounced, reportedly aboard a presidential jet, and was flown out of the capital in a government-provided helicopter to where President Koroma was canvassing for votes.

Sierra Leone: Security tightened ahead of polls

2012-11-12, Issue 605

Sierra Leonean polls slated for November 17, 2012 will be adequately secured. The assuarance came from the country's security chiefs, who also allayed fears of likely intimidation by security agents saying that the decision was a precautionary measures to avoid any likely chaos. According to the security officer, the polls will see over 15,000 security personnel deployed under the Integrated Elections Security Planning Committee.

Morocco: Spirit of new Morocco constitution 'frozen'

2012-11-13, Issue 605

Morocco's Prince Moulay Hicham, King Mohammed VI's first cousin, has said in a television interview the spirit of a new constitution adopted last year in a bid to stifle Arab Spring protests remains 'frozen'. The constitutional changes, introduced by the king to curb his near-absolute powers, followed mass protests in the north African country, and as similar unrest toppled regimes in Tunisia and Egypt.

Ethiopia: Opposition calls for free, fair elections

2012-11-13, Issue 605

The honeymoon period for new Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has officially ended after 34 opposition parties together called on the government to ensure free and fair elections in regional voting next April. The parties had been invited by the country’s Election Board earlier this month to look at how to schedule the vote and when the groups demanded to know how the board was to deal with potential irregularities in the voting, the meeting was canceled.

South Africa: Parties file no-confidence motion over Zuma

2012-11-13, Issue 605

South African opposition parties have submitted a motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma saying that corruption and unemployment have risen, the justice system has been politicised, and the economy has weakened. The motion, backed by eight parties, was triggered by the recent deadly mine strikes, the downgrading of the country's credit rating by two major agencies, and big spending of state funds on Zuma's rural residence, according to a joint statement by the parties.

Zimbabwe: Soldiers terrorise Gokwe

2012-11-01, Issue 604

Villagers in Gokwe, Mashonaland West, have reported that uniformed soldiers are forcing them to attend political rallies, where they are being warned that more soldiers with guns will be deployed to punish them if they do not support ZANU PF policies on the constitution and in elections due next year. The report comes just a day after Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka, told reporters that Robert Mugabe met with Tsvangirai on Monday and agreed to call a meeting with the country's army generals, to discuss the issue of political violence and elections.

Tunisia: Security tightened after Tunisia violence

2012-11-01, Issue 604

Police and soldiers have deployed in large numbers in the Tunisian capital after deadly clashes with radical Islamists during the night, according to the interior ministry. The deployment came a day after Tunisia's state news agency said one protester was killed and three security officers injured in clashes near Tunis. Wielding sharp tools and swords, the protesters went on the attack in the Tunis suburb of Manouba after police arrested a Salafist suspected of assaulting the head of the suburb's public-security brigade, Khaled Tarrouche, interior ministry spokesman, said.

Zimbabwe: MDC-T Treasurer speaks about violent Kadoma attack

2012-11-05, Issue 604

The brutal assault on an MDC-T official and his wife, which happened in Kadoma, has fuelled anger among Zimbabweans and sparked fears that political violence is intensifying ahead of elections due next year. The attack has also focused attention on Robert Mugabe, who on several occasions recently said publicly that he wants peace and tolerance between party supporters. Critics are now questioning the ZANU PF leader’s sincerity.

Burundi: Bumpy road to the 2015 polls

2012-11-05, Issue 604

The US$2 billion pledged by donors on 30 October to support Burundi’s development sounds like a ringing endorsement of the central African country’s progress from civil war to peace and democracy. But memories are still fresh of the 1993-2005 conflict that killed more than 200,000 people, and analysts, human rights experts, and civil society and political opposition members - while they agree significant gains have been made - worry about a range of security and governance issues that could derail them ahead of the 2015 elections.

Guinea-Bissau: Citizen frustration and defiance in face of turmoil

2012-11-06, Issue 604

On October 21, a violent incident occurred at an airbase outside Bissau, the capital of the small west African nation of Guinea-Bissau. Six people were reported killed, and gruesome images of bodies of accused assailants circulated on the internet. The day after two politicians critical of the country's transitional government and military were kidnapped and beaten. The violence took place against a backdrop of simmering doubts about the transition negotiated by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), reports Global Voices Online.

Nigeria: Mass arrests over Biafra protests

2012-11-06, Issue 604

At least 100 people have been charged with treason in south-eastern Nigeria after a march supporting independence for Biafra, their lawyer says. Members of the Biafran Zionist Movement declared independence, raised the Biafran flag and then marched through the region's main town, Enugu. More than one million people died during the 1967-70 Biafran conflict - mostly from hunger and disease.

Zimbabwe: Constitution talks end in impasse

2012-10-24, Issue 603

Zimbabwe’s three governing parties failed to find common ground on presidential powers and proposed security reforms in the new constitution at a crucial conference to review the charter that ended on Tuesday 23 October. President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party wants an overhaul of the draft constitution produced by an inter-party parliamentary committee claiming Zimbabweans favoured an all powerful Head of State and government. After two days of deliberations, Zanu-PF and the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formations in the inclusive government failed to narrow their differences.

Egypt: Opposition launches initiative for new 'non-partisan' Constituent Assembly

2012-10-24, Issue 603

Egyptian Popular Current leader and former presidential contender Hamdeen Sabbahi joined representatives from Egypt's opposition groups and civil society organisations, to announce the launch of a national front defending a 'constitution for all Egyptians' in a press conference late Tuesday 23 October. The front’s aim, they asserted, is to push for a constitution that better represents Egypt's diverse society and expresses the spirit of last year's 18-day uprising.

Swaziland: King in almost 'absolute control'

2012-10-24, Issue 603

The on-going political crisis in Swaziland shows ‘the king continues to enjoy almost absolute control over the country,’ Freedom House has said. The House of Assembly passed a vote of no-confidence in the government and according to the Swazi Constitution King Mswati III should have sacked the government, but he did not. Instead, pressure was put on members of the House and after 12 days of uncertainty they reversed the decision in a controversial vote. Freedom House in a statement said the actions of the king, who is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, and the government he appointed, ‘demonstrate a lack of consideration for the rule of law and the authority and independence of Swaziland’s governing institutions, including the House of Assembly, as written in the Constitution’.

Uganda: Opposition chides government over detentions

2012-10-24, Issue 603

Over 50 members of Uganda's main opposition political party - the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) have been arrested in the past two weeks by security agencies and are detained at undisclosed places, party officials say. There were unconfirmed reports that the activists are facing charges of plotting to overthrow President Yoweri Museveni's government.

South Africa: Parliament draws fire on Traditional Courts Bill

2012-10-25, Issue 603

Controversy is brewing as Parliament ignored an overwhelming number of submissions made by the public into the controversial Traditional Courts Bill. When MPs enquired as to why the other submissions were not considered, committee chairperson, Tjheta Mofokeng dropped the bombshell about irrelevance to the Bill. This is the abuse of power by department, said Independent Democrats MP John Gunda.

Zimbabwe: Turmoil in ZANU PF over ‘coup’ pronouncements

2012-10-25, Issue 603

Civil war has broken out in the former ruling ZANU PF over interviews given by senior party figures saying that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai will not be allowed to take over power should he win next year’s presidential elections. Recent statements by party heavyweights Patrick Chinamasa and Rugare Gumbo, that the army will stage a coup in the event of an MDC-T victory, have sharply exposed the deep splits within the party.

Togo: Simmering discontent ahead of polls

2012-10-25, Issue 603

A recent wave of protests by Togolese opposition groups and a heavy-handed clampdown by security forces have set the scene for a tense struggle for reforms in a country that has been ruled for 45 years by a father and his son. Since April, the opposition has been holding demonstrations to press for electoral reforms ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for an as yet undeclared date this month.

Egypt: Brotherhood targets trade unions

2012-10-29, Issue 603

'Their attitude to workers, trade unions and economic and social rights is even more hostile than that of the National Democratic Party,' Egypt’s now-dissolved former ruling party. That is the verdict of Kamal Abu Aita, head of the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions (EFITU), on the performance in power of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). The MB withdrew its earlier support for a new law on trade union freedoms,Speaking to Al-Akhbar, Abu Aita was particularly critical of the behaviour of the MB’s labor minister, Khaled al-Azhari, charging that there was evidence he had been actively inciting employers and management against protesting workers in various institutions.

Burundi: Bye-bye Arusha?

2012-10-29, Issue 603

Since the 2010 boycotted elections, Burundi is steadily drifting away from what was initially regarded as a peacemaking model, and violence from both the ruling party and the opposition is threatening stability. 'Burundi: Bye-bye Arusha?', the latest report from the International Crisis Group, analyses how the control of the institutions by the ruling party and the boycott of the 2010 elections by the main opposition parties made the power-sharing system defined by the 2000 Arusha agreement irrelevant.

