Pambazuka News 864: Decolonising African minds

This paper deals with the misrecognition of the Black student in institutions of higher education and their experiences. It will argue that the misrecognition of Black students in higher education and Black people in general, is not a mistake, but a deliberate consequence of the historically-evolved-globalised project of white supremacy, which has its basis in anti-Blackness. And that the Black student activists of today ought to continue the centuries-old fight of extricating Afrika from the talons of foreign domination. 

Using the case of South Africa, the author argues that Black people cannot be racists, as racism is system that employs various means of production for domination, many of which Black people do not possess. 

The debate on fulfilling the National Democratic Revolution continues in preparation for the 2019 elections in South Africa. 

Nigeria has many problems, but the root cause of all of them is poor leadership and not corruption, as some commentators including a former head of state would like us believe.  

In my other article, titled “Achebe versus Obasanjo, Danjuma and Agbese”, I argued that bad political leadership is primarily responsible for the failed state of Nigeria, not corruption as many would like us believe. The duty of this article is to present some of the generally approved qualities of good political leadership and apply them on Nigeria’s past and present presidents and heads of state to see if the findings corroborate this position. It may also assist us to understand why Nigeria has remained underdeveloped since 1960 despite the huge resources available for its development.

The author offers his views on how to solve the current socio-economic and political problems currently preventing Zambia from achieving its potential. 

The authors use the example of the working class in Argentina to demonstrate how social movements and working people can create alternative models of production that serve the interests of people and not of those of capitalism. 

The article uses the Eco Marxist perspective to look at deforestation and the impact it has on Earth in terms of soil erosion, air pollution and the threat it places on plant and animal life.

The piece relates that, at times, Africans are not invited to debates, conferences and other key platforms on Africa-China relations even though the topic is about Africa’s and Africans’ relations with China and Chinese.

Pan-African News Wire Editor Abayomi Azikiwe interviews Brazilian woman artist Marcela Florido on a range of issues including race, gender and identity as well as on her recent work on Lamu Island, Kenya. 

In this article, the author believes that South Africa's current President, Cyril Ramaphosa, is serving the interests of the British Empire and its capitalist allies and not those of his people, especially Black people who overwhelmingly support the ruling African National Congress. 

Great Lakes Journal of Strategic African Studies (GLJSAS) is an interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary journal that addresses crosscutting issues of strategic significance for Africa, with special focus on (but not limited to) the Great Lakes region and the Horn of Africa.  These two regions are of great geopolitical significance, much as they are also home to some of the most complex political and ethnic conflicts the world has experienced.  

An opportunity for women leaders in South Sudan, Africa and the world to celebrate, May 25th by coming together and co-creating solutions for lasting peace in South Sudan. PDF

Pambazuka News 863: People power and on-going struggles

19-year-old Noura Hussein was sentenced to death on 10 Thursday by a court in Sudan. The court found her guilty of murder after she killed her “husband” in self-defence. She had been forced to marry him by her father and when she refused to consummate the marriage, the man came with a group of relatives who held her down while he violently raped her. He returned the next day to rape Noura again and in the struggle he was fatally stabbed.

This paper offers an aspirational and prescriptive analysis to the the current political trajectory that Dr. Abiy Ahmed, the new prime minister of Ethiopia, has embarked on, as a young, dynamic, forwarding looking, and Pan-African, peace and security analyst. However, it is too early to tell what his political and economic performance will be in the years to come, as Ethiopia remains an enigmatic polity that defies clear-cut categorisation and conceptualisation. 

On 11 May 2018, more than two hundred people occupied unused land in Germiston, on the East Rand in Gauteng, South Africa. We laid out our design for the occupation in the afternoon, built throughout the night and slept on the occupied land. Around 350 stands have been marked out via a democratic and carefully planned process. The new occupation has been named the Zikode Extension in honour of S’bu Zikode.

In March 2018, Awaaz carried an article by Ramnik Shah titled “Jayaben Desai: A Legend”. I don’t know how many people in East Africa and beyond read this excellent homage to Jayaben.  I take the occasion of the celebration of the May Day this year to write a small piece to remember the struggle of the migrant workers – mostly Asian women from East Africa – in a small factory in England, a struggle that eventually encompassed the whole country. I try, also, to learn from that experience to reflect on the situation with the struggle of the working classes in East Africa today.

