Freedom in Libya- a view from Tanzania

We received a mass circulation email this week from Tanzania which set out the virtues of the fallen Libyan regime….it is interesting to see another perspective on this….here it is in full….:

1. There is no electricity bill in Libya; electricity is free for all its
citizens.

His Offence:
This makes it impossible for private western companies to operate in the
electricity sub-sector. Remember their ‘international community’s’ reaction
to the free education, health and water services policies of Mwalimu?

2. There is no interest on loans, banks in Libya are state-owned and loans
given to all its citizens at 0% interest by law.

His Offence:
How can a western bank operate in such an environment? Particularly
unforgivable is the insistence that ALL banks must be national!

3. Home considered a human right in Libya Gaddafi vowed that his parents
would not get a house until everyone in Libya had a home. Gaddafi’s father
has died while him, his wife and his mother are still living in a tent.

His Offence:
This puts him in a populist and radical nationalist category. Nationalism is
the opposite of globalisation, on the back of which liberal capitalism
flourishes!

4. All newlyweds in Libya receive $60,000 Dinar (US$50,000) by the
government to buy their first apartment so to help start up the family.
Traditional wedding in Tripoli, Libya

His Offence:
Same as above. After all, he’s able to finance this because he won’t allow
foreigners to ‘own’ and exploit Libya’s natural resources!

5. Education and medical treatments are free in Libya. Before Gaddafi only
25% of Libyans were literate. Today the figure is 83%.

His Offence:
He committed the same offence as Tanzania’s Nyerere, leading to sanctions
that forced the latter to retire because deteriorating standards of living
for the larger population.

6. Should Libyans want to take up farming career, they would receive farming
land, a farming house, equipment, seeds and livestock to kick-start their
farms- all for free.

His Offence:
All this is funded by oil revenue, which should have been for Western
companies!

7. If Libyans cannot find the education or medical facilities they need in
Libya, the government funds them to go abroad for it not only free but they
get US$2,300/month accommodation and car allowance.

His Offence:
As above! The more he has of such commitments, the more difficult it becomes
for Foreigners to access oil.

Moreover, Libya could become a bad of example for other Middle Eastern oil
producing countries. Look at what came of Venezuela!!

8. In Libyan, if a Libyan buys a car, the government subsidised 50% of the
price.

His Offence:
Wanting to show the world there can be an alternative to capitalism.

9. The price of petrol in Libya is $0.14 per litre.

His Offence:
Nationalising and keeping ALL oil under State ownership and control.
Otherwise, profit margins for oil companies would have made sure the price
of oil (when available) is substantially higher.

10. Libya has no external debt and its reserves amount to $150 billion now
frozen globally.
Great Man-Made River project in Libya $27 billion

His Offence:
Without debt, it is very difficult to influence Libya’s policies on
anything. It make a country really ‘independent’ of the ‘international
community’.

And, this kind of reserves are making it increasingly easy for him to
bankroll the African Union (and some African governments unfriendly to Sam),
making Western control of the AU difficult and costly.

11. If a Libyan is unable to get employment after graduation the state would
pay the average salary of the profession as if he or she is employed until
employment is found.

His Offence:
Populism; and pursuing policies that may suggest there is an alternative to
capitalism!

12. A portion of Libyan oil sale is, credited directly to the bank accounts
of all Libyan citizens.

His Offence:
Populism; and pursuing policies that may suggest there is a better
alternative to capitalism while denying western companies an opportunity to
milk the oil!

13. Every mother who gives birth to a child receives US$5,000.

His Offence:
See above!!

14. 40 loaves of bread in Libya costs $ 0.15!

His Offence:
Populism.

15. 25% of Libyans have a university degree:

His Offence:
Making education too cheap for nationals by footing most of the related
bills.

16. Gaddafi carried out the world’s largest irrigation project, known as the
Great Man-Made River project, to make water readily available throughout the
desert country.

His Offence:
Accomplishing such mega-sized projects without asking for the West’s
support, implying they can actually be irrelevant!!

Which other dictator has done much good to his people besides?

There can be no alternative to private sector led capitalism, pursued by a
State that has no Western minders!”

