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    Back Issues

    Pambazuka News 722: When the state fails the people

    The authoritative electronic weekly newsletter and platform for social justice in Africa

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    Pambazuka News (English edition): ISSN 1753-6839

    CONTENTS: 1. Features, 2. Announcements, 3. Comment & analysis, 4. Advocacy & campaigns, 5. Obituaries, 6. Books & arts



    Features

    SA xenophobic attacks: A view from below

    Abahlali baseMjondolo

    2015-04-15

    http://pambazuka.net/en/category/features/94476


    c c PR
    The attacks on African migrants in South Africa are connected to oppression of poor black people in general. To prevent the poor from organizing and standing up to their real enemies, the state is tacitly encouraging violence against foreigners.

    There is a war in our city. Our African brothers and sisters are being openly attacked on the streets.

    In 2008 our movement [Abahlali baseMjondolo, the shack-dwellers] stood firm against the attacks on people born in other African countries. We committed ourselves to shelter and defend our brothers and sisters. There were no attacks in any of our communities.

    For some time now we have been working very closely with the Congolese Solidarity Campaign. We have been working to build a politic from below that accepts each person as a person and each comrade as a comrade without regard to where they were born or what language they speak. In this struggle we have faced constant attack from the state, the ruling party and others. We have been attacked for having members from the Eastern Cape, members born in other countries and Indian members. We have always stood firm against these attacks. Our movement has survived almost ten years of repression.

    On the 8 April we supported a march against xenophobia organised by our comrades in the Congolese Solidarity Campaign together with the Somali Association of South African and other migrant organisations. There was a permit for the march and yet the police would not allow it to go ahead. They stopped people from leaving their communities to travel to the march. They attacked the march with tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets. One Congolese man was severely beaten by the police with a plank. One of our members, from the Marikana Land Occupation in Cato Crest, had her leg broken during the assault by the police. We also noted senior police officers accusing Abahlali: ‘’What do you have to do with this march? Why are you supporting them’’? One of our comrades from the Eastern Cape was told by the police that: ‘’You are from the Eastern Cape, you will cause a war here and then run away to Eastern Cape. Keep quiet.” We do not know who will be the next. Some of the people who are now attacking people born in other African countries are saying that they will attack the Indians next.

    But the violence used to expel us from this democracy does not only come from the police. Since 2009 we have also been openly attacked by the ruling party. At the march on the 8 April there was another march of the so-called ‘’locals’’ who were screaming and saying “awahambe “(“foreigners must go”). What we noted in this march that went parallel to ours was that it used people working at taxi ranks and drug addicts known as “whoonga boys” in Durban. Some people had been transported all the way from Port Shepstone to support this march. We were not only assaulted by the police. We were also threatened and assaulted by this group who said to us: “Why are you supporting these foreigners”. On that day the police were supporting this group.

    Despite the violence and intimidation from the police and ‘the locals’ we made it to the City Hall.

    Many of the Congolese here in Durban are fleeing war and the destruction of their country. Yet here they are subject to more violence, including from the police. People in the Marikana Land Occupation have also been subject to serious violence, including regular evictions, beatings, torture and assassination. Yet when we try to unite and to take to the streets to assert that every person is a person, that everyone counts, we are openly beaten by the police. Once we again we say that there is no democracy for the poor in this country. It does not matter which country you were born in, or what part of South Africa you come from, or what language you speak. If you are poor and black you are excluded from this democracy with the open use of violence.

    The march on 8 April revealed an important lesson. These attacks are well planned and supported by powerful people. When the police began to attack a legal and peaceful march we realized that there was a bigger political plot to attack the march against xenophobia. Today in some areas the police are just escorting the thugs that are carrying out these attacks. They come in groups to ask for foreigners’ permits to be in South Africa and start stealing and looting. The police have not stopped these attacks.

    Today we are told that the KwaZulu Natal government is organizing their own march to be held on the 16 April. We ask ourselves why now when the march supported by migrant organisations was banned and attacked. We ask ourselves who will be marching? And who will be receiving a Memorandum and from who? We are now clear and ashamed that just as there has been high level political support for attacks on people from the Eastern Cape there is also support for this violence. There are many in the ruling party who would rather have the poor divided than united and would rather have the poor turning against their neighbours instead of their real oppressors. There are also people who have their eyes on the businesses and homes of others.

    Opportunists are emerging everywhere to use this violence to build their own power and to loot. In Clare Estate members of a group whose name is known to us did not only attack and loot Malawians and Ethiopians but forcefully evicted a South African family from a house belonging to an Indian family. This family reported that this group has an official campaign to drive Indians and foreigners out of Clare Estate. When reporting these threats at the Sydenham police station the police refused to open a case against the attackers that are known to the family and the entire community. The state is not doing enough to stop this. Some senior political leaders and police only condemn the violence when on camera and in public spaces but on the side they say “bashayeni” (hit them). It is time we tell the truth about what we are confronted with on the ground, which makes our work extremely difficult. We will not stop this war for as long the police and politicians say one thing for the cameras and another on the ground.

    It is very hard for us to organise effective support in this crisis when we face violence from the state and from the groups attacking people on the streets. Many of our members are scared and they are scared for good reason. The attackers have often threatened that Abahlali will be next if we continue to support our African brothers and sisters. We are fully aware that if this happens we will get no support from the police.

    We believe this should be a joint fight. After our own meeting that took us the whole day this Sunday we made the following decisions:

    1. We will work to support the development of a joint committee against xenophobia made up of South African organisations and organisations representing foreign nationals.

    2. We will identify troubled communities and visit those communities to speak to them. We will not, like the politicians, only visit the victims in the refugee camps when the cameras are there. We will visit the communities from which the attackers are coming too.

    3. Abahlali will continue working with migrant organisations in all our activities and engaging our members in all the communities where we have branches to bring peace.

    We urge the South African government to take urgent steps to stop the attacks and to arrest and prosecute all perpetrators. We also urge the South African government, all African Ambassadors based here and the AU to work for peace and stability across the whole continent and for an Africa in which land, wealth and power are fairly shared between the people. Africa is rich. There is no reason for Africans to have to live in war and impoverishment.

    We are appealing to all South Africans, even those that are silent, to help us end this war on fellow Africans. We are appealing to the church leaders, progressive forces and to the radical students to join us in this struggle. We are doing what we can. We are holding meetings – we will hold a meeting in uMlazi in the next hour – and undertaking small acts of solidarity like arranging for South Africans to fetching the children of migrants from their schools and take them to safe places. But it is very difficult to advance a politic of peace in the middle of this kind of violence coming from both the state and other forces.

    These are dangerous times. Everyone in the city is scared. The sun is about to go down and we fear that there will be a lot more killing and looting tonight. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow.

    CONTACT

    S’bu. Zikode 083 547 0474
    Zandile Nsibande 074 767 5706
    Ndabo Mzimela 079 355 6758
    TJ Ngongoma 084 613 9772

    * THE VIEWS OF THE ABOVE ARTICLE ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR/S AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE PAMBAZUKA NEWS EDITORIAL TEAM

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    The political significance of South Africa's protests

    Jane Duncan

    2015-04-15

    http://pambazuka.net/en/category/features/94479


    c c SC
    Is the end of global capitalism starting from South Africa? With its high rates of protest and record strike levels by global standards over the past decade, South Africa is a weak link in the global capitalist chain. A national organisation to harness this revolutionary fervour could change the world.

    In the broader scheme of things, how significant are the recent waves of protest that have engulfed South Africa over the past decade? Are they another means of pressurising the ruling African National Congress (ANC) into delivering better services, or do they represent a new form of anti-systemic politics that promises to change how society is organised, and for the better?

    Scholars are divided on this issue. On the one hand, the South African Research Chair in Social Change – currently held by Peter Alexander - has argued that the protests are of such a scale and intensity that they represent a broader ‘rebellion of the poor’. In other words, potentially or actually, these protests constitute challenges to the state, neoliberalism, or even capitalism, which means that their political significance as forces for transformation is great.

    One the other hand, others such as Susan Booysen and Ebrahim Fakir have understood the protests as being a means of calling the ANC to account, while remaining supportive of its broad political direction and the existing social order more generally. In terms of this view, the protests have limited transformative ambitions, and do not herald significant political shifts away from the ANC. Who is right and who is wrong?

    While it is difficult, and perhaps dangerous, to generalise about the characters and motivations of the protests, some general points can nevertheless still be made.

    Until recently, in the smaller towns and rural areas, the ANC alliance has dominated the protest space, especially the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and its affiliate unions. Politics in the bigger cities is much more diverse, and this reflects in the diversity of voices out on the streets; nevertheless, industrial protests have dominated, and these have been led overwhelmingly by Cosatu.

    Protests peaked at different times in various places, but in several municipalities they peaked between 2010 and 2012. This suggests that the protests were responses to the global recession and its knock-on effects on South Africa.

    However, after 2011 – the year of the local government elections – this picture began to change. Increasingly, wards began to protest in their own names, and a range of concerned citizens’ groups, independent unions and workers’ associations sprang into being.

    Significantly, this political development took place organically and at roughly the same time in different areas: no national organisation was going around the country, promoting new local organisations and co-ordinating protests.

    Largely, the protests voiced localised demands about poor service delivery, corrupt and unpopular councillors, crime and a host of other issues. There was little evidence of these demands being politicised, by being linked to broader failures of neoliberalised capitalism; but the key point is that the protests have the potential to.

    Just because protest organisers do not articulate their demands as being against neoliberalism and capitalism, does not mean that they are not reacting to their effects. In fact, the systemic nature of these demands may well become articulated more fully in time to come.

    All it needs is a national organisation to go around the country and organise these new formations, and this transformative potential could well be realised. In fact, the political space is wide open.

    However, it remains to be seen if the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) or the United Front (UF) rises to this historic challenge. Already, more politically conscious activists in different areas are generalising localised demands, and shifting them in an anti-systemic direction; but these efforts are sporadic and not sustained effectively by a national organisation.

    So it can be argued that the protests are of considerable significance nationally. But do they have an even broader international significance? There can be little doubt that the protests are not sporadic events, but constitute a protest cycle, which has become diffused more broadly across society.

    Even more significantly, the protests could and should be viewed as part of a broader protest wave, spread across various regions of the world and lasting well over a decade. In fact, the long wave of protests against the effects of neoliberalism began with the rebellions in Chiapas, and incorporates protest movements as diverse as the Occupy movement and other anti-austerity movements, the protests in the Middle East and North Africa, and the rise of parties such as Syriza (itself struggling with the contradictions of being a party of government) and Podemos.

    Undoubtedly, this wave has had peaks and troughs. The political revolution in Egypt was smashed before it had the opportunity to deepen into a social revolution. The Occupy movement could not sustain itself, but its activists continue to apply their learnings to new struggles.

    However, if a longer range view of these events is taken, it becomes apparent that these protests are enduring. This means that they are capable of being sustained and even escalated into insurrections. But this is much more likely to occur if societies manifest elements of what Antonio Gramsci has called an organic crisis.

    For Gramsci, crises become organic when popular capacity for action increases. More people become detached from the hegemonic bloc, and side with the oppressed and exploited. In addition, the ruling class cannot offer reforms very easily. Yet they also cannot repress very easily as the political costs of doing so may be too high. So they can move neither forwards nor backwards.

    These elements are manifesting themselves in more counties, South Africa included. In fact, as Alexander pointed out recently at a conference on alternative futures and popular protest, with its high rates of protest and record strike levels by global standards, South Africa is a weak link in the global capitalist chain. If the chain breaks, it will do so at its weakest links.

    It is clear that popular capacity for action has increased in the wake of the global recession, and the still-festering disputes around the imposition of councillors during the 2011 local government elections added to the ferment. More people are becoming detached from the ruling hegemonic bloc, and the search for new political forms is on.

    The objective conditions created by the global recession have made it less possible for the more progressive elements in the ANC to offer meaningful reforms, and more of its leaders are subjectively committed to the country’s current growth path. Yet at the same time, the political costs of repression are mounting relative to the benefits. Both the EFF and the UF were formed in the wake of the Marikana, which also hastened the divisions in Cosatu. The most successful repression requires consent for that repression, and in South Africa, the social base for that consent is narrowing gradually.

    There can be little doubt that there are elements in the state that are hell-bent on repressive responses to struggles. But the more historically aware security cluster members will probably know that repression is never a long-term solution to a social crisis.

    They may remember that it took a mere three short years for Joseph Stalin’s legacy to be completely discredited. They may even be thinking about how Muammar Gaddafi ended his life, apparently while being sodomised with a stick, and asking themselves, “Is that how I want to be remembered?”

    There are also signs that there are divisions in the political elite around resorting to repression: to this extent, the security cluster is not of one mind. The cluster cannot rely on the military to turn its guns on the people should insurrectionary protests occur, and the police are under pressure from the popular pushback against police violence. For these reasons, South Africa is unlikely to descend into full-blown repression; there are unlikely to be more Marikana’s.

    These divisions are important to recognise, as they mean that the security cluster is susceptible to political pressure. Applying the pressure requires well-crafted political strategies to sharpen the internal contradictions and erode the social base, which the securocrats derive their consent from.

    When all these factors are considered, the importance and potentially system-changing nature of South Africa’s protests, locally and globally, becomes self-evident. This means that, no matter how bleak the current period may seem, it is also pregnant with great promise.

    * Jane Duncan is a Professor of Journalism at the University of Johannesburg. This article draws on the author’s research on the right to protest in South Africa, funded by the Open Society Foundation for South Africa, and which is being prepared for publication.
    The article previously appeared in SACSIS.

    * THE VIEWS OF THE ABOVE ARTICLE ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR/S AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE PAMBAZUKA NEWS EDITORIAL TEAM

    * BROUGHT TO YOU BY PAMBAZUKA NEWS

    * Please do not take Pambazuka for granted! Become a Friend of Pambazuka and make a donation NOW to help keep Pambazuka FREE and INDEPENDENT!

    * Please send comments to editor[at]pambazuka[dot]org or comment online at Pambazuka News.


    Universities as sites of struggle for South Africa’s promise

    Dhiru Soni, Ahmed Shaikh, Anis Karodia and Joseph David

    2015-04-16

    http://pambazuka.net/en/category/features/94494


    c c MX
    South African universities are a microcosm of the society. Recent events at these institutions are symptomatic of a wider social malaise deriving from failure of social transformation and incomplete reconciliation and restorative post-apartheid justice.

    Manuel Castells, one of the leading social scientists of our time, asserts that throughout history universities have frequently played critical roles in the social transformation of societies, in addition to their traditional role of knowledge production and the training of a skilled national labour force. He further notes that they also play an important role in the building of new institutions of civil society, especially in encouraging and facilitating new cultural values.

    Social transformation lies at the heart of conceptions of social change. It implies at the very least some fundamental changes in societies core institutions such as polity and economy with major implications for relations between social groups or classes and for the means of the creation and distribution of wealth, power and status.

    In recent weeks, some university campuses in South Africa have become the sites of socio-political conflict and contestation. In particular at the University of Cape Town and at Rhodes University, students are demanding that educational transformation, as promised by the Freedom Charter and the relatively new democracy in South Africa is taken seriously. In essence, students at these two higher education institutions, weary of false and lingering promises have taken the transformation agenda of their respective universities into their own hands. They have confronted university authorities head on in terms of the persisting structural and social legacies of colonialism and apartheid and have in the process created a new terrain for social transformation. They are in effect challenging apartheid-based ideologues and agencies and demanding new legacies and visions as promised in our relatively new Constitution.

    To what extent then are the keen perceptions and assertions of Manuel Castells, especially in terms of the historical role of universities in the social transformation of societies pertinent to the South African scenario?

    It is the considered opinion of the authors that the recent prophetic utterings of Xolela Mangcu (University World News Global Edition Issue 361, 2015:04:03) cogently summarises the effects of the recent uprising of students at the University of Cape Town and Rhodes University as an ‘early warning of racial civil war’. Students at these institutions are not only amplifying the issue of racial exclusion, but also the racial division which mediates their everyday lives. The university has for all intentions and purposes become an extension of racial prejudice and injustice which they experience in their daily real life situations.

    UNIVERSITIES: MICROCOSMS OF SOCIETY

    In South Africa, higher education institutions are microcosms of society. Students often reflect on campus what is going on society. However, the opposite is also true. The campus is also a safe counter-cultural space for change and innovation for young people to experiment with new ideas and be exposed to new ways of doing things, including shaping society. In this situation students are informed about the theoretical explanations of the dynamics of society and simultaneously they feel obliged to connect their intellectual work to the real world and this process marks a historical convergence of institutional and societal issues and crises.

    In effect, universities are places where ideas and what is going in society evokes and provokes our students around ideas and causes and provides them with an intellectual and social platform and space for engagement on critical issues. In this respect, the legacies of the narrative relating to colonialism and apartheid have also helped to shape the recent events around the protests related to statues and names of institutions and buildings.

    It therefore can be argued that the events of recent times raise larger issues about the extent to which our university leadership, academics and student bodies are willing and equipped to engage on issues of transformation. The events that have occurred of late at South African universities are symptomatic of a wider social malaise, political incompetence, of incomplete reconciliation and restorative post-apartheid justice.

    It is important to address the underlying causes of what is going on society. In this regard, universities and higher education institutions have a critical role to play in the transformation of society at large. As national assets and repositories of intellectual and social capital, universities are obliged to fill this space and provide leadership.

    PLATFORMS FOR A TRANSFORMATORY DISCOURSE AND ACTION

    The resulting institutional schizophrenia which has seeped into our university campuses requires an intellectual discourse and practice on the part of managers, academics and students and workers. Academics and students need to demonstrate the relevancy of their intellectual endeavours, especially in terms of repairing the wounds of apartheid and colonial legacies in the fabric of their academic and research pursuits. This would require the linkage of academic work to problems and challenges within the public arena. For most scholars, this would require them to connect their work to the real world, particularly in terms of finding more practical applications for both their research activities and their classroom teaching, thus marking a convergence of institutional and societal crises.

    Such a framework for academic and intellectual activity offers some opportunity for understanding what is at the root of the institutional crisis itself and how a academic disciplinary practices might direct scholars towards more effective analyses of and actions within their own institutions as well as outside in the larger social world .

    Within this context, universities, besides offering qualifications and conducting research can fundamentally become agencies for social change and transformation where ideas should be considered and equally contested. Universities have the potential to be incubators of social change. However, problems arise when students are unable to meaningfully channel their critical questions or frustrations, and it is well known that there are plenty of them. The majority of university administrators and academics are often too busy or uninterested to be concerned about what happens in what is called the ‘second curriculum’, that is, what happens outside the lecture room on campus.

    CONTEXTUALISING IMAGERY AND RECENT CAMPUS CONTESTATIONS

    The defacing of Rhodes statue and its ultimate removal from the University of Cape Town and other similar copycat acts on statues relating to our colonial and apartheid history clearly signifies that fact that black students can no longer tolerate the intransigence on the part of university authorities towards national attempts for transformation on our campuses.

    These acts demonstrate the importance of political and civil activism, as well as the efforts of indigent students to assert their own visions and values which mirror critical issues such as basic human rights. A history of class struggles clearly indicates that the resentment of the oppressor provides common ground for mobilising lower-class groups and defining the agenda for political contestation. Critical analyses of class struggles also clarify how the lower class’s assertiveness in a society sharply divided by race and class has always frightened various elite groups into embracing both exclusionary discourses on race and the need for authoritarian institutions. In some South African universities which have not been able to throw off the shackles of the colonial and apartheid legacy, this development has proved to be an enduring pain for black and indigent students in our country.

