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his post is part of a new “Student Spotlight” SFL blog series in which we honor the best and brightest student activists in our network by highlighting the top student, group, and event of the week and share their accomplishments to inspire other leaders to step up their game in advancing the cause of liberty. 

Congratulations to SFL’s student of the week, Alieu Bangura! He is a  senior at the University of the Gambia majoring in Computer Science. Alieu is also a founder and Program Coordinator of Students For Liberty in the Gambia.

How did you find out about SFL?

I found out about SFL through the Charter Teams Program. I also recall having signed up to receive newsletters. I learned more about it through Irena Schneider, the International Programs Associate, and since then I have been building a strong group that advocates  liberty.

Who are your favorite figures or topics in liberty? 

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The following is a guest submission by Innocent Okoro

When the Federal Government announced the removal of fuel subsidy in january 2, it was said that the subsidy on kerosene would remain because kerosene was vital for the daily ‘survival of the people’. The fuel subsidy removal was greeted by mass protests from Nigerians, even serving as a political point for the opposition, because, the people were not properly made to understand the negative effects of subsidy and the need for its removal in order to bring about a better socio-economic outlook in the country. Marred by massive corruption and improper implementation, the fuel subsidy program was simply a waste of tax payers’ money.

Maintaining a litany of subsidies is a very wrong government policy leading to increased taxation and a high debt since the government would continue seeking money to maintain these subsidies, to offset these debts, the government would have to further increase the already high tax, and most times, allocations that should be used in carrying out developmental projects would be spent in servicing debts that always come with high interests. Allowing a free market without government subsidies and interference, however, would bring about efficient and effective service delivery, and competition for customers between firms would drive down the cost of these products to the lowest possible price in addition to a high quality of service. (more…)

The following is a guest submission by Olawale Ajetunmobi

The battle over the survival of tobacco has resumed at Nigeria’s National Assembly. The committee set up by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, on Wednesday, commenced hearing on the Anti-Tobacco Bill, for which the lawmakers are seeking public opinion before passing into.

Already, interest groups have lined up arguments and memoranda in support and against the Anti-Tobacco Bill. Those in support have put forward their reasons why the government needs to place a ban on this natural product- public health concerns as primary in their argument. Those against have equally raised objections, wondering why a money-spinning trade should be asphyxiated.

Why this writer will not try to justify the logic of the anti-tobacco crusaders, it is pertinent for discerning minds to look at the issue at stake dispassionately and separate the chaff from the wheat. (more…)

The following was written by Linda Kavuka, an African Students For Liberty Executive Board Member. 

The Women For Liberty Seminar held on October 11th at the University of Nairobi was the first of its kind in Kenya. It attracted over 50 participants, with some traveling from as far as Eldoret (6 hours away) and Kitui (3 hours away), both out of town. The fact that women were the target audience also did not deter men from attending. The conversations that came up were very interesting, as the participants challenged each other, asked questions, and came up with solutions to the highlighted issues. This particular audience was very inspiring, being made up of ladies and gents form different schools and faculties of study. Liberty and Leadership formed the agenda for the day as this seminar was taking a different approach from the usual tired topics. Women have been empowered and it is time for young ladies to stop complaining and take advantage of the numerous opportunities accorded to them thanks to increased educational opportunities in the developing world. It is time for women to contest for leadership positions in society, politics, and the economy.

The first speaker was Miss Keziah Rutto who is a lawyer by profession and a member of the ASFL- Local Coordinator’s Training Program. She presented on the Rule of Law, a subject within her profession that is unfortunately foreign to many. The participants were challenged on issues many take for granted. She urged the participants to read the Constitution of Kenya, and at least familiarise themselves with Chapter 4 that provided for the Bill of Rights, the most important chapter to us not just as libertarians, but as human beings. The second speaker was Miss Najda Khan, a vocal advocate for human rights. She presented on human rights, stereotypes against women in leadership, and solutions to these challenges. She challenged the ladies in attendance by stating that we are more than empowered, and the message women should be preaching is that of inspiration and mentorship. She urged the ladies to move away from the crowd of women who complain about one issue or the other and that they should take charge of their lives and make their own decisions. (more…)

The following is a guest submission by African Executive Board Member Alieu Bangura

SFL-Gambia held its first Liberty Seminar at the Main Hall, Gambia College Campus, Brikama, with the theme ‘Leadership, Liberty and Entrepreneurship for Development ’ in September.

More than 70 students gathered to listen to presentations from Professor Andrew Prentice from the United Kingdom and a colleague, Professor Clara from the United States. They used the occasion as guest speakers to speak on the importance of academic freedom, in line with African Students For Liberty key areas of advocacy.  Professor Andrew moderated the discussions after Mr. Camara from the American Embassy, Banjul, gave a talk on leadership.

