Pambazuka News 849: Africa's Christmas wish-list

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

There were at least two strong indicators of the paralysis of the 11th World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires. One was the Argentine government's revocation of the accreditation of 64 representatives from 19 civil society organisations. And the second is that there was no Ministerial Declaration coming out of Geneva.

Tagged under: 849, Economics, Yash Tandon

The government’s nuclear policy was approved by a full sitting of the cabinet back in 2015. There are a number of reasons behind this commitment to nuclear power and the haste with which the government appears to be acting at the moment.

The Southern African state is one of the few countries within in Africa with a military attache stationed in Israel where it opened an embassy in 2015. Israel does not have an embassy in Zambia. Holding an Israel-Africa summit in Zambia would represent a tremendous setback in Africa’s historic support for the oppressed Palestinian people.

The nine months I spent at Fahamu as a multi-media producer intern felt like an incubation period, a launch pad of sorts for deepening my commitment to radical social justice, scholarship and storytelling about and for Africa. These were some of the most transformative moments of my lifetime.

Dear Readers,

With this issue, Pambazuka News takes its year-end break from 15 December 2017. The next issue will come to you on 11 January 2018.

We would like to thank all our readers, contributors, volunteers and partners who made the production of Pambazuka News possible this year.

We look forward to your continued support.

Pambazuka News relies on the donations of its supporters. We ask you to consider making a donation in 2018 to keep Pambazuka News alive, free and independent.

Thank you.

Tagged under: 849, Announcements, The Editors

Monday night’s internal African National Congress (ANC) presidential election of Cyril Ramaphosa – with a razor-thin 51% majority of nearly 4800 delegates – displaced but did not resolve a fight between two bitterly-opposed factions. On the one hand are powerful elements friendly to so-called “White Monopoly Capital,” and on the other are outgoing ANC president Jacob Zuma’s allies led by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, his ex-wife and former African Union chairperson. The latter faction includes corrupt state “tenderpreneur” syndicates, especially the notorious Gupta brothers, and is hence typically nicknamed “Zupta.” (Zuma is still scheduled to serve as national president until mid-2019.)

After the ascendancy of Cyril Ramaphosa to the presidency of the African National Congress (ANC) last month, it is vital to understand deep structural barriers that prevent South Africa’s achievement of desperately needed socio-economic justice.

Pambazuka News 848: Speaking truth to power

South Sudanese need to seriously think about a future beyond the inept regime of President Kirr. It is unacceptable that millions of citizens still live in decrepit camps internally and in neighbouring countries. South Sudan is one of the poorest countries in the world, despite its enormous natural resources. There are many alternative leaders to choose from.

Kagame runs a brutal, US-backed regime with the ninth highest per capita incarceration rate in the world. State surveillance is so pervasive that Rwandans fear to trust their own family and neighbours. Latest investigative reports about African deportees to Rwanda from Israel reveal horrific abuses. Does that sound like a government ready to open its arms to its African brothers and sisters?

His soaring popularity comes from his strong repertoire of protest music that forcefully speaks truth to power. If Bobi Wine’s new body of artistic work has a singular thrust, it is that people can fully enjoy their inalienable rights only for as long as they are willing to fight for them. It is a battle he is prepared for in any way possible, including exchanging punches if need be.

Senfo Tonkam still retains his anti-imperialist militancy and radical outlook after two decades in exile. The liberation of Africa, he insists, is not yet complete. The struggle continues. And no African will ever be free until all Black people everywhere in the world are free

Africa’s share of global trade remains insignificant because it faces numerous challenges: customs procedures, a lack of infrastructure and information as well as poor market integration. While there are expectations that the EU trade policy and the WTO negotiations could improve Africa’s trade, there is an increasing need for African countries to consider other alternatives for trade performance.

Tagged under: 848, Daouda Cissé, Economics

A basic feature of today's imperialist world – the division of the globe into the feasting and the fed upon – has become so unbearable that millions of people in Africa, Asia and Latin America would rather risk death than accept the future that a country oppressed by imperialism can offer them. This, in turn, is seen as a threat to the serenity and stability of Europe.

Tagged under: 848, Human Security, Juan Sui

Storms and hurricanes are becoming more severe due to warmer sea temperatures.  Low lying island nations now experience annual flooding with the seawater contaminating groundwater supplies.  Whether it is flooding or drought, or any other climate related catastrophic event, the poor nations of the world and their populations suffer most.

