Speaker: Professor Peter Woodward (University of Reading)
About Prof Peter Woodward:
Professor Peter Woodward worked for the VSO in Kosti, Sudan from 1966-67 and then became a Lecturer in Political Science at the University of Khartoum until 1971 when he joined the Department of Politics at the University of Reading. He was also a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Natal, Durban in 1991 and 1993, and at the American University in Cairo in 1999.
Professor Woodward is regularly consulted on African affairs by various branches of government in several countries including the FCO; DFID; the US House of Representatives sub-committee on Africa; and US State Department. He also contributes to various media outlets, most regularly to the BBC World Service. He acted as Rapporteur for Sudan peace talks at the Carter Center in 1993, Chaired jointly by President Jimmy Carter and Archbishop Desmond Tutu; and Chaired constitutional talks on Sudan for the International Dialogues Foundation, Durham, 1999.
Devon Curtis is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Emmanuel College. Her main research interests and publications deal with power-sharing and governance arrangements following conflict, UN peacebuilding, non-state armed movements in Africa, and critical perspectives on conflict, peacebuilding, and development. Her field research concentrates on the Great Lakes region of Africa, especially Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Previously, Devon worked for the Canadian government and the United Nations Staff College, and she has been a consultant for the UK Department for International Development, the Overseas Development Institute, and a Visiting Senior Advisor to the International Peace Institute. She has had fellowships at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University and at the Centre for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) at Stanford University.
Professor Charles Abiodun Alao, King’s College London: Radicalisation and Violence in Africa.
About Professor Abiodun Alao: Abiodun Alao is Professor of African Studies at King’s College London. His areas of Research interests include: Emerging Powers and Global Leadership; the Politics of Natural Resources Management; Religious Radicalisation and Political Violence; Politics, Security and International Relations in Africa.
His authored books include Mugabe and the Politics of Security in Zimbabwe, (McGill-Queens University Press, 2012); Natural Resources and Conflict in Africa: The Tragedy of Endowment, (Rochester University Press, 2007); The Burden of Collective Goodwill: The International Involvement in the Liberian Civil War, (Ashgate Publishers, 1996); and Brothers at War: Dissidence and Rebellion in Southern Africa, (British Academic Press, 1994). He Co-authored Peacekeepers, Politicians and Warlords: The Liberian Peace Process, (United Nations University Press, 1999); and Co-editor of Africa after the Cold War: The Changing Perspective on Security, (African World Press, 1998); Nigeria and the United States: Twists and Turns over 50 Years, (African Peace Support Publishers, 2011); and China and Africa – Building Peace and Security Cooperation (Forthcoming Palgrave – Macmillan, 2016).
Apart from extensive publications on African security issues, Prof Alao has undertaken numerous assignments for international organisations, including the United Nations, African Union, European Union, World Bank, ECOWAS and for individual countries.
Peter Brett, Queen Mary University of London: Liberals against human rights: how transnational rights regimes have undermined the re-building of political order in Zimbabwe.
About Dr Peter Brett: Dr Peter is a lecturer in African politics, Queen Mary University of London. Previously he was a Teaching Fellow in Politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), where he did his graduate studies. He has also worked as an Adjunct Professor at Richmond – the American International University in London, and has taught at the University of Paris (Panthéon-Sorbonne). He has a broad range of interests, including the politics of Sub-Saharan Africa, international law, legal sociology, the politics of rights, and the history of international relations.
Countries emerging from conflicts are likely to relapse, depending on the political settlements on which peace processes are anchored. In Sierra Leone, despite the fact that the peace has largely held, there have been fears that the country might relapse into conflict if the causes of the 10-year war continue to linger. But to what extent are these fears justified? Using decentralization reforms and drawing from other recent governance reforms and political events, a case is made that the two likely masterminds of conflict – the All People’s Congress (APC) and Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP,) have used reforms such as decentralization as processes of political compromise and accommodation. While decentralization has helped facilitate the reemergence of the old political order, the APC and SLPP have secured a consensus through which they have reconfigured the post-war state on their own terms. The narrative of a ‘divide’ within the political class, it is argued, is grossly exaggerated. The extent to which the peace will be sustained by the existing compromise and accommodation is uncertain, but this framing is useful in understanding the political economy in which fragility and political compromises co-exist, and illuminates the political class’ agency, as well as its capacity to ‘unite’ and act against ‘others’.
