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Tanzania: A Crusade Against Foreign Dependence For Magufuli
September 21, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Mohammed M. Mupenda

President Magufuli inaugurating a water project
President Magufuli inaugurating a water project

Tanzanian president Dr. John P. Magufuli has urged citizens to stop looking at foreigners as people they can depend on but always sacrifice themselves, work hard, and develop their country.

The president was addressing hundreds of Arusha and Meru residents earlier this month where he told them that foreigners who pretend to support Tanzanians do not love them but rather, they are money-makers and business oriented.

“There is no development that comes in an easy way, it is important that we struggle,” he told participants.

“I beg you Tanzanians, let’s wake up, there is no one on earth who will come to support you and there is nothing for free, these {Foreign} people are money makers and business oriented,” he added.

He told residents from Meru, Arusha and Tanzanians in general to always sacrifice themselves and work hard to liberate themselves from economic dependency.

“We have got our independence and that is good news, but we are yet to be economically independent, we have got to fight, that is why we have requested a loan to construct the rail gauge, they never gave it to us, we requested funds to increase electricity coverage, we have been rejected, they cannot offer,” he said.

It is important we wake up, love our country and let us stop calling ourselves poor, our country is rich,” he added.

He said that the country has achieved a lot over the years and assured that a lot was yet to be achieved, should they combine work together as one.

“We can go far together and where there is a will there is a way, my colleagues, I want to assure you  God is there with us, I can’t stand in front of people and say,  we depend on you, I am a driver on my own,” he assured residents amid applause.

He urged Tanzanians to always strive to work hard even if there are people who do not get well with that knowing that they are doing it for the good of their country.

“It requires a true sacrifice and that is why I said I am grateful to the almighty God and I am grateful to you patriots for praying for me and giving heart, I am grateful for God to stand with our country, we have got an exemplary nation,” he noted.

He assured them that it is only by fighting the economic struggle that Tanzania would be among the top developed countries worldwide.

He said that the country was rich thanks to natural resources such as minerals and can be economically independent if more efforts were invested.

“We have targeted to collect 194 billion shillings and surpassed that thus collecting 301billion shillings,… that why I always tell you that our country is rich and people do not understand this, every time we wonder who will support us, but we need to support ourselves because you are rich,” the East African country president said.

Lenders Confident

The president Magufuli told residents that money lenders were confident in them and agreed to offer loans just because they are sure such loans would be serviced.

“If you want a loan, you need to be conversant on how you will service it, that is why the African Development Bank is willing to lend us money because they are sure we will service the loan,” he said.

 “But revenues collected internally are the ones we can use to build rail gauges from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma, that construction is worth 7 trillion,” he added.

He said that Tanzania had spent many years without having Air Tanzania and every time nationals wanted to fly, they flew with planes from other countries.

“That is why we decided to buy planes and we bought seven, other two planes are coming in December carrying 150 people each and are brand new from Swissland. We will be the first in Africa to have such planes,” he said amid applause.

Reducing the cost of electricity

Magufuli said that while the country has done a lot in availing electricity to citizens, the current power capacity is not equivalent to the number of people using it and that makes the price higher and not affordable by many.

“We had an issue of electricity, we have power in the whole country but the coverage is not 49% but the issue is now the cost of electricity, our plant generates 1560MW but looking at the number of people who need electricity, the cost is high as it $11 per unit while in Europe it 0.12 per unit,”  he said.

He said this makes business tough and very expensive if you compared local products with those coming from overseas.

“We need to look for other water resources so that we can build other hydropower plants as they are affordable, that is why we decided to build a mega power plant that will generate additional 1200MW” he concluded.

He said that availability of power and other alternatives would also help stop cutting trees as a source of cooking which is a threat to the forest and biodiversity in general.

Tanzania is one of five East African countries with a population of over 56 million. It was in June this year declared by the World Bank, the second middle income country in the region.

*Culled from September Issue of PAV Magazine

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Africa’s Great Lakes States Demand Reparations from Germany and Belgium for Colonization
September 21, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Jean-Pierre Afadhali*

King Philippe and Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi in 2019. The Belgium monarch has referred to the colonial past as cruel and violent . photo credit Belga
King Philippe and Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi in 2019. The Belgium monarch has referred to the colonial past as cruel and violent . photo credit Belga

Nearly 60 years after Independence- Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo are demanding reparations from German and Belgium, their former colonizers over the brutal colonial past that also sparked post-independence conflicts in the Great Lakes of Africa.

The former colonies are now demanding financial reparations and repatriation of cultural property looted by European countries that colonized Africa in the 19th century, a period that was characterized by dehumanization of locals, divide and rule policies and plundering of cultural artifacts as well as natural resources.

Burundi was first colonized by German in 1880 in what was then called ‘German East Africa’ that included Rwanda and Tanzania until the end of World War l. After the First World War the defeated Germany was stripped of its colonies in favor of Belgium that ruled Rwanda, Burundi and DR Congo until 1962. In 2018, the Burundian Senate set up a commission of historians and anthropologists to examine the impact of colonialism in the Great Lakes country.

