2008-09-17, Issue 397
In the ancient Spartan democracy, the all the citizens were directly involved in major decision-making processes. As populations and perhaps egos grew, it became impossible to involve everyone in the day to day running of state affairs. A class of fulltime governors who made decisions for the rest of the society evolved. Thus representative democracy was born. This brought about a class of people who by the virtue of their leadership positions acquired (and controlled) more information than the rest of the society....
The politics of fire
2008-09-17, Issue 396
On average in South Africa over the last five years there are ten shack fires a day with someone dying in a shack fire every other day. Shack fires are not acts of God. They are the result of political choices, often at municipal level....
2008-09-03, Issue 394
The issue of development cooperation especially aid can be traced back to the United Nations resolution 2626 of 1970 on the international development strategy for the second United Nations development decade where rich countries pledged to give 0.7% ...
2008-07-23, Issue 390
This view represents a consulted way forward recommended by Women and Men of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA/MOZA). We are an organisation owned by its 60,000 members who hold qualifications in daily survival and degrees in nonviolence despite the deeply polarised political environment in Zimbabwe since 2000. WOZA was born in the community and seeks to draw the attention of preoccupied politicians to people?s needs, namely bread and butter issues; or as WOZA likes to put it, bread and roses issues - bread representing food and roses representing the need for lasting dignity.
2008-07-14, Issue 388
It is now fashionable in academic and activist circles to speak of transitional justice in normative, inflexible terms that suggest a utopian certainty, writes Makau Mutua. Nothing could be further from the truth. At the outset, we need to understand that transitional justice concepts are experimental – good experiments to be sure – but that they do not offer us tested panacea because they are essentially works in progress. This is not meant to diminish the utility of the concepts or to throw cold water on them as a beachhead for recovering societies with a legacy of traumatic conflict. Rather, it is to recognize their limitation so that we do not stampede to the temple only to find it empty of the goddess of truth.
2008-07-09, Issue 387
The world’s attention has been riveted in 2008, by election crises in Africa, first Kenya, and now Zimbabwe. In both cases, challenges remain in converting electoral victory to political power. Can a victorious opposition come to power in the face of an obstinate incumbent? This question is particularly relevant when the incumbent regime controls the coercive apparatus of the state and the opposition only has the ballot in its corner. In the battle of the ballot vs. the bullet, can there ever be a fair match, asks Briggs Bomba.
2008-07-03, Issue 385
The struggle was not only against unjust minority rule. It was also about the struggle for democracy, human rights, civil liberties and, most importantly, the necessary material redistribution of wealth to allow all these other values to become social and political reality for the broad majority. Once these goals were betrayed by a new post-colonial elite, solidarity by activists internationally needs to be re-positioned. We now have a responsibility to protect and support those were cheated and denied the fruits of freedom. We have a responsibility to support those who now continue to seek emancipation from new forms of oppression and totalitarian rule, writes Henning Melber.
2008-06-17, Issue 381
In Africa the "Russian state seems far more ‘upfront’ about pursuing its grand geopolitical projects than the more cautious and patient Chinese. Russia’s private sector too is prepared on occasion to operate with an unashamed directness where others might be more diplomatic." While all eyes are on China's growing influence in Africa, Stephen Marks argues that Russia's bear is quitely intensifying its hug.
2008-05-29, Issue 376
China’s media and official reaction to the devastating Sichuan earthquake has been given generally positive coverage by Western media and governments, writes Stephen Marks. It may be a coincidence, but the earthquake and the allegedly more open reaction happen to follow soon after the coming into force of sweeping new Chinese government regulations on transparency - which could be a useful lever for activists seeking greater transparency in tracking the impact of China’s African footprint.
Thandokuhle Manzi and Patrick Bond
2008-05-27, Issue 375
To convey the reasons and effects of xenophobia in South Africa and its effect on the working class, Thandokuhle Manzi and Patrick Bond take a microscopic look at Cato Manor Township, one of the sites where the attacks took place.
2008-05-22, Issue 373
Southern African film makers implore Southern Africa "governments, politicians and citizens to rise and send an unequivocal message to South Africa condemning these acts of violence."
2008-05-13, Issue 371
Henning Melber looks at the possibilities for a people-centred opposition and ultimately a true liberation in Namibia and Zimbabwe, after years of misrule by the liberation movements-turned-ruling parties.
2008-04-24, Issue 365
“Zimbabwe is staring into the abyss. Violence is growing and the people are suffering greatly as a result. It is now vital that we all do what we can to calm the situation.
2008-04-15, Issue 362
Sam Kabele looks at the fault lines along which violence in Zimbabwe is traveling and calls for solidarity the Zimbabwean people
Congress of South African Trade Union
2008-04-08, Issue 360
The Congress of South African Trade Unions and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions held a meeting this morning, Tuesday 8 April 2008, to receive a report from the ZCTU on the current political crisis in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe Civil Society Organizations
2008-04-03, Issue 359
Inordinate delay in announcing results is of grave concern to civil society: We the undersigned Civil Society groups whose names are listed below have found it necessary to send this urgent petition to your Excellences in order to save our country from potentially sinking into complete anarchy if election results are manipulated.
2008-04-01, Issue 358
The SADC Observer Mission to the 2008 elections noted several anomalies that run against the grain of the principles of democratic elections within the southern African region but still endorsed the process leading to the 29 March elections as free and fair....
WOZA launch report
Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
2008-03-24, Issue 356
A Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) summary of a report that looks at the suppression of women's political voices
New report on Zimbabwe
International Crisis Group
2008-03-20, Issue 356
ICG warns that the international community needs to have contingency plans ready in anticipation of rigged elections in Zimbabwe on 29 March that could precipitate a potentially violent crisis
2008-02-12, Issue 344
Through an unexpected confluence of events Kenyans currently find themselves faced with a political conundrum. The spectacular abdication of responsibility by the Chairman of the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK), Mr. Samuel Kiviutu, has perpetuate...