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Archive for the ‘Mozambique’ Category

Dirk Kotze: Does the Upsurge in SACP Membership Indicate that the Left is Gaining Momentum?

Against All OddsDirk Kotze, one of the contributors to Against All Odds: Opposition Political Parties in Southern Africa edited by Hussein Solomon, recently wrote an article for The Conversation about the upsurge in the popularity of communism in South Africa.

In the article, Kotze compares the recent growth of the South African Communist Party with the ANC and Cosatu, the other two organisations in the tripartite alliance that governs so much of South Africa’s political landscape. He briefly sums up the recent history of the organisation and the significance of its membership fluctuations and what it means for right now.

Read the article:

The South African Communist Party reported an upsurge in membership at its recent 3rd special congress. Its membership now stands at about 220 000.

Does this indicate that the Left is gaining momentum or is it only a cyclical spike?

The SACP’s membership has gone through cycles over the years reflecting important political developments (see table below). A comparison suggests that these figures are still relatively small weighed against those of its partners in South Africa’s governing alliance that brings together the communist party, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the African National Congress, which leads the alliance.

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Hussein Solomon: Isis Probably Had a Lot to Do with Al-Qaeda’s Killing of Hostages in Yemen (Podcast)

Against All OddsHussein Solomon, editor of Against All Odds: Opposition Political Parties in Southern Africa, spoke to OFM after the news of Pierre Korkie’s death, saying he believes that the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis) had a lot to do with it.

Solomon says it is impossible to seperate what happened in Yemen from what is going on in the Middle East at large and says that it is understandable that al-Qaeda has been more forceful of late as they now have a competitor in Isis.

Sabrina Dean, reporting for OFM, writes that Solomon believes that Korkie and other hostages were killed in an attempt to not appear weak. Read the article and listen to the podcast:

A South African political analyst believes the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, more commonly known as Isis, probably played a major role in Pierre Korkie’s death.

The University of the Free State’s, Hussein Solomon, says one cannot separate Yemen from what’s happening in the larger Middle East and Arab world. He says the heavy-handed Isis tactics have spurred a type of competition between it and al-Qaeda.

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Hussein Solomon Explores the Lessons Learned from Attempts to Dislodge Islamic Militants in Mali

Against All OddsIn an essay entitled, “Five Lessons Learned from Ejecting Islamists in Mali”, Professor Hussein Solomon unpacks the attempts to dislodge Islamist terror groups in Africa and explores the lessons learned from standing up to militants in Mali.

The editor of Against All Odds: Opposition Political Parties in Southern Africa looks at the factors that have aided the French-led intervention force in Gao. One such factor is the suffering of the local population at the hands of Islamic extremists. He also looks at the repercussions of the military interventions.

Read the essay:

In August 2012, residents of Gao demonstrated against the ban on playing football and video games. The desecration of the tomb of Timbuktu’s most revered spiritual leaders, Sidi Mahmoud Ben Amar, by Ansar Dine angered residents further and they took to the streets. These protests were brutally put down by the Islamists. Consequently, the residents of Gao welcomed the intervention force.

Second, the intervention force received a force multiplier in the form of the MNLA. Given the fact that they were constantly attacked by the Islamists, MNLA fighters started attacking Ansar Dine, AQIM and MUJAO positions just before the arrival of the intervention force. Moreover, they have moderated their own political demands. They no longer demand an independent state but an autonomous one, one which separates religion and politics. This revised demand on the MNLA lends itself towards a negotiated settlement on the vexing issue of the status of northern Mali. An autonomous northern Mali as opposed to an independent one allows the marriage of Tuareg ethnic identity with Malian national citizenship.

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Joao CG Pereira Reports on the Worrying State of the Press in Mozambique

Against All OddsThe Mail & Guardian has published an edited extract of the Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa report on the 2014 General Elections in Mozambique: Analysis of Fundamental Questions, by João CG Pereira and Ernesto Nhanale.

Pereira contributed to Against All Odds: Opposition Political Parties in Southern Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe, a volume edited by Hussein Solomon.

In their Open Society Initiative report, Pereira and Nhanale say there is a “polarisation of the media space” in Mozambique, whereby most national media favour the ruling party, Frelimo, while the private media “root largely for the opposition parties”.

As in other countries with a weak press, the highly politicised media in Mozambique is used as a space for political disputes.

This scenario has led to polarisation of the media space, with some, particularly the publicly owned papers, tending to report only on government achievements and offering a positive image of the main actors in the Frelimo government.

On the other hand, many of the privately owned papers report corruption scandals and abuses of power, exercising their function as a watchdog and giving more space to opposition parties and activists from civic society organisations.

Because the press is weak in Mozambique, the electronic media (radio, television and the social networks) play a significant role in transmitting information.

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Hussein Solomon: Vote of No Confidence Signifies New Maturity in Political Opposition

Against All OddsHussein Solomon, author of Against All Odds: Opposition Political Parties in Southern Africa, says the ANC’s misguided appointment of National Chairperson Baleka Mbete as the new Speaker of Parliament earlier this year prompted a new maturity in opposition parties.

Solomon says “eyebrows were raised” at the appointment, as the Speaker is expected to stand above party politics and therefore does not usually come from the leadership of the ruling party. He says Mbete’s attempts to “shield the executive from criticism” proved to the opposition that “what was at stake was nothing less than the future of South Africa’s constitutional democracy”, leading to a vote of no-confidence in the Speaker.

At the time of her appointment, then, speculation was rife amongst analysts that the reason for her deployment to Parliament had a lot to do with the perception amongst ANC leaders that she must go to Parliament to stifle dissent amongst ANC back-benchers and to muzzle the opposition. Indeed, the ANC had a torrid time in the previous National Assembly when cabinet ministers were taken to task by members of the political opposition and shown wanting. Meanwhile, ANC back-benchers walked out on key votes threatening the ANC’s majority. Ms. Mbete’s second tenure as Speaker proved pundits right. She has attempted to shield the executive from criticism whilst stifling debate on crucial questions. At the same time, she proved to have a rather thin skin when faced with probing questions regarding her own conduct. This is an unfortunate character trait in a Speaker of Parliament. At the same time, it needs to be acknowledged that the street brawl tactics of the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) merely added fuel to the fire.

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Andre du Pisani Believes Hifikepunye Pohamba’s Diplomacy Skills are Superior to Thabo Mbeki’s

Against All OddsAndre du Pisani, contributor to Against All Odds: Opposition Political Parties in Southern Africa, believes that Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba’s greatest legacy is that of a peacemaker, and is largely underplayed by the media.

Du Pisani says the Namibian President’s diplomacy skills even outstrip those of former South African President Thabo Mbeki, and refers to a recent case when Pohamba invited conflicting parties from Lesotho to State House in Namibia a few months ago.

The conflict centred on allegations that there was a plot to oust Prime Minister Thomas Thabane of the All Basotho Congress (ABC) from a coalition government.

Thabane, with the blessing of country’s monarch King Letsie III, suspended the National Assembly last month.

“He (Pohamba) invited them to State House and told them basically ‘get your house in order’. That speaks to the quality of his mediation roles.”

Mbeki vs Pohamba

“I can tell you that I worked with many other mediators, including Mbeki. I think our own president has very good soft skills.”

Du Pisani said Pohamba has “very good listening skills, which are very important”.

According to him this is unlike Mbeki, who he described as an impatient intellectual.

“Pohamba is very patient, which is a very important resource in mediation”.

Mbeki has played mediation roles in conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Cote d’Ivoire, Zimbabwe and Darfur.

Mbeki is currently in charge of the mediation process in the war-torn Darfur region of South Sudan.

