Pambazuka News 565: Rwandan genocide truth revealed, Nigeria revolts and ANC at 100
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. Obituaries, 6. Letters & Opinions, 7. African Writers’ Corner, 8. Podcasts & Videos, 9. Cartoons, 10. Zimbabwe update, 11. African Union Monitor, 12. Women & gender, 13. Human rights, 14. Refugees & forced migration, 15. Social movements, 16. Emerging powers news, 17. Elections & governance, 18. Corruption, 19. Development, 20. Health & HIV/AIDS, 21. Education, 22. LGBTI, 23. Environment, 24. Land & land rights, 25. Food Justice, 26. Media & freedom of expression, 27. News from the diaspora, 28. Conflict & emergencies, 29. Fundraising & useful resources, 30. Courses, seminars, & workshops, 31. Publications
Some truth and justice for Rwanda at last
‘See, the Nigerian revolution has begun’
Oil subsidy protests sweep Nigeria
Conflicting roles of unions and civil society
Revolution in Nigeria: Our day has come!
Celebration and criticism as the ANC turns 100
Reflecting on Africa's oldest liberation movement
The ANC centenary: A display of elite power
(Author Ayanda Kota arrested and beaten - see comments)
A poisoned chalice: Liberation, ANC-Style
John S. Saul
On the return of the political
Is the ANC 100 or 57 years old?
Can Durban recover from city-scale neoliberal nationalism?
Sightings of the Egyptian deep state
Issandr El Amrani
The army and the economy in Egypt
Transformation of China’s Diplomacy
New Discipline, New Paradigm and New Strategy
Fahamu Refugee Legal Aid Newsletter - January issue
The January 2012 issue of the Fahamu Refugee Legal Aid Newsletter features the following articles:
• Providing open access to legal literature
• US required to consider testimony from asylum seeker
• Refugees in Djibouti detention centre need help
• Fahamu Refugee Programme seeks Director
• Assessment of United Kingdom Border Agency’s Operational Guidance Notes
• Organisational profile: against deportation from the UK
• Court provides for exceptions to Dublin II, when Member State does not observe asylum rights
• Report on meeting between UNHCR and Rwandan refugee organisations
• News on Rwanda and the cessation clause
• Testimonies of Rwandan refugees
• STOP PRESS: Refugee Act passes in Korea
Fahamu Refugee Legal Aid
Southern Africa: Democracy without the citizens
BLUF Protest Day 2
Civil society salutes the courage and resolve of Nigerians
Nigerian civil society organisations
Call Now! Shut Down Solitary Units
Statement Issued By Prison Radio
Vote on the Public Eye on Davos Naming and Shaming-Award
Western Cape farm workers and dwellers speak out
Unsung hero: Michael Kofi Ameko
Explo N. Nani-Kofi
Plan International responds on foreign aid to mining firms
Abigail Brown, communications department, Plan Canada
I’m writing to notify you of two errors in a story on your site that we are kindly asking to have corrected as they are misleading to your readers.
The story is called: Foreign Aid to Mining Firms
The first correction must be made in the following sentence:
'Given Plan Canada’s stated commitment to “work in the best interests of children and the communities in which we work” will they be prepared to risk their multi-million dollar funding to speak out in protection of their “stakeholders” - namely the communities in which they work - should labour unrest become an issue there?'
In fact, the funds for the Burkina Faso project will be directed to Plan-led programs that will be carried out in a completely different part of the country more than 500 kilometres away from the mining operation. Plan’s work will not be carried out at mine sites, therefore there is no source to support the assertion of ‘communities in which they work’. Please ensure this sentence is corrected or deleted.
The second correction is in the following sentence:
'Plan Canada, another beneficiary under the new government initiative, did not return our calls.'
This is not correct and we have confirmation from the writer about this error. Calls were indeed returned to Mr. Nieto – the writer who contacted and spoke with us. Due to scheduling conflicts we were unable to respond to his requests for interviews before the story’s deadline.
The definition of our era: the 21st century!
Global: Film examines how British media portray Global South
A new Institute of Development Studies short film examines how the British media portray poverty in developing countries. 'Famine, War and Corruption: The British Media’s Portrayal of the Global South' features interviews with journalists and filmmakers, including Jon Snow (journalist and news presenter, ITN), Caroline Nursey (director, BBC Media Action) and Richard Kavuma (journalist, The Observer, Uganda).
Nigeria: Nigerians protest outside World Bank in Washington
On the 9 January, Nigerians protested at the headquarters of the Wold Bank in the US. They acted in solidarity with Occupy Nigeria and labour activists in Nigeria who have called a general strikeagainst protesting fuel price hikes demanded by the IMF and World Bank. On New Year's Day, Nigerians awoke to find the price of gasoline and diesel had doubled overnight, as the Nigerian president acceded to the demands of the IMF and World Bank, removing public subsidies from fuel. This video reports on the US protest. 'IMF and World Bank policies have been very successful in transferring money from the rest of us to the one per cent,' says one speaker.
How to avoid a deputy CJ moment
Kenya's Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza is under investigation by the judiciary and police after a guard at a supermarket in Nairobi claimed that the judge threatened to shoot her when she (the guard) requested to search Baraza before she could be allowed into the store.
Yousou Ndour's new album
Gado's take on the celebrated Senegalese musician's announcement that he will run for president in elections this year.
Zimbabwe: Two vendors in hospital after police torture
Two of the seven men arrested last Thursday, following skirmishes between police and vendors in central Harare the day before, were allegedly tortured to confess their roles in attacking a police officer. Barnabas Mwanaka and Kudakwashe Usavi were among the first group of three to be picked up by the police in a morning raid at Harvest House on Thursday. The MDC-T said Mwanaka is their Youth Assembly secretary for Mbare district.
Zimbabwe: ZANU PF running parallel government
Several events in the last two months have shown that Zimbabwe’s coalition government exists in name only and that Mugabe and his ZANU PF party are now blatantly running a parallel government. Towards the end of December Mugabe unilaterally promoted Three Infantry Brigade Commander Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba, to Major-General. Not only did Mugabe snub Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in making the promotions, but in June last year Nyikayaramba had told the ZANU PF controlled Herald newspaper that Tsvangirai was a 'national security threat rather than a political one', and suggested the military should step in to deal with him.
Africa: AU wants peace, security and bigger global role in 2012
The African Union (AU) has unveiled an ambitious wish-list of priorities for Africa that would give the continent a stronger global voice, boost democracy and encourage peace and security. AU Ambassador to the United States, Amina Ali of Tanzania, presented the list of top priorities at a conference on 11 January held at Washington think-tank, the Brookings Institution. Among them were the regulars - peace and security, enhanced democracy and good governance – as well as improved regional trade and greater involvement of the continent’s large diaspora in African affairs.
Egypt: Bruised but defiant, a personal account of assault by Egyptian security forces
In this article originally from The Guardian UK website, Mona Eltahawy recounts her experience of being beaten and groped by Egyptian security forces. 'The last thing I remember before the riot police surrounded me was punching a man who had groped me. Who the hell thinks of copping a feel as you’re taking shelter from bullets? Another man tried to protect him by standing between us, but I was enraged, and kept going back for more. A third man was trying to snatch my smartphone out of my other hand. He was the one who had pulled my friend Maged Butter and me into an abandoned shop – supposedly for safety’s sake – and he wouldn’t let go of my hand.' She later tweeted: 'The whole time I was thinking about article I would write; just you fuckers wait.'
Egypt: Egyptian women cane morality police
Vigilante gangs of ultra-conservative Salafi men have been harassing shop owners and female customers in rural towns around Egypt for 'indecent behavior', according to reports in the Egyptian news media. But when they burst into a beauty salon in the Nile delta town of Benha this week and ordered the women inside to stop what they were doing or face physical punishment, the women struck back, whipping them with their own canes before kicking them out to the street in front of an astonished crowd of onlookers.
Egypt: Revolution, women and Egypt’s future
'Amr Moussa? He was pro-Mubarak and obedient. ElBaradei. What’s his history? Nothing. The others, what’s their history? Islamic groups, what’s their history? Their history is bad. Islamic leaders, their history is bad. They collaborated with the British and now they collaborate with the Americans and Saudi Arabia. So I have to study who is going to be the president by his character, his history, the program. It’s just individuals running to divide the cake. They want money and authority.' In this interview with www.bikyamasr.com, prominent feminist Nawal el-Saadawi discusses women's rights in Egypt and makes the case for a female president.
Egypt: Women find power still hinges on men
Emboldened by the revolution to claim a new voice in public life, many women are finding that they are still dependent on the protection of men, and that their greatest power is not as direct actors but as symbols of the military government's repression. It is not a place where Egyptian feminists had hoped women would be, back in the heady days of the revolution, when they played an active role, side by side with men, to bring down a dictator. 'Changing the patriarchal culture is not so easy,' said Mozn Hassan, 32, executive director of the seven-year-old group Nazra for Feminist Studies.
Madagascar: Women break with tradition by embracing farming and improving lives
For the last seven years, the women of Fitampito have been defying tradition by helping their husbands to farm. Local traditions did not permit women to work the land. But that era is over, reports Farm Radio Weekly. Since women started farming in a few isolated villages in the High Matsiatra region, yields have improved significantly. In three years, rice yields have increased from two tonnes per hectare to five tonnes.
Nigeria: A quiet resistance in the Niger Delta
Formal women’s groups have historically been a part of the social and political organisation in the Niger Delta. Though these have tended to be based around cultural activities, they have also provided women-only spaces to organise voices of inclusion and assertion, writes Sokari Ekine in an article for Red Pepper. 'The success of women’s protests should not be seen solely in terms of the immediate impact on multinational oil companies. We should consider the wider impacts: the politicisation of women and the bringing together of communities such as the Itsekiri and Ijaw women in Delta State, who were driven into manipulated conflicts by the actions of the state and multinationals.'
Zimbabwe: A gendered analysis of the GPA
This publication seeks to provide a gender analysis of Zimbabwe’s Global Political Agreement from the perspective of the participation of women in peace building and conflict resolution, and how peace agreements facilitate or hinder gender equality in post-conflict situations. The analysis was developed through a series of meetings convened by the Feminist Institute of Southern Africa (FISA) and the publication is a collaboration between FISA and the States in Transition Observatory of Idasa.
