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PfAL News Issue 8 | May 2018

PfAL News: May 2018


PfAL Books: Jabusile Shumba


PfAL Glimpse Maudo Jallow


PfAL Projects


Report Back Kaene Disepo



Zimbabwe’s Predatory State

Jabusile Shumba talks to us about his new book, growing up in Zimbabwe in the turbulent 2000s and how the party, military and state have defined Zimbabwe’s past and future


Getting to university was a teenage dream; unfortunately celebrating the breakthrough did not last any long. I enrolled at Midlands State University (MSU) in Zimbabwe, back in 2001. The university life, far from a dream turned to a theatre of struggles. Struggles I dedicated my lifetime. I found myself in the forefront of students’ union demonstrations fighting for and defending students rights and welfare. Yet, state paranoia at the strong students movement, whose voice had not only become critical, but omnipresent in challenging state excesses beyond university campus life, ushered in a wave of student suspensions and expulsions.

are those who justify Zimbabwe’s post-2000 land reform as a real transformation project from which an agrarian bourgeoisie is being created that will evolve into a more industrial one in the years to come. On the other hand, there are those who see the gory images of the land-reform process and its outcomes, and critique Zimbabwe’s ‘development’ as an accumulation and political reproduction project by the ruling elite. I have wondered whether my opinions will add to or reduce the division and confusion. Finally, I resolved to add my perspective, as I believe it is the only way to enrich the intellectual debates and policy dialogue in the search for better development outcomes.

I was elected Student Representative Council (SRC) president, first year second semester and expelled barely a month of serving after leading weeks of student protests defending the fundamental right to education, increasingly under threat due to poor funding, university administration and state heavy handedness in responding to critical voices. Temporarily, my dream was shuttered, but not for long, thanks to the many positive influences and inspiration that helped me defy the shackles of failure and continuing my studies through distance learning. Rather than silenced, my voice was sharpened and my motivation for a better society found expression at every opportunity to make a contribution. I joined civil society and participated in various struggles for democratisation and human rights, before I finally decided to pursue my doctoral studies to add to my perspective.

“Several questions beg answers: why did this happen? how did it happen? Did the ruling elite know their choices would lead to Zimbabwe’s developmental decline?”

Zimbabwe digressed from the expectations of hopeful masses and many supporters of the liberation struggle project. From a very promising young state at independence, to the grisly images of violence, pervasive economic failure, poverty, disease and suffering. Several questions beg answers: why did this happen? how did it happen? did the ruling elite know their choices would lead to Zimbabwe’s developmental decline? More recently, the country has undergone Still, it has not been easy to decide whether a ‘coup d’état’ and for others, long frusto set out my own views in a polarised intel- trated and keen to see Mugabe’s departure lectual context. The nature of the state itself at all costs, the end justify the means. The is in doubt and disputed: does Zimbabwe later have preferred to view it as a ‘Miliexemplify a fragile state, strong and uncotary assisted Transition’. Some and perhaps operative state, or predatory state? I argue uncritically were surprised and have never that the Zimbabwean state exhibits more budgeted, not an overdraft of the deceive predatory characteristics than other forms military intervention in the intense battle to of state conceptualisation. Similarly, there succeed former president Robert Mugabe. 5

Yet with hindsight, the events in November 2017, triggered by the dismissal from government of Emmerson Mnangagwa – the new president – and subsequent, military lock-down paving the way for public pressure and a parliamentary impeachment motion that eventually forced Mugabe to resign, are not an accident. In Zimbabwe’s predatory state: party, military and business, I explore some of the questions that might help to understand how and why we get here. In this book I examine the underlying class forces, power dynamics and the modes of accumulation of the power elite: state, military and business. The key conclusion of the study is not only that the power elite had class interests that inhibited economic transformation and development, but also that its voracious modes of accumulation and political reproduction transformed and sustained Zimbabwe’s predatory state. Three dominant characteristics of the predatory state stand out: (1) party-state and military dominance in the state; (2) state business relations shaped by domination and capture and; (3) state-society relations shaped by violence


