Call Us Now: (240) 429 2177

guinea-bissau

African Energy Sector to send strong message on Investment Potential in Africa at Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference (ADIPEC) 2019
September 23, 2019 | 0 Comments
The continent’s energy industry will be gathering at ADIPEC in Abu Dhabi on November 11-14, 2019 to set the industry agenda for 2020
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, September 23, 2019/ — After a year of remarkable achievements and continuous recovery across Africa’s oil markets, the continent’s energy industry will be gathering at ADIPEC in Abu Dhabi on November 11-14, 2019 to set the industry agenda for 2020.

As Africa’s energy revolution accelerates, African energy officials from governments and the public and private sectors are joining ADIPEC to send a strong message on the continent’s potential and ambitions for the coming years.

Taking the lead on representing Africa at the world’s largest oil & gas event, the African Energy Chamber (EnergyChamber.org) has signed an agreement with ADIPEC and is officially endorsing the conference & exhibition and inviting all its partners to join the African delegation participating in ADIPEC.

“The good news for Equatorial Guinea and many African countries is, we have the resources. African countries have some much untapped reservoirs of oil and natural gas that have regrettably been underexplored. We need to attract investment in our oil and gas industry, explore, supply the market and also develop our countries. ADIPEC is a great place to meet potential investors. We have a unique relationship with the UAE through OPEC and the GECF. We have worked closely on various oil matters under the leadership of H.E. Suhail Al Mazroui and the Ministry of Energy and Industry,” stated H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea.

“In the same ways as we push for a stronger African representation within global organizations such as OPEC, we need to have Africa better represented within global investment shows like ADIPEC where major deals and contracts are being discussed,” declared Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber and CEO of the Centurion Law Group. “The conference’s focus on technology and the oil & gas sector 4.0 is especially relevant for Africa as the continent seeks to fully embrace digitalization and the latest technologies to leapfrog into next-generation energy initiatives and developments.”

ADIPEC is being organized on the back of tremendous growth in investment and cooperation between the UAE and Africa this year, marked by the recent acquisition by ADNOC of Kosmos Energy’s stakes in Senegalese and Mauritanian offshore licenses. As interest for Africa picks up from Middle Eastern markets and global companies, ADIPEC offers the perfect stage to promote additional opportunities for such deals across African oil jurisdictions.

The conference will notably see the official launch of “Billions At Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals”, the long-awaited book by AEC Chairman Nj Ayuk that paves the way for the development of Africa’s energy sector. On this occasion, the Chamber will be organizing a high-level African oil & gas panel with ministers and executives from across the continent to shed the light on the biggest trends shaping the future of the continent’s energy industry.
0
Read More
Gambia: National Assembly Suspends session calls for President Appearance
September 23, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

President Adama Barrow

National Assembly members in Banjul on Monday have suspended the session requesting the appearance of the President or Vice President on the debate on the President address to the nation which was held Thursday 19th September.

 According to  Section 77 of the Gambian Constitution which reads: “The Vice-President shall answer in the National Assembly for matters affecting the President, and the President shall be entitled to send a message to the National Assembly to be read on his or her behalf by the Vice-President”

On Monday, Hon. Sidia Jatta , National Assembly Member of Wuli  West tabled a motion for the assembly to suspend session until the Vice President or the president appears in the National Assembly for the debate on state of nation address and the Assembly stand down waiting for the appearance of the Vice President or President.

 After the break, three ministers appear on behalf of the president for the session to continue but Hon. Sanna Jawara, National Assembly of Upper Fulladu raised a point of order, drawing the attention of the Assembly to Section 77 of the Constitution which reads: “The Vice-President shall answer in the National Assembly for matters affecting the President, and the President shall be entitled to send a message to the National Assembly to be read on his or her behalf by the Vice-President”

Hon. Halifa Sallah, National Assembly member of Serekunda stressed that “President in this National Assembly, it is only the vice president who is authorized and mandatory to represent the President. What we also know that all members of cabinet may also come to this National Assembly shall also be requested to appear to deal with any matter dealing with their Department of State. That’s what the Constitution says,”

The veteran lawmaker said: “Hon. Speaker we need to put an end to this practice of having a minister absent or a vice president absent and the session has to be suspended. The Constitution is very clear on the absent of minister or vice president the section 270. They are acting appointees; anybody who appoints a person can also appoint any other authority to act on the behalf of that person. And we must begin that trend in this country”

Sallah further explained that they have abundant, the principles of good governance. What is important is that anytime any minister goes abroad, the president should appoint an acting person from any of the other ministers and simply publishes in the gazette. And that person can appear on behalf of the minister on behalf of the vice president.

“This is what should start. If we are going to continue to proceed, we can’t on the basis that the ministers are simply representing their offices and their department, but not representing the president here”.

 At this juncture, Speaker of National Assembly Hon Mariam Jack-Denton requested for the members to vote for or against the motion of the assembly to continue in the absence of the vice president or president or continue without the president or vice since there was different views on the issue.

The Assembly then proceeded with voting, 28 voted for the Assembly to suspend session for the President or Vice President to appear while 11 voted for the session to continue.

Going by the votes the session was suspended until a request is sent for the President or the Vice President to appear on a later date for the debate on the Speech of the President on the State of the Nation Address to commence.

0
Read More
LUKOIL Leader says New Africa Energy Book Billions at Play describes Workable Solutions for Africa’s Infrastructure Challenges
September 23, 2019 | 0 Comments
Ayuk sees the irony in oil and gas produced in Africa being sent away to be refined, then returned as finished products that Africans pay a premium for
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, September 23, 2019/ — Leading African energy attorney NJ Ayuk does not believe in handouts as a long-term strategy for impoverished people or nations.

But he does think that the companies working on the continent have a responsibility to help their host nations build the infrastructure necessary to expand industrialization.

Bruce Falkenstein, Joint Operations Manager of License Management & Compliance for LUKOIL, agrees with that premise, which is the focus of chapter 10 in Ayuk’s new book, Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy.

Falkenstein has a 40-year career working in all facets of the international oil and gas industry.  With regard to Africa, he has extensive experience managing offshore blocks in Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Cameroon, and Sierra Leone for LUKOIL and Vanco Exploration, and had great success in the exploration and development of oil fields in Egypt for Amoco (BP) in the 1980s and 90s.

“There is no getting around it: Africa is exporting raw materials it could be refining and processing, if it only had the capabilities, but not everyone is willing to admit that with the level of candor Ayuk does,” Falkenstein said. “What’s more, he has correctly linked infrastructure deficits to the lack of industrialization and describes workable solutions based on examples from around the world.”

Ayuk sees the irony in oil and gas produced in Africa being sent away to be refined, then returned as finished products that Africans pay a premium for. Roads, railways, and reliable electricity are key to building a manufacturing base in Africa, but they take resources—some of which should be provided by the international energy companies making millions on the continent, he argues.

“It is simply not ethical for American, French, Italian, and other companies to come here and not help lift people out of poverty,” Falkenstein said. “True, they employ indigenous workers and provide training, but one of the biggest benefits would be in committing to help build sustainable infrastructure and physical assets that will remain a plus for the people long after the companies have pulled up stakes and left Africa, and I will add that sustainability of the work force, also a key component of a venture’s ‘built assets’, is critical to the future industrial output of the nations and currently many of the work force assets are left behind without local supporting employment agencies after the stakes are pulled up.  Sustainability is only achieved through alignment of the projects with both the real needs of the impacted communities and the spectrum of government stakeholders.

As Ayuk alludes to in chapter 9, Calling All Leaders! More on Good Governance, part of good governance requires that good leadership needs to be able to recognize the upfront additional cost to achieve sustainability results in reduced project risks and improved long-term project stability and economics.”

In Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy, Ayuk does not overlook the issues Africa has caused for itself, including unscrupulous leaders who have siphoned off funds that were intended for the public good. At the same time, as Falkenstein noted, he points out how countries like Kenya have created an enabling environment for manufacturing that supports economic diversification and should reduce the country’s exposure to external shocks, including oil and gas price volatility.

“In NJ Ayuk’s world, there are few villains, just people and businesses who can and need to do more,” Falkenstein said. “That is what makes his book so compelling—it is, truly, fair and balanced. Learning from Ayuk will put you on the successful path in Africa. His first book, Big Barrels: African Oil and Gas and the Quest for Prosperity, should be within close reach for any serious oil and gas executive and negotiator. With that said, Ayuk’s newest book needs to be in even closer reach as each of you pursue your own quest for Billions.”

NJ Ayuk is founder and CEO of Pan-African corporate law conglomerate, Centurion Law Group (CenturionLG.com); Founder and Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber; (EnergyChamber.org) and co-author of Big Barrels: African Oil and Gas and the Quest for Prosperity (2017).

He is recognized as one of the foremost figures in African business today.

Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy will be published by October 2019.

Pre-order your copy on Amazon. (https://amzn.to/2ksOLo0)
0
Read More
Ivory Coast first lady Dominique Ouattara Talks Child Labor in Cocoa Sector
September 23, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

First Lady Dominique Ouattara speaking at the Atlantic Council

After a fierce rebuttal by the US administration with treats of sanctions and a possible ban on the importation of Ivorian cocoa due to allegations of child trafficking, exploitation and child labor in Ivorian cocoa farms, the first lady of Ivory Coast, Dominique Folloroux-Ouattara accompanied by a strong delegation from the West African nation, has presented the Atlantic Council with some stringent measures undertaken to fight child abuse in cocoa farms.

