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Maasai and other indigenous people demand for direct access to climate finance

17 Nov

Indigenous communities, through their representatives, put forth their case, during the ongoing climate negotiations (COP22), on why they should be given direct access to the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

Among other demands such as recognition of and respect for their rights, the indigenous groups said that access to the climate finance will enable them to play a significant role in management of natural resources and mitigation and adaptation of climate change.

Grace Balawang of Tebtebba, an indigenous peoples’ organization based in Philippines said “indigenous people have been in direct contact with forests for a long time, have built indigenous knowledge system over the period and should therefore be supported to continue applying indigenous knowledge to protect the forests.”

Tarcila Rivera Zea of CHIRAPAQ, Peru added that despite the indigenous peoples’ wealth of knowledge, they have been hard hit by the impacts of climate change.

We are the ones that suffer the consequences of climate change when droughts, floods, landslides and typhoons occur.” Ms. Tarcila said. Through slides, she showed images of indigenous communities hit by drought and landslides.

Some medicinal plant resources useful to the indigenous communities have been lost and there have been limited efforts to recover them.” She continued.

Ms. Tarcila believes that if indigenous people get the necessary support, they will use their indigenous knowledge to create crops that are resistant to droughts, recover species that are facing extinction especially medicinal plant species important in their culture, improve and produce more environmentally friendly technology like the energy saving stoves that emit less smoke that has been part of their culture for a while.

However, the challenge standing between the communities and the necessary climate action is lack of financial muscle.

Stanley Ole Kimaren, Executive Director of Indigenous Livelihoods Partnerships, Kenya (ILEPA), said that though pastoralist groups like the Maasai have proven that there is an indigenous science behind the enhanced livelihood systems, there has not been sufficient support towards their initiatives.

What we need is funding and capacity building support to engage more robustly in climate action and livelihood enhancement.” He said.

One of the funding sources eyed by the indigenous communities is the Green Climate Fund. However, a number of hurdles hinder their access to the fund meant for adaptation and building of climate resilience among vulnerable communities.

The GCF instruments at the moment do not recognize indigenous people who are often most affected by climate change as a special constituency. We have also been excluded and marginalized from the decision making processes.” Mr. Kimaren said.

The Green Climate Fund should recognize the rights of indigenous people and address the issue of direct access or a dedicated financial arrangement for the indigenous people,” He continued.

The Global Climate Fund was established in 2010 by 194 countries party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to assist developing countries to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

We ask the 22nd Conference of Parties (COP22) to provide a direct observer seat to the indigenous people to participate in the GCF discussions.”

There are approximately 370 million indigenous people in the world, belonging to 5,000 different groups, in 90 countries worldwide. They are often seen as the primary stewards of the planet’s natural resources. Their ways of life have contributed to the protection of the natural environment on which they depend on.  

Article by Jonathan Odongo
Founder and Executive Director,
Kenya Environmental Education Network

Panelists: Indigenous Peoples and Green Climate Fund. Photo/COURTESY Jonathan Odongo


What Trump Presidency might mean for climate action in Africa

15 Nov

It’s not a bad dream anymore. It’s a reality. Donald Trump has won the US election to become the most powerful person in the world.

This, however, is not good news for the victims of one of the major problems facing the world today: climate change.

Donald Trump has not only made it plain umpteen times that he does not believe in climate change but also threatened to undo President Obama’s climate agenda including the Paris Agreement if he wins.

The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” He said in one of his tweets.

Now that he has won, his victory has sent cold shivers down the spines of victims of climate change and those hard at work in the fight against the catastrophe.

To make matters worse, a precedence had been set by George W. Bush, also a US Republican president.

In 2001, after assuming office as the President of the United States, Bush trashed the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement meant to reduce current greenhouse gas emissions by putting obligation on developed countries on the basis that they are historically responsible for the current levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, soon after it was signed by Bill Clinton.

It is this action that has been bedeviling the Protocol.

Donald Trump, going by his comments, may as well pull a George Bush on Paris Agreement.

