Pambazuka News 813: Invasions, protests and fifth columnists 

Last week in six Caribbean countries - Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago - survivors of gender based violence and their supporters took to the streets for International Women’s Day in solidarity with the #LifeInLeggings movement to raise awareness and to demand adequate measures to end the vice.

As the head of Nigeria’s elections body, Prof Attahihu Jega is widely acknowledged to have delivered a credible election, with abiding lessons for Africa. For him, a credible election requires planning, effective organisation, focus, resilience, relative autonomy of the electoral body, as well as its impartiality and integrity.

Pambazuka News 812: No Revolution without women!

Development capacitation through local resource exploitation, mass industrial production and domestic prosperity-generation is what Africa requires to become the self-actuated mover of its own development  that does not depend on the vagaries of external demand for primary commodities. But sometimes even such initiatives are resisted by anti-African development leaderships.

International presence and pressure is necessary to ensure a fair re-trial, set to continue on March 13, against the Gdeim Izik Group from Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara, who Amnesty International says were “unfairly convicted.” The Group strenuously denies the charges, claim that they are politically motivated, and insist that confessions used at the trial were obtained using torture.

What good is Ngũgĩ, revered as a literary great, if he is unable or unwilling to respond to the most basic of decolonial questions: Can the oppressor leave so that the oppressed can engage? The time for grandstanding and sloganeering about decolonization has come to an end. The time for praxis is now.

The Pan-Africanist movement harbours some African men who conceal patriarchal attitudes. These “Man-Africanists” are cancerous to the advancement of the movement that needs to engage in developing new men who are genuinely anti-sexist, anti-heterosexist, empathetic, connected to a radical political concept of self-awareness, and guided by an ethical sense of equality, justice and freedom for all.

Women played an instrumental role in the formation of the Pan-African Movement and in the national liberation struggles. Inside Africa, women were at the forefront of the independence movement in the areas of mass mobilization, political education, armed struggle and national reconstruction. In the U.S., numerous women provided the impetus for the reemergence of the Civil Rights and Black Power struggles.

On what would have been indigenous and environmental movement leader Bertha Cáceres' 45th birthday [March 4, 2017], we reproduce this letter from her daughter Laura. Cáceres was assassinated in her native Honduras just before midnight one year and one day ago. Her birthday party had already been planned.

It is wrong history to teach that Africa was named by Greeks or Romans when these colonialists illegally occupied this unique continent through aggression and invasion. This was in 332 B.C. until the Roman invasion in 30 B.C. Africa got its name from Africans.

As American contradictions get sharper in the coming four years, what is needed is a rich Islamic selfhood that abides by the law of the land, is at ease with quarrelsome heterogeneity, and is confident enough to enter into open, vigorous and respectful dialogue.

Before the start of a public lecture by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o in South Africa, student activist Kolosa Ntombini requested the renowned Kenyan writer and academic to ask white people in the audience to leave the hall as only black people could meaningfully discuss decoloninization. Kolosa recounts the episode.

The business community, oil companies, government officials, residents of Port Harcourt and non-governmental organizations need to come together to find a lasting solution, which borders more on structural and systemic issues associated with the oil and gas capitalist economy than with any flimsy explanation being given.

Despite widespread vociferous opposition by citizens, the government of Somaliland has granted a military base to Abu Dhabi. There is no credible justification for this decision in terms of Somaliland’s national security or economic needs. The decision is one more example of the culture of impunity, entitlement and mendacity of the Kulmiye government.

Biafra’s sons and daughters must cease to represent genocidist Nigeria in all conceivable competitions. Never again should we be treated to the grotesque scene of witnessing some Igbo athlete, some Igbo writer, some Igbo academic, appearing at some world stage carrying or wrapping themselves around a Nigerian flag. Enough! Order a Biafran flag for the occasion.

Government statistics show that Kenya’s public universities and counties are largely ethnic ghettos. The universities are often headed by academics - and have a majority staff - from the ethnic communities where these institutions are located and whose names they bear. Same thing with the country’s 47 devolved units. The names of universities and counties should be changed to de-ethnicize them.

Western Sahara stands out today as Africa’s last colony, occupied illegally and forcefully by Morocco with the backing of France. Everyday Saharawi people suffer horrendous human rights violations by the occupying power. This is one of the world’s forgotten conflicts. The only peaceful solution is for Morocco to accept the Saharawi people’s right to self-determination.

In this final essay of a seven-part series, Yash Tandon depicts fascism as a systemic phenomenon arising from the incompatibility of democracy and capitalism. For capitalism to persist, as is the case now, democracy is dispensed with. Hegemonic imperialist powers embody fascism in their relations with the rest of the world. Leaders of African neo-colonies administer the fascist system on behalf of the global corporate and financial fascism.

Kenya’s much-awaited elections on August 8 have thrown up the usual crowd of crooks in designer suits shouting themselves hoarse with the well-worn promises to deliver a sparkling new nation of milk and honey. It is all nonsense.

To mark this year’s International Women’s Day, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights published its first-ever report on the human rights of African women. The report celebrates important achievements such as provisions on sexual and gender based violence, economic, social and cultural rights and the principle of non-discrimination in constitutions, polices and in legislations across the continent.

A record of some visits, different moments, several episodes, significant speeches, various events and testimonies, as part of the international work of President Chávez to Africa between 2001 and 2013. Download the publication below. 

Pambazuka News 811: Exclusion: Afrophobia, war criminals and tribalists

South Africa recently discovered that 17 banks were colluding to manipulate the national currency to make super profits. Often, government officials are part of such scandals. What is needed is a unified, Africa-wide solidarity network from below and beyond borders working together to get governments and institutions to ensure that damaging profiteering is stopped.

That a government which vigorously campaigned that it would do things differently and was ushered in on the wings of an ear-splitting mantra of change could not put the slightest dent on the acquisitive and thieving tendencies of federal legislators readily explains how deeply ingrained the culture of corruption is in that parliament.

Zimbabwe is heading to elections next year, but anyone who hopes that the polls will translate into a better life for the majority of the people is deluded. Elections are merely contests for state power and never about finding the best vision and leadership for the country. With the ruling ZANU-PF party determined to remain in power, the likelihood of election-related violence in Zimbabwe is high.

Does the ANC leadership, many of whose members lived in exile in other African countries for many years, bother to tell their stories to the new generation that is growing up in South Africa and who know almost nothing about the role played in the struggle against apartheid by the poor African countries whose people constitute the “immigrants” they now despise and harass?

In Africa the ‘collapse’ of the Soviet block had profound implications. At that time in the late 1980s and early 1990s Africa, and particularly Southern Africa, was involved in a process of decolonization by way of armed struggle, in which the Soviet block played a decisive role.  The contribution of the Soviet block and Cuba to the decolonization of Africa remains a testament to the progress of humankind.

On January 18, 2017, the regime in Ethiopia signed a Memorandum of Understanding to pay SGR Government Relations, Lobbying (Washington, D.C) $150,000 per month for lobbying services for a total of $1.8 million. Why is the regime in Ethiopia spending so much money to lobby the Trump Administration, when some 20 million Ethiopians are starving?

The Tanzanian activists had entered Malawi legally for a cross-learning trip with Malawian colleagues at the defunct Kayekera uranium mine in the Karonga region. Malawian authorities had approved the mission beforehand. The arrest and detention comes at a critical time during Malawi’s own domestic debates about the harmful impacts of mining on local communities.

The people of Sudan, victims of one of the most murderous regimes in the world today, appear to have been abandoned to the terror of Omer al-Bashir, an indicted war criminal. The Sudanese despot has taken advantage of the vagaries of geopolitics and the so-called war on terror to consolidate his regime and protect himself from international justice. For how long with the Sudanese suffer?

 “The actions by our siblings here in South Africa, particularly in Pretoria, when they target those black persons who are from other parts of the continent, are anti-black actions stemming from self-hatred caused by white supremacy.”

Co-founder of the UNIA-ACL, the first wife of Marcus Garvey worked tirelessly for women’s rights and inter-continental unity from the Caribbean and Central America to the United States, Europe and Africa.

Unity in Rwanda is part of a rehearsed consensus. The government has established a monopoly over the country’s history, to the extent that alternative histories cannot be articulated. Debate about the past is actively policed. The regime’s authoritarian approach has prevented the emergence of potentially more complex identities from below that could form the basis for more inclusive forms of citizenship.

Xenophobia is fear of strangers. Afrikans cannot be strangers or “foreigners” in Afrika. What is happening in South Africa is an extreme form of an element we can trace in all Black societies across the world: self-hatred expressed as rage against our own. White Supremacy has disempowered the Afrikan being to such levels that it only reacts with violence: Us killing us.

As the IMF discusses a new programme with Mozambique, an important debate with and within the IMF becomes relevant. After the secret debt fiasco, the IMF has the upper hand, but donors and civil society will need to monitor the discussions to ensure that a hard-nosed IMF negotiating team actually follows the new guidelines emerging from Washington.

A year ago, one of the world’s boldest and loudest woman voices in defense of the rights of indigenous people against capitalist theft and destruction of Our Planet was assassinated by the government of Honduras and a multinational company, with the support of the US. The daughters of Berta Cáceres speak out about their mother’s glorious legacy.

February 27 was the national day of Western Sahara, Africa’s last colony that is illegally and forcefully occupied by Morocco with the support of France. In this interview, Malainin Mohamed (Lakhal), a Saharawi journalist and translator and a member of Saharawi Natural Resource Watch, reflects on his people’s struggle for freedom and the role that Africans and other people in the world should play in solidarity.

Pambazuka News 810: Overhaul the African Union

 

The fundamental problem of the African Union is ideological. And no one typifies this crisis better than Paul Kagame, the terrifying tyrant and imperialist stooge of Kigali. His new report proposing remedies for reforming the Union belongs in the dustbin. The AU does not need reform. It needs a radical transformation taking it back to its Pan-Africanist roots.

Morocco is back in the African Union unconditionally while illegally occupying Western Sahara, the continent’s last colony. This raises troubling questions about the Union’s commitment to its own principles. Morocco has no intention of giving up its occupation. Its return to the Union is intended to eventually push Western Sahara out of the AU in connivance with friendly member states and foreign powers, thus silencing the voices of the Sahrawi people .

Friday, February 24 is the anniversary of the 1966 coup against leading Pan-Africanist Kwame Nkrumah. Canada played a key role. Following the coup, the Canadian High Commissioner in Accra C.E. McGaughey, wrote that “a wonderful thing has happened for the West in Ghana and Canada has played a worthy part.”

Public office in Nigeria is nothing but a feeding trough. This state robbery is not a new phenomenon. It dates back to the colonial period when the political elite who opposed British colonialism saw themselves as heirs to the throne of the departing rulers. After independence, very little was done to shake off the feeling of entitlement and bridge the gap that existed between the rulers and the ruled.

South Africans who agree that government policies must enjoy popular support, who believe that peace is a desirable value which society ought to collectively and actively aspire towards and who admit the possibility that nuclear technology could be incompatible with the genuine pursuit of peace, should object to the government proceeding with its current nuclear plans without comprehensive public consultation.

Fadumo Dayib became Somalia’s first woman candidate for the presidency in the recently concluded election. Of course she did not win in the deeply patriarchal society. But her decision is courageous and inspirational. Lots of work needs to be done to disrupt firmly rooted beliefs and practices against women in Somalia.

Tanzania wants compensation from Germany for atrocities committed during colonialism. Colonial authorities under the direction of Karl Peters, the founder of the German East Africa Company, imposed a draconian system of land theft, forced labor, economic exploitation and unjust taxation. Some 75,000 Tanzanians were killed during the Maji Maji rebellion. The African Union should back Tanzania’s demand.

The government of Cameroon must immediately halt the on-going military operations in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon, withdraw the army, restore internet services and desist from any further actions that may worsen the human rights plight of the inhabitants of these two regions. On the longer term, it should take steps to address the underlying roots of the conflict.

Fellows earn either a master’s degree or a professional development certificate in peace and conflict studies at one of the Rotary Peace Centers, located within seven leading universities around the world. The over 1000 program alumni are working in over 100 countries as leaders in national governments, NGOs, the military, law enforcement, and international organizations.

In their blind rejection of tragedy, in their fear of that dreadful genre that tells us the truth of our failures as individuals and as a people, in that lack of knowledge that our public lives are doomed to destruction because our private lives are warped, Americans have condemned themselves to an unforgivable innocence. Nowhere is this innocence more clearly revealed than in their foreign policy in the third world.

Eunice Songa, a Kenyan medical doctor, died on January 27, 2017, aged 34. Shortly before her passing she had published a long blog post expressing her deepest frustrations about the miserable living conditions of most Kenyans. She attributed the situation to the political apathy of the middle and upper classes who should champion change. Will Kenyans listen to Eunice’s trenchant voice and heed her impassioned call to revolutionary struggle?

Mining is a major economic activity in South Africa. But it is entangled with the atrocious legacies of apartheid. It benefits mostly elite whites to the exclusion of the black majority who suffer most from the harmful effects such as environmental degradation and poor health. Black resistance against the evils of mining has a long history. Now it needs to be strengthened.

While the IMF loudly boasts “good governance” and demands the highest standards of discipline from states that it puts into debt with adjustment plans, Christine Lagarde endorses the theft of 403 million Euros of public money and emerges with a clean record, an improved image and remains at the head of one of the most powerful financial institutions in the world.

As Babsy confronted the duty nurse, he saw his neighbour, still bent, exhausted, over the stretcher on which her son lay motionless in the deadly grip of meningitis. He had not moved since he had been brought to St Patrick’s. Babsy wondered if he would ever move again.

There was something quite different with Malcolm’s approach to human rights that distinguished him from mainstream civil rights activists. By grounding himself in the radical human rights approach, Malcolm articulated a position on human rights struggle that did not contain itself to just advocacy. He understood that appealing to the same powers that were responsible for the structures of oppression was a dead end.

The 2017 South Africa budget is not redistributive towards the working class nor is it progressive. Rather it is a standard neoliberal budget, delivered by a state that benefits the ruling class – white and black capitalists and top state officials – and that is controlled by that very same class.

Pambazuka News 809: From deference to defiance: Arise

The doctors’ strike now in its third month in Kenya has caused great suffering to the majority poor people who cannot afford medical care in private hospitals. All Kenyans ought to come out and support the doctors. The strike is not merely about the welfare of the healthcare workers. It is about a public health system crumbling under deliberate state neglect and corruption.

Organizing was at the heart of Wangui’s activism. She is associated with Bunge La Mwananchi (People’s Parliament), the Unga Revolution, Kenya Network of Grassroots Organizations among other initiatives. Her commitment to the struggles of poor people in Kenya is a rich legacy for all those who believe in a just society.

Congolese people continue to pay a steep price in their resistance to a dictatorial regime backed by the US and its allies. The world takes little notice. Congo is an immensely rich nation, but it is among the poorest due to a history of political meddling and resource theft by Western powers. The time has come to stand in solidarity with Congolese people.

The UN and Canada need to understand that peacekeeping in Congo must not become a perpetual project. As a sovereign state, DRC needs to strengthen its leadership, governance and the institutions that deliver essential political goods to the population: safety and security, government transparency, the rule of law, political participation, human rights protection, sustainable economic opportunities and integral human development.

The first Congolese to earn a doctoral degree in law from the University of Kinshasa, Tshisekedi is considered the most important leader in the central African nation after the iconic nationalist Patrice Lumumba. He was a very principled man; an incorruptible politician whose single interest was the wellbeing of the Congolese people.

The evidence available contradicts the propaganda the South African president and his backers are attempting to disseminate: Zuma has been, not a victim, but a friend of both white monopoly capital and organisations linked to Western intelligence agencies when it suits him.

All that remains for British PM Theresa May is to announce to the world that Britain has terminated all support – military, political, diplomatic – for the prosecution of the Igbo genocide, apologise to Igbo people, pay reparations on behalf of the 3.1 million Igbo murdered and the tens of thousands murdered subsequently, pay reparations to the survivors, and pay reparations to reconstruct the shattered nation of Biafra.

Eva is a real person who I have known since 2007, as described in this article. But in this text Eva stands for many politically engaged individuals, whether outspoken or silent supporters of the Syrian regime and its allies. I will not re-post her photo here. In a world flooded with images, it is important to maintain our ability to imagine a moment.

The world cannot realize stability unless the drive for global domination by imperialism is overthrown. This truism was at the heart of Malcolm X’s struggles. The awareness and activism of people inside and outside the U.S. must be harnessed into a movement committed to fundamental transformation of the exploitative and oppressive system.

The Somali people are sick and tired of seeing their fate decided by neighboring countries, of their political leaders genuflecting to the whims of foreign leaders and measuring their success by their degree of servitude to their bosses in Addis Ababa and Nairobi. Somalis want their country back.

While President Robert Mugabe was on annual leave in China, Zimbabwe’s acting president changed twice. In a one-party state that has seen the same leader for 30 years, this temporary see-sawing is an annual pattern that is part of the country’s increasingly complex leadership terrain.

A good deal of the ill-feeling within the AU toward the ICC has been generated by Kenya’s political leadership, whose president, Uhuru Kenyatta, and deputy president, William Ruto, were under investigation by the court for crimes against humanity committed during the 2007-2008 post-election crisis. They have successfully converted personal interests into continental grievance.

The continued misanalysis of mass violence in most of Africa by the ICC—perceived as simply criminal and not principally political—can only vindicate the harsh criticism against the ICC as indeed being an ‘International Caucasian Court’ deploying a Nuremberg-styled victor’s justice.

Calm in deportment, methodical, quiet spoken and serious looking – though his sincere smiles could be disarming - Mbeki was Mandela’s loyal, efficient controller of day–to-day-government business as deputy president. The media found him to be austere and lacking in the warmth of Mandela and perhaps unfairly expected him to walk in the shoes of Mandela.

Now that the Gambian story has been put back on the shelf, with everyone waiting to see whether President Adama Barrow will run an administration that will prove worthy of the amount of words expended on its emergence, I feel I can tell my story of The Gambia.

Prof. Campbell, a long-time contributor to Pambazuka News, is a distinguished voice in the struggles for freedom and justice of the African people. His inaugural lecture focused on African unity - a theme at the centre of Nkrumah’s political philosophy - and the need for a truly liberated Africa, so that the people can enjoy the wealth their land is endowed with.

“Your nuclear arsenals give each of you the power to end civilization. You also have the historic opportunity, should you choose, to become the leaders of the most momentous international collaboration of all time, dedicated to ending the nuclear weapons era over the course of a decade or so.”

For the third month, Kenya’s doctors have demonstrated a remarkable spirit of resistance to worker oppression - to the extent of union leaders being imprisoned for championing their rights. But this is a much bigger struggle requiring the solidarity of all progressive forces. Kenyans need to rise up against a government that doesn't care whether they live or die.

South Africa’s two main warring political blocs – the forces of Fiscal Patronage (‘Zuptas!’ in local parlance, referring to the immigrant Gupta family’s curious influence over the president’s family and government) versus the forces of Fiscal Prudence (‘Treasury neoliberals!’ to critics) – are still represented by two men who have begun to stumble on terrain potholed by what a Donald Trump aide terms ‘alternative facts.’

An opportunity for activists and scholars to contribute to a series of three linked workshops in Africa. Each two-day meeting will debate current challenges and prospects for Left analysis and action. We are seeking both key speakers and offers of papers, with a plan to publish a selection in the Review of African Political Economy.

Tagged under: 809, Announcements, Ray Bush

Many African nations are mired in huge debts arising from foreign loans that have hardly benefitted the people. The citizens need to audit these debts. Odious debts should be repudiated, damn the consequences. Moreover, as Thomas Sankara demonstrated in the four years he was president of Burkina Faso, African nations do not need foreign loans to meet the needs of their people.

Pambazuka News 808: Taking down Trumpism from Africa

Sex workers do not need pity or saviours. They do not need cash handouts or sewing machines, or even baptism. Rather they need safer working conditions, protection from violence and arrest, as well as the freedom from stigma and equal pay for their services.

What is truth? Now that people speak of a post-truth period, could we possibly assume that there were pre-truth and truth eras?

Babsy’s family is amongst the 40 million or so mostly poor black South Africans who, as the economy collapses and unemployment rockets, are increasingly forced to rely on a crumbling public health system. The government is clearly not interested in providing adequate health services for poor people.

Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration can be summed up in two oscillating swings – promising incredibly big, and falling resoundingly short. He is a showman in every respect, and his First Lady is a part of his duplicitous act. Last week, public ridicule forced Uhuru’s wife to suspend her annual marathon that is meant to raise funds for maternal healthcare.

Pages