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    Blogging Africa

    Pambazuka Blog Review – October 1, 2009

    Dibussi Tande

    2009-10-01, Issue 450

    http://pambazuka.org/en/category/blog/59128

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    In this week’s blog review, Dibussi Tande looks at the attacks on demonstrators in Guinea, and a recent survey in Zimbabwe on the performance of the Unity Government. He also reviews a blog on Western Union money transfers on the continent, a recent rant by Namibian ex-president Nujoma in defence of Robert Mugabe, and an organization giving an online voice to war-ravaged communities on Northern Uganda.


    ccSeyllou/AFP


    Kongol Afirik reports on the killing by Guinean security forces of scores of demonstrators protesting against President Dadis Camara’s decision to renege on an earlier promise not to run for office in forthcoming elections:
    “The majority of the dead and wounded were caused by… elite Special Forces … The death toll keeps growing by the hour…
    It seems that two of the main opposition leaders, Cellou Dalein Diallo and Sydia Touré, are amongst the wounded. They were reportedly arrested and taken to a military camp. Their fate is currently unknown. According to certain sources, Cellou Dalein Diallo's residence was ransacked by the army. Some rape cases were reported in Bambeto, a neighborhood in the capital. The names of the people responsible for this day of carnage have the following names: Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, the head of the junta and the self-declared President of the Republic; Captain Tiegboro Camara, Secretary of State in charge of the war against drugs and banditry; General Sékouba Konaté, Defense Minister; Jean-Claude Pivi, Minister in charge of presidential security. Once again, the African Union, ECOWAS, and its international partners revealed themselves to be ineffective before an officer who seized power through a coup and who is ready to step on corpses to stay in power.”


    cc Denford Magora


    Denford Magora comments on a recent survey by the Mass Opinion Public Institute in which “71% of the people interviewed said that the Inclusive Government was "doing very well or fairly well" on the issue of Economic Management”:
    “…my main problem with the survey is that it is historical. Things are happening too quickly in Zimbabwe and this survey, as even they admitted, no longer reflects the reality on the ground.
    We cannot say that people are satisfied with this Government when we have 80% of teachers still on strike, 60% of doctors either on go-slow or complete strike, workers up in arms because they cannot afford the food that now fills shop shelves.....
    It is a nice measure of the optimism engulfing the nation in the aftermath of the formation of the coalition between Mugabe and Tsvangirai.”


    cc Saharska


    Sub Saharska takes a hard look at Western Union’s money transfer services to Africa:
    “I curse the graves of the founders of Western Union anytime I need to pay someone for work who lives in Africa. With their telegram operations shelved 162 years after they were founded… and some 10 years after widespread adoption of the internet and email, one wonders how many more years before they shutter completely? Given the rate of contraction, I'm thinking maybe four years or so. Because it's really money transfers that are keeping that company alive now and I don't know what the exact statistics are, but it seems like the bulk of them are to Africa.
    Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled that there is actually some sort of mechanism that allow me to transfer money around the world in mere minutes to pay someone, but the prices they charge are ludicrous. I'm sure everyone has their own story, but I just spent $8 to send $25. That's a 30% surcharge. It's an impressive way to make money (although SMS charges still beat it) but it simply can't last forever…
    While I despise the charges from Western Union, at least I know what they are and they're not a bank. But then again, their charges and inflexibility are part of the reason why so many people are gladly turning to mobile payments….
    … the real solution [is] having proper banks that are accountable to a great number of countries and regulatory bodies handling our money. Africa definitely needs more of this. How does Western Union fit in to that? I don't think they do.”


    cc Pan-African Newswire


    Rusty Gate replies to a recent statement by former Namibian President Sam Nujoma that ‘The white imperialists should be careful not to topple President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, because if you touch Zimbabwe, then you touch Namibia and the whole Southern African Development Community’:
    “Not to burst your bubble, comrade, but there are no imperialists trying to topple anybody. I assure you the only people doing any toppling are purely local. All the imperialists are doing is refusing to have anything to do with him, and some of his associates. In fact, I’m not sure any toppling is needed anymore, and the topplers appear to be waiting for nature to take its course...
    No, Comrade Sam, no it’s not because of the western powers that oppositions are formed, it’s because of revolutionary parties that immerse themselves in largesse and finery whilst ignoring the welfare of the people they ostensibly ‘liberated’.”


    cc Bosco


    Wikispaces writes about BOSCO, an organization in Uganda which uses wikis and technology to help give the isolated and war-affected people of Northern Uganda an online voice:
    “BOSCO is training them to use technology to tell their stories, articulate the problems they face, design solutions for these problems, and invite global collaborators to help….
    Because Wikispaces was so easy to use, even kids who had never seen a computer before were able to get on their wiki and share their stories.
    BOSCO is now in 20 different locations and 8 Internally Displaced Persons camps in Northern Uganda. And the group they initially trained is training others. Residents in the region are posting their stories and are beginning to use the wiki to articulate solutions for their problems. These solutions include proposals for a local farming initiative, an orphan’s group, and a small music festival…
    BOSCO is growing as more people in the Ugandan villages are trained to use the technology and more people in the global community hear their stories.”



    In the latest issue of Palapala Magazine, Dibussi Tande shares his travel diary from a recent trip to South Africa’s “Frontier Country” in the Eastern Cape Province:
    “After about 20 minutes, we finally made it out of the Port Elizabeth onto N2, the highway leading to Frontier Country, “the historic heartland of Eastern Cape”, where the Xhosas unleashed a ferocious war of resistance against the British, but were ultimately subjugated by the power of the cannon. We drove past the breathtaking but rugged and dry landscape, with its undulating hills and valleys dotted with isolated farms which Frank Partridge has described as “a tribute to man's tenacity in the face of overwhelming odds”.
    As we drove on, I couldn’t help but wonder what stories this landscape would tell if it only could talk. What had these hills and valleys witnessed during the hundred year war? What acts of bravery or outright recklessness occurred as the British clashed with the Xhosas for control of this land? What atrocities had taken place on those hills? What secrets lay beneath those valleys? And what exactly was the story behind these sprawling farms in the middle of nowhere? …
    I was regularly jolted out of my reverie by the disconcerting sight of cars driving on the “wrong” side of the road. South Africa is one of the few countries where left hand driving is still the norm and cars are right-hand drive vehicles. So each time there was oncoming traffic, it seemed as if it was heading straight at us. And it didn’t help that our bus driver was driving at break-neck speed…”

    * Dibussi Tande, a writer and activist from Cameroon, produces the blog Scribbles from the Den.

    * Please send comments to [email protected] or comment online at Pambazuka News.


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