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

The Inagural 2016 Pan African Colloquium, Barbados

Latest titles from Pambazuka Press

African Sexualities

Earth Grab A Reader
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Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya

From Citizen to Refugee Horace Campbell
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How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

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Back Issues

Pambazuka News 491: Diamonds: Burden or boon?

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. Letters & Opinions, 8. African Writers’ Corner, 9. Highlights French edition, 10. Zimbabwe update, 11. African Union Monitor, 12. Women & gender, 13. Human rights, 14. Refugees & forced migration, 15. Social movements, 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. eNewsletters & mailing lists, 30. Courses, seminars, & workshops, 31. Publications

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

Highlights from this issue

– Khadija Sharife explores the diamond industry
– Al-Shabab a product of context, says Yohannes Woldemariam
– Cameron Duodu pays tribute to Basil Davidson, journalist and historian
– Caroline Ifeka on AFRICOM, the kleptocratic state and under-class militancy
+ more

– Maurice Namwira discusses human rights activism in the DRC
– Oluwole Onemola calls on fellow Nigerians to challenge politicians
– Chi Mgbako on the Rwandan government's use of genocide legacy
+ more

– Horace Campbell on the social sciences as a military battleground
+ more

– Anti-xenophobia campaign launched

– Camilla Toulmin's 'Climate Change in Africa' reviewed

– Amira Ali's poem 'Speak no more – let us just make music'ANNOUNCEMENTS: Judgment on Nyayo house torture victims
ZIMBABWE UPDATE: ‘War vets’ want members to be apolitical
AU MONITOR: CSO recommendations on peace and security
WOMEN & GENDER: Uganda ratifies Women’s Protocol
CONFLICT AND EMERGENCIES: Resurgent Nigeria violence leaves 7 dead
HUMAN RIGHTS: Bushmen lose right to Kalahari water well
REFUGEES AND FORCED MIGRATION: Somaliland clashes displace thousands
SOCIAL MOVEMENTS: Africa Youth Forum 2010
EMERGING POWERS NEWS: Emerging powers news roundup
ELECTIONS AND GOVERNANCE: Nigeria’s Senate moves poll forward
HEALTH & HIV/AIDS: AU Summit urged to uphold health committments
EDUCATION: 2010 Distinguished Africanist Awards
LGBTI: ECOSOC opens the UN to LGBT voices
DEVELOPMENT: Bullish about Africa’s agricultural future
ENVIRONMENT: Eco-Lens at Durban International Film Festivals
LAND & LAND RIGHTS: DRC Gold mine to displace 15,000
FOOD JUSTICE: Niger on the brink of collapse
MEDIA AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION: Calls to make journalism safer
INTERNET & TECHNOLOGY: 3rd Uganda National Internet Governance Forum
eNEWSLETTERS & MAILING LISTS: AfricaFocus: Africa: Multilingual education pays off
JOBS: Fahamu seeks new executive director

PLUS: 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


Diamonds: Burden or boon?

Khadija Sharife


cc Wikimedia
‘Given the context of blood diamonds, the real conflict rests not with militias mining diamonds’, but with ‘the battle to control markets and pricing’, argues Khadija Sharife, in an assessment of the structure of the international diamond industry. For developing country governments ‘at the helm of diamond-producing economies, corporate control over diamond markets means limited choices and fewer opportunities to collect equitable revenue from diamond resources’, says Sharife.

Somalia: Al-Shabab, extremism and US allies

Yohannes Woldemariam


cc S W
The rise of Al-Shabab in Somalia must be seen in the context of decades of mismanagement, dictatorship and abuse, writes Yohannes Woldemariam. Following Ethiopia’s US-backed intervention in 2006, the ascendancy of Somalia’s moderate UIC (Union of Islamic Courts) was blocked and some 300,000 people were displaced, in the wake of which ‘the Al-Shabab extremists triumphed as a hegemonic force’ from within the UIC. And as the dust settles on last week’s Kampala bombing, Woldemariam contends, the governments of US allies Ethiopia and Uganda are once again seeking to capitalise on the tragedy for their own ends, ‘with Obama playing right into it’.

Basil Davidson, Africa thanks you

Cameron Duodu


cc Isawnyu
Basil Davidson wrote so passionately about Africa it was assumed he was an African, writes Cameron Duodu, paying tribute to the late historian, whose work ‘enriched the world's understanding of Africa’. Davidson was ‘not only an inspiration to progressives inside academia, but was an important resource for African leaders themselves’, says Duodu, at a time when the majority of ‘histories’ depicted Africa as ‘a land full of barbarous peoples “until the whiteman came”’.

Of fallen and persecuted journalists

Dibussi Tande


cc Unnamed
The arrest of three journalists in Cote d’Ivoire for publishing a leaked report on alleged corruption in the coffee and cocoa trade, and the death of Pius Njawe, Cameroonian journalist and founder of newspaper Le Messager, are among the key stories covered in this week’s round-up of the African blogosphere.

US foreign policy and Ethiopia

Steel vices, clenched fists and closing walls (part I)

Alemayehu G. Mariam


cc A H
It seems the concern for the liberation of the oppressed injected into US foreign policy is merely a muted growl from a seemingly ‘toothless and clawless (paper) tiger’, writes Alemayehu G. Mariam. Mariam voices the frustrations of those in Ethiopia who lay witness to the empty human rights rhetoric of US foreign policy makers, and urges the US to back up its big human rights talk with big human rights action in the country so to avoid its descent as a silent witness to the crimes of dictatorship.

Electoral politics in Africa

Zaya Yeebo


cc A H
With a focus on the role of ‘free and fair elections’ in promoting democracy, Zaya Yeebo takes a look at how electoral politics are shaping up across the continent. ‘The important consideration for the state, the media, civil society and political parties,’ says Yeebo, ‘is to work within an African framework, and for international supporters and interlopers to recognise the local reality, and not impose conditions based on geopolitical and economic interest.’

