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AfricaFocus Bulletins with Material on Politics and Human Rights - 2007

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Oct 30, 2007  South Africa: RIP Lucky Dube
    "The tragic death [of Lucky Dube] shocked reggae adherents across the continent. Since the news of his death was announced on Friday, his legion of fans in The Gambia and abroad, jammed radio stations and media houses, with calls expressing shock and dismay at the violent killing of their hero. ... [he sang] many crime related songs and has died by the crime that he helped to fight, through music." - Daily Observer, Banjul

Oct 8, 2007  Africa: Ibrahim Governance Index
    "What we're trying to say is that at the end, governance is reflected in what is delivered to people. .. We are not commenting on the policies. ...Policies should reflect in goods delivered to people. We're trying to capture it [this way] instead of going through this endless discussion about policies - what is good, what is bad - which becomes, at the end of the day, very subjective." - Mo Ibrahim

Sep 23, 2007  Zimbabwe: A Regional Solution?
    "Six months before scheduled elections, Zimbabwe is closer than ever to complete collapse. ... An initiative launched by the regional intergovernmental organisation, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), to facilitate a negotiated political solution offers the only realistic chance to escape a crisis that increasingly threatens to destabilise the region. But SADC must resolve internal differences about how hard to press into retirement Robert Mugabe ... and the wider international community needs to give it full support." - International Crisis Group

Sep 23, 2007  Zimbabwe: Pan African Response
    "For anybody genuinely concerned about the future of Africa there can be no politics of convenience. To be sure, the Zimbabwean crisis is not the only crisis in Africa ... [But it] is arguably the only ongoing crisis in which one side (the incumbent government) and its supporters have mobilised African support and silenced many by asserting more or less that its critics are sympathisers, supporters or agents of foreign interests and former colonial masters. This has wrongly narrowed the framework of the debate on the Zimbabwean crisis." - Rotimi Sankore

Aug 28, 2007  Asia/Africa: Ubuntu and Sangsaeng
    "'Business as usual' is inappropriate, if humankind and creation are to survive on planet Earth. The prevailing development trajectory leads to destruction. ... But this is only one side of the coin.... [Those] who have realized the life-threatening consequences of the prevailing growth-oriented economic development paradigm are re-discovering the wisdom and life-affirming values of their own cultures and civilizations." World Council of Churches general secretary Samuel Kobia

Aug 10, 2007  China/Africa: Civil Society Meeting
    "In China, attitudes toward Darfur are evolving rapidly - so that instead of being part of the problem, it could play a significant role in the solution. ... China does not want to be perceived globally as a defender of authoritarian regimes that perpetrate or are oblivious to human suffering." - Gareth Evans and Donald Steinberg

Jul 1, 2007  Zimbabwe: Call for SADC Action
    Over 100 human rights groups, mainly in Africa, have urged South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki and other SADC leaders to put human rights at the center of any mediation efforts on the Zimbabwe crisis. The appeal was initiated by Amnesty International, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights,

May 14, 2007  Nigeria: Fair and Square?
    Local and most foreign observers are united that the elections were "fundamentally flawed". ... The Transition Monitoring Group, TMG, that deployed 50,000 monitors across the country has not only condemned the widespread irregularities variously reported about the election it has gone further than any other group of monitors by categorically calling for a cancellation of the results and a rerun of the vote." - Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem (

May 14, 2007  Nigeria: Election Aftermath
    Militant groups in the Niger Delta have stepped up attacks on oil installations following last month's election. Since the beginning of May, pipelines have been sabotaged and at least 29 foreign oil workers have been kidnapped. A spokesman for the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) warned that attacks would continued until the government opened a dialogue about restoring the oil wealth to the people in the region.

Mar 31, 2007  Africa: Citizenship Rights
    "On March 6, 1957, the independence of Ghana promised for all Africans and our communities a new era of citizenship in full dignity and equality with the rest of humanity. 50 years later, ... this promise remains unfulfilled. African governments remain unable or unwilling to fully assure, respect and guarantee effective citizenship in our continent." - Tajudeen Abdulraheem, Dismas Nkunda, & Chidi Anselm Odinkalu

Mar 26, 2007  Zimbabwe: The End of "Quiet Diplomacy"?
    "Southern Africa is 'finally' assuming leadership in trying to resolve the burning Zimbabwean crisis on their doorstep, but it has been a long time coming, said analysts ... The Southern African Development Community (SADC), which has pushed for an approach of 'quiet diplomacy' to the Zimbabwean crisis, has increasingly come under fire for failing to wield any influence." - IRIN, March 23, 2007

Feb 18, 2007  Guinea (Conakry): State of Siege
    Army violence against civilians has escalated after declaration of a state of siege in Guinea (Conakry) on February 12, despite condemnation of the move by leaders of the West African regional organization ECOWAS and the African Union, as well as local and international non-governmental organizations. Fears are mounting that the violence may not only undermine hopes of change in Guinea itself, but also fuel further conflict in Guinea's neighbors.

Jan 31, 2007  Guinea (Conakry): Status Quo Continued
    "After a cloudy sky, the great social storm that broke over Guinea, menacing the established regime, did not succeed in sweeping away the General-President. ... A great disillusionment, at the end of the day: the Conté page has not been turned and the recent popular demonstrations riots have not sounded the sunset of the Conté era." - Le Pays, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso