Pambazuka News 558: Angolan corruption, the climate crisis and elections in DRC
The authoritative electronic weekly newsletter and platform for social justice in Africa
Pambazuka News (English edition): ISSN 1753-6839
CONTENTS: 1. Features, 2. Announcements, 3. Comment & analysis, 4. Advocacy & campaigns, 5. Pan-African Postcard, 6. Letters & Opinions, 7. African Writers’ Corner, 8. Podcasts & Videos, 9. Highlights French edition, 10. Zimbabwe update, 11. Women & gender, 12. Human rights, 13. Refugees & forced migration, 14. Emerging powers news, 15. Elections & governance, 16. Development, 17. Health & HIV/AIDS, 18. Education, 19. LGBTI, 20. Environment, 21. Land & land rights, 22. Food Justice, 23. Media & freedom of expression, 24. Social welfare, 25. Conflict & emergencies, 26. Fundraising & useful resources, 27. Courses, seminars, & workshops, 28. Publications
Criminal complaint lodged against Angolan generals
Rafael Marques de Morais
Capitalism vs. the Climate
cc J G L AThe 'real solutions to the climate crisis are also our best hope of building a much more enlightened economic system – one that closes deep inequalities, strengthens and transforms the public sphere, generates plentiful, dignified work and radically reins in corporate power,' writes Naomi Klein.
cc J G L AThe 'real solutions to the climate crisis are also our best hope of building a much more enlightened economic system – one that closes deep inequalities, strengthens and transforms the public sphere, generates plentiful, dignified work and radically reins in corporate power,' writes Naomi Klein.
Trans-African climate caravan hits Nairobi
DRC: Democracy at a crossroads
One election, two sources of legitimacy of power
Tunisia: In the name of democracy
What secularists and women have to lose in the elections
Marieme Helie Lucas
To grasp things by the root: On Julius Malema
A history of US-sponsored violence in Haiti
How US has used military and money to destabilise nation
How USAID undermines democracy in Haiti
Gaddafi’s assassination: Bombing Africa into ‘civilisation’
Nana Akyea Mensah
Political assassin robots flying in African skies
China’s meddling exacerbates Somali anarchy
Ismail A Mohamed
US Africa Command a tool to recolonise continent
Horace Campbell: Nanking and the lessons of genocide
Ethiopians: November is to remember!
Honouring martyrs for freedom felled by Zenawi regime
Alemayehu G. Mariam
Saharawi political prisoners on hunger strike
Cash-crop colonialism and the attack on African agriculture
Call for submissions: The Contemporary Relevance of Steve Biko
Steve Biko Foundation
Fahamu Pan-African Fellows graduate
Weapons of Mass Construction: MBBC E-Learning Platform Launches
Weapons of Mass Construction: MBBC E-Learning Platform Launches!
The Movement Building Boot Camp (MBBC) online platform is an e-learning space for African activists doing progressive work around sexuality, gender, justice and rights. It features training guides and knowledge resources to support creative thinking, strategising and discussions among activists working for social transformation inclusive of issues of sexuality and gender identity. The training resources are organised around three intersecting pillars: Concepts (theoretical frameworks for understanding our world), Practice (activist tools and methods) and Self (individual and collective well-being and security). The site is intended to support self-organised learning and training. The materials are designed to be directly downloaded and used by individuals and activist groups. It includes training modules to help facilitate your own training or learning. The library contains references and materials for further reading. Content created for this site is available for free under a Creative Commons license that allows it to be used for non-commercial purposes. In the spirit of movement building, please do let us know how you are using the materials, and if you would like to contribute information for the site.
Russia's slow engagement hinders marriage
Kester Kenn Klomegah
Eni misled shareholders over gas flaring in Nigeria
The case for the return of The Luzira 7
The Kenyans detained in Uganda on terrorism charges
Muslim Human Rights Forum
Russell Tribunal on Palestine calls for pressure on Israeli government
International award for Guinea-Bissau environmentalist
Swazi student leader nominated for student peace prize
Why Ghana musn’t give in to superstition
Thoughts on Algeria and the Arab Autumn
A response to David Porter
Marieme Helie Lucas
Song of the wretched
Mphutlane wa Bofelo
Egypt: Tahrir at night
Eleven people were left dead in Egypt as protestors against continuing military rule clashed with police in and around Tahrir Square. This informal video captures some of the scenes from Tahrir Square.
Global: KPFA Africa Today interview with William Minter
This KPFA Africa Today programme with Walter Turner features an interview with William Minter, editor and producer of the valuable web site Africa Focus. He discusses his life's work in media and information regarding Africa.
South Africa: 'Free Media, Free Minds'
Cape Town Community TV together with the support of AIDC and FES have produced 'Free Media, Free Minds!' - a 13 part TV series focusing on aspects of media freedom and the free flow of information in South Africa. The show is broadcast across Cape Town and live streamed on the internet every Monday at 19h00 and broadcast again every Sunday at 16h30 from the 7th November 2011 to 5th February 2012. Visit Cape Town Community TV for the schedule.
