Friday, December 13, 2013

Mandela and the African liberation struggle: Ubuntu and the emancipation of humans everywhere

Published by Counterpunch, December 12, 2013



On Thursday December 5, 2013 the people of South Africa lost one of the foremost freedom fighters and revolutionary who made his mark on humans everywhere. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born in South Africa in 1918 and matured as Africans in South Africa rose to the challenges posed by the most brutal social and economic system of that moment, the system called apartheid.  Mandela has now joined the ancestors and he has left his mark beside those great humans (such as Mahatmas Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, Umm Kulthum, Che Guevara and Rosa Luxemburg) whose greatness emerged from the movements that created them. The forms of struggle that emerged from South Africa inspired the refinement of the philosophy of Ubuntu. This is a philosophy that says one’s humanity is being enriched by another’s and that as humans we are linked to a wider universe and spiritual world. Mandela had said clearly of Ubuntu, “The spirit of Ubuntu – that profound Africa sense that we are human beings only through the humanity of other human beings – is not a parochial phenomenon, but has added globally to our common search for a better world.”

The philosophy of Ubuntu challenged the ideals of individualism, greed, unhealthy competition, obscene self-enrichment and those destructive forms of human association that have brought the planet to the brink of extinction. When the movement elevated Nelson Mandela to the position as President of a politically free South Africa in 1994, after 27 years of incarceration, the political leadership of South Africa sought to give practical meaning to the philosophy of Ubuntu by establishing a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). In all parts of the world, the international media remember Mandela and his contributions to peace and reconciliation but the same corporate media seeks to confuse the youth by marketing  Mandela as an unusual individual who performed the ‘miracle’ of ending apartheid. In the process of the wall to wall media coverage of the celebration of the life of Nelson Mandela, it is important that the voice of Africa is clear on the meaning of Mandela. Mandela was against racism and the dehumanizing social system that created hierarchies.

As peace activists it is vital that we remember Mandela as a defender of peace and social justice and the fact that he was an extraordinary human being. What is important to remember is a product of a social movement; the extraordinary circumstances of the oppression of apartheid created this Mandela. Mandela joined a social movement, the anti-apartheid movement and for a moment in history, he became the symbol of the struggle against war and apartheid. His freedom came from the sacrifices of millions, especially the youth of Soweto and the workers from the Mass Democratic Movement who laid down a marker for the new tactics of revolution. While he was the President of South Africa, Mandela worked for peace in Burundi and Central Africa and worked hard to end the western manipulation of who can be branded as a terrorist.
Those who branded Mandela as a terrorist are seeking to program the minds of the youth to see Mandela as some sort of visionary leader “dropped from heaven” without links to real struggles for peace. Mandela was very clear that his life was linked to the collective struggles of humans everywhere, and when he was released in February 1990 he said, “Amandla, Amandla … I greet you all in the name of peace, democracy and freedom for all. I stand here before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people.”

This media coverage of Nelson Mandela challenges contemporary freedom fighters to contemplate new tactics, new tools of struggles and new networks for peace in order to complete the tasks of ending global apartheid. The African National Congress in government had been trapped by its inheritance of the social capital of the apartheid state. New forms of organization and new ideas will be needed as humans gird themselves to fight against the nefarious forms of racism, exclusion and oppression that have been refined by global capital as unbridled capitalism seeks to turn our youths into mindless consumers. It is up to the youth to gird themselves for the new phase of internationalism and peace activism so that we can create the conditions for the inspiration presented by the life of Nelson Mandela to be grasped in all corners of the globe. Mandela lived a full life and we want to add to the tributes as we celebrate his life of struggle.

The society that created Nelson Mandela
As soon as it became clear that the most obscene forms of white supremacy could not survive after the massive resistance of peoples in all parts of the globe, international news programmers began to present Nelson Mandela who, as a visionary leader, single handedly ended apartheid. Books, films, documentaries, blogs and other mainstream media seek to present the changes in South Africa without reference to the reality that Nelson Mandela always represented a liberation movement. Inevitably, as the movement mobilized around the release of Nelson Mandela when he had been incarcerated for 27 years, Mandela became a symbol of the anti-apartheid struggle. As the struggle matured in the final phase after his release from jail on February 11, 1990 the myth making was developed as part of an election campaign. It is this mythmaking that ensured the positive and the negative in the representation of Nelson Mandela to a generation that was not yet born when the liberation struggles were at the peak.

When Mandela was born in the village of Qunu, in the province that was called Cape Province, the Union of South Africa had been formed eight years earlier. The Union government had celebrated the crushing of the Bambata rebellions and in the face of the failure of open military rebellions by regional military forces, the African National Congress had been formed in 1912. Mandela grew up in South Africa in the turbulent period of the 1930’s capitalist depression. It was in the midst of this depression when the capitalists of South Africa refined the repression of black mine workers and inculcated in white workers the idea that they (whites) were not workers but from a superior race. With the villages of South Africa and the wider region of Southern Africa providing cheap labour for the mines, mining capital reaped super profits at a moment when the instability in the international monetary system required a steady supply of gold from South Africa.

The royal families of the pre –Union society could not escape the effects of the deformities of segregation and dehumanization. Missionaries were deployed to teach sons of chiefs and it was from one of the missionaries that Mandela received the name Nelson because the missionaries had difficulties saying Rolihlahla. After this missionary education Mandela was sent to Fort Hare University and it was in this University where the other famous anti-apartheid and anti-colonial stalwarts were groomed. Z. K. Matthews, Govan Mbeki, Oliver Tambo, Joshua Nkomo, Walter Sisulu, Robert Sobukwe, Desmond Tutu and Robert Mugabe were some of the notable students in the forties at this University. As an activist he was expelled from Fort Hare and he went on to study Law at the University of Witwatersrand.

Nelson Mandela joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1942 and in 1944, along with Walter Sisulu, Robert Sobukwe, and Oliver Tambo, they formed the Youth wing of the ANC. This youth wing joined the hundreds of anti-colonial movements all over the world and when the repressive legal structures of apartheid were formalised to support the social divisions, the peoples responded with a Freedom Charter. The Sharpeville massacres of March 21, 1960 foreclosed all possibilities of a peaceful non –violent opposition to apartheid and in 1962 Mandela was dispatched to the independent states of Africa to gain support for the armed wing of the ANC, Umkhonto we Sizwe (abbreviated as MK, translated as “Spear of the Nation). Mandela was one of the co-founders of MK and he received training in many African countries before he returned to South Africa. Mandela participated in the debates about unity and struggle that were at that time raging in the Pan African Freedom Movement for East and Central Africa (PAFMECA).

Self Organization of the Youth of Soweto
South West Johannesburg (Soweto) was one of those dormitory towns that were a reservoir of cheap labour for the rich and middle class whites in the suburbs of Johannesburg. Mandela was arrested in 1962 for planning “sabotage” of the government and was branded a terrorist by the South African state.  The US military and intelligence agencies worked hand in glove with the apartheid military to crush opposition from the African majority.  From 1973 the workers of Durban had given notice that there would be new organizational forms to oppose apartheid and the youth of Soweto followed with the massive uprisings of 1976. These rebellions are central to the kind of politics that developed in the period when Mandela was incarcerated after the Rivonia trials in 1964.

The sacrifices of the youth and their determination had created new alliances and these alliances matured in the Mass Democratic Movement and the United Democratic Front (UDF). While Nelson Mandela as a lawyer had been groomed to focus on the legal questions of the apartheid laws, the social questions of health, education, housing, police brutality placed the fight against apartheid on a new terrain as the ANC worked to remain alive in the heat of the conservative push of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.  The formation of the UDF had provided for an alternative source of political power at the grassroots and strengthened the capacity of the resistance to transform their conception of the long term struggles to create an alternative to the social system.

Forward planers for the investors in the Johannesburg Stock Exchange were sufficiently alarmed when the rebellions of the youth rendered South Africa ungovernable and apartheid unworkable. After the killing of Steve Biko, the planners sought out the brightest from among these rebellious youth to send them to be trained as future leaders in North American and European Universities. Those educated in the schools of the West became the experts after return to South Africa to be at the forefront of the negotiations for the form of society to be built after apartheid. Free Mandela Committees were an integral of the global antiapartheid struggles. In response to these local, regional and international alliances to end apartheid the South African Defence forces (SADF) spread death and destruction in the townships and across the region of Southern Africa. The terrorism of apartheid along with the killing of more than 2 million in the neighboring states did not break the will of the people. If anything, international solidarity intensified with the support of the Cubans assisting the Angolans to fight the apartheid army at Cuito Cuanavale.

The importance of Cuito Cuanavale
One of the many tasks of western propaganda organs has been to downplay the sacrifices of the peoples of the region of Southern Africa for the independence of Namibia 1990, the release of Nelson Mandela, and the negotiations to end apartheid. The epic battles at Cuito Cuanavale between October 1987 and June 1988 changed the history of Africa. The SADF had invaded Angola with the plan to impose Jonas Savimbi in Luanda and to defeat the freedom fighters from Namibia of the South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO). The apartheid army became bogged down at the crossroads of two rivers in Southern Angola. In order to intimidate the peoples of Africa the SADF had manufactured tactical nuclear weapons with the assistance of the Israeli state. When the South African army became bogged down the President of South Africa, P.W.Botha flew to the frontlines of the battles in Angola to broker a debate between the generals on whether South Africa should deploy and use its nuclear capabilities.