Speaking at the headquarters of the Atlantic Ocean, a think tank American organization that galvanizes US leadership and engagement in the world in the field of international affairs, the first lady asserted that they were deeply concerned by the letter written by Senators Ron WYDEN and Sherrod BROWN suggesting an embargo on Ivorian cocoa, because of child labor in cocoa production.

Recognising the fact that child labor plays a minute role in the Ivorian cocoa, a country ranked as the top producer of the beans worldwide, the first lady took out time to present measures implemented to fight the against child traffic which has adversely affected the cocoa sector in Ivory Coast.

“Since 2011, The National Oversight Committee, which I chair, and the Inter-ministerial Committee have carried out actions to curb child labor in cocoa farming, in collaboration with our partners. Since 2012, we have implemented three successive National Action Plans to combat child labor in Côte d’Ivoire. The third National Action Plan for 2019-2021 has just been launched, with a budget of 127 million dollars, to fight the root causes of child labor from a holistic approach.”

The first lady with Ambassador Haidara Mamadou at a reception in Washington ,DC

+“Immediately in 2012 upon taking up my new role, I sought to understand: Who are these children who are working on cocoa farms? Where are they? Where do they come from? and do they go to school?” she said.

Citing research conducted by the US Department of Labor which revealed that 85 % of the children involved in cocoa farming attend school; live with their parents and occasionally accompany them to the fields after school hours and on weekends; and 15 %, they do not go to school and often don’t live with their parents.

To her, these children are more at risk, and need all our attention.

“As regards forced labor, available research including recent studies undertaken by the American NGOs Vérité and the Walk Free Foundation estimate the number of children victims of forced labor in cocoa production at 0.17 % of the total population of children working in cocoa farming, she told attendees at the gathering.

She was accompanied to Washington DC by Patrick ACHI, Secretary General of the Presidency; Mamadou Haidara, Ambassador of Côte d’Ivoire to the United States of America; Patricia Sylvie YAO, Executive Secretary of CNS, the National Oversight Committee to Fight Child Trafficking, Exploitation, and Child Labor: Georges Koffi, Chief of Cabinet for the Secretary General of the Presidency; Nadine Sangare, Director of the Children of Africa Foundation; Tod Preston, Senior Vice President of GPG; Tessy Winkelman, CNS Consultant on Child Labor Issues and Brahima Coulibaly, Director of Communication.

 Before forging ahead with her presentation, she took out time to thank Congressman Dight Evan; Chris Fomonyoh, Director for Africa at NDI; Connie Hamilton, Assistant US Trade representative for Africa; Ambassador Philipp Carter III; and Scoley, President of the World Cocoa Foundation, for their support and contributions towards bettering the cocoa production and marketing sector in Ivory Coast, stating that; “today’s roundtable gives me the opportunity to present the progress made in the fight against child labor in Côte d’Ivoire.”

On some of the implemented measures she said “We have launched extensive communication campaigns throughout the country. Changing mindsets and making farmers aware that child labor is strictly prohibited has proven to be the most important part of our work and it was difficult. We have explained that the children who help their parents on the farm after school should not be exposed to dangerous work, notably involving the use of machetes or pesticides.”

“We have also hosted seminars and trained over 70,000 key players in the remediation chain, including cocoa farmers’ cooperatives. In 2011, we realized that there were few schools near the cocoa-growing communities. To remedy this shortage, the Government of Côte d’Ivoire and its partners have invested massively in the construction of schools and canteens, health centers, and hydraulic wells, to improve the cocoa-producing communities’ living conditions. 30,000 classrooms have thus been built in rural cocoa-producing areas.”

All these actions, she said, enabled the Government to make schooling compulsory in Côte d’Ivoire, in 2016 thus increasing the number of children attending school from 59 % in 2008 to 90 % in 2019.

With poverty identified as the root cause of child labor, she explained the engagement of the President of the Republic who has undertaken reform of the coffee and cocoa sector that guarantees a fixed income for the farmers.

“For my part I am personally engaged in the fight against women’s poverty, notably via FAFCI, a micro-credit program I have set up with the help of the President of the Republic; it has enabled more than 200,000 women to become autonomous and improve the living conditions of their families.”

With Ivory Coast been the economic spearhead of French-speaking West Africa; with 40% of the French-speaking sub-region’s GDP, many people from neighboring countries cross over for greener pastures and this leads to cross-border child trafficking.

As an offset to this, Dominique Folloroux-Ouattara stated that in 2017, she organized the conference of the First Ladies of West Africa and the Sahel on combating cross-border trafficking and child labor, with the participation of 14 West African and Sahelian countries.

“This conference allowed our different countries to sign cooperation agreements against child trafficking. As regards child protection and professional care, my Foundation Children of Africa has built three shelters for child victims inside the country to provide support and care for children victims of exploitation and to ensure their safe return to their families and their reintegration in society.”

Citing laws put in place which has so far seen more than 220 traffickers have been sentenced to imprisonment, she beamed with smiles while saying their efforts have been acknowledged by the US Government.

 “Indeed, the State Department has commended our initiatives on several occasions and has ranked Côte d’Ivoire among the countries that have made significant efforts toward the elimination of child labor. This has been the case every year since 2012.”

“Furthermore, in May 2019 Côte d’Ivoire was recognized by the International Labor Organization as a pioneering country toward achieving Target 8.7 of the United Nations’ sustainable development goal on the elimination of child labor.”

Maintaining that over 6 million farmers rely on the cocoa sector to make a leaving, the first lady acknowledged the fact that the USA and Ivory Coast are both committed to eliminating the scourge of child labor in West Africa.

0
Read More
Robert Gabriel Mugabe And The Battles To Free Southern Africa
September 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

By  Gary  K. Busch*

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Robert Mugabe addresses a crowd in Harare stadium during a political meeting in July 1984.
 Alexander Joe/AFP/Getty Images

It was a shock to hear of the death of former Zimbabwe President Mugabe at his hospital retreat in Singapore. His death was no great surprise as he had been suffering for several years from a recurring complaint which required regular treatment at the Singapore clinic. He was 95 years of age so this, too, was not surprising. The shock was the finality of his passing.

However, what has been more shocking than his death has been the commentary in the world press on his life and efforts which pictures Mugabe as some sort of illegitimate villain who terrorised Zimbabwe for the thirty-seven years of his rule. This is not a truthful picture of his life and works. It demonstrates a serious lack of knowledge of the forces which shaped his policies and a woeful ignorance of the realities of Zimbabwe’s’ place in the Pan-African struggle to free Southern Africa.

Unfortunately, even within Zimbabwe, there are too many young people who don’t know or who never learned the real history of their country and their region or the amazing feat of winning the struggle for the independence of the country from the servitude of colonial and white settler politics.

Zimbabwe is one of a very few African nations which actually won its independence as a result of an armed struggle; as opposed to demonstrations, strikes and boycotts. During that armed struggle (The ‘Second Chimurenga’  the First Chimurenga  was the Shona revolt  against encroachment upon their lands, by the British South Africa Company and Cecil Rhodes in 1896 and 1897) Zimbabwean men and women took up arms and fought the White settler government of the Rhodesian Front and their “kith and kin” backers in the British Government. They risked their lives, their property and their futures in the battle against the injustice of White supremacy.

However, the struggle for freedom and self-rule in Zimbabwe was much more than a battle against the White settlers or the perfidious British. It was a Pan-African battle, of mighty proportions, which pitted the Frontline States of Africa (a coalition of African countries from the 1960s to the early 1990s committed to ending apartheid and white minority rule in South Africa and Rhodesia) whose membership included, initially Botswana, Tanzania and Zambia and later, as the struggle progressed, Angola (1975), Mozambique (1975) and Zimbabwe (1980). Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere was the chairman until he retired in 1985. His successor was Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda. These Frontline States sheltered, armed and supported the wide variety of national liberation movements which were seeking independence; among them ZAPU, ZANU, ANC, PAC, SWAPO, FRELIMO, COREMO, FLEC, MPLA, and several others as well as the military wings of these movements – among them ZIPRA,ZANLA, Umkonto we Siswe, POQO, PLAN and FAPLA.

Support for the liberation struggles in Southern Africa was not limited to the Frontline States. Ghana, Nigeria, Algeria, Egypt, Libya and others supported these liberation movements with equipment, trainers and officers. When the Southern African Development Coordination Conference was created in Lusaka on 1 April 1980, it dedicated itself to the cause of national political liberation in Southern Africa, and the reduction of these nation’s dependence on apartheid era South Africa for transport and logistics. On August 17, 1992, at a Summit held in Windhoek, Namibia, the Heads of State and Government signed the SADC Declaration and Treaty that effectively transformed the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC) into the Southern African Development Community, (SADC). Mugabe was the chairman of SADC’s organ on defence and security for the whole region. He was the key co-ordinator for the continuing struggle against apartheid and colonial polices.

