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This Sunday 14th August, The Rosie May Foundation will be holding a family fun day to be hosted at the Eco-Centre Community Care Farm. ‘Down at the Farm Charity Family Fun Day’ is an annual event and information day for the charity - and is a celebration of the work done by the foundation. Mojatu Magazine will be encouraging people to take part in the event and is also offering free transport to and from the farm!

 

The Rosie May Foundation, founded in 2004, has developed from a family-run charity to an international charity in its 12 years of activity. Originally established by Graham & Mary Storrie in response to overwhelming donations from the public following the murder of their 10 year-old daughter, Rosie-May Storrie, the charity has since established partnerships with NGO’s in the UK, Sri Lanka and Nepal to work together on development projects to help children in crisis, especially girls.

 

A partnership between the Eco-centre and the Rosie May foundation, established through the farm fundraising event, will help support the foundations latest project in Nepal, which includes working with rural communities and a women’s progressive group to help grow crops and improve livelihoods of families – with all money raised on Sunday going towards this cause.

 

The free, farm-themed event starts at 10am, and will begin with 5k Farm run, whose unique course promises to take runners on a path through nature. The date for pre-registration has unfortunately already passed – however, there is a £12 fee for on the day for run participation with a free BBQ token available for all runners! For those who are interested in taking part through Mojatu, we promise to cover the £12 for the fun run registration.

 

From 11am onwards, families can take part in the Family Adventure Farm Trail. Participating families will see lots of clues which will lead them through arable, grass grazing land and woodland – and features beautiful wildlife and habitats to explore, all of which is managed and sustained by the Eco-centre. Family tickets for the Adventure Farm Trail cost £10, and single tickets are priced at £5.

 

Tickets for the Family Adventure Farm Trail also include automatic entrance into the ‘British Scone Bake Off’ on the farm, which encourages participants to make a free scone with a prize being awarded to the best bake. Other prizes to be won include a prize for the fastest 5k runner in the 10am morning farm run with the opportunity to become a farmer for the day.

 

Other events taking place at the ‘Down at the Farm Charity Family Fun Day’ include meeting the animals, goat racing, trailer rides, a BBQ lunch and welly wanging – which involves competitors hurling a Wellington boot as far as possible.

 

Event organiser Clarissa Norwak says the day is set to be fun, active and educational, and perfect for families. The Down at the Farm Charity Family Fun Day promises to be a wonderful way to enjoy the summer, as well as raise money for a great cause.

 

Mojatu Magazine will be taking part in the 5k fun run and is encouraging people to join out racing team – get in touch today for free entry into the fun run and to help contribute to a worthy cause. On top of this, Mojatu are offering any attendees free travel to and from the event, leaving Nottingham City Centre on Sunday morning and returning after the event.

 

 

For more details on taking part in the event, as well as information regarding transport to and from the farm, please call Frank on 07516 962992, or email us at frank(at)mojatu.com.

Hyson Green Celebrates Multiculturalism with a free day of music and activities in the third Hyson Green Cultural Festival

 

Hyson Green Cultural Festival

Saturday 13 August, 12 – 6pm

Forest Recreation Ground

FREE EVENT, ALL WELCOME

 

After the success of the past two years, the award winning Hyson Green Cultural festival is back for its third year, to celebrate and promote multiculturalism and harmony in the Hyson Green community. This free day of festivities promises to be a highlight of the summer holidays, with performances and activities to entertain everyone.

 

Taking place at the Forest Recreation Ground on Saturday 13 August, there will be returning acts and new performers providing a full line-up of entertainment from 12 – 6pm featuring world music, dance, martial arts, DJing, world cuisine, information stalls and more. A perfect activity for all the family this summer holidays, attendees will get to try their hand at world drumming with Judy Beatfeet, Brazilian Capoeira with Nottingham Capoeira, and plenty of other activities including face painting, bouncy castle, a raffle and craft stalls hosted by City Arts. An array of food will be on offer, catering to all tastes and requirements, including world food, vegan stalls and a halal sweet stand.

For the young (and young at heart) there will be a range of upcoming local acts who are popular with the Notts music scene; Grime acts Young T & Bugsey and 0115 Mob will be performing; they both played at Nottingham Contemporary’s Circuit: Affinity Festival last year, as part of CRS Showcase. Expect to hear plenty more home-grown Nottingham talent in a variety of other musical styles too.

 

With this year’s theme being Health and Wellbeing, there are opportunities for revellers to join in with the performers, with fitness demonstrations and taster sessions to enjoy, including Tai Chi, Yoga and Zumba. There will be a Health Corner hosted by Nottingham’s own charismatic Patty Dumplin, and funded generously by Self Help UK and Action for Blind People. Festival goers can get information and support from Macmillan, British Heart Foundation, Mojatu FGM, Slimming World, Love Hearts and many more. Action for Blind People will be offering free eye tests, and free blood pressure, BMI and diabetes checks are available from City Care Community Nurses. A reflexologist will be offering sessions, as well as donating a free session in the prize raffle draw.

