Archive for October 22, 2011

Sudan Rejects Deployment of Foreign Troops in Its Land

Posted: October 22, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in World

Khartoum – Sudan told the American envoy Preston Lyman that it will not agree deployment of foreign troops in its land. A reference to the presence of SPLM forces in South Kordofan and Blue Nile States.
Meanwhile, the Sudanese government demanded the international community to put pressure on SPLM to withdraw its forces from the two states if that community was serious about resolving the problem.
The government reportedly held SPLM responsible for conditions in the two said states as in accordance with the timetables specified in the  peace agreement.
For his part, the undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs  who received the American envoy to Sudan, Liman, affirmed to the American diplomat that the government has attempted addressing this situation even after the expiry of the period specified for disarming these militias but the other side did not cooperate “the international community seeks to capitalize on conditions in these states to put pressure on Sudan, while turning a blind eye to the possession of the other party (SPLM), hence this has culminated in the existing humanitarian conditions”, he was quoted as saying.
In his turn, the spokesperson for the foreign affairs ministry said the American envoy has expressed his vision on addressing the conditions in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states, through assessment of these conditions by allowing access to credible international organizations to do that to pave the way for identifying the needs of these regions and the mechanisms to do that.

The Man Who Stayed Behind

Posted: October 22, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in World

Ryan Boyette

Ryan Boyette in front of his home in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan with his wife, Jazira.


IN the last few months, as you and I have been fretting about the economy or moaning about the weather, Ryan Boyette has been living in a mud-wall hut and dodging bombs in his underwear.

On the Ground

Nicholas D. Kristof

Some humanitarian catastrophes — Congo, Somalia, Sudan — linger because the killing unfolds without witnesses. So Ryan, a 30-year-old from Florida, has made the perilous decision to bear witness to atrocities in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan, secretly staying behind when other foreigners were evacuated.

I met Ryan a few years ago in Sudan, and even then he was a compelling figure who spoke the local languages of Otoro and Sudanese Arabic. An evangelical Christian deeply motivated by his faith, Ryan moved to the Nuba Mountains in 2003 and worked for Samaritan’s Purse, an aid group led by the Rev. Franklin Graham.

Early this year, Ryan married a local woman, Jazira, a health worker — and 6,000 joyous Nubans celebrated at the wedding, along with Ryan’s parents, who flew in from Florida.

It was clear that war was brewing in the Nuba Mountains. The region had sided with South Sudan in the country’s long civil war, but now South Sudan was separating while the Nuba Mountains would remain in the north. The people — mostly Muslim but with a large Christian minority — supported a local rebel army left over from the civil war.

In June, fighting erupted. The Sudanese government moved in to destroy the rebel army and depopulate areas that supported it. Aid organizations pulled out their workers. Ryan decided that he could not flee, so when Samaritan’s Purse ordered him to evacuate, he resigned and stayed behind.

“A lot of people tried to convince me to leave,” Ryan remembers. “But this is where my wife is from, this is where I’ve lived for eight years. It’s hard to get on a plane and say, ‘Bye, I hope to see you when this ends.’ ”

Ryan organized a network of 15 people to gather information and take photos and videos, documenting atrocities. He used a solar-powered laptop and a satellite phone to transmit them to the West, typically to the Enough Project, a Washington-based anti-genocide organization. He also supplied eyewitness interviews that helped the Enough Project and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative find evidence of atrocities, including eight mass graves, on satellite images. And he helped journalists understand what was going on.

“He’s irreplaceable,” said Jonathan Hutson of the Enough Project. “There’s no substitute for someone on the ground.”

Ryan tried to keep his presence in the region a secret, at least from the Sudanese government, for fear that it might seek to eliminate a witness. Once, a bombing seemed to target his hut, but he heard the plane approaching and ran out in his skivvies and took cover; the bombs missed, and he was unhurt.

After the first few weeks, the killings on the ground abated. But the government has continued the bombings.

“It’s terrifying when they bomb,” Ryan told me. “You don’t feel safe at any time of day or night.”

The bombs typically miss and have killed fewer than 200 people, he says, but they prevent people from farming their fields. Several hundred thousand people have been driven from their homes in the surrounding state of South Kordofan, Ryan says, and a famine may be looming.

“It’s not a good time to have kids,” Ryan quoted Jazira as telling him. “If we have kids, they’ll just starve.”

