- Burkina Faso
- Cape Verde
- Central African Republic
- D.R. Congo
- Equatorial Guinea
- Guinea Bissau
- Ivory Coast
- São Tomé and Príncipe
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- South Sudan
Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Nigeria, Africa's biggest oil producer, gets more than 90 percent of its foreign earnings and two-thirds of its tax revenue from oil exports. Yet there are many reasons why that hydrocarbon bounty is a mixed blessing.
For starters, it can drive up the value of a nation's currency, making other exports less competitive and imports more attractive. As Burgis points out, textiles used to be Nigeria's most important manufacturing industry. But cheaper Chinese imports smuggled in by Nigerian gangs (an illicit trade worth more than $2 billion a year) have devastated the industry -- one example of why Africa produces just 1.5 percent of global manufacturing output, despite its abundance of cheap labor.
Billions of dollars in oil revenues are also a tempting pot of money for bent politicians. One 2012 report said corruption had swallowed up $37 billion worth of Nigeria's oil money over the last decade. That surpasses the annual economic output of more than half the nations in Africa as well as Nigeria's annual federal budget. Such corruption has other toxic effects. Dirty money from bribes and kickbacks has to be laundered, and because those doing the cleaning don't care so much about profit or productive investment, their infusions of cash distort the value of assets.
Nigeria's reliance on oil for tax revenues also creates a perverse political dynamic: As Burgis puts it, "the ability of rulers of Africa's resource state to govern without recourse to popular consent." Instead of having to do right by taxpayers to win their votes, politicians focus on controlling and dispensing mineral wealth to bolster their patronage networks. "Politics becomes a game of mobilizing one's ethnic brethren," Burgis notes -- a contest with dangerous destabilizing effects in Nigeria's fractious polity. In fact, as one Nigerian governor explains, if he failed to share the wealth, ill-gotten or otherwise, "I've got a big political enemy."
Nigeria is far from the exception. At least 20 African countries are what the International Monetary Fund calls "resource-rich": that is, their natural resources account for more than one-quarter of exports. From the coltan mines of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Guinea's rich bauxite and iron ore deposits to the diamond fields of Zimbabwe.
This looting depends on an all-too-willing cast of outside partners, whether Western mining and oil companies that bribe and abet massacres, or shady shell companies in the British Virgin Islands. The World Bank's International Finance Corporation, backs visibly corrupt, environmentally destructive, or just plain inequitable oil and mining ventures in Chad, Guinea and Ghana -- all countries it was supposed to be helping. Western criticism of China's growing presence in Africa carries a distinct whiff of hypocrisy.
Sunday, December 27, 2015
“We have been engaged in drawing lines upon maps where no white man’s feet have ever trod; we have been giving away mountains and rivers and lakes to each other, only hindered by the small impediment that we never knew exactly where the mountains and rivers and lakes were” – Lord Salisbury, British Prime Minister.
Saturday, December 26, 2015
Earlier this year, the French oil company Total filed a request for arbitration against the government of Uganda using a legal mechanism, known as ISDS (investor-state dispute settlement.) ISDS is mainly used against developing countries. Sometimes because they clearly behaved badly towards an investor, but in other cases it’s more likely that it is used as a bargaining tool and a threat by multinational companies for better deals. Litigation costs amount to 8 million dollars on average, calculated the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
The French oil company Total is refusing to pay tax. It acquired a 33 per cent share in a 2.9 billion dollar project owned by Tullow Oil. According to Ugandan law, when a stock is bought, a stamp duty must be paid. However, the oil firm refuses to do so, citing no legal obligation to honor the government claims. Total has not disclosed how much tax is at the heart of the dispute or why it objects to the tax levy but a source at the Uganda Revenue Authority told Reuters earlier that the Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) includes a tax waiver.
Total’s Corporate Affairs Manager Ms. Ahlem Friga-Noy stated that “given the applicable confidentiality obligations, we are not in a position to comment further on the proceedings.”
The Office of the Attorney General of the Government of Uganda replies in the same manner: “We are under obligation not to disclose the content of the matter to the public until it is appropriate.”
In a court room all affected parties and stakeholders have the right to speak, or at least listen, but an arbitration procedure is very secretive. No one is obliged to disclose details. Has the state really behaved badly? Or is it the company who abuses arbitration as a pressure to get a tax reduction? The public remains completely in the dark, until the final verdict of the tribunal is published, which can be a multimillion dollar fine.
The problem Uganda now faces has been made possible by the Bilateral Investment Treaty signed in 2000 with the Netherlands. According to the treaty, all Dutch investors in Uganda have the right to pursue arbitration before the World Bank court if they feel treated unfairly. The French company Total Uganda registered itself as a Dutch company. This is known as the Dutch Sandwich; you put a Dutch company in between and then you become a Dutch investor. Which turns the treaty into a tool to drag a state before a tribunal of three men in Washington, having a commercial background and the ability to award billion dollar fines, without a possibility to appeal. If Uganda is condemned to a compensation but refuses to pay, the company has the right to seize Ugandan assets in the world.
This is against Ugandan law, says the renowned Human Rightslawyer Isaac Ssemakadde. “According to the constitution, taxation is wholly the creation of the law of the state.” Which means that disputes have to be settled on the basis of the law alone. “Even an agreement between parties cannot supercede the obligation fixed in the law. There is therefore no room for arbitration on taxation,” he said.
“In an earlier tax dispute, between Heritage Oil and Gas against Uganda Revenue Authority, the High Court has forbidden the state to refer proceedings to the arbitration processes in London or anywhere else outside the jurisdiction of the Ugandan courts of law,” noted Ssemakadde. In short, “Total is being treated differently to other business persons which is in violation of article 21 of the constitution of Uganda which states that all persons are equal before and under the law.” Nobody can check Total’s claims about a tax waiver, because the Product Sharing Agreements are confidential. This is so despite the fact that Uganda has an Access to Information law that was promulgated in 2005. This limits the discussion, and knowledge, about the proceedings in the country’s oil sector to senior politicians and bureaucrats. The ordinary Ugandan is kept in darkness about what happens there. The secrecy is not only advantageous for oil companies, but also for certain politicians, who seem to be interested in “personalizing” the oil resources. The Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni recently told Ugandans that those people who are challenging him politically in the forthcoming general elections “are after my oil.”
