Pambazuka News 854: Africans in the diaspora and Africa’s quest for democratisation  

Blacks have a moment to celebrate their achievements around the globe and to leverage the moment, to confront intolerance in all its ramifications, to make black dignity a permanent reality. We should be outraged by intolerance and racism towards children and should remember that in our struggle to achieve equality, we have allies among non-Blacks, too.

Democratic transitions going on in Africa are slow and timid. However, there is reason to believe that something substantive is happening. 

African leaders who fought for independence soon departed from their initial objectives before African people could see the benefits of independence. Even though leaders who came after independence were also far from what African people needed, there is hope that current changes in southern Africa can inspire the entire continent. 

After the recent fiercely contested presidential election in Liberia, world attention has now turned to neighbouring Sierra Leone, which has its own crucial vote on 7 March 2018. Both countries share so much in common, not just political histories, but devastations of symbiotic civil wars. Can the “Lion Mountain” ever roar again after the withdrawal of United Nations troops in 2014?

Africa’s richest regions is said to host some of the most undemocratic governments in the continent where presidential palaces seem to have become private properties over which blood must be spilt if some strangers show signs of trespassing the perimeters. Is there any hope for this situation to change?

Africa has become a dumping ground for used clothes from the West where it often costs more to dispose of clothing than to export it. This has had a negative impact on local economies and the dignity of Africans. Domestic capital in the industry and the domestic consumer market has been decimated in many African countries.

Edwin Madunagu argues that Nigeria needs a people's manifesto that would borrow from the political left's thinking and be a representative of the people's really demands.  

Denmark is fighting for a place on the United Nations Human Rights Council while supporting an European Union fisheries agreement with Morocco that includes Western Sahara, in violation of international law and the ruling of the European Union Court of Justice. 

Samuel Abonyo's poem narrates disappointments from supporters of President Donald Trump who trusted and hoped that he would bring changes to their lives.  

“The restitution of those cultural objects which our museums and collections, directly or indirectly, possess thanks to the colonial system and are now being demanded, must also not be postponed with cheap arguments and tricks.” Gert v. Paczensky and Herbert Ganslmayr, Nofretete will nach Hause. [1]

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Pambazuka News 853: Ramaphosa, Tsvangirai, and struggles of working people 

In this interesting radio interview, Sharmini Peries of The Real News Network discusses with renowned pan-Africanist, Professor Horace Campbell on the recent changes in South Africa that saw Cyril Ramaphosa, a former working class militant turned corporate magnate become fifth president of that country. 

Cyril Ramaphosa’s soft-coup firing of Jacob Zuma from the South African presidency on 14 February 2018, after nearly nine years in power and a bitter struggle to avoid resignation, has contradictory local and geopolitical implications. Amidst general applause at seeing Zuma’s rear end in the society, immediately concerns arise about the new president’s neo-liberal, pro-corporate tendencies, and indeed his legacy of financial corruption and class war against workers given the lack of closure on the 2012 Marikana Massacre.

Big Business thought the Zuma factor was just what they needed and the Rand-Dollar traded in the 8.50 – 6.70 band. Then in January 2016, they decided Zuma was bad for business, warning shots were fired, the Rand fell almost to 17. Now Ramaphosa is what Big Business wants!

Yash Tandon argues that the late Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, would be remembered as an enigmatic and emblematic figure for his relentless opposition to the ruling party power elite despite his tribulations. 

The best way to remember the late President of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Morgan Tsvangirai, is to keep his legacy of fighting the rule of law and democratic governance in Zimbabwe. The MDC leadership needs to unite to keep that legacy alive. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa's State of the Nation Address of 16 February 2018 seemed crafted to appeal to the electorate that has been alienated by the Zuma presidency marred by scandals. But, can Ramaphosa honour his promises?  

The Oromo people have not been able to dominate the politics of Ethiopia, as the Amhara and Tigrinya people have dominated the empire's  governance. Nonetheless, the Oromo's ancestral principle of democracy--a transitional principle of eight years as a generational unit--has influenced many countries and could one time influence Ethiopia's politics.  

Assassinations and assaults that are being unleashed against the Revolutionary Alternative Force of the Common, the political party formed by the former FARC leaders and activists are a hindrance to renewed initiatives for a peaceful and decent Colombia. 

For Nigeria's All Progressives Congress party to survive after Mohammadu Buhari's presidency, they might as well consider presenting an Igbo presidential candidate in 2023 elections. 

Important developments that took place in 1968 with the working class protesting against their deplorable working conditions are still relevant to what is happening five decades later in 2018. 

Hollywood expects everyone to cheer whenever African characters are starred as superheroes even if the roles assigned to them include the mass murder of fellow Africans while subtly promoting the interests of colonisers. 

There is need for Russian and African business partners to know more about each other’s capacities and needs so that the significant potential of economic cooperation between these two parties can be utilised. 

Pambazuka News 852: Confronting global white supremacy

White capital has no problem with corruption; the problem they had with Jacob Zuma is that they were being side-lined in the corrupt deals of the state under his watch, with far more going to the Gupta family and a new Black elites. Turning on the Zuma faction and backing Ramaphosa is unlikely to end corruption in South Africa. 

The new head of state of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, assumed power amid relief and jubilation. However, he needs to tackle serious challenges including serving the interest of ordinary people and fighting against corruption if he wants that jubilation to go on. 

Imperialism is less concerned with human rights and democratic elections in Africa. What really matters is the maintenance of a system that serves their interests no matter how it assumes or maintains power. The same goes for Zimbabwe; what they are interests in is not the new president, but what the West hopes he would do to safeguard their interests. 

Black people need to write their own stories; to keep some aspects of our lives forever secret and unwritten is not helpful at all.  There is also need to fund projects that document these stories, as we cannot forever react to the deliberate distortions of our being by the global white supremacist establishment.

African progressive organisations and movements stand in solidarity with the people of Venezuela to oppose any imperialist interventions that only seek to install a puppet government to serve the interests of imperialist powers. 

Imitators and the supposed dissenters in the global South are a part and parcel of the Western bourgeoisie and their agenda; and it is the reason why the global South never has a voice of our own that is at once eclectic to confront imperialism. 

A plan to fund, to the tune of over US $14.5 billion, the project of water transfer from the Congo River to Lake Chad as a way of saving the lake and the livelihoods of millions of people living around the lake could have been another reason that the former Libyan leader Gaddafi was assassinated.  

Most of Africa’s past, even present, leaders have been complicit in the misrepresentation of Africa, as they have often been instruments of neo-colonialism. African leaders, with any sign of bravery are often summarily sabotaged, if not executed—invariably with the aid of fellow Black Africans. Africa needs who have Africans' interests at heart. 

Oppressed and humiliated people responding to racism cannot be illegitimate. It is racism that is illegitimate. It is the oppressed who feel the weight of violence on their shoulders and it is them who must decide their own best possible method to escape their dehumanisation. 

The departure of long-serving African leaders in Zimbabwe, Angola and The Gambia in 2017 ushered in measured hope for change and a desire for more such changes. Can new leaders in those countries meet people's high expectations? 

Sexual violence should not be tolerated even in a revolutionary movement. Feminists in the movement have to speak out. 

During his 32 years in power, President Museveni has developed a consistent pattern of deploying hate speech to insult or ridicule his political opponents as a most preferred strategy of regime survival. Incitement of his supporters against his political opponents is the corner stone of his policy.

Zimbabweans need to do some serious introspection and take control of their destiny. This will require courage and determination on the part of all Zimbabweans. For far too long, Zimbabweans have allowed ZANU-PF to manipulate the electoral process to their advantage by playing the tribal game to capitalise on their numbers and Zimbabweans have fallen for it again and again.

Refugees across Africa are often in national energy plans. The involvement of various players including the private sector working on green and renewable energy could be welcome news to refugees living in big camps such as Kakuma, Kenya. 

Today comes the seventh year of the international conspiracy, in which obscurantist forces and Libyan agents participated in the war against Libya and its safe people, where innocent people were hurled to take part through the launching of false slogans by a media campaign carried out by excessive regional and international mass media machines.

The African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) is a feminist, pan-African organization established in 1988 to amplify African women’s voices and advance women’s and girls’ rights and gender equality. As a membership organization, FEMNET is a network of over 600 members, both individuals and women’s rights organizations working across African continent and diaspora to realize gender equality and women and girls’ human rights.

Tagged under: 852, FEMNET, Jobs

We are seeking a confident, innovative, West African self-starter who is spirited and has a passion for the LGBTQ community, to lead this new, dynamic and impactful fund.

Pambazuka News 851: No compromise, the struggle continues

For over 60 years Hugh Masekela had been at the forefront of world revolutionary trends and made his mark at the site of the global anti-racist struggles. His sounds of struggle, inspiration, revolutionary change and love are now part of the history of revolutionary music of the end of the twentieth century and early twenty first century.

If Martin Luther King Jr. was among us today, it is safe to say he would oppose the wars in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. He probably would attempt to broaden the anti-war movement to take an active role in the wars on the African continent. It is safe to say that King would be on the side of the movement for reparations.

Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his life for the elimination of national oppression, the war policy of the Pentagon and the necessity for the lifting of the masses of people out of poverty. His assassination was a by-product of a system built on forced removals of the indigenous people, the enslavement of Africans and the super-exploitation of workers in general. 

Raila Odinga's swearing himself in as a people’s president could have both political and legal implications. Legal scholars are already divided on this and this swearing in of Raila Odinga has attracted the attention of foreign governments, calling for dialogue, and a possible power deal.  So what can we make of this juicy and appetising unfolding story and new chapter in Kenya’s political history?

Oxfam has been successful in highlighting the gross and rapidly growing inequalities in the world in international fora, but their approach of asking the rich elites and their allies in governments to do the right thing is not bringing change and worse it is perpetuating the myth that we have no alternative other than to depend on large corporations. It is in people’s everyday practices, not from the elites that we are far more likely to find meaningful solutions to inequality and the seeds of a more human economy.

The 31 December 2018 revolution in Ghana was a political upheaval that promised and had the potential to deliver a Castro/Sankara type social and political revolution, but was wasted on the rubbish heap of personality power grab fuelled by the ambitions of one man, the collective theft of national resources by a cabal of opportunists and nation wreckers who perpetuated their vile corrupt values on the rest of the nation.  

A recent World Bank reportThe Changing Wealth of Nations 2018, offers evidence of how much poorer Africa is becoming thanks to rampant minerals, oil and gas extraction. Yet World Bank policies and practices remain oriented to enforcing foreign loan repayments and transnational corporate profit repatriation, thus maintaining the looting.

The US informal empire, through the US African Command (AFRICOM, is expanding the US economic-frontier by discursively securitising Africa using exceptional speech acts.

Challenges in the struggle for democracy assume definite shape and character: no scope for ignoring imperialism and plunder, and lending space to imperialists and its proxies while organising the struggle for democracy. So, the stand is: oppose imperialism and plunder, and don’t deactivate the march to democracy.  

President Trump’s insult is fed by deep ignorance about Africa among Americans. To most Americans, Africa is as an exotic place where animals roam around freely. There is really need to educate them. 

The Nigeria legal system is not only conservative; it is elitist. More and more the system is programmed to inculcate in lawyers a mechanical adherence to elitist practices that are dangerous to progressive evolution of law. The hijab of Firdaus is not a case about religion; it is about a lady challenging a contradictory status quo. 

Swaziland is Africa's last absolute monarchy. While some foreigners might have problems while visiting the kingdom and get or seek for help from their governments; Swazi people seem to have nowhere to seek for help. The story of Peter Kenworthy confirms that. 

Nigeria should abandon its ineffective policy of quiet diplomacy while seeking to recover its stolen artefacts, and pursue vigorous and open policies to bring back its artefacts. 

African Americans and their children need to tell their own stories, instead of enabling misguided bigots to seize the narrative – a false narrative that misrepresents them, as a people and threatens their uniqueness, as individuals.

The linking of our ancestors who are gone, ourselves here, those coming, our continuation, our flowing along our living way, the way: it is that remembrance that calls us. That remembrance not only birthed successive waves of global insurrection, but directed the everyday lives of millions of forcibly dislocated Africans. 

Pambazuka News 850: The imperialists’ evil empire

The recent demonstrations and fighting that broke out across Tunisia for about ten days in January 2018 are all the more significant in that Western representatives and apologists for the current state of the world have held up Tunisia’s political situation as the most successful outcome of the 2011 “Arab Spring", that is, from the point of view of maintaining the status quo.

Patrice Lumumba, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s independence hero and first Prime Minister, famously wrote to his wife Pauline from captivity in 1960, shortly before his assassination: “We are not alone. Africa, Asia, and the free and liberated peoples in every corner of the globe will ever remain at the side of the millions of Congolese who will not abandon the struggle until the day when there will be no more colonisers and no more of their mercenaries in our country.” But is anyone on the side of the Congolese now?

The meeting between US ambassador to Uganda Debra Malac with Uganda's disgraced Minister for Foreign Affairs Sam Kutesa on 19 January 2018 demonstrated that the value of Uganda’s cooperation in furthering American foreign policy and corporate interests clearly outweighs any embarrassment caused by Kutesa’s alleged incontinence.

In recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the Donald Trump administration has accomplished nothing significant other than expose their already bare backs to the international community that is a wee-bit tired of their shenanigans. 

To make a difference, President George Weah must revisit the unfinished business of unification of Native and Americo-Liberians began by the Tubman administration. Given their weak economic and political position, the Natives cannot go it alone, and in spite of their years of dominance even with their small number, the Americo-Liberians must have realised that both groups need each other as partners in Liberia’s progress.

The commitment to the struggle of the working class was valorised, as African activists spent time with Brazilian rural farmers in their simple lives, but yet filled with abundant joy, love and humility. Within the walls of their homes, one could see a strong sense of hunger in striving for the burial of the downtrodden and barbaric system of capitalism. 

The attempt to make the public believe that the Allied Defense Forces, a small, beleaguered Ugandan Islamist militia, attacked a United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on 7 December 2017, killing 15 heavily armed and highly trained Tanzanian peacekeepers and wounding 55 more, raises more questions than it answers. 

The failure of most of the African leaders, intellectuals and activists both on the African continent and in the diaspora to call out Barack Obama when he was insulting and marginalising Africans, some even making all sorts of excuses to justify his actions because he is one of “our own,” might have emboldened Donald Trump to insult Africans. 

The Supreme Courts of Kenya and Liberia have projected sufficient independence and demonstrated the relevance of the judiciary in electoral matters, but they have also exposed lapses in the electoral management bodies, particularly with the introduction of new technologies, which became central to the disputes in both countries.

In his reflection on Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o's Wizard of the Crow ,Yash Tandon argues that like all social studies, there is no neutral literature. Observers and writers on society are part of society, and whether they are conscious of it or not, they are inevitably taking sides in the drama around them. They are a part of the superstructure and the prevailing norms and values of the society around them – adopting them, rejecting them, reforming them or revolting against them. 

With ending autocratic tendencies of Governor Okorocha, there is only so much the people of Imo State of Nigeria can endure. It is, nevertheless, comforting that the Imo Peoples Action for Democracy has declared 2018 a year of rage! Now that the heat is on, those who aspire to lead Imo State in 2019 must stand up and be counted. 

Civil society organisations have to be deliberate about using language and strategies that are relatable and accessible. At the same time, they have to bridge the gap of knowledge and interest about what they do, what they stand for and why the do it and connect people to that so that it is harder for governments to delegitimise them. 

The Interdisciplinary Journal for the Studies of the Sahel is seeking submissions from all disciplinary fields of academic inquiry, including the arts, humanities, social sciences and STEM-related fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) for its June and December 2018 publications. 

We are nearly two decades into the 21st century. African nations are lumped together as “s…hole countries” by the President of the free world. KKK members no longer need the cover of the night or their hoods as they chant “blood and soil” in the main streets of America, laying an exclusive claim to American soil by Aryan blood. 

Pambazuka News 849: Africa's Christmas wish-list

The two clerics were in London to attend an Islamic conference and squeezed in leisure and tourism into their itinerary. Their touristic adventures in the British capital, which, in the rhetoric of many puritan clerics, is a bastion of an immoral modernity, Western education, and cultural trends antithetical to righteous Muslim living, surprised many Northern Nigerian Muslims.

Tagged under: 849, Global South, Moses Ochonu

The West and African leaders share the blame for slave trade reported in Libya. Serious human rights violations have been perpetrated against the youth of Africa: violation of their right to work, violation of their right to life, violation of their dignity, violation of their right to be protected against slavery and slave trade. This must stop.

The most important developments in the Fourth Republic that have facilitated and expanded media freedom and free speech are the introduction of independent and private broadcasting, the end of state monopoly and control of broadcasting, and the arrival of the new communications technologies of digital media and mobile telephony.

Many African regimes today simply avoid the demands of good governance, ignore the rule of law and commit gross violations of human rights in the belief that Western aid will always bail them out of their chronic budget deficits. Stated simply, Western taxpayer dollars provide the fail-safe insurance policy for the survival and persistence of failed regimes in Africa. That is exactly Nana’s point.

The idea of Guevara as a latter-day Don Quixote, setting out on his adventures to undo wrongs and bring justice to the world, and, despite a series of disastrous encounters, managing to survive with spirits undiminished until the very end, is one that appeals to the romantic in all those who see themselves as revolutionaries.

Tagged under: 849, David Seddon, Pan-Africanism

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