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Pambazuka News

Pambazuka News Pambazuka News is produced by a pan-African community of some 2,600 citizens and organisations - academics, policy makers, social activists, women's organisations, civil society organisations, writers, artists, poets, bloggers, and commentators who together produce insightful, sharp and thoughtful analyses and make it one of the largest and most innovative and influential web forums for social justice in Africa.

The Inagural 2016 Pan African Colloquium, Barbados

Latest titles from Pambazuka Press

African Sexualities

Earth Grab A Reader
Sylvia Tamale
A groundbreaking book, accessible but scholarly, by African activists. It uses research, life stories and artistic expression to examine dominant and deviant sexualities, and investigate the intersections between sex, power, masculinities and femininities
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Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya

From Citizen to Refugee Horace Campbell
In this elegantly written and incisive account, scholar Horace Campbell investigates the political and economic crises of the early twenty-first century through the prism of NATO's intervention in Libya.
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Queer African Reader

Demystifying Aid Edited by Sokari Ekine, Hakima Abbas
A diverse collection of writing from across the continent exploring African LGBTI liberation: identity, tactics for activism, international solidarity, homophobia and global politics, religion and culture, and intersections with social justice movements. A richness of voices, a multiplicity of discourses, a quiverful of arguments. African queers writing for each other, theorising ourselves, making our ...more
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China and Angola

African Awakening A Marriage of Convenience?
Edited by Marcus Power, Ana Alves
This book focuses on the increased co-operation between Angola and China and shows that although relations with China might have bolstered regime stability and boosted the international standing of the Angolan government, China is not regarded as a long term strategic partner.
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How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

To Cook a ContinentWalter Rodney
Rodney shows how the imperial countries of Europe, and subsequently the US, bear major responsibility for impoverishing Africa. They have been joined in this exploitation by agents or unwitting accomplices both in the North and in Africa.
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Back Issues

Pambazuka News 579: Senegal victory: Can Macky Sall deliver?

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Pambazuka News (English edition): ISSN 1753-6839

CONTENTS: 1. Features, 2. Announcements, 3. Comment & analysis, 4. Advocacy & campaigns, 5. Letters & Opinions, 6. African Writers’ Corner, 7. Podcasts & Videos, 8. Zimbabwe update, 9. Women & gender, 10. Human rights, 11. Refugees & forced migration, 12. Elections & governance, 13. Corruption, 14. Development, 15. Health & HIV/AIDS, 16. Education, 17. LGBTI, 18. Racism & xenophobia, 19. Environment, 20. Land & land rights, 21. Food Justice, 22. Media & freedom of expression, 23. Conflict & emergencies, 24. Internet & technology, 25. Fundraising & useful resources, 26. Courses, seminars, & workshops


Senegal: I live in a democratic African country…

Arame Tall


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Relief after news of Sall’s win and democratic transition following Senegal’s contested presidential election.

Senegal’s game of thrones: Whose Victory?



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Macky Sall should be supported, but people should be suspicious and vigilant. He is, after all, Wade's protégé.

Macky Sall: Any lessons for the sleeping giant?

Abdurazaq Magaji


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In Nigeria, the powers that be have decided that opposition politicians, people like Senegal's Macky Sall, will have to wait for sixty years before they can ever become president.

Could abolishing tax havens solve Africa's financing needs?

Charles Abugre


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Increased financial transparency is critical to stem the illicit capital outflows that are crippling Africa.

Africa: From Berlin to Brussels

Will Europe underdevelop Africa again?

Chukwuma Charles Soludo


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Almost all the flexibilities in policy choice that Africa and other developing countries won under the WTO are lost under the EPAs.

Rio+20, low-income women, and the green economy

An interview with Nidhi Tandon

Nidhi Tandon


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Social policies and instruments will need to be developed to ensure that the Green Economy not only alleviates poverty and improves equity, but that the interests of the people who depend on Green Economy are deliberately safeguarded from the very outset.

Financial autocracy and its media clergy

Samir Amin


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‘Their (media outlets') autonomy is reduced to the institutionalization of a functional casuistry that gives legitimacy to the powers that be. It is in this sense that I contend that the power of financial aristocracy is complemented by the power of media clergy’.

African countries set to reform their mining sector

Social Watch


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Mining is still a good business in Africa. But over the decades, it is outsiders who have benefited from the continent’s resources. Now governments have pledged to change this.

Notes from Western Sahara

An interview with Fatma El-Mehdi

Bhakti Shringarpure


‘When we think about our past, we can only find violence, but I think it is precisely this condition that makes one realize that what is important is peace.’

Trayvon Martin’s Murder sparks remobilization

Horace Campbell


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The killing of Trayvon Martin serves as an inspiration for those who want to speak out against the demagoguery and hatred that has been spread in the United States in the midst of the capitalist depression.

Trayvon Martin is today’s Emmett Till

William Finnegan


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In 1955, openly racist, all-white juries made certain that the confessed killers of Emmett Till walked free in Mississippi. In Florida today, the Stand Your Ground law may yet block the workings of justice.


Breaking the silence around racial abuse

H. Samy Alim


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Not only must we speak out when the victims can no longer speak for themselves, but by breaking the silence around racial abuse, we can begin a healing process that addresses our collective hurt and humiliation and restores our humanity.

