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How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

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Back Issues

Pambazuka News 456: Counterterrorism's blindness: Mali and the USA

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

Pambazuka News (English edition): ISSN 1753-6839

CONTENTS: 1. Features, 2. Announcements, 3. Comment & analysis, 4. Advocacy & campaigns, 5. Obituaries, 6. Books & arts, 7. Letters & Opinions, 8. Emerging powers in Africa Watch, 9. Highlights French edition, 10. Zimbabwe update, 11. Women & gender, 12. Human rights, 13. Refugees & forced migration, 14. Social movements, 15. Africa labour news, 16. Emerging powers news, 17. Elections & governance, 18. Corruption, 19. Development, 20. Health & HIV/AIDS, 21. Education, 22. LGBTI, 23. Environment, 24. Land & land rights, 25. Food Justice, 26. Media & freedom of expression, 27. Conflict & emergencies, 28. Internet & technology, 29. Fundraising & useful resources, 30. Publications

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

Highlights from this issue

- Vijay Prashad warns that US counterterrorism efforts in Mali could create another Guinea
- Yash Tandon on the Palestine-Israel question
- Khadjia Sharife on carbon trading and the colonisation of the atmospheric commons
- Joan Baxter says agribusiness in Africa is putting profits before people
+ more

- Do Kenyans kiss asks Storymoja
- Sabella Abidde on why every Nigerian wants a title
+ more

- Pambazuka News is looking for an indexer

- Camara is a canker on Africa's collective conscience

- Kenyan youth alliance spokesperson shot dead
- Climate Justice Now! South Africa calls for solidarity
- Kenya grassroots message to welcome ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-OcampoANNOUNCEMENTS: Indexer/Cataloguer wanted for award-winning African social justice website
ZIMBABWE UPDATE: Tsvangirai calls off unity government boycott
WOMEN & GENDER: Water key to reducing maternal mortality
CONFLICT AND EMERGENCIES: How France fueled Angola’s civil war
HUMAN RIGHTS: African debt crisis: A human rights perspective
AFRICA LABOUR NEWS: Africa labour news roundup
REFUGEES AND FORCED MIGRATION: Flooding deluges Somali refugees
SOCIAL MOVEMENTS: Civil society presses for ICC support
EMERGING POWERS NEWS: Emerging powers news roundup
CORRUPTION: Decisive global meeting on corruption set for Doha
ELECTIONS AND GOVERNANCE: Malagasy leader walks out of talks
HEALTH & HIV/AIDS: South Africa overcomes mortality crisis
DEVELOPMENT: Efforts to achieve anti-poverty goals in peril
EDUCATION: Strike shuts Morocco’s public schools
LGBTI: Lutheran council shuns homosexuality
ENVIRONMENT: Court freezes Cote d’Ivoire Trafigura compensation
LAND & LAND RIGHTS: Global protocol could limit sub-Saharan land grab
FOOD JUSTICE: Agencies renew effort to fight hunger
MEDIA AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION: South Africa’s legislation ‘undermines free expression
INTERNET& TECHNOLOGY: The Internet goes multilingual
PUBLICATIONS: African Journals Online
PLUS: jobs, fundraising & useful resources, courses, seminars and workshops

*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


Counterterrorism's blindness: Mali and the US

Vijay Prashad


cc US Army
With the US intent on continuing its funding for counterterrorism efforts against 'al-Qaeda' in Mali, Vijay Prashad argues that blindly channelling funds to the Malian military might well lead to the country going 'the way of Guinea'. Washington's focus is entirely on counterterrorism efforts, Prashad stresses, with the military support on offer to Mali dwarfing that available for development while enabling former military general and current President Amadou Toumani Touré to consolidate his power.

The Palestine–Israel question

Yash Tandon


Pambazuka Press is pleased to announce the release of Yash Tandon's new book 'Development and Globalisation: Daring to Think Differently'. The book is available for only £7.95 from the Pambazuka Press website until Thursday 19 November, a saving of 20% on the recommended retail price of £9.95. The following article comprises an editorial from 16 January 2009 and was written while Tandon was the executive director of the South Centre.

Carbon trading: Colonising the atmospheric commons

Khadija Sharife


cc N E
Despite cheap available solar and wind options, the World Bank’s portfolio of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects in Africa focuses on hydropower, methane-capture and other toxic investments, Khadija Sharife writes in Pambazuka News. Unpicking the links between energy, investment and ecological degradation across the continent, Sharife argues that rather than leading to real reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide, offsetting simply allows industrialised nations to ‘utilise Africa’s “underdeveloped” status as yet another exploitable resource'.