About Dr Felix Marco Conteh: Dr Conteh is a development and governance specialist, with over a decade of well-earned experience. He currently works at the Office of the President as a special Assistant/Adviser to the chief of Staff. His research interests include decentralization and chiefdom governance, and extractives and community development. He has recently published in the Review of African Political Economy and Critical African Studies Journals.
Felix holds a Bachelor of Arts from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, a Master of Arts in International Development Management from the University of Bradford, and a PhD from SOAS, University of London.
The annual Peace Studies & International Development conference for Africanist doctoral students and early post-doctoral career scholars and practitioners is scheduled to take place on the 11th May 2017 at the University of Bradford in United Kingdom.
The conference theme is: Resources, Conflict and Development in Africa.
Conference cluster themes include:
1) Natural Resources and Conflict
2) Transition from Resource Conflict to Peace and Peacebuilding
3) Natural Resources, Demographic Change and Development
4) Conflict, Security, Peace and Development Nexus
5) Regional Integration, Security and Development
6) Africa and the Rest of the World
The conference is open to doctoral students and early career scholars, researchers and practitioners. Potential participants and paper presenters are required to submit an Abstract of 200 – 300 words on or before 15th November 2016 to: firstname.lastname@example.org
All shortlisted participants will be required to submit the first draft of their papers at least two months before the conference. The conference is expected to result in a co-edited book (Lead Editor: Professor Kenneth Omeje, Senior Research Fellow, John & Elnora Ferguson Centre of African Studies, University of Bradford). Kindly note that all short-listed participants will be responsible for the full-cost of their participation, including visa, travels, accommodation and subsistence.
[Eritrea's diaspora is one of the largest refugee communities in the world; in Israel (above protest) they are among many immigrants subject to draconian policy and detention]
Tesfalem H. Yemane is a current Peace Sutdies MA at the University of Bradford. Originally from Eritrea, he is a scholar at risk and refugee.
Fear and uncertainty have been the biggest enemies of mine since I left my country in 2010. But now, I find myself sitting in the office of
Professor David J Francis, a man of overflowing and reassuring academic aura. After months of nail-biting wait, I am offered a place at the Division of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford. Going through the memories of the past five years of my life, I whispered, “I should be wary of resting on my laurels now.” For a person of my background, education and hard-work are the only gateways for countless opportunities. I should be grounded!
My life journey is that of many Eritrean youths’. At independence, the country was dubbed by many as the beacon of hope and renaissance in Africa. Its leadership, along with those of Uganda’s Museveni, Ethiopia’s Zenawi and Rwanda’s Kagame, was touted as the new breed in African leadership. In the heat of such euphoria and jubilations, we ostensibly boasted on turning the new nation into ‘the Singapore of Africa’. Those dreams have been shattered and we tuck Professor Gaim Kibreab’s book, ‘Eritrea: A Dream Deferred‘ under our pillows. The book explores the national euphoria at independence and the disappointing disjuncture that has resulted in a dystopian society thanks to the regime’s siege mentality.
In the aftermath of the devastating 1998-2000 Ethio-Eritrea war, the country has turned into a giant prison wherein forced disappearance, extrajudicial killing, arbitrary arrest and severe curtailment of freedom of expression and movement are the norm. There is zero tolerance to dissidence and any legal procedures have been a hard sell to the ‘democratic novices’, to borrow Professor Chandra L. Sriram’s phrase. Under the pretext of existential threat,from its favourite bogey, Ethiopia, the regime has employed a pervasive security apparatus that has virtually controlled every aspect of the citizens’ lives. Eritrea is a society under siege and the dream of making the country a major trading terminus in the strategic part of the Red Sea has been sorely deferred.
