Letters & Opinions
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. https://www.zambianwatchdog.com/kalingalinga-students-kills-herself-after-being-denied-unza-bursary/
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
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.
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
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.
2014-02-19, Issue 666
Racism at World Bank Dear Editor, I recently read about the extent of the racism at the WB in an article on Yonas Biru and I am absolutely horrified, as my father had worked there for 5 years. I knew he hated it but I didn't know it was this bad. I'm so glad that you, Justice for Blacks and Dr. Biru, are fighting the good fight. I have been posting the material on twitter under the hashtag #WorldBankJimCrow2 . Please encourage others to do the same. I have learned that twitter is an effective tool when dealing with these powerful entities. My Twitter handle is @dr_asrat . Best regards, Welansa
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
2013-10-30, Issue 652
Dear Chambi, I love this [url=http://pambazuka.org/en/category/features/89290<http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/89290article[/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
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!
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
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).
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
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
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.
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'
Unemployed People’s Movement
2013-02-20, Issue 617
Our country is reeling with shock at the ongoing rape and violence against women, rich women and poor women, white women and black women, by men of all races and classes. And our country is reeling in shock at the levels of corruption. The trial of the Mpsiane's in KwaZulu-Natal has shown just how extreme the situation has become in terms of government corruption. But we are also reeling in shock from the corruption scandals around MTN, the construction cartel and other big corporates that have even go so far as to fix the price of bread. We would have expected a decent President to announce special courts to deal with rape and violence against women. We would have expected a decent President to announce special courts to deal with corruption. Instead we get special courts for protesters! Zuma is more like Ben Ali or Mubarak than a true representative of the people. His conduct in his own rape trial was shocking. No one could ever say that he is a leader that has the moral authority to take a stand against corruption. He has militarised the police and said nothing when poor people's movements are openly repressed by the police and the ANC. Now he pretends that violence is coming from protesters when we all know that in most cases it is the police that bring violence into the equation. There is a very long list of protesters that have been killed by the police since 2000. In fact the number stands at more than 70! What kind of democracy is this where the police can kill more than 70 protesters? CONTACT Ayanda Kota 078 625 6462 (Spokesperson, UPM Eastern Cape) Motsi Khokhoma 073 490 76 23 (Spokesperson, UPM Free State)
2013-01-17, Issue 613
With the spate of murders and assassinations of unarmed Nigerians in Nigeria by security agents and armed robbers, is it not the time to call for legislation that legalizes self protection by allowing Nigerians to legally possess? The daylight murder of Dr. Irawo Adamolekun in the city of Lagos with dozens of passersby, AND with IMPUNITY, calls for urgent revision of our gun access laws. If at least two or three Nigerians who witnessed that shooting had guns, they would have at least prevented that hoodlum from escaping from the scene without trace. In the same vein, many Nigerians would be able to challenge armed robbers that operate in their neighbourhood. In addition the unprovoked maltreatment of civilians by security agents in Nigeria will be limited if such security agent know that the civilian they are about to victimize may possess gun and may be able to defend themselves against unprovoked aggression. The current debate about gun control in America due to recent spate of violence may be an argument against my proposal, but we have to realize that things are getting out of hand in Nigeria and the Nigerian security agents are not protecting Nigerians. This is the main reason to start looking for alternative ways to ensure protection of Nigerians.
