Pambazuka News 741: A deal with the Devil: Kiir, Kagame and Mandela

The incumbent will be primarily responsible for the leadership, management, research programmes, fund-raising and networking responsibilities of the Centre for Civil Society.

Tagged under: 741, Contributor, Jobs, Resources

By recovering and uncovering the links in theory and practice between democracy, human rights, and social justice, Professor Gould’s book opens a gateway into these connections in a way that reclaims democracy by refreshing its emancipatory promises.

Burkina Faso has a numerous laws, including a constitution, family and penal codes, and is party to international treaties, which protect the rights of women and girls. But enforcement of the law is a completely different story. A local organisation and its German partner are working hard to end FGM and other forms of violence against Burkinabe women and girls.

More than half a million objects are to be moved to a massive German museum now under construction. Many of these items were looted from Africa and now the argument justifying their continued holding in Germany is that they are shared global heritage. It is unacceptable.

The images of hundreds of thousands dislocated African Americans in public areas, buses and on warships awaiting removal illustrated the national oppressive and class contradictions within the world’s leading capitalist and imperialist state.

The renewed anti-corruption war in Nigeria will receive a big boost if the Buhari Administration considers examination malpractice as another battle to be won.

Drug trafficking is a global issue, and those responsible for it should be punished, but should those who use drugs for recreational purposes be punished? Does sending hundreds of small-time users to prison really help deal with the wider problem?

The final irony is that the regime’s oppression in Rwanda has proven so successful that the victims of the prevailing tyranny are the ones who call for its perpetuation.

I would like to comment on the articles by and

The announcement by the government of Ontario, Canada, that it would introduce regulations to stop the much-maligned stop and search practices by the police is deceptive. No regulations will protect the rights and dignity of Black people and other people of colour who are often targeted. The practice should be stopped.

Unlike the US or France, Canada is not a leading military force in Africa. But Ottawa exerts influence through a variety of means including training initiatives.

In Swaziland you can rarely find a company or government parastatal whose board of directors does not include a prince, princess, chief or the king’s business associate. It is an absolute monarchy where one’s opportunities and place in society are almost fully dependent on connections and willingness to comply with the decrees of King Mswati III.

The British Home Secretary seems to be working hard to end police brutality against Black people and other people of colour. But in reality, this is a political ploy that barely conceals her own deep hatred for Black people.

Carl Dix will be leading the #RiseUpOctober - STOP Police Terror & Murder, a mass mobilization in New York City, October 24, 2015. He has played a major role in exposing state-sponsored murder and mass incarceration of Black folks. Carl does not approach these issues from a theoretical perspective. He has experienced, first hand, the violence of occupation and the American empire.

The South Sudan state is dysfunctional. Public institutions are weak, while the nation’s oil wealth benefits regional power brokers and local elites. Scavenging foreign profiteers and NGO types retained by the government have dug deep to protect their interests. Peace deals are not enough to heal the troubled young nation.

Aylan Kurdi is dead. Many other Aylan Kurdis remain. Our outrage at this callous death should drive us deeper into a politics that calls for a drawdown of the violence in Syria and for a serious peace process in Libya, that forces us to be resolute in our fight against IMF and NATO destruction of societies and states.

Many efforts to restore Somalia to stability have proved disastrous precisely because solutions are imposed from outside and do not reflect the realities of the country. Usually there are no mechanisms to involve the Somali people – only warlords, some elites and neighbouring nations are consulted.

Ghana has won the Africa Cup of Nations four times. Gyamfi, himself a very successful player, was coach of the national side in three of those wins. He is a legend.

An intelligence document has surfaced claiming that the white establishment through the private sector has a huge influence in the running of the National Treasury and that the history of this influence dates back to the early 1990s when the ANC and the white, apartheid-founding National Party were in negotiations. The white establishment felt it was too risky to leave the running of the government solely in the hands of the ANC.

Pambazuka News 745: Celebrating the joys and costs of resistance

The South African Research Chair initiative (SARChI) in Applied Poverty Reduction Assessment is pleased to announce two new 2015 TrustAfrica / UKZN Post Doctoral Fellowships.

Tagged under: 745, Contributor, Jobs, Resources

Pambazuka News 742: #PunchBack: Resisting empire's war machine

Contributors should indicate their interest and focus of the selected piece by 15 September 2015. All full articles should be submitted by 15 October 2015.

Pambazuka News 740: 'Africa rising' as refugees die fleeing to Europe

Across South Africa today, women are still often the victims of human rights violations, despite their rich historical and present contributions to public life. Clearly, democracy’s unconscious choices has not radically altered Apartheid’s conscious policy choices.

The people of Mozambique are resisting the controversial agricultural development programme ProSavana, fearing it will cause environmental degradation and social displacement. Protest is targeting the neoliberal model of development that fails to spread benefits beyond elites and investors and instead deepens poverty and exploitation.

Massive displacement, state and paramilitary violence, assassinations of community leaders, disappearances and an invasion of traditional Afro-Colombian territories by U.S. and other European multi-national corporations who want the land that Afro-Colombians occupy and the minerals beneath the ground, are the new existential threats.

Tagged under: 740, Ajamu Baraka, Features, Governance

As migrants and refugees continue to die in their efforts to escape from war or simply to better their lives, and as the EU struggles to cope with the continued influx, what can be done to rectify the situation? Should the focus be on the traffickers who are getting rich off people’s misery or the European countries that are struggling with their own crises?

The deafening silence of political, traditional and cultural leaders, who have in the past positioned themselves as the guardians of African culture, on the atrocities arising from circumcision, is surprising.

Govier’s book does a good job of generating anxiety about the future of humanity and of victims, using serious restorative concepts which are very useful in Eastern Africa where there are consistent efforts to rethink the term ‘victim’.

Dear Editor,

Below is my comment on the article written by Sankara Kamara.

The problem with SLPP is that after losing the 2007 election to the APC the party reverted to live in the days of Siaka Stevens. Learning from our history that after Siaka Stevens took the reins of power in the late 60s, the APC fought to dismantle the opposition through an unprecedented violence. In less than a decade of Siaka Stevens and the APC rule, the opposition was completely dismantled and for the following two decades, the political system became a One Party affair. Has Sierra Leone fully recovered from this experiment? In his political slogan for the 2007 election, candidate Koroma preached that the next round of APC rule will be different but only for the country to be fooled. Every policy of the 2000s APC is not only a replica of the 70s, 80s and 90 APC but the new brand of APC leadership has decided to increase exponentially the repressive and corrupt practices of the old.

And so, as the APC has decided to repeat history, the SLPP has followed; fearing the imprisonment and loss of life from false treason trials, the SLPP have become invincible, hoping and praying for another savior to take the APC out. To the average opposition SLPP member in the country, no political pressure will take the APC out of power while on the otherhand, the APC is doing everything in her power to ensure that the savior is not born this time.

I will therefore agree with you in part that SLPP share the blame for the disfunctioning of the democratic system but I don’t believe that the APC will accept the role of a vibrant opposition to make democracy work for the good of the country. The APC leadership will not live with a check their misrule of the country. In our most recent history, Kabba called on the APC in opposition and challenged them to be a functional opposition by putting their house in order when the party was gradually disintegrating from internal squabbles. Will the APC challenged the SLPP to do likewise? Did the country experience any attack on APC offices during the SLPP rule? What justification can anyone give for the attacks on SLPP facilities which have become the order of the day since the APC rule took back power?

Yes, the SLPP has a fault but there is no doubt that the APC has control over the making of a dormant and toothless opposition. A vigorous opposition will only meet with more repressive APC who will careless for the loss of Sierra Leonean life in their determination to hold on to power. Truly, history is been repeated.

John Yanguba, MSCE, PE.

Kairos Palestine statement on continued confiscations of Palestinian land in the Cremisan Valley of the Bethlehem region.

Three years after the arbitrary executions of nine prisoners in The Gambia, there is still no response for the families. No one knows where the bodies are, whether they were buried or the motive for the extra-judicial killings that shocked the world.

Governments across Africa are obsessed with foreign direct investment. Yet every year the continent losses billions of dollars through illegal financial outflows connected with FDI. More money is lost through legal transfers of super-profits and foreign investors are responsible for distorting national economies.