The leadership’s anti-intellectual culture has forced many bright minds into exile. The only university that operated with an internationally accredited academic standard was deliberately dismantled in 2006, and with it, the hope of nurturing a mass of critical thinkers in the Eritrean body politic poignantly gone. Accompanied by media concoctions, six sub-standard and militarized colleges were hastily grafted in different parts of the country. And in an invasive manner, parallel party and paramilitary structures were put in place to create a numbing duplication of tasks and tight control of the Eritrean youth.
A state of a crumbling economy, indefinite military service and the lethargy of oppressive hopelessness have forced the youth to ‘vote with their feet’ and embark on the perilous journeys. It was in this context that I decided to vote with my feet in April 2010, never to set foot again. Because of the regime’s imprudent macroeconomic and impulsive diplomatic decisions, the state of the economy was very precarious in the 2000s. In fact, the brunt and wrinkles of the notorious coupon economy were so humiliating that I was excited to find out basic food commodities were in good supply when I first arrived in Sudan. I spent more than two months in the Hobbesian-like and desolate refugee camp in the periphery of eastern Sudan before I was smuggled to the capital.
While in Sudan, I envied the relative freedom of expression presentin the East African country. I bore witness when many Sudanese took to the streets of Khartoum, rattling, “The people of Sudan are hungry!” in April 2012. Having said this, however, I should be cautious of vindicating the authoritarian government in Khartoum. As oppressive as it is, Khartoum’s strong handedness pales in comparison with Asmara’s.
In Uganda, a country infamously known for its rampant corruption, I bore witness to people taking to the streets to demand their President heed to public concerns and corrupt officials be held accountable. I also noted many newspapers publicising information about corrupt officials, police officers and the government.
My time in China was an eye opening cultural and intellectual ride. Those late night discussions, debates and questions about the merits and demerits of a developmental state and state capitalism shaped my worldview. Those many discussions about the dialectics of Washington Consensus and Beijing Consensus were reconciled by the synthesis of Geneva Consensus during my memorable years in China.
However, there was a downside to such a pleasant experience in China-that I was a refugee in a student’s body. I had to struggle to conceal my story from many of my wonderful classmates; because I did not want to have a different identity. I lacked the emotional and intellectual maturity to come out and share my story and the story of my compatriots. And that was the most painful episode of my amazing time in China.
I also realized the mismatch between the China of Mao as emulated in Eritrea and the current China and its politico-economic policies. The Eritrean regime serenades in the past achievements of the armed struggle while China has moved away from Mao’s disastrous policies. And thanks to the Isaias Afewerki’s short politico-military training in China in the late 1960s, we sing the ‘Red’ song louder than the Chinese do. The Eritrean leadership still dances to Mao’s ‘Great Leap Forward’ and ‘Cultural Revolution’ rhetoric while the Chinese themselves have moved on and started reaping the rewards of Deng Xiaoping’s economic vision.
On Eritrea, I still remain positive that my country will have its Godsend Lee Kuan Yew sooner than later-a leader who rectifies the malaise the nation finds itself in and Professor Alex de Waal is convinced to backtrack his Museum of Modernism tag on the current state of affairs in the country.
Christine Mutisya is a project coordinator for the Una Hakika project. She has an MSc in development and project planning from Bradford University. She is engaged in managing misinformation for the Sentinel Project, involving herself in peacebuilding activities and project management.
Adrian Gregorich is the community manager at the Sentinel Project. His academic background is in human rights, holding an MSc in human rights from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and an honours BA in political science and human rights from Carleton University in Ottawa. Adrian has worked with a number of NGOs around Africa as well as in Canada. His research and campaigning interests lie in mine action, violence prevention, poverty reduction, and global primary health care. He works as a freelance writer and resides in Ottawa, Canada. He can be reached via Twitter: @AdGregorich
Misinformation is a major problem in societies around the world, especially now that the rise of social media enables the spreading of rumours to happen much faster than was possible in the pre-digital era. Kenya’s Tana Delta region provides a good example not only of how misinformation can spread, but also how information and communication technologies (ICTs) can be used to monitor and contain its harmful effects.
