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Back Issues

Pambazuka News 461: Obama, oil and AFRICOM

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. Pan-African Postcard, 6. Books & arts, 7. African Writers’ Corner, 8. Blogging Africa, 9. Emerging powers in Africa Watch, 10. Highlights French edition, 11. Zimbabwe update, 12. Women & gender, 13. Human rights, 14. Refugees & forced migration, 15. Social movements, 16. Africa labour news, 17. Emerging powers news, 18. Elections & governance, 19. Corruption, 20. Development, 21. Health & HIV/AIDS, 22. LGBTI, 23. Racism & xenophobia, 24. Environment, 25. Land & land rights, 26. Food Justice, 27. Media & freedom of expression, 28. Conflict & emergencies, 29. Internet & technology, 30. Fundraising & useful resources

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

Highlights from this issue

- AFRICOM and militarisation continue under Obama, writes Daniel Volman
- Nicholas Jackson on the Chad–Cameroon Petroleum Development Project
- Sudan still the issue, says Khadija Sharife
- Michael Neocosmos on Abahlali's experience of South Africa's 'democracy'
- Senegal's political deficiencies under Abdoulaye Wade
+ more

- Fahamu recruiting a pan-African fellowship coordinator
+ more

- Percy F. Makombe considers the prospects around the Copenhagen climate conference
+ more

- Alemayehu G. Mariam on why dictatorships are as dangerous as climate change

- The Arab Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and Legal Profession (ACIJLP) calls for freedom of assembly
+ more

- Gerald Caplan reviews Linda Melvern's 'A People Betrayed: the Role of the West in Rwanda's Genocide'
+ moreANNOUNCEMENT: Fahamu seeks coordinator for pan-African fellowship program
ZIMBABWE UPDATE: UN hails progress
WOMEN & GENDER: Gambian circumcisers abandon knife
CONFLICT AND EMERGENCIES: A way out of Somaliland’s electoral crisis
HUMAN RIGHTS: Still struggling for peace in DRC
REFUGEES AND FORCED MIGRATION: Eritrea’s forgotten refugee problem
EMERGING POWERS NEWS: Emerging powers news roundup
SOCIAL MOVEMENTS: Farmers mobilize in Copenhagen
AFRICA LABOUR NEWS: Algeria wage dispute resolved
ELECTIONS AND GOVERNANCE: Ethiopia’s new election code sparks furore
CORRUPTION: Corruption – A crime against development
HEALTH & HIV/AIDS: Good news for ART delivery
DEVELOPMENT: Africa R&D survey faces delays
LGBTI: Gambian president roars at gays
16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM AGAINST GENDER VIOLENCE: South Africa’s ‘other’ epidemic
RACISM & XENOPHOBIA: Zimbabweans attacked in South Africa
ENVIRONMENT: We know why we are dying
LAND & LAND RIGHTS: Farmers push for food sovereignty at climate talks
FOOD JUSTICE: Food prices up again
MEDIA AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION: Dawit Isaak still in Eritrean prison
PLUS: jobs, fundraising & useful resources, publications, 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


Obama moves ahead with AFRICOM

Daniel Volman


cc US Army
Concerned over the supply of oil to the US and a supposed need to continue the global 'War on Terror', President Barack Obama has essentially maintained the militarised approach to Africa that was the hallmark of his immediate predecessors George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, writes Daniel Volman. The escalation of AFRICOM (United States African Command) activities, argues Volman, underlines a troubling commitment to an approach based on might and dominance, one entirely at the expense of promoting sustainable economic development and democracy.

A failure but the oil keeps flowing

The Chad–Cameroon Petroleum Development Project

Nicholas Jackson


cc F T
The World Bank withdrew from the social welfare side of the Chad–Cameroon Petroleum Development Project (CCPDP) over a year ago. Identifying four broad approaches to assessing the project, Nicholas Jackson scrutinises the conclusions of several organisations, asking how it is that the project could fall apart so quickly while oil production continues 'as normal' in the midst of civil war in Chad.

Sudan is still the issue

Khadija Sharife


cc fsgm
Sudan’s oil deposits have made it one of the fastest growing economies in Africa, yet ‘violence, disease and malnutrition’ continue to kill its people, Khadija Sharife writes in this week’s Pambazuka News. With access to natural resources from water to grazing land already at tipping point and cited as a root cause of the country’s conflict, Sharife assesses the role played by the Khartoum government and multinational interests in diverting much needed oil wealth from the Sudanese people.

South Africa: Attacks on shackdwellers - a failure of citizenship?

Michael Neocosmos


cc J Verster
If the South African state is a democracy, Michael Neocosmos asks in Pambazuka News, how has it condoned the deployment of violence and murder on the shackdwellers movement Abahlali baseMjondolo, an organisation of the poor that has ‘engaged in peaceful protests’ and ‘advocated peaceful alternatives to the dominant politics’? At the root of the problem of the state reaction to Abahlali, Neocosmos argues, is ‘not simply a failure of democracy, but a systematic failure of citizenship and of the nation.’

Between centralisation and decadence: Senegalese politics under Wade

Amy Niang


cc W E F
Politics under Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade has come to represent a depressingly familiar picture of elite dominance and broad social inequality, writes Amy Niang. With no clear succession plan in place and the state's legitimacy continuing to erode, the absence of an institutionalised effort to achieve stability in the political system remains a salient obstacle to democratic change, argues Niang.

Africa's children are important

Assefa Bequele


cc T Maruko
‘I am an angry African,’ Assefa Bequele writes in this week’s Pambazuka News, challenging the continent’s failure to meet its collective responsibilities to children. ‘I will tell you why and what, I hope, we can do to build an Africa fit for children and help nurture an African man and woman that can walk with pride on the world stage’, says Bequele, calling on fellow Africans to ‘have the courage and be the first to speak out and engage in the defence of the inherent rights of all human beings including children’.

Not all cultural traditions are worth keeping

William Gumede


cc H S
‘Whatever our culture, we must treat animals in a humane way,’ William Gumede writes in this week’s Pambazuka News, following the recent approval of South African courts for the sacrifice of a bull as part of a traditional thanksgiving ritual. ‘African culture has a long tradition of democratic practices,’ writes Gumede, but it also ‘has some very autocratic practices’ and it isn’t wrong to admit this or to say ‘let’s discard such aspects’.


'How Africa's integration can work for the poor' by Jeggan C. Senghor

Africa Research Institute event


African Research Institute Christmas party at St Stephen's Club, Tuesday 15 December, 34 Queen Anne's Gate, London SW1H 9AB

Live Congolese music from Grupo Lokito
Wine and canapés will be served

RSVP essential
[email protected] or 020 7222 4006

Comment & analysis

Climate chaos: What prospects from Copenhagen?

Percy F. Makombe


cc Lrargerich
As delegates from 192 countries meet in Copenhagen to discuss a climate deal, Percy F. Makombe says the talks should be about implementing the Kyoto Protocol rather than negotiating a new agreement. But will developed countries commit to adequate reductions in their greenhouse gas emissions?

Sierra Leone: President Koroma fights upsurge in armed robberies

Roland Bankole Marke


cc A P Viega
With Sierra Leonean President Ernest Bai Koroma seeking to respond to the recent upsurge in armed robberies in the country's capital Freetown, Roland Bankole Marke discusses efforts at crime prevention in the country.

Advocacy & campaigns

ACIJLP Condemns Sudanese government's practices regarding right of peaceful assembly


The Arab Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and Legal Profession (ACIJLP) expresses its deep concern about the practices of the Sudanese government towards the right to freedom of peaceful assembly, which represents explicitly violation of international instruments and commitments in particular Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

Arab women issue a call to Arab Heads of State


On the 30th anniversary of the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the regional Coalition for 'Equality without reservation' launched a call to heads of state of Arab countries to promote the equality and citizenship of Arab women.

Pan-African Postcard

Dictatorship more dangerous than climate change

Alemayehu G. Mariam


Dictatorship presents 'a far more perilous threat to the survival of Africans than climate change', Alemayehu G. Mariam writes in this week’s Pambazuka News. But with the widespread acknowledgement that global warming ‘could affect Africa disproportionately’, and that the continent is ‘entitled to assistance to overcome the effects of greenhouse emissions caused by the industrialised countries’, Mariam argues that its dictators ‘are using global warming as their new preferred ideology behind which they can hide and ply their trade of corruption'.

Books & arts

Review of Linda Melvern's 'A People Betrayed: The Role of the West in Rwanda's Genocide'

Gerald Caplan


Gerald Caplan reviews Linda Melvern's 'A People Betrayed: the Role of the West in Rwanda's Genocide', praising its success in dispelling Western governments' claims of ignorance of developments in Rwanda leading up to the genocide.

Review of Francis Nyamnjoh's 'Married but Available'

Vicensia Shule


Vicensia Shule gives an appreciative review of Francis Nyamnjoh's 'Married but Available'.

Post-freedom dreams and nightmares

A review of Lesego Rampolokeng’s ‘Bantu Ghost: A stream of (black) unconsciousness’

Mphutlane wa Bofelo


Mphutlane wa Bofelo reviews 'Bantu Ghost: A stream of (black) unconsciousness', by Lesego Rampolokeng and finds that the South African writer, playwright and performance poet ‘is to literature and theatre what Fanon and Biko are to sociopolitical analysis and activism’.

African Writers’ Corner

Contradictory identities: An interview with Jennifer Armstrong

Conversations with Writers


Conversations with Writers speaks to Zimbabwean writer Jennifer Armstrong about the influences on her work, from immigration and identity, to Dambudzo Marechera and philosophical theory.

Blogging Africa

American Evangelists and the Growth of Homophobia in Africa

Dibussi Tande


Amongst the topics that Dibussi Tande covers in this week's review of African blogs are the link between conservative American evangelism and the growth of homophobia on the continent, the release of the film 'Invictus' and the trend of casting African Americans for African roles, and tips on how Africa can profit from hosting the upcoming World Cup.

Emerging powers in Africa Watch

Nairobi workshop gives civil society dimension on FOCAC

Stephen Marks


In this week's emerging powers watch, Stephen Marks reports back on the proceedings of Fahamu's two-day CSO FOCAC workshop in Nairobi on 26 and 27 November, 2009.

Highlights French edition

Pambazuka News 126 : Incuries politiques et drames de l'immigration clandestine


Zimbabwe update

Government spending more on travel than civil servants healthcare


There has been renewed outrage over the unity government’s expenditure after it was revealed last week that it is spending more of the country’s money on travel than on healthcare.

Top UN official hails progress


A top UN official has praised "great progress" in easing Zimbabwe's humanitarian crisis, but urged donors to continue supporting the country's recovery from a decade of economic freefall. "It has been refreshing to see great progress in so many aspects that worried us in February. I trust this positive trend will continue," UN assistant secretary general for humanitarian affairs Catherine Bragg told a news conference.

Williams, Mahlangu and refugee seven further remanded in Bulawayo


WOZA leaders, Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu, appeared in the Bulawayo Magistrate's Court this week as instructed only to be informed that their court record file, which apparently is kept separate for security reasons, was not accessible.

Zanu PF discusses its future as rifts widen over Mugabe heir


The battle over who will eventually succeed 85-year-old President Robert Mugabe as party leader threatens the future of his long-ruling Zanu PF but analysts say an immediate split is unlikely at a congress which began this week.

Women & gender

Africa: Preventing Violence against Women and HIV

A Call for partners in the Horn, East and Southern Africa - Raising Voices


Raising Voices invites applications for organizations in the Horn, East and Southern Africa interested in participating in an extensive, 3-year technical assistance partnership to prevent violence against women and HIV in their communities using the SASA! Activist Kit. Deadline for applications December 21st, 2009.

