Pambazuka News 509: Post-election crisis in Cote d'Ivoire
The authoritative electronic weekly newsletter and platform for social justice in Africa
Pambazuka News (English edition): ISSN 1753-6839
CONTENTS: 1. Features, 2. Comment & analysis, 3. Advocacy & campaigns, 4. Letters & Opinions, 5. African Writers’ Corner, 6. Highlights French edition, 7. Cartoons, 8. Women & gender, 9. Human rights, 10. Refugees & forced migration, 11. Social movements, 12. Africa labour news, 13. Emerging powers news, 14. Africom Watch, 15. Elections & governance, 16. Corruption, 17. Development, 18. Health & HIV/AIDS, 19. Education, 20. LGBTI, 21. Racism & xenophobia, 22. Environment, 23. Land & land rights, 24. Food Justice, 25. Media & freedom of expression, 26. Conflict & emergencies, 27. Internet & technology, 28. eNewsletters & mailing lists, 29. Fundraising & useful resources, 30. Courses, seminars, & workshops
Highlights from this issue
WOMEN AND GENDER: Urgent need to end political violence against women in Zimbabwe, says report
HUMAN RIGHTS: UN stifled 2004 report on Ivory Coast death squads
REFUGEES AND FORCED MIGRATION: Urban refugee women depend on ingenuity for survival
EMERGING POWERS NEWS: The latest edition of the emerging powers newsletter
ELECTIONS AND GOVERNANCE: Egyptian president should dissolve Parliament, says Independent Coalition for Elections' Observation; AU backs talks not sanctions in Ivory Coast
CORRUPTION: Bribery charges filed against Cheney
DEVELOPMENT: What role does Sudan’s external debt have on a possible succession?
HEALTH AND HIV/AIDS: New test to transform TB treatment
LGBTI: Public threaten to lynch suspected homosexuals; LGBTI members harassed in Zimbabwe
ENVIRONMENT: Talks end in Cancun with compromise
LAND AND LAND RIGHTS: Senegal in land lease talks with Saudi Arabia
MEDIA AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION: WikiLeaks exposes a wake up call for the powerful
CONFLICT AND EMERGENCIES: Sudan government says SLA a target
INTERNET AND TECHNOLOGY: In search of a low-bandwidth Skype
PLUS…e-newsletter; Fundraising and Useful Resources; Courses, Seminars and Workshops.
A critical look at the Ivorian post-election crisis
Cote d’Ivoire: Laurent Gbagbo must respect voters’ wishes
Hope and caution in Somaliland
Three months after the presidential elections, where are we?
Steve Kibble and Michael Walls
Obiang: The sham humanitarian
Abena Ampofoa Asare
Human rights, livelihoods and Ubuntu for the 21st century
Ethiopia's tangled web of lies
Alemayehu G. Mariam
Haitian diary: SOPUDEP and local organisation
Youth, leadership and nonviolence
A global education imperative
Intellectual property: Pharmaceuticals, public health and subtle exploitation
John Christensen and Khadija Sharife
Africa’s failings and the global system
World Forum for Alternatives: Network of networks
Climate loans threaten rerun of Copenhagen
Carbon sinking: West emits while the Third World sinks?
Maurice O. Odhiambo
When will South Africa treat women with respect?
‘Odinga should apologise over anti-gay statements’
Human Rights vs Human Wrongs
Life imitates art in Zimbabwe
Brazil: Afro-descendents celebrated while racist school book distributed
Outside help: The true cost of consultants
Kenya: How funeral announcements tell what tribes we are
25 years of COSATU
Lesbian, gay, transgender, intersex and bisexual people say halala to COSATU!
Lesbian and Gay Equality Project
Outraged about brutal murder of young lesbian, Ncumisa Mzamelo
Forum for the Empowerment of Women
Kennedy 12 Trial: Five Nil to Abahlali baseMjondolo
Abahlali baseMjondolo press statement, Friday, 3 December 2010
Sign-on letter to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Sponsored by AGRA Watch/Community Alliance for Global Justice & La Via Campesina North America
Political instability impeding Zimbabwe’s macro-economic recovery
I am proud of Naija
Pambazuka News 170: Côte d'Ivoire: L'impossible fuite en avant de Gbagbo
Ireland a 'failed state'?
Global: UN official calls for greater attention to justice for women
Access to justice for women is often not given enough attention in both national and international judicial systems, a United Nations official has said, adding that the newly-created UN entity for women will play an important role in promoting justice for women especially in post-conflict situations. 'Justice for women is still an afterthought,' said Anne Marie Goetz, the Chief Advisor on Governance, Peace and Security of the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) at a news conference at UN headquarters to highlight a report by the Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice, an international non-governmental organisation, on gender issues at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Senegal: Experts focus on Fistula at international event
A new set of priorities for the global fight against obstetric fistula will be in focus as specialists from around the world gather to discuss ways to eliminate the preventable childbirth injury. 'There are more than 2 million women living with obstetric fistula in the world, yet there are not enough skilled surgeons to operate on them,' says Dr. Serigne Gueye, a leading fistula expert and one of the organisers of the Third Annual Conference of the International Society of Obstetric Fistula Surgeons (ISOFS) that will take place in Dakar from 7 to 9 December.
