African Union says only 1,500 Darfuris died in 2008
Bruce A. Dixon
2009-07-16, Issue 442
Stopping genocide is apolitical, purely a matter of conscience and goodwill. At least, that's what the Save Darfur campaign would have us believe, says Bruce A. Dixon. While Save Darfur's good-vs-evil battle has consistently touted a total figure of 400,000 dead in Darfur, sources on the ground indicate that there were actually around 1,500 deaths last year. That people are dying is not to be minimised or downplayed, Dixon contends, but the notion that the US's global might is needed to slay a unified evil is increasingly revealing itself as purely a means to establish domestic consent for military intervention in Africa.
10 years, 10 lessons
2009-05-21, Issue 433
cc David BlumeHaving been asked in 1998 to write a report on Rwanda's 1994 genocide by the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), Gerald Caplan outlines a series of 10 broad lessons about genocide. Stressing his conviction that the ultimate purpose of knowing about genocide should be to have something to say about its prevention, the author argues that there should be no hierarchy when considering genocides committed around the world. Citing the ultimate conclusions of Primo Levi, a Jewish–Italian survivor of Auschwitz, Caplan underlines the troubling reality that rather than increasing the resolve not to see history repeated, the existence of one genocide merely affirms the possibility of future tragedy elsewhere in the world. While history suggests that there is ample reason for cynicism, Caplan concludes however that committed action on the part of the public and civil society represents a genuine means of forcing the UN Security Council to put the welfare of those suffering above its members' interests.
Give us a fighting chance to live up to our potential
Ali M. Malau
2009-05-14, Issue 432
cc WikipediaIt's true that Congo is a disappointment, says Ali M. Malau, responding to There is No Congo, an article which advocates carving up the country described as ‘a collection of peoples, groups, interests, and pillagers who coexist at best’. But that’s no reason to write off its potential to succeed as a nation-state of a country that should rival rising powers like South Africa and Brazil with its wealth of natural and human resources. Malau argues that Congo’s failure is the result of a Western campaign to weaken it in order to ‘perpetuate the systematic plunder of Congo's resources’ by foreign interests. Since 1885, says Malau, the affairs of the Congo have never truly been left to the Congolese people. With a great deal of work and investment from its people, Malau believes Congo could still become a ‘powerful engine for the development, and the industrialisation of the entire continent’.
2009-04-22, Issue 429
© Oryx MultimediaWith Jacob Zuma's African National Congress (ANC) on the verge of victory in today's South African election, William Gumede charts the leader's rise and endeavour to align himself with the country's poor black majority through presenting himself as a stark contrast to his erstwhile rival Thabo Mbeki. Now a self-styled 'champion' of the poor, the success of much of Zuma's campaigning has rested on his ability to exploit the core rich–poor dichotomy framing the election for his own benefit, argues Gumede. Having raised expectations among South Africa's poor to 'a level of fever pitch', the success of Zuma's presidency will ultimately rest on his capacity to harness the talents of the country's diverse peoples during testing economic times, the author concludes.
2009-04-16, Issue 428
cc WikipediaIn this special edition of Pambazuka News, Sanusha Naidu sets out the background to the upcoming South African election and introduces the wide array of perspectives informing this week's articles. While some commentators have chosen to emphasise the changing nature of the ANC's (African National Congress) political dominance and the party's current difficulties, others have focused on the ultimate absence of genuine liberation for South Africa's poor majority some 15 years after the historic 1994 election. With some calling for the 2009 election to be boycotted entirely, the contributors to this issue share a common desire to offer piercing analysis and powerful insights into South Africa's political landscape as the country approaches voting day on 22 April.
2009-04-16, Issue 428
cc WikipediaAmid fears that Polokwane and the split in the ANC, and the uncertainty that these have generated, will unravel South Africa’s national potential for a rosier future, Adam Habib writes that ‘Economic development, service delivery, and poverty alleviation are dependent on a legitimated and capacitated state’. As the country’s national elections approach, Habib cautions that behaviour that ‘undermines the legitimacy and capacity of state institutions will compromise the new political elite’s own long-term goals’. Exploring the reasons behind former ANC leader Thabo Mbeki’s loss of support and what a Zuma presidency might mean for South Africa, Habib argues that the ‘substantive uncertainty’ introduced into South African politics by COSATU (Congress of South African Trade Unions) and the SACP’s (South African Communist Party) mobilisation against Mbeki has opened up political space and created debate on a range of policy issues, that would otherwise not have taken place. But for this ‘substantive uncertainty’ to be sustainable, it must be institutionalised within the political system as a whole.
2008-07-30, Issue 391
Wole Soyinka was addressing a conference on the issue of the ‘brain drain’ from African countries. He remarked on how many of the speakers before him had lamented the flight of millions of Africans to the West and how apparently desperate were these ...
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.
2008-05-05, Issue 368
As the people of Equatorial Guinea continue to die from AIDS and other diseases, Agustin Velloso highlights the fact that the elite in power receive their medical care abroad. Spain, one of the country's more important trading partners, turns a blind eye to Equatorial Guinea's corrupt health-care industry.
2008-03-13, Issue 356
Hillary Kundishora looks at the state of electronic and print media in Zimbabwe and argues that far from the media being the people's watchdog, it is the propaganda arm of the state machinery. With independent media harassed or banned, the promise of democracy has already been undermined
L. Muthoni Wanyeki
2008-02-12, Issue 344
L. Muthoni Wanyeki, executive director of the Kenya Human Rights Commission, recently spoke to AllAfrica.com about a wide range of aspects of the crisis that erupted over Kenya’s disputed presidential election.
2007-12-17, Issue 333
Charles Otieno-Hongo argues that a youth agenda should be about giving young people the space to participate in decision making with respect to issues that concern their intellectual development, social identity and economic empowerment.