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* Editorial: Mamdani asks "How can we name the Darfur crisis?
* Comment and Analysis: Gerald Caplan on the genocide problem:
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How can we name the Darfur crisis: Preliminary thoughts on Darfur

Mahmood Mamdani


How can we name the Darfur crisis? The US Congress, and now Secretary of State Colin Powell, claim that genocide has occurred in Darfur. The European Union says it is not genocide. And so does the African Union.

Nigerian President Obasanjo, also the current Chair of the African Union, told a press conference at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on September 23: "Before you can say that this is genocide or ethnic cleansing, we will have to have a definite decision and plan and program of a government to wipe out a particular group of people, then we will be talking about genocide, ethnic cleansing. What we know is not that. What we know is that there was an uprising, rebellion, and the government armed another group of people to stop that rebellion. That's what we know. That does not amount to genocide from our own reckoning. It amounts to of course conflict. It amounts to violence."

Is Darfur genocide that has happened and must be punished? Or, is it genocide that could happen and must be prevented? I will argue the latter.

Sudan is today the site of two contradictory processes. The first is the Naivasha peace process between the SPLA and the Government of Sudan, whose promise is an end to Africa's longest festering civil war. The second is the armed confrontation between an insurgency and anti-government militias in Darfur. There is need to think of the south and the west as different aspects of a connected process. I will argue that this reflection should be guided by a central objective: to reinforce the peace process and to demilitarize the conflict in Darfur.

Understanding Darfur Conflict Politically

The peace process in the South has split both sides to the conflict. Tensions within the ruling circles in Khartoum and within the opposition SPLA have given rise to two anti-government militias. The Justice and Equality Movement has historical links to the Islamist regime, and the SLA to the southern guerrilla movement.

The Justice and Equality Movement organized as part of the Hassan Turabi faction of the Islamists. Darfur, historically the mainstay of the Mahdist movement, was Turabi's major claim to political success in the last decade. When the Khartoum coalition - between the army officers led by Bashir and the Islamist political movement under Turabi - split, the Darfur Islamists fell out with both sides. JEM was organized in Khartoum as part of an agenda for regaining power. It has a more localized and multi-ethnic presence in Darfur and has been home to many who have advocated an 'African Islam'.

The SLA is linked to SPLA, which first tried to expand the southern-based armed movement to Darfur in 1990, but failed. The radical leadership of that thrust was decapitated in a government assault. Not surprisingly, the new leadership of SLA has little political experience.

The present conflict began when the SLA mounted an ambitious and successful assault on El Fashar airport on April 25, 2003, on a scale larger than most encounters in the southern civil war.

The government in Khartoum is also divided, between those who pushed the peace process, and those who believe too much was conceded in the Naivasha talks. This opposition, the security cabal in Khartoum, responded by arming and unleashing several militia, known as the Janjawid. The result is a spiral of state-sponsored violence and indiscriminate spread of weaponry.

In sum, all those opposed to the peace process in the south have moved to fight in Darfur, even if on opposing sides. The Darfur conflict has many layers; the most recent but the most explosive is that it is the continuation of the southern conflict in the west.

De-demonize Adversaries

For anyone reading the press today, the atrocities in Sudan are synonymous with a demonic presence, the Janjawid, the spearhead of an 'Arab' assault on 'Africans.' The problem with the public discussion of Darfur and Sudan is not simply that we know little; it is also the representation of what we do know. To understand the problem with how known facts are being represented, I suggest we face three facts.

First, as a proxy of those in power in Khartoum, the Janjawid are not exceptional. They reflect a broad African trend. Proxy war spread within the continent with the formation of Renamo by the Rhodesian and the South African security cabal in the early 1980s. Other examples in the East African region include the Lord's Redemption Army in northern Uganda, the Hema and Lendu militias in Itori in eastern Congo and, of course, the Hutu militia in post-genocide Rwanda. Like the Janjawid, all these combine different degrees of autonomy on the ground with proxy connections above ground.

Second, all parties involved in the Darfur conflict - whether they are referred to as 'Arab' or as 'African' - are equally indigenous and equally black. All are Muslims and all are local. To see how the corporate media and some of the charity-dependent international NGOs consistently racialize representations, we need to distinguish between different kinds of identities.

Let us begin by distinguishing between three different meanings of Arab: ethnic, cultural and political. In the ethnic sense, there are few Arabs worth speaking of in Darfur, and a very tiny percent in Sudan. In the cultural sense, Arab refers to those who have come to speak Arabic as a home language and, sometimes, to those who are nomadic in lifestyle. In this sense, many have become Arabs. From the cultural point of view, one can be both African and Arab, in other words, an African who speaks Arabic, which is what the 'Arabs' of Darfur are. For those given to thinking of identity in racial terms, it may be better to think of this population as 'Arabized' rather than 'Arab.'

Then there is Arab in the political sense. This refers to a political identity called 'Arab' that the ruling group in Khartoum has promoted at different points as the identity of power and of the Sudanese nation. As a political identity, Arab is relatively new to Darfur. Darfur was home to the Mahdist movement whose troops defeated the British and slayed General Gordon a century ago. Darfur then became the base of the party organized around the Sufi order, the Ansar. This party, called the Umma Party, is currently led by the grandson of the Mahdi, Sadiq al-Mahdi. The major change in the political map of Darfur over the past decade was the growth of the Islamist movement, led by Hassan Turabi. Politically, Darfur became 'Islamist' rather than 'Arab.'

Like Arab, Islam too needs to be understood not just as a cultural (and religious) identity but also as a political one, thus distinguishing the broad category of believers called Muslims from political activists called Islamists. Historically, Islam as a political identity in the Sudan has been associated with political parties based on Sufi orders, mainly the Umma Party based on the Ansar and the DUP based on the Khatamiyya. In sharp contrast to the strongly Sudanese identity of these 'sectarian' and 'traditional' parties is the militant, modernist and internationalist orientation of the type of political Islam championed by Hassan Turabi and organized as the National Islamic Front. Not only in its predominantly urban social base but also in its methods of organization, the NIF was poles apart from 'traditional' political Islam, and in fact consciously emulated the Communist Party. Unlike the 'traditional' parties which were mass-based and hoped to come to power through elections, the NIF - like the CP - was a cadre-based vanguard party which hoped to take power in alliance with a faction in the army. The fulfillment of this agenda was the 1989 coup which brought Turabi's NIF into power in alliance with the Bashir faction in the army.

As a political identity, 'African' is even more recent than 'Arab' in Darfur. I have referred to an attempt by SPLA in 1990 to confront the power in Khartoum as 'Arab' and to rally the opposition under the banner of 'African.' Both the insurgency that began 18 months ago and the government's response to it are evidence of the crisis of the Islamist regime and the government's retreat to a narrower political identity, 'Arab.'

Third, both the anti- and the pro-government militia have outside sponsors, but they cannot just be dismissed as external creations. The Sudan government organized local militias in Darfur in 1990, using them both to fight the SPLA in the south and to contain the expansion of the southern rebellion to the west. The militias are not monolithic and they are not centrally controlled. When the Islamists split in 1999 between the Turabi and the Bashir groups, many of the Darfur militia were purged. Those who were not, like the Berti, retained a measure of local support. This is why it is wrong to think of the Janjawid as a single organization under a unified command.

Does that mean that we cannot hold the Sudan government responsible for the atrocities committed by Janjawid militias that it continues to supply? No, it does not. We must hold the patron responsible for the actions of the proxy. At the same time, we need to realize that it may be easier to supply than to disband local militias. Those who start and feed fires should be held responsible for doing so; but let us not forget that it may be easier to start a fire than to put it out.

The fight between the militias on both sides and the violence unleashed against the unarmed population has been waged with exceptional cruelty. One reason may be that the initiative has passed from the communities on the ground to those contending for power. Another may be the low value on life placed by the security cabal in Khartoum and by those in the opposition who want power at any cost.

What is the solution?

I suggest a three-pronged process in the Sudan. The priority must be to complete the Naivasha peace process and change the character of the government in Khartoum. Second, whatever the level of civilian support enjoyed by militias, it would be a mistake to tarnish the communities with the sins of the particular militia they support. On the contrary, every effort should be made to neutralize or re-organize the militia and stabilize communities in Darfur through local initiatives. This means both a civic conference of all communities - both those identified as Arab and those as African - and reorganized civil defense forces of all communities. This may need to be done under the protective and supervisory umbrella of an African Union policing force. Finally, to build on the Naivasha process by bringing into it all those previously excluded. To do so will require creating the conditions for a reorganized civil administration in Darfur.

To build confidence among all parties, but particularly among those demonized as 'Arab', we need to use the same standard for all. To make the point, let us first look at the African region. The U.N. estimates that some 30 to 50,000 people have been killed in Darfur and another 1.4 million or so have been made homeless. The figure for the dead in Congo over the last few years is over 4 million. Many have died at the hands of ethnic Hema or Lendu militias. These are Janjawid-type militias known to have functioned as proxies for neighboring states. In the northern Ugandan districts of Acholiland, over 80% of the population has been interned by the government, given substandard rations and nominal security, thus left open to gradual premeditated starvation and periodic kidnapping by another militia, the Lord's Redemption Army (LRA). When the U.N. Secretary General, Kofi Annan, flew to Khartoum recently, I was in Kampala. The comment I heard all around was: Why didn't he stop here? And why not in Kigali? And Kinshasa? Should we not apply the same standards to the governments in Kampala and Kigali and elsewhere as we do to the government in Khartoum, even if Kampala and Kigali are America's allies in its global 'war on terror'?

Internationally, there is the daunting example of Iraq. Before the American invasion, Iraq went through an era of U.N. sanctions, which were kept in place for a decade by the US and Britain. The effect of the sanctions came to light when UNICEF carried out a child mortality survey in 1999 at the initiative of Canada and Brazil. Richard Garfield, professor of Clinical International Nursing at Columbia University and chair of the Human Rights Committee of the American Public Health Association calculated 'on a conservative estimate' that there had been 300,000 'excess deaths' of children under 5 in Iraq during the sanctions. But the sanctions continued. Today, the US does not even count the number of Iraqi dead, and the U.N. has made no attempt to estimate them. Iraq is not history. It continues to bleed.