    In a sense, black students at the University of Cape Town have become the vanguard of the struggles of indigent and marginalised students in South Africa. These are students whose daily lives are mediated by a socially unequal economy on the one hand and on the other by tertiary institutions which practice exclusionary policies. On a small scale the recent events which have militated for transformation are just further examples of a continuing crisis in the function and functioning of some of our universities. In short, these universities are under attack for losing their social identity, responsibility and purpose. They have become ivory towers isolated from the sad truths of a country in which they are located.

    UNIVERSITIES: THE TIME FOR TRUE LEADERSHIP IS UPON US

    Finally, it can be argued that the recent events raise larger issues about the extent to which our university leadership, academics and student bodies are willing and equipped to engage on these matters. The events that have occurred of late In South Africa are symptomatic of a wider social malaise, political incompetence, of incomplete reconciliation and restorative post-apartheid justice. It is important to address the underlying causes of what is going on society. In this regard, universities and higher education institutions have a critical role to play. As national assets and repositories of intellectual and social capital, universities are obliged to fill this space and provide leadership.

    Statues and monuments can be relocated to ‘memorial parks’, but we must confront the reality of our history in the knowledge that unless we validate the human dignity of each of our citizens as in our Bill of Rights and acknowledge the facts of history and their interpretation we will be unable to ensure social cohesion, social inclusion and justice for all.

    ABOUT THE AUTHORS

    Ahmed Shaikh is a senior Faculty and the CEO of REGENT Business School
    Anis Karodia is senior Faculty and Director of the Centre of Health Care Management at REGENT Business School
    Joseph David is senior Faculty and Director of the Centre for Public Sector Management at REGENT Business School
    Dhiru Soni is a researcher and consultant to the higher education sector

    * THE VIEWS OF THE ABOVE ARTICLE ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR/S AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE PAMBAZUKA NEWS EDITORIAL TEAM

    * BROUGHT TO YOU BY PAMBAZUKA NEWS

    * Please do not take Pambazuka for granted! Become a Friend of Pambazuka and make a donation NOW to help keep Pambazuka FREE and INDEPENDENT!

    * Please send comments to editor[at]pambazuka[dot]org or comment online at Pambazuka News.


    No oil drilling in Western Sahara

    243 organisations from around the world want the UN to condemn Morocco's colonial oil plans.

    2015-04-15

    http://pambazuka.net/en/category/features/94481


    c c BS
    A huge global coalition is calling on the UN Security Council to make sure that no oil drilling takes place in Western Sahara until the Saharawi people have had the chance to exercise their right to self-determination and have freely and fairly decided the political status of their homeland.

    The letter below was sent on 15 April 2015 to the President of the UN Security Council, HE Dina Kawar, Ambassador of Jordan to the United Nations, with a request for circulation among the Members of the Council.

    ********

    We, the undersigned organizations, urge the UN Security Council to immediately condemn Morocco’s current oil development program in Western Sahara, and to call on Morocco to follow through on its commitment under the 1988 settlement plan to allow the organization of a referendum in Western Sahara.

    A UN Legal Opinion of January 2002, delivered at the request of the Security Council, concluded that oil exploration or exploitation in the Non-Self Governing Territory of Western Sahara is in violation of international law if not in accordance with the wishes and the interests of the people of the territory.

    In blatant disrespect for the UN’s crystal clear Legal Opinion, Morocco has to date awarded seven oil and gas licenses in the territory. The US oil firm Kosmos Energy Ltd in collaboration with Scottish firm Cairn Energy Plc has finished the first ever test-well drilling in the territorial waters of Western Sahara in February this year. Companies such as Total SA, Glencore Plc and others are likely to follow suit.

    All involved companies have teamed up with the Moroccan government’s state owned oil company ONHYM outside of Morocco's internationally recognized borders - in Western Sahara. They ignore the numerous protests of the Saharawi people, the sole original people of the territory at the time of Morocco’s invasion in 1975, and of their internationally acknowledged political representatives, the Frente Polisario.

    No government in the world recognizes Morocco’s self-proclaimed sovereignty over Western Sahara, and the International Court of Justice has stated that Morocco’s claims to the territory are unfounded. The UN considers Western Sahara to be a Non-Self-Governing Territory; a colony. The Saharawi people have an internationally recognized right to self-determination; the right to determine the future status of their land and its resources. But Morocco maintains an untenable hold over large parts of the territory and subjects the Saharawi people under its control to grave and serious human rights violations, while half the Saharawi people is living as refugees in one of the most inhospitable parts of the Algerian desert.

    The oil companies' activities in Western Sahara through a deal with the Moroccan government will give Morocco even less incentive to engage in peace talks and fulfill its duties under international law. It furthermore undermines the Saharawi people’s faith in peaceful negotiations. As such, Morocco’s oil development undercuts the UN’s efforts to negotiate a just and lasting solution to the conflict.

    Neither Morocco, nor the oil companies involved in the exploration work in Western Sahara, have the right to override the Saharawi people’s right to self-determination. No oil drilling should take place in the territory until the Saharawis have had the chance to exercise their right to self-determination and have freely and fairly decided the political status of their homeland.


    Signed,

    1. Mr Erik Hagen, for Western Sahara Resource Watch, Belgium
    2. Ms Né Eme, for A Voz do Sahara, Portugal
    3. Ms Mercedes Garayalde Catarain, for Abogadas, Spain
    4. Mr Sidi Ahmed Fadel, for Adala UK, United Kingdom
    5. Ms Veye Tatah, for Africa Positive, Germany
    6. Mr Morten Nielsen, for Afrika Kontakt, Denmark
    7. Mr Calle Sundstedt, for Afrikagrupperna, Sweden
    8. Mr Henry Fred, for Agencia de Idiomas, Spain
    9. Mr Leocadio Fernández García, for Agrupación Local del PCA en Huelma (Jaén), Spain
    10. Mr Adolfo Rueda Vega, for Ajuda Als Pobles, Spain
    11. Mr Michael Franke, for Aktionsgemeinschaft Solidarische Welt e.V., Germany
    12. Ms Lídia Senra Rodríguez, for Alternativa Galega de Esquerda en Europa, Spain
    13. Ms Maria Asun, for Amal, Spain
    14. Mr Juan Manuel Morató, for Amel l'Alcúdia, Spain
    15. Mr Juan Donaire, for Amigos de la Tierra La Rioja, Spain
    16. Mr José López, for Amigos del Pueblo Saharaui Basel, Switzerland
    17. Ms Sophie Valente, for Amis du Peuple du Sahara Occidental (APSO), France
    18. Mr Andreas J. Graf, for ANTHILLS - The Independent Think Tank and Pilot Factory, Switzerland
    19. Mr Mohino Lopez, for Aps Madraza, Spain
    20. Mr Gilles Lucas, for APSO 35 Bretagne, France
    21. Mr Mani Hussaini, for Arbeidernes Ungdomsfylking, Norway
    22. Ms Rosa Fernández Garcia, for Area de cooperación de IU de Asturias, Spain
    23. Mr Javier Pintado, for Asamblea por la Paz, Spain
    24. Mr Jésus Garay, for Asociaciación de Amigos y Amigas de la RASD de Álava/ Arabako SEADen Lagunen Elkartea, Spain
    25. Ms Elene Hidalgo García, for Asociación Amigos del Pueblo Saharaui de Alcobendas y San Sebastián de los Reyes, Spain
    26. Ms Mónica Cavagna, for Asociación Argentina Pro Derechos Humanos , Spain
    27. Mr Hmatu Sidhum, for Asociación Beni Hassan, Spain
    28. Mr Koldobike Velasco Vázquez, for Asociación Canaria de Economía Alternativa, Spain
    29. Mr Agustín Domínguez, for Asociación Cultural Canaria Gran Angular, Spain
    30. Ms Catalina Rosselló, for Asociación de Amigos del Pueblo Saharaui, Spain
    31. Mr Javier Moratalla Mata, for Asociación de Amigos del Pueblo Saharaui de Segovia (Maksra), Spain
    32. Mr Serafin Pazo Estefanía, for Asociación de Amigos y Amigas de la R.A.S.D. de Bizkaia, Spain
    33. Mr Víctor Rodríguez, for Infiesta - Asociación de Estudios Culturales Hispano Franceses (A-ECHF), Spain
    34. Mr Abdeslam Omar Lahsen, for Asociación de Familiares de Presos y Desaparecidos (AFAPREDESA), Western Sahara
    35. Mr Ali Buya Payah, for Asociacion de Ingenieros Saharauis, Western Sahara (Saharawi Refugee Camps, Algeria)
    36. Mr Ignacio Landeta Tierra, for Asociación Ecologista Kima Berdea, Spain
    37. Ms Olga Leibar Mendarte, for Asociación El Watan, Amigos del Sahara de Oiartzun, Spain
    38. Mr Daniel Cuesta Gonzalo, for Asociación Grupo Scout 217 Matterhorn, Spain
    39. Ms Yolanda Chavarri, for Asociación humanitaria de Paiporta (APAHU), Spain
    40. Mr Christopher Dews, for Asociacion Ibiza Ecologic, Spain
    41. Ms Cristina Redondo Bernabé, for Asociación Juvenil Esperteyu, Spain
    42. Ms Isabel González Cobo, for Asociación Malgueña de Amistad con el Pueblo Saharaui , Spain
    43. Ms Rosa M. Alonso, for Asociacion Rimal – Sahara, Spain
    44. Mr Gabriel Yanguas Sanz, for Asociación Riojana de Amig@s de la RASD, Spain
    45. Mr Aziz Haidar, for Asociación Saharaui de Víctimas de Minas (ASAVIM), Western Sahara
    46. Mr Brahim Dahane, for Asociación Saharaui de Víctimas de Violaciones Graves de los Derechos Humanos Cometidas por el Estado Marroquí (ASVDH), Western Sahara
    47. Mr Baba Abdallahi, for Asociación Saharaui en Valencia, Spain
    48. Mr Juan Carlos Bujalance, for Asociación Sambasur, Spain
    49. Mr José Miguel Pardo, for Asociación Soriana de Amigos del Pueblo Saharaui, Spain
    50. Ms Madalina Cimpoies, for Asociatia Dalia, Romania
    51. Mr Trifon Daniel, for Asociatia Tinerilor Masaryk, Romania
    52. Ms Jelena Vicentic, for Assistance Advocacy Access, Serbia
    53. Mr Manuel Ferreira Dias, Ms Maria da Luz Fialho and António Pinto, for Associação de Amizade Portugal Sahara Ocidental (AAPSO), Portugal
    54. Ms Pilar Palacín Navarro, for Associació Catalana d'Amics del Poble Sahrauí - Wilaia Alt Penedès, Spain
    55. Mr Dionisio Garcia Ordiales, for Associació comarcal d'Ajuda al Poble Saharaui - Marina Alta, Spain
    56. Ms Catalina Rosselló Nadal, for Associació d'Amics del Poble Sahrauí de les Illes Balears, Spain
    57. Mr Martí Carbonell Salom, for Associació d'Amics i Amigues del Poble Sahrauí de Menorca, Spain
    58. Mr Francisco Moreno Campos, for Associació Terrassaharaui, Spain
    59. Mr Hassan Boutzegart, for Association Culture Sahara, France
    60. Ms Fatna Laaouissid, for Association Culturelle Franco-Sahrauie (ACFS), France
    61. Mr Philippe Leclercq, for Association de Solidarité avec le Peuple Sahraoui (ASPS), France
    62. Ms Regine Villemon, for Association des Amis de la RASD (AARASD), France
    63. Mr Didi Ahmed, for Association des Ingenieurs Sahraouis pour le Developpement, Western Sahara
    64. Mr Salah Amaidan, for Association des Réfugiés Sahraouis en France (ARSF), France
    65. Mr Lahcen Dalil, for Association for the Monitoring of the Natural Resources and for the Protection of the Environment in Western Sahara, Western Sahara
    66. Mr Jean Paul Escoffier, for Association Française d'Amitié et de Solidarité avec les Peuples d'Afrique (AFASPA), France
    67. Mr Emmanuel Martinoli, for Association pour un Référendum Libre et Régulier au Sahara Occidental, Switzerland
    68. Mr Mohamed Jamal, for Association Sportive Sahraouie en France (ASSF), France
    69. Ms Lyn Allison, for Australia Western Sahara Association, Australia
    70. Mr Rob Wesley-Smith, for Australians for a Free East Timor, Australia
    71. Mr Luis Mariano César Martínez, for AVEPRENCO, Spain
    72. Mr Lanny Göransson, for Bjärred-Lommas väl, Sweden
    73. Ms Maria Peña, for Bucraalmenara, Spain
    74. Mr Christian Viret, for Bureau International pour le Respect des Droits de l'Homme au Sahara Occidental (BIRDHSO), Switzerland
    75. Ms Paula Klingemann, for Bürgerinitiative Hamburg für die Elbe, Germany
    76. Mr Andreas Oestreicher, for Casal Rioja, Spain
    77. Mr Francisco González Navarrete, for Caum Club Amigos UNESCO Madrid, Spain
    78. Mr Guy Aurenche, for CCFD-Terre solidaire, France
    79. Ms Hanna Wagenius, for Centerpartiets Ungdomsförbund, Sweden
    80. Ms Carmen Salavert, for Centro de Documentación y Solidaridad con América Latina y África (CEDSALA), Spain
    81. Ms Lilián Cabrera, for Centro Humanista de las Culturas, Spain
    82. Mr Hodei Alberdi, for CGT-LKN Bizkaia, Spain
    83. Ms Hanne Sofie Lindahl, for Changemaker, Norway
    84. Mr Boaz Waruku, for Civil Society Education Fund, Kenya
    85. Ms Betty Sharon, for Coast Women In Development, Kenya
    86. Ms Ana M. Cano, for Colectivo de Solidaridad por la Justicia y Dignidad de los Pueblos, Coliche, Spain
    87. Mr David Martín, for Colectivo Sur Cacarica, Spain
    88. Ms Isabelle Campagne, for Collectif Midi Pyrénées pour le Sahara Occidental (COMIPSO), France
    89. Ms Aminatou Haidar, for Collective of Saharawi Human Rights Defenders (CODESA), Western Sahara
    90. Mr Daniel Dekkers, for Comité Belge de Soutien au Peuple Sahraoui, Belgium
    91. Ms Bernadette Siqueira Abrão, for Comitê Brasileiro de Defesa dos Direitos do Povo Palestino, Brasil
    92. Mr Najem Sidi, for Comité d'Action et de Réflexion pour l'Avenir du Sahara Occidental (CARASO), France
    93. Ms Nora Podestá, for Comité de Amistad con el Pueblo Saharaui de La Plata, Argentina
    94. Mr Sidahmed Lemjiyed, for Comité de Apoyo al Plan de Resolución de Naciones Unidas y la Protección de los Recursos Naturales del Sahara Occidental (CSPRON), Western Sahara
    95. Mr Hamad Hammad, for Comité de Defensa del Derecho de Autodeterminación del Pueblo Saharaui (CODAPSO), Western Sahara
    96. Mr Manuel Adame Moldes, for Comité Oscar Romero de Vigo, Spain
    97. Mr Damien Millet, for Comité pour l'Annulation de la Dette du Tiers Monde (CADTM), France
    98. Ms Claude Mangin, for Comité pour le Respect des Libertés et des Droits Humains au Sahara Occidental (CORELSO), France
    99. Mr Fakou Lebeihi, for Comité Saharaui para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos en Smara, Western Sahara
    100. Ms Berthier Perregaux, for Comité Suisse de Soutien au Peuple Sahrauoui, Switzerland
    101. Mr Billy Hayes, for Communication Workers Union, United Kingdom
    102. Mr Abdellahi Athman Ahmed, for Comunidad Saharaui Residente en Asturias, Spain
    103. Confederacion Intersindical, Spain
    104. Confédération Nationale du Travail, France
    105. Mr Francisco Perea, for Cooperación Alternativa y Acción Solidaria, Spain
    106. Mr Lahbib Salhi, for Coordinadora de Gdeim Izik, Western Sahara
    107. Coordinadora de Solidaridad con Cuba de Madrid, Spain
    108. Mr Juan Jose Lasa Martinez, for Coordinadora Euskadi-Saharaa "27 DE FEBRERO", Spain
    109. Mr Samuel Fernández, for Corriente Sindical d'Izquierda, Spain
    110. Ms Rosa María Cid López, for Deméter.Asociación Asturiana de Historia de las Mujeres, Spain
    111. Mr Jörg Sommer, for Deutsche Umweltstiftung, Germany
    112. Mr Benji de Levie, for Diensten en Onderzoek Centrum Palestina (docP), Netherlands
    113. Ms Eveline Zill, for Donaustädter Sozial- und Entwicklungshilfe, Austria
    114. Ms Concha Hernani Alcalde, for Ecologistas en Acción - La Rioja, Spain
    115. Mr Alberto Mayor Barahona, for Ecologistas en Acción Guadalajara, Spain
    116. Mr Bahia MH Awah, for EIC Poemario Sahara Libre, Western Sahara
    117. Mr Monzer El-Sabini, for Emmaus Björkå, Sweden
    118. Ms Julia Finér, for Emmaus Stockholm, Sweden
    119. Mr Ahmed Ettanji, for Equipe media, Western Sahara
    120. Mr Alfred Fritschi, for Erklärung von Bern, Switzerland
    121. Mr Lorenzo Barón Ciprés, for Estudios en Paz, Spain
    122. Ethical Development Action, Ireland
    123. Ms Núria Salamé Real, for Federació ACAPS (Associacions Catakanes Amigues del Poble Sahrauí), Spain
    124. Ms Dolors Claramunt Soriano, for Federació d'Associacions de Solidaritat amb el Poble Sahrauí del país Valencià, Spain
    125. Mr Javier Chinchón Alvarez, for Federación Asturiana Memoria y República (FAMYR), Spain
    126. Mr Alan McLean, for Fire Brigades Union, United Kingdom
    127. Ms Natasa Mirosavic, for Föreningen Västsahara, Sweden
    128. Mr Jose Camara, for Foro Social de Segovia, Spain
    129. Ms Soukaina Elidrissi, for Forum pour l'Avenir de la Femme Sahraouie (FAFESA), Western Sahara
    130. Ms Endie van Binsbergen, for Free East Timor Foundation, The Netherlands
    131. Ms Tanja Brodtmann, for Freiheit für die Westsahara e.V., Germany
    132. Mr Jose Nascimento, for Friends of Western Sahara, South Africa
    133. Ms Inmaculada González-Carbajal García, for Fundación El Pájaro Azul, Spain
    134. Ms Angela Pazos, for Fundación Somiadors Solidaris, Spain
    135. Dr Nicholas Brooks, for Garama 3C Ltd, United Kingdom
    136. Mr Wolfgang Dihanits, for Gemeinnützige Entwicklungszusammenarbeit GmbH (GEZA), Austria
    137. Ms Karin Kruse, for Global Publications Foundation, Sweden
    138. Ms Mary Turner, for GMB (trade union), United Kingdom
    139. Ms Magda Rasmusson & Mr Lorentz Tovatt, for Grön Ungdom, Sweden
    140. Mr Carlos Cespedes, for IDEAS.S.COOP.AND, Spain
    141. Mr Carne Ross, for Independent Diplomat, United States of America
    142. Mr Leif Sande, for Industri Energi, Norway
    143. Dr. Roland Drubig, for Institut für angewandte Kulturforschung e.V., Germany
    144. Mr Ales Skornsek-Ples, for Institut za Studije Zahodne Sahare, Slovenia
    145. Mr Pedro Pinto Leite, for International Platform of Jurists for East Timor, the Netherlands
    146. Mr Vicent Maurí, for Intersindical Valenciana, Spain
    147. Mr Tom Hyland, for Ireland East Timor Friendship Group, Ireland
    148. Ms Cayo Lara, for Izquierda Unida Majadahonda, Spain
    149. Ms Anna Rovira i Pau Planelles, for Joves d'Esquerra Verda, Spain
    150. Dr Vacy Vlazna, for Justice for Palestine Matters, Australia
    151. Mr Tony Mboyo, for Kenya-Western Sahara Friendship Society, Kenya
    152. Mr Ulli Trebeß, for Khaima e.V., Germany
    153. Mr Jalihenna Mohamed, for Kosmos Enough, Western Sahara
    154. Mr Adilson da Costa Junior, for La'o Hamutuk, East Timor
    155. Mr Michael Schmid, for Lebenshaus Schwäbische Alb - Gemeinschaft für soziale Gerechtigkeit, Frieden und Ökologie, Germany
    156. Mr Carlos Ruiz Fernandez, for Lembarki, Spain
    157. Ms Linda Nordlund, for Liberala Ungdomsförbundet, Sweden
    158. Mr Juan Barrio Iglesias, for Lurra Nafarroa, Spain
    159. Ms Sophie Ogutu, for Mamma Afrika Community Centre, Kenya
    160. Ms Josevi Alamar, for Marfull Accio Ecologista Agro, Spain
    161. Mr Thomas Gebauer, for Medico International, Germany
    162. Mr Mbarek Ayach, for Militantes para la Justicia y la Libertad al Pueblo Saharaui (MJLPS), Western Sahara
    163. Mr Jan Strömdahl, for MoK, Left party Stockholm, Sweden
    164. Mr Gabriel Chaves, for Movement for Peace in Colombia, United States of America
    165. Mr João Pedro Stédile, for Movimiento de los Trabajadores Rurales Sin Tierra – MST, Brasil
    166. Mr Iñaki Markiegi, for MunduBat, Spain
    167. Mr Max Hyde, for National Union of Teachers, United Kingdom
    168. Mr Erik Hagen, for Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara, Norway
    169. Mr Sheikh Ahmadi Ramadhan, for Nubian Human Rights Forum, Kenya
    170. Ms Fatimatou Barra, for Observatoire Sahraoui pour Enfant et Femme , Western Sahara
    171. Mr Santiago Jiménez Gómez, for Observatorio Galego para o Sáhara Occidental de la Universidad de Santiago de Compostela (O.G.S.O.), Spain
    172. Mr Malainin Lakhal, for Observatorio Saharaui de Recursos Naturales (OSRN), Western Sahara (Saharawi Refugee Camps, Algeria)
    173. Ökologische Plattform bei DER LINKEN, Germany
    174. Mr Jens Orback, for Olof Palme International Centre, Sweden
    175. Mr Gachbar Taleb, for Organisation Française pour la Solidarité avec le Peuple Sahraoui (OF2PS) , France
    176. Mr El Mami Amar Salem, for Organización Saharaui contra la Tortura, Western Sahara
    177. Ms Myriam Vandecan, for Palestina Solidariteit, Belgium
    178. Mr Iván Prado, for Pallasos en Rebeldía, Spain
    179. Ms Mildred Janrjies, for PanAfrican Organisation Southern Africa, Namibia
    180. Mr Jean Garnier, for PARTENIA, France
    181. Mr Raymond Combaz, for Parti Communiste Français de Givors-Grigny-Ozon, France
    182. Dr Basirat Nahibi, for Peace Actualization Movement in Africa, Nigeria
    183. Mr Stephan Doempke, for People and Nature e.V., Germany
    184. Mr Jean-Paul Lemarec, for Plateforme pour la Solidarité avec le Peuple du Sahara Occidental, France
    185. Mr Mika Minio-Paluello, for Platform London, United Kingdom
    186. Ms Andrea Sjøvoll, for Press, Save the Children Youth, Norway
    187. Ms Tanja Siedelmann, for Projektgruppe Westsahara, Germany
    188. Ms Solveig Moldrheim, for Rafto Foundation for Human Rights, Norway
    189. Mr Mohamed Salem Laabeid, for RASD-TV, Western Sahara
    190. Mr Gaici Nah, for Red de Estudios sobre Efectos de Minas Terrestres en el Sahara Occidental (REMMSO), Western Sahara
    191. Ms Linn-Elise Øhn Meheln, for Red Youth, Norway
    192. Mr Reinhard Behrend, for Rettet den Regenwald, Germany
    193. Ms Sultana Khaya, for Saharawi Association for the Protection of Natural Resources and Human Rights, Western Sahara
    194. Mr Mohamed Dchira, for Saharawi Club for Media and Documentation, Western Sahara
    195. Mr Manfred Schuster, for Schutzgemeinschaft ländlicher Raum Nord-West e.V., Germany
    196. Ms Elisabeth Bäschlin, for Schweiz. Unterstützungskomitee für die Sahraouis, Switzerland
    197. Mr Erling Laugsand, for Senterungdommen, Norway
    198. Mr Rafael Medina, for Sindicato Comisiones de Base de Canarias, Spain
    199. Mr Marco Antonio Valverde Cabot, for Sindicato Ferroviario Intersindical de Sevilla, Spain
    200. Ms Maria Cruces Maximiano, for Smara-La Vall d'Uixó, Spain
    201. Mr Christoph Wiedmer, for Society for Threatened Peoples, Switzerland
    202. Ms Ana A Ablanedo, for Soldepaz.Pachakuti, Spain
    203. Ms Marie-Jo Fressard, for Solidarité Maroc 05, France
    204. Mr Tim Vanbrabant, for Solidariteitsgroep Westelijke Sahara, Belgium
    205. Ms Fennie Stavast, for Stichting Zelfbeschikking West-Sahara, the Netherlands
    206. Mr Sheikh Ahmadi Ramadhan, for Super Ethnic Minorities Rights Forum, Kenya
    207. Mr Fabrice Tarrit, for Survie, France
    208. Ms Ellinor Eriksson, for Swedish Social Democratic Youth League, Sweden
    209. Mr Sören Lindh, for Swedish Western Sahara Action, Sweden
    210. Ms Sofia Walan, for SweFOR, Sweden
    211. Mr Samuel Pérez, for Tareas Solidarias, Spain
    212. Mr Peter D Jones, for Tasmania Quaker Peace & Justice Committee, Australia
    213. Ms Annette Mokler, for Tdh Terre des Hommes, Switzerland
    214. Mr Albert Recknagel, for Terre des Hommes Deutschland, Germany
    215. Ms Sonja Gardefjord, for the Committee for the Women of Western Sahara, Sweden
    216. Mr Magnus Flacké, for Norwegian Council for Africa, Norway
    217. Mr Jørn Wichne Pedersen, for the Norwegian Students' and Academics' International Assistance Fund (SAIH), Norway
    218. Mr Abel Pires da Silva, for Timor Leste ICT Organisation (ICT-TL), East Timor
    219. Mr Owen Tudor, for Trades Union Congress, United Kingdom
    220. Ms Brienne Daniels, for Tx advocacy For Families, United States of America
    221. Mr Joseba Andoni Irastorza Berrospe, for Txingudi Sahararekin Tadamum Elkartea, Spain
    222. Mr Stefan Lindborg, for Ung Vänster, Sweden
    223. Mr Tord Hustveit, for Unge Venstre, Norway
    224. Mr Mouly Emhamed Brahim, for Unión de Estudiantes de Saguía el Hamra y Río de Oro (UESARIO), Western Sahara (Saharawi Refugee Camps, Algeria)
    225. Mr Abba Elhaissan, for Union de Juristas Saharauis (UJS), Western Sahara (Saharawi Refugee Camps, Algeria)
    226. Mr Zain mohamed Sidahmad, for Unión de la Juventud de Saguía el Hamra y Río de Oro (UJSARIO), Western Sahara (Saharawi Refugee Camps, Algeria)
    227. Mr Mohamed Cheikh Lehbib, for Union General de Trabajadores de Saguia el Hamra y Río de Oro (UGTSARIO), Western Sahara (Saharawi Refugee Camps, Algeria)
    228. Ms Fatma Mehdi, for Unión Nacional de Mujeres Saharauis (UNMS), Western Sahara (Saharawi Refugee Camps, Algeria)
    229. Mr Mario Amador Amador, for Union por la Tercera República (U3R-Tenerife), Spain
    230. Mr Robin Kahn, Mr Kirby Gookin and Mr Charles Liebling, for United States Citizens for Western Sahara, United States of America
    231. Ms Cristina Rodríguez, for VerdsEquo del País Valencià, Spain
    232. Mr El Mahjoub Maliha, for Vereniging van de Saharawi Gemeenschap in België, Belgium
    233. Vredesactie, Belgium
    234. vzw Climaxi, Belgium
    235. Ms NG Maluleke, for Waele, South Africa
    236. Mr Theo Fink, for Waiwhetu Lower Hutt Peace Group, New Zealand
    237. Mr John Hilary, for War on Want, United Kingdom
    238. Mr Mark Luetchford, for Western Sahara Action Forum, United Kingdom
    239. Mr John Gurr, for Western Sahara Campaign, United Kingdom
    240. Dr Basirat Nahibi, for Women Advancement for Economic and Leadership Empowerment in Africa (WAELE/ARCLFA), Nigeria
    241. Mr Emil André Erstad, for Young Christian Democrats, Norway
    242. Mr Lage Nøst and Ms Anna Kvam, for Young Greens of Norway, Norway
    243. Mr Lorentz Tovatt, for Young Greens of Sweden, Sweden


