Pambazuka News 347: Kenya crisis - CSOs speak out
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Highlights from this issue
Highlights from this issue
- International day of solidarity with Haiti
- Invitation to the formation of a Kenya citizens Assembly
FEATURES: International Crisis Group calls for comprehensive land allocation and constitutional reforms in Kenya.
-COMMENTS AND ANALYSIS:
- Lucy Hannan gives an eye witness account on the IDP's in Kenya
- European Union Council on Kenya
- Human Rights organizations memorandum to African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
- The National Civil Society Congress offers a Kenya mediation package
- Community Based Human Rights Networks statement on the Annan led meditation efforts
PAN-AFRICAN POSTCARD: 2007 Archbishop Desmond Tutu Fellows speak to African leaders
LETTERS: Readers' comments and announcements
BOOKS & ARTS: New book - China’s New Role in Africa and the South: A search for a new perspective
BLOGGING AFRICA: Round up of what's hot in Africa related blogs
AFRICAN WRITER'S CORNER: Salma Mlidi on Valentine's DayANNOUNCEMENTS: Formation of the Citizens Assembly
ZIMBABWE UPDATE: SADC talks 'dead and buried' says MDC
WOMEN AND GENDER: Call for higher investments in women
CONFLICT AND EMERGENCIES: Rebels walk out of Uganda peace talks
HUMAN RIGHTS: Bush administration urges halt to apartheid case
REFUGEES AND FORCED MIGRATION: Violence hampers aid in Chad
SOCIAL MOVEMENTS: Moroccan trade unions strike for change
ELECTIONS AND GOVERNANCE: Egypt detains Islamists ahead of vote
DEVELOPMENT: African NGOs call for moratorium on biofuels
HEALTH AND HIV/Aids: Another setback for microbicide research
LGBTI: Lesbians, feminists gather in Maputo
RACISM AND XENOPHOBIA: Civil society to prepare for the Durban review conference
ENVIRONMENT: Paying for the price of mining in South Africa
MEDIA AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION: Liberian community radio station closed down
INTERNET & TECHNOLOGY: Kigali Protocol comes into force
PLUS: e-newsletters and mailings lists; courses, seminars and workshops, and jobs
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South Africa: Police shoot 3 children in Cape Town
Police have started shooting people at close range in Delft. There is pandemonium and brutality. Following yesterday's ruling in the High Court which upholds Thubelisha Homes and the state's eviction order against the community, the residents decided to appeal at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein. The lawyers worked through the night doing the paperwork for this appeal.
Police proceed with unlawful eviction of 1600 residents in Delft, Cape Town
Police have started shooting people at close range in Delft. There is pandemonium and brutality. Following yesterday's ruling in the High Court which uphold's Thubelisha Homes and the state's eviction order against the community, the residents decided to appeal at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein. The lawyers worked through the night doing the paperwork for this appeal.
Ashraf Cassiem, Anti-Eviction Campaign Legal Co-ordinator is still finalising the paperwork for the case to go to the Supreme Court of Appeal but the police decided to proceed with the evictions anyway. All the Anti-Eviction Campaign co-ordinators have advised the police that there is another legal case pending and they have no authority to evict until the legal process is exhausted but they are doing it anyway. This is unlawful.
Mncedisi Twalo of the Gugulethu Anti-Eviction Campaign was making a speech to the people of Delft urging them to sit down on the spot, and the police suddenly opened fire on him and the Delft residents who were directly in front of them – very close range.
20 residents have been injured and rushed to hospital, including the three children.
There are an estimated 55 dogs on the scene. Peoples' furniture is almost totally destroyed with the police going out of their way to trash it instead of removing it in an orderly fashion.
Police are now trying to drive all the residents off the site away from their furniture and residents are trying to resist.
For comment from the scene call Ashraf Cassiem on 076 1861408 or Mzonke Poni on 073 2562036 or Mncedisi Twalo on 078 5808646
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Formation of the citizens assembly
Invitation from CCR Kenya
You are invited to take part in the formation of the citizens Assembly to lay out the framework for enacting a new constitution. Kenya can and will rise again. But this is only possible if there is a democratic constitution in place to institutionalize good governance. The citizens Assembly is scheduled to be launched on April 9-10,2008 in Nairobi, Kenya.
The structure and agenda of the assembly will be discussed in a web-forum scheduled for Saturday, March 1, 2008, 5pm-7pm Kenya Time (+3hrs GMT), 9am-11am Eastern-- New York Time (-5hrs GMT). This will be followed by The Way Forward forums in USA, Canada, UK, Sweden and Kenya, between March 15-31, 2008. Organizers urge all concerned to step on the path that leads Kenya towards genuine democratic transformation. For more info Tegi Obanda +1-613-316-5501(International Coordinator) or Peter Kironyoh +254-722-685830 (National Coordinator)
25 Cities join solidarity day with Haiti
February 29th Organizing Committee
So far 25 cities -- in Africa, South America, the Caribbean, Europe and North America -- are organizing for the International Day in Solidarity with the Haitian People on February 29th, fourth anniversary of the coup. They are planning street protests and marches, vigils, film showings and public meetings to demonstrate support for self-determination, democracy and justice for the people of Haiti.. Everywhere, new people are becoming involved.
Solidarity events are being organized in Brazil, the US and Canada -- countries that provided troops and leadership for the foreign military occupation of Haiti -- as well as in South Africa, Ireland and the Caribbean, in support of the resistance of the people in Haiti.
This is a critical moment for Haiti. Deepening poverty and the spiraling cost of living, as well as continuing human rights violations, are all part of daily life under Occupation. But the people's resistance remains strong, and our solidarity is needed.
Here is what you can do:
1. Organize an activity for Haiti on or around Friday, Febuary 29 in your city or town. [It can be during the week before, or the weekend after.]
2. Let us know now what you are planning -- date, time, location, type of activity, contact information -- so we can build the campaign. After your event, please call or email us a report immediately so we can publicize each city's protest activity while the news is still fresh.Call +1-510-847-8657 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Work for the safe return of abducted Haitian human rights advocate Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine. For more information and to sign the petition, go to http://www.globalwomenstrike.net/Haiti/HaitiIndex.htm and http://www.haitisolidarity.net/article.php?id=207
4. Order the new DVD "What's Going on in Haiti?" - about Haiti in 2007 under US/UN Occupation.The 16-minute DVD includes live footage of the Dec. 22, 2006 UN massacre in Cite Soleil, and the massive Dec.16 march in Port-au-Prince against the Occupation that preceded it. Live footage of the July 6, 2005 UN massacre in the same neighborhood also included. English narration. Order by phone or email. Be sure to include the street address where you want it delivered. Our costis about $8 for each DVD including shipping by US priority mail [fast mail or overseas is more]. Your contribution will be appreciated; mail to HAC, PO Box 2218, Berkeley CA 94702.
5. Order buttons for the '3rd International Day in Solidarity with the Haitian People' (2-inch round). Our cost is about $1 per button including shipping by US priority mail. Be sure to include your street address. Order by phone or email. Mail contributions to HAC, PO Box 2218, Berkeley CA 94702
6.. Spread the word to your friends in other cities. Circulate these documents:
a. The Call to Action: 3rd International Day in Solidarity with the Haitian People - Coordinated International Protests on Feb. 29, 2008 is posted on the Haiti Action Committee websitewww.haitisolidarity.net as well as at the news website www.haitiaction.net Contact us to receive the Call to Action in Spanish or Portuguese.
b. Collective Punishment of a People, a timely, half-sheet analysis of Haiti since the February 29, 2004 coup, can be downloaded at www.haitisolidarity.net Suitable for printing up and passing out at your event.
Thank you, brothers and sisters.
The Kenya crisis
Executive summary and recommendations
International Crisis Group
ICG warns that armed groups are mobilising on both sides, ODM is under pressure from its core constituencies, to demand nothing less than the presidency, and the Kibaki coalition is buying time to wear down both the opposition and the international community’s resolve.
Since the announcement of the contested presidential election results on 30 December 2007 giving a second term to Mwai Kibaki, Kenya has been in its worst political crisis since independence. Over 1,000 people have died and 300,000 have been displaced in violence with a serious ethnic character. As former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan conducts negotiations for a political settlement, calm has partly returned but the situation remains highly volatile. To address the causes of the crisis, it will not be enough for the Annan team to broker a deal on the mechanics of a transitional arrangement between political opponents and schedule negotiations on a reform agenda. A sustainable settlement must address in detail a program of power-sharing, constitutional and legal reform and economic policies that convinces the drivers of violence to disarm. For negotiations to succeed, the international community must enhance its pressure, including aid conditionality and threats and application of targeted sanctions against spoilers.
State authority collapsed in the political strongholds of the opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM). Supporters of its leader, Raila Odinga, took to the streets in violent protest against the theft of the presidency and to seek revenge on the Kikuyu and Kisii communities perceived to be loyal to Kibaki. The security forces reacted with great brutality and members of the communities supporting ODM were violently targeted by Kibaki supporters.
Kofi Annan and a distinguished team of other African leaders have been mandated by the African Union (AU) to mediate the crisis. Soon after their arrival on 22 January, they arranged a meeting between Odinga and Kibaki and obtained pledges to negotiate a settlement. The parties have conceded some ground and are discussing a transitional arrangement which could lead to new elections after two years, legal and constitutional reforms, and a truth, justice and reconciliation commission to assist in healing wounds.
Serious obstacles remain, however. Armed groups are still mobilising on both sides. ODM, which won a clear parliamentary plurality in December, has put on hold its calls for mass action and is using the talks to restore prestige it lost internationally in the violence. It is under pressure from its core constituencies, however, to demand nothing less than the presidency, and its supporters could easily renew violent confrontations if Kibaki’s Party of National Unity (PNU) coalition remains inflexible.
The Kibaki coalition is buying time to wear down both the opposition and the international community’s resolve. It benefits from the presidency’s extensive powers, including unlimited access to public resources. It insists the situation is under control and there is no power vacuum, tends to treat Annan’s mission as a side-show while sponsoring alternative reconciliation processes, seeks to have Kibaki’s election recognised by neighbouring countries and continues to resist genuine sharing of executive power.
While the mediation concentrates on a power-sharing agreement and a transitional arrangement leading to new elections, it has postponed equally important talks on the reform agenda and economic policy that an effective transitional government should adopt. A further year is envisaged for these talks. This is a risky approach. The Annan team should engage the two sides immediately on these topics.
Three complementary sets of issues must be addressed to finalise a detailed power-sharing agreement. The first are the legal and constitutional reforms needed during the transition period, including a complete overhaul of the electoral framework. The second are the economic policies to be implemented during the transition. The third are the concrete details of the process to be followed to end the violence and to deal with the humanitarian crisis, including the institutional framework and timelines. The ODM and PNU do not control the local violence. There is a chance to restore state authority and prevent renewed major fighting only if local leaders understand that their grievances are being addressed and concrete measures are being rapidly implemented. Civil society and economic stakeholders should also be associated with the negotiations on institutional reforms and economic policy.
International pressure is critical to achieving these objectives. The conditioning of multilateral and bilateral financial help for a negotiated settlement should be reinforced by a general travel ban and asset freeze policy against those who support and organise the violence or otherwise block the political process. Some hardliners in Kibaki’s camp depend on international credit-worthiness to keep their enterprises prosperous. The prospect of making individuals pariahs can be used to encourage concessions in the negotiations and good faith in implementation of an agreement.
The stakes go beyond Kenya, whose political and economic health is an essential ingredient for the security and prosperity of Eastern and Central Africa and indeed for how the entire continent’s future is assessed by investors. Kenya’s stability determines regional access to energy supplies and basic commodities and guarantees a relatively safe environment for hundreds of thousands of Somali and Sudanese refugees. But concentrating on a power-sharing arrangement between ODM and PNU will not be enough to restore the situation.
To the Annan mediation team of eminent African personalities:
1. Propose to open three additional areas to be addressed immediately and urgently as detailed negotiations on the structure and composition of a power-sharing arrangement continue:
a) constitutional and legal reforms, including a complete overhaul of the electoral framework;
b) economic policies, including immediate land acquisition and redistribution and major job-creation programs; and
c) the framework and process for implementing commitments for ending the violence and resolving the humanitarian crisis, including institutions, timetables and international guarantees.
2. Involve additional stakeholders from civil society in the talks on legal and constitutional reforms and from the business community on economic policies.
To the Kenya Government and PNU coalition:
3. Engage constructively in the power-sharing negotiations and take the opportunity of discussions on constitutional reforms and economic policies to negotiate guarantees for the continuation of reforms started by the Kibaki administration.
4. Restore security in the IDP camps and suspend all resettlement and relocation policies until a framework has been agreed by the parties.
5. Ensure equal access and distribution of humanitarian and reconstruction resources to all victims of the violence.
6. Arrest and prosecute the leaders of the Mungiki sect, as well as politicians supporting its activities, so as to redress concerns about possible state support for its resurgence.
7. Suspend immediately all police officers in charge of the areas where extra-judicial killings have occurred, including Nairobi, Kisumu, Kakamega, Nakuru, Naivasha, Sotik, and Kericho. ;
To the ODM leadership:
8. Engage constructively in the negotiations and support the immediate opening of detailed talks on constitutional reforms and the economic policies to be carried out during the transition, with a view to reassuring PNU hardliners over its economic policies as well as addressing the grievances of its own hardline constituencies;
9. Condemn publicly and threaten with sanctions any ODM leader inciting ethnic hatred, and express sympathy for the Kikuyu victims of the violence;
To the U.S., the EU and its member states, Canada, South Africa and other international partners:
10. Condition aid on the satisfactory conclusion of all the above-mentioned elements of the negotiation.
11. Implement and expand the travel bans already announced by the U.S., Canada, the UK and Switzerland by freezing the financial assets of individuals directly involved in or supporting violence or otherwise blocking the negotiation process and publicly blacklist their companies on financial markets.
To the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC):
12. Open a preliminary investigation into alleged atrocity crimes committed in Kenya and take into account the findings and recommendations of the fact-finding mission of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) once issued.
Nairobi/Brussels, 21 February 2007
*Please send comments to email@example.com or comment online at www.pambazuka.org
Community Based Human Rights Networks statement
February 15, 2008
Community Based Human Rights Networks
Community Based Human Rights Network declare full support to the Annan led committee and the progress that has been made so far.
CONCERNED with the political developments in our country resulting from the disputed presidential elections that have triggered politically and ethnically instigated violence affecting most parts of our country and has resulted in the killings of over 1000 people, displacements of an estimated 300,000 people, a third of whom are children who should be in school, teachers and health workers that should be at their workstations alleviating the physical and emotional effects of the violence, and destruction of property worth billions of shillings and the economic effects that this continues to have which include the price hikes of basic commodities,
NOTING the polarisation, negative ethnicity, repression, governance crisis and more so loss of confidence in state institutions.
UNDERSTANDING as human rights defenders that the on going crisis has resulted to violation of fundamental human rights such as rights to life, human dignity, self determination, right to education, right to food, security, information, property, development, protection, freedom of assembly, expression and association, right to information as well as freedom of the press.
APPRECIATING the significant steps through mediation by the Annan led National Dialogue and Reconciliation committee.
WE representatives of the 21 Community Based Human Rights Networks drawn from all the regions of Kenya, purposely convened at the SavelBerg Retreat Centre to discuss the aforestated crisis, wish to outline our observation and proposed remedial measures that in our view will curb the recurrence of a similar scenario in future, while giving adequate redress to the current situations.
WE note with concern that incidences of politically, instigated violence have been experienced in the past especially to the run up to the general elections of 1992,1997 and now 2007.These incidences were generally viewed as state sponsored violence whose purpose was to dispel the increasing demands for comprehensive and people driven reforms. The current crisis took the form of political contestation. It is our observation however, that the driving force for all these clashes were similar. This includes among others:
1. Historical injustices dating back to colonial times especially with regard to distribution of essential resources such as land.
2. Failure to address the constitutional legal policy and institutional reforms in order to redress the above injustices.
3. Negative ethnicity perpetrated by the political class to achieve selfish ends. Tribal political mushrooming.
It is our believe that a permanent and lasting solution can and must be found. In this regard, we wish to declare our full support to the Annan led committee and the progress that has been made so far in regards to;
Constitutional, legal and policy and institutional reforms targeting.
a) The Electoral Commission, The Executive, The Judiciary, Parliament
b) Redress poverty, insecurity and general inequalities
c) Redress historical injustices dating back to the colonial period through a properly constituted and independent truth and justice commission
d) Find a political solution to the current crisis at local levels (division and District levels)
e) Ensure that the state takes up primary responsibility for the IDPs, with non governmental and faith based organizations only playing a complementary role, in dealing with IDPs adhere to the UN Guidelines on IDPs in the numerous IDP camps within Kenya and those in neighbouring countries
f) Note particularly that the state has a duty to safeguard and respect the interests of the IDPs as per the International Humanitarian laws that oblige the state and its agents to provide protection to all IDPs that have a well founded fear for not returning to their homes. The camps must not be closed down without respecting the humanitarian laws.
g) We demand that the state ensures that law and order is maintained by averting further violence (including that perpetrated by state agents) and destruction of property by distinguishing between genuine grievances and the exploitation of the ongoing crisis to resort to criminal activity for personal gain under the pretext of expressing genuine grievance
h) Ensure that in maintaining law and order, state agents do not resort to witch hunting and victimization of real or perceived political opponents,
i) That Hon. Mwai Kibaki and Hon. Raila Odinga must put Kenya’s interests before their own personal interests.
1. Narok Human Rights Networks
2. Wajir Human Rights Network
3. Pro-Active Youth Group, Kangemi
4. Miss-Koch Initiative, Korogocho Nairobi
5. Isiolo Network Human Rights Network
6. Daniel Muoti-Centre for Human and Civic Education, Mwingi
7. I.D.P’s network-Transzoia KTC
8. Kinango Human Rights Network
9. Taita Taveta Human Rights Network
10. Mombasa Human Rights Network
11. Siaya Human Rights Network
12. Laikipia Human Rights Network
13. Mara River Resource Centre
14. Mukogodo Human Rights Network, Laikipia
15. Citizen Land Network, Kibwezi
16. Nyando Human Rights Forum
17. Human Rights Education and Outreach in Schools.
18. Kakamega Human Rights Network
19. Kwale Human Rights Network
20. Ndula Information and Human Rights Resource Centre
21. Mt. Kenya Human Rights Network.
*Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or comment online at www.pambazuka.org
EU statement on Kenya
The council of the European Union cautions that until a legitimate political settlement is agreed upon, the EU and its Member States will not conduct business as usual with Kenya.
The Council adopted the following conclusions:
1. The Council expresses its deep concern that the violence, uncertainty and instability in Kenya continue.
2. The Council reiterates the urgent need for Kenya’s leaders to engage seriously and flexibly in order to bring an immediate end to the violence and to ensure security, stability and the protection of human rights for all in Kenya. The Council calls on the Kenyan parties to engage constructively in a genuine spirit of compromise in order to find a legitimate political settlement.
3. The Council strongly supports the efforts by the Panel of Eminent African Personalities, led by Mr. Kofi Annan, and stands ready to provide any further assistance it can to this process. The Council reiterates the necessity for the International Community to stand united behind the dialogue process chaired by Mr. Annan. The Council will monitor this process closely. Individuals who obstruct the dialogue process or who encourage violence will have to face the consequences.
4. The Council welcomes the agreement between the Kenyan parties on 1st February to take immediate steps to end the crisis. It is encouraging that the parties plan to address the long term issues as well as the short term ones. The Council welcomes the intention by the Kenyan parties to establish a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission aimed at bringing about debate and consensus on how Kenya should address the root causes of the crisis.
5. The Council welcomes the response by the United Nations to events in Kenya, both politically and in support of the affected civilian population.
6. The Council welcomes the agreement by all parties to an international investigation into the violence since the elections and calls for further co-operation by the Kenyan authorities with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Advisor for the Prevention of Genocide of the Secretary General of the UN.
7. The Council reiterates that until a legitimate political settlement is agreed, the EU and its Member States cannot conduct business as usual with Kenya. The Council will continue to closely monitor the situation in Kenya and support all efforts towards ending the violence and ensuring democracy, stability and respect for human rights. "
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Following IDPs moving from Tigoni to Western Kenya
Lucy Hannan looks at the human toll of the Kenya crisis and calls for the Immediate assistance for the huge population of migrant returnees.
I am a television and print journalist providing material for international media outlets and humanitarian organizations. I followed a convoy of displaced Westerners from Tigoni, Central Province, to Kisumu town, Nyanza 9 – 11 February. We drove through Naivasha, Nakuru, Kericho, Mau Summit, and Kapsoit to Kisumu town.
MOVEMENT OF DISPLACED POPULATIONS
Thousands of people are on the move. It continues during the ‘wait and see’ period of mediation. People are seeking safety in their ancestral homeland while there is an opportunity. In many of the towns I passed through, ethnic segregation has effectively been completed. Post ‘cleansing’-violence, there is a new phase of aggression which is less overt but bold and uncompromising. Armed gangs patrol urban and rural areas, issuing threats and maintaining segregation.
Westerners are relocating West, and displaced Kikuyus moving towards Nairobi. Trucks piled high with furniture and household possessions characterize traffic flow on all parts of the route, most concentrated around Nakuru, Kericho and Kisumu. Yet major camps for the displaced have not emptied, indicating the population shift is massive and continuous; costs and logistics are inhibiting movement of the poorest; and, fear of attack and reprisals have not reduced despite the recent calm. The Showground (Kikuyu) and Stadium (non-Kikuyu) in Nakuru were still full on Sunday evening, including new arrivals.
Quote from Richard Maiko (Kisii), Kericho; waiting three days on the side of the road with house contents: ‘I live in Baraka estate, which is mixed, where there have been problems of burning and threats since the time of elections….I am married to a Kalenjin and thought I was ok. There are gangs of Kalenjin in the estate who move around looking for Kisii and Kikuyu.. Three days ago (Wednesday) they came to my house and said to my face: we don’t want to see Kisiis here, and we don’t want to hear about being married to a Kalenjin. Leave or die.’
There is a politicization of transportation and assistance for the displaced. ODM groups and individuals are assisting Luos and Luhyas to move; with donated bus lines and trucks, and funds raised from allied diaspora groups. Displaced Kikuyus are pursuing promises by the government to rebuild or relocate. Andrew Muturi, heading a group of displaced Kikuyus in Kisumu town, said ‘we are in dialogue with the DC, and have been offered a subsidy, we are making a claim for rebuilding. We have received no money but have been told it will take 7-21 days.’ He lives in Kondele police station and runs the gauntlet through town to the DC’s office in an atmosphere of threat. On Friday a Kikuyu was beaten to death in Kisumu town. Muturi says there is a case of a Kikuyu patient driven out of the hospital, and believes he as a Kikuyu no longer has access to the bank.
There is tangible bitterness from displaced populations that the ‘other side’ variously receives more assistance or sympathy. In Kisumu, this directly affects humanitarian assistance, with political divisions and accusations of partiality between NGOs. In the present climate in Kisumu, the Red Cross, for example, is considered government-allied. All arrivals are being taken to St Stephens Church run by local NGO, church and diaspora groups, despite better Red Cross resources and capacity. Heavy rain has exacerbated poor conditions for the displaced – many sit on plastic chairs all night in wet areas. There are problems with separated children, trauma, hunger, property loss, sickness - particularly respiratory diseases and diarrhoea as a result of long periods in police stations and previous camps. A small number say they have no ‘home’ to go to.
Kisumu town is in a critical transition stage and has imminent potential to become ungovernable.
The government and the security forces have lost legitimacy and respect. Raila Odinga/ODM has apparent ubiquitous support. Post-election violence has been through different stages: first, protest rioting and the targeting of Kikuyu businesses and property; next, ethnically-directed retaliation attacks; then, focusing on economic privilege or ‘discrimination’ within the Luo community itself.
It has entered a ‘wait and expect’ period. There is a widespread belief among the population that ‘mediation and negotiation’ means coming to the decision that Raila must be given what he was denied, i.e. the presidency. The process of mediation, at the moment, is considered legitimate and just: but time is likely to be a factor. Like the delay of the election results - which triggered the first round of violence in Kisumu – delays over reaching an agreement could have the same effect. In such a case, the local political class will also lose credibility and legitimacy. There have already been threats against Raila’s property (Molasses Plant and Bondo home) if he is seen to ‘betray or delay’.
‘Stolen votes’, and security force killings, are a general preoccupation, across the board. Government is generally held in contempt; and security forces are unable or unwilling to carry out their work, despite public fear of gangs and criminals who have moved into the vacuum. Security forces attempting to impose any sort of control or authority – like dismantling existing road blocks or shooting criminals – is seen as state repression, or political dissent. Bringing murder charges against the policeman filmed shooting two young men dead appears to have made no difference to this perception. The trial has the potential to become very political. There is suspicion that the officer charged – a Kalenjin – is in fact a ‘fall guy’ for a Kikuyu officer and the case will be a whitewash.
Ajulu, businessman, living in Polyview estate: ‘We organized our own security groups and patrol night and day. There were gangs who said they were looking for Kikuyus, but they would just identify an affluent-looking house, demand entrance, and then take what they could get. We had to actually fight these gangs…..I now have three pangas in my house …. We have become a target. It has been difficult at times for people like me to drive a vehicle, cars have been taken….for example, from town centre to Kisani there are about six road blocks and when things are bad you get charged about 100 shillings at each, harassed and threatened.’
Young boda-boda driver who has manned road blocks and demonstrated: ‘We are waiting for Tuesday to hear the result of the talks. If Raila is not president, we will fight…. We will kill each other.’
ARRIVAL OF MIGRANTS
Returning migrant labourers are now forced to live with families that they were previously supporting. It is a ‘poor impoverishing poor’ scenario. A tea picker in Tigoni, for example, gets paid about 5 shillings per kilo, sending home about 2-3,000 shillings per month to an unemployed extended family.
A high population of Western migrant workers resided in Central Province because Nyanza is a consuming rather than producing region, with poor economic indices. Nyanza migrants were described to me as an ‘underclass’ typically without property, credit facilities, job security or education. They are returning empty-handed. Many had lived for decades in Central Province, with a secondary, nominal relationship to their ancestral land.
There is nervousness among the Kisumu population what the impact of this influx will be. ‘They are coming to depend on us and we can’t afford it. We struggle, and they will struggle for what little is here, so we will be struggling among ourselves.’
Resentment for this is put in a political context: underdevelopment in Nyanza is perceived as deliberate economic and political marginalization and the failure of the government to give Luos ‘our turn’.
It would seem necessary to devise a practical strategy to explain the mediation and power sharing process in Kisumu town during this period, by civil society rather than politicians. Local politicians and leaders are held hostage by a hardline constituency who have an enormous sense of distrust and injustice over the election results – so politicians are under pressure to ‘perform’ to expectations rather than explain, as was the case this weekend by a visiting group of MPs. Taking into consideration the reaction in Kisumu during the delay of election results, there should be concern about any perceived delay in the mediation process – particularly during News Blackout. Since the December riots, Kisumu town has gone through progressive stages of violence, including unprecedented state violence. A new trigger could make Kisumu ungovernable.
Immediate assistance for the huge population of migrant returnees would seem to be an essential component of any solution, as, apart from humanitarian reasons, in the present context, its absence or inadequacy is perceived to be deliberate marginalization; and returnees are particularly vulnerable to the state and security vacuum.
*Lucy Hannan is a Television and Print Journalist.
**Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or comment online at www.pambazuka.org
Kenyans for Peace, Truth and Justice statement to ACHPR
International Federation for Human Rights and others
The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) urges the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) to "to adopt a specific resolution condemning intimidation of human rights defenders, and demand respect for the physical and moral integrity of human rights defenders" amongst other things.
MEMORANDUM TO THE ACHPR ON THE HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN KENYA
The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), its member organisation, the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), and the Kenyans For Peace, Truth and Justice (KPTJ – a coalition of Kenya's governance, human rights and legal organizations), welcome the decision of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) to examine the human rights situation in Kenya at the occasion of its 4th extraordinary session which will be held in Banjul, The Gambia, from 15 to 24 February 2008.
FIDH, KHRC and KPTJ request the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights to:
1. Invite Kenyan, African and International NGOs to present an assessment of the state of human rights in Kenya at the occasion of the 4th extraordinary session.
2. Adopt a resolution at the occasion of the 4th extraordinary session to: a) Condemn the serious violations of the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and its Protocol on the Rights of Women;
b) Denounce the electoral irregularities that were committed during the presidential ballot of 27 December 2007 as blatant violation of the African Charter on Elections, Democracy and Governance;
c) Reaffirm support toward the efforts of the Mediation Team towards effective political solution to the crisis, based on peace, truth and justice ;
d) Request the Kenyan authorities and any other duty-bearers to: − ensure unobstructed investigations on the alleged breach of the Presidential and National Assembly Elections Act and the Constitution of Kenya by the Electoral Commission of Kenya;
− ensure the protection of civilians, including human rights defenders; − take all necessary measures to ensure the end of impunity of the authors, co-authors and instigators of post electoral inter-ethnic violence;
− ensure that all individuals responsible for directly inciting ethnic violence be investigated and prosecuted;
− ensure that all members of security forces responsible for disproportionate repression of peaceful demonstrators and other individuals be investigated and prosecuted; − ensure the opening of investigations against militia members responsible for human rights violations;
− ensure unobstructed investigations on the murder of two opposition Members of Parliament; death threats pronounced against the human rights defenders;
− take all the necessary measures to ensure respect for the United Nations (UN) Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement;
− establish transitional justice mechanisms to address the underlying causes of the violence and provide justice addressing immediate and historical wrongs in Kenya;
− more generally, to take all necessary measures to settle the root causes of the crisis in Kenya, notably the issue of land and internally displaced persons, and to guarantee justice, respect for human rights and democratic governance.
3) Request, together with Kenyan and International NGOs, a meeting with the African Union Peace and Security Council, to present the human rights situation in the country so as to mitigate or prevent further or imminent violations
4) Invoke its inherent jurisdiction to draw the attention of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government the to existence of serious or massive violations of human rights in Kenya, and the trigger, namely the flawed presidential election
5) Urge the Member States to adopt the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa. FIDH, KHRC and KPTJ request the Special Rapporteur of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Human Rights Defenders in Africa:
− To adopt a specific resolution condemning intimidation of human rights defenders, and demand respect for the physical and moral integrity of human rights defenders, in conformity with the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and the Declaration on the protection of Human Rights Defenders adopted in 1998 by the United Nations General Assembly.
*Signed by: International Federation for Human Rights Kenya Human Rights Commission Kenyans for Peace, Truth and Justice : − Africa Centre for Open Governance (AfriCOG) − Awaaz − Centre for Law and Research International (CLARION) − Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD) − Centre for Rights, Education and Awareness for Women (CREAW) − (CRADLE) − Constitution and Reform Education Consortium (CRECO) − East African Law Society (EALS) − Haki Focus − Hema la Katiba − Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU) − Innovative Lawyering − Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) − Institute for Education in Democracy (IED) − International Commission of Jurists (ICJ-Kenya) − Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) − Kenya Leadership Institute (KLI) − Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) − Kituo cha Sheria − Media Institute − Muslim Human Rights Forum − National Constitution Executive Council (NCEC) − Regional Centre for Stability, Security and Peace in Africa − Sankara Centre − Society for International Development (SID) − Urgent Action Fund (UAF)-Africa − Youth Agenda.
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NCSC way forward for Kenya
20th February, 2008
National Civil Society Congress
The The National Civil Society Congress calls for a Marshall-‘Anan’ Plan that will ensure that the country is rebuilt and put on a path to growth, development and prosperity amongst other things.
This is a constitutional moment! While some parties want to negotiate the future of Kenya on a flawed foundation of the current constitution, the National Civil Society congress (the Congress) wants a new constitution to be the basis of negotiating the future.
The congress therefore recommends a mediation package in this order:
RECOMMENDED MEDIATION PACKAGE:
1. The enactment of an Interim constitution to fundamentally transform Kenya’s governance; The congress has proceeded to prepare a progressive draft building on all the constitutional drafts that have been produced so far in the country and will be putting it to public discussion and scrutiny shortly.
2. The establishment of a transitional government that oversees the reconstruction of the country and carrying out transitional justice process;
3. The unveiling and implementation of a Marshall-‘Anan’ Plan that will ensure that the country is rebuilt and put on a path to growth, development and prosperity; and
4. A Truth, Justice and Restitution Commission
ON TRANSITIONAL GOVERNMENT:
The National Civil Society Congress examined seven options and finally settled at a ‘transitional constitutional and political arrangement’ as the best option. Having already acknowledged that the opportunity for a constitutional moment for our country has never been more ripe than it is now. The congress intends to galvanize the whole country using our networks on the ground to influence the mediation talks for the only constitutional and political arrangement that will save this country from similar-future catastrophe as we have witnessed since December 29th, 2007.
The other options were:
1) Maintain the Status Quo;
2) Presidential Election petition through the Court system;
3) A re-run;
4) Re- tallying of Presidential votes/Forensic audit;
5) Fresh election;
6) Coalition government;
7) Power sharing;
8) Transitional constitutional and political arrangement.
ON INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY:
Kenya as a member of the global community and has thus submitted herself to international support, scrutiny, evaluation and even criticism.
Regionally she is a member of a number of political formations;
- The East African Community (EAC);
- Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD);
- African Union (AU);
Internationally, she is a member of;
- Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM);
- The United Nations (UN).
As a member of these political groupings, Kenya has signed and ratified various regional and international instruments on democratic governance and human rights.
In addition we in the past have offered ourselves as peace mediators for Somalia, Sudan and Uganda and have volunteered Kenyan troops to various countries as part of UN Peace Keeping Missions.
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Open letter to present and future leaders of Africa
Archbishop Desmond Tutu Fellows
“This continent has suffered too much.… We need the assistance and commitment of … young leaders to continue to speak up on behalf of the poor and the marginalized, and seek a better life for all” – Archbishop Desmond Tutu, April 2007
From Angola to Zimbabwe, questions abound about Africa’s present state. All capitals listed between Abidjan to Zanzibar, are not new to the rising voices of Africa’s sons and daughters who wish to know the fate of their land. Some express this concern through silent hope, others through evident fear, and many others look in no other direction than that of their leaders – those we have come to know as the captains of the ship of the state. Others even argue that Africa’s answers remain with future leaders, and not today’s.
But there has been a crisis of leadership in Africa. The hopes and dreams of the citizens of this continent have been dashed by our post colonial leaders – from the heroes of the liberation struggles through to the leaders of opposition parties that subsequently emerged.
The citizens of Africa deserve a brighter future, and that begins with visionary leaders who can answer the challenges that Africa faces as part of a global community in the 21st century. Recent events across the continent are cause for serious concern: from the crisis of corruption in Nigeria, the political tensions in South Africa leading to the 2009 election, or the political crisis in Kenya which is turning a once prosperous country into one that is marred by bloodshed and ethnic tensions. The ongoing conflict in Sudan, the current crisis in Chad, or the socio-political and economic meltdown obtaining in Zimbabwe have all caused great instability in the lives of millions of Africans across the continent.
We do not seek to play the usual game of just listing the problems but join our voices to that of over 920 million Africans to demand fair play in political processes. Though all of our democracies are young we expect our leaders to be men and women of excellence who respect the electoral process and as such the wishes of the people. As young people in Africa who are leaders in politics, business, health and information technology, we stand together and re-commit ourselves to the ideals of true leadership, and we make the following recommendations:
(a) The establishment of a high-level African Union led campaign to fight tribalism and inequality in all its forms across the continent. Each country should establish a Commission Against Tribalism and Inequality (CATI) to fight the scourges, and to protect vulnerable minority groups. CATI should bring politicians using ethnic manipulations to perpetrate violence to justice and stop them from participating in future political contests;
(b) Political leaders must be servant leaders and use their power and influence as a tool for socio-economic change rather than oppression and fuelling personal greed;
(c) The establishment and strengthening of relevant institutions (judiciary, electoral commissions, etc) that ensure independence of the Electoral Regulatory Authorities in each country; and the establishment of an AU Electoral monitoring body which monitors election and has a clear, well defined set of guidelines which it uses to determine if the process is free or fair;
(d) The rediscovery of our true identity as Africans, to embrace and inculcate the moral base of honesty, love, peace and integrity. We believe that people of integrity would not allow a beautiful, socially and economically stable country like Kenya to collapse into political disarray;
(e) The strengthening of our national economies, and systems to ensure the provision of adequate health care, education and other social services that will equip all Africans to partake in a better future.
As young leaders in our own various spheres of influence, we as the 2007 Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellows find silence at this critical moment inconvenient. We believe that silence and inaction in the face of yesterday’s challenges are responsible for the anomalies we see across the continent today. We lend our voices to the call for African leaders – today, and in the future – to consider the common good over personal fears or greed. We are proud of those who have shown us that leadership is about service and call on all other leaders to remain true to the spirit of purposeful leadership.
*Each year, 20 high potential individuals from across sub-Saharan Africa are awarded the prestigious Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship, following a rigorous competitive selection process. The Awards are aimed at the cream of the continent’s future leaders, specifically targeting the next generation of Africa’s leaders in all sectors of society, between the ages of 25 and 39. The fellowship program is coordinated by African Leadership Institute, and it includes a training program coordinated by the SAID Business School at Oxford University. For more information about the Fellowship, please visit www.alinstitute.org
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Africa - Sow unity seeds now!
We can see conflicts everywhere in Africa. Some are visible, others are invisible.
The Africans must think about the real causes of the problems. We should think Africa and not only our countries or nations. We should think seriously about who we are. We are never what others say or think we are. We have some concepts but I believe that they are not OUR concepts. We should be honest we ourselves. What is really ours? We are really imitating the Europeans. We are Africans with our typical nature and history. We are not inferiors to other people; but we do not know who we are. Why? Because we are not honest enough to recognize our imposed limitations. Today is my first time to send my comment. It is a sort of introduction to what bit by bit we can share. I am very concerned with the Unity of and in Africa.
There are ethnic conflicts. We do not think Africa. We still think in terms of TRIBES. We need men of UNITY and for unity. I personally feel good in Zimbabwe. I Feel good in Cameroon in Gabon, in Ethiopia, in South Africa, in Botswana, in Uganda, in Rwanda, in Kenya and so forth. I feel comfortable with ALL peoples of Africa. I love all peoples of the world. I like the Chinese, the Europeans, the Americans, the Jews people and the Arabs.
In AFRICA we have to think deeper of our concepts. I am afraid but I think that the concepts we proudly exhibit are not our own concepts. We need some ORIGINALITY. We need some AUTHENTICITY. Not the word authenticity but we need AUTHENTICITY. Not a false AUTHENTICITY. How? We should COOPERATE. We are trying to COOPERATE with the EUROPEANS but there is NO UNITY among the countries and peoples of Africa. I cannot say among the Nations of Africa. We are countries; We have territories and populations; but WHERE ARE THE NATIONS OF AFRICA?
There are many aspects we can take into consideration so that we reach this goal. We have to stop CONTROLLING AND MANIPULATING OTHERS.I believe that this must be the first step. WE HAVE TO CHANGE WHAT WE ARE NOW. There is no other way. If we do not change NOW, the future of Africa will be according to what WE ARE SOWING NOW.
Thank you for accepting to share with Africa and my brothers and sisters in Africa.
Yours for the Unity of Africa.
Angola, Feb. 2008
HIV/AIDS and the election crisis
Tafadzwa R. Muropa
The Kenya post elections of late December 2007 to the present date has made me reflect on the following pertinent issues which most policy makers might tend to cast a blind eye on them. The issues are related to the treatment of people living with and affected by HIV & AIDS, especially women and children, as well as people with disabilities in the pre-election, the election process and the post election era.
- Have the law makers ensured that people living with and affected by HIV & AIDS, especially women and children, and people with disabilities, are not prone to violence prior to the elections, during the elections and the post election era?
- In the event that violence might break out in one way or the other, are there any mechanisms, that have been put in place to ensure that people living with and affected by HIV & AIDS will still have access to life saving drugs (ARVs- anti-retro viral drugs), as they get displaced?
- Have the resources been put in place to ensure that women and children have access to prevention methods , contraceptives and the post exposure prophylaxis(PEP) , so as to ensure that unwanted pregnancies ,contraction of STDs and HIV virus ,in the event that they are raped by their male counterparts in the face of violence?
The above issues might seem to be obvious and unimportant , but a personal opinion on the Kenyan post-elections era that has claimed many lives, shows that policy makers had not taken enough precautions on how to ensure that the lives of people living positive and people with disabilities are protected, especially for women and girls.
I can’t imagine how the internally displaced communities in Kenya are coping with the trauma of violence after the election. The Kenya post election era is a wake up call to Zimbabweans who would be taking part in the upcoming elections in March 2008 and other African nations which would be casting their votes this year. At the end of the day, what is more important is the preservation of people’s lives and health and not focus on trivial issues.
*Tafadzwa R. Muropa writes this letter in her personal capacity as a member of MISA Zimbabwe, Women’s Coalition in Zimbabwe and FEMNET
US-Kenya Coalition for Peace with Truth and Justice
Dear all Kenyans and friends of Kenya,
I am desperately trying to reach out to other people in the US who are concerned and outraged about the current situation in Kenya, and to see ways that I and others may help take unified action in any possible way. In that vein, I am reaching out to all Kenyans living in the US and friends of Kenya, and am proposing the idea of trying to form and expand a network of people in the US in order to establish a kind of united front to vigorously advocate for the US to play a more neutral, multilateral and transparent role in the negotiation process for peace with truth and justice in Kenya. For those who have been following the situation you will recognize the last line as the name of the coalition of Kenyan human rights and civil society organizations, "Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice," whom I think we should be showing solidarity with by amplifying their demands and statements, particularly regarding US involvement in Kenya, to leaders and media outlets here in the US by forming a "US Coalition for Peace with Truth and Justice in Kenya." An additional focus for those in the US is to raise awareness of the situation in Kenya and to educate members of the press to stop inaccurately depicting the situation as an extreme "shock," as a result of just "tribal conflict," and underestimating the US's interests and role in the situation. Also, the disproportionate affect of the humanitarian situation on specific groups must be highlighted without trivializing or sensationalizing it, particularly violence against women and children, and the disruption in the flow of essential goods and services throughout eastern Africa (especially medicines such as antidiarrheals, antibiotics, malaria meds, ARVs, etc.).
There are certainly many people and organizations in the US who are already doing great work on this, and this is not an attempt to be purposely ignorant of the great work they are doing, it is merely an effort to try to reach out and connect as many people as possible who are concerned and want to take united action on this issue. If I, like I imagine I may be, am ignorant enough to not know that such a unified network already exists, then I will immediately withdraw my proposal and humbly ask to be included in the previously established network(s). Nevertheless, there is the need for an organized listserv in order for such a campaign (if that's what it is) to stay up-to-date and to communicate effectively with each other, that is if such a listserv/group is not already established either. If no such organized group/listserv already exists then I have created a simple google group for now, but perhaps more tech savvy people have better suggestions. The name of the google group is "US Coalition for Peace with Truth and Justice in Kenya" and the email address of the group is USkenyaptj@googlegroups.com Please suggest any other better ideas, otherwise PLEASE DISTRIBUTE THIS WIDELY.
One initial proposed action is to encourage lots of people to submit questions to the upcoming US Presidential candidate debates to pose questions to the candidates in order to get them to publicly address and raise awareness of the situation in Kenya and propose what as President they would do to promote peace, truth and justice in Kenya, and the surrounding Horn and East of Africa (i.e., will they continue to prioritize US "national security" interests and actions of the "war on terror" in the region, or rather will they prioritize investing in community healthcare capacity, for example). Pending the response I get from people here, I will post more contact information on this. A basic idea is also for a massive US organizational sign-on letter, unless this is already underway by anybody?
I am also including people in Kenya and Kenyan organizations, including those part of "Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice," on this email and would greatly appreciate any and all comments, concerns and suggestions that you may have for us here in the US who are seeking ways to help in both the humanitarian situation and the political situation by taking account of the interests and actions of the US government and other US actors in Kenya.
Thank you all for your stern devotion and commitment to peace, truth and justice in Kenya! I am desperately eager to hear back from any and all of you.
Women as targets of violence
Simiyu Barasa (http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/African_Writers/46097) is making a very important statement. The women are taking the worst beating in this conflict while the men are out “proofing” themselves. The MACHO “culture” in Kenya. (I am sad to say this is not excluded to Kenya but is apart of many African countries, i.e. eastern Zaire) I recently came back from Kenya and I was somehow struck by just that.
The MACHO “culture”is widespread and deeply rooted in ancient “culture” patterns as well as recent western cultures. When it comes to gender based oppression the rest of the world also has some to account for, of course. What is happening is terrifying! It is simply disgusting! This gender based violence is a disgrace to the whole human race. And I will do my best to point this out to people I meet when I go back to Kenya next month. The macho elite hopefully have got their shit together by then. Trying to create a large opinion to stop this is of course very important.
Thank you again, for this article.
Writers and politics
I hear your disappointment (Kenya: struggling for peace? http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/letters/46092) - and share it.
Which is why I work with Kenyans for Peace WITH Truth and Justice. This is a coalition of over 40 legal, human rights, and governance organizations (including grassroots collectives representing the youth of Nairobi's slum areas), and individual Kenyans, such as myself. Prior to the elections, many of these organizations were already ferocious advocates for justice and equity for all Kenyans.
From the outset, KPTJ has insisted that any resolution of the crisis must address the injustices at all levels - historic, and current - which precipitated this catastrophe. KPTJ has categorically rejected calls for "peace" and "dialogue" from the parties who are really seeking violent suppression of the poorest and most disenfranchised Kenyans, so that "normal life" may resume for the wealthy.
KPTJ continues to offer an analysis of the violence in Kenya that traces each strand of violence to its source, and to hold the initiators of each form of violence accountable. We have challenged the excessive use of police violence, and "shoot to kill" orders, as well as uneven and selective policing that allowed Nairobi slums and marginalized areas of the country to burn, while police ringed an empty Uhuru Park to prevent peaceful assembly and protest. We have named the specific militia mobilised in Central, Rift Valley and Nyanza provinces, by individual political actors, and described their operations.
Relevant excerpts from KPTJ statements that speak to your concerns:
Calling for peace is not enough. We will only slide into civil war if we cannot see through this. We must resist the fear, name the problem accurately and desist from the build up to the declaration of a state of emergency, the deployment of the military or, worse, the usurpation of civilian governance by military governance. (Muthoni Wanyeki, ED, Kenya Human Rights Commission)
The cause of the current political crises in Kenya is two pronged. First, the poorly managed electoral process dealing with the Presidential Poll result. This acted as a trigger for the Second more entrenched and deep rooted problem that manifested itself in the explosion of violence of a magnitude unknown in post-independent Kenya. The simmering anger that was ignited is a result of a combination of historical injustices from the time of Kenya's colonial past, and the failure of successive governments of Kenyatta, Moi and Kibaki to address comprehensively the problems of inequality of its citizens.
In particular the challenges presented by landlessness, gender inequality, youth unemployment, the widening gap between the extremely wealthy and extremely poor citizens and the marginalization of some communities. Further political campaigns hyped up expectations of Kenyans in promising to redress these issues overnight whereas a structured and systematic approach with realistic time-lines is required to do so. Resolving the issues around truth and justice, particularly around issues of corruption and past violence also meant that the political class on both sides of the divide would have to give up their own in a "no sacred cows" policy which neither was/is willing to do.
(Njoki Ndungu, speaking before the US House of Representatives)
The KPTJ roadmap to a genuine resolution of the crisis includes:
- land redistribution
- transitional justice
- the implementation of a Marshall Plan for the huge segment of Kenyan youth who have been locked out of Kenya's much vaunted 6% economic growth in the past 5 years
- addressing the crisis of masculinity that has funnelled so many young Kenyan men towards militia activity and gender-based violence, to create a new model of Kenyan manhood based on gainful employment and equal relationships
The extent to which KPTJ threatens what you so aptly term "the abnormal normalcy of elite rule" is clearly demonstrated by the fact that our leaders and spokespeople have been labelled "traitors to their ethnicity", are receiving death threats, and have been warned that they are targets for assassination by the state machinery. They include:
Maina Kiai, Chairman of Kenya National Commission for Human Rights
· Muthoni Wanyeki, Executive Director of Kenya Human Rights Commission
· Haroun Ndubi, human rights lawyer, member of Kenya Domestic Observers Forum
· David Ndii, author of report on electoral irregularities
· Gladwell Otieno, Director of Africa Centre for Open Government
· Ndung'u Wainaina, staff member of National Convention Executive Council
· Njeri Kabeberi, Executive Director of the Centre for Multi-Party Democracy
To join the KPTJ mailing list, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for caring deeply about truth and justice for all of us on this continent. And for holding us writers accountable to our words.
China’s New Role in Africa and the South
A search for a new perspective
China’s global expansion is much talked about, but usually from the viewpoint of the West. This unique collection of essays, written by scholars and activists from China and the global South, provides diverse views on the challenges faced by Africa, Latin America and Asia as a result of China’s rise as a significant global economic power. Chinese aid, trade and investments – driven by the needs of its own economy – present both threats and opportunities for the South, requiring a nuanced analysis that goes beyond simplistic caricatures of ‘good’ and ‘evil’.
China’s engagement cannot be understood independently of the imperial expansion of the US in the global economy. ‘Chinese production and American consumption,’ writes Walden Bello, ‘are like the proverbial prisoners who seek to break free from one another but cannot because they are chained together. This relationship is progressively taking the form of a vicious cycle.’
Arising from a conference held in Shanghai in May 2007, when the African Development Bank was also meeting in that city, this book provides a fresh perspective that focuses on the economic, social and environmental impact of China’s expansion. It represents the first attempt to establish a dialogue between civil society in China and the global south.
The contributors include Dorothy-Grace Guerrero, Walden Bello, Luk Tak Chuen, Shalmali Guttal, Yu Xiaogang, Ding Pin, Xu Weizhong, Dot Keet, Barry Sautman, Yan Hairong, Lucy Corkin, Ali Askouri, Yuza Maw Htoon, Khin Zaw Win, Alexandre de Freitas Barbosa, Fu Tao and Peter Bosshard.
Edited by Dorothy-Grace Guerrero and Firoze Manji
ISBN: 978-1-906387-26-6 258pp 2008 Fahamu and Focus on the Global South £16.95 / US$33.95
From reviews of Fahamu’s previous book on China, African Perspectives on China in Africa (2007):
‘…a timely book on a subject of critical importance. We should use it to strengthen Africa’s hand in negotiating with China…’
Irungu Houghton, Pan African Policy Advisor, Oxfam GB
‘…the first attempt in recent years to examine African views of China.’
London Review of Books
‘anyone interested in economic developments in Africa – and China – will find much useful material here.’
Charlie Hore, Socialist Review
My wish: That every day is Valentine Day
My wish: That every day is Valentine Day
In the midst of the post-election violence plaguing Kenya, Constable Andrew Maoche found the strength to contribute to the mayhem by shooting on January 31, 2008 David Kimutai Too, the newly elected parliamentarian from the Orange Democratic Party (ODM) in Eldoret. Unlike the first killing of an ODM legislator in Nairobi, allegedly by thugs, this was explained as a fight over a woman, a love culture, police even in Tanzania are notoriously known to practice when settling their love woes.
Apparently, the late David Kimutai Too had overpowered Constable Andrew Maoche’s attempts towards winning the love of a female traffic officer, one Eunice Chepkwony, in what is now described as a love triangle (undoubtedly to imply some ill intent on the part of the woman, the object of their sorry advances). While Constable Andrew Maoche is presently behind bars, David Kimutai Too is safely interred, ironically with Ms. Chepkwony who was also shot that fateful morning. I find this whole incident very symbolic and want to use it as the basis for my subject this week: love.
I feel compelled to speak about love for two main reasons. First it is because of the controversy that Valentine Day increasingly causes globally: Only recently Saudi Arabia banned any Valentine celebrations in the Kingdom. I wonder if it is because of religious considerations or a deeper unwillingness to address its significance. I also know that nationally there are raging debates about observing Valentine less so because it has become a money spinning scheme and less so on account of its significance in our human relationships with those we are most intimate with. I ‘zoom’ on love because it is subject, or rather a condition that causes many of us much distress, heartache and heartbreak as soulfully stated by Tina Turner, and thus warrants serious exploration.