Sierra Leone: Searching for solutions to maternal mortality
The Western African country of Sierra Leone is gradually emerging from a protracted civil war, which poses unique problems for mothers-to-be. In 2009, Amnesty International named the maternal mortality rate in Sierra Leone a 'human rights emergency', which at 1/8 is one of the highest in the world. But recent changes in policy and support from NGOs like Life for African Mothers have increased the potential for markedly improving maternal and child health.
South Africa: Gender body names and shames firms
The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) has taken a hardline stance against Great Basin Gold, among the firms that tried to wriggle out of a summons to explain the slow pace of gender transformation in their operations. In an unprecedented show of strength, the CGE threatened legal sanctions against the gold mining company should it fail to make an appearance before the commission.
Tanzania: Mass FGM ceremonies planned
While Tanzania outlawed female genital mutilation (FGM) in 1998, mass FGM ceremonies are still going on, in particular in the November-January season. Activists expect over 5,000 girls to be cut 'this holiday season'. The government of Tanzania passed a law prohibiting FGM in 1998 and yet reports indicate that during the current holiday season, about 250 girls have already been cut and over 5,000 girls are at risk of being genitally mutilated in Tarime district of Tanzania’s Mara Region alone.
Uganda: 120 Sabiny girls circumcised
Some cried. Some were confused. They looked on in disbelief as a local female surgeon tried in vain thrice, probably using a very blunt knife, to cut off a girl’s clitoris. Once cut, the girl was pushed aside. Then seven other girls were circumcised. The eight are part of over 120 girls who have been mutilated in Sebei region since the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) season kicked off in Sebei in eastern Uganda. The government passed a law prohibiting FGM in December 2009 but nobody in the FGM areas seems to care.
Uganda: Farm schools engage women and men in violence prevention
Studies carried out in the north of Uganda point towards a strong correlation between food insecurity and incidences of violence. Unable to feed their families, men often turn to risky coping behaviours like alcohol or drug abuse, while women may resort to sex in exchange for food and other goods. Disagreements on how to manage limited household food supplies frequently escalate into violence as well. The Food and Agriculture Organisation's Farmer Field and Life Schools initiative aims to help address the root causes of gender-based violence.
Zimbabwe: Political violence against women in Zimbabwe
A report by Idasa (Institute for Democracy in Africa), the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) and the Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) recommends that there is an imperative need to end political violence generally in Zimbabwe, and the risks to women (and the families that they care for) require urgent attention by the government and the political parties, not least for the purpose of promoting non-violent elections. It also states that indications about the extent of politically motivated rape require urgent attention from the government.
Africa: UN stifled report on Ivory Coast ‘death squads’
The United Nations Security Council suppressed a 2004 secret report detailing the abuses of Ivory Coast death squads for fear of disrupting the nation's fragile 'peace process' and upsetting the government of President Laurent Gbagbo. This revelation proves especially damning in light of the country’s current electoral crisis marked by the resurrection of these Gestapo forces that have brutalised the opposition, as Gbagbo, who was defeated in the recent Presidential runoff a few weeks ago, refuses to cede power. The report was suppressed at the insistence of South Africa’s former president, Thabo Mbeki, who was heavily involved in peace negotiations and has recently returned in the same failing role.
Kenya: Judge suspends statement taking on Kenya chaos
The process of statement taking from security chiefs has been suspended, meaning the Kenya chaos case will now be filed without their testimony. Judge Kalpana Rawal put the process on hold Tuesday to await the outcome of an application filed by the security bosses' lawyers at The Hague. The lawyers want assurances from the ICC that any evidence provided by their clients will not be used against them as the court's prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo puts together his case on post election violence.
Madagascar: US expresses concern over human rights
The United States is worried about a 'considerable deterioration' in press and other freedoms in Madagascar. A sharply worded critique by the US Embassy expressed concern about 'the constant harassment of political dissidents and journalists' on the Indian Ocean island. The statement also referred to reports of arbitrary arrests and mistreatment of suspects linked to a failed military mutiny last month.
Namibia: Impunity at root of human rights problems
The NamRights 2010 human rights report for Namibia notes that experience has 'strongly shown' that a systematic disregard for the democracy, human rights and good governance principles, rather than the absence of the law, constitutes 'the biggest root cause of the multitude of the interrelated, intertwined and interdependent civil, cultural, economic, environmental, political and social problems afflicting the Namibian people.' The report covers the period between 10 December 2009 and 10 December 2010. However, it is only an interim report deliberately released for the purposes of marking the 62nd Anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
Zambia: Al-Bashir invite draws criticism
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has expressed concern that Zambian President Rupiah Banda invited indicted Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir to participate in a regional conference scheduled for 15 December. Group spokesman Reed Brody said a majority of human rights groups across Africa have expressed displeasure over the invitation. 'We are hoping that this report is not correct and, if it is, we are hoping that the president of Zambia will eventually think better of it.'
Zimbabwe: The experience of violence by Zimbabwean women
African democracy institute Idasa, with the Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU), the International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) and the Women's Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ) have conducted research on Zimbabwean women's views on transitional justice, looking at how women in that country have been affected by the elections, the inclusive government, transitional justice mechanisms and law enforcement, amongst other topics. The research was based on a survey of more than 2,000 woman, as well as discussion groups on the research finding.
Egypt: The risks to migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers in Egypt and Israel
In this 90-page report, Human Rights Watch called on Egypt to halt the use of lethal force against border crossers and all deportations of persons to countries where they risk persecution or ill-treatment. Israel should halt forced returns of migrants to Egypt, where they face military court trials and possible unlawful deportation to their countries of origin. Both countries should respect the rights of persons seeking asylum.
Global: Urban women refugees need ingenuity for survival
Making ends meet is often difficult and dangerous for refugees living in cities, where paying rent and buying food can be a daily struggle and finding work is complicated. Most host countries do not allow refugees to work legally, so people find themselves forced to take jobs that pay 'under the table'. Refugees with no legal protection risk exploitation and abuse by their employers. Until recently, the international community has largely overlooked the needs of refugees in urban settings. Today, more than half of the world's 10.5 million refugees live in cities and towns, as compared to one-third who live in camps.
Kenya: Stop deportations to war-torn Somalia
The Kenyan government should immediately stop deporting Somali nationals to war-torn Somalia and make a public commitment to protect and help them, Human Rights Watch has said. The Kenyan authorities deported almost 300 Somalis to south-central Somalia on 15, 29 and 30 November 2010, in violation of international law. Credible sources and witnesses to the deportations on 29 and 30 November told Human Rights Watch that police in the Kenyan border town of Liboi used pickup trucks to drive 130 Somali asylum seekers back to the Somali border.
Nigeria: Simmering tensions cause new displacement in the 'middle belt'
In early 2010, unresolved conflicts and simmering tensions between different social and ethnic groups led to renewed displacement in the city of Jos in the heart of the 'middle belt' region of Nigeria. As in the rest of the country, no clear figures on the number of internally displaced people (IDPs) were available for this latest incident of violence. Ad-hoc local registration exercises have hinted at the scale of displacement, but many people sought shelter and support from family and friends and so were not counted, says a December report form the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.
South Africa: Deadline for Zimbabweans won’t be extended
The 31 December deadline for Zimbabwean immigrants to apply for the necessary permits to allow them to stay in the country will not be extended, Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has said. Zimbabweans in South Africa who attempted to register for business, study or work permits after the deadline would not be processed, she said, speaking in Pretoria after meeting representatives of the Zimbabwe Stakeholder Forum.
South Africa: Low standards at De Doorns safety site
A report into conditions at the De Doorns safety camp, set up to house victims of xenophobic violence in the Western Cape town, has found that conditions did not meet international guidelines for disaster victims. 'Too often have the narratives surrounding the xenophobic attacks in De Doorns centred around the causes of the attacks, which has inadvertently lent some legitimacy to the an underlying opinion that xenophobic violence is justified in some cases, for some causes. This, in turn, seems to have given rise to the sentiment that the victims of these xenophobic attacks are not entitled to the same rights and assistance as other disaster victims.'
South Africa: Photo gallery shows unseen side of human trafficking in South Africa
The International Organisation for Migration in South Africa has launched 'Spaces, Places & Faces...the Unseen Side of Human Trafficking' a virtual photo gallery containing photographs with accompanying narratives that capture the trafficking story in pictures. The gallery features true stories and pictures of four women who became victims of human trafficking in South African after being deceived with offers of a better life by their traffickers.
South Africa: Violence, exploitation fail to dissuade female migrants
The findings of an ongoing study being conducted by the Domestic Workers Research Project (DWRP) at the University of the Western Cape confirm that migrant domestic workers suffer arduous working conditions for low wages and are often sequestered behind their employers’ high walls, cut off from family and friends for long periods. 'The regulations that they lay down for you is not to bring anyone on the premises. I felt sometimes like I was in a prison cell,' said Hester Stephens, president of the South African Domestic Workers and Allied Workers Union (SADSAWU).
Yemen: Agencies scramble to help stranded migrants
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and humanitarian partners are scrambling to help over 3,000 African migrants stranded at the Yemeni border with Saudi Arabia, where 30 migrants have died in recent weeks. 'We are seeing a dramatic increase in migrants needing help,' IOM Senior Operations Officer Bill Lorenz said in a press release on 3 December. 'Over the past week, the number of migrants being referred to IOM has jumped to about 76 a day.'
South Africa: Up to 500 people left homeless in Cape Town fire
Abahlali baseMjondolo Western Cape press statement
'We do not accept that shack fires are natural disasters. Shack fires are the result of the social abandonment of the poor. We will continue to politicise shack fires and we will continue to fight for our full social inclusion in this society.'
South Africa: Will Cosatu stand the test of time?
As workers celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), the whisper of 'back to basics' is gaining momentum, writes Ebrahim-Khalil Hassen. 'COSATU faces significant challenges in its continued long-term role. These challenges include an older union membership, new forms of economic activity that make organising difficult as well as a more fluid environment with a multiplicity of voices on public policy issues. Thus, COSATU needs new forms of membership that it can utilise to mobilise sections of the working class that it has not traditionally organised.'
