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The latest news from the African Leadership Institute and its Fellows.

AFLI Fellows are leaders and change-makers, so this section has a lot of news. Please use the icons below if you want to sort posts by category, such as: regular news posts, video posts, audio posts, by tag, or by blogger. Additionally, all text in all of the posts is fully searchable.

South Sudan peace activist Peter Biar Ajak freed from prison

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The detention of 2016 Tutu Fellow, Peter Biar Ajak, has ended.  His wife Nyathon Hoth Mai confirmed in a Facebook post that he had been released. His release came several days after his pardon was first announced by South Sudan's President, Salva Kiir. 

The peace advocate was detained without trial by the South Sudan National Security Service on 28 July and held for almost a year.  When he was finally brought to trial on unsubstantiated charges, he was sentenced to two years imprisonment.  President Kiir issued a decree of pardon on 01 January to 30 people, most for minor offenses.  Kiir's list also included two critics of his regime - Peter, and Keribino Agok Wol.  Both were detained in 2018. 

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Dalberg Advisors Elects Edwin Macharia as Global Managing Partner

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2010 Tutu Fellow Edwin Macharia has been elected by Dalberg's equity partners to serve a three-year term beginning on 1 January 2020 as their Global Managing Partner.  He will be the fourth Global Managing Partner since Dalberg’s founding in 2001.  Dalberg Advisors is a leading global consulting firm and social impact group specializing in inclusive and sustainable business, policy, and investment strategy. Edwin succeeds Yana Kakar who was elected in 2013 and re-elected in 2016, serving the maximum of two terms.

Edwin has been with Dalberg for a little more than a decade, during which time he has served in a range of leadership roles.

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Fellow appointed by the United Nations to coordinate economic development in Namibia

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2008 Fellow and policy expert, Eunice Ajambo, has been appointed by the United Nations as the Development Coordination Officer/Economist(Namibia) effective January 2020.

Since March 2015, Eunice has been the Economic Affairs Officer with the Macroeconomics and Governance Division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where she coordinated cooperation and analysis on public-private partnerships.

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First cohort of AGCO Agribusiness Qualification fellows graduate from Strathmore

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This December saw a day of celebration as a group of 20 pioneering Strathmore University graduates from Kenya and Nigeria marked an important milestone at the innovative AGCO Agribusiness Qualification (AAQ). To commemorate the milestone, a lively graduation ceremony was held at Strathmore University’s campus in Nairobi, Kenya. The event was keynoted by Nuradin Osman, Vice President and General Manager of AGCO for Africa - and a 2013 Tutu Fellow.

In his remarks at a celebratory dinner, Nuradin shared with the gathering how the programme started from a simple conversation he and I held during a November 2016 alumni reunion of the Tutu Fellows at Nirox in South Africa.

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Two Fellows in New African's 100 Most Influential Africans of 2019

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2019 Fellows, Sangu Delle and Marcia Ashong, are both listed on New African Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Africans of 2019.

The two Fellows share the accolade with notables such as the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner Abiy Ahmed - Ethiopia's Prime Minister - and Alaa Salah, the 22 year-old Sudanese protester and architectural student popularly referred to as ‘Lady Liberty’, who became the face of the people’s revolution in Sudan.

Two sporting heroes, Siya Kolisi, the first black captain of South Africa’s national rugby team that won the Rugby World Championship in November 2019; and Kenyan distance runner and world record breaker, Eliud Kipchoge, the marathon runner also made the list.

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Digital Dictatorship versus Digital Democracy

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2019 Tutu Fellow Ronak Gopaldas has had a paper, Digital Dictatorship versus Digital Democracy in Africa, published by SAIIA – the South African Institute of International Affairs. The paper kicks off with a quote from writer Umair Haque, ‘Twitter could have been a town square. But now it’s more like a drunken, heaving mosh pit.’ The quote illustrates the gap between the potential of social media and the internet, and its dark side.

Not that long ago, social media fueled the Arab Spring, bringing down governments. Since then, though, bots, trolls and disinformation campaigns pushing trending algorithms have subverted campaigns such as Brexit and the 2016 US elections and how smartphones and privacy have blurred the line between engagement and surveillance.

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Fellow to head communications at Mastercard Foundation

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2012 Tutu Fellow, TV Host and Media Executive, Julie Gichuru, has joined the Mastercard Foundation as Head of Public Affairs and Communications.  Julie has a 19-year career that spans the fields of broadcast, print, and digital media. Following the 2007 violent Kenyan elections, Julie’s peace specials resonated with viewers. In the last decade, she has focused primarily on driving conversations with African and global leaders, through a pan-African television show, Africa Leadership Dialogues and her media company Arimus Media Limited.