Gitega appears to be more pragmatic in reparations issue by setting a price. The Great Lakes country has recently demanded $ 43 billion from Germany for colonial crimes. The amount was calculated by referring to a fine that was imposed on the Burundian king by the Germans in 1903, which forced him to hand over 424 cows for resisting German rule.

According to Burundi’s special commission on the colonial past, the current value of those cows would be $43 billion. There are reports that German is not willing to pay the price amid similar reparation request from Namibia its former Southern African colony over genocide crimes.

Aloys Batunganayo, a Burundian Historian and doctoral researcher from Lausanne University said that current Burundian political challenges are linked to Belgium’s colonial past in a decree by Belgian King Albert l that classified the population in three ethnic groups.

“It is this decree that has led to conflicts in Burundi and the region because some of the population was excluded from the ruling class because of the decree,” Dr Batunganayo was quoted as saying.

Since its independence in 1962, the East African country has experienced ethnic conflicts that led to large scale civil war in 90s and various massacres.

Similarly, neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has also called for reparations after the Belgian King Phillippe expressed “deepest regrets” over his nation brutal colonial legacy in the central African nation. King Phillippe expressed shock on 30 July 2020, the Independence Day in DRC.

According to Brussels’ media reports, King Phillippe is the first reigning Belgian Monarch to qualify as “acts of violence and cruelty” committed under Belgian colonial past led by King Leopold ll in current DRC.  His majesty Philippe also expressed sympathy with Kinshasa over “suffering and humiliation” experienced by Congolese people under colonization.

However, Kinshasa’s officials say this is not enough and are now calling for compensation over brutal colonial past. Mr. Andre Lite, Minister of Human Rights was quick to react on Belgian King’s comments saying that Brussels should compensate the victims of colonization.

In an interview with a local news website ‘7 Sur 7 CD’, Lite said that the regrets about abuses of human rights by some Belgium officials about their country’s colonialism are not enough.  “The regrets of certain Belgian officials will never be enough in the face of their obligation to grant reparations to the victims of colonization and their relatives. It is contradictory or illogical to claim to be part of the respectful state and pretend not to know anything about serious crimes that were committed in the past,” the minister of Human Rights was quoted as saying.

According to Historians, many well-documented crimes were committed in ‘Congo Free State’, current DR Congo, the then colony under the personal rule of Belgian King Leopold ll. One of the serious crimes committed under Belgium colonization was called “red rubber system”- a forced labour created to maximize the collection and export of rubbers. Workers who refused to supply their labour were coerced with “constraint and repression”.

Meanwhile, Belgium has set up a commission to examine the Belgium colonial past in DR Congo, Burundi and Rwanda. Rwandan parliament welcomed the commission but denounced one of its members without mentioning name who it called a genocide “denier”.

While the increasing reparations calls from African countries to former colonizers has attracted interests from activists, media across Africa and scholars around the whole. In the wake of the killing of George Floyd in the USA; Anna Kirstine Schirrer, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University wrote in her recent paper titled “On reparations for Slavery and Colonialism” that neither reparative logic nor appeals for mass reparations are new.

Burundian President Evariste Ndayishimiye.His government is asking for $ 43 billion from Germany for colonial crimes Photo.Tchandrou Nitanga ,AFP via Getty Images
Burundian President Evariste Ndayishimiye.His government is asking for $ 43 billion from Germany for colonial crimes Photo.Tchandrou Nitanga ,AFP via Getty Images

“What is new, however, is the conversation about material reparations occurring within governmental and international organizations, and the proliferation of various reparative rationales across multiple scales.” The scholar wrote in an article published in June.

*Published in September Issue of PAV Magazine

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Cameroon:Women Groups Call for six month ceasefire in conflict-ridden Anglophone Regions
September 21, 2020 | 0 Comments

In honour of the International Day of Peace, September 21, five women’s organizations in Cameroon have joined their voices to call for a ceasefire in the conflict-ridden Anglophone regions. Below is the statement.

A CEASEFIRE CALL FROM WOMEN

In early 2020, the United Nations characterized the situation in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon as a complex humanitarian emergency with 2.3 million people in need. This is a dramatic increase from 2019’s 160,000 persons in need of humanitarian assistance. Although estimates of persons killed as of 2019 by the UN stood at 3000 people, this number has since risen, and could today even be doubled or tripled. UNHCR estimates over 600,000 people have been internally displaced, and a further 60-70,000 refugees are seeking asylum in neighboring Nigeria. UNICEF estimates that more than 855,000 children are out of school due to the conflict. The situation since has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic; an escalation of violent clashes; and continued human rights violations as well as the perpetration of many dehumanizing acts on the civilian population. As such:

-Alarmed by significant human rights abuses committed by both security forces and separatist armed groups in Cameroon—including summary or arbitrary killings, forced disappearances, torture, arbitrary detention, repression of fundamental rights, and violence against women and children, as cited in the Department of State 2019 Country Report on Human Rights Practices for Cameroon;

-Recognising the loss of thousands of human lives, massive destruction of properties, and displacement of persons occasioned by the conflict;

-Considering the damage to livelihoods, disruption of peace and security to the entire Cameroonian nation and most especially within the North West and South West Regions (former British Southern Cameroons), the loss of human dignity, and:

• Four years of no schooling,

• Increased child and maternal mortality,

 • Absence of primary health care,

 • Increased food shortages and other basic necessities;

-Determined to encourage and engage parties to the conflict to arrive at a peaceful and lasting settlement through negotiations;

-Convinced that as women, we bear the brunt of this violent conflict irrespective of our historical background, cultural, linguistic and political affiliation;

-Focusing on the provisions of the United Nations Security Council Resolution UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, and basing our call on the AU’s decade of ceasefire in Africa: Silencing the Guns in Africa 2020 as well as the UN Secretary General’s global call for a ceasefire and United Nations Security Council Resolution UNSCR 2532 on cessation of hostilities in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic;

We provide a thoughtful suggestion for stakeholders to engage in a ceasefire and eventual peace negotiations.

We, the women, urge parties to the conflict to:

Ø Respect human life and dignity and protect the population to stop the alarming death toll.

-Cease all hostilities by all armed actors immediately. We expect all parties to announce a cessation of hostilities within the next 30 days.

Ø Sign a written ceasefire agreement by November 2020, with each party clearly stating its commitment to making the process a success.

Ø Agree to a pilot ceasefire for six months, during which the parties improve their technical and security policies, with the contribution of civil society representatives. This agreement whose terms are borne out of a mutual respect for each faction must be binding on all parties with a local/international monitoring committee, composed of at least 50% women peacebuilders and religious women groups, put in place for follow up.

Ø Work toward a peace agreement and negotiation that is inclusive and sincere where all stakeholders, and not only those with political interest, are involved. A gender-balanced, inclusive commission should be set up to make the peace negotiation gender-responsive. Each faction should make provision for female participation of at least 50%, while civil society and other interest groups should also ensure gender balance for effective representation.

Ø Cooperate with all the humanitarian agencies in their efforts to provide relief and assistance to the ailing population.

Ø Form a think tank with members of the government of Cameroon and separatists armed factions as well as civil society to serve as a monitoring taskforce, aligned with other local/international bodies, to ensure all parties respect the ceasefire. Local women peacebuilders and women leaders should be prioritized.

We call on the Government of Cameroon to:

• Contribute to confidence-building among the parties to the conflict by releasing all arrested in relation to the armed conflict;

• Agree to a 6-month ceasefire to allow for political space to discuss these points with separatist groups and representatives of Anglophone civil society;

• Speed up an inclusive and sincere peace negotiation to address the root causes of the conflict with all factions for the sake of the ailing population within the conflict-affected areas.

We call on separatists armed groups to:

§ Agree to a 6-month ceasefire to allow for political space to discuss these points with the Government of Cameroon and representatives of Anglophone civil society;

§ Engage in sincere talks to identify measures that will return peace to our land.

This call is put out by women in the affected regions and beyond who—as mothers, aunties, sisters, and daughters—ache for a peaceful resolution to this deadly, violent, and traumatic conflict. It is piloted by the following organizations:

  1. South West North West Women Taskforce SNWOT
  2. Southern Cameroons European Women SCEW

3. Christian Women Fellowship CWF (PCC)

 4. Cameroon Baptist Convention Women’s Department CBCWD

5. United Methodist Women Association in Cameroon UMWAC

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg Forged a New Place for Women in the Law and Society
September 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death has generated an outpouring of grief around the globe. Part of this grief reflects her unparalleled status as a feminist icon and pioneer for women in the legal profession and beyond

By External Source
Sep 20 2020 (IPS)

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death has generated an outpouring of grief around the globe. Part of this grief reflects her unparalleled status as a feminist icon and pioneer for women in the legal profession and beyond.

There is already considerable interest in what her departure means for the future of the US Supreme Court, and indeed, the wider political landscape. But to understand that, we must reflect on her legacy.

In 1956, Ginsburg enrolled in Harvard Law School, one of only nine women in her year alongside about 500 men. Reflecting the prevailing mindset of the time, which regarded the study and practise of law as the proper domain of men, the Harvard dean, Erwin Griswold, asked each of the nine women how they could justify taking the place of a man.

Ginsburg’s answer, that she wanted to better understand her husband Marty’s career as a lawyer (he was the year ahead of her at Harvard), belies the reality of the enormous contribution she would make to public life in the subsequent six decades.

 The number nine would come to be significant in marking her success in a profession traditionally dominated by men. In 1993, she took her place on the nine-judge Supreme Court as the second woman appointed in its history.

In more recent years, in response to questions about when there will be “enough” women judges, Ginsburg replied there would enough when there were nine women on the Supreme Court. Acknowledging that people are shocked by this response, Ginsburg famously countered,

there’s been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that.

This exchange points to just how ingrained the idea that judging is men’s work had become.

