PAMBAZUKA NEWS 201: Zimbabwe: Elections, despondency and civil society's responsibility

The Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) is pleased to announce the fourteenth competition under its Small Grants Programme for Thesis Writing. The grants are intended to contribute to the development of the social sciences in Africa and the strengthening of the research capacity of African universities through the funding of primary research conducted by post-graduate students and professionals.

Tension eased in Niger on Tuesday as leaders of a three-week-old protest movement against a new tax on basic foodstuffs called off a 24-hour general strike in the interests of peace. Saouna Inoussa, a spokesman for the alliance of 30 civil society groups calling itself the Coalition Against Costly Living, said the stoppage had been suspended “to create an atmosphere of détente”.

The continuing stalemate between Ethiopia and Eritrea could lead to another war, a senior Eritrean government official said on Friday, noting that under international law, Ethiopia continued to occupy Eritrean territory. Under the Algiers Peace Agreement of December 2000 – which ended a two-year war between the two countries - they agreed to accept the decision of an independent boundary commission on where the border between them should be.

The United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone may be preparing for the final pullout of its peacekeeping force by the end of the year, but it seems, the mission wants to leave behind a clean record, in so far as sexual exploitation and abuse is concerned. "The mission has embarked on massive sensitisation of the peacekeepers in the area of sexual abuse," says Ansumana Konneh, an official of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone's (UNAMSIL's) civil affairs department.

The recent shooting death of an off-duty game ranger by poachers has reminded Southern African conservationists that the ''animal wars'' that peaked during the 1990s are far from over a decade later. "It's all about the natural wealth of the land, from wild game to water rights to the land itself - who uses it and who owns it,'' Ted Reilly, founder of the Big Game Parks system of Swaziland, told IPS.