Advertisements

Create win-win partnerships- not academic tourism

We were at the Development Studies Association Conference at York University on 21st September  for a Panel on  “New Alliances in Higher Education: Europe and Africa”

Chair: Job Akuni (JEFCAS, University of Bradford, UK)

Discussant:  Dr Milton Obamba (Leeds Metropolitan University, UK)

Presenters:  Dr Anna Mdee (JEFCAS, University of Bradford, UK)

Professor Germain Ngoie Tshibambe (University of Lubumbashi, DRC)

Professor Faustin Kamzuora (Mzumbe University, Tanzania)

About the Panel:

This single session panel offered a critical analysis of the potential for partnerships between Higher Educational (HE) institutions in Europe and Africa to build new alliances in teaching and research. It explored how HE partnerships under certain conditions can enhance teaching and research capacity, transform curriculum and improve student skills and experience. In addition, the papers demonstrated how alliances between HE institutions can offer significant opportunities for internationalisation and cross-cultural learning. However, the presentations were critical of partnerships and argued that they can also be problematic in terms of differentials in resources and expectations, power relationships and a tendency towards ‘academic tourism’. Therefore, in this panel we brought together contributions from academics based in European and African institutions and presented rigorous and critical analyses of our institutional engagement with partnerships. The overall aim of the panel was to consider how such partnerships can be transformational in the context of expanding HE in Africa and public spending cuts in Europe.

Presentations

Dr. Anna Mdee examined the nature and function of higher education in Africa, and explored whether partnership between institutions in the Global North and South help to meet the current capacity challenge. After a critical exploration of the contemporary shifts taking place in higher education around the world and how this has been transforming academic and professional identities, Anna analysed the rationales that drive the process of ‘internationalization’ of higher education and argued that internationalisation and globalisation present both a challenge and an opportunity for the rapidly expanding systems of higher education in Africa. The paper examined the mechanics of how international partnerships might support the development of Higher Education institutions in Africa and the pitfalls and potentials of such collaborations. In conclusion, her presentation reflected on the ‘success’ story of the long-term collaborative relationship between the Universities of Bradford (UK) and Mzumbe (Tanzania).

Meanwhile, Professor Germain’s main focus was on how globalization has impacted higher education institutions in Africa in general and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in particular. He observed that HE institutions in the DRC are witnessing a crisis due to a reduction in state funding. Nevertheless, he asserts that international partnerships in higher education sector are filling in some gaps in the HE sector in the DRC. Despite the good intentions of the international partnerships, Germain argues that some of the ‘positive’ impact of collaboration clash with ‘local’ norms. In addition, his paper examined the dynamics in the context of the existing collaboration between the University of Lubumbashi and some Belgium Universities. Finally, Germain emphasised the need for new values and impetus for letting higher education institutions meet their functions which are relevant to the contemporary national and local society needs.

Lastly, Professor Kamuzora presentation traced the first recorded institutions known as a university to Africa (Fes in Morocco in 869 AD and Cairo in Egypt in 975AD). He examined the historical development of roles of universities in development and demonstrated how effective universities cannot be removed from society’s aspirations.  His paper argued that unless universities in developing countries embark on constant task of reviewing their relevance, they cannot serve their societies effectively. In addition, he noted that universities must constantly question themselves on the extent they are addressing public policies such sustainable development. Moreover, the paper outlines possible aspirations of such public policies such as the promotion of economic and industrial development, the eradication of poverty, the resolution of conflicts, enforcing rule of law and the optimum use of natural resources. Similarly, it asserted that universities in developing countries must inculcate liberation of mind and intellectual emancipation to their graduates.

Kamuzora’s paper employed institutional and knowledge management perspectives to demonstrate the potential role of universities in developing countries, using the case of Mzumbe University, in implementation of the development agenda while aiming to combat poverty in Tanzania. He used Mzumbe University motto of “Tujifunze Kwa Maendeleo Ya Watu” in his paper in discussing the the recent public policy, Kilimo Kwanza programme – a programmes designed to improve economic wellbeing of Tanzanians through enhanced agricultural productivity. In conclusion, the paper demonstrated how partnership between universities from the North with those in the South, if deployed carefully, can enhance the development agenda.

Discussions: Participants noted that although the benefits of higher education partnerships are enormous (internationalisation, multidisciplinarity, multiculturalism, etc), concerns were raised pertaining to the main motivation for partnerships between universities in Europe and Africa, how sustainable they can be and whether overemphasising international partnerships does not risk undermining intra-African universities partnerships. Nevertheless, the Bradford-Mzumbe universities partnership model provided a unique case that assuaged all the fears that the participants had about the challenges that HE partnership between Europe and Africa may pose.

Africa Study Visit in Rwanda: Day Ten

Tuesday morning’s session was given by students from NUR’s Student Club for Unity and Reconciliation (SCUR). The club currently has 200 members (some of whom we’d met the day before) and since its inception in 1999 has strived to live up to its name by engaging in a number of activities and programmes, such as school and prison visits that foster national unity. The presentation was given by the chairman of the students Club, and covered the club’s history, its current activities and achievements as well as its challenges. We then moved on to discuss as a group how SCUR could best address those challenges it faces.