An insightful analysis on the current debates in South Africa to have a national minimum wage and its implication to the wider working class. 

Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza has intensified his brutal campaign to stay in power by stifling international news reporting of his government’s repressive actions, events ahead of his controversial referendum to extend presidential term limits.

Five human rights organisations working on advancing the rights of women and girls in Sierra Leone, are urgently calling on the leadership of Sierra Leone, and all political actors to take immediate action to address the increase in incidents of sexual and gender based violence across the West African country. 

Kwame Nkrumah’s loyal and long-standing literary executive, June Milne passed away on 9 May 2018 at the age of 98. Of Australian origin, June was a staunch Pan-Africanist and committed to Nkrumah and ensuring his prolific writings were published. As Nkrumah grew ill in Guinea-Conakry where he lived following the coup of 24 February 1966 that ousted him from power, he wrote his will entrusting June Milne with the publication of all his writings. She took up this task with utmost quiet and steely diligence for almost 50 years.

Fake news, propaganda, public relations, advertising — it goes by many names, but at the core of all these terms, is the idea that powerful institutions, primarily governments and corporations, strive to manipulate our understanding of world affairs. The most effective such shaping of opinion is invisible and therefore unquestioned.

Friday 4 May 2018 was not just another normal day in Namibia and Angola. Upon invitation by Namibian President Hage Geingob, the President of Angola, João Lourenço paid a state visit to Namibia to participate in the commemorations of the Cassinga Massacre. The two heads of state later announced plans to build two historical monuments to honour those who lost their lives during the massacre. 

I never thought that getting my new book reviewed would prove as hard as it has turned out to be.  Don’t get me wrong; I was not expecting the ranks of the corporate media to descend en masse chez moi, begging for review copies and interviews with yours truly.

Most regular folks of Western nations are ignorant of the true state of Africa, and the role their respective countries play in the du jour underdevelopment of Africa, which forces African migrants to risk their lives to make it to the West, only to generate increasing acrimony among their hosts.

Social media has been abuzz of late with responses to comments that rapper Kanye West made during a radio interview in which he opined that slavery was a “choice” for slaves. The vast majority of social media users, who weighed in on this topic, including a host of celebrities, came out strongly against West and either sought to dismiss these comments by attributing them to his allegedly unbalanced mental state or to educate him on how horrible the system of slavery was. Ergo, it was not a choice.

This piece is a memo to the Nigerian Left. In an ideal situation, on account of the importance I attach to the subject, the document would have appeared, first, as an internal memo to an appropriate organ of the movement. For the same reason of importance, it would not have stopped at the organ or leadership level. The memo would have passed to the movement as a whole and, thereafter, to the public. 

The authors argue that the on-going negotiations around the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the East African Community (EAC) and the European Union (EU) should solely focus on: 1) economic benefits for EAC member states and 2) sustainability of the region’s commitment to the agreement’s provisions. 

Pambazuka News 862: Renewed struggle to defeat austerity

In view of the historic May Day, 1st May, analysts from Monthly Review, the famous independent socialist magazine, identify tasks the working classes should press with. In the following interviews, conducted in early-April, John Bellamy Foster, Professor and Editor of Monthly Review; Fred Magdoff, Professor Emeritus, and one of Monthly Review’s closest associates, and Michael D. Yates, Professor Emeritus and Associate Editor of Monthly Review, provide answers (presented in alphabetical order) to a number of questions as well as slogans to be raised by the working classes on May Day in 2018. 

On this May Day 2018, mass demonstrations across the United States of America and the world focus on the current economic crisis and workers’ struggle to defeat austerity. 

On 17 November 2017, the Minister of Labour of South Africa announced the state intends to carry out a new round of attacks on workers and their rights. The attacks come in the form of three labour bills currently being considered by parliament: the Basic Conditions of Employment Bill, the National Minimum Wage Bill and the Labour Relations Amendment Bill. If passed, the changes to the labour laws these bills propose will be a major attack on workers’ rights, won through decades of struggle, and will further deepen and entrench inequality and roll back important democratic gains.

Ethiopia's new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has shown some signs of wanting to change the political landscape in the country. Can he resist pressure from "deep-state" forces and bring about needed change in the country? Or will he just be like old wine in a new bottle? The article attempts to address these questions. 