Profits before people: The great African liquidation sale

Joan Baxter


cc Lukas
The fervour with which foreign commercial interests are forcing their agricultural 'solutions' on the African continent represents nothing more than an established endeavour to protect profits and access to resources, writes Joan Baxter. For all that they are dressed up as 'help' and 'knowledge', these ostensible solutions are about one thing: Money. So long as powerful initiatives like the Green Revolution and agribusinesses are able to trample on the continent's sovereignty, Baxter argues, Africa's land, traditional knowledge, biodiversity, seeds and crop varieties will remain in liquidation.

Famine and the noisome beast in Ethiopia

Alemayehu G. Mariam


cc Oxfam
While Ethiopia endures a devastating famine, Meles Zenawi's regime has been 'downplaying and double-talking' around the crisis, writes Alemayehu G. Mariam. Despite confident assertions of its ability to work towards tackling food shortages through its Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Agency, the regime remains painfully incapable of developing a system to protect its population, the author stresses.

Power cuts and powerlessness: Tanzanians' plight during energy crises

Chambi Chachage


In the face of repeated difficulties around the supply of energy in Tanzania, Chambi Chachage writes that problems around power are as much about powerlessness as they are about a power crisis. If power cuts essentially mean the majority of Tanzanians remain a powerless people, it is time for power – energy and political – to be more fairly distributed, the author concludes.

Refugee refoulement in the East African Community

Lawrence Carter


cc J Harneis
Highlighting the plight of Rwandan refugees in Uganda following a UNHCR announcement that they will lose their refugee status by 2011, Lawrence Carter writes in Pambazuka News that the ‘pervasive practice of coercion and forced return of refugees within the East African Community requires urgent attention’. Rwanda may be ‘stable’, argues Carter, but this ‘does not detract from the fact that many Rwandan refugees possess legitimate concerns over their safety and ability to live a peaceful and dignified life if they were to return’.

Mwalimu Nyerere’s non-alignment still needed today

Issa G Shivji


© udadisi.blogspot
Looking to Mwalimu Julius Nyerere's understanding for guidance, Issa G. Shivji stresses the contemporary importance of non-alignment for Tanzania and African countries at large. In the face of a multi-polar world where power is progressively drifting eastwards, Africa must revitalise its erstwhile spirit of national liberation and autonomy, Shivji argues.

South Africa's success is about ‘we’, not ‘me’

William Gumede


cc Biella
Unless post-independence South Africa sees success as ‘lifting the widest number of the black majority out of poverty, in the shortest time', it will fail as a country, William Gumede writes in Pambazuka News. And it ‘will join the club of developing countries that just muddle along, with a small political and economic elite in charge, and a poor majority trapped in poverty, from which a small numbers occasionally join the ranks of the rich'.

The RDP to challenge Swapo?: Namibia's elections

Henning Melber


cc Wikimedia
As Namibia approaches its parliamentary and presidential elections at the end of November, Henning Melber assesses the country's political landscape. Through comparison with the evolution of support for South Africa's African National Congress (ANC) in the post-apartheid period, Melber considers the ability of the opposition Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) to chip away at some of the longstanding support for liberation-era party Swapo (South West Africa People's Organization).

Zimbabwe: Healing, reconciliation and reconstruction

Recent symposium explores way forward

Wazir Mohamed and Esau Mavindidze


cc Wikimedia
Wazir Mohamed and Esau Mavindidze report on a recent symposium aimed at creating a space for Zimbabweans to discuss the present and future of the country. Bringing together representatives of government, civil society, human rights groups, scholars and Zimbabweans in the diaspora, the symposium – hosted by Syracuse University’s Africa Initiative and the Newhouse School of Public Communications – provided ‘a rare avenue’ to ‘assess the progress, status, challenges and opportunities for lasting peace, healing and reconstruction for the people of Zimbabwe’.

The race for Zimbabwe’s resources

Udo W. Froese


cc Sokwanele
‘Greedy colonial-racist interests’ are ‘the common historic cause for Africa’s woes’, including those of Zimbabwe, Udo W. Froese writes in this week’s Pambazuka News. The ‘Rhodesian lobby’ has 'to date worked hard at destabilising and isolating Zimbabwe' in order to retain its 'interests in agriculture, mining and resources', Froese argues. The Movement for Democratic Change’s links to this lobby and to the West, Froese suggests, make the party a ‘non-starter’. ‘SADC heads-of-state would find it difficult to support an old colonial, race-based order, where their kith-and-kin have no access to land and the wealth of their land,’ writes Froese.


Wanted: Indexer/cataloguer for award-winning African social justice website


Pambazuka News ( is an award-winning social justice e-newsletter and website that is produced by a community of some 1800 commentators, bloggers, activists and academics. It is published by Fahamu (, an Oxford-based charity.

In order to improve the usability of the site’s online database of 55,000 records, which has been built up over the last ten years, we are seeking an experienced indexer whose task will be to assign keywords using an established cataloguing system (e.g. such as used by the Library of Congress) and to develop a thesaurus of key words for classifying new articles as they are added to the database. The person would also be required to provide similar services for the growing list of books published by Pambazuka Press ( The person would also be expected to train and work alongside volunteers/interns.

The post would ideally be full-time for the first three months, and part-time thereafter. Remuneration according to experience. Closing date for applications: 1 December 2009.

Applications in writing with CV and references to [email protected]

Fahamu Trust is a registered UK charity (no. 1100304).
2nd floor, 51 Cornmarket St, Oxford OX1 3HA

Comment & analysis

Do Kenyans kiss?

An afternoon of candid conversation

Phanice Shamalla


cc C Nordahl
In this week’s Pambazuka News, Phanice Shamalia reports on ‘Sexually Speaking’, a lively discussion among 30 Kenyan women hosted by Storymoja as part of its monthly Women in Leadership forum. After ‘an afternoon of candid conversation’ on how various issues of our lives affect our sexuality’, Shamalia writes, participants concluded that it ‘is possible to have a healthier sex life, a confident sex life, and an educated sex life. One step is by attending sessions such as this one, with informed, opinionated women who are willing to share their knowledge.’

Titles and the politics of identity in Nigeria

Sabella Ogbobode Abidde


cc OziAfricana
In this week’s Pambazuka News, Sabella Ogbobode Abidde discovers why titles matter in the Nigerian context, where not properly addressing ‘certain people with their earned, dashed, or forged title, could get one into trouble’. ‘Some Nigerians, it seems, do not like to be ordinary people,’ Abidde writes, ‘They have to be somebody. They have to be important, a very, very important person – whether or not they add value to the community they live in.’

Kenya is fated to federalism

Samuel Abonyo


cc Wikimedia
In light of the Kenyan ruling class's clear vested interest in autocracy, Samuel Abonyo makes the case for a federalist system of government to achieve better representation and prosperity for all across the country.

President Museveni, patronage only perpetuates corruption

Vincent Nuwagaba


cc Muffet
With Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni reportedly overseeing donations to former MPs, Vincent Nuwagaba decries 'the worst form of corruption'.

Advocacy & campaigns

Civil Society message to CHOGM 2009

Roundtable Consultation on Partnering for Human Rights in the Commonwealth


Civil Society Organisations from across the Commonwealth and beyond meeting in London on 13 October 2009 have issued a strong message to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2009 regarding their obligation to protect and uphold human rights and fundamental freedoms, as enshrined in the 1971 Declaration of Commonwealth Principles and other subsequent Commonwealth communiqués and declarations.

Kenya grassroots message to welcome Mr. Ocampo!

Bunge la Mwananchi


On November 2, 2009, grassroots leaders drawn from the countrywide networks of Bunge la Mwananchi met and formulated a position on the debate of holding to account post election violence (PEV) perpetrators in Kenya on the eve of ICC sepcial prosecutor Ocampo's visit.

Kenya Youth Alliance spokesperson shot dead


The spokesman of Kenya Youth Alliance, Njuguna Gitau, has been shot dead. Mr Gitau was shot in the head on Nairobi's Luthuli Avenue, according to witnesses at the scene. They said he had been walking on the street with four men when an argument broke out. Two of them drew pistols and shot him before the attackers fled the scene.

Launch of Climate Justice Now! South Africa and solidarity call

Climate Justice Now!


CJN!SA and CJN! have united in calling all people to raise the voices of the global South, defend the rights of people and nature, and strengthen solidarity in the fight for climate justice.

Press Statement on Ocampo

Kenyans for Justice and Development


Kenyans for Justice and Development welcome ICC Prosecutor Louis Moreno Ocampo’s intervention towards helping Kenyans find justice for the chaos of early 2008. The ICC’s intervention is a major step towards holding criminally accountable all those who masterminded and executed the 2007/2008 pre and post election mayhem.


Comrade Ronnie Press

The South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU)


The South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU) pays humble tribute to Comrade Ronnie Press, one of the Movements great heroes, one of whom may not always be spoken of, but one whose contribution to the National Liberation of South Africa, the working class and the international Communist and trade union movement will be a shining example for generations to come. He was by nature and profession a teacher one who imparted his brilliant intellect and scientific knowledge amongst the working class and student community as a whole.

Books & arts

Book release: 'The Poverty of Ideas: South African Democracy and the Retreat of Intellectuals', edited by William Gumede and Leslie Dikeni


Edited by William Gumede and Leslie Dikeni, 'The Poverty of Ideas: South African Democracy and the Retreat of Intellectuals' is now available from Jacana Media.

Letters & Opinions

Action needed on Gambian president's remarks

Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative


In an open letter to Kamalesh Sharma, the Commonwealth secretary-general, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative laments the lack of response from the Commonwealth in relation to Gambian President Yahya Jammeh's troubling remarks about human rights defenders in his country.