A fresh look at Malcolm X

A presentation to the Left Forum, New York City, Saturday March 17, 2012

Bill Fletcher, Jr


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Bill Fletcher Jr. addresses some of the key issues raised in Manning Marable’s acclaimed, yet for some controversial, biography ‘Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention’ published in April 2011.

The ANC transformed

Mercia Andrews


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The ANC has been transformed from a broad based liberation movement to a governing party, largely serving the interests of local and international capital.

ANC a product of its own policies

Z. Pallo Jordan


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A capacity for ‘introspection, self-criticism and grasping the nettle of corrective action’ ensured the ANC’s success as a national revolutionary movement. These attributes can help the ANC to manage the tensions created by its own policies.

John Saul’s empty chalice

Jeremy Cronin


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Jeremy Cronin contests the assertion by John S. Saul in his article, ‘A Poisoned Chalice’, that the ANC is a lost cause and that a new political formation is needed to continue the liberation struggle.

The ‘mother of all bombs’ and the road to disaster

Fidel Castro Ruz


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This reflection could be written today, tomorrow or any other day without the risk of being mistaken. Our species faces new problems.

Conversations with my stream of consciousness (3)

Remembering Chief Obafemi Awolowo

Cameron Duodu


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In the unstable Nigeria of the 1970s, this journalist met Chief Awolowo and tried to press him over the political situation in the country. Only later did the writer realize the meaning of Awolowo’s intransigence.


Pambazuka Press seeks Oxford-based volunteer


Pambazuka Press is able to offer three months' unpaid work experience to a part-time, Oxford-based volunteer who would like to gain experience of working in a small, hard-working publishing team, mainly on marketing and promotions.

Sierra Leone: Support small land owners


Between 1-4 April, hundreds of Sierra Leonean small land owners and community members from all over the country will come together in Freetown to organize against land grabs. Join the Oakland Institute in our pledge to raise $10,000 to fund travel, food, and lodging for 100 participants.

Comment & analysis

‘Water belongs to everyone’

The role of the private sector in tackling global issues surrounding water


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A declaration at the end of the forum included commitments to speed up access to safe drinking water and sanitation for all, boosting efforts to cut water pollution, reusing wastewater and enhancing the coherence between water, food and energy policies.

Advocacy & campaigns

Celebrating Earth Hour in Nairobi

Patrick Kamotho


Earth Hour is the largest global environmental action. Everyone should take part to express their personal commitment to the planet.

Commemorating Palestinian Land Day

Palestinian BDS National Committee


Join the BDS Global Day of Action on 30 March 2012!

Protest greets results of UN Commission on Status of Women


Statement of Feminist and Women's Organisations on the very Limited and Concerning Results of the 56th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

Statement in support of Trayvon Martin protests

Association of Black Sociologists


Fifty-seven years after the murder of Emmitt Till and 49 years after the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, Trayvon's murder is yet another galvanising, public call to action to combat ongoing inequities and foster justice.

Zimbabwe: Book Café Campaign


'People determined to reclaim their dignity through art and free expression cannot be stopped.'

Letters & Opinions

Tshisekedi is no nationalist as claimed

Antoine Lokongo


Professor Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja is misleading Pambazuka's readers about Tshisekedi.

He writes: "Given the importance of the DRC as a land of considerable natural wealth, the major powers prefer leaders with no national constituency who are easy to manipulate like Joseph Kabila to those like Etienne Tshisekedi who are unapologetically nationalist."

Thsisekedi is not a nationalist. With Mobutu, he betrayed Patrice Lumumba. He called Patrice Lumumba "a frog that must be gotten rid off". Is this being unapologetically nationalist?
Professor Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja is misleading Pambazuka's readers about Tshisekedi.

He writes: "Given the importance of the DRC as a land of considerable natural wealth, the major powers prefer leaders with no national constituency who are easy to manipulate like Joseph Kabila to those like Etienne Tshisekedi who are unapologetically nationalist."

Tshisekedi is not a nationalist. With Mobutu, he betrayed Patrice Lumumba. He called Patrice Lumumba "a frog that must be gotten rid off". Is this being unapologetically nationalist?

Would Obasanjo understand peace if he saw it? – Dakar update

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe


Opposition candidate Macky Sall defeats Abdoulaye Wade, Sénégal’s president, in the country’s second round, election. Once again, the Sénégalese electorate, arguably Africa’s most sophisticated and resilient, has shown that it can be done! A salute to this beacon! This electorate has not only stopped Wade from his attempt to unconstitutionally extend his maximum two-term duration in office, implicitly supported by Nigeria’s Olusegun Obasanjo (the AU and ECOWAS so-called mediating envoy to Sénégal), it has, also, resoundingly voted against the president despite that much bandied, seeming armour of certitude so beloved by Africa’s dictators – ‘incumbency’.

African Writers’ Corner


Elyas Mulu Kiros


‘Mona’ is a work of fiction, based on the based on stories of Ethiopian women who have been to the Middle East as domestic workers.

Podcasts & Videos

Africa: On migrant rights and global justice


In this programme, Africa Today interviews Colin Rajah, the Director of International Migrant Rights and Global Justice Program at the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR) on global migration and immigration.

Nigeria: Looking back on Occupy Nigeria


Blog Africa is a Country highlights how Nigerian producers Chris Dada and Funmi Iyanda, the creators of which documented fuel subsidy protests in Nigeria, have stitched together their short viral films and video-blog diary made during the protests. What ChopCassava’s reporting made increasingly clear was, says Africa is a Country, was that the protests developed into the question of 'the way how we are governed as a people'.

South Africa: Zaphamban’ izindlela!


What happens when a corrupt old policeman and a market woman switch bodies? The latest in the 'Crossroads' series hit the airwaves for Women’s Month in South Africa. Community Media for Development (CMFD) produced the isiZulu, South African adaptation for People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA), supported by Oxfam GB. Previously produced in English, Swahili, French and Portuguese, the drama uses humour to get people thinking, and talking, about women’s rights. POWA is facilitating discussion groups, listening on stations such as Alex FM, Kasie FM, Eldoz FM and Ndofaya FM.

Zimbabwe update

South Africa: Activists push SA to try Zimbabwe rights crimes


Rights activists have begun a legal bid to compel South Africa to investigate and prosecute citizens of neighbouring Zimbabwe suspected of crimes against humanity. The activists argue that South Africa is failing to meet its obligations in international law. A court ruling in their favour would cause a headache for South Africa, which could see its courts clogged with prosecutions and its diplomacy with the power-sharing government in Harare hobbled.

Women & gender

Cameroon: Women encouraged to run in elections


In Cameroon’s Northwest region, citizens, organizations and local officials are taking part in campaigns and speaking out to encourage women to run for office in the legislative and municipal elections anticipated for this year. Though a date has yet to be set for the elections, International Women’s Day this month stirred up excitement for women’s campaigns.

Global: Saying no to safeguarding 'traditional values' at the expense of the human rights

Statement of feminist and women's rights organisations


This month the UN Commission on the Status of Women failed to adopt agreed conclusions at its 56th session on the basis of safeguarding 'traditional values' at the expense of human rights and fundamental freedoms of women. 'Together with our partner feminist and women's rights organisations, we say NO to any re-opening of negotiations on the already established international agreements on women’s human rights and call on all governments to demonstrate their commitments to promote, protect and fulfill human rights and fundamental freedoms of women.'

Human rights

Africa: Is Africa on trial?


This BBC Africa page examines the controversy surrounding the perceived bias of the ICC in focusing only on cases involving Africans. It has the views of two experts, one who argues that the ICC is not biased and the other who argues that it is. 'Ordinary Africans are not complaining. Many have suffered at the hands of the perpetrators of mass crimes - and know that there is little chance that they will see justice done without international tribunals like the ICC,' argues Abdul Tejan-Cole, a former prosecutor at the Special Court for Sierra Leone. 'The International Criminal Court is in fact a pathetic continuation of an imperial tradition, a way for western powers to pretend they are protecting human rights in Africa, that they are teaching Africans right from wrong,' argues Zaya Yeebo, a writer and commentator on Africa.

Angola: Group to campaign for right to protests


An Angolan human rights group has said it is launching a campaign for the right to protest amid a state crackdown. Jose Patrocinio, Omunga co-ordinator, cited recent violent break-ups of demonstrations in Benguela, the capital Luanda and the oil-rich Cabinda enclave. The Benguela-based group also plan to hand a petition to the Supreme Court to stop lower courts from acting against jailed demonstrators.

Egypt: Children on trial


Egypt’s military courts have investigated or tried at least 43 children over the past year, Human Rights Watch says, including the pending trial of 13-year-old Ahmed Hamdy Abdel Aziz in connection with the Port Said football riots. Children prosecuted in military courts have not had access to lawyers, and often to their families, until after military authorities have investigated and sentenced them. Since coming to power in February 2011, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has referred over 12,000 civilians for prosecution by military courts before military judges, though these courts fail to meet minimum due process standards.

Equatorial Guinea: Doctor remains in detention


Dr. Wenceslao Mansogo, a medical doctor, prominent human rights defender and opposition party leader, has been detained since February 9 over allegations of professional negligence and mutilation of a body. Amnesty International considers Dr. Mansogo a prisoner of conscience. Dr. Mansogo has not been ill-treated and he is allowed to receive visitors.

Namibia: Reparation bid fails in Bundestag


German Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul apologised in August 2004 at a big rally in Okakarara for the genocide committed 100 years ago by the German imperial army. Almost eight years later the German parliament (Bundestag) rejected two motions by three opposition parties for a formal apology of the German parliament and so refused to acknowledge the genocide in contradiction to the assessment of historians.

South Africa: Miners may face huge class action case


A South African lawyer has said he was preparing a class action lawsuit against leading gold mining firms on behalf of thousands of former miners who say they contracted silicosis, a debilitating lung disease, through negligent health and safety. Attorney Richard Spoor, whose legal battle against a South African asbestos-mining company led to a $100m settlement in 2003, said he would file class action papers with the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg 'within the next few months'.

Tunisia: Rights groups pressure Tunisia lawmakers


Human rights groups and political entities are calling on Tunisia's National Constituent Assembly to enshrine human rights treaties in the new constitution. Human Rights Watch sent a letter to the assembly March 19th urging it to solidify international rights treaties in the constitution. The group also urged parliamentarians to avoid vague wording, such as 'must exercise the rights as required by law', as well as providing mechanisms for the application of human rights, which could include establishment of a constitutional court and imposition of the obligation of all courts and state institutions to respect the human rights enshrined by the Constitution.

Uganda: Opposition leader given bail


Court has given bail to Forum for Democratic Change leader, Dr Kizza Besigye on charges of unlawful assembly in connection with the death of Assistant Inspector of Police John Michael Ariong. Dr Besigye appeared in court with only three of his co accused who are; FDC women league leader Ingrid Turinawe and Kampala Woman MP Nabilah Naggayi and Kawempe Division chairperson Mubarak Munyagwa. The four have been given bail after pleading not guilty to the charges and submitting their substantial sureties to court.

Refugees & forced migration

Africa: Migrants left to die after catalogue of failures, says report


A catalogue of failures by Nato warships and European coastguards led to the deaths of dozens of migrants left adrift at sea, according to a damning official report into the fate of a refugee boat in the Mediterranean whose distress calls went unanswered for days. A nine-month investigation by the Council of Europe – the continent's 47-nation human rights watchdog, which oversees the European court of human rights – has unearthed human and institutional failings that condemned the boat's occupants to their fate.

Global: Asylum claims in industrialized countries up sharply in 2011


A report released on Tuesday 27 March by the UN refugee agency shows that new conflicts and a rising outflow from older crisis spots such as Afghanistan together contributed to a 20 per cent rise in asylum claims in industrialized countries in 2011. UNHCR's report, 'Asylum Levels and Trends in Industrialized Countries 2011', says that an estimated 441,300 asylum claims were recorded last year compared to 368,000 in 2010. The report covers 44 countries in Europe, North America, Australasia and north-east Asia.

Global: Has the Refugee Convention outlived its usefulness?


Can an international convention drafted 60 years ago to protect a limited number of Europeans uprooted by World War II continue to provide protection to the millions of people around the world today forced to flee their countries for a variety of reasons? Today, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is providing assistance and protection to over 15 million refugees throughout the world and the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees remains the cornerstone of that protection. However, millions more people have fled their countries for reasons that the drafters of the Convention could not have predicted.

Kenya: Refugees set conditions for return


Post-election violence victims living in Uganda want the government to help them return home. The more than 1,500 Kenyans at Kiryandogo camp, about 300km from Kampala, however, want assurances of safety and that they will be given land. 'We have been in Uganda for four years and we believe there can never be peace and reconciliation when some of the affected people are languishing in poverty outside Kenya,' the group said in a memorandum to Special Programmes minister Esther Murugi.

Mauritania: Civil society looks to bridge local, refugee divide


With hundreds of thousands fleeing the conflict in northern Mali, civil society groups in Mauritania are working to ensure the refugee community integrates peacefully with local residents. 'Solidarity for all in Mauritania', a conglomerate of civil society organisations, held a Nouakchott seminar March 20th on activities to support the local population in the border towns of Fassala and Bassiknou. The forum discussed how best to reduce the repercussions of the poor living conditions in areas in light of the dual crises.

Sahel: Malian refugees risk being 'forgotten'


Mali is facing its 'worst humanitarian crisis for 20 years', brought on by a combination of food insecurity affecting around three million, some 93,500 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in northern Mali, whose whereabouts and status is uncertain, and 113,000 refugees who have fled conflict in the north to neighbouring countries. Between 175,000 and 220,000 children will be acutely malnourished this year and access to northern Mali and the refugee destinations across the borders is problematic, all of which is topped off by a perennial lack of real interest in the Sahel.

South Sudan: Israel seeks to return refugees


Israel was swift to recognize the new state of South Sudan in July 2011, reports the LA Times. 'Following the formation of the state, Israel ended collective protection for those from South Sudan and wants asylum seekers to leave the country. The window for voluntary departure and a $1,300 incentive closes March 31; those still in Israel would be deported after that.'

Elections & governance

Egypt: 'Constitution for All' protest


Fifteen Egypt political groups and movements including the most prominent leftist and liberal political parties the Free Egyptians, the Democratic Front and al-Tagammu announced on Monday the formation of 'Constitution for All Egyptians Front', which aims to 'defend Egyptians right to draft a national constitution that ensures them their them their basic rights to freedom, dignity and social equality and also guarantees the representation of all the spectra and forces of the society and consensus over its drafting'.

Egypt: Liberal party warns gov’t of uprising over shortages


Egypt’s Free Egyptians liberal political party issued a statement on Monday warning the government of serious repercussions from the shortage of basic commodities and the rise in prices across the country. The party said that the shortages 'have become a huge burden on the shoulders of the Egyptian family, especially the poor and low-income workers.' It said an uprising of the poor could take place if the government is not careful.

Malawi: No rallies during volatile situations, says government


Government says it will continue stopping political rallies in the country if the security situation is volatile. But when quizzed why only opposition rallies are blocked, some officials have explained that ruling party rallies are always peaceful as hooligans can hardly hijack them.

Senegal: Political transition hinges on fulfilling economic dreams of the young


Senegal's political transition will be affected by its response to the youth. Nearly 44 per cent of the population is under the age of 15. Like many other African countries, Senegal will need to find ways to address the challenges facing the majority of the populace – typically employed in agriculture – while also addressing young people's needs, says this article on The Guardian UK blog.

Zambia: Western Province seeks secession


All seven districts in Barotseland, the western region of Zambia, where a two day mass rally was convened Monday, have backed calls for the region to secede from the rest of Zambia, state radio reported Tuesday 27 March. The Barotse National Council which called for the meeting said Mongu,Sesheke,Kalabo, Senanga,Kaoma,Shangombo and Lukulu supported the secession of Barotseland.


Burundi: A deepening corruption crisis


Despite the establishment of anti-corruption agencies, Burundi is facing a deepening corruption crisis, says the International Crisis Group. 'The "neopatrimonialist" practices of the party in office since 2005 has relegated Burundi to the lowest governance rankings, reduced its appeal to foreign investors, damaged relations with donors; and contributed to social discontent. More worrying still, neopatrimonialism is undermining the credibility of post-conflict institutions, relations between former Tutsi and new Hutu elites and cohesion within the ruling party, whose leaders are regularly involved in corruption scandals.'
Despite the establishment of anti-corruption agencies, Burundi is facing a deepening corruption crisis that threatens to jeopardise a peace that is based on development and economic growth bolstered by the state and driven by foreign investment. The “neopatrimonialist” practices of the party in office since 2005 has relegated Burundi to the lowest governance rankings, reduced its appeal to foreign investors, damaged relations with donors; and contributed to social discontent. More worrying still, neopatrimonialism is undermining the credibility of post-conflict institutions, relations between former Tutsi and new Hutu elites and cohesion within the ruling party, whose leaders are regularly involved in corruption scandals.

Equatorial Guinea: French judges seek arrest of leader’s son


Two French judges sought an international arrest warrant for the son of Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema on money laundering charges, a judicial source said on Tuesday 27 March. The two judges, Roger Le Loire and Rene Grouman, consider there are grounds to suspect that Teodorin Obiang, who is agriculture minister in the small, oil-rich central African country, acquired real estate in France by fraudulent means.

Kenya: Minister’s firm sold Turkana oil block for Sh800m


A company associated with a Cabinet minister sold the block, where oil was found in Turkana, for a fortune. In 2010, Turkana Drilling Company, associated with a cabinet minister who was affected in Monday’s reshuffle, sold Block 10BB for $10 million (Sh840 million) to Africa Oil. Turkana Drilling’s case is just an example of how small firms might be using influence in government to make hundreds of millions of shillings by trading in oil prospecting licences.

Uganda: Activists vow to continue battle for disclosure of oil agreements


Oil transparency activists have vowed to continue a legal battle to require the government of Uganda to publish Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) that it has reached with international oil companies. This comes after a court rejected an application from the African Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) and three other civil society organisations for permission to present evidence at an appeal by two journalists against a separate ruling which denied them access to the PSAs.

Zambia: World Bank to hand over names of Zambian officials who received bribes


The World Bank has said that it will soon hand over to the Zambian government details and names of senior government officials in the previous MMD government who received a bribe from Alstom Corporation of France. The World Bank slapped a hefty 9.5 million dollars fine on the Alstom Corporation, a major French engineering company and blacklisted two of its subsidiaries, Alstom Hydro France and Alstom Network Schweiz AG (Switzerland), after it admitted to bribing a Senior Zambian government official.


Africa: 'Euro crisis to impact heavily on ODA to Africa'


The Euro crisis is expected to weigh heavily on Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Africa because the European Union (EU) is the largest aid provider to the continent, an Economic Report on Africa 2012, released by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) warns. The report, 'Unleashing Africa’s Potential as a Pole of Global Growth', released at the ongoing meeting of African Finance Ministers in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, notes that a handful of countries, such as France and Italy, had already reduced bilateral assistance to Africa because of the global economic crisis.

Global: From privatisation to corporatisation of water


There has been a development and shift away from privatisation as the dominant strategy towards the so-called corporatisation and commercialisation of public water services. The main purpose of this report is to analyse the strategic development in policy that has taken place, the World Bank's neoliberal strategy on corporatisation of urban water services and concrete case studies of corporatisation projects in Sub-Saharan Africa as examples of this strategy.

Global: Not enough IMF change after the crisis


IMF policy recommendations are often criticised for being too restrictive, procyclical and paying little attention to country-specific circumstances. In the aftermath of the 2008 crisis, the Fund showed some policy rethinking, bringing about expectations of change. However, Rathin Roy and Raquel A. Ramos of the UNDP Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth analyse IMF policy recommendations given to developing countries and conclude that headquarters’ receptiveness to new approaches has not been translated into policy analysis or recommendations.

Mozambique: Africa's 'resource curse' throws shadow over Mozambique's energy bonanza


Some remain sceptical of what a massive gas find will mean for Mozambique's 23 million people, reports the UK Guardian. They question whether the government will direct enough of its new revenue towards infrastructure, which is still sorely lacking, and improving agricultural productivity – the biggest single tool for reducing poverty. Erik Charas, director of @Verdade (the Truth), Mozambique's biggest circulation newspaper, warned: 'There is a lack of transparency in these deals. They're making deals for generations to come and I have no idea about them. The lack of transparency is a major flaw. The people in power are negotiating on their own behalf. We might end up with 50 billionaires who own private planes and the rest of the population impoverished. That is our biggest fear.'

Nigeria: The unpopular finance minister who would be president


The African Union has added their backing to Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s run at becoming World Bank President. This post from blog Africa is a Country says there are those who would be pleased to see her get the job simply so that Nigeria could be rid of her. Her opponents accuse her 'of acting as an agent for global financial instutions, she was widely seen as the instigator of the removal of the fuel subsidy in January that led to the eruption of the Occupy Nigeria movement.'

South Africa: The nightmare nuclear bill


Blog Ndifuna Ukwazi reports on an article in the Mail and Guardian that further illustrates the uncertainty surrounding the actual cost of procuring nuclear power. The article highlights the lack of consensus amongst experts in the field as to what the overall cost for nuclear power can be. Focusing on South Africa, the article shows that costs could range anywhere between R322- billion to R1.4- trillion. The construction cost alone would place a considerable strain on South Africa’s resources with no return for 10 to 15 years, the expected time for constructing six reactors.

Health & HIV/AIDS

Global: Activists call for emergency Global Fund donor meeting


Almost a thousand Swazi and South African HIV activists marched to the United States consulate in Johannesburg on 22 March 2012 to demand that the US continue supporting the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria, and safeguard funding of its President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which US President Barack Obama's latest proposed budget will cut by 12 per cent. The march organizers - a coalition of international and regional HIV organizations, including the global medical charity, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the World AIDS Campaign, and the AIDS Rights Alliance Southern Africa - also called on the British and Australian governments to join their American counterparts in kick-starting a response to solve the Global Fund's financial crisis.

Kenya: Hospitals have enough drugs, says minister


The government has denied reports that public hospitals are experiencing drug shortages. On Tuesday 27 March, doctors took to the streets to demonstrate against drug shortage and lack of adequate medical personnel in public hospitals. The doctors marched from the University of Nairobi to Treasury to demand that the government clearly states when it intends to post medical personnel to public health institutions.

South Africa: Zille's health 'refugee'


Western Cape premier Helen Zille has sparked a fresh war of words with officials in the Eastern Cape, this time on the health front. Just days after referring to Eastern Cape pupils attending Western Cape schools as 'refugees', Zille said she had had to facilitate the transfer of an elderly patient from that province because of the poor treatment the woman had received from its collapsed health service. But the Eastern Cape says at least nine doctors attended to the patient, and that Zille is merely trying to score political points.

Uganda: HIV services in western refugee camps overwhelmed


Health workers manning five health centres in two refugee camps in the southwestern Ugandan district of Isingiro say they are overwhelmed by the high number of refugees and local residents in need of HIV services. Severe personnel shortages in Nakivale and Oruchinga refugee settlements have led to long queues at the clinics and placed a heavy burden on the few health workers available, many of whom often have to take double shifts to meet demand.


Côte d'Ivoire: The ticket to an education


The births of tens of thousands of children during Côte d'Ivoire's eight-year rebellion were not formally recorded. While many families take a lax attitude towards registering new babies, the gaps in birth and other records are particularly serious in the central, northern and western parts of Côte d'Ivoire, where government functions were effectively suspended by the rebellion between 2002 and 2010. As children born during this period move up through the school system, they have run into problems.


Nigeria: Nigerian-born asylum seeker deported from UK


A Nigerian-born asylum seeker in the United Kingdom, John Abraham, was finally deported on Friday 16 March, despite the intervention of organisations that pursue LGBT migrants’ issues in the UK and across Europe. Prior to the deportation, Abraham was detained at the Coinbrook Immigration Removal Centre near Heathrow airport, West London and was initially due to be deported to Nigeria on 8 March.
A Nigerian-born asylum seeker in the United Kingdom, John Abraham, was finally deported on Friday March 16, despite the intervention of organisations that pursue LGBT migrants’ issues in the UK and across Europe. Prior to the deportation, Abraham was detained at the Coinbrook Immigration Removal Centre near Heathrow airport, West London and was initially due to be deported to Nigeria on 8 March.

Racism & xenophobia

South Africa: Basson hearing continues


Cardiologist Wouter Basson is appearing before the Health Professions Council of SA to face a remaining four charges of unprofessional and unethical conduct. The charges relate to his conduct as a medical doctor when he headed the country's chemical and biological warfare research programme for the defence force in the 1980s and early 1990s during the apartheid era.

South Africa: Residents protect Somali traders from local business owners


Residents in Khayelitsha came to the defence of Somali traders when local business owners threatened to burn down the Somali-owned shops. In an attempt to enforce a 2008 agreement between Zanokhanyo Retailers Association and Somalian shopkeepers following that year’s xenophobic attacks that no new Somali-owned shops would open, local business owners in Harare threatened to burn down Somali shops to force their closure. But local residents stood in front of the nine shops under threat, preventing the local business owners from taking action.


Kenya: Nuclear energy drive to boost electricity supply


Kenya is gearing up for a revision of its energy policy to establish a regulatory system for overseeing the potential opening of the country's first private-sector nuclear power plant. Despite warnings that the world's nuclear waste is growing at alarming rates and with most of the current facilities having outlived their usefulness, a director of a government board said several Kenyan scientists were already receiving training.

Kenya: Oil find in northern Kenya


Tullow Oil, the British multinational, has struck oil in northern Kenya, Mwai Kibaki, the country’s president, announced on Tuesday 27 March at an oil, gas and energy conference in Nairobi. At the conference in the Kenyan capital, some of the world’s biggest oil companies discussed their exploration plans for East Africa, which has attracted significant interest from energy multinationals as well as national and independent oil and gas companies.

Kenya: Work on Africa's biggest wind farm in Kenya to begin


The construction of what is to become Africa's biggest wind farm will start by June in an arid region of northern Kenya, the project's officials said. A total of 365 wind turbines will be erected near Lake Turkana, where winds blow predictably and regularly, averaging speeds of 11 metres per second, reports AFP.

Land & land rights

DRC: Landmines hurting farmers’ livelihoods


Landmines planted about a decade ago in parts of Kabalo territory in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) southeastern Katanga Province are adversely affecting farming livelihoods, and an important World Food Programme (WFP) project. 'In our area, there are villages where we get much harvest but the road leading to those villages [has] landmines,' a food trader from Kabalo said. Lorries often get blown up by the landmines, Birindwa Murhula, a leader of one of the local food traders’ associations, told IRIN.

Global: UN moves to curb farmland grabs


The UN has proposed that countries set limits on the size of agriculture land sales to regulate the growing trend of so-called farmland grabs. The new voluntary guidelines won the consensus of nearly 100 countries this month after three years of negotiations and are now set to be ratified in May at a special session in Rome of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation. The guidelines, which officials say are largely pro-business, nonetheless state that countries should 'provide safeguards' to protect tenure rights.

South Africa: Rescuing emerging farmers in South Africa?


The South African agriculture economy has little or no room for emerging farmers; with no strong support system, being an emerging farmer in South Africa can be a hopeless adventure, writes Davison Chikazunga on the blog Another Countryside. 'Introducing market liberalisation in 1992 has aggravated the difficulties; it was naïve for the country to introduce such measures at the dawn of democracy when the state presence needed to do much to establish new black farmers. South Africa’s agriculture economy under apartheid blossomed because of state subsidies, and similar support programs in America and Europe helped their agricultural economies to thrive.'

Food Justice

Global: Food sovereignty slams UKs DFID


The report contrasts the UK government’s preferred approach of ‘food security’, based on free markets supplemented by aid, with the positive alternative of food sovereignty, which returns control over the food system to farmers. It shows how the government has driven a free trade agenda at the international level, while pressing countries to remove social protections that would reduce suffering. Far from relieving hunger among the world’s poorest, the Department for International Development (DFID) funds development of new crop technologies that deepen farmers’ reliance on those companies’ seed and agrochemicals at ever greater prices, leading to hunger on an unprecedented scale.

Media & freedom of expression

Djibouti: RSF asks UN rapporteur to help end journalist's torture


Reporters Without Borders has written to the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Juan E. Mendez, to inform him of its deep concern about the persecution of journalists in Djibouti. The press freedom organization asked the UN official to intervene urgently on behalf of radio journalist Farah Abadid Hildid, who works for the Europe-based station 'La Voix de Djibouti'. The station broadcasted on short wave and is now available on the Internet, although access to its website is blocked in Djibouti.

Global: Mapping internet rights and freedom of expression


The intersection between the internet and human rights, including freedoms of expression and association, is increasingly important as the internet becomes more universal, and increasingly complex as the internet affects more aspects of society, economy, politics and culture. This report suggests two ways to map this intersection, and raises a number of questions that need to be considered by those concerned with the internet, with rights, and with wider public policy.

Sierra Leone: TV cameraman attacked by opposition party supporters


Jerry Cole, a senior television cameraman of the state-owned Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC), was on 12 March attacked by some supporters of the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) in Freetown, the capital. Cole and his colleague reporter, Unisa Deen Kargbo, had gone to record an interview with the SLPP officials at the party’s headquarters on the ongoing voter registration exercise for the 17 November general election.

South Africa: Lobby groups push for public interest defence


Public hearings on the 'secrecy' bill kicked off in the National Council of Provinces on Tuesday 27 March with strenuous demands for the inclusion of a public interest defence. The absence of a public interest defence for the protection of whistle-blowers and investigative journalists has been cited as one of the most serious remaining flaws in the bill. The Open Democracy Advice Centre (Odac), the South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) and Print Media South Africa (PMSA) all argued before the Ad Hoc Committee on the Protection of State Information Bill that a public interest defence should be included in the bill.

Swaziland: Mswati III cracks the whip on social media


Swaziland is planning a censorship law that will ban Facebook and Twitter users from criticising its autocratic ruler, King Mswati III. Africa's last absolute monarch is facing growing protests over his undemocratic regime which has pushed the tiny mountain kingdom to the brink of bankruptcy. But Mswati's justice minister, Mgwagwa Gamedze, told the Swazi senate: 'We will be tough on those who write bad things about the king on Twitter and Facebook. We want to set an example.'

Swaziland: Newspaper censors itself over WikiLeaks


The Times of Swaziland censored itself when it reported Wikileaks was asking people in the kingdom to leak documents to its website. The Times, the only independent daily newspaper in Swaziland, reported 26 March that Wikileaks asked people to send it documents relating to the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), a banned organisation in Swaziland where King Mwsati III rules as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch. But, what it did not report was that Wikileaks had a higher priority from Swaziland than PUDEMO on its wanted-information list: ‘Expense accounts of King Mswati, the Queen Mother and the King's wives.’

Conflict & emergencies

Africa: US hits Iran firms for Africa, Syria weapons trade


The US government on Tuesday 27 March announced sanctions against an Iranian cargo airline, a trading company and military officials for allegedly shipping weapons to Syria and Africa. The Treasury Department laid down sanctions against Yas Air, Behineh Trading and three members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards. Yas Air is accused of transporting a consignment of Kalashnikov AK-47s, machine guns, mortars and ammunition to Syria under cover of humanitarian aid or 'auto spare parts'.

Global: Don't bank the bomb


Each year, the nine nuclear-armed nations spend a combined total of more than US$100 billion on their nuclear forces – assembling new warheads, modernizing old ones, and building ballistic missiles, bombers and submarines to launch them. Much of this work is being carried out by private companies. How can we stop it? 'Don’t Bank on the Bomb' is the first major global report on the financing of companies that manufacture, modernize and maintain nuclear weapons and their delivery vehicles. It identifies more than 300 banks, insurance companies, pension funds and asset managers from 30 countries that invest significantly in 20 major nuclear weapons producers.

Mali: Civil society condemns coup


'Following the events that occurred in the night of March 21, 2012 in Bamako and in the regions, the Forum of Civil Society Organisations of Mali has held a meeting at its headquarters. After analysis and review of the situation, the Forum of Civil Society Organizations condemns, as a principle all forms of coup d'état and acts of violence for the settlement of problems within the Malian nation.'

Mali: West African leaders say they will send ‘strong signal’ to coup group


The heads of state of the countries neighbouring Mali said Tuesday 27 March they want to send a 'strong signal' to the mutinous soldiers who seized power last week, overturning over 20 years of democracy in this African nation. Already, the United States, the European Union and France have cut off aid. Additional sanctions from the region would be a further blow to the junta.

Sudan: Summit suspended after border clashes


Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, has suspended an April summit with his southern counterpart following renewed clashes between the two armies on the border. The government announced that it suspended Bashir's visit to Juba after the South Sudanese army attacked (the oil-rich territory of) Heglig,' state radio reported. The two leaders had been due to meet on 3 April.

Internet & technology

Africa: New map overlays conflict, climate change and aid in Africa


A pilot version of an online mapping tool has been launched in Africa which enables researchers and policymakers to identify how climate change vulnerability, conflict, and aid intersect. Researchers from the Strauss Center's Climate Change and African Political Stability (CCAPS) programme, United States, integrated data from areas of climate change vulnerability and active aid-funded projects in Malawi, and mapped this information onto the locations of Malawian conflicts up to 2010.

Fundraising & useful resources

East Africa Philanthropy Awards

Call for nominations


The East Africa Association of Grantmakers (EAAG) is elated to announce the call for nominations for the inaugural East Africa Philanthropy Awards (EAPA) 2012. Launched in 2011, the Awards seek to identify, recognize and celebrate outstanding contributions of individuals and organizations to strategic social development and to the growth of the philanthropic movement in East Africa.

Regional Research grants on Global Health Diplomacy

Call for Applicants, Regional Network for Equity in Health in East and Southern Africa (EQUINET)

2012-03-29 research Call final.pdf

This call is for applicants for grants for policy research into global health diplomacy , and particularly in relation to the manner in which African interests around equitable health systems are being advanced through health diplomacy.

Courses, seminars, & workshops

Building Capacity for a New Generation: The Case for Youth Leadership in Africa

Pan-African Conference, 5 May 2012, University of Oxford, UK


The 2012 Conference focuses on building the type of leadership Africa needs to successfully face challenges in the 21st century. The conference will bring together young and emerging academics, students, entrepreneurs, activists, and politicians to discuss and debate the challenges of the day in Africa.

The political economy of poverty and social transformations of the Global South

Call for papers, 10-12 December 2012, Cairo, Egypt


This workshop aims to enhance our understanding of the nature of social change and transformations (at global, national or local levels) in which poverty alleviation, eradication, and prevention is either the axis of a social strategy or a tangible result.

University of Oxford: Part-time Masters in International Human Rights Law

Admissions open for five scholarships for candidates from African Commonwealth countries


The Department for Continuing Education and the Faculty of Law at Oxford University are very pleased to announce that admissions are now open for five scholarships for candidates from African Commonwealth countries to study for the part-time Masters in International Human Rights Law at the
University of Oxford, starting September 2012. The course website can be found at and details about the scholarships, including eligibility criteria and how to apply, can be found on the Fees and Funding pages at

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