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Ghana: Opposition wins as economy falters Volume 15 Issue 12 Global African Commmunity Newspaper http://amandlanews.com Telephone: 201-704-5838 / 973-731-1339 December 15, 2016

by Kwabena Opong

At exactly 7:15 pm Ghana time on Friday, December 09, 2016, Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) called Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, flag bearer of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) to concede his defeat in the general elections held Wednesday, December 7. Nana Addo’s running mate is Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, an economist and former deputy governor of the Bank of Ghana. The duo won 53.85 percent as against John Mahama’s 44.40 percent. For the first time in the electoral history of Ghana, collation of ballot results in this year’s election was delayed for reasons of ensuring fairness and accuracy, according

to the nation’s chairperson of the electoral commission, Mrs. Charlotte Osei. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo assumes the highest office of the land after two failed attempts. His first attempt in 2008 ended in his defeat by late President John Evans Atta Mills. After a contentious election in 2012, Nana Addo, his running mate and the NPP petitioned the Supreme Court to contest the results. A controversial verdict cleared NDC’s John Mahama and his party. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo in his acceptance speech promised Ghanaians, irrespective of their political, religious or ethnic background, that he would be president for all. The NPP comes into office at a time when the country’s continued on page 23

Have some love in your heart Ghana’s President-elect Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo photo: amandla archives

Hon. Minister Louis Farrakhan

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Amandla Volume 15 Issue 12

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EDITORIAL

December 15, 2016

GHANA: NPP BOUNCES BACK TO POWER

Elections are dicey. Gifting or vote-buying or anything that seeks to influence voters does not win elections. Essentially, elections are referenda on government. The recent general elections in Ghana clearly spelled out the people’s feelings about the government of the NDC. The voters expressed themselves in a loud and clear manner vocally saying that performance and the interest of the people matter more than anything else. They also said transparency and honesty in government are paramount. For the first time in the history of the West African nation of Ghana, voters expressed their anger against poor governance. They voted against cronyism and nepotism. They also said in no uncertain terms that in democracies power devolves from the thumbs of the people. Ghanaians can now say with certainty that they are in control of their own destinies. This time they made their choice genuinely and in good faith. Those who planned and expected violence should bow their heads in shame. Ghana prevailed. Amandla welcomes Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo to the presidency. He is a living example of steadfast love for God and country. He never gave up and persisted. He kept faith in his running mate in the race as long Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia agreed to tag along. And together they made history. Even much more, they promised fairness and equity. The erstwhile NPP administration of John Kufuor set a record to be sustained. The people want to see a revival of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS); free maternal care; school feeding program and a sustained LEAP not vote buying. They want a reduction in fuel and utility prices. They want a stressless existence and more. And they believe Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo and Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia can and will deliver.

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Amandla Volume 15 Issue 12

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December 15, 2016

COMMUNITY NEWS

Experts Warn Immigrants Against ‘Marriage Of Convenience’ By Edwin Martínez

President-elect Donald Trump’s threats to deport millions of undocumented people have caused such alarm that some are looking for a way to legalize their status to remain in the country by any means. “Marriages of convenience” would seem to be a quick option for many in their desperation, but if they are caught they may be putting an end to their American dream forever and risking landing in jail in the process. This is something that José R. (*), a 32-year-old Mexican who has lived in New York since 2003 understands very well. He admits that the option to pay an acquaintance $20,000 to marry him before Trump reaches the White House is on his mind day and night. He has already found out that, because he came to the United States with a visa and did not cross the border, he qualifies for a “forgiveness” process, which would allow him to obtain legal papers. “I know it’s not legal, I know it’s a lot of money and that, if I get caught, I might get deported, but right now I am so afraid that Trump will send us all back that I feel that, now that a friend who is a citizen has offered to help me, I should take a chance before things get worse,” said the cook, who has two small children and a partner, all undocumented. “I think that, if I do it well

.Open

and make sure to take care of all the details and things turn out fine, in less than one year I could have my papers and end this agony for me and my children. It is horrible to feel that they may kick us out at any moment,” he added. Although the Mexico native says that he has no ill intentions and that he is a hardworking, good man with no criminal background, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) has warned that the authorities do not see fraudulent marriage as a harmless act, and that they prosecute it forcefully. “Marriage fraud is not a victimless, innocent crime. It is a serious crime that weakens our nation and makes us less safe. Participating in marriage fraud can result in imprisonment of up to five years for those involved,” states the agency, making it clear that the action will also signify legal problems for the citizen or resident who marries someone out of convenience. “…The crime of marriage fraud is anything but a trivial matter. Engaging in this fraud and trading America’s security for financial gain is a felony with serious criminal penalties and consequences,” adds ICE. The agency has a campaign against these unions in which it states: “If you walk down the aisle for the wrong reasons, you could end up walking down this aisle,” showing a photo of a prison hallway. Natalia Renta, an immigra-

tion attorney with Make the Road New York, clarified that most people who turn to marriage to adjust their immigration status do it in a legitimate manner, but warned anyone planning to marry for illegitimate reasons that it is a bad idea because they will be committing a crime. “Many people obtain their residency based on real marriages, and they qualify for it, and they should continue to do so. But it is not news that immigration is aware of the possibility of fraud in some marriages,” said the lawyer, explaining that the process through which the agency determines if a marriage is real is quite rigorous, and that the applicants must present evidence such as rental agreements, joint bank accounts, travel photographs, letters from different people, and must also pass an interview. “If there is suspicion that the marriage is not legitimate, there is a second more indepth interview, during which the two persons are interviewed separately and, if immigration determines that the marriage is not real, the applicant may be put in a deportation process for fraud,” she said. “These people, who had no problems up until that moment, would then be putting themselves at risk. Had they not gone through with it, they would have been able to stay here without immigration starting a process on them. It is not as simple as marrying a foreigner and getting your pa-

The City has also implemented a comprehensive language access policy to reduce barriers to accessing vital city services. New York City has also launched multiple initiatives to enhance civic participation, including the IDNYC program and participatory budgeting, which gives communities the opportunity to vote on funding initiatives that benefit their

communities. This will not change. New York City’s commitment to protecting and educating immigrant New Yorkers with information is stronger than ever. We urge all immigrant New Yorkers who are concerned about the recent election to contact one of the trusted legal service organizations that has partnered with the City to provide free immigration screenings and services, or one of the

trustworthy lawyers to find out what relief is available and if you qualify for anything. If someone can apply for residency through marriage in a legitimate manner, it is fine if they do it but, if it is not real, then it is a mistake,” cautioned the attorney. Immigration authorities say that people who are caught engaging in fake marriages face federal felony charges including up to five years in prison, up to $250,000 in fines – both for the foreigner and for the citizen perpetrating the crime – and the total loss of the applicant’s benefits for life. Additionally, people accused of marriage fraud may also face additional charges for visa fraud, conspiracy and making false statements, each charge carrying additional sentences. A spokeswoman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said that the process to apply for residency by marriage currently takes seven months, and that the agency’s most recent statistics show that 131,069 people were able to adjust their status within a year. (…) Of them, 34,535 did so through the IR6 (spouse of a U.S. citizen) category and 96,534 adjusted their status through marriage under the CR6 (conditional residency) category. (*) Names have been changed at the request of interviewees. Voices of NY

Have some love in your heart – many community organizations Minister Farrakhan

Letter to New York City Immigrant Communities

continued from page 4

pers right away.” The attorney commented that the verification process ICE carries out to verify marriages are so strict that, even clients with legitimate marriages have not been given their papers quickly, have been asked to submit more information and even been put under suspicion. Colombia native Carlos R. (*) says that it is worth the risk. He has also thought about the possibility of marrying a coworker born in the United States who will not charge him for the “favor” and who criticizes the government’s inaction regarding immigration reform. “After Reagan, governments have done nothing to legalize the people who are already here. If we are already working with fake papers, what do we have to lose in trying?” he said. Understanding that some people feel this way, the Make the Road New York lawyer has an explanation. “Working unauthorized and marrying for papers are two vastly different things. Working is not a charge that immigration may deport someone for, even though it may become an obstacle to obtaining residency in some cases. Marrying for papers and lying to ICE regarding a relationship that does not exist is completely different because it constitutes fraud against the immigration system,” she said. (…) “The most important thing is to get an appointment with

in your neighborhood that provides information about immigration and city services and protections. Referrals to trusted organizations are also available by calling 311. As always, the City of New York is prepared to defend and protect our immigrant communities. We will never turn our back on you. This will not change.

continued from page 14 Minister Louis Farrakhan saluted the late Amiri Baraka for hiscontributions to his community and race. Present at the closing ceremony was the Hon. Ras Baraka, Mayor of the City of Newark,NJ, Dr. Leonard Jefferies, Chairman, World

African Diaspora Union, Ms. Fredrica Bey Founder of Women in Support of the Million Man March, and a host of civic,community, religious, political and opinion leaders.

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Amandla Volume 15 Issue 12

Ethiopia’s internet crackdown hurts everyone

continued from page 22 Policy backfire? Even before the state of emergency, Ethiopia was one of the most censored countries in the world and a top jailer of journalists, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Independent media does exist in Ethiopia, but it struggles. Last month, the Addis Standard, a well-respected private magazine, announced it was stopping its print edition due to the latest round of restrictions. “The government has created this problem for themselves,” remarked a freelance Ethiopian journalist. The Ethiopian diaspora in the United States maintains a strong cyber presence and is rallying to the political reform movement. Jawar Mohammed, a particularly prominent US-based social media activist, has 500,000 followers on Facebook, and broadcasts information and

footage from protests demanding an end to EPRDF rule. “The diaspora do amplify what’s happening, but it didn’t start with us,” Jawar said in an interview earlier in 2016. Internet shutdowns between mid-2015 and mid-2016 have lost the Ethiopian economy about $9 million, according to a recent report by the US-based Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution. “Internet disruption slows growth, costs governments tax revenue, weakens innovation, and undermines consumer and business confidence in a country’s economy,” said report author Darrell West, vice president and director of governance studies at the Brookings Institution. “As internet-powered businesses and transactions continue to grow to represent an increasingly significant portion of global economic activity, the damage from connectivity disruptions

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will become more severe.” Olukotun of Access Now said such blackouts were particularly damaging for developing countries “striving to embrace the digital economy and innovation”. “We've seen juice sellers, online banks, courier services, and internet companies all lose drastic amounts of money during disruptions,” he said. But for the ruling party in Ethiopia, a country that has known centralised authoritarian rule for millennia, the concept of ceding any of that control is anathema. “Censoring the internet is not a solution to the protests or resistance,” said Karanja, the Kenyan researcher. “It is a blockage to the democratic trajectory of a country.” IRIN The writer is a freelance journalist based in Addis Ababa and regular contributor to IRIN

available by calling 311. As always, the City of New York is prepared to defend and protect our immigrant communities. We will never turn our back on you. This will not change.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, text of the letter below: Immigration Committee Chair Carlos Menchaca Full To New York City’s Immigrant and Council Member Daniel Dromm Release Communities: During these uncertain times we must Open Letter to New York City Immigrant remind ourselves of who we are as a city and hold steadfast to the values Communities

Urge Those Affected to Remain Calm and Make Use of Available City Services

City Council Speaker Melissa MarkViverito, Immigration Committee Chair Carlos Menchaca and Council Member Daniel Dromm on November 17 released a letter addressing New York City immigrant communities. The letter comes in the wake of fears expressed by immigrant communities about their future in the country, and is intended to assuage concerns that many immigrant New Yorkers have in light of the upcoming presidential administration. The letter translated into New York City’s most commonly spoken languages, including English,

December 15, 2016

Spanish, and Chinese, details the many immigration-related resources available through City agencies and Council initiatives. The letter states: New York City’s commitment to protecting and educating immigrant New Yorkers with information is stronger than ever. We urge all immigrant New Yorkers who are concerned about the recent election to contact one of the trusted legal service organizations that has partnered with the City to provide free immigration screenings and services, or one of the many community organizations in your neighborhood that provides information about immigration and city services and protect i o n s . R e f e r r a l s t o t r u s t e d o rganizations are also

that we cherish and hold dear. The values of hard work, respect and coming together during times of adversity define us as New Yorkers. That will not change, no matter who is President. New York City has always been deeply committed to protecting the rights of our immigrant communities regardless of their status. Our commitment to that will never waiver. To address harsh immigration enforcement policies and Congress’s inability to pass comprehensive immigration reform, we enacted legislation that significantly limits the NYPD and Department of Correction’s cooperation with immigration authorities. As a result, our immigrant communities are shielded from harsh

immigration policies that tear families apart. This will not change. To ensure that New York City immigrants have a meaningful opportunity to seek immigration relief, the City Council funds a range of free immigration legal services programs. The New York Immigrant Family Unit Project provides legal counsel to immigrants in detention who face deportation. The Unaccompanied Minors and Families initiative ensures that every unaccompanied minor living in New York City has access to legal advice and representation during removal proceedings. Under this program, countless mothers who fled Central America with their children also receive legal representation. The City Council also brings community partners and free legal services into neighborhoods across the five boroughs through our Key to the City events and CUNY Citizenship Now initiatives. This will not change. The health and well-being of our immigrant community has also been of great importance to the City Council. As a result, we launched our Immigrant Health Initiative, which makes quality healthcare accessible to immigrants. continued on page 3


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Amandla Volume 15 Issue 12

by Kwabena Opong In his concession speech, President John Mahama’s demeanor showed a man humbled by surprise. Some viewers saw a man trying hard not to tear up. It is not clear if he was recalling the mistakes he made in his six and a half years as president of Ghana. The scandals that plagued his administration became a constant as party leaders looked away. They had weak institutions to help them get away with their mistakes and sins. Kweku Baako, managing editor of the New Crusading Guide observes that the NDC defeat was self-inflicted. He mentions personality attacks and character assassination of the leader of the opposition NPP, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo. According to Mr. Baako, even the president found some of the campaign messages so crude he sought his (Baako’s) opinion. “… to be honest with you, I think this defeat was largely selfinflicted because they got complacent, because they got overconfident and there was an element of arrogance and impunity”, he held. Nepotism thrives under tyranny and dictatorships. Not in democracies. The family of the president got too involved but their roles less defined. Critics believe that the president’s brother Ibrahim Mahama who usually ferried him and govern-

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GHANA

Why the NDC lost 2016

President John Dramani Mahama and his Vice ... ment officials around the NPP’s affordable housing world in his jet, had his hands project was also abandoned. in everything in the adminis- Rural road networks that the tration. He is rumored to have government claimed to have owned the ears of the presi- constructed existed only in dent and could determine their imagination. who would be who in govern- The government, as Kweku ment. So also is the first lady. Baako observes might have Mahama is on record as say- executed some important ing that infrastructure devel- projects but they were all opment is an obligation of overrated. So many of the every government and does projects the government not constitute achievement. started were mere waste Indeed, he said it was the pipes. To date none of the height of mediocrity to make youth programs achieved those claims only for him to their intended purposes. resort to do same and writing YEA, YES, GYEEDA were his so-called Green Book all moribund but so much about it. Some of the projects money was drained out. were spontaneous and un- SADA, SUBAH among othplanned. T h e p r e s i d e n t ers fell in the same category traipsed around the country stated above. Bribery and cutting sods and tapes for corruption, graft and naked projects that existed only in thievery defined the NDC name. Existing projects like administration. Project costs the Pwalugu tomato factory were bloated for profit and built by the Kufuor adminis- officials implicated in corrupt tration were left idle. The practices had new assign-

“This fighting will continue to our children” continued from page 10

Genocide The UN didn’t use the terms “ethnic cleansing” or “genocide” then, but now they do. On 11 November, Adam Dieng, the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, said South Sudan risked “outright ethnic war” and genocide. The last time he was in the country was in 2014. The UN Human Rights Commission said in statement on

December 15, 2016

30 November: “there is already a steady process of ethnic cleansing under way in several areas of South Sudan using starvation, gang rape and the burning of villages.” No one knows how many people have been killed in South Sudan’s civil war. There are estimates of up to 300,000, but the phrase “tens of thousands” is normally used in news reports. “The UN is the only actor in South Sudan with the capacity to collect and verify death

tolls and they chose not to,” said International Crisis Group’s South Sudan senior analyst, Casie Copeland. “Death tolls are important for our humanity, to raise awareness and as empirical evidence of how the war evolves.” Richard Batili also guards the bridge on the Kaya river. He sees no end in sight to this conflict. “What is going to happen will be unacceptable,” he told IRIN. “This fighting will continue to our children.” IRIN

...Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur google photos ments waiting for them at the The Mahama administration presidency. With weak and took Ghanaians for granted. spineless institutions and civil Dumso (erratic power supsociety organizations bending ply), high commodity prices; to its will, government threw outrageous fuel and energy transparency to the wind. Not costs, coupled with high utileven the president could be ity prices angered many absolved from graft as Ghanaians. Businesses, evidenced in his acceptance small, medium and big all of an automobile from a for- came under the boot of a eign contractor. poorly managed economy. None of the pro-poor projects The pattern of voting, the Kufuor introduced survived margin of win between the under Mahama: the National NDC and the NPP are all Health Insurance Scheme indications of the extreme (NHIS); the school feeding discontent of the people of program; and free maternity Ghana. care all crumbled under the The following is an advice administration. The list is worth taking: endless. And the repercussion “Dear Jack: Don’t buy a sinis the people’s decision to gle vote more than necessary. throw out the government. I’ll be damned if I’m going to Notwithstanding the difficul- pay for a landslide.” — ties Ghanaians went through, a telegram from the father of the NDC would not mind then Senator John F. Kennedy spending millions of Ghana read at Gridiron Club dinner cedis buying votes in cash in 1958. and in kind.

The end-of-year reports are in for Nigeria’s president Buhari—and they’re all bad continued from page 17

The criticism of Buhari’s presidency less than two years in is in stark contrast to the vast goodwill he enjoyed, at home and abroad, after historically unseating an incumbent president. Instead, most Nigerians worry about a struggling economy once

touted as one of the world’s fastest growing. “Optimism that swelled after last year’s election has largely disappeared,” writes the FT. “It has been replaced by concern that an economic turnaround is not yet in sight.” qz.com

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Amandla Volume 15 Issue 12

by Mohammed Yusuf and Obi Anyadike

page 8

ANALYSIS

Reprieve but no solution for Kenya’s Dadaab refugees

December 15, 2016

The Kenyan government has postponed its closure of the Dadaab refugee camp by six months, but the reprieve does not reverse its ultimate decision to send home 261,000 Somali refugees, despite the loud protest by human rights groups. The international community appears to have given up on a search for an alternative to closing Dadaab, even though the mass returns promised by Kenya, starting in just four months’ time, are likely to generate a humanitarian crisis. The donors have also been slow to provide promised funding to Somalia to help improve conditions in a country that is already struggling to cope with 1.1 million internally displaced people. Joseph Nkaissery, cabinet secretary for the interior, told a media briefing on Wednesday that insecurity in Somalia and the country’s ongoing elections, were creating a “delicate situation”, which required an extension of the government’s end of November deadline. “However, ongoing voluntary repatriation will continue uninterrupted,” he said, referring to an existing programme facilitated by the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, and its NGO partners. Over the next six months, the government plans to verify the refugee population in Dadaab and relocate all nonSomalis to other camps in the country. In the fourth and fifth month of the extension period, it will complete the repatriation of all Somali refugees to Somalia, “in a humane, safe and dignified manner”, a government statement said. “This doesn’t really change anything,” Human Rights Watch researcher Laetitia Bader told IRIN. “As long as Kenya denies Somali refugees secure legal

Sahal Gure Mohamed, 62, texts on his mobile phone while waiting in line at dawn to register at Ifo refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya. status and threatens to close The Kenyan government’s re- Kambioos camp, told IRIN. another $300, but found it camps and deport them, voking of Somali refugees “But there is a lot of fear here was not enough to cover her refugees will feel they have prima facie right to stay in in Dadaab that the govern- rent and food. no choice but to go home Kenya, the pressure applied ment will force us back, so I What was free in Dadaab with UN return support cash to refugees to leave – includ- want to return when condi- now has to be paid for, and instead of being forced out ing a reduction in Word Food tions are good.” that has taken some getting with nothing,” she noted. Programme rations - means That means taking advantage used to. Once a week, she “Extending the Dadaab camp “the return programme is not of the UN’s relocation pack- walks from the IDP camp to closure deadline is better than voluntary and is in fact age, which provides a cash the agency to see if they can deporting refugees in two forced”, Khairunissa Dhala, grant per head for each help. weeks’ time. But with the one of the authors of the re- family. “I always wanted to return, new 31 May deadline hang- port, told IRIN. It is a significant inducement, but I never imagined I would ing over them, Somali especially for those who are return home to such a refugees will continue to feel Packing up fairly recent arrivals and situation,” she said. that they have to leave.” Since December 2014, more believe they can pick up their “Life was good at the camp. than 19,000 refugees have re- lives once back in Somalia. All my four children went to Bad choices turned home under the assis- But the reality is that re-start- school. They all had Human rights groups point tance programme. ing a life is far from easy. secondary education.” out that even before the elec- According to a poll carried But in the last few years it tion, planned for the end of out by the Kenyan govern- Harder than imagined became a lot harder. The cut the year, Somalia was neither ment and UNHCR, in July Fatuma Hamid came to the in food rations in August last safe for return, nor did it have and August, only 25 percent southern Somali port city of year played a part in her the public service infrastruc- of refugees said they were Kismayo in September, after decision to leave, she said. ture to cope with an influx of willing to return. Neverthe- more than 20 years in Mohamed Noor, vice chairarrivals from Dadaab. less, there is a feeling of in- Dadaab. man in the Jubaland Refugee In a veiled rebuke to evitability in Dadaab that the When IRIN met her outside Agency is sympathetic, but UNHCR, Amnesty Interna- 25-year-old complex will the Jubaland Refugee and In- there’s not much he can do to tional said in a report on close. ternally Displaced Persons help. Tuesday that “the dangers as- “I have packed my stuff and Agency, she was close to The Jubaland government sociated with the armed con- I’m ready to return, even tears. had earlier asked for the flict in Somalia have been though I know very well that The 60-year-old mother of suspension of the repatriation greatly underreported to the Somalia is not yet stable. four was paid $600 in Dadaab programme as it was already refugees by the UN and There is violence, persecution and used $500 of that to settle overstretched. NGOs facilitating the return still going on; no good her debts. process from Dadaab to So- schools on the other side [of When she arrived in continued on page 9 malia”. the border],” Aden Farah, in Kismayo, she was given


Amandla Volume 15 Issue 12

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December 15, 2016

Reprieve but no solution for Kenya’s Dadaab refugees

African countries are “In the longer term, we’re importing Chinese calling on them to seek more sustainable ap- textile companies

continued from page 8 “The returnees have been going from one government ministry to another looking for help. They cannot get the services they had in Dadaab camp,” Noor explained. “If more people are brought to Kismayo, the ones who were here before them will have nothing.” Insecurity Insecurity is another major worry. Many of the returnees are not from Kismayo. But the threat of intimidation and forced conscription by the alShabab militant group, which remains firmly rooted in the countryside, forces them to stay as IDPs in the city. Guray Hefow Abdi had a shop and cattle in her hometown of Dinsor, in Somalia’s Bay region. But war

and drought forced her across the border to Dadaab in 2011. conShe took advantage of courses run in the camp and found work with a number of international agencies looking after the physically and mentally challenged; an experience she hoped would help her find a job in Kismayo. But in making the journey by road from Dadaab to Kismayo, through alShabab checkpoints, she realised that her certificates and commendations were a liability. She hid what she could in her robes, and got rid of the rest. “It was too risky to carry the certificates through the al-Shabab-controlled territory,” she said. “These documents are my only hope and my future.” Despite her certifications, she is still looking for work.

The vulnerable The Amnesty report highlights a spectrum of vulnerable groups among the refugees who the Jubaland authorities will struggle to settle. This includes secondary school students (in a region with few schools and teachers); those with disabilities; and minority ethnic groups like the Bantu, who are outside the clan system. “Some returnees have children who were in school in Kenya. If they cannot get education for their children in Somalia, then we fear some of these children could become criminals,” Noor told IRIN. “Worse still, some may join al-Shabab and other groups with extreme ideological views.”Dhala said Amnesty International was calling on the Kenyan government, in the short-term at least, not to close Dadaab.

proaches to refugees that ends the encampment policy, allows rights to integration within the host community, including the right to work,” she said. At the moment, the Kenyan government doesn’t appear to be listening. IRIN

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continued from page 14

The company is not yet profitable, but she expects this year to be better. Ma anticipates more Chinese production moving to Africa as Southeast Asia becomes saturated with Chinese factories searching for cheaper locations. She will still have been the first in Rwanda. And perhaps most importantly, she relates with the government’s campaign to wean the country from chagua.”In China during the 1980s there were also a lot of people wearing old, secondhand clothing. Now, not a single person is wearing recycled clothing. I think that for a country’s civilization to progress you do need to stop that.” qz.com

This story is part of a series about China’s engagement in Rwanda and reporting was supported by the InterPhone: 605 477 3670 national Women’s Media Foundation’s www.jerseyghradio.com African Great Lakes Initiative.


Amandla Volume 15 Issue 12

Amanda Sperber Salah spent most of his early life as a student in Uganda, where he acquired the excellent English he speaks. In 2003, he moved back home to South Sudan. Since then, he has worked as a farmer in the fertile southern Equatoria region. This is not the future he had in mind. Salah wanted to return to Uganda and study for a Bachelor of Business Administration at Makerere University. But, he says, the government would not sponsor him to go. Salah believes the South Sudanese government keeps scholarships only for the Dinka, the largest ethnic group in the country. It is the community to which President Salva Kiir belongs, as do the majority of senior figures within his administration. Like many non-Dinka in South Sudan, Salah thinks the government is solely dedicated to keeping the Dinka people in power. Kiir is backed by the influential Jieng (Dinka) Council of Elders and supported by military chief-of-staff General Paul Malong Awan. To the bush Salah is a Kakwa, a relatively small ethnic group that straddles southwestern South Sudan, northwestern Uganda, and northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Last year, he joined the rebel SPLA-IO, a movement associated with the country’s second largest ethnic group, the Nuer. But the insurgency is also attracting the loyalty of existing community-based militia in the Equatoria region and beyond – anyone to challenge the Dinka’s perceived hold on national power and resources. Salah is a captain in the SPLA-IO. Asked how he thinks fighting will bring about the political resolution he wants, he laughs and says something about how this is the only way to bring about

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FEATURE

December 15, 2016

South Sudan: “This fighting will continue to our children”

change in this part of the world. Salah's comrade-in-arms, Samuel Denyag, was a policeman in the capital, Juba, where he says he saw ethnic chauvinism first-hand. Denyag claims his Dinka commanders fixed the books, adding dozens of ghost names to the payroll, and then shared out the proceeds among just the Dinka cops. When South Sudan’s civil war broke out in December 2013, over a contest for power between Kiir and his rival, former vice president Riek Machar, Denyag headed home to western Equatoria. He joined the Arrow Boys, a broad militia originally formed to defend the community against attacks by Uganda’s notorious Lord’s Resistance Army. The LRA are gone. Now there are new threats. Local anger has long been stoked by the encroachment of heavily armed Dinka cattle herders onto farmland, and the disappearance of young men in the government’s heavy-handed counter-insurgency operations. Rebellion spreads As armed groups bubbled up in western Equatoria in 2015, some Arrow Boy factions threw in with SPLA-IO. Denyag was one of them.

Captain Salah's bridge Some of these emerging “The history of mass atrociarmed groups looked to be ties suggests that ethnic vioabsorbed into the national lence is normally a political army under an agreement ne- tool waged for – often petty – gotiated in 2015 to end the political purposes. South civil war. But the accord did- Sudan is no different,” ren’t last. Although Machar fi- searcher Alan Boswell told nally returned to Juba to join IRIN. “It’s a political war for a government of national a new state that never fully unity in April this year, three formed, but is now being months later he was fleeing fought over as it collapses.” for his life, heading south The brutality under way in through Equatoria and over Equatoria has forced 246,000 the Congolese border. South Sudanese to flee to Fighting followed in his northwest Uganda in six wake. Yei, in southern Equa- months. Tens of thousands of toria, was previously thought them – if not more – have of as one of the safest places crossed Captain Salah’s rickin South Sudan. But Human ety bridge. Rights Watch reported in Oc- “These atrocities are not an tober “numerous cases” of abuse of power per se, but abuse by the army against rather the desperation of the civilians as they hunted for weak lacking true state SPLA-IO supporters. power,” said Boswell. “This IRIN was unable to get com- is ethnic cleansing as desperment from the government. ation, not strength.” Among the most brutal of the Lona Saima walked for seven government’s forces are the days with her family from all-Dinka Mathiang Anyoor Yei to reach safety. In early militia, created by Malong. December, she’d just been They were instrumental in trucked from the South Suthe purging of Nuer neigh- danese border to Kuluba bourhoods in Juba in 2013. Transit Centre in Uganda. Revenge “If they [the Dinka] get you, The violence has spurred op- they will slaughter you like a position, increasingly united chicken,” she told IRIN. in a sense of victimhood. It “They want to kill anyone behas also generated a cycle of cause they don’t trust you… revenge. In October, armed they think you are hiding gunmen attacked a bus on the rebels.” Yei-Juba road, separated the Saima has tuberculosis and 21 Dinka from the other pas- hasn’t been able to access sengers, and shot them. medicine for two months,

since war shut the hospital and supply lines down. Her body aches. At least 85 percent of the people in the heaving camps are women and children. The men have stayed to fight and to protect their property. Otto John Adema bucks the trend. An HIV-positive preacher with 12 children, he arrived from Torit, in southeastern South Sudan, in August. He sits against the mud brick house he built in Bidi Bidi camp, holding his baby boy. He saw three civilians shot, but doesn’t know if it was the SPLA or the rebels who did the killing. He is sure, though, that it was five SPLA-IO raping a woman in the street with a stick. Ethnic killings have been a feature of South Sudan’s civil war since it began. Kem Ryan, who was the head of operations for the relief and protection section of the UN’s peacekeeping mission, has plenty of evidence. “I have hundreds of photos from the three years of war in South Sudan of people killed, mostly civilians, many bound and executed,” he told IRIN. The violence forced 200,000 people from their homes in 2015. continued on page 6


Amandla Volume 15 Issue 12

by Mausi Segun

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OPINION

Boko Haram food crisis demands cooperation and accountability

Snatched schoolgirls and suicide bomb blasts have long been the enduring images of Nigeria’s Boko Haram conflict. But now the violence is represented by thousands of new faces: those of starving children. Scenes like these haven’t been seen here since the 1967-70 war with secessionist Biafra.

As many as 4.5 million people need food aid in the northeast of the country, according to the UN’s World Food Programme. It warns that “famine-like conditions” may be occurring in remote pockets of the region. Food shortages are the inevitable consequence of the seven-year insurgency that has displaced more than 2.5 million people. Several planting seasons have passed with little farming activity in the affected states of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa. The conflict areas are hard to reach, but reports hint at the deliberate destruction of farm production by both sides, as well as the targeting of civilians. Restrictions The Nigerian government’s focus on an almost exclusively military response has Boko Haram on the run. With the help of neighbouring countries – Chad, Cameroon, and Niger – most of the territory previously held by the insurgents has been recovered. But one major problem is that this military success has not been accompanied by a rigorous de-mining programme. Fear of Boko Haram mines means far from all the land is back in production, in what is an agriculturally rich region. The insurgents are also an ever-present threat in the countryside, beyond the villages and towns. That has limited the humanitarian response to this crisis, as well as the return of government services.

Fearing infiltration, the authorities have severely restricted movement around the settlements they have recaptured. Residents, mostly women and children, have

ganisations fall woefully short of the needs of the displaced population. As though the problems posed by the shortages are not bad enough, the distribu-

The head of NEMA, the federal agency responsible for responding to internal crises, accused MSF of using the report as a ploy to attract donor funding.