What is even more important for the history of the liberation struggle was the financial, military, intelligence and political support ranged against African liberation movements by the United States and its NATO allies who viewed these struggles a part of their Cold War battles against the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China. Their aim was to support the South Africans in resisting African uprisings and, despite protestations to the contrary, their support for White supremacy rule in the Southern African region. The Soviets (supported by their international allies in East Germany. Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Cuba) played a major role in supporting the African liberation struggles with arms, finance and military assistance. The Chinese, as well as their North Korean allies were also very active in Southern Africa. Looking at a snapshot of the deployment of combatants in the Angolan War in 1986, in addition to the domestic liberation forces, is a good guide.

Opposing them were the armed forces of South Africa, with its own weapons-manufacturing capability (ARMSCOR and DENEL), UNITA (a local ‘liberation movement’ funded by South Africa and the US and reliant on South African logistical supplies), the remains of the White Rhodesian forces which had escaped the formation of Zimbabwe in 1980 with their aircraft, and the support and finance of  Zaire (now the DRC) whose President, Mobuto, was a key supporter of Savimbi’s UNITA.

As Mugabe was leading the battle against the White settlers and their South African and international backers his actions were tempered by and his abilities hindered by the Cold War in the African theatre. Throughout this struggle Mugabe concentrated first on creating the independent state of Zimbabwe and returning the control of its land to indigenous farmers. The fact that he was able to do this is a testament to his vision and his ability to function against such powerful enemies; most of whom were outside Zimbabwe.

Rebellion and the Urgent Need for Land Reform

One of the principal causes of the Rhodesian Bush War was the inequitable division of the land in the country. From the earliest days of Cecil Rhodes’ British South Africa Company (‘BSAC’), Whites were encouraged to come to Rhodesia to farm the rich, arable lands in a climate which was “suitable” for Whites. Between 1890 and 1896, the BSAC granted an area encompassing 16 million acres of prime land (about sixth the area of Southern Rhodesia) to White European immigrants. By 1913 this had been extended to 21.5 million acres. Most of the land owned by Africans was used as pastureland where they grazed their herds. As the Whites began to exploit the land they had been given they found themselves in competition with the African herds for pastureland.

In 1900 the colonial government decide to divide sections of Rhodesia’s land. They divided the land into five separate regions, based primarily on the amount of rainfall. “Region I comprised an area in the eastern highlands with markedly higher rainfall best suited to the cultivation of diversified cash crops such as coffee and tea. Region II was highveld, also in the east, where the land could be used intensively for grain cultivation such as maize, tobacco, and wheat. Region III and Region IV endured periodic drought and were regarded as suitable for livestock, in addition to crops which required little rainfall. Region V was lowveld and unsuitable for crop cultivation due to its dry nature; however, limited livestock farming was still viable. Land ownership in these regions was determined by race under the terms of the Southern Rhodesian Land Apportionment Act, passed in 1930, which reserved Regions I, II, and III for white settlement.[i] 

Region V and a segment of Region II which possessed greater rainfall variability were organised into the Tribal Trust Lands (TTLs), reserved solely for black African ownership and use. This created two new problems: firstly, in the areas reserved for whites, the ratio of land to population was so high that many farms could not be exploited to their fullest potential, and some prime white-owned farmland was lying idle.

It was difficult for Africans to sustain themselves on the least favourable farmlands and many were compelled to work as labourers om White farms. This inequitable division of the land acquired by the Whites without compensation to the Africans who had toiled on the land for generations caused a great deal of unrest and agitation.

After a long period of protest and opposition, the Southern Rhodesian Government revisited the land tenure issue and passed the Southern Rhodesian Land Apportionment Act which reserved 49 million acres for white ownership and left 17.7 million acres of land unassigned to either the Whites or the Tribal Trusts.

When the Rhodesian Front issued the Universal Declaration of Independence, the Ian Smith Government passed the Rhodesian Land Tenure Act of 1969.  This kept the forty-five million acres of prime land in White hands but allowed for the expansion of the African lands in the lower rainfall areas. The White farmers abused these reforms by using them as an excuse to expand the borders of their farms into formerly African areas and in evicting African farmers from their farms. The resentment at the inequitable division of the land was a burning issue in Rhodesian African societies and the main grievance which precipitated the agitation for reform which landed many African leaders, like Mugabe, in detention for ten years.

The Lancaster House Treaty and the Constitution which emerged from it, in addition to the terms of the ceasefire, was principally argued on the urgent need to include in the Constitution the radical reform of land tenure in the new Zimbabwe. The British Government was afraid that turning the land over to Africans immediately would cause unrest and conflict. Carrington proposed constitutional clauses underscoring property ownership as an inalienable right of all Zimbabweans (but not all at once). This was enshrined in Section 16 of the Zimbabwean Constitution, 1980. Lord Carrington announced that the United Kingdom would be prepared to assist land resettlement with technical assistance and financial aid. The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations, Sir Shridath Ramphal, also received assurances from the American ambassador in London, Kingman Brewster, that the United States would likewise contribute capital for “a substantial amount for a process of land redistribution and they would undertake to encourage the British government to give similar assurances”.[ii]

The Lancaster House Agreement stipulated that farms could only be taken from whites on a “willing buyer, willing seller” principle for at least ten years. White farmers were not to be placed under any pressure or intimidation, and if they decided to sell their farms they could determine their own asking prices. Exceptions could be made if the farm was unoccupied and not being used for agricultural activity. These were “entrenched clause” in the Constitution.

When Mugabe took office as Prime Minister, his government created the Ministry of Lands, Resettlement, and Redevelopment to assist in the acquisition of land from the White farmers under the terms of the Constitution. Not surprisingly the White farmers were not interested in selling their land, except perhaps their second or third farms. They raised the prices well above what was the fair market price for farmland, so the reform of land tenure was stuck in the aspic of the entrenched clauses for the full ten-year period. During that period the Ministry recovered only 7.41 million acres of farmland. The Zimbabwe population was furious as they thought that when they won the war they would get their land back. Mugabe and Nkomo said that the constitution had to be obeyed, even though it was inequitable. There were many Zimbabweans, mainly veterans of the war, who did not want to wait. Mugabe and ZANU-PF kept up with their side of the bargain.

At the end of the ten-year restraint of the entrenched clause (1990) Mugabe and his government announced to the British that the time of restraint was over. Lord Carrington had promised up to a billion pounds for compensation to the White farmers whose lands were being purchased. Mugabe asked how they should proceed.

The British made some small token payments to the White farmers, but the main expense was laid at the Zimbabwean government’s feet. Land Reform was going slowly as the Zimbabwe Government found it could not pay for the purchases. Another problem was that many leading African politicians used their positions to acquire farms without compensating the owners. The Land Reform, such as it was, was benefitting the politicians more than the populace. There was a great deal of unease among the White farmers and they conveyed this to the rest of the world.

In June 1996, Lynda Chalker, British secretary of state for international development, told Parliament that she could not endorse the new compulsory acquisition policy in Zimbabwe. She urged Mugabe to return to the principles of “willing buyer, willing seller” which was the term used in the “entrenched clauses”. Worse news came on 5 November 1997, when Tony Blair’s International Development Secretary, Clare Short, sent a letter describing the new Labour government’s refusal to honour the financial commitments made by the Conservative Government in the Lancaster House talks to compensate White farmers for the loss of their lands in land reform.

She said that the UK did not accept that Britain had a special responsibility to meet the costs of land purchase in Zimbabwe. Notwithstanding the Lancaster House commitments, Short stated that her government was only prepared to support a programme of land reform that was part of a poverty eradication strategy. She had other questions regarding the way in which land would be acquired and compensation paid, and the transparency of the process. Her government’s position was spelled out in a letter to Zimbabwe’s Agriculture Minister, Kumbirai Kangai. The Short letter wasn’t widely circulated internationally but was, effectively, a total abandonment of the British Government’s commitment to comply with the system they compelled the Patriotic Front to agree to at Lancaster House. Since Labour had replaced the Conservatives in the British Parliament the Labour Government washed its hands of any commitments made by the previous Foreign Office. The actual letter states

A screenshot of text Description automatically generated

This was, effectively, a declaration of economic war against Zimbabwe. ZANU-PF politely explained to the British that they were removing the entrenched clauses in the Constitution as the ten years had passed. They were now going to acquire the farms from the White farmers and pay them what they had originally paid for them – zero. If the White farmers wanted compensation they should make their claims to the British Government out of the billion pounds they had been promised at Lancaster House.

This development was broadcast across the media internationally as horror stories about the occupation of White farms; without any reference to the role of the British in delaying and then denying their contribution for the return of land to Zimbabweans. The hostility of the West to Zimbabwe escalated and the vilification of Mugabe, in particular, grew. The White farmers were portrayed as victims. They could promote themselves as victims because the actions of the Rhodesian Front Government against Africans had been overlooked and buried out of reporting and analysis by the Western media.