Tagged under: 740, Features, Governance, Patrick Bond

Isn’t it a strange paradox that the death of a lion in Zimbabwe galvanizes global solidarity, whereas poor human beings fleeing misery and death are viewed with utter contempt? What is yet to enter the public discourse is the West’s complicity for the circumstances that generate refugees in the first place.

Canadian policy in Africa can be summed up in nine words: Do what is good for Canadian-owned mining companies.

The Mangrove Association, bringing together over 100 communities in El Salvador, has sought to create an egalitarian society where local democracy and environmental stewardship are key principles.

Tagged under: 740, Features, Governance, Jeff Haas

There is little doubt that Africa’s fortunes have improved considerably in recent years, although poverty, inequality and resource theft remain widespread. Leaders like Obama who have pledged to support Africa should openly fight the entrenched marginalisation of the continent at global decision-making fora.

The local organizing committee for the August national congress was driven by private gain, abuse of rules set by the global Pan African Movement secretariat and proceeded contrary to the legitimate and moral expectations of Pan African ideals.

President Buhari seems to have embarked on the war against endemic corruption with gusto. His recent appointment of a special advisory anti-graft team of respected Nigerians has met with approval. To truly lead from the front, the president ought to publicly declare his wealth and make other top officials in his administration do the same.

A global committee of activists campaigning for justice for the acclaimed South American intellectual has raised questions about the commitment of the Government of Guyana to let a commission of inquiry set up for the purpose run its course. The committee is concerned that there could be a sinister plot to derail the inquiry.

Haiti’s 9 August election was a sham. Although the popular Fanmi Lavalas party of ousted President Jean Betrand Aristide was allowed to contest after 11 years, the ruling party of the Western-backed despot Martelly hired armed goons who disrupted the election throughout the country. There are fears about what will happen during presidential elections next month.

Tagged under: 740, Features, Governance, Sokari Ekine

Having successfully advocated for US-led NATO wars in Libya and Syria "to stop the next Rwanda," Power has her sights set on the tiny, impoverished East African nation of Burundi, which has a highly geostrategic border with the resource-rich Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Pambazuka News 739: What democracy? Tunisia, Libya and South Africa

The State of the Union (SOTU) and the Southern Africa Trust (SAT) seek to hire a researcher(s) or research team/firm to conduct a research identifying key mechanisms of best practice for monitoring and coordinating full compliance to and implementation of African Union (AU) and Regional Economic Communities (RECs)[1] legal instruments and policy frameworks by African countries at the national level.

Tagged under: 739, Contributor, Jobs, Resources

In the midst of an economic crisis, embattled militia, persecuted citizens and fleeing refugees, the world can only watch as Libya disintegrates further. Can this battered and bruised country be saved?

Baba has seen it all and conquered all. He is one of Nigeria’s most decorated intellectuals and certainly one of Africa’s best gifts to the world. He is a man widely respected across Nigeria and widely honoured abroad.

Dear Readers and Contributors

Pambazuka News Team takes its annual break from 17-31 August 2015.

We would like to thank you most sincerely for your continued support that enables us to carry insightful, sharp and thoughtful analyses, making Pambazuka News one of the largest and most influential web-based forums for social justice in the Pan-African world.


Soil, not oil is not just an empty slogan but a statement of truth which the world must act upon. Oil is a wasting resource. It has wasted many lives and is now threatening the entire planet.

South Africa’s democratic system, heavily dominated by the ANC, could best be served by a genuinely democratic, mainstream trade union-based party, like Brazil’s Socialist Party. The time for Zwelinzima Vavi's United Front lobby to transform into such a party is now.

African women applaud the new “2030 Agenda” for having the promise of being truly transformative for women and girls around the world. But they are concerned about the lack of commitment by African governments to implement progressive laws, agreements and protocols.

By some estimates, Nigeria’s national oil corporation alone has reportedly lost more than $30 billion in oil revenue to corruption in the last five yeas, equivalent to the gross domestic product of more than 30 African countries. In this wide-ranging interview, Prof Wole Soyinka speaks about the lost potential in Africa’s most populous nation and the hope of creating a new society built on people-based values.

