Pambazuka News 810: Overhaul the African Union
Pambazuka News 810: Overhaul the African Union
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Pambazuka News 809: From deference to defiance: Arise
Pambazuka News 809: From deference to defiance: Arise
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.’
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pambazuka News 808: Taking down Trumpism from Africa
Pambazuka News 808: Taking down Trumpism from Africa
In many ways women have been underestimated by the male-dominated recording industry. But women such as Rita Marley, Marcia Griffiths and Judy Mowatt have proved that as the classic song says, “It Ain't Necessarily So.” They have proven themselves and stood toe-to-toe with the brothers in the industry.
So much has been put at stake ― the proud history of the U.S. as a home for those in need, the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. It is a personal tragedy writ large, one shared across thousands of individual families, stories of separation and degradation.
The South African student #FeesMustFall uprising at its peak has been largely single-issue driven – scrapping of tuition fees - rather than calling for systemic societal, political, social and economic change, and pushing for change of national leadership, as was the case in North Africa.
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.
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.
What is truth? Now that people speak of a post-truth period, could we possibly assume that there were pre-truth and truth eras?
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.
President Trump’s temporary order banning people from seven majority Muslim nations from entering the United States is a most unfortunate and thoughtless decision. The order targets people who have neither the desire nor the capability to carry out hostile actions against America. What’s more, these people are from some of the countries that have been destroyed by the misguided policies of America and its allies.
What Trump has done in the name of “protecting the nation from foreign terrorists” is nothing new in American history or politics. It is only the latest chapter in a long train of attempts and efforts to keep out “undesirable aliens” dating back to colonial times. But this too shall pass away.
The case of Augusto Pinochet illustrates that international law has fundamentally changed to make it difficult for the perpetrators of international crimes to escape justice by hiding in safe havens. Individual criminal acts cannot be attributable to an impersonate state for the purpose of absolving one from criminal liability. It is therefore incumbent upon the new government of The Gambia to take all measures necessary to deliver justice for the victims of crimes committed by former ruler Jammeh.
In the US there are already effective Trump boycotts seeking to delegitimise his political agenda. Internationally, protesters will be out wherever he goes. And from Africa, there are sound arguments to play a catalytic role, mainly because the most serious threat to humanity and environment is Trump’s climate change denialism.
In 2013 Mozambican government officials formed three private companies and took out illegal secret loans totaling $2 billion. Donors suspended credit to Mozambique because of the loans as the national currency fell by 70% in 2016. Restructuring the illegal loans means imposed austerity on a population already living in extreme austerity and eventually repaying the creditors from revenues derived from Mozambique’s natural gas deposits that on the market in 2023.
President Obama appeared as a wobbly giant embarrassed by his own might, thus his seemingly apologetic passivity and indecisiveness. He refused to assume the mantle of leader of the free world, choosing to defer to others and to lead from behind. Anywhere he left a power void. And when he intervened, President Obama created the nightmarish reality of dirty wars and assassinations from his secret Kill List.
Morocco was admitted to the African Union at the recent AU Summit. Until now, it was the only African country not to belong to the AU. Morocco left the AU's predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity, in 1984 after the body recognised the independence of Western Sahara, which is still illegally occupied by Morocco. The following is a legal opinion by the AU regarding Morocco's application for re-admission:
Given the title “Queen Mother” by the Ashanti people, Moore was a symbol of resistance through the turbulent years of the 1950s through the 1970s, where she was a stalwart at numerous mass meetings, conferences and demonstrations across the U.S. and the world. She left a legacy of struggle for the contemporary generation of African American and African activists to emulate.
Pambazuka News 807: What we must do: Resistance and solidarity
Pambazuka News 807: What we must do: Resistance and solidarity
My neighbors Anthony and Fenton, brothers aged 7 and 8, and I had a sidewalk conversation about Trump’s victory one evening. The boys were nervous because they had heard that Trump hated Black people; they wanted to know whether this was true. I told them that all evidence indicated it was. They deliberated for a few minutes, and then Anthony said, “Well, our dad is white, and our mom and grandma are Black. So he would hate our family.”
South Africa no longer belongs to the people but to the rich few. The hopes of the liberation struggle have evaporated. Only a new leadership that is guided by the interests of the citizens will save the nation.
The West African regional bloc’s no-nonsense stand against former Gambian despot Yahya Jammeh is admirable. But there are a few other places where ECOWAS has not performed well. For one, the bloc needs to devise ways by which citizens of a misruled nation can get back their money from a fleeing tyrant – and justice.
How long will it take before SADC has the means and the will to remove rulers who have either been defeated in an election or who refuse to leave at the end of their terms? Will what has happened in West Africa in the case of The Gambia help persuade SADC to move towards more effective interventions to remove dictators and other illegitimate rulers?
Introduce sanctions and boycotts against the repressive Swazi regime and help the democratic movement with everything from legal assistance to torture counselling, organizational skills and information dissemination, says young Swazi activist.
With Trump’s America First campaign, African nations need to craft a coherent regional foreign policy approach for development and security cooperation with external actors to benefit Africans. Meanwhile Australia should take every step to ensure its investments and security engagement do not result in the destabilisation of African countries.
The US was deeply involved in the overthrow and assassination of Liberian President William Tolbert that led to a 14-year civil war in which as many as 250,000 Liberians perished. Subsequently, America was also implicated in the removal from power of two other Liberian heads of state. The truth of this extensive meddling is important for genuine reconciliation among Liberians.
With the internet and all other technologies which can connect the world working class into a global fighting force to defeat global capitalism which is threatening not only human life but the entirety of our universe, there have never been better conditions for the success of the global Socialist Revolution than now.
Donald Trump is a manifestation of the crisis of capitalism, which has entered a profound state of economic and ecological imbalance, social instability, inter-imperialist fighting, mass displacement, increased suffering and rampant carnage on a global scale. Salvation of the human family is up to the revolutionary Left and the people’s movements. They must find a way to align and unite and form a revolutionary, counter-hegemonic force.
The Trump phenomenon points to a civilizational shift; namely, the slow, painful demise of the Western Empire. If this shift breaks down the European Union, dismantles NATO, weakens the Empire’s financial control over the global South, and opens a space for a new moral and political order to emerge, then it is an opportunity all revolutionary forces must seize.
Ghana’s national election in 2016 was hailed as a success. It was the seventh poll since the birth of the Fourth Republic in 1992. But according to the results, nearly 5 million voters did not turn up to cast their ballots. What accounted for this situation? Voter apathy or there was a problem with the voters roll?
Greater workplace democracy in South Africa’s companies is both a moral and ethical issue. Employees are often treated as infants. Because Black people are still predominantly low-skilled, low-wage and dominating manual positions – with whites occupying the high-skilled, high-paid and managerial positions - as it were during apartheid, racist perceptions of Black people as being inferior persist in many workplaces.
Under unremitting pressure from the regional bloc ECOWAS, the African Union and the UN, Gambian strongman Yahya Jammeh fled into exile in Equatorial Guinea. There are credible allegations of serious human rights violations against him, covering his 22 years in power. Jammeh can run but cannot hide. Everything possible must be done to bring him to justice.
In spite of all of the horrible things they continue to experience, the Afrikan people of Haiti keep fighting to be free. Haitian resistance to entrenched U.S. interference has not ceased for over 200 years. The latest attempt to kill Haiti’s freedom by aborting her dreams of democracy via the electoral process was designed to prevent landslide victories for the popular Fanmi Lavalas party.
In this two-part workspace, a collective of transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary scholars will come together to deliberate on and practice new modes of communicative praxis in academic conference/workshops.
Democratic Republic of Congo’s ruler Joseph Kabila was constitutionally supposed to leave office on 19 December 2016. He did not. There were no elections. Instead, an agreement brokered with the help of the Catholic Church extended Kabila’s rule to December this year when elections of his successor will be held. In the following interview, Maurice Carney, Executive Director of Friends of the Congo, explains the political situation in DRC and America’s endless meddling.
The attempts to President Buhari’s nominee for anti-corruption chief, Ibrahim Magu has nothing to do with Magu being unsuitable for job. This is a grand scheme of a formidable network of highly placed crooks inside and outside government who are hell-bent on stopping Magu, given the rare vigour and impetus he has introduced to the anti-corruption crusade. Buhari should resubmit Magu’s name to the Senate for confirmation.
Canada’s announcement that it intends to send 600 troops on a peacekeeping mission in Africa has elicited little enlightened discussion about Ottawa’s history in the continent. In addition to Canadian extensive mining interests, the country has a growing military footprint in Africa over the past decade - working closely with the new United States’ Africa Command (AFRICOM).
SPECIAL ISSUE: Labour movements and the African revolution
SPECIAL ISSUE: Labour movements and the African revolution
The labour movement is at a crossroads, as the country grapples with a major political crisis rooted in capitalism. This requires the labour movement to re-evaluates past strategies and seriously considers a new politics that grapples with issues of top-down, patriarchal forms of organisation, and forges broad counter-hegemonic alliances that question economic growth paradigms which threaten the planet.
Unions have historically been important agents of socio-political change in Congo. But today, the rights of workers are increasingly violated in the context of the current economic crisis. Fearing repression, some union leaders submit to the political party in power in the hope of collecting short-term dividends.
Since independence, Namibian trade unions have failed to mount a coherent challenge to the market-driven economic policies embraced by the ruling party despite its socialist rhetoric. The labour movement needs to build a counter-hegemony, which requires a new form of social movement unionism through which working-class interests could be articulated beyond the point of production, in alliance with other socially excluded groups.
The right to work remains a challenge for labor groups in Africa because of constant economic instabilities, the severe impact of globalization and unfavorable rapport between the countries of the North and the global South. However, as the case of the SYNARES exemplifies, labor organizations in Africa have embarked on a new direction since the end of the Cold War. They have multiplied and defended their workers’ rights a lot more rigorously.
In the face of multiple crises of profit-driven socio-economic systems that have driven millions of people in Africa into hopeless poverty, the urgent questions of our time are quite clear: How do we change the balance of class forces in favour of the working class? What are the radical reforms around which a program of mass action could be initiated? How do we form mass workers’ parties all over the continent? What about organisations of the jobless, the landless and the homeless, the feminist structures, the youth?
It was the first significant strike by working people since Namibia’s political independence. The strike threw the government into a panic, showing clearly that resistance still exists among the working people. But poor organization, fragmentation of the union movement and a self-interested leadership were major setbacks.