The international isolation of the white racist regime meant that there was no sympathy for this option, even from the conservative Reagan Administration. The racist army had to fight against a confident Angolan military with Cuban reinforcements. After nine months fighting the SADF was roundly defeated with the remnants of the SADF retreating on foot to Northern Namibia. In order to rescue the SADF so that the military would not be routed as the French army was routed at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, in stepped the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Chester Crocker to broker the decent withdrawal of the SADF from Namibia.  This battle was episodic and Fidel Castro rightly asserted that the History of Africa will be written as that of before Cuito Cuanavale and after Cuito Cuanavale.

Nelson Mandela and the South African struggles after Cuito Cuanavale
Nelson Mandela’s walk of Freedom out of incarceration in 1990 had represented a major step in the peoples of the world   for a new system after apartheid. However, those who owned the banks, the mines, the insurance companies and the land were planning for a post-apartheid society where the capital remained in the hands of the white minority along with new black allies. International capital had grasped the full implications of black partners in societies such as Kenya, Zimbabwe, Cameroons, Algeria and Nigeria. Hence even while the negotiations were on going for the New Society in The Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA,) the more far sighted elements such as the Oppenheimer family of Anglo-American Corporation worked to support those within the movement that believed that the end of Apartheid was for the development of a class of black entrepreneurs under Black Economic Empowerment (BEE). The nature of the inequalities in South Africa today demonstrates the success of the plan to create black allies. Cyril Ramaphosa is the poster child of a militant trade union leader of the anti-apartheid era who became a mining magnate after apartheid, exploiting the very workers he had vowed to defend.  The image of Cyril Ramaphosa who had escorted Nelson Mandela out of Prison in 1990 operating and multibillionaires was one sign of the class formation in South Africa.  In 2012, the political leaders of the ANC oversaw a government that shot 34 Marikana workers who were striking for better conditions at the Platinum Mines in South Africa.

It was a proper clarification of the politics of transformation when Ramaphosa, a multibillionaire, emerged as the spokesperson for the owners of the Platinum Mines in rejecting the demands of the workers for better working conditions and better wages. The ANC and its tripartite alliance of the Communist Party, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) had fashioned a theoretical basis for the enrichment of a few by arguing that before South Africa could enter the phase of transformation beyond capitalism there had to be the development of the productive forces. Nelson Mandela was caught in 1994 in the midst of the alliance and within five years sought to extricate himself by stepping down as President of South Africa in 1999 after one term.

Ubuntu in practice, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)
One of the sterling contributions of the South African struggle was to be able to clarify the differences between restorative justice and retributive justice, based on Ubuntu. In fact, Mandela not only embraced Ubuntu, under his political leadership, there was an attempt to bring the ideas of Ubuntu from its philosophical level to the level of practical politics in ways that helped avert bloodbath to form a better society, however imperfect. And this was in part done through the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

In the three years after the release of Mandela, the international media was predicting a bloodbath in South Africa if Blacks were to emerge victorious from the first democratic elections in 1994. Those with strategic control over the means of violence sought to make this bloodbath a reality right up to the moment when Mandela was inaugurated in May 1994 as the first Black President of a Democratic South Africa. One year after Mandela became President, the Parliament of South Africa established the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act, No. 34 of 1995. This became the legal framework for the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Mandela threw his international weight behind the process of Reconciliation. While the TRC was holding sessions under the Chairperson Desmond Tutu, Mandela made a number of public gestures to demonstrate the fact that he supported full reconciliation between the oppressed blacks and the oppressors. Of the two most public of these gestures were the visit to have tea with Mrs Betsie Verwoerd at Oriana in 1995 and donning the jersey of the segregated South African rugby team in the World Cup in South Africa.

Mrs Verwoerd, the widow of the architect of the most brutal apartheid structures had retreated to the town of Orania in the Cape seeking to establish an all-white town because the whites could not live under a black political leadership. The extreme Afrikaners around Mrs Verwoerd had chosen the small community to set up a laager and the whites in the town did not want any black around, not even black servants. These whites did not recognize Mandela as the legitimate President of a Free South Africa. Mandela took the bold step of travelling to this all white town of Orania to demonstrate to Mrs Verwoerd that the new South Africa was based on forgiveness and willingness to share, core principles of Ubuntu. This gesture was relayed all over the world by the local and international media as Mandela sat down to have tea with the people who were responsible for arresting and incarcerating him. Two months earlier Mandela had orchestrated another public act by going to the Rugby World Cup Match and putting on the jersey of the South African team. Sporting activities had been one of the strongest bases for segregation in the society and in all areas of sporting activity Mandela inspired South Africa to rise above the structural violence that had become part and parcel of South Africa.

At the legal level, South Africa’s post-apartheid constitution is one of the most progressive in the world, and it draws on Ubuntu to enshrine equal constitutional rights for all – black, white, colored, women, youths, elderly people and same-gender-loving persons.

This effort at Reconciliation at the legal level and at the public level went side by side as the TRC started hearings in Cape Town in 1996. The mandate of the commission had been to bear witness to, record and in some cases grant amnesty to the perpetrators of crimes relating to human rights violations, as well as reparation and rehabilitation. Witnesses who were identified as victims of gross human rights violations were invited to give statements about their experiences, and some were selected for public hearings. Perpetrators of violence could also give testimony and request amnesty from both civil and criminal prosecution. Witnesses who were identified as victims of gross human rights violations were invited to give statements about their experiences, and some were selected for public hearings. Perpetrators of violence could also give testimony and request amnesty from both civil and criminal prosecution.

A new politics was being developed in the context of seeking restorative justice beyond the Nuremberg Model of winners’ court. The Healing power of the process was manifest in the rituals that emanated from victims and oppressors, creating a space that could be the basis of holding the society together. This ritual of the TRC with the spiritual underpinnings of forgiveness and healing was a powerful antidote to the three hundred years of white racist oppression. Malidoma Some had written a book on the Healing Wisdom of Africa: Finding Life Purpose Through Nature, Ritual, and Community.  It was in the TRC where one saw some of the ideas being worked out. During the Hearings of the TRC there were public hearings as the narratives of perpetrators and victims moved in  a constant motion across time (from present to past and present to future) and space (spiritual, social, physical, emotional) in a movement that may be called recursive.

Here was a profound moment in the history of South Africa as the African people offered a crucible for healing the society. Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu will go down in history as individuals who opened up the possibilities for another form of society. This healing process offered by the TRC, despite its imperfections, placed Ubuntu on the philosophical map breaking the ideation baggage of individualism, greed, competition and revenge.

If the Black people and the oppressed majority were willing to turn a corner, international capital was not. Plans for the Reconstruction and transformation of South Africa were shelved in the face of the timidity of the political leadership in calling for the cancellation of the apartheid incurred debt. The repercussions of managing the neo-liberal programe of international capital cut off the top leadership of the ANC from the rank and file. Questions of the social reconstruction after apartheid had to be shelved until new emancipatory formations arise in South Africa. International capita took the lessons of South Africa to heart and sought to promote a neo-liberal agenda where a small minority collaborated with international capital in the new template for the exploitation of the majority. This form of class rule came to be understood as the globalization of apartheid without its racial baggage.

Mandela and Ubuntu overseas
Mandela was opposed to the Western designation of states as sponsoring terrorism and openly supported Fidel Castro of Cuba, Yasser Arafat of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) the Saharwi Arab Democratic Republic and the political leadership in Libya. As one who had been placed on the US list of international terrorist, Mandela in 1992 had made a clear statement about the standoff between Libya and the West over the downing of the 1998 Pan American Airways flight 103. This plane had exploded over Lockerbie Scotland and the West accused two Libyans of planting the bomb. This is despite the fact that at the precise moment of the bomb, western media had blamed Iran for planting the bomb.

In 1998 Mandela travelled to Libya three times within one week to mediate between the British government and the Libyan authorities. After travelling back and forth between the western leaders and Muammar Gaddafi the head of the Libyan state, Mandela struck a deal where Gaddafi handed over the two suspects in return for the lifting of international sanctions against Libya. Gaddafi accepted the offer of Nelson Mandela and offered to pay US $2.7 billion , approximately $10 million for each of the victim’s families. Gaddafi went further to open up his economy to western oil companies and in 2004 dumped his plans for the acquisition of Chemical and Biological weapons. Despite this opening and the intense investments of the West, International capital was not satisfied and in 2011 orchestrated the invasion, bombing and destruction of Libya under the banner of Responsibility to Protect. Gaddafi was executed and humiliated as the West sought to roll back all ideas of African Unification and Liberation.

Mandela as a Peace maker
After Nelson Mandela was rid of the responsibility of managing the structures of the apartheid economy, he became even more outspoken against inequalities. He was assertive on the question of the need for health for all and the provision of retroviral medicine for those affected by HIV AIDS even while other leaders of the ANC were equivocal over the response of the government of South Africa to this pandemic. Outside of South Africa Mandela shamed the leaders of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) who had stood by while the fastest genocide unfolded in Rwanda in 1994. After the passing of Julius Nyerere in 1999, Nelson Mandela engaged the peace process in Burundi and threw his considerable international stature behind a tough process of negotiations to end the decades of warfare in Burundi.

