What transpired in Tanzania on 5th January tells it all. The “Peace-and-tranquillity” mantra that rulers have always sold is no more. It was reported that three people were killed by police when they were quashing a peaceful demonstration orchestrated by Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA) in the northern city of Arusha. Many other people were injured and some property set ablaze in this chaos. Unconfirmed reports have it that one policeman was killed and other three seriously injured.
CHADEMA wanted to demonstrate to force the government of Tanzania to stop paying Tshs 185,000,000,000 to an all-dubious company known as Dowans that is linked to the bigwigs in the regime. Apart from pressurizing the government it sees as nasty and corrupt, CHADEMA too wanted the authorities to divulge the owners of the said company.
The government in Dar es Salaam was not happy with this. Things took a deep plunge into anarchy after CHADEMA secretary General, who too was a presidential candidate, openly alleged that president Jakaya Kikwete and his cabal were behind this scam. This peppered the situation. Prior to staging peaceful demonstration, authorities had given green light to it. But after this formal statement implicating the head of state was out, abruptly, the IGP cancelled the demonstration citing that it would breach peace.
The bone of all these killings and subjugation is stinking corruption surrounding Dowans, the company that sued the Tanzania National Electrical Supply Company (TANESCO) to the International arbitration court, that ordered the government to pay this huge amount thanks to breaching the contract. This company is said to have been formed by influential politicians to act as the conduit by which to siphon money from the public coffers. And mind you, this is not the first mega scandal in the country.
In 2005 shortly before the elections, over Tsh 155,000,000,000 was stolen from the Central Bank under the External Payment Arrears (EPA) account. Thanks to the opposition’s eagle eye, it unearthed the scandal and came out with findings that stunned the nation. The opposition still maintain that the loot was used to finance Kikwete’s campaigns. Neither Kikwete, his government nor his party has ever gainsaid these damning allegations. This for general public was taken as sign of admission of the alleged crime.
Going back to Dowans, this company landed a deal of providing emergency power after another bogus company known as Richmond was booted out. This company brought a lot of problems to the government. For it was unveiled that it was bogus and on top of this, it was favoured by top officials including Kikwete. When CHADEMA brought this scandal to light, the parliament formed a select committee that vindicated the opposition. In its findings, the select committee, thanks to be formed by the parliament controlled by ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi, came out with its verdict. If it were not for technical know who and other manipulation, its was to show the whole government the door. To avoid this, former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa, who also is an ally to Kikwete was sacrificed to save the government of his friend.
Many Tanzanians goofed. They wrongly thought that this would be a lesson to Kikwete and his consgliore. But nay. He needed more money. This, they say, forced him to bring Dowans to take over from such proved-to-be-an-illegal-and-bogus company. Thus, Dowans is Richmond, if not a prolongation of this conspiracy.
The rumour mill in Dar has it that the said amount that the government easily agreed to pay to Dowans goes to top government officials or reimburses those that rendered financial supports to Kikwete during his comeback heated campaigns. Among much trumpeted to be behind all this apart from Kikwete are Rostam Aziz, Edward Lowassa, Peter Noni and Andrew Chenge (former AG). This is the same gang of politicos that is alleged to be behind all mega billions scandal in the country.
Tanzanians used to be cowered whenever they raised their tails. Peace and tranquillity were two wands CCM has always used to fool them. Now that they recently took to the street so as to send the message, what will rulers do?
To add salt to injuries, the same CHADEMA is agitating for the “true new constitution”, even after Kikwete promised the same. They are saying clearly that they don’t want a president or hoity toity made constitution but hoi polloi made one. This is the crossroad Tanzania is currently at as it hangs off the cliff. Will it triumph or go down just like others who tries corruption as means of ruling?
Time will tell.
Though Tanzania has always wrongly been regarded as a strong and peaceful country in the region, this does no longer hold water thanks to what transpired in the just ended elections. Recent sham and rigged general elections opened everything bare as it told the whole hidden story behind this former doyen of peace and tranquility in the region. Marred by violence, allegations of bribery, and other irregularities, the elections left the country paralyzed and tarnished.
Up till now, the presidential candidate who secured the second position in the already announced results, Dr. Wilbrod Slaa of Chama cha Demokrasia na Maedeleo (CHADEMA) has nary conceded defeat. He even snubbed the much-delayed announcement. His argument is the elections were rigged and this was done by National Intelligence Service.
