Pambazuka News 542: Libya: The true costs of war
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. Pan-African Postcard, 5. Books & arts, 6. Letters & Opinions, 7. African Writers’ Corner, 8. Highlights French edition, 9. Cartoons, 10. Zimbabwe update, 11. Women & gender, 12. Human rights, 13. Refugees & forced migration, 14. Social movements, 15. Emerging powers news, 16. Elections & governance, 17. Corruption, 18. Development, 19. Health & HIV/AIDS, 20. Education, 21. Racism & xenophobia, 22. Environment, 23. Land & land rights, 24. Media & freedom of expression, 25. Conflict & emergencies, 26. eNewsletters & mailing lists, 27. Fundraising & useful resources
Highlights from this issue
ZIMBABWE UPDATE: MPs and journalists assaulted
WOMEN AND GENDER: Governments need to reach out to rural women
HUMAN RIGHTS: Gambia coup anniversary celebrated in ‘climate of fear’
REFUGEES AND FORCED MIGRATION: 40,000 famine-hit Somalis flee to Mogadishu, says UNHCR
SOCIAL MOVEMENTS: Citizenship, violence and the struggle for a place in South Africa
EMERGING POWERS NEWS: Latest edition of the Emerging Powers newsletter
ELECTIONS AND GOVERNANCE: News from Botswana, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, Tunisia, Zambia
DEVELOPMENT: Scrap East Africa tax incentives, says civil society
HEALTH AND HIV/AIDS: Protests over drug shortages in Swaziland
ENVIRONMENT: Cloud hangs over climate change talks
LAND AND LAND RIGHTS: Can Africa develop a regional response to ‘resource grabbing’
MEDIA AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION: Bloody crackdown on Malawian media
CONFLICT AND EMERGENCIES: News from Benin, Burundi, DRC, Eritrea, Libya, Nigeria, Sudan, Uganda
PLUS: eNewsletters & mailing lists; Fundraising & useful resources; Jobs
Libya: The true costs of war
Malawi's uprising: Democracy, debate and leadership
‘Blood diamond’ regulation system broken
South Sudan in the post-CPA era: Prospects and challenges
The American debt ceiling debate
A symptom of class warfare
Free trade is not what Africa needs, Mr Cameron
Is this Britain’s Watergate moment?
The case for opening SADC borders
An African response to ‘There is no alternative’
Revolutions from Tunis to Ouagadougou
Guy Marius Sagna
Chief justice’s mandate and managing public expectations
Katto K. Wambua
The Kenyan people have spoken
Beth Maina Ahlberg
Petition to Algerian government: stop renewed attacks on women
On 11 June and 2-3 July 2011 ‘punitive’ night raids were carried out against women in the southern city of M’sila, Algeria. Considered to be ‘potential prostitutes’ by their neighbours because they live alone, and under the pretext of the defense of morality, hundreds of youth have burnt down the houses of women who barely escaped being lynched. The police did not intervene.
Recently a press conference was held in Algeria where the Observatory on Violence Against Women condemned the lax manner with which the public authorities react to these punitive raids: ‘What we are denouncing is the absence of the state to the point where every individual can take the law into their own hands and find a pretext in the defense of morality to make an attempt on the lives of women.’
Please follow this link to read more and to sign a petition addressed to the Algerian authorities.
A French statement about these raids is available here.
MOSOP Statement On Another Land Seizure In Ogoniland
Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People
Mandela Park Backyarders Press Statement on housing allocations
The value of storytelling
H. Nanjala Nyabola
China: ‘All-weather friend’ or ‘new colonialist’?
Review of ‘The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC)’
Telling it as it is
Review of Rasna Warah's 'Red Soil and Roasted Maize: Selected Essays and Articles on Contemporary Kenya'
Malawi's undelivered promise
In April of this year, Malawian president Bingu wa Mutharika delivered his state of the nation address, entitled ‘A Promise Delivered’. Well, from what is currently happening in the country (which some observers liken to the ongoing uprising in the Arab world), nothing there remotely resembles a promise delivered. As far as I can make out, things in Malawi look more like a promise undelivered to me. Now 19 people have reportedly been killed by the police in an attempt to squash the anti-government protests.
Here is the deal: unleashing soldiers and police on a peaceful citizens’ demonstration protesting against economic mismanagement is not delivering a promise. Signing a bill into law that bans any publication deemed not to be in the public interest (including a law that makes it impossible for individuals to obtain a court injunction and seek judicial redress against the government) cannot be termed as a promise delivered. Nor can postponing the local government elections mean a promise delivered.
Stifling academic freedom as with the detention of Dr. Blessings Chinsinga because he discussed the Arab uprising during a political science lecture is not a promise delivered. Currently four Chancellor College lecturers, including Dr Chinsinga and Dr Jessie Kabwila-Kapasula, have been fired under mysterious circumstances. And neither is lavish spending to promote your own book (as the president did in January) a promise delivered.
Expelling the British High Commissioner from Malawi for a leaked embassy cable that referred to you as ‘autocratic and intolerant of criticism’ is not delivering a promise. In response, the UK (the largest aid donor to Malawi) decided to go on the offensive by expelling the Malawian representative, and froze all new aid, the country’s main life support as 40 per cent of Malawi’s budget comes from international aid. The outcomes: fuel and energy shortages, severe foreign exchange (forex) shortages, and depreciation of Malawi’s local currency, the kwacha.
But the big picture is that wa Mutharika’s behaviour and his response to citizens’ demands for more democracy are similar to how dictators behave when their reign is threatened. They try by any means to stifle criticism through state violence, using the soldiers and police at their disposal.
But also the behavior also tells the true but sad story of this relatively peaceful southern African country. For decades Malawi has seen leaders/rulers who treated the country as a private company for personal gains. The first postcolonial president, Dr Kamuzu Banda (Ngwazi, the great lion, or Mkango wapfuko laMalaw, the lion of Malawi, as he preferred to be called) turned Malawian citizens into subjects, and the country into Kamuzu Banda’s Malawi, Inc. Kamuzu’s successor, Professor Bakili Muluzi was accused of dictatorial tendencies, including imposing Mutharika on the people. There is no love left between Bakili and Mutharika now, but if there is anything Mutharika learned from his predecessor it is how to impose his will on the Malawian people. Apparently, he is also now plotting to pave a political path for his own brother, Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika (yes another professor!) to be Malawi’s next president.
The bottom line: despite the presidential rhetoric, promises of economic and social development, reduction of poverty, and promotion of peace have not been delivered to the citizens of Malawi.
Diaspora lost 'in pursuit of material things'
Pambazuka News 199: World faced with emergence of transnational capitalism
Free press and corruption: Cameron lectures Africa
GMOs and goats
Zimbabwe: Cases of persons accused of insulting Mugabe skyrocket
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has said it is worried by the rate at which state security agencies are arresting citizens on charges of insulting President Robert Mugabe, whose cases the organisation is receiving every day. 'One of the most fascinating things at ZLHR is that everyday we are getting a case of a person being charged with the law of insulting President. If you say anything critical especially mentioning governance and in particular current President you are likely to spend a night in jail, and that to me is a symptomatic of a country which is not ready to accept democracy. Democracy in its own allows citizens to freely express themselves without fearing for what will happen after.'
Zimbabwe: Mugabe’s supporters assault MPs and journalists
Supporters of President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party on Sunday 24 July assaulted an MP and four journalists as they disrupted a parliamentary committee receiving submissions on a proposed human rights law. Journalists who were caught in the mayhem said a crowd of more than 200 Zanu PF supporters stormed the parliament building singing revolutionary songs. A legislator was dragged out of the building and was repeatedly assaulted. Journalists from privately owned newspapers were also locked inside the building and heavily assaulted.
Zimbabwe: Thirteen activists arrested
Thirteen activists from Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe (ROHR) were arrested by the police outside the High Court on Wednesday (27 July), for protesting against ongoing human rights abuses in the country. ROHR said their activists were protesting against the continued incarceration of eight MDC-T activists who have remained behind bars since they were arrested on 29 May.
Africa: Governments need to reach out to rural women
Governments, especially in Africa, need to have strong accountability measures in place in order to effectively reach women in rural areas through gender responsive budgeting. This was one of the recommendations in the Global Call for Action plan drawn up at the end of an international high-level meeting on gender responsive budgeting held in Kigali from 26 to 28 July. The meeting was held in conjunction with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and the European Union. Delegates also agreed that there was a need to strengthen the skills, competencies and abilities of local government leaders.
Cameroon: Meeting declares women's interests in land
African women want their governments to undertake reforms that will enable them to get easier access to land. Making the appeal, the over 40 women drawn from across the continent also clarified: 'We are talking about natural succession to land.' This was at the end of a two-day workshop in Cameroon's Edea town on 28 July.
Kenya: Gender responsive budgeting kicks in
For the first time ever, the Kenyan finance minister has allocated almost four million dollars, about 3.6 per cent of the primary education budget, to provide free sanitary pads to schoolgirls. This comes after persistent pressure from women parliamentarians who took the issue of girls’ absenteeism from school, due to lack of sanitary pads, to parliament. It was a campaign that left their male counterparts speechless, for such matters are rarely spoken about in public, let alone in parliament, in Kenya’s conservative society.
Kenya: Limited success for campaigns targeting FGM/C practitioners
August is when Nchoo Ngochila would normally be gearing up for the traditional female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) season in her Ilchamus community in Kenya's Rift Valley Province. This year, however, Ngochila will spend her time trying to convince her community the practice should be abandoned. About a year ago, a campaign by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) urged FGM/C practitioners in the area to put down their razors and campaign for women's rights in their communities.
Rwanda: Calls for gender budgeting
Rwanda is the first country in the world where women outnumber men in parliament, with women occupying 45 out of 80 seats. However, despite this, experts say that the country still needs a gender equality perspective on how national resources and programmes are implemented. 'The move will help ensure government spending addresses the needs of women and men equitably,' said Susan Mutoni, referring to the situation in Rwanda. Mutoni is the project coordinator of gender responsive budgeting in Rwanda’s ministry of finance and economic planning. Since 2009, the country has been part of a three-year pilot programme, the Gender Equitable Local Development (GELD), which is organised by UN Women and the United Nations Capital Development Fund.