Camara: A canker on Africa’s conscience

An open letter to the president of Guinea


‘I write as a fellow African to take a stand with the people of Guinea and to let you know that Guinea and Africa as a whole are better off without you in power', Mawuli Dake says in an open letter to Guinea’s President Camara. Referring to the events of 28 September, Dake writes that the ‘horrendous massacre and flagrant abuse of human rights’ by men under Camara’s command, combined with the president’s ‘lamentable attempt to absolve’ himself of any responsibility by asserting that he ‘cannot control the security forces and their actions’, clearly make him ‘incapable and disinclined to remain in power as leader of Guinea'.

Praise for 'The plight of Eritrea's boat people'

Nunu Kidane


The plight of Eritrea's boat people by Yohannes Woldemariam is one of the best written analysis I have read on this matter in a long time. Good points on the policies of the Eritrean government that are driving hundreds and thousands out of their country, the role of EU's migration policy and the overall responsibility of the global community. Thank you.

P.S. I happened to be visiting Italy, in Sicily at the time of this and you can read more of the findings of my organisation from

Secrets of the Ethiopian Streets 'a powerful poem'



Secrets of the Ethiopian Streets could have aptly been renamed 'Secrets of the African Streets'; especially after having watched CNN's presentation of Joburg's 'prostitutes' in light of the forthcoming World Cup. It is a powerful poem and congratulations in order. What is probably lacking in the general discourse is how state failure leads to such cultural decadence.

Wowed by 'Dispelling Africa's myths about albinism'

Miriam Ogutu


Wow, I have gone through 'Dispelling Africa's myths about albinism' and am deeply touched and also disgusted by persons who even after having knowledge on albinism still act like they need more education on it, while the government is giving support, mere talk isn't as important we need to see action, and measures being taken to protect all the persons with albinsm in Kenya. We are right behind such moves, that work to improve the quality of lives of persons with albinism.

Emerging powers in Africa Watch

FOCAC 2009: A new impetus for Sino-African relations?

Hayley Herman


The spotlight will fall on Sharm El’ Shaik, Egypt in November 2009 as the next chapter in Sino-African relations is forged at the occasion of the fourth Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). It will see representatives from African and Chinese governments converge at an ominous time as the world continues to grapple with a financial crisis. Hayley Herman previews the key issues under discussion.

Indian and Chinese investment in Africa

From ‘no alternative’ to ‘many alternatives’

Renu Modi and Seema Shekhawat


While in the 1980s, the IMF and the World Bank appeared to be the only major source of funding for African development, Chinese and Indian interest in the continent’s more recently discovered mineral and oil resources have opened up alternative offers of investment. In this week’s Pambazuka News, Renu Modi and Seema consider the benefits new players China and India bring to Africa.

Plans advanced for FOCAC conference

Stephen Marks


In the final week before the fourth ministerial FOCAC meeting in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, on November 8 and 9, China has been intensifying its effort to put across the‘win-win’ view of its African engagement, with a barrage of new announcements, trailers of the new measures to be unveiled at the summit, and facts and figures to rebut the most common criticisms and fears. Stephen Marks reviews preparations in the run-up to the meeting.

Scramble for Africa: Brazil gaining on China

Ed Cropley


China is leading the pack in the 21st century ’scramble for Africa’ but anybody who thinks Beijing has the continent sewn up need only glance at the passport of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, writes Ed Cropley.

Trade falling between China and Macau Forum countries

Lucy Corkin


With trade between China and the Portuguese-speaking Macau Forum countries falling in the wake of the global economic downturn, Lucy Corkin discusses Macau's efforts to 'leverage its position more aggressively to promote trade and investment between China and the Portuguese-speaking countries'.

Highlights French edition

Pambazuka News 121: Nyerere, dix ans après


Zimbabwe update

Tsvangirai calls off unity government boycott


Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Thursday said he had called off a boycott of power-sharing ties with President Robert Mugabe that had paralysed the fragile unity government for three weeks. His announcement comes after a Southern African leaders' emergency summit aimed at ending the power-sharing deal impasse in the country.

Update on arrested ZESN staff


The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) staff member Thulani Ndhlovu who was arrested on Wednesday 28 October in Dete, Hwange has been granted bail out of custody by Magistrate Ms I. Munamati Madzorere. Madzorere ordered Thulani to pay $200 bail and report twice every week (Monday and Friday) at Bulawayo Central police station.

Women & gender

Africa: "Africa Rising" - New film on FGM


Equality Now, a New Field partner, is releasing a new film about female genital mutilation (FGM) entitled “Africa Rising.” The film is showing this week in New York, San Francisco, and Boston, USA. The film is not currently available for sale, but a trailer can be immediately viewed online.

Africa: Africans urged to fight obstetrical fistula


The reproductive health expert of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Fanding Badji has called on African governments to show more political will in the fight against obstetrical fistula in Sub-Sahara Africa.

Global: Water key to reducing maternal mortality


Improving water quality and access can help lower maternal mortality rates, say advocates. Now a new fellowship program is being launched to explore various solutions to the maternal health problem in the world's poorest nations.

