Preparations for World Social Forum in top gear

By GEORGE KEBASSO

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PREPARATIONS for the 7th edition of the World Social Forum (WSF) are at an advanced stage as the world converges in Nairobi in a week’s time to deliberate on issues that have hampered social quality of life.

Organisers of the meeting dismissed reports that, the meeting is being spearheaded by the opposition chiefs including Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o, Raila Odinga among others in the ODM-Kenya party.

The communications department at the secretariat dismissed the reports as speculation explaining that, the forum’s service charter is clear that, attendance of the meeting is opposed to any political representation. Further, the department explained that, the forum, themed “People’s Struggles, People’s Alternatives,” upholds respect for human rights, the practices of real and participatory democracy, peaceful relations, inequality and solidarity, among people, ethnicities and genders.

All the delegates who will attend the forum may they be politicians or church leaders will not be allowed to present political sentiments.

During this event which comes into Africa for the first time at a time when Kenya is basking under a stream of accolades as having the best conferencing facilities in the globe, brings together more than 100,000 delegates, activists, social movements, networks, coalitions and other progressive forces from Asia-Pacific?, Latin America, the Caribbean, North America, Europe and all corners of the African continent for cultural resistance and celebration; panels, workshops, symposia, processions, film nights among other issues. 0osted three high profile international meetings held at the United Nations-Africa? Headquarters in Nairobi, to discuss issues affecting the poor and war-ravaged countries of Africa with quite a large attendance running into thousands.

The delegates will seek to demonstrate that, the path to sustainable development and social economic justice is opposed to neo-liberal globalization and a world dominated by capital and any form of imperialism. A spot check by Kenya Times, reveals that under the principles of the WSF, the forum will create space for solidarity as it seeks to strengthen and create a new national and international links among organizations, and movements of society.

Kenya Times was informed that, the opening ceremony, will take place at the Uhuru Park grounds on January 20 to usher in the event. Already 50,000 organisations have confirmed attendance.

Earlier expectations that former South Africa President and freedom fighter, Nelson Madiba Mandela was to grace the occasion were dashed as reports from his official residnce indicated that, the aging Pan Africanist leader would not after all attend.

From its modest origins in Porto Alegre in the year 2001, the World Social Forum has mushroomed into a global counter-force challenging the assumptions and diktats of imperialism and its associated neo-liberal policies that have over the decades, imposed colonialism and neo-colonialism; devastated Southern economies; bolstered the disastrous and repressive reigns of assorted tin pot dictatorships; marginalized women; disenfranchised youth; intensified the destruction of the environment; unleashed bloody, inhuman and needless military conflicts in nation after nation, region after region and deepened the exploitation of poor peoples around the world.

Rallying around the clarion call of Another World Is Possible, the World Social Forum has placed social justice, international solidarity, gender equality, peace and defence of the environment on the agenda of the world’s peoples. From Porto Alegre to Mumbai to Bamako to Caracas, Karachi and now Nairobi, the forces and the contingents of the World Social Forum have collectively expanded the democratic spaces of those seeking concrete, sustainable and progressive alternatives to imperialist globalization. The forum will be held at the Moi International Sports Centre- Kasarani between January 20 and 25.