The Rhodesian Front Policies Against the Africans

 The injustices of the Rhodesian Government of Ian Smith and the Rhodesian Front have been airbrushed over in the last forty years and the crimes of the oppressors have been relegated to a foot note as has the active involvement of the Western Powers in covertly supporting Rhodesia and South Africa despite this knowledge. What they did, and later admitted to, would have kept the ICC judges in The Hague busy for a generation had the court been formed at that time. Even as they knew they were losing the battle in 1978 they experimented with the use of weaponised anthrax against the Black population in Rhodesia. In 1979, the largest recorded outbreak of anthrax occurred in Rhodesia.  As shown in sworn testimony and repeated in the autobiography of Ken Flower, Chief of Rhodesia’s Central Intelligence Organization(‘CIO’) and CIO Officer, Henrik Ellert, the anthrax outbreak in 1978-80 was anything but benign. The original outbreak was the result of a policy carried out by the Rhodesian Front government with the active participation of South Africa’s ‘Dr. Death’ (Dr Wouter Basson) and, together with the South Africans, the Rhodesian Front used biological and chemical weapons against the African liberation forces and the rural Blacks to prevent their support of the civil war and against their cattle to reduce rural food stocks.

 Much of the detailed background of this program emerged from testimony at the South African Truth and Reconciliation hearings. Dr. Death used Rhodesia as a testing ground for their joint chemical and biological warfare programs. Witnesses at the commission testified to a catalogue of killing methods ranging from the grotesque to the horrific:

 1. “Project Coast” sought to create “smart” poisons, which would only affect blacks’ people, and hoarded enough cholera and anthrax to start epidemics

 2.    Naked black men were tied to trees, smeared with a poisonous gel and left overnight to see if they would die. When the experiments failed, they were put to death with injections of muscle relaxants.

 3.     Weapon ideas included sugar laced with salmonella, cigarettes with anthrax, chocolates with botulism and whisky with herbicide.

 4.    Clothes left out to dry were sprayed with cholera germs.

 5.    Water holes were doused with poisons to kill the cattle and anyone else who drank from them.

 Dr. Wooton Basson was aided by the work of Dr. Robert Symington, professor of Anatomy at the University of Rhodesia. The active work was performed by Inspector Dave Anderton, head of the “Terrorist” desk at the CIO. In 1979-80 there were 10,748 documented cases of anthrax in Rhodesia which involved 182 deaths (all Africans). In contrast, during the previous twenty-nine years there had been only 334 cases with few deaths. This was no accidental outbreak. Some of the weaponised anthrax was delivered to the US by the South Africans where it provided feedstock for the US chemical and biological feedstock; later stored on Johnson Island.

Despite these ongoing horrors and atrocities, the Rhodies continued to receive open support from South Africa and covert support from the U.S. and its Cold War allies who feared the influence of the Soviet Union and “Red” China on the continent.

Zimbabwe’s Initial Challenges

The newly independent Zimbabwe faced many challenges beyond the problems of Land Reform. The Rhodesian Bush War was not the only war of liberation in Africa at the time. It overlapped several Cold War conflicts in its neighbouring countries, including Angola’s war of independence (1961-1975) and civil war (1975-2002), Mozambique’s war of independence (1964-1974) and Civil War (1977 to 1992), and Shaba I (1977) and Shaba II (1978) in the DRC These conflicts, which often pitted  Soviet or Chinese military trainers and equipment against NATO members and their allies, made any coherent response to the demands for liberation, pan-African solidarity and justice a pale vision of what was demanded.

Initially the Afro-Asian Bloc in the UN had greater power over its ability to determine policy and raise support from the international community. Each year at the General Assembly the delegates had to vote over the application of the People’s Republic of China to substitute itself for the Republic of China (Taiwan) which was a member of the UN and had a Permanent Seat on the Security Council. Each year, before the vote on admitting Red China to the UN, the Afro-Asians were able to get political concessions and foreign aid projects arranged with the West in exchange for a “No” vote on China. On Oct. 25, 1971, the United Nations General Assembly voted to admit the People’s Republic of China (mainland China) and to expel the Republic of China (Taiwan).  Once the PRC was voted into the UN the Afro-Asian Bloc lost much of its power and influence. The admission of Red China to the UN was one of the most important changes in how the world viewed Africa. It became safe to ignore Africa and its demands for liberation and development. On the other hand, it also gave China’s African associates a new clout in their dealings with the UN and the international organisations by being able to mount support from China in the Security Council.

One of Zimbabwe’s main problems was that it is a landlocked country, so its trade had to pass through other countries, by rail or road. A map shows why Zimbabwe relied on its neighbours for safe passage of its imports and exports.

A picture containing text, map Description automatically generated

That situation meant that most of the goods going in and out of Zimbabwe had to go through either Mozambique or South Africa. This was also a problem for the Rhodies in the later stages of Rhodesian Front rule. In response to a program of international sanctions against Rhodesia the Rhodesian Front was able to create a relatively sophisticated system of sanctions-busting commerce. Part of its ability was the use of transport links through the Mozambican ports of Beira and Laurenço Marques (later Maputo). This was facilitated by the Portuguese colonial authorities which controlled Mozambique at the time. This co-operation lasted until the Carnation Revolution in Portugal on 25 April 1974 when a military coup in Lisbon overthrew the authoritarian Estado Novo Regime in Portugal by dissident soldiers who were committed to ending Portuguese overseas colonial rule; especially because the colonial budget was eating up over 40% of the national budget. This was partially derived from the fact that the Portuguese were fighting colonial battles with African insurgent movements.

The U.S. and NATO had reluctantly supported the Estado Novo government in Portugal because it was virulently anti-communist. However, this did not stop the creation and financing of anti-colonial forces in Portuguese African colonies by both the West and the Communist Bloc. In the Portuguese African colonies, there were multiple liberation movements. Some were supported by the Soviet Union; some by China; some by the U.S. and Britain; and others by South Africa. In many countries the French supported both or all sides.

When the Portuguese abandoned their African colonies in 1974/1975 this caused a severe problem for the Rhodesian Front as easy movement of goods from Rhodesia through Mozambican ports was restricted by a FRELIMO Government which was financed by the Soviet Bloc and a RENAMO military force supported by South Africa; both of whom contested transport on the road and rail links. As a result, almost 90% of Rhodesia’s trade became dependent on South African road and rail connections as the Mozambican routes were more difficult and unsafe; even the oil pipeline built by Lonrho from Beira to Rhodesia which supplied most of the energy needs of Rhodesia was threatened. This dependence on South Africa for its commercial trade with the world was a very heavy burden for the new Patriotic Front Government as it took office. The South African Government, with whom ZAPU and ZANU had been fighting for years as a result of the South African support for the Rhodesian Front had a very effective grip over the Zimbabwe economy.

In fact, the problems Mugabe faced with the Land Question and competing ethnic strife between Shona and Ndebele, and internal Zezuru/Karanga Shona rivalries, were important to Zimbabwean unity and growth, but the strategic problems of logistics were a far more pressing and difficult problem. Its solution lay, not in economics or discussion of political or ethnic abstractions but in manoeuvring through the minefield of the impact of the Cold War battles in Southern Africa on free transport. The success in addressing that is Mugabe’s greatest legacy to the Zimbabwean people.

This delicate balance between Zimbabwe’s economic and trading programs and the Pan-African programs of liberation was well recognised by the US and its allies. In a paper prepared for the US Deputy Director of Central Intelligence on 9 July 1986, this dependence was illustrated. It concluded that “A review of trade and financial statistics shows that all neighbouring states, except Angola, are vulnerable to South African economic retaliation.”[iii]

A picture containing text, map Description automatically generated

This expanded on a Research Paper on the transport system “Transport Routes in Southern Africa”[iv]

The findings of that study did not favour the African states. It found, “Much of the region’s trade moves along the “Southern Route” of north-south rail lines running from the Zairian Copper Belt to South African ports.

The transportation dependence of the black states of the region also includes their use of South African equipment. South African freight cars are used in nearly all the black states, as are South African locomotives in several-states. An equipment recall by Pretoria would, in our view, strangle the economies of the landlocked states.

In our view, the short-term prospects for implementing this strategy are gloomy. The insurgencies in Mozambique and Angola would have to end, and massive investment in equipment and training of personnel would be required. The SADCC has had difficulty raising transportation develop­ment funds, and the transportation systems of several of the member states—particularly the coastal ones—have deteriorated further since initial cost estimates were made…

Even if the insurgencies in Mozambique and Angola end, which would open vital east-west routes, we believe that South Africa would still maintain considerable leverage over the transport and more general economic options available to the black states.”

In response, the SADC states drew up a plan for a “Beira Corridor” which would channel Southern African trade through Mozambique. Although progress began on expanding and protecting the rail line to Beira and the oil pipeline from Beira to Umtali in Zimbabwe, progress was slow and risky as South Africa sponsored the RENAMO forces in Mozambique who opposed the FRELIMO government which took over from Portuguese rule and from attacks by South African commandos. This opposition to free trade through Beira led to Mugabe ordering the creation of the 5th Brigade under Gen. Shiri, trained by North Koreans, to fight against the RENAMO and South Africans to keep transport moving.