Africa: South Africa's 'other' epidemic


It has been ten years since the South African government held its first annual '16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women' (and children) campaign. While the campaign has, no doubt, achieved a degree of success in relation to raising awareness, this has clearly not translated into much positive, practical impact.

Ethiopia: Shelter from the storm: Escaping from gender violence


The safe house for victims of gender-based violence hides behind tall, grey walls in a nondescript neighbourhood of the capital. Run by Tsotawi Tekat Tekelakay Mahiber (TTTM) – the Organization Against Gender-based Violence -- is known only to the police.

Gambia: 60 circumcisers abandon knife


GAMCOTRAP, an NGO that promotes women's social, political, economic and cultural rights and focuses on sexual and reproductive health rights has marked the symbolic abandonment of the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) practice.

Global: UN women's treaty weakened by slew of reservations


A landmark UN treaty on women’s rights, which will be 30 years old next week, is in danger of being politically undermined by a slew of reservations by 22 countries seeking exemptions from some of the convention’s legal obligations.

Human rights

Botswana: Bushmen’s land ‘should be reserved for wildlife’ - official


One of Botswana’s senior officials has argued that the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR), the ancestral home of the Gana and Gwi Bushmen, ‘should be reserved for wildlife’, despite the fact that the country’s High Court has ruled that the Bushmen have the right to live there.

DRC: Conflict minerals: A cover For US allies and western mining interests?

Kambale Musavuli & Bodia Macharia


As global awareness grows around the Congo and the silence is finally being broken on the current and historic exploitation of Black people in the heart of Africa, a myriad of Western based “prescriptions” are being proffered. Most of these prescriptions are devoid of social, political, economic and historical context and are marked by remarkable omissions.

DRC: Still struggling for peace


One year after receiving the Rafto Prize, pastor Bulambo Lembelembe Josué, right, is still fighting to establish a dialogue between the rebel soldiers, government and international forces, and civilians in the Congolese Kivu region.

Nigeria: Police 'kill at will' - report


Amnesty International exposed the shocking level of unlawful police killings in Nigeria in a new report. “The Nigerian police are responsible for hundreds of unlawful killings every year,” said Erwin van der Borght, Director of Amnesty International’s Africa Programme.

North Africa: 3 simple actions to save Sahrawi Ghandi


Your support can make a difference at a crucial time in the campaign to save the life of Aminatou Haidar known as the ‘Saharawi Ghandi’. Aminatou is a prominent human rights activist and former political prisoner and Nobel Peace Prize nominee. She is known for her non-violent resistance to the illegal occupation of Western Sahara by Morocco.

USA: Couple charged with human trafficking for exploiting Swaziland woman


A United States couple has been indicted on charges of conspiracy, forced labour, document servitude, which is confiscating someone's passport and visa, and harbouring an alien for financial gain, the Justice Department announced.

Refugees & forced migration

Côte d’Ivoire: Land reform must not shut out IDPs


A reform programme designed to formalise customary land rights in Côte d’Ivoire may compromise durable solutions for internally displaced persons (IDPs) if their specific needs are not taken into account, according to a new report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC.

DRC: Needs unmet as refugees flee from Congo to Congo


Aid agencies have been unable to fully meet the needs of tens of thousands of people who have fled inter-communal clashes over natural resources in northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

Eritrea: A forgotten refugee problem


Eastern Sudan hosts more than 66,000 registered Eritrean refugees, the first of whom arrived in 1968 during the early years of Eritrea’s war of independence against Ethiopia. These days, Eritrea’s policy of indefinite military conscription, coupled with drought and poor economic opportunities, prompt some 1,800 people to cross into Sudan every month, according to the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR.

Global: African countries condemned for poor migrants treatment


Several participants attending a forum on migration in the Arab and African regions have deplored the conditions in which migrants who are either in transit or in residence are treated.

South Africa: Improve migrants’ access to health care


South African health care professionals are endangering the health of the country's large foreign population by routinely denying health care and treatment to thousands of asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants, Human Rights Watch has said in a report.

Social movements

'Global: Farmers movement mobilize in Copenhagen'

La Via Campesina


Industrial agriculture is the skeleton in the closet of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). If we consider production, processing and transportation, the whole food chain could be responsible for up to half of all global greenhouse gas emissions (1).

Global: The World Bank - Civil Society Engagement: Review of Fiscal Years 2007 to 2009


A new report, "The World Bank - Civil Society Engagement: Review of Fiscal Years 2007 to 2009" was launched at a reception on October 4 at the Annual Meetings in Istanbul. Some 100 CSO representatives and Bank staff attended. Senior Vice President Marwan Muasher made a few remarks in which he stressed how the review vividly documents the myriad forms of engagement between the Bank Group and civil society across the institution and globally.

Somalia: Mogadishu bombing - the backlash


This month's deadly bombing of a medical school's graduation ceremony in Somalia will likely reduce the popularity of the country's main Islamist insurgency, despite the group's denial of involvement, say analysts. A civilian uprising against Al-Shabab seems to be under way, with street demonstrations in Mogadishu on 7 December, and in camps for the internally displaced (IDPs) on 8 December.

South Africa: A Report on AbM & the Kennedy Road Settlement


Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM), a shack dwellers’ movement in Durban has contributed tremendously to the protection of the right to adequate housing by mobilising shack dwellers to resist and challenge forced evictions and insist on in-situ upgrading of their areas as the only acceptable solution.

Africa labour news

Algeria: Government, unions resolve public-sector wage dispute


Civil servants will receive a long-awaited pay rise and back wages dating from January 2008, the Algerian government announced after talks with labour leaders.

Emerging powers news

China sets its sights on African research cooperation


China is continuing to show an interest in developing African research capacity with the announcement of a cooperation programme in science and technology.

China’s new strategy for improving health in Africa


A group of senior officials from China, Africa, and from international organizations involved in health assistance in Africa met in Beijing on December 4-5, 2009 to review China's health assistance to Africa and to discuss opportunities for international cooperation in achieving the health-related Millennium Development Goals in Africa.

Emerging powers in Africa news roundup

Stephen Marks


Stephen Marks compiles a roundup of emerging players in Africa news

Elections & governance

Angola: President re-elected ruling party head


President Jose Eduardo dos Santos was re-elected head of Angola's ruling MPLA party on Wednesday, a move that signals the 67-year old leader plans to extend his three-decade long rule of one of Africa's top oil producers.

Côte d’Ivoire: Security Council calls for credible polls at the earliest


The UN Security Council has called for the holding of credible presidential elections in Côte d’Ivoire at the earliest date possible, after the much-delayed polls were recently postponed again.

Ethiopia: New election code sparks furore


Opposition parties are troubled by what they say is government’s strategy to keep them out of the general elections in May 2010. They accuse the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) of harassment. This includes arrests, obstruction of public meetings, and even murder.

Madagascar: AU worries over lack of progress on crisis talks


The African Union (AU) Wednesday expressed deep concerns over the lack of progress on key talks aimed at ending the political deadlock in Madagascar, following a coup in the Indian Ocean island in March 2009.


Africa: Corruption - a crime against development


Corruption is preventing the world from reducing extreme poverty, from averting child deaths and even from fighting epidemics like HIV/AIDS. And it will have a devastating effect on the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals if not tackled directly by each national government.

Mauritania: Top businessmen held in bank fraud case


Mauritanian authorities detained three top businessmen charged with embezzling millions of euros of public funds late on Wednesday in a case that has sparked new political tensions in the desert state.

Nigeria: Ex-governor Attahiru Bafarawa in fraud raid


Nigerian anti-corruption officials have raided a meeting of opposition leaders and arrested Attahiru Bafarawa, who ran for president in 2007. The EFCC accuses him of involvement in a 6bn naira ($40m) fraud from his time as governor of Sokoto State.


Africa: African experts, ministers to design documents for petroleum fund


African experts and ministers responsible for hydrocarbons are gathering in Ethiopia to craft key documents in the energy sector, the AU has disclosed.

Africa: How can governments regain control of the aid process?


In the last three decades, changes in the global economy have led to debt and balance of payments crises in many African countries. They desperately needed foreign exchange which they could only get from the World Bank and the IMF. These institutions used this opportunity to expand their influence over the recipients' national policies. This paper discusses country ownership which is a central issue of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness.

Africa: R&D survey faces delays


Countries taking part in Africa's most detailed survey of research and innovation to date have been given a three-month extension to gather the required data. The extension was granted at a workshop for the African Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators (ASTII) initiative that took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, last week (30 November – 3 December).

Africa: The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa

Call for contributions


The Agricultural Innovation in Africa (AIA) Project is inviting input on good practices for consideration for inclusion in the forthcoming study, The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa.

Chad: Re-assessing the aid footprint


When an aid vehicle is stolen in the eastern Chad town of Abéché, some people cheer and say the aid organization got what it deserved, according to the French think-tank Emergency Rehabilitation Development (URD), which is preparing a report on the impact of international aid groups on Abéché residents.

Global: Information Economy Report 2009


The Information Economy Report 2009: Trends and Outlook in Turbulent Times' is the fourth in a series published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The report is one of the few publications to monitor global trends in information and communication technologies (ICTs) as they affect developing countries.

Morocco: government unveils programmes to support SMEs


The Moroccan government is taking fresh steps to support beleaguered local businesses, which are a key part of the national economy. Two new programmes by the National Agency for the Promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises (ANPME) are intended to boost competitiveness in the struggling sector.

North Africa: Maghreb leaders set sights on knowledge-based economy


Arab and Muslim countries must review their development strategies to benefit from transformative policies, innovative projects, and plans for renewal linked to shifting to a knowledge-based economy, according to a declaration issued December 3rd by participants in a Tunis conference.

Sierra Leone: Compensating war victims


Sierra Leone has made a strong start in compensating war victims but these are early days: Long-term government commitment and funding is needed, says an NGO which monitors progress in this area.

Health & HIV/AIDS

Africa: Good news for ART delivery


Antiretroviral therapy (ART) can be delivered safely in the first year without routine laboratory monitoring for toxic effects, according to an article in The Lancet.

Africa: Hospital-acquired HIV underestimated


The role of blood-borne HIV infections from unsanitary healthcare procedures has been underestimated in sub-Saharan Africa's HIV/AIDS epidemic, according to several researchers and epidemiologists.

Africa: UN envoy reviews progress, challenges in controlling malaria in Nigeria, Kenya


The United Nations official leading efforts to tackle malaria is visiting Nigeria and Kenya, the two nations which together account for one third of the estimated 1 million deaths worldwide from the deadly disease.

Global: Children in rich and poor countries doing equally well on HIV drugs


The effectiveness of one year of antiretroviral treatment in treatment-naive children in resource-limited settings is comparable to that of children in resource-rich settings, report Andrea Ciaranello and colleagues in a study published in the December 15 edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Global: TB report – Millions cured, but too many still dying


Some 36 million people have been cured of tuberculosis (TB) over the past 15 years through a rigorous approach to treatment, according to the World Health Organisation. However, last year 1.8 million people died from TB including half a million deaths associated with HIV - many of them because they did not access antiretrovirals.

Kenya: "Men of the blood" come clean


Every December, the village of Kangete, in eastern Kenya's Nyambene District, gears up for yet another season of festivities - not Christmas, however, but the initiation of hundreds of young men into manhood through circumcision

South Africa: Improved PMTCT yields dramatic results


The percentage of HIV-positive mothers who pass the virus to their newborn babies in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal Province has dropped by nearly two-thirds since dual antiretroviral (ARV) therapy was introduced for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT).

South Africa: No growth check for infants despite maternal HIV infection - study


HIV-exposed but uninfected children grew as well as children of HIV-uninfected mothers, no matter how they were fed in the first two years of life in a non-randomised cohort study in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa from 2001-2004, Deven Patel and colleagues reported in a study published in advance online by the journal AIDS.