Mandela was opposed to the deployment of US military personnel in Africa and he spoke out firmly against the Africa Crisis Response Initiative (ACRI), the forerunner to the current Africa Command. When George W. Bush started his buildup for the war against the peoples of Iraq Mandela offered himself up as a peace maker to be a human shield against US bombs. In an interview with Newsweek Magazine in 2002 prior to the invasion, Mandela called the USA a threat to the peace of the world.

“If you look at those matters, you will come to the conclusion that the attitude of the United States of America is a threat to world peace. Because what [America] is saying is that if you are afraid of a veto in the Security Council, you can go outside and take action and violate the sovereignty of other countries. That is the message they are sending to the world. That must be condemned in the strongest terms.” As a peace activist, Mandela took issues personal with George Bush over the decision to invade Iraq. Addressing the International Women’s Forum in Johannesburg in 2003, a visibly furious Mandela stated unequivocally: “What I am condemning is that one power, with a president [George Bush] who has no foresight, who cannot think properly, is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust. … If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don’t care.”

The legacies of Nelson Mandela
The differing legacies of the political leadership of Nelson Mandela were on full display at the massive memorial event held in Soweto on December 10, 2013. There the mass of people expressed themselves in the admiration and warmth of Nelson Mandela and at the same time expressing their opposition to the corruption of the top leadership of the ANC. The people booed the current leader of the ANC,  Jacob Zuma, every time his face appeared on the giant TV screens in the stadium. Mandela had always remarked that he was a disciplined member of the ANC and his membership of the organization pointed to the differences between the promises of the anti-apartheid struggles and the realities of the enrichment of a new class of African exploiters. It was appropriate that this celebration of the life of Mandela marked a new stage for the corrupt leadership of the ANC.

In the period of the anti-apartheid struggles, funeral ceremonies were occasions for mass mobilization and education The entire proceedings played out before over 90 heads of states and governments reflected the new relationship between the ANC and the mass of the poor.  Despite the fact that this occasion represented a huge logistical challenge, one could negatively compare the planning of the leadership on this occasion with the World Cup in 2010. Hence, for one of the most important public events in the history of South Arica, for most of the time the stadium was half empty.  The ANC did not provide transportation to the stadium as promised. The poor travelled from near and far by train only to find that there were no buses to take them up to the stadium. Even those who braved the downpour  of rain to  make it to the stadium was not allowed to celebrate the way South Africans are used to celebrate at such events. Instead they were expected to sit and listen like little children. At such events people would sing and dance. In fact, before each speaker someone would raise a song and people would follow and sing until the speaker was ready to speak. Even Zuma would start a song and dance before he spoke.  Jacob Zuma, the leadership and Cyril Ramaphosa wanted the people to forget the kind of mass mobilization that was engineered to end apartheid. They are afraid that this mass mobilization will sweep the billionaires from power.

The political leadership of Nelson Mandela in the anti-apartheid struggle had both focused attention on him as an individual and released the energies of various groups whose task was to clarify the details of the real meaning of transformation beyond apartheid.  In this and in many other ways, Nelson Mandela symbolized the dialectic of resistance and transformation. His own life has mirrored the way in which a social movement shaped individuals. Hence, the youth who are hearing the tributes to Mandela are faced with the contradiction between focusing on great leaders and the kind of media coverage that is geared towards the depoliticizaion of the youth.  Richard Falk summed up very lucidly the place of Mandela for humans everywhere when he wrote,

“It was above all Mandela’s spiritual presence that created such a strong impression of moral radiance on the part of all of us fortunate enough to be in the room. I was reinforced in my guiding belief that political greatness presupposes a spiritual orientation toward the meaning of life, not necessarily expressed by way of a formal religious commitment, but always implies living with an unconditional dedication to values and faith that transcend the practical, the immediate, and the material.”

In his earthly life, Mandela could not escape this tension between the spiritual and the material.  The spiritual energies of the peoples had been unleashed to fashion a non-racial democracy. Liberal conception of democracy could not understand this attempt to transcend the ideas of the Western Enlightenment, which itself built on human hierarchies that carved a supreme space for the enlightened white man. Nelson Mandela had been reared in these ideas at Fort Hare and as a lawyer but the struggles elevated him to be special human beings among revolutionaries. The world salutes Nelson Mandela and we join with those who are sending tributes to his family.

We will also add that the people should not mourn but organize for the next round of struggle.

Counter-terrorism and imperial hypocrisy: Lessons from the kidnapping of Abu Anas al-Liby

Published by Pambazuka News (November 14, 2013) and Counterpunch (November 8-10, 2013)


The information that Abu Anas al-Liby is now facing trial on charges of terrorism in New York enlarges the story of the terrorism and hypocrisy of the Global War on Terror that is being fought by the United States along with its pliant allies in Europe and the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC). Abu Anas al-Liby also known as Nazih Abdul Hamed al Ruqai was snatched from the streets of Tripoli on 5 October. The western media made much ado about the capture of the so called ‘high value target,’ but the history of the collaboration between the organizations represented by this person and the intelligence services of the NATO militarists exposes the ways in which the selective use of counter-terror activities has been used by the western military forces to maintain the so called War on Terror. In our submission this week we again reflect on the destruction of Libya by the NATO forces and restate the call for the Security Council of the United Nations to carry out a thorough audit of the NATO operations in Libya and the aftermath that has brought destruction and 1700 militias making life unbearable for ordinary Libyans.

WHO IS ABU ANAS AL-LIBY?

From the major news outlets such as CNN, Abu Anas al-Liby is an alleged al Qaeda operative who is now accused before the Federal Court of New York of playing a role in the 1998 US al-Liby Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. He pleaded not guilty Tuesday 22 October, 2013 to terrorism charges. Peace activists from all parts of the world will be following this case very closely because what the media has not disclosed to the majority of US citizens is the fact that for more than two decades this so called terrorists had been known to the British to the point of being part of elements supported by British intelligence forces to assassinate Col. Muamar Gaddafi. It is from the conservative British newspaper, ‘The Telegraph’, where we can read the details of how al-Libywas a member of a [url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/10359319/Abu-Anas-al-Libi-al-Qaeda-kingpin-caught-in-Libya-was-released-by-British-police-before-going-on-the-run.html ‘Libyan al-Qaeda cell that received hundreds of thousands of pounds from British intelligence to assassinate Gaddafi in an ultimately unsuccessful plot[/url].’ Those with a very short memory will not remember that the obscure Islamic extremists such as Osama Bin Laden had been recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency in the Cold War era. This anti-communist agenda had drawn the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt into close collaboration with the CIA and it was the infrastructure of this global force of cold blooded killers that was mobilized internationally against socialism. Those forces that later came to be called Al Qaeda were trained and armed by the CIA in the same way that they trained and armed the deadly Contras to kill and maim innocent civilians in Central America. The more than US $50 billion that had been poured into this anti-communist war by the United States and Saudi Arabia ensured Osama Bin Laden learned the tricks of the trade of recruitment, surveillance and propaganda. Two French journalists with inside information on the anti-communist collaboration had written the book, ‘Forbidden Truth: US -Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy, Saudi Arabia and the Failed Search for bin Laden.’ According to the British press, alLiby had been part of the group of young Libyans around Osama Bin Laden. For the West, these young Libyans were being monitored and kept in close range in preparation for another alliance between the western intelligence agencies and those who were plotting inside Libya to kill Muamar Gaddafi.

In the early nineties as the British and North American forces plotted against Libya, al-Liby was granted political asylum in the United Kingdom, and took up residence in Manchester. From the various press reports we learned that while in the UK, he honed his photographic and computer skills.

THE TWISTS AND TURNS OF WESTERN INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES

How could al-Liby be arrested by the British Scotland Yard in 1999 after the Nairobi bombings in 1998 and then released? The answer lay in the fact that in 1999 the goal of killing Gaddafi was a higher priority than the killing of innocent Africans in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. In 2002, it was revealed that six years earlier al-Liby had been a key figure in a Libyan Islamic Fighting Group cell that was paid large sums of money by the British intelligence service, MI6, for an abortive plot to assassinate Gaddafi.

The Libya Islamic Fighting Group was one of the many ‘terrorist’ organizations that had been working with western Intelligence agencies and this work came out in full during the NATO intervention to destroy Libyan society. Al-Liby had been included on the FBI's most wanted terrorists list which was introduced shortly after the attacks of 11 September, 2001, and a US $5 million dollar reward had been placed on his head. Yet, before and after the NATO intervention the West made no moves to apprehend this ‘terrorist’ who had ‘fled’ Britain in 1999 after he had been released by Scotland Yard.

It is now clear that the Western Intelligence agencies have a full dossier of their former collaborators who they roll out from time to time as masterminds behind this or that terrorist attack. In June, 2011 when Fazul Abdullah Mohammed was killed in a road block in Somalia, the western counter terrorism spin doctors wrote many stories about how Fazuk had been the mastermind of the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. At that moment the spin had been that there was an alliance between Al Shabaab and Al Qaeda, but there was never clarity on the interpenetration between the forces of Al Qaeda and the networks of fighters who were being recruited by the West to fight in Syria.

FROM THE NATO INTERVENTION TO THE WESTGATE BOMBINGS IN KENYA

The NATO forces had collaborated with the ‘terrorists’ in Libya to destroy Libya and to assassinate Gaddafi. Despite the announcement of the ‘success’ of the mission, Libya has been plunged into perpetual warfare, with rival militias wreaking havoc on innocent civilians. This mayhem suited the Western intelligence forces who were recruiting Islamic extremists from Libya to fight in Syria. The extent of the collaboration came out in the aftermath of the killing of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens on 12 September, 2012, but even with the debacle of the exposure of the CIA in Libya, the media continued to use the bogey of terrorism to maintain high disbursements of funds to the Pentagon and intelligence services.