Misinformation was one of the factors that led to violence in the Tana Delta during 2012 and 2013, a time when Kenya was warming up to the general election scheduled for March 2013. At such times, politics and land injustices become especially salient and these also factored into the clashes which killed nearly 170 people while displacing tens of thousands. The aftermath included increased hatred and mistrust between the two most affected ethnic communities, the Orma and the Pokomo. Even after the election period ended, misinformation still spread throughout the Tana Delta, thus continuing tensions in the region.
A Sentinel Project team visited the Tana Delta in early 2013 and recognized this problem of rumours, which led to the creation of Una Hakika (Swahili for “Are you sure?”), a mobile phone-based information system used to map and counter misinformation in the Tana Delta. One of Una Hakika’s long-term goals is to enable people to ask themselves are you sure before taking action on any information. Rapid action on false rumours before verification led to some of the violence in 2012-2013.
Before setting up the system, the Una Hakika team conducted a baseline survey throughout the Tana Delta during January-February 2014 in order to understand the spread of information in the region, what technologies people use to share that information, and to generally understand the potential users of Una Hakika in order to better design the system. One key finding from the survey was that 87.3% of the 249 respondents believed rumours contributed to violence in the region, while 61.1% of respondents had heard information they believed to be untrue within the previous 12 months. Out of those 61.1% only 50.6% took further action to verify if the information was true.
Una Hakika works as a free mobile phone-based reporting system with a short code through which individual citizens report incidents or potential misinformation, after which they receive verification of its accuracy. This works via a three-stage process. In the first stage, users send information to the system, through SMS, phone calls, the Una Hakika website, or by speaking to a trained community ambassador. who serve as a bridge between people and technology.
The second stage of the process prioritizes and verifies received messages by drawing upon a variety of information sources which may be able to provide the facts of the situation relating to a given rumour. These sources include the community ambassadors, local authorities (police and administration), other NGOs operating in the area, and the media (social media and mainstream media).
Third, once the Una Hakika team has verified reports of a rumour they are then able to provide feedback to the community about the authenticity of the information. This response is targeted to ensure that the rumour management process does not inadvertently spread rumours. Rumour verifications are still only sent to subscribers in the villages from which those rumours were reported, since there is a risk of people who have not heard a given rumour focusing on the wrong parts of a counter message and disregarding the statement that the rumour is false.
Two years down the line, Una Hakika has seen tremendous results. People’s mindsets have changed in the sense that now when a resident in the Tana Delta hears a rumour their first reactions is increasingly likely to verify its validity before passing it on or taking any action. The number of survey respondents who would look into the accuracy of information the were not convinced was true has risen from from 50.6% to 57.4%. Previously, information tended to be taken at face value, and some people would take drastic action upon hearing threatening rumours.
Government officials also see the importance of Una Hakika as they are now able to synchronize efforts with the system, thus ensuring that they do not waste time or resources reacting to false information. Another advantage of the Una Hakika model is that residents who fear being interrogated by police can report to the Una Hakika team, which will then turn it over to the authorities. This increased level of trust has resulted in some instances when the Una Hakika team received information about serious incidents (including massacres) even before the police did.
Trust is difficult to build, but this process has been a major factor in the success of Una Hakika’s community engagement. At the beginning of the project the community was wary of their aim, which is understandable due to the violence they had experienced. In order to gain trust the Una Hakika staff had to rely on existing trusted networks such as the local administration, religious leaders, and community elders.
Community engagement goes hand-in-hand with trust. While Una Hakika uses technology to fight misinformation, the human element cannot be ignored. The cultures of the Tana Delta value face-to-face meetings, and the priority given to conduct such meetings has played an integral role in Una Hakika’s success. However, this is not easy since one must ensure impartiality and inclusivity when dealing with an ethnically diverse community such as those in the Tana Delta.
Despite many challenges, the Una Hakika project has made a substantial contribution to the peacebuilding process in the Tana Delta through the development, testing, and refinement of tools and techniques for countering misinformation that has the potential to lead to violence. The Una Hakika model also demonstrates great potential for being applied in other regions of Kenya, as well as other violence-prone areas around the world.
AnanileaNkyais a PhD researcher on media engagement with development, University of Bradford, UK. Before joining the university, she was Executive Director of Tanzania Media Women’s Association (TAMWA) for 11 years. The organization advocates and promotes women’s human rights through the media.
Tanzania’s general elections will take place on October 25th.
After 25 years of single party rule,Tanzaniasaw the re-introduction of multi-party democracy in 1992.General elections were conductedin five year intervalswith the aim of putting into power political leadership that could end poverty among the majority of people. Poverty, along with ignorance and disease have been identified as key enemies of Tanzaniasince independence(Nyerere, 1979).
In 1995, Tanzania was among 117countriesthat attended the World Summit on Social Development and adopted a global plan of action for eradicating poverty by 2015. The UN then defined absolute poverty as a condition characterised by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information. It depends not only on income but also on access to services(Gordon, 2005).
Unfortunately, after two decades of multi-party democracy and implementation of the global action plan poverty is still a prominent problemfor the country’s growing population. The population has grown from 12.3 million people in 1967 to 44.9 million in 2012(Statistics and Office of Chief Government Statistian 2013).
Evidence of poverty in Tanzania includes poor childhealth due to lack of food. UNTanzania 2014 Human Development Report,estimates that 35 per cent of children below the age five in the country were facing chronic malnutrition making the country one of the 28 poorest countries in the world(Guardian, 2015). A nutritionist from Tanzania central region of Dodoma region,Stella Kimambo observes that malnutrition is a disease because if child miss proper food nutrients during 270 days in the womb and 730 days after delivery it cutsintelligence quotient to between 10 to 15 and that the sickness could never be cured(Magubira, 2015).
Millions poorin midst of richness
Although millions ofTanzanians are currently languishing in poverty, it is one of Africa’snatural resource rich countries.In 2009 alone gold earned Tanzania four billion dollars compared to negligible foreign currency earnedfrom the mining in 2000(Mjimba, 2011).By2010,Tanzania had joined South Africa and Ghana in becoming the three leadingAfricancountries exporters of gold(Coulson, 2013).
Tanzania alsoattracts foreign financial assistance for its annual budgets mainly fromCanada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the African Development Bank, the European Commission and the World Bank. Thus, the question is: If in Tanzania huge sums of foreign monies arrive annually and multi-party politics supportsgovernance checks and balances, why are themajority ofcitizens still poor?
Operating multi-party politics in single partyframework
Tanzania adopted multi-party democracy, not by choice, but asan IMF loan condition. A situation shared by many states exposed tohegemonic Bretton Woods’financial institutions following the developing countries debt crisis in the 1980s(Moyo, 2009).Samuel Makindaobserved thatmulti-party democracy was expected to end authoritarian rule in Africaassociated with ‘weaknesses in the structures and performance of public institutions’(Makinda, 1996:555).
But has multi-party politics strengthened public institutions in Tanzania?
Realities on the ground suggest that a lot needs to be done. Jacques Morisset, a World Bank lead economist for Tanzania in July this year, observed that though some people in the country working in the informal sector earned huge amounts of money,the current level of tax revenues in the country was one of lowest in the world,Therefore‘‘the problem reflected systemic issues in policy and administration’’(Aman, 2015).
Not only does the government not collect taxes effectively but its agentsalsoengage in thievery of public funds to accomplish partystrategic goals in order to cling onto state power.In 2014, 306 billion shillings (about $204 million US dollars) were dubiously withdrawn from Tegeta escrow account inthe Central Bank and no legal measures were taken against the high level public figures involved(Citizen, 2015).Indeed, grand corruption and thievery of public funds occurring in the last ten years saw Chama Cha Mapinduzi(CCM) and its government losing public credibility by being branded “grand thief” (fisadi)(Mtulya, 2015).
Arguably, thievery of public resources is taking a toll because the government re-introducedmulti-party democracybefore implementing recommendations by a commissionchaired by Judge Francis Nyalali mandating the establishment of an Independent Electoral Commission and repealing of 40laws underminingnews media and political freedoms(Nyirabu, 2002).
As a result, four general electionswere conducted, in 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2010.CCMwonwith landslide victories in both presidential and parliamentary seats. For example, the 2010 elections saw the CCM winning the majority of seats in the parliamentas the opposition won only 22 percent or 80 seats out of 357 seats(Coulson, 2013).
The main opposition party CHADEMA accused CCM of manipulatingpresidential votes (uchakachuaji), and demanded writing of a new constitution which among others, would establish an independent electoral commission before the 2015 elections. Unsurprisingly, it did not happen because although in 2011 President JakayaKikwete formed a Constitution Commission chaired by Judge Joseph Warioba which collected views from the citizens countrywide and prepared the Draft Constitution. However,CCM members who constituted more than 80 percent of Constitutional Assembly,refused to endorse the citizens’ Draft Constitution(Nkya, 2014),
Interestingly,CCM’s refusal toadopt the citizens’ Proposed New Constitution saw four opposition parties-CHADEMA, CUF, NCCR-Mageuzi forming a Union of Citizens Constitution- UmojawaKatibayaWananchi (UKAWA) as a strategy to disrupt the power base of the CCM in elections.
Future possibility of endingpoverty
This year’s elections have attracted national and international attention for a number of reasons. Firstly, UKAWAhave filled single candidates for Presidential, Parliamentary and Councillorship posts. Secondly, two former Prime Ministers, Fredrick Sumaye and Edward Lowassa, a key CCM founderKingungeNgombaleMwiru, former Home Affairs minister Laurence Macha and ambassador JumaMwapachuare among CCM members who so far have abandoned CCM and are for UKAWA campaign theme—change (mabadiliko). Thirdly, arguably, citizens are tired of CCM empty promises.
Therefore, there is cutthroat competition between CCM and CHADEMA-UKAWA presidential candidates as well as candidates in junior posts.
However, the possibility of eradicating of poverty in Tanzania in the near future depends on the winner of 25 October elections. This is because while CHADEMA under UKAWA manifestoindicates that the coalition will write a new constitution based on the citizens’ proposed constitution, the CCM manifesto contains nothing on the matter.
A new constitution among other developments, will establish an independent electoral commission for conducting free and fair elections. In this way anypolitical party elected in futurewillwork harder to accomplish its promises as well as avoiding corruption and thievery of public funds and resources (ufisadi);practices which undermine efforts to end poverty in Tanzania.
Aman, F. (2015) WB hits govt for poor revenue collection [Medium].Place Published: The Guardian, Updated Last Update Date. [cited Access Date]. Available from: http://www.ippmedia.com/?l=81941.
Coulson, A. (2013) Tanzania: a political economy. Oxford University Press.
Gordon, D. (2005) Indicators of Poverty & Hunger. In: Expert Group meeting on youth development indicators. pp. 12-14.
Guardian, T. (2015) Human Development Report has invaluable lessons for us [Medium].Place Published: The Guardian, Updated Last Update Date. [cited Access Date]. Available from: http://www.ippmedia.com/?l=83738.
Makinda, S. M. (1996) Democracy and multi-party politics in Africa. The Journal of Modern African Studies, 34 (04), 555-573.
Mjimba, V. (2011) The nature and determinants of linkages in emerging minerals commodity sectors: a case study of gold mining in Tanzania. In: Unpublished working paper prepared for Making the Most of Commodities workshop.
Moyo, D. (2009) Dead aid: why aid makes things worse and how there is another way for Africa. London: Allen Lane.
Nkya, A. (2014) ‘Proposed Constitution not people-centred, bears no 50-50 representation’ [Medium].Place Published: The Guardian, Updated Last Update Date. [cited Access Date]. Available from: http://www.ippmedia.com/frontend/?l=73804.
Nyerere, J. (1979) Freedom and development:The Tanzanian experience. In: Coulson, A. (Ed.) African socialism in practice. Spokesman, pp. 27-35.
Nyirabu, M. (2002) The multiparty reform process in Tanzania: The dominance of the ruling party. African Journal of Political Science, 7 (2), 99-112.
Statistics, N. B. o. and Office of Chief Government Statistian , Z. (2013) The 2012 Population and Housing Census:Population distribution by administrative units key findings. Dar es Salaam: