News Release

Analysts Look Beyond Tragic Bombings to Assess Future of East Africa


WASHINGTON — In the aftermath of the tragic bombings in East Africa that took the lives of at least 250 people, analysts familiar with the region are assessing major issues confronting Kenya, Tanzania and neighboring countries. Among those available for comment:

Professor of Africana Studies and English at the University of Pittsburgh, Brutus said: “We sympathize with those who are suffering from these tragedies, but we should also sympathize with those suffering independent of these bombings. In Kenya, we should bear in mind the repression of the Daniel Arap Moi government, which has jailed members of the opposition and used the army to put down protests. In looking at East Africa, what is being overlooked is the profound dissatisfaction because of the structural adjustment programs imposed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The debt burden means, for example, that Tanzania spends six times as much on the debt than on health care. If the U.S. continues to be the principal protagonist of World Bank/IMF policies, it is likely to face increasing hostility.”

“One of the biggest stories in Africa is communities inserting themselves into politics and organizing civil society,” said Hurxthal, press officer at Oxfam America, a relief and development organization. Meanwhile, a huge famine is threatening East Africa, Hurxthal said. “The bombings obviously warrant the attention that they’re getting, but right next door, Sudan is on the verge of a huge crisis. Tens of thousands of lives will be lost if serious attention is not given to the current situation. We’re at a point with Sudan where we can save people now instead of looking back and lamenting the loss of life. Some 350,000 people are currently facing starvation — it could go above a million. The networks have sent their reporters to East Africa — they’re just a hop, skip and a jump away from Sudan, and could help avert a major tragedy by alerting the public to it.”

Njehu, co-coordinator of the Kenya Action Network and public outreach coordinator of the 50 Years is Enough Network, said she is “proud of how Kenyans immediately responded, generously putting themselves at risk in the rescue effort.” She added: “After the spotlight has faded, people will need to focus on the issues of continuing economic devastation. The problems surrounding international financial institutions, debt and reconstruction of African countries need to be dealt with. Political will and attention should galvanize the international community to confront Africa’s debt crisis, landmines, poverty and famine which kill millions more than did the terrible bombs last Friday morning.”

For more information, contact Sam Husseini at the Institute for Public Accuracy, (202) 347-0020.