John Campbell

Africa in Transition

Campbell tracks political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

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Showing posts for "Civil Society"

Tracking South Africa’s Democracy in Real Time

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A search of FACTIVA’s database revealed preliminary evidence that reporting on service delivery protests has been increasing since the early 2000s, with a sharp downturn in 2013. However, this data is limited by internal factors such as FACTIVA’s addition of new sources and external factors like the media’s use of the term “service delivery protest.”
Source: FACTIVA A search of FACTIVA’s database revealed preliminary evidence that reporting on service delivery protests has been increasing since the early 2000s, with a sharp downturn in 2013. However, this data is limited by internal factors such as FACTIVA’s addition of new sources and external factors like the media’s use of the term “service delivery protest.” Source: FACTIVA

This is a guest post by Le Chen, Janice Dean, Jesper Frant, and Rachana Kumar. They are Master of Public Administration students at Columbia University’s School of International Public Affairs. They are working with Ambassador John Campbell on a graduate practicum project, which was made possible by faculty adviser Professor Anne Nelson. A longer version of this post appeared on the World Policy Blog. Read more »

Nigerian Human Rights Organization Calls for an Inquiry into March 30 Deaths at Security Services Headquarters

by John Campbell
An army vehicle is seen parked at the entrance of the LEA primary school refugee centre, following a raid by gunmen who killed over 100 people last Friday at Angwan Gata, Kaura local government Kaduna State, March 20, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) An army vehicle is seen parked at the entrance of the LEA primary school refugee centre, following a raid by gunmen who killed over 100 people last Friday at Angwan Gata, Kaura local government Kaduna State, March 20, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

Access to Justice, a distinguished Nigerian human rights organization, has released a statement which questions the official explanation for the shoot-out between the security forces and alleged Boko Haram detainees on March 30 in Abuja at the headquarters of the State Security Services. The incident resulted in the death of twenty-one detainees. In a published statement on April 2, the executive director, Joseph Otteh, in effect demolishes the official explanation of what happened and calls for an independent inquiry, which would be published and available to the public. He also calls for any person that killed a detainee without lawful justification to be brought to justice. Read more »

“Africa Rising” and Freedom of the Press

by John Campbell
Major General Fred Mugisha, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) Force Commander, shows the media examples of components of improvised explosive devices that have been found on the streets of Mogadishu, which were subsequently defused, removed and deactivated by AMISOM in Mogadishu in a photograph released by the African Union-United Nations Information Support Team November 29, 2011. (AU-UN/Stuart Price/Courtesy Reuters) Major General Fred Mugisha, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) Force Commander, shows the media examples of components of improvised explosive devices that have been found on the streets of Mogadishu, which were subsequently defused, removed and deactivated by AMISOM in Mogadishu in a photograph released by the African Union-United Nations Information Support Team November 29, 2011. (AU-UN/Stuart Price/Courtesy Reuters)

The “Africa Rising” narrative that reflects GDP growth of many African economies is strongly supported by sub-Saharan governments, African popular opinion, and by business interests, at home and abroad. Mohamed Keita from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) writes a salutary reminder that the authorities in too many cases try to suppress home media challenges to this positive and optimistic narrative. Read more »

Uganda: Miniskirt Ban

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Uganda President Yoweri Museveni signs an anti-homosexual bill into law at the state house in Entebbe, 36 km (22 miles) south west of capital Kampala February 24, 2014. (James Akena/Courtesy Reuters) Uganda President Yoweri Museveni signs an anti-homosexual bill into law at the state house in Entebbe, 36 km (22 miles) south west of capital Kampala February 24, 2014. (James Akena/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Brooke Bocast, a PhD candidate in anthropology at Temple University and a visiting predoctoral fellow at Northwestern University. She is currently writing her doctoral dissertation on gender, consumption, and higher education in Uganda. Read more »

The Myth of Isolationism, in Africa, at Least

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Kenyan workers pluck tea leaves using a new machine at the Uniliver tea farm in Kericho, 300km west of the capital, Nairobi. October 10, 2004. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters) Kenyan workers pluck tea leaves using a new machine at the Uniliver tea farm in Kericho, 300km west of the capital, Nairobi. October 10, 2004. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Jim Sanders, a career, now retired, West Africa watcher for various federal agencies. The views expressed below are his personal views and do not reflect those of his former employers.

There is currently a view that America’s role in the world is shrinking, as the country and its leaders reportedly become more “isolationist.” That term is code for Washington’s unwillingness to use military force in situations where experts, in and out of the press, believe it ought to be applied. And while potential political candidates refer to the U.S. as “the indispensable nation,” they too tend to see engagement through a military lens. Read more »

Somalia Needs a National Newspaper

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A woman walks by a Kenya Defence Force (KDF) soldier on the outer perimeter area of the Kismayu airport controlled by the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), November 11, 2013, (Siegfried Modola/Courtesy Reuters) A woman walks by a Kenya Defence Force (KDF) soldier on the outer perimeter area of the Kismayu airport controlled by the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), November 11, 2013, (Siegfried Modola/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Jim Sanders, a career, now retired, West Africa watcher for various federal agencies. The views expressed below are his personal views and do not reflect those of his former employers.

As the Somalia diaspora returns to the country, along with foreign embassies and international organizations, the country’s long slide into darkness appears to be slowing. Despite many obstacles rendering such an idea unrealistic, establishing a national newspaper could contribute to greater unity and stability. Read more »

Afrobarometer Poll Questions the “Africa Rising” Narrative

by John Campbell
A woman, displaced by recent fighting between Congolese army and the M23 rebels, carries firewood in the rain in Munigi village near Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo September 1, 2013. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters) A woman, displaced by recent fighting between Congolese army and the M23 rebels, carries firewood in the rain in Munigi village near Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo September 1, 2013. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters)

Afrobarometer is a research project coordinated by institutions in African countries and with partners in thirty-one countries. It recently conducted a survey of public opinion across thirty-four African countries that showed popular skepticism about the “Africa Rising” narrative. This, despite relatively high growth rates. Read more »

Mitigating Radicalism in Northern Nigeria

by John Campbell
Youths play Eton fives game in a court in Nigeria's northern city of Kano September 6, 2011. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) Youths play Eton fives game in a court in Nigeria's northern city of Kano September 6, 2011. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

The Africa Center for Strategic Studies, a part of the National Defense University in Washington, DC, has published a security brief by Michael O. Sodipo on jihadist radicalism in Northern Nigeria. The brief proposes practical suggestions as to how to respond to radicalization. Read more »

Zimbabwe’s Post-Election Repression

by John Campbell
Zimbabwean police stand outside the opposition party Movement For Democratic Change (MDC) head offices in Harare August 1, 2013. (Philimon Bulawayo/Courtesy Reuters) Zimbabwean police stand outside the opposition party Movement For Democratic Change (MDC) head offices in Harare August 1, 2013. (Philimon Bulawayo/Courtesy Reuters)

Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe and his party ZANU-PF have consistently used repression to remain in power. The aftermath of the July 31 elections is no exception.

According to SW Radio Africa, “ZANU-PF youth militia are threatening to punish anyone who witnessed electoral fraud and speaks about it.” The Herald, a ZANU-PF organ, has published a warning from the senior assistant commissioner of police: “We want to warn politicians who are considering this option of inciting Zimbabweans into mass protests that it is not good for the country. Politicians should not blame the police when they find themselves on the wrong side of the law.” The Herald also reports that the police have mounted nationwide roadblocks and are searching vehicles moving toward city centers. ZANU-PF also uses traditional rulers as enforcers. Read more »

Violence in Zimbabwe

by John Campbell
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe looks on before casting his vote in Highfields outside Harare July 31, 2013. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters) Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe looks on before casting his vote in Highfields outside Harare July 31, 2013. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters)

As Zimbabweans go to the polls on July 31, there is already press commentary that, unlike in 2008, these elections will be (relatively) non-violent. The election preparations were a technical shambles. That means that the African election observers (from the Southern African Development Community and the African Union) as well as those of us looking on from the outside are unlikely to reach credible conclusions. Read more »