In July 1986, the Directorate of Intelligence at the CIA produced a research study “Beira Corridor Vulnerability” in response to a request from SADC for U.S. support of the project. The study found “The history of sabotage and attacks in the Beira transportation corridor, and our analysis of the military capabilities of government and insurgent forces that operate there, indicate that the road, railway, pipeline, and port cannot be effectively protected against attacks carried out by either the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) or South Africa. In our judgment, Mozambican and Zimbabwean troops may be able to provide reasonable security for the corridor’s limited number of bridges, oil pumping stations, and other key targets, but are unable to prevent insurgent ambushes, land­mines, and sabotage along this route through RENAMO’s heartland. Furthermore, the corridor also is vulnerable to attack by South African commandos, aircraft, or naval forces.             

In our judgment, development of the corridor, as an alternative to dependence on South African facilities, probably would result in greater South African confrontation with its neighbours. Moreover, Zimbabwe’s military requirements to protect the Beira corridor may create an opportunity for Moscow to initiate a major arms supply relationship with Harare.”[v]

The Cold War in Southern Africa

When Mugabe and his colleagues emerged from the British detention centres in 1974/1975 they found an Africa which was far different than that of the Africa of the mid-1960s when they were jailed. The aborted independence of the Belgian Congo had been a testament to the willingness of the U.S., Belgians, and French and South African mercenaries to openly intervene in the national liberation struggle by assassinating Patrice Lumumba and installing Moise Tshombe and Joseph Mobutu as tame leaders under their control. The US set up its own airbase in the Congo, WIGMO, guided by Larry Devlin of the CIA who became a “superminister” in the Mobutu Government. The French thwarted true independence in its colonies after Guinea choose direct independence over a “flag independence” under continued French rule and did not submit to the Pacte Coloniale which tethered the other francophone African nations to the political, economic and military control of France. An imprisoned Mugabe missed the Biafran War, where the French oil interests funded the breakaway state of Biafra with the support of South Africa and the Air Trans Africa pilots from Rhodesia. On the Federal side Russian, Ukrainian and Egyptian pilots supported the federal government.

The war for independence for Southwest Africa had begun while they were in prison and there was a Cold War struggle for control of the insurgents by the Soviets and their allies supporting the MPLA of Angola and SWAPO of Namibia. The Soviets sent down Vasily Grigoryevich Solodovnikov, the former head of the Institute for African Affairs in Moscow, to co-ordinate Soviet assistance from a base in Lusaka, Zambia. There were around twenty-one KGB officers in charge of planning, logistics and training in Lusaka. They arranged for African volunteers (cleared by their local parties) to travel to Odessa and other training bases in the Soviet Union for the military struggle. Mischa Wolf, the head of the East German STASI, sent down key officers to offer intelligence support and training (mainly in Angola). In fact, there were many “translators” from Moscow who served in Africa, including the Russian Igor Sechin (the current head of Rosneft and a key associate of Putin) and Viktor Bout. They all represented an important Soviet presence in Southern Africa. Many of the current Southern African military and intelligence officers (like Emmerson Mnangagwa) were graduates of this training program, as were the key leaders of the ANC in South Africa; both political and military.

The Chinese, too, had an extensive presence in Africa based in Tanzania. They even had their own arms factory in Pemba. They offered their support for training at their academy in Wuhan, China for African volunteers and spread military officers across Southern Africa offering support to the liberation movements.

The U.S. was active in restraining African liberation. In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson sent Averell Harriman to the Congolese capital, Leopoldville to assess the growing power of the insurgents after Christphe Gbenye, Gaston Soumialot and Lawrence Kabila had taken over much of the Eastern Congo. Harriman and Cyrus Vance the Deputy Defense Secretary, drew up plans for an American airlift, carrying Belgian and South African soldiers, to install Tshombe as head of Katanga. They succeeded in installing Tshombe but created a much more serious problem for the West.

The U.S. flew in Belgian soldiers from the U.S. airbase in the Azores to Stanleyville. It had the approval of the Unite Nations and the support of Harold Wilson’s UK. One result of this open foray into interventionism was the growing involvement of the Cubans in the politics of the region. Che Guevara had gone to the UN and spoken against the Western action. He flew to China to meet with Chou En Lai, who had just been in Africa and then with Nasser in Egypt. They all pressed Che for a greater involvement in Africa and the need to express Cuba’s opposition to the U.S. after the Cuban missile crisis and the invasion of the Bay of Pigs. Che went back to Fidel and got permission to send a delegation of Cuban fighters to the Congo.

Che disappeared. His sudden disappearance was a subject for conjecture all over the world. He eventually surfaced in the Congo where, with 100 Cuban guerrilla fighters to assist him, he put into action his theories of how to help the oppressed peoples of Africa throw off the yoke of colonial imperialism. His first task was to help the young Laurent Kabila in his struggle against the dictator Mobutu, who had seized power in the newly independent Congo following the assassination of Patrice Lumumba. The diaries that Guevara kept during his months in Africa record a political, strategic and ideological failure.[vi] He wrote,” We went to Africa to Cubanise the African fighters. Instead they Africanised the Cubans.” Despite this, Fidel sent thousands of troops to Africa to fight on the side of African insurgents. They played an important role in the Angolan War and were, in the minds of the Western planners, an example of the clear and present danger of allowing the Soviets and their allies to grow too strong in the region.

The US Military in Africa

The U.S. is no stranger to military invasions in many countries, including a large number on the African continent. The United States engaged in forty-six military interventions from 1948–1991, from 1992–2017 that number increased fourfold to 188.The latest statistics are produced by the Congressional Research[vii] who show several more.

Between the mid 1950’s to the end of the 1970’s, only four overt U.S. military operations in Africa were recorded, though large-scale proxy and clandestine military operations were pervasive. Under the administrations of US Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr. (1981–1993) military intervention accelerated, rising to eight, not counting the large scale clandestine ‘special forces’ and proxy wars in Southern Africa. Under the Clinton regime, US militarised intervention in Africa took off. Between 1992 and 2000, 17 armed incursions took place, including a large-scale invasion of Somalia and military backing for the Rwandan genocidal regime. Clinton intervened in Liberia, Gabon, Congo and Sierra Leone to prop up a long-standing troubled regime. He bombed the Sudan and dispatched military personnel to Kenya and Ethiopia to back proxy clients assaulting Somalia. Under George W. Bush, 15 US military interventions took place, mainly in Central and East Africa.

The Pentagon has military ties with 53 African countries (including Libya prior to the recent war). Washington’s efforts to militarise Africa and turn its armies into proxy forces for the War on Terrorism got a boost in 9/11/2001. The Bush Administration announced in 2002 that Africa was a “strategic priority in fighting terrorism” Henceforth, US foreign policy strategists, with the backing of both liberal and neoconservative congress-people, moved to centralise and coordinate a military policy on a continent-wide basis forming AFRICOM. AFRICOM organises African armies, euphemistically called “co-operative partnerships,” to conduct anti-terrorist wars based on bilateral agreements (Uganda, Burundi, etc.) as well as under ‘multi-lateral’ links with the Organization of African Unity (OAU). The bulk of the U.S African interventions before 1995 were concerned, directly or indirectly, with the preservation of South Africa in its struggles against African liberation movements. The interventions after that were largely about fighting terrorists.

Why Was African Liberation Delayed by The Cold War?

The principal problems which African liberation leaders had to face in the period from 1960 to 1995 derived from the fact that the international community viewed their struggles as part of their worldwide struggle between NATO, the forces of the Warsaw Pact and the emerging Chinese efforts to expand their influence globally. However, Africa was not always a priority in these Cold War conflicts.

The problem for most journalistic and academic studies of these struggles is that they do not start from an appreciation that, in real life, almost everything is “joined-up”. As the U.S. was approaching the problems of Southern Africa and its covert support for the South African government it was also struggling with the demands of the Vietnam War (militarily, financial and political) and its battles in Iran and the Middle East. The Soviets were facing dramatic internal changes after their invasions of Hungary and Czechoslovakia; the growing dissidence in Poland and East Germany and costly wars in Chechnya and Afghanistan. China was suffering the chaos of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. In all these cases, African demands, while important, were very much on the back burner and well-behind in the queue for focussing national expenditures. Access to Africa’s great mineral resources was the main motivator for Great Power interest in Africa; both in acquiring them and in denying them to their enemies. The activities and interests in Africa by the UK and France, however, were in preserving their traditional colonial advantages and control. South Africa was fighting for its survival against a growing, politicized African majority prepared for armed conflict, especially after Sharpeville.

That meant that the African leaders, like Mugabe, had several separate and competing tasks for their attention. The first was the battle to achieve independence from the British colonial forces and the Rhodesian Front government which had assumed British prerogatives. That meant fighting the Bush War against the Rhodies and then negotiating independence with the British after they had reclaimed Zimbabwe from the Rhodesian Front. In order to achieve the military power to fight the Rhodies a source of weapons, training and support had to be acquired. The primarily Ndebele forces joined together in a political party, ZAPU, under the leadership of Joshua Nkomo. They had their own military force (ZANLA) and were headquartered in Lusaka, Zambia under the control and support of the Soviets and their advisors led by Solodovnikov. Not only did they receive arms and training, they sent hundreds of the ZANLA forces for training inside the Soviet Union. This was mirrored in the Soviet support of Kenneth Kaunda in Zambia.

On the other hand, the primarily Shona political forces united in a political party, ZANU, based in northern Mozambique and led by Robert Mugabe. It too, had a military arm (ZIPRA) and was sustained in its military pursuits by the Peoples’ Republic of China which provided arms, training and guidance to ZIPRA in Africa and in training camps in China. Many of the leaders of ZANU came from among the Zezuru/KoreKore Shona while the bulk of the armed forces of ZIPRA were Karanga. Although the vicissitudes of the negotiations led the leaders of ZAPU and ZANU to join under the rubric Patriotic Front, there was little, if any, co-operation between the ZANLA and the ZIPRA forces. Even when the Patriotic Front won independence in 1980 the two military wings had difficulty joining a united Zimbabwean Army. A British officer was assigned to help them.

The aims and ambitions of the Soviet Union and China were clear. They were able, for very little expense, to engage with the liberation forces in support of their liberation aims and gain untrammelled access to African resources which were very much needed at home. They were able to remove the British and the French from their colonial possessions in Africa and built up solid political and commercial relations with the African leadership which transcended the winning of liberation. They were also able to put pressure on the “glavni vrag” (the main enemy), the US, for appearing to support the forces of apartheid South Africa and White Supremacist Rhodesia. Despite protestations by successive U.S. governments (Republican and Democrat) that they were not racists and didn’t support racism in any form, the policies on the ground gave lie to this assertion as they established a quiet working relationship with the South Africans in their wars against SWAPO, MPLA, FLEC and their efforts to subvert independent African governments in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and the DRC.

The US role in the assassination of Patrice Lumumba left little doubt of the US willingness to actively subvert newly independent African states for its own, perceived, interests. On March 17, 1970 the U.S. cast its first veto ever in the Security Council as it joined with Britain in rejecting an African-Asian resolution that would have condemned Britain for not using force to overthrow the white-minority government of Rhodesia. The U.S. justified its veto because it would block exports of Rhodesian chrome and unjustly enrich the Soviet Union, the second biggest chrome exporter. A CIA Intelligence Assessment at the time, Chromium: Western Vulnerabilities and Options [viii] rationalised support for exempting chromite from the UN sanctions on Rhodesia by pointing out “ Southern Africa’s severe economic, social, and political problems might disrupt mining and transport activities in one or more countries of the re­gion at any time and the USSR could embargo chromite exports to the West as it did during the Korean war…The Soviet Union would benefit from a disruption of chromium supplies from southern Africa. After 1985 it might even be able to expand its own exports to capture disrupted markets. It might do so selectively, however, as a means of nurturing economic and political ties with key Western countries. Large-scale exports during a prolonged disruption would in turn serve to increase Western dependence on the East by discouraging the development of alternative sources”.

Funding Rival Liberation Movements As Surrogate Troops

This Cold War competition in the liberation struggles in Southern Africa led to forming rival liberation movements across the region – some supported by the Soviets and Chinese, and their rivals supported by the US and South Africa; all in the same country or with neighbours.. African liberation became a proxy war for the main protagonists. Africans fought other Africans in the name of liberation, with the US and Soviets watching on and cheering their acolytes.

The rivalries and intense levels of warfare between domestic forces was bitter and bloody. In Angola the Soviets and the Cubans supported Neto’s MPLA – the US and South Africa supported Savimbi’s UNITA. Neto, and then Dos Santos, travelled, with great fanfare to Moscow and Havana, while Savimbi was feted in the US and Switzerland. The liberation forces which had set up headquarters in Luanda actively supported Sam Nujoma of SWAPO for the liberation of Namibia while the US and South Africa supported Dr. Kareina of SWANU and the South African-backed Turnhalle Alliance as an opponent of SWAPO. There were few sights more bewildering than in oil-rich Cabinda, when the South African commandos attacked the Cubans guarding the Gulf Oil installation. In Mozambique the South Africans created RENAMO to fight the FRELIMO government and assisted RENAMO by sending South African commandos to accompany them. In Botswana, Potlako Leballo’s POQO army of the Azanian People Liberation Army was suppressed by the South African military with the quiet support of the ANC; the US posted POQO as a terrorist organisation, advertising its putative Chinese connections.

In South Africa itself, the ANC was divided between the “regular” ANC and the “Vula Boys” of the MK. Far more damaging to the cause of the liberation of South Africa was the creation by the South Africans of a Zulu military force, supported and trained in camps in the Caprivi Strip by the South African Army,  engaged to fight against the ANC inside South Africa, “Operation Marion”. The South African Nationalists funded the Inkatha Freedom Party (‘IFP) of Buthulezi and provided the fighters of the IFP with weapons, explosives, communications equipment and training facilities. During November 1985 Buthelezi set out his needs to the then Director of Military Intelligence, Major-General Tienie Groenewald who offered military support, which included both an offensive and an attacking capacity. Buthelezi’s requests were placed before an extra-ordinary meeting of the SSC at Tuynhuis on 20th December 1985; where Minister of Defence, Magnus Malan, Minister of Law and Order, Louis Le Grange and Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning, Chris Heunis were tasked with establishing a “security force” for Buthelezi against the ANC internally.

Two hundred and six Inkatha men were recruited by M Z Khumalo for this. The 206 were taken to the Caprivi Strip in Namibia where they received training at Hippo Camp by the Special Operations component of Military Intelligence and Special Forces. The recruits were divided into operational groups; one of which was an offensive group of some 30 men. The trainees were instructed that their targets would be located within the ANC. They began a campaign of murder, assassination and destruction of the ANC leadership. According to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission over 20,000 died, more than half of whom died after the ANC was unbanned.

On 21 January 1988 Chief Director Intelligence Operations, Major General Neels Van Tonder met with Buthelezi. Van Niekerk, Colonel Mike Van den Berg and M.K. Kumalo and agreed to build more training bases for the Operation Marion IFP Zulus at Port Durnford and a separate base for the rest of the group at Mkhuze. By 1990 there were more than 5,300 IFP “Self-Protection” fighters operating against the ANC in South Africa.[ix]

There were similar bases set up for African military groups, like RENAMO, by the South African “Securocrats” to fight against African liberation groups; the most well-documented of which was the support for Savimbi’s UNITA. In addition,” Lang Hendrick” van den Bergh, the head of the Bureau of State Security (B.O.S.S.), recruited and operated African intelligence officers in many of the Frontline states. This was particularly effective in Zimbabwe when the Central Intelligence Organisation (which took over from the Rhodie Ministry of State Security) could continue after independence under its existing head, Ken Flower, and several of his colleagues.[x] Unfortunately for Mugabe and the CIO they covertly maintained contact with Van den Bergh and assisted in the creation of RENAMO and  empowered three BOSS operatives to place arms caches in the farms of ZAPU politicians after the ZANLA riots at Entumbane, Glenville and Connemara in Matabeleland which precipitated the  Gukurahundi  massacres of Ndebele civilians carried out by the Zimbabwe National Army. Periodically, CIO leaders like Geoffrey Price and three other colleagues would defect to South Africa and worked with BOSS. It wasn’t until Happyton Bonyongwe took effective control of the CIO that there was any trust by Mugabe and ZANU-PF of the role of the CIO. Happyton Bonyongwe was later succeeded in his role by the current Zimbabwe President, Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The Challenges Faced By Mugabe

When Mugabe returned from the Lancaster House talks to become Prime Minister of the new Zimbabwe there was great anticipation of his victory dramatically changing life for Zimbabweans. While most people did not expect an overnight change to their lives they were not expecting the immense challenges and delays faced by the Patriotic Front.

First, it was not possible to redistribute land because of the entrenched clauses of the new Constitution. Many returning soldiers felt that this was the main item they had been fighting for and it was not immediate and was being resisted by the Rhodies and the British. Secondly, the new army could not accept all the returning soldiers. Some would have to leave the military and look for jobs in the civilian economy; trying to find work when there wasn’t a lot of work to be found. Moreover, the ZANLA and ZIPRA forces had to be combined into a single national army; a difficult task for those who military experiences had been so different. Thirdly, and importantly, the disquiet between the Shona and the Ndebele over accepting political appointments and legislative power was viewed by both sides as essentially unfair. The external forces to Zimbabwe, Cold War, British and South African fostered and promoted these divisions and factionalism and made progress slow and hazardous for the government. Fourthly, the liberation struggles in Southern Africa continued and nationalist wars in Angola, Namibia and the DRC continued unabated and required that Mugabe, as head of the Defence Section of SADC, play a role in supporting the anti-colonial forces.

Mugabe was in a difficult position. He was not particularly friendly with the Soviet Union as they had supported his competitors for years.  There was very little that the Chinese could do to assist. The U.S. had adopted the Korry Report under President Johnson which effectively reduced the U.S. from a broad engagement in Southern Africa by choosing five nations on which to concentrate its assistance. The rest were consigned to a policy of “benign neglect”. It was only under Nixon that Henry Kissinger changed U.S. policy in Africa after his realisation that there were thirty-seven thousand Cuban troops active in the area. He issued the famous National Security Study Memorandum 39 (NSSM39) which quietly recognised support for the South African Government and channelled covert U.S. policies to them to support the South Africans while making many speeches about the unpleasantness of apartheid.