Global: Why is violence against women on the increase?


In the 21st century it may seem ludricrous to even consider the possibility of an increase in violence against women. The fact that we have come so far in terms of creating really good legislation, has not necessarily resulted in the scale of impact envisaged. In most countries, on any given day newspaper headlines alerts us to the reality that women still face attacks on their bodies on a daily basis.

Human rights

Africa: African debt crisis: a human rights perspective


This article explores how globalisation is challenging activist groups that use a human rights framework that has traditionally been used to hold national governments accountable for human rights violations.

DRC: ICC trial of former leader to start next April


The International Criminal Court (ICC) has announced that the trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, a former senior official of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) who has been charged with war crimes, will begin in April 2010. Mr. Bemba, the former Congolese Vice President, faces charges for alleged crimes committed in the Central African Republic (CAR) between October 2002 and March 2003, including rape, murder and pillaging.

Kenya: ICC to investigate violence


The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor says he will request ICC judges to open an investigation into Kenya's post-election violence. Luis Moreno-Ocampo made the comments after meeting Kenya's president and prime minister, who said they would co-operate with the ICC probe.

North Africa: Slavery still persists in Mauritania


Despite strong efforts by the toppled democratic government of Mauritania, slavery has yet to be rooted out in the country, a UN report documents. Under the new government, little progress is made to fight slavery.

Sierra Leone: Fury at 'forced adoption'


A group of parents in Sierra Leone has accused a charity of sending more than 30 children abroad for adoption without consent during the country's civil war. The parents say they have no idea what happened to their children after they were handed over to Help a Needy Child International (Hanci).

Sudan: UN hails successful rescue of abducted children in South Sudan


The UN Deputy Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Southern Sudan, Lise Grande, has welcomed the first-ever rescue, by the Southern Sudan Police Service, of 28 abducted children in Pibor County, Jonglei State. The children, aged between 2 and 14 years, were released on late last month.

Tanzania: Court convicts albino killers


A Tanzanian court has sentenced four men to death by hanging for the murder of a 50-year-old albino man. Local media late on Monday reported the case, which brings to seven the number of people sentenced for murdering albinos following the first conviction of three people in September.

Refugees & forced migration

DRC: UN refugee agency rushing aid to expelled Angolans


The United Nations refugee agency has rushed relief items to help tens of thousands of Angolans expelled from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) last month. A Boeing 747 jet from Johannesburg, South Africa, touched down in Angola’s capital, Luanda, over the weekend carrying thousands of tents, sleeping mats and blankets, as well as a prefabricated warehouse.

Kenya: Flooding deluges Somali refugees


A camp housing thousands of mainly Somali refugees in north-eastern Kenya has been completely flooded following almost three weeks of constant rain. Reports indicate that the main road into the area has been cut off by flooding.

Libya: IOM expresses concern over stranded immigrants


The Head of the country office of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Libya, Laurence Hart, has declared that the issue of migrants stranded in the North African country on their way to Europe was "seriously" worrying the organisation.

Social movements

Africa: Civil society presses states for ICC support


A network of African civil society and international organizations today called upon African Union (AU) states to use the AU's upcoming session about the International Criminal Court (ICC) to promote the court's ability to prosecute the world's worst crimes fairly and effectively.

Africa labour news

Africa labour news roundup, 3 November 2009


In this week’s labour news from the African continent and beyond [mp3] In this week’s labour news roundup, tens of thousands of Nigerian citizens protest over the government’s plan to deregulate the downstream oil sector, five Zimbabwean farm workers have been shot and injured with rubber bullets on a farm in the Chinhoyi area, and a South African mineworker is killed. This bulletin is part of a partnership between Worker’s World Media Productions and Pambazuka News that seeks to highlight labour issues affecting Africa’s workers.

Emerging powers news

Emerging powers news roundup

Stephen Marks


In this week's emerging powers news roundup, Chinese investment outstrips the ability of state-run banks to provide low-interest finance, Africa leads the way on climate change, and China faces allegations of hoarding rare earths and precious metals.

Elections & governance

Madagascar: AU Chair charges political leaders over crisis


AU Chairperson Jean Ping Tuesday called on the four Malagasy political leaders here to put the interest of the people before every agenda of their crisis talks to resolve the political crisis in the country.

Madagascar: Rajoelina walks out of power-sharing talks


Madagascar's leader stormed out of internationally mediated power-sharing talks in the early hours of Friday, threatening to derail attempts to form a national unity government and end months of turmoil. Andry Rajoelina, who seized power in a March coup, insisted his leadership of the Indian Ocean island, increasingly eyed by investors for its oil and minerals, was not up for negotiation.

