Pan Africa Newswire
Sudanese Oil Minister Awad Ahmad al-Jaz speaks to the press at the Heglig oil facility on May 2, 2012 after Sudan started pumping oil again from the war-damaged oil field, 12 days after occupying South Sudanese troops left the area., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
TUESDAY 3 DECEMBER 2013
Sudan says oil production is at 150,000 bpd
December 2, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan is currently producing around 150,000 barrels per day (bpd) but security situation in some oil fields is posing challenges, oil minister Awad al-Jaz said today.
In a statement before the national assembly, al-Jaz said that the ministry’s goal is to bring oil production to 260,000 bpd and boost natural gas reserves to 1 trillion cubic feet of which 56% are recoverable in blocks 2, 4 and 6.
Last month, al-Jaz told Reuters that Sudan will auction five oil blocks in December.
Sudan is believed to have been producing 140,000 bpd for most of 2013 and was pushing hard to reach 150,000 bpd since last year.
The minister pointed out that the shortage in foreign currency and reluctance of the finance ministry to fulfill Sudan’s obligations towards its partners in the oil sector had a negative impact on the performance of companies in the petroleum sector.
Al-Jaz also noted that economic sanctions blocked Sudan’s access to equipments and modern technologies including software.
He stressed that his ministry aims to Sudanize employment in the oil sector, and emphasized that they are adopting policies aimed at increasing production rates by expanding exploration and monitoring its progress.
The top energy official said that this strategy dashed the hopes of those who had their eyes set on dealing a blow to the nation’s economy in light of the secession of South Sudan in July 2011.
Prior to the country’s breakup, Sudan produced close to 500,000 barrels but the south held more than three quarters of the oil reserves.
Somalians in London protesting at Barclays bank. They want to maintain remittances sent to the Horn of Africa state through the financial institution., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Somalia: Somaliland Minister Says Blocking Remittances Would Spur Criminal Activity
BY KARRIE KEHOE, 2 DECEMBER 2013
If Barclays were to stop Somalis and Somalilanders from sending money home - a cutoff being weighed in an effort to prevent the flow of funds to terrorists - it could spur a surge in money laundering and migration to Europe, according to a minister from Somaliland.
Barclays Bank had announced in May plans to close the accounts of around 80 remittance companies for fear that funds might end up in the hands of groups branded as terrorists, but its July deadline was extended several times because of protests.
Then last month, the UK high court ordered Barclays to keep the account of the Somali remittance company Dahabshiil open. The temporary injunction is set to remain in place until a trial is concluded in 2014.
A cutoff by Barclays - the last major UK bank providing money transfer services to Somalia - would deliver a cruel blow to millions of Somalis who depend on remittances from relatives abroad. Aid agencies have called on Barclays to scrap its plans.
"Remittances for the Somali people in general - and that includes Somaliland people - they are really a lifeline," said Saad A. Shire, the minister of planning and development for Somaliland, an autonomous region of Somalia.
"Without that support I think that a lot of people would be ending up in camps, as a matter of fact, and a lot of people would be migrating, a lot of young people would be migrating from Somalia and Somaliland to Europe," Shire told Thomson Reuters Foundation in a telephone interview on Thursday.
MONEY PUSHED UNDERGROUND
Diaspora remittances of some $1.5 billion a year are Somalia's biggest foreign currency earner, accounting for one-third of the country's economy and two to three times the amount provided in aid.
An estimated 40 percent of Somalis - more than four million people - receive remittances from family and friends overseas. Remittances from Britain, most of them sent through Dahabshiil, are worth an estimated $160 million a year.
Shire argued that a Barclays block on remittances to Somalia - which does not have a functioning banking system because of its long-running civil war - would actually encourage criminal activity by diverting the flow of cash to illegal channels.
"We hope that common sense will prevail because I think if Barclays stops and closes down the accounts, at the end of the day people will still be sending money, but that money will go underground and unchecked, and I think it will allow criminals to take advantage of that," he said.
"So you will see money being laundered underground in the way that criminals who are involved in the trade of drugs launder money ... I understand that Barclays have concerns of money laundering and irregularities, and I think we can address these issues specifically," Shire said, though he did not elaborate further.
Read the original of this report on AlertNet Climate, the Thomson Reuters Foundation's daily news website on the human impacts of climate change.
Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, featured on Press TV News Analysis program on August 14, 2012 discussing the political situation in the North African state of Egypt. President Morsi has retired top military leaders in the country., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Egyptian Transitional Roadmap Sparks Protests
New law bans unapproved demonstrations
By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
A draft amendment to the Egyptian constitution was approved by a military-appointed 50-member committee on December 1. The draft will be submitted to the interim President Adly Mansour on December 3 where he will decide whether presidential or parliamentary elections will be held first in Egypt’s so-called “roadmap.”
The committee known as a “constituent assembly” has been working on the constitutional amendments for months. The committee was appointed as a transitional measure in the aftermath of the July 3 military seizure of power from President Mohamed Morsi of the Freedom Justice Party (FJP) which was allied with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Morsi has been held in detention since July 3 making only one public appearance at the beginning of a trial for alleged violent crimes committed both during the uprising against long-time United States supported dictator Hosni Mubarak and while in office as president. Morsi’s trial was adjourned after a brief hearing and the former president has not been seen since.
In the aftermath of the military coup on July 3, demonstrations by the supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood have been banned. The FJP has been outlawed while thousands of its supporters have been jailed and killed.
A political crisis under the leadership of President Morsi was utilized by the military to rationalize the seizure of power. Many Egyptians argued the July 3 military actions were in fact not a coup but a continuation of the “January 25 Revolution” of 2011 where millions took to the streets demanding the resignation of Mubarak and his National Democratic Party regime.
Political Winds Shifting Against Military
Nonetheless, many of those who supported the coup against Morsi are now having second thoughts. The failure of the military-appointed regime to effectively address the overall economic and social conditions inside the country is one factor in the growing opposition as well as the recent passage of a “protest law” that requires all demonstrations to require the approval of the interim government.
Those who challenge military rule have been met with harsh repression including beatings, teargas, arrests and even death. In Alexandria, 21 young women were sentenced to 11 years in prison for demonstrating against the military regime.
The chief lawyer for the Alexandria women was reported missing on December 2. Egyptian authorities have denied that Ahmed El-Hamrawy was being held in detention.
Nonetheless, a report published by Ahram Online stated that “The lawyer's wife and his defense colleague Mahmoud Gaber accused security forces of having allegedly arrested El-Hamrawy at his Alexandria home and taken him to an undisclosed location. “ A subsequent report indicated that the prosecutor’s office had ordered El-Hamrawy released after several hours of questioning. (December 2)
In a demonstration against the sentencing of the Alexandria women at Cairo University on November 28, Mohamed Reda, 19, was shot dead allegedly by security forces. Reda’s death has sparked anger and additional protests among students across Egypt.
In an effort to defuse the controversy, the general prosecutor’s office announced on December 2 that Reda was shot dead by a fellow student. This assessment of the youth’s death has been rejected by his fellow student supporters.
Ahram Online reported that “In a subsequent statement, the student union from Cairo University's Faculty of Engineering, the same faculty in which Reba had been studying, slammed the prosecution's report as ‘lying’ and a ‘fabrication,’ and vowed not to give up the slain student's rights, raising the possibility of renewed protests. Security forces fired teargas on Sunday (December 1) to disperse hundreds of Islamist student protesters who had gathered in central Cairo's Tahrir Square to condemn the killing of their colleague.” (December 2)
Ahmed Maher, a co-founder of the April 6 Youth Movement, a leading organization in the January 2011 uprising, is also facing prosecution by the regime. He was detained in late November for supposedly violating the new protest law.
Maher was released from jail on December 1 but his organization has condemned the ongoing detention of activists under the military. Renowned blogger Alaa Abdel-Fattah was also arrested in late November for allegedly violating the protest law and remains in jail.
Rejecting the leadership of the FJP under President Morsi, many of the youth leaders of the January 2011 uprising supported the coup and refused to join anti-military demonstrations since July. However, it appears as if the political situation is shifting where the potential for new alliances may emerge amid the escalating crackdown against more secular elements within Egyptian politics.
One leftist youth organizer noted on December 2 that “Many people did not go out on the streets because of the absence of a clear demand. But, after a while, things have become clear again. The state is still trying to preserve and renew its oppressive tools,” said socialist activist Khaled Abdel-Hamid. (Ahram Online)
“The interior ministry and all the security apparatuses are doing their utmost to exact revenge on the symbols of the January 2011 revolution,” Abdel-Hamid continued, a member of the Way of the Revolution Front, founded in September as a so-called “third political force” opposed to both the military as well as the Muslim Brotherhood.
Meanwhile thousands of workers at the Egyptian Iron & Steel Factory located in Helwan, south of Cairo, went on a partial strike on December 2 over a dispute involving supplemental bonus pay. The workers had been engaged in a sit-in since November 26.
The plight of the workers is reflective of the overall economic crisis gripping the country. The plant’s workforce has laid off 60 percent of its employees over the last few years.
The Role of the United States in the Egyptian Crisis
In a recent visit by United States Secretary of State John Kerry to Egypt he reported that Washington would maintain relations with Cairo. It had been announced that the Obama administration was suspending aid pending the outcome of the current crisis of governance inside the country, but Kerry indicated that only certain aspects of military aid to Egypt would be suspended and that relations between the two governments was not solely based upon military assistance.
Egypt under the latter years of the Anwar Sadat leadership in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and during the course of Mubarak’s three decade tenure between 1981-2011, has remained a close ally of U.S. imperialism. The Obama administration has still not labeled the July 3 seizure of power by the army as a coup.
Saudi Arabia has stepped up its assistance to Egypt in the aftermath of the coup. Also Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov visited Egypt in November and announced plans for greater cooperation between the two countries.
The escalating political crisis in Egypt stems from the failure of the state and its economy to provide a decent standard of living for the majority of its people. As long as Egypt remains within the sphere of imperialist influence and control the conditions for the workers, farmers and youth will not improve.
Even with the toppling of Mubarak, who now has been released and is at home under military protection, Cairo has not fundamentally shifted its policy toward Israel. Several months ago the military along with the Israeli Defense Forces destroyed tunnels utilized by Palestinians to transport much needed food and other supplies to the 1.5 million people of Gaza, cited as the largest open-air prison in the world.
Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, addressing an African American History Month forum in Detroit on February 28, 2009. (Photo: Cheryl LaBash), a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
South African Miners’ Strike at Northam Platinum Remains Unsettled
Mine bosses claim loss in profits while labor unrest continues
By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
A major struggle between the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the bosses at Northam Platinum’s Zondereinde facilities is turning out to be a critical test for this important labor organization in South Africa. NUM has been on strike for more than a month but management has refused to budge on its fundamental demands.
7,000 workers walked off the job on November 3 after months of negotiations failed to reach an acceptable agreement for both sides. South Africa remains the largest known source of platinum in the world.
At Zondereinde the union is demanding a R2,100-2,100 in wage increases and for sleep-out housing allowances of R3,800. At present the sleep-out allowances are R2,200.
These pay hikes would constitute a 42 percent increase in wages for the workers. Despite platinum being a major industry in South Africa, pay and working conditions remain poor.
The company is offering wage increases of 8 to 9 percent. It claims that higher salaries will force layoffs due to a decline in earnings.
In order to build public support and to pressure the management at Northam, NUM organized a mass demonstration on November 26 at the company headquarters located in Dunkeld West in Johannesburg. Several women workers who spoke to the media at the Johannesburg demonstration said that there was widespread discrimination and nepotism operating at the mines.
Women union members said that many of them were forced to work on dangerous jobs underground while whites with less qualifications held positions aboveground where hazards were less numerous. The demonstration on November 26 represented the continuing campaign to shape public opinion surrounding NUM and its latest industrial action.
As early as November 3, NUM complained that the company was deliberately distorting issues surrounding the labor dispute. The corporate media has subsequently sought to focus on the competition between NUM and the rival-breakaway Association of Miners and Construction Workers Union (AMCU) which has taken tens of thousands of members away from the parent organization.
NUM, an affiliate of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), had been the bulwark of the largest labor federation inside the country. COSATU, which claims over two million members, is closely allied with the ruling African National Congress (ANC).
In a statement issued by NUM prior to the strike, the union said that "It is irresponsible for Northam Platinum Mine Management to lie to their shareholders and the public in general. We want to state categorically that ever since we served the company with a 48 hour notice nothing came out from the company for any meeting. This is despite the commitment we made to the company that we will be on standby for 24 hours a day to make sure that we find a solution to the impasse. We believe that if it was not the attitude displayed by the management the strike could have been avoided." (NUM statement, November 3)
Company Blames Union for Profit Losses
Northam spokesperson Memory Johnstone in an effort to blame the union for the failure to reach an agreement in the strike issued a public letter in late November claiming that NUM negotiators are not seriously working towards a settlement. The letter was widely circulated in the South African press and was published alongside reports of profit losses since the beginning of the current strike and other labor unrest which has swept the platinum, gold and iron ore sectors over the last year-and-a-half in South Africa.
Johnstone said that "The letter was delivered to Mr Baleni (secretary general of NUM) prior to publication as a genuine attempt to get the NUM leadership involved in negotiations. It is notable that Mr. Baleni has, until now, refused any engagement with the company. After a negotiation period of almost four months, the company sought to raise the level of awareness of the serious impact of the strike on the company and on employees. It is nigh impossible to negotiate if only one party ever moves and the other party maintains its position." (Mail & Guardian, November 29)
"A protracted strike will undermine the long-term viability of Northam and could threaten jobs," the mining corporation stressed in the letter reprinted in the Business Day newspaper on November 25 to Frans Baleni, the General Secretary of NUM. Northam produces approximately 1,000 ounces of platinum group metals per day and the firm says it is losing 14 million rand every day in revenue, with the strike costing it over 200 million rand over the last month.
Labor, the ANC and National Elections
This strike comes at an important time for NUM, COSATU and the ANC. National elections will be held during 2014 and the support of labor has been essential in the ruling party’s efforts to remain in power.
Next year will represent twenty years since the ANC came to power in South Africa. Although many reforms have been instituted, poverty, unemployment and underemployment remain a major source of concern and unrest among the majority African population.
Since 1994 no fundamental transfer of wealth has occurred between the white minority, the multi-national corporations, which still dominate the national economy, and the African majority. Some elements within COSATU, including the leadership of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), has called for more radical reforms aimed at nationalization of mining industries and the transferal of arable farm land for the benefit of the people.
Pan-African Journal: Special Worldwide Radio Broadcast for Sunday December 1, 2013--Paying Tribute to Tabu Ley Rochereau (1940-2013)
Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, speaking in Clark Park on October 12, 2007 at a rally in solidarity with the immigrant rights movement in the United States. (Photo: Alan Pollock), a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.For Immediate Release
Tuesday December 3, 2013
Pan-African Journal: Special Worldwide Radio Broadcast Paying Tribute to Tabu Ley Rochereau Featuring Guest Norman (Otis) Richmond
To listen to this broadcast hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, just click on the website below:
Congolese musician, composer and band leader, Tabu Ley Rochereau, has died at the age of 73 in Belgium. Rochereau's music is known throughout Africa and the world. He is said to have written over 2,000 songs and released 250 albums.
Bluesologist Norman (Otis) Richmond of Toronto, who met and interviewed Rochereau, is a special guest during the second hour of the program. Richmond and host Abayomi Azikiwe discussed the legacy of the great Congolese musician and politician.
Today is the 70th anniversary of the Cairo Declaration signed by former United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Britain and the-then Chinese nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek. The document pledged to drive Japan out of its strongholds in the Asia-Pacific region at the height of World War II.
A senior Communist Party of China (CPC) official has met with a delegation from Zimbabwe led by ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo in Beijing. The CPC and ZANU-PF have a long-standing fraternal relationship extending back to the days of the armed national liberation struggle against British settler-colonialism in Rhodesia.
Finally, the Chinese military has begun to scramble the signals of unauthorized aircraft flying over the South Sea. Beijing has extended its authority over the strategic waterways to the chagrin of the United States and Japan. The U.S. has ordered its commercial flights to abide by Chinese measures in the region.
Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast for Saturday November 30, 2013--Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe
Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, covering an immigrant rights rally in Clark Park in southwest Detroit on Oct. 12, 2008. (Photo: Alan Pollock)., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.For Immediate Release
Tuesday December 3, 2013
Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast for Saturday November 30, 2013
To listen to this Pan-African Journal broadcast hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe just click on the website below:
A passenger plane from the Southern African state of Mozambique has crashed on the border between Angola and Namibia. The flight was destined for Luanda but was reported missing on November 29. 33 people on board were killed in the accident.
Unrest has continued in the North African state of Egypt as people have continued to go into the streets to protest military rule. The military-appointed constitutional committee has recently instituted a law that restricts demonstrations by popular organizations and movements.
The rapidly growing oil boom in East Africa is creating problems involving publicly protected areas. From Uganda to Madagascar, oil discoveries are radically impacting laws and traditional customs related to space and the organization of municipalities.
And finally, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has announced some changes in how it is pursuing its prosecution of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto. The African Union (AU) has been highly critical of how the ICC deals with the continent.
Current ZANU-PF Party Chairman, Simon Khaya Moyo, is the former Zimbabwe Ambassador to the Republic of South Africa. He was featured in an interview with the Zimbabwe Sunday Mail on October 31, 2010 on the current political situation inside the country., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Zanu-PF to map out strategies for Zim Asset
December 3, 2013
The 14th Zanu-PF National People’s Conference to be held in Chinhoyi next week will come up with strategies to operationalise the Zim-Asset economic blueprint to turnaround the economy. Speaking during a tour of the conference facilities yesterday, Zanu-PF National chairman Cde Simon Khaya Moyo said successful implementation of the economic blueprint was key to ensuring that all pledges made in the run-up to the harmonised elections were met.
“Deliberations at the People’s Conference will strengthen the party and put into perspective that the resounding victory we got sets us on a journey to delivery of the promises made,” he said.
“Politburo deliberated on the economic blueprint, Zim-Asset, which derives its authority from the party manifesto and its assiduous implementation ensures that we have very little opposition come 2018.”
The party, said Cde Khaya Moyo, would come up with strategies of growing the economy for the empowerment of the people and employment creation in line with the election theme.
He said the blueprint was the answer to the economic woes facing the country and would ensure that beneficiation, infrastructure development, social services and poverty alleviation were addressed.
On the issue of a second vice-president, Cde Khaya Moyo said the prerogative lay with President Mugabe outside the elective congress and that he would act at his pleasure in accordance with the party’s constitution.
“We are not going for an elective congress and the matter is not outstanding because we are going for a conference,” he said. “All posts are supposed to be filled, but at a congress and outside that at the discretion of the President. There is no constitution that is being violated,” he said.
Cde Khaya Moyo went around the conference venue to assess progress made so far before it was handed over to him by the provincial organising committee.
He was shown the facilities which have a carrying capacity of about 7 000 people, offices and 137 ablution facilities.
Cde Khaya Moyo expressed satisfaction with progress at the state-of-the-art collapsible conference facility which is fitted with large screens to ensure that everyone follows proceedings at the five-day event.
The conference has brought life to Chinhoyi which has seen buildings getting a facelift, while roads are being redone.
Businesses, especially food outlets, restaurants and bars are anticipating increased demand as the delegates descend on the town.
The tour of the facility was also attended by Politburo members Cdes Webster Shamu, Nicholas Goche, Ignatius Chombo, Oppah Muchinguri and David Parirenyatwa.
Oppah Muchingura is the Republic of Zimbabwe Minister for Women's Affairs. She is involved in a national campaign against gender-based violence., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Call to include sexual abuse issues in schools curriculum
December 2, 2013
Tafadzwa Ndlovu Herald Reporter
Academic institutions should strengthen child protection systems by including issues of sexual abuse and violence in the curriculum, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development Minister Oppah Muchinguri said the high number of cases of sexual abuse and violence being recorded would be reduced if children were conscientised on the issues.
She was speaking in Harare at the weekend during the launch of the Legacy International School, a Christian private school.