A formidable mind

Long before President Bill Clinton resolved to nominate Ginsburg to the Supreme Court, Ginsburg had established a reputation as an academic (she was the second woman to teach law full-time at Rutgers University and the first woman to become a tenured professor at Columbia Law School). She was also known as a feminist litigator, leading the American Civil Liberties Union’s campaign for gender equality.

Ginsburg’s nomination to the Supreme Court was an uncontroversial appointment. She was regarded as a restrained moderate and was confirmed by the Senate 96 votes to three.

Although there were some concerns she was a “radical doctrinaire feminist”, her credentials were bolstered by her record on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (she was appointed by President Jimmy Carter in 1980).

Ginsburg had spent the 1970s pursuing a litigation strategy to secure woman’s equality — although she would describe her approach in broader terms as the

constitutional principle of equal citizenship stature of men and women.

In a series of cases, she sought to establish

sex, like race, is a visible, immutable characteristic bearing no necessary relationship to ability.

By extension, she argued, legal classifications on the basis of sex should be subject to the “strict scrutiny” required in cases where there were distinctions or classifications on the basis of race. To put it more bluntly, pigeon-holing on the basis of sex should be unconstitutional. The nub of her argument, whether acting for men or women plaintiffs, was that treating men and women differently under the law helped to

keep woman in her place, a place inferior to that occupied by men in our society.

Outside the court — and inside, too

Feminist theorists have sometimes expressed reservations about the extent to which a legal system designed by men to the exclusion of women can ever be fully appropriated to achieve equality for women.

While some feminists have seen much promise in the possibility for law reform, others have been more circumspect. This tension is reflected in the two-pronged strategy proposed by Professor Mari Matsuda — that there are times to “stand outside the courtroom” and there are times to “stand inside the courtroom”.

Ginsburg’s legacy in life and law reflects the latter approach. Her faith in the law is reflected in her approach to stand inside the courtroom (literally as a litigator and a judge) to transform existing legal categories. In this way, her approach was reconstructive rather than radical (which is not say that some of her thinking wasn’t radical for its time).

Ginsburg sought to reconstruct sex roles and emphasised men and women alike were diminished by stereotypes based on sex.

Importantly, Ginsburg did not simply pursue formal equality (the idea that equality will be achieved by treating everyone the same). Rather, she advocated for affirmative action as a principle of equality of opportunity.

She favoured incremental rather than radical change, reflecting a view that such an approach would minimise the potential for backlash. Her critique of the strategy adopted in the landmark 1973 case Roe v Wade (the case upon which US reproductive rights are based), and her departure from the feminist orthodoxy on this point, reflected her preference for incrementalism.

Legacy on the bench

Ginsburg’s jurisprudential contributions on the Supreme Court continued the legacy she began in the 1970s.

One of her most significant majority opinions in 1996 required the Virginia Military Institute to admit women. Importantly, this was because it had not been able to provide “exceedingly persuasive justification” for making distinctions on the basis of sex. Although this standard fell short of the “strict scrutiny test” required in cases involving classifications on the basis of race, it nonetheless entrenched an important equality principle.

But it was perhaps her judicial dissents, sometimes delivered blisteringly in the years where she was the lone woman on the bench (prior to President Barack Obama’s appointment of Sonia Sotomayor in 2009 and Elena Kagan in 2010), that seem to have really captured the wider public imagination and catapulted her into the zeitgeist.

It was in the wake of her 2013 dissent in a case about the Voting Rights Act that she reached the status of a global feminist icon. A Tumblr account was established in her honour, giving her the nickname “Notorious RBG” (a title drawn from the rapper Biggie Smalls’ nickname Notorious B.I.G). A 2018 documentary RBG chronicled her legacy and status as a cultural icon, and a 2018 motion picture On the Basis of Sex depicted her early life and cases.

Ginsburg’s celebrity certainly expanded during her time on the court — but this is not to say to it has been without controversy or critique, even from more liberal or progressive sources.

She has been criticised for her decisions (for example, a particular decision about Native Americans and sovereignty), for her comments about race and national anthem protests, and for being too partisan — particularly in her criticism of President Donald Trump. (She called him a “faker” and later apologised.)

A great legacy

Did Ginsburg’s feminism or celebrity undermine her legitimacy as a judge? Questions of judicial legacy and legitimacy are complex and inevitably shaped by institutional, political and legal norms. Importantly, her contributions as a lawyer and a judge have done much to demonstrate how legal rules and approaches previously regarded as neutral and objective in reality reflected a masculine view of the world.

Over 25 years ago, Ginsburg expressed her aspiration that women would be appointed to the Supreme Court with increased regularity:

Indeed, in my lifetime, I expect to see three, four, perhaps even more women on the High Court Bench, women not shaped from the same mold but of different complexions. Yes, there are miles in front, but what distance we have travelled from the day President Thomas Jefferson told his secretary of state: ‘The appointment of women to [public] office is an innovation for which the public is not prepared.’

That Ginsburg came to share the Supreme Court with two women, Kagan and Sotomayor, must have given her some hope that women’s access to places “where decisions are being made” was at least tentatively secure, even if hard-won feminist gains sometimes felt tenuous at best.