This backdrop, regional and international, should prompt us to ask at least one question: Does the label 'worst humanitarian crisis' tell us more about Darfur or about those labeling and the politics of labeling? Are we to return to a Cold War-type era in which America's allies can commit atrocities with impunity while its adversaries are demagogically held accountable to an international standard of human rights?

Some argue that international alignment on the Darfur crisis is dictated by the political economy of oil. To the extent this is true, let us not forget that oil influences both those (such as China) who would like continued access to Sudan's oil and those (such as USA) who covet that access. But for those who do strategic thinking, the more important reason may be political. For official America, Darfur is a strategic opportunity to draw Africa into the global 'war on terror' by sharply drawing lines that demarcate 'Arab' against 'African,' just as for the crumbling regime in Khartoum this very fact presents a last opportunity to downplay its own responsibilities and call for assistance from those who oppose official America's 'war on terror.'

What Should We Do?

First of all, we the civilians - and I address Africans and Americans in particular - should work against a military solution. We should work against a US intervention, whether direct or by proxy, and however disguised - as humanitarian or whatever. We should work against punitive sanctions. The lesson of Iraq sanctions is that you target individuals, not governments. Sanctions feed into a culture of terror, of collective punishment. Its victims are seldom its target. Both military intervention and sanctions are undesirable and ineffective.

Second, we should organize in support of a culture of peace, of a rule of law and of a system of political accountability. Of particular importance is to recognize that the international community has created an institution called the International Criminal Court to try individuals for the most heinous crimes, such as genocide, war crimes and systematic rights abuses. The US has not only refused to ratify the treaty setting up the ICC, it has gone to all lengths to sabotage it. For Americans, it is important to get their government to join the ICC. The simple fact is that you can only claim the moral right to hold others accountable to a set of standards if you are willing to be held accountable to the same standards.

Finally, there is need to beware of groups who want a simple and comprehensive explanation, even if it is misleading; who demand dramatic action, even if it backfires; who have so come to depend on crisis that they risk unwittingly aggravating existing crisis. Often, they use the call for urgent action to silence any debate as a luxury. And yet, responsible action needs to be informed.

For the African Union, Darfur is both an opportunity and a test. The opportunity is to build on the global concern over a humanitarian disaster in Darfur to set a humanitarian standard that must be observed by all, including America's allies in Africa. And the test is to defend African sovereignty in the face of official America's global 'war on terror.' On both counts, the first priority must be to stop the war and push the peace process.

Copright: Mahmood Mamdani. Reproduced with the permission of the author.

* Mahmood Mamdani is Herbert Lehman Professor of Government and Director, Institute of African Studies, at University of Columbia, New York

* Please send comments to [email protected]
How can we name the Darfur crisis? The US Congress, and now Secretary of State Colin Powell, claim that genocide has occurred in Darfur. The European Union says it is not genocide. And so does the African Union.

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Comment & analysis

The genocide problem: "Never again" all over again

Gerald Caplan


Ten years ago, the international community stood by as the horror of the Rwandan genocide unfolded. This summer, Western political will could have stopped the mass killings in Sudan. Why do we not act?

On a quiet Sunday in the early summer of 1999, I was recruited into the tiny but growing army of enigmatic characters who devote their lives to studying genocide. It was a phone call that did it. Stephen Lewis, my lifelong comrade-in-arms and now UN Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, was offering a chance for us to work together again, but on a subject of unprecedented gravity: unraveling the truth about the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Rwanda became my obsession from that moment to this. Stephen was a member of a special seven-member International Panel of Eminent Personalities (IPEP), which had been appointed by the Organization of African Unity (OAU) to investigate the genocide. Despite their genuine eminence - two were former African presidents, one a potential future president, another the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India - the panel members just didn't know what to do with the information they had been accumulating. After traveling to half a dozen nations interviewing people with links to the genocide, they didn't know what they wanted to say. They decided they needed a writer post-haste. Appropriately enough, they sought an African writer, but for various reasons none of their choices was available. Stephen mentioned me. Though I knew little of Rwanda, I had a doctorate in African history; I'd lived in several African countries; I'd co-chaired two public policy commissions in Canada; I was a writer; and I'd been involved in the struggle against white rule in Southern Africa. I suppose a combination of sheer desperation plus these credentials led to a near total stranger being brought on to take over the panel's task.

As it happens, Stephen and I had already discussed the panel at length. He was thrilled and honoured to have been appointed to it and I was wildly envious. I had gone to live in Africa for the first time as a doctoral student way back in 1964 and had kept renewing my connections over the years. So when the call came, I was willing and able, yet seriously anxious. Carol, my wife, very wise about many things (not least the secrets of my soul), proved so once again. We could cope as a family, she was confident, even if it meant I'd be absent a fair bit. But she wasn't as sanguine about me. Could I deal with the subject emotionally? Could my already dark, lugubrious, pessimistic, Hobbesian view of the world handle such intimacy with one of the most hellish events of our time? After a lifetime dedicated to various crusades for social justice, I'd become the stereotypical glass-is-half-empty guy, always able to find an ominous cloud in a deep blue sky. My gag: being a pessimist may not be fun but at least I'm rarely disappointed. Now, this new assignment raised real fears of me being traumatized into utter depression and immobilizing hopelessness. These were serious questions, but both Carol and I knew immediately they could only be answered after the event. There was no way I could resist this offer. This was history in the making. This was Africa, my life's preoccupation. This was another Holocaust, a subject that had tormented me forever. This was about the very nature of our species. I began getting my shots the next day and reported to the Panel's headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the home of the OAU, nine days later.

I signed up on the assumption that the panel members would tell me what they wanted to say, and that I'd be their pen. This was hardly my usual or favorite role but, under the circumstances, I was prepared to play it. I needed their guidance about how forthright they were prepared to be. Although no expert on Rwanda, I did know how controversial and sensitive the issues were. Since this was an OAU mission, presumably dedicated to offering an African perspective on the genocide, was the panel ready to say that there would have been no genocide at all if some Africans hadn't chosen to exterminate other Africans? How far were they prepared to go in describing the OAU's own failure to intervene effectively? Beyond Africa, were they willing to tell the truth and accuse the French government of virtual complicity in the genocide? Would they agree to condemn Rwanda's churches, above all the Roman Catholic Church, for their shameful betrayal of their flock before, during, and since the genocide? Were they prepared to say that American politicians (both Democrats and Republicans), fearful of losing votes if U.S. soldiers were killed for such a remote cause, had knowingly allowed hundreds of thousands of Rwandans to die terrible deaths? Were they going to tell the truth about the serious human rights abuses that had been committed by the largely Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Front - the "good guys" in the genocide and now the government of the country?

To my astonishment, when the panel flew in to meet me in Addis Ababa, they offered no guidance at all. To this day I'm still not sure I understand it. Maybe they were paralyzed by the enormity of the topic and their responsibility. All I know is that after my very first meeting with the members, I was left to produce the report on my own, sending them drafts for approval. I was distraught. How was I to deal with all the vexing issues I had fruitlessly raised?

Waiting for the flight back to Toronto, where I would do all my reading and writing, I went for a long and dusty walk with Dr. Berharnou Abebe, the panel's research officer, a remarkable Ethiopian intellectual with whom I had immediately bonded. Berharnou grasped the situation completely. Like other non-Rwandan Africans I was to meet, he felt personally ashamed of the genocide and approached his role on the tiny panel professional staff with the utmost gravity. We walked and walked, going over the problem again and again, getting grimier and more hoarse with each polluted block. Finally, he stopped, looked at me, and said: "It is simple, Gerry. You must write not for the seven, but for the 700,000. It is their story that you must tell."

Ignoring the murky politics of both the OAU and some of the seven panelists, I accepted Berharnou's advice with a vengeance. I would give them a draft based on wherever the evidence led me.

For almost a year, I immersed myself in the topic totally. I thought of nothing else. Weekends and evenings disappeared. Somehow, I absorbed a wealth of knowledge as if by osmosis. In the end, however, the work was done and approved - even though some panel members were rather less enthusiastic than others in accepting some of my harsh, unforgiving, and thoroughly documented assessments of the French and U.S. governments, the Catholic Church, the UN Secretariat, the OAU itself, the post-genocide government in Rwanda, and just about everyone else involved in this terrible tragedy except Canadian General Romeo Dallaire. Dallaire, almost alone, emerged with his honour intact. Howard Adelman, a Rwandan expert at York University in Toronto, once wrote that Rwanda's was "the most easily prevent-able genocide imaginable," and the panel unhesitatingly accepted my suggestion that we call the three- hundred-page report "Rwanda: The Preventable Genocide." What can never be forgiven is that none of those with the capacity to pre-vent it cared enough to try. The report was released in mid-2000. I don't mind saying the OAU had never seen anything like it - independent, outspoken, undiplomatic, and easily read, it was the very antithesis of the turgid bureaucratic documents the OAU normally spewed out. It was also largely ignored. Not because it pulled no punches, I'm afraid, but out of plain lack of interest. Africa's heads of state, who had authorized the report two years earlier, never bothered to discuss it at all. I was deeply disappointed by the unceremonious burial of the report, suffering from the inevitable anticlimax after such an intense experience, and finding it hard to come to grips with what I had learned. Not only was the assignment over, so, it appeared, was my time with Rwanda. Wrong again.

