We, members of Programme of African Leadership (PfAL) Network who attended the first Forum of the network at the Speke Resort Hotel in Munyonyo, Uganda from 14th– 16th January 2016, wish to express our deep concern regarding the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Burundi.

PfAL is a network of African leadership drawn from different sectors of the society and whose members hold leadership positions at community, country and international levels. The PfAL Network is committed to fostering social justice and human rights in Africa. We are cognizant of the fact that conflict has cost many lives in different African countries and acknowledge that Africa’s development is often derailed by poor governance practices and divisions among political leadership.

Following the immediate developments after the disputed Burundi National Elections of July 2015, there continuously been report of threats, violations and displacement of civilians in the country. According to the reports there has been increased growth in number of activists fleeing the country and violent attacks directed towards civilians and women. As citizens of the African continent we wish to state that the crisis not only affects Burundi but the entire region.

In solidarity with the approximately 144,000 refugees who have fled Burundi to other parts of Africa we therefore;

  • Condemn the heinous acts of killings and maiming of the people Burundi;
  • Note with concern the postponement of the peace talks and urge a peaceful, negotiated resolution of the crisis;
  • Encourage return of the parties involved in the ongoing conflict to the commitments and principles of the Arusha National Accord;
  • Express our support for the African Union initiative intended to bring the carnage to an end;
  • Urge all neighboring countries to restrain militia in their respective territories who are stoking the war in Burundi and put an end to the illicit movement of arms into Burundi;
  • Call upon the Government of Burundi, opposition and militia forces to declare immediate and an unconditional ceasefire and cessation of hostilities directed towards civilians;
  • Appeal to the leadership of Burundi to uphold constitutionalism, rule of law and respect for human rights and;
  • Call upon African leaders to commit to ethical and accountable leadership aimed at enabling peace, social justice and equitable development for all our people.

Email: info@pfalfoundation.org


Endorsed by

Aaron Timothy Kirunda – Uganda
Adebimpe Atinuke Balogun – Nigeria
Alice Mogwe – Botswana
Andrews Addoquaye Tagoe – Ghana
Annet Kisaka Magolo – Uganda
Atek Eunice Gillian – Uganda
Benedict Wachira – Kenya
Butare Bernard – Uganda
Charles Ogeno – Uganda
Charles Andrew Edimu – Uganda
Clement Gyimah – Ghana
Donnas Ojok – Uganda
Fiona Imbali – Kenya
Garang Buk – Rep of South Sudan
Genevieve Imbali – Kenya
Helen F. Mayelle – Uganda
Kassim Mwanika – Uganda
Lesoetsa Makafane – Lesotho
Merekaje Lorna Nanjia – Rep of South Sudan
Michael Mugisha – Uganda
Moses Omondi – Kenya
Nanyonjo Rhonah – Uganda
Naomi Barasa – Kenya
Sheila Keetharuth – Mauritius
Trufena Ogol – Kenya
Tseguereda Abraham – Ethiopia
Yusuf Kiranda – Uganda
Zahid Rajan – Kenya

Download the PDF here.

In the Africa at LSE blog, PfAL5 candidate Carolyne Waraga looks at the challenges facing the Kenya President as he tackles corruption in his government.

Once again, Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration has come under severe criticism for escalating levels of corruption. Recently, the Ministry of Devolution and Planning faced a second scandal in a span of six months that involved procuring pens at the price of $85 each. When the former Cabinet Secretary was questioned, she said she was neither aware of the transaction nor responsible for procurement issues in the ministry. This culture of ‘it wasn’t me’ has been thriving. Even some citizens seem to have accepted that corruption will always happen and have given up on demanding accountability from their leaders. Commenting on the latest revelations, a security guard summed it up this way: ‘even if leaders are to steal they should steal just a little’.

There has however been some internal and external pressure for the government to show commitment in fighting against graft. International donors, trading partners and the civil society have mounted pressure on Kenyatta’s administration. This comes after Barack Obama’s trip to the country when the US President declared corruption as a cancer that needs to be dealt with followed by a similar plea from Pope Francis during his recent visit in November 2015. In a bid to show commitment, Kenyatta has reshuffled the cabinet and removed all officials whose graft has been exposed. He emphasised that he wants a clean-hands government in order to encourage international companies and investors who have previously been deterred from doing business in Kenya as a result of corruption. Observers say that this reshuffle is a political move to secure the 2017 general election which is perceived to depend on the government’s performance.

