Pambazuka News 842: Kenya on the brink

The 3rd People’s Triangular Conference of Mozambique, Brazil and Japan organized by the No to ProSavana campaign will take place at the Kaya-Kwanga Conference Centre in Maputo on 24 and 25 October, 2017. This conference aims to reflect the development models in Mozambique, with emphasis on the ProSavana Program, through a deep and democratic debate.

Chika Ezeanya-Esiobu, PhD, wants to see Africans unleash their suppressed creative and innovative energies by acknowledging the significance of their indigenous, authentic knowledge. In this powerful talk, she shares examples of untapped, traditional African knowledge in agriculture and policy-making, calling on Africans to make progress by validating and dignifying their reality.

Between 2006 and 2010 the deployment of US special forces troops in Africa increased by 300 per cent. From 2010 to 2017 the numbers of deployed troops exploded by nearly 2000 per cent, occupying more than 60 outposts tasked with carrying out over 100 missions at any given moment across the continent.

Tagged under: 842, Eddie Haywood, Human Security

It has been said that it is insane to do the same thing again and again and expect a different result. The present world system is not sustainable for the majority of the people or the Planet. What is urgently needed is transformation at the levels of the individual and society.

Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara (1949-1987) was assassinated 30 years ago, on 15 October 1987. He was one of the most confident and outspoken anti-imperialist leaders of the late 20th century. Sankara’s life and political praxis continue to be significant in shaping and inspiring anti-imperial and Pan-African youth activism and resistance across the African continent and beyond.

Eighty-four percent of the population of Uganda are rural subsistence farmers. They are resisting both rampant land grabbing and US ally General Yoweri Museveni’s attempt to rule for life. Ann Garrison spoke to Phil Wilmot, an American-born activist who now lives in rural Uganda.

The terrorist attack in Mozambique early this month is the first incident of violent extermism in the southern African nation. The attack appears to have been carried out by a group of local young Muslims who formed a sect in 2014  and have told their followers to stop sending their children to secular institutions such as state schools and hospitals. The group wants Sharia law applied in their area.

 

I have argued consistently for many years that trade is war contrary to Kamidza’s view that it is benign and developmental.  I do not believe there is any “developmental” potential in EU’s aid or trade policy towards Africa. Indeed, I contend that all development is resistance against imperialism.

Tagged under: 842, Economics, Yash Tandon

Washington and London’s support for Paul Kagame’s more than two-decade long control of Kigali explains the dominance of a highly simplistic account of Rwanda’s genocide. But a tertiary reason for the strength of the fairy tale is it aligns with the nationalist mythology of another G7 state: Canada.

Tagged under: 842, Human Security, Yves Engler

Less than a week to the repeat presidential poll, the country is dangerously polarized. The leading opposition candidate has withdrawn. A senior official of the electoral body quit and fled the country, saying conditions for a credible poll have not been met. The elections chief has said the same thing.

Nikanori Apita used the classroom to shape the minds of generations, weaning them out of racist ideology of Empire that cramped their mental growth. Empire’s ideology was ingrained in the colonial texts it was his duty to teach. Apita decided his task was to subvert the texts.

Tagged under: 842, John Otim, Pan-Africanism

The ruling Jubilee coalition insists repeat presidential elections must go on next Thursday. The opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) has called for a boycott and nationwide protests on that date. Unless the election is called off now, and efforts made to cool off tempers, Kenya could implode.

It will be a source of embarrassment to the United States Department of State to discover that while it is spending billions of tax-dollars in promoting democracy, human rights and the Justice Law and Order Sector in developing countries, justice, law and order are crumbling in, of all enlightened places, New York State.

Tagged under: 842, Human Security, Mary Serumaga

Ngugi wa Thiong’o holds two teaching positions at the University of California, Irvine, as Distinguished Professor in Comparative Literature and Distinguished Professor of English. He does not have an earned masters or PhD degree, only a bachelor’s degree. And he is not the only one.

Tagged under: 842, Education, Maurice N. Amutabi

Pambazuka News 841: Che and social justice today

The Che of mythology is presented as a starry-eyed utopian idealist. But the actual Ernesto Guevara was a voracious reader and highly cultured man of science, a revolutionist of action deeply grounded in theoretical study and practical experience. That is the man whose life and work still resonates with the social justice struggles of the world today, half a century after America murdered him.

