The only solution to Africa problems is the formation of United States of Africa. You don’t need to be a genius to know that unity is strength. The more we are divided the more vulnerable we are to abuse and exploitation. The enemy of the African people had not changed. What has changed is the method and language used.
The real reason why the enemy of the African people will never change is that, Africa still has raw materials which the enemy wants, Africa still has cheap labour and Africa can still sell to the world at the price decided by the enemy. Cecil John Rhodes summarized this honestly when he said.
“In order to avoid civil war in England, you need to be imperialist. The moment Britain or the west will stop exploiting and oppressing Africa, there shall be revolution or what Mr. Rhodes call civil war in Britain or in the western world. In order to maintain the status quo, the Africans need to be controlled.
In the beginning, there was slavery, and then Colonialism now is neo-colonialism. The west will never accept that Africa is under neo-colonial control. The system they have is neo-liberalism or Free market economy. From the west point of view the problems Africa is facing are caused by corrupt African leaders. This school of thought is supported by some African intellectuals and Academics.
If we have closer look at all African leaders from Cape to Cairo, they are all creation of western Imperialism. In the south when Thabo Mbeki stated to be more African and spoke about African Renaissance, he was immediately replaced by someone who had never been to school! Someone who can be easily be controlled. Remember Mbeki is a highly intelligent person who did his economic studies in Britain and military training in Russia. Mbeki cannot be fooled, so a master plan was designed to remove him and it looked it was the A N C which was recalling him.
Julius Malema who was used as a tool to remove Mbeki, lived to regret his deeds. This people are good at blaming the victim. We know who master minded his down fall and why, His crime was to connect poverty and HIV/AIDS and secondly to talk about Africa Renaissance or Africa Rebirth. In the western mind set, an Independent African is the most dangerous African on the planet. In the west world view, a good African is the one who deny his Africaness and embrace western way of life.
So the western countries will always make sure that every African leader is created in their own image not in the image of God as is supposed to be. Another case in point is Mugabe, who was created by western countries. In 1980 Britain made possible for Mugabe to win elections against Nkomo. Nkomo was regarded as pro-Moscow, and from the start Mugabe was the darling of the west. When Mugabe massacred twenty thousand Zimbabweans, western countries said nothing.
They did not mind about the death of the Africans as long Mugabe was allowing white Zimbabweans to export organic fruits and vegetables to her majesty the Queen for breakfast. Remember Mugabe was given one of the highest medals for good leadership by the Queen of England! The irony is that when you are praised by the western countries you should know that your people are suffering.
Zimbabwean workers were under paid and they formed MMD. It is at this point that Mugabe realized that he will soon lose power and the west will not save him, he decided to take land from the white Zimbabweans and overnight he became an irresponsible leader, the rest is history as they say.
We can give so many examples to illustrate how the west always wants their puppet to rule us. Up north in Egypt, a democratically elected president was toppled in a coup and the American secretary of state John Kerry went on CNN and told the world that the army in Egypt saved democracy by staging a coup. President Morsi’s crime was just that he was a Muslim president. Muslims are known to be independent minded and are not easily controlled.
Back home we know how Khama was forced to leave the army in order to save the BDP from losing power. We are told DeBeers master minded the plan to hire a consultant who recommended that BDP must look for someone who will eject life into BDP otherwise the opposition BNF will win elections. Who is De Beers to decide for Batswana which party should rule them? This recommendation was supported by many BDP leaders. Remember De Beers was doing all these in the best interest of western powers.
They did all this because they couldn’t say no to anything from the west. Apart from this political control, there is also cultural control as Richard W. Gillett put it, the new era of globalism is its insinuation of western cultural values into worldwide commercial ventures; a global convergence whereby consumers worldwide are pushed to adopt North America and European mass consumption habits of fast food, fashion and footwear; toys; the latest entertainment trends in music, movies, and electronic games and other commodities.
Implicit in this new cultural homogenization is a crude but powerful western value system: Happiness lies in consumption of every kind. All this is continually reinforced by watching television, where the power and seduction of global advertising gains sophistication and penetration year by year.