AFRICOM, the kleptocratic state and under-class militancy

Caroline Ifeka


cc US Army
The ‘War on Terror’ has provided US-NATO commands in Stuttgart and Brussels with justification for securitising ‘dangerous’ West African Muslim states, writes Caroline Ifeka. But competing with China to control strategic resources from oil to subterranean water around the Sahara and Sahel, they’re also quietly manoeuvring leases to exploit resources vital to US and EU capital accumulation. The principal cause of youth militancy around ethnicity and Islamic reformism in these regions, says Ifeka, is the ruling classes’ failure to share the rental incomes from – traditionally – community-owned resources. Community capacity building and restoration of a sense of agency and ownership rather than the militarisation of development, says Ifeka, is better strategy for diminishing discontent and building trust in democracy among the youth.

Al Shabaab meets the Devil



Gado's latest cartoon…


Kenya: Judgment on Nyayo House torture victims


On 21 July, when ruling on a case where 21 victims of torture at Nyayo House had approached the High Court for justice, Lady Justice Hannah Okwengu found the State agents culpable of having violated human rights and fundamental freedoms with impunity. While the victims filed the case way back in 2004, it was a vindication that even if the wheels of justice grind slowly, they still deliver justice and reparations to those afflicted by human rights abuses. The Judgment is a citadel for the defence of human rights in Kenya in many ways.

Comment & analysis

Impunity in the DRC: Defending human rights

Maurice Namwira and Emma Pomfret


Some five years after the assassination of Pascal Kabungulu, formerly secretary general of DRC human rights group Héritiers de la Justice, Maurice Namwira, the organisation’s executive secretary, discusses activism, impunity from justice and Héritier’s work with Christian Aid with Emma Pomfret.

Nigeria’s politics: This shoe does not fit

Oluwole Onemola


cc Satanoid
Nigeria needs to draw upon its own political and organising traditions and not simply mimic Western models, writes Oluwole Onemola. Not only does this ‘shoe’ not fit, Onemola argues, trying to put it on has allowed exploitative politicians to enrich themselves to the complete detriment of the people they represent. But, the author stresses, ‘[t]hey are not the corrupt ones, we are, because we have let them plunder away at our national pride unchallenged, with only the faintest of castigations.’

Manipulating the memory of the Rwandan genocide

Chi Mgbako


cc Wikimedia
With Rwanda’s presidential elections scheduled for August, Chi Mgbako looks at the country's post-genocide government and argues that the Kagame administration is using the memory of the genocide to hold onto power. Highlighting the government’s censorship of the media and its alleged involvement in silencing the opposition, Mgbako argues that such actions trivialise the memory of those who lost their lives in the genocide and questions how this will help Rwanda achieve national unity.

Refused publication: Letter to London Review of Books


cc P A R
Following the publication of racist references to migrants in South Africa in a London Review of Books blog by R.W. Johnson, a collection of writers, academics and publishers demands a public apology.

Kenya's draft constitution: 'Clearing the Air'

InformAction Kenya


cc Demosh
Narrated by Maina Kiai, the film 'Clearing the Air' is a short film about Kenya's draft constitution designed to stimulate debate and discussion among Kenyans in the run-up to the 4 August referendum.

Advocacy & campaigns

Unite as One - One Africa

Launch of anti-xenophobia campaign


1 am 1 of a million South Africans who Says YES to: humanity, peace and unity Says NO to: racism, ignorance and violence I promise to confront ignorance with knowledge; prejudice with tolerance; and isolation with the outstretched hand of generosity. I will * celebrate the common humanity of people and our shared heritage as Africans * recognise and protect the human rights of all people living in South Africa, no matter their language or country of origin * attempt to prevent any acts of xenophobia -- intolerance, intimidation or violence; and to report to the police if any person violates the rights or safety of another. Sign the petition here

Pan-African Postcard

AFRICOM, academia and militarising Africa

Horace Campbell


New initiatives at the United States’ Department of Defense indicate that the militarisation of the social sciences is high on the agenda of its forward strategy for fighting wars, cautions Horace Campbell. With academics being encouraged to produce intelligence on Africa, ‘[i]ndependent and progressive scholars and activists must intensify the peace work so that there is a new social science infrastructure that can work hand in hand with the revolutionary foment that is brewing’ on the continent says Campbell.

World Cup 2010: A reflection

Hard bodies, race and power in the world

L. Muthoni Wanyeki


The World Cup has come to an end and the vuvuzelas have gone quiet, leaving us to pause and reflect on South Africa’s month under the floodlights on the big sporting stage. L. Muthoni Wanyeki looks back on the competition and the respite it provided from the daily stresses life presents, whilst contemplating what the games have left South Africa and the rest of the world to move forward with into the future.

Books & arts

The elephant in the room

Review of ‘Climate Change in Africa’

Jamie Pitman


Camilla Toulmin’s recent book, written with ‘agency and intelligence’, is commendable for its ‘statistical insight’ and the ‘perceptive linkages’ it makes ‘between seemingly separate aspects of climate change’, writes Jamie Pitman. But by pinning hopes on market-based solutions for tackling climate change without explicitly acknowledging the role of capitalism in creating the problem, Pitman concludes that ultimately the book is ‘an exercise in “reformism”’.

Letters & Opinions

Xenophobia isn't only a South African problem

Response to ‘Xenophobia redux’

Megan Redmond


I've never been anywhere that is free of discrimination against one or other group of people, writes Megan Redmond.

Telling the truth with a capital T

Response ‘The June 16 uprising unshackled: A black perspective’

Gcobani KaNgcibi


Nelvis Qekema’s bold article helps dispel some of the ANC’s myths about its role in underground movements and June 16, writes Gcobani KaNgcibi.

