This issue s main focus is on poverty and human rights. Current statistics show that more than 1.3 billion people now live on less than one dollar a day. South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa are the world s poorest regions. The tragedy is that instead of halving the number of people living in extreme poverty by 2015 there is a danger that these numbers could rise.
Stories in this issue explore the current situation of poverty as a way of violation of human rights in the African continent, the challenges ahead, the hope and commitment that extreme poverty can be overcome. We have, however, carried a few stories from outside the theme.
Poverty background has pushed some families against the wall. According to Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) report released recently, poor parents, who are unable to look after their children are giving away their daughters as a way of paying off loans and other debts they had incurred. NEWSfromAFRICA correspondent, Charles Banda, reports from Malawi
The judiciary in Kenya is at a crossroads following revelations of massive corruption. As NEWSfromAFRICA associate editor Zachary Ochieng writes, a report prepared by the integrity and anti-corruption committee implicates more than half of the bench in various form of corruption. But since the judges enjoy security of tenure, they can only be removed from office through the establishment of tribunals to investigate their conducts. But this being an expensive exercise, the Chief justice has given them a two-week ultimatum to resign peacefully and collect their pension, or else face the humiliation.
James Hall reports that good governance is a recipe for economic growth. He observes that there is a link between poverty eradication and democracy. Looking at particular countries in the continent, Hall demonstrates that, democratically elected governments try to ensure their reelection prospects by not allowing their constituents to starve otherwise they will be voted out of office. He quotes Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique, Swaziland as some of the countries worth learning a lesson from.
The 13th International Conference on Aids and Sexually transmitted infections in Africa (ICASA), was concluded in Nairobi recently. This year's theme was Access to care: Challenges . The conference was held against a background of chilling Aids statistics in the continent. And as Zachary Ochieng reports, the absence of expanded prevention, treatment and care efforts, death toll on the continent is expected to continue rising though the situation can be reversed through wider access to medicines.
From Ghana, two decades on, over 40 per cent of the population can be described as living below the poverty line and about 27 per cent as extremely poor. Access to health care, safe drinking water and sanitation, is inadequate, even among the urban poor and more especially in rural areas. The majority of health facilities and other infrastructure are in urban areas. Only 3 per cent of rural households have access to a doctor in their communities and a small number of the rural population live in communities with a modern health care facility. Our correspondent, Sam Sarpong, reports.
From Botswana, Rodrick Mukumbira reports that the Bushmen the oldest inhabitants of the Southern African region are up in arms against the government s continued violation of their human rights.
The land reform programme in Zimbabwe has backfired as the resettled farmers have opted to go back to their ancestral lands upon discovering that the lands on which they were resettled by the Mugabe government and the Zimbabwe liberation war veterans cannot sustain agricultural activities. Rodrick Mukumbira has the details.