Zambia: Curbing gender-based violence
Women in Law in Southern Africa (WILSA) working in Zambia, believes prevention is important in reducing the number of women who become victims of gender-based violence. Rudo Chingobe Mooba says the media can play an important role in raising awareness of risks and dangers as well as in influencing public opinion and policies that protect the rights of women. Rudo is worried that a number of gender-based violence cases occur in marriages. A situation she says 'poses a threat to stopping gender-based violence, notwithstanding the issues of HIV/AIDS which stand at 16% in Zambia.'
Zimbabwe: New screening initiative for gender rights
'Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo', 'I Want A Wedding Dress' and 'Ungochani' were three of the films recently screened at the Women’s Law Centre in Harare as part of a new film based gender rights series initiative between Women Filmmakers of Zimbabwe (WFOZ) and The Women’s Law Centre. The collaboration started in February this year and will continue in the next semester.
Gambia: Coup anniversary celebrated in 'climate of fear'
Gambia feted the 17th anniversary of a coup by President Yayha Jammeh on 22 July as his regime faced allegations from rights bodies of muzzling journalists, killings and torture. Jammeh seized power in Gambia on 22 July 1994 in a bloodless coup from predecessor Dawda Jawara, and the anniversary is typically feted with more pomp than independence day celebrations. Rights bodies have accused the 46-year-old leader of creating a climate of fear which has terrified journalists and rights defenders into toeing the line and quashes any dissent against his regime.
Nigeria: Police 'killed 23 after bomb attack'
Nigerian security forces killed at least 23 people in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri in retaliation for a bomb attack blamed on a radical Islamist sect, Amnesty International said on Monday (25 July). Boko Haram, a radical group which wants sharia law more widely applied across Africa's most populous nation, has been behind almost daily shootings and attacks with homemade bombs in and around Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state.
Uganda: Forced labour, disease imperil prisoners
Inmates in Ugandan prisons are subject to brutal compulsory labour, frequent violence, miserable overcrowding, and disease, Human Rights Watch said in a report examining conditions in 16 prisons throughout the country. Over half of those in Ugandan prisons are in pretrial detention and may be held for years without having been convicted of any crime, Human Rights Watch said. Profits from prisoner labour often benefit individual prison officers, while prisoners suffer illness from inadequate food, water, and basic hygiene.
Zimbabwe: 'No vacancy' for hangman job
Zimbabwe’s Justice and Legal Affairs ministry has dismissed reports that the country has failed to recruit a hangman since 2005, after several people rushed to hand in their applications for the supposedly vacant post. The ministry has said there is no opening for the job and instead blamed the cabinet for 'sitting' on requests to carry out executions since last year. There are 55 convicts on death row, some who have been there for up to 13 years.
Kenya: Red tape adds to refugee woes in Dadaab
After walking for days to escape drought and insecurity, often barefoot and with almost no food or water, Somali refugees who arrive at Dadaab camps in northern Kenya are met with delays and red tape. Some wait up to two weeks to be registered as refugees, and longer to get food and shelter. The sluggish pace of the registration process is partly because refugees may only register and receive ration cards at Ifo camp, at the centre of the three Dadaab camps set up to 10km apart.
Somalia: 40,000 famine-hit Somalis flee to Mogadishu, says UNHCR
Some 40,000 famine-hit people have fled to the Somali capital Mogadishu over the past month in search of food and water, the UN refugees agency said. 'Over the past month, UNHCR figures show that nearly 40,000 Somalis displaced by drought and famine have converged on Mogadishu in search of food, water, shelter and other assistance,' said Vivian Tan, spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. 'A further 30,000 have arrived at settlements around Mogadishu.'
Somalia: Addressing mental illness stigma in Somali diaspora
Post-traumatic stress, depression and anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problems experienced by Somalis who fled their country to settle in the UK, according to Abdi Gure, a community development worker for Mind, a mental health organization based in Harrow, north London. Uncertainty over immigration status, housing and language barriers can compound mental illness but fear of being stigmatized may prevent sufferers from seeking support from their community as well as from the mental health services.
South Africa: Life for Moz-SA trafficker
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Pretoria has welcomed the sentencing of human trafficker Adina dos Santos (28) to life imprisonment. Dos Santos was also given a one-year sentence in the Pretoria Regional Court for living off the money the young women had made. She was found guilty in May of trafficking three girls from Mozambique to Pretoria in February 2008.
South Sudan: Row looms as Juba locks out Somalis
South Sudan has barred people of Somali origin from entering its territory by road, creating a potential diplomatic and trade crisis with its neighbours. A senior Kenya Revenue Authority official, who sought anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the press, said that the rules were introduced two weeks ago due to what is believed to be security reasons. Kenyan traders, including those of Somali origin, have flocked to South Sudan in search of new business opportunities.
Tunisia: Migrants flee to new traps
As African Union and NATO leaders push for a political solution to the Libyan crisis, many of the thousands of refugees and migrants stranded on the Libyan- Tunisian border say their plight continues to fall on deaf ears. Sitting outside her makeshift tent with her daughter and grandson, 63-year-old Somali refugee Hawiyeh Awal tries to find a bit of shelter from the scorching sun on the Tunisian desert. 'I’m so scared that I’m going to die in this hot desert,' she says. 'I have diabetes and I’ve lost more than eight kilos since coming here because of the hot weather.'
Zimbabwe: Immigrants in the dark
Thousands of Zimbabweans in South Africa are in the dark about their residency status as the moratorium on the deportation of illegal immigrants expired. Though NGOs claimed that the Department of Home Affairs had indicated that the moratorium might be extended until the end of this month, no announcement has been made. Though the department has registered 275762 applications, NGOs estimate that there are as many as a million undocumented Zimbabweans in this country. This means thousands could be deported back to Zimbabwe.
South Africa: Cape Town backyarders call for Housing MEC’s resignation
Mandela Park Backyarders say they have 'proof of corruption' in a Khayelitsha housing project and have called for the 'immediate' resignation of Western Cape Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela. The call follows the organisation’s online publication of results of their investigation into the occupation of houses in the Mandela Park Housing Project, of which 150 houses out of a planned 950 have been completed.
South Africa: The smoke that calls: Insurgent citizenship, collective violence and the struggle for a place in the new South Africa
There are several innovations to the research projects captured in this report. Firstly, it consists of studies of both xenophobic violence and community protests, drawing the links both empirically as one of collective action spawns or mutates into another, and theoretically through the concept of insurgent citizenship. Secondly, the research was conceived of, and conducted, through a collaboration between an NGO, The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) and an academic research institute, the Society Work and Development Institute (SWOP) at University of the Witwatersrand. This brought together scholars and practitioners, psychologists and sociologists, in a challenging and productive partnership to try to understand collective violence and its underlying social dynamics.
Latest edition: emerging powers news roundup
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Botswana: Motion of no confidence in Khama in the offing
After being filed two weeks ago, it is now only a matter of time before the MP for Gaborone Central, Dumelang Saleshando, presents a motion of no confidence in President Ian Khama and his government. Because the motion is not likely to pass, Saleshando intends to use it to highlight the shortcomings of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) government under Khama, whom he considers unfit for office. Speaking in an interview, Saleshando blamed the recent public service strike on Khama, saying as unions bargained with the employer, the president had seen fit to tour the country vowing that there would be no salary increase.
Burkina Faso: In dogged pursuit of L'Affaire Sankara
Opposition members of parliament in Burkina Faso have called on France to open its archives to look for evidence of involvement of the French secret services in the 1987 death of Thomas Sankara. The call is the latest effort in a long-running struggle to force a full and open inquiry into the assassination which brought Burkina Faso's current president, Blaise Compaoré, to power. 'Evidence presented in other countries indicates that France was involved in the death of Thomas Sankara,' said MP and lawyer Stanislas Benewindé Sankara - no relation to the former president - at a 16 July press conference in Ouagadougou, the Burkinabè capital.
Egypt: 26 political powers suspend Tahrir sit-in
The April 6 Youth Movement said that the movement, alongside 25 political powers, decided to suspend its sit-in in Tahrir Square until the end of Ramadan. 'We want to facilitate the traffic flow during Ramadan and put into consideration the special circumstances related to this holy month,' Amr Aly, member of the group's political bureau said.The movement said that it would continue exerting pressure on the government to execute the rest of their demands including ending the military prosecution of civilians, sacking the Prosecutor General, cleansing the interior ministry and setting a reasonable minimum and maximum wage.
Egypt: Civil society calls for open democratic space
A group of civil society organisations have issued a statement that requests that the government removes the restrictions imposed on civil society organisations and human rights activists in order to enable these actors to contribute to the change called for by the revolution and in implementing a peaceful transition of power towards a civil government freely elected by the people.
Egypt: Protesters under fire
A gallery of images from Hossam el-Hamalawy and published on the London Guardian website illustrates how a protest march towards army headquarters in Cairo ended in violence.
Malawi: Concerns of protesters need to be taken seriously
Unless Malawi’s government does something to find solutions to its economic and governance problems, the country will see more nationwide protests like the ones last week where 18 people were killed and 275 arrested, analysts say. Mustapha Hussein, a political analyst at the University of Malawi, told IPS that Mutharika should start taking the concerns of Malawians seriously before things get out of hand. 'The president seems to not be ready to accept blame for the economic and governance problems facing the country. There will be bigger protests in the country than what we just saw should the government not move fast in addressing the issues that are being raised,' said Hussein.
Malawi: Key activists in hiding
Several key Malawi leaders of last week's anti-government protests are in hiding after President Bingu wa Mutharika threatened to arrest them following the deadly riots, a leading rights activist said. 'The leaders have received death threats from unknown people. They are in hiding for their personal safety and that of their families after the President said he would arrest them,' Moses Mkandawire, one of the main organisers of the protests in the northern city of Mzuzu, said.
Nigeria: Jonathan’s political reform plan faces strong opposition
President Goodluck Jonathan walked into the National Executive Committee (NEC) hall at the Peoples Democratic Party national secretariat in Abuja (PDP) recently to meet a tribe of anxious party faithfuls. They had gathered in the hall for the 56th meeting of the NEC, the first since the end of April general elections, to discuss the various issues confronting the ruling party. But prior to Mr Jonathan’s arrival, party members were overheard discussing the proposed amendment to the constitution to bring about a single term for the country’s president and state governors, which the incumbent, through his media aide, Reuben Abati, had offered explanations on, but which has raised the country’s political temperature.
Tanzania: Government urged to release new Bill on constitution
The Tanzanian Government has come under pressure to make public the revised version of the Constitutional Review Act 2011. Participants at a weekend meeting accused the government of being reluctant to issue the document and vowed that they would not relent in their quest to have it released. The chairman of the Constitutional Debate Forum, Mr Deus Kibamba, said the government appeared not to be ready for change, and was trying to delay the process. The country might experience chaos should the process of writing the new constitution not be transparent, he said.
Tunisia: Voter registration drive launched
Concerned with a low rate of voter registration, Tunisia's Independent High Electoral Commission (ISIE) is in the midst of a major push to encourage citizens to register for the country's historic 23 October elections. Tunisians have until Tuesday (2 August) to register to vote for the Constituent Assembly elections.
Zambia: elections set for 20 September
Zambia's President Rupiah Banda has put this year's general vote on Tuesday, 20 September. Incumbent Zambian President and top contender under the governing Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) stable, Rupiah Banda announced the election day during a live broadcast to the nation.
South Africa: Arms deal bombshell
The Hawks have taken the first step towards re-opening the multibillion-rand arms deal probe - which could expose those who took bribes to prosecution. The head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations, Anwar Dramat, wrote to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) informing it of the Hawks' intention to speak to European investigators to establish whether or not criminal charges should be brought against any South Africans. The Hawks controversially dropped the probe into the arms deal in September last year, arguing that prospects of successful prosecutions were slim.
Africa: Lack of infrastructure impedes development
A massive shortfall in funding for African infrastructure projects is costing the continent up to three per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) a year, a senior African Development Bank official said. 'The gap right now is something like $45 billion a year and that gap is dragging down economic growth in Africa by as much as 3 percent of GDP,' Mthuli Ncube, chief economist for the lender, said at a launch event for its annual economic outlook. 'The most critical area is energy - power. Any power outages are bound to cause massive problems for growth.'
Africa: Power production way below potential
In 2005, countries in the wider East African region launched a master plan that would finally sort out the region’s perennial power woes. The East African Power Pool (EAPP) was to exploit the enormous hydropower potential in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Uganda, the geothermal potential in Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia, natural gas in Tanzania and Rwanda and coal in Tanzania and the DR Congo. Six years later, the region’s power troubles seem to be going from bad to worse - Kenya this week joined Tanzania and Uganda in the growing list of East African Community countries rationing power to domestic and industrial consumers.
East Africa: Scrap tax incentives, civil society says
Civil society organisations want East African governments to scrap tax incentives as a stimulus for investment inflows and development accelerator. Speaking during a roundtable discussion in Nairobi, Kenya on Wednesday, activists said incentives hinder the entry of revenue and have no empirical results to prove their efficacy and impact to investment. The meeting - organised by the Tax Justice Network-Africa and ActionAid International Kenya - attracted policy makers, academics, tax administrators and business leaders in the EAC.
Global: UN aiding corporate takeover of water
Early last month, pharmaceutical titan Merck became the latest multinational to pledge allegiance to the CEO Water Mandate, the United Nations' public-private initiative 'designed to assist companies in the development, implementation and disclosure of water sustainability policies and practices'. But there's darker data beneath that sunny marketing: The CEO Water Mandate has been heavily hammered by the Sierra Club, the Polaris Institute and more for exerting undemocratic corporate control over water resources (PDF) under the banner of the United Nations.
Malawi: US suspends aid after killings
The US has suspended a $350m (£213m) aid package to Malawi after the security forces were accused of killing anti-government protesters last week. A US government agency, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), said the money was to have been spent on developing Malawi's power sector. But it had suspended the aid because it was 'deeply upset' by the deaths of 19 people during the demonstrations.
South Sudan: Public sector job registry launched
The Republic of South Sudan (RSS) government has, in partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB), officially launched a Curriculum Vitae (CV) registry that seeks to assist its citizens in their quest for employment opportunities in Africa’s newest nation. Under the new arrangement, the Ministry of Human Resource Development and other government ministries will review CVs received through the registry, thus matching them with appropriate openings within the public sector, if available. 'South Sudan requires a skilled and dedicated workforce in order to implement its national development plan and other goals effectively. The country needs qualified professionals to help it address challenges and who can share in the nation building process,' said AfDB in a statement.
Swaziland: Ministries told to cut budgets by 25 per cent
Government departments have been called upon to cut their 2011/2012 budgets by 25 per cent. According to Bheki Bhembe who is Director of Budget and Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance, meetings with the ministries on the issue are underway. 'We have issued Circular No.3 of 2011 to cut ministries’ budgets by 25 per cent. We are meeting them to look at reducing their budgets hoping to reduce level of commitment going forward,' he said. He noted that the reality of the government financial crisis has hit home with the ministries and they are cooperating.
Nigeria: Changing attitudes to contraception
Health workers say an apparent rise in contraceptive use in Nigeria stems largely from a willingness by traditional and religious leaders in some regions to use their influence in promoting reproductive health. In the predominantly Muslim north, where contraceptive use has historically been far lower than the national average, the support of traditional leaders has helped change attitudes in communities where contraception was long regarded as taboo.
South Africa: A condom in every jail cell
The government of South Africa should provide access to protective measures such as condoms and water-based lubricants in prisons and other places where forced and consensual anal sex is prevalent, say some advocates for improved health services for men who have sex with men. Sensitivity training for health care workers, improved counselling for HIV-infected men and the provision of condoms and lubricants in prisons and other places where men have sex with men are among solutions being advanced to combat rising HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in major cities of South Africa. The solutions are among measures urged by participants to the first South African conference, the 'Top2Btm MSM [men who have sex with men] Symposium,' held to 'brainstorm about prevention, care and treatment for MSMs'.
South Africa: Taking health to the people
South Africa's health system is on the brink of a dramatic change, with the National Health Insurance White Paper expected to be considered by Cabinet this week. The main priority will be to provide free health care to all South African’s regardless of what they earn or where they live. On this page, listen to - or read - a Health-e report on a visit to South Africa's west coast where an innovative programme is leading the way.
Swaziland: Protests over shortage of drugs
Hundreds of people have taken to the streets in Swaziland protesting against poor governance which has led to a shortage of essential medical supplies in sub-Saharan Africa's sole absolute monarchy. More than 500 people demonstrated in Mbabane, the capital, on Wednesday (27 July) while nearly 1,000 protested in the western town of Siteki. AIDS groups have warned of an imminent shortage of anti-retroviral drugs in a country where a quarter of the people between the ages of 15 and 49 are believed to carry HIV.
Morocco: Students seek training, not teaching
Despite 12 years of reform, Morocco’s universities continue to fall short of expectations, with students complaining that the training they get does not meet the demands of the job market. Professors in this North African country of 32 million people echoed their students’ grievances, adding that Moroccan universities are poorly managed and riddled with corruption. 'The kind of training provided by universities remains poor and does not meet any of the educational, pedagogic, academic and intellectual conventional standards,' Zakaria Rmidi, a student preparing for his master's degree in English studies, told IPS.
Uganda: City schools divided over strike
The government failed to stop a teachers’ strike last week after the ministers responsible insisted there was no money to meet their demands. Education Minister Jessica Alupo and other line ministers told MPs on the Parliamentary Social Services Committee that their hands were tied and that the matter had been forwarded to Minister of Public Service Henry Kajura, who asked teachers to be patient as there was no money.
South Africa: Oslo killer copied from SA blog
Norwegian mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik is reported to have copied several ideas from a right-wing South African website when he compiled his 1,518-page 'manifesto'. Breivik borrowed liberally from several sources in writing his rambling ideas to defend Western civilisation. One of his themes is the struggle against multi-culturalism, and he used several articles on the topic from the blog iluvsa.blogspot.org, which has a banner proclaiming: 'I luv South Africa...but I hate my government'.
Africa: Women excluded from climate change projects in Africa
Of the millions of dollars spent on climate change projects in developing countries, little has been allocated in a way that will benefit women. Yet, in Africa, it is women who will be most affected by climate change. According to United Nations data, about 80 per cent of the continent's smallholder farmers are women. While they are responsible for the food security of millions of people, agriculture is one of the sectors hardest hit by climate change.
Mozambique: First exports of bio-fuels to European markets
Sun Biofuels Mozambique, a subsidiary of United Kingdom-based Sun Biofuels, has exported the first batch of 30 tonnes of Jatropha oil, from its fields in the central Mozambican province of Manica, to the German airliner 'Lufthansa'. Cited in the daily paper 'Noticias', Sun Biofuels Mozambique manager for corporate affairs, Sergio Gouveia said that the exports of Jatropha oil follows an order placed by Lufthansa for testing on its planes, Mozambique's news agency, AIM, reported. 'Civil aviation is an interesting market, that's why we are looking forward for Lufthansa test results, which has shown a keen interest in our production,' stressed Gouveia.
Nigeria: Nigeria’s waning status in climate negotiation
Barely four months to the 17th round of the United Nations-backed climate change conference scheduled for Durban in South Africa, Nigeria’s place as a leading voice seeking justice for the African continent appears to have taken a free-fall. Proceedings from the recently-held climate talks in Bonn, Germany indicated that, out of the over 200 negotiators appointed as Africa’s representatives under the platform of the African Group, only one Nigerian was acknowledged. The list showed that South Africa had 29 negotiators, including the national focal person; Ghana had six; Sudan, five; Gambia, three; Senegal, eight; Mali, four; Kenya, five; Malawi, four; Egypt, six; and Ethiopia, two.
South Africa: Cloud over preparations for COP17
Four months before South Africa hosts the United Nation's big climate-change conference in Durban, concerns are mounting that the country is lagging behind in its preparations. This comes amid accusations that tensions are running high between the department of environmental affairs (DEA) and the department of international relations and co-operation (Dirco) over responsibilities. Because of international protocol, the environment department handles the content of the climate change conference and Dirco the logistics. Greenpeace's Melita Steele, who is also part of the civil society steering committee for COP17, said it was only now, in July, that Dirco was ready and the confusion over which department was responsible for what seemed to have been sorted out.
Africa: Can Africa develop a regional response to ‘resource grabbing’?
The Pan African Parliament (PAP) recently held a meeting of parliamentarians from across the continent to discuss an appropriate African response to resource grabs, reports the blog anothercountryside.wordpress.com. 'The meeting noted the strategic potential of countries with natural resource wealth, but also the inequitable deals that have been approved by many governments, providing long-term leases of 50 to 99 years to companies at minimal or even no cost, and with few guarantees about development. Of priority concern was evidence that local communities are often displaced, undermining local food production and aggravating vulnerability to hunger and chronic poverty.'
Africa: Fairer land deals needed to ensure opportunity for locals
The trend of international land grabbing - when governments and private firms invest in or purchase large tracts of land in other countries for the purpose of agricultural production and export - can have serious environmental and social consequences, according to researchers at the Worldwatch Institute. Deals that focus solely on financial profit can leave rural populations more vulnerable and without land, employment opportunities, or food security.
Sudan: UAE investors urged to start developing farmland
Sudan is urging the UAE to begin developing the vast expanses of farmland it has acquired in the country, as the north loses the majority of its oil revenues following the independence of South Sudan. The country, ravaged by years of conflict, is now turning its focus to its agricultural sector, as it desperately tries to generate cash. Investors from the UAE, including the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, have been given a total of 600,000 feddans of farmland in Sudan, either for free or at nominal rent costs, on condition they will invest in the land, said Salih Ibrahim Salih Mohammed, a senior researcher at the Sudan Economic Advisor's Office, a division of the country's embassy in Abu Dhabi.
Gambia: Free expression advocates campaign against impunity
The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) on 22 July 2011 joined Amnesty International-Ghana, Human Rights Advocacy Centre, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiatives (CHRI) and Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) to mark Gambia’s descent into tyranny. Over the years Amnesty International and its global partners including MFWA have been marking this so-called 'Freedom Day' annually with various campaign events to continue highlighting the grave human rights violations to the world for action.
Malawi: Bloody crackdown on media
Malawi journalists were beaten by police in churches and hospitals in Lilongwe, and were blamed for the demonstrations that swept the country last week. The country's radio stations were also shut down in the 'national interest'. Meanwhile, private media houses shut down last week after they heard that their buildings were about to be torched, said Kondwani Munthali, a journalist from Nation Publications.
South Africa: Review panel for Info bill
The Protection of Information Bill is back in the spotlight in parliament, with the focus on a new panel that will have the power to decide if information has been wrongly classified. The proposed law - dubbed 'the secrecy bill' - has been widely criticised for giving the state wide powers to classify information, and for punishing people who publish that classified information, even if it is in the public interest. Opposition parties and civil society groups say a key problem in the bill remains: it provides for information to be classified in the interests of 'national security' but it is not clear what exactly national security is.
Zambia: Editor tells court Banda is corrupt and a liar
A Zambian newspaper editor has appeared in a Lusaka High Court to commence his defence in a defamation suit brought against him by President Rupiah Banda. President Banda, in power for almost three years now, sued The Post editor Fred M’membe and his publication for defamation ahead of the 2008 polls after the paper allegedly said he was 'corrupt and a liar'.
Zimbabwe: Fresh jail threats to journalists reporting on cabinet
Journalists in Zimbabwe are concerned over a fresh warning that they face being jailed, if they report on issues discussed in cabinet. It is understood that the government plans to use the Official Secrets Act to silence the media, as it forges ahead with its culture of keeping ordinary Zimbabweans in the dark.
Government ministers are said to be getting increasingly uncomfortable with media reports of their deliberations in parliament, especially over issues they disagree on.
Zimbabwe: Journalists assaulted at parliament
Journalists Aaron Ufumeli and Lev Mukarati were on 23 July 2011 reportedly assaulted and harassed by suspected Zanu PF supporters who were part of a public hearing on the Human Rights Bill that was being conducted at the Parliament of Zimbabwe in Harare. Ufumeli, chief photographer with Alpha Media Holdings publishers of The Standard, Zimbabwe Independent and Newsday, was manhandled by the mob that tried to grab his camera while the others demanded that he delete the pictures he had taken.
Africa: How best to remove guns from post-conflict zones?
Cash for guns or buy-back programmes in post-conflict states have fallen out of favour as a method of ridding a society of weapons, and have been replaced by often elaborate schemes designed to remove money from the equation, but the debate continues as to the best way forward. The disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) community has grappled for years with buy-back practices and acknowledges they can have a profound effect on the nature of peace and even encourage a return to conflict. However, sometimes they can be termed 'good practice'.
Benin: Tanker seized
Pirates have hijacked an Italian diesel tanker off Benin in western Africa in an attack of the kind more usually associated with Somalia. Assailants boarded the RBD Anema e Core in the Gulf of Guinea, officials in Benin and Italy confirmed. The Gulf of Guinea has become increasingly important for its potential energy reserves which have attracted international interests, BBC West Africa correspondent Thomas Fessy reports from Dakar.
Burundi: Nine dead in Burundi clashes
At least nine people have died in clashes between unidentified 'armed gangsters' and security forces in northwest Burundi, sources said. The incident, the most deadly since the end of the 1993-2006 civil war, came amid increasing reports in recent weeks of attacks by 'armed gangs'.