We all said ‘never again’

Response to ‘Forget the ICC: Let Africa revive its traditional justice systems’

Kennedy Akumu


Let's say no to impunity and start taking responsibility for our acts, writes Kennedy Akumu.

Lessons from the ‘Art of War’

Response to ‘Forget the ICC: Let Africa revive its traditional justice systems’



Stephen looks to ancient Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu to explain the structure of justice in Africa.

African Writers’ Corner

Speak no more – let us just make music

Amira Ali


This poem speaks to and responds to historical, psychological, cultural and social forces that shape the identity and culture of the people of African descent. It pays homage to the black Jazz music legends, who during the back-to-Africa movement and the Harlem Renaissance period fostered a body of music through an identification with Africa, albeit through a construct of Africa and an imagination which fell short and resorted to mimicry of their white counterparts. More often than not, the African identity is objectified to a form of concept that expressed more of African primitiveness. Similarly, this identity tension, at times, echoing some of the body of music that emerged out of that time, plays out in everyday relationships between the black diaspora and Africans – a body of soundless and sound-full subjectivities.

But if only we would deconstruct this discourse through the music of poetry. This piece sings to that deconstruction.

Highlights French edition

Pambazuka News 155: Crise alimentaire au Sahel : les fausses solutions


Zimbabwe update

'War vets' want members to be apolitical


An organisation representing former freedom fighters says it wants its members to be apolitical and is fighting to have this included in the new constitution. The Zimbabwe Liberation Platform, ZLP, a liberal organisation that claims to be “a progressive section of former independence war fighters championing democracy and social equality” told The Zimbabwean that war veterans needed to regain their independence to avoid being manipulated by selfish politicians.

Constitutional outreach on verge of collapse


Constitutional outreach members from all the ten provinces, with drivers and technicians included, are threatening to down their tools due to poor working conditions and a breach of agreements by COPAC. Barely a month after the launch of the Constitutional Outreach, aimed at coming up with a new constitution under the auspices of the Constitutional Parliamentary Committee, threats of its cessation are growing everyday as problems mount.

MDC Ministers in London to woo donors and investors


Three cabinet ministers from the two MDC formations, plus Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, were in London addressing two separate meetings that sought to woo investors and donors to help with Zimbabwe’s economic recovery. The ministers were accompanied by their permanent secretaries and other senior civil servants from their ministries.

African Union Monitor

15th AU Summit: CSO recommendations on peace and Security


At the end of the AU civil society pre -summit meeting organized by the African Union Commission in collaboration with the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC), we as civil society and peoples’ representatives from across the continent welcome this opportunity to jointly reflect on the condition of the continent, the issues facing it and the developments since the last Summit, to arrive at a common position from which to communicate substantive recommendations to Heads of State and Government, Permanent Representatives, Peace and Security Council and Foreign Ministers. It is our hope that such forums and spaces, which are indicative of our commitment to a people driven African Union will continue to be encouraged.

Africa: Shift, engage, share and speak: Youth make their voices heard


They are huddled together in a group in the midst of an animated discussion to which each has something to contribute. Eager to make her point is Barbara Kyomugisha. At just 24 years old, Barbara is a single mother living with HIV. The contribution she makes towards this discussion is first hand. To her, the affordability of health services is just as important as accessibility in addressing the rates of maternal mortality in Africa.

Women & gender

Africa: African Women’s Leadership Institute

19th – 25th September, 2010


AMwA will be holding a West African Sub Regional African Women’s Leadership Institute (AWLI) on the theme, “Building African Women’s Leadership to Address Long-Term Forced Migration”, that is scheduled to take place from 19th – 25th September 2010 in Accra, Ghana. The countries from which young women will be selected to participate in this AWLI will be from Anglo-phone West African countries. The deadline for the receipt of applications for this unique and exciting training programme is 30th July 2010.

Africa: Uganda Ratifies the AU Protocol on the Rights of Women



Solidarity for African Women’s Rights (SOAWR) coalition joins Women First (the Ugandan Women’s Rights Coalition to welcome and congratulate the Republic of Uganda for depositing its instrument of ratification of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa at the opening of the 17th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union, at Munyonyo, Uganda, 22 July 2010. Uganda becomes the 28th member state of the African Union and the third East African Community Member to ratify the Protocol on the Rights of Women after Rwanda and Tanzania.

Ghana: Ignorance on abortion law means death


Unsafe abortions account for more than one in 10 women who die in pregnancy in Ghana, according to new research by the US-based Guttmacher Institute, with ignorance of the law and inadequate facilities partly to blame, say health authorities. Abortion was declared legal in 1985 for women who have been raped, in cases of incest, or where the pregnancy will cause the mother physical or mental harm, but decades on, only 4 percent of women are aware of the law, according to 2009 government health statistics (based on 2007 data).

Kenya: Focus on fistula


It is both preventable and treatable, but obstetric fistula plagues the lives of thousands of women in Kenya every year, leaving them incontinent and ostracized. Here are some reasons why: Information deficit
Lack of reproductive health education means there is widespread ignorance of the basic facts about fistula - a tear in the birth canal caused by prolonged obstructed labour, or by sexual abuse, surgical trauma, gynaecological cancers and related radiotherapy treatment. According to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), there are 3,000 new cases per year in Kenya, with about one to two fistulas per 1,000 deliveries.

Zambia: Call for 50% female candidates in poll


With women having achieved little in terms of representation in decision-making positions in Zambia, a national women’s lobby group is hoping to change this in the 2011 general elections. While Zambia's electoral process may have built-in obstacles that hinder the meaningful participation of women as candidates, the Zambia National Women’s Lobby Group (ZNWL) wants to change this through a campaign dubbed "50 percent of women and men in leadership for equitable development."

