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Back Issues

PAMBAZUKA NEWS 146: ZIMBABWE 2004: FOUR YEARS FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE PLUNGE

A weekly electronic newsletter for social justice in Africa

CONTENTS: 1. Features, 2. Comment & analysis, 3. Advocacy & campaigns, 4. Books & arts, 5. Letters & Opinions, 6. Women & gender, 7. Human rights, 8. Refugees & forced migration, 9. Elections & governance, 10. Corruption, 11. Development, 12. Health & HIV/AIDS, 13. Education, 14. Racism & xenophobia, 15. Environment, 16. Land & land rights, 17. Media & freedom of expression, 18. Social welfare, 19. News from the diaspora, 20. Conflict & emergencies, 21. Internet & technology, 22. eNewsletters & mailing lists, 23. Fundraising & useful resources, 24. Courses, seminars, & workshops, 25. Remembering Rwanda

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Highlights from this issue

* Zimbabwe: four years on since the beginning of the plunge
* Debate on ICC and impunity
* Remembering Rwanda: 10th anniversary Remembering Rwanda plans underway
* Conflicts and Emergencies: One million at risk in Darfur, Sudan
* Human Rights: Ugandans want trillions in compensation
* Refugees and Forced Migration: The future of migration
* Development: The Congo and debt
* HIV/AIDS: 3 by 5 plan at risk
* Education: Gender and Education for all
* Media and Freedom of Expression: Call for African free expression monitor
* Books and Arts: Review of ‘We did nothing’ by Linda Polman



Features

Zimbabwe in March 2004: Four years from the beginning of the plunge

Mary Ndlovu

2004-03-04

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/features/20577

Time is out of joint in Zimbabwe. We have gone through the looking glass and live in a state of schizophrenia. We read one thing in the state media, and experience something quite different on the ground. The new farmers are said to be creating a revolution, but there is no farm produce in the shops, no agricultural goods to export. Our “enemies” who want to sabotage our economy are feeding us, while our own rulers destroy productive capacity, pillage our natural resources, and even make money illegally exporting the food on which the people depend for survival.

Time moves too fast. In a day lives are turned upside down. A government decree quadruples tariffs on virtually every imported good, destroying businesses, crippling industries relying on imported components, wiping out the means of survival for hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans who have been eking out a living through cross-border trade. In a week the only non-government daily newspaper is off the street, on the street and off the street again. In a month prices double in the shops, and 20,000 Zimbabweans die of AIDS. In a year inflation soars from 220% to 620% and your used car depreciates by doubling its Zimdollar value. And in a year the public mood changes from hope and expectation of relief from the madness to deep, debilitating despair.

On our side of the looking glass, the mounting catastrophe has political, economic, social and cultural components. Most objective observers would trace the economic problems back at least to the late 1980’s. Certainly the introduction of structural adjustment at the beginning of the 90’s can be seen as the process which eroded the living standards of Zimbabweans, and spawned the first broad-based opposition party. It also generated pressure from interest groups such as war veterans and ambitious black businessmen who felt they had waited too long to share in the country’s wealth. The government’s response to these developments sent the country into the downward spiral which today ensnares us. Instead of taking the criticism and the pressure and sitting back to plan a coherent strategy of how to deal with the inter-related issues, ZANU PF panicked, saw their ruling position threatened, and from 1997 on have responded piecemeal, reactively and irrationally, bringing us to the tragedy which unfolds before our eyes.

They gave in to pressures from those groups with which they had racial and historical affinities, that is the “indigenous businessmen” and the war veterans, while viciously attacking those in the political opposition and civil society who dared to demand policies that would serve the needs of the people at large. These were accused of wanting to sabotage the economy, acting as agents of foreign powers, fomenting discord and trying to reverse the gains of the liberation war. Because the government half believed their own fantasies, they became quite incapable of drawing appropriate strategies to handle the economic crisis, and became obsessed with simply retaining political power. Every economic policy became twisted to suit the immediate needs of ZANU PF, while the needs of the consumer, the producer, the employer and employee were disregarded. Basic economic sense was thrown to the winds, commonplace economic imperatives defied. ZANU PF returned to the militarist leadership and rhetoric of the liberation war.

The economic slide was precipitated by the 1997 surrender to the demands of war veterans, but it became a plunge from the beginning of the seizure of land from white commercial farmers in February 2000. Angered by the negative results of the referendum on a new constitution in that month, ZANU PF devised a malicious but brilliant strategy designed to recover domestic support, provide new sources of patronage, fulfill the promises of the liberation struggle and attract international support from traditional allies of the 1970’s. In their panic they rushed headlong to seize agricultural land from white farmers by violent means, afraid to wait for a legal process to unfold. They justified this by the philosophy of armed struggle and the injustices perpetrated by colonizers in the hundred years before Independence. Law was no longer necessary; the end justified any means.

It is exactly four years since the officially sanctioned land invasions began. During that time the economy has shrunk to less than half its previous size, while inflation has risen to 620%. Added to the pre-existing economic crisis, the destruction of a substantial portion of commercial agriculture has brought a sharp decline in foreign exchange earnings, and severe food shortages. Government’s attempts to manipulate prices, interest rates and foreign exchange rates have produced chaos – artificial shortages of price-controlled goods and a booming black market, illegal export of basic goods to neighbouring countries, closure of factories and other businesses, especially those related to agricultural production. The lack of foreign currency reduced ability to import essential consumer and capital goods and the general decline of the economy starved government of revenue. At the same time runaway inflation led to a need to print ever larger amounts of bank notes which government could not afford. The result was the crippling cash shortage in mid 2003. High inflation coupled with low interest rates impoverished pensioners and anyone else dependent on a fixed income, and initiated a flight of savings from banks into foreign currency. What could no longer be obtained in banks by any but the privileged few, was readily available on many street corners in the major cities at up to 8 times the official rate.

Those privileged few were having a heyday, amassing fortunes of gigantic proportions by accessing foreign currency from the banks at official rates and selling it on the black market. A new class of economic parasites was being created. We began to hear of 25 room mansions, stables of Mercedes Benz cars, cupboards full of designer suits. The owners did not hide; they boasted of their wealth in the face of the people whose situation was becoming daily more desperate.

The year 2003 was a dreadful one for most Zimbabweans. While the government tinkered at the edges of the economy and finally brought staple foodstuffs back to the shelves and solved the cash crisis by introducing bearer cheques as temporary legal tender, they failed to bring inflation under control. By the end of the year it had reached 600%. And the economy continues to shrink. The October beginning of the 2003-4 planting season heralded new disasters in the future as agricultural inputs were simply not available to most of those wanting to farm. But the failures on the economic front were compensated for in the political arena. In spite of the ability of the opposition still to win local government elections in most urban areas, ZANU PF could make use of its new draconian security and media legislation, the support of a loyal army and police and national service militia to block out the opposition from rural constituencies. And in the urban councils held by the MDC, ZANU PF has used its control of national resources to interfere and create havoc in local government, dividing and frustrating opposition controlled councils, particularly Harare, and making them lose public support. The mass action threatened by the opposition never got started in the face of government terror, and ZANU PF remains firmly in charge. The political tide running in favour of the opposition seems to have been halted. A combination of severe repression, patronage through allocation of land and positions that give access to public resources, and ever more strident racial and xenophobic rhetoric have kept the forces of opposition off balance and out of step.

Now, in March, 2004, four years on from the beginning of the plunge, where do we stand, and what is the outlook for the next twelve months?

Economically, we are still spiraling downwards. This year agriculture is expected to produce only 1/3 of the nation’s staple maize requirements. Exportable crops such as tobacco and paprika, are down to a small fraction of what was previously produced. Industrial capacity deteriorates and unemployment rises. While donor aid feeds those people in rural areas whose own crops fail through poor rains and lack of inputs, an ever greater percentage of the urban population fail to cope, enter the ranks of the destitute and are in need of food aid themselves even while food sits on the supermarket shelves.

Not only goods, but also services are either not available or unaffordable. Starved of government finance, social welfare has long ago collapsed as a point of last resort for the destitute. Hospitals have no equipment or medicines and few qualified staff. A patient with a fracture is told to bring plaster of paris before his bone can be set. Schools have poorly functioning infrastructure, broken desks and toilets, paint peeling from walls, no laboratory equipment or books. Yet they charge fees that have forced many, in both rural and urban areas to withdraw their children. The mission boarding schools, once the pride of Zimbabwean education and the training ground for the professional classes, are deteriorating rapidly, unable to sustain quality with the fees that the dwindling middle classes are able to afford. Both the major state universities have been crippled by repeated staff and student strikes, and at present neither is holding classes.

While high fee paying private schools manage to maintain reasonable standards, private health care is faltering on the brink of collapse. Doctors’ fees, hospitals and medicines are unaffordable except for the elite and many procedures are no longer provided in the country. Employees on medical aid are not better off as the doctors and medical aid societies quarrel over rates and payment procedures, leaving the patients to pay cash and claim later. When a simple consultation, laboratory test and prescription may cost half a month’s salary, or more, it will be rational for a worker to terminate medical aid subscriptions and it will not be surprising if all the medical aid societies collapse completely before this year is out, leaving health care accessible only to the very rich. Government’s response to the failures of service providers was predictable – punish headmasters who try to keep their schools running by allowing fee increases in line with inflation, criminalize doctors who charge cash. It is hardly surprising that many educational and medical professionals have left the country.

They are not alone. A recent survey showed that 3.4 million Zimbabweans – ¼ of the population – lives outside the country. Professionals have left with their families to find work where there is greater security and they can command a higher standard of living. Young people have left to escape the dejection and boredom of joblessness and to find tertiary education which does not require the completion of a “national service” which brutalizes and indoctrinates. Mothers have left their children behind while they live in squalor and do menial jobs to send home the precious “forex” which buys food, clothing and pays school fees. Pensioners go to do care work because they cannot survive on their pensions. Others have gone to earn the money to buy a house. They leave behind families broken, rudderless, a prey to the immorality which has gripped the country. Led by the orgy of violence and rape characterising the land seizures, national service training, and election “campaigning”, we – especially our younger generation – have lost the ability to distinguish right from wrong. Might is right; if you can exploit your fellow before he or she exploits you, fine. And then we have the example of our “businessmen” who amass wealth without any skills, any work, by manipulating a corrupt system. Dealing is the name of the game, and he who plays it well prospers. “Cry Beloved Zimbabwe”, was the lament of the WOZA women who were stopped by the police from distributing roses on Valentine’s Day. “Let love overcome hate” was their stifled message that few were allowed to hear.

The New Year produced a surprise as a new monetary policy announced by the Reserve Bank Governor began to take effect. Suddenly we found members of the corrupt elite, even a designer-suit, 25 room mansion ZANU PF M.P., behind bars on allegations of fraud and foreign currency dealing. Government announced a war on corruption. Was this an attempt to win favour among the people, with an eye to the 2005 elections? or simply the public manifestation of a power struggle within ZANU PF as the succession issue hots up, or even a desperate need to raise foreign currency at any cost? The population is sceptical, and waits to see. A real war on corruption would have to bring down far more known crooks and thieves from their high places. At the same time, there has been an attempt to bring some sanity to the foreign currency market by introducing a state-controlled auction. This effectively devalued the currency by 75%, bringing the official exchange rate up and the black market rate down, at least temporarily. But it has negatively affected exporters, importers and consumers and will certainly fuel inflation further. We are set for another round of catastrophic price rises. Where the problems are essentially political piecemeal policies cannot rescue us. A modern economy cannot thrive in the absence of political stability, without smooth linkages to the international players.

On the economic side then, 2004 is likely to bring us only misery. What of the political? It is encouraging that through all the intimidation and violence the opposition MDC has managed to survive, maintain its structures and has held together in spite of a wide internal divergence of ideological positions. It contains some individuals who have worked at great personal risk to bring change. Furthermore, they deserve credit for firmly adhering to principles of non-violence, restraining their youthful hotheads who would prefer to answer violence with violence. It is clear, however, that elections marked by state violence and terror will not bring change unless the electoral ground rules are completely rewritten, and that is certainly not going to occur in the present circumstances. What about the mass action route? Besides the opposition party, MDC, several civil society organisations have raised their voices against government policies. These include the labour federation, ZCTU, the National Constitutional Assembly, some of the churches which have country wide membership organisations, and several other NGO’s. All of them, including the MDC, are divided between the activists who want to take to the streets and the lobbyists, who want to push for some kind of “talks” with government.

Those in favour of street action are in a weak position. 2003 demonstrated that while people were prepared to protest by staying away from work, they were not ready to take to the streets and face the riot police and possibly the army. Activists watched events unfold in the Georgian capital Tbilisi with envy, but have been forced to admit that Zimbabweans are simply not yet willing to take the risk. Small demonstrations organized by the ZCTU, the NCA and WOZA, a group which organizes grassroots women, invariably resulted in arrests or police brutality or both. The masses have shied away from such action, and without the masses, this tactic cannot shift ZANU PF in any way. But the bravery of the few, especially when they are women, keeps the opposition visible and raises sprits and hope.

Dialogue between ZANU PF and the MDC has been held out as the solution by neighbouring African countries, particularly South Africa. The purpose of such inter-party talks would be to agree to end human rights abuses, re-establish the rule of law, and rewrite the electoral rules so that a new election could produce a government accepted as legitimate domestically and internationally. Then a start could be made to repair the economic damage. Such talks would have to be brokered by foreign mediators.

For the MDC, talks would be the best solution, but so far they have proved elusive. For obvious reasons ZANU PF is not interested and has deliberately held out the impression to the South Africans that they were committed while doing absolutely nothing. But it is now becoming clear that in the end this is the only way that a solution will be found.

ZANU PF appears to think that they have outwitted the opposition and can hang on to power until 2005, when they will conduct an even more violent and dishonest election which will see them clear for another five years. Even now they are making preparations. A new Presidential decree has introduced the power of detention without bail, on mere suspicion, where there is no evidence of wrong-doing. Youth militia training is being stepped up to provide a reserve of shock troops. The United Nations was asked to provide funding for the election, but the request was quickly withdrawn when they proposed to send a delegation to study the situation on the ground. The MDC, under severe constraint from forces of terror, unconstitutional laws, and a compliant judiciary, and the unwillingness of their members to engage in civil disobedience, is hobbled. It can not do much more than to hold its supporters together, plan policies to implement if they do gain power, and work hard, as they are now doing, to persuade African governments, particularly that of South Africa, to apply the pressure for internationally accepted elections.

Hence the deep despair of the population. Most Zimbabweans face the year with little hope for any early solution. But there are signs that the logic of economic failures may finally bring the whole edifice crashing down. Maybe enough Zimbabweans will decide that “enough is enough” and provide the critical mass in the streets to topple ZANU PF. The “war on corruption” has now exposed the rot at the core and could develop into an uncontrollable internecine struggle. The distortions in the Zimbabwean economy have impacted heavily on the region. President Mbeki, like Obasanjo in December, might finally decide that it is not worth the embarrassment of continuing to support Robert Mugabe, whose galloping paranoia occasionally turns on Mbeki himself. Or, a serious illness or even death of the 80-year-old Mugabe might open an opportunity for a South Africa assisted return to legitimacy, and an end to the madness. “An idea whose time has come cannot be stopped”.

The time for democratic change in Zimbabwe has not yet come. But time does move fast in Zimbabwe. The unexpected occurs on a daily basis. While today we may see little hope, tomorrow or next week will surely be different, for ultimately time is on our side.

* Send comments on this editorial - and other events in Africa - to [email protected]

* Previous editorials from Mary Ndlovu
- Zimbabwe’s March: Pambazuka News 105, 2003
http://www.pambazuka.org/index.php?issue=105
- March, Zimbabwe’s month of destiny: Pambazuka News 55, 2002
http://www.pambazuka.org/index.php?issue=55

* NOTE FOR EDITORS: Please note that this editorial was commissioned from the author for Pambazuka News. While we are pleased that several print publications have used our editorials, we ask editors to note that if they use this article, they do so on the understanding that they are expected to provide the following credit: "This article first appeared in Pambazuka News, an electronic newsletter for social justice in Africa, www.pambazuka.org" Editors are also encouraged to make a donation.




Comment & analysis

Museveni Needs More than the ICC to Stop Kony Atrocities

Mutuma Ruteere

2004-03-04

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/comment/20578

The recent decision by Uganda's President Museveni's to turn to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for investigations of atrocities by the Lord's Resistance Army has generated a lot of excitement in international human rights circles. Unfortunately, as the February 21 massacre by Joseph Kony's rebels has demonstrated, international prosecution may not be the inspired choice required to stop the carnage.

Judicialisation of conflict is what states do as a substitute for effective action. As a strategic choice for ending conflict, it is also a guaranteed failure. It proved the wrong prescription to the 1990s conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. In 1993, the United Nations Security Council created the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) ostensibly to stop the violence, but in reality to avoid doing anything about the conflict. Every single diplomat at the Security Council knew that what was required was a military solution or negotiated end to the inter-ethnic slaughter.

Rwanda, even more dramatically, demonstrated the timidity of the world in stopping conflicts. The UN had peace-keeping troops on the ground in Rwanda but when blood started to flow, the world decided to cut and run. General Romeo Dallaire, the commander of UN peacekeeping forces in Rwanda then, has stated that he could have stopped the genocide with 5,000 good troops and a muscular UN mandate. Instead, he was ordered to leave. The creation of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was partly a gesture of contrition by states that had retreated to the safety of their borders and abandoned Rwanda to its fate. In both Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, resort to a judicial option was a way of appearing to do something without doing anything.

The lessons of these conflicts for Uganda are unfortunate but clear. The relevance of international law during conflict rests on the training, intentions and gun power of the fighters and their command. The individuals responsible for the February 21 massacres have as much knowledge of the Geneva Conventions as they do of brain surgery. President Museveni's invitation to the International Criminal Court therefore, while an important affirmation of individual criminal accountability for grave violations, it skirts the more immediate concern of stopping the atrocities.

The decision is flawed in both timing and effectiveness. Its timing elevates a downstream process of prosecutions to the upstream stage of regulation and cessation of conflict. Prosecutions are usually an after-the-conflict matter. They come after the fog of war has cleared. Commencing prosecution of 'enemies' during conflict imperils truce negotiations and is a disincentive to those who may be willing to surrender. It is why the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia refrained from indicting former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic before and during the Dayton Peace Process. In any event, it is one thing to draw a list of the rebels alleged to have committed atrocities, but a different reality to attempt to collect evidence amidst the war.

The 18-year-old war in northern Uganda has now turned into the classic African 'stale-mate wars', with neither side able to deliver a decisive victory. What Uganda needs at the moment is a strategy of militarily defeating the rebels or negotiating a ceasefire. Given Kony's modus operandi, a negotiated peace settlement may be elusive in the short run.

If the only viable option is military, President Museveni may have to collectivize the security dilemma facing Uganda. The trail of the military supplies to the Lord's Resistance Army needs to be examined to hold to sanction those complicit in the conflict. The African Union Protocol creating a Peace and Security Council has only recently come into effect. Part of its mandate is to stop the atrocities similar to those perpetrated by the Lord's Resistance Army. With the new African Union, African Court of Human Rights and the NEPAD mechanisms, African leaders have pledged to generate solutions to Africa's many problems. The African Union has vowed not to repeat the spectacular failures of its predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). Uganda may be well advised to test this commitment by requesting for assistance in its war against the Kony rebels.

External assistance to Uganda is however bound to be complicated by the country's recent military entanglements in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The five reports by the UN Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth of the Democratic Republic of Congo, have fingered the Ugandan military for its involvement in illegal exploitation of minerals in the DRC and escalation of the conflict in that country. The tense relations between Uganda and Rwanda following the clashes between their forces in the DRC complicates a regional approach to security.

For Kenya and Tanzania, the insecurity in Uganda is a threat to the anticipated economic recovery of economies already battered by terrorist attacks. It is these two countries, more than any other in the region that must work with Uganda for a solution to the Kony insurgency if an integrated East Africa is to become a reality. In the long term, East African security experts need to re-imagine borders as regional rather than national. Security solutions are however determined by the political policies and choices of leaders. An East African security mechanism is only possible in the context of consensus on values by East African leaders. Internally, the three East African countries are yet to clear their decks of key governance issues. Mobilizing national support for regional peace work in the absence of local security and vibrant structures of domestic accountability is an uphill task.

However, the victims of Kony's war in northern Uganda will not wait for democracy to flourish in East Africa or the International Criminal Court to conduct its investigations. They are not victims of a random robbery or murder. Kony's massacres are a full-blown insurgency devoid of any humanitarian pretensions. If amnesty is what it will take to save lives, it is a choice that Uganda may have to explore in spite of obvious moral qualms. A military victory is more likely to deliver judicial justice to Kony's victims. But it requires political will at different levels and possibly more than the Ugandan military to deliver.

* Recent Pambazuka News articles on Uganda:
- Confronting impunity through the ICC: Is Africa ready and waiting?
http://www.pambazuka.org/index.php?issue=144

* Mutuma Ruteere is a Phd candidate in Political Science, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA and a researcher on human rights and humanitarian law.

* Send comments on this editorial - and other events in Africa - to [email protected]

* NOTE FOR EDITORS: Please note that this editorial was commissioned from the author for Pambazuka News. While we are pleased that several print publications have used our editorials, we ask editors to note that if they use this article, they do so on the understanding that they are expected to provide the following credit: "This article first appeared in Pambazuka News, an electronic newsletter for social justice in Africa, www.pambazuka.org" Editors are also encouraged to make a donation.




Advocacy & campaigns

Documentaries marking the 10th anniversary

2004-03-04

http://www.visiontv.ca/RememberRwanda/main_pf.htm

* The BBC film "Kill Thy Neighbour" will be shown at Chatham House on March 31st.
* BBC World Television will be running a Rwanda season during April with the films "Journey Into Darkness" (1994); "Valentinas Story" (1996); "When Good Men Do Nothing" (2000) and "Kill Thy Neighbour" (2003).
* VisionTV will be broadcasting the documentary "Rwanda: In Search of Hope" on April 8 at 10pm ET.
* PBS Frontline is producing a major documentary on "Rwanda, 10 years later”, scheduled to have its premier at the Holocaust Museum in DC on April 1, 2004, then to be shown on PBS stations in the US and may also be shown on BBC Panorama.
* NPR (National Public Radio-USA) is presenting a one-hour news magazine on courageous Hutu who saved Tutsi lives during the genocide, risking their own in the process. To be aired around April 7th.
* Anne Aghion's sequel to her acclaimed 2002 documentary, "Gacaca, Living Together Again In Rwanda?" will be released in late March or early April.


