Pambazuka News 391: Cyber democracy: an African perspective

BAE Systems, the British arms manufacturer under investigation in several countries for alleged bribery, paid at least £20m to a company linked to a Zimbabwean arms trader allied to President Robert Mugabe, documents seen by the Financial Times show. John Bredenkamp, who has indefinite leave to remain in Britain, has had a controversial career ranging from supplying military equipment to the Zimbabwean military to mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Tanzania is undertaking a US$10 million programme to modernise medical laboratories in regional hospitals to improve HIV/AIDS monitoring, Minister of Health David Mwakyusa has said. The programme was launched on Monday 28 July in Tanzania's commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, and is being backed by the Abbott Fund, the philanthropic arm of Abbott Laboratories.

Aid agencies working in a climate of heightened insecurity in Somalia have been forced to come up with inventive ways to keep their HIV programmes, and their staff, alive following the recent kidnappings of several foreign and local aid workers.

African Women’s Day gives us the opportunity to remember that gender-based violence is one of the most serious and widespread violations of the basic rights of women, particularly on the African continent. Gender discrimination is both one of the causes and an aggravating factor of the consequences of violence against women, thus contributing to the perpetuation of impunity of such cases.

A multi-billion dollar oil deal between China and the west African state of Niger has been denounced by unions and transparency campaigners. Civil rights groups in Niger are calling for a parliamentary inquiry into the $5bn (£2.5bn) contract and for scrutiny of how funds will be spent.