Pambazuka News 213: Durban climate change conference: Africa demands equity and justice
Zimbabwe: Mugabe cornered at summit
Regional leaders meeting for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in Angola cornered President Robert Mugabe and told him Zimbabwe could not hold elections without reforms that would guarantee free and fair elections. He was also told last week the region would not accept violent elections. Mugabe suffered a double blow at the summit after his plan to have South African president Jacob Zuma toppled as facilitator to the Zimbabwe crisis was thrown out by SADC leaders, who felt Zuma had done well in trying to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis.
Global: World Bank's gender WDR: too little, too late?
The World Bank’s flagship annual publication pushes gender equality up to the Bank’s agenda, but critics express concern about its implementation and unwillingness to consider gender a women’s rights issue. The World Development Report (WDR) 2012: Gender Equality and Development – the first to focus on this issue – was released in September. It documents progress in narrowing gender gaps in education, health and labour in the past 25 years and maintains the Bank’s past approach to gender as an economic issue, stressing that greater gender equality 'can enhance productivity, improve development outcomes for the next generation, and make institutions more representative'. However, the WDR recognises that economic growth does not always lead to gender equality. Female mortality, school enrolment and earnings are some of the areas identified where gender gaps are still most significant.
Southern Africa: 'Women play crucial development role'
'At UN Women we are working with five governments in the sub-region in a pilot programme to see exactly what women are doing to get out of poverty. Most of these women are in what is called the informal sector, and their work is not recognised. The women who kept the Zimbabwe economy going at the lowest point in its history are not recognised even today. Yet they ensured the survival of their families and the economy,' says the head of UN Women in Southern Africa, Nomcebo Manzini, in this interview with Business Report.
Uganda: Single mothers left behind in flooded swampland
Life in Bwaise – a slum on the outskirts of the capital of Uganda – has never been easy. But increasingly erratic rains over the last three years have brought constant floods to the former swampland. Residents who can afford to are moving out, leaving the poorest – often single mothers and grandmothers – behind.
Zambia: Silence puts women's lives at risk
Unsafe abortion is a serious problem in Zambia. National figures do not exist, reflecting the low status of the issue, but research suggests thousands die every year attempting to terminate their pregnancies. These deaths account for 30 per cent of an excessively high maternal mortality rate of 591 deaths per 100,000 live births. Girls and young women under 19 years old account for a staggering 80 per cent of these deaths.
Angola: Local authorities disrupt civil society event
On 9 November 2011, local authorities in Benguela suddenly withdrew their support and disrupted an arts and culture event organised by the NGO OMUNGA that was scheduled to start the following day. OMUNGA is a human rights group based in the province of Benguela that promotes street children rights, children and youth protagonism, community and civil education. Furthermore, on 11 and 12 November, the police intervened again and forcibly interrupted two OKUPAKALA events that were taking place in different parts of the city, namely Damba Maria and Catumbela. The organisers then transferred the event supposed to take place in Catumbela to another location, but the police contacted them and ordered not to continue with the event.
DRC: Male rape in the DRC
They are men who have lost all pride and self-confidence and who have been left severely traumatised by their experience. At the medical centre in Uganda where they are being treated, they talked candidly about the crimes carried out against them. 'In the past, I thought that it was only females who were raped but not men. I cannot understand myself today. I feel pain all the time in my anus and bladder. I feel like my bladder is full of water. I do not feel like a man. I do not know whether I will ever have children,' said John (not his real name), a 27-year-old refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo who is just one of possibly thousands of victims of male rape as civil wars and tribal conflicts continue unabated across Africa.
Egypt: Activists continue to push against military trials
The No Military Trials group has stepped up the momentum in its campaign, presenting family members of military detainees at a conference chaired by Mohammad Abd Al-Qaddous of the Journalists’ Syndicate. Ahmad Darrag of the National Gathering for Change, who this week rejected a summons to appear before the military prosecutor in relation to the Maspero killings, also spoke. Close relatives of a dozen prisoners condemned or under trial by military courts spoke at the conference, and many more family members were in attendance.
Libya: World powers urge fair trial for captured Gaddafi son
World powers have urged Libya to work with the International Criminal Court and ensure a fair trial for Seif al-Islam, son of slain leader Muamar Gaddafi who was arrested after months on the run. Seif, wanted by the ICC for crimes against humanity allegedly committed in crushing anti-regime protests, was captured in Libya's far-flung Saharan south early on Saturday in a trap set by fighters of the Zintan brigade.
Nigeria: Sexual slaves evacuated from Mali
Nigeria has evacuated from Mali 104 of its citizens, mostly women, either made to work as 'sexual slaves' or suspected of involvement in human trafficking, officials said. The National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons (NAPTIP) evacuated 93 alleged victims of human trafficking, nine suspected traffickers and two babies, the agency's head, Beatrice Jedy-Agba, told reporters.