Zimbabwe: ICC must prosecute Mugabe youths' rape campaign


The International Criminal Court must probe alleged crimes against humanity after Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s youth militia launched a campaign of rape during 2008 elections, a campaign group says. Witness statements by rape victims, vetted by a team of international lawyers, suggest the ruling ZANU-PF unleashed “sexual terror” against women who supported the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), it said.

Human rights

Botswana: Bushmen lose right to Kalahari water well


San bushmen in Botswana have lost a court case to allow them to re-open a vital waterhole in the centre of the Kalahari desert. Diamonds were found in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, traditional home to the bushmen, in the 1980s - and the government asked them to leave.

Ethiopia: No internal civil society submissions to UNHRC review


In its report to the Human Rights Committee, the government of Ethiopia states that “to promote the operation of charities and societies and to ensure their transparency and accountability, a Proclamation for Registration and Regulation of Charities and Societies has been issued and is effective now.” This proclamation helped Ethiopian authorities strangle the country’s independent human rights organisations.

Gambia: Global Day of Action


Amnesty International is calling on the Gambian government to end its widespread use of arbitrary detentions and torture as activists worldwide stage protests against the authorities' appalling human rights record on 22 July, the country's national holiday known as "Freedom Day".

Global: Columbia to host human rights defenders

2010 Human Rights Advocates Program


On Monday, August 30th, the Institute for the Study of Human Rights (ISHR) at Columbia University will welcome 10 human rights activists as the 22nd cohort of the Human Rights Advocates Program (HRAP). The intensive HRAP curriculum is defined by academic coursework, skills-building workshops and networking opportunities with the human rights communities in New York and Washington, DC. By the time the advocates complete the program in mid-December, they will have acquired the knowledge, skills and connections necessary to further develop themselves as human rights professionals and their organizations back home.

Global: Left out twice: Living with HIV and disabilities


"I'm a woman with a disability. I am HIV-positive and I am on ARVs (antiretroviral drugs). My life is very hard." These were the first words Immaculate, a 52-year-old landmine survivor in northern Uganda, said to me when I met her in May. "It took long for me to declare my status. I felt I should just die," she said. Margaret is another Ugandan with HIV who also has an amputated leg from a landmine accident.

Global: The Netherlands: Do not deport Somalis


The Dutch government should immediately halt all plans to return Somalis to war-torn Somalia, Human Rights Watch has said. The Dutch authorities have announced their intention to deport, between now and October 2010, at least eight Somalis whose claims for asylum have been rejected. The first deportation could take place as early as July 24. The plan is contrary to UN refugee guidelines, which advise against all deportations to south-central Somalia.

Kenya: Man shot dead by police in Nairobi forced eviction protests


Amnesty International has urged the Kenyan authorities to investigate the death of a market trader reportedly shot dead by police during a protest against forced evictions in a Nairobi settlement. Jackson Maina Kihato, 74, was killed on Monday after he tried to complain about the police beating a woman during demonstrations in Kabete NITD. Protests have continued in the settlement since an estimated 1,000 people lost their homes and market stalls in a mass forced eviction on 10 July.

Rwanda: Call for independent autopsy of murdered critic


Rwanda's government should allow independent experts to carry out an autopsy on a murdered opposition politician, Human Rights Watch says. The US-based group says there are discrepancies in the official account of Andre Kagwa Rwisereka's death.

Sudan: Darfur JEM rebels sign deal to stop child soldiers


A Sudanese rebel group has signed an agreement to allow the UN access to its bases to check children are not being recruited as soldiers. The Justice and Equality Movement (Jem) told the BBC it had been trying to protect children since the beginning of the seven-year conflict in Darfur.

Refugees & forced migration

DRC: Guterres calls for 'proportionate' international aid to Equateur province


High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres has been in Kinshasa as part of a three-day visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo to draw attention to the plight of Congo's displaced people and the need to ensure humanitarian access to them. Guterres who travelled to Equateur province in western DRC, said that his agency was getting ready to re-establish a presence in the region to help the internally displaced as well as prepare for the return of refugees.

East Africa: UNHCR apologises to Uganda over comments on Rwandan refugees


The UN refugee agency apologized Tuesday to the Uganda government after it claimed it was involved in the forced repatriation of some 1700 Rwandan refugees last week, RNA reports. Uganda’s minister for disaster preparedness and refugees, Tarsis Kabwegyere, said Tuesday afternoon that UNHCR has privately apologised for its inaccurate statements.

Somaliland: Clashes displace thousands


Several thousand people in northern Somalia have been displaced in recent weeks by clashes between Somaliland troops and a new rebel group, according to local and UN sources. The armed group is called Sool, Sanaag and Cayn (SSC) after the regions it hopes to “liberate” from the government of Somaliland, a northwestern region which unilaterally declared independence in 1991. No country formally recognizes Somaliland’s statehood.

Social movements

Africa: Africa Youth Forum 2010


From 17 to 19 July 2010 in Uganda, more than 120 delegates from across the continent, joined by President of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and other participants, attended the African Youth Forum (AYF) in the city of Entebbe, near Kampala, the capital. The Forum is the first-ever official gathering of young people in conjunction with the 15th African Union Summit, taking place 25–27 July in the capital.

Emerging powers news

Emerging Powers in Africa News Round-up


In this week's emerging powers in Africa round-up, a big shift in trade relations is taking shape across Africa, China's Liu Zhenmin meets AU Chairman Ping, India targets more links in Africa’s food supply chain, World Cup lends South Africa confidence to unite continent, and NGOs slam EU-Brazil plans to develop biofuels in Africa.

Elections & governance

Nigeria: Senate moves presidential vote forward to January


Nigeria's Senate has voted to move up general elections to January, pressuring President Goodluck Jonathan's ruling party to resolve a split between the mainly Christian south and majority Muslim north. The House of Representatives must still approve the new election rules after the Senate decided on Wednesday to change the constitution to allow for a January vote in the world's eighth-largest oil exporter. Senators voted through a proposal to hold the general election "not earlier than 150 days and not later than 120 days before the expiration of term of office," of either the president or a state governor.