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Fellow joins board of directors of African financial services group, Ecsponent.

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2011 Fellow Shaka Sisulu has been appointed as an independent non-executive director to the board of directors of African financial services group, Ecsponent, with effect from 1 January 2020. Ecsponent, a JSE-listed African financial services group, acquired a 49% stake in Shaka's Truth Digital Group (Pty) Ltd, a 100% black-owned media group. Shaka has said he aims to create the largest diverse, dynamic, black-owned digital marketing group on the African Continent. 

His joining the board of Ecsponent was announced in a statement released by the financial services group on 27 November 2019.

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Letter from a CSO Apologist to a CSO Skeptic

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The basic freedoms of expression, association and assembly have come under unprecedented attack in Tanzania in recent years. New laws have been passed and are being enthusiastically enforced to discourage dissent or views critical or alternative to the official narrative. Journalists have been detained, charged, imprisoned or disappeared and feared dead. Individual citizens have been harassed, arrested, charged and fined for expressing themselves on social media.

Opposition political party activity has been severely curtailed – rallies are banned, leaders are tied up in court on charges of incitement. Apolitical civil society organizations, especially those working in governance and human rights face significant additional scrutiny presumably to encourage their obedience to the government’s agenda.

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Tanzanian Government gags press freedom event on international journalists' day

May-3-World-Press-Freedom-Day-Africa-EN_20191205-212822_1 From World Press Freedom Day

The following post is by Aidan Eyakuze, a 2006 Tutu Fellow and the Executive Director of Twaweza, and it describes how the Tanzanian government silenced an event on press freedoms in East Africa on the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists ~ AFLI

Twaweza in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda joined the media community to call for an end to the intimidation, violence and murder of journalists on November 2, which is the day the world marked the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists. On November 1, 2019 at 10.00am, a regional press conference was planned to share these data and insights.

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Documentary examines the politics of pesticides

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Award-winning journalist John-Allen Namu's production company has released a new documentary series, Bitter Harvest. The 2017 Tutu Fellow examines the growing negative impact of pesticides on food being grown in Kenya.

Released on World Food Day, the series notes that importation of agrochemicals increased by 144% over the course of the past four years into Kenya.  Many of these are pesticides and herbicides linked to cancer and being used by small-scale farmers. Additionally, protective gear is frequently not used and workers are dying from exposure to these products.

The series is broken into three chapters.

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Fellow makes BBC 2019 100 Women list

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2009 Fellow Julie Makani has been included in the British Broadcast Corporation's list of 100 Women of 2019. The 2019 global list, compiled by the BBC, comprises 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world.  Julie, a senior lecturer in haematology and blood transfusion at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, shares the stage with climate change activist Greta Thunberg, and trans woman Nisha Ayu,b who was put into a male prison aged 21.

All on the list are considered to be driving change for women everywhere.

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If Swaziland is to achieve gender equality then women must reclaim their Being-ness.

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I took a few weeks ruminating what the struggle for gender equality should look like in Swaziland. When I finally settled on an idea I wasn’t sure how to bring a seemingly esoteric argument to what is usually a rational discussion.

My idea percolated clearly in my mind; women must reclaim their being-ness if we are to move any further in the struggle for gender equality. “Being-ness” is defined as “the act or state of being. Being is more than just existing. Being is who we are at the very core of life, the way we were created, established and called to live. Who we are before being influenced by family history, economics, personality conflicts, consequences of choices made, or pressures we have allowed others to place of us such as culture and religion.”

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Fellow Elected Vice President of National Chess Federation

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2011 Fellow Mucha Mkanganwi has been elected as Vice President of the Zimbabwe Chess Federation (ZCF). The announcement was made on the federation's Facebook page on 18 October 2019.

Mucha is the CEO and founder of Pulse Pharmaceuticals, is a passionate chess player and is the founder and chairperson of the Chessmates Chess Academy, a model chess school situated in Mount Pleasant, Harare. He started playing chess at school and developed his love for the game at a young age.

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Fellow wins top awards for advancing African Skincare Technology

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Products from an African skin care line started just two years ago by 2009 Tutu Fellow  Dr Theo Mothoa-Frendo did well against big brands in the marketplace in the 2019 Pharmaceutical and Cosmetics New Product Competition Awards which is run by the SA Pharmaceutical and Cosmetics Review. 

The company she founded in 2017, African Dermal Science, makes the Uso skincare line, which reached the market in 2018.  The products are specifically formulated for Africans and the African climate. The Uso Active Day Cream won first and second runner-up in two categories where it was nominated alongside iconic and established brands. 

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