Africa: AU, WB launch remittances database
The World Bank and the African Union have taken steps to lower the cost of sending remittances to and within Africa by launching an online database that will help increase transparency about prices and stimulate greater competition among service providers. The database, Send Money Africa, is a years-in-the-making partnership between the Bank, the African Union Commission, and donors. Through its interface, migrants can compare the cost that remittance service providers charge to send a particular amount to a given country. 'Send Money Africa will stimulate competition among the service providers and ultimately induce a reduction of the costs. As a result, remittance senders and recipients will benefit from transparent, efficient, less costly remittance services,' said Richard Cambridge, Manager of the Africa Diaspora Program in the World Bank’s Africa Region.
Africa: Mixed migration between Horn of Africa and Yemen reaches record high
The number of refugees and migrants arriving in Yemen by boat was 12,545 last month - the highest monthly total since UNHCR began compiling data about the mixed migration route between the Horn of Africa and Yemen in January 2006. As well as exceeding the previous record of 12,079 arrivals in September, the October total brings to 84,656 the number of people who arrived in Yemen by sea between the start of January and the start of November - more than the earlier annual record in 2009 of 77,000 people.
Djibouti: Migrants risk all for 'better life'
Thousands of migrants traverse the road between Djibouti’s capital, Djiboutiville, and the coastal town of Obock carrying little more than a bottle of water and the hope that they are heading towards a better life. They pass through an arid landscape strewn with volcanic rock that sustains little life besides the occasional pastoralist and his goats. Temperatures average around 34 degrees Celsius in winter and in summer can reach 52 degrees. It is just one leg of a journey that, for most, started in Ethiopia or Somalia and for the fortunate ones will end with a well-paid job in Saudi Arabia.
Egypt: Egypt prepares to forcibly return Eritreans
Human Rights Watch has urged the new government in Egypt against deporting Eritrean asylum seekers who are currently being detained in the North African country. The international advocacy group said Egyptian authorities are preparing to forcibly return a group of 118 Eritreans including recent deserters from the Eritrean Army; accusing Cairo of renewing the trend of mass deportations it exercised in 2008 and 2009. In most cases Eritrean refugees and asylum-seekers upon return are immediately thrown to secret detention centers where they are subjected to severe torture and other in-human treatments, the human rights group says.
Kenya: Cholera outbreak hits largest refugee complex
Heavy rains and an outbreak of cholera in Kenya’s Dadaab complex is exacerbating the situation in the overcrowded refugee camp, where aid efforts were already hampered by insecurity, the United Nations reported. There are now 60 cases of cholera in the camps, including 10 laboratory-confirmed cases and one refugee death, according to Andrej Mahecic, a spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Kenya: Insecurity undermines aid access in Dadaab
Humanitarian activities in the world’s largest refugee complex have been restricted to essential services amid worsening security exemplified by the 13 October abduction of two Spanish aid workers and the earlier abduction of a Kenyan NGO driver in the eastern Kenyan facility. All but critical food, water, health and nutrition and some child protection services are suspended, as is the registration of new arrivals in the Dadaab complex.
South Sudan: UNHCR concerned about thousands of refugees in border areas
The UN refugee agency has expressed concern about the security of thousands of refugees in South Sudan border areas as fighting in neighbouring Sudan continues to drive civilians across the frontier. 'UNHCR is working to move these refugees away from the border and to safer areas of South Sudan because of concerns about security,' the agency's chief spokesperson, Melissa Fleming, told journalists in Geneva.
Tunisia: Migrant opinions of the Arab Spring
The Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) region has been (and remains) a fascinating testing ground for the media and politics and has inspired, among numerous other independent productions, a documentary film that features the voices of North African and African immigrants living in Italy. Called #Revolution, this short video was filmed in Padua and Bologna by citizen-reporters belonging to the Voci Globali association.
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...
Angola: Is the Angolan Spring blossoming?
Partly inspired by the Arab Spring, partly by their own experiences of living abroad, but mostly by what they say is utter frustration about the huge inequalities that divide Angola, an emerging youth protest group has no fixed political affiliations and no formal leadership, says this IPS article. Starting off with just a dozen people, their support base has grown rapidly, thanks to social networking sites like Facebook, and in October they mobilised some 700 people to walk down a main street in Luanda carrying placards saying 'Down with the dictator' and '32 years is too long'. Pedro Seabra, a researcher at the Portuguese Institute of International Relations and Security in Lisbon said: 'Angola is still a very long way off from any sort of Arab Spring but these protests are very new for Angola and very significant. Things are definitely staring to change.'
Egypt: Cairo clashes cast doubts over Egypt vote
Protesters calling for Egypt's military to hand over power have beaten back a new raid by security forces to evict them from Cairo's Tahrir Square after more than 48 hours of violence in the heart of the Egyptian capital. Security forces fired tear gas and attacked a makeshift field hospital on Monday morning, while protesters broke up pavements to hurl chunks of concrete at police. Egypt's health ministry says at least 22 people have been killed and 1,500 wounded in clashes between government forces and protesters in Cairo and other cities since Saturday, raising concerns over the conduct of parliamentary elections due to begin on 28 November.