Despite the evidence of worsening poverty, the government felt sufficiently confident in this year’s budget speech to move the target date for attaining middle-income status forward by two decades. Originally planned for 2040, the new status will now be attained in three years. Agricultural output is going to be increased, educational outcomes improved and corruption eliminated. Just like that.

In times of political crises, as was recently experienced in Zimbabwe, citizens expect the regional body to take a bold stance against leaders who disregard human rights and hinder the advancement of democracy. Zimbabweans were quick to remember the numerous previous failures of the regional community. They roundly rejected SADC’s intervention.

Who won the battle for Zimbabwe? The Crocodile, of course. But he did not only swallow Comrade Bob. Now that the Crocodile is firmly in the saddle probed up by the Generals, there is no end in sight in the struggle for liberation in Zimbabwe.

Tagged under: 848, Governance, Odomaro Mubangizi

Africology: The Journal of Pan African Studies (formerly The Journal of Pan African Studies (JPAS), a trans-disciplinary on-line multilingual peer reviewed open-access scholarly journal devoted to the intellectual synthesis of research, scholarship and critical thought on the African experience around the world, is seeking contributions for a special edition focused on “Afro-Intellectualism: Past, Present and Future Dimensions,” hence, the global use, development, and exercise of the intellect by people of African heritage in all parts of the world.

British journalist Charles Bremner's recent report represents neo-colonial wishful thinking, concocted from probably the bar at George The Fifth Hotel in Paris. The Times, once a paper that published great foreign reporting, must not become a rag full of stories of the type that used to emanate from the Nairobi Hilton Hotel bar.

Tagged under: 848, Cameron Duodu, Pan-Africanism

Revolutionary Cuba today – and this is the living legacy of Fidel Castro – has become, in word and deed, the leading voice for working people and oppressed nations and peoples everywhere. In the worldwide Battle of Ideas that Fidel stressed continually, the Cuban Revolution is the living, resonant, politically attractive socialist alternative to today’s capitalist world disorder with its grotesque inequality and permanent fueling of war.

Tagged under: 848, Ike Nahem, Pan-Africanism

Pambazuka News 847: Thieves without borders

On 18 November, Rwandan President Paul Kagame inducted seven thieves without borders and one medical doctor into his “National Order of Outstanding Friendship,” presenting them with medals for “exemplary service” to the nation, meaning himself and his ruling party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).

The court ruled that she had not denied or minimized the Rwanda Genocide and that her criticism of the government should have been allowed as part of her freedom of expression within Rwandan law.

Resistance is the only road to liberation for people exploited and suppressed by those who have state power and control over wealth and resources. However, resistance does not mean disregard for the law. Nor does it mean resorting to violence. The means must be just and peaceful. The desired end might take a long time – a long, long time – but its effects are also long lasting.

NATO’s invasion of Libya is perhaps one of the most racist and atrocious crimes of the 21st century. Why are CNN, the French government and others who led the charge in 2011 all of a sudden concerned about the plight of Africans in Libya? Minister Farrakhan calls it “deceptive intelligence”, and warns us that, “every time the serpent raises its head it should be de-capitated”.

The US government officials who have attempted to browbeat Liberia into political submission clearly have selective amnesia. They have forgotten that in 1985, allegedly rigged elections sanctioned in the name of expediency led to more than 15 years of death and destruction in Liberia.

With 18 earned and honorary degrees, Robert Mugabe was the most educated African president. His leadership of Zimbabwe was messed up by neocolonial terrorists who wanted its resources. Zimbabwe is a wake up call for Africa. Western imperialism is not dead. Africa will be destroyed unless its leaders strengthen its sovereignty.

Tagged under: 847, Motsoko Pheko, Pan-Africanism

The military intervention in Zimbabwe leading to the resignation of President Robert Mugabe was widely celebrated. But there is no justification for such a role under the constitution. What is more, the military has shown that it remains involved in the country’s politics. Given its past record in protecting the Mugabe regime, this is worrying for the future of democracy.

The growing power of social media is undeniable, so Facebook’s rules are not only harmful to freedom of speech, a basic human right; they also exclude marginalized people from using the power of social media to affect meaningful change through social activism.

There has been a massive media interest in the events leading up to Mugabe’s resignation. Over the last ten days, the Nordic Africa Institute’s Zimbabwe expert Henning Melber has given more than 30 interviews for Swedish, Danish, Norwegian and Finnish media. In this blog post, he gives his unfiltered analysis of the situation in Zimbabwe.

Tagged under: 847, Governance, Henning Melber

If the so-called goal of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) 2017 is Women First, Prosperity for All the “Women” ought to include the wives, mothers and daughters or simply women operating at the level of basic subsistence and the “All” must include the working poor, the beggars, the homeless and issues such as the stray dog menace on the streets of Hyderabad.

SPECIAL ISSUE: Pan-Africanist perspectives on Mugabe

Despite its apparently new interest in preserving democracy, for 37 years the military was an indispensable part of a fossilized oligarchy which betrayed the “revolution” and bankrupted Zimbabwe. Sadly, any post-Mugabe civilian government could only exist if it makes a Faustian bargain with the military.

Robert Mugabe belongs to the generation of Africans who fought for Africa’s self-determination only to finally succumb to the selfish pursuit of power that has left a country with tremendous opportunity on its knees.But he is not the only big man who has betrayed the aspirations of African peoples for authentic peace, prosperity, unity and healing.

As Frantz Fanon had prophesied, President Mugabe was impelled by his associates to become chairman of the business entity known as Zimbabwe. There were super-shareholders in that enterprise. In-fighting between the various groups with bank notes hidden in their revolutionary berets led to disillusionment and even rebellion.

Frequent closure of universities in Kenya reflects poor management of the institutions. The culture of democracy is non-existent. Careerist managers treat students and staff shabbily. There are no mechanisms for addressing grievances, except through threats and violence. This must change.

Tagged under: 846, Education, Maurice N. Amutabi

Haiti, the first black republic, is owed billions of dollars by France that could turn around the lives of its people. After independence in 1804, following the first successful slave revolt in history, France demanded compensation for loss of slaves and its plantations. That ransom has crippled Haiti ever since.

As the African Union troops prepare to leave Somalia, the Al Shabaab militants will likely rebuild their capacities and intensify attacks. Already recent mass bombings in Mogadishu are a worrying sign. The Somali national security services, despite receiving some international support, remain weak. The extremist organization is still a serious threat in Somalia and the region.

Burundi formally withdrew from the International Criminal Court. But the ICC has announced an investigation into alleged crimes in the country. Burundi has stated that it will neither cooperate nor allow in ICC investigators. What the ICC is doing is an ugly and dangerous attempt to destabilize and destroy the government of Burundi.

Tagged under: 846, Ann Garisson, Human Security

1.    The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Court), under the aegis of the African Union, in collaboration with the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania, the German Development Cooperation (GiZ), European Union, and World Bank organized the Third African Judicial Dialogue on the theme “Improving Judicial Efficiency in Africa”, from 9-11 November, 2017, in Arusha, Tanzania.

Tagged under: 846, African Court, Pan-Africanism

The departure of Mugabe represents neither the end of an era nor the birth of a new one. The ruling party and military will emerge stronger, taking the credit for Mugabe’s exit. The opposition’s change mantra will fade away. ZANU-PF will bring about cosmetic changes to endear itself to the people and the world. But the elite, predatory politics of Zimbabwe will largely remain. The struggle continues.

President Mugabe blundered in not arranging an orderly transition to a successor while he was in a stronger political position. That failure left the door open for schemers like Emerson Mnangagwa and General Chiwenga. The coup was organized over many months to establish a transitional government that would include the opposition.

In the wake of the evolving military coup d’état in Zimbabwe this past week, there is already a concerted effort by some in the media in Britain to begin to construct a totally distorted narrative of the relationship between Britain and Robert Mugabe since 1980. The following essay, “Britain, Mugabe, Zimbabwe, Africa”, written in July 2008 and published as chapter 15 in my Readings from Reading: Essays on African Politics, Genocide, Literature (2011: 95-100), is reissued here, unedited, in response to these multiform revisionist efforts on the history of this key region of the African World:

What happens in the period after Mugabe? Deep down the key issue is whether ZANU-PF will go down with him or it will try to re-align itself in the post-Mugabe political dispensation. There are many people who are suspicious of the role of the army and war veterans in Zimbabwean politics.  Certainly, Robert Mugabe did not ruin Zimbabwe alone.

Like Uganda’s Amin – but unlike South Africa’s Mandela – Robert Mugabe fully understood that national liberation meant little if it was not underpinned by popular economic emancipation. That is why Amin and Mugabe became enemies of the west, but Mandela was embraced as an icon. The people celebrating Mugabe’s fall do not understand imperialism. Mugabe’s true legacy will be appreciated in the coming days.

He is an emblematic, historical figure. He is a giant, whose boot steps inaugurated a revolutionary era in the early years - boots that, sadly, became too heavy for him, and too painful for the ordinary people for whose liberation he had fought.

Horace G. Campbell is Professor of Political Science and African American Studies at Syracuse University, New York, and is currently Kwame Nkrumah Chair of African Studies at the University of Ghana. His books include, 'Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya,' and 'Reclaiming Zimbabwe: The Exhaustion of the Patriarchal Model of Liberation.' In this  interview with The Real News Network, Prof Campbell offers critical insights into the political situation in Zimbabwe.

The ordinary people of Zimbabwe, who have experienced decades of repression and hardship, are rejoicing and are optimistic following the dramatic removal of Robert Mugabe from power. But very soon there will be a renewed struggle for the future of Zimbabwe. And the outlook remains very uncertain.

ZANU-PF will use the current massive popular goodwill to rejuvenate its fortunes. The fragmented opposition has been further weakened. As a carefully choreographed scheme, the military intervention could prove a masterstroke by Emmerson Mnangagwa and his supporters. But all this will be at a high cost for future democratic alternatives in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabweans have struggled for years to replace Mugabe with a democratically elected leader. These efforts were dashed by the military. But now that the citizens have given the palace coup far more legitimacy than it deserves, it is even more vital for progressives committed to social justice to redouble grassroots organising and generate clear demands for a democratic post-Mugabe era.

Pambazuka News 845: Real revolutionaries vs populist fakes

The Global Pan African Movement condemns the military intervention in Zimbabwe in no uncertain terms. The generals of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces have been part of the repressive government. The huge problems of Zimbabwe cannot be resolved by the same soldiers who have been partners with Mugabe in the past 37 years.

The draft protocol on the free movement of persons in Africa, once adopted by the Assembly of the Union in January 2018, will be a powerful tool in the hands of Africans to accelerate the integration process of the continent as reflected in Aspiration 2 of the African Union Agenda 2063.

Tagged under: 845, Ibrahima Kane, Pan-Africanism

Food sovereignty and peasant agroecology – which should be understood in the context of national sovereignty - are the true solutions to build resilience and resistance.

All over Africa the conditions exist for revolution. But there is urgency to clarify the ideas, organization and leadership necessary for the African Revolution. The Russian Revolution of 100 years ago provides important lessons for African Revolutionaries in their quest to dismantle oppression and build just societies today.

Deloitte says it wants to fight tax evasion, and yet they give advice on how to divert money. The audit firm has been trying to woo investors to use its services, with the promise of multiple tax advantages for their projects in Africa, thus each year depriving the poorest states of the world of hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue.

Tagged under: 845, Economics, Jérôme Duval

In the world we’re living in, it’s not enough to solve the tension between capital and work. The ongoing crisis of civilization urgently demands that we address the tension between capital and nature, which is currently compromising the existence of life in our planet.

Tagged under: 845, Global South, Jorge Falcone

Operations in Niger are part of a broader strategic plan to further dominate Africa military and economically. The Sahel is a treasure trove of valuable minerals and other natural resources. U.S. military occupations, although said to be based on cooperative efforts between the host governments and Washington, clearly represent the interests of international finance capital based on Wall Street.

The political crisis offers citizens an opportunity to examine the path Zimbabwe has traveled since independence. Zimbabwe needs to build a new democracy. Citizens must ask themselves whether they want to join the rat race towards self-enrichment of a few or work towards solutions that benefit all. That requires a new leadership that is totally accountable and dedicated to the people.

More than a hundred civil society organizations have urged Robert Mugabe to resign as president of Zimbabwe following military intervention in the country’s politics. The organizations have also asked the military to ensure restoration of the constitutional order and an inclusive process to resolve Zimbabwe’s political and socio-economic problems.

The last two weeks of October 1962, 55 years ago, was the closest the world has come so far to a widespread nuclear exchange in what has become known as the “Cuban Missile Crisis.” 

Tagged under: 845, Ike Nahem, Pan-Africanism

Pambazuka News 844: The right to self-determination

Rwandan prisoner of conscience Victoire Ingabire has appealed at the African Court. But the court faces challenges. Despite criticising the International Criminal Court, African nations have shown only lukewarm support for their own court as an alternative. Only 30 of the 54 member states of the AU recognize the African Court. And of these just eight support the hearing of cases brought by citizens.

Burundi has become the first African nation to withdraw from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, which has prosecuted Africans almost exclusively. Western powers, NGOs and media accuse Burundi of human rights abuses within its own borders but say nothing about aggression by neighbouring Rwanda. Canadian lawyer David Paul Jacobs, an expert in international law, shares his thoughts.

The World Bank, EU, OECD and IMF are institutional partners of the Global Poverty Project. Would the project’s Annual Global Citizen’s Festival in N.Y. tell Jay Z to sing his hit songs from behind the curtains because of his race and have a white performer lip-sync his hits on the festival stage? This is what the World Bank did to Dr. Yonas Biru to spare Europeans the indignities of seeing a black man in a position of power.

Tagged under: 844, E. Faye Williams, Esq., Governance

The much sought after foreign direct investment is more about political control of the developing world than economics. Playing with fire is an apt description of the risk that the developing countries take in inviting foreign investments. This is not to say that FDI should be barred by Africa, but it is to underscore the point that policy-makers must be wary of the ghosts lurking behind its mask.

Tagged under: 844, Economics, Yash Tandon

By 1965, Soviet aid to emerging countries surpassed $9 billion. This allowed these countries to carry out somewhat independent developmental policies that wouldn't have been possible under capitalism. For the first time, they could trade on more equitable terms with the Soviet Union which was not subject to the boom-and-bust cycles of the capitalist system.

Tagged under: 844, Global South, Rebeca Toledo

Somaliland’s presidential elections next week offer the self-declared Horn of Africa nation an opportunity to re-examine its foreign policy. Until now, it has sought to engage all its neighbours – except Somalia. But the nation seems keen to take sides in conflicts in the Middle East. Somaliland needs to engage, but not to create opponents in, the international system.

Tagged under: 844, Governance, Yacqub Ismail

Self-determination is becoming a potent national quest born out of the need to be free. Given the growing number of groups who are sworn to achieve self-determination, it is likely an additional 10-15 new countries will declare independence by the year 2030.

Tagged under: 844, Alon Ben Meir, Governance

Mechanisation and automation have been called the Fourth Industrial Revolution. But these are not inevitable or neutral economic realities. They are political weapons of oppression under capitalism. It is a war against the working classes to increase profits. It is no an accident that bosses choose to mechanise and automate in the context of the massive crisis of capitalism.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir seems to have failed to hold together Africa’s newest nation. The citizens are under attack by rebel groups and undisciplined government soldiers. How long will this go on? When is the government of Salva Kiir going to create an environment of peace especially for the young people to realize their dreams?

The new McCarthyism in America is being led by centrist and liberal Democrats utilizing the almost comical notion that Russia possesses the power and influence to not only impact elections but also create racial tensions. And once again, Black opposition is being cast as somehow foreign influenced and, therefore, a security threat that justifies special targeted repression.

Tagged under: 844, Ajamu Baraka, Governance

President Robert Mugabe’s firing of his deputy, accusing him of disloyalty, surprised many people. One of Zimbabwe’s liberation heroes, Manangagwa a.k.a the Crocodile was assumed to be well-placed to succeed his 93-year-old boss. But a closer look at the Crocodile reveals a man with little strategic grasp of Zimbabwe’s political chessboard controlled by the grandmaster Robert and his wife Grace.

Tagged under: 844, Governance, Moses Tofa

Business-oriented analysis of the middle class in Africa is superficial, preoccupied purely with number crunching in terms of income and expenditure. In contrast, new scholarly interest in the African middle class offers a deeper analysis of cultural factors and identities, consciousness, social positioning and relations to other groups as well as institutions and the state.

Tagged under: 844, Economics, Henning Melber

There is abundant research on the multiple forms of oppression that queer/LGBTIA+ people suffer from straight society. It’s time to acknowledge the oppression experienced within the movement itself.

“We urge the Department of Higher Education and Training to work towards improving conditions of service for educators, believing that as long as conditions of service for educators are not improved, addressing quality, just and equal education will remain a dream.”

The Young African Leaders Forum (YALF) invites interested Africans to submit research articles for publication in the second edition of its Young African Leaders Journal of Development (YALJOD). The journal is aimed at fostering the collective progress and development of the African people, and it provides the blueprint for the development mission of the leading pan-African movement, Young African Leaders Forum, as well as many other organisations.

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