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

Pambazuka News (English edition): ISSN 1753-6839

CONTENTS: 1. Features, 2. Comment & analysis, 3. Pan-African Postcard, 4. Advocacy & campaigns, 5. Books & arts, 6. Letters & Opinions, 7. African Writers’ Corner, 8. Blogging Africa, 9. Emerging powers in Africa Watch, 10. Highlights French edition

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Highlights from this issue

FEATURES – Zo Randriamaro on Madagascar’s hidden crisis of women’s rights and human rights abuses – Khadija Sharife says carbon trading schemes value cash over sustainable development – Sudanese Group for Democracy and Elections and the Sudanese Network for Democratic Elections assess Sudan’s electoral process and elections – Beth Maina and Cenya Ciyendi on church leaders’ ‘dishonest’ opposition to the Kenyan constitution’s clauses on abortion – Alemayehu G. Mariam calls for press freedom in Ethiopia + more

COMMENT & ANALYSIS – Lucy Hovil examines Tanzania’s offer of citizenship to Burundian refugees – Chambi Chachage says there’s no such thing as ‘plain Kiswahili’ – Yash Ghai makes the case for Kenya’s constitution to recognise Kadhi’s courts + more

PAN-AFRICAN POSTCARD – Horace Campbell on how new developments in physics could reinvigorate African conceptions of the universe + more

ADVOCACY & CAMPAIGNS – We will not stand for the grab for our land! – Arbitrary arrest and torture of Kenyan human rights defender

BOOKS & ARTS – Anna White reviews Rasna Warah’s ‘Missionaries, Mercenaries and Misfits’ – Oakland Institute launches report on IFC’s role in global land grab

AFRICAN WRITERS’ CORNER – Tola Ositelu interviews Nigerian writer Lola Shoneyin + more

BLOGGING AFRICA – South Africa 2010: The countdown is on!

1 Features

MADAGASCAR’S HIDDEN CRISIS: WOMEN’S RIGHTS AND HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES Zo Randriamaro With Madagascar’s political crisis still far from resolved, economic and social rights have remained outside of the concerns of the country’s leadership and mainstream media alike, writes Zo Randriamaro. Incidents of human rights abuses have been much less publicised than developments around political competition, Randriamaro notes, a reality reflective of elite concerns for self-protection and personal enrichment at the expense of ordinary livelihoods.

REDD: SEEING THE FOREST FOR THE TREES Khadija Sharife There?s a difference between carbon emissions in developed and developing countries — that of ‘extravagant’ carbon versus ‘survival carbon’, for the provision of basic services such as electricity. But it is a distinction that market-based responses like carbon trading, driven more by financial interests than a desire for sustainable development, fail to consider. Khadija Sharife takes a closer look at UN carbon trading scheme REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation).

MONITORING SUDAN’S ELECTIONS: INCREASING TRANSPARENCY Sudanese Group for Democracy and Elections and the Sudanese Network for Democratic Elections In the wake of the Sudanese elections, the Sudanese Group for Democracy and Elections (SuGDE) and the Sudanese Network for Democratic Elections (SuNDE) offer their assessment of the electoral process and the problems associated with the election.

SOUTH AFRICA: FREEDOM NOT YET Richard Pithouse As South Africa?s Freedom Day rolls around each year, it has become something of a clich? for pundits and politicians to observe that while the country has political freedom, the majority of its people have yet to attain economic freedom. But this platitude masks an extraordinarily anaemic view of political freedom, writes Richard Pithouse.

CREATING A NEW SOUTH AFRICAN IDENTITY William Gumede Building an inclusive South African-ness rests on recognising diversity as part of a broader commitment to a collective identity, argues William Gumede. Debates around ‘African-ness’ are misguided, Gumede maintains, and the country’s true identity should be built on equality, the distribution of opportunities and an inclusive approach to nation-building.

LABOUR MARKET SHUTS OUT WOMEN Kimani Ndungu South Africa has one of the highest rates in the world of unemployment for comparable middle-income countries, writes Kimani Ndungu, with the latest official statistics showing that by December 2009, around 4.2 million people out of a total labour force of 17 million were officially unemployed. But this figure does not include almost 2 million individuals who have simply lost hope of ever finding a job. For women, says Ndungu, the situation is nothing but drastic.

ETHIOPIA: INFORMATION WITHOUT INTERFERENCE Alemayehu G. Mariam Press freedom is now a core value of all humanity, writes Alemayehu G. Mariam, but the “recent history of the independent press in Ethiopia is a chronicle of brutal crackdowns, arbitrary imprisonments and harassments of local and international journalists, shuttering of newspapers and jamming of external radio transmissions?. The Ethiopian people have the “inalienable right to have the information they need to make informed decisions about their form of government, leaders and lives,” Mariam argues.

