Pambazuka News 731: Agenda now, now: Africa’s total liberation

It is strange that a museum that is under permanent criticism for holding looted objects of others or objects acquired under dubious circumstances now presents itself as “guardian” of looted artefacts.

Despite the rhetoric about globalisation’s free flow of ideas, capital and technology, the world remains obsessed with restricting the movement of people who don’t fit into neat boxes of what is tolerable or even desirable.

To succeed as president, Muhammadu Buhari needs to quickly engage in deep and critical introspection to enable him re-align his personal strengths with the exogenous political, social and economic forces that invisibly rule presidential behavior in Nigeria.

In an interview, the editors of this new book say their goal is to counteract the dominant neoliberal discourse on climate change in Arabic, and point to the need for a revolutionary alternative grounded in justice.

The African Union position on Western Sahara is getting stronger day after day, but it also reveals all the weaknesses of Africa when it comes to imposing its own decisions and positions on critical issues.

Africa’s future is too important to be left to the African Union alone. Much more work needs to be done for ordinary people to own the process of the continent’s renewal, working side by side with the Pan-African body.

Tagged under: 731, Features, Governance, Steve Sharra

Pambazuka News 734: Ignored genocides: Hutus, Igbos and Palestinians

The goal of the Grants and Compliance Manager is to ensure smooth running of TrustAfrica’s grants administration and other compliance processes. S/he will maintain up to date grant records, ensure adherence to established industry standards and TrustAfrica’s policies and procedures; provide periodic analysis of TrustAfrica grants for internal and external audiences and technical assistance to grantees on all TrustAfrica grants related policies and procedures.

Tagged under: 734, Jobs, Resources, TA

Pambazuka News 730: Special Issue: Students discuss AU treaties

The strength of the agricultural sector affects the standard of living for a broad swath of citizens across Africa. Thus measures aimed at strengthening agriculture, such as the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), must be evaluated thoroughly. Inventing such programs is not enough; they must be effectively implemented.

Africa’s first women’s rights legal framework has the potential to benefit millions of women when governments not only ratify but also ensure its domestication in national laws, with accompanying resources for its implementation.

This special issue contains analysis of some of the AU instruments that are the focus of the State of the African Union (SOTU) campaign. The essays were among the best submitted by students at the University of Nairobi as part of activities to celebrate this year’s Africa Liberation Day.

Almost two decades after adoption of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, the record of adherence to its provisions across the continent is mixed. Some countries have made notable progress, but others show persistent serious violations of human rights.

Africa is the target of resource grabs by foreign powers that have remained active in the continent despite the end of formal colonialism. Natural resources are under threat from other forces as well. The African Convention on Conservation Nature and Natural Resources provides adequate guidelines for sustainable use.

Agriculture has the potential not only to feed all of Africa’s people but also to earn the continent revenues for development. There are numerous practical ways in which this can be achieved.

Young people form the bulk of Africa’s population and have great potential to transform the continent. National youth policies exist, in addition to the continent-wide protocol developed by the African Union. But these policies mostly remain on paper.

The New York City Bar’s Committee on African Affairs cordially invites you to a panel on:

The Dodd-Frank Act’s Reforms and Reporting Requirements

Tuesday, June 16, 2015 6:30 to 8:30 P.M. at the House of the Bar Association, 42 West 44th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues)

Conflict minerals in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) fuel conflict and finance armed groups committing horrendous human rights abuses. To halt this situation, Congress passed Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act requiring the SEC to adopt rules requiring publicly traded companies to disclose whether “conflict minerals” used in their products come from the DRC or an adjoining country.

If such minerals originate in the covered countries, companies must submit to the SEC an annual report describing the source and chain of custody of their “conflict minerals” (defined in the Act as columbite-tantalite (coltan), cassiterite, gold, wolframite, or their derivatives (tin, tungsten, and tantalum)). The second annual reporting date is on June 1, 2015

The panelists will discuss the effectiveness of the legislation, the reporting required by it, and the Court of Appeals’ decision on First Amendment grounds in the litigation that upheld most of the SEC’s conflict minerals rule.


HOLLY DRANGINIS, ESQ., Policy Analyst for the Enough Project, focused on the Democratic Republic of the Congo;
MICHAEL LITTENBERG, ESQ., a partner at Schulte Roth & Zabel, where he advises on the Conflict Minerals Rule and oversees SRZ’s Conflict Minerals Resource Center; and
ZORKA MILIN, ESQ., Senior Legal Adviser, Global Witness.
MODERATOR: ELIZABETH BARAD, ESQ., International Law and Gender Consultant

Co-sponsored by: Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice, (Alexander Papachristou, Executive Director); Securities Regulation Committee, (Sandra Flow, Chair); Financial Reporting Committee, (Michael Young, Chair); and International Human Rights Committee, (Elisabeth Wickeri, Chair).