Nigeria: Wole Soyinka to launch new political party


Nigerian Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka has announced plans to launch a new political party after years of harshly criticising corruption and mismanagement in the oil-rich nation. In brief comments at an event to commemorate the renowned writer’s 76th birthday, Nigeria’s only Nobel laureate said he hoped to form a party of “progressives” to contest elections expected early next year.

West Africa: Border dispute referred to UN World Court


The West African countries of Burkina Faso and Niger have submitted a dispute over their common border to the United Nations International Court of Justice (ICJ) as part of a wider agreement by the two States to resolve the situation peacefully. In a joint letter, the ICJ – which is also known as the World Court – has been asked to delineate the border between the two nations from the Tong-Tong marker to the start of the Botou bend.

Zimbabwe: ZANU-PF says 2011 election is inevitable


Zanu-PF says there is “no reason” for Zimbabwe not to hold elections in 2011, but analysts believe the polls could be much later over demands for more reforms to guarantee a free and fair vote. President Robert Mugabe, 86, was forced into a power-sharing pact with rivals Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara more than a year ago after a crisis over a 2008 national election that local and foreign observers say was marred by violence and vote-rigging.


East Africa: Burundi most corrupt bribe index shows


Burundi is east Africa's most corrupt nation according to an anti-graft watchdog, while Kenya, which usually tops Transparency International's (TI) annual list of graft-prone countries in the region, was third. Burundi and neighbouring Rwanda were included in the East African Bribery Index survey 2010, commissioned by TI-Kenya for the first time this year.

East Africa: Rwanda has negligible corruption - Transparency


Incidents of bribery in Rwanda are negligible, anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International says. Rwanda, which has been striving to rebuild itself following the 1994 genocide, was by far the least corrupt country in East Africa. Rwanda and its neighbour Burundi were included in the East African Bribery survey for the first time.


Africa: Agriculture records 5 pc growth rate despite challenges


Despite the various challenges confronting the agricultural sector in Africa, most countries in the continent have recorded a five per cent agriculture growth rate in the last 10 years, according to the Executive Secretary of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), Monty Jones. 'Actually when you look back in the last 50 years, a number of African countries were exporting their agricultural produce; somewhere along the line, we saw a drop in agricultural activities and it was stagnant,' Jones told journalists during a news briefing on the sideline of the fifth African Agriculture Science week.

Africa: Bullish about the agricultural future


Suddenly, after 20 years of relative neglect, African agriculture is a hot topic, with a substantial growth in production and a new interest among major donors in funding the sector. That is the message emerging from a series of seminars now taking place in London looking at the constraints and opportunities facing Africa’s farmers.

Africa: Civil society groups call for removal of trade barriers


Participants at the on-going Fifth African Agriculture Science week, which entered its third day on Wednesday, want all the stakeholders including political leaders to develop func tional policies that will encourage more intra-Africa trade. The participants, who include civil society groups from within and outside Afric a involved in agriculture, farmers group and non-governmental organizations, said existing protocol on free movement of goods and persons, particularly in ECOWAS countries and other Regional Economic Communities (REC), needed to be fully implemented.

Africa: Rapid losses of native livestock threaten food supply


Urgent action is needed to stop the rapid and alarming loss of genetic diversity of African livestock that provide food and in come to 70 per cent of rural Africans, according to an analysis presented at a gathering of African scientists and development experts here.

Congo: France to write off 645.7 million euro debt


The Congolese Minister of Finance, Budget and Public Portfolio, Gilbert Ondongo, and the French Ambassador to Congo, Jean-François Valette has signed an agreement under which France will write off Congolese debts of 645.7 million euros (or 424 billion FCFA), a French official statement said. France, which has pledged to write off all of Congolese debts, will write off 33 1 million euros of the total amount under the present arrangement while furthern egotiations for more debt relief will continue.

EAst Africa: EAC shelves plan to pool and share custom taxes


The East African Community (EAC) has allowed governments to run their custom services individually, ending weeks of uncertainty over the possible impact of the planned common tax collection on members’ revenue targets. The formation of the common market on July 1 had provided for a common revenue team to collect customs taxes from the entry points such as sea and airports and sharing it out among the five member state

Global: Time for UN to recognize human right to water and sanitation


Since the second half of the 1970s, and in particular since the first major world conference on water (organized in 1977 by the United Nations at Mar del Plata, Argentina), world leaders have been aware of the scale of the problems concerning access to water of sufficient quantity and quality, and of the risks associated with growing shortages and degradation of the supply. The Mar del Plata conference set out the basic facts and made water one of the top issues on the international political agenda. And yet the ‘water crisis’ has continued to worsen

Health & HIV/AIDS

Africa: AU Summit urged to uphold health committments


117 African Health, Social Development, Gender Based, Human Rights Organisations, and Trade Unions have written to the July 2010 15th African Union Summit of Heads of State holding in Uganda - urging governments to uphold, improve and urgently implement African and global health and social development financing commitments.

Global: AIDS prevention: Love smart, play safe


When Omar, an 18 year-old Moroccan college student, fell in love with his classmate Salma, he felt nervous about broaching the use of condoms with her. It was his first time having sexual relations and he feared that she might question his fidelity. “I was afraid she would be angry if I suggested we use a condom,” he said. “I was afraid of losing her – so afraid that I thought of giving up the whole idea of using a condom.”

Global: Starting ARV treatment early reduces deaths - Study


A New England Journal of Medicine study has revealed that early initiation of antiretroviral treatment could reduce death rates and the Tuberculosis incidence.