December 15, 2016

go. The latest news from Maiduguri is that the state authorities – apparently unhappy about the negative publicity that followed the sexual abuse report – have

A severely malnourished child receives treatment in a clinic in Banki photo OCHA/O.Fagan been evacuated into camps strictly supervised by security forces. That has had a severe impact on the rural economy, along with people’s freedom of movement. Take Baga, a fishing settlement in northern Borno State, for example. It was recovered by government forces in April 2015, after its near-destruction by Boko Haram. But because of the security restrictions imposed by the army, fishing has ground to a halt and trade with local communities is prevented. Baga is running out of food. Internment The displacement camps and temporary settlements in Borno, most of them crammed into the state capital, Maiduguri, have become huge internment centers. Food supplies from the meagre harvests in areas less affected by the conflict and relief materials donated by international and local aid or-

tion of relief material is fraught with allegations of corruption, mismanagement, fraud, and outright theft by government officials. And rather than conducting transparent investigations and addressing the problems, the federal and state authorities in charge of the camps have issued blanket and vague denials. Need for transparency In July, a state official in Maiduguri told me that she could not discuss the food supply for displaced people because the government had declared the issue a “state secret”. That response echoes the National Emergency Management Agency’s denial of a Médecins Sans Frontières report highlighting the health crisis in June among the displaced in the town of Bama, where it said up to 30 people were dying daily from hunger and disease.

It was therefore gratifying to see the federal government respond quickly and positively to a Human Rights Watch report that detailed the sexual exploitation and abuse of displaced women and girls by government officials. Police and intelligence officers were swiftly deployed to investigate. This response should set the tone for improved conduct by all officials tasked with protecting and supporting displaced people. It presents a great opportunity to institutionalise reforms in the vetting and training of staff, reforms that prioritise accountability. Long way to go Aid programming must include gender and human rights awareness, and allow for the thorough monitoring and investigation of abuse and misconduct, including in food distribution. There is still a long way to

tightened restrictions around the camps. Rather than encouraging the protection of the rights of the displaced, the authorities have presented local and international aid providers with new requirements for their continued operations in Borno. Nigeria is Africa’s richest country, but it needs all the help it can muster to surmount the scale of this humanitarian tragedy. An international aid appeal for $488 million is only 37 percent funded. The people whose lives depend on this aid have a right to demand a more honest and robust response when concerns are raised over the mismanagement of relief. Transparency and accountability must be non-negotiable. The writer is a Senior Nigeria researcher at Human Rights Watch


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December 15, 2016


Amandla Volume 15 Issue 12

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December 15, 2016

Western hand-me-downs, African countries are importing Chinese textile companies continued from page 21

“The way you can judge the quality is by the look and feel,” says a woman seated on a stool next to a stack of clothing still folded and

aren’t caught wearing the same thing as anyone else. At a recycled clothing shop in central Kigali, a smaller selection of clothes are on display, carefully hung in rows or folded into neat piles on a

clothes which are available for them. There must be a reason for that. Respect that reason,” he says. “Made in Africa, with China”

nesburg late last year, China’s ambassador to South Africa Tian Xuejun told a press briefing, “We want to change the narrative from ‘made in China’ to ‘made in Africa, with China.'” In one of con-

company makes wooden doors. Ma is considering reopening the mobile phone factory she attempted in Kenya five years ago. China FAW Group, one of China’s biggest auto makers, now has

Something for everyone. (EPA/Daniel Irungu) packed in a plastic bag. She rifles through a pile and pulls out a striped polo, made with a thick heavy cotton, as demonstration. “Those clothes they want to sell us from the factories are made in China. They’re very fake and people don’t trust them,” she says, declining to give her name for fear of punishment from authorities. Like many of the sellers here, she has been in this business for a long time—30 years of supporting five children through sales of chagua. When asked what she thinks of the government’s concern for the dignity of its people and hygiene issues of recycled clothing, she accuses the government of conspiracy. “The government is lying, lying, lying. There’s something else behind it,” she says. She has heard about the proposed ban on television. “It won’t benefit us at all,” she says. For many, used clothing is all they can afford. For others, shopping chagua is a way to curate their wardrobe and ensure they

set of shelves. A young man in a denim shirt studded with rhinestones and paneled jeans scoffs at the idea of buying only new clothes. “The new clothes are like uniforms. It looks bad, like we are a sports team or a group of church singers.” Critics say banning second hand clothing won’t necessarily boost local industry. And operations like Ma’s won’t be enough to replace chagua; most of the C&H products are for export. Others say that used clothes will likely be smuggled in, as plastic bags have been since the Rwanda declared them contraband. Higher taxes on imports of second-hand shoes, introduced this summer, has so far failed to seriously dent business, according to traders. Marc Vooges, director of Sympany, a Dutch charity that recycles used clothing, says the ban also limits citizens’ rights to make their own decisions. “You disrespect the choice of your citizens who are choosing those second hand clothes instead of new

Other African countries have already attracted Chinese textile makers. Chinese shoe assembly operations in Ethiopia have inspired more industry around it like leather processing, recycling old plastic bags into plastic goods, as well as more shoe factories from other countries. Huajian, one of China’s largest shoe producers, is expanding in Ethiopia and in East Africa. Other Chinese investors have expressed interest in setting up shop in an industrial park in Tanzania, turning local cotton into cloth. Shoes and clothing may be just the beginning. As labor costs in China have risen over the last decade, prompting Chinese factories to seek cheaper locations or move into higher-end manufacturing, African officials have hoped some of that manufacturing might relocate to Africa. Lately, Chinese officials have been dangling that prospect even more. At a high level China-Africa summit, the Forum on ChinaAfrica Cooperation, in Johan-

ference sessions titled, “Catapulting the African industrialization renaissance,” Chinese officials pledged to help the continent reach its goal of seeing manufacturing account for more than 50% of GDP by 2063. For now, industry accounts for just 10% of the Africa’s overall GDP, the same rate as it was in 1990, according to John Page, a Brookings Institution fellow and former chief Africa economist for the World Bank. As China moves out of low-end manufacturing, there may now be a chance for Africa to gain some of that business. “There is a window of opportunity,” Page says. Chinese investment in African manufacturing has already grown, and examples of Chinese factories producing in Africa are becoming more common. In Kigali’s special economic zone, another Chinese company, Beijing Paper, produces sanitary napkins under the brand “Every Time,” sold in stores locally. A nearby Chinese

an assembly plant in South Africa. In some cases, Chinese investment in African textile industries has actually hurt local producers. In Ghana, Chinese manufacturers are outcompeting artisans and putting them out of business. This past year, Nigerians have been protesting Chinese who are manufacturing their traditional fabrics and selling them at cheaper prices. Some initiatives to inspire manufacturing have been underwhelming. At the workshop of the “China Rwanda Bamboo Project” in Kigali—a Chinese initiative to train local workers in bamboo manufacturing—three young men and a woman nap on a piece of foam meant to be used for furniture. The room is littered with unfinished bamboo screens, baskets, and lanterns. The power is out so the staff have stopped early. “They don’t work. You teach them one thing, they learn it, continued on page 14


Amandla Volume 15 Issue 12

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AFRICA Malian Air Force Buys Pricey French Chopper To Fight Local Jihadists A fully-loaded “Super Puma” military helicopter is the latest addition to Mali’s beleaguered air force which has been struggling to defeat rebels in the country’s central and northern region. The Super Puma, a twin-engine, heavy lift helicopter, had been returned to the French Airbus company in October by a Texas-based operator that went bankrupt. The CHC Group was given the green light to shed some 99 Super Pumas, at least one of which was turned around by Airbus and sold to Africans. Each Super Puma costs an estimated $15 million. A second Super Puma is due to arrive in Mali this coming month. Despite the new piece of military hardware, jihadists this week managed to carjack two ambulances and another vehicle in the southwestern town of Dilli. Five Malian soldiers lost their lives while transporting ballot boxes during

Sunday’s municipal elections – the first since 2013. Voter turnout in Mali was low as security jitters remained high despite the presence of over 10,000 United Nations and French forces. Voters are electing 12,000 council members across Mali as the government prepares to enact a 2015 peace deal and ward off the stubborn rebel threat in the north. Mean-

while, pro-government militia groups and former rebels who signed the peace deal are intermittently fighting each other in northern areas where the state remains absent. "We're again, as we've been several times since 2013, at a defining moment," said International Crisis Group analyst Jean-Herve Jezequel, referring to France's 2013 military offensive against jihadist

ship in bringing Africans from all walks of life to deliberate and brainstorm onpertinent issues of and about Africa and Africans. Dr. Karenga also paid glowing tribute to past leaders of the struggles for a just African. Kwanzaa,which is 50 years old this year, is a 7-Day African holidays that startsDecember 26. Speaking under the theme It’s Nation Time Again, the Professor and Chair of Africana Studies at California State University, Long Beach emphasized that the struggles against oppression, imperialism, and racism continue unabated. Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, Head of the Nation of Islam, delivered the Closing Charge. He pointed out that in the struggles, sometimes the worst enemy is within. He challenged the crowd to help rescue and heal the world of its troubles. He reiterated Dr. Karenga’s stand “to make a new world

in our awakening.” He opined that the Black person is simply fighting for free- continued from page 13 dom, justice, and equality and “if we are not getting it and the next day they come under their flag, then we back and they’ve forgotten,” have to get it under our own says Huang Daizhong from flag.” He charged that Black China’s Zhejiang province, people can get their own only who has been leading this projwhen they are united. “Fifty ect for the past six years. The million is a lot of us to have results have been meager. So our own,”he philosophized. far, just two factories are mak“You represent the intellec- ing use of the bamboo processtual strength to teach the un- ing techniques he has taught learned the righteous way”, them—both are making toothhe added. Hon. Minister Far- picks. rakhan suggested that people In Huang’s home province of would be liberated from Zhejiang in eastern China, mental and economic slavery mass production of bamboo if only the word of absolute handcrafts was the first step in truth is impacted to them. establishing a textile industry Tracing the history of hu- and training a largely rural popmankind, he remarked that ulation with few technical the Black person is the origin skills. (Textile producers now of humanity and civilization. account for 10% of that He observed that it is imper- province’s gross industrial outative for Black people to put.) Huang had hoped the have some love in their same principle would work in hearts and to envy no one. Rwanda, but has been disappointed. “Rwanda hasn’t reached this point of being able continued on page 3 to manufacture yet. It will still take many years,” he says.