Latest Edition: Emerging Powers News Round-Up
In this week's edition of the Emerging Powers News Round-Up, read a comprehensive list of news stories and opinion pieces related to China, India and other emerging powers.
Algeria: American general visits
US Army Africa Commander Major General David R. Hogg has praised the 'leading' role of Algeria in fighting terrorism in the Sahel region. Speaking at a 6 December press conference after his two-day visit to the country, the US military official lauded the 'impressive progress' that has been made. 'AFRICOM and the Algerian armed forces are co-operating, and that is the objective of the visit. We are here to discuss what we can learn from one another,' Hogg emphasised.
CAR: Fair elections key to stability
General elections in the Central African Republic (CAR) next year will be a crucial step towards restoring stability to the country through a democratic process, but the polls must be free, fair and transparent, the United Nations envoy to the African nation has told the Security Council. 'The UN and our international partners have provided considerable technical and financial support to the Independent Electoral Commission entrusted with the implementation of the electoral process,' said Sahle Work-Zewde, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to CAR.
Egypt: Elections a comedy against the background of rights violations
The parliamentary elections in Egypt have seen the large victory of the ruling National Democratic party (NDP), amidst massive frauds reported by election monitors and the withdrawal of the main opposition parties in the run-off. According to prominent Egyptian political analysts, the NDP’s candidate selection process was marred by internal discord and suffered lack of sophistication, as the party allowed almost 800 candidates for 508 seats, with many candidates competing against each other in 'open constituencies', while preventing party members whose candidate applications were unsuccessful from leaving the NDP to run independently.
Egypt: President should dissolve Parliament
'Serious challenges now strongly surround the legitimacy of the People's Assembly if it is formed according to the announced results of the parliamentary elections held on November 28 and December 5,' says this statement from the Independent Coalition for Elections' Observation. 'The elections were full of widespread violations that brought Egypt at least 15 years back. The elections were held in a political environment characterised by restrictions on public freedoms in a manner that does not allow for free and fair elections.'
Eritrea: Djibouti sees Eritrea President as 'lunatic'
The Foreign Minister of Djibouti, in talks with the US Embassy, called President Issaias Afwerki of neighbouring Eritrea 'a lunatic'. He also revealed Eritrea opposes any real Somali peace talks. According to US Embassy wires leaked by Wikileaks, Djibouti's Foreign Minister Mahamoud Ali Youssouf in April 2008 widely distrusted the government of neighbouring Eritrea.
Ivory Coast: AU backs talks not sanctions
The African Union does not favour sanctions for now over a disputed presidential election in Ivory coast and will instead stick to quiet diplomacy, the Union's top security official said on Sunday. A row over who won an election on 28 November has left Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa producer, in a state of paralysis with the president and his rival running parallel administrations, and many people fear an outbreak of violence. World leaders and regional bodies have recognised opposition challenger Alassane Ouattara as winner of the election on the basis of results from the election commission, which were backed by the local UN mission charged with certifying the vote.
Ivory Coast: Rival Ouattara tells Gbagbo to leave
The man widely recognised as winner of Ivory Coast's disputed presidential poll has said incumbent Laurent Gbagbo must concede power to allow for talks. A spokesman for Alassane Ouattara said he did not oppose dialogue but no talks could take place until he was recognised as president by everyone. The African Union has suspended Ivory Coast while Mr Gbagbo stays in office.
Sudan: Former rebel SPLM backs independence for south
The governing party in southern Sudan - the SPLM - has for the first time publicly backed independence for the south, ahead of next month's referendum on the issue. The statement is at odds with the terms of a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of civil war with northern Sudan. In that deal, the SPLM and the north's governing party, the NCP, agreed to work for unity.
Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai says no election without referendum
Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has said that elections could not take place in his country without reforms and a constitutional review, despite President Robert Mugabe's threat to call one next year. Tsvangirai formed a power-sharing government with Mugabe after disputed 2008 elections, and both promised to work together to reform the Constitution and organise a referendum to approve it before new elections.
Kenya: Corruption costs government dearly
The Kenyan government has said it could be losing nearly one-third of the national budget to corruption. Finance ministry officials told a parliamentary committee the losses could be nearly $4bn (£2.5bn) a year. They said individuals were taking huge sums meant for development projects.
Mali: Graft pauses Mali health aid
Three projects fighting malaria and tuberculosis in Mali have seen their international funding suspended as government found 'evidence of misappropriation and unjustified expenditure'. This was reported by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the world's dominant financier of programmes to fight these diseases.
Nigeria: Bribery charges filed against Dick Cheney
Nigeria has filed charges against former US Vice-President Dick Cheney over a scandal involving a former subsidiary of Halliburton energy firm. The case, brought by the country's anti-corruption agency, centres on engineering firm KBR, which admitted bribing officials. Cheney's lawyer has called the allegations 'entirely baseless'. Cheney was Halliburton's chief executive before becoming vice-president to George W Bush in 2001.
Zimbabwe: WikiLeaks documents show illicit diamond deals
The illicit diamond trade in Zimbabwe has led to the murder of thousands, enriched those close to President Robert Mugabe and been financed in part by the central bank, according to US documents on WikiLeaks. In the classified documents that date from before the unity government came to power, US diplomats cite a well established British mining executive as saying those close to Mugabe, including his wife, 'have been extracting tremendous profits' from the Chiadzwa mine in the eastern part of the country.
Africa: EU-Africa’s summit plans left in tatters
The build-up to the 29-30 November Africa-EU summit in Libya often felt like two continents perfecting their best laid plans. In the end, constant deviation from the script highlights why Europe-Africa relations require smaller, firmer steps rather than big, oversized strategic ambitions. The conference adopted a modest focus - investment, jobs creation and economic growth – but was dodged at every turn by assorted thorny issues, including Europe’s perceived economic bad-faith.
Nigeria: UN seeks development ‘synergies’ along border
United Nations officials have launched development efforts to help communities affected by a Nigerian-Cameroonian boundary settlement that saw several border modifications, including Nigeria’s transfer to Cameroon of the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula. At the request of both Governments, the UN country teams (UNCTs) in the two nations met during a meeting chaired by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative for West Africa Said Djinnit in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, to identify ways to create development programme synergies along the border, including in Bakassi and the Lake Chad area.
Sudan: Dividing the debt
This paper contributes to ongoing discussions about the role of Sudan‘s $35 billion in external debt obligations – both for a unified Sudan and a possible Southern secession. First, it examines Sudan‘s existing debt dynamics and the potential eligibility for traditional debt relief and multilateral debt relief initiatives. Second, it outlines potential options for dividing Sudan‘s external debt obligations in the event of a Southern secession.
Zimbabwe: Huge debt burden threat
As Zimbabwe slowly staggers from an unrestrained decade of economic recession, the country’s huge debt burden totalling about US$7 billion in external arrears presents an albatross around the nation’s neck. Figures recently released reveal that of the public and publicly guaranteed debt of US$6,4 billion as of 31 October, US$4,7 billion is in arrears. Put simply, every Zimbabwean owes external creditors US$500.
Zimbabwe: Small scale gold miners seek support
Small-scale gold miners have implored Government to support them to enhance productive capacity to ensure optimal use of the vast claims they hold. The small miners said they had capacity to produce about 1,2 tonnes of gold every month if supported with adequate financial resources and equipment.
DRC: Disease fears due to insecurity
Health officials’ fears that insecurity and a lack of resources could lead to fresh outbreaks of preventable diseases are being proved painfully accurate in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Polio - thought to have been eradicated in DRC five years ago – has made a frightening reappearance in Central Africa. The World Health Organisation has officially recorded 139 cases in the country this year, but poor data collection means many more may have been missed.
Global: New UN-backed rapid test could transform tuberculosis care and control
The United Nations World Health Organisation (WHO) has endorsed a new rapid test for tuberculosis, which it says could revolutionize the way the disease is tackled by providing an accurate diagnosis in about 100 minutes, compared to current tests that can take up to three months. 'This new test represents a major milestone for global TB diagnosis and care. It also represents new hope for the millions of people who are at the highest risk of TB and drug-resistant disease,' said Mario Raviglione, Director of WHO's Stop TB Department.
South Africa: Babies malnourished when they die
At least a third of South African children who died in 2007 were severely malnourished and a further 30 per cent were underweight for age while on average over half were known or suspected to be HIV infected. These and other statistics are contained in the 2010 South African Health Review (SAHR), an annual measure of the country’s health status.
West Africa: New vaccine for mass campaign against meningitis
More than 20 million people will be vaccinated between now and the end of the year in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger as a mass vaccination campaign using a new conjugate vaccine unfolds across West Africa. Manufactured in India, MenAfriVac offers health authorities a powerful weapon against a deadly disease. Meningitis is an infection of the membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal column. It is most prevalent in a region known as 'the meningitis belt', which extends across sub-Saharan Africa from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia in the east.
Liberia: ‘Up Jumps a Girl Into the Book’
The latest UNESCO figures show just five out of ten Liberian women over the age of 15 can read or write. For men it is six out of ten. The West African country now has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world, ranked in the bottom fifteen according to UNESCO. 'Standing before you, my name is Erica. I am nine years old. I go to the Christian Ministry Fellowship international school,' says Erica proudly. Erica is among a new generation of students in Liberia who are being taught to read using new techniques not seen in West Africa before.
Malawi: Students promised more elbow room
The announcement that 5,000 new classrooms will be built thanks to a $140 million World Bank loan would come as welcome news at the Chitowo Primary School – if only the children sitting on the floors, perched on doors and in windows, even taking lessons in the dust beneath trees in the yard could hear it. The school, which offers eight primary classes from Standard One to Eigh in Dedza district, a rural area in central Malawi, is bursting at the seams. It has 1,400 pupils and only five classrooms.
Uganda: Makerere phases out 80 departments
Makerere University has phased out 80 departments following its move to become a collegiate institution next academic year. The 88-year-old institution had 22 faculties, schools and institutes but will now operate under eight colleges and two schools after the University Council approved the recommendations last month. James Okello, the deputy academic registrar in-charge of Senate, said the current structure was overloaded and the new development would help fight red tape, reduce duplication of roles and optimise the available resources.
Uganda: Residents threaten to lynch suspected homosexuals
Security of two suspected gay persons arrested and released from Makerere and Wandegeya police posts in Uganda is a major concern since Mitchell Hall Gradens’ residents, where they were arrested, believe lynching would be the perfect solution to stop their alleged homosexuality. Eye witnesses claim that the two were found engaging in ‘homosexual activities’ at around 10pm on Wednesday 8 December. 'The person who found them, known only as Tamale, called other hall residents and they arrested the two. The mob wanted to lynch them but the Hall security intervened and the two were taken to police,' Adrian Jjuuko of Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum Uganda (HRAPF) stated.
Zimbabwe: Police action at Bulawayo march condemned
'GALZ deplores actions by the Zimbabwe Republic Police against Sexual Rights Centre, members of the LGBTI community and activists at a recent event organised by Musasa Project to mark 16 days of activism in Bulawayo. The uninformed and arbitrary decision to ask these members to leave the event
only serves to reinforce the bigotry and discrimination of sexual minorities at a platform where organisations such as these are working tirelessly to eradicate sexism and its effects.'
South Africa: Author's comments spark outrage
Award-winning South African author Annelie Botes recently revealed in an interview with the Rapport newspaper that she dislikes and fears black South Africans. Her comments have sparked outrage and debate. Commentaries like 'Hands off Annelie Botes' by Andile Mngxitama (http://www.mg.co.za/article/2010-12-01-hands-off-anneli-botes) and 'Hiding in a Cave' by Pierre De Vos (http://constitutionallyspeaking.co.za/hiding-in-a-cave/) have led to a discussion about race and racism in the country.
Africa: As world warms, southern Africa swelters
Africa will be amongst the hardest hit regions of the world as the climate heats up, threatening the continent’s food security, experts agree. If global temperatures rise 2.0 degrees C, southern Africa will warm an additional 1.5 degrees to a 3.5-degree increase on average. Such temperatures could be reached as early as 2035.
Algeria: Renewable electricity plan mooted
Algeria will launch a program of renewable energy development over the next 20 years, expected to increase its production of electricity from alternative sources such as solar or wind, Algerian Ennahar newspaper said on Monday. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on Sunday ordered the government to present to the Council of Ministers in 2011, a 'genuine national development plan of new and renewable energy'.
Global: Climate talks end with modest steps
The world's governments agreed on Saturday to modest steps to combat climate change and to give more money to poor countries, but they put off until next year tough decisions on cutting greenhouse gas emissions. The deal includes a Green Climate Fund that would give $100 billion a year in aid to poor nations by 2020, measures to protect tropical forests and ways to share clean energy technologies.
Global: Indigenous people the missing delegate at Cancun
As nearly 200 delegates gather at the Conference of the Parties in Cancun, Mexico, writer Dennis Martinez points out that Indigenous peoples and their advocates have no official seat among nations, and yet have experienced the worst impacts of climate change. To solve the problem, delegates of the wealthy nations have a climate-mitigation plan of choice - carbon offsets embodied in a program called Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD). But for healthy and stable ecosystems, Martinez finds that it fails to measure up to an overlooked method: continued indigenous stewardship.
Global: Summit ends without solving climate puzzle
A driving force of the UN-led negotiations for years has been the effort to attract the private sector, offering more and more opportunities for business in the still nascent 'green economy'. The inclusion of carbon capture and storage (CCS) systems among the financeable mechanisms for reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases is one example of that trend. But many environmentalists and scientists believe that the carbon market is getting ahead of itself. 'It is a further way of moving away from renewable energies, moving away from mitigation, to some kind of technology that would not solve the problem,' Nigerian Nnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth International (FOEI), told Tierramérica.
Global: The equitable sharing of atmospheric and development space
In the quest for an international climate agreement on actions to address the climate change crisis, three aspects have to be the basis simultaneously: the environmental imperative, the developmental imperative, and the equity imperative, says this December policy brief from the South Centre. This formula requires that the different pieces of the climate negotiations be seen and addressed as a whole, in a holistic way. In particular, setting the global goal for emission reduction has to take account of the environmental imperative. A global carbon budget of how much more emissions should be allowed between now and 2050 should be fixed, and also how that budget should be allocated especially between developed and developing countries.
Global: World Bank drawing in climate funds?
A much awaited November report from the UN high level advisory group on climate change finance (AGF) drew criticism for recommending an increasing role for multilateral development banks (MDBs). The noise generated by the report also highlights concerns about the development of a new climate fund hoped to be decided in Cancun, additional trust funds announced at the Bank, and the continued roll-out of the Bank-housed climate investment funds (CIFs).
Senegal: Senegal in talks to lease farmland to Saudi Arabia
Senegal is in talks with Saudi Arabia to lease farmland to grow food of an area nearly four times the size of Manhattan, an official in Senegal involved in the deal told Reuters. Like other wealthy Gulf states Saudi Arabia has been buying farmland in Asia and Africa to secure food supplies after inflation had nearly doubled the price of food in 2008.
Zambia: Saudi businessman plans to invest in fruit farm
A Saudi Arabian investor plans to invest in a 5,000 hectare farm and a fruit-processing plant in Zambia, the African country’s Finance Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane said. The contract will be signed in the next three months for the land, which will be leased, Musokotwane told reporters in Riyadh at a conference today. He didn’t identify the Saudi investor.
Africa: Africa can be food self-sufficient, study says
African nations can break dependence on food imports and produce enough to feed a growing population within a generation despite extra strains from climate change, a study said last Thursday. About 70 per cent of Africans are involved in agriculture but almost 250 million people, or a quarter of the population of the poorest continent, are undernourished. The number has risen by 100 million since 1990.
Africa: Developing countries must ‘double’ food production
Food production will have to increase by 70 per cent to feed the expected world population of 9 billion by 2050, says a report released by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Agricultural output in developing countries will have to double, the report says. This will have to be done when rural poverty is still widespread across many developing countries.
Mali: Urgent need for improving food security
The urgency and importance of all humans having a right to food security was spelled out by the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights stating that 'everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food...' Inhabitants of Bamako, Mali do not yet benefit from these rights. Mali is amongst the one of the poorest countries in the world. With a population estimated at about 1,8 million people, Bamako the largest city and capital of Mali and it is currently believed to be the fastest growing city in Africa.
Niger: Herders fight the cost of livestock lost
Bacharou Gorel had 300 head of cattle before the food security crisis began in Niger. Today he has only 53 left. From Tilabéri in the west, through the central region of Maradi, and into Diffa in the far east of the country, no region has been spared this massive loss of livestock, according to Harouna Abarchi, from AREN (the Association for the Revival of Livestock in Niger), a non-governmental organisation based in Niamey, the Nigerien capital.
Cote d’ Ivoire: Media regulator bans foreign media from covering political crises
The National Council for Broadcast and Communication (CNCA), a media regulatory body in Cote d’ Ivoire on 2 December 2010 issued a directive banning all foreign radio and TV channels in the country from covering the ongoing political crises in the country. Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)’s correspondent reported that the CNCA announced the ban in a communiqué read by its secretary general, Félix Nanihio, during a news broadcast on state-owned TV at 20 hours GMT.
Global: IFJ condemns US WikiLeaks backlash
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has condemned the political backlash being mounted against the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks and accused the United States of attacking free speech after it put pressure on the website's host server to shut down the site. The website's host Amazon.com blocked access to WikiLeaks after United States officials condemned the torrent of revelations about political, business and diplomatic affairs that has given people around the world unprecedented access to detailed information from United States sources, much of it embarrassing to leading public figures.
Global: WikiLeaks exposés are a 'wake-up call for powerful regimes', says APC director
The WikiLeaks Cablegate affair is making it clear to governments that they cannot so easily control what is secret and what is not, said Anriette Esterhuysen, executive director of the Association for Progressive Communication (APC), the world’s longest-running online progressive network founded in 1990. If governments respond rationally, they will realise that it is cumbersome and expensive to keep information secret in a connected networked world and that they should only incur this expense when really necessary, she elaborated.
Morocco: Morocco eyes gender equality in media
Moroccan women are acutely underrepresented in the media sector, according to a recent report. National Moroccan Press Syndicate (SNPM) data show that women constitute just 26 per cent of journalists in the country. The SNPM revealed in its 23 November study that 1,755 men hold a professional journalist card from the Ministry of Communication, as opposed to 632 women.
Somalia: Press freedom prize goes to Somali radio station Radio Shabelle
Reporters Without Borders has awarded its 2010 Press Freedom Prize to two symbols of courage, the jailed Iranian journalist Abdolreza Tajik and the embattled Somali news radio station Radio Shabelle. 'This year we are honouring a courageous journalist, Abdolreza Tajik, and a beleaguered radio station, Radio Shabelle,' Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-François Julliard said. 'These laureates work into two countries, Iran and Somalia, where reporting the news is a constant battle.'
South Africa: New Age newspaper finally hits the streets
The New Age newspaper has finally hit the streets, with editor Henry Jeffreys launching into whether it was an African National Congress (ANC) mouthpiece. 'Contrary to popular [mainly the media] opinion - we are not The New Agent,' read a strapline preceding his maiden editorial.
Algeria: Kidnapping, drug trafficking dominate AQIM activities
When the name al-Qaeda is mentioned in the Maghreb, it is often connected to kidnapping, drug trafficking or the robbing of a bank. This link between organised crime and terrorism has become so strong that some experts now claim that rather than committing crimes to finance terrorism, al-Qaeda now uses terrorism as cover for their criminal activity.
CAR: Clash-displaced need urgent help, says UN
Thousands of people who fled a 24 November rebel attack in the northeastern Central African Republic (CAR) town of Birao, Vakaga Province, urgently need humanitarian assistance, says a UN official. 'The whole population, about 8,000, stayed a week in the bush, with no access to drinkable water, no protection from mosquitoes...' said Jean-Sébastien Munie, head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in the CAR.
Djibouti: Blackwater cleared to kill pirates
The government of Djibouti permitted the controversial private US security firm Blackwater 'to operate an armed ship from the port of Djibouti' and to 'use lethal force against pirates'. The permission was given in February 2009, it is revealed in a cable from the US Embassy in Djibouti, published by WikiLeaks.
Morocco: Many killed in Morocco rains
At least 30 people have been killed in Morroco following torrential rain and floods. The dead included 24 people who were killed on Tuesday after their bus fell into a flooded river near Bouznika city, 40km south of the capital Rabat, police and the official MAP news agency said.
Sudan: Arm militia to contain LRA, say local leaders
Southern Sudan should arm the local Arrow Boys militia to protect civilians in Western Equatoria State (WES) against possible attacks by remnant Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) fighters during January’s referendum on secession, say local leaders. 'We’ve told the government, "Let [the Arrow Boys] be trained and armed, and they will defeat the LRA, and when the LRA dies, the Arrow Boys will give back the weapons",' Western Equatoria governor Joseph Bakosoro told IRIN.
Sudan: Government says SLA a target
Sudan's army has said that rebel leader Minni Minnawi's Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) - the only Darfur insurgent group to sign a peace deal with Khartoum - is now a military target. Any clashes between the army and the SLA would be a severe major blow to Darfur's stalling peace process, with other rebel groups sceptical of Khartoum's willingness to honour any accord they may sign.
Global: Wouldn't you like to have a low bandwidth version of Skype?
Recently launched was a 'bespoke, low-bandwidth version of Skype for use in 120 hardship locations served by UNHCR staff members around the world'. Many newspapers and blogs picked up on it, including Guardian Tech, Mashable, and the LA Times. Many friends directed me to it, knowing that I am always interested in tech developments in Africa. Unfortunately, 'bespoke' (I had to look it up) means designed and produced for particular customers. So that means this version of Skype is only available to UNHCR staff. It will not be available to anyone else for the foreseeable future - even if they live in places with slow Internet access.
Tanzania: Corruption tracker system newsletter available
In the issue, you will find progress on the controversial purchase of radar for Tanzania and an exclusive media investigation linking Tanzania’s politicians to money laundering. There is also an article on corruption and poaching in Tanzania and an exposure of how some government agencies may be flouting the law to engage in questionable commercial dealings.
Global: New manual on human rights-based approach to programming
Harvard School of Public Health and UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, will release a new manual on 9 December on how to apply and promote human rights in all development work - including in humanitarian emergencies and difficult contexts. Designed for use by development workers and others, the manual provides practical tools for designing and implementing a human rights-based approach, and illustrates the benefits of using such an approach in development work.
Judges wanted for child essay contest
Men and women of African descent are wanted to judge essays written by children, aged seven to 16 years, from across Africa and the African diaspora for 'The Annual Essay Contest for Children of African Descent 2011'. Essays are written in English, French, Portuguese, Spanish and Sesotho. Judges wanted for all these languages. See how bright our children are as they tackle such issues as media censorship, biotechnology, corporate front groups and abuse of science, food sovereignty, corporate abuse, racism, ethics and respect.
Visit: 'Essay Contests' at http://www.lornajones.net/
Contact: [email protected] or [email protected]
New reference tool for women human rights defenders
AWID has compiled a useful reference tool for women human rights defenders, in collaboration with the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition. The compilation lists research materials dealing with the security and protection of defenders, resources that women activists can consult concerning their wellbeing and self-care, manuals dealing with how to document and monitor violations of women’s rights, as well as manuals on the rights and mechanisms available to women human rights defenders at risk.
Out of Africa: A night to celebrate short films by Kenyan filmmakers
Submission deadline: 15 December 2010
The Women in Film International Committee is pleased to present 'Out of Africa: A Night to Celebrate: Short Films by Kenyan Filmmakers' being held at Universal Studios, in Los Angeles, California USA, on 5 March 2011.
AfricaAdapt Climate Change Symposium 2011
9-11 March 2011, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
If you are a researcher, policy-maker, donor, NGO or community representative, share your knowledge and experience at the AfricaAdapt Climate Change Symposium 2011. This landmark event is Africa-focussed and free to attend.
I & EAR: Audio media literacy, acoustic education and production
A skills training programme for audio media literacy & enhanced communication
‘I & EAR’ is a mobile training programme and adaptable educational service based on a methodology of listening developed through a creative practice by Claudia Wegener (a.k.a. radio continental drift). It assists conceptual development of communication & conversation practices through acoustic education and production.
Summer school on governance and development
Mozambique, 4-8 April 2011
The Mo Ibrahim Foundation in association with SOAS and the Centre of African Studies-University of London is organising a Summer School in Mozambique in April 2011 on the topic of ‘Governance and Development in Africa’. The residential school is for 25 participants who are policy makers, academics, researchers or civil society representatives from any African country who will gain, through this training, new ideas and knowledge on the broad issue of governance and development.
Fahamu - Networks For Social Justice
Pambazuka News is published by Fahamu Ltd.
© Unless otherwise indicated, all materials published are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. For further details see: www.pambazuka.org/en/about.php
Pambazuka news can be viewed online: English language edition
Edição em língua Portuguesa
RSS Feeds available at www.pambazuka.org/en/newsfeed.php
Pambazuka News is published with the support of a number of funders, details of which can be obtained here.