 

A feature new to this year’s festival is the Hyson Green Sport’s Day Races; in order to promote an active lifestyle, the festival will play host to its very own sport’s day events - not just for kids! There will be volunteers on hand to guide the races and keep the scores, and potential prizes to be won.

 

There is plenty more to be announced in the run-up to the festival. To keep up to date with the latest teasers and line-up announcements, you can follow Hyson Green Cultural Festival on Facebook and Twitter @HGCFnotts.

 

The promoters of Hyson Green Cultural Festival are keen to involve more local businesses and charities. If you would like to make an enquiry about running your own stall at the festival, you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information and a booking form.

 

We are also looking for a dedicated team to help run events on the day. For volunteering opportunities, email hysongreenculturalfestival(at)gmail.com.  

Whatever your view about the result of the EU referendum, it’s clear that charities now have an important role to play in fostering community cohesion, especially in the wake of a rise in the number of reported incidents of racial abuse and hate crime: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/brexit-eu-referendum-racial-racism-abuse-hate-crime-reported-latest-leave-immigration-a7104191.html.

Today at 2.30pm the Home Office Minister Karen Bradley will make a statement on hate crime. It’s worth watching out for this. We will cover it on the @ConstructiveVox twitter feed.

Given the work you do, we would like to suggest that following the statement you might want to get in touch with your local or national media and get your voice heard.

 

You need to be clear about:

1.   1.  Why you are concerned

2.   2.  What you may already have noticed happening

3.   3.  What needs to be done - make sure you set out a few concrete, practical suggestions.

This can be done via:

1.   1. Writing a letter to a newspaper. Here a few of the big national ones, but also consider your local paper.

  Guardian guardian.letters(at)theguardian.com

  Observer observer.letters(at)observer.co.uk

  Times  letters(at)thetimes.co.uk

  Daily Telegraph dtletters(at)telegraph.co.uk

  Financial Times letters.editor(at)ft.com

Remember, you need to react to a particular article and include your name, address, postcode and phone number for verification.

2. Calling a radio phone-in.

  Listen out for opportunities you could contribute to. There are endless discussions now about the impact of Brexit.

  This could be your local radio station or a national stations LBC (0345 6060 973) and BBC Radio 5live (0500 909 693) who have daily phone-ins. It’s often easier to get on air that you might think.

3. Sending a press release or personal blog to your local or national media contacts.

Check online and on twitter which journalists are covering the news about hate crime and racist attacks. Use #hatecrime #postrefracism #racism

Do ask Constructive Voices (constructivevoices(at)ncvo.org.uk) if you need help with this.

4. Using twitter

Put a pinned tweet (at the top of your timeline) outlining your response, ideally linked to a blog or press release on your website.

Encourage people to join you in your work. As Zoe Williams in the Guardian appeals – “be a joiner, not a dabbler: get involved with refugee charities, with migrants’ rights groups, with the apparatus of inclusion and love that decent people have been building for decades.” http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jun/28/brexit-fallout-six-practical-ways-to-fix-this-mess

It’s now more vital than ever that your voice is heard loud and clear as you have valuable advice to offer. Do let us know what you are doing and if you manage to get coverage.

This publication resulted from a common European research project funded by the EC Daphne Programme. The project was carried out from June 2007 until June 2009 by five partners.

This report is the outcome of a multi-country project, financed by the European Commission’s Daphne programme. The project was preceded by a first one, finalised in 2003. Countries represented in the project were Belgium, France, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The International Centre for Reproductive Health (ICRH), Ghent University, Belgium, coordinated the initiative that was led by Dr. Els Leye.

In the first project, from January 1, 2003 to June 30, 2004, the European Commission’s Daphne Programme financed a study on legislation regarding Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in fifteen European Member States and the implementation of these laws in Belgium, France, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

Legal provisions pertaining to FGM are found in various sources, most frequently in criminal laws and child protection laws. Some countries in Europe have developed specific legislation on FGM, while FGM is prosecutable under the general penal code in others.The research of the first phase showed that the implementation of criminal and child protection laws on FGM is a complex matter. Developing legislation alone is not sufficient. Nor is a specific law more successful in punishing FGM than general criminal law provisions. To be effective, different sectors need to be properly trained for the further implementation of the criminal and child protection laws. The range of professionals involved in this process is numerous: health professionals (paediatricians, gynaecologists, general practition-ers, midwives, nurses, etc.), child protection officers, social services, police officers, immigration services and legal professionals.