About a year later, it dawned on me that outside Rwanda itself, the genocide was already being forgotten. I became extremely agitated. The survivors were living as traumatized, maimed paupers. Most of the perpetrators were getting away with murder, often mass murder. The sins of commission of the French government and the Catholic Church, and the sins of omission of the American and British governments, were being completely ignored: the "globalization of impunity" I had called it in the report. Carol, once again seeing things far more clearly than I could, suggested that the tenth anniversary of the genocide in 2004, two-and-a-half years away, could be a natural occasion to renew interest in the tragedy. The result was "Remembering Rwanda," an international voluntary movement organized with no funding, largely on my Mac, with the assistance of Louise Mushikiwabo in Washington and Carole Ann Reed in Toronto, with adherents around the globe, all dedicated to ensuring that the memory of the genocide and its victims would not be buried, and that those responsible for it would not escape accountability. I had already befriended some Diaspora Rwandans who signed up immediately. They included a group of remark-able widows, particularly Esther Mujawayo in Germany and Chantal Kayetisi in New Hampshire, who had lost their husbands, among dozens of other relatives, to the genocide while they and their children miraculously survived, and who are dedicated to making sure the genocide would not be swept under history's table. Leo Kabalisa, one of life's natural gentlemen, was another; Leo, who now teaches French in a Toronto high school, counts by name fifteen members of his immediate family and eighty-two of his extended family who were murdered during the one hundred days.

Other Rwandans, though, were inevitably suspicious. In Johannesburg one night, I met with a group of Rwandan expatriates attached to the Rwandan Diaspora Global Network. I knew them through e-mail correspondence and, finding I had to be in Johannesburg on other UN business, I had asked to meet them. We had a good couple of hours, got along well, and agreed to work together. But it was obvious they couldn't quite figure out why I was doing this. What did I want? What could I get out of this? Rwandans, who have been betrayed by the outside world as much as any people on earth, are entitled to their suspicions of all outsiders.

In trying to explain my interest, I found myself, to my own surprise, telling them that I was Jewish. My family had fled Poland before the Hitler era, I said, and, probably as a result, I had great empathy with their own genocide. It was all true. Although I'm a convinced atheist, deeply at odds with those who represent themselves as the voice of Canadian Jewry, and a passionate foe of Israel's occupation of Palestine, I've always felt my Jewishness deeply. I've been fascinated with the Nazis and the Holocaust since my teen years. For decades now I've read, almost as a matter of principle, at least one book related to the Holocaust every year. Although many Jews disagree, for me the self-evident lesson of the Holocaust is a universal, not a particular, one; it is not merely that anti-Semitism must be opposed with all of our might, but that all injustice, racism, and discrimination is unacceptable and has to be com-bated. The Rwandans loved this answer. Many Tutsi regard themselves, with considerable pride, as the Jews of Africa. Most know about, and identify with, the Holocaust. Some have been to Auschwitz, others to Yad Vashem. Many are far more supportive of Israeli policies than I am. Yet my core Jewishness and our shared genocides is a bond between us.

Sometimes I learn from experience. During a visit to Kigali in 2002, I had the opportunity to address nearly one thousand Rwandans at a major assembly dedicated to reconciliation. I described the Remembering Rwanda movement and asked, before they could: Why was a white outsider, a muzungu, in the widely used Swahili term, leading this initiative? The moment I said that as a Jew I instinctively felt a close bond with Rwanda, the mood in the huge parliamentary chamber palpably changed. Suddenly, trust emerged; we understood each other. The solidarity of victims prevailed. Certainly some suspicion still existed; I could hardly blame them. But after the speech I was confronted by a hand-some, dynamic woman I didn't recognize, who abruptly embraced me. Yolande Mukagasana, a genocide survivor, had made it clear in a brief e-mail that she didn't know why I was involved in this issue, didn't trust me, and could continue the fight for the memory of the genocide's victims without me, thanks anyway. Now, she said, she knew we would be in the struggle together. Yolande, a poet and storyteller and a passionate keeper of the survivors' flame, invited me to dinner later at her small house in Kigali, now home to thirteen adopted children who were kibitzing in a room nearby. As I tried politely to continue eating, she pointed to the photos on the wall of her husband and three young children and explained in graphic detail how, ten years earlier, they had all been hunted down and murdered not far from where we sat.

Gerry Caplan is a Canadian-based public policy analyst and international coordinator of the "Remembering Rwanda" Project. He is also a public affairs commentator and author of "Rwanda: The Preventable Genocide," the report of the International Panel of Eminent Personalities To Investigate the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, appointed by the Organization of African Unity (OAU). He is presently co-editing a book on the Rwandan genocide ten years later.

This is the first of a two-part series entitled "The Genocide Problem: 'Never Again' All Over Again". The second part will appear in Pambazuka News 178 next week. This article was first published in the October issue of The Walrus, a new Canadian general interest magazine. It is reproduced here with the permission. The Walrus magazine is available on newsstands and book stores in Canada. For more information about The Walrus:

* Please send comments to [email protected]
Ten years ago, the international community stood by as the horror of the Rwandan genocide unfolded. This summer, Western political will could have stopped the mass killings in Sudan. Why do we not act?

Advocacy & campaigns

Africa/Global: Gender and media in Africa and globally


From September 12-14, 2004, over 160 people from the Southern Africa region and several observers from around the world, participated in the first Southern African Gender and Media Awards and Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa. For the Summit Report, up-to-date stories on Women and Gender in Africa and for Country Reports, please refer to the Gender Links website.

Pan-African Postcard

Bwana Blair's spin in Africa

Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem


The self-chosen prophet of the World's self-anointed 'Political God' (paraphrasing President Mugabe's recent blunt remarks at the UN General Assembly) otherwise known as Tony Blair, British Prime Minister, is on a mercy mission to Africa. Yesterday he was in Sudan to add whatever is left of British diplomatic and political pressures and his hugely depleted arsenal of personal influence on the Al Bashir regime to stop killing its own citizens. It is very difficult to know who the Khartoum government really responds to, therefore all kinds of pressure needs to be brought to bear from all corners. Why they would listen to Blair I don't know but it gives good footage for Blair's public at home who have become too suspicious of their Prime Minister.

From Sudan Tony moved on to Addis-Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia and head quarters of the African Union. He is attending a meeting of the Commission that he had set up to advise him on his missionary interest in Africa: Blair Commission for Africa.

It is very unAfrican not to show empathy to a man who had recently been hospitalized (Tony has just undergone a 'minor' heart operation) who cares so much about Africa that he did not put off this meeting even though people would have understood if he did. So I must say Pole, Bwana Blair! Karibu Afrika!

I hope the lights in the various rooms where he would be meeting his African hosts will be brightly lit and he would be putting on the best magnifying lenses that Her Majesty's Health service can provide so that he can distinguish between these Black people in suits! We would not want him to make the same 'mistake' as his hapless Foreign Minister, Jack Straw, who had shaken the hands of President Mugabe at the UN General Assembly apparently without realizing it was him! One would have thought that given the priority the British government had disproportionately given to encouraging 'regime change' in Zimbabwe and demonizing President Mugabe the British Foreign Minister will recognize him, lit room or unlit! Perhaps David Blunket, the British Home Office Secretary and enforcer of tough immigration rules and other authoritarian law and order regulations, is not the only member of the cabinet visually challenged. I am hoping that Mr. Blair, a great believer in spin that he is would have committed to memory the image of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, President Benjamin Mkapa, the ECA Executive Secretary, Dr KY Amoako and other eminent dark people on the Commission that he will be meeting. Maybe they could make it easier for him by wearing nametags!

The Addis meeting is the first the Commission is holding in Africa since Blair set it up. But holding this session in Africa does not detract from the cynicism that has continued to dodge this commission which many believe to be yet another liberal-do-gooder interventionism manufactured in Europe (London, or more precisely NO 10 Downing Street, in this case). Africans did not decide the agenda and terms of reference of the commission. Blair did not bother to ask many Africans if they wanted yet another Commission on the challenges of our development. If analysis, good intentions and promises alone can deliver, every African will be living in paradise. Why did Blair have to set up another Commission when he was one of the G8 leaders who had encouraged Mbeki and Obasanjo and the other so called Group of 5 African states to be running around with NEPAD (KNEEPAD to critics like me) from one G8 meeting to the other. The African leaders are still on their knees while Blair has removed his pad and has now moved on to his own Commission.

The initial cynicism by many was countered by supporters of Blair's missionary activities as too pessimistic and too hypercritical. They also point at the prospect of Britain and Blair (if he is still British Prime Minster) heading both the EU and the G8 next year as providing opportunity to put Africa at the center stage internationally.

I have no doubt that in his own way Blair does care about Africa (after all did he not declare us 'a scar on the conscience of the world' in a famous triumphalist Labour party conference speech a few years ago). It is what that care translates into that worries me. Does he care more for African children and women than he does for those Iraqis that he and his American gangster boss, Bush, are killing everyday in the name of liberation? It should worry us that his tunnel vision of the world is being transplanted on to Africa. This is a man who believes that he is always right and even when he is proven to have lied or be mistaken he (allegedly the most openly religious Prime Minister in modern British politics) is unwilling to say sorry, let alone show remorse and ask for forgiveness. To be fair, many Africans will recognise that 'know all' mentality in many of our own dealers who like to call themselves leaders across this continent.

Therefore even if one is to suspend disbelief for the time being and give the Blair Commission a hearing because it is coming from Blair, the credibility deficit will not go away. Why should Africans and the rest of the world believe in the innate goodness and honest motives of a Prime Minister distrusted by his own party and country? The messenger has become the message.

* Dr Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem is General-Secretary of the Pan African Movement, Kampala (Uganda) and Co-Director of Justice Africa
The self-chosen prophet of the World's self-anointed 'Political God' (paraphrasing President Mugabe's recent blunt remarks at the UN General Assembly) otherwise known as Tony Blair, British Prime Minister, is on a mercy mission to Africa. Yesterday he was in Sudan to add whatever is left of British diplomatic and political pressures and his hugely depleted arsenal of personal influence on the Al Bashir regime to stop killing its own citizens. It is very difficult to know who the Khartoum government really responds to, therefore all kinds of pressure needs to be brought to bear from all corners. Why they would listen to Blair I don't know but it gives good footage for Blair's public at home who have become too suspicious of their Prime Minister.

Books & arts

Africa/Global: Two African TV programmes nominated for Iemmy Awards 2004


Two African television programmes have been nominated for the prestigious International Emmy Awards Gala to be held November 22 2004, in New York. "Stokvel" by Penguin Films (South Africa) was nominated in the comedy category and the other African nomination is for the special Iemmy/UNICEF International Children's day of broadcasting (ICDB) award. In this special category, Kenyan Nation TV's Channel 42 has been nominated for its "International Children's Day of Broadcasting Special".