Tagged under: 841, Ike Nahem, Pan-Africanism

In a letter to his five children written en route to Bolivia, Ernesto Che Guevara said: “Always be able to feel deep within your being all the injustices committed against anyone, anywhere in the world. This is the most beautiful quality a revolutionary can have.” Che’s legacy remains a doctor’s love for humanity.

Tagged under: 841, Global South, Vijay Prashad

The funny thing about the G20 Compact with Africa is that it is formulated by the same institutions that perpetuate underdevelopment in the continent. One cannot go to a doctor who repeatedly prescribes the wrong medication to his patients, worsening their illness instead of curing them. Global capitalism is the main cause of African underdevelopment. If Africa wants genuine development, it must reject advice from the so-called international community and its institutions.

Tagged under: 841, Economics, Fekadu Bekele

Canada doesn't want Guinean asylum seekers in its territory. It is not that thousands of Guineans are flocking the North American nation. Only a few applicants are seeking refuge. Yet Guinea is a mineral-rich country. In a number of ways, Canada has since the colonial days contributed to the impoverishment that drives Guineans to seek a better life elsewhere.

Tagged under: 841, Economics, Yves Engler

It is hard to make a case for continued support of the World Bank. Serving America’s national security and diplomatic interest is not persuasive for the remaining 189 member countries of the Bank. It is not even persuasive for Americans.

Tagged under: 841, Economics, Jonathan Mensah

One of the attributes of a middle income country is a rising middle class seeking the comforts of life, while the poor mass up at the fringes picking up crumbs from the table of the well to do. Ghana today is a place of unaffordable high-rise buildings, expensive restaurants, increase in domestic flights, expensive private schools - and unending political bigotry that could lead to the country’s implosion.

Tagged under: 841, Economics, Zaya Yeebo

Ethiopia would be a tough place to govern even for the most talented and well-intentioned daughters and sons of the land. It is a complex country of over 80 ethnic groups and 100 million people. After years of internal turmoil under a vicious and corrupt dictatorship, Ethiopia seems to be heading to the tipping point. Only internal structural change will save the country.

Unexpected political developments in Ethiopia clearly indicate that the 26-year-old tyranny is coming to an end. The people’s defiant resistance to the oppressors is relentless . What remains unclear is what happens after the regime crumbles. Ethiopia could plunge into chaos not so much because of the evil the regime has done, but because of the good the opposition failed to do.

Spanish unity and prosperity resulted from the global plunder and slavery that fuelled the emergence of the capitalist countries. The tonnes of gold looted from the New World by slave labour propped up the feudal aristocracy and its handmaid, the Catholic Church. Capitalism developed slowly and unevenly, and the Spanish state subordinated other territories with their own distinct history, language, culture and economy.

If the secessionist movements in English-speaking Cameroon continue to pursue the head-on collision option with the Republic of Cameroon, there will likely be many more massacres of citizens, many more toothless mealy-mouthed platitudes from the United Nations and other foreign observers, but no meaningful progress to end the current crisis.

Western bodies have long reduced African academics to native informants whose job is simply to collect data for those in New York or London who have the conceptual competence to study it. It is this native informant mentality that Prof. Mamdani is uprooting in his effort to transform Makerere Institute of Social Research from a consultancy unit into a full-fledged research institute. Such a person needs support, not slander.

Tagged under: 841, Education, Yahya Sseremba

Emergency services, disaster management, the ward councilor and his committee and other state support structures were missing in action at Glebelands hostel after #DurbanStorm. Many of the rotten, decades-old blocks are structurally unsound, yet there were no officials on site to whom the residents could turn for help. The Glebelands community, as usual, has been left to pick up the pieces themselves as best they could.

Communal land under control of traditional leaders, chiefs and kings, rather than individual owners, is one of the biggest obstacles to development, industrialization and economic growth in Africa.

Tagged under: 841, Economics, William Gumede

Pambazuka News 840: What keeps Africa down?

China sees no evil, hears no evil in Africa – precisely the kind of posture African dictators, tired of Western lectures, relish. But the problem is not China. It is African leaders who adamantly refuse to learn from their own history, which teaches that every foreign entity that goes to the continent does so to pursue its own interest.

The concept of ‘Africa rising’ poses crucial questions. How can Africans ‘rise’ when they do not possess the thing that allows them to enter the world of Beings seeking sustained economic development? How can they achieve economic growth in the global political economy when the very idea of ‘economic growth’ is counter-defined against them? How can those who are the quintessential slave within the world’s collective imagination ‘rise’?