Love, this mysterious word, used sparingly after a relationship has been formalized, but abundantly when it is just sparkling and we are still in hot pursuit of that which makes the heart flicker. Love, a word that is used to explain a range of emotions and feelings but at the same time a word that is used to justify a range of actions and indiscretions. Love, a word so potent in effect that it can cure chronic problems and conditions- heath or otherwise- but prove equally fatal.
So what is this condition termed love? In my feminist engagement I have found it more helpful to work from what it is not or at least should not be about, rather than make assumptions or conclusion about what it is. My shemeji (brother in law) once complained to me about how my sister would not listen to him and his wishes. His particular grievance was that she failed to cover herself when going out of the house causing him much anxiety and pain. I must admit such a complaint was beyond any expectation I had and more so considering that this was a man who was educated and had met my sister at college. Careful not to take a position on their relationship and respecting the fact that my sister, much as she is someone’s wife, is also an adult who is free to decide and exercise choices she thinks prudent, I asked him, “How did she dress like when you met her and why is it an issue now?”
I knew that he could not claim otherwise as, although she dressed modestly by common persons’ standard, she was not in the habit of covering as has recently become fashionable. In truth, I am at loss at people who meet others in particular circumstances and then feel that their love interest needs to magically transform once they pair with them, to fit the image he or she had of them. Thus, you will hear many women claim defiantly, “I will change him, you will see”. Likewise, you will hear men boast, “If you are my girl/wife you would not …” The audacity by which such demands or claims are made cannot, and should not, be remotely associated or interpreted as motivated by love. Doing so is not only misguided but selfish.
Listening to my shemeji make such demands so early in the relationship nudged me to facilitate a soul searching encounter where I helped him assess what he envisions from the relationship, a vision that would not only be about what his expectations are but also about what her expectations are. For example although her parents went through great pain to educate her in the hope that she would assist in educating her younger siblings, she was now a home-bound wife dependent on his mercy for “spare change” he would periodically give to her, and which she would pass on to her retired parents. But unlike him, she was not complaining perhaps being deeply in love wanted to please her habibi/hababi.
My philosophy, which I shared with him, was to love freely without expectation, condition or obligation (in the sense of compulsion or feeling the other owes you a debt). Love is not just about the butterflies and the giggly feeling we have when we remember the name and the face that makes us glow inside and sing off-key without a care; it is also about tolerating and even respecting the individual traits that make the other so attractive and ultimately delightful to us. Surely, love should not primarily be about changing another to your image: If you want an image of yourself, by all means go and clone yourself! But if it is another that you love, then you have to be willing to accept their imperfections and their differences- not just physical but also intellectual- as being integral to their identity just as it is integral to the soundness of the relationship. You love another for whom they are and for what they make you to be (which hopefully is empowering and happy) and achieve. Perhaps more of us need to appreciate that if love is about giving then it is also about receiving, not just taking.
This said, I should not be understood to preach that couples should not be in the habit of negotiating a relationship. Or that you take any bull--- on the pretext of applying Salma’s philosophy such that you end up like Mary J Blige in ‘Not going to cry’! La hasha. I believe that healthy (not necessarily long lasting) relationships are negotiated and not left to chance. It does not matter that you are dangerously attracted to another. It is important that you and the other must have minimums upon which you build your relationship. These minimums act as the core values of sorts which, I think, are indispensable to building trust and respect in the relationship. Unfortunately, may of us don’t want to waste valuable lust time on these basics. Others fear that establishing them may be interpreted as being too difficult, too choosy, too demanding or too untrusting in the powers of love. After all love leaves us powerless, helpless, defenseless and all traits that signal our unwillingness to take responsibility for such an important aspect not only of our romantic selves but also of our ability to experience life to its richest.
I strongly beg to differ dominant and skewed notions of what ‘love is’ and do so on the basis of accumulated experience of examining the foundation building romantic, and even platonic, relationships I see around me. It is not that love should not or could not have a potential for reward. Rather, the wisdom of love should make us realize that just as I give to a relationship, freely and in appreciation of what my other deserves from me (in recognition to what they mean to me), the only expectation I have is –given that the basis of our relationship is healthy and free- they would seek, in their peculiar way, to appreciate me in a deserving manner.
Thus, it is not about keeping score of how much each has invested (or failed to) in kind but to be confident enough that a strong sense of mutuality reigns in how we express, each in our unique way, love.
Undoubtedly, Constable Maoche’s actions are not unfamiliar to many of us. We witness or hear of them daily. Many of us think kulazimisha (force, compel or hold at ransom) is to love. Just as some of us are busy trying to change another soul to fit an image we want, many more are busy trying to meet the expectations of others in who we choose to love. I remember when I was at the Hill a colleague bold enough to present his paper to me, as we called a love declaration or proposal then, reasoned, “Can you imagine, Salma, if I am seen with you!”, a statement that cost him dearly not because of its sincerity but because of what motivated his advance: I was now a prize to be shown-off!
Alas, many relationships remain that- shows for the benefit of others. You won’t leave an abusive partner for fear of what others may think or say. You won’t date someone who makes you feel so good and alive because of what others may think or say because it is not what would be expected of you. And, although you love and accept your partner as they are, you may feel compelled to pressure them into changing to fit the expectations of others e.g. your parents or friends or Lord forbid, your boss... We thus enter into relationships full of show and pretense of who we are, scared to show and be who we really are. Then you wonder why you wake up one day and ask yourself- who in the heck is this person sleeping next to me, whose face I am looking into but I can’t seem to see or feel?
Although I write for the romantics and the foolhardy in love, I think this philosophy of love applies to other types of relationships we have with others. My description of love in form, substance and feeling is captured in Chaka Khan’s timeless My funny Valentine. It is a song of few lyrics but with powerful effect. It captures love that is expressed selflessly, with surrender. Ultimately, love is about a freedom that allows one to bask from and in the radiance and energy of another. It is the freedom to find pleasure even in that which others may find amusing without a care in the world. It is appreciating that each one of us, as are our experiences, are unique, aspects that make us whole and endearing to one another. It is about finding oneself in the spirit of another and appreciating that what you reflect in terms of feeling towards the other is in most cases the feeling you have towards yourself.
I share of the priceless sonnets that delight me so much with the hope that those who own the copyright would indulge me in this rare act of chivalry to human kind motivated by a need to advocate for sensible and compassionate romanticism on this Valentine Day:
My funny Valentine, sweet comic Valentine,
You make me smile with my heart
Your looks are laughable, Unphotographable
Yet, you are my favourite work of art
Don’t baby, don’t change your hair for me
Not if you care for me
Stay little Valentine, baby stay (undoubtedly remain they way you are)
Each day is Valentine, each day is Valentine’s Day
Therefore, I don’t see why love is allowed to become ugly, violent, cruel, debasing, dispiriting, possessive, consuming and hurtful. Why can’t it instead be liberating and all the synonyms that go with the word i.e. beneficial, healing, energizing, invigorating, therapeutic, cathartic and whatever else that makes us glow and grow when we have been blessed to find and experience it? May I wish you, and those you love, eternal Valentine.
*Salma Mlidi is a political activist.
**Please send comments to email@example.com or comment online at www.pambazuka.org
Review of Adrican blogs – February 21, 2008
Everything Literature reprints an interview of Nigerian playwright Shehu Sani, whose play, Phantom Crescent, has been condemned for criticizing the application of Shari’a law in Northern Nigeria. In the interview, the author, argues that:
“The fact remains that in democracy, people must have the right to express their opinions. And you cannot hide under the guise of any religious dictates to undermine and subvert the rights of the citizens. I’m a Muslim and I don’t believe we have any spiritual leaders… Now, if you happen to be in political office you have to live up to the responsibility as a political leader who has won an election and has a contract with the people. You don’t have to hide behind religion, using prohibitive laws to disguise yourself while you have not lived up to your obligation. I believe these are issues which we have to clearly separate. And my play is simply to educate, enlighten and to pass a clear message. It is also to inspire people to stand up to the defence of their rights because it is only by doing that that we can safeguard our democracy.”
Innocent Chia revisits ongoing attempts by the Biya regime in Cameroon to eliminate term limits and contends that Cameroonians in the US should be at the forefront of efforts to scuttle Biya’s plans:
“Write to your Congressman or woman about the plan of President Biya and his cohorts to change the constitution for a life mandate... The carnage in Kenya can be replicated in Cameroon if the world, led by the U.S ant its leaders, fails in reading the Red Flag warnings that such wanton manipulation of the people and the Constitution represents. About 40% of Cameroon's budget comes from America! You may recall that President Bush recently axed American aid to Kenya, forcing that other dictator to abdicate his unilateralism and to begin discussions on a joint government with the opposition. It is therefore imperative that Cameroonians in the United States fill the in-boxes of the representatives with mail about the impending doom facing Cameroon. Do not doubt the power of a single mail.”
Akin is outraged by the exorbitant allowances that Nigerian legislators receive:
“…it is interesting that they are concerned about such minutiae as their wardrobe … In a throwback to the colonial days of the District Officer they would have domestic staff that would include a steward, a cook, a housekeeper and a gardener.
They also get paid for being on recess and we can assume there are two recesses in a legislative year and we also pay for their newspapers.
I know not of any job anywhere that offers this kind of largesse, ordinary people are usually supposed to pay for all these things out of their basic salaries.
It would be different if the legislators really get down to doing stuff that helps build Nigeria but with them fed and fattened to the extent that they would not be able to get out of their opulent furniture to walk through the widest doors on earth, this would be gravy-train par excellence and it grates.”
Mad Genius argues that Zuma’s polygamy makes a mockery of South Africa and reduces the country’s stature among the community of nations:
“South Africa has one of the broadest constitutions in the world and tolerance is very important in this country. As a general principle I am proud to be part of a country that allows so much freedom and lateral thinking. The problem arises when this extends to our politicians...
The problem is that Zuma, now head of the ANC and by all probability future President of South Africa, has a responsibility to the citizens of South Africa. He has already been overseas to allay the fears of potential investors into South Africa during his regime. How do those Western countries view him as serious when they know he has more than one wife, given that polygamy is against the law in most if not all the Western world? How do they take him serious when viewing him on the news going into his song and dance ritual? Sure it has a certain charm to it when it's done during cultural ceremonies and celebrations; however I do not think it is acceptable behaviour in the market place. Would you do business with anyone who had 6 wives and danced and sang publicly whilst you were engaging in high profile business dealings? I know I would find it hard to take such a person seriously. I would seek people who have certain decorum. If George Bush did the same thing would he enjoy more popularity? No, he would be laughed out of world politics and probably put into the funny farm.”
Writing on Kenya Imagine Partick Mutahi explains what America’s stake is in the ongoing Kenyan crisis:
“America's involvement in Kenya's post-elections political crises must be seen against the background of its "war on terror"- and the unilateralism that propelled it.
The US is concerned about the security ramifications in the Greater Horn of Africa which it has been trying to hold together. A quick look at the map of Eastern Africa gives America little solace. Somalia is in anarchy with a multitude of warlords and radical Islamists, Sudan is involved in the Darfur war and Ethiopia is near war with Eritrea, which the US accuses of sponsoring terrorism. Between the grim sketches is Kenya, America's hope in the region which is now teetering on the verge of instability.
Thus, security cooperation especially anti-terrorism measures has for long been an important aspect of Kenya-U.S. relations, underscored by airbase and port access. Despite the current political disagreements between the US and Kibaki government, the safety measures of this bond will endure.
That is why the US thus will not stand and watch as its most frontline state in the region disintegrates and is impatient to get any deal through which will guarantee stability. It is worth nothing that its voice has radically shifted from the election being irregular to its international interest of security.”
Scribbles from the Den reviews “Volcanic Sprint” the award-winning film on the Mount Cameroon race which premiered in Cameroon last week:
“It is a film about one of the most grueling but little known races in the world and the athletes who are insane enough to take part in it - a race where athletes run up a live marathon-length volcano and back, going through three major climactic zones in the process. When runners begin the race at the Molyko stadium in Buea, their main challenge is the scorching tropical heat, but by the time they make it to the summit (that is, if they make it at all…), they are confronted with sub-zero temperatures and snow. Seeing well-trained athletes, some of them from countries with very cold climates, virtually going into shock due to the very frigid temperatures at the summit is, unarguably, one of the most compelling moments in the film.
Making it to the summit of mount Fako is just one part of the puzzle; athletes must make the treacherous and heart-stopping descent – sometimes on all fours! – navigating.
* Dibussi Tande, a writer and activist from Cameroon, produces the blog Scribbles from the Den
* Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or comment online at http://www.pambazuka.org/
SADC talks ‘dead and buried’ says opposition MDC
The two factions of the MDC on Thursday, jointly announced the end of dialogue with Robert Mugabe’s ruling ZANU-PF. They also accused South African President Thabo Mbeki of having failed to broker a resolution to the stalled talks. The talks completely broke down in January when Mugabe unilaterally called the polls for 29th March, leaving no time for the implementation of a new draft constitution agreed on by all parties.
Global: UNFPA calls for higher investments in women
Government officials, experts, and representatives of non-governmental organizations will meet here next week to evaluate investments made so far in achieving equality between men and women. The gathering, during the Commission on the Status of Women to take place from 25 February to 7 March 2008, will share lessons learned and good practices, identify effective policies, and foster the exchange of national and regional experiences to achieve gender equality, empower women, and reduce gender-based violence.
Nigeria: Rights group urges UN to address sex trafficking
Equality Now, an international human rights organization has urged United States member states to make specific commitments to end sex trafficking. In a statement, the group said it was concerned that the issue of sex trafficking had been marginalised at the forum to Fight Human Trafficking now holding in Vienna, Austria.
The Tide - Port Harcourt,Niger Delta,
Nigeria Rights group urges UN to address sex trafficking
Monday, Feb 18, 2008
Equality Now, an international human rights organization has urged United States member states to make specific commitments to end sex trafficking. In a statement, the group said it was concerned that the issue of sex trafficking had been marginalised at the forum to Fight Human Trafficking now holding in Vienna, Austria.
Equality Now urged governments to make the most constructive use of the three-day forum that opened Wednesday under the aegis of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODUC).
"Reportedly costing over $4 million, (N472 million) the Vienna forum cannot be just be another world conference that will end in extensive rhetoric,"
the group said.
Anti-trafficking organisations from around the world have expressed support for a joint appeal by Equality Now.
"Any policy that aims to curtail sex trafficking of women must address the exploitation of prostitution on the one hand and poverty and sex discrimination on the other."
According to Equality Now, the marginalisation of the issue of sex trafficking at the forum left a vacuum in addressing its causes and laying out statgegies to end it.
"Governments must make clear commitments and exercise political will to end the scourge of sex trafficking," it said.
Global: Citizens guide to gender accountability
The Citizen's Guide to Gender Accountability is written in context of recent endeavours by International Financial Institutions (IFIs) to assess compliance and enforce institutional accountability to their own policies and procedures on gender equality as well as other cross-cutting issues. The establishment of the accountability mechanisms such as the Independent Review Mechanism (IRM) is also designed to empower locally-impacted and other concerned individuals to raise policy related concerns, including those on gender and seek redress for negative impacts resulting from Bank operations.
Global: UNFPA scales up efforts to save millions of women
A new thematic fund for maternal health has been created to boost global efforts to reduce the number of women dying in pregnancy and childbirth. The fund, established by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, will also encourage developed countries and private sponsors to contribute more to saving women’s lives.
Algeria: Women cite problems with implementation of new family code
Three years after Algeria's family code was revised, women are looking back with regret on their initial enthusiasm for the change. What appears to have been a well-intended effort to protect women and children's rights has inadvertently caused many of them to lose everything.
South Africa: Bush Administration urges halt to apartheid suit
The Bush administration has asked the Supreme Court to throw out a lawsuit that accuses more than 30 U.S. and European corporations of violating international law by assisting South Africa's former apartheid government. The case -- three suits being considered jointly -- seeks up to $400 billion in damages from corporations such as Ford Motor Co., IBM Corp., Citigroup Inc., and General Electric Co., for their business relationships with the South African government from 1948 to 1994, according to court papers.
Kenya: Kenya has no constitutional court, judges say
Kenya does not have a constitutional court, the Court of Appeal has declared. Eleven days ago, the Court of Appeal told High Court judge, Justice Joseph Nyamu, that the Constitution had not created a constitutional court with supervisory powers over all the other courts. Nyamu, who heads the Constitutional and Judicial Review division of the High Court, ran into trouble after he asserted that the constitutional court was mandated to inquire into alleged violations of fundamental rights and freedoms of a litigant that may arise from a decision of the Court of Appeal or the High Court.
Uganda: Government strikes deal with LRA on trials
The Ugandan government has struck a deal with the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) about where their leaders will be tried. LRA leaders accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes would be tried by a national court under the terms of the deal. Many of the people have been charged with horrific crimes – and international warrants have been out for their arrest for more than two and a half years.
Rwanda: Ex-minister pleads not guilty to 11 charges before UN genocide tribunal
A former Rwandan government minister has pleaded not guilty to 11 charges during his first appearance before the United Nations war crimes tribunal set up to deal with the 1994 genocide in the small country. Callixte Nzabonimana, 55, who served as minister of youth and sports in Rwanda’s interim government in 1994, made the plea yesterday before Judge Dennis Byron of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which is based in Arusha, Tanzania.
Sierra Leone: Court upholds sentences on militia chiefs
Sierra Leone's war crimes court on Friday rejected an appeal by three former militia leaders against long jail sentences handed down last July for atrocities committed during the former British colony's civil war. "The court finds no reason to interfere (with the sentences)," Presiding Judge George Gelaga King told the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
Rwanda: France to prosecute two genocide suspects
In a historic decision, a French court has accepted a request of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to try Wenceslas Munyeshyaka and Laurent Bucyibaruta before French courts for their alleged participation in the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Munyeshyaka was a priest in charge of the St Famille parish in Kigali during the genocide in which countless Victims who sought refuge there were brutally massacred.
Africa: Angola 'worst' for child deaths
Angola has been ranked worst in the world for tackling child deaths, in a new report by a UK-based charity that compares child deaths to a country's income per person. Oil-rich Angola has a child mortality rate of 260 deaths per thousand - 162 deaths higher than predicted for its economy's size, according to the report, released on Monday.
Chad: Violence hampers aid as more refugees arrive
Violence in eastern Chad is preventing aid workers from reaching thousands of refugees who fled Sudanese government attacks in Darfur last week, with a new wave of refugees expected after fresh bombardments. Beatrice Godefroy, head of the Swiss branch of Doctors Without Borders in Chad, told Reuters up to 8,000 refugees had poured across the border from Darfur last week and were living rough in the desolate area around the border town of Birak.
Egypt: Migrant shot dead trying to cross border
Egyptian security forces shot dead a Sudanese man trying to cross into Israel on Tuesday. A total of five African migrants have now been killed crossing the border so far this year. Security officials said 50-year-old Ermeniry Khasheef was shot in the back after he ignored orders to stop as he attempted to cross barbed wire near the border town of Rafah.
Burundi: UN seeks $34 million to help refugees return home from Tanzania
Seeking to end one of the most prolonged refugee situations in the world, the United Nations is appealing for $34 million to assist 218,000 Burundians who fled to neighbouring Tanzania to escape violence in their homeland over 35 years ago. The so-called “1972 Burundians” are among the hundreds of thousands of Burundians who sought refuge in neighbouring countries that year to escape ethnic violence which killed an estimated 200,000 people. They are distinct from Burundian refugees who arrived in Tanzania in the 1990s.
North Africa: Returning to Mauritania
In the coming months, up to 24,000 Mauritanians will return home after almost 20 years in exile. Many have been living in refugee camps in Senegal since a minor border dispute escalated into deadly ethnic riots in 1989. Some black Mauritanians later returned on a voluntary basis, but the vast majority remained in Senegal.
Chad: Aid reaches refugees in Maltam amid difficult conditions
As refugees began moving from the northern Cameroonian town of Kousseri to a more permanent site in Maltam some 32 kilometres away this week, services and facilities were being rapidly prepared to accept them but conditions remain extremely basic. Refugees, most of whom fled Chad at the beginning of February when anti-government rebels launched an attack on the capital N’djamena, started being trucked to Maltam on 16 February.
Morocco: Trade unions strike for change
Despite pleas from Prime Minister Abbas El Fassi, three of Morocco's five national trade unions held a 24-hour strike on Wednesday (February 13th), paralysing the nation’s civil service. The FDT (Democratic Labour Federation), UNMT (National Union of Moroccan Labour) and USF (Civil Servants’ Union) proceeded with the strike after two meetings with El Fassi. Morocco’s two other trade unions opted out of the strike, saying that the government should be given more time to consider the union's demands for pay increases and legislative reforms.
Egypt: Government detains Islamists ahead of vote
Egyptian police detained dozens of members of the Muslim Brotherhood on Wednesday, expanding a crackdown on the country's strongest opposition group ahead of local elections in April. The Islamist group, which holds one fifth of the seats in Parliament, poses the most serious challenge to the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) in the April 8 elections for local councils, which the NDP has dominated for years.
Zimbabwe: Mugabe calls rival prostitute
President Robert Mugabe has likened independent presidential aspirant, former Zanu-PF political bureau (politburo) member and finance minister, Simba Makoni to a political prostitute who tries to endear himself to the electorate even when the electorate does not like him. This is the first time that the 84-year old leader has openly castigated Makoni for having brokered away from his ruling Zanu-PF party, an attack that could be the opening episode of more that are yet to come as Mugabe moves to launch his presidential campaign in the near future.
Comoros: AU blames rebel islanders for crisis
The chairman of the African Union Commission blamed the leaders of a renegade island in the Comoros on Friday for stoking a crisis that has prompted the government to prepare an invasion. Mohamed Bacar, the self-declared president of Anjouan island, has defied the AU and the national authorities in the coup-prone Indian Ocean archipelago since he won an illegal election last June.
Kenya: Africa's top diplomat pushes rivals to agree
Africa's top diplomat pushed Kenya's feuding parties on Friday to reach a speedy deal after the government agreed in principle to create a prime minister's post to help end a deadly post-election crisis. "The weekend will be crucial. We hope that next week we'll have something which can be agreed," newly-elected African Union chairman Jean Ping told a news conference in Nairobi.
Morocco: Political parties hope to counter growing voter apathy
Reforming the political process topped the agenda at a conference of Moroccan politicians this week. Party leaders acknowledged they have failed to properly address the needs of the younger generation and said changes are planned to get the public involved in politics.
Sudan: Cabinet reshuffled
The Sudanese cabinet has been reshuffled. State media reported the dismissal of Mohammed Ali Mardhi, the justice minister, and the moving of Awad Ahmed al-Jaz, the energy minister, to the finance ministry. Mardhi has been replaced by Adbel Basit Sabderat, who was the federal affairs minister.
Africa: NGOs call for moratorium on biofuels
Uproar is slowly spreading among African civil society organisations and scientists, fearing that the biofuel revolution will bring more food insecurity, higher food prices and hunger to the continent. A petition calling for a "moratorium on new agrofuel developments in Africa" has so far been signed by over 30 NGOs all over the continent.
Tanzania: Bush signs $700 million humanitarian pact
President George W. Bush has been smothered with affection here, never more so than on Sunday, when he sat at a wooden desk under a sweltering sun with President Jakaya Kikwete by his side, and signed a $698 million grant of foreign aid to Tanzania. But while people here in the capital city of this east African nation are excited about Bush, another American politician seems to excite them even more - Barack Obama.
Africa: Widespread praise of Bush’s Africa visit ignores flawed legacy
As President Bush returns to the United States from his whirlwind tour of Africa, Africa Action notes with concern that coverage of Bush’s trip has concentrated on particular successes in individual countries while ignoring the systemic, continent-wide development challenges that unjust U.S. economic policies continue to promote. Most of the attention around the Bush visit has focused on U.S. public health programs in Africa, particularly the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
Uganda: Biodiversity: Privatisation of seeds moving apace
The Ugandan parliament will soon have a hearing on the draft Plant Variety Protection Bill, approved by the cabinet early last year. If passed unmodified, the bill is likely to entrench the rights of breeders and companies while curtailing the rights of small farmers to exchange, save and breed new varieties using hybrid seeds.
Uganda: Biodiversity: Exposing ''The African Green Revolution''
Uganda’s major trade partners are not only looking for food markets but also for seed markets. This has happened in a push that has been packaged as ‘‘the new green revolution’’ by corporations involved in biotechnology and chemicals. They have been supported by philanthropic organizations, notably the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Africa: Evaluating the seven African 'success stories'
This paper evaluates the seven presumed African success stories: Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, Ghana, Tanzania, Mozambique and Uganda. It gives a detailed analysis of the economic, political, governance and human development scenarios in each country, and identifies the emerging challenges.
Africa: Herpes treatment in Africa: time for a rethink?
Giving people with genital herpes an advance supply of anti-herpes medication and instructions on how to recognise the early signs of a herpes attack may be the most effective way of limiting the spread of HIV in Africa through herpes lesions, doctors from the United Kingdom and South Africa argue in a recent edition of The Lancet.
Africa: HIV and malaria important causes of maternal death, study shows
Efforts to reduce maternal mortality in Africa are not being driven by evidence, say Spanish and Mozambican reasearchers, after an autopsy study published this week in PLoS Medicine revealed that half of mothers died of infectious causes and just under one in seven died of HIV-related causes. Common obstetric complications accounted for just 38% of deaths during pregnancy, labour or after delivery.
Global: Another setback for microbicide research
The first microbicide candidate to reach the final phase of testing has failed to prevent HIV transmission, researchers announced this week. Testing of the microbicide, Carraguard, was carried out over a three-year period on 6,000 women in South Africa, and was completed in March 2007. But there was no difference in HIV infections between women in the group using Carraguard compared to the placebo group.
Global: WHO narrows down second-line ARV options
As developing countries scale up their antiretroviral (ARV) treatment programmes, more and more people living with HIV are expected to develop resistance to their drug regimens and will need second-line medicines. Many second-line drugs are either unavailable or prohibitively expensive in developing countries, and doctors often lack experience or knowledge of what combination of second-line ARVs to prescribe.
