Written by Comrade Mafa Kwanisai Mafa – founder and Chairman of the Zimbabwe Movement of Pan African Socialists which is affiliated to the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party through the Worldwide Pan-African Movement (WWPAM), Provincial Chairman of Zimbabwe Cuba Friendship Association, Chairman of the Chimurenga Vanguard, District Secretary of Administration of ZANU PF. firstname.lastname@example.org and whatsapp +263777334750
As we commemorate African Liberation Day on 25 May, it is a stark reminder to Africa that instead of celebrating the day, it is a day of mourning as Africa is still a far cry from being liberated. Africa is bleeding from neo colonialism, endless wars and grinding poverty. Africa has become the Fanonian “wretched of the earth”. The economic system of capitalism is deeply entrenched and it is perpetuating oppression and exploitation of the motherland.
There are countries in Africa such as Rwanda and Namibia which are being celebrated as good economic models for Africa with impeccable GDP’s according to World Bank and IMF reports. There had been reports that Africa is on the rise but the question is, whose interest is being served? The gap between the poor and the rich is yawning. African natural resources are being rapaciously plundered by multinational corporations for the benefit of their nations. China has joined the bandwagon of this exploitative crusade at the invitation and with permission from African governments.
The biggest question is why Africans are so poor when Africa is rich in world’s strategic minerals? Africa can reverse this situation by uniting. African unity has been elusive since the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). Ghana became independent in 1957 under the guidance of our Pan Africanist luminary Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, and he said Ghana’s independence is meaningless until the rest of Africa is liberated. Nkrumah fought very hard and supported most liberation movements in Africa politically and militarily. He spearheaded the formation of OAU and in the early 1960s most African countries started to gain their political independence.
This independence was cosmetic, however, and all levers of the means of production remained in the hands of our erstwhile colonisers. Nation-state independence rendered most of African countries vulnerable to imperialist aggression and onslaught. One by one radical African leaders who stood in the way of imperial interests were deposed or assassinated. Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah became one of the victims of CIA inspired coup de tats. He was pushing for a United States of Africa under one command, with one army, and one currency. Sadly other leaders, like the late Julius Kambarage Nyerere, opposed this unity. He later apologised and expressed regret.
It’s now 10 years since another great African leader Muammar Gaddafi was murdered, joining a long list of African revolutionaries martyred by the West for pushing and advancing the agenda of continental independence, unity and liberation. Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s crime was that he was spearheading attempts to unite Africa and he was committing his Libyan oil wealth to make this dream a reality. This agenda sent shockwaves as African unity would jeopardise western interests. The other factor of concern to the West is the rise of China which now threatens Western monopoly over export markets and investment finance. African unity and the rise of China threatened Western domination of Africa as never before.
To counter this, the West makes sure that Africa remains in a perpetual state of war. Africa is now a battleground and some countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo have not witnessed peace since independence in the 1960s.
One great son of Africa who was emphatic about African unity and security was Amilcar Cabral who taught us that, “We are for African unity, on a regional or continental scale in as far as it is necessary for the progress of the African peoples, and in order to guarantee their security and the continuity of this progress.“ He also warned us that, “The enemies of the African people are powerful and cunning and can always count on a few faithful lackeys in our country, since quislings are not a European privilege.”
Ghana’s first President, Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah in his iconic speech at the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), in front of 31 African heads of state in Addis Ababa on 24 May 1963, President Nkrumah appealed, cajoled and did everything in perhaps his greatest speech ever to convince his comrades to create a strong continental union., Sadly they decided otherwise. Part of his speech read,
“On this continent, it has not taken us long to discover that the struggle against colonialism does not end with the attainment of national independence. Independence is only the prelude to a new and more involved struggle for the right to conduct our own economic and social affairs, to construct our society according to our aspirations, unhampered by crushing and humiliating neo-colonialist control and interference.”
Nkrumah went on to say that, ″…the unity of our continent, no less than our separate independence, will be delayed if indeed we do not lose it, by hobnobbing with colonialism. Africa unity is above all, a political kingdom which can only be gained by political means. The social and economic development of Africa will come only within the political kingdom, not the other way round.″ He implored the leaders that we must unite now or perish. We must work to ensure that his words were not in vain.
To this day, the CIA and other western intelligence organisations have funded and trained terrorist organisations to spread terror across Africa with groups such as Boko Haram, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, ISIS, Mali’s Ansar Dine, and literally dozens of others. There have been numerous terror attacks including those in Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameron, Central African Republic, Chad, and Cote d,Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Tunisia. The private military groups are active in several conflict zones on African soil. Northern Mozambique is the latest case because of the presence of oil and a potential military outpost.
The USA funded ISIS to topple Gaddafi, they funded Shiites to topple Saddam Hussein, and they fund Shiites in Afghanistan for the control of oil and the desire for military bases in those countries. In Zimbabwe they have built the biggest embassy in Africa just because vast oil reserves were discovered in an area of Zimbabwe called Muzarabani. Muzarabani is said to potentially hold some of the largest inland deposits of gas and oil outside the Taoudai Basin. That is the reason why they are imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe, they want the ZANU-PF led government replaced and a more pliant government to take over. Also, at a place where Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique geographically meet, there is a small area called Kanyemba where vast uranium deposits were discovered, this is another target of the West.
According to an online newsletter, The Conservation, it is reported that “currently, the US has 7000 military personnel on rotational deployments in Africa. These troops carry out joint operations with African forces against extremists or jihadists. They are hosted in military outposts across the continent including Uganda, South Sudan, Somalia , Niger, Gabon, Cameroon, Burkina Faso and the DRC.
“In addition, 2000 American soldiers are involved in training missions in 40 African countries. America Special Forces operate across east Africa so called forward operations locations in Kenya and Somalia.”
In Africa we still have colonial military outposts in Western Sahara, the Comoros and Diego Garcia. This shows that the task of Pan African liberation is far from complete. The biggest threat to African unity now is the US Africa Command or AFRICOM, which many Africans see as another attempt to recolonise Africa. Netfa Freeman, a member of the Black Alliance for Peace Coordinating Committee, concurs to this view when he posited that, “Today, US bases as well as military to military relations between 53 out of the 54 African countries and the United States characterise the aggressive strategy of the US to preserve the interests of the Pan European, white supremacist colonial/capitalist project on the African continent. Africans must wake up and rise up against the militarisation of Africa by the US, colonial state.” We must forge a powerful Pan African resistance with support from anti-imperialists everywhere.
In Sudan and Chad, the Chinese have discovered vast amounts of oil but the region continues to face instability and coups caused by the US and France. On Africa’s eastern coast in Kenya and Somalia, Al Shabab is terrorising the region yet each of these countries have US bases that can’t seem to end terrorism. Africans don’t seem to learn that this is from the same playbook. You first deploy US trained/sponsored Islamic extremists then after a series of atrocities send in the US military. The US military is a gangster in the service of capitalism.
Several of our African governments are hosting foreign military bases notwithstanding the concerns of the African Union about the increased proliferation of foreign military bases on the continent. Led by the US and France, approximately 13 foreign powers have a substantial military presence on the continent.
Why is the Mozambique government inviting US military advisers to support its own armed forces in fighting terrorists? What is the role of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the AU in resolving this? By inviting the US military are we not repeating the mistakes of the past as when Patrice Lumumba invited United Nations peace keeping forces to enforce law and order which ultimately led to his murder under their watch? The United Nations colluded with western countries to kill Patrice Lumumba.
Zimbabwe has suffered for two decades without any practical support from any African nation. There is no African unity, the support is only rhetoric. It was only recently when SADC declared a date for member states to march against sanctions in Zimbabwe. Sadly most of our Pan African comrades and friends are buying into foreign media propaganda. They now believe that the issue of sanctions is an overplayed CD and it only targets the ruling elite. That’s why it is important that as Pan Africanists we must have our own media outlets that tell our own stories. The global reactionary cooperate media is misleading people on the Zimbabwe question. South African media which is mainly controlled by Europeans is on a crusade to demonise and vilify Zimbabwe, this happens because such critical institutions and means of production are still under agents of Apartheid. Up to this day, notwithstanding the reformist agenda post-Mugabe, Zimbabwe is still subjected to a barrage of disinformation, propaganda and isolation. Zimbabwe is enacting the new Patriotic Act to punish those who collude and connive with foreign hostile governments to destabilise, destroy and tarnish our national image.
The US foreign policy has not moved an inch, as they continue to renew their sanctions on Zimbabwe every year. Zimbabwe has tried to make some concessions to appease western imperialism but nothing has changed. Western imperialism is not relenting in its efforts to subvert the constitutionally elected government of Zimbabwe. Most Africans fail to realise that the sanctions are meant to collectively punish the 16 million Zimbabweans for upsetting white economic interests. If sanctions succeed in Zimbabwe, it will be a heavy blow to African liberation in as far as land expropriation is concerned; and without land, Africans will continue to wallow in poverty. The Zimbabwe land revolution inspired most people in the underdeveloped countries and demands for land repatriation got amplified in South Africa and Namibia. This torch which Zimbabwe ignited is slowly but surely being extinguished. That’s why African unity call and action must be an urgent priority before we perish. South Africa and other SADC nations (capitalists) are actually benefiting from sanctions on Zimbabwe because they under pay cheap migrant labourers , they subject them to precarious labour conditions, and Zimbabwe is forced to import most of its foodstuffs from these countries because most multinational corporations migrated to other Southern African countries.
White capital monopoly in South Africa deliberately misleads South Africans that “foreigners “are taking their jobs and fan afro-phobia where Africans turn against each other maiming and killing one another. South Africa is sadly becoming Africa’s problem child; it is South Africa which voted for the invasion of Libya leading to the murder of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. South Africa’s hostile imperialist dominated media was awash with news that Zimbabwe has become a hotspot in Africa for COVID – 19, yet Zimbabwe even up to this day has the lowest statistics compared to its regional counterparts. Zimbabwe was the first country to undertake a voluntary vaccination programme using vaccines from China, India and Russia. Zimbabwe will also be one of the first countries which will receive vaccines from the revolutionary socialist country of Cuba. It seems that South Africa is being used as a front to delay African liberation. Maybe that is the reason why it does not have 25 May as a public holiday for African Liberation Day. The white community is even arrogant to the levels of burning police cars with impunity , white South Africans are untouchables but when black South Africans do their picketing they are brutally dealt with by the police. The Marikana shootings is but one example where brute force was unleashed on innocent workers to protect white capital monopoly interests. South Africa needs to decolonise the instruments of state from agents of apartheid.
There are many factors that deter African unity and lead to the lack of support from other African countries for Zimbabwe in its fight against sanctions. Most African countries are propped up by neo-colonial forces, which mean that that he who pays the piper calls the tune. Most African economies are indebted to the World Bank and IMF, which is why the most pliant countries benefit from debt forgiveness while others do not. Zimbabwe had not been getting financial support from World Bank and IMF for the past two decades. These financial institutions play a carrot and stick tactic to African governments. This is why it is important that Africa must fund its development through its own resources and create its own strong and robust financial institutions. Zimbabwe must start to focus on building internal capacity and its leaders should look at cross investment with friendly countries to build its economy and production base.
Many African countries have bilateral trade agreements whereby they depend on the oppressors for trade and if they are sanctioned they suffer greatly. There is little trade amongst African nations — and especially with Zimbabwe. There is hope that the coming of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is going to make trade easier amongst countries, this is a critical objective. Zimbabwe could benefit from intra-Africa trade, and it could assist in busting imperialist sanctions.
Many African leaders loot public money and stash it in foreign banks and then get threatened with exposure and seizures or the freezing of funds. Therefore, they would rather pay lip service in defence of Zimbabwe than provide real and practical support.
According to Rutendo Matinyarare a vocal Zimbabwean activist in the fight against economic sanctions, “in creating these coercive economic measures we saw the very esteemed US congress converge to create a specific law for a small insignificant country called Zimbabwe that was threatening the colonial world order by taking back colonised (stolen) factors of production (land, resources, labour and economy) from the white settlers to put them back into the hands of their rightful dispossessed black owners. Rutendo in his latest article aptly pointed out the origins of what made the government of Zimbabwe capitulate to western pressure through their puppet opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Zimbabwe is compensating the white farmers for the developments made on the farms and returning land which was protected by bilateral agreements with other western countries. MDC partnered with foreign governments to collectively punish innocent Zimbabweans by sanctions, in an attempt to force them to vote for the party. MDC and its acolytes conspired to influence and shape Zimbabwe laws in a manner that facilitates forced regime change, for their western masters.
Rutendo went further to say, in 2009, the Elders (Kofi Annan, Nelson Mandela, Gracia Machel etc.) threatened Zimbabwe with imminent western intervention, unless ZANU PF agreed to a government of national unity with MDC and the immediate creation of a Constitutional Parliamentary Committee (COPAC) to draft the new Zimbabwean constitution. COPAC was formed with the heavy influence of the UN, other western NGOs, the EU, UK, South African constitutional experts, and the United States. As a result, the constitution, written under western coercion, established institutions designed to weaken ZANU PF influence on policy, land reform, media freedoms, human rights and electoral reforms.
Through the process, the US and her allies were able to enshrine, the compensation of white farmers for developments — a form of reparations for ending colonialism to create precedence and legal custom for future Southern African land reform.
This vindicates our departed revolutionary luminaries who repeatedly taught us that without African unity western imperialism will take us one by one. Zimbabwe is being punished alone, but if all the African countries had simultaneously embarked on a land revolution, it would not be easy for western imperialism to punish the whole Africa or SADC.
Only when Africa unites as one political entity, will it be able compete economically with the advanced industrialised countries of the world. Without genuine African unity, our continent will remain at the mercy of imperialist domination and exploitation.