Have some love in your heart – Minister Farrakhan

by Kofi Ayim

The Institute of the Black World (IBW) 21st Century held a 5-Day mammoth “State of the Black World Conference IV” November 16-20, 2016, at theRobert Treat Hotel, Newark, NJ. The opening day ceremony of the multifaceted event included the Pan African Institute that focused on the struggle for democracy and development in Africa, the Caribbean,Central and South America within the context of reparations for people of African descent. It was chaired by Mr. Danny Glover, an Actor, Humanitarian, Activist and Chairman of the Trans-Africa Forum. In a capacity filled and elaborate closing ceremony, Dr. Maulana Karenga, creator of Kwanzaa and its Seven Principles and Founder of the US Organization heaped praises on Dr. Ron Daniels, President of the Institute of the Black World for his leader-

groups in northern Mali. He expressed pessimism about the country’s peace prospects. No one in Mali "really believes this peace deal can change anything significant," Jezequel said, since the accord was struck due to outside pressure rather than by a national consensus. Two African scholars writing in The Conversation, an independent source of news and

December 15, 2016

views from the academic and research community, examined the term “jihadists” used widely in the western media. “It would be false,” they said, “to attribute political violence in this region solely to groups embracing jihad. At least two more rationales exist. One is about community self-defense. The other involves a struggle led by Fulani herdsmen, more vulnerable than other Fulani communities of the area.” “Seeing the current increase in terrorist attacks in Mali as just another tentacle of globalized Islamic terrorism therefore misses the point,” wrote the UK-based professor Yvan Guichaoua and Dr. Dougoukolo Alpha Oumar Ba-Konaré of Mali. “The mixture of groups within Mali are primarily the product of local historical conditions, not an externally imposed ideology.

African countries are importing Chinese textile companies GIN

For a country’s civilization Rwanda isn’t the easiest place to start a garment industry. Transportation to the landlocked country is expensive— it costs more to send a container from Kigali to Kenya’s port city of Mombasa, where all of C&H products depart from, than to send goods from Mombasa to Guangzhou in southern China. Ma has to import all of her materials, including the cloth, string, and the zippers. Still, Ma, who has been working in textiles in developing countries for more than 16 years, believes she is uniquely equipped to meet the challenge. Unlike Huang and other Chinese managers who grow frustrated with their local staff, she says she tries to understand her employees and how they work best. “You just have to know them,” she says. continued on page 9


Amandla Volume 15 Issue 12

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December 15, 2016

Amandla’s editor-in-chief was on the ground covering the contentious elections in Ghana. We bring you some pre - and post election photos

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo addressing a crowd at Nkawkaw, in the Eastern Region of Ghana where his party ontained the lion’s share

In glasses is Hon. Yaw Buabin Asamoah MP-elect of Adentan; on his left is Alhaji Boniface Sidique, MP-elect of Madina at the celebration of NPP victory announced by Ghana’s Electoral Commission December 9, 2016

NPP Party members and sympathizers at Adentan, Accra


Amandla Volume 15 Issue 12

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AFRICA

Zimbabweans are sleeping overnight outside banks again to get their cash

December 15, 2016

byLynsey Chutel & Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi

It’s a terrible moment of déjà vu for Zimbabweans as another currency looms. For the last few days, in the capital Harare, Zimbabweans have begun lining up outside of banks to get hold of what little cash is in circulation before it’s replaced by bond notes as currency—the latest desperate measure by the cash-strapped government. “I am supposed to be home with my family but here I am spending the night in a bank queue for $50, which I am not guaranteed to get,” Tapiwa Mashingaidze told Quartz. The 33-year-old farmer traveled 80 kilometers (about 50 miles) from Harare, to buy seed and fertilizer, but didn’t make it to the front of the line before the bank closed. So he stayed on the sidewalk, all night, hoping for better luck tomorrow. Zimbabweans don’t trust the banks, and so will not deposit what money they do have, exacerbating the cash shortage. Some banks have limited the individual withdrawal limit to as little as $20 a day. Still, some would rather get what they can, and then find a spot in the line right afterward and wait for the next

continued from page 20 speech, breaking his right arm and shattering his kneecap. But he quickly recovered, walking in public just two months after his fall. On July 31, 2006, the Cuban government announced that Castro's duties as president had been transferred to Raul Castro while he underwent surgery to address "an acute intestinal crisis, with sustained bleeding". Dangers of nuclear war Castro never returned to politics. He wrote columns for state-run media and occasionally received guests at his home on the edge of what

day say they can withdraw some more. Mary Chirandu, 29, said she was lucky enough to get $50 of the $750 still in her account. Chirandu is desperate to get her money before the bond notes are in circulation. Like many others, she’s convinced the new notes will derail the economy even further. “If there was a way to get all my money out, I would do it even for a fee,” said Chirandu, who is self-employed. To ease liquidity shortages, the Reserve Bank of Zim-

babwe plans to print bond notes as currency that are meant to hold the same value as the U.S. dollar, but that has only caused further panic, triggering withdrawals and longer lines. Since the May announcement, the reserve bank has gone on a public education drive to allay fears. What little consolation the campaign brought was undone by uncertainty about who exactly would print the notes. “The increase of uncertainty over the impact of these bond notes to the Zimbabwean

economy and fears we could see a repetition of 2009’s hyperinflation bodes ill for the economy across the board,” said Alisa Strobel, a senior economist at IHS Global Insight, a risk and analysis firm. Zimbabweans have faced a currency crisis since 2009, when spiraling hyperinflation made everyone a billionaire and left the Zimbabwe dollar worthless. The government introduced a multi-currency system using the U.S. dollar, South African rand and most recently Chinese Yuan. But Zimbabweans prefer the dol-

lar’s strength. Dealing in dollars has not made life simpler for Zimbabweans, bringing with it a high cost of living. There is a lighter side to the bond notes panic, though. Zimbabweans have begun to prefacing anything that is temporary with the word “bond,” reports South African news site News24. So temporary teachers are “bond teachers” and ground soy meat is now known as “bond meat.”

used to be the Havana Biltmore golf course. In his speech, he warned of the dangers of nuclear war and climate change and he urged young people to fight for world peace. On September 3, 2010, Castro gave his last speech. He spoke at the University of Havana, telling students he never imagined he'd return 65 years after he studied there. On January 8, 2013, Castro visited the Havana art studio of his friend, Alexis Leiva Machado, nicknamed Kcho. It would be the Cuban leader's last public appearance. "There were people there

who never thought they were going to see him in their lifetimes," Kcho said. "Suddenly, Fidel showed up in a car. It parked at the door of the house. The neighbour looked at him like she couldn't believe it. She said, 'How is it possible? I thought that in my life I'd never see Fidel Castro.' "His presence said a lot." Kcho considers Castro a "maker of dreams" and said he probably wouldn't have become a successful artist if the government hadn't opened an art school on the Isle of Youth where he grew up. Years later, Castro recognised Kcho's work. "When I shook his hand, the

man squeezed my hand really hard, with strength, with energy. He looked me in the eye and he told me, 'Congratulations. Good job.' It was something special. I still have photos of that moment," Kcho said. "Fidel is a person who has influenced many people. I'd say millions of people. I am one of those influenced by Fidel." Cubans will miss Castro, the artist said. Cuban blogger Harold Cardenas is not sure all Cubans are ready to decipher Castro's legacy."He had the ability to face - together with his people - the most powerful enemy on earth. And I think [his] ideas will live on forever."

Many young people have a stereotyped or cartoonish image of Castro, Cardenas said. Some think "all he's done is make mistakes". Others say he's the "perfect leader". That's dangerous, Cardenas said, because when they learn that he's made mistakes, they'll think they were lied to in school and soon they'll believe that everything about the revolution is a lie. What's needed, he said, is an honest debate about Castro's legacy. But for now, Cardenas said, "We don't have the maturity to speak objectively about Fidel."

Cuban leader Fidel Castro's mixed legacy

qz.com

Al Jazeera News and News Agencies


Amandla Volume 15 Issue 12

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December 15, 2016A

AFRICA

Use of French in Cameroonian courts has sparked renewed independence calls by Ludovica Iaccino Daniele Palumbo

,

People in the anglophone areas of Cameroon have been protesting against perceived disenfranchisement and alleged failure to implement measures that would guarantee self-determination, activists have told IBTimes UK. Protests started in October, when a group of English speaking lawyers took to the streets of Bamenda city, capital of the Northwest Region, to protest against the use of French in courts and the lack of English versions of some legal acts and codes. The demonstrators also said they would create a new bar for English-speaking lawyers only. Protests continued throughout November with lawyers striking in both the Northwest and Southwest, the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon, inhabited by some 3.2 million people. The two regions constitute the socalled "Southern Cameroons" territory, a British protectorate during colonisation. Earlier this month, Bobga Harmony, president of Association Lawyers of Northwest Cameroon, told the BBC the Cameroonian police allegedly "used tear gas to disperse" the lawyers. The alleged police reaction sparked further demonstrations in anglophone Cameroon, with people calling for independence. Reasons behind independence calls "This is not an issue that began with the lawyer protest in October, but it started in 1961, when the Southern

People took to the streets of Bamenda, capital of the Northwest Region, calling for independece Pro-independence activists Cameroons territories were alien government for our peo- "it is a political matter". senior adviser for Global a n n e x e d t o m o d e r n - d a y ple, as eventually became the Risk International (GRI), Cameroon," Ngu Tatih, from case. People in Ambazonia Pro-Active Dialogue said. the Ambazonia Governing [Southern Cameroons] are David Otto, counterterrorism "The reason why this is dragCouncil, told IBTimes UK. calling for independence expert at UK-based TGS In- ging is because of how the Ambazonia is a term used to without pre-conditions," telligence Consultants, con- government reacted when the identify the movement that Tatih continued. firmed to IBTimes UK that protest began peacefully. If seeks the restoration of He then alleged security protests are ongoing. the government continues to Southern Cameroons. forces killed three people He called on the Cameroon- apply force, the situation Pro-independence groups during recent demonstrations, ian government to start a might escalate. It is similar to argue that the UN Resolution which he said are still ongo- "proactive" dialogue with what happened with pro-Bi1608, passed in April 1961, ing and involve teacher protesters to address people's afran activists," he conwas not implemented. groups but also civilians. grievances. cluded, referring to the The document required the "We are calling on the inter- "The initial skirmishes of this ongoing pro-independence UK, Southern Cameroons national community to inter- particular protest was about movement that seeks the inand Republic of Cameroon to vene on this matter, before it the legal framework, but dependence of Biafran terriengage in talks on measures gets worse," he said. "This is protests increased and in- tories from Nigeria. to implement for the annexa- going to spiral into something cluded other elements. Engtion. that is going to affect not only lish-speaking people say they NOTE: IBTimes UK has "In 1961, our people were people of Ambazonia, but the are marginalised and claim changed the name of the Amgiven two choices and we de- sub-region as well." the amalgamation of the Eng- bazonia Governing Council cided to join Cameroon and A spokesperson for the coun- l i s h a n d t h e F r e n c h member to protect the intercreate a confederation. We try's defence ministry has de- Cameroons was unconstitu- viewee's identity. did not decide to create an clined to comment because tional," Otto, who is also a

