Thursday, August 27, 2009

By Brenda Zulu

Southern Africa peoples Unity against Economic crisis and Oppression

Dear Friends;

Lesothowill be hosting the 5th edition of the Southern Africa Social Forum 2009 in Maseru, Lesotho from 6 - 9 October 2009.

This year’s SASF is expected to bring together thousands of participants from community-based groups, social movements and civil society organizations from SADC under the theme, ‘Southern Africapeoples Unity against Economic crisis and Oppression’

The Southern Africa Social Forum is a prelude to the African Social Forum (ASF) and World Social Forum (WSF) that take place annually. The first Southern African Social Forum was successfully held in 2003 Zambia, the 2nd edition was hosted by Zimbabwe, with the 3rd and 4th edition held in Malawi and Swaziland in 2006 and 2008 respectively.

The Social Forum is not an organization, not a united front platform, but "…an open meeting place for reflective thinking, democratic debate of ideas, formulation of proposals, free exchange of experiences and inter-linking for effective action, by groups and movements of civil society that are opposed to neo-liberalism and to domination of the world by capital and any form of imperialism, and are committed to building a society centered on the human person". (From the WSF Charter of Principles).

Your participation and contribution

Economic Justice Network-Lesotho is pleased to invite you to apply for participation in this landmark event.

We envision your participation and involvement in the following ways:
1. Pay your travel costs to and from Maseru and accommodation costs.
2. Make the three day event stimulating by bringing in your experience, enthusiasm and commitment

EJN - Lesotho will in addition take responsibility for

1) coordination and administrative costs related to planning the event
2) Report writing and distribution

It is our sincere hope that you will plan to attend the Social Forum in
October. In the mean time you can help Economic Justice Network-Lesothoin its planning in a concrete way by completing and returning the attached form either by fax or email.

We look forward to hearing from you.

E-mail: Or phone the Economic Justice Network Lesotho on telephone numbers Tel:(+266)22314124

Teboho Nonyana
Finance & Administration Officer: Economic Justice Network Lesotho (EJN-L)
Contacts: Tel: (+266)22314124
Email address:

Labels: , ,

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Lack of Doctor at Mwange refugee camp cripples operation

By Brenda Zulu in Mporokoso

There is no Doctor to attend to over 17,990 refugees based at Mwange Refugee Camp situated 35 Km West of Mporokoso.

United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Senior Field Clerk Roy Mwamba said they have faced the challenge of recruiting a doctor. He said that it has been difficult to recruit a Doctor as they have been demanding to be paid between K15 and K20 million a month.

Mwamba said the problem was further perpetuated by Mporokoso District Health Doctor who does not want to attend to refugees making all referrals to Kasama very difficult. He said the problem has been going on since the beginning of this year. He added that the Doctor has further refused to attend to refugee patients. By Press Time the Doctor was reported to be in Lusaka.

Meanwhile, Zambia Red Cross (ZRCS) Project Coordinator for Mwange refugee project David Phiri said the health sector at Mwange Refugee Camp lacks the Zambian Human Resource.

“Currently we have six workers instead of 12. We are less compared to the population at Mwange,” said Phiri. He added that it has been difficult to recruit and retain health staff at Mwange Refugee Camp attributing this to brain drain which has crippled the health sector.

He pointed out that there was an overload for Midwives in doing their job as Mwange Refugee Camp had a high birth rate and recorded between 80 to 90 births a day.

Phiri observed the deliveries were many for five midwives where there is currently only one Zambian and the other four are Congolese. Previously they had 17 midwives but the number reduced following the repatriation of refugees last year.

Constraints highlighted in the ZRCS Mwange Refugee Operation Joint Inter Agency Report include the delay in procurements and shipping of Medical, non medical laboratory supplies by UNHCR.

Mwange Camp Health sector has one facility which caters for the whole camp and the local Zambian community. Mwange Health provides curative health care, preventive and reproductive health activities including HIV/AIDS, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and TB and Leprosy.

Meanwhile, Mwange Senior Clinical Officer Richard Bwalya said he would like see refugees get fully immunised before their repatriation this year as he was not sure weather this was done in Congo DR.

Bwalya bemoaned the delay in the procurement for the full immunisation of the refugees from the District Health Office. By Press Time the District Health Officer for Mporokoso was reported to have been in Lusaka.

On HIV/AIDS, Bwalya said that they had a very low prevalence rate of 1.2% as they only have 7 people receiving ARVs. He added that there was no report of any disease outbreaks in the camp and the transit centres.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Coming up will be stories from the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC)paralle meetings taking place in Zambia.

There is the People's Summit and the Civil Society Forum taking place in Lusaka Zambia from 14 to 16Th August 2007

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Kibera’s grand march to the World Social Forum

By Zachary Ochieng Nairobi, January 20, 2007

Kibera, the largest slumsettlement in Africa was today the launching site forthe peace march that marks the opening of the WorldSocial Forum (WSF) in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

Themarch was flagged off at the Kibera District Officer’sgrounds at 12.00 mid-day by Zambia’s former president,Dr Kenneth Kaunda. “We are aiming for a world in whichall people, white and black, rich and poor, shall beseen equal in the eyes of God. A society in which manshall not be exploited by fellow men”, said Dr Kaunda.

Italian peace organizations Tavolla de lla pace andAmani Onlus o Milan funded the peace march, which wasco-ordinated by Africa Peace Point (APP), an umbrellaorganization of grassroots peace initiatives in Kenyaand Koinonia Community, a lay Christian organisation.APP drew on its extensive experience of organizingsuch events, especially the annual NairobiInternational Peace Rally held to mark the UNInternational Day of Peace to literally deliver theslum dwellers to the opening ceremony at Nairobi’sUhuru Park.

The forum organizers could not have chosen a bettervenue for the launch. Gripped by tensions ahead ofthis year’s general elections to be held in December,Kibera is set to benefit from the peace initiative.The World Social Forum, taking place in Africa for thefirst time, is a forum that brings together activists,social movements, networks, coalitions and otherprogressive forces of cultural resistance andcelebration. Key continental figures including SouthAfrica’s Nobel peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutuare attending the forum.

Friday, January 12, 2007

International Feminist Dialogue comes to Africa

By Brenda Zulu
This year Africa is for the first time hosting the 6th World Social Forum (WSF) in Nairobi, Kenya running from 20th to 26 January 2007.

Prior to the WSF is the International Feminist Dialogue to be held on 17th to 19th January 2007. This years International Feminists Dialogue theme is "Transforming Democracy: Feminist Visions and Strategies".

The meeting intends to bring together around two hundred and fifty women from different parts of the globe to deepen the intensive dialogues on feminist perspectives and strategies in addressing fundamentalisms, militarism and neo-liberal globalisation. In organizing the third Feminist Dialogues, the Coordinating Group (CG) aims to create a vital space for critical minded feminist activists to re-examine, re-imagine and move forward the vital political project of feminist movement building and new forms of democratic processes.

Feminist activists around the World are facing intense backlash, and also renewed energy to mobilize. This year will mark 12 years after Beijing, women are confronted by political-religious fundamentalisms, war and militarism, a shift from human rights to "war on terror," and an intensification of the neo-liberal agenda, including the privatization of water! The setting of the WSF in Africa in January 2007 offers a strategic space for feminists to come together in their broad diversity to explore the current moment, their differences and common ground, and their role in the larger social movements.

Feminist Dialogues (FD) is a transnational meeting of feminist networks and organizations usually held before the WSF and are one such space for this kind of strategic dialogue. The FD organized by seven international feminist networks and organizations, aim to bring together different feminist perspectives on issues of concern for women’s movements, to focus on critical analyses and diverse feminist strategies. They seek to emphasize the multiplicity of strategies that women’s movements have employed in their everyday political practice. I see the FD as contributing to movement building within feminist networks, the women’s movements and with other social movements.

In having the meeting before the WSF, they hope to achieve a two-way political exchange: firstly, to effectively intervene in the broader WSF process as feminists organizing for change, and to establish strategic and politically relevant links with other social movements. As a site of resistance, the WSF is one of the most dynamic spaces available to feminist activists and it is important to participate in it while at the same time retaining their autonomy within the FD. It is also hopeful that the idea of the FD can be used to encourage various regional level meetings or to participate in the different forums they are engaged in as part of their ongoing work of linking up with other movements.

Through the FD they do not seek to come up with unified positions or perspectives. While a certain minimum consensus is necessary to maintain the cohesion of the meeting, Feminists think that the value of meetings such as the FD lie in bringing forth debates and differences that provoke them to reflect, reassess and recast their analyses and strategies, collectively as well as individually. The FD can be a platform that strengthens the feminists’ diversities as well as their common politics.

The first FD was held in Mumbai in January 2003, as a follow-up to the Women’s Strategy Meeting held in Porto Alegre in 2002. It highlighted issues like women’s human rights, sexual and reproductive rights, inter-linkages between the local and the global and sexuality. It was attended by over 150 women from different parts of the World.

Despite various shortcomings, particularly in methodology that made it difficult for the organisers to explore convergences and divergences, after the Mumbai FD, many groups showed keen interest in continuing with this process. In a three-day evaluation of the FD in Bangkok, Thailand in May 2004, the Consultative Group critiqued and reflected upon the event, agreed to improve on its methodology and political impact, and made a general re-commitment to the Feminist Dialogue process up to 2007.

The next International Feminist Dialogue was held from 23-24 January, 2005, in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Drawing from the various insights gained from the previous meeting, it was decided that the focus of the Porto Alegre FD would be the intersections of militarization and war, fundamentalism/s and neo-liberal globalization. These were explored from feminist perspectives that took into account race, ethnicity, caste, class, gender, sexualities and national origin.

During the 3rd Africa Social Forum (ASF) in Lusaka, Zambia, the first Feminist Dialogue was organised by FEMNET under the ASF banner. During this dialogue Feminists in Africa realised that they needed to launch a major awareness campaign on their women’s rights so that they enjoy their lives. These feminists had started to build a feminist movement in Africa. The FD debated on various definitions of feminism to especially African women who see it as a western influence.

Feminism is an ideology about equality, fairness and women’s rights, pointing out the wrongs of the system that a woman is born in. Being a woman and understanding women’s issues does not mean that one is a feminist. It is the idea behind making an impact on what one has done in impacting issues that affect women which make one a feminist.

The women and men after deliberating on what feminisms was decided to start strategies on how they would claim what is there’s by having a space within the ASF. The women realized that tradition was dynamic and that women have engaged in challenges. The feminist also realized that they were working with issues of resistance and that it should be put any parameters to who is a feminist.

Feminists in Africa better move from the individual concept to a collective concept. Feminists do what they believe in, if not then one is just an imposter. Feminists guard the belief with militant and advocating stance.

Stigmatisation can easily abort feminism ideology. Men become feminists through empathy and not by feeling or being subjected to a particular pain. Feminism is about resistance of being marginalized, discriminated e.t.c Tradition is always dynamic and fighting against patriotism than one that looks at negative social deviance.

The value of meetings such as the FD lie in bringing forth debates and differences that provoke them to reflect, reassess and recast their analyses and strategies, collectively as well as individually. The FD will be a platform that strengthens their diversities as well as their common politics.

Another Feminist Dialogue was held in Bamako, Mali during the Polycentric World Social Forum in February, 2006. It is at this meeting where the women’s movement who met recognised access to technologies as one of the strategies which they need to use to advance themselves as a movement. It was realised that there was need to strategies and use information communication technologies (ICTs) to their own advantage as women movement pointing out that ICTs could help a lot in what women were trying to achieve. The feminist dialogue has strategies to train women and youth in ICTs which could improve things.

Young women who have a lot of talent and ICT know how were asked to participate in the FD. Women attending the Feminist Dialogue this year must have applied using an online form. For one to apply online, automatically one had to have access to the internet and also have an e-mail address. The FD has invited everyone who applied through the online facility to attend the dialogue by e-mail. The FD has a web site and feminists who know how to read can access information from the web site.

Even the WSF application is done online which makes it difficult for grassroots women to attend and even have access to information which is running through e-bulletins. Many grassroots women will only attend the WSF or even the FD if they are in some sort of network which has access to WSF information and ICTs skills.

For Africa our challenge is the language barrier. In Bamako we had many French speakers and local langauge speakers. For Nairobi, I am expecting many Kiswahili and English speakers.

It is hoped that we have very good translations facilities like ones we had in India where Babel provided FM pocket radios which were used for translation as each person could turn to a channel with a language of choice.

In Africa many women have access to mobile phones and radio which we hope the International Feminist Dialogues would also take advantage of and use them for dissemination of information.

According to the International Feminist Dialogue inforcom plans, newtechnologies such as podcasts and radio ready interviews from the event will be uploaded to the FD website for distribution, rebroadcasting to radio networks.

FD plenaries and WSF led panels will be recorded as audio formats for radio. Audio formats will include radio interviews on various FD issues.

Many women would love to be part of the International Feminist Dialogues but have only been funded to participate in the WSF. Lack of funding and poverty may deliberately deny many African delegates from attending the FD as most people are scheduled to arrive in Nairobi by January 19th, 2007 as they are using the WSF Caravan and a few are flying.

The feminist dialogues are aimed at identifying the impacts of neo-liberal globalisation, fundamentalism(s) and militarism on African women. They are also aimed at strategising, as the African feminist and women’s movements, as to on how best to ensure that that approaches and strategies take into account that context in a manner that enhances African women’s autonomy and choice in all areas of our lives.

Neo-liberal globalisation, with attendant liberalisation and privatisation, has increased poverty and aggravated the situation of African women, depriving them of basic needs, confining them to the informal sector and exploiting their reproductive, community and productive labour. African women are the first victims of the adverse effects of globalisation, forcing many to consider migration in conditions that make them vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse.

Many conflicts are thus on-going in Africa, fuelled by the degeneration in human development, human rights violations and erosions in the rule of law. Fundamentalist responses can be seen in this light as a response to increased militarism on the part of African states. But both fundamentalist and militarist responses situated in African women’s reproductive and sexual autonomy and choice in particular ways, meaning the African women bear the brunt of such conflicts.

The media also needs to help the FD by using ICTs to inform and educate people on the FD. The ASF is this year providing the African Flame Newspaper and will for the first time provide on site radio broadcasts which will be feed into other community radio stations in various African countries. The media will be able to do this through the sponsorship of the PANOS family who has sponsored media personnel to undertake the work.

The women’s movement needs training on how they can use new technologies for communication, e-trade and research. The FD should also involve men and grassroots women in a bottom up approach to help solve the FD problems. Many grassroots women are illiterate and do not have access to ICTs. Women need to learn new ICT skills to help them develop and all women should take advantage of new technologies.

While some women organisations and a lot of women have been promoting themselves there is need for them to work together in solidarity and make sure the women’s movement in Africa works together.

In Africa, we have problems of lack of communication such that some of those who went to Beijing have not done anything at home. The grassroots women are still a small minority and we not moving forward at all. This is why there is need to involve the grassroots women and make sure they are part of these strategies and also part of the women’s movement.

There is need for the FD to make sure that these many women who have not had an opportunity to attend such dialogues attend by even stretching further by seeking sponsorship for them to attend.

Men who are decision makers in homes, at national, regional and global levels as they are the ones who even sign these conventions which are not implemented also need to be educated on the dialogues.

Young women should be involved in the women’s movement as actors as there is a generation gap between the present day feminists and the young women. Young women have previously attended because they been volunteered to translate, report, take pictures e.t.c Young women need to be encouraged to participate by the older feminists who should be in the fore front giving out the information on what the FD is all about and how they would learn and acquire experience from them.

Many times young women feel intimidated when they hear older feminists speak at such events because they do not even demystify the feminist’s langauge. E.g. the application form had questions which many young women could not understand well and they had to google search some words in order to understand the questions and be able to fill in the forms.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

SASF trip to Malawi

By Brenda Zulu

I woke up at 04:30 in the morning to prepare for my 06:00 hours bus trip to Malawi. This was already enough pain for me since I had just arrived from another trip from the Copperbelt the previous day.

When I arrived at the Zambia Council for Social Development (ZCSD) offices in town, I found few people had already arrived. By the time the hour was six many people had arrived.

A bus came and all of us quickly found seats and were ready to go. To most of our surprises we were told that we would leave in the next bus. The first bus left with those people who were in groups such as artists. For those of us who remained we waited for members from the NGOCC.

To our surprise we were no longer leaving with the hired bus but had to leave with public transport because the 10 people who were supposed to leave with us from NGOCC were suddenly asked to stay by their Chairperson. She was allegedly reported to have not liked the people who were chosen to attend the Southern Africa Social Forum (SASF).

Members of the Zambia Social Forum were amazed at the Chairpersons decision of not to like those who had been listed to participate in the social forum to be held in Malawi. Was the Chairperson in order?

Zambia Social Forum has never succeeded in creating partnerships especially when it comes to social forum activities. It tried to hold the it’s national social forum together with the Civil Society Day and because of elections date issues and logistics which the ZSF did not have all this was a failure. Now again this partnership in having a joint trip with NGOCC did not work for the Zambia Social Forum because the chairperson had pulled out at the eleventh hour.
Already a bus had left and it had carried one NGOCC representative. I wonder how this person will explain himself to the Chairperson.

As someone who had contributed to writing the proposal to enable some Zambians participate in the social forum I was surprised to hear that we had hired buses to travel to Malawi unlike using our original plan where we were to pay for seats on the Zambia Malawi bus.

Being ready at six we were only able to start off from Lusaka at around 11:45 hours as we got on a bus to Chipata hoping we would find transport at the Zambia/ Malawi border. As we reached Chipata we were told that we would get stranded if we took a risk to go to the boarder as it was already late for us to find transport.

So we waited for the Zambia/Malawi bus where some of our colleagues in our group had to stand till we reached Lilongwe. On arrival in Lilongwe we booked a mini bus which took us to where we had been booked at Chilambula lodge. Malawi Police patrols gave us an escort up the lodge and we reached safe and sound.

Inputs from the NGOCC former Chairperson and the Executive Director
Dear all,

Thankyou for your contribution. I have added you inputs to the Blog check

For transparency's sake i have copied this e-mail to the Zambia Social Forum mailing list because this subject matter was discussed in the SASF/MALAWI post meeting. Minutes should be there to show what transpired.

Brenda Zulu

Engwase Mwale wrote:
Good morning Ms Muyoyeta,
The SASF story attributed to you makes very sad reading and in this time and era when information is readily available, it is indeed of concern that even journalists would fall in this predicament. All we can request is to meet with Brenda to put this issue in its right context, like you have already done, so that the truth is known by everyone.
These are issues of accountability and you are right to demand for retraction as we arrange to meet with Brenda.
Keep well for now.
EngwaseLucy Muyoyeta wrote:
Dear Brenda,

I am afraid you are wrong because there was nothing factual about what you wrote instead it was just malicious defamation of my character. I too know my rights and will accept nothing short of a full retraction of what you said because it is untrue. I have no interest in contributing to a travelogue that seems to serve little purpose except peddle untruths and sensationalise for nothing.

The facts as they stand is that with the full backing of NGOCC 's regulation I withdrew that trip for the following reasons.

1. NGOCCs regulations stipulate that new activities that are not part of the year's approved plans and budget require board approval before they are undertaken. Fact is that there was no board approval for this activity which was a new one and not part of prior approved activities.

2. There was a request for huge amounts of cash to be drawn for the people travelling. To stem abuse NGOCC procedures do not allow for huge amounts of cash to be drawn. You see unlike others, we apply due diligence and care in use of public funds.

3. Before anyone travels to represent NGOCC outside the country, the Executive Director and Chairperson working in consultation with each other must approve the people to travel using set criteria. In this case, I as chairperson was not consulted.

You will see from the above rather than the pettiness you attributed to me in your article, it was professionalism and due care for public resources that guided my actions in this case as in all my day to day dealings.

For your own information, this matter was brought before the just ended NGOCC General Assembly ( the Supreme Policy and Decision making body of NGOCC) and the Executive Director of NGOCC asked that I make no response for she takes full responsibility for the lapses that occurred.

So, I make no apologies for the action I took and request that you retract your article because the facts speak for themselves. I have copied this Email to the NGOCC Executive Director since she is mentioned.

Lucy Muyoyetabrenda zulu wrote:
Dear Lucy Muyoyeta,

As a Journalist i have a right to write in fact and substance and would just welcome your input to my travelogue to Malawi.

Since i am the one who manages content on the SASF News Blog, i will add your contribution on the blog and will avail you the website.

Brenda Zulu

Dear Brenda,

The article as mentioned above, which you did for the Southern Africa Social Forum (SASF) News has just been brought to my attention.

I am shocked that the most basic tenets of journalism was ignored by you. You chose to publish very damaging allegations about the chairperson of NGOCC (who at the time was myself) without even bothering to check with me and hearing my side of the story.

I would be grateful to hear from you on this matter so that a retraction is made and the whole world (for indeed it is the whole world because the said article is on the Internet) can get to know what indeed transpired in this case.

Thank you

Lucy Muyoyeta

Labels: , , ,