and patronage. Studies involving the military by their nature are difficult to access information for an outsider. And, doing research in an environment gripped by fear – as in Zimbabwe especially during election seasons – has not been an easy task. In many instances it was not easy to gain access to data sources. It was frustrating. I found myself having to meet some respondents two or three times to explain my project and gain trust before a full interview. Yet, it proved useful to be patient, as once I gained their trust, I was able to access valuable insights and leads that helped elucidate key choices made by various actors and their developmental implications. In the end, I feel, it has been a worthwhile endeavour, in contributing to knowledge for scholars, activists and policy makers not just of Southern Africa, but all over the world keen, not only keen to understand the Zimbabwean story, but the logic and construction of the predatory state, and under what conditions such states endure and hopefully what might be done about it.

Jabusile Shumba holds Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Development Studies and a Master of Management in Public Policy obtained from the University of Witwatersrand. He currently serves as Political Economic Officer for the Canadian Embassy to Zimbabwe, Angola and Botswana and Part-Time Lecture for Africa University Institute for Peace Leadership and Governance, Masters Programme in Public Policy and Governance. His experience spans programme management, scenario planning, policy analysis, research and advocacy. You can order Jabusile’s book on Amazon


PfAL Glimpse: Maudo Jallow

Maudo Jallow graduated from LSE and PfAL6 in September 2017 with an MSc in African Development. After completing his degrree he returned to Gambia to launch New Nation which focuses on mobilising Gambian youth to drive socio-economic development. We had the chance to speak to him about New Nation, growing up in Gambia and his time at LSE.

Where in Gambia are you from? I am from Bakau, at the mouth of the Gambia River – where I currently reside. What is something interesting you can tell us about where you grew up? I grew up in Gambia, Ghana and the UK. Since I spent my first six years in Bakau, Gambia, I will use that. Bakau is a beautiful coastal town with several beachfront properties and stunning sunsets. What are you passionate about? I am incredibly passionate about the structural transformation and socio-economic development of the African continent – especially my home, Gambia. Tell us about the New Nation project, what is it, what do you hope to achieve and who are you working with? Essentially, New Nation is a youth-driven initiative that seeks to advocate for the 8

structural transformation of our beloved country, through the advocacy of practical policies. For instance, we are currently developing a plan to reform the education system and promote STEM in Gambia. We believe in the transformative power of a committed and passionate civil society, in driving a progressive and inclusive agenda. In the future, using our networks, we aim to work together with similar groups across Africa. We are working to build a ‘nation’ of young Gambians, that we can empower and mobilise in a variety of ways to drive socio-economic development in Gambia. Our team is made up of four young postgraduates and professionals that grew up in Gambia, but have had the opportunity to study diverse fields all over the world. What brought us together was our unshakable passion to see real development in Gambia. We launched on 20th December 2017 with a town hall that was free and open to the public. We are currently working with the Fye Network, Youth Empowerment Project (backed by the European Union and the International Trade Centre), The African Guild and Gambia National Youth Council.

What is the atmosphere in Gambia like a year on from the events of the 2016 election and exile of Yahya Jammeh? To my surprise and disappointment, things have not moved as quickly and as effectively as many of us expected. Many, especially the youth, are growing increasingly frustrated, due to the perception that the new government is not as efficient as it should be. President Barrow has identified the creation of jobs and education for young people as a priority for his government, but little progress has been made so far on this front. The only real difference is the presence of a truly free press – there is indeed freedom of speech and association now. People are no longer subject to extrajudicial arrests, kidnappings or incarcerations. What are the biggest changes that have come to Gambia since Barrow took Office? There truly is a feeling of hope and many Gambians in the diaspora are considering coming back to help contribute to the development

of the country. In addition to that, many tourists and investors are regaining confidence in Gambia as a safe place to travel to and invest in. With that, economic growth is expected to be slightly higher this year. What is something many people may not know about you? Even though both of my parents were born and raised in Gambia, my grandparents are from different countries, including Ghana, Guinea Bissau and Guinea. And finally what was one of your biggest take aways from either the PfAL programme or studying at LSE? Studying at LSE positively impacted my life is so many ways, but being a part of PfAL was arguably the highlight! I realised that there are so many brilliant young African minds out there that are passionate about the same things that I am. I took away a real belief that it is indeed possible to make transformative change in our societies!