Tagged under: 840, Frank Fanon, Global South

In 2005, Yoweri Museveni persuaded Parliament to amend Uganda’s constitution to eliminate presidential term limits, so that he could remain in power. Now, at age 73, after ruling for 31 years, he is once again asking Parliament to amend the Constitution to eliminate the age limit that would require him to step down at 75.

Marren struggled tirelessly towards the improvement of women’s participation in politics and the reduction of women’s poverty at the household level. She advocated for inclusivity and the revival of the women’s movement in Africa.

Ugandan dictator Yoweri Museveni is on the warpath against leaders and citizens who are resisting his attempt to rule the East African nation for life. One of those targeted is outspoken popular musician-cum-politician Kyaluganyi Ssentamu a.k.a Bobi Wine, who recounts here recent threats to his life.

Despite many efforts to falsify the history of the Pan-Africanist Congress of Azania, the heroes of Black liberation have sealed that history with their blood, sacrifice and noble service. But the fundamental struggle of the PAC continues, captured in the political slogan: Izwe Lethu! The Land is Ours! Freedom without repossession of land by colonially dispossessed Africans is a gigantic colonial fraud.

Tagged under: 840, Motsoko Pheko, Pan-Africanism

Although not recognized internationally, the self-declared republic of Somaliland holds its sixth competitive elections on 13 November. Almost all Somaliland’s politicians are directly involved in clan-based politics, which is a threat to the nation’s fragile democracy.

Following the historic, unprecedented decision by the Supreme Court to nullify Kenya’s presidential election, which international election observers had largely commended, the credibility of observers, and the practice of observation, was seriously damaged.  In this article, Aly Verjee identifies six lessons for international election observers ahead of the re-run of polls planned for 26 October.

Former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and super-consultant Iraj Abedian, two solid bourgeouis representatives, have made an unusually passionate case against what is sometimes termed White Monopoly Capital. Thus surprising breakthrough indicates that corporate-state degeneracy is now so extreme, that the truth will out.

Tagged under: 840, Global South, Patrick Bond

With their growing interest to invest far from Chinaʼs borders, the Chinese have set up and developed businesses abroad, including in many African countries. Even though Chinese businesses in general and shops in particular are located or concentrated in specific areas people wrongfully call such places ʻChinatownsʼ.

Tagged under: 840, Daouda Cissé, Global South

Pambazuka News 839: New radical resistances

The university as exported by Europe to the rest of the world is structured in such a way that the student has least say in its affairs. One cannot seek to democratize the university by focusing on an individual or group of individuals. It becomes even more self-defeating if that focus takes the form of malice, blackmail and outright personal insults that constitute much of Dr. Ocita’s dossiers against Prof Mamdani.

Tagged under: 839, Governance, Yahya Sseremba

The media has provided horrifying pictures of burning villages, endless lines of people threading their way across muddy rice paddy dikes to reach the river dividing Myanmar from Bangladesh, and then crossing in fishing boats to the other side where they will try to survive in huts made of canvas and sticks. What remains hidden to most people is the way this sickening crime is linked to colonialism and imperialism.

The ruling by Kenya’s Supreme Court strengthens the independence of the judiciary and places this institution as a key player and arbiter in future elections and on issues that affect peace and security in Kenya. Future rulings on elections – either in favour of or against a political party or coalition – can be received as the final outcome and prevent conflict.

Nkrumah’s dream of African unity remains essential for total liberation and prosperity of the continent. Africans will have themselves to blame if they continue to plough their narrow furrows instead of pooling their efforts, human and material resources, in order to create a cross-continental garden equipped to compete in the globalized 21st century.

The growing boycott against U.S. football in the U.S. should not be seen simply as a protest against the racist treatment of former U.S. San Francisco Quarterback Colin Kaepernick because of his protests against police terrorism in 2016. Instead, Africans and all peace and justice loving people must see this boycott as an extension of African people’s worldwide cry for justice and self-determination. 

Kenya’s elite is stunted, self-absorbed and unable to build a just, equitable, peaceful and prosperous society that guarantees material resources to all its citizens. The country is ripe for a revolution. And Kenya is slowly building a new alternative to the current elite. Nobody says it is going to be easy, but the first steps in the journey of decolonization and freedom are being taken.

The North Korean situation may be (turned into) a blessing in disguise for humanity if we can let it usher in a global movement for universal nuclear disarmament.