All this is done in the name of globalization. However sometimes we fail to difference between globalism and globalization from globalism, which according to Ulrich Beck is the ideology of rule by world market or the ideology of neo-liberalism. There is nothing wrong with globalization but what is happening in Africa is globalism.
The nature of present-day globalization is capitalism. What is particularly distinctive about capitalism is its focus on profit seeking and accumulation of capital and private ownership of the means of production. Classical economists like Adam Smith and David Ricardo believed that free trade, not controlled by state or tradition, leads to the most efficient use of land, labour and capital. Present day neo-classical economists ground their support of capitalist globalization in this view.
However Beverly Harrison argues this is not true because what is distinctive about capitalism is neither unrestricted markets nor the existence of private property per se. Rather its distinctive feature is the private control of the means of production, namely resource, machines, and other people’s labour. What it means is that the capitalists will never invest their money in the interest of the Africans but there are here to make profit. So the under capitalism called foreign investments, unemployment in Africa will always be high and wages will be very low.
For capitalism to survive it needs an ideology, and this is neo-liberalism. According to economist Susan George neo liberalism came to ascendancy in the late 1970s through the work of a highly efficient ideological Cadre based on the work university of Chicago philosopher – economist Friedrich Von Hayek and students of his like Milton Friedman.
The central value of neo liberalism is competition, which is best expressed through “Free Market”. According to Pamela K. Brubaker, The ideas and policies in standard neo liberal tool kit have to do with the market, the state, Corporations, unions and citizens.
The market is to make major social and political decisions. The state should voluntarily reduce its role in the economy. Corporations are to have complete freedom. Unions are too restrained and citizens given much less rather than more social protection. One of the greatest achievements of neo liberalism’s proponents is that they have made neo liberalism seem as if it was the natural and normal conditions of humankind.
These seem as if there are no other options, which is not true. Some scholars and activists charge that this form of globalization is actually a re-colonization of the south by the north. Susan George contends that we should stop talking about privatization and use words that tells the truth: we are talking about alienation and surrender of the product of decade of work by thousands of people to a tiny ministry of large investors.
My argument is that Africa would not survive this western destruction unless and until Africa unite. We cannot afford to be turned into market societies in Africa. We have our African values, norms and tradition, which make us a people. We must never accept American hegemony on us. As Tom Mboya said, the colonial power may have retreated, but the inheritance of colonialism has still to be fought, in the shape of poverty, ignorance and disease.
The world is witnessing the accelerating domination of an all engulfing global capitalism whose sole ethic is the market. What has been called the commoditisation of all life. In Kiswahili they say,” Mgeni Siku Mbili; Sikutatu mpe jembe”, meaning Treat your guest as a guest for two days; on the third day give him a hoe!
In Africa the belief that we are all sons and daughters of the soil, has always exercised tremendous influence on our social, economic and political relationships. From this belief springs the logic and practice of equality, and acceptance of communal ownership of the vital means of life, the land. The hoe! is to us the symbol of work. Every able bodied man and woman girl and boy, has always worked.
There has been equality of opportunity, for everyone had land or rather, the use of land and hoe at the start of life. The acquisitive instinct which is largely responsible for the vicious excesses and exploitation under the capitalist system was tempered by a sense of togetherness and a rejection of graft and meanness. There were a loyalty to the society, and society gave its members much in return, a sense of security and universal hospitability. These are the values for which in my view Africa should strive for and achieve. And Africa can only do that and achieve that when Africa Unite.
This is a question that should seriously exercise the mind of every Botswana citizen and every science researcher, every health worker and every political leader political.
The Covid-19 currently defines our lives and poses a direct threat to every aspect and every part of national safety, security and general well-being. This disease has become a normative part of human life throughout the world.
The first part of the struggle against the murderous depredation of this disease was to protect personal life through restrictive health injunctions and protocols; the worst possibly being human isolation and masks that hid our sorrows and lamentations through thin veils. We suffered that humiliation with grace and I believe as a nation we did a great job.
Now the vaccines are here, ushering us into the second phase of this war against the plague; and we are asking ourselves, is this science-driven fight against Covid-19 spell the end of pandemic anxiety? Is the health nightmare coming to an end? What happy lives lie ahead? Is this the time for celebration or caution? As the Non State Actors, we have being struggling with these questions for months.
We have published our thoughts and feelings, and our research reviews and thorough reading of both the local and international impacts of this rampaging viral invasion in local newspapers and social media platforms.
More significantly, we have successfully organised workshops about the impact of the pandemic on society and the economy and the last workshop invited a panel of health experts, professionals, and public administers to advance this social dialogue as part of our commitment to the tripartite engagement we enjoy working with Government of Botswana, Civil Society and Development partners. These workshops are virtual and open to all Batswana, foreign diplomatic missions based in Gaborone, UN agencies located in Gaborone and international academic researchers and professional health experts and specialists.
The mark of Covid-19 on our nation is a painful one, a tragedy shared by the entire human race, but still a contextually painful experience. Our response is fraught with grave difficulties; limited resources, limited time, and the urgency to not only save lives but also avert economic ruin and a bleak future for all who survive. Several vaccines are already in the market.
Parts of the world are already doing the best they can to trunk the pestilential march of this disease by rolling out mass-vaccinations campaigns that promise to evict this health menace and nightmare from their public lives. Botswana, like much of Africa, is still up in the disreputable, and, unenviable, preventative social melee of masked interactions, metered distances, contactless commerce.
We remain very much at the mercy of a marauding virus that daily runs amuck with earth shattering implications for the economy and human lives. And the battle against both infections and transmissions is proving to be difficult, in terms of finance, institutional capacities and resource mobilization. How are we prepared as government, and as citizens, to embrace the impending mass-vaccinations? What are the chances of us succeeding at this last-ditch effort to defeat the virus? What are the most pressing obstacles?
Does the work of vaccines spell an end to the pandemic anxieties?
Our panellists addressed the current state of mass-vaccination preparedness at the Botswana national level. What resources are available? What are the financial, institutional and administrative operational challenges (costs and supply chains, delivery, distribution, administering the vaccine on time, surveillance and security of vaccines?) What is being done to overcome them, or what can be done to overcome them? What do public assessments of preparedness tell us at the local community levels? How strong is the political will and direction? How long can we expect the whole exercise to last? At what point should we start seeing tangible results of the mass-vaccination campaign?
They also addressed the challenges of the anticipated emerging Vaccinated Society. How to fight the myths of vaccines and the superstitions about histories of human immunizations? What exactly is being done to grow robust local confidence in the science of vaccinations and the vaccines themselves? More significantly, how to square these campaigns vis-vis personal rights, moral/religious obligations?
What messages are being sent out in these regards and how are Batswana responding? What about issues of justice and equality? Will we get the necessary vaccines to everyone who wants them? What is being done to ensure no deserving person is left behind?
They also addressed issues of health data. To accomplish this mass-vaccination campaign and do everything right we need accurate and complete data. Poor data already makes it very hard to just cope with the disease. What is being done to improve data for the mass-vaccination campaign? How is this data being collected, aggregated and prepared for real life situation/applications throughout Botswana in the coming campaign?
We know in America, for example, general reporting and treatment of health data at the beginning of vaccinations was so poor, so chaotic and so scattered mainstream newspapers like The Atlantic, Washington Post and the New York Times had to step in, working very closely with civil society organizations, to rescue the situation. What data-related issues are still problematic in Botswana?
To be specific, what kind of Covid-19 data is being taken now to ready the whole country for an effective and efficient mass-vaccination program?
Batswana must be made aware that the end part of vaccination will just mark the beginning of a long journey to health recovery and national redemption; that in many ways Covid-19 vaccination is just another step toward the many efforts in abeyance to fight this health pandemic, the road ahead is still long and painful.
For this purpose, and to highlight the significance of this observation we tasked our panellists with the arduous imperative of analysing the impact of mass-vaccination on society and the economy alongside the pressing issues of post-Covid-19 national health surveillance and rehabilitation programs.
Research suggests the aftermath of Covid-19 vaccination is going to be just as difficult and uncertain world as the present reality in many ways, and that caution should prevail over celebration, at least for a long time. The disease itself is projected to linger around for some time after all these mass-vaccination campaigns unless an effort is made to vaccinate everyone to the last reported case, every nation succeeds beyond herd immunity, and cure is found for Covid-19 disease. Many people are going to continue in need of medications, psychological and psychiatric services and therapy.
Is Botswana ready for this long holdout? If not, what path should we take going into the future? The Second concern is , are we going to have a single, trusted national agency charged with the mandate to set standards for our national health data system, now that we know how real bad pandemics can be, and the value of data in quickly responding to them and mitigating impact? Finally, what is being done to curate a short history of this pandemic? A national museum of health and medicine or a Public Health Institute in Botswana is overdue.
If we are to create strong sets of data policies and data quality standards for fighting future health pandemics it is critical that they find ideological and moral foundations in the artistic imagery and photography of the present human experience…context is essential to fighting such diseases, and to be prepared we must learn from every tragic health incident.
Our panellists answered most of these questions with distinguished intellectual clarity. We wish Batswana to join us in our second Mass-vaccination workshop.
Today is International Women’s Day – it’s a moment to think about how much better our news diet could be if inequities were eliminated. In 1995, when the curtains fell in one of the largest meetings that have ever brought women together to discuss women in development, it was noted that women and media remain key to development.
Twenty-six years later, the relevant “Article J” of the Beijing Platform for Action, remains unfulfilled. Its two strategic objectives with regard to Women and Media have not been met. They are Increase the participation and access of women to expression and decision-making in and through the media and new technologies of communication
Promote a balanced and non-stereotyped portrayal of women in the media.
Today, as we mark International Women’s Day, it’s an indictment on both media owners and civil society that women remain on the periphery of news-making. They cannot claim equal space in either the structures of newsrooms or in the content produced, be that as sources of news or as the subjects of reports. Indeed, the latest figures from WAN-IFRA’s Women in News Programme show just one in five voices in news belong to women*, be they as sources, as the author or as the main character of the news report.
Some progress was evident several years back, with stand-out women being named as chief executive officers, editors in chief, managing editors and executive editors. But these gains appear short lived in most media organisations. Excitement has turned to frustration as one-step forward has been replaced with three steps backwards. In Africa, the problem is acute. The decision-making tables of media organisations remain deprived of women and where there are women, they are surrounded by men.
Few women have followed in the footsteps of Esther Kamweru, the first woman managing editor in Kenya, and indeed sub-Saharan Africa. Today’s standout women editors include Pamela Makotsi-Sittoni (Nation Media Group, Kenya), Barbara Kaija (New Vision, Uganda), Mary Mbewe (Daily Nation, Zambia), Margaret Vuchiri (The Monitor, Uganda), Joyce Shebe (Clouds, Tanzania), Tryphinah Dongwana (Weekend Post, Botswana), Joyce Mhaville (Independent Television -ITV, Tanzania) and Tuma Abdallah (Standard Newspapers,Tanzania). But they remain an exception.
The lack of balance between women and men at the table of decision making has a rollback effect on the content that is produced. A table dominated by men typically makes decisions that benefit men.
So today, International Women’s Day is a grim reminder that things are not rosy in the news business. Achieving gender balance in news and in the structure of media organisations remains a challenge. Unmet, it sees more than half of the population in our countries suffer the consequences of bias, discrimination and sexism.
The business of ignoring the other half of the population can no longer be treated as normal. It’s time that media leaders grasp the challenge, not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it also makes a whole lot of business sense: start covering women, give them space and a voice in news-making and propel them to all levels of decision making within your organisation.
We can no longer afford to imagine that it’s only men who make and sell the news and bring in the shillings to fund the media business. Women too are worthy newsmakers. In all of our societies, there are women holding decision making positions and who are now experts in once male-only domains such as engineers, doctors, scientists and researchers.
They can be deliberately picked out to share their perspectives and expertise and bring balance to the profile of experts quoted on our news pages. Media is the prism through which society sees itself and women are an untapped audience. So, as we celebrate International Women’s Day, let us embrace diversity, which yields better news content and business products, and in so doing eliminate sexism. We know that actions and attitudes that discriminate against people based on their gender is bad for business.
As media, the challenge is ours. We need to consciously embrace and reach the commitments made 26 years ago when the Beijing Platform for Action was signed globally. As the news consuming public, you have a role to play too. Hold your news organization to account and make sure they deliver balanced news that reflects the voices of all of society.
Jane Godia is a gender development and media expert who serves as the Africa Director of Women in News programme. WOMEN IN NEWS is WAN-IFRA’s ground-breaking programme to increase women’s leadership and voices in the news. It does so by equipping women journalists and editors with the skills, strategies, and support networks to take on greater leadership positions within their media. www.womeninnews.org
The eve of International Women’s Day presents an opportunity for us to think about gender equality and the long and often frustrating march toward societies that are truly equal.
As media, we are uniquely placed to drive forward this reflection and discussion. But while focusing on the challenges of gender in society, we owe it to our staff and the communities we serve to also take a hard look at the obstacles within our own organisations.
I’m talking specifically about the scourge of sexual harassment. It’s likely to have happened in your newsroom. It has likely happened to a member of your team. It happens to all genders but is disproportionately directed at women. It happens in every industry, regardless of country, culture or context. This is because sexual harassment is driven by power, not sex. Wherever you have imbalances in power, you have individuals who are at risk of sexual harassment, and those who abuse this power.
I’ve been sexually harassed. The many journalists and editors, friends and family members who I have spoken to over the years on this subject have also been harassed. Yet it is still hard for leaders to recognize that this could be happening within their newsrooms and boardrooms. Why does it continue to be such a taboo?
Counting the cost of sexual harassment
Sexual harassment is, simply put, bad for business. It can harm your corporate reputation. It is a drain on the productivity of staff and managers. Maintaining and building trust in your brand is an absolute imperative for media organisations globally. If and when a case gets out of control or is badly handled – this can directly impact your bottom line.
It is for this reason that WAN-IFRA Women in News has put eliminating sexual harassment as a top priority in our work around gender equality in the media sector. This might seem at odds with the current climate where social interactions are fewer and remote work scenarios are in place in many newsrooms and businesses. But one only needs to tune into the news to know that the abuse of power, manifested as verbal, physical or online harassment, is alive and well.
Preliminary results from an ongoing Women in News research study into the issue of sexual harassment polling hundreds of journalists in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia indicate that more than 1 in 3 women media professionals have been physically harassed, and just under 50% have been verbally harassed. Just over 15% of men in African newsrooms reported being physically harassed, and slightly less than 1 in 4 reports being verbally harassed. The numbers for male media professionals in Southeast Asia are slightly higher than a quarter on both forms of harassment.
The first step in confronting sexual harassment is to talk about it. We need to strip away the stigma and discomfort around having open conversations about what sexual harassment is and isn’t. Media managers, it is entirely in your power to create dynamics in your own teams that are free from sexual harassment.
Publishers and CEOs, you set the organisational culture in your media company.
By being vocal in recognising that it happens everywhere, and communicating to your employees that you will not tolerate sexual harassment of any kind, you send a powerful message to your teams, and publicly. With these actions, you will help us overcome the legacy of silence around this topic, and in doing so take an important first step to create media environments that truly embrace equality.
Melanie Walker is Executive Director of Media Development of the World Association of News Publishers (WAN-IFRA). She is a creator of Women in News, WAN-IFRA’s ground-breaking programme to increase women’s leadership and voices in the news. It does so by equipping women journalists and editors with the skills, strategies, and support networks to take on greater leadership positions within their media. www.womeninnews.org