“My ministry has just launched a campaign against sexual abuse and rape of children and 16 days of activism against gender based violence, hence we also say no to such acts in the education system,” she said.
“I urge all academic institutions, stakeholders, Government and civil society to work together in strengthening child protection systems because violence and sexual abuse of children will only result in mental, physical and psychological effects on our children.”
Cde Muchinguri said teachers and school heads should not take advantage of the vulnerability of children, but assume parental roles of protecting them.
She said there was need to continuously address challenges faced by children at national and local levels, including implementation of laws, policies, regulations and the provision of comprehensive services to child victims.
Legacy International School has been in existence for the past 10 years, but officials could not acquire proper land to build the school.
The school’s managing director Pastor Petunia Chiriseri recently acquired more than four acres of land in Greystone Park for the construction of the school after 10 years of persistence.
Ruth Butaumocho is a journalist in Zimbabwe. She is the editor for gender issues for the state-owned Herald newspaper., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Why is Zimbabawe condoning gender-based violence?
December 3, 2013 Opinion & Analysis
Ruth Butaumocho Gender Forum
It has become a common occurrence in Zimbabwe to wake up to gruesome news of a brutal attack, rape, or even murder of women and children over different reasons. The majority, if not all of these, are tied down to gender-based violence, an old phenomenon.
Sadly, GBV has become a cause of concern.
Hardly a week passes without the media carrying a story of a tragic fight by a couple.
Most of these fights have resulted in the death of a partner or both over very simple issues.
Three weeks ago the residents of Bulawayo woke up to the sad news of a woman who had both her eyes gouged out by her husband on allegations of infidelity after he found some messages in her WhatsApp account, deemed to have come from a boyfriend.
Instead of seeking to understand the origins of the message, the husband, in a fit of rage, immediately pounced on the hapless woman, gave her a thorough beating and gouged out her eyes with an unidentified sharp object.
Barely a week later, a man killed his wife in Banket on allegations of infidelity after discovering a stranger’s phone number in her phone.
The man tried to commit suicide but was restrained by his neighbours, who immediately handed him over to the police.
These incidents clearly illustrate that the issue of GBV has taken different but unprecedented forms, in a clear indication that the problem is continuing unabated despite the existence of legislation, which makes it a criminal offence.
Cases of GBV were quite prevalent in the high-density suburb of Mufakose where I was raised.
However, most of the cases were not serious and often consisted of slapping, ranting and raving from both parties, but these altercations were rarely fatal so to speak.
One of the reasons could have been because the extended family and the community were largely responsible for each other, with the abusers being chided and sometimes reprimanded for their violent tendencies and often excluded from community activities.
However, this is no longer the case today and it appears that the notorious abusers, instead of being condemned, are being accorded heroic status for being disciplinarians.
If surely our society didn’t condone violence, would Zimbabwe be ranking high among the countries that recorded the highest cases of GBV that cuts across sex?
Am I wrong then to say that the society that we live in now strongly advocates violence to solve any problem that we may face as a nation?
It’s saddening to note that the church, that was once the vanguard of moral values, is now at the forefront of perpetuating these heinous acts or turning a blind eye to different forms of gender-based violence.
If anything the church has been found wanting in issues to do with rape and physical violence among married couples.
Abuse and rape cases are now very rampant in the church, with claims of sex orgies — happening right in the House of the Lord — now the order of the day.
Even some pastors — who are revered and anointed men of God — have been fingered in heinous cases like rape and sodomy, casting a doubt on their role as vanguards of morals.
On the other hand marriage counsellors in the church continue to preach submissiveness to abused women, instead of coming up with practical solutions to solve these problems.
As the nation takes part in the commemoration of 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence, it is worth mentioning that women aged between the ages of 15 and 45 are more likely to be maimed or die from male violence than from cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war combined.
More often than not, we have come across cases where violent acts such as rape, female genital mutilation, or extremely physical abuse are used to intimidate, humiliate and discredit women, denying them political and economic weight in society and forcing them into silent, second-class citizenship.
Beyond just personal injury, GBV also results in marital rape, unwanted pregnancy, severe psychological trauma and does promote a society full of angry and violent people.
Gender-based violence should not be allowed to happen and should not be justified as basis of disciplining an errant spouse.
I always tell friends and relatives alike that GBV is the worst form of abuse that any human being can ever endure in silence, no matter what the circumstances may be.
Those who have been and are still in abusive relationships will attest that they just didn’t start by getting a bashing, but the level of abuse started very small.
They would often be chided, shouted at in front of the children for cooking the evening relish poorly, forgetting to lock the front door, or better still, hosting visitors in the absence of the man of the house.
From there, the abuse gear gets into a higher mode — where you are called all sorts of names from being a “deranged good-for-nothing woman” to a “harlot” — right in front of the children and all the neighbours or anybody who cares to listen.
Before you know it, blows will start flying from all angles.
Instead of friends and relatives solving the problems, many will actually cheer on, accusing the wife of being errant, saying:
“She must have angered the man, hapana munhu anongorohwa pasina zvaaita.”
I always say walking away from an abusive relationship should be a personal choice, because people often make a decision to stay in abusive relationships, either for financial, personal, or social gain.
Whatever the reasons may be — at the end of the day the society and the community at large should also make an effort to curb all forms of abuse and even go further to educate those in abusive relationships to seek help before it is too late.
Diamond polishing workers in the Southern African state of Zimbabwe. The country is a large repository of gems., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Diamond polishing companies get green light
December 3, 2013
A number of diamond polishing firms that have been given permission by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Industry to set up shops in the country as Government intensifies efforts to get maximum value from the country’s diamonds. The companies have already shipped or are in the process of shipping diamond polishing equipment into the country.
The development follows a series of meetings that were held by Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe and several firms from China, Hong Kong, Dubai and Israel that were keen on investing in the country.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa said more than 10 companies submitted their proposals and those approved are among some of the biggest diamond polishing companies in the world.
“At the moment the companies that we have approved have not started operating because they want access to the diamonds that match the quality that they are looking for,” the minister said.
Minister Chidhakwa said there were also budgetary issues that needed approval before the polishing firms start operating. The local diamond has attracted many investors and according to highly placed sources in the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.
International diamond players such as First Element Diamond Services of Botswana, are flocking to Zimbabwe for opportunities to exploit the country’s diamond deposits.
“First Element is among the group of foreign investment companies that are currently engaged in negotiations over possible exploration of the local diamond fields,” the source said.
According to the source the company is expected to clinch a deal with Government that is likely to see the company getting vast diamond claims in the country.
First Element is Belgian company which provides diamond cleaning, valuation, sorting and marketing services has offices in Gaborone, Johannesburg and Antwerp. Minister Chidhakwa, however, said he was not aware of the intention by the Belgian mining company’s intention to explore diamonds.
“I cannot confirm or deny because as you know many foreigners are coming to our offices and maybe the issues were discussed in the deputy minister’s office. The best person to communicate with is the Permanent secretary,” he said. However, efforts to communicate with Professor Francis Gudyanga proved fruitless as his phone went unanswered.
Minister Chidhakwa said the country Zimbabwe stood to reap immense benefits by value adding diamonds.
Zimbabwe, which is currently the seventh largest producer of diamonds in the world, has potential to supply 25 percent of global demand and has also been tipped to become the third biggest producer by the end of this decade.
Currently, there are four diamond-mining firms operating in Chiadzwa diamond fields in Marange, namely Mbada Diamonds, Marange Resources, Anjin and Diamond Mining Corporation.
The state-owned Zimbabwe Herald has a new look issued on December 2, 2013. The paper sold out quickly as people grabbed the papers., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Herald sold out as readers rush to grab copy of new-look paper
December 3, 2013
Marcia Gore Herald Reporter
The new-look Herald, which is now more attractive and matches international standards, ran out in most parts of the country yesterday as people jostled to buy the newspaper. Those who had been following the build-up to the launch of the new style said they were taken by surprise as they did not expect that the paper would be of such high quality and great layout.
Herald’s vendors in Harare rushed back to office looking for more copies after they were overwhelmed with the response.
“When I saw the paper for the first time I was really worried about my sales for the day,” said Judith Kaseke a vendor in the city. “I thought many people would not like it, but to my surprise most customers hailed the new look.”
Tichaona Makwekwerere who is also a Herald vendor said at first some people were complaining that the paper was now smaller in size than the usual copy they were used to, but that did not stop them from eventually liking the new look.
“The new paper is smaller, which makes it convenient for some of us who use public transport to and from work and want to read it while travelling,” said Mr Archford Makoni.
“You can open the pages without offending the guy sitting next to you by obstructing them.”
Mr Moses Matsika and Mr George Mukumba, who are both airtime vendors, said the new look was a “masterpiece” and it reflected the commitment by Zimpapers to bring news to the people without compromising on quality.
Ms Marian Gweshe said her only worry was that the smaller size might reduce the size of her beloved columns, but the layout and colour pictures were marvellous.
Advertisers also applauded Zimpapers for coming up with the brilliant product.
NetOne public relations manager Mr Rutendo Chabururuka said the paper was “beautiful, very upmarket and modern”.
“When I first heard the news I was worried because we wanted to do a supplement and I was not sure how it would look like, but after I saw the published copies, I loved them and Zimpapers can be assured of more advertisements,” he said.
MMcellink, which deals in cellphones, had its chief executive Mr Munyaradzi Chihwai saying the improvement in The Herald’s quality would enhance their market as quality adverts would attract more readers.
A Harare lawyer, Mr Mandishona Mavhiringidze, said he loved the layout on the first page and the use of colour on all the pages.
The launch of the new-look Herald followed the acquisition of the state-of-the-art TPH Orient x-CEL printing machine by Zimpapers which is set to re-confirm the group’s dominance in the printing and publishing industry.
Detroit Marxism Class on Walter Rodney's "How Europe Underdeveloped Africa", Sat. December 7, 2013, 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Dr. Walter Rodney of Guyana wrote and lectured extenwsively on African history and politics during the 1960s and 1970s. He was assassinated in Guyana in June of 1980., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.For Immediate Release
Event: Detroit Marxism Class on "How Europe Underdevelped Africa"
Topic: Africa's Contribution to the Capitalist Development of Europe, Chap. 5, Section II
Author: Walter Rodney (1942-1980)
Location: 5920 Second Avenue at Antoinette, North of the WSU Campus
Date: Saturday, December 7, 2013, 5:00-8:00pm
Facilitator: Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor of the Pan-African News Wire
Sponsor: Workers World Party and the Harriet Tubman School
Detroit Marxism Class to Review Walter Rodney's Classic Work on "How Europe Underdeveloped Africa," Chapter 5, Section II
The Detroit Marxism Class series continues with the study of an important and relevant work on the historical role of Africa in world history. Walter Rodney, who taught for years at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, published this book in 1972.
As the U.S. government and ruling class intensifies its intervention in Africa with wars of economic penetration, aggression and occupation in Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Zimbabwe and other states, it is essential that activists and students of modern life be grounded in the actual historical evolution of the relationship between the African continent and world imperialism.
We will read and discuss Chapter 5, section 2 of this groundbreaking study. Materials for the class will be available at the session.
Admission is free and open to the general public.
US-backed regime in Somalia appoints Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon to head the government. Somalia has been focal point for Pentagon and CIA intervention for many years., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Somalia: Somali PM loses no-confidence vote
DECEMBER 2, 2013
Abdi Farah Shirdon voted out of office just over a year after assuming post amid disagreement with country's president.
By Hamze Mohamed
Somali MPs have voted the country’s prime minister, Abdi Farah Shirdon, out of office following a disagreement with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.
Announcing the result of the vote, speaker of parliament said on Monday that184 MPs out votes 250 present voted for the impeachment motion.
The disagreement was over the selection of members of the cabinet which was scheduled to be reshuffled.
The MPs had been debating the no-confidence motion against Shirdon for the last two days. More than 165 MPs had signed the motion, which was brought to parliament on Saturday.
Shirdon, a newcomer to politics like the president, held the prime minister’s post for just over one year.
Previous Somali governments have been plagued by infighting between presidents and prime ministers. Shirdon is the fifth prime minister in six years Somalia has had.
President Mohamud has not said when he will appoint a new prime minister who in turn will have appoint a new cabinet which will have to be approved by parliament.
Shortly before speaker of parliament announced the results of the motion, Shirdon held a press conference in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, where he said: “Some ministers in the cabinet are behind the current political instability. They think the prime minister could be easily ousted, so they could keep their positions.”
The weak UN-backed Somali government is fighting the armed rebel group al-Shabab which still controsl significant parts of the country.
Republic of Sudan President Omar Hassan al-Bashir with First Vice-President Ali Osman Taha. The government announced in November 2012 that there were arrests surrounding a coup plot., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Sudan Vision News Daily
Taha: Sudan Makes Progress towards Economic and Development Issues
Khartoum - First Vice President of the Republic Ali Osman Mohamed Taha said that Sudan is making good steps in the coming year according to the political, economic, and developmental indicators, beside the existence of the political will and awareness of the Sudanese people of the their role towards achieving the development and their positive role in providing requirements of the investment.
Taha added during his address to the opening sitting of the States First Economic Forum, that the existing investment Act fulfils the demands and ambitions of both the national and foreign investors calling for bringing its provisions and recommendations on reality.
Taha pointed out that the social responsibility of the government is one of bases of the features of the policies of in the field of investment.
He called on the states Governors and the political organization to reconsiders the settlements of disputes and conflicts in Darfur and Kordufan states to find its share in the development and investment projects.
Taha also called on the states Governors to exert more efforts on improving the infrastructure and to create the right atmosphere for investment to benefit from the local and foreign investment privileges, and to settle the land ownership issues, indicating that investment is the backbone of the Sudan's economy.
He stressed on the importance of the fair and balanced distribution of investment opportunities in all the different states of the Sudan in a way to achieve a fair distribution of resources.
He pointed out the investment map is a field report on the spaces ready for investment without legal or administrative restrictions, calling at the same time on the states governments to work for settling the disputes and resolve problems that hinder the investment in the states.
Taha said that there are chances for progress in agricultural investment and the achievement of the food security, and to benefit from the Arab initiative in this regard.
He called on the use of the comparative advantages that Sudan is enjoys in this aspect.
Taha asserted commitment of the government to provide the infrastructure for an appropriate and encouraging investment atmosphere in order to be reflected on the living standards and services of the citizens and the investment partners.
David Yau Yau, a former leader in the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), who defected during the transitional phase to independence from Khartoum. His fighters have continued hostilities against Juba, the capital of the Republic of South Sudan., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
MONDAY 2 DECEMBER 2013
Promotion of former rebels sparks tension in South Sudan military
December 1, 2013 (JUBA) - South Sudan appears to be split over the integration of former rebel groups in the young nation’s military, following president Salva Kiir’s appointment of prominent rebel leaders to senior positions last week.
The South Sudanese army (SPLA) is itself a former rebel group that signed a peace deal with the government of Sudan in 2005, leading to southern independence in 2011.
Following months of negotiations, Kiir appointed the leaders of several rebel groups from various locations - mainly the Greater Upper Nile region - to the regular army last week.
These included Bapiny Monytuil, who was appointed as a lieutenant general, while Johnson Uliny, along with four other colleagues, were appointed as major Generals, with Kiir ordering the full integration of their forces. In the same order issued on 25 November, Kiir also named six other brigadier generals.
In a separate order issued on 29 November, Gabriel Tanginye was appointed as a major general, Thomas Mabor Dhol as a brigadier general and Gatwec Joak as a colonel.
The move has drawn widespread opposition from within the military and the general public, with some senior officers questioning the army is serious about security sector reform.
Rebel leader David Yau Yau, who is fighting the SPLA from his base in Jonglei’s Pibor county, accepted Kiir’s amnesty and signed a deal in June 2011 that saw him promoted as a general despite being a civilian before launching his insurgency in 2010 after failing to win a seat in the Jonglei state legislative assembly.
However, Yau Yau rebelled again in April 2012, complaining that despite his title he was not given any real responsibilities. The cycle of rebellions and groups splintering from the SPLA only to be reintegrated and the leaders given senior positions predates the 2005 peace deal prior to the country’s secession from Sudan in 2011.
Nonetheless many South Sudanese do not approve of such pragmatism, with some arguing that such appointments encourage rebellions.
Sabit Marier, a member of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) - the political wing of the SPLA during the more than two-decade-long civil war - said on Sunday that the rebels had achieved nothing apart from the “killing their own people”.
He argued that rather than being rewarded with senior military posts, rebel leaders “should be held responsible for all the atrocities they committed”, adding that the president’s decision will only “encourage more rebellion”.
Marier said the recent decision also goes against Kiir’s policy of a lean government, with the integration of rebel forces set to greatly increase the size of the armed forces.
Many SPLA generals were retired earlier this year as Kiir attempted to trim the size of the military in order to save money during an oil transit fee dispute with Sudan that was crippling South Sudan’s economy.
Marier fears that increasing the size of the SPLA will affect the national budget as more will be spent on soldier’s salaries rather than providing institutions with funds to deliver services.
A senior military officer, who wished to remain anonymous, said that some soldiers have registered repeated complaints about the lack of promotions from within the army’s ranks.
“Sometimes it makes it difficult for us in the command to convince junior officers and non-commission officers because, according to the conventional system, junior officers move faster than senior officers. It takes three to four years for officers with the ranks of lieutenants and captains and about six to eight years for major and lieutenant colonels to go to the other ranks. We have groups of officers and soldiers waiting commissioning and promotions”, he said.
Another officer said that although Kiir, as the SPLA’s commander-in-chief, was acting within his powers and mandate to promote peace and defend the country’s sovereignty and security, he felt that there could have been a better balance of promotions from within the SPLA and the ranks of former rebels.
“Current ranks are seen as source of money instead of the value of service to the country. I tell you that most of the current commanders cannot run a company when given [an] assignment. Some of them desert assignments during operations, pretending that they are sick”, an officer who did not want to be identified told Sudan Tribune on Sunday.
“So why not commission long-serving, non-commission officers and young officers who have demonstrated ability?” he added.
Sudan Foreign Minister inspects damage done through an Israeli airstrike on April 4, 2011 near Port Sudan. Israel has attacked the African state before the continent's largest, in 2009., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
MONDAY 2 DECEMBER 2013
Sudan scoffs at ICG report on brewing dissent in the east
December 1, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - The report issued by the International Crisis group (ICG) this week on East Sudan being on the verge of a new conflict over Khartoum’s failure to implement the 2006 peace accord is nothing but "fantasy", an official here said today.
The London-based think tank said that frustration is growing rapidly among the people of the East which in some cases is creating secessionist sentiments and calls for backing rebels fighting to topple the National Congress Party (NCP) led government in Khartoum.
ICG further accused NCP of using divide and conquer tactics along tribal lines which is also adding to the tensions in the region.
But Mustafa Osman Ismail who is the government official in charge of East Sudan dossier said that the ICG report was prepared by some opposition activists in European countries.
Ismail who spoke on pro-government Ashorooq TV on Sunday said that the report is false and imaginary. He also stressed that the East is governed by its own people.
He went on to say that East Sudan is witnessing a balanced economic development unseen since the country’s independence in 1956 and rejected describing the region as marginalized.
In its report, ICG blamed the situation over the non-implemented provisions of the East Sudan Peace Agreement (ESPA) including allocation of legislative and executive positions to Eastern Front (EF) former rebel group in federal and state institutions, East Reconstruction and Development Fund (ERDF) establishment as well as disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) of EF forces.
"The failure to implement the ESPA, together with NCP machinations, has hopelessly divided – mostly along tribal lines – the Eastern Front (EF), the alliance of armed groups that signed the agreement" ICG said.
Last February, EF members issued a statement giving the central government one month to follow through on their commitments particularly the financial portion.
Under the October 2006 peace agreement, the EF joined with the government and a $600 million ERDF was established to help the region recover from war.
A further $3.5 billion pledged at a donor conference that took place in Kuwait in December 2010 was also supposed to be added to the East Reconstruction and Development Fund (ERDF).
But the EF said the money is managed inappropriately without transparency and that that the people of the East were excluded from the top posts at ERDF or were given positions without a mandate.
According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Eastern Sudan has the country’s highest poverty rate; the highest number of deaths of children aged under five, and the most children between the ages of six and 13 out of school.
Sudan’s eastern Red Sea, Kassala and Gedaref states have potential gold, oil and gas resources, but poverty remains endemic among the region’s five million inhabitants, whose livelihoods have been undermined by war, climate change and environmental degradation.
Merowe Dam in Sudan where the largest source for electrical power is being constructed on the African continent., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
MONDAY 2 DECEMBER 2013
Calls for US investment in Sudan agricultural sector: report
December 1, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - The United States charge d’affaires in Khartoum Joseph D. Stafford called on American companies to invest in Sudan’s agricultural sector, according to a news report.
Stafford who was on a visit to Nahr al-Neel state, told the pro-government Ashorooq TV that he realizes the difficulties facing the two countries as a result of US sanctions imposed but stressed that Washington demonstrated goodwill in seeking to improve bilateral ties through a candid dialogue.
He underscored the vital role played by Sudan in Africa and the world and expressed confidence that Khartoum will respond positively to Washington’s overtures.
The U.S. diplomat also called on American companies to invest in Sudan’s agriculture and particularly in Nahr al-Neel state due to the special advantages it offers.
In 2010 the United States announced it was easing sanctions on agriculture equipment and services and gave six U.S. firms licenses to export to the East African nation.
Since then more U.S. companies have expressed interest in entering the Sudanese agricultural sector.
Sudan has been under US economic sanctions since 1997 and remains on the US list of state sponsors of terror. At the time, Khartoum harbored Al-Qaeda’s late chief Osama bin Laden.
After 2003 sanctions were tightened over the conflict in the Darfur region and human rights violations in other parts of the country.
Sudan President Omar Al-Bashir speaking at the national independence celebration on December 31, 2008., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Sudan rebels, government clash again south of rail town
Monday, 2 December 2013
Rebels and government forces in Sudan’s South Kordofan state have clashed again south of a railway town the insurgents briefly occupied last month, both sides said on Monday.
Fighting in the state has intensified since early November, at the start of the dry season, as the government began an operation to crush the ethnic rebels who rose up two years ago.
Access to South Kordofan is restricted for journalists, aid workers and others, making verification of claims by both sides difficult.
The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) insurgents said they had killed dozens of government troops - including several officers - in fighting Friday and Saturday around Abu Doma mountain, south of the rail town of Abu Zabad.
“We know the area very well,” but government troops were not as familiar with the terrain, JEM spokesman Gibril Adam Bilal told AFP.
“They were preparing to attack us by three sides.”
Sudan’s army spokesman, Sawarmi Khaled Saad, told AFP there had only been “a little battle” around the mountain about a week ago and government forces were pursuing the rebels in various parts of the state.
JEM occupied Abu Zabad, which is just over the border in North Kordofan state, for several hours on November 17.
JEM, originally from the western Darfur region, has been supporting Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North (SPLA-N) rebels in South Kordofan since shortly after an uprising began there in 2011, analysts say.
Hoping to oust
Both groups belong to an alliance aiming to topple the Arab-dominated Khartoum regime and install a government more representative of the country’s diversity.
The Sudan Armed Forces and SPLA-N are also fighting, on a smaller scale, in Sudan’s Blue Nile state.
There can be no military solution to the conflicts in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, according to the United Nations Security Council.
Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir says his government is ready for a broad political dialogue, including with armed groups.
But Bilal does not foresee a political settlement because “the strategy of the Sudanese government is a military solution.”
Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in Darfur.
Last Update: Monday, 2 December 2013 KSA 18:29 - GMT 15:29
Dr. Nico Kassanda with Tabu Ley Rochereau during the period of African Fiesta in the 1960s. Rochereau died on November 30, 2013., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Tabu Ley did for music what cell phones have done for banking
Sunday, December 1st 2013 at 23:06 GMT +3
He is widely known for his invention of ‘soukous’, but his contribution to Africa’s first technological revolution – analogue music – was more transformational, writes Prof Calestous Juma
The passing of Tabu Ley Rochereau has robbed the world of the king of Congolese rumba. Through his legendary Orchestra Afrisa International, Tabu Ley was one of Africa’s most prolific songwriters and influential vocalists.
Tabu Ley’s contribution to the invention of soukous is widely known. But his role as one of the pioneers of Africa’s first technological revolution – recorded music and radio broadcasting – is less known. Africa’s analogue revolution preceded today’s digital revolution by five decades.
At 14, Tabu Ley recorded his first song, Bessama Muchacha, with the legendary Joseph ‘Le Grand Kallé’ Kabasele’s African Jazz in 1954. After finishing high school, he joined the band full time. In 1960, Kabasele assigned him to sing Independence Cha Cha to celebrate the birth of the Congolese nation.
With Dr Nico Kasanda, he pioneered soukous as a blend of Congolese folk music and Latin American, Cuban and Caribbean rumba as well as soul. From the two Congos as its epicentre, soukous diffused to much of sub-Saharan Africa.
Tabu Ley and his contemporaries such as Kasanda and Franco Luambo did for recorded music what mobile technology is doing for money transfer and mobile banking today. The combination of music recording and radio broadcasting provided Africa with an early opportunity to jump forward in an emerging technology. Its social, political, economic and cultural impact was profound.
Like mobile phones, the adoption of sound recording was unfettered by incumbent technologies and trade unions. In contrast, sound recording in the US encountered considerable resistance from unions organised to protect live musicians from technological unemployment.
Reflecting on the dilemma, Joseph Petrillo, the president of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) said that nowhere “in the mechanical age does the workman create the machine that destroys him, but that’s what happens to the musician when he plays for a recording. The iceman didn’t create the refrigerator, the coachman didn’t build the automobile”.
He added: “But the musician plays his music into a recorder and a short time later the radio station manager…says, ‘Sorry, Joe, we’ve got all your stuff on records, so we don’t need you any more’. And Joe’s out of a job.”
Access to new musical instruments, recording studios and radio provided the opportunity for young Africans to leapfrog into the analogue age. Congolese musicians experimented with a variety of Western music but came up with their own creations. They did the same with musical instruments. The guitar triumphed partly because it was plucked like the local thump piano (sanza or likembe).
In 1947, a Greek entrepreneur, Nicolas Jéronimidis, and his brother created Ngoma, one of the first recording companies in Kinshasa. A year later, Ngoma released Marie Louise by Wendo Kolosoy and Henri Bowana. Its enchantingly romantic edge made it an instant hit. It was whispered that Marie Louise could raise the dead if played at midnight. This word of mouth and promotion by Radio Congolia accounted for its blockbuster success.
The ensuing controversy in religious circles resulted in Kolosoy’s banishment from Kinshasa, imprisonment in Kisangani by Belgian authorities and subsequence excommunication from the Catholic Church.
It is against this revolutionary background that Tabu Ley and other African musical legends emerged. The late 1950s were a period of remarkable political promise and optimism. The struggle for African independence was under way and the wind of freedom and creativity was sweeping across the continent. The two Congos were a meeting place for a diversity of African and international cultures.
Kabasele served as mentor for the young musical innovators with his African Jazz acting as a business incubator. The analogue revolution spawned bands in the same way today’s digital revolution is creating business start-ups. New bands were in every respect technology-based start-ups. Many were formed but only a few flourished. Those that did relied heavily on scouting for new talent, good human resource management and access to radio.
Tabu Ley’s generation pushed existing instruments to their limits and generated new creations of their own.
For example, Franco’s band invented the mi-solo (half solo) between lead and rhythm guitars, a technique where notes in a chord are played in a sequence rather than in a simultaneous pattern. These and many other creations would have resulted in new musical instruments. But they lacked the relevant engineering capability to translate their ideas into new instruments.
Beyond his music, Tabu Ley’s legacy includes other notable lessons for Africa’s second technological revolution. First, he spent his entire life nurturing young talent, an essential feature of any creative industry. He gave back to society as much as he received from his mentors. Second, Tabu Ley put considerable effort in expanding the diversity of talent by identifying and promoting women musicians.
His biggest successes included M’Bilia Bel and Kishila Ngoyi (known artistically as Faya Tess). Franco emulated Tabu Ley with the recruitment of Jolie Detta (of Massu fame). Third, Tabu Ley retained strong though uneasy interest in public service and later acted as a cabinet minister under Laurent Kabila following the fall of the despot Joseph Mobutu.
The passing of Tabu Ley marks punctuation to Africa’s long and winded journey of technological innovation. It is both a reminder of how a small number of dedicated people combined two emerging technologies to create a cultural revolution. African culture in general and music in particular provide a powerful platform up, through which the continent can jump into a wide range of new industries.
– Calestous Juma is Professor of the Practice of International Development and Faculty Chair of the Innovation for Economic Development Programme at Harvard Kennedy School. He co-chairs the African Union’s High-Level Panel on Science, Technology and Innovation. He is author of The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa (Oxford University Press).
Reproduction of a file photo dated 25 May 1963 shows the Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie (C) and Ghana's founder and first President Kwame Nkrumah (L) during the formation of the Organization of African Unity in Addis Ababa., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Of dreams and wars
December 2, 2013 Opinion & Analysis
Mabasa Sasa Deputy Editor
Africa has attained its political independence. But until there is economic independence, until the people of Africa can enjoy the benefits of having diamonds and oil, until Africa’s leaders are responsive to the needs of their citizens more than they are to the needs of Europe, Asia and America . . . until then there can only be one thing as we pursue our dream.
Sigmund Freud, perhaps even more than television, destroyed the innocence of childhood.
After reading about the “phallic stage” in a child’s development, I have never quite been able to look at children the same as before that harrowing encounter with psychoanalysis.
Freud claimed that between the ages of three and five, children become aware of their sex and the sexes of those around them. In his view, this is the stage where personality becomes developed.
Freud spoke of Oedipus and Electra complexes: a reference to a son’s love for his mother and jealousy of his father and a daughter’s love for the father and jealousy of the mother.
This sexualisation of childhood really ticked me off for years, but with time, I came to accept that hey, those were one man’s views and were not Bible truths.
Naturally, there are many critics of Freud and most dissent is informed by the same aversion that I had to his sexualisation of everything about human personality.
Some say the fact that he lived in the Victorian era, when sexuality was repressed, contributed to his own fixation with sex. It is something that the experts have been debating for decades and there certainly is no room here to even begin to elaborate on that issue.
Whatever the debates, Freud remains an influential character whose ideas shape thought in fields far beyond his own specialty of psychoanalysis. So aside from his deconstruction of the innocence of childhood, I find Freud quite an interesting read.
Take, for instance, his “The Interpretation of Dreams”.
As with all his analyses, dream interpretation is premised on Freud’s categorisation of the mind into three parts: the id, which is in charge of primal instinct, unguarded pleasure and unchecked urge; the ego, which is concerned with rationality and conscious action and the superego, which acts as the censor for the id, ensuring that we do not go about trying to fulfil our wildest and basest desires.
While we are awake, so says Freud, the superego balances the id and the ego, making us rational human beings who observe the rules and laws of society and who seek consensus with our fellow man.
But once we sleep, those repressed and suppressed desires and thoughts come to the fore. In essence, our dreams are what we really are: everything else is a pretence enforced by the need to act within social boundaries that we all too often do not like.
Freud believed that the motivating force of a dream is wish fulfilment and is strongly tied to the functions of the id. Maybe that is why Freud once remarked that: “All men are heroes in dreams.”
It is a profound statement, juxtaposing our claim to have sovereignty over all Creation, but at the same time lacking the courage to act out the role of a sovereign.
In essence, the majority of us are cowards and only act out our wished for heroism and sovereignty over Creation in our dreams.
Think of Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have a dream” speech.
It is powerful stuff from a polemical point of view, but when considered against his rather cowardly refusal to take on the establishment a la Malcolm X, I get the inescapable impression that here was a man who was really only a hero in his dreams.
On the other hand, you get people of action who dare to venture beyond the realm of dreams and actually put into action the practicalities that make dreams realities.
Which is why I like Emperor Haile Selassie I’s address to the UN in October 1963. The address came a few months after he had gathered African leaders in Addis Ababa to form the OAU and it also came 27 years after Emperor Haile Selassie I addressed the League of Nations. The substance of his two speeches was essentially the same.
But there was a big difference in that when he had addressed the League of Nations he had pleaded for assistance to stop the Italian Fascist invasion of Ethiopia, while in the 1963 address he stood as a proud conqueror who had almost single-handedly repelled that attack and gone on to help found the OAU.
In 1936, Emperor Haile Selassie I had dreamt of a time when imperial powers would not do whatever they wanted with Africa. In 1963, he had gone a long way in making that dream come true.
Who can forget those powerful words to the UN?
“ . . . until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned: . . . until there are no longer first-class and second class citizens of any nation . . . until the colour of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes;
“ . . . until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race; . . . until the ignoble and unhappy regimes that hold our brothers in Angola, in Mozambique and in South Africa in subhuman bondage have been toppled and destroyed . . .”
It is a dream that Bob Marley immortalised in a song appropriately titled “War”. One aspect of Emperor Haile Selassie I’s dream has been realised. Africa has attained its political independence.
But until there is economic independence, until the people of Africa can enjoy the benefits of having diamonds and oil, until Africa’s leaders are responsive to the needs of their citizens more than they are to the needs of Europe, Asia and America, until we can work in solidarity to boot out the divisive elements causing strife in the DRC, Mozambique, Somalia and others; until then there can only be one thing as we pursue our dream.
And that one thing, as Marley put it, is that “everywhere is war”.
— Southern Times