PAMBAZUKA NEWS 173: PUTTING AN END TO FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION: AFRICAN PROTOCOL ON THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN
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THE CAMPAIGN CONTINUES! SUPPORT THE CAMPAIGN ON THE PROTOCOL TO THE AFRICAN CHARTER ON HUMAN AND PEOPLES' RIGHTS ON THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN IN AFRICA
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CONTENTS: 1. Highlights from this issue, 2. Features, 3. Comment & analysis, 4. Pan-African Postcard, 5. Advocacy & campaigns, 6. Letters & Opinions, 7. Books & arts, 8. Women & gender, 9. Human rights, 10. Refugees & forced migration, 11. Elections & governance, 12. Corruption, 13. Development, 14. Health & HIV/AIDS, 15. Education, 16. Racism & xenophobia, 17. Environment, 18. Land & land rights, 19. Media & freedom of expression, 20. Social welfare, 21. News from the diaspora, 22. Conflict & emergencies, 23. Internet & technology, 24. eNewsletters & mailing lists, 25. Fundraising & useful resources, 26. Courses, seminars, & workshops, 27. Jobs
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* CAMPAIGN UPDATE: Namibia has become the fourth country to ratify the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, joining the Comoros, Libya and Rwanda. Watch out for more details on Namibia’s ratification in next week’s Pambazuka News. Fifteen ratifications are needed before the protocol enters into force. You can help speed up the ratification process by signing a petition.
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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS ISSUE
* Conflicts and Emergencies: Prospects for peace in Sudan
* Elections and Governance: Food – the key to ultimate power in Zimbabwe
* Development: Towards alternatives to globalisation
* Health: A decade of hard labour on reproductive health rights
* Education: Commonwealth protocol to control teacher poaching
* Environment: Poverty, climate change and the energy revolution
* Media&FXI: Lawyers to discuss journalists’ rights in West Africa
* Advocacy and Campaigns: Worldwide days of action against the World Bank and IMF
* Books and Arts: A review of Faceless by Amma Darko
>>>>> Africa, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund
Global Apartheid continues to Haunt Global Democracy
This year marks what many activists have dubbed the unhappy birthday of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. It is 60 years since the creation of these institutions in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, and in that time period both have come to have a profound and controversial influence on the world.
Pambazuka News is profiling a series of articles that aim to examine the role of these institutions in the context of Africa. This week in our Comment and Analysis section we carry the fourth article in this series which looks at the phenomenon that many analysts have described as global apartheid in the context of third world debt.
Debt, argues the author, is the new face of colonialism and slavery. It is an instrument used to plunder and exploit indebted countries' resources and ultimately is at the heart of the unequal power relations between the North and the South.
Pambazuka News encourages activists, academics or anyone interested in the role of these institutions in Africa to respond to the articles or to submit articles for inclusion in the newsletter. Contributions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Putting an End to Female Genital Mutilation: The African Protocol on the Rights of Women
Faiza Jama Mohamed
In July 2003 African Heads of States adopted the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa at their summit in Maputo (full text of the Protocol is available at http://www.africa-union.org/) A little over a year later only four countries (The Comoros, Libya, Rwanda and Namibia) have ratified it. This is far from the required 15 ratifications for the Protocol to come into force.
One might ask why ratification of the Protocol is so important and what value it brings to African women. The Protocol offers women in Africa not only a bill of rights that addresses issues in the African context, but it also obligates states to take action and allocate resources to ensure that African women enjoy these rights. The Protocol offers a concrete blueprint to go beyond lip service and make states’ undertakings accountable. These rights will however remain fictitious until member states of the African Union ratify and implement the Protocol into their domestic legislation.
Amongst the rights articulated in the Protocol is the right in Article 5 “not to be subjected to harmful traditional practices including female genital mutilation (FGM)”. Female genital mutilation is a harmful traditional practice that afflicts an estimated 130 million girls and women around the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 6,000 girls per day are subjected to FGM around the world but mostly in Africa.
It is a practice that translates into the partial or total removal of the clitoris (clitoridectomy), the removal of the entire clitoris and the cutting of the labia minora (excision), or in its most extreme form the removal of all external genitalia and the stitching together of the two sides of the vulva (infibulation). The cutting is done generally without anesthetic and those who survive it experience lifelong health consequences including chronic infection, severe pain during menstruation, sexual intercourse and childbirth, and psychological trauma.
Communities that practice FGM defend it as a rite of passage and a social prerequisite of marriage. But it is also used as a way to control women’s sexuality by safeguarding virginity and suppressing sexual desire. We, at Equality Now (www.equalitynow.org), an international human rights organization that works to promote and protect the human rights of women around the world, consider FGM a human rights violation and an extreme form of violence and discrimination against women and girls. We welcome the Protocol as a new tool that has potential effectiveness in protecting the human rights of women in Africa.
What the Maputo Protocol offers is a comprehensive set of provisions that create a framework for putting an end to harmful practices. It goes beyond a call to ending harmful traditional practices such as FGM and directs member states to take concrete action by:
- criminalizing the practice and bringing to justice those who perpetrate it,
- providing counseling support and treatment to victims of FGM,
- initiating public awareness-raising campaigns to end the practice, and
- intervening to prevent FGM cases thereby saving girls before it happens to them.
African states must indeed urgently take responsibility to follow through with these obligations. Burkina Faso offers a good case in point, and is leading the way in the fight against FGM. Burkina Faso criminalized FGM in 1996 and followed that with national campaigns to inform its people about the law and why FGM must be ended. It also offered help-lines for potential victims and concerned citizens to reach the authorities in good time to prevent the crime, and has put in place harsh punishment to de-motivate those still persistent to carry on with it. Furthermore, arrests and prosecutions of those responsible for subjecting girls to FGM were and continue to be publicized through the media to discourage potential perpetrators. As a result, Burkina Faso has seen the prevalence rate of FGM fall considerably over the years.
In some other African countries, even though they have adopted legislation to ban FGM, they have not followed through with the full program of rights set out in the Protocol and so have not produced similar results as those in Burkina Faso.
To save the thousands of girls affected each day by this harmful practice (and 6,000 girls is an enormous number with which to contend), African governments have an affirmative duty not to delay any further the ratification of the Protocol on the Rights of Women.
During September 16 to 18, Kenya is hosting an international conference on FGM titled "Developing a Political, Legal and Social Environment to implement the Maputo Protocol”. Hon. Linah Kilimo, Kenyan Minister for Home Affairs, and a long time activist against FGM is leading the meeting and has secured President Kibaki's support for it. At the end of the conference, it is anticipated that the President or his Foreign Minister would officially hand over Kenya's instrument of ratification to the Chair of the African Union Commission, Alpha Oumar Konare, who is invited. If this plan succeeds, Kenya would be the fifth country to ratify the Protocol following Namibia, which ratified it last month, and thereby laying out a legal framework to fight the practice and preserve the human rights of Kenyan women and girls.
Kenya appears to be on track and other African states also need to follow the example of the Comoros, Libya, Rwanda and Namibia in formally expressing their commitment to the human rights of women in Africa. As the continent next month gathers at the Seventh Conference on Women’s Rights in Addis Ababa to review progress made in honoring commitments undertaken in Beijing and Dakar 10 years ago, ratifying the Protocol on the Rights of Women could well serve as an achievement to bring to the table.
* Faiza Jama Mohamed is the Africa Regional Director of Equality Now
* Please send comments to email@example.com
Global Apartheid Continues to haunt Global Democracy
Global apartheid, like globalisation, is a buzzword that has evolved to describe a new global paradigm. Put simply, global apartheid is an international system of minority rule that promotes inequalities, disparities and differential access to basic human rights, wealth and power. Global apartheid is the opposite of global democracy. People like South Africa's president Thabo Mbeki, Fidel Castro of Cuba and the scholars Ali Mazrui, Richard Falk, and Patrick Bond, among many others, have used this concept in an effort to describe the global or economic injustice of our time.
Current manifestations of global apartheid are exhibited in the dominance of bilateralism and the hegemonic behaviour of the United States, the unbalanced and undemocratic processes in the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the disproportionate power of multinational corporations and the Washington-based International Financial Institutions (IFIs).
In today's world apartheid is reflected in 'who gets what, when and how?' in the global system. Global apartheid offers explanations for the North-South polarization, the peripherization of Africa, the breakdown of WTO trade talks in Seattle (1999) and Cancún (2003), terrorism, endless conflicts and wars, problems with the free movement of labour between the South and the North, increased wealth in rich countries while resources are drained from poor countries, as well as the denial of life saving medicines and care for people living with AIDS.
Debt and Global Apartheid
Debt oppresses poor countries and it has taken on proportions so as to render its repayment almost impossible. The debt has become a self-perpetuating vicious circle where new loans are taken to pay off the interest on standing ones. It is clearer than ever that the debt is not an economic problem, but a political one, and it is as such that it must be resolved.
Global apartheid through the bondage of debt fuels cycles of poverty and plagues many poor countries in Africa. The debt issue is no longer confined to the economic and financial spheres; as is demonstrated through the application of conditionalities attached to loans and debt relief. These conditionalities were historically introduced through World Bank structural adjustment programmes (SAPs) that were 'designed to rescue debtors', but were in reality driven by the desire to assure that ailing debtor economies did everything possible to pay back their debts.
Like apartheid in South Africa, SAPs entrenched great disparities in wealth, living conditions, life expectancy and eroded national sovereignty in the majority of Sub-Saharan Africa. The introduction of conditionalities such as higher user fees in public facilities, subsidy cuts and lowering of budgetary allocations to social services has resulted in increased poverty and unemployment.
In fuelling global apartheid, the IMF and World Bank have special functions to play: they police and facilitate global apartheid while they simultaneously assist governments in adapting to the process of globalisation, helping them cushion the impacts of these policies felt by the poor. One chief economist was quoted saying “it is important to send the “ambulances” (social programs) after the “tanks” (SAPs) have rolled through a country.” If a government strays from the path of globalisation the 'seal of approval' to borrow from public and private creditors is withdrawn by IMF and World Bank, causing the governments' sources of credit to eventually dry up.
Countries that implemented SAPs became accustomed to operating under an 'external policy command', which discourages national dialogue on societal reform. This process has destroyed the 'social contract' fundamental to ensuring government policies work effectively. Like former apartheid policies in South Africa, SAPs have been imposed upon the marginalized and materially deprived citizens of the Global South, eroding the capacity to develop their own development programs.
Debt has eroded the hard earned independence of African states. A crushing debt burden hampers poverty reduction and constrains development. Africa's debt crisis absorbs resources and energies that should be used to tackle urgent social problems.
Oloko Onyango's 1993 study of Uganda reveals that technocrats in the Ministry of Planning drew up national budgets that had to be endorsed by donors before their own parliament examined them. But even then, parliament merely acted as a rubber-stamp. Since the introduction of SAPs as a way of resolving the debt crisis, independent policy-making and national economic management has diminished and narrowed considerably. Like in apartheid South Africa, in which blacks had no say in the rules that governed their country, global apartheid strips autonomy from the state and its people.
International Financial Institutions continue to put pressure on African development through their conditionalities, using development aid and loans as a lever to impose the neo-liberal paradigm of privatisation and deregulation, liberalization and increased interest rates to control inflation. Under the newer Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs), set up to replace the old SAPs, they impose the same neo-liberal framework through the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF).
Studies done by AFRODAD on the PRSP process demonstrate how the IMF and the World Bank imposed their macro-economic framework on the process. This meant that the PRSPs could not be reshaped at the level of macro-economic policy as the framework was already fixed. Thus the link between PRSP and SAPs is a continued imposition of the neo-liberal macro-economic framework. Segregation in policy formulation and standards of living was a key feature of the apartheid system in South Africa. This is reflected in the current global apartheid paradigm with unrealistic IFI conditionalities, stifling African development goals, especially when now-developed countries in the North used the very strategies now prohibited for their own development process.
Many development agencies and sceptics have expressed widespread doubts regarding the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC) launched in 1996 to achieve the promised objective of a “robust exit from the burden of unsustainable debts” for developing countries. Problems associated with the design and implementation of the initiative suggest that the HIPC initiative has not succeeded in providing adequate response to the Third World's debt overhang. The segregated and selective nature of apartheid is also seen in HIPC. It is interesting to observe that although Nigeria's debt stock is the largest in West Africa and the country is experiencing growing poverty, the country is not recognized as a HIPC eligible country simply because it produces oil.
Despite the many arguments against the conditionalities attached to multilateral lending and development assistance from bilateral donors, the conditions have intensified. It has become increasingly clear that there is a hidden agenda for control by those who propagate such conditionalities. This cannot be anything less than global apartheid. The whole process has been much slower than expected and the HIPC initiative is suffering from problems of under funding, excessive conditionality, inadequate debt relief and cumbersome procedures and eligibility restrictions. Creditors have not put sufficient political will, resources and serious analysis into the debt reduction operations.
Aid and Global Apartheid
Within global apartheid structures and systems, aid has always been connected to politics. During the Cold War, for example, investment flows, development efforts and humanitarian assistance tended to reflect the changing pattern of superpower alliance and competition. It has been pointed out that tying aid to politics translates into “choice less democracy.” Thus, aid is a means of inducing policies and programs favourable to the donor countries, even though promoting economic performance of recipient countries is the given rationale for doing so. According to a World Bank report, “Aid can be the midwife of good policies.”
Aid to developing nations has not always been targeted towards genuine economic development efforts. Rather, in most cases, it has been given as an instrument of control under the global apartheid system. The current aid regimes undermine governance at the national level and impose conditionalities that lead to human rights violations. Adding to this, it is reliably estimated that for every dollar given in official development aid, three go back to the rich countries in debt service payments. Under the auspice of mandating policies for the good of the countries, aid actually decreases the level of control the government has over domestic expenditure allocation (both domestic and external).
The world has enough resources for everyone if we find the political will to eradicate poverty and hunger as well as put human life before profits. The debt must be cancelled to free up resources for equal development in both the North and the South. Kofi Annan's 21st Century Action Plan speech summed up what it will take if we are to replace global apartheid with global democracy, when he said:
“I would go a step further and propose that, in future, we consider an entirely new approach to handling the debt problem. The main components of such an approach could include immediate cancellation of the debts owed by countries that have suffered major conflicts or natural disasters; expanding the number of countries in the HIPC scheme by allowing them to qualify on the grounds of poverty alone.”
In the name of global democracy, the international community needs to negotiate new measures that go beyond existing initiatives in order to resolve Africa's debt crisis and end global apartheid. The debt is unpayable and rescheduling will only postpone the problem. The debt bondage is the new face of colonialism or even slavery. Debt is used as an instrument of domination. It is also an instrument used to plunder and exploit indebted countries' resources. Ultimately, debt is at the heart of the unequal power relations between the North and the South.
1. The total cancellation of third world illegitimate debts (as proposed for Iraq by the US) is a starting point in ending global apartheid.
2. There is an urgent need to address issues of unfair trade within the World Trade Organization.
3. Europe and the United States should stop using aid as a means of neo-colonialism or advancing their selfish ambitions.
4. There is a need to treat people of different geographical locations, race and origin equally when it comes to addressing global issues.
5. America's hegemonic wings need to be curtailed to ensure that it works within the framework of the United Nations.
6. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund's role needs to be revisited and redesigned so as to make these institutions people centred and pro-poor in their economic development policies. There is need to put an end to the co-modification of human lives through imposition of neoliberal policies that value markets/ profits before people.
* Charles Mutasa is Research and Policy Analyst at the African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD). Please click on the link below for references to this article.
* Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Bond Patrick (2001) Against Global apartheid, University of Cape Town press, South Africa.
- Danso Alex (1990) 'Causes and Importance of the African Debt Crisis' in The Review of Black Political Economy, summer 1990.
- Gunder F. A. (1984) 'Defuse the debt Bomb? When the apparent solution Become a Real Problem' in Development and Peace Vol 5, Autumn 1984 Kiss. J. (1990) 'Sentenced to Debt: African debt Crisis: Facts, Causes and Remedies' Studies on Developing countries, Budapest, Hungary.
- Mengisteab K. & Loga B.I. (1991) 'Africa's Debt Crisis: Are Structural Adjustment Programs Relevant' in Africa development Vol XVI, No. 1 1991. Mkandawire, T and Olukoshi.O. (1995) Between Liberalisation and Repression: The Politics of Adjustment in Africa, Dakar: CODESRIA.
- Samir Amin (1974) Neo colonialism in West Africa, Monthly review Press, New York.
- Severine Rugumanu (2001) 'Africa's debt bondage: A case for Total cancellation' in Eastern Africa Social Science Research Review Vol. XVII, No. 1, January 2001.
- Souko Karamo (1990) 'Debt in the Eye of a Storm. The African Crisis in a Global Context' in Africa Today. The Human Condition and Structural adjustment in Africa Volume 37, No. 4 1990.
- The World Guide 1999/2000, New Internationalist Publications, Oxford, UK.
- World Bank (1989) Sub-Saharan Africa: From Crisis to Sustainable Growth, The World Bank, Washington D.C.
- World Bank (2000) Can Africa Claim the 21st Century? The World Bank, Washington D.C.
Towards East African unity
Last week in Nairobi at a summit of the leaders of the East African Community (EAC) countries the envisaged political federation of the region was given a new push. A committee has been set up to look at the modalities and submit its report to an ordinary summit of the leaders to be held November 30 this year.
This is a landmark progressive development with implications for other regions of Africa (ECOWAS, SADC, IGADD, etc) and the whole of Africa through the African Union. It is a good example that should spread and do so quickly. Unfortunately the media in the region and outside of it are not giving the matter the due consideration it deserves.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, a firm believer in the federation, was so incensed by the media's lukewarm attitude that he branded Ugandan journalism and journalists 'useless' for not giving proper coverage to the issue. As a freelance member of the profession I will not go as far as the president who is not known for saying 'room for improvement ' where 'very bad' will fit. I don't think the local media is 'useless' instead I will say that it suffers from two serious (but politically curable) diseases: petty localism and external ideological dependence.
One makes it grab as headlines any local issues no matter how silly. The other makes it victim of 'download the downloadable' from the internet about any other issues that are an 'inch' outside the national boundaries and even more embarrassingly sometimes, national issues outside of the capital city!
In the 1960s the former British colonies of East Africa through the East African Community (EAC) were a beacon of regional integration envied by other regions, not just in Africa but even internationally. This was a period of nationhood and nationalism as former colonies asserted their right to govern themselves and exercise sovereignty over their affairs. Supranational organisations that required loss of sovereignty were not popular. In practice they operated as multilateral bodies cooperating on specified issues rather than integration agencies.
The late AM Babu, a radical icon in African Nationalism from Zanzibar and later a minister for Economic Development in Tanzania after his small island country was united with mainland Tanzania in the mid 1960s, used to reminisce about the early years of the East African Federation and the Pan Africanist dreams that inspired many of them in those days. He told us how ministers from the West European countries used to ask him and his colleagues how they were managing their federation without too much squabbles. These were days when the European Union was little more than a trading cartel around steel. By that time the EAC already had a common educational system and university, a common airline, and a communications and transport system.
Unfortunately, as the crisis of neocolonialism deepened across Africa the real gains of the union, rather than be a continuing source of further integration, became victim of bad politics and governance leading to its break up in the 70s. But even after its break up the remnants of the federation, in spite of division of assets, survived through infrastructure, both human and material. For instance telephones between the three countries remained local but more than this trade, commerce and movement of people have continued to defy the colonial boundaries and the internecine power struggles between the leaders over many years.
Indeed the political instability of a country like Uganda for most of the 70s up to the mid 1980s and Kenya in the Moi years succeeded in creating new regionally aware people who have had to live outside their countries among their neighbours. Many of the leaders were educated in each other's countries and therefore made friends across the region. This people to people contact and the force of interactive economic activities ensured that regionalism continued to survive in spite of the state elite. For instance Museveni remains popular in Tanzania especially in his old University of Dar es Salaam whereas Tanzania’s Benjamin Mkapa is more popular at Makere University. Many of the political leaders and activists were contemporaries at these universities.
After the overthrow of Idi Amin in 1979 mostly through the efforts of the Tanzania Army and Ugandan exile groups based in Tanzania it was hoped that EAC would return to its glory days. But those were times when Kenya was a cold war darling of the West and had delusions of surviving and doing better than her neighbours. So ideological suspicions did not help rebuild the Union. The Obote 2 regime was also too unstable internally to be a credible regional player.
However with relative stability returning to Uganda from the late 80s under Museveni the idea of a renewed EAC began to flourish. Moi's Kenya, though the regional economic power with more to gain from further integration, remained suspicious of its neighbours and for much of the 80s and early 90s Kenya's reluctance slowed the movement back to integration. But Kenya was fast losing its 'oasis in an ocean of crisis' status as Uganda under Museveni became a new darling of the West with Aid money and 'generous' IMF/World Bank facilities turning the once basket case of Africa into another 'miracle'.
At the same time the pressures of globalisation were beginning to take their toll just as the cold war was thawing after the collapse of the Eastern bloc. Like in all regions of the world the East African states were being driven by the forces of economic necessity in a predatory globalisation to move closer to each other. Consequently ideological and political suspicions were thrown aside as new efforts took place to restart the romance long suspended between the states. This culminated in the East African Cooperation treaty.
By this time Museveni's revolutionism that Moi had feared had become an economic counter-revolution with vestiges of his revolutionary past only surviving in his no party movement politics. Tanzania had also abandoned its Uhuru Na Ujama as privatization took roots and historical anti capitalist ideology of the country turned against collectivist solutions deemed socialist. The economic convergence of the states made it easier for them to see and deepen their integration efforts. Collective survival dictates the tempo.
There were cautious steps initially in order to avoid problems of the past and rebuild bridges but progress has been incremental since the late 1990s. The EAC has a parliament appointed from among elected legislatures in all the three countries. It has agreed to set up an East African court. It has signed Custom Union agreements and has a timetable for a common market and monetary Union. The final bloc in its regional integration efforts is a political federation of the states. It has also set conditions under which other states in the region can ascend, to membership. Rwanda, after its elections last year, should not have any obstacles in its ascension to full membership. If Burundi's peace process culminates in an elected government acceptable to the people it should also be able to gain full membership.
The bigger prize should have been the DRC but in the current circumstances one has grave doubts. However some of its regions, especially the volatile Eastern region, are culturally and economically part of the EAC therefore some real politic will be needed to accommodate that reality.
Uganda, that was the bane of the old EAC, has been very upfront and almost impatient in the current drive. In a twist to history, Tanzania that has been the home to both regionalism and Pan Africanism in the region, later became the one slowing down things. This was mainly due to the relative weakness of its emergent bourgeois interests who feared that Kenya capitalists would swallow them up.
There are many challenges ahead but regional federation is indispensable for a Pan African Union envisaged by the Constitutive Act of the African Union.
* Dr Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem is General-Secretary of the Pan African Movement, Kampala (Uganda) and Co-Director of Justice Africa (Tajudeen28@yahoo.com or Tajudeen@padeap.net)
* Please send comments to email@example.com
International Health Professional Sign-on Letter
"We write to you as health professionals from diverse countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, Europe, and Australia who strongly support debt cancellation for poor countries. Debt cancellation is a prescription urgently needed to help heal seriously ailing health systems – some of which cannot even provide minimal care – in many of the countries in which we live and work."
Support 100% Multilateral Debt Cancellation (a sign-on letter and action alert from Physicians for Human Rights)
The debt relief movement is poised for a historic day this October 1st when G-7 finance ministers discuss 100% multilateral debt cancellation for impoverished countries. Debt cancellation would free up significant funds for development, including fighting AIDS and strengthening health systems. You can help make this happen in two ways.
1. If you are a health professional, please lend your name to an international health professional sign on letter that will reach all G-7 finance ministers and presidents/prime ministers before this important meeting. This letter is copied below. If you would like to add your name, please respond by September 20th to firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> with your full name, degree, affiliation, and state/country.
2. If you are not a health professional, please consider e-mailing or calling the White House or the US Treasury Department, or other G-7 leaders and finance ministries. To participate in the campaign and find talking points and additional background information (including contact information for the White House and the US Treasury Department), please go to: http://www.phrusa.org/campaigns/aids/action_debt_relief.html
International Health Professional Sign-on Letter
Dear G-7 Presidents and Prime Ministers:
We write to you as health professionals from diverse countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, Europe, and Australia who strongly support debt cancellation for poor countries. Debt cancellation is a prescription urgently needed to help heal seriously ailing health systems – some of which cannot even provide minimal care – in many of the countries in which we live and work.
Debt cancellation would free large sums of money, funds that should be used to build stronger and more equitable health systems, which are desperately needed if the fight against AIDS and other killer diseases is ever to be won. Right now we are losing that fight. AIDS alone kills about 3 million people per year, as another 5 million people becoming infected with HIV annually. At the end of June 2004, fewer than 10% of people in developing countries in urgent need of AIDS treatment were receiving it. In light of the health crises that many of our countries face, debt cancellation is necessary on human rights and humanitarian grounds. We therefore urge you to endorse 100% multilateral debt cancellation for impoverished countries when the issue is discussed at the meeting of G-7 finance ministers this October 1.
We know that poor countries need this debt relief urgently. African countries alone are collectively spending about $15 billion per year servicing their debts to wealthy creditors, including multilateral institutions. The fifteen focus countries of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief spent $10.3 billion servicing their debts in 2001; this is more than the $9 billion these countries are scheduled to receive over the Emergency Plan’s entire five years. The World Bank, IMF, and regional development banks are typically the largest creditors of the most impoverished nations.
Relief from debt could be instrumental in enabling countries to meet AIDS treatment targets, as well as other health goals. Your governments all support the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) 3 by 5 initiative, which aims to get 3 million people in developing and middle-income countries on AIDS treatment by the end of 2005. Yet treatment goals cannot be achieved without health workers. And as so many of us know through our own experiences, many countries, particularly in Africa, have nowhere near the necessary numbers of health personnel. For example, WHO and the World Bank have reported that Tanzania and Chad, both countries that would benefit greatly from debt cancellation, require their health workforces to triple and quadruple in size, respectively, to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
The connection between suffering health systems and the debt payments that limit funds available to them is palpable. To a significant degree, the severe shortage of health workers in Africa is a symptom of acute underinvestment in health systems, many of which suffer from too few staff, too few supplies, and too few drugs. This underinvestment is a central cause of the migration of health professionals to wealthy nations, where health systems are stronger and pay is better. Creating the conditions that will enable health professionals to remain in their home countries and allow them to provide the best care possible for their patients will cost money. Health care workers will continue to leave if they are unable to meet the charge of our professions: serving our patients. Our colleagues will continue to emigrate so long as they do not have medicines for their patients, or functioning equipment, or proper supervision. And they will continue to leave so long as they cannot support their families or be confident of their own safety. They need fair salaries, equipment to protect themselves from occupational infections of HIV and other diseases, and psychosocial support to help cope with the constant death and stressors they face.
Full multilateral debt cancellation for impoverished nations could go a long way towards meeting people’s right to the highest attainable standard of health. Indeed, debt relief that countries have received under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative has already begun to do so. In Malawi, savings from debt relief have paid for extra staff and support in primary health centers, nurse training, and improving the supply of essential drugs in health facilities. In Mozambique, debt relief funds helped increase the number of children receiving immunizations for tetanus, whooping cough, and diphtheria. Debt relief savings have also helped fund primary health care in Uganda, including salaries of health care workers, while countries including Uganda and Cameroon have used debt relief savings to help finance HIV/AIDS programs.
Worldwide Days of resistance to the IMF and WB
"As the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank celebrate their 60th anniversary this year, movements from all over the world are mobilizing to express vigorous opposition to their policies and operations. We are now calling for coordinated actions on October 1 to 12, 2004 of the peoples, and to dub these days of October as the Worldwide Days of Resistance to the IMF & World Bank."
October 1 to 12, 2004: Worldwide Days of Resistance To the IMF & World
As the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank celebrate their 60th
anniversary this year, movements from all over the world are mobilizing to
express vigorous opposition to their policies and operations. The occasion
of the Spring Meetings of these twin institutions in Washington, DC last
April was a high point of these initiatives, with protest activities held
in the U.S. capital, as well as in various other countries.
But our efforts to take advantage of the 60th Anniversary of IMF and WB to
protest their role in the domination of the South and the escalating
poverty, marginalization and exclusion of our people have just begun. We
are now calling for coordinated actions on October 1 to 12, 2004 of the
peoples, and to dub these days of October as the Worldwide Days of
Resistance to the IMF & World Bank. Let us urge all groups, people's
organizations, social movements and networks to organize activities and
mobilize during these days.
Our global protests will coincide with the Annual Meetings of the IMF and
the WB on October 1 to 4 and continue through October 12, a day of
mobilizations in the Americas around injustices perpetuated on indigenous
peoples since the landing of Columbus in the Caribbean Islands over 500
We urge you to sign and circulate the attached manifesto and ask other
groups to do so.
Let us work together to make these Days of Resistance a resounding cry for
the end of the hegemony of these institutions. Let us mobilize on these
days for a massive expression of unity of the peoples of the North and the
South in the struggle to build a new economic order founded on the
economic, political and social empowerment of all people to live fully
This campaign action is being coordinated by Jubilee South and the IFI
OUT!, a global network/movement of resistance against international
financial institutions, including the IMF, the World Bank, the
Inter-American Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and the
African Development Bank.
On the 60th YEAR of the BRETTON WOODS INSTITUTIONS let us all shout:
IMF and WORLD BANK OUT!
We will be writing to you again in the coming days for updates and
exchanges on your plans of action and activities.
Yes to Life, No to IMF-World Bank!
Lidy B. Nacpil
END 60 YEARS OF DESTRUCTION:
IMF-WORLD BANK OUT NOW!
Sixty years ago, delegates from governments of 45 countries met in Bretton
Woods, New Hampshire, USA, and laid out a blueprint for redesigning the
world economy. For the first time, globally binding agreements and
institutions were forged, supposedly in the spirit of international economic
cooperation. In truth, the meeting, dominated by the victors of World War
II led by the United States, paved the way for a handful of powerful and
wealthy Northern countries and governments to dictate to all of humanity the
shape of the world economy as they saw fit.
Founding the Institutions, Ruling the World Economy
The Bretton Woods Agreement created the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development or simply, the
World Bank (WB), giving a mandate to these twin institutions to maintain a
global order and economic climate conducive to capitalist development.
The IMF would enforce the agreed rules of a global financial and monetary
system with the U.S. dollar as the international currency, striking a
balance between a rigidly fixed currency exchange system and an unfettered
floating rate system. The World Bank, on the other hand, would extend loans
to war-torn economies and poor countries for use in "development projects"
and the "alleviation of mass poverty".
The structures and decision-making processes that were established reflect
the grossly imbalanced power relations between nations. Just like private
corporations, voting power and rights of members are proportional to their
"shares". Not surprisingly, the biggest owner of the IMF and the World Bank
is the United States.
Several changes have taken place since the founding of the IMF and World
Bank in 1944. Rules governing the world economy were adapted to emerging
problems and new requirements of the global capitalist system. Steps were
taken to enhance and reinforce the powers of these institutions over
countries of the South, including the formation of new entities under the
IMF and World Bank and the establishment of their regional counterparts -
the Asian Development Bank, African Development Bank and Inter-American
For the greater part of the 20th century, the needs and requirements of the
global capitalist order to thrive and prevail have been defined by these
institutions. In turn, the paradigm and policies of these institutions have
been determined by its most powerful members, the wealthiest countries of
the world led by the United States.
Debt and Destruction
As oil prices rose in the early 1970s, many of the developed countries cut
back on demand for goods from South countries to pay for oil and reduce
balance-of-payments deficits. Non-oil-producing South countries reeled from
the impacts of skyrocketing oil prices, coupled with the fall in the demand
for and trading prices of their key commodities.
International banks and financial institutions, on the other hand, found
themselves flush with enormous dollar surpluses from the quadrupling of the
prices of crude oil. Driven by the need to invest the surplus capital, they
took advantage of the economic vulnerabilities of South countries and
aggressively peddled loans. Relentless and unscrupulous, creditors showed no
regard for internal democratic processes and national laws. Loans were lent
irresponsibly to corrupt governments and to dubious projects that were
non-viable, damaging to communities and the environment, or tainted with
fraud and onerous terms. Creditors also liberally extended loans to private
corporations requiring government guarantees, conveniently ensuring
repayment with taxpayers' money.
More insidious, politically motivated reasons also pushed the high wave of
lending in the '70s and '80s, as Northern governments used the IMF and the
World Bank to promote their politico-military and economic interests in the
South. In the face of strengthening liberation movements in the South, IMF
and World Bank loans propped up repressive dictatorships and authoritarian
regimes loyal to the United States, such as Marcos' of the Philippines,
Mobutu's of Zaire, Suharto's of Indonesia, and the successive dictatorships
in Argentina. The ill-gotten wealth that these despots and their cronies
pocketed through onerous debt transactions are still being paid for by
peoples of the South today.
The external debt of South countries grew enormously through the '70s,
eventually leading to a debt crisis in the early 1980s. A deep global
recession ushered in the '80s with the demand for export commodities of
South nations declining and interest rates soaring as a result of the
floating exchange-rate policy. Only with Mexico's threat of default in 1982
was the gravity of the debt crisis publicly acknowledged by the
international community. By then, many South countries were teetering on the
brink of financial collapse or going through severe economic contraction.
In the succeeding years, debt payments of South countries took huge and
continually expanding shares of government spending, resulting in the
deterioration of basic services and public utilities. A vicious cycle set in
as governments borrowed in increasing amounts in order to service their
The IMF, WB and creditor governments led by the G7 countries implemented
various "debt relief" schemes. These programs were partly in response to
pressure from debt campaigns and public opinion and so were cleverly
designed to appear to be in aid of debt-strapped South countries. More
importantly, however, these schemes were aimed at keeping the countries in
the treadmill of paying their debts, continuing their borrowings, and
sticking to the economic conditionalities. Thus, rather than provide real
relief, the schemes redounded to far greater benefit for the creditors.
For instance, the Brady Plan of the early 1990s which targeted countries hit
by the debt crisis of the '80s such as Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, and the
Philippines, transformed a large part of commercial debts into bonds,
instruments which involve stronger payment guarantees and whose terms cannot
be renegotiated. Instead of paving the way for debt reduction, it allowed
creditors to cut their losses, turn the debts into paper that could be
traded in the secondary markets to generate profits, and improve the debt
indicators of target countries so they could lend to these countries again.
In short, the Brady Plan led to more borrowing and larger debts. Less than
a decade later, Argentina fell into another debt crisis, and other countries
are showing signs of following in its wake.
The IMF and WB unveiled the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) debt-relief
program in the mid- 1990s. Despite its re-launching as the Enhanced HIPC in
the late '90s, this scheme has been little more than a mechanism for
creditors to clean their books and collect payments from countries that were
about to default or were already defaulting. HIPC also exacted compliance
with structural adjustment programs as requisite for eligibility, and
eventually recycling SAPs in the year 2000 into Bank- and Fund-mandated
"poverty reduction strategy papers", or PRSPs.
Despite these debt-relief schemes, the external debt of the countries of the
South came to US$2.4 trillion by the year 2002, up from US$580 billion in
1980. Total debt payments made by South countries came to about US$4.8
trillion for the 22-year period.
Conditionalities, Structural Adjustment Programs, and PRSPS
With the debt of South countries ballooning to mind-boggling proportions,
the IMF-World Bank hold even greater sway over South governments. Using debt
as leverage, the Fund and the Bank and their regional counterparts compel
South countries to implement economic policies as conditionalities attached
to loans and as requirements for positive credit ratings, ratings that the
international financial community uses to determine a country's access to,
and the terms of, lending.
These economic conditionalities not only include policies deemed necessary
to ensure loan repayments, more importantly, they require strategic
restructuring of South economies to give free movement to capital and goods.
South countries are thus laid bare to even greater plunder by transnational
corporations, international banks and other financial institutions, and
Northern governments. At the same time, the economies of the South become
more oriented to and integrated with the global economy, relying more and
more on the demands of the world market, becoming even more dependent on
international investments and credit. This process, called globalization, is
the direct consequence of the policies of the IMF, the World Bank and their
Since the late 1970s, the IMF has been requiring borrowing countries to
implement Fund programs that emphasize restrictive fiscal and monetary
policies, including those that cover taxes, budget and public spending,
interest rates, foreign-exchange rates, international reserves and money
supply. In particular, countries undergoing balance-of-payments crises are
compelled to implement austere measures known as "stabilization" policies.
The World Bank, on the other hand, has been exacting compliance with
broader, longer-term structural adjustment programs that include trade and
finance liberalization, deregulation of industries, and privatization of
services and utilities. The Bank not only imposes these policies on South
countries as loan conditionalities; it finances the implementation of these
policies and provides the expertise and technical assistance required.
The impacts of these adjustment policies are well-documented. Numerous
testimonies, evaluations and studies bear witness to their disastrous
*Debilitating IMF policies have led to dramatic reductions in public
spending on social services and consequently to the severe deterioration of
public health, education, housing programs; massive lay-offs of public
sector employees; more regressive tax systems; increases in interest rates;
and, higher prices of basic commodities.
*The structural adjustment programs of the World Bank and the regional
development banks have led to destruction of local enterprises and farms;
loss of livelihoods and jobs; decline in incomes, increasing prices of
goods; narrower access to health care, education and decent housing;
dislocation of entire communities, especially those of indigenous peoples;
widespread damage to the environment; and, erosion of sovereign control over
natural resources and development policies. Women and girls in particular,
additionally disadvantaged by gender discrimination, experience even greater
marginalization and impoverishment.
In recent years, these international financial institutions have been
relentless in their push for the privatization of water and power services.
With the red carpet practically rolled out by the Fund, the World Bank and
the regional development banks, the biggest private water and power business
empires in the world are being assured lucrative business environments by
client South governments.
Country-level experiences on power and water privatization clearly disprove
the claim that privately-run firms are more efficient and provide cheaper
services. Continuously escalating rates and thus increasingly reduced public
access to services, unfulfilled promises of infrastructure improvement and
consequently greater risks to public health, malleable regulatory systems,
shady financial and management transactions and processes, and extraordinary
business perks are common characteristics of privatization that demonstrate
the exact opposite. As it turns out, the privatization thrust that these
institutions have made contingent to the release of loans have simply
provided big multinationals another way to make guaranteed profits at the
expense of millions of consumers.
Typical of their propensity for duplicity, the IMF-World Bank officially
concedes that some mistakes have been made and recognizes some of the
"social impacts of adjustment." However, they have given no quarter in the
continued pursuit of their programs and policies. Instead, these
institutions merely performed some face-lifting to structural adjustment
programs in the year 2000, re-packaging them as PRSPs required for HIPC
eligibility and for loan approval. The policies have remained essentially
the same, with the dual purpose of ensuring loan repayments and giving
industrialized capitalist countries free rein over the economies of the
World Wide Days of Resistance: October 1 to 12, 2004
The IMF-WB pay lip service to poverty reduction, civil-society
participation, democracy and transparency, while continuing on this path of
destruction. We cannot allow the poverty generation and crises creation by
these institutions to continue. Hence, we urge the struggles, campaigns and
mobilizations against these institutions in both the South and the North to
intensify and to move forward with a renewed sense of urgency.
To mark the 60th year of these Bretton Woods institutions, let us unite and
mobilize in a Worldwide Days of Resistance to the IMF-World Bank and their
partner institutions during the first two weeks of October 2004. Our global
protests will coincide with the Annual Meeting of the IMF and the WB on
October 1-4 and continue through October 12, a day of mobilizations in the
Americas around injustices perpetuated on indigenous peoples since the
landing of Columbus in the Caribbean Islands over 500 years ago.
Let us work together to make the Days of Resistance a resounding cry for the
end of the hegemony of these institutions. Let these days mark the
beginning of intensified struggle. Let us mobilize for a global expression
of unity of the peoples of the North and the South in the struggle to build
a new economic order founded on the economic, political, and social
empowerment of all people to live fully human lives
Abolish illegitimate debt!
Stop the privatization of education, health, housing, water and power
Stop the imposition of neoliberal economic policies!
End 60 years of destruction! IMF-WB OUT NOW!
Please sign up by submitting your name in the space provided in
www.ifi-out.org or www.jubileesouth.org or by sending a message to
firstname.lastname@example.org or to email@example.com
All Men (2)
Nellie J. Mwandoloma, Tanzania
Debating big dams
With regards Mike Muller's recent article "Getting priorities right is a must" (http://www.bday.co.za/bday/content/direct/1,3523,1686809-6096-0,00.html) We agree with DWAF director-general Mike Muller on Africa's great needs for investment in infrastructure. We also very much agree that Southern countries should not be forced into accepting a Northern development agenda. But Muller's willful mischaracterization of International Rivers Network (IRN)'s position on World Bank involvement in African dams deserves a reply.
Muller states that IRN has "pressed the US to oppose funding of important water projects in Africa because they do not like their effect on natural rivers." Wrong. Our primary work is to amplify the voices of Southern colleagues who wield little influence on Northern-dominated institutions such as the World Bank, which have become so critical in determining Southern policies and projects in the water and energy sectors. Most often our work prioritizes the grave social problems caused by large dams, and does not focus solely on their environmental impacts. Some 40-80 million people worldwide have been displaced by large dams; many were left worse off, and most were left out of discussions about their futures and their role in furthering national development. This is changing because of groups like IRN and our colleagues around the world, and we are surprised that Muller thinks this is a bad thing.
Muller also fails to acknowledge that homegrown opposition to large dams is what brings groups like IRN to the debate. In a globalized world, where water ministries frequently rely on outside consultants, multinational companies and funders such as the World Bank to build and operate national water systems, it is unfair and unrealistic to insist that civil society and dam-affected communities should work without external partners on complex issues such as those surrounding big dams.
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), including IRN, have long pressed the World Bank to both address the outstanding social and environmental impacts of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP), and to punish the corrupt companies involved in it. NGOs have been key in keeping this issue alive at the Bank. Contrary to what Muller implies, IRN never advocated that the LWHP should not be built, only that it should be planned and executed in ways that benefit local communities and cause the least social, environmental and economic harm. The LHWP as planned did not meet these criteria. As for protecting "natural rivers," Muller must know that local scientific researchers (not IRN) have warned that, if fully built, the LHWP would turn Lesotho's rivers into "something akin to waste-water drains"-a preventable situation we doubt DWAF would like to claim credit for. This is not an issue of preserving natural beauty: downstream communities who depend on healthy ecosystems supported by now-diverted rivers are finding themselves poorer because of the LHWP. South Africa's ongoing work to integrate the guidelines of the World Commission on Dams into national policies could help prevent future tradeoffs from being placed almost entirely on the backs of the poor.
Fighting Aids in Eritrea
Thomas C. Mountain
Eritrea is the only country in Africa to start winning the war against what Eritrean President Issias Aferwerki has listed as one of the major threats to Eritrean survival, HIV/AIDS, by reducing HIV/AIDS infection rates from 3% to 2.5%, as reported by Dr. Mary Polan of Stanford University School of Medicine at the Eritrean Festival in Oakland, CA on Friday, Aug. 13, 2004.
Having visited Eritrea a number of times to help operate on Eritrean women suffering from fistula, Dr. Polan spoke first hand on how the Eritrean leadership has taken the threat of HIV/AIDS seriously. She spoke of how condoms are now placed in dresser drawers in all hotel rooms in Eritrea and the government has placed billboards prominently throughout the countryside promoting condom use and that advertisements for condom use are regular played on Eritrean television.
HIV/AIDS is ravaging much of Africa, with Ethiopia suffering from what is widely considered to be a conservative estimate of a 15% and growing infection rate and with Botswana reportedly suffering up to a 50% infection rate among government officials. Eritrea is the only country in Africa to be able to stem the tide of HIV/AIDS infection, starting to win what will certainly be a long and difficult fight against one of the most serious crises Africans face.
Despite a socially conservative tradition Eritrea has broken social taboos concerning discussing sexual activities and made HIV/AIDS prevention a priority topic and has been able to cut the infection rate by over 15% in the last 5 years. Once again, a role model has been established in Africa that should be promoted amongst all people, especially Africans at home and abroad, with this being done by one of the worlds smallest, most resource poor country's, plagued by disasters both natural and manmade. Why is it that Eritrea continues to be ignored by so many despite her accomplishments?
Charles Boateng, Ghana
Faceless, Amma Darko’s third novel after Beyond the Horizon and The Housemaid, is the tragic story of street children in Accra, Ghana told through a chaotic urban fabric where pressing social issues like the gap between rich and poor, HIV/AIDS, broken families and the role of women in society are all-pervasive.
The story is an investigation of the death of Baby T, a child prostitute whose body is found dumped behind a marketplace, naked, beaten and mutilated. Darko skilfully reveals details about Baby T during the progression of the novel through her younger sister Fofo, herself a street child who comes into contact with group of women who run a documentation NGO called MUTE.
Baby T’s story is heartbreaking and entirely believable, not only in relation to Accra, but also in a global context. She is the third child of Ma Tsumu, born after a brutal beating intended to fulfil the ambitions of an abortion because the father believes that Ma Tsumu is “too fertile”. Kwei, the father, disappears after fathering Fofo, leaving Ma Tsumu to fend for herself with four children. The family manage alone with the two sons bringing home money from fish-related activities. But Faceless is a novel where things only go very wrong when men are involved and when Ma Tsumu takes a lover into her bed in the form of Kpakpo, who earns his keep by “dubious” means, the stage is set for tragedy.
The first consequence of the new lover is that the brothers, unable to stand the new nightly sounds of the shared bedroom, pack their bags and disappear. This leaves Baby T at the mercy of Kpakpo, who sexually abuses her. Hurt and confused, she confides in a family friend, Onko, who brutally rapes her. Ma Tsumu, a tragic figure destroyed by the men in her life, is unable to do anything but take money from Onko, who then continues to live in the same compound as Baby T. Clearly the situation is untenable and Kpakpo has the answer. Baby T can be sent away to a distant relative of his who is actually a Madame – in reality Baby T is sold into prostitution.
Discrimination against women is a constant theme of the novel and symbolically Baby T is representative of the sins visited upon all women in a society where from birth women are discriminated against and made responsible not only for their sins, but for those of men in society. As mentioned earlier, nothing goes right when men are involved and many of the male characters in the novel are murderers, child abuses, rapists – or simply good for nothings.
Even those not presented in this light are trapped in their perceptions of women as caregivers and housewives, such as NGO worker Kabria’s husband, who expects her to be waiting at the door to take his briefcase when he returns from work. Despite the fact that Kabria works a long day, she is still expected to manage the household, cook and take care of the children. Darko is keen to highlight this hypocrisy.
The response of women to their experience at the hands of men varies from Ma Tsumu’s “Because they are animals, They know no mercy ” to the positive engagement of the NGO MUTE, which is made up entirely of women as if to suggest that it is women who must be in control of their response to a warped male world.
But if the fate of women in society is a major theme of the novel, it plays itself out through a street children narrative which allows Darko the scope for powerful social commentary that demonstrates the personal tragedy of each and every child that ends up on the streets. As one of the characters says in quoting assassinated US president John F. Kennedy: “The future promise of any nation can be directly measured by the present prospects of its youth.” What is the hope, Darko seems to be asking, if societies can allow the conditions that result in the fate of Baby T?
Darko’s landscape is not entirely bleak: she does offer hope in the form of Fofo, who by the end of the novel looks set on the right road, and in the form of MUTE, whose members are the positive role models of the novel.
It might be said that the solutions offered by the novel are too simple, but Darko does leave enough in the air to suggest that nothing is certain. Indeed, the story is told with just enough skill to keep the reader guessing. While it is true that some of the characters sometimes feel a bit stereotyped, Darko is also capable of demonstrating some character complexity and contradictions, as in the case of the pimp Poison, who is also shown to be a victim through is own abuse as a child, but who now “no longer suffered the pain, he inflicted it.”
These criticisms aside, Darko succeeds in hammering home a powerful message that it is children and the way they are treated that are the true measure of how societies are judged. It is through their eyes that the answers to the myriad moral predicaments that society finds itself in, are to be found.
* Reviewed by Patrick Burnett, Fahamu
* Publisher: Sub-Saharan Publishers
* Exclusively distributed by African Books Collective
To purchase, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anthropology in the margins of the state
Drawing on fieldwork from Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Peru, Guatemala, India, Chad, Columbia and South Africa, the contributors discuss the form and reach of the modern state and how people understand and experience the agency of the state, whether on the margins or at the centre of power. Issues raised include the impact of the trade in arms, diamonds, goods and currency; the role of language as cultures try to articulate their struggles; and the problems that mercenaries pose to the state.
Boy is an adaptation of Collen’s 1996 Creole novel Misyon Garcon, and was therefore seemingly unwritten in English in order to be re-iterated in relation to the Creole native to Mauritius. Before we have even read a word of Boy, we have been pitched into the middle of a linguistic exchange; a dialogue that interfaces languages (French, Creole, and English) in order to both showcase the linguistic mosaic of Mauritian identity, as well as posit these languages in a larger spectrum of political power. With Boy, Lindsey Collen’s own sensitivity to language is also evident, as she seems to be writing first as an activist whose writing has been censored, threatened and banned, and subsequently as a novelist, and in this respect, Collen has not departed from the political role that has traditionally defined African novelists.
Song for Sudan
i asked her to tell me her story
she started by looking away –
gazing back into that darkness when she knelt to pray.
the planes dropped the bombs before daybreak -
the janjaweed stormed with the dawn.
those who could
fled to the forest
to hide till they’d gone.
returning to ruins by moonlight
she found she was orphaned and then -
there they began
their exodus out of
Winnie Mandela: A Life
Anne Marie du Preez Bezdrob
Anne Marie du Preez Bezdrob's Winnie Mandela: A Life, is the first book-length biography that takes into account Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and the first to take her life story to the (near) present. Such a book is long overdue, and this is beautifully presented, with a stunning photographic cover portrait of Winnie Mandela, perhaps from the 1950s. The cover portrait captures the tone of the book: a tribute to a tragic heroine. Her fatal flaw in the Shakespearean tradition is perhaps her trusting nature; her fall, however, is attributed to a particular form of post-traumatic stress disorder, brought on by the unrelenting, torturous pressures of the apartheid regime.
Africa/Global: Strategic advocacy and maternal mortality
This paper examines the place of women's health concerns in the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and explores strategies to address maternal mortality and emphasises the importance of all women having access to EmOC (emergency obstetric care) in the event of birth complications. A new vision is needed, says the paper - one that has the potential to reconnect households and communities to health care systems.
Africa/Global: Women combatants and humanitarian law
For 3 days, from 27 to 29 August 2004, more than 30 women combatants or former combatants belonging to rebel armed groups from some twenty war-torn countries, accepted an invitation by the organisation Geneva Call to come together and share their experiences and ideas concerning international humanitarian law. Are armed conflicts the preserve of men? Are women merely innocent victims or symbols of peace? What are the roles and the responsibilities of women fighting for armed groups? Do women have more respect for human life? What do they know about humanitarian law? Are they particularly sensitive to humanitarian principles? Are they able to convince male combatants to respect these norms? These are just some of the questions addressed by the gathering.
Women combatants and humanitarian law
An unprecedented conference in Geneva
For 3 days, from 27 to 29 August 2004, more than 30 women combatants or former combatants belonging to rebel armed groups from some twenty war-torn countries, accepted an invitation by Geneva Call to come together and share their experiences and ideas concerning international humanitarian law.
Are armed conflicts the preserve of men? Are women merely innocent victims or symbols of peace? What are the roles and the responsibilities of women fighting for armed groups? Do women have more respect for human life? What do they know about humanitarian law? Are they particularly sensitive to humanitarian principles? Are they able to convince male combatants to respect these norms?
These are just some of the questions Geneva Call and the PSIO of the IUHEI wished to ask women participants in armed struggle. To this end, Geneva Call, thanks to its extensive network of non-state actors, invited them to participate in a workshop on the theme “How can women combatants contribute to the promotion of humanitarian law?”
Over the course of three days of debate, emotion, conviction, and sometimes anger, the views and experiences of these women were put at the centre of the discussion in an attempt to achieve a better understanding of the involvement of women in armed conflict and their potential role in the promotion of humanitarian legal standards.
“Women and girl combatants within armed groups: leadership, agency, and the challenges of implementing a humanitarian agenda”; "Women’s and girls’ experiences as victims, perpetrators and resisters of violence during conflict"; "Invisibility and neglect: including women and girls in the DDR process"; “Girl soldiers: protection, psycho-social effects, and the challenges of reintegration”, and “Raising awareness of the landmine issue and seeking cooperation in mine action” were the key issues of the workshop.
The various personal experiences of these women made it possible to reach the conclusions that on the whole, women are more sensitive to life and extreme violence than men. However, once they are engaged in armed struggle, women must "forget" these values both to answer men’s demands and to gain their respect. Therefore the challenge is how to find ways to defend women’s values even when women choose to fight men’s battles.
This workshop, very successful, was a first meeting with only women combatants. Future collaborations will seek ways to be more effective and sensitive to gender, in order to enhance the status of humanitarian law during armed conflicts. A second step has been already envisaged to bring together women combatants based on the type of conflict (in progress, cease-fire or end of conflict.)
A publication written by Dr Dyan Mazurana and published by the Programme for the Study of International Organization(s) of the Graduate Institute of International Studies, co-organizer of the conference, will be available at the end of October 2004. (available from email@example.com)
Since 2000, Geneva Call, an independent international humanitarian non-governmental organization (NGO), has dedicated itself to engaging NSAs in adhering to the Antipersonnel mine ban and other humanitarian norms. Geneva Call works in partnership with local NGOs and members of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. The Ottawa Treaty, the major international instrument on landmines, applies only to States. Geneva Call complements the treaty by having NSAs sign a Deed of Commitment to renounce the use and stockpiling of mines.
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or www.genevacall.org
Africa: Peace of mind, piece of land
"When the devastation of AIDS enters a household, it is the women who take on the burden of added responsibilities. In hard-hit communities all over the globe, women are caring for sick and dying family members around the clock, while trying to fulfil their regular household responsibilities, such as child care, household maintenance and food preparation. In sub-Saharan Africa, where the epidemic has hit with terrible ferocity, women not only prepare the food, they also grow it. When women farmers are pulled out of production, many households are pushed to the brink of starvation." - Noeleen Heyzer, Unifem Director
Gambia: Rights of Women in Africa Workshop
The African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies, ACDHRS, last Wednesday held a one-day National Consultative Workshop on The Ratification and Implementation to the African Chartered on Human and Peoples' on the Rights of women in Africa at the Kairaba Beach Hotel. This National Consultative Workshop is part of the campaign strategy spearheaded by the Coalition of Women's Organisation in Africa to encourage African governments to ratify the protocol.
Kenya: Women Seek Access to Land
A campaign to set up a women’s land movement has kicked off in Kenya, at a time when the East African country has embarked on a controversial land-reform debate. Campaigners argue that such a movement would ensure women speak with a unified voice. It would also incorporate their concerns in the on-going land debate.
Nigeria: Call for better abortion services
In Nigeria where abortion is illegal and the criminal code strictly prohibits any form of procurement of abortion except in saving the life of a woman, there are indications that induced abortion is still widely practiced. The absence of legal backing to willingly support any woman's desire to undergo abortion without being punished or victimized by society, has, to a great extent, contributed to the continuation of unsafe abortion with the resultant increase in maternal mortality.
Rwanda: Ex-combatants volunteer for peacekeeping
Women ex-combatants from Rwanda have asked for a role in regional peacekeeping missions in Africa. Pointing specifically to the recent Rwandan government's commitment to support regional peacekeeping missions by sending soldiers to help protect African Union cease-fire monitors, they are urging that ex-combatant women be included in such missions, because of their experience of warfare and its particular impact on women, and their interest in assisting women caught in conflict.
Sudan: How is war impacting the lives of people in Sudan?
The impact of this conflict on the people of Darfur has been atrocious. Massive human rights violations committed in the region include: extra-judicial executions, unlawful killings of civilians, torture, rapes, abductions, destruction of villages and property, looting of cattle and property, the destruction of the means of livelihood of the population attacked and forced displacement. Clicking on the link provided will take you to an interview with Victoria Eluzai, a founding member of the Sudanese Young Women Empowerment Network (SYWEN), who discusses the situation in Sudan.
Zambia: Ethical trade in African horticulture - gender, rights and participation
Codes of conduct for ethical trade have been criticised for failing to consider gender issues or extend to temporary workers. In response, this paper from the Ethical Trade and Natural Resources Programme explores ways to develop codes that are effective and inclusive of all workers, including female and temporary workers. The research analyses how ethical trade can enhance the economic and social rights of women and men workers in African export horticulture and identifies best practice in implementing gender-sensitive ethical trade based on worker and stakeholder participation.
Africa/Global: Activating historic sites as centres for citizen engagement with human rights
The International Coalition of Historic Site Museums of Conscience works to build the capacity of historic sites around the world to foster dialogue on pressing social issues and promote democratic and humanitarian values. It seeks to change the role of historic sites in civic life from places of passive learning to centres for active citizen engagement. It develops sites of conscience as places for communities to have ongoing dialogues about the meaning of their past and the shape of their future - as places to build a lasting culture of human rights. You can find out more or join a discussion on this issue by clicking on the URL provided.
Africa/Global: Adequate Financial and Political Backing Is Crucial as First ICC Cases Begin
States that have ratified the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court must provide the necessary financial and political support for the court as it begins its first field investigations into war crimes and crimes against humanity, Human Rights Watch says. The ICC's annual Assembly of States Parties is set to meet in The Hague from September 6 to 10. "Now that the ICC is beginning to reach out to witnesses and victims, we expect these states to step up to the plate and provide the appropriate funds for the court to do its job," said Richard Dicker, director of Human Rights Watch's International Justice program. "It's not about giving the court a blank check, but making sure that the ICC has the necessary financial and political backing for this critical phase of its work."
Adequate Financial and Political Backing Is Crucial as First Cases Begin
(The Hague, September 3, 2004) - States that have ratified the treaty
establishing the International Criminal Court must provide the necessary
financial and political support for the court as it begins its first field
investigations into war crimes and crimes against humanity, Human Rights
Watch said today. The ICC's annual Assembly of States Parties is set to
meet in The Hague from September 6 to 10.
"Now that the ICC is beginning to reach out to witnesses and victims, we
expect these states to step up to the plate and provide the appropriate
funds for the court to do its job," said Richard Dicker, director of Human
Rights Watch's International Justice program. "It's not about giving the
court a blank check, but making sure that the ICC has the necessary
financial and political backing for this critical phase of its work."
The ICC has already begun investigations into crimes against humanity and
war crimes committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. Both
situations were referred to the ICC prosecutor by the governments of the
countries themselves, demonstrating a clear need for the court. Human
Rights Watch noted that these investigations mark a significant new phase
in the ICC's work that will highlight the importance of the court in
bringing justice to victims and fighting impunity. The investigations will
also present the court for the first time with the difficult challenge of
gathering evidence on the most serious crimes, which involve thousands of
victims and complex legal issues.
"The court will face tough issues, such as providing protection for
victims and witnesses, and getting states to cooperate with its
investigations," said Dicker. "To meet these challenges, the court will
need financial resources and the political will of supportive states."
The Assembly of States Parties represents all of the member states of the
ICC. It has the responsibility to provide management oversight to the
court and ensure it functions effectively. Human Rights Watch said that in
addition to providing necessary funds, the body should work to promote
universal acceptance of the ICC treaty, assist countries in implementing
legislation to facilitate cooperation with the court, and aid the court in
any instances of non-cooperation by states.
The International Criminal Court can prosecute genocide, war crimes, and
crimes against humanity when national judicial systems are unable or
unwilling to do so. The ICC, based in The Hague, has broad international
support. Currently, 94 countries have ratified the Rome Statue
establishing the court, and nearly 140 have signed this treaty.
For more information about the ICC, see http://hrw.org/campaigns/icc/
Human Rights Watch Press release
Kenya: Draft anti-terrorism legislation may undermine Kenyan constitution and international law
Amnesty International is seriously concerned that Kenya's Suppression of Terrorism Bill 2003 contains measures that violate Kenyan law, human rights treaties to which Kenya is a party, and may result in human rights violations. The Kenyan government is presently gathering suggestions and comments on the Suppression of Terrorism Bill 2003 following widely expressed concerns and strong criticism that it contained measures that would impact negatively on human rights. The Bill, which was initially published last year, has now been shelved, pending presentation of a revised version to Parliament.
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL-PRESS RELEASE
AI Index: AFR 32/004/2004
9 September 2004
Amnesty International is seriously concerned that Kenya's Suppression of
Terrorism Bill 2003 contains measures that violate Kenyan law, human
rights treaties to which Kenya is a party, and may result in human rights
The Kenyan government is presently gathering suggestions and comments on
the Suppression of Terrorism Bill 2003 following widely expressed concerns
and strong criticism that it contained measures that would impact
negatively on human rights. The Bill, which was initially published last
year, has now been shelved, pending presentation of a revised version to
"The proposed legislation, in its present form, would suspend certain
safeguards that protect the rights of those prosecuted or detained under
it, and therefore violate fundamental rights protected under the Kenyan
Constitution, and under international human rights standards," Amnesty
International said in a memorandum to the Kenyan government.
The organization is particularly concerned about the following:
* the vague and broad definition of "terrorism" and "terrorist" act or
* extensive powers given to the police and customs officers to stop search
and seize, detain and arrest;
* incommunicado detention and the denial of the right to legal
representation during interrogation;
* making detention the rule and bail the exception, thus impacting on the
right to personal liberty;
* immunity of state officials from prosecution or civil suits under the
* curtailing of the freedoms of association and expression;
* the vague definition of the crime of incitement to commit a "terrorist"
act wholly or partly outside Kenya;
* lack of safeguards and due process in decisions to extradite.
In its memorandum Amnesty International asserts that the Bill could
encourage the creation of a two-tier justice system, providing the legal
framework for arbitrary arrests, illegal detention and searches and a
flawed judicial process. "The creation of a distinct system of arrest,
detention and prosecution relating to 'terrorism' may violate the right of
the people to equal justice before the courts," the organization said.
"The Kenyan government should ensure that any new draft legislation
addressing 'terrorism' or 'acts of terrorism' is consistent with Kenya's
international human rights obligations," Amnesty International said.
Rwanda: Genocide Suspects' List to Swell to Over 500,000
The number of people suspected of participating in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda is expected to spiral from the present 100,000 to over 500,000 within the coming year, a senior official with the courts set up to try genocide suspects told Hirondelle News Agency on Wednesday. "Statistics drawn on the basis of information collected from the first phase of Gacaca court hearings indicates that we will end up with between 500,000 and 600,000 genocide suspects", the director of the legal department in National Service for Gacaca Jurisdictions(NSGJ), Augustin Nkusi said.
Sierra Leone: War Crimes Court Impeded by Lack of Funds
The U.N.-backed court for war crimes in Sierra Leone needs funding to ensure justice for victims of atrocities committed during the country's 11-year civil war, Human Rights Watch said in a new report. The Special Court for Sierra Leone is resuming the trial of leaders of the government-backed Civil Defense Forces. The United Nations and its member states - particularly the United States and Britain - should fund the Special Court's budget so that it can complete its operations. They should also increase funding to several key areas of the court to ensure that it can deliver justice fairly and effectively.
Sierra Leone: War Crimes Court Impeded by Lack of Funds
U.N.-Backed Court Makes Great Strides, But Key Concerns Remain
(New York, September 8, 2004) - The U.N.-backed court for war crimes
in Sierra Leone needs funding to ensure justice for victims of atrocities
committed during the country's 11-year civil war, Human Rights Watch
said in a report issued today. The Special Court for Sierra Leone today
resumes the trial of leaders of the government-backed Civil Defense
The United Nations and its member states - particularly the United States
and Britain - should fund the Special Court's budget so that it can
complete its operations. They should also increase funding to several key
areas of the court to ensure that it can deliver justice fairly and effectively.
"Justice is crucial for victims of atrocities committed during Sierra
Leone's civil war and for building respect for the rule of law across West
Africa," said Elise Keppler, counsel with Human Rights Watch's
International Justice Program. "The Special Court has already made
significant strides, but lack of funds could undermine its ability to carry
The Special Court is charged with bringing to justice those who bear the
greatest responsibility for war crimes, crimes against humanity, other
serious violations of international humanitarian law, and certain violations
of Sierra Leonean law committed since November 1996. Created through
an agreement between the United Nations and the Sierra Leonean
government, the Special Court represents a significant new international
justice model, often referred to as a "mixed" or "hybrid" tribunal.
The 56-page report, "Bringing Justice: The Special Court for Sierra
Leone," evaluates developments at the court, identifying achievements and
making recommendations where operations should be improved. The
report also urges the international community to provide more financial
and political support for the court so it can complete its work effectively.
Since the Special Court began functioning in 2002, the court's staff has
made a tremendous effort to ensure accountability despite scarce resources
and lack of adequate facilities. The court has investigated and indicted 13
individuals from three warring factions - the government-backed Civil
Defense Forces, as well as the two rebel groups, the Revolutionary United
Front and the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council.
The court has also issued a number of precedent-setting decisions on
international law. For example, the court ruled in May that heads of state
are not immune from prosecution before an international court. This ruling
removed any legal basis for Nigeria to continue to harbor former Liberian
President Charles Taylor, who is indicted by the court on war crimes and
crimes against humanity.
However, Human Rights Watch has concerns about several aspects of the
court's operations, many of which relate to insufficient funding by donors.
The operations of the Defense Office, the Witness and Victim Support
Unit, the Chambers, and the Outreach section have been constrained by
inadequate resources. The court established a Defense Office to help
ensure protection of the rights of the accused, but lack of resources for
defense teams has hampered case preparation.
The Office of the Prosecutor also has too narrowly interpreted the court's
mandate to exclude prosecution of regional or mid-level commanders who
were notorious for their extreme brutality against civilians, Human Rights
Watch said. Insufficient witness protection and delay in establishing the
second Trial Chamber raise additional concerns.
Furthermore, the absence from the court of former Liberian President
Charles Taylor - who is charged with war crimes and crimes against
humanity for his role in contributing to the death, rape, abduction, and
mutilation of thousands of civilians during Sierra Leone's civil war -
threatens to undermine the court's accomplishments.
"By continuing to harbor Charles Taylor, Nigeria is sending the message
that some individuals should be above the law when it comes to the most
serious crimes," said Keppler. "Nigeria should hand Taylor over to the
Special Court immediately. It's time for the United Nations and member
states to call on Nigeria to do the right thing."
The Special Court began trials on June 3, with the trial of three Civil
Defense Forces leaders: Sam Hinga Norman, Moinina Fofana, and Allieu
Kondewa. On July 5, the Special Court began the trial of three
Revolutionary United Front leaders: Issa Hassan Sesay, Morris Kallon,
and Augustine Gbao. The trial of three Armed Forces Revolutionary
Council leaders - Alex Tamba Brima, Brima Bazzy Kamara, and Santigie
Borbor Kanu - has not yet begun.
The establishment of the second Trial Chamber, which has been delayed,
would allow for the trial of Armed Forces Revolutionary Council leaders
to be conducted simultaneously with trials of leaders of the Revolutionary
United Front and Civil Defense Forces.
South Africa: Beyers Naude, Anti-Apartheid Cleric, Dies
Beyers Naude, an Afrikaner cleric who spent half his life using the bible to justify apartheid before becoming one of the anti-apartheid movement's most important moral voices, died early Tuesday, a family spokesman said. He was 89. South Africa's former white rulers denounced Naude as a traitor and tried to prevent him from spreading his message of racial tolerance. His church marginalized him and many whites ostracized him.
South Africa: Video shows police brutality
Video footage shows how Harrismith police opened fire indiscriminately on demonstrators as they slowly crossed a highway last week and then continued firing at them as they fled for cover. This move led to the tragic death of 17- year-old Teboho Mkhonza. The video shows how the toyi-toying group slowly started crossing the highway. The demonstrators were not throwing stones, as some reports claimed. Before the demonstrators were halfway across the road, police opened fire without any warning.
Zimbabwe: Civil Society Groups at Risk
The Zimbabwean government should withdraw a proposed law on nongovernmental organizations, Human Rights Watch says. The law would grant a government-appointed body wide power to interfere in the legitimate activities of these civil society groups and sharply curtail local human rights organizations’ access to funding. “The law would unduly restrict the freedoms of association and of expression,” said Georgette Gagnon, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Africa Division. “It would also enable the government to intervene in the reasonable activities of NGOs.” A full copy of the Bill is available by clicking on the link below.
For Immediate Release:
Zimbabwe: Civil Society Groups at Risk
Proposed Law on NGOs Would Violate Basic Rights
(New York, September 4, 2004) The Zimbabwean government should withdraw a proposed law on nongovernmental organizations, Human Rights Watch said today. The law would grant a government-appointed body wide power to interfere in the legitimate activities of these civil society groups and sharply curtail local human rights organizations’ access to funding.
“The law would unduly restrict the freedoms of association and of expression,” said Georgette Gagnon, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Africa Division. “It would also enable the government to intervene in the reasonable activities of NGOs.”
In October, the Non-Governmental Organizations Draft Bill 2004 is to be tabled in parliament for discussion and debate. The law would require these organizations to register with a government-appointed Council of Non-Governmental Organizations that would have virtually unchecked power to investigate and audit the groups’ activities and funding. National and foreign NGOs would be required to register with the Council by submitting “the names, nationality and addresses of its promoters,” and sources of funding. Registration could be denied or withdrawn at any time if the Council determined that the organization “ceased to operate bona fide in furtherance of the objects for which it was registered.”
Registered NGOs would be required to submit annual accounts to the Council, which would then be subject to audit. The law would empower the Council to constantly monitor the groups. Leaders of any such organizations found to be in violation of the act would be subject to fines and imprisonment. The organizations could lodge objections to Council decisions, but the Minister would resolve them with no possibility of recourse to the courts.
“The proposed law would place each and every NGO at the whim of the government,” said Gagnon.
Of particular concern are the limitations that the proposed law places on NGOs active on issues of governance, including human rights. The draft law states that no foreign NGO will be registered if “its sole or principal objects involve or include issues of governance.” Similarly, local organizations working on matters such as governance issues would be barred from receiving “any foreign funding or donation.” The bill broadly defines as “foreign” anyone who is not “a permanent resident of Zimbabwe or a citizen of Zimbabwe domiciled in Zimbabwe.” Any Zimbabwean organization whose membership includes expatriate Zimbabweans would thus be considered foreign. Many NGOs in Zimbabwe currently depend on foreign and expatriate funding for their activities.
“A vibrant civil society is essential to a functioning democracy,” Gagnon said. “With parliamentary elections in March, the government needs to ensure space for civil society.”
In July, Zimbabwe announced that it would undertake electoral reforms that would comply with guidelines drafted by the Southern African Development Community (SADC). In August the regional group approved the Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections, which require member states holding elections to “safeguard the human and civil liberties of all citizens, including the freedom of movement, assembly, association, expression and campaigning during electoral processes.”
As a member of the African Union, Zimbabwe is obliged to uphold the rights to freedom of association, expression and assembly that are protected by the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. In 1991, Zimbabwe acceded to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which also protects the rights to freedom of association, expression and assembly.
“The proposed NGO law would undermine fundamental freedoms of association and expression,” Gagnon said. “The government must withdraw and substantially amend this law to make sure that Zimbabwe complies with its obligations under international human rights law.”
For further information, please contact:
In Toronto, Georgette Gagnon: +1-416-893-2709
In London, Steve Crawshaw: +44-7747-021-458
DISTRIBUTED BY VERITAS TRUST
Veritas makes every effort to ensure the provision of reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.
NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS BILL, H. B. 13, 2004.
This Bill will repeal the Private Voluntary Organisations Act and establish a new non-governmental organisations Act which will provide for an enabling environment for the operations, monitoring and regulation of all non-governmental organisations.
In more detail, the individual parts of the Bill are as follows:
Clause 1 sets out the Bill’s short title. Clause 2 defines the terms that are used throughout this Bill.
Clause 3 will establish a non-governmental organisations Council. Functions of the non-governmental organisations Council are outlined in clause 4. Clause 5, 6 and 7 will regulate matters related to funds of the Council, financial year of Council and accounts of, and audit of accounts of Council funds. Clause 8 will provide for the appointment of a Registrar of non-governmental organisations.
This Part deals with matters related to the registration of non-governmental organisations (clause 9 and 10). Clause 11 will deal with the cancellation or amendment of certificates. Clause 12 will require every non-governmental organisation to carry out its activities under its registered name.
Clause 13 will allow the director of a registered non-governmental organisation to surrender the certificate of registration. The director will also be able to apply for a new certificate of registration in the event that the old certificate was cancelled or surrendered (clause 14).
Any non-governmental organisation which is aggrieved by any decision of the Council in relation to the rejection of an application for registration may appeal to the Minister (clause 15).
This Part provides for the administration of non-governmental organisations. Clause 16 provides for the need for every director of a registered non-governmental organisation to produce reports and returns at the end of each financial year. Clause 17 will regulate funding for local non-governmental organisations. No local (NGO) shall receive any foreign funding or donation to carry out activities involving or including governance issues.
Clause 18 will require every registered (NGO) to have a registered address in Zimbabwe. A registered non-governmental organisation may also establish branch committees where the organisation may delegate some of its activities (clause 19). Clause 20 will empower the Registrar to determine that any branch of a non-governmental organisation shall not be subject to the control and direction of that non-governmental organisation and make it an independent and separate non-governmental organisation. Clause 21 will provide for audit of accounts of a non-governmental organisation. Clause 22 will give the Minister power to appoint an officer to inspect any aspect of the affairs or activities of any non-governmental organisation.
Clause 23 will give the Council power to investigate maladministration in non-governmental organisations. If the Council finds that there has been maladministration in an organisation, the Council will be empowered to censure the persons responsible for it, or to direct the taking of measures to prevent its recurrence, or to cancel or amend the organisation’s registration. Under the clause, the Council will have to act fairly when conducting investigations i.e. it will have to give everyone concerned an opportunity to be heard and also will have the right to be furnished with reasons on the Council’s decision.
Any person affected by the decision of the Council is entitled to appeal to Minister if he is not satisfied by that decision. Clause 24 will set out the procedure to be followed when the Council has referred a question of suspending an organisation’s committee members to the Minister. The Minister will be obliged to conduct any necessary investigations and if in the Minister’s opinion there has been serious maladministration and it is in the public interest for all or any of the organisation’s committee members to be suspended, the Minister will have power to suspend them. Before doing so, however the Minister will have to give the committee members concerned a reasonable opportunity to make representations.
Committee members who have been under suspension for 30 days will automatically go out of office.
If all committee members of a non-governmental organisation have been suspended, the Minister will have power to appoint trustees to manage the organisation’s affairs pending the election of a new committee.
Clause 25 will empower the Registrar to adjudicate disputes within non-governmental organisations. Clause 26 will provide for general offences and penalties and will specify the penalties that may be imposed on persons who commit them.
Clause 27 will provide for the evidential provisions. Under this clause a certificate from the Registrar stating whether or not an organisation is registered under the Act will be admissible in any proceedings, civil or criminal, at present such certificates are admissible only in criminal proceedings. Clause 28 regulates how contributions unlawfully collected are to be utilised.
Clause 29 will empower the Minister to dissolve the organisation if the organisation ceases to function and the persons responsible in terms of its constitution for dissolving the organisation fail or are unable to dissolve it within six months. In Clause 30 the Minister may direct any person holding or having control of any money collected contrary to this Act, to retain to either the contributor or to the Minister and thereupon the Minister will later return the money to every contributor known. Clause 31 will empower the Minister to make regulations with regard to the form, of any application, authority, certificate, notice, order or register to be made. Clause 32 will validate the lawful registration of private voluntary organisations which was done under the repealed Act to be registration under this new Act. Clause 33 will repeal the Private Voluntary Organisations Act [Chapter 17:05] and save any statutory instruments which were in force under the repealed Act.
The Schedule contains provisions applicable to Council Members.
ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS
1. Short title.
NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS COUNCIL AND REGISTRAR OF NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS
3. Non-governmental Organisations Council.
4. Functions of the Council.
5. Funds of Council.
6. Financial year of council.
7. Accounts and audit of Accounts of Council funds.
8. Registrar of Non-governmental Organisations.
REGISTRATION AND EXEMPTION OF NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS
9. Non-governmental organisations to be registered.
11. Cancellation or amendment of certificate.
ADMINISTRATION OF NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS
12. Non-governmental organisations not to carry on activities except under registered name.
13. Surrender of registration certificate.
14. Restoration of cancelled or surrendered certificate.
16. Books, accounts, records, etc.
17. Funding of local non-governmental organisations.
18. Registered address.
19. Branch committees.
20. Branches not controlled by non-governmental organisation.
21. Audit of accounts.
22. Inspections and examination of accounts.
23. Investigations by Council.
24. Suspension of executive committee and appointment of trustees to manage organisation.
25. Registrar may adjudicate disputes with non-governmental organisations.
26. General offences and penalties.
27. Evidence and presumptions.
28. Contributions unlawfully collected.
29. Minister may dissolve certain organisations.
30. Disposal of assets of non-governmental organisations.
32. Transitional provision.
SCHEDULE: Provisions applicable to members of the Council.
PRESENTED BY THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE
To provide for the registration of non-governmental organisations, to provide for an enabling environment for the operations, monitoring and regulation of all non-governmental organisations; to repeal the Private Voluntary Organisations Act [Chapter 17:05] and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
ENACTED by the President and Parliament of Zimbabwe.
1 Short title
This Act may be cited as the Non-Governmental Organisations Act, 2004.
(1) In this Act
“contributions” means movable or immovable property, including money or anything that can be exchanged for or converted into money, which is acquired or received as a gift or donation or otherwise and which is not transferred in fulfilment of a legally enforceable obligation;
“Council” means the Non-governmental Organisations Council established by section three;
“contributor”, in relation to the collection of contributions, means any person from whom contributions are collected;
“director”, in relation to a non-governmental organisation, means the individual person for the time being responsible for the affairs of such organisation;
“foreign funding or donation” means any funding provided or donation made by
(a) a person who is not a permanent resident or citizen of Zimbabwe domiciled in Zimbabwe; or
(b) a company which is not incorporated in Zimbabwe or, if so incorporated, does not carry on business in Zimbabwe; or
(c) any association of persons, whether incorporated or unincorporated, that does not consist exclusively of permanent residents or citizens of Zimbabwe who are domiciled in Zimbabwe.
“foreign non-governmental organisation” means any association of persons, whether incorporated or unincorporated, that does not consist exclusively of permanent residents or citizens of Zimbabwe who are domiciled in Zimbabwe;
“issues of governance” includes the promotion and protection of human rights and political governance issues;
“local authority” includes such authority as may be prescribed;
“local non-governmental organisation” means any association of persons, whether incorporated or unincorporated, that consists exclusively of permanent residents or citizens of Zimbabwe who are domiciled in Zimbabwe;
“Minister” means the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare or any other Minister to whom the President may, from time to time, assign the administration of this Act;
“non-governmental organisation” means any foreign or local body or association of persons, corporate or unincorporate, or any institution, the objects of which include or are one or more of the following
(a) the provision of all or any of the material, mental, physical or social needs of persons or families;
(b) the rendering of charity to persons or families in distress;
(c) the prevention of social distress or destitution of persons or families;
(d) the provision of assistance in, or promotion of, activities aimed at uplifting the standard of living of persons or families;
(e) the provision of funds for legal aid;
(f) the prevention of cruelty to, or the promotion of the welfare of, animals;
(g) the promotion and protection of human rights and good governance;
(h) the promotion and protection of environmental rights and interests and sustainable development;
(i) such other objects as may be prescribed;
(j) the collection of contributions for any of the foregoing;
but does not include
(i) any international organisation or institution whose privileges, immunities rights and obligations in Zimbabwe are governed by the Privileges and Immunities Act [Chapter 3:03]; or
(ii) any governmental or quasi-governmental organisation or institution whose legal status is that of an instrumentality or arm of any foreign government; or
(iii) any institution or service maintained and controlled by the State or a local authority; or
(iv) any religious body in respect of activities confined to religious work; or
(v) any educational trust approved by the Minister; or
(vi) any body or association of persons, corporate or unincorporate, the benefits from which are exclusively for its own members; or
(vii) any health institution registered under the Health Professions Act [Chapter 27:19], in respect of activities for which it is required to be registered under that Act; or
(viii) any body or association in respect of activities carried on for the benefit of a hospital or nursing home which is approved by the Minister; or
(ix) any political organisation in respect of work confined to political activities; or
(x) the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society established by the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society Act [Chapter 17:08]; or
(xi) such other bodies, associations or institutions as may be prescribed;
“register” means register referred to in section eight;
“Registrar” means the Registrar of Non-governmental Organisations referred to in section eight;
“repealed Act” means the Private Voluntary Organisations Act [Chapter 17:05].
(2) Where contributions are collected from the public in respect of a body or association referred to in subparagraph (vi) or (viii) of the definition of “non-governmental organisation” in subsection (1), whether or not such body or association is formed under any enactment, the provisions of this Act, in so far as they are not inconsistent with any other enactment applicable to such body or association, shall apply to such body or association.
(3) This Act shall apply to every non-governmental organisation as defined in subsection (1) whether or not its legal status within Zimbabwe is subject to any agreement with the State and whether or not its constituent deed or instrument is registered with the High Court or the Deeds Office.
NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS COUNCIL AND REGISTRAR OF NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS
3 Non-governmental Organisations Council
(1) There is hereby established a council to be known as the Non-governmental Organisations Council which shall exercise the functions conferred upon it by this Act.
(2) Subject to this section, the Council shall consist of
(a) five representatives from non-governmental organisations or associations which the Minister considers are representative of non-governmental organisations; and
(b) one representative who shall not be under the level of Under Secretary from each of the following Ministries
(i) the Ministry for which the Minister is responsible;
(ii) the Ministry responsible for health;
(iii) the Ministry responsible for justice;
(iv) the Ministry responsible for finance;
(v) the Ministry responsible for youth and gender affairs;
(vi) the Ministry responsible for foreign affairs;
(vii) the Ministry responsible for local government;
(viii) the Ministry responsible for information and publicity;
(ix) Office of the President and Cabinet;
(c) the Registrar, ex officio.
(3) Members of the Council referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection (2) shall be appointed by the Minister from among persons nominated for that purpose by the appropriate organisation, association or Ministry.
(4) Before making an appointment in terms of subsection (3), the Minister shall call upon the organisation, association or Ministry concerned to nominate such number of persons as the Minister may specify who, in his or her opinion, are suitable and available for appointment as members of the Council:
Provided that the Minister may
(i) appoint a person to be a member of the Council who has not been so nominated and may decline to appoint any person so nominated;
(ii) where he or she has called for nominations in terms of this subsection in respect of any appointment to the Council and no nominations have been made in respect of such appointment within such period as he may determine when calling for such nominations, appoint any person to be a member of the Council whether or not, in his opinion, the person so appointed is able to represent the views of the body whose nominations were called for.
(5) Members of the Council shall be appointed by the Minister for such period, not exceeding three years, as he or she may specify on their appointment.
(6) The Minister shall designate one of the members to be the chairperson of the Council.
4 Functions of the Council
(1) The functions of the Council shall be
(a) subject to this Act, to consider and determine every application for registration and every proposed cancellation or amendment of a certificate of registration; and
(b) to conduct investigations into the administration and activities of non-governmental organisations in terms of section twenty- three and, following such investigations, to hear representations from the organisations and to take such disciplinary or other action as may be appropriate in accordance with that section;
(c) to advise the Minister and registered non-governmental organisations in respect of any matter arising out of the administration or operation of this Act or any other matter referred to it by the Minister or the Registrar;
(d) to promote and encourage the co-ordination of the activities of registered non-governmental organisations having similar or related objects;
(e) to formulate rules for the registration or deregistration of non-governmental organisations;
(f) to formulate a code of conduct for non-governmental organisations; and
(g) to submit to the Minister an annual report concerning the administration and operation of this Act.
(2) The Schedule shall apply to the terms of office, vacation of office, suspension and dismissal of members of the Council, and the procedure to be followed at Council meetings.
5 Funds of Council
(1) The funds of the Council shall consist of
(a) any moneys that may be payable to the Council from moneys appropriated for the purpose by Act of Parliament; and
(b) any loans, donations and grants made to the Council with the approval of the Minister by any person or by any government of any country; and
(c) any fees or charges in respect of any services rendered by the Council in terms of this Act; and
(d) any other moneys that may accrue to the Council, whether in the course of its operations or otherwise.
(2) Moneys not immediately required by the Council may be invested in such manner as the Minister may approve on the recommendation of the Council.
6 Financial year of Council
The financial year of the Council shall be a period of 12 months ending on the 31st December in each year.
7 Accounts and audit of accounts of Council funds
(1) The Council shall ensure that proper accounts and other records relating to such accounts are kept in respect of all the Council’s activities, funds and property, including such particular accounts and records as the Minister may direct.
(2) As soon as possible after the end of each financial year, the Council shall prepare and submit to the Minister a statement of accounts in respect of that financial year or in respect of such other period as the Minister may direct.
(3) The accounts of the Council shall be audited at least once a year by an auditor who is registered as a public auditor in terms of the Public Accountants and Auditors Act [Chapter 27:12].
8 Registrar of non-governmental organisations
(1) There shall be a Registrar of non-governmental organisations who shall be the person for the time being holding the office of Director of Social Welfare in the Ministry responsible for social welfare or any other person performing that function.
(2) Subject to this Act, the Registrar shall maintain at his or her office a Register of non-governmental organisations in which he or she shall enter all such particulars in relation to the registration of non-governmental organisations and their constitutions as he or she is required to enter by or in terms of this Act or any decision or order of a court.
(3) The Register shall be open to inspection during office hours by any member of the public on payment of the prescribed fee, if any.
REGISTRATION OF NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS
9 Non-governmental organisations to be registered
(1) No non-governmental organisation shall
(a) commence or continue to carry on its activities; or
(b) seek financial assistance from any source;
unless it has been registered in respect of the particular object or objects in furtherance of which it is constituted.
(2) No person shall collect contributions from the public except in terms of this Act.
(3) No person shall in any manner take part in the management or control of a non-governmental organisation, knowing that the organisation is contravening subsection (1).
(4) No foreign non-governmental organisation shall be registered if its sole or principal objects involve or include issues of governance.
(5) Any person who contravenes subsection (2) and (3) shall be guilty of an offence and liable
(a) in the case of a contravention of subsection (2) to a fine not exceeding level five or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both such fine and such imprisonment;
(b) in the case of a contravention of subsection (3), to a fine not exceeding level four or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five months or to both such fine and such imprisonment.
(1) The director of any non-governmental organisation which is required to be registered shall lodge with the Registrar in the prescribed manner an application for such registration together with the prescribed application fee and the constitution of the organisation.
(2) Every application shall include the following information relating to the organisation
(a) the names, nationality and addresses of its promoters;
(b) its sources of funding;
(c) its plan of action or projected activities for the next three years.
(3) The constitution of every non-governmental organisation shall include the following
(a) the name of the organisation;
(b) the organisation’s objects;
(c) the powers of the organisation;
(d) the organisational structure and mechanisms for its governance;
(e) the procedure for convening meetings;
(f) the terms and conditions of office bearers and the removal of such office bearers from office;
(g) the procedure for resolving disputes;
(h) the procedure for amending the constitution;
(i) the procedure for dissolving or winding up the organisation and the manner of disposal of its assets upon dissolution;
(j) disclosure provisions for all foreign donations to the organisations;
(k) any other matter which the Council may prescribe.
(4) A non-governmental organisation shall, within 30 days of lodging an application in terms of subsection (1), publish at its own expense in a national newspaper or a newspaper circulating in the area concerned a notice containing the prescribed information and shall submit proof to the Registrar that such notice has been published.
(5) Any person may within 60 days or such other period as may be prescribed, lodge with the Registrar an objection to the grant of the application, setting out the grounds on which such objection is made, and the Registrar shall submit any such objection to the Council for consideration.
(6) The Registrar may at any time before the application is determined by the Council require any non-governmental organisation which has applied for registration to supply any further information in connection with its application which he may deem necessary.
(7) Where the Registrar is satisfied that the requirements referred to in subsections (1), (2), (3), (4) and (5) have been complied with, he or she shall submit the application, together with the constitution of the organisation, any objection to the grant of the application and any further information supplied in connection with the application to the Council and the Council may
(a) after considering the application, grant it and direct the Registrar to issue to the organisation concerned a certificate of registration subject to such conditions as the Council may impose; or
(b) reject the application if it appears to the Council that the organisation is not operating bona fide in furtherance of the objects stated in its application for registration.
(8) Where the Council rejects an application for registration wholly or in part, the Registrar shall notify the applicant organisation of the rejection, and inform it of the grounds upon which the rejection was based.
(9) The registration of an organisation under this section and the objects in respect of which it has been registered shall be published by the Registrar in the Gazette.
(10) Where a registered non-governmental organisation wishes to change its name or add to or alter any of the objects in respect of which it is registered, the director thereof shall apply to the Registrar for the certificate of registration thereof to be amended accordingly; and the provisions of this section shall apply, with necessary changes, as if such application were an application for registration.
(11) Every non-governmental organisation which is registered in terms of this Act shall
(a) pay an annual registration fee as may be prescribed; and
(b) receive an annual registration certificate.
11 Cancellation or amendment of certificate
(1) The Council may at any time cancel any certificate of registration
(a) on the ground that the organisation has ceased to operate bona fide in furtherance of the objects for which it is registered; or
(b) if any remuneration or reward, which in the Council’s opinion is excessive in relation to the total value of the contributions received by the organisation concerned, is retained or received by any person other than a person for whose benefit the contributions were intended; or
(c) if the organisation fails to comply with any condition of its registration; or
(d) if the organisation ceases to function as a non-governmental organisation; or
(e) if the Council considers that the objects in respect of which the organisation was registered are merely ancillary or incidental to the other objects of the organisation; or
(f) if the organisation fails to submit to the Registrar a report or return which it was required to submit in terms of section sixteen, and fails to rectify the default within three months after being requested to do so by the Registrar; or
(g) if the organisation is found guilty of maladministration in terms of section twenty-three.
(2) The Council may at any time direct the Registrar to amend a certificate of registration
(a) for the purpose of correcting any error therein or by varying the conditions attaching thereto; or
(b) by the deletion therefrom of any of the objects in respect of which the organisation in question was registered, if in the opinion of the Council the organisation is no longer bona fide operating in furtherance of such objects.
(3) Before cancelling or amending a certificate of registration in terms of subsection (1) or (2) the Council shall cause the director of the non-governmental organisation concerned to be notified, in writing of the proposed cancellation or amendment and of the reasons for it, and shall afford the organisation a reasonable opportunity to make representations in the matter.
(4) If the director of a non-governmental organisation receives a written request from the Registrar to lodge with him for the purposes of cancellation or amendment any certificate of registration granted to such organisation and, without reasonable excuse, fails to comply therewith within 90 days of the receipt of such request, he shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level three or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two months or to both such fine and such imprisonment.
(5) The cancellation of a certificate of registration under this section or the deletion therefrom of any of the objects in respect of which the organisation in question was registered, shall be published by the Registrar in the Gazette and shall take effect as from the date mentioned in such publication, whether or not the certificate has been lodged with the Registrar in compliance with a request made under subsection (4).
12 Non-governmental organisations not to carry on activities except under registered name
(1) No registered non-governmental organisation shall
(a) carry on its activities; or
(b) seek financial assistance from any source; or
(c) collect contributions from the public;
under a name other than the name under which it is registered.
(2) Any person who in any manner takes part in the management or control of a registered non-governmental organisation, knowing that such organisation is contravening the provisions of subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level four or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three months or to both such fine and such imprisonment.
13 Surrender of registration certificate
The director of a registered non-governmental organisation may surrender to the Registrar the certificate of registration thereof, and the Registrar may thereupon accept the surrender subject to such of the prescribed conditions as the Registrar may impose.
14 Restoration of cancelled or surrendered certificate
Upon the application of the director of a non-governmental organisation the certificate of registration whereof has been cancelled or surrendered, the Registrar may grant to the organisation a fresh certificate of registration and section ten shall apply, with necessary changes, in connection with an application for, and the granting of, a certificate of registration under this section.
(1) Any non-governmental organisation which is aggrieved by any decision of the Council relating to the rejection, either wholly or in part, of an application for registration or to the cancellation, amendment, surrender or restoration of a certificate of registration may appeal against that decision to the Minister.
(2) The Minister may confirm the decision of the Council or, subject to this Act, give such other decision as in his opinion the Council ought to have given, and may instruct the Council to do everything necessary to give effect to his decision.
ADMINISTRATION OF NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS
16 Books, accounts, records, etc.
(1) The director of every registered non-governmental organisation shall be responsible for ensuring that books, accounts and records are kept to the satisfaction of the Registrar and shall within two months after the end of each financial year render to the Registrar the prescribed reports and returns and such additional information as may be required by the Registrar.
(2) Every registered non-governmental organisation shall have an annual budget showing the details of its expenditure and proceeds, including income, accruals and donations from local and foreign sources.
17 Funding of local non-governmental organisations
No local non-governmental organisation shall receive any foreign funding or donation to carry out activities involving or including issues of governance.
18 Registered address
(1) Every registered non-governmental organisation shall have a registered address in Zimbabwe.
(2) Notice of any change of the registered address shall be given within twenty-one days thereof to the Registrar.
19 Branch committees
(1) Every registered non-governmental organisation which conducts its operations wholly or partly through branches established and functioning under the control and direction thereof shall constitute a committee for every such branch and the said organisation shall grant to every such branch a letter of delegation in the prescribed form and subject to the prescribed conditions.
(2) Upon the cancellation or surrender of a certificate of registration issued to a non-governmental organisation, any delegation granted thereby to any branch thereof shall automatically lapse.
20 Branches not controlled by non-governmental organisation
The Registrar, after consultation with the Council, may determine that any branch of a non-governmental organisation which is not subject to the control and direction of that organisation shall, for the purposes of this Act, be deemed to be an independent and separate non-governmental organisation.
21 Audit of accounts
The director of every non-governmental organisation shall, within three months after the end of each financial year of that organisation, cause an account of its expenditure and revenue for that financial year to be audited by an auditor registered as a public auditor in terms of the Public Accountants and Auditors Act [Chapter 27:12]:
Provided that if the Council is satisfied that the financial position of a non-governmental organisation is such that the employment of such an auditor is not justified he may, subject to such conditions as he may determine, authorise the appointment of some other person to audit the accounts.
22 Inspections and examination of accounts
(1) The Minister may appoint any officer in the Public Service as an inspecting officer
(a) to inspect any aspect of the affairs or activities of any non-governmental organisation and to examine all documents relating thereto;
(b) to examine the books, accounts and other documents relating to the financial affairs of any non-governmental organisation;
and to report thereon to the Registrar.
(2) The Council shall ensure that every inspecting officer is provided with an identity document identifying him or her as an inspecting officer and he or she shall, on request by any person affected by the exercise of his or her powers under this Act, produce the identity document issued in terms of this subsection.
(3) For the purpose of any inspection or examination in terms of subsection (1), an inspecting officer may
(a) by notice under his hand, delivered to the person concerned personally or sent to him by post, require any person to produce to him any book or other document which has any bearing on the subject of the inspection, examination or audit; and
(b) retain for a reasonable period any book or document produced to him by virtue of a notice under this subsection or voluntarily by any person.
(4) Any person who, having received notice under subsection (3), fails to produce any book or document referred to in subsection (3) which he may be able to produce, shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level four or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three months or to both such fine and such imprisonment.
(5) Any person who
(a) wilfully hinders or obstructs an inspecting officer in the exercise of his functions in terms of this Act; or
(b) falsely holds himself out to be an inspecting officer;
shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level five or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding four months or to both such fine and such imprisonment.
23 Investigations by Council
(1) In this section
(a) theft or misappropriation of the funds or property of a non-governmental organisation; or
(b) any improper conduct on the part of an officer, employee or member of the executive committee of a non-governmental organisation which
(i) prevents the organisation from carrying out the objects for which it was registered; or
(ii) would justify the cancellation of the organisation’s certificate of registration in terms of section eleven;
(c) any contravention of any provision of a code of conduct as may be prescribed.
(2) If the Registrar has reasonable grounds to suspect that there is or has been maladministration in a registered non-governmental organisation, the Registrar may institute an investigation into the organisation’s activities.
(3) The Minister, at the request of the Chairperson of the Council, may appoint an inspecting officer under section twenty-two for the purposes of an investigation under subsection (2) and that section shall apply, with necessary changes, to the conduct of such investigation.
(4) The Council shall ensure that anyone whose conduct is being investigated under this section is given a reasonable opportunity to explain that conduct.
(5) If, after an investigation under this section, the Council finds that there is or has been maladministration in the non-governmental organisation concerned, the Council may take any one or more of the following courses of action
(a) censure any Director, office-bearer, officer or employee of the organisation;
(b) direct the organisation’s executive committee to take such measures as the Council may specify to ensure that maladministration does not recur;
(c) subject to section eleven, cancel or amend the organisation’s certificate of registration;
(d) if the Council considers that the maladministration may constitute an offence, report the matter to the police;
(e) if the Council considers that the maladministration warrants the suspension of all or any of the members of the organisation’s executive committee, refer the matter to the Minister:
Provided that, before taking any action in terms of paragraph (a), (b), (c) or (e), the Council shall ensure that the organisation and every Director, office-bearer, officer or employee of the organisation directly affected by the action is given a reasonable opportunity to make representations in the matter.
(6) Any person who is aggrieved by any action taken by the Council in terms of paragraph (a), (b), (c) or (e) of subsection (5) may appeal against it to the Minister.
(7) An appeal under subsection (6) shall be lodged in writing with the Minister within thirty days after the appellant is notified of the Council’s action, and shall specify the grounds of the appeal.
(8) On an appeal under subsection (6), the Minister may, after making such investigation as he or she considers necessary and giving the Council and the appellant a reasonable opportunity to make representations in the matter, confirm, vary or set aside the Council’s action or make such other order in the matter as he considers appropriate.
(9) An appeal shall lie to the Administrative Court against any decision of the Minister made in terms of subsection (8).
(10) An appeal in terms of subsection (9) shall be made in the form and manner and within the period prescribed in the rules of court.
(11) In an appeal in terms of subsection (9), the Administrative Court may confirm, vary or set aside the decision appealed against and may make such order, whether as to costs or otherwise, as the Court thinks fit.
24 Suspension of executive committee and appointment of trustees
(1) Where the Council, in terms of paragraph (e) of subsection (5) of section twenty-three, has referred to the Minister the question of suspending all or any of the members of the executive committee of a registered non-governmental organisation, the Minister shall without delay conduct such investigation into the matter as he considers necessary and, if he is satisfied that
(a) there is or has been serious maladministration in the organisation; and
(b) it is in the public interest for all or any of the members of the organisation’s executive committee to be suspended;
the Minister may, by written notice to the director of the organisation and every committee member concerned, suspend the member or members from exercising all or any of their functions:
Provided that, before doing so, the Minister shall ensure that the director of the organisation and every committee member concerned is notified of the proposed action and of the reasons for it, and is given a reasonable opportunity to make representations in the matter.
(2) the Minister may at any time revoke a suspension in terms of subsection (1).
(3) Where the Minister has suspended members of the executive committee of a registered non-governmental organisation in terms of subsection (1) from exercising all their functions, and the suspension has not been revoked within thirty days, the member’s office shall thereupon become vacant.
(4) Where the Minister has suspended some but not all the members of the executive committee of a registered non-governmental organisation and has not revoked the suspension within thirty days, the remaining members shall forthwith call for the appointment or election of new members in accordance with the constitution of the organisation.
(5) Where all the members of the executive committee of a non-governmental organisation have been suspended, the Minister may appoint two or more persons as trustees to institute procedures for the appointment or election of a new executive committee and to run the organisation’s affairs pending such appointment or election.
(6) Subject to the Minister’s directions, trustees appointed under subsection (5) shall have all the powers of the executive committee of the non-governmental organisation concerned.
(7) The office of a trustee appointed under subsection (5) shall terminate as soon as the vacant offices on the executive committee of the non-governmental organisation concerned have been filled.
(8) An appeal shall lie to the Administrative Court against decision of the Minister made in terms of subsection (5).
(9) An appeal in terms of subsection (8) shall be made in the form and manner and within the period prescribed in the rules of court.
(10) In an appeal in terms of subsection (8), the Administrative Court may confirm, vary or set aside the decision appealed against and may make such order, whether as to costs or otherwise, as the court thinks fit.
25 Registrar may adjudicate disputes within non-governmental organisation
The Registrar or any officer delegated by him, may adjudicate disputes between members of a non-governmental organisation at the invitation of the executive committee of a non-governmental organisation or of a general meeting of members of the organisation as provided under the organisation’s constitution.
26 General offences and penalties
(1) Any person who
(a) collects or attempts to collect or instructs another person to collect or attempt to collect any contribution in furtherance of any of the objects mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (j) of the definition of “non-governmental organisation” in section two, except where the collection is
(i) on behalf of and with the authority of a registered non-governmental organisation; or
(ii) on behalf of any body, association, institution, or service excluded from that definition by subparagraphs (i) to (x) thereof; or
(b) collects or attempts to collect or instructs another person to collect or attempt to collect any contribution for or on behalf of an unregistered non-governmental organisation;
shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level five or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding four months or to both such fine and such imprisonment.
(2) Any person who falsely represents or causes or permits any other person falsely to represent to any member of the public that he is associated with a non-governmental organisation shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level four or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three months or to both such fine and such imprisonment.
(3) Any person who, is or in connection with
(a) any application for the registration of a non-governmental organisation or the exemption of such an organisation under section 10; or
(b) any application for the registration of the alteration of the name of a registered non-governmental organisation;
makes a statement or submits information that is false or misleading in a material particular, not having reasonable grounds for believing the statement or information to be true, shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level five or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding four months or to both such fine and such imprisonment.
(4) Any person who becomes, continues to be or acts in the capacity of an office-bearer or officer of a non-governmental organisation within five years after having been convicted under the law of Zimbabwe or of any foreign country of any offence involving dishonesty shall be guilty of an offence.
5) Any person who is guilty of an offence in terms of subsection (4) shall be liable to a fine not exceeding level five or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding four months or to both such fine and such imprisonment.
(6) For the purposes of subsection (4)
“office-bearer”, in relation to a non-governmental organisation, means a member of the governing body of
(a) that organisation; or
(b) any branch, section or committee of that organisation; or
(c) any local, regional or subsidiary body forming part of that organisation;
“officer”, in relation to a non-governmental organisation, means any person employed by that organisation or any branch, section or committee thereof or by any local, regional or subsidiary body forming part of that organisation, whether or not he or she receives any remuneration or reward for such work.
27 Evidence and presumption
(1) A certificate purporting to be signed by or on behalf of the Registrar and stating whether or not a non-governmental organisation is registered under this Act shall be admissible as evidence in any court on its production by any person, and shall be prima facie proof of the matters stated therein.
(2) If in a prosecution for an offence under subsection (2) of section twenty-six
(a) it is alleged that the organisation which the accused person represented himself or was represented to be associated was not in existence at the time the offence is alleged to have been committed; and
(b) a certificate is produced to the court by any person which purports to have been signed by the Registrar and states that at the time of the alleged offence no such non-governmental organisation was registered under this Act or had applied for registration;
it shall be presumed unless the contrary is proved that the organisation was not in existence at that time.
28 Contributions unlawfully collected
(1) The Minister may, by order in writing under his hand
(a) direct any person holding or having the control of any money, securities or other property, representing any contributions collected contrary to this Act, to retain the possession or control thereof until a further order in regard thereto is made by him;
(b) direct any person holding or having control of any money, securities or property such as are mentioned in paragraph (a)
(i) to return to every contributor who is known the money, securities or property contributed by such contributor and to transfer or deliver the balance, if any, to the Minister, and to supply proof to the Minister of having complied with such order; or
(ii) to transfer or deliver such money, securities or property to the Minister, and thereupon the Minister shall return to every contributor who is known the money, securities or property contributed by such contributor.
(2) Any money, securities or property which cannot be returned to the contributor in terms of subsection (1) or which were received from any unidentified contributor shall be paid into the Guardian’s Fund for the account of such contributor and shall be dealt with in accordance with the Administration of Estates Act [Chapter 6:01].
(3) Any person who contravenes or fails to comply with an order in terms of subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level four or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three months or to both such fine and such imprisonment.
29 Minister may dissolve certain non-governmental organisations
(1) Where a non-governmental organisation ceases to operate and the persons responsible in terms of its constitution for dissolving the organisation fail or are unable to dissolve it within six months thereafter, the Minister may dissolve the organisation on their behalf and shall dispose of the assets of the organisation in accordance with its constitution if it ceases to function and the persons responsible in terms of its constitution.
(2) The Minister shall ensure that before any organisation is dissolved in terms of subsection (1), it is notified of the proposed action and of the reasons for it, and is given a reasonable opportunity to make representations in the matter.
(3) An appeal shall lie to the Administrative Court against the decision of the Minister made in terms of subsection (1).
(4) An appeal in terms of subsection (3) shall be made in the form and manner and within the period prescribed in the rules of court.
(5) In an appeal in terms of subsection (3), the Administrative Court may confirm, vary or set aside the decision appealed against and may make such order, whether as to costs or otherwise, as the court thinks fit.
30 Disposal of assets of non-governmental organisations
Upon the dissolution of a non-governmental organisation, whether in terms of section twenty-nine or voluntarily or otherwise, its assets shall be distributed and disposed of as provided for in its constitution, and any surplus remaining thereafter shall vest in the State as bona vacantia.
(1) The Minister may make regulations providing for
(a) the form of any application, authority, certificate, notice, order or register to be made, given, issued or kept under this Act and any other form which may be required in carrying out this Act;
(b) the books, accounts and records to be kept by non-governmental organisations and the manner in which they shall be kept;
(c) the procedure to be followed on the dissolution of a non-governmental organisation and the manner in which its assets shall be disposed of;
(d) the circumstances under and the conditions upon which contributions may be collected by one
non-governmental organisation on behalf of another non-governmental organisation;
(e) the manner in which persons shall be authorised by registered non-governmental organisations to collect contributions on their behalf;
(f) a non-governmental organisations operation manual;
(g) any other matter which in terms of this Act is required or permitted to be prescribed;
and generally for the better carrying out of the objects and purposes of this Act.
(2) Regulations made in terms of subsection (1) may provide penalties for contraventions thereof, but no such penalty shall exceed a fine of level four or imprisonment for a period of three months or both such fine and such imprisonment.
32 Transitional provision
Every non-governmental organisation which, immediately before the date of commencement of this Act was lawfully registered as a private voluntary organisation under the repealed Act shall be deemed to be registered as a non-governmental organisation under this Act.
33 Repeal and savings
(1) The Private Voluntary Organisations Act [Chapter 17:05] is repealed.
(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1) any statutory instrument which immediately before the fixed date was in force under the repealed Act; shall remain in force as if it had been made under this Act.
SCHEDULE (Section 4)
PROVISIONS APPLICABLE TO NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS COUNCIL MEMBERS
1. Disqualification for appointment to Council.
2. Vacation of office by member.
3. Dismissal or suspension of members.
4. Filling of vacancies on Council.
5. Meetings and procedure of Council.
6. Remuneration and allowances of members of the Council.
7. Validity of decisions and acts of Council.
8. Minutes of proceedings of Council.
Disqualification for appointment to Council
1 (1) The Minister shall not appoint a person as a member and no person shall be qualified to hold office as a member who
(a) is not a citizen of Zimbabwe; or
(b) has, in terms of a law in force in any country
(i) been adjudged or otherwise declared insolvent or bankrupt and has not been rehabilitated or discharged; or
(ii) made an assignment to, or arrangement or composition with, his creditors which has not been rescinded or set aside; or
(c) has, within a period of five years immediately preceding the date of his or her proposed appointment, been convicted
(i) in Zimbabwe, of an offence; or
(ii) outside Zimbabwe, in respect of conduct which, committed in Zimbabwe, would constitute an offence;
and sentenced to a term of imprisonment exceeding six months imposed without the option of a fine, whether or not any portion has been suspended, and has not received a free pardon.
(2) A person who is
(a) a member of Parliament; or
(b) a member of two or more other statutory bodies;
shall not be appointed as a member of the Council, nor shall he or she be qualified to hold office as a member.
(3) For the purposes of subparagraph (b) of subparagraph (2) a person who is appointed to a council, board or other authority which is a statutory body or which is responsible for the administration of the affairs of a statutory body shall be regarded as a member of that statutory body.
Vacation of office by member
2. A member shall vacate his or her office and his or her office shall become vacant
(a) three months after the date upon which he or she gives notice in writing to the Minister of his intention to resign, or on the expiry of such other period of notice as he or she and the Minister may agree; or
(b) on the date he or she begins to serve a sentence of imprisonment without the option of a fine
(i) in Zimbabwe, in respect of an offence; or
(ii) outside Zimbabwe, in respect of conduct which, if committed in Zimbabwe, would constitute an offence; or
(c) if he or she becomes disqualified in terms of subparagraph (a), (b) or (c) of subparagraph (1) of paragraph 1 or in terms of subparagraph (2) of that paragraph, to hold office as a member; or
(d) if he or she is required in terms of paragraph 3 to vacate office.
Dismissal or suspension of member
3 (1) The Minister may require a member to vacate his or her office if the member
(a) has, subject to subparagraph (3), been found to have conducted himself or herself in a manner that renders him or her unsuitable as a member; or
(b) has failed to comply with any term or condition of his or her office fixed by the Minister in terms of this Act.
(c) is mentally or physically incapable of efficiently carrying out his or her functions as a member; or
(d) has been absent without the permission of the Council from two consecutive meetings of the Council of which he or she was given at least seven days’ notice, and there was no just cause for the member’s absence.
(2) The Minister may suspend a member
(a) whom he or she suspects on reasonable grounds of having been guilty of conduct referred to in subparagraph (a) of subparagraph (1); or
(b) against whom criminal proceedings have been instituted for an offence in respect of which a sentence of imprisonment without option of a fine may be imposed;
and while that member is so suspended he or she shall not carry out any functions as a member.
(3) A member suspended in terms of subparagraph (a) of subparagraph (2) shall be given notice in writing of the grounds for the suspension and may, within fourteen days of being so notified, make written representations to the Minister showing cause why no finding of misconduct rendering him or her unsuitable to be a member of the Council should be made.
(4) The Minister shall require a member suspended in terms of subparagraph (a) of subparagraph (2) to vacate his or her office if
(a) no representation are made by the member in terms of subparagraph (3); or
(b) the Minister finds that, notwithstanding representations made in terms of subparagraph (3), the member is guilty of the misconduct alleged.
Filling of vacancies on Council
4. On the death of, or vacation of office by, a member, the Minister may appoint a qualified person to fill the vacancy.
Meetings and procedure of Council
5 (1) The Council shall hold its first meeting on such date and at such place as the Minister may fix, and thereafter the Council shall meet for the dispatch of business as often as is necessary or expedient and, subject to this paragraph, may adjourn, close and otherwise regulate its meetings and procedure as it thinks fit:
Provided the Council shall meet at least three times in each year.
(2) The chairperson of the Council
(a) may at any time convene a special meeting of the Council; and
(b) shall convene a special meeting of the Council on a written request of
(i) the Minister, within such period as the Minister may specify; or
(ii) not fewer than two members not later than 14 days after his or her receipt of such request.
(3) Written notice of any special meeting convened in terms of subparagraph (2) shall be sent to each member not later than seven days before the meeting and shall specify the business for which the meeting has been convened:
Provided that if, in the opinion of the chairperson or the Minister, as the case may be, the urgency of the business for which the meeting is to be convened so requires, notice of not less than fourty-eight hours may be given.
(4) No business shall be discussed at a special meeting convened in terms of subparagraph (2) other than
(a) such business as may be determined by the chairperson of the Council, where the chairperson of the Council has convened the meeting in terms of subparagraph (a) of subparagraph (2); or
(b) the business specified in the request for the meeting, where the chairperson of the Council has convened the meeting in terms of subparagraph (b) of subparagraph (2).
(5) The chairperson or, in his absence, the vice-chairperson shall preside at all meetings of the Council:
Provided that, if the chairperson and the vice-chairperson are both absent from a meeting of the Council, the members present may elect one of their number to preside at that meeting as chairperson.
(6) Eight members shall form a quorum at any meeting of the Council.
(7) All acts, matters or things authorised or required to be done by the Council may be decided by a majority vote at a meeting of the Council at which a quorum is present.
(8) At all meetings of the Council each member present shall have one vote on each question before the Council and, in the event of an equality of votes, the chairperson shall have a casting vote in addition to a deliberative vote.
(9) Any proposal circulated among all members and agreed to in writing by a majority of all members shall have the same effect as a resolution passed at a duly constituted meeting of the Council and shall be incorporated in the minutes of the next succeeding meeting of the Council:
Provided that if a member requires that such proposal be placed before a meeting of the Council, this subparagraph shall not apply to such proposal.
(10) For the better exercise of its functions, the Council may establish committees in which it may vest such of its functions as it thinks fit:
Provided that the vesting of a function in a committee shall not prevent the Council itself from exercising that function, and the Council may amend or rescind any decision of the committee in the exercise of that function.
(11) Subparagraphs (2) to (9) shall apply with necessary changes, to committees and its members as they apply to the Council and its members.
Remuneration and expenses of members
6. Members of the Council shall be paid
(a) such remuneration, if any, as the Minister may, from time to time, fix for members generally; and
(b) such allowances, if any, as the Minister may, from time to time, fix to meet any reasonable expenses incurred by members in connection with the business of the Council.
Validity of decisions and acts of Council
7. No decision or act of the Council or act done under the authority of the Council shall be invalid on the ground that
(a) the Council consisted of fewer than the minimum number of persons prescribed; or
(b) a disqualified person acted as a member of the Council at the time the decision was taken or act was done or authorised:
Provided that the Council shall ratify any such decision or action as soon as possible after it becomes aware that the decision or action was taken in the circumstances described in subparagraph (a) or (b).
Minutes of proceedings of Council
8 (1) The Council shall cause minutes of all proceedings of and decisions taken at every meeting of the Council to be entered in books kept for the purpose.
(2) Any minutes referred to in subparagraph (1) which purport to be signed by the chairperson of the meeting to which the minutes relate or by the chairperson of the next following meeting of the Council shall be accepted for all purposes as prima facie evidence of the proceedings of and decisions taken at the meeting concerned.
(3) The Council shall cause copies of all minutes that have been signed as provided in subparagraph (2) to be sent without delay to the Minister for his information.
Africa: Changing configurations of migration in Africa
Migration in Africa is dynamic and extremely complex. This is reflected in the feminization of migration, diversification of migration destinations, transformation of labour flows into commercial migration, and brain drain from the region. Completing this picture are trafficking in human beings, the changing map of refugee flows, and the increasing role of regional economic organizations in fostering free flows of labour.
Africa: International migration in Africa: An analysis based on estimates of the migrant stock
An analysis of international migration in Africa poses a challenge. The continent has 56 countries or areas, 53 of which are independent states. The possibilities of international population exchanges among such a large number of units are ample. Furthermore, the dynamics of international migration movements in Africa continues to be coloured by the continent's history of colonization, when colonial powers imposed arbitrary borders that often divided people belonging to the same tribal or ethnic group.
Angola: Govt needs to meet its commitment, WFP
Angola's recovery after decades of war is being threatened by a lack of funding support from both the government and the international community for assisting returning refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), the World Food Programme (WFP) has warned. With nearly 4 million refugees and IDPs having either returned to their home areas or settled in new areas, the focus has shifted to the re-establishment of livelihoods, noted Dawn Blalock of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Luanda. "This process is still far from complete," she said, explaining that returnees needed support while trying to re-establish themselves in their homeland.
Ethiopia: Gambella families in need of support - Oxfam
Families forced to flee violence in western Ethiopia need more humanitarian support to help them rebuild their shattered lives, Oxfam America urged. Hundreds of people were reported killed in communal fighting that flared up in December in Gambella, western Ethiopia, and continued during the early part of this year, government officials said. As many as 15,000 were reported to have fled to neighbouring Sudan. The fighting, which was sparked by an attack on a vehicle in which eight government workers were killed, fuelled existing tensions between ethnic groups in the area.
South Africa: SA police 'as cruel as Mugabe's militia', says refugee
Memory Moyo witnessed the horror of her village being burnt and destroyed by President Robert Mugabe's notorious youth militias. She decided to flee Zimbabwe after fighting off several attempts to rape her. In South Africa, she had hoped the income earned from plaiting women's hair would allow her the basics of survival. But now the 19-year-old Moyo says her life in Johannesburg has become "hell on earth" thanks to the South Africa Police Service (SAPS).
Sudan: Thousands flee new Darfur clashes
More than 3,000 people have fled renewed violence in Sudan's troubled Darfur province in the past few days, the United Nations says. It was not clear who was behind the latest fighting near the town of Zam Zam in North Darfur, a UN report said. Last week, the UN said that the Sudan government had failed to stop the Arab Janjaweed militias from attacking black African villagers in Darfur. More than a million people have fled their homes in the past 18 months.
Zimbabwe: A hidden displacement crisis
Internal displacement in Zimbabwe has been caused by various internal and external factors that have since the late 1990s assured the country’s severe economic and social decline. Population movements have become an increasingly visible and common reality against a backdrop of political violence and a critical humanitarian situation.
Africa: Optimism ahead of PAP session
Gertrude Mongella, the president of the Pan African Parliament (PAP), says she is looking to establish an organisation that meets the aspirations of the African people. Speaking in Johannesburg, Mongella said she hopes to put together an organ that promotes unity among Africans and also help its people move forward.
Burundi: Tutsis boycott Burundi cabinet
Ministers from Burundi's leading Tutsi parties have boycotted a cabinet meeting called to discuss the drafting of a new constitution. Last month, the Uprona party and its nine allies refused to sign a South African-brokered power-sharing deal, to form the basis of the constitution. They want further dialogue about power-sharing between Hutus and Tutsis, who make up 15% of the population. Without a new constitution, elections due by 31 October cannot go ahead.
East Africa: Pan-African Movement statement on integration of East African states
"Political Federation would make a critical difference, ushering in a fundamental integration of East African states. At the Pan African Movement, we remain more convinced than ever before that integration must be a central component in Africa’s response to an unfair world economic and trading system, which is heavily weighted against the vital interests of African people. To integrate is a question of not just development, but of the very survival of African people."
The Global Pan African Movement Secretariat in Kampala has today 3rd September 2004 hosted a Press Conference on the very urgent and important matter of the East African Federation. Director of Political Affairs K.David Mafabi who issued the statement herebelow, addressed the Conference:
3rd September 2004
STATEMENT ON THE EAST AFRICAN FEDERATION:
The Global Pan African Movement Secretariat most warmly welcomes the decision of the leaders of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania to accelerate progress towards the East African Federation. Warmest congratulations to their Excellencies Presidents Yoweri Museveni, Mwai Kibaki and Benjamin Mkapa on a timely, bold and courageous decision-a decision of great historical proportion which is going to change the face of Africa.
In their Nairobi summit last week, the three leaders decided to establish a three-member committee to look into ways and means of fast tracking political federation, and to report back to them by end of November.
Political Federation would make a critical difference, ushering in a fundamental integration of East African states. At the Pan African Movement, we remain more convinced than ever before that integration must be a central component in Africa’s response to an unfair world economic and trading system, which is heavily weighted against the vital interests of African people. To integrate is a question of not just development, but of the very survival of African people.
We call on the people of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania to support the leaders in their effort to deepen the integration processes in the East African Community. It is not going to be an easy journey, but it is one that must be undertaken.
We further call on the African Union and its other Regional Economic Communities to support the building of the East African Federation, and to draw appropriate lessons on the absolute necessity of developing other federations elsewhere on the African Motherland.
The Global Pan African Movement Secretariat pledges to vigorously join Presidents Museveni, Kibaki and Mkapa in the mobilization of our people for an expeditious realization of the East African Federation.
Africa Mama Yetu! The struggle continues!
Director, Political Affairs,
Global Pan African Movement Secretariat,
Guinea: Relatives demand release of 10 political detainees
The families of 10 civilian political detainees who have been held without trial for the past nine months have submitted a petition to Guinean Justice Minister Mamadou Sylla demanding the prisoners' immediate release. The 10 men, who are mainly civil servants and businessmen with no background of involvement in politics, were arrested in December last year. They were detained following the arrest of dozens of military officers in November in connection with a suspected coup plot against President Lansana Conte.
Somalia: New parliament amidst enormous challenges
The swearing-in of Somalia's transitional parliament on 22 August in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, and the first meeting of the MPs days later may have gone smoothly, but the real challenges facing the war-ravaged Horn of Africa country have just begun, analysts say. "History is littered with dishonoured Somali peace accords. In fact, no major international peace initiative for Somalia has ever failed to produce one," Matt Bryden, an analyst for the International Crisis Group (ICG) said.
South Africa: Public sector unions prepare to strike
South African unions for nurses, teachers and police are preparing for a strike on September 16 after rejecting a government wage offer, union leaders said on Tuesday. The strike could involve up to 800,000 public sector employees, making it the largest among civil servants in South Africa since August 1999.
Swaziland: New economic growth strategy, but no political reform
Prime Minister Themba Dlamini outlined the Swazi government's new economic growth strategy in parliament on Wednesday, and also touched on international concerns over democratic reform. The premier called for a programme to improve environmental management, and said a land policy had been developed and was awaiting approval.
Zimbabwe: Food - the key to absolute power
It was none other than Robert Mugabe who once remarked that “absolute power is when a man is starving and you are the only one able to give him food”. Zimbabwe and the world should take note that he and his party are in deadly earnest about demonstrating the truth of this maxim. The suffering which will be inflicted upon millions in the process does not deter him – or them – for one moment. It is a price they are more than willing to pay in pursuit of that hold on absolute power. With the looming 2005 parliamentary poll already casting a deep shadow across the nation, ZANU PF has positioned itself to take total control of the food procurement, storage and distribution process, reports Sokwanele, an online activist website focusing on Zimbabwe.
Enough is Enough
PROMOTING NON-VIOLENT PRINCIPLES TO ACHIEVE DEMOCRACY
We have a fundamental right to freedom of expression!
29 August 2004
It was none other than Robert Mugabe who once remarked that “absolute power is when a man is starving and you are the only one able to give him food”. Zimbabwe and the world should take note that he and his party are in deadly earnest about demonstrating the truth of this maxim. The suffering which will be inflicted upon millions in the process does not deter him – or them – for one moment. It is a price they are more than willing to pay in pursuit of that hold on absolute power.
With the looming 2005 parliamentary poll already casting a deep shadow across the nation, ZANU PF has positioned itself to take total control of the food procurement, storage and distribution process. To this end the massive famine relief operation of the World Food Programme – to which over six million Zimbabweans already owe their lives – has been closed down summarily by ministerial decree, and NGO’s ordered to cease their feeding schemes with immediate effect. And all this despite the dire state of the country’s own agricultural industry, now reeling under the effects of the chaotic fast-track land resettlement programme, and clearly unable to provide for the nation’s food requirements.
In order to hide from its own people and from the world the enormity of what it is doing, the regime has been forced to stifle the free flow of information about the food situation. Hence the abrupt termination of the WFP food security survey and hence the deliberate plan of disinformation put into effect by the regime’s own propaganda agents. This policy of disinformation was launched with the biggest lie of all, broadcast to the world by Robert Mugabe himself, that Zimbabwe was on its way to producing a bumper harvest this year – a grain surplus which would render any further food aid unnecessary. Mugabe’s lie has thus become the benchmark to which those colluding with him in this massive deception, notably Joseph Made and Jonathan Moyo, have to work. Their task, to which they have devoted themselves with the usual enthusiasm, is to produce the “smoke and mirrors” which distort the appalling reality and justify the decision to send the international food donors on their way.
Zimbabweans surely have a right to know the true position concerning the food security situation on which their lives ultimately depend, but that information is now being deliberately suppressed. In the past information about the food supplies was freely available, but as Zimconsult, a group of independent economic and planning consultants, say in their report entitled “Famine in Zimbabwe” (April 2004) “in the current situation of policy-induced food scarcity and the militarization of the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), the public is deliberately denied access to information”. Hence the nation has not been informed how much food was produced in the 2002/3 season, what quantities the GMB purchased, or the current status of cereal stocks in the country. And when the official records of Bulawayo City’s Health Department show that already this year more than 150 people have died as a direct result of food shortages in this urban area alone – surely the tip of the iceberg – the regime’s propaganda machine goes into overdrive to rubbish the story.
Yet as Abraham Lincoln once so wisely remarked “you cannot fool all the people all the time”. No matter what efforts are made to suppress the truth it has a habit of coming out eventually, and in this case sooner rather than later. Already there are clear signs of where the truth lies, and that truth is far removed from the complacent picture painted by Messrs Made and Moyo. Zimbabweans therefore will not have to wait until Robert Mugabe and his partners in crime (in the full literal sense) are dragged before an international tribunal to face charges of genocide and crimes against humanity, before the appalling reality is revealed for all to see. While the full story may only emerge later and in such a scenario, already Zimbabweans are beginning to see through the labyrinth of ZANU PF’s lies and deceptions.
There is a broad consensus among all concerned that the baseline figure for Zimbabwe’s minimum cereal requirements is 1.9 million metric tonnes. This figure includes human consumption, stockfeed, industrial and other uses but does not include any provision for strategic reserves. But it is the likely size of the country’s own cereal harvest which is in contention. The figure of 2.4 million mt touted by the regime would indeed provide a significant surplus, but this figure has not been accepted by any of the other major players. Indeed while the regime has provided nothing of substance to back its wildly optimistic forecast, others have given the most cogent reasons for discounting it.
We may begin with the report of the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZIMVAC). This team comprising the United Nations, the relevant aid agencies and some of the regime’s own officials, concluded that there would be a cereal deficit of 177,681 mt for the year to March 2005. In a summary of their findings they state unequivocally that “a total of 2.3 million people will not be able to meet their minimum cereal needs during the 2004/5 season. This represents about 29.5 per cent of the total population”. A stark warning indeed, which would surely jolt all but the most uncaring or heartless regimes into instant action.
The ZIMVAC report, completed in April this year, is both professional and objective. If anything it is regarded among aid agencies as erring on the conservative side in assessing present and future food deficits. The amount of detail provided is impressive. Across the country, district by district, it gives the numbers expected to be in food deficit, for the periods April to June, July to November and December 2004 to March 2005. The figures show a progressive increase in absolute and percentage terms and also provide some interesting comparisons – for example the range between a 13.8 per cent of the population in food deficit in the Zvimba District (December to March 2005) and a whopping 53.4 per cent in Hwange District for the same period. A carefully researched and balanced document therefore to which those responsible for ensuring adequate food supplies for the nation should surely pay the closest attention. Yet once again the regime has responded with denial. When they could not suppress the report they chose to ignore its findings, holding blindly to the official line that a “bumper harvest” was around the corner which would supply all the nation’s needs. (One’s mind goes back to the loyal Communist Party cadres in China who did the same in the late 1950’s and early 60’s, sending in glowing - and completely fictitious - reports about a record harvest rather than daring to acknowledge the failure of Mao Zedong’s “great leap forward”. And they continued to do so even as the catastrophic famine, that was to claim over 14 million lives, was beginning to take its terrible toll).
In order to produce their report, “Famine in Zimbabwe”, the Zimconsult team conducted their own field observations in Mashonaland, East, Central and West and in the Manicaland, Midlands and Masvingo provinces. They also consulted the various farmers’ organizations and drew on information provided by such reputable sources as Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWSNET) and the SADC Early Warning System. Their study looks at the factors determining the likely level of production, including the areas under cultivation and average yields – the latter being determined in turn by the availability of seed, fertilizer and tillage, as well as rainfall. In each case, with the exception of rainfall which is a “given”, the consultants found a chronic lack of planning on the part of the government which resulted in major shortfalls.
Contrary to the ruling party’s own official dogma, seed growers were evicted from their farms in the chaotic scramble for land, resulting in only 40 per cent of the seed required at the start of the season being available to farmers. The lack of foreign currency to import raw materials for fertilizer production and the unrealistic price controls imposed on the products, kept fertilizers in chronic short supply. And tillage was severely restricted by such factors as the acute shortages of diesel, the cost of ploughing, and the lack of spare parts which grounded 50 per cent of the DDF tractors.
Combining the effects of these adverse “human” factors together with the unusual rainfall pattern and failure of the early planted maize, the consultants predicted a maize harvest of between 650,000 and 850,000 mt. Allowing for a crop of small grains of between 100,000 and 200,000 mt and also making allowance for the 250,000 mt maize purchased by the GMB last year (and retained in storage despite the severe shortages of mealie meal in the country), they envisaged a national cereal deficit in the current season of between 600,000 and 900,000 mt.
“Whichever way one looks at the situation”, the consultants conclude, “there will be a huge shortage of food in the country, caused by a potent combination of chaotic land reform and destructive macro-economic policies”.
Nor are these predictions out of line with those of FEWSNET which, with a slightly more optimistic appraisal of likely maize and small grains’ yields, comes up with a shortfall of between 500,000 and 800,000 mt.
In summary, it is only the regime’s own apologists who are holding to the line that Zimbabwe will produce enough food for all in the current season, or to the ridiculous fiction that a bumper harvest is on its way. Every other reputable authority is predicting a massive food deficit. The most conservative estimate of that deficit (ZIMVAC’s) leaves 2.3 million people, or nearly 30 per cent of the population, unable to meet their basic cereal needs – in short a catastrophic famine which is already under way.
The pain is already severe and it is becoming more intense with each week that passes. None are more aware of this pain, nor so frustrated by their inability to respond to it, than the NGO’s and donor agencies which have been told to shut down their life-saving operations. World Vision is one of the big players which have been ordered to terminate all food distribution operations, though “not to go away” at least for the time being. With the result that while their warehouse in Bulawayo, with a capacity of about 6,000 mt, stands full of grain, they cannot use any of that food even to continue their feeding programmes for the terminally ill, pregnant women and lactating mothers and malnourished children under 5 years of age. World Vision’s own careful research, completed before the ban on information gathering, shows an alarming trend of increasing food shortages in the rural areas where they were operating. For example the cereal supply of 48.5 per cent of the population in the Insiza area was expected to run out altogether by the end of August, and of 70.5 per cent of the same population group before the end of October. (The corresponding figures for Gwanda are 33.8 per cent and 55.1 per cent and for Beitbridge 22.2 per cent and 50.2 per cent respectively)
Even within ZANU PF the strain of holding to the official line against the increasing weight of evidence to the contrary is beginning to tell, with three provincial governors requesting food aid from central government and asking for NGO’s to be allowed to continue distributing food aid in their drought-stricken areas. Their intervention must surely explain the recent, reluctant about-turn of the Social Welfare Minister, Paul Mangwana, who has now said that NGO’s can resume their schemes targeting specific groups such as orphans and HIV/AIDS victims. At the same time, in what must surely rank as one of the most ridiculous understatements both of the current national crisis and of the contribution of international donors in saving millions of Zimbabwean lives, Mangwana added that NGO’s will be “allowed to chip in when there is an emergency”.
Contradictions are also apparent within the regime’s own figures, for example between their statistical forecasts of a national harvest of 1.2 million mt and the mythical 2.4 million mt put about by Jonathan Moyo’s propaganda machine. Consider also the importation of grain from Zambia through Chirundu and from America, Argentina and South Africa through Beit Bridge, a reality the regime has done its utmost to conceal but which is now well documented. For example the South African Grain Information Service records 168,000 mt of maize and 50,000 mt of wheat being shipped to Zimbabwe so far this year. Hardly necessary if a bumper harvest is expected. No doubt this imported grain is destined to be lodged in the GMB silos, now effectively under military control, and used, not to feed the starving today, but rather as a part of what one might call Mugabe’s strategic election reserves.
What we are looking at here is not simply an appalling failure of planning, as serious an indictment of the regime as that would be in itself. True there have been the most dismal failures in this regard which provide ample evidence that ZANU PF is unfit to govern. But the most serious charge to level at Robert Mugabe and those who follow him blindly, is not what they have left unplanned but what they have planned with the utmost precision and the most diabolical cunning – and that is a scenario in which they can exploit to the full a national catastrophe. The conclusion is inescapable, that Mugabe closed down the WFP feeding programme and ordered NGO’s to cease their humanitarian assistance because he feared, first, that they would dilute his power and second, that they would have direct access to the facts which would blow his fiction of a bumper harvest out of the water. Mugabe welcomes a famine as the ultimate means of political control and absolute power. Whatever the appalling cost to his own people, he will not permit anyone or anything to undermine that hold on power.
Zimbabwe: ZANU-PF wins by-election
Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party moved a step closer to gaining total control of parliament after it won a new parliamentary seat from the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) at a weekend by-election. ZANU-PF recaptured the Seke parliamentary seat by default after the MDC boycotted the poll, in line with a decision it took last month to suspend its participation in all elections, alleging the lack of transparency and fairness in electoral processes.
Africa: Lifting the curse
For generations, the islanders of Sao Tome and Principe made a meagre livelihood by cultivating cocoa. The recent discovery of oil in its territorial waters took the tiny west African state somewhat by surprise. Oil exploration and production has left its mark across the African continent over the last three decades. Oil has all too often has provided the catalyst for corruption, economic mismanagement, civil unrest and even attempted coups.
Angola: Frustration as oil windfall spending neglects the poor
With oil prices soaring to record highs and new oilfields churning out more "black gold", frustration and resentment among Angolans is reportedly growing as they fail to benefit from their natural resources. The government pencilled in an earnings figure of around US $23 per barrel in its 2004 budget, but with prices now about double that, expectations of a government windfall are rising.
Kenya: Stop graft or risk being left behind, US envoy tells Kenya
Kenya had to end rampant public corruption and quickly liberalise state-controlled monopolies or risk being marginalised, even within east Africa, the US ambassador to Kenya, William Bellamy, said at the weekend. He said that besides the rise of HIV/Aids it was no secret why most of the east African country's socio-economic indicators were going down.
Malawi: Corruption witness missing
Malawi's government is promising to make a statement by Friday about the fate of a key witness in two forthcoming corruption trials. The witness, a government official named Peter Mulamba, disappeared at the weekend. On Tuesday, a newspaper quoted a minister as saying that Mr Mulamba's body had been found, but the police then said they were still searching for him.
Nigeria: $180m bribe scandal, House wants Halliburton barred
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has taken over the investigation of the alleged $180 million bribe paid by a consortium of foreign companies to win contracts for the construction of the Bonny Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant, in Rivers State. In the latest move by the Nigerian government to unravel the bribe case that is also a subject of international inquiry, the House Committee on Public Petition has also recommended that the TSKJ Consortium, the company in the centre of the matter, be barred from working on the expansion of the LNG plant, until the end of the whole inquiry.
Nigeria: Halliburton says officials spoke of Nigeria bribes
Halliburton Co., once run by Vice President Dick Cheney, said an internal probe found information suggesting that members of a consortium it helps lead considered bribing Nigerian officials to win business. The world's No. 2 oilfield services company, which is also fighting accusations it overcharged on contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan, said this week the probe concerns the multibillion dollar TSKJ Bonny Island liquefied natural gas plant project.
Zimbabwe: Government drive against graft losing steam
When the government launched its much-publicised crackdown on corruption towards the end of 2003, Zimbabweans dismissed the initiative as a stunt designed to win votes ahead of the March 2005 parliamentary election. Cynics suggested the stunt was designed to settle personal scores with business people and bankers who had crossed the paths of the Zanu PF top leadership. Nine months down the line, the scepticism appears to have been vindicated.
Africa/Global: World Bank 'weakening' social safeguards
The World Bank's private sector lending arm has come under fire in an internal bank report which accuses it of attempting to dilute the environmental and social assessments attached to its lending. The proposed changes include a greater focus on project outcomes and the setting of objectives and monitoring performance, rather than the application of the strict safeguards used across the World Bank with government clients.
Africa: A look at Africa's efforts at regional integration
"The Organisation of African Unity (OAU)’s success in achieving the political independence of the continent has not brought with it economic freedom. Thus the continent still faces major challenges of poverty alleviation and development. However, this can be explained by the deficiencies of the post independent African states in achieving economic development for its citizens, a major challenge for the African Union (AU) and its New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) program. Throughout the world, regional integration has gained momentum and is seen as the panacea to dealing with the shortcomings of the state. This paper seeks to examine Africa's efforts and challenges at building coherent regional groupings and offers lessons for the AU."
Africa: African poverty summit kicks off
Heads of state from 17 African countries on Wednesday attended the opening of an African Union summit in Burkina Faso to craft a jobs creation plan to lift hundreds of millions out of poverty. The summit was addressed by Burkina Faso's President Blaise Compaore, who welcomed his fellow leaders to the two-day meeting aimed at advancing development on the world's poorest continent.
Africa: Job creation vital for African development
African policy-makers must make employment a top priority in order to counter the adverse impact of globalisation, International Labour Organisation head Juan Somavia said on the eve of a two-day African Union summit on poverty alleviation. "Job creation cannot be left to flow as a result of other economic policies, it must be a targeted objective," he said in an interview before flying to Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso, for the conference, which starts on Wednesday. "Growth without employment means aggravating inequality; instead of spreading wealth, it concentrates it," Somavia warned.
Africa: The African Union and New Strategies for Development in Africa
This report synthesizes the deliberations of a conference organized jointly by the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) and the Development Policy Management Forum (DPMF) on the theme ‘The African Union and New Strategies for Development in Africa’. The purpose of the conference was to foster dialogue among African policy makers, researchers and development practitioners about strategies for African development within the evolving framework of transformation of the OAU into the AU. As such, the conference offered opportunities for coming to a better understanding of challenges to African development and an identification of appropriate development options in the current era of globalization.
Africa: Towards alternatives to globalisation
"The resistance against corporate globalization is global in scope and is dedicated to international cooperation to achieve economic justice for every person on the planet," according to a paper by Barbara Kalima presented at the conference “Women’s voices on Alternative Globalisation Addressing People and Earth (AGAPE): A consultation of Southern Women on Alternatives to Economic Globalisation" held recently in Manila, Philippines. Kalima, from the organisation African Forum on Debt and Development, says in the paper: "The World Bank has recently responded to grassroots demands to allocate funds to restore environmental damage, and we see the emergence of community banks. These are promising trends, but the world economic philosophy needs to be reversed at its core, not just on the fringe."
Ghana: EPA negotiations will not promote development
Oxfam, a development-oriented NGO said on Saturday that it was opposed to the current form of negotiations on the Economic Partnership Agreements between the European Union and ECOWAS countries because it would not promote sustainable development and poverty reduction. "While we believe that closer economic relationship between the EU and the developing countries could lead to sustainable development and poverty reduction, the blueprint presented by the EU will do nothing to further these goals," Mr Sam Salifu Danse, Country Programme Manager, Oxfam told Journalists in Accra.
Africa/Global: Children must have access to HIV AIDS treatment and care
The growing number of children living with HIV/AIDS must be a central concern of accelerated efforts to provide scaled-up treatment and care for those living with the disease, health and development experts said. "The global treatment discussion is only beginning to factor in the needs of children, in terms of the kinds of drugs and technologies that are developed and the resources that are allocated," said Peter McDermott, who heads UNICEFs HIV/AIDS programme.
Africa: A decade of hard labour
The anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) was marked with a stock take of the progress made towards achieving its goals. On paper, that progress has been impressive. Governments around the world have introduced legislation that reflects the ICPD's aims. But when it comes to turning policy into practice, “mixed success” is the verdict of a report card just released by Countdown 2015, a coalition of voluntary bodies involved in the field. Few poor countries have earmarked enough of their budgets to meet their citizens' reproductive-health needs. Nor have donors lived up to expectations.
Africa: Aids and sexual and reproductive rights
AIDS prevention efforts and initiatives to support sexual and reproductive health would seem to be natural allies. Why is it then that projects to advance these causes so often proceed in isolation of each other? This question took centre stage recently at ‘Countdown 2015: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights for All', a three-day conference in London. The meeting, held under the auspices of the International Planned Parenthood Federation and other civic groups, analysed the extent to which goals agreed at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) had been implemented.
Africa: Dr Luis Sambo nominated as WHO Regional Director for Africa
Dr Luis Gomes Sambo was nominated by the WHO Regional Committee for Africa for the post of WHO Regional Director for Africa. Dr Sambo, 52, of Angolan nationality, is currently the Director of Programme Management at the WHO Regional Office for Africa (AFRO), where he is responsible for the management and operation of the programmes of WHO in the African region.
Africa: Experts call for more women and youth participation in AIDS vaccine trials
With women at least twice as likely to become infected with HIV as men when exposed to the virus that causes AIDS - and six times as vulnerable in parts of sub-Saharan Africa - HIV vaccine clinical trials must be geared towards meeting their needs, the United Nations health agency said. "In spite of the epidemiological reality, women and adolescents, especially girls, have often had minimal involvement in clinical trials of HIV vaccines, as compared to men. This is in spite of the fact that they would be major beneficiaries of a future HIV vaccine," said Saladin Osmanov, Acting Coordinator of the HIV Vaccine Initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
Africa: Improving maternal health
Sub-Saharan Africans can enjoy better health quality by taming population explosion and arresting the spiralling maternal and infant mortality rates through effective family planning and improved reproductive health practices, a health management expert has recommended. According a WHO report presented at the just-ended 54th session of the Africa Regional Committee meeting in Brazzaville, Congo, maternal deaths and disabilities in Africa could reach 2.5 million and 49 million respectively, in the next decade if urgent action is not taken to improve maternal health.
Africa: States confirm support for traditional medicine
A number of African leaders last week used the second African Traditional Medicine Day (31 August) to confirm their commitment to national efforts aimed at ensuring the safety, efficacy and quality of traditional medicines. In a statement, for example, the African Union (AU) Commission called on its member states to ensure that research on traditional medicine is integrated with HIV/AIDS control programmes, as well as with all aspects of development policy.
Angola: HIV/AIDS plan moving "too slowly"
Eight months after its launch, people living with HIV/AIDS say Angola's programme to fight the epidemic is inadequate and moving too slowly. The US $160 million national strategic plan, a five-year collaboration between the government and the United Nations, is focused on prevention, building institutional capacity and helping HIV-positive people.
Chad: Cholera epidemic in western Chad kills 123
More than 120 people have died of cholera in western Chad and nearly 3,000 cases of the water-borne disease have been reported since an epidemic broke out at the start of the rainy season in mid-June, the government told relief agencies this week. "At yesterday’s coordination meeting, the Chadian authorities said they had recorded 2,895 cases of cholera and 123 deaths throughout the territory," Geneviève Salise, the Cholera Coordinator for Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) Belgium told IRIN by telephone from the Chadian capital N’djamena.
Guinea/Sierra Leone: Death toll from cholera outbreak rises
The death toll from a cholera outbreak in Guinea and neighbouring Sierra Leone rose to 86 at the end of August, the Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies reported. The Geneva-based Federation said in a statement on Monday that 561 cholera cases and 55 deaths had been recorded in Sierra Leone up to 30 August, giving a death rate of nearly 10 percent.
Swaziland: Devastating impact of nutrient deficiencies
Up to 60 percent of Swazi infants are likely to incur brain damage due to vitamin deficiencies, while a wide spectrum of the population are at risk of malnourishment, according to a United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) report released last Thursday. "The price of the current food shortage crisis is being paid by children and others, who are suffering stunted growth and diminished performance at school and on the job," Siddharth Nirupam, UNICEF Swaziland's programme officer for health and nutrition, told IRIN.
Swaziland: Holistic approach to combating HIV/AIDS
An HIV/AIDS testing and counselling centre that will be the template for other such facilities in Swaziland's urban areas opened this week in the centrally located town of Manzini. "This is a holistic centre offering many services - that reflects the holistic approach needed for living with HIV-AIDS: counselling, blood testing, nutrition, exercise and all-round physical and mental health, with the added expertise of legal and other kinds," said Rudolph Maziya, national director of the Alliance of Mayors Initiative to Combat AIDS at the Local Level (AMICAALL).
Tanzania: Tanzania To Provide free Antiretroviral Drugs
Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa on Wednesday said that the government by next month plans to provide antiretroviral drugs free-of-charge to people living with HIV/AIDS in the country, Xinhua News Agency reports. Mkapa made the announcement during a ceremony in which the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria granted Tanzania $87.9 million to fight HIV/AIDS, according to the country's Daily News newspaper, Xinhua News Agency reports.
Zambia: Zambia declares AIDS emergency
The Zambian government declared a five-year emergency over the AIDS pandemic to allow for cheap generic anti-retroviral drugs to be produced locally. The AIDS emergency will be in force from August 2004 to July 2009 and local drugs manufacturers will be allowed to produce cheap AIDS medication for local consumption.
Africa: Africa may not achieve millenium goal – Adeniji
Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister, Ambassador Olu Adeniji has said that due to the current trend in the implementation of poverty and employment programmes, Africa may not achieve the 2015 Millennium Development Goal to eradicate poverty, fight the HIV/AIDS pandemic and reduce illiteracy. When looking at the current level of development in relation to socio-economic plans, the disparity between developed countries and underdeveloped countries is likely to experience a further increase.
Africa: Assessing global aid flows to education
Total aid flows to education have declined at the beginning of the present decade. The current level of US$1.5 billion of support to basic education is still far short of the roughly US$7 billion per year required to meet the universal primary education (UPE) and gender goals. How should governments and the international community translate their commitments into real resources?
Africa: Commonwealth Protocol to control teacher poaching
South Africa's largest teachers' union welcomed a decision by Commonwealth countries last Thursday to clamp down on the poaching of educators from developing countries. Education ministers of 23 Commonwealth states agreed to a series of measures that will guide the process of international teacher recruitment. The Commonwealth protocol does not ban recruitment from developing countries altogether, but is intended to end the organised targeting of poorer countries by wealthier ones seeking teaching staff.
Africa: International Literacy Day
International Literacy Day is celebrated each year on 8 September. The aim: to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies. The theme of this year's celebration is Literacy and Gender. Today almost one in every seven people is illiterate, and out of a total of 860 million illiterate adults more than 500 million are women. Visit Unesco's website for more information.
South Africa: Union agrees on wage figure
After national protests by teachers last week, the latest negotiations between the union and government have been described as "positive". Talks continued late on Friday night as South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) representatives and officials from the national Department of Education tried to come to a satisfactory agreement. Last Thursday, thousands of teachers around the country took to the streets to show their frustration at the breakdown in negotiations. Almost 90 000 teachers heeded the protest call.
Southern Africa: San call for greater recognition of their languages
The San people of Southern Africa have requested regional authorities to help to develop and promote their languages through the implementation of multi-lingual educational programs which places an emphasis on San languages and the other mother tongues. After a three-day workshop in Windhoek, Namibia on reclaiming San languages in school, San from Botswana, Namibia and South Africa requested their governments to make efforts towards this goal.
Uganda: Universities urged to lead ICT development
Following a two-day international conference on Information Communication Technology held at Hotel Africana, various speakers encouraged Ugandan universities to spearhead the use of ICT as it could promote national development to raise economic growth.
Mauritania: Little progress in fighting slavery, FGM
A Mauritanian human rights committee, after a three-year delay, finally has been able to report on the progress in the fight against slavery, female genital mutilation (FGM) and racial discrimination in the country. While the Committee mapped grave problems, authorities in Mauritania keep denying there are any matters of concern.
Africa/Global: Poverty, climate change and the energy revolution
This report from the New Economics Foundation argues that a continuing reliance on fossil fuels will perpetuate poverty and could drive a huge 'reversal of human progress.' It stipulates that increased investment in renewable energy could save millions of lives and avert an impending crisis over global energy supplies, and that even a relatively small shift in investment in the energy sector in percentage terms could have hugely beneficial consequences for people's health and economic wellbeing. The report also argues against the current subsidies for coal, oil and gas, which it estimates amount to at least US$235 billion each year.
Namibia: Three Laws to Regulate Wetlands
Namibia is drafting three pieces of legislation that will guide the management of wetlands in the country. A recently launched booklet, 'Wetlands of Namibia', says the three laws will be: the Water Resources Management Bill, Environmental Management Bill and the Parks and Wildlife Management Bill. Lenka Thamae, the Manager for the World Conservation Union SADC Wetlands Projects based at WCU regional office in Harare, has urged Namibia to preserve its wetlands so that they can benefit future generations.
South Africa: Civil organisations protest against Johannesburg Summit
Civil society organisations, including Earthlife Africa, Environmental Justice Networking Forum and the Anti-Privatisation Forum demonstrated last week on the first day of the Johannesburg Plus Two Summit. Richard Worthington of Earthlife Africa said the protest was to encourage government to set targets for renewable energy and access to energy.
South Africa: Draft Environment Rules Under Fire
Mining has, arguably, had the most profound impact on South Africa's natural environment of any human activity. While agriculture may have affected a greater area of the land surface, mining has probably caused greater environmental damage in that its impact is often irreversible. That is set to change, with mining being included as a listed activity in the draft EIA regulations that were published for comment at the end of June by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism.
Southern Africa: Alien weeds chocking water ways
Plans to eradicate alien weeds infesting southern Africa's rivers have been "indefinitely" derailed by administrative delays, a World Bank official confirmed on Wednesday. A multimillion-rand anti-infestation project was due to start in 2003, but has been delayed by the relocating of the Southern African Development Community's (SADC) water section to Gaborone in Botswana.
Southern Africa: Water project row looms
Long-standing plans by the Zimbabwean government to draw water from the Zambezi River to supply drought-prone Matabeleland region risk igniting "hydro-politics" that could end up degenerating into a serious conflict in the sub-region. Diplomats, international lawyers and hydrologists said government could not draw water from the 3 000-kilometre river to Bulawayo without the approval of eight Southern African Development Community (Sadc) countries whose territories lie in the Zambezi basin.
West Africa: Serious crop damage anticipated as locust plague intensifies
Mauritania and Mali have issued preliminary estimates of heavy crop damage as governments across West Africa struggle to control a plague of locusts that is growing larger by the day. Mohamed Abdallahi Ould Babah, the director of Mauritania's locust control campaign told IRIN on Tuesday that hopper bands - concentrations of young flightless locusts - were invading fields in the southeast of the mainly desert country, destroying young shoots of sorghum, millet and beans.
Guinea-Sierra Leone: Guinea hands back disputed border village
Guinea has agreed to hand back to Sierra Leone the disputed border village of Yenga. Guinea had occupied Yenga since 1998 in order to support the Sierra Leone government forces in their civil war against the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebel movement and then remained there after the civil war ended in 2002. Despite previous border disputes between the two countries, they have now agreed that Yenga belongs to Sierra Leone.
Independent Land Newsletter: August 2004
This Newsletter seeks to give an overview of current land reform issues in the Horn, East and Central Africa. 'Eastern Africa' here covers Burundi, Eastern DRC, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. This issue is the second edition of the Independent Land Newsletter; the earlier one centred on Southern Africa, was circulated in June 2004. Compilation of this issue has come from voluntary contributions from land experts mainly based in the respective countries.
Namibia: Land Programme Needs More Cash
To help speed up the process of land allocation for over 300 000 registered landless citizens, the Namibian Government has to raise enough funds for the process to gain momentum. This was said by Lands, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Minister Hifikepunye Pohamba when he unveiled the Provisional Valuation Roll in Oshakati.
Namibia: Union urges the government to accelerate the land reform process
The Namibian Farmworkers' Union (Nafwu) has accused the government of using land expropriation as a political tool and dragging its feet in giving land to the landless.
Tanzania: Has the aid industry disempowered Tanzanian pastoralists?
Donors have flocked to support Tanzania's pastoralist land rights movement. However, well-intentioned desires to promote democracy, indigenous rights, participatory development and community conservation have had perverse consequences. Leaders of pastoral non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have become less and less accountable to their communities. The pastoralist movement has lost momentum as its energies have been diverted into activities to please donors.
Botswana: Botswana newspaper establisher wins press freedom award
Mr. Methaetsile Leepile was awarded the prestigious MISA Press Freedom Award for 2004 for his involvement in the establishment of the first vernacular Setswana newspaper in Botswana. His achievement was celebrated for its contribution to the promotion of indigenous language systems in the media in the sub region. At the same time, MISA paid tribute to Mr. Leepile's illustrious career in media development in the region - a career which spans over more than 20 years.
MISA Communiqué (Misa Press Freedom Award 2004)
September 3, 2004
Botswana newspaper establisher wins press freedom award
Mr. Methaetsile Leepile was awarded the prestigious MISA Press Freedom Award
for 2004 for his involvement in the establishment of the first vernacular
Setswana newspaper in Botswana. His achievement was celebrated for its
contribution to the promotion of indigenous language systems in the media in
the sub region. At the same time, MISA paid tribute to Mr. Leepile's
illustrious career in media development in the region - a career which spans
over more than 20 years.
In March 2002 under Mr. Leepile's guidance, the first ever vernacular
Setswana broadsheet newspaper, Mokgosi, was born in Botswana. The weekly
broadsheet has a circulation of 10 000 copies.
According to Mr. Leepile he was led by the need to promote the Setswana
language which, although recognised as a national language, is not
adequately promoted in Botswana as most communication in the country is in
the English language, including all government and media communications.
Mokgosi also carries articles in other vernacular languages.
Editorially Mokgosi newspaper also tackles social, political and economic
issues from a developmental agenda, ensuring that a previously large sector
of the Botswana population is able to access credible information on issues
that affect their livelihood.
Mr Leepile is however no stranger to MISA. He was amongst the group of media
practitioners who met in Chobe 1989 to discuss the future of the media in
our region. These discussions finally led to the formation of MISA through
the Windhoek Declaration. He became the first director of MISA in 1994 and
left its head office in Windhoek in 1999 to take up the management of the
Southern Africa Media Development Fund (Samdef).
Speaking at a gala dinner in Maseru, Lesotho, on August 27 2004, Mr. Leepile
noted that language encapsulates a people's culture, its social mores, its
values, and its knowledge.
"When a language dies, a people's knowledge dies with it. Language is about
economic and social empowerment. More people can be brought into public and
productive life by wider and more productive use of indigenous languages
like Setswana. The development of language can be used to promote a sound
understanding of entrepreneurship, commerce, economics, history, science and
technology", he said in his acceptance speech.
* The annual MISA Press Freedom Award is designed to recognise the work of
an individual or institution that is considered to have made a significant
contribution to the promotion of media freedom in the Southern Africa
Development Community (SADC) region. The excellence which the award
acknowledges can be achieved either through reportage or in other ways such
as media reform, lobbying or training.
Mr. Leepile is the 11th recipient of the MISA Press Freedom Award
incalculable contribution to media diversity and pluralism in our region.
Previous recipients include Onesimo Makani Kabweza (Zimbabwe, 1993),
Basildon Peta (Zimbabwe, 1994), Fred M'membe (Zambia, 1995), Allister Sparks
(South Africa, 1996), Gwen Lister (Namibia, 1997), African Eye News Service
(South Africa, 1998), Bright Chola Mwape (Zambia, 1999), Geoffrey Nyarota
(Zimbabwe, 2000), Carlos Cardoso (Mozambique, 2001), Judge Dr. Augusto Raul
Paulino (Mozambique, 2003). The award was not presented in 2002 which
coincided with MISA's 10th anniversary.
Regional Programme Manager: Media Freedom Monitoring
Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)
21 Johann Albrecht Street
Private Bag 13386
Tel: +264 61 232975
Fax: +264 61 248016
Cell: +264 81 128 3919
DRC: Journalist severely beaten
Journalist Mbuyi Tshibwabwa, who is also known as "Mbote ya Kabambi" ("The Big Hello"), has been in hospital since 22 August 2004 after being severely beaten at a military court in Goma, North Kivu province's main city, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Tshibwabwa is a military journalist and host of the local television show "Armée et peuple" ("The Army and the People").
IFEX- News from the international freedom of expression community
ALERT - DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
3 September 2004
Journalist severely beaten
SOURCE: Journaliste en danger (JED), Kinshasa
(JED/IFEX) - Journalist Mbuyi Tshibwabwa, who is also known as "Mbote ya
Kabambi" ("The Big Hello"), has been in hospital since 22 August 2004 after
being severely beaten at a military court in Goma, North Kivu province's
main city, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Tshibwabwa is a military
journalist and host of the local television show "Armée et peuple" ("The
Army and the People"). The attack was ordered by the 8th Military District
commander, General Obedi Rwibasira. "Armée et peuple" is broadcast nightly
on the Congolese public broadcaster's (Radiotélévision Nationale Congolaise,
RTNC) Goma station.
According to 8th Military District official sources, whom JED was able to
contact on the afternoon of 1 September, Tshibwabwa has been accused of
"military indiscipline" and "refusal to follow orders". The journalist was
assigned by his superiors to accompany the District commander on a
"sensitisation" mission to North Kivu's interior. Tshibwabwa refused the
assignment because he had not been reimbursed for expenses from previous
Following his refusal, the journalist was arrested on 16 August and remanded
in custody at the Goma military court where he was savagely beaten. He was
released on 18 August. On 22 August he was admitted to a Goma military
In a telephone conversation with JED from his hospital bed, Tshibwabwa said
his health has improved slightly, but he continues to experience severe
chest pains and must undergo a chest x-ray. As for the motive for his
arrest, the journalist said that the trouble began when he devoted one of
his open phone-in shows to security issues in Goma. Callers to the show
reportedly accused the 8th District commander of being the source of the
city's "climate of insecurity".
For further information, contact D. M'Baya Tshimanga, president, Journaliste
en danger (JED), B.P. 633 Kinshasa 1, Democratic Republic of Congo, tel.
+243 99 29 323/345, fax: +243 88 01 625, e-mail: email@example.com,
firstname.lastname@example.org, Internet: http://www.jed-afcentre.org
The information contained in this alert is the sole responsibility of JED.
In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit JED.
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Namibia/Zimbabwe: Regional newspaper launched
On September 3 2004, a new regional newspaper, “The Southern Times”, was launched in the Zimbabwean resort town of Victoria Falls following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on media cooperation between Zimbabwe and Namibia. The MOU between the two countries was signed in February this year culminating in the joint venture between Zimpapers whose flagship is The Herald, and the New Era of Namibia, which will give birth to the Southern Times project.
September 6, 2004
Zimbabwe/Namibia launch regional paper
On September3 2004, a new regional newspaper, “The Southern Times”, was launched in the Zimbabwean resort town of Victoria Falls following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Media Corporation between Zimbabwe and Namibia.
The MOU between the two countries was signed in February this year culminating in the joint venture between Zimpapers whose flagship is The Herald, and the New Era of Namibia, which will give birth to the Southern Times project.
The MOU was signed by the Minister of Information and Publicity in the President’s Office Professor Jonathan Moyo and his Namibian counterpart, Nangolo Mbumba.
The 24-page broadsheet which was published in the Namibian capital, Windhoek, was edited by the current assistant Herald editor Moses Magadza.
Speaking at the review meeting of the MOU in Harare on September 1, Mumbai urged the media
to stop spending time looking for enemies but work towards developing and motivating the people to counter what “the region’s adversaries are smearing on us”.
“Let us put all our attention on producing this paper and by the time that our detractors believe that they have derailed our plans, our job would be done,” said.
The two ministers said the media should not rely on western news agencies for reportage of events in the respective countries.
Nigeria: State security officers seal up magazine's offices
On 4 September 2004, State Security Service (SSS) officers raided the editorial offices of "The Insider Weekly" news magazine, based in Lagos, and arrested its production manager, Raphael Olatoye, after sealing up the offices. The security agency later accused the magazine of treason, sedition and subversion over a string of articles critical of President Olusegun Obasanjo and his government.
IFEX - News from the international freedom of expression community
ACTION ALERT - NIGERIA
6 September 2004
State security officers seal up magazine's offices, arrest production
SOURCE: Media Rights Agenda (MRA), Lagos
(MRA/IFEX) - On 4 September 2004, State Security Service (SSS) officers
raided the editorial offices of "The Insider Weekly" news magazine, based in
Lagos, and arrested its production manager, Raphael Olatoye, after sealing
up the offices. The security agency later accused the magazine of treason,
sedition and subversion over a string of articles critical of President
Olusegun Obasanjo and his government.
The magazine's editor-in-chief, Osa Director, said the security agents
arrived at the media organisation's premises at approximately 7:00 a.m.
(local time) and smashed the doors in the premises to gain entrance to the
offices. The men then ransacked the offices and seized some documents, which
they took with them when they left at approximately 7:00 p.m. the same day.
Upon leaving the premises, the security officers locked up the magazine's
offices with locks they had brought with them for this purpose. They then
took Olatoye to the premises of the commercial printers where the magazine
is printed and seized all copies of the magazine's current edition, which
were to go on sale on 5 September. Olatoye was then taken to the SSS office
In justifying its action, the SSS issued a statement on the evening of 4
September saying that, "For quite sometime now, 'The Insider Weekly'
magazine has consistently being (sic) attacking, disparaging and humiliating
the person and office of the President and Commander-in-Chief as well as
some notable people in government."
Citing some past editions of the magazine to substantiate its claim, the SSS
said in the statement, titled "The storming of the premises of 'The Insider
Weekly'", that "The attempt by the publisher of 'The Insider Weekly'
magazine to continually distort facts and misrepresent noble ideals of the
present administration to the innocent public is not only libelous,
seditious and subversive but also treasonable." The SSS did not say,
however, if it intended to file formal charges against the magazine or its
Send appeals to authorities:
- calling for Olatoye's immediate release and the re-opening of the
- urging them to respect the right of journalists to practice their
- stating that the intimidation and harassment of journalists violates the
right to freedom of expression guaranteed by Section 39 of the 1999 Nigerian
Constitution, as well as international human rights instruments to which
Nigeria is a signatory, and undermines the spirit of Nigeria's new
- drawing their attention to the fact that no law in Nigeria empowers
security agents to seal up a media organisation's premises
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo
President, Federal Republic of Nigeria
Aso Rock Villa, Abuja
Chief Chukwuemeka Chikelu
Hon. Minister for Information and National Orientation
Federal Ministry of Information
Radio House, Abuja
Tel: +234 9 234 6350
Mobile: +234 80 3303 0302
Chief Akinlolu Olujimi, SAN
Hon. Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice
Federal Secretariat Complex, Abuja
Tel: +234 9 523 5194
Fax: +234 9 523 5208
Please copy appeals to the source if possible.
For further information, contact Ayode Longe, Media Rights Agenda, 10
Agboola Aina Street, off Amore Street, Ikeja, P.O. Box 52113, Ikoyi, Lagos,
Nigeria, tel: +234 1 493 6033, fax: +234 1 493 0831, e-mail:
email@example.com, Internet: http://www.internews.org/mra
The information contained in this action alert is the sole responsibility of
MRA. In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit
DISTRIBUTED BY THE INTERNATIONAL FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
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489 College Street, Suite 403, Toronto (ON) M6G 1A5 CANADA
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Internet site: http://www.ifex.org/
Somalia: Editor of independent daily in Somaliland arrested for 15th time
Reporters Without Borders has called for the immediate release of the editor of the independent daily paper Jamhuuriya, Hassan Said Yusuf, who was arrested on 1 September for the 15th time in the past decade in Hargeisa, capital of the self-styled state of Somaliland. It called on the government to explain his detention by a dozen police who burst into the paper's offices late at night with an arrest warrant as he and his staff were preparing the next day's edition of the paper and took him to the city's main police station.
To: IFEX Autolist (other news of interest)
From: Reporters sans frontières (RSF), firstname.lastname@example.org
La version française suit. The French version follows.
Editor of independent daily in Somaliland arrested for 15th time
Reporters Without Borders called today for the immediate release of the
editor of the independent daily paper Jamhuuriya, Hassan Said Yusuf, who was
arrested on 1 September for the 15th time in the past decade in Hargeisa,
capital of the self-styled state of Somaliland.
It called on the government to explain his detention by a dozen police who
burst into the paper's offices late at night with an arrest warrant as he
and his staff were preparing the next day's edition of the paper and took
him to the city's main police station.
"This arrest, the latest in a long campaign of legal harassment against
Yusuf, shows that vigilance is required even though no major infringement of
press freedom has occurred recently in Somaliland," the worldwide press
freedom organisation said.
The city's police chief said he was arrested because he had several times
refused to obey a summons for questioning by the prosecutor-general. He said
the arrest was legal and that he would be brought before a court. The
paper's staff were prevented from visiting him and could not contact the
prosecutor-general, who was not in his office.
It was the 15th police action against Yusuf since he became editor more than
a decade ago. He was arrested in the street in Hargeisa for similar reasons
in November 2003 and released on bail a few hours later.
Independent sources in the Somali capital of Mogadishu said he has been
picked up because the paper reported on 30 August that Somalia and the
regional Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) were annoyed at
Somaliland's refusal to take part in a regional reconciliation conference.
Somaliland, which is in northwestern Somalia, declared itself independent in
1991 but has never won international recognition.
Le rédacteur en chef d'un quotidien indépendant du Somaliland interpellé
pour la quinzième fois
Pour la quinzième fois en une dizaine d'années, le rédacteur en chef du
quotidien indépendant Jamhuuriya, Hassan Said Yusuf, a été arrêté le 1er
septembre dans son bureau de Hargeisa, "capitale" de l'Etat autoproclamé du
Somaliland. Les journalistes travaillant à ses côtés ont rapporté que son
interpellation avait eu lieu alors qu'ils préparaient ensemble la prochaine
édition du journal. Une douzaine de policiers a fait irruption dans la
rédaction vers 23 heures en présentant un mandat d'arrêt daté de la veille,
mardi 31 août. Ils ont transféré le journaliste au commissariat central de
Hargeisa, où il serait toujours détenu.
Le chef de la police a affirmé que cette arrestation intervenait après que
Hassan Said Yusuf avait plusieurs fois refusé de répondre à une convocation
du procureur général. Il a également soutenu que l'arrestation du rédacteur
en chef de Jamhuuriya était parfaitement légale et que son cas serait porté
devant un tribunal.
"Nous appelons la police à libérer immédiatement Hassan Said Yusuf et nous
demandons des explications sur les motifs de son arrestation, a déclaré
Reporters sans frontières. Si aucune atteinte majeure au droit des
journalistes n'avait été recensée récemment au Somaliland, cette
arrestation, qui ressemble à un énième épisode d'acharnement judiciaire,
prouve qu'il faut rester vigilant", a ajouté l'organisation.
Il s'agit de la quinzième opération de police visant Hassan Said Yusuf
depuis qu'il a pris ses fonctions à la tête de la rédaction de Jamhuuriya,
il y a plus d'une dizaine d'années. En novembre 2003, il avait été arrêté en
pleine rue de Hargeisa, pour des motifs similaires, avant d'être relâché
sous caution quelques heures plus tard.
Après l'arrestation de leur rédacteur en chef, les journalistes du quotidien
Jamhuuriya se sont mobilisés en sa faveur. Toutefois, ils n'ont pu ni lui
rendre visite, ni entrer en contact avec le procureur général, absent de son
Plusieurs sources indépendantes à Mogadiscio, capitale de la Somalie,
affirment que le journaliste a été arrêté à la suite d'un article publié le
30 août. Celui-ci faisait état des réactions "inquiètes" de la Somalie et de
l'Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), un organisme de
coopération régionale, devant le refus du Somaliland de participer à une
conférence de réconciliation nationale récemment convoquée. L'administration
du Somaliland, Etat du nord de la Somalie, a proclamé unilatéralement son
indépendance en mai 1991, mais n'a jamais été officiellement reconnue par la
Bureau Afrique / Africa desk
Reporters sans frontières / Reporters Without Borders
5, rue Geoffroy-Marie
75009 Paris, France
Tel : (33) 1 44 83 84 84
Fax : (33) 1 45 23 11 51
Email : email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Web : www.rsf.org
Somalia: Watchdog demands release of editor detained in Somaliland
A US-based press freedom watchdog has urged authorities in Somaliland, the self-declared republic in northwestern Somalia, to release the editor-in-chief of two newspapers arrested at the end of last month. New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said that Hassan Said Yusuf, the editor-in-chief of the independent Somali-language daily, Jamhuuriya, and its weekly English-language edition, The Republican, was picked up from his office in Hargeisa, Somaliland's capital, on 31 August.
West Africa: Lawyers to discuss journalists' rights in West Africa
A network of lawyers sponsored by the Media Foundation for West Africa will attend a meeting in September to discuss strategies for protecting journalists' rights in the region. Eight lawyers from different countries in West Africa are expected to participate in the meeting, scheduled for September 27 to 29 in Accra, Ghana. Representatives from media associations and free expression advocates are also invited to attend. Participants will discuss ways to ensure that legal advice is quickly available to journalists who face legal action.
Africa: Economic insecurity fosters world ‘full of anxiety and anger’, says UN
People in countries where income is protected report high levels of happiness, but about three quarters of the world’s workers live in circumstances of economic insecurity that foster ‘a world full of anxiety and anger,’ according to a new United Nations study. Only 8 per cent of people - fewer than one in 10 - live in countries providing favourable economic security, according to the survey produced by the International Labour Organization (ILO). A socio-economic safety net, rather than income level, not only promotes personal well-being, happiness and tolerance but also benefits growth, development and social stability, it says.
DRC: International medical experts urge an end to child executions
Amnesty International and medical experts from seven countries have sent an open letter to the heads of government in China, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Philippines, Iran, Sudan and the USA urging them to stop using the death penalty against children. The letter has been signed by 17 medical experts with outstanding credentials in the field of child and adolescent psychology, psychiatry and social development. Endorsing the call of the experts to abolish juvenile executions, Irene Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International, said, "Child offenders should not be punished as if they were adults. Governments must amend their laws and practices to conform with international human rights standards and end the death penalty for offenders under the age of 18."
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL-PRESS RELEASE
AI Index: POL 30/033/2004 (Public)
3 September 2004
Amnesty International and medical experts from seven countries have sent
an open letter to the heads of government in China, Pakistan, the
Democratic Republic of Congo, Philippines, Iran, Sudan and the USA urging
them to stop using the death penalty against children.
The letter has been signed by 17 medical experts with outstanding
credentials in the field of child and adolescent psychology, psychiatry
and social development.
"Although adolescents generally know the difference between right and
wrong, they can suffer from diminished capacities to reason logically, to
control their impulses, to think through the future consequences of their
actions, and to resist the negative influences and persuasion of others,"
says the letter. "They should face punishment for criminal actions, but
the sanctions which can be imposed on mentally competent adolescent
offenders should not be the same as those faced by adults found guilty of
the same offences."
Endorsing the call of the experts to abolish juvenile executions, Irene
Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International, said, "Child offenders
should not be punished as if they were adults. Governments must amend
their laws and practices to confirm with international human rights
standards and end the death penalty for offenders under the age of 18."
International standards prohibit the execution of child offenders --
people who were under 18 years old at the time of the crime. These
standards include the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the American Convention
on Human Rights and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the
Child. This prohibition is now so widely accepted as to constitute a
principle of customary international law. The relevant standards are
respected by the overwhelming majority of the 80 countries which still
retain and use the death penalty.
For more information on Amnesty International's campaign "Stop Child
Executions!", see: http://web.amnesty.org/pages/deathpenalty-children-eng
Ethiopia: Sanitation facilities severely lacking, says Unicef
Ethiopia severely lacks sanitation facilities, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) warned on Tuesday, adding that a mere six percent of the population have access to basic sanitation facilities - fuelling diarrhoea and other water-borne diseases, while less than a quarter has access to clean water.
Ivory Coast: Rehabilitating child soldiers is a tough job
It is a simple matter to give a child a gun, drug him up to the eyeballs and tell him to kill your enemies. But Father Henry de Penfentenyo, a Roman Catholic priest who runs a youth centre in the rebel-held north of Cote d'Ivoire, says it takes his large team of carers several weeks, and usually several months, to rehabilitate each one to the point where he or she can be sent back home safely.
Mozambique: Building latrines to save children's lives
Installing latrines in a school might not seem to be a significant step for protecting children, but in fact it is. Building latrines in schools will increase the likelihood that children will use the latrines instead of open fields that may be close to drinking water sources – thereby helping preserve drinking water quality. Maintaining clean drinking water is one of the fundamental approaches in UNICEF’s work for reducing child deaths.
Nigeria: Huge Nigerian drive against polio
Some 13 million children in northern Nigeria are being vaccinated against polio in a bid to wipe out the disease. About 250,000 technicians are making house calls to reach all children under five in eight states, which have become the world's polio epicentre.
South Africa: A nation of givers
According to a collaborative study by the National Development Agency, the Centre for Civil Society and the Southern African Grantmakers' Association, 93 percent of South Africans contribute either time, money or goods to causes which help the poor and the needy. The overall view was that South Africans believe in contributing to the greater good of the society and the country of South Africa.
Sudan: Severe violations of children's rights in Darfur
Sudanese government forces, militias, police and other security forces have committed serious violations of children's rights in Sudan's troubled western region of Darfur, according to a report by Save the Children UK, which noted that abuses included murder, rape and abduction.
Africa/Global: Student activism & the diaspora: connecting the global & local
TransAfrica Forum's Second Annual Student Network Conference will be taking place from November 19-21, 2004 in the United States. TransAfrica Forum seeks to provide a network for student activists and campus organizations, and to create opportunities for long-term relationships and collaborations with those groups and other progressive organizations in the U.S. who seek to influence U.S. foreign policy as it applies to Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America.
Dirty Pretty Things
One story that remains untold in all the various statistics about qualified Africans abroad is the pressure under which they are put to take up low paid jobs and generally to retool and downgrade on coming to the West. Indeed, Dirty Pretty Things, a 2002 film directed by Stephen Frears, details the story of those faceless, nameless immigrants who find themselves in England. Until they wangle a way of getting regular documents, they lead the hunted, humiliating lives of the illegal immigrant.
Ireland: Nigerians put down new roots in Ireland
African churches in Dublin are growing in size and number. They reflect not only a growing community, but also one that is putting down strong roots, establishing its own amenities and services. It is thought there are around 15,000 Nigerians in Ireland, with most of them living in the capital.
Kenya: The STOP campaign
The increase in child molestation in Kenya is partly due to lack of education and knowledge about HIV/AIDS. The Kenyan Community Abroad Anti-Child Molestation Initiative or The STOP Campaign, argues that while education and awareness provide good starting points, more needs to be done which will deter the act of rape from occurring and penalize perpetrators through judicial policies.
Nigeria/Global: Nigerians abroad plan 40 ICT parks for 39 universities
Led by the President of the Nigerian Information Technology Practitioners in the Americas, Professor Manny Aniebonam, a group of Nigerians in the diaspora plan to invest in the establishment of 40 ICT parks in 39 universities across the country over the next three years. The newly created company, AfriHub Nigeria Ltd aims to increase the technological capabilities in Nigeria through the support of American universities and companies.
Sudan: The lost girls of Sudan try to tell their story
Due to the humanitarian crisis currently occurring in Darfur, Sudan, the country has been in the headlines recently. Ten years ago, the decade old civil war between the Arab-dominated government in the north and the Christian and animist south caused thousands of children to flee to safety. Although the fighting is over, the children who were brought to the United States five years ago as the Lost Boys and Lost Girls of Sudan, continue to struggle in their new home.
Angola: Cabinda separatists merge to negotiate with government
Separatists waging a low-intensity struggle against Angolan troops for control of oil-rich Cabinda have merged in a bid to engage the authorities in dialogue over the future status of the troubled province. The Front for the Liberation of the Cabinda Enclave (FLEC) and the Front for the Liberation of the Cabinda Enclave-Cabinda Armed Forces (FLEC-FAC) would now be known as FLEC.
Burundi: Start to demobilisation postponed
The demobilisation of army troops and ex-rebels scheduled for 1 September has been postponed because the National Commission for Demobilisation has not yet received the lists of combatants to be discharged, a commission official told IRIN on Tuesday. The process is to take four years. A total of 55,000 combatants are to be demobilised; 25,000 could be eligible to join the new national defence force.
DRC: Ituri conflict linked to illegal exploitation of natural resources
Violence and human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's Ituri District will not end until the government takes control of the extraction of natural resources there, said a newly released special report from the UN Mission in the DRC, known by its French acronym MONUC. "The competition for the control of natural resources by combatant forces, exacerbated by an almost constant political vacuum in the region, has been a major factor in prolonging the crisis in Ituri," said the special report on events in Ituri from January 2002-December 2003.
DRC: UN faces disarmament test in Ituri province
The United Nations mission in Democratic Republic of Congo faces a stiff test when its first disarmament programme in the vast central African country starts in the northeastern Ituri province on Monday. An estimated 50,000 tribal militiamen are due to start laying down their weapons, but their leaders have remained non-committal and a flare-up of violence in the troubled province points to trouble ahead for the scheme.
Ethiopia/Eritrea: No movement in stalled peace process
The United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) said on Thursday there was "no light at the end of the tunnel" in the stalled peace process between the two countries. It added that that there had been little movement over their contested 1,000-km border. "Nothing has changed," the UNMEE deputy spokesman, George Somerwill, told journalists ahead of a UN Security Council meeting to review and renew the mandate of the 4,000-strong force. The Council is expected to meet in mid-September.
Somalia: Militia advances on Somali port
Residents in the southern Somali port of Kismayo are reported to be nervous that forces loyal to warlord General Morgan are planning an assault. The advance is being resisted by the Juba Valley Alliance militia, and there were reports of skirmishes outside the town on Sunday. General Morgan has refused to join the latest Somali peace talks, or take up a seat in the planned transitional parliament set up in Kenya last month.
Sudan: AU waters down Darfur security proposal
African Union mediators have watered down a security blueprint for Sudan's crisis-ridden Darfur province to try to keep rebels and the government at the negotiating table. Delegates at peace talks in Abuja said on Wednesday the mediators had dropped proposals that rebels confine their troops to base, and had not given a timeframe for the key rebel demand of disarming pro-government Janjaweed militia.
Sudan: New UN resolution on Darfur
The US has presented a new draft UN resolution to pressure Sudan to resolve the conflict in the Darfur region. The draft calls for an enlarged African Union monitoring force in Darfur, and repeats the threat of sanctions if the Sudanese government does not comply. US officials have denied they are "going easy" on Khartoum by allowing it a further 30 days to comply.
Sudan: Prospects for peace in Sudan
"The Government of Sudan is pursuing the high-risk strategy of seeking a solution on its own terms in Darfur, anticipating that international interests in the Naivasha process will allow it to prevail. It may yet be proven right. It has made only modest progress in implementing its commitments in Darfur, focusing its efforts on building an international coalition opposed to sanctions. The practical obstacles to ensuring security are considerable, but the GoS needs to demonstrate much more goodwill and determination." This is according to a briefing on Sudan by Justice Africa.
Uganda: Museveni rejects war mediation
Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni has said that attempts to hold third party talks with Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels are a waste of time. His remarks follow the latest mediation efforts by the African Union (AU) to end 18 years of fighting in northern Uganda. Talks set for Monday between Uganda's AU ambassador Joseph Ocwet and three LRA representatives were cancelled.
Africa/Global: Giving youth a voice contest winners
A youth writing contest, Voices of Youth, requested youth of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) countries to write about their vision of an ICT-enabled future in the rural areas of ACP countries. An international jury selected 3 “Grand Prize” winners, 7 “runners-up” and 10 honourable mentions from 178 submissions.
Africa: Challenges and opportunities on the road to Tunis 2005
In order to take advantage of new ICTs that have been developed to combat poverty and achieve sustainable development in Africa, women in Africa need to actively participate in ICT initiatives. The Conference on Women and ICT is to be held at the Arusha International Conference Centre, Arusha, Tanzania on 18-20 October 2004 to draw a roadmap for the caucus that will enable effective participation at WSIS-Tunis 2005.
South Africa: iPAQ competition entry guidelines
Bridges.org is facilitating the donation of 120 Hewlett Packard (HP) H4150 iPAQ handheld devices (handhelds) to support innovative projects in South Africa. The aim is to highlight the most exciting use of handheld devices for social or economic development in order to enable innovative projects to benefit from technology that might otherwise not be accessible to them. Winning projects will be captured in case studies to highlight how handhelds can benefit South Africa and the developing world. The deadline for submission is 8 October 2004.
South Africa: People must remain at the heart of e-learning
Due to the progress that computers and technology have made, e-learning has become a cost-effective method of improving training standards in both schools and work places. In South Africa, legislation such as the Skills Development Act and modern thinking has made computer-based training imperative in the work place.
Uganda: Microsoft aids schools
As part of the computer education initiative for Ugandan schools, "Fresh Start for Donated Computers Initiative in Uganda" software giant Microsoft will donate free licensed copies of its Windows 98 and 2000 operating system for personal computers. This programme will help to empower teachers and students to achieve their full potential by providing technology and training in education.
Election Talk available
Election Talk Number 15, 2004, is now available from EISA in hard copy, or downloadable from the EISA web site in PDF format. Order from email@example.com or download from: http://www.eisa.org.za/EISA/publications/catnewl.htm
Insight on the ICC
The Coalition on the International Criminal Court has announced the launch of the 2nd Edition of Insight on the ICC. The Insight primarily focuses on important developments at the International Criminal Court and in The Hague, with the aim of informing interested constituencies and fostering the development of a dedicated ICC community in this host city.
The Eastern African Sub-Regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women (EASSI) Newsletter
"We warmly bring you our second monthly update on the activities that EASSI has been engaged in during the month of August 2004. Key among these activities were the Internship Alumni Conference and preparations for the Africa NGO Forum due to take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in October 2004. EASSI has also been involved in a number of networking activities like the 2004 Exchange Programme Institute organized by Isis Wicce. EASSI is also expected to participate in the advocacy training on women engagement with the African Union. The training is organized by FEMNET and is scheduled for 19 - 24 September 2004 and is expected to bring together over 60 participants from Africa." Click on the URL below for more information.
Africa: Award for local content
The Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP) and Open Knowledge Network (OKN) invites applications for the Yeomans Award for local content. Four Awards of US$2500 each will be made under the Yeomans Award in 2004. The decision on the winners of the Award will be made by an international panel of judges.
Africa: The Gates Award for Global Health
In December 2000, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced the establishment of the Gates Award for Global Health in the amount of US$1million. Any organisation from any country that is a charitable institution, a private company or a public entity that has contributed to the improvement of the health and lives of the needy can apply for this award.
Small Grants Fund - Middle East and North Africa
Civil Society, Education, and Media Professionalism
The IREX Small Grants Fund supports civil society organisations, education professionals, media, and journalists in the Middle East and North Africa. Grants will be awarded to individuals and institutions to promote the engagement of civil society in public life, the professionalism and independence of the media, and the professional development of education, media, and civil society professionals.
Toolkit: Proposal Writing and Fundraising
Providing practical suggestions for applying for funding and proposal writing, this toolkit is based on interviews with experienced research fundraisers in both developing and developed countries. Obtaining funding for your research is a difficult achievement, so we hope this guide will help give your proposal the best possible chance of success.
Africa and global governance in the aftermath of 9/11
6-8 December 2004, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
The world has changed dramatically since the September 11 terrorist attacks on the USA. A progressive and development-oriented global agenda which was beginning to define the post-Cold War era, in the form particularly of the United Nations Millennium Summit and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), has since then receded.
Development & Human Rights
Pretoria, South Africa, 29 November-3 December 2004
This course addresses: definitions of development, including the rhetorics of development, classic versus radical definitions, Western and African definitions, and the World Bank and IMF models of development, as well as the rights-based, village-based and other models of development; the role players, the duty bearers, beneficiaries and bystanders in the development process; the impact and value of international programmes such as Structural Adjustment Programmes and Poverty Reductions Programmes; women in development, gender mainstreaming in development; international trade in the development process.
Training courses on ageing in Africa
21-25 February 2005, Nairobi, Kenya
If you are a mid-level or senior programme manager, social worker, senior government officer or planner, a health care professional, or have an interest in ageing issues, then this course is for you.
Training courses on ageing in Africa
21-25 February 2005, Nairobi, Kenya
All you need to know about ageing in Africa
If you are a mid-level or senior programme manager, social worker, senior government officer or planner, a health care professional, or have an interest in ageing issues, then this course is for you.
Topics to be covered include:
· Demographic situation and socio-economic implications for Africa
· HIV/AIDS and its impact on older people
· Gender dimension of ageing
· Research and Policies on ageing
A course fee of US$400 is chargeable for those requiring accommodation and US$150 for those who make their own accommodation arrangements.
For more information, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Assessment of Human Rights Defender Work in Southern Africa
The Nederlands Institute for Southern Africa (NiZA) is planning an assessment of human rights defender activities in Southern Africa. Consultants are required who are familiar with this work in the region, and extensive experience with analysis and assessments with human rights organisations in Zimbabwe, Angola or South Africa. The assessment is planned to be implemented over three weeks, and to begin at the end of September.
Assessment of Human Rights Defender Work in Southern Africa
The Nederlands institute for Southern Africa (NiZA) is planning an assessment of human rights defender activities in Southern Africa. Consultants are required who are familiar with this work in the region, and extensive experience with analysis and assessments with human rights organisations in Zimbabwe, Angola or South Africa. The assessment is planned to be implemented over three weeks, and to begin at the end of September.
Overall the assessment team should fit the following profile:
- Intimate knowledge of the field of human rights defender work in Southern Africa and the efforts of organisations to network and develop policy and support in the region.
- Knowledge of, and ability to work in Zimbabwe, South Africa or Angola.
- Experience with assessments and drafting lessons learned.
- Experience with building networks and the challenges in maintaining them.
- Experience with grassroots and social organisation.
Please send a CV and a covering letter briefly setting out relevant experience, as well as an indication of your availability and fees. A terms of reference is available on request.
Manager, Human Rights and Peacebuilding Dept
Nederlands institute for Southern Africa
South Africa: Programme Manager
Social Development (non-profit) Foundation
Opportunity for a pro-active innovator who is passionately committed to social development. The purpose of this low-profile philanthropic foundation is to enrich lives within communities through supporting those who provide resources, services and related research that meet practical human needs and shift the quality of relationships between people.
For a South African Philanthropic Foundation
Opportunity for a pro-active innovator who is passionately committed to social development. The purpose of this low-profile philanthropic foundation is to enrich lives within communities through supporting those who provide resources, services and related research that meet practical human needs and shift the quality of relationships between people.
Reporting to the Foundation's Board of Trustees, the main focus of the Programme Manager's responsibilities will be the development of programme initiatives and requests for proposals, and the management of the entire grantmaking process. S/he will also be responsible for the management of the Foundation's staff and the administration of finances.
A university degree, coupled with at least five years' experience is essential. The successful candidate will have demonstrated strong leadership, organizational, interpersonal and team skills. Also of prime importance are integrity, analytical and problem-solving skills, excellent oral and written communication skills and the ability to multi-task.
Attractive package commensurate with skills and expertise.
Send covering letter and curriculum vitae in confidence to Ann Ayre via email to email@example.com or apply on-line to www.renwicktalent.co.za
Only short-listed candidates will be contacted. Please quote reference number MFD0730
UK: Refugee and Migrants' Rights Coordinator
Amnesty International (AI) seeks a Refugee and Migrants' Rights Coordinator to lead our work on behalf of refugees and asylum-seekers, the internally displaced and migrants. You will be the principal legal and policy adviser, taking the lead in developing strategies, plans and actions involving AI's staff and membership.
Stand Up For Africa (SUFA) is a UK-based African-led organisation dedicated to work towards the eradication of poverty and suffering in Africa. SUFA’s current area of focus is in the Child Slave Trade (a desperate measure, born out of poverty) in various parts of Africa. The Charity was set up in August 2003. Please find out more about SUFA at www.standupforafrica.org.uk
Stand Up For Africa (SUFA) is a UK-based African-led organisation dedicated to work towards the eradication of poverty and suffering in Africa.
SUFA’s current area of focus is in the Child Slave Trade (a desperate measure, born out of poverty) in various parts of Africa. The Charity was set up in August 2003; please find out more about SUFA at www.standupforafrica.org.uk .
SUFA seeks to appoint a new treasurer-trustee, ideally based in London.
The successful candidate must meet all of the following criteria:
- Have financial qualification & experience
- Have some experience of charity finance.
- Be an African and have a passion for Africa.
- Make time to meet with other Trustees, advise the Executive Director and her team.
- Be prepared to take on a more hands on role in the preparation of financial statement at this early stage.
- For a full job description and person specification details please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
We particularly welcome applications from candidates from East, North & Southern Africa.
You must submit your CV and statement of interest by Monday 27/09/04 to email@example.com Interview will take place on Friday 08/10/04.
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