The authoritative electronic weekly newsletter and platform for social justice in Africa
Pambazuka News (English edition): ISSN 1753-6839
CONTENTS: 1. Zimbabwe update, 2. Women & gender, 3. Human rights, 4. Refugees & forced migration, 5. Social movements, 6. Africa labour news, 7. Emerging powers news, 8. Elections & governance, 9. Corruption, 10. Development, 11. Health & HIV/AIDS, 12. Education, 13. LGBTI, 14. Racism & xenophobia, 15. Environment, 16. Land & land rights, 17. Media & freedom of expression, 18. Social welfare, 19. Conflict & emergencies, 20. Internet & technology, 21. eNewsletters & mailing lists, 22. Courses, seminars, & workshops, 23. Jobs
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Highlights from this issue
ZIMBABWE UPDATE: SA mediators back to help unlock logjam
WOMEN & GENDER: DRC labeled world’s rape capital
CONFLICT AND EMERGENCIES: Somali clashes leave many dead
HUMAN RIGHTS: Country Risk Portal launched REFUGEES AND FORCED MIGRATION: Burundi returnees find a new place to call home
EMERGING POWERS NEWS: Emerging powers news roundup SOCIAL MOVEMENTS: Un-Freedom Day in South Africa
AFRICA LABOUR NEWS: Massive strike looms in South Africa
ELECTIONS AND GOVERNANCE: Electronic voter registration launched in Kenya
CORRUPTION: Ugandan MPs want ministers charged with corruption
HEALTH & HIV/AIDS: The reinforcing nature of HIV and poverty
DEVELOPMENT: World Bank urged to reform energy lending
EDUCATION: Tanzania lecturers’ strike paralyses public universities
LGBTI: Malawi’s Mutharika threatens gay movement
RACISM & XENOPHOBIA: Belgian bid to ban ‘racist’ Tintin in the Congo
ENVIRONMENT: Rwanda inaugurates first wind power station
LAND & LAND RIGHTS: EU backs global code for farmland purchases
MEDIA AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION: Dissident Tunisian reporter leaves prison
SOCIAL WELFARE: Free care for mothers and children in Sierra Leone
INTERNET & TECHNOLOGY: Young Africans put technology to new uses
ENEWSLETTERS & MAILING LISTS: AfricaFocus Bulletin: Sudan: No easy way ahead
JOBS: Vacancy at Amnesty International
PLUS: Fundraising & useful resources, publications, courses, seminars and workshops
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1 Zimbabwe update
AN ANALYSIS OF ELECTORAL REFORMS
Zimbabwe Election Support Network
In 2008, Zimbabweans welcomed the signing of the Global Political Agreement between the three political parties in Zimbabwe namely MDC (T), MDC (M) and ZANU PF. This agreement has led to considerable peace and stability in Zimbabwe. While the agreement was a positive development, its implementation has been fraught with hiccups and a number of stumbling blocks which has resulted in tensions between the parties to the agreement. This led to the recalling of the SADC Mediator President Jacob Zuma to iron out outstanding issues between the principals to the agreement.
MUGABE REMAINS STUMBLING BLOCK IN EFFORTS TO IMPLEMENT GPA
South African President Jacob Zuma’s facilitation team jetted into Harare Thursday in aother attempt to diffuse rising tension between Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai. South Africa was appointed by the SADC to facilitate the removal of obstacles which hinder the full implementation of the Global Political Agreement.
SA MEDIATORS DUE BACK TO HELP UNLOCK POWER-SHARING LOGJAM
A South African team facilitating power-sharing talks between Zimbabwe’s feuding political parties is expected in Harare Thursday as part of continuing regional efforts to break a deadlock threatening to derail the country’s fragile coalition government.
TENSION RISES IN MWENEZI AFTER SCHOOLBOY KILLS ZANU PF THUG
Political tension in Masvingo’s Mwenezi district was said to be high, after a 15 year old schoolboy exacted his own revenge last week Sunday by killing the ZANU PF thug who murdered his father in 2008. An MDC official in the area told Newsreel that Nhamo Machacha was stabbed in the stomach by the fifteen year old, after a scuffle broke out at a church service.
TOURISM MINISTER IN CLIMB DOWN OVER NORTH KOREAN TEAM VISIT
Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi has said North Korea’s World Cup squad will no longer visit and play a friendly match in Bulawayo, following unprecedented pressure from residents who labelled the planned trip ‘insensitive.’ There was massive opposition in the Matabeleland region to the team’s proposed visit to Bulawayo, after it revived memories of the brutal political massacres of the 1980’s.
2 Women & gender
AFRICA: DRC LABELED ‘WORLD’S RAPE CAPITAL’
The Democratic Republic of Congo is ‘the rape capital of the world’, a senior UN official has said. Margot Wallstrom, the UN’s special representative on sexual violence in conflict, urged the Security Council to punish the perpetrators in DR Congo.
GLOBAL: ARE FEWER MOTHERS DYING’
Almost 200,000 fewer women die each year from pregnancy-related complications than previously thought, because new survey methodology and better maternal mortality data mean more accurate mortality estimates, says a global study by the US-based University of Washington. The most recent UN-funded assessment of worldwide maternal mortality estimated there were 535,900 deaths in 2005, while the new study put the number at 342,900 in 2008, after drawing on birth records, censuses, national surveys and interviews with next of kin and caretakers to determine causes of death.
KENYA: “MERRY-GO-ROUND” MICRO-FINANCE KEEPS SLUM RESIDENTS FED
Josephine Awuor, 34, always looks forward to her turn to receive “merry-go-round” contributions from fellow members of Msingi Bora (Good Foundation), a micro-finance group she belongs to in Kibera, Nairobi’s largest slum. Meeting weekly, the 23 Msingi Bora members each contribute 50 shillings (60 US cents), which is pooled for members to take loans from. At each meeting, the members also contribute 20 shillings (26 US cents) each – to be given to one member in what they term their “merry-go-round” as they draw lots to determine the order of receiving the money.
NIGERIA: WILL SENATOR YERIMA’S CHILD BRIDE LEAD HIM TO JAIL’
It began as a rumour and, having gathered legs, is now about to become viral. Earlier this month, Sani Yerima, the fifty-something year-old, former two-term Governor of Zamfara State and serving Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria reportedly took a fourth wife. Ordinarily, it should be no news that another African man from Nigeria has married a fourth wife. The circumstances of this reported marriage are extraordinary. According to the story, Senator Sani Yerima first divorced his fourth wife, who, after nearly two years of marriage and a baby, is still a teenager and well below voting age in Nigeria.
3 Human rights
EGYPT: ‘HIZBULLAH CELL’ CONVICTIONS MARRED BY TORTURE ALLEGATIONS
Amnesty International has called for a retrial by a regular court of 26 men jailed by an Egyptian emergency court for their alleged links to the Lebanese group, Hizbullah amid allegations of torture. The special court on Wednesday sentenced the menGovernment urged to conduct a ‘ who included Lebanese, Palestinians, Egyptians and one Sudanese ‘ to jail terms ranging from six months to life.
GHANA: POLICE CRACKDOWN ON MIGRANT FULANI HERDSMEN
Security officials in Ghana are cracking down on migrant Fulani herdsmen, accusing them of rape, vandalism, destruction of farms and armed robbery, but conflict resolution specialists say the herdsmen are being manipulated and the government must abide by regional right-of-passage laws.
GLOBAL: COUNTRY RISK PORTAL
The Human Rights and Business Country Risk Portal (based at the Danish Institute for Human Rights) will create the first freely available website where companies can access country-specific information on human rights risks alongside tools and advice for managing those risks.
NIGER: FOOD SHORTAGES FORCE HUNGRY TO HIT THE ROAD
For hundreds of people seeking refuge in Niger’s capital from ever-growing food shortages in the country’s interior, this sprawling cluster of straw huts is the first stop. Seydou Sidi, 76, a village chief has seen his neighbourhood in Quaratadji, located some 15 km (9 miles) outside the capital Niamey, swell by more than 200 people in the last three months.
RWANDA: ALLOW HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH TO WORK
The Rwandan government’s decision to deny a work visa to Human Rights Watch’s representative in Kigali demonstrates a pattern of increasing restrictions on free expression in Rwanda ahead of August’s presidential elections, Human Rights Watch has said. Human Rights Watch will appeal the decision and continue working on human rights issues in Rwanda.
RWANDA: COMMUNITY SERVICE ‘INADEQUATE PUNISHMENT’, SAY SURVIVORS
Sixteen years after the Rwandan genocide, thousands of perpetrators who confessed their roles before the traditional Gacaca Courts have been released and sentenced to community service, but survivors say this is an inadequate punishment. “The punishment should be [close] to the pain those inmates inflicted,” Theodore Simburudali, the chairman of the genocide survivor organization, Ibuka, said.
SUDAN: ICC REJECTS APPEAL AGAINST DISMISSAL OF CHARGES AGAINST DARFUR REBEL LEADER
The pre-trial chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has rejected an appeal by prosecutors to overturn an earlier decision declining to confirm charges against a rebel leader accused of directing the September 2007 attack that killed a dozen African Union peacekeepers in Sudan’s strife-torn Darfur region. In February, the chamber said there was insufficient evidence to establish that Bahar Idriss Abu Garda, who commands a splinter group of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), could be held criminally responsible for the crimes he has been charged with.
