Pambazuka News 275: Niger Delta: Behind the mask
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Featured This Week
Pambazuka News Editors
FEATURE: With compelling evidence and historical insight, Ike Okonta traces the origins of the Niger Delta Conflict.
COMMENT AND ANALYSIS:
- What is the problem with Madonna adopting a Malawian Child? Why all the fury? Adotey Bing-Pappoe comments on the issue by analysing carefully the possible pitfalls of inter-country adoption
- Dieu–Donné Wedi Djamba considers the options of bringing lasting peace to the Democratic Republic of Congo
- Patrick Bond argues that the idea of microcredit, which won Muhammad Yunus the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, is based more on hype than substance.
PODCASTS: Pambazuka News publishes two more podcasts: SACTWU research speaks about the impact of WTO regulations on job losses, and Tajudeen Abul Raheem speaks about Castro's illness
LETTERS: Readers respond to recent articles
BLOGGING AFRICA: Sokari Ekine, still blogging from South Africa, comments on the Reporters Without Borders report on the 2006 “Worldwide Press Freedom Index”
CONFLICT AND EMERGENCIES: Links to news on Sudan, Somalia, Chad and Nigeria
HUMAN RIGHTS: Minorities defend their right to organise
WOMEN AND GENDER: Maternal deaths worry WHO
REFUGEES AND FORCED MIGRATION: Niger’s Arabs to fight expulsion
ELECTIONS AND GOVERNANCE: Kabila, Mobutu’s son sign pact to form government
DEVELOPMENT: Privatisation threatens small-scale miners
CORRUPTION: Inquiries turned gravy trains
HEALTH AND HIV/AIDS: Child deaths from HIV/AIDS to keep growing
EDUCATION: Government Urged to support e-learning in schools
RACISM AND XENOPHOBIA: HSRC’s Habib denied U.S. entry
ENVIRONMENT: Poachers close to wiping out hippos
LAND AND LAND RIGHTS: No need for Zim-style land grabs in South Africa
MEDIA AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION: MISA-SA And FXI statement
INTERNET AND TECHNOLOGY: Employmint.co.za challenges recruitment model
PLUS: e-Newsletters and Mailings Lists; Fundraising and Useful Resources; Courses, Seminars and Workshops; Jobs.
Niger Delta: Behind The Mask
As the crisis in the Niger Delta brews, Ike Okonta looks behind the fragile truce between the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta and Nigeria's central government.Pambazuka News publishes here the first instalment of a substantive paper prepared following a recent visit to the blood and oil-soaked region.
The fragile truce brokered between Nigeria’s central government and the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) in April 2006, jerked to a bloody halt on 20th August. On that afternoon, soldiers of the Joint Task Force, a contingent of the Nigerian Army, Navy and Air Force deployed by the government to enforce its authority on the restive oil-bearing Niger Delta, ambushed fifteen members of the MEND militia in the creeks of western delta and murdered them. The dead men had gone to negotiate the release of a Shell Oil worker kidnapped by youth in Letugbene, a neighbouring community. The Shell staff also died in the massacre.
The incident occurred five days after Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria’s President, instructed armed forces commanders in the region to resort to force and quickly ‘pacify’ the region. This marked a sharp turn-around from the promise Obasanjo gave to representatives of the MEND militia in Nigeria’s capital Abuja, in early April that he would utilise dialogue and carefully targeted development projects to return peace, law and good government to the impoverished Niger Delta.
The streets of Warri, the city where Shell and ChevronTexaco’s western delta operations are based, were thick with tension on the morning of 2 September when Ijo youth converged on Warri Central Hospital in the suburbs to retrieve the corpses of their colleagues and commence the burial ceremonies. The Ijaw are the largest ethnic group in the Niger Delta. The MEND militia draws the bulk of its membership from the Ijaw.
Significantly, there were several prominent Ijaw political and civic leaders at the ceremony. Ordinary people, mainly Ijaw peasant farmers and fisher folk, had left their hoes and fishing nets and travelled from their hamlets in the creeks to pay their last respects to the slain. Spokesmen of the Nigerian government had sought to represent the fifteen militias as ‘irresponsible hostage-takers’ in the wake of the slaughter. But those massed at the hospital that morning spoke only of heroes who had fallen in the battle for ‘Ijaw liberation.’ MEND, it was clear to observers, was firmly embedded in the Ijaw communities from which it emerged in February 2006. MEND continues to enjoy the support of youth and impoverished peasants whose farm lands and fishing creeks – their sole source of livelihood - have been destroyed by half a century of uncontrolled oil production and whose cause they took up arms to champion.
Even so, members of the MEND militia have never seen armed force as a suitable and effective weapon, but only as a tactical tool. They were forced to wield this tool as a last resort after three decades of peaceful entreaty was replied with cynical indifference, from the central government and the oil companies. Leaders of the Federated Niger Delta Ijaw Communities (FNDIC), a civic group with headquarters in Gbaramatu, an Ijaw clan in which MEND’s activities are very pronounced, have served as informal representatives of the MEND militia in negotiations with President Obasanjo and Nigeria’s central government following the abduction of nine foreign oil workers in the creeks of the delta in February. When the author interviewed Oboko Bello, President of FNDIC in Warri in early August, two weeks before the Letugbene massacre, he spoke warmly about the peace meeting he and other Ijaw leaders had had in Abuja with Obasanjo and other government officials on April 5 and 18 2006. He even assured that MEND militants would put their weapons permanently beyond use if the government went some way to address the long-standing grievances of his people. 
But it was a sorrowful and stone-faced Bello who addressed his fellow Ijaw during the burial ceremony that afternoon in Warri. He said: “Shell officials were privy to the arrangements Ijaw patriots had made as part of the Joint Investigation and Verification exercise to free the captured company worker and also facilitate the re-opening of the company’s facilities in the creeks. Shell was in direct communication with the commanders of the Joint Task Force, even up to the time our young men set out in their boats to rescue the Shell worker in Letugbene. These young men were not hostage takers. They were Ijaw patriots, selflessly working to repair the damaged peace between the oil company and our people. For this they were ambushed and murdered by soldiers in the service of Shell.” 
Oboko Bello ended his one-hour speech on a note of conciliation, arguing that the peace process between the MEND militia and the government begun on 12 March following a meeting between President Obasanjo and prominent Ijaw leaders must not be derailed. But angry voices are rising all over the creeks vowing revenge. These are young men - the volatile, striking arm of the Ijaw political and civic resurgence. Whether moderate voices will be able to rein them in remain to be seen.
For its apart, the central government has adopted a new defiant, militaristic posture, publicly announcing in late August that it was now collaborating closely with the US and British governments to deploy more naval personnel and new hardware to “root out oil rustlers, kidnappers and other undesirable elements from the Niger Delta and the wider Gulf of Guinea.”  The MEND militants hunkered down in their heavily fortified redoubts in the creeks, this sounded ominously like an open declaration of war.
FNDIC leaders who spoke to the author shortly after the burial ceremony expressed the concern that the government’s belligerent posture could be an attempt to generate political turbulence in the Niger delta during the general elections, due in April 2007. This turbulence would provide an opportunity for Obasanjo to impose an interim government and extend his tenure beyond the constitutionally stipulated two terms. The elections had been massively rigged in the region (and even more so in the Ijaw areas) by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 1999 and again in 2003. But FNDIC officials continue to hold out hope that fair elections in which the Ijaw would be fairly represented will provide the solution to the political and economic crisis in which they are trapped. They insist they will continue to work zealously to thwart any attempt to prevent free elections from taking place in Ijaw communities next April.
However, elections in Nigeria and the Niger Delta in particular, are usually turbulent affairs, sometimes descending into the bloody and violent. As was the case in the past, politicians are replenishing their arms caches and resuscitating the network of thugs they rely on to intimidate their rivals, coerce voters to do their bidding, or stuff the ballot boxes outright. The region is awash with small arms and hard cash yet again, and the already volatile cocktail of local resentment of the oppressive activities of the government and the oil companies looks set to blend with guns for hire prowling the creeks and sire another bloody inferno.
The MEND militia and its political sponsors set out in the early months of the year to draw the attention of the world to the parlous condition of the Ijaw people, deploying spectacle as a powerful weapon. Images of armed youth in masks wielding sub-machine guns in the creeks and helpless oil workers at their mercy, squatting in the bowels of speedboats, were beamed to the media all over the world through a skilful use of the internet.
These graphic images generated intense emotions in government circles as well as in the environmental and human rights community in the West. Global oil prices surged and fell with the tone of MEND’s press statements and the physical condition of the captives, whose photographs they put out on the net. But the drama invariably ended on a peaceful note, with MEND setting the oil workers free unharmed. After a spate of armed attacks on the facilities of Shell and two other oil companies in the western delta followed MEND’s emergence in February, the militants and the government seemed to have reached an unspoken agreement that this drama could go on. The actors would be permitted to air their grievances on the world stage, as long as the oil workers periodically taken hostage were not harmed.
The outrage with which the Letugbene murders were greeted by Ijaw youth in the creeks, and rising political tensions all over the country, means there is no knowing whose voice will command allegiance in the coming months: the moderates counselling patience and political participation, or the young hotheads eager to return to the creeks and take on the government and the oil companies they are allied with.
Prelude to an uprising
Before the emergence of MEND, the last time the Ijaw took up arms against the Nigerian government in an organised effort to assert their political rights was forty years ago. In February 1966, Isaac Adaka Boro, a graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, formed the Niger Delta Volunteer Service (NDVS), a militia comprising of several young and educated Ijaw men, and declared the Ijaw-speaking areas of Nigeria’s then ‘Eastern Region’ an independent ‘Niger Delta Republic.’ In an eleven-point declaration of independence, Boro stated that “all former agreements as regards the crude oil of the people undertaken by the now defunct ‘Nigerian’ government in the territory have been declared invalid,” and that “ll oil companies are commanded …to stop exploration and renew agreements with the new Republic. Defiance of this order will result in dislocation of the company’s exploration and forfeiture of their rights of renewal of such agreements.” 
Although Federal troops, directed from the regional capital Enugu soon quashed Isaac Boro’s uprising, the twelve-day revolt jolted the nation. It focussed attention on the travails of the riverbank communities of the Eastern Region, and re-opened debate about their demand (since the Willincks hearing in 1958) to be separated from the Eastern Region in an independent state of their own. At the time the Eastern Region was dominated by the more populous Igbo ethnic group, obliging the Ijaw, Ibibio, Ogoni and other smaller groups to band together and ask for a new ‘Rivers State.’
Boro and his two associates, Sam Owonaro and Notthingham Dick, were arrested and imprisoned. Developments elsewhere in the country were soon to alter the fortunes of the three militants in a dramatic manner. Nigeria had been convulsed in political crisis following independence from Britain in October 1960. At the heart of the dispute was the unwieldy three-region structure that the departing colonialists bequeathed to the country, ensuring that the Northern region, led by Muslim feudal lords who had cooperated with British administrators in governing the country, were given the largest slice, bigger than the Western and Eastern Region combined.
Northern politicians were quick to turn this numerical advantage into political and economic rewards, introducing a corrupt and authoritarian mode of rule in the country that enabled them to transfer wealth derived from the south to their own region. In January 1966 five young army majors, the bulk of Igbo extraction, staged a military coup in an attempt to overthrow the civilian government and put an end to the drift towards misgovernment. Several leading politicians and senior Army officers, including the Prime Minister and the Premier of the Northern Region, were killed. The bulk of those that lost their lives were northerners. Casualty figures in the East were light, leading to accusation by northern officers that the January coup was a plot by Igbo officers and politicians to take over the government of the country by force.
Six months later, in July 1966, northern officers staged a counter-coup, attempted to pull the North out of the Federation, but then changed their mind at the last minute (under pressure from the British High Commissioner and the American Ambassador). Leaders of the coup had killed the military Head of State, General Ironsi, an Igbo who had taken over the reins of government after the January coup had collapsed as the most senior officer in the Army. Over three hundred other officers, the bulk of them from the Eastern Region, were also murdered. The coup leaders appointed Yakubu Gowon, a lieutenant colonel and fellow northerner, Head of State and declared that the Ironsi government had been overthrown.
The military administrator of the Eastern Region, Col. Emeka Ojukwu, refused to recognise Gowon as Head of State, and insisted that the late Ironsi’s second in command, Brigadier Ogundipe take over. Relations between the two sides deteriorated swiftly. Fearing that the East was about to secede, the Gowon regime hunkered down in the federal capital Lagos, and split the country into twelve new states in May 1967, two for the ethnic minority groups of the Eastern Region. The Ijaw formed the bulk of the new Rivers State. Ojukwu responded a few days later by declaring the East as the Republic of Biafra, a new state independent of Nigeria. Federal troops invaded Biafra and civil war broke out. Isaac Boro and his compatriots were released from prison by Federal troops when they overran the riverside parts of Biafra. He subsequently joined the Federal side as a major and commanded his own unit under the Third (Marine Commando) Division. Boro was to die in battle a few weeks before the war ended.