Egypt: New electoral system explained
thedailynewsegypt.com has a useful article on Egypt's election system. The first parliamentary elections following the ouster of president Hosni Mubarak are expected to attract an electorate that traditionally boycotted elections. Over 18 million Egyptians voted in a referendum in March, an indication of voter confidence in a new era free of the rigging and electoral fraud that tainted the previous one. However, voters are concerned that they will find it difficult to figure out the system, which could ultimately spoil their vote.
Kenya: No ruling on election date
Kenya's newly-constituted Supreme Court on Tuesday 15 November refused to rule on a date for next year's elections, stoking voter unease over moves by the government to amend a polling timeline already endorsed by a referendum. Under the constitution adopted last year, Kenya was due to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on 14 August 2012, the first polls since a disputed vote in 2007 after which more than 1,220 people were killed and 350,000 displaced. The post-election violence is being investigated by the International Criminal Court.
Morocco: Activists call for poll boycott
Thousands of pro-democracy activists demonstrated in Morocco's largest city calling for a boycott of parliamentary elections less than two weeks away. The demonstrations comes as a parliamentary delegation from the Council of Europe noted there was little enthusiasm in the country just two weeks before the election and said there was worry about the level of participation.
South Africa: Sexwale’s prospects dive after Malema ruling
Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale’s support for African National Congress (ANC) Youth League president Julius Malema may see his presidential ambitions collapse as he is frozen out of the camps of both President Jacob Zuma and those seeking to oust him. Mr Malema, who faces suspension of five years from the ANC, is likely to sink Mr Sexwale’s aspirations and those of many senior politicians if he fails in his desperate campaign to retain his membership. Mr Malema’s known backers include ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa, Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula, former MP Tony Yengeni, veteran Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Mr Sexwale, Northern Cape chairman John Block, and Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale.
Tunisia: Forming of new government delayed amid a new wave of strikes
After 23 October elections to the Tunisian Constituent Assembly, strikes have broken out in numerous sectors, including airport, postal and oil workers, against poor wages and working conditions. These strikes underscore popular opposition to the entire political establishment, which has still not succeeded in assembling a government based on the elections, says www.wsws.org The 23 October poll gave the right-wing Islamist party Ennahda the most seats in the 217-member Constituent Assembly. The Constituent Assembly is tasked with drafting a new constitution and appoint an interim government.
Africa: Mining profits soar, but Africans are still poor
According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers study, the top 40 mining firms enjoyed a 1,900 per cent cumulative increase in net profits in the six years between 2002 and 2007, says Yao Graham, the co-ordinator of Third World Network-Africa. 'But very little of this additional income and profits went to the mineral exporting African countries, thanks both to the lopsided fiscal terms enjoyed by mining firms, and to their use of tax avoidance schemes such as doing business with shell companies in tax havens.'
Africa: Who will benefit from Africa's largest hydropower project?
At double the size of China's Three Gorges Dam, the 40 GW Grand Inga hydropower project, to be built on the Congo River under an agreement between the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa, will be the world's largest by a wide margin. It will increase Africa's electricity generating capacity by one-third. But as IPS News reports, as is unfortunately typical with many big-push style projects in the developing world, the local people will likely get little of the electricity produced by the Grand Inga. Instead, the power transmission lines are expected to go towards mining and industrial facilities, towards the big cities in South Africa and Egypt, as well as possibly being exported to Europe.
Angola: Tables turn as Portugal visits cap in hand
The world-turned-upside-down of the European debt crisis reached a new extreme last week when Europe came pleading for lucre where it once only seized it: Africa. The hands-out visit of Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho of Portugal to its former colony Angola was a milestone of sorts. 'Angolan capital is very welcome,' Mr. Passos Coelho said in Luanda, the capital city. That may be an understatement: the former colony’s cash could be essential as Portugal is forced to sell off state-owned companies after a bailout this year, reports the New York Times.
DRC: Vulture funds preying on world's poorest countries
Britain is being urged to help close down a legal loophole that lets financiers known as 'vulture funds' use courts in Jersey to claim hundreds of millions of pounds from the world's poorest countries. The call came from international poverty campaigners as one of the vulture funds was poised to be awarded a $100m (£62m) debt payout against the Democratic Republic of the Congo after taking action in the Jersey courts. Vulture funds legally buy up worthless debt when countries are at war or suffering from a natural disaster and defaulting on their sovereign debt. Once the country has begun to stabilise, vulture funds cash in their cheap debt deeds, at massively inflated cost to the countries.
Ghana: President flips the finger at IMF over Chinese loan
The President of Ghana, John Evans Atta Mills, intends to pull Ghana out of the International Monetary Fund in a final bid to end moves by the Christine Largarde-led funding agency to suffocate the US$3 billion loan the NDC government wants from the China Development Bank (CDB). With just a little over a year left of its four-year mandate, and following what appears to be deep-seated challenges that have crippled the roundly marketed STX housing project, analysts say the Mills government badly needs huge foreign capital injection if it is to honour a string of mouth-watering campaign promises on whose back it rode to political power in January 2009.
Ghana: Taxes on mining companies to be hiked
Ghana will seek to boost revenues from its mining industry next year by hiking taxes, according to a text of the 2012 budget delivered to parliament. The corporate tax rate on miners will increase to 35 per cent from 25 per cent and a separate 10 per cent tax on windfall profits will be introduced, according to the text.