The program is free and open to the public.

Please RSVP to [email][email protected]

Pambazuka News 729: Ritual democracy and a people betrayed

A major feature of the political crisis in Burundi is the violent activities of a youth militia allied to the ruling party. Similar party militias exist in Tanzania, and their involvement in the political scene ahead of elections in October is worrying.

Prof. Bodomo has produced an excellent book that will for years to come be the standard work for scholars. “Two points I will always retain are: the African who was surprised that the Chinese do not speak English and the complaint by some Chinese that the Africans are intensely dating Chinese women. What did they expect?”

Cameroonian poet Ngong issues an effective wake up call decrying the rapidly declining state of the environment. The volume is a battle cry, urging everyone to fight back against the forces—including human nature itself—ravaging the Earth.

The new book provides the world with the voices of indigenous Zapatista women as a new political element: one being created and theorized from their own place and history, with openness to worlds and perspectives beyond.

Kenneth Matiba, once a prominent politician associated with the struggle for the re-introduction of multi-party democracy in Kenya, is now an ailing old man in a wheelchair. He has sued the government for illegal detention, which caused his present illness. A tribute.

In a heartless case of police brutality, a Nairobi officer shoots dead a teenage boy in cold blood in a slum as the boy pleads with him to spare his life. Human rights defenders in the area are demanding justice.

President Kenyatta is steadily returning Kenya to authoritarianism. His government has tried to muzzle the judiciary and arm-twist County Governments. It has initiated repressive policy actions aimed at restricting the space of civil society, civil liberties, media freedom and independent critical voices.

Nearly 200 organisations from around the world have asked Nigeria’s new head of state to do everything in his power to bring back the girls captured and held in captivity for over a year now by the militant group Boko Haram. Read the letter .

The African Union is still heavily dependent on foreigners for funding. Yet this is the organization that should be working tirelessly for the complete liberation of African people from the clutches of imperialism. How can this AU push its agenda in the global arena?

Joint statement of the Civil Society Organizations Reference Group (CSORG) and the National Civil Society Congress (NCSC) on the continued state harassment and intimidation of human rights organisations and the alleged deregistration of Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI), Haki Africa and the Agency for Peace and Development in the pretext of fighting terrorism.

This is a day of meditation and remembrance in every Igbo household anywhere in the world for the 3.1 million murdered; for gratitude and thanksgiving for those who survived, and the collective Igbo rededication to achieve sovereignty.

A new study suggests that African diets, comprising an abundance of fruits and vegetables, high fibre foods, beans and cornmeal, and little meat, could keep away this health problem.

The returnees came from Yemen, haggard and tired, seeking only peace and tranquility. But the Somaliland regime refused them entry. What a shame!

His Excellence Mr Mohammed Salem Ould Salek, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Saharawi Arab democratic Republic

Keynote address: The latest development on the question of Western Sahara

Date: Friday 12 June 2015
Time: 14:00-16:00
Venue: Forum 150, HSRC, 134 Pretorious Street, Pretoria

Ambassador Maitland, Chief Director of the Central and North Africa Directorate at DIRCO
Presentation title: A renewed role of the African Union in Western Sahara

Ms Catherine Constantinides, Lead SA Executive, Archbishop Tutu African Oxford Fellow and Social Cohesion Advocate for the Department of Arts & Culture
Presentation title: The story of a forgotten people; my recent experiences in the refugee camps

Kindly RSVP by 11 June 2015 to Sam Lekala at [email][email protected]; Tel: 0123169753; Cell: 0823281464

The 24 May election was worse than a sham. In turning the poll into a process of complete elimination of the opposition, the government and the ruling party have loudly told the Ethiopian people that any hope of change through peaceful means is just an illusion.

In today’s Ethiopia, the government seeks to legitimize its rule by delivering on socio-economic aspects and justifying its actions against civil and political rights of citizens as a price paid for peace, stability and development.

Unsurprisingly, international reaction to the charade that was Ethiopia’s elections has been mild, with the West instead trumpeting the country’s economic growth. Oppressed by the regime for so long and abandoned by the world, the only option for change left to Ethiopians seems to be open resistance.

Instead of championing Afrika’s liberation from white supremacist monopoly capital, the African Union dedicates its time to fighting for Afrika’s integration into the global imperialist system. A thorough rethink of pan-Afrikanism in the 21st century is urgently needed.