“In the end, it’s the ordinary Ugandan taxpayer to bear the brunt and consequences for the enormous amounts of money that is going to be spent on this arbitration process,” says Ssemakadde. “Whereas Total can afford to maintain a given team of lawyers in Washington for, say, a month, Uganda can hardly afford this.” The people remain ignorant about the deals that are made, and who exercises pressure on whom. Unless the general public starts to view the oil, as well as the treaties their government signs, as belonging to them and not the selected few in government, companies like Total will continue dragging the state into expensive arbitration processes.
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Zambia pardoned a singer who was convicted of the rape of a 14-year-old girl - then appointed him as an ambassador in the fight against gender violence.
Clifford Dimba, known as General Kanene, was convicted in 2014 and sentenced to 18 years in prison, but was pardoned by President Edgar Lungu after serving one year. Since his release, the singer has been involved in two further incidents of violence against women, according to the United Nations Council of Human Rights.
“Such an outrageous release and appointment as an ambassador for the fight against gender-based violence not only traumatises the victim all over again but discourages other victims from reporting similar offences,” said Dubravka Šimonović, UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences. “The pardon and appointment undermine the strong message against sexual abuse of women and girls that was sent with the original sentence and trivialise the serious nature of these offences. Rather, Clifford Dimba has been placed in a prominent position and even portrayed as a role model to fight violence against women” Ms Šimonović added.
From the July 1922 issue of the Socialist Standard
17th May, 1922.
As you may have noticed, events in Nairobi took a serious turn about two months ago. The Press, as usual, describe the occurrence as a riot, though in actuality the first exercise of violence proceeded from the forces of “law and order.” They arrested a proletarian propagandist of democratic ideas, a native named Harry Thuku, on a “special warrant,” which appears to obviate the necessity of a public trial as a preliminary to imprisonment. As a result of this, several hundreds of natives assembled and held a mass meeting outside the police barracks, which lasted for something like eighteen hours! In fact, from the evening of one day till noon the next the crowd remained in the hope that their petitions to the authorities and their prayers to God (their most active spokesman being obviously mission educated) would result in the release of Thuku. The authorities, however, put their faith in things more tangible than ancestral spooks, and called out a detachment of the King’s African Rifles. This in spite of the fact that up till that time neither person nor property had been damaged, and the demeanour of the crowd was (according to the evidence of the police chief) “orderly and peaceful,” and reminded the local State parson of “a Sunday School picnic ”;while the police were armed. The arrival of the military was the signal for the beginning of the tragedy. A stampede among the crowd took place which was subsequently described as “an attack on the barracks.” The police fired, killing over a score and wounding about thirty others, whereupon they left the barracks and proceeded to clean up the streets, ably assisted by the K.A.R. At the subsequent inquiry into the incident it transpired that the police (a native body) had fired without orders! But, as the learned presiding magistrate observed, “if the authority of the Government was to be maintained, the firing must be justified.” And so, of course, he justified it. The casualties on the Government side were nil; those on the other side included women and children. No wonder the Daily Mail and other rags thought it necessary to drag in the bogey of Bolshevism, trusting in popular ignorance and credulity to swallow the ludicrous myth.
The causes of the agitation with which Thuku was associated were described at the beginning of the year in the pages of the Socialist Standard. Most important of these were the increase in Hut and Poll taxes, decrease in wages, the system of native registration and the absence of any form of political representation. Thuku was instrumental in forming the original Kikuyu Association, but as this body soon fell into the hands of a junta of Government-paid chiefs, and sought to exclude all but Kikuyu, he and others withdrew and formed the East African Association, a body aiming to unite all native tribes and races to gain political equality. He also incidentally exposed the corruption of the above-mentioned chiefs, as instanced in their acceptance of bribes from European planters for procuring labour! In vain did they retaliate by endeavouring to prevent their tribesmen from listening to Thuku. The natives flocked in thousands to his meetings, and their spontaneous demonstration following his arrest, while fatal as tactics, afforded ample evidence that they, in the mass, endorse his views. The massacre has simply intensified the bitterness with which they regard their oppressors.T
Africans in the Diaspora sent home $33 billion in 2014 to their relatives or friends to help pay for living expenses, education, health care and even to start a business. Nigerians living overseas sent home $21 billion in 2014, according to the World Bank
The money sent to home countries from diasporans living abroad, also called remittances, are often the financial lifeline sustaining many African families, benefitting some 120 million people across Africa. The remittances are making a significant impact on household spending and improved livelihoods of whole communities. Due to remittances to families, living expenses and emergencies are paid for making life easier in very difficult economic circumstances. A recent World Bank study revealed that remittances are also boosting the usage of new technologies such as mobile phones in African households. In fact, Africa is the fastest growing region for mobile markets.
African diasporans pay more to send money to their home countries compared to Diaspora groups in other regions of the world. In some cases, African diasporans pay twice the global average, according to the World Bank. South Africa, Tanzania, and Ghana are the most expensive sending countries in Africa, with fees averaging 20.7 percent, 19.7 percent, and 19.0 percent. Western Union and MoneyGram are the top money transfer companies in Africa. A diasporan sending money to Africa will frequently incur what economists call a "super tax", where the sender pays exorbitantly high fees, sometimes up 50 percent more than the global average, reducing the actual amount of funds transferred. Diasporans have expressed a need for a simple, immediate and direct money transfer system to pay for family members' expenses.
Diasporans' money to family members outpaces international assistance from donor countries, and is the largest international flow of financial resources to Africa.
The message from farmers’ groups in Tanzania is clear. They don’t want an agricultural system that is dominated by large transnational companies; they don’t want to be dependent on purchasing synthetic fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides; and they certainly don’t want a commercialized seed system that sees them being forced in to purchasing new seeds every season.
‘Tell your government to stop helping big corporations coming to Tanzania and profiting from small-scale farmers in order to build their corporate empires,’ was just one of Janet Moro’s impassioned messages she had for the UK. As the founding director of Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT). SAT’s focuses on organic farming techniques that use only locally available resources means farmers are entirely self-sufficient and the soils and local environment are protected.
It’s not just SAT; there are other projects across the country where small-scale farmers are rejecting synthetic inputs and mechanized production methods. Chololo Eco-village in Dodoma, a particularly dry part of the country, is another such example. Between 2011 and 2014 farmers have more than doubled their crop yields following the adoption of techniques such as crop rotation, intercropping and open pollinated breeding for improved seeds.
Tanzanian farmers do not need schemes like the G7’s New Alliance to improve their yields and continue to feed the world’s population. This argument is all the more convincing because these farmers aren’t driven by an inherently anti-corporate agenda; they simply want to see their produce flourish. And what increases yields the fastest involves utilizing local natural resources, rather than purchasing foreign synthetic inputs and technologies. It is clear that the future of our food systems rests on ensuring small-scale farmers – not corporations – are the ones in control.
Schemes such as the G7’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, which, despite its name, is all about pushing policy reforms to expand industrial agriculture and attract private investments. In the three years since its launch, the New Alliance has been widely criticized by numerous civil-society groups that have highlighted how the policy reforms and investments have had an array of disastrous outcomes. From landgrabs to farmer debts, and from policy reforms that favour businesses over farmers to seed law amendments which endanger century-old farming practices, the evidence is clear: the New Alliance is going against the interests of small-scale farmers, rather than supporting them.
Stanslaus Nyembea, the policy analyst and legal officer at Mviwata, a nationwide farmers’ group that represents some 200,000 small-scale Tanzanian farmers is worried about the encroaching takeover of Tanzania’s agriculture sector by transnational corporations. ‘We see a big risk that foreign corporations want to control the agricultural sector in Tanzania, especially the markets around seeds, fertilizers, chemicals and other agro inputs,’ he said. ‘This is a serious risk to small-scale farmers who might lose their land, which is integral to their livelihoods.’
The former rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, an expert on food security reports that the New Alliance is ‘seriously deficient in a number of areas’, in particular for its silence ‘on the need to shift to sustainable modes of agricultural production’, its failure to ‘support farmers’ seed systems’ and its inability to recognize ‘the dangers associated with the emergence of a market for land rights’. He goes on to berate the New Alliance for ‘only selectively [referring] to existing international standards that define responsible investment in agriculture’ and only paying ‘lip service’ to addressing the needs of women, which is ‘effectively creating the risk that women’s rights will be negatively affected as a result’. Most crucially for a programme designed for food security and nutrition, it is ‘weak on nutrition, hardly acknowledging the links between agricultural production, food and health, and the need to support healthy and diversified diets’.
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
A group of Muslims protected Christian passengers when suspected Islamic extremists ambushed a bus in Kenya, according to eyewitness accounts. The attackers ordered people off the vehicle in Mandera before telling them to split into groups of Muslims and non-Muslims. They were trying to identify who were Christians and who were not. They told the non-Christians to return to vehicle. The Muslims refused their demands - daring the alleged extremists to kill them too.
Monday, December 21, 2015
US rapper Nicki Minaj has gone ahead with a concert in Angola despite a rights group asking her to cancel it. The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) said in a letter that the money to pay her came from "government corruption and human rights violations".
Minaj posted a photo of herself with Angola's flag on Instagram along with one of her posing with Isabel dos Santos with the words: "She's just the 8th richest woman in the world. (At least that's what I was told by someone b4 we took this photo) Lol. Yikes!!!!! GIRL POWER!!!!! This motivates me soooooooooo much!!!!"
Transparency International recently named billionaire, Isabel dos Santos, as one of 15 symbols of grand corruption worldwide.
Minaj's "girl power" is based upon the political power of the billionaire's father's corrupt dictatorship and the exploitation of Angola's poverty ridden people. Shame on unthinking, uncaring Minaj.
Her performance came a day after a judge ordered the release of 15 Angolan activists, including prominent rapper Luaty Beirao, who were arrested six months ago during a book reading where one of the books on the agenda was about non-violent resistance to repressive regimes. The group will return to court next month for their trial's conclusion on charges of "rebellion" and attempting to carry out a "coup".
Friday, December 18, 2015
Social movements have long criticized the World Trade Organization (WTO) and its predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), where rich countries consolidate power and rig trade rules in their favor, at the expense of the developing world. Perhaps the best example of this is the issue of cotton subsidies. The US chooses to protect the interests of 20,000 rich cotton growers at the expense of the lives and livelihoods of millions of farmers and their children in West Africa.
Cotton is a major source of livelihoods for poor farmers in the West African countries of Burkina Faso, Mali, Benin and Chad, known in WTO negotiations as the Cotton 4 (C-4). They have been feeling the direct impact of the subsidies provided to cotton growers in the United States, which suppress cotton prices and result in lower incomes for African cotton farmers. Over a decade ago, the US agreed to resolve the issue of cotton subsidies 'ambitiously, expeditiously and particularly'. But the US did not take action. Instead, it took advantage of its financial and political power, choosing to ignore the impacts it was having on the lives of some of the poorest people on the planet. Even a case brought by Brazil at the WTO, could not stop the US from artificially suppressing cotton prices. And at this year's talks, the US refuses to even discuss the issue of cotton.
In fact, Brazil won a case against the US cotton subsidies at the WTO, yet the richest country in the world is successfully playing with the rules. While promoting itself as WTO compliant, the US supports its cotton growers to the tune of $1.5 billion annually as estimated by International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development. This suppresses world cotton prices at least by 7% - or a loss of $3.3 billion for cotton producing countries. Among them are the four poorest countries in West Africa, which will lose $80 million per year.
Tuesday, December 01, 2015
British American Tobacco illegally paid politicians and civil servants in countries in East Africa. Paul Hopkins, who worked for BAT, a British company, in Kenya for 13 years, said he had begun paying bribes after being told it was the cost of doing business in Africa.
"BAT is bribing people, and I'm facilitating it," he said. "The reality is if... they have to break the rules, they will break the rules."
A Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), representative from Burundi, Godefroid Kamwenubusa, and a representative from the Comoros Islands, Chaibou Bedja Abdou, were both paid $3,000 (£2,000). A former representative from Rwanda, Bonaventure Nzeyimana, was paid $20,000.
The secret documents show the company paid bribes to undermine anti-smoking legislation. In return for the illegal payment to Mr Kamwenubusa, a Burundian senior civil servant, BAT also wanted a draft copy of the country's Tobacco Control Bill. And an email from a contractor working for BAT says Mr Kamwenubusa would be able to "accommodate any amendments before the president signs".
Dr Vera Da Costa e Silva, from the WHO, said BAT "is irresponsible to say the least…It is using bribery to profit at the cost of people's lives, simple as that."
Monday, November 30, 2015
An iron ore firm once listed in the London stock-market is being sued in a multimillion pound lawsuit over evictions and alleged violent treatment of workers and villagers living near one of its mines in Sierra Leone. African Minerals Limited is accused of complicity in false imprisonment, assault and battery, trespass and theft of the claimants’ property. It is also allegedly implicated in a fatal shooting of a 24-year-old by police during a protest over pay and conditions. A London law firm will put the case on behalf of 142 claimants before a judge at the high court in London on Monday in a bid to get compensation for the injuries sustained in two incidents in 2010 and 2012.
According to court filings, a number of villages were taken over and hundreds of families relocated with minimal consultation in a move to allow the company to expand its operations. The majority of the claimants are small scale or subsistence farmers and traders, many of whom had already sustained brutal treatment during the civil war.
Kadiatu Koroma, 25, one of the lead claimants being put forward by Leigh Day, has said that she was beaten, raped and miscarried as a result of violence in the village in 2010.
“I remember seeing big AML trucks coming to work on our farms. They didn’t speak to anyone. We had already planted our produce and we gathered as a community and started grumbling. We were saying, how can these people come and work in our farms without saying something to us. We all wanted to stop AML from destroying our farmland so I was guilty just because I lived in the village.”
She said the villagers told the mining company they were trespassing on their lands and set up a roadblock to stop them destroying their farms and their livelihoods. Police then arrived and opened fire against the community. In written evidence gathered by Leigh Day, she said there were three AML men with the police, including its community relations officer, Yallan Atkins Koroma. She says she was grabbed by the police and flogged with a stick and then bundled into a truck half naked after her shirt was torn off her. She says they were then taken to an AML camp where people were flogged and beaten up. Kadiatu was two months pregnant at the time and lost her baby.
Two years later, it is alleged excessive force was again used against defenceless victims, when police tried to quash a protest staged by workers over low wages and unfair treatment. In the attempt to impose law and order, a 24-year-old woman was shot dead while eight were wounded after police used live ammunition. t is claimed that the 142 claimants “suffered at the hands of the defendants, the defendants services and/or agents and the Sierra Leonean police force, who, at all material times, were acting in concert with the defendants and/or as their servants or agents.” In the aftermath of the clash, Sierra Leone’s human rights commission conducted an investigation, with its report describing the incident as a “war zone”. According to Human Rights Watch, hundreds of families were evicted from their land to make way for the mine near Bumbuna with minimal consultation with villagers.
Sierra Leone has one of the largest deposits of iron ore in Africa and AML was once one of the country’s largest employers with almost 7,000 staff supplying the raw material for China’s production of steel.
While many European countries protest the arrival of refugees, developing countries host 86 per cent of the world’s refugees, according to a 2013 UNHCR Global Trends report.
Ethiopia hosts about 680,000 refugees, the largest number of any African country.
Often these countries already struggle to respond to the needs of their own populations and are reluctant to allow refugees to study, work or move freely within their territories. Many of these individuals, having no passport and coming from countries often labeled high risk for illegal migration, find themselves cut off from obtaining study visas and work permits for developed countries, and condemned by strict national migration rules to remain as refugees for years in the likes of Ethiopia.
“All they care about is their budgets; they don’t care about refugees,” a 33-year-old Congolese man, who fled to Ethiopia five years ago to escape fighting and government persecution of his minority Banyamulenge tribe, told IPS. “It’s a form of psychological killing living here because we aren’t allowed to work. We are hopeless.”
Distinctions between refugees and economic migrants become blurred. Hence the argument for a new terminology of “survival migrant”, someone falling outside the internationally recognized definition of a refugee but, nevertheless, fleeing very serious socio-economic rights deprivations.
Eritreans accounted for the majority of the 3,000 people who drowned in the Mediterranean this year, humanitarian agencies estimate. So not everyone takes the gamble, choosing to remain at the mercy of the international asylum system.
“At least I’m free to practice my faith here,” Samrawit, a Pentecostal Christian who teaches English classes at the JRS, and who seven years ago also walked at night across the border from Eritrea into Ethiopia, told IPS. “But when you can’t even earn a living, such freedom really counts for nothing.”
Saturday, November 21, 2015
Africa’s ‘middle class’ is closer to 18 million people than the previously estimated 300 million. To make matters worse, they are all located in a very small area of the continent. South Africa houses 4.3 million of Africa’s middle class. However, the number becomes 14.1 million if other countries such as Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and Nigeria are included. This means that the reminder of the middle class, which is about 4.7 million are shared between more or about 48 countries on the entire continent.
In 2011, the African Development Bank stated the middle class contained 313 million people. However, Credit Suisse’s 2015 Global Wealth Databook put the number at 18 million, which is almost seventeen times smaller. ‘Middle class’ households are typically defined as those that spend at least half of their income on goods and services beyond just food and basic necessities.
“More than 93% of adults in Africa own less than USD 10,000, and 95% of adults in in India fall in this range,” stated the authors.
A Pew Research Center report from July found that African countries declined the most from 2001 to 2011. Ethiopia’s middle class dropped 27%, while Nigeria’s went down 18%. The researchers determined their statistics by classifying those who live on $10-$20 a day. Overall, their study concluded only 6% of Africa’s population can be considered middle class.
Cadbury and Coca-Cola closed factories in Kenya, and Nestle SA cut jobs by 15% in sub-Saharan Africa earlier this year. At one time, South Africa’s ShopRite wanted 600-800 stores in Nigeria. But now they only have 12.
Friday, November 20, 2015
A majority, 70%, of people in sub-Saharan Africa still don’t have access to toilets, African governments fail to prioritise sanitation, causing their citizens to defecate in the open or use a bucket or rudimentary pit latrine which leaks its contents, meaning people have no way to prevent faeces from contaminating their environment. In Tanzania, for instance, the current sanitation investment is less than 0.1% of the GDP!
This is a one-way street to illness – one gram of faeces carries up to 1 million bacteria and 10 million viruses. This means that the cost of hospital beds held by people suffering from preventable illnesses is also holding back a country’s workforce and its economic development. The annual global economic losses due to sanitation deficiencies are estimated to be $260 billion.
Nigeria for example is a middle-income economy, but has lagged in financing its sanitation infrastructure. One way to change this would be to mobilise domestic resources, including through taxes and tariffs, and effectively targeting those who most need the facilities.