So too is the take of some observers who said categorically that it was not free and fair. The elections were not free and fair by all standards. How could it be with the turn out of just 8,398,394 equivalent to 42.8% of the 20,137,303 registered voters? Kikwete scooped 5,276,827 votes, equivalent to 61.17% as opposed to the landslide of over 80% he enjoyed when he first came to power in 2005. Dr. Slaa came second with 2,271,941 votes, equivalent to 26.34%, whilst the third Pro-CCM contender Professor Ibrahim Lipumba of Civic United Front (CUF) did away with 695,667, equivalent to eight percent. Other four contenders from small parties shared the rest.
Among the reasons that caused low turnout was a reported plot by the National Electoral Commission (NEC), whereby many young voters did not find their names at polling stations. Much affected areas involved opposition strong hold in big cities. Apart from that, there were delays and logistical handicaps and irregularities almost everywhere.
Sensing the danger after Dr Slaa asked the Pro-Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) NEC to stop announcing doctored results, Mr Kikwete (whose victory is attributed to gross rigging), was hurriedly sworn in a day after NEC declared him a winner with a slim winning margin though. The ruling CCM, despite all the massive rigging (it did not recant), saw over 50 of its MPs lose, including five ministers, prominent being that of Home Affairs Lawrence Masha, who also is a friend and partner of Kikwete’s son.
Violence was reported in various places, whereby people were injured and houses set on fire. During and after campaigns five people were attacked by machetes in Mara and many more in Busanda. Over ten houses were set on fire in Shinyanga, not to mention chaos in Mwanza, Mbeya, Kagera, Morogoro, Kigoma and Dar es salaam where Field Force Unit (FFU) used tear gas to curb demonstrators.
His swearing in was attended by and large by tainted rulers like him. Among them were Robert Mugabe, Joseph Kabila and Rupia Banda. No reasons were offered as to why all neighbouring rulers did not attend the swearing ceremony. Remember, Tanzania used to broker peace for other countries in the region. We remember how Kikwete was in the forefront in Kenya and Zimbabwe in the effort which brought about Governments of National Unity (GNU). Recently the same thing was reached in Zanzibar but not under the efforts of Kikwete, but due to the fear of chaos that would lead perpetrators to be summoned to The Hague.
Many people who did not know what was actually going on in Tanzania used to wrongly look at her as an ideal example of independence and democracy. Many would refer to her whenever they had a problem, say to do with tribalism, without knowing it does exist in the same.
In the just ended dirty campaigns, religion, nepotism and tribalism took a fore stand. Dr. Slaa was accused of being a Christian who was sent by Vatican despite quitting from the cloak many years ago. Muslims campaigned openly for Kikwete a Muslim. Another undemocratic anathema that was experienced in the campaigns is the use of paid-up tabloids to unleash abuses and fabrications against Kikwete’s arch foe namely Dr Slaa. So too police force was used to intimidate people as it happened in various campaign meetings.
For the past five years Kikwete was in power, his government was accused of many wrong doings including mega scandals such as robbing over $100,000,000 from the Central Bank under the External Payment Arrears (EPA) account, whose money went to the campaigns of Mr Kikwete. He had nary repudiated these damning allegations.
Tanzania boast of having more resources and fertile land in the region. Ironically though, Tanzania lags behind economically compared to other East African countries, thanks to the corruption and maladministration of which most is attributed to Kikwete’s regime.
Another shocking scandal that saw a former Prime Minister who is among Kikwete’s consgliore, Edward Lowassa booted out is Richmond. In this scandal, billions of schillings were stolen under the pretext of providing emergency power utility that never was. So too, Kikwete’s family especially his wife, Salma and son Ridhiwan are alleged to usurp a lot of his power so as to even bring their friends into government business. They were recently seen vehemently campaigning for him using public funds and resources.
In a nutshell, CCM is slowly and gravely losing its wand that saw it rule the country since independence. Tanzanians are vehemently agitating for changes after being tired of the status quo. Like Kenyans, they badly want a new constitution. One eminent question still remains unanswered: Is Tanzania going to the dogs?
By booting Kenya down and preferring Tanzania, the US proved to be as goofy as divorcing a gator to end up in bed with a croc! This is the second time the US has slammed a door on Kenya. It’s sad that even Tanzania imbibed this scornful humiliation as a big deal. But by avoiding Kenya is the world leader helping it to solve its problems?
