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At Issue
The At Issue Forum contains original articles on important current issues in sub-Saharan Africa. They are similar to articles in the At Issue Ezine – differing only in that they are published occasionally and do not form part of a series of articles on the same theme. To access Forum articles, click on their titles below.
  Forum articles:
By Hugh McCullum.  The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a country where a vicious war has raged for more than a decade and cost the lives of some 4.2 million Congolese since 1996. The major reason for the conflict - control of minerals essential to what the modern developed world depends on - is what makes our blindness to the horror doubly shaming.
By Hugh McCullum.  The author, who covered part of the civil war from Mogadishu in the mid-1990s, outlines the recent history of chaos and warlordism in Somalia and weighs the slim possibility that the present attempt at legitimate government will succeed, since those same warlords have key roles in it.
By Gary Kenny  This analysis of the present situation in Sudan by Gary Kenny is at the centre of a report he gave as part of the NGO-Canadian Government dialogue, "Surviving the Peace: Better Canadian responses to post-conflict transition needs in Africa". In it, he makes the key point that the struggle is not simply north versus south, Muslim versus Christian or Arab versus African. It is about marginalization, an attempt by the Sudanese Government to keep control of regions and their resources.
By Rodrick Mukumbira  In this account of recent clashes between citizens and officials of two "normally friendly Southern African nations", the author presents both sides of the dispute. Zimbabweans are fleeing the politically and economically troubled nation in large numbers. The relatively proposerous Botswanans resent this influx as a threat to their livelihoods, especially the possibility of the spread of foot and mouth disease to their cattle, their second largest earner after diamonds. The electrified fence Botswana is building along the border is viewed by one group as a barrier against animals; it is considered an insult to humans by the other.
By Obert Ronald Madondo  Zimbabwe has been in the world news for some time over issues like farm take-overs, threats of election violence and unfair and politicized food distribution. An important factor in all of this has been President Robert Mugabe's policies of using youth to implement his more violent actions. They have been both victims and perpetrators of Mugabe's descent into dictatorship. The author shows how youth, instead of being trained toward civil occupations, have become politicised and brutalized. It is a problem that will remain for Zimbabweans to resolve long after Mugabe is gone.
 
No. 8 - June 2004
Biafra was the beginning
By Hugh McCullum  There are many parallels between the Biafran War and the Rwandan genocide whose tenth anniversary we observed this year. Hugh McCullum witnessed both as a journalist, and while mostly recollecting the work of Ted Johnson and the Jesus Crhist Airline during the Biafran crisis, he points out similarities to events in Rwanda in 1994. There is the media attention as deaths mount, the failure of the world to do much or to learn much, and the presence of Canadians in key roles.
By Charles Ndika  A truism for anyone concerned with resource extraction in Africa is that black gold is really a curse on any country or region where oil flows. Charles Ndika shows in a number of ways how this is true of the newly launched Chad-Cameroon pipeline, in spite of the World Bank's assurances that it would bring development of the best kind to the people of Chad and Cameroon.
 
No. 6 - February 2004
The battle over water in South Africa
By Patrick Bond  South Africa is one of the world's most unequal countries. After a successful fight against racial apartheid, it should be no surprise that the sphere of economic rights is also being contested ... and one of the bigger battles today is over one of the most basic of rights - water.
By Hugh McCullum  The Commonwealth meeting this month in Abuja, Nigeria, showed its fault lines clearly over the suspension - now withdrawal - of Zimbabwe. There is the 'white Commonwealth' (comprising Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand), the 'southern African Commonwealth' (most SADC members) and the Commonwealth in between. Whether or not 'the Club' as a whole will survive these divisions remains to be seen, but it will definitely not be a relevant and effective body unless it does much more than it did at Abuja to address the real life and death issues facing so many of its 54 - now 53 - members.
By Damaris M'Mwori  African women find themselves in a double bind. They suffer the general poverty of other Africans, with the added burden of gender discrimination. The worldwide feminist movement is of little help because of the huge gap in the experience of women in Africa and those in the West. To find justice, African women must look to their own history and spirituality because Western ideas do not fit the African experience.
By Charles Ndika  The author praises NEPAD's emphasis on sustainable energy as Africa's primary need for development. However, he disagrees strongly with NEPAD's tendency towards private sources and large grids. Africa's needs would be better filled by small, flexible sources and more focus on social needs rather than private profit.
By Diane Chesla  Is it be possible that violence related to the exploitation of natural resources is based on misconceptions? Here the author explores the connection between poverty, the extractive sector in Africa, violence and expectations weighed against reality. / Est-il possible que la violence éclatant au sujet de l'exploitation des ressources naturelles soit due à la démesure des attentes? L'auteur étudie le lien entre la pauvreté dans les secteurs miniers en Afrique et la violence en relation avec les attentes irréalistes.
By Hugh McCullum  Using a combination of individual examples and public policy statements, Hugh McCullum shows how hard Southern Africa is being hit by the AIDS pandemic. Women bear the brunt of the suffering while men are seen as part of the problem. Food shortages and official dithering allow the AIDS casualities to grow.
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