The recent vote of no confidence against former Speaker of the People's House of Somalia, Mohamed Osman Jawari, in very troublesome circumstances, is a clear indication of the gangsterism nature of the country's politics.  To exit from being a failed state, there is need for strict adherence to the constitution, democratic values, and rule of law by all citizens. 

The current challenges in South Sudan require drastic reforms beyond the call for President Salva Kiir to resign. South Sudan needs politicians, men and women, whose motivation is the wellbeing of the people of South Sudan and not self enrichment. 

Somaliland’s government perceives the talks as an opportunity to gain recognition; Somalia’s federal government, on the other hand, envisages recognition as a process of tearing the “Somali Republic” apart. Whatever the myths surrounding any rational decision, the world is watching to see whether Somalis mend or break the fence that has divided them for decades.

President Trump’s late night Twitter rants and the seemingly arbitrary manner in which he hires and fires high-ranking bureaucrats have led many commentators and members of the public alike, including prominent members of his own party, to question his fitness to hold office. According to his detractors, his actions hint at mental instability, cast doubt on his mettle and thus his ability to steer the ship of state.

It has been over 57 years since the Union Jack went down in Nigeria. However, the indigenous leaders, who replaced the British colonial “masters” have yet to pass muster, prompting average Nigerians, to nostalgically cry out whimsically for a return to colonial times, when things supposedly worked. And now with a lady of African ancestry joining the royal family on 19 May 2018, the plebs may be on to something.

General Roméo Dallaire has gone from shaking hands with the devil to promoting Africa’s most blood-stained ruler.

Pambazuka News 861: Another look at Western imperialism

The severity of Lula’s sentence in comparison to the banality of his alleged crime is all the more remarkable in a country where the current president of Brazil and his party have escaped prosecution for far more serious charges, backed by ample evidence. This political execution was demanded by a broad section of the ruling class as reflected in the media owned by its handful of leading families, and, under their baton, a significant section of the traditional middle classes. Whatever the various political agendas behind it, this step opens the way for the advance of naked fascism and has awakened frightful memories of the way a military junta ruled the country from 1964 to 1985.

“Because it bothers me, and I couldn’t sleep.  And I kept thinking about it…” –Lieutenant Columbo, police detective

This is an introduction to a new book The Dialectic & the Detective: The Arab Spring and Regime Change in Libya Julian Samboma. The book is not an ode to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, nor is it a lament for his passing.  Despite his anti-imperialist trappings, Gaddafi was a self-serving dictator.  He called himself a socialist, but stifled the self-activity of his people.  He called himself a Pan-Africanist, but was a racist.  

18 March 2018, marked exactly seven years since Haiti’s former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and Mrs. Aristide returned to Haiti from forced exile in South Africa, where they lived following the 2004 coup d’état that overthrew Haiti’s democratic government. On their return, they began to rebuild the University of the Aristide Foundation whose land and buildings had been appropriated, converted to military barracks and trashed by US and Brazilian troops during the coup.

This article discusses about on-going efforts to return Benin artefacts that were stolen more than a century ago and are now on display in Western countries including Germany and France among others. 

This is a rejoinder to The Land Is Ours: South Africa’s First Black Lawyers and the Birth of Constitutionalism by Tembeka Nqcukaitobi.  Contrary to the name of the book, “the land belongs to us” is not about land dispossession or land reform. It is about constitutionalism; the first generation of black lawyers; and how they used their “colonial education” experience to advance the struggle against discrimination and inequality in South Africa.

This paper seeks to examine Somaliland’s foreign policy goals and decision-making as they evolved under the leadership of Somaliland’s previous four presidents. Doing so involves presenting how these respective administrations dealt with Somaliland’s neighbouring states as well as regional and other global organisations. The paper will also focus on the present foreign policy challenges. It will conclude by offering recommendations with respect to current foreign policy arrangements.

On 28 April 2018, a day after Freedom Day, 90 years old struggle stalwart and anti-apartheid activist affectionately known as the “Mother of Azania”, Mama Zondeni Veronica Sobukwe, will be awarded the Order of Luthuli: Silver by South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guest House in Pretoria. Her son and the Executive Director at the Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Trust, Dini Sobukwe, will receive the award on her behalf due to old age.

