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Policy Thoughts

Political Stability and FDI in SADC: A Love-Hate Relationship

31 March, 2016

Foreign direct investment (FDI) is undoubtedly one of the most important factors for economic advancement in developed and developing economies alike. So what determines the levels of FDI flows into a country or region? Natural resource availability is one key factor that previous studies have identified, but so is political stability, with the assumption being that investors look for a stable environment in which their investments can be protected and nurtured. In this sense, the importance of regional blocs such as SADC in enhancing FDI flows to the region cannot be understated, especially in view of the assumption that in addition to expanding the size of the market, regionalism can promote political stability by restricting membership to countries with democratic political systems, as well as provide carrot-or-stick type of incentives for member countries to implement good policies.

Finding and Analyzing UN Security Council Resolutions with a New Database: Introducing a Custom Search Tool

28 March, 2016

When discussing conflict in Africa (or anywhere for that matter), there is an external agent that can’t be ignored: the United Nations Security Council. As established In the UN Charter, the Security Council is conferred with the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security by all United Nations member states. Accordingly, in the exercise of its functions, the Security Council authorizes military interventions, establishes peacekeeping missions, as well as imposing sanctions when it sees fit, among other decisions.

Islamism on the Rise in Africa

03 March, 2016

When Hassan al-Turabi, Africa’s leading proponent of political Islam and the man who hosted Osama bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders in Sudan in the 1990s, expresses concern regarding the rise of militant Islam in Africa, the world better pay attention. Interviewed by Yaroslav Trofimov of the Wall Street Journal, Hassan al-Turabi noted that these Islamists, “…want to hit, to struggle and destroy – but they do not want to build anything”(*1).

Infrastructure for Peace (I4P): Re-learning the Lessons of the Past

07 February, 2016

The median temperature in South Africa (SA) has been rising and I am not referring only to the heat wave that had been beleaguering the sub-continent for the past months. 2016 promises a steady rise in the political temperature with a possible forecast of a perfect political storm. Elements like crucial local government elections; ongoing service delivery protests; a crumbling economy; racial tension; a president beset with ethical problems and a restive civil society guarantees that thunder and lightning will be unavoidable!

The Phumaphi Commission Report to Lesotho: South African or SADC Agenda? Personal or Regional Politics?

06 February, 2016

There has been ambiguity in the word ‘recommendations’, and it seems the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has also been caught-up in this inexactness. This follows a statement made by SADC during its double troika summit in Gaborone comprising of Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. SADC issued a 14-day ultimatum prescribed by the regional body to Lesotho to “implement the Phumaphi Commission Report or face suspension from the regional body”. The Commission was expected to probe the killing of former Lesotho Army Commander Maaparankoe Mahao among other issues.

Japanese media and the lack of coverage of African news

31 January, 2016

International media seem to have little interest in events in Africa. Even such major media corporations as the BBC and the New York Times allocate no more than 9 percent of its international news to news from Africa(*1). But, among media outside Africa, the Japanese media seem to particularly fail in producing extensive reports on the region with only 2-3 percent of its international affairs being devoted to Africa.

Zambia`s Economic Crisis and the Political landscape leading to the 11 August 2016 Elections

11 January, 2016

The economic woes of the world's second largest economy and Africa's largest bilateral trading partner – China – are causing alarm throughout the globe, with Africa not spared the turmoil. The plunging stock markets and the devaluation of the Yuan has increased concerns by most African countries, regarding the effects on the demand for oil, gold, copper and other resources, as the devaluation is depressing global commodity prices.

Mozambique’s former President Chissano to the Academic Community: Natural Resources Should Not Overshadow Agriculture

07 December, 2015

Mozambique's former President, Joaquim Chissano, spoke on 30 November to a mostly academic audience at the Institute for Transport and Communication in Maputo, commemorating the 40 years of independence of that country. The former President took note of the discovery of reserves of gas and coal in northern Mozambique, but urged Mozambicans to not overlook the agriculture sector. He said “agriculture is at the core of Mozambique’s development, around 70% of the Mozambican population make a living out of agriculture”. He stressed the need to build stronger synergies with other actors including academia. Given that most of the audience were students, professors or researchers, he emphasized the need to build effective educational institutes and technical schools with a focus on local realities. He criticized senior technicians in the agriculture sector and ineffective approaches in providing solutions to local problems, stating that “it is inconceivable that an agronomist in Maputo is afraid to work the land and would want to wash his hands as soon as he touches the soil, it is almost as if a veterinarian is afraid of an ox”.

