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February 16, 2015
By Albert Mbiatem
Republished from AfSol Blog
Additional or unlimited presidential terms and their actual and potential consequences are still rampant in Africa. With reference to the recent socio-political instabilities in Tunisia, Egypt, and Burkina Faso, there is enough evidence to presume other risks of conflict escalation across the continent when popular demands are undermined by some regimes. The recurrent prevalence of personal interests over national interests is to a large extent portrayed by the attitudes of presidents amending or seeking to amend the constitution in favour of their eligibility for supplementary or unlimited mandates. Thus, I argue that personalised leadership seeking eligibility for additional mandates by barring the way to an opened political emergence is a trigger of socio-political instabilities and an imminent threat to peace and security in Africa. In order to ascertain such eligibility and subsequently twig to power, incumbent presidents with the support of their self-interested collaborators manipulate popular perceptions via referenda or parliamentary votes.
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Our alumni Selam Terefe and Birikit Terefe have been selected to be part of the East African Acumen Fellows. Through ACUMEN they will participate in fighting poverty and changing lives across East Africa through unique initiatives that range from providing much-needed ambulance services to helping make hygienic sanitation more accessible and affordable to empowering young women to start viable agro-enterprises.
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Thursday 12 February 2015
Panel Discussions: Peace Talks 12: Kenya: Water, power, people and peace
Water is critical for peace. It sustains communities and their livelihoods. Its scarcity can lead to tensions and even violence. In countries such as Kenya, competition over water and land has fuelled conflict, exacerbated by poverty, ethnic grievances, poor governance and climate change.
Everybody has the right to water. But as demand grows and supply decreases, how do we manage water in a fair, sustainable and peaceful way? In this Peace Talks, a panel of experts discuss these issues and identify possible ways forward.
The discussion was held as part of our 'Peace blooms' photo exhibition and pop-up flower shop at Hoxton Gallery (10-15 February 2015), and the launch of Peace Audit: Kenya. Join the conversation by following @intalert and using #PeaceBlooms.
- Sir Edward Clay, former British High Commissioner in Kenya
- Moses Onyango, Lecturer at US International University in Nairobi; Fellow at the African Leadership Centre
- Dan Smith, Secretary General, International Alert
- Martin Plaut (Chair), Journalist specialising in Africa; Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies
Followed by drinks and food provided by Masterchef's Emily Amuke.
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By Ifesinachi Okafor-Yarwood
Re-published from Strife
11th February 2015
“Elections belong to people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters” – Abraham Lincoln
When elections loom we often make the mistake of believing that voting for a different party or a new president will bring about real change. Soon we realise that those voted in are just a continuation of the old system, but with a different face, or the reappearance of a system that has long ceased to be relevant. This is the choice between change – real change – and just an alternative government.
The Nigerian elections, originally scheduled for Saturday but recently postponed by six weeks due to security concerns, raise this issue. Do the Nigerian people want change, or just an alternative government?
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By Semiha Abdulmelik
Re-published from Strife
29th January 2015
‘Meaningful participation in African conflict-resolution processes is not an important aspect of China’s current Africa relations. China is becoming increasingly important in the landscape of African politics, including in conflict-affected theatres, but is not as significant an actor as external perceptions contend. Nor has the Chinese government shown any particular inclination for more active engagement beyond spheres such as Sudan where the need is more compelling’’.
Dan Large (SOAS), 2008, in China’s role in the mediation and resolution of conflict in Africa.
These words, written just seven years ago, now seem out of date. We are now witnessing what might be described as a significant if incremental evolution in China’s involvement in Africa’s peace and security. It is more structured, purposeful, and beyond countries of immediate interest, if still exploratory.
China’s peace and security engagement on the continent has predominantly been characterised as driven by economic interests in countries in which it has significant investments. This is the narrative most commonly seen in the Western media and academia: strict adherence to the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of countries and comprising of bi-lateral military cooperation and arms trade. How this has evolved will be the focus of this piece.