Columnists

Lest we forget

Boko Haram: time for an alternative approach

Military responses to Boko Haram have proved ineffective, as the latest atrocity in Nigeria highlights. An alternative focused on good governance, policing and socio-economic development, supported by the international community, would be much more likely to succeed.

The heavy imprint of America's 'light footprint'

New documents reveal the blinding pace of US military operations in Africa as the Pentagon prepares for future wars. 

Fish rot from the head

Torture is routine practice in South Africa's police stations and prisons. A lineage of impunity, traced from apartheid, has meant de facto immunity for perpetrators. With South Africa celebrating its 'Human Rights Day' this weekend, the shocking reality behind its prison walls must be a central focus.

Back to the future: America's new model for expeditionary warfare

In a world of supposed cutbacks, the US military continues to quietly move into Africa in a distinctly below-the-radar fashion. The Pentagon’s newest tactic: refight the colonial wars in partnership with the French.

Françafrique and Africa’s security

Crises in Francophone Africa, as in Mali and the Central African Republic, cannot be solved by military action by the former colonial power. Root causes must be tackled, engaging civil-society actors, with the African Union playing a leading role in partnership with the European Union.

Central African Republic: history of a collapse foretold?

Political instability and administrative weakness have been permanent features of the Central African Republic since independence. What has happened in recent weeks is tragic but is neither genocide nor a full-blown sectarian conflict. This can still be avoided if the international forces behave impartially towards the two main religious communities.

South Sudan: explaining the violence

The spiral of violence in South Sudan is not simply an ethnic conflict of Dinka on Nuer. Politics, as well as oil, is at issue and a political settlement is required.

"There is Marikana everyday in South Africa" - an interview with Abahlali baseMjondolo

Film: Struggling for the right to decent housing and against the criminalisation of poverty, South African shack dwellers movement Abahlali baseMjondolo face severe police repression. Here S'bu Zikode outlines the lethal consequences of police militarisation and the ANC's political capture of the police.

Mandela: explaining the magnetism

While the world stops for Nelson Mandela’s departure from it, his iconic status is unquestioned. Yet there is a more complicated underlying narrative to tell.

Education and violent extremism in Nigeria

For Boko Haram, 'western civilisation is forbidden'. In a context of poor school attendance among Muslims, especially poor Muslims, is the almajiri system of schooling it favours compatible with a peacebuilding project for the country?

Footsoldiers in a social war: the police, crime and inequality in South Africa

What does it mean to declare a 'war on crime' in one of the most unequal societies in the world? And how does contemporary police violence in South Africa serve to maintain the status quo of spatial and economic fragmentation?

Pivot to Africa: AFRICOM's gigantic 'small footprint'

Can a military tiptoe onto a continent? Via a hush-hush version of mission creep, the Pentagon and AFRICOM are turning Africa into a battlefield of the future.

A death in the Congo

On 18 August, Tjostolv Moland, a 32-year-old former officer of the Norwegian army, was found dead in his prison cell in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. His strange case highlights the need to develop the DRC's justice system to end a cycle of impunity and violence.

State-building vs intervention, or how not to help

Together, distorted understanding and flawed policy have compounded the problems of weak states in the global south. A different approach to state-building is needed, says Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou

Mali's reconciliation attempt

With a UN peacekeeping force soon to be deployed to Mali, what are the prospects for the recently created Dialogue and Reconciliation Commission?

Kenyatta in State House: what's next for Kenya and the ICC?

Kenyatta's election as president of Kenya could have important implications for the ICC process as well as Kenya's international relations.

Our voices: Violence against women and impunity

Film: In this series of short films Burundian women look at key issues in the wake of the civil war, which ended in 2005. More than 1 million Burundians were internally displaced or forced to flee the country as a result of the 12-year civil conflict which killed over 300,000 people.

Our voices: Women's political participation

Film: In this series of short films Burundian women look at key issues in the wake of the civil war, which ended in 2005. More than 1 million Burundians were internally displaced or forced to flee the country as a result of the 12-year civil conflict which killed over 300,000 people.

Our voices: Poverty and livelihood

Film: In this series of short films Burundian women look at key issues in the wake of the civil war, which ended in 2005. More than 1 million Burundians were internally displaced or forced to flee the country as a result of the 12-year civil conflict which killed over 300,000 people.

Our voices: Reconciliation and justice

Film: In this series of short films Burundian women look at key issues in the wake of the civil war, which ended in 2005. More than 1 million Burundians were internally displaced or forced to flee the country as a result of the 12-year civil conflict which killed over 300,000 people.

Our voices: Conflict, displacement and land

Film: In this series of short films Burundian women look at key issues in the wake of the civil war, which ended in 2005. More than 1 million Burundians were internally displaced or forced to flee the country as a result of the 12-year civil conflict which killed over 300,000 people.

Kenya, between hope and fear

The violent aftermath of Kenya's previous election is present in everyone's minds as Kenyans elect a successor to Mwai Kibaki. But the past five years have brought many other issues to the fore, says Daniel Branch.

Private security's new accountability regime?

The professionalisation of entrepreneurs in violence into a legitimate 'private security' industry provokes profound questions for state-citizen relations. Who has the power to hold these companies accountable, and how?

Split of a soul: when politics shoots at culture

The 2011 referendum granting South Sudan independence served as a decisive verdict on the history of decades-long civil war as well as the foundational tenets of the modern international community. Adil Babikir evokes lost narratives of national unity that once resounded in both Sudan and South Sudan through a single name: Mongo Zambeiri.

No going back

Only recently, we were the world’s worst failed state. Look at us today.

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