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Pambazuka News

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

The Inagural 2016 Pan African Colloquium, Barbados

Latest titles from Pambazuka Press

African Sexualities

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

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

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

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

To Cook a ContinentWalter Rodney
Rodney shows how the imperial countries of Europe, and subsequently the US, bear major responsibility for impoverishing Africa. They have been joined in this exploitation by agents or unwitting accomplices both in the North and in Africa.
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Back Issues

Pambazuka News 429: Zuma on the verge of victory

The authoritative electronic weekly newsletter and platform for social justice in Africa

Pambazuka News (English edition): ISSN 1753-6839

CONTENTS: 1. Action alerts, 2. Features, 3. Announcements, 4. Comment & analysis, 5. Pan-African Postcard, 6. Letters & Opinions, 7. African Writers’ Corner, 8. Blogging Africa, 9. Emerging powers in Africa Watch, 10. Zimbabwe update, 11. Women & gender, 12. Human rights, 13. Refugees & forced migration, 14. Social movements, 15. Elections & governance, 16. Corruption, 17. Development, 18. Health & HIV/AIDS, 19. Education, 20. LGBTI, 21. Environment, 22. Food Justice, 23. Media & freedom of expression, 24. Conflict & emergencies, 25. Internet & technology, 26. Courses, seminars, & workshops

Help Pambazuka News become independent. Become a supporting subscriber by taking out a paid subscription. Donate $30 a year.

Highlights from this issue

- William Gumede on the SA election results

- Lesbians under attack in Kenya

- Jacques Delpechin on proposals for eliminating DRC
- How transparent tax can turn Africa's mineral wealth into development
- AFRICOM - fuelling war, or making peace?
- Henning Melber on Nujoma at 80
- On women and liberation in Zimbabwe
- SA elections - failure of the morality ticket
- Squabbles continue around Mgingo island
- Maina Kiai and Paul Muite on challenging the Kikuyu oligarchy
- Questions the IMF must answer
- UN Special Rapporteur on realising the right to food

- Award nomination for Kenyan human-rights activist

- America must help Africa reform the IMF
- Tajudeen on diplomacy and the Migingo dispute


- Storyteller Sarudzayi Barnes on how to get published

- Pirates in Somalia and gay outings in Uganda

- China changes its approach amidst global economic crisisZIMBABWE UPDATE: Engaging the inclusive government
WOMEN & GENDER: Call for men and boys’ inclusion in gender policy
CONFLICT AND EMERGENCIES: Darfur rebels sentenced to death
HUMAN RIGHTS: DRC child soldiers to be released
REFUGEES AND FORCED MIGRATION: 35 drown in Gulf of Aden tragedy
SOCIAL MOVEMENTS: Africa, don’t sign away resources
ELECTIONS AND GOVERNANCE: Arrests over Guinea-Bissau ‘coup plot’
HEALTH & HIV/AIDS: South Africa faces treatment-funding shortfall
CORRUPTION: FBI to help probe murder of anti-graft czar
DEVELOPMENT: IMF updates World Economic Outlook for 2009
EDUCATION: Combating low literacy levels in West Africa
LGBTI: Kenya’s gays demand protection
ENVIRONMENT: World’s major rivers drying up
FOOD JUSTICE: Food prices remain high in developing countries
MEDIA AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION: Gambia disrupt radio show
INTERNET& TECHNOLOGY: Cameroon opens telemedicine centre
PLUS: e-newsletters and mailings lists; courses, seminars and workshops, and jobs

*Pambazuka News now has a page, where you can view the various websites that we visit to keep our fingers on the pulse of Africa! Visit

Action alerts

Assault on lesbians in Nairobi

Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya


The Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya in solidarity with Minority Women In Action are profoundly concerned about the increasing violence, discrimination and violation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, intersexes and queer (LGBTIQ) individuals' rights in Kenya. In particular we vehemently condemn the unjust and unconstitutional acts occasioned against Ms Faith Onyimbo on the early morning of Saturday 18 April 2009 at Florida 1000 on Nairobi's Koinange Street.


Zuma on the verge of victory

William Gumede


© Oryx Multimedia
With Jacob Zuma's African National Congress (ANC) on the verge of victory in today's South African election, William Gumede charts the leader's rise and endeavour to align himself with the country's poor black majority through presenting himself as a stark contrast to his erstwhile rival Thabo Mbeki. Now a self-styled 'champion' of the poor, the success of much of Zuma's campaigning has rested on his ability to exploit the core rich–poor dichotomy framing the election for his own benefit, argues Gumede. Having raised expectations among South Africa's poor to 'a level of fever pitch', the success of Zuma's presidency will ultimately rest on his capacity to harness the talents of the country's diverse peoples during testing economic times, the author concludes.


Mohochi nominated for human rights award

Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice (KPTJ)


Sam Mohochi, executive director of the Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU) has been nominated for the Front Line Award 2009. Congratulations from us all at Pambazuka News.

