French Intervention in Africa Reflects its National Politics

Refugee families from Mali in Mentao refugee camp, northern Burkina Faso Photo Credit: Oxfam International via Flickr (http://bit.ly/2dDJsgj) CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

October 24, 2016

By Eva Nelson

Republished from The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Eva Nelson analyses the underlying motivations in France’s foreign policy towards Africa.

The long view of French foreign policy in Africa is paved by conflict of interest. Some politicians are tempted to pull out of the continent for fear of accusation of neo-colonialism, somewhat incompatible with President Hollande’s definition of the Francafrique. Others, looking forward to re-election, are more preoccupied with appeasing national fears of terrorism by keeping a grip on the Sahel – which they hope will secure them votes from an electorate that begs for heightened national security.

This paradox in policy is best witnessed by asymmetric reactions to recent French intervention in Mali and the Central African Republic. Civil wars were taking place at the same time in both countries, but the French media and public opinion reacted differently to each. The government received praise for intervening in Northern Mali, while involvement in the Central African Republic was barely covered, if not overlooked, by the French domestic audience. How to explain such a divide in public opinion for two identical military interventions? Unsurprisingly, it was due to the perceived relationship between the global jihad narrative and domestic security issues, and reinforced by public denial of France’s post-colonial responsibility for conflict in Central Africa.

Freedom of Participation in Doubt Ahead of Ghana’s Elections

Supporters of Ghana's New Patriotic Party attend its electoral campaign launch. Accra, October 9, 2016. (Stefan Heunis/AFP/Getty Images

October 20, 2016

By Clement Sefa-Nyarko

Republished from Global Observatory.

Just four of 17 presidential candidates who filed nominations to contest Ghana’s December 7 presidential elections have been cleared by the country’s electoral commission to run. The rest have been disqualified on grounds that have elicited widespread condemnation and even legal action. On the one hand, the commission’s efforts can be considered a bold attempt to stamp its authority after a series of events in the last four years questioned its ability to conduct free, transparent, and credible polls. On the other, they are an indication of the deterioration of the country’s high record of participation and rights of political association.

Decolonising Makerere: On Mamdani’s failed experiment

At the “Harvard of Africa” in Uganda, power remains in imperial structures and bodies, while excellence is still defined on Western terms.

The Makerere University administration building, Kampala, Uganda. Credit: Ian Beatty.

August 1, 2016

by Bwesigye Bwa Mwesigire

Republished from African Arguments

In 1922, within a few decades of British colonial control of the protectorate called Uganda, a technical school was founded. According to folklore, the hill on which the school was built was famed for its many noises. Kelele is the Kiswahili word for noise, the plural: Makelele. The folk tale concludes that the hill and the technical school took on the name, but with the ls replaced with rs. The Makerere Technical College, as it was known at the time, taught carpentry, building and mechanics.

In 1949, the school became affiliated to the University of London. Alongside the likes of Ibadan, Legon and Gordon – as well as Dar es Salaam and Nairobi later on – it became one of the so-called ‘Asquith colleges’ offering courses with degrees awarded by its Britain-based mother. As Carol Sicherman notes in Becoming an African University: Makerere 1922–2000, this arrangement was “presented as a means of guaranteeing world-class quality, [but it] ensured continued British influence once the colonies ceased to exist as such”.

#FeesMustFall Uprising 2015: The Emergence of Youth Agency in South Africa’s Largest Post-Apartheid Protests

July 19, 2016

by Toyin Ajao

Republished from Kujenga Amani

In October 2015, South African students took to the streets for weeks of protests under the slogan #FeesMustFall. The magnitude of the protests compelled all higher education institutions in the country to suspend educational activities, including tests and examinations. These events represented a bid to find a panacea to the looming cataclysm of increasing tuition fees. The overwhelming concern expressed in the students’ chanting and demands was the extent to which many of those from poor households and underpaid middle class families would become educationally disenfranchised by the increases. In a country riddled with corruption, the quality of higher education was already threatened, and should the current fees climb by 10 to 12 per cent, access to it would plummet.[1] To address the crisis, the student movements effectively organized collective and simultaneous demonstrations. They also took advantage of the ubiquitous presence of the Internet, posting their messages incessantly on social media to attract global awareness to their plight.

Civil War in South Sudan: Is it a Reflection of Historical Secessionist and Natural Resource wars in “Greater Sudan”?

01 Jul 2016

by Clement Sefa-Nyarko

Republished from Taylor Francis Online

Abstract
This paper argues that it is simplistic to attribute the recent civil war in South Sudan to the presence and exploration of crude oil in that country. It links the civil war in South Sudan to the systematic marginalization of the African populations of the Greater Sudan that was initiated by the Southern Policy of the British colonial government in the 1920s; and the inability of the new government of South Sudan to address grievances among its citizens. The uncoordinated abrogation of the Southern Policy, the failure of the colonial and post-colonial governments of Greater Sudan to prioritize development of the South, and the unwillingness of successive governments to unconditionally integrate the South into the Sudan polity led to the initiation of a secession agenda that was eventually realized through a referendum in 2011. This north-south tension overshadowed pertinent grievances among southerners that were never addressed by the new government of South Sudan, feeding on political disagreements two years after independence. Using geographical proximity and resource lootability theories, this paper shows that the resource-curse theories only explain part of the problem.

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