Blood and Soil: Land, politics and conflict prevention in Zimbabwe and South Africa


For all their differences, one thing Zimbabwe and South Africa have in common is that land issues, dating back to colonial times and white settler government, are highly emotive, evoking difficult questions of history, race, politics, economic opportunity and international diplomacy. Blood and Soil offers a detailed analysis of the different challenges of land reform in both Zimbabwe and South Africa.

For Sale: a Small Africana library, mostly on Nigeria


I have recently purchased some books and journals that may be of interest to Africanists, or anybody interested in Nigerian literature and academia. If you know anybody who may be interested in purchasing these, please have them contact me at this address. Thanks. Most of the materials range in period from 1937-the early 1970s.

Global: Sickness and wealth: The corporate assault on global health


In this book, international activists and scholars reveal how policies implemented by the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, and other first world interests limit access to health care and sentence millions to disease and premature death. Essayists provide a historical context for understanding the complex relationship between health, inequality, politics, and globalization.

Redefining Mother Africa


As many African societies undergo political and economic transformations in order to meet the challenges of the 21st century, a new book entitled "Africa And The Need For Attitude Change" by Okoro I. Chima, takes an in-depth look at the continent and its people. Name any issue of regional concern - leadership, economy, corruption, education, the press, democracy and HIV/AIDS - it touches it all. It is bold, provocative and entertaining.

Letters & Opinions

Guinea: Informations sur le forum social ouest africain


Bonjour! Nous vous faisons parvenir le guide pratique d'informations sur le 1er forum social ouest africain qui se tiendra à Conakry du 28 au 30 novembre 2004. Ce forum s'inscrit dans la dynamique de proposition d'alternatives de développement en Afrique. Il se veut comme un cadre d' excellence de concertation et d'analyse des politiques de développement du continent africain. Pour d'amples informations, veuillez nous envoyer un courriel pour avoir le texte intitulé "Tout sur le Forum Social Ouest Africain - FSOA". La participation est ouverte à tous les acteurs de la société civile du monde notament ceux de l'espace de la CEDEAO. Une Autre Afrique de l'Ouest est possible! Cordialement.

Moussa KOUROUMA Chargé de Programme Droits économiques et culturels (DREC) au Centre du Commerce International pour le Développement (CECIDE). BP: 3768 Conakry. GUINEE FAX: 0015097530807 TEL: (0224)467035/013 404599
Bonjour! Nous vous faisons parvenir le guide pratique d'informations sur le 1er forum social ouest africain qui se tiendra à Conakry du 28 au 30 novembre 2004. Ce forum s'inscrit dans la dynamique de proposition d'alternatives de développement en Afrique. Il se veut comme un cadre d' excellence de concertation et d'analyse des politiques de développement du continent africain. Pour d'amples informations, veuillez nous envoyer un courriel pour avoir le texte intitulé "Tout sur le Forum Social Ouest Africain - FSOA". La participation est ouverte à tous les acteurs de la société civile du monde notament ceux de l'espace de la CEDEAO. Une Autre Afrique de l'Ouest est possible! Cordialement.

Outstanding analysis of Africa

Warren Green


Thank you for the outstanding analysis on the motherland Africa. I am so glad that you put out the real truth about what are the schemes and actions, both inside and outside, the continent. I am an advocate for reparations in the US for the descendants of enslaved Africans. Our ancestors want us to complete this. We will complete this. Your e-newsletter plays an important role in this worldwide movement. Again, Thank you for your commitment and may the ancestors shine love and blessings on your family and your many generations to come.

Sierra Leone: GALZ Remembers Fanny Ann Eddy


Fanny Ann was an activist in the real sense of the word. She dedicated herself to the cause of normalizing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in society through direct action and she was an example to those of us who play the victim and claim that nothing is possible in the hostile climates in which we exist. The early death of anyone is tragic; when that someone is gruesomely murdered for seemingly no other reason than that she stood up for the rights and fought for the dignity of those who are marginalized and persecuted in Africa, it leaves us all with deep feelings of confusion and despair.

Women & gender

Africa/Global: Equality Now review of words and deeds


In March 2004, Equality Now launched its report, Words and Deeds: Holding Governments Accountable in the Beijing + 10 Review Process. Since then, countries have made some developments regarding the laws given in the report and more recommended actions have been made. Please find a copy of the full report in the Women and Gender section of this newsletter or go to

Africa/Global: Words and Deeds: Beijing +10 Review Process

Equality Now


The fundamental right to equality has been affirmed and reaffirmed repeatedly by governments in international treaties, declarations, and conferences, as well as in domestic constitutions. Nevertheless, discrimination against women in its most blatant forms continues in countries around the world. In September 1995, 6,000 delegates from 189 countries at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing adopted a Declaration reaffirming their fundamental commitment to "the equal rights and inherent dignity of women and men." They also adopted the Beijing Platform for Action in which they pledged to "ensure equality and non-discrimination under the law and in practice," and more specifically in Paragraph 232(d) to "revoke any remaining laws that discriminate on the basis of sex and remove gender bias in the administration of justice." In June 2000, a Special Session of the General Assembly reviewed implementation of the Platform for Action, and governments pledged in the Outcome Document they adopted to review domestic legislation "with a view to striving to remove discriminatory provisions as soon as possible, preferably by 2005…" The 2005 deadline is fast approaching, yet laws that explicitly discriminate against women remain in force in many countries.

In 1999, Equality Now published Words and Deeds: Holding Governments Accountable in the Beijing +5 Review Process, a report highlighting a representative sampling of discriminatory laws in forty-five countries around the world and calling on their governments to rescind these laws in accordance with the commitment made in the Beijing Platform for Action. There have been a number of significant legal reforms in some countries. Equality Now welcomes the reforms that have been made by the Governments of The Bahamas, Costa Rica, France, Jordan, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Switzerland, Turkey, Venezuela and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia - Republic of Serbia, to eliminate the discriminatory laws highlighted by Equality Now in its initial report. These reforms demonstrate a commitment to equality and respect for the undertakings made in Beijing and other international legal obligations. They set an example that should be followed by all governments. The Government of Nepal amended several property laws to remove discriminatory provisions, including a law that gave daughters the right to a share of family property only if they were 35 years old and unmarried. It failed, however, to repeal a provision that requires women to return any such property upon marriage.

A large majority of the discriminatory laws cited by Equality Now in its report five years ago are still in force. The updated report attached to this Women's Action Update includes these laws and other laws that explicitly perpetuate de jure discrimination with regard to personal status, economic status, marital status and violence against women. These are a few of the many existing laws that fundamentally contradict the words and spirit of the Platform for Action (as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Civil and Political, and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women). In anticipation of the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action and the target date of 2005 for elimination of discriminatory laws, Equality Now calls on all governments to rescind these laws within the next year, to demonstrate their commitment to implement the Beijing Platform for Action.

Explicitly discriminatory laws that mention women by name are only a small part of the discrimination women face daily in every country in the world. In many and varied ways, women's right to equality is pervasively and invisibly denied and precluded, their social inequality officially ratified. Some constitutions specifically exempt from equality guarantees certain laws that particularly and profoundly affect women's lives, such as family law and property inheritance, in deference to discriminatory religious or customary laws. Laws adopted to promote equality in employment rarely guarantee equal pay for work of comparable value, and domestic work is almost never covered by labor laws, with the result that women in the most sex-segregated jobs continue to be underpaid and unprotected.

Authorities in most countries are typically reluctant to respond vigorously to domestic violence with the result that women, the primary victims of intimate assault, have less personal security. Some countries make selling sex a crime while buying sex is not, thereby criminalizing those who are exploited, mainly women, while at the same time not holding those who exploit them, almost always men, accountable for this abuse. In countries where abortion is a crime, women are forced to carry pregnancy to term or are exclusively burdened with the danger of illegal abortions, which can be fatal. Whenever laws promote or perpetuate women's inequality, even when their language appears gender-neutral, they constitute discrimination in violation of international norms. To implement the Beijing Platform for Action, which calls for "non-discrimination under the law and in practice," governments must review all laws that have a discriminatory impact and remedy this discrimination.

Law is the most formal expression of government policy. A government that allows discriminatory laws to remain in force endorses and promotes inequality. Without equality under law, women have no recourse when they face discrimination that affects all aspects of their lives including security, bodily integrity, family life, community status, and political, economic and social prospects. The fact that there are any laws - in fact so many laws - that explicitly discriminate against women nearly 10 years after the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action, 25 years after the adoption of CEDAW and 55 years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirming that "all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights," is unacceptable.

Recommended Actions Please write to the heads of state of the countries mentioned in this report and call on them to ensure that the laws mentioned, and any other discriminatory laws in force, are repealed or amended before the agreed target date of 2005. Urge them to undertake and complete these reforms as a demonstration of their genuine commitment to the words and spirit of the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action and the Outcome Document adopted in 2000. To address the harmful and disproportionate impact on women of laws that are gender neutral in language, call on your own government to undertake a comprehensive review, in conjunction with women's groups in the country, of existing laws to identify and address any sex discriminatory impact these laws might have, through legal reform or other measures needed to ensure non-discriminatory implementation of the law. This appeal should be addressed to your Minister of Justice, as well as your President or Prime Minister. Share this report and your concerns with the media and the general public, to enlist their support in this campaign to hold governments accountable to the promises they made in the Beijing Platform for Action. Please keep us updated on your campaign efforts and let us know about discriminatory laws in your country and efforts underway to change them.

Please keep Equality Now updated on your efforts and send information or copies of replies you receive to: Equality Now, P.O. Box 20646, Columbus Circle Station, New York, NY 10023 USA or Equality Now Africa Regional Office, P.O. Box 2018 KNH, Nairobi, KENYA

Africa: Can women save the planet?


Many of Africa's women are trapped in a vicious circle of poverty and environmental destruction. Where will we be in 2015? This week, BBC Africa Live head to the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, from where it asked: Why do women damage the environment? And what are women doing to help save the planet? Do women hold the answer to Africa's environmental problems? The debate took place on Wednesday 6 October at 1630 GMT and 1830 GMT, responses and comments can be read online.