Comment & analysis

Erasing Congo at the stroke of a pen

Jacques Depelchin


cc Wikipedia
Jacques Depelchin is disturbed by There is no Congo, a paper by Jeffrey Herbst and Greg Mills, which proposes changing the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and splitting it among its surrounding countries to resolve the ongoing conflict. Delpechin argues that ‘the central idea is to promote the interests of Rwanda, which has been anointed as the best manager/protector of global corporate mining/predatory ventures in Central Africa’ with Rwanda’s interests identified under the label of security and not predation. The paper says Delpechin, makes the case for just ‘writing off’ DRC as if it were a piece of property whose losses were impacting too negatively on the performance of the larger operation, rather than basing a solution on generally sentiment among the Congolese people – to keep the country united.

Breaking the resource curse

How transparent taxation and fair taxes can turn Africa's mineral wealth into development

Kato Lambrechts


cc Liane Greeff
Following the conclusion of a prolonged international metal price increase, this report, published originally by Southern Africa Resource Watch, TWN-Africa, Tax Justice Network for Africa, ActionAid and Christian Aid, questions why Africans of mineral-rich countries continue to live in poverty. Despite a thriving global mining industry, minimal revenue has been contributed to the livelihoods of African citizens; they are excluded from the governance of mining taxation and frequently exposed to conflict as a result of wealth generated from this inequitable industry. In addition to the aggressive tax avoidance strategies employed by mining companies, some African governments have played a complicit role in providing tax subsidies to the industry, thus inhibiting any potential improvement in the quality of the lives of their citizens. The authors of this study suggest that a more equitable and transparent form of mining taxation must be implemented to benefit Africans in the future. In order to achieve this, they propose a reform in the policies, laws and the institutions governing financial payments, as well as an international financial reporting standard.

AFRICOM: Making peace or fuelling war

Part 1 of a two-part essay

Daniel Volman and William Minter


cc Soldiers Media Center
In the first of a two-part article exploring the implications of the US AFRICOM (the United States Africa Command) programme, Daniel Volman and William Minter discuss the growing strategic importance of the African continent to US interests. Arguing that shaping a new US security policy will require more than a mere move towards more active diplomacy, Volman and Minter underline the importance for the US of striving for an inclusive approach encompassing joint action. With AFRICOM having been subject to no official consultation with either the United Nations or the African Union prior to its announcement in 2006, the Pentagon now possesses six geographically oriented commands around the world. While the threats cited by the US military are hardly fictitious, the authors acknowledge, there is little to suggest that they can be tackled through simply emphasising US military engagement.

Where others wavered: Nujoma at 80

Henning Melber


cc Wikipedia
With Sam Nujoma turning 80 in May this year, Henning Melber considers the Namibian leader's role as a uncompromising patriarch and the significance of the notion of 'family' over 'individual' during the country's liberation struggle. Highlighting the overawing hold of a combat mindset on the leader, Melber considers Nujoma's strikingly dispassionate attitude towards the grim realities of the liberation struggle and the extent to which the liberators 'gave away their humanity'.

Silent song: Women and Zimbabwe’s liberation

Nyaradzai Mugaragumbo-Gumbonzvanda


cc Sokwanele
As Zimbabwe celebrates 29 years of independence, Nyaradzai Mugaragumbo-Gumbonzvanda honours the ordinary women who fought for freedom and life with dignity, and reflects on the meaning of the liberation struggle both for her late mother Mbuya Rozaria Dizha and for Zimbabwean women of different generations. Mbuya Dizha ‘gave her daughters and sons to the liberation’, provided food and financial contributions for freedom fighters and was among the many thousands of rural women who voted for the first time in 1980, her contribution to creating ‘a new nation’. While the early eighties ‘were sweet moments for us, as girls old enough to understand the…dynamics brought by this wave of change and its possibilities,’ writes Mugaragumbo-Gumbonzvanda, ‘today’s young Zimbabwean girls are desperately looking for education, employment and hope.’

No trumping Zuma on morality ticket

Alfred Mafuleka


© Oryx Multimedia
South Africa’s constitution guarantees rights but it doesn’t set out reciprocal responsibilities and that’s where this young democracy’s problems start, argues Alfred Mafuleka. Some people feel the country has gone down on morals, says Mafuleka, and this year’s general elections are a huge test of its character. Outlining the internal problems that led to a split within the ANC (African National Congress) and the subsequent formation of splinter group the Congress of the People (COPE), Mafuleka suggests that opposition parties hoping to secure a victory over Jacob Zuma at the elections by presenting themselves as moral and corruption-free will be disappointed when this year’s results are announced.

Squabbling over Migingo

Stephen Musau


cc Wikipedia
As Kenya and Uganda continue to contest ownership of Lake Victoria's Migingo Island, Stephen Musau cautions against allowing boundary disputes to undermine the greater economic clout to be achieved across the East African region through cooperation. Where countries are small and unable to command a level of influence akin to that of more dominant global players, economic alliances become all the more important, Musau underlines, an importance that should necessitate dialogue and cooperation through a vibrant East African Federation, and not mere petty agendas.