Why Religious Conflict Will Intensify in Africa

03 December, 2015

This past week, Pope Francis conducted a six-day tour of the African continent that took him to Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic. The latter, in particular, has been experiencing violent clashes between Muslims and Christians. In this context, the visit by the pontiff to a mosque in the Central African Republic was highly symbolic of the need to reach across the religious divide if sustainable peace is to be achieved on this troubled continent.

If it bleeds it leads? Distant Media Coverage of the Peace Process in Angola

18 November, 2015

'If it bleeds, it leads'. This is an oft-used axiom used to describe what is broadly seen as a tendency by the news media to attempt to attract and and maintain an audience by focusing disproportionately on sensational news of violence, at the expense of less dramatic but equally important news. The consumers of the news, and, more importantly, the respresentatives of the news media themselves, instinctively refer to this as a given. But is it really so simple? In the context of armed conflict, can we simply assume that media interest in a particular conflict quickly fades away as the ink dries on a freshly signed peace deal?

Al Shabaab and Islamic State

09 November, 2015

The audio recording appeared at the end of October 2015 on YouTube, “We, the mujahideen of Somalia, declare allegiance to the caliph as Ibrahim ibn Awad ibn Ibrahim al-Awad al-Qurashi”. With this pledge of allegiance, Al Shabaab commander Abdiqadir Mumin and 20 of his fighters in the Puntland[2] region of Somalia defected to Islamic State[1]. Some commentators have pointed out that those defecting represent only a handful of Al Shabaab fighters. After all, Al Shabaab has several thousand fighters. Moreover, the 20 who defected formed part of a group of 300 fighters encamped in the Galgala Hills in Puntland . Statistically then, the 20 fighters represents a minuscule amount of support for Islamic State amongst Al Shabaab.

Remembrance of Mueda’s Martyrs and National Unity in Mozambique

07 July, 2015

June is not only the beginning of the cool season in Mozambique but it is also a month that brings up strong memories over the country’s struggle for independence. On 16 June, President Nyusi spoke at the commemoration ceremony for the Mueda’s martyrs in Cabo Delgado in front of a crowd of hundreds that gathered at the scene of the killings. As every year, a theatre play version of the massacre is also performed in remembrance of the Mueda’s martyrs.

ISIS in Libya: Critical Reflections by Hussein Solomon

05 September, 2015

Following the fall of the Gaddafi regime, ISIS has made use of the political vacuum and chaos which has engulfed this North African country to grow its franchise here. Libya, then, is in desperate need for a functioning central authority. It should be noted however that the divide is not merely between the two rival administrations in Tripoli and Tobruk but also the various clan militias operating throughout the country – each with its own little fiefdom. At last count (in August 2015) there were a staggering 1,700 militias in this strife-torn country[1]. Thus, once the primary fault-line between the two rival administrations in Tripoli and Tobruk is overcome, it is imperative that these rival militias are coerced or cajoled to disband and become part of a new national armed force. This, of course, cannot occur without the support of the international community. Unfortunately unity talks brokered by the UN have ended in failure whilst local militias continue to hold sway over vast swathes of Libyan territory. These conditions of anarchy will continue to benefit ISIS as it entrenches its position on Libyan soil.

What Went Wrong in Just Two-and-a-Half Years? A Regime in Question by M. K. Mahlakeng

24 August, 2015

The SADC Commission of Inquiry to Lesotho, under Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s request, has widened its terms of references to look at the role of former Prime Minister Tom Thabane’s two-and-a-half year coalition regime in the security and constitutional ills of Lesotho. On 3 July following the death of Brigadier Maaparankoe Mahao, SADC held an Extraordinary Summit of the Double Troika and later established an Independent Commission of Inquiry chaired by Botswana High Court Judge Mpaphi Phumaphi to look into the security and constitutional status of Lesotho which has deteriorated in the past two years.

The Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone: Did the international community tackle the issue properly? by Shu Uchida

20 August, 2015

The first Ebola virus disease (EVD) case in Sierra Leone was reported in a small village on the border with Guinea in March 2014, and by 9 August 2015 the number of reported Ebola cases had grown to 13,470 (WHO). In Sierra Leone alone, 3,951 people were killed by this disease (WHO).

Mali: A More Optimistic View by Hussein Solomon

15 August, 2015

Given recent headlines this week, it may be easy to grow despondent regarding developments in Mali. After all, this week witnessed an attack on Gourma-Rharous, 140 kilometres east of Timbuktu which resulted in 11 members of Mali’s National Guard killed and four vehicles destroyed[1].

Lesotho: A Fight Against a Mutiny Attempt by M. K. Mahlakeng

23 July, 2015

Since May 2015, following the reinstatement of Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli as the commander of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF), there have been rumours of a plot to overthrow the army leadership. And subsequently, there has been an ongoing operation to probe a suspected mutiny in the army in line with the LDF Act of 1996. According to Major Bulane Sechele (Operation Commander), “the LDF conducted a special operation after it uncovered a mutiny plot by some of its members”.