To add insult to injury, the US denied visas to some Kenyan top corrupt official as it turned a blind eye to Tanzania’s same bêtes noix. Tanzania was elated to step in. Sadly, it’s become a norm for African rulers to depend on rich countries to prove their “manhood and worthiness”. Had it not been for their malady of sitting on their heads, African rulers do not need such cheap exculpation.
Tanzania recently shone at the 64th General assembly session. Thanks to this serendipity, its president Jakaya Kikwete, was seen happily doing things that were expected of Kenya’s PM Raila Odinga, thanks to what observers termed as US’s punishment to corrupt Kenyan current regime under Mwai Kibaki. What’s more, what’s the rationale in this if Tanzania is filthier than Kenya? This take shocked and dismayed many that know how corrupt Tanzania currently is. For those in the know, comparably, Kenya is even better than Tanzania. Thanks to its vibrant economy.
This turn was visibly seen on PM Oginga’s impromptu removal from the list of dignitaries that were to attend luncheon with US president Barrack Obama. As per the media, Kikwete was asked by Obama to initiate discussion at this luncheon, the chance that was thought would be taken by Kenya . In his reciprocation, Machiavellian Kikwete showered the US with praises for its generosity thanks to Tanzania being the recipient of a five-year development package of $ 700 million, through the “Millennium Challenge” programme. But this huge sum of money did nothing substantially. Refer to Tanzania ’s poor performance economically and developmentally. Its MDG performance is spooky and poor altogether. The government of Tanzania is currently laden with scandals involving millions of dollars.
Kikwete scored higher especially when he reiterated Tanzania ’s commitment to peace in Africa, thanks to sending peacekeeping troops Darfur. The irony though is, the same supports Sudanese dictator Omar Hassan el Bashir in his useless attempts to avert being submitted to The Hague to answer chargers related with crimes against humanity he committed in Darfur!
Recently the media in Tanzania published the report by the National Statistic Bureau (NSB) showing that under Kikwete, the nation is in economic hardship thanks to inflation hitting at 12.1 compared to single digit under former President Benjamin Mkapa, who’s currently facing many scandal allegations including his inner sanctum and relations. However, this contradicts the prediction and projection by the London-based Economist magazine which ranked it the ninth-fastest growing economy behind China but ahead of India this year. Yet still there are many doubts. How can the regime with fiscal indiscipline and nose-length policy enhance this growth?
Despite this rosy picture, I dare say, corruption is hugely surging compared to Mkapa’s era, in spite of siring the currently surfacing scandals. What tarnishes Tanzania ’s image even a lot more is the fact that most of the scandals already reported involve top officials of the current regime… Kikwete included. And this has made it harder for him to take on corruption or keep tabs on his friends and accomplices save for a few make-believe cases dragging legs before the court. This latency gave Kikwete a name of “Msanii” or “a liar” or “a conman”. So this second-hand recognition is a big boost for embattled Kikwete come next elections. Pro-government media are now awash with photos showing him with various American top dogs.
We all know Kenya’s image was tarnished by post-poll, rumpus-cum-bloodbath, that culminated in tribal crashes that left many innocent Kenyans dead. But looking at the same, Tanzania can not escape. Currently, albinos are killed indiscriminately and the government does not arrest this accordingly. In Pemba, many people are brutalized and their properties vandalized by government agents thanks to their opposition to a doctored voter’s registry.
By and large, what tantalizes even more is the fact that the US did urge Kenya to sack its Chief Justice Evans Gicheru and Attorney General Amos Wako, whilst Tanzania has a more corrupt AG, Johnson Mwanyika and head of the anti-corruption body: Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB), Edward Hosea. The duo is alleged to have benefitted from British connected radar and presidential jet scandals among others.
Whilst Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki is openly known to have stolen his presidency, Kikwete as well, faces the same thanks to robbing the Central Bank under External Payment arrears Account (EPA), to raise money for bribing voters who ultimately voted for him thanks to this inducement.
Generally speaking, there’s no clean government in the duo. Kibaki sheathed his predecessor just like Kikwete is doing. The difference is Daniel arap Moi caused much deeper hole on Kenya ’s economy than Mkapa did to Tanzania’s. But in principle, corruption is corruption. It robs the common man and woman their rights to wellbeing and development.