Ginsburg was a trailblazer in every aspect of her life and career. The women who follow her benefit from a legacy that powerfully re-imagined what it means to be a lawyer and a judge in a legal system that had been made in men’s image.The Conversation

Kcasey McLoughlin, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Newcastle

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The post Ruth Bader Ginsburg Forged a New Place for Women in the Law and Society appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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Coronavirus – South Africa: COVID-19 Update (20th September 2020)
September 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

This is AMA’s flagship service. We have set up channels of distribution towards the journalists of the 54 African states, as well as to American journalists and European journalists covering emerging markets issues.
Our service includes:

Editorial advice

Localised editorial piece when needed

Distribution to the major print, broadcast and online publications along with industry-specific publications

Follow-up calls to secure interview request

Guaranteed distribution to Africa.com

Distribution to Bloomberg, LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters

Social Media Reach: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram

Full online monitoring and print monitoring when available. Includesreadership stats and Advertising Value Equivalent

Translation in French, Arabic and Portuguese available

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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Coronavirus – Kenya: COVID-19 Updates Summary (20 September 2020)
September 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

This is AMA’s flagship service. We have set up channels of distribution towards the journalists of the 54 African states, as well as to American journalists and European journalists covering emerging markets issues.
Our service includes:

Editorial advice

Localised editorial piece when needed

Distribution to the major print, broadcast and online publications along with industry-specific publications

Follow-up calls to secure interview request

Guaranteed distribution to Africa.com

Distribution to Bloomberg, LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters

Social Media Reach: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram

Full online monitoring and print monitoring when available. Includesreadership stats and Advertising Value Equivalent

Translation in French, Arabic and Portuguese available

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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Coronavirus – Zimbabwe: COVID-19 Update (20 September 2020)
September 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

This is AMA’s flagship service. We have set up channels of distribution towards the journalists of the 54 African states, as well as to American journalists and European journalists covering emerging markets issues.
Our service includes:

Editorial advice

Localised editorial piece when needed

Distribution to the major print, broadcast and online publications along with industry-specific publications

Follow-up calls to secure interview request

Guaranteed distribution to Africa.com

Distribution to Bloomberg, LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters

Social Media Reach: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram

Full online monitoring and print monitoring when available. Includesreadership stats and Advertising Value Equivalent

Translation in French, Arabic and Portuguese available

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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Coronavirus – Eswatini: COVID-19 Update ( 20th September 2020)
September 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

This is AMA’s flagship service. We have set up channels of distribution towards the journalists of the 54 African states, as well as to American journalists and European journalists covering emerging markets issues.
Our service includes:

Editorial advice

Localised editorial piece when needed

Distribution to the major print, broadcast and online publications along with industry-specific publications

Follow-up calls to secure interview request

Guaranteed distribution to Africa.com

Distribution to Bloomberg, LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters

Social Media Reach: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram

Full online monitoring and print monitoring when available. Includesreadership stats and Advertising Value Equivalent

Translation in French, Arabic and Portuguese available

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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Parcs naturels africains : vous avez dit « colonialisme vert » ?
September 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

C’est une enquête au long cours, de sept ans, dans le parc national du Simien, en Éthiopie et en Afrique subsaharienne, qui a permis, à l’historien Guillaume Blanc de démonter le mythe de l’éden africain. Bien au-delà d’un simple constat, après avoir consulté de nombreuses archives, ce spécialiste conclut à un « colonialisme vert », car fruit d’une politique née à l’époque coloniale. Pour cet écologiste convaincu, la sanctuarisation de la nature n’est qu’un trompe-l’œil masquant le vrai problème : l’exploitation massive des ressources. Explications.

Lire aussi Éthiopie : les monts Simien, un patrimoine ressuscité

Une idée coloniale de la nature africaine

Nés sous la colonisation, les parcs naturels africains continuent de perpétuer le mythe d’un continent vierge et sauvage, où les populations locales n’ont pas leur place. « À la fin du XIXe siècle, alors que la révolution industrielle transforme tous les paysages d’Europe, les colons européens sont persuadés de retrouver en Afrique la nature qui vient de disparaître chez eux », raconte le maître de conférences à l’université de Rennes-2 dans un entretien à l’AFP. « Pour sauver cette nature, ils créent des réserves de chasse, qui deviendront ensuite des parcs nationaux, d’où ils expulsent les Africains. » Concrètement, au moins un million d’Africains auraient ainsi été déplacés dans un objectif de « conservation de la nature », au cours du XXe siècle, selon Guillaume Blanc.

Pour ces anciens chasseurs, « frappés du syndrome du boucher repenti », ce n’est pas l’exploitation coloniale qui dégrade la nature africaine, mais les Africains eux-mêmes. Pour sauver l’« éden africain », ils créent en 1928 l’Office international de documentation et de corrélation pour la protection de la nature, ancêtre de l’Union internationale pour la conservation de la nature (UICN).