The limits of US rhetoric were the result of the effective internal opposition to US government policies by opponents of the Vietnam War, by the civil rights activists who were empowered by the civil rights movement and by the rise of the Black Power movement in the US military. Battles between US Black soldiers and the White officers in Vietnam was not uncommon. In the US Navy, the Black Power groups formed the Black Faction group which included the Stop Our Ships (SOS) movement. The SOS supervised confrontation between Black sailors and the Navy which impeded the USS Ranger, the USS Kitty Hawk, the USS Richard B. Anderson, the USS Midway, the USS Constellation and the USS Forrestal from sailing or deploying to and from Vietnam. The fires set by them on the USS Forrestal alone resulted in over $7 million in damage and was the largest single act of sabotage in naval history. They were supported on shore in the US by thousands of anti-war protestors.

The effect of these protests and demonstrations against U.S. racial and civil rights policies of its government tempered the willingness of the Nixon administration to display its NSSM39 policies and, most important of all, made it clear that the use of U.S. military power in Africa would have to be through surrogates. They understood the risk of using the U.S. military, including a large proportion of Black soldiers, to shoot and kill Africans would likely provoke such protests in America that the consequences were too dire to predict.

Mugabe was forced to be patient but kept up a steady pressure on the British to proceed with Land Reform and exposed to the world the background funding and support by the British of a new Ndebele political party, the MDC, which challenged the ZANU-PF electorally. Despite enormous Western pressure against the move, Mugabe and Moven Mahachi, the Defence Minister delivered Zimbabwe’s military support behind the battle for control of the DRC Government of Laurent Kabila by the force of Rwanda and Uganda.

Little by little Mugabe achieved his aims. Zimbabwe remained free and independent. The land issue was resolved. With the assistance of the Zimbabweans, the DRC was saved; Namibia and Angola were liberated, the ANC took power in South Africa. The price paid for this was very high and the greed and avarice of Zimbabwean politicians has made a mockery of the ideals they preached and kept the nation from making an economic success of the great resources of the country. Mugabe made several unfortunate choices but, at the end of the day, his legacy is positive. It is for this that he should be remembered. His enemies were not only in Zimbabwe.

A close up of a person Description automatically generated

[i] Angus Selby, “White farmers in Zimbabwe 1890-2005.” PhD Thesis, University of Oxford: June 2006

[ii] Martin Plaut, “Africa : US backed Zimbabwe land reform”. BBC News 22 August 2007.

[iii] CIA, Talking Points For DDCI- Southern Africa, , Declassified  2011/09/16 : CIA-RDP91B00874R000100200003

[iv] CIA, Transport Routes in Sothern Africa, , March 1983,  CIA-RDP90T01298R000100040001

[v] NSC “MOZAMBIQUE: Vulnerability of the Beira Corridor”, CIA-RDP86T01017R000707340001-9, 1986

[vi] Che Guevara, The African Dream: the Diaries of the Revolutionary War in the Congo. Harvill Panther, 1971

[vii]  Barbara Salazar Torreon and Sofia Plagakis, Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2019, Congressional Record Service, D.C., Updated July 17, 2019. These do not include CIA interventions.

[viii] CIA, “Chromium: Western Vulnerabilities and Options “, CIA-RDP84S00558R000100100002-1

[ix] Gary Busch, https://www.academia.edu/19646357/Jacob_Zuma_the_Vula_Boys

[x] Ken Flower, Serving Secretly: An Intelligence Chief on Record, Rhodesia into Zimbabwe 1964-1981, 1987.

* The author is the editor and publisher of the web-based news journal of international relations www.ocnus.net and the distance-learning educational website www.worldtrade.ac. He speaks and reads 12 languages and has written six books and published 58 specialist studies. His articles have appeared in the Economist Intelligence Unit, Wall Street Journal, WPROST (a leading Polish weekly news magazine), Pravda and several other major international news journals

0
Read More
Schools: Useful in Theory, Useless in Practice?
September 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

By John Nkemnji, Ph.D*

If you could be wealthy without going to school would you spend the time and resources to go to school for education? While formal education (schooling) is critical for national development and stability, the program of studies (curriculum) has barely changed from the days of the “Saber-Tooth Curriculum” (teaching hunting and gathering skills). The school system predominantly lectures to age-determined students and has hardly evolved, despite galloping changes in research, communication, society, technology, and culture. The schools’ lack of adaptation, rising costs, and unrealistic expectations related to immediate gains from schooling cause people today, especially on social media, to wonder if schools are necessary.(https://happinessishereblog.com/)

Students who drop out of primary school and are lucky enough to have lucrative careers often believe there is no need for formal education. Many drop-outs argue that employment and money are the reasons for formal education and that schools exist merely to prepare students for a job or career.  Consequently, some people wonder if students are wasting time and resources by sitting in age-determined groups, listening to lectures, and memorizing facts that can easily be looked up from computerized databases.

Critics of formal education usually forget that education is important for reasons beyond career preparation. Formal education develops disciplined minds, transmits the culture and helps students function in society. Enlightened leaders like Mandela alluded to the fact that “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”  A UNESCO document “Education transforms lives,” highlights the following:

  • Each year of liberal education reduces the risk of conflict in society by 20%.
  • Each year of schooling increases a person’s potential income by 10%. 
  • Increased access to education decreases the gap between the haves and the have-nots.

I agree with critics who believe that formal education needs reform to match our evolving society. Fundamentally, the curriculum of formal education has not kept up with the times. Technology has rapidly evolved, and it is challenging for some teachers and parents.  However, I disagree with the assertion that society no longer needs formal education, especially beyond high school. With a well-developed curriculum and an appropriate interactive delivery system, formal education whether private, public, home-school, online, or via apprenticeship is supposed to produce a community builder who actively and positively contributes to the community. It is also designed to pass on culture and produce liberated citizens who are inquisitive, productive and reflective.

We need schools to educate mindful, ethical, compassionate citizens.  Imagine what would happen to handicapped individuals if there were no schools to accommodate their needs, advocate for them and educate them to make them more self-reliant and independent? Formal education helps to provide or equalize opportunities for many people regardless of ethnicity, socio-economic status, gender, or age.  Societies with inequalities and disparities are not usually stable or peaceful. A good educational system provides individualized learning, authentic problem solving skills, and social development. Education also helps reduce the unemployment rate and the prison population. People learn when they recognize that education will help to give them autonomy, empowerment, and emancipation. Education is good for self-development and social cohesion.

For schools to succeed, a committed partnership between students, teachers, parents, government, and society must exist. Some critics of formal education expect schools to cure all societal ills – environmental destruction, drug abuse, racism, gun violence, teenage pregnancy, obesity, sexual abuse, etc. That is not practical, especially with “hands-off parents” working round the clock.  Educators cannot do it all.

In schools where the curriculum is based on local needs and not a foreign system, the learners develop good self-concept, collaboration, integrity, human dignity, patience, empathy, and other important values of the society.  That is why nations like the Southern Cameroons and other developing states fight to change the school system to fit local demands. The people put off any form of colonial or foreign design with the belief that “Back to School” at the appropriate time will pay off. For about three years, students in the Southern Cameroons have not been to school. They are hoping for a better tomorrow, so they can be taught using an up-to-date curriculum by teachers who understand their language and culture. Colonial education is set up to make the colonized subservient.  The teaching materials and methods lead to minimal gains for the development of society.

Good school systems are not static but keep changing and adapting to the times and the needs of all the citizens.  Technology is there to facilitate education in formal settings since most research and development is done in formal institutions of learning. Technology will not replace schools. Formal education is necessary and needed by every citizen.  Formal education breeds the love for life-long learning for the good of citizens, nations, and the world at large since there are global problems that need collaborative-solutions from educated minds. Social media critics provide a catalyst for useful school theory and practice in keeping with the changing times.

* The writer is Professor Emeritus, Educational Technology.

2+
Read More
Cameroon: António Conceição da Silva Oliveira named Lions Coach
September 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

António Conceição da Silva Oliveira

Authorities in Cameroon have named Portuguese born coach António Conceição da Silva Oliveira popularly known as Toni Conceição as Heach coach of the Indomitable Lions until the 2021 AFCON tournament. The former Portuguese International right back replaces Clarence Seedorf who was sacked after this year’s AFCON in Egypt.

Toni Conceição was not even amongst the personalities being interviewed for the job – albeit it being secret. Three persons had made their decision public to coach the Indomitable Lions – Cameroonians Patrick Mboma and Anicet Mbarga Foe and Fomer Girondin de Bordeaux Gustavo Poyet. This decision to name Toni will not come as a surprise to many in Cameroon as it was the same way former Caoch Clarence Seedorf was appointed – through the back door.

According to Kick442.com, Toni was capped once for Portugal in an 11 years playing career across 3 clubs in his native land. He had two separate spells each on the books of Portuguese giants FC Porto and SC Braga. The Portuguese retired from Professional Football and switched into coaching in 1999 as trainer of SC Braga’s feeder team.

He spent 3 years with the reserves of SC Braga before picking up his first senior team coaching job in 2003 after he was named interim coach of SC Braga’s first team. That same year he switched to Naval Primero de Maio where he spent another year.

