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The following is a guest submission by Phumlani UMajozi

During South Africa’s platinum miners’ strike that ended in June this year, I was puzzled by union members who suggested they’d rather be unemployed than earn what they described as a “low wage”. I was really startled by their remarks. It made no sense to me, not only because I have had low-wage jobs, but also because I couldn’t imagine a poor desperate South African rejecting a low-pay job in favour of an incapability to feed, clothe and house their families.

During my first year at Rhodes University, eight years ago, I was lucky enough to find temporary jobs during the holidays, mostly in gardening and construction. I had also submitted my resumé to various restaurants and clothing shops and responded to a number of job advertisements, but with no luck. (more…)

The following was written by ASFL leader Oluleke Peter

On the 8th of November, 2014, 33 student leaders from 9 universities and 6 states within Nigeria gathered at Conference Centre, University of Ibadan for the African Students For Liberty Nigerian Leadership Forum. The forum shared best practices for pro-liberty student organizing: as discussions; brainstorming and lectures highlighted the need to establish a network of leaders who will work to make the country a stronghold for the pro-liberty student movement.

The forum commenced with a formal introduction by each participants. These participants were student leaders/representatives from University of Ibadan, Ibadan; Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta; Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso; Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife; Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye; University of Ilorin, Ilorin; Mashood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta; Kogi State University, Kogi state; and University of Abuja, Abuja.

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The following was written by Alex Njeru, ASFL Executive Board member

Kenyans have recently been treated to melodrama and political chicanery of the highest order. First came in the ‘special parliamentary session’ where President Uhuru Kenyatta invoked section 147(3) of the Constitution, and appointed Deputy President William Ruto as Acting President albeit for a day while he attends the status conference at The Hague, in the Netherlands. Then came the stage managed images of the president ‘now civilian’ filling through immigrations as he left Kenya for the Hague as a private citizen and the all too familiar images and video clips of acting president William Ruto in the presidential motorcade, his and only day in office as president where we were made to believe all a president’s work revolves around swinging on swivel chair, reading the dailies and smiling for the camera’s in the presidential office at Harambee House.

Then finally the actual president is back, a circular from the Ministry of Interior and Co-ordination of National Government, has called on all Kenyans to welcome the president from The Hague, to mock the president’s trials and tribulations at The Hague. Well knowing this selfie loving president, I would not bet on him to waste a moment to make political capital and he is using his trials at the International Criminal Court at the Hague to make political kill, well he has done that for a while in fact his trials at the Hague and his ingenious engineering of his trials at the Hague are part of the reasons why he and his deputy occupy the two biggest seats in Kenya. (more…)

Few can agree on why the Berlin Wall fell 25 years ago. However, the recent suspension of the Burkinabe constitution and the takeover of government by the army well demonstrates that its debris remain in Africa, where ideological proxy wars are ongoing.

The 27 – year rule of Blaise Campaore, Africa’s fifth longest- serving president has been largely sustained by his pro-West stance. For following the dictates of his allies in Paris, Campaore’s  authoritarian rule which has survived five coup attempts and his attendant human right abuses, have been ignored for allowing the growth of GDP at the expense of the quality of lives of Burkinabes. As a result, there is much nostalgia in the West African country for the old times under Thomas Sankara’s regime — well-known as, “Africa’s Che Guevera.”

The recent protests remind one of the words of Thomas Sankara’s inaugural address to the United Nations  General assembly where he “…protest[ed] on behalf of all those who vainly seek a forum in this world where they can make their voice heard and have it genuinely taken under consideration.” It seems  Campaore’s cronyism with his western buddies has proven Sankara’s claim that while revolutionaries as individuals can be murdered, you cannot kill ideas. (more…)

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…)