Pambazuka News 831: Biko and the Black world today

No new plantation has succeeded since independence, either state-owned or private. But it has not stopped Frelimo leaders since Samora Machel from dreaming of giant mechanised farms funded by hundreds of millions of dollars from abroad.

The G20’s Compact with Africa is meant to force open African doors to European and generally western investments. African governments have been told in no uncertain terms that for them to receive foreign direct investments, they must improve conditions for such investments. Using its financial muscle the west (through Berlin) is waging war against Africa.

Human beings, including Europeans, have migrated throughout history and continue doing so. Migration is, therefore, not a problem; it is part of humanity. What is a problem is failing to understand why people migrate and using recent refugee flows from war-torn countries such as Syria, Iraq and Libya to politicise and militarise the whole issue.

A South African court has found a police officer guilty of shooting dead 17-year-old protester, Nqobile Nzuza. The judgement sends a strong message to all police officers who act on the instructions of politicians to brutalize unarmed citizens demanding their rights.

Forty years after Steve Biko’s murder in detention, the world we live in has not changed fundamentally for Black people. Regardless of where you reside in the world, how educated you are, religious, progressive or nice you may think you are, if you are Black you are guaranteed the scorn, humiliation, violence and death that Biko and others had to confront.

The moral case for Black reparations has effectively been made, but the legal argument has met much frustration in the courts. The authors believe that the period after 1808, when U.S. participation in the international slave trade was outlawed, is key to clearing the legal hurdles to reparations.

Breaking up Nigeria into several nations to solve its current problems, as some people suggest, will not work. The resulting chaos will be unimaginable, throwing much of West Africa into crisis. The better option is for all Nigerians to commit to work to build one Nigeria that works for all.

In response to a protest outside a white editor’s home, the South African Editors Forum (SANEF) sought court orders to stop Black First Land First activists from harassing, intimidating and threatening journalists and editors over their reporting. But SANEF did not show similar concern when Black journalists came under attack. Why the double standards?

Gambians must not forget the atrocities committed by President Jammeh’s regime and demand that the perpetrators of crimes be brought to justice. The government of President Barrow should relentlessly pursue and reclaim all the ill-gotten wealth accumulated by Jammeh’s family and its cronies. Any call for unity, reconciliation and forgiveness will be meaningless without truth and justice.

In Zambia, as with elsewhere in Africa, Canada’s mining industry, foreign policy and neoliberalism overlap tightly. It is a subject Canadians ought to pay attention to if they want their country to be a force for good in the world.

Reparatory Justice must be the clarion call of the African Peoples at home and abroad. This was the Declaration of the 2nd Kwame Nkrumah Intellectual and Cultural Festival which was held in Accra from 25 June to 1 July, 2017. The Festival was hosted by the Institute of African Studies of the University of Ghana under the auspices of the third Kwame Nkrumah Chair, Professor Horace Campbell.

Several civil society organizations have voiced their support for protests in Morocco and other North African countries facing growing state repression, resource theft and imperialist expansion. They call for respect for people’s rights and just development.

The world changed this past week in ways that it may take decades to fully appreciate. With the opening of its first overseas military base in Djibouti, China sent an unmistakable message that its role in the world is changing. The implications for the Middle East and Africa are immediate, but the larger message is that China is no longer pretending to be an inward-looking, exclusively Asian power.

Pambazuka News 830: African youth, where are you? 

There is only one reason why the US is obsessed with North Korea. It allows the US to maintain a massive military presence in East Asia. If not for tensions on the Korean peninsula, the US would lose its rationale for its network of military bases in the region, which are primarily meant to threaten and contain China.

Activists from anti-capitalist militant organizations in North Africa met in Tunis on 4th and 5th July 2017 to set up the North African Network for Food Sovereignty. The network is a unifying structure for struggles in the region and will be involved in local, continental and international mobilisation.