Just when citizens of the West were focusing on the devastation of the current economic crisis, the attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya brought back the rhetoric of counter-terrorism to the front pages of newspapers. That Al Shabaab has claimed responsibility for this attack compounds the murky world of the individuals and organizations that can travel around the world with resources only to be told after the act that the west knew of these individuals as terrorists. From the description in the media of the individuals involved, there is very little room to believe much of what has been produced in the media so far. Less than three weeks after the Westgate bombings, al-Liby was snatched from his home in Tripoli by US Navy Seals. Days after the kidnapping of al-Liby in Tripoli, the Prime Minister of Libya, Ali Zeidan was himself kidnapped.

Released a few hours later, Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said his brief kidnap was an ‘attempted coup,’ blaming his political opponents for the attack. In a TV address to the people of Libya, he said an unnamed political party in the congress was behind the abduction.

These twists and turn in the sad story of the manipulation of terrorism in Libya is only compounded by the fact that the people of Libya face real terror from the militias that now control Libya.

THE UNITED NATIONS MUST REIN IN THE WESTERN SPONSORS AND SUPPORTERS OF TERROR AND COUNTER TERROR

In our study of the Catastrophic failure of NATO in Libya], we joined with the peace forces around the world that called for a full investigation of the NATO operations and the aftermath in Libya. Two years after NATO announced that they had completed a ‘successful’ mission, the kidnapping and abduction of the Prime Minister exposed the reality that the ‘elected government’ does not really control much of the country. The armed groups that had been financed by Qatar, Saudi Arabia and western intelligence agencies to destroy Libya still operate with impunity.

The so called government of Libya has been incapable of mediating the contending rivalries between the West and the proxies of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey in Libya. With financial and other forms of support from outside, the so called government of Libya has been unable to disarm the more than 1700 militias.

It is in Benghazi where the mischief by internal and external forces is most intense. In that part of the country, imperial forces are bent on maintaining insecurity in anticipation of the moment when the Egyptian revolution changes course and there is need for another base for counter revolution. This alliance with external intelligence forces has emboldened the militias in Benghazi who have blockaded the ports and oil terminals over the past month, severely restricting exports of Libya's major foreign currency earner, which mostly comes from the region.War on Terror must cease and the links between extremists and the western intelligence services must be exposed.

The Kidnapping of al-Liby from Libya has brought back attention to the world that was created by the western intelligence agencies to fight in the Reagan era. Details of the ‘Forbidden Truth’ should become every day knowledge so that never again the intelligence agencies can manipulate groups to create as much destruction as they have done over the past thirty years. The machinations of the west in their dealing with these extremists are clearly exposed in the full history of al-Liby who we now know belonged to elements in the pay of the British intelligence services. These elements have now used massive resources from conservative forces in the Gulf to spread mayhem in Africa. Whatever their origins, these extremists have created havoc in Northern Nigeria and in Somalia. Peace activists must intensify their efforts to expose the history of al-Liby and equally to unearth and expose the forces in the West, Qatar and Saudi Arabia who are financing extremists in Africa.

Nguyen Giap: Revolutionary Vietnamese general and inspiration for independence everywhere

Published by Pambazuka News on October 16, 2013 and Counterpunch on October 15, 2013


Vo Nguyen Giap, the celebrated Vietnamese patriot who centralized the importance of independence and national liberation in the twentieth century has now joined his ancestors. He passed away on 4 October, 2013 in Hanoi at the age of 102.

This week we want to join the people of Vietnam and the rest of the world to remember the spirit and sense of independence and unity that was displayed by General Giap. General Giap and Ho Chi Minh are remembered as citizens of the world who opposed colonial rule. Vo Nguyen Giap was born 25 August, 1911, in central Vietnam's Quang Binh province at a moment when France was seeking to firmly establish colonial domination over the society.

For the peoples of Africa the struggles of the peoples of Vietnam for independence have similarities and many lessons for the independence and solidarity of humans everywhere. Vietnam officially became part of the imperial expansion of France at the same moment as the imperialist partition of Africa. For centuries, the peoples of Vietnam had jealously guarded their independence from militarily superior neighbors. France had officially claimed political and economic control over the peoples of South East Asia in a moment when it was necessary for France to find ways to project economic and political power after the humiliation of the Franco-Prussian war, 1870-1871. In the period of imperialist expansion across the planet, 1870-1920, France imposed military and economic control over Indo-China, following the combined western military foray into China and the Sino-French war (1884–1885). With the British in India, the Dutch in Indonesia and the French in the rest of what was called Indo-China, imperial Europe set out to contain and dominate China. Africans will note that these wars in Asia were going on at the same time when the imperialists were meeting in Berlin to partition Africa. French Indochina was formed in 1887 and included the territories and peoples who today live in what is called Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. The political fortunes of these societies were to be sealed in the long wars for independence and resistance against imperial western forces.

GENERAL GIAP AND THE BATTLE OF DIEN BIEN PHU

It was at the battle of Dien Bien Phu where General Giap led the Vietnamese army to victory over the imperialist French military in 1954. There are three very good reasons for freedom fighters to remember this epic battle. The first reason is that the Vietnamese demonstrated superior military and political strategies, so that despite military and logistics support from the USA, France was decisively defeated.

The second reason was that many of the Africans who had been conscripted into the French army fought against the independence of the Vietnamese. Some of these fighters were to be later elevated and supported in military coups to undermine African independence. One such leader was the ‘Emperor’ and General Jean-Bedel Bokassa of the Central African Republic. The third major reason was that after Dien Bien Phu, France decided to make a stand in Africa to defend its status as an imperial power.

Educated by his people to fight against colonial rule, Giap joined up with Ho Chi Minh at an early age to confront imperialism. Together they had built and consolidated the Vietnam Independence League, which the imperialists hated and sought to crush. His own family had been tortured and murdered by the French colonialists in the period of the last capitalist depression. When France was weakened by the second imperialist war, the Japanese colonialists took over the region in order to intensify its war of colonial domination over the entire region. Giap returned to Vietnam from China in 1944 and worked to repulse the Japanese. France sought to re-impose domination over Vietnam when Vietnam had declared its independence in 1945 after defeating Japan in September 1945; Ho Chi Minh announced the formation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
After the Second World War (World War II), France attempted to reestablish control over Vietnam and challenged the peoples of Vietnam to stand up and fight for their independence. The Vietnamese took up this challenge and decisively defeated the French, driving them out of South East Asia.
Giap had studied the military history of Asia and Europe and had learnt the positive and negative lessons from offensive warfare in World War II. He understood the importance of political will in battle and at Dien Bien Phu the army of the Vietnamese people called Viet Minh surprised colonial French forces by surrounding them. Giap was disrespected by the French generals, especially Henri Navarre who believed that a person such as Giap who had not studied in a military academy could stand up to the ‘superior’ French forces. As one writer Jules Roy wrote about this epic battle at Dien Bien Phu, France believed in their blind service ‘to the most stupid imperialism in the world, which disguised its refusal to lose its dividends and markets as a crusade against communism.’

Giap had not studied at a military staff college but had in his own words ‘studied in the staff college of the bush.’ Giap brought to this battle against French colonialism the combination of guerilla and conventional warfare. The patriotic Vietnamese forces, who wore sandals made of car tyres and lugged their artillery piece by piece over mountains, managed to encircle and crush the French troops in a bloody engagement. Digging miles (kilometers) of trenches, the Vietnamese dragged heavy artillery over steep mountains and slowly closed in during the 56-day battle that ended with French surrender on 7 May, 1954. In the book on this battle by Jules Roy, ‘The Battle of Dien Bien Phu,’ the reader is exposed to the mediocrity of the French generals who sought to cover up their incompetence with ideas that the French were superior to the Vietnamese. French generals were humiliated and despite the military defeat, the sense of white supremacy never allowed them to accept the idea of the independence of the people of Africa and Asia. One such French imperial military commander was General Marcel Bigeard. His career is important in the history of imperial domination in so far as he went on to fight to preserve French imperial domination in Algeria and also lost there. General Marcel Bigeard became an inspiration for US military officers and right up to his death in 2010 he kept up a healthy communication with general David Patraeus of the US military.

Giap’s victory over the French weakened imperial rule in Africa, Asia and Latin America and inspired national liberation forces everywhere. From the point of view of Third World solidarity, this defeat of France in Dien Bien Phu in 1954 gave added impetus to the meeting of the anti-colonial forces at Bandung in 1955 and inspired the peoples of Algeria and Egypt to fight for independence. The seizure of the Suez Canal and the demands by the peoples of Egypt for independence in 1956 were significantly influenced by the inspiration from General Giap.

Interviewed much later in life he said of the epic battles, ‘We had to use the small against the big; backward weapons to defeat modern weapons. At the end, it was the human factor that determined the victory.’

DEFEATING THE US IN VIETNAM

It was this same principle that guided Giap and Ho Chi Minh to stand up to American imperial forces. After the defeat of France, the US moved in to impede the unification of Vietnam by undermining diplomatic efforts at Geneva while supporting puppet regimes in what was called Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam. The big and heavy US generals adopted the same arrogance to Giap that that been the position of the French military and political establishment. As the Minister of Defense and chief military strategist for the peoples of Vietnam, General Giap was responsible for coordinating the resistance to US military bombings and occupation of Vietnam.