Toni has gone on to serve as coach for 12 other clubs amongst which include Portuguese sides Vitoria Setubal, Trofense, Belenenses enjoying lower division successes especially in promoting three of his first four clubs to with the exception of Vitoria de Setubal.

In the 2009 season, he joined Romanian giants CFR Cluj and enjoyed his best stint as a coach at the club. Toni won the first of two Romanian Cup for the club and the Super Cup before returning to Portugal to coach Belenenses in 2010.

After three difficult months at Os Belenenses suffering top level relegation, Conceição returned to Romania, where he coached SR Braşov and FC Astra Ploiești. He later moved to Cyprus in 2017 where he worked for top flight side Nea Salamina. He came back to Portugal to manage second tier side Penafiel. He was at CFR Cluj in his third spell last season but was sacked before the end of the season.

The Portuguese who is having his first experience as a national team coach and the first in the African continent will be assisted by Ex-Cameroon internationals François Oman Biyik, Jacques Songo’o as goalkeeper coach and team Doctor Professor William Ngatchou.

If the Portuguese wants to win over the Cameroonian supporters, he will need to get off to a winning start with the team. Lion’s fans are notorious for losing support for a coach if his performance is not satisfactory.

0
Read More
Protesting Climate Change, Young People call at World Leaders to take action
September 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Mohammed M.Mupenda

Worried about their future on a hotter planet, calling the world leaders for taking action to arrest the crisis, hundreds of thousands of young and adults people marched into the streets on Friday for a day of global climate protest.

About three hundreds youths including sierrans club in St.Louis gathered friday to demand action on climate change, as part of global movement of youngsters demanding politicians and government act toa halt environment catastrophe.

They all gathered at St.Louis City hall, coming from different areas of Missouri State, some had to bike, walk, ride and park their cars 200 miles away and foot to begin their strike with placards citing the climate change effects and the call to the government to tackle the issues.

“Floods are getting worse” 16 -year-old activist Olivia Thomson Wrote on her poster “ the concerned bodies should take action.”

Strikes were planned in each of the 50 United States. By late morning, protesters across the Eastern, Western, Southern and northern of St.Louis were moving out of schools and office buildings, pooling around steps of local city halls.

Another placard by a 80 year-old walking on a stick read “Climate change is the issue if we don’t do something nothing else will matter, “

In the neighbouring States including Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio,  around 400 protesters such as youth and adults with signs gathered outside the State Capitol  under a cloudless sky, sweat rolling down their faces as temperatures hovered around 84 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 28 Celsius to take part in what are set to be the largest global climate protests in history .

In Kampala, Uganda early morning the protest was also attended by most high -profile young activist leah Namugerwa,15, who created waves when she began  her own solitary school in february before others joined her. Adult climate activities and environmental groups also took part.

As morning arrived farther west, banners in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, ranged from serious to humorous. One read, “Climate Emergency Now.” Another said, “This planet is getting hotter than my imaginary boyfriend.”

An early test of the student protests will come on Monday when world leaders assemble at United Nations headquarters to demonstrate what they are willing to do to avert a crisis. Their speeches are unlikely to assuage the youth strikers, but whether the youth protests will peter out or become more confrontational in the coming weeks and months remains to be seen. More protests are planned for Monday in several cities.

0
Read More
Gambia Gov’t , UNDP sign $2Million Environmental Project
September 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

 The Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service, Mr. Muhammed Jallow Wednesday afternoon presided over the signing ceremony of a $2million project between the government of The Gambia and the United Nations Development (UNDP) Programme Country Office in Banjul.

The UN Environmental Facility funded project intends to support The Gambia with the necessary technical and financial assistance to reduce the risks posed by a group of oily liquids and solid man-made chemicals called PCBs (Poly Chlorinated Biphenyls) and unintended Persistent Organic Pollutants (U-POPS) to the human health and the environment.

Secretary General Jallow said no one can underestimate the importance of the environment to the development of The Gambia. A great majority of the country relies on the river and marine resources for their livelihoods. Hence contamination of the waters will have serious impact on the population from both the cities to the rural areas.

Secretary General Jallow noted that the African Union has identified The Gambia’s First Lady, Mrs. Fatou Bah-Barrow as a Champion of environment conservation and protection. Hence the government’s dedication will be greatly enhanced by this laudable collaboration with the UNDP.

The Executive Director of the National Environment Agency (NEA), Mr. Dodou Trawally explained that the project will include the identification and disposal of 75 tons of PCB-contaminated equipment and waste and the reduction of U-POPS through the improved waste management practices and reduction of open burning of waste.

These materials and substances stay very long in the environment before they biodegrade, especially the mercury, which is contaminative to fish. Fish is one of the heavy dependents of The Gambia for food consumption.

The UNDP Resident Representative, Dr Aissata De said environment is one of the key priorities and areas of intervention in terms of closeness to the population for the UNDP. She said they are committed to supporting government efforts and all stakeholders on the path for the achievement of the goals of the NDP, the SDGs, the Agenda 2020 and Agenda 2063.

“We all know the impact and the importance of the environment on our daily lives and on development in general. This project is one more action because we have longstanding partnership between the National Environment Agency, the Ministry of Environment and the government,” she said, thanking all other collaborators that UNDP has been working with for the environment and the people for the ownership of those projects.

The NEA is the implementing partner for the government, while the UNDP country office is the Global Environment Fund (GEF) implementing agency for this project. Other stakeholders include the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, the Gambia Ports Authority, the KMC NAWEC, among others. It is geared towards supporting the implementation of the National Development Plan 2018-22021 in The Gambia.

0
Read More
16 coaches from Africa shortlisted as “Future Stars” by Arsenal and WorldRemit
September 20, 2019 | 0 Comments
0
Read More
Mo Ibrahim Foundation to launch first ‘African Governance Report’ in 2019
September 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

The report uses data from the Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) to further governance analysis in Africa

Mo Ibrahim

Mo Ibrahim

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of the first comprehensive African Governance Report. The report will be published online at mo.ibrahim.foundation on 15 October 2019.

Based on IIAG data, the report will focus on: Governance and Africa’s implementation of the AU’s Agenda 2063 and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It will highlight the importance of using data to analyse the growing governance challenges and opportunities that must be addressed to drive sustainable development in Africa.

In this report, the Foundation will highlight gaps in the availability of sound data to track and measure progress. It will issue a call for national and international players to work together to urgently address these gaps, which will be critical to encouraging and directing development progress across the continent.

The African Governance Report will:

1)  Examine the governance environments needed to achieve progress towards Agenda 2063 and the SDGs and the links between these, highlighting common areas and major challenges

2)  Identify progress in these areas and data gaps, both in terms of national statistical offices but also vital statistics and civil registration

A new report in response to new challenges

Africa is at a critical turning point. While governance across the continent has continued to improve, new challenges and needs from stakeholders and citizens have changed this landscape.

The scope of public governance has expanded to include new challenges for existing topics, and new needs, such as access to quality healthcare and environmental sustainability. Meanwhile, transformative frameworks, such as the AU’s Agenda 2063 and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), now pave the way for Africa’s development agenda, and contribute to defining policy priorities towards political, social, environmental and economic progress.

In response to these developments, the Foundation will publish the African Governance Report with unique insights around these frameworks, challenges and opportunities.

Strengthening the use of our data

As the largest source of data on African governance, the IIAG is a key tool for African countries to measure the environment around achieving transformative frameworks, such as the AU’s Agenda 2063 and the SDGs.

Good governance remains at the core of Africa’s development and the report. The Foundation holds the most comprehensive assessment and collection of data on African governance ever undertaken using 90 indicators and 150,000 data points across 54 countries to assess performance.

With a view of continually improving the IIAG, expanding its scope to include new challenges and data, and making use of its wealth of information and growing dataset, the Foundation will release new data with updated scores, ranks and trends every two years, with the next iteration in 2020.

Between the biennial updates of the IIAG dataset, the Foundation will publish additional data-driven research publications and tools to support Africa’s stakeholders with resources for evidence-based decision making and policy debates, alongside the comprehensive African Governance Report, based on the IIAG.

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation was established in 2006 with a focus on the critical importance of leadership and governance in Africa, by providing tools to assess and support progress in leadership and governance.

The Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) provides an annual assessment of the quality of governance in African countries and is the most comprehensive collection of data on African governance.

With over ten years of data to draw from, the IIAG is uniquely positioned to measure trends in governance, providing in-depth analysis on how the quality of governance has changed, and what has or could be key to Africa’s transformation.

In every iteration, MIF – assisted by the IIAG’s Advisory Council – looks at improving the structure, components and methodology of the IIAG. Due to this revision, MIF recalculates all scores in the Index for each iteration.

Previous iterations of the IIAG covered data from 2000 onwards. The 2018 IIAG, for the first time, provided comparable governance data for the last decade only, to strengthen the robustness of the findings.

In 2018, an assessment of youth inclusion was also made part of the IIAG. Through the indicator Promotion of Socio-economic Integration of Youth (provided by Global Integrity), the Index assessed whether there is a government policy/strategy to increase the socioeconomic integration if youth.

The IIAG contains analysis across 102 indicators from 35 independent African and global data institutions to cover all 54 African counties in the areas of Safety & Rule of LawParticipation & Human RightsSustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development.

The IIAG Data Portal is a