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The following was written by Pretoria-based ASFL Executive Board Member, Martin van Staden.

The West African nation of Liberia is apparently on the road toward privatizing its early childhood education system.

Liberia privatizes primary education

Liberia privatizes primary education

The Ministry of Education announced back in January that Bridge International Academies, a private American firm with over 200 schools in Kenya, would take over pre-primary and primary education in the educationally underdeveloped nation.

Partial or full privatization has been fiercely criticized by teachers unions, journalists, and most predictably, the United Nations. According to Special Rapporteur Kishore Singh, governments should primarily provide education within their jurisdictions – not private companies. The Mail & Guardian Africa, itself a news source, believes that the privatization of education is “just wrong”, regardless of what positive outcomes it may yield. The unions, as could be expected, see the job security of their members to be threatened, given Bridge International’s nontraditional focus on teaching-by-technology.

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March 2016 update

12805763_1053315478061414_1330380614301545039_nMorocco: Students For Liberty Morocco held the Maghreb Debate for Peace Building and Countering Violent Extremism. His excellency Morocco’s former ambassador to the UN Mohamed Loulichki was a keynote speaker among others. The event was a series of debates on various topics including causes of violent extremism.

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Nigeria: Students from the Federal University of Technology, Akure held a debate was organized on Capitalism Vs Socialism. They also hosted the first ever Liberty and Entrepreneurship Workshop led by LocalCoordinator Adeola Bamgboye. Tagged ‘Libertarianism: Unlocking Entrepreneurial Potentials for Citizen’s Prosperity’, the event had Emeka Ezeugo and Oluwafemi Ogunjobi as the guest speakers, who spoke on: ‘Youths Emancipation: The key to Economic Freedom.’ & “Opportunities in Students For Liberty” respectively. The event successfully registered over 50 students, and copies of Why Liberty, Peace, Love & Liberty, Voices from Africa, among 12063628_1295289310485937_5687073643188760641_nother materials were distributed to the participants. Students from Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto held their first ever SFL tabling event that saw over 120 students registered to join their SFL group. African Liberty Students Organisation, Federal University Of Agriculture, Abeokuta led by Lilian David Hadijat held a tabling event and Matriculation Outreach for freshers on Campus. This was to introduce the organisation to the entire University audience and also serves as an avenue to have new intakes. Over 200 students visited the stand and appreciated the effort of the Organization with loads of Exotic books to share. African Students For Liberty materials were available for the Audience. Lilian also organized a seminar and induction ceremony for newly admitted members of her campus group on the 30th of March. The event provided an opportunity for students to learn about liberty and plan for the coming school year.

12814033_1010394342368014_1727045482821404886_nBurundi: ASFL Burundi held an outreach event at the Public University ENS Bujumbura Kigobe campus. The group introduced SFL to the audience, the principles of liberty and freedom for all including women. The event was successful and attracted 183 students.

Kenya: Executive Board Chair Linda Kavuka met with some of the Kenyan LCs over the Easter weekend to discuss the upcoming Eastern African Regional Conference, progress with activities in their respective Universities and the way forward for SFL in Kenya. Watch out for upcoming events from the region soon.

More pictures from the incredible events organized by ASFL leaders in March: 

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ASFL group in Sokoto State, Nigeria runs a tabling event

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ASFL leaders in Abeokuta host a tabling event and reach over 200 students.

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ASFL leaders in Abeokuta host a tabling event and reach over 200 students.

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ASFL leaders in Abeokuta host a tabling event and reach over 200 students.

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ASFL leaders in Burundi host series of seminars for students in Burundi

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ASFL leaders in Burundi host series of seminars for students in Burundi

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ASFL group in Sokoto State, Nigeria runs a tabling event

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Participants at the seminar on violent extremism organized by ASFL leaders in Morocco.

 

#Share Your Story

#Share Your Story

African Students For Liberty is excited to announce the first ASFL Conference this year, tagged:  #ShareYourStory. This is an intellectually-engaging student conference that will bring together campus leaders and advocates of free society to discuss, and share practical ideas on how to promote the ideas of tolerance, liberty and markets.

Most importantly, in tune with the theme of this event, these speakers will be sharing their personal experiences in the pursuit of liberty, and how the ideas of liberty have helped them in their life pursuits.

In a wider sense, the event is aimed at sharing personal experiences, communicating ideas and best practices, but ultimately, to encourage students and leaders not to let down the guard in advancing freedom in their campuses.