DRC: US asked to use OECD guidance for conflict-mineral rules
The Democratic Republic of Congo has appealed to the US Securities and Exchange Commission to prevent forthcoming conflict-mineral rules from causing a 'de- facto embargo' on trade from the Central African nation. The commission was asked to develop the guidelines last July under the Dodd-Frank Act to help cut the link between Congo’s mineral trade and armed groups. The SEC rules, which are expected as early as next month, will apply to US companies involved in the trade in tin ore, tantalum, tungsten and gold shipped from Congo and nine neighboring countries.
East Africa: Ethiopia and Uganda sign regional security deal
Ethiopia and Uganda have signed bilateral agreements to cooperate in regional security operations. The deal also seeks to strengthen economic ties while allowing for the free movement of people between the two countries. Ethiopia's Foreign Affairs ministry said the agreement would enable the two countries to take a common position on regional security affairs. Among the issues to be prioritised are Somalia, South Sudan and Eritrea.
Eritrea: Eritrea behind AU summit attack plot, says UN report
Eritrea was behind a plot to attack an African Union summit in Ethiopia in January and is bankrolling al Qaeda-linked Somali rebels through its embassy in Kenya, according to a UN report. A UN Monitoring Group report on Somalia and Eritrea said the Red Sea state's intelligence personnel were active in Uganda, South Sudan, Kenya and Somalia, and that the country's actions posed a threat to security and peace in the region.
Libya: Benghazi clash exposes cracks in rebel ranks
Rebel fighters challenging the rule of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi waged an eight-hour gunfight here in their de facto capital on Sunday, against what their leaders called a 'fifth column' of Qaddafi loyalists who had posed as a rebel brigade. It was the latest sign of discord and trickery in the rebel ranks to emerge in the four days since the killing of the rebels’ top military leader, Gen. Abdul Fattah Younes, a former Qaddafi confidant who had defected to their side. The mysterious circumstances of his death have raised new questions about his own loyalties, and about the unity and discipline of the rebel troops.
Nigeria: Panel seeks talks with Boko Haram
Goodluck Jonathan, the Nigerian president, has set up a committee to negotiate with a radical Islamist group that has claimed responsibility for a string of almost daily shootings and bomb attacks in northeastern Nigeria, the government has announced. The committee was set up on Saturday after a meeting between Jonathan and local leaders in Borno state, which concluded that the military's strategy against Boko Haram, the group in question, has done more harm than good.
Sudan: UN troops move into disputed Abyei area
The top United Nations peacekeeping official has reported that more than 500 troops with the new UN mission in the disputed Abyei area of Sudan have been deployed and both of the contesting sides appear committed to avoiding combat and willing to withdraw in favour of the blue helmets. But Alain Le Roy, the under-secretary-general for peacekeeping operations, told a meeting of the Security Council that 'deployment difficulties' in working with the Sudanese government have left some of the troops facing a 'critical food shortage'.
Uganda: Risk of starvation in Karamoja region
Several districts in Uganda will need urgent relief aid to mitigate the risk of starvation following poor rains that have affected this year's harvest, the Minister for Disaster Preparedness warned. Most of the affected districts are in Karamoja where the situation was particularly unique because crop failure and a prolonged drought had aggravated the region's food crisis, Musa Ecweru said.
Angola Monitor newsletter
The Angola Monitor follows the progress of peace, stability, development and human rights in the country as it struggles to overcome the legacy of nearly three decades of war. Since the first multi-party elections in 1992, we have been monitoring the progress of democracy and peace in the region. The Monitor is produced in English and Portuguese. You can subscribe to the Angola Monitor and get it sent direct to your inbox four times a year.
Art for Humanity: June/July 2011 Newsletter
In this month’s issue:
Dialogue among Civilizations News
- Dialogue Among Civilizations Book Launch
- Dialogue Among Civilizations Exhibition KZNSA Gallery 2011
- Dialogue Among Civilizations Exhibition Leeds 2011
- Profile: Berry Bickle
Women for Children News
- Gabisile Nkosi Remembered (4 February 1974 - 27 May 2008)
- Youth Day 16 June 2011
- “Precious Cargo” by Ernestine White
- DUT Students view on Youth Day 2011
Break the Silence News
- 5th SA AIDS Conference - June 2011
- Art work: Yehoshua Comforting an Aids Victim by Mduduzi Xakaza
- ASJ Conference
- Nelson Mandela Day – 18 July 2011
South Centre, Issue 55, 11 July 2011
Capital flow booms and busts damaging to south
This issue of South Bulletin focuses on the adverse effects of the boom and bust cycle in capital flows into and out of developing countries, which has caused adverse effects in many economies. After the financial crisis, capital flows resumed their large surge into some developing countries. This has caused them many problems, such as currency appreciation affecting their trade, excess money, asset price boom and inflation.
Call for proposals: 16 Days of Activism against Gender based Violence
A call for applications to grantees seeking to organise activities to mark 16 Days of Activism against Gender based Violence has been issued by African Women’s Development Fund. The maximum amount of grant disbursed per organisation will be US$1,000.
A practical tool in budgeting for gender equality and women’s empowerment
Just Budgets aims to support civil society organisations, Southern governments and donors to track
donor and government commitment to gender equality thus promoting accountability to the poorest citizens.
North Africa: Interactive timeline on protests
Ever since a man in Tunisia burned himself to death in December 2010 in protest at his treatment by police, pro-democracy rebellions have erupted across the Middle East. This interactive timeline produced by The Guardian UK traces key events.
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