Regarding the projection by the Economist magazine, this is a hoax rich countries use to fool poor countries. The World Bank used to do this during the cold war. When things turned out to be different, it used to blame failure on poor countries. Refer to many economic adjustments and structural what not that did not bear any fruits.
All in all, US’s shying away from Kenya and preferring Tanzania in lieu, is but a goofy and vexatious step. The good thing is this time, Kenya did not complain but soldiered on.
Though all was well for Kikwete, I don’t know how he took the words of President Obama when he urged African rulers to stamp corruption out so as to attract sound investment. Though Tanzania can superficially be seen as a hub for international investment, in the core, it is but rotten. For the touted investments have nary helped the common man, save to create a blink future for him. Refer to oft-reported killings of innocent mineral diggers in Mererani Arusha and environmental degradation among other.
On the 10th Anniversary of the death of Mwl. Nyerere (Tanzania’s founder-cum-thinker).
My name is Glutton, son of Conman.
Though as I’m jolting this down, 166 youths are toiling to track from Mwanza to Butiama, as the commemoration of your historic journey to support the late Arusha declaration, I won’t emulate you at this 10th anniversary of your heroic death. Hereunder are the reasons:
Firstly, I am light ‘hearted’ especially when I see money and power. I am a hypocrite, even a stinking materialist. I am corrupt through and through.
To be honest with you, I stink like a pig. My colleagues call me a liar and conman. I, therefore, am not supposed to get near your grave, wife, kids even your nation that I am sabotaging.
So too, which declaration am I to support, if at all I am ensconced amidst those that felled Arusha declaration? How will I commemorate you whilst human rights, equality have varnished as corruption, daylight robbery, and lies have taken over?
Good teacher, I don’t want to cheat you and myself. You fought for freedom based on self reliance. All these are long gone. Instead, there’s self-inflicted slavery and underdevelopment. You shaped socialism and self-reliance. We now are doing self-serving and nihilism. Yours was the future of the nation. Ours is to place these goodies in the hands of mighty investors, donors and those that run errand for them. You fought for and preserved our land and its minerals. Currently we’ve small gulf emirates amidst us. You know what, go to Loliondo. You’ll be welcomed to Gulf Emirates as if you’re in the Gulf of Arabs. Truly, they’ve engulfed us thanks to their sweet ten percent.
I’ve no qualms to emulate and commemorate your legacy. Do you know that all minerals you preserved for future generations are gone thanks to the quacks you accidentally backed?
Mwalimu, I can not honour you whilst I abhor and look down at you. Had I loved and honoured you, I’d have abided by your will that we love and help each other. I help nobody except my family and my stomach. You died grieving for your people after discovering you entrusted them to hyenas.
To say a least, your Mara region has already witness live bullets being fired to kill trespassers. When it comes to environmental degradation, God only knows what is on the offing. With all these blunders, do I’ve deserve to emulate and commemorate your legacy? Is emulating you words or deeds? I am afraid. I’m not a parrot that says what it doesn’t do and does what it doesn’t say.
Though you are no more Mwalimu, you still do our nation better posthumously than the living ones that bring shame and miseries to us. They’ve privatized us including themselves and their heads. What’s more, your stint in power proved how selfless you are. You did not survive any kids in high echelons of powers like it is currently, where every who’s who is mentoring his kids to take over after most of them are done. We now have kid presidents, wife presidents and whiz kid presidents almost everywhere.
All was done. One thing will nary be forgiven by your suffering people. This is the taking of Kiwira charcoal mine that was built by Chinese, thanks to the friendly hand extended by your best friend Mao Tse- Tung.
Mwalimu, the bête noix you left behind cheated us. They told us that investment and privatization are the sole means of revamping our all-time-sick economy. They promised better life for all little knowing, ‘all’ means all of them not all of us! We’re now vending each other. There’s no difference between a police man and the thief. We recently witnessed police killing innocent businessmen they called thugs whilst the truth was the difference.
During your stewardship everybody was protected. Currently albinos are killed indiscreetly. It is believed by some goons that their body parts bring luck to their business! At your time, leadership meant service to the people not self serving. Ikulu was the holy of the holy, not a deal-making place. Leadership meant truth not lies. Politics was blessings not like now. It is a curse.
Thanks to dirty politics all those sons and daughters of stinking paupers you enrolled in free schools are now super rich. There’s one goon among them that called one billion shillings just mere peanuts! Even those thieves you cursed for amassing ill-gotten wealth came into the play. Their colleagues backed them so as to end up becoming biggies before they’re booted down, thanks to their evil desire of stealing from your people.
Mwalimu, I won’t emulate you. How could I whilst my bread comes by the way of selling drugs, receiving kickbacks, lies, empty promises, sabotage and whatnot as opposed to your teachings?
Is it possible for rats to emulate the cat instead of enjoying freedom thanks to its absence? Can a tick live without sucking blood? Isn’t the tick wicked even if it is fat and shiny?
Mwalimu, I’m even afraid to come to Butiama or stand before people on the tenth anniversary of your demise. How could I eulogize you whilst my deeds dress you down? I am afraid. Your wife Maria, even your children, might feel bad and tell it to my face. They know me well. I don’t want to be degraded by any of them that would be annoyed by my lies despite the fact that my deeds degraded since long.
Mwalimu, you’re bright. I am but dull and Tabula rasa. You were clean. I am dead dirty. Your wife did not use your office to steal from your people. Even your kids did nary vie for high offices as it is now. I’d like my kids to become presidents just like those of others I see being mentored.
Mwalimu, you introduced free education. To the contrary, I am the fan of cost sharing and bearing for poor all aimed at fattening the purses of those in power. You fought for the land and minerals. I wish I were president. I’d sell the all land and privatize minerals. You’re not in bed with thieves concealing themselves behind business. They’re my best friends and donors.
Mwalimu, you fought for equality of human beings. To me, equality is an archaic thing. Human value depends on his purse. And all human beings are not equal.
In a nutshell, I won’t emulate or commemorate you Mwalimu. For whatever I do and believe in is contrary to what you did and believed.
When the US government discovered big holes in its ailing economy thanks to underworld business by greed corporate, it invented bailout. Economists still fiercely differ on this. On the one hand there are those that take it as a smart move aimed at keeping the people in the main street afloat. On the other hand, there are those that look at bailout as sinking tax payer’s money to the hole. When one looks at the reasons they offer, they all seem to be right.
But again, logically, one thing makes sense. First of all, the US and other affluent countries have enough financial muscles to take on this. Secondly, the manner in which the bailout is conducted in some areas convinces, there can be romp in soon thanks to the signs the US economy is currently showing. Thirdly US caused this calamity to the rest of the world. Thus it deserves to do something about it even at the world level. Fourthly, greed and selfishness being the engines of capitalism as well as the bombs (as of now), there was no way the US would sit idly by and evidence its children dying of the disease it cultivated. It had to reap the benefits of its system as well as stand by when things go wrong.
So the first thing to do was to take on greed CEOs who offered credit generously knowingly this irresponsibility would backfire. Their gargantuan emoluments like golden parachutes, salaries and the likes were practically abolished or slashed. To make sure that these crooks do nary get away with it, the government purchases some shares in affected firms so as to ultimately, for some, own them. Currently AIG and General Motors or Government Motors as it is joked, are under government watch as it becomes the holder of majority shareholder of the restructured company, with 60% of the stock. To make sure the crime is not repeated, White House receives briefings on economy almost everyday, among which is the state of the bill of health of bailed out firms. This way, the government is doing it’s business to see to it that taxpayer’s money is not swindled.
Recently, Tanzania ’s unstoppable juggernaut-like government blatantly proposed bailout measures to her all-time-sick economy. This move sounds smart. Nonetheless, it’s already been seen as charade aimed at stealing taxpayer’s money. With rampancy of stinking corruption in the upper echelons of power, one can comfortably predict its end… it’ll end up a cropper as it morosely digs more menacing holes on the already moth-holed economy!
One thing to remember, this is the same government that stupidly nationalized almost everything, especially profit-making gung-hos Nyerere found, after felling them and proving to be shoddy as far as business is concerned. Sadly by relegating back to business, this means privatization is a hoax or much bigger mess should be expected.
Let me prove my point. Tanzania secured a loan of over 1/-tn to bail out her economy. Amazingly, this amount is a debt whose interest rate is 11%. The good government in Dar es Salaam is planning to loan the same to some unspecified companies at the interest of 2%! Reasoning and reality have been given a heave-ho of a sort! Who will pay generously forgiven 9%? Monkey business of course! If this megalomania is not stopped, Tanzania’s economy will be ruined even more under the pretext of bailing it out. How should it stop crumbling if loans are sought to be abused as the case in point?
Renowned economist Professor Ibrahim Lipumba and opposition MPs queried this and termed it as “flapdoodle” that needs a courage and heart of the mad to commit. He said, “I am getting some feelings that this plan is going to be like a crash programme. Normally crash programmes are implemented without adequate preparations.” Lipumba also added: “I listened to President Kikwete’s address …. and also read the speech budget. I could not find anywhere where an ordinary farmer is mentioned as far as the stimulus package is concerned.” Despite warnings from experts, as usual, like a wise monkey that sees, hears and does nothing, Dar is still hell bent to go on with this buffoonery!
LAST month, a symposium to commemorate Mwalimu Julius Nyerere’s scholarly legacy was convened in Tanzania. Among the attendees was a less known Nahashon Gacheke Gachihi from Kenya’s Bunge la Mwananchi. When I met this young man in Nairobi a few years ago, he invited me to Jevanjee Gardens for the Bunge la Mwananchi meetings.
Whilst Nyerere is taken for granted at home, in foreign countries, some smart people still take him heartily and seriously. Perhaps this is a fulfillment of a saying by Latin sages: “nemo profita in patria” (a prophet is not accepted at home.)
For my friend Gacheke attending and speaking in Nkrumah Hall at the University of Dar es Salaam about a great man, was not only a milestone but also a life-long treasure. Who knew that he’d share the same rostrum with bigwigs like Akinwande Oluwole Soyinka and Issa Shivji, among others?
Since the theme of the commemoration was Nyerere’s exemplary scholarly legacy, we would do well to look at his philosophy of the unification of Africa, that is currently sabotaged and abused by some of the people priding to be Nyerere’s disciples.
Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni stole thunders at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) during the inauguration of the College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS). Although he wrongly thought he’d have a smooth ride at UDASA, he ended up awakening sleeping lions! He was cornered on the Migingo Island issue and despite dancing around the point, he openly admitted that the highly disputed Migingo Island is Kenya’s but its water Uganda’s! This proves Museveni’s megalomania and lust for annexing Migingo.
Listen to what Museveni said: “When Mwalimu was retiring, I came here and asked him why he was resigning instead of developing the first East African Community because we’d already overthrown the person that wanted to destroy it. He answered me that “you’ll all develop it.” Now, I ask my colleagues to develop this union.”
Why is Museveni using Nyerere’s popularity for his advantage despite the fact that he contradicts himself? Whereas Nyerere wanted a united East Africa, Museveni wants to rule and usurp its power. How can he step or fit in Mwalimu’s shoes whilst he’s hell bent to annex Migingo? Mwalimu was not bully and assumptive. He was humble and visionary. He lived for others but not others living him as Museveni does. Museveni lives a king’s life while common Ugandans suffer. He spends much hard-earned taxes financing his private army as Ugandans grapple with how to make ends meet.
Look at another goofy and controversial statement by the self-defeating expansionist, Museveni, during the interview with BBC. He was quoted thus, “The Island is in Kenya, the water is in Uganda. But the Wajaluos are mad, they want to fish here but this is Uganda… hii nchi huru (this is a sovereign country). It is written here in English…. from this point; the border will continue to go in a straight line to the most northern point of Suba Islands. Mpaka inazunguka kisiwa (the border surrounds the island)… one foot into the water and you’re in Uganda.” Logically speaking, Museveni’s statement totally shows him glossing things over. It’s but an outright lie. Migingo, including its waters, is in Kenya.
Jacob Zuma and the African National Congress
A few things about ANC and Jacob Zuma. The recent presidential victory of Zuma seems to indicate that ANC has stepped away somewhat from the politics of compromise with Imperialism. The Young Communist League, the Congress of South African Trade Unions and other formations have gotten behind him in a big way. This represents a departure from the legacy of Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, who were more behind building a substantial black middle class rather than working on behalf of the masses.