WOMEN’S RIGHTS AND KENYA’S CONSTITUTION: CHALLENGING ‘MEN OF FAITH’ Beth Maina and Cenya Ciyendi Kenyan church leaders’ opposition to the country’s new constitution on the grounds of objecting to abortion is dishonest, argue Beth Maina and Cenya Ciyendi. In the current constitution abortion remains legal purely under circumstances of medical emergency ? something that is not set to change in the new draft constitution ? Maina and Ciyendi note, but this has not allayed a wave of church-based mobilisation designed to deny women the right to determine what happens to their own bodies.

2 Comment & analysis

NATURALISATION OF BURUNDIAN REFUGEES IN TANZANIA: A NEW HOME? Lucy Hovil Tanzania has taken “the bold and commendable decision to offer citizenship to 162,000 Burundian refugees who fled their country in 1972″, writes Lucy Hovil. But, warns Hovil, it seems premature to refer to the refugees as ‘citizens’, as recent telephone interviews with them suggest that they are ?neither allowed freedom of movement, nor the security of having the necessary and vital documentation to prove their new status?.

THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS PLAIN KISWAHILI Chambi Chachage Kiswahili’s assimilation of words from other languages while retaining its Bantu grammatical and literary structure is ‘a sign of cultural resistance’, writes Chambi Chacage, rather than evidence that it is ‘being bastardised’, as recently argued by Makwaia wa Kuhenga. What Makwaia laments as “the transformation of Kiswahili to “something that one may call Kiswa-English” is another phase of expanding Kiswahili’s rich vocabulary by incorporating new synonyms,” Chachage says.

WHY KENYA’S CONSTITUTION SHOULD RECOGNISE KADHI’S COURTS Yash Ghai Amidst opposition to giving constitutional recognition to Kadhi’s courts and Muslim law, Yash Ghai argues that there are “few more critical factors to building Kenya as a peaceful and united nation than the way we resolve the controversy … Denying a community its identity as expressed in its most cherished values, and which do no harm to others, is the surest way to conflict and disintegration.”

DENUDATION: REMEMBERING DR BALA MOHAMMED BAUCHI (1944?81) Richard Ali Within the backdrop of Nigeria’s post-colonial history, Richard Ali remembers Dr Bala Mohammed Bauchi, assassinated on 10 July 1981 and a man who ‘in the 16 years before his murder ? had established himself first on the radio waves and then in academe as the most lucid of the Nigerian leftist theorists’.

THE PARASITE CLASS: THE ULTRA-RICH AND GLOBAL INEQUALITY Glenn Ashton Perched at the very top of an iniquitous global economic pyramid, the world’s financial elite are nothing more than parasites leeching off the lifeblood of the world’s poor and middle classes, writes Glenn Ashton. While the hold on wealth and resources of the top 20 per cent is deeply concerning, the power of an elite 1 per cent is simply perverse, Ashton stresses.

OBAMA EXPANDS MILITARY INVOLVEMENT IN AFRICA Daniel Volman The escalation of US militarisation in relation to Africa reflects the centrality of counter-insurgency to current White House policy, writes Daniel Volman. The US is keen to avoid direct intervention by building up local capacity to root out terrorist threats, Volman observes. Or, as one senior US military officer put it, ‘[W]e don’t want to see our guys going in and getting wacked ? We want Africans to go in.’

3 Pan-African Postcard

PARTICLE PHYSICS OPENS UP NEW SENSE OF PURPOSE FOR AFRICA Horace Campbell Since the dawn of time, Africans have had a conception of the universe in which there was “no separation between spirit and matter” and it was “impossible to develop ideas of domination over nature”, writes Horace Campbell. While this world view was considered ‘backward and primitive’ in comparison with Western materialism and the perceived objectivity of enlightenment approaches, ecological crises and new developments in physics suggest that African theories on ?the relationship between spirit and matter are not backwardness’ after all.

HATERS ARE BACK AND THEIR TARGET IS MUSLIMS L. Muthoni Wanyeki Concerned by the resurgence of hate speech in Kenya, L. Muthoni Wanyeki decries the negativity directed at the Muslim community in the debate around the Kadhi’s courts.

4 Advocacy & campaigns

WE WILL NOT STAND FOR THE GRAB FOR OUR LAND! African Biodiversity Network African civil society has strongly criticised the World Bank’s new report on ‘Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investment that Respects Rights, Livelihood and Resources’. The World Bank?s report acknowledges and seeks to address the growing problem of ‘land grabbing’ by foreign investors in Africa. But civil society groups have condemned the report as an attempt to legitimise the land grabbing.