Tagged under: 729, Features, Governance, Veli Mbele

This convention legitimises the view that real plant breeders wear white coats and work in a sparkling laboratory with the latest instruments, while projecting farmer breeders as barefoot, dirty and semi-literate. They are not real breeders and therefore have no rights.

Expectations are high that the new President Muhammadu Buhari will transform Nigeria. But while there is little doubt about his personal integrity and commitment, Nigeria is complicated. There is a crippling lack of confidence in the nation by its own citizens.

Tagged under: 729, Chido Onumah, Features, Governance

The aggrieved African wanted World Bank Tribunal judges to understand that Black people are human and suffer the same emotional and psychological damages that people of other races suffer when subjected to sustained psychological abuse.

Cuba's achievements are a testament to the transformation of the Cuban people. The self-determination of Cuba's revolutionary masses has actualized Che and Fanon's concept of a new humanity.

African ownership of African resources is important but exposing and dismantling financial imperialism, which prevents African economies from thriving, is the crucial second stage of African liberation.

The film is an indictment of those people who waged an illegal and criminal war on Iraq, and succeeds in conveying the anti-war spirit of 2003 by documenting and charting a crucial moment in the left's efforts to organise in order to stop the war.

Despite valid and widespread concerns about President Nkurunziza’s wish to run for another term, the alleged constitutional crisis in Burundi is imaginary. The root causes of the eastern African nation’s turmoil run deeper, concerning domestic and international political, economic and social issues.

Now that Nigerians have Buhari, how far his government goes will depend on how far Nigerians purge themselves of the counter-productive practices of the better-forgotten Jonathan years. Things will not work if business continues as usual. Things do not work that way - they never have!

The MDGs, rather than subverting existing colonial power structures, bolstered them. Furthermore, they are a diversion from the more progressive alternatives that many African and other forces from the global South propose.

A consultant orthopedic surgeon at the KorleBu Teaching Hospital, Ghana, Dr. Agbeko Ocloo, has written to the Spanish Ambassador protesting the refusal of a visa to him without proper justification.

The organisations say that African governments and international donors support to African agriculture increasingly focuses on the extension of corporate led food and agricultural systems to the detriment of small-scale food producers, who produce 70% of the food in Africa. Read the full statement .

Expectations on President Muhammadu Buhari are many and very high. But he must straightaway tackle the problems of endemic corruption, insecurity and the power crisis.

We are pleased to inform you that the Third Assembly of the African Grantmakers Network (AGN) which was postponed in 2014 will now take place from 1 - 3 July 2015 in Arusha, Tanzania and will be hosted by the African Women's Development Fund (AWDF) and the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS).

The international conference in Barbados hopes to bring together scholars/researchers, activists and policy makers to interrogate the philosophical, political, socio-cultural and economic thoughts and legacies of these Africanists.

Pambazuka News 728: Special Issue: From MDGs to SDGs: Claims vs. reality

The proposed Sustainable Development Goals suffer from the same failings as the Millennium Development Goals they are replacing. Ideas and practices of sustainable development should reflect the complexities of development issues and not be based on abstract agendas and strategies that are constituted in a universalist frame.

Without radical rethinking, the new project of setting a post-2015 agenda is in danger of suffering the same fate as its forerunners. Development in its classical understanding is of no use now. What is needed are real changes corresponding to the various local and national necessities.

A sustainable and effective post-2015 development agenda for Africa must have its emphasis on building the capacity of Africans to identify, grow and strengthen their own systems and processes.

One of the MDGs is to reduce sexual transmission of HIV by 50 percent by 2015. But new infections are outpacing scaled up treatment, basic knowledge about HIV is poor, only about 35 percent of those infected receive treatment, and only about 40 percent of people living with HIV know their status.

Since the Millennium Development Goals are an unfinished journey, they are still relevant, but there is a need to go beyond the MDGs in order to take into account new and emerging issues and aspirations.

It is because of indigenous African women’s strength and resilience that our families and communities have been kept alive, not western development concepts and models.

The vision of an economy in the service of life, where poverty is eradicated, social justice is embraced and ecological justice promoted, must be the essence of the next generation of Sustainable Development Goals and beyond.

In an ever-globalising world, developing nations are robbed of the capacity to deal with global challenges to their own interests. Strong regional bodies are an opportunity to resist this by adopting common positions and protecting the interests of member states.