Frustrated by the lack of attention for the Nubans’ plight, Ryan decided to return to the United States this month and tell his story. He couldn’t get a visa for Jazira in time — obtaining an American visa for a spouse is a long and complex process — so she is in a refugee camp for 15,000 Nubans in South Sudan, struggling to address health needs there. Meanwhile, in Washington, Ryan has testified before Congress and met with White House officials.

Soon, he’ll go back, rejoining Jazira and sneaking back with her into the Nuba Mountains. It’ll be more dangerous than ever now that he has gone public, but he is determined to give voice to the voiceless — and Nubans will do everything to protect him.

In a world where leaders often pretend not to notice mass atrocities, for fear that they might be called upon to do something, I find Ryan an inspiration. His eyewitness accounts make it more difficult for the world to neglect a humanitarian crisis in the Nuba Mountains — even if he does need to brush up on his tech skills.

I asked Ryan if he planned to use Twitter.

“Twitter?” he asked. “I’ve been in the bush for nine years, so I don’t know how to use it.” But he’s planning to learn.

I invite you to comment on this column on my blog, On the Ground. Please also join me on Facebook and Google+, watch my YouTube videos and follow me on Twitter.

South Sudan national exams to be set by Khartoum for the next 3 years

Posted: October 22, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Education

Ministry Signs Agreement with Sudan for Certificate Examination

by Mary Ajith ǀ 21.10.2011

JUBA – The Ministry of General Education in the Republic of South Sudan has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Sudan Government stating that students are to be allowed to sit for Sudan School Certificate Examination and Khartoum is to set the exam for another three years giving South Sudan enough time to set its own exams.

This information was revealed by Joesph Ukel, the Minister of General Education while addressing the media at
his ministry. We had been to Khartoum and had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of General Education on the 17th of this month, said the minister. A joint agreement was made in which the students will carry on taking the Sudan School Examination that is the 2012 for an extended period of three years.

Although, South Sudan has its own locally based schools however,it is still not adequately prepared to set its own examination council or examination board etc; this is why it is currently using the Sudan Examination Council in Khartoum besides Ugandan’s curriculum for those students who were studying in Uganda.

Ukel said that the Ministry was given a timetable which had indicated that examination for 2012 will start on March 19th up to the 31st of the same month; there are 18,000 students who had already registered to sit for these examinations.   “The timetable for 2012 examination is currently with the Ministry together with 240 copies of students’ examination guideline. This will be sent to all the States of South Sudan to be distributed in the different schools,” he said.

Ukel added that the memorandum is strictly for the School Certificate Examination no any other policies involved.   “We did not have any other alternative for students sitting for Sudan Certificate and this  is why we use this available opportunity.  This does not mean that our students will continue to get their exams from Khartoum for longer
periods. No! Once we are ready we might not even need to have it for the full three years,” explained the Minister.

The Minister outlined that South Sudan has three different curricula, Sudan School Certificate, East Africa or Uganda curriculum and South Sudan Schools’ curriculum. He elaborated that for those students who are sitting for the Sudan School Certificate Examination, they will continue to take Khartoum exams next year while for other students who were not Khartoum based, they will be taking Uganda examinations and another set in South Sudan for this year

“We shall also be sending South Sudanese teachers to Khartoum for training on how to correct exams and they will also be working closely with the Sudan Examination Council,”Ukel said.

One of the advantages of this agreement is the fact that the training would be supervised by South Sudanese teachers and once correction is done in Khartoum, then the certificate will be sent to South Sudan, unlike in the past where students were made to go to Khartoum for certificates’ collection.

This is an Analysis by a Cameroonian writer known as Jean-Paul Pougala . The original analysis was in French and was translated by Sputnik Kilambi.
Africans should think about the real reasons why western countries are waging war on Libya, writes Jean-Paul Pougala, in an analysis that traces the country’s role in shaping the African Union and the development of the continent.
It was Gaddafi’s Libya that offered all of Africa its first revolution in modern times –connecting the entire continent by telephone, television, radio broadcasting and several other technological applications such as telemedicine and distance teaching. And thanks to the WMAX radio bridge, a low cost connection was made available across the continent, including in rural areas. It began in 1992, when 45 African nations established RASCOM (Regional African Satellite Communication Organization) so that Africa would have its own satellite and slash communication costs in the continent.

This was a time when phone calls to and from Africa were the most expensive in the world because of the annual US$500 million fee pocketed by Europe for the use of its satellites like Intelsat for phone conversations, including those within the same country. African satellite only cost a onetime payment of US$400 million and the continent no longer had to pay a US$500 million annual lease. Which banker wouldn’t finance such a project? But the problem remained – how can slaves, seeking to free themselves from their master’s exploitation ask the master’s help to achieve that freedom? Not surprisingly, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the USA, Europe only made vague promises for 14 years.

Gaddafi put an end to these futile pleas to the western ‘benefactors’ with their exorbitant interest rates. The Libyan guide put US$300 million on the table; the African Development Bank added US$50 million more and the West African Development Bank a further US$27 million – and that’s how Africa got its first communications satellite on 26 December 2007. China and Russia followed suit and shared their technology and helped launch satellites for South Africa, Nigeria, Angola, Algeria and a second African satellite was launched in July 2010.

The first totally indigenously built satellite and manufactured on African soil, in Algeria, is set for 2020. This satellite is aimed at competing with the best in the world, but at ten times less the cost, a real challenge. This is how a symbolic gesture of a mere US$300 million changed the life of an entire continent. Gaddafi’s Libya cost the West, not just depriving it of US$500 million per year but the billions of dollars in debt and interest that the initial loan would generate for years to come and in an exponential manner, thereby helping maintain an occult system in order to plunder the continent.


The US$30 billion frozen by Mr. Obama belong to the Libyan Central Bank and had been earmarked as the Libyan contribution to three key projects which would add the finishing touches to the African federation – the African Investment Bank in Syrte, Libya, the establishment in 2011 of the African Monetary Fund to be based in Yaounde with a US$42 billion capital fund and the Abuja-based African Central Bank in Nigeria which when it starts printing African money will ring the death knell for the CFA franc through which Paris has been able to maintain its hold on some African countries for the last fifty years. It is easy to understand the French wrath against Gaddafi.

The African Monetary Fund is expected to totally supplant the African activities of the International Monetary Fund which, with only US$25 billion, was able to bring an entire continent to its knees and make it swallow questionable privatization like forcing African countries to move from public to private monopolies. No surprise then that on 16-17 December 2010, the Africans unanimously rejected attempts by Western countries to join the African Monetary Fund, saying it was open only to African nations.

It is increasingly obvious that after Libya, the western coalition will go after Algeria, because apart from its huge energy resources, the country has cash reserves of around a 150 billion. This is what lures the countries that are bombing Libya and they all have one thing in common – they are practically bankrupt. The USA alone, has a staggering debt of $US14,000 billion, France, Great Britain and Italy each have a US$2,000 billion public deficit compared to less than US$400 billion in public debt for 46 African countries combined.

Inciting spurious wars in Africa in the hope that this will revitalize their economies which are sinking ever more into the doldrums will ultimately hasten the western decline which actually began in 1884 during the notorious Berlin Conference. As the American economist Adam Smith predicted in 1865 when he publicly backed Abraham Lincoln for the abolition of slavery, ‘the economy of any country which relies on the slavery of blacks is destined to descend into hell the day those countries awaken’.


To destabilize and destroy the African union which was veering dangerously (for the West) towards a United States of Africa under the guiding hand of Gaddafi, the European Union first tried, unsuccessfully, to create the Union for the Mediterranean (UPM). North Africa somehow had to be cut off from the rest of Africa, using the old tired racist cliches of the 18th and 19th centuries, which claimed that Africans of Arab origin were more evolved and civilized than the rest of the continent. This failed because Gaddafi refused to buy into it. He soon understood what game was being played when only a handful of African countries were invited to join the Mediterranean grouping without informing the African Union but inviting all 27 members of the European Union.

Without the driving force behind the African Federation, the UPM failed even before it began, still-born with Sarkozy as president and Mubarak as vice president. The French foreign minister, Alain Juppe is now attempting to re-launch the idea, banking no doubt on the fall of Gaddafi. What African leaders fail to understand is that as long as the European Union continues to finance the African Union, the status quo will remain, because no real independence. This is why the European Union has encouraged and financed regional groupings in Africa.

