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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.

Latest titles from Pambazuka Press

African Sexualities

Earth Grab A Reader
Sylvia Tamale
A groundbreaking book, accessible but scholarly, by African activists. It uses research, life stories and artistic expression to examine dominant and deviant sexualities, and investigate the intersections between sex, power, masculinities and femininities
Buy now

Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya

From Citizen to Refugee Horace Campbell
In this elegantly written and incisive account, scholar Horace Campbell investigates the political and economic crises of the early twenty-first century through the prism of NATO's intervention in Libya.
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Queer African Reader

Demystifying Aid Edited by Sokari Ekine, Hakima Abbas
A diverse collection of writing from across the continent exploring African LGBTI liberation: identity, tactics for activism, international solidarity, homophobia and global politics, religion and culture, and intersections with social justice movements. A richness of voices, a multiplicity of discourses, a quiverful of arguments. African queers writing for each other, theorising ourselves, making our ...more
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China and Angola

African Awakening A Marriage of Convenience?
Edited by Marcus Power, Ana Alves
This book focuses on the increased co-operation between Angola and China and shows that although relations with China might have bolstered regime stability and boosted the international standing of the Angolan government, China is not regarded as a long term strategic partner.
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How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

To Cook a ContinentWalter Rodney
Rodney shows how the imperial countries of Europe, and subsequently the US, bear major responsibility for impoverishing Africa. They have been joined in this exploitation by agents or unwitting accomplices both in the North and in Africa.
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Emerging Powers Digest: 14th Edition, 5 December 2014

In today’s newsletter the Emerging Powers project announces a call for grant applications; gives a summary of Zuma's travels to China and the signing of the 5-10 Year Framework on Cooperation between the two countries; highlights Ethiopia's budding textile industry and relations with China; India's growing investment presence in Africa; militarization of the continent by the emerging actors. The news digest also provides analyses and news reports on China's evolving foreign policy and diplomatic relations. Read these and other news items in this week's edition of the Emerging Powers in Africa news digest.

Call for Grant Proposals

The Emerging Powers in Africa Project is issuing a call for grant proposals. The grants are aimed at examining the political, economic, social and cultural impact of the emerging powers footprint in Africa. The grant is specifically related to empowering civil society actors in gaining the appropriate knowledge and developing the necessary tools to articulate an informed perspective on the emerging powers in Africa and the corresponding impact.


+ Read the Emerging Powers Digest

+ The Emerging Powers Project Homepage

Pambazuka News Broadcasts

Pambazuka broadcasts feature audio and video content with cutting edge commentary and debate from social justice movements across the continent.

See the list of episodes.


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

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Letters & Opinions

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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.

Racism at World Bank

Welansa Asrat

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

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'

Zuma targets protesters while taking no serious action on violence against women

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)

Time to legalize access to guns in Nigeria?

Niyi Adebisi

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.

Gen. Ham continues to serve as Commander of U.S. Africa Command

Benjamin Benson

2012-11-21, Issue 607

Your article ‘Libya all in? Failed Nato mission exposes US generals’ of 15 Nov. by Horace G. Campbell ( 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 Benjamin Benson, Media Engagement, Chief U.S. Africa Command, Public Affairs (J035) Kelley Barracks, Stuttgart-Möhringen, Germany

Gen. Ham: A response to AFRICOM

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. 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

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