Des organisations internationales pointées du doigt

Puis, en 1961, naît le World Wildlife Fund (WWF, Fonds mondial pour la nature), une « banque » dont « le rôle est de collecter des fonds pour l’UICN », raconte l’historien de l’environnement.

Après les indépendances, « les administrateurs coloniaux se reconvertissent en experts internationaux » auprès des dirigeants africains. « Au nom de cet éden idéalement vierge mais malheureusement surpeuplé, les experts recommandent l’expulsion, la criminalisation d’agriculteurs et de bergers » du périmètre des parcs nationaux, raconte-t-il.

« Aujourd’hui encore, des centaines de personnes sont abattues dans des parcs africains pour avoir chassé du petit gibier », affirme l’historien. « Des dizaines de milliers de bergers sont expulsés pour vider les parcs naturels. Et des millions sont punis d’amendes ou de peines de prison pour avoir cultivé la terre ou fait paître leur troupeau. »

Lire aussi Environnement : « Les pays africains fonctionnent toujours dans l’immédiat, dans la réaction »

Titulaire d’un brevet de guide de randonnée, cet amoureux de la montagne originaire des Cévennes s’est intéressé aux parcs naturels africains au cours de sa thèse sur les « parcs nationaux du Canada, d’Éthiopie et de France ». Il constate alors que ces parcs ne sont pas logés à la même enseigne : l’agropastoralisme est valorisé en Europe par l’Unesco, mais est source de dégradation en Afrique.

Sur son site Internet, l’Unesco juge ainsi que « l’installation humaine, les cultures et l’érosion des sols » constituent des « menaces pesant sur l’intégrité du parc » du Simien, en Éthiopie. En juin 2016, quelque 2 500 habitants d’un village sont expulsés du parc, raconte l’historien, ce qui amène l’Unesco à retirer le Simien de sa liste du patrimoine « en péril » en saluant notamment les « efforts consentis pour réduire le surpâturage et l’impact du tourisme ».

Pourtant, les agriculteurs et bergers éthiopiens « se déplacent à pied, consomment leur propre nourriture, n’achètent jamais de nouveaux vêtements, n’ont pas de smartphone. Si on voulait sauver la planète, il faudrait vivre comme eux, et pourtant, ce sont eux qu’on expulse », décrit-il.

Une manne financière pour les États

Pour les États africains, les parcs nationaux sont à la fois une manne financière, attirant chaque année des milliers de touristes, et un moyen de contrôle de la population. « Les parcs nationaux sont systématiquement créés aux frontières, chez les nomades ou dans les territoires sécessionnistes », note l’historien, qui va jusqu’à épingler Le Roi lion de Disney. Au départ, un manga japonais, Le Roi Léo, écrit par Osamu Tezuka dans les années 1950, en pleine période coloniale, avant d’être repris par la société américaine qui a fait de l’Afrique la thématique principale de ce conte. Mais le continent africain y est surtout représenté comme une « planète verte » menacée par des êtres destructeurs (les hyènes) face à des personnages protecteurs et paternalistes (les lions), qui doivent défendre cette terre, analyse Guillaume Blanc dans ce véritable brûlot. Autre fait majeur dans le film, il n’est jamais précisé où se situe l’action. « Mais cette idée de l’Afrique naturelle et sauvage est tellement ancrée en nous que nous savons tous immédiatement que cela se passe là-bas. »

Il n’est ainsi « pas un parc naturel africain sans maisons brûlées, villages rasés jusqu’aux fondations, populations expropriées, anciens habitants devenus criminels sur leurs terres et délogés manu militari », écrit, dans la préface, François-Xavier Fauvelle, professeur au Collège de France. « La nature africaine mériterait d’être préservée des Africains eux-mêmes », résume l’archéologue français spécialiste de l’Afrique.

Un débat qui ne fait que commencer

Interrogés par l’AFP, l’UICN, l’Unesco et le WWF ont vivement rejeté ces accusations. L’UICN a dénoncé des « allégations fausses et infondées ». « Le recours à la violence ou le déplacement forcé de populations sont inacceptables, et ce, quelle qu’en soit la raison », a réagi le WWF, en se disant convaincu que« la protection des écosystèmes, des ressources naturelles et des populations est indissociable ».

Enfin, l’Unesco a récusé des « idées simplistes », assurant œuvrer pour « développer l’harmonie entre l’humain et la nature ». « Les communautés locales sont au cœur des pratiques de la conservation moderne, depuis plus d’un demi-siècle », affirme l’organisation internationale.

Lire aussi 1,2 milliard de personnes obligées de migrer d’ici 2050 ?

* «  L’Invention du colonialisme vert. Pour en finir avec le mythe de l’éden africain  », de Guillaume Blanc. Flammarion, 345 pages, 21,90 euros.