The end-of-year reports are in for Nigeria’s president Buhari—and they’re all bad continued from page 18

controls have included arresting local foreign exchange dealers accused of hiking the black market rates. AFP points out that Buhari’s stand-off with lawmakers has resulted in “policy paralysis”

with little or no progress made in stopping the economic slide. Typifying the discord, Buhari’s proposal to borrow $30 billion to boost the economy was rejected by the Senate at the start of the month. Foreign Policy describes Buhari’s decisions as

“eccentric” but also spotlights his run-ins with democratic conventions, branding him the “same old authoritarian showman” who led Nigeria as military head of state in the early 1980s. Buhari’s democratic values were questioned after state security

agents conducted midnight raids on the homes of federal judges. Drawing similarities between present-day realities and Buhari’s first stint in power, Foreign Policy says: “Now, as before, Buhari’s legitimacy was built on empty showmanship, a hyped-up

claim of superior morality and discipline coupled with a healthy dose of disdain for elitism, all quickly overshadowed by an economic crisis that he wasn’t equipped to tackle.” continued on page 6


Amandla Volume 15 Issue 12

The scrutiny of the three African withdrawals from the ICC should not be reduced to accusations of seeking impunity. On November 16, the signatories to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court will come together for the 15th session of the Assembly of States Parties, and for the first time they'll have to face defections. In a matter of weeks three states withdrew from the ICC after being signatories to the Rome Statute for more than a decade. On October 12, Burundi's parliament adopted with an overwhelming vote a law on the withdrawal of the country from the Rome Statute. On October 19, South Africa's Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane signed an "Instrument of Withdrawal". And Gambia, from where the current ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda hails, jumped on the bandwagon by declaring its decision to withdraw on October 26. Unsurprisingly, this latest development has unleashed a fierce debate, largely cast in black and white terms as a struggle between good and evil, between those supporting justice those seeking impunity. Amnesty International decried South Africa's announcement as "deep betrayal of millions of victims worldwide". Ban Kim o o n , t h e U N Secretary-General, questioned the commitment of Burundi, South Africa and the Gambia to justice. Beyond the black and white While these sentiments are understandable, we should not forget that major powers such as China, Russia and the United States have refused to become ICC members. The discussion on the three withdrawals should not be reduced to a black-and-white choice between justice and impunity.

FEATURE

page 18

December 15, 2016

The end-of-year reports are in for Nigeria’s president Buhari—and they’re all bad

Africa's challenge to the ICC

by Yomi Kazeem

Fidele Babala Wandu, left, of the Democratic Republic of the Congo speaks to a lawyer in the courtroom of the ICC in The Hague, the Netherlands [EPA] The withdrawals are not a re jection of the ICC in its en tirety, or even less so of the ideals of international justice. Instead they are a reaction to the structural flaws underlying the international legal order which, as it stands, now looks more like an Orwellian animal farm, where some are "more equal" than others. It is a legal order characterised, as the academic Amy Niang put it, by "the absence of a moral equivalence in the implementation of legal principles across all countries regardless of size and political and economic endowment". It maintains a status quo where "might is right". The ICC has been made to reinforce and entrench the Orwellian animal farm character of the system by vesting the veto-holding members of the UN Security Council with the power to refer situations in some countries to the ICC, while shielding themselves or close allies - from scrutiny of the court. The withdrawals relate to concerns raised over the years on how the ICC has gone about implementing its mandate in Africa. In this regard, the first concern is about the launching of prosecutions during ongoing armed conflicts where mediation efforts are under way. In its Instrument of Withdrawal, South Africa stated that it "has found that its ob

ligations with respect to the peaceful resolution of conflicts at times are incompatible with the interpretation given by the International Criminal Court of obligations contained in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court." An ICC agenda? Related to this is also the concern around the prosecution of sitting heads of state and governments. In the context of Sudan and Ivory Coast, this is seen as attempt at regime change in the name of pursuing the ICC's agenda of prosecutorial justice or as a breach of the sovereign electoral choice of citizens in the case of Kenya. The decision of the African Union extraordinary summit in 2013 was not to initiate or continue prosecution of heads of state or government during their term of office to avoid politicisation and avoid fear of the ICC being used to effect regime change. The issue of temporal immunity came out clearly in South Africa's withdrawal. Its Minister of Justice Michael Masutha argued that the "implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Act, 2002, is in conflict and inconsistent with the provisions of the Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges Act, 2001." While there is no agreement

on mass withdrawal, South Africa, Burundi, and Gambia are unlikely to be the only African states to leave the ICC. Uganda, Chad, Kenya and Namibia are also considering their withdrawal. The ICC's battered relationship with Africa is on the verge of breaking. But the current crisis might turn out to be an opportunity for inclusive discussion and change. Demands for immunity for serving heads of state and the taking into account of reconciliation efforts before prosecution have been voiced before. Perhaps this time the ASP will give these concerns due hearing and curb further withdrawals and the longstanding fierce opposition from many African states. Solomon Ayele Dersso is a senior legal scholar and an analyst on Africa and African Union affairs. The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy. Source: Al Jazeera

Know what’s going on among Africans and Africa. Read Amandla

Nearing the end of his first full calendar year in office, Nigeria’s president Buhari is coming in for strong criticism. In the space of a week, several international media outlets have published scathing reports on Buhari’s handling of the economy and general tenure as president. In fairness, some allow that Buhari faced an uphill task upon taking office. The Financial Times says the president inherited “dire straits” while Bloomberg also acknowledged “Buhari faced ugly circumstances” when he became president. But it is the president’s response to the economic crisis which has been heavily criticized. AFP, the French news agency, writes that the president’s ineffective policies have lead many to believe he “doesn’t have what it takes to rescue Nigeria from recession.” The criticism from international media for Buhari is noteworthy as, since taking office, Buhari has shown a preference to speak with foreign media over local reporters, perhaps with a view to reach much needed global investors. Yet, plenty of the criticism aimed at the president is linked to policies which have seen the economy slip into a first recession in decades and is now on course for a full year of negative growth. To reverse the trend, Bloomberg advocates visionary leadership from Buhari and “more flexibility” stating that “Buhari’s rigid leadership style has made the economic problems of Africa’s largest economy harder to solve.” The lack of flexibility is mainly in regard to stiff currency controls which have triggered a foreign exchange crisis, hobbling businesses and denting investor confidence. Buhari’s tactics of currency continued on page 17


Amandla Volume 15 Issue 12

by Tracey Eaton Supporters saw Fidel Castro as a tireless defender of the poor; critics say he drove his country into economic ruin.

page 19

IN MEMORIAN Cuban leader Fidel Castro's mixed legacy

December 15, 2016

Fidel Castro, a titan of the Cold War who defied 10 American presidents and thrust Cuba onto the world stage, is dead at age 90.

The US government spent more than $1bn trying to kill, undermine or otherwise force Castro from power, but he endured unscathed before old age and disease finally took him. His supporters in Havana described him as a tireless defender of the poor. Castro was "a giant of the Third World", said Agustin Diaz Cartaya, 85, who joined Castro in the 1953 attack in eastern Cuba that launched the revolution. "No one has done more for the Third World than Fidel Castro." Critics say Castro drove the country into economic ruin, denied basic freedoms to 11 million Cubans at home and forced more than a million others into exile. "In 55 years, the Cuban government has not done anything to help the Cuban people in terms of human rights," said Hector Maseda, 72, a former political prisoner who lives in Havana. "I don't believe in this regime. I don't trust it." Doubtlessly, Castro leaves a legacy that will be hotly debated for years to come. For five decades, he worked to turn the island nation into a place of equality and social justice. His government produced tens of thousands of doctors and teachers and achieved some of the lowest infant mortality and illiteracy rates in the Western hemisphere. But Cuba never shook off its dependence on foreign dollars and the state-run economy failed to bring prosperity to most Cubans. "The Cuban model doesn't even work for us any more," Castro admitted in 2010, star-

Castro, right, showing Angolan leader Agostinho Neto how to drink a daiquiri [AP]

tling a visiting US journalist. The US had tried for years to topple the Cuban government. Cuba stumbled along even after the collapse of its chief sponsor, the former Soviet Union. The CIA plotted to assassinate Castro using everything from exploding seashells to lethal fungus, American officials cut off almost all trade to Cuba and they financed dissidents and pro-democracy activists. But nothing worked during 11 successive administrations, from Dwight Eisenhower to Barack Obama. On December 17, 2014, Obama announced that the US planned to renew diplomatic ties with Cuba and loosen some trade and travel restrictions. Obama's critics were enraged, saying he was throwing a lifeline to the socialist government and undermining the work of democracy activists who were regularly arrested and beaten. Obama vowed to continue supporting democracy activists in Cuba, but said the US embargo hadn't worked and lawmakers should lift it. As part of the deal he struck with Cuba, the US agreed to send three Cuban spies back to the island in exchange for

jailed American development worker Alan Gross and Rolando Sarraff Trujillo, a Cuban agent who spied for the CIA. It was the Cuban government's biggest political victory in decades, yet Fidel Castro was silent. Castro had made the return of the Cuban spies an international crusade. But it was his long overshadowed younger brother who announced the news to the Cuban people. "Now we have won the war," Raul Castro, 83, proclaimed on December 20, 2014. The longtime chief of Cuba's armed forces took the helm after his older brother fell ill in 2006. Since then, Raul Castro has pushed through economic reforms, expanding the private sector and allowing Cubans to buy and sell homes and cars. But he has not earned the same reverence as his older brother, who remains the icon of the revolution for many Cubans. "Fidel is the father of all Cubans," said Euxiquio Del Toro, 57, a farmer in Granma province. His "struggle for good and equality for all" makes him "one of the great ones. Fidel is like a myth. He's like Che," said Del Toro, referring to the late Argentinean revolution-

ary Ernesto "Che" Guevara.

Castro's early life Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz was born on August 13, 1926, and grew up on a sugar plantation near the town of Birรกn in eastern Cuba. His father, Angel Castro y Argis, was from the Spanish province of Galicia and journeyed to Cuba as a 13-yearold orphan during the Spanish-American War. His mother, Lina Ruz Gonzalez, was a servant. Castro went to Jesuit schools before enrolling at the University of Havana, where he was a student leader. He became a lawyer and was soon caught up in political causes aimed at toppling then-dictator Fulgencio Batista On July 26, 1953, Castro led a disastrous attack on the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba. Half the rebels were killed and Castro was thrown in jail. At his trial, Castro condemned the Batista regime. His speech - "History Will Absolve Me" - became the manifesto of the revolution and captivated ordinary Cubans, weary of the violent, corrupt Batista regime. Journalist Marta Rojas covered the trial. Even then, she said, Castro was a skilled or-

ator and strategic thinker. "You can't write the history of Latin America in the 20th century without Fidel Castro. Impossible!" Rojas, now 86, said from her apartment in Havana. Castro and his brother Raul were found guilty and sentenced to 13 years in prison. "I went over there and sure enough, I saw him go by, and I said, 'Oh! A nice-looking young man. A tall man with light hair, fair skin.'"Maria Antonia Figueroa remembers catching a glimpse of Fidel Castro after his arrest. She had heard that authorities were going to escort him along Enramadas Street in Santiago de Cuba. Figueroa, now 96, and other supporters pushed for amnesty, and the Castro brothers were freed on May 16, 1955, less than two years after the Moncada assault. The Castro brothers then journeyed to Mexico to reorganise. Figueroa said Fidel Castro asked her to help raise money and named her treasurer. She quoted him as saying: "Look, I don't want the millions from the politicians, any rich guy or millionaire whose money is tainted. continued on page 20


Amandla Volume 15 Issue 12 continued from page 19

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Cuban leader Fidel Castro's mixed legacy

December 15, 2016

I prefer cents from the poorest of the vendors of newspapers, vegetables or fruits in Santiago, because that unites them. "They say, 'I gave to the Revolution.' Even if it's 10 cents, they deprive themselves of food for themselves and their children to help the Revolution. That, to me, has more merit than anything." A yacht called Granma "Che" Guevara soon joined the cause and the rebels set out for Cuba aboard a yacht called Granma on November 25, 1955. Arsenio Garcia was one of the 82 expeditionaries. He said they brought along little food other than 3,000 oranges. But many rebels were so seasick during the first days that they couldn't eat. As they neared the Cuban coast, one of the men, Roberto Roque Nuñez, grabbed an antenna to steady himself, but it bent and he fell into the dark waters below. Risking capture and running short of time, Fidel Castro ordered the boat to turn around to pick up the man. No one could be left behind, he said. Garcia said the incident showed how much Castro cared about his followers. "Really, Fidel always was a dreamer. I think history will remember him as a man who gave his life for the wellbeing and the benefit of others." Castro and the 81 other expeditionaries reached Cuba on December 2. Batista's soldiers killed 61 of them. If Castro made any mistakes, Garcia said, "they were made with good intentions. Fidel never sought personal benefit. Fidel is an extremely honest man". Castro and two other fighters fled into a sugarcane field. They had just two rifles and didn't know if any other rebels were still alive. Despite their impossible straits, Castro whispered, "We are winning. Victory will be ours." The Cuban leader had so much courage,

Castro had disappeared from view in recent months [Alex Castro/AP] "it borders on the insane", the open to tourists. Chavez defends Castro. ning into Castro while worklate Castro biographer Tad "The hope of the Revolution "You can believe or think of ing at the Palace of ConvenSzulc wrote. is in our hands and I hope Fidel what you want, but tions in Havana. The surviving rebels headed other Cubans think like I do what nobody can deny is that "Up close, he's a very for an eastern mountain so that the Revolution can be he is the most important fig- friendly person. Wherever he range, the Sierra Maestra, and saved. Fidel is the hope of the ure of 20th century Cuba and went, he said hello, he waged a quixotic war against Americas, the hope of the a very, very important figure touched you. He asked you Batista's US-supplied army poor." in Latin America," she said. how you were feeling, of more than 10,000 soldiers. "In every inch of Cuba is the Some Cubans are so "full of whether there were any probOn May 20, 1958, Batista work of Fidel Castro," said bitterness" that they can't "see lems." launched Operation FF - Fin Figueroa, the rebel move- the brilliance of this man, a de Fidel or End of Fidel. It ment's ex-treasurer. "Agrar- man who is not perfect. Longest speech at UN was a 76-day campaign to ian reform, he did. Thank God, he's not perfect Castro tried to win over kill the guerrilla leader. Educational reform, he did - and made many mistakes." Cubans in speeches that everything that he promised. But he guided Cuba through sometimes lasted more than Secret command post The years have passed and the collapse of the former So- seven hours. A four-hour and By then, Fidel Castro had set Fidel continues being our viet Union, Chavez said. He 29-minute spiel in 1960 up a secret mountain com- great love, our father." stressed the importance of earned him the Guinness mand post called La Plata. He Castro has admirers in the culture and education. Book of Records title for the and nearly three dozen fol- US, too. He gave Cubans "a sense of longest speech ever delivered lowers took refuge there. Anti-embargo activist Bob dignity and belonging - and at the UN. "I was fighting for In June 1958, US-supplied Schwartz described him as "a that helped us to resist", she them to let me go," Castro aircraft bombed the Cuban giant". said. said later. In June 2001, Casrebels. Castro wrote to his "His literacy campaign and Some Cubans thrived under tro fainted two hours into a then-confidant, the late Celia his commitment to public Castro. Others didn't. But speech under the sweltering Sanchez: "I have sworn that health are what will be re- that's the nature of a revolu- sun. He recovered, took his the Americans will pay very membered for in generations tion, she said.Chavez said own pulse and decided to go dearly for what they are to come," said Schwartz, di- Castro influenced not only back on stage. But his bodydoing. When this war has rector of New York-based her work, but her life "and the guards had pushed him into ended, a much bigger and Disarm Education Fund, lives of all Cubans". an emergency vehicle. greater war will start for me, which has delivered more "Cuba has never been a bed "I had to exercise a little bit a war I shall launch against than $120m in medical sup- of roses." Roberto Alvarez, of my authority. I said, 'I'll them. I realise that this will plies to Cuba. 52, a teacher in Havana, said cooperate with you, but you be my true destiny." Castro is irreplaceable. "He's cooperate with me.’ After that Batista's forces never found 'Smart psychopath' the historic leader of Cuba, episode, Castro began sprinLa Plata. The revolutionaries Many Cuban Americans don't I'd say, of all of Latin Amer- kling speeches with lightprevailed, Batista fled Cuba remember Castro quite so ica." "Cuba has problems like hearted remarks about his and Castro declared victory fondly. any other country," added Al- eventual demise. Cuban auon January 1, 1959. "Biggest liar, biggest ego, varez, who sat on a bench thorities kept details of his Certainly many Cubans who biggest bank account of any along Fifth Avenue in Ha- health secret, calling it a nafought with Castro remain Cuban politician. He was a vana's posh Miramar neigh- tional security matter. loyal. "I think Fidel planted very smart psychopath and bourhood. But "you don't see In October 2004, Castro the seed and the roots are history will not absolve him," anyone living on the street. tripped and fell after a there to continue," said Os- said Humberto Capiro, 54, a Everyone has a house". mani Dias Peña, 43, a guide residential building designer. Angel Mario Gonzalez, 51, continued on page 16 at La Plata, which is now Havana film-maker Rebeca who sat nearby, recalled run-


Amandla Volume 15 Issue 12

page 21

December 15, 2016

To stop relying on Western hand-me-downs, African countries are importing Chinese textile companies

Kigali, Rwanda

Every day the workers at C&H Garment Factory are required to learn a few words of Chinese. Today’s lesson, written on a whiteboard at the back of a humming factory floor, is the numbers 8, 9, and 10—written in Kinyarwanda, English, and Mandarin. “We’re a Chinese company so we want to introduce a little Chinese culture to them,” the textile company’s owner, Candy Ma, tells Quartz. Like many workers in China, the staff are required to do group exercises before beginning their day. Signs with the words “diligence,” “quality,” and “responsibility,” written in English and Chinese, hang from the rafters. Chinese and Rwandan flags fly outside the glass-paneled building that houses C&H, which began operations last year in the Kigali Special Economic Zone on the outskirts of the capital.Ma’s factory is the culmination of recent government efforts to establish a Rwandan textile industry and expand the country’s almost nonexistent manufacturing sector. For Rwanda, it’s also about moving on from being another third-world African country dressed in hand-medowns donated from Western countries. Ma has partnered with the Rwandan government to train locals in garment manufacturing, making clothing to sell locally as well as to export. One of the project’s goals, according to Rwanda’s minister of trade, is to stop relying on second-hand clothing and save the “struggling dignity” of the Rwandan people. “It’s about being capable and self reliant. We want to be independent… wearing clothing that was owned by another person, is this dignity? Can this make you proud?” Gerald Mukubu, head of Rwanda’s Private Sector Federation, which is part of the textile initiative, tells Quartz. Second-hand clothing in Rwanda, better known as chagua, or “to se-

Signs hanging from the rafter in C&H Garment factory in the Kigali Special Economic Zone in Rwanda. (Quartz/Lily Kuo lect” in Kiswahili, another Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, ing, where she first heard to sell locally. Ma’s remit is language spoken in Rwanda, Tanzania, and Burundi, as a Rwanda was looking for in- to help build a foundation for is sold in open air markets, whole has proposed a ban on vestment. She also ran a mo- the industry. Technicians shops, and by hawkers along second hand clothing by bile phone factory in Kenya. from Kenya, once home to a the streets. Elsewhere, these 2019. They hope the ban will Ma says she was attracted to thriving textile scene, have clothes are known as “mi- help domestic textile manu- the Rwandan government’s been brought in to help teach tumba,” or “bundle,” refer- facturers. Officials also claim business friendly approach— the group how to sew, cut maring to the plastic packages of that second-hand clothing is taxes are low, she’s only re- terial, and inspect the producdonated clothing from unsanitary and can lead to quired to pay income tion line. Ma is also holding a wealthier countries that arrive diseases. (There is little re- tax—the cleanliness of the management course. A proin the region. More than 70% search that says second-hand capital city Kigali, and the fessional group, the Rwanda of clothes donated globally clothing, if cleaned and people she encountered on a Association of Tailors has end up in Africa, according to stored properly, is unhy- scoping mission. America’s been set up to help promote the nonprofit Oxfam. Rwan- gienic). The campaign isn’t recent renewal of the African the sector. dans spend more than $100 restricted to East Africa. Growth and Opportunity Act million a year importing South Africa has had a ban in (AGOA), which gives “It won’t benefit us at all” clothing, both second hand place for decades. Ghana African textile producers It’s Kigali’s hope that more and new. barred the sale of second- duty-free access to US mar- operations like Ma’s will It’s not only worn by the hand underwear in 2011. kets for 15 years, has been come and eventually replace country’s poorest; most mid- Malawi, and Zimbabwe have another incentive. the need for the second-hand dle class Rwandans wear a also been considering bans. “I have a lot of experience clothing market. But getting mix of new and recycled Used clothing imports are doing business in Africa and rid of chagua won’t be easy. clothes. Mukubu says that also outlawed in the Philip- thought, ‘This could work,'” In the Biryogo Market, in the while he doesn’t wear much pines. she says. Muslim quarter of Kigali, second-hand clothing, many This is where industrialists So far, C&H’s workforce of there are hundreds of stalls of his colleagues and friends like Ma come in. An ener- 800, which includes trainees with children’s clothes, nightdo. Tharcisse Baranyeretse, a getic petite woman from and already trained workers, gowns, and lingerie strewn translator in Kigali, com- Xi’an in central China, Ma are making police uniforms, across cheap wooden tables. mented to Quartz that his en- moved to Rwanda two years safety vests, and most re- The clothes here are from tire outfit—a crisp button-up ago upon invitation from cently military kit for the Canada, the Netherlands, the shirt, slacks, with a matching Mukubu’s Private Sector Rwandan security forces. United States, and Europe. leather belt, and gleaming Federation. Before that she C&H’s main product, uni- Stall owners estimate there shoes—is all chagua. “Every- had set up shop in Ethiopia, forms, are mostly exported to are as many as 1,000 chagua one wears it,” he says. The one of the first African coun- Europe and the United States. sellers here. East African Community tries to become a base for They are branching out into (EAC), which includes Chinese textile manufactur- underwear, which Ma plans continued on page 13