Tagged under: 739, Contributor, Features, Governance

In June Rwandan spy chief General Karenzi Karake was arrested in Britain in relation to war crimes and death of European citizens. A British court this week dropped his extradition case on technicalities. Karake’s boss, Paul Kagame, and his regime in Kigali celebrated the acquittal, but this turn of events only demonstrates that the nexus of money, power and big interests can override the quest for justice.

The civil society group is concerned that the recent approval is typical of GM decision-making in South Africa, which simply reiterates and summarises information provided by Monsanto, who has a clear vested interest in the approval. The government is under a legal obligation to apply a risk averse and cautious approach, which takes into account uncertainties and the limits of current knowledge about commercial production of GMOs.

The White world has justifiably exhibited intense righteous indignation at the depraved slaying of the 13-year-old lion known as Cecil, whose name conjures up the racist namesake who became the arch-colonialist of Zimbabwe. But why is there no similar international furore over the likely politically enforced disappearance of prominent activist and journalist Itai Dzamara?

What has the "democracy" so praised by the West and its apologists brought Tunisia? And why does the rise of Islamism seem so unstoppable? The answer lies in the way the two trends reinforce each other, even as they ferociously contend for the country's future.

The team is headed by Professor Itse Sagay, a prominent professor of law and civil rights activist. The Committee's task is to advise the present Buhari led administration on the prosecution of the war against corruption and the implementation of required reforms in Nigeria's criminal justice system.

President Obama has been fiercely criticized for his claim at a press conference in Addis Ababa that the Ethiopian government is “democratically elected.” The facts on the ground do not support him. But his message of hope to the continent was well received.

The families of the 37 mineworkers killed at Marikana on 13 and 16 August 2012 have filed civil claims against the Minister of Police in the High Court in Pretoria. The 37 families are represented by The Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI), and the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) and Wits Law Clinic.

Pambazuka News 738: Unmasking Obama, liars and zionists

As the world order is shifting towards multipolarity and the global economy is changing, Business School education needs a new mindset. The old elitism not only contributed to the global financial crisis but is overall Eurocentric and outdated as it ignores reailies and approaches of emerging nations.

More than 30 poor South African hostel dwellers have been murdered by thugs in recent months, in collusion with the police or without police doing anything to stop the killings and bring the perpetrators to justice. This is one of the clearest indications of the failed South African state.

As of 2014, 86% of the world’s refugees were hosted in developing countries. Despite the existence of clear international refugee law, and plenty of humanitarian posturing, there is in fact growing hostility to refugees in Western countries. The affluent nations owe refugees more than a moral responsibility.

The tide is beginning to turn toward justice. Despite receiving enormous political, diplomatic and economic support from Western governments, Kagame and his Rwandan Patriotic Front-led government have been subjected to increasing scrutiny and pressure for past and current crimes committed on the African continent.

During his recent visit to Washington, the Nigerian president failed to acknowledge human rights violations perpetrated by the country’s soldiers in the ongoing war against Boko Haram. And his defence of Nigeria's draconian law against homosexuality was disappointing.

The dissident Swazi student leader was released on bail after spending 14 months in remand prison for singing a pro-democracy song. He shares his experiences inside prison and his political convictions.

Chronic underfunding of tertiary education has reduced Nigerian public universities into shameful outfits that are incapable of discharging their responsibilities of teaching, research and community service. The government of President Buhari must quickly raise education funding to 26% of the national budget as recommended by UNESCO.

35 years after the union jack came down at Rufaro Stadium, a generation of young Zimbabweans are asking questions about, and forging their own, narratives and are re-imagining Zimbabwe. Who re-imagines Zimbabwe, for whom and for what, are going to be important questions as the country struggles to emerge from crisis.

China's huge infrastructural investments in Africa, the frenzied welcome for Obama to East Africa and the planned visit by Pope Francis to Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic in November are further evidence of Africa rising.

Recent statements from politicians and government officials give the impression that Germany is preparing to abandon the long-standing practice of denying responsibility for the genocide of 1904-1908 and is now prepared to characterize those wars of extermination as genocide. But has the German government adopted fully a new position?

Can you imagine a bunch of white players going to South Africa in the 1980s and partying it up, sending out tweets about how wonderful it is, and basically sending the message that the oppression of Black people in Azania doesn't matter? That it's not important? That's the message the players sent out by participating in the sham trip with zionists.

There is nothing that President Obama told Africans that they did not already know. Crucially, America is a major pillar of world capitalism that is entirely responsible for Africa’s numerous problems. But while Obama sermonised the continent, he conveniently forgot to call to question the predatory global power system.

It is about a month to the 100-day deadline the Buhari campaign set for itself to achieve a raft of pledges made ahead of the March elections. There are notable signs of progress, but the new administration must strive to achieve more for the millions of Nigerians who pinned their hopes on Buhari. The people themselves must remain vigilant.

Although apartheid is a crime against humanity under international law, no one has been prosecuted for it. That means criminals who perpetrated this evil system are still free. It is a problem that South Africa – and the world - needs to address, according to a new book.

The event featured music concerts, exhibitions, poetry, talks and discussions, films and art. The aim of the organizers was to bring together artists to speak in a multitude of voices about what matters deeply to them.

Professor Ellis was by far the most accomplished, productive and dedicated scholar of Africa of his generation, and his contribution will remain the gold standard with respect to modern scholarship on Africa.

The proposed law contravenes provisions of the constitution that require public participation in national affairs, a culture of openness and subordination of the military to civilian oversight.

Last week, President Obama declared that Ethiopia has a “democratically elected government”. That is the country where in May elections, the ruling party won all the 547 seats in parliament, thrashing all the 78 other parties. If there ever has been an election won by one party by 100 percent that is democratic, then there is indeed the famous purple cow that nobody has ever seen or the pink elephant that people like Obama see often.

No American president has the moral authority to lecture Africans about human rights, when America is itself so rife with egregious violations of the rights of Black people and when America supports criminal regimes around the world.

Does the Bible actually condemn homosexuality, as widely believed? How should Christians treat their gay brothers and sisters? What should be the correct teaching about this controversial issue? In this three-part article, a church minister who has considered this matter extensively attempts to answer these and related questions.

Tagged under: 738, Features, Governance, Harry Rix

Pambazuka News 737: How the West under-develops Africa

US foreign policy vis-à-vis Africa has always been transactional. The bottom line is that the value of Africa for the United States is essentially how to mitigate global terrorism and other issues like AIDS and Ebola that could harm US national security.

The young black woman from Illinois, an activist with Black Lives Matter, was stopped for a minor traffic violation, beaten, jailed and found dead two days later in her cell. The official explanation about her death is unacceptable.

In this interview, Devlin Kuyek, Senior Researcher at GRAIN, talks about a report that reveals how a Canadian agribusiness company, Feronia, financed by American and European development institutions, is involved in land grabbing, corrupt practices and human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In order to understand the broader significance of President Barack Obama’s July 2015 visit to Ethiopia more fully, we must put it in a historical perspective, argues Professor Seifudein Adem, associate director of the Institute of Global Cultural Studies at Binghamton University, United States. Tracing back the history of Ethio-American relationship is one step in that direction.

With about one billion people, Africa contributes very little to cause the climate problem but its people are among the most seriously harmed. The US, which accounts for nearly a third of greenhouse gas emissions now causing climate change, should lead efforts to heal the Planet.

The rare display of groundedness and humility by a sitting African head of state was enough to catapult Nyerere on to the path to canonization. His daring socialist experiment and the decision to leave office at the end of his term, something that remains difficult for African presidents, are significant highlights of his pro-people politics.

The East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project marks ten years of its founding this year. In that period, the organization has done extensive work in providing protection for human rights defenders, advocating against repressive laws and building capacities to strengthen regional civil society.

Burundi has received far greater vilification from the West compared to Rwanda which has supported rebels in neighbouring countries and whose government is accused of widespread assassinations and forced disappearances targeting the opposition and the media. Burundi appears to provide perfect cover for the odious Kigali regime and its backers abroad.

In the world of post-disaster funding, good intentions are at best simply not enough, and at worst, actually harmful. The crux is to be an engaged ally as much as a funder.

In Kenya, Obama pledged over a billion dollars in investments from the U.S. government along with U.S.-based businesses. Half of the investments will go to women and young people to promote entrepreneurship. Yet U.S. policy in Eastern Africa has been militaristic along with extraction of minerals, exploiting labor and agricultural commodities.

Joseph Kabila, the president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, faces a historic choice: Does he step down when his constitutionally limited two terms in office come to an end in December 2016, or does he succumb to the delusion of indispensability that is making the rounds in parts of Africa and try to cling to power?

The cause of Africa’s underdevelopment is well known: Imperialism. Yet heads of state, ministers and representatives have been strutting on the world stage promising to beat the old horse of poverty to death in Africa. Loaners and donors get on their high horses and with great fanfare issue the same old empty promises, sweep up their old broken promises under the rug and recycle the same old pledges about sustainable development and the rest of their meaningless litany.

The fight for the Palestinians is our fight. If the Palestinians are not liberated none of us will be liberated. We cannot pick and choose which of the oppressed are convenient or inconvenient to defend. We will stand with all of the oppressed or none of the oppressed.

Tagged under: 737, Chris Hedges, Features, Governance

In 40 years of self-rule Mozambique has undergone drastic political and economic changes, from a socialist one-party state and to a neoliberal democracy. The people of Mozambique have been plunged into – and survived – a civil war, political crisis and now the neoliberal appropriation with high economic growth but persistent poverty.

In a scenario reminiscent of the slave era, workers at this farm jointly owned by Zimbabwe and China have been exposed to high levels of a toxic chemical without adequate protection, in contravention of both local and international laws. Complaints have been met with deaf ears and some worker leaders have been dismissed for airing their grievances.

Pambazuka News 736: Obama in Africa: Embracing thug-rulers or the people?

As President Obama pays a visit to demonstrate his commitment to his brothers and sisters in Africa, he should bring with him a renewed commitment to help the continent adapt to climate change.

While there is real joy that Obama is visiting Kenya, this moment should provide another platform for progressives to push for the demilitarization of the relations with Africa. This calls for the dismantling of the US Africa Command, the withdrawal of the Special Forces from Somalia and the end of drone strikes.

The current relationship between Africa and Europe may seem to have moved past colonialism, but a dynamic of economic subordination of the first to the second persists. The vision of Eurafrica, in fact, is built on the legacy of colonialism and positions Africans as the eternal Other.

Tagged under: 736, Features, Governance, Marco Zoppi

The latest victim in the endless violence in a poor people’s residence in South Africa is a 55-year-old father of five who was chased and shot dead by a lone gunman in broad daylight. As in previous murders, the security forces deployed to the area were nowhere in sight.

South Africa’s ruling party has recently celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Freedom Charter. That document, conceived by white colonialists, legitimised the white robbery of African land. Liberation icon Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe was spot-on when he described it as “a colossal fraud ever perpetrated upon the oppressed, exploited and degraded people.” That is the Charter's legacy.

José Eduardo dos Santos - who shares with Equatorial Guinea's Teodoro Obiang Nguema the infamy of being Africa's longest-ruling president - is becoming increasingly tyrannical as his regime faces growing popular resistance. In this open letter, Angolan ward-winning investigative journalist and human rights activist speaks out his mind about the political situation in the oil-rich southern African nation.

The Bt cotton, which has no market, is just a way of getting the GMO foot in the door to pave the way for Bt maize. Most of the money made from Bt maize would exit Ghana, creating more wealth for foreign corporate interests.

July 22, 2015 is President Yahya Jammeh’s twenty-first anniversary in power. To mark this day, the numerous Gambians murdered under the Jammeh regime are crying out for justice in a joint letter to West Africa’s King of Impunity. These victims, who are tired of waiting for justice, have expressed their suffering in the absence of accountability for The Gambia’s violations of human rights, including freedom of expression and press freedom.

This year is the deadline for MDGs, and the global community is set to come up with new set of development goals SGs in September at UN summit in New York. The Addis Ababa 3rd International Conference on Finance for Development held last week laid a foundation for further conversation on how to end extreme poverty and pursue the other post-MDG goals.

Heroes are immortal. They seem more powerful in their spirit than in their mortal life. Their spirits become the fountain of inspiration to conquer the forces of evil, oppression and human destruction. Nana has joined heroes in the spirit world.