Challenging the Kikuyu oligarchy

Maina Kiai and Paul Muite


Despite Mwai Kibake’s stated commitment to operate a meritocracy with regard to the diversity of Kenya, his appointments to the most sensitive and crucial offices have been biased towards members of a Kikuyu oligarchy, write Maina Kiai and Paul Muite. Calling for their fellow Kikuyus to abandon ‘blind ethnic loyalty to decisions made by some wealthy old men’ who have ‘nothing but disdain for the majority of Kikuyu, who are poor and struggling’, Kiai and Muite reject the elevation of ethnicity ‘beyond all other identities and interests’ in favour of a national outlook and perspective. ‘For us, it does not matter what ethnic group the leadership comes from: We expect and demand a government which has the interests of the nation at heart, which is fair, honest, effective, accountable and transparent. And we expect the government to follow the law, especially with regard to human life, and fundamental rights’.

Questions the IMF must answer

Nii Akuetteh


The current global economic crisis is not merely a devastating development, writes Nii Akuetteh, but a clear failure of the Washington consensus, neoliberalism and laissez-faire economics. Lamenting the recent G20 summit's tripling of the power of the IMF in spite of the fund's clear failure to acknowledge its own shortcomings, Akuetteh argues that it is now up to Congress and President Obama to force the fund to answer vital questions around its relentless, dogmatic imposition of neoliberalist policy across Africa.

Realising the right to food

Olivier De Schutter


cc Gen Vessel
The right to food, as an enforceable human right, should be at the centre of our efforts to reform the global food system, writes UN special rapporteur Olivier De Schutter in a statement to the United Nations General Assembly. A right to food means that ‘victims must have a right to recourse mechanisms; that governments must be held accountable if they adopt policies which violate that right; and that courts are empowered to protect this right’ writes De Schutter. He argues that ‘the daily and massive denial of the right to food has its source, not in an insufficient quantity of food produced, but in a system of production whose limits have now become clear.’ De Schutter calls for support for states, an assessment of different models of agricultural production, the redesign of trade, improvements in the situation of agricultural workers and incentives and regulations for agri-food companies, with a view to realising the right to food.

Pan-African Postcard

Change at IMF overdue

Muadi Mukenge


cc Whorange
In an open letter addressed to US President Obama, Muadi Mukenge calls on his administration to enter into dialogue with African and Africa activists to address ‘how change can come to the IMF and other instruments of economic policy that the US supports’. Despite evidence that the IMF’s economic policies for Africa have left the continent worse today than it was 30 years ago, the G20 Summit has recommended the injection of significant funding into IMF to rectify endemic poverty in developing regions. Mukenge argues that if the G20 decides to prioritise new funding to the IMF to address an economic crisis – which in Africa dates 20 years – the IMF’s ‘philosophy and modalities must change’.

The Migingo dispute: Will diplomacy work?

Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem


cc Wikipedia
As Kenya and Uganda face off over the sovereignty of the tiny Migingo Island in Lake Victoria, Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem suggests explanations for why two previously highly cordial nations have allowed the dispute to escalate to such a degree. While Uganda echoes the view of the Kenyan government that the dispute should be solved diplomatically, Abdul-Raheem suspects Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni's talk of peace belies military preparations behind the scenes. Kenya, for its part, has seen the opposite situation, with President Mwai Kibaki employing a typically 'hands off' approach while his country's media becomes increasingly frustrated and militant in its demands over how to deal with Uganda. If these 'patriotic' frustrations reflect deep dissatisfaction with the deficiencies of the Grand Coalition government, Abdul-Raheem states, they should not be permitted to spill over into calls for definitive military action or jeopardise wider East African integration.

Letters & Opinions

He who rides the tiger

Job Ogonda


In their continued posturing about what their sides of the coalition deserve or what the opposite side does not deserve, one reads Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga's cavalier flirtations with calamity. This seemingly comical political game about demands for VIP toilets and red carpet receptions belies a real danger of Kenyans yet again mounting a tiger, only to find ourselves on top of an animal they we can neither control nor get rid of.[1]

Save Africa from hyena culture

James Shikwati


Did you know that hyenas have intelligent hunting skills? 'They surround a toothless old hyena at the edge of the thorny hedged cattle kraal and bite it so hard that the only escape is to push through the sharp thorns. Once an opening is created; an army of fierce hyenas will go into a meat grabbing spree', narrates Songol, a lady residing in Baringo district of Kenya's Rift Valley. Mostly associated with cowardice, hyenas will bite off cows' udders and goats' bowels before they even seek to kill their prey. Hyenas also scavenge for food from graves and feed on the leftovers by lions and cheetahs.

African Writers’ Corner

The natural storyteller

An interview with Sarudzayi Barnes

Conversations with Writers


Sarudzayi Barnes talks to Conversations with Writers about her concerns as a writer and her publishing company The Lion Press Ltd, which specialises in African and Afro-Caribbean children's stories.

Blogging Africa

Aboard a rudderless ship

Sokari Ekine


What happens when a state (Somalia) becomes a rudderless ship? This week's roundup of blogs by Sokari Ekine suggests that it is not just Somalia that is without direction. Abductions in Zimbabwe, the outing of gays and lesbians in Uganda and the election of Jacob Zuma as president of South Africa all call into question the direction of the leadership and status of human rights across the continent says Ekine.
What happens when a state (Somalia) becomes a rudderless ship? This week's roundup of blogs by Sokari Ekine suggests that it is not just Somalia that is without direction. Abductions in Zimbabwe, the outing of gays and lesbians in Uganda and the election of Jacob Zuma as president of South Africa all call into question the direction of the leadership and status of human rights across the continent says Ekine.

Rosemary Ekosso
Ishmail Dhorat
This is Zimbabwe
Black Looks

Emerging powers in Africa Watch

Another way to build a foothold

Stephen Marks


The nature of China's investment in Africa is changing, as the global economic crisis opens up new opportunities, writes Stephen Marks. Broad packages bundle infrastructure investment with aid and commodity purchase help Chinese firms enter African markets and gain a foothold. A US$5 billion China-Africa Development Fund will focus on infrastructure and mining, and target industrial parks and commercial agriculture. The Chinese government has said however that it has ruled out outsourcing of food production by investing in overseas farmland.

Zimbabwe update

Engaging the inclusive government


After nearly a year of seemingly endless talks brokered by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Zimbabwe’s long-ruling ZANU-PF party and the two factions of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formed a coalition government in February. Opposition entry into government is a landmark development, and broad segments of the population are optimistic for the first time in years that a decade of repression and decline can be reversed.

Talks to save unity government in trouble


Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai tried to put on a brave face Wednesday by suggesting that talks aimed at resolving outstanding issues in the unity government had not reached a deadlock. But events so far show his optimism is misplaced. Crippling the coalition are issues around the fact that Mugabe stripped off the communications sector from a ministry controlled by the MDC, the delay in swearing in Deputy Agriculture Minister Roy Bennett, fresh farms invasions, the continued detention of political prisoners and the appointment of governors, ambassadors and permanent secretaries.

UK pledges £15m humanitarian support


A £15m package to help the people of Zimbabwe has been announced by International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander. This critical humanitarian aid will mean increased support for the country’s health system, greater access to clean water and more support for struggling farmers in Zimbabwe.

Women & gender

Africa: First ladies make pledges on Maternal health, HIV and education


The African First Ladies Health Summit concluded with a commitment by these influential women to use their positions to improve maternal health, stop the AIDS epidemic and promote girls’ education. The two-day summit attracted first ladies from more than a dozen African nations and a wide range of supporters from diverse organizations and corporations.

Africa: Uganda embraces low-tech test for cervical cancer


In Uganda, a fast, cheap diagnostic test based on vinegar is invigorating the battle against cervical cancer. Health activists are raising money to put it in a mobile clinic and health officials are eyeing a national rollout.

Liberia: More children surviving, more women dying in childbirth


The number of women dying in childbirth in Liberia has nearly doubled since the 1980s, according to a recent UN report that has policymakers calling for urgent attention to reproductive healthcare. While the report shows encouraging trends in infant and child survival, it puts maternal mortality at 994 women per 100,000 live births in 2007 compared to 578 in 1987.

South Africa: Call for men and boys' inclusion in gender policy


Gender activists are calling on the new South African government to improve the country’s gender legislation. Current gender policies focus on women, ignoring the rights, roles and responsibility of men and boys, they say. "Not a single political party has made gender equality part of their manifesto, let alone focused on how they might involve men and boys in achieving this," said Bafana Khumalo, co-director of the Sonke Gender Justice Network, an NGO working with boys and men. "This has to change with utmost urgency."

Tunisia: Rights activist warns of decline in gains


Bochra Bel Haj Hmida is a lawyer, women's rights activist, and former president of the Tunisian Association of Democratic Women. She has been one of the fiercest opponents of she regards as the oppression of Tunisian women regarding inheritance. Hmida is also responsible for saving dozens of young people from the gallows in 1984, when she met former president Habib Bourguiba and his wife Wassila and convinced the president to issue a pardon.

Human rights

DRC: Child soldiers to be released


Plans are under way to release more child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a UN envoy has said at the end of a one-week visit, urging an end to ongoing violations against children in a humanitarian crisis engulfing the country’s east.

Nigeria: Judge denies Chevron’s request of $485,000 from villagers


Judge Susan Illston has denied Chevron Corp’s request to recoup over $485,000 in costs associated with a human rights case filed by Nigerian villagers. The corporation said the plaintiffs owed them the costs - including the cost of photocopies and deposition fees - after they were found not liable last fall. However, the judge disagreed.

Rwanda: Rwandan in US arrested over alleged genocidal activities


A Rwandan man living in the United States state of Kansas was arrested on Thursday in connection with the 1994 genocide in his home country, the US Department of Justice said. Lazare Kabaya Kobagaya (82) was arrested on charges of lying on his naturalisation fraud and misusing his alien registration card, officials with the Department of Justice said.

Somalia: Donors should address accountability


Donor governments meeting in Brussels this week should ensure that pledges of assistance to Somali security forces and African Union troops in Somalia will not contribute to human rights abuses, Human Rights Watch has said.

Sudan: Revise repressive press law


Sudan's parliament should make major changes to a draft press law to ensure that it protects freedom of speech as guaranteed under the Sudanese constitution and international law, Human Rights Watch has said. The proposed law, to be debated this week in parliament, is among 21 laws the two parties in the Government of National Unity have agreed to revise.

Refugees & forced migration

Horn of Africa: Thirty-five drown in latest smuggling tragedy


Thirty-five people drowned after one of two smugglers' boats carrying more than 220 passengers across the Gulf of Aden from Somalia capsized off the coast of Yemen's Abyan region. "This is one of the worst incidents to occur in the Gulf of Aden in recent months," said Leila Nassif, head of the UNHCR office in Aden. "Unfortunately, more and more people are so desperate in their countries of origin that they are ready to put their lives in jeopardy to change their situation."

Somalia: Piracy must not divert attention from humanitarian needs


As the latest piracy attacks off the coast of Somalia grab headlines and international donors meet in Brussels to discuss the security situation, attention and funding must not be diverted from the humanitarian crisis facing hundreds of thousands of Somalis, says the International Rescue Committee.

Somalia: Relief agencies urge Obama to step up aid


Six aid agencies have urged the Obama administration to consider humanitarian needs in its policy review on Somalia. As the latest piracy attacks off the coast of Somalia capture the world's attention, humanitarian organizations warned that the country remains in the midst of a severe humanitarian crisis. More than three million people are in need of emergency assistance inside the country and half a million Somali refugees have fled to neighboring countries.

Sudan: Number of returnees tops 20,000


The number of Sudanese refugees returning home from Uganda this year with the assistance of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has topped the 20,000 mark. This brings the total number of people helped home by UNHCR since the signing of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which ended Sudan’s long-running north-south civil war, to nearly 150,000, including 85,000 from Uganda. An additional 160,000 others have repatriated on their own from neighbouring countries.

Social movements

Africa: ‘Africa, don’t sign away resources’


African nations must stop signing away their natural resources in skewed deals with foreign firms, the African winner of the 2009 “Green Nobel” prize said in an interview. Ona, a wheelchair-bound Gabonese activist, has won the African 2009 Goldman Environmental Prize for a decade of activism to protect the Congo Basin Rainforest, the second largest rainforest in the world.

Global: Canadian Advantage – for whom?


Not long ago, a young Nova Scotian woman working in Guatemala told me how she found herself in a bus being blocked by local people protesting the destructive operations of a Canadian mining company in their community. Fellow passengers advised her to pretend she was American; Canadians were not welcome.

Elections & governance

Guinea Bissau: Arrests over coup 'plot'


Two army officers in Guinea have been arrested on suspicion of plotting a coup, security sources told the BBC. The arrests were made as new military leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara was preparing to make his first trip out of Guinea since seizing power in December. He led a bloodless coup after the death of Lansana Conte, who had ruled the West African country since 1984.

Mauritania: Six candidates to run for president


Six candidacies have met the deadline to submit their papers to the Mauritania's Constitutional Council, and are now set to contest the 6 June presidential elections in the country, official sources told PANA. Gen. Mohamed Ould Aziz, leader of the military junta that overthrew democratically-elected President Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi last August, was the first to submit his papers.

Nigeria: Opposition commends Yar’Adua over 'no troops' decision


In a rare move, Nigeria's main opposition Action Congress (AC) has commended President Umaru Yar’Adua over his decision not to deploy soldiers to South-west Ekiti state for Saturday’s governorship election re-run. In a statement issued in Lagos, the party described the President’s decision as perhaps ''the single most overt act he has taken in furtherance of his administration’s rule of law mantra and commitment to free and fair elections."

Nigeria: Opposition slams electoral body over election observers


Nigeria's most vocal opposition party, the Action Congress (AC), has criticised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for its failure to accredit "credible observer groups" for Saturday’s governorship re-run in South West Ekiti state. In a statement issued in Lagos on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said INEC’s decision to accredit "only the groups that catch its fancy", rather than those widely acclaimed as credible, could be a signal to how the commission would conduct the elections.

South Africa: ANC gains over two-thirds of vote


The African National Congress (ANC) is heading for a decisive victory in South Africa's general election, taking more than two-thirds of the vote so far. With more than 12 million votes counted, the ANC has 67%. The major opposition parties are trailing well behind - the Democratic Alliance with 16% and the newly formed Congress of the People (Cope) has 7.6%.

West Africa: Nigeria warns against power grab in Togo


With Africa once again experiencing unconstitutional takeover of power as witnessed recently in Mauritania, Guinea and Madagascar, Nigeria has won against a similar development in Togo. The warning was issued by Foreign Affairs Minister Ojo Maduekwe, who has just returned from a fact-finding mission to Togo, which is embroiled in what the Minister termed ''leadership tussle epidemic''.


