Regional

Enough is enough! There are no more excuses left. It is time for the African Commission of Human and Peoples’ Rights to pack its bags and leave Banjul – promising to return to its original home when President Yahya Jammeh is eventually removed from office.

Sometimes despair is the only response. Despair and fury - that mining executives can be so blinded by profits and greed that they cannot see the horror of their ways. Usually, their real views about the workers their companies exploit are kept well hidden by a wealth of PR gurus and communications experts. But just occassionally they speak candidly and then the truth comes out - the truth that they do not care an iota for the men and women who toil in often hazardous conditions to keep them mega-rich.

Ii legunt saepius claritas est etiam processus dynamicus qui sequitur mutationem consuetudium lectorum mirum. Non habent claritatem insitam est usus legentis in iis qui facit eorum claritatem. Liber tempor cum soluta nobis eleifend option congue, nihil imperdiet doming id quod mazim. Erat volutpat ut wisi enim ad, minim veniam quis nostrud? Notare quam littera gothica quam nunc putamus parum claram anteposuerit litterarum formas humanitatis per seacula quarta. Dolor sit amet consectetuer adipiscing elit sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna!

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.

The indefensible decision by a magistrate in Harare to convict the 'Egypt 6' forconspiracy to incite public violence is another devastating blow to hopes of a genuine transition to a freer, more democratic and more open society in Zimbabwe - and a fatal blow to the rule of law in the country. The magistrate was clearly following poiltical orders since even a cursory examination of the 'evidence' shows that the six (Munyardzai Gwisai, Tafadzwa Choto, Tatenda Mombeyarara, Edson Chakuma, Hopewell Gumbo, and Welcome Zimuto) had less than no case to answer.

Suddenly it dawned on me that today is Mandela Day, and that all these people had woken up early to pay their homage to the great icon and perhaps fulfill their 67 minutes of community service. 

Headline growth figures - and the attendant gushing media headlines - often obscure important facts. And this is certainly the case with the whole 'Africa is Rising' consensus. Based on soaring GDP figures, politicians, economists and journalists have rejoiced in the long-awaited roar of the African lion.

A closer look at Africa’s elected governments suggests that they are not different from autocratic regimes. The elected ruling elites rely on an intricate web of personal, family, clientelism and ethnic ties, and on the military and intelligence services to control state resources and oppress society. What is also emerging in Africa’s democracies is the incapacity of citizens to organise and to hold leaders to account, even when they violate the constitution, take actions that undermine stability and human rights, and are involved in corruption. 

Former Madagascan President Marc Ravalomanana must be cursing the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC). Until SALC's precedent-setting High Court victory earlier this year in the Zimbabwe torture case, Ravalomanana was happily living in exile in South Africa waiting for his chance to return home. But now he finds himself under investigation by his host's National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for alleged crimes against humanity while he was battling to stay in power in Antananarivo.

Over the weekend, the Mozambican authorities decided that it was time to put an end to the 5-day doctors’ strike that had paralysed the nation’s healthcare system. And so they brought out the big stick – a repressive law that ‘allowed’ them to arrest the leader of the strike on sedition charges. But this is no ordinary law – this is a relic of the Portuguese colonial era, a brutal piece of legislation that was designed to keep Mozambicans in their place.

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