US generals made the cardinal error of underestimating the military and political skills of General Giap and Ho Chi Minh. The battles of the United States against the independence of Vietnam represented a turning point for the history of the United States. Firstly, it was in Vietnam where the US military establishment learnt that superior technology and weaponry cannot guarantee victory. Secondly, the attempt to crush the independence of Vietnam created a financial and monetary crisis from which the United States has not recovered. It was primarily because the US became overstretched from the wars in Indo-China when it had to end the convertibility of the dollar to gold (the cornerstone of the Bretton Woods agreements of 1944). The international financial system has not been stable since this change of fortunes for the military and financial establishment of the United States.

The United States military continued to underestimate the brilliance of General Giap and had approached the wars against the Vietnamese as small skirmishes where the mighty US would test its high tech weapons and bombs in preparation for more important battles in Europe against the Soviet Union. For the strategic thinkers in Washington, the battles in Vietnam were simply a proxy war for the war against the communists in Moscow. For the Vietnamese however, they were no puppets of Moscow and were fighting dearly for their national independence. The history of the crimes of war against Vietnam needs to be written in many languages so that the permanent war machine of the US can be vigorously opposed. Millions of tons of bombs were dropped on the Vietnamese peoples in one of the most sustained bombing campaigns of any war; and chemical and biological weapons were used against the people. General Curtis LeMay boasted about the massive bombing campaign that, ‘we’re going to bomb them (the Vietnamese) back to the Stone Age.’ LeMay advocated a sustained strategic bombing campaign against North Vietnamese cities, harbors, ports, shipping, and other strategic targets.

In 2010 when I visited Vietnam, we were scheduled to visit General Giap but this visit was later cancelled because in his 99th year, he was not in the best of health. When I visited the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City and one of the most striking features of the Vietnamese memory of this war is their call for forgiveness while never forgetting the criminal actions that were carried out against innocent civilians. Edward Herman in his summation of the lessons of the US war against the people of Vietnam noted:

‘The final toll in Indo China will never be known, but it continues to grow. The death toll may be as high as four million; the numbers injured and traumatized also run into the millions. Since the formal conclusion of the war in 1975, thousands have been killed and wounded by some of the millions of unexploded bombs still littering the ground. There are also many victims of the ecocidal Agent Orange program, and the land destroyed by that and other chemicals may never recover.’ [1]

That General Giap and the Vietnamese believed in forgiveness is one more important lesson that the peoples of the world can take away from the people of Vietnam.In the aftermath of this epic struggle, the society of Vietnam was unified and this unification in 1976 laid the necessary foundations for economic transformations.

GIAP AND THE LESSONS FOR INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY

The history of the struggle of the Vietnamese people and their victory over US imperialism is an inspiration for those who want another world beyond capitalism. The failure of the US militarists who believed they could subdue the Vietnamese people is everywhere evident in the vibrancy and focus of Vietnamese citizens. Yet, even today, the US militarists cannot accept their defeat, writing reams of books to find excuses for their defeat. Instead of celebrating the military genius, the United States Army School of Advanced Military Studies of the United States went into overdrive to teach their officers how to ‘teach judgment.’ The arrogance of Henri Navarre and the French officer corps had been inherited by the US military strategists who wrote books upon books without grasping the basic fact that Giap was teaching them. Colonel Huba Wass de Czege the articulator of ‘teaching judgement’ groomed the next generation of US general who thought that certain officers should receive a ‘broad, deep military education in the science and art of war.’ Up to the present the officer corps of the United States continue to ignore the lessons taught by General Giap and continue to mumbo jumbo such as ‘Systemic operational design: learning and adapting in complex missions.’
General Giap represented the vibrancy of a people who gained confidence from the knowledge that they were able to withstand the military might of the biggest military machine on earth. In the process, the Vietnamese pointed to the fact that political mobilization and heightened political consciousness can be a counterweight to imperial military and economic might. This failure of the US has been manifested beyond the battlefield into the ideology of development versus transformation. On the walls of the War Remnants Museum in Vietnam, the Vietnamese display the words of US military henchman turned director of World Bank, Robert McNamara: ‘We were wrong, terribly wrong, and we owe it to a future generation to explain why.’

France was defeated at Dien Bien Phu and tried to make a stand in Africa. Today, the United States is invoking the so-called war against terror to maintain a military posture that is inconsistent with the financial and economic capabilities of that society. In the last years of his life General Giap became a fervent environmentalist and linked the security of the planet to environmental repair. Citizens in all parts of the world who want a new relationship with other humans and with the planet earth can learn a lot from the long life of Vo Nguyen Giap.

ENDNOTE:

1.Edward S. Herman, ‘Back to the Stone Age: Lessons of the Vietnam War.’ http://www.nnn.se/vietnam/lessons.pdf

The African Union should not support impunity

Published in Kenya by The Star and Pambazuka News on October 10, 2013



This week many of the current political leaders of Africa will meet in Addis Ababa to discuss whether African states should withdraw en masse from the International Criminal Court because of the indictment of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto.

This meeting will be an extra-ordinary session of the African Union organized to deliberate on International Jurisdiction, Justice and the International Criminal Court. At issue is whether the ICC has discriminated against Africans and whether the killings of over 1,100 persons in 2008 and the displacement of over half a million should be a matter of international criminal law.

To ensure that the original reasons for the ICC case are not forgotten, the Assembly of the African Union should remember its foundational doctrine of non-indifference embedded in Article 4(h) of the Constitutive Act of the AU, mandating the continental body to “intervene … in respect of grave circumstances, namely: war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity.”

As such, the special session of the AU has far more serious priorities. If Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto are innocent, then they can have their day in court and their exoneration before an international criminal court can only convey greater political legitimacy to them.

One aim of the African Union when it was formed was to ensure that there was no impunity for those who committed crimes against humanity in Africa.

If indeed, the ICC has discriminated against Africans, then the most urgent matter before this upcoming Assembly is for Africans to build regional and national mechanisms to bring those who commit crimes against humanity to justice.

Unless the Assembly can demonstrably guarantee the African peoples that the AU has genuine political will and capacity to thoroughly enforce article 4(h) of the Constitutive Act and to stem the criminal activities of desperate and selfish political leaders in Africa, any discussion about mass withdrawal from the ICC could be tantamount to self-delegitimization.

While decent human beings everywhere mourn with Kenyans over the Westgate attack, leaders such as Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Isaias Afewerki of Eritrea (the three pressing the case for this special session) do not have the political legitimacy to demand that the African Union withdraw en masse from the ICC.

The referral of the 2007-2008 Kenyan post-election violence case to the ICC came not from imperialists but from the Panel of Eminent African Personalities established by the African Union — with Kofi Annan as chair and Benjamin Mkapa and Graca Machel as members.

The ICC charges alleged that Kenyatta and Ruto helped to fuel the violence that followed the 2007 elections. Both men have declared that they are innocent.

In the heat of that post-election struggle, imperial states such as the United States and Britain wanted the matter to be put aside so that international business could continue to thrive in Kenya.

Condoleezza Rice, then the US Secretary of State, flew to Kenya to ensure that western interests were given priority. The US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Dr. Jendayi Frazer, represented Kenya as a base for the global war against terror and did not countenance any discussion about whether the election results represented the will of the people.

The Panel of Eminent African Personalities was mandated by the AU on January 29, 2008 to mediate between President Kibaki’s Party of National Unity and Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement.

The panel was charged with finding a peaceful solution to the crisis. One important outcome of the Panel’s work was the referral of the cases of post-election violence to the ICC.

There had been a demand for the local courts in Kenya to investigate the crimes but after six years only the homicide of 19 persons has been brought before the Kenyan judiciary.

In May 2013, Africa celebrated fifty years of unity. The plan of the AU Assembly was to prioritize the next fifty years (Africa 2063) but the agenda was hijacked by the political leadership of Kenya and their allies to discuss the cases of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto before the ICC.

Yoweri Museveni of Uganda had been as aggressive as the Kenyan leadership in placing the matter of the ICC before the Assembly. “The African leaders have to come to a consensus that the process the ICC is conducting in Africa has a flaw.

The intention was to avoid any kind of impunity, but now the process has degenerated into some kind of race hunting. We object to that,” the AU chairman, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, declared at the end of the May 25 summit.

The debate on the ICC intensified within African corridors of power with those opposed to the ICC trials couching their opposition in anti-imperial discourse. The AU’s Final Decision and the Summit proceedings reflected the line of the conservative media in Kenya.

“The ICC is a tool of Western powers that targets and discriminates against the continent; undermines African efforts to solve its problems, especially finding peace and reconciliation in post-conflict situations; and is shot through with double-standards, focusing its firepower only on African countries such as Sudan, Kenya and Libya but not on Iraq or the Gaza,” wrote one Kenyan conservative analyst.

Both Yoweri Museveni and Hailemariam Desalegn carried the same arguments to the General Assembly of the United Nations in September when they lobbied for the UN Security Council to call on the ICC to drop the case.

Many Africans now appear to have forgotten the origins and enormity of the case and ignore the fact that the referral to the ICC was made by a panel of Africans mandated by the AU and acting in tandem with the non-indifference doctrine of AU’s founding document.

The AU is projecting confusion and self-delegitimization if it allows itself to be used for mass withdrawal from the ICC by some African leaders, without first investing in workable structures that can impartially and decisively bring to justice powerful perpetrators of crimes against humanity on the continent.

The Westgate attack took place on September 22 in the middle of intense diplomatic activities by Yoweri Museveni for Kenya to boycott the ICC. International sympathy for the Kenyan leaders heightened until it was revealed that the Kenyan intelligence and military were forewarned of the attack.

Concerned Kenyan citizens are now posing important questions: why did it take so long for the Kenyan military and security forces to respond to the attack? Why was it that select persons were warned to stay away from the mall on that particular day?

Koigi Wamwere wrote in an op-ed in the Star that 'Someone Should Take Political Responsibility For Westgate.' “Amazingly, instead of accepting blame and responsibility for this tragedy, President Uhuru, Deputy President Ruto and their government are positioning themselves to reap political capital and professional gain from their own failure,” he declared.

If the current leaders of Kenya are not seeking to reap political capital from the Westgate tragedy, they should call for the cancellation of the AU Special Session to discuss the case before the ICC.

Presently, the situation in Kenya is too delicate for the questions of killings, bombings and extra judicial violence to be brushed aside. Last week, Sheikh Ibrahim Omar and three other people were shot dead in Mombasa as they drove home on Thursday night after preaching. The next day, after Friday prayers there were riots in Mombasa.

Another Muslim cleric rightly called for an end to the extrajudicial killings on the streets of Kenya. "They should tell us the truth about Westgate, not kill innocent Muslims in Mombasa," said Abubaker Shariff Ahmed, known as Makaburi.

In the midst of this instability Richard Dowden of the Royal Africa Society and Jendayi Frazer waded into the debate about Kenya and the ICC. In his article 'Kenya after Westgate: more trouble ahead', Dowden argued that the West should rally behind the political leaders of Kenya. Without mentioning the machinations of the UK in Somalia and to corner the contracts for oil exploration, Dowden concluded that the Westgate attack was the beginning of the end of the ICC.

“Western governments will need a stable strong government in Kenya. There is no way the West is going to allow President Kenyatta, who has shown good leadership qualities during the crisis (and his vice-president William Ruto), to spend months at a trial in The Hague and then go to jail,” said Dowden.

Jendayi Frazer, who had worked closely with Condoleeza Rice to ensure that Mwai Kibaki remained President in 2008, wrote that the West now needs Kenya as a partner in the fight against terror in an article in the Daily Nation, headlined 'Attack will draw West, Kenya closer.' “Put more plainly, the ICC cases against President Kenyatta and Deputy President Ruto have become a distraction reflected clearly by the need to suspend Mr Ruto’s trial for a week to allow his return home to attend to the Westgate crisis,” she wrote.

Jendayi Frazer was a diplomat for the Republican government. The conservative wing of the US political establishment is now coming to the defense of Kenyatta and Ruto. The United States is not a signatory to the Rome Statute yet the conservatives are calling for Africans to forget the crimes committed in January 2008 in order for Kenyatta and Ruto to focus on the global war against terror.

The defense of Kenyatta and Ruto by Frazer and Dowden has complicated the Kenyan leaders’ strategy of presenting themselves as anti-imperialists. When the African Union meets this week to discuss the case for mass withdrawal, African leaders should remember that it was the activism of the Caribbean and African states that brought the ICC into fruition.

I share the opinion of Pan Africanists who believe that if Kenyatta and Ruto are innocent, they should not be afraid to get their day in court.

The African Union should be working hard to ensure that there is no impunity in Africa. Other organs such as the African Parliament and the Economic, Social and Cultural Council of the African Union need to engage in this discussion about impunity in Africa.