Global: Occupy Wall Street is 'so important because it is in the heart of empire'
In this video interview, renowned Indian writer and global justice activist Arundhati Roy joined www.democracynow.org in the studio to talk about the Occupy movement. 'What they are doing becomes so important because it is in the heart of empire, or what used to be empire,' Roy said. 'And to criticize and to protest against the model that the rest of the world is aspiring to is a very important and a very serious business.' She also discussed her new book, 'Walking with the Comrades', a chronicle of her time in the forests of India alongside rebel guerrillas who are resisting a brutal military campaign by the Indian government.
South Africa: Euro crisis impacts trade
South African exports to Europe - a major trading partner - had been hit hard not only by the slump in demand associated with the euro-zone debt crisis, but also by the volatility of the rand, which undermined the competitiveness of local enterprises, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has said. The shaky outlook for exports to Europe could contribute to lower economic growth in the coming year, torpedoing the government’s ambitious plans to boost job creation and reduce poverty. The Treasury cut the economic growth forecast for this year to 3,1 per cent in the medium term budget policy statement last month, and its expectations of it rising to 3,4 per cent next year could prove too optimistic if Europe’s debt crisis pulls that continent into a recession.
South Africa: New national development plan punted
National planning commission chairperson Trevor Manuel has handed over a development plan to President Jacob Zuma that deals with nine national issues that the commission has identified as the country's top priorities. The nine challenges are: Too few people work; The standard of education for most black learners if of poor quality; Infrastructure is poorly located, under-maintained and insufficient to foster higher growth; Special patterns exclude the poor from the fruits of development; The economy is overly and unsustainably resource intensive; A widespread diseased burden is compounded by a failing public health system; Public services are uneven and often of poor quality, Corruption is widespread, South Africa remains a divided society. Visit this Mail and Guardian plan to download the full 430-page plan.
Zambia: Mine royalties doubled
Zambia’s recently elected government is to double royalties on copper mines, it announced as it unveiled its 2012 budget, which aims to back its election pledge of distributing more equitably the southern African state’s mineral wealth. Alexander Chikwanda, finance minister, said he proposed to increase the mineral royalty rate to 6 per cent from 3 per cent for base metals, including copper, and from 5 per cent for precious metals.
Ethiopia: MSM and HIV conference ahead of ICASA
A pre-conference on men who have sex with men (MSM) in Africa and HIV is planned to take place in Ethiopia ahead of the 16th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA). The full-day event will feature presentations from more than 15 of the continent’s top experts on the health and human rights of sexual minorities. The pre-conference will offer a opportunity for experts as well as developing practitioners to cultivate new partnerships, network, build skills, share best practices and conduct hands-on learning.
Kenya: Doctors issue strike threat
Doctors in public hospitals are demanding a 400 percent pay increment. This is one of the resolutions by the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU), which has threatened to call a strike over poor terms of service. The union also wants its members compensated for working at odd hours.
Malawi: Painkillers prescribed for malaria amid drug shortage
Malawi is experiencing a drug shortage as the country’s international donors remain reluctant to release aid meant for the health sector. About 60 million dollars in funding has been withheld amid allegations of pilfering and corruption in the procurement of drugs at government’s Central Medical Stores. The Central Medical Stores procures and distributes drugs to government health facilities.
South Africa: No political will to support generic medication
South African health experts are calling on governments to use legally available mechanisms to promote the production or import of generic drugs in their countries. Pharmaceutical patents continue to drive up drug prices, making it expensive to treat patients. This often leads to limited access to health care, especially in developing countries where the disease burden is high, but public health budgets remain low, experts said.
South Africa: Zimbabwe deportations raise health concerns
SECTION27, Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa, Sonke Gender Justice Network
'We write to you at this critical juncture to alert you to the potential individual and public health consequences which may ensue from the implementation of the immigration policy to deport. Our organisations are greatly concerned that, with the lifting of the moratorium and the resumption of deportations of Zimbabweans, there will be inevitable dire health consequences which will arise as the deportation process intensifies.'
Swaziland: Cash crunch 'critical', AIDS spending hit
A budget crunch in Swaziland, Africa's last absolute monarchy, has reached a 'critical stage' with the government struggling to maintain spending on HIV/AIDS, education and the elderly, the International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday. In a damning assessment of the landlocked southern African nation, the IMF said proposed spending cuts had been undermined by 'overruns' in defence outlays, leading to a 2011/12 budget deficit projection of 10 percent of GDP.
Zimbabwe: 207 typhoid cases amid heat wave
Health authorities say 207 cases of typhoid are being treated in Zimbabwe’s capital after a prolonged spell of unusually hot weather amid acute water shortages. Harare city council health director Dr. Prosper Chonzi says no deaths have occurred so far in the monthlong outbreak. He said the disease will be difficult to contain in impoverished townships relying on water from shallow, makeshift wells and marshlands.