Amandla Volume 15 Issue 12

by James Jeffrey The government has targeted the mobile data connections that the majority of Ethiopians use to get online. Internet users have also been unable to access Facebook Messenger and Twitter, with a host of other services also rendered unreliable. This has impacted everyone: from local businesses, to foreign embassies, to families, as well as the extensive and vital international aid community. “Non-governmental organisations play crucial roles in developing countries, often with country offices in the capitals, satellite offices across remote regions, and parent organisations in foreign countries,” said Moses Karanja, an internet policy researcher at Strathmore University in Nairobi. “They need access to the internet if their operations are to be efficiently coordinated.” A political decision The Ethiopian government has been candid about the restrictions being in response to year-long anti-government protests in which hundreds of people have died. It has singled out social media as a key factor in driving unrest. Since the beginning of October, there has been a spike in violence resulting in millions of dollars’ worth of damage to foreignowned factories, government buildings and tourist lodges across Oromia Region, initially ground zero for the dissent. “Mobile data will be permitted once the government assesses that it won’t threaten the implementation of the state of emergency,” government spokesman Getachew Reda – who has since been replaced – told a 26 October press conference in Addis Ababa. The Oromo are the country’s largest ethnic group, constituting 35 percent of the country’s nearly 100 million population. They have historically felt ignored

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ANALYSIS Ethiopia’s internet crackdown hurts everyone

by successive regimes in Addis Ababa. In August, similar grassroots protest broke out among the Amhara, Ethiopia’s second largest ethnic group. The ruling EPRDF is portrayed by opponents as a narrow, unrepresentative clique that refuses to share power. Ethiopia is not alone in its approach to political unrest. Around the world, as countries become increasingly integrated with online technology, the more autocratic governments are blocking the internet whenever they deem it necessary. “The trend appears to be growing because more people are going online and using the internet, often through the use of mobile connections,” said Deji Olukotun of Access Now, which campaigns for digital rights. In 2016, it documented 50 shutdowns, up from less than 20 in 2015. “People are enjoying the freedom and opportunity that the internet provides, which enables them to organise themselves and advocate for what they want,” Olukotun told IRIN. “In response, governments are shutting down the net to stop this practice.” Bad timing

An aid worker, who didn’t want to be identified as her agency needs to renew its government permit, explained how she relies on Skype to communicate with far-flung colleagues. “Before, it was hard enough, but now Skype is even more unreliable,” she said. “People can’t connect with colleagues in the field; people miss invites to meetings, can’t arrange logistics.” The squeeze comes at a particularly bad time for Ethiopia, beyond the impact of the protest movement. Ten million people are in need of food aid as a result of drought. The Oromia and Amhara regions, where most of the anti-government unrest is happening, have some of the largest numbers of people requiring assistance. “Websites like the famine early warning system, FEWSNET, which provides detailed regional analysis and projections on food insecurity, cannot be accessed by most stakeholders,” said an international development official. “Some modern software systems for things like pharmaceutical supply-chain management are not working to their full capacity – mak

ing it harder to accurately track inventory and deliveries.” Many humanitarian organisations, including UN agencies, are heavily reliant on cash transfers to government organisations that conduct work on their behalf. They are finding it much harder to account for funds. Another aid worker, again speaking to IRIN on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of operating in Ethiopia, said everything was getting delayed, including the rolling out of new programmes. “If we can’t email or phone, we can’t find out how money has been spent, and if we can’t account and there’s no transparency, we can’t authorise new spending,” the aid worker said. Post-truth The importance of social media to people’s lives in Ethiopia is magnified because they so distrust mainstream media, largely controlled by the EPRDF. “Many Ethiopians are fed up with local and state media and so they turn to diaspora news,” said Lidetu Ayele, founder of the opposition Ethiopia Democratic Party.

December 15, 2016

“The problem is, a lot of things they’d view as gossip if heard by mouth, when they read about it on social media, they take as fact.” The worst disaster during Ethiopia’s protests occurred at the beginning of October. After police and protesters clashed at a traditional Oromo festival beside a holy lake, a stampede ensued that left about 100 people drowned or crushed to death. Social media didn’t hang around. It pulsed with claims a circling government helicopter had fired down into panicking crowds. “My brother was telling me on the phone he was about to protest, and asking me how I couldn’t after the government had done something like that,” an Addis Ababa resident, who is half Oromo and half Amhara, recalled about the days following the stampede. “But I said to him, ‘Don’t be an idiot, it isn’t true.’” Witnesses and journalists at the event had confirmed that the circling helicopter was in fact innocently dropping leaflets saying “Happy Irreecha”, the name of the festival. continued on page 4


Amandla Volume 15 Issue 12 continued from front page economy is in near recess. The NDC administration’s fixation on infrastructural development, in most cases unplanned and spontaneous, was mostly financed with foreign loans. According to Vice President-elect Mahamudu Bawumia, the NDC administration of John Dramani Mahama has been presiding over an economy characterized by fiscal and monetary indiscipline and financial instability. 60 percent of the nation’s almost US$40 billion debt was acquired in the last three years of the administration’s tenure. This is in addition to GHC 280 billion (US$70 billion) collected as taxes as well as money accrued from crude oil amounting to about US$5 billion. Money spent on the so-called infrastructural project is only US$7.5 billion. Most of the money borrowed or generated internally is applied to interest payments on the several loans. “The West African country, which produces oil, gold and cocoa, has endured a currency crisis, electricity shortages, and took a $918 million bailout from the International Monetary Fund last year in the face of mounting debt” the New York Times observes. The cash cow of the nation, cocoa was neglected as galamsey or illegal mining destroyed most farms while the mass spraying exercise that helped increase production in the Kufuor administration was limited to farmers belonging to the ruling NDC. The IMF bailout may not have achieved much other than to make life harder for the ordinary Ghanaian. A freeze on jobs, removal of subsidies on fuel and other petroleum products among other harsh measures are the only benefits accruing from the IMF. The resort to Eurobond even at exorbitant cost has become a constant feature of the country’s economic management. The NDC’s legendary spending habits in election year was elevated this year. Fiduciary

page 23

Ghana: Opposition wins as economy falters

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo votes December 7, 2016 methods to increase money supply in the system were adopted to feed the government’s appetite for power. Consequently the Ghana Cedi has plummeted to around GHC4.30 to the US dollar. Notwithstanding the devaluation of the cedi traders import and other levies, duties, and taxes on commodities especially for the Christmas period have been increased. Mismanagement in the energy sector has resulted in incessant and regular power outages leading to increased unemployment following the emigration of some businesses and industry to neighboring countries in the region. Increased taxation and prices of fuel have affected transportation costs and higher commodity prices, as well as high utility bills. Instead of fueling and maintaining the existing generation capacity more thermal generators have been added at a huge cost. The Bui dam is now operating full time but was built to fill gaps in supply only. Social intervention programs like the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), free maternal care, school feeding, youth employment programs among several others have either been scuttled or mismanaged. So many programs, including the Savannah De

velopment Agency (SADA), GYEEDA, SUBAH became conduits for embezzlement. The soaring number of the unemployed now includes doctors and nurses graduating from the nations medical institutions, even as new hospitals are being built across the nation while existing ones are rendered under-equipped. Election 2016 was a referendum on the morals of the NDC administration. On the lips of almost every Ghanaian, including members of the government party, was the tidal wave of corruption that became the hallmark of Mahama’s government. Nepotism, cronyism and appeal to ethnicity for jobs and appointments generated scandals upon scandals in a government seeking another term. Financing for the school feeding program, for instance, initiated by the government of the Netherlands was pulled out after the donor discovered that the administration of the program was flawed with corruption. The government of the United Kingdom also suspended its financing of the free maternity care program. The Mills-Mahama administration created a milking cow in judgment debts. The administration in 2010 made provision for judgment debts in its budget for the year. The more than US$600 million judgment debt paid to indi

viduals and businesses some of who did not have any contracts were aptly described by a Supreme Court judge as a create-loot-and-share exercise. Revelations coming from investigations into GHC 52 million paid to Alfred Agbesi Woyome show that the NDC financier spread the money around his party cronies. He admitted not having any contract but continues to claim that he deserved it. He is yet to make full payments as ordered by the Supreme Court. The nation is waiting to hear from him in a cross examination by former NDC Attorney General Martin Amidu in December. The government lacked the ethnic balance to operate fairly as most cabinet and top positions were allotted to persons from particular ethnic groups. Critics became targets of government propagandists on radio and television. The president, in an affront to the Judiciary released from prison the party’s propagandists who were committed to jail for contempt of the Supreme Court. A Nana Addo-Bawumia government assumes office guided by a manifesto premised on the provision of jobs. To do this the party intends to adopt fiscal and monetary discipline as well financial stability. The NPP’s promises to provide a factory in every district, as well as

December 15, 2016 US$1 million dollars for every constituency per year have been criticized by opponents and some political commentators as too ambitious. Vice president elect Alhaji Bawumia has, however, reassured Ghanaians that his administration would be able to execute its programs considering the availability of the resources in the country. The previous NPP administration, was able to finance most of its programs from internally generated funds and that is the tack likely to be adopted in infrastructural development. Considering the staggering tax revenue of GHS280 billion (US$70 billion) prudent management of the country’s economy should be able to return things to normal in a much shorter time than it is anticipated. In this transition period, the incoming administration must be mulling over the quality of its team, a much needed component for success for a country in a hurry. Much of the failures of the Mills-Mahama administration could be attributed to lack of expertise and experience. The NPP on the other hand does not lack such expertise and considering its successes in its first administration, same could be replicated this time around. Vice President-elect Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia is an experienced economist who has shown his mettle as consultant to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He was also on the team that brought sanity into the nation’s economy during the first NPP administration under President John A. Kufuor. Ghanaians are expecting a reduction in fuel, utility tariffs, school fees, taxes and levies put on almost every service rendered by public institutions. They are impatient as cost of living continues to escalate without reason. Nana Addo has to take immediate steps to assuage the people’s anxiety even before the honeymoon begins. photos on page 15


Amandla Volume 15 Issue 12

page 24

December 15, 2016

Amandla News - December 2016  

Volume 15 Issue 12

Amandla News - December 2016  

Volume 15 Issue 12

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