FOCUS ON ZIMBABWE
East Africa is experiencing the worst desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria) outbreak in decades. The outbreak began in early 2019 and science isn’t enough to save the livelihoods and ensure the food security of at least 39 million people who are currently at risk. Implementing existing environmental protection policies and consistent resource allocation to national and regional organisations will ultimately be the difference.
Naturally, these policies and actions should be supported by expert scientists and researchers. Desert locusts have plagued farmers in Africa and Asia since Pharaonic times and is mentioned in both the Bible and Koran. Since the United Kingdom’s establishment of the Anti-Locust Research Centre in 1945, four major international conferences have been held to formally establish a method of monitoring, controlling and preparing for future outbreaks.
The recent misuse of a state aircraft to carry an ANC delegation to Zimbabwe is a case in point. The delegation was led by ANC secretary general Ace Magashule to discuss the economic, social and political crises in Zimbabwe. July saw anti-government protests in that country, to which the state responded by arresting journalists and opposition figures. This prompted international condemnation and calls for the South African government to intervene.
In recent months, Good Governance Africa (GGA) has provided extensive analytical coverage of the escalating political and economic crisis unfolding in Zimbabwe. It is with great concern we have watched the Zimbabwean government’s violent crackdown on citizens, journalists, and political opponents trying to shed light on government corruption and mismanagement. Despite these setbacks, it has been heartening to see a mass movement coalesce around the #ZimbabweanLivesMatter campaign and renewed international attention on events unfolding in Zimbabwe.
On 6 July 2020, Lazarus Chakwera was inaugurated as Malawi’s sixth president after winning the 2020 Malawi election, an election that was extraordinary because it was the first on the continent held as a result of a court overturning an election result. Moreover, the incumbent was defeated and stepped down.
Chakwera and his running mate, Saulos Chilima, achieved more together than they had individually in the previous election when they stood as independent candidates, validating their decision to run on the same ticket.
Interestingly, both Chakwera and former President Arthur Mutharika of the Democratic Progress Party (DPP) formed alliances with other parties. Chakwera’s alliance with Chilima was supported by most other opposition parties and was called the Tonse Alliance, while Mutharika formed an alliance with Atupele Muluzi (United Democratic Front).
Understanding the genesis of the coalition may prove beneficial to opposition parties and pro-democracy activists, as the lessons could strengthen and deepen democracy and good governance on the continent.
‘The right to life’ is fundamental; an imprescriptible right inherent to all human beings. The Equity and Human Rights Commission states that governments should take appropriate measures to safeguard life by “taking steps to protect you if your life is at risk.” With public healthcare in Africa suffering chronic shortages of critical drugs, medical brain-drain, insufficient public healthcare funding, as well as inadequate pharmaceutical production, are African governments taking appropriate measures to safeguard citizens’ lives?
The use of traditional medicine and its perceived negative impact has raised several concerns, and given rise to a dilemma. On the one hand is the notion that traditional medicine is not clinically tested in the way that modern medicine is, and on the other, many people overlook the fact that most traditional herbs, or their extracts, are used extensively in modern pharmaceutics. This debate is often uninformed in that the dominant issue is the governance of traditional healing systems rather than the merits of the respective practices per se. All medical practices are susceptible to malpractice. The difference, arguably, is that there are standard governance processes overseeing the practice of modern medicine, to root out charlatans.
The 23rd June 2020 marked exactly 100 days since the first cases of Covid-19 were reported in Ghana. Before the formal announcement (13th March 2020) of the first two cases in Ghana involving returning residents from Norway and Turkey, Ghanaians were already apprehensive given the awful news on Covid-19 around the globe.
Drawing on GGA’s research and programming experience with social cohesion initiatives, and in support of the minister of defence and the president’s emphasis on building community trust and collaboration to best implement COVID-19 related restrictions and measures, this brief aims to provide policy recommendations from a good governance perspective demonstrating how the SAPS and SANDF could be better or best deployed on such a mercy mission in grassroots communities.
Covid-19 has taken the world by storm. It has exposed deep fragilities in our global systems. Our economic systems, first and foremost, clearly require deep reform. Failing to properly account for ecological degradation has unleashed climate change and viral dark matter, both of which have exacerbated vulnerabilities among the worst off. If Covid-19 is not a catalyst for designing and implementing new economic models that help us to arrive at a more safe and just space in our delicate web of planetary boundaries, it is hard to imagine what could be.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a humanitarian crisis of gigantic proportions, which the UN has warned may escalate global suffering and jeopardise lives and livelihoods “for years to come”. But in Zimbabwe, senior government officials and their associates have taken advantage of the pandemic to suppress the opposition while looting public funds.