ZIMBABWE: COURT RULES IN BLOOD DIAMONDS CASE
Global Witness, a leading light in establishing the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), a global system to prevent “blood diamonds” being sold into the market, is facing a “dilemma” now that the Zimbabwe High Court has allowed the sale of stones from the Marange diamond fields. There have been reports from Marange that “the military … carried out widespread atrocities in the diamond fields, including murder, rape and forced labour”, Global Witness said in a statement.
ZIMBABWE: GIVING FARM WORKERS A VOICE
Gertrude Hambira doesn’t look like someone who gets arrested regularly. Nor do the other women and men in suits who work with her at the General Agricultural and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ), formed in the mid-1980s to protect farm laborers. But arrest, harassment and even torture have been regular occupational hazards for Gertrude’the General Secretary of GAPWUZ’and her staff for many years. Unfortunately, things have not gotten much better since the 2008 elections when President Mugabe refused to cede power to the democratically elected Morgan Tsvangirai, a former union leader himself.
4 Refugees & forced migration
AFRICA: AFRICA’S DISPLACED PEOPLE: OUT OF THE SHADOWS
It was a departure they never had time to prepare for. Seeking to escape death ‘ sometimes amidst fighting between the Senegalese army and rebels in the southern region of Casamance ‘ thousands fled their homes and abandoned livestock and property. Over the past two decades many have resettled in successive waves in Ziguinchor, a major city in Casamance.
BURUNDI: RETURNEES FIND A NEW PLACE TO CALL HOME
Just 2km from the Tanzanian border, the ‘integrated’ rural village of Nyakazi in Kibago commune, Makamba Province, houses 198 families, 80 percent of whom are landless returnees. The village is one of several set up in the southern region of Burundi to help in the reintegration of thousands of 1972 civil war returnees.
5 Social movements
GLOBAL: MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH IN THE FIGHT AGAINST BIOPIRACY
The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB), the Berne Declaration (BD) and the Church Development Service (EED) welcome the announcement by Schwabe today that it will not pursue five pelargonium related patents granted to it by the European Patent Office EPO). Mariam Mayet, African Center for Biosafety (ACB): ‘Nevertheless, we regret that such action comes only after such patents have been challenged by us’.
SOUTH AFRICA: ABM CONDEMNS THE CONTINUATION ATTACK OF SETTLEMENTS
Abahlali baseMjondolo condemns the continuation attack of our settlements by the City of Cape Town, Law Enforcement, Anti Land Invasion and it’s private agency. On April 22, a house of a member of Abahlali baseMjondolo at UT section at Site B was demolished by the City’s Law Enforcement without any reason.
SOUTH AFRICA: BLUE ANTS ATTACK UT SECTION, SITE B, KHAYELITSHA
Abahlali baseMjondolo condemns the continuation attack of our settlements by the City of Cape Town, Law Enforcement, Anti Land Invasion and it’s private agency. On April 22, a house of a member of Abahlali baseMjondolo at UT section at Site B was demolished by the City’s Law Enforcement without any reason.
SOUTH AFRICA: UN-FREEDOM DAY
The event is called ‘Un-Freedom Day’. We call it ‘Un-freedom Day’ because we feel like we are still oppressed by poverty, underdevelopment and injustices directed to us as marginalized communities living in the rural and farming areas. We say that apartheid used racism to exclude the majority of the South Africans, especially indigenous South Africans from accessing economic resources and from participating in the politics of the country. Today we witness class, gender, race and geographical location to exclude the majority of South Africans from participating fully in our democracy. Those of us who live in the rural areas do not have access to our own ancestors’ land, proper education, water and health facilities.
6 Africa labour news
EGYPT: LABOR MOVEMENT DELIVERS MORE THAN BREAD AND BUTTER
A few days ago, 9000 workers at the Naga Hammadi aluminum factory in Upper Egypt staged a protest, demanding that the Egyptian government raise the minimum wage to LE1200, and calling for a withdrawal of confidence from their official trade union committee.
ERITREA: WESTERN MINING COMPANIES AND SLAVE LABOR
The gold rush in Eritrea has attracted many Western companies, among them Canada’s Nevsun Resources Ltd. and Sunridge Gold; Britain’s Andiamo Exploration and London Africa; and Australia’s South Boulder, Sub Sahara Resources, Chalice Gold Mines Ltd. and Gippsland Ltd. And this doesn’t tell all that there is to the involvement of Western companies, for there are many subcontracted companies rushing to get in too, such as AMEC of Canada doing engineering study and Capital Drilling and Geo Drilling of Australia and Boart Longey of Canada doing drilling.
KENYA: TELKOM WORKERS ISSUE STRIKE NOTICE
The workers are pushing for the reinstatement of 25 members of the union sacked last week and a change of management over what they termed as physical harassment by senior managers. The employees are vowing to bring operations at Telkom-Kenya to a halt come Monday May 17 if their demands are not met.
SOUTH AFRICA: MASSIVE STRIKE LOOMING
South Africa’s transport system was expected to be brought to a standstill from 10 May as 50 000 Transnet workers planned to strike over a wage dispute. “This will be the biggest strike in the history of South Africa,” said Chris de Vos, general secretary of the United Transport and Allied Trade Union (Utatu) at a press conference in Johannesburg on Friday.
7 Emerging powers news
EMERGING ACTORS IN AFRICA NEWS ROUND-UP
In this week’s roundup of emerging actors news, IMF and Africa agree on public investment borrowing modalities, China shifts its Africa investment strategy, Tata Africa to start assembly plant in Nigeria, and Vodacom’s DRC investment turns sour.
GLOBAL: IBSA ACADEMIC FORUM
IBSA is a trilateral, developmental initiative between India, Brazil and South Africa to promote South-South cooperation and exchange.
8 Elections & governance
KENYA: GOVERNMENT PIONEERS AN ELECTRONIC VOTER REGISTRATION SYSTEM
In preparations for the next elections Kenya has made changes to their voting systems, changing it from a paper based model to an electronic version. As of the 12th of April 2010 to the 21st may 2010, Kenya’s Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) will register voters electronically for the first time ever in 18 selected constituencies. The pilot will cover the 18 constituencies of Kamkunji, Langata, Mvita, Malindi, Dujis, Wajira East, Isiolo South, Imenti Central, Mbooni, Nyeri Town, Kikuyu, Eldoret North, Nakuru Town, Ainamoi, Ikolomani, Webuye, Kisumu Town West and Bonchari.
NIGERIA: NIGERIANS WELCOME SACKING OF ELECTION TEAM BOSS
Nigerians have praised acting President Goodluck Jonathan’s decision to remove the much criticised election chief Maurice Iwu. Opposition Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora told the BBC that his removal was ‘the beginning of electoral reform’.
SOMALIA: UN ENVOY CALLS ON PARLIAMENT TO RESOLVE INTERNAL DISPUTES
The top United Nations envoy to Somalia today appealed to members of the nation’s Parliament to put aside their infighting and to instead focus on meeting the population’s needs and bolstering security. ‘I am following, with great unease, the unhelpful debate about parliamentary issues now taking place in Mogadishu,’ Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, said in a press release.
SUDAN: SOUTHERN OPPOSITION LEADER CONTESTS POLL RESULT
The leader of Southern Sudan’s second largest party has told the BBC there was “massive rigging” in Sudan’s recent landmark elections. Lam Akol, head of SPLM-Democratic Change, and the leaders of eight other southern parties have decided to challenge the result in the courts.
TANZANIA: TIGHTER NOOSE ON CORRUPT ELECTIONS
Slowly by slowly and amidst controversy the loop against corruption in Tanzania’s elections is becoming tighter as the new Elections Expenses Act 2009 becomes operational. The Act which was controversially tabled in December 2009 and approved in February 2010 seeks to control the use of funds and curb illegal practices in the nomination process, election campaigns and elections processes.
ZAMBIA: OPPOSITION LEADER UNDER HOUSE ARREST
Zambian police have placed influential opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema under house arrest in Mufumbwe constituency, which has been engulfed in political upheaval in the run-up to today’s parliamentary by-elections. Mr Hichilema’s UPND members allegedly assaulted a man, they claimed had impersonated a policeman, leading to their opposition leader’s arrest.
MALAWI: NORWAY THREATENS TO CUT FERTILIZER FUNDING
The Norwegian embassy in Malawi has warned it will stop supporting government’s fertilizer subsidy programme. The initiative rolled out in 2005. The embassy says only should government account for the period 2007/2008, will it continue to support the programme the years 2010 through 2011 per agreement.
UGANDA: MPS WANT MINISTERS CHARGED
Uganda’s Vice-President Gilbert Bukenya and several other ministers should be prosecuted for embezzling government money, a leaked MPs’ report says. The allegations against them centre on contracts awarded for the Commonwealth summit held in Uganda in 2007. The 174-page draft report was given to Uganda’s two main newspapers ahead of the president’s meeting with parliament’s public accounts committee.
AFRICA: 1,000 PARTICIPANTS FOR 20TH WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM ON AFRICA
World Economic Forum on Africa – The World Economic Forum (WEF) announced that nearly 1,000 participants from 85 countries will take part in the 20th World Economic Forum on Africa in Tanzania’s commercial capital city of Dar es Salaam 5-7 May 2010. President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete will host the meeting, which this year explores the theme “Rethinking Africa’s Growth Strategy.
AFRICA: ONLY 10 AFRICAN COUNTRIES MET 6% AGRICULTURAL GROWTH RATE IN 2008
Participants at the recent 6th Partnership Platform Meeting of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) in Johannesburg, South Africa, have agreed that Africa needs speedy and effective measures to eradicate poverty and hunger.
GLOBAL: ALL EYES ON EU TRADE TALKS
Negotiations towards an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Union (EU) and various southern African countries resume in Brussels this week, although compromises are unlikely, players say. The discussions will be observed with keen interest to see what approach the EU’s new trade commissioner Karel de Gucht will adopt.
GLOBAL: CIVIL SOCIETY CALLS ON WORLD BANK TO REFORM ITS ENERGY LENDING
Against the backdrop of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund’s spring meetings this weekend, numerous groups have chimed in on the need for and direction of a new World Bank energy strategy. The bank’s review of this strategy, according to which it makes decisions on loans to energy projects in developing countries, is ongoing and is due to be finalised early next year. For now, though, it remains under fire.
ZIMBABWE: ZCTU WANTS CHIADZWA DIAMONDS NATIONALISED
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions says the controversial diamond mine in Chiadzwa, Manicaland Province, must be nationalised. ZCTU chairman Lovemore Matombo said no single individual or company should be allowed to exploit the diamonds now at the centre of a row between a British company which claims title and the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Company (ZMDC).
11 Health & HIV/AIDS
AFRICA: HIV PREVENTION STUDIES ‘OFTEN OF POOR QUALITY, SHOW LIMITED EFFECT’
The quality of research examining HIV prevention programmes targeted at young people in Africa is poor, according to the authors of a systematic review and meta-analysis published in the online edition of AIDS. Moreover, evidence that such prevention programmes had an effect was limited and confined to sub-group
AFRICA: THE REINFORCING NATURE OF HIV AND POVERTY
In a number of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, widespread HIV infection has already translated into full-blown AIDS epidemics. The effects of this disaster on lives and livelihoods are dramatic, yet the economic consequences are difficult to measure using conventional approaches. Although past and current consequences of the epidemic, and responses to these, can be empirically studied, our knowledge of the overall socio-economic impact of HIVAIDS remains deficient. This study focuses on Malawi, as a representative case. It addresses both the short and long term impact of HIV/AIDS by bringing together and analysing findings from qualitative and quantitative studies on the spread and impact of the epidemic.
ETHIOPIA: RACING TO CONTAIN MDR-TB
At St Peter TB Specialized Hospital, high in the mountains of Entoto, north of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, a masked Johannes* is suffering from multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and has spent the last month at the hospital. While the doctors are glad he is receiving treatment, they are also worried – Johannes is a bus conductor in heavily populated Addis Ababa, so there is no telling how many people he could have infected before seeking treatment.
GLOBAL: IAEA SAYS 10 MILLION PEOPLE FACE CANCER THREATS
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said that more than 10 million people in developing countries are at risk of new cases of cancer by 2020. The UN nuclear watchdog, in a report released at the UN headquarters in New York, also raised concern over the growing cancer epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa.
GLOBAL: MORTALITY DATA REVEALS HIV TREATMENT PROGRESS
A new study of adult mortality tells the tale of HIV over decades and across borders and how treatment may have helped to rewrite the ending. Published in The Lancet’s 30 April early online edition, the study compares adult mortality between 1970 and 2010 in 187 countries.
GLOBAL: MSF CALLS ON GLOBAL FUND TO STAND FIRM
M’decins Sans Fronti’res has expressed concern over calls to place limits on how much funding will be available for future rounds of proposals and/or to postpone the next request for proposals for Round 10. In a letter send to board delegations this week MSF calls on them to reject these calls.
SOUTH AFRICA: LESS SEX, MORE VIOLENCE FOR TEENS
Schoolchildren in South Africa are having less sex, and those that are, are doing it more safely, the second National Youth Risk Behaviour Survey by the Medical Research Council (MRC) has found. Over 10,000 students in their last three years of high school participated in the survey, which showed “significant reductions” in risky sexual behaviour.
SOUTH AFRICA: MASSIVE UN-BACKED HIV PREVENTION DRIVE LAUNCHED
South Africa ‘ home to the one-sixth of the world’s population living with HIV ‘ today unveiled an ambitious campaign to prevent and treat the virus, a move hailed by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). The drive seeks to test 15 million people for HIV by next year, a six-fold jump in just two years, as well as reach 1.5 million people with antiretroviral treatment by June 2011, up from 1 million last year. Nearly 6 million people ‘ or 18 per cent of all adults ‘ in South Africa live with HIV, the largest population of people in the world.
SOUTH AFRICA: RESEARCHERS WARN AGAINST USE OF DDT
South Africa should start looking for alternative solutions to control malaria-carrying mosquitoes, a study has found. Using DDT to curb the spread of malaria has been proven by researchers to pose a huge risk to human beings with those consuming chicken, fish and vegetables produced in DDT-sprayed areas at risk of developing illnesses such as cancer.
SOUTHERN AFRICA: ZAMBIA’S TB-RIDDEN PRISONS
In many African countries, prison conditions are awful, and have been for years. The prisons are overcrowded. Prisoners often get little food. HIV and TB are widespread, and healthcare is inadequate. Large numbers of pre-trial detainees, often held for long periods awaiting trial, mix with the general prison population, and frequently have inadequate legal counsel.
ZIMBABWE: WORRYING RISE IN STIS AMONG YOUNG PEOPLE
A new report by Zimbabwe’s National AIDS Council (NAC), showing a dramatic rise in sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among people aged 15 to 24 in the capital, Harare, has health experts worried that the country’s success in reducing HIV could be unravelling. STIs heighten vulnerability to HIV infection, and this age group is one of the hardest hit. According to the NAC report, more than 24,000 people were treated for STIs in 2009, compared to 8,500 cases recorded in 2008; over 60 percent of the cases were women.
TANZANIA: LECTURER’S STRIKE PARALYSES PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES
Skeletal academic activity enveloped Tanzania’s public universities Thursday as lecturers joined a strike to press for better retirement benefits from the government. While the government remained silent about the strike, a meeting of seven public higher learning institutions held here has agreed to go ahead with the strike.
MALAWI: MUTHARIKA THREATENS GAY MOVEMENT
The homosexual movement in Malawi was dealt a heavy blow at the weekend when President Bingu wa Mutharika condemned the act, describing it as foreign and un-African. President Mutharika made the scathing remarks during the consecration of a Roman Catholic Bishop at Limbe Cathedral in Blantyre, Malawi’s commercial city.
SOUTH AFRICA: TRANSGENDER COMMUNITY WEBSITE USED TO ‘REHEARSE’ NEW IDENTITIES
Two out of three gay South African respondents to an online survey said that going online had helped them accept their sexual orientation and many admitted to coming out online before they did so offline. But the voices of transgender people rarely appear in studies and surveys.
UGANDA: CULTURAL LEADERS URGE LEGISLATORS TO PASS GAY BILL
Cultural leaders in the country have, for the first time, spoken out on the contentious Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009, urging the MPs to pass it in order to safeguard the country’s values and traditions. Under their umbrella body, ‘Forum for Kings and Cultural Leaders in Uganda,’ the custodians of culture expressed anger with the way western countries have put the government on pressure to throw out the Bill.
14 Racism & xenophobia
GLOBAL: BELGIAN BID TO BAN ‘RACIST’ TINTIN IN THE CONGO
A Congolese man is trying to get a controversial Tintin book banned in the cartoon star’s home country of Belgium. The ginger sleuth’s “little (black) helper” in Tintin in the Congo is seen as “stupid and without qualities”, Bienvenu Mbutu is quoted as saying. “It makes people think that blacks have not evolved,” said Mr Mbutu, who lives in Belgium.
EAST AFRICA: RWANDA INAUGURATES FIRST WIND POWER STATION
Rwanda has inaugurated its first-ever wind power station as part of efforts to exploit renewable energies. The wind station sits on the Mount Jali, from where it will feed a big FM transmitter of the Rwandan Office of Information (ORINFOR), also installed on the hill overlooking Rwanda’s capital city of Kiga
GLOBAL: NNIMMO BASSEY SPEAKS AT CLIMATE CONFERENCE INAUGURATION IN BOLIVIA
On April 21, Nnimmo Bassey of Nigeria’s Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth International, spoke at the inauguration ceremony of the World People’s Climate Conference in Cochabamba, Bolivia. He was featured on Democracy Now discussing the Cochabamba-Copenhagen divide outside what he dubbed ‘The Most Important Event in the Struggle Against Climate Change.”
MOROCCO: CHARTER A FIRST FOR ARAB WORLD
In celebration of Earth Day’s 40th anniversary, the Kingdom of Morocco announced an unprecedented National Charter for Environment and Sustainable Development, the first commitment of its kind in Africa and the first in the Arab World.
16 Land & land rights
GLOBAL: EU BACKS GLOBAL CODE FOR FARMLAND PURCHASES ‘ DRAFT
European Union governments want to develop a global code of conduct for foreign investments in agricultural land in developing countries, according to a draft paper on food security seen by Reuters. Food security concerns, driven by a sharp rise in global food prices in 2008, have prompted major importers such as China and the Gulf states to invest heavily in African farmland to secure supplies.
NORTH AFRICA: MOROCCO TO LEASE 30,000 HECTARES OF FARMS PER YEAR
Morocco plans to lease 30,000 hectares (74,000 acres) of farmland per year to improve yields, satisfy growing national demand and boost export sales, its agriculture minister said on Thursday. But Aziz Akhennouch told Reuters the north African kingdom had no plans to join a continent-wide trend of selling farmland outright to foreign companies and governments that want to secure their future food supplies.
SOUTH AFRICA: GOVERNMENT SEEKS NEW WAYS TO SPEED UP LAND REFORMS
South Africa’s “willing-buyer willing-seller” land reform programme is not working and the government will introduce new ways to give more land to the black majority, President Jacob Zuma has said. After the end of apartheid in 1994, South Africa’s government set a target of handing over 30 percent of commercial farmland to black people by 2014 as part of a plan to correct racial imbalances in land distribution caused by apartheid.
17 Media & freedom of expression
NIGERIA: FAJ CALLS FOR END TO IMPUNITY AFTER SPATE OF MURDERS
The Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), the African regional organisation of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), has denounced the prevailing climate of insecurity in Nigeria which led to the murders of three newspapers journalists during sectarian violence which has gripped Africa’s most heavily populated nation.
SOMALIA: SOMALI JOURNALIST FACES FEAR AND NEGLECT
The Somali Journalist Rights Agency (SOJRA) concerns the desperate pleading for help from the prominent and well respected Somali journalist who is currently in exile in Athens, the capital of Greece. A journalist Mohamud Mohamed Hallane, who is well known in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia and in lower Shabelle region contacted SOJRA on Thursday April 29th, 2010 and requested for help while he faced an unkind condition during his dash for freedom.
TUNISIA: DISSIDENT REPORTER BEN BRIK LEAVES PRISON
A dissident Tunisian journalist has been released from prison after serving a six-month sentence for assault. Taoufik Ben Brik, a prominent critic of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, has always claimed his conviction was politically motivated.
ZAMBIA: FAJ BACKS MEDIA DRIVE FOR SELF-REGULATORY MECHANISMS
The Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), the African regional organization of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), strongly protests the Zambian government’s on-going attempts to impose a statutory regulatory council on the media in the country, a move strongly opposed by the Zambian independent media community.
18 Social welfare
WEST AFRICA: SIERRA LEONE STARTS FREE CARE FOR MOTHERS AND CHILDREN
Sierra Leone has launched a free healthcare plan for pregnant women, breast-feeding mothers and children under five years old. The country has some of the world’s highest maternal and child death rates. Doctors blame this partly on health service fees and the cost of medication, and hope the healthcare plan will help save lives.
19 Conflict & emergencies
CHAD: ‘HUNDRED KILLED’ IN CLASHES
Chad’s government says the army has killed 105 insurgents and beaten back a new attack near the Sudan border, but the rebels have denied the claims. FPNR leader Adoum Yacoub said both sides had lost lives but did not give any details.
KENYA: LANDSLIDE KILLS 10, MORE FEARED MISSING
A landslide in western Kenya after relentless heavy rains has killed 10 people and more may be buried in the mud, the Kenya Red Cross (KRC) said on Friday. KRC said the latest deaths took the number of people killed by floods and landslides in Kenya so far this year to 100. El Nino weather patterns across east Africa are blamed for the wild storms that have hit east Africa’s biggest economy. A massive landslide in neighbouring Uganda killed scores of people in a remote village in March.
NIGER: UN WARNING OVER TOTAL CROP FAILURE
Niger is threatened with total crop failure in some areas and the situation is worse than the 2005 crisis, the UN humanitarian chief has told the BBC. But John Holmes said the new government is co-operating in aid efforts.
SOMALIA: CLASHES LEAVE MANY DEAD
At least 14 civilians have been killed during a battle between government soldiers and al-Qaeda-linked fighters, witnesses say. Tuesday’s clashes followed a separate suicide car bomb attack in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, by al-Shabab fighters on the base of African Union peacekeepers.
WEST AFRICA: BEYOND THE CRISIS IN NIGER
Most NGOs and UN agencies in Niger agree that in 2010 humanitarian actors are better geared to respond to the food security crisis than they were in 2005, but some say there is a risk of repeating mistakes in information-sharing, planning appropriate responses, and raising funds more quickly. “There are similarities to 2005 that donors and the aid community must heed in order to avert a disaster in 2010,” warned CARE, an NGO focusing on poverty eradication, in a communiqu’ on 26 April.
20 Internet & technology
AFRICA: STUDY FINDS AFRICAN BROADBAND MARKET NEAR TIPPING POINT
After years of slow growth and outright despair at whether broadband would ever take off on the African continent, research suggests that the market is inching ever closer to a tipping point, according to US-based Reportlinker.com professio nal search engine. ‘As submarine cables find their way along Africa’s coastlines, the continent is slowly but inevitably emerging from what we have long referred to as the Dark Ages of African bandwidth, an era of bandwidth bondage of sorts, characterized by excessively high prices, near-zero broadband penetration rates and self-defeating regulatory models,’ the firm said Tuesday.
AFRICA: YOUNG AFRICANS PUT TECHNOLOGY TO NEW USES
At 11 p.m. on 2 January 2008, back from Nairobi, Kenya, an exhausted Ory Okolloh ‘ a Johannesburg-based Kenyan lawyer in her thirties ‘ posted the following message on her blog: ‘For the reconciliation process to occur at the local level the truth of what happened will first have to come out.
EAST AFRICA: EAC ADOPTS ONE LAPTOP PER CHILD INITIATIVE
The East African Community (EAC) Thursday partnered with the One Laptop per Child (OLPC), a US-based non-profit organisation whose mission is to help provide every child in the world access to a modern education. According to the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the EAC and OLPC, the two organisations agreed to work together to leverage the advantages of the laptops in transforming primary school education and to promote strategies for better access to laptops and connectivity — especially for the region’s underprivileged children.
GLOBAL: CPJ CHALLENGES AUTHORITIES IN 10 NATIONS TO STOP KILLING JOURNALISTS
To mark the World Press Freedom Day, 3 May, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has identified 10 symbolic cases worldwide in which journalists have been killed with impunity. For instance, the CPJ says, in the Philippines, political clan members slaughter more than 30 news media workers and dump their bodies in mass graves.
21 eNewsletters & mailing lists
SUDAN: NO EASY WAYS AHEAD
AfricaFocus Bulletin Apr 25, 2010 (100425)
“A vote for secession [in the 2011 referendum] is a foregone conclusion – given overwhelming Southern popular sentiment – but the time remaining to ensure that the process is orderly, legitimate, and consensual is desperately short. The potential flashpoints for a new war are many. Any new armed conflict runs the risk of becoming rapidly regionalized and difficult to contain, let alone resolve.” – Alex de Waal. This comment comes in the first chapter of a timely assessment by the Heinrich Boell Foundation of the options for Sudan after the elections and the forthcoming referendum on Southern Africa.
22 Courses, seminars, & workshops
AFRICA: CODESRIA-SEPHIS EXTENDED WORKSHOP ON SOCIAL HISTORY
CODESRIA/SEPHIS collaborative programme is pleased to announce the 7th edition of its Extended Workshop on New Theories and Methods in Social History which is scheduled for the 2nd ‘ 12th of November 2010 in Dakar, Senegal. The theme of the workshop is: ‘Historicizing Gender & Sexuality in the Global South’. The Workshop will be organised around the comparative experiences of Africa, the Middle East, Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America.
SOUTH AFRICA: NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON STRUCTURAL POVERTY IN SOUTH AFRICA
The Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) of the University of the Western Cape, Isandla Institute and Studies on Poverty and Inequality Institute (SPII) with support from the Programme to Support Pro-Poor Policy Development (PSPPD) of the Office of the Presidency, and the Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC) form a partnership to host a three-day national conference on structural poverty to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa on 20 – 22 September 2010.
CAMPAIGNER – SPECIAL FOCUS ON SUDAN
Campaigner – Special Focus On Sudan ‘31,104 Per Annum + Benefits – London Wc1 Closing date: 23rd May 2010
Amnesty International (AI) is a worldwide movement of volunteers and professionals standing up for human rights. Independent of any government, ideology, economic interest or religion, we have more than two million supporters in over 150 countries. Our purpose is to research, campaign and take action to effect change and protect individuals wherever rights, justice, fairness, freedom and truth are denied. This position is within The International Secretariat ‘ Amnesty International’s global centre for research, campaigning, legal, lobbying and membership work.
You will be required to conduct and co-ordinate campaigning activities, assessing where we will have an impact and how we can make a difference. You will have proven campaigning skills and knowledge of East Africa and in particular Sudan.
A proven campaigner who’s committed to human rights, you will combine a creative, yet pragmatic approach with excellent communication skills, particularly written and presentational. A team-oriented person with first-hand experience of the region with awareness and understanding of its cultures, you will also have impartial political judgement, excellent communication skills, strong strategic thought and an open and result-oriented approach to your work. We offer an attractive worldwide relocation package plus other benefits.
For further information about this and our other current vacancies, and to apply online, please visit www.amnesty.org/jobs and quote reference AFR/EAFT/C01. CVs will not be accepted.
The closing date for applications is 23rd May 2010.
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End of Pambazuka-news Digest, Vol 126, Issue 2