Henning Melber

World Bank

Mainstream models for socio-economic development in Southern Africa focus on elites, Henning Melber tells Pambazuka News, but if the interests of the majority of the people are to be served, fundamental new approaches are needed.

S Fernandez

Namibia may perform well in rankings on human rights and democracy, Henning Melber tells Pambazuka News, but its response to the secession attempt in the Caprivi region ten years ago remains a black spot on the country’s record. Setting the case against its historical backdrop and presenting a range of viewpoints, from those of the government to an international NGO, Melber asks whether resolution of the Caprivi conflict is possible.

cc Two decades after their country's independence, Namibians inhabit a society that remains one of the world's most unequal, writes Henning Melber. The country's common people are the victims of a rapacious, self-serving elite group which is all too happy to cooperate with foreign corporations to exploit Nambia's natural resources for mutual gain. With Public Private ...read more

cc With Sam Nujoma turning 80 in May this year, Henning Melber considers the Namibian leader's role as a uncompromising patriarch and the significance of the notion of 'family' over 'individual' during the country's liberation struggle. Highlighting the overawing hold of a combat mindset on the leader, Melber considers Nujoma's strikingly dispassionate attitude towards the ...read more

On the 60th anniversary of the UN Genocide convention, Henning Melber looks back at the progress that has been made to safeguard against the occurrence of genocide. In 1998, the International Criminal Court was formed and since then there have been significant advances and mechanisms set in place to prevent genocide as well as bring perpetrators to justice. What is required is the political will to act against genocide and those who perpetrate it, while safeguarding the rights of those at risk.

As Henning Melber underlines in his discussion of Pambazuka’s commitment to social justice, solidarity is a multi-faceted notion of shifting meaning and use for its appropriators. Reviewing the experiences and intellectual traditions of figures such as Frantz Fanon and John Sanbonmatsu, Melber argues that while solidarity will never be a fixed state of mind, the goal of mediums like Pambazuka will always centre on the struggle for equality, justice and human dignity.

When liberation movements take power, their governments are often marked by military mindsets, categorising people as winners and losers and operating along the lines of command and obedience. Such trends are evident in southern Africa. Democratic discourse in search of the common good would look quite different.

A knee-jerk reaction of ‘Tiers-Mondisme’ is to show solidarity with the struggle for freedom among the ‘wretched of the earth’. Sometimes, struggles are glorified, as was the ...read more

In 1980 the Zimbabwean “povo” (people) celebrated a victory over settler colonialism and Western imperialism. We celebrated with them. For us, this was a step closer to Namibian sovereignty, even though the overwhelming victory of ZANU was time-wise a detour on our long road to Independence. The unexpected result had taught Western imperialism a lesson. It shattered its manic assumptions that one could orchestrate and manipulate an election, even if the people are allowed to cast a secret vot...read more

http://www.pambazuka.org/images/articles/385/49177markofcain.jpgThe farcical run off took place in Zimbabwe, predictably so, in the face of a world opinion dismissing the sham elections and the irrelevant result rightly so already in advance. Mugabe’s legitimacy is one of a dictator, whose power is dependent upon a military junta’s good will. If not for the securocrat...read more

Henning Melber looks at the possibilities for a people-centred opposition and ultimately a true liberation in Namibia and Zimbabwe, after years of misrule by the liberation movements-turned-ruling parties.

‘There is a need for a healing of the nation. The process of national healing and reconciliation is unlikely to proceed as long as society is still polarised. In addition, without also addressing past crimes, corruption, marginalisation and poverty, it is unlikely that reconciliation...read more