New social movements: do they defend poor people’s interests?

The political relevancy of ‘new’ social movements, particularly at a time the world is witnessing huge unequal power relations among society, is increasingly becoming vital. New social movements are perceived as a formidable challenge to authority,  dominance and political system in society. Their primary aims are to fix the gaps within the society regarding economic, social and political inequalities. The citizen-driven approach to recreate the roles of society and State, particularly in the modern democracies, is what’s labelled as ‘new social movement’ of which the essay particularly sheds light on. The point of the essay is to examine how the ‘new’ social movements defend poor people’s interests citing examples of new global incidents in Latin America (particularly Mexico) and the Arab world. Furthermore, the essay draws a line between ‘new’ and ‘old’ social movement at the beginning while also explaining their distinctive features in terms of goals, development and tactics. In the end, the essay’s argument is based on the notion that new social movements (NSMs) defend poor people’s interests even though there is conflictual orientation among members of new social movements.  Continue reading

Can a decision to secede be made democratically?

Secession is a landmark moment that defines not only the destiny of the seceding state but also for the parent state that is torn apart. With its focus on the era when secessionist struggles are getting more momentum across the world since the end of the Cold War, this paper will argue that secession cannot be made democratically despite the democratic nature of the process. In the beginning, the paper looks at the three theories of the morality of secession, namely, national self-determination theories, choices theories, and ‘just-cause’ theories to build a conceptual framework with which to highlight if secession decision is democratic or not. Each theory is further illustrated by a contemporary case of secession such as Somaliland and Kosovo while examining the ‘marriage’ of the two political themes, secession and democracy. Furthermore, the paper examines the arguments for and against separation being democratic though the conclusion is based on the conception that the secession decision cannot democratically be made because it is logistically challenging, legally controversial and democratically uncertain. Continue reading

The Rise of the BRICS in Africa: Developmental or Self-Interest?

The rise of the BRICS countries, particularly China,  has reshaped the economic and geopolitical realities in Africa for the past two decades. Across infrastructure financing, trade, investment and aid, there is no other traditional Western Power with such colossal engagement in Africa than China. The Chinese companies invest enormously in all across Africa by bringing new technologies, creating jobs, developing skills for the local Africans and immensely contributing to the Africa state’s public revenue. The recent Africa-China economic relationship has threatened the dominance of the traditional ‘Great Powers’ in the fields of economics and geopolitics.  There are challenges that make the Sino/Africa relations unbalanced such as the Chinese workers and the ‘cheap’  products overflowing African domestic markets.  Considering both sides of the coin, however, China’s involvement in Africa is perceived positively by Africans,  and China is  a significant partner who has generated multiple prospects for African development despite Africa’s development move is relatively slow. Continue reading

Structural Adjustment: An Unqualified Failure


This paper assesses the thesis that the Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs) did not achieve its primary motive of making Sub-Saharan Africa a poverty-free and economically vibrant continent. The question of whether the World Bank and the IMF have alleviated or exacerbated the poverty in Africa is shrewdly answered.  Both sides of the coin, the pros and cons of SAPs, are scrutinised studying the performance of both the social and economic indicators of development. The heart of this paper’s argument lies to demonstrate that the prescriptions of these two institutions for Africa’s predicament have hampered its economic growth and development more than they helped. Continue reading

Electoral Competition and Politicised Ethnicity in Kenya

Few African states hold free and fair elections. Most of the elections are either ‘rigged’ or the process is mismanaged from the campaigns til the voting day. In this paper, the point is to examine how the  the politicisation of ethnicity  during electoral competition triggers ethnicised conflict in Kenya. Based on the instrumentalist theory of ethnic conflict, the paper critically studies the use of ethnicity by the Kenyan political elites as a tool to mobilise their ethnic groups promising to create political and socio-economic opportunities at the expense of neglecting the other tribes. The paper sheds a light on the trajectory of politics from 1963 up until the 2007 post-election crisis and how the politicisation of ethnicity created a sense of mistrust and national division among the diverse ethnic communities in Kenya. Continue reading