Pambazuka News 545: Corporations, crime, revolts and protests
The authoritative electronic weekly newsletter and platform for social justice in Africa
Pambazuka News (English edition): ISSN 1753-6839
CONTENTS: 1. Features, 2. Announcements, 3. Comment & analysis, 4. Advocacy & campaigns, 5. Books & arts, 6. Highlights French edition, 7. Cartoons, 8. Zimbabwe update, 9. Women & gender, 10. Human rights, 11. Refugees & forced migration, 12. Emerging powers news, 13. Elections & governance, 14. Corruption, 15. Development, 16. Health & HIV/AIDS, 17. Education, 18. LGBTI, 19. Environment, 20. Land & land rights, 21. Food Justice, 22. Media & freedom of expression, 23. Social welfare, 24. Conflict & emergencies, 25. Internet & technology, 26. Fundraising & useful resources, 27. Courses, seminars, & workshops, 28. Publications
Highlights from this issue
Pambazuka News is taking a break after this issue (#545) to recuperate and gather strength for the next period. We return the week beginning 5 September. IIssue 546 will be published on 8 September 2011. To help you survive our absence, we've put together a bumper issue of Pambazuka News.
You can continue sending articles to [email protected]
Thanks to you all for your continued support.
EditorsANNOUNCEMENTS: Bargain book price sale now on at Pambazuka Press
ZIMBABWE UPDATE: Ex military chief Mujuru dies in fire
WOMEN AND GENDER: Gender-based corruption in Rwanda’s workplace
HUMAN RIGHTS: Pambazuka News Q&A on historic South Africa to Gaza relief convoy
REFUGEES AND FORCED MIGRATION: Refugees fight for better conditions in South Africa
EMERGING POWERS NEWS: Latest edition of the Emerging Powers newsletter
ELECTIONS AND GOVERNANCE: News from Liberia, Uganda, Cape Verde, South Africa
DEVELOPMENT: Western racism in the IMF and World Bank
HEALTH AND HIV/AIDS: Aids breakthrough threatened by budget woes
EDUCATION: Libyan students call for help
LGBTI: UK denies visa to leading Ugandan activist
ENVIRONMENT: How Europe should plug oil spills in Africa
LAND AND LAND RIGHTS: Farmer leader talks about resistance to land grabs
MEDIA AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION: SADC told to tackle press freedom crisis
CONFLICT AND EMERGENCIES: News from Côte d’Ivoire, DRC, Libya, Somalia, South Sudan
INTERNET AND TECHNOLOGY: Promoting access to information online in repressive environments
PLUS: Fundraising & useful resources; Jobs
NOTE TO READERS: Pambazuka News is taking a break after this issue (#545). The next edition of Links and Resources will be on 12 September.
George Jackson - 40 year commemoration
The future of Arab revolts
Interview with Samir Amin
The agony of Ogoni
Somalia: Global war on terror and the humanitarian crisis
Is the IMF obstructing Kenya’s devolution process?
Breaking news: LGBT has hit Sudan
Part one of a two-part series
Corporations, crime, corruption and capital flight
TNCs, transfer pricing and tax avoidance
Fighting illicit capital flight
Somalia's unholy alliance: Media, donors and aid agencies
The problem of me: who am I?
The problem with affirmative action
My time in Hackney: Implications for youth
Riots, royal weddings and recession
Letter to Cameron: Lead, don't demonise
Continuing to struggle rather than celebrating freedom
Reverend Mavuso Mbhekeseni
Norway's terror, the world's problem
South African food sovereignty campaigners move to occupy land
The Africa state, genocide and the exigency of AFRICOM
Risky betting on a big gambler in Algeria
Another vicious attack on CSOs in Africa
Who is next?
Africa CSO Platform for Principled Partnership
Pambazuka Press books at bargain prices
Cry! The beloved Norway
Thinking and living Fanon
Chantelle Malan and Danielle Bowler
Working youth of Britain: Look south and learn
When the news and the truth are not the same thing
Q&A on South Africa to Gaza relief convoy
Africa must act for Africans in the Horn of Africa
Global day of action to free Maxwell Dlamini in Swaziland
Freeing all political prisoners in Swaziland
Uganda: Hate No More Campaign 2011
Show us the audit on our houses, Minister Sexwale!
R2K and AEC Western Cape Statement
How London's Africa Centre can be saved, revealed
Save The Africa Centre Campaign
Local Governance and ICTs in Africa
Tula will decolonise Curaçao's cinematography
Pambazuka News 202: Senegal’s political crisis and threats to democracy
Obama in 2008, Obama today
The US, poor countries and the financial crisis
Zimbabwe: Ex-military chief Mujuru dies
General Solomon Mujuru, a former Zimbabwean military chief and guerrilla leader in the country's independence war, has died in a fire at one of his homes, Zimbabwe's army commander said. The cause of the fire was unclear, but police said Mujuru's body was 'burned beyond recognition'. His widow, Joice Mujuru, is the country's vice president. Her supporters are vying for supremacy within their party should Mugabe die or retire.
Rwanda: Gender-based corruption in the workplace
Gender-based corruption in workplaces exists in Rwanda, reveals a new report published by Transparency Rwanda (TR), the civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption. The report is the first of its kind in Rwanda and reveals a number of challenges for the country. The study acknowledges that Rwanda has made impressive progress both in the fight against corruption and in the promotion of gender equality. However, 5 per cent of respondents personally experienced gender-based corruption in workplaces, 10 per cent perceive that the problem exists and nearly 20 per cent know someone who has been a victim.
Tunisia: Election law gives women equal chance
In the next few months, Tunisian women may have a real opportunity as candidates and voters to participate in the country's new, post-revolution, electoral system. With hope, this will lead to more women in decision-making roles in government and a chance to demonstrate that democracies flourish when women, and the special experience and viewpoints they bring to the process, are included.
South Africa: Sex, drugs and women’s rights
As South Africa commemorates Women’s Month, it is important to look at one of the most dangerous – and seldom discussed – issues affecting women in the country today, says this article from Gender Links. 'In South Africa, drug and alcohol abuse should be an issue of national concern. Yet, while production, sale and use of a number of drugs, including marijuana, cocaine and crystal meth is illegal in South Africa, it has done little to curb the use of drugs, which remains very high.'
Zimbabwe: For Zimbabwe's women, a bicycle can be a tool of liberation
Cycling can free women from the daily ordeal of Harare's public transport, and avoid predatory men
In an article for the Guardian’s Bike Blog, Jane Madembo relived her experience as a public transit and bicycle commuter in Zimbabwe. Madembo explains that public transport was scarce in the low-density, suburban areas where she had to travel for work, leaving her and other commuters to rely on inadequate and overcapacity transport methods.
Global: The first Men Care campaign
More than four out of five men worldwide will be fathers at some point in their lives. Sonke Gender Justice, Instituto Promundo and MenEngage, joined by the Department of Social Development - South Africa, are excited to announce the launch of the MenCare campaign, a global fatherhood campaign to promote active and equal parenting. See http://www.men-care.org/node/18 for more information.
Africa: Cultivating knowledge and crops
Women are key to sustainable agricultural development
An article in the Huffington Post, which references findings documented in the Worldwatch Institute report 'State of the World 2011', finds that despite the challenging circumstances that women in developing countries face, important innovations in communications and organising are helping them play a key role in the fight against hunger and poverty. 'Access to credit, which provides women farmers with productive inputs and improved technologies, can be an effective tool in improving livelihoods in Africa and beyond,' said Worldwatch Institute's executive director Robert Engelman.
When the news and the truth are not the same thing
Q&A on South Africa to Gaza relief convoy
Malawi: Civil society coalition demands justice
A coalition of 18 trade Unions, 11 national Christian councils, 15 umbrella NGO Bodies as well as civil society groups, think tanks and human rights organisations from Malawi and across southern Africa have called on the Malawian President, Bingu wa Mutharika, to put an immediate stop to the ongoing harassment and intimidation being meted out to Malawian citizens - and take action to ensure that those responsible for the deaths of 19 people during anti-government protests are held to account.
Uganda: Bunyoro kingdom to take the Queen of England to court
The British government is facing unprecedented court claims from its former African colonies for various atrocities committed by its officers. The once mighty Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom in western Uganda now joins the Mau Mau of Kenya in lodging court proceedings in which they are demanding £1.5 billion ($2.4 billion) as general damages and reparations. In a case that also raises questions about what should constitute the scope of a colonial power, lawyers representing Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom have served the British government with a statutory notice of intention to sue for invasion, atrocious human-rights abuses and grabbing of their land in the colonial era.
Somalia: 'All sides guilty' in Somalia, says rights group
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said all the parties in Somalia's conflict have violated the rules of war and are guilty of causing civilian casualties in the fight for territorial control that is contributing to the humanitarian catastrophe there. The New York-based group said al-Shabab, the rebel Isamist group that controls large parts of the country, was guilty of unrelenting brutality, while government troops carry out arbitrary arrests and detentions.
Sudan: Sudan atrocities amount to 'war crimes', says UN
Atrocities committed in June in Sudan's Southern Kordofan state by armies of the north and south 'could amount to crimes against humanity or war crimes', according to a report by the UN human rights agency. The 12-page report covers the period from 5-30 June and describes a wide range of alleged violations of international law in the town of Kadugli. The violations are also said to have occurred in the surrounding Nuba mountains, after fighting broke out in Kadugli on 5 June between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People's Liberation Army North (SPLA-N).
South Africa: Tutu calls for wealth tax for whites
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has called for a 'wealth tax' to be imposed on all white South Africans. The former archbishop of Cape Town and former head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) also called on members of President Jacob Zuma’s cabinet to sell their 'expensive cars', 'to show you care' about the poor in South Africa. Tutu said apartheid had left South Africans riddled with 'self-hate', and it was directly to blame for the country’s vicious crime rate and road carnage.
Côte d'Ivoire: Ivory Coast charges former president
Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo and his wife Simone, detained since he was ousted
from power in April, have been charged with 'economic crimes, armed robbery, looting and embezzlement', the public prosecutor has said. Simplice Kouadio Koffi said Gbagbo was charged on Thursday and his wife on Tuesday. Both have been moved from house arrest in the north of the country to jail.
Guinea: President pardons jailed activists
Guinea's President Alpha Conde has pardoned 17 opposition activists jailed for taking part in an illegal rally in April. The amnesty was aimed at promoting reconciliation after divisive elections last year, the BBC's Alhassan Sillah in the capital, Conakry, says. Mr Conde had also appointed Guinea's top Muslim and Christian clerics to head a reconciliation commission.
Tunisia: Italy says Lampedusa migrant numbers rising
There has been a sharp increase in the number of African migrants arriving in Italy in overcrowded boats, officials say. More than 3,000 people have reached the small island of Lampedusa - 200km (124 miles) off the Tunisian coast - in the past few days, they report. Arrivals are said to include Somalis and Nigerians as well as North Africans fleeing the violence in Libya.
South Africa: Catch-22 for unaccompanied child refugees
South Africa’s progressive constitution and laws extend the same protections to unaccompanied minors (the term given to children who cross border without parents or adult care-givers) as to local children, but in practice they face immense bureaucratic hurdles and are often left to fend for themselves. Although no figures are available, Mmone Moletsale of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said that based on reports from their partners, South Africa was receiving an increasing number of such children, but still lacked an efficient system for dealing with them.
South Africa: Refugees fight for better conditions
A group of asylum- seekers has applied to the High Court in Pretoria for an order directing the Home Affairs ministry to provide adequate refugee reception offices in South Africa, including in Johannesburg. The order - which, if granted, could force an overhaul of a refugee management system that at times borders on dysfunctional - seeks to compel the ministry to address a host of problems, including rampant corruption and overcrowding at reception offices that have made applying for asylum a nightmare in South Africa.
South Sudan: Reintegrating returnees in Upper Nile
John Wiyual returned from Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, to South Sudan in December 2010, hoping the move would not disrupt his five children's education too much. Wiyual's family was among the first groups of Southern Sudanese to go home, pending the South's secession, which became reality on 9 July. For Wiyual and thousands of other returnees in the Greater Upper Nile region - comprising the states of Upper Nile, Unity and Jonglei - basic services, land and employment opportunities are the key considerations influencing the pace of their reintegration.
Latest edition: emerging powers news roundup
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...
Liberia: Strong political will required for solutions
A World Council of Churches (WCC) and All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) report details historical conditions that have led to the upcoming elections in Liberia and describes the findings of the Ecumenical Solidarity Mission following their travels through Liberia from 7 through 12 August. The report concludes that resolution of Liberia’s 'difficulties and anxieties associated with the electoral process' will require 'strong political will from major stakeholders to reach a political compromise'.
Liberia: How sustainable is the recovery?
Liberia’s October 2011 general and presidential elections, the second since civil war ended in 2003, are an opportunity to consolidate its fragile peace and nascent democracy, says this report from the International Crisis Group. 'Peaceful, free and fair elections depend on how well the National Elections Commission (NEC) handles the challenges of the 23 August referendum on constitutional amendments and opposition perceptions of bias toward the president’s Unity Party (UP)... The most serious threats to security, however, are the persistence of mercenary activities and arms proliferation.'
Uganda: Police break up opposition vigil
Ugandan police have fired tear gas and water cannon filled with a pink dye to break up an opposition vigil near the capital, Kampala. Several hundred opposition supporters gathered for a 'light a candle' ceremony to mourn at least nine people killed during protests in April. Police said the meeting was illegal and could cause violence. The opposition has vowed to step up protests against President Yoweri Museveni's government.
Cape Verde: Opposition candidate wins presidential election
Cape Verde’s opposition candidate, Jorge Carlos Fonseca, 61, has won Sunday’s presidential run-off elections with 54 per cent of the votes cast. His rival, Manuel Inocencio Sousa, 60, has conceded defeat after 92 per cent of the overall ballots were counted by Monday morning.
South Africa: ANC top 6 to decide Malema’s fate
ANC Youth League president Julius Malema’s fate, and that of his executive, rests with the ANC’s top six officials, who will decide whether to accept the league’s apology and retraction of what the mother body regards as a politically embarrassing call for regime change in Botswana. ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu said officials would continue discussing the matter and there was no deadline to finalise these talks. He had earlier said the ANC would first have to weigh up whether the apology undid the damage to the ANC and the country. The youth league’s apology on Saturday came nearly two weeks after it vowed to stand by its intention to mobilise opposition to Sir Ian Khama’s government, which it described as a 'puppet regime'.
South Africa: Youth league president under investigation
The Hawks confirmed that they were investigating African National Congress Youth League president Julius Malema for fraud and corruption, eNews reported on Saturday. 'From the information that we have, we have enough to tell us that we need to do a full investigation...there's a lot that tells us that we have reason to worry,' Hawks spokesperson McIntosh Polela said. ENews also reported that the South African Revenue Service (Sars) initiated its own investigation into Malema's financial affairs and alleged failure to pay tax.
Global: Western racism in the IMF and the World Bank
One of the more serious problems facing the World Bank and International Monetary Fund is a long history of Western racism, the author of this article argues. 'Unless the IMF and the World Bank are willing to undergo a radical reform, not a superficial one (to prolong its power structure for Western domination), their historical relevance will come to an end soon, to be replaced by alternative global institutions when the new powers in the Asian century (and others) take their turn to reshape the world order.'