 

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The following is a guest submission by Nigerian student Bakre Fadilah

 Advocacy for the rights of women and the girl child has received a boost with the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Pakistani Malala Yousefzai and Indian child rights campaigner Kailash Satyarthi. While radical feminists in the West pull controversial stunts, gains made in the much of the developing countries are encouraging.

In Africa, and not too long ago, women were treated as  property and not as humans who could make choices. A woman was seen and told by the community that she belonged to her husband  and whatever she suffered was her fate. A woman was not allowed some of the civil liberties that we now take for granted. The rights to own property, the rights of franchise and to education that have been won in some parts of the world may be a sign of progress, more momentum is needed in parts of the world that need these rights the most. (more…)

Need one less thing on your to do list? Sign up for the 8th annual International Students For Liberty Conference now before prices go up on November 1st! For this month only, early bird prices are only $20 for general attendees, $10 for students, and free for international students, West Coast students, and Alumni For Liberty Members. On November 1st, prices will increase to $35 for general attendees and $20 for students.

You should also be sure to reserve your room at our brand new location, theMarriot Wardman Park, before we run out! The Marriot Wardman Park is located in the beautiful Woodley Park community near the zoo and many other fun tourist destinations. SFL’s group rate is cheaper than ever before this year! Be close to the conference action all weekend bybooking your room today for only $139/night for a double bed – only $35/person if you split a room with three friends! If you prefer to make reservations in our room block via phone, please call 1-877-212-5752 and mention Students For Liberty to ensure you’re getting the special ISFLC rate.

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The following is a guest submission by South African student  Martin van Staden

 The “Freedom” Charter, widely considered to be one of the most important inspirations for the current Constitution of South Africa (1996), was adopted in Kliptown on 26 June 1955 by the Struggle movement. The Charter was a manifesto for the economic and political emancipation of the black majority population during the oppressive Apartheid era. To many, it was, and today still is, considered a document of freedom. The newest and most prominent addition to the South African Parliament, the Economic “Freedom” Fighters (EFF), under the leadership of Marxist-Leninist Julius Malema, has made the Charter an important part of their own manifesto, and describe their interpretation of it as a “radical, working class interpretation”. The EFF is currently the third largest party in both houses of Parliament.

However, the Freedom Charter is very much a communist document associated with the ruling African National Congress (ANC). It therefore comes as no surprise that many in the ANC share the EFF’s mindset; however continue supporting the ANC out of loyalty to those who are perceived to be South Africa’s liberators. The EFF does not represent a fringe group, but a major chunk of the South African populace, who agree with it in principle, if not by ballot. The EFF advocates for nationalization of “key sectors” in the economy, expropriation of land without compensation, “free” education, healthcare and housing, as well as various other policies which are quite contrary to “freedom”, and “economic freedom” in particular.

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The following was written by ASFL Executive Board member Alex Njeru

The other day I attended an exhibition at the KICC grounds on during the international youth week. Needless to say my disappointment was palpable, this Uhuru Kenyatta regime and myriads of other development actors are still treating with the contempt ‘they deserve’. There was music blaring all around, we the youth were expected to be dancing around as the speakers blared.

There were exhibition stands and all the usual things that am used to were on display, from; beadwork, a few good paintings here and there, locally tailored clothes and things of that sort. There was a young man in a short and Barcelona jersey trying all sorts of different things with a football, his role and presence in such an exhibition I did not get. There were a group trying to sell a new echo-stove from Italy, there was Chinese woman, am not sure she is Chinese as I do not speak Mandarin but she was from the orient with a camera that had a 12 inch lens, economic espionage, I thought to myself, she was seemed interested in documenting things with her gargantuan camera in detail, she was stealing intellectual property. Like heck! in this country we do not what constitutes intellectual property and that which we know off we cannot protect, I am sure the next time the president goes to China, he will be presented with a gift of Maasai sandals made in Shanghai or so. (more…)

Members of the African Students For Liberty group at the Obafemi Awolowo Univesity, Osun State, Nigeria played host to Dr. Anne Bradley, Vice President, Economic Initiatiatives at the Institute For Faith, Works and Economics, Virginia, USA at their inaugural virtual seminar on Sunday, October 5.

During the interactive lecture which took place Via Google+ at Eden, New Bukateria Complex, OAU, Dr Anne spoke on ‘The impacts of economic freedom’, and revealed how economic freedom has helped to turn the world around from severe poverty in thousands of years ago to considerable affluence and lots of possibility. She said, “The reason why we can talk across the globe is because of economic freedom.” On how several individuals connect together to make businesses work, she said, “You are free to learn how to do something; and you don’t necessarily have to make a shoe yourself.”

 

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