The Speakers at the event include: Japheth Omojuwa, Yael Ossowski, Olumayowa Okediran, Martin VanStaden, Linda Kavuka, Isack Danford, Emeka Ezeugo, Lilian David, Wale Ajetunmobi, Adewale Bankole, among others. The speakers will be speaking on range of practical, interesting and diverse topics as it concerns liberty today.

Sessions at the event include: speaking sessions, activism panel made up of student leaders, discussions and interviews; documentary/comedy/ playlet, networking, etc.

Speakers & Topics

  1. Japheth Omojuwa: ‘Telling a Story of How Activism is a Potent Tool for Social Change’
  2. Olumayowa Okediran: ‘How I started: A Story of a Young College Student Among Wolves’
  3. Yael Ossowski: Narrating his ordeal with Serbian authorities, and why it is (or not) important to follow all applicable government demands and stipulation’
  4. Martin VanStaden: ‘South Africa: The Strength of Young People Amid Repressing Authorities/Policies’
  5. Linda Kavuka: ‘The Role of Women in the Liberty Movement’
  6. Isack Danford: ‘My Story: The Future of Liberty in the Context of Think Tanks’
  7. Wale Ajetunmobi: ‘Why Campus Leaders Should Be Bold to Challenge College Authorities’
  8. Adewale Bankole: Nigeria’s Socio-economic Clime And the Ideas of Markets’
  9. Chukuemeka Ezeugo: Sacrificing All for What I Believe In’
  10. Lilian David: ‘Women & Leadership Position in the Global Economy’

Venue: Cooperative Building Hall, behind Zenith Bank, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile–Ife, Nigeria.

Time: 09:30 a.m.

Free lunch pack and coffee will be served at the event. With limited spots available, application to the conference can be found here: https://goo.gl/78DWvM

PS: Successful applicants are responsible for the costs of their travel, and boarding. 

Enquiries: Contact Olufemi Ogunjobi at: [email protected]

The following was contributed by Ghana-based ASFL Local Coordinator Michael Gyekye

The government of Ghana has recently tabled before the country’s Parliament a controversial bill that purports to hand some state investigative officers the discretionary authority to intercept electronic and postal communications of citizens, ostensibly to aid crime prevention. The Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunication Messages Bill, popularly called the Spy Bill, has provoked intense opposition from the public and local civil society. Kofi Bentil, a lawyer, advocate of accountable and responsible governance and Vice President of IMANI Africa, is a vocal opponent of the bill. He shares his thoughts on the Spy Bill with Michael Gyekye, Ghana-based ASFL Local Coordinator.

Kofi Bentil, Vice President of Imani Africa

Kofi Bentil, Vice President of Imani Africa

ASFL: Can you educate our readers on the Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunication Messages Bill, popularly dubbed the ‘Spy Bill’, which is currently before the Parliament of Ghana for passage into law?
KB: The bill gives permission to the government in section 4(3) to intercept anyone’s communications upon receiving an oral order from a Public official.
There are other provisions which require a Judge, but section 4(3) overrides them all and so I have no doubt that it will be abused heavily. (more…)

March 2016 Update
ASFL was well represented at the ISFLC16 which was held from 26th to 28th February at the Marriot Wardman Park, Washington DC, USA. African Executive Board Chairperson Linda Kavuka was one of the speakers at the Student Organizing panel which featured speakers from Germany, Venezuela and Brazil. She spoke of the challenges that students in Africa face when organizing and holding events for liberty. She also narrated the incident that happened in Gambia from December 2014 to January 2015 that saw various ASFL leaders called in for questioning by the authorities. She further narrated how some leaders were forced to flee the country. Despite the challenges, ASFL has been able to record numerous successes and is currently in 18 countries in Africa.
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Linda was also among the presenters on the panel dubbed Defending Liberty where she spoke of her efforts and those of the female leaders in Africa currently working at sharing the ideas of liberty to women and championing for liberty as female leaders alongside colleagues from Women for Liberty from Nepal, USA and Europe. She spoke of the challenges that affect women in Africa including domestic violence, FGM, early marriage, lack of access to education among other issues and efforts leaders in Africa are making to face the issues. Women for Liberty is targeting female leaders to join the movement of liberty as the number of female leaders is fairly low, especially in Africa. She stated that plans are underway to organize seminars for Women for Liberty in Africa.

ASFL for the first time is opening applications to the second Local Coordinator Program. African students and recent graduates who are passionate about the ideas of liberty are encouraged to apply for the program, which is a rigorous 8-week online training that equips participants with the skills and knowledge of promoting liberty in Africa. This is a rare opportunity to join the largest libertarian student organization in the world. Do not miss out on this once in a lifetime chance to join the cheetah generation!

The following was written by Burundi-based ASFL Local Coordinator Hendrix Nkamicaniye  

Burundi (1)During the last few decades, Burundi has faced gruesome conflict periods due to military coups and unequal power sharing among the two ethnic divides which comprises this nation.  The recent conflict dates back to 1993, which led innocent civilians to be killed or fled their country because of the undemocratic regime or armed groups who waged war against, what they called the dictatorial regime. In some instances, civilians were accused mistakenly for combatants, or targeted simply because of their ethnic backgrounds.

In 2005, after a ceasefire agreement was reached; most of the people who were refugees returned home and lived in what was to be a relatively peaceful decade. From April 2015, however, when the sitting president decided to run for another term, the opposition and civil society took to the streets to protest this decision. From that time onward, the news has been bringing us daily images and stories of people streaming out of Burundi. This is largely due to the sporadic violence in Bujumbura, the capital, and due to the crimes perpetrated against the people from responsible parties.

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The following report was submitted by ASFL Local Coordinator Aimable Manirakaza

Burndi 1Amid the lingering crisis since April 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza ran for a controversial third term in office in Burundi, 126 students congregated at the University of Bujumbura Light Campus, Kinindo to discuss how to liberate their country from the shackles of poverty and state oppression. The event which was the first of its kind in Burundi was organized by the African Students For Liberty group led by Aimable Manirakiza, featured keynote sessions, discussions and cocktail.

Aimable, in his welcome note, spoke on the existence of ASFL in Burundi and how the group is committed to hosting events, and be in the frontline of advocating for human rights, rule of law and economic freedom in the country.

Bella Munezero, a Political science and International relations student of the university explained the need for youngsters to sow seeds to build the next generation of leaders who will also champion the libertarian movement to change the world.

In her words, ‘’we do not seek to cause a transformation of the world overnight. Rather, we sow the seeds as much as we can to change the world to be more inclined to liberty and to enable individuals to take action in a meaningful and sustainable manner to the realization of a freer world.

To change the world, we need people everywhere to embrace this change. We need widespread public calls Burundi 2for libertarian politics –that politicians are elected on pro-freedom platforms; journalists who accurately represent current events; business leaders who fight for freedom, and support university research publishing that satisfy the need for freedom, and more.

We are at a turning point where this is within our reach: the youth of today is the libertarian generation, there is an available path that leads to a freer world, and momentum behind SFL to succeed. With the right investment, the right people and good execution of the SFL strategy, we can change the world.’’ She noted.

On the need for Free Economic Exchange, Innocent KezaKima, a student of Management and Administration explained Free Trade as the principle aimed at promoting the development of international trade by eliminating tariff and non-tariff trade barriers and national regulations which may restrict the import of goods and services; adding that free exchange opposes protectionism and mercantilism.

In between sessions of the event, questions were raised by participants, and there were distribution of CDs on the Ideas of a Free Society at the end of the programme.

The following, being the first of reviews of libertarian  books, was written by Michael Gyekye 

Anatomy of the State by Murray RothbardAnatomy of the State is an approximately 35-page essay on the idea of the state, written by the eminent libertarian scholar, Murray Newton Rothbard. It was published into a single book with the same title, by the Mises Institute, in 2009. The essay originally appeared as part of a collection of essays by the author, titled Egalitarianism as A Revolt Against Nature and Other Essays, first published in 1974, and republished by the Mises Institute in 2000.

Anatomy of the State is a captivating tour de force that performs a surgical incision into the concept of the state, as popularly understood. Comprising just seven chapters of roughly 5 pages each, it busts common myths about the state, exposes its true nature, and reveals some of the stratagems it invariably employs for self-perpetuation. The book further discusses how the state exceeds its conceived limits, and presents some of its fears, along with an explanation of the nature of its relations with other states. The final chapter of the work briefly pictures history as a contest between voluntary creative production and cooperation (termed social power) and coercive systematic predation (termed state power).

A thoroughly fascinating work, it opens with a lamentation of how the ‘miasma of myth has lain so long over the state’, that its true nature as that organization in society which attempts to maintain a monopoly of the use of force and violence in a given territorial area,’ and which ‘…obtains its revenue not by voluntary contribution or payment for services rendered but by coercion,’ has been cleverly masked by its false portrait as that rather indispensable though not infrequently inefficient social institution, best suited for accomplishing some societal ends, deemed outside the competence of the private sphere of production.