Mozambique: Elections: EISA & SADC join chorus of critics

Mozambique political process bulletin


EISA, the Electoral Institute for Southern Africa, has added to the criticism of Mozambique's National Elections Commission (CNE) . The problem started with the selection of civil society CNE members. “The transparency in the selection of CSO [civil society] representatives was questionable, thereby casting doubt over the integrity, impartiality and independence of the CNE”

Sudan: Poor start to Southern voter registration


Sudan has started registering voters for presidential, legislative and regional elections, but officials in the south and international observers say the process has begun on a flawed note.

West Africa: Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire call for peaceful vote


West African neighbours, Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, have called for national reconciliation in Cote d'Ivoire to ensure a peaceful vote to climax peace efforts in the country that was torn apart by civil war about a decade ago. They have also expressed appreciation about arrangements towards the forthcoming elections which Ivorian Preident Laurent Gbagbo said would take place in December 2009 or January 2010.


Global: 141 governments for decisive meeting on corruption


As a key United Nations meeting approaches involving 141 countries, governments are deadlocked about meaningful monitoring of their compliance with the United Nations Anti-Corruption Convention. The meeting will be held in Doha, Qatar on 9-13 November. Decisions made or avoided there could mark a turning point – for better or worse – in global efforts to curb corruption and its destructive impact on millions of people.

Kenya: Attorney General confirms his US ban


Kenyan Attorney General Amos Wako confirmed Wednesday November 4th 2009 that he is banned from travelling to the United States and announced his intention to sue for defamation.

Nigeria: Ruling party backs corruption conviction of top member


Seeking to minimise the perceived damage done to it by the recent conviction of one of its top members, Bode George, Nigeria's ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has endorsed the conviction. George, a former deputy national chairman of the PDP, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years imprisonment, along with five others, last week for a contract scam while he served as the chairman of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).


Africa: 'Pick up your money with your groceries'


Of the many proposals on how to combat poverty in Africa, the United Nations' International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is championing what must be one of the simplest - make it cheaper and easier for migrants to send money home.

Africa: Efforts to achieve anti-poverty goals in peril


Africa’s efforts to meet the global anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by their 2015 deadline are threatened by the impact of the global financial crisis on the continent’s economies, said Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro.

Namibia: EU's trade stance 'very regrettable', says Pohamba


Namibia President Hifikepunye Pohamba, earlier this week likened the European Union's trade negotiations with Namibia to the days of apartheid, saying the powerhouse is refusing to treat the country as an equal and listen to its concerns about the controversial economic partnership agreement (EPA).

Zimbabwe: The social impact of diamonds extraction in Chiadzwa, Marange


There have been many reports in recent times on diamond extraction and trade in Marange from national, regional and international organisations. Most of these reports have focussed on the role of government in trying to halt the illegal extraction, on networks of powerful political figures that control the trade, and on the impact on the economy of the country and compliance with the Kimberley Process.

Health & HIV/AIDS

Mauritania: Don’t abandon us, HIV-positive community tells donors


People living with HIV in Mauritania are voicing their concerns about the suspension of HIV/AIDS funding by the World Bank and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. They feel powerless in the face of the decisions, of which they are suffering the consequences.

South Africa: Mortality crisis overcome


Mortality rates, which have been increasing in South Africa since the 1990s, are on their way back down, reflecting a downturn of the AIDS epidemic and signalling longer lifespans for South Africans, statistics published today reveal.

Southern Africa: Funding retreat a threat to AIDS achievements - MSF


A retreat from international funding commitments for AIDS threatens to undermine the dramatic gains made in reducing AIDS-related illness and death in recent years, according to a new report by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).The MSF report highlights how expanding access to HIV treatment has not only saved the lives of people with AIDS but has been central to reducing overall mortality in a number of high HIV burden countries in southern Africa in recent years.

Sudan: Violence masks huge health needs - WHO


Three quarters of people in South Sudan have no access to medical care, and 10 percent of children there and in Darfur die before their first birthday, a World Health Organisation (WHO) official has said.

Uganda: Bill threatens progress on HIV/AIDS


A proposed Ugandan law on HIV/AIDS promotes dangerous and discredited approaches to the AIDS epidemic and would violate human rights, a group of more than 50 Ugandan and international organizations and individuals said in a report released today. The HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Bill could be taken up by Uganda's parliament shortly.

Uganda: Counterfeits Bill threatens access to medicine


Uganda is considering an anti-counterfeit bill which analysts say will impair the country’s ability to import and export cheap but effective generic medicines. Activists fear that the bill, once enacted, will deny Ugandans access to safe, effective, quality and affordable generic medication which currently forms the bulk of Uganda’s medicine imports.

West Africa: Dengue epidemic paralyses Cape Verde


A first-ever outbreak of dengue fever in Cape Verde, already causing four deaths and infecting 9,000 persons, has caused panic on the archipelago. Tomorrow, everybody is urged to kill mosquitoes instead of going to work, and both the police and army are sent out to root out the disease.


Morocco: Strike shuts public schools


Four Moroccan teachers' unions paralysed public schools nationwide on Thursday (October 29th) by striking to protest problems that include shortages of instructors and overcrowded classrooms. The unions are also protesting poor infrastructure and changes in the promotions process.


Cameroon: LGBTI activist detained without charge


Cameroonian LGBTI activist and Deputy President of the Association pour la Défense de l’Homosexualité (ADEFHO), Sébastien Mandeng was allegedly a victim of homophobic slurs and discrimination in the hands of Douala police station officials on Saturday 31 October, following an altercation with a taxi driver.

Global: Lutheran council shuns homosexuality


The International Lutheran Council (ILC) a world wide association of Lutheran churches has unanimously adopted a statement against homosexuality at the recent international gathering held in Seoul, Japan 26-31 August. Themed “In Christ: Living Life to the full” and held in Seoul, Japan, 26-31 August, the conference was organised with the aim to confront the homosexual debate which according to the council has divided and brought bewilderment within various congregations including the Lutheran Church.

Kenya: Two arrested on bogus charges


Two Kenyan lesbians have been released on bail after being allegedly arrested for lesbianism, and later being charged with stealing, an offence which the women refuted suggesting it was blackmail. According to the co-ordinator from the Solidarity with Communities in Distress (SOLCODI) Program which advocates for the gay and lesbian community, the women are being blackmailed because they are lesbians.

Uganda: The implications of the anti-homosexuality bill


On 14 October 2009 a bill entitled the 'Anti-Homosexuality Bill' was tabled before the Ugandan parliament titled the . The bill is aimed at increasing and expanding penalties for 'homosexual acts' and for all institutions (including NGOs, donors and private companies) who defend the rights of people who engage in sexual relations with people of the same gender.


Africa: Climate change and mining in southern Madagascar


A new online collection of testimonies reveal that while communities in Anosy, southern Madagascar have been living with the challenges of increasing drought for some time, it is the impact of an ilmenite mining operation that has exacerbated their feelings of powerlessness and fears for the future.

Cote d'Ivoire: Court freezes Trafigura compensation


Nearly 30,000 victims of toxic dumping in the Ivory Coast may be deprived of £30m compensation after an African court froze the bank accounts into which the money has been paid. British lawyers for the victims are concerned that the legal action is the first step in the expropriation of the funds, released to the claimants this year by Trafigura, a London-based international oil trading company.

East Africa: Snows of Kilimanjaro could melt in 20 years


The snows of Mount Kilimanjaro – the highest mountain in Africa – may soon be falling on bare ground following a study showing that its ice cap is destined to disappear entirely within 20 years, due largely to climate change. The vast ice fields of Kilimanjaro in Tanzania are melting at a faster pace than at any time over the past 100 years and at this rate they will be gone completely within two decades or even earlier according to one of the world's leading glaciologists.

Gabon: Government to ban gas flaring, unprocessed log exports


Oil firms operating in Gabon will be banned from flaring gas in 2010, the government said in a statement. Exports of unprocessed timber will also be banned next year in an effort to increase employment by making logging companies mill and add value to wood locally, according to a statement issued after a cabinet meeting late on Thursday.

Nigeria: Shell ignites new gas flare at Gbarantoru


Shell’s commencement of a new gas flare at a time when the routine gas flaring has received global condemnation, and with the full knowledge that gas flaring is an illegal activity in Nigeria, is seen by the locals as an act of impunity and total disregard for their health. Gas flaring is a major contributor of global warming greenhouse gases. The commence this destructive activity a few weeks from the climate negotiations in Copenhagen indicates Shell’s disregard for the welfare of humanity and our climate.

Land & land rights

Africa: Ethiopia targets 3 million ha for commercial farms


Ethiopia plans to offer 3 million hectares of land over the next two years for investors to develop large-scale commercial farms, a government official has said. Countries in Asia and the Gulf — such as China, India and Saudi Arabia — have rushed to buy farmland abroad to grow crops for their own people after food price inflation last year highlighted the need for greater food security.

Africa: Global protocol could limit Sub-Saharan land grab


Aggressive moves by China, South Korea and Gulf states to buy vast tracts of agricultural land in sub-Saharan Africa could soon be limited by a new global international protocol. A scramble for African farmland has in recent years seen the equivalent of Italy’s entire arable land hoovered up by businesses from emerging economies.

Food Justice

Africa: Agencies renew effort to fight hunger


Rome-based UN agencies have resolved to work together to revamp the fight against hunger, PANA reported from here. The senior managers, drawn from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), International Food for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP), were led by among others, the FAO Director General Jacques Diouf.

Kenya: Government to launch pilot food subsidy project for urban poor


One hundred thousand poor people in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, will benefit from a Kshs. 600 million pilot programme to be undertaken b y the government and development partners to transfer cash to the vulnerable poor, the Prime Minister's Office has said in a statement.