Africa: Gender and peace-building in Africa report


This report features the following articles: "Gender Mainstreaming The Peace-Building Process" by Kari Karamé; "Gender, International Legal Framework And Peace-Building" by Christine Chinkin; "Involving Women In Peace Processes: Lessons From Four African Countries (Burundi, DRC, Liberia And Sierra Leone)" by Nadine Puechguirbal; and "Men, Masculinities And Peacekeeping In Sub-Saharan Africa" by Paul R. Higate. To view the Training for Peace Programme website, visit:

Kenya: Body exhumed in Kenya rape probe


British Royal Military Police Special Investigations Branch and Kenyan police have been looking into 650 allegations by hundreds of Samburu and Masai women that they were raped, dating from the 1980s and 90s . The body of Mantoi Kaunda, who was 16 when she was allegedly raped and killed by British soldiers, has been exhumed by forensic experts for further investigation.

Preparations for the fourth anniversary of Resolution 1325: 4 weeks to go


Women, Peace and Security month has arrived! Here is a sampling of the events being organized for the 4th anniversary of Resolution 1325. PeaceWomen has developed an October events calendar on the website. As events are finalized, and new events organized, PeaceWomen will update the online calendar. There are currently three major events scheduled including one in Stockholm, Sweden and two at the United Nations.

Rwanda: Rape survivors find no justice


Tens of thousands of Rwandan women were raped during the genocide and in the decade since, but only a few perpetrators of sexual violence have been prosecuted. In a new report, "Struggling to Survive: Barriers to Justice for Rape Victims in Rwanda," Human Rights Watch investigates the persistent weaknesses in the Rwandan legal system that hamper the investigation and prosecution of sexual violence. The report also documents the desperate health and economic situation of rape survivors. The full report is available at:

Human rights

Africa/Global: EU divided over list of "safe" countries


Statewatch is calling for the draft EU common list of "safe countries of origin" to be scrapped. An analysis by Statewatch shows that EU member states are divided over the proposed list of ten "safe countries of origin" (seven in Africa, three in Latin America).The list was proposed in March as part of the draft EU asylum procedures Directive, which was politically agreed by the member states in April 2004. A broad coalition of refugee and human rights organisations has already called for this Directive to be withdrawn.

Italy/Africa: Human rights of refugees violated


Amnesty International has condemned the policy adopted by the Italian government to manage the arrival of large numbers of migrants on the Italian island of Lampedusa in recent days. The immediate forced return to Libya, by aeroplane, of over 300 foreign nationals newly arrived in Italy constitutes a very serious violation of national and international laws and conventions relating to the right to seek asylum, said the organisation.

Kenya: Kenyan court intervenes in HIV stigma-related employment dismissal


A Kenyan woman with HIV has won the first round of a landmark court case claiming discrimination by her former employer. The waitress was sacked by her bosses at Home Park Caterers in Nairobi because, they discovered she had the virus that leads to AIDS from a hospital doctor who told them the results of the HIV test, which had been conducted without her consent, thus violating her right to privacy. In an 18-page ruling announced yesterday, High Court judge Lady Justice Murugi Mugo said the case was sufficiently reasonable to be heard and should go ahead.

Namibia: Human Rights Day renaming reflects GRN’S anti-rights agenda


The National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) condemns the Government of Namibia (GRN) Bill virtually banning the marking of December 10 as International Human Right's Day in Namibia. "Bearing in mind GRN’s general anti-human rights agenda over the years, NSHR is not surprised at this virtual banning of marking December 10 as International Human Rights Day. This state of affairs appears to be perfectly in line with the ruling SWAPO Party’s deplorable pre-independence human rights record", observed NSHR executive director Phil ya Nangoloh.

Sierra Leone: Lesbian rights activist brutally murdered


The government of Sierra Leone should bring to justice those responsible for the brutal murder of FannyAnn Eddy, founder of the Sierra Leone Lesbian and Gay Association and a lesbian rights activist known across Africa, Human Rights Watch said October 4th. Eddy, 30, was found dead on the morning of September 29 after being raped repeatedly, stabbed and had her neck broken. FannyAnn Eddy's statement to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights on April 18, 2004 is available at:

Sudan: Arbitrary arrest of two students in Khartoum


On 23 September 2004, the National Security Agency (NSA) arrested two University of Khartoum students and took them to the NSA political section offices at Khartoum North. It was alleged that they were beaten and punched all over their bodies for an hour, as they were questioned about the activities of the Darfur Student Association. Abd Alrahman Mohamed Abd Alrahman (27 yrs) was released the next day, Friday 24 September 2004, at 4pm. Faisal Dawood Abd Alrahman's (26 yrs) current whereabouts are not known.

Refugees & forced migration

Africa/Italy: Many drown as migrant ship sinks


At least 17 people drowned off the coast of Tunisia when their boat sank while trying to reach Italy illegally, the Tunisian authorities say. The news came as a row erupted over Italy's decision to send migrants back to their point of departure. Three planeloads of migrants were flown to Libya on Saturday, and a further 800 people are due to be expelled.

Angola: New government plans could compromise voluntary nature of IDP return process


Close to four million internally displaced people have returned to Angola following the ceasefire agreement of April 2002 between the governing MPLA and the UNITA, which marked the end of 27 years of civil war. According to the UN, only between 40,000 and 60,000 people can still be considered internally displaced, whereas the government's estimates goes as high as 340,000. Most of the internally displaced people (IDPs) have returned spontaneously without any assistance from the government or humanitarian organisations.

Botswana/Angola: Registration of Angolan refugees to start immediately


The UNHCR representative in Botswana, Benny Otim, told Angolan refugees yesterday that his office would immediately start registering those willing to return home. Otim was briefing refugees at the Dukwi refugee settlement outside the city of Francistown. His registration call comes at a time when only about 50 of an estimated 882 Angolan refugees living at the Dukwi refugee camp has registered for voluntary repatriation.

Burundi/DRC/Rwanda: Hundreds flee for fear of violence


Hundreds of Burundians in the northern province of Kirundo have fled to Rwanda in the last two weeks following rumours of imminent violence should elections be delayed beyond October, ending three-year transitional period, a local official told IRIN."They were told that if elections are not held before 1 November, killings similar to those of 1993 would take place," Ildephonse Ndagijimana, the administrator of Bugabira, a commune in Kirundo, said.

Chad: Chad steps up security at UN camps after three refugees are killed


Chadian authorities are tightening security in and around 10 United Nations refugee camps in the east of the country - where more than 200,000 Sudanese people have gathered after fleeing violence in the Darfur region - after three refugees were killed there in the past week amid rising tensions with locals. Some 180 Chadian gendarmes have started patrols around the camps and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has handed over nine vehicles for the gendarmes to use.

Global/Africa: Refugees facing a less friendly environment, UN High Commissioner warns


Driven by prevailing fear, confusion and the politicization of humanitarian concerns, the world has become less friendly towards refugees - even though the number of people seeking asylum has fallen steeply - the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said. Ruud Lubbers opened the annual meeting of UNHCR's 66-member governing body in Geneva with a call for nations to share, rather than shift, the burden of accepting asylum seekers.

Norway/Ethiopia: Ethiopian refugees


New legislation that cuts all social aid for rejected asylum seekers has left refugees starving and freezing on the streets of Oslo (Norway). As five rejected refugees from Ethiopia have had to escape hunger in Norway by turning to Sweden, the UN's refugee agency and the Norwegian Church are now protesting against the "inhumane" legislation in one of the world's richest countries.

Rwanda: Government implements low-cost housing for returnees


With up to four million of its citizens living as refugees in neighbouring countries soon after the 1994 genocide, the government of Rwanda has introduced a low-cost housing scheme, known locally as "Imidugudu", to resettle thousands of people who returned after the killings. So far, the government has constructed at least 300,000 of these mud-bricked homes under the Imidigudu initiative, although it is still grappling with the impact of the genocide on human settlement.

Elections & governance

Botswana: EISA Observer Mission to the 2004 Botswana Parliamentary and Local Elections


EISA launches its regional Election observer Mission for the upcoming General Elections due to be held in Botswana on 30 October 2004. The 2004 Botswana Elections will be the third electoral process where the assessment of the election will be based on the Principles for Election Management, Monitoring and Observation in the SADC Region (PEMMO) recently adopted by the Electoral Commissions Forum of SADC countries (SADC ECF) and EISA.

Burundi: Committee to propose extension of political transition, UN envoy says


The Implementation and Monitoring Committee (IMC) of the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Accord - under which Burundi's transitional government was established - will make proposals to the government on a possible extension of the three-year transitional period that ends on 31 October, a UN official said on 30 October. The IMC considers the adoption of the post-transition constitution an important step forward in the country's peace process but admits that some issues remain unsettled.

West Africa: Civil society electoral alliance for West Africa


An important meeting was held at the Goree Institute on August 3-5, 2004, where 12 regional institutions participated in discussions regarding the setting up of a Civil Society Organisations Alliance to support and engage constructively in elections within the region. The three day meeting resolved that the initiative had come at the right time as many elections are planned for the next couple of years, and civil society advocacy for free, fair, transparent and credible electoral proces ses have also been intensified.

Zambia: Vice President fired for insurbordination


Zambia's President Levy Mwanawasa announced on Monday that he has sacked his vice president, Nevers Mumba, for insubordination. According to Mwanawasa, Mumba had breached an oath of allegiance when he failed to retract his recent allegations that the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was harbouring individuals who were working against the Zambian government. Mumba will be replaced by Northern Province Minister Lupando Mwape.

Zimbabwe: Clerics call for defiance


Zimbabwe's seven Catholic bishops sent a pastoral letter to churches demanding a "credible electoral process" and peaceful campaigning ahead of March elections. And they warned against propaganda, favouritism and discrimination against dissenters, including the main opposition party. In a separate move also seen as a crackdown on dissent, the government proposed criminalising charity work done without a government permit, and banning charities and private groups focusing on "issues of human rights and good governance" from receiving foreign funding.