Pambazuka News 727: Radical makeover: Put people before profit

Business education in Africa is in dire need of an overhaul. The new focus should be on training managers who are acutely aware of the issues of ethics and governance, environmental and resource sustainability, justice and fairness with a view to creating successful and globally sustainable societies.

Africa's second most populous nation after Nigeria, Ethiopia, goes to elections on 24 May. The ruling party, in power since 1991, is guaranteed a landslide victory. In the iron-fisted autocracy where no alternative voice is allowed to be heard, the only question is by what percentage they will “win” this time.

Unique historical evidence of the ancient cultures of a continent is being put up for sale on the open market in Europe. Yet in the countries of Africa where these priceless treasures belong, there is little public interest in the matter.

Tagged under: 727, Features, Governance, Kwame Opoku

For too long, Monsanto has been the benefactor of corporate subsidies and political favoritism. Organic and small farmers suffer losses while Monsanto continues to forge its monopoly over the world’s food supply, including exclusive patenting rights over seeds and genetic makeup.

Despite a crippling US blockade lasting more than five decades, the Cuban revolution has stayed intact. Cubans have curiously excelled in technological development and innovation where much more advanced countries have achieved dismal results.

The twin forces of poor leadership and collective war trauma seem to be pushing the Great Lakes Region into endless conflict, creating a self-perpetuating circle of power-chasing and abuse. Namakula E. Mayanja considers why this is the case, and what the region needs to break this vicious cycle.

Museums allow objects to speak, to bear witness to past experiences and future possibilities and thus to reflect on how things are and how things might otherwise be.

The film describes the fight for democracy and socio-economic justice in the tiny sub-Saharan country through the eyes of Bheki Dlamini, a young activist and leading member of Swaziland’s largest banned political party

As currently taught, Economics specializes in branches of the tree without understanding the nature of the forest. Absence of the study of the political and social context, determined historically, makes the subject an apologetic message for current power relations, leading to poor understanding of economic phenomena.

The securitisation of immigration control has failed to solve the migrant crisis because it ignores the root cause: a global system that puts profits before people.

Governments, most prominently those of Sub-Saharan countries, have argued for huge tax hikes on mining, oil and gas contracts in the name of the national interest. But beyond the rhetoric, resource nationalism is a cover for a business-as-usual bias.

This year's ranking of NGOs shows that most are based in the West although they carry out their activities in the Global South; are disproportionately headed by white men, and many continue to display stereotypical and patronising images of Africans as poor and needy victims.

Like the richer countries of the North that are adopting tougher controls to stem the migration of people from the more impoverished, conflict-ridden South, South Africa is employing similar tactics. But this approach is futile, unsustainable and anti-people.

At “the premier forum for global economic and financial cooperation", Europe and North America occupy 9 of the 20 seats. Asia has six. Latin America three and the Middle East one. Africa, representing 16 percent of the world population, occupies one seat. In the World Bank, systemic racism has kept Black people out of influential positions.

Pambazuka News 726: Burundi: No to coup, no to third term

Post-civil war Burundi faces steep challenges that remain unaddressed. History seems to be repeating itself after a decade of fragile, hard-won peace following the signing of the 2000 Arusha Accord. President Nkurunziza's departure alone will not heal the nation.

A few days before the 'attempted' coup this week, a blogger in the Burundian capital Bujumbura gave a chilling account of the breakdown of law and order in the capital. The organisers of the protests seemed to have no particular plan and the people were beginning to turn against themselves.

The protests occurred against a backdrop of sustained political and economic marginalisation by the Nkurunziza regime and widespread fear. Protest leaders successfully tapped into individual discontent and anxieties generated by exclusion and repression by a violent dictatorship.

The argument pushed by Nkurunziza and his backers for a third presidential term is unconvincing. This, and the fact that many people have really not enjoyed the fruits of peace under his 10-year rule, is what has galvanized relentless opposition to the regime.

President Nkurunziza, a former rebel leader, has run Burundi according to the only model he knows: an authoritarian, predatory and aid-dependent regime. But this week's coup against him must be condemned. The African Union and the continent’s leading nations must support Burundians to attain democracy.

Pierre Nkurunziza is neither the first nor the only head of state in Africa’s Great Lakes region to seek another term of office against provisions of the constitution. Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni orchestrated the removal of term limits from the constitution altogether. DR Congo and Rwanda’s presidents both want an extension of their regimes.

Ethiopia is going into elections in less than two weeks. A US senior official caused a storm when she recently described the country as a “young democracy”. It is a stunning hypocrisy that America continues to support one of the vilest dictatorships in Africa.

