Pambazuka News 752: Causes and cures of global terrorism

The political crisis in Burundi remains unresolved and appears to deepen with each passing day. The government, regional leaders and the international community need to act before it is too late.

The regional civil society call for inclusive dialogue and commitment to sustainable peace in Burundi.

Alarmingly, it appears that the presumption of guilt is alive and well in international justice. Will this presumption be allowed to continue to smother the right to be presumed innocent? Will violations of human rights principles of fair trial be remedied? The successful survival of international justice depends on the answers.

Admissions are now open for the part-time Master's degree in International Human Rights Law starting September 2016. Various scholarships are available and successful applicants will be considered for any for which they are eligible. Admissions close at noon on 22 January 2016.

Please visit for further information.

Tagged under: 752, Contributor, Jobs, Resources

Pambazuka News 751: Drums of hate: Looking at the bigger picture

It is now 20 years since the dictatorship of Sani Abacha murdered renowned environmentalist, writer and defender of the rights of the indigenous Ogoni people of southern Nigeria, Ken Saro-Wiwa, and his eight comrades. What does his life and struggles mean for African people today?

As the lynching of Zerhom reminds us, any Black person living within Israel can easily become a victim of ethno-supremacist Zionism. Attacks by individuals and mobs are bolstered by the equally disturbing racist language of some Israeli politicians as well as the punitive anti-Black actions by the Israeli state.

International and Human Rights Watch are asking NGO’s across Africa to join the call to President Robert Mugabe, to investigate and resolve the circumstances around Itai Dzamara’s enforced disappearance. Below is a brief background of Itai Dzamara and the full text of the petition.

The West bombs other nations knowing what damage their powerful bombs can inflict on civilian populations, yet they complain when their civilian populations are targeted in revenge. The hypocrisy is beyond belief: As if the non-Europeans who are killed are not human beings.

Hate speech is on the rise in Kenya, reflecting deepening animosity based on ethnic identities. A number of politicians and other public figures have either been charged with or are being investigated for propagating hate. Social media is awash with virulent commentary. Clearly, the country has not learnt any lessons from the post-election violence of 2007/8.

Scores of Ghanaians from all walks of life have paid glowing tributes to three heroes for their exceptional contributions towards the development of the broad progressive movement in Ghana.

As China released its 13th Five Year Plan last week, there are key ingredients of China’s model of development, which African countries can definitely learn from.

The translated manuscripts present a revisionist view of early Atlantic slave trading, by showing that the human trafficking was a Portuguese creation. This challenges the accepted HIS-STORY that since the European slavers only moved the slaves from the African coast to their destination in the Americas, the supply side of the trade was entirely in African hands.

As another two men fight for their lives in hospital after being shot in the head shortly after midday today, some residents are calling for the army to stabilize the situation as violence spirals out of control at Glebelands Hostel.

Any project bears possibilities of unforeseen difficulties and surprises, but adequate preparation, good governance and transparency are key to managing these. Looking at a number of common mistakes from previous development programmes can prevent repeating them and remind of important lessons often taken for granted.

Rather than address the actual causes of dislocation, migration and the refugee problem, the imperialist states in Europe and their allies are seeking to contain the crisis within the oppressed nations which they have destroyed through centuries of enslavement, colonization, neo-colonization, super-exploitation and militarism.

Several international organisations have written to the World Bank president expressing their concern at the Bank’s silence regarding the arrest and detention of an Ethiopian who worked as translator for the institution last year. The organisations want the World Bank to intervene in case of Pastor Omot and his companions who face long prison terms on false terrorism charges.

Tagged under: 751, Contributor, Features, Governance

Debates about whether GM crops or any single technology are “good for the poor” or can “feed the world” are becoming tired. They tend to discuss GM technologies as if they can be isolated from the wider socioeconomic and political context.

While Russia's interest in sub-Saharan Africa is nothing new, Russian authorities have realized that it’s time to move back primarily to reclaim its economic footprints and to find old Soviet-era allies, but that step comes with new challenges especially from other foreign players and the changing internal political and economic conditions in Africa.

For over 50 years, we’ve been campaigning for human rights wherever justice, freedom and truth are denied. We’ve reshaped policies, challenged governments and taken corporations to task. In doing so, we’ve changed thousands of lives for the better. Join Amnesty at our new regional office in Dakar and you will too.

Tagged under: 751, Contributor, Jobs, Resources, Senegal

Pambazuka News 750: Legends: Ken Saro-Wiwa and Lauretta Ngcobo

A founding member of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania, a writer and liberation icon, Lauretta was an unstoppable patriot. She wanted to see her people liberated from poverty, ignorance and land dispossession. Her life in exile and her persecution by the apartheid colonialist regime testify to this fact. Rest in power!

People have lost so much; they have chosen to defend themselves from further losses. This is legitimate. However, there is a sense in which government has to take primary responsibility for the security of life and property of all Nigerians.

The problems facing the utility companies will only end when the economic problems underpinning the cedi slide are addressed. And these go beyond macro-economic stabilisation policies prescribed by the IMF/World Bank. What is needed is transformation of Ghana’s relatively low-value agricultural produce into high-value manufacturing activity.

In this statement to the press, Food Sovereignty Ghana have announced their intention to appeal against the ruling by the Human Rights Court, Accra, dismissing their application for interlocutory injunction on the commercial release of Bt cowpeas and GM rice.

Although the armed forces and police are firmly in Museveni`s control and have always served him loyally, he seems unsatisfied. The police have been massively recruiting and training unemployed youth called ‘crime preventers.’ But opposition parties have repeatedly complained that this militia is meant to harass them and bolster the ruling party ahead of the February 2016 elections.

Pope Francis arrives in Uganda at the end of the month on his first African trip. The church is taking advantage of the visit to make money from the poor faithful. And Ugandan authorities are doing everything to present a false image of the country during the visit. It is all hypocrisy.

Just like in the last election, the large number of Kenyans in the diaspora are unlikely to vote in 2017, despite that right being guaranteed by the constitution. The electoral commission simply has neither the logistical capacity nor the funds to organise diaspora voting.

By the end of the 1990s, significant portions of the African debt had been written off or re-scheduled. Today this problem is re-emerging due to several factors including the decline in commodity prices, growing class divisions and reliance on foreign direct investment. This year, Africa’s sovereign debt levels rose to 44 percent of GDP, a 10 percent rise from 2010.

Canada’s newly-minted Liberal government of Justin Trudeau took office November 4 and already the signs indicate we are about to see a new era in Canadian international politics.

For reasons best known to the Nigerian police, it has refused to accept that a person is innocent until a court of competent jurisdiction has declared them guilty. To the Nigerian police, an accused person is guilty and could be maltreated and/or killed before prosecution.

Prominent activist Nasako Besingi has been convicted after a protracted and controversial legal process on two counts of propagation of false news against the US agribusiness company, Herakles Farms, and two counts of defamation against two employees of the company. He faces three years in jail.

A variety of financial and military groups in the world are concerned about the existence of any model that represents an alternative proposal to the capitalist model, especially if it comes from a revolutionary country like Venezuela.

Within the next few weeks, the number of starving Ethiopians will balloon to 15 million. Some environmental factors are responsible for this food crisis. But the Ethiopian government has been leasing huge tracts of arable land to foreigners. And several months ago, leaked emails revealed that the Ethiopian regime, which is now making appeals for aid and external support, was paying an Italian surveillance firm to illegally monitor journalists critical of the government.

Ethiopia is in the grip of a famine once again, bringing to mind the shameful images of hunger splashed around the world by western media in 1984. But Ethiopians are not helpless. They have the power to act: not only to end hunger but also to give the world dignified representations of their own crisis.

Tagged under: 750, Amira Ali, Features, Governance

Madagascar is one of 27 countries around the world which continues to deny women the ability to confer citizenship on their children on an equal basis with men. Twenty MPs have committed to reform the current law.

The dust of the electoral contest in Tanzania is settling and, as expected, the winning party’s bigwigs are lining up for powerful state appoints even where they do not qualify. But it is time for the new government to immediately begin implementing its agenda for the good of all. On their part, Tanzanians must push the government to serve them as they surely deserve.

Former Canadian prime ministers are appointed to the boards of powerful multinationals to assist them penetrate African markets – mostly corruptly. They use their links with rulers on the continent to cut multi-million-dollar deals often at the expense of the local people. Yet, Canada and the west generally never tire of accusing African leaders of corruption.

Tagged under: 750, Features, Governance, Yves Engler

Allassane Ouattara started his second term as president of Ivory Coast on November 3. Having prioritized security and economic recovery in his first term, he now has the opportunity to definitively end the country’s legacy of violent political and inter-ethnic turmoil.

Will love triumph and invariably bring forth the passport to prosperity? This is the question that grips the reader from the first chapter of the novel. Sanya Osha adopts a simple and clear language to systematically unfold the tempo of this impressive storyline.

It is 20 years this week since the murder of internationally renowned writer and environmentalist Ken Saro-Wiwa and his eight comrades by the Sani Abacha kleptocracy in Nigeria. The struggles Saro-Wiwa died for remain unresolved not just in Nigeria but throughout the continent. His brutal death must continue to inspire a deep commitment to the true liberation of the masses of Africa.

Tanzania has been praised globally for undergoing orderly and peaceful elections since the resumption of multi-party politics in 1992. But the 2015 elections, whether in Zanzibar or the union, can hardly be categorised as free or fair, by any standard. The climate of intimidation, manipulation and intrigue began well before the official campaign period.

Pambazuka News 749: Whither Africa in the global order?

India-Africa cooperation that promotes economic and technological exchange and the indigenous transformation of Africa’s natural resources could help move the continent up the global value chain.

In the small absolute monarchy of Swaziland the struggle to get a decent education is connected to the struggle for political freedom. Student activist Njabulo Mazibuko has written about what implications this understanding has for himself and his fellow students.

As trade and investment relations of African countries with China grow, African officials must step up negotiations to secure benefits for their people and promote African businesses and investments in China to counter one-sided patterns. The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) is great platform for this.

President Kim's unorthodox public relations charm offensive that has successfully overwhelmed the senses of outsiders is matched in degree by the ruthless campaign of fear he wages that has at best silenced his internal critics or at worst forced vulnerable World Bank staff to praise his leadership.

Forget the SDGs. The time has come for millions of citizens in every country to collectively demand the universal realisation of basic rights – adequate food, housing, healthcare and social security for all – until governments significantly reform the global economic system to address the root causes of worsening global poverty.

There is a serious concern that Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration is targeting human rights groups, especially those that called for accountability for Kenya’s 2007-2008 post-election violence and those documenting security forces abuses.

President Kenyatta’s government is growing less tolerant of informed policy debate and dissent each day. This is immensely troubling. It is creating an atmosphere of state coercion and intimidation.

Prof. Mesfin has been the foremost Ethiopian public intellectual for at least the past four decades. His a book reveals his personal thoughts of an Ethiopia with a glorious past, an Ethiopia in political, social and economic turmoil today and the rise over the horizon of an Ethiopia whose best days are yet to come.

Africa’s comprador ruling classes and educated middle class are so compromised by imperialism that they are incapable of providing the revolutionary leadership required for the continent’s true liberation. The only possible alternative is that of the working people. They need an ideology, organisation and leadership to constitute an alternative political bloc.

Following threats to de-register 959 Kenyan NGOs, many working for good governance and human rights, CIVICUS, the global civil society alliance, and the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders–Kenya (NCHRD-K), call on Kenyan authorities to immediately stop the repeated harassment of NGOs and ensure a conducive legal and political operating environment.

Dear Editor,

I refer to the article in issue 747 of Pambazuka News about . I find this position very disappointing coming from someone as learned as Dr. Pheko. I'm sure he has made far better contributions to Pambazuka than this.

The problem seems to be that if the evolution hypothesis is true, it upsets what some people already believe to be true. I wonder why those who have accepted the so-called teachings of God are offended by (or feel sorry for) those who also treat creationism as a hypothesis. Aren't we all looking for some kind of proof rather than a leap of faith? Or are scientists just a misguided bunch trying to undermine the true believers?

C. Coyne

With the elections concluded in mainland Tanzania last week, President Kikwete has retired after 10 years in power. In that period, the high expectations Tanzanians had of him have largely been betrayed by his regime, which accelerated the country's integration into global capitalism. Kikwete leaves behind a struggling ruling party and his legacy could be tainted by perceived shenanigans that cast a dark shadow on the elections.

When it comes to maintaining U.S. imperial power and the rule of the rich, impunity is absolute. The congressional Benghazi hearings exposed not a single official crime, while suppressing vast violations of U.S. and international law. The domestic Obama doctrine makes inner city teenage “rioting” a federal concern, but the people that supply weapons to al-Qaeda in Syria and Libya are untouchable. Crime isn’t crime when it’s imperial policy.

Tagged under: 749, Ajamu Baraka, Features, Governance

Zanzibar’s election commission last week abruptly canceled all results of elections held October 25, which the leading opposition party said it had won. There are fears of political violence in the Indian Ocean island. Over 30 Zanzibar scholars now want the governments of Zanzibar and Tanzania to keep all of their citizens well and free from harm and respect electoral democracy.

In Tanzania, as in the rest of Africa, God is ubiquitous in politics. Victory at elections is attributed to him. While there is nothing wrong about being religious, tying political outcomes to Providence is problematic as it deepens the passivity of citizens and absolves politicians of responsibility to their constituents.

Mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse is accepted policy and practice worldwide. The UN recognizes the duty to report a child victim to the authorities. Yet instead of pursuing the perpetrators of the abuse of children in Central African Republic, the same UN has placed the whistle-blower under investigation.

Tanzanians did not have much of a choice going into last week’s elections. The contest was between a ruling party heavyweight and a former ruling party bigwig who defected to the oppostion only recently. Nothing earth-shaking in terms of policies. And now that the ruling party has retained the presidency, it is time for it and the oppistion to deliver to the citizens.

The devastation and looting of DR Congo involves a racket of local, regional and international tycoons, warlords, smugglers and pillagers. What is happening illustrates a crisis of leadership at all levels of human society, and the total destruction of the conscience, by putting money and/or profit above human life. That is how Archbishop Munzihirwa understood the crisis.

Buhari has the potential to make history: to be remembered as the leader who restored sanity to Nigerian politics; the leader who tamed unbridled corruption; gave the youth a reason to hope and the transformational figure who raised the leadership bar in Africa. But he may also end up as a ridiculous figure: just another politician who was all talk and failed woefully when Nigerians gave him the opportunity.

Pambazuka News 748: Quest for change: Education, elections and WTO

Circumstances at play in the current political and military crisis raise important questions about the efficacy of the peace building strategy adopted and implemented since 1992. They also raise questions about the responsibilities of both ruling Frelimo and opposition Renamo to maintain peace and stability. What went wrong with Mozambique’s peace building approach?

The ruling is a significant defeat for the Maasai of Loliondo who depend on raising and herding cattle in the harsh environment to earn their fragile living, and have had their main means of survival jeopardised by both international investors and their own government.

What started with rejection of the statue of a Dutch colonialist in Cape Town fast expanded to nationwide student protests against a racist, colonialist and classist education system that denies many South Africans the right to study. President Zuma finally respondend and turned an intended increase in tution into a 6 per cent cut for 2016, but this can only be a beginning.

The problem of increment of fees or commercialisation of education is taking a global character. The capitalist political class and policy makers are offloading the problems of the economy on the workers and working class youth, students inclusive. Yet in Africa, everyone keeps talking about the youth being the future of the continent and about the need to offer them the opportunities they need to succeed.

Pan-Africanism is part of African heritage. Governments to date have proven unwilling to implement this responsibility. That is why Pan-Africanism is the primary responsibility of Pan-Africanists, not governments. If it is to retain its integrity, Pan-Africanism should be wary of governments. If Pan-Africanism is co-opted and controlled by governments, then we are finished.

It is not enough to have a woman in power. German chancellor Merkel is biologically a woman, but her politics serve the white-male-dominant system.

The North American Delegation to the 8th Pan African Congress is holding a preparatory meeting to mobilize grassroots representation to the 2nd phase (to be held in 2016) on October 30?31, 2015 in New York City at Medgar Evers College. The first phase of the 8th Pan African Congress was held in Ghana in March 2015.

It is not surprising that the people who are rebelling against high fees and related injustices are Black students. These Black students are first part of the Black community and, whether they know it or not, their struggle is actually part of the broader struggle of the Black people as a perpetual underclass.

Tagged under: 748, Features, Resources, Veli Mbele

Miracles will not happen on Election Day anywhere in Africa. Important structural changes must be made before a true people’s revolution occurs at the ballot box. From the citizen’s point of view and from the perspective of concerned Africans who are working to realise honest democracy, elections must cease being events and become processes in which the citizen is fully engaged.

Collectively, these agreements make national economies hostage to global corporations that would enjoy extra-territorial protection. Moreover, the pacts are being negotiated without the due process of democratic participation of the people of the world.

The blacklisting of Ugandan musicians by their erstwhile fans is a pointer that Ugandans are utterly disgusted and disillusioned with President Museveni.

Obama has opened an economic and political channel to the White House and it is for Africans and others to exploit the avenue. With slightly over a year to remain as President, it is for the Africans to utilize that platform that Obama has created.

University students in South Africa who recently boycotted classes just before they were due to write their examinations for this year must be congratulated and encouraged. They have brought to the surface a subject which like equitable distribution of land and resources has not been treated with the seriousness it deserves.

The idea of indigenisation speaks to the need to put in place policies that anticipate trouble ahead both as the Ghanaian economy becomes more dependent on oil and as land resources dwindle relative to the growing population, projected to more than double to 60 million by 2050.

The planned increase is cruel and inconsiderate of the daily economic hardships faced by Nigerians. Any increase in electricity tariff will aggravate the living conditions of masses in every sector of the Nigerian economy.

KILOMBO UK is asking all justice loving Africans, and friends of Africa, to take action to secure the unconditional release of young social justice activists arrested and detained in Angola since June 2015 for reading a book about democracy.

As unfolding events in Africa show all too clearly, the scramble for resources, markets and investments has rapidly spilled over into a frightening militarization. A militarized continent continues to leave ordinary Africans in devastated conditions,

Free education is not only about money, resources, student to lecturer ratios, the end to the outsourcing, although it clearly does mean this. It also means an education that works towards freedom. It means working through legacies of apartheid difference that persist in the present.

In recent days there have been vicious attacks on and the looting of foreign-owned shops in Grahamstown in South Africa's Eastern Cape. Police have hardly anything to protect those targeted. In this statement, five women give a detailed account of their horrifying experience.

Hillary Clinton represented the public face of the CIA-Pentagon-NATO campaign of destabilization, bombing and seizure of Libya. After the Libyan government under the late Col. Muammar Gaddafi began a military response to the obvious imperialist-backed war of regime-change, the Clinton State Department engineered the passage of two UN Security Council resolutions which provided a pseudo-legal justification for the massive bombing of the country.

In a joint statement released and endorsed by nearly 200 organisations across Africa and India on the occasion of the Third India-Africa Forum Summit taking place in New Delhi this week, African and Indian civil society reminds their governments of the key issues at stake at the forthcoming WTO Ministerial which will take place in Nairobi in December.

Pambazuka News 747: Transition: More of the same in East Africa

Academic staff at universities in South Africa call on their colleagues at universities and tertiary institutions around the world, members of civil society, and all who have been fortunate enough to enjoy the benefits of higher education, to sign this campaign and stand with South African students in their struggle for a democratised higher education sector. Sign the petition .

The WTO is located firmly in an old ethical order which puts profit over people; where those in power make the rules to suppress the powerless; and where this iniquitous and unjust world “order” (disorder) is legitimised by the ideology of neoliberalism. Progressive people must defy this iniquitous system and overturn it; it is not reformable.

History has time and again shown that violence does not take place in a vacuum and until the ongoing issue of an illegal and brutal occupation is addressed, there is unlikely to be peace and justice for Palestinians and Israelis, Jews and Muslims in Israel/Palestine.

Due to a lack of faith in the state’s justice system, an angry mob set four innocent-until-proven-guilty young men on fire three years ago. That same judicial system is living up to the mob’s reasoning by its inability to secure speedy justice for the victims.

The head of the African Union is a woman. The Prime Minister of Jamaica is female. Brazil and Chile have female presidents. The Vice-President of Zambia is female. Female ministers and powerful officials abound everywhere. Women are rising in power.

Students are insisting that the social value of education must come before its commercial value. Just as land should not be bought and sold, so also education is not something that should be bought and sold.

What will it take to make the world shake its head and see that America is a fascist dictatorship, brutalising the world? Why in the arena of global sports is America welcome?

September is a sad month for the South African shack-dwellers movement Abahlali baseMjondolo. A number of their members have been assassinated in recent years by thugs associated with the ruling ANC party. This lecture is a tribute to a fearless Abahlali woman leader murdered last year.

Women’s roles in violent extremism are diverse and complex. Traditional stereotypes only create a misleading picture. Counter-extremism strategies are unlikely to yield expected results unless women are factored in.

South Africa is keen to strenghten its ties with Jamaica and other countries of the Caribbean in efforts to extend African solidarity. This cooperation is not only at the level of government. The two nations are pursuing increased people-to-people relations, especially those who are engaged in music, art, education and sport.

That population growth is necessarily a bad thing is no longer a sensible theory. It is labour that creates wealth. African nations that are witnessing a youth boom must concern themselves with how to take advantage of this growth.

This Sunday Tanzania goes to the polls to choose a new leader, after a decade under Jakaya Kikwete. What change, if any, could the winner bring? And will it be closer to, or further from, the socialist ideals of Mwalimu Nyerere and the nation’s other nationalist leaders?

The aim of the Legacy Project is to provide a forum and an engagement platform for issues relating to Africa to remain alive through culture, arts, youth clubs and the dissemination of books and works of leading pan Africanists.

The business of running a nation is a difficult one. But while the president is huffing and puffing to provide the services that the people voted him for, shouldn’t he surely stop a bit to entertain the citizens with a smart joke?

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Such acts at IBRD (See have been going on for several years. There is no doubt that the Bank has been mis-using and abusing the special privileges accorded by the US authorities. This cannot be left "as is". The entire grievance process is nothing but a Kangaroo court. The immunity privileges have to be withdrawn. No one is above the law.

This is the best time (election debate time) to put this issue up for the public eye. The Bank only sits up and listens when public pressure is put on them through proper channels. Submit your facts to the TV news stations hosting the debates and all the candidates standing for election.

Joseph Lopez

Political turmoil is already evident in Uganda ahead of general elections in February 2016, raising some concern about the East African nation that has a history of disputed elections and military takeovers. Various economic and political transitions have left Uganda without a national political and economic model that is people-centered or a political culture of peaceful transition.

Other scientists have proved their scientific theories beyond reasonable doubt. Evolutionists must do likewise. They speak of happenings of millions of years ago. But they fail to show convincingly how scientifically they have reached their conclusions.

This three-part series looks at the cooperative movement globally. Part I reviews the growing popularity of this form of economic organising. Part II will look at the history of workers cooperatives, especially in the African diaspora, as an instrument of self-empowerment and mutual self-help. The third part will explore the similarities and difference between workers cooperatives and investor owned firms - the bedrock of our current economic system - and how they represent an alternative way of organising economy and society, that promote economic democracy, employment and national self-reliance for 'developing countries'.

Three Ethiopian activists are facing trial under a draconian counter-terrorism law after trying to attend a food security workshop in Nairobi earlier this year. They are all involved in supporting local communities in ensuring food security and access to land, in a country where around one million hectares of land have already been leased to investors. If you're able to, please consider supporting their families. Click on this .