This week many of the current political leaders of Africa will meet in Addis Ababa to discuss whether African states should withdraw en masse from the International Criminal Court because of the indictment of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto.
This meeting will be an extra-ordinary session of the African Union organized to deliberate on International Jurisdiction, Justice and the International Criminal Court.
At issue is whether the ICC has discriminated against Africans and whether the killings of over 1,100 persons in 2008 and the displacement of over half a million should be a matter of international criminal law.
To ensure that the original reasons for the ICC case are not forgotten, the Assembly of the African Union should remember its foundational doctrine of non-indifference embedded in Article 4(h) of the Constitutive Act of the AU, mandating the continental body to “intervene … in respect of grave circumstances, namely: war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity.”
As such, the special session of the AU has far more serious priorities. If Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto are innocent, then they can have their day in court and their exoneration before an international criminal court can only convey greater political legitimacy to them.
One aim of the African Union when it was formed was to ensure that there was no impunity for those who committed crimes against humanity in Africa.
If indeed, the ICC has discriminated against Africans, then the most urgent matter before this upcoming Assembly is for Africans to build regional and national mechanisms to bring those who commit crimes against humanity to justice.
Unless the Assembly can demonstrably guarantee the African peoples that the AU has genuine political will and capacity to thoroughly enforce article 4(h) of the Constitutive Act and to stem the criminal activities of desperate and selfish political leaders in Africa, any discussion about mass withdrawal from the ICC could be tantamount to self-delegitimization.
While decent human beings everywhere mourn with Kenyans over the Westgate attack, leaders such as Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Isaias Afewerki of Eritrea (the three pressing the case for this special session) do not have the political legitimacy to demand that the African Union withdraw en masse from the ICC.
The referral of the 2007-2008 Kenyan post-election violence case to the ICC came not from imperialists but from the Panel of Eminent African Personalities established by the African Union — with Kofi Annan as chair and Benjamin Mkapa and Graca Machel as members.
The ICC charges alleged that Kenyatta and Ruto helped to fuel the violence that followed the 2007 elections. Both men have declared that they are innocent.
In the heat of that post-election struggle, imperial states such as the United States and Britain wanted the matter to be put aside so that international business could continue to thrive in Kenya.
Condoleezza Rice, then the US Secretary of State, flew to Kenya to ensure that western interests were given priority. The US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Dr. Jendayi Frazer, represented Kenya as a base for the global war against terror and did not countenance any discussion about whether the election results represented the will of the people.
The Panel of Eminent African Personalities was mandated by the AU on January 29, 2008 to mediate between President Kibaki’s Party of National Unity and Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement.
The panel was charged with finding a peaceful solution to the crisis. One important outcome of the Panel’s work was the referral of the cases of post-election violence to the ICC.
There had been a demand for the local courts in Kenya to investigate the crimes but after six years only the homicide of 19 persons has been brought before the Kenyan judiciary.
In May 2013, Africa celebrated fifty years of unity. The plan of the AU Assembly was to prioritize the next fifty years (Africa 2063) but the agenda was hijacked by the political leadership of Kenya and their allies to discuss the cases of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto before the ICC.
Yoweri Museveni of Uganda had been as aggressive as the Kenyan leadership in placing the matter of the ICC before the Assembly. “The African leaders have to come to a consensus that the process the ICC is conducting in Africa has a flaw.
The intention was to avoid any kind of impunity, but now the process has degenerated into some kind of race hunting. We object to that,” the AU chairman, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, declared at the end of the May 25 summit.
The debate on the ICC intensified within African corridors of power with those opposed to the ICC trials couching their opposition in anti-imperial discourse. The AU’s Final Decision and the Summit proceedings reflected the line of the conservative media in Kenya.
“The ICC is a tool of Western powers that targets and discriminates against the continent; undermines African efforts to solve its problems, especially finding peace and reconciliation in post-conflict situations; and is shot through with double-standards, focusing its firepower only on African countries such as Sudan, Kenya and Libya but not on Iraq or the Gaza,” wrote one Kenyan conservative analyst.
Both Yoweri Museveni and Hailemariam Desalegn carried the same arguments to the General Assembly of the United Nations in September when they lobbied for the UN Security Council to call on the ICC to drop the case.
Many Africans now appear to have forgotten the origins and enormity of the case and ignore the fact that the referral to the ICC was made by a panel of Africans mandated by the AU and acting in tandem with the non-indifference doctrine of AU’s founding document.
The AU is projecting confusion and self-delegitimization if it allows itself to be used for mass withdrawal from the ICC by some African leaders, without first investing in workable structures that can impartially and decisively bring to justice powerful perpetrators of crimes against humanity on the continent.
The Westgate attack took place on September 22 in the middle of intense diplomatic activities by Yoweri Museveni for Kenya to boycott the ICC. International sympathy for the Kenyan leaders heightened until it was revealed that the Kenyan intelligence and military were forewarned of the attack.
Concerned Kenyan citizens are now posing important questions: why did it take so long for the Kenyan military and security forces to respond to the attack? Why was it that select persons were warned to stay away from the mall on that particular day?
Koigi Wamwere wrote in an op-ed in the Star that 'Someone Should Take Political Responsibility For Westgate.' “Amazingly, instead of accepting blame and responsibility for this tragedy, President Uhuru, Deputy President Ruto and their government are positioning themselves to reap political capital and professional gain from their own failure,” he declared.
If the current leaders of Kenya are not seeking to reap political capital from the Westgate tragedy, they should call for the cancellation of the AU Special Session to discuss the case before the ICC.
Presently, the situation in Kenya is too delicate for the questions of killings, bombings and extra judicial violence to be brushed aside. Last week, Sheikh Ibrahim Omar and three other people were shot dead in Mombasa as they drove home on Thursday night after preaching. The next day, after Friday prayers there were riots in Mombasa.
Another Muslim cleric rightly called for an end to the extrajudicial killings on the streets of Kenya. "They should tell us the truth about Westgate, not kill innocent Muslims in Mombasa," said Abubaker Shariff Ahmed, known as Makaburi.
In the midst of this instability Richard Dowden of the Royal Africa Society and Jendayi Frazer waded into the debate about Kenya and the ICC. In his article 'Kenya after Westgate: more trouble ahead', Dowden argued that the West should rally behind the political leaders of Kenya. Without mentioning the machinations of the UK in Somalia and to corner the contracts for oil exploration, Dowden concluded that the Westgate attack was the beginning of the end of the ICC.
“Western governments will need a stable strong government in Kenya. There is no way the West is going to allow President Kenyatta, who has shown good leadership qualities during the crisis (and his vice-president William Ruto), to spend months at a trial in The Hague and then go to jail,” said Dowden.
Jendayi Frazer, who had worked closely with Condoleeza Rice to ensure that Mwai Kibaki remained President in 2008, wrote that the West now needs Kenya as a partner in the fight against terror in an article in the Daily Nation, headlined 'Attack will draw West, Kenya closer.'
“Put more plainly, the ICC cases against President Kenyatta and Deputy President Ruto have become a distraction reflected clearly by the need to suspend Mr Ruto’s trial for a week to allow his return home to attend to the Westgate crisis,” she wrote.
Jendayi Frazer was a diplomat for the Republican government. The conservative wing of the US political establishment is now coming to the defense of Kenyatta and Ruto. The United States is not a signatory to the Rome Statute yet the conservatives are calling for Africans to forget the crimes committed in January 2008 in order for Kenyatta and Ruto to focus on the global war against terror.
The defense of Kenyatta and Ruto by Frazer and Dowden has complicated the Kenyan leaders’ strategy of presenting themselves as anti-imperialists. When the African Union meets this week to discuss the case for mass withdrawal, African leaders should remember that it was the activism of the Caribbean and African states that brought the ICC into fruition.
I share the opinion of Pan Africanists who believe that if Kenyatta and Ruto are innocent, they should not be afraid to get their day in court.
The African Union should be working hard to ensure that there is no impunity in Africa. Other organs such as the African Parliament and the Economic, Social and Cultural Council of the African Union need to engage in this discussion about impunity in Africa.
- See more at: http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/article-139001/african-union-should-not-support-impunity#sthash.b8glWl52.9N83EjRx.dpuf
This week many of the current political leaders of Africa will meet in Addis Ababa to discuss whether African states should withdraw en masse from the International Criminal Court because of the indictment of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto.
This meeting will be an extra-ordinary session of the African Union organized to deliberate on International Jurisdiction, Justice and the International Criminal Court.
At issue is whether the ICC has discriminated against Africans and whether the killings of over 1,100 persons in 2008 and the displacement of over half a million should be a matter of international criminal law.
To ensure that the original reasons for the ICC case are not forgotten, the Assembly of the African Union should remember its foundational doctrine of non-indifference embedded in Article 4(h) of the Constitutive Act of the AU, mandating the continental body to “intervene … in respect of grave circumstances, namely: war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity.”
As such, the special session of the AU has far more serious priorities. If Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto are innocent, then they can have their day in court and their exoneration before an international criminal court can only convey greater political legitimacy to them.
One aim of the African Union when it was formed was to ensure that there was no impunity for those who committed crimes against humanity in Africa.
If indeed, the ICC has discriminated against Africans, then the most urgent matter before this upcoming Assembly is for Africans to build regional and national mechanisms to bring those who commit crimes against humanity to justice.
Unless the Assembly can demonstrably guarantee the African peoples that the AU has genuine political will and capacity to thoroughly enforce article 4(h) of the Constitutive Act and to stem the criminal activities of desperate and selfish political leaders in Africa, any discussion about mass withdrawal from the ICC could be tantamount to self-delegitimization.
While decent human beings everywhere mourn with Kenyans over the Westgate attack, leaders such as Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Isaias Afewerki of Eritrea (the three pressing the case for this special session) do not have the political legitimacy to demand that the African Union withdraw en masse from the ICC.
The referral of the 2007-2008 Kenyan post-election violence case to the ICC came not from imperialists but from the Panel of Eminent African Personalities established by the African Union — with Kofi Annan as chair and Benjamin Mkapa and Graca Machel as members.
The ICC charges alleged that Kenyatta and Ruto helped to fuel the violence that followed the 2007 elections. Both men have declared that they are innocent.
In the heat of that post-election struggle, imperial states such as the United States and Britain wanted the matter to be put aside so that international business could continue to thrive in Kenya.
Condoleezza Rice, then the US Secretary of State, flew to Kenya to ensure that western interests were given priority. The US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Dr. Jendayi Frazer, represented Kenya as a base for the global war against terror and did not countenance any discussion about whether the election results represented the will of the people.
The Panel of Eminent African Personalities was mandated by the AU on January 29, 2008 to mediate between President Kibaki’s Party of National Unity and Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement.
The panel was charged with finding a peaceful solution to the crisis. One important outcome of the Panel’s work was the referral of the cases of post-election violence to the ICC.
There had been a demand for the local courts in Kenya to investigate the crimes but after six years only the homicide of 19 persons has been brought before the Kenyan judiciary.
In May 2013, Africa celebrated fifty years of unity. The plan of the AU Assembly was to prioritize the next fifty years (Africa 2063) but the agenda was hijacked by the political leadership of Kenya and their allies to discuss the cases of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto before the ICC.
Yoweri Museveni of Uganda had been as aggressive as the Kenyan leadership in placing the matter of the ICC before the Assembly. “The African leaders have to come to a consensus that the process the ICC is conducting in Africa has a flaw.
The intention was to avoid any kind of impunity, but now the process has degenerated into some kind of race hunting. We object to that,” the AU chairman, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, declared at the end of the May 25 summit.
The debate on the ICC intensified within African corridors of power with those opposed to the ICC trials couching their opposition in anti-imperial discourse. The AU’s Final Decision and the Summit proceedings reflected the line of the conservative media in Kenya.
“The ICC is a tool of Western powers that targets and discriminates against the continent; undermines African efforts to solve its problems, especially finding peace and reconciliation in post-conflict situations; and is shot through with double-standards, focusing its firepower only on African countries such as Sudan, Kenya and Libya but not on Iraq or the Gaza,” wrote one Kenyan conservative analyst.
