Pambazuka News 872: Honouring Samir Amin, the Battle of Omdurman and Africa’s elusive democracy 

The attempt to assassinate Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela, has failed. This news is days-old, but the facts are reiterated here starkly. The event raises serious questions for “progressive” critics now in close collaboration with imperialism.

Looking at the spate of rape allegations in the halls of power and trust – is it starting to make sense now that America has a long-established bully culture that has fed its pervasive rape culture?

After several years of high-level consultations, Russian President Vladimir Putin has finally hinted that Russia would organise its first Russia-Africa summit of African leaders and ministers to roll out a comprehensive strategic road map outlining concrete economic sectors for investment, issues relating to trade and culture for Africa.

Major developments related to internal and external relations are taking place in Horn of Africa states. However, those new breakthroughs are threatened by western economic and military imperatives. 

Judging by media and popular accounts, with all the inherent limitations therein and biases attached thereto, President Putin’s recent visit to South Africa for the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Summit was an overwhelming success. Based on the tone of commentary and analysis prepared thereon, President Putin is widely admired in South Africa and across the African continent for his strong leadership qualities, although not everybody agrees with his country’s policies. 

The March undertaken by the women of South Africa to mark the opening of Women’s month is a stark reminder that women are still demanding basic respect, and the right to be treated as equals even amongst their most intimate partners. The struggles of women across the world are far from homogenous. From Cape to Cairo, Morocco to Madagascar: the atrocities committed against women are an indictment on humanity.

Over the past two decades, the world could have been hoodwinked by Western governments’ imposition of targeted sanctions on then Zimbabwean president Robert Gabriel Mugabe’s tyrannical regime, on the pretext of human rights abuses and electoral fraud. However, was that the real reasons for these targeted sanctions on Mugabe and members of his ruthless regime?

National harmonised parliamentary and presidential elections in the Southern African state of Zimbabwe were held on 30 July, but opposition forces rejected their outcome seeking to continue Western sanctions and attempted isolation.

The historic Zimbabwe presidential and parliamentary “harmonised’ elections of 30 July 2018 have just been concluded. The final results tally saw President Emmerson Mnangagwa getting 2,460,463 votes (50.8 percent), ahead of his nearest rival Nelson Chamisa who got 2,147,436 votes (44.3 percent). The 50.8 percent by the President meant he scrapped above the legal 50 percent plus one vote necessary to avoid a run-off election. 

Swaziland will hold national elections on 21 September. But according to reports that examine the country’s last national elections in 2013 and many Swazis, Swaziland’s political system is undemocratic and only serves to keep its absolute monarch in power.

Spike Lee adopted the Africana tradition of story-telling in his award-winning film about a 1970s Black detective, Ron Stallworth (played by John David Washington, son of Denzel) who, as the first black cop in the city, infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and also infiltrated a radical Black Students’ Union in Colorado Springs and eventually helped to save the life of the female president of the students’ union (Laura Harrier). 

For Nigerian Leftists currently studying or re-studying Nigerian politics, the month of July 2018 has offered fresh and interesting materials. But for me and some close comrades, what has so far happened this month further clarifies—not by any means solved—several existing problems that may here be grouped into four tasks.

By “the people,” Leftists include, principally, “those people who do not exploit other people, but are themselves exploited; those who stand at the lowest point of the social ladder, those who are essentially excluded from the governance of their country; those who, strictly speaking, have little or nothing to defend in the present social order; and those who cannot liberate themselves without liberating society as a whole”. 

Next month, the Sudanese people will commemorate the 120th anniversary of the Omdurman Battle, which is widely known in Sudan as the Kararey Battle after the name of its location, in the northern part of Omdurman. 

This essay seeks to explain why the concept of Afro-centricity has been an important feature of the Pan-African tradition. 

Samir Amin’s celebrated life was amongst the most trying, but also rewarding, of his generation’s left intelligentsia. Following Amin’s death in Paris on Sunday, his political courage and professional fearlessness are two traits now recognised as exceedingly rare. Alongside extraordinary contributions to applied political-economic theory beginning 60 years ago, Amin’s unabashed Third Worldist advocacy was channelled through unparalleled scholarly entrepreneurship when establishing surprisingly durable research institutions.

Samir Amin lives as long as peoples’ revolutionary journey moves forward. And, peoples’ revolutionary march is unending, as revolutionary advancement opens path for further revolutionary advancement. 

Pambazuka News 870: The struggle for self-determination continues 

Building on our history as the continent’s first indigenous activist-led fund for and by sexual and gender minorities and sex workers, UHAI is looking for a radical and visionary leader.

Tagged under: 870, Jobs, UHAI EASHRI

On 14 July 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin warmly received two African leaders, Gabonese Ali Bongo Ondimba and Sudanese Omar al-Bashir, within the framework of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. 

To say that I was shocked to read in the media that Zimbabwe president Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa – during his recent visit to the Johane Masowe Apostolic sect – accepted their declaration that women should not lead, would be a grave understatement, but, rather I was dumbfounded – such comments are not to be expected of a leader of a modern society in the 21st century.

This article is a situational analysis of the current political environment in Madagascar prior to the November 2018 general elections. 

The author discusses about trade and aid in Africa demonstrating that the two can complete each other when there is good governance. 

The last 20 years is globally the Harry Potter generation—a generation that has made a philosophy of life out of wishful thinking; the narcissism of the young stemming from a class that can afford and choose to remain imbeciles, we owe it to Harry Potter novels and films among other things. 

The article provides historical illustrations on the current political alliances in Nigeria. 

The time has come for the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which has the most monarchies in the world, to abolish its dated system of tribal kings. Nigerian citizens should not have their loyalties divided by anachronistic and irrelevant kings created by colonisers for the benefit of colonialism.

Contradictions between regional security and imperialist interventions marked the recently concluded ordinary African Union summit. 

Adaobi Nwaubani narrates in the NewYorker the fact that there is hurt in every family that is self-inflicted. Having the humility to confess past wrongs and ask for forgiveness is part of the healing. Having the courage to forgive those who wronged you frees you from the resentment, which Mandela called a poison that you take and hope that it kills your enemy. 

It is now Nicaragua. Rightists-induced extremist violence and death, armed gangs-triggered bloody strikes, and imperialism-imposed sanctions have gripped Nicaragua for months. All of these are part of imperialist intervention in the Latin American country defying the world imperialism. Imperialist intervention is an already-turned-old game currently going on in a number of countries. 

In September 2018, leading pan-Africanists will gather in Accra, Ghana to celebrate the birthday of Osagyefo Doctor Kwame Nkrumah and to discuss ways of pushing the “Africa Must Unite” agenda. 

Tagged under: 870, Pan-Africanism, Zaya Yeebo, Ghana

The author argues that the focus on land and traditional leadership in the current debate about land reform is used to avoid the real issues of unequal racial land distribution, which is the essence of the apartheid regime’s discrimination policies. 

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This is a brics-from-below reader put together for the 23-24 July 2018 Johannesburg Teach-In ahead of the July 2018 BRICS Summit hosted by South Africa. 

The Trump administration withdraws from the United Nations Human Rights Council, while racism, social deprivation and war intensify. The administration, however, denies the escalating oppression and impoverishment of the masses. 

The timely City Press article by Benzi Ka-Soko on Sunday, 15 July 2018, titled “Affirming Sobukwe’s Legacy Is Imperative”, is an excellent and timely intervention in acknowledging Sobukwe’s towering, yet concealed and obscured, role in the Azanian (South Africa) liberation struggle, both as a political ideologue, an intellectual and a philosopher par excellence. 

On the 18 July 2018 the world celebrated the international centennial anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth. It was a significant moment in history for us to pause and reflect on the intrinsic values exhibited by one of Africa’s greatest sons, our very own global leader and icon – Madiba.

The late Ali Mazrui speaks in this article to major political issues relevant to Ethiopia today, as the country undergoes a peaceful revolution.  In his own words, he speaks through my adaptation of his various writings, speeches, and lectures on constitutionalism in Africa.  The reader should also take pleasure in Mazrui’s witticism, in the ease with which he clarifies complicated concepts, and in his neologism (electoral polygamy)—qualities for which he had earned worldwide recognition.  In the article, Mazrui’s ideas have been Ethiopianised where necessary.

He is the President of Rwanda and the current President of the African Union, feted by the Brookings Institute, one of the most venerable ideological pillars of US capital interests. So why is Paul Kagame manifesting more and more signs of paranoia? Let us consider just a few possibilities: 

This is an edited version of a keynote address by Professor Horace Campbell at the emancipation wreath laying at the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park on 25 July 2018 under the theme “Our heritage our strength, Celebrating the African Resilience”.

Outlining a number of reasons, the author explains that the government of South Africa  is still planning to expand its nuclear energy generating capabilities. 

Delegates at the recently concluded BRICS Summit in South Africa made a public declaration against unilateralism coming from Washington. 

The following talk was given by Ameth Lô in a French-language panel, “L’aurore de notre libération,” in Montreal on 20 May 2018, at “The Great Transition: Preparing a World Beyond Capitalism” conference.  

The heads of state from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) are meeting in Johannesburg’s corruption-ridden financial district of Sandton for a two-day annual summit. Pretending to challenge Western imperial hegemony over poor nations of the South, this bloc has itself proved to be no different. 

When it comes to control of the populace, what are the imperialist, anti-imperialist or sub-imperialist characteristics of the BRICS network of countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa? Can the BRICS deliver progressive outcomes – as some of its proponents claim – or not?

In this essay, the author argues that, for Africa and the global South, the BRICS countries offer a promising tangible alternative to the declining Western powers and their institutions of global economic and political governance. 

Ten years after the 2008 global financial crisis, the global economy is still stagnant and there are few prospects for a recovery. As a result, we have seen a deepening of the social crisis with rising unemployment and inequality, which is what underpins the war against women, increased crime and violence, and the unravelling of the social fabric, especially here in South Africa.

Can the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) bloc rise to the occasion, as Donald Trump jerks Western imperialism out of traditional alignments? With war-talk against Iran blowing through Trump’s tweets, and with Washington’s trade wars raging against both China and traditional allies, there was talk here in Johannesburg about counter-hegemonic prospects during the last week of July. 

The author’s investigation reveals how Germany uses South Africa—and other African countries—as its air borders to prevent some Africans, with valid Schengen visas, from travelling to Germany. The article uses the case of Zimbabwean congregants. 

Pambazuka News 869: Trump trade wars, BRICS labour and neo-slavery in Italy

A call for book chapters on the on-going relationship between China and Africa. 

In this essay we will take time to clarify some areas that seem to confuse some people in the on-going Biafra separatist movement in Nigeria. Over the years, as will be expected; the move for the independence of Biafra has undergone some transformations. These changes seem to have created a sort of mixed messages in the minds of both observers and participants. So, at this point it is really important that we try to clarify some of the seemingly ambiguous aspects of the movement. 

There is no definitive model of criminal justice in the United States. Instead, one’s ideas on criminal justice are shaped by philosophical viewpoints, criminological theory, and the most up-to-date research. It is the aforementioned factors that create the six models of criminal justice used today by all areas of the justice system.

Foreign apathy towards African notions of being and belonging might be destroying African families living in Western societies.

A meeting of 40 unions and civil society formations was convened by the South African Federation of Trade Unions on 28–29 June 2018 to broaden participation and to shape the agenda of the Working Class Summit (WCS) to be held on 21- 22 July 2018 at the University of Johannesburg Soweto Campus. 

Over the past seven months, ever since the military coup that ousted former Zimbabwe dictator Robert Gabriel Mugabe in November last year, the country has been inundated with several slogans and mantras meant to legitimise and justify those who took power – however, what is most painful is the use of blasphemy, through the abuse of God’s name for political expediency.

Rosatom—Russia’s state nuclear energy corporation—has recently signed memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with a number of African nations to build nuclear power plants within their borders. I spoke to David Himbara, a professor of international development and African energy activist, about the likelihood of Rosatom actually building these nuclear plants.

The author writes about the importance of Ethiopia hosting the 19th plenary assembly of the Catholic Church’s Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa, in a country rich in religious traditions. 

There is a question that has vexed me – and, I am sure, so many others – as to why, after being subjected to so much untold suffering for nearly four decades by the Zimbabwe Africa National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), any “normal” person would still prefer to vote for their tormentor to keep on tormenting them.

On 13 July 2018, the 84th birthday of Olumo Wole Soyinka, the 1986 Nobel Laureate for Literature, I honour him by revisiting a debate that is raging on the Internet over what many call my misreading of his work, especially with reference to my interpretation of his play, Death and King’s Horseman. Literary experts have been marvelling about the “Author’s Note” that accompanies Death and the King’s Horseman by Wole Soyinka. 

Ottilie Abrahams was undoubtedly one of the most remarkable personalities of contemporary Namibia. She led through example as a political leader, grassroots activist, feminist and educationist from early on in her life.

Across the world, trade unions are under unprecedented threat, as just witnessed in the United States where the Janus vs. AFSCME Supreme Court decision denudes an already weak labour movement of public sector power, for conservatives are aiming at “starving unions of funds and eventually disbanding them altogether.” Where, then, does organisational hope for working people lie?

Italy’s race relations between white Italians and its African migrants and black Italians, while not stellar may not be as dire as race relations in America, but economic opportunities afforded to blacks in Italy, is certainly not as promising as in America.

The author writes about the current trade wars between the United States of America and its allies and their potential impact on global capital. 

 Pambazuka News 868: The “Anglophone Crisis” and elite politics   

Some reflections on the various political alliances involving the Nigerian Left. 

The author shares his experiences during this year's Mwalimu Nyerere Intellectual Festival, which was the 10th edition of that event that celebrates the life and legacy of President Julius Nyerere. 

The on-going state-building efforts in Somalia require a leader who is genuinely patriotic, competent in post-conflict statecraft, and conscious of the social ills stoking conflict, violence, and divisions in the country and who is willing to cooperate with other actors in those state-building efforts. 

The rise of Abiy Ahmed in Ethiopia and the revival of Africa’s short memory of hate are inseparably linked.

Africa has been in trouble since 1441 when the Portuguese sailors, Antão Gonçalves and Nuno Tristão, “threw down rusted anchor” in Cabo Branco on the coast of modern Mauritania, went on land, collared 12 Africans like wild game, decked them down the rotten holes of a pirate ship and chain-ganged them into Portugal as chattel slaves. 

From the Horn to Southern Africa similar destabilisation efforts were met with condemnation over attacks on political rallies. 

The author argues that soccer is a global phenomenon with enormous political and economic potential, and those who invest massively in it, will reap great economic, social, political and cultural benefits. 

The author shares a number of lessons that African countries can learn from North Korea, especially the country's self-reliance ideology through economic, political and military independence. 

Professor Adebayo Adedeji, one of Africa’s foremost development thinkers, who passed on last April, will be laid to rest on 7 July. He was instrumental to the formation of several Regional Economic Communities in Africa, earning him the title of “Mr. ECOWAS”. This is an articulation of the immortal vision of this great son of Africa, who became a professor at 36 and government minister at 40.

Nominations are now opened for the 2018 West African Youth Awards (WAYAwards), which recognizes spirited youth leaders who are making outstanding contributions to the development of Africa - and the realization of the Agenda 2063 vision plan of the African Union. 

On Tuesday, 19 June 2018, our United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley announced United States’ withdrawal from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) now meeting in Geneva. The UNHRC is stacked with human rights abusers including Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, and, till now, the US itself, but this is still an ugly gesture, like refusing to accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, ditching the Paris Climate Accords, and shredding the Iran Nuclear Deal. 

Faced with persistent criticisms, Russia has finally announced it will most likely host the first high-level Russia-African Union forum next year, a replica or a carbon copy of the Forum on China Africa Cooperation or European Union–African Union summit, signalling its readiness to work towards deepening and strengthening multifaceted engagement with Africa.

During the Vietnam War, American historian Howard Zin wrote: “all wars are wars against civilians, and are therefore inherently immoral” and “political leaders all over the world should not be trusted when they urge their people to war claiming superior knowledge and expertise.” 

Kim Jong-un’s third trip to China took place just one week after his historic summit in Singapore with United States President Donald Trump. 

The author, a public servant in the Department of Health of South Africa, offers an analytical view of the country's current state of the health sector, especially in rural areas of South Africa. 

We are Ethiopian Americans and Ethiopians living in the United States. Our open letter is a follow up to a letter that 32 leaders of conservative organisations sent to President Trump that was copied to you in your capacities as the Prime Minister of Ethiopia and the head of the host nation to the African Union. 

Activists are promoting the need for a broad-based coalition of popular forces to fight for the rights of the working calss. 

Although participation in “bourgeois politics”—as we used to call electoral politics—has never been absent from the Nigerian Left’s general programme, it has also not been made a “categorical imperative”. I am, however, now persuaded that it has become generally accepted in the ranks of contemporary Nigerian Leftists that intervention and participation in the country’s electoral struggle—for office or for power, as an organised political force and in alliance or acting separately—have become both categorical and urgent. 

The author examines the current socio-economic and political situation of Mozambique after 43 years of the country's independence from Portugal. 

The recent grenade attack in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe has been described by close allies of the president, as an assassination attempt against President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Whether that is true or not remains to be seen.  What is a fact is that the president might have politically benefited from that unfortunate event. 

President Paul Biya of Cameroon has been silent for long in relation to the on-going unrest in the country's English speaking region. His silence has made matters worse and it is time he took decisive measure to resolve that crisis if he wants history to remember him after his nearly 40 years in power. 

After years of supporting a market-led land reform programme and not heeding criticisms of this policy, the African National Congress (ANC) leadership has adopted a radical policy of land expropriation without compensation, which would make it legal and within the constitutional bounds for the state to expropriate land in the public interest without compensation. 

Pambazuka News 867: The BRICS summit returns to South Africa 

There are renewed calls for an independent state of Igbo people, but what form would Biafra of 2018 look like? The author shares his thinking. 

It was with deep sorrow that I was rudely confronted on 25th April 2018 by the news of the demise of my mentor, Professor Adebayo Adedeji, the quintessential development expert who held sway at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) from 1975 to 1991.

Ethiopia is a rising star among anti-gay countries in Africa as it continues to push for new legislation to further crackdown on the LGBTQ community. The country is a place where homophobia thrives and discrimination against sexual minorities is state-sponsored.

Antigua and Barbuda is an eastern Caribbean nation, which is a federation of two islands that were former British colonies that became independent in 1981. Barbuda following Hurricane Irma in 2017 had most of its infrastructure destroyed. Most Barbudans now live as refugees on the island of Antigua. 

On 14 June 2018, the South African police fired rubber bullets at protestors, injuring five and arresting nine in Limpopo province. Another day and another protest is no longer newsworthy, especially if no one is killed and those arrested can be easily forgotten, as the wheels of the overburdened court system turn ever so slowly.  

The author offers a personal assessment of the state of politics in South Africa, just a few months leading to the 2019 national and provincial elections

Ideas we have been told, rule the world. Some ideas could start as being ridiculous or laughable, and then they become global success stories. Like electricity, like rail travel, like air travel, and Facebook, and Twitter, they all started as abstract ideas in the heads of some folks with unusual thoughts. Sometimes, I would marvel at the 21st century leaps of technology and would wonder how we had been able to fare for so long without them. Ideas come as answers to questions raised with the intention of solving problems. 

With ever-rising interest on loans in South Africa, there are growing calls to create community banks that use the "profits" to the benefit of community members, and not to continue enriching billionaire bank executives. 

On 8 June 2018, Julius Malema of South Africa and Jefferson Koijee of Liberia were pictured on social media in a meeting the details of which are not yet public. However, social media reactions from young political enthusiasts across the continent have suggested that the two firebrand politicians discussed issues common to their struggles and potential opportunities for exchange of experiences, practices, and strategies in revolutionary engagements. 

As the heat picks up around BRICS 2018, chaired by South Africa, debate from the BRICS Think Tank and from the left is coming to the boil as to the value of BRICS participatory processes. Patrick Bond’s critique of the BRICS Think Tank and Academic Forum meetings held at the Sandton Convention Centre between the 28th and 31st of May is that the lack of critical commentary on BRICS state corruption, amongst many other factors, “reflect(s) servility to local power” (Pambazuka, 31 May). 

The leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will meet in Johannesburg from 25-27 July 2018 for the 10th BRICS Summit. Prior to the Summit a number of other BRICS dialogues are taking place, including the Business Council, Academic Forum, Civil BRICS and BRICS Youth. BRICS Youth was set up in 2013 to put youth voices on the BRICS agenda and to promote and popularise BRICS amongst young people ages 15-34 in each country. 

Last month’s approval of a New Development Bank loan of US $200 million to expand the Durban container port occurred without the Sandton-based bankers doing adequate consultation or analysis. This is not only unacceptable in a democratic society, especially for such an important and controversial project. It also makes mockery of claims the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) bloc acts differently than arrogant Washington bankers.

The rapper Ewok captured the spirit of progressive social forces in South Africa with his condemnation of [BRICS] elite politics at a March 2013 protest outside the Durban International Convention Centre, South Africa: “You dropping BRICS from above? We’re throwing bricks from below!”

Pambazuka News 866: Remembering Rodney and decolonising the academy 

This article is a critical-theoretical reflection on a graduate programme at Makerere University – the Interdisciplinary PhD in Social Studies at Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR).  

Thirty-eight years have passed since Walter Rodney was assassinated in Guyana on 13 June 1980 in Georgetown, Guyana’s capital city, but his legacy lives on beyond his home-country. 

The political terrain in Nigeria, today has two colossal parties—PDP and APC—vying for power at the national level. However, it appears to be merely déjà vu as the binary trend has had similar appearances in Nigeria’s chequered history and experiment with democratic politics. Indeed, they have all been alignments and realignments of Nigeria’s ruling elite classes.

People want more than what is on offer with the now decayed, mostly elitist and self-constructed “choice” between models, writes Dale T McKinley.

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