Ghana: Meet Agnes Chigabatia, Ghanaian female politician

2012-10-29, Issue 603

There have been considerable efforts by women to have chance in Ghanaian politics. Ghana Decides, a non-partisan project which aims to foster a better-informed electorate for free, fair and safe 2012 elections using social media tools took a personality profile look on parliamentary candidate Agnes Chigabatia. Ghana Decides is an initiative under Blogging Ghana, a Ghanaian blogging community.

Algeria: Change awaited after 50 years under ruling party

2012-10-17, Issue 602

A generation of leaders who won their spurs during Algeria's 1954-62 independence war against France remains in power, having defeated a violent challenge by armed Islamists in the 1990s and, at least for now, seen off the rebellious spirit that toppled Arab autocrats in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya last year. Among the old guard is President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 75, who has served three terms and is thought unlikely to seek a fourth, if only for undisclosed health reasons. But with a presidential election due in 2014 there is no clarity on who might take over Africa's biggest country, an OPEC oil producer which supplies a fifth of Europe's gas imports and cooperates with the West in combating al Qaeda-style militancy.

Swaziland: Government no confidence vote reversed

2012-10-17, Issue 602

The Swaziland House of Assembly has reversed its vote of no-confidence in the government, amid great controversy. On Monday (15 October 2012) after an eight-hour debate members rescinded a vote that had taken place two weeks earlier. That vote, by a three-fifths majority of members of the House, was enough to force the cabinet to resign, in line with Section 68 (5) of the Swazi Constitution. The first vote had cause a political crisis because the government, led by Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini, refused to resign and King Mswati III did not sack him, as he is required to do under the Constitution.

Zimbabwe: Change and ‘New’ Politics

2012-10-18, Issue 602

Zimbabweans are showing the evidence of having been torn in all directions in the transitional period. They have been scarred by the party political wars since the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) from late 2000 onwards first posed an electoral challenge to the Zimbabwe African National Union‐ Patriotic Front (ZANU‐PF). Zimbabweans, as represented in this stratified‐random and nationally representative sample from Freedom House, are not sure it seems on what to believe and how to relate to political and economic circumstances.

Ghana: Nana Rawlings 'shocked' at election ban

2012-10-22, Issue 602

The wife of Ghana's ex-leader Jerry Rawlings is shocked after being barred from contesting the December election, her spokesman has told the BBC. Nana Konadu Rawlings was chosen last weekend as the presidential candidate of the National Democratic Party (NDP). She defected from the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) party, although Mr Rawlings has not done so. The election commission said her nomination papers had not been completed before the deadline.

Kenya: Battle for votes moves to social media

2012-10-22, Issue 602

Presidential aspirants have embraced the digital platform as they step up campaigns ahead of the General Election. They are reaching out to voters directly through social media signalling their determination to use digital technology as a new frontier in consolidating their support among voters, reports the Daily Nation.

Tunisia: Politician dead after clash with salafists

2012-10-23, Issue 602

More than a thousand people gathered in Tataouine on Sunday (October 21st) to attend the funeral of an opposition party politician, who died three days earlier in clashes with salafists. Interior Ministry Spokesperson Khaled Tarrouche said that Lotfi Nakdh died of a heart attack and there were no traces of violence on his body. While, the Nidaa Tounes ('Call of Tunisia') party, headed by former Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi, insisted that he was beaten to death by pro-government demonstrators.

Zimbabwe: Ncube protests Mutambara presence as Conference begins

2012-10-23, Issue 602

The 2nd All Stakeholders Conference got off to a dramatic and chaotic start in Harare on Monday, with the MDC-N leader Welshman Ncube walking out of the event, to protest the presence of Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara. At the heart of his protest is the fact SADC leaders resolved at the last summit in Maputo that Ncube would be the third principal allowed to participate in GPA negotiations. But ZANU PF went against SADC and insisted Mutambara would remain the third principal to participate in government business.

Sierra Leone: Bracing for a 'watershed election'

2012-10-10, Issue 601

Sierra Leone’s international partners and citizens are paying close attention to possible threats to peace ahead of presidential, parliamentary and local elections scheduled for 17 November, which it is hoped will consolidate stability a decade after the end of a civil war and lead to improved living standards. Campaigns are intensifying, especially between historical rivals the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) party and the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), now in opposition. These are the country’s third elections since the war was declared over.

Kenya: MPs' proposed pay rise sparks protest

2012-10-10, Issue 601

Kenyans have staged a protest in the capital Nairobi against a vote paving the way for members of parliament to be paid $110,000 send-off bonus, with money expected from tax increases. Demonstrators marched after parliament dismissed the majority of wage demands of striking public sector workers, including doctors and teachers - yet it approved the lucrative pay off which will cost the country $24.7m.

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