It is obvious that the West African Economic Community (ECOWAS), which has an embassy in Brussels and depends for the bulk of it’s funding on the European Union, is a vociferous opponent to the African federation. That’s why Lincoln fought in the US war of secession because the moment a group of countries come together in a regional political organization, it weakens the main group. That is what Europe wanted and the Africans have never understood the game plan, creating a plethora of regional groupings, COMESA, UDEAC, SADC, and the Great Maghreb which never saw the light of day thanks to Gaddafi who understood what was happening.


For most Africans, Gaddafi is a generous man, a humanist, known for his unselfish support for the struggle against the racist regime in South Africa. If he had been an egotist, he wouldn’t have risked the wrath of the West to help the ANC both militarily and financially in the fight against apartheid. This was why Mandela, soon after his release from 27 years in jail, decided to break the UN embargo and travel to Libya on 23 October 1997. For five long years, no plane could touch down in Libya because of the embargo. One needed to take a plane to the Tunisian city of Jerba and continue by road for five hours to reach Ben Gardane, cross the border and continue on a desert road for three hours before reaching Tripoli. The other solution was to go through Malta, and take a night ferry on ill-maintained boats to the Libyan coast. A hellish journey for a whole people, simply to punish one man.

Mandela didn’t mince his words when the former US president Bill Clinton said the visit was an ‘unwelcome’ one – ‘No country can claim to be the policeman of the world and no state can dictate to another what it should do’. He added – ‘Those that yesterday were friends of our enemies have the gall today to tell me not to visit my brother Gaddafi, they are advising us to be ungrateful and forget our friends of the past.’ Indeed, the West still considered the South African racists to be their brothers who needed to be protected.

That’s why the members of the ANC, including Nelson Mandela, were considered to be dangerous terrorists. It was only on 2 July 2008, that the US Congress finally voted a law to remove the name of Nelson Mandela and his ANC comrades from their black list, not because they realized how stupid that list was but because they wanted to mark Mandela’s 90th birthday. If the West was truly sorry for its past support for Mandela’s enemies and really sincere when they name streets and places after him, how can they continue to wage war against someone who helped Mandela and his people to be victorious, Gaddafi?


And what if Gaddafi’s Libya were more democratic than the USA, France, Britain and other countries waging war to export democracy to Libya? On 19 March 2003, President George Bush began bombing Iraq under the pretext of bringing democracy. On 19 March 2011, exactly eight years later to the day, it was the French president’s turn to rain down bombs over Libya, once again claiming it was to bring democracy. Nobel peace prize-winner and US President Obama says unleashing cruise missiles from submarines is to oust the dictator and introduce democracy.

The question that anyone with even minimum intelligence cannot help asking is the following: Are countries like France, England, the USA, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Poland who defend their right to bomb Libya on the strength of their self proclaimed democratic status really democratic? If yes, are they more democratic than Gaddafi’s Libya? The answer in fact is a resounding NO, for the plain and simple reason that democracy doesn’t exist. This isn’t a personal opinion, but a quote from someone whose native town Geneva, hosts the bulk of UN institutions. The quote is from Jean Jacques Rousseau, born in Geneva in 1712 and who writes in chapter four of the third book of the famous ‘Social Contract’ that ‘there never was a true democracy and there never will be. Rousseau sets out the following four conditions for a country to be labeled a democracy and according to these Gaddafi’s Libya is far more democratic than the USA, France and the others claiming to export democracy:

1. The State: The bigger a country, the less democratic it can be. According to Rousseau, the state has to be extremely small so that people can come together and know each other. Before asking people to vote, one must ensure that everybody knows everyone else, otherwise voting will be an act without any democratic basis, a simulacrum of democracy to elect a dictator. The Libyan state is based on a system of tribal allegiances, which by definition group people together in small entities. The democratic spirit is much more present in a tribe, a village than in a big country, simply because people know each other, share a common life rhythm which involves a kind of self-regulation or even self-censorship in that the reactions and counter reactions of other members impacts on the group.

From this perspective, it would appear that Libya fits Rousseau’s conditions better than the USA, France and Great Britain, all highly urbanized societies where most neighbours don’t even say hello to each other and therefore don’t know each other even if they have lived side by side for twenty years. These countries leapfrogged leaped into the next stage – ‘the vote’ – which has been cleverly sanctified to obfuscate the fact that voting on the future of the country is useless if the voter doesn’t know the other citizens. This has been pushed to ridiculous limits with voting rights being given to people living abroad. Communicating with and amongst each other is a precondition for any democratic debate before an election.

2. Simplicity in customs and behavioural patterns are also essential if one is to avoid spending the bulk of the time debating legal and judicial procedures in order to deal with the multitude of conflicts of interest inevitable in a large and complex society. Western countries define themselves as civilized nations with a more complex social structure whereas Libya is described as a primitive country with a simple set of customs. This aspect too indicates that Libya responds better to Rousseau’s democratic criteria than all those trying to give lessons in democracy. Conflicts in complex societies are most often won by those with more power, which is why the rich manage to avoid prison because they can afford to hire top lawyers and instead arrange for state repression to be directed against someone one who stole a banana in a supermarket rather than a financial criminal who ruined a bank. In the city of New York for example where 75 per cent of the population is white, 80 per cent of management posts are occupied by whites who make up only 20 per cent of incarcerated people.

3. Equality in status and wealth: A look at the Forbes 2010 list shows who the richest people in each of the countries currently bombing Libya are and the difference between them and those who earn the lowest salaries in those nations; a similar exercise on Libya will reveal that in terms of wealth distribution, Libya has much more to teach than those fighting it now, and not the contrary. So here too, using Rousseau’s criteria, Libya is more democratic than the nations pompously pretending to bring democracy. In the USA, 5 per cent of the population owns 60 per cent of the national wealth, making it the most unequal and unbalanced society in the world.

4. No luxuries: according to Rousseau there can’t be any luxury if there is to be democracy. Luxury, he says, makes wealth a necessity which then becomes a virtue in itself, it, and not the welfare of the people becomes the goal to be reached at all cost, ‘Luxury corrupts both the rich and the poor, the one through possession and the other through envy; it makes the nation soft and prey to vanity; it distances people from the State and enslaves them, making them a slave to opinion.’ Is there more luxury in France than in Libya? The reports on employees committing suicide because of stressful working conditions even in public or semi-public companies, all in the name of maximizing profit for a minority and keeping them in luxury, happen in the West, not in Libya. The American sociologist C. Wright Mills wrote in 1956 that American democracy was a ‘dictatorship of the elite’.

According to Mills, the USA is not a democracy because it is money that talks during elections and not the people. The results of each election are the expression of the voice of money and not the voice of the people. After Bush senior and Bush junior, they are already talking about a younger Bush for the 2012 Republican primaries. Moreover, as Max Weber pointed out, since political power is dependent on the bureaucracy, the US has 43 million bureaucrats and military personnel who effectively rule the country but without being elected and are not accountable to the people for their actions. One person (a rich one) is elected, but the real power lies with the caste of the wealthy who then get nominated to be ambassadors, generals, etc. How many people in these self-proclaimed democracies know that Peru’s constitution prohibits an outgoing president from seeking a second consecutive mandate?

How many know that in Guatemala, not only can an outgoing president not seek re-election to the same post, no one from that person’s family can aspire to the top job either? Or that Rwanda is the only country in the world that has 56 per cent female parliamentarians? How many people know that in the 2007 CIA index, four of the world’s best-governed countries are African? That the top prize goes to Equatorial Guinea whose public debt represents only 1.14 per cent of GDP? Rousseau maintains that civil wars, revolts and rebellions are the ingredients of the beginning of democracy. Because democracy is not an end, but a permanent process of the reaffirmation of the natural rights of human beings which in countries all over the world (without exception) are trampled upon by a handful of men and women who have hijacked the power of the people to perpetuate their supremacy.

There are here and there groups of people who have usurped the term ‘democracy’ – instead of it being an ideal towards which one strives it has become a label to be appropriated or a slogan which is used by people who can shout louder than others. If a country is calm, like France or the USA, that is to say without any rebellions, it only means, from Rousseau’s perspective, that the dictatorial system is sufficiently repressive to pre-empt any revolt. It wouldn’t be a bad thing if the Libyans revolted.

What is bad is to affirm that people stoically accept a system that represses them all over the world without reacting. And Rousseau concludes: ‘Malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium – translation – If gods were people, they would govern themselves democratically. Such a perfect government is not applicable to human beings.’ To claim that one is killing Libyans for their own good is a hoax.

Dark days are ahead by Mahmood Mamdani

When the UN Security Council passes resolutions allowing intervention, third parties such as NATO can carry out the interventions without accountability to anyone [EPA]

“Kampala ‘mute’ as Gaddafi falls,” is how the opposition paper summed up the mood of this capital the morning after. Whether they mourn or celebrate, an unmistakable sense of trauma marks the African response to the fall of Gaddafi.

Both in the longevity of his rule and in his style of governance, Gaddafi may have been extreme. But he was not exceptional. The longer they stay in power, the more African presidents seek to personalise power. Their success erodes the institutional basis of the state. The Carribean thinker C L R James once remarked on the contrast between Nyerere and Nkrumah, analysing why the former survived until he resigned but the latter did not: “Dr Julius Nyerere in theory and practice laid the basis of an African state, which Nkrumah failed to do.”

The African strongmen are going the way of Nkrumah, and in extreme cases Gaddafi, not Nyerere. The societies they lead are marked by growing internal divisions. In this, too, they are reminiscent of Libya under Gaddafi more than Egypt under Mubarak or Tunisia under Ben Ali.
Whereas the fall of Mubarak and Ben Ali directed our attention to internal social forces, the fall of Gaddafi has brought a new equation to the forefront: the connection between internal opposition and external governments. Even if those who cheer focus on the former and those who mourn are preoccupied with the latter, none can deny that the change in Tripoli would have been unlikely without a confluence of external intervention and internal revolt.

More interventions to come

The conditions making for external intervention in Africa are growing, not diminishing. The continent is today the site of a growing contention between dominant global powers and new challengers. The Chinese role on the continent has grown dramatically. Whether in Sudan and Zimbawe, or in Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria, that role is primarily economic, focused on two main activities: building infrastructure and extracting raw materials. For its part, the Indian state is content to support Indian mega-corporations; it has yet to develop a coherent state strategy. But the Indian focus too is mainly economic.

The contrast with Western powers, particularly the US and France, could not be sharper. The cutting edge of Western intervention is military. France’s search for opportunities for military intervention, at first in Tunisia, then Cote d’Ivoire, and then Libya, has been above board and the subject of much discussion. Of greater significance is the growth of Africom, the institutional arm of US military intervention on the African continent.
This is the backdrop against which African strongmen and their respective oppositions today make their choices. Unlike in the Cold War, Africa’s strongmen are weary of choosing sides in the new contention for Africa. Exemplified by President Museveni of Uganda, they seek to gain from multiple partnerships, welcoming the Chinese and the Indians on the economic plane, while at the same time seeking a strategic military presence with the US as it wages its War on Terror on the African continent.

In contrast, African oppositions tend to look mainly to the West for support, both financial and military. It is no secret that in just about every African country, the opposition is drooling at the prospect of Western intervention in the aftermath of the fall of Gaddafi.

Those with a historical bent may want to think of a time over a century ago, in the decade that followed the Berlin conference, when outside powers sliced up the continent. Our predicament today may give us a more realistic appreciation of the real choices faced and made by the generations that went before us. Could it have been that those who then welcomed external intervention did so because they saw it as the only way of getting rid of domestic oppression?

In the past decade, Western powers have created a political and legal infrastructure for intervention in otherwise independent countries. Key to that infrastructure are two institutions, the United Nations Security Council and the International Criminal Court. Both work politically, that is, selectively. To that extent, neither works in the interest of creating a rule of law.

The Security Council identifies states guilty of committing “crimes against humanity” and sanctions intervention as part of a “responsibility to protect” civilians. Third parties, other states armed to the teeth, are then free to carry out the intervention without accountability to anyone, including the Security Council. The ICC, in toe with the Security Council, targets the leaders of the state in question for criminal investigation and prosecution.
Africans have been complicit in this, even if unintentionally. Sometimes, it is as if we have been a few steps behind in a game of chess. An African Secretary General tabled the proposal that has come to be called R2P, Responsibility to Protect. Without the vote of Nigeria and South Africa, the resolution authorising intervention in Libya would not have passed in the Security Council.

Dark days are ahead. More and more African societies are deeply divided internally. Africans need to reflect on the fall of Gaddafi and, before him, that of Gbagbo in Cote d’Ivoire. Will these events usher in an era of external interventions, each welcomed internally as a mechanism to ensure a change of political leadership in one country after another?

One thing should be clear: those interested in keeping external intervention at bay need to concentrate their attention and energies on internal reform.

Mahmood Mamdani is professor and director of Makerere Institute of Social Research at Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda, and Herbert Lehman Professor of Government at Columbia University, New York. He is the author most recently of Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, The Cold War and the Roots of Terror, and Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics and the War on Terror.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

Libyan war wasn’t about democracy but scramble for African resources

Posted  Saturday, October 29  2011 at  17:50

Africa has lost its righteous anger. As we talk of Muammar Gaddafi as a dictator and celebrate his demise as a rat or mongrel dog, we forget how Nato, a military alliance of America and European nations mob-invaded a single African country, to kill its leader and plunder its enormous oil reserves. What a shame.

Murithi Mutiga summed it up in his criticism of BBC and other Western media for their biased coverage of the Libyan war as Nato’s fifth column.

Those of us with a sense of history remember times when Europe — a Semitic word meaning “darkness” — believed it could only end its economic woes by “discovering”, conquering, colonising and plundering the other world.

White advocates of imperialism even believed Europe had to go farther than colonise and plunder, and exterminate all so-called “inferior races” or “Niggers”.

Herbert Spencer even wrote in Social Statics (1850) that it served civilisation to “exterminate such sections of mankind as stand in their way….”

As for Africans, by 1897, an English newspaper minced no words regarding their extermination:

“Niggers remain niggers whatever colour they are, but the archetype is found in Africa. Oh, Africa! God must have been in a bad mood when He created that continent.

“Why otherwise fill it with people who are doomed to be replaced by other races coming from outside?

“Would it not have been better to make the niggers white, so that in all good time they could become Englishmen, instead of giving us all the trouble of exterminating them?”

After agreeing to colonise and exterminate the rest of the world, in 1885 there was a conference at Berlin for European powers to share colonies.

But when Europeans came to Africa, they didn’t say it was to enslave and exterminate natives. They claimed it was to spread Christianity, commerce and civilisation in a dark continent.

Despite their nice sounding proclamations, where colonisation and enslavement were resisted, extermination of Africans like the Herero of Namibia followed, while those who survived massacres were colonised, later half-freed and are today still struggling to free themselves from legacies of European plunder.

If once bitten, twice shy, Africans fear when American and European economies are sinking and their governments fighting wars everywhere supposedly for reforms but in reality to plunder and repatriate other countries’ oil, minerals and raw materials.

Soviet Union

Within a short time we have seen America and Nato bring down the Soviet Union, wage wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Ivory Coast and Libya in Africa. Kenya also seems to be in Somalia at the behest of the West, which is also itching to invade Syria to impose “a democracy that presupposes genocide”.

When we complain of these wars’ ulterior motives, beneficiaries of Western imperialism welcome its globalisation because they say, without British occupation, Kenya wouldn’t have “progress that presupposes genocide” if its sham-ness is resisted.

We are hardly endeared to Western supported reforms when we see President Bhagbo’s wife on a bed with wild soldiers, Gaddafi killed like a dog and Libyan towns flattened by Nato bombardments.

They remind us of 1896 when king of Ashanti Prempeh and his mother were arrested and forced to crawl on all fours and kiss boots of British officers. Then as now, “the best of them (Africans) is not good enough to die like a pig”.

We are told Gaddafi had to die because he was in power for 42 years. But the English Queen has been in power for 60 years and Nato has not bombed England. And will Nato bomb heaven because God will be in power eternally?

Right after independence, Western powers instigated the overthrow of Kwame Nkrumah and murder of Patrice Lumumba in the name of freedom but replaced them with dictators like Mobutu Sese Seko that allowed Western powers to freely plunder Congolese minerals.

Today as then, European powers did not instigate Gaddafi’s murder for reforms but free access to Libyan oil, while the new Libyan rulers are butchering people merely because they are black.

Having defied the West for so long, Gaddafi had to go at the earliest possible opportunity. Economically, Gaddafi had no right to put Libya at par with Europe or give his people free electricity, good roads, adequate clean water, housing without slums, free education, free medical services, pre-employment support, a litre of petrol at Sh14, 40 loaves of bread for Sh15 and foreign reserves of $150 billion.

Rather than celebrate Gaddafi’s death, let us learn from the weaknesses and strengths of leaders like Gaddafi; a victim of an unfolding second scramble for African resources between world powers.

Koigi wa Wamwere, Chair of Chama cha Mwananchi and author of “Towards Genocide In Kenya: The curse of Negative Ethnicity.”