Pambazuka News 274: Political assassination as strategy against liberation movements
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Pambazuka News Editors
FEATURE: With compelling evidence, Victoria Brittain shows how the West has used political assassinations of the Third World leaders as an effective political strategy of control
COMMENT AND ANALYSIS:
- Jacqueline Tanaka argues that for the African healthcare system to work efficiently, organisations like the Bill Gates Foundation need to provide funding to train the African physicians
- Birgit Michaelis writes that the ordinary Somalis have suffered enough
- Assodesir warns that the situation on the ground in Darfur is worsening
LETTERS: Expel Sudanese diplomats from African capitols
PAN AFRICAN POSTCARD: Suren Pillay argues that the Native Club is only concerned about Native Power
BLOGGING AFRICA: Sokari Ekine struggles with the crime situation in South Africa
WORLD SOCIAL FORUM: Register now for WSF2007
CONFLICT AND EMERGENCIES: Links to news on Sudan, Somalia, Uganda and THE DRC
HUMAN RIGHTS: Britain Must Pay
WOMEN AND GENDER: AU Countries fail To agree on abortion
REFUGEES AND FORCED MIGRATION: Of social exclusion and refugee integration
ELECTIONS AND GOVERNANCE: The best way to guarantee peace in the DRC
DEVELOPMENT: Gates, Rockefeller and the Green revolution
HEALTH AND HIV/AIDS: Drug resistant TB threat
EDUCATION: Do we really need Shakespeare?
ENVIRONMENT: Uganda to ditch WB/ADB environmental policies
MEDIA AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION: Judge rules against SABC
INTERNET AND TECHNOLOGY: EASSY Deal to be signed soon
PLUS: e-Newsletters and Mailings Lists; Fundraising and Useful Resources; Courses, Seminars and Workshops; Jobs.
Political assassination as a strategy against liberation movements
The use of political assassination against liberation movements has changed the course of history in a number of countries in Africa and continues to devastate the Middle East, writes Victoria Brittain. The current power relations between the Third World and the dominant Western and imperialist powers, are a product of the war of attrition which the West has waged, particularly by political assassinations, which have robbed Africa and the Middle East of some of their great leaders, and weakened their important political organisations.
Selective and systematic political assassination against liberation movements has changed the course of history in a number of countries in Africa, and the Middle East, and profoundly affected regional politics. And with those changes have come even more significant ones on the wider canvas of Third World history.
More important still, the current power relations between the Third World in general, and the dominant Western and imperialist powers, are to a considerable extent a product of the war of attrition which the West has waged, particularly by political assassinations, which have robbed Africa and the Middle East of some of their great leaders, and weakened their important political organisations.
And there may be another legacy of these political assassinations and the loss of leaders over the preceding two generations. Today, opposition to the new colonialism has become so fragmented, sectarian, de-politicised, marginalized, leaderless, as to give birth to the suicide bomber as a widespread phenomenon –most strikingly in opposition to the US occupation of Iraq, as well as in Palestine.
For anyone who did not live the hopeful, febrile, political life in and around the African liberation movements of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, it may be hard to imagine their power over imaginations and political and social aspirations far beyond their own continent – including in Europe and in the US – and the magic of a handful of their leaders.
Two key liberation movements to consider in particular are South Africa’s African National Congress, and the Palestinians’ Fatah movement and various Palestinian splinter groups.
The different trajectory of the two mainly reflects the difference in their fundamental strategic position in the world: the Palestinians have the great disadvantage of being players in the key area of attempted US dominance of world oil supplies, and of being pitted against the US’s most important world ally. Additionally, the Middle East has been the most deeply penetrated area of the world by Western imperialist interests – well before the creation of the state of Israel.
But before going into those two cases in some detail: some reminders of the immense scope of the use of political assassination against the struggle of liberation movements to end colonialism in Africa, by giving just a very few examples.
Take first, as the context, four related highly professional assassinations, spread over nearly 30 years, mainly unsolved, but all presumed linked to the extreme right and former intelligence services in France. The last gasps of neo-colonialist violence played out here: Ben Barka; Felix Moumie of Cameroon, poisoned in Geneva in 1960 by a French secret service agent; Henri Curiel, the militant anti-imperialist, shot in his apartment building in Paris in May 1978, and Dulcie September, the ANC’s representative in Paris - shot in the back ten years later by a 22 calibre rifle with a silencer – the latter two, soft targets, with no protection, despite numerous death threats.
Charismatic leaders from countries as different as Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Cameroon, and Congo, who each had an influence that went far beyond their own countries, were assassinated in the interests of the colonial powers, even if the assassins themselves were sometimes recruited in local groups funded from the West. Amilcar Cabral, Eduardo Mondlane, Felix Moumie, and Patrice Lumumba, (though the latter was not leading a liberation movement, but was elected head of the post-colonial government less than a year before) were all murdered by the forces or allies of their current or former colonial power, because they threatened its future influence, not to say continuing control, over the economy and ideology in the country in question. Their brutal disappearances from the African political scene had a much bigger impact than their countries’ mainly modest weight would have intimated.
Amilcar Cabral was the leader of the PAIGC, (Partido Africano da Independencia da Guiné e Cabo Verde) the liberation movement fighting for independence from Portugal of the two small West African overseas territories. Cabral was, by far, the best-known and most revered intellectual influence on all African liberation movements. He was shot in his car arriving at his house in Conakry –PAIGC’s headquarters - on 20 january 1973, by a dissident of his own movement, manipulated by the Portuguese.
Cabral’s famous speech at the TriContinental conference in Havana in 1966 had revealed him to the world as a key theoretician among Third World revolutionaries at that exhilarating, hopeful, moment of history. He was also exceptional in action. It was in Guinea-Bissau that the Portuguese colonial army suffered its most crushing defeats, which later sparked the military revolt and the “Carnation Revolution” in Lisbon. Cabral was the living example of an exemplary revolutionary, whose movement was based as deeply among the peasants and future beneficiaries of the transformation of his society, as the Chinese leaders of the long march. He also reached urban cadres with the example of identifying with the peasants and giving up class privileges. Cabral’s charisma, intellectual brilliance, and influence within Africa, have never been even nearly matched on the continent in the 33 years since his death.
Eduardo Mondlane, leader of the Frelimo liberation movement, was killed, by a parcel bomb in Dar es Salaam – Frelimo’s headquarters - on February 3 1969, by agents of the PIDE – the hated and feared Portuguese political police struck here too. Mondlane was a US-educated, highly sophisticated leader who took on the leadership of Frelimo at its founding in 1964. Frelimo had the real possibility of being a liberation movement, and then a government, which could transform its backward strip of southeast Africa economically and socially far beyond the dreams and ambitions of most others in the post-colonial moment.
Would Mondlane, if he had been leading the country through the years of unrelenting South African destabilisation, have got to the point where Mozambique had to agree to Nkomati? This was the 1984 agreement that expelled the ANC from Mozambique - one of the strands of history that led the South African liberation movement to negotiate with the apartheid regime from a position of military weakness.
The subsequent histories of the other two countries who lost their key leaders so prematurely in the 1960s – Cameroon and Congo/Zaire –show more dramatic effects. In both, divided, factional, weak governments came to power, open to extreme manipulation by external forces, notably, the US and France in the Cold War period. Though because of the very complex ethnic structures of both Cameroon and Congo, and the size and wealth of the latter, it cannot be certain that either Moumie or Lumumba would necessarily have been successful in holding their countries together, or maintaining the independent anti-imperialist policies they espoused.
But since their violent deaths both have carried mythic status in Africa, and the evocation of their names brings nostalgia for a dream of real independence, of hopes, of justice, which never came.
In Cameroon, Felix Moumie was the successor to Reuben Um Nyobe as leader of the radical nationalist UPC, which had 10 000 peasant fighters in the bush and a movement strong enough to continue fighting for some years against the first independent government, the pro-French neo-colonialist regime of Ahmadou Ahidjo.
Moumie was murdered by thallium poisoning in Geneva on October 15 1960. His killer was a French agent, William Bechtel, who posed as a journalist to meet Moumie in a restaurant.
In Congo, Patrice Lumumba the radical nationalist leader, elected Prime Minister just before Congo’s independence from Belgium, was killed on January 17 1961. Lumumba’s assassination had been attempted on several previous occasions by the CIA, and it was finally carried out by agents of the Belgian government, including senior serving Belgian officials, acting with his Congolese political rivals, with the support of the Americans.
Lumumba had been crudely and erroneously tagged a communist by the US, which portrayed him as an extraordinarily dangerous individual. Lumumba’s error – in Western eyes - was his ambition of forming a unified state in which Congo’s huge riches would be used for indigenous development, rather than being exported massively to the West. In addition he had made overtures for assistance to the USSR.
In 1963 – old-style - the independent minded Togolese leader, Sylvanus Olympio, was killed in a coup lead by Colonel Etienne Eyadema, a veteran of the French army in Algeria, who took power four years later and for the next 40 years headed a neo-colonial regime strongly supported by Paris.
South Africa suffered some thousands of deaths – uncounted and often anonymous - of its commanders and cadres, assassinated in exile in ANC camps and offices in neighbouring countries, or by death squads inside the country. Dozens of individuals were targeted, mainly in the second rank of leaders. The assassination campaign by the apartheid regime aimed to take out the movement’s best brains, and to sap the will power of the rank and file to organise against apartheid. Ironically the ANC did not lose their top leaders in this dirty war, partly because many of them, like Nelson Mandela, were in prison on Robben Island. And even those top leaders in exile who were certainly frequently targeted, escaped that fate.
Those killed included men such as the young anti-apartheid activist Siphiwe Mtimkulu, poisoned by thallium in 1981, or leaders of organisations such as teacher Mathew Goniwe, the United Democratic Front regional organiser in the Eastern Cape, stabbed to death, mutilated and burned with three others, on the way to a meeting, in June 1985.
The confession of a former policeman, Butana Almond Nofemela in October 1989, that he had been part of a death squad, finally blew the lid off the secret policy, and gave some indication of its range. There were at least 50 such assassinations between august 1977 and November 1989.
A secret unit of the South African Defence Forces, the extraordinarily-named, Civil Co-operation Bureau (CCB), was finally revealed as responsible for many hundreds of targeted killings inside the country, and across the region. Cassius Make of the ANC’s national executive, and Paul Dikeledi, a member of the ANC’s armed wing, for instance, were just two of those key people shot dead in Swaziland in 1987 by a squad who brazenly crossed the border for the purpose.
Such assassinations were of course also intended by South Africa to send out warnings to host governments of the liberation movements, of the high price of the alliance against continued white rule. All the frontline states suffered such assaults. Killings of ANC cadres, including women and children, went on continuously through the 1970s and 80s in Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, and Zambia, the ANC headquarters. The regime relentlessly used spies and created collaborators to facilitate these killings.
In Zimbabwe in august 1981 the ANC representative, Joe Gqabi, who had spent years on Robben Island, was assassinated. He was killed outside his house in Harare, probably by former Selous Scouts who had joined the SADF. The New Zealand born priest, and ANC member Father Michael Lapsley lost both hands in a letter bomb attack in Harare, shortly after the ANC had moved him from Lesotho because of direct threats against him.
Mozambique saw many, many such killings of ANC people. South Africa made repeated raids, including by air, into Maputo against the ANC. In January 1981 they killed 13 cadres, in 1983 they killed 6 people, though only one was ANC, and bombed the ANC office wounding 5 cadres, one ANC cadre working at the radio was poisoned. They went for high profile South African exiles too, whose individual deaths might affect the course of the movement. In August 1982, Ruth First, wife of the communist party leader and army commander, Joe Slovo, and herself an influential anti-apartheid activist voice, was killed by a letter bomb sent to her university office. In 1987, Albie Sachs, another such internationally-known voice and a lawyer, was seriously wounded though not killed in a car bombing in which he lost his right arm and one eye. Sachs went on to be an eminent member of the Constitutional Court in post-apartheid South Africa, charged with overseeing the creation of a state that respected the law.
All these political assassinations over the years were undoubtedly successful in weakening the ANC and its allies, the UDF and COSATU, so that the eventual transfer of power was on much more favourable terms to the old regime, than had been envisaged during the armed struggle.
But all of this bloodshed is eclipsed in scale by the Israeli assassinations of Palestinians – part of the massive bloodletting in the Middle East that has, since 1977 under Menachem Begin, marked the struggle for Greater Israel, and the inevitable balkanisation of the Arab world. This began from the 1956 attempt by Britain, France and Israel to destroy Nasser, the Arab champion of the day.
Political assassinations have been, and still are, the backbone of Israeli counter-terrorism policy, and, in addition, there have been systematic assassinations of the Palestinian leaders keenest to negotiate with Israel. The highest level of the Israeli political/military establishment has been personally involved in many of the most important strikes.
Of the four founding fathers of Fatah, only one, Yasser Arafat, escaped assassination. Or did he? The use of sophisticated poison by Israeli assassins was revealed in 1997 when a Hamas leader, Khalid Mash’al, was poisoned in Amman by two Mossad agents (who had travelled on false Canadian passports and who were captured).
Mash’al was only saved when a furious King Hussein demanded, and received, the poison antidote from Israel. Others had no such escape from their fate: Muhamed Yusif al Najjar was killed by Israeli commandos in Beirut in 1973 – led by Ehud Barak, later Prime Minister, disguised as a woman. Abu Jihad, the PLO’s foreign minister, was killed in his house at the PLO headquarters in Tunis by a sea-borne Israeli military squad led by General Moshe Yaalon, later chief of staff. Abu Iyad, Fatah’s intelligence chief, with one of his senior intelligence officials, Abu al Hol, was gunned down in his house in Tunis in January 1991 on the eve of the Gulf war, by Hamza Abu Zaid, a dissident Fatah member who had been recruited by Abu Nidal.
In his deeply researched book, Abu Nidal, A Gun for Hire, the British Middle East expert, Patrick Seale, explored the thesis that Abu Iyad had put to him the previous year: that Abu Nidal was working with the Israelis. Nidal himself admitted penetration of his organisation by Mossad.
If Seale is correct, and he makes a very detailed and persuasive case, the Israelis were using, with Abu Nidal’s group, a particularly ruthless version of the classic infiltration and manipulation techniques with double agents much favoured by the South Africans (see above). The Israelis over the years have penetrated every single Palestinian organisation, and the use of collaborators has been a painfully corroding theme through Palestinian society.