Zimbabwe: Ray of hope for Zim elections


A two-day conference on 'Minimum Standards for Elections in Zimbabwe was held in Pretoria on 4-5 October 2004 to determine how the South African community can assist Zimbabwe in building a solid consensus on minimum election standards. Unfortunately, the Zimbabwean government and Zanu-PF decided not to participate in this conference and Mugabe declared that Zimbabwe is not bound by the recently agreed Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) standards and norms on free and fair elections.


Africa/UK: Bribery begins at home


If Africa is to overcome corruption the west will have to clean up its own act. Next year, Britain is planning to make Africa the centre-piece of its presidencies of the European Union and the G8 industrialised nations. However, the UK government is potentially facing a serious credibility problem on Africa that could undermine its efforts to heal what Blair calls "the scar on the conscience of the world".

Africa: Why Africa keeps fighting over oil


The dispute over natural resources is at the heart of some of the most intractable conflicts in Africa today, from Sudan to Congo to Nigeria. Even amid international efforts to bring greater transparency to the continent's resource exploration, the recent strife here is a microcosm of widespread theft and mismanagement, which observers attribute to a combination of colonial-era intervention, corrupt governments, and cynical behavior by Western policymakers and multinationals.

Kenya: Kenya Former permanent secretary quizzed over Anglo Leasing deal


Anti-corruption police yesterday questioned former permanent secretary and Public Service chief Sally Kosgey over the Sh7 billion Anglo Leasing and Finance scandal. Anti-corruption police have flown to Switzerland to hunt down three men linked to the scandal. Two KACC detectives will travel also to Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the US for further investigations.

South Africa: Zuma "unfazed" by Shaik trial


Deputy-President Jacob Zuma is "unfazed" by media reports on Sunday that a KPMG report would show an "extensive financial relationship" between him and his financial adviser, Schabir Shaik. "He reiterates that those who believe they have a case against him should charge him and prove it in a court of law, and stop running a mischievous smear campaign in the media," said Zuma's spokesperson, Lakela Kaunda.

Zambia: Moves against corruption


Zambia’s President Levy Mwanawasa, who was viewed as a puppet of his predecessor Frederick Chiluba after he retired in 2002, has launched the country's biggest crackdown on corruption and declared a rule of law. In trying to defy the ‘puppet’ perception that was created in the minds of many Zambians, Mwanawasa seven months after assuming office addressed a special session of Parliament in July 2002 highlighting a catalogue of corrupt allegations against Chiluba. He alleged that Chiluba had plundered national resources, a scenario that had retard national development during his 10 years of presidency. Among the allegations raised was that the Chiluba’s government failed to account for US about $41 million raised from the privatisation of Roan Antelope Mining Corporation. Mwanawasa also alleged that US $20.5 million earmarked for arms purchases, was diverted from the public coffers for the personal benefit of the former president, his family and associates. He further stated that several million dollars were paid to Chiluba's family and supporters from a special bank account maintained by the ZSIS in London. Afterwards, Mwanawasa constituted what he called the Task Force on corruption. The Task Force was appointed with a specific mandate of prosecuting the suspected plunderers and recovering the stolen national resources.


Africa/Global: Africa fails in IMF vote demand


Developing countries have failed in their bid to win more voting power for Africa at the IMF and World Bank. African leaders visiting Washington for the two organisation's meetings argued they have too little say in the running of the institutions. Europe has 10 seats on the IMF and World Bank boards - but Africa, which receives almost half of all loans from the two bodies, has only two. "If the fund and bank are going to be effective, they need to hear an African point of view," said Malawi finance minister Goodall Gondwe.

Africa/Global: World Bank and IMF must change labour policies to achieve poverty reduction


Unless the IFIs (World Bank and International Monetary Fund) reposition themselves to work more in concert with other international organisations - particularly the International Labour Organisation and other UN bodies - and drop their unswerving support for market liberalisation and labour market flexibility, current attempts to fulfil the Millennium Development Goals will fail, said the international trade union movement.

Global: HPG Report: Beyond the Continuum, the changing role of aid policy in protracted crises


A new research report from the Humanitarian Policy Group (HPG) examines how the international development aid system is becoming increasingly engaged in situations which, for many years, have been seen as largely the preserve of the humanitarian community. It reviews the changing relationship between the ideas, instruments and financing of the humanitarian system and of mainstream development cooperation in situations of protracted crisis. Two briefing papers synthesize the key findings and conclusions: AND

Global: World Development Report 2005: A better investment climate for everyone


A Better Investment Climate for Everyone, the World Bank’s annual World Development Report for 2005, was launched on September 28, 2004. The Report focuses on what governments can do to improve the investment climates of their societies to increase growth and reduce poverty.

Zimbabwe: Zim $200 bn facility to rescue business sector


Zimbabwe has set up an ambitious Zim $200 billion (about US $35.6 million) loan facility to breathe life into the country's struggling businesses. The Zimbabwe Development Bank (ZDB) and the Small Enterprises Development Corporation (SEDCO) have been appointed to handle and disburse the funds, which are expected to target companies facing economic hardship, particularly those close to bankruptcy or operating below capacity.

Health & HIV/AIDS

Africa/Global: Countries urged to allocate more resources to reproductive health programmes


The third meeting of the African Reproductive Health Task Force in Harare, Zimbabwe, called on African countries and the international community at large to allocate more resources to reproductive health programmes with a view to stemming the tide of maternal and child deaths. Zimbabwe's Minister of Health and Child Welfare said that African and global health policies have overlooked the need to allocate adequate resources to reproductive health programmes, which has contributed to the massive numbers of maternal and newborn deaths.

Africa/Global: Studies on interface between hormonal contraception and HIV infection


Two major studies on the interface between the use of hormonal contraception and HIV infection are currently being finalized and will be released in early 2005. Depending on the results (of the studies), there may be a need to have an urgent consultation in Geneva to develop an evidence-based response to the findings, followed by a consultation of scientists, senior clinicians, policy makers and programme managers in the WHO African Region.

Africa/Global: Tuberculosis and sexually transmitted infections


Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection is a necessary, but not sufficient, cause of tuberculosis (TB), as only approximately 10% of those infected ever develop tuberculosis. This process of progressing to disease after infection is poorly understood. A well known risk factors for this progression is HIV/AIDS. In a letter that will appear in Emerging Infectious Diseases several scientists hypothesize on epidemiological grounds that, in addition to HIV, there likely exists another sexually transmitted virus that causes tuberculosis after tuberculous infection.

Botswana: Access to affordable drugs: Victims of HIV/AIDS should not suffer from trade rules


Botswana was warned last week by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, in a document made public on October 4th, to ensure that trade agreements do not undermine Botswana's ability to ensure access to affordable treatment for children or other people with HIV/AIDS.

DRC: Cholera in the Congo, washed down with a few Cokes


Jean-Marie Muzaz, a chief nurse, has attended to the victims of cholera for as long as Mandela was in jail: 27 years. In the absence of government help, he has designed his own equipment to deal with this "poor man's disease" - one of the clearest indicators of poverty and despair. According to Musafiri, six years of conflict in Kalemie have killed 55% of the children under five, 31% of the pregnant women, 17% of the men. Now people die from Aids, many of them women who were raped during the war. December will see the departure of the Italians who provide drugs to the cholera victims.

Ethiopia: Famine-prone areas worse off


Famine-prone areas of Ethiopia are worse off now than 20 years ago at the time of the 1984 tragedy that claimed up to a million lives, Mike Aaronson, head of Save the Children UK (SC UK) said on Monday. On the eve of British Prime Minister Tony Blair's three-day visit to Ethiopia to push Africa's plight to the top of the world agenda, Aaronson said that it was "shocking" that millions of children still went hungry in Ethiopia, blaming apathy by world leaders.

Global: Participate in the first Global Health Watch Report


Global Health Watch is calling activists, health workers and academics from around the world to submit case studies and testimonies to supplement the first edition of the Global Health Watch Report. These case studies and testimonies will form part of the electronic accompaniment to the alternative world health report which will be launched in July 2005 at the People's Health Assembly in Ecuador.

Kenya: Brick-making blamed for malaria epidemics in western highlands


Brick-making, an important economic activity in the highlands of western Kenya, may be the cause of recent malaria epidemics in the area, where the disease was not naturally endemic, a recent study has shown. The study showed that brick-making generated dry season habitats for malaria vectors in western Kenya. The research findings were published by the BMC Public Health, an online journal that carries research articles. It is available at:

Nigeria/Africa: Leaders Launch Drive to Curb Polio in Africa


Political leaders and health workers launched a drive Saturday to immunise more than 80 million children against polio in 23 African nations and fight back against a resurgence of the crippling disease. Campaigners had been hoping to eradicate polio this year or next but the virus has spread in the past 18 months to 12 countries where it had been wiped out, in part because the northern Nigerian state of Kano banned the vaccination.

Sudan: WFP surpasses target, feeding more than 1.3 m in Darfur


The United Nations World Food Programme fed more than 1.3 million people in the Darfur region of western Sudan in September, exceeding its own target of 1.2 million and recording its largest food distribution since the humanitarian crisis began. Using a combination of trucks, aircraft and trains, WFP moved a total of 21,535 metric tons of food aid to 1,336,992 people in crisis-affected areas of North, South and West Darfur.

Swaziland: Clergy, media clash on use of condoms


Some Christian clergymen and journalists locked horns early this week at a seminar in Swaziland over the use of condoms and masturbation as some of the safe practices in the fight against HIV and Aids. A South African Anglican reverend, Jape Heath, introduced the duo practices to the workshop participants, while the Arch-Deacon of Anglican, Diocese of Swaziland, Shongwe Londoloza, immediately disagreed, saying the two practices were anathema to African values and Christianity as a whole.


Africa/Global: Lessons For Providing Adequate Schooling in Africa


A conference was held Sep. 29 in Bergen City, southern Norway, which brought together 70 education specialists from Africa, Europe and Asia. Governments, civil society and donor agencies were represented at the meeting, entitled 'Quality in Education for All'. Various African governments received a stinging rebuke this week for failing to live up to promises to improve children’s education in their countries.