Only a quarter of Malawian children who enter primary school finish the eight-year course. And almost 70 percent of Malawians aged 15 years and above do not have a secondary school education. The numbers are worse for girls, at 74 percent. This is part of Malawi’s colonial legacy.

Instead of being locked in crowded camps surrounded by barbed wire, the 1.2 million refugees in Uganda are given large plots of land in sprawling settlements to build homes or, if they like, small farms. If agrarian life isn’t for them, they can move freely around the country, traveling to towns or to the bustling capital of Kampala, which 95,000 refugees call their home.

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Interior Maj. Gen. (rtd) Joseph Nkaissery died suddenly on Saturday, 8 July 2017. Nkaissery is certainly a notorious symbol of human rights abuse and his death brings to an end one of the saddest chapters in Kenyan history.

The 2nd Kwameh Nkrumah Pan-African Intellectual and Cultural Festival was held in Accra, Ghana, 25 June to 1 July 2017. The festival served as a vehicle for reflection and a springboard for new efforts to promote Pan-Africanism and transformation of the African world. Here is the experience of one youth volunteer at the event.

Growing youth populations are placing social and political pressure on their governments to address the need for employment opportunities. But the dependence upon foreign markets for the export of natural resources and cash crops systematically undermines strategic planning within the present world economic order.

Despite Kagame’s totalitarian regime being infamous for horrendous human rights abuses inside the country and in DR Congo, Rwanda is now a member of the UN Human Rights Council. Rwanda has signaled that it will use its seat to defend its friend, the colonial state of Israel.

Betrayal of the liberation struggle by post-independent regimes and elites in many African countries is the reason I am making a clarion call to civil society, in particular my contemporaries, the youth, and the electorate to reconceptualise their thoughts about state governance and leadership. Corruption, cronyism, looting of the national purse, state capture and service delivery strikes are a stark reminder of this reality.

As African and European leaders plan to meet in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, late November 2017 to assess the status of the Africa-Europe partnership, Pambazuka News is calling for a broad range of papers analysing, from various perspectives, relations between Africa and Europe and how they might evolve in the coming decades.

Tagged under: 830, Announcements, The Editors

Lawyers should claim their place in society by espousing Pan-African ideals. They should stop defending and colluding with corrupt African elites. A remarkable example is Henry Sylvester Williams, the Trinidadian barrister who, together with other Pan-Africanists, organised the first Pan-African conference in London in 1900.

The South African Federation of Trade Unions turned down an invitation to the congress of the South African Communist Party. SACP is an ally of the ruling African National Congress. SAFTU says SACP is as guilty as the Jacob Zuma government in implementing a neoliberal programme that is anti-poor, anti-working class, pro-capitalist and anti-socialist.

The economy is destroyed. Inflation is the highest in the world. Fertile land has been left fallow because the danger of a violent death has kept farmers from tilling their soil. Food is so scarce and food prices so high that onions are cut into quarters for sale in markets in Yei! South Sudan is in desperate need of leadership.

The rules, institutions and operations of global markets, unchanged since the end of formal colonialism, are among the greatest obstacles to the development of African countries.

The call on Bukola Saraki, the senate president, to assume the position of acting president because the president and acting president were allegedly out of the country, was not only contrary to the provisions of the constitution but had all the elements of a coup d'état.

Imagine if the media only reported the good news that governments and corporations wanted you to see, hear and read about. Unfortunately, that is not far from the reality of reporting about Canada’s role internationally.

Pambazuka News 829: From Berlin 1885 to G20 Compact with Africa

Cameroon is an Orwellian Animal Farm where the English-speaking minority is brutally subjugated by the Francophones. The Cameroon Anglophone Problem raises pertinent questions about shared governance, participatory democracy, national identity and language policy. But the 35-year-old dictatorship of Biya pays no attention to these questions.

It was the goal of the festival to offer an ideal platform for a review and critical re-assessment of urgent tasks necessary to deepen the technical and intellectual skills needed for training the next cadre of thinkers and practitioners. The festival served as a vehicle for reflection and a springboard for new research efforts to promote Pan-Africanism and structural transformation of the African world.

