November 21

Inside the fair trade movement

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Why Africa should fight for free trade, not fair trade; for competitiveness in global markets and not kindness in consumers Everyday there is an effort mainly in the West to save Africa from something – tyranny, impunity, poverty, disease, ignorance – whatever. Always, the savior is an institution or person from Western Europe and its [...]

November 21

Behind Museveni’s cash handouts

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Why the president openly bribes voters at public functions and gets away with it and what can be done about it When we had just started The Independent, a particular problem confronted me. Each time a member of staff fell ill at office and was rushed to hospital, other staff members would call me. As [...]

November 21

Why Africa should tell her own story

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Debunking the myths that mass media generally perpetuate about Africa and Africans Most Western journalists covering Africa tend to purvey prejudice rather than convey accurate information. Even when the journalist knows a specific story is an oversimplification and/or misrepresentation of a more nuanced reality, they still retreat to prejudice to pander to their audiences.

November 21

Do suffering Africans a favour, don’t help them

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People who are not willing to fight for their freedom and pay the highest price for it do not deserve to be free The idea that only the international community (read the West) can save Africa has gained hegemonic status. This is expressed in many ways: in efforts to end poverty, in human rights advocacy, [...]

October 23

Africa and the curse of the ICC

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How the International Criminal Court is seeking to usurp our sovereignty and why progressive Africa should reject it Last week, the African Union summit in Addis Ababa resolved to ask the UN Security Council to defer the case against President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya at the ICC. It is unprecedented to put a serving president [...]

October 13

Inside Africa’s politics of patronage

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How Rwanda is defying the established mechanisms of organizing politics in Africa and why it is succeeding Last week, we were at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) for a two-day conference on Rwanda. It always amazes me how this small (geographically), poor (economically) and geo-strategically unimportant country attracts attention [...]

October 13

A president’s betrayal and Africa’s sin

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Another look at Africa’s patron-client relations and the peasant moral universe Sometime in 2003, I visited the late former Zambian president Fredrick Chiluba at his palatial home in Lusaka’s rich suburb of Kablong and we sat down over a meal of rice, chapatti and wild game. He was under attack from his protégé and successor, [...]

October 13

Inside Obama’s vision of Museveni

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How the US president has swallowed his idealism and transformed from a critic of his Ugandan counterpart into an ally Barack Obama’s election as president of the United States in 2008 was a moment of great hope. It is difficult to recapture the emotional tone of that moment. But, to use the words Robert Bates [...]

October 13

East Asia and Africa compared

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Opening the black box of East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa to expose the initial conditions in each region in 1960 The Nobel laureate in economics, Robert Lucas, once said that when you begin thinking about development, you cannot stop. I suffer this disease as well. One subject that intrigues me is the constant comparison of [...]

September 16

Tinyefuza’s disappointing performance

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How Gen. Sejusa has, through a series of letters, proven to be much less than what I always expected of him I read with disappointment a letter allegedly written by Uganda’s former coordinator of intelligence services, Gen. David Sejusa aka Tinyefuza, in late August in which he alleges that President Yoweri Museveni killed many of [...]