In southern Lebanon, Hizbollah and Amal both had leaders assassinated by Israel in an extension of the war against the Palestinians. These actions, often coordinated by the US and sometimes financed by Saudi Arabia did not always succeed but they raised the stakes, for instance, notably, with the March 1985 massive car bomb in Beirut near the apartment block of Hizbollah’s spiritual leader, Sheik Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah, which missed him, but killed 80 people and wounded two hundred. Elsewhere in Lebanon thousands of Palestinians died in the war of the camps, and in the Abu Nidal killings of about 600 young men in 1987/88.
The dramatic impact on Palestinian history of political assassination comes not only from the top leadership cases cited, but from the assassinations of five leading Fatah doves between 1978 and 1983 by Abu Nidal. All five had publicly spoken in favour of dialogue with Israel, and all represented Fatah abroad: Said Hammami, PLO representative in London, Ali Yassin, ambassador in Kuwait, Nain Khudr, representative in Brussels, Izz al-Din Qalaq, representative in Paris, and Arafat’s confidant, Dr Issam Sartawi, killed in Lisbon during a conference on Palestine.
All five would certainly have held prominent positions in the Palestinian team that conducted the eventual negotiations with the Israelis. Their murders gave Israel its double goal: ending any chance of such negotiations taking place, and ensuring the continuation of the PLO’s international pariah status with the label of a terrorist organisation.
Other PLO representatives were also assassinated in Cyprus, Beirut, Rome, Paris (two more), and in Malta. And there were other attempts that failed.
Throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territories’ two intifadas, scores of Palestinians in less prominent local leadership positions were targeted and killed by undercover Israeli hit squads with incalculable impact on the political coherence of the resistance to the Occupation.
With the beginning of the twenty first century Israeli assassination tactics became more violent, more reckless of the consequences for civilians, and heedless of any international censure. The leader of the PFLP was the first victim of the flamboyant style that became their new trademark. On august 27 2001 Secretary-General Abu Ali Mustafa was assassinated by a missile attack on his office in Ramallah after he returned to the West Bank after 32 years in exile.
Since the Tricontinental era, in terms of self-confidence and intellectual freedom, of power relations with the West, of the gap between rich and poor, of optimism for justice, the legacy of the inspired liberation movements of the nineteen sixties, seventies and eighties has been deeply disappointing. All the material indicators are worse too in Africa and the Middle East, and the situation is compounded by a brain drain that runs directly contrary to the nationalist ideals of the earlier generations.
The Arab world is neither united nor free, much of it a series of shattered societies, headed by discredited and contested elites. Nothing illustrates this better than the current situation of the US occupation and destruction of a former regional giant - Iraq. Iraq’s great history and civilisation has come to its lowest ebb as one client government, manipulated from Washington, has succeeded another, and a new generation of resistance has been born. The daily diet of suicide bombings, carried out both by Iraqis and by jihadis of other Arab nationalities, has its roots in the depoliticisation imperialism worked so hard to produce in so much of the Third World, most notably by its political assassination policy.
• This a shortened version of an article in Race and Class Volume 48 (1) 2006, based on a paper given in a colloquium in Paris in late 2005, on the 40th anniversary of the assassination of the Moroccan opposition leader Ben Barka.
• Victoria Brittain is a journalist. She worked at the guardian for 20 years, mainly covering Africa and Third World economic and political issues.
• Please send comments to email@example.com or comment online at www.pambazuka.org/
Darfur: A Test for the African Union
The Darfur conflict began in 2003, and in just three years, it has left about two hundred thousand people dead and still counting. Assodesir argues that “The situation on the ground has worsened each day with an intensification of attacks in several places obliging humanitarian organizations to evacuate their personnel leaving behind them, women and children in the hands of criminals without scruples.”
With more than two hundred thousand dead, two million refugees and a worsening situation on the ground, the conflict in Darfur presents a hard test for the African Union. The recent extraordinary meeting at the presidential level of the of the African Union Peace and Security Council, held in New York on 20th September 2006 on the margins of the General Assembly of the United Nations, did not give the anticipated result. The extension of AMIS’s (Africa Union Mission in Sudan) mandate was the only important result of the meeting. Heads of State did not succeed in convincing the Sudanese government to accept a stronger United Nations force as requested by resolution 1706 adopted by the UN Security Council on August 31, 2006.
Whereas the AU’s 7000 troops, present on a territory as vast as France, could not manage to prevent sadly famous Janjaweed from killing, looting and raping, the AU also has problems to implement provisions of its own Constitutive Act, which is devoted to the respect of human rights and dignity, peace and security in our continent.
The NGO community was enormously disappointed by the very weak conclusions of the Peace and Security Council meeting. Some days before this extraordinary meeting, NGOs presented to the 15 Member States of the Council a series of recommendations that one can summarize in four points:
- To extend AMIS’s stay in Darfur at least until the end of the year with a stronger mandate and more troops
- To support UNSC resolution 1706 authorizing the deployment an U.N troops in Darfur and to convince Sudan to agreed to this deployment;
- To denounce the plan of the Sudanese government aiming to deploy more than 15000 troops in Darfur and rather call all parties to the conflict, to respect the Peace Agreement and the ceasefire;
- To invite the international community to support AMIS until the end of the year.
Unfortunately, the greatest achievements of this meeting were the extension of AMIS’s mandate until 31 December 2006 and a hypothetical increase in its troops. Nothing was said - at least not officially - on its mandate that remains very weak and very vague. The African Union has agreed to increase its troops in Darfur but has yet to make it happen, or concretise it. The situation on the ground has worsened each day with an intensification of attacks in several places obliging humanitarian organizations to evacuate their personnel, leaving behind women and children in the hands of criminals without scruples. Today, at least 40% of the displaced people do not have access to humanitarian aid. In this situation, every one has a role to play:
A firmer and prompter African Union
Article 4(h) of the Constitutive Act of the AU gives it the right to intervene in a Member State on a decision of Heads of States, in serious circumstances, namely: war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. The AU has the right to do this even without the consent of the concerned State. At this moment where the situation on ground has become more and more alarming, African Union must show more firmness and must act quickly.
The following must been done without delay by the AU:
- To clearly redefine the mandate of AMIS by reinforcing it in order to provide protection to civilians and to disarm Janjaweed militias;
- AMIS must thus transform from an observation force to a true peace making force and a guarantor of human rights and dignity. To achieve this, all Member States must provide troops. African state’s plethoric armies must be finally used for something positive;
- To express clearly its material and financial needs for the deployment of a larger force and to accept all assistance suggested by the UN and other partners;
- To impose targeted sanctions on Sudanese political leaders from all parties of conflicts that violate the Abuja Peace Deal or that prevent its implementation;
- To make a clear decision in favor of deployment of UN troops in which AU must fully take part.
A more coherent and reactive International Community
The international community must be united and must speak with one voice. China and Russia must join the United States, United Kingdom, France and the European Union to pressurize the Sudanese government through comprehensive sanctions including freezing assets, arms and oil embargo, and prohibition of travel among others. At the same time, the international community must immediately support AMIS materially and financially to reinforce it and allow it to deploy across the whole of Darfur. The International Criminal Court must be more vocal in its work on Darfur and even issue arrest warrants if possible against people suspected of carrying out atrocities. The United Nations must be prepared for a robust and massive deployment in Darfur by the end of the year with the consent of Sudan. However, they must also consider a strategically strong intervention without Sudanese consent if the humanitarian situation becomes dangerously worse.
The situation in Darfur is seen as a very first test for the new AU on peace and security issues. Obviously, the AU has a paramount role to play. However, given the gravity of the situation, the entire international community must contribute. All nations of the world have the responsibility to protect Darfur populations because genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity are not African business. They are odious crimes that touch the whole of humankind.
• Assodesir, a pseudonym, is an African activist engaged in Darfur
• Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or comment online at www.pambazuka.org
How Much More Suffering For Somali People?
Peace talks between the Somalian government and the Islamic courts are scheduled to resume at the end of the month, 30 October 2006. Birgit Michaelis argues that the ordinary Somalis have suffered enough, and says that Islamic courts should bring their judicial procedures into conformity with recognized international and African human rights treaties and standards.
“I do not want to live in Mogadishu” says Ibrahim Sherif Nur, a newcomer to the Dadaab refugee camp, which is located in Kenya's North Eastern Province. It took him 20 days to flee with his family from Somalia's capital to Liboi, a border post on the Kenyan-Somali frontier. Dadaab, a complex of three refugee camps, is already hosting some 134,000, mainly Somali, refugees and at the moment there is a considerable influx of refugees as violence escalates in Somalia. Kenya is cooperating with UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and may be forced to set up an additional refugee camp in Dadaab. There are more than 400,000 IDPs (internally displaced persons) in Somalia, 250,000 of them are living in Mogadishu in war-destroyed buildings under pitiful conditions. Most of the IDPs have to beg for food.
Somalis are, by most indices of human development, severely impoverished. Any increase in conflict could create a severe humanitarian crisis in Somalia, according to one United Nations agency. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned that double the 1.8 million people currently in need of urgent assistance were at risk as malnutrition rates are high in many areas. Like the humanitarian situation the human rights situation is a disaster too. Home to 10 million predominantly Muslim people, the country has been without a functioning government since the former president, Mohamed Siad Barre, was ousted in 1991.
Human rights violations under the regime of Mohamed Siad Barre
The Somali Republic collapsed in 1991 with the overthrow of the Siad Barre government, the disintegration of the state into civil war, the establishment of various and shifting warlord-controlled zones in the south, and the separation of the north-western third of the country. Major General Mohamed Siad Barre’s government originated in a military coup in 1969 after nine years of civilian multi-party government, following Somalia’s independence in 1960. His government was overthrown just over 21 years later, in 1991, by armed opposition forces based in Ethiopia. The Siad Barre government was a military-based, one-party Marxist-Leninist system marked by constant repression of opposition, clanism (clanism particularly refers to clan favouritism in political decision-making and public resource allocation), corruption and economic mismanagement.
The government was responsible for a persistent pattern of gross human rights violations, including large-scale killings by the army in the northwest, culminating in massacres and bombing in Hargeisa in the 80s; systematic torture of political prisoners by the National Security Service; arbitrary and long-term detentions of thousands of prisoners of conscience; grossly unfair trials by National Security Courts; many judicial executions; numerous political killings; and harsh treatment of prisoners in special security prisons. In the northwest in 1991, the Somali National Movement (SNM) force defeated the government forces and declared independence for “Somaliland” from the rest of Somalia, within the borders of the former British Somaliland Protectorate. In the northeast, the Puntland Regional State was declared in 1998 as a future part of a federal Somalia, consisting of two and a half former administrative regions of the former Somalia. 
After the state collapse in 1991 clan-based warlords and their armed militias took over and ruled the country until this June. Somalia plunged into chaos and anarchy. Tens of thousands of persons, mostly civilians, have died in interfactional and interclan fighting. The warlords and their militias are responsible for numerous human rights abuses such us kidnapping for ransom, torture, rape, beatings, unlawful killings and crimes such as theft, armed robbery, extortion, cattle rustling and piracy. The warlords’ rule led to infrastructure collapse, refugee flows and humanitarian disaster, which had exceptionally severe effects in this impoverished country. It further caused political instability in the Horn of Africa, which was affected by other armed conflicts and humanitarian and human rights crises.
The formation of the Transitional Federal Government
Numerous efforts have been made since 1991 with varied international support to try to resolve the crisis of state collapse and civil war in Somalia. But none has been successful. In 2000 a peace conference was convened at Arta in Djibouti by Djibouti’s President. The conference elected a Transitional National Assembly, which formed the Transitional National Government (TNG), installed in Mogadishu. The TNG, with a three-year term, controlled only a little part of Mogadishu and did not manage to establish a national system of administration of justice, a national army or police force. Faction fighting continued.
In October 2002 the 14th Somalia peace talks since the state collapse opened in Kenya. The “Somali National Reconciliation Conference” was sponsored by the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), an inter-governmental regional grouping in the Horn and East Africa. In August 2004 members of a Transitional Federal Parliament were sworn in and Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed was elected as President with a five-year term. Yusuf belongs to the original warlord class, which was instrumental in the destruction of the central state.
Several posts in the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) are held by warlords. Still in Nairobi there was a deep rift in the TFG on the future seat of government and a deployment of peacekeeping troops by the African Union. The Transitional Federal Institutions (TFI) relocated from Kenya to Somalia in June 2005. Esteeming Mogadishu too dangerous as seat of government the TFG first settled in Jowhar and later moved to Baidoa.
Most Somalis have a strong desire for a central state but are deeply disappointed with the TFG, which is internationally recognized but does not even have Baidoa under its control. It is divided by disputes and its effectiveness must be questioned. After more than two years the TFG has failed in promoting reconciliation, curbing the power of the warlords and disarming their militias. The executive and judicial branches remain badly underdeveloped and essentially non-functional. The TFG’s omission to establish local administration left a political vacuum. A functioning public administration and judicial system are indispensable for the promotion and protection of human rights and help prevent impunity. Warlords and their militias must be held accountable for war crimes and human rights abuses. Meanwhile, the TFG is perceived within Somalia more as a faction than a national authority.
The rise of the Islamists
After the fall of Siad Barre, Islamists began to argue that the only alternative to clanism and the failed Somali nationalism is political Islam. War weariness, desperation, desire for peace and order as well as widespread poverty seems to have attracted Somalis to join the fundamentalist camp. The state collapse not only created a fertile ground for the emergence and development of Islamic fundamentalism as a major force in Somalia, it also fostered the free movement of extremist and terrorist forces. The country is a refuge for the al-Quaeda team that bombed the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and a Kenyan resort in 2002.
Al-Ittihad Al-Islami (AIAI), a radical Islamist organization, became prominent in 1991 with the objective of toppling President Barre. Its main goal was to form a strong Islamic state in Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya and Somalia, all countries with an ethnic Somali population. In the mid-90s, AIAI initiated attacks in Ethiopia. Islamic courts emerged in the late 90s primarily in Mogadishu and became the de facto judiciary in the capital after the collapse of the government. A Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) was formed from the amalgamation of different clan-based courts, dominated by the Hawiye.
Ideologically, the UIC and AIAI share many similarities as they both have the same radical approach: they want an Islamic state in Somalia governed by Sharia law, sustain a charity wing and the UIC has militias as AIAI once had. The former leader of AIAI, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, is now the most prominent figure of the UIC representing its hard-line faction.
The takeover of Mogadishu on 5 June 2006 by the UIC was the most important political event in Somalia in the last 16 years. It removed the political class of secular, clan-based warlords, which has divided and ruled the country since the collapse of the central state in 1991. As the UIC continues to spread its influence throughout Somalia, the international community has reacted with concern since there are accusations that the UIC has links with al-Qaeda. In February this year the warlords formed the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism (ARPCT) backed by the USA with the help of secret funding. The ARPCT clashed with the UIC culminating in a major battle for Mogadishu that led to victory for the UIC in June. The four-month-long strife left 400 civilians dead and 1,500 injured, according to the Dr. Ismael Jumale Human Rights Centre, a Somali NGO.
The UIC is consolidating its power and outside of Mogadishu now controls the provinces of Lower Shabelle, Benadir, Middle Shabelle, Hiran, Gelgedut and parts of Mudug and Lower Juba region. After first gaining the support of Somalis for restoring peace and stability in Mogadishu and ending the warlords’ extortion activities there is now growing fear of the Islamists’ radicalism. Many East African countries consider the UIC takeover of Somalia a threat. Ethiopia strengthened its troop presence on the Somali border.
Eritrea, hostile to Ethiopia, is allegedly supporting the UIC with arms and ammunition. There is a danger that tensions may increase and that a proxy war will take place on Somali soil. The Islamist militia has stressed it will defend the country from Ethiopian forces and is recruiting and training youth in special camps in preparation of jihad (Holy War). The UIC is also opposing a deployment of peacekeepers which had been approved by the AU in mid-September but which is unlikely to be realized due to an UN arms embargo and to lack of funding. On 24 September the Islamists seized Kismayo where the port had been seen as a possible landing point for the peacekeeping force. For the TFG, the takeover of Kismayo was a violation of a ceasefire agreed during peace talks in Khartoum, Sudan, which are mediated by the Arab League.
Human rights violations under the Union of Islamic Courts
The capture of Kismayo, where the UIC had closed down a local radio station and detained three journalists, was followed by three days of anti-Islamist protest. The initial euphoria following the UIC’s victory over the warlords has turned into fear and protest. There are numerous reports of a crackdown on the media. The UIC’s strategy of controlling ideological and political expression also leads to restrictions of the freedom of assembly. On 17 August its forces broke up a meeting in Mogadishu of the moderate Muslim group Al-Islah, which advocates dialogue between the UIC and the TFG. The UIC also curbs non-Islamist sectors of Somali society and bans political meetings.
Islamic guards are stopping minibuses to check women’s clothing and men’s hairstyles. Clothing deemed as un-Islamic is hacked with scissors. In some parts of Mogadishu, cinemas showing foreign films or international football have been raided and closed down and there is a ban on some radio stations from playing western music and local love songs. This level of intervention into private life is not well-received by Somali society. The UIC’s morality policy and the prominence of known militants within its leadership show parallels with the Taliban’s rise in Afghanistan in the 1990s. Like the Taliban the hard-liners within the UIC want an Islamic Somali state where the Qur’an is the constitution and Islamic law, the Sharia, is the only source of legislation.
Sharia laws are derived from the Qur’an, the Islamic holy book, from the writings of renowned Islamic scholars and from the judicial interpretation of these writings. The rules of customary laws in the African context, including Somalia, are contained in the customs and norms of life of the respective communities, but are unwritten. Before the emergence of the Islamic courts no Sharia-based penal or criminal law was part of Somalia’s penal legislation. In recent years, several death sentences have been imposed and carried out by Islamic courts and their militias, although most death sentences have been replaced by compensation negotiated between the clans of the victim and the perpetrator according to Somali customary law.
Omar Hussein was publicly executed in Mogadishu on 2 May 2006. He was tied to a stake, hooded and stabbed to death by the 16-year-old son of the man who he admitted stabbing to death in February. Omar Hussein had been sentenced to death hours earlier by an Islamic court. A large crowd gathered to witness the public execution, with several fainting at the sight of blood gushing from his head. The teenager repeatedly stabbed the condemned person in the head and neck. He reportedly expressed happiness at his infliction of the death sentence in this way. A Sharia law of retribution, (qisas, i.e. ’like-for-like’) was applied in this capital case, after the victim’s family reportedly refused to accept compensation (diya). Such a retribution execution is unprecedented in Somalia and Somali customary law. It is also contrary to Somalia’s former penal code, which would be the basis for court proceedings in state courts. 
Another public execution took place in Mogadishu on 22 September this year. Abulkadir Mohamed Diriye and Mahad Osman Ugas, having been convicted of murder, were shot in a public place in the presence of a large crowd including journalists invited to attend the execution. Some of the spectators reportedly vomited after they saw and heard the bullets pouring into the convicts’ bodies. There are also public floggings for selling drugs. On 23 September, for the first time a woman was flogged by Islamist militias for selling cannabis. She was given 11 lashes. Arrested for being in possession of a small amount of the drug worth $1, she pleaded innocence while being beaten. Five men were also whipped, and the seized drugs were burned.
Corporal punishments violate the most elementary standards of humane treatment. Executions constitute the ultimate form of cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment in violation of the most fundamental right of every human being: the right to life. When carried out as a public theatre they can only serve to fuel a climate of violence and vengeance. Amnesty International categorically opposes the implementation of the death penalty, but takes no position on the introduction and application of laws based on the interpretation of religious texts, as long as this is carried out in full respect of human rights principles. These principles include the right to legal representation, the right of appeal to a higher court, the right of a fair trial and the right of those condemned to death to petition for clemency.
The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has commented on the application of Sharia law: “When national courts apply Sharia, they must do so in accordance with the other obligations taken by the State. Trials must always accord with international fair trial standards”. Somalia is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Amnesty International calls on the Islamic courts to bring their judicial procedures into conformity with recognized international and African human rights treaties and standards. The human rights organization calls on the TFG to take steps to establish a fair judicial system throughout the country as a fundamental part of the reconstruction of Somalia.
• The author is the country coordinator for Kenya, Tanzania and Somalia of Amnesty International - German section.
• Please send comments to email@example.com or comment online at www.pambazuka.org
 See Amnesty International, Somalia: Urgent need for effective human rights protection under the new transitional government, AI Index AFR 52/001/2005, 17 March 2005, pp. 2 ff
 See Amnesty International, Somalia: Child publicly executes father’s killer on orders of summary court, AI Index AFR 52/001/2006, 9 May 2006
Will Bill Gates’ Millions Save Us?
This article is a response to the article entitled “How The Brain Drain To The West Worsens Africa’s Public Health Crisis” (http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/comment/37062), Jacqueline Tanaka argues that although the Gates Foundation has dedicated a significant fraction of its resources to improving the African healthcare system, what the Foundation ought to be doing in addition is to provide funding to train the African physicians.
I recently came across an article entitled “How the Brain Drain to the West Worsens Africa’s Public Health Crisis”, published on Pambazuka News 9/14/06. Many of the facts and ideas presented in the article resonated with me as I, too, have been thinking about quality of life issues in Africa. Let me introduce myself. I am an Associate Professor of Biology at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, USA. I have become aware of some of the issues facing African countries through my students at Temple who are African or are of recent African descent as well as friends who are African or who have close ties to Africa. And perhaps because I am a biologist, I see things through a somewhat different lens than the author of the article.
The author, Rotimi Sankore, writes: “Resolving Africa’s public healthcare crisis will resolve most of the other issues and be a step towards isolating AIDS which can then be tackled more easily. The first step must be resolving the health worker shortages, which includes dealing with the ‘brain drain’.”
Tackling the health care issues of Africans goes beyond providing health care. To me, the issue is a larger one dealing with ‘quality of life’ that includes access to clean water, adequate nutritious food, education, and access to means of support for one’s family. These issues require political integrity and environmental restoration. The environmental restoration will, in turn, pay back by providing ecosystem services such as clean water and fertile soil, reduction of erosion and reduction of desertification. Since much of the environmental destruction is done in the name of ‘economic development’ and done by foreign ‘investors’, beating back this ‘progress’ will take vision and political will in addition to the political integrity.
But how does all this relate to the topic of “brain drain” raised by Sankore? Well, I see first-hand some of the “brain drain” - African students who come to Temple University for their undergraduate degree in the hope of returning to Africa as medical doctors. In my experience, these students have been the brightest, most talented students I have seen in my six years at Temple. Some carry a perfect 4.0 GPA through their entire four years. They conduct research with faculty often publishing in peer-reviewed scientific journals as undergraduates. Clearly they are Africa’s best and brightest.
And they want to go back. So what happens? Well, if they are lucky, they get accepted into a US or British medical school as an international student. This alone requires some luck as well as a perfect academic record. But here is the rub. They will not qualify for the loans and aid that American students depend on. The African students have few resources to pay the huge tuition bills for medical school so those who manage to attend have enormous debts to pay at the end of four years. How can they possibly go back to their country and pay even a fraction of their debts on an African salary? They can’t. So, many continue through their residency, barely making a dent in their debt burden. They accept positions practicing medicine here not because they don’t want to return home but because they can’t afford not to practice here.
As for those physicians who are trained in Africa, why not ask them why they came here to practice? Chances are you will find out what the infrastructure is like for them in their country. One of my students described a clinic in her personal statement (which each student writes in their medical school application). In her words,
“The hospital was like a war zone, if not, a crowded arena wherein the medical staff had to sprint to save precarious lives. People swarmed the hospital from all walks of life and lay sprawled even on the hospital floors. The Nigerian health narrative is ugly. Glutted with poorly trained medical personnel and failing health systems, the medical environment consistently breeds short, unhealthy lives.
Death by “natural causes” frequently implies death by preventable, controllable, treatable maladies-malaria, typhoid, tuberculosis etc. In addition, the government’s nonchalance frequently necessitates that doctors go on strike just to get paid. It remains a gloomy fact that it is very easy to lose a life in Nigeria. The reality is simple and crushing – the government will not fund basic care, the people cannot afford basic care, and the medical personnel are dangerously incompetent in providing basic care.
Medical incompetence in Nigeria is a direct result of shoddy medical training. Medical schools lack adequate facilities while maintenance is permanently deferred. The faculty: student ratio is unbelievable, even then, a significant number of the instructors are inexperienced and unqualified to teach medical students. Endemic corruption in the country has permeated medical schools such that admissions into the schools can be gained through “connections”. Success in medical school can likewise be procured through financial and sexual inducements. Could it then be a surprise that patients have to plead for pre-treatment medical tests else, the “doctor” would “forget” to do so? Misdiagnoses and malpractice certainly contribute to the rampant deaths that are but signatures of Nigerian hospitals.”
Sankore argues that: “The problem seems to be that acknowledging, prioritizing and acting on the “brain drain” problem means that governments of countries that have benefited from the “brain drain” have to take responsibility, and cease their recruitment of healthcare workers from Africa.” While I agree completely with your statement that developed countries must cease recruiting health care workers from African countries, I think we need to do much more in terms of training health care workers. We need to devote some of our international aid funds to educate and train health care workers and then send them back.
This initial wave will form the backbone of an emerging African healthcare infrastructure. They will have knowledge and training in modern medical techniques in addition to the cultural knowledge indispensable for dealing with African medical problems. And if these students are given the opportunity to participate in the elite MD/PhD programs at the top medical schools (for which they are eminently qualified), they will be prepared to conduct cutting-edge research on diseases including some of the very same infectious diseases long ignored by the West.
There is plenty of work for all to deal with these complex issues. What must Africans do? They must commit resources to build a strong health-care infrastructure and they must recognize the links between health care, quality of life and environmental restoration. They must, in some cases, wrestle resources from corrupt leaders. They must demand that the resources of their motherland be shared with the people. These resources are necessary to provide the tools for health care workers to address the staggering quality of life issues in Africa.
What must the rest of the world do? We must care about the quality of life for everyone sharing the planet. And if you don’t care for the same reasons I care, you must care because you can’t run away. Whether you live in the rural sub-Saharan countryside or on a crowded block in Queens, NY you can’t escape environmental contaminants and airborne microbes. The recent recognition of extreme drug-resistant forms of TB should remind us all that we have no immunity against the rapid evolution of microbes. And guess who provided the incubator for this rapid evolution of the TB microbes? An AIDS patient with a weakened immune system. This new form of TB cannot be treated with any of our existing TB medicines, all of which are at least 40 years old. Ask yourself: how long does it take for these microbes to travel across an ocean?
Is there hope? You bet there is…all $57 billion worth in the form of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as other organizations. The Gates Foundation has dedicated a significant fraction of its resources to some of the issues discussed above. But in my opinion, they have missed the biggest factor of all. They haven’t provided funding to train the physicians. Africa needs physicians and health care workers who understand the culture…who are from the culture. We must provide this education for Africa’s best and brightest. Not because we support the “brain drain”, but because it is part of the solution. So we need to find ways to draw the attention of the Gates Foundation to the human capacity building that is required to meet the challenges all poor countries face. Healthcare is part of the problem and we can begin there but ultimately, we must deal with all of the issues: food and water, political integrity, economic development, environmental restoration and education.
• Jacqueline Tanaka, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Biology at Temple University.
• Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or comment online at http://www.pambazuka.org
Native Club or Native Power?
A gathering of black intellectuals going by the name of the Native Club has stirred rigorous debate in South Africa. Some have likened the Native Club to the Broederbond; however, the Club defines its objectives as being to work towards contributing to the on-going process of decolonisation and eradicating apartheid and colonial mindsets. Suren Pillay reflects on the furore around the Native Club debate, reminding us of Wole Soyinka’s criticism of the Negritude Movement, that a tiger never proclaims its tigritude!
For a while now I have tried to put my finger on my precise unease with the Native Club. Of course the name of the club is bait enough, but I am prepared to grant the organisers a level of irony, and not get too riled about who is a native. I will also avoid the temptation to point out how being a native can conflict with the aspirations of scholarly life to a universal sensibility. And I have to assume that my invitation to join was lost in the post. The main source of my worry with the Native Club however, is this: as intellectuals they don’t seek to speak truth to power, as much as seek to be power itself.
Defenders of the Native Club all raise the very crucial point that there is a startling and severe lack of black intellectuals in academia.. True, and as the driving concern for those who have formed the Native Club, they must be lauded for making this issue more of a public scandal. However, most universities, if not all institutions in South Africa, will at least publicly agree with you. It is about representation, and of course it is something that correctly challenges post apartheid South African life as we try to correct the historical injustices of apartheid. We must however ask ourselves the more demanding question of whether the wrong of apartheid is simply reducible to a right of representation?