Somalia: School-feeding programme to be expanded


The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) plans to expand its school-feeding project in Somalia once a government has been re-established and security restored in all areas to facilitate the revival of the Horn of Africa country's poor education system, a senior WFP official said. Robert Hauser, WFP's country director for Somalia told IRIN, "The education sector at the moment is the highest priority of the UN system and of most of the donor community also."

Zambia: Quality education cannot be attained without qualified teachers


In a speech read on his behalf by education deputy minister Gunston Chola during the commemoration of Teachers Day under the theme "Quality Teachers for Quality Education Recruitment and Retention of Qualified Teachers" yesterday, Mulenga said recruitment and retention of qualified teachers was cardinal for the country to achieve quality education. Mulenga said government's failure to recruit more teachers was not intentional, but in order to attain a positive economic environment so that more teachers would be employed.

Racism & xenophobia

Africa/Global: Global racism conference urges blacks to increase economic power


Delegates at a racism conference urged blacks worldwide to work toward greater economic power, while the gathering faced criticism of a decision to exclude non-blacks from some deliberations. The six-day conference in Suriname is bringing together more than 100 delegates from Africa, Canada, the United States, Latin America, Europe and the Caribbean. The Global African Conference was created during a 2002 meeting in Barbados, billed as a follow-up to the 2001 United Nations anti-racism conference in South Africa.

South Africa: Judge president slams 'racist' colleagues


Judge President John Hlophe of the Cape High Court has lashed out at the white legal fraternity for what he described as calculated attempts to undermine black judges and stall transformation. Racial tensions have often been expressed within the court, but this is the first time they have bubbled into the public domain. It is widely acknowledged that further transformation of the Cape High Court bench is urgently needed. Norman Arendse SC, chairperson of the General Council of the Bar of SA(GCB), the body that regulates the conduct of all practising advocates, has ordered an investigation into the matter.

Zimbabwe: Ex-Zimbabwe cricket boss to drop race bomb


Vincent Hogg, former chief executive of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union will inform the ICC's investigators this week about several incidents involving black ZCU directors. These were the main reasons he left the job two months ago after two and a half years, he said. "For instance one director told me that whites have no right to be in the country at all, and that was during a formal meeting. Some of the directors were totally out of order in this regard and it was extremely upsetting to have to listen to that sort of racist language."


FAO intensifies locust campaign in West Africa


Desert locust control operations have been expanded in West Africa, but countries are still facing serious shortages of pesticides and aircraft, FAO said today. Donor funding has significantly increased since Director-General Dr Jacques Diouf called on donors two weeks ago to respond urgently to FAO's appeal. FAO has now $14.7 million in cash, with a further $40 million of pledged contributions. Around $12 million have been promised by donors but are awaiting confirmation. The UN agency is providing around $6 million from its own resources.

Malawi: Cash crop estates versus smallholder food producers


Malawi is losing 2.8 percent of its forest cover every year and has the highest deforestation rate in the Southern African Development Community. "Forest resources are under enormous pressure from expansion of agricultural activities, because of an increase in the population. Many people cultivate in government-protected forests because they say they do not have land," John Ngalande, deputy Director of the forestry department, told IRIN.

Uganda: Experts focus on economic impact of organic farming


Over 200 global coffee-industry experts started a three-day international conference on organic coffee production, saying it was the way to go in order to improve incomes of farmers who had been affected by a slump in international coffee prices. The conference's theme was 'Fair trade in quality coffee' and stressed the notion that the ultimate individuals to benefit from organic coffee production will be the smallholder farmer.

West Africa: FAO eclipses regional locust control body, but comes in for criticism


The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has led international efforts to fight locusts across Africa and the Middle East for over 50 years, acting as a link between donors and the affected countries. But this time around, as the insects demolish crops across a wide swathe of West Africa, there have been problems. Donors ranging from the United States to the European Union have privately criticised the FAO for doing too little too late to tackle the current crisis and have accused the organisation of not being properly geared up to deal with it.

Land & land rights

Zimbabwe: Police confirm eviction of Zimbabwe settlers


For the last three weeks, Zimbabwean authorities have raided scores of farms in once-productive white commercial farming areas, evicting settlers and burning down their homes. The settlers are said to have invaded the land under President Robert Mugabe's land grab scheme in 2000. The mass evictions are seen as a dramatic reversal of the government's land reform policy, denounced internationally as violent, illegal and chaotic.

Media & freedom of expression

Central African Republic: RSF hails publishers' "day without newspapers"


Reporters without Borders (RSF) has hailed a 30 September 2004 announcement by the Central African Republic Association of Private and Independent Newspaper Publishers (Groupement des éditeurs de la presse privée indépendante de Centrafrique, GEPPIC) saying it will no longer publish newspapers on Fridays, beginning 1 October, until President François Bozizé's government keeps a promise to decriminalise press offences.

Ethiopia: IFEX members raise concerns over press law


At a meeting called by the Ministry of Information on 28 September 2004 in Addis Ababa, the International Press Institute, the World Press Freedom Committee, Article 19 and the Media Institute of Southern Africa voiced concerns that provisions in the draft press law posed a threat to press freedom. The Ethiopian government has said that it would be willing to consider the idea of a voluntary, self-regulating press council instead of a state-run body, and to ensure that provisions on the protection of journalists' sources would meet international standards.

Guinea: Security minister seizes weekly's entire print run


Guinean Security Minister Moussa Sampil has confiscated all 950 copies of the weekly "Le Petit matin" on 23 September 2004 because of an article ridiculing his "mistakes", and then trying to justify the seizure by falsely claiming the newspaper was illegal. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) added, "We call for 'Le Petit matin' to be allowed to resume publishing normally and for it to be compensated for the financial losses resulting from the seizure of the 23 September issue."

Ivory Coast: Journalist missing in rebel zone for more than a month


The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by reports that a correspondent for the private daily L'Inter has gone missing from the rebel-held town of Bouake after receiving threats from rebels. Before disappearing on August 28th, Amadou Dagnogo told his editor he received threats from rebels loyal to Guillaume Soro, leader of the Forces Nouvelles (FN) that control Bouake. Dagnogo wrote articles about a split in the rebel movement and alleged atrocities by Soro's men.

Nigeria: Condom Advert Banned


Determined to ensure compliance with the Sharia practice in Bauchi, the stat Sharia Consultative Council has placed an embargo on condom advertisements on the state-owned electronic media, saying such adverts promote and encourage immorality, and expose youth to unwholesome acts. The Council also urged the government to ban "immoral films" aired on the government-owned television station, arguing that such films apart from promoting promiscuity were against the tenets of the Sharia Legal System being operated in the state.

Uganda: Fine for Ugandan radio gay show


A radio station in Uganda has been forced to pay a fine for hosting homosexuals in a live talk show. The Ugandan Broadcasting Council fined Radio Simba over $1,000 and ordered it to make a public apology. The programme is "contrary to public morality and is not in compliance with the existing law," the council's chairman, Godfrey Mutabazi, said. Information Minister Nsaba Buturo defended the measure saying Ugandans wanted to uphold "God's moral values". Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda.

Social welfare

Burundi: Housing efforts "a drop in the ocean"


As Burundians struggle to rebuild their war-torn nation, many have been invoking a local proverb: It is easy to light a fire and difficult to extinguish it. Currently, about 1.2 million people lack basic shelter. They are refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and single mothers whose husbands were killed during the war and who have been left to care for their children. Almost 250,000 new homes are urgently needed. So far, almost none of those homes have been built.

Malawi: Norway releases balance of payments aid


Donors have started rewarding President Bingu wa Mutharika's efforts to tackle corruption and restore fiscal discipline in Malawi. he World Bank recently announced it had disbursed US $25 million to Malawi in support of the country's Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), and this week Norway said it was releasing Norwegian Kroner 20 million (about US $3 million) in balance of payments support to Malawi.

Mozambique: Few Mozambican households have enough food report


More than half the number of Mozambicans interviewed in a recent poverty survey said they had been unable to meet household food needs in the last 12 months, and many did not have access to sufficient water. About 8,000 Mozambicans in 102 of the 146 rural and urban districts of Mozambique participated in the research conducted by a group of civil society organisations called G20, as part of its contribution to the "poverty observatory".

South Africa: Over 300, 000 jobs created since summit


According to Herbert Mkhize, Nedlac's executive director, a total of 332, 000 jobs were created in the six months between September 2003 and March 2004, after the growth and development summit (GDS). A further analysis will provide information about the status of GDS themes of "more jobs, better jobs, investment promotion, skills development, promotion of equity and boosting local action".

News from the diaspora

Africa battles to keep doctors, nurses


Dr. Varela, 28, graduated from medical school two years ago. Of the 25 members of his class, he is one of only three working in Malawi's desperate public-health system as the rest have either already left for foreign posts, or on their way abroad. African governments have been complaining for years about the "poaching" of their doctors and nurses, who are lured abroad to better-paying jobs in less crowded hospitals, and the issue has become a topic of serious debate in the health-care field.

Development-EU: Migration Not a Separate Matter


Former UN official Prof Bimar Ghosh, director of the New International Regime for Orderly Movements of People (Niromp), an international consultant on trade, migration and development says better policy coherence between migration and trade, aid and foreign investment would solve a paradox. Ghosh called for "regulated openness" of EU borders and for shared responsibility in sending and receiving migrants. Assistance to countries of origin of (labour) migrants would help decrease disorderly migration, and lead to a win-win situation for both South and North, he said.

Ghana to host Pan Africa committee conference


The "Pan-African in the 21st century" Conference aims at bringing African Americans from the Diaspora to push the objectives of Pan-Africanism forward, and will be held in Accra from September 30 to October 3. It will develop workable programme of action that addresses the need of Africans through out the world in nation-building and international reparation issues and Business economic development for the Africa continent.

Turks and Caicos Islands: Looking for lost ancestors


In 1841, the slave ship Trouvadore was lost on a coral reef in the Turks and Caicos Islands, 500 miles south-east of Miami. The slaves, who were bound for Cuba, survived and settled in the British colony, founding Bambarra, a village with an African name. Tim Ecott joined in an expedition which may allow modern-day islanders to trace their heritage back to West Africa. Like most people descended from slaves, the "Belongers" know little of their true history.