Instead, the number of Nigerian households with access to sanitation has actually slipped by 9% since 1990 and some 71% of Nigeria’s people do not have access to basic and safe toilets. This takes a heavy toll: an estimated 11 children in every 1,000 die of diarrhoea-related illnesses each year, and 58 out of 100,000 births result in the mother dying of sepsis.
“On the brink of a boom,” was the banner on PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP’s review of Africa’s oil industry 16 months ago. When six of the 10 biggest global oil discoveries in 2013 were made in Africa, it underlined the potential of the energy riches that had lured companies from Royal Dutch Shell Plc to Exxon Mobil Corp. Now, oil below $50 has made more than two out of three investment projects on the continent non-viable.
“Capital markets are effectively closed to the oil and gas industry” in Africa, Tony Hayward, former head of BP Plc and now chairman of Genel Energy Plc, said at a conference in Cape Town last month. “A decade of exploration, with billions of dollars invested and only limited commercial success.”
"There are a raft of changes working their way through various parliaments around Africa at the moment and they’ve been primarily based on prices that were $100,” Martin Kelly, director for sub-Saharan Africa research at consultancy Wood Mackenzie said. “The world has changed since then."
African production, already 19 percent below its 2008 peak of 10.2 million barrels a day, is set to drop for a third year.
In Forbes magazine’s latest list of Africa’s 50 richest, South Africans take up 16 spots compared to Nigeria’s 10. Overall, Africa’s 50 richest are worth a total of $95.6 billion. This is almost as much as the combined GDPs of Kenya and Tanzania, two of the biggest economies in East Africa.
Aliko Dangote, the 58 year old chairman and chief executive of the Dangote Group, the manufacturing conglomerate, is worth a princely sum of $16.6 billion. That’s $10 billion more than the second on the list, South Africa’s Nicky Oppenheimer, whose family owned the diamond mining firm and trader DeBeers.
Dos Santos’ net worth of $3.4 billion makes her the richest woman in Africa. She is the daughter of Angola’s long-term president José Eduardo and critics have accused her of leveraging her position to enrich herself. Most of her money comes from investments in oil, banking and telecom companies in Angola and Portugal.
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Here is a list of Africa's longest-serving leaders:
- 36 years: Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, Equatorial Guinea. Came to power in a coup on August 3, 1979. He was officially named president on October 12, 1982.
- 36 years: Jose Eduardo dos Santos, Angola. Leader of the party which won independence from Portugal in 1975, Dos Santos has been in power since September 20, 1979.
- 35 years: Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe. The only living African leader to have been continuously in power since his country's independence, Mugabe became prime minister in April 1980 and president in 1987.
- 32 years: Paul Biya, Cameroon. Came to power on November 6, 1982.
- 29 years: Yoweri Museveni, Uganda. Took office in January 1986 after winning the war which ousted the brutal regime of Idi Amin Dada, with help from neighbouring Tanzania.
- 29 years: King Mswati III, Swaziland. Acceded to the throne of the tiny southern African kingdom in April 1986, four years after the death of his father.
- 26 years: Omar al-Bashir, Sudan. Has ruled since he seized power in a coup in June 1989.
- 25 years: Idriss Deby, Chad. Emerged as the leader of the arid north-central African state in December 1990, after the war which ousted the regime of Hissein Habre.
- All-time record holders - The longest-serving leaders of post-colonial African countries have been:
- Emperor King Haile Selassie, who was ousted from power in Ethiopia in 1974 after 44 years.
- Moamer Kadhafi of Libya, who ruled his north-African state for almost 42 years after a coup in 1969. Kadhafi was ousted and then killed in 2011 by a rebel movement backed by western warplanes.
- Omar Bongo Ondimba, who ruled the west African state of Gabon for more than 41 years until his death in October 2011. He was then succeeded by his son:
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Mandera in northeastern Kenya, has often been described as “the worst place on earth to give birth.” Mandera’s maternal mortality ratio stands at 3,795 deaths per 100,000 live births, almost double that of wartime Sierra Leone at 2,000 deaths per 100,000 live births.
The words socialism and communism were used interchangeably by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. It was Lenin more than anyone else who introduced a distinction between the two.
Lenin stupendously amplified a theoretical presupposition in Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Programme to advance his political dogma of socialism at two stages – the first phase of socialism was what existed in
. The second or higher stage was
what up till then socialists had assumed socialism to be, the distinguishing
feature of socialism consisting in the fact that in it money, classes and
states won’t exist. Russia
The following quotation from Marx may help us to understand how he defined socialism and historical materialism:
‘In the social production which men carry on they enter into definite relations that are indispensable and independent of their will. These definite relations of production correspond to a definite stage of development of material relations of production. The sum total of these relations of production constitute the structure of society, the real foundation on which arise legal and political institutions and to which correspond definite form of social consciousness.
The mode production in material life determines the general character of the social, political and spiritual process of life. it is not the consciousness of many that ??? existence, but on the contrary their social existence determines their consciousness. At a certain stage of their development the material forces of production – with the property relations with which they have been at work before. From forms of development of forces of production, these relations turn into their fetters. Then comes the period of social revolution, with the change of the economic foundation, the immense superstructure is more or less rapidly transformed. In considering such transformation, the distinction should always be made between material transformation of the economic condition of production which can be determined with precision of natural science and the legal, political, religious, aesthetic, philosophical – in short the ideological forms in which men become conscious of this conflict and fight it out.’
The final causes of social or political revolutions are to be found within the changes taking place in the modes of production and exchange. The process itself is dialectic and is determined by a change in human’s consciousness. The change in the modes of production and exchange abrogate the earlier economic condition and thus culture and the way of life.
The Communist Manifesto was published by the Communist League – it was exclusively German and later on became international under the political conditions of 1848. Drawn up in
Germany in 1848, the manifesto
had been published in
a few weeks before the outbreak of the French revolution of 1848. London
The Communist Manifesto came to vindicate the facts set forth in the materialist conception of history:
(a) That all history has been the history of class struggles.
(b) The particular structure of social classes at any given time is determined by the mode of production.
(c) The bourgeois order (capitalism) like all previous systems gives rise to contradictions which cannot be resolved within its framework.
(d) The working class will take the initiative and acquire political power from the bourgeoisie and establish a socialist society.