Namibia is the only African country that conferred upon Castro its highest national honour. This is a big shame for Africa. Castro personally and the people of Cuba made great sacrifices for African liberation. The African Union should honour Castro and deliberately seek to deepen ties with the Cuban people.

The proposed formula contains appealing guidelines for initiating economic development in Africa, but it does not address long-term stability and protection from risks and global volatility. Risks are only understood as risks for the investors. Thus, this development strategy embraces the prevailing neoliberalism that re-enacts colonialism.

The long settlement of colonialists in South Africa by force of arms has not passed any right to them to own this African land at the expense of its rightful owners. It does not matter how long Europeans have been settlers here. Azania remains the land of African people by right.

It is not clear what genre the movie unfolding in the South African landscape falls under. Is it a thriller whose plot revolves around the heist of the political system? Or a horror movie, filled with macabre scenes of zombies feasting on the flesh of a dying state? No matter the genre, this is one movie guaranteed to keep South Africans glued to their screens.

When girls are denied the opportunity to education, it limits their chances to access other opportunities including decent employment, leadership and information and to make informed choices. Girls who drop out of school are also likely to end up in child marriages.

It was Michelangelo, the world famous sculptor, painter, architect and poet who once articulated that, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it”. All it required was imagination. So, join me in a journey of imagination about South Africa.

As early as 1954, Egypt claimed its sovereignty over Tiran and Sanafir before the United Nations Security Council, stating that the islands were part of the delimitation of territory dividing Egypt from the Ottoman Empire in 1906. The decision to hand over the two islands is clearly related to the financial support provided by Riyadh to Egypt in recent years.

In spite of the positive elements of economic Garveyism, it is not appropriate for African liberation in the 21st century. Garvey’s economic development approach was based on reproducing the exploitative system of capitalism, which would continue to oppress the Afrikan working-class.

The investigation represents an important opportunity to deepen the debate on the controversial program and allow public reflection on the models of developments that have been imposed in Mozambique.

The insensitivity of many Westerners in the question of looted artefacts or artefacts acquired under dubious circumstances is astonishing. Hirst and other Western artists can derive inspiration from the looted artefacts kept in Western museums, which they can visit anytime they want. But where can African artists derive such inspiration when iconic African objects are all kept away in Western capitals they can’t visit?

Tagged under: 829, Arts & Books, Kwame Opuku

Pambazuka News 828: Confronting renewed imperialist aggression

Stephen Kinuthia Mwangi, administrative coordinator with Mathare Social Justice Centre in Nairobi, was arrested twice for no apparent reason last week. MSJC believes this harassment by the state is a direct result of its work in the slums of Mathare, especially documentation of extrajudicial executions by the police.

Washington has been at war in Africa for years.  But in French-speaking parts of the continent it is Paris that is fully in control. Who becomes president and how national affairs are conducted is a matter determined by the French for their own interest under the colonial-era doctrine of Françafrique. And American tax-payers foot much of the bill for this neo-colonialism.

Dismantling white monopoly capital in South Africa has always been central to the national liberation struggle. White monopoly capital simultaneously implies colonialism of a special type. The two concepts are inter-twined. To fail to mention the racial character of monopoly capital is to fail to acknowledge the colonial character of South Africa and the special nature of that colonialism.

Canada is attempting to project itself as a friend of Africa, Haiti, women and the world. If he is to be believed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is a friend of all God’s children. But is he?

Inga 3 could generate modest revenues under highly favorable conditions in the best and good-case scenarios. However, under the worst, worse, and most realistic median-case scenarios, Inga 3 would not even cover the  DRC government’s debt payments for the project, let alone constitute a windfall that could fund development priorities.

Celebrated Canadian soldier William Grant Stairs helped King Leopold II of Belgium conquer the resource-rich Katanga region of the Congo. Known for his heartless brutality, Stairs headed a heavily armed mission that swelled to 2,000. The goal of the expedition was to extend Leopold’s authority over Katanga to get a piece of the copper, ivory and gold trade.

The Tanzanian president’s directive that teenage mothers should not be allowed back in public schools is troubling. The dreams and aspirations of a young girl must not to be sacrificed on the altar of adolescent misbehaviour.

Before US diplomats offer any criticism or advice to Venezuela or any other state on issues of democracy and human rights, they should first examine the behavior of their own government in relation to their undemocratic practices and policies, both internally and around the world, and their endless list of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

By punishing pregnant girls and denying them their education, the government is penalizing them on the basis of gender and is curtailing their futures so they are likely to remain trapped in a cycle of poverty. Around one in four females in Tanzania is illiterate.

 

The overall objective of the conference was to establish modes of deepening African unity and to identify concrete practical steps for charting the way forward for pan-Africanism in the twenty-first century in the face of renewed imperialist aggression.

The President of the United States of America has forcefully asserted the idea that only rich people can save society, a message that, till now, has been conveyed all too subtly. Society needed such a message in order to convince everyone of the great benevolence and moral uprightness of rich people.

You are cordially invited to PALU's 8th Annual Conference, the leading platform for African lawyers, bringing together distinguished Lawyers and Lawyers' Associations as well as Law firms, Human Rights and Good Governance Professionals. The conference will be held from 5th to 8th of July, 2017. If you have not registered yet, you can  register through the conference website at: http://lawyersofafrica.wixsite.com/palu2017/venue

Pambazuka News 827: Herstory and violence on women

The Fifth Continental African Conference of Solidarity with Cuba was convened June 6-8. It brought together over 200 delegates from 26 African states under the theme of “Intensifying Solidarity and Continuing the Legacy of Fidel and Che.”

Britain has always supported the idea of one indivisible Nigeria in its opposition to the Biafran people’s quest for self-determination. But the same Britain has no problem breaking away from the European Union after more than four decades. Or recognizing the right of the Scots to go their way after three centuries of their union.

What once was considered as conversation behind closed doors is now discussed in public, while civility and decency are trashed, and truth sacrificed at the altar of competition for profit and rating. The real issues of society like racial and gender equality, justice, equal opportunities in education, jobs, healthcare and protecting the rights of minorities and immigrants have been ignored, causing the public to switch in droves to social media.

A strike by judges in South Sudan has paralyzed operations in the Judiciary, adding to the misery of the country currently hit by a civil war. While supporting the peaceful industrial action, the Communist Party of South Sudan has called on the government resolve the strike, which threatens the rule of law.

How come the most peaceful Nigerians are threatened with genocide again and again, whereas the Igbo have never threatened any group or participated in the mass killing of other Nigerians? Other Nigerians should stop hating the Igbo. The government should protect Igbo lives and property. If Nigerians do not want the Igbo, then call a referendum to allow the easterners to restore Biafra.

What exactly is the message the U.S. and the U.K. governments are communicating by issuing travel warnings in Ethiopia? On the surface, a travel warning is just that. But does it signify something deeper about U.S./U.K. perceptions of the political situation in the country? Is there a hidden message buried in the warnings?

There are many distortions in the dominant narratives around the 1976 students’ uprising. One of the most critical of these is the persistent, subtle projection of that uprising as the exclusive initiative of young men, to the complete exclusion and erasure of the invaluable contributions and sacrifices of young women. This constitutes epistemic violence against Black women.

Having lost their parliamentary majority, Prime Minister Theresa May attempted to form an alliance with the Democratic Unionist Party. The DUP is a set of misogynist Bible-beating reactionaries infamous for their diehard opposition to evolution, to manmade climate change, to same sex marriage and to abortion. A coalition with the DUP introduces fascism into British politics and would help install a regime that abandons hypocritical discourse about tolerance and instead relies on violent repression.

The Horn of Africa, one of the most geostrategic regions in the world, has strong ties with the Arab world. Gulf nations led by Saudi Arabia have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing Qatar of funding terrorist groups, and supporting Iran, Saudi Arabia’s main rival in the region. If this crisis is left to fester, it will have devastating consequences for nations in the Horn of Africa.

I want her to live in freedom and safety not in fear and confusion and not surely in a sanitized bubble where everything is rosy. What I want for her is a future where she will not be violated or put down simply because she is a girl.

Sierra Leone bans pregnant girls from school. The government maintains that they are a bad influence to the rest of the students. This has had negative ramifications for many girls who desperately want to continue with their education. The ban is not only discriminatory but  also exposes government failure to address widespread sexual violence against girls.

Policy Statement of the government of the Saharawi Republic on the risk and liability of ships carrying natural resources from occupied Western Sahara.

There was a time when persecuted Sudanese looked to Jordan,as their only hope to reach a place where their rights and prospects could be valued. That was before the rise of right-wing populism in Europe, the election of Donald Trump, and the VIP welcome extended to Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir in Amman earlier this year. What then is a viable option for those seeking safety?

One of the main issues around Lesotho’s general elections, including the recent poll of 3 June 2017, is the incredibly low voter turnout. Much of the commentary on this blames election fatigue, among other things. The 3 June general election was, for example, the third in five years. But, is there more to Lesotho’s voter apathy than election fatigue? 

Pambazuka News 826: Africa's class problem

The political climate remains fragile and the mentality of most opposition politicians hardly offers meaningful alternatives. This is possibly an explanation – but no excuse – for the undemocratic practices permeating almost every one of the region’s nations. Beyond multi-party systems with regular elections, they resemble very little of true democracies.

Mahmood Mamdani, the executive director of Makerere Institute of Social Research, is not an angel. And certainly the programme is not his fiefdom. MISR’s current mission  takes seriously Frantz Fanon’s resolute plea to the African revolutionary intellectual to not simply revert to our world of yore - the pre-colonial, pre-modern, primordial, etc. - but to rethink it anew.

A man of strong beliefs and convictions, Cde Toivo dedicated his life to the fight against oppression by the then South Africa authorities, rejecting apartheid South Africa’s reduction of sovereign Namibia into its colony. His life was the personification of solidarity, the quest for self-determination and unyielding commitment to the liberation of his people.

The labour movement has been unable to de-link itself from its archenemy: capital. As its structures bureaucratise, as its leaders become career unionists, as it opens investment companies and pays staff increasingly inequitable salaries, it increasingly mirrors the very thing it is fighting. If the South African Federation of Trade Unions is to meet its promise, it must be fundamentally different from the organisation it was born out of.

Shutting down and criminalizing use of the internet has become a weapon in the government’s cyber warfare strategy against the Ethiopian people, particularly the youth. The internet is making it exceedingly difficult for dictatorships to cling to power and rule tyrannically. It has created a walless, borderless, wireless, seamless, restless and fearless world.

“Sir, you have served white monopoly capital with distinction. You have worked for them as an agent and a counter-revolutionary, selling out our right to have transformation of the apartheid economy. You have betrayed the values that define a disciplined cadre. Today you live large in arrogance and attempt to lecture us when we, as soldiers for our liberation, are dying as paupers.”

The crisis in Cameroon continues to fester without much international concern about serious human rights violations. With his close ties to France and his support for the American-led war against Boko Haram terrorism in the north of the country, President Paul Biya may ignore local pressure. But the conflict between the French-speaking and English-speaking parts of Cameroon will not simply vanish.

The judgment has been handed down on Helen Zille, leader of South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance, muzzling her from any party related communications in future. She said that colonialism wasn’t all bad. Her tweet was insensitive but true, the backlash furious and nonsensical. Why? I blame black guilt, which I understand very well, because I’m white.

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