Conflict & emergencies

*Sierra Leone Truth Commission Final Report Released


The Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission has just published its report. The report concludes that "it was years of bad governance, endemic corruption and the denial of basic human rights that created the deplorable conditions that made conflict inevitable." Sierra Leone saw some of the most horrific and cruel atrocities committed by people against each other. "The overwhelming majority of atrocities were committed by Sierra Leoneans against Sierra Leoneans. All the fighting factions targeted civilians. Women and girls became targets for abuse in the brutal conflict in Sierra Leone. They suffered abductions and exploitation at the hands of their abductions. Their ulnerability was exploited in order to dehumanize them. Women and girls were raped, forced into sexual slavery and endured acts of sexual violence. Many suffered mutilations, torture and a host of other cruel and inhumane acts. The Commission found the leadership of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), the Sierra Leone Army (SLA) and the Civil Defense Forces (CDF) to be responsible for either authorising or instigating human rights violations against civilians; alternatively for failing to stop such practices or to speak out against them. Sierra Leone was systematically plundered and looted by all factions in the conflict. The Commission found the RUF to have been responsible for the largest number of human rights violations in the conflict." The report claims that the war was only partly to do with diamonds, which fuelled rather than caused the crisis. The report highlights the role of external parties in intensifying the conflict and "laments the fact that the international community, apart from the ECOWAS states, declined to intervene in the unfolding human catastrophe in Sierra Leone until at a very late stage." It recommendations include calling upon leaders to to respect human rights, the abolition of the death penalty, upholding freedom of expression, etc. On reparations, the commission proposes "a programme to address and respond to the specific needs of victims, rather than recommending cash handouts." The overview of the Commission's report can be found at the link below. The full report is due to be made available, we understand at

Africa: Officials discuss strategy to control small arms


Some 100 officials from 39 African countries started a five-day meeting in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, on Monday to discuss the threat that small arms pose to human security and development across the continent. "Africa has been ravaged by many conflicts. Most of these conflicts were fought primarily using small arms and light weapons that pose one of the greatest challenge of our time," Ugandan Interior Minister Ruhakana Rugunda said in a speech he read on behalf of President Yoweri Museveni.

DRC: Security in east improves as UN mission cleared for more troops


Armed with an expanded mandate and an increase in troop strength, the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) may now be better placed to capitalise on the slight improvement in the security situation in the east of the country. Although UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan only received UN Security Council authorisation to raise the troop strength by 5,900 from 10,800, he said the newly approved troop ceiling of 16,700 would "contribute to improving the mission's operational capabilities, which are severely under resourced".

Sudan: Darfur: A tale of death...and destruction


Just over two weeks ago, The Daily Nation's reporter Peter Kimani and photographer Stephen Mudiari were among the first team of African journalists to travel to Darfur. In these five part series, reported jointly for all Nation Media Group newspapers in Kenya (Daily Nation), Tanzania (The Citizen) and Uganda (The Monitor), they get close to the survivors of Darfur and tell the human story of the tragedy. They begin with the story about getting to, and then out of, Darfur.

Sudan: Sudan conflict could widen into regional, even global, confrontation


The Secretary-General's Special Representative has warned that the conflict in the Sudan, if not properly addressed, could create the conditions for a widening regional, if not global, confrontation. He also stressed the need to prevent the conflicts from turning into a general antagonism between people with different religions or different ethnic backgrounds. Once the struggles in the Sudan were perceived as a clash between cultures - Arabs against Africans, Sudan versus the West, Islam versus the rest - they became unmanageable and spread to other places.

Uganda: Children, war and peace


Optimism about prospects for peace in northern Uganda is growing. Recent news reports cite increased desertions from the rebel Lord's Resistance Army and some reduction in the number of displaced people. A new report from World Vision Uganda highlights the continuing obstacles to peace and the enormous damage done to children and to society at large from this 18-year war that has received very little attention from the international community. For the full text of the report, entitled "Pawns of Politics: Children, Conflict and Peace in Northern Uganda", visit:

Internet & technology

Africa: ICT Update October 2004: GenARDIS award-winning projects


The technical centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA) has published its ICT Update October Issue which includes GenARDIS award-winning projects. Some of these include: an NGO in Ghana which is using video equipment to enable women to devise community plans for natural resource management; computer training to women civil servants in rural areas of Benin and how a database system, an online input calculator, and email are helping women farmers in Malawi to improve agricultural production.

Global: Action needed on gender empowerment in the ICT arena


Dramatic changes brought about by ICTs have created new economic and social opportunities the world over. Their use, however, continues to be governed by existing power relations. Amidst this inequality are individuals and organisations that are working tirelessly to use these technologies to further gender equality and social justice. The report argues that far-reaching changes towards gender equality and women’s empowerment in the ICT arena are needed at every level ( international, national and programme). Engendering ICTs is not merely about greater use of ICTs by women. It is about transforming the ICT system.

Nigeria: Local Satellite TV/Internet Service Coy Debuts With a Promise


With the brand name TITV, African Trumpet Telecommunications Limited (ATTL), will through the use of satellite technology bring to Nigerians world-class television programming that resonates with its African target as well as Internet services through the same channel. At the media presentation of the company last week, Managing Director, Nathan Garner, said the company was established to help West Africans in large numbers unto the Information Technology age, stressing that the company would live up to the promise by offering its services at affordable prices.

eNewsletters & mailing lists

Africa/Global: African Colours, online resource for contemporary art


African Colours, online since July 2000, is a portal for Contemporary Art, as well as a dynamic force to link artists from different parts of the world so that they can share their ideas and culture and achieve a common goal. To make a contribution, you can send your news and editorials to [email protected] To subscribe to their mailing list and receive African Colours Updates, please send an email to [email protected]

Africa/Global: Global Development Network funding opportunities


Current funding opportunities relevant to researchers and research institutes working on development issues in low and middle income countries are available through the Global Development Network at:
To find out more about how to receive this newsletter, clink on the below link.

Fundraising & useful resources

Africa: PANOS-GKP Journalism awards 2004: ICTs and accountability


Deadline: 15 October 2004

"Transparency, good governance and democracy: Do ICTs increase accountability?" is the theme of this year’s prize. Four awards of $1,000 each will be made for the best journalism on this topic produced by journalists in developing and transition countries. Print, radio, TV and web journalism are all eligible.

Africa:Radio Netherland Training Centre (RNTC): Call for proposals


Deadline:1 November 2004

Radio Nederland Training Centre (RNTC) supports and encourages the effective use of media for development and education by promoting professionalisation through training and consultancy for people working in, for or with media in developing countries. RNTC is calling for proposals from radio and television programme-makers and internet producers in developing countries.

Comic Relief condemned over Burma link


One of Britain's best-known charities was today condemned for entering into a partnership with a firm linked to the military dictatorship in Burma. Human rights organisation the Burma Campaign UK slammed Comic Relief, the charity behind Red Nose Day, after it emerged the charity would be working on the event with delivery company DHL, which is in a joint venture with the Burmese government.

Global: OneWorld/Staying Alive World AIDS Day 2004 Competition


If you're aged between 15 and 34 - and feel that you have any thing to say about the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls using a microphone or a camera - this is the perfect opportunity to show your potential. The global competition is for young people to submit audio or video public service announcements (PSAs) that convey the messages of MTV's award winning HIV/AIDS awareness campaign, Staying Alive ( Deadline: 11 November, 2004. VIDEO entries go to: AUDIO entries go to:

Courses, seminars, & workshops

Africa/Global: International Conference on Deaf Women and HIV/AIDS in Africa


Gallaudet University and Howard University will sponsor an international conference on Deaf Women and HIV/AIDS in Africa on June 10-12, 2005 at the Gallaudet University Kellogg Center to increase awareness of the importance of reaching all segments of the African population in the fight against HIV/AIDS. A Call for Proposals has been issued with a deadline of December 10, 2005. Individuals will be notified of their acceptance by February 11, 2005.

Ethiopia: Last call for IFPRI Writing and Presentation of Scientific Research


mailto:[email protected]

This is the last call for applications for the coming workshop on Writing and Presentation of Scientific Research for IFPRI partners and colleagues. The workshop will be held at the ILRI campus in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 13-17 December 2004. We have very few seats available and the deadline for applications is 30 October. If you are interested in participating but did not manage to raise the necessary funds to cover the workshop fee, please send us a message. If we identified a sponsor we can indicate your name for the scholarship. If you want to receive additional information on this workshop or others, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Global: Women Defending Peace


The international conference Women Defending Peace will be held on 22-24 November 2004 in Geneva, Switzerland. As a follow-up to the Sharm El Sheikh conference Women for Peace, Dialogue for Action’ held on 21-22 September 2002, the 2004 conference will bring together a prominent group of women and men who have dedicated much of their work to enhancing peace.

South Africa: Seminar: Globalisation and democracy


Date: 16 October 2004

A seminar, "Helsinki Process on Globalisation and Democracy Millennium Development Goals and the Financing Gap," will take place at the Sheraton Hotel, Pretoria in South Africa on Saturday, 16 October 2004 from 9h30-16h30. The Helsinki Process on Globalisation and Democracy, launched by the Finnish Government in cooperation with the Tanzanian Government, aims to launch proactive efforts to develop new strategic solutions to the dilemmas of global governance by bringing together individuals from all major stakeholder groups. One of the main goals for the Helsinki Process and the work of the Track on the Global Economic Agenda is to ensure that the Millennium Development Goals will stay at the core of multilateral processes and decision-making.

South Africa: South Africans celebrate World Development Information Day with special event


To celebrate World Development Information Day this year, the Southern African NGO Network (SANGONeT), is hosting a special one-day event on Thursday, 21 October 2004 to highlight the role and significance of information and communication in the South African NGO sector and to profile the work of the sector and specific initiatives aimed at improving its information and communication capacity. For more information please contact Martha Thibedi or Refilwe Rakhibane at SANGONeT by 18 October 2004.


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ISSN 1753-6839 Pambazuka News English Edition

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