Lenin and Trotsky were confident that the success of the Bolshevik revolution in
was going to spread to other
parts of the world. When Lenin died in 1924 he was succeeded by Joseph Stalin
as leader of the Communist Party. Stalin
started to revise the party’s theory to fit the existing conditions prevailing
in Russia .
To achieve this Stalin had to purge a member of the old guard. Trotsky had to
flee from Russia . Russia
When we reflect upon the political and theoretical disagreements that engulfed working class movements and the contradictions that followed the dawn of the Bolshevik revolution, we find the differences dated from earlier than 1914. They arose due to a grave misconception of Marx’s earlier writings – that a socialist revolution could take place in an economically backward country while Marx was certain that it was likely to begin in industrialised countries (
France and ). Germany
This fact confronted Lenin when the Bolsheviks came to power supposedly under the slogan of the proletarian revolution. To evade this contradiction Lenin had to construct a new political dogma: that the socialist revolution in
was to be realised neither
by a party wedded to parliamentary democracy nor by conspiratorial force – but
by a party of dedicated revolutionaries which would establish the “Dictatorship
of the Proletariat”, a purely political
creation. The task of revising and distorting historical materialism
preoccupied Lenin and Trotsky evading the salient laws of history through other
tactics and empty slogans. ‘Better fewer but better’ this was Lenin’s
conception of party or revolutionary organisation and was later embraced by
other ‘communist’ regimes. Russia
Every person with even a crude reading of Marxist literature will wince at the misunderstanding and misrepresentation of historical materialism so prevalent today due to the distortions of ‘Marxism-Leninism’. Granted that the kind of political dictatorship implemented by the Bolsheviks was not socialism, what was the contradiction of Russian ‘socialism’ in relation to historical materialism? A mere glance at the Communist Manifesto shows the premises set forth there were completely at variance with the political conditions that prevailed in the USSR, not to mention the political and theoretical blasphemies exposed in single-party political regimes in Russia, Cuba, China and North Korea – maxims that were adopted also in Africa when the struggles for political independence were on the upswing and in Latin America and the Third World generally.
Monday, November 09, 2015
One of the poorest and least developed countries in the world, Mauritania has suffered from decades of desertification and the under-development of its agricultural sector, and has to import 70 percent of its food.
Malnutrition has hit emergency levels in six of Mauritania's 15 regions, affecting at least one in six people, and the proportion of malnourished children under five across the country has risen to 14 percent this year from 10 percent in 2014, the World Food Programme said. Around one million people - a quarter of the population - do not have enough food to live healthily, and 200,000 are going hungry and urgently need food aid to survive, the WFP said.
Droughts have reduced the availability of nutritious food, and widespread poverty - one in four Mauritanians live on less than $1.25 per day - means many cannot afford to eat healthily, according to WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin. "So many are living close to the edge... women and children are the most vulnerable. A failure to meet the nutritional needs of pregnant women will have a direct impact on the health of their children." The WFP is providing half a million people with food, cash and food vouchers, and giving pregnant women and young children nutritious food to prevent and treat malnutrition. A shortage of donor funding this year has forced the WFP to cut food aid, halving or cancelling rice rations in some months. Mauritania's Mbera camp needs $11 million over the next six months but has received less than half that amount from donors, the WFP said.
Some 50,000 refugees fled to the camp after conflict erupted in 2012 in northern Mali between government forces and Tuareg separatists. "This is a population that believes they cannot return home - they are not working, they cannot feed themselves and without support, they will go hungry," Cousin said. "I've looked into the face of a mother, almost in tears, who has absolutely nothing and is struggling to feed her kids... it is the responsibility of not only the WFP, but the global community to support refugees like her," Cousin added. Without urgent funding, the U.N. agency will be unable to continue its school meal programme past December, which means more than 150,000 children will miss out on a daily hot meal.
Africa has been thrust into yet another episode of global geopolitical competition as world powers stake out their positions on the continent in a new scramble for Africa. The only thing that has changed since the Berlin Conference in 1884, which shared out the continent among European powers, is that African leaders now have a seat at the table.
China, the European Union, the United States and Japan are the leading global powers that have set up international initiatives to cultivate stronger ties with Africa aimed at expanding their markets, securing supply of raw materials and seeking political support.
Two weeks ago, India hosted the largest gathering of African leaders in New Delhi since the seventh summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in 1983. The summit, described by Indian officials as a reconnection of “old friends and family,” is New Delhi’s biggest push to reset its political and economic ties with an emerging Africa. More than 40 African leaders attended the summit, which was big on trade, terrorism and international politics. The impressive attendance by African leaders is a major statement by India on its ambitions of cementing its footprint on a continent projected to have a $29 trillion GDP by 2050 — which is in the same range as India’s projected $35 trillion economy in 35 years.
The India-Africa summit is however only one of four other similar international initiatives to cultivate stronger ties with African states. The European Union-Africa Summit was held in Brussels in April 2014, while in the same year, the United States inaugurated the US-Africa Leaders Summit in August, which was attended by all African leaders in Washington DC. Japan’s Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) is scheduled to take place in early 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya, while China, will hold its Forum on China Africa Co-operation (FOCAC) this December in South Africa.
After a decade of growth, African economies appear to be in trouble. In the wake of falling copper prices, Glencore, the second-largest mining company in Africa, has announced it will halt its production in Zambia for 18 months. Since copper accounts for 70 percent of the country’s exports and its sale provides a significant portion of its tax revenues, the halting of copper production puts serious strains on Zambia’s economic stability.
Over the past decade, China’s rise as an industrial power supported high levels of growth in Africa. As one of largest recipients of Chinese investment, Zambia has been a chief participant in this larger phenomenon with China making substantial investments in the country’s infrastructure, particularly its copper and coal mining facilities. However, as Zambia flourished economically, it became more and more integrated into China’s supply chain. By 2012, exports to China constituted almost 45 percent of Zambian exports and over 10 percent of GDP. While African leaders initially welcomed the surge in investment and interest, there are growing concerns that the continent’s economies have become uniquely overexposed to a Chinese slowdown. As China’s growth has slowed, its excess production capacity is placing a drag on the commodities that have fueled high levels of growth in Zambia and other countries. As a symptom of the deteriorating relationship, bilateral trade between China and Africa has been dropping sharply since late 2014 and the prices of many of the commodities that China purchases from Africa have fallen by 40 – 60 percent within the last two years. Zambia has already announced plans to increase its trading relationship with surrounding countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which itself is suffering greatly from the decline in Chinese demand.
Also China now appears to be rebalancing its economy away from manufacturing, construction, and exports – the sectors that most readily consume commodity exports from emerging markets – toward the services sector and consumption. Therefore, even if China resumes higher growth rates in the future, African countries, especially those that are currently dependent on commodity exports such as Zambia, Angola, and others, will be less able to rely upon it as an external engine that can fuel their domestic growth.
Saturday, November 07, 2015
Ethiopia is among nine African countries whose rate of population growth is declining. Others are Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo and Uganda.
Ethiopia has seen a massive cut in its fertility rate, from an average of seven children per woman in the 1990s to 4.6 currently.
"Women stay longer in school, the standard of living is increasing so people don't want to have too many children and more importantly, family planning is becoming more popular," explains Faustin Yao, the United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA) representative to Ethiopia. As the quality of life improves, people tend to have fewer children. More educated women often mean fertility rates are lower.
In Ethiopia, the availability of contraceptives has also played a big role.
"The increase in contraceptive use during 2000-2011 emerged as the single most important source for the recorded decline in TFR (Total Fertility Rate)," said a UNFPA report.
However, a quarter of all women who need contraceptives are still not able to get them. Health extension workers also regularly provide health education in the villages, including information about contraception to those who need it. The programme entails home visits by government-employed community workers who engage families on a one-on-one basis. The big leap in contraception use between 2000 and 2011 is largely attributed to health extension workers.
Experts say reducing poverty rates also leads to a decline in fertility.
"It's not the population growth that is the problem - it's the extreme poverty that is the underlying reason," says Hans Rosling, professor of international health at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. "If you continue to have extreme poverty areas where women give birth to six children and the population doubles in one generation, then you'll have problems."
A case in point is Niger, the country with the highest fertility rate in the world - 7.6. It is also one of the poorest. The West African country is projected to nearly quadruple its population from about 17 million to 66 million between now and 2050. Experts warn that this trend could only spell more trouble for Nigeriens, half of whom are already without adequate food and who are often hit by drought.
A couple of months ago security forces chased some 15,000 Nigerians from their homes in Badia East, one of Lagos’ largest slums and today thousands of families are still sleeping rough. The once vibrant community now resembles a disaster zone, with houses and shops reduced to rubble.
Former residents say they were given less than 12 hours’ notice, by way of a few posted eviction flyers, before bulldozers rolled in and demolished their community, making it difficult to salvage their meager belongings. Some residents have since been able to move to other slums, or stay with family and friends, but many families have settled in a narrow, overcrowded piece of public land sandwiched between the demolition site and the main road.
The demolition and evictions came after the Lagos State High Court ruled that the land belonged to the powerful Ojora chieftaincy family, who has been trying to reclaim the land since the 1990s. Badia East residents say they weren’t even given the chance to participate in court proceedings. The evicted families, the majority of who are from southwest Nigeria’s Ilaje community, insist that the land belongs to them because the government resettled them in Badia East more than 40 years ago.
“When we relocated here, the whole place was a bushy swamp. We cleared it and filled it with sand to make it habitable,” said 70-year-old Ola Igbayilo.
For decades, the slums existed without anyone laying claim to them. But now, as land has become scarcer in the ever-growing metropolis that is Lagos, they are considered prime real estate.
“Slums are being targeted because they can easily be taken away from the poor who lack the financial resources to resist the acquisition of their land,” said Segun Olutade, who works with Shelter Watch, a Lagos-based organization that works to improve human settlements. “No one will attempt to acquire land in the affluent parts of the city because the rich will get the best lawyers to fight back.”
According to a number of international instruments, including the International Covenant for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which Nigeria is a signatory, authorities must respect “the right to adequate housing by refraining from forced evictions.” Additionally: “Evictions should not result in individuals being rendered homeless or vulnerable to the violation of other human rights. Where those affected are unable to provide for themselves, the State party must take all appropriate measures…to ensure that adequate alternative housing, resettlement or access to productive land…is available.”
The last major evictions in Badia East took place in 2013, when the government demolished the homes of more than 9,000 people, following a $200 million loan from the World Bank destined for slum upgrading. But instead of building decent housing for the poor, the money and land was used for upmarket homes, shopping centres and offices. Few people were compensated; none were able to afford the new homes.
“The suffering is too much,” said Kemi Ogunyemi, a mother of four who lost her home and business. “The restaurant through which I made a living has been demolished. Now I have no way to feed my family.”
With much of Badia East reduced to rubble, the bulldozers, which are still on site, are ready to move into Badia West, Matimininu and Ladejobi, three other slums marked for demolition.
Friday, November 06, 2015
Most of Africa’s population and its poor depend on agriculture. There is a consensus in Africa that agriculture is one of the keys to achieving sustainable and inclusive growth. Despite its current low production, its high poverty, and the looming threat of climate change, Africa is uniquely placed to be a rising agricultural leader.
Arezki, Denininger, and Selod in a report called the ‘Global Land Rush’ find that a country’s attractiveness to foreign investors correlates directly to large amounts of uncultivated land with the potential to generate significant output. Now, where on planet Earth would we find such a treasure? Well, Africa accounts for about 60 percent of the world’s arable land, and most of its countries do not achieve 25 percent of their potential yield. No wonder, therefore, that there has been an increased interest on large-scale investment in agriculture in Africa.
Africa has not yet achieved its “green revolution,” the initial jump in a region’s agricultural productivity and because of current its low cereal yields—the lowest in the world—it is experiencing a food deficit. In fact, the region spent more than $30 billion to import basic grains in 2011 according to the FAO. For every $1 it earns today in agricultural exports (mainly coffee, cotton, and cocoa), the region spends nearly $2 on agricultural imports, mainly food.
Thursday, November 05, 2015
The issue of good data is a recurring problem for global health and poverty alleviation. Reports regularly conclude with the need for better data to measure what is actually happening. The Rwandan government stands accused of manipulating its poverty data. A report this week by France 24 cites sources who charge that authorities made changes that showed poverty in the small central African country fell, when, it fact, it rose. Changes in the way poverty is measured is the source of disagreement.
The data released in September showed that the poverty rate in Rwanda fell by 6 percentage points between 2011 and 2014, to 39 percent. The Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey measures things like staple foods, caloric consumption, incomes and more to get a picture of the lives of Rwandans. The latest edition of the survey included changes to the minimum standards set for goods consumed by households. In addition to maize, cassava and sorghum quantities increased, while sweet potato, Irish potato and banana quantities fell.
