14 November 2011 — Pambazuka News (English edition): ISSN 1753-6839
The authoritative electronic weekly newsletter and platform for social justice in Africa
CONTENTS: 1. Podcasts & Video, 2. Zimbabwe update, 3. African Union Monitor, 4. Women & gender, 5. Human rights, 6. Refugees & forced migration, 7. Africom Watch, 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. Food Justice, 18. Media & freedom of expression, 19. Social welfare, 20. News from the diaspora, 21. Conflict & emergencies, 22. Internet & technology, 23. Fundraising & useful resources, 24. Courses, seminars, & workshops, 25. Publications, 26. Jobs
1 Podcasts & Video
GLOBAL: AFRICA TODAY INTERVIEW WITH GERALD HORNE
In this interview, Africa Today’s Walter Turner speaks with Gerald Horne on his life’s work, his writings, and African Americans in the contemporary period.
2 Zimbabwe update
ZIMBABWE: MDC-T, MDC-N AND ZANU PF TO MEET OVER VIOLENCE
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has told journalists that the national executives of all three political parties in the inclusive government will meet to discuss the worsening political violence in the country. ZANU PF Central Committee members and their counterparts from the national executive councils of the MDC-T and MDC-N are expected to attend. The meeting follows the violent disturbances witnessed when members of the notorious ZANU PF Chipangano gang attacked MDC-T supporters preparing for a rally at Chibuku Stadium in Chitungwiza.
3 African Union Monitor
MOZAMBIQUE: THE ARPM PROCESS, THEN AND NOW
The report tracks Mozambique’s progress since it acceded to the APRM process in March 2003 up to when it was eventually peer reviewed in June 2009. The authors urge the government of Mozambique to show political will and act upon the pronouncements made in their National Programme of Action document to ensure that governance is strengthened and democracy is deepened, by addressing corruption, and promoting plural participation in public institutions and processes as well as reducing over dependency on foreign aid.
4 Women & gender
AFRICA: AFRICAN WOMEN’S ORGANISING FOR THE RATIFICATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MAPUTO PROTOCOL
The Maputo Protocol is a ground-breaking women’s rights legal instrument that expands and reinforces the rights provided in other human rights instruments. The Protocol provides a broad range of economic and social welfare rights for women. Importantly it was produced by Africans and pays attention to the concerns of African women. AWID interviewed Faiza Jama Mohamed, director of Equality Now about the Solidarity for African Women’s Rights (SOAWR) campaign for the ratification and implementation of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women also known as the Maputo Protocol or the African Women’s Protocol.
GLOBAL: CONTROLLING TECHNOLOGY TO END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
Take Back The Tech! is a collaborative campaign that takes place during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence (25 Nov – 10 Dec). It is a call to everyone – especially women and girls – to take control of technology to end violence against women. Visit the Take Back The Tech! website to find out more.
GLOBAL: SOME GENDER GAPS FOR WORLD’S WOMEN CLOSING BUT CHASMS REMAIN, SAYS REPORT
Many of the world’s women are moving closer to gender equality, but substantial gaps remain between men and women in health, education and, particularly, political and economic participation in a number of countries, including some of the most developed, according to a new global report. Measuring against 2010 rankings, for example, the Sixth Annual World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2011 found that New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom showed slight declines in their overall gender equality rankings, while Brazil, Ethiopia, Qatar, Tanzania and Turkey posted gains.
KENYA: THE REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN AT PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES
The findings of this study published by the Organisation for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (OSSREA) revealed that there has been a steady increase in overall student enrolment from the academic years 2000/2001 to 2006/2007 in selected universities. There was variation in female student enrolment during this period, but in all cases it was below 50 per cent. Data regarding student enrolment in the various faculties/schools by gender from Kenyatta and Egerton universities revealed that female students were concentrated in the humanities and social sciences. Women academic staff were found to be underrepresented in the universities. Women staff were found to be missing from the senior university management positions.
5 Human rights
BURUNDI: RUMOURED HIT LIST FRIGHTENS OPPOSITION
Many teachers in the eastern Burundian provinces of Ruyigi and Cankuzo have fled their homes, fearing for their lives. Rumour has it that a plan, codenamed ‘Safisha’ and allegedly being carried out by the ruling CNDD-FDD party, aims to eliminate all opposition members. In the local dialect, ‘safisha’ means ‘to cleanse’.
CAR: COUNTRY NO ‘NO RIGHTS BLACK HOLE’, SAYS GOVERNMENT
The Central African Republic has hit out at an Amnesty International report that deemed the country a human rights ‘black hole’, saying much had been done to protect its citizens. The government spokesperson said it was ‘extreme’ to maintain, as AI did last month, that a justice vacuum in CAR was preventing an end to human rights violations.
GAMBIA: RIGHTS GROUP URGES GAMBIA TO FREE TWO ACTIVISTS
A global human rights body, ‘Front Line’, has urged the Gambian authorities to ‘immediately drop all charges’ against Dr Isatou Touray and Amie Bojang, two leading rights activists. Dr. Touray and Bojang, Director and Programme Coordinator respectively of The Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (GAMCOTRAP), are facing charges of ‘theft’ which they continue to deny. In a statement obtained by PANA, Front Line said the duo’s ‘continued prosecution is solely motivated by their legitimate and peaceful work in defence of human rights’.