Projects 2018



very year the Programme for African Leadership holds the PfAL Projects Competition to give the students a chance to put their heads together and imagine and plan a campaign to advocate for a specific positive change linked to an issue of their choice in a way that maximises public engagement. The project is designed to facilitate the development of core leadership competencies, in particular the capacity to think creatively and critically to provide novel and innovative ways of addressing complex, real world issues. The focus is not only on imagination and ideas but planning, participation and implementation to help prepare the PfAL in thinking about how they want to launch their big ideas in the future. Each of the groups present to a panel of judges who then pick four groups to go through to the final round. The winning team is chosen by popular vote by the PfAL cohort and is provided with funds and support to go out and implement their idea. The structure of the competition is split into a number of distinct phases: Planning the big idea, preparing for the first round of judging, pitching the idea to the judges, preparing for the final four round of judging, presenting to the PfAL cohort, the PfAL cohort votes for their winning team and implementing the idea. This year’s first round judges were Dr Duncan Green, professor at LSE’s International Development Department, Alice Muthengi, a senior broadcast journalist at BBC World Service and PfAL’s very own Gerald Purcell. After two nights of presentations that were judged on concept, planning, research, feasability and presentation the judges chose four groups to go through to the final round. The four finalists were, SHERO, It Starts with Me(n), Lean Green Africa and SeXYZ. We take a look at this year’s final ffour and reveal the 2018 PfAL projects winner.



EMPOWERING YOUNG GIRLS TO UNLOCK THEIR POTENTIAL Shero seeks to address the low transition rates of secondary school girls to tertiary education by linking them to women in professional spaces and increasing the availability and accessibility of information about educational opportunities. The aim is to increase exposure to opportunities available for secondary school girls by introducing them to women in professional spaces to serve as role models as well as providing a platform that provides information and resources. The platform would provide information on scholarships, grade equivalency, schools and courses, and external links to national and international organisations that provide opportunities for skills development. The emphasis of Shero will be on connecting teenage girls to older figures who would have faced many similar challenges and would be able to provide advice and guidance. The secondary part would then be provide the students with a range of possibilities open to them through the information platform. 12

It starts with Men is a campaign which seeks to address the issue of rampant sexual abuse, violence and rape culture in Nairobi, Kenya by bringing the discussion to men. It Starts with Men seeks to address societal attitudes such as normalising, trivialising and excusing sexual violence and how these attitudes can lead to the deterioration of mental health and productivity and an unhealthy society.

Imagine a society where we challenge and hold ourselves accountable for our actions

It Starts with Men seeks to do this by changing the narrative around sexual violence through a campaign called “Don’t be that guy” that seeks to push accountability amongst men through a variety of platforms including a website, social media campaign and outdoor advertising. The campaign would aim to get men to come forward and admit their role in sexual violence as part of the process to ending it. From the website: “Only 1 in 20 rape cases are reported in Kenya. It’s time to speak out against gender based violence. We’re collecting stories, confessions, opinions and thought from men, for women. Let’s stand together. Real Change starts with you.”



Lean Green Africa would be an initiative to promote affordable and sustainable eco-tourism that benefits African communities. The objective would be to encourage low environmental impact tourism to relatively undisturbed areas of Africa in a way that firstly engages and uplifts local communities and secondly places an emphasis on sustaining these natural habitats by making the preservation of them key to the livelihoods of local communities. This project seeks to address the problem that tourism is not always benficial to the local communities or ecosystems; the lack of incentive to invest in ecotourism and the potential of Africa missing out on the growing eco tourism sector. Lean Green Africa would have two major goals. To create a platform to raise awareness of ecotourism and provide information on the most affordable and best locations to travel to, especially for younger Africans, while partnering with African influencers and travel platforms to achieve this. Launching the Lean Green challenge would involve the sharing pictures of one’s holidays and trips, showing that the holiday was affordable and had a low environmental impact, posting the results to social media with the chance of winning prizes for the best locations, holidays and pictures.



