Posts Tagged ‘politics’
On Sunday 9 October, Cameroonians will cast their vote in a presidential election few believe to be free or fair. Many have already commented on the tactics used to undermine the opposition’s campaigns or the fact that with only days until the election, the incumbent, President Paul Biya is yet to be spotted on the campaign trail. But precious little has been said of an open wound at the heart of this failed democracy. That is of course, until reports emerged over the weekend of the alleged arrest of 200 people who gathered to celebrate more than 50 years of independence in Southern Cameroons.
According to a Facebook post, shared on the blog ZoFem, Mola Njoh Litumbe, an activist campaigning for the restoration of Southern Cameroons, was on October 1, placed under house arrest, though it is unclear from the post if he was involved in the independence day celebrations. The unnamed writer, a journalist, said: “I write to confirm that Mola Njoh is under house arrest. It is in front of his residence that police men have just beaten me [and] seized my identification (ID) card.”
With the support of the great and the good, Libya is inching ever closer to what we hope will be a democratic future.
On 1 September 2011, leaders from some 60 countries gathered in Paris for a conference on the future of Libya and to deliberate on ways to support Libya’s government-in-waiting – the National Transitional Council (NTC).
The “friends of Libya” meeting hosted by French President, Nicholas Sarkozy and the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, pledged to maintain military pressure of Colonel Gadaffi and to release funds to support the NTC and a transition to democracy in Libya. Speaking at the event, Sarkozy said: “We are all committed to returning to Libya the money of yesterday for the building of tomorrow.”
Much would have surely been discussed at the event, not least, as the Russian media suggests, the scramble for Libya’s oil. But one important issue would have surely been ignored: the ongoing racially-motivated attack on Libya’s black population by the rebel forces. Read the rest of this entry »
Whoever said the truth shall set you free forgot to mention that you first have to find out what the truth is and that’s dirty work. On the biofuel vs food security debate, it’s difficult to grasp hold of the truth amid the hyperbole, the passion, the barrage of facts and the evidence of environmental gain or of human loss.
In early May 2011, the NGO Action Aid published a report entitled Fuelling Evictions: community cost of EU biofuels boom. The tone the report sets is one of a David versus Goliath face-off. The underdogs being some 20,000 people living in the Dakatcha woodlands of Kenya, an area held in trust for the communities by Malindi County Council and earmarked by the Italian-owned biofuels company Nuoze Iniziative Industriali, (through its subsidiary Kenya Jatropha Energy) for the cultivation of 50,000 hectares of jatropha.
Jatropha, touted in 2007 by Scientific American as “green gold in a shrub” because it “seems to offer all the benefits of biofuels without the pitfalls,” by 2009 had lost some of its shine. Thought to be able to thrive on marginal lands, and therefore pose no competition to cultivation for human consumption, an early study by Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies found that while jatropha can indeed grow on lands with minimal water and poor nutrition, “if you plant trees in a marginal area, and all they do is just not die, it doesn’t mean you’re going to get a lot of oil from them.”
So back to present day and jatropha has been steadily replacing food crops in communities from Senegal to Kenya, with devastating effect. Read the rest of this entry »
The celebrity as activist is a phenomenon that is here to stay.
A development campaign is hardly complete without some celebrity being given a guided tour through crowds of people, in far-flung places, whose lives have been devastated by acts of God or the cruelty of men.
And an entertainer’s portfolio is hardly complete without a humanitarian campaign. Celebrities seem to be lining up to get into bed with almost any NGO, for almost any cause, no matter how improbable the relationship. I doubt anybody would have guessed Ronan Keating was passionate about and well-versed in global agriculture issues – until of course the Boyzone singer, in his capacity as FAO goodwill ambassador, writes the forward for a UK Parliamentary Inquiry on Food Security. No, didn’t see that one coming either. Read the rest of this entry »