ROAPE Journal

Democracy as divide and rule

In a far-reaching long-read for ROAPE, writer and commentator Yusuf Serunkuma argues that ‘democracy’ in Africa is not just a language of (colonial) exploitation, it is the practice of exploitation itself. Our challenge today, is to understand the colonial nature of this democracy - divide and rule, shameless free markets, foreign aid, and loans & media bombardment - and the myriad, so-called good-intentioned crusaders who promote it.

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Getting Away with Mass Killings in Africa

Thomas MacManus discusses the issues of corporate crimes and killings in Africa. Focusing on the 2006 case of Trafigura – a multinational oil trading company - who offloaded hazardous waste in Côte d'Ivoire which was then dumped causing death, and suffering to thousands. MacManus argues that this case is illustrative of many instances of contemporary corporate crime, with African victims painfully let down by international legal systems.

Suicide in Tunisia: acts of despair and protest

In a blogpost drawing attention to the large number of suicides by immolation in Tunisia, Habib Ayeb explains that there has been an average of between 250 to 300 suicides per year since 2011. These desperate political acts are intended to draw attention to the dire social and political conditions experienced by millions of Tunisians in the years since the revolution (and the suicide of Mohamed Bouazizi in December 2010). Translated by Max Ajl, the blogpost looks at the origins of the Tunisian revolution, and broken promises.

Rwanda’s Green Revolution

Supported by major international donors, the Rwandan government has lofty ambitions to modernise the agrarian and land sector. These reforms are part of a broader call to implement a Green Revolution across Africa. The authors of this blogpost insist on a more nuanced, in-depth and multi-faceted approach in order to understand the distance between centrally-planned policies and the realities of rural livelihoods.
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Democracy as divide and rule

In a far-reaching long-read for ROAPE, writer and commentator Yusuf Serunkuma argues that ‘democracy’ in Africa is not just a language of (colonial) exploitation, it is the practice of exploitation itself. Our challenge today, is to understand the colonial nature of this democracy - divide and rule, shameless free markets, foreign aid, and loans & media bombardment - and the myriad, so-called good-intentioned crusaders who promote it.

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The Failure of Left Movements in Africa

Firoze Manji writes that discontent has been growing across the continent, with spontaneous eruptions and mass uprisings that have in some cases resulted in the overthrow of regimes. In such circumstances, one would have thought that this would have been fertile grounds for the emergence of strong left working class movements across the continent. But why has this not happened?

Kenya’s Cartels: the Power of Bandits in Suits

Koert Lindijer writes how the gap between rich and poor is enormous in Kenya. From the perspective of poor inhabitants - the majority - Kenya’s elite is rich thanks to massive corruption. Lindijer writes about the depth and extent of this corruption and the valiant efforts to bring the elite to justice.

If its not fixed, we didn’t break it

Graham Harrison writes how Africa shows the world a future capitalism, one in which the social relations of production are far more extensively defined by contingency, violence, struggle, fraud, unfree labour, environmental pillage, and the politics of organised chaos. Capitalism is as resilient as it is unstable, but there is hope once the process of breaking it down begins.

Blinded by Capitalism: Words that think (for us)

In this far-reaching and provocative contribution to roape.net's debate on capitalism in Africa, Elísio Macamo argues that instead of discussing whether “Capitalism” as such is a valid concept or a useful description of social phenomena in Africa, we should interrogate how concepts developed in very specific times and places under specific circumstances can be usefully deployed in other settings.

Domestic Resource Mobilisation in Africa: A Need for Intervention

Gretta Digbeu argues that domestic resource mobilization, which was a major preoccupation for early development economists in the period before the neoliberal counter-revolution, has become an increasingly pressing issue for African countries in the context of financial liberalization, rising external debt and capital flight.

Kenya’s Incredible Election

As Kenya lurches deeper into political crisis over presidential polls on October 26, Nic Cheeseman, Gabrielle Lynch and Justin Willis look at Kenya’s incredible election. The last few weeks have been a political roller-coaster, with repeated, unexpected, shifts and turns. The blogpost explains what’s going on.

From the Blog

Taking on Adam Habib: an interview with Sandy Nicoll

ROAPE speaks to the socialist and trade unionist, Sandy Nicoll, the Secretary of the trade union, UNISON, at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) about Professor Adam Habib, the new head of SOAS. In a webinar with students from SOAS in March, Habib used the ‘n-word’ and then tried to justify himself. Nicoll's examines the context and the issues and explains why Habib must go.