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THE SPARK

Vel. 01 Nul. 01

11 June 2010

Current Affairs

Editors note: A Democratic Right. by Editor.

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t is election fever in Africa and as the citizenry take up their democratic right, questions abound as to how fair and transparent is the electoral process. When African countries go to vote, seldom do we hear of positive stories emanating from the process. In the recent past, African countries that have undergone this democratic process have emerged with a very gloomy outcome. Take for instance the general elections held in Kenya in late 2007, fault lines emerged and the aftermath was a country left in turmoil until peace efforts were put in place.

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t is election fever in Africa and as the citizenry take up their democratic right, questions abound as to how fair and transparent is the electoral process. When African countries go to vote, seldom do we hear of positive stories emanating from the process. In the recent past, African countries that have undergone this democratic process have emerged with a very gloomy outcome. Take for instance the general elections held in Kenya in late 2007, fault lines emerged and the aftermath was a country left in turmoil until peace efforts were put in place. Zimbabwe is another country that saw elections marred by massive fraud and brutal suppression. The very purpose of elections is to achieve participatory governance without violence and as Ethiopia concluded its elections, reports of irregularities were rife way before the winner was announced. The expected outcome was that the incumbent would triumph and so was the case. In reality, Africa’s electoral democracy is a mixed bag of results. Whereas progress has been made in some countries, hiccups continue to plague this process in others. Of great note is that it is always the losing end that claim the process was flawed which begs the question; will there ever be a free and fair election in Africa.

Feature Let Me School

In Sub-Saharan Africa, it is not uncommon to find a household headed by a minor. A number of factors precipitate this unfortunate situation, and sad as it is, It happens under the very open eyes of authorities. Child labour is not a new phenomenon in the world particularly in Africa. Reports indicate that there are an estimated 80 million child workers across Africa and it is feared that the number could rise to 100 million by 2015. Children have been forced into labour due to poverty which is regarded a major and ubiquitous factor that limits economic opportunities in most populations in African countries. A majority of the children are usually employed in the agricultural sector where they serve as farm hands in tea, coffee, sugar or rice plantations to mention a few. The conditions they work in are often hazardous and they put in up to 18 hours of work in a day. Effects of war in conflict zones have also greatly contributed to children beinights.

Effects of war in conflict zones have also greatly contributed to children being forced to eke out a living to support the remaining members of the family. Child trafficking is another major contributor to rising levels of child labour. Minors as young as 10 are exposed to illicit operations ranging from prostitution to employment in the drug trade among other criminal activities. Domestic work in most private homes is conducted by minors who earn meager wages and are sometimes sexually exploited by their employers. Efforts to counter this trend have been put in place in countries such as Nigeria where the national legislature has outlawed human trafficking, while Gabon has set up a national commission against child trafficking. Organizations such as the CRADLE in Kenya are relentless in their pursuit of advocacy on children’s rights.

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Business A Lucrative World Cup?

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he excitement is fever pitch and with only 3 days to go, business owners in South Africa are looking forward to a month of minting thousands of Rand. Having parted with a hefty $4.6 million to host the tournament, what the rainbow nation needs is fans and lots of them. However, there is a sinking realization that the event will not be as lucrative as most people initially hoped. With the number of foreign fans having been reduced drastically, most small scale business are crying foul and the pop-up establishments will not reap the expected benefits. Owners of small establishments in the outskirts of major towns that had spent a fortune in refurbishment and upgrading their buildings have to contend with the prospect of missing out on the world cup pot of gold. Many reasons have been fronted to explain the turn of events but of main concern is the recent global economic crisis that rocked most economies particularly in Africa. In comparison to the World Cup in Germany, connectivity in terms of infrastructure acted as a huge boost to the turn up of fans as one could book a cheap flight or the train and travel comfortably to Germany. For the die hard football fans, it is go South Africa go as they prepare for a month long of the best foot ball action and vagaries associated with it.


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Environment

World cup is Here!

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Sports

GORILLAS UNDER Siege.