20 L A Pf ec oj Pr ts w r! ne in


EMPOWERMENT FOR EDUCATION THROUGH SEX CONVERSATION SeXYZ is a media project aimed at raising awareness around the consequences of teenage pregnancy in Zimbabwe. SeXYZ aims to do this through a series of easily shareable videos that discuss both the context that can lead to teenage pregnancy as well as seek to teach teenagers about how having a child unprepared can seriously affect their future prospects. The series of videos, starring the character Chipo, will discuss the issues surrounding teenage pregnancy such as reduced job prospects, the risks from unsafe abortions and the effect on education opportunities. The messages of the campaign are “Empowerment for Education through sex conversation” and “You have the power to create your own future” and focuses on starting a conversation about pregnancy with teenagers.

“YOU HAVE THE POWER TO CREATE YOUR OWN FUTURE” The core of the campaign will be the use of visual learning and relatable characters to get the message across. This combined with creating a message specifically meant to be shared across social media. The SeXYZ team is collaborating with Zimbabwean NGOs working on gender issues as well as Zimbabwean social media influencers to make sure that the message is insightful, accurate and most importantly strikes a chord with the Zimbabwean youth. 15




o ti a rn m te ru In fo g s in ip ld sh ui r B e tn CO ar ES

R K ep a o en r e tB D a is ck ep : o




y name is Kaene Disepo, 24 year-old from Botswana, Africa. I am completing my MSc in Development Management, a field I am extremely passionate about. Over the years, I have been involved in numerous development agencies, gaining deeper acumen on ways to overcome the adverse conditions that millions find themselves in. As someone who grew up living in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Botswana, in one room that I used to call a Four-In-One (bedroom, living room, kitchen and bathroom), I am highly driven to uncover the many grassroots ways that communities that develop. I recently attended the Building International Partnership forum to Enhance Science-Based Ecosystem Approaches in Support of Regional Ocean Governance in the Context of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as both a change agent and a UN youth representative for Botswana. To date I have represented Botswana in over 10 countries in international youth forums; I have received the Britain’s Young Future Leader, and the Second Best Black Student in the U.K. award in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Held in Cape Town, South Africa from the 27 - 28 November 2017, the conference brought in various international organizations together with over 150 stakeholders from across the world. The conference explored how regional institutions and projects are utilizing science to support countries in implementing ecosystem approaches as well “[I am] founder and chairman as how that will support the 2030 Agenda of Inspired Horizons, a Botand Sustainable Development Goals.

swana-based NGO aimed at

My invite to the forum came as part of the changing the narrative of acUNESCO Botswana cohort, with me as a ademic excellence to promote youth delegate. Moreover, as Founder and well rounded and passionate Chairman of Inspired Horizons, a Botswana-based NGO aimed at changing the narra- young leaders” tive of academic excellence to promote well rounded and passionate young leaders, my participation at the forum was also to identify opportunities that young Botswana can get involved in to empower themselves and their communities. The highlight of the conference was getting a chance to meet many interesting people and leading experts in the field of environment and natural resources, and sustainable development. In particular I spoke with Vincent V. Hilomen of the Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and discussed with him driving economic forces that may pose a threat to the ecosystem, and subsequently impede Botswana’s growing tourism market. Others included: Project Management Specialist for UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, Mish Hamid; Project Manager for UN Environment Mediterranean Action Plan, Lorenzo Galbiati, and many others. This conference was a great opportunity to apply the knowledge and experience I acquired at the 2015 UNESCO Youth Forum in Paris and I hope to get the opportunity to do so again soon.



Tower 2 • 10th floor • Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa • London School of Economics and Political Science • Houghton Street • London • WC2A 2AE • •

PfAL News May 2018  

The Newsletter of the Programme for African Leadership Network

PfAL News May 2018  

The Newsletter of the Programme for African Leadership Network