Kenya: Blood donors encouraged to learn HIV status
Blood donation drives held in Kenya in recent weeks to meet the need created by post-election violence have highlighted the shortage of regular blood donors and the problem this creates in public healthcare, say officials from the national blood transfusion service. "We realise people have a lack of confidence in their health status that generates the fear to donate blood," said Stranslaus Onyango, assistant programme officer at Hope Worldwide Kenya.
Rwanda: Cutting edge HIV/AIDS prevention presents challenges
Certain medical workers in Rwanda have expressed concern about the country's campaign to promote male circumcision as a means of curbing the spread of HIV. They fear that in a country with low levels of knowledge about sexual health, people could mistakenly believe the procedure offers complete protection against the virus. An epidemiologist based in the capital, Kigali, said there was a risk of "a bloodbath in the country once circumcision is taken as an anti-AIDS measure."
Africa: African lesbians, feminists to gather in maputo
The Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL) with LAMBDA, which is a gay organisation in Mozambique, is hosting a third Leadership Institute conference in Maputo, Mozambique. Taking place between 24 and 29 February, the conference will discuss among other things the work that CAL does, the African Feminist Charter of Principles, HIV and Aids, gender, sexuality and violence against Women.
Senegal: Anti-gay protesters teargased
Senegalese police clashed with hundreds of people protesting against the publication of photos of an alleged wedding betwen two men in the country. Police fired teargas to contain the large crowd. A local magazine, Icone, broke the story in early February. The publication followed arrest and detention of homosexuals who were later released without charge. Icone's editor claimed he has since received several death threats for exposing homosexuals in a society where they face social stigma and blackmail.
Global: Civil society to prepare for the Durban Review Conference
FORUM-ASIA and International Movement Against All Forms of Racial Discrimination (IMADR) will organise the 1st Regional Workshop on the Durban Review Conference (DRC) 2009. About 30 representatives of civil society organisations are expected to attend the event, which will be held from 25 to 26 February in Bangkok. They two organisations will facilitate civil society consultation and participation in response to the DRC.
South Africa: Paying the price for mining
One legacy of South Africa's extensive mineral deposits is the infrastructure and wealth of the country. But another more troubling legacy is emerging as an increasingly urgent problem: environmental contamination from over 100 years of mining that could severely pollute the country's water, affecting the food chain and citizens' health.
Swaziland: The myth of sustainable plantations
Swaziland’s timber plantations have been held up as a model of sustainable forestry management, where other plantations around the world are considered to have had negative environmental and social impacts. However, the authors of this report argue that these plantations are sustainable in the narrowest sense of the term, that of “long-term productivity” rather than “sustainability” as it is understood in a development context.
Africa: Climate change 'poses drought risk for Africa'
Climate change could pose a new threat to food-insecure Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the USAID Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET). Christopher Funk, a geographer-climatologist from the University of California Santa Barbara and member of FEWS NET, presented their draft Climate Change Impact Report at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Boston, United States
Madagascar: Cyclone kills 22
At least 22 people have been confirmed dead a week after cyclone Ivan struck Madagascar. It has also left thousands of people homeless and displaced in the north-west town of Anosimahavelona. The announcement of further three of heavy rains by weather forecast officials has already caused panic in many parts of the Indian Ocean, including the capital, Antananarivo. These places are already affected by floods.
Liberia: Community radio station closed down
Following a management dispute, SMILE FM, a community radio station based in Zwedru, a north eastern-town, about 643 kilometres from Monrovia, the police on February 20, 2008 closed down the station.
Following a management dispute, SMILE FM, a community radio station based in Zwedru, a north eastern-town, about 643 kilometres from Monrovia, the police on February 20, 2008 closed down the station.
Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)’s correspondent reported that the Acting Superintendent of police in the area, Tarley Dweh and his Commander stormed the premises and closed the station at about 12 midday.
The station’s Advisory Board had in January suspended the Station’s Manager, Victor Gbeyeah following a recommendation of a committee that probed the station. The committee’s report indicated that Gbeyeah had misappropriated funds of the station.
Gbeyeah rejected the committee’s findings and complained to the local authorities.
The MFWA correspondent said for fear of losing their influence on the station, the authorities dissolved the Board which had been constituted by the community.
Set up in the year 2000 by citizens of Grand Gedeh County, SMILE FM had been the main source of information for the community.
Prof. Kwame Karikari
Tel: 233 21 242470
Fax: 233 21 221084
Email : email@example.com
Website : www.mediafound.org
Somalia: Media house attacked, journalists' equipment confiscated
The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) condemns the attack carried out by armed forces of the Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) at the offices of Waayaha Press, a Mogadishu-based privately owned weekly newspaper. On Tuesday, 19 February 2008, security forces, who were conducting security related operation in Bakara market, came into the offices of Waayaha Press and ordered the management and the journalists to move into one side and searched the offices, according to the management of the media house.
Cameroon: Minister bans Equinox TV
Cameroon's Minister of Communication, Jean Pierre Biyiti Bi Essam, signed on Thursday a ministerial order banning the Douala-based and private TV station Equinox. According to the ministerial text, Equinox has been tagged with carrying out “irregular activities in their station”, the text read. The text was also read, exclusively on the government controlled radio and TV, Cameroon Radio and Television, CRTV.
Tunisia: Government lifts ban on several controversial books
In a decision welcomed by Tunisian researchers and novelists, the Ministry of Culture announced that several works previously banned by the Censorship Department will be freed for publication. The Arab Institute for Human Rights (AIHR) confirmed on Monday (February 18th) that Tunisia would lift the ban on books which have been held in a legal limbo for years.
North Africa: New Arab media charter seen as censorship tool
A new charter to regulate satellite television networks adopted recently by Arab information ministers is under attack in the Maghreb. Critics see the measure as an attempt to censor Arab media and render political dissent impossible.
Uganda: Rebels walk out of peace talks
Ugandan rebels have walked out of peace talks because the government refused their demands for senior government posts, a rebel spokesperson said on Friday. The two sides have been meeting in Sudan-mediated peace talks since July 2006 in an effort to resolve a brutal 20-year insurgency in northern Uganda. Earlier this week, the talks took a major step forward with an agreement on how to prosecute alleged war crime
Somalia: Security Council extends African Union mission by six months
The Security Council has extended for another six months the African Union-led mission in Somalia, which has been helping the war-wracked country that has not had a functioning government since 1991 to achieve national reconciliation and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid. Established in February 2007, AMISOM is also tasked with providing protection to the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs) to help them carry out their functions of government, and security for key infrastructure.
DRC: UN probes killings by Government forces, rebels in the east
The United Nations peacekeeping operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has said that it is investigating human rights violations committed by both Government troops and rebel groups in the eastern part of the strife-torn nation. The human rights section of the mission, known by its French acronym MONUC, has positively identified eight victims, including three children, who were killed by Congolese Army soldiers on 2 January in a village near Goma, the capital
DRC: Rebels halt participation in ceasefire body
Congolese Tutsi rebels said on Friday they were suspending participation in an east Congo ceasefire commission until an independent inquiry was launched into United Nations allegations that they massacred civilians. The move announced by renegade Tutsi General Laurent Nkunda marked the latest hitch in a ceasefire accord for eastern Democratic Republic of Congo signed on January 23 by Nkunda's rebels, the government and rival militia groups.
Kenya: Armed and Dangerous
Kenya is at risk of plunging into a new wave of violence, despite progress in negotiations to end a political crisis, because several armed groups are mobilising on all sides of the country’s ethno-political divisions, according to the International Crisis Group (ICG) think-tank. Firearms are much less widely available in Kenya than in neighbouring countries. In the context of this article, “armed groups” include those using machetes, spears, poison arrows and clubs.
Africa: Course on Online Educational Resources
Wikiversity is organising an online course “Composing free and open online educational resources”. Starting on March 3, 2008, the course is designed for teachers and teacher-students who do not have prior knowledge or skills related to free and open education resources.
Africa: Indian Ocean islands agree a scheme to connect themselves by fibre
A meeting of the members of the Indian Ocean Commission in Addis Ababa last week decided to give the go-ahead to connect their island-members by fibre to each other and the rest of the world. The connecting cable would be available on non-discriminatory terms and under a low-cost, high volume regime. The project has its origins in a consultants’ study started in mid 2007 and completed at the end of last year. The study looked at the likely demand from the different island members and the technical and financial feasibility of the project.
Africa: Kigali Protocol comes into force
The protocol on policy and regulatory framework for NEPAD ICT Broadband Infrastructure Network, known as the Kigali protocol, came into force on 13th February 2008, after His Excellency Dr Bingu Wa Mutharika, President of the Republic of Malawi put pen to paper in Lilongwe, Malawi. Malawi thus became the seventh country to ratify the protocol. Other countries that have already ratified the protocol are: Lesotho, Mauritius, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. Ratification by seven countries was the majority needed to bring the protocol into force.
Africa: African Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowships (ADDRF)
Pambazuka News Editors
The African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), in partnership with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Ford Foundation, is pleased to announce the African Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowships (ADDRF), a new fellowship program to support doctoral students at African universities whose theses address issues relating to heath systems strengthening in Africa.
The African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), in partnership with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Ford Foundation, is pleased to announce the African Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowships (ADDRF), a new fellowship program to support doctoral students at African universities whose theses address issues relating to heath systems strengthening in Africa. One of these fellowships will support doctoral research that focuses on the broad field of sexuality research. The deadline for applications is March
The ADDRF will award a maximum of 16 fellowships in the first year.
These fellowships will be awarded to advanced doctoral students who are within two years of completing their doctoral thesis at an African university. Dissertation topics addressing health systems-related issues or sexuality from any disciplinary perspective are eligible for consideration.
Potential applicants are welcome to send queries and applications to the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Global: Critical Half - Call for submissions
Women for Women International, a non-profit humanitarian organization, seeks submissions for the Fall 2008 issue of its bi-annual academic journal, Critical Half. This issue will focus on global women’s movements and women’s movements globally in various contexts, including politics, women’s rights, social change, religion, and economic endeavors. Women’s movements may be global in their organization or effects, as in the international feminist movement, or they may be global in their concerns but local or ‘grassroots’ in their organization and immediate impact.
Global: Grant available: PhD and Post-Doctoral - Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology
The Institute has the opportunity to fill alternatively 1 PhD Grant, or 1 postdoctoral Grant Starting May 2008 (negotiable). The grant is to be awarded in the context of the Max Planck Fellow Research Group "Law, Organizations, Science, and Technology" (LOST) headed by Professor Richard Rottenburg (Max Planck Fellow). The current research focus is on "Biomedicine in Africa". Special attention is given to medical practice and argumentation in juridical contexts such as in the control of epidemics, the legitimisation and legalisation of diagnostic and healing practices, intellectual property rights, medical evidence in various forms of courts of justice etc. (for more details see http://www.eth.mpg.de/)
Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology
Our Institute has the opportunity to fill alternatively one of the following positions 1 PhD Grant, or 1 Postdoctoral Grant Starting May 2008 (negotiable)
The grant is to be awarded in the context of the Max Planck Fellow Research Group "Law, Organizations, Science, and Technology" (LOST) headed by Professor Richard Rottenburg (Max Planck Fellow). The current research focus is on "Biomedicine in Africa". Special attention is given to medical practice and argumentation in juridical contexts such as in the control of epidemics, the legitimisation and legalisation of diagnostic and healing practices, intellectual property rights, medical evidence in various forms of courts of justice etc. (for more details see http://www.eth.mpg.de/)
PhD Grants are generally awarded for 2 years, with the possibility of two six-month extensions. We expect our PhD students to complete a year-long period of fieldwork as part of their studies. Postdoctoral Grants are for two years (a one-year extension is possible). Postdoctoral Grants can only be awarded to scientists who have received their doctorate within the last ten years. The grants are not taxed and are free from social security stipulations. Applicants should have an anthropological background with at least some experience in Science & Technology Studies, or an S&TS background with at least some anthropological experience. Good field research skills, the ability to work in a team, communication skills with good written and spoken English are required.
Individuals with disabilities will be given priority, assuming equal qualifications. The successful candidates must take residence in Halle.
Applications should include the standard documentation and a project proposal referring to the research agenda of LOST.
I) Standard documentation includes:
- a cover letter
- a CV including a list of publications
- a project proposal (five pages only)
- photocopies of university degrees
- names of 2-3 referees, whom Prof. Rottenburg may contact II) The primary regional focus is on Africa III) There is no application form to be filled out.
VI) Applications may be submitted by email.
Final selection will be made following interviews as soon as possible.
Please send applications to the following address by 17th March 2008:
Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Personnel Administration, P. O. Box 11 03 51 D - 06017 Halle/Saale, Germany; or email to: email@example.com
Informal enquiries concerning the project may be directed to Prof.
Richard Rottenburg (firstname.lastname@example.org).
-- Dr. Thamar Klein Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology PF 11 03 51 D-06017 Halle/Saale Germany Phone + 49 (0)345/2927-191 Fax + 49 (0)345/2927-502
Global: WWSF Prize for women’s creativity in rural life
The Women’s World Summit Foundation cordially invites you to submit nominations for its 15th annual PRIZE for women’s creativity in rural life, honouring creative and courageous women and women’s organisations working to improve the quality of life in rural communities around the world. Deadline: 31 March 2008.