Read the full article on the Africa at LSE blog.

Though not the largest continent in the world, Africa is arguably the most diverse. Data published in a 2002 paper for the Harvard Institute of Economic Research titled, ‘Fractionalization‘, indicated that “the 13 most ethnically diverse countries are all in Sub-Saharan Africa, followed by Yogoslavia and then 7 more Sub-Saharan African countries” (p 8). The authors of African Languages: An Introduction cite a source that estimates 2,035 African languages but makes it clear that the “number is not fixed” (p. 2).

In the PfAL Network alone, the 130 current members represent 23 African countries, and we anticipate that number to grow over the coming years. Many lively conversations and debates have resulted from the varied perspectives and life experiences of members from across the Continent as well as from different parts of each represented country; however, the diversity has been a valued aspect of the Network from the start. As indicated in the PfAL Leadership Code, one of the principles and values PfAL alumni pledge to uphold is:

Diversity–We embrace differences in heritage, cultures, backgrounds, ideas and perspectives, harnessing this in the pursuit of excellence.

But what are the implications of such ethnic heterogeneity on political governance across the Continent? On Thursday 10 December 2015, PfAL@LSE students explored the question in a debate, opened by four volunteer speakers and chaired by Professor Teddy Brett, Visiting Professor at LSE’s Department of International Development. Click through the slideshow to catch a glimpse of the spirit and passion the issue sparked in the room!

(If the slideshow does not appear below, click here to go to our Flickr page)

PfAL@LSE - 10.12.15

Photos by Owen Billcliffe Photography (owenbillcliffe.co.uk)

PfAL 5 candidate Caroline Miring’u argues in the Africa at LSE blog that regular teacher strikes in Kenya are risking the future of the next generation.

Public school enrolment and attendance in Kenya has grown but as long as the system is plagued by unending teachers’ strikes, the future of our children’s education is in jeopardy. Kenya’s educational system has evolved over the last several years and, like most systems, there are private and public (or government) schools. There have been major reforms in the educational sector aimed at making the public system just as competitive as the private.

The introduction of free primary education in 2003 saw an explosion of the student-teacher ratio which rose from 30:1 to 60:1 against the UNESCO standards of 24:1. Due to this, public school performance plummeted and parents who could afford chose to move their children to the better-performing private schools.

Then, in 2014, entry into public secondary schools was changed from enrolment by merit across the board to priority being given to pupils from public primary schools. This gave the latter a higher chance of being enrolled in a good public secondary school. This caused panic among parents and led to a huge reverse shift of children transferring from private to public schools.

Read the full article on the Africa at LSE blog.

As the world becomes increasingly intertwined, PfAL 5 scholar Susan Poni Lado reflects on the role of mass media in spreading culture globally in the Africa at LSE blog.

In an age of globalisation, the culture of both people and mass media is fluid. We have the inclination to appropriate it, mis-appropriate it and dis-appropriate it all at once. But what of those who live in the bubble of third culture?

After reading We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo – who presented a dystopian reflection of her time as a child in war-torn Zimbabwe, followed by an account about the rest of her formative years growing up in the USA and having to acclimatise to the culture while at the same time pulling at the memories and remembrances of her beloved Zimbabwe (which she playfully terms: paradise) – I was prompted, if not inspired, to reflect on how third culture kids (or TCKs) relate to the world and how the physics of social norms can create new cultures through norm proliferation made ever so easy through the zenith of social media.

Read the full article in the Africa at LSE blog.

The very first PfAL@LSE 2015/16 event kicked off on the evening of Thursday 12th November. 53 LSE graduate students from sub-Saharan Africa came together first to hear a talk from Firoz Lalji, Chairman of PfAL Foundation and CEO and Chairman of Zones, Inc. The evening then transitioned to a student-led debate on corruption in Africa, which was started by four volunteers from the group. A lively debate ensued, bringing up questions around the definitely of corruption, success, and even where the roots of corruption could be found. Flick through the photos below to get a glimpse of a very dynamic evening!

Photos by Owen Billcliffe Photography (owenbillcliffe.co.uk)

PfAL@LSE - 12.11.2015

By PfAL 5 candidate Nyaguthii Maina (Africa at LSE blog)

LSE’s Nyaguthii Maina finds that Winnie Byanyima is hopeful despite the continuing challenges the African continent faces.

Is Africa’s growth trajectory overhyped? Is it as Omidyar Network’s Ory Okolloh call, ‘a fetishisation’ over some of the continent’s development achievements at the heavy expense of turning a blind eye to the weighty issues? As she concernedly asks, “will technology ‘save’ the continent from its poorly run resources, bad leadership and ineptitude?” Is Africa really rising? And if she is indeed rising, who are the beneficiaries? This was the subject addressed by Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International when she spoke at LSE on 12 October 2015.

“As I prepared to come here to give my views on this topic, I promised myself I would not be an Afro pessimist,” she announced. “My job has me talking about poverty everyday but being an African girl, I can say that I am proud of what Africa has achieved. I am proud of my country, the continent and her people and at the grassroots especially, you see a true reflection of the resilience of her people.”

Read the full article in the Africa at LSE blog.

As the El-Niño season in Kenya approaches and warnings systems are put into action, PfAL 5 candidate Shezane Kabura analyses the reasons for a failure by citizens to heed weather alerts from authorities.

While sitting in a Managing Humanitarianism lecture and reflecting on the failure of early warning systems with regards to disaster preparedness, I started to think about news back home in Kenya about the impending El-Niño floods and analyse the early warning systems in place there.

Over the past few months, there have been numerous warnings all over the country about El-Niño. The Kenyan Meteorological Department has warned that the rains will affect some parts of the country in October and has asked the residents to prepare for possible flooding. However, many Kenyans have ignored these calls to move saying they do not have the means and resources to relocate to safer areas.

Read the full article in the Africa at LSE blog.

PfAL 4’s Martin Namasaka co-writes an article with Milou Vanmulken in the Africa at LSE blog, arguing that exploiting the stalled fertility transition to meet the SDGs in African countries is contingent on improving public health and education institutions and promoting the informal sector as well as agriculture.

Recent estimates of Africa’s population indicate that in less than three generations, 41% of the world’s youth will be African (Ibrahim, 2012). Proponents of population growth postulate that this could act as a dynamic engine for agricultural growth and technological innovation. In contrast, pessimists predict that impending doom is correlated with this population growth given challenges such as food insecurity, depleting natural resources, rising unemployment, political instability as well as heterogeneous limits to growth in the continent’s economic prospects. The underlying limitation in these claims lies in understanding precisely how Africa can transform this population boom into economic gains to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

First, African countries will only reap a sizeable demographic dividend, if fertility rates decline rapidly. In light of the East Asian miracle, conventional theory posits that socio-economic development is a key determinant of fertility decline (Notestein, 1953; Easterlin, 1975). This experience offers valuable lessons for African countries, to focus on socio-economic development as an initial condition towards fertility decline. By declining mortality as well as fertility, East Asia experienced a rapid demographic transition between 1965 until 1990, leading to growth of the working age-population, four times compared to the young and elderly dependants, which primarily reduced the dependency ratio (Bloom et al., 2002).

Read the full article in the Africa at LSE blog.

On the 2015 International Day of Democracy, LSE’s Nyaguthii Maina examines the role civil society and women can play in politics.

Today, 15 September 2015, little or not so little fifteen year old Muteteli from Rwanda aspires to one day be Member of Parliament. She aspires to represent constituents from her region, help young children grow up to be the best they could possibly be; to live to their full potential. Young Muteteli aspires to assist farmers to produce more food for internal use and export, teachers be well qualified, hospitals to have well run facilities and to overall harness the energies and innovation of the promising Rwandan youth.

I will one day be Member of Parliament, I will make good decisions and I will make Rwanda proud,” she muses amidst a smile. Are her dreams valid? Very much so.

If one asks Muteteli whether she is aware of what a civil society organization is, she will quickly respond with a resounding yes. “They are the people who hold my Member of Parliament representative accountable and raise issues on what needs to be done more of.” If one probes further on whether she would want a civil society during her parliamentary tenure, the answer is also a resounding yes. “Just as my mother holds me to account on my wrongs, I too want people to tell me where I should focus my energies.

Read the full article on the Africa at LSE blog.