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Dhow in Dar es Salaam harbour

Dhow in Dar es Salaam harbour

Bowing to mounting political pressures it appears that Tanzania has halted its constitutional review process until after the General Elections in 2015.

President Kikwete and others have recognised that the time to accomplish the momentous task before he leaves office won’t be sufficient.

John Cheyo, chairman of the Tanzania Centre for Democracy (TCD), announced the suspension after a meeting with President Jakaya Kikwete at Kilimani State Lodge on Monday afternoon, Mr Cheyo said those present agreed unanimously that the exercise be called off on the grounds that it was unlikely to deliver on the promise.

A suspension of the process and the meetings of the Constiutional Assembly would save taxpayers money given the fact that a new constitution can only be passed after October 2015. Thus far the assembly has not recognised this logic and proceeds with business as usual.

Starting in 2012 the review process gathered a broad range of views including those of the youth, civil society and for once even pastoralists, Masaai, Barbaig and others came together to present their views on democracy and the future of Tanzania.

Woman in Paje, Zanzibar

Woman in Paje, Zanzibar

Inefficiency, arguments and delays have characterised the process ever since. After all the new constitution was suppose to be announced at Tanzania’s 50th anniversary in April. The failure to deliver on his promise to give the country a new – modern – constitution will be a further blow to the outgoing President’s legacy.

Only time can tell whether the incumbent will steam ahead with the endeavour and pick up where Kikwete left off or whether Tanzania – once again – leaves the job half done.

After years of delays, Guinea’s first legislative elections since the 2008 coup have gone relatively smoothly. But the hardest task is yet to come. This Saturday, an estimated five million Guineans cast their ballots to choose a new parliament in the nation’s first legislative elections since a 2008 coup. There were reports of missing voting cards, shortages of indelible ink, and polling stations opening late. Many waited for hours to vote, but amidst high security, proceedings remained calm. The independent national electoral commission (CENI by its French acronym) congratulated Guineans for the peaceful conduct of the process, while the Economic Community of West African States observer mission said they believed the elections “were held in acceptable conditions of freedom and transparency”. Read More

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are” . This was famously said by Theodore Roosevelt to his men on the verge of the American-Spanish civil war. More than a century later this statement also rings true for many who live in fragile and conflict affected states. Fragile states furthermore face an international community often gridlocked and clueless how to best intervene and assist in the transition to peace.

Therefore, the High-level forum on Aid Effectiveness held in Busan, South Korea, in December 2011 gave birth to the “New Deal for Engagement with Fragile States”(New Deal).  Driven by the G7+, a group of fragile states, the New Deal uses five peace-building and state-building goals, revenues and services, legitimate politics, security, justice and economic foundations as a guide for progress.

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“It’s no easy task to re-build after a descent into conflict. Fragile and conflict affected states – stretching from Africa to the Pacific – pose daunting development challenges,” said President of the World Bank Jim Yong Kim last month in an op-ed.

Last Friday ministers from fragile and conflict affected states, OECD countries and leaders of international institutions have united at the International Dialogue on State-building and Peace-building’s Third Global meeting to pledge support for the implementation of the ‘New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States’ and for its integration in the post-2015 development agenda.

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Ten years after Black Hawk Down and chaos, the world is once again set on ‘rescuing’ Somalia. 50 states supported last week’s Somalia conference in London. William Hague re-opened a British embassy. The U.S. has pumped more than $1.5 billion worth of assistance into the country since 2009, including the $40 million pledged on Tuesday. UNDP staff are waiting to follow its new country director on his way to Mogadishu and everyone hopes that aid will produce stability which will encourage security, as the country is still considered an international battleground in the fight against al-Qaeda.

The UNDP has captured these efforts in a beautiful promotion video tellingly under the name, “A new Somalia”.

Apparently, no one wants the old Somalia back. The infighting, the piracy, the terrorism and the hopelessness. Instead of American soliders the emphasis is now on country-led and country-owned solutions. Not only has Somalia endorsed the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States, but its government is touring the world this year to drum up investment and support for its slow path to recovery. However, Somalia needs to handle its natural blessings wisely and not sell out to prying international investors. (Read more by Katrina Manson on oil in the FT). 

The cracks are visible. Somalia will need to deal with its violent and chaotic past to be able to advance. Whether this comes in the form of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission such as in Sierra Leone or in the re-making of the old colonial borders such as in Sudan. Radical and brave solutions must prevail to avoid the fate of the Congo, where an oblivious international community, weak politicians and a docile population have surrendered to the iron first of civil war. I dare speak hopefully and say, there is enough wisdom and potential to create another success story. But it needs to be led from within.

Therefore I will keep quiet and hand over to Mohamud Uluso, a Somalian journalist outspoken in his support for the current government and a united Somalia.

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Third High Level Meeting for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding 19 April 2013.  www.newdeal4peace.org

Third High Level Meeting for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding 19 April 2013.
http://www.newdeal4peace.org

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Last year two distinctly divergent views emerged when Somalia established a permanent government ending 12 years of a chaotic transition period. Journalist Mohamud Uluso warned that “the future forebodes more pessimism and treachery than optimism and trustworthiness”, and yet, at the same time UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon heralded the new-found unity and pledged his support to a peaceful, democratic, stable and prosperous Somalia, stating: “we committed to a new Somali-owned and led partnership, which will work towards a compact between the Somali authorities and the international community inspired by the principles outlined in the New Deal, agreed in Busan in November 2011.” Differing interpretations on the New Deal’s effect on Somalia were central to informing these conflicting opinions.

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Gender Equality? Reverse Reality. A mural at Davos 2013 by the Itinerant Museum of Art.

Gender Equality? Reverse Reality. A mural at Davos 2013 by the Itinerant Museum of Art.

A Warhol-style mural appeared in Davos just before the World Economic Forum (WEF) in January. There are four men among 18 women the reverse ratio of the real representation of Davos with only 17% of female delegates. Many of the companies subject to the quota simply send exactly four men, thus avoiding the need for a woman delegate, accused The Guardian. Only 4.2 percent of Fortune 500 CEO positions are filled by women. In politics the situation is a little better. The global proportion of female political representative is about 18.4% claims a 2007 Dfid report. But are quotas and women conferences really bringing the change we need?

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The need for ownership of African problems and solutions

This is a guest post by Zainab Usman, a DPhil candidate in International Development at Oxford University. Her research focus is on the political economy of economic diversification in Sub-Saharan Africa. The post was originally posted on her successful blog Zainab’s musings which has over 5000 followers. 

“Africa’s story has been written by others; we need to own our problems and solutions and write our story.”  Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda

With these words, Paul Kagame did two things simultaneously: he earned a spot in the top-10 memorable quotes from the recently concluded World Economic Forum (WEF) Summit 2013 at Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. More importantly, his remark implied that Sub-Saharan Africa today is underscored by a profound failure of African ownership of lingering problems and potential solutions – a failure of an African conceptualisation of these problems and their solutions and consequently a failure of taking responsibility for successes and failures.

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