Ibutsa Rwanda

Ibutsa Rwanda at Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, Canada: June 25 to June 27, 2004

2004-03-04

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/advocacy/20524

Ibutsa Rwanda is a weekend of commemoration, reflection and celebration remembering those who died and recognizing the experiences of those who survived the genocide of Rwanda in 1994. Ibutsa Rwanda provides a cultural forum for the communities of Toronto to reflect on the meaning of the genocide, while also celebrating the music, dance, song, poetry, literature, films and art that characterize a vibrant and powerful Rwandan culture thriving today in Canada and in Africa. Ibutsa Rwanda honours survival and life and the responsibility of "those who know and must tell”.


World Water Week call to action

2004-03-04

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/advocacy/20582

All around the world, communities are planning activities around World Water Week to celebrate Earth's most valuable resource: water. Communities are organising to promote water conservation, watershed restoration and universal access to clean and affordable water in the face of a number of threats such as pollution, privatization of municipal water and sewage systems, water cut-offs to families, groundwater mining and bottled water operations. Read the rest of this email from the Water for All Listserve by clicking on the link below.
News from Public Citizen's Water For All Campaign
**********

World Water Week 2004, March 14-22
Call to Action! Organize your community to celebrate World Water Week,
from March 14, International Day on Dams, to March 22, World Water Day.
PLEASE FORWARD to interested lists, groups and individuals.

All around the world, communities are planning activities around World
Water Week to celebrate Earth's most valuable resource -- water.

Communities are organizing to promote water conservation, watershed
restoration and universal access to clean and affordable water in the
face of a number of threats such as pollution, privatization of
municipal water and sewage systems, water cut-offs to families,
groundwater mining and bottled water operations.

There are many places, around the world and right here in the United
States, where the human right to water is violated everyday.
Multinational corporations, such as the French conglomerate SUEZ, know
as United Water in the U.S., privatize water systems, layoff public
workers and impose prohibitive water rates (sometimes increases of as
much as 300 percent) on even the poorest communities. Big bottled water
companies, such as Nestle, devastate the inhabitants and environments of
large areas by sucking the water out from underneath the land and
selling it in little plastic bottles for a huge profit. In the
developing world, children die from waterborne diseases, and women and
young girls must often walk for miles everyday to procure only the
essential amount of water for their families -- usually at the expense
of more productive activities like school or work.

The world's clean water resources are being used up and polluted at an
alarming rate; water is not limitless, and soon there will not be much
left -- even in your community. When this scarcity reaches a crisis
point who do you want to be in control of your water, your local
municipality or a multinational corporation? Celebrating World Water
Week is a way for your community to empower itself and contribute to
global solidarity over the water issues that will increasingly affect
every citizen of the world.

Below is a "toolbox" which we have constructed to aid your community in
putting together an event or otherwise promoting a way to mark and
celebrate World Water Week.

1. The Bottled Water Taste-Test. Click here for a guide on how to
how to hold your own Taste-Test,
http://www.citizen.org/cmep/Water/us/articles.cfm?ID=11094

2. Hold your own Water Justice Film Festival. Whether you have a
group of 15 or 1500 people, film is a great way to bring community
together, learn about the issues, have fun, and inspire discussion.
Click here for a list of films concerning issues of "water justice,"
information on speakers and experts in your area, and advice on how to
put on your own Festival,
http://www.citizen.org/cmep/Water/us/articles.cfm?ID=11098 Click
here see materials for the 2004 Water Justice Film Festival in
Washington, DC.

3. Express your power as a consumer! Don't buy bottled water. Join
the international campaign against Nestle and Coca Cola. Click here for
details, http://www.citizen.org/cmep/Water/us/articles.cfm?ID=11095

4. The Carry Your Own Water Role-play. In most societies around the
world, women are the traditional household water providers. In many
places in the developing world, women and even very little girls must
walk for hours everyday to obtain water for their families. Put yourself
in their place. Raise awareness about their struggles and the violation
of their human rights and about the complicity of the International
Financial Institutions like the World Bank. Then make your voices heard.
Click here to learn more,
http://www.citizen.org/cmep/Water/us/articles.cfm?ID=11096

5. Take control of your environment! Test you local water sources
for pollution and contamination. Join your local watershed restoration
or urban creek council to promote responsible environmental stewardship.
Click here to learn how,
http://www.citizen.org/cmep/Water/us/articles.cfm?ID=11099



Share your community's plans for World Water Week with people around
the world. Send an email to Peter Ambler at [email protected] and we
will publicize it on our website. We are creating a list of activities
in the US to share with our friends and allies around the world. Feel
free to contact a Water for All organizer if you'd like to brainstorm
ideas and/or connect with other like-minded people in your region.

For more information and ideas or to connect with other concerned
people in your area, contact Peter Ambler at [email protected] or
202.454.5169. We look forward to building this historic, life-affirming
movement with you in the month of March and beyond!

**********
To subscribe to Water For All, send an email to [email protected] with "subscribe Waterforall" in the message.

To unsubscribe from Water For All, send an email to [email protected] with "Unsubscribe Waterforall" in the message.

For more information on the Water For All Campaign please visit http://www.citizen.org/cmep/


Zimbabwe: March to defend rights

2004-03-04

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/advocacy/20581

If you are in Bulawayo or London, join the Women of Zimbabwe Arise in a solidarity protest march on International Women's Day on March 08. Click on the link below for full details.
WOMEN OF ZIMBABWE ARISE (WOZA)
WOZA means 'Come forward'. By women for women and with women, across race,
colour, creed, class or political persuasion. Empowering women to be
courageous, caring, committed and in communication with their communities.
---------------------------------------------------
8th MARCH 2004 is INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY - MARCH TO DEFEND YOUR RIGHTS
Women in Zimbabwe are not celebrating, they are crying because they are
being stripped of their rights. Join us at 9 am for a thirty-minute
inter-denominational service, followed by a peaceful procession at:

Harare Central Baptist Church 2nd St/ Fife Ave
Bulawayo: St Marys Catholic Cathedral, Lobengula St /9th Ave
London: Solidarity protest at Zimbabwe House in London, at 5:30 pm.
Zimbabwe House, 429 The Strand, WC1 (Nearest tube: Charing Cross)
email for more info: [email protected]
------------------------------------------------------
Our protest message is: DIGNIFY US WITH A NEW CONSTITUTION. DO NOT STRIP
WOMEN OF THEIR RIGHTS.

Ndebele: QAKATHEKISA OMAMA. UNGABAHLUBULI AMALUNGELO ABO! QAKATHEKISA
ISISEKELO NGOKUSEMBESA UBUNQUNU BASO BULIHLAZO ESIZWENI SEZIMBABWE!

Shona: REMEKEDZAI MADZIMAI. MUSAVA- BVUTIRA KODZERO DZAVO! REMEKEDZAI
BUMBIRO RE MUTEMO NOKURI VHARA KUSHAMA KWARO, KURIKUNYADZISA MHURI YESE YE
ZIMBABWE!

What we expect of participants:
¨ Attend the walk in solidarity from 9 to 11am on Monday.
¨ Or gather friends together at your home to hold a prayer meeting for
Zimbabwean women.
¨ Those attending street processions should show their love by bringing
flowers to hand out as they walk. Come dressed in white for peace.
¨ If you cannot join us, demonstrate at your closest shopping centre.

We, the mothers of the nation, would like Zimbabweans to realise that the
Constitution is supposed to be the mother of all laws. Zimbabweans no longer
respect this mother and have neglected her badly before and after
Independence. We believe that this is the reason this mother is now giving
birth to abnormal children. Public Order & Security Act, POSA and Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act, AIPPA are two of her notorious
children. POSA is mad and out of control and AIPPA makes us dummies. It is
from a woman's body that life begins and this is also true of the
Constitution. We appeal to Zimbabweans to respect and dignify the
constitution as they would any mother. This mother of ours was only half
dressed in Lancaster and her clothes are now tattered and torn leaving her
naked and open to abuse by evil men. We, the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
are saying that the Constitution of Zimbabwe is being gang raped and forced
to produce the most notorious kinds of children. As mothers, we are calling
for the nation to respect us and dignify us with a new Constitution. Only
then can good and clean laws be birthed and nurtured for growth. DIGNIFY US
WITH A NEW CONSTITUTION. DO NOT STRIP WOMEN OF THEIR RIGHTS.

MUGABE PROMISED TO PROTECT WOMENS RIGHTS! IS HE DOING THAT?

Together with other African leaders, Robert Mugabe signed the "PROTOCOL TO
THE AFRICAN CHARTER ON HUMAN AND PEOPLES' RIGHTS ON THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN IN
AFRICA" on 16 November 2001, to make sure that ALL rights of ALL women are
protected.

By signing this Protocol, Robert Mugabe promised to [among other things]:
¨ End discrimination against Women
¨ Respect Women's dignity
¨ Protect Women's right to life and security

Mugabe pledged that to do this he would:
¨ Prevent and prohibit violence against women in public and private spheres
¨ Promote peace education to break the culture of violence against women
¨ Punish perpetrators of violence against women
¨ Focus on the rehabilitation of women victims of violence.

For women to be fully dignified they must have equality, freedom, peace,
justice, solidarity and democracy. They must not be exploited or degraded.

HAVE THESE THINGS HAPPENED? WE MUST HOLD OUR LEADERS ACCOUNTABLE TO THEIR
PROMISES!!

From more info on WOZA, write: Box FM 701, Famona, Bulawayo Telephone (+263)
11-213-885 / 91 300 456 / 23 514 895 Telefax 9-63978 Email: [email protected]

For progress reports on the day, please call
Crisis Coalition (+263) 4-442988 Harare or mobile (+263)91 288 605 email:
[[email protected]]
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (+263) 4-706981 email: [[email protected]]
From the Shona and Ndebele translation of this email and full ratified
Protocol To The African Charter On Human And Peoples' Rights On The Rights
Of Women In Africa" pls email [email protected]




Books & arts

'South Africa and Global Apartheid: Continental and International Policies and Politics' by Patrick Bond

2004-03-04

http://www.nai.uu.se/webbshop/ShopGB/index.html

This study covers a variety of political and economic aspects of Africa's and South Africa's relationships to the world. The author considers the context of global apartheid, in terms of international stagnation, uneven development and African marginalisation, and evaluates the South African setting as a telling site of worsening inequality. Where then does the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) stand on the largest economic and political problems? South Africa's other proposed global reforms are also discussed. Finally, the author records an emerging ideology based not on commodification via globalisation but on decommodification and deglobalisation, and the strategies, tactics and alliances required for African and international progress.


'The Chameleon Who Could Not Change Her Colour' by Walter Bgoya

2004-03-04

http://www.africanbookscollective.com/

Chameleons are small, slow-moving lizards, which are supposed to have an ability to change their colour. But one day, a girl chameleon is born, the youngest in a family of thirty-eight chameleons, the only chameleon who cannot change her colour. Her fellow chameleons are worried for her because she is unable to disguise herself. But when the chameleons are threatened by first a snake, and then a bird-of-prey, this chameleon demonstrates that she has special powers and can use her eyes to deflect them. The messages of the story, which is beautifully illustrated, are that it is sometimes the ones who look as if they do not belong who can save those who think they do; and that gifts are sometimes bestowed upon those who might not look the way we think they ought; or as if they might not deserve them.


'The Political Economy of Social Inequalities: Consequences for Health and Quality of Life' edited by Vicente Navarro

2004-03-04

http://baywood.com/intro/220-1.pdf

The dramatic increase in social inequalities within and among countries in the last twenty years has had a most negative impact on the health and quality of life of large sectors of the world's populations. In The Political Economy of Social Inequalities, scholars from a variety of disciplines and countries analyze the political and economic causes of these inequalities, their consequences for health, and some proposed solutions.


Art In Uganda

2004-03-04

http://www.africancolours.com/?content/artinuganda2003.html

In Uganda when one talks about art it stipulates three things. One may think about the beautiful artefacts like mats, table spreads and baskets whose production occupies a good number of hours of many a housewife. Or better still the numerous utilitarian items like stools, headgear and body accessories made from beads most of which are imported from Kenya. The third and rather obvious evocation is the paintings, sculptures and drawings that are produced as a result of formal and informal training. Among artists and art promoters in Kampala, art refers to the paintings (Kampala artists are of late obsessed with painting; a tendency dictated by the ready market for them) and sculptures produced in conformity with western aesthetics. Read the rest of this article on the African Colours website.


Fito - A new feminist ezine

2004-03-04

http://www.fito.co.za/sub/about.htm

Fito is a fringe feminist ezine based in South Africa, but open to world places, visions and voices,
Fito aims to:
- Celebrate freedoms and expression beyond patriarchal, hetero-normative and other repressive mindsets;
- Explode the myths about history, culture and identity that leave so many stories untold;
- Stake out e-space for expressing anger about things too long left unsaid;
- Challenge coercive loyalties to creeds, leaders, organisations and other collectivities.


Review: 'We Did Nothing' by Linda Polman

English edition, translated by Rob Bland; London: Penguin Books, 2004

Christina Clark

2004-03-04

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/books/20497

In We Did Nothing, veteran journalist Linda Polman draws on her experience in war zones of Haiti, Rwanda, Bosnia and Somalia to expose the shortcomings of international intervention in these contexts. Her thesis is that United Nations (UN) member states, particularly those on the Security Council (SC), privilege national interests over UN goals. This seriously weakens the UN, which is given ambitious mandates at the same time as it is chronically under-funded and under-resourced. While constrained by member states' interests, the UN is often criticised for its failures, as if it were an independently functioning organisation.

According to Polman, this criticism would be better aimed at UN member states, particularly powerful Western countries that push for peacekeeping operations, but then are noticeably under-represented in terms of personnel on the ground. The book also exposes examples of 'Blue Rinsing', in which powerful SC members intervene unilaterally in conflicts, and then call for UN involvement once more difficult and lengthy stages of reconstruction and democracy-building begin. Polman makes a powerful case against such practice in analysing US involvement in Somalia and Haiti, and French intervention in Rwanda.

In an era of UN-bashing, We Did Nothing is a refreshing re-take on the UN's "failings", showing that they are not organisational, but rather a product of structural power plays in international relations. However, by focusing on self interests as the root of the problems of the international community's reaction to conflict, Polman tends to paint all individuals she encounters in conflict zones with the same brush of egocentricity. International staff members are reduced to national stereotypes, while local populations are portrayed as either passive, helpless victims or unscrupulous profiteers and militia.

This dehumanisation overlooks the extraordinary capacity for resilience, coping and collective action that many people display in conflict. Absent from Polman's often cynical accounts of chaos and confusion are examples of how ordinary people - both local and international - go to extraordinary lengths to help each other eke out a daily, 'normal' existence in the face of adversity. While these examples are less sensational than the US military bullies, the quavering UN officials and the local racketeers portrayed in Polman's book, it is only just, not to mention good journalism, to give equal weight to both sides of the story.

* Reviewed by Christina Clark, Fahamu




Letters & Opinions

Justice and all that...

Geneva

Elisabeth Nyffenegger

2004-03-04

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/letters/20561

Your recent article “Confronting impunity through the ICC: is Africa ready and waiting?” Has triggered a number of considerations that I wish to submit here.

The issue that troubled me most is the suggestion that amnesty may be a way forward in a situation of peace negotiations! While one may have to accept a certain delay in carrying out justice for purely tactical reasons, such as the perpetrator has still such an enormous nuisance value - as was the case after the fall of both Pinochet and Videla in the case of Chilli and Argentina - that to indict them would lead to the conflict flaring up again. Of course this must be avoided! But does that imply that people such as Taylor and his like should be immune from justice? After the horrendous deeds they perpetrated? If such people are to walk about scot-free, then what is justice all about?

Justice is central to the functioning of all societies! No society condones murder and theft. Justice serves as a frame that tells everyone that not every thing is permitted, it is the limits within which human passions - the destructive ones - are contained. To do away with justice is opening a Pandora box that will require a strong and very wise man to close again, possibly thousands of deaths later!

It doesn't take a great deal of imagination I don't think to put oneself into the shoes of the victim of one of these atrocious conflicts and imagine that one is sitting in one's damaged house considering the devastation of one's life, the loss of one's kin with perhaps no known burial site, one's property stolen or destroyed and one's neighbour - the known perpetrator - going about his business, untroubled, having possibly gained from it all! I suggest that this is a case for taking the law into one's own hands which, all will agree, is conducive neither to peace nor to the rule of law!

Furthermore, the trial of the perpetrators is the time for the community as a whole to learn what has happened and for the victim to receive public recognition for what it endured which opens the way to support and help from the community. The court itself may grant compensation. The trial is also the time when the past is looked into the face no matter how painful it may be, a necessary and unavoidable step if it is ever to be put to rest, to become a thing of the past.

Reconciliation has an agenda and a timetable of its own! But what ever its pace it starts with justice which is to say, the culprit brought to books. Also, literature and psychiatrists alike have described what they call the "moral trauma", suffered by those who committed a terrible deed. Some will say "serves them right!". But this does not improve the society to which the perpetrator belongs and it is desirable that he too be given the chance to start afresh, having had the possibility to "redeem" himself through paying for his crimes. (The master minds and hardened criminals are likely to be immune to moral trauma).

Or course national justice is preferable to international justice whenever possible. In particular it would be best for the victims to have their case heard within their own community. But how often is it possible? The extraordinary undertaking of the Truth and Reconciliation commission in South Africa was "pulled off" by two outstanding fellows, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and president Mandela. How many post conflict situations are there where two such wise men with immense moral credibility could "pull off such a trick"?
The decision of whether justice should be carried out in an international or a national court of justice should be considered carefully on the ground that all too often one finds that the people holding key positions before the conflict and during the conflict are the same again in the post conflict situation.
I dare say that the people who most probably (it is for the court of justice to decide!) carry a heavy responsibility in the unfolding of the devastating events should not be entrusted with the carrying out of justice.

In some instances the judiciary ceased to exist as a result of the conflict, as was the case in Rwanda where the whole legal body had become so perverted that it could not be of any use after the genocide.

One thing seems obvious: kangaroo courts for the sake of exercising justice nationally rather then internationally does not serve the cause of justice nor does it satisfy the innate need for fairness that is common to all humans.
National or international, justice should be the concern of all. If one considers the sometimes huge international effort in bringing food and drugs to the victims of armed conflicts over long period to time, (not all of it useful) perhaps some of that effort could be diverted towards the training of the legal staff, the (re) establishing of a functioning, fair and independent judiciary, endowed with sufficient means to carry out this most important of tasks.

To conclude, I suggest that tactical postponement may have to be tolerated in order to prevent worse evil. But amnesty? NO! Amnesty is a dirty word that should be banned lest we allow a horrible past to intrude into the present and hijack the future! It must always be remembered that the operative word for a peaceful future, for a harmonious world, is Justice.




Women & gender

Africa/Global: Guide for fighting discrimination available

2004-03-04

http://bit.ly/bENbPE

This guide aims to provide practical information for indigenous peoples and organisations to support their use of rights-based arguments under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The guide covers general information on the CEDAW and its monitoring body, the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and information on other UN human rights bodies and procedures that might be invoked to highlight the concerns of indigenous women within the UN system.


Africa/Global: Older women must be remembered

Press Release

Helpage International

2004-03-04

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/wgender/20624

As the world marks the International Women's Day on 8th March, HelpAge International pays tribute to the older woman. The world is ageing today faster than at any other time in the history of mankind. Research has shown that women survive longer than their male counterparts who are more likely than women to suffer from deadly conditions such as lung and prostate cancers, heart disease or strokes. The world is therefore becoming a woman’s world.
Press Release: HelpAge International



International Women’s Day: Celebrating the Older Woman





Nairobi, 4th March - As the world marks the International Women's Day on 8th March, HelpAge International pays tribute to the older woman.



The world is ageing today faster than at any other time in the history of mankind. Research has shown that women survive longer than their male counterparts who are more likely than women to suffer from deadly conditions such as lung and prostate cancers, heart disease or strokes. The world is therefore becoming a woman’s world.



However, women the world over are discriminated against by virtue of their sex. Their rights are trampled upon indiscriminately. In their old age, they face the additional challenge of dealing with negative societal attitudes towards the old. This negative attitude towards them is regrettable as women continue to play a crucial role in society despite their age.



The rights of women of whatever age go unrecognised in many communities. How much more those of older women who face double discrimination, first due to their sex and then their age?



The older woman suffers immense physical abuse under the hands of family members. Witchcraft allegations tend to be targeted more at her than the older man. She is beaten to death or maimed for life. Older women in conflict and emergency situations face a greater violation of their rights. Those in refugee camps for example, are not guaranteed to get a meal, as they are overpowered when relief food is being distributed as people scramble for scarce resources. In addition, the food is not tailored to an older person’s special dietary needs necessitated by a sensitive dental formula.



When her husband passes away, her sons and her husband’s male relatives strip her bare of all he owned. After all, traditionally women like her belong to men and cannot own property. Thus deprived, poverty is her plight.



The older woman is not safe from rape by her son, a male relative or neighbour. When this happens, she is robbed of the dignity she hoped to take with her to her grave. The rape of older women is sometimes done under the belief that it will cure those suffering from AIDS. Worse off is the older woman with disabilities, who therefore cannot fend for herself adequately. She is therefore, at the mercy of the community, but most of the time she is abandoned as she is considered a burden.



Such is the “appreciation” shown to the older woman. She who is besieged by poverty and poor health but has to come out of retirement to once again tend to her adult children who succumb to AIDS. The older woman watches her own children die and subsequently takes on the responsibility of her orphaned grandchildren amidst her crippling poverty. Unfortunately, AIDS service organisations focus on other population groups, leaving out older people, particularly older women who bear the brunt of care and support of the HIV infected, the sick and the orphans.



In some communities in Africa where older men have died due to wars or natural causes, older women have come up to act as the key negotiators in peace deals. The sight of women taking charge in the presence of the few men left is rousing and momentous. This is especially due to the fact that traditionally women were only to be seen and not heard.



Older women also engage in income-generating activities to feed their families despite the diminished capabilities that advanced age presents. It is not uncommon to see them hauling heavy baskets on their backs or heads making for the market to sell handicrafts or farm produce to feed their families. The job of taking care of the home falls squarely on their shoulders.



The older woman guards her community's traditions by passing on its values from one generation to another through story telling to her grandchildren. Once in a while we have seen her fight for the preservation of her family's honour.



HelpAge International has embarked on the Older Citizens Monitoring Project (OCM) in Kenya, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Tanzania and Jamaica. The aim of the project is the promotion of the involvement of older people in monitoring the government’s commitment to the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, which calls for among other things, respect of older people’s rights. Through this project, older people, including women, are being sensitised more about their rights and given a voice with which to raise issues of violations of these rights. The project has so far resulted in older people standing up to claim their rights. In Kenya, for example, an older widow in Misyani, Kangundo – Marisela Kivati - is fighting her two sons who want to disinherit her of a piece of land left to her by her husband. The local chief has agreed to act on the case.



As we celebrate International Women's Day, let us remember our older women. Let's give them a chance to live in dignity and security, free from exploitation and physical and other forms of abuse.



_____________________________

* HelpAge International is a global network of not-for-profit organisations with a mission to work with and for disadvantaged older people worldwide to achieve a lasting improvement in the quality of their lives.



For more information please contact:

HelpAge International

Africa Regional Development Centre

PO Box 14888, 00800 Westlands, Nairobi, Kenya

Tel: (254-020) 4444289, 4446991, 4449407; Fax: 4441052; Email: [email protected]


Africa/Global: Women\'s Advancement is Key to Reducing Poverty

2004-03-04

http://ippfnet.ippf.org/pub/IPPF_News/News_Details.asp?ID=3286

UN Wire reported that UN officials told the Commission on the Status of Women at a meeting on 2 March 2004 that gender equality was the key to reducing poverty and meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s). UN Wire documented how participants discussed the issue that despite progress towards gender parity, in many countries women’s rights are still under threat. According to World Health Organisation (WHO) research, between 10 and 69 per cent of women worldwide are subjected to some form of violence in their lives, while 1 600 women die every day due to pregnancy-related complications.


Africa: Men Tour Africa Against Gender Violence

2004-03-04

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/wgender/20476

Nelson Banda is a 28-year-old journalist from Zambia. Fifty-eight year old Moses Mbugua is the head of United Way Kenya, a non-profit organisation that provides support for community programs. In November last year, both men took part in the Men's Travelling Conference - a group of more than 100 men from Zambia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and South Africa who travelled across eastern and southern Africa to raise awareness and mobilize other men to support gender equality and end gender-based violence (GBV). The Travelling Conference was organised by the Men for Gender Equality Now Network, an initiative by FEMNET, the African Women's Development and Communication Network.
Nelson Banda is a 28 year old journalist from Zambia. 58 year old Moses Mbugua is the head of United Way Kenya, a non-profit that provides support for community programs. In November last year, both men took part in the Men's Traveling Conference - a group of more than 100 men from Zambia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and South Africa who traveled across eastern and southern Africa to raise awareness and mobilize other men to support gender equality and end gender-based violence (GBV). The Traveling Conference was organized by the Men for Gender Equality Now Network, an initiative by FEMNET, the African Women's Development and Communication Network. FEMNET's programme on gender-based violence has been supported by the UNIFEM Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence Against Women.

Aged 20 to 80, the Traveling Conference comprised faith leaders, policemen, lawyers, sportsmen, artists, students and persons living with HIV/AIDS. It was organized as part of the Sixteen Days of Activism - a worldwide campaign on ending violence against women that takes place each year from November 25th to December 10th. Billed as an advocacy and outreach event, participants traveled from their countries by bus to meet in Lilongwe, Malawi, stopping along the way to speak to thousands of people on issues of gender-based violence and HIV/AIDS. In each town they stopped at, the men used music, dance, drama and lively debate to captivate and involve their audiences. Buses were decorated with banners proclaiming "Peace in Africa Begins At Home: Men Fight GBV", and "Men Working to Stop the Spread of HIV/AIDS". Drums and megaphones helped to make the messages heard.
Speaking about his involvement, Banda says: "As men, we need to re-assess on how we have been socialized. Gender Based Violence is barbaric and serves nobody! We are in the Gender Revolution and as men we should take the lead and live by example."

Both Banda and Mbugua are active members of the Men for Gender Equality Now Network, which started in 2001 and has members from Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Somaliland, South Africa and Zambia. "When the network came up I joined immediately to continue in my campaign for gender equality," said Mbugua. "I have witnessed that when men talk to other men on gender equality they tend to pay more attention than when the same is coming from a woman."

FEMNET, the network's initiator, has been working for more than a decade in Africa to mobilize groups of men to combat gender discrimination. Believing firmly that even in the most patriarchal of societies there are many men who believe that there can be no development, peace and justice if gender inequality persists and if violence against women continues, FEMNET targets men as partners who are critical to reach out to other men to build awareness, sensitivity, and to change attitudes about male identity and unequal power relationships between men and women. "Gender bias takes two," says Sara Longwe, former president of FEMNET. "If we use advocacy to combat it, then both sides, men and women, must be involved. When you stand up for something, and do it publicly, you can change things."

Contact: Njoki Wainaina, FEMNET, [email protected] Web site:www.femnet.or.ke


Africa: New strategy promotes partnerships for gender and women's advancement in Africa

2004-03-04

http://www.unwire.org/UNWire/20040227/449_13548.asp

Representatives from 26 sub-Saharan African countries meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, launched a four-year strategy to promote partnerships for more equal roles for men and women and support women's advancement and wider participation in development. Despite progress, less than 15 per cent of economic managers in Africa are women, and women account for less than 10 per cent of the parliamentarians and 8 per cent of government ministers.


Tanzania: Gender activist irked by journalists

2004-03-04

http://www.ippmedia.com/ipp/guardian/2004/03/01/6336.html

A gender activist with the Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA) has criticised local journalists for what it called their “unjust and unfair” portrayal of women. The activist, Echikael Maro, said in most cases journalists have shown bias when covering women stories.


Tanzania: Report says patriarchal society, gender violence contributing to spread of HIV/AIDS

2004-03-04

http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=39733

Women, lacking power, resources and education because of Tanzania’s patriarchal society, are bearing the brunt of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the East African country, the Tanzania Media Women's Association (TAMWA) reported this week. Despite ongoing activities and debates aimed at tackling the spread of HIV/AIDS, the roots causes of the problem are not being properly dealt with, many HIV messages are out of context and current attitudes are not conducive to reversing the spread of the disease, especially among women, says Ananilea Nkya, TAMWA's executive director.


Uganda: Women's Demands to Political Parties and Organisations

2004-03-04

http://www.wougnet.org/Documents/COPAW/womendemands.html

The Coalition for Political Accountability to Women (COPAW) is a non-partisan alliance of rights based organisations and individuals committed to political accountability to women and to socio-political transformation in realising good governance in Uganda. COPAW in collaboration with Uganda Women's Network (UWONET) organised a series of meetings last year (2003) to chart out clear and distinct issues to put to political parties and organisations as Uganda transits to pluralism. Some of the issues that prominently featured were (i) Real and Meaningful Democracy; (ii) Integration of the Principle of Affirmative Action; (iii) People-Centred / People-Focused Development; (iv) Commitment to Obligations under International Human Rights Instruments; and (v) Peace and Security. These issues were compiled in a brief memorandum that is now being shared widely for input.




Human rights

Africa: Should Africa host ousted presidents?

2004-03-04

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3523071.stm

When rebels advanced on Haiti's capital city this weekend, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide fled the country. His first stop was the Central African Republic, with reports suggesting that his final destination will be South Africa. He is not the only ousted president to take refuge in Africa. Should African countries offer safe havens to such people, many of whom have headed regimes with shocking human rights records? What should be done with ousted heads of state who cannot live safely in their own countries?
Links to articles on Haiti:
* Haiti Inspiration
http://www.nu.ac.za/ccs/default.asp?2,40,5,373
* Regime change in Haiti
http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=54&ItemID=5079


Burundi/Rwanda: Amnesty cautions Bujumbura over executions

2004-03-04

http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=39778

Amnesty International has expressed concern over the prospect of renewed judicial executions in Burundi, following a speedy trial of four Rwandan men over a bank robbery that took place on 29 January in the capital, Bujumbura. In a statement, Amnesty said on Monday that the Rwandans were at imminent risk of execution. The men were tried on 23 February over the bank robbery during which one person died and a large amount of money stolen.


Ethiopia: Rights organisation condemns arrests of Oromo students

2004-03-04

http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=39804

Ethiopia’s human rights group on Wednesday condemned the mass arrests and physical abuse in January of hundreds of university students in the capital, Addis Ababa. The Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO) said federal officers had rounded up 349 students belonging to the Oromo ethnic group before transporting them to a detention centre. The students – members of the country’s largest ethnic group – had then been forced to march barefoot or on their knees along a gravel path for several hours, EHRCO stated.


Kenya: Human Rights Advocates Urge Kenya to Stop Demolishing Shantytowns

2004-03-04

http://www.africaonline.com/site/Articles/1,3,55227.jsp

Human rights advocates are calling on the Kenyan government to stop demolishing shantytowns in the capital until it has worked out a plan to relocate the inhabitants. This was the week the Kenyan government was to bulldoze homes and businesses in the poorest sections of Nairobi. But President Mwai Kibaki intervened in the last minute and stopped the demolition until the government finds a way to relocate the residents.


South Africa: SA needs a lot of work on human rights

2004-03-04

http://www.itechnology.co.za/index.php?click_id=13&art_id=vn20040227083305625C823364&set_id=1

Excessive force by South African security forces and deaths in police custody were serious problems in the country's human rights performance, a global rights review has found. The annual United States State Department's Human Rights Reports, a hefty country-by-country survey comprising almost two million words, found that the government in 2003 generally respected the human rights of its citizens.


Uganda: Museveni Backs Probe

2004-03-04

http://allafrica.com/stories/200402260518.html

President Yoweri Museveni has pledged to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) if it investigates his army's alleged involvement in war crimes. "I am ready to be investigated for war crimes ... and if any of our people were involved in any crimes, we will give him up to be tried by the ICC," Museveni told journalists at Okwang, northeast of Lira, where the Government has set up a forward base to direct the war against the LRA rebels.


Uganda: Ugandans Want $5.5tn From UK Over Colonial Atrocities

2004-03-04

http://www.aljazeerah.info/4%20n/Ugandans%20Want%2055tn%20From%20UK%20Over%20Colonial%20Atrocities.htm

A small kingdom in Uganda says it is suing the United Kingdom for alleged atrocities committed by British soldiers during the colonial period, the BBC said in a report on its website this week. Ernest Kizza, a spokesman for the Bunyoro-Kitara kingdom, told the BBC they are seeking $5.5 trillion.




Refugees & forced migration

Africa/Global: The future of migration

Irresistible forces meet immovable ideas

2004-03-04

http://www.ycsg.yale.edu/yaleglobal/index.html

Immigration is an issue that elicits heated views from all sides of the political and economic spectrum. In the 21st century, how might we expect our lives and societies to be affected by changes in immigration? In Part One of a two-part series, economist Lant Pritchett argues that there are five irresistible forces setting the world up for a new wave of mass migration. Topping the list are the huge cross-national inequalities in wages and standards of living. Differences in labour demand across countries comprise another pressure promoting migration.


Africa: Repatriation to begin anew

2004-03-04

http://www.newera.com.na/page.php?id=125

The international community is facing new repatriation operations to many countries in Africa, and to prepare for this purpose a meeting is scheduled for March 8 to 9 in Geneva. The meeting aims at raising the profile of repatriation and the reintegration of refugees in Africa, thus enhancing the commitment of countries and donor and partner agencies to meet the challenges posed by the exercise.


Chad/Sudan: Forces 'attacking refugees'

2004-03-04

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3523619.stm

Refugees fleeing fighting in Sudan say government forces are attacking them to get information on rebels. Some of the 25,000 refugees who fled the conflict two weeks ago told the BBC that militiamen and government forces drove them from their homes. The BBC's Grant Ferrett in Chad's capital Ndjamena says the testimonies flatly contradict the Sudanese government announcement earlier this month that peace and security had been restored after a year of fighting.


Somalia: Refugees arrive back as agencies seek fresh aid

2004-03-04

http://www.unhcr.ch/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/news

Hundreds of Somali refugees are returning home from Djibouti with the start of UNHCR repatriation convoys to north-western Somalia. This comes as aid agencies appeal for $111 million to help the war-torn country. Some 220 Somali refugees returned from Djibouti to the self-declared republic of Somaliland in the north-west last Friday with assistance from the UN refugee agency, bringing to more than 430 the number of refugees who have gone back since the middle of February.


Sudan: Visual mission of El Bashir camp

2004-03-04

http://www.refugeesinternational.org/cgi-bin/ri/visual_mission?vmc=00243&spotlight=1

A 21-year civil war in Sudan has displaced more than four million people within the largest country in Africa. About half of the four million internally displaced people (IDPs) have moved from the war-torn south to the capital of Khartoum in the north. Most of them have moved in with family members or set up squatter communities in neighbourhoods or fields around Khartoum. About 270,000 people live in four large camps. This visual mission by Refugees International provides an insight into life in the camps.


Zambia: Rwandan refugees resist repatriation

2004-03-04

http://www.times.co.zm/news/viewnews.cgi?category=10&id=1078164577

Commissioner for refugees Jacob Mphepo has expressed concern at the Rwandan refugees’ resistance to being repatriated under the voluntary exercise. Speaking at the official opening of a workshop for refugees protection staff and partners in Lusaka, Mr Mphepo said the refugees’ defiance was a source of concern.




Elections & governance

Africa: Rush to gain Nepad approval

2004-03-04

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L03601870.htm

African countries anxious to win more donor cash and foreign investment are rushing to apply to have their record on governance and human rights rated by a new panel, an evaluator said on Wednesday. The panel of seven African "peer reviewers" which will assess governments' records in the key areas has been set up under the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), an economic rescue plan for the world's poorest continent.


Guinea: Conte sacks economic team in reshuffle

2004-03-04

http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=39790

Guinean President Lansana Conte has sacked his prime minister, his powerful interior minister and his entire economic team in a two-stage cabinet reshuffle. The top-level changes follow Conte’s re-election for a further seven-year term in presidential elections on 21 December that were boycotted by all the country’s main opposition parties.


Kenya: Government Has a Month to Meet Wage Demands

2004-03-04

http://www.ipsnews.net/africa/interna.asp?idnews=22625

Civil servants in Kenya have threatened to go on their first-ever strike at the end of March if government fails to award them a 600 percent pay rise. The Kenya Civil Servants Union, which has been in existence for a year, says it has been negotiating with government on behalf of about 250,000 workers - but that little progress has been made concerning wage increases.


Malawi: Allegations of Media Bias Plague Election Campaign

2004-03-04

http://www.ipsnews.net/africa/interna.asp?idnews=22658

Accusations of political bias are piling up against Malawi's state broadcaster in the run-up to general elections scheduled for May 18. In the latest salvo to be fired, a group of religious leaders has asked the courts to ensure equal air time for all political parties.


Malawi: Civil society bash Cabinet

2004-03-04

http://www.afrika.no/Detailed/4933.html

Economic, political and civil pundits last Thursday frowned on a new 45-strong Cabinet announced by President Muluzi, saying its attribute was “a pain” and its size was “a rebuff of the aims of a loan the House approved only last week.” “The size of the new Cabinet defeats the purpose of a structural adjustment credit [of US58 million] which the National Assembly approved last week for fiscal reforms,” said Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama) spokesman Perks Ligoya.


Namibia: Release and re-arrest deadlocks treason trial

2004-03-04

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/elections/20547

A Namibian High Court will decide on Thursday whether the state can challenge the release of 13 men accused of treason for their alleged role in secessionist violence. The 13 were part of a group of 120 arrested for taking part in an attack by the Caprivi Liberation Army (CLA) on Katimo Mulilo, the largest town in the northeastern Caprivi region, which left 13 people dead in 1999. The 13, including John Samboma, the alleged commander of the CLA, were released last Monday following an order by Judge Elton Hoff at the High Court in Grootfontein, 500 km from the Namibian capital, Windhoek. Hoff ruled that his court did not have the jurisdiction to try them because the circumstances under which they had been held were "irregular".
NAMIBIA: Release and re-arrest deadlocks treason trial

JOHANNESBURG, 2 March (IRIN) - A Namibian High Court will decide on Thursday whether the state can challenge the release of 13 men accused of treason for their alleged role in secessionist violence.

The 13 were part of a group of 120 arrested for taking part in an attack by the Caprivi Liberation Army (CLA) on Katimo Mulilo, the largest town in the northeastern Caprivi region, which left 13 people dead in 1999.

The 13, including John Samboma, the alleged commander of the CLA, were released last Monday following an order by Judge Elton Hoff at the High Court in Grootfontein, 500 km from the Namibian capital, Windhoek. Hoff ruled that his court did not have the jurisdiction to try them because the circumstances under which they had been held were "irregular".

Hoff ruled on a special plea, lodged by the 13 in January, which questioned the Namibian court's jurisdiction, arguing that they had been abducted unlawfully from Zambia and Botswana by the Namibian security forces and had only been brought to court six months after their arrest.

Following the ruling and their release on Monday last week, the 13 were re-arrested on Tuesday on charges unrelated to the treason trial. The grounds for their arrest were unclear. John Walters, special counsel with the prosecution team, told IRIN that they were again released on Wednesday because there was insufficient evidence to charge them.

However, they were again arrested on the same day and charged with treason. Walters explained that the court had not acquitted the 13 of the treason charges, so they could be re-charged.

Defence counsel Patrick Kauta moved an application in the same High Court on Monday this week, pointing out that the state was in contempt because the 13 had not been released as ordered by the court last week.

The state argued that the 13 had been released and produced their release vouchers as evidence.

On Tuesday the court ruled in the state's favour, and the 13 remain in custody.

Kauta told IRIN that the defence team was going to challenge the re-arrest of the 13 on the treason charges.

Human rights activists have slammed the repeated delays and postponements in the main treason trial - the remaining 107 accused are still in jail and twelve people have died in custody, prompting calls for independent autopsies to establish the cause of death.

Caprivi - a colonial anachronism - is a strip of land running across northeastern Namibia, sharing borders with Angola, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Historically the region was under the sway of the Lozi Barotseland kingdom in Zambia, and the cultural ties remain. During South African colonial administration, Caprivi was governed directly from Pretoria rather than Windhoek, reinforcing for some the sense of its separate identity.

Caprivi secessionists are loyal to Mishak Muyongo, a member of the Mafwe royal family that trace their lineage to pre-colonial Barotseland, was a vice-president of the ruling SWAPO party until he was expelled over the issue of Caprivi self-determination. He then became a leading light in the pre-independence ruling Democratic Turnhalle Alliance, and president of the party in opposition until he was removed in 1998 following reports of his sponsorship of the CLA.

He wielded significant political power in eastern Caprivi, in part through an alliance with a former Mafwe chief, Boniface Mamili. Both men fled to Botswana in 1998 after the discovery of a CLA training camp in their Linyanti home region. Muyongo was granted assylum by Denmark in 1998, and three other CLA leaders were settled in Finland.


[ENDS]

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South Africa: Mbabane chides Pretoria over ANC manifesto

2004-03-04

http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=39792

Swazis are capable of formulating their own system of democratic governance, which does not have to be similar to the South African model, a senior government official told IRIN on Tuesday. Minister of Foreign Affairs Mabili Dlamini was responding to a reference made to governance issues in Swaziland in the election manifesto of the ruling South African party, the African National Congress (ANC). Swaziland was singled out by the ANC as a country where the party intended to help strengthen democracy and assist in "social normalisation and economic reconstruction".


Zambia: We're Not Out to Punish Public Service Workers, says Mwanawasa

2004-03-04

http://allafrica.com/stories/200403030804.html

President Mwanawasa has maintained that austerity measures effected in this year's Budget are not meant to punish the public service workers. The President said the move was in fact an effort to ensure that Zambia reached the Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) completion point.




Corruption

Angola: Protest over government corruption

2004-03-04

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/corruption/20550

An Angolan opposition party on Tuesday said a demonstration to protest alleged government corruption went ahead "successfully" despite police "intimidation". According to the protest organisers, police had allegedly harassed protesters outside the United States embassy in the capital, Luanda, the venue of the protest.
ANGOLA: Protest over government corruption

JOHANNESBURG, 2 March (IRIN) - An Angolan opposition party on Tuesday said a demonstration to protest alleged government corruption went ahead "successfully" despite police "intimidation".

According to the protest organisers, police had allegedly harassed protesters outside the United States embassy in the capital, Luanda, the venue of the protest.

"We were quite pleased as about 1,000 people attended the demonstration, and although the police had intimidated them, they remained firm," Carlos Leitao, president of the Angolan Party for Democratic Progress (PADEPA) told IRIN.

Leitao said PADEPA had handed over a letter addressed to US President George W. Bush to the American ambassador in Luanda, urging Washington to bring pressure to bear on the authorities to "become more transparent".

Demonstrators called for President Eduardo Dos Santos to investigate allegations raised by Human Rights Watch in January that US $4 billion in state oil revenue had disappeared from government coffers from 1997 to 2002.

Last month police thwarted plans by the small opposition party to stage a protest in one of Luanda's main squares because, the authorities reportedly said at the time, PADEPA had not obtained the required permission from the provincial government to hold the demonstration.



[ENDS]

IRIN-SA
Tel: +27 11 880-4633
Fax: +27 11 447-5472
Email: [email protected]

[This Item is Delivered to the "Africa-English" Service of the UN's IRIN
humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views
of the United Nations. For further information, free subscriptions, or
to change your keywords, contact e-mail: [email protected] or Web:
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this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Reposting by commercial
sites requires written IRIN permission.]

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Burkina Faso: Report recommends measures against corruption

2004-03-04

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/corruption/20460

A report UNDP issued in Burkina Faso recently calls for ethical conduct by politicians, adequate resources, audits and other preventative measures, and separation of institutional powers to stem corruption. Entitled "Corruption and Human Development," the report calls the fight against corruption crucial to strengthening government integrity and transparency in the west African country, one of the world's poorest.
Report recommends measures against corruption in Burkina Faso

Friday, 27 February 2004: A report UNDP issued in Burkina Faso recently calls for ethical conduct by politicians, adequate resources, audits and other preventative measures, and separation of institutional powers to stem corruption.

Entitled "Corruption and Human Development," the report calls the fight against corruption crucial to strengthening government integrity and transparency in the west African country, one of the world's poorest.

It is the fifth national Human Development Report that an independent Human Development Group, coordinated by UNDP, has produced. While many anti-corruption institutions are in place, the report notes, their missions should be clarified and coordinated, and gaps in the judicial framework, especially regarding private financing of political parties, should be filled. UNDP is working with civil anti-corruption organizations and is helping the Government formulate a national anti-corruption strategy.

"The Government is ready to play a key role in the fight against corruption," said Minister of Economy and Development Seydou Bouda at the report launch earlier this month in Ouagadougou, the capital. He urged the Human Development Group to organize workshops around the country to disseminate the findings and translate the report into the main local languages.

"To achieve significant victories over corruption, it is important to mobilize action for change in every public institution," said Anna Coulibaly, interim UNDP Resident Representative. "Therefore, the ongoing dialogue between civil society and private sector should be reinforced to strengthen the fight against corruption and make it more effective."

Of the 500 people surveyed for the report, including government administrators, 95 per cent said corruption is a widespread problem. The main causes, researchers found, include low salaries, poverty, crumbling moral and social values, mismanagement, financial pressure, customs, poor governance, and uncontrolled economic liberalization.

The sectors most affected are the police, customs, politics and public procurement.

In addition to public perceptions, the report examines corruption's impact on the economy, democratic governance and sectors ranging from health and education to environment and socio-cultural values. It also looks at regional and international cooperation to combat corruption and concludes with a comprehensive chapter with recommendations for strengthening anti-corruption activities in public institutions.

Click here for the report (French only). For further information please contact , UNDP Burkina Faso, or , UNDP Communications Office.


Kenya: Bribe tapes case rejected

2004-03-04

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3521751.stm

A Kenyan MP has lost his bid to get a court order compelling the government to release video tapes, which allegedly show former top officials being bribed. The High Court ruled that MP Koigi wa Wamwere has no legal capacity to sue the government since he has not stated his interests in the matter. The tapes were seized last week from the home of Kamlesh Pattni, the man at the heart of the Goldenberg affair.


Kenya: Government 'not free of graft'

2004-03-04

http://www.transparency.org/cgi-bin/dcn-read.pl?citID=105099

The Narc Government is yet to root out grand corruption, several key speakers said last week. The launch of the Transparency International Bribery Index 2003 was turned into a Government-bashing forum with participants saying that grand corruption is still a reality in Kenya. They argued that the current administration only fought corruption in the first few months after it came to power.


Nigeria: Judiciary mired in bribery allegations

2004-03-04

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/corruption/20478

For the first time in recent years, justices of the Supreme Court are facing a barrage of criticisms related to bribery, according to the latest newsletter of the Independence Advocacy Project. The Chief Justice of Nigeria Justice Muhammadu Lawal Uwais had to speak out openly in court in Abuja in February on the issue: "We have nothing to hide. Let the police step in and do their job. We are interested in getting to the root of the matter. Let me say and assure all who are here and who would hear of this matter that there is absolutely no truth in the several uncouth and insupportable allegations made against me and my brethren in this court."
Governance News, March 2004

In this edition,

JUDICIARY MIRED IN BRIBERY ALLEGATIONS
FIVE NIGERIANS CHARGED IN $242 MILLION '419' FRAUD TRIAL
HALLIBURTON AGAIN UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT
… UK LAWYER NAMED IN BRIBERY INQUIRY
AFRICAN COURT PROTOCOL COMES INTO FORCE
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY COMMISSION UNCOVERS N1.7M FRAUD
GOVT PROBES ATTEMPTED FRAUD AT INEC
WHY MONTHLY ALLOCATIONS ARE PUBLISHED, FINANCE MINISTER
JUDGE, FORMER PERM SEC DISMISSED OVER CORRUPTION
GANI SUES GOVT OVER MINISTERS' PAY IN DOLLARS
IMMIGRATION SACKS CORRUPT OFFICERS



JUDICIARY MIRED IN BRIBERY ALLEGATIONS
For the first time in recent years, justices of the Supreme Court
Justices are facing a barrage of criticisms related to bribery and
revealing of their judgment in advance.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria Justice Muhammadu Lawal Uwais had to
speak out openly in court in Abuja in February on the issue: "We have
nothing to hide. Let the police step in and do their job. We are
interested in getting to the root of the matter. Let me say and
assure all who are here and who would hear of this matter that there
is absolutely no truth in the several uncouth and insupportable
allegations made against me and my brethren in this court."

The accusation against the Justices is the aftermath of the ex-
convict case against Delta State Governor, Chief James Onanefe Ibori,
who is alleged to have been convicted by an Upper Area Court, Bwari,
Abuja, in 1995 over fraudulent activities.

The case has run through the gamut of argument on the identity of the
person involved in the 1995 case, as Governor Ibori, though bearing
the same names as the convict; has denied being the person so
convicted. While affirming the ruling of the Court of Appeal that
there was conviction of the accused at the Upper Area Court, the
Supreme Court in February transferred the case back to the High
Court, for the identification of the said convict.

A group known as Derivation Front with operational office in Delta
State had, in a letter dated 20 January, 2004 told Justice Uwais that
the judgment on the appeal instituted by Governor that was scheduled
to be delivered on February 6, 2004 was already a public knowledge in
Delta weeks before the judgment is scheduled to be delivered.

Besides telling Uwais that the judgment would be read by Justice
Akintola Olufemi Ejiwunmi; the group's national coordinator, Edikeme
Akpovilli alleged that a bribe of N5 billion was distributed to the
seven Justices panel that heard the case between Governor Ibori and
two members of his political party (PDP), Messrs. Goodnews Goodman
Agbi and Anthony Alabi.

"It is now common knowledge in Asaba that the Apex Court will
definitely uphold the judgment of the Court of Appeal for an
identification of the James Onanefe Ibori of the Bwari
proceeding. "The clear interpretation is that as was the case in the
Gwagwalada High Court and the Court of Appeal, Abuja, a judgment to
be delivered by the Supreme Court come 6 February 2004 is on the
streets," the group stated.

And as it turned out on the appointed judgment day, the Supreme Court
redirected the case to the High Court for the identification of the
convicted James Onanefe Ibori. Coincidentally, too, Justice Akintola
Olufemi Ejiwunmi delivered the lead judgment.

But this was after Justice Uwais had read a statement in the open
court denying the allegations against him and his six colleagues.
Describing the assertion by the Derivation Front as "wild"
allegation, Uwais emphasised that because no Justice of the nation's
apex Court has any skeletons in the cupboards, they were ready to
subject themselves to critical probe by the police.

"It is with very grave concern and apprehension for the independence
of the Judiciary in our beloved country that I am making this
statement. This is because a few people who are mischievous and
totally misguided in their approach think that they can dictate by
intimidation what they perceive as the way their cause should be
considered and determined by the courts. In that regard, they wrongly
think that decisions of courts can be bought or influenced to satisfy
their own warped idea of justice.

"Because of this, they have no respect for the rule of law nor do
they believe that there are Judges who can never be bought nor be
influenced to decide cases because of any pressure or gratification,
be it in kind such as money or other benefits in order to decide a
cause or matter.

"The above remarks have become necessary because since we adjourned
this case on the 6 November, 2003 for the judgment to be delivered
today, a group of people who describe themselves as Derivation Front
with one Mr. Edikeme Akpovilli as its National Coordinator, decided
that the best way to achieve their own kind of success was to write
contemptuous and insulting letters to me.

"By their first despicable action, which was advertised in the
Tribune Newspaper last year, they alleged that I received a bribe of
the sum of N250 million in order to favour James Onanefe Ibori, the
governor of Delta State who is a party in this case. This was
followed by a letter that was written to me on 20 January 2004 which
alleged that I was given a sum of N5 billion for distribution among
my brethren of this Court, in order to influence the judgment of this
Court, which they claimed they knew would be decided in favour of the
Governor of Delta State, James Onanefe Ibori.

"The next letter was written to me on 29 January, 2004 threatening to
display to the public the Court's judgment to be delivered this
morning. A couple of days ago, they capped their scurrilous and base
allegations by attaching to a letter dated 2 February, 2004 addressed
to the Inspector-General of Police, the last two pages of what they
perceived as part of the judgment to be delivered in this matter this
morning.

"Now, let me say and assure all who are here and who would hear of
this matter that there is absolutely no truth in the several uncouth
and insupportable allegations made against me and my brethren of this
Court. I make bold to say that none of us would tailor the ends of
justice for filthy lucre, which these people consider to be what is
required to do justice among the peoples of this our great country.

"Our oath of office commands us to do justice without fear or favour
to all manner of people. Besides, we are men who have been tested and
found to have been Judges of unblemished character for several
decades in this country. We are therefore, by the Grace of God not
about to throw away our reputation for honesty, justice and fairness
in the determination of this case or any other case that may come
before us. Each and every case that comes before this Court would be
decided justly and fairly according to our oath of office and the
hallowed traditions of our honourable profession and this Court of
which we are the proud inheritors."

"Le me make it clear to all and sundry and no matter how highly or
lowly placed, that we shall not allow ourselves to be stampeded,
blackmailed or intimidated into taking any step that is contrary to
the dictates of our conscience."

Already, members of the Derivation Front had also in another
statement made available to journalists, claimed that they were not a
faceless group of people and were also desirous of seeing a thorough
police probe of the allegations they made against the Supreme Court
Justices.

The group averred: "We beg to disagree with the claims of the Chief
Justice and insist clearly that we are not a faceless and cowardly
organisation. We stand clearly by every word contained in our letters
to the Chief Justice of Nigeria and insist that the police should
investigate our claims that there was a negotiated and circulated
judgment, a claimed product of N5 billion bribe."


FIVE NIGERIANS CHARGED IN $242 MILLION '419' FRAUD TRIAL
Prosecutors leveled 86 counts of fraud and conspiracy against five
people in February for allegedly swindling a Brazilian bank of $242
million, in the biggest crackdown yet on the nation's advance-fee
fraud or "419" scams.

The five are accused of luring an employee of Sao Paulo's Banco
Noroeste into siphoning off the funds from his employer, persuading
him he could land a share in a lucrative Nigerian construction
contract if he just paid enough handling fees up front.

The five appeared in court in Abuja, in handcuffs to hear the
charges. All the suspects, including housewife Amaka Anajemba, lawyer
Obum Osakwe, and businessman Emmanuel Nwude -- described by
prosecutors as "a major shareholder" in a leading Nigerian bank --
pleaded innocent.

Penalties for each of the counts range between seven and 10 years.
Four Nigerian companies -- Ocean Marketing, Fynbaz, Emrus, and the
African Shelter Bureau -- also accused of involvement in the alleged
crime were not represented in court.

Presiding Judge Lawal Gumi entered innocent pleas on behalf of the
companies and adjourned proceedings until a later date. There was
mild drama in court when suspect Nzeribe Okoli, while making his
plea, said he would make "shocking revelations" during the
trial. "There are so many hidden things which Nigerians should know,"
Okoli said before he was interrupted by the judge, who told him to
restrict his answers to the questions he was asked.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alleges that the
suspects told a Brazilian bank worker he would receive $13.4 million
from a $187 million Nigerian airport contract -- if he invested money
up front. The bank worker allegedly dug illegally into his bank's
funds, transferring the $242 million -- in segments as high as $4.75
million at a time -- to accounts around the world designated by the
suspects, the court papers showed.

Nigeria has gained global notoriety as a base for such advance-fee
fraud, known as '419' schemes after the section of the country's
criminal code that prohibits fraud. In most of the cases, scam
artists proposition victims with e-mails claiming to have millions of
dollars from inflated contracts, the estates of dead dictators, or
other illicit proceeds, and seeking help to transfer the money
abroad. The victims are then made to pay never-ending "service fees"
and other charges -- the object of the scams.

Nuhu Ribadu, head of the EFCC which was established by President
Olusegun Obasanjo in December 2002 to combat sophisticated fraud and
money-laundering rings, told a news conference that he intended to
use this case to prove that "no one is above the law." The case was
also the subject of criminal investigations in Switzerland, Britain,
the United States and Brazil, Ribadu said.

HALLIBURTON AGAIN UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT
Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr.
Nuhu Ribadu in February said his Commission has recovered N80 million
from Halliburton Energy Services in Nigeria, which cheated Nigeria in
taxes.

According to reports, Halliburton has informed the SEC (Securities
and Exchange Commission) that one of the company's subsidiaries
made "improper payments" of about $2.4 million to an entity owned by
a Nigerian national who purported to be a tax consultant. "The
payments were made to obtain favorable tax treatment and clearly
violated our Code of Business Conduct and our internal control
procedures," said the SEC filing in January. Halliburton said based
on the findings of an investigation, several employees had been
fired. However, Governance News leant that Halliburton claimed none
of its senior officials were involved.

Also, the United States has launched an investigation into
allegations that a subsidiary of Halliburton was involved in the
payment of $180 million in bribes to win contracts in the Nigerian
LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) project.

In a development that also concern Halliburton, Mrs. Oluremi Oyo, a
senior aide to President Olusegun Obasanjo said the President has set
up a six-member committee over the theft of radioactive materials in
December 2002 from Halliburton. Members of the Committee are
Ambassador Olu Adeniji, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Mr. Akinlolu
Olujinmi, Minister of Justice; Mr. Tafa Balogun, Inspector-General of
Police, and representatives of the Department of State Security
Service (SSS), Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Director-
General of the National Nuclear Regulatory Agency.

Oyo said the committee is to ensure that all those involved in the
act, no matter how highly placed are brought to book and that "the
committee is charged with identifying person or persons instrumental
to the theft of the radioactive material in December 2002. The
committee will also establish whether any harm has been done to any
person or persons who have come into contact with the material. As
you know, radioactive materials are harmful to health."

She said that the radioactive materials have been traced to a
recycling plant in Germany. She, however, regretted that the stolen
material was quickly taken to Halliburton in the United States last
month before Nigeria could retrieve them. Oyo added that such an act
violates the Nuclear Safety and Radiation Act of 1995.

In Washington, Halliburton, also under fire over its Iraq contracts,
and the company is believed to be cooperating with the U.S. Justice
Department in studying possible kickbacks paid to secure the LNG
project.

Halliburton, which was run by Vice President Dick Cheney from 1995
until the 2000 US presidential race, has been involved in a natural
gas project in Nigeria since the 1990s along with three other
companies including French firm Technip. Halliburton spokeswoman
Wendy Hall said the company is working with the U.S. Justice
Department on the issue, which involves the payment of up to $180
million in possible kickbacks. French judicial authorities are also
considering looking into the matter.

Cheney, who has consistently denied any wrongdoing during his tenure
with Halliburton, was head of the company during the period in which
the bribes might have been paid. Responding to French media reports
about a French prosecutor's inquiries into possible bribes in the
Nigerian contract, the French partner involved in the Nigerian gas
project issued a statement in which it denied wrongdoing. "In fact,
the investigation has been opened against unnamed persons," said
Technip, without providing details.

… UK LAWYER NAMED IN BRIBERY INQUIRY
A solicitor in a small north London firm has been named in connection
with a $180m French and American corruption investigation which could
lead to the indictment of Dick Cheney, the US vice-president.

Jeffrey Tesler, a partner in Kaye Tesler & Co in Tottenham, has been
identified in the French press as a financial intermediary in the
deal being investigated. The Paris inquiry, led by Judge Renaud van
Ruymbeke, concerns allegations of bribery against an international
consortium building a $4bn liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in
Nigeria during the regime of the late dictator Sani Abacha.

The leading member of the consortium, Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), is
a subsidiary of the Halliburton. It was revealed in February that SEC
has also opened a criminal investigation. Mr. Tesler is said to have
channeled money through a company he set up in Gibraltar, called
TriStar, and bank accounts in Switzerland and Monaco. Internal
consortium correspondence suggests Mr. Tesler has had a long-standing
relationship with both KBR and prominent Nigerians in the Abacha
regime.

According to the consortium, Mr. Tesler was engaged by KBR to provide
commercial support services. A senior official close to the inquiry
told a British newspaper: "The evidence the judge has uncovered so
far certainly seems to support his belief that this lawyer was behind
the setting up of a typically complex offshore system."

The official said Mr. Van Ruymbeke had asked the Swiss and Monaco
authorities to give him access to private bank accounts in connection
with transactions between TriStar and the consortium. He added: "I
think you can assume it's pretty certain the judge will want to speak
to Tesler sooner or later."


AFRICAN COURT PROTOCOL COMES INTO FORCE
The Protocol establishing the African Court on Human and
Peoples’
Rights has come into force, following the ratification of the
instrument by 15 African countries, excluding Nigeria. The states are
Algeria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire, The
Gambia,
Lesotho, Libya, Mali, Mauritius, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Togo,
and Uganda.

The Protocol arose from the need to improve on the performance of the
African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR), based on the
African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights of 1986. The court is
expected to arbitrate on human rights violation cases. Its operations
take effect from 29 January 2004, 30 days after Comoros Island, the
fifteenth member state, ratified the instrument.

Independent Advocacy Project (IAP), the good governance group in a
statement called on Nigeria and other countries that have not
ratified the Protocol to urgently do so.


NATIONAL ASSEMBLY COMMISSION UNCOVERS N1.7M FRAUD
The National Assembly Commission said it has uncovered a N1.694
million fraud involving seven of its staff who have been placed on
indefinite suspension without pay.

A statement signed by a spokesman of the Commission Mr. Anyigor
Nwokpoku noted that the fraud was committed through the inflation of
the commission's staff nominal roll. The seven who are officers of
the Finance and Accounts Department and the Audit Unit of the
commission, according to the statement were, "found to have inflated
the nominal roll of staff of the commission which provided them with
an opportunity to illegally pay themselves the sum of N1.694 million
when the commission paid its staff furniture and housing allowance
last September. They were also involved in duplication of payment."

The indictment of the said staff, according to the statement,
followed their confession before an administrative panel of enquiry
set up by the management of the commission last November to
investigate the allegation.


GOVT PROBES ATTEMPTED FRAUD AT INEC
An alleged attempt to defraud the Independent National Electoral
Commission (INEC) of N281 million is being probed by the federal
government, Governance News has learnt. Top officials of the
commission suspected to be involved in the scam have been invited for
questioning by the State Security Services (SSS).

Sources at INEC headquarters in Abuja stated that there were
insinuations that some insiders were involved in the attempted fraud,
which was thwarted by a bank used by INEC in Abuja.

According to the sources, two men, who are now at large, wrote on
forged INEC letter-head paper to one of the old generation banks in
Abuja, asking it to pay 12 cheques valued at N281 million for
maintenance jobs done for the commission. The manager of the bank
however became suspicious and wrote to INEC to confirm whether the
commission actually authorized the payment. The response from INEC
was negative. "Going by the way the fraud was perpetrated, there was
no way you will rule out the possibility of insiders collaborating in
the matter," sources at INEC said.

WHY MONTHLY ALLOCATIONS ARE PUBLISHED, FINANCE MINISTER
Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has said that the monthly
allocations to governments at all levels are being published in
national dailies to demonstrate government's transparency and
accountability to Nigerians. Also, she said the Federal Government
will soon enter into discussions with the states on how to handle the
savings from the excess crude oil proceeds.

Okonjo-Iweala said, "A key part of the reform programme is how to
make the government more transparent to the people in what it does.
Transparency also means accountability. Those are the things that go
together.

"Part of the problems people have had is that they keep saying that,
they don't know much about the budget, they don't know much about the
revenue. They don't know what their local governments get or the
states get and so on and so forth. We thought that in this overall
programme, there should be more budget transparency as well as
overall transparency of our expenditure so that people can also hold
us public officers accountable.

"If they know what they are supposed to be getting in their areas,
they can now ask questions. Why is it that we have not had this
happening in our areas, why are there are no roads, water supplies.
Why are governments not doing this and that? What happened to the
money that we got? You know its peoples' money; they have the right
to know.

"It's in that spirit that Mr. President very much supported that we
go ahead and publish these. You know in the past, I think two or
three years ago they had published what they got from federation
account not local governments. It's never been done. If people say so
I can see actually what my local government got, then they can ask
where the money is going."

Okonjo-Iweala expressed the determination of the Finance Ministry to
press ahead with the reform programme along with the Extractive
Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and other initiatives of
the administration that are designed to make government more
transparent on the management of the nation’s resources.

JUDGE, FORMER PERM SEC DISMISSED OVER CORRUPTION
The federal government has announced the dismissal – with
immediate
effect - of Justice Chris P.N. Senlong of the Federal High Court and
of Dr. Julius Makanjuola, former Permanent Secretary, Ministry of
Defence. Senlong’s dismissal followed the recommendation of the
National Judicial Council (NJC), which found him guilty of
corruption. He was linked with some corrupt practices at the Akwa-
Ibom State Election Petition Tribunal.

Ufot Ekaette, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation said
in a statement on Senlong: "This is in line with the provisions of
Section 292 subsection (1) (b) of the 1999 Constitution of the
Federal Republic of Nigeria which empowers the President to remove a
judicial officer from office on the recommendation of the National
Judicial Council."

Makanjuola was arrested and detained in 2001 after the Federal
Government claimed he stole over N420 million from the funds of the
Ministry of Defence while he served there as Permanent Secretary. His
case was handed over to the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission
(ICPC) for investigation and possible prosecution. The Commission
actually took him before an Abuja High Court where criminal
proceedings were instituted against him in accordance with the
provisions of the ICPC Act.

The case was initially heard at an Abuja Magistrate Court at Wuse and
later to the High Court in Abuja. Makanjuola was charged for
allegedly defrauding the federal government of about N300 million.
The prosecution could not make progress as Makanjuola also initiated
several suits against the ICPC among other grounds, challenging its
qualification to prosecute him and the court's order to grant him
bail.

In the legal tango that ensued, the Federal Government through the
State Counsel from the Attorney General's office led by one Mrs.
Mbamali entered a Nolle Proseque which meant an indication to
discontinue the proceedings. Following the Government' as decision to
discontinue the case, the court granted bail to the accused who
THISDAY checks revealed may have disappeared to London since last
year.

