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Enough is Enough



We have a fundamental right to freedom of expression!



The Eleventh Day of Christmas: Christmas cancelled - order of ZANU PF

Sokwanele Reporter: 5 January 2005


All the invitations had gone out and the preparations were well in hand.  Ms Sheba Dube, founder and organizer of the Providence Orphan and Caregivers’ Project,  had put in an enormous amount of hard work into the Christmas party intended for orphans and poor villagers at Insiza in Matabeleland South province on December 23.  Drawing on her wide range of contacts with Rotary and other local well-wishers in Bulawayo, she had sourced enough food to provide a really special meal of chickens and rice and other delicacies for the 300 or so orphaned children covered by her project, plus a number of poor local villagers.  She had purchased dolls as gifts for the children and balloons to make it a festive occasion.  She had also collected a large quantity of clothing to give away,  plus 60  20 kg bags of mealie meal for the orphans and child-headed households in the area.  And she had laid on a three tonne truck to transport all of this from Bulawayo to the remote Insiza.


Nor had the resourceful and capable Ms Dube neglected to inform all the local traditional and other leaders. In very good time she had sent out a letter politely informing all of the plans to hold this special event.  Some time previously the Social Welfare Department had expressly, and in writing, approved her proposals to run a church-based welfare project in the area, providing humanitarian assistance and life skills training to AIDS orphans and a new home-based care giving facility for children at risk.   The  Department, along with the local political hierarchy, had been duly informed of the Christmas party and had raised no objections.  Indeed the villagers were so looking forward to the event that it could hardly have crossed anyone’s mind that an objection could be raised.  Most of the villagers are very poor and malnourished.  The Christmas party was going to be an event to remember.


It was on December 21 – two days before the party – that Ms Dube first learnt there was a “difficulty”.   The Social Welfare Department did not elaborate, but referred Ms Dube to the Provincial Administrator who advised that she was “in trouble” over her plans with the sitting ZANU PF member of parliament for the area, Andrew Langa.  The latter claimed not to have been informed of the proposed party. He denied having seen the letter Ms Dube had written to all the local community leaders, the MP included.  What is more, Ms Dube was to learn that Andrew Langa, who serves as the deputy Minister for Transport and Communications, was not willing to allow the party or the donation of food or clothing to proceed in his absence.  (A consignment of medical supplies and books already transported to Insiza and intended to be donated to the community on the same occasion was similarly embargoed)   Could Ms Dube do anything at this last hour to get Mr Langa to change his mind ?  She was willing to supply whatever additional information he required.  But no, Mr Langa had made up his mind.  Neither the Christmas party nor the donation of food, clothing, medical supplies or books was to proceed.   And though the MP spoke vaguely about complying with the new NGO Act (which has not yet been signed into law or gazetted), it became clear that his real concern was that he personally should receive a good deal of the credit for these charitable donations – which he had done nothing to secure, but was quite willing to deny to the community if his personal vanity was not satisfied. The only way to secure this recognition was for Andrew Langa to be present at the handing over ceremony – and no doubt to make a self-congratulatory speech.  No recognition for Mr Langa and ZANU PF – no party and no gifts for the community.


Word started to go around Insiza that Mr Langa had vetoed the party, but not in time to prevent a crowd of 200 or so orphans and hopefuls from the village gathering on December 23. Their mood, when they were told the facts, was one of bitter disappointment and anger that a petty ZANU PF demagogue could effectively cancel their Christmas celebrations.   As one said later, “we will meet Mr Langa in the election”.


And Sheba Dube ?  She is bitterly disappointed of course at the frustration of all her efforts on this occasion, but her love for the people and indomitable spirit will not allow her to give up.  She may have lost this round, but the fight for social justice and for the right to help the disadvantaged goes on.


Day 12: 6 January 2005

Tomorrow is Epiphany Day. Our final article marks the end of our 12 Days of Christmas Campaign. 