A UN commission is urging the ICC to indict officials of the Burundian government for crimes against humanity as soon as possible, but Russia, China, and the African Union so oppose an indictment that it could cost the court what little political legitimacy it has left.

Tagged under: 839, Ann Garrison, Human Security

The authors reject the capitalist view of poverty as the failure of individuals due to their personal attributes or as a correctable defect in modern capitalism. They explore critical pathways of thinking about organization, resistance, rebellion and revolution, offering different views on ways in which the underprivileged are defined, the forms in which they resist and obstacles to popular uprising.

Rwanda’s ruler often poses as a Pan-Africanist. But what Pan-Africanist runs a brutal dictatorship implicated in the murder of at least three African presidents and has committed well-documented war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide at home and the Great Lakes  Region? An unrepentant imperialist pawn, no other known African ruler in history has inflicted more humiliation on his fellow citizens and other Africans than Kagame.

The world must now wake up from its inexcusable slumber over the Igbo genocide and condemn genocidist Nigeria unreservedly. This condemnation must also extend to Britain, the co-genocidist state in this crime right from its original launch date on 29 May 1966.

Decolonisation of the Afrikan university must be located within the over 1,000-year-old struggle of Black people all over the world against white supremacy. It must aim at organising Black people towards the attainment of a far higher ideal, perhaps best articulated by Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe who said: “We must fight for freedom. For the right to call our souls our own. And we must pay the price!”

Tagged under: 839, Pan-Africanism, Veli Mbele

If you want to build a monument to a great man, build one that needs no plaques on it, that cannot be toppled by future vagabond executives, that will ensure that his ideas and thoughts, ideals and principles are shared, expounded, debated, criticized and widely diffused through all the institutions where minds are molded and the future prepared.

Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi, founder of Indian agribusiness giant Karuturi Global and self-proclaimed pioneer of the cut flower revolution in the world, is leaving Ethiopia. Empty-handed. After 10 years, it has now dawned on him that the 300,000 hectares of farmland he was offered by the government was a con. That is what happens to anyone who does business with the kleptocracy in Addis.

Capitalism is bleeding Africa to death: illegal financial flows, legal financial outflows, FDI flows, foreign indebtedness, sub-imperial accumulation, new subsidies for infrastructure financing and uncompensated mineral and oil and gas depletion. The continent is further threatened by land grabs, militarization and climate change. Only rising social resistance can halt and reverse these trends.

Tagged under: 839, Global South, Patrick Bond

Pambazuka News 838: Reflections on Kenya

Following the bungled presidential election, Kenya is heading to a repeat poll on 17 October. Regardless of the outcome, the election will not resolve the country's deep neo-colonial contradictions. Progressive forces must consider building a socialist Revolution to bring about democratic control of the means of production and a fair system of the distribution of the fruits of labour for the benefit of all.

The Gnassingbe family, backed by France, has ruled Togo for 50 years. Popular protests organized by opposition leaders in recent weeks have threatened the regime and forced the cancellation of a summit sponsored by Israel. The apartheid rulers in Tel Aviv are keen to consolidate their power in Africa to cut off any support from the continent for liberation of the Palestinian people.

The South African anti-apartheid icon and Nobel Peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu has called on Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi to end the violence against her country’s Rohingya Muslim minority.

Tagged under: 838, Desmond Tutu, Human Security

Leading figures from the Nigerian and global academia, media, civil society, law and multi-national organizations from Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America have today called on Nigeria to withdraw the NGO Regulatory Commission Bill currently being considered by the National Assembly (federal parliament). Here is their full statement:

Tagged under: 838, Governance, Various

The Kenyan presidential election that was overturned by the Supreme Court has raised serious questions about the agendas of foreign election observers. Many of the observers were quick to give the poll a clean bill of health – even urging opposition leader Raila Odinga to concede. Now they are facing credibility crisis. The European Union’s Marietje Schaake has been trying to save face.

Tagged under: 838, Governance, Sarah Elderkin

Kenya’s presidential election was massively rigged in favour of the incumbent. The evidence presented during the successful petition at the Supreme Court showed that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) was entirely infiltrated and its systems commandeered by regime elements to procure a fraudulent win for Uhuru Kenyatta.

Tagged under: 838, David Ndii, Governance

Today the US threatens North Korea with a first strike. North Korea has every right to say we will, "Nuke you too!" in self-defense. Apparently this is the foreign policy of every permanent member of the UN Security Council. They are all nuclear powers that have not disarmed. And the U.S. recently walked out of UN talks on the matter. They have also proposed to update and renovate their arsenal.