Kenya: Citizens' right to affordable drugs in hands of court


Kenya’s Constitutional Court is due to set a date on Jul 22 for a hearing on the application against the Anti-Counterfeit Act of 2008, of which clauses pertaining to medicines have been suspended pending the court’s decision on whether the law violates the right to health and life.

Kenya: HIV strain among gays same as strain in heterosexuals


Because of societal pressure and the criminality associated with men who have sex with men (MSM) in Kenya, Omondi Maina* married a woman. This is despite being involved in a homosexual relationship for the last 10 years. And Maina is not the only gay man in Kenya having sexual intercourse with both a homosexual man and heterosexual woman. New research has found that the strain of HIV among gays in Kenya is 100 percent similar to the HIV strain found in heterosexuals in the country. It is unlike the clearly defined strains of HIV found among homosexuals and heterosexuals in most countries.

South Africa: AIDS funds fall flat


Global funding for AIDS efforts fell flat during last year’s economic meltdown, ending a six-year streak of annual donation increases, according to new analysis released this week. Overall, financial support for international HIV/AIDS assistance fell more than 1 percent to R64,2 billion (US $7.6 billion) in 2009, from R65 billion (US$7.7 billion) the previous year, according to a report from Kaiser Family Foundation and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS. The report measured donations from the Group of Eight most industrialized nations, European Commission and other donor governments to low- and moderate-income countries, and noted difficulties interpreting real value as reporting cycles and currency fluctuated.

South Africa: Female condoms missing during World Cup


Female condoms have been widely celebrated as an answer to putting reproductive health and HIV protection in the hands of women. Yet, the South African government fell far short of its promise of distributing 7.5 million female condoms during the World Cup, with only 1 million finding their way into the hands of consumers. On the other hand, male condoms were available in high numbers - 565 million - though even these were 20% fewer than expected.

South Africa: KZN to go ahead with controversial circumcision clamp


KwaZulu-Natal is committed to a massive male circumcision drive using all available medical methods including the controversial Tara Klamp, according to Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo. Circumcised men are up to 60 percent less likely to get HIV than uncircumcised men, according to studies.

South Africa: Massive leap forward for HIV prevention


In one of the biggest advances in HIV prevention in decades, a vaginal gel containing an antiretroviral drug has been proven to protect almost four out of 10 women from HIV. A study of almost 900 HIV negative women from KwaZulu-Natal found that there was a 39% lower HIV incidence rate in the group that used the gel containing tenofovir. This ARV-containing gel (known as a microbicide) could save over 800,000 lives and prevent 1.3 million new HIV infections over the next two decades in South Africa alone, according to statistician Brian Williams.

South Africa: Tackling TB in HIV patients


In just ten years the HIV/Aids infection rate in South Africa has jumped from one per cent of the population to one-third. Seventy per cent of HIV patients are also infected with tuberculosis, which is now the biggest cause of natural death in the country. But doctors say better treatment and education could wipe out the completely curable infection altogether. Al Jazeera's Rosie Garthwaite reports from Khayelitsha township.

Southern Africa: Malawi records 25,000 cases of measles, 120 deaths


Over 25,000 cases of measles and 121 deaths have been recorded since the outbreak of the highly-contagious disease was reported in Malawi in February. Director of Preventive Health Services, Dr. Storn Kabuluzi, said the disease was still spreading but government was doing all it could to contain it.

Uganda: Fixing Africa's sanitation will reduce child mortality


For African countries to achieve the Millennium Develop ment Goals (MDGs), it is important to prevent deaths resulting from diarrhoea, which is the biggest killer of children in Africa, said Yunia Musaazi, East African policy adviser for Water Aid. 'Everyday, 2,000 African children die from diarrhoea. These deaths are preventa ble by providing safe water and maintaining sanitation,' said Musaazi, one of the panelists drawn from civil society organi sations across Africa.

Zimbabwe: 80% of young men targeted in circumcision drive


A big effort is under way to circumcise 80% of young men in Zimbabwe after a study four years ago found that the operation reduced the chance of contracting HIV by 60%. Yet the procedure is still not widely available across sub-Saharan Africa, where HIV prevalence is high, the International Aids Conference in Vienna was told.

Zimbabwe: Pregnant teens shun treatment for fear of stigmatisation


At a local maternity clinic in one of Bulawayo’s high density suburbs, midwives are at pains to explain to a pregnant 15-year-old girl why she must be tested for HIV before she gives birth. But the teenager, who lightly beats her chest in an effort to pacify what seems like a painful cough, will not hear of it. She is afraid that her worst fears will be confirmed as she already suspects she could be HIV-positive.


Africa: 2010 Distinguished Africanist Awards


Professor N’Dri Assie-Lumumba and Professor Tukumbi Lumumba-Kasongo were awarded, each separately and for their respective scholarship, the 2010 Distinguished Africanist Award offered by the New York State African Studies Association (NYASA) on March 27, 2010 at NYASA’s Annual Conference at SUNY Binghamton on the theme of "GLOBAL-AFRICA, GLOBAL-ASIA: Africa and Asia in the Age of Globalization."


Global: ECOSOC opens the UN to LGBT voices


On 19 July 2010, the UN's Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) withdrew consultative status from one NGO (General Federation of Iraqi Women) and suspended two others (Interfaith International and Centre Europe-tiers monde or CETIM), each for two years. However, the issue that dominated the ECOSOC meeting was a draft decision the US submitted, which sought to grant consultative status to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC). Statements in support of the US proposal dominated the lengthy discussion, with only Egypt and Russia speaking aginst it. At the request of Saudi Arabia, the US proposal went to a vote and was adopted by a comfortable margin (23 in favour, 13 opposed, 13 abstentions).