In April 2004, the 15 EU Member States were: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

The project title was “Evaluating the impact of existing legislation in Europe with regard to female genital mutilation”. The report of this project is available at: http://www.icrh.org/files/icrh%20publications%20n°8%20comparative%20analyse2.pdf

Not only does every professional group need training on this topic, the range of sectors need to work together in order to tackle the problem of FGM effectively. 

One of the two main barriers for the implementation of legislation is the identification of cases, which is principally obstructed by the lack of knowledge among professionals. The second important barrier is the complexity of finding sufficient evidence to bring a case to court. A second project was deemed necessary to enhance the implementation of criminal and child protection laws on FGM in the EU, by focusing on the gap in knowledge among professionals. For that reason, the European Commission’s Daphne Programme financed the research project

“Towards an improved enforcement of FGM-legislation in Europe: Dissemination of lessons learned and capacity building of actors in the legal and paralegal field”, which ran from June 2007 to June 2009.

This second phase aimed to tackle the poor implementation of laws by enhancing the capacities of professionals to identify and properly deal with FGM in five EU countries: Belgium, France, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

It effectively put into practice the lessons learned and recommendations of the first phase, a.o. by organising targeted training and information campaigns about FGM issues, legislation and child protection procedures for stakeholders in order to better protect girls from FGM.Through a series of workshops for professionals from various sectors, information and training was provided.

Simultaneously, the workshops gave country-specific feedback on obstacles for implementing the laws. By dis-seminating the results and lessons-learned at the European level through a final conference, practical recom-mendations resulting from these workshops are helpful for other Member States.In addition, this second phase included an updated and extensive review of laws on FGM in all countries of the European Union, including the new member states.The five project partners organised capacity building workshops in their respective countries, and each compiled a national report on their country’s legislation regarding FGM, the outcome of the workshops and the ensuing recommendations.

This publication comprises the results of the research project

“Towards an improved enforcement of FGM-legislation in Europe: Dissemination of lessons learned and capacity building of actors in the legal and paralegal field”. After a brief description in chapter 3 of the project methodology, chapter 4 goes into detail on the legal framework regarding FGM in European countries and contains an overview of the present criminal laws, child protection laws and professional secrecy provisions in Europe.

This publication comprises the results of the research project

“Towards an improved enforcement of FGM-legisla-tion in Europe: Dissemination of lessons learned and capacity building of actors in the legal and paralegal field”. After a brief description in

chapter 3 of the project methodology, chapter 4 goes into detail on the legal framework regarding FGM in European countries and contains an overview of the present criminal laws, child protection laws and professional secrecy provisions in Europe.11

A depiction and comparative analysis of the capacity building workshops in the five EU Member States is provided in chapter 5, followed by the introduction and description of the instrument “Country Assessment Tool”, developed in the course of the project, in

chapter 6. Finally, a concise outline of the project conclusions and recommendations for policy advice on law enforce-ment are provided in chapter 7.

 

Data is based on information from the questionnaires and also directly from stakeholders. It reflects the situation up until June 2009. A depiction and comparative analysis of the capacity building workshops in the five EU Member States is provided in chapter 5, followed by the introduction and description of the instrument “Country Assessment Tool”, developed in the course of the project, in chapter 6.

 

The remainder of the report can be accessed here

Promotor: Marleen Temmerman, MD, MPH, PhDCoordinatorICRH – Ghent UniversityDe Pintelaan 185 P39000 Ghent, Belgium

T+32 9 332 35 64

F+32 9 332 38 67

E This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.: 978-90-78128-00-7© International Centre for Reproductive Health – 2009.

 

 

Source: Shifting Sands

Date: Tuesday 7 June 2016

Time:  6-7.30pm

Venue: LSE campus, venue TBC to ticketholders

Speakers: Professor Iain Begg, Gordon Brown, Dr Sara Hagemann

Chair:  Professor Kevin Featherstone

 

The LSE Commission on the Future of Britain in Europe will present its findings at the public launch of its Final Report in discussion with a number of high profile speakers. The Commission has examined the “negotiation issues” at the heart of the debate in a series of expert hearings. What are the options for a reconfigured UK-EU relationship? Will there be a political reaction if voting in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland differs from England? How would a Brexit impact upon British foreign policy? What are the costs and benefits of free movement in the EU? The Commission’s report aims to make a significant contribution to the public debate on (the renegotiated terms of) Britain’s membership of the EU ahead of the referendum on Thursday 23 June. Copies of the final report will be available for attendees and will be published online. 

 

Iain Begg (@IainBeggLSE) is Professorial Research Fellow at the European Institute at LSE. 

Gordon Brown is United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education and former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Sara Hagemann (@sarahagemann) is Assistant Professor at the European Institute, LSE and ESRC Senior Fellow at the UK in a Changing Europe Initiative.

Kevin Featherstone is Head of the European Institute, Eleftherios Venizelos Professor of Contemporary Greek Studies and Professor of European Politics at LSE.

 

Ticket Information

 

This event is free and open to all however a ticket is required, only one ticket per person can be requested.

 

LSE students and staff are able to collect one ticket per person from the SU shop, located on Lincolns Chambers, 2-4 Portsmouth Street from 10am on Tuesday 31 May. These tickets are available on a first come, first serve basis.

 

Members of the public, LSE alumni, LSE students and LSE staff can request one ticket via the online ticket request form which will be live on this listing from around 6pm on Tuesday 31 May until at least 12noon on Wednesday 1 June. If at 12noon we have received more requests than there are tickets available, the line will be closed, and tickets will be allocated on a random basis to those requests received. If we have received fewer requests than tickets available, the ticket line will stay open until all tickets have been allocated.

 

Please note, we cannot control exactly when the ticket line will upload, and publishing delays do sometimes occur. As the system now allows requests to be made over a long period of time, if when you visit this page the ticket line is not live, we would advise revisiting the page at a later time.

 

For any queries email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 020 7955 6043.

 

 

Source: London School of Economics and Political Science

Today is perhaps one of the less celebrated international days, namely the United Nations (UN) Day for South-South Cooperation – a notion of solidarity, where countries forego some aspects of national interest in the pursuit of a higher or common good.

South-South cooperation has a long history, generally traced back to the solidarity politics of the Bandung Conference of 1955 and the subsequent UN Conference on Trade and Development in 1964.

A fuzzy concept, the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) describes South-South cooperation as ‘co-operation amongst countries and/or groupings in the global South aimed at addressing and developing a common stance on political, economic, social and human rights issues … in order to overcome the historical legacy of marginalization...’

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress readily points to the military support that Cuba provided first in 1975/6, and again in 1987/8, to halt apartheid South Africa’s incursions into Angola as a prime example of South-South solidarity in action.

Cuban support had raised the costs of South Africa’s military intervention into Angola, and played an important role in the subsequent independence for Namibia – which in turn contributed to change in South Africa. It was no surprise, therefore, that Raúl Castro was one of only six foreign leaders – of the 91 in attendance – to speak at the memorial ceremony of Nelson Mandela in 2013.


SA’s partnership with the DRC is often quoted as an example of South-South cooperation
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Under successive presidents – Mandela, Mbeki and Zuma – since 1994, South Africa has gone to exceptional lengths to repay that debt, pouring vast amounts of funding towards scholarships and support in Cuba. At a recent meeting of the International Relations Committee in Parliament, DIRCO reported yet another disbursement of R27 million (out of R110 million) for the ‘Cuban Economic Package Project’ – although providing little additional information.

In its description, the UN Office for South-South cooperation highlights non-interference, equality, non-conditionality and national sovereignty as principles of South-South cooperation.

Beyond the largesse provided to Cuba, South Africa’s development partnership with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is often quoted as an example of South-South cooperation. Over the last 20 years, the DRC has been the biggest recipient of South African foreign assistance.

According to a recent report from the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), South Africa contributed over US$1 billion in official development assistance cooperation activities in the DRC between 2001 and 2015, peaking at US$181 million in 2008. These are large amounts for a small, middle-income economy and made South Africa the third-largest provider of aid to the DRC.

South Africa argues that it better understands and appreciates the local political, economic and cultural context, and is thus able to more effectively conduct peace-making and governance reform in complex environments such as the DRC. The francophone modus operandi of the Congolese public system, however, does pose practical challenges to South Africa’s intervention – as does the unstable political situation and lack of capacity of the DRC civil service.


Is South-South cooperation more effective than North-South cooperation in fragile environments?
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While the supposedly horizontal relationship has brought numerous benefits to the DRC, it is unclear what South Africa gains from its large investments. However, in a similar way in which Cuba supported Angola in its proxy war with the United States, the country has strategic interests given the extent to which the DRC lies at the heart of instability in Central Africa and the Great Lakes Region. Large projects such as the Grand Inga hydroelectric scheme also hold immense potential benefit for South Africa; in this case for the provision of electricity. In this sense, South-South solidarity is no different to acting in one’s enlightened self-interest.

Is South-South cooperation more effective than North-South cooperation in fragile environments? The answer is inconclusive given the limited data available and lack of systemic outcome evaluations of South Africa’s efforts.

At the global level, the most practical manifestation of South-South solidarity and cooperation is likely seen in BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) – an ideological alliance that sees itself as a counterweight to the G7 group of industrialised countries.

The BRICS grouping intends to reshape global power relationships away from a Western, neoliberal and free-market dominated framework. Informed by the requirement for individual rights, free trade, democracy and the like, the focus is shifted to national sovereignty; the importance of a strong, developmental state; non-intervention in the domestic affairs of states, democratisation at a state’s own pace, etc.

For Africa, the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) is potentially very important. Africa’s infrastructure financing deficit is estimated to be at US$100 billion a year, and there is a perceived lack of ambition by developed countries to invest in Africa.

On the one hand, the lack of investment in energy, transport and water infrastructure presents a significant barrier to economic growth and development. On the other hand, there is a huge global savings glut estimated at US$17 trillion in 2012 that could be accessed to invest in Africa.

The NDB could therefore complement the existing multilateral development banks such as the World Bank and the African Development Bank. The NDB differs in five important aspects.


South-South cooperation is an important framework, but more must be done to quantify impact
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The first is speed. Instead of the slow pace of the other banks, the NDB has already extended loans to four of its members (Russia being the exception) during the first six months of its operation, providing nearly US$1 billion worth of loans to fund infrastructure projects. This compares to the standard time of more than 18 months from application to the loan being awarded.

Second: capital and voting rights are currently shared equally among the five founding members. The NDB is likely to decide to open its membership to all members of the UN, but the BRICS countries will retain 55% shareholding.

Third: the NDB intends to provide greater leverage of domestic private capital within developing countries. This is particularly important in South Africa, where substantial financial resources in the private sector are not being meaningfully channelled towards infrastructure development.

Fourth: the NDB has started extending loans in domestic currencies (in the case of the loan extended to China), which will assist countries to mitigate exchange rate risks when borrowing, which typically occurs in US dollars.

Finally: the bank will rely on existing country systems rather than impose new systems that create overly bureaucratic processes. This will be done in order to speed up operations and secure greater involvement from domestic players, but – given the lack of capacity in some countries – may also be a huge risk.

Time will tell what the future of the BRICS grouping will be, but certainly the NDB will survive and has the potential to contribute significantly to Africa’s development.

In the meanwhile, some practical aspects of South-South cooperation – such as that between South Africa and the DRC – are substantial and will likely continue. A stable DRC is crucial for the Southern African Development Community and for the region, but other aspects – such as the current level of support provided to Cuba – are more questionable.

South-South cooperation has emerged as an important framework for economic, political and other cooperation, but since taxpayer monies are used in the process, much more work needs to be done to cohere data and quantify impact. Until then it remains vague and unclear what the benefits and drawbacks of solidarity funding actually amounts to.

Jakkie Cilliers, Head, African Futures and Innovation, Institute for Security Studies

we found this article at -https://www.issafrica.org/iss-today/celebrating-south-south-cooperation the image was also found on the same page

 

 

 

On Wednesday 6 July, thousands of Zimbabweans participated in a peaceful ‘stay-at-home’ protest against the ruling Zimbabwean African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF). Without staff, many businesses were forced to close, including foreign banks and department stores.

Twitter was alive with protest hashtags #ZimShutDown2016, #ThisFlag, and Shona slogans #hatichada #hatichatya (‘we’ve had enough, we are not afraid’) and #Tajamuka (‘we strongly disagree’). Pictures of Harare’s empty streets circulated on social media and international news outlets. It was one of Zimbabwe’s most impressive anti-government mobilisations in recent times.

A week later, on Tuesday 12 July, protest organiser Pastor Evan Mawarire was arrested and charged with ‘inciting public violence’ – but the charge was amended to ‘subverting constitutional government’ in court the next day. In a show of solidarity, more than 100 lawyers gathered in the packed courtroom to represent him while outside, crowds draped themselves in the nation’s flag as a symbol of his message. Mawarire was released to cheering crowds that evening and was soon back to promoting the non-violent campaign against a government seen to have failed millions of Zimbabweans.

Statistics suggest that 2016 could be Zimbabwe’s most active year of protests yet
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These events unsettled the ruling party, and are an inspiring story of grassroots mobilisation in the context of a stifled and suppressed active civil society. But it remains unclear whether the movement has traction beyond the urban area, and how it intends to bring about real political change. Mawarire insists he does not aim to bring about regime change, while the ruling ZANU-PF is hard-lined in their response to protest. The party also retains paramount control in Zimbabwe’s rural areas, where almost two-thirds of the population live.

Furthermore, apart from two parliamentarians from the Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai (MDC-T), who wore the national flag around their necks in session, there has been little indication to date that the opposition intends to endorse or associate with Mawarire and the movement as a political platform ahead of the 2018 elections.