 

With remarkable emphasis, the irrepressible Rothbard chides the popular saying ‘we are the government’, describing it together with allied expressions as organicist metaphors’, that seem to cast the government as an embodiment of citizens’ will and intent, on the basis of warped views of popular legitimacy engendered by democratic representation. Rothbard offers an insightful list of scenarios that highlight the absurd self-contradictions of such sentiments, when juxtaposed with the true nature of the state.

 

After rebutting such noxious misconceptions of the state, Rothbard directly confronts the question, ‘What is the state?’ His answer is a combination of views from the German sociologist Franz Oppenheimer, fellow libertarian traveler Albert Jay Nock, and Bertrand de Jouvenel, into a revisionist definition of the state. This recasts the state’s origin in unapologetically contrarian terms. The state is explained by him as classically a social construct produced by ‘a conquering tribe pausing in its time-honored method of looting and murdering a conquered tribe, to realize that the timespan of plunder would be longer and more secure, and the situation more pleasant, if the conquered tribe were allowed to live and produce, with the conquerors settling among them as rulers exacting a steady annual tribute.This contrarian conception of the state denies its foundation on any form of social contract, as posited by some political philosophers, and regards it as a unique parasitic entity, engaged in systematic use of the political means, that is, violent appropriation of peacefully and privately produced wealth, rather than the economic means: production of wealth via peaceful private production and exchange, to obtain wealth.

 

The survival of such a state, we are led to realize, must necessarily hinge on a diverse array of lasting wiles. The state thus typically utilizes cunning devices to procure mass support and insure self-sustenance. These include the creation of vested economic interests, formation of alliance with intellectuals, spread of fear about alternatives to state rule, appeal to tradition, and a belated resort to scientism.

 

Landmark attempts that have punctuated centuries and generations of state rule, with the intent of bringing the state’s power under limits, are noted by Rothbard. These have straddled the circumscription of the state’s actions under divine law, institutional checks and constitutional restraints. Their collective futility is however not lost to him. Most eruditely, he ushers us into a discovery of how such measures are ultimately exploited by the state to finagle more power.

 

Closing his wonderfully captivating work, Rothbard soberly explores what counts as the state’s worst nightmares, the common deficiencies that most influence the nature of inter-state relations, and the chances and channels for social power to triumph over state power.

The work is such a precious gem liberty-lovers would dearly treasure!

The following was contributed by ASFL local coordinator Abayomi Odewale

The frivolous petition bill is a threat to freedom of expression.

The frivolous petition bill is a threat to freedom of expression.

The passage of Freedom of Information Bill, by Nigerian National Assembly on May 28, 2011 was signed by former President Jonathan on May 28, 2011. The approval was greeted with encomiums from everyone –journalists, bloggers, editors, and freelancers, who sensed that the approval would avail public records and information to all and sundry. And of course, it was necessary in a true democratic space.

The FOI Act is to make public records and information more freely available, provide for public access to public records and information, protect public records and information to the extent consistent with the public interest and the protection of personal privacy, protect serving public officers from adverse consequences of disclosing certain kinds of official information without authorization and establish procedures for the achievement of those purposes and; for related matters.

But there seems to be a twist to this act, with the wake of recent events in the country. The Nigerian Senate has just proposed a 2-year jail term for offenders of abusive statements on social media. The bill, seeking a two-year jail term for any person who makes allegation or publishes any statement or petition in the newspaper, radio or medium of whatever description against another person, institutions of government or any public office holder, has just passed second reading in the Red Chamber. (more…)

The following was contributed by ASFL Local Coordinator Bezawit Tesfaye 

Ethiopia faces a challenge of Press Freedom

Ethiopia faces a challenge of Press Freedom

Ethiopia does not have a free status of the press. All television stations, most newspapers and magazine are state-owned and controlled. News media streaming oppositions on political issues in the country are to be banned from the public. This has been responsible for many local and international journalists on the run.

The government says, ‘Private media sectors go beyond their rights and end up in creating a very bad image on the minds of the generation on issues like the development of the country”.

According to statistics by  Freedom House, an organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights, Ethiopia is next to Eritrea in jailing journalists. Many journalists, who have raised their voice to speak against government policies, are locked up in cell.

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