Global: World Directory of LGBTI and allied organizations launched


ILGA is launching a world Directory of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex organizations accessible through its website This service which lists ILGA member groups as well as non members also includes trade unions, women’s or human rights organizations in an attempt to create bridges with NGOs which are not working specifically on LGBTI rights but include or support this agenda. ILGA’s membership includes for example the city of Barcelona and Amsterdam or multi-million member global trade union Public Services International.


Africa: Eco-Lens At Durban International Film Festival


Filmmakers are key agents in keeping a watchful eye on not just on social and political issues but on environmental abuse that often slips unobtrusively into our daily lives. A number of films at this year’s Durban International Film Festival conscientise us about the need for integrated approaches to development, and the threats to human ecology and environmental balance.

Land & land rights

DRC: Huge gold mine to open, displacing 15,000


Mining firm Randgold Resources says it is to begin mining Africa's largest undeveloped gold deposit - in eastern DR Congo. The mine will require the re-location of 15,000 people, but Randgold says the project has the support of the government and the local community. The mine is thought to have a reserve of about 320 tonnes of gold, it says.

North Africa: Algeria allows farmland leases for first time


Algeria has adopted a law which will allow private firms for the first time to lease state-owned farmland but it also imposed restrictions on foreign investment. Gulf investors have shown an interest in Algerian farmland, part of a global trend for countries with large cash reserves to try to secure food supplies by targeting farmland abroad.

Food Justice

West Africa: Niger on the brink of collapse


In Niger 90% of the population depend on Agriculture. But with last year’s rain failure, the country is facing a catastrophic food crisis. Concern Worldwide, an international aid agency, is tackling the crisis by providing drought resistant seeds, distributing cash through mobile phone technology and using local food markets to provide aid. All this makes for a unique approach towards humanitarian aid.

West Africa: The Sahel's nutrition revolution


Food shortages and high rates of malnutrition have long been a reality in the Sahel, but the understanding of malnutrition has drastically changed since the prolonged drought in the early 1970s. "Food and nutrition used to be seen as one, so the response to malnutrition was through food security; we started talking about nutrition security relatively recently.

Media & freedom of expression

Africa: Calls to make journalism safer


The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and some 37 journalists' unions and association are pressing government leaders attending the 15th African Union Summit in Kampala, Uganda, to make safety of African journalists a priority for the African Union. In a letter to AU leaders the unions, led by the IFJ African regional body the Federation of African Journalists, welcomed the declaration by African leaders to designate 2010 as the "Year of Peace and Security in Africa".

Cote d'Ivoire: Jailed trio charged; ailing reporter on hunger strike


Three journalists were formally charged after refusing to reveal to Ivory Coast's state prosecutor their sources for a corruption story based on a document leaked from the prosecutor's office. The journalists could face up to 10 years in prison. Managing Editor Stéphane Guédé, News Editor Théophile Kouamouo, and Editor-in-Chief Saint-Claver Oula of the daily Le Nouveau Courrier were charged with "theft of administrative documents," defense lawyer Désiré Gueu told CPJ. The three are expected to be transferred from police custody to a prison in the commercial city of Abidjan pending trial, he said.

Guinea: Radio journalist stabbed by armed men


Colleagues of a radio journalist who was attacked by unknown assailants on 16 July 2010 are suspecting the military of being behind the attack. "Mansaré must have been a victim of an action carried out by persons hostile to his reports possibly, it is a settlement of scores," according to a colleague of Mansaré who spoke to the Media Foundation for West Africa's (MFWA) correspondent in Guinea on condition of anonymity.

Nigeria: Kidnapped journalists released


The four journalists and their driver who had been abducted on 11 July 2010 by gunmen in Aba, Abia State, in southeastern Nigeria, were released on 18 July at about 1:30 am (local time) by their captors. The chairman of the Lagos State Council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr. Wahab Oba, said they were dropped off by the gunmen at a bush path in Ukpakiri in the state and had to wait till about 6:00 am before walking to the local market where they met an unnamed community leader who took them to a police station. He said the sum of N3 million (US$20,000) was taken from them.

South Africa: Markets and media worry over information bill


South Africa's parliament is considering an information bill the government says will better protect secrets but critics fear could hamper access to market-sensitive data and muzzle media investigations. The Protection of Information Bill sets guidelines for classifying state information as well as creating a legislative framework for the government to combat espionage and other hostile activities.

Swaziland: Swazi journalists threatened with death


On 21 July 2010 Swazi traditional authorities threatened Swazi journalists with death if they continued to write stories considered by the authorities as undermining the country's leadership and system of government. The death warning came from Prince Mahlaba, brother to King Mswati III and also a member of the King's advisory council, the Swazi National Council Standing Committee (SNC), which is a highly influential body in Swazi politics.

Zimbabwe: Journalists denounce licensing requirements


Journalists and media organisations have denounced the move by the Securities Commission of Zimbabwe (SEC) to register financial journalists as securities investor advisers in terms of the Securities Act of 2004. In terms of Statutory Instrument 100/200 which put into force the Securities Act, financial journalists are required to pay a license fee of $2 000 by 31 December 2010. Media practitioners argue that this would result in over-regulation of media practitioners. Media organisations argued that financial journalists who report and analyse securities such as stocks, bonds, bills and others are already accredited by the statutory Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC).

Conflict & emergencies

Africa: Mediating peace in Africa: Securing conflict prevention


How can the African Union's mediation and conflict prevention mechanisms be strengthened? This seminar report assesses the evolving African peace and security architecture and presents five key recommendations for its future development. It argues that the AU's partnerships should be strengthened, mediation work institutionalised, early warning systems established, lesson-learning institutionalised and that civil society should become more involved in mediation processes.

Nigeria: Resurgent violence leaves 7 dead


Resurgent violence on the outskirts of Nigeria's central city of Jos has left seven persons dead and 10 others injured, the official News Agency of Nigeria reported. The report said several houses were also burnt in the attack on the sleepy and mountainous ville of Maza, in the Jos Nioorth council area.