Burundi: FBI to help unravel murder of anti-graft czar


Agents of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are expected in Burundi to take part in investigations into the unresolved assassination of the Vice-President of the Observatory to Fight Corruption and Economic Malfeasance (OLUCOME), Ernest Manirumva, government sources told PANA here. The gesture of the US government was described by Burundi's Public Prosecutor, Elysée Ndaye, as a "guarantee of transparency" in the search for truth about the masterminds, perpetrators and motive for the crime, which aroused global emotion.

Kenya: 'It's our turn to eat'


Michela Wrong’s latest book “It’s Our Turn to Eat: the Story of a Kenyan Whistleblower” has stirred controversy in Kenya. Through the struggles of anti-corruption whistleblower John Githongo, Wrong examines how corruption has plagued the country. Transparency Watch spoke with Wrong about the themes behind her book: identity, history, cynicism and integrity.

Zimbabwe: Hypocrisy over Reserve Bank cars exposed


The battle between the Ministry of Finance and Reserve Bank over the allocation of cars to MPs has left ministers open to charges of hypocrisy by the legislators as they have more than two vehicles each while trying to block their colleagues in parliament from taking any from the central bank.


Angola: Government to invest $8.6 billion to bolster industry


The Angola government is considering over US8.6 billion investment to boost the transformation of the industry between 2009 and 2012, Angola's deputy-minister for industry Kiala Gabriel has announced. Mr Abriel said the amount will be channeled to various sub-programmes like those of reconstitution of the human capital and creation of infrastructures to support the development.

DRC: Continuing displacement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo


In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the number of civilians uprooted in continuing raids by the so-called Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) in the Lubero area of North Kivu over the last seven weeks has risen to over 100,000. A series of concerted attacks carried out by the rebel group against civilians in the villages of Luofu, Kirumba, Kanyabonga and Kayna near Lubero, 170 kms north of Goma, have left a trail of death and destruction and caused recurrent displacement.

Global: General Assembly agrees on terms of UN summit on financial crisis


The United Nations will convene a global summit in June to assess the impact of the world economic crisis on development, after the General Assembly agreed on the arrangements for the conference. “In the midst of the most serious economic downturn since the Great Depression, we now have the opportunity and the responsibility to search for solutions that take into account the interests of all nations, the rich and the poor, the large and the small,” Assembly President Miguel D’Escoto stated after the 192-member body adopted a resolution on the 1 to 3 June summit.

Global: IMF updates World Economic Outlook for 2009


The global economy, which is experiencing the most severe recession since World War II, is projected to shrink by 1.3 percent in 2009, with a slow recovery expected in 2010, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reports in its April World Economic Outlook (WEO) released on Wednesday. Although the rate of contraction should ease from the second quarter of this year, output per capita is still projected to decline in countries representing 75 percent of the world economy. It is expected that growth will re-emerge in 2010 at a pace of 1.9 percent, which is sluggish in comparison to past recoveries.

Global: World Bank to launch stimulus for developing nations


Moving to combat the spiraling economic downturn in developing countries, the World Bank will unveil a major initiative today to almost double financing for road, bridge and other infrastructure projects from Latin America to Eastern Europe, allowing poorer nations to create jobs in a manner similar to the stimulus programs underway in the United States and other wealthy countries.

Health & HIV/AIDS

Global: Glaxo to launch final-stage malaria vaccine trial


GlaxoSmithKline Plc is about to start final-stage clinical trials of the world's most advanced malaria vaccine, which could reach the market within three years, the British-based drugmaker said on Friday. If successful, Glaxo believes its Mosquirix vaccine has the potential to save hundreds of thousands of deaths and prevent tens of millions of cases of malaria in Africa.

South Africa: Doctors' strike spreads ahead of crucial meeting


Public sector doctors are preparing for a national strike should government fail to table satisfactory salary proposals at today’s (Friday 24th) crucial bargaining council meeting. On Thursday, doctors at Chris Hani Baragwanath, the biggest hospital in the country, joined at least 24 other hospitals in industrial action by declaring an immediate go-slow.

South Africa: South Africa faces treatment funding shortfall


South Africa will face tough choices in the years ahead as its government strives to extend treatment to all who need it through the public health system, a leading health economist told the Fourth South African AIDS Conference earlier this month. Dr Susan Cleary, the director of the Health Economics Unit at the University of Cape Town’s School of Public Health and Family Medicine, outlined the financial dilemma that South Africa will face in the coming decade as the number on HIV treatment grows.

Southern Africa: Rate on cholera infections continues to slow


The cholera epidemic in southern Africa continues to abate, but international and local health authorities stress the need to remain vigilant, the United Nations has reported. “Overall, the duration and magnitude of the epidemic underscores the need for strengthening surveillance, preparedness and underscores plans in all countries,” according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Swaziland: TB- 'Indeed we have a problem'


The Swazi government's slow response to a fast-growing tuberculosis epidemic has eroded the possibility of controlling it. Themba Dlamini, the National TB Control Programme manager, says there has been a nearly ten-fold increase in the last 20 years from about 1 000 TB cases per year in 1987 to over 9,600 cases in 2007. Swaziland also has the world's highest HIV prevalence rate; people living with HIV/AIDS are significantly more vulnerable to catching tuberculosis.

Zambia: Malaria deaths down by 66% – WHO


The World Health Organizat ion (WHO) has announced that Zambia had achieved a major reduction in malaria mortality through accelerated malaria control activities, joining several other African countries in the crusade to eradicate the disease. Malaria deaths reported from health facilities have declined by 66% in Zambia and this result, along with other data, indicates that Zambia has reached the 2010 Roll Back Malaria target of more than 50% reduction in malaria mortality compared to 2000, said WHO.

Zambia: Sanitation backlog to blame for high child mortality


Dehydration caused by severe diarrhoea is a key cause of infant deaths in Zambia, a country with one of the highest child morality rates in the world, according to a new report by Zambia’s health department. This will not change until government makes a major effort to improve access to clean water and sanitation throughout the country, health experts say.


Guinea Bissau: Teachers' strike continues


The strike by teachers of the four main senior high schools in Bissau entered day four on Thursday, sources close to the Education Ministry told PANA. A similar strike on 19-20 March, observed by 95 per cent of teachers all over the nation, had earlier disrupted the school calendar. "Classes only began in January and have been interrupted by several strike actions of teachers. We have not learnt anything this year. It is better government cancels this school year,” Mr. Pansao Blaté, a final year student of the Agostinho Neto Senior High School, said.

West Africa: Combatting world's lowest literacy rates


Illiteracy rates in West Africa are the highest in the world, cramping development and weakening citizens’ power to effect socio-economic and political change, say education agencies, who are calling on governments and donors to step up literacy and education efforts. Sixty-five million West African adults – 40 percent of the adult population – cannot read or write according to a new study, 'From closed books to open doors – West Africa's literacy challenge'.


Kenya: Call for submissions - Writing Queer Kenya


We lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex individuals, in a word, queers, have had the distinct un-pleasure of being told we don't exist—in official government statements, historical documents, and contemporary statements. Well, we do. We want Kenyan stories by Kenya-based and Kenya-born queers. About everything. We want writing about the dailyness of our lives, the good, the bad, the weird, the indifferent.

Kenya: Gays demand protection after attack


The gay community in Kenya is demanding justice, protection and that government takes into serious account, increasing threats and attacks of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) people in that country. This comes come after a brutal attack of a lesbian in one of Nairobi’s prominent nightclubs, Madhouse, by a woman unknown to the victim, violence which the country’s gay community says was clearly motivated by homophobia.

Senegal: Government frees HIV workers imprisoned for being gay


The court of appeal in Senegal has freed nine gay men imprisoned in January 2009 for “acts against nature and the creation of a criminal organisation.” An international outcry followed the convictions of the men, who were members of an HIV prevention organisation. They were arrested at the home of an HIV outreach worker near the Senegalese capital Dakar in December 2008. Condoms and lubricant were confiscated by the police as evidence of “improper and unnatural acts.”

South Africa: Queer muslims to tackle Shariah on sexiual minorities


Queer Muslims can expect much more than just spiritual upliftment during The Inner Circle (TIC)’s Annual International Retreat starting on 24 - 27 April in Cape Town, they are in for educational empowerment and recreation too. The impact of the Shariah on gender and sexual minorities in Africa is this year’s theme which, according TIC, was inspired by a rise in queer related incidences in Africa such as the fact that homosexuality is illegal and carries a death sentence in 12 Northern states that impose the Shariah Law.


Global: World Bank climate investment funds undermine climate and gender justice


Climate change is widely considered to be one of the gravest threats to the sustainability of the planet's environment, the well-being of its people and the strength of its economies. Mainstream scientists agree that the Earth's climate is changing from the build-up of greenhouse gases (GHGs), such as carbon dioxide, that result from such essential human activities as electricity generation, transportation and agriculture.

Global: World's major rivers drying up


Some of the developing world's largest rivers are drying up because of climate change, threatening water supplies in some of the most populous places on Earth, say scientists. Researchers from the US-based National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) analysed data combined with computer models to assess flow in 925 rivers — nearly three quarters of the world's running water supply — between 1948 and 2004.

Senegal: Can "green charcoal" help save the trees?


An environmental NGO in northern Senegal is about to go to market with “green charcoal” – a household fuel produced from agricultural waste materials to replace wood and charcoal in cooking stoves. Given that Senegal’s trees are disappearing, finding viable alternatives is a must, a Ministry of Energy official says. At least half of Senegal’s 13 million people rely on wood and charcoal for household fuel, while 40 percent relying on petrol products like butane gas, the ministry says.

Senegal: Dakar to host regional workshop on environment


A three-day regional workshop aimed at strengthening the competences of executives in the fields of environmental communication, advocacy and leadership opens in Dakar on Monday. The workshop to be held under the auspices, Enda-LEAD Afrique, an NGO, is to train "ambassadors" to improve their exchanges with staff of various ministries about the importance of sustainable management of the environment and natural resources for economic and social development, and the importance of the integration of links between poverty and the environment.

Food Justice

Global: Food prices remain high in developing countries


High food prices persist in developing countries despite an improved global cereal supply situation and a sharp decline in international food prices, FAO has warned in its latest Crop Prospects and Food Situation report. This is creating further hardship for millions of poor people already suffering from hunger and undernourishment.

Morocco: Public in outcry over soaring prices of food


The cost of vegetables, fish, and white meat continues to rise in Morocco. With inflation starting to bite, citizens see the price spike as incomprehensible and exorbitant. The price of some items has almost doubled within one month. These include chicken and sardines, which are very popular with Moroccans. The market price of chicken and sardines has risen from 14 and 10 dirhams respectively at the beginning of March, to 20 and 19 dirhams respectively.

Media & freedom of expression

Algeria: Bouteflika urged to reverse Algerian press freedom abuses


Many Algerian journalists and human rights lawyers recently told CPJ that the siege on independent journalism has gradually intensified over these past three years and that your government seemed increasingly inclined to use harsh measures to silence and punish critical journalists.

Gambia: ECOWAS asked to intervene on the missing journalist case


Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has pleaded with the President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to meditate with the Gambian authorities in a case of a missing journalist, Ebrima Manneh since 2006. According to a letter from RSF addressed to Dr Mohamed Chambas, the president of ECOWAS, the president’s involvement will convince the Gambian leadership to shed light on the whereabouts of the missing journalist.

Gambia: Police disrupt radio show, briefly detain two journalists


On 16 April 2009, Moses Ndene and Kebba Yorro Manneh, two sports journalists of privately-owned FM station City Limit Radio, were arrested and briefly detained by the Gambian police for allegedly criticising the administration of sports in the country.

Libya: Gaddafi launches legal action against three newspapers


The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) has described the complaints made by the Libyan Embassy in Rabat against three Moroccan newspapers - namely, "Al-Masaa", "Al-Garida Al-Oula" and "Moroccan Events" - as a threat to freedom of expression and the press in Morocco which must be confronted.

Swaziland: Senators threaten to charge local media with contempt of Parliament


Senators in the Swaziland Parliament have threatened to charge the local media with contempt of Parliament following stories about an altercation between the Senate President and a Senator.

Zimbabwe: Journalists blast government media stakeholders’ conference


The Media Alliance of Zimbabwe, comprising the Zimbabwe National Editors Forum, Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe, MISA Zimbabwe and the Africa Community Publishing Development Trust, has heavily criticised a proposed government media stakeholders’ conference which is littered with anti press freedom participants.

Conflict & emergencies

DRC: UN envoy told of revenge attacks


A recent deadly attack by Hutu rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has left five children dead and hundreds of homes burned to the ground, village leaders have told the head of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the DRC (MONUC).

Kenya: Crackdown after deaths


Kenya's president has vowed to punish the perpetrators of an outbreak of violence that left at least 29 people dead in a central town on Monday. Mwai Kibaki described the killings in Karatina as "heinous crimes" and "a matter of great concern" to Kenya.

Sudan: Darfur rebels sentenced to death


Eleven members of a Darfur rebel movement have been sentenced to death by a Sudanese court in relation to a 2008 attack on Khartoum. The court passed the ruling on the members of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) on Wednesday.

Internet & technology

Africa: Pan African e- Network: a model of “South- South cooperation”


This project deals with the Pan- African e- Network Project launched by the government of India on 26 February 2009 as a part of its ‘aid to Africa’ programme. This project connects the nodal centres in India with 53 nations of Africa through the use of electronic information and technology (ICT) and provides tele-medicine and tele-education to its African counterparts. The pilot project in Ethiopia launched in mid 2007 whereby connectivity between educational and medical centers of excellence in India and Ethiopia was launched has proved to be a success.

Cameroon: First telemedicine centre starts


The first ever telemedicine centre in Cameroon has gone operational. Known as Genesis Telecare, it was inaugurated in Yaounde by the Secretary General in the Ministry of Public Health, Professor Fru Angwafor III. Prof. Fru Angwafor III said the initiative is a major step towards reducing longstanding problems in the health sector. Telemedicine provides a timely remedy to the numerous difficulties encountered by medical practitioners and patients, he noted.

Courses, seminars, & workshops

Africa: Women's Peacemakers Program


Made possible through a generous grant from the Fred J. Hansen Foundation, the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice's (IPJ) Women PeaceMakers Program invites four women from around the world who have been locally involved in human rights and peacemaking efforts. Women accepted into this program are seeking ways to further their peacemaking efforts in their home countries.

Global: African Women’s Peace and Security Fellowships


The Conflict, Security and Development Group (CSDG) at King’s College London together with the Africa Leadership Centre (ALC), is pleased to announce a call for applications for the Peace and Security Fellowships for African Women for 2009/2010. These Fellowships1 are intellectual and financial awards for personal, professional and academic achievements, as well as the recognition of future potential.

Nigeria: CEPACS/DAAD Scholarship


The Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CEPACS), University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria, invites applications from international students into its M Sc Programme in Humanitarian and Refugee Studies for the 2009/2010 academic session.

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