Kamuzu Banda’s Legacy: Eighteen Years after His Demise by Harvey C.C. Banda

01 June, 2015

14 May was a very popular day during the one party regime in Malawi. It was a day when Malawians from all walks of life, whether they liked or not, commemorated the birthday of the then His Excellency the Life President Ngwazi Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda (may his soul rest in peace). This year, like most years during the multi-party dispensation, this day passed largely unnoticed. In fact, 14th May is no longer a public holiday in Malawi. 2015 marks eighteen years since his passing in 1997. In this article I reflect in passing on the legacy of Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda in the history of Malawi. I argue that although Kamuzu Banda, like any other human being, had his own weaknesses and strengths, politically he left behind a resounding and lasting legacy.

Xenophobia, Immigration and Pan-Africanism by Shamiso Marange

30 April, 2015

The ongoing xenophobic attacks by South Africans against African immigrants should be a wake-up call for Africans leaders. There is of course, no justification whatsoever for the hooliganism, violence and inhumane attacks being perpetrated against the foreigners in South Africa. Especially in this day and age in which open discourse, petitions and peaceful protests are among the instruments at the disposal of the citizens in a ‘democratic’ state like South Africa in expressing their plight and whatever displeasure they may feel at the influx of foreigners in their country.

Where From? Where To? Malawian Migrants in the Wake of the April 2015 Xenophobic Attacks by Harvey C.C. Banda

08 May, 2015

Much has been written on the plight of immigrants from various African countries resident in South Africa following the eruption of xenophobic attacks in April 2015. These attacks started in Durban or Kwazulu-Natal area, especially following the so-called xenophobic sentiments expressed by King Goodwill Zwelithini. Barely a few days after such sentiments a horde of South Africans rushed out, attacking foreigners and looting their shops demanding that they “go back home”. This was sensationally described in the print media in South Africa as “looting for our king!”

‘Xenophobia’ and Being a ‘Proud’ Citizen in Post-Apartheid South Africa by Sayaka Kono

13 May, 2015

Much has been written on the plight of immigrants from various African countries resident in South Africa following the eruption of xenophobic attacks in April 2015. These attacks started in Durban or Kwazulu-Natal area, especially following the so-called xenophobic sentiments expressed by King Goodwill Zwelithini. Barely a few days after such sentiments a horde of South Africans rushed out, attacking foreigners and looting their shops demanding that they “go back home”. This was sensationally described in the print media in South Africa as “looting for our king!”

South Africa and the Islamic State by Hussein Solomon

10 April, 2015

This past week, South African media and social networking sites paid a great deal of attention to a story emanating from Cape Town. A 15-year-old girl was taken off a British Airways flight on her way to join the Islamic state. South Africa’s State Security Minister David Mahlobo confirmed that the country’s intelligence services were investigating the manner in which the girl was recruited and how she managed to obtain funds to pay for the airfare.

“National History” and Local Perspective: Thoughts on the Death of T. K. Mopeli by Sayaka Kono

10 March, 2015

Tsiame Kenneth Mopeli passed away on 10 October 2014. He was the first and the only Chief Minister in the former Bantustan or “homeland” called Qwaqwa in the Eastern Free State of South Africa from 1975 to 1994. His death became news among local Africans because of both positive and negative perceptions of his contribution to community development and the liberation struggle. Here, I will try to discuss an issue associated with the ongoing South African nation-building process, which can be seen from the local perspective of T. K. Mopeli.

斬首と報道機関:何故、特定の紛争における残虐行為にのみ報道が集中するのか、by Virgil Hawkins (翻訳:内田州)

27 February 2015

2014年8月,ある過激派武装組織の捕虜1名が,同組織の構成員により斬首された。犠牲者の母国政府は,この行為が非人道的且つテロ行為であると述べた。同事件は,現地報道機関及び極限られた国際報道機関により手短に報じられたものの,国際メディアの関心を集めることは殆どなく,義憤が広まる兆候もなかった。この犠牲者の名は,ジョージ・ムワイッタ。彼は,ケニアでソマリア反政府組織「アル・シャバブ」により誘拐されたケニア人トラック運転手であった。彼の死は,同様の事件の三日後に発生していた。同様の事件とは,シリアのIS(the Islamic State)により,米国人ジャーナリストのジェームズ・フォリーが斬首されたものであり,この事件は世界中のメディアの関心を集め,その余波が世界を駆け巡るかと思われた。

The ANC at 103 by Hussein Solomon

11 January 2015

As South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) celebrates its 103rd anniversary this weekend in Cape Town, political and economic prospects for the country have never looked bleaker under the ANC’s 21 years of misrule. Corruption has become increasingly institutionalized in the country under the ANC. Moreover, those seeking to expose such corruption have paid a horrendous price. The vilification of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela for her courageous report on the Nkandla scandal which witnessed R240 million of taxpayer money siphoned off to upgrade President Jacob Zuma’s private residence is a case in point. The recent axing of Lieutenant-General Anwa Dramat from his post, meanwhile, seems designed to protect the financial interests of President Zuma, his family and business partners.

Zimbabwe: ZANU PF Congress 2014 by Shamiso Marange

18 December 2014

Joice Mujuru’s fall from grace leaves yet another dent in the political history of Zimbabwe. Ms. Mujuru, 59, the first female Vice President in the country, along with eight ministers aligned to her faction found themselves displaced in an effort by President Mugabe to purge factionalism from his Zimbabwe African Nationalist Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU PF). A first in the 51 years of party’s existence.

Clickbait and stereotpyes: Media coverage of the DR Congo, by Virgil Hawkins

01 November 2014

On 31 October, Reuters released an article headlined “Congo crowd kills man, eats him after militant massacres: witnesses”. The killing was reported as being motivated by revenge for a series of attacks and massacres perpetrated by the Allied Democratic Forces and National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (ADF-NALU) – the victim was apparently suspected of belonging to this rebel group. The incident was described in just one-fifth (roughly 100 words) of the article, with a single reference stating that the victim's corpse had allegedly been eaten, according to “witnesses”. The vast majority of the article, however (roughly 400 words) is not about this apparent killing. It instead details the recent movements (primarily political and military) related to the conflict between the ADF-NALU and the DRC government.

Mozambican elections: Little to cheer about, by Hussein Solomon

18 October 2014

More than 10 million Mozambicans are eligible to vote in this week’s presidential, parliamentary and provincial elections taking place across 17,000 polling stations in the country. At the presidential level, the race is between Frelimo’s Feilipe Nyusi, the former Minister of Defence, Renamo’s Afonso Dhlakama and the Mozambique Democratic Movement’s (MDM) Daviz Simango.

The Comoros Islands: Interlinked domestic, regional and global security issues, by Virgil Hawkins

30 September 2014

Don't be fooled by the relatively small size of the country, and its virtual absence from media coverage and discussions on peace and security in the region and beyond. The Comoros archipelago, situated in the Mozambique Channel, has a host of complex security issues that make it very relevant.

Deception or disclosure? Political developments in Zambia, by Maximilian Mainza

29 August 2014

Deception is the livelihood of the political system. A system which claims to work for the best interests of the people, while in fact largely working for corporate special interests, is riddled with deception strategies. The deception strategies of false promises, false enemies, pushing the fear button, hidden agendas and general secrecy are a common age old, worldwide problem. The political system, with great help from mainstream media, is designed, it would seem, to foster mass deception rather than expose it. Its success has led to more corruption, war, economic catastrophe and oppression than any other single cause. Deception depends on the notion that because while you can’t fool all of the people all of the time, you can fool most of the people most of the time, with the right political 'skills'.

Malawi at fifty: Celebrating independence amidst political and socioeconomic anxieties by Harvey C. C. Banda

22 July 2014

On 6th July 2014 Malawi clocked fifty years since the attainment of independence from her former colonial master, Britain. As is the case in many African countries, scholars have long debated the question of independence - whether or not (in this case) Malawi got genuine independence. The dominant view is that Malawi, just like most African countries, got political and not economic independence! In other words, Africa never got weaned from her ‘colonial master’ mother. A situation that is worse off than the common chicken-chick scenario. Yet even the so-called political independence leaves a lot to be desired: there is a lot of political bickering and undue in-fighting among people who are entrusted with the responsibility to administer development. Shameful indeed. In this article, I take a swipe over Malawi’s fifty year independence period with a view to predict what lies ahead bearing in mind that ‘history repeats itself’. I argue that despite being independent for fifty years, based on what is obtaining on the ground politically and socio-economically, it is as if Malawians have only been independent half that time. Quite amazing!

15 June 2014

April 2012 - another “semi-successful” coup d’état in a fully failed state - this seems to be the never-ending story of Guinea Bissau.

On this occasion, the presence of the Angolan Military Mission in Guinea Bissau – MISSANG – appeared to be the prime trigger for the event. But we can also observe that this was in fact only a tool used by the coup plotters to interrupt the current electoral process.

03 June 2014

The world is witnessing a resurgence of a cult of origins with an emphasis on virulent ethnic and religious identities. The thorny issue of independence for ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine and the killings of Muslims and Christians in the Central African Republic illustrate the problem well.

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