The motivation for the Native Club is in my view correct, but insufficient. We have to move the debate beyond representation - it is not an end in itself - and confront the existential question of what it means to be an intellectual in post-apartheid South Africa. Defenders of the Native Club tend to emphasise white control, white institutions, white viewpoints, and ‘white prevailing discourses’, which recalls in my memory the debates we had in the1980’s about Bantu education during the school boycotts. We shouted Phantsi Bantu education, but we did not mean by this that we wanted the education that white South Africans were getting. We would not be defined by whiteness, both as a problem and as a solution. Yes, we may have envied the physical infrastructure of those well-resourced schools, but we realized that white South Africans were getting an equally defective education, and that we would have the opportunity to create something radically improved in a post-apartheid South Africa.
For many, that new education would entail thinking critically, and independence of action and thought based on the best values of the humanities. Our colleagues in the Native Club seem so agitated by the problem of white control that they have fixated on a change of demographics, but have not gone further to unpack what exactly is problematic with the ‘white viewpoint’, and consequently feel no need to make a case for what would be better about a ‘black viewpoint’, if either actually are possible. Is this, one wonders, because the views of the leading black intellectuals in the Native Club, so precariously close to those of the ruling party, may not be that different in substance to the white viewpoint they seek to dislodge? After all, we have quickly learnt that a black capitalist is no less immune to the imperatives of profit than her white counterpart. And so too for the black university administrator.
I hesitate to resurrect Frantz Fanon because he really has been abused of late. However, many seem to have not read Fanon too finely when it comes to Blackness and Whiteness. Recall that for Fanon neither black nor white was a ‘fact’; both were dependent on each other for their existence. It is therefore possible to see both identities implode so as to no longer make them socially, politically and economically discernable.
Imagining a South Africa without apartheid was a big, bold question mark that stood glistening on the other side of the bleakness and bloodshed that was the struggle against apartheid. Being beyond apartheid would mean being able to find alternatives to the ways things were, and if one wants to get completely nostalgic about it, forge a better kind of society. That’s what made it compelling, and makes it so disheartening sometimes these days. The question marks are quickly being replaced with the exclamations mark of power, and those that come bearing the exclamation marks like a cross are often familiar faces. However, the vocation of the intellectual is to consistently keep the question marks of human life open, never accepting the easy answers and always vigilant to the status quo. That said, being critical doesn’t mean you only say bad things, because criticism can be about positive appraisal too, but to be critical does mean never tempering disagreement for the cosiness of solidarity, lest we become ideologues - just witness Ronald Suresh Roberts’ latest turn.
If we accept what Cornel West preaches, that being an intellectual is about speaking truth to power, then surely it would mean having a permanently sceptical relationship to the powerful regardless of colour, and not simply being critical because you actually aspire to be the powerful. This, unfortunately, seems to be what the Native Club is about. To have a wider purchase on other intellectuals, the Native Club will have to do more than articulate concerns about representation. It will have to pose thought provoking intellectual questions, do some solidly rigorous scholarly work, and fire the imaginations of a new generation of young minds. Remember the venerable Wole Soyinka’s critique of Negritude: a tiger never proclaims its tigritude!
• Suren Pillay is a senior lecturer in the Dept. of Political Studies at the University of the Western Cape.
• Please send comments to email@example.com or comment online at www.pambazuka.org
I agree that this is a problem not only in Angola but in all of Africa. Poverty is the one major issue that has to be addressed. I agree that the business community that controls the oil and other resources that Africa provides should and must take care of the people that provide the labour force. They must develop the country such that all enjoy the fruits of the land. Merely raping the continent will only lead to all the anti-social problems that one sees prevalent in all parts of Africa.
The international community must play an integral role in empowering the people of the continent so that they could control their own destinies.
Education is the most crucial component of the formula for success. Health care is next in line that is needed to stem the growing pandemic of HIV and AIDS. Full employment will definitely add to the growth of the economies.
Another phenomenon is the idea of the African Renaissance that is being touted by the S.A. leadership. One has to be very skeptical of this idea. Remember that Africa is a continent filled with people of all stripes, colours and religions and one cannot forget that all are part and parcel of the success of the continent. If the African Renaissance were to succeed then one will only ‘Balkanize’ Africa once again for more exploitation by the external forces.
Hopefully some of these ideas have been uttered by others but I felt that I should also add to the list.
The article entitled “The Psychosis of Denial” contains inaccurate statements. The problem in Zimbabwe is caused by the current majority ZANU PF government. What has MDC got to do with the problems? Is it the MDC that has failed the land reform, or embarked on operation cleanup or caused the shortage of food and fuel? The authors of this article clearly benefit from the current situation in Zimbabwe. Those that are benefiting from the current misrule are known to be corrupt and nothing is done to them. There are many laws, e.g. the Public Order and Security Act [POSA] which benefit ZANU PF and not the general public. They say there is a rule of law but there is selective application of this, especially where corruption is involved. It is who you are, and your loyalty to Mugabe that matters in Zimbabwe. Too many laws are passed to keep the status quo intact. Zanu PF is worse than the apartheid regime considering that it is a Black government mistreating its people yet blames Blair and Bush. How are Blair and Bush responsible for the oppression of ordinary people in Zimbabwe? Are they responsible for plundering the country's economy?
The Mugabe regime has run short of what to say and they don't want to accept responsibility for their mistakes. Instead they pass endless laws that are retrogressive to the building of a country.
It is a power struggle issue in Zimbabwe. Someone thinks because they fought a war therefore no one else should rule the country except them. If you look for example at Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania, they have changed political leaders, but what has Zimbabwe done, and why? There is more to it than blaming other people and the opposition.
Zimbabweans are tired of the ZANU PF propaganda. The country is run on propaganda. Zimbabweans are just fed up. And we are waiting to see where this propaganda will take ZANU PF. The truth is ZANU PF is not committed to change or to the development of Zimbabweans at large. Look at who benefited from farm invasions, and what is coming out of those farms? Nothing. If your loyalty is questionable the farm is simply taken away from you.
Expel Sudanese diplomats from African capitols
Prof Soyinka's eloquent discourse on the collective failure of the world, Black Africa included, is a damning indictment of those who have the power to stop and prevent the first genocide of this century. The UN has been prevaricating, the AU has been silent (in spite of the weakly mandated Peace keeping Forces in Darfur), and the Arab League does not believe there is a problem in the first place. Against this backdrop, it is heartening to see Black intellectuals taking the lead on this issue. This offers little comfort to those who are raped, killed, tortured and rendered destitute in their own backyard. The words "never again" mean nothing when it comes to that continent.
The challenge has been issued by Soyinka to African leaders to show even a token response: expel Sudanese diplomats from African capitols to show that we are serious about Darfur.
The Darfur Crisis
The fate of Darfur is the fate of all people of colour. Neither the USA nor Europe care about what happens to us. If Nigerians keep quiet today, the Arabs will come for them tomorrow. I can see it very clearly. So let other black people keep quiet today so that they can die tomorrow. Or let us fight this insult on our continent now, even if it is to the last drop of our blood. We must not allow history to record us as having kept quiet in the face of tyranny: enough is enough.
Wanjiru Kihoro: Sister, Comrade, Friend
Wangui wa Goro
It is hard to write about Wanjiru in the yesterday. Her indefatigable, vibrant energy, her love of freedom, justice and equality defy that.
I met Wanjiru in those grim Nyayo years and did not realise what a huge impact she was going to have not only on my life and the lives of many others. For instance, she was present when I had my first labour pang, and she read the eulogy for me at my sister’s funeral when I was unable to go home. These moments are not personal to me in the way they seem here but epitomise Wanjiru, private yet public in a seamless way, always present for others, compassionate and caring.
Much of her contributions in the public have been spoken about in the years she has been recovering from the fatal plane crash, which ultimately took not only her life but that of the Labour Minister Ahmad Mohammed Khalif with two pilots in the crash in the town of Busia in 2002. We all believed that she was going to pull through and even then, she managed to comfort us with her courage summing up how she lived her life, with stoicism and optimism.
As has rightly been said repeatedly in this period when Wanjiru was ill, she was a leader, activist for democracy, freedom, human rights, equality and justice and always stood on the side of the oppressed, particularly women and the poor. She worked tirelessly and with courage, using her razor-sharp intellect to focus thousands, of the task at hand in creative ways which brought her knowledge and everyday life together in very practical ways. For she was an intellectual and academic and she brought this to her activism. Equally, she brought her activism into her academic and intellectual life. One day she would be working with global power brokers in suits, and the next she was in the grass roots, engaging power in its different manifestations and locations with equal ease. This subtle ability to succinctly carry what was applicable in one context to another successfully and appropriately was Wanjiru’s greatest strength and she had many. Her sense of humour allowed her to do this.
We spent many a day and night together particularly in those tough Nyayo years when many, including her husband were jailed, tortured, disappeared, killed, exiled or harassed in other ways. What was moving during this period is the way in which Wanjiru applied herself to the personal as well as the public matters with equal fierceness and compassion. Many will attest to her generosity in these difficult days when she became the hub of activity around all matters freedom, not only for Kenyans and women, but for the international community as it is represented in the United Kingdom and elsewhere and she has been recognised with public accolades for her contribution.
Wanjiru urged particularly women and others to take responsibility for their lives by become leaders and to live their lives in the centre-fold of humanity, not its margins and she did this by example through practicing what she preached, but also training others and advocating for others. This is exemplified by her work in Akina Mama wa Africa which she founded with others and later, she took the principles of working to bring women into the centre-fold of life through her work with ABANTU where they developed policy, training and advocacy from feminist perspectives through all aspects of life particularly in Africa, but also globally. She firmly believed that feminism would benefit all of society and therefore engaged with men, women and children.
Despite her very public life, there was a seamlessness in Wanjiru’s life which made the saying the personal is political real, even her love life from start to finish. She met and fell in love in politics and she has passed away in love and politics with her loving and courageous husband at her side very publicly as they began. If you went to Wanjiru’s house, you would just as easily find her rolling out another mandazi or chapati just as readily as she would be unfurling yet another freedom manifesto for Kenya, South Africa, Grenada, Nicaragua, political prisoner or the women’s movement.
Similarly, her public life carried a great deal of her public life as she worked closely with her sisters who adored and emulated her as well as her husband and many of her friends such as those with whom she experienced the plane crash. I met her children, Wangui, Pambi and Mugure involved in the performance of the Trail of Dedan Kimathi! She was a family oriented person, and although many would wonder where she found the time, she did, and in very personal ways. She would write that card with her fountain pen when she could not come and if she could, she would trek to you at night or morning and give you her own personal touch. This is the way she was with her family and with the young ones particularly who always adored her. She was loved by her immediate and her wider global family and she had a way of making you feel that you were part of her world. Wanjiru also drew inspiration from her parents whom she kept abreast of the developments whether she was abroad or at home. This was very moving as it fed both ways and inspired everyone. She would tell us of her family’s acts of courage and said how much her mother’s acts of courage were an inspiration to her. This courage has been witnessed in the last few years as the family supported Wanjiru through her illness daily.
There was a vulnerable and shy Wanjiru which made her self effacing to a fault, as it was so incompatible with the giant that she was. This for me, is her most endearing quality and it drew many people because she did not hide it. It made her human and exceptionally lovable. I write these things with a heavy heart because I had plans like everybody else who was waiting for her to recover.
Her life spans very long days and very long nights and vast, vast spaces, cultures and individuals across the globe. Her impact will reverberate for years to come and her name is now written amongst those other greats that she sang of: Mekatilili, Mbuya Nehanda, Queen Amina of Zaria, Mary Muthoni Nyanjiyu, Muraa wa Ngiti, Anumbai Patel, Sojourner Truth and many many other living heroes and heroines of our time.
Wanjiru always sang but also told the funniest anecdotes at every possible occasion and in a very natural way, so it must be with song that we must say goodbye:
For me, what Wanjiru really epitomised came to me when I lost my sister and did not hesitate in thinking about who would represent me at the funeral when I could not go home due to my exile: She was my comrade, my sister, my friend and my ‘mother’ (I share her daughter’s name) and nobody else could be those things for me. And I know that these sentiments are shared by many others across the world in public and in private and hope that her legacy will endure, for the things that she held dear and the things that she cherished, this monumental life. This was a life well lived and much more will be said by all those lives she touched and hopefully, we will all carry fragments of what she was into our daily lives both at home and in our work where-ever we are. And us she leaves behind, we are very, very proud to have been blessed to share special time with this very special ray of hope.
Wanjiru Kihoro: an activist, feminist, patriot, visionary, leader, friend
Dr.Wanjiru Kihoro’s brave battle from the coma which she has been fighting since January, 24 2003 came to an end at 10pm on Thursday October 12 at Kenyatta National Hospital. Dr. Kihoro went into a coma following the Busia plane crash in which three people were killed. A distinguished economist, Dr. Wanjiru Kihoro graduated from Columbia University and went on to earn an MA in Development Studies and a PhD at Leeds University. Over the years she gained the respect and admiration of many for her dedication to matters of gender, equality, justice and democracy.
A long time London resident, Dr. Kihoro was one of the founders of the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners in Kenya formed in 1982. The Committee fought to highlight the plight of university lecturers, students and other so-called “dissidents” incarcerated in various Kenyan maximum security prisons. Largely as a result of the Committee’s pressure, most of the prisoners were adopted by Amnesty International and other international human rights organisations as prisoners of conscience.
In her capacity as Director of ABANTU for Development, Dr. Kihoro garnered an international reputation as one of the most recognised names in the African feminist movement. Her organisation held numerous workshops, seminars and training sessions in East, Central and Southern Africa. She was also a keynote speaker at various international conferences in Europe and North America.
Previously, Dr. Kihoro worked at the Africa Centre in London and other organisations including the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), the National Christian Council of Kenya and the United Church Board for World Ministries.
She was an OXFAM trustee (1994-2001), a member of the Debt Campaign Network, a member of The Nelson Mandela Reception Committee and a founder member of Akina Mama wa Afrika among many other organisations and groups. She was also awarded the Hansib Award for Services to the black community.
Further information on Dr. Wanjiru Kihoro can be found on Daudi’s tribute and also here. As Daudi writes, Dr. Kihoro was, among other things, ‘an activist, feminist, patriot, visionary, leader, friend. An inspiration and example for all Kenyans’.
Dr. Kihoro was the daughter of Onesmus Matenjwa and Elizabeth Wanjiru Matenjwa, she was married to Wanyiri Kihoro, former MP for Nyeri and was a mother of 4 – Kui, Pambi, Amandla and Mim and the mother-in-law of Mich. She had 5 sisters and 1 brother – Wanjiku, Njeri, Wahu, Nish, Wambui, Boss and the sister-in-law of Sam and the late Waithera. She was the aunt of Maggy, Mwangi, Kihoro, Beth, Fidel, the two Tesh’s, Kui and Nyokabi among others and the cousin of Father Matenjwa.
Review of African Blogs
'Kubatana Blogs' - Kubatana Blogs (http://kubatanablogs.net/kubatana/?p=19) points to an article by Zimbabwean cartoonist, Tony Namate on the Zimbabwean Domestic Violence Bill. Namate wants a bill that covers all violence - not just domestic violence - that would include baby dumping, abortion, and failing to report violence. He also believes “that women engaging in indecent exposure should be arrested”.
“And then there are some forms of violence that are touted as women’s rights. Once upon a time I remember hearing that women had a right to wear what they wanted. Fair and fine, but when they deliberately and indecently violate other people’s sensibilities by “wearing what we want”, then surely they are committing the crime of indecent exposure and should be arrested “on sight”? Or perhaps indecent exposure is a male-only crime?”
Mr Namate misses the point about “indecent exposure” as applied to men exposing their genitals in public, since this is also sexual assault if it is directed at another person. If women were to expose their genitals in a similar way then, of course, this would be indecent exposure.
Malawian blog, 'Afrika-Aphuki' - Afrika-Aphuki comments on the adoption of an 18 month old Malawian child, David Banda by mega celebrity, Madonna. The child has left Malawi for London but the debate around the adoption in Malawi and elsewhere rages on. In Malawi the debate has centred around two issues – firstly the way the Malawian government and Madonna have bypassed Malawian law to allow the adoption to be fast-tracked, and secondly on whether the child would be better off growing up in Malawi with support from outsiders such as Madonna, or growing up in the home of a high powered celebrity white European celebrity. Afrika writes…
“Although their actions have been interpreted as jealousy and anachronism, the Malawian lawyers and activists who have drawn our attention to the way in which Malawian law has been compromised for the sake of a celebrity adoption have shown that not every African has been sold on the white supremacist bandwagon. Granted that there are NGOs who thrive on foreign money which they misuse and enrich themselves with, there are Malawians who are genuinely concerned about Malawi’s problems, and are working both inside Malawi itself and outside, to help ease the problems. The very Malawians who are making accusations of jealousy and archaic laws would be the first ones to blame the Malawian legal system the moment child traffickers learned of the power and influence of money and fame, and began targeting Malawian children. Hopefully this debate has alerted us to such a possibility, and we are embarking on a process to make sure it does not happen.”
Zimbabwean blog, 'Enough is Enough' - Enough is Enough (http://enoughzimbabwe.org/eddie-cross-the-farm-situation-today) reports on the situation of farming in Zimbabwe, particularly that of white farmers and the seizure of farm equipment by the police and army. The seizures were declared illegal by the court but by the time the equipment was returned to the owners, it had been vandalised. Zim Pundit posts a letter sent to Zimbabwean political activist Eddie Cross and comments
“The campaign is carried out on an ethnic basis - white farmers are the targets. It is completely illegal and destructive. Farms taken over in this way quickly become derelict and unproductive.”
'Redeem Ethiopia' - Redeem Ethiopia (http://redeemethiopia.blogspot.com/2006/10/lures-of-war.html) commenting on the threat of war between Ethiopia and Somalia, believes that Meles Zenawi provoked the Somalis into declaring “war on Ethiopia”, something he believes Meles learned from his predecessor, former Ethiopian leader, Mengistu Hailemariam.
“It seems that Meles has been a good student of history. He has done all that is in his power to provoke the Somalis to declare war on Ethiopia with the same hopes of gaining domestic legitimacy and external military support. The fact that there is no formidable Somali government, military or immediate threat to Ethiopia has made his job much harder than Mengistu’s. He has literally had to partially invade Somalia to get mostly empty threats from Somali Islamists, who can at best remove his soldiers from some Somali territory.”
However, unlike during Mengistu’s rule, Ethiopians of today are not ready to go to war and believe the threat from Somalia to be non-existent.
'Mental Acrobatics'Mental Acrobatics writes a moving tribute to the late Dr Dr.Wanjiru Kihoro of Kenya who passed away last Thursday following a long coma. Mental Acrobatics describes Dr Kihoro as
“a true patriot, a strong daughter of Kenya, highly principled in an age where people’s convictions change with the direction of the wind……….. In Kenya, where she took on the Moi regime on human rights abuses when most were to scared to speak out, she showed patriotism and courage. Refusing to be broken by the arrest and detention of her husband, Wanyiri Kihoro, and colleagues by Moi’s notorious security forces, she showed patriotism and courage. As the founder and director of ABANTU for Development, an international development agency, Dr. Kihoro’s vision, inspiration and direction touched and changed the lives of many.”
'African Shirts' - African Shirts (http://africanshirts.blogspot.com/2006/10/lifting-veil.html)
comments on the debate around comments made by Jack Straw about Muslim women wearing the Niqab during his MP surgery. He stated that he asked the women to remove their veils which he sees as a “visible statement of difference” and one that infringes on the communication experience, since one cannot see the face of the woman. African Shirts however points out that in an interview with Jack Straw, he let slip the real motivation behind his statement
“in an interview with the Today programme, he lets slips his actual motivation. He's worried about "community relations". In other words, the people in a community cannot communicate with a woman who covers her face, in this instance at the behest of her religion. The veil here, acts as a barrier, just as 18-year-old boys in hoodies are intimidating. And if non-Muslim and Muslims who are trying to live harmoniously alongside each other cannot interact, "parallel communities" start to develop.”
The debate around the Niqab is an Islamic debate and should not be of concern to non-Muslims. From a Muslim point of view it is yet another attack against Islam and interference in the way people choose to practice their religion.
'Black Looks' - Black Looks (http://www.blacklooks.org/2006/10/5_days_in_south_africa.html) is in South Africa and writes a piece on her first 5 days
"The most annoying thing for me is not the fences, locks and gates but having to take taxis everywhere after 7pm in the evening. Everyone keeps telling me not to go out even in Melville at night, not to carry my laptop on the Kombi bus - basically not to go anywhere at night without a taxi. A Cameroonian colleague who lives in downtown Joburg takes a taxi to a bar 10 minutes away from his apartment and back! Coming from sleepy Granada where no one even goes out before 10pm and you can walk home on your own at 4am in complete safety, this takes some getting used to. I realise I no longer have a sense of personal security."
• Sokari Ekine produces the blog Black Looks, www.blacklooks.org
• Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or comment online at www.pambazuka.org
Africa: AU Countries Fail to Agree On Abortion
African Union (AU) Health Ministers adopted a Continental Policy Framework for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights last week in Maputo Mozambique, but failed to agree on how to tackle the issue of unsafe abortions as a united force and opted to take it up separately.
Africa: Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa
At the Third Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in July 2004, the Heads of State and Government adopted the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa (SDGEA) . The Declaration is an important African instrument for promoting gender equality and women's empowerment as it strengthens African ownership of the gender equality agenda and keeps the issues alive at the highest political level in Africa. To date only seven Member States have submitted their reports, namely: Algeria, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Namibia, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia.
At the Third Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in July 2004, the Heads of State and Government adopted the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa (SDGEA) . The Declaration is an important African instrument for promoting gender equality and women's empowerment as it strengthens African ownership of the gender equality agenda and keeps the issues alive at the highest political level in Africa. To date only seven Member States have submitted their reports, namely: Algeria, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Namibia, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia.
To assist Member States in its reporting responsibly, the Ministers Responsible for Women's Affairs and Gender, at their First AU Conference held in Dakar, Senegal in October 2005 adopted two documents, namely the Implementation Framework for the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa (SDGEA) and the Guidelines for Monitoring and Reporting on the SDGEA.
To date only seven Member States have submitted their reports, namely: Algeria, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Namibia, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia. The reports are hereby attached for the information and comments of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). The comments will be incorporated into the synthesis being prepared for consideration by the Assembly of Heads of States and Government at their January 2007 Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. CSO comments to these reports could be sent to the address below before 30 October 2006:
Ms. Yetunde Teriba
Women, Gender and Development Directorate
African Union Commission
P.O. Box 3243 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Tel (251-11) 551 77 00 ext 220 Direct (251-11) 5521 10 92/525863
Fax (251-11) 551 78 44
E-mail: email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org
Africa: Water Ministers Converge in Kampala
The African Minister's Council on Water (AMCOW) will converge in Kampala this week (October19-20) to deliberate on ways of making water a priority as a resource in human development. It is widely recognised by water experts that availability of adequate water both in quantity and quality is critical for achieving all the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
AU Announces first pan African conference on culture
The African Union has announced the holding of the first pan Africn conference on culture to be held in Addis Ababa 13-17 November 2006. Announced rather late, and being launched allmost a year after it was originally planned, the purpose of the Pan African Cultural Congress is to review and assess the cultural sector in Africa, and consider challenges and opportunities in order to draw strategies and appropriate programmes.
AU News and events
20- 23 November 2006 - Second Conference of African Ministers of the Economy And Finance (CAMEF II), Yaounde, Cameroon
20 – 21 November 2006: Meeting of Experts
22-23 November 2006 - EU- Africa Ministerial Conference on Migration and Development, Tripoli, Libya
13-17 November 2006 - First Pan African Cultural Congress organised by the African Union , Addis Ababa , Ethiopia
General Theme: “Culture, Integration and African Renaissance”
30 October 2006-Implementation of the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality In Africa : First Report by all AU Member States, for Consideration at the January 2007 Summit to be Held In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
27- 29 October 2006 - Congress of African Scientists and Policymakers, Alexandria, Egypt
26- 27 October 2006 - CSO Consultation and Preparation For PAWO Congress, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Organized by: The Women, Gender & Development Directorate
25- 26 October 2006 - AU/AAVP Consultation HIV Vaccines Research and Development in Africa
Ethiopia: 60 Percent of Women Subject to Sexual Violence - UN
Nearly 60 percent of women in Ethiopia is subject to sexual violence by a partner, a new UN report revealed yesterday. The report said violence against women persists at high rates around the world, and governments are not doing enough to prevent it.
Ghana: Women Reminded of Effective Dawah During Ramadan
Moslem women have been charged to exude effective 'Dawah' (calling towards the truth) in the ongoing month of Ramandan by exhibiting the characteristics of good deeds and dealings as mothers. This was in a day's seminar organized by the Federation of Moslem Women Associations in Ghana (FOMWAG) on the theme 'Effective Dawah in the month of Ramadan; the role of the Moslem woman".
Namibia: Women’s Development Needs Speeding Up
The Namibian Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Marlene Mungunda, has expressed concern over the slow pace of development of women in the country. She said women have a prolonged life of being disadvantaged especially when it comes to developmental issues.
Sudan: Women Hope to Affect Khartoum Peace Talks
The women of Somalia have a critical role to play in laying the foundation for sustainable peace in their war-torn nation by acting as a bridge between rival political movements and clans, says Asha Elmi, a member of Parliament of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG).
Uganda: Adultery Law Discriminatory - Govt
The government has conceded that the law on adultery is discriminatory and unconstitutional. Principle State Attorney Patricia Mutesi representing the Attorney General in a petition filed against the government challenging various provisions of the law regarding adulterous acts, told a panel of five Constitutional Court Judges led by Justice George Engwau that section 154 of the Penal Code Act regarding adultery is unconstitutional.
Zimbabwe: Gender activists protest MP's anti-women remarks
Women's organisations are outraged by an opposition parliamentarian who urged the national assembly not to pass a bill aimed at stamping out domestic violence, because women were inferior to men. During debate on the Domestic Violence Bill, Timothy Mubhawu, member of parliament (MP) for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), told parliament: "I stand here representing God the Almighty. Women are not equal to men."
Ghana: Reparations for Victims of Human Rights Abuses
The administration of President John Kufuor has begun paying reparations to about 2,000 Ghanaians who suffered human rights abuses under former governments. Individual payments, which began on Monday (16 October), range from about US $217 to US $3,300 depending on the extent of abuse or violation, according to the attorney general's office.
Global: Madonna responds to adoption controversy
Madonna said Tuesday (17 October) she had acted according to the law in taking custody of a 1-year-old Malawian boy, responding for the first time to the fierce debate about the legality and morality of the planned adoption. The pop star's statement came after she was united with David Banda at her London mansion.
Kenya: Britain Must Pay
For Jane Muthoni Mara, the memories of her experiences during British rule in Kenya are still horribly vivid - even though they took place more than half a century ago. She recounts that women who supported the Mau Mau, a militant group opposed to colonial administration, were subjected to various forms of torture by African soldiers under the supervision of the mzungu (the Kiswahili word for "white man") - to force the women to disclose what they knew about Mau Mau activities.
Malawi: CHRR Lashes Out At SADC Leaders On Zimbabwe
The Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) has accused Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) leaders of failing to support the Zimbabwe people in their ongoing human rights and economic crisis saying the problems need external intervention which can best be offered by the region's leaders.
Malawi: Madonna Adoption
Madonna's "bending of the rules" in her haste to adopt 13-month-old David Banda is sending a message to child traffickers that Malawi is open for business, a southern African child welfare organisation said. Pop star Madonna, 48, who has an estimated fortune of US$462 million, was granted an interim adoption order last week in the High Court in the capital, Lilongwe, in contradiction of the country's laws, which state that "an adoption order shall not be made to any applicant who is not resident in Malawi".
Namibia: Workers Live From Hand to Mouth
Despite a gradual tangible economic upswing of 3,2 % in the country since independence, workers still do not reap the proper fruits of their daily labour.
Rwanda: Ruling party to abolish death penalty
Rwanda's ruling party will push for a law abolishing the death penalty in the east African state, a senior party official said on Thursday. Outlawing capital punishment would clear the way for the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and western countries to extradite genocide suspects to Rwanda. Servilien Sebasoni, the spokesperson for the ruling party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), denied suggestions that the party had made the decision to facilitate extradition of suspects to Rwanda.
Southern Africa: Rehabilitation Institute Launches Website
The African Rehabilitation Institute Southern Africa has launched a website that analysts say is set to improve communication and the dissemination of information on disabled persons in the region. The launch is in line with recommendations with the African Union's continental plan of action, which is aimed at implementing priority activities on disability during the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities (1999-2009).
Africa: Grass not always greener for HIV-positive Africans
On paper France treats its 20,000 HIV-positive immigrants well - they are entitled to free healthcare, and even those whose residence status is still to be determined get free treatment after three months if they cannot afford to pay. But immigrants increasingly face a cold shoulder in Europe, indicating that the spirit of the law is being interpreted more conservatively.
Africa: Mission to spotlight stateless peoples of Africa
Statelessness in Africa, like elsewhere, is attributable to a multitude of causes ranging from state succession, to gaps in national citizenship laws, to targeted discrimination against certain communities of people. However, a common contributing factor to statelessness in African countries is the colonial legacy which created borders that ultimately led to divided linguistic/ethnic/religious communities and interfered with traditional patterns of migration.
Global: Of social exclusion and refugee integration
The Refugee Council believes that everyone has a right not to live in poverty and to contribute to the community in which they live. Having a job plays an important role in being able to achieve this. At present, a majority of asylum seekers are prevented from working. Although they are able to do voluntary work, the Refugee Council is concerned that excluding asylum seekers from paid employment leads to them becoming socially isolated.
Kenya: Somali refugees face strains of camp life
Quoting a Somali proverb, Dahir Mohamed Ali describes how long-time refugees living in Kenya fear they will be forgotten as a growing tide of Somalis fleeing conflict pour across the border. "When there is fresh water, do not forget the rivers that are drying up," said the former leader of Hagadera refugee camp, in northeastern Kenya.
Libya: Libya detains migrants trying to reach Europe
Libyan police have detained about 1 930 illegal migrants over the past 27 days trying to sail to Europe via Italy from the Libyan coast, the Interior Ministry has said. In the same period, the Libyan government deported 3 768 other would-be migrants from several African countries, who had been arrested earlier attempting to cross illegally to Italy, the Ministry added in a statement.
South Africa: Zimbabweans flood across Limpopo
The report, "Unprotected Migrants: Zimbabweans in South Africa's Limpopo Province", said Zimbabweans continue to stream into South Africa to escape their own country's deteriorating economic and political conditions. It said the vulnerability of the estimated 1.2 to three million Zimbabweans now living in South Africa is made worse by their frequent lack of legal status, effectively making them refugees.
Sudan: Challenges of returning home
Martha Atoch, a displaced widow and mother of four, was anxious to leave Lologo transit camp and return home so she could get treatment for appendicitis."I have told the administrators of this camp that I need urgent help for my appendicitis," she said. "But so many of us have medical problems that I don't know whether my case will receive any attention."
DRC: Best Way to Guarantee Peace
With two weeks to go to the second round of the presidential election of the 29 October, Mr. Ibrahim Gambari, UN Under Secretary General in charge of political affairs, met with media representatives on 14 October, 2006 at MONUC headquarters to speak about the outcome of his meetings with the two remaining presidential candidates and the president of the Independent Electoral Commission.
Liberia: President Calls for Faster Aid Flows
"Nine months ago, I became Africa’s first elected woman president. That moment was seen, around the world, as one of hope and possibility for Liberia. Our people, in a free and fair election, gave my government the greatest opportunity that can come to any leader: the chance to rebuild a nation on the ruins of war."
Madagascar: Hoping for the best
An opposition leader has been denied entry into Madagascar to register for the December presidential election but the United Nations (UN) is confident that the country's ability to hold a credible poll remains intact. Officials closed the airport to international flights in the eastern city of Toamasina on Saturday, preventing former Deputy Prime Minister Pierrot Rajaonarivelo from returning from exile in France.
Sudan: Sanctions would force govt to allow UN troops
An international think-tank has recommended targeted sanctions against key figures in the Sudanese government and designating the western region of Darfur as a no-fly zone to pressure Khartoum into allowing a United Nations peacekeeping force into the troubled area. A UN Security Council resolution passed on 31 August called for a 20,000-strong UN peacekeeping force in Darfur, which would be expanded from the existing African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS).
Swaziland: New constitution brings growing demands for change
A pro-democracy group is threatening protest action against sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch if steps are not taken to start meaningful constitutional reform. The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), an ad-hoc pro-democracy alliance of trade unions, human rights and legal support and advocacy groups, has given the Swazi government until early next week to respond to their concerns or face what they said would be a "peaceful march" to King Mswati III's Lozitha Palace, 20km southeast of the capital, Mbabane.
Uganda: Rebels propose federalist solution at Juba talks
The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) suggested on Wednesday the country adopt a federalist system as a way of ensuring peace after 20 years of conflict in northern Uganda. In the revised LRA proposals, made under the talks’ second agenda on comprehensive solutions, the rebels say Uganda should be governed under a federal system of government, insisting that this would ease tensions and ensure general stability.
Zambia: Threats and promises after divisive election
President Levy Mwanawasa is reasserting his authority to ensure that Zambia's hangover from the bitterly contested elections does not become a permanent state of affairs. In the wake of the country's fourth multiparty elections since 1991, when it emerged from 27 years of one-party rule, wide-scale rioting broke out amid allegations of voter rigging, with presidential runner-up Michael Sata, of the Patriotic Front, threatening to impose his party's policies in areas where they had an overwhelming majority.
Africa: Continent will miss millennium goals - IMF
Most countries in sub-Saharan Africa are not on track to meet the millennium development goal of eradicating extreme poverty by 2015, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in its regional economic outlook for Africa, released in Dakar on Tuesday. The IMF has estimated that Africa needs to accelerate annual GDP growth to seven percent to attain the goal of reducing by half the proportion of people living on less than one dollar a day by 2015.
Africa: Green Revolution?
The Gates Foundation has joined with the Rockefeller Foundation in promoting a new "Green Revolution" in Africa. But will the new effort learn from the mistakes of earlier "Green Revolution" initiatives? Sceptics say that the new proposals still disregard the interests of small farmers and the environment.
Africa: Over 20 Million People 'Stand Up Against Poverty'
Guinness World Records have officially verified that the first ever world record has been set for the most number of people to Stand Up against poverty in multiple locations over 24 hours. On 15-16 October, 23,542,614 people, in over eighty countries around the world set a new Guinness World Record for the largest number of people to "STAND UP AGAINST POVERTY". The Stand Up record attempt, an initiative of the United Nations Millennium Campaign in partnership with the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) was set in time for the United Nations International Day for Poverty Eradication on 17 October.
Global: Commitment to deal with ‘daunting challenges’
In his first press conference as Secretary-General-designate of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon pledged his commitment to deal with the “daunting challenges” facing the world, from the recent nuclear test by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to the humanitarian crisis in Sudan’s Darfur region. Shortly after the 192 members of the General Assembly appointed Mr. Ban to succeed Kofi Annan when he steps down on 31 December, he also outlined to reporters “three main areas” that he will focus on as the eighth Secretary-General of the UN, adding his hopes for a “constructive dialogue” with the media in the years ahead. “There are daunting challenges to peace, development and human rights,” he said.
Namibia: Joblessness, poverty challenge progress, report
Rising levels of unemployment and poverty are hindering Namibia's development, a human rights watchdog said in its annual review, published this month. The National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) said in its 240-page report covering August 2005 to July 2006 that respect for human rights had deteriorated.
West Africa: Deadly cycle of malnutrition and disease
The United Nations on Monday marked World Food Day to call attention to the 850 million hungry people around the world, almost half of them children who are locked in a cycle of malnutrition and disease. Led by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the theme for this year is investing in agriculture for food security. The semi-arid Sahel region of West Africa is amongst the most food insecure regions in the world.
Burundi: Cholera breaks out in Bujumbura
Health officials in Burundi have moved to control an outbreak of cholera in the capital, Bujumbura, and the surrounding Bujumbura Rural Province, where a total of 90 cases of the disease have been recorded, an official said on Tuesday. The Health Ministry has launched a campaign to spray households of those affected in a bid to prevent the spread of the disease.
Malawi: Gender Inequality Accelerating HIV Spread
More women and girls than men continue to contract HIV, the virus that causes Aids due to among other things gender inequality, ministry of Women and Child Development has said. The ministry has since asked organizations in the HIV/Aids fight to mainstream gender issues as one way of reducing the further spread of the pandemic amongst women and girls.
South Africa: Drug Resistant TB Threat in Fight Against Aids
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says the extremely drug resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) poses specific threats and challenges in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Tuberculosis is the most common opportunistic infection accelerating HIV infection among those living with the virus.
West Africa: Safe alternative treatment for malaria in pregnancy
Researchers have unveiled a safe and effective treatment for pregnant women suffering from malaria in West Africa. Trials carried out in Ghana showed that treating pregnant women with the drug amodiaquine, either alone or in combination with sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP), can almost completely wipe out malaria parasites without causing any serious side effects. But the researchers say that further tests are needed to assess the risks of the combination treatment.
Africa: Do We Really Need Shakespeare?
Do we really need Shakespeare? Many years have gone by and we still have Shakespeare playing a great role in our education. How come Shakespeare got such an important role? It must have been one of us who made Shakespeare the determining factor of our education. If we know Shakespeare, we are good in English and consequently get a credit or distinction in English.
Libya : Libya to buy 1.2 million Linux laptops
Libya has reportedly signed a deal with Nicholas Negroponte's One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project for 1.2 million laptops. The OLPC laptop is a low-cost Linux-based notebook for use in developing nations. The deal is estimated to be worth $250 million and Libya will receive 1.2 million OLPC computers for students, one server per school, a team of technical installation advisers, satellite Internet service, and other network infrastructure.
Mozambique: US$8.3 million loan boosts agroscience in Mozambique
Agricultural science in Mozambique got a substantial boost last week as a US$8.3 million loan was approved by the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development. The money will be used to build two agricultural science and technology institutes that together will be capable of taking 500 students, and to fit them out with furniture, educational tools and equipment.
Nigeria: British Council to Hold UK Education Fair
The 4th British Council Education Fair will open November, providing a forum for the Council and the British High Commission to discuss the gaps between Nigerian students getting admission into United Kingdom institutions and visa issuance for entry into the UK.
Zimbabwe: Disabled children embattled by education policy
A new report shows that Zimbabwe's education policy for children with disabilities is skewed, with 67 percent of disabled children having no access to any form of schooling. "Clearly, children with disabilities are the worst disadvantaged, and experience the most difficult barriers in accessing education," said a recently published report by the National Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicapped (NASCOH).
Africa: Shell's Neighbors Expose Hypocrisy of Wildlife Prize
Communities living next door to the oil giant Shell are in London this week to expose the oil giant's hypocrisy in sponsoring the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition - to be announced on Wednesday 18 October. Shell is the new sponsor of this year's prestigious wildlife prize, which is jointly organised by the Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine, contributing 750,000 GBP or 1,117,000 Euros.
Global: Annan warns on urgency of action on climate change
With the growing number of ratifications of major environmental agreements suggesting that more countries are committed to addressing global ecological issues, the true test remains implementation and enforcement, especially with regard to greenhouse gases, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has warned. “Action on climate change is particularly urgent, given its profound implications for virtually every aspect of human well-being, from jobs and health to growth and security,” he said.
Global: People, deserts and drylands in the developing world
Dryland communities have traditionally used land extensively, moving in response to varying climatic and environmental conditions. But rapid population growth, both urban and rural, and more settled patterns of agriculture have increased the pressure on scarce natural resources, in some cases causing severe land degradation. Water quality and supplies are particularly threatened.
Uganda: Uganda to Ditch WB/ADB Environmental Policies
THE Minister for Water and Environment, Ms Maria Mutagamba, has said Uganda will soon start following her own environmental policies other than those of the World Bank and the African Development Bank. Mutagamba was on Wednesday speaking at the opening of a consultative workshop in Kampala, on promoting the use of a Ugandan system to address environmental and social safeguard issues.
DRC: Gunmen sabotage relay transmitter of television station
Reporters without borders (RSF) has condemned the 12 October 2006 destruction by unidentified gunmen of a transmitter in the southeastern province of Katanga, which relayed the satellite broadcasts of Canal Congo Télévision (CCTV), a station owned by presidential candidate Jean-Pierre Bemba. In the 12 October raid, a group of gunmen forced their way into the relay station 15 km south of Lubumbashi, beat and tied up three police officers who were present, and then poured acid on the CCTV transmitter.
Gambia: Journalist released after 139 days in illegal detention
On 9 October 2006, a High Court in Banjul unconditionally released Malick Mboob, a journalist and former staff member of the "Daily Observer", a pro-government newspaper, after he was kept for 139 days in illegal detention for allegedly sending damaging information to an online US-based newspaper. According to a Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) Gambia source, the Court's decision followed a request filed by Mboob's counsel, Edward Gomez, seeking his unconditional release.
Global: Cartoonists play a role in forming public opinion
Highlighting the important role of cartoons in forming public opinion, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called on cartoonists to help society “promote peace and understanding,” while warning that their work can also encourage intolerance as shown by the deadly furore earlier this year over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.
South Africa: Attack Exposes Harber's Prejudice
Columnist Thami Mazwai writes in Business Day: "The furore around Snuki Zikalala and the so-called blacklist is the continuation of a witch-hunt on the one hand and, on the other, a further manifestation of the resentment, or suspicion, in certain quarters when African National Congress (ANC) people are appointed to key positions. Anton Harber, who led the latest charge in his column last week, drags my name into the equation and misquotes me."
South Africa: Judge Rules Against SABC Gag Attempt
THE SABC yesterday lost, with costs, a last-ditch court bid to force the Mail & Guardian to remove from its website the Sisulu commission report into blacklisting of certain analysts by the public broadcaster. In dismissing the SABC's application, Judge Zukisa Tshiqi found it was in the public interest to release the report, and rejected argument by the public broadcaster that the full report could cause harm to employees.
South Africa: SABC refuses to release full report
The Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) is outraged that the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has decided not to release the much-awaited report into allegations of a politically-motivated "blacklist" implemented by the Group Executive of News, Dr. Snuki Zikalala, on SABC services. Instead they have chosen to release the findings.
Tunisia: Culture Ministry's review board censors new play
The Ministry of Culture's review board has announced the censorship of playwright Jalila Baccar's new work, "Corps-otages" ("Captive Bodies"), directed by Fadhel Jaibi. After wavering for more than three months, the review board, which is responsible for reviewing all theatrical releases in the country, refused to issue the permit required for the play to open. The board is demanding that Jaibi bring the play in line with a list of 100 themes subject to censorship before it grants the opening permit.
USA: Racial Disparities in Preventive Health Care Persist
The racial gap in preventive health care -- such as Pap tests, mammograms, and prostate and colorectal cancer screenings -- persists and might be larger than previously thought, a study published online in BMC Heath Services Research finds, the Washington Post reports.
DRC: Bullets from China, Russia and USA found in rebel hands
New research by the Control Arms Campaign: Amnesty International, Oxfam International and the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) has found that Bullets manufactured in Greece, China, Russia and the USA have been found in the hands of rebel groups in the Ituri District of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which is under a UN arms embargo.
DRC: Tensions rising as presidential campaigns get under way
Three days into presidential election campaigns, tensions remain high in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as supporters of candidates Joseph Kabila and Jean-Pierre Bemba burn effigies and stone vehicles involved in the campaigns. "This tension is deliberately maintained by those who have no hope of winning the elections, who already know they have lost," said Lambert Mende, the rapporteur of Kabila's electoral platform, known as Alliance pour la marjorité presidentielle (Alliance for the Presidential Majority).
East Africa: 'Troops Harvesting Buffer Zone'
Eritrea has moved 1,500 troops and 14 tanks to a buffer zone along its border with Ethiopia, which was created after the war between the two countries over their disputed frontier. The United Nations Secretary-General described the Eritrean incursion as a major violation of the ceasefire agreement.
Senegal: No end to region’s longest-running war
Fighting has lulled again between the Senegal army and rebel factions in the restive southern Senegal province Casamance, but analysts say West Africa’s longest running conflict is far from being resolved. Senegal’s army overran the main base of a faction of rebels it had been fighting since mid-August on 6 October, and there have been three further skirmishes between the army and rebels since then, army spokesman General Abdoulaye Fall told IRIN.
Sudan: Getting the UN into Darfur
The impasse over deploying a major UN peacekeeping force to Darfur results directly from the international community's three-year failure to apply effective diplomatic and economic pressure on Sudan's government and its senior officials.
Uganda: Rebels want review of ceasefire
The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) on Tuesday demanded an urgent review of its ceasefire agreement with the Ugandan government, claiming that the army had opened fire on rebel fighters on their way to an assembly point in southern Sudan.
East Africa: EASSy deal to be signed soon
The controversial Eastern Africa Submarine System (EASSy) cable project is moving forwards with the shareholding plan in place and a deadline for the remaining companies to sign the agreement in place. Pressure is building on the parties to the EASSy project as the telecoms companies involved have announced they will sign off on their MOU shortly.
Global: Connecting the poor is profitable
Cellular providers stand to make a better profit margin from community service telephones (CSTs) than they do from other service offerings, says Nashua Mobile MD Mark Taylor. The reason CSTs offer larger profit margins per minute is because of the disparate interconnect regime between the cellular operations and Telkom, he said. Unlike the individually-held SIM card where the user may make one or two calls per day, CSTs are used by a number of people each day, he notes.
Nigeria: Pumpkin seeds to power mobile networks
The MTN Group, the GSM Association and Ericsson are joining forces to establish biofuels as an alternative source of power for wireless networks in the developing world. The move comes as mobile operators look to move beyond the established power grids in many countries in Africa and extend their user base into the more rural communities.
Africa: Africa Development. Vol XXXI, No. 2, 2006
Uganda is widely cited for its participatory orientation and strong commitment to implementation with regard to its decentralisation reforms. The implementation and outcomes of Uganda’s decentralisation reforms are examined to test the assumption that when decision-making powers over the environment are devolved to locally elected representatives, this increases participation and leads to better environmental outcomes.
Africa: The October issue of ReConnect Africa is now online
The October issue of ReConnect Africa is now online. Connecting Africa to the global world, ReConnect Africa is a unique online publication and portal that provides readily accessible information, articles, interviews and jobs in Africa.
Africa: Call for Papers Announcement
Organizations in the nonprofit and voluntary sector have recognized that information technologies are a vital part of their effective mission achievement. While a large and growing body of practical knowledge already exists, practitioners, managers, and policy makers still lack systematic scholarly research about how information technologies are changing the nonprofit sector and the organizations within it. NTEN and Nonprofit Online News are seeking research papers for a panel and a publication.
Africa: Call for Papers from Young Scholars
Invitation for Applications and Call for Papers from Young Scholars for Participation in IDEAs Conference in the memory of Guy Mhone on 'Sustainable Employment Generation in Developing Countries: Current constraints and alternative strategies' in partnership with Action Aid and the Department of Economics, Kenyatta University 25 - 27th January 2007, Nairobi, Kenya.
Africa: Call For Participants
TARSC, The Ifakara Health Research and Development Centre (IHRDC)
TARSC and IHRDC under the EQUINET umbrella and with support from CHESSORE are carrying out capacity building on participatory reflection and action (PRA) methods for research and training for a people centred health system. The training uses a toolkit developed by the institutions and peer reviewed through practical use that provides information on areas for strengthening community voice and roles in health systems and examples of participatory approaches for training and research that supports this.
*/CALL FOR PARTICIPANTS/*
Second regional training Workshop on Participatory methods for research and training for a people centred health system Training and Research Support Centre (TARSC), The Ifakara Health Research and Development Centre (IHRDC)with the Southern African Regional Network on Equity in Health (EQUINET) and CHESSORE Zambia
*Call Closes On December 15, 2006! *
This call invites applicants to participate and share experiences in a Regional Training Workshop for east and southern African countries on Participatory Methods for research and training for a people centred health system being held on *February 14-17 2007. *
TARSC and IHRDC under the EQUINET umbrella and with support from CHESSORE are carrying out capacity building on participatory reflection and action (PRA) methods for research and training for a people centred health system. The training uses a toolkit developed by the institutions and peer reviewed through practical use that provides information on areas for strengthening community voice and roles in health systems and examples of participatory approaches for training and research that supports this. The training aims to support work at national, district and local level with health systems and communities in health, with a major focus on the interactions at primary health care level.
The 2007 training will focus on the relations between communities and frontline health workers. It will thus be targeted at researchers, health workers, academics, civil society organisations, NGOs, community leaders and workers and others who are involved in work with communities and health workers who are doing or involved in work on strengthening positive community - health worker interaction.
The skills workshop uses the toolkit in a practical way to build understanding of PRA approaches and their use in strengthening people centred health systems. It will work through practical examples of PRA approaches. We will provide time for application of these approaches and capacities to areas of work that participants are practically involved with at community level. The workshop uses experiences from different countries in the east and southern African region. We will also invite participants who have used PRA approaches for strengthening health worker- community interactions.
Following the training we will mentor and support research and training work linked to the ongoing EQUINET programme of work on participation and health in EQUINET.
There are limited places in the workshop. We invite interested organisations and individuals to submit an application to participate and to provide the full information shown below. The workshop will either be held in Harare, Zimbabwe or Bagamoyo, Tanzania- venue details are being finalized. The workshop will cost delegates their airfares and local costs of about $500 to cover their accommodation, meals and airport transfers. EQUINET will sponsor a limited number of accepted delegates for airfare or local costs or both based on need. Participants of existing EQUINET programmes are welcome to apply.
*Information requested from applications:*
Interested applicants should submit ? a 1-2 page ‘expression of interest’ that outlines the research or training work that they and their institution are doing / are proposing to do on strengthening community – health worker interactions at the primary care level, what their own role in this work is, where the work is being done, whether it is funded, what changes it is aiming at producing and why participatory reflection and action (PRA)
methods will enhance the work ? a personal CV including community based research and training and any prior experience of, training in or use of PRA methods, ? brief information on the institution that they work in, and ? clear information on whether they are able to meet all costs, or need EQUINET sponsorship for airfare ONLY, local costs ONLY, or ALL costs.
Applicants should submit this information by *15th December 2006* to the EQUINET secretariat email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> and copy it to email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> and email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>. Accepted delegates will be notified by Friday January 6 2007 on the outcome of their submission, including sponsorship and of the logistic details for the meeting.
Focal points for queries on this programme are Mr. Selemani S Mbuyita at Ifakara Health Research and Development Centre, and Dr Rene Loewenson, Training and Research Support Centre. Please send queries through email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> and copy it to email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> and email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Africa: Financial management training for NGOs
Mango training is coming for the first time to Nigeria and Mozambique. We are delivering two of our most popular courses specially designed for NGOs.
Financial management training for NGOs, Abuja, Nigeria and Maputo, Mozambique Mango training is coming for the first time to Nigeria and Mozambique. We are delivering two of our most popular courses specially designed for NGOs as follows:
FM1: Practical Financial Management for NGOs: Getting the Basics Right Abuja, Nigeria: 27 to 31 November Maputo, Mozambique, 4 to 8 December This course is aimed at managers and finance staff who need to build their skills and confidence to manage their financial resources more efficiently, effectively and accountably.
FM2: Strategic Financial Management for NGOs: Managing for Financial Sustainability Abuja, Nigeria: 4 to 6 December This course is designed for managers who need to know the secrets of creating a financially sustainable NGO. A limited number of bursaries are available for poorly-resourced local NGOs.
For further information and booking details visit Mango's website: www.mango.org.uk or email Erica on email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>. Closing date: 6 November 2006.
Africa: Hosting The First Ever NCMG African Peace Awards
The government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will host the African Peace Awards in Abuja , Nigeria, on 2 November 2006. The awards are Instituted by the Negotiation and Conflict Management Group (NCMG) and supported by many African governments and leading inter-governmental institutions, including the African Union.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE!
Nigerian Government to host First Ever NCMG African Peace Awards on Thursday, November 2, 2006.
Lagos , 10 October 2006 : The government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will host the African Peace Awards in Abuja , Nigeria , on 2 November 2006. The awards are Instituted by the Negotiation and Conflict Management Group (NCMG) and supported by many African governments and leading inter-governmental institutions, including the African Union. The award night will take place at State House Banquet Hall in Nigeria Federal Capital, Abuja.
Confirming these details today, Chairperson of the Board of the NCMG and retired senior Justice of Nigeria's Supreme Court, Kayode Eso, said: "The NCMG African Peace Awards recognize and honour people and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to forging stable societies built on justice, respect for human dignity and equity in our continent. Given its own sacrifices for peace building in Africa , we are delighted that the Nigerian government is behind us in this project.."
The awards will be hosted President Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR, and will be addressed by Chairperson of the African Union Commission, President Alpha Oumar Konare, Also expected at the awards night as Special Guest of Honour will be Liberian President, Dr. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, as Special Guest of Honour. The chairperson of the award night will be former Nigerian President, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, GCFR.
The NCMG Peace Awards are in three (3) categories:
The Peace Builder Award (for individuals in the public or private sector)
The Corporate Peace Award (for corporate body, religious organization or professional firm, government institution or non-governmental organization); and The Press Peace Award (for Media organizations or media professionals).
These Awards are intended to recognize the achievements and contributions of individuals and organizations with consistent track record in conflict prevention, preventive diplomacy and dispute resolution in Africa .
The awards will be preceded by a first ever African Alternative Dispute Resolution Summit in commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the NCMG. The main session of the Summit will include: " The Access to Justice Forum" (October 30, 2006) in Lagos; "The All Judges Roundtable" (November 1, 2006), "Equity, Justice & PeaceBuilding " (November 2, 2006). The Summit will conclude with the NCMG Peace Awards in Abuja on 2 November 2006.
Nominations for the NCMG African Peace Awards close on 26 October 2006.
Further details on the awards, nomination processes and guidelines can be obtained from the NCMG website www.ncmggroup.org <http://www.ncmggroup.org>.
Or by calling +234 1 263 1688-9; +234 1 723 7415; +234 1 803 350
1635; or e-mail: email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>
Africa: Human rights training available online
Top quality training on human rights is now available for free online, thanks to a partnership between Fahamu and the OpenCourseWare Consortium. Through the partnership, the Oxford University accredited course 'An Introduction to Human Rights' has been made available on the Fahamu website. The course is designed to provide users with a comprehensive definition of human rights and how these rights are monitored and enforced.
Free human rights training available online Fahamu Press Release
Top quality training on human rights is now available for free online, thanks to a partnership between Fahamu and the OpenCourseWare Consortium.
Through the partnership, the Oxford University accredited course 'An Introduction to Human Rights' has been made available on the Fahamu website. The course is designed to provide users with a comprehensive definition of human rights and how these rights are monitored and enforced.
“Some 600 organisations and individuals have completed this course since 2003,” said Fahamu Director Firoze Manji, “and we are making the material available for free online so that anyone, anywhere can have the benefit of training in human rights issues.” Fahamu has specialized in developing a range of distance-learning courses aimed at strengthening the capacity of human rights and civil society organisations in Africa and around the world. The topics covered by the courses are the result of extensive research conducted in Africa into the training needs of such organisations.
Fahamu’s distance-learning methodology, involving CDROMs, email-based facilitation and workshops, has been widely adopted by institutions such as the University of Oxford, Of?ce of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Article 19, the UN-affiliated University for Peace and others.
Previously these courses were only available to those participating in courses organised by Fahamu, but making these courses available on the web through OpenCourseware will allow anyone with access to the internet to benefit from Fahamu’s unique human rights training materials. 'An Introduction to Human Rights' is the first course to be published which will be followed by 'Campaigning for Access to Information' in November.
The OpenCourseWare Consortium is a collaboration of more than 100 higher education institutions and associated organizations from around the world creating a broad and deep body of open educational content using a shared model. The mission of the OpenCourseWare Consortium is to advance education and empower people worldwide through opencourseware. <http://ocwconsortium.org/index.html> The courses can be viewed online <http://rightstraining.fahamu.org/> To learn more about Fahamu please visit <http://www.fahamu.org>
Kenya: The launch of Agenda’s Nairobi+21
Agenda Feminist Media
Hosted by African Woman and Child Services (AWC)
Invites You To The Launch Of Its Nairobi +21 journal
Guest Speakers: Wambui Kiai, Director, School Of Journalism, University of Nairobi
Thursday, 26 October 2006
9h00 - 11h00
Sarova Panafric Hotel
RSVP by 23 October, 2006: Ruth - email@example.com
Global: Karibu to WSF Nairobi 2007!
The 6th edition of the World Social Forum will bring together activists, social movements, networks, coalitions and other progressive forces from Asia-Pacific, Latin America, the Caribbean, North America, Europe and all corners of the African continent. They will converge in Nairobi, Kenya, for five days of cultural resistance and celebration; panels, workshops, symposia, processions, film nights and much, much more; beginning on the 20th of January and wrapping up on the 25th of January 2007.
Kenya: Registration Process for the WSF 2007
The Secretariat in Nairobi started the individual registration process on the event site (www.wsf2007.org) on Oct. 4th, 2006. The individual registration form is available in English, Spanish, and Kiswahili. The registration of activities will be available shortly. Nine thematic terrains have been defined to register activities online.
Kenya: The African Milestone
For the first time, the World Social Forum will be taking place on the African continent, promising to bring together popular forces from a wide variety of constituencies from around the globe. It is time to spell out the broad principles that inform the WSF steady build up into a consistent continuum and powerful platform of social movements from around the globe - building constrictive alternatives as a challenge to neo-liberal globalization.
Africa: Office Assistant/Administrative Assistant
I-Network is an ICT (Information and Communication Technology) organisation that started in 2002. Its major focus is sharing knowledge, advocacy and provision of expertise in ICT4Development. I-Network is looking for someone to fill the post of Office Assistant.
Terms of Reference/ Job Specification
I-Network is an ICT (Information and Communication Technology) organisation that started in 2002. Its major focus is sharing knowledge, advocacy and provision of expertise in ICT4Development. I-Network is looking for someone to fill the post of Office Assistant and will be required to do the following:-
Position: Office Assistant/Administrative Assistant
Reporting to: Programme Assistant
1.Handling phone calls (e.g. inquiries of I-Network Events)
2.Data entry (e.g. membership database)
3.Organize and manage the office (e.g. ordering office supplies)
4.Manage the physical resource bank
5.Server data backup (e.g. membership database, reports, etc)
7.Assisting with event bookings and travel arrangements
8.Other duties that may be assigned
1.Relevant work experience (e.g. Secretarial, administration, receptionist etc)
2.Office application knowledge is a must.
3.Hard working, a team player with a positive attitude and strong communication skills.
If you believe you meet the above requirements, please submit your hand written application to the address below:
Plot 53 Kira Rd,
Deadline: 23rd October 2006, only short listed applicants will be contacted
Global: Call for volunteers
The World Social Forum organizing depends on the goodwill of activists and individuals committed to bringing into existence, the other world that we aspire to build. We therefore call upon all individuals wishing to offer their skills and competencies in support of the WSF2007 to fill in the questionnaire on our website and await our feedback. For instance, you could volunteer in various capacities (translation, technical, electrical, architecture, mobilization, hospitality, medical, ushering, construction etc), whether on-site (in Nairobi) or remotely. Specific areas of need are very varied:- during, before, and even after Nairobi event.
Africa: The Nordic Africa Institute
Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, The Nordic Africa Institute (NAI) located in Uppsala, invites applications for the vacant position of Research Director. The Institute has, since its founding in 1962 been an important research, documentation and information centre on modern Africa in the Nordic countries.
The Nordic Africa Institute invites applications for position as Research Director
Closing date for applications: November 30, 2006
Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, The Nordic Africa Institute (NAI) located in Uppsala, invites applications for the vacant position of Research Director. The Institute has, since its founding in 1962 been an important research, documentation and information centre on modern Africa in the Nordic countries. It is jointly financed by the Nordic countries, and promotes both research and studies on Africa in the Nordic countries and co-operation between mainly African and Nordic researchers. NAI also disseminates information on current African issues, through publications, seminars, conferences and various policy-related activities.
The Research Director heads the research department, which at present employs ten full-time researchers. The primary tasks of the successful candidate will be to co-ordinate and manage the Institute's research activities, to develop ideas with regard to new research themes and strategies in collaboration with other researchers at the Institute, and to conduct his/her own research at an international level. The Research Director will be a member of the Institute's management group, where he/she is expected to represent the interests of the researchers and to participate in the general development of the Institute. Also included in the responsibilities of the Research Director are the coordination of policy and research dialogue, and promotion of the research profile and visibility of the Institute. The Research Director will be supported by a personal assistant and is expected to conduct own research on a half-time basis. Contract period will be five years with the possibility of an extension.
- Advanced university degree in a social science/humanities discipline and several years of continuous post-doctoral academic work
- Research publications on issues of modern Africa at a high international level
- Extensive research experience, including research coordination, with focus on current African issues
- Capacity to articulate a research vision and promote a creative and collegial environment for all research staff
- Good listening, communication and interpersonal skills
- Excellent mentoring and managerial skills
- Excellent knowledge of English
- Good knowledge of, and contacts with African researchers and research institutions Additional Qualifications
- Knowledge of French, Portuguese and/or other relevant languages
- Knowledge of research institutions and funding bodies in the Nordic countries.
Applicants will be expected to present themselves at a NAI staff meeting, and in an extensive interview with the recruitment committee. For more information about the Institute's ongoing research activities, grants, library services and publications is available on the Institute's website: www.nai.uu.se <http://www.nai.uu.se> Closing date for applications: November 30, 2006 Application forms can be requested from: Nordiska Afrikainsitutet, P. O. Box 1703, SE-751 47, Uppsala, or accessed at: http: www.nai.uu.se <http://www.nai.uu.se> The application should be addressed to:
The Council of the Nordic Africa Institute, P. O. Box 1703, SE-751 47 Uppsala, Sweden Contact persons Carin Norberg, Director, +46 18 56 22 65, email: firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> Eva-Lena Svensson, Human Resources Manager, +46 18 56 22 12, email: firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> Trade Union representatives: Gunnar Lindbom, (ST-ATF) and Ingela Dahlin, (SACO). Both can be reached at +46 18 56 22 00.
The Institute is committed to an Equal Opportunities Policy in employment.
The Program Officer
East Africa: Open Society Institute Public Health Program
The Program Officer, East Africa will work with the Law and Health Initiative (LAHI) of the Open Society Institute Public Health Program (PHP) and the Open Society Initiative for East Africa (OSIEA) in Nairobi to advance law- and human rights-based responses to HIV and AIDS and public health in the region. S/he will report to the LAHI project director in New York and collaborate day-to-day with the OSIEA staff in Nairobi.
OPEN SOCIETY INSTITUTE PUBLIC HEALTH PROGRAM – LAW AND HEALTH INITIATIVE F/T POSITION AVAILABLE PROGRAM OFFICER, EAST AFRICA NAIROBI-BASED DEADLINE: NOVEMBER 10, 2006 START DATE: JANUARY 2007 OR SOONER I. JOB SUMMARY
The Program Officer, East Africa will work with the Law and Health Initiative (LAHI) of the Open Society Institute Public Health Program (PHP) and the Open Society Initiative for East Africa (OSIEA) in Nairobi to advance law- and human rights-based responses to HIV and AIDS and public health in the region. S/he will report to the LAHI project director in New York and collaborate day-to-day with the OSIEA staff in Nairobi. S/he will also be an integral part of the New York-based PHP and will provide periodic assistance to PHP staff undertaking initiatives in East Africa.
Responsibilities will be both grant-related and operational, and will include:
· Strategy Development: The Program Officer will identify opportunities for LAHI to expand its work on HIV-related legal services throughout East Africa. This may include exploratory missions in the region, attending conferences and donor meetings, strategy development, evaluation of existing projects, and leveraging funding from additional sources.
· Policy Analysis: The Program Officer will author reports and advocacy documents on issues of human rights, livelihoods, and HIV in the region. These will include news briefs on LAHI’s work in this area, press statements on issues affecting grantees and sub-
grantees, human rights analysis of legal and legislative developments related to HIV in the region, and if appropriate, joint reports with other national, regional, and international organizations.
· Advocacy: The Program Officer will conduct advocacy on behalf of grantees and sub-grantees with government and donor agencies. This will include advocating for a human rights approach to HIV and AIDS policy and law in the region, identifying funding opportunities for grantees working in this area, and representing LAHI and its grantees at national and regional forums relevant to HIV and human rights.
· Grant management: The Program Officer will help to oversee the work of a portfolio of LAHI grantees and sub-grantees providing HIV-related legal services in Kenya. This will include development of grant competitions, conducting monitoring visits, preparing reports for the LAHI project director, identifying technical assistance opportunities for grantees and sub-grantees, ensuring quality and consistency of programs, and assisting grantees with monitoring and evaluation.
II. QUALIFICATIONS § Advanced degree in public health, law or social sciences related to international development.
- At least five years of experience in advocacy related to HIV and AIDS, at least three of which in Kenya or other countries in East Africa.
- Demonstrated knowledge of and commitment to human rights approaches to combating HIV and AIDS.
- Experience working on HIV/AIDS-related programming, grants management, program design, monitoring and evaluation with grassroots organizations in East Africa.
- Experience in community- based participatory planning and GIPA a plus.
- Excellent oral and written communications skills in English. Demonstrated skills in public speaking, presentations, research, writing, and editing for publication, as well as communications and media work. Kiswahili strongly desired.
- Strong organizational and management skills with attention to detail.
- Ability to listen and communicate clearly and effectively with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds.
- Ability to work effectively both independently without detailed daily supervision and as a member of a team, on a wide range of tasks.
- Ability to distill program experience into compelling advocacy messages for governments and international institutions.
- Discretion and ability to handle confidential issues.
- Willingness to travel both within the East African region and internationally.
- Knowledge of the following issues highly desired: gender and development; public health best practice, livelihood programming, micro-credit, micro-finance and vocational training programs; children’s rights; PLHA rights, rights of the elderly; and rights of sex workers.
- Competitive salary commensurate with experience and ability.
- Medical benefits.
IV. APPLICATION PROCESS
- To apply, please send a resume, cover letter, and salary history to:
Open Society Institute ATTN: Sai Jahann 400 West 59th St. New York, NY USA 10019 Fax: +1 (646) 557-2550 V. ABOUT OSI The Open Society Institute works to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens.
Open societies are characterized by the rule of law; respect for human rights, minorities, and a diversity of opinions; democratically elected governments; market economies in which business and government are separate; and a civil society that helps keep government power in check. To achieve its mission, OSI seeks to shape public policies that assure greater fairness in political, legal, and economic systems and safeguard fundamental rights. On a local level, OSI implements a range of initiatives to advance justice, education, public health, and independent media.
At the same time, OSI builds alliances across borders and continents on issues such as corruption and freedom of information.
OSI places high priority on protecting and improving the lives of marginalized people and communities.
The Open Society Institute’s Public Health Program aims to promote health policies based on scientific evidence, social inclusion, human rights, and justice. Broadly, the program works with civil society organizations within two fields: promoting the participation of socially marginalized groups in public health policy and fostering greater government accountability and transparency through civil society monitoring efforts. Program areas focus on addressing the human rights and health needs of marginalized groups, facilitating citizen access to health information, and advocating for a strong civil society role in public health policy and practice.
For further information on the Public Health Program, please visit our website: <<http://www.soros.org/initiatives/health>> The Public Health Program’s Law and Health Initiative (LAHI)
promotes legal and human rights-based approaches to public health worldwide. LAHI supports legal assistance, litigation, and law reform efforts on a range of health issues, including HIV and AIDS, harm reduction, palliative care, Roma health, and sexual health.
Through partnerships with both public health and human rights organizations, LAHI seeks to build a broad movement for law-based approaches to health and for the human rights of socially marginalized groups.
For further information on the Law and Health Initiative, please visit our website: <<http://www.soros.org/initiatives/health/focus/law>> The Open Society Initiative for East Africa (OSIEA) supports and promotes public participation in democratic governance, the rule of law, and respect for human rights in Kenya by awarding grants, developing programs, and bringing together diverse civil society leaders and groups.
For further information on the Open Society Initiative for East Africa, please visit our website: <www.osiea.org <http://www.osiea.org>> The Open Society Institute is an equal opportunity employer.
Uganda: I-Network seeks Project Manager
ANTS Uganda is a project within the organisational framework of I-Network Uganda which is a non-profit organisation and a national network consisting of individuals and organisations from the private sector, government and civil society. I-Network provides a platform for sharing knowledge and forming partnerships around the use of ICT to address development challenges and to extend equitable national development.
JOB: I-Network seeks PROJECT MANAGER
For a student run ICT-technician project
Job Title: Project Manager
Closing Date: 23 Oct 2006
ANTS Uganda is a project within the organisational framework of I-Network Uganda which is a non-profit organisation and a national network consisting of individuals and organisations from the private sector, government and civil society. I-Network provides a platform for sharing knowledge and forming partnerships around the use of ICT to address development challenges and to extend equitable national development.
ANTS Uganda is a student run ICT-technician project that offers companies, universities and organisations basic ICT-services and support to a moderate cost. Among the services that ANTS Uganda offers are computer and network installation, computer maintenance, web design, email configuration and practical computer training. The core of the network is university students in computer science that are employed to perform the services. These will fall under the Education Node (Former Junior Node) and will be a junior team to the I-Network Expertise Team.
Duties and key responsibilities
The Manager will be responsible for leading, managing and contributing to the development of ANTS Uganda to meet the overall objectives and goals. The Project Manager will directly report to the Program Manager I-Network and work closely with the ANTS Steering Committee as part of a team of IT professionals and students. The project manager will further;
Manage and coordinate the overall project development.
Supervise the personnel (students), which will include mentoring, work allocation, performance evaluation, and problem resolution.
Manage daily administrative operations of ANTS Uganda, including day-to-day office coordination, project planning, fiscal management, payroll time sheets, news flashes etc.
Coordinate training, seminars, workshops, special projects.
Lead the development and implementation of reporting procedures.
Develop, maintain and update the database.
Gather data, compile information, prepare and write reports.
File performance reports.
Service innovation and development.
Monitoring progress and customer satisfaction.
Contact existing and prospective clients on regular basis, discuss business opportunities and firm up contracts.
Minimum job requirements
In addition to meeting the general eligibility requirements (see above), applicants require the following specific knowledge and skills;
Bachelor’s degree in computer science, engineering, business administration or appropriate field from a recognised university
At least one year experience of working in the ICT-sector;
Advanced skills in computer hardware, software and networking;
Knowledge in project management principles and practices;
Knowledge of finance, accounting, budgeting, and cost control procedures;
Research and analytical skills;
Report writing skills;
Team worker and excellent interpersonal skills, ability to supervise and train employees;
Excellent communication and organisational skills;
Superior customer service;
Able to work long hours with minimal supervision.
The candidate must demonstrate strong aptitude to coordinate and inspire people, be a facilitator and negotiator. The manager must be a true knowledge sharer.
Deadline for applications for this job is 23rd October 2006.
The application should be made in writing (enclosing a CV) outlining how you meet both the general eligibility requirements and the specific requirements. Referees (full contact details) with good knowledge of the candidate’s work should be included. Applications should be sent or delivered to:
Plot 53, Kiira Road
For more information on I-Network, see www.i-network.or.ug/
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