For White People Who Compare Black Lives Matter to White Supremacy theroot.com

On the last day of Passover a lone gunman opened fire on the congregation at Chabad of Poway’s Synagogue in San Diego, USA.

The attack left three wounded, and one dead. Lori Kaye was murdered after she took a bullet for the Rabbi.

San Diego is the latest in a series of crimes committed in the name of ‘white supremacy’. It occurred just six weeks after the mass shooting at a Mosque in New Zealand and seven months after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting. And yet, there is still little talk of what white supremacy is; how it operates; and what it means for our communities.

Furthermore, white supremacy has gone transnational.

The San Diego mosque shooter, like many other white supremacy terrorists, was radicalised through online networks.

And yet, the media and politicians have been reticent to identify white supremacy as a threat. Whilst Muslims are openly viewed as a target group of radicalisation, white people are not. The gunmen are viewed as lone rangers and bad apples. But, this is problematic. We should be taking white supremacists seriously. We should be targeting them with the same level of scrutiny that has been used to deal with Islamic radicalisation. To not treat them seriously puts our communities at risk. This would mean identifying the links between what has been painted as fairly disparate attacks since 2011 – including Charlottesville, Charleston and the Murder of British MP Jo Cox, (the Guardian has created a time-line of these events).

There is a clear pattern, white supremacists see the Other (Jews, Muslims, black people) as an existential threat to the white race. Yet, little solidarity is promoted in the mainstream between these communities. In a time where identifying as Jewish can be so negatively scrutinised because of Israel’s politics, the Left (and by extension anti-racist solidarity networks) do have a hard time seeing anti-semitism.

It is not just disappointing that there is little understanding of anti-semitism, but as we can now see this is also dangerous. To keep our communities safe we need to take the threat that white supremacist fanatics pose seriously. And we need to create stronger networks of solidarity by resisting mainstream media that does a good job of polarising the communities affected by racism.

Source: SOAS

Rwanda Genocide – The Israeli Connection | Veterans Today | Military Foreign Affairs Policy Journal for Clandestine Services

Western propaganda about the Rwandan Genocide has been so triumphant that a Rwandan Hutu on trial in the West faces inevitable jury bias.

“Teganya’s trial became a de facto trial for genocide crime.”

Last week a jury in Boston Federal Court convicted Rwandan asylum seeker Jean Leonard Teganya of fraud and perjury for lying on his immigration papers about his involvement in the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. In other words, yet another racist, chauvinist, Western court convicted yet another African of participating in mass violence that the US and its Western allies engineeredin order to expand their imperial influence in East and Central Africa at the expense of France. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. 

In July 1994, Teganya crossed from Rwanda into Congo with millions of other Rwandans, mostly Hutus, who were fleeing the advancing Tutsi army led by General Paul Kagame. Teganya later used a false Zimbabwean passport to enter Canada, where he reunited with his Rwandan girlfriend, married, started a family, and applied for political asylum. Canada repeatedly denied him asylum on the grounds that he had committed crimes during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, which he in turn denied. Fearing for his life if deported to Rwanda, he went into hiding in Canada, then illegally crossed the Canadian border into the State of Maine to apply for US political asylum in 2014. His trial became a de facto trial for genocide crime because the prosecution had to prove that he was guilty of that to prove that he had lied on his asylum application.

“There is no hard evidence of what happened inside Butare Hospital.”

In 1994, Teganya was a third-year medical student at the National University of Rwanda in Butare. He testified that when the understaffed hospital was overwhelmed by wounded patients, he volunteered cleaning wounds and administering intravenous fluids in the emergency room. Former teachers and fellow students from both Rwanda and the Rwandan diaspora came to confirm his story and testify to his character, while prosecution witnesses from Rwanda accused him of rape and murder. 

