2011-06-30, Issue 537
cc G LAfrica remains at the mercy of a self-interested international ruling class interested purely in maximising profit at all costs and consolidating its position, writes Yash Tandon. As the continent faces up to the enormous challenge of climate change and the creation of a sustainable ‘green economy’, it must look inwards and draw upon its own expertise and resources and resist the temptation to rely on compromised external ‘experts’, Tandon stresses.
2010-11-18, Issue 505
cc Stewart LeiwakabessyPetra Diamonds, the largest diamond-mining group listed on the UK's Alternative Investment Market (AIM), may deal in the glittering rocks that bring lovers together in holy matrimony. But the company’s activities behind the scenes may just be tearing people – and societies – apart, writes Khadija Sharife.
Alemayehu G. Mariam
2010-02-18, Issue 470
cc UNDPWhile Ghana appears to be taking steps to make its natural resources sector transparent, accountable and open to public scrutiny, Alemayehu G. Mariam sees Ethiopia slipping further the other way. Mariam understands Ghana’s background in the sector is by no means clean, but he believes the very different attitudes of its new presidency should be an example to Ethiopia and the rest of Africa. He finds Ethiopia instead shrouded in secrecy over its farmland and borderland deals with Sudan.
2009-07-02, Issue 440
cc MothersFightingForOthersWhile acknowledging that Kenya's Grand Coalition Government (GCG) has given rise to much debate and commentary, Zaya Yeebo argues that civil society's ability to influence change without violence is often ignored. Though other African countries see their people's voices expressed through groups such as trade unions and youth organisations, Kenyans' voices are muted by the noisy contestations of the country's political elites. The tendency of the last few years to 'franchise' the role of civil society out to international NGOs must be challenged, Yeebo contends, and Kenyans must look to the recent examples provided by Ghana, Sierra Leone and South Africa of how people power can bring about change. But while Kenyan civil society can draw inspiration and even support from outside, it alone must work to stoke popular pressure if effective and lasting political reform is to be achieved, Yeebo concludes.
2009-07-02, Issue 440
cc TV Boy‘Lone-ranger’ dictators Bongo (Gabon), Nguessor (Congo) and Obiang (Equatorial Guinea) have in fact been sustained by neocolonial relationships set up by France and the international financial system, writes Khadija Sharife. Françafrique, France's postcolonial Africa policy, was designed to create structural dependence and domination by reasserting geostrategic control over natural resources through the use of black 'governors', says Sharife. Illegitimate governments representing external interests have shaped and normalised the inherited legacy of colonialism, Sharife argues. These leaders, Sharife adds, have thus subsequently ‘internalised the economic, cultural, and political imperialism and cultivated an atmosphere of compliance concerning French interests in Africa.’ Unlike the United States, Sharife notes, ‘France treads lightly, attracts little or no attention, and leaves few footprints behind.’
2009-07-02, Issue 440
cc DEMOSHThe Kenyan government has conceded that the country has a problem with the widespread and systematic use of extrajudicial killings by the Kenya Police Force, as highlighted in a report by UN special rapporteur Professor Phillip Alston, writes Louise Edwards. Now, however, the focus must shift to action to be taken to address the problems with policing the report raises, says Edwards. ‘Police reform is a daunting and long-term process,’ Edward notes, that ‘requires substantial law reform, a radical shift in policing culture from one of impunity to accountability and the restoration of trust between police and the community.’ But, Edwards cautions, ‘None of these urgent reforms will happen in Kenya without the political and financial commitment of the government.’
2009-06-18, Issue 438
cc wikimedia.orgWith Kenya still in the throes of an entrenched crisis, Korir Sing’Oei considers the broader history behind the deficiencies of the country's political system. Arguing that there are clear similarities to be drawn between events such as the state's response to the 1963 Shifta War and today's military crackdowns at Mt. Elgon, Sing’Oei stresses that the government continues to have a single method of conflict resolution, that of state-sponsored violence. But if Kenya's dream of a new constitution is to come to fruition, Sing’Oei concludes, there must be firm resolve to see accountability for its leadership, beginning on the first day of the country's truth commission with an apology from President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga for the post-election violence.
A letter of protest to governments and politicians in Africa
Lord Aikins Adusei
2009-06-11, Issue 437
cc Tom MarukoIn a lyrical letter of protest to politicians in Africa, Lord Aikins Adusei writes that people are tired of their self-proclaimed leaders. 'You have consistently ignored all our cry for help even though you know our plights very well', Adusei says, chronicling the challenges faced by people across the continent from poor housing and education to torture and war. 'Aren't you ashamed that after all these years of independence your people cannot feed themselves; cannot read and write; rely on handouts from Europe and America; and the youth are in a hurry to leave the continent for you?', Adusei asks, before closing with the words of caution:'We are watching.'
2009-06-04, Issue 436
cc OxfamIn anticipation of Denmark's hosting of the United Nations Climate Change Conference – the COP15 – in December this year, Collins Cheruiyot says that now is the time for Africa to be proactive in asserting its right to be heard. Calling upon its leaders to seize the opportunity to represent their continent in Copenhagen, Cheruiyot stresses that Africa must not allow itself to be short-changed on so crucial a challenge.
The Pambazuka News team highlights 15 of our favourite Pan-African Postcards
Pambazuka News Editors
2009-05-28, Issue 435
Pambazuka News has published Tajudeen’s weekly Pan-African Postcard regularly since 2004. While we joke that Tajudeen’s writing was ‘an editor’s nightmare’, it was first and foremost a source of penetrating, incisive insight into pan-African affairs, expressed with humour and an underlying sense of optimism and belief that, however great the challenges the continent faces, by uniting and organising, we can build Africa into a great place for all its citizens. In celebration of Tajudeen’s commitment and contribution to Pan-Africanism – and to the Pambazuka community – we have picked a few of our favourite postcards to share with you. These postcards, listed in chronological order, demonstrate Tajudeen’s uncanny ability to see to the heart of the matter, to understand the workings of the human heart, to clarify complex and controversial issues and to inspire people to work for change.
2009-05-21, Issue 433
cc flickr.comConsidering Tanzania's position in relation to food crises around the world, Ng’wanza Kamata laments the inability of Jakaya Kikwete's government to develop the 'agricultural revolution' it once promised. Highlighting that food production difficulties have over the years invariably been attributed to drought and peasant farmers' supposed laziness and poor agricultural methods, Kamata argues that the government should now begin to look in the mirror and acknowledge its own shortcomings. With the budget for agriculture consistently low despite the sector's support for around 80 per cent of Tanzania's total population, the author contends that the country's producers essentially remain subject to the same exploitative relations first imposed during the colonial period. In the face of contemporary political elites' willingness to embrace biofuel production methods, Kamata stresses that the touted agricultural revolution should prioritise the needs and role of the country's poor agricultural majority and not simply bend to the will of foreign corporations.
2009-05-07, Issue 431
cc Humanitarian CoalitionDisillusionment with the failure of the 2008 peace deal is the only point of consensus in Kenya, writes Kwamchetsi Makokha, with Kenyans using their shared sense of despondency to hide their frustrations with the decision to force two ideologically parallel political systems to work together for five years. Outlining the demise of the country’s institutions from the judiciary to parliament, Makokha argues that ‘unless the international community forcefully reengages with Kenya and progressive civil society finds a way to engage the middle class to reflect more on their role in rescuing the country, the future looks bleak’. While those who wish to ‘provide leadership face innumerable risks and palpable threats’, the absence of individuals with ‘unquestionable moral authority in the public sphere… feeds the despondency that has come to characterise Kenya’, Makokha concludes.
2009-01-29, Issue 417
2008 began for Kenyans with the murder of Kenya’s democracy. It ended with the son of a Kenyan migrant winning the US presidential race. In editing this special issue of Pambazuka News, ‘Kenya – one year on’, our guest editor, Shailja Patel, says the questions that arise apply to both these historic events.
2009-01-15, Issue 415
As Obama takes over the presidency of the United States, Horace Campbell contextualizes an Obama presidency in the realities of Africa and the ongoing global finance crisis. He argues that “capitalism should not be reconstituted and rebuilt on the backs and bodies of Africans." For Campbell, the crisis is not simply a cyclical crisis of capitalism; it is a fundamental shift in the global political and economic order. In light of this fast changing world, Campbell is also interested in the possibilities and our responsibilities in bringing about change in and for Africa.
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....
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% ...
2008-08-26, Issue 394
African countries and donors share the belief that aid has the potential to contribute to economic growth, reduce poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). However, the way both donors and recipient countries are performing for del...
2008-07-23, Issue 390
Climate Change is accepted today even by die hard sceptics as a real crisis that must be urgently tackled for the preservation of the earth in a form that would sustain human and other life forms. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the best known body of climate scientists who accepts that most of the observed warming of the last 50 years is likely due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations due to human activities
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.
SADC Council of NGOs
2008-07-09, Issue 387
SADC Council of NGOs (SADC-CNGO), Southern African Trade Union Coordinating Council (SATUCC) & Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa (FOCISSA), representing broad membership in all SADC member states, are deeply concerned that the developments in Zimbabwe grossly undermines the regional community’s efforts to achieve regional integration and go against the spirit and objectives of the SADC Treaty.
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.
2008-06-10, Issue 379
The Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness will be held this September in Accra. But is aid effectiveness a mirage? Yash Tandon dissects the Paris Declaration in relation to aid effectiveness and reaches the conclusion that "under the pretext of making aid more effective, the aid effectiveness project is a form of collective colonialism by Northern donors of those Southern countries that, through weakness, vulnerability or psychological dependency, allow themselves to be subjected to it at the Accra conference in September." But all is not lost and he also offers a way out.
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.
2008-05-27, Issue 375
Libya is getting the backing of Ukraine to build nuclear reactors. Mustafa Adam-Noble looks at the implications of an oil-rich country going nuclear and the possible impact on Libyan people.
2008-05-04, Issue 372
Civil society organisations call upon the membership of the United Nations to encourage the building of development partnerships that increase the volume and maximize the poverty reduction impact of the Overseas Development Assistance (ODA).
2008-05-15, Issue 371
The challenges confronting Africa's democratic experiments are many and complex and include entrenching constitutionalism and the reconstruction of the postcolonial state, writes Femi Falana. To move Africa forward, emerging democratic governments would have to confront a legacy of poverty, illiteracy, militarization, and underdevelopment produced by incompetent or corrupt governments.
Bill Fletcher, Jr
2008-04-17, Issue 363
For Bill Fletcher, speaking out against Mugabe's excesses does not make one an ally of the Bush or Gordon Brown agenda for Africa, or a supporter of the troubling MDC. In this frank article, he argues that what matters is whether "there is a political environment that advances genuine, grassroots democracy and debate in Zimbabwe." On tough issues such as on Obama or Zimbabwe, Black America has to accommodate and learn from different views and not find agents of 'imperialism' in every voice that is critical - solidarity has to accommodate difference
2008-04-01, Issue 363
This Africa Action resource provides examples of statements from African leaders from multiple regions who stand opposed to AFRICOM."The stand that many African countries have taken against the military command is one that needs to be supported and needs to be explained to the U.S...
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
Mariam Mayet speaks to Pambazuka News
2008-04-10, Issue 361
In this wide ranging Pambazuka News interview, Mariam Mayet, the director of the African Center Biosafety speaks about biopiracy, which she calls "the last frontier", the Alliance for a Green Revolution and its impact on Africa, and food and agriculture as social justice justice.| 1-30 | 31-42 | Next