Media & freedom of expression

Guinea: Soldier assaults TV newscaster in Conakry


Fana Soumah, a television newscaster with the state-owned Guinean Broadcasting Corporation, was violently assaulted by a soldier in Conakry, the Guinean capital, the sub-regional rights body, Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), said in a statement.

Morocco: Courts jail journalists, shut newspaper


Moroccan courts on Friday (October 30th) convicted two journalists of desecrating the national flag and failing to show proper respect for a member of the royal family. Editor Taoufik Bouachrine and caricaturist Khalid Gueddar were put on trial after the daily Akhbar al-Youm published a cartoon of Prince Moulay Ismail's wedding in its September 27th edition.

Rwanda: Journalist released from jail


Rwandan journalist, Amani Ntakandi of the bi-monthly Rus hyashya published in Kigali, has been released by the people's courts, 'Gacaca', of Mbazi in the south of the country, after serving a three-month sentence for "illegally" reporting on the proceedings of these courts.

South Africa: Legislation undermines free expression


Media professionals in South Africa say a possible new bill is in reality a form of censorship, obstructing journalists from doing their jobs, reports the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA). Meanwhile, the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) is concerned about another bill already signed into law that has introduced a system of pre-publication censorship.

South Africa: Remember the right to communicate?


"All shall call." This phrase was popularised by Pallo Jordan in the mid 1990's, and became a catchphrase of telecommunications transformation in South Africa. It echoed the idea espoused by Jordan at the Plenipotentiary meeting of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) that access to telecommunications was a right, not a privilege.

Togo: New law threatens freedom of expression


The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has denounced the vote on Friday October 30, 2009 by the National Assembly of a legislation reinforcing the powers of the High Authority of Audio-visual and Communication (HAAC) and which seriously threatens press freedom and freedom of expression in Togo.

Conflict & emergencies

Angola: How France fuelled Angola's civil war


The convictions of Pierre Falcone, Arcadi Gaydamak, ex-president's son Jean-Christophe Mitterrand and Charles Pasqua in a French court for arms trafficking to Angola have exposed the impunity with which arms traffickers supplied weapons to Angola during its 27-year civil war.

DRC: Fish war prompts thousands to flee


At least 16,000 civilians have fled deadly clashes in western Democratic Republic of Congo and are now languishing, many without food or shelter, in neighbouring Republic of Congo, according to the UN and local officials.

DRC: Surge in army atrocities in the east


Congolese armed forces in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have brutally killed hundreds of civilians and committed widespread rape in the past three months in a military operation backed by the United Nations, Human Rights Watch has said.

Sudan: WFP airdrops food aid to over 155,000 hungry people


The United Nations has begun to parachute food aid into isolated areas of conflict-ridden southern Sudan with the aim of reaching more than 155,000 people cut off from road access by heavy rainfall, the World Food Programme (WFP) has announced.

Uganda: LRA rebel surrenders in DR Congo


A senior commander of Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army rebels has surrendered in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Charles Arop, believed to be behind a brutal attack last Christmas, handed himself in to the Ugandan military.

Internet & technology

Global: The Internet goes multilingual

The challenges for Africa and African diasporas


On October 30, the internet opened a new chapter in its long march towards internationalization. It entered a new era of multilingual globalization. Up to now, web addresses could only be displayed using Latin characters. This increasingly makes little sense as more than half of the world's 1.6 billion internet users employ non-Latin scripts including Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, and Russian.

Rwanda: Policy vacuum could mean trouble for broadband


Whatever else it is, information and communications technologies (ICTs) policy-making can often be symbolic, especially in poor countries. The vision is one of social upliftment, and a new golden age of possibilities brought on by technological roll-out.

Fundraising & useful resources

Africa: 2010 Archbishop Tutu Fellowship - Nominations


The goal of the African Leadership Institute (AfLI) is to nurture and enhance leadership capability across Africa, with particular focus on the promising leaders of the future. AfLI’s aim is to create a network of high potential young Africans who have attended our programmes, and who are expected to rise to top leadership positions in their sphere of activity over the next 5-20 years.


African Journals OnLine (AJOL)


African Journals OnLine (AJOL) is an online service to provide access to African-published research, and increase worldwide knowledge of indigenous scholarship. AJOL is a Non Profit Organisation based in South Africa. AJOL hosts over 350 African-published, peer-reviewed journals from 26 countries. The AJOL website is visited each month by over 80,000 researchers from all over the world and allows near instant download of full text articles from its partner journals.

Interface - A journal for and about social movements

Call for papers - Issue 3: Crises, social movements and revolutionary transformations


Interface is a new journal produced twice yearly by activists and academics around the world in response to the development and increased visibility of social movements in the last few years - and the immense amount of knowledge generated in this process. Interface welcomes contributions by movement participants and academics who are developing movement-relevant theory and research.

Fahamu - Networks For Social Justice

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