NIGERIA: 10 EXTRA-JUDICIAL KILLINGS PER WEEK
Nigeria records 10 extra-judicial killings per week, and 95 per cent of such killings are unresolved, the local media quoted the non-governmental organisation Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) as saying. LEDAP also said about 2,800 unlawful killings are recorded annually in Nigeria, with most of the killings carried out by criminal gangs. ‘About 16 per cent are done by state agents and most of them are not resolved and perpetrators punished,’ LEDAP National Coordinator Chino Obiagwu was quoted as saying.
NIGERIA: AMNESTY URGES SHELL TO PAY FOR NIGERIA SPILLS
Amnesty International has called on Shell to pay $1bn to start cleaning up two oil spills in Nigeria’s Niger Delta which it says caused huge suffering to locals whose fisheries and farmland were poisoned. The report by the human rights group to mark the 16th anniversary of the execution of environmental activist Ken Saro Wiwa by Nigerian authorities said the two spills in 2008 in Bodo, Ogoniland, had wrecked the livelihoods of 69,000 people.
SOUTH AFRICA: SA JUSTICE MINISTER CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION INTO ZIM RENDITION REPORTS
South Africa’s Justice Minister has called for an investigation into reports that the country’s priority crimes unit and the police are involved in an illegal ‘renditions’ deal with Zimbabwe. Minister Jeff Radebe is reportedly on a ‘collision course’ with his colleague, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, after demanding answers over the report. Radebe told South Africa’s Sunday Times newspaper that the rendition claims were ‘very worrying’, especially considering the allegations ‘were levelled not only against organs of state, but one that is responsible for law enforcement and security.’
ZIMBABWE: AMNESTY HIGHLIGHTS MURAMBATSVINA
The 50th African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights ended recently in Banjul, Gambia with Amnesty International voicing its concern over the continuing struggle that victims of Operation Murambatsvina face. AI said it was concerned about the failure of the government to provide effective solutions to the problems faced by those who were forcibly evicted from their homes in 2005. A few of the victims were allocated incomplete housing structures or un-serviced plots of land under the government’s re-housing programme, known as Operation Garikai.The majority of the victims were forcibly settled in rural areas while those who remained in urban areas moved into existing housing set ups, leading to overcrowding.
6 Refugees & forced migration
GLOBAL: GOVERNMENTS MUST PLAN FOR MIGRATION IN RESPONSE TO CLIMATE CHANGE, RESEARCHERS SAY
If global temperatures increase by only a few of degrees by 2100, as predicted by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, people around the world will be forced to migrate. A consortium of 12 scientists from around the world gathered last year at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center to review 50 years of research related to population resettlement following natural disasters or the installation of infrastructure development projects such as dams and pipelines. The group determined that resettlement efforts in the past have left communities in ruin, and that policy makers need to use lessons from the past to protect people who are forced to relocate because of climate change.
GLOBAL: PROTECTING SAHRAWIS AND PALESTINIANS DISPLACED BY THE 2011 LIBYAN UPRISING
At the outbreak of the Libyan conflict, it was estimated that over 900 Sahrawi children and youth, 100 Palestinian students, and up to 70,000 Palestinian migrant workers were based in Libya. Their presence in Libya, and both the challenges they have faced since February 2011 and the nature of international responses to these challenges, highlight a range of issues, which this paper, produced by the UN Refugee Agency, explores.
SOUTH AFRICA: REFUGEES ‘BARRED’ FROM SCHOOLING
Many refugee Somali parents are not sending their children to South Africa’s public schools because they are intimidated by the official processes required to get their children into school and because of the discrimination foreign pupils frequently experienced there. Abdulkadir Khaleif, a representative of the Somali Association of South Africa in the Western Cape, told the Mail & Guardian that the documents schools required before admitting Somali children had often ‘been lost because of the war’ back home. He was one of about 80 participants at a two-day workshop in Cape Town held by the University of Johannesburg’s Centre for Education Rights and Transformation.
SOUTH AFRICA: REFUGEES STILL FEAR FOR THEIR LIVES
Nearly three years after the xenophobic violence in South African townships, some foreigners are still living in what was meant to be temporary shelters because they are afraid of going back to their former communities. Two groups of refugees – one near the De Deur police station in Orange Farm, south of Johannesburg, and the other at the Rural Institute for Education and Training (Riet) family guidance centre in Randfontein – seem to have slipped through the cracks. The Gauteng department of social development said all camps it was responsible for had been closed down.
ZIMBABWE: DEPORTEES TELL OF HARSH LIFE IN SOUTH AFRICA
About 1,841 Zimbabweans who were living in South Africa illegally had last week trickled back into the country as the first batch of those deported arrived. Most of the deported Zimbabweans spoke out about their chilling experience at the hands of South Africans. ‘Life in South Africa is very difficult for foreign nationals. Every day I was constantly reminded that I was a foreigner and most of the South Africans call us makwerekwere, a derogatory term used to mock foreigners,’ said Alson Mhiri, a deportee.
7 Africom Watch
AFRICA: GLOBAL NATO SEEKS TO RECRUIT 50 NEW MILITARY PARTNERS
A recent article in Kenya’s Africa Review cited sources in the African Union (AU) disclosing that the 28-member North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is preparing to sign a military partnership treaty with the 53-nation AU. The author of the article, relaying comments from AU officials in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where the AU has its headquarters, wrote that although ‘the stated aim is to counter global security threats and specifically threats against Africa, some observers read the pact as aiming to counter Chinese expansion in Africa’.
LESOTHO: 30 AFRICAN NATIONS GATHER FOR WAR GAMES CONFERENCE
Defense representatives from more than 30 African nations joined together in Maseru, Lesotho, 7-11 November to participate in the initial planning conference for next year’s Africa Endeavor. Africa Endeavor is an annual US Africa Command-sponsored communications exercise focused on building interoperability and information sharing among African nations.
8 Elections & governance
BURUNDI: SIX FIRED FOR POOR PERFORMANCE
Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza has sacked six ministers from his cabinet for poor performance, his spokesman said. When he was sworn in for his five-year second term, President Nkurunziza said that each government official will report on tasks accomplished every six months, adding that those who failed to do so would be fired.
EQUATORIAL GUINEA: AN OVERVIEW OF THE GOVERNMENT’S EFFORTS TO REFORM THE CONSTITUTION
Equatoguinean president Teodoro Obiang has proposed several changes to the constitution of Equatorial Guinea, including establishing a limit of two terms of seven years on the presidency, creating the office of vice-president, adding a second chamber to parliament, and creating a ‘Court of Auditors’ to oversee government programs, contracts and expenditures. This post lists the proposed changes.
EQUATORIAL GUINEA: EQUATORIAL GUINEANS VOTE IN CONSTITUTIONAL REFERENDUM
Equatorial Guineans voted Sunday in a referendum on a new constitution that would limit presidential terms to two and strengthen the small oil state’s democracy. The opposition has branded the vote a ‘masquerade’ because the text does not make clear whether President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, Africa’s longest-serving leader, will have to step down when his term ends in 2016. Obiang, who currently chairs the African Union, is on an offensive to win himself a clean bill of health on the international scene and reverse his country’s reputation as one of Africa’s most corrupt and autocratic.
GABON: COURT SENDS GABON TO THE POLLS AS PLANNED
Gabon’s constitutional court has ruled that parliamentary elections will take place on 17 December as planned, despite opposition demands for a delay in the poll to introduce biometric voters cards, officials said. Gabon’s opposition has been campaigning for months to delay the elections in order to introduce the biometric system, which has been implemented in many countries for digital chips in passports and electoral cards, using individual biological data such as fingerprints or eye retina scans to combat fraud.
GAMBIA: OPPOSITION PARTIES NAME UNITY CANDIDATE
Four opposition parties in the Gambia have coalesced and named Mr Hamat Bah as their presidential candidate for elections set for later this month. The coalition candidate is the standard bearer of the National Reconciliation Party, a long-time challenger to President Yahya Jammeh, who came to power through a military coup in 1994 and is hoping to remain in power for life.
GLOBAL: UN PEACEKEEPING ELECTORAL ASSISTANCE MAP
This map shows where UN Peacekeeping is currently assisting with elections and where they have recently assisted.
LIBERIA: OPPOSITION LEADER DEMANDS A FRESH RUN-OFF
Liberia’s main opposition leader has rescinded his decision to work with the newly-elected government of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and called for a rerun of the runoff. Mr. Winton Tubman told a press conference in Monrovia on Saturday evening that his party refuses to recognise the results of the second round polls which he described as a ‘political masquerade’. The surprise declaration comes barely two days after he pledged to work with the newly-elected government of President Sirleaf ‘in the interest of national unity’.
MADAGASCAR: NEW PREMIER TAKES OFFICE
Malagasy’s new Prime Minister Jean Omer Beriziky has been sworn in at a ceremony in the capital, Antananarivo. Mr Beriziky was chosen by the Indian Ocean island nation’s four main political parties through consensus.
SOUTH AFRICA: BEWARE THE YOUNG LIONS, WARNS TOKYO
Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale has warned the ANC leadership not to underestimate the power and influence of the youth wing president Julius Malema and his executive. Sexwale, who testified for Malema during the disciplinary hearings into his conduct, was speaking at a gala dinner in Eastern Cape organised by the Dr AB Xuma Foundation. In what appeared to be a thinly veiled attack on President Jacob Zuma, Sexwale warned that no one was guaranteed re-election to a party position, the Times reported. The ANC’s national disciplinary committee announced last week that Malema had to vacate his position as youth league leader after an effective suspension of five years.
SUDAN: ‘LEADER OF SOUTHERN POLITICAL PARTY ARRESTED’
The government of South Sudan has arrested the Chairman of the United Democratic Forum (UDF), Mr. Peter Abdurrahman Chule, whom it accused of attempting to recruit youths for a rebellion against the government in Juba. Radio Miraya, a UN-funded radio reporting from Juba, capital of South Sudan, reported that Mr Chule was arrested last week at his hideout in Western Equatoria State. Ironically, Mr Chule was one of the most ardent advocates for separation before independence in 2011, and was even against the moderate line of giving unity and separation equal chances as stipulated by the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
TANZANIA: OPPOSITION CHIEF SURRENDERS TO POLICE AFTER DEMO
A Tanzanian opposition leader surrendered to police Wednesday (09 November) after leading a protest calling for the release of one its members and the resignation of President Jakaya Kikwete. Freeman Mbowe, who heads the CHADEMA party, and scores of supporters staged a demonstration Monday in the country’s northern town of Arusha demanding the release of one of its officials and that Kikwete steps down. The party accuses the president of using security forces to disrupt its activities.
SOUTHERN AFRICA: SADC PROTOCOL AGAINST CORRUPTION IDLES
The ninth Southern African Forum Against Corruption (Safac) annual general meeting which took place in Windhoek made an urgent call on SADC members to implement the SADC Protocol Against Corruption. Safac chair Dr Edward Hoseah blamed the non-functioning SADC Committee on Corruption (SACC) for the delay in the implementation of the protocol at the opening of the event. ‘The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol Against Corruption and its implementation is our litmus test for effective measures in our region. The willingness of our political masters to heighten and fast-track the implementation of the SADC Protocol is extremely fundamental to manage our citizens’ expectations,’ he stressed.
GLOBAL: ‘DEBTOCRACY’, SEEKING THE CAUSES OF THE DEBT CRISIS
‘Debtocracy’ is a 2011 documentary film by Katerina Kitidi and Aris Hatzistefanou. The documentary mainly focuses on two points: the causes of the Greek debt crisis in 2010 and possible future solutions that could be given to the problem that are not currently being considered by the government of the country. The makers resorted to crowd-funding and collected 8,000 euros in just 10 days.
GLOBAL: ECONOMIC, POLITICAL PARALYSIS THREATENS ITALY
The situation in Italy has become critical as investors lose faith in the eurozone’s third-largest economy and charge more to lend it money, says this Associated Press article. ‘Italy is too big to be bailed out like Greece, Ireland and Portugal were. A default on its euro1.9 trillion ($2.6 trillion) in debt would threaten the euro and the global financial system with collapse.’
GLOBAL: IMF CHIEF WARNS OF A ‘LOST DECADE’ FOR GLOBAL ECONOMY
The head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, has warned that the global economy is at risk of being plunged into a ‘lost decade’. Lagarde said the ongoing debt crisis in Europe has resulted in an uncertain outlook for the global economy. The IMF chief added that whilst efforts to solve the crisis were heading in the right direction, more needed to be done to restore confidence.
GLOBAL: THE DEBTORS REVOLUTION
Are debt strikes, the next logical step in the fight against Big Finance’s domination of the 99 percent’ asks this article from http://www.alternet.org ‘One of the fascinating things about the media dominance of Occupy Wall Street has been how the conversation has shifted away from the deficit-obsession of the last few years. Suddenly the debt that everyone is talking about is personal, individual debt – student loans, mortgages, credit cards and other ways the big banks control our lives.’
NIGERIA: MAIN OPPOSITION PARTY REJECTS PLANNED FUEL SUBSIDY REMOVAL
As the controversy over the plan by the Nigerian government to remove fuel subsidy deepens, the main opposition Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) rejected the plan. In a statement issued in Lagos and obtained by PANA, ACN called the proposal to withdraw fuel subsidy ‘the handiwork of those propelled by the philosophy of the ‘Washington Consensus’ of rolling back the frontiers of the state.’ Under the plan announced by the government, the price of a litre of fuel will go up from 65 naira (4 US cents) to as high as 150 naira (about US$1) from next year.
11 Health & HIV/AIDS
AFRICA: FOCUS ON HUMAN EXPERIMENTATION IN AFRICA BY DRUG COMPANIES
A new policy brief faults prominent institutions and drug companies like Pfizer, Columbia University, Johns Hopkins University, and Population Council, for their involvement in unethical and illegal human experimentation in Africa. The report is titled ‘Non-Consensual Research in Africa: The Outsourcing of Tuskegee’ in reference to the illegal human experiment conducted in Tuskegee, Alabama, between 1932 and 1972 by the US Public Health Service. In that experiment, some 600 impoverished African-American men were observed in a study on the progression of untreated syphilis. Some of the men were intentionally infected with the disease and all of them were denied the cure.
KENYA: ABORTION DEBATE HEATS UP
Some 21,000 Kenyan women are hospitalised every year because of complications from unsafe abortions. According to Kenya’s Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society, 2,600 die from procedures carried out by untrained ‘professionals’ in back alleys and people’s homes, well away from proper health facilities where women can be reported to the police and jailed for up to 14 years if convicted of terminating a pregnancy.
SOUTH AFRICA: WITS SCIENTISTS WORKING TOWARDS NEUTRALISING HIV
South African scientists are at the coalface of understanding whether HIV can be eradicated from an HIV-positive individual, essentially curing the person. A complex field of study, Professor Caroline Tiemessen is attempting to understand why some individuals ‘ referred to as elite controllers ‘ are able to be HIV infected, but successfully suppress virus replication to undetectable levels. This is achieved in the absence of antiretroviral treatment and the immune system response is maintained at an optimal level for many years.
KENYA: MORE VARSITIES SET TO CLOSE AS STRIKE ENTERS SIXTH DAY
The strike by lecturers in public universities enters its sixth day Monday with a possibility of more institutions shutting down. At the weekend, students at Chepkoilel University College in Eldoret were sent home indefinitely. The constituent college of Moi University followed Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology in Kakamega and Egerton University in Nakuru in shutting down after lecturers and non-teaching staff downed their tools to demand increased salaries.
MALAWI: MAIN UNIVERSITY COLLEGE TO FINALLY RE-OPEN
The University Council has announced that Chancellor College, the main constituent college of the University of Malawi, at the centre of a protracted academic freedom wrangle, will be finally re-opened 14 November. Zomba-based Chancellor College has been in a lock-down since 16 February when lecturers started protesting Inspector General of Police Peter Mukhito’s summoning of associate political science professor Blessings Chinsinga on 12 February, to quiz him over a classroom example he gave his public policy class. The youthful lecturer had reportedly likened the insurrections that toppled governments in Tunisia and Egypt to Malawi’s current fuel and foreign exchange reserves shortages.
ZIMBABWE: THOUSANDS OF GIRLS FORCED OUT OF EDUCATION
Poverty, abuse and cultural practices are preventing a third of Zimbabwean girls from attending primary school and 67 per cent from attending secondary school, denying them a basic education, according to a recent study which found alarming dropout rates for girls. ‘Sexual harassment and abuse by even school teachers and parents, cultural issues, lack of school fees, early marriage, parental commitments and early pregnancies are some of the contributing factors to the dropout by the girl child,’ said the authors of ‘Because I am a Girl’ by Plan International, a nonprofit organisation that works to alleviate child poverty.
GLOBAL: MIXED NEWS FOR LGBTI PERSONS FROM CHOGM MEETINGS
While the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Australia included no commitment to oppose homophobic persecution and to protect the human rights of LGBTI persons, Commonwealth of Nations Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma did speak out against homophobic persecution. In addition, the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) will be empowered to deal with serious or persistent human rights violations by member states, which could include action against countries that perpetrate homophobic persecution.
UGANDA: 30-YEAR SENTENCE IN KATO MURDER CASE
A Ugandan court on Thursday 10 November sentenced the man suspected to have murdered a gay rights activist in January this year, to 30 years in prison. The 30 year sentence was passed by Justice Joseph Mulangira after the man admitted to have murdered David Kato 46, on 26 January 2011. This verdict was passed based on the evidence produced in court by the lead state prosecutor, Ms. Loe Karungi.
14 Racism & xenophobia
SOUTH AFRICA: RUSSELL TRIBUNAL CALLS FOR ISRAELI SANCTIONS
After sitting in Cape Town at the weekend, where it heard evidence from a range of witnesses, the Russell Tribunal on Palestine declared that Israel was guilty of practising apartheid and called for it to be isolated. The tribunal called on world governments to institute sanctions against it and break off diplomatic ties.
CONGO: REFORESTATION PROGRAMME LAUNCHED
Congo’s President Denis Sassou Nguesso has launched the national afforestation and reforestation programme (PRONAR) that will cover one million hectares over 10 years. President Nguesso launched the programme on Sunday in Yie, some 60km north of Brazzaville, the nation’s capital. The programme, to be financed by the government and the private sector, aims at reducing human pressure exerted on natural forests by reducing deforestation and soil degradation.
NIGERIA: OIL THEFTS, SUBSIDIES AND THE COST OF CRUDE
With reference to the fuel subsidy debate in Nigeria, where government plans to scrap fuel subsidies, resulting in a substantial increase in the price of fuel, Nnimmo Bassey argues in The Guardian of Nigeria that the real debate should be on the true cost of crude oil. ‘And this is not just about how much is currently spent in refining a litre of petrol in a Nigerian refinery or whether we can justify any plan to raise the pump price of a litre of petrol to N144 or more. The true cost of oil must include the environmental costs that have been externalised and dumped on the poor communities of the Niger Delta.’
16 Land & land rights
GLOBAL: BARZA, THE ONLINE COMMUNITY OF RADIO BROADCASTERS
Barza, the online community for radio broadcasters has been launched. The site wants to make available to rural radio broadcasters useful resources like radio scripts, audio clips and advice from peers with the click of a mouse. Through the online community, it aims to increase the extent to which rural radio helps African small-scale farmers meet their food security, farming and livelihood goals.
TANZANIA: THE FORGOTTEN VILLAGES
Land reform in Tanzania
Tanzania’s 1999 land reform has decentralised land administration to the rural local village governments, but implementation so far has been slow and uneven. The local authorities rarely get the support they need to make it work. As a consequence, the benefits promised by the reform – economic growth and improved tenure security – do not happen. There has already been an abundance of donor driven projects to implement the reform, but they have been short-sighted and have tended to forget the local authorities that carry out the actual implementation. Much could be achieved if higher level authorities and NGOs systematically strengthened the village authorities and enabled them to deliver their services.
TANZANIA: UK FIRM’S FAILED BIOFUEL DREAM WRECKS LIVES
‘People feel this is like the return of colonialism,’ says Athumani Mkambala, chairman of Mhaga village in rural Tanzania. ‘Colonialism in the form of investment.’ A quarter of the village’s land in Kisarawe district was acquired by a British biofuels company in 2008, with the promise of financial compensation, 700 jobs, water wells, improved schools, health clinics and roads. But the company has gone bust, leaving villagers not just jobless but landless as well. The same story is playing out across Africa, as foreign investors buy up land but leave some of the poorest people on Earth worse off when their plans fail.
17 Food Justice
GLOBAL: CLOONEY COFFEE AD GETS SPOOFED
George Clooney gets clobbered in an activist takedown of his advertisements for Nescafe’s Nespresso brand, reports http://www.afronline.org ‘The advertisement ‘ featuring a Clooney lookalike ‘ is aimed at getting Nescafe to commit to using only fairly traded coffee throughout its Nespresso and other product ranges. They were commissioned by Swiss non-profit Solidar Suisse, which undertakes humanitarian and development work in 12 countries.’ Watch the advert through the link provided.
18 Media & freedom of expression
AFRICA: NIGERIAN EDITOR AND TWO REPORTERS SCOOP FAIR AWARDS
Nigerian newspaper NEXT shone like a million stars on 1 November as one of its editors and two of its reporters scooped two of the three awards on offer at the FAIR (Forum for African Investigative Reporters) African Investigative Journalism Awards in Johannesburg, South Africa. Pambazuka News contributor Khadija Sharife’s untangling of pharmaceutical medicines pricing, with devastating consequences for young children in need of anti-diarrhoea treatment, which she did for Al Jazeera Africa, received a special mention from a number of judges.
EGYPT: MILITARY EXTENDS BLOGGER’S DETENTION
Egyptian military prosecutors have extended the detention of a prominent activist and blogger, pending investigations into accusations that he incited violence and attacked military personnel during deadly protests. The extension will add 15 days to Alaa Abd El Fattah’s previous sentence of 15 days, which was handed down on 30 October after he refused to be interrogated by a military prosecutor.
LIBERIA: OLDEST RADIO STATION SET ABLAZE
One of Africa’s oldest radio stations, the Monrovia-based Eternal Love Winning Africa (ELWA) has been burnt by unknown arsonists, sources said. ELWA is an American-owned Christian station that was not among the four that were ordered closed by the government. Information about the burning of the station was still scanty, but its neighbours explained that it was set ablaze early Wednesday by unknown arsonists, who had not claimed responsibility for the act.
LIBERIA: OPPOSITION RADIO AND TV STATIONS CLOSED DOWN
Liberian opposition radio and TV stations were shut down by the authorities on 8 November 2011 on the orders of a criminal court in Monrovia. The stations are being accused of spreading messages that the authorities said could incite violence. The stations, Kings FM belonging to the Congress for Democratic Change’s (CDC) Vice Presidential Candidate, George Weah; Love FM and TV owned by Benoni Urey, a known sympathiser of the National Patriotic Party (NPP) which has entered into an alliance with the CDC and Power FM and TV. The Media Foundation for West Africa’s (MFWA) correspondent reported that the affected stations would remain closed until their representatives appeared before the court on 10 November.
SOUTH AFRICA: ANC MAY CONSIDER INFO BILL AMENDMENT
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has suggested the ruling party may yet heed calls from the media to write a public interest defence into the contested Protection of State Information Bill. Media organisations and civil rights groups have vowed to launch a Constitutional Court challenge to the legislation if it were passed in its present form.
SOUTH AFRICA: RIGHT2KNOW CAMPAIGN SUPPORTERS TO PROTEST PARLIAMENTARY VOTE
Right2Know is calling on all supporters to come to Parliament on Wednesday 13h00 for a protest. This follows the move to bring the Secrecy Bill back to National Assembly for further deliberations as confirmed by the Office of the ANC Chief Whip last week.
SOUTH SUDAN: TWO JOURNALISTS DETAINED
Two South Sudanese independent journalists have been imprisoned over a column critical of President Salva Kiir, according to local journalists and news reports. On 1 November South Sudan National Security Services (NSS) agents in the temporary capital of Juba arrested Peter Ngor, editor of the private daily Destiny, and ordered the indefinite suspension of his newspaper for running an 26 October opinion article by columnist Dengdit Ayok, news reports said. The article, titled ‘Let Me Say So’, criticised the president for allowing his daughter to marry an Ethiopian national and accused him of ‘staining his patriotism’, news reports said.
19 Social welfare
GLOBAL: UN PANEL CALLS FOR GLOBAL ‘PROTECTION FLOOR’ WITH INCOME SECURITY AND HEALTH SERVICES
With more than five out of every seven people in the world lacking adequate social security, a high-level United Nations panel has called for guaranteeing basic income and services for all, not only as a means to ensure peace and stability but also to boost economic growth. Measures providing income security and scaling up essential health services are affordable even in the poorest countries, costing as little as one to two per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), although international support is needed for some low-income countries, with donors providing predictable multi-year financial aid, according to the panel’s report, ‘Social Protection Floor for a Fair and Inclusive Globalization’.
MALAWI: FUEL PRICE HIKED BY AVERAGE 27 PER CENT
Malawi has increased fuel prices by an average 27 per cent, a move likely to trigger broader inflation in the southern African nation that has already seen violent protests this year because of the dire state of the economy. Fuel shortages and the soaring cost of imported goods caused unprecedented demonstrations in July against President Bingu wa Mutharika, whose security forces killed 20 people in an ensuing crackdown.
MALAWI: NO SOCIAL SAFETY NETS FOR THE POOR
Reflecting on the fact that significant segments of the population are fundamentally excluded from society due to poverty and inequality, the 2010 Ibrahim Index of African Governance recently handed Malawi an abysmal score of two out of 10. There is legislation aimed at protecting families from falling on hard times, such as the Employment Act and the recently amended Pension Bill. However, according to a 2010 report by the International Labour Office in Geneva, 90 per cent of Malawians – more than 13 million people ‘ work outside the formal economy.
SWAZILAND: STRUGGLING TO PAY SALARIES, SAYS FINANCE MINISTER
Cash-strapped Swaziland will struggle to pay civil servants’ salaries this month, Finance Minister Majozi Sithole told AFP, as the tiny kingdom slips deeper into crisis. ‘We will do our best to pay at the end of November but it is difficult. We have serious fiscal challenges right now,’ Sithole said. Swaziland fell into crisis after losing 60 per cent of its revenue from a regional customs union last year.
20 News from the diaspora
UNITED STATES: EXTREME POVERTY AT RECORD LEVELS IN US
According to the US Census Bureau, a higher percentage of Americans is living in extreme poverty than they have ever measured before. In 2010, we were told that the economy was recovering, but the truth is that the number of the ‘very poor’ soared to heights never seen previously. Back in 1993 and back in 2009, the rate of extreme poverty was just over six per cent, and that represented the worst numbers on record. But in 2010, the rate of extreme poverty hit a whopping 6.7 per cent. That means that one out of every 15 Americans is now considered to be ‘very poor’.
US: CYNTHIA MCKINNEY OFFERED PROTECTION AFTER ASSASSINATION THREAT
2008 US Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney was offered ‘victim witness’ special protection by the FBI after the indictment of four men in northern Georgia for plotting to kill McKinney, Attorney General Eric Holder, and, according to FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Brian Lamkin of the bureau’s Atlanta office, President Barack Obama.
21 Conflict & emergencies
ERITREA: ERITREA APPEALS TO UN IN BID TO PREVENT SANCTIONS
Eritrea’s president has asked for a personal hearing before the UN Security Council in a bid to head off new sanctions over alleged support for Somalia’s Islamist rebels, diplomats said. Rival Ethiopia has been calling for tougher action against Eritrea for several months after its neighbor was linked to a plot to bomb an African Union summit in Addis Ababa.
GLOBAL: SUPRANATIONAL GOVERNANCE, A CHALLENGE TO BUILDING RESILIENT STATES AND PEACE
This report discusses supranational governance and public authority in five issue areas: financial systems, security/ small arms, migration, extractive industries and obnoxious goods. Public control in all five is weak, although a few initiatives in supranational governance are showing promise. For each issue area, the report outlines existing international rule and enforcement systems or regimes; the interests steering or blocking them; and the resulting deficits in democratic supervision, coherence and compliance. The report concludes by suggesting ways in which supranational public authority may be better developed in order to promote state resilience and peacebuilding.
GLOBAL: US MILITARY TRAINING TO CRUSH BOKO HARAM
The US army provided counter-insurgency training to Nigerian troops battling a rise in attacks by Islamist militants, the Nigerian military has revealed. More than 100 people have been killed in recent days by the radical Muslim sect Boko Haram, dubbed the ‘Nigerian Taliban’, in Nigeria’s north-east. Nigeria has sought to crush the group with military force but faces criticism from human rights activists for alleged extra-judicial killings. The military said some battalions had received training in the US.
LIBYA: DEADLY FACTIONAL CLASHES ERUPT
At least two men have been killed in a second day of clashes as fighters from Zawiya set up roadlocks to prevent rivals from the nearby town of Wershefana entering their territory. There are conflicting reports about what triggered the confrontation on Saturday near a military camp. The reports of the clashes came as production resumed at Italian energy company Eni’s largest oilfield in Libya.
NIGER: COUNTRY FACES GADDAFI QUANDARY
Niger, where Libya’s fugitive Saif al-Islam Gaddafi may be headed, risks a backlash from nomad Tuaregs in its north if it follows through on its obligation to hand him over to the International Criminal Court. Libya’s aid-reliant southern neighbour has vowed to respect commitments to the ICC, but knows that could spark unrest in Saharan areas where a string of past rebellions against the capital were nurtured by Muammar Gaddafi, feted by many in the desert as a hero. The Hague-based ICC said Gaddafi’s 39-year-old son Saif al-Islam was in contact via intermediaries about surrendering for trial, but it also had information that mercenaries were trying to spirit him to a friendly African nation.
NIGER: NIGER GRANTS ASYLUM TO SAADI GADDAFI
Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saadi has been granted asylum in Niger on humanitarian grounds, the country’s president confirmed. Mahamadou Issoufou insisted he knew nothing of the whereabouts of another of the slain Libyan leader’s sons, Saif al-Islam, who is wanted by the international criminal court (ICC). ‘We have agreed on granting asylum to Saadi Gaddafi for humanitarian reasons,’ Issoufou said during a visit to Pretoria in South Africa.
NIGERIA: RESIDENTS FLEE NIGERIAN CITY
Residents have begun to flee a northeast Nigerian city where a radical Muslim sect launched attacks that killed more than 100 people. Rev. Idi Garba said Tuesday 8 November that nearly all the Christians and non-natives of Yobe state had fled their homes in Damaturu, the state capital. Garba said streets remained deserted, without soldiers or police protection.
SAHEL: FRANCE CASHES IN ON ARMS SALES
Sahel states Mauritania, Mali and Niger are enhancing their military might through arms deals with France. The arms sales were detailed in a report presented by the French government in front of parliament on 26 October. The presentation did not specify the quantity or quality of weaponry, but did mention an annual contract. The French government is linked with ten African countries in a series of arms sale contracts.
SOUTH SUDAN: 18 KILLED, SCORES INJURED IN FIGHTING
At least eighteen people are dead and scores wounded in a fierce fighting between the army and the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) in South Sudan Friday, the military has said. ‘Heavily-armed’ SAF forces attacked Kuek area in Upper Nile state along the borders with Sudan’s White Nile state, leading to death of five of his soldiers and 13 of the attackers, said The SPLA spokesman, Col. Philip Aguer Panyang. At least 26 were wounded on the side of the SPLA and 47on the SAF side, according to Aguer.
SOUTH SUDAN: KHARTOUM WARNS OF RETURN TO WAR
Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has warned that his country was ready to return to war with the southern neighbour in light of recent rebel attacks in border states, the Sudan Tribune, an online news website based in France, has reported. According to the website, he was speaking at a rally in Kurmuk in Blue Nile State in celebration of the Sudanese army’s regaining control over the town after battles with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM)- North Sudan faction that lasted over two months.
SUDAN: REBELS FORM ALLIANCE TO OUST PRESIDENT
Rebels in Sudan’s Darfur region and in the troubled border states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan have formed an alliance to overthrow the government of President Omar al-Bashir, a statement released by the rebels said. The alliance, called the Sudanese Revolutionary Front, is bent on ‘toppling the regime of the [Sudan’s ruling] National Congress Party with all possible means’ and replacing it with a democratic system, the groups said in the joint statement sent to the Reuters news agency on Saturday.
UGANDA: US MILITARY INTERVENTION, THE LRA AND BIG OIL
Writing about the decision by US President Barack Obama to send 100 troops to Uganda in order to combat the Lord’s Resistance Army, Steve Horn, a researcher and writer for DeSmogBlog, concludes: ‘Do not be surprised if, months from now, ExxonMobil or another US oil industry superpower walks away with drilling rights in the Lake Albert region and CNOOC, the current main possessor of Uganda’s Lake Albert oil resources, is sent packing.’ These are not only likely scenarios, but probable ones, he states. ‘Joseph Kony and his LRA allies might be taken down, but the people of Uganda, on the whole, will not benefit…’
22 Internet & technology
AFRICA: MOBILE PHONE INDUSTRY ‘BOOMING’
Africa is the fastest-growing mobile market in the world, and is the biggest after Asia, an association of worldwide mobile phone operators has said. The number of subscribers on the continent has grown almost 20 per cent each year for the past five years, the GSM Association report on Africa says. It expects there will be more than 735 million subscribers by the end of 2012.
SOUTH AFRICA: SOCIAL MEDIA GROWING STRONG
Social media has gone mainstream in South Africa, with both individuals and businesses embracing the available platforms and the average age of users steadily increasing as more people become connected and networks mature. These and other findings were released in a study by Fuseware and World Wide Worx, titled South African Social Media Landscape 2011. Homegrown messaging application MXit and Facebook are the most popular choices of individual internet activity, while Twitter has seen the most growth in the past year.
23 Fundraising & useful resources
GLOBAL: ‘GLOBAL CRISIS, RETHINKING ECONOMY AND SOCIETY’
Webcast recordings available
In December 2010, the Economic Performance and Development programme of the HSRC, with the support of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation (RLF) and OSISA, coordinated a live webcast of the international conference, ‘Global Crisis, Rethinking Economy and Society’, hosted by the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory at the University of Chicago. The fascinating presentations and debates at this gathering, where world renowned intellectuals shared their views, are available through the link provided.
GLOBAL: RESEARCH GRANTS: JOHN HOPE FRANKLIN RESEARCH CENTER, DUKE UNIVERSITY
The John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture, part of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University, announces the availability of travel grants for research travel to our collections. The John Hope Franklin Research Center seeks to collect, preserve, and promote the use of printed and manuscript materials bearing on the history of Africa and people of African descent. Research grants are available to any faculty member, graduate or undergraduate student, or independent scholar with a research project requiring the use of materials held by the Franklin Research Center.
SOUTH AFRICA: MAKING LOCAL GOVERNMENT WORK
An activist guide
‘The challenge to end economic, geographic, gendered Apartheid is huge. Much of this challenge exists at a local level. But, as this guide shows, the Constitution empowers communities to claim their rights. Activists must connect the dots and ensure that Government prioritises the rights of people. We encourage you to use this guide to do that!’ – Pregs Govender, deputy chairperson, South African Human Rights Commission, in the Forward to ‘Making local government work: an activist guide.’
24 Courses, seminars, & workshops
UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD: PART-TIME MASTERS IN INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW
Admissions open for five scholarships for candidates from African Commonwealth countries
The Department for Continuing Education and the Faculty of Law at Oxford University are very pleased to announce that admissions are now open for five scholarships for candidates from African Commonwealth countries to study for the part-time Masters in International Human Rights Law at the University of Oxford, starting September 2012. The course website can be found at http://bit.ly/s37dHr and details about the scholarships, including eligibility criteria and how to apply, can be found on the Fees and Funding pages at http://bit.ly/ugKcPf
VENERATION AND STRUGGLE: COMMEMORATING FRANTZ FANON
The Journal of Pan-African Studies
This issue includes: – The 50th Anniversary of Fanon: Culture, Consciousness and Praxis – Frantz Fanon: Existentialist, Dialectician, and Revolutionary – Revisiting Fanon, From Theory to Practice: Democracy and Development in Africa – Hegel and Fanon on the Question of Mutual Recognition: A Comparative Analysis – Fanon Now: Singularity and Solidarity – Reading Violence and Postcolonial Decolonization Through Fanon: The Case of Jamaica.
COMMUNITY OUTREACH TEAM LEADER
Africa Middle East Refugee Assistance (AMERA)
Africa Middle East Refugee Assistance (AMERA) is a UK-based refugee rights organization assisting refugees who seek asylum in Egypt. Our Egypt office (AMERA-Egypt) serves more than 1000 refugees each year and involves the efforts of more than 40 staff, interns, and interpreters from Egypt and other countries. AMERA is committed to providing holistic services for refugees and migrants in Cairo through pairing legal aid with psychosocial assistance. The Community Outreach Team comes in as AMERA’s outlet to the different refugee communities around Cairo.
AKina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA)
AKina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA) is seeking a consultant to assist in developing a standardized Curricula for its African Women’s Leadership Programme.The curricula will be based on the training framework of the African Women’s Leadership Institute (AWLI) which aims to build leadership at both personal and collective level. Closing date of applications is 18th November 2011.
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