Thursday, June 30, 2011

SADC Tribunal developments

The Judges of the recently dissolved SADC Tribunal have issued communique to the executive secretary of SADC outlining their views about the illegal act of dissolution in response to their ruling against Zimbabwe in the 2008 Campbell case.

An excellent and more detailed discussion of the events and implications for the region are available from this Legal commentator blog.

This is a significant public denouncement of the failure to follow rules that countries themselves obliged themselves to in the name of political expediency. Being accountable for ones actions and responsible for obligations is what mature adults do and mature nations as well.

This is the achilles heel of Southern Africa.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Lovers are like buses

...just wait a little while and another one will come along.

I recently caught Newsnight on the BBC. The discussion surrounded vaccines promoted in Africa by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The round table included the CEO of GlaxoSmithkline, Andrew Witty, with Mr. Gates, himself!!, along with the Secretary General of the East African Community, Dr. Richard Sezibera.

There were several critics of vaccines in Africa who provided food for thought to the panelists. Big Pharma and Mr. Gates agreed on everything...saving African Children is important and bad governance is not their concern. Also, the pricing structure seemed to be of some concern. Rich countries pay more, poor countries pay less.

The gentleman from the EAC made me think of the quote that is the title of this blog.
"Ya, its ok for now, we have vaccines and the children live. And why not take affordable medicine??"

Watch both clips on You Tube.
My only comment is that the critics raised so many good points, such as why not put the money to better use...? Why vaccinate when the people have no way to support themselves? Why support regimes that oppress and provide no support to the people themselves?

Mr Gates replied that what his foundation is doing is a solid 'good' and cannot be discounted by such arguments. He was not concerned about his legacy, only that more children survive in Africa.

Very noble.
Africa has had many lovers before him....and another bus is just around the corner.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Africa in World Politics

Please find below a bunch of links for the University of Texas Conference on Africa.
March 2011.

My paper presentation at the UT-Austin Africa in World Politics conference. Video

Here is the link for the entire conference.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Laws Discourse of Dominance

Wishing to distance myself from rah, rah, legal commentators who merely cheer at a victory, I feel compelled to add to the blog some critique of law to balance what might seem to be a simplistic pro-Western, pro-law viewpoint.

To begin with, the victory of the Zim Farmers IS important, but NOT because law is important. If a political outcome had made them victorious that would be important as well. But the law got there first so, OK and law IS important. However, law without the social, economic or historical is vapor, a vacuum and dangerous.

The reason a legal victory in an AFRICAN court is singular, is because it is a voctory in an AFRICAN court. There is scant evidence of Western dominance here. Whatever problems there are between SA and Zim, they are AFRICAN. That is good!

There are fundamental problems with law. Law oppresses and is manipulated by the powerful. Women, the poor, minorities of all kinds are frequently abused by the law in LEGAL ways. A critical assessment of the law is vital in any society.

For example, the U.S. claims some kind of moral superiority in Human Rights which it lectures other countries on. It witholds Aid and asks for rules to be implemented.

Yet, women in the U.S. are underpaid, never compensated for work in the home, which incidentally keeps the economy running, and are bombarded by adverts to undergo platic surgery to remain attractive.

Where I live in Southern California, the newspapers are cluttered with ads for breast implants but I have YET to see one AD, let alone a multitude of ADS, promoting PENILE implants. Why is that and I ask this with a straight face...?! How is this not a Human Rights violation?

A critical assessment of law is vital to an understanding of ourselves and our location in the more universal order of things. The law is a necessary evil. Love and introspection are much more important. The personal and interpersonal are much more vital to our existence.

But that is not the topic of my PhD...I will write the love and introspection paper AFTERWARDS!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My new book is out this summer.

My new book is out this summer.

It is a Business law textbook suitable for Legal Environment of Business courses.

Everyone order it!!

Success for Zim Farmers

Recently, the North Gauteng Court in Pretoria, South Africa, rejected the Zimbabwe Government's application to stop the attachment of it's assests in South Africa. Previously, a set of farmers from Zim had received a valid judgment in the courts of South Africa for the illegal taking of their land in Zimbabwe. The judgment entitled them to satisfaction through the sale of Zim assests, such as houses, in SA.

Now that judgment can be satisfied because of the recent ruling in SA. The Zimbabwe Government in a last ditch attempt tried to oppose the attachment of Zim assets in SA. I have not read the ruling only the news reports so I cannot state the legal basis for the court's rejection of the Zim application.

The legal basis should be that opposition was late and the SADC ruling that this all is based on was legally valid and cannot actually be opposed on any valid legal ground.

This is a tremendous legal victory. A poignant victory given the recent death of one of the farmer's Mike Campbell. As I have frequently said in the blog, all of this has nothing to do with political or racial matters but with the proper functioning of courts and laws. This is important.

We cannot head to the future together unless we all agree that there will be rules and they must be followed. Sure there is oppression and power imbalances. There are problems and there is exploitation. However, we need to start somewhere and then fight for equality. We NEED to stop complaining and BEGIN.

I am so proud of the lawyers who fought this battle. They had better not take a big fee either!! This social good is all the payment they need. Good on ya!