Angola: AU considers looking at Cabinda claims
More than five years after the Front for the Liberation of Cabinda (FLEC) filed a complaint with the African Union (AU) against the Angolan government for alleged human rights abuses, the AU says it is willing to hear the 'merits' of appointing a special rapporteur to investigate the claims. Cabinda is separated from Angola's main territory by the River Congo and a narrow sliver of the Democratic Republic of Congo and accounts for more than half of Angola’s oil production. Cabinda's mineral wealth also includes gold, diamonds and uranium, as well as extensive reserves of tropical hardwoods. Since 1975, the status of Cabinda has been disputed, resulting in one of Africa’s longest-running conflicts.
Kenya: Security forces abusing civilians near Somali border, rights group says
The Kenyan security forces are beating and arbitrarily detaining citizens and Somali refugees in Kenya’s North Eastern province, which borders on Somalia, despite repeated pledges to stop such abuses, Human Rights Watch said. On 11 January 2012, in the latest of a series of incidents documented by Human Rights Watch since October 2011, security forces rounded up and beat residents of Garissa, the provincial capital, in an open field within the enclosure of the local military camp. A Human Rights Watch researcher witnessed the incident.
Libya: No Libyan response on Gadaffi son as deadline nears
The International Criminal Court says Libya has not responded to a request for information about the health and status of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi before a deadline which expires on Tuesday 10 January. The former Libyan leader's son was captured in southern Libya in November. The ICC, based in in The Hague, has indicted him for crimes against humanity and wants to know officially whether Libya plans to hand him over.
Morocco: Rapper Moaz Balghawat behind bars for 100 days
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information has condemned the repeatedly adjournment of the case of the Moroccan rapper Moaz Belghawat, a member of the February 20 movement, the continuing of his imprisonment and the authorities’ arbitrary rejection to release him even temporarily. Al-Haqed was arrested on charges of assaulting a member of the 'The Royal Youth Movement' called Mohammed El-Dali, and has been languishing in Casablanca’s Akasha prison for more than 100 days.
Nigeria: Amnesty asks police to stop firing at protestors
Amnesty International (AI) has repeated its call for the Nigeria police force to stop shooting at protesters and urged President Goodluck Jonathan to commit to protecting people, after several deaths and injuries were recorded in street protests. The global rights organisation urged the Nigerian authorities to reform the country's police regulations in line with international standards, to prevent additional loss of life and ensure that the police only use firearms when it is strictly necessary to protect life.
Senegal: Court rejects Belgium's Habré extradition request
Senegal's Appeals Court has on a technicality rejected a request by Belgium to extradite former Chadian ex-President Hissene Habré. Handing down its ruling following days of interrogation of the request, the court Wednesday said that there were 'technicalities in the format', further arguing that there was no annex of the original application for arrest and detention by Belgium. Belgium has sought to extradite Mr Habré after it charged him with crimes against humanity and torture during his term in power.
Swaziland: Coca-Cola accused of supporting Swaziland dictator
Coca-Cola has been accused of supporting the regime of Swaziland dictator King Mswati III. The Swaziland Democracy Campaign, an organisation that aims to depose Africa's last absolute monarch, has called on the multi-billion dollar drinks giant to pull out of the country immediately. The US-based beverage firm owns a manufacturing plant in Swaziland - its biggest facility in Africa.
Tunisia: New trend of self-immolations
The Tunisian revolution was, famously, initiated by the suicide of Mohamed Bouazizi, a young man in a provincial town who set himself alight in front of the town hall in protest at petty corruption and his inability to make a living. In the six months immediately after Bouazizi's death (he took two weeks to die from his injuries) at least 107 fellow Tunisians tried to kill themselves by setting themselves on fire, according to statistics reported by the BBC.
Africa: Remittance fees punish poor Africans
The World Bank has identified South Africa and Tanzania as having some of the highest costs for remittance payments in the world, with some charges as high as 25 per cent of the money being transferred. Remittance payment is the transfer of money across borders, often used by immigrant workers to send money home to family members. In 2010, the African diaspora sent home $40-billion in remittance payments to the continent, with these money transfers representing close to 10 per cent of some African countries' gross domestic products
Angola: Angola gets strict with illegal Nam immigrants
The Angolan government has warned Namibians living illegally in that country to get their papers in order. Namibians living or grazing their cattle in the Cunene and Quando Cubango provinces bordering Namibia have been urged to apply for residence permits to have legal status in Angola. This was done at a meeting held at Olupale in Quando Cubango Province which was attended by Namibians and Angolans and was addressed by the Cunene Province governor, Antonio Ndidalelwa.
Egypt: Organ trafficking on the rise, says report
The political unrest that rocked Egypt last year seems to have shaken the country's law enforcement apparatus, creating loopholes for organ traffickers. During that period, cases of organ trafficking of Sudanese refugees and other political asylum seekers in Egypt have gone up. A report by the Coalition for Organ-Failure Solutions (COFS), a non-profit international health and human rights organisation, indicates that human traffickers in the North African country are increasingly targeting Africans, especially refugees and other immigrants.
Global: Exploring the impact of new technologies on the displaced
The articles in Issue 38 of Forced Migration Review cover the positive and the negative aspects of the spread of technologies; the increased accountability, and the increased scope for controlling displaced people; the opening up through the internet of possibilities beyond the traditional confines of life as a displaced person, and the risks and dangers that that brings; and the potential in technological advances for assistance and protection programmes.
Global: The state of environmental migration
This volume published at the end of 2011 is intended to be the first of an annual series, which will aim to provide the reader with regularly-updated qualitative assessments on the changing nature and dynamics of environmental migration throughout the world. Most of the papers constitute the first detailed analyses of the migration flows that were induced by some of the most dramatic events of 2010, paving the way for future scholarly works.
Haiti: Haitian migrants test Brazil's solidarity
Brazil, for decades a source of migrants to the United States and Europe, is now facing its own humanitarian challenge: applying the international solidarity it trumpets to the Haitians who are arriving in the thousands, in search of a better life. Drawn by the economic boom in Brazil, now the world's sixth largest economy, and the major infrastructure works in preparation for the 2014 football World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games to be hosted by Rio de Janeiro, some 5,000 Haitians have flocked to this country since the earthquake, according to the Institute of Migration and Human Rights.
Mauritania: Former refugees demand return of land
A hundred former Mauritanian refugees, repatriated from Senegal, have staged a protest outside the National Assembly, demanding that their agricultural land, confiscated after their expulsion in 1989, be returned to them, PANA reports. They are also asking that their documentation be completed in accordance with the government regulations, Makasi Diakhite, himself a former refugee, said.
Somalia: US bank move highlights importance of remittances
The welfare of hundreds of thousands of Somalis who depend on financial assistance from the diaspora is at risk following a decision by a US bank to close down accounts of Somali money transfer companies in the state of Minnesota by 30 December, according to local and international sources. Somalis, both in Somalia and in the diaspora, have reacted with dismay at the move by Sunrise Community Bank, arguing that money transfer companies are a lifeline to millions of Somalis who depend on remittances for their livelihoods.
South Africa: UPM activist released
A number of South African social movements issued statements following the arrest of Ayanda Kota from the Unemployed People's Movement (UPM) and reports that he had been assaulted while in police custody. Kota has now been released, but statements about his arrest made by the UPM, the Democratic Left Front and the Mandela Park Backyarder's can be read from the Abahlali baseMjondolo website.
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...
Chad: Opposition unites for Chad's first local polls
Chad's main opposition parties have announced they had formed a broad alliance to challenge President Idriss Deby Itno's ruling party in the central African state's first local polls. Sixteen of Chad's main opposition parties - grouped under the Coordination of Political Parties for the Defence of the Constitution (CPDC) umbrella - will field joint candidates in the 22 January election.
Ethiopia: Politicians on trial for terrorism
Two politicians who had been rising stars in Ethiopia's ethnic Oromo opposition movement have pleaded 'not guilty' to terrorism charges in Addis Ababa. Bekele Gerba and Olbana Lelisa appeared in federal court to hear charges accusing them of conspiring to overthrow Ethiopia's government by force. They also stand accused of being recruiters for the Oromo Liberation Front, an outlawed separatist group.
Guinea Bissau: Uncertainty after president's death
The death of the president of Guinea-Bissau, Malam Bacai Sanhá, could usher in a replay of the military uprisings that have set an unmistakable seal of instability on the political life of this small West African country. Sanhá, who died Monday 9 January in Paris, was one of the few surviving heroes of the liberation struggle against the Portuguese colonial army. That enabled him to play a mediating role in the frequent disputes for power in Guinea-Bissau, which gained independence in 1974.
Kenya: Court delays election
Kenya's High Court has ruled that the country's next presidential and parliamentary elections should be held in March 2013 and not in August, unless the ruling coalition collapses. The east African country's next election will come under intense scrutiny because it will be the first under a new constitution, and the first since the 2007 poll that gave rise to fighting in which more than 1,220 people were killed. The government had proposed amending the constitution to delay the vote to December because of logistical problems, prompting petitioners to ask the High Court for a ruling.
Nigeria: Government to cut fuel prices
Nigeria's president has announced that the government will subsidise fuel prices to immediately reduce the price to about $2.75 a gallon, amid a crippling nationwide strike over fuel prices in Africa's most populous country. Protests have seen tens of thousands march in cities across the nation. Soldiers barricaded the country's commercial capital of Lagos and the entrances to protest venues in the second-largest city of Kano. Jonathan's speech comes after his attempt to negotiate with labour unions failed late on Sunday night to avert the strike entering a sixth day.
Nigeria: Oil disaster met by silence
Last month, on the other side of the Atlantic, the oil giant Royal Dutch Shell's operation caused from 1m to 2m gallons of oil to spill into the ocean off the coast of Nigeria, also as the result of an industrial accident. 'You may wonder where the outrage against Shell is?' asks Michael Keating in this article on the www.commondreams.org website. 'To say that it is nonexistent except for a few responses from the environmental community would be an understatement. The simple fact is that Shell and its "sisters" in the West African oil patches are rarely scrutinized except in the most egregious cases – which this one surely is – and the world seems to simply expect that the people of Nigeria should live with these sorts of occurrences because they unfortunately lack the political and media clout to do otherwise.'
Senegal: Is Youssou N’dour qualified to be President?
While internationally renowned Senegalese singer Youssou N’dour's entry into the Senegalese political field has made headlines, here's blogger Africa is a Country's view: 'The truth is, most serious analysts don’t give N’dour a chance and in some quarters his candidacy is viewed as a publicity stunt - among other factors, N’dour, who has a large fan audience outside Senegal, has no electoral organisation in place; enters a a crowded opposition field; while the incumbent (Abdoulaye Wade) is an experienced campaigner and controls the electoral machinery.'
South Africa: ANC marks centenary
Tens of thousands of people are gathering in South Africa to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the African National Congress - the continent's oldest liberation movement. The party has been in power since 1994, when Nelson Mandela was elected the country's first black president. The ANC played a pivotal role in the struggle to end apartheid, and it still holds a strong majority of public support. But with in-fighting, allegations of corruption, and criticism from many sectors, there are concerns that the current party leadership is failing to live up to the titans of old.
Southern Africa: Parties, politics and potential collapse
This article from The Economist looks at potential political developments during 2012 in the countries of South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Angola, Zambia, Malawi and Swaziland. While some countries are expected to hold steady, others are set for potentially seismic political changes.
Swaziland: Explosives trial begins
The first day of trial for the two explosives suspects, Maxwell Thanduk’khanya Dlamini and Musa Ngubeni began 12 January amid much drama. This was after police and political activists were engaged in a showdown after the latter were ordered out of the courtroom for being inappropriately dressed. President of the banned People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) Mario Masuku, and political activist Mphandlana Shongwe then gave over 10 police officers a tongue-lashing at the Magistrates Court.
Angola: $32 bn vanishes from oil-rich Angola's state coffers
A staggering $32 billion is missing from the state coffers of Angola, a nation that is steeped in poverty, blatant social inequality, and among the worst-ranked in the world for its life expectancy, infant mortality and corruption. New York-based Human Rights Watch said in December that the government of Angola should promptly provide a full public accounting for $32 billion in missing government funds, thought to be linked to the country's state oil company Sonangol.
Nigeria: Billions lost to corruption could be used for fuel subsidy
As a nationwide strike and protests against the lifting of the fuel subsidy paralysed Nigeria last week, analysts say the billions of dollars a year lost to corruption in the oil industry could have been used to leave the subsidy in place. 'We know that because of the corruption and irrelevant people placed in certain key positions in the sector, a lot of crude oil is being lost,' Garba Ibrahim Sheka, a senior lecturer in economics at Bayero University in the northern city of Kano, told IPS.
Global: Breaking the mould
There is now substantial evidence of the role of financial liberalisation in triggering financial crises, and on how these crises particularly affect the poor. Latin America is a clear example of a region that in the 1980s and 1990s, under the conditionality and advice of the World Bank and the IMF, embraced financial liberalisation, suffered several financial crises and is now increasingly relying on different forms of regulation of inflows and outflows. Argentina, Brazil and Costa Rica are among the countries that have recently implemented capital account regulations. This report reviews the evidence available on the impact of the measures implemented in these countries.
Southern Africa: What impact will EPAs have on sugar, grapes and cotton?
The Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) that are being negotiated by the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries on one hand and the European Union on the other are essentially Free Trade Areas covering trade in goods, services, trade related areas and other non trade issues. This report looks into the effects EPAs will have on the countries in Southern Africa, focussing on the effects on the production and value chain of three products; sugar, grapes and cotton.
Mozambique: Own antiretroviral drugs to be produced
Alexandre Manguele, the southeastern country's health minister, announced that the first ARVs produced in Mozambique, in partnership with Brazil, will be ready by July 2012. In doing so, it will be the first African country – rather than private sector supplier – to produce its own stocks of the drug, which can prolong the lives of HIV sufferers by decades.
Senegal: Addressing Aids in Senegalese prisons
Senegal has among the lowest rates of HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa, at less than one percent. But the most vulnerable group is men who have sex with men (MSM), nearly 22 per cent of whom are HIV-positive. Prisons are high-risk environments for the transmission of the disease, due to the prevalence of hard drugs, violence and sexual relations. There is no mandatory testing in prison, and for those prisoners who, either knowingly or unknowingly, are living with HIV, the stresses of living in prison – including overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, and poor nutrition – mean their health is even more compromised.
South Africa: Stampede highlights education chaos
Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande's 'wonderful problem' came back to haunt him when a woman was killed and 17 people injured in a stampede at the University of Johannesburg. Speaking at a hastily convened press conference following the accident, Nzimande announced that the department would move to a "central application process" to alleviate problems regarding university registrations. This was a far cry from the minister's comments last year when he brushed off criticism of the large queues outside the University of Johannesburg (UJ), calling it a 'wonderful problem'. In a repeat of last year's chaos, hundreds of matriculants queued outside the university once the matric results were released seeking to submit late applications for study.
Zimbabwe: Teachers threaten to strike
Zimbabwe's minister of education, David Coltart, says he is 'powerless' to stop a strike by the country's civil servants, as teachers press for higher salaries of $540 - more than double their current $250 paycheck - in a fresh sign of trouble that threatens to rattle Zimbabwe's fragile unity government.
South Africa: 'Set me free so I can become a cop'
30 January 2012 is the latest date set for the sentencing of Zoliswa Nkonyana’s murderers, according to blog Writing Rights. Nkonyana was killed because she was lesbian. Activist Zackie Achmat writes in commentary on a reposted news article on the site that the inefficient, ineffective and unjust criminal justice system in Khayelitsha and throughout our country continues to punish Nkonyana’s family and friends with the delay in sentencing the killers. The Social Justice Coalition together with Equal Education, Treatment Action Campaign and Triangle Project have instituted a formal complaint for a Commission of Inquiry into SAPS, the Metro Police and the other agencies.
Uganda: Call for anti reproductive rights laws to be scrapped
A Ugandan advocate for sex workers and homosexual rights, Busingye Kabumba has said prostitution and anti-abortion laws should be repealed to encourage the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young women. Kabumba, a lecturer at Makerere University’s Faculty of Law in Kampala also said there was a 'need to streamline the Ugandan legal framework in light of the international legal structure on the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHRs) for young women in the country.'
Africa: Young scientists issue communique on climate change
A group of young scientists meeting on the sidelines of COP17, held in Durban, South Africa last year, has resolved to mobilise African young scientists and youth within and outside Africa to promote the role of African indigenous knowledge systems in climate change adaptation and mitigation through
research and community engagement.
Global: 'Our struggle is for the permanence of agriculture'
'I believe that African movements are in a process of emerging from the control of the big NGOs that have historically managed their struggle. La Via Campesina in Africa shows that this process will be as powerful as it has been in Latin America, or even more powerful, because this is an awakening that allows them to say, maybe for the first time, "we can speak for ourselves, nobody can speak for us".' In this interview with Alberto Gomez, the national director of UNORCA (Unión Nacional de Organizaciones Regionales Campesinas Autónomas) in Mexico, he discusses the UN climate summit concluded in Durban in December and what it means for agriculture.
Global: European banks fuelling food price volatility and hunger
European banks, pension funds and insurance companies are increasing global hunger and poverty by speculating on food prices and financing land grabs in poorer countries, according to a new report by Friends of the Earth Europe. The report analyses the activities of 29 European banks, pension funds and insurance companies, including Deutsche Bank, Barclays, RBS, Allianz, BNP Paribas, AXA, HSBC, Generali, Allianz, Unicredit and Credit Agricole. It reveals the significant involvement of these financial institutions in food speculation, and the direct or indirect financing of land grabbing.
Sudan: Farmers fear land grab by foreigners
When South Sudan became an independent state in July 2011, northern Sudan lost most of its oil fields to its new neighbouring country. In an effort to revive the country's struggling economy, the Sudanese government has been selling or leasing vast swaths of fertile land to foreign investors. But in areas where agricultural land is the basic source of living for people, there is much anger over what farmers say is a government policy that promotes foreign land grabs, favouritism, and exploitation, reports Al Jazeera.
Kenya: Cash transfers and coping with poverty
This report from the Hunger Safety Net Programme Secretariat (HNSP) defines the behavior of HNSP beneficiaries receiving cash transfers in coping with and overcoming the challenges of extreme poverty magnified by shocks of environmental extremities of drought, famine, floods and socio-economic marginalisation. Further, it documents how some beneficiaries have been able to build some form of stable livelihoods (a desired knock on effect) using the cash transfers and in the context of the three year prolonged drought.
South Africa: Western Cape farm workers and dwellers speak out
The Commercial, Stevedoring, Agricultural and Allied Workers Union (CSAAWU), the Mawubuye Land Rights Forum, the Trust for Community Outreach and Education, and the Democratic Left Front (DLF) launched the Speak-Out Campaign on the 27th of November 2011 at a mass meeting in Robertson (some 2 hours from Cape Town). Farm workers and farm dwellers spoke of the inhumane living and working conditions that they face each and every day. They do backbreaking work to produce food for everybody yet they are forced to work under unsafe and unhealthy conditions, to drink dirty water, live without electricity, live with threats of evictions, to live on poverty wages and to suffer abuse at the hands of the bosses. The Speak-Out Campaign aims to bring an end to the oppression and exploitation of farm workers and farm dwellers by coming together to build solidarity, strength and hope amongst the rural working class.
Southern Africa: Food price pressures weigh heavily on the region
A tight grain supply outlook after several bumper harvests is set to fan food price pressures in southern Africa, fuelling salary demands and threatening to knock the region's fragile economies out of kilter. Erratic rains have delayed the planting of the crucial maize crop in Zambia, pushing inflation towards double digits, while bread basket South Africa is importing the staple despite abundant harvests because of worries it has exported too much. With a high proportion of households in the region spending much of their limited income feeding themselves, rising food inflation is likely to further stoke union demands in wage negotiations.
Côte d'Ivoire: Body found may be missing reporter
Investigators in Ivory Coast have unearthed a body which they say may belong to Franco-Canadian journalist Guy-Andre Kieffer, who went missing in country's economic capital Abidjan in 2004, his brother told France 3 television. The team of French and Ivorian investigators have sent samples from the body, exhumed in the Issia region several hundred kilometres (miles) to the northeast of Abidjan, to France for genetic identification tests.
Ethiopia: Standing with Ethiopia's tenacious blogger, Eskinder Nega
It would be hard to find a better symbol of media repression in Africa than Eskinder Nega. The veteran Ethiopian journalist and dissident blogger has been detained at least seven times by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's government over the past two decades, and was put back in jail on 14 September 2011, after he published a column calling for the government to respect freedom of speech and freedom of assembly and to end torture in prisons. Eskinder now faces terrorism charges, and if convicted could face the death sentence. He's not alone: Ethiopia currently has seven journalists behind bars. More journalists have fled Ethiopia over the past decade than any other country in the world, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Global: Call for UN action over journo deaths
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has urged the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to take drastic action against governments of the most dangerous countries for media after it published its annual list of 106 journalists and media personnel killed in 2011. The Federation says 2011 was another bloody year for media and blames governments' failure to uphold their international obligations for the ongoing violence targeting media. In a letter to the UN Secretary General, the IFJ calls for effective implementation of international legal instruments to combat the prevailing culture of impunity for crimes against journalists.
Rwanda: Proposed media law fails to safeguard free press, says Article 19
A revised media law promised by the Rwandan government prior to and during its Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council in 2011 fails to safeguard the right to freedom of expression and a free media, says Article 19. The State retains its control over the media in the draft Law by determining rules for its operation and defining journalists’ professional standards. Media freedoms and the right to freedom of expression are not safeguarded and can be restricted in violation of international law due to overbroad definitions and the creation of vaguely defined prohibitions.
South Africa: #ANC100 debate lays bare divisions over South Africa media
On 8 January 1912, South African intellectuals - including pioneering black newspaper publishers Pixley ka Isaka Seme, editor of Abantu-Batho, and John Langalibalele Dube, editor of Ilanga lase Natal - formed Africa's oldest liberation movement, the African National Congress (ANC), in the Wesleyan Church in Bloemfontein. During centennial commemorations of this event, twitter users made the #ANC100 hash tag a global trend. The lively social media debate illustrated both the discomfort many Africans feel toward criticism of their leaders, and the role as scapegoat that the media is currently playing as the ANC struggles to hold onto a decisively positive legacy, says this Committee to Protect Journalists post.
South Africa: Remembering Henry Nxumalo, pioneer under apartheid
Just over 55 years ago, on New Year's Eve 1957, trailblazing South African journalist Henry Nxumalo was murdered while investigating suspicious deaths at an abortion clinic in Sophiatown, a suburb west of Johannesburg. Nxumalo's short-lived journalism career was remarkable - he operated as one of the first black journalists under apartheid and pioneered undercover investigative journalism in South Africa.
Global: How the State Department uses rap to spread propaganda abroad
Since 2005, the US State Department has been using hip-hop as a bridge for foreign cultural diplomacy. Operating under the auspices of then-public diplomacy undersecretary Karen Hughes, the 'Rhythm Road' program began sending 'hip-hop envoys' to, mostly, the Middle East, hoping to promote transnational understanding through music and dance, writes Julianne Escobedo for www.alternet.org 'The State Department's actions mirror its efforts during the Cold War, when they dispatched prominent jazz musicians to counter Soviet propaganda about life in America. The Al-Jazeera piece brings up that this program sends Muslim hip-hop artists, in particular, to Muslim-majority countries to discuss their experience in the United States.'
Haiti: Two years on and Haitians still bear the brunt of slow aid
Two years after Haiti was devastated by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake, international aid donors have delivered only half of the billions of dollars promised for reconstruction, according to UN data. Just $2.38-billion (53 per cent) of the $4.5-billion pledged for recovery programmes in 2010-2011 has been delivered, figures from the UN special envoy for Haiti show.
Africa: Weapon sales small but dangerous
Lethal arms flows to sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa, accounted for 3.4 percent of the global volume of imports of major weapons between 2006 and 2010. Excluding South Africa, the region's share shrinks to 1.5 per cent, a new report by the prestigious Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) says. The report points out that in sub-Saharan Africa, which has virtually no arms industry of their own, states have received major arms through legal transfers from a wide variety of countries worldwide. During 2006-2010 China accounted for 25 per cent, Ukraine for 20 per cent and Russia for 11 per cent of the volume of major arms supplied to the region.
Angola: Floods leave Angolan returnees stranded
Several thousand Angolan returnees from the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are stranded by floods in northeastern Angola. They are among the first casualties of what promises to be a very wet rainy season in parts of southern Africa. 'At least 50,000 people - 24,000 of them returnees - in 10 villages in Uige Province [northeastern Angola near border with DRC] have been affected by the flooding, rains and hailstorms in the past four months,' said Antonio Maiandi, head of the Evangelical Reformed Church of Angola, which has been trying to help those affected.
Kenya: Somali fighters in deadly cross-border raid
Somalia's Islamist al-Shabab group have killed at least six Kenyans in a cross-border raid, claiming revenge for Nairobi's troop deployment against the al-Qaeda-linked group, police and fighters said. Four police officers, a local government official and a civilian were killed in the attack by assailants, using firearms and an explosive device, said regional police chief Leo Nyongesa.
Nigeria: Sixteen dead as Nigeria chaos grows
Ethnic and religious violence in Nigeria claimed 16 more victims, with gunmen killing eight in the north and a mob torching an Islamic school in the south, as a fuel strike added to the deadly tension. Amid the sectarian and social turmoil, Nobel literature prize laureate Wole Soyinka, one of the country's most respected voices, warned that the continent's most populous nation was heading toward civil war.
Somalia: 'Somali militants' seize Kenyan officials in Wajir
Gunmen have killed six people and abducted three others in the latest attack in the north-eastern border region with Somalia, police say. A local police chief told the BBC that Somali militants were to blame for the raid in Wajir district, in which two local officials were seized. There have been several attacks since Nairobi sent troops into Somalia to fight the al-Shabab Islamist group. No-one has claimed responsibility for the latest attack.
South Sudan: Call for protection of ethnic groups
Minority Rights Group International (MRG) has condemned the recent attacks between the Lou Nuer and Murle communities in Pibor, Jonglei state, South Sudan, and called on the government to take immediate steps to protect civilians from all ethnic groups. 'In the long term, the government must also address the root causes of violence among minority communities through political representation, disarmament and equitable distribution of natural resources.'
Sudan: The crisis in Abyei
In January 2011, Abyei’s residents were supposed to vote in a referendum to determine whether they wanted Abyei to remain in Sudan, or join what is now the independent nation of South Sudan. The Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) failed to organise the referendum due to a dispute over who was eligible to vote. The past year has seen the worst violence in Abyei since the second civil war, with a series of attacks by militias, backed by the Government of Sudan, culminating in a full-scale invasion of the territory by Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) in May 2011. Around 110, 000 Ngok Dinka residents fled the area, and have yet to return. It is now just over a year since Abyei’s aborted referendum, and there is little prospect of a resolution in the near future, says a report from the Small Arms Survey.
Africa: Survey of African civil society organisations on security sector work
WACSI on behalf of African Security and Governance Project Members, supported by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and the Open Society Institute (OSI), is conducting a survey to collate views on the need and practicality of a Pan-African Capacity Building Network of CSOs, Networks and Research Institutions working in security sector in Sub-Saharan Africa. The information from the survey will be used to decide whether there is a need and relevance for the creation of a Pan-African Capacity Building Network of CSOs working in the security sector. Kindly see the link to the survey in English and French. Complete all columns of the questionnaire to support the initiative.
Africa: The African women in cinema project
This project includes the virtual Center for the Study and Research of African Women in Cinema, which features a Primer for African Women Cinema Studies, a guide to the film and book, Sisters of the Screen as well as a timeline, related links, and 'voices' of African women in cinema from diverse sources. Moreover, it includes the ever expanding features of the Internet, Facebook pages, Youtube Channel (including Vimeo and Dailymotion, and Blog).
Global: Free materials on global justice
War on Want has a range of material available for download on their website. Reports include: Food Sovereignty: Reclaiming the global food system; A Bitter Cup: Exploitation in the tea industy; Sour Grapes: Wine workers come from the poorest sections of society; Anglo American - The Alternative Report.
Egypt: Training for photographers
March - October 2012, Cairo, Egypt
Al-liquindoi is partnering with Contemporary Image Collective and NOOR to produce this long-term training opportunity for Egyptian documentary photographers and photojournalists. This program is supported by a grant from Open Society Foundations. The program provides fully funded training and support to Egyptian 15 photographers who are using the medium to critically explore current social,economic and political issues in Egypt and the region.
Kenya: Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) annual conference
28th – 30th June, 2012, Kenya
Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) Annual Conference for 2012 will be hosted by the Faculty of Education and Social Sciences (FESS) on the theme ‘Action Research in Higher Education and Development in Africa’. The Conference seeks deeper understanding of people, places and processes in action research and their impact on development in Africa.
Norway: System Dynamics-based Development Planning Course
10 April - 18 May 2012
This course is an intensive introduction to System Dynamics, a unique framework for understanding and managing complex development problems. Through case studies and practical exercises, the course will equip participants with the knowledge and skills required to effectively understand, map, and analyze complex national and global development challenges using a systemic perspective, and to determine the best approaches to mitigate them. The course is designed for professionals working in the field of development planning, especially policy advisors/analysts, and implementation and evaluation specialists from government institutions, research institutes, advocacy and civil society groups, private foundations, and international development agencies.
Global: Race and Food
Journal Exposes the Racial Structure of the Food System
The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, the Center for New Community, and Indiana University Press have announced the publication of 'Food Justice', a new issue of the journal Race/Ethnicity: Multidisciplinary Global Contexts that explores the intersection of race and food in the national and global food systems. With a wide range of academic- and activist-authored papers, the issue takes readers through the entire food chain from - 'field to fork' - in an examination of the challenging intersections between race, sustainability, food safety, access to healthy food, land ethics, food worker justice, and food sovereignty.
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