Following the discussion, a small group of us visited NUR’s HIV/AIDS clinic. We were welcomed by the clinic’s staff who then gave us a tour of their facilities. They explained to us that they offer students and staff at the university free, discreet HIV testing and counselling services; distribute free condoms, and promote HIV/AIDS awareness through regular campaigns.

In the afternoon, we met the deputy Director of the Centre for Conflict Management. He described how CCM was created in 1999 as a way to address a knowledge gap in the field of genocide, peace and reconciliation studies in Rwanda, and in the Great Lakes Region as a whole. He also stressed that both NUR and CCM are firmly committed to their role as practical and academic contributors to the global eradication of ethnic hatred. To this end, they provide training and dialogue sessions for local organisations, contribute to a range of publications and are developing short courses in topics such as negotiation, mediation and gender.

In the evening, Birasa our programme coordinator from NUR very kindly invited us all to his house for dinner. For most of us (except John, obviously) it was our first visit to a Rwandan home. Thanks to the hospitality and generosity of Birasa and his wife Clariss, as well as their charming 2 year old son , we were made to feel at home straight away. And the food was fantastic – ‘the best we’ve had in Rwanda’ was the general consensus (the two Peters and Philip were especially happy with the foo-foo!). So thanks again to Birasa and his lovely family for a such fantastic evening!

Africa Study Visit in Rwanda: Day Eight & Nine

We’d arrived in Butare just before nightfall the evening before, staying in a hotel a short walk from the main campus of the National University of Rwanda. Our time in Butare is going to give us a chance to interact with Rwandan students and visit some NGOs.

We started our first day in Butare with a lecture by Professor Herman Musahara on the NUR’s role in post-genocide reconstruction. He not only told us about the role NUR academics had played in promoting genocide ideology but also about the university’s contributions to national unity and reconciliation since 1995. To help achieve this, the University created the Centre for Conflict management in response to the challenges raised in the post-genocide context. After the lecture, we had the opportunity to meet some of NUR’s students who then showed us around the extensive campus which not only has the usual academic buildings you’d expect at a University but also a forest that’s home to chimpanzees!

In the afternoon, we visited the Maraba Coffee Farming and Washing Stations, which is a cooperative project initiated by NUR. We were shown around by Jean-Marie whose passion for the project certainly rubbed off on us. He introduced us to ‘worm tea’ (which is a type of organic fertilizer), and encouraged us to listen to the sound happy, healthy worms make (squelchy noises, in case you were wondering!). We were also taken to see the coffee washing stations and the financial coordinator who outlined some of the financial and social benefits of the project. The visit definitely made us more aware of the extensive effort and enthusiasm that is put into coffee production!

Africa Study Visit in Rwanda: Day Six & Seven

On Friday afternoon, after we had managed to squeeze our luggage into the bus before our drive to Ruhengeri, we went to the Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission in Kigali. Here, Mr. Francis Musoni (Coordinator of the Rwanda Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission) told us that the programme’s goals are to contribute to peace in the region as well as helping to foster national unity. He also told us how Rwanda offers economic as well as social support to ex-combatants and their dependents in order to facilitate their reintegration. The information he gave us was very relevant as the next day we were going to visit the Mutobo demobilisation centre near Ruhengeri. But before we set off on the next leg of our journey, we had time to have a quick look round the Amahoro Stadium which played such an important role during the genocide.

It was dark (and rather chilly, compared to Kigali) when we arrived in Ruhengeri but it was great to see another part of the country. The next morning, we went to MUTOBO Demobilisation Centre which currently has nearly 250 ex-combatants taking part in a reintegration programme. Mr. Jean-Marie Turabumukiza told us about the Centre’s work and how the programme includes lessons on topics such as good governance and gender issues to entrepreneurial skills employment opportunities. We were then invited to hear testimonies from some of the ex-combatants. They welcomed us by singing and dancing – something we certainly weren’t expecting! We were also given the opportunity of breaking off into smaller groups so we could talk on a more individual basis to the former combatants who had all been part of military groups in eastern DRC. It was a memorable experience to speak on a one-to-one basis with them and to learn a little more about why they had decided to return to Rwanda. After photos we were once again treated to more singing – this time ‘goodbye’ song – and some impressive dancing (both by the ex-Ags and by some of our group who joined in with them).

