Social insecurity, stability and the politics in West Africa: A case study of artisanal and small-scale diamond mining in Guinea, 1958–2008

By Penda Diallo

March 21, 2017

Republished from
ScienceDirect

Highlights

  • In the absence of state support, artisanal mining has become the main source of revenue for rural communities.
  • Artisanal diamond mining has been able to gainfully occupy a large number of rural, unskilled workers.
  • Social insecurity led to the emergence of a circumstantial permissive social contract.
  • Stability and social insecurity can only coexist if there is a circumstantial permissive social contract.

Abstract
The period of protracted conflict in Sierra Leone and Liberia brought the politics of alluvial diamond mining in West Africa to the forefront of academic and policy-oriented discussions. Using social contract theory, this paper moves away from discussions on how minerals have perpetuated conflict in the region, and interrogates how the governance of diamond mining in Guinea impacts regime stability and social insecurity. More importantly, it attempts to illustrate how artisanal diamond mining contributes to stability. The paper situates this discussion within the broad spectrum of the social contract between state and citizens and an analysis of how these are at play in diamond mining areas. It illustrates how artisanal diamond mining enables specific social contracts to emerge and how this in turn contributes to stability in the regions where they are extracted.

Council head challenges ‘neo-colonial narrative about Africa’



By Desmond Davies, London Bureaux

March 17, 2017

Republished from Ghana News Agency

London, Mar 17, GNA – The new Executive Secretary of the Dakar-based Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) wants a move away from “the colonial or neo-colonial narrative about Africa” in terms of knowledge production relating to the continent.

Dr Godwin Murunga, a Kenyan academic, told the GNA: “The history and nature of knowledge production on Africa is skewed in favour of Western, largely foreign, academics.

“Too few people in the world want to listen to African academics speaking about African issues.

“It is only in Africa where many have a right to become specialists about the continent without as much as vising a quarter of it,” Dr Murunga said.

“We expect to construct new forms of knowledge that appreciate the complexity that Africa is and that reveal its relevance to ordinary peoples in Africa.

“Africans have been assaulted by all forms of policy prescriptions that undermine its capacities and render its knowledge suspect.

“CODESRIA must remain the one institution that keeps its faith in the experiences of ordinary Africans and that reveals the different ways in which its diversity is a strength,” said Dr Murunga, who until recently was the Director of King’s College,  London’s African Leadership Centre in Nairobi.

The relevance of the Gulf of Guinea in global energy politics

John-Paul Safunu Banchani

African Security Review Journal
Volume 25, 2016 - Issue 4

Pages 420-426 | Published online: 29 Sep 2016

Republished from Taylor Francis Online

ABSTRACT
Africa and for that matter the Gulf of Guinea cannot be indifferent to the global energy politics of the 21st century. The increasing importance of the region has attracted major actors in the energy sector. The competing interests of these actors are played out in various forms. This heightened interest in the region, especially with the discovery of oil in huge commercial quantities, has brought the importance of the area into focus in global oil politics. This paper looks at the importance of the region in light of the huge energy potentials of the Gulf of Guinea and how the institution of proper governance systems could serve as an important factor in ensuring the proper management of the resource.

The Strong Breed: The rise and fall of Africa’s great literary leaders


February 13, 2017

by Bwesigye Bwa Mwesigire

Republished from African Arguments

In Uganda and beyond, the political influence of writers has greatly diminished, with different kinds of artists starting to take their place.

Many of Africa’s leaders at independence were acclaimed writers, but this is no longer the case. Credit: Rwanda Government.

In an essay published after his death in 1982, the Ugandan poet, philosopher, lawyer, footballer and novelist Okot P’Bitek wrote:

“If there are two types of rulers in every society, that is, those who use physical force to subdue men, and those that employ beautiful things, sweet songs and funny stories, rhythm, shape and colour, to keep individuals and society sane and flourishing, then in my view, it is the artist who is the greater ruler.”

In P’Bitek’s generation, Africa’s great artists and leaders often overlapped. Leopold Senghor of Senegal, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania and Agostinho Neto of Angola, for example, were all poets and writers as well as founding presidents.

Similarly, the novelist Chinua Achebe led Biafra’s diplomatic front in the war in the late-1960s. The playwright and poet Wole Soyinka has been one of successive Nigerian governments’ most vocal critics and once founded a new political party. Ama Ata Aidoo served as Education Minister in Ghana. Ken Saro-Wiwa led the Ogoni struggle in the 1990s in the Niger Delta. And Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s outspoken political activism led to him being jailed in 1970s Kenya.

Ghana’s Institutions Hold up in Stern Electoral Test

Ghanaians vote in the recent presidential elections. Nakpayili, Ghana, December 7, 2016. (Louise Wateridge/Pacific Press/Associated Press)

December 12, 2016

by Clement Sefa-Nyarko

Republished from Global Observatory.

Within 48 hours of results being declared in last week’s Ghanaian  general elections, a transition team was formed to facilitate the transfer of power from the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) to the newly elected New Patriotic Party. The latter’s Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo won with 53.8% of the vote, which was much more than closest contender and current President John Dramani Mahama, with 44.4%. Mahama conceded defeat, Akufo-Addo has been magnanimous in victory, and the incoming and outgoing administrations have committed to a peaceful handover.

This is the third political transition since Ghana’s Fourth Republic was inaugurated in 1993 and the second time a law governing the process will be followed, after its passage in the aftermath of the chaotic transitional processes of 2000 and 2008. The voting itself was the most uneventful and efficient in Ghana’s history, apart from a few hitches that delayed the opening of polling stations across the country.

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