The bloody civil war that raged for thirty months and in which an estimated three million people died, was to profoundly alter Nigeria’s political landscape. The war ended in January 1970 with a Federal victory. Although the Ijaw had reason to be content, having secured the new state they had been asking for since the 1950s, the euphoria was to prove short-lived. The central government had passed on to a victorious federal army the bulk of whose commanders were from the now defunct Northern Region. These officers quickly turned their attention to the oil wells of the Niger Delta. In cooperation with civil servants, they pushed through a number of military edicts nationalising the delta oil fields, and altering the formula for sharing revenue. Whereas previously fifty percent of revenue went to the region or state from which it was derived, all the states now had an equal share, with the central government in Lagos keeping the lion’s share for itself.
The new fiscal regime, which now left the Ijaw and the other oil-bearing communities of the Niger Delta at a distinct disadvantage, took nearly ten years to achieve. The process began in the heat of the civil war, when the Gowon government enacted Decree 15 of 1969, removing the control of the oil fields from their states of origin and putting this in its own control. By the time the soldiers handed over to a new civilian government in October 1979, a rash of decrees and edicts had transformed the Niger Delta into a colony whose inhabitants bore the brunt of the oil production on which the national economy relied heavily but enjoyed none of the benefits. These edicts included the 1978 Land Use Act that confiscated the oil-bearing land of the delta communities and put this under the ‘protection’ of the central government.
The new civilian government, under President Shehu Shagari, a northerner, was effete, purposeless and corrupt. This ill-fated Second Republic was overthrown in December 1983 by General M. Buhari. On Buhari’s watch, the portion of oil revenue that went to the Ijaw and the other oil-bearing communities of the Niger Delta plunged to a derisory 1.5 per cent, down from 20 two years previously. Meanwhile Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), the local subsidiary of the Anglo-Dutch oil giant, and other Western oil companies operating in the Niger Delta continued to benefit from the legislations that had successfully reduced the delta communities to squatters on their own land. Shell had begun to produce oil in 1956, and now accounted for half of the country’s total oil production of two million barrels per day.
According to the provisions of the legal regime guiding oil production, oil companies were not required to obtain the permission of the local communities on whose land and creeks they explored for, and mined oil. They were only answerable to government officials far away in the capital. All that the oil companies were asked to do was pay ‘compensation’ to local people for crops and other valuables destroyed in the course of oil production. Estimation was largely left to the discretion of Shell officials, and they were quick to take advantage of this and undercut the local people. Environmental protection laws were also flagrantly breached by all the companies, resulting in the devastation of the farm lands and fishing creeks on which the Ijaw and the other communities had relied for livelihood for millennia.  Previous decades of government neglect had reduced the delta communities to excruciating poverty, but now their very existence was threatened.
General Ibrahim Babangida overthrew General Buhari in a palace coup in August 1985, and introduced a Structural Adjustment Programme, supervised by the IMF. Ostensibly designed to ameliorate the financial crisis into which decades of corrupt and inefficient government had plunged the country, Babangida’s new economic policies only succeeded in plunging the people into worse poverty. The currency was devalued, hiking up the price of imported necessities. Social services were cut. Millions were retrenched from jobs in government and the private sector.
The already impoverished Delta communities felt the new harsh economic climate particularly keenly. There were neither factories nor government jobs in the region. The enclave oil economy employed a handful of local people even as it left environmental destruction in its wake. Hospitals, roads, piped water, schools, paved roads and electric power were non-existent, and where they were supplied, grossly inadequate. As thousands of Ijaw, retrenched from their jobs in the cities and towns began to stream home in late 1980s, the Niger Delta region began to heave. It was clear to the discerning that a political storm was about to break.
The first storm came in the shape of an attempted military putsch, led by Ijaw and other Delta elements in the Army. In April 1990 these young military officers stormed Dodan Barracks, seat of the central government, and reduced its perimeter walls to rubble with mortars and AK47s. But General Babangida managed to escape, rallied senior commanders to his side and mounted a counter-attack. Outflanked and outgunned the coup plotters surrendered. After a hasty trial, closed to the public, they were executed.
The defiant utterances of the young officers as they faced the firing squad, declaring that they had ‘struck a blow for the oppressed people of the Niger Delta in the spirit of Isaac Boro’, and the economic upheavals in the delta and the wider country that led to this bloody episode, were to prepare the ground for the emergence of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) sixteen years later. 
• Dr Ike Okonta is a research fellow in contemporary African politics at the University of Oxford. He is co-author of Where Vultures Feast: Shell, Human Rights and Oil, Verso, New York, 2003.
• Please send comments to email@example.com or comment online at www.pambazuka.org
 Ike Okonta, interview with Oboko Bello, President of Federated Niger Delta Ijaw Communities (FNDIC), Warri, 14th August 2006. In summary, Ijaw representatives asked for the creation of two states, in addition to Bayelsa state, for their people to be carved out of the existing states of Edo, Ondo, Cross Rivers, Rivers, and Akwa Ibom. They also asked that fifty per cent of oil revenue derived from the Niger Delta be given to the communities, that Ijaw businessmen be given a greater pie in the oil industry, and that the central government withdraw armed troops from the region and compel Shell and the other oil companies to put an end to incessant oil spills and gas flaring.
 Oboko Bello, ‘FNDIC Presentation During Burial Ceremony of Nine out of Fifteen Illustrious Sons Killed While Serving the Purpose of SPDC in Letugbene Community,’ Presented in Warri, Delta State, 2 September, 2006.
 Onyebuchi Ezigbo, ‘Niger Delta: Britain, US Offer Assistance to Nigeria,’ ThisDay, Lagos, 31 August, 2006.
 See Tony Tebekaemi, The Twelve Day Revolution, Ethiope Publishing Company, Benin City, 1982, p. 12. See also Kathryn N. Nwajiaku, ‘Oil Politics and Identity Transformation in Nigeria: The Case of the Ijaw in the Niger Delta,’ Unpublished DPhil thesis, Department of Politics, University of Oxford, 2005, for an excellent scholarly study of the political context of Isaac Boro’s revolt in 1966.
 For a comprehensive treatment of the social and environmental consequences of oil production in the Niger Delta, see Ike Okonta and Oronto Douglas, Where Vultures Feast: Shell, Human Rights and Oil, Sierra Club, San Francisco, 2001.
 Ihuoma Iwegbu, ‘Why they Struck,’ National Concord, Lagos, 24 April, 1990.
David and Madonna
The issue of Madonna adopting a Malawian Child made worldwide news. Human Rights groups have protested the adoption, claiming that it is against the law for a person who is not a Malawi resident to adopt a child from their country. Adotey Bing-Pappoe deals with the issue by analysing carefully the possible pitfalls of inter-country adoption.
What is at issue?
How is one supposed to begin to un-pick the Madonna adoption issue? Is there an issue to be un-picked at all? An individual with means has adopted a child from a poor family who was living in an orphanage. What is the problem? Presumably unless one has an objection to adoption in principle, this should not cause one to lose any sleep. So why the fuss?
First, we only know about the story because it is Madonna - an ‘international superstar’. What Madonna does is newsworthy. It has provided us with an opportunity to discuss something that may have been very common for all we know. We are now able to express a timely opinion about it. But what exactly do we have an opportunity to express an opinion about?
David Banda is a one-year-old African child who has been living in an orphanage since he was two weeks old. His father placed him there because he felt he was not able to look after him. Before doing so, we can assume that he had exhausted all possible avenues of caring for his son from within the extended family. David’s grandmother supported his decision and has said so publicly. However, there is a suggestion that one of David’s uncles does not support the adoption. But was he party to placing David in the orphanage? We may want to criticise David’s father and those family members who were responsible for placing him in an orphanage but do we really have the right to? In any event that is not the issue. Additionally, one can assume that by placing him in an orphanage, David’s father understood that he was making his son available for adoption by a family based inside or outside Malawi, with all that that would entail.
Then along comes Madonna who for reasons we do not know, wishes to adopt a child. We do not know if she is willing to adopt any child or is instead committed to adopting a particular child, perhaps an African one. There are of course children in England, where Madonna is currently domiciled, awaiting adoption. Why Madonna did not adopt one of these children we cannot say. But of course the fact that there are children in England needing adoption is not a reason for someone resident in England to adopt one of them. If Madonna had tried to adopt a child in England before commencing the process of adopting a child from Malawi what was the result of that effort and why? But let us assume that she had not and that for reasons of her own, she wished to adopt a child from Africa or even more specifically, from Malawi. It could be argued, with some plausibility that to adopt a child from Africa is in some way more worthy or morally justified than adopting one from England. Children in African or Malawian orphanages are more likely to remain there un-adopted, and are more likely to have a harder time of it than a child so left in an English orphanage. Even if David had been adopted by a family in resident in Malawi, few such families would have been able to give him the material opportunities that an average family from England would be able to offer, let alone Madonna’s. Finally, life expectancy in Malawi is 39. Surely this is reason enough to justify seeking to adopt a child from an African or Malawian orphanage? In Madonna’s words, she wanted to “open up our home and help one child escape an extreme life of hardship, poverty and in many cases death". Certainly this cannot be said about children living in orphanages in England.
The current bone of contention is whether or not the inter-country adoption regulations in Malawi have been adhered to. Because there are no adoption agencies in Malawi, all adoptions are dealt with by the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Community Services. Penston Kilembe, director of child welfare in that ministry is reported to have said that Madonna and her husband had broken no laws. Nevertheless Maxwell Matewere, Executive Director of the child rights group Eye of the Child, appealed to the Malawian government to make sure the letter of the law had been adhered to. While inter-country adoptions are provided for in Malawian law, the rules are quite demanding. Among other things the adoption process requires not only that prospective adoptive parents must be resident in Malawi, but also that they must foster a prospective adoptive child for 24 months inside Malawi before an adoption may be finalised. The Human Rights Consultative Committee of 67 organisations went further than Maxwell Matewere and went to court seeking an injunction to halt the adoption process on the grounds that Malawi’s adoption rules were being flouted. In the event a magistrate awarded Madonna an 18-month interim adoption order which was used to allow Madonna to take David to England. The action by the Human Rights Consultative Committee is continuing with its action meaning that the legal process has yet to run its course.
But let us put aside for the moment the issue of whether or not the process so far used in this case conformed not only to provisions for inter-country adoption in England, but also to those in Malawi. Assume that all provisions have been fully complied with up to this point, and that they will be, well into the future. We may of course have a view about the legal provisions governing adoption in either country, but let us also put those aside for a moment, and concern ourselves with whether or not existing provisions in the two countries have been adhered to. If so, there would appear to be no reason for the adoption process that has commenced not to proceed to its’ final and ‘successful’ conclusion.
If however, any of the assumptions above prove not to have been met, then clearly this particular adoption will be open to contestation on a number of procedural and technical grounds. If on the other hand these assumptions hold, what then would be wrong with such an outcome, that is Madonna adopting David? Both the child and the family appear to have complementary attributes and needs. So nothing should worry us. But something clearly does worry us, and not a few of us at that.
Possible pitfalls of inter-country adoption
Adopted children who have any living parent and close relatives have to deal with why they were given up for adoption, in addition to the normal issues of growing up. Coming to terms with this involves a process of varying degrees of complexity and duration. In the case of inter-country adoptions, issues of race, class, history and culture, as dictated by circumstance may also have to be contended with. In countries where inter-country adoptions are allowed attempts are made to place children with families from the same racial or cultural background. In South Africa however, perhaps not surprisingly given its’ recent history, this is not permitted by law. In a society where one race is socially, economically, politically or otherwise predominant, it is always problematic when there are trans-racial adoptions. But people clearly have very different views of the issue. For as one commentator observed, David should not have any issues of cultural assimilation, because given his age, he does not have any culture to lose! But he will have to deal with issues of racial identity, as he grows up in Madonna’s white English world. Another unknown to us and possibly to Madonna also, is which permutation from among the following identities intends to bring him up as: Malawian, African, Black, English, or White. She apparently promised to bring David up on his father’s behalf.
In most countries prospective adopters have to show that they have the means to take care of the child they wish to adopt. Thus one has to be of the appropriate class. Now this would not normally be an issue even if there were differences of income between the family of the adopter and the adopted. David will however have to deal with something a little more acute. One of the reasons he appears to have been chosen is his poverty or more precisely the poverty of his family. To what extent will this issue be of concern, as he becomes globally aware? Madonna is not just rich, she is super rich. So there is no question of her being able to look after David in the manner to which she is accustomed. Will David feel guilty about his situation or will he just take it in his stride?
Finally, Madonna is a successful and wealthy American woman born and living in a not entirely post Imperial Britain. She is a citizen of the world’s current Imperial power domiciled in the world’s previous Imperial power. David is an African boy born and, until Madonna was given temporary custody of him and took him to London, surviving in a not so post colonial Malawi. It is possible, though not likely, that these twin facts may be totally irrelevant with respect to how Madonna treats David now or in the future. Malawi had a historically structured relationship with Britain, and has a similar one with the US, though mediated by financial rather than direct political dominance.
It would be extremely unlikely therefore, that it would be a successful and wealthy Malawian woman who would be adopting a poor English or American boy. While inter-county adoptions in America are not forbidden, in England the situation is a little different. The English “Adoptions and Children’s Act 2002 “only provides for inter-country adoption from another country into England. In the words of the Act, the section on inter-country adoption “explains the additional duties of an agency where it is preparing, assessing and approving a prospective inter-country adopter where the UK is the receiving State”. There appears to be no provision for a wealthy Malawian or anyone else for that matter, to adopt and take a child out of England. For some this Imperial-Empire axis of the relationship is one of the main sources of their disquiet.
Nevertheless others argue that even after taking all the above into account, there are not good enough reasons for this and any other ‘David’ not to be adopted by this or any other ‘Madonna’. What matters, they contend, is the care and sensitivity that she will take in bringing him up. The question is, given the structured relationship between the two countries and cultures, how sure can we be that this and any other Madonna will include issues of race, class history and culture within the ambit of their caring and sensitive upbringing?
What hope for the other Davids of Malawi and Africa?
Inter-country adoptions into England and elsewhere are in fact very rare, and make a very small impact on the 48 million children in sub-Saharan Africa estimated to be orphans, 12 million of whom have lost at least one parent to AIDS. Last year there were 313 inter-country adoptions into the UK. In the US there were 22,700, up from around 7,000 in 1990. Of the total in 2005, 441 were adopted from Ethiopia, some by their extended families resident in the US. So, even if there was a rush of Madonnas and Angelina Jolies adopting African orphans (the latter adopted an Ethiopian child last year), this is unlikely to resolve the African orphan problem.
Africa faces many challenges, and coping with orphans is not something that, as a rule, attracts the extended focussed attention of African governments. But institutional life, even in the most caring society, is difficult at the best if times, harder, if the society is also poor. Institutional life in modern day Africa must be bleak indeed. A sizeable chunk of expenditure on orphaned children in Africa comes from agencies financed externally. Madonna is one such agent. It is reported that she has pledged £1.6m to support orphanages that look after the estimated 900,000 orphans in Malawi. Given the size of the orphan problem in Africa, and the problems associated with living in institutions, is it a good idea to institutionalise the solution? One of the concerns of those who have to plan for these things are mindful of, is the impact of so many young people on the future development of Africa. How will African societies cope when so many of its population will be coming into adulthood after years of institutionalised living?
Irene Mureithi, the head of the Child Welfare Society of Kenya, is on record as having suggested that focus instead should be placed on assisting the family to look after the Davids of Africa. In some societies family credit is used to underpin and support poor and socially excluded children. As a first step, the fathers and mothers of the many Davids in Malawi and elsewhere on the continent might be supported to look after their children, using the funds made available by external agents, and one hopes increasingly from internal sources. David has a father. He also has at least one grandparent, and an uncle. Is it too far fetched to think that one of David’s relatives, if they had been provided with regular income support, would have assumed responsibility for looking after David? What benefit cost analyses have been done to see if this would not be a better way of addressing the problem, than institutionalising so many children? The funds coming into the continent to help combat AIDS and its effects might well be better spent on a programme similar to this. Finally, in addition to the extended family, a scheme such as this might be broadened to include people of appropriate standing not related to the potential adoptee. Maybe African governments and concerned others should take ideas like Irene Mureithi’s more seriously.
• Adotey Bing-Pappoe is a development economist and founding partner of Renaissance Associates LLP, a management and development consultancy
• Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or comment online at www.pambazuka.org
Beyond microcredit evangelism
Muhammad Yunus is the founder of Grameen Bank which has promoted microcredit for millions, loans to women too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans. He is the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for “…efforts to create economic and social development from below.” But there is more hype than substance, says Patrick Bond, behind the claim that micro-credit schemes have been effective in poverty alleviation. There is ample evidence to challenge the claims for the alleged benefits of micro-credit programmes.
What sort of dogmatic free-market ideologue would use poor people’s (often socially-constructed) desire for credit to justify shrinking the already beleaguered welfare policies of wretched Third World states?
Consider this outlandish claim: ‘I believe that “government”, as we know it today, should pull out of most things except for law enforcement and justice, national defense and foreign policy, and let the private sector, a “Grameenized private sector”, a social-consciousness-driven private sector, take over their other functions.’
Grameen is Bangladesh’s ‘barefoot bank’ specializing in group loans to low-income women. And the Vanderbilt University-trained economist who made that statement, Muhammad Yunus (in his autobiography Banker to the Poor), just won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Yunus immediately announced to a Dhaka press conference: ‘Now the war against poverty will be further intensified across the world. It will consolidate the struggle against poverty through microcredit in most of the countries.’
Yet this seemingly benign, three-decade old attempt to foster entrepreneurship amongst impoverished women has attracted intense grassroots – and also professional – criticism.
Not surprisingly, the establishment press loves Yunus, nearly as much as do Bill and Hillary Clinton. The Financial Times made this argument, backed by no evident research: ‘Microfinance has played a central part in Bangladesh's success in reducing poverty by almost 10 percentage points over the past five years, to 40%, a rate that puts Bangladesh on track to meet its Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty by 2015.’ Moreover, ‘Grameen's business model is in rude health.’
The Wall Street Journal profiled Yunus on its front page five years ago: ‘To many, Grameen proves that capitalism can work for the poor as well as the rich,’ having ‘helped inspire an estimated 7,000 so-called microlenders with 25 million poor clients worldwide.’
Yet looking more closely, the Journal’s reporters - including the late Daniel Pearl (senselessly beheaded by Islamic extremists) - conceded the prevalence of Enron-style accounting. A fifth of the bank’s loans in late 2001 were more than a year past-due: ‘Grameen would be showing steep losses if the bank followed the accounting practices recommended by institutions that help finance microlenders through low-interest loans and private investments.’
A typical Grameen gimmick is to reschedule short-term loans that are unpaid after as long as two years, instead of writing them off, letting borrowers accumulate interest through new loans simply to keep alive the fiction of repayments on the old loans.
Not even extreme pressure techniques - such as removing tin roofs from delinquent women’s houses, according to the Journal report - improved repayment rates in the most crucial areas, where Grameen had earlier won its global reputation amongst neoliberals who consider credit and entrepreneurship as prerequisites for development.
By then, even the huckster-filled microfinance industry felt betrayed: ‘Grameen Bank had been at best lax, and more likely at worst, deceptive in reporting its financial performance’, wrote leading microfinance promoter J. D. Von Pischke of the World Bank in reaction to the WSJ revelations. ‘Most of us in the trade probably had long suspected that something was fishy.’
Agreed Ross Croulet of the African Development Bank: ‘I myself have been suspicious for a long time about the true situation of Grameen so often disguised by Dr. Yunus’s global stellar status.’
Several years earlier, Yunus was weaned off the bulk of his international donor support, reportedly $5 million a year, which had until then reduced the interest rate he needed to charge borrowers and still make a profit. Grameen had become ‘sustainable,’ self-financing, with costs to be fully borne by borrowers.
He had also battled backward patriarchal and religious attitudes in Bangladesh, and his hard work extended credit to millions of people. The secret was that poor women were typically arranged in groups of five: two got the first tranche of credit, leaving the other three as ‘chasers’ to pressure repayment, so that they could in turn get the next loans.
But at a time of new competitors, adverse weather conditions (especially the 1998 floods) and a backlash by borrowers who used collective power of nonpayment, Grameen imposed dramatic increases in the price of repaying loans. And it is here that Grameen Bank’s main philosophical position – ‘We consider credit as a human right’ – was reduced merely to an argument for access, not affordability.
In that regard, Yunus is entirely different from all the rights-based social movements which have demanded ‘rights’ in terms of free lifeline access to healthcare, education, housing, land, water, electricity and the like.
‘Microcredit is an almost perfect case of a phenomenon that has come to characterise much of development assistance - a widening gap between reality and propaganda,’ argued microfinance consultant Thomas Dichter in a SA Institute for International Affairs publication, ‘Hype and Hope: The Worrisome State of the Microcredit Movement’: ‘Much of Africa offers an infertile context for borrowing as the only customers available to the poorest are other very poor people. In such infertile economic contexts, the people at the bottom are by definition the ones who “need” credit the most, but can do the least with it.’
Dichter continued, ‘In part because of what has been aptly called “microfinance evangelism”, the prospect of significant returns from microcredit made available to solid enterprises has become less likely. This is because those who can really leverage a small loan are not the poorest or the most destitute… An additional limitation is that many microcredit clients are reduced to “copycat” behaviour, everyone selling the same thing, and more sellers saturating the market as more microcredit is made available. In this sense, expanding microcredit can actually lower incomes.’
What about the impact Yunus has made on his home turf? In Bangladesh, according to Dichter, ‘Microcredit is such a common development intervention that many people borrow from one project to repay another. In that context, even if a woman borrower increases her volume of sales by 100% say from 10 bunches of bananas to 20, she is still limited by her inability to add any value to what she sells, limited by her low skills, and the copycat pattern that almost always prevails at the low end of the informal sector.’
Although criticism of Grameen ‘is still a minority view’ and Yunus performed ‘miracles’ in rolling out credit to the masses, according to Munir Quddus, who chairs the Department of Economics and Finance at the University of Southern Indiana, the hype needs more investigation than apparently was given by the Nobel committee: ‘The very nature of setting up groups leaves out the very poor who would be perceived by fellow members to have no ability to generate income and therefore high risk.’
Quddus continues: ‘Others have pointed out that micro-credit simply deepens the exploitation of the women since the rates of interest charged by the bank in real [after inflation] terms are quite high; consequently, credit often worsens the debt situation and gives the husbands even more leverage.’
Gaining leverage over women – instead of giving them economic liberation - is a familiar accusation. In 1995, New Internationalist magazine probed Yunus about the 16 ‘resolutions’ he required his borrowers to accept, including ‘smaller families’.
When New Internationalist suggested this ‘smacked of population control’, Yunus replied, ‘No, it is very easy to convince people to have fewer children. Now that the women are earners, having more children means losing money.’
In the same spirit of commodifying everything, Yunus set up a relationship with Monsanto to promote biotech and agrochemical products in 1998, which, New Internationalist reported, ‘was cancelled due to public pressure.’
As Sarah Blackstock reported in the same magazine the following year: ‘Away from their homes, husbands and the NGOs that disburse credit to them, the women feel safe to say the unmentionable in Bangladesh – micro-credit isn’t all it’s cracked up to be… What has really sold micro-credit is Yunus’s seductive oratorical skill.’
But that skill, Blackstock explains, allows Yunus and leading imitators ‘to ascribe poverty to a lack of inspiration and depoliticize it by refusing to look at its causes. Micro-credit propagators are always the first to advocate that poor people need to be able to help themselves. The kind of micro-credit they promote isn’t really about gaining control, but ensuring the key beneficiaries of global capitalism aren’t forced to take any responsibility for poverty.’
Though I have never been to Bangladesh and have only discussed these problems with Yunus once (more than a decade ago when he visited Johannesburg), microfinance gimmickry certainly did damage in Southern Africa.
For example, in 1998, when the emerging markets crisis raised interest rates across the Third World, a 7% increase imposed over two weeks as the local currency crashed drove many South African borrowers and their microlenders into bankruptcy.
The highest-profile local proponent of microcredit is First Lady Zanele Mbeki. But her Womens Development Banking project has not only financed rural women, according to the oil company BP, a supporter. It has also made ‘investments in high-growth businesses’ such as Ceasars Gauteng and ‘Siza Water Company, the first privatised water company’ in KwaZulu-Natal – both of which, arguably, are counter-examples of poverty eradication.
Next door in Zimbabwe, a $66 million flood of World Bank financing during the 1980s (in lieu of land reform) revitalised a rural microfinance sector initiated under late 1940s racist Rhodesian rule. The Bank program ultimately reached 94,000 households. But within a decade, the result was a peasant default rate of 80% in the impoverished ‘Communal Areas’ (equivalent to apartheid Bantustans).
Repayment affordability was a huge factor, since a typical lender’s overhead and collection costs represent 15-22% of the amount of a small loan, including incorporation of a 4% default rate. In Zimbabwe, servicing loans of even just a few hundred US dollars represented enormous burdens when, according to one Agriculture Ministry survey in 1989, the average net crop profit per hour of labour was just $0.15.
Michael Drinkwater’s detailed study of central Zimbabwe showed that ‘improving farmers’ access to credit has placed many of them in serious difficulties’ compounded by ‘an overzealous launching of a group credit scheme’ and the ‘doubtful viability of high cost fertiliser packages’ inappropriate for the erratic climate. ‘The increase in credit use means farmers have to market more to stay solvent... At the household level it is commonly debts not profits that are on the rise.’
To address the crisis, in 1991 the World Bank unsuccessfully promoted even more Grameen-style group credit, albeit with the caveat that ‘Zimbabwe’s experience to date with group lending has not been favourable. The organisation of groups is initially expensive and time-intensive’, and ‘major problems have become apparent.’
Not far away, in Lesotho, anthropologist James Ferguson studied a 1975 World Bank report that guided the country’s development strategy: ‘In a “Less Developed Country”, where the cash economy is on such a precarious basis, there must be [according to the Bank] “a conspicuous lack of credit for the purchase of farm inputs,” and it is obvious that “credit will play a critical role in all future major agricultural projects.”’
Rebutted Ferguson, ‘It is never explained exactly why the need for credit is so critical. It is true that most Basotho invest very little in agriculture probably due to their intelligent appreciation of the low potential and high risks of capital intensive farming in Lesotho but this is usually not a matter of being unable to obtain the cash to make such an investment. Most families have access to wage-earnings or remittances, and this money most commonly comes in large lumps which could easily be used for agricultural inputs, but for the most part is not. Yet in the “development” picture, the need for credit is almost an axiom.’
Ugandan political economist Dani Nabudere has also debunked ‘The argument which holds that the rural poor need credit which will enable them to improve their productivity and modernise production.’ For Nabudere, this ‘has to be repudiated for what it is ─ a big lie.’
Even from inside the World Bank these lessons were by then obvious. Sababathy Thillairajah reviewed the Bank’s African peasant credit programmes in 1993 and advised colleagues: ‘Leave the people alone. When someone comes and asks you for money, the best favour you can give them is to say “no”... We are all learning at the Bank. Earlier we thought that by bringing in money, financial infrastructure and institutions would be built up ─ which did not occur quickly.’
But not long afterwards, Yunus stepped in to help the Bank with ideological support, as it rejuvenated microfinance with a $200 million global line of credit aimed at poor women in August 1995, just prior to the Beijing gender conference.
The global justice movement’s Attac group has an excellent Oslo branch, which last week published a new book, Economic Apartheid. Its members pointed out to me that that Yunus was strongly supported by his friends in the Norwegian ruling class, including a former top finance ministry bureaucrat and leading officials of Telenor, Norway’s phone company. Telenor owns 62% of GrameenPhone, which controls 60% of Bangladesh’s cellphone market.
At a time when the centre-left Norwegian government has a high profile for partially cancelling illegitimate Third World debt and threatening to defund the World Bank, both of which are applauded by local activists, the people who make these decisions were conscious of how important it is for Norway to project the possibility of capitalism with a human face.
The question is whether they looked hard enough at conflicts generated by credit, thus negating the meaning of the Nobel Peace Prize – and not for the first time.
• Patrick Bond is director of the Centre for Civil Society at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. His most recent book is Looting Africa: The Economics of Exploitation, available from Zed Books and UKZN Press.)
• Please send comments to email@example.com or comment online at www.pambazuka.org/
A strategy for peace and reconciliation in the DRC?
Dieu-Donné Wedi Djamba
Dieu–Donné Wedi Djamba considers the options of bringing lasting peace to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He argues against the appointment to a high government position of the two militia leaders who committed atrocities during the civil war. He points out that such a move will not either bring unity nor peace in the DRC.
Reverend Bongani Finca argues that when states are drowning in conflict and there is a general breakdown of the rule of law, gross abuse of human rights occurs with a resultant loss of human life and other acts of injustice. 
Tina Rosenberg, the Pulitzer Prize winner, writes that “A country’s decisions about how to deal with its past should depend on many things: the type of dictatorship or war endured, the type of crimes committed, the level of societal complicity, the national political culture and history, the conditions necessary for dictatorship to occur, the abruptness of the transition, and the new democratic government power and resources”. 
It is against this background that the political situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) ought to be assessed. The DRC has just come out of a civil war that is reported to have killed more than three million people. That war left thousands of people displaced, and despicable atrocities were committed. However, a peace agreement was signed, in 2002, between the government, the rebels groups (MLC and RCD), the militia group (Mai Mai), civil society and the political opposition.
At the end of this transitional period, which started in July 2003 with the formula 1+4 (one President with four vice-presidents), Congolese people are focused on the second round of the presidential election which will see the incumbent Joseph Kabila opposing his challenger Jean-Pierre Bemba, and the provincial and local elections which will take place on the 29 October.
But while all the attention is focused on the elections, one of the decisions taken on 2 October 2006 by the transitional government in the name of the peace process threatens to undermine future justice in term of accountability for those responsible for grave human rights violations.
Indeed, in the name of peace, two Ituri ex-militia leaders, Peter Karim of Front des nationalistes et intégrationnistes (FNI) and Mathieu Ngudjolo of Mouvement des révolutionnaires congolais (MRC), both accused of killing, rape, and using child soldiers, have been appointed as colonels in the national army.
But the Peter Karim and Mathieu Ngudjolo cases are not the only ones in this regard. Several similar cases are to be counted. Indeed, last year four ex-militia leaders were appointed generals in the national army, as IRIN noticed. 
Are all these appointments helpful for peace and reconciliation in the DRC? Through this paper, I will analyze the consequences of these cases in terms of accountability for those responsible for grave human rights violations.
Accountability for those responsible of grave human rights violations.
The ICTJ recommended that the government stop appointing the ex-commander militia ‘suspected of participation in massacres and other war crimes’ to the national army and instead to prosecute them. 
To add his voice to this issue, Juan Mendez, the President of the International Center For Transitional Justice (ICTJ) and United Nations (UN) Secretary General special counsel, declared that if the DRC wants a lasting peace, the country should not appoint individuals into the army when there is irrefutable evidence that those individuals have committed grave atrocities. 
But in the case of the last appointment, Adolph Onusumba, the Congolese Defense Minister argues that the objective of these nominations is the pursuit of peace.  The term of peace has a broad meaning, but in the context of a post-conflict situation such as the DRC, the term peace raises a couple of questions:
What is peace? Does that mean peace for the woman who was raped? Does it mean peace for the man who saw his wife and/or daughter being raped? Where is peace for those who witnessed their families being slaughtered and their houses burnt to the ground?
For the victims of war in the DRC, ‘peace’ means positive peace, one in which justice is addressed, human rights are respected and people live without any fear (as opposed to a negative peace such as a ceasefire, which is negative because it stops the war but does not address other issues) . And this ‘peace’ has to be based on the concept of justice. There is no peace without justice. But this justice has to be taken into the transitional justice perspective .
Describing transitional justice, Alex Boraine, chairperson of the ICTJ and former deputy chairperson of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) said: “…transitional justice offers a deeper, richer and broader vision of justice which seeks to confront perpetrators, address the needs of victims and assists in the start of a process of reconciliation and transformation.” 
Responding to the appointment of the two militia leaders, Joel Bisubu, deputy director of Justice-Plus, a Bunia-based human rights group, said that people who kill and massacre Congolese should not be rewarded with high positions. 
The Defense Minister argued that the recent appointment of the two militia leaders was made by the government as a strategy to pacify the troubled northern-east district of Ituri. 
If all these appointments are a strategy for the government to lure all these militia out of the bush, then it is welcomed. However, that does not mean that those who committed atrocities during the war should not be held accountable. In this regard, the Defense Minister has publicly stated that the government is determined to work with the International Criminal Court to help bring war criminals to book. 
If the objective, however, is to protect war criminals from facing the law, then this strategy has to be condemned. It will send the wrong message to the victims of the war. It will further undermine any reconciliation between victims and their perpetrators, for the victims will feel betrayed by the government.
Joseph Yav Katshung argues that accountability for human rights violations is an important instrument in breaking the cycle of violence and impunity and is an indispensable component of the process of healing the wounds. 
Reconciliation can begin when the need for reparation is acknowledged and acted upon. The response by former victims to these initiatives can increase the potential for greater stability and increase the chances for sustainable peace. 
The DRC is making herself ready for 29 October and the second round of presidential elections and local elections.
But this challenge is not the only one she faces. Among those challenges are the restoration of peace and reconciliation after the war, which is reported to have killed more than three million people and increased HIV/AIDS infections.
The aim of this paper was to attempt to explore the challenge facing the DRC of how a post-conflict government reconciles an ethnically divided country. Further, I have attempted to show that appointing militia leaders who committed atrocities during the civil war to high governmental offices will not bring unity, peace and reconciliation in the DRC.
• Dieu-Donné WEDI DJAMBA is a lawyer (Advocate)at the Lubumbashi Bar association/DRC; Assistant lecturer in the College of Law in Lubumbashi/DRC; Human Rights Activist; Writer; Currently fellow in Fellowship Programme in Transitional Justice co-organized by the International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) and the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) in collaboration with the University of Cape Town(UCT) in Cape Town, South Africa. Tel:+243812485222 ; +27738362921 ; +27216862044 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
• Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or comment online at www.pambazuka.org/
 Bongani Finca, ‘They treat the wounds of my people cheaply’, in transitional justice and human Security, (2006) pp56
 Tina Rosenberg ‘After word: Confronting the Painful Past’, in :Martin Meredith, coming to Terms: South Africa’s Search for Truth,1999,pp330
 IRIN:News:’Great Lakes: Le CITJ exige de poursuites judiciaries contre les ex-chefs de milice en RDC’,pp2
 IRIN,op cit pp 2
 IRIN,DRC:Two miltia leaders appointed army colonels,pp1 <http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=55907&SelectRegion=Great_Lakes>,Accessed,2006-10-13
 Professor Jannie Malan used the terms “negative and positive peace” during the course session for the fellowship in Transitional Justice(2006) in Cape town/South Africa.
 Alex Boraine, ‘Definiting Transitional Justice:Tolerance in the search for justice and peace’, in transitional justice and human Security,(20006),pp22
 IRIN,op.cit pp1
 IRIN, ibid. pp1
 Joseph Yav Katshung,’DRC:Healing the wounds of war through reparations’, in Pambazuka, pp1 <http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/36471>,Accessed,2006-08-26
 Alex Boraine,op.cit.pp30-31.
Global: Campaign to Cancel Africa's Debt
Nearly one year after her election to the presidency of Liberia marked an historic return to democratic rule after years of civil war in that country, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf visited Washington, DC from October 16-18, and petitioned for U.S. support of Liberia’s reconstruction efforts.
Neba Vincent Funiba
I thought the article entitled “Political Assassination As The Strategy Against Liberation Movements” (www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/37899) was excellent. As someone originally from Cameroon, I am moved by the article because it touches the very core of the historical grounding of the problems that contemporary Cameroon is faced with. Moumie and Um Nyobe were nationalists who wanted absolute independence (politically and economically) hence the ethnofacsist imperialist, France, conspired with the ruthless self-serving dictator, Ahidjo, to cut short the lives of the two visionaries.
Protecting Children’s Rights
The article “Protecting Children’s Rights” http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/comment/37401 by Afua Twum-Danso, accurately reflects what is happening to children all over Africa. Here in Kenya, the Children's Act 2000 captures the ideals set by CRC - including the four key pillars of non-discrimination, best interest of child, survival and development, and the right to be heard and listened to - and yet this has not brought an end to the suffering of the majority of our children. Every day in our city streets, we meet street children and the children's department does not take a proactive role to put them into safe protective custody. In our schools, we have evidence of school dropouts, yet our Education Ministry does nothing about it. In our homes, we employ child domestic workers and pay them peanuts. Some times we assault, abuse and subject them to physical, emotional and mental trauma. When it becomes too much, some well-meaning estate mamas will organize rescue missions for these children in the full glare of the mass media, but that is as far as public awareness of the matter goes. We cannot be sure that these perpetrators see the light of day in a courtroom. We 'the people’ have set OVCs adrift in a sea of adversity; we view them as ‘other peoples concerns’. These ‘other people’ could be their aged grandparents or impoverished relatives or civil society. These are people who operate on shoestring budgets, barely enough to sustain themselves, let alone additional mouths. In research done in Kenya, South Africa and Uganda by Human Rights Watch, it is observed that ‘governments are content to let the poor help the poor rather than assuming responsibility for children whose families had been decimated by HIV/Aids’.
The article “Protecting Children’s Rights” [url]= ]http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/comment/37401[/url] by Afua Twum-Danso, accurately reflects what is happening to children all over Africa. Here in Kenya, the Children's Act 2000 captures the ideals set by CRC - including the four key pillars of non-discrimination, best interest of child, survival and development, and the right to be heard and listened to - and yet this has not brought an end to the suffering of the majority of our children. Every day in our city streets, we meet street children and the children's department does not take a proactive role to put them into safe protective custody. In our schools, we have evidence of school dropouts, yet our Education Ministry does nothing about it. In our homes, we employ child domestic workers and pay them peanuts. Some times we assault, abuse and subject them to physical, emotional and mental trauma. When it becomes too much, some well-meaning estate mamas will organize rescue missions for these children in the full glare of the mass media, but that is as far as public awareness of the matter goes. We cannot be sure that these perpetrators see the light of day in a courtroom. We 'the people’ have set OVCs adrift in a sea of adversity; we view them as ‘other peoples concerns’. These ‘other people’ could be their aged grandparents or impoverished relatives or civil society. These are people who operate on shoestring budgets, barely enough to sustain themselves, let alone additional mouths. In research done in Kenya, South Africa and Uganda by Human Rights Watch, it is observed that ‘governments are content to let the poor help the poor rather than assuming responsibility for children whose families had been decimated by HIV/Aids’.
According to WHO, the term health is defined to mean, 'complete physical, psychological and mental well being and not merely absence of disease and infirmity.' Bearing this in mind, we must realize that children need holistic nurturing so that their physical, social and cultural rights can be optimized. We fail them immensely when we ignore this.
Most African countries have failed to initiate social legal measures to protect and promote the rights of the child as enunciated in the Riyadh Guidelines, Beijing Rules and UN Rules For The Protection Of Juveniles Deprived Of Their Liberty.
I long for the day that all government ministries, departments and institutions will come together and adopt a child focused approach in their policies and activities -it will make the live of our children that much easier. We must all endeavour to heed our first lady, Lucy Kibaki’s rallying call to treat all children equally and to give them tender loving care in our homes, families and communities. We must open up our hearts, homes and hearths to children because who knows, tomorrow, it could by your child who needs a stranger to open a door and an arm for him/her.
FACE Human Rights Center
I am currently working on a subproject called FACE Human Rights for which I am creating a wiki-site, a webpage with the same concept as Wikipedia but based on knowledge management for human rights organizations. The concept of this site is for human rights specialists to change the content of the site by making additions according to their knowledge base. The site is still in its early stages but the basic interface and structure have been established and it is a live site ([ur]www.facehumanrights.org/wiki [/url] (www.facehumanrights.org/wiki>). I would like to invite you to take a preliminary look at the site and make any additions you would like. Thank you.
The MDC is a Puppet of the West
I am writing in response to the letter from Margaret Kathemba (2006-10-17). She asks the question what does the MDC have to do with the current situation in Zimbabwe. Does she not know that the United States and Britain have implemented sanctions against the country at the invitation of the MDC? These sanctions have much to do with the current situation in Zimbabwe. How can the MDC be a champion of the people if it makes invitations to the West to hurt the people? ZANU-PF is the liberator of the people and understands that the struggle continues. And it appears that the MDC has volunteered to be the puppet of the West. How do members of that organization sleep at night? Shame on MDC. SHAME!
John Moru, Another World Is Still Possible!
On the first anniversary of the late John Moru who lost his life in the Bellview plane crash on October 22, 2005 at Lisa, Ogun State, Emman Ozoemena writes that Moru, a social activist and an anti-poverty campaigner, was the Secretary of the Steering Committee of the Nigerian Social Forum and would have been happy to participate in the 2007 World Social Forum in Nairobi, Kenya.
On January 22 this year, the 2006 World Social Forum was held in three different locations, namely Bamako, Mali (Africa), Caracas, Venezuela (South America), and Karachi, Pakistan (Asia) in what its organizers termed ‘polycentric events’. This was the first time the event was organized in three regions of the world so as to focus on the developmental needs of different regions ahead of the World Social Forum slated for early 2007, which is expected to harmonize outputs of three regional forums.
It is pertinent to explain briefly what the World Social Forum is all about. It is a global network of civil society groups seeking to build alternative paradigms for development against the backdrop of the emergent conservative social, political and economic trends being pursued by forces of neo-liberal and colonial powers represented by the Brenttonwood Institutions (the International Monitoring Fund [IMF] and World Bank). Secondly, it was a response to the annual January meeting of world political and business leaders popularly known as World Economic Forum that is held in Davos, an exclusive resort in Switzerland.
Today, civil society groups in Nigeria participate actively at both the World Social Forum and African Social Forum. They have gone a step further to put in motion a process towards a national programme: the Nigerian Social Forum (NSF). There is no doubt that these forums have redefined the role of civil society and social action in development processes. They have continued to engage different levels of governance structures, institutions, citizens and groups on development issues at country, continental and global levels through advocacy and social actions.
The NSF has held two forums in the last two years, in Makurdi 2004 and Lagos 2005 respectively. The quality of the representatives and delegates from various nationalities and organisations attending these forums, and the issues and resolutions reached have created a new paradigm in building a humane and responsive environment where rights of the individuals are respected. Early this year when the Bamako conference opened, my thoughts began to wonder about my brother, friend and colleague, John Moru, the former Secretary of the Steering Committee of the Nigerian Social Forum and Governance Team Leader at ActionAid International Nigeria. John died in the Bellview air mishap on October 22, 2005 at Lisa Village in Ogun State. He was a young and talented Nigerian who had tall dreams for Nigeria, Africa and the world. Though he passed away in his early thirties, he lived light years ahead of his earthly age.
For any one who had the opportunity of meeting him, John was imbued with passion and commitment towards the poor and downtrodden, and committed his energies and talent towards changing the course of the people through his involvement in social action and advocacy. I had wondered what John would have said in Bamako about engaging the government on the changes in the communities across Africa? How would he have used the tools of engagement to impress on the leadership why it should be accountable and responsible to the people that elected them? How would he have advised that grassroots people use God-given resources in the community to improve their lives? And I know my bother John would have loved to have shared so many thoughts with his readers, including a couple of insights on how to proceed on the journey to 2007. But alas, he is no more around to do this.
In retrospect, my thoughts skipped to early September 2004 during the preparations for Nigerian Social Forum 2004, when our paths crossed in the course of my journalistic assignment. I had called the chairperson of the 2004 NSF, Priscilla Achakpa, to ask for an interview with her and the Secretary of the Steering Committee, John Moru at her office in Garki II, Abuja. I had read John’s writings on several occasions as he was a regular contributor to issues of public concerns. In fact, I had looked forward to an opportunity to meet him and maybe discuss some of the issues he had written about in the past that had caught my attention. The first essay I read of John’s was in early 2004 when he raised some poignant points on the desirability of a World Bank promoted macro-economic framework that claims to alleviate poverty through a heavy dose of private sector led economic growth under the guise of privatization. His treatise, in my view, was one of the best I ever read especially as an alternative to the Reform Agenda – the popular propaganda of the day. It was a well-argued analysis that I still keep in my file today.
So invariably, I looked forward to the meeting with NSF team of Pricilla and John. And your bet is as good as mine that the interview session with the team convinced me that the NSF project was one idea whose time has come. I was literally converted by the duo to buy in into the theme of 2004 Forum; “Another Nigeria is Possible!” We spent over two hours discussing issues of development and the challenges facing the Nigerian project, the governance framework, the poor and excluded at the grassroots and other related matters. We also veered into challenges faced by millions of African peoples, and other citizens of the global South. Frankly speaking, I left that day with an impression of having been in contact with a young man who, though he belonged to my generation, seemed to be light years ahead in terms of ideas and vision for a better world.
About a week after our first meeting, asked him if he would be available for another discussion, because we had left many matters unresolved. He obviously obliged me. We met at a joint in town where we explored issues ranging from how civil society groups and the media could build partnerships that will help in moving Nigeria forward, to practical ways of engaging leaders at different levels to respond to the concerns of the person in the street. This was a discussion between two individuals concerned about their community. The second meeting, which lasted for close to two and half hours, was more revealing than the previous one. From then on, John became a close confidant whom I could share issues with any time of the day whenever the need arose.
I had guessed that John had either been trained in the discipline of philosophy or imbibed philosophy as a hobby studied philosophy because of the methodical and analytical approach he employed in his writings. His logic was so well developed that even if you disagreed with his conclusions, you would agree that he had argued his position very well. To our amazement, I discovered that he studied philosophy just like the writer. From then on we shared several sentiments on issues even though our methods or approaches differed slightly at times. There was a kindred spirit between us as ‘professional’ colleagues in some sense. That relationship blossomed as we collaborated in several endeavours such as Civil Society/National Political Reform Conference Engagement Secretariat, Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP), and the CIVICUS Civil Society Index Project, among others.
John thought that every individual must use his or her God given talents and resources in the service of humanity and in actualizing a better world where poverty, disease, hunger and under-development would be a thing of the past. He believed that to achieve a world without poverty is possible if leaders became accountable at all levels. He was passionate about the Nigerian project and all his writings and speeches were devoted towards achieving this dream.
A day before the ill-fated flight of October 22, 2005 in which John and two other colleagues, Messrs Chinwuba Egbe and Justice Egware lost their lives I had gone to his desk at the ActionAid International Office in Abuja to see him. We spent a considerable time discussing the challenges facing the Nigerian State, as well as emerging issues in polity and the likely areas where citizens could reasonably input to achieve change in the nation. He shared his expectations for the upcoming second Nigerian Social Forum that was at the time scheduled for Lagos in November of 2005. He had told me that there was need to mobilize media support for the NSF. We drew up plans and strategies that we were to work on separately over the weekend and exchange notes again on the Monday morning. At the meeting, we reached consensus that the Nigerian people could if they so desired, take their fate in their hands through active participation in development processes.
That night remains indelible in my mind as John’s voice (though quiet) rose in pitch. “My guy, you know what we don’t need to waste time again. Just put pen to paper on these issues we have agreed on and lets meet Monday morning to tidy up the rest of the media plans”, he said. I can still picture the desk he sat on, the body language he employed to illustrate the urgency of the matter, and how, in between, he excused me and reached for his phone to put a call through to Justice Egware, the Coordinator of GCAP Nigeria, to confirm his appointment in Lagos the next day. “My guy, hope we are still travelling tomorrow?” he demanded. The answer from the other end was received with a smile. I asked him, yes, what did Justice say? His answer was, “yes, we are traveling tomorrow!”
And John travelled on that Saturday to Lagos for an anti-poverty campaign by GCAP Nigeria to raise awareness on how all segments of the society could join hands in eradicating poverty in Nigeria and Africa. I remembered that as I stood up to leave that Friday night at about 7:45 pm, he asked me in a strong tone, “I hope we are not leaving matters out of our discussions”. “My response was clear, “I think we have sorted out all matters at least for now”. I stood up to leave, extended my hand, said good night and see you on Monday morning. He responded with a smile.
Today, 365 days later, or if you may, one year after the death of John Moru and others, the Nigerian Social Forum, African Social Forum, and World of Social Forum, and other CSO coalitions in the forefront of providing alternative development paradigms still meet to review the state of development in Nigeria, Africa and the World. The lives of millions of poor and excluded people in our communities, counties, countries and continents are not better. Advocacy is still needed to give voice to the voiceless who toil the streets, hamlets, cocoons, cities and villages in Africa, Asia, and the Americas under debilitating social existential conditions fuelled by the neo-liberal and economic policies of the Brentwood institutions and their apostles in the third world.
While the political and business leaders would be wont to pop champagne in celebrating the rape of “the wretched of the earth” according to Frantz Fanon, civil society and non-state actors should continue to interrogate development processes. This includes increasing incidences of poverty; lack of access to basic health facilities; hunger and myriads of other challenges facing developing nations, especially Africa. It is time to evaluate the Millennium Development Goals (MDGS), debt crisis challenges, the World Trade Organization rounds and the challenge posed by HIV/AIDS to the world.
Last week, millions of people across the major cities took a stand against poverty! It was refreshing to watch world leaders make a fresh commitment to tackle poverty in the world. John, Chinweuba and Justice, all campaigners against poverty who laid down their lives for that course, would have loved to be around in this season to watch how the world have moved from “Make Poverty History!” to “Stand Up, Against Poverty!!” just like the slogan of the 2004 World Social Forum in Mumbai, India, “Another World is Possible”. A world where all children (no matter the circumstances of their birth) have inalienable rights to education; right to access anti-retroviral drugs for persons living with HIV/AIDS; where the rights of women and children and poor and vulnerable groups are protected.
I am sure that John, Justice and Chinwuba would have been happy to participate in the 2007 World Social Forum in Nairobi, Kenya. May the voices of the social crusaders John Moru, Justice Egware, and Chinwuba Egbe continue to rest in peace. I want to tell you, my brother John, and others that “Another world is still possible!”
• Emman Ozoemena, a public policy analyst from Abuja, previously collaborated with late John Moru in the Global Call to Action Against Poverty Nigeria (GCAP) Nigeria. He can be reached on e-mail: email@example.com
• Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or comment online at www.pambazuka.org/
The Unlikely Burden and other stories
Yvonne A. Owuor
What do farm and transport animals, companion animals and wildlife have in common? The imagination of editor and animal welfare professional Dipesh Pabari who has, with writers from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt, woven an insightful tapestry reflecting the relationship of sentient (and sapient) species with the human beings who share their African life space. The World Society For The Protection Of Animals (WSPA)Welfare book is an anthology of animal stories inspired by the African environment.
I found the book to be a refreshing, quirky and insightful read.
Readers who meet with the lives of creatures whose narratives are so carefully fashioned will be drawn into reflection, laughter, remembrance, and outrage. The reader may be compelled to note that the struggles, desires, and dreams of existence are not confined to the human species alone. The reader, after a few pages, may even be struck by the thought that dominance of the environment by human beings, the quest for happiness in the battle for rights cannot exclude the perception of the dignity of all creatures great and small, however inarticulate or vulnerable to the whim of human sensibility they are.
Obiero Ojwang’s Three Goats invites the reader to glimpse the knowledge of anguish in the stricken gaze of a goat. Gitonga the bully and Mwangi face off over a leg-saving donkey in Stanley Gazemba’s Unlikely Burden. Aluizah Amasaba Abdul-Yakeen and Karen Menczer’s poignant tribute to Accra’s bats, a grandmother’s prescience and a fight for the right of space reads like a thriller. Dawn James’ wily Cairo Cat who becomes Mish-Mish by dint of feline wiles is a story many readers--some of whom may have bewilderingly became cat owners overnight--will identify with. Irene Ekpeh and Kingsley Aigbona in The Owl ask “Just because something does not sound or look right to you, doesn’t mean it is unnatural. How do you think a goat must feel when it sees you laughing?”
The answer is in there. There are animal characters in the book destined to move out of the book’s pages and continue their lives in the imagination of those who will encounter them.
The book evokes memories of tall animal teaching tales told to children throughout the continent by assorted relatives. These sixteen short stories not only provide fascinating insights into human-animal relationships, but are also contemporary tributes to the lives of animals. The stories avoid the temptation to moralize and are told in eclectic literary styles that should appeal to readers of all ages and cultures.
The African ecological ‘heritage of splendor’ has either been decimated or lost in the murkiness of an appropriated past. The present is often characterized by lurid tales of human-animal conflict that then justify all manner of excesses inflicted on non-human creatures. Several African societies that at their core had incorporated a profound consciousness, knowledge and respect of life in all its forms have relegated the wisdom of trusteeship of a splendid natural heritage to outsiders, in this becoming alienated from that which was once theirs.
This little book is a small but important step in reclaiming the intrinsically African sense of inter-species tolerance and co-existence; a former deeply lived culture of conservation. In a perfect world there is plenty of room for all life’s creatures to forge their shared destinies. In the absence of such perfection, this book is a little dreaming room for the ‘what-ifs” of co-existence among species.
Read the book with your children!
The Unlikely Burden and other stories (Editors: Dipesh Pabari and Lila Luce) can be purchased in Africa through email@example.com
For international orders, visit: http://www.canapublishinguk.com/
• Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or comment online at www.pambazuka.org
Global: World Cinema Gala
In a poor section of Bamako, Melé (Aïssa Maïga), a beautiful bar singer, and her husband Chaka (Tiécoura Traoré), who is out of work, are having marriage difficulties. In the courtyard of the house they share with a number of families (in reality, the director's late father's house), a court has been set up. On trial are the international financial institutions, the World Bank and the IMF, who are facing proceedings brought against them by African civil society for their disastrous policies on Africa, which have brought most African countries into extreme financial and economic penury. African countries spend almost £10 billion annually on debt service, at the expense of public social services such as health and education.
Review of African Blogs
'Scribbles in the Den' - Scribbles in the Den (http://www.dibussi.com/) points to a Reporters Without Borders report on the 2006 “Worldwide Press Freedom Index”. The good news is that some African countries are moving up such as Togo. Since the new regime took office, the country has risen 29 places. Interestingly, Côte d’Ivoire (which is 99th) moved up 41 places - more an expression of how bad it was previously than how good it is now. The USA has also fallen by nine places since last year. Other African countries comparable with the West areBenin (23rd), Namibia (26th), Mauritius (32nd), Ghana (34th), Mali (35th), South Africa (44th) and Cape Verde (45th).
The bad news is that other African countries are ranking very low like Eritrea (166th), Gambia (149th), Somalia (144th), Democratic Republic of Congo (142nd), Zimbabwe (140th) and Equatorial Guinea (137th).
The report is based on a questionnaire on violations against journalists (such as murders, imprisonment, physical attacks and threats) and news media (censorship, confiscation of issues, searches and harassment).
'Two' - TWO (http://everchange.blogspot.com/2006/10/grameen-bank.html) comments on this year’s Nobel Peace Prize which was awarded to “Gameen Bank” founder “Muhammed Yunis, for his groundbreaking work providing microcredit to the rural poor in Bangladesh.” Everchange wonders if the prize has lost its meaning.
"Promoting economic development is not the same thing as creating a culture of peace. I see that the Norwegians are trying to ‘expand’ the definition of peace in order to honor different kinds of change agents, but for gods sake, do we really need new posers for an award that is so straight-forward? This is not the Nobel Poverty Eradication Prize. There are numerous individuals around the world braving imprisonment, torture and persecution in order to promote democracy and end armed conflict in their home countries. Give them the Nobel peace prize."
I have to agree. Whilst acknowledging the achievement of the Gameen Bank in fighting poverty, surely the prize committee could have found one of many individuals that are working to promote democracy and peace.
'You Missed This' - You Missed This (http://kumekucha.blogspot.com/) writes in support of Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete, but nevertheless believes the state of the country’s economy is cause for grave concern.
"But by far the most worrying aspect of the whole Tanzanian crisis is the reaction of the administration. There has been a deliberate effort in recent times to release positive economic figures and news on the performance of the economy. Most of the figures are from last year and not the last 10 months that President Kikwete has been in power. There was a unique exception last week when it was revealed that the government's debt had in 9 short months (from January to September, this year) shot up by a staggering $302 million to a total of $9.383 billion. The main culprits, experts say are "unrestricted domestic borrowing and unnecessary foreign debts."
He concludes that the outlook for Tanzania over the coming months is not good and that this will place enormous pressure on the government of Jakaya Kikwete.
'The Sudanese Thinker' - Sudanese Thinker (http://www.sudanesethinker.com/) comments on the decision by Khartoum to expel UN envoy, Jan Plonk, from the country.
"You know what amazes me? That a group like these people are happily pushing around major countries like Britain & the US. I honestly think the NCP is so clearly sticking its finger up in the air for all to see. If Bush and Blair can’t even make pressure on Sudan work to ease the Darfur situation, how the hell do they both want to fix Iraq? Sometimes I tend to think that the NCP is confident UK and US can’t do crap since they’ve already got enough to deal with on their hands namely Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran’s nuclear program.
“The Southerners are rightly pissed off about this. People call the current Sudanese government, the National Unity Government. Ya, sure thing! As if the SPLM gets any say in things like this. Whenever the SPLM tries to say or do something that is against the wishes of the NCP, it gets threatened. National Unity Government or whatever crap people wish to call it, the show is clearly being run by 'democratically elected' Bashir’s NCP. Sigh!"
As Sudanese Thinker states – “a replacement for Plonk will take some time. Time for Khartoum to continue killing people in Darfur, starving them to death, raiding their homes, raping the women. Time for the genocide to continue….”
'Aba Boy' - Aba Boy (http://ababoy.blogspot.com/2006/10/remembering-dick-tiger.html) remembers and honours one of Nigeria’s greatest sportsmen, Dick Tiger, who on the 23rd October won the WBA Middleweight boxing title.
"Dick Tiger was one of the great fighters to come out of the African continent. Tiger became a two-time undisputed world middleweight titlist. Tiger helped keep boxing alive during the 1950s boxing industry recession. Tiger earned an undisputed Light-Heavyweight world championship. In 1962, Tiger won the world middle weight boxing championship. Tiger inspired other Nigerians to go into boxing."
Dick Tiger, an Igbo from Imo State, was also an ardent supporter of Biafran secession and even returned his CBE in protest against Britain’s lack of support. Tiger actively participated in the training of young recruits into the army.
'Black Looks' - Black Looks (http://www.blacklooks.org/2006/10/prison_number_4.html) still in South Africa, reports on her visit to the Old Fort prison complex in Johannesburg – particularly the infamous Number 4 prison which was for “non-white” prisoners.
Words are difficult to describe this place but this quote from Alex La Guma who was a political prisoner in 1953 pretty much sums up the place.
“One of the reasons for my disease (typhoid) is found in this jail, filth. The mats are filthy, the blankets are filthy, the latrines are filthy, the food is filthy, the utensils are filthy, the convicts clothes are filthy. The latrines over flow and make a stench.” – Alex la Guma political prisoner 1953
• Sokari Ekine produces the blog Black Looks, www.blacklooks.org
• Please send comments to email@example.com or comment online at www.pambazuka.org
Sokari Ekine’s blog, Black Looks (http://www.blacklooks.org/) has been nominated for a Best of Blog Award - you can read about it and cast your vote at: http://www.thebobs.com/index.php?l=en&s=1152971093190346SYYAKHHX
WTO regulations blow to textile workers
SACTWU speaks out
In this week's podcast in our series on trade justice, Pambazuka News talks to Etienne Vlok from the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers' Union about the impacts of World Trade Organisation regulations that have meant massive job losses for the poorest.
Get well, Comrade Castro
Tajudeen Abdul Raheem
Tajudeen Adbul-Raheem explores the reaction from the lovers and haters of Fidel Castro to news of his recent illness.
Pan African Parliament: Draft Strategic Plan 2006-2010
We have managed to obtain a copy of the Pan African Parliament Draft Strategic Plan for 2006-2010 (dated Augus 2006).
The document outlines PAP’s strategic objectives as being:
1. Strengthening funding capacity of PAP
2. Upgrade and deepen the knowledge and skills of the Members of Parliament
3. Strengthen administration, support services and programme areas
4. Develop value-added information and research services
5. Develop and strengthen ICT infrastructure and use
6. Develop and strengthen research capacity
The political objectives are defined as:
1. Represent the voices of the peoples of Africa and advocate for the peoples’ popularization of the PAP
2. Promote, protect and defend the principles of human rights, gender and disability equality, democracy, peace and security in Africa
3. Enhance the oversight capacity of PAP
4. Promote the harmonization of continental, regional and national laws to foster continental integration and development
5. Encourage and support inter-institutional and other deliberative organs cooperation
6. Transform from an advisory and consultative body to a full legislative organ
The document outlines the action plans of the ten permanent committees, the bureau and the secretariat.
The full text is available at the link shown.
Africa: Folic Acid for Pregnancy Affects Malaria Treatment
Trials in pregnant women in Kenya show that combining the standard malaria drug for pregnant women with high doses of folic acid make the malaria treatment twice as likely to fail. The findings, published in PLoS Clinical Trials yesterday (19 October), could mean that countries using Sulfadoxine pyrimethamine (SP) to treat malaria in pregnancy may need to reconsider their national guidelines for folic acid supplementation.
Africa: Historical Dictionary of Women
Country-specific, historical dictionaries abound in the field of African studies; yet reviewers of even recent editions of these dictionaries have highlighted the paucity of entries on women (see, for example, Gardinier 2001 and Reynolds 2001). To fill this void, Scarecrow Press has recently launched a new series on women in the world.
Africa: Women's Rights
Freedom House released the first ever comparative assessment of women's rights in the Middle East and North Africa. The study offers a unique and critical analysis of the status of women in one of the most complex and important regions of the world.
DRC: 'Sexual terrorism' in South Kivu
In 2004 the United Nation’s World Health Organisation estimated there were 25,000 survivors of sexual violence in South Kivu, the Democratic Republic of Congo's eastern province, but those working to rebuild shattered lives consider this a fraction of the real number. "I have no doubt that over 100,000 women have been raped in this province," said Christine Schuler-Deschryver.
Kenya: Maternal Deaths Worry WHO
Between 3,000 to 6,000 women in Kenya die of pregnancy related complications every year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said. WHO Kenya representative, Dr Peter Eriki, said one in every 20 expectant women risked dying from pregnancy related conditions. Eriki put the number of total pregnancies in the country at 1.5 million every year.
Liberia: Rapists go free
Liberia’s chief justice on Thursday (19 October 2006) rejected calls for the establishment of a special court to try rape cases following a United Nations report criticising the country’s high incidence of sexual violence and its weak judicial system. "There is no need for such a court right now as our court systems can handle those cases," Chief Justice Johnnie Lewis told reporters.
Namibia: Rape Overtakes All Other Crimes
The numbers of rape and attempted rape cases since independence to 2005, have more than doubled, making it the most serious form of crime currently being committed in Namibia, the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) has said. Statistics taken from research the LAC is conducting on the 'Implementation of the Combating of Rape Act and Combating of Domestic Violence Act' indicate that rape cases recorded in 1991, which were 564, increased to 854 in 2000 and went up to 1 184 in 2005.
Uganda: Varsity Expels Pregnant Students in Mbale
The Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU) has expelled 18 pregnant students. The university coordinator, Hajji Abbas Samaali, said the students, many of them in their first year, were expelled after an impromptu medical examination.
Africa: African Constitutionalism and the Role of Islam
Constitutionalism is steadily becoming the prevalent form of governance in Africa. But how does constitutionalism deal with the lingering effects of colonialism? And how does constitutional law deal with Islamic principles in the region? African Constitutionalism and the Role of Islam seeks to answer these questions.
Botswana: Minorities defend their right to organise
Botswana's indigenous minorities have expressed concern over President Festus Mogae's recent call to avoid joining organised ethnic cultural groups. In an address marking the country's 40 years of independence, Mogae said he was worried about the growing trend by some citizen groups, who claimed that their languages and cultures were being marginalised, to organise themselves into ethnic cultural groups.
Burundi: End Abuses by Intelligence Service
The government of Burundi must bring to justice members of the national intelligence service (SNR) at all levels of the chain of command responsible for serious rights abuses, Human Rights Watch said in a report released October 25th. Over the past year, SNR agents have been implicated in at least 38 extrajudicial executions and more than 200 arbitrary arrests, some involving torture.
Uganda: Stop Violence Against Children
Every October 24, the world joins together to commemorate the United Nations day. The UN Charter was drawn up by representatives of countries at the UN Conference on International Organisation, which met at San Francisco from April 25 - June26, 1945. The Charter was signed on June 26, 1945. The UN officially came into existence on October 24, 1945, when the Charter was ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the UK, the US and a majority of others.
Zimbabwe: MDC Members, Houses Brutally Attacked
Unknown assailants yesterday morning (22 October 2006) attacked suspended Chitungwiza mayor Misheck Shoko's house and two others belonging to MDC members in Mabvuku in Harare. All the houses belong to members of the anti-Senate faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai.
Zimbabwe: Mugabe Could Be Headed for the Hague
President Robert Mugabe could live to regret his encouragement of the police to deal ruthlessly with protesters, The Standard has learnt. On Thursday (19 October 2006) the House of Lords recommended that Mugabe's exhortations to the police to beat up trade union demonstrators could be used to arraign him before the International Court of Justice at The Hague for crimes against humanity.
Zimbabwe: Old wounds inflame political tensions
A government spokesman's remark that he has no regrets over the masscare of about 20,000 people by Zimbabwean security forces nearly 20 years ago is reopening old wounds and pitting the country's deputy president against President Robert Mugabe. ZANU-PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira made the comments during a recent workshop in Manicaland Province, bordering Mozambique, almost two decades after a five-year reign of terror in the southern provinces of Midlands and Matabeleland by Zimbabwean soldiers of Five Brigade, who were trained by North Korea.
Africa: Refugees 'being fed to sharks'
At least 126 East Africans died or disappeared while crossing shark-infested waters to Yemen in recent weeks, sometimes after being thrown overboard by smugglers, the the United Nations refugee agency has said. "Passengers on one boat reported that five Ethiopians were beaten by the smugglers, thrown overboard and attacked by sharks," said Ron Redmond, a spokesperson for the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Burundi: Burundians return home from the DRC
The UNHCR convoys arriving in Burundi in the past four years have carried refugees returning home from Tanzania, but now more and more of the singing, clapping returnees are coming back from the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Kenya: Why Parliament must pass the Refugees Bill
The existing Aliens Restrictions Act and the Immigration Act are inadequate to deal with the changing dynamics of refugee situation, in line with international agreements that Kenya has signed. The Immigration Act was enacted to govern migration and deal with matters incidental to immigration. It provides for entry permits for refugees within the framework of the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention.
Niger: Niger's Arabs to fight expulsion
Leaders of around 150,000 Arabs in Niger say they will fight moves to expel them to Chad in the courts. Niger's government has ordered the Arabs, known as Mahamid, to leave the country accusing them of wrongdoing, including theft and rape. A Mahamid spokesman told the BBC the move was politically motivated and that they had been given five days to leave.
Sudan: Challenges facing Southern Sudanese returnees
Besides posing physical danger to the returnees, landmines have also destroyed the infrastructure and made farming almost impossible. There are also no job opportunities, not to mention schooling facilities. Also posing a problem for returnees in the south are raids by the Joseph Kony-led Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) from neighboring Uganda.
Uganda: The 'refugee aid and development' approach
The following examination brings to light the significant barriers to self-reliance for refugees in the settlement system in Uganda, the inconsistent conceptualisation of self-reliance embedded in the program and the flawed approach to refugee empowerment.
DRC: Kabila, Mobutu's son sign pact
Congolese President Joseph Kabila, who faces Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba in a second-round presidential poll, has agreed to include one of the sons of late President Mobutu Sese Seko in his government should he win the 29 October contest.
DRC: Security forces vigilant ahead of presidential run-off
As presidential rivals Joseph Kabila and Jean-Pierre Bemba prepare for an electoral run-off in the Congo on Sunday (29 October 2006), the two international forces in charge of security during the polls, say they are ready to quell any violence that erupts. So far though, violent incidents between supporters of the two have been isolated.
Global: Burundi Immigrant in Swedish Cabinet
Following historical general elections in Sweden in the last week of September that brought the centre-right "Alliance for Sweden" to power, the new Prime Minister, Mr Fredrik Reinfeldt, announced his Cabinet on Friday, October 6, a day after he was elected by Parliament.
Liberia: Two Out, One to Go
It was after the invasion and when it became glaring that the Taylor era had transformed Liberia into a major crossroads for gun running and diamonds smuggling and exporter of violence to neighboring countries that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) decided to impose punitive sanctions as deterrence or control measure.
Nigeria: Curfew As Crisis Rocks Plateau
A fresh crisis erupted in Plateau State, Sunday night (22 October 2006), prompting the imposition, yesterday (24 October 2006), of a curfew on Pankshin, the scene of the crisis. The Pankshin crisis was triggered off by a clash between the police and a group of youths that left two persons dead and the divisional police station razed.
Somalia: War of words over Islamic Courts’ role
An international forum trying to reconcile rival political groups in Somalia has urged the Islamic movement to refrain from further expanding its authority by military means and instead engage the transitional government in dialogue.
Kenya: Inquiries turned gravy trains
What Kenyans believed all along is now official. The Kenya government has admitted sinking over Ksh600 million ($8.2 million) into commissions of inquiry over the past three years, commissions whose findings never see the light of the day.
South Africa: Madiba's Lawyer linked to graft probe of Chiluba
Former South African president Nelson Mandela's lawyer has been accused of profiting from corruption proceeds involving Zambian ex-leader Frederick Chiluba, court documents obtained yesterday show. Iqbal Meer, a partner in the London-based firm Meer, Care and Desai, is among those being sued by the Zambian government for allegedly stealing about Â£13.5 million in state funds, according to documents.
South Africa: Zuma’s legal fight gets R10m lift from taxpayer
It was revealed yesterday that President Thabo Mbeki’s office is to fork out R10m for former deputy president Jacob Zuma’s legal fees, despite recent public statements that the matter was still “under consideration”. Two months ago, the Pietermaritzburg High Court heard from Zuma’s defence counsel in his fraud and corruption trial that assistance with legal costs should come from the state, but that at that stage it was “nonexistent”.
Africa: Continent's Leaders for Beijing Summit
About 45 African leaders have registered to attend a high level summit aimed at strengthening the China- Africa relations that is slated for Beijing early next month, according to the Chinese ambassador to Rwanda Qi Deen. "We believe that this summit which will involve high level exchange of ideas, will deepen our mutual cooperation with African countries, promote world peace and development," the ambassador said.
Africa: Retail chains accused of shunning local producers
The region's farmers allege that South African food retail chains setting up shop in their countries have a "step-brotherly attitude" towards local produce. "We are deeply concerned and very much disappointed with some of these South African food outlets, who are refusing to sell Zambian agricultural products," said Guy Robinson, president of the Zambia National Farmers Union.
Burkina Faso: Privatisation threatens small-scale miners
Over a decade ago, the western town of Poura reveled in a boom from a government-run industrial gold mine and became known as Petit Paris. The town quickly lost that reputation after the mine closed in 1999. Now it is known for something else: the hazards of small-scale mining. A cave-in killed at least three miners and injured several others in August.
Kenya: Flying Toilets Still Airborne
An overflowing pit latrine empties its contents in a thick stream of worm-infested filth at the doorstep of Catherine Kithuku's home in Matopeni, a slum on the outskirts of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. Less than ten such latrines serve a population of two to three thousand people in this area.
Mozambique: UN pledges $300m in aid to Mozambique
The United Nations has pledged to provide about $300-million to fight poverty in Mozambique, which is slowly emerging from a brutal 16-year civil war. "The UN will mobilise nearly $300-million for the government's poverty reduction plan to help officials fight poverty in the next three years," UN chief representative in Mozambique, resident Ndolamb Ngokwey, said late on Monday (23 October 2006).
Swaziland: Little cheer in central bank's annual review
Swaziland's decade-long economic malaise took a sharp downward turn with the central bank's disclosure this week that growth had slowed to its lowest level in 40 years. The Central Bank of Swaziland's governor, Martin Dlamini, said in a candid admission, "This year's unimpressive economic growth implies a deterioration of the standard of living as measured by per capita income," in the bank's annual report to the government, covering the period March 2005 to February 2006.
Africa: Child deaths from HIV/AIDS to keep growing
Almost 99 percent of mothers with the HIV virus are not getting the drugs to stop them infecting their unborn children, sparking a cycle of neglect that is affecting more than 4.2 million children in West and Central Africa alone. Just 1.3 percent of pregnant women in West and Central Africa who are infected with the HIV/AIDS virus have access to the anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs that stop them infecting their babies, the UN children’s agency UNICEF said on Wednesday (18 October 2006).
Africa: Measuring African Households
The analysis of African residence patterns has proved a far more complex task than the simple definition of family relationships. Any particular household or compound can include relatives, dependents, lodgers, and members who live elsewhere but visit home when circumstances allow.
Ghana: Water woes hit Guinea
Guinea worm, also known as "the fiery serpent", is contracted by drinking water contaminated with microscopic water fleas carrying larvae. Global efforts to eradicate the waterborne parasite have seen the number of cases fall from an estimated 3,5-million in 1986 to 10 674 reported cases last year, according to the Carter Centre.
Malawi: Illegal orphanages mushroom
There are over a million orphans in Malawi, half of whom have lost one or both parents to AIDS, according to the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), but only 15 out of almost a thousand orphanages are registered with the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
Namibia: Aids Cutting Down Teachers
Since last year, the Namibian education system has lost an alarming number of teachers to the HIV/AIDS pandemic and indications are that more deaths are expected within the next few years from the illness. This shocking revelation was made by the Namibia National Teachers Organization (Nantu) yesterday at a meeting to discuss the impact of HIV/AIDS on the education system in the country. A number of selected teachers attended the crucial meeting in the capital.
Tanzania: More eggs destroyed
Authorities in Zanzibar have incinerated another consignment of chicken eggs smuggled from mainland Tanzania, in the hope of keeping their islands free of avian flu. "We seized the egg consignment of about 11 boxes imported from the Tanzanian mainland commercial capital of Dar es Salaam," said Kassim Gharib, the head of a task force formed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Natural Resources and Environment.
Africa: Improving education to boost economic growth
Poor infrastructure and inadequate infrastructure services are among the major factors that hinder the continent’s development. More concerted international efforts are also needed to address Africa’s engineering needs. The development policies advocated for Africa in the past two decades have generally failed to draw from experiences elsewhere.
Botswana: 'Moral Indifference And Child Protection'
This column has raised the issue of corporal punishment in schools previously. It has queried the lack of implementation of the existing policy, and the absence of additional policies to protect children in schools against caning and other forms of beatings. It has presented avenues for teachers to learn about alternatives to corporal punishment in schools.
Côte d’Ivoire: Boost for education in a divided country
The idea of saving money for an education is a universal concept. Ami and Alice are no exception. They head to the Adjame market in Cote d’Ivoire’s main city, Abidjan, most days to earn cash for school by selling little bags of water from bowls they balance on their heads. What is different about them is their age: Ami is six and Alice is seven.
Global: 2006 UNITWIN directory now online
The UNITWIN directory, now in its fifth edition, is now available online. It is an important networking tool for one of UNESCO’s major education networks. UNITWIN is the abbreviation for the UNIVERSITY TWINNING and networking scheme.
Global: Three questions for UNESCO
Improving Science and Technology Education policies and programmes and attracting young people - notably girls - to scientific studies: these are among the challenges discussed in an interview with Orlando Hall Rose, Chief of UNESCO’s Science and Technology Section.
NAMIBIA: "No Wonder Our Pass Rate Is So Poor"
"God looked at my work and he was pleased. But when he looked at my salary, he wept," says the computer-generated poster in Norbert Booi's office at A. Shipena Secondary School, a government school in Windhoek's oldest suburb, Katutura. The poster speaks volumes about what is going through the English teacher's head as he pages through the classified sections of the 'Republikein', one of Namibia's three daily newspapers.
Uganda: Govt Urged to Support E-Learning in Schools
A consultant appraising the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) E-Learning initiative has urged the Government to support local E-Learning materials development. The NEPAD E-Learning, also known as the E-Schools initiative, aims at achieving a 50% internet accessibility for all people in Africa by 2015.
South Africa: HSRC's Habib Denied U.S. Entry
Prominent academic Prof Adam Habib was last week denied entry into the US at New York's John F Kennedy airport. He told Business Day yesterday (24 October 2006) that he was still mystified as to why he had been refused entry into the US last Friday. Habib, who is executive director of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) democracy and governance research programme and a political commentator, said he was at the airport for about 10 hours before being escorted by an armed guard on to a return flight to SA.
Africa: East Africa faces severe drought
A new scientific report due to be presented at a climate change conference in Nairobi next month, warns that global warming is set to make severe drought across Africa even worse than had been predicted. According to extracts from the report produced by the UK’s Met Office Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, whole swathes of East Africa could be affected by chronic water shortages in the future, making the drought that afflicted the Rift Valley and other parts of East Africa last year a regular occurrence.
Africa: No Ivory Sales Doesn't Mean None Later
Concern about ivory sales in Southern Africa is persisting among environmental groups, this after the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) granted Japan stockpile buyer status earlier this month. The move came despite CITES' decision to turn down a request by Japan and China for a one-off purchase of 60 tonnes of ivory stockpiled in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.