Whether it’s due to fear of state reprisal or playing into exactly what President Robert Mugabe wants (any grounds to criminalise and implicate MDC) – or because there is hope that Mawarire will himself form a new party – the lack of support by the opposition could limit the medium- and long-term impact of the protests.

Trends in riots and protests in Zimbabwe, according to the Armed Conflict Location Event Data Project (ACLED) show that spontaneous riots and protests have been increasing; particularly since 2010.

Protests and riots in Zimbabwe, 1 January 1998 - 9 July 20161998199920002001200220032004200520062007200820092010201120122013201420152016050100150200YearNumber of riots and protests
  Riots and protests
1998 77
1999 55
2000 11
2001 14
2002 12
2003 15
2004 12
2005 54
2006 21
2007 41
2008 26
2009 65
2010 24
2011 30
2012 63
2013 47
2014 114
2015 151
2016 67
 

Source: ACLED Version 6 (1997-2015) and ACLED Real Time Data 9 July 2016

Historically, landmark protests in Zimbabwe have come in response to disputed elections, inflation and state-led violence. In 1998, mass protests against inflation led by the National Constitutional Assembly (the foundation of the MDC), attracted tens of thousands of participants. High activity was also seen in 2005 and 2009.

The activity in 2005 reflects the public response to Operation Murambatsvina, which saw over 700 000 people forcibly removed from informal settlements in the capital and protests related to the contested parliamentary elections. The spike in 2009 is largely attributable to the hyperinflation and near economic collapse at the time. This was also in the context of political bargaining within the ZANU-MDC power-sharing agreement framework.

Recent protest action highlights the dearth of leadership options for Zimbabweans
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Since 2013 and the national elections that effectively returned Zimbabwe to one-party dominance, civil society’s ability to mobilise has been significantly curtailed. Nevertheless, 2014 and 2015 recorded the most protest events in Zimbabwe’s recent history. In 2016, heightened protest activity has been driven by cash shortages, long queues at ATMs, corruption allegations and an import ban.

In May, the MDC-T held major protests against ZANU-PF in Harare and Bulawayo, which gathered upwards of 10 000 participants. In response, ZANU-PF mobilised an estimated 200 000 people for its Million Man March. The above graph shows that at only halfway into 2016, the 67 protests and riots already surpass each of the annual totals since 1998 – suggesting that 2016 could be the most active year of protests yet.

Momentum for the #ThisFlag movement has grown significantly since Mawarire launched his widely viewed YouTube video in April. In June, he led a protest against the Reserve Bank’s introduction of new bond notes, which are to serve as a non-convertible but United States dollar-pegged local currency in an attempt to counter the currency crisis.

By 1 July, Beitbridge – the border point with South Africa that sees an estimated 15 000 people pass each day – was host to a number of road blockages and the burning of a warehouse. Shortly thereafter, a taxi driver protest in Harare turned violent and coincided with a number of smaller and more peaceful mobilisations by nurses, doctors and teachers, all demanding overdue salaries.

ZANU-PF’s response to public dissent and opposition is swift and repressive. The 1998 mass mobilisation was met with military deployment. Similarly, in July 2005, the protest in Harare’s informal settlements by labour strikers was forcibly squashed as part of Operation Murambatsvina. In 2007, Amnesty International condemned the violent arrests of the key organisers of the stay-away protest against inflation. In the last month, over 300 protestors were believed to be arrested, and many beaten.

The Zimbabwean economic crisis is exacerbated by the severe drought
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In a country where mobile phone penetration is at 95% and Internet penetration at 50%, it is no surprise then that online protest is effective. As an alternative to state media, blogging websites such as Kubatana have been a platform for public discussion since the early 2000s. In the run-up to and during the 2008 elections, over 31 of its bloggers called for the end of Mugabe’s rule and shared their experiences in trying to withdraw much-needed cash from ATMs, along with victims’ accounts of police brutality.

On 6 July, in the middle of the stay-at-home protest, instant messaging service WhatsApp was mysteriously shut down – effectively preventing protestors from communicating and mobilising. With the president unable to pay the police and military on time, the state’s ability to physically control protest is limited, which may have led the government to act more creatively.

It is well known that behind the public dissatisfaction is a sad story of 36-year dominance by Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF; the suppression of opposition; and a near-permanent economic crisis. After years of negative growth, the economy experienced nascent recovery in 2010 to 2012. However, year-on-year GDP growth has fallen to around 1.8% in 2015 and there is a similarly dismal expectation for 2016, due to unsustainable expenditure shored up by budget deficit funding.

There is little certainty about the faces we’ll see in Zimbabwe’s 2018 presidential race
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The economic crisis is exacerbated by the severe drought that has ravaged the region. According to the Zimbabwean government, one third of the population is in need of food aid.

Furthermore, the country is in serious debt. Over the past year, discussions between the Zimbabwean government, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the African Development Bank have culminated in an agreement to pay back nearly US$2 billion in order to secure new short- to medium-term loans.

But, according to the IMF, any new loan will likely come with conditions to reduce the public sector payroll and reform the controversial land policy. This would have policy implications that are likely to exacerbate the public’s existing grievances, and catalyse new tensions between factions within the ruling party in the run-up to the presidential elections in 2018.

Mawarire’s movement highlights growing impatience with the never-ending economic insecurity. It also highlights the dearth of leadership options for Zimbabweans going forward. With the 92-year-old president’s questionable health; a fractured and weakened MDC; and growing tensions within ZANU-PF – particularly between the executive and the security sector – there is little certainty about the candidates and key messages we are likely to see in the 2018 race.

Yet there’s no doubt that Mugabe and ZANU-PF face unprecedented challenges ahead of 2018. The non-violent protest movement, including the social media activity to support it, is just one example of the new levels of civic engagement that appear to have outsmarted the current regime’s ability to counter dissent. Both in terms of the economic situation and protest movement, the next weeks and months will be crucial in determining the country’s trajectory.

Ciara Aucoin, Researcher, African Futures and Innovation, ISS Pretoria

On the afternoon of 1st Nov, we were having lunch in a Yemeni restaurant in Hargeisa, Somaliland when I heard the news about deadly attack in Mogadishu that morning. The Sahafi hotel in Mogadishu was stormed by Al-Shabab militants, killing 15 people including a Member of Parliament and Somali general who had led the military campaign that drove Al-Shabab out of Mogadishu in 2011.

When my colleague Abdi Zenebe from the University of Hargeisa received a call, it did not take me long to realise that the person on the other side was asking about me. It was my wife who had been terrified by the news and confused about whether I had travelled to Mogadishu or Hargeisa.

My UK mobile network would not work in Somaliland and I had not yet managed to obtain a local SIM card or perhaps, I had not prioritised it. I can empathise with the stress that is caused on families of individuals who work in conflict-affected or other humanitarian situations. For some, career choices in challenging situations are serendipitous whereas for others, these are professional adventures. It is probably a combination of both in my case.

This news came to us in the middle of our conversation about how Somaliland had maintained peace and stability since its declaration of independence from Somalia in 1991 while the Southern state continues to be violent.

 

UCL Institute of Education's new research project in partnership with the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) at University of Hargeisa and University of York involves research into the role of education in promoting peace, political stability and development in the Somali region.

The project employs a multi-method approach to curriculum development, which combines a rigorous review of evidence, empirical study in the Somali region and multi-stakeholder consultation to inform the curriculum design process and pedagogy of an academic course on education and peace-building.

 

John Paul Lederach’s theory on peacebuilding draws significantly on political processes of the hybrid model of peacebuilding and participatory democracy in Somaliland. One of my personal research interests has also been to explore how Somaliland navigates through indigenous structures of governance to advance aspirational modernisation in Somaliland.

The political parties are constitutionally barred from adopting an explicit clan-based or religious ideology but in reality, the source of support for these parties essentially stems from their respective clans and sub-clans.

While Somaliland has successfully worked with its bicameral presidential system in which the Guurti, the upper House of Elders is represented by 82 senior members of various clans and the House of Representative of the same size, the current challenges are primarily concerned with the lack of basic services - including, education, health, water, food and the infrastructure.

 

What was extraordinary to see during the initial meetings in which I participated in Hargeisa was the enormity of self-pride and aspirations among the people from all walks of life for social and economic development in Somaliland.

The meeting with the university’s president and vice-president was so encouraging that they did not just highlight what had been achieved in the Somaliland’s only public university but also were very honest about the areas where improvement was needed.

 

When the senior management of an academic institution explicitly reveals their fundamental weaknesses at their first meeting with a foreign partner, it clearly indicates their desperation and genuine commitment to effect a real change in the institution.

This is very unlike some of the other developing countries where I have experienced rudimentary or unenthusiastically dormant academic entrepreneurship. The academic team in the IPCS, Hargeisa was incredibly passionate about their work and very proud of the fact that their graduates included the leaders of the major political parties as well as ministers of the current cabinet. I really hope that my first impression remains linear throughout the project, creating a real opportunity for mutual learning and academic innovations within the IPCS and beyond.

This made me think of what American anthropologist James Ferguson said about his frustration towards failed development in Africa. Ferguson (2006: 191-192) notes:

 

Today, anthropologists in Africa tend to be asked not "What can you do for us" (that time-honored question) but rather: “How can I get out of this place?” Not progress, then, but regress.