GANI SUES GOVT OVER MINISTERS' PAY IN DOLLARS
Nigeria’s foremost human rights lawyer, Mr. Gani Fawehinmi has
dragged President Olusegun Obasanjo to court over the payment of two
ministers' salaries in foreign currency. The ministers are Dr Ngozi
Okonjo-Iweala (Finance) and Ambassador Olufemi Adeniji (External
Affairs).

Fawehinmi, in an Originating Summons filed at a Federal High Court,
Abuja, in February asked the Court to determine if the President's
authorisation of a minister's salary outside that prescribed in an
act of the National Assembly and in foreign currency is not an abuse
of power under the Nigerian Constitution.

The lawyer alleged that though the yearly salary of a Minister is
N794, 085, Okonjo-Iweala is earning a yearly salary of $247,000
(about N36 million); far above what the law prescribed. Adeniji
according the affidavit earns $120,000 (about N17 million).

Fawehinmi wants the court to determine whether any public officer in
Nigeria particularly a Minister is entitled to be paid yearly salary
outside the salary prescribed by "Certain Political, Public and
Judicial Office Holders (salaries and allowances, etc) Act No. 6 of
2002.

"Whether any public officer in Nigeria, particularly a Minister of
the Republic of Nigeria is entitled to be paid in foreign currency
outside the currency prescribed by the aforementioned act."

In the light of the above, Fawehinmi asked for an
injunction "restraining the federal government of Nigeria, its
agents, servants, privies or howsoever called particularly the 1st
defendant (Obasanjo) from paying the Ministers or any other Public
Officers covered by the Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office
Holders (Salaries and Allowances, etc) Act No.6 of 2002 outside the
salaries prescribed in the said Act."

IMMIGRATION SACKS CORRUPT OFFICERS
If you ask Nigerians which government institution they consider the
most corrupt, the Immigration Service will probably ranked as one of
the most dishonest institutions. In February, the Nigeria Immigration
Service (NIS) and the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) moved to
sanitize their image when both institutions sacked 74 officers for
various offences, including alleged extortion, forgery and illegal
patrol.

Comptroller-General of Immigration, Mrs. Uzoamaka Nwizu, said 61
officers of the service have either been dismissed or suspended for
various criminal offences. FRSC’ Director of Public Affairs,
Mr.
Yakubu Attah said that apart from the 13 officers who have been
dismissed for alleged extortion, another eight marshals were
currently being prosecuted for alleged forgery of certificates to
secure employment into the commission.

Nwizu said that out of the 61 officers being sanctioned, 10 have been
dismissed, two terminated, two demoted, one retired while others have
been placed on suspension after receiving warning for various
offences, including forgery, absenteeism, drunkenness, illegal patrol
and insubordination.


--

Independent Advocacy Project (IAP)
5 Iyalla Street, Alausa-Ikeja, Lagos Nigeria.
234 8033020170 Fax: 2341 4934894
e-mail: [email protected]
website: http://www.ind-advocacy-project.org


South Africa: Home Affairs battles to beat corruption

2004-03-04

http://www.transparency.org/cgi-bin/dcn-read.pl?citID=105120

The department of home affairs will compile a business plan this week to address the widespread corruption in its ranks. Last Tuesday, the department's director-general, Barry Gilder, presented a report to the parliamentary portfolio committee on home affairs on the state of the department. Although Gilder confirmed that the current situation at the department was "precarious", he was also confident that measures introduced since he took the reins last year would ensure stability in the future.


Zambia: Chiluba corruption cases adjourned again

2004-03-04

http://www.transparency.org/cgi-bin/dcn-read.pl?citID=105119

Former Zambian president Frederick Chiluba on Monday appeared before two different courts on corruption and theft charges but both cases were adjourned due to disorganisation in the prosecution team. Chiluba, accompanied by his wife, Regina, first appeared before a magistrate's court on charges of stealing $4-million from the nation's Treasury together with his former director of intelligence Xavier Chungu, but the trial once again failed to take off.


Zambia: State Probes Corrupt Civil Servants

2004-03-04

http://allafrica.com/stories/200403030801.html

Government has extended the probe into corrupt practices to all structures of the public service and warned civil servants with dubiously acquired properties to prepare for questioning. Vice-President Nevers Mumba said in Lusaka that the fight against corruption had been extended to the whole public service and all civil servants owning questionable properties would be called to account.




Development

Africa: African leaders urged to resolve issues of water, agriculture, defence

2004-03-04

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/040227/323/en5h2.html

Presidents from across Africa gathered for an extraordinary summit of the African Union to discuss issues of water, agriculture and defence, deemed crucial to the development of the world's poorest continent. "There cannot be any development unless we have a general environment of peace, security and stability," AU Chairman and Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano told the summit. Alpha Oumar Konare, the former president of Mali who is now chairman of the AU Commission, told delegates the continent needs "an African standby force (ASF) that can be operational and respond rapidly to any crisis."


Africa: UN calls on rich countries to compensate Africa for farm subsidies

2004-03-04

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/040226/323/en2jg.html

The United Nations called on rich countries to compensate African nations for the damage done to them by agricultural subsidies accorded farmers in the developed world. "A mechanism is required at the international level to ensure that countries providing subsidies to their producers compensate African countries for income losses arising from such subsidies, on a pro rata basis," the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development said in a report issued. It said such a mechanism was particularly needed "considering the loss of income to African cotton producers."


DRC: The Democratic Republic of Congo and Debt

2004-03-04

http://www.fpif.org/commentary/2004/0403congo.html

In 2003 the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced $10 billion in "debt relief" for the Democratic Republic of Congo. According to their calculations, this would reduce the country's foreign debt by approximately 80 percent. The offer came, however, with a full set of complicated conditions and deadlines. Even if all of the conditions are met, full relief would not be delivered until sometime in 2006. After that, Congo would still owe over $2 billion to foreign creditors. The largest creditors are the Bank and Fund themselves, plus the U.S., France, and Belgium. Yet the Congo, of all countries, has one of the strongest cases for full cancellation of debt and indeed for reparations from the lenders, writes William Minter, a Foreign Policy in Focus analyst and the editor of the AfricaFocus Bulletin, in this Foreign Policy in Focus commentary.


East Africa: Long-Awaited Customs Union is Established

2004-03-04

http://www.ipsnews.net/africa/interna.asp?idnews=22672

Member states of the East African Community have signed a protocol for establishing a customs union that is expected to boost growth in the region. The agreement was initialled Tuesday in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha by the Presidents of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. It will take effect in July this year. Negotiators had been locked in discussions until the last minute about how goods flowing between the three countries should be taxed - a delicate issue that has derailed previous efforts to establish the union.


Ghana: Military Imports and Sustainable Development

African Security Dialogue & Research

2004-03-04

http://allafrica.com/peaceafrica/resources/00010208.html

Military expenditure by developing states is usually interpreted within the context of its potential alternative cost-benefits to the state and, often, its links with sustainable development, however, tenuous. In this sense, Ghana is not particularly different from other developing nations. This is in the sense that military expenditure is usually subjected to inter-agency ‘debate’ and cost-benefit analysis of how such expenditure could have been alternatively invested in ‘other’ development projects.


Mali: Government Faces Stiff Challenges in Meeting Water Needs

2004-03-04

http://www.ipsnews.net/africa/interna.asp?idnews=22675

"Our country has an enormous potential when it comes to water resources. If we develop these resources properly, they should allow us to try and get beyond food self-sufficiency," says Mali’s President, Amadou Toumani Toure. He was speaking at an international water conference that took place in the capital, Bamako, towards the end of last month. But despite this optimism, the difficulties of meeting Mali’s water needs should not be underestimated. Mali has 10 million inhabitants, 65 percent of whom fall under the poverty line threshold.


Southern Africa: US-SACU trade talks takes on centre stage

2004-03-04

http://www.tralac.org/scripts/content.php?id=2449

The fourth round of negotiations between the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and the United States took place this weekend in Walvis Bay, Namibia. This round of negotiations is meant to create the framework which will allow the US and SACU to conclude a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) by December this year. The current focus of talks is on industrialised goods, services and agricultural trade, very similar issues to those that stymied negotiators at the World Trade Organisation talks in Cancun, Mexico.


Southern Africa: SADC development plan available

2004-03-04

http://www.sarpn.org.za/

"Regional co-operation and integration in Southern Africa owes its origin to historical, economic, political, social and cultural factors that have created strong bonds of solidarity and unity among the peoples of Southern Africa. These factors have contributed to the formation of a distinct Southern African personality and identity that underpins political and economic co-operation." This is according to the final version of SADC's Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP). The document is designed to provide a long-term plan for development in Southern Africa.




Health & HIV/AIDS

Africa: 3 by 5 plan at risk, says Lewis

2004-03-04

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/World/2004/03/04/369177-ap.html

Stephen Lewis, Canadian UN envoy charged with combating AIDS in Africa, warned the failure of wealthy countries to respond to an appeal for $200 million US could sabotage plans to provide three million HIV-infected people with drugs by the end of 2005. Lewis, the UN secretary general's special envoy for HIV/AIDS on the continent, said the plan offers "the best chance we've had in more than 20 years to turn the pandemic around" but the abysmal donor response means there isn't money to implement it.


Africa: Groups condemn U.S. Global HIV/AIDS Strategy

2004-03-04

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/hivaids/20461

As U.S. policymakers continue to debate "appropriate" funding levels to fight AIDS in Africa, and just days after the release of the Bush Administration's Global HIV/AIDS Strategy, Africa Action & TransAfrica Forum have released a document entitled "10 Reasons Why the U.S. should commit at least $15 billion to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa NOW." The document calls for a reversal of the current U.S. policy approach, urging an immediate front-end investment to combat HIV/AIDS rather than the incremental scaling up of funding in future years.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ann-Louise Colgan, Africa Action 202-546-7961

Africa Action & TransAfrica Forum Call for $15 billion NOW to Fight
AIDS in Africa;
Groups condemn U.S. Global HIV/AIDS Strategy as "inadequate
and overdue"

Friday, February 27, 2004 (Washington, DC) - As U.S. policymakers
continue to debate "appropriate" funding levels to fight AIDS in
Africa, and just days after the release of the Bush Administration's
Global HIV/AIDS Strategy, Africa Action & TransAfrica Forum today
released the following document entitled "10 Reasons Why the U.S.
should commit at least $15 billion to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa NOW."
The document calls for a reversal of the current U.S. policy
approach, urging an immediate front-end investment to combat
HIV/AIDS rather than the incremental scaling up of funding in future
years.

Salih Booker, Executive Director of Africa Action said today,
"Current discussions about U.S. funding levels are missing the
point, and undermining the urgency needed in the U.S. response to
the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa. When 6,000 Africans are dying of
AIDS every day, there is a clear and immediate need for a major
increase in U.S. funding beyond what Congress has been asked to
consider. We are highlighting just ten ways in which $15 billion can
effectively be spent now to save lives and prevent the further spread
of the pandemic in Africa."

The document urges a major up-front investment from the U.S. to
meet the magnitude of the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa and to help build
the capacity of African countries to respond. It outlines the funding
needed for essential prevention and treatment programs, for
strengthening the capacity of health care infrastructure, and for the
Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Finally, the
document contrasts the minimal level of spending on HIV/AIDS with
the exorbitant spending on military defense, stating that this reveals
the skewed priorities of this Administration when it comes to
combating real global threats.

Bill Fletcher, Jr, President of TransAfrica Forum said today, "Bush
promised $15 billion for AIDS in Africa, and this money is needed
now, not spread out over 5 years. It is logical that the start-up phase
of this initiative requires a major up-front investment. Instead, the
Global Strategy finally released this week proposes ramping up a
slow response to this deadly crisis, while millions of African lives
could be saved by acting now."

Salih Booker added, "We are deeply concerned that the U.S.'
neglect of African efforts to defeat AIDS is evidence of a double
standard in U.S. foreign policy that devalues Black lives."

The U.S. approach outlined by the Bush Administration this week
undermines the Global Fund to fight AIDS, by withholding resources
from this important vehicle and by neglecting to coordinate with its
existing efforts.

The U.S. is instead creating an unnecessary bureaucracy headed by
a drug company executive, Randall Tobias, who places priority on
protecting the interests of the pharmaceutical industry rather than
supporting access to less costly generic AIDS treatments for those
who need them in Africa.

The two organizations also note that while at least $15 billion is
needed from the U.S. now to fight AIDS in Africa, African countries
are still spending some $15 billion each year repaying old,
illegitimate and odious debts to rich country creditors such as the
World Bank and IMF, within which the U.S. is the most powerful
player.

The following document is also available on Africa Action's website
at http://www.africaaction.org:
---

10 Reasons Why the U.S. should commit At least $15 billion to fight
HIV/AIDS in Africa NOW

Africa Action and TransAfrica Forum believe that current debates
among U.S. policy- makers and advocacy groups about
"appropriate" funding levels to fight AIDS in Africa are misplaced,
and fail to represent the urgency of the crisis.

In his 2003 State of the Union address, President Bush promised
$15 billion to meet the "severe and urgent crisis" of HIV/AIDS in
Africa & the Caribbean. But instead of making this "emergency"
money available immediately, the President proposed to wait one
year and then spread it out over another five years (2004 - 2008),
starting with minor increases in funding and projecting gradual
increases in out years. In 2003, while the U.S. stalled, some two
and a half million Africans died of AIDS.

The release of the "U.S. Five-Year Global HIV/AIDS Strategy" on
February 23, 2003 comes 13 months after the President's promise,
and nearly half a year after the new U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator
took office. It aspires to turn the tide of the global pandemic, but
offers such low funding levels as to make this impossible. It also
centers on the creation of a new bureaucracy that competes with
and undermines the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis &
Malaria.

We believe that the U.S. should provide at least $15 billion NOW to
fight HIV/AIDS in Africa. The need is clear, as more than 6,000
Africans are dying of AIDS every day. And there are many ways in
which this money can effectively be put to use immediately to save
lives and prevent the further spread of the pandemic. We are
concerned that the U.S.' failure to provide the resources needed to
support African efforts to defeat HIV/AIDS is evidence that racism is
a determinant in U.S. foreign policy, and that a double standard
exists that devalues Black lives. As Peter Piot, head of UNAIDS,
has said of the AIDS pandemic's concentration in Africa, "If this
would have happened.with white people, the reaction would be
different."

The following are ten reasons why a commitment of at least $15
billion is required from the U.S. NOW to address the magnitude of
the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa.


1. Reverse the funding approach: For 20 years, the U.S. has failed
to spend the money required to stem the devastating global spread
of HIV/AIDS. As a result, more than 25 million lives have been lost,
most of these in Africa - the world's poorest continent and "ground
zero" of the AIDS pandemic. Without an immediate and significant
increase in funding, HIV/AIDS will continue to spread out of control.
A major front-end investment is required from the U.S. to match the
magnitude of this challenge and to help strengthen the capacity of
African countries to respond. Rather than slowly ramping up in the
future, while millions more lives are lost each year, the U.S. should
spend at least $15 billion now to get the pandemic under control. A
real commitment now will avoid exponential increases both in
infection rates and in funding requirements later. In other words, the
U.S. policy approach required now is the opposite of what is
currently being debated in Washington.

2. Support the whole continent: President Bush's "Emergency
Plan" to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean only includes 12
African countries. This selective U.S. approach not only ignores the
rest of the African continent, which is also being devastated by the
HIV/AIDS pandemic; it also precludes the more coherent and
comprehensive response required to defeat this public health crisis.
U.S. initiatives to fight AIDS in Africa should cover all 54 African
countries. This will require a major increase over the limited, and
inadequate, funding included in the current 12-country plan.

3. Fully fund the Global Fund: The Global Fund to fight AIDS,
Tuberculosis and Malaria is the most crucial international vehicle to
support poor countries' efforts to fight the pandemic. Since 2002,
Global Fund grants have been helping African countries to
strengthen local public health infrastructure and to dramatically
scale up efforts to prevent and treat these deadly diseases. Since
its inception, the Global Fund has been forced to constrict its
projections due to the absence of adequate funding from wealthy
countries. Even at a minimal level of operation, the Global Fund still
needs at least $1.56 billion for 2004 and $3.58 billion for 2005 in
order to fund effective HIV/AIDS programs in Africa and globally.
The U.S. should provide its fair share of at least one-third of this
funding.

4. Treatment for All, not just for half: The World Health
Organization (WHO) estimates that 6 million people living with
HIV/AIDS in poor countries need immediate antiretroviral treatment.
At the moment, less than 8% have access to this treatment - and in
Africa, less than 2% of those in need have access to essential
treatment. On World AIDS Day 2003, the WHO unveiled a global
plan called the "3 by 5" initiative to provide antiretroviral treatment by
2005 to half of the 6 million people in poor countries who need it and
will die without it. As of early 2004, there was still a funding shortfall
of $5.5 billion over current contributions to reach that limited target.
Reaching all of the 6 million people who need antiretroviral
treatment is the only ethical goal and should be the urgent priority.
This will cost at least twice as much. The U.S. should provide at
least one-third of this funding.

5. Fully fund prevention that works: It is estimated that only 6% of
people in Africa have access to voluntary counseling and testing,
and that fewer than one-third of African youth have access to
prevention programs. There is an urgent need for youth-focused
prevention initiatives and for education programs that target
vulnerable groups in African countries. At present, prevention
education programs reach fewer than 1 in 12 sex workers and their
clients. UNAIDS estimates that, by 2005, more than $1.5 billion will
be needed annually to bring prevention programs to scale in Africa.
The U.S. should ensure that at least this amount is made available
for essential prevention programs. It should drop its insistence on
an abstinence- only approach, which is a wrong-headed and
ideologically driven priority that places fundamentalism over science
and public health.

6. Protect the health of mothers and children: Sub-Saharan Africa
accounts for about 90% of the 800,000 babies worldwide who
acquire HIV each year. Prevention of Mother-to-Child transmission
of HIV is an urgent need in African countries. A package of medical
interventions can reduce by 50% or more the risk of transmission of
HIV from mothers to their babies, but at present only 1% of pregnant
African women who need them have access to such prevention
measures. The U.S. should ensure sufficient funding for mother-to-
child transmission prevention programs to meet the need in African
countries. It should also ensure that HIV- positive mothers have
access to essential treatment that can save their own lives and
enable them to take care of their children.

7. Infrastructure - the most important investment: Turning the tide
on AIDS in Africa requires addressing the limitations in public health
infrastructure, eroded by years of World Bank and IMF structural
adjustment programs. It also requires addressing the continent's
broader health crisis. The WHO Commission on Macroeconomics
and Health reported in 2001 that a major increase in donor support
was necessary to reduce the high mortality rates in poor countries
and control diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.
The report estimated that donor support should be at least $27
billion per year by 2007. It stated that Africa should receive the
largest proportion of this because e of its poverty and disease
prevalence. In this context, the U.S. should prioritize upfront
investment to help rehabilitate Africa's public health care
infrastructure. Arguments about Africa's lack of "absorptive
capacity" are largely false, as even countries' existing capacities for
treatment programs are being under-utilized. Moreover, funding
itself will create capacity, which is usually a principal objective of any
such program start-up.

8. Meet the Commitment to the Millennium Development Goals: In
recent years, the Bush Administration has cut funding for child
survival programs and for humanitarian and development
assistance for African countries. Its implementation of the Global
Gag Rule has forced the scaling back of health clinics and caused
cutbacks in reproductive health services throughout Africa. These
U.S. policies undermine African efforts to address the HIV/AIDS
crisis and other health issues. All U.S. foreign assistance programs
that impact public health in Africa should be funded to the
maximum. The U.S. has committed to the Millennium Development
Goals, which aim to reduce poverty, defeat HIV/AIDS and promote
health in the world's poorest regions. The Bush Administration's
new Millennium Challenge Account fails as a model to support
human development in Africa. The U.S. should be willing to spend
its fair share of the $40-$70 billion in additional assistance per year
that is needed to meet these goals.

9. Meet the need for funding, at home and abroad: The United
States spends more than $15 billion annually to combat AIDS
domestically, where about 900,000 people are living with the
disease. While domestic funding levels remain inadequate, and
many people in this country - especially in communities of color -
lack access to essential treatment and care, international funding
levels are clearly also inadequate. The U.S. spends less than one-
fifth of this amount to fight HIV/AIDS globally, and only a fraction of
this in Africa, where almost 30 million people are living with the
disease out of a worldwide total of 42 million. As it has become
clear that the AIDS crisis in the U.S. disproportionately impacts
African-American communities, funding for programs desperately
needed by these communities has failed to keep up with the need.
At the international level, the U.S. has consistently failed to commit
its fair share of funding to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa. It should now
provide at least the $15 billion promised to Africa to meet this urgent
and growing crisis.

10. Focus on the real priority - AIDS is the greatest threat to human
security: In his 2005 budget request, President Bush asked
Congress for $400 billion for military defense. The Administration
plans to spend $2.2 trillion on the military over the next five years,
and is currently spending $4 billion per month in Iraq. While
members of the Bush Administration have said that AIDS is a
greater threat than terrorism, U.S. funding to fight HIV/AIDS remains
completely inadequate. This reveals the skewed priorities of the
Bush White House, as far as combating global threats is concerned.
The United Nations states that, even with recent increases in global
health spending, the world is not on track to provide even a minimal
response to AIDS. The U.S. should be prepared to spend at least
$15 billion now on a war against AIDS, which represents the truly
greatest threat to human security in the world today.

####


Africa: Tackling the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa

Justice Africa-GAIN Submission of Written Evidence to All-Party Parliamentary Group-Africa

2004-03-04

http://www.justiceafrica.org/appg_evidence.htm

This submission is concerned with the constraints on responding to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa, as analysed by Justice Africa, on behalf of the African Civil Society Governance and AIDS Initiative (GAIN). It anticipates likely problems of the next five years, as Africa and its international partners struggle to respond to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. It identifies a series of potentially binding constraints on that response: resources, capacity, policy and democracy.