Egypt: Black cloud threatens Egyptians' health
For the seventh year running, a mysterious black cloud has appeared over Cairo, triggering serious health concerns for the polluted city's 16-million residents. Emissions of nitrogen dioxide, which cause serious health risks above certain levels, have reached record heights in the city, from the banks of the Nile, past the industrial suburbs of the delta and even in the desert areas.
Global: Can the Free Market Slow Deforestation?
Tropical forests' ability to store carbon dioxide and mitigate climate change makes them more valuable than alternative uses like pasture or lumber, and rich countries ought to pay tropical countries to preserve their forests, the World Bank says. However, some environmentalists caution that while reducing deforestation is vital, a so-called carbon trading system is the wrong approach and too complicated to implement.
Kenya: How British supermarket flowers empty Kenya's rivers
About 160km from its source on the northern slopes of Mount Kenya, the great River Ngiro was just ankle deep on Friday (20 October 2006) as nomadic farmers walked through waters that have become the focus of conflict. Kenya's second-largest river is a life-sustaining resource for these farmers, but it also sustains big business for flower farms supplying United Kingdom supermarkets.
Botswana: Consultative workshop discusses land policy
Lands and Housing Minister Ramadeluka Seretse on Tuesday (24 October 2006) said that Botswana's land policies have not done the country much good and need to be changed to address present socio-economic needs. Speaking at a consultative workshop to discuss the draft land policy, Seretse noted that policies such as the Tribal Land Policy of 1975, the National Land Tenure Policy of 1985 and the National Housing Policy of 2000 need to be reviewed and consolidated to produce a land policy necessary for sustainable economic development.
South Africa: No need for Zim-style land grabs
A leading land expert this week warned that expropriation should not be seen as the sole saviour of land reform in South Africa. Edward Lahiff, a researcher at the Programme for Land and Agrarian Studies at the University of the Western Cape, says that, given the active condition of the land market in South Africa, there is no reason why the majority of land reform needs cannot be met through negotiated purchases.
Burkina Faso: Prosecutor refuses to reopen Zongo murder investigation
Reporters Without Borders has said it was stunned by the Burkina Faso public prosecutor's refusal to reopen the investigation into the 1998 murder of journalist Norbert Zongo and three companions on the grounds that the document the organisation gave him on 20 October 2006 did not constitute new evidence as defined by article 189 of the code of criminal procedure.
South Africa: Misa-SA and FXI statement
The South African Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa-SA) and the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) are appalled at the attack by Patrick Chauke, Chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Home Affairs Committee, on Sanef (SA National Editors' Forum) over the interaction between editors and the cabinet on the ill-conceived Films and Publications Amendment Bill 2006.
South Africa: Who Exactly is Bringing SABC Into Disrepute?
It seems SABC's AM Live presenter John Perlman is headed for a disciplinary inquiry -- which should, at the very least, trigger alarm over a corporate culture that must be rippling with eggshell trepidation of arbitrary victimisation. After all, how is it that Perlman can be comprehensively vindicated by a commission of inquiry, yet still be up on disciplinary charges?
Sudan: Journalist arrested, detained, has laptop confiscated
Reporters Without Borders has condemned the Sudanese authorities' harassment of local and foreign journalists, which has been stepped up since the summer of 2006, barely one year after President Omar al-Bashir announced he was lifting the state of emergency.
Global: Fifth round of EPA
The model of trade liberalisation, deregulation of capital and erosion of labour standards has not translated into an improved standard of living for the people nor has it eliminated poverty, rather it has led to the weakening of public policies, particularly social policies. We think that these negotiations are framed in and deepen the same model.
UK: Mayor Ken Livingstone backs RemitAid
At the United Kingdom Money Transmitters Association (UKMTA) conference at City Hall on 17 October 2006, the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone gave enthusiastic support to calls for remittance tax relief. He promises to raise the issue personally with the Chancellor Gordon Brown and the Economic Secretary Ed Balls.
CAR: Annan Calls for Extension of UN Mission
Painting a grim picture of the security and human rights situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) and warning that it threatens regional stability, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today (23 October 2006) called for the mandate of the UN mission in the country to be extended for another year until the end of 2007.
Chad: Janjawid Attacks Surge As Rebels Fight On
An upswing in cross-border attacks on Chadian civilians since early October has coincided with new bouts of fighting between the Chadian army and rebels. Aid agency and government officials said Goz Beida, 160 km west of the Sudan border, and 200 km south of the regional aid-hub Abeche was briefly occupied by armed rebels on Sunday (22 October 2006) afternoon.
Global: Arms Trade Treaty
On the eve of a historic vote to begin work on an Arms Trade Treaty in the UN General Assembly's First Committee, 15 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates including the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Oscar Arias and Amnesty International have called on governments to support the Treaty in order to stop irresponsible arms exports "which are causing the peoples of the world so much pain and destruction". The appeal is contained in a letter released today at the UN.
Nigeria: Emergency rule as impeachments turn ugly
Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo slapped emergency rule on southwestern Ekiti state on Thursday (19 October 2006) as tensions mount in two other Nigerian states over the controversial impeachment of state governors. In a special broadcast on state radio and television, Obasanjo said he took the measure because the situation “clearly presents danger of possible breakdown of public order and public safety.”
Somalia: Ethiopian Troops Enter Balanbale
Heavily armed Ethiopian troops are reported to have reached the town of Balanbale in Galgadud region overnight in a presence of armed militias led by col. Abdi Qeybdid one of ousted warlords member of the defeated counter terrorism alliance by the Union of the Islamic courts.
Sudan: Arms Being Funnelled From Chad Into Darfur
Weapons are being funnelled from Chad into Darfur to support rebels who have refused to sign the Darfur Peace Agreement, says a status report on the crisis Sudan. The newly released report says credible information suggests that the government of Sudan is arming Janjaweed militias and Chadian rebels who want to overthrow President Idris Deby.
Sudan: New Offensives in Darfur And Chad
Rising violence in eastern Chad and Darfur highlights the immediate need for the United Nations Security Council to strengthen civilian protection by the UN mission in Sudan following Khartoum's expulsion of the UN secretary-general's special representative in Sudan, Jan Pronk, Human Rights Watch said today.
Africa: Only two from seven sign EASSY deal
Earlier in the week 7 African Governments were meant to be in South Africa for a further signing ceremony for the NEPAD Government Protocol. Four failed to turn up for “logistical” reasons. As we all know, it’s difficult getting airfares to South Africa these days. And at the last moment Zambia decided it wasn’t ready to sign as the new Minister had only been in post for a few weeks after the recent election.
Global: Five blogs from Uganda
White African reviews five blogs from Uganda. "I don’t know any of these bloggers, but found them all compelling reads in their own way."
Global: World congress on communication for development shopping for an identity
The very first World Congress on Communication for Developement got underway on October 25 in Rome. In the course of the WCCD, we will be able to measure if the participants will be able to give 'communication for development' a clear focus and genuine identity, reports the Association for Progressive Communications.
South Africa: Employmint.co.za challenges recruitment model
Get your friends jobs and earn a mint. That is the idea behind a new South African recruitment website, employmint.co.za, which launched this week. Taking advantage of Web 2.0 features and using an innovative business model, the site offers a reward for people who successfully refer a candidate for the job.
Africa: Africa's Stake In The Climate Debate
Kenya will be hosting the second meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP 2), in conjunction with the twelfth session of the Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change Convention (COP 12), in Nairobi from 6th to 17th November 2006.
Heinrich Böll Foundation, Regional Office East & Horn of Africa, Forest Road, P.O. Box 10799-00100 GPO, Nairobi, Kenya.
Tel..; 3744227 / 3750329 Fax: 3749132 E-mail: Nairobi@hbfha.com <mailto:Nairobi@hbfha.com>
19th October 2006
INVITATION TO A HIGH LEVEL PANEL DISCUSSION ON AFRICA’S STAKE IN THE CLIMATE CHANGE TALKS TO BE HELD ON 14TH NOVEMBER 2006 AT THE GRAND REGENCY HOTEL (CRYSTAL BALLROOM)
Dear Friends of the Gender/Environment Forums,
Greetings from the Heinrich Böll Foundation.
As you are most probably aware by now, Kenya will be hosting the second meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP 2), in conjunction with the twelfth session of the Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change Convention (COP 12), in Nairobi from 6th to 17th November 2006. The global issues and debates around climate change, which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere, have bordered on the increased emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) that are argued to have accelerated desertification, raised global surface temperatures, changed rainfall patterns, caused rising sea levels etc. Whereas Africa’s contribution to climate change has been minimal due to its low levels of industrial development and economic growth, it has nevertheless also experienced the greatest impacts, such as the overwhelming “El Nino” rainfall phenomenon, shifting rainfall patterns, increased incidences of tropical diseases, and so on. This has had considerable impacts on its food security and the livelihood of its people. In this regard, we wish to invite you to a panel discussion on “Africa’s stake in the Climate Change Talks” to be held on 14th November 2006 at the Grand Regency Hotel’s Crystal Ballroom from 12.00pm to 4.30pm. The session brings together high level panelists including the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Prof. Wangari Maathai, Prof. Ogunlade Davidson of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change amongst others. The Heinrich Boll Foundation’s co-president, Barbara Unmüssig will also be in attendance. Due to the fact that the industrial sector relies on energy production, mainly from non-renewable sources, it implicitly is therefore one of the major contributors to GHG emissions, and the main focus of our discussion We expect that the day’s forum will be enriching for all participants. We strongly urge you to attend, bring a friend, and contribute to the debate. Kindly contact the undersigned on telephone Numbers 3744227 or 3750329 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> or firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> to confirm your participation.
Global: MA In Activism And Social Change
There are alternatives to global capitalism and empire
•Looking to learn new skills, ideas and tactics for radical social change?
•Interested in working alongside campaigners and practitioners from the global justice movement?
Global: Still in chains?
Leeds is host to thousands of African people who have been forced to flee war, persecution and poverty in their mother continent and come to Britain in search of refuge and a better life. Yet most are living in day to day destitution, fear of arbitrary detention and brutal deportations.
South Africa: Sociology—the African Challenge
The African Sociological Association announces its 1st Congress which is scheduled to hold in Grahamstown-iRhini, South Africa, from 15 -- 18 July 2007. The Afri-can Sociological Association was formally constituted in December 2000 on the back of the 10th General Assembly of CODESRIA, in Kampala, Uganda.
Global: Coordinator Of London Office
The Centre for Democracy & Development, a West African NGO with headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria is searching for a coordinator for its international office based in London. Job title: Coordinator (International Office) P/T (3 days a week) Scale and Salary: Negotiable
VACANCY – COORDINATOR OF LONDON OFFICE
The Centre for Democracy & Development, a West African NGO with headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria is searching for a coordinator for its international office based in London.
Job title: Coordinator (International Office) P/T (3 days a week)
Scale and Salary: Negotiable Job Description Primary responsibility:
• The primary responsibility will be fundraising;
• Assist the Director in the development of a fundraising strategy working with relevant staff and consultants;
• Raise funds for the international office within the broad framework of the Strategic Plan.
Information, Advocacy & Communication
• Responsible for managing the information, communications and advocacy work of the Centre, including external representation;
• Ensuring effective internal communication procedures and mechanisms between the international office and the Headquarters;
• Acting as an interface between CDD and external institutions;
• Liaison with CDD Council, consultants and programme associates.
• Implement agreed activity plans for the London Office;
• Participate in other areas of the organisation's work involving the Headquarters in West Africa;
• Provide management information on London Office and other related project activities in compliance with donor or statutory requirements;
• Ensure the efficient organisation and management of the London Office;
• Reparation of annual budget; Administration
• Manage the staff of the international office;
• Responsible for annual office budget;
• Responsible for major questions to do with the office and relations with the landlord’s agents;
• Commission and supervise consultants where appropriate;
• Ensure policies and procedures are in place to achieve effective and efficient delivery of agreed goals;
• Negotiate and consult on the Centre’s behalf.
Abilities: Candidate is expected to demonstrate
•Sound experience of fund-raising;
•Minimum three years experience of organisational development;
•Proven experience of managing a team;
•Excellent analytical, writing and ‘actioning’ skills;
•Ability to plan strategically, fund-raise and manage staff effectively;
•Ability to thrive under pressure with limited support;
•Effective and persuasive communication skills;
•Excellent inter-personal, presentational and public speaking skills;
•Excellent IT Skills;
•Demonstrable interest in and commitment to the voluntary sector.
•Ability to work in a research and advocacy environment.
•Sound knowledge of democratisation, security and development issues in West Africa;
•Fluency in other languages, especially French will be an advantage.
Please send your application to: firstname.lastname@example.org Deadline for applications: 5pm on Thursday 30 November 2006
Global: Programme Director, Conflict Resolution
The Programme Director of CMI’s Conflict Resolution programme develops CMI’s role in conflict resolution, with particular emphasis on mediation, multi-track diplomacy and civil society. The Programme Director enhances CMI’s approaches and networks in the field of conflict resolution and develops CMI’s capability in supporting international community and regional organisations in conflict prevention, resolution and transformation approaches and policies.
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