Both Yoweri Museveni and Hailemariam Desalegn carried the same arguments to the General Assembly of the United Nations in September when they lobbied for the UN Security Council to call on the ICC to drop the case.
Many Africans now appear to have forgotten the origins and enormity of the case and ignore the fact that the referral to the ICC was made by a panel of Africans mandated by the AU and acting in tandem with the non-indifference doctrine of AU’s founding document.
The AU is projecting confusion and self-delegitimization if it allows itself to be used for mass withdrawal from the ICC by some African leaders, without first investing in workable structures that can impartially and decisively bring to justice powerful perpetrators of crimes against humanity on the continent.
The Westgate attack took place on September 22 in the middle of intense diplomatic activities by Yoweri Museveni for Kenya to boycott the ICC. International sympathy for the Kenyan leaders heightened until it was revealed that the Kenyan intelligence and military were forewarned of the attack.
Concerned Kenyan citizens are now posing important questions: why did it take so long for the Kenyan military and security forces to respond to the attack? Why was it that select persons were warned to stay away from the mall on that particular day?
Koigi Wamwere wrote in an op-ed in the Star that 'Someone Should Take Political Responsibility For Westgate.' “Amazingly, instead of accepting blame and responsibility for this tragedy, President Uhuru, Deputy President Ruto and their government are positioning themselves to reap political capital and professional gain from their own failure,” he declared.
If the current leaders of Kenya are not seeking to reap political capital from the Westgate tragedy, they should call for the cancellation of the AU Special Session to discuss the case before the ICC.
Presently, the situation in Kenya is too delicate for the questions of killings, bombings and extra judicial violence to be brushed aside. Last week, Sheikh Ibrahim Omar and three other people were shot dead in Mombasa as they drove home on Thursday night after preaching. The next day, after Friday prayers there were riots in Mombasa.
Another Muslim cleric rightly called for an end to the extrajudicial killings on the streets of Kenya. "They should tell us the truth about Westgate, not kill innocent Muslims in Mombasa," said Abubaker Shariff Ahmed, known as Makaburi.
In the midst of this instability Richard Dowden of the Royal Africa Society and Jendayi Frazer waded into the debate about Kenya and the ICC. In his article 'Kenya after Westgate: more trouble ahead', Dowden argued that the West should rally behind the political leaders of Kenya. Without mentioning the machinations of the UK in Somalia and to corner the contracts for oil exploration, Dowden concluded that the Westgate attack was the beginning of the end of the ICC.
“Western governments will need a stable strong government in Kenya. There is no way the West is going to allow President Kenyatta, who has shown good leadership qualities during the crisis (and his vice-president William Ruto), to spend months at a trial in The Hague and then go to jail,” said Dowden.
Jendayi Frazer, who had worked closely with Condoleeza Rice to ensure that Mwai Kibaki remained President in 2008, wrote that the West now needs Kenya as a partner in the fight against terror in an article in the Daily Nation, headlined 'Attack will draw West, Kenya closer.'
“Put more plainly, the ICC cases against President Kenyatta and Deputy President Ruto have become a distraction reflected clearly by the need to suspend Mr Ruto’s trial for a week to allow his return home to attend to the Westgate crisis,” she wrote.
Jendayi Frazer was a diplomat for the Republican government. The conservative wing of the US political establishment is now coming to the defense of Kenyatta and Ruto. The United States is not a signatory to the Rome Statute yet the conservatives are calling for Africans to forget the crimes committed in January 2008 in order for Kenyatta and Ruto to focus on the global war against terror.
The defense of Kenyatta and Ruto by Frazer and Dowden has complicated the Kenyan leaders’ strategy of presenting themselves as anti-imperialists. When the African Union meets this week to discuss the case for mass withdrawal, African leaders should remember that it was the activism of the Caribbean and African states that brought the ICC into fruition.
I share the opinion of Pan Africanists who believe that if Kenyatta and Ruto are innocent, they should not be afraid to get their day in court.
The African Union should be working hard to ensure that there is no impunity in Africa. Other organs such as the African Parliament and the Economic, Social and Cultural Council of the African Union need to engage in this discussion about impunity in Africa.
- See more at: http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/article-139001/african-union-should-not-support-impunity#sthash.b8glWl52.9N83EjRx.dpuf
This week many of the current political leaders of Africa will meet in Addis Ababa to discuss whether African states should withdraw en masse from the International Criminal Court because of the indictment of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto.
This meeting will be an extra-ordinary session of the African Union organized to deliberate on International Jurisdiction, Justice and the International Criminal Court.
At issue is whether the ICC has discriminated against Africans and whether the killings of over 1,100 persons in 2008 and the displacement of over half a million should be a matter of international criminal law.
To ensure that the original reasons for the ICC case are not forgotten, the Assembly of the African Union should remember its foundational doctrine of non-indifference embedded in Article 4(h) of the Constitutive Act of the AU, mandating the continental body to “intervene … in respect of grave circumstances, namely: war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity.”
As such, the special session of the AU has far more serious priorities. If Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto are innocent, then they can have their day in court and their exoneration before an international criminal court can only convey greater political legitimacy to them.
One aim of the African Union when it was formed was to ensure that there was no impunity for those who committed crimes against humanity in Africa.
If indeed, the ICC has discriminated against Africans, then the most urgent matter before this upcoming Assembly is for Africans to build regional and national mechanisms to bring those who commit crimes against humanity to justice.
Unless the Assembly can demonstrably guarantee the African peoples that the AU has genuine political will and capacity to thoroughly enforce article 4(h) of the Constitutive Act and to stem the criminal activities of desperate and selfish political leaders in Africa, any discussion about mass withdrawal from the ICC could be tantamount to self-delegitimization.
While decent human beings everywhere mourn with Kenyans over the Westgate attack, leaders such as Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Isaias Afewerki of Eritrea (the three pressing the case for this special session) do not have the political legitimacy to demand that the African Union withdraw en masse from the ICC.
The referral of the 2007-2008 Kenyan post-election violence case to the ICC came not from imperialists but from the Panel of Eminent African Personalities established by the African Union — with Kofi Annan as chair and Benjamin Mkapa and Graca Machel as members.
The ICC charges alleged that Kenyatta and Ruto helped to fuel the violence that followed the 2007 elections. Both men have declared that they are innocent.
In the heat of that post-election struggle, imperial states such as the United States and Britain wanted the matter to be put aside so that international business could continue to thrive in Kenya.
Condoleezza Rice, then the US Secretary of State, flew to Kenya to ensure that western interests were given priority. The US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Dr. Jendayi Frazer, represented Kenya as a base for the global war against terror and did not countenance any discussion about whether the election results represented the will of the people.
The Panel of Eminent African Personalities was mandated by the AU on January 29, 2008 to mediate between President Kibaki’s Party of National Unity and Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement.
The panel was charged with finding a peaceful solution to the crisis. One important outcome of the Panel’s work was the referral of the cases of post-election violence to the ICC.
There had been a demand for the local courts in Kenya to investigate the crimes but after six years only the homicide of 19 persons has been brought before the Kenyan judiciary.
In May 2013, Africa celebrated fifty years of unity. The plan of the AU Assembly was to prioritize the next fifty years (Africa 2063) but the agenda was hijacked by the political leadership of Kenya and their allies to discuss the cases of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto before the ICC.
Yoweri Museveni of Uganda had been as aggressive as the Kenyan leadership in placing the matter of the ICC before the Assembly. “The African leaders have to come to a consensus that the process the ICC is conducting in Africa has a flaw.
The intention was to avoid any kind of impunity, but now the process has degenerated into some kind of race hunting. We object to that,” the AU chairman, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, declared at the end of the May 25 summit.
The debate on the ICC intensified within African corridors of power with those opposed to the ICC trials couching their opposition in anti-imperial discourse. The AU’s Final Decision and the Summit proceedings reflected the line of the conservative media in Kenya.
“The ICC is a tool of Western powers that targets and discriminates against the continent; undermines African efforts to solve its problems, especially finding peace and reconciliation in post-conflict situations; and is shot through with double-standards, focusing its firepower only on African countries such as Sudan, Kenya and Libya but not on Iraq or the Gaza,” wrote one Kenyan conservative analyst.
Both Yoweri Museveni and Hailemariam Desalegn carried the same arguments to the General Assembly of the United Nations in September when they lobbied for the UN Security Council to call on the ICC to drop the case.
Many Africans now appear to have forgotten the origins and enormity of the case and ignore the fact that the referral to the ICC was made by a panel of Africans mandated by the AU and acting in tandem with the non-indifference doctrine of AU’s founding document.
The AU is projecting confusion and self-delegitimization if it allows itself to be used for mass withdrawal from the ICC by some African leaders, without first investing in workable structures that can impartially and decisively bring to justice powerful perpetrators of crimes against humanity on the continent.
The Westgate attack took place on September 22 in the middle of intense diplomatic activities by Yoweri Museveni for Kenya to boycott the ICC. International sympathy for the Kenyan leaders heightened until it was revealed that the Kenyan intelligence and military were forewarned of the attack.
Concerned Kenyan citizens are now posing important questions: why did it take so long for the Kenyan military and security forces to respond to the attack? Why was it that select persons were warned to stay away from the mall on that particular day?
Koigi Wamwere wrote in an op-ed in the Star that 'Someone Should Take Political Responsibility For Westgate.' “Amazingly, instead of accepting blame and responsibility for this tragedy, President Uhuru, Deputy President Ruto and their government are positioning themselves to reap political capital and professional gain from their own failure,” he declared.
If the current leaders of Kenya are not seeking to reap political capital from the Westgate tragedy, they should call for the cancellation of the AU Special Session to discuss the case before the ICC.
Presently, the situation in Kenya is too delicate for the questions of killings, bombings and extra judicial violence to be brushed aside. Last week, Sheikh Ibrahim Omar and three other people were shot dead in Mombasa as they drove home on Thursday night after preaching. The next day, after Friday prayers there were riots in Mombasa.
Another Muslim cleric rightly called for an end to the extrajudicial killings on the streets of Kenya. "They should tell us the truth about Westgate, not kill innocent Muslims in Mombasa," said Abubaker Shariff Ahmed, known as Makaburi.
In the midst of this instability Richard Dowden of the Royal Africa Society and Jendayi Frazer waded into the debate about Kenya and the ICC. In his article 'Kenya after Westgate: more trouble ahead', Dowden argued that the West should rally behind the political leaders of Kenya. Without mentioning the machinations of the UK in Somalia and to corner the contracts for oil exploration, Dowden concluded that the Westgate attack was the beginning of the end of the ICC.
“Western governments will need a stable strong government in Kenya. There is no way the West is going to allow President Kenyatta, who has shown good leadership qualities during the crisis (and his vice-president William Ruto), to spend months at a trial in The Hague and then go to jail,” said Dowden.
Jendayi Frazer, who had worked closely with Condoleeza Rice to ensure that Mwai Kibaki remained President in 2008, wrote that the West now needs Kenya as a partner in the fight against terror in an article in the Daily Nation, headlined 'Attack will draw West, Kenya closer.'
“Put more plainly, the ICC cases against President Kenyatta and Deputy President Ruto have become a distraction reflected clearly by the need to suspend Mr Ruto’s trial for a week to allow his return home to attend to the Westgate crisis,” she wrote.
Jendayi Frazer was a diplomat for the Republican government. The conservative wing of the US political establishment is now coming to the defense of Kenyatta and Ruto. The United States is not a signatory to the Rome Statute yet the conservatives are calling for Africans to forget the crimes committed in January 2008 in order for Kenyatta and Ruto to focus on the global war against terror.
The defense of Kenyatta and Ruto by Frazer and Dowden has complicated the Kenyan leaders’ strategy of presenting themselves as anti-imperialists. When the African Union meets this week to discuss the case for mass withdrawal, African leaders should remember that it was the activism of the Caribbean and African states that brought the ICC into fruition.
I share the opinion of Pan Africanists who believe that if Kenyatta and Ruto are innocent, they should not be afraid to get their day in court.
The African Union should be working hard to ensure that there is no impunity in Africa. Other organs such as the African Parliament and the Economic, Social and Cultural Council of the African Union need to engage in this discussion about impunity in Africa.
- See more at: http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/article-139001/african-union-should-not-support-impunity#sthash.b8glWl52.9N83EjRx.dpuf