Eritrea: Reconstruction and authority in Eritrea and Rwanda
Eritrea and Rwanda are among Africa’s smallest and poorest states, states this Africa Research Institute briefing. 'Substantial military resources, and expertise, have enabled both countries to exert disproportionate influence over regional security. Aggression and authoritarianism have not prompted matching responses from donor nations. While President Paul Kagame’s leadership of Rwanda has been championed as “visionary”, President Isaias Afwerki is accused of transforming Eritrea into a rogue, pariah state.' The document argues that popular perceptions of these comparable, though seldom compared, countries have been simplistic – and polarised.
Africa: Emerging trend towards establishing offshore tax havens
As several African governments examine the possibility of setting up their own 'offshore' financial centres, the trade name for tax havens, campaigners are calling for transparency and fair tax regimes. 'We need pan-African action,' says Alvin Mosioma, coordinator of the Tax Justice Network Africa, an organisation that advocates fair tax regimes to promote economic and social development. 'The African Union has established a special panel on illicit financial flows, in which Thabo Mbeki participates, and the African Tax Administrators Forum meeting held in 2008 was also a promising start, but Africans have been too silent too long on the issue of financial transparency.'
Rwanda: Report on impact of tax incentives in Rwanda
Tax Justice Network - Africa and Action Aid International Kenya have conducted country studies on tax incentives for all East African Community (EAC) member states except Burundi. The Rwanda country study is complete. The report titled 'Policy Brief on Impact of Tax Incentives in Rwanda' is available and the 'East African Taxation Project: Rwanda Country Case Study' is also available. The amount lost in tax incentives is staggering, and rising: 'In 2006, according to the International Monetary Fund, the amount of revenue foregone in Rwanda to tax incentives was three per cent of GDP. Calculations from our research suggest that by 2008, this had risen to 3.6 per cent and 4.7 per cent by 2009. This compares with 2.8 per cent of GDP in Tanzania in 2008/9; one per cent of GDP in Kenya and 0.4 percent in Uganda.'
South Africa: ‘Economic diplomacy’ kicks in as FDI tumbles
Stiff competition in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) to Africa has compelled SA to prioritise 'economic diplomacy' among a range of foreign policy measures designed to drive economic growth. This comes as SA is losing its prime position as the preferred gateway from which to do business on the continent. A draft foreign policy white paper released last week also proposes the setting up of a development agency targeting other African countries, saying the 'success of economic diplomacy will determine the extent to which SA can achieve its domestic priorities'. Regional integration, reform of the international trading system, and negotiating preferential access for African goods on international markets form the core of SA’s economic diplomacy.
Madagascar: Sanctions result in economic decline and food insecurity
In recent years Madagascar has experienced a slow, seemingly unstoppable decline of its fragile economy, that has put a strain on the lives of millions of Malagasy citizens. After two and a half years under the administration of the transitional government of Andry Rajoelina (half a presidential mandate), the economy has been ranked worst in the world by Forbes magazine; thousands have lost their jobs and a food crisis is looming in the southern region of the country. Food crises in the region have been recurrent over the past decade, but an independent United Nations expert has warned that the sanctions imposed on Madagascar have made the situation untenable from a food security standpoint.
DRC: Let's live within our means, Kabila tells government departments
DRC President Joseph Kabila has warned national institutions not to shoot their expenditures out of control. The president has had a big issue with his prime minister, Adolphe Muzito, on this matter. In the past two years, President Kabila has prevented the premier from signing documents related to big expenditures. He has accused the Prime Minister of excessive spending in disregard of the allocated budget.
Global: AIDS breakthrough threatened by budget woes
After 30 years and over 20 million deaths in Africa alone, US researchers now report that early treatment of people infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that leads to AIDS cuts transmission of the disease by over 96 per cent. Unexpectedly announced by the US National Institutes of Health on 12 May after a six-year clinical trial, the discovery that anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) can make people living with HIV far less infectious means that humanity finally has the tools to reverse the global epidemic. But, says this article from African Renewal, having the technology to curb AIDS, however, is not the same as having the political will to do so.
Kenya: Kenyans address medical problems in public hospitals
Kenyans outraged over lost loved ones accuse public hospitals here of frequent medical negligence. Aware of a shortage of space and personnel, the government has been working to build and upgrade hospitals and train more doctors, thanks to funding from the Chinese government. Meanwhile, a group of citizens has formed a foundation to speak out against medical negligence, reports Global Press Institute.
Global: Study asks whether pediatric HIV is a neglected disease
The failure to implement prevention programmes for mother-to-child transmission on an appropriate scale has resulted in hundreds of thousands of preventable HIV infections among newborns, a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine says. The results of this study, it is hoped, will influence guidelines in the direction of even earlier initiation of antiretroviral therapy.
Somalia: Cholera hits crowded Mogadishu camps
Fears are mounting that a cholera epidemic could spread rapidly among the hundreds of thousands of people living in often unsanitary conditions in Mogadishu after fleeing drought, famine and insecurity. In Mogadishu's largest health facility, Banadir Hospital, 4,272 cases of acute watery diarrhoea, a symptom of cholera, have been recorded so far this year, causing 181 deaths. (Random laboratory tests showed that 60 per cent of the cases also tested positive for malaria, according to WHO.)
Malawi: Hospitals struggle with lack of water
Two battered plastic chairs bar entry to the toilets at the Bangwe Township Clinic in Blantyre. The toilets are not working because there is no running water - yet again. And if patients want to use the facilities they will have to run to the next- door primary school, which has pit latrines. 'It’s not a new thing here,' says a nurse, speaking on the condition of anonymity. 'It’s been like this for two weeks now. We often don’t have running water, especially during the dry season. We have two toilets, so at times (like this) we close them.'
South Africa: Shortage of drug-resistant TB treatment looms
While countries are rolling out new tests that will enable them to diagnose more patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB), a worldwide shortage of the drugs to treat these patients is likely, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) warns. DR-TB can occur when TB patients do not complete their initial course of TB treatment. The only way to test for DR-TB is through cultures or via molecular testing – neither of which has been widely available in many high incident countries - until the advent of the GeneXpert, a two-hour molecular TB test released in 2010.
Libya: Students call for help
Thousands of Libyan students enrolled in universities and colleges in Australia, Britain, Egypt, South Africa and the US face suspension of their monthly stipend from the government in Tripoli, possibly by the end of August. Many students fear reprisals for holding protests against the regime of Muammar Gaddafi should they return home, but the British and US governments have promised to do what they can to ensure the students will be able to complete their courses.
Somalia: Famine causes school dropouts to rise
Jamaal Abdi, an eight-year-old boy at the Badbaado camp on the outskirts of Mogadishu, would like to have an education. He has his own dreams for the future. But since Abdi and his family arrived at Badbaado camp – the biggest camp for people displaced by the drought and famine in southern Somalia and home to nearly 30,000 people, mostly women and children – he has done nothing but sit around all day. But for Abdi, it’s nothing new. He’s never been to school.
Uganda: UK denies leading Ugandan LGBT activist a visa
The British government has denied a visa to Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesra, a leading LGBT activist in Uganda and the 2011 winner of the prestigious Martin Ennals award for Human Rights. She had been invited to open Foyle Pride in Derry, Northern Ireland, 24 August.
Africa: American anti-gay campaign in Africa opposes sexual rights
Sharon Slater, American anti-gay activist and president of Family Watch International, recently encouraged delegates attending a law conference in Lagos, Nigeria to resist the United Nations’ calls to decriminalise homosexuality. Keynoting the Nigerian Bar Association Conference, Slater told delegates that they would lose their religious and parental rights if they supported 'fictitious sexual rights'. One such 'fictitious right' is the right to engage in same-sex sexual relationships without going to jail.
Ghana: Rights chief says she won't fight for gay rights
The newly appointed boss of Ghana’s Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Lauretta Lamptey has said she will not fight for the rights of homosexuals as the law deems their activities to be criminal. Lamptey also said that the argument on gay rights should be a legal discourse, rather than about human rights.
Global: Our right to water
A People’s Guide to Implementing the United Nations’ Recognition of the Right to Water and Sanitation
'This paper is meant to serve as a background document to help civil society groups fighting for water justice and their governments take these two historic [UN] resolutions and make them work. It traces the history of the struggle for the right to water and lays out the case for why the recognition of the human right to water is needed.'
Africa: How Europe could help plug oil spills in Africa
A new study is asking the European Parliament, European Union member states and European civil society organizations to push for regulatory measures targeted at Europe-based companies engaged in oil exploration in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The study follows on the heels of landmark UN findings reported on August 4, highlighting the devastating impact of oil spills in the Niger delta over the past five decades, which will take up to 30 years to clean up.
Global: The green economy, poverty and equity
There are many challenges and obstacles facing developing countries in moving their economies to more environmentally friendly paths, says this paper from the South Centre. 'On one hand this should not prevent the attempt to urgently incorporate environmental elements into economic development. On the other hand, the various obstacles should be identified and recognised and international cooperation measures should be taken to enable and support the sustainable development efforts.'
Global: Developing world leading new investments in green energy
The developing world has, for the first time, outstripped richer economies in providing new investment in the renewable energy sector, according to a report. And research and development (R&D) funding from government sources, at US$5 billion in 2010, for the first time overtook corporate R&D investment, according to 'Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2011', published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in July, reports www.scidev.net
Ethiopia: Ethiopia stands firm on the Gibe 3 hydro dam project
Ethiopian authorities have turned down a strong demand by Kenyan lawmakers to stop the construction of the controversial Gibe III hydro-electric power dam, terming it 'unthinkable'. The massive dam, that is expected to cost $1.7 billion, has come under sustained criticism from mainly western rights groups over what they say are the negative environmental and social impacts and the threat it is said to pose to the livelihoods of an estimated 500,000 people living in Kenya. Kenyan Members of Parliament last week demanded the Ethiopian government stop all construction until an independent environmental impact assessment was done, saying that communities living around Lake Turkana would be affected.
South Africa: Activists win right to intervene in seed merger
African Centre for Biosafety statement
'The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) welcomes the decision made by the Competition Tribunal on 19 August 2011, to allow the ACB to intervene in the merger proceedings involving multinational seed giant, Pioneer Hi Bred’s bid to take over South Africa’s largest seed company, Panaar. The ACB, represented by Legal Aid South Africa, and advocates Stephen Budlender and Isabel Goodman, has consistently sought to lead evidence and present argument on public interest grounds that militate against authorisation of the merger.'
Namibia: Namibians mull life after climate change
Extreme weather conditions predicted because of climate change in Namibia are likely to have a tremendous effect on the 70 per cent of the country's people who live in rural areas and depend heavily on agriculture. According to experts in climate change, Namibia has no option but to adapt to the changing climate as radical changes in weather, such as extreme dry spells and exceptionally heavy rainfall, are forecast for the Southern African country.
South Africa: Red lights flash on SA rivers
Water affairs officials are unable to tell MPs whether the health of South Africa's rivers is improving or worsening, but a rash of red spots across maps they presented suggested the latter. Briefing members of Parliament's water and environmental affairs portfolio committee, the department's acting chief director for water resources information management, Moloko Matlala, listed the main problems affecting the quality of the country's river water. These included fecal pollution, eutrophication (the inflow of nitrates and phosphates), high salinity, high toxicity (from, among other sources, agricultural pesticides) and acid mine drainage.
Africa: One voice from Africa at COP17
Africa will speak with one strong voice at the United Nations Summit on Climate Change to kick-start in Durban, South Africa in November this year, the SADC Senior Programme Officer for Environment and Sustainable Development, Mr Alex Banda said. Mr Banda was speaking on the sidelines during the 5th SADC Multi Stakeholder Water Dialogue in Manzini on 28 June. 'SADC in April this year developed a common position during a meeting in South Africa on key issues we are going to be pushing for but within Africa as a continent,' Banda said.
Africa: World’s largest conservation area launched
Southern Africa has just acquired the world’s largest conservation area - a 444000km² peace park joining Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, the Peace Parks Foundation said. The Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area was legally established on the last day of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) conference in Luanda, Angola.
Nigeria: Farmer leader talks about resistance to land grabs
The United Small and Medium scale Farmers' Associations of Nigeria (USMEFAN) is a national coalition of smallholder farmers and their organisations. It envisions a food self-sufficient Nigeria where ecologically sound and sustainable agriculture forms the foundation of an ever buoyant economy in which the small and medium scale family farmers who produce most of the food, in harmony and cooperation with nature, also enjoy enhanced livelihoods, live and work in dignity and self confidence, making the rural environment attractive for and truly supportive of human habitation. In this interview, GRAIN talks to Olaseinde Makanjuola Arigbede of the United Small and Medium scale Farmers' Associations of Nigeria (USMEFAN).
Africa: Land grabs and the threat to water resources
This article from www.mybigearth.com focuses on the relationship between land grabs and water demand in the countries that rely on the Nile River. 'Growing water demand, driven by population growth and foreign land (and water) acquisitions, are straining the Nile’s natural limits. Avoiding dangerous conflicts over water will require three Basin-wide initiatives. The first is for governments to address the population threat head-on by ensuring that all women have access to family planning services and by providing education for girls throughout the region. The second is to adopt more water-efficient irrigation technologies and shift to less water-intensive crops.'
Africa: Land investment deals as a cause of Africa’s food supply problems
Some researchers are pointing to land investment deals in Africa, also called land grabs. According to a recent study by the Oakland Institute these deals increase price volatility and supply insecurity in the global food system. The organisation says massive amounts of land are sold or leased to foreign companies. In 2009, this amounted to an area the size of France. For more, listen to this interview posted online by Free Speech Radio News with Anuradha Mittal, executive director of the Oakland Institute.
Tanzania: Website for land information launched
ActionAid Tanzania in collaboration with the Tanzania Land Alliance (TALA) under the land Accountability Project (LAP) launched on Friday, a web-based land portal to aid in accessing information and discussion of land related issues in Tanzania. The project will also establish a system for women and the poor to access support and expose land grabbing on the internet, said a statement issued by the ActionAid.
Africa: Food security in East Africa gets research boost
A consortium of East African institutes is researching new seed varieties better suited to dry areas to combat the effects of climate change in the region. The partnership, comprising seven universities and institutes in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, and funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, will also disseminate technical knowledge to agricultural extension services and farmers, and promote new insurance and financing schemes for building resilience to climate change.
Global: World Bank sounds alert on food prices
The price of maize in the Horn of Africa has doubled over the last year, the World Bank has said. In Kenya, it has increased by 89 per cent, according to the bank’s Food Price Watch report. This is the fourth highest increase in the price of maize in the world behind Uganda (122 per cent), Somalia (107 per cent) and Rwanda (104 per cent). Overall, the Food Price Watch says global food prices in July 2011 remain 33 per cent higher than a year ago.
Global: Voices of Our Future citizen journalists
World Pulse Live 2011
'This October, three amazing women representing the energy and optimism of the World Pulse community will come to the US for the first time to lift their voices. These grassroots leaders will reveal how they are using the power of new media and technology to change lives and create solutions on the frontlines of today’s most pressing issues.'
Guinea: Freelance journalist held incommunicado in a military camp
El Bechir Diallo, a freelance journalist, is currently being held at PM3, a military camp in Conakry, the capital of Guinea. The Media Foundation for West Africa’s (MFWA) correspondent reported that El Bechir was abducted in the morning of 11 August 2011 by officials of the Criminal Investigations Department (DPJ) of the Guinean police for no apparent reason. MFWA is sad that despite progress made by Guinea in democratic governance, journalists and citizens are still held without recourse to the laws of Guinea.
Libya: NATO launches airstrikes at media outlet
Three journalists were killed and 21 others injured in Tripoli after North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) warplanes bombed three transmission towers on 30 July in an effort to take Libyan state television off the air. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) have condemned the attack.
Sierra Leone: Media accused of fanning violence
Sierra Leone’s Independent Media Commission (IMC) has raised alarm over threats posed by journalists to the peace building in the country. The IMC, which is responsible for regulating the country’s media Thursday, blamed journalists for breaching code of ethics with articles or programmes carrying 'elements of indecency and incitement'. This statement comes in the wake of concerns raised by lobbyists and members of the public over the possibility of widespread violence around elections scheduled for next year.
Zimbabwe: Police search for Zimbabwe Independent journalists
Police from the Law and Order section on 11 August 2011 visited Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) offices in search of Zimbabwe Independent editor Constantine Chimakure and senior political reporter Wongai Zhangazha over a story the paper published in its edition of 8 July 2011. Detectives said that they wanted the two to assist in investigations of who ‘leaked’ the details of the story as it was based on cabinet deliberations, which is an offence under the Official Secrets Act.
Zimbabwe: Tackle press freedom crisis, SADC told
Reporters Without Borders has called on the heads of state and government attending the Southern African Development Community summit being held in the Angolan capital of Luanda from 14 to 19 August to examine the situation of the media in Zimbabwe, where press freedom violations are increasing at an alarming rate. In the past month alone, Reporters Without Borders has tallied more than 11 violations of the freedom or safety of journalists, all of which have remained unpunished.
South Africa: The impact of the financial crisis on child poverty
This Unicef paper reports on a study to provide insights into the magnitude of the shocks associated with the crisis in macroeconomic terms in South Africa, the country’s capacity to withstand or cushion these shocks, and the extent of fragility in terms of poverty levels and child well-being.
Côte d’Ivoire: Finding peace after power shift
With power in Côte d’Ivoire having changed hands from Laurent Gbagbo to Alassane Ouattara, the social dynamic has shifted in Moyen-Cavally, creating new challenges for stability in the cocoa- and coffee-rich region where political partisanship runs largely along ethnic lines. But observers say community structures and local will to overcome divisions remain and can be built upon to move past unprecedented turmoil. 'People here have no choice but to coexist,' said Benjamin Effoli, prefect in the western town of Duékoué in Moyen-Cavally. 'Social cohesion is a non-stop job and every single person has his or her role.' He said in the wake of the latest crisis, long-standing community groups are monitoring the situation and discussing how to rein in strife.
DRC: Being frank about Dodd-Frank
The idea that the Dodd-Frank Act in the US will stop mineral exploitation by armed groups is flawed, argues this article. 'Mineral exploitation, the object of activism and legislation, is but one source of revenue for these armed groups. They literally rule over the territories they control, taxing every economic activity and terrorizing the civilians into submission. Losing access to the mines will marginally affect their capacity to generate funds, considering that weapons and ammunitions are relatively inexpensive. In other words, if there were no minerals, the conflict would still rage on as armed groups would find other sources of revenue.'
Libya: Fighting rages over Gaddafi's compound
Heavy fighting and gun battles have broken out in areas of Tripoli after opposition fighters gained control overnight of much of the Libyan capital in their battle to end Muammar Gaddafi's decades-long rule. Clashes erupted on Monday after tanks left Bab Aziziya, Gaddafi's compound in Tripoli, to confront the rebel assault. Many of the streets in the centre of the city, where anti-government supporters had celebrated hours earlier, were abandoned as pockets of pro-Gaddafi resistance and the presence of snipers and artillery fire made the area dangerous.
Libya: Rebels claim to hand over power to elected assembly in eight months
The Telegraphs reports that Libya's rebel leader has promised to hand over power to an elected assembly within eight months of the collapse of Muammar Gaddafi's regime. sketching out the country's path to democracy, after the end of Gaddafi's 42-year reign, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, chair of the National Transitional Council, sought to draw a line under questions about the intent and the legitimacy of his un-elected council, which has become the de-facto government in the rebel-held east of Libya.
Libya: Rebels in Tripoli's central square
Euphoric Libyan rebels have moved into the centre of the capital, Tripoli, as Muammar Gaddafi's defenders melted away and thousands of jubilant civilians rushed out of their homes to cheer the long convoys of pickup trucks packed with fighters shooting in the air. The rebels' surprising and speedy leap forward, after six months of largely deadlocked civil war, was packed into just a few dramatic hours. By nightfall on Sunday, they had advanced more than 32km to Tripoli. Pockets of fighters who are still loyal to Gaddafi still control parts of the city - including the areas around Gaddafi's Bab al-Azizia compound in the south of the city.
Somalia: UN makes plea over disaster fatigue
The head of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has made an impassioned appeal to the world to save an estimated 390,000 starving children in famine-ravaged regions of Somalia, saying the international community must not let the so-called 'disaster fatigue' numb compassion and generosity. Anthony Lake, the UNICEF Executive Director, said at a news conference at UN Headquarters to mark World Humanitarian Day: 'The statistics can be mind-numbing, but remember that the data is sons and daughters. The statistics are little boys and little girls, every one of them.' In addition to the tens of thousands of Somalis who have already died as a result of the drought-induced famine, which has been exacerbated by conflict and poverty, an estimated 390,000 children are suffering from malnutrition. Four fifths of them are in the worst affected areas of the country’s south-central zone.
South Sudan: 185 killed in tribal and militia fighting
At least 125 people were confirmed dead on Sunday as sectional fighting continued between two feuding tribes in Jonglei state in South Sudan, officials said. Sixty others perished in fighting between the army and a militia group in Upper Nile state on Saturday, according to the army spokesman. The caretaker Justice Minister, John Luk Jok, said 125 bodies were found dead on the ground in Uror County in Jonglei state since the fighting broke out on Thursday.
Africa: Are social media providing new platforms for democratic debate?
This article form Fesmedia Africa assesses the role of new media in social change in Africa. 'New media platforms are changing how people communicate with each other around the world. However, there is great variation in both the kind of communication platforms people make use of as well as in how they access these platforms. Computer ownership and internet access are still the prerogative of the wealthy few in wide swathes of the African continent. All the same, mobile internet access is on the rise and if current growth rates continue, African mobile phone penetration will reach 100 per cent by 2014.'
Africa: Banking in Sub-Saharan Africa to 2020: Promising frontiers
This report from the Economist Intelligence Unit claims that African countries south of the Sahara are poised to enjoy a surge in growth in their banking systems during this decade. The three main drivers in this development will be generally very high rates of economic growth, financial deepening to fulfil huge unmet needs for basic financial services and new technologies to provide them – particularly over mobile phones.
Africa: Did you know - mobile stats for Africa 2011
This animated YouTube video compiled by the Praekelt Foundation presents an overview of the mobile technology landscape in Africa, with statistics and facts about mobile phones and their use on the continent.
Global: ICTs, informal online activists and civil society organisations
When talking about ICTs and the relationship between informal online activists and civil society organisations, the key question, says this article, is: how can traditional civil society organisations capitalise from and build on an almost organic process, happening quite independently from them, without attempting to capture or institutionalise such processes, which would endanger their creativity and flexibility? Or put inversely: how can an undefined, motivated but oftentimes transient group of individuals best use the technical know-how of CSOs?
Global: Research study on sex, rights and the internet published
Over the past three years, the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) carried out exploratory research in five countries from different continents on the internet’s role in accessing information about sex education, health, fighting sex discrimination and defining one’s own sexuality.Carried out in Brazil, India, Lebanon, South Africa & USA the research looks at how the internet plays host to critical information about sex education, health, fighting sex discrimination and defining one’s own sexuality. It debunks the commonly-held view that sexuality online is just about pornography.
Global: Three reports on circumvention tool usage, international bloggers, and internet control
The Berkman Center has released three new publications as part of their circumvention project. Over the past two years, the Center has carried out a number of research activities designed to improve our understanding of the knowledge, usage, and effectiveness of circumvention tools as a means to promote access to information online in repressive online environments.
Africa: Radio show on Horn of Africa crisis
Africa Today host Walter Turner discusses the crisis in the Horn of Africa with a guest from a pastoral community and an environmental activist. Analysts have noted climate change and militarisation as some of the root causes of the crisis, notes Turner in his introduction.
Africa: The importance of funding our own movements
African Women and Philanthropy
Making Local Government Work: An Activist's Guide
This helpful guide for activists - developed by SECTION27, TAC, SERI and Read Hope Philips Attorneys - sets out the legal responsibilities of local government in South Africa and rights under the Constitution and in law. It shows how to engage government from inside, by participating in formal processes, and from outside by going public through complaints, petitions, protest action, the media and the courts.
North Africa: Explore the media habits of consumers in the Middle East and North Africa
Insights MENA is an interactive tool providing critical data about the online behavior of urban consumers in five key MENA markets: Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and UAE. Visit the website to find out more.
Global: Faith-based peacebuilding: applying a gender perspective
Join New Tactics and the International Fellowship of Reconciliation's Women Peacemakers Program (IFOR/WPP) for an online dialogue on the topic of 'Faith-based peacebuilding: The need for a gender perspective', from 19-25 October 2011. The role of religion in conflict and peacebuilding, the rise of religious fundamentalism, and the threat this poses for women's human rights are issues receiving increasing attention.
Politics, Religion and Power in the Great Lakes Region
CODESRIA/Fountain Publishers, 2011
'Politics, Religion and Power in the Great Lakes Region' covers the political, religious and power relations in the contemporary Great Lakes states: Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Tanzania, Kenya and the Sudan. The work is important because of the nexus between these countries’ shared present and past - their political, socio-economic, cultural and historical aspirations.
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