Because, in recent times, the African National Congress has not lived up to its words. As a student activist in the anti-apartheid struggle, the organizations that I participated in typically brought in Azanian Peoples Organization (AZAPO) comrades or those from Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC-A). This was because the ANC had strong liberal support from the NAACP and the white left, for example, and the other groups became marginalized. Also, AZAPO and PAC-A had vibrant Pan Africanist politics. They discussed how they not only attacked apartheid infrastructure, they also fought SADF troops and armed boers on the ground. The ANC had a policy of not hitting “soft” targets, despite the massacres white nationalists perpetrated against the African community. Now when the apartheid system released Nelson Mandela from 27 years imprisonment on Robbin Island, he scrapped the long-time demands that ANC had promised to the African masses.
Mandela’s freedom was bought for a price. Mandela veered away from the Freedom Charter; he served up the masses to a neo-colonial State which became entrenched in Imperialism. Winnie Nomzamo Mandela, his wife, walked him out of prison and Nelson walked her into prison because her politics diverged drastically from the sell out brand that he had cultivated over many years, as AZAPO comrade Mongezi Sifika-Nkomo has stated.
Prior to Mandela’s release, a wave of killings swept South Africa. This time, it was political violence masquerading at a political level. Remember the necklace, a weapon used against police agents and informers? Well, the ANC adopted it to terrorize AZAPO and PAC-A veterans. The Pan Africanist line held by these groups was that the land belonged — not to ‘all who live on it’, as the ANC Freedom Charter states — to the African masses. These freedom fighting groups had declared that the black workers and peasants own the mines and all the land. This declaration jeopardized the ANC position.
So ANC declared war on their political allies. Shortly afterward, the boers used Inkatha Freedom Party to wage a successful war of attrition on the ANC. This brought the ANC and Mandela to the table on white power’s terms. Afterwards, Mandela’s presidency opened up opportunities for rich white mining operations such as Anglo-American and Rand to expand into the rest of Africa. South Africa paved the way for “post-racialism” and the US is somewhat tailing that model.
During this period, huge “gold rushes” sparked intense wars over their mineral rich deposits of diamonds in Sierra Leone and casseterite/coltan in Eastern Congo. The profiteering done on a large scale during those wars has not contributed towards raising the living standards of African people despite the individuals who apparently live like leeches on the backs of the struggling masses. This is a direct by-product of South African “post-racialism.”
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, constructed by Mandela in partnership with his apartheid bosses to allow racist butchers to escape extremely serious charges concerning their heinous abuse of humanitarian rights. The South African Defense Force had been implicated in genocidal crimes ranging from direct military support and assistance of Renamo and UNITA, two vicious counterrevolutionary formations, to atrocities carried out in the townships and refugee camps against noncombatants.
The documentation on these activities is extensive. SADF carried out assassinations on people like ANC leader Chris Hani. Their jamming equipment brought down the Soviet aircraft shuttling Mozambican President Samora Machel from peace talks in Nkomati, Tanzania, where Zimbabwean and Tanzanian leaders had proposed to Machel that they form a triple front to end the Renamo depredations in northern Mozambique. The South African government, not knowing the outcome of those talks, decided to kill Machel in a manner resembling an accident. These are some of the serious crimes that the SADF and its political leadership have escaped, even while the entire economic sector in South Africa continues to be dominated by international finance capital. Thabo Mbeki carried on the Mandela policy.
International finance used the SA Tarzan sector to push the family of economic apartheid’s long-time Malawian lackey, Hastings Banda, into top leadership positions in Zambia. The Bandas have helped set the stage for destabilizing Central and East Africa.
Now, today, tho, Jacob Zuma apparently represents a sincere break with the politics of collaboration. The ANC “subsystem”, as it has been called, is being dismantled for a more radicalized vision of what South Africa should be. And this is as it ought to be. While a number of black middle class forces sought to divide the ANC and form a breakaway formation, Zuma craftily held it together and expanded his base. He restored confidence in the ANC by strengthening its core values, and taking steps to move away from Imperialism. Various charges used to slander Zuma had been dismissed and discredited. This was a tactic to stop the trend towards collectivization, towards strengthening the unions, and towards building a revolutionary component inside South Africa.
Africans cannot be dispossessed on their own land; they cannot be forced to live on that 13% of land set aside from the period of colonial domination. The boers will have to sink or swim. Zuma seems to be bringing in a new day. Forward the Black Revolution in Southern Africa!