According to France 24‘s sources, the changes were made by the Rwandan government after the survey was complete. They say Oxford Policy Management, the group that carried out the survey, disagreed with changes proposed by the government, but they were still made after the data was handed over to Rwanda. Those subtle changes distort the ability to compare 2011 against 2014 because the criteria for poverty changed, critics say. A representative for the Oxford Policy Management told France 24 that a confidentiality clause prevents it from releasing the data to the public or discussing the work.
“The government changed the methodology, especially the poverty line, before publishing the report,” Filip Reyntjens, professor of African Law and Politics at the University of Antwerp, told France 24. “So in the final report, instead of going up, poverty levels appear to have gone down by several percentage points. We redid the calculations using the initial methodology, and the results show that the poverty rate actually rose by 6 percent in 2013-14.”
Governments like the U.S. and U.K. hold up the country as an example for improving health and reducing poverty in Africa. But human rights groups are quick to point out that President Paul Kagame’s regime has suppressed critical news reporting, carried out destabilizing attacks in neighboring countries and supports assassination of opponents. “This entire story raises a serious problem as Rwanda is keen on showing strong ‘development’ measured, among other things, against reduction of poverty and inequality,” Reyntjens wrote. “Indeed, the international community accepts a trade-off between ‘development’ and repression. But if ‘development’ is not based on evidence, as appears to be the case now, what is left is just repression (for which the evidence is overwhelming).”
Wednesday, November 04, 2015
In a dramatic court judgment that most people had not anticipated, former MMD president Rupiah Banda was acquitted of the Nigerian oil deal case on the grounds that the state failed to prove a case
When delivering judgment the
Ndola magistrate stated that the state lack enough
evidence against Banda, who was alleged to had facilitated a contract t o
import oil from
in 2009, in which the Zambian government was swindled of £2.6m. Nigeria
The political legacy of the late president Sata has been dealt a severe blow in the sense that it was Sata who had instructed the anti-corruption to investigate Banda in 2012. This followed the removal of his presidential or political immunity by the public prosecutor Mutembo Nchito.
The dismissal of Nchito by President Edgar Lungu has now paid its dividends in the sense that Banda supported and campaigned for Lungu during the January 30th presidential by-elections.
The extent to which Lungu has gone in incorporating corrupt elements in the ruling party is alarming if not self vindictive.
It is quite evident that when Sata died in
he had not groomed
a political leader to succeed him. The vacuum of political leadership in the PF
came to reveal itself after the death of the president in 2014. the political
crisis was instigated by the Attorney-General Musa Mwenye when he appointed
Vice-President Guy Scott to serve as acting president when he left London
for medical treatment abroad in September 2014. Zambia
President Lungu’s rise to political eminence was rapid within the PF – he was appointed as minister of defence when the former PF Kasama central member of parliament resigned in 2013. In 2014 Lungu was appointed as acting minister of justice and PF secretary-general, when Sata had dismissed Wynter Kabimba. He was appointed as acting president when Sata left for his medical treatment abroad.
The appointment of vice-president Guy Scott to serve as acting president was made under constitutional law, which stipulates that the Attorney General reserves the right to appoint a serving vice-president to serve as acting president when the head of state cannot physically discharge his presidential duties due to ill health or death.
The power vested in the republican president to appoint someone to act as vice-president whenever he leaves the country is a political prerogative made in good faith – it demonstrates how inadequate is the Bill of Human Rights and wide the powers given to the head of state.
The Zambian constitution needs to be reformed in order to curb the powers of the president. In 2004 the second republican president amended the Zambian constitution when is inserted a clause that disenfranchised any person whose first parents [?] were not indigenous Zambians by birth. The racialist clause was made in order to disenfranchise Dr Kenneth Kaunda from contesting the 2006 presidential elections.
The first republican president Dr Kenneth Kaunda was born in
1924, but his father and mother originated from . Malawi
There developed political faction s with the Pf after president Sata died between those who supported the appointment of Vice-President Guy Scott and those who rallied themselves behind Edgar Lungu. The political faction supporting Lungu was in a majority within the ruling party.
Ninety days after the demise of President Sata the PF held a political conference at which he was to elect a party president to succeed Sata.
On 30th December 2014 Edgar Lungu was unanimously elected as president during an election that was boycotted by eight other PF presidential candidates, among them Dr Christine Kaseba, Chilufya Sata, Miles Sampa and Chishimba Kambwili.
The Patriotic Front was formed by President Sata and his wife Dr Kaseba. In 20.. [?] it was later joined by Guy Scott, Given Lubinda and Wynter Kabimba.
The fact is that it was too early for Sata to groom a political successor in ???? the fact that the PF was in power for only three years. It is also true that Sata did not anticipate his death when he appointed Lungu as acting president in September 2014.
Thus, Lungu like Banda became acting presidents by chance outside factors (the deaths of presidents Michael Sata and levy Mwanawasa respectively).
Because Edgar Lungu was a member of parliament for Chawama constituency ??? holds a degree in law is not enough excuse to warrant him becoming republican president. The man is a seasoned alcoholic and he collapsed when addressing a public rally.
Indeed, President Lungu is not averse to tribalism and is very reluctant to caution his minsters from uttering tribalism verbiage directed against certain tribes.
The Zambian domestic economy has been facing many problems which Lungu has failed to resolve, given the fact that previous presidents were known to personally intervene whenever there was a dire economic crisis.
Rising fuel prices, the depreciating Zambian currency (the kwacha) and electricity blackouts are some of the major economic problems that Lungu has shown no imitative to rectify.
The arrest of Post newspaper managing editor Fred Meembe is the latest clamping down of press freedom taking place under the PF government.
The political slogan ONE ZAMBIA ONE NATION is now flagrantly used by Lungu to camouflage corruption, tribalism, nepotism and favouritism taking place in the PF.
Indeed, the late president Sata will be remembered for his readiness to dismiss corrupt elements from the PF – he always championed the aspirations of workers, peasants and students.
The current Zambian political constitution is flawed and needs to be reformed or amended in the sense that it safeguards the political and economic privileges of the ruling political elites at the expense of opposition political parties. For instance, the Public Order Act can be applied to arrest journalists for publishing classified information and restrict political demonstrations.