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Hussein Solomon: The Spreading of ISIS’ “Tentacles” in Africa is a “Worrisome Development”

Against All OddsHussein Solomon has written a article for the Centre for Research on Islamic and Malay Affairs (RIMA) Occasional Papers series entitled “ISIS in Africa: The Danger of Political Correctness”.

Solomon, the editor of Against All Odds: Opposition Political Parties in Southern Africa, says the fact that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is spreading into Africa is “increasingly self-evident”, calling it a “worrisome development”.

According to Solomon, while Islam is dominant in north Africa, in countries such as Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia, another key factor to consider is that “one-third of the population in sub-Saharan Africa” is also Muslim.

The spreading of ISIS’ tentacles in Africa is taking place at a time when religious intolerance is on the rise on the continent with a concomitant rise in terrorist incidents. Nigeria’s Boko Haram, alone, has carried out more than 1,000 attacks since 2010 which has resulted in the deaths of 10,000 people and a further 6 million affected by this terrorist violence. The 300,000 Nigerian refugees who have fled this tsunami of terrorism and have sought refuge in neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger provide adequate testimony to the human costs of such terrorism.

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Hussein Solomon Comments on the Risk of Ethnic Conflict in Southern Africa

Against All OddsHussein Solomon, editor of Against All Odds, has published a post on the Southern African Peace and Security blog about the role that ethnic identity plays in conflict in the SADC region.

In the article, Solomon argues that the ethnic factor has often been downplayed in accounts of conflict in Southern Africa. He suggests that proactive steps should be taken to prevent latent frustrations developing into violence.

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.

In Southern Africa, too, the ethnic factor has historically played a significant, though often ignored, role in the conflict dynamics of the region.

Book details

  • Against All Odds: Opposition Political Parties in Southern Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe edited by Hussein Solomon
    EAN: 9780620476003
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

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Hussein Solomon: “South Africa is Leading the Continent Backwards”

Against All Odds“Nineteen years on and prospects for democratic consolidation in South Africa has never looked more bleak”, says Hussein Solomon in a column for News24 Voices.

Solomon, author of Against All Odds, mentions the ANC’s efforts to obtain more control, both internally and externally, as well as commenting on the Protection of Information Bill, which he says is “taking place at a time when the gulf between government and civil society has never been wider.”

He also looks at the government’s involvement in other African countries, saying that, “Far from serving as a beacon for hope, South Africa is leading the continent backwards”.

In April 1994, I joined millions of other South Africans to cast my ballot for the very first time in the country’s first democratic elections following the end of apartheid. The fervent hope of all South Africans that day was to not only turn our backs on our repressive and divisive past but to also provide a beacon of hope for the rest of the continent’s struggling democracies.

This was not to be realized.

Book details

  • Against All Odds: Opposition Political Parties in Southern Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe edited by Hussein Solomon
    EAN: 9780620476003
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

» read article

Hussein Solomon Comments on Mamphela Ramphele’s Political Party Platform Agang SA

Against All OddsHussein Solomon, editor of Against All Odds, has written about the formation of Mamphela Ramphele’s political party platform, Agang South Africa, in an article for Southern African Peace and Security.

Solomon says that although Ramphele is an ideal candidate on a personal level, political parties built on personalities do not have a good track record and he doubts that the party will be able to gain enough support before the 2014 elections.

The launch of Mamphele Ramphele’s political party Agang – Sesotho for “Let us Build” – reflects once again the dissatisfaction that ever larger numbers of South Africans feel about the ruling ANC, 19 years after the ending of apartheid.

Let us be clear though: at present Agang does not really challenge the ANC but would most likely take votes from the opposition DA. Whilst the ANC’s political support may be dwindling it still retains an almost two-thirds majority in parliament and still boasts an enviable political machine. Moreover the ruling party still retains the decisive advantage of incumbency and with it the power to dole out patronage with which to buy key voting blocs.

Book details

  • Against All Odds: Opposition Political Parties in Southern Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe edited by Hussein Solomon
    EAN: 9780620476003
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

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