May 23rd, 2013

  • Richard Lee

    Want to know how to curry favour with Swaziland’s King Mswati? The best way to butter him up? Just ask Michael Ramodibedi, who has just presented Africa’s last absolute monarch with three cows. Clearly he is very keen to stay in the king’s good books, which in Swaziland is sensible (just ask the civil society leaders who are in the king’s bad books) but which in any democratic society would be a serious problem because Ramodibedi is the country’s Chief Justice.

May 21st, 2013

May 20th, 2013

May 17th, 2013

  • Richard Lee

    There is still an awfully long way to go but sex workers in South Africa can now start to imagine a time when they will not be arrested for simply doing their job. When they will not be beaten, robbed and raped because they sell sex. When they will not be routinely abused by police and ignored by health professionals – the very people who are meant to help and protect them.

    When they will be able to enjoy the same basic human rights as everyone else.

May 15th, 2013

May 10th, 2013

  • Richard Lee

    The ‘conflict minerals’ campaign has been hugely influential, particularly in relation to the DRC. It has focussed attention on how the illicit trade in all sorts of minerals – such as coltan, cassiterite and tantalum – has fomented conflict and facilitated mass human rights violations. However, it has also helped to divert attention away from other mining-related abuses and from the reality that conflict minerals are everywhere – because everywhere you go, mining companies and their paid-up protectors in government are in conflict with local communities.

May 07th, 2013

  • Richard Lee

    And so it came to pass. After weeks of hate speech and ‘gay-bashing’ by homophobic politicians and religious leaders, two men have been arrested in Zambia for the ‘sin’ of being gay. Ever since Home Affairs Minister Edgar Lungu launched into his latest anti-homosexual tirade a few weeks ago, it was only a matter of time before the police – and public – took action. And now they have.

    gay, Law, Lesbian, police, Sata, Zambia, LGBTI

Mar 18th, 2013

  • Richard Lee

    There has been a lot of talk in Zimbabwe recently about constitutionality and constitutionalism – about how to ensure that the country’s new Supreme Law is not co-opted and corrupted by the powers-that-be as the current constitution has been and that Zimbabweans enjoy the rule OF law not rule BY law. Nothing could have highlighted the importance of this debate as acutely as the wrongful arrest and illegal detention of renowned lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa – the day after the country’s constitutional referendum.

Mar 15th, 2013

Mar 14th, 2013

  • Richard Lee

    Zambian president, Michael Sata, clearly isn’t too concerned about the campaign by civil society groups and opposition parties to have his country expelled from the Commonwealth because of his increasingly autocratic behaviour. Instead, he appears keen – as he often does – to add fuel to the fire rather than trying to douse the flames.

Jan 29th, 2013

  • Richard Lee

    So now we know. Isabel dos Santos is 'officially' Africa’s richest woman. In fact, she is the continent’s first ‘woman billionaire’ according to an appalling article on the Forbes magazine website, which was torn to shreds by Louise Redvers, who has lived in Luanda and who actually knows what she is talking about when it comes to Angola – and to the ever-increasing wealth of the dos Santos family.

Jan 24th, 2013

Oct 18th, 2012

Oct 15th, 2012

  • Richard Lee

    Recent years have seen a powerful backlash against the hard-fought gains of the women's movement in many parts of the world, but particularly in southern Africa. A concerted campaign by politicians and spiritual leaders - powered by deeply sexist religious and cultural beliefs - has slowed the progress towards genuine equality and threatened to undermine many of the key achievements of the last few decades. The dreadful Traditional Courts Bill in South Africa is just one of the many ways that women's rights are currently being trampled on by powerful men playing the cultural card.

Oct 12th, 2012

Oct 11th, 2012

  • Richard Lee

    Politicians are nothing like leopards. Most of them change their political and ideological spots all too easily - particularly opposition politicians who suddenly find themselves in government. But it is difficult to think of anyone who has changed his spots quite as radically as Zambian President, Michael Sata.

    colonial, Sata, Zambia, Law

Oct 10th, 2012

  • Richard Lee

    It's been a week now since the Swazi parliament voted overwhelmingly to boot out the country's Cabinet. And yet nothing has happened. MPs remain steadfast in their determination to remove the executive, while the widely-loathed Prime Minister remains in office - as do his equally unpopular ministerial colleagues. And King Mswati III remains silent and undecided. Meanwhile, Swaziland suffers - adding a constitutional crisis to its already existing economic, social and judicial crises.

Oct 08th, 2012

Oct 04th, 2012

  • Richard Lee

    Swaziland's absolute monarch probably had a pretty restless night last night - wrestling with a very tricky decision that his usually submissive parliament had forced upon him. By voting to kick out his Cabinet with a thumpingly huge majority, King Mswati's pet MPs had surprisingly and shockingly bared their teeth and left him with difficult choice - to side with the Constitution (which says that he must dissolve his cabinet if -- as happened - more than 3/5ths of MPs support a no-confidence motion) or with his cabinet cronies?

Oct 03rd, 2012

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