Zimbabwe: Government blasted for condoning "sexual terror"


Zimbabwe’s ruling political party has been accused of launching a "widespread and systematic campaign of rape and sexual terror" aimed at intimidating opponents and voters in the troubled African nation, according to a new report released here.


Gambia: President roars at gays


Gambian president, Yahya Jammeh, is once again on the offensive against homosexuality, describing the practice as an act of 'indecency' which has no place in the country's military.

Southern Africa: Violence against lesbians, gays, bi- and trans-sexuals


Homophobia, hate crimes, and the fear of violence, are part of the daily experience of gay men, lesbian and bi women and trans diverse communities in Southern Africa.

Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009

Pan Africa ILGA statement


On behalf of the Pan Africa ILGA part of the global Pan Africa International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA). We write to express our concern about THE UGANDA ANTI-HOMOSEXUALITY BILL, NO 18, 2009.

Racism & xenophobia

South Africa: Six Zimbabwean men in serious condition in new attacks


Six Zimbabwean men were in a serious condition in hospital after they were attacked by residents in the Westenburg area of Polokwane, South Africa, on Monday night, Limpopo police said.


Africa: We know why we are dying


Few are more aware of the devastating legacy failure will leave than the teams of African negotiators in the Danish capital to hammer out a final position. As talks began on Dec. 7, the Africa Group had put numbers to the hard line taken at a preparatory conference in Barcelona last month.

Global: NGOs slam draft Copenhagen agreement


Non-governmental organisations attending the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday slammed the leaked draft Copenhagen Climate Change agreement proposed by the Danish Prime Minister Lars Rasmussen.

Global: Copenhagen: Key issues for developing countries


This paper summarises the key issues that need to be resolved if the Copenhagen Climate Conference is to succeed. They include the future of the Kyoto Protocol, the global climate regime, the emission cuts of developed countries, the attempts to shift responsibiity to developing countries, finance and technology for developing countries, and the danger of climate trade protectionism.

Land & land rights

East Africa: Farmers push food sovereignty at climate talks


For centuries, farmers like Berhanu Gudina have tended tiny plots of maize, wheat, and barley amid the lush green plains of Ethiopia’s central lowlands. But now, Mr. Gudina says he sees people from India and China farming these lands. He says before, it was just locals. “What do they want here?,” he asks. “To steal everything? Our government is selling our country to the Asians so they can make money for themselves.”

Senegal: Rural women demand improved access to farmland


The community of Thiénaba is located in western Senegal. Here, as in other Senegalese communities, most of the farmland is controlled by men. But there are five acres under the control of women. A women’s group called Fass Jom (which means “make do” in the local language of Wolof) has secured this land for its members.

Food Justice

Global: Food prices up again - FAO


Global food prices are on the ascent again with the FAO Food Price Index – a food basket composed of cereals, oilseeds, dairy, meat and sugar – registering four straight monthly rises.

Global: Hunger and Global Warming

Sérgio Barbosa de Almeida


When, as we speak, it is been discussed in Copenhagen how to reorganize human activities that accelerate climate change in global scale, threatening the life of a large number of people living in this planet, it is impossible to leave aside the issue of hunger, which since 2005 it has once again started to spread in the world.

Global: Toolbox to aid in promoting the right to food


The purpose of the Methodological Toolbox is to provide a practical aid for the implementation of the Right to Food Guidelines. It contains a series of analytical, educational and normative tools that offer guidance and hands-on advice on the practical aspects of the right to food. I

Media & freedom of expression

DRC: Journalist detained by intelligence agents in Béni


JED is calling on the Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) National Intelligence Agency (ANR) to put an end to the abuse of authority by officials at its Kasindi and Béni offices after radio reporter Maurice Lutendero was detained in Kasindi on 30 November 2009.

Eritrea: Dawit Isaak still in prison after more than eight years


The time that Swedish-Eritrean journalist Dawit Isaak has spent in a jail in Eritrea, without a trial and without any visits from his family or lawyers, today reached 3,000 days.