In the search for alternatives to capitalism, existing democratic economic projects are frequently painted as noble but marginal practices, doomed to be crushed or co-opted by the forces of the market. But is this inevitable?

A thousand protesters will march on the French Consulate in Johannesburg on May 15 against France's plan to build a toxic coal-fired power station in South Africa. African lives, it seems, are only worthy of sacrifice to coal boilers.

Land ownership and its reclaim are the next phases of Africa's struggle for total freedom. Do not now begin to sell off Africa to foreign landownership. No other continent does.

The project falls within a framework of rapid transformation and conversion of the Nacala Corridor, at the epicentre of a struggle for control of land and water by large international corporations, including international cooperation agencies.

If the economic and human rights situation in Ethiopia is really as rosy as it is painted by the EPRDF government, how come hundreds of thousands of its youthful population are risking their lives to flee the country and die in the deserts of the Sahara, Sinai and Arabia, beheaded by fundamentalist lunatics in Libya and killed in South Africa?

The increased expansion of Empire in Africa now requires a re-examination of the theories of Pan-Africanism and Socialism as advanced by Kwame Nkrumah and other anti-imperialist leaders of the 1950s-1980s. Africa cries out for unity now more than any other period of the post-independence era.

‘African solutions to African problems’ is a popular adage among the ruling classes on the continent. Africa is old enough to deal with its own issues. Yet leaders in the 15-member SADC bloc are in the process of dismantling their own regional court to shield governments, heads of state and other powerful people from justice.

The NGOs are concerned that not enough is being done throughout the continent to promote the rights of women enshrined in domestic laws and in African Union protocols and policy documents.

Over one hundred organisations have issued a statement addressed to World Bank president, Jim Kim, questioning the Bank’s support for a multinational chain of low-fee, profit-making private primary schools targeting poor families, which Kim recently praised as a means to alleviate poverty.

Tagged under: 726, Contributor, Features, Governance

The government sent the bill to parliament in the aftermath of the March 18 attack by gunmen that killed 23 people at the Bardo Museum in Tunis and a series of lethal attacks on the security forces by armed groups.

Carding is . It must end through the mass refusal of the people of Toronto, especially Afrikan Canadians, other racialized peoples and the white working-class, to share their personal information with the cops.

The African Academy of Languages invites Africa scholars in the continent and the Diaspora to submit contribution for publication in a special edition of KUWALA (ACALAN’s Journal), which will explore the academic, conceptual and practical elements on the contribution of African languages to Agenda 20163.

Key challenges include how to support genuinely addressing the root causes of many intractable conflicts, which often involve deeply entrenched inequalities of wealth and power, while often having to meet headquarter demands for short term, quantifiable results rooted in linear and problematic assumptions about how change manifests.

Pambazuka News 725: The Mediterranean drownings and Empire’s crimes

The police and public watchdog institutions are increasingly unwilling to hold government accountable and to protect the constitutional rights of citizens.

The real parasites in South Africa are institutions such as the moribund royal households that are maintained in luxury by taxpayers without delivering any meaningful public good.

Economic growth in West Africa is badly threatened by the cocaine trade. The power of cocaine cartels is enormous, and the scope of their business to pervert and corrupt society at every level is making itself felt.

Thousands of persons displaced by Boko Haram attacks in northern Cameroon are in dire need of humanitarian assistance. But they have virtually been forgotten by the Paul Biya government whose attention is focused - rather disproportionately - on refugees.

The book examines how repeated failed counter-terrorism operations throughout Africa, the Middle East and Asia have led to broader interventions and the promotion of the military and intelligence theorists who concoct these operations.

To maintain their relevance, African rights groups will have to become more innovative and nimble. They must keep their ears to the ground, forging new and more creative partnerships with the activists of new social movements.

If belonging is articulated in rigid exclusionary terms, where everyone however mobile, is considered to belong to a particular homeland somewhere else, a place they cannot outgrow and which they must belong to regardless of where they were born or where they live and work, then South Africa can only belong to one group of people, those who were there before everyone else: the San.

to the Government of Burundi via Embassy of Burundi in Kenya on the prevailing political
crisis and violence.

To the rest of the world, they are merely statistics of persons drowned at sea while trying to reach Europe in illegal voyages. But these are real human beings, with complex lives, pursuing a dream.

Kellom’s killing clearly demonstrates that the systems criminalizing Black communities, people of color, and immigrants are integrally related in America. There must be an end to government-sanctioned violence in all communities.

While international attention is focused on the constitutional crisis in Burundi, Rwandan and Ugandan soldiers have again violated the territorial integrity of DR Congo by sending troops into the country. What are they up to?