If – or when – this happens, the Paris Agreement – an agreement that US under Obama administration was instrumental in seeing through – may face the same challenges as Kyoto Protocol.

This spells doom for the developing countries. Why?

Prior to COP 21, countries submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) outlining the post-2020 climate actions they intended to take to cut greenhouse gas emissions, limit temperature rise and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

A good number of developing countries outlined how they will adapt to climate change impacts and the kind of support they need to adopt low-carbon pathways and to build climate resilience.

To put in place the adaptation measures, the countries, for example Kenya, stated that implementing their INDCs is ‘subject to international support in the form of finance, investment, technology development and transfer, and capacity building’.

This international support often comes from governments and agencies like USAID (United States Agency for International Development). This literally means that under Trump presidency, no funds or support of any kind will be channelled to poor, vulnerable and developing countries to support climate action.

Donald Trump stance on climate change is a disaster for Africa.” Lina Yassen, Climate Tracker from Sudan.

Africa is already burning. The election of Trump is a disaster for our continent. The United States, if it follows through on its new President’s rash words about withdrawing from the international climate regime, will become a pariah state in global efforts for climate action. This is a moment where the rest of the world must not waver and must redouble commitments to tackle dangerous climate change,” said Geoffrey Kamese from Friends of the Earth Africa.

However, not all hope is lost. It might take up to four years before US thinks of pulling out of the agreement.

Paris in now international law and has entered into force and requires four years to pull out, making it very difficult to walk away from the table.” said Tina Johnson, US Climate Action Network Policy Director .

But who knows? President  Trump might have a change of heart. But if he even thinks of going that direction, a number of activists have vowed to lead him back on the right track in so far as climate action is concerned.  

Whilst the election of a climate denier into the White House sends the wrong signal globally. We, the grassroots movements for climate justice, will redouble our efforts, grow stronger and remain committed to stand with those on the frontline of climate injustice at home and abroad.. In the absence of leadership from our government, the international community must come together redouble their effort to prevent climate disaster,” said Jesse Bragg, from Corporate Accountability International.

Donald Trump. Photo/COURTESY Slate Magazine

Article by Jonathan Odongo
Founder and Executive Director,
Kenya Environmental Education Network

Libya. Five years of Western Chaos

4 Nov

The Arab Spring in Tunisia and Egypt affected Libya internal stability. Protest against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi regime erupted on February 2011, brutally crushed by the army. The force used by Gaddafi and Western interferences will soon create a dramatic civil war ended on October 20, 2011 when Libyan leader was caught and shot dead by Libyan National Transitional Council militia with the active support of French Intelligence services.

Nowadays Libya, former developed African Country and leader of Pan African Movement, is a country torn apart and divided, with to governments fighting between them and claiming the control of the Nation. The real Libya’s owner are local militias (ISIL DAESH included) that have power of live and death over the population of the areas they control. Economy is collapsed. GDP shrank by 10.2% in 2015 adding to the 24% collapse in 2014. Production of crude oil fell to the lowest level on record since the 1970s: around 0,4 million barrels par day. Western Power (Italy included) are nowadays engaged with air bombardment and military interferences in order to support Libyan factions. A Somali scenario repeated with incredible stupidity wisped the dramatic western mistakes that transformed Somali civil war erupted on 1991 in an eternal conflict with terrorist international complications.

As we assist in Somalia on 1993, Libyan local militias strategies and objectives are became oppose to the ones promoted by Western powers, transforming Libya in an African Syria. A battlefield between different imperialist and regional powers. A war without end that has full involved US. Libya should be added to disastrous adventure in Iraq and Afghanistan. In all these countries the Pax Americans has not established and the masses pay the heavy bill of American failure. Libyan situation is so negative for US foreign policy that President Barak Obama has considered 2011 Western intervention the worst mistake ever made by his Administration. U.S., France and Britain destroyed the old state apparatus in Libya creating a dangerous empty space fulfilled by Al-Qaeda and DAESH militias. What Obama did not take into account was the situation impossible to manage created by the role plaid by tribal rivalries that were temporally balance during Gaddafi’s rule.