KENYA: ARBITRARY ARREST AND TORTURE OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER Front Line On 22 April 2010, human rights defender Mr Keneth Kirimi was arrested and detained without charge for over two days, and was reportedly subjected to torture and ill-treatment while in detention. Much of his interrogation reportedly concerned the work of fellow human rights defender Mr Stephen Musau. Keneth Kirimi works with Release Political Prisoners (RPP) and is an active member of Bunge la Mwananchi, a grassroots movement which aims to fight social injustice and promote accountable leadership at all levels in Kenya. Stephen Musau is the executive coordinator of RPP.

5 Books & arts

DEVELOPMENT AND ITS DISCONTENTS Review of Rasna Warah’s ‘Missionaries, Mercenaries and Misfits’ Anna White After decades of failing to address the root causes of poverty and inequality, the aid industry is bigger than ever. Is it time for some serious soul-searching on the value of ‘development’” Anna White reviews Rasna Warah’s ‘Missionaries, Mercenaries and Misfits’.

AFRICA IS NOT A COMMODITY (Mis)Investment in agriculture: The IFC and the global land grab Oakland Institute In the wake of a major two-day conference on Land Policy and Administration (, hosted by the World Bank to supposedly ?improve land governance? and ?contribute to the well-being of the poorest?, a new report from the Oakland Institute exposes the role of the bank’s private sector branch, International Finance Corporation (IFC), in fuelling land grabs, especially in Africa.

6 Letters & Opinions

AFREEKA FOR AFREEKANS redINK “The oppressive imperialist rationality that has conceived, assembled and systematically perpetrated neocolonialism in Africa must be undressed, diagnosed and treated,” writes redINK.

7 African Writers’ Corner

THE PERILS OF POLYGAMY An interview with Lola Shoneyin Tola Ositelu Nigerian writer Lola Shoneyin, author of new novel ‘The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives’ speaks to Tola Ositelu about poetry, the sexual politics of polygamy, and why she loves men.

ON SAFARI Lawrence M. Mute The eighth wonder of the world boasts its banality

Tame wildebeest clogging the clean concrete of Mbagathi
Which arrows smartly past low and high rise tenement
It coerces the zooming traffic to slow down and look
At humanity swarming from Kibera?s troubled slumberland
To uncertain industry in Industrial Area
And the motorist?s camera has long-since seen this jaded parade
Far too often for it to remain a juicy titbit
At tonight?s bush dinner table or on Face book
Or to goad righteous anger when State functionaries
In their pubescent dalliance with 2030 Vision
Seek to herd this wildlife into Nairobi National Park
Faraway from the gaze of well-heeled elites ?
The sort of innovative strategic thinking, you
Explain to your inquisitive daughter
Which may compete with the Mara’s majestic beauty
And so your imaginative chic daughter twits
Amazed at this constitutional moment?s flaunted profundity
Perplexed by the nightmare of human wildebeest migrating at sundown ?
As they trudge on safari from hungry toil at a Processing Zone
To far-off scenic home that?ll assuage their entitlement to shelter
With monkey and hyena lining the dirt route
To their wretched idyll in the Park.

8 Blogging Africa

SOUTH AFRICA 2010: THE COUNTDOWN IS ON! Dibussi Tande With the official kick-off of the 2010 FIFA World Cup just 42 days away, anticipation is steadily building on the African blogosphere, especially after the recent release of a number of World Cup songs, such as K’Naan’s ‘Waving flag’, Kelly Rowland’s ‘Everywhere you go’ featuring a host of African musicians, and the Shakira/FreshlyGround track, ‘Zaminamina Waka Waka (Time For Africa)’, which is the tournament’s anthem.

9 Emerging powers in Africa Watch

RETHINKING THE IDEA OF THE SOUTH: A NEW CLASS DIVISION AND RIVALRY IS IN THE MAKING Saliem Fakier They go by different names: IBSA (India, Brazil and South Africa), BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) and BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China). These formations all amount to more or less the same thing: The new ’emerging economies’ seeking to redefine relations between themselves and the rest of the world. They are widely seen as new symbols of power in the global arena, writes Saliem Fakier.

10 Highlights French edition

PAMBAZUKA NEWS 143: LES ‘CLAIRAGES DU PASS’ ET LES PISTES VERS UN CONGO NOUVEAU RD Congo: Heurts et malheurs d’un long processus de paix ( Vital Kamarhe

La paix dans la région des Grands lacs : Les dix erreurs de la communaut? internationale ( Vital Kamarhe

RD Congo: Six pistes de solution pour un nouveau d’part ( ) Vital Kamarhe

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ISSN 1753-6839

End of Pambazuka-news Digest, Vol 126, Issue 1

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