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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Côte d’Ivoire : le RHDP d’Alassane Ouattara en opération séduction
September 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

Alors que l’opposition est vent debout contre la décision du Conseil constitutionnel d’autoriser le président Alassane Ouattara à candidater pour un troisième mandat, la campagne électorale semble bel et bien lancée pour le parti au pouvoir, le Rassemblement des houphouëtistes pour la démocratie et la paix (RHDP). D’Abidjan à Paris, des centaines de partisans se sont mobilisés ce week-end, à un peu plus d’un mois du premier tour. Le mot d’ordre : « Non à la guerre, oui à la paix ». Sauf que la campagne électorale ne débute que le 15 octobre, comme l’a rappelé la Commission électorale indépendante dans un communiqué jeudi, précisant que « toute propagande électorale » est interdite « en dehors de la durée réglementaire de la campagne ».

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Premier meeting à Yopougon

Campagne électorale ou opération séduction, une chose est sûre, le mercure est monté d’un cran dans la classe politique. Le RHDP s’est lancé à la conquête des populations dans la commune de Yopougon, la plus grande de la capitale, mais aussi le fief de l’ex-président Laurent Gbagbo. C’est le Premier ministre ivoirien, Hamed Bakayoko, en personne qui a donné de son temps et mouillé la chemise pour convaincre les habitants réunis à l’invitation de la Plateforme pour la victoire du RHDP, organisation proche du parti au pouvoir. Il a appelé samedi à des « élections apaisées » devant quelques milliers de jeunes alors qu’un incident s’est déroulé plus tôt avec des opposants.

Entre joutes verbales et promesses

« N’écoutez pas ceux qui menacent la Côte d’Ivoire », « la Côte d’Ivoire de la jeunesse qu’on pouvait manipuler, c’est fini ! » a lancé celui que les Ivoiriens surnomment Hambak – s’adressant sans le nommer, mais explicitement, à l’ancien patron de la rébellion de 2002 Guillaume Soro en exil en France. Plus tôt cette semaine, ce dernier a laissé entendre aux médias que l’élection présidentielle du 31 octobre n’aurait pas lieu, sans en dire davantage. « Prenez un stylo et marquez-le : il n’y aura pas d’élections en Côte d’Ivoire. S’il y a des élections, c’est que nous y sommes inclus » a déclaré l’ancien chef rebelle. Le leader de Générations et Peuples solidaires (GPS) conteste le rejet de sa candidature à l’élection présidentielle par le Conseil constitutionnel ivoirien. Il a d’ailleurs rapidement attaqué cette décision devant la Cour africaine des droits de l’homme et des peuples (CADHP). Celle-ci a demandé à la Côte d’Ivoire de valider la candidature de l’opposant injustement recalé. Conforté par cette décision et adoubé dans sa démarche par plusieurs organisations internationales, l’ancien Premier ministre ivoirien a durci le ton ces derniers jours.

Hamed Bakayoko, lui, a répondu sur le terrain politique en vantant le bilan du président Ouattara ces dix dernières années. « Lorsqu’on aime son pays, on ne lui souhaite aucun mal, quelle que soit la position dans laquelle l’on se trouve. […] Il y a des personnes qui souhaitent le pire à la Côte d’Ivoire. Ils aimeraient bien voir la Côte d’Ivoire brûler, à feu et à sang. Il faut leur dire que la Côte d’Ivoire sera en paix… » Avant d’ajouter un brin moqueur : « Quand on te soulève, tu crois que tu mesures deux mètres. Mais quand on te dépose, tu réalises que tu ne mesures pas deux mètres… Et là, tu as le vertige et tu bavardes au hasard. »

Et comme sur un air de campagne, c’est bien sur une promesse que le Premier ministre ivoirien a terminé son intervention, tout en invitant une jeune fille, vendeuse de bananes, et un jeune commerçant sur le podium, il a promis, de verser 5 millions de francs CFA à chacun pour le développement de leurs commerces. Il s’agissait du premier meeting politique en Côte d’Ivoire depuis l’annonce lundi par le Conseil constitutionnel des candidats retenus pour la présidentielle du 31 octobre. Seules quatre des 44 candidatures déposées ont été retenues par le Conseil : celles du président Ouattara et de trois opposants, dont l’ex-président Henri Konan Bédié (1993-1999).

Avant le meeting, un incident a éclaté entre des manifestants de l’opposition et les forces de l’ordre. Vers 8 heures (locales et GMT), au marché Sicogi, un petit groupe de manifestants a affronté les forces de l’ordre et incendié un véhicule de la gendarmerie, selon les témoignages de deux commerçants, sous le couvert de l’anonymat, à l’AFP.

Les autorités ivoiriennes ont interdit toute manifestation jusqu’au 30 septembre.

Lire aussi Côte d’Ivoire : depuis Paris, Guillaume Soro contre-attaque

Les pro-Ouattara mobilisés

Autre lieu, mêmes messages. Plusieurs centaines de militants pro-Ouattara se sont rassemblés samedi à Paris pour apporter leur soutien à la candidature du président ivoirien Alassane Ouattara, a constaté une journaliste de l’AFP.