Somalia: Heavy fighting close to president's palace


Although this morning started with relative serenity, residents in Mogadishu’s eastern districts witnessed some of the most intensive confrontations in the past months. Clashes between fighters loyal to Al-Shabaab, the most radical Islamist group opposing the Transitional Federal Government, and the pro-government forces that included the peacekeepers serving the African Union Mission in Somalia, Amisom, have been extremely heavy in the last three days.

Somalia: IGAD army chiefs write up deployment details for AU approval


Defence chiefs of staff of the Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) have finalized a detailed plan on the deployment of 2,000 troops to Somalia, according to a press release issued in Addis Ababa. It said at the end of their three-day meeting, the military chiefs and architects from member countries of the East African grouping deliberated on the creation of a central command for Somali security forces; who should contribute what and how many of the troops; when they should be ready for deployment; how and when the African Union (AU) should provide the logistics the forces need; and the establishment of a Joint Command.

Sudan: Post-referendum fears for Southern Sudan


The January 2011 referendum in Southern Sudan will mark a turning point for the region and could see the formation of Africa's newest state, but how will the south fare after the vote? A report commissioned by the non-profit organization Pact Sudan and conducted by the London School of Economics in several of Southern Sudan's states (Eastern Equatoria, Greater Bahr el-Ghazal and Upper Nile), highlights issues that pose a threat to peace and security in Southern Sudan.

Sudan: Strengthen civilian protection in Darfur - UN


Intensified fighting between the Sudanese government and rebel forces in 2010 has caused many hundreds of deaths and mass displacements in Darfur and should prompt the United Nations to ensure that international peacekeepers strengthen protection for civilians, Human Rights Watch said today. The UN Security Council is expected to renew the mandate of the Darfur peacekeeping mission in late July 2010.

Internet & technology

East Africa: 3rd Uganda National Internet Governance Forum


The third National internet Governance forum was held in Kampala on 14th/July/2010 at Imperial Royale Hotel. It was organized by I-network, CIPESSA and WOUGNET in collaboration with Uganda Communications Commission(UCC) and the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MoICT). Its purpose was to prepare for the forthcoming East African Internet Governance forum scheduled for 11th to 13th August 2010.

eNewsletters & mailing lists

Africa: Multilingual education pays off

AfricaFocus Bulletin Jul 20, 2010 (100720)


"Africa is the only continent where the majority of children start school using a foreign language. Across Africa the idea persists that the international languages of wider communication (Arabic, English, French, Portuguese and Spanish) are the only means for upward economic mobility. .. [But] New research findings are increasingly pointing to the negative consequences of these policies ... We recommend that policy and practice in Africa nurture multilingualism; primarily a mother-tongue-based one with an appropriate and required space for international languages of wider communication." - Adama Ouane, Director, UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning

Courses, seminars, & workshops

2010-2011 African Humanities Program Fellowship Competition

American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS)


The African Humanities Program at the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), with financial support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, announces competitions for:
• Early career postdoctoral fellowships in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania,
Uganda, and South Africa
• Dissertation completion fellowships in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda (there are no dissertation fellowships in South Africa)
Both fellowships provide one year of support for research and writing to scholars based on the continent and affiliated with institutions of higher learning in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, and South Africa. Scholars working in any humanistic discipline normally supported by the ACLS are encouraged to apply.

Global: Peace and Conflict Studies: The Foundation Course

University of Peace


The University for Peace (UPEACE) is pleased offering the online course on “Peace and Conflict Studies; The Foundation Course”. This is a 10 weeks course, from 4 October to 10 December 2010. The course will be delivered by UPEACE faculty members: Dr. Amr Abdalla and Dr. Victoria Fontan. This course is offered for 3 academic credits or for a UPEACE training certificate. It focuses on understanding the complex and interconnected challenges to peace, as well as the need for different approaches to meeting these challenges.

Southern Africa: Practical financial management for NGOs

Getting the basics right



Mango's mission is to help NGOs working around the world to strengthen their financial management and accountability. We are widely respected as the leading specialists in our field and recently received one of the UK's most prestigious awards at the Annual Charity Awards 2009. This particular course provides a practical introduction to financial management for managers and finance officers of small to medium sized NGOs. It covers ‘the building blocks’ of financial management: keeping accounts, financial planning, internal control and financial monitoring. The course is 5 days long and non-residential, and will be offered to NGO staff in South Africa and Zambia during August and September 2010. We are also offering a few scholarships to poorly-resourced local NGOs - more details here

Southern Africa: Strategic financial management for NGOs

Managing for financial sustainability



Mango's mission is to help NGOs working around the world to strengthen their financial management and accountability. We are widely respected as the leading specialists in our field and recently received one of the UK's most prestigious awards at the Annual Charity Awards 2009. This particular course is aimed at senior managers and those responsible for strategic management, including maintaining the financial continuity and security of their NGOs. The workshop focuses on strategic financial management challenges, such as financing strategies for sustainability, building reserves, financing core costs and managing donor relationships. The course is 5 days long and non-residential, and will be offered to NGO staff in South Africa and Zambia during August and September 2010. We are also offering a few scholarships to poorly-resourced local NGOs - more details here


Human Rights and Conflict Transformation: The Challenges of Just Peace

9th Berghof Handbook Dialogue


The latest and 9th Berghof Handbook Dialogue, entitled: "Human Rights and Conflict Transformation: The Challenges of Just Peace". (Edited by Véronique Dudouet and Beatrix Schmelzle. Berlin: Berghof Conflict Research, 2010.) Contributors to this Dialogue aim to go beyond the divide and polarising language of “peace versus justice” in order to gain a clearer understanding of the potential – and limits – of bringing together human rights and conflict transformation in specific contexts.

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