    Which path to liberation?

    Evans Rubara

    2015-04-16

    http://pambazuka.net/en/category/features/94493


    c c BB
    Nonviolence or armed uprising? The question about which approach is the best path to liberation from oppression remains ever-pertinent in social movements struggles; and the two paths are often intertwined. The thoughts of Frantz Fanon and Paulo Freire shed some light on the debate.

    One question that is often asked, especially in contested liberation environments, is whether liberation should be pursued through armed struggle or nonviolent means. Africa and the rest of the global south are at a crossroads as to which is best suited in their environments. Armed struggle is widely condemned by the majority who prefer peace through dialogue and nonviolent measures. But not everyone! I want to take us through a critical look at two ‘authorities’ who have looked at the subject, namely Frantz Fanon and Paulo Freire. I will explore the question by exploring Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth and Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed. I will look at their different perspectives on the nature of oppression and the path to liberation. Even though both writers make strong arguments, I will argue in this paper that Fanon is more convincing and practical. This paper will conclude with a brief discussion of Julius Nyerere’s choice of nonviolent liberation as documented by Sutherland and Meyer (2000) in Guns and Gandhi in Africa.

    WHAT IS LIBERATION?

    According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, the term ‘liberation’ means ‘a movement seeking equal rights and status for a group’.[1] This definition provides a starting place for considering how Fanon and Freire understood a process toward liberation. While Freire’s focus was on liberation in relation to class oppression, Fanon was writing in the face of colonial domination. The violence of colonizers, such as the British, was profound.[2] It encompassed direct killing and massacres of people, death from impoverishment, forced displacement of people from their homelands, theft of land, physical assault, manipulation and trickery of local leaders, and imposition of foreign legal and political systems, education, religion and language. By the 1930s, there had been numerous traumatic experiences in the colonies of British military brutality: the massacre that followed the Indian mutiny of 1857, the Morant Bay, Jamaica massacre of 1865, killings of Kikuyus in Kenya from the early 1900s (Miles and Brown 2003, Elkins 2005), etc. Faced with such a colonizer, colonial subjects were confronted with the problem of how to effectively liberate themselves.

    FANON ON VIOLENCE AND LIBERATION

    In his 1963 work, Wretched of the Earth, Fanon views colonial society as a society that is profoundly violent. He states that colonial violence produces a ‘compartmentalised world […] a world divided in two’ (Fanon 2004, p. 3). By this he refers to the manner in which the colonisers have created a boundary between themselves and the colonised. On one side of this boundary the colonised are incriminated, deemed to be evil and to lack ethics. The colonised is regarded as ‘a corrosive element, destroying everything within his reach, a corrupting element […] an incurable instrument of blind forces’ (Fanon 2004, p. 6). Indeed, the coloniser regards the colonised as an animal. In order to keep such a colonised in check, the coloniser has established brutal systems of policing and security, which routinely use brute force against the colonised. Another aspect of the compartmentalisation of the colonial society is the vast difference in living conditions between the colonised and the coloniser. Fanon describes the colonised as living in deplorable conditions: crowded, dirty and disordered. The colonised are typically hungry, sick, and have shorter lives. By contrast, the colonizer’s world is affluent, comfortable and inhabited by white foreigners (Fanon 2004). The colonisers dominate this world in a manner that destroys the indigenous culture, livelihoods and social fabric. Given the brutality of such a system of absolute compartmentalisation, the colonised sees no possibility of any meeting ground with the colonised.

    Fanon (1963) thus argues that to radically transform such a violent system requires violent action: ‘national liberation, national reawakening, restoration of the nation to the people of commonwealth, whatever name used, whatever the latest expression, decolonisation is always a violent event’ (Fanon 2004, p. 1). In other words, termination of colonialism requires purging and a complete social reversal. Because colonialism is so psychologically traumatic for the colonised, challenging it cannot be a strictly rational process. As he states, ‘It is not a discourse on the universal, but the impassioned claim by the colonised that their world is fundamentally different,’ (Fanon 2004, p. 6). It is for this reason that dialogue with the coloniser is not seen as a possible avenue toward decolonisation. Rather, ‘the exploited realise that their liberation implies using every means available, and force is the first,’[3] (Fanon 2004, p. 23). Through using such means, Fanon argues that the colonised will thus recover their humanity and dignity.

    However, Fanon also recognises the power of colonial systems of mental and cultural indoctrination, or what I call ‘normalising processes’. Normalising processes refer to the strategies used by the coloniser to create a state of passivity among the colonised. Religion, especially Christianity, is identified in his writing as one of the ways adopted by the coloniser to make the colonised people perceive their traditional ways of life and learning as inferior, to look at the culture of the coloniser as superior, and hence to accept the colonial status quo.[4] Christian proselyting and education were employed as the normalising factors for the coloniser. In Fanon’s analysis, Christian proselyting violence is felt through its encroachment on indigenous languages, values, beliefs, sense of belonging, local traditions and ways of doing things (Fanon 2004). This is why the anti-colonial struggle entails complete reversals.

    Fanon devotes considerable space to discussing the particular features and roles of the ‘colonised intellectual’. This figure plays an ambiguous role. A violent armed struggle against colonialism is not in the interests of this figure, as he has much to lose, both materially and politically. The colonised intellectual is established in the world of the coloniser, but when the colonized peasantry takes up a violent struggle against the colonial power, the ‘colonised intellectual’ is torn between two choices. He/she can remain aligned with the colonial/Western bourgeoisie and operate as a broker between the clashing forces; however, in doing so, he/she risks being regarded as a traitor. He may thus appear or pretend to align himself with the colonised masses, but this is an opportunistic façade. Fanon notes that ‘the attitude of the colonised intellectual sometimes takes on an aspect of a cult or religion. But under close analysis it clearly reflects he is only too aware that he is running the risk of severing the last remaining ties with his people,’ (Fanon 2004, p. 155). In a few cases, the colonised intellectual may spend enough time among the ordinary people as they engage in the anti-colonial struggle to come to genuinely identify with them. Fanon notes that in these cases, the colonised intellectual becomes disillusioned with western philosophies and even changes the way he speaks: ‘“Brother”, “sister”, “comrade” are words outlawed by the colonialist bourgeoisie because in their thinking my brother is my wallet and my comrade, my scheming,’ (Fanon 2004, p. 11)

    To summarise and conclude this section, Fanon asserts that because colonialism is founded on violence and operates through violence, a non-violent struggle – ‘the attempt to settle the colonial problem around the negotiating table before the irreparable is done’ - will never destroy such power. Moreover, the use of violence, in Fanon’s view, restores the dignity of the subjugated peoples and operates as a ‘cleansing force’. He states: ‘It rids the colonised of their inferiority complex, of their passive and despairing attitude. It emboldens them, and restores their self-confidence […] Violence hoists the people up to the level of the leader,’ (Fanon 2004, p. 51)

    FREIRE, EDUCATION AND LIBERATION

    Freire approaches liberation from a completely different angle. First, writing in 1970, his social context differs; he is not writing about liberation from colonial oppression, but rather about liberation and empowerment in the context of the class inequality that characterized Latin American countries such as Brazil, Chile and Mexico. Given that Freire’s writing was inspired by the experience of doing literacy work among impoverished Brazilian agricultural workers, it seems surprising that Freire pays little attention to the underlying economic structure in his discussion of liberatory education. In my view, Freire is a reformist – that is, a liberal thinker who believes that change that benefits oppressed people can occur through education and discourse.

    At the very beginning of his book, Freire states that, ‘Concern for humanisation leads at once to the recognition of dehumanisation, not only as an ontological possibility but as an historical reality,’ (Freire 2010, p. 43). After graphically describing the state of the oppressed, he warns the oppressed to never become oppressors; furthermore, he says:

    ‘They [the oppressed] will not gain this liberation by chance but through the praxis of their quest for it, through their recognition of the necessity to fight for it […] the oppressed, having internalised the image of the oppressor and adopted his guidelines, are fearful of freedom. Freedom would acquire them to eject this image and replace it with autonomy and responsibility. Freedom is acquired by conquest,’ (Freire 2010).

    In this quotation, Freire, like Fanon above, seems to be suggesting that freedom is something to be seized by the oppressed; however, he goes on to call attention to responsibility in the way freedom has to be exercised. In taking hold of their freedom, Freire sees that ‘the authenticity’ of the oppressed depends fundamentally on their freedom, but is also closely related to how they will deal with the oppressor. He makes this clear when he says, ‘World and human beings do not exist apart from each other, they exist in constant interaction’[5] (Freire 2010, 48, 50). In other words, Freire suggests that freedom from oppression should by no means suggest the end of the struggle but the beginning of a scenario where the opposing parties - one oppressed, but now in a position of authority, and the other former oppressor in a position which is not well defined - would now try to come to terms with each other responsibly. In Freire’s view, the formerly-oppressed, now in the position of authority, knows more of the former oppressor than the latter knows of the former; in other words, the oppressed sees the world from two positions simultaneously.