2012-11-21, Issue 607
Your article ‘Libya all in? Failed Nato mission exposes US generals’ of 15 Nov. by Horace G. Campbell (www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/85450) contains a significant factual error. Gen. Ham has not been removed, and continues to serve as Commander of U.S. Africa Command. I urge you to correct this error following basic standards of journalism. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta’s announced intention to nominate Army Gen. David M. Rodriguez to succeed Army Gen. Carter F. Ham as the commander of U.S. Africa Command followed long planned leadership succession deliberations. The leadership transition at this important command has nothing to do with the attack on American personnel in Benghazi. General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, noted "The speculation that General Carter Ham is departing Africa Command (AFRICOM) due to events in Benghazi, Libya on 11 September 2012 is absolutely false. General Ham's departure is part of routine succession planning that has been ongoing since July. He continues to serve in AFRICOM with my complete confidence." See http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=118400 Benjamin Benson, Media Engagement, Chief U.S. Africa Command, Public Affairs (J035) Kelley Barracks, Stuttgart-Möhringen, Germany
Horace G. Campbell
2012-11-21, Issue 607
The response of the Public Affairs Officer of AFRICOM shows that AFRICOM takes its media management seriously. The fact is that the retirement of General Carter Ham was announced on October 18 in the context of a review by the Pentagon of the events of September 11/12, 2012 in Benghazi, Libya. The fact that the Department of Defense issued a press release on October 31 on the status of Carter Ham does not change the fact that the General will be replaced if and when David Rodriquez is confirmed. http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=118400 The progressive scholarly community and the peace movement takes no comfort that Carter Ham is to be replaced by Army Gen. David M. Rodriguez. The historic close relationship between David M. Rodriquez and retired General Petraeus (as revealed in the biography of Petraeus, ‘All in: the Education of David Petraeus’) should elicit close scrutiny if the U.S. Congress does its work. Ultimately, whether General Carter Ham is retiring because of ‘long planned leadership succession deliberations’ or he was strongly advised to retire does not change the realities of the insecurity in Libya after the NATO intervention. This author will accept the word of Benjamin Benson of the media management division of AFRICOM that Carter Ham was not, 'removed.' Whether removed or retiring because of 'succession deliberations' we await the full audit from General Ham of what happened in Libya and how AFRICOM contributed to the present lawlessness in Libya by this intervention. Horace G Campbell Professor of African American Studies and Political Science at Syracuse University
Deo K Tumusiime
2012-11-01, Issue 604
The cost of electricity in Uganda remains unaffordable to most citizens, yet the government has kept on using taxpayers’ money in power projects that hardly bring any relieve to consumers.
Mandlenkosi ka Phangwa
2012-10-24, Issue 603
Apartheid may be officially dead, but its impact is still felt in South Africa. Worse, most Black people have not gained much from the coming to power of a non-racial government.
MP Khwezi ka Ceza
2012-09-27, Issue 599
‘Racial quotas are hateful’. So says Sunday Times columnist Stephen Mulholland. I don’t agree. It is an undeniable truth that race and political affiliation rank above ability in the current dispensation. However, Mulholland cunningly equates Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) and Affirmative Action with Nazism and apartheid. It is devoid of any facts. Woolworths is driving a programme adhering to the country’s labour legislations. It is geared towards addressing the inherent socio-economic inequalities of the past. BEE is not a law that was designated for oppression. Rather, one for balancing the scale. Apartheid had its affirmative action for whites. This one is to redress such imbalances. It could lend itself to abuse by our political demagogues. In some instances it has degenerated to an STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) by some public representatives and the ruling party elites. Comrade Umshini Wam infamously declared most recently to the DA speaker: ‘..you have more rights because you’re a majority. That’s how democracy works.’ The remark questioned his understanding of constitutional democracy. Again, attempting to bring in another notorious spokesperson in the form of Jimmy Manyi, Mulholland fraudulently attempts to equate the plight of the Coloured people to the economic hegemony of the Jews the world over. Since history has always been written by the victors, there has always been a conspicuous effort to erase Africa in the discourse on civilization. As if it is only the preserve of Europe. Therefore we also owe it to ourselves to change his/herstory to be ourstory. In the post-1994 dispensation, it is easy for privileged Mulhollands to point fingers at our broken education system, festering hospitals, rape of the defence budget, corrupt tenders and so on, as they remember their formerly legalized racial superiority, despite having lost nothing under the democratically elected regime. It is worth reminding such people that none from the down-trodden South African approves of cronyism, corruption and other shortcomings of the government. The question that begs an answer should be how to review these legislations to benefit all of us equally. Racial quotas, according to his own definition, were not meant to perpetrate crimes against humanity or for genocidal purposes. As seen in Palestinians at the hands of the Jewish settlers who arrived a couple of decades ago. In contrast, the indigenous South Africans demonstrated their humane side by not chasing Mulholland and such melamin neither challenged nor orchestrated any mass killings against them. This is despite them having colonized us for more than three centuries. Yet you have people like him having the audacity to judge our country against Hitler’s Nazi regime. * MP Khwezi ka Ceza is a freelance journalist and an independent political economist
2012-09-19, Issue 598
Dear Editor I have just read the article by [url= Osita]http://pambazuka.org/en/category/features/82197]Osita Ebiem[/url]. While, of course, many people died during both the political riots before the war and during the war there is certainly another way of looking at these deaths. I don't think he mentions the massacre in the North? I believe the final tally at the morgues there was around 7,000. The myth went up to 53,000. I worked in both UCH Ibadan during the war where some Igbo soldiers were treated alongside Federal soldiers and in Port Harcourt after the war. I know that the strafing of Awka and other parts of Igboland was very serious but in PH there was only one house damaged. Also the number of civilian injuries were very few indeed unlike the wars that came later elsewhere in the world. Another thing, he mentions Biafrans as if they were different from Igbo people. Does he refer to other people from the South East? If so I doubt if they would want to be included. And finally who started the war? In general I challenge his figures and I would like to hear other comments about this sad event in the past.
2012-09-13, Issue 597
In the course of my departure from Pambazuka News, I have been overwhelmed by the number of letters I have received from readers – too many for me to thank individually. Thank you to all of you who wrote or called. I also want to give thanks to the contribution, talent, tenacity and commitment of the small team of editors who worked with under great duress recently to ensure the regular publication of this unique pan-African e-newsletter and website. The team, comprising of Patrick Burnett (South Africa), Tidiane Kassé (Senegal), and Henry Makori (Kenya), has decided to continue publishing Pambazuka News for as long as they are able to. I write to urge all contributors and readers to support the team in their efforts. There continues to be a critical need for a platform such as Pambazuka News to support the struggle for freedom and justice. PAMBAZUKA NEWS STAFF REPLY: As the staff of Pambazuka News who have worked under Firoze Manji, in some cases for many years, we would like to pay tribute to his enormous commitment to the publication and what it stands for. Firoze worked tirelessly and passionately on Pambazuka News since it began over 10 years ago. He has signed off on nearly 600 English editions and nearly 300 French editions. When Pambazuka News began, it was a tiny email list with a handful of subscribers; against the odds it is now a major platform for news, views and activism. Firoze's time at Pambazuka News spanned global events that have changed our world: under his editorship activists from all backgrounds and causes, civil society professionals, Pan-Africanists, academics, global justice advocates, bloggers, tweeters and more have been able to come together and share views and opinions on these events in a way that was not possible to do before. In the process they have enriched their work and critical alliances and exchanges have been forged, taking forward the movement for social justice. The extent of this achievement should not be underestimated. On a personal note, we would like to publicly thank Firoze for sharing with us his fierce intellect and his willingness to transfer skills and in the process impart knowledge and learning to those around him. Pambazuka News will sorely miss, but not forget, his leadership.
2012-06-28, Issue 591
Dear Comrade, A belated 'Thank You' for keeping the message of Walter's seminal and timeless work alive and reminding us to always honour his memory. The symposium that resulted from your collaboration with OWTU, Pat, Norman Girvan and other comrades in T & T was hugely inspirational and, for me, it brought back so many memories of more focused action in equally challenging times. Thank You! I have been working in Nigeria these last weeks but will be back in the UK in 10 days and will make sure and get my copy of the new edition. Solidarity, Peace and Progress! Gus John| 1-30 | 31-60 | 61-90 | 91-120 | 121-150 | 151-180 ... Next