HEY BEAR close resemblance to

human beings and usually inhabit densely populated forests. The Mountain Gorillas are huge robust primates that live in groups. These animals are highly intelligent and though they possess a tough exterior, within they are gentle giants. THE MOUNTAIN Gorillas are found in Central Africa and they inhabit a forest that straddles the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Uganda. may become extinct in Central Africa by mid 2020’s. THE SITUATION is especially desperate in the DRC where the Congo forest has undergone wanton destruction by human population more so the militias who have destroyed enormous chunks of land in a bid to mine metals such as gold and coltan which is used in cell phones. This is reported to generate $14million – $15million annually. Illegal timber trade is also a huge detriment to the forest. CONSERVATION EFFORTS have been top gear with the UN planning to airlift baby gorillas from the Congo to a sanctuary slated for mid July. In Rwanda there exists the Kwita Izina which is a unique ceremony that was established in 2005 with the aim of conserving these gentle beasts. A WELL coordinated approach is the main sustainable way of achieving long-term success to conserving the Mountain Gorilla and efforts to protect this magnificent species have been lauded worldwide.

WORDS FROM THE CHAIRMAN SALIM AMIN

Extra

Play in Word Cup 2010. “The first World Cup on African soil”, “An Africa World cup”, such are the titles that have been bestowed upon the FIFA World Cup 2010. Indeed, it is an event that has generated much excitement in the whole of Africa as the world’s finest in football scripture head down south for a full month of soccer galore. All quarters of the South African economy are expecting a major boost due to the number of people set to visit the nation. As the main excitement is focused on the host stadiums, off pitch, it is expected to be equally busy. Tourism will see a major boost and synonymous with it comes commercial sex trade. The issue of legalizing prostitution in South Africa ahead of the world cup has generated a lot of heat and it was South Africa’s police commissioner Jackie Selebi who first proposed the idea. Subsequently supported by ANC MP George Lekgetho, who is quoted to have said, “It is one of the things that would make it [the tournament]

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010 is a year that Africa blazes the head lines for a myriad of reasons. From hosting the World Cup, to a historic over 20 countries holding general elections, it is a flurry of activities in the continent. As the electoral process unfolds in various countries, the question on most people’s lips is whether the process is fair and transparent.

a success…” during a meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture in Parliament. Prostitutes from neighbouring countries have been southward bound in a bid to make extra killing during the tournament and from the look of things it is reported that female sex workers could exceed 40,000 in numbers. With such an influx of prostitutes, fears are rife that this could increase the spread of HIV/ AIDS virus and separately encourage human trafficking. In a country where it is estimated that 1000 people die of HIV/AIDS daily, and with one of the highest rate of the virus, legalizing prostitution could portend more gloom to South Africa beyond the World Cup. In retrospect, Germany’s success in holding the 2006 World Cup was a combination of many factors including legalizing of public drinking and prostitution but economically, it is a country that is way ahead the rainbow nation. South Africa’s reference to the success of the 2006 World Cup is not misplaced. However, looking beyond 2010 is fundamental as its future reputation will not be solely defined by this year’s World Cup.

For the sporty heads, it is soccer galore as all roads lead to the Rainbow nation to witness the first event of this magnitude on Africa’s soil. Child labour is on the increase and as Africa marks the Day of the African Child on June 16th, does the African child have a lot to celebrate about?

It is a matter of great demand, greater supply and as play goes beyond the pitch, caution should headline the party and making the right choice will definitely go along way in ensuring a more healthy economy.

Events of the Month •17 June - World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought •20 June- World Refugee Day •23 June- United Nations Public Service Day •26 June- International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking •26 June - United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

Spark, we take a journey in our rich continent and bring you refreshing stories with a difference. We believe in the African voice telling the African Story.

In this inaugural edition of The

CITIZENS CORNER

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010 is a year that Africa blazes the head lines for a myriad of reasons. From hosting the World Cup, to a historic over 20 countries holding general elections, it is a flurry of activities in the continent.

010 is a year that Africa blazes the head lines for a myriad of reasons. From hosting the World Cup, to a historic over 20 countries holding general elections, it is a flurry of activities in the continent.

As the electoral process unfolds in various countries, the question on most people’s lips is whether the process is fair and transparent.

As the electoral process unfolds in various countries, the question on most people’s lips is whether the process is fair and transparent.

For the sporty heads, it is soccer galore as all roads lead to the Rainbow nation to witness the first event of this magnitude on Africa’s soil.

For the sporty heads, it is soccer galore as all roads lead to the Rainbow nation to witness the first event of this magnitude on Africa’s soil.

Child labour is on the increase and as Africa marks

Child labour is on the increase and as Africa marks

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010 is a year that Africa blazes the head lines for a myriad of reasons. From hosting the World Cup, to a historic over 20 countries holding general elections, it is a flurry of activities in the continent. As the electoral process unfolds in various countries, the question on most people’s lips is whether the process is fair and transparent.

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