Angola: Health system in tatters after war

2004-03-04

http://www.alertnet.org/thefacts/reliefresources/107780912965.htm

A deadly fire in a satellite town of the Angolan capital has shown the woefully inadequate state of hospitals in a country still struggling to get back on its feet two years after the end of a brutal civil war. The accident in late February happened when a truck carrying barrels of petrol caught fire in the town of Viana, killing 15 people immediately and injuring more than 80. The wounded were admitted to nearby Neves Bendinha Hospital, where staff did their best to treat them for third-degree burns in under-equipped facilities. As patients lay screaming in corridors and overcrowded wards, many on plastic mattresses on the floor, and as the stench of burnt flesh filled the building, hospital director Dr. Valdemiro Diogo said resources were desperately over-stretched.


Burundi: 93 cases of cholera in Rumonge

2004-03-04

http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=39803

Rumonge District, in Burundi’s southern province of Bururi, has registered 93 cases of cholera resulting in four deaths since January, health services have reported. The director of Rumonge hospital, Dr Innocent Ntamavukiro, told IRIN on Wednesday that 18 people were hospitalised at his facility. The majority of patients are from Kizuka subcounty, about 10 km from Rumonge centre. Other affected areas include Kanyenkoko and Iteba, two suburbs of Rumonge urban centre, with a majority of Muslim residents.


Cameroon: Sexually active Cameroon youths shun condoms-study

2004-03-04

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L02640689.htm

Two-thirds of teenagers in the central African country of Cameroon have sex by the age of 16 and more than half of them shun condoms, according to a study by German aid agency GTZ. Officials said the figures, which shed new light on sexual behaviour in a nation where HIV/AIDS adult infection rates have leapt more than 20-fold in just over a decade, were alarming.


CAR: Bouar residents plea for safe water as typhoid increases

2004-03-04

http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=39799&SelectRegion=Great_Lakes

Residents in the western town of Bouar, the Central African Republic (CAR), have appealed to the government to help them access safe water in order to contain typhoid, which has been spreading there since December 2003 when the state water utility halted services. State-owned Radio Centrafrique reported on Tuesday that the Bouar residents had asked the government to help them dig wells and equip them with water pumps.


Ethiopia: Botswana and Ethiopia to cooperate in fighting HIV/AIDS

2004-03-04

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/hivaids/20546

The leaders of two African countries severely hit by HIV/AIDS have agreed to cooperate in combating the pandemic. Botswana President Festus Mogae said the two countries would share experiences in fighting the virus. Botswana has one of the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in the world - over 35 percent among its 1.6 million people. According to UNAIDS, the epidemic continues to gain ground and, while some successes have been made in a decade-long response, the country has been unable to keep pace. In Ethiopia, according to UNAIDS, the epidemic has progressed to become the 16th-highest prevalence rate globally.
ETHIOPIA: Botswana and Ethiopia to cooperate in fighting HIV/AIDS

ADDIS ABABA, 2 March (PLUSNEWS) - The leaders of two African countries severely hit by HIV/AIDS have agreed to cooperate in combating the pandemic. Botswanan President Festus Mogae, who on Monday started an official four-day visit to Ethiopia to boost bilateral relations and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said their two countries would share experiences in fighting the virus.

Botswana has one of the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in the world - over 35 percent among its 1.6 million people. According to UNAIDS, the epidemic continues to gain ground and, while some successes have been made in a decade-long response, the country has been unable to keep pace.

In Ethiopia, according to UNAIDS, the epidemic has progressed to become the 16th-highest prevalence rate globally. An estimated 5,000 people are infected every week, with the result that nearly 3 million people infected and nearly a million children are orphaned.

"We are both afflicted by HIV/AIDS," Mogae told officials and journalists at the National Palace in the capital, Addis Ababa. "What we can do is exchange notes and experiences," he said, specifying that anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment and voluntary testing would be two key areas on which they would focus their joint efforts.

Botswana is already distributing ARVs to all its citizens in need of them, and is promoting routine testing at all its public health facilities.

"We know that Botswana has a considerable experience in fighting this pandemic," Meles said on the same occasion. "We are also engaged in an all-out struggle against the disease. We believe it is imperative to cooperate in this area and learn from one another's experience."

Meles paid a glowing tribute to his counterpart, describing Botswana as a beacon worthy of emulation by other African countries. "Botswana is without doubt the country that has been best governed since independence in the continent," he said.

"Botswana is, economically, one of the countries that has grown very fast, not just in Africa but elsewhere in the world. So there is a lot that we in Ethiopia can learn from our brothers in Botswana. We share the same ideals and views and are like-minded, which is a key basis for our partnership."

The Ethiopian leader also hailed the new Africa task force established by the British Prime Minister Tony Blair, of which Meles would be a member. Its mandate is to tackle the crisis in Africa in the context of HIV/AIDS, governance, debt relief and economic growth.

Botswana and Ethiopia are also examining ways of sharing agricultural technology, working more closely in the aviation sector and helping to strengthen the African Union (AU).

During his stay in Ethiopia, Mogae will tour historic sites, including Aksum and its centuries-old obelisks. He will join celebrations marking the Battle of Adwa - when in 1896 Italian troops were crushed by Ethiopians in the first-ever defeat of a colonial power by an African army. On Thursday, he will deliver a major policy speech at AU headquarters.

[ENDS]

IRIN-SA
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Email: [email protected]

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Nigeria: First consignment of ARV drugs arrives

2004-03-04

http://www.dailytimesofnigeria.com/DailyTimes/2004/February/18/First.asp

Relief has come the way of persons living with HIV/AIDS as the first consignment of N500 million anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs has arrived the country. However, the drugs will be given to the 10,000 persons already enrolled in the government approved 25 access centres. This was announced by Health Minister Professor Eyitayo Lambo.


Nigeria: Nigerian Committee Confirms Polio Vaccine As Safe

2004-03-04

http://www.unwire.org/News/328_426_13615.asp

Members of a Nigerian committee tasked with verifying the safety of oral polio vaccine amid suspicion that it causes HIV/AIDS and infertility have deemed the product safe, the Nigerian daily Vanguard reports. Committee members were dispatched early last month to South Africa and India to monitor analyses of the vaccine and to Indonesia to meet with scientists at a vaccine production company. The team found trace amounts of estradiol, a hormone suspected of causing infertility, but said the amounts were minute, "much less than what is found in recycled drinking water in several developed countries."


Nigeria: Online Volunteer in Turkey Helps Build HIV/AIDS Library in Nigeria

Armed with facts, villagers work to halt spread of epidemic

2004-03-04

http://www.undp.org/dpa/choices/2003/december/nigeria.html

No one is sure just how many people have died due to HIV/AIDS in this town of 15,000 but to the people who live here, the deaths are adding up. The rising death rate here as well as across sub-Saharan Africa, where 29 million people are living with the disease, were enough evidence for 36-year-old Nduka Ozor, a Lagos-based business man and coordinator of the community’s Youth Forum, that people needed to get the facts about the disease.


Nigeria: UNICEF deplores rejection of polio vaccine

2004-03-04

http://www.datelinehealth-africa.net/betav1.0/news/detailnews.asp?news_id=9547

Some northern states opposed to the immunisation of children against polio are committing an unforgivable offence against the innocent kids and humanity, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has declared. At the forefront of the opposition to the use of polio vaccine are Bauchi, Niger, Kano and Zamfara states. The Nigerian Supreme Council for Sharia NSCS (NSCS) set the stage for the controversy last year when it alleged that the exercise was a western plot to make women in the North infertile.


South Africa: Aids cause of jump in SA deaths, study finds

2004-03-04

http://www.capetimes.co.za/index.php?fSectionId=271&fArticleId=364717

South Africa's adult death rate has jumped by almost 50% over the past six years and the Aids epidemic is probably the main cause, researchers have found. "There is a distinct rise in deaths in the younger, sexually-active age groups. It is our view that this is mainly due to Aids," said Ria Laubscher, a statistician at South Africa's independent Medical Research Council (MRC).


South Africa: First Conference on Sexual Health in Africa Opens

2004-03-04

http://ippfnet.ippf.org/pub/IPPF_News/News_Details.asp?ID=3275

According to Agence France-Presse (AFP) on February 26 2004, the First Conference for the Advancement of Sexual Health and Rights in Africa opened in Johannesburg. The range of discussion topics includes issues such as: abortion laws, and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights.


Uganda: Aids Activist Attacks Govt

2004-03-04

http://allafrica.com/stories/200403020047.html

An HIV/Aids activist has attacked government for failing to provide Ugandans with anti-retroviral drugs. Maj. Rubaramira Ruranga of the National Guidance and Empowerment Network of People Living with HIV/Aids in Uganda said government should not talk about projections it cannot achieve. "It [government] talks about free medication for people with Aids, but where is it?" he asked. "Is it possible?"


Zambia: HIV/AIDS campaign continues in Zambia

2004-03-04

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/hivaids/20587

A motor bike-donated by the German Embassy; at least 50 people to attend to on a 'good day'; the nearest village being 13km away for house-calls and no anti-retroviral drugs to give some of his patients who desperately need them, is what one medical officer in the remote area of Shiwa'ng'andu (lake of Crocodiles) in the Northern part of Zambia has to contend with on an almost everyday basis. “What can I do really, as I have to almost literally split myself to attend to various health matters in the villages, do sensitization programs, attend to patients at the Shiwa Hospital and of course try and spend time with my family,” says one jovial Joshua Musabaka whom this writer had the pleasure to meet during an HIV/AIDS sensitisation workshop held in Chief Mukwikiles' area recently.
By Yuyo Nachali-Kambikambi


A motor bike-donated by the German Embassy; at least 50 people to attend to on a ‘good day’; the nearest village being 13km away for house-calls and no anti-retroviral drugs to give some of his patients who desperately need them, is what one medical officer in the remote area of Shiwa’ng’andu (lake of Crocodiles) in the Northern part of Zambia has to contend with on an almost everyday basis.

“What can I do really, as I have to almost literally split myself to attend to various health matters in the villages, do sensitization programs, attend to patients at the Shiwa Hospital and of course try and spend time with my family,” says one jovial Joshua Musabaka whom this writer had the pleasure to meet during an HIV/AIDS sensitisation workshop held in Chief Mukwikiles’ area recently.

Musabaka, who was the chief facilitator at this two day workshop that Chief Mukwikile had organised for his headmen, religious, youth and women leaders in his vicinity, is just one of the many health specialists in the country that undergo so many hardships and frustrations but still sojourn on.

Take for instance one Victor Lwazo of Katapazi village in Chief Mukuni’s area of the Toka-Leya people in the Southern part of Zambia. It’s the same story because for Lwazo, as he was facilitating at another HIV/AIDS sensitisation workshop held at his clinic vicinity, he was at the same time attending to patients. At one point as he was explaining a very cardinal point on voluntary counseling and testing, he had to be called to deliver a baby just next door to where the workshop was being held.

“Its very difficult for me to do everything alone and it would be good if some of the Neighbourhood Health Committee (NHC) members could be trained in certain areas so as they too could help out where the clinical officer may not have access to,” Lwazo said.

But the HIV/AIDS pandemic is real even in remote and far away places like Shiwa’ng’andu and Katapazi where people have to walk at least 13km and more when one looks at Katapazi, to get to the nearest hospital for attention and unfortunately not to get any ARV’s which when available are at K40, 000 a cost too high for the locals who would rather use the money to buy food for the whole family rather than use it for only one person.

Aside being in charge at the hospital, Musabaka is also expected to lend a hand in the area in times of workshops like the sensitisation workshop in the Mukwikile area which attracted 42 participants.

It’s a major war that has been launched against the HIV/AIDS epidemic and as such traditional leaders across the country have joined in the fight and Chief Mukwikile- Geoffrey Ng’andu is making sure that he is not left behind.

As of February 26th, 2004, Chief Mukwikile banned sexual cleansing in his area and warned of very serious consequences for all those that decided to go ahead with the practice when they knew clearly well that it was contributing to the spread of the scourge.

At the opening of the workshop, his royal highness was blunt and bold enough to tell his headmen that they were to be striped of their headmanship if he learnt that they were encouraging sexual cleansing in his chiefdom.

“These are issues that don’t even need discussing because for how long will people discuss while people keep dying because of their ignorance and in some cases plain stupidity?” a visibly upset Chief said.

Rituals, cultural beliefs, and various other ‘traditions’ have been known to exist for time in memorial and in Africa, its nothing new for instance, to hear of people strongly believing in using sharps and needles to pierce their bodies for medicinal purposes or engaging in sexual cleansing after ones’ spouse has died.

The participants were urged to always bear in mind the K.A.B and the A.B.C catchphrases which stand for Knowledge, Attitude and Behaviour and the highly advertised Abstinence, Be faithful and Condoms.

The issue of condoms raised some dust with some elderly participants who argued that God in his word had instructed people to go and multiply and not otherwise. Some said it would be sinful to ‘throw’ away all the children that God had intended for to live.

“We cannot think about using those things you are talking about because God clearly stated that we should go and multiply and fill the earth, so how are we going to fill the earth if we are told to use these funny contraptions?” one participant asked.

In other submissions on the ways the participants believe that HIV/AIDS is being spread, some suggested that the ministry of education should stop the co-education schools as these encouraged early sexual relations between school going children.

They said it would be good to separate the two sexes because they would concentrate better on their education instead of concentrating on each other and experimenting what they had learnt in biology class. Still on education, another issue that was discussed was the one of capital punishment, where those who had gone to the old school where pupils were canned for misbehaviour said they grew up with better morals than those of nowadays who were not canned.

“When we were growing up in those times and someone did anything wrong in class or within the school premises, that pupil was punished by either getting a number of strokes or doing garden work which made us capable men and women unlike the times of today,” a Joseph Mutuna said.

Another participant attributed the spread of the virus to drunkenness and the ‘availability’ of too many beer halls.

Oswald Chanda said it was imperative that government seriously looked at how many drinking places were open as this encouraged drunkenness and disorderly behaving leading to promiscuity.

“It is a fact that both men and women when drunk easily get misled and pick each other up, therefore leading to unhealthy relationships,” he added.

But Chief Mukwikile was quick to advise that the closing down of some beer halls would border on infringing other peoples’ human rights.

Parents were also blamed for spoiling and failing to supervise their children with one noting that it was common in many homes especially in the towns to let children have their own television sets in their bedrooms without any proper supervision meaning the child could watch whatever he/she pleased.

“You see the spread of this virus is two-fold because even the irresponsibility of parents or rather their lack of supervision over their children who will watch anything on television which in turn leads to children getting involved in sexual relationships without even their parents knowing,” another argued.

But after all is said and done, what is the way forward in trying to reduce the scourge which has ravaged not only thousands of people in Zambia but millions in Africa alone.

It is quite obvious that as a matter of urgency, rituals and various traditions have to be stopped and stopped now and not tomorrow, if we are to save mankind from being completely depleted from the face of the earth. Much as Africa is rich with culture, if we all don’t wake up and smell the coffee, there will be no culture to preserve as there will be no subjects to preserve it.

* Yuyo Nachali-Kambikambi is the media consultant for the Zambia Integrated Health Programme


Zimbabwe: Doctors backtrack on cash upfront demands

2004-03-04

http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=39793

Zimbabwe's private doctors this week stopped demanding cash payments for services and reverted to accepting valid medical aid cards, easing the difficulties of patients struggling to afford medical attention. Private doctors had been demanding cash upfront since January, citing long delays in the processing of claims by the National Association of Medical Aid Societies (NAMAS). They also hiked their consultation fees from an average of Zim $26,500 (US $6) per visit to Zim $46,500 (US $10).




Education

Africa: Responding to human rights violations in Africa

2004-03-04

http://www.actionaid.org/resources/pdfs/educationinafrica_2003.pdf

This paper looks at what the 'right to education' means in theory and practice, and outlines what a rights-based response to education in Africa would entail. It argues that although the concept of rights has become increasingly commonplace in the discourse of international development there is a massive gap between the language and practice of rights. This is starkly apparent in education, where the basic rights of millions of people are routinely violated, and particularly in Africa.


Botswana: Drop in girls' school enrolment highlighted

2004-03-04

http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=39736

Despite the fact that the Botswana government prides itself on gender equality in school enrolment, girls struggle against huge disadvantages to obtain an education. "The hardships the girl child had to face in the past are still endured today. It all starts at home in the morning when she wakes up to make sure that the house is swept and prepares food for the whole family [before going to school]," said Boipelo Semere, a member of the Girl Education Movement. According to the Ministry of Education, there has been a dip in the enrolment of girls in primary schools from 50.7 percent in 1993 to 49.4 percent in 2003. Girl enrolment in secondary school has also fallen from 53.5 percent in 1993 to 51.9 percent in 2003.


Equatorial Guinea: $5.2 million investment aims at early achievement of millennium education goal

2004-03-04

http://allafrica.com/stories/200403011304.html

UNDP and the Government of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea will invest US$5.2 million over the next four years to train 2,000 teachers, 36 education advisors, and 45 school inspectors to implement an "Education for All" project. The aim is to have all children in the central African country attend and complete primary school before 2010, five years ahead of the deadline for achieving the second Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education. This will help the population of one million people reach the over-arching goal of halving extreme poverty by 2015, since illiteracy is a major cause of poverty.


Equatorial Guinea: UN launches project to achieve universal primary education

2004-03-04

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=9943&Cr=Equatorial&Cr1=Guinea

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Equatorial Guinea have launched a scheme to train enough teachers so that every child in the African country can finish primary school by 2010. Over the next four years the UNDP and Equatorial Guinea have promised to spend $5.2 million training 2,000 teachers, 45 school inspectors and 36 education advisers as part of a scheme dubbed “Education for All,” the agency said this week.


Global: Gender and education for all

The leap to Equality

2004-03-04

http://portal.unesco.org/education/ev.php?URL_ID=23023&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201

All countries have agreed to eliminate gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005. In its opening chapter, this second edition of the EFA Global Monitoring Report sets out the powerful human rights case for achieving parity and equality in education. Chapter 2 monitors progress towards the six EFA goals through a gender lens. The next two chapters look at why girls are still held back and highlight policies that can lift barriers and improve learning. Strategies to remove gender gaps in education are part of a much broader reform effort underway in many countries, as Chapter 5 shows. This agenda cannot be met without much bolder international commitments and better co-ordination, which is assessed in Chapter 6. It is in the interests of all states and peoples to remove the gender gap and it should be a top priority in all educational programmes, as the final chapter concludes.


Ivory Coast: Schools slow to reopen in rebel-held north

2004-03-04

http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=39794

A month after schools were due to have resumed classes in the rebel-held north of Cote d’Ivoire, the overwhelming majority are still shut, with no teachers and very little in the way of teaching materials, education officials told IRIN. Most schools in the north closed after Cote d’Ivoire plunged into civil war 19 months ago leaving 300,000 pupils idle.


Nigieria: Education can be improved in high population countries, says Unesco

2004-03-04

http://portal.unesco.org/education/ev.php?URL_ID=29156&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201&reload=1077857240

There is room for improvement in early childhood care and education in the world's nine high population countries, according to UNESCO's latest Policy Brief on Early Childhood. Favourable demographic trends means that there are fewer children to serve and if the countries' investment in early childhood remains constant, more can be spent on improving quality, says Soo-Hyang Choi of UNESCO. Early childhood care and education was the topic chosen for the 5th E-9 Ministerial Review Meeting, held in Cairo, Egypt, in December 2003. The Policy Brief represents some highlights of progress achieved in ECCE access in the nine countries - Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria and Pakistan.


Zimbabwe: No Money to Pay Striking UZ Lecturers, Says Murerwa

2004-03-04

http://allafrica.com/stories/200403010412.html

The Minister of Higher Education Herbert Murerwa says the government has no money to meet the demands of University of Zimbabwe lecturers who have been on strike for some weeks Murerwa told The Standard newspaper that only dialogue between the UZ Council and the University Teachers' Association (UTA) could bring normalcy to the UZ.




Racism & xenophobia

Global/Africa: Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination holds thematic discussion on non-citizens and discrimination

2004-03-04

http://www.unhchr.ch/huricane/huricane.nsf/view01/4ED0B7C90FD498A7C1256E4B006FFB34?opendocument

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination held over two days a thematic discussion on the issue of non-citizens and racial discrimination during which Committee Experts exchanged views with representatives of States parties, NGOs and UN agencies. Doudou Diène, the Special Rapporteur on racism of the Commission on Human Rights, stated that discrimination against non-citizens was a new type of discrimination and was connected to discrimination against refugees and immigrants. Non-citizens were extremely vulnerable in terms of exercising their rights and receiving social protection, including the right to health.


South Africa: Tenants slate Sea Point racism

2004-03-04

http://www.capeargus.co.za/index.php?fSectionId=467&fArticleId=363069

A passionate plea for tolerance and trust is being made by the landlord and tenants of a Sea Point block of flats reputed to be a den of drug dealers and prostitutes. Landlord Shlomo Bitton says pressure from a group of Sea Point homeowners "targeting" the building has brought him close to evicting all his tenants. The tenants, many of whom are refugees from the Congo, say racism and xenophobia are behind a protest last week by homeowners accusing them of selling sex and drugs. "We are surrounded by hostility and hatred. Black people kill us when we try to live with them in townships, and white people do not want us to live with them either," said Roxi Badibanja, a Congolese refugee studying electrical engineering at Cape College in the day and working as a security guard at night.




Environment

Africa/Global: Ecotourism takes a toll on wildlife

2004-03-04

http://www.enn.com/news/2004-03-04/s_13696.asp

Ecotourism is taking its toll on wildlife and may be endangering the survival of the very animals people are flocking to see, according to researchers. Biologists and conservationists are worried because polar bears, dolphins, penguins and other creatures are getting stressed and losing weight and some are dying.


Africa/Global: Is our climate nearing the tipping point?

2004-03-04

http://www.enn.com/news/2004-03-03/s_13664.asp

A report that argues global warming is a greater threat to world security than terrorism and predicts a warming future where "disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life," may sound like it came from a radical environmental group - but it didn't. Unless you consider the Pentagon a radical environmental group. The report, submitted last fall, but only recently released to the media, looked specifically at what would happen if the world's climate were to abruptly shift, rather than change at a constant pace, as most people naturally assume it would do.


Africa/Global: Treaty on long-term pollutants gets the go-ahead

2004-03-04

http://www.scidev.net/News/index.cfm?fuseaction=readNews&itemid=1251&language=1

A global treaty that bans certain long-term pollutants that have been linked to a range of human health problems is to come into force. The countdown towards implementation of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants was triggered on 17 February, when France became the 50th country to ratify the treaty. The first phase of the agreement will ban the use of 12 types of pollutant of limited economic importance. Environmentalists hope to expand the range of pollutants covered by the agreement, but chemical manufacturers are likely to fight constraints on more financially valuable compounds.


Kenya: Environment Plunder is Blamed On Poor Policies

2004-03-04

http://allafrica.com/stories/200403020324.html

Inadequate policies on land use are to blame for the widespread environmental degradation in Africa, a Cabinet minister has said. Dr Newton Kulundu, of Environment, Natural Resources and Wildlife, said uncontrolled economic activities and unplanned infrastructure development have continued unabated resulting in the degradation of nature.


South Africa: Information on the Umgano Forest Project

2004-03-04

http://www.umganoforest.co.za/contact.html

The Umgano Forest Project in South African aims to promote forest as a place of enjoyment and learning. "Our aim is to create a centre for international study, and as a venue for our youth to make friends from multi cultural backgrounds, in an exchange of ideas. The emphasis of our project is for participating research institutions to assist our villages with sustainable development projects, and in turn to allow them to benefit from the research opportunities such programs afford," says their website.


Uganda: Uganda gives cautious approval to GM food

2004-03-04

http://www.scidev.net/news/index.cfm?fuseaction=readnews&itemid=1257&language=1

The Ugandan government has announced that genetically modified (GM) foods can be imported into the country - but that they should be used " strictly for consumption", and not for cultivation. In a statement released last month, the government's National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) says that the government "recognises the controversial nature of this subject and has therefore decided to proceed with caution, building consensus at all stages."




Land & land rights

Namibia: Let the land expropriation begin

2004-03-04

http://www.afrika.no/Detailed/4931.html

Government has announced plans to expropriate commercial farms, in an effort to speed up land reform. Prime Minister Theo-Ben Gurirab, making the announcement on NBC radio and television, said farmers who lost their farms would be justly compensated as provided for in the Namibian Constitution. Gurirab said delays in implementing land reform, brought about by the "cumbersome" willing-seller, willing-buyer process left expropriation as the only other way Government would meet the "high public demand for agricultural land".


Nigeria: Presidency and governors defend plan to host white farmers

2004-03-04

http://www.afrika.no/Detailed/4932.html

Despite criticisms in some quarters, the Presidency and state governors has justified the Federal Government's move to accept white Zimbabwean farmers in Nigeria. The government described the proposed investment as "a positive move in the effort to move Nigeria from peasant to mechanised commercial agriculture." The government's position was disclosed after the presidential committee on the proposed investment of Southern African farmers in Nigeria rose from its second meeting in Abuja.


South Africa: It\'s time to face it - Land reform costs money

2004-03-04

http://www.sarpn.org.za/newsflash.php#1171

"There is a moratorium on new land reform projects – you can apply but your project will not be considered for at least two years.” During last year landless people in the Western Cape have had to swallow these words. The lack of funds has meant that land reform has stood still in the Western Cape; only two- to three-year-old projects are proceeding. And Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel’s Budget for this year has brought no respite.




Media & freedom of expression

Africa/Global: A Journalist's Guide to Improved Election Reporting in Emerging Democracies

2004-03-04

http://www.comminit.com/ma2003/sld-7886.html

This guide:
- Points out common abuses of the election process that journalists should watch for;
- Offers a sample checklist of elements that make up a free and fair election, including issues related to the candidates, the voters, and the actual voting process;
- Provides suggestions for establishing and protecting credibility, for individual journalists and news organizations as a whole.


Africa: Conference Calls for Free-Expression Monitor

2004-03-04

http://allafrica.com/stories/200402250851.html

Africa needs an independent rapporteur to monitor and promote freedom of expression on the continent, said participants at a major conference co-hosted by ARTICLE 19 and the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) last week in Pretoria, South Africa. A statement issued at the conference said despite recognition of the right to free expression in the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and in the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression, gross violations continue to occur in many African countries. ARTICLE 19 and MISA worked closely with the African Commission, the Media Foundation for West Africa and the Open Society Institute for Southern African in organising the conference.


Mozambique: Portuguese HIV, Rights Audio CD launched

2004-03-04

http://www.cmfd.org/sections/goal.html

Community Media for Development and GOAL Mozambique collaborated to develop a radio programme with a group of Street Youth in Maputo, Mozambique. The group recorded songs, skits, and messages about HIV/AIDS, sexual abuse, and children's rights in Portuguese and Shangana. The recordings were then produced into a series suitable for broadcast or educational use, and are being distributed freely to community radio stations across Mozambique. An accompanying Portuguese language activity book was also developed to be used in educational/literacy programmes. The audio may be downloaded from the Internet. For information, contact info@cmfd.


Somalia: Journalist harassed over radio report

2004-03-04

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/media/20554

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has condemned the detention of Abshir Ali Gabre, news editor at the independent Radio Jawhar, who was recently held overnight on the orders of Somali faction leader Mohamed Omar Habeeb, also known as Mohamed Dere. Dere is chairman of the self-appointed Jawhar administration.
IFEX - News from the international freedom of expression community
_________________________________________________________________

PRESS RELEASE/ALERT - SOMALIA

2 March 2004

Journalist harassed over radio report

SOURCE: Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), New York

(CPJ/IFEX) - The following is a CPJ press release:

SOMALIA: Journalist harassed over radio report

New York, March 2, 2004-The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemns the
detention of Abshir Ali Gabre, news editor at the independent Radio Jawhar, who
was recently held overnight on the orders of Somali faction leader Mohamed Omar
Habeeb, also known as Mohamed Dere. Dere is chairman of the self-appointed
Jawhar administration.

Gabre was arrested at the radio station on February 24 at about 8 p.m. and
detained for around 14 hours in connection with a report that he had just
broadcast, according to local journalists' organizations. During the report, the
journalist pointed out that Dere and his allies had signed a January 29 peace
agreement in Kenya, even though he had recently stated that he did not support
the accord.

Somalia has had no central government since the collapse of the Siad Barre
regime in 1991 and is divided between rival faction leaders. Peace talks between
the main faction leaders and the weak, Mogadishu-based Transitional National
Government have been ongoing for more than a year in Kenya. In January, all the
main faction leaders signed an agreement to create a new national parliament
that will in turn elect a president.

Gabre was taken to a police cell and detained overnight. The police station
commander told Gabre that Dere had ordered his arrest, according to the Somali
Journalists Network (SOJON). Gabre was questioned repeatedly about why he had
read the offending report.

Following a recent visit to Jawhar, which is about 56 miles (90 kilometers)
north of the capital, Mogadishu, SOJON said that journalists there were
"censored daily" by Mohamed Dere, with the militia regularly going to Radio
Jawhar, the only station in the region.

CPJ is a New York-based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to
safeguard press freedom worldwide. For more information about press conditions
in Somalia, visit www.cpj.org

For further information, contact Africa Program Coordinator Julia Crawford
(x112) or Research Associate Adam Posluns at CPJ, 330 Seventh Ave., New York, NY
10001, U.S.A., tel: +1 212 465 1004, fax: +1 212 465 9568, e-mail:
[email protected], [email protected], Internet: http://www.cpj.org/

The information contained in this press release/alert is the sole responsibility
of CPJ. In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit CPJ.
_________________________________________________________________
DISTRIBUTED BY THE INTERNATIONAL FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
EXCHANGE (IFEX) CLEARING HOUSE
489 College Street, Suite 403,Toronto (ON) M6G 1A5 CANADA
tel: +1 416 515 9622 fax: +1 416 515 7879
alerts e-mail: [email protected] general e-mail: [email protected]
Internet site: http://www.ifex.org/
_________________________________________________________________


South Africa: FXI welcomes release of Johannesburg Water documents

2004-03-04

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/media/20556

The Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) has welcomed a decision by Johannesburg Water (JW) to grant access to three 'confidential' documents, after having refused to do so since April 2003. However, the FXI said it was deeply concerned that JW continues to refuse to release other documents relating to its activities. The Institute will continue with legal action which it has instituted, with researcher Ebrahim Harvey, against Johannesburg Water to secure the release of the remaining documents. Harvey sought the documents to enable him to complete a Master's Degree at the University of the Witwatersrand on the impact of Johannesburg's Igoli 2002 plan on the delivery of water (which led to the formation of JW as a corporate entity). The plan has been controversial as it fuelled the commercialisation of services such as water and electricity, leading to the disconnection of many poor residents when they could not afford the rising costs of these services.

FXI welcomes release of some documents requested from Johannesburg Water,
but continues with legal action to obtain others

1 March 2004

The Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) welcomes a decision by
Johannesburg Water (JW) to grant access to three 'confidential' documents,
after having refused to do so since April 2003. However, the FXI is deeply
concerned that JW continues to refuse to release other documents relating to
its activities. The Institute will continue with legal action which it has
instituted, with researcher Ebrahim Harvey, against Johannesburg Water to
secure the release of the remaining documents.

JW agreed to release the documents on 23 February 2004 after the FXI and Mr
Harvey instituted legal action in January 2004. JW has agreed to give the
FXI and Mr Harvey access to three out of a total of sixteen sets of
documents requested on 11 March 2003. The documents were requested by the
FXI on behalf of Mr Harvey in terms of South Africa's Promotion of Access to
Information Act.

The FXI filed the information request on Harvey's behalf in March last year
after his attempts to obtain the documents from JW failed. Harvey sought the
documents to enable him to complete a Master's Degree at the University of
the Witwatersrand on the impact of Johannesburg's Igoli 2002 plan on the
delivery of water (which led to the formation of JW as a corporate entity).
The plan has been controversial as it fuelled the commercialisation of
services such as water and electricity, leading to the disconnection of many
poor residents when they could not afford the rising costs of these
services.

Harvey and FXI then initiated legal action in the High Court against the
following institutions for the refused documents:

a.. Johannesburg Water,
b.. The City of Johannesburg,
c.. Johannesburg Water Management (or Jowam), who are contracted to
provide water and waste water management services to JW, and who are owned
by French water multinational Suez,
d.. Dynacon Technologies (who monitors the management contract)
The Minister of Justice has also been cited as a respondent in the
application. The intentions of the application are to secure the release of
the outstanding documents and to challenge the constitutionality of the
Promotion of Access to Information Act on the basis that it limits the
constitutional right of access to information. The first four respondents
have filed a notice of intention to oppose the application, while the
Minister has stated that he will abide the court's decision in the matter.

The about-turn on the part of JW in relation to the 3 documents shows that
they were capable of disclosure all along.

In spite of having agreed to the release of the 3 documents, JW still
continues to deny responsibility for some documents on the basis that the
request should be directed to the City of Johannesburg. Harvey and the FXI
have argued in the founding affidavit that JW has an obligation to secure
the documents from the City for requesters.

Harvey and the FXI have pointed out that JW's response to the initial
request was inadequate in terms of the Act. The company did not cite
specific reasons for refusing particular pieces of information, as it is
required to do. Rather they chose to respond in a globular fashion, citing
numerous grounds for mandatory refusal of records in the Act relating to the
confidentiality of its own documents and those of third parties.

Documents that JW still refuses to release on the basis that they contain
'confidential methodology of a third party', namely JOWAM, include all the
reports JOWAM is required to develop and produce for JW and JW's evaluation
of these reports.

JW has also refused to disclose - on the basis of confidentiality - its
Water and Wastewater Master Plans, all 'internal reports' on the Orange Farm
pilot project in Stretford Ext. 4, and the minutes of JW Board meetings.

Harvey and the FXI have argued that JOWAM is not a third party under the
Act. According to the Act, private companies that perform public functions
are not regarded as third parties in relation to those functions. Given the
fact that JOWAM performs a public function, it must be regarded as a public
body for the purposes of the Act. The FXI and Mr Harvey have therefore
asserted that JW's basis for refusing many of the relevant records is
improper.

The FXI drew all these irregularities to the attention of JW in September
2003. The Institute also pointed out that aspects of JW's response were
simply contradictory. For instance, JW claimed that a request for the Orange
Farm 'internal reports' was vague and unclear and it was not certain what
records were being sought, and simultaneously stated that the 'reports
contain information confidential to JW'.

The FXI asked JW for a revised response, but to no avail.

Harvey and the FXI have further argued in the founding affidavit that if the
court finds that any of the documents cannot be disclosed on any of the
grounds referred to in the Act, then the Act's public interest override
clause should be invoked. This clause requires the body concerned to
disclose documents if two public interest requirements are met. The first
requirement is that that the disclosure of the document(s) would reveal
evidence of either a substantial contravention of, or failure to comply
with, the law or an imminent and serious public safety or environmental
risk. The second requirement is that the public interest in the disclosure
of the record clearly outweighs the harm resulting from the disclosure.

Harvey and the FXI have argued that this clause is unconstitutional. Rather
the clause should ensure that only one of the requirements has to be met for
documents to be disclosed in the public interest. The Act, by stating that
both requirements must be met, does not strike an appropriate balance
between disclosure and non-disclosure, as the grounds for mandatory refusal
are broad and the override is too narrow. If this challenge is accepted by
the High Court, it will have to be confirmed by the Constitutional Court; if
not, then Harvey and the FXI will be in a position to appeal against the
High Court judgment in the Constitutional Court.

Most of the documents requested explain the operational duties and evaluate
the performance of Jowam and JW. They will throw light on policies relating
to disconnections, pricing, service priorities and plans to remove
inequalities in service provision. Others will contain information regarding
current inequalities in service consumption and the provision of
infrastructure. Access to the documents will also allow an investigation of
whether the transfer of responsibilities for water provision to contractors
such as JOWAM may negatively impact on access to water, including through
increases in prices for water, failures to remove inequities in service
provision or through unjustified disconnections. Finally, access to the
documents is necessary to investigate whether JW is fulfilling its
constitutional obligation of providing access to water. In short, the
transparency that will flow from disclosure of these documents is essential
to ensure public accountability.

Harvey and the FXI have also noted that there is a particularly compelling
public interest reason for disclosing documents relating to the activities
of JOWAM, a joint venture of subsidiaries of the international water company
Suez, in view of Suez' increasingly dubious track record internationally.
Suez and at least some of its international subsidiaries have recently been
accused of corruption, dishonesty and a lack of accountability, and these
accusations are sufficiently cogent to warrant careful scrutiny of the way
in which water and waste water services are being managed in Johannesburg.
The affidavit also points out that in Grenoble, France, the City Council
terminated its relationship with Suez after a former mayor and government
Minister, and certain senior executives of Suez received prison sentences
for accepting and giving bribes. In France, Suez has also been the subject
of a recent investigation into a scandal around 'an agreed system of
misappropriation of public funds'.

In South Africa, the Eastern Cape High Court recently nullified a ten year
contract between a Suez South African subsidiary and the Nkonkobe
Municipality after, amongst other things, high levels of dissatisfaction
with the service were expressed by the community.

In addition, Harvey and the FXI point out that since JOWAM was awarded the
management contract, above inflation increases to the price of water have
led to communities in and around Johannesburg being increasingly unable to
either access or afford water. In Alexandra, thousands of poor families were
affected by a cholera epidemic resulting from inadequate access to water.

In spite of this growing crisis, JW has seen fit to introduce pre-paid water
meters, firstly as part of an experimental project in the sprawling
settlement of Orange Farm. This experiment was undertaken in an attempt to
'test' the response of poor communities to the introduction of this
'self-disconnection' water technology (under the guise of self-ownership and
management of water consumption). Most recently, pre-paid meters have been
introduced into Phiri, Soweto, as part of JW's 'Operation Gcin'amanzi'
(Operation Conserve Water) project. The pre-payment system is being rolled
out in spite of the fact that in Britain, pre-paid water meters were
declared illegal after public health problems and an outcry from poor
communities during the late 1990's. It is particularly disturbing, then,
that JW still refuses to disclose its own reports evaluating the successes
or failures of the Orange Farm pilot project.

Harvey and the FXI pointed out that JW policies have been controversial in
view of the above mentioned developments. However, the residents of
Johannesburg cannot democratically remove those who are responsible if they
are dissatisfied with the level of service, as JOWAM will continue to
perform these vital public functions for as long as the agreement between JW
and JOWAM continues. Therefore, other means must be found to ensure that JW
is accountable to the residents of Johannesburg. This can be achieved by
ensuring that there is transparency. For instance, accountability would be
promoted by the disclosure of the minutes of JW's Board meetings. Harvey and
the FXI have also pointed out that the statutory recognition of the
importance of community participation in policy formulation on municipal
services is meaningless unless adequate information is provided.

Ends


Tanzania: Media policy 'positive', says Article 19

2004-03-04

http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/57149/

ARTICLE 19 last week published an analysis of the Tanzanian government's Information and Broadcasting Policy. The Policy contains a number of commendable commitments, including to bring Tanzanian law and practice into line with international standards. Other commitments, however, appear to contradict this, as does a recent law on telecommunications. The Tanzanian government adopted a new Information and Broadcasting Policy in October 2003, the culmination of several years' work by a broad coalition of stakeholders, including government representatives, to this end.


Tunisia: Imprisoned journalist on hunger strike

2004-03-04

http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/57152/

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) says it is concerned about the health of Abdallah Zouari, a journalist from the suspended Islamist weekly "Al-Fajr" who has been carrying on a hunger strike since 27 January 2004 to protest the worsening of his prison conditions. On their last visit, his family, who had not been allowed to see him for two weeks, found him to be in a seriously weakened physical and mental state.


Zimbabwe: Three journalists from government daily "The Herald" dismissed for moonlighting

2004-03-04

http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/57160/

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has called for the reinstatement of three journalists who were recently dismissed from the government daily "The Herald" because they worked with the American public radio station Voice of America (VOA). In a 25 February statement, the Media and Information Commission (MIC) said that Zimbabwean journalists' collaboration with VOA ran contrary to "national interests and security," since the station is "among the media outlets that spread lies about this country, contributing to a deterioration in its image."




Social welfare

Africa/Global: Child rights based monitoring and evaluation

Call for information

2004-03-04

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/welfare/20522

Save the Children Denmark is undertaking a review of literature into child rights based monitoring and evaluation, and is calling for information from colleagues who have worked, or thought about working, in these areas, particularly in: i. Activities in child rights based monitoring and evaluation; ii. The conceptual underpinning or framework of this work; iii. Monitoring and evaluation procedures that involve children in active and participatory ways; iv. The development of appropriate and useful indicators for children's rights; v. Tools and methods used, successes and challenges; vi. Ethical and technical challenges faced.


Africa/Global: Ensuring the rights of indigenous children

2004-03-04

http://www.unicef-icdc.org/publications/index.html

Around the world, in rural and urban areas alike, indigenous children frequently constitute one of the most disadvantaged groups, and their rights - including those to survival and development, to the highest standards of health, to education that respects their cultural identity, and to protection from abuse, violence and exploitation - are often compromised. At the same time, however, indigenous children possess very special resources: they are the custodians of a multitude of cultures, languages, beliefs and knowledge systems, each of which is a precious element of our collective heritage.


Africa/Global: Group slams use of girl soldiers

2004-03-04

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3531641.stm

Girls have been part of government militia or opposition fighting forces in more than 50 countries over recent years, a Canadian human rights organisation has said in a new report. The organisation, Rights and Democracy, said many of the girls had taken part in armed conflict, were abducted or had to join to survive. The report, called Where are the Girls, focuses on northern Uganda, Sierra Leone and Mozambique.


Angola: Govt to halve child mortality by 2008

2004-03-04

http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=39791

The Angolan government on Tuesday pledged to take steps to slash the appalling child mortality rate by half within the next four years. Almost three decades of civil conflict have given Angola the world's third-worst rate of child death, with one in four likely to die before they reach their fifth birthday, according to figures from the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).


DRC: IRIN interview with social affairs minister Ingele Ifoto

2004-03-04

http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=39766

Ingele Ifoto, minister of social affairs of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), spoke with IRIN on Thursday regarding the development of a national strategy for social protection, following a conference on the matter that was held from 20 - 22 February. The DRC, a vast central African country with some 60 million people, is in the midst of major transition: a government of national unity was inaugurated on 30 June 2003, ostensibly bringing an end to nearly five years of war and leading the country to national elections in 2005. According to Ifoto, the war caused at least three million deaths, and at least 1.7 million people remain displaced. Many other segments of the population also continue to suffer the war's effects, including child soldiers, orphans, raped women, war widows, war injured, and the unemployed, among others, he added.


Ethiopia: Focus on street children rehabilitation project

2004-03-04

http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=39760

It is an island of tranquillity in an ocean of squalor, poverty and the hustle and bustle of Africa’s largest open-air market. The small garden tucked away in the Merkato market in the capital, Addis Ababa, is a refuge for hundreds of children, many living on the streets or forced into prostitution by poverty. "This is a place where they can escape from it all and just be themselves," said Anania Admasu, who heads the local charity Children Aid Ethiopia (Chad-Et).


Sierra Leone: Teaching, training, treating

Childhelp Sierra Leone News

2004-03-04

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/welfare/20469

From January 2000 – December 2003, 12 primary schools were de-wormed with a total of 3600 pupils and 430 adults in the Eastend Part of the city of Freetown.
JANUARY – FEBRUARY REPORT 2004


HEALTH REPORT
From January 2000 – December 2003, 12 primary schools were de-wormed with a total of 3600 pupils and 430 adults in the Eastend Part of the city of Freetown.



Deworming exercise is currently going on in the Ribbi Chiefdom, Moyamba District in the Southern Province. A total number of 3,800 children and adult have been de-wormed with Albendazole (Zentel) tablets because it kills both eggs and adult worm.

Childhelp Sierra Leone founded out that Vermox tablets are not good to be used for de-worming because it kills the adult and not the eggs. Another de-worming exercise will soon start in the Bombali district in March 2004 with a three-throng approach: To Teach, Train and Treat the children in Health participatory education.



In February 2nd – 14th 2004, 45 participants were trained in Pump Repairing, Hygiene and Sanitation. 11 were Pump repairers and 24 were train in hygiene and sanitation. During the Pump repairing practical training, Childhelp Sierra Leone in collaboration with Lifewater International – USA, bought few hand pumps and parts that were used to repair pumps and to replace stolen ones. One of the beneficiaries SDA Primary School, Back of Agriculture in Makeni, whose Pb Mark 11 Hand pump was stolen, was replaced with an Indian Mark 11 hand pump. Other wells in Maforay Kola tree – 13 miles off Makeni, Magua villages – 22 miles from Makeni were also repaired, restored and now functioning.

Childhelp Sierra Leone needs a Project Officer and Fund Raiser to manage the office in Sierra Leone. The Life savers faith and technology training centre will be reopened in May/June 2004 and will need volunteers to teach students in community development, leadership formati n, international health, organising for action, computer studies and agriculture.

Childhelp Sierra Leone is working with Lifewater International in Pump repairing, hygiene and sanitation to accomplish its mission in Sierra Leone.

For More Information, contact Childhelp Sierra Leone’ Office at the above address,

Or call 076 70 89 63, or email: [email protected] and Lifewater Int. - USA, [email protected]


Zimbabwe: Homeless crackdown condemned

2004-03-04

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/welfare/20557

The Combined Harare Residents Association has condemned the arbitrary and authoritarian crackdown on homeless people in Harare last week. "We do not believe that this action was carried out on the instructions of the elected councillors but rather by the de facto mayor of Harare, Town Clerk Chideya. Again we call upon councillors to assert the power given to them by the citizens of Harare and to put the municipal employees to work for the benefit of all of us.”
CHRA STATEMENT


2 March 2004



CHRA condemns the arbitrary and authoritarian crackdown on homeless people in Harare last week. We do not believe that this action was carried out on the instructions of the elected councillors but rather by the de facto mayor of Harare, Town Clerk Chideya. Again we call upon councillors to assert the power given to them by the citizens of Harare and to put the municipal employees to work for the benefit of all of us.



The ill-thought conceived ‘plan’ has no logical justification and is typical of a facile and symptom-based approach to urban governance – get rid of the manifestations of a problem and hope the cause will disappear! Unfortunately such an approach doesn’t work.



Even a cursory analysis of the issue of ‘street people’ will show that few, if any, are on the streets through choice. The majority have been forced by circumstances to seek the support of the wealthier members of society by begging. Circumstances such as the massive economic collapse precipitated by the Mugabe regime’s disastrous economic policies and its so-called ‘land reform’ programme which has lead to massive rural-to-urban migration by displaced farm workers and impoverished people. Circumstances such as the HIV/AIDS catastrophe which has robbed families of breadwinners and which is destroying the extended family support network.



Zimbabwe is facing a humanitarian disaster that requires remedial action and sympathetic solutions, not knee-jerk responses that do nothing but persecute the voiceless and satisfy the shallow aims of reactionaries who care little for humanity. This crackdown is typical of the regime’s policies. Remember the clean up for CHOGM in 1992 and the removal of street people to Porta Farm - supposedly a ‘temporary’ holding camp but a horrendous slum to this day.



Instead of this pointless and horrific action (which has reportedly resulted in the death of 5 people), the City would be well advised to carry out a comprehensive audit of the problem and, through a consultative approach, develop systematic and realistic strategies to ameliorate the situation. There are many people working through churches and other social groups who can contribute their energies and ideas to this problem.



Councillors should guard against surrendering their mandate to unelected municipal employees who have dubious loyalties to the residents of Harare and who appear to answer to another master. We elected councillors to promote our interests, not their own; half-way through their term of office, we have little to show for our struggles to restore democracy to Harare’s Town House.



Combined Harare Residents Association

11 Armagh Avenue

Eastlea

P.O.Box HR7870

Harare

Tel: 746019

Cell: 011612860

e-mail: [email protected]

Website: www.chra.co.zw


Zimbabwe: Youth trained to torture

2004-03-04

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3493958.stm

President Robert Mugabe's government has set up secret camps across the country in which thousands of youths are taught how to torture and kill, the BBC has learned. The Zimbabwean government says the camps are job training centres, but those who have escaped say they are part of a brutal plan to keep Mugabe in power. Former recruits to the camps have spoken to the BBC's Panorama programme about a horrific training programme that breaks young teenagers down before encouraging them to commit atrocities.




News from the diaspora

African Diaspora websites and arts

2004-03-04

http://www.u.arizona.edu/~aasp/web_dias.htm


Bonding online

2004-03-04

http://www.africansocieties.org/eng_giugno2002/eng_rubricadiasporaonline.htm

It is not easy to talk of the African diaspora on the internet: it is a very broad and articulate phenomenon since the ties among Africans living abroad, and between the latter and their respective homelands and communities of origin, are strongly supported by the global network today. An initial analysis, however, allows us to establish at least four topic areas concerning the presence of the African diaspora on the internet: the phenomenon as such (that is, the diaspora as an "object" of interest and study); the diaspora as a political and strategic theme; services for the diaspora; and networking among diaspora members.


Brazil: Afro-Brazilians demand equal access to education

2004-03-04

http://tinyurl.com/3elbh

While Brazil maintains the strongest economy in Latin America, access to education for many young people in Brazil is still an obstacle. Brazil's 76 million negros and pardos (blacks and browns) constitute the world's second largest population of people of African descent outside of Africa. Although they are between 45% - 55% of Brazil's population, they comprise merely 2% of the nation's university students. Limited access to education and racial discrimination within Brazil's education system has a significantly negative impact on the lives of Afro-Brazilians.


Films of the African Diaspora Thursdays at 7pm

2004-03-04

http://www.library.upenn.edu/news/87

From February 12 to March 25, every Thursday evening at 7pm, Films from the African Diaspora from the Penn Library's video collection will be shown in the Van Pelt Library's Film Studies Classroom, room 425 (4th Floor). The screenings are sponsored by the Center for Africana Studies, Latino and Latin American Studies, and the University of Pennsylvania Library.


Refugees make good workers

2004-03-04

http://www.blink.org.uk/pdescription.asp?key=3016&grp=62&cat=214

Employers that take on refugees who have been granted permission to stay in the UK are often impressed with the calibre of their work – but frightened to publicise the fact that they employ them, for fear of negative publicity.




Conflict & emergencies

Africa: Conflict risk alerts

2004-03-04

http://www.crisisweb.org//library/documents/crisiswatch/march_templatefinal_with_backgrounds.pdf

Hutu rebel group FNL continued sporadic attacks on the Burundian capital Bujumbura and surrounding areas, despite January peace talks and in Uganda fighting continued, with Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels massacring as many as 200 civilians in a northern refugee camp 21 February. These are two updates from the African continent in CrisisWatch, a publication of the International Crisis Group, that summarises briefly developments during the previous month in some 70 situations of current or potential conflict.


Africa: U.S. Military Shows Interest in Africa

2004-03-04

http://www.independent-media.tv/item.cfm?fmedia_id=5875&fcategory_desc=Under%20Reported

Top U.S. generals are touching down across Africa in unusual back-to-back trips, U.S. European Command confirmed Tuesday, part of a change in military planning as U.S. interest grows in African terror links and African oil. Trips by two top European Command generals follow last week's similarly low-profile Africa visit by the U.S. commander in Europe, Marine Gen. James L. Jones.


CAR: Impact of war on the northwest

2004-03-04

http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=39802

Cotton farmer Faustin Bagaza, 55, wears the cloak of poverty around him even tighter these days. Despite harvesting his crop for two successive years, he has made no sales. The reason? A rebellion in northwestern Central African Republic (CAR) that has devastated the country's agriculture, health, education and other services.


DRC: High-level delegation pushes for disarmament in Ituri

2004-03-04

http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=39818

A delegation comprised of members of the transitional government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the ambassadors of France, Norway and Spain, and William Swing, the UN secretary-general's special representative to the country, is currently on mission in the nation's troubled northeastern Ituri District to urge armed groups to disarm, demobilise and reintegrate (DDR), the UN Mission in the DRC, MONUC, reported on Wednesday.


Eritrea: Foreign minister says Nigeria will mediate in border dispute

2004-03-04

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3531923.stm

Nigeria is ready to mediate in the border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea, its foreign minister says. Olu Adeneji told the BBC's Network Africa programme that Eritrea's leader had asked Nigeria to intervene. If confirmed, this would mark a new strategy for Eritrea, which has insisted that the dispute was settled by a 2002 international court ruling.


Five sentenced to death over killing of genocide survivor

2004-03-04

http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=39755

A Rwandan court sentenced five people to death on Friday over the killing of a genocide survivor who was due to testify in the Gacaca justice system, Rwanda News Agency (RNA) reported. The five were found guilty of killing Charles Rutinduka on 26 November 2003 in Kaduha, in the southern province of Gikongoro.


Ivory Coast: UN sends peacekeepers, but disarmament on hold

2004-03-04

http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=39747

The UN Security Council has agreed to send a peacekeeping force of more than 6,000 troops to Cote d'Ivoire to supervise the disarmament of rebel forces and presidential elections due in October 2005. The council voted unanimously in favour of creating the new peacekeeping force on Friday after the United States dropped its earlier opposition to the proposal.


Liberia: Liberia probes reports of fighters grouping

2004-03-04

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L03666067.htm

A Liberian government team is due in the northeast of the country this week to investigate reports that hundreds of fighters loyal to exiled president Charles Taylor are undergoing training there. A senior government official said the gunmen, mostly from Liberia and Guinea, were at a camp in Nimba County, the region near Ivory Coast from where Taylor launched a rebellion in 1989 that triggered nearly 14 years of war.


Rwanda asks for minute's silence for genocide

2004-03-04

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L20397481.htm

Rwandan officials have asked countries around the world to hold a minute's silence at noon on April 7 to mark the 10th anniversary of the 1994 genocide. "We would like the whole world to hold 10 minutes of silence - one minute for each year since 1994 - but some say that's too long," said Ildephonse Karengera, Rwanda's director of the genocide memorial.


Rwanda To Hold Large 10th Genocide Anniversary

2004-03-04

http://allafrica.com/stories/200402230946.html

Plans are underway in Rwanda to hold the biggest genocide commemoration event in the country since the 1994 genocide. April 7th, 2004 will be exactly ten years since the start of 100 days of genocide in which an estimated one million ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed.


Sudan: Government suspends contacts with NDA

2004-03-04

http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=39761

The government of Sudan has suspended contact with an umbrella opposition group, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), because it has allowed a rebel group from war-torn Darfur to join its ranks. The government spokesman, Sa'id Khatib, told IRIN on Monday that the government had suspended all contacts with the NDA "about four days ago", because the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) was now one of its members. "We have suspended all contacts until the NDA clarifies why it has brought a fighting group on board," he said. "Fighting and dialogue do not go together."


Sudan: One million at risk in Darfur

2004-03-04

http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=39798

One million people are "at imminent risk of life and livelihood" in Sudan's western region of Darfur, due to a lack of civil order and the "refusal of local and national authorities to permit unrestricted access for humanitarian workers", according to the US government. A statement released on Tuesday said the US viewed the deepening humanitarian crisis in Darfur with grave concern. Particularly threatening were the actions of the "government-supported militias, known as the Janjawid, who continue to attack and burn undefended villages, murdering and raping the inhabitants and forcing survivors into desperate flight to garrison towns" or neighbouring Chad, it said.


Tribunal Convicts Genocide Suspect

2004-03-04

http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-3788097,00.html

The U.N. tribunal for Rwanda convicted a former senior military officer of genocide Wednesday and acquitted two other suspects, including a former transport minister. Former Lt. Samuel Imanishimwe was sentenced to 27 years in prison for genocide and crimes against humanity, said tribunal spokesman Roland Amoussouga.


Zimbabwe: "The situation is grim"

2004-03-04

http://www.ipsnews.net/africa/interna.asp?idnews=22611

"We are the only country in the world not at war whose economy is shrinking at an alarming rate. Inflation is running at 620 percent. Eighty percent of our people live in poverty,” says Tendai Biti of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change. Gibson Sibanda, Deputy President of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) adds that 70 percent of Zimbabweans are unemployed. "The manufacturing sector has shrunk by 40 percent...The situation is very grim,” he told IPS.




Internet & technology

Africa: Baseline study on the state of media reporting on ICT and information society issues in Africa

UNECA; AISI / African Information Society Initiative (AISI) , 2003

2004-03-04

http://www.eldis.org/cf/search/disp/DocDisplay.cfm?Doc=DOC13770&Resource=f1ict

There is lack of critical analysis in ICT reporting and the views of influential spokesmen are almost never challenged by the media. Stories are seldom followed up, the newsrooms seem to wait for the next press release, ministerial announcement, or company cocktail party launching a new product. So the unfolding story of ICT developments in any one country is largely absent. These are some of the key findings of this study which aimed at encouraging journalism and coverage of ICTs and Information Society issues. It reviewed the coverage of ICT issues in the African media, and identified areas of weakness.


Kenya: State advised to formulate ICT policy

2004-03-04

http://www.eastandard.net/business/bsnews01030404.htm

The Government has been urged to take a more proactive approach to the development of Information Technology (IT) in order to improve the business environment. Sector players described information and communication technology (ICT) as vital to the growth of any economy and warned that Kenya risked being left behind by its neighbours should the government fail to act promptly.


Nigeria: Nigerian scammers in line of fire

2004-03-04

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/3526209.stm

In this third of three reports on e-mail fraud, Go Digital's Tracey Logan meets Nuhu Ribadu, head of Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, who is trying to end so-called 419 e-mail scams.


Somalia: Private Competition Drives Down Telephone and Internet Costs in Somalia

But chaotic situation highlights need for self regulation

2004-03-04

http://www.undp.org/dpa/choices/2003/december/somalia.html

Two main features interrupt the dusty horizon of Hargeisa, the windblown desert capital of the self-declared, but as yet unrecognized, Republic of Somaliland. The first has always been there, a set of identical twin mountains, but now there is another - competing satellite towers mounted high on the spiny brown ridges overlooking the town, that also pierce the low-slung skyline and stand testament to the city’s more recent history.


Uganda: Overcoming the urban-rural divide in Uganda

2004-03-04

http://www.bridges.org/iicd_casestudies/inetwork/index.html

I-Network Uganda provides a platform for sharing knowledge and forming partnerships around the use of ICT for development. In the following case study, the “8 Habits of Highly Effective ICT-Enabled Development Initiatives” of Bridges.org were used as a framework to highlight what the initiative has done well. The bridges.org/IICD Case Study Series on ICT-Enabled Development sets out to illustrate how ICT contributes to development in Africa.




eNewsletters & mailing lists

E-CIVICUS 218: Connecting Civil Society

2004-03-04

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/enewsl/20559

This issue focuses on the on the link between population and civil society. It includes:
- Secretary general’s message: Working together for a secure world;
- Civil Society News In Brief;
- Population and Civil Society: an introduction;
- HIV/AIDS: Seeking a broad, unified and global approach;
- The population and environment nexus;
- Women and population: an issue of rights rather than fertility control;
- What’s up on the Word Front?
- Classifieds.
To subscribe or unsubscribe please email [email protected]


Gad Exchange newsletter Issue 32 available online

2004-03-04

http://www.sardc.net/Widsaa/Gad/index.asp

Among the headlines featured in this issue are:
- Engendering peace agreements: A key strategy for successful reconstruction;
- Towards Beijing plus 10: Which way for southern Africa?
- Gender parity in education: countdown to 2005;
- Rumo a Beijing + 10: Que caminho para África Austral?
- Examining gender dimensions in SADC constitutions;
- Searching for alternative development paths;
- News briefs and Calendar of Events.


KaReport newsletter

2004-03-04

http://www.disabilitykar.net/karspring2004/contentintro.html

The overall goal of the Disability Knowledge and Research Programme is better health and quality of life for poor people in developing countries. The first issue of The KaReport, the Programme's newsletter, includes a critical look at why disability matters to the development debate, along with case studies, useful resources and reports from events.


Sokwanele news desk launches

2004-03-04

http://www.sokwanele.com/

Sokwanele has announced the launch of their website: www.sokwanele.com, that aims to support civic action and promote democracy in Zimbabwe through non-violent means. "Sokwanele.com aims to fulfil two functions: the first, which is already underway, is to provide our visitors with regularly updated news from local and international media sources, and original news and images from Sokwanele sources."




Fundraising & useful resources

Africa: Betty Plewes fund - 2004 award

2004-03-04

http://www.ccic.ca/e/001/betty_plewes_fund.shtml

The purpose of the Fund is to provide a grant to an African non-governmental organisation, engaged in research and policy development on issues of priority to women. The fund is intended to recognise the work of an African organisation, and to provide flexible and reliable support for initiatives that might not otherwise receive funding from other sources.


AISI Media Awards 2004

2004-03-04

http://www.wougnet.org/Events/projectnews04.html#AMA2004

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has introduced the AISI Media Award programme to encourage more informed coverage of the information society and ICT for development issues in Africa as part of the its AISI Outreach and Communication Programme. The AISI Media Awards is aimed at individual journalists and media institutions based in Africa that are "promoting journalism which contributes to a better understanding of the information society in Africa". The deadline for submissions is 30 April 2004.


Civicus toolkit on funding proposals

2004-03-04

http://www.thusanang.org.za/index.php?option=news&task=viewarticle&sid=504

Civicus, World Alliance for Citizen Participation, has published a toolkit on fundraising proposals. The toolkit focuses on planning and researching before writing up the proposal, as well as writing and following up on funding proposals. The toolkit is designed to assist with producing effective fundraising proposals and can be used by project managers and organisations committed to increasing the capacity to plan and raise money effectively.


Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program Awards 2004/2005

2004-03-04

http://www.thusanang.org.za/index.php?option=news&task=viewarticle&sid=505

The Africa-America Institute invites applications for the International Fellowships Program of the Ford Foundation from South African resident citizens and residents. The International Fellowships Program will provide support for up to three years of full-time postgraduate study. The primary objective of the Fellowships Program is to provide opportunities for individuals and communities that lack systematic access to higher education. The Ford International recipients will be expected to use their education to redress historical patterns of injustice.


Post-doctoral fellowships: Centre for civil society, South Africa

2004-03-04

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/fundraising/20521

The Centre for Civil Society, based at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, is offering two post-doctoral fellowships, as part of our commitment to promote new and innovative research on civil society. The post-doctoral fellowships are for a duration of one year, at R150 000 p.a. The successful applicants are expected to be based at the Centre and to participate in its activities.


Shuttleworth Foundation: Call for proposals

2004-03-04

http://www.thusanang.org.za/index.php?option=news&task=viewarticle&sid=479

The Shuttleworth Foundation is currently calling for proposals of innovative and pilot educational projects. The call for proposals will focus on the following areas:
- Maths, science, technology and entrepreneurship in the General Education and Training (GET) phase; and
- Numeracy in the Foundation phase.




Courses, seminars, & workshops

Organisation and Development Training

2004-03-04

http://www.oliveodt.co.za/

Olive (Organisation Development and Training) announces the following publications:
- Learning to Train - While this handbook is intended primarily as a resource for trainers working in the development sector, it will be of value to anyone seeking to work with adult learners in a respectful, facilitative and enabling manner.(R80 excl. P&P). To order call Olive Publications - telephone 031 2061534 or email [email protected]
- Project Planning in a development context - a set of 3 handbooks.
- Ideas for a Change - a series of user-friendly publications with practical ideas and information for people working with people, and with change and development organisations.




Remembering Rwanda

*REMEMBERING RWANDA*

2004-03-04

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/rwanda/20526

This year is the 10th Anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda. An international campaign is underway to mobilise to mark this anniversary - "REMEMBERING RWANDA". As our contribution to this campaign, we will be featuring this special section called Remembering Rwanda. We also plan to publish a special issue on Rwanda in April 2004. Get involved! Organise an event in your institution, town, village or city. Send us information ([email protected]) about what you are doing to commemorate the anniversary and to provide solidarity to the rebuilding of Rwanda.


Coming home

2004-03-04

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/this_world/3500495.stm

Ten years after the genocide that saw Hutus kill nearly one million Tutsis in just 100 days, Rwanda is still trying to come to terms with its bloody past. Theophile Ntaganda is one of thousands of killers now being released from prison. He killed his mother-in-law and two of his wife's sisters during the genocide. He wants his wife back but she has moved on, forging her documents and marrying again. Filmed over a year, this BBC production is set in a country struggling to come to terms with one of the worst genocides in the twentieth century.


Take part in the Rwanda Commemmoration project

2004-03-04

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/rwanda/20583

April 7, 2004 marks ten years since the beginning of the Rwandan genocide, when nearly a million people were killed in ninety days while the international community largely stood by. In response, the Centre for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law has launched the Rwanda Commemoration Project: Genocide in Our Time, an international initiative that seeks to raise awareness of this anniversary and the important lessons of the tragic events in Rwanda. Read more by clicking on the link below.
TAKE PART IN THE RWANDA COMMEMORATION PROJECT
Sponsored by Washington College of Law Center for Human Rights and
Humanitarian Law

April 7, 2004 marks ten years since the beginning of the Rwandan
genocide, when nearly a million people were killed in ninety days
while the international community largely stood by.

In response, the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at
American University Washington College of Law has launched the Rwanda
Commemoration Project: Genocide in Our Time, an international
initiative that seeks to raise awareness of this anniversary and the
important lessons of the tragic events in Rwanda. The Project's
approach is to encourage people both to look back at what led to the
genocide in Rwanda and to look forward to prevent looming genocide
around the world today. To that extent, the Center, with the
cooperation of faculty and students, has produced an 8-page resource
booklet to encourage law schools, universities, high schools, NGOs,
community groups and religious organizations to plan programming to
mark the 10th anniversary of these heinous acts. The booklet,
hauntingly illustrated with drawings by child survivors of the
Genocide, provides a short background of the Genocide and a range of
ideas for commemorative actions, substantive programs and outreach
activities. Also included are a short bibliography of books,
articles, films and traveling photo exhibits, website links and a
sample day of programming.

In addition to the resources available in the booklet, the Center's
website (www.wcl.american.edu/humright/center) has an expanded
bibliography, an event planning worksheet, a sample press release and
a variety of poems, readings and other materials to help make
planning an activity as easy as possible.

Please join schools, community groups and individuals around the
world to mark this important anniversary. While the United Nations
has declared April 7, 2004 to be "International Day of Reflection on
the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda," commemorative programs can be held at
any time.

Electronic copies of the booklet can be downloaded from the Center's
website at www.wcl.american.edu/humright/center . Hard copies are
available free of charge and can be requested by email at
[email protected]


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