The jurors’ verdict was based wholly on their conclusions about the credibility of witnesses. There is no hard evidence of what happened inside Butare Hospital after General Paul Kagame and his army assassinated the Hutu presidents of both Rwanda and Burundi, then launched their final military offensive to seize power in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali. One former medical student and witness for the defense testified that in the ensuing chaos, violence, and social collapse, he and his friends at the university in Butare protected themselves by staying close to one another and concentrating on how they might eat from one day to the next. He said that trucks and jeeps full of soldiers or civilian militias would drive by from time to time, but that he and his friends could never be sure who they were or where they were going.

US broke its promise not to penalize refugees for illegal entry 

The United States and Canada are both signatories to the 1967  Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees , by which they promised not to impose penalties for illegal entry on refugees coming directly from a territory where their life or freedom was threatened. The Protocol expanded the rights guaranteed by the 1951  Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees to refugees fleeing because of events that occurred after 1951:

Article 31
REFUGEES UNLAWFULLY IN THE COUNTRY OF REFUGE

“1. The Contracting States shall not impose penalties, on account of their illegal entry or presence, on refugees who, coming directly from a territory where their life or freedom was threatened in the sense of Article 1, enter or are present in their territory without authorization, provided they present themselves without delay to the authorities, and show good cause for their illegal entry or presence.

“2. The Contracting States shall not apply to the movements of such refugees restrictions other than those which are necessary and such restrictions shall only be applied until their status in the country is regularized or they obtain admission into another country. The Contracting States shall allow such refugees a reasonable period and all the necessary facilities to obtain admission into another country.”

Nevertheless, the prosecution built much of its case on the fact that Teganya had entered Canada on a false document and then crossed into the United States illegally. They even asked the defendant on the witness stand why he walked into Congo, which was then Zaire, without a visa, even though he was fleeing Kagame’s army with millions of other refugees. This was all meant to evidence that Teganya was not an honest man, that he had already lied and broken the law to enter Canada and the US, and that it was therefore reasonable to believe that he had lied to gain refugee status.

One jury member told the Boston Globe that he voted to convict primarily because the defendant had used a fake African passport to enter Canada and because he said on the stand that he would do anything not to go back to Rwanda with its current government. 

A priori assumption that only Hutus committed genocide

None of the premises about what actually happened in Rwanda in 1994 were questioned during the trial. As at the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda, the court’s a priori assumptions were that Hutu extremists massacred Tutsis from April to July in 1994—which did happen. However, they also assumed that only Hutus had committed crimes, and therefore only Hutus should be prosecuted. 

Sticking to the particulars of what happened at Butare Hospital in the course of a week, the defense did not introduce the body of evidence that the Tutsi army also committed genocide against Hutu people. 

This is not to say that Teganye’s federal public defender erred by sticking to the particulars of the case. Murder is against the law regardless of its political context, so the defense had little choice but to argue the particulars as evidenced by witness testimony. However, Western propaganda about the Rwandan Genocide has been so triumphant that a Rwandan Hutu on trial in the West faces inevitable jury bias. In “Enduring Lies, Rwanda in the Propaganda System 20 Years Later ,” Edward S. Herman and David Peterson wrote that: 

“According to the widely accepted history of the 1994 ‘Rwandan genocide,’ there existed a plan or conspiracy among members of Rwanda’s Hutu majority to exterminate the country’s minority Tutsi population. This plan, the story goes, was hatched some time prior to the April 6, 1994 assassination of Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana, who died when his Falcon 50 jet was shot-down as it approached the airport of the capital city of Kigali. The killers allegedly responsible for this crime were ‘Hutu Power’ extremists in positions of authority at the time. Although Habyarimana was Hutu, the story continues, he was also more moderate and accommodative toward the Tutsi than ‘Hutu Power’ extremists could tolerate; they were therefore forced to physically eliminate him in order to carry out their plan to exterminate the Tutsi. The mass killings of Tutsi and ‘moderate Hutu’ swiftly followed over the next 100 days, with perhaps 800,000 or as many as 1.1 million deaths. The ‘Rwandan genocide’ came to an end only when the armed forces of Paul Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front drove the ‘génocidaires’ from power, and liberated the country.

 “We refer to the above-version of the events that transpired in Rwanda 1994 as the standard model of the Rwandan genocide. And we note, up front, that we believe that this model is a complex of interwoven lies which, when examined closely, unravels in toto. 

“This model is a complex of interwoven lies.”

“Nevertheless, its Truth has been entered into the establishment history books and promulgated within the field of genocide studies, in documentaries, in the official history at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and even proclaimed from on-high by the UN Security Council in April 2014.

 “The institutionalization of the ‘Rwandan genocide’ has been the remarkable achievement of a propaganda system sustained by both public and private power, with the crucial assistance of a related cadre of intellectual enforcers. The favorite weapons of these enforcers are reciting the institutionalized untruths as gospel while portraying critics of the standard model as ‘genocide deniers,’ dark figures who lurk at the same moral level as child molesters, to be condemned and even outlawed. But we will show that this is not only crude name-calling, it also deflects attention away from those figures who bear the greatest responsibility for the bulk of the killings in Rwanda 1994, and for the even larger-scale killings in Zaire and the Democratic Republic of Congo thereafter.”

Ann Garrison is an independent journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2014, she received the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize for her reporting on conflict in the African Great Lakes region. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Source:Black Agenda Report

A Liberian womans Video went viral on social media as she talked about how Men simpy love women who wear fake hair, fake eye lashes, fake lips,  and fake backsides.


She claims that whenever she walks down the street with her natural hair and no make up, Men do not approach her.


They prefer to approach women with fake hair, lipstick, fake eye lashes, fake butt and fake breast. She said that it is no surprise that such women have little to no good characters in them but yet those are the ones men are attracted towards.


She implied that most men simply look at a woman’s fake look rather than looking deep into their characters and behaviour.
The video which has gone viral on facebook is now on YouTube.

‘Where are you from?’

I hear this more often than I hear my own name, and my response often depends on who’s asking; I can turn my ethnicity… heritage… into an icebreaker and ask the other person to have a guess, if they get the right answer I’ll give them £100. They never guess correctly, which I’m always relieved about – I can’t afford to keep giving away £100! Or I can weaponise it, pushing the other person into feeling self-conscious about whatever stereotype or bias they might be exposing in trying to guess. Finally, I can lie, which I often do when I feel uncomfortable, or unsafe, or just exhausted.

I’ll say, ‘London, mate’, and stick to that even when the response is, ‘Okay but where are you from from?’

And without fail, the response if I chose to reveal my half-Brazilian, half-Montenegrin heritage is always an impressed ‘woah!’, a moment I recognise, because I do it too, but a moment worth unpacking nonetheless. Call it what you want; biracial, mixed-ethnicity, mixed-race, ‘ethnic’, the idea that people who are a blend of races, ethnicities or nationalities are somehow more fascinating, or more ‘trendy’ is pretty problematic. Here’s a little break down of what is going through my mind when the entire conversation descends into a discussion about where I come from:

First of all, I am neither an imported fruit nor a mystical creature in a zoo, so comments about how rare or ‘exotic’ I am, and how new and exciting that is for everyone, implicitly suggests that I’m too different to belong. I understand that it is an unusual mixture to you, but to me it’s all I have ever known, it is natural and familiar and yet still something I have to condense into soundbites because here I am, explaining it to a stranger for the fifth time this week.

I may have foreign parents (is what I say when I mispronounce words like ‘radiator’ or reveal that I don’t know what Paddington Bear is), but I was born and educated in London and so bombarding me with questions about the political, socio-economic history of Brazil and Montenegro is going to make me feel like I don’t know enough about the political, socio-economic history of Brazil and Montenegro. Would you ask me this if I stuck to my ‘London’ answer? Probably not.