En robes immaculées ou en pantalons blancs et casquettes orange, l’assemblée constituée majoritairement de femmes a dansé et chanté, sur l’esplanade des Invalides, des slogans en faveur du chef de l’État sortant. « Les femmes soutiennent le président Ouattara en tant qu’artisan de la paix et du développement du pays, et parce que, avec lui, elles ont obtenu beaucoup de droits », a assuré Boni Felix Niangoran, l’un des organisateurs, citant une nouvelle loi sur l’héritage et leur représentation accrue dans la classe politique et dirigeante du pays.

« Le président est dans la vérité, il est temps que nous proclamions la paix en Côte d’Ivoire. La stabilité avec ADO » (acronyme d’Alassane Dramane Ouattara), a lancé, dans un mégaphone, Lea Kotché, une militante. En tant que « femme mariée à un Français et mère d’enfants métis », elle a exprimé à l’AFP sa reconnaissance envers le président Ouattara pour « avoir banni le racisme et reconstruit notre nation ».

Pour Gouza Nahounou, une influenceuse qui compte plus de 100 000 followers, responsable de l’association Idée de paix, M. Ouattara est « le candidat du moindre mal ».

« Pour une Côte d’Ivoire apaisée, nous avons besoin d’hommes éclairés comme M. Ouattara », a dit à l’AFP cette militante, pour qui ses opposants ne sont qu’« un club d’aigris qui veulent mettre le feu à la Côte d’Ivoire ».

Élu en 2010, réélu en 2015, M. Ouattara avait annoncé en mars qu’il renonçait à briguer un troisième mandat, avant de changer d’avis en août, après le décès de son dauphin désigné, le Premier ministre Amadou Gon Coulibaly.

La loi ivoirienne prévoit un maximum de deux mandats, mais le Conseil constitutionnel a estimé qu’avec la nouvelle Constitution de 2016, le compteur des mandats de M. Ouattara a été remis à zéro, ce que conteste farouchement l’opposition. Cette décision a provoqué des violences en août dans lesquelles une quinzaine de personnes sont mortes.

Lire aussi Présidentielle en Côte d’Ivoire : l’opposition se cherche une stratégie

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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Mali : l’Union africaine accentue la pression sur les putschistes
September 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

Après la Communauté économique des États de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, c’est au tour de l’Union africaine (UA) de faire pression pour que la junte militaire au pouvoir au Mali nomme rapidement des dirigeants civils afin de mener la période de transition après le renversement le 18 août du président Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta. Dès le 19 août, l’UA avait suspendu le Mali de l’organisation.

Un mois plus tard, à l’issue d’une réunion en visioconférence, le président du Conseil paix et sécurité de l’Union africaine, Smail Chergui, n’a pas dit autre chose. Il a appelé sur Twitter « à un retour à l’ordre constitutionnel et à une transition rapide menée par des civils au Mali ». Le compte Twitter de la commission a de son côté dit soutenir l’appel de la Cedeao à une transition de 18 mois menée par des civils, et donc non à l’éventualité d’un président militaire. L’institution a tout de même tenu à saluer la décision des putschistes de libérer Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta détenu depuis plus d’une semaine, et déclaré que l’ancien Premier ministre Boubou Cissé ainsi que « d’autres dignitaires » doivent eux aussi être libérés.

Lire aussi Transition au Mali : la junte revoit sa copie

Ultimatum

Les représentants des pays voisins du Mali réunis mardi au Ghana ont pressé la junte de nommer immédiatement un président et un Premier ministre de transition civils. La Cedeao s’est engagée à lever, sitôt ces responsables désignés, les sanctions imposées depuis le 20 août incluant l’arrêt des échanges financiers et commerciaux.

Si au lendemain du coup d’État, l’Union africaine avait annoncé qu’elle suspendait le Mali « jusqu’au retour de l’ordre constitutionnel », ses autres leviers de sanctions possibles ne sont pas clairs. Contrairement à la Cedeao, qui, elle, menace d’imposer un « embargo total » au Mali.

Mercredi, à l’issue des négociations au Ghana, un porte-parole de la junte, le colonel Ismaël Wagué, a déclaré que le Mali pourrait faire face à un « embargo total » de la Cedeao s’il ne nommait pas rapidement des leaders civils. De nouvelles sanctions pourraient affaiblir encore ce pays pauvre qui connaît actuellement une sévère crise économique et qui fait face à l’insécurité djihadiste ainsi qu’à des violences intercommunautaires.

Ismaël Wagué a cependant clairement signifié que la préférence de la junte allait à une transition militaire, assurant que c’était aussi le souhait de la majorité des Maliens. Elle a jusqu’au plus tard mardi prochain, le nouveau délai fixé par la Cedeao pour décider.

Lire aussi Mali : la Cedeao ne cède pas face à la junte

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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Africa: State-Owned Companies Are Key to Climate Success in Developing Countries, but Are Often Overlooked in the International Dialogue
September 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

[IPS] Washington — Later this month, government officials and climate stakeholders will once again converge on New York City (this time virtually) for Climate Week and the United Nations meetings. And while there will be much discussion about the important role that actors such as private businesses, civil society and cities will need to play in the climate change effort, there will once again be relatively little discussion about one key cohort: government-owned companies.

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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