Kenya’s historic Supreme Court decision nullifying a presidential election, the first in Africa, is a slap in the face of the priestly international observers who for so long remained the self-appointed custodians of democracy in Africa without whose verdict and blessings Africa couldn’t conduct a genuine election.

Fresh from “winning” 99% of the vote in August, Rwanda’s ruler Paul Kagame has turned his wrath on the opposition. Several people have been arrested in recent days. Anne Garrison spoke to Joseph Bukeye, an officer of jailed politician Victoire Ingabire's FDU-Inkingi party in Brussels, Belgium.

Tagged under: 838, Ann Garrison, Governance

Rwanda is often highlighted globally for its large numbers of women in elective politics. But those are women who only sing Paul Kagame’s praises. Dianne Rwigara and Victoire Ingabire are different. They have exposed the inhuman, fearful and anti-African character of Kagame and his regime. These fearless freedom fighters challenge Rwandans and Africans to resist despots and their foreign backers.

China is totally committed to environmental protection through its policy of ecological civilization. But how come Chinese authorities seem not to care about their own citizens involved in illegal artisanal mining that is causing environmental devastation in Ghana?

With respect to Cuba, the American conception of “nothing” is not understood in conventional economic terms, but through a liberal rendition of freedom. With this version of freedom comes a set of values that if not perpetuated, suggest an un-freedom worse than access to a livable life. In this country, we value freedom to fail and struggle more than the right to a standard in our quality of life.

The historic ruling raises a number of fundamental questions on the capacity of electoral management bodies in Africa to conduct free, fair, transparent, credible and peaceful elections; the deployment of new technology in the electoral process; functions of poll observers, and the role of the judiciary in the continents’s democratic consolidation.

The incumbent in an election has many opportunities to use state resources unlike the opposition. That is why the Constitution and election laws insist on creating a level playing field. But some of the campaign activities of Uhuru Kenyatta have beached the law. A president re-elected on the basis of the special position, immunities, impunities and privileges cannot really command the respect of all citizens and others.

Recent spending patterns in Egypt pose a dilemma. While experiencing the worst economic crisis in decades, which involves a dwindling of resources, a sharp currency devaluation and an acute shortage of foreign exchange, levels of military spending in Egypt have dramatically increased. How can the two trends be reconciled? Why would a cash-strapped government spend massively on guns when its population of 90 million needs more bread and jobs and services?

Pambazuka News 837: America's wars and the quest for peace

Liberia goes to elections on 10 October. Women comprise a mere 16 per cent of all the candidates cleared for this year’s poll. The over-glorification of Sirleaf as a feminist icon is troubling since her 12-year presidency has actually served the interests of a small, elite group of women and men in politics and thus upheld long-standing patriarchal norms in Liberia.

China has literally invaded Africa with its investors, traders, lenders, builders, developers, laborers and who knows what else. The fancy phrase for that is win-win cooperation. The “cooperation” has opened up Africa as a source of raw materials for China and a dumping ground for cheap Chinese manufactured goods. It is Chinese neocolonialism.

On 1 September 2017, the Supreme Court of Kenya delivered a historic ruling: it nullified the re-election of Uhuru Kenyatta as president citing irregularities in the 8 August poll. The ruling has important lessons for election management in Africa and the world.

The current debate about “restructuring” Nigeria so as to meet the needs of the people is unenlightening. There is no clarity among the proponents about what restructuring means, to begin with. More importantly, pursuing national solutions based on ethnicity – when ethnic identity is a mere social construct – is backward. What Nigeria needs is democracy.

River Nile is steeped in Egyptian mythology. But the waters of the Nile are a crucial resource for several other countries. Conflicts over the world's longest river, even in recent times, have almost led to war. This should not be the case. The Nile waters must be managed as a source of cooperation and sustainable development for all the countries involved.

It seems likely that Diane Rwigara who dared to challenge Paul Kagame in the August poll will be tried in a kangaroo court on trumped up charges and sent to prison, like Victoire Ingabire. If so, and if she appeals to the Supreme Court, she will lose, as Ingabire did. Some things in Rwanda are as predictable as presidential elections.

The United States, like every nation, has a dual mandate: to build, enlarge and sustain its wealth in the material as well as in the spiritual domains. America is the richest nation in the world. Yet the decison to close doors to 800,000 young people is one that shows a spiritual deficit that needs to be filled with compassion and enlightened self-interest.

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