Different actors are inside to Libyan drama. U.S., France, Britain, Italy, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, Turkey. All attracted by the strategic position of this North African country with its shores on the Mediterranean Sea very close to Europe. A North African country really reach: 38% of African continent’s oli and 11% of European consumption. The government of Tripoli is supported by Qatar and Turkey. The Tobruk government, recognized by U.N and E.U, is supported by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Arab Emirates. DAESH forces still control Derna and Sierte surrounding areas. International alarms grown after the serious influence of Islamic State in Libya. In order to resolve the problem U.N. and Western Powers pushed for a national unity government against terrorism treat. The Government of National Agreement (GNA) under Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj control was created on March 30 of this year. A really weak government that has increase the conflict in the country. GNA was immediately boycotted by several former ministers, tribes and clans. Al-Serraj has been transformed in the most weak African Prime minister from the very first day of his election. Living condition of Libyan population dropped dramatically fulfill the ranges of local militias and terrorists groups. Al-Serraj’s government is still alive only thank to West support. In reality Al-Serraj has no real power but a virtual surrogate of it.

On August 2016 a new chapter in Libyan civil war has opened with US involvement. Bombing Sirte was an American decision that has make worst the situation. 330 US Air-Forces strike have not facilitated Sirte fall. Al-Baghdadi militia are still able to offer a fierce resistance. Sirte was Gaddagi’s hometown very well protected. To assure the conquer of Sirte there are need of ground troops. There is no national army in Libya so the ground troops must come from African countries or Western Powers. African Union, Arab Liguea, U.N. Europe and U.S. are showing the total absence of direct military intervention willing. They prefer to support the different Libyans militias in a never ending proxy war. The eternal battle for Sirte has weakest Al-Serraj government meantime other players are taking advantage of the situation.

Tobruk strongman General Khalifa Haftar, control Sidra and Ras lanuf oil terminals recently conquer. Haftar General is supported ny Egypt and France. French special forces are military active in Cyrenaica, regione lagerly controlled by Haftar General. Several Africans analysts consider unlikely that in the current situation Haftar will be able to restart oil production. Anyway Sidra and Ras Ianuf oil terminals and refineries are powerful weapons in his and that increase his influence over future negations about power division in Libya. GNA government has just miraculously survive to Khalifa al-Ghwell militias coupt attempt in Tripoli. Al-Ghwell strike was so determinate to force Prime Minister Al-Serray to hiding to a secret location in Tunisia. Western power have take for granted that Al-Serray is at the end of his days. Now are forced to increase their military presence in the region under usual justification of fighting Islamic terrorism.

France is one of the most active powers in this scenario. Last July, the GNA issued a protest where considering the French presence in Libya’s eastern region as a breach of international norms and sovereignty. France ignored that protest and increased its presence, a fact exposed by the crash of an airplane in Malta last Monday. At least three passengers were members of French intelligence heading for Libya.”, explain Roberto Sarti, a marxist Italian activist and expert over Libya issues.

Italy, the former colonial power, is trying not to be excluded from the division of the booty. In September they sent 300 soldiers to Libya, with “humanitarian” intentions, of course. The Italians are planning to build a military hospital in Misrata, and the official task of the troops will be “to protect the premises.” In reality they are going to protect their local proxies in Misrata and in the siege of Sirte. Not everybody is happy with the Italian initiative. The Zintani Brigade (a militia that, when it changed sides, was crucial in the fall of Gaddafi) declared that it would “not stand idly by and will face any invader with all our might,” and “we call on all Libyans to stay united and prepare to fight the new Italian invasion of our land.”

As Mr. Sarti describes the situation in Libya is assuming the character of a long a protracted civil war. An Western crime make possible by the passivity of African Union to resolve Continental issues alone, imposing democracy and human rights respect in autonomy way even with the use of African military force. The only A.U. attempt to resolve African crisis is in Somalia, where African troops AMISOM are fighting Al-Shabaab and DAESH militias, under Uganda command. A fight weakened by the withdraw of Ethipian troops decided by Addis Abeba government in order to face Oromo rebellion.

Fulvio Beltrami

Freelance Journalist

Memoirs of a Survivor to Westgate day, September 21, 2013

21 Set

I walked into the Westgate Mall that Saturday morning as a happily married woman; with my loving husband by my side, shopping for my family. Ijaba Amaya at home and Alisha Idman in my womb. But Alas! I walked out of the Mall a widow, physically and emotionally traumatized and with a big question in my head: “WHY”?

A year down the line, I have struggled and accepted what happened and I live my life with gratitude and trust in Allah. No matter how many questions I may have asked, and continue asking, there can never be any satisfactory answers to them.

My heart does not have space for any hatred whatsoever; and I have forgiven those who inflicted the great loss and pain that I have gone through. Yes, I live it all to God, for vengeance is not mine.

Before this day comes to an end; I would like to sincerely thank God for the bad and the good, my family for being my backbone, my friends who stood by my side and people from all over the World for the words of encouragement and kind message of condolences….

Last but not least, I would wish to extend my sincere gratitude to the brevity of the men who courageously, armed with faith and good will came and rescued us. Wherever you are, whoever you are, remember that I will be forever grateful to you for the rest of my life.

In this painful odyssey over the year; there are people who touched my heart in very special ways and whom I would wish to dedicate special words to in the coming days.
Before this day ends, I beseech all of you to remember what happened in the Westgate Mall on that fateful Saturday. Let us not have hatred in our hurts, but instead learn to forgive and move on in our lives knowing truly that our dignity and pride shall never be destroyed under whatever circumstances.

Let us join hands and work towards peace and tolerance, for a better life in this world; for it is the only way forward.

I thank God for the good and the bad experiences in my life.

Mariam Yassin HY @MariamYassinHY
September 21, 2014 ·

Scarification body. Omo Valley, Ethiopia

16 Set

Pregnant woman from the Karo tribal area with scarification, Omo Valley, southern Ethiopia.

The slaughter of the innocents by Ali Bongo and the international community and the African Union, are silent

7 Set

Ali Bongo, Nicolas Ondo was no thug. He asked for better education system. Like others, killed for denouncing.

Immagini e racconto del massacro dei contadini Suri in Ethiopia, commissionato dalla multinazionale italiana.

21 Ago

147 membri della tribù Suri – la maggior parte dei quali erano donne e bambini – sono stati massacrati dai soldati governativi etiopi cercando di evacuarli dalla loro terra.
La gente Suri vivono nel sud dell’Etiopia, nella zona Maji Zone. I Suri sono divisi in tre gruppi noti come Chai, Tirmaga e Balessa, Suri è un nome che unisce questi tre gruppi. Queste tribù sono simili ai Mursi dall’altro lato, nella sponda orientale del fiume Omo. Queste quattro tribù hanno culture simili e condividono la stessa lingua e costumi. Praticano il combattimento con il bastone, pesanti piercing alle labbra e alle orecchie,  praticano pastoriziadelle mandrie di bovini, coltivano saggina e mais e sono attraenti per i turisti. Oggi questo popolo è devastato dal land grabbing da investitori stranieri, alcuni governi occidentali, e donatori fake come DFID, USAID, Italia Cina, India, Unione Europea e Arabia Saudita; le loro azioni stanno portando al disastro.
Questa è la  ragione dei i massacri che avvengono ora è i piani di reinsediamento.
Alla gente Suri è stato detto di lasciare il loro posto e andare in un nuovo sito di reinsediamento prescelto dal governo etiope, perché l’area sarebbe stata affittata a una società di estrazione dell’oro. Solo dopo, quando questa storia è venuta casualmente di dominio comune, si è saputo che le terre confiscate erano destinate alla multinazionale Salini  e agli investimenti del governo italiano per la costruzione della diga Gibe III.

Questi Suri hanno invece resistito al trasferimento al di fuori di questa zona e le persone che avevano investito su quelle terre stavano avendo difficoltà.


Uno dei sette testimoni sopravissuto ha riferito:”Al mattino, l’esercito etiope è venuto al villaggio Balessa Suri chiamato Beyahola (che significa roccia bianca) e circondato gli abitanti del villaggio. L’esercito ha arrestato tutte le persone del villaggio, uomini, donne e bambini, e hanno legato le mani di tutti gli abitanti del villaggio insieme e li spinse in profondità nella foresta Dibdib e sparato uccidendoli tutti, tranne sette persone giovani che sono riusciti a fuggire. Era solo un piccolo villaggio di 154 persone

Il governo ha cercato di uccidere tutte le persone per fare in modo che questa strage rimanesse segreta, ma grazie a Dio la notizia venne fuori. Si tratta di violazioni dei diritti umani, nel sud-ovest dell’Etiopia. Perché il governo americano e il governo del Regno Unito sostiengono il governo dell’Etiopia? Non dovrebbero partecipare alla lotta al terrorismo e ai diritti umani?
I cadaveri sono sepolti in fosse comuni nel profondo della foresta di Dibdib e alcuni corpi sono stati trasportati in vecchi buchi di miniere abbandonate dell’ estrazione dell’oro non lontano dalla foresta Dibdib. Alcuni corpi sono stati lasciati all’aperto e mangiati dagli avvoltoi e predatori. La maggior parte dei bambini sono stati gettati nel fiume Akobo. Dopo il massacro, l’esercito ha inviato avvisi di minacce in tutta la zona avvisando che se  qualcuno avesse parlato riguardo quanto accaduto, l’esercito avrebbe fatto la stessa cosa a a loro. Alcuni giornalisti etiopi che hanno osato parlare di questo fatto sono tutt’ora in prigione in attesa di processo che probabilmente non avverrà mai.
Quanto accaduto risale al 2012, ma i massacri delle tribu Suri, sia prima che dopo continuano senza sosta ancora oggi e sono in crescita, sempre peggio ogni mese, ma nessuno riporta queste storie. In occidente, se alcune persone vengono uccise i media fanno titoli a caratteri cubitali, ma per gli esseri umani che vivono nel sud-ovest dell’Etiopia nessuno ne parla. Quello che il governo etiope fa al popolo contadino nel sud-ovest dell’Etiopia, ancora non è diventato noto.

Dal nostro giornalista etiope, African Voices

Ethiopia: Italian Corporations massacred farmers

20 Ago

Ethiopia, the massacre of the fermers against the dam of Italian corporations.

Adults tied to trees and shot, children and animals thrown in the rivers, bodies left for meat to hyenas and a village of Suri destroyed. 154 inhabitants, only seven survivors.

Through polemics and dispute around the Gibe III dam, increasing the number of victims in Ethiopia. In its latest report, dating back to December 2012, it is revealed that there are hundreds of people who have obtained violence, murders and rapes. The “fault” is to object to the building of hydropower giant to defend their land.


In the Omo Valley, a UNESCO heritage, a silent conflict that began seven years ago he continues to make victims. It is one of those conflicts that the great European armies is interested in solving. This is a war unknown to the people, kept hidden. In July 2006, the Ethiopian Government, through the EEPC (Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation) procures, without notice or race, the Italian company Salini Costruttori building a third dam that bears the name of GIBE.

Taking inspiration from tenets of sustainable development, it is on technological innovation and organizational and on the extraordinary human and professional assets at its disposal to develop constructive solutions, able to exploit the resources of the territories and to contribute to economic and social growth of the peoples” , is the mission that Salini says on its website. The dam will be a giant capable of producing 6.500GWh year. Energy to be included in the national electricity system and to sell at a high price to the nearest country: Kenya.
Although the legal system of Adis Ababa says that prior to project an assessment on the environmental and social needs to be done, the government gives the green light to Italian tycoon of laying the first stone.

The silence of the internayional press and the silent cry of the 500,000 inhabitants of the valley, remains silent.

Soltamente in 2008 the EPA (Ethiopian Environmental Protection Authority) officially giving the green light to the work after receiving a dossier of CESI – an agency in Milan (Italy), which defines the environmental impact related to the “insignificant project” or even “positive“. Cesi has, however, committed to neglect the use of neighboring land to the dam from local farmers, rather than as future work plans of flood control and irrigation artificial. The Milan agency does not even remotely speaks of the future situation of Lake Turkana, across the border with Kenya, who from Omo river which receives 90% of its water.

Yet the sector studies carried out by a number of NGOs say the opposite. “The dam will alter dramatically the seasonal flow of the Omo and will have a huge impact on the delicate ecosystem of the region and the indigenous communities that live along the banks of the river through to its Delta, on the border with Kenya. The Omo flow will suffer a drastic reduction. The phenomenon will interrupt the natural cycle of flooding that periodically pour water and humus in the valley feeding the forests and making it possible to agriculture and pastoralism in rivivificati land from water.”

All subsistence economies linked directly and indirectly to the river, collapse compromising the food security of at least 100,000 people.” read on survival

So local people have been forced to an “evacuation” process as defined local authorities. A real forced relocation of entire tribes such as the Mursi, Bodi and the Kwengu in resettlement camps. Physical and psychological violence are the means of coercion that accompany this mopping. Thanks to a CNN report revealed a chilling situation. Adults tied to trees and shot, children and animals thrown in the rivers, bodies left for meat to hyenas and a village of Suri destroyed. 154 inhabitants of only seven survivors.

Stephen Corry, director of Survival International, said: “This map shows that the Ethiopian government wanted to hide, or the intention of resettling the tribes of the Lower Omo Valley. Taking into account the numerous reports we have received of violent evictions and intimidation, the ultimate goal of the government has now become clear, as well as its refusal to respect the fundamental rights of the persons find yourself in his way.

Appeals asking to stop this massacre are many. Among the first was Unesco and Survival International, Campaign to Reform the World Bank, Counter Balance coalition, Friends of Lake Turkana and International Rivers and Survival has launched a petition to prevent the continuing of this massacre.


Original post italian language HERE
English Version by Aftican Voices


Attacking Chinese Construction Workers to Get Jobs? Right End, Wrong Means

5 Ago


Some thoughts on the recent Clash of Kenyan Youngsters with Chinese Workers

Being an ethnic Chinese (i.e. not definitely a national Chinese, I hope you could understand the difference) and a political science student, I have been interested in the discourse of China’s New Imperialism and colonialism over the African continent. Though I have not paid much effort in reading the relevant materials, I often listen to stories shared by my friends in Africa. Last year, I got a chance to do an internship in Kenya and decided to suspend my degree to explore, and I have talked with numerous people from all walks of life since then. I hope my experience and view can contribute to the discussion and thoughts on the recent clash – Kenyan Youngsters’ attacking Chinese Construction Workers, accusing the Chinese of taking their jobs. Please understand that I haven’t done a lot of statistical research on this topic, so this article will be greatly referring to my daily conversation or cooperation with people from different nationalities, classes, genders and sectors in East Africa.

This article will be divided into 3 parts. In (1) Right End, Wrong Means, I would briefly explain my basic views. In (2) Who is the one to blame?, I would refer to some conversations I had with the Mzungu in East Africa, which is about the difficulties we faced when cooperating with Africans. I do not intend to stereotype all Africans, but I do want to share some critical opinions to provoke discussion. (3) Blame or Boost? I would share, in my view, what’s the right means to the angry Kenyan youngsters’ end.

      • Right End, Wrong Means

The title of this article has summarized my view. Suppose the intention of the young Kenyans involved is to get jobs and earn money, the intention is right, or at least not wrong. (if they’re not earning money for doing bad, and I’m not going to go into details about the creation, transformation and internalization of work ethnics in recent centuries, and if you’re interested, you may refer to Bauman’s writing.)

Suppose the Chinese have really dominated the local job market, the means of attacking Chinese construction workers, however, is wrong. Firstly, these workers are innocent. They are in the lower levels in the power pyramid, who usually don’t have many choices in life, but to travel from China to Kenya to make a living for their families. There will be few, if not no benefit from attacking them – Not only will the situation remain unchanged, but the workers are also literally suffering! What’s the point of attacking them? Even if you say they’re helping with this evil and unfair process of Chinese dominating local job market, depriving the locals of their opportunities, has any other means been tried before attacking them? Personally I’m not a fan of non-violence principle but I believe violence should be opted for when there’s no better option. Have the people who’re concerned about the situation ever organized themselves to do some more research first? Have they contacted the local politician, or the Chinese companies to negotiate? If other means have not been tried and the first means to voice out for concern is by attacking the Chinese construction workers, it is just ridiculous.

      • Who is the one to blame?

Blaming is easy, but who is the one to blame for the situation? (Suppose the Chinese have really dominated the local job market – as said above I’m not going deep into the statistics) The Chinese who are imposing New Imperialism on Africa? The Europeans who colonized and robbed the African continent? The World Police Americans who turn a blind eye to the New Imperialism? Or, the Africans themselves?

No offence. Or if I’m offending, sorry I have to continue. As the Chinese saying goes, “苦口良药﹑忠言逆耳” (Good medicine always tastes bitter and Good advice always sounds unbearable.) The reason I’m saying (some) Africans may be the ones to blame is – before blaming the others, have these people reflected on themselves? Most of the time there’s a reason behind. If one’s having a lot of personal problems, but would never reflect on oneself, and just sitting there shouting for concern and blaming the others, finally getting illness – who is the one to blame?

Again, I’m not saying the Chinese, the Americans or the Europeans have no responsibility to the problems Africa facing today. Instead, I’m focusing on – have the (some) Africans, who are always blaming the other nations, spent some time to reflect on themselves?

Difficulties when cooperating with Africans

Several months ago I had a dinner with a group of friends, mostly Mzungu, who’re working in East Africa and we talked about the difficulties we faced when cooperating with the Africans – we first talked about punctuality as the local friend had been late for an hour and a half but were still on the way. Then we took turn to talk about our experience, of which the funniest was – Ms.Z, a Chinese journalist, had to do an interview with a person and the local photographer was late for an hour. One guy asked what if it was a urgent issue but not an interview, British businessman Mr.D humorously explained “breaking news which IS NOT BREAKING!” which made all of us burst out laughing. Mr.Y, a Chinese businessman, shared that he got a colleague who has been waiting someone else to sign a contract FOR A MONTH, and SHE IS STILL WAITING FOR THAT SIGN, but then everyone else around the table took it for granted. Mr.Y continued to share: Two of his Chinese friends were parking a car in a shopping mall parking lot. When asked by local guard how long they would park, they answered 15 minutes, and the local guard followed: “so is it Chinese 15 minutes or African 15 minutes?” “What’s the difference” the Chinese asked. “Chinese 15 minutes is around 15-20 minutes, while African 15 minutes is 30 minutes or more.”

I personally got some experience too: Several months ago, my local friend Ms.C who’s responsible for our company’s billboard advertisement was first late for half an hour when we were to walk around in town to pick the suitable billboard spot, making us embarrassed to keep waiting in Java House and we instead waited her outside it. I thought she would be better later, but I was wrong. We agreed to sign the contract and she promised the contract would arrive at our company on Monday. I called her on Monday and she told me she got something else to do and couldn’t make it. Okay then Tuesday. I called her on Tuesday morning and confirmed the contract would arrive at our company at 1pm, and called her again at 12nn being told that she forgot that she would be having a meeting and couldn’t come again, and SHE HAD NO INTENTION TO TELL ME THIS NOT UNTIL I CALLED HER. If that’s something personal I could just let it go and wait, but it’s my job – My boss Ms.J understood that I could hardly demand Ms.C fiercely, therefore she took my phone and spoke to her directly that the contract must arrive at our office on Wednesday. She then reminded me if I was too benign I would just be ignored – and the contract eventually arrived at our hand on Wed. Frankly speaking, I do not understand Ms.C.

Ms.C seems to represent the common image of Africans. Later I realized not only the Mzungu think in this way, but also the local people. I was told by my local friend the concept of “Mzungu time” is very common among local Africans, meaning it is understood that the Mzungu are having different conceptions of time compared with the locals. I really don’t know if it is a cultural difference or institutional problem, but I know this is one of the important causes why sometimes the locals are not welcome in business deal.

Apart from being late, there are other difficulties, for example knowing nothing about their responsibilities, or the endless demand for direct monetary assist which makes the ones being asked uncomfortable. My friend Mr.J once held a ceremony in Nairobi inviting government officials from other African countries, and the officials are endlessly asking for monetary allowance even though we already paid him flights, accommodation and food, and those officials were just coming for one day. I’m not going into details here as these are just too common. However, I think the aforementioned experience tells something – even if the discourse of Chinese dominating the local job market is valid and substantial, there are understandable reasons behind.

      • Blame or Boost?

This afternoon I was walking with friend who’s a local teacher, and we talked a bit about this issue. When asked if he liked Chinese coming to Kenya, he said yes, and the reason is the Chinese helped build a lot of roads and buildings, “If we ask a local company to build, they will distribute the money and cannot build anything!” He literally told me this. I wonder what would the angry Kenyan youngsters have thought, or would they still have attacked the Chinese worker had they heard of this saying.

I’m not sure what’s your answer to my question in part 2 “Who is the one to blame?”. Yet, apart from blaming, there’s another option – boosting oneself. Easier said than done. It’s just too easy to blame the others and push away any personal responsibility. But when one starts to identify his or her own (country / nation) problems, and to boost himself or herself by working hard to tackle the problems, the situation will change, as the Confucius said: “君子求诸己,小人求诸人” (What the superior man seeks, is in himself. What the mean man seeks, is in others.”)

For example, if I were one of the angry youngsters, I might start to think: Even the evil Chinese who’s always trying to take away our opportunities and resources, do I myself have any room for improvement? Am I lacking the skills needed? Why do I not have the skills? Am I lazy to learn? Do I lack the money to pay for tuition? Why is the government not paying the basic tuition? Where are the taxation spent? Do I fulfil my civic responsibility to maintain the checks & balance of the government? Have my fellow countrymen done anything wrong and made others feel hard to cooperate with? Have the local companies delayed work schedule all the time to make the others lose confidence in them? If I have to attack somebody to change the situation, am I going to attack the Chinese construction workers? Or, is there anything I can do before attacking someone?……

I hope this article will add some light to the discussion.
Thanks “African voices” for accepting non-African voice like me!


Write by Emil Yeoh


A young Southern Sudanese are looking for help to study at university in Uganda

27 Lug
That’s the second time in recent years that we are collecting this application for aid.
The first was going to end well, we’re hoping it’s a good idea this time.
Whoever he wrote it is a southern boy sudan where he lives as a refugee who wants to get help to continue his studies in Uganda, get an opportunity to study and professional to help his family after.
If anyone feels that he can do this, please contact him HERE
Steven Solomon Marsuk,
I’m from Sudan and i live in South sudan as Refugee in place called Maban
I’m doing well here in South sudan as i have told you that am living as Refugee in South sudan and i have cry out for my study .
my major problem is the study only i don’t have any thing out of my study so the principal problem in my life is the study becouse no body helping me for school fee in University in Uganda.
The University want me to pay the school fee and to attend the class. They have forward end to the school fee for Degree programs.
my goal in my life is to work for my communities if i graduated from the University to help my old mum plus all the people whom were there in South sudan.”