Ethiopia: Independent newspaper closes, editors flee country


Three editors of independent Amharic-language weekly Addis Neger have fled Ethiopia, saying that the government intends to prosecute them under Anti-Terrorism Proclamation No. 652/2009, promulgated on 28 August 2009. The last edition of the newspaper, which has been closed down, appeared on Saturday, 28 November.

Global: CPJ's 2009 prison census


Freelancers now make up nearly 45 percent of all journalists jailed worldwide, a dramatic recent increase that reflects the evolution of the global news business, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. In its annual census of imprisoned journalists, CPJ found a total of 136 reporters, editors, and photojournalists behind bars on December 1, an increase of 11 from the 2008 tally.

Mozambique: Journalists banned from covering Renamo leader


Mozambique's former rebel movement Renamo has banned its leader, Afonso Dhlakama, from speaking to the press. According to a report issue on 2 December 2009 in the local independent daily "O Pais", Renamo has threatened violence against any reporters who try to visit Dhlakama at his residence in the northern city of Nampula.

Zimbabwe: Permanent Secretary admits to state monopoly over broadcast industry


Permanent secretary for Media, Information and Publicity George Charamba, has conceded that the state has always had a controlling monopoly of radio services. He admitted to this in an interview with the Herald newspaper where he sharply criticized the continued operation of Voice of America's (VOA) Studio 7 amid allegations by his office that there was a government-to-government agreement between the United States and Botswana.

Conflict & emergencies

Africa: Efforts to thwart rebels in eastern DRC a mixed bag - UN


Progress in bringing stability to the war-wracked east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is mixed, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in a new report, noting the heavy humanitarian toll wrought by a military operation to flush out a notorious ethnic Hutu militia.

Ethiopia: Nearly 5 million will need food aid in first half of 2010 - UN


Some 4.8 million Ethiopians will require emergency food and related aid costing $270 million for the first six months of 2010 in a country already plagued by prolonged drought and crop failure, according to newly released United Nations estimates.

Guinea: Junta arrests 60 for 'trying to kill Camara'


Alleged plotters who tried to kill Guinea's junta leader Capt Moussa Dadis Camara are being "hunted down" and arrested, the military government says. Junta spokesman Idrissa Cherif told the BBC more than 60 people had been held over last week's assassination attempt.

Guinea: Junta backs out of peace talks


Guinea's military junta has pulled out of crisis talks with opposition groups to wait for the recovery and return of its leader, Captain Dadis Camara, who is receiving treatment in Morocco following an assassination bid.

Somaliland: A way out of the electoral crisis


This latest briefing from the International Crisis Group examines what stalled democratisation could mean. It concludes that politicians must finally uphold the constitution, abide by electoral laws and adhere to inter-party agreements if the region, which seeks independence from Somalia, is to hold genuinely free and fair elections in 2010.

Sudan: SPLM arrests spark southern unrest


Protesters set alight the office of Sudan President Omar al-Bashir's party in a southern town after three southern politicians were arrested in Khartoum. There were no reports of casualties at the National Congress Party (NCP) building in Wau, and police later freed the three politicians.

Internet & technology

Africa: Will Google Trader help farmers in Africa?


Software and web-search giants Google on Monday November 1st, 2009 launched the online Google Trader pilot in Uganda to connect sellers and buyers of goods and services, including in agriculture.

Kenya: ICT training plan places 185 into employment


An initiative by a mobile phone manufacturer, Samsung, and three non-governmental organisations to train youth from poor backgrounds in Nairobi in ICT and entrepreneurship is beginning to bear fruits.

Kenya: Wananchi lowers Internet prices with eyes on SMEs


Multimedia company, Wananchi Group, moved to slash the cost of its internet offering by half, saying it was keen to cash in on its investment in fibre optic technology as it passed on savings to its customers.

Fundraising & useful resources

Journal of Media and Communication Studies

Call for papers


The Journal of Media And Communication Studies (Jmcs) is a multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal published that will be monthly by Academic Journals (, JMCS is dedicated to increasing the depth of the subject across disciplines with the ultimate aim of expanding knowledge of the subject.

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