Then it was time to hit the road once more – we were off to Gisenyi!

Africa Study Visit in Rwanda : Day Ten

Tuesday morning’s session was given by students from NUR’s Student Club for Unity and Reconciliation (SCUR). The club currently has 200 members (some of whom we’d met the day before) and since its inception in 1999 has strived to live up to its name by engaging in a number of activities and programmes, such as school and prison visits that foster national unity. The presentation was given by the chairman of the students Club, and covered the club’s history, its current activities and achievements as well as its challenges. We then moved on to discuss as a group how SCUR could best address those challenges it faces.

Following the discussion, a small group of us visited NUR’s HIV/AIDS clinic. We were welcomed by the clinic’s staff who then gave us a tour of their facilities. They explained to us that they offer students and staff at the university free, discreet HIV testing and counselling services; distribute free condoms, and promote HIV/AIDS awareness through regular campaigns.

In the afternoon, we met the deputy Director of the Centre for Conflict Management. He described how CCM was created in 1999 as a way to address a knowledge gap in the field of genocide, peace and reconciliation studies in Rwanda, and in the Great Lakes Region as a whole. He also stressed that both NUR and CCM are firmly committed to their role as practical and academic contributors to the global eradication of ethnic hatred. To this end, they provide training and dialogue sessions for local organisations, contribute to a range of publications and are developing short courses in topics such as negotiation, mediation and gender.

In the evening, Birasa our programme coordinator from NUR very kindly invited us all to his house for dinner. For most of us it was our first visit to a Rwandan home. Thanks to the hospitality and generosity of Birasa and his wife Clariss, as well as their charming 2 year old son , we were made to feel at home straight away. And the food was fantastic – ‘the best we’ve had in Rwanda’ was the general consensus. (The two Peters and Philip were especially happy with the foo-foo!) . So thanks again to Birasa and his lovely family for a such fantastic evening!

Africa Study Visit in Rwanda: Day Five

We started Day 5 (Thursday, 17th of March) of our Study Visit with a lecture on the Electoral Process in Rwanda which was presented by Professor Chrysologue Karangwa, Chairman of the Electoral Commission. He began with an overview of the history, functions and aims of the National Electoral Commission before telling us in more detail how elections for the upper and lower chambers of parliament are organised and how seats are distributed to ensure the principles of national unity, national interest and power sharing are met. We were very grateful to him for not only shedding light on the electoral process in the country, but also for answering our numerous questions despite having such a busy schedule.

Following the lecture, we visited Bosco School. This is the school that many of us knew about from watching the film ‘Shooting Dogs’ which tells the story of what happened at the school during the genocide. Today, it is no longer a school, but a vocational and technical training college called IPRC Kigali City. However, there are still reminders of its past, such as the UN vehicles abandoned there in 1994, and the plaques that act as a reminder of what happened and as a memorial to those who died. We were shown around the campus by Staff Members of the college and we discussed some of the issues with the Headteacher of the college who told us how the curriculum followed at the college aims to provide high quality training that will help students gain a firm foothold on the career ladder.

And then it was back to our lecture hall again. No time for lunch, because we certainly didn’t want to keep our next guest waiting – the Minister of Defence and National Security! General James Kabarebe gave us a lecture entitled ‘Security Dynamics in the Great Lakes Region of Africa: Promises and Perils.’ He started by giving us a historical perspective of Rwanda and the Great Lakes Region, before going to on Rwanda’s regional peacekeeping and peace building role, in DRC and beyond. As usual, we had a lot of questions (Peter especially given his interest in Eastern Congo) which ranged from the role of international law to reintegration and demobilisation. After ‘Question Time’, we moved on to the grass for photos and had the chance to chat more informally with General Kabarebe.

But our day didn’t finish there! In the evening, we were joined at the hotel by Rama Isibo, a journalist and media consultant. Yet again, we got so into our discussions that we didn’t finish until about 11 o’clock again. These late night conversations seem to becoming a habit!

Africa Study Visit in Rwanda: Day Four


Yet another busy day in Rwanda! Today’s theme focused on economic development in post-genocide Rwanda. Our first lecture was presented by Mr Leonard Rugwabiza, Director General of National Development Planning and Research Department from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning. He gave us an insightful lecture on the vital nature of economic development and the country’s innovative vision for 2020. After the lecture, Mr Rugwabiza very kindly invited us to take a tour of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning with him. We naturally accepted, and all really enjoyed looking around the ministry – we even bumped in to an alumnus from Bradford there!

In the afternoon, Joseph Kabakeza made a presentation on the role of the Diaspora in peace building and development in Rwanda. We heard about various diaspora and community development projects such as the ‘One dollar campaign’ and ‘Bye Bye Nyakatsi’ campaign which aim to provide houses for orphans and the poor. After yet another lengthy but extremely interesting question and answer session, we set off to our next meeting, at the Rwanda National Police headquarters. One of the first things that we all noticed after arrival in Rwanda was how well organized the police is and how safe it made us feel – whether in taxis or walking around. Inspector General – Emmanuel Gasana’s explain to us country’s policy and work, and gave us briefing on the security situation in the country (what is very useful considering our Visits to other regions of Rwanda in the week to come). During question and answer session, he also told us about the importance placed on police training, how they support community projects, and the methods they are using to combat the challenges they face. We really appreciated being given the opportunity to hear first hand from the Inspector General about the importance of the work of the police as an aspect of peace building and reconciliation efforts that are taking place in Rwanda.

Africa Study Visit in Rwanda: Day Three


For anybody who thinks that participants on a Study Visit have an easy time, then think again. Today we had a really packed, busy but extremely valuable day that started at 9 in the morning and ended at 11 at night! We were treated to a range of lectures and discussions on various topics yet we also found time to have fascinating conversations with some unexpected guests.

We started the day with a visit to the National Museum of Rwanda, that is located in Habyarimana’s house. Our wonderful tour guide shared lots of information and stories about the house and its history with us. We all enjoyed peeking at the remnants of presidential plane (that was shot down on 6th of April 1994 and went down directly to the compound of presidential residency); we visited also presidents’ private quarters and even saw President Habyarimana’s pet python’s swimming pool (the python was thankfully long since gone).

We then set off to our first lecture of the day which was held in our ‘own’ lecture room at the St. Paul Pastorale. It was given by Denis Bikesha from the National Service of Gacaca Courts and he told us more about the role they have played in transitional justice in post-genocide Rwanda. He provided us with an insight into the workings of the gacaca courts as well as the challenges faced and successes enjoyed by this form of justice. We took part in a very lively and interesting question and answer session, and once again, the lecture took up much more time than we’d anticipated.

The focus of our afternoon session was the role of the justice sector in post-war reforms in Rwanda. It was given by Alphonse Hitiyaremye and John Bosco from the Prosecutor General’s Office. They gave us an overview of how the prosecution system is organised and also how the justice sector has played such an important role in reconciliation.

Dodging the downpours, we then went for dinner at a Rwandese restaurant called Karibu where we enjoyed the company of two unexpected guests, Mrs Usta Kaitesi (a lecturer in faculty of Law at National University of Rwanda) and Dr Kazuyuki Sasaki. We were very grateful to them for sharing their vast experience and knowledge with us in an informal setting, but we had so many questions for Dr Sasaki that he kindly agreed to come back to our hotel to continue our discussions… until 11 o’clock at night!

Africa Study Visit in Rwanda: Day Two


In the morning we were introduced to a new, but very welcome, member of our group – Alex, our bus driver from Butare who will be accompanying us for the next two weeks on every trip that we will be taking.

We started our day by a Visit to the National Commission for the Fight against the Genocide. We met six staff members, who each deal with different aspects of work conducted by the Commission. The main presentation was made by Ildephonse Karengera (Director of Memory and Prevention of Genocide) and Chairman Jean de Dieu Mucyo took part in the question-and- answer session. Initially our lecture was scheduled to take an hour and a half, but in the end it was extended to twice that time, and even then we wished it could have been longer as there were still lots of questions we wanted to ask!

The discussion centred mostly on the issues of genocide education, commemoration of genocide, the role of genocide survivors in commemoration process, issues relating to history curriculum in Rwanda. As a group, and on an individual basis, we received an open invitation both to set up separate meetings with particular members of the Commission as well as being offered access to the library. This will be especially useful considering the wide range of academic interests within our group.

Our discussions were extremely insightful considering that an hour after our meeting in the Commission we all went for a tour at Kigali Memorial Centre. Some of the themes that we raised during our morning meeting were followed up and some were explored during our individual discussions with people working within different Departments of the In the morning we were introduced to a new, but very welcome, member of our group – Alex, our bus driver from Butare who will be accompanying us for the next two weeks on every trip that we will be taking.

Our second day in Kigali ended with an evening summary and discussion around a fire! Our emotions and thoughts regarding the day naturally varied from individual to individual; but we were all in total agreement that to experience the complexity of the issues facing Rwanda first hand is exceptionally valuable.

%d bloggers like this: