Do Swazis want democracy?

bheki_New Afrobarometer-report shows that Africans still cautiously embrace democracy. In the small absolute monarchy of Swaziland, support for democracy is low but rising. In many other countries it is falling.

‘Do Africans still want democracy,’ independent research network Afrobarometer asks Africans in a new report? The answer seems to be a cautious and qualified ‘yes’. In Swaziland, a small absolute monarchy where parties are banned and the king appoints the government and controls everything from the economy to the judiciary, numbers are very low but rising. Read more of this post

Land legislation in Zambia bypasses the poor yet again

Small scale farming is a vital and widespread means of occupation and income in Zambia, as it is throughout Africa, due to lack of formal employment opportunities in the country. That those small-scale farmers who tend the land, but often do not own it, are consulted on issues relating to their land is subsequently of vital importance to the financial well-being of a large proportion of the Zambian population. Unfortunately, land administration policies in Zambia are heavily centralized, and recent support by President Banda to remove the section on the abuse of office by public officers from the Anti Corruption Commission Act of 1996 does not bode well for the already corrupt practices of the Ministry of Lands. The 1995 Lands Act that regulates Zambia’s land policy stipulates that all land is to be held in trust by the president, and most of the poor people live on customary land as they cannot afford to obtain a leasehold tenure. Read more of this post

The power of land administration: Zambia

Land is a very important means of subsistence, status and identity for many Africans.  But due to the power politics of both the colonial and post-colonial periods, where the issues of land administration and domination have figured prominently, many African countries have ended up with a very uneven distribution of land ownership. Zimbabwe and South Africa are obvious examples that are relatively well reported in the news. Less well known, however, is the case of Zambia where land distribution has proven equally problematic. Read more of this post

African communalism

Before Africa was colonised, the continent was characterised by a large degree of pluralism and flexibility. The continent consisted not of closed reproducing entities, equipped with unique unchanging cultures, but of more fluid units that would readily incorporate outsiders (even whites) into the community as long as they accepted its customs, and where the sense of obligation and solidarity went beyond that of the nuclear family. An example of such inclusiveness were the South African Xhosa who limited Xhosadom not along ethnic or geographical lines but along political. All persons or groups who accepted the rule of the paramount chief became Xhosa. Pre-colonial African societies were of a highly varied nature. They could be either stateless, state run or kingdoms, but most were founded on the principles of communalism in that they were self-governing, autonomous entities, and in that all members took part, directly or indirectly, in the daily running of the tribe. Read more of this post