DRC: Millions miss out on basic education
Access to basic education in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) remains poor, with up to seven million children across the vast country out of school - despite a 2010 government decision to make primary education free. DRC is still struggling to overcome the effects of wars that raged between 1996 and 2003, compounded by continuing violence in the east of the country and decades of corruption and poor governance. The seven million figure was contained in the preliminary findings – reported by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - of a study conducted by the DRC government with the UK Department for International Development and the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF.
Kenya: Lecturers' strike suspended
A week-long lecturers' strike has been suspended to allow pay negotiations between the government and university unions. Labour minister John Munyes announced that the tutors are expected to resume teaching immediately and talks will begin in two weeks. Under the agreement, the Ministry is supposed to initiate the consultation process with the Ministry of Higher Education, Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Public Service.
Cameroon: Gay rights lawyer warns of rise in homophobia
The Cameroon government has introduced a bill to the national assembly that would give formal, political backing to section 347 of the country's penal code that criminalises consensual sex between adults of the same gender. 'It's getting worse,' Cameroonian lawyer Alice Nkom told the Guardian during a visit to London. 'These laws are illegal – the declaration of human rights is part of our constitution – but the judges still apply them. It's very difficult to prove you have had sex. Under the procedural code you cannot be put in jail unless caught in delecto flagrante.'
Nigeria: Tightening the noose on gay rights
Rights groups in Nigeria fear a same-sex marriage bill being discussed in parliament could boost already prevalent discrimination against homosexuals. The bill goes much further than banning same-sex marriage; it threatens to ban the formation of groups supporting homosexuality, with imprisonment for anyone who 'witnesses, abet[s] or aids' same-gender relationships, and could lead to any discussion or activities related to gay rights being banned.
South Africa: Proposals to combat hate crimes
The activism and advocacy team of Cape Town LGBTI grouping Free Gender have submitted proposals to the South African Police Services (SAPS) aimed at combating hate crimes. The proposals include the creation of a ‘Task Team’ at the local level to include Khayelitsha, Nyanga and Gugulethu, quarterly workshops and/or discussions with officers ‘on the ground’ and display of the ‘Pledge to Eradicate Hate Crimes Against Lesbians’ in all police stations in Khayelitsha, Nyanga and Gugulethu to remind police officers and the general public of SAPS commitment to ending discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation.
Uganda: UN Global Fund cuts ARV cash
The Global Fund has denied Uganda $270m (about Sh700b) needed to put over 100,000 more people on lifesaving ARVs because the country’s policies are deemed harsh on sexual minorities. The Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria was created to dramatically increase resources to fight three of the world’s most devastating diseases, and to direct those resources to areas of greatest need. The Uganda government’s New Vision newspaper reported today that the Aids control manager in the Ministry of Health, Dr Zainab Akol, had said the rights of minorities were derailing the fight against HIV/Aids.
Africa: Nile, Limpopo at risk from climate change
Climate change is likely to lead to increased average rainfall in the world's major river basins but weather patterns will be fickle and the timing of wet seasons may change, threatening farming and foodstocks, experts say. Furthermore, some river systems in Africa - southern Africa's Limpopo, north Africa's Nile and West Africa's Volta - are set to receive less rain than they do at the moment, hitting food production and fuelling international tensions.
Egypt: Community fight to close petrochemicals plant
Damietta locals have vowed to continue their sit-in against MOPCO petrochemicals company despite a decree by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to shut down the plant. One protester was killed in a military crackdown on the sit-in, according to eyewitnesses. Protesters are demanding that governorate officials finally heed their calls to shut down the factory, which they say is 'deadly and hazardous' to residents, marine life, as well as agricultural.
Global: Analysts predict collapse of carbon market
European Union carbon prices could shed some 70 per cent from current levels, as the bloc struggles with a mounting debt crisis and a glut of supply in the carbon market is unlikely to disappear until 2025, analysts at UBS said. The investment bank also said the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS), the 27-nation bloc's main policy tool to fight global warming, 'isn't working' because carbon prices are 'already too low to have any significant environmental impact'.
Global: Coal power offsets and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)
Climate Justice Now Statement
A report published by the UNFCCC’s expert panel shows that coal power plants that receive climate finance through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) may receive millions of artificial carbon credits under current rules. CDM Watch and Sierra Club call on the CDM Executive Board to exclude this project type from the CDM at the upcoming climate change conference in Durban. 'The study results show unequivocally that coal projects do not belong in the CDM,' says Eva Filzmoser from CDM Watch. 'We are now calling on all decision makers to act swiftly and decisively to stop these harmful projects from receiving revenue from the CDM, a mechanism whose aim is to deliver "clean development".'
Global: Strengthening resistance to the system
Friends of the Earth International statement in support of the 99%
'We cannot expect the same global market model that has caused climate change, ecological destruction and poverty to solve the problems we are facing today . We must work together to strengthen our resistance to this system. We must work to create new, transformative economic models that promote our collective prosperity, social equity and real environmental sustainability. We strongly believe that an alternative system must be created, and it must include both environmental and economic justice at its core. We must create economies not for profit, but for life.'