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Zim Online

Wed 5 January 2005
  HARARE - Parliamentary speaker and presidential hopeful Emmerson Mnangagwa
is the ultimate target in the ongoing espionage case against four senior
ZANU PF officials as a vicious struggle over President Robert Mugabe's
successor deepens.

      Party insiders speaking on condition they were not named told
ZimOnline yesterday that although Mnangagwa was yet to be formally linked to
the espionage case, he was eventually going to be sucked into the matter in
which his ally, Philip Chiyangwa and four others are accused of supplying
intelligence information to foreign agents.

      "At the moment it is his lieutenants they are dealing with but the net
seeks to eventually close in, on the big fish, on Mnangagwa himself," said
one source. He added: "The succession row is still boiling, in fact it is
now heading for a decisive moment."

      Government-controlled newspapers have already hinted that more senior
members of ZANU PF and the government might be questioned or arrested by the
police over the espionage case.

      But ZANU PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira, last night denied the
espionage case was targeted at Mnangagwa or his supporters. "I am not aware
that the police are arresting people from certain campaigns (factions).
Those that have defied the laws of this country will be dealt with according
to the laws of this country," Shamuyarira said.

      Chiyangwa, who is related to Mugabe and is chairman for ZANU PF in
Mashonaland West province, was arrested for allegedly supplying strategic
information about Zimbabwe's ruling party and government to British and
Israeli intelligence.

      ZANU PF deputy security officer Kenny Karidza, director for external
affairs Itai Marchi, Zimbabwe's ambassador to Mozambique Godfrey Dzvairo and
banker Tendai Matambandzo were also arrested along with Chiyangwa for the
same alleged offence.

      Although Chiyangwa deserted Mnangagwa at the eleventh hour to back
Joyce Mujuru for the vice-presidency of ZANU PF, he is a publicly known ally
of the parliamentary speaker and had allegedly campaigned for him to become
vice-president ahead of Mujuru.

      Chiyangwa's co-accused are also part of a group of senior party
officials who backed Mnangagwa to take the vice-presidency, a key stepping
stone to the top job.

      The espionage case against the four ZANU PF officials, a five-year
suspension imposed by the party on six of its 10 provincial chairmen as
punishment for backing Mnangagwa for the vice-presidency, were all an
attempt by a rival faction led by Mujuru's husband, Solomon, to crush his
wife's competitor.

      The prevention of government information minister and propaganda chief
Jonathan Moyo and two other senior Cabinet members, who backed Mnangagwa,
from contesting the March election was also aimed at whittling down the
parliamentary speaker's powerbase in the party and government, the sources

      In addition, a campaign to seize farms from ZANU PF and government
officials who grabbed more than one farm during the government's land
reforms appears now only targeted at officials linked to Mnangagwa
apparently to demoralise the speaker's faction.

      But insiders said the trump card for Mujuru's group remained the
espionage case with the faction's supporters in the Central Intelligence
Organisation, who are handling the case, under charge to extract evidence
from the suspects by "fair or foul means" that will implicate Mnangagwa.

      "The strategy is not necessarily to jail Mnangagwa but to thoroughly
discredit him by linking him to foreign spies plotting ZANU PF's and
Mugabe's downfall," a source said. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

Grain Marketing Board to seize wheat from farmers
Wed 5 January 2005
  HARARE - The Zimbabwe government's Grain Marketing Board (GMB) plans to
seize wheat from farmers refusing to sell their crop to the cash-strapped
state company fearing it will not be able to pay.

      Teams of GMB inspectors in some cases accompanied by the police have
since the beginning of this week visited farms in the country's main wheat
producing provinces of Mashonaland West and Central provinces to identify
farmers refusing to sell their crop to the parastatal.

      A senior GMB official told ZimOnline that the parastatal's inspectors
had already compiled a list of farmers still holding onto wheat in the
districts of Concession, Glendale, Shamva, Mvurwi and Mazowe in Mashonaland
Central province.

      More inspectors were expected to be deployed in Mashonaland West
province by later this week, the official said.

      "The government has ordered the GMB to find ways to get the wheat that
farmers are still holding onto," the GMB official said.

      He added: "National wheat stocks are dwindling fast and the country
might run out of the basic commodity if no action is taken, so GMB officials
are going onto farms to see where the wheat is being kept. This will be
followed by raids to take all the wheat."

      The official said the GMB was going to pay farmers for wheat forcibly
taken from them.

      Agriculture Minister Joseph Made under whose portfolio the GMB falls
refused to discuss plans by the parastatal to seize wheat from farmers.

      About 170 tonnes of wheat have so far been delivered to the GMB
compared to about 400 tonnes of the staple grain required to feed Zimbabwe
per year. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

ZANU PF reserves 36 seats to women
Wed 5 January 2005
  HARARE - Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU PF party last night announced that 30
percent of its candidates for the 120 constituencies up for grabs in March's
parliamentary election will be female.

      Party secretary for women's affairs Oppah Muchinguri told journalists
in Harare that 36 of ZANU PF's candidates in the general election will be
women in line with the party's policy to reserve a third of all leadership
positions for its female members.

      Several senior ZANU PF politicians among them, jailed ZANU PF
provincial chairman Philip Chiyangwa and Information Minister Jonathan Moyo,
were barred from contesting the poll after their preferred constituencies
were reserved for women.

      The same gender balance policy was also used by rivals to block
parliamentary speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa from taking over as party co-vice
president saying he should pave way for a woman, Joyce Mujuru.

      Mujuru has since been appointed second vice-president of Zimbabwe
placing her ahead of Mnangagwa and several other presidential hopefuls to
succeed President Robert Mugabe as president of ZANU PF and possibly

      The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change, which says it
might boycott the election unless electoral laws are sufficiently
democratised, has said it cannot have more women candidates as many of its
female members would rather keep low profiles for fear of victimisation by
suspected ZANU PF militants. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

State prosecutors to continue with submissions in espionage case
Wed 5 January 2005
  HARARE - State prosecutors will today continue with submissions opposing
an application by four suspected ruling ZANU PF party officials accused of
espionage seeking to alter their initial plea to not guilty.

      The four officials, Zimbabwe's ambassador to Mozambique Godfrey
Dzvairo, ZANU PF deputy security officer Kenny Karidza, party external
affairs director Itai Marchi and bank executive Tendai Matambanadzo had
pleaded guilty when they were arrested about two weeks ago.

      ZANU PF's chairman for Mashonaland West province Philip Chiyangwa is
also facing similar charges but will appear separately in court at a later

      Lawyers for the four ruling party officials yesterday concluded
submissions before Magistrate Peter Kumbawa seeking permission for their
client to change their pleas.

      The hearing into the change of plea application, which began last
week, is being held in camera with even close relatives barred from court.

      If convicted of spying the five men face jail terms of up to 20
years. - ZimOnline

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The Herald

Bank drags RBZ to court

Deputy Business Editor
TIME BANK Investment Company is challenging the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in
the High Court to have the decision to place it under curatorship set aside.
In an application filed at the High Court on December 24, last year, Time
Bank claims the decision to have the bank placed under the management of a
curator was "unlawful, rushed and driven by predetermined motives".
The investment company, representing shareholders and directors of the
closed Time Bank, are seeking an order for the management of the affairs of
the bank to be placed under the administration of a trustee or curator bonis
to be appointed by the High Court.
The trustee will replace the incumbent curator whose impartiality, they say,
is questionable since he owes his allegiance to the RBZ with which they have
a pending legal wrangle dating back to four year ago.
The latest development is likely to deal a severe blow to the nascent
Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group and could be one of the pending modalities
cited by the Reserve Bank for the delay in the launch of the banking group.
The central bank recently announced the new bank will commence operations at
the end of this month.
However, the Reserve Bank has up to next Tuesday to oppose the application
and file an opposing affidavit although it could not be established if they
had responded to the allegations by the time of going to print yesterday.
Time Bank was placed under curatorship in October last year by the Reserve
Bank after it was found to be insolvent. The bank was groaning under a
negative shareholder equity of $174 billion and suffering from a severe
liquidity crisis coupled with poor corporate governance and imprudent
lending practices.
This was followed by the arrest of five of its directors who are all
currently out of custody on bail.
In defence of the technical solvency issue, the directors have accused the
central bank of "tampering" with their balance sheet during their
investigations which left their books with a negative shareholder equity.
Time Bank shareholders further claim that after complying fully with the $10
billion capitalisation requirement by September 30 2004, an investigation
team was appointed to establish the veracity of the information, among other
things, which included corporate governance, assets, liabilities and the
banks ability to repay its indebtedness to the RBZ arising from the Troubled
Bank Fund.
In the court application, the shareholders allege that after going through
the books the RBZ took exception to the financing of the Watermount housing
project under which Time Bank had advanced $320 billion to 20 clients to
develop a piece of land in Goromonzi.
"The position adapted by the RBZ during the investigation regarding the
loans was that they were bad and they should be written off and pro vided
for to the tune of $184 billion.
"The effect of the provision of the loans meant that Time Banks balance
sheet would have to reflect a reduction in assets worth to the extent of
$184 billion," said the shareholders.
The shareholders did not hide their disappointment at this decision, which
they pointed out was done without consideration of the security for the
loans which include two mortgage bonds, one of which was still under
"The decision by the Reserve Bank to provide for the loans must be subject
to the banking regulations on asset classification and provisioning.
"The position of Time Bank, after taking into account the requirements of
the banking regulations and previous methods used by the RBZ on similar
project loans, remains that the loans are not bad and hence recoverable,"
added the directors.
Represented by Mr Web Mashumba, the directors and shareholders further
allege that due to the "unhealthy" relationship between the two,
precipitated by Time Banks demand for the RBZ to repay it $400 billion from
a wrangle dating back to the year 2000, the central bank in its
investigation "cooked" their accounts and undertook a number of transactions
which blew up the banks liabilities and undervalued the banks assets.
Time Bank and RBZ are currently embroiled in another legal battle pending
before the High Court, which arose following what the former claims to be
unlawful debiting of its current account by the latter sometime in 2000.
Time Bank also claims overvaluation of its Troubled Bank Fund liability by
$140 billion as it reflected a figure of $200 billion when, in fact, it
should be about $60 billion in accordance with the in duplum rule.
By September 2004, the shareholders say, the current year profit plus
capital and reserves amounted to about $72 billion, which translated to a
positive capital of $28 billion instead of the negative $174 billion.
This figure will increase significantly if Time Bank win their case, which
is also currently before the courts.
The case was initially filed before the courts in 2001 and subsequently
withdrawn at the insistence of the RBZ in favour of a negotiated settlement.
Although negotiations commenced, they did not yield anything leading to the
case being sent for arbitration which failed, resulting in the central bank
being dragged before the courts again in March 2004.
The suing directors of Time Bank claim that at one time the central bank
wrote a letter to them admitting that they were going to settle 50 percent
of the $400 billion claim and advised the financial firm to reflect the 50
percent on its balance sheet.
It is alleged the central bank later went back on its decision to pay at the
beginning of 2004, further straining relations between the two institu-
The shareholders are therefore seeking from the courts the disqualification
of the RBZ as an independent and impartial arbiter, regulator or supervisor
on account of the potential liability.
The current Time Bank curator, Mr Tinashe Rwodzi, or any other Reverse Bank
appointed curator have also been labelled unfit to act as arbiters by the
directors as they claim they cannot possibly prosecute action against the
RBZ, now that all litigation has to be channelled through the curator.
In defence of the liquidity crunch which led to the closure of the bank, the
shareholders in the court application cited a number of reasons, including
waning confidence in the up-and-coming new banks, the general shortage of
liquidity in the market at that time and delays in settlement of cheque
deposit payments and Treasury Bills as security amounting to $2,1 billion
with two local financial institutions which they claim the central bank was
well aware of but decided to ignore.
In the court application, the shareholders claim the $2,1 billion was enough
to cover the $1,8 billion shortfall on their account which resulted in them
being removed from the clearing system, if the RBZ had acted in a reasonable
and impartial manner.
"Given the money market shortages, a number of banks would have suffered the
same liquidity problems as a result of the tight monetary policy were it not
for the Productive Sector Facility and the RBZ-approved refinancing of
various productive sector loans granted to banks as from early last year.
"In the case of Time Bank, a number of our applications were submitted for
refinancing and they were neither approved nor rejected by RBZ.
"There was a delay which we cannot explain," added the directors in defence
of the liquidity crunch.
The directors also blamed their liquidity problems on the bad publicity
which the bank suffered after it was reported in the media that it had been
thrown out of the clearing system, which they say caused a run on deposits.
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The Star

      Popular headmaster plunges to his death
      January 5, 2005

      By Angelique Serrao and Sapa-DPA

      A respected and well-liked school headmaster fell 40 metres to his
death at Victoria Falls while trying to retrieve his spectacles.

      Michael John Drake (50) plunged into the thundering water while
holidaying in Zimbabwe on New Year's Eve. He had just taken a photograph
when his glasses fell off. He stepped forward in an effort to catch them,
slipped on the wet ground and fell. His girlfriend, Maureen Phillips, was
with him and immediately informed the police.

      His body was recovered by helicopter, Family friend John Duncan said
the family were expecting the body to arrive in South Africa on Friday. The
funeral is to be held at the Rhema Church in Randburg on Tuesday at 2pm.
Drake is survived by his mother and a brother.

      Zimbabwean police spokesperson Inspector Casper Nhepera said Drake
fell to his death near the 100-year-old Victoria Falls Bridge, which links
Zimbabwe and Zambia.

      Rocks and vegetation are notoriously slippery along the lip of the
80-metre chasm, continuously wet by spray.

      With a career in education of more than 25 years, and particularly as
the headmaster of Summit College, a Johannesburg boarding school, Drake has
left a legacy as a role-model to many young
      people. The following tributes have been paid to him:

      Raymond Louw, deputy chairperson of Summit College:

      "He was exceptional. I had a great respect, regard and a
      liking for him."

      John Duncan, a friend:

      "He was an icon, an unbelievable man. Everything he did, he did for

       Karabo Kgaphole, a matriculant last year:

      "He was more of a parent than a teacher to me. He was the
      father I didn't have, so loving and caring. He wasn't a
      conventional teacher: you could walk out of his geography class having
laughed all lesson and yet learned so much."

      Camo Moloi, in his matric year:

      "I consider him like family, like a parent. I considered him my
friend, we got on so well. If I needed anything, he helped me. For me it's
difficult but I just have to accept it."

      Chloe Wilkins, a matriculant last year:

      "He ran the school in such a way that the students and teachers were
so happy around each other. We were like one big family. The atmosphere was
wonderful. I was a quiet child and he encouraged me to come out of my shell.
He had a way of making jokes and making people laugh."

      Renée Coebzer, mother of Chloe Wilkins:

      "I know the students were all very upset, and so was I as a parent
when we heard of Michael's death. He was an amazing man. From the time I put
Chloe into the school, her marks improved throughout the years. She was a
different child."

      Clinton Phillips, former pupil:

      "He was my teacher, my coach, and he even walked my wife down the
aisle. His classroom was fun - he taught you things that you never realised
you were learning. I owe a great deal in my life to his individual input:
business, sports and relationships."

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'African Leaders Should Be Ashamed of Rights Violations'

Jude Igbanoi

The immeasurable contributions of Professor Emmanuel Victor Oware Dankwa to human rights struggle in Africa earned him his world wide fame. He is a past Chairman of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights and now a Special Rapparteur on Prisons in Africa. JUDE IGBANOI had an exciting afternoon with the law professor at the Hotel Meridien President in Dakar during the 36th Session of the ACHPR recently.

You are the past Chairman of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights. During your tenure what were those issues that engaged your attention and how did you handle them?

There were several issues. There were issues about the independence of our Commission, the irregularity of our meetings, contributions by states, contributions by non-state sources, having adequate human resources to service our Secretariat and matters of that nature were of paramount importance.

What level of cooperation did you enjoy from various African governments and heads of state during your tenure as Chairman of the Commission?

There were some countries, which were very forthcoming on issues, and there were others that we did not hear from at all. You know I was also the special rapparteur on prisons and detention centers in Afric. It was very easy for me to get permission from some countries to visit prisons. But it was not so with other countries. So, it was a mixed case of cooperation and neglect of action by state parties.

There is this conception by some human rights NGOs that the Commission's sessions are gradually turning into ordinary exchange of papers and speeches while nothing positively concrete is achieved in terms of implementation and enforcement. Do you subscribe to this view?

Well, you can't do away without papers and speeches. People who attend the session must know what is going to be discussed. They are informed and kept abreast through papers. We also are very open, so that people who have observer status and affiliate status with us can express their opinions on matters being discussed. But we go beyond that. It is noticeable that we have had ratification of the Protocol on the establishment of a court for Africa. It was adopted, the requisite ratifications have been obtained and it has entered into force.

Within this same period we drafted a Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa. It went to the states and the Assembly of Heads of States and Governments adopted it and countries have started ratifying. Countries are taking note of our decisions and they are incorporating them and acting on them. So matters go beyond exchange of papers and speeches.

You are from Ghana. What are those common issues and challenges that the human rights community face in your country and what role does the Ghana Human Rights Commission play in the struggle?

One problem that our National Human Rights Commission has been grappling with is the effect of their decision. At the moment the decision are of an advisory nature. They are not enforceable. They have to go to court for the decisions to be enforced and they find that rather tedious and tortuous. They would want a situation where their decisions are enforceable. But then that will amount to creating a court outside the regular court system. It is a problem that is being dealt with.

That is one Commission that has offices throughout the country. But they deserve to have a presence within every District and to have sufficient resources. So in that area there is some limitation.

You are a Special Rapparteur on Prisons in Africa. From your assessment of prison situation in Africa, what would you say is the attitude of African governments to prisoners' welfare?

I don't think we can speak of one attitude. There are some countries where you have an open attitude; the government allows people to see the conditions there because they think they have done their best within their limited resources. There are those who are rather restrictive, secretive and don't want to have their prisons thrown open to outsiders. But it would appear that in all situations, in all countries we have problems of congestion, long remand before trial, non separation of categories of offenders, health, hygiene, these are the serious problems common in our prisons in Africa.

You are a Professor of law at the University of Ghana in Legon, which is one of Africa's best recognized universities. What is your assessment of legal education in Ghana in terms of its standards? Are there any areas of concern to you personally?

When I was in school, the allowance given to us was sufficient for us to live on, buy books and even extra reading materials. Now the books have become so expensive and have gone beyond the reach of the average student. Students are being asked now to contribute towards their education. With the limited resources, access to facilities that used to be taken for granted have become difficult. There is also the question of increase in numbers which does not make it easy to have the attention we had when we were in school.

We also have the situation of older students with families and having no accommodation on campus, they work under serious constraints. These are naturally matters that can affect standards and quality.

In Nigeria law teachers are legally allowed to engage in private law practice. What is the position in Ghana? Should law teachers be allowed to practice law simultaneously?

Ideally, teachers in the university should devote full time to teaching. But economic pressures compel not only lawyers but others in other disciplines to try and supplement their income in areas where they have expertise, law is one such area. Obviously it would have some impact in the work of the university lecturer.

Ghana and Nigeria share a common history in terms of their colonial past and Common Law roots. In Nigeria there have been calls to urgently review our statutes especially as received from the English legal system. What is the situation like in Ghana?

We have a Statute Review Commissioner whose sole responsibility is to do exactly what you have said. We also have the Law Reform Commission which is tasked with reforming the laws. We are conscious of those responsibilities and a number of measures have been taken to bring the law up to date.

In Nigeria the justice delivery system has been criticised as very slow. Cases take many years to decide. Judges some times hear as many as 10 cases in a day. Can you compare that with the Ghanaian Judiciary?

I would say that it is not very different from Ghana. The adversarial system is very slow by its very nature. When you have a situation where lawyers cannot be in court when they are expected and therefore seek adjournment. When judges can't be in court from the time they are supposed to be there, you are likely to have the situation exacerbated. There has been an attempt in Ghana to try and use electronic system to speed up the process of justice delivery. So, we have High Courts which are called Fast Track' where things are not recorded manually. It has made some impact, but it is generally slow.

As a Professor of law, is there anything that we can refer to as African Jurisprudence? If there is non, is there any need for it?

You know we had our law before we encountered the white man. We had ideas in almost all aspects of law. Let me give you the example of human rights. It is presented as if it was an idea from western society, but we have an indigenous concept of human rights. My name for instance 'Dankwa' it comes from two words in my mother tongue, 'da' and 'kwa'. Which means 'sleep' and 'life'. It is an illustration of right to life.

The Ewes, (my tribe) they used to be in a place called Benin, but they had a ruler who was tyrannical and so they fled. They are now in four countries, Nigeria, Togo, Benin and Ghana. It was their desire to be governed well, to determine how they should be governed. This idea is now called good governance. It is indigenous to us.

Similarly you have the people calledNdebeles in South Africa. A similar thing led them to flee from Shaka the Zulu to many other countries including Zimbabwe. So we only have to sit up and look at our customary law and traditional legal system and know that we have them. They are there.

In recent times there has been an unprecedented level of armed conflict in the West African sub-region. The crisis in Liberia, Ivory Coast and Sierra-Leone are examples. What would you suggest as a panacea for lasting peace in our sub-region?

It seems to me that the solution is so simple that it is not seen as so. We still don't have a culture of respect for human rights. I put almost all our problems that we have had leading to wars to this lack of culture of respect for human rights. If we go back to this and internalize this and make it part of us, our problems will be solved.

Human rights defenders in Africa face a lot persecution and victimization from their home governments. Some are arrested and detained, some tortured and some even killed. What would be your advice to African governments on this issue?

Rights have not been obtained on a silver platter. It's been a question of struggle over the years and it will continue to be so. We therefore need to put pressure on governments. We need to expose what is going on. They need to be shamed by what they are doing. They also need to be reminded that themselves had taken an obligation this respect. Pressure should be brought to bear on these governments to show respect for the rights of their citizens.

At this 36th Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights, one issue that seems to be of the greatest concern to human rights NGOs is the proposed merger of the African Court and the Court of Justice. From the angle of finance there seems to be justification for the merger option. But the human rights community seems to believe that there should not be a merger. What is your opinion?

Let me say that from now on we should be careful about what we start, the institutions that we crave for and bring into being. We should think about our resources, we should not bring something into being and then later think about our resources. So we should limit the institutions that we set up. But having started some institutions we should take them to their logical conclusion.

I think the court on human rights should be brought into being. It doesn't appear to me that we are so cash strapped that we will not be able as a continent to support an institution like this. If we were to prioritize, if we were to cut down in many areas we will be able to take care of this. Apart from what I have just pointed out, I think our basic problem is with lack of respect for human rights. So it's a top priority and it cannot be swept under some other institution that way.

What message do you have for your colleagues in Nigeria? First to your fellow professors of law and then to your fellow human rights defenders?

I wouldn't want to pontificate or appear as a holier than thou in any field. But to every person I say let us try and give of our best to our community, our society for the betterment of our country and Africa as a whole.

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