One major problem limiting the national effectiveness and impact of the Nigerian Left in the country’s politics—at least since the end of the (1967-1970) Civil War—has been the contradictions (or “disconnect”) between organisation and programme. Put more concretely: The inability of the organisations of the Left to fully and satisfactorily accomplish the tasks they assign themselves through the employment of the structures, means and methods fashioned by them—and therefore available to them—has been a major limiting factor in its national effectiveness and impact in Nigerian politics. 

By and large the film industry everywhere is a dedicated supporter of the political establishment; Bollywood, more than a manifestation of the pan-Indian cultural industry, takes the cake. 

South Africa is running out of water, yet every day the push is to export more. Most of South Africa’s exports outside of mining are agricultural produce; most going overseas to the rich countries and through out that production process, goes South Africa’s (and Africa’s) water. 

Pambazuka News 860: Working on Africa’s self-reliance

Since President Nana Akufo-Addo launched his “Ghana Beyond Aid” agenda we have been treated to the same partisan responses. Sadly, none of it goes beyond the usual partisan debate that we are used to hearing from our learned parliamentarians.

After more than 40 years since the Arusha Declaration, initially published in Kiswahili, was declared on 5 February 1967, it feels as though, before levelling any critique or disagreements one might have, difficult not to simultaneously acknowledge the sheer optimism, ambition and ingenuity in its underpinning that now seem dreams away from what could be expected from a present day government. 

Britain is hosting the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in an attempt to revive its Empire after Brexit. African countries need to be vigilant to avoid any trade agreements with Britain that do not serve the interests of ordinary African citizens. 

The majority of Africa Union member states, 44 out of 55, have signed a free trade agreement whose aim is to create a single African market of economic cooperation thus creating the biggest economic zone in the world. 

The aim here is to summarise my current position on the question of geopolitical restructuring of Nigeria. I say “current” because as far as I can remember, I started thinking seriously—and then debating and writing—about restructuring from 1986 as a member of the Political Bureau. Today, 32 years later, I am still thinking and writing on the subject. The present piece is implicitly a draft memo on this important political subject to the Nigerian Left. And, for the avoidance of doubt, the category “Nigerian Left” means the aggregate of socialism and popular democracy in Nigeria today.

Among the titans of dignified defiance to white settler apartheid rule, was Winnie Madikizela-Mandela  – who not only kept the name of Nelson Mandela alive in the international public consciousness for 27 years – but was a charismatic leader in her own right who remained committed to the people of Azania/South Africa. 

Morocco has recently been engaged in an unprecedented, frenzied media and diplomatic campaign of misinformation and propaganda in which it has threatened to take military action to forcibly annex the Liberated Territories of the Sahrawi Republic (SADR), alleging that the Frente POLISARIO had violated the terms of the 1991 UN-supervised ceasefire in Western Sahara.

The African National Congress Western Cape Provincial Secretary Comrade Faiez Jacobs, Muslim Judicial Council Deputy President Mawlana Abdul Khaliq Allie, Chairperson of the National Coalition 4 Palestine Reverend Edwin Arrison and others held a press conference, which, among others things, announced that there would be a public protest march on 15 May 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa to the Parliament of South Africa. The march will be in solidarity with the Palestinian people’s #GreatReturnMarch as well as in protest against Israel’s recent killing of over 30 Palestinians including youth and journalists. We will be demanding decisive action to be taken by our government starting with the implementation of the downgrade of the South African Embassy in Israel to a liaison office. 

Blacks are being incarcerated at disturbingly high rates for seemingly minor infractions in the United States. The cost of posting bail is often relatively exorbitant for indigent blacks, who end up remaining in jail, as their rights are further infringed on. Despite the disproportionately high incidence of black arrests, African Americans do not necessarily violate the law more than other ethnic groups, but may in fact, be victims of over-policing and prejudice exhibited by rogue members of law enforcement. Having more black lawyers may save black men from jail.

A tribute to the African icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. 

Imperialism again carries on a direct aggression against Syria. And, with its bloody claws, heinous imperialism again asserts its age-old axiom: Everything is and will be dominated; no effort for a peaceful life will be allowed.

An exceptionally interesting debate about how imperialism is now behaving.

A doctor pushing for the legalisation of FGM told a court on Thursday that she was tired of "unending expert witnesses".Tatu Kamau told a Machakos court that she had been receiving affidavits from these witnesses by email almost every day. It has become difficult to respond to them, she said when the case was mentioned, noting they have been sent since she filed her petition.