Global: World carbon dioxide emissions data by country
A reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions is not only the goal of environmentalists but also of pretty much every government in the world. The map available through this weblink is produced by the Guardian UK. It shows a world where established economies have large - but declining - carbon emissions. The new economic giants are growing rapidly.
Kenya: Legislation needed on climate change
A group of African farmers, pastoralists and campaigners just left on a road trip to South Africa for the 17th Conference of Parties discussions in Durban. Organised by the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, this group will pass through 10 African countries creating awareness on climate change. This will culminate in a petition being presented to President Jacob Zuma expressing Africa’s concerns about climate change. Kenya’s position in the talks is not clearly defined. In fact, Kenya is not known to have a position of its own as far as climate change discussions go.
Mali: Farmers mobilise to find solutions against land grabbing
More than 250 participants, mainly representatives of farmers’ organisations, from 30 different countries, gathered in Nyéléni Village, a centre for agro-ecology training built in a rural area near Sélingué, in Mali, to participate in the first International farmers’ conference to stop land grabbing. The Nyéléni village is a symbolic place, where the first international conference on Food Sovereignty was held in 2007. For three days, from 17 - 20 November, participants exchanged their experiences and created alliances to stop the global land grab.
Global: The WTO and the food crisis agenda
This briefing note offers a preliminary assessment of the compatibility between the WTO and efforts to protect the human right to adequate food as part of the post-crisis food security agenda. Existing WTO rules do include certain flexibilities for States to pursue food security-related measures. From a right to food perspective, certain elements of the draft modalities in agriculture are an improvement on the Agreement on Agriculture (AoA), most notably proposed changes to the green box criteria on public stockholding for food security. However, many of these modifications to the AoA are relatively modest and even these are by no means assured with the outcome of the Doha Round highly uncertain.
Ghana: Civil society coalition launches campaign to bring transparency on the airwaves
Civil society organisations in Ghana, including the Media Foundation West Africa (MFWA) on 15 November launched the Coalition for the Transparency of the Airwaves (COTA) in Accra, to ensure openness and accountability of the electronic media in the country. The coalition is made up of regional, national and district organisations under Ghana Community Radio Network, Ghana Journalists Association, Legal Resources Centre and Participatory Development Associates and MFWA.
Kenya: Draft Data Protection Bill critically limited
ARTICLE 19 says the Draft Kenya Data Protection Bill 2009 currently undergoing internal review and stakeholder consultation is critically limited and calls on the Constitution Implementation Commission to revise it to be in line with acceptable international standards on the right to freedom of expression and freedom of information. Over 70 countries have now adopted data protection laws covering the collection and use of personal information. Over 50 of those countries also have freedom of information laws.
Liberia: Court gives Liberia broadcasters second chance
All three private radio and television stations shut down by the Liberian Government have been reopened. Love FM/TV, Power FM/TV and Kings FM/TV were ordered closed by the Justice ministry on the eve of the presidential runoff election for broadcasting messages mainly by the opposition Congress for Democratic Change, which eventually boycotted the polls.
South Africa: ANC attempts to steamroll Secrecy Bill, again
Right to know activists were astounded when the Secrecy Bill returned to the National Assembly last week, making empty words of the ANC's promises of public consultation on the Bill. The ANC withdrew the Bill from the National Assembly agenda on 19 September, purportedly to allow the ANC to hold public consultations on the Bill. Yet the Bill was debated on Wednesday 16 November without a single public meeting having taken place. Civil society groups, however, continue to insist that the Bill presents a threat to democracy and the citizen's right to know.
Zimbabwe: Two journalists arrested and charged with theft and defamation
Nevanji Madanhire, the editor of the weekly Zimbabwe Standard newspaper, and reporter Nqaba Matshazi, were arrested in Harare on Tuesday 15 November and charged with theft, unlawful entry and criminal defamation. It is believed the journalists were taken to the Harare Central Police station. The duo’s arrest is over a story Matshazi wrote on 6 November that claimed a new health insurance firm, Green Card Medical Society, was reportedly on the brink of collapse. The story claimed that the company’s expenditure outstripped its income.
Africa: Sub-Saharan sanitation targets 'two centuries away'
It will take two centuries for sub-Saharan Africa to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation, according to NGO WaterAid, which calls on national leaders to commit 3.5 per cent of their annual budget to the sector. Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are being sidelined as governments concentrate on health and education, says the WaterAid report. Meanwhile, people’s lack of access to clean water and basic sanitation services is holding back social and economic development in the region, costing around 5 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) every year.
Global: The global social crisis
This UN Report on the World Social Situation explores the ongoing adverse social consequences of the ongoing financial crisis. The global economic downturn has had wide-ranging negative social outcomes for individuals, families, communities and societies, and its impact on social progress in areas such as education and health will only become fully evident over time. During times of financial and economic crisis, households often adopt coping strategies, such as making changes in household expenditure patterns; however, these can negatively influence education, health and nutrition outcomes, which may lead to lifelong deficits for the children affected and thus perpetuate the intergenerational transmission of poverty.
Swaziland: Government fails to pay Aids orphans
Swaziland's government has failed to pay more than $10m (£6.3m) in grants to Aids orphans because of its financial crisis, an IMF official has said. Swaziland has the world's highest HIV/Aids rate, leaving some 69,000 orphans. The IMF's Joannes Mongardini said the government should cut its wage bill to ease its financial crisis.
Egypt: Renewed protests, simmering tension
Clashes are continuing in Cairo, the Egyptian capital, between riot police and protesters demanding that the ruling military quickly announces a date to hand over power to an elected government in some of the worst unrest since the country's revolution. Police fired tear gas canisters and protesters threw rocks on Sunday morning as thousands remained on the streets overnight in and around central Cairo's Tahrir square, the focal point of the 18-day uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak in February. Essam Sharraf, Egypt's interim prime minister, was set to host an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss the unrest.
Ethiopia: Ethiopian troops 'enter Somalia'
Residents say a large number of Ethiopian troops have crossed into neighbouring Somalia, just weeks after Kenyan forces entered the country to pursue al-Shabab fighters. 'The Ethiopian troops, which are in convoys of armoured vehicles, come to us today, crossing from Balanbale district on the border,' Gabobe Adan, an elder in the central town of Guriel told Reuters.
Mauritania: Army 'kills Qaeda chief in Mali'
Mauritanian forces killed a top official of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) during an air raid into Malian territory, a Mauritanian security source said. Mauritanian national Teyeb Ould Sidi Aly allegedly headed operations carried out with explosives-filled vehicles against Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz and the French embassy in Nouakchott.
Somalia: Kenya appeals for US report
The Obama administration is considering 'an urgent appeal' from Kenya for US intelligence and logistical support for its military operation in Somalia, the Los Angeles Times reported. The newspaper characterised Kenya’s Somalia operation as 'faltering' but cited no specific sources, even though Kenya UN ambassador Macharia Kamau did visit Washington to seek US backing for Operation Linda Nchi. Mr Kamau had earlier told nation.co.ke that Kenya would welcome an international blockade of Kismayu, the southern Somalia port through which the Al- Shabaab derives much of its revenue. The US has publicly expressed reluctance to undertake such a blockade.
Somalia: Shabaab bashes Kenya-Israel security pact
A spokesperson for the Somali militant group al-Shabaab said that Kenya's prime minister recently visited Israel to seek assistance in 'destroying Muslim people and their religion'. The office of Kenya's prime minister said on Monday 14 November that Kenya received the backing of Israeli leaders to help Kenya fight what it called 'fundamentalist elements'. Kenyan Prime Minster Raila Odinga visited Israel on and sought help building the capacity of his country's security forces.
Southern Africa: Piracy pact between SA, Moz and Tanzania
The United States ambassador to Mozambique has saluted an anti-piracy agreement signed between South Africa and Mozambique last week which presages an accord with Tanzania. South Africa's defence minister Lindiwe Sisulu signed a memorandum of understanding with her Mozambican counterpart Filipe Jacinto Nyusi. The two countries applauded successful patrolling activities off the central Mozambican coast and decided to involve Tanzania - north of Mozambique - in their activities.
Durban climate justice
Activist information for COP17
This durbanclimatejustice.wordpress.com website is designed to provide logistical support for climate justice activists attending the COP17. With information on events, venues, actions, and essential activist advice on a cheap curry and decent beer after a long days changing the world.
Global: CDM Watch
CDM Watch was re-established in April 2009 to provide an independent perspective on CDM projects, methodologies and the work of the CDM Executive Board, which is supervising the CDM. The ultimate goal is to help assure that the current CDM, as well as a reformed mechanism post-2012, effectively results in emission reductions that are real, measurable, permanent, independently verified, and that contribute to sustainable development in CDM host countries.
Global: European Geosciences communications fellowship
The European Geosciences Union (EGU) is offering fellowships for journalists to report on ongoing research in the geosciences. Successful applicants will receive up to €5k to cover expenses related to their projects, including following scientists on location.
Global: Using citizen media tools to promote under-represented languages
Join New Tactics, Rising Voices, Indigenous Tweets, and other practitioners for an online dialogue on Using Citizen Media Tools to Promote Under-Represented Languages from 16-22 November 2011.
Global: Celebrating Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela: past, present and future
The aim of this policy brief is to argue that the celebration of only the ‘positive’ aspects of Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela’s persona is an injustice to his contribution to South Africa history. What should rather be celebrated is Madiba in his totality, including his weaknesses and faults. It is submitted that ‘Our Madiba’ should be put in proper historical context, so that the world can best appreciate and celebrate Mandela in his totality for his contributions to world peace in the past, present and future.
No REDD Papers: Vol. 1
Global Justice Ecology Project
Global Justice Ecology Project has just published the No REDD Papers, Volume 1. 'Your future, our climate and Indigenous Peoples are threatened by a devious false solution to climate change called REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). Unfortunately, industrialized countries, oil companies and other climate criminals that are trashing the planet have absolutely no intention of drastically cutting greenhouse gas emissions necessary to truly address climate change.'
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