Loaded compliments that are solely based on my ethnicity make me feel uncomfortable, even if you don’t intend them to. Saying that I’m more interesting or more attractive based on something I have absolutely no control over is just an empty compliment – and if it wasn’t tinged with racism (and it usually is) – I probably wouldn’t care. But telling me that I must be an amazing dancer, or ‘fiery in the bedroom’, or must be used to wearing bikinis is bizarre and repulsive, and you should know better.

In all honesty, those comments are not that exhausting to deal with. There are plenty of people who are mixed, just like I am, but who have to deal with a lot more racism. I’m fortunate to pass as ‘white enough’, as I have been informed, so even though some casual racism might be thrown my way, my colour of my skin hasn’t often made me into a target the way it can for many others.

The hardest part of navigating my complex identity is that I myself, do not know exactly how to answer the ‘where are you from’ question. Truthfully, I am unsure. Debates about my ‘genuine’ identity, about the number of passports I have, or should have, about how many languages I can speak and about how much general knowledge I should have are not debates I agreed to when answering the question. Nor is my identity something you are entitled to ‘test’ me on. Here’s what I’d love to talk about, when I am asked about my background:

It is strange to be born in one country but have connections to two, very different countries. It is strange grow up in a household where all three languages are spoken, but English dominates out of practicality, so that the older I get the more I lose what once came to me so easily. And it is stranger still to grow up with a blend of three cultures that make the United Kingdom seem both so familiar yet so foreign at the same time, a feeling that is reinforced when someone insists on determining my origins even after I’ve already given them my answer. It is hard to grow up with family stretched between two different continents; I have missed birthdays, weddings and funerals. I go back often and still feel like an outsider, I read the news and listen to music in an effort to prove to other people (and myself) that I am authentically who I say I am.

These are things I’d much rather discuss with you, stranger or not, instead of struggling to answer what exact year Brazil’s military dictatorship ended, or explain that, yes, I do speak Montenegrin but I never learnt to read or write in it so I am nowhere near fluent. Please stop questioning me. Perhaps start listening instead?

Source:SOAS UK

In this internet world, dating is already a hard enough ballgame with the complete takeover of online dating, new ideals of perfection, and the near disappearance of chivalry. Adding to the list of shitty things, but not new to the dating culture, is the act of cheating.


Cheating in itself is already a horrifying experience if you’re the one whose trust was betrayed but when you’re the side chick that didn’t know the person you fell for was committed; the feelings of being cheated are equally as hurtful. A lot of people hate on the side chick or pass blame on to them, but sometimes they’re just as clueless as the partner that got cheated on. These are the painful stages of finding out you’re the woman on the side.1. The force of being blindsided.
The initial shock factor of finding out that the object of your affection has another object to his is like having the wind knocked out of you unexpectedly with a silent violence on your emotions. It destroys every daydream you ever had for a future that never existed.

2. Wondering what vibe you gave off that caused you to be chosen
You start to wonder what it was about you that made you the perfect target to play stand in to their relationship. Were you just in the wrong place at the wrong time, or did he read into you as someone who would play along in his game of charades?

3. Feeling unworthy and full of self-doubt. 
What does she have that I don’t? You wonder why you’ve finally found someone you loved spending time with, but he already had someone else before you. You wonder if you had just met him first, things might be different… but they wouldn’t, because he would likely have done the same thing to you eventually.

4. Realizing your trust was broken, too. 
You thought he was faithful to you, but the reality is he was unfaithful to her, and that’s a trust he broke between you two, as well.

5. Contemplating whether you should tell the main chick, if she doesn’t already know. 
This is when anger starts to penetrate you. You feel guilt over being put in this situation and you feel like the way to be in control again is to come out with the truth. You’ll live in this place for a while, wrestling with if you should or shouldn’t say anything, which only digs into your own pain more.

6. Feeling guilty for no reason. You feel so guilty, like you’re the one in the wrong.
You know you’ll be seen as the villain for being the one he played with, so you self loathe and blame yourself for a while. You need to remember that this isn’t your fault, and you didn’t ask for this.

7. Realizing the signs you didn’t realize were signs. 
That time he stepped out of the room to make a phone call, or how you never met any of his friends and kept dates low key were all signs. Those weren’t work calls. It wasn’t that he was busy because he was working late; he was busy because he was going home to his real relationship.

8. Experiencing incredible amounts of sympathy. 
You start to reflect on the horror of the situation in its entirety, including the other person he betrayed, and you feel sorry for her as well. You realize you’re both victims in this situation and the pain you’re feeling is shared.

9. Reaching inevitable defeat and acceptance.
Once the damage sinks in, and you reflect on everything you just went through, you realize you’ve been played and even though you got hurt and you didn’t find the right guy, you weeded out a master sh*t head before it was too late. Sure, it’s going to hurt for a while, but at least you’re no longer wasting time with someone who doesn’t truly appreciate or deserve you. You just know better for next time you gamble your heart.

Source: http://www.bolde.com/9-painful-stages-finding-youre-side-chick/

Back in 2017, SOAS was caught in something of a media storm when a Students’ Union commissioned report requested that academics decolonise the curriculum. According to some press outlets, SOAS students were sabotaging history and vandalising legitimate ideas. This perspective is being challenged by the creative directors behind the production ‘Decolonisation: Not Just a Buzzword’. They want to reveal that, in fact, ‘history is a troubling thing’, and perhaps it should be deconstructed.

The play uses the technique of Headphone Verbatim, where artists perform edited interviews whilst listening to them at the same time through headphones. Their performance relies on total honesty. Since it is only the actors who can hear the voices of the faculty members and students who were interviewed, they are required to keep every syllable, reflex, breath, divergence and accent completely intact throughout their performance. It is an effective technique. One of the actors explains that performing like this allows them to ‘reach for every detail without interruption’.

The honesty revealed on stage provides deeper introspection about the students reflections on positionality. For them, there is a clear link between their family histories and the way that race functions in this country. Decolonisation is a framework used to understand how the British ‘glorification of empire’ creates a hierarchy in ‘who counts as being British’. Growing up British and Asian, for instance, some students spoke about a feeling of dislocation, that in school the true impact of Empire was never discussed and this is ‘a form of neglect’. It means that children whose parents or grandparents were born in former colonies end up performing a ‘double consciousness’ where ‘you’re not just a subject of history’ but ‘you’re excluded from it’. In order to address this issue of erasure one student says that it would be ‘even more patriotic to really encounter empire and the past’ because Britain is so multicultural.

Despite Britain’s multiculturalism, with the rise of far right politics in recent years the perceived threat of the Other is all the more profound in Britain today. However, racism is far from a right wing problem; in fact, decolonisation reveals that racism is endemic in British society. Looking at academic syllabus history is a clear reflection of what is deemed to be important. In British schools there are not classes on Asian or African history. In fact, many of the students who were interviewed reveal that British school classes left them with the feeling that Asia and Africa were inferior. This form of ‘internalised racism’ is expressed by one student who recounts how her South Asian born father despairs that she spent her childhood and adolescence learning about Anne Boleyn when India has such a rich history of its own. I would agree that this is a form of neglect. It is problematic that the school system attempts to box people into one fantasy of British identity. In fact, the erasure of history is a neglect when it is an erasure of self knowledge for young people with divergent backgrounds.

In this way a conversation about decolonisation becomes a question about power. Who is allowed to remember and what will be remembered? The power to remember and create knowledge is restricted when it is controlled by one narrow perspective. As one interviewee states: decolonising is about making the views of diverse voices ‘heard’ but that ‘does not mean making the voices of middle aged white males illegitimate’ it is about representation. For this reason, decolonisation is expressed as taking positonality seriously – academics and students are interrogating ‘who am I and who am I talking to’ especially when these power dynamics reflect our wider society.

Perhaps this is the most robust point about decolonisation. As one academic says ‘you can reform the conversation about decolonisation to democratisation’. There is an ‘uneven’ world ‘system’ where ‘some people have power and wealth at the expense of others’. The perceived universality of the Global North is not just about Eurocentric thinking. Within this Eurocentric logic the Global South is made inferior resulting in the justification for colonial rule, exploitation of resources and unjust wars.

As such, for me, decolonisation is about asking who is it that benefits from history, and who is left out of history altogether? Troubling as these questions may be, we could all do well to ask ourselves them.  

Source: SOAS

On friday, June 30th, 2017, The parliament in Germany voted to legalise same-sex marriage after Chancellor Angela Merkel bowed to pressure and dropped her longstanding disapproval. Africans react to the same sex marriage Law by giving their unbiased opinion.


With the passage of the bill, Germany would now join many other European countries in extending full marital rights to same-sex couples, including the right to adopt children. Such rights had only been limited to civil partnerships since 2001 without full marriage status and the ability to adopt children.

But what does such a vote mean for many young Africans in Germany whose legislations back home are still very hostile towards homosexuality? Punishment for engaging in same-sex relationships in countries like Nigeria and Uganda range from 10 years to life imprisonment.

Nigerian scholars are asked in this second episode of the L.O.L Show (Lens of Leadership) on TopAfric about their opinions on the social norm and whether or not they would advocate such legislation back home.


Watch the video below to get their opinions and reactions.

Question: "What is the difference between religion and spirituality?"
Answer: 
Before we explore the difference between religion and spirituality, we must first define the two terms. Religion can be defined as “belief in God or gods to be worshipped, usually expressed in conduct and ritual” or “any specific system of belief, worship, etc., often involving a code of ethics.” Spirituality can be defined as “the quality or fact of being spiritual, non-physical” or “predominantly spiritual character as shown in thought, life, etc.; spiritual tendency or tone.” To put it briefly, religion is a set of beliefs and rituals that claim to get a person in a right relationship with God, and spirituality is a focus on spiritual things and the spiritual world instead of physical/earthly things.


The most common misconception about religion is that Christianity is just another religion like Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, etc. Sadly, many who claim to be adherents of Christianity do practice Christianity as if it were a religion. To many, Christianity is nothing more than a set of rules and rituals that a person has to observe in order to go to heaven after death. That is not true Christianity. True Christianity is not a religion; rather, it is having a right relationship with God by receiving Jesus Christ as the Savior-Messiah, by grace through faith. Yes, Christianity does have “rituals” to observe (e.g., baptism and communion). Yes, Christianity does have “rules” to follow (e.g., do not murder, love one another, etc.). However, these rituals and rules are not the essence of Christianity. The rituals and rules of Christianity are the result of salvation. When we receive salvation through Jesus Christ, we are baptized as a proclamation of that faith. We observe communion in remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice. We follow a list of do’s and don’ts out of love for God and gratitude for what He has done.

The most common misconception about spirituality is that there are many forms of spirituality, and all are equally valid. Meditating in unusual physical positions, communing with nature, seeking conversation with the spirit world, etc., may seem to be “spiritual,” but they are in fact false spirituality. True spirituality is possessing the Holy Spirit of God as a result of receiving salvation through Jesus Christ. True spirituality is the fruit that the Holy Spirit produces in a person’s life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Spirituality is all about becoming more like God, who is spirit (John 4:24) and having our character conformed to His image (Romans 12:1-2).

What religion and spirituality have in common is that they both can be false methods of having a relationship with God. Religion tends to substitute the heartless observance of rituals for a genuine relationship with God. Spirituality tends to substitute connection with the spirit world for a genuine relationship with God. Both can be, and often are, false paths to God. At the same time, religion can be valuable in the sense that it points to the fact that there is a God and that we are somehow accountable to Him. The only true value of religion is its ability to point out that we have fallen short and are in need of a Savior. Spirituality can be valuable in that it points out that the physical world is not all there is. Human beings are not only material, but also possess a soul-spirit. There is a spiritual world around us of which we should be aware. The true value of spirituality is that it points to the fact that there is something and someone beyond this physical world to which we need to connect.

Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of both religion and spirituality. Jesus is the One to whom we are accountable and to whom true religion points. Jesus is the One to whom we need to connect and the One to whom true spirituality points. Are you interested in discovering true religion and true spirituality? If the answer is yes, please begin your journey on our webpage that describes receiving Jesus Christ as your Personal Savior - 

Irene, a former Miss Kenya Germany contestant, who goes by the name of Vienna Shiko Levatis on Facebook, says that "girls who swallow sperm during sexual intercourse are actually killing babies.

She wrote this statement on her facebook wall which started a huge controversial assualt of comments.

Someone disputed her claims by saying

"Not quite correct. Mainly, Spaerma consists of water and proteins dopamine, noradrenaline, tyrosine binding hormones oxytocin and vasopressin, as well as various estrogens, pheromones (odors). On the whole, nothing special, similar to a chicken egg"

Another person asked why she posed half nude while leaving this controversial statement.

She didnt or hasnt responded.

The question goes out to everyone out there. Is swallowing sperm the same as killing babies?

Should corruption be seen as a moral issue? It often seems so, and that attitude is often reflected in how societies decide it should be dealt with – punishment through the legal system or the rule of law. In this worldview, corrupt acts are a well-thought out and premeditated way for people to capture resources which aren’t rightfully theirs.

There is another way of thinking about corruption, however, which says that the historical social and economic structures in a country create the conditions for corruption. While some forms of corruption do come down to sheer greed, in the wider scheme of how societies progress, corruption is a structural phenomenon – it is built into the structures around which politics in developing economies work, especially of redistribution. The work that the Anti-Corruption Evidence (ACE) Research Consortium does is designed to tease out whether, within existing realities, opportunities can be found to change incentives and behaviour to make a specific sector more productive, and therefore less corrupt.

To explore these seemingly opposite perspectives – the view that corruption is a moral issue and that corruption is a structural issue, we teamed up with Timothy Adewale, of the Nigerian NGO Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, or SERAP. SERAP has been working since 2004 to use human rights law to increase transparency, accountability and protect social and economic rights in Nigeria. SERAP has undertaken several major investigations of corruption scandals in Nigeria, as well high-profile legal cases. Challenging the daily reality of corruption in Nigeria, and bringing wrong-doers to light, is part of their model for change.

Here, Timothy Adewale discusses SERAP’s approach with Pallavi Roy, SOAS-ACE Research Director in Nigeria.

Pallavi: So, Timothy, if you were to ask the woman or man on the street in Nigeria, how do you think they’d see corruption – as a moral failing by a corrupt individual, or just how politics is played out in the country?

Timothy: Although morality is relative in Nigeria as in other parts of the world, most Nigerians know corruption when they see it. The problem is that corruption and fighting it has been well politicised thus making it seem to Nigerians that one is only corrupt when the ruling party/authorities in Abuja say so. For example, violations of traffic law are so rampant in Nigeria that nobody cares anymore. But the day the authorities decide to arrest someone for it, it is easy for people to conclude that there must be an ulterior motive for the arrest. So goes the story of corruption and its fight in Nigeria

Pallavi: Yes, and that’s when people stop buying into anti-corruption efforts or only pay attention to the more ‘sensational’ cases. But SERAP has done some very brave and important work to expose and prosecute corruption, within the Nigerian legal framework – how would you describe your theory of change?

Timothy: There is a legacy of corruption and impunity in Nigeria, exacerbated by prolonged military rule, unresponsive political systems, lack of accountability, limited civic space and weak judicial and legal systems, lack of political will to enforce decisions of the court, and all of these posing serious threats to citizens’ access to essential public services and human rights. There is also, as you pointed out, citizens’ apathy and limited participation in the fight against corruption.

At SERAP, our theories of change are aimed to address the fundamental governance and human rights issues, including by pushing for increased accountability for grand corruption; robust and effective legal and judicial systems that are able to hold leaders to account; improved access of citizens to information on the management of the country’s resources and improved citizens’ participation in the fight against corruption. Others are improvements of the accountability mechanisms to protect human rights and reduce abuse of public office for private gain.

Pallavi: At ACE, we tread a more nuanced line. Corruption is clearly a damaging phenomenon, and corrupt individuals shouldn’t be condoned or protected – but we also see clearly that corruption occurs so widely and is so resistant to change in developing economies like Nigeria because economic and political power are not aligned to protect formal rules (such as those to forbid public exploitation for private gain). The balance of power is maintained by ‘informal’ politics between patrons and clients, and informal decisions about how available resources should be shared.

Timothy: The problem with developing countries with the fight against corruption is that the most important thing to an average person is survival. So, whether you are fighting corruption or not, one must survive, thereafter you can talk about corruption. When government fails to pay salaries and pensions, people are then wired to do things to survive or “store for the future’’. Therefore, to Nigerians fighting corruption must translate into their socio-economic lives and development. It makes little sense to recover billions if the money recovered goes down the drain pipes again.

Pallavi: I couldn’t agree with you more on what you just said. Because it links to our work which says an impartial rule of law is only possible after countries have reached a certain level of development, and powerful productive organisations want a broad-based rule of law and not a selective one. But this transition is difficult to make for most developing countries including Nigeria, and the rule of law becomes selective, and top down vertical enforcement often fails leading to fatigue with ambitious anti-corruption efforts. Hence the need to look for ways where we can make sequential progress and where we can build coalitions of actors who see rule following in their interest and come together as horizontal enforcers.

But Nigeria has a vibrant media space, and political debates take place openly. Do you think anti-corruption will become an election plank in 2019 like in the last general elections? And more importantly, do you think corruption is treated as a key issue before elections but matters revert to the status quo after?

Timothy: Corruption without question will be an election plank just like it was the case in the 2015 general elections. However, citizens’ expectations in terms of what can be achieved at the level of prosecution of grand corruption cases, reducing the cost of governance, and improving the governance architecture, are pretty low. The key is for citizens to engage politicians, ask critical questions and ensure that corrupt politicians are not voted in, and to keep the momentum even after the elections. The campaign for good governance and accountability is a continuum and should be intensified by people holding politicians to their commitments made during the elections. Bottom-line: we need public/citizens’ ownership of the fight against corruption if the issue of corruption is be more than just election slogan. Otherwise, it will be business as usual and matters might indeed revert to the status quo.

Reflections: It is easy to understand the anger and frustration around corruption and anti-corruption policies, and it is undoubtedly justified. But just so one can provide the reassurance that policy can work, big bang ambitious reforms, while necessary cannot be sufficient to address issues at the sectoral level. This requires an understanding of motivations and incentives. Devising policy that changes those incentive structures in a way that people no longer need to be corrupt to benefit from the system is one way of ensuring some success in the highly fraught field of anti-corruption.

originally published on SOAS Blog on 6 December 2018

The party in the park which took place this past Saturday, August 3rd, 2013 was not only fantastic but phenomenal. The free event which was hosted by Oforione.com of deadline entertainment took place at the Beim Pachthof park. It was well attended. There was music, games, food, and fun at the event.

The kids had a play house set up for them to jump around. Adults had fun games, drinks and most importantly music for them to dance. Dj Bleed, Spark and Richman were spinning the ones and twos.
The stage featured the best Azonto dancers by young adults and kids. The food was delicious and tantalizing. There was never a dull moment for the crowd. The weather was just perfect.

If you missed this year’s party in the park you missed a lot, but don’t miss next year’s edition. With Oforione it is always fun fun fun.

Topafric

 

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