Pambazuka News 859: The question of land in South Africa

Almost 24 years after the creation of “New South Africa,” there are loud and angry voices that the constitution of South Africa must be amended and there is a strong demand that there be expropriation of land without compensation. If the constitution is amended, the author demonstrates why it is important that another mistake is not made with regard to the country’s constitution on the fundamental issue such as land. 

In this piece, I argue that there is a historical continuity that should be put into perspectives that in times of difficulty, capitalist interests find ways to reconcile ideological differences to cohesively self-correct. Using this dialectical materialism approach, I conclude that the ANC-led government has been its own impediment on land redistribution through a combination of bureaucratic lethargy, corruption and dogmatic adherence to artificial constructs of the “market”.

The property relations of a city in South Africa are a phenomenon that has its roots on the colonial interruption of our history and they, today, affect the political economy of higher education generally and the living experiences of students in particular. The fact that universities, old and new, are buildings with a physical address stationed in cities, they are, therefore, not immune from the overall economic challenges facing the nation and how these structurally impact the daily life of a people. 

The author argues that arable land that is used for entertainment and other recreational activities in South Africa could be used for agriculture to feed millions of South Africans who cannot afford a decent meal. Trying to "safeguard" the interests of the middle class by keeping that land for leisure instead of using it for the general good will not protect the interests of the middle class either.

The withdrawal, this week, by the Emmerson Mnanagwa government of the tender awarded to Geiger International for the dualisation of the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu Highway, reveals shocking levels of corruption by the Zimbabwean authorities, which awarded the tender to an undeserving company in the first place. The US $2.7 billion tender was awarded to Geiger International in 2016 and close to three years later, no construction has started. The government has cited lack of progress on the project, as the reason for the cancellation of the tender, while the contractor has remained mum. But what could be the reasons for the lack of progress?

This is a reflection on a public lecture by Professor Horace Campbell, Kwame Nkrumah Chair in African Studies, University of Ghana at the occasion of the University's 70th anniversary. 

The response to the anniversary of martyrdom of Martin Luther King, Jr. continues to conceal the historical truths.  

“Robeson may have joined the ancestors but his example, his intelligence, his political acumen remains as a lodestar we would all do well to study—and exemplify”, Gerald Horne.

 

The sting in the comments by erstwhile British Prime Minister, David Cameron, describing Nigeria as “fantastically corrupt” will linger for a long time. Perhaps what makes the animadversion more jarring was that it was made within hearing distance of Nigeria’s supposed incorruptible leader, President Buhari. The throng of hierophants eager to define Nigeria’s identity before its youth can shape their own destiny, capitalised on the nation’s perceived weakness. Nigeria was described as a nation of huts (Donald Trump) and unflatteringly categorised under sh*thole countries (Donald Trump).

A demographic dividend is not only contingent on a rapid decline in fertility and mortality. It also requires strategic investments in promoting equality, health and family planning, education and skills development, and job creation. When countries harness the demographic dividend, their young people become more empowered, healthier, better educated and have more equal access to opportunities.

Tanzania is a unique country in sub-Saharan Africa in having a single, widely used and accepted African national language that connects its entire population. Kiswahili – a language estimated to have at least 100 million speakers across the continent is mostly spoken there; it is also the only official international language of Africa that is really indigenous to the continent. Tanzania boasts highest proficiency in the language, although there is a craze amongst the country’s population threatening to take that pride away.

Pambazuka News 858: Struggles of the exploited and oppressed

This contribution draws on time spent interviewing, walking with villagers and witnessing the eroding base of women’s security and empowerment in rural and informal sectors in some African countries, a trend that has heightened in the last decade. The countries in question share some common features: a colonial legacy of peoples displaced from their ancestral lands; vast and valuable natural resources; high illiteracy rates among rural populations; patchy rural infrastructure; the vestiges of weakened traditional accountability systems; and investment policies that significantly favour the industrial commodity chain [*] over peasant-based food sovereignty.

Despite the Western mainstream media presenting the 2011 uprisings in Africa's North as "protests against autocratic regimes", the author argues that those streets demonstrations were anti-imperialist in nature and were a continuation of similar protests that have been occurring since the late 1960s. 

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