    Interestingly enough, Freire identifies another solution that in my understanding builds on the ‘responsibility’ he explicitly talked about as an ethic that should be adopted by the oppressed after seizing power; in order to achieve real freedom, the newly-empowered requires ‘revolutionary wisdom’, (Freire 2010, p. 60). Here he talks about how the oppressor lived in the belief that he knew all; the oppressed, on the other hand, ‘feels inferior to the boss because the boss seems to be the only one who knows things and is able to run things,’ (Freire 2010, p. 63). This led to the manipulation, mistreatment and appropriation of the resources and the services of the oppressed by the oppressor. The newly-liberated should not reproduce these patterns but should seek a transformed relationship with those who were formerly the oppressors.

    Freire identifies ‘banking education’ as a central form of violence against the colonised (Freire 2010). In this method of education, people in the colony are regarded as empty bank accounts which are just waiting for the account holders to come and make their monthly deposits. The people’s cultures, the indigenous episteme and the knowledge accumulated through lived-experience are disregarded. Freire critiques this type of education in which the oppressor treats these adults in a way that suggests they are ‘empty drums’ to be filled with water. I could attest to this as I witnessed this growing up in the Northern part of Tanzania in the early 1980s. Relatives who were going through adult education were treated like empty vessels. In this regard, they had to learn things and act in the manner prescribed by the proselyting missionaries at the expense of one’s own traditions and values. This is what comprises colonialism, colonial monoculture and violence against the oppressed. Freire clearly states that ‘banking education’ dehumanises the oppressed, disrespects their knowledge, prohibits partnership, is anaesthetic by nature, mythicizes reality and is akin to cultural invasion (Freire 2010).

    The solution Freire offers to this form of domination and violence is found in what he calls a ‘problem-posing’ approach. Problem-posing education responds to ‘the essence of consciousness – intentionality – rejects communiques and embodies communication […] liberating education consists in acts of recognition, not transferrals of information […] problem-posing education sets itself the task of demythologising [and] regards dialogue as indispensable to the act of cognition which unveils reality’ (Freire 2010, pp. 79, 83 – 84). In a nutshell, Freire sees dialogue as the way to liberation. This dialogic process takes the two parties to commit to working together ‘towards humanisation – the people’s historical vocation’, which he insists ‘cannot be carried out in isolation or individualism, but only in fellowship and solidarity,’ (Freire 2010, p. 85). In Freire’s view, dialogue is a liberating force.

    FANON AND FREIRE: AGREEMENTS AND DISAGREEMENTS

    Both Fanon and Freire are describing social contexts characterized by inequality, violence and oppression. Both see colonial violence as characterized by mental indoctrination and assimilation. Both believe that liberation does not come as a gift on a silver platter; rather it must be seized by the oppressed. However, there are several significant differences in how they would pursue liberation.

    Fanon, in his analysis of the colonial scene, deals more with the colonised peasantry whose condition appears to be more deplorable and who have gone through a more dehumanising period under colonial domination than those portrayed by Freire. In Fanon’s view therefore, it is imperative that the colonised living under deplorable conditions take up armed struggle to seize their redemption from the oppressive coloniser. Freire, on the other hand, does not explain convincingly why the oppressor would enter into dialogue with the oppressed. By comparison with Fanon, Freire’s analysis of the oppressive/colonial power is naïve, as the oppressive and domineering power-wielding authorities never cede their position voluntarily unless it serves their interest.

    THE APPEAL OF NONVIOLENCE & CONCLUSIONS

    I want to return here to the question of why some forms of liberation from colonisation occurred through nonviolent struggle. Fanon (2004) in his work sees the possible withdrawal from power by the coloniser as a way to eradicate the possibility of armed struggle and before ‘the irreparable is done, before any bloodshed or regrettable act is committed,’ (Fanon 2004, pp. 23, 39). Freire, on his part, describes it as a sense of benevolence ‘which is [like] nourished death, despair and poverty,’ (Fanon 2004; Freire 2010). By seeming to voluntarily bring the colonial presence to an end and cede power to indigenous authorities, the coloniser wants to maintain an appearance of benevolence and obscure the violence that has been and will continue to be perpetuated by the colonial (and neo-colonial) system. In this sense, seemingly nonviolent ‘decolonisation’ can also be another form of violence.

    Colonialism and physical domination of the colonies can never be said to be a thing of the past in a number of African countries and other countries in the global south. Countries that attempted liberation by way of nonviolence have by and large fallen into neocolonial domination through multilateral and bilateral trade agreements – or have had another phase of liberatory activity through armed struggle to seize power.

    Looking at my own country, Tanzania, today, I would say that liberation at all cost is costly either way. Nyerere said that, ‘We wanted to be independent because we are people’ and yet he also says that ‘the younger generation, they feel that we have let them down and they have a right to think that way. In a sense it is true, maybe we could have resisted more. But we succumbed, we thought we had won, and we did not continue the liberation of our people because we thought we had arrived’ (Sutherland and Mayer 2000).

    Liberation therefore needs more than one path. In my view, neither violence nor nonviolence or dialogic path could stand alone. I concur with Fanon in stating that in the face of such dehumanising acts of domination, [only] violence – armed struggle can grant the oppressed their rightful position in their own society.

    END NOTES

    1. Accessed online at: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/liberation
    2. The nature of what the colonised had to go through is well documented by CLR James in his book The Black Jacobins (1963/1989)
    3. Italics mine
    4. I believe it is better to clarify that the religion referred to here is to do with the Eurocentric domination which came to a number of former colonies in the name of religion.
    5. The foregoing is a simple but a profound statement of Ubuntu, an African idiom which expresses the fact that one human being’s humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up in, the humanity of other fellow human beings.

    REFERENCES

    Elkins, Caroline 2005: Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain’s Gulag in Kenya. Henry Holt and Company, LLC. New York

    Fanon, Frantz 1963/2004: The Wretched of the Earth. Grove Press – New York

    Freire, Paulo 1970/2010: Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Continuum International Publishing Group Inc. New York

    Merriam-Webster: Free Online Dictionary. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/liberation

    Miles, R. and Brown, M. 2003: Racism (Second Edition). Routledge: London.

    Sutherland, Bill & Meyer, Matt 2000: Guns and Gandhi in Africa: Pan African Insights on Nonviolence, Armed Struggle and Liberation in Africa. Africa World Press, Inc. Trento; Asmara


    *Evans Rubara is a public policy engagement expert with many years of hands-on experience in social, political and environmental justice. The writer can be reached at [email protected]

    * THE VIEWS OF THE ABOVE ARTICLE ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR/S AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE PAMBAZUKA NEWS EDITORIAL TEAM
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    Interrogating term limits

    Does holding on to power for decades make any difference to the well-being of citizens?

    Mathias Hounkpe

    2015-04-16

    http://pambazuka.net/en/category/features/94495


    c c TG
    Across Africa, there is often the argument by regime supporters that the constitution should be amended to extend the rule of the incumbent because he is doing a splendid job. Of course opponents of the regime reject this. But, objectively, should “successful” leaders continue in office indefinitely for the good of the people?

    Over the past ten years or more, heads of state across many of Africa’s new democracies have attempted to modify their country’s constitutions to prolong their mandates. Today, in many of these countries – examples include Burundi, Rwanda, Togo, Benin and both Congos – discussions are now circulating as to whether term limits should be imposed. In past articles, I have made several arguments in favor of fixed terms. Here, however, I take a step back to see if there is a relationship between term limits and citizens’ well-being. Does maintaining the same person in power for decades make any difference to people’s livelihoods?

    Before delving into this issue, there are two necessary caveats to clarify. Firstly, the links between democracy (or any regime type, for that matter) and economic development have been the subject of ample prior research. However these studies have rarely borne definitive conclusions. Analysts such as Michael Ross[1] and Mancur Olson[2] believe that democracy leads to better management of public resources and an overall improvement in people’s lives (particularly in the education and health sectors). Meanwhile, there are others, such as Jenny Minier, who think that providing services to constituents is not a trait specific to democracies, and that non-democratic regimes can indeed provide the same. The purpose of this article is not to take sides in this debate, but rather to un-package the issue itself.

    The second necessary caveat to explain is that this article does not attempt to provide definitive answers, but merely to stimulate further discussion. Is there any evidence to show that populations can indeed benefit from having the same person in power for life? It is a key question for new democracies in the region to ask, especially given the number of heads of state fighting to hold on to power and the seemingly high price paid by the citizens for this type of “uncontained” control. The cost on our countries is, among other things, reflected in our weak institutions and civil society, restraints on citizens’ basic rights and the inexistence of opposition. But is this solely, or even directly, a result of presidents who don’t relinquish power? This article intends to initiate the conversation by looking at the UNDP’s human development rankings of countries where terms limits are imposed/respected, as compared to those where leaders have been/stayed in power for decades.

    DATA ON DEVELOPMENT IN WEST AFRICA

    The Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite statistic of life expectancy, education and income and will be used as the factual (data) basis by which to compare two national groupings that have very different leadership histories (see Graphic 1 below). The first group is made up of countries where the same leaders have held power for decades. This includes Togo, Burkina Faso and Gambia. In the former country, for example, the presiding Gnassingbe family has been in power for 48 years (Eyadema Gnassingbe stayed in power from 1967 to 2005 and his son, Faure Gnassingbe, has been there since 2005). In Burkina Faso, President Blaise Compaore spent 27 years (1987-2014) before he was forced to leave office at the end 2014 due to violent street protests; while in The Gambia, President Yaya Jammeh is now ending his second decade in power (which he’s held since July 1994). In the second group, there is Benin, Ghana and Senegal – all countries where democratic rotation and the alternation of power has become the norm (there have been at least two changes in power in each country since the mid-1990s). While in Ghana, politicians seem to have respected term limitations, Benin and Senegal have experienced attempts by former presidents to hang on to power beyond the two-term limits set by their constitutions. These attempts have failed however, thanks to civil society activists and some political actors.


    c c pz


    Looking at Graph 1, which explores the Human Development Index (HDI) of the six countries, there are no perceivable patterns or major differences between the two country groupings. For instance (and except for in Ghana), the trends in the evolution of the HDIs in Senegal and Benin (which have experienced at least two changes in power over the last two decades) are not very different from those of The Gambia, Togo and Burkina Faso where heads of state have stayed (or tried to stay) longer than initially planned (or for more than 10 years). However, the HDIs seem slightly higher in the first group of countries as compared to those in the second group.

    But of course there are other factors to consider aside from the HDI. Aspects such as the amount of natural resources, geography (whether the country is landlocked or not) and the size of the economy (GDP) are all important considerations. For example, take the first group – Ghana, Senegal and Benin - all of which have higher GDP per capita ($4029, $2,243 and $1,793 respectively). The second group, by contrast, are nations with smaller GDP per capita ($1,642 for The Gambia, $1,638 for Burkina Faso and $1,390 for Togo).

    But what if we looked at states within the top GDP ranked countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and compared their leadership histories? Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana can be grouped into one category where there are high GDP’s and power alternation. Equatorial Guinea, Angola and Cameroon may be grouped into another with high similarly high GDPs, yet without power alternation. The result? Graph 2 represents the variation (or lack thereof) of the HDI between 1990 and 2013 between these two groups.


    c c PZ


    According to Graph 2, we once again see that staying in power longer (more than 10 years), even in a country with higher GDP per capita, does not necessarily translate into better human development compared to a country with many changes in power. For instance, South Africa and Ghana with GDPs of $12,507 and $4,029 respectively have better HDI’s when compared to Equatorial Guinea and Angola, where their GDPs are $33,767 and $7,978.

    But the story doesn’t end here. There are several other factors that come into play and contribute to the social and economic development of a country. A change in head of state is just one consideration. More research still needs to be done to provide concrete evidence supporting the fact that, except for in very few instances, an incumbency of several decades does not make any difference in citizens’ lives.

    It would be beneficial for all new democracies to find additional and measurable proof that in countries where leaders hold on to power for several decades there was not any notable difference in the lives of citizens, as compared to countries where alternation of power was the norm. If this was indeed the case, there would be no point in fighting to keep the same person in power for several decades, especially since there are many advantages in alternation of power. So, what are these benefits?

    ALTERNATION OF POWER IS GOOD IN ITSELF

    In a previous article, I argued in favor of presidential term limitations, largely because it improves the virtue of those in positions of control and operates as a moderating mechanism against abuses. Power tends to increase over time. As former US President John Adams is oft quoted, “human passions are insatiable” in their quest for control and, as British historian and politician Lord Acton used to say “power corrupts”. Indeed the longer an individual or aligned group stays in power, the more dominance they accumulate and the more they (and power) become prone to abuse. Furthermore, experience across 90% of the world’s established democracies has shown that presidential rule is subject to a form of limitation, while here in Sub-Saharan African unlimited presidential terms have not proven conclusive.

    A recent article posted on the Brookings’ Institution website on the African Leadership Transitions Tracker[3] provides further arguments in favor of power alternation. Among its benefits it cites an “improved context for political rights and civil liberties”, and the fact that “citizens’ support for democracy is affected by democratic turnover”. American political advisor Gideon Maltz[4] goes even further by stating in his 2007 article The Case for Presidential Term Limits that “… the mere alternation of ruling elites tends to disembowel electoral authoritarianism”[5] . Most importantly, Maltz goes on to stress an even more valuable truth: “… turnover in government destroys the patronage networks and clientelist relationships … and the new ruling party must begin the gradual process of taking over the state’s assets and pressing them into service.”

    As I’ve tried to show through this short overview of the HDI’s relationship to power tenure across country groupings, there are no notable differences between Ghana, Senegal and Benin and Burkina Faso, Gambia and Togo as a result of power alternation. However, what is important – in fact, crucial – is that in this first group of countries, they are engaged in building functioning and effective institutions. And it is these institutions that will (among other roles) serve as the foundations to provide peace and stability, which are invaluable to social and economic development. However, and as previously stated, more evidence is still needed in support of the arguments put forward here, and it is my hope we can further build on this discussion to build a more fruitful and tangible case for imposing presidential term limits.

    * Mathias Hounkpe is Open Society Initiative for West Africa’s Political Governance Program Manager. Follow Mathias on Twitter @Coffi_12

    END NOTES

    [1] Michael Ross, “Is Democracy Good for the Poor?”
    [2] Olson, M. (1993). Dictatorship, Democracy and Development. American Political Science Review 87 (3), 567-576
    [3] http://www.brookings.edu/research/interactives/2015/africa-leadership-transitions
    [4] Cited by the African leadership transitions tracker’s piece
    [5] Gideon Maltz, “The Case for Presidential Term Limits”, Journal of Democracy, 18:1, January 2007.

    * THE VIEWS OF THE ABOVE ARTICLE ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR/S AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE PAMBAZUKA NEWS EDITORIAL TEAM
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    US-Cuba: Photo-op with a warmonger

    Finian Cunningham

    2015-04-15

    http://pambazuka.net/en/category/features/94480


    c c IND
    The mere fact that a US leader - the first in 11 consecutive presidents - should condescend to shake the hand of the Cuban head of state is not really anything to get too excited about.

    With respect to Cuban leader Raul Castro, his reported assessment that American President Barack Obama is "an honest man" is way off the mark. President Castro — the younger brother of ageing Fidel — spoke those flattering words at the Summit of the Americas at the weekend.

    Obama and Castro reportedly met for one hour on the sidelines of the conference in Panama during which they made "an historic handshake" amid flashing cameras.

    A brief handshake had actually occurred earlier, more than a year ago, when the two leaders met fleetingly during the funeral of Nelson Mandela in South Africa.

    But at the weekend in Panama, it was the first time in more than 50 years that an American leader talked in person with Cuba's revolutionary leadership, either under Raul or under the much longer rule previously of Fidel. Fidel, now aged 88, stepped down from power a few years ago due to ailing health.

    One wonders what could have persuaded Raul Castro to give such a glowing account of his American counterpart? Obama, honest? A man to do business with?

    The mere fact that a US leader — the first in 11 consecutive presidents — should condescend to shake the hand of the Cuban head of state is not really anything to get too excited about.

    Nor is "talk" from the American White House that it is considering removing a slew of trade and diplomatic sanctions off Cuba. Talk is cheap. And nobody talks more cheaply than Obama — the warmongering, drone-assassinating Nobel Peace Laureate.

    Obama in his usual grandiloquent rhetoric hailed the meeting with Raul Castro as "an historic turn for US-Cuba relations". Obama went on to say that the apparent rapprochement signalled that the "Cold War is over" and that it marked the "end of Washington's meddling in Latin America" — "Those days are over," added the American Commander-in-Chief.

    For a start, the image of Obama acting as some kind of benevolent American leader working to "normalise" relations with Cuba needs to be knocked on the head. The fact that the occupant of the White House should bring himself to shake hands with Cuba's president is not something to celebrate and congratulate about.

    Washington has been waging a criminal economic war of aggression on Cuba since 1960 following the socialist revolution in the Caribbean island that kicked out a despotic American-backed dictator, Fulgencio Batista. It was the US that launched the aggression on the impoverished island only 90 miles from the Florida coast. That hostility went way beyond a blanket trade and financial blockade; it also involved covert terror campaigns against the Cuban people, including assassination plots against the Castro brothers and other figures in the leadership, poisoning of agricultural crops vital to the economy, and the shooting down of civilian airliners.

    The most notorious criminal intervention was the CIA-backed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, which President John F Kennedy signed off on, but which ended in disaster when the Cuban revolutionaries routed the offensive.

    Cuba's subsequent political and military alliance with the Soviet Union was thus a response to US state terrorism and constant threats to bomb and invade the country — to "restore order" — Orwellian language for reinstalling an American puppet-regime that would facilitate corporate profiteering and return the island to its former status as a prostitution and drugs resort for American businessmen and crime syndicates.

    Over the decades, the Cuban economy and its 11 million people have been deprived of billions-of-dollars-worth of income due to the illegal American blockade. Recently, for example, the Greek government of Alexis Tsiprias has billed Germany for $300 billion for reparations incurred during five years of Nazi occupation. Just imagine what Cuba could be entitled to in reparations for five decades of unrelenting American aggression.

    Obama speaks with his usual florid lexicon about "an historic turning point". But the fact is that the US still maintains its economic stranglehold on Cuba. This American boot on Cuba's neck has been condemned around the world in the forum of the United Nations General Assembly and among Latin American nations. Yet still the American boot remains firmly in place. Obama will be long out of White House and the gung-ho US Congress will ensure that the strangulation of Cuba will continue.

    Also, White House officials at the weekend would only say that they are "contemplating" taking Cuba off the official US state-terror list.

    Don't hold your breath on that issue either. That list includes Iran, Sudan, Syria and Cuba. This is another gratuitous insult and act of aggression by Washington considering the laudable past record of Cuba's solidarity with other revolutionary movements in Latin America and Africa in the face of American imperialist attack; the American blacklisting of Cuba is also a mockery of Cuba's distinguished humanitarian and medical aid to countries hit by natural disasters, such the Ebola disease in West Africa last year or the earthquake that devastated Haiti at the end of 2010.

    So, the upshot is that Washington is really giving nothing of substance to Cuba, except a few minor tokens of "normalisation" such as opening an embassy in Havana and easing up restrictions on travel and cash remittances from expatriates. Cuba is being afforded "photo-opportunities" while the island still remains, and will for the foreseeable future, under American domination.

    Obama is not changing American policy in any fundamental way — despite the bombastic rhetoric. The US is still shamelessly behaving as terrorist state towards Cuba. What Obama seems to be seeking is merely a superficial change that bestows on him a vainglorious legacy of "historic presidency".

    He may mouth about "no more meddling in Latin America". But the reality is that Obama's White House has in recent weeks unilaterally slapped sanctions on Venezuela, and has declared that state a "national security threat" while it is Washington that has sponsored a covert campaign of destabilisation under the guise of a "colour revolution". A petition signed by 10 million Venezuelan citizens has condemned Washington's subversive aggression, as have other Latin American countries belonging to the Mercosur trade bloc and the Bolivarian Alliance of Latin American Peoples (ALBA).

    Last year, the Bolivian government re-elected President Evo Morales was forced to expel US ambassador Philip Goldberg for "conspiring against democracy and sowing division within Bolivia". Goldberg was accused of orchestrating violent protests and sabotage of public property — a formula straight out of the CIA playbook for fomenting regime change, as seen elsewhere, in Cuba, Syria, Venezuela and in Ukraine's Maidan protests during 2014.

    Obama, ludicrously and mendaciously, "assures" Cuba that the "Cold War is over" just because a condescending photo-opportunity is granted from the Terrorist-in-Chief.

    Meanwhile, the US under Obama is pushing for the biggest escalation of NATO military provocations against a Washington-sanctioned Russia.

    That reckless escalation is more than a turbo-charged reprise of the Cold War; it is threatening to plunge the entire world into a cataclysmic war.

    Whatever Obama says, the unerring rule is to conclude the opposite.

    This is not a man of honesty, integrity or peace. He is a pathological liar in the service of US warmongering.

    * Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. This article previously appeared in Sputnik News.

    * THE VIEWS OF THE ABOVE ARTICLE ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR/S AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE PAMBAZUKA NEWS EDITORIAL TEAM

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    Announcements

    Call for articles: African perspectives on the post-2015 agenda for development

    2015-04-16

    http://pambazuka.net/en/category/announce/94504

    Pambazuka News, in collaboration with AfricAvenir (www.africavenir.org), invites contributions on the evaluation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the question of the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

    The purpose for this special edition is to nourish reflection and debate consisting of new perspective from Africa as an active player in global development processes.

    A lot of debate in the recent past, among scholarly spaces and in civil society circles, has highlighted the failure of the MDGs to achieve the objectives set, evoking, among other causes, a lack of consideration of the historical and structural factors in their conception.

    While the desire to find solutions to global development at an international level has not abated, non-achievement of certain objectives led to a reconsideration of some African-centered development models.

    Debates surrounding the reasons for such the failure to achieve dramatic change globally have raised questions about the sustainability of such goals, how many there should be, whether we even need global goals at or should focus on regional bodies to produce regional goals and strategies to meet them.

    The focus on the millennium development goals from local and national NGOs, governments, and international organisations (profit and non-profit making) as a route of funding and thus where their focus has rested show the importance of African engagement in the creation of future goals. The funding has been driven to the 10 MDGss often at the expense of other areas of necessity.

    It has been declared as a goal of the Post-2015 Agenda that there will be an attempt to incorporate the Global South equally in the negotiating process. This declaration provides scope for the voices of Africa to be heard at the negotiating table. This opportunity must be taken to ensure that new thinking is incorporated in the production of sustainable and long-term approaches to questions of development in the post-2015 development agenda.

    Pambazuka News opens a series of angles on which you can contribute, as well as any other analysis that you could bring to this crucial debate on Africa and the South.

    • Were Africans efectively involved in the creation of the MDGs? Do limitations in this involvement explain the failures? At what level and how should Africans have been more involved?

    • Is it possible to have one Global South voice? Or even a single African voice? And is it necessary to be heard in this process, in the hope of taking into account the real genuine aspirations of Africans, or is it always a fool's game?

    • When talking about post-development, whose development should it be? Should Africa focus on continental goals rather than global ones?

    • How can the Post-2015 agenda incorporate the crucial role and place of women in Africa?

    • What role should there be for the international community (including the global North but also the increasing influence of BRICS) in setting the development agenda for Africa?

    • How and why is it important to recognize the weight of the colonial past when it comes to addressing the existing structural inequalities in Africa and the world?

    • Can there be an African-centered agenda for autonomous post-development? Do we need to make a return to the Lagos Plan of 1986?


    DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION OF ARTICLES: May 13, 2015

    LENGTH OF ARTICLES: Articles should be written in Microsoft Word, Times New Roman, size 12 and be between 1000-3000 words

    Submit a short biography of two lines at the end of your article and send it to: [email protected]


    University of Bradford Call for Papers

    Annual Research Conference: “Rethinking Peace, Security and Development in Contemporary Africa”

    2015-04-02

    http://pambazuka.net/en/category/announce/94382

    The conference aims to examine the past and current approaches to peace, security and development in Africa in light of confronting the new challenges and the opportunities offered. Key themes focus on the emerging security challenges, technology and innovative approaches to peace and security and celebrating African successes and development.

    CALL FOR ABSTRACTS

    Friday 6 November 2015 University of Bradford Bradford
West Yorkshire, UK

    Dubbed as the year of Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance, 2013 saw many African countries celebrate their 50th anniversary of independence. Looking at its past, present and future developments, an air of optimism and determination has indeed pervaded the continent. While the Africa emerging narrative cannot be gainsaid, new challenges have also cropped up particularly in the area of peace, security and development. Terrorism and the rise of insurgent groups such as Al Shabab and Boko Haram, continued environmental and climate change, and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa all constitute a threat to continental peace, security and development.

    The setbacks are far-reaching and overwhelming to existing structures. While acknowledging these challenges, tremendous success stories and opportunities exist but often are not highlighted. Technology transfers and innovation for instance have proved to be a game changer in many sectors in Africa, including peace and security.

    This conference aims to examine the past and current approaches to peace, security and development in Africa in light of confronting the new challenges and the opportunities offered. Key themes focus on the emerging security challenges, technology and innovative approaches to peace and security and celebrating African successes and development.

    This conference targets experts from a range of fields and anticipates contributions from researchers and practitioners in the areas of conflict and peace studies, history and politics, business and management, environment and climate change, health studies, media, humanitarianism, engineering and technology. Contributions from other disciplines related to the conference are also welcomed.

    From the conference participants, we would hope the following themes to be considered:

    1. Emerging Security Challenges:

    •Environmental and climate security

    •Terrorism, extremism and State security
    •Natural resource use and exploitation
    •Health security (diseases and epidemics)
    •Financial crises and debt

    2. Beyond Security: Seeking innovation

    •Media representation

    •Energy and conservation

    •Use of technology in peace and security

    •Local peace building organizations and NGOs

    3. Success and Development:
    •Africa rising narrative

    •Democracy at 50 in Africa

    •Governance and Reforms

    •Regional organizations and security •Interventions and peace building

    •Media representation

    •Living beyond colonial narratives

    Deadline for submissions is 30 April, 2015, which should be sent to [email protected] Abstracts for single papers should be limited to 300 words. Proposals for panels are also welcome, and should be limited to 300 words, with separate abstracts of individual papers for the proposal (following the above word limit). Accepted participants will be required to send a full paper by 1 October, 2015.




    Comment & analysis

    Education under attack: #147NotJustaNumber #BringBackOurGirls

    Felogene Anumo

    2015-04-16

    http://pambazuka.net/en/category/comment/94499

    The decision of attackers to target institutions of learning where tolerance, co-existence and unity are fostered is both frightening and enraging. Together, we must strive to keep at bay these forces that endanger our dreams of a strong, educated and sustainable world for young people.

    "Getting a good education is my best bet out of poverty," said a 16-year-old in Narok County in Kenya. Yet, on that fateful morning of 2 April 2005 at Garissa University College in Kenya, the dreams of 147 lives and their families were shattered into pieces. As I followed the events unfolding that morning and subsequent media coverage, I was overcome by a deep sadness and anger by the loss of young lives. Lives of young people and families who were filled with the hope and promise that education brings.

    EDUCATION UNDER ATTACK

    We live in a world characterized by uncertainty, complexity and rapid change. For many young people, and more often in developing countries, education is the base and its importance for self and society cannot be overstated. For me, the decision of attackers to target institutions of learning where tolerance, co-existence and unity are fostered is both frightening and enraging. The Kenyan attack comes at a time when just a few months back, 20 teachers were killed in Mandera on their way to Nairobi for the Christmas break.

    Regionally, we have witnessed similar attacks by extremists. Tomorrow, 14 April 2015, marks one year since the schoolgirls from Chibok in Nigeria were abducted by militant group, Boko Haram. Despite a global campaign to #BringBackOurGirls, more than 200 young women are still under the hands of their abductors since their abduction from their school dormitories. A Global Week of Solidarity Action is currently underway to amplify calls for their immediate release and rescue, as well as to reiterate that we have not forgotten our girls. Globally, the world is still recovering from the massacre in Peshawar School in December 2014 that shook the entire world.

    When education institutions are targeted or attacked, the damage and its consequences can be major and far-reaching. Notably, the current waves of attacks have had negative ramifications on the education sectors. For example, in Northern Kenya, many teachers have fled and have abandoned their jobs because of the increasing insecurity threat despite numerous reassurances from the Government on their safety. Nigeria on the other hand has the highest number of out of school children. Amnesty International publication “Keep away from schools or we’ll kill you” reports that the insecurity generated by the constant attacks and fighting in Borno and other states in the north-eastern Nigeria led many parents to send their children away or leave the state, disrupting their education. Up to, 15,000 children in Borno State have stopped attending classes. The psycho-social effect of the attacks ensures that impact is felt by many people beyond the actual victims causing high levels of fear and stress. Ultimately, the longer-term impact of targeted and persistent attacks on education undermine social and economic development as they contribute to educational fragility and state inequalities.

    In developing counties, families overcome various challenges to ensure that their loved ones get higher education. According to a UNESCO report, more than half of the world’s out-of-school children live in sub-Saharan Africa. More than one in five (22%) primary school-age children in the region have either never attended school or left before completing primary school. This is majorly due to perceptions of low quality education with poor outcomes for families, direct costs related to schooling and indirect loss in terms of losing a source of labour, especially for young women and girls. Isn't it enough that families of the Garissa victims overcame these various challenges to be in the University? What more can compound the already existing challenges to get an education than the risk of abduction, sexual violence and loss of life?

    WE SHALL OVERCOME

    The triumph against terrorism will require collective responsibility. Global leaders are currently concretizing what promises to be the benchmark of the development agenda in the form of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Right to Quality Education must remain a high priority in the proposed goals, targets and indicators, and must address all obstacles in the quest of good education. Above all, leaders must recognize that peace is a necessity for education. Together, we must strive to keep at bay these forces that endanger our dreams and aspiration of having a strong, educated and sustainable world with limitless opportunities for young people.

    To the families of the victims and survivors of the terrible ordeal, you remain in our payers and our hearts. In this trying time, let us cling on to the words of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Malala Yousafzai, a young feminist and socialist activist who was shot by the Taliban on her way home from school:

    "So let us wage a glorious struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism, let us pick up our books and our pens, they are the most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world. Education is the only solution.”

    Join me in sending condolences to the families of the victims and survivors of the Garissa attack. #147notjustanumber

    *Felogene Anumo is a young Feminist, and a member of FEMNET. Connect with her @Felogene and [email protected]

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    Why Al-Shabaab kills

    Margaret Kimberley

    2015-04-16

    http://pambazuka.net/en/category/comment/94498

    When Barack Obama visits Kenya in July, he will no doubt mention Garissa and condemn Al-Shabaab as evil cowards who have no regard for human life. But he won’t mention how the United States has helped to kill up to 1 million people in Somalia through war and starvation – with the help of Kenya.

    There is so much killing committed by so many nations, groups, and individuals that it is hard to know where to begin in condemning it all. Of course the biggest mass killers are and always have been governments. As time passes, states around the world have ever more horrifying capabilities of taking human life. In the process they create resentments, hatred, and ultimately the desire for revenge. The Somali group Al-Shabaab is an example of this predictable and horrifying phenomenon.

    On April 2, 2015, Al-Shabaab fighters stormed a university located in Garissa, Kenya, and killed 147 people. Survivors report that Muslims were separated from non-Muslims, and non-Muslim students and staff were summarily executed. In 2013 Al-Shabaab attacked a shopping mall in Nairobi under the same circumstances and killed 67 people. In 2015 as in 2013, the group immediately claimed responsibility and made their rationale clear. In an online statement Al-Shabaab repeated that it seeks revenge for the destruction of Somalia by the United States and its allies.

    “In Somalia, the Kenyan military has committed a countless number of atrocities against the Muslim population. With their government’s approval, the Kenyan military embarked on a series of mass killings, torture and systematic rape of the Muslim women in Somalia. Tens of thousands of Muslims were displaced from their homes, hundreds more were killed and thousands injured as a direct result of the Kenyan invasion. Kenyan jets shelled refugee camps and hospitals, killing dozens. They strafed entire villages from the air, killed livestock and bombarded Madrassas and educational institutions, crushing, with such malice, the dreams and hopes of an entire generation.”

    Somalia is a nation long torn apart by civil war aided and abetted by neighboring states Ethiopia and Kenya who work in league with the United States. When Somalia began to emerge as a stable nation the United States and Ethiopia acted quickly to make sure that it remained weak and vulnerable. Ethiopia invaded Somalia at America’s urging and was later joined in the aggressions by Kenya and other African puppet governments who remain in that country.

    No one wants to live in an occupied country with foreign armies, starvation, and death, and Somalis are no exception. The United States continues drone strikes which claim to kill a particular “Al-Shabaab leader” and in so doing keep Somalia in a state of failure. No stone is left unturned in the effort to keep Somalia from becoming a thriving nation with its sovereignty intact.

    In February of this year the United States government ended the ability of any American bank to transfer funds to Somalia. Remittances from Somalis living abroad account for some 50% of that country’s gross national income and total over $1 billion. The rationale for this latest destruction was keeping funds out of the hands of Al-Shabaab. Of course ordinary citizens will suffer far more. In the past the United States even withheld food aid for the same stated reasons and suffering still falls largely on a vulnerable population.

    Al-Shabaab fighters can’t reach the United States, but they can reach Kenya, with which it shares a border. Kenyans shopping in a mall or attending university run the risk of being victimized too. That is the point which Al-Shabaab makes implicitly and explicitly with each attack. If their people can be killed, then the citizens of an occupying nation can be killed too.

    Once again we see painful and heart rending images of victims and grieving families. The corporate media tells Americans little if anything about Somalia’s road to ruin which the United States directed. They don’t reveal the American violence directed at Somalis or present images of starving people or bodies left by war and drone strikes.

    In the American mind Al-Shabaab is just another group of crazed foreigners who have bizarre grievances. In fact their grievances are justly held and if there were true justice in this world the United States and its puppets would not only have to leave that country but make restitution as well.

    When Barack Obama makes his official visit to Kenya later this year he will no doubt make mention of Garissa. He will say that Al-Shabaab is made up of evil cowards who have no regard for human life but he won’t mention how the United States helped to kill up to 1 million people in neighboring Somalia through war and starvation. Every president since George H.W. Bush has either sent United States troops to conduct “humanity missions” or killer drones to “fight terrorism.” Somalia suffers from an unfortunate geography. It is too close to the Persian Gulf and access to oil. It also suffers because America has reached the apex of imperialism and looks for new places to bring under its influence, even when that means a great loss of human life.

    Al-Shabaab may well have the last word. In their statement they warned that Garissa would not be the end of their violence perpetrated against Kenyans. “For as long as your government persists in its path of oppression, implements repressive policies and continues with the systematic persecution against innocent Muslims, our attacks will also continue. No amount of precaution or safety measures will be able to guarantee your safety, thwart another attack or prevent another bloodbath from occurring in your cities.”

    Those words could have been written by the United States. In Somalia, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, and Syria there is no escape from American aggression either. Al-Shabaab has learned a lot about how to kill.

    * Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in Black Agenda Report, from where this article was taken.

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    Campus stampede reveals every Kenyan’s fears

    Nelson Morang'a

    2015-04-15

    http://pambazuka.net/en/category/comment/94474

    Despite the bravado routinely displayed by government officials and their backers every time a deadly al Shabaab attack happens, in reality the Somali-based terrorist group has fully exposed Kenya’s deep security weaknesses. Now everyone lives in mortal fear.

    Sunday’s early morning stampede at the University of Nairobi’s Kikuyu Campus is a sad indictment of the state of security in our country. If Kenyans are united at the moment, one thing brings us all together – fear. That students mistook an exploding transformer to be another Al Shabaab attack is an unfortunate reminder of how vulnerable the average Kenyan feels towards a potential terror attack.

    Except for the one death, the other statistics were eerily similar to the attack on Garissa University College. Both incidents occurred at dawn and while 148 died in Garissa, 137 were seriously injured in Kikuyu.

    YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN

    Beneath the veneer of confidence written on every Kenyan’s face, the panic-fuelled stampede at Kikuyu campus reveals the real fear and despondency hidden within. While we may put up a show of unshaken pride with popular hash tags and slogans like WeAreOne and KenyaUnbowed on social media, the reality is that when push comes to shove, Al Shabaab have bent us out of shape and watered down whatever confidence we had in our security organs and institutions.

    From Westgate to Garissa right down to the Kikuyu stampede, the message is settled in every Kenyan’s mind – you are on your own.

    On the other hand, the stampede shows that while Kenyans have learnt a few survival tricks, the government is still stuck in the twin ruts of indecision and detached aloofness in the face of adversity.

    The students sustained serious injuries after jumping from rooms as high as the sixth floor in what was a clear trade off between risking death in the process of fleeing danger or huddling into wardrobes and underneath beds only to be flushed out and get shot anyway. Garissa has taught us to take our security into our own hands. Apparently, hell will freeze before KDF and GSU units come to your rescue so why not chance an arm and a leg to save your soul?

    WING AND A PRAYER

    On the other hand, the Kikuyu Campus stampede shows up the government in all its ugly ineffectiveness. To begin with, the affected students claim the police showed up one hour after the commotion which paints a poor picture of what might have been had the students been in real dire straits. Secondly, I’ve gone through all the media reports and none of them records a response from the police or any high-ranking government official. They all can’t wait for such news to get swept under the carpet. But the authorities’ lack of communication begs the question, if they cannot take advantage of such minor incidents to polish their disaster management skills, how do they expect to go the full nine yards when the real terror is on?

    In the final analysis, Al Shabaab have now made us fearful of even our own shadows regardless of what the government says. While terrorism is now a real and existential threat, the sad reality is that the average Kenyan still operates on a wing and a prayer.

    * Nelson Morang'a is a Kenyan blogger. Read his posts here.

    * THE VIEWS OF THE ABOVE ARTICLE ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR/S AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE PAMBAZUKA NEWS EDITORIAL TEAM

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    Where is leading Zimbabwean rights activist?

    Dewa Mavhinga

    2015-04-16

    http://pambazuka.net/en/category/comment/94497

    In the months prior to his abduction, Dzamara had led a number of peaceful protests against the deteriorating political and economic environment in Zimbabwe, demanding the resignation of President Mugabe.

    It has been a month since five armed men in civilian clothes kidnapped Itai Dzamara, a prominent Zimbabwean human rights activist, near his home in the Glenview suburb of Harare. Witnesses said that, on March 9, the unidentified men handcuffed Dzamara, forced him into a white pickup truck, and then drove off. Dzamara, a former journalist and leader of the Occupy Africa Unity Square (AUS) protest group, has not been heard from since.

    Despite government efforts to show the country has moved beyond its oppressive past, Dzamara’s abduction and forced disappearance shows that repression is very much alive in Zimbabwe. Senior government officials have denied there was any state involvement in the abduction, but the actions of the government since the event raises serious questions.

    In the months prior to his abduction, Dzamara had led a number of peaceful protests against the deteriorating political and economic environment in Zimbabwe. He had petitioned President Robert Mugabe to resign, to allow for fresh elections, and for reforms to the electoral system. On several occasions, police and supporters of Mugabe’s ruling ZANU-PF party assaulted Dzamara. During a peaceful protest last November, about 20 uniformed police handcuffed and beat Dzamara with baton sticks until he lost consciousness. When his lawyer Kennedy Masiye tried to intervene, the police beat him up too, breaking his arm.

    Today, concern is mounting not only for Dzamara’s safe return, but also for his wife, Sheffra, who lives in fear. Last week she reported that unidentified men were keeping her under constant surveillance.

    The Zimbabwe authorities should provide information on Dzamara’s fate or whereabouts and bring those responsible to justice. Disturbingly, senior government officials – including the home affairs minister, the police commissioner-general, and the Central Intelligence Organisation director-general – have yet to comply with a High Court Order directing them to search for Dzamara and report progress to the court every two weeks until his whereabouts are determined.

    In the meantime, the question that remains on the minds of his family, friends and supporters, and one that the Zimbabwe authorities should urgently answer, is ‘Where is Itai Dzamara?’


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    King of Lagos in murder threat against Igbos

    Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

    2015-04-15

    http://pambazuka.net/en/category/comment/94487

    The whole world should today, now, register their unqualified outrage in response to this call by the Lagos hereditary monarch to murder the Igbo, based on the latter’s exercise of their choice in a seemingly democratic contest.

    Rilwan Akiolu, the oba or king of Lagos, Nigeria, has issued a proclamation to murder Igbo people domiciled in Lagos if they, the Igbo, do not vote for the king’s ‘preferred candidate’ in the mid-April 2015 Lagos region governor’s election. The king’s proclamation is published widely in the Nigeria media including saharareporters.com (New York), Premium Times (Lagos) and Vanguard (Lagos). According to saharareporters.com (6 April 2015), the ‘Oba of Lagos threatened Igbo during a meeting in his palace in downtown Lagos. The traditional king of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, told representatives of the Igbo during the meeting that if they refuse to vote for his preferred candidate, Akinwunmi Ambode of the All Progressive Congress [the party the overwhelming majority of the Igbo electorate voted against in the Saturday 28 March 2015 “poll” for “president” in Nigeria], they will die in the Lagos lagoon in 7 days’. Saharareporters.com’s report, on its website, includes an audio clip of Akiolu’s murder threats with haunting ‘cheers’ and chants by courtiers in Yoruba: kabiyesi, kabiyesi – ‘the unquestionable one’, ‘the unquestionable one’…

    OUTRAGE

    Akiolu is a lawyer and was an assistant chief of the Nigeria police before his accession to the Lagos throne in 2003. He is respected if not revered by his subjects. The world can and must stop Akiolu from carrying through his proclamation. Akiolu’s proclamation is a grim alert to the world, just coming a few days after islamist insurgents operating in a university college in Kenya murdered 147 African christian students – initially separated from their muslim counterparts. The world’s heads of state, heads of government, the United Nations, statespersons, non-state/civil organisations, scholars, students, men and women of freedom and goodwill should today, now, register their unqualified outrage in response to this call by the Lagos hereditary monarch to murder the Igbo, based on the latter’s exercise of their choice in a seemingly democratic contest. Phone calls of protest should be made or emails sent at once to one’s nearest Nigeria consulate/embassy.

    Millions of Igbo live in Lagos. Igbo experience in Nigeria since the 1945 Igbo pogrom in Jos (central region) has been that calls for the ‘murder of Igbo’ by officials (religious, monarchial, other state operatives) have usually been carried out with almost clinical precision in orchestrated mass actions. Akiolu’s reference to the Lagos lagoon is therefore ominous because this is the bight where hundreds of Igbo slaughtered during phase-I of the Igbo genocide, especially after 29 July 1966, were dumped by their assailants.

    Pointedly, Akiolu’s murder-proclamation comes in the wake of the expulsions of Igbo citizens from Lagos in recent years (2012, 2013) by Raji Fashola, the region’s governor, another lawyer, indeed a senior advocate of the Nigerian bar.

    * Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe is visiting professor in graduate programme of constitutional law at Universidade de Fortaleza, Brazil. He specialises on the state and on genocide and wars in Africa in the post-1966 epoch, beginning with the Igbo genocide, 29 May 1966-12 January 1970, the foundational and most gruesome genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa. Among his books are Longest genocide - Since 29 May 1966 (forthcoming, 2015), Readings from Reading: Essays on African Politics, Genocide, Literature (African Renaissance, 2011), Biafra Revisited (African Renaissance, 2006), African Literature in Defence of History: An Essay on Chinua Achebe (Michigan State University Press, 2001), Africa 2001: The State, Human Rights and the People (International Institute for African Research, 1993), and Conflict and Intervention in Africa (Macmillan, 1990).

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    Glaring loopholes in Uganda's Registration of Persons Bill

    Susan Mirembe Nalunkuma

    2015-04-15

    http://pambazuka.net/en/category/comment/94475

    While the proposed law is relevant to provide for and harmonize the process of collecting identification information, there are a number of loopholes around data protection and requirements for registration that arguably render it unconstitutional in its current state.

    The Parliament of Uganda passed the Registration of Persons Bill 2014 on 26 February 2015; the purpose of the Act is to harmonize and consolidate the law on registration of persons in Uganda and to provide for the registration of persons. Generally, the Act makes registration compulsory and it provides for cooperation with other agencies, government departments and Ministries in sharing the information that is gathered. While the law is a much needed piece of legislation to provide for and harmonize the process of collecting identification information, there are a number of loopholes around data protection and requirements for registration which arguably render the Act unconstitutional in its current state. Parliament is well within its constitutionally mandated powers in making laws for peace, order, development and good governance but what cannot be justified is making laws that contravene the constitution.

    The most obvious breach in this Act is the lack of data protection clauses which could potentially lead to violation of the right to privacy which is protected under Article 27 of the Constitution. Uganda does not have a data protection law and the draft data protection and privacy Bill of 2014 has not yet been debated upon by Parliament. The objective of the draft data protection law is to “protect the privacy of the individual by regulating the collecting and processing of personal information”. The Computer Misuse Act of 2011 is the only law with a provision governing unauthorized disclosure of information by individuals but does not address what would be unauthorized disclosure between government agencies, departments or ministries. Given that the information can be accessed so widely, concerns about data protection should be a priority under this Act.

    At a minimum, the Registration of Persons Act should set out data protection principles that would govern the protection and sharing of people’s information within the realm of the constitutionally protected right to privacy. Some of the useful data protection principles that should be provided for in this law would include; requirement that the information is used fairly and lawfully. This would prevent arbitrary sharing of information particularly with regard to the purpose for which any information is used. A requirement that the information obtained by other agencies and government bodies is used for limited and specifically stated purposes is also advisable. Since different government entities require different information, for instance the information required by the Ministry of Education may not be the information required by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Defence, a blanket provision that allows access to all information without setting minimum standard of data protection may stand to violate an individual’s right to privacy. If these government agencies, departments or ministries are to access the information, they must have in place data protection mechanisms that meet the minimum threshold set out under this Act (or any other law on data protection) and any information shared should not be retained longer than is necessary for the specified purpose for which it was obtained.

    Another notable loophole in this law is the fact that the information required under the registration requirements in Clause 30 and Schedule 3 excludes key populations and does not adequately address some of the realities of the Ugandan population. The Act requires an individual who is registering to provide information about their sex, the scope of which is limited to male and female categories and does not provide for people born with disorders of sex development (intersex people), an internationally recognized medical condition. Members of Parliament rejected a clause that would have been inclusive of intersex individuals who do not fall neatly within the male/female categories over considerations that this would encourage homosexuality (an entirely unrelated aspect). Parliament ought to use the registration process and all other available resources to collect such data that would help to inform the planning process on how to address these populations.

    The Act does not adequately cater to the interests of persons living with disabilities (PWDs) since it does not expressly provide for collection of such data, let alone make reasonable accommodations for persons living with disabilities to access registration services. If indeed the purpose of this law is to aid planning and to improve service provision, then the registration process should encompass as much relevant data as possible and information on populations of PWDs is highly relevant. Uganda has both international and domestic obligations to ensure that the registration process is favorable to all individuals and Parliament must ensure that every individual is able to access registration centers.

    One of the questions that remains to be answered and which was not addressed during the debate on this law is how it impacts the population census activities, if at all. The population census is an exercise of counting individuals designed to inform decision making and the planning process and it could be a useful means of filling in the gaps on the registration of persons and vice versa yet the issue was not addressed during the conversations about this Act.

    Read as a whole, the Registration of Persons Act as it stands may lead to violations of the right to privacy under Article 27 of the 1995 constitution of Uganda and by passing such a law, Parliament has failed in its obligation to protect the constitution and promote good governance. An interim proposal is that this Act should at least have data protection principles setting out the minimum standard of protection that must be observed by the agencies which are accessing the information. Each agency and department can then expand the level of protection while observing the minimum.

    Secondly, the Act should also ensure that the information gathered is relevant and adequate to serve the intended purpose and this means capturing those details that are often left out of “mainstream” conversations. If the government’s intention is to gather information to aid in the planning process, then this law should explicitly provide for the gathering of information that benefits sectors of the population that are often excluded from planning discussions because of lack of adequate information. It is evident that medical, policy and other interventions around persons living with disabilities and persons with sex development disorders have been severely hampered by lack of concrete information on the prevalence of certain conditions. This Act is an avenue through which government can ensure that all pertinent information is collected in an organized fashion in order to create policies that will assist in planning for these constituencies.

    * Susan Mirembe Nalunkuma is a legal scholar and activist with a focus on constitutional law, and gender and sexuality. She holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from Makerere University and is currently pursuing a Master of Laws (LLM) degree at Harvard Law School. This article was previously published by Parlament Watch Uganda.

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    Violation of the Constitution of Kenya by President Kenyatta

    An open letter to the Judicial Service Commission

    Peter Makori

    2015-04-16

    http://pambazuka.net/en/category/comment/94492

    The writer asks the commission to uphold the independence of the judiciary in Kenya and fight the continuous undermining of the constitution and the judiciary by president Kenyatta, the executive and the parliament.

    To
    The Judicial Service Commission,
    Thro’
    The Hon. The Chief Justice,
    President of the Supreme Court of Kenya &
    The Chairman, Judicial Service Commission,
    Supreme Court Building,
    Nairobi.



    I write this letter to express my exasperation with the continued violation of Kenya’s constitution by President Uhuru Kenyatta. The latest incident where the president purported to veto a judicial decision to suspend the recruitment of 10,000 police recruits because of corruption and bribery, calls on the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to assure Kenyans that courts still have meaning in this society.

    It should be noted that in 2007 Kenya plunged into apocalypse majorly because the political protagonists in the stolen presidential elections did not see any meaning of taking their grievances to the courts because the judiciary was perceived to be an appendage of the executive arm of government. President Kenyatta’s latest actions show that he is determined to drive this country back to the pre-2007 situation.

    The following incidents, among many others that I am not able to enumerate here convince me that Kenya is at a crossroads and we are staring at a constitutional crisis that might lead this country to anarchy:-

    1. About two years ago, the JSC interviewed and recruited 25 judges to serve in the High Court of Kenya. To the consternation of many Kenyans, the president defied the JSC, picked some judges he felt were the best, and declined to affirm a number of others. The president purported, and he continues to purport that his office is carrying out further background checks on the appointed judges. I am informed that the president has no constitutionally recognized role in conducting any background checks before he could affirm those hired to serve as High Court Judges in Kenya. To date the president has failed to have the judges sworn into office. I understand his role in the appointment of High Court judges is a ceremonial function. The JSC has not done enough to protest this blatant violation of the law. I am aware that the LSK took up the matter to court.
    2. When the JSC ordered the suspension of Gladys Shollei on graft allegations, parliament immediately reprimanded the judiciary, took up the matter and purported to overrun, and or gag the JSC from conducting its functions. To show their contempt of the judiciary, parliament purported to summon the Chief Justice for grilling. To his credit, the CJ declined to obey those illegal summons.
    3. In the latest incident, the High Court heard and determined a case against the graft-riddled police recruitment exercise of 2014. A ruling was made declaring the exercise illegitimate because of the rampant corruption that characterized the recruitment. The president took advantage of the tragic terrorist attack of Garissa university to rubbish the judiciary’s determined case to order the Inspector General of Police to ignore the ruling and have people recruited through a tainted process to report to college for training. The president said he takes “responsibility” for disobeying the law? or for the questionable recruitment process? when he ordered for the court ruling to be disregarded.

    While I appreciate the efforts the Hon. the Chief Justice has made to dialogue with the other government agencies, I strongly feel that a lot more needs to be done by the JSC to assert itself by stating its position that it does not exist at the pleasure of either the presidency or parliament. In fact, contrary to the constitution that clearly states that the three arms of government are distinctly independent of each other, both the executive and legislative arms have increasingly treated the judiciary as an irrelevant entity to the two. The judiciary has failed to contest this well calculated scheme to render it ineffective.

    The Judiciary has also failed to address some of the fundamental constitutional issues such as enforcing Chapter VI (Six) on Leadership and Integrity. I understand this question is pending in Court but I do not know why such an important question should remain in the courts eternally. I feel that the judiciary has technically abrogated its constitutional duties of correctly interpreting the constitution, and also handing down deterrent sentences to those found violating the constitution. None of the politicians who are the lords of impunity in Kenya has ever been punished sufficiently to send a message that it is not business as usual. It has allowed both parliament and the presidency to run amok, breaking the law at every turn. We are now staring at a constitutional crisis.

    It is corruption that is to blame for the terror activities in Kenya and NOT lack of security personnel as the president claimed.

    We lost our fight against impunity in 2013 when the new judiciary failed to properly and correctly interpret the constitution, especially on the now apparently technically suspended Chapter VI on Leadership and Integrity. Indicted suspects of international Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity were allowed to contest the presidency contrary to the law. Yet, a section of Kenyans went to court to challenge the candidature of the suspects but the courts dismissed the cases.

    Parliament has continued to purport to legislate on various issues but in essence the MPs have been systematically mutilating the constitution. The Attorney General who should have provided legal guidance has acted in cahoots with the violators of our constitution. My worry is the judiciary, and especially the Supreme Court has not done enough to reign in on these people. The long-term consequences of the president’s actions and the rogue behavior of parliament, is certainly going to be far-reaching. Many Kenyans will lose their faith in the judiciary. The results will be disastrous.

    I hope the JSC will find a few things from the above list worth considering. We can’t continue this path indefinitely.
    Thanks for your time.
    Yours truly,
    /S/
    Peter Makori


    * THE VIEWS OF THE ABOVE ARTICLE ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR/S AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE PAMBAZUKA NEWS EDITORIAL TEAM
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    Casualization of labour in Zambia

    Henry Kyambalesa

    2015-04-16

    http://pambazuka.net/en/category/comment/94496

    Employers taking advantage of legal loopholes has resulted in a workforce that is so desperate to earn money they are taking on part-time and temporary jobs with no benefits.

    In Zambia today, it has become common practice for employers to hire employees on part-time and temporary conditions of employment. This phenomenon is caused by a number of factors, such as the prevalence of a high level of unemployment in the country’s economy, which has made desperate job seekers willing to accept part-time or temporary jobs. In addition to this, the meagre incomes earned by the vast majority of individuals who are permanently employed have prompted them to actively seek part-time or temporary jobs to supplement their inadequate earnings. Moreover, an attempt by employers to circumvent the costs associated with catering for employees’ housing, medical, vacation, terminal and other benefits normally accorded to permanent or full-time employees has contributed to an escalation in the casualization of labour in Zambia. The desperation among retired citizens to find a decent way of earning a living while they await the disbursement of their delayed retirement benefits has compounded the problem of casualization of labour in the country. As a result, a lot of Zambians are subjected to a high level of job insecurity, unstable incomes and lack of housing, medical and other employment-related benefits.

    There are a number of ways the Zambian Government can redress the problem of rampant casualization of labour in the country. Firstly, there is a need to provide adequately for low-interest loans to small business prospectors through the Zambia Development Agency to lessen the current over-reliance by unemployed Zambians on employment in corporations. Secondly, the government needs to reduce the costs borne by business and non-business organisations in providing for fringe benefits to their full-time employees through free and adequate life-saving healthcare for all Zambians, greater investments by the government in low-cost housing schemes and making improvements in social security and unemployment benefits. Thirdly, it is important for the government to ensure that labour-related laws and regulations are not flouted by employers, and to enact legislation designed to make it illegal for employers to hire casual workers to fill permanent positions in their organizations. Fourthly, there is a need for parliament to enact legislation designed to make retirement benefits payable within 60 or so days (Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays inclusive) from a retiree’s last date of work. Benefits (or any portion thereof) not paid within this period should fetch 5% interest per month.

    Moreover, the government needs to create more jobs through lower taxes and interest rates designed to induce investments, savings and consumption in order to make job seekers less vulnerable to employers of casual workers. The revenues that would be lost through lower income and value-added taxes would be captured through income taxes and valued added taxes to be paid by large numbers of new employees in a steadily expanding economy. There is a need to reverse the current emphasis on stabilising inflation at the expense of job creation and economic growth. A relatively high annual rate of inflation of around 10-15 per cent owing to reductions in income and value-added taxes and interest rates intended to stimulate the supply of goods and services and the demand for goods and services would be acceptable. Since aggregate wages and salaries are generally low and interest rates and taxes are high in Zambia, inflationary trends can be attributed largely to excessive government expenditure, high costs of production and inadequate aggregate supply.

    To control inflation, therefore, a wage freeze, higher taxes, and high interest rates are not the appropriate instruments. As experience and common sense have taught us, such instruments can stifle economic growth and job creation. The appropriate instruments for lowering the aggregate price levels in Zambia are, and should be, the following:

    (a) Trim the national government and strictly controlling government expenditure.

    (b) Find viable ways and means of cutting the costs of energy, water, telecommunications and both asset protection and high insurance premiums resulting from the high incidence of burglaries, robberies, and vandalism in the country.

    (c) Strive to induce investments in commodity production and research and development to create a more competitive and innovative economic system where business entities can provide needed goods and services at lower costs and prices.

    Have we ever asked ourselves why industrialised countries have very low levels of inflation and yet they have extraordinarily high per capita incomes, very low interest rates, very low levels of unemployment, and no government-fostered wage or salary freezes?

    How about the idea by some government leaders that casualization of Zambian workers would now be punishable by imprisonment? Well, I think this is intrinsically a bad idea because employers are just taking advantage of the masses of job seekers in the economy.

    If the government pursues the measures I have prescribed above in addressing the casualization problem, employers will have no choice but to engage workers on permanent and pensionable terms of employment because there will be a smaller number of people willing to be hired on a short-term basis.

    And attempts to “abolish” casualization are equally flawed because there are some jobs in organisational settings that are temporal or occasional in nature. To expect employers to hire workers on a permanent basis for such jobs would, therefore, be unrealistic.


    * Henry Kyambalesa is a Zambian academician currently living in Denver, Colorado, USA. He is the interim president of the Agenda for Change (AfC) Party.

    * THE VIEWS OF THE ABOVE ARTICLE ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR/S AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE PAMBAZUKA NEWS EDITORIAL TEAM

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    Advocacy & campaigns

    Chibok abduction: One year after

    Statement by the Nigerian Feminist Forum (NFF)

    2015-04-15

    http://pambazuka.net/en/category/advocacy/94477

    Despite widespread condemnation of the abduction, tremendous support and assistance by the international community; despite renewed efforts by the Nigerian Army to root out Boko haram from Nigeria; despite the relentless efforts by advocacy groups, media, concerned individuals and celebrities around the world; the Chibok Girls still remain in captivity.

    LAGOS, NIGERIA, 14 APRIL 2015 – Today makes it exactly one year that 200+ young female students from the Government Girl’s Secondary School Chibok, Borno State, Nigeria were abducted by heavily armed men suspected to be Boko haram Islamist terrorists in the dead of the night from their school during an examination period. This shocking incident clearly demonstrated the vulnerability and susceptibility of women and girls to dangers of armed conflict; it further demonstrated the lack of preparedness and adequate measures by the Nigerian government to tackle issues of insecurities as it affects women and girls. It is also a clear violation of Article 21(2) of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child which prohibits child marriage and violates Section 27 of the Child Rights Acts which provides that “No person shall remove or take a child out of the custody or protection of his father or mother, guardian or such other person having lawful care or in charge of the child against the will of the father, mother, guardian or other person."

    Despite widespread condemnation of this abduction; despite the tremendous support and assistance by international communities and governments to the Nigerian government; despite renewed and invigorated efforts by the Nigerian Army to root out Boko haram from Nigeria; despite the relentless efforts by advocacy groups, media, concerned individuals and celebrities around the world; the Chibok Girls still remain in captivity. Their wellbeing uncertain, the hope for their safe return dims with each passing day as we fear the worst for their safety, physical, psychological and mental and wellbeing. We are extremely worried by the troubling nightmarish account by few survivors who managed to escape from the terrorist group. We also fear that the girls may have been trafficked within and across Nigeria’s border and sold to fellow insurgents if the threat made by Boko haram’s infamous leader Shekau in a Youtube video released on the 5 May 2014 is to be believed.

    While we keep hope alive and remain positive that the Chibok Girls will be brought back home alive and well, the NFF hereby reiterates its call on the Nigerian Government specifically the incoming newly elected government to;

    (a) Expedite actions aimed at safely returning the abducted girls to their parents and ensure adequate security of life and property of every Nigerian citizen living within its bothers as contained in section 14(2) (b) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, which stated that primary function of Government is to secure the lives and property of its citizens while Section 33 of the same constitution guarantees the right to life;

    (b) To beef up security across its various borders to effectively control the movement of arms and people and ensure adequate security around educational facilities throughout the country;

    (c) Employ every positive means to restore peace and ensure the end of the conflict in Northern Nigeria;

    (d) To ensure that upon return that adequate rehabilitation and counselling services are made available for parents and daughters who will all be traumatized.

    The NFF also calls on media and CSOs:

    To sustain the momentum around the Chibok girls’ abduction by continually and relentlessly, publicizing, reporting, demanding and insisting on the safe release of Our Abducted Girls. Members of the media especially must keep the Chibok abduction in the front burner of news publications and reports to ensure that the required publicity necessary to move the Nigerian government to rapidly ACT on the safe retrieval of Our Girls from their captors.

    The NFF would like to use this medium to commend the persistent and determined effort by the #BringBackOurGirls Advocacy Campaign Group, which has relentlessly and tirelessly ensured that the Chibok abduction is not forgotten. We stand united with you in solidarity, sisterhood and goodwill until Our Girls are brought back home safe and alive.

    Signed,

    Geraldyn Ezeakile
    NFF Secretaria
    58B Awoniyi Elemo Street Ajao Estate
    Isolo, Lagos


    FEMNET urges the new president of Nigeria to #BringBackOurGirls

    2015-04-15

    http://pambazuka.net/en/category/advocacy/94478

    The newly elected President of Nigeria, H.E. Muhammadu Buhari, should act expeditiously to #bringbackourgirls and enforce security to ensure women and girls are no longer subjected to abductions, sexual violence and loss of life.

    Today, 14 April 2015, sadly marks exactly one year since over 200 innocent girls were abducted in their school in Chibok, Nigeria by militant group Boko Haram.

    We the members of the FEMNET Board, Secretariat as well as Members comprising of women's rights activists and organizations from over 40 countries in Africa as well as from the Diaspora are concerned that the girls have to date not been rescued. We urge the newly elected President of Nigeria, H.E. Muhammadu Buhari, to act expeditiously to #bringbackourgirls and enforce security to ensure women and girls are no longer subjected to abductions, sexual violence and loss of life.

    “His success as the Leader and his government will be measured by his ability to protect and uphold the human rights of its citizens - women and men, girls and boys - and more especially those most marginalized”, says Dinah Musindarwezo, Executive Director of FEMNET.

    As we reflect on #bringbackourgirls, we invite our leaders and institutions – starting from the African Union - and all members of society to reflect on the current state of violations of women and girls and resolve to take action to heighten gender equality principles and practices so as to ensure women and girls enjoy all their rights and live in freedom and dignity.

    Religious and cultural fundamentalisms and extremisms have no place in our world!

    Let’s join efforts to end this insanity - we want peace, respect for others and their beliefs, solidarity and love to prevail over hatred and bigotry. We count on the newly elected President to show leadership by bringing back the girls to their homes.

    For more information contact:-
    Rachel Kagoiya, Information Manager, FEMNET


    One year later, we want the girls back

    Liepollo Lebohang Pheko

    2015-04-15

    http://pambazuka.net/en/category/advocacy/94482

    The captured young Chibok women do not only belong to Nigeria; they belong to the Afrikan continent. So it is the responsibility of every Afrikan to work for their safe return and reintegration into their community.

    One year since the Chibok Girls were removed from a school and wrenched from the relative peace, comfort and safety of their community, homes and families there are more questions that answers. Perhaps we as the community of humanity have began to doubt our ability to find and bring the young women back. There are oceans of tears that we cannot begin to reach the bottom of. We seem to be drowning in complex geopolitical issues and wars that render us voiceless bystanders in strange and perverse events. This gruelling matter is also one that illustrates the ongoing wars in which women are nameless, faceless proxies in men's wars.

    These 267 (or so) people are also no longer girls. It has been a year - they are now young women, some broken, some silenced, confused and in despair. Some have run and yet we have not heard of what their journey has been since. Although we must bring the young women home, let us bear in mind the complexities of re-integration, stigma, shame, notoriety and healing. Some of these young women's families are no longer in Chibok because of the military insurgencies on that region. Where are we bringing our daughters home to? How will the state support their return? Will they need refuge in other regions and even other countries to escape the gazes and the wagging tongues? Will they be broken again by gossip, loneliness and shame? We must find the strength to keep them alive even in our minds, conversations, actions and words.

    We call not only on the Nigerian government to take decisive action. We call on every nation of ECOWAS and the African Union to deploy and exhibit their power, skill and agency to correct an abominable situation. The threat of human security is echoed across the region as seen at Garissa in Kenya.

    The discourse of security studies and international relations has long lacked a feminist and woman centric iteration and this is perhaps why our response and our vocabulary for the past year have been so garbled and muted. The Chibok women do not only belong to Nigeria; they belong to the Afrikan continent just as the students at Garissa belonged to us all. If we call ourselves Afrikan citizens, activists, feminists, women's and human rights actors, thinkers, writers, dreamers and doers, we must rise to this occasion.

    * Liepollo Lebohang Pheko works with Four Rivers Trade Collective.


    AMwA calls for the rescue and immediate release of #chibokgirls

    2015-04-15

    http://pambazuka.net/en/category/advocacy/94486

    The feminist organization expresses deep concern about the rising levels of fundamentalisms that continue to oppress women and girls and relegate the gains made in the women’s rights struggle. The kidnap of the girls reinforces the notion of using women’s bodies as weapons of war.

    Today AMwA [Akina Mama wa Afrika] joins the world in sisterhood to commemorate the anniversary of the abduction of hundreds of Chibok girls and calls for the immediate release and rescue of the hundreds of female students kidnapped from the Government School in the Town of Chibok on the 14th of April 2014.

    The promotion of women’s human rights has gained an unprecedented momentum over the last decade, in Africa and worldwide. The adoption in 1979 of the Convention on all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) has been instrumental in bringing women’s human rights to the centre of development discourses and processes. The Beijing Platform for Action reaffirms CEDAW and the linkages between violation of women’s human rights.

    At continental level, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the rights of women in Africa, the Constitutive Act of the African Union that has adopted gender equity in the Commission, the 2004 Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa have enshrined the commitment of African Heads of State and Government to tackle violation of women’s human rights and women’s marginalistaion in all areas of life.

    However, despite important milestones in recognizing women’s human rights, African women and girls are still subject to marked discriminations and violations that manifest themselves both in private and public spheres.

    As a feminist organization AMwA is deeply concerned about the rising levels of fundamentalisms that are continuing to oppress women and girls freedom and relegate the gains made in the women’s rights struggle. The kidnap of these girls reinforces the notion of using women’s bodies as a weapon of war. And even with very progressive laws and policies African women and girls continue to be subjected to various forms of human rights violations. We can not sit back and watch the lives of 219 future leaders get destroyed by selfish/ heartless individuals.

    We therefore add our voice to the many other voices of #bringbackour­­­girls campaign and call for the following:

    a) The immediate release and rescue of the remaining 219 girls that are still under captivity to be brought back to their families.

    b) Provision of material and psycho-social support to all the 57 girls who managed to escape the kidnap and all the other girls upon their return.

    c) The government of Nigeria and other world leaders are urged to demonstrate greater commitment and political will to the rescue and safe return of the 219 girls

    d) African Union and African governments are called upon to commit to fight all forms of terrorism acts and protect the lives of the African peoples especially women and girls.

    e) Governments, organizations, religious leaders and all other stakeholders are urged to take action against the increasing forms of fundamentalisms and oppressive systems of patriarchy that continue to perpetuate injustice in our society today.

    We stand in solidarity with the 219 girls still in captivity and with all their families, relatives and friends as we mark one year anniversary since this horrific act happened. We also stand in solidarity with all people who have lost their loved ones through acts of terror most especially the recent Garissa victims in Kenya. We remain committed to advocating for a just and secure Africa; we trust that a day is coming when we shall certainly overcome and live in true peace and human freedom.


    In Sisterhood
    Akina Mama wa Afrika


    Freezing of accounts of human rights organisations for alleged links with terrorism

    2015-04-15

    http://pambazuka.net/en/category/advocacy/94484

    MUHURI and Haki Africa amongst 85 individuals and institutions that are to be notified of the intention to list them as a ''terrorist entity'' under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2012.

    10 April 2015

    On 8 April 2015, human rights organisations Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI) and Haki Africa, had their accounts frozen over alleged suspicions of funding terrorism.

    MUHURI is a Muslim organization which has been involved in promoting good governance and respect for the human rights of marginalized groups since 1997. Haki Africa is a human rights organisation working on social and economic rights. In the past, the members of MUHURI have reported being harassed and intimidated as a result of their human rights work. Members of the Muslim community in Kenya are regularly targeted by the security services in the name of the War on Terror, and accused of supporting Al-Shabab terrorist activities.

    According to Gazette Notice 2326 of 7 April 2015, the Inspector General has listed both MUHURI and Haki Africa amongst 85 individuals and institutions that are to be notified of the intention to list them as a ''terrorist entity'' under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2012. The organisations were given 24 hours to demonstrate why they should not be declared as ''terrorist entities''. However, both human rights organisations reported only learning of the notice through the media after the 24-hour deadline had passed, leading to the freezing of their bank accounts.

    These measures come in the wake of the massacre of 147 people, a majority of the victims being students, perpetrated at Garissa University College by Somalia-based Al-Shabab islamist group, on 2 April 2015.

    Front Line Defenders is extremely concerned at the measures imposed on Muslims for Human Rights and Haki Africa, two legitimate and highly respected human rights groups, and believe that they are directly linked to their legitimate and peaceful human rights activities.

    Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in Kenya to:

    1. Immediately remove Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI) and Haki Africa from the terrorist list, and unfreeze their accounts, as these measures seem to be solely motivated by their human rights activities;

    2. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Kenya are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.


    Kenya: Ensure due process on ‘Terrorism List’

    Review inclusion of human rights organizations

    2015-04-15

    http://pambazuka.net/en/category/advocacy/94485

    The publication of the list raises serious concerns for due process, including proper time and opportunity to contest the designation and the right to be informed.

    (NAIROBI, APRIL 13, 2015) – The Kenyan government should urgently review the inclusion of human rights organizations on an official list of alleged supporters of terrorism and ensure full respect of due process, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today.

    The list is comprised of 86 individuals and entities, and includes two human rights groups, Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI) and Haki Africa. The list was published in the official government gazette on April 7, 2015, days after the attack on Garissa University College in northeastern Kenya in which 147 people, including 142 students, were killed. The militant Islamist group, Al-Shabaab, claimed responsibility for the attack.

    “The Kenyan government list raises many questions as well as serious concerns that Haki Africa and MUHURI are being targeted for their important work documenting human rights violations committed by the security forces,” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Kenyan authorities should ensure due process for all persons and entities included in the list and guarantee that human rights organizations are not targeted for their legitimate work.”

    Haki Africa and MUHURI are highly respected groups that have focused on documenting human rights violations by the Kenyan security forces, including in the course of counterterrorism efforts. In November 2013, MUHURI and the Open Society Justice Initiative published a report that documented extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances of terrorism suspects and Muslim clerics in coastal areas by the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit. The then-executive director of MUHURI, Hussein Khaled, received credible threats to his life soon after the report was released.

    The publication of the list raises serious concerns for due process, including proper time and opportunity to contest the designation and the right to be informed. The directors of Haki Africa and MUHURI told Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch they received no official communication and only heard about the order against their organizations through the media. The gazette notice gave listed entities and individuals one day’s notice to demonstrate to the authorities “why it should not be declared as a specified entity.”

    Being declared a “specified entity” has wider implications beyond bank account freezes. Under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) of 2012, “specified entities” are equated with “terrorist groups.” Membership in a terrorist group is punishable by up to 30 years’ imprisonment.

    Kenya’s government should urgently reconsider the listing of Haki Africa and MUHURI and ensure that human rights defenders and organizations can perform their work effectively and without fear of reprisals.

    According to international standards regarding counterterrorism measures, governments should ensure a transparent listing and de-listing process, based on clear criteria, with an appropriate, explicit, and uniformly applied standard of evidence, as well as an effective, accessible, and independent mechanism of review for the individuals and entities concerned.

    The POTA does not provide a mechanism for appealing the decision of the committee, which may violate both the Kenyan constitution and international law. Article 47 of Kenya’s 2010 constitution provides for fair administrative action that is expeditious, efficient, lawful, reasonable, and procedurally fair. International law prohibits the imposition of government sanctions without adequate due process.

    “This order places the burden of proof on the accused with almost no notice or opportunity to appeal, in direct contravention of Kenyan and international standards,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, regional director for East Africa at Amnesty International. “States have a duty to protect their population from violent attacks, but must ensure that all counterterrorism measures are implemented in accordance with international human rights and humanitarian law.”

    Immediately after the list was published, the Central Bank of Kenya instructed banks to freeze the accounts of those listed, including the human rights organizations. The POTA, which the sanctions are based on, prohibits the organizations from receiving new funding from any other source.

    The act’s provisions also allow the cabinet secretary, either on his or her own motion or at the request of a new committee known as the Counter Financing of Terrorism Inter-Ministerial Committee, to “make an order freezing the property or funds of a designated entity, whether held directly or indirectly by the entity or by a person acting on behalf of or at the direction of the entity.”

    The act requires that listed organizations and individuals are informed of the reasons for the decision. Both organizations learned of the listing through the media and confirmed that when they tried to go to the bank to withdraw funds, they were told that they had received a directive from the Central Bank of Kenya that their accounts were restricted.

    Haki Africa and MUHURI announced on April 10, 2015, that they will challenge in court the listing and freezing of their bank accounts.

    Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are concerned that the listing of Haki Africa and MUHURI may represent broader hostility towards civil society by the administration of President Uhuru Kenyatta, which has had difficult relations with human rights groups since coming to power two years ago.

    Human rights organizations inside and outside Kenya have expressed concerns about efforts by the ruling Jubilee coalition to restrict civil society space and curtail the work of human rights groups. The Jubilee manifesto proposed limiting foreign funding for nongovernmental organizations, and a law proposing such a cap, as well as other restrictive amendments, was defeated in parliament in December 2013. There are concerns that the government may attempt to reintroduce the measures.

    For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Kenya, please visit:
    http://www.hrw.org/africa/kenya

    For more information, please contact:
    In Amsterdam, for Human Rights Watch, Leslie Lefkow (English): +31-6-2159-7356; or [email protected] Twitter: @LefkowHRW
    In New York, for Human Rights Watch, Jehanne Henry (English, French): +1-917-443-2724 (mobile); or [email protected] Twitter: @jehannehenry
    In Nairobi, for Amnesty International, Abdullahi Halakhe (English): +254-732-574-499; or [email protected]
    In Nairobi, for Amnesty International, Mildred Ngesa (English): +254-0-732-495-215 (mobile); or [email protected]


    Counting the cost radicalized militancy in Africa

    2015-04-15

    http://pambazuka.net/en/category/advocacy/94483

    Over 2,000 lives have been violently lost, yet Africa has not got angry enough to question whence we are headed should this trend continue. These unpunished killings are a recipe for impunity.

    Several African countries continue to record heinous crimes and acts committed by militant groups vowing to resist attempts to bring order and stability in countries beleaguered by decades of conflict such as Somalia, South Sudan, Central African Republic and parts of the great Lakes Region.

    Countries that have attempted to provide support in the form of military aid have become victims of cowardly acts by the new crop of militant groups such as Al Shabab and Boko Haram.

    The recent killing of over 147 innocent students at Garissa University in Kenya is one such dastardly and cowardly act, indicative of the increased radicalization of militant groups in Africa, using religion as a cover to innocent civilians and the need for collective effort by Africans and African institutions to deter and stop these senseless killings.

    The body count continues to increase and recalling the incidents will assist us Africans, our leaders and global community to appreciate the continued costs and implications of insecurity within parts of Africa and the potential for this to spread:

    We can cite many such examples:

    • Nigeria, 2009, nearly 1000 people are killed following clashes between militant groups Boko Haram and the Nigerian defense forces,
    • Nigeria, 2011, more than 200 people are killed due to various insurgencies attacks, including attacks at UN Compound killing 21 individuals,
    • Nigeria, Kano, 2013, 150 civilians including 32 police officers are killed by Boko Haram insurgencies
    • Nigeria, Borno, 276 female students are kidnapped by Boko Haram,
    • Uganda, Kampala 2010, more than 74 people are killed by bomb blast while watching a world cup matches, terrorist organization claims credit for the acts,
    • Kenya, Nairobi, 2013 armed assailants storm Westgate Shopping Mall, killing 67 people in the process
    • Kenya, Mandera, 2014, 28 people are executed by gunmen after being forced to disembark from their bus, Al-shabab claims credit for these acts
    • Uganda, Kampala, 2015, a prosecutor handling the 2010 bombing is killed in the presence of her children by assassins whose allegiance is believed to be associated with Al-shabab

    These are about 2,000 lives lost yet in Africa has not got angry enough to question whence we are headed should this trend continue. These killings, which have gone unpunished are a recipe for impunity which if not arrested can lead to cycle of violence that we very much want to stop.

    These are just sad examples of the atrocities committed in recent months and years. Atrocities Watch Africa (AWA) a non-partisan, civil society organization calls upon the, regional economic bodies, national security agencies, African Union and indeed the United Nations to be more proactive in the prevention of mass atrocities, radicalization and increased militancy within Africa through multi-pronged approaches that infuse ownership, legitimacy, and sustainable interface. AWA urges increased professionalism and intra-regional cooperation among security agencies.

    AWA will continue to monitor, report, and do the count that such radicalization and killings by such militants with a view of making sure that those behind these crimes are held accountable.

    ABOUT ATROCITIES WATCH-AFRICA (AWA)

    Atrocities Watch Africa (AWA) is a non-partisan, civil society organization and institution registered in accordance with the laws of Uganda as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO). AWA intends to provide continental leadership in matters pertaining to the prevention of mass atrocities within Africa and beyond, through multi-pronged approaches that infuse ownership, legitimacy, and sustainable interface. AWA’s strategic and approaches are grounded in the realization that atrocities can be prevented through various interventions, including, but not limited to, early warning mechanisms, diplomatic efforts, use of social media and new technologies, litigation, and advocacy campaigns.


    New report documents extensive human rights violations in Western Sahara

    2015-04-15

    http://pambazuka.net/en/category/advocacy/94488

    Torture, murder, arbitrary arrests, and violence. During the last year, 256 reports of human rights violations have been reported in the occupied territory of Western Sahara.

    A new report published by the Students’ and Academics’ International Assistance Fund (SAIH) gives evidence to this. 2015 marks the 40th anniversary of the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara and is also the focus of SAIHs political campaign, launched 13th of April.

    In the report Acting with Impunity a total 256 human rights violations are documented to have been committed in Western Sahara between the 1st of April 2014 and the 1st of March 2015. This documentation is based on in depth empirical evidence. A total of 163 alleged incidents are emphasized in the report together with 283 named victims.

    - These numbers are unacceptable. Even with UN’s presence Morocco is enjoying complete impunity, allowing them to commit human rights violations and exploit the rich natural resources in Western Sahara, says Jørn Wichne Pedersen, President of SAIH.

    UN LACKS MANDATE TO REPORT ON HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

    The report gives an aggregated view on the human rights violations committed in Western Sahara since April 2014, when UN’s mandate in Western Sahara was last discussed in the UN Security Council.

    The UN’s peacekeeping mission MINURSO has been present in Western Sahara since the ceasefire in 1991. The mission is one of few lacking a mandate to report on human rights violations. End of April 2015 the contents of the missions mandate is, once again, up for discussion in the Security Council.

    The numbers documented through our report is based on testimonials from local and international organizations. It is however impossible to get a complete and neutral documentation of the human rights violations being committed in Western Sahara today. The UN would be able to play the role as a neutral and credible actor, says Jørn Wichne Pedersen leader of SAIH.

    Initially, MINURSO’s mandate was to carry out a referendum for the Saharawi people on the issue of autonomy, which has never been carried out. Instead, the Saharawis continue to be harassed, beaten, raped, tortured, kidnapped and murdered, as documented in the report.

    The report concludes that the international community has been callous regarding Morocco’s exploitation of Western Saharan natural resources and the brutal treatment of the Saharawi people. MINURSO’s mandate must be revised and extended to include documentation of human rights violations.

    - SAIH demands that Norwegian authorities and the international community condemns Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara. The right to autonomy must be acknowledged without delay, and the daily occurrences of human rights violations must cease, says Wichne
    Pedersen.

    FACTS – WESTERN SAHARA:

    - Western Sahara has been occupied by Morocco since 1975. Previously a Spanish colony.
    - In 1991, the UN brokered a peace agreement. The parties agreed to hold a referendum to determine the status of the territory, and the UN mission MINURSO was established. The referendum was never held.
    - Around half of the Saharawi people lives in refugee camps in Alger today.
    - Morocco has constructed a wall of 2000km around the central areas of Western Sahara, they control all financial activity and the rich natural resources.
    - The UN, AU and the international criminal court in Hague support the Saharawi’s right to self determination.
    - The UN mission MINURSO has not obtained an extended mandate from the Security Council and can not document human rights violations in Western Sahara.

    The report is available here.

    For comments, contact:
    Jørn Wichne Pedersen, SAIH President: +47 98 63 02 53, [email protected]
    Emilie Larsen Ørneseidet, Campaign leader: +47 91701240, [email protected]

    Press photos: http://saih.no/hvem-er-saih/kontaktinfo/pressebilder


    Civil society asks 3 critical questions of the World Bank at its 2015 Spring meetings

    2015-04-16

    http://pambazuka.net/en/category/advocacy/94503

    OAKLAND, CA - As the World Bank prepares for its annual Spring Meetings, members of Our Land Our Business, a campaign of over 260 NGOs, farmer groups and trade unions from around the world, are publically posing three questions about the Bank’s role in land grabbing, climate destruction and the corporatization of agriculture.

    These questions penetrate to the heart of the World Bank’s development model and throw its loudly and expensively self-promoted claim to serve the interests of the world’s poor into stark relief.

    1. Why have you not spoken to farmers before promoting massive agriculture-reform programs?

    Your flagship agricultural reform initiative – “Enabling the Business of Agriculture” (EBA), formerly known as “Benchmarking the Business of Agriculture” (BBA) – is due to be rolled out across 40 countries this year. At no point in your decision to create the EBA have you consulted farmers or farmer groups. Your consultation has been limited to rich governments and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, who fund you. The only open consultation that could have given affected communities an opportunity to be heard was at a meeting that you staged in London in November 2014, to which you gave seven days notice for attendance. This sort of sham-consultation would seem to be in direct opposition to your own stated goals to consult affected communities, and makes a mockery of President Kim’s recent mea culpa on how the Bank has failed to take into account communities’ needs in the past.

    2. Why are you rewarding countries that cede their power and wealth to foreign corporations, while punishing those who spend on the health and wellbeing of their populations?

    The EBA is a sister-initiative to the Doing Business Rankings. These rankings, judged annually by technocrats in Washington DC, influence massive amounts of revenue, from the Bank itself, donor governments and corporations. Over the past seven years, in response to the Doing Business ranking, twenty-one Sub Saharan African countries decreased corporate income tax rates at least once. In some countries, they have been reduced as many as three times. At the same time, you rewarded countries like Chad, DRC, and Mali with higher rankings for reducing property transfer taxes and regulations on land acquisition, and downgraded eleven African countries for establishing or increasing social contribution taxes that can be used to improve social services.

    3. Why are you prioritizing farming models that destroy the environment and impoverish people, over those that work in harmony with the environment and are already feeding the world?

    Using the discredited claim that only by using commercial, patented seeds and synthetic fertilizers and pesticides can we hope to feed the world in the future, you have centralized the role of large multi-national corporations and their financial backers (e.g. the Gates Foundation, which holds $23 million shares in Monsanto, and $1.4 billion of shares in fossil fuel companies) in your model for global agriculture. Rather than speak to and support the family farmers who are already producing 70% of the world’s food, or look to the library of evidence that shows the benefits and potential of regenerative farming methods, you seem to be taking direction from the mega-rich and corporate monopolies. Agroecology not only increases crop yield over time, it does so in ways that sustain the health of the soil and sequester large amounts of carbon. Synthetic methods on the other hand plateau and then decrease yield, and actively degrade soil and produce greenhouse gasses in enormous quantities.

    The Our Land Our Business campaign demands a response from the Bank to these questions, and an end to the World Bank’s business indicators that contribute to land grabs, dispossession of the world’s poorest, and in many cases most productive farmers.

    ###

    For more information, please visit Our Land Our Business’ website at www.ourlandourbusiness.org and consult the Oakland Institute’s new policy brief on the World Bank’s Enabling the Business of Agriculture.


    Contact:
    Anuradha Mittal, [email protected], +1 510-469-5228
    Alnoor Ladha, [email protected], +1 917-971-7968
    Joseph Rahall, [email protected], +232 76 601979




    Obituaries

    South Africa: Fishers’ champion Kenneth Blaauw dies

    2015-04-16

    http://pambazuka.net/en/category/obituary/94502

    Health difficulties did not deter Blaauw from pursuing basic rights for all fishers. Despite his persistent efforts to advance the fishers’ struggle, Blaauw himself was a struggling fisherman at the time of his death.

    Kenneth Blaauw, a traditional fisher and champion of rights for small-scale fishers died at the weekend, from a stomach-related illness. He was 57.

    Mr Blaauw came to prominence in 2008 when he was the main respondent in a case fought on behalf of small-scale fishers in the High Court. This followed a court application by Industry who asserted that the Minister of Fisheries had no right to give lobster fishing rights to a sector (artisanal fishers) that did not exist in law. They said only recreational, subsistence and commercial sectors had legal status. Industry cited more than a thousand names of poor fishers who were on Interim Relief at the time. They argued that these fishers were not entitled to receive fishing rights.

    Blaauw presented an affidavit in this matter, on behalf of the 1245 small-scale fishers. The High court ruled in favour of Blaauw and the group, stating that the Minister was correct to award the fishing rights.

    This was a great victory for the small-scale fishers since they would have been destitute without fishing rights, unable to make a living. Had the decision gone the other way, Industry would have further monopolised resources and very importantly, it would have struck a big blow to the unfolding Small-scale fisheries policy that was finally adopted last year. It would consequently have set back the struggle to have small-scale fishers recognised in law.

    The SSF policy marks a dramatic shift from the past, giving the sector legal recognition, moving away from the destructive individual rights to a collective rights model and providing a framework for greater empowerment and equity for small-scale fishing communities.

    “Kenneth Blaauw has made a huge contribution to the cause of small-scale fishers countrywide,” said Naseegh Jaffer, Director of Masifundise Development Trust. “We must ensure that his struggle is taken forward until the policy becomes lived reality in the lives of fishers around the coast,” he added.

    A member of Coastal Links South Africa (CLSA), Mr Blaauw was part of the organisation since its inception in Langebaan in 2004.

    “He was a man of not so many words, peaceful and happy and he liked to sing,” said Norton Dowries, a fellow fisherman from Langebaan. “Kenneth, is what you call a true fisherman,” he continued.

    Blaauw began fishing when he was in high school, following in the footsteps of his father; he began his journey in fishing as a trek netter. After school, he would go to the beach with other boys and watch as the older men came back from sea.

    Blaauw attended Langebaan English Church School and then he went to Schoonspruit High in Malmesbury. He completed Grade 9 before starting life as a fisherman.

    Starting off as a trek netter during his teenage years, he also worked as “whaler” on a whaling boat and caught linefish, west coast rock lobster and snoek. He used to travel as far as Laaiplek to catch fish but was always a resident of Langebaan.

    Health difficulties did not deter Blaauw from pursuing basic rights for all fishers. Despite his persistent efforts to advance the fishers’ struggle, Blaauw himself was a struggling fisherman at the time of his death and did not get to experience the rights that are pending in terms of the Small-scale fisheries policy.

    “The name Kenneth Blaauw should be remembered and noted in the history of South African-Small-Scale Fisheries, “said Masifundise’s Michelle Joshua. “Though almost a decade has passed since Kenneth's case was won, we are still working towards getting the SSF policy implemented and its intended vision realised. We should continue to lobby that the implementation of the policy benefit the traditional fishers first!! Long live the memory of Kenneth Blaauw,” she added.

    “It is sad to hear that yet another fisher passed on without tasting the fruits of their struggle,” commented Nico Waldeck of Masifundise. “As Masifundise and Coastal Links South Africa, we need to press harder for the implementation of the SSF policy,” he said.

    Mr Blaauw made it possible for South-Africa Small scale fishers to have a policy today. Masifundise and Coastal Links South Africa would like to pass their heartfelt condolences to his family and wish that his soul rests in peace.

    Masifundise has expressed its sadness at the passing of “a fishers’ champion” who “practised solidarity" in his daily life. “His passing is a great loss to his family, the community of Langebaan and the broader small-scale fisheries community,” said Masifundise. “May his soul rest in peace.”

    Mr Blaauw leaves behind his partner, two sons and two daughters. He will be buried in Langebaan on Saturday 18 April from the NG ( Dutch Reform) Church at 11am.


    Issued by Masifundise Development Trust, 1 Station Road, Mowbray, Cape Town.


    Contact Masifundise Development Trust Communication Unit Mansoor Jaffer or Nosipho Singiswa
    Tel: +27 (0)21 6854549 - 084 661 5216 - 074 470 4508

    E-mail: [email protected]




    Books & arts

    For our Chibok sisters

    Hilda Twongyeirwe

    2015-04-16

    http://pambazuka.net/en/category/books/94500

    It was 'good morning' the usual way
    sounded just the same
    full of energy
    of life's promises
    nothing could be guessed on that 14th day 2014.

    You downed your cup of tea
    your piece of yam
    you kept some
    knowing tomorrow was yet to come
    you smiled your see-you-later smile.

    Evening came
    you did not return
    a day passed, days
    months
    Today 14th April 2015 makes it a year.

    The yam has grown moulds
    like the waiting in our hearts and longing in our eyes
    as we reach for a flicker of possibility
    buried under the silence that surrounds your disappearance
    we refuse the moulds to cover it...

    Today we light a candle
    not in memory my sisters - no
    we light this candle to stand with you
    we light this candle to keep the flicker brighter
    we light this candle to evoke spirits of resilience and justice.

    (My heart goes out to each single girl,
    to each single parent of these girls and
    their entire families.)

    * Hilda Twongyeirwe is Executive Director, Uganda Women Writers Association - FEMRITE.


    Hans Zell to donate book and journal collection, online database to Kwara State University

    2015-04-16

    http://pambazuka.net/en/category/books/94491

    The donation follows an invitation to several institutions in Africa and elsewhere to express an interest in acquiring the collection, and submit a plan for the continuation and hosting of the database. After careful review of all submissions, Kwara State University Library in Malete, Ilorin, Nigeria, was chosen.

    LOCHCARRON, SCOTLAND, 16 APRIL 2015: A unique collection of books, monograph series, journals, articles, and other documents on all aspects of publishing and book development in Sub-Saharan Africa is to be shipped from its current location in Lochcarron, a small remote village in the Northwest Scottish Highlands, to the still very young Kwara State University in Nigeria. Accompanying the physical collection will be a rich online database currently containing 3,062 for the most part fully annotated records, making it the most comprehensive documentation, and ongoing analysis, of the state of the book sector and the ‘book chain’ in Africa.

    The collection, donated by publisher Hans Zell, covers the twenty-year period from 1996 to 2014, and is a continuation of an earlier collection and archive (for the 1960-1995 period) that he donated to the African Publishers Network/APNET in Harare in 1995.

    The donation follows an invitation to several institutions in Africa and elsewhere to express an interest in acquiring the collection, and submit a plan for the continuation and hosting of the database. Strong expressions of interest were received from a total of eight institutions, in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and the UK. After careful review of all submissions, Kwara State University Library in Malete, Ilorin, Nigeria, was chosen as the recipient of the collection, and as the new hosting institution for the online database.

    Kwara State University have provided a detailed plan describing the implementation process of moving the database to a more dynamic digital platform, by which the current database will be exported from the current solution (which, pending its migration to Nigeria, is now freely accessible at www.hanszell.co.uk/cgi-bin/online/pbrssa.shtml), thereafter normalized and structured by a software development organization, before finally being imported into a Drupal based open access/open source content management platform. This migration – which will lead to a huge enhancement of the database in terms of its functionality and utility – will take place sometime during the course of 2015. The collection of books and journals will be packed and shipped to Nigeria over the coming months, and Kwara State University will pay for the shipping costs.

    The physical collection consists of:
    (1) Books, monograph series, essay collections, conference proceedings, book sector studies, book industry training manuals, theses and dissertations, as well as reference works.

    (2) A large number of journals, including for example complete runs of The African Book Publishing Record since it was first published in 1975, the African Publishing Review, and the Bellagio Publishing Network Newsletter; as well as complete runs or back issues of a number of book professional journals, such as the Journal of Scholarly Publishing and Logos. Forum of the World Book Community, that have contained frequent articles on publishing and book studies in Africa and the developing world. Much of this material was contained in the highly acclaimed reference resource Publishing, Books & Reading in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Critical Bibliography, published by Hans Zell Publishing in 2008, in both print and electronic formats. A very substantial number of new records have been added to the online database since publication of the print edition.

    (3) Also part of the collection are a large number of box files containing over a thousand periodical articles, press clippings, reports, studies, and surveys on many aspects of publishing and the book world in Africa, together with some unpublished material and ephemera.

    Prompted by these developments Kwara State University intends to set up a Book Institute or Centre for the Book, which will form part of its academic and research plans to establish a Centre that will also incorporate a Nigerian Film Institute and a Centre for Ilorin Manuscripts and Culture.



    For more information:
    Hans Zell, Hans Zell Publishing, Glais Bheinn, Lochcarron, Ross-shire, IV54 8YB, Scotland, UK
    Tel: +44-(0)1520-722951 Email: [email protected] Web: www.hanszell.co.uk
    Access to the Publishing, Books & Reading in Sub-Saharan Africa online database is at
    www.hanszell.co.uk/cgi-bin/online/pbrssa.shtml

    In Nigeria:
    Professor Abiola Irele, Provost, College of Humanities, Kwara State University, and Director, Kwara State University Press
    [email protected] or [email protected]
    or
    David Dorman, Visiting Principal Librarian and Acting Director, Centre for Innovation in Teaching and Research, Kwara State University
    [email protected] or [email protected]
    Web: www.kwasu.edu.ng


    Lost girls of Chibok

    Adaobi Okwy

    2015-04-16

    http://pambazuka.net/en/category/books/94501

    They didn’t ask my creed

    Even though waging a war against my God.

    They didn’t ask my village

    Even though waging a war against my tongue.

    I have breasts

    That was all they asked.


    They didn’t ask about my dreams

    Even though I was taken from my school.

    They didn’t ask about my crush

    Though that would have been my grave.


    I am a lost girl

    Is anyone looking for me?

    We are the lost girls

    Will we once again be forgotten?

    Like those blasted into smithereens or

    Those butchered daily while the nation looks on.

    We are not some cheap disposable tissue papers

    Born to be tortured into submission.

    We are not animals

    For man to do with as he pleases.

    While you watch

    We are raped, brainwashed and blamed.

    While you watch

    We get passed around and tossed away.

    We are the lost girls

    Soon you’d be late and in this cave

    We shall soon lose hope

    Spawning children of the devil.

    And while you watch

    Our devil children shall return

    To vanquish your own children.

    We are the lost girls

    Is anyone looking for us?





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