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"You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore."-Cesar Chavez

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Talking African Feminisms with Dr Sylvia Tamale

Last saturday, the Maisha Gardens under the Maisha Moto initiative hosted Dr Sylvia Tamale one of the top Ugandan academics and the first female to hold the post of Dean of Law Faculty at Makerere University. Her passion for justice and equality is well known and her work on African Sexualities confronts the narratives that try to downplay the diverse and complex sexualities on the continent and the tendency to paint conversations around gender as an import into Africa.

Note the title ‘African Feminisms’ because there’s no one feminism. And to understand this is to go to the very description of feminism that Dr Tamale gave.

Continue reading “Talking African Feminisms with Dr Sylvia Tamale”

Writing for African Feminism

Today I wrote my first post for AfricanFeminism, a great initiative by my friend Billene Seyoum. AfricanFeminism (AF) is a collaborative writing project between African authors/writers with the long-term ambition of bringing on board at least one feminist voice from throughout the continent. It’s an online feminist platform that encourages open discussion and dialogue on feminist issues throughout the continent.

Billene started out with EthiopianFeminist back in 2011 after her move back to Addis Ababa.  Billene and I spent a year in graduate school in Costa Rica at the UN mandated University for Peace in 2010. She has been a great inspiration and Africa has and needs many more women like her. Information sharing and collaborations on the continent among storytellers is very key to our own understanding of our interconnected lives, struggles and achievements. Follow AF for stories from writers from various countries as we try to tell stories of women through different prisms.

My first post is on Ugandan women creating online spaces to have an impact on national discourse and debates. It is derived from a recently concluded second annual Uganda Social Media Conference which I worked on with the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.

Read more here

Follow Billene on Twitter @BilleneSeyoum

 

Africa must invest in women farmers in post conflict communities

Three weeks ago I was in Lira, northern Uganda working on what justice means for women in a post conflict community. When we think of justice, agriculture might not be the immediate thing that comes to mind but here we were here listening to women who a decade after the conflict ended are unable to feed their families.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, women make up 50 percent of the agricultural labor force, but manage plots that are roughly 20-30 percent less productive. And land rights remain a sticky issue in northern Uganda for all but specific challenges remain for women.

In Uganda women more than men at 76 percent versus 62 percent work in farming. For women in post conflict communities productivity is limited due to various reasons and trauma as we heard was one of them. A lot of women and men who experienced violence over the 20 year LRA were sent home at the end of the conflict to go back to till lands with no support.

Continue reading “Africa must invest in women farmers in post conflict communities”

Social Media Shutdowns and the rise of a securocratic Uganda

The Media Institute of Southern Africa’s (MISA) flagship publication, So This Is Democracy?: State of Media Freedom in southern Africa was an insightful read this week. The report notes that African governments are increasingly exploiting the “national security” discourse to introduce regressive interventions and that somehow we are in a new area of “contestation between the state and advocates for freedom of expression and access to information and media freedom.”

More and more governments are moving to regulate the internet, but worse are those governments like Uganda who are seeing blanket internet interruption and social media shutdowns a card to be used every few months.

Half way into 2016, Ugandans have so far dealt two social media shutdowns in the country where the President Yoweri Museveni won a controversial re-election to extend his rule beyond 30 years. Today the ability to bypass a cyber wall has become an essential skill to have as a Ugandan.

Continue reading “Social Media Shutdowns and the rise of a securocratic Uganda”

Male survivors of rape in northern Uganda and Ongwen trial

Photo by K. Burns [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A few nights ago I came across this article from Acholitimes about a male survivor of rape from northern Uganda.

Continue reading “Male survivors of rape in northern Uganda and Ongwen trial”

No substantial evidence in my thoughts tonight

 

Katureebe yatutoneka

But someone will ask where is the wound

Are you blind? And even if you were, the air would have whispered to you

If you aren’t blind, can’t you see it on the streets of Kampala?

Don’t you listen to the radios? Did you hear that person telling us

‘At least you are bleeding in peace’

But if I put many questions someone will say no evidence

Katureebe yatutoneka,

Not in that intentional, malicious kind of way

But open wounds don’t get into these details of intent

For there’s no substantial evidence to support any of this.

All the wound cares about is the pain reintroduced

Continue reading “No substantial evidence in my thoughts tonight”

Tensions high, heavy police and military deployement ahead Uganda vote declaration

Photo by NTVUganda

Which way Uganda?

On Thursday 18, many Ugandans woke up enthusiastic, ready to put months of campaigns behind them and choose a new president and a parliament. The voting was scheduled to begin at 7:00 am and end at 4:00 pm. So at dawn, many set out to line up and cast their vote in an election recent opinion polls had projected to be the closest since President Yoweri Museveni took over power in 1986.

But before the poll opening hour, most of Uganda was locked out of Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp in a move the government regulatory body and the Ugandan Army Spokesperson came to defend as a response to ‘security threat.’ Over 7 million people use Internet daily in Uganda and WhatsApp is the fastest way of sharing information, cheaply around the country. Cutting these channels off sparked alarms on the intentions of state security and the Electoral Commission. Also Mobile Money services were taken down, leaving some Ugandans stranded as this is the quickest way many Ugandans send and receive money from relatives.

Continue reading “Tensions high, heavy police and military deployement ahead Uganda vote declaration”

What Least Developed Countries (LDCs) want from Paris Climate Conference

The Bandiagara plateau in Central Mali has been hit by repeated droughts. Climate change is making the weather unpredictable, resulting in poor harvests and increased malnutrition (Photo: Irina Mosel/ODI, Creative Commons via Flickr

For the next two weeks, world leaders, business leaders and civil society are in Paris at the COP21. Uganda is one of of the ‘least developed countries’. It is one of the most vulnerable to climate change yet like many LDCs emits least.

For the world’s Least Developed Countries (LDCs), the outcome of the Paris climate talks (COP21) is crucial. Ahead of COP21 in Paris, I worked with IIED’s LDC Independent Expert Group (IEG) of which I am a member to hear voices from LDCs in this  series of interviews with political leaders, experts and civil society representatives from nine of these countries to about the situation they face, and their hopes for a Paris deal.

The Least Developed Countries have contributed little to the global tally of greenhouse gas emissions, but many have submitted plans ahead of the United National Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties in Paris (COP21), detailing their intended actions on climate change (INDCs).

Read more from IIED 

Africa needs a clear political strategy to get a better deal out of Paris Climate Talks

Plenary session at ccda-v by Photo by IISD/ENB

Between November 30 – December 11, the 21st session of the Conference of Parties (COP21) to the UNFCCC will be held in Paris. A new climate protocol to succeed the Kyoto Protocol is to be reached by world governments.

African governments, negotiators, civil society met in Victoria Falls Zimbabwe between 27-30 October at the 5th annual Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA-V) to work on various positions ahead of the Paris talks. The CCDA is hosted the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), African union Commission (AUC) and AfDB and this year was under the theme “Africa, Climate Change and Sustainable development: What is at stake at Paris and beyond?”.

There was a charge that lack of political strategies pause a hurdle for African countries to achieve fair deals from UNFCCC talks. Many speakers also cautioned that even if African countries have submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) or post-2020 national climate action plans where governments will pledge their contribution to curbing down Green House Gas emissions with mitigation targets, they shouldn’t lose the sight of adaptation. 
Continue reading “Africa needs a clear political strategy to get a better deal out of Paris Climate Talks”

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