 

I would like to think, perhaps, the tip of the Horn of Africa is a different scenario all together. I felt that there was still a strong sense of hope as the people here were passionately talking about African philosophy and indigenous models of democratic practice.

Later that afternoon, we visited the Hargeisa Cultural Centre, a fascinating place that seemed to be playing a prominent role in reviving and reconstructing Somaliland identity and cultural traditions.

When we arrived at the centre, we were welcomed by Ibrahim who gave us a tour. Ibrahim was born two days before the military dictator Siad Barre’s army callously bombed Hargeisa in 1988. His eyes were filled with tears when he described how his mother had to painfully flee to Ethiopia with a newly born baby in her arms. Ibrahim’s father was so traumatised that he would still refuse to return to Hargeisa after these many years.

Designed in a traditional Somali style and constructed beautifully with local materials is the drama theatre in the cultural centre. Its walls are covered by Somali blankets and the spectators’ arena is nicely designed to face the stage that lies with some musical instruments in the corner.

 

On the wall behind the seats, it read 'culture is a basic right’.

There were also few hundreds of audiocassettes of classic Somali songs, which Ibrahim mentioned were being digitized for preservation.

On the way back from the theatre, we saw a dozen of children sitting on the stage of the open theatre while the two elders, sitting opposite of them were reciting the script for their forthcoming play. Abdi explained, ‘Somaliland is traditionally an oral society. Reciting poetry; telling stories and memorising proverbs with moral lessons is an integral part of this society.’ The cultural centre served both political and social purposes by preserving the traditional culture as well as cultivating national identity of Somaliland as a distinctive, stable and culturally prospering nation. A well-resourced library in the Centre housed a good amount of publications about Somaliland.

When we returned to Abdi’s car which was parked outside the Centre, I noticed that he had left his laptop openly on the front seat. I thought I could not leave my laptop visibly like that in my car in the UK. 

I asked myself, ‘Is Hargeisa safer than London?’

The security system seems to be surprisingly robust in Hargeisa where community policing reportedly provides approximately 60-70 percent of security related intelligence to national security. The state takes the matter of public security austerely as it is strictly linked with Somaliland’s commitment to deliver peace and stable democracy as well as its diplomatic ordeal to disassociate from the state failure in Somalia. Perhaps, the UK Independent Party Leader, Nigel Farage has a point in vocally supporting Somaliland for its membership in the Commonwealth to reward its success with peace in the last 25 years.

However, the art gallery in the Centre also revealed the painful side of Somaliland where we saw thought-provoking paintings by some young artists. These artistic representations incorporated the themes of politics, corruption and forced migration faced by Somali society.

As the entire Western Europe is engaged in a debate and challenges about ‘refugee crisis’, the excruciating misery of the loss of family members in the dreadful journeys to Europe and persecution of human smugglers were very powerfully depicted in these paintings. In one of the paintings by a young artist named Hanad, a Somalilander sets off for a new life in Europe but is kidnapped en route by the smuggler who demands ransom for her release. The mother, back home in Somaliland, who is portrayed as cooking meals for the family is devastated by the news and screams in agony.

In a different painting by the same artist, the cruelty of human smugglers in an overcrowded boat was so vividly portrayed. The scene displayed the horror of humanitarian disaster as well as deprivation, disparities and desperation that led to triviality of human lives. One can easily see the obvious but also feel agitated by what is driving these series of events.

With these incredible pieces of art, the cultural Centre represented an interesting blend of national pride and social challenges that characterized Somaliland. The involvement of youth in production of the atmosphere of the Centre and its social and cultural activities indicated an important aspect of learning and revival of Somali Culture. However, it is certainly a limited representation of Somaliland and not at all the entirety of what Hargeisa as a city constitutes.

My few days in Somaliland have thrown me into a paradoxical understanding of the aspiring self-declared republic that is surrounded by complex protracted crises but is successfully defending peace and stability for the last 25 years.

On the one hand, its clan-based social structure works as a source of stability and successful conflict management and most importantly, as an impenetrable shield against Al-Shabab’s influence.

On the other hand, the very system, quite understandably, seems to be suspicious about over excitement for foreign investment and westernised economic development. The anxiety of the loss of stability as well as social and cultural erosion that may follow the stimulated economic liberalisation faces the reality of persisted stagnation in providing basic services such as food, water, education, health and the infrastructure to Somalilanders.

For us, it is the question of education – what is the role of education in transforming Somali society? How can we create positive learning opportunities for Somali youth to effectively facilitate their participation in democracy, peacebuilding, and social transformation?

Dr Pherali is Senior Lecturer in Education and International Development at UCL Institute of Education. He teaches a course on Education, Conflict and Fragility and coordinates the Network for Research in Education, Conflict and Emergencies. Email: t.pherali(at)ioe.ac.uk 

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