2008 CALL FOR NOMINATIONS
WWSF PRIZE for women’s creativity in rural life
The Women’s World Summit Foundation cordially invites you to submit nominations for its 15th annual PRIZE for women’s creativity in rural life, honouring creative and courageous women and women’s organisations working to improve the quality of life in rural communities around the world.
Since inception of the prize program in 1994, 331 Laureates have been honoured for their creativity with a cash donation of US$ 500 each and US$ 3000 for established organizations in Africa. All Laureates and their profiles are published on our web site http://www.woman.ch/home.php A travelling exposition is giving visibility to all the prize winners which has recently been exhibited at the United Nations in Geneva during a Human Rights Council session. Deadline: 31 March 2008.
International Journal of Transitional Justice: Journal fellow support programme
The International Journal of Transitional Justice (IJTJ) is pleased to announce the introduction of a Journal Fellows Support Programme aimed at increasing the publication and dissemination of pieces from south-based transitional justice practitioners and scholars. The Programme will provide the opportunity for five applicants to develop their writing, analytical and comparative content skills through a short training workshop followed by a one year e-mentorship by leading scholars and practitioners in the field globally as well as the IJTJ Editorial team.
Africa: Sub-Regional Methodological Workshops for Social Research in Africa
The 2008 session of the CODESRIA sub-regional methodological workshops will explore the conditions for the employment and validation of qualitative perspectives in African contexts. To this end, the workshops will be open to all the social research disciplines. These disciplines are uniformly confronted with broadly similar difficulties of understanding social reality and the challenges posed by techniques of data collection and analysis, which, on account of their “qualitative” nature, are suspected by some to be seriously lacking in scientific rigour.
Sub-Regional Methodological Workshops for Social Research in Africa
2008 Session for Central Africa
Theme: Fields and Theories of Qualitative Research
Dates: 16—20 June, 2008
Venue: Université de Douala, Douala, Cameroon
CALL FOR APPLICATIONS
One of the major weaknesses of contemporary social research in and about Africa is its lack of careful attention to epistemological and methodological issues. This weakness has made itself manifest at a time when the increasing complexities of the social dynamics that shape livelihood on the continent and the wider global context call for a greater investment of effort in the refinement of the procedures and instruments of investigation and analyses with a view to achieving a more accurate and holistic assessment of rapidly changing realities. But instead of such an investment of effort, we are increasingly witnessing an astonishing neglect or misapplication of theory and method on a scale and with a frequency that calls for intervention. At one level, the neglect that has taken place has comprised a serious trivialisation of basic research protocols and their reduction to a fetishistic evocation of superficial recommendations thinly disguised with ritualistic appeals to rigour that are not reflected in the analyses undertaken. At another level, methodological issues have simply been instrumentalised in ways that ensure that narrow ideological considerations and pre-determined outcomes take precedence over science. Furthermore, it is not uncommon to come across studies in which methodological questions are outrightly ignored in the name of an alleged specificity or immediacy that amounts to the exclusion of African social realities from universal debates on the validity of scientific frames of analyses. The result is that in those debates, studies produced on Africa come across as a mix of purely literary discourses without an empirical anchorage or anecdotes hidden under a “scholarly” discourse that is not only pretentious but also vacuous. Consequently, the knowledge produced is bereft of heuristic value and simply becomes an element that, wittingly or unwittingly, justifies a predetermined set of economic, political and social policies. This is clearly not an acceptable state of affairs, if only because it impoverishes African social research. It is, therefore, high time that the social research community revisited and discussed the methodological foundations of current knowledge about Africa in order first to put an end to scientific impunity as it manifests itself within and outside Africa, and give a new impulse to the African social sciences through support programmes targeted at younger researchers.
The future of young social researchers begins with an excellent mastery of core research processes and their patient application to concrete situations as demanded by their work in the field, the archives, and the library. Unfortunately, the combination of the prolonged crises in African higher education systems and the poor example set in the writings of an increasing number of Africanists who have succumbed to the temptation to take liberties with methodological rigour mean that younger African researchers are poorly served in matters of training for independent social research. It is for this reason that the CODESRIA Secretariat has decided to convene young African researchers to methodological workshops on epistemological and methodological issues in social research designed to fill the gaps in their formal and informal training. The workshops are meant to serve as a critical space that would offer experience-sharing in the basic epistemological and empirical prerequisites for rigorous scientific imagination. The workshops will not only offer insights into the current state of the art but also provide an occasion for a critical review of contemporary research procedures, tools and theories as seen from an African perspective. The major question which the workshops will address can be summarized as follows: How can the researcher productively establish a link between dominant theoretical approaches and concrete situations in the field whilst simultaneously taking into account the state of knowledge, the techniques to be mobilized, and the evolution of African societies? In answering this question, the workshops will privilege qualitative research methods and tools on the basic premise that the popular tendency to oppose quantitative and qualitative methods is due to a wrong assumption that the former offers an exactness and “hardness” which the latter is supposedly too “soft” and “fickle” to match. Without diminishing the importance of quantitative research and methods, participants in the workshops will be encouraged to explore qualitative methods of capturing African social dynamics which do not always or often find expression, fully or partially, in figures and which are, therefore, lost to those who are wedded to rigid and exclusively quantitative approaches.
The 2008 session of the CODESRIA sub-regional methodological workshops will explore the conditions for the employment and validation of qualitative perspectives in African contexts. To this end, the workshops will be open to all the social research disciplines. These disciplines are uniformly confronted with broadly similar difficulties of understanding social reality and the challenges posed by techniques of data collection and analysis, which, on account of their “qualitative” nature, are suspected by some to be seriously lacking in scientific rigour. Each workshop will have the following concerns at its core:
i) A critical assessment of the distinction between “quantitative” and “qualitative” research with particular attention to the question of measurement in the social sciences. Participants will be taken through presentations and exercises aimed at showing that the mode of processing data that is collected depends both on the field constraints encountered and the paradigmatic options of data interpretation that are available. The procedures for the “quantification” of “qualitative” approaches will also be reviewed through discussions on the distinction between the non-metrical and “comprehensive” presentation of data and the more mathematical renditions favoured by the quantitativists;
ii) A presentation of the methodological principles of “object construction” which enables the researcher to transcend the illusions of immediate knowledge and undertake a hypothetical reconstruction of social reality. This demands that the status of the researcher, as well as the systematic role of theories and tools be subjected to intense epistemological control; and
iii) An assessment of various techniques of data collection and “fact-finding” instruments available to the researcher. The usual tools of qualitative research such as interviews, observation, archival studies, and the less usual ones such as photography, will be reviewed, so as to locate their potentiality for construction of successful research projects.
The Central Africa edition of the methodological workshops is designed for doctoral students and young, mid-career African researchers resident in Central Africa. The working language to be employed during the workshop is French. The session will be led by a director who will be assisted by a team of three lecturers, all with an acknowledged expertise in the application of social science research methods. Senior researchers wishing to be considered for a role as resource persons are invited to send an application which indicates their interest and includes their current CV and an outline of issues they would like to cover in four lectures of two hours each. The outline submitted should be detailed enough to enable the director of the workshop compile a syllabus for the guidance of the resource persons and laureates. Apart from the actual preparation of lectures and field visits, the resource persons will also be expected to submit a bibliographic list of texts relevant to the theme of the workshop and which can be made available to the laureates.
As to the advanced postgraduate scholars and younger, mid-career researchers wishing to be considered for participation in the workshop, they are also required to submit an application that should comprise the following:
i) A letter of motivation which should also clearly indicate the area of research or topic on which they are working;
ii) A statement of their research project (maximum of three to five pages) stating clearly the problematic that is being addressed, the kinds of field research to be undertaken, the theoretical and methodological framework being used, as well as the methodological and epistemological problems encountered;
iii) A detailed and up-to-date curriculum vitae;
iv) Two reference letters, one of which must be from the thesis supervisor and the other from the head of the department in which the applicant is registered. The reference letter from the supervisor is expected to address the relevance of the research project, the state of progress of the research and the theoretical and methodological approaches used, as well as the results expected. The reference letter from the head of the department is expected to attest to the qualities and academic potential of the candidate; and
v) A letter confirming the institutional affiliation of the applicant.
Applications will be selected on basis of the innovative nature of the research question being addressed, a commitment to gender balance that is central to CODESRIA’s institutional strategy, and the desire for a geographical diversity that will, in itself, constitute an important aspect of the learning experience at the workshops. Applications must be submitted by 30 April, 2008. They should be sent to:
SUB-REGIONAL METHODOLOGICAL WORKSHOPS
P.O. Box: 3304, Dakar, CP 18524 – Senegal.
Tel: +221-33 825.98.22/23
Fax: +221-33 824.12.89
Web Site: http://www.codesria.org
Global: 2009-2011 Rotary Peace Center - Call for Applications
The Rotary Foundation announces a call for applications for the 2009-11 Rotary World Peace Fellowships (RWPF) and January and June 2009 Rotary Peace and Conflict Studies (RPCS) Program sessions. The deadline for completed applications to be submitted to The Rotary Foundation for these sessions is 1 July 2008.
Global: Countering terrorism through human security solutions
The Jebsen Center for Counter-Terrorism Studies—with support from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation and co-sponsorship from the Conflict and Human Security Studies Program at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point; the Fletcher Institute for Human Security; the Feinstein International Center at Tufts University; and Synexxus, Inc.—presents a two-day conference, “Countering Terrorism in Africa Through Human Security Solutions” on Thursday, February 28 and Friday, February 29 at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
Global: Human Rights Short Courses 2008
The Human Rights Tools website now features more than 60 short courses and summer schools spanning 2008 and 2009, from the general introductions to very specialized courses on indigenous peoples, discrimination, women’s rights, and more.
Africa: Young Development Professionals - AKDN
The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) is looking for young development professionals for a number of positions in Africa which would give these professionals excellent exposure to cross sectoral development issues. These posts are particularly suited to development professionals seeking a unique and challenging international development experience. The individual would have an excellent opportunity to make a contribution to some of the most important challenges facing modern day Africa. Deadline: 14 March 2008.
Global: External Relations Advisor - UNIFEM
The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) seeks a senior professional to support its external relations strategy in order to strengthen understanding and support for work on gender equality and women's empowerment in the inter-governmental bodies - the UNDP-UNFPA Executive Board and the UN Commission on the Status of Women - and will also support UNIFEM's cooperation with its Consultative Committee. The Advisor will also cover other inter-governmental processes that are relevant to efforts to advance gender equality and women's empowerment. Closing date: March 03, 2008.
Global: Human Rights Specialist - UNIFEM
The CEDAW South East Asia Programme (CEDAW SEAP) is a programme of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), supported by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The Programme goal is the realization of women's human rights through the more effective CEDAW implementation.The programme seeks a Human Rights Specialist. Closing date: March 03, 2008.
Global: Network Facilitator: iKnow
The International Knowledge Network of Women in Politics, iKNOW Politics, is designed to increase the number and effectiveness of women in political life by utilizing a technology enabled forum to provide access to resources, expertise, dialogue, and knowledge creation on women's political participation. iKNOW Politics seeks Network Facilitator: International Knowledge Network of Women in Politics (iKNOW Politics) / UNIFEM / New York, NY, USA. Closing date: February 25, 2008.
South Africa: Gender Consultant - CIVICUS
CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation is one of the leading and most diverse international civil society networks, with members and partners in more than 100 countries and around 30 staff members from 20 countries. CIVICUS implements a range of activities focusing on strengthening civil society and its role worldwide. CIVICUS is recruiting a Gender Consultant to advise on the implementation of its Gender Policy and to consider related equality issues. Closing date of applications: 28 February 2008.
South Africa: Researcher post, three year contract - CCLA
The Centre for Culture and Languages at the University of Johannesburg, a new interdisciplinery centre in the Faculty of Humanities, has just advertised the
the post of Researcher. Please send a comprehensive cv, including current
remuneration, date of last increase, and the telephone numbers and email addresses of at least three referees to: email@example.com or fax: +27-11=5593173. Closing date: end February.
Researcher post, three year contract - CCLA
The Centre for Culture and Languages at the University of Johannesburg, a new interdisciplinery centre in the Faculty of Humanities, has just advertised the following post.The remit of the CCLA is to conduct research into African languages and culture.
Researcher: fulltime/ 3 year contract Post description: Researcher Requirements: a doctoral degree in humanities/social sciences preferably a field related to languages.
Experience in research. Publication record relevant to status.
Experience in research. Ability to work in a team as well as independently.
Recommendations: African languages, international academic links, postgraduate supervision.
Please send a comprehensive cv, including current remuneration, date of last increase, and the telephone numbers and email addresses of at least three referees to: firstname.lastname@example.org or fax: +27-11=5593173.
Closing date: end February
Sudan: Volunteer, Scholar Mentoring, Materials & Training of Trainers - Winrock Int'l
Winrock's Gender Equity through Education program addresses education and training gaps in Sudan by providing immediate educational assistance to girls, women, and communities while pursuing long-term impact by helping the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology (MoEST) ensure its policies are equitable and further operationalize its plans. The project is working primarily in Southern Sudan and the Three Areas. The volunteer will work with the Sudanese NGO to adapt and finalize mentoring tools, and will develop and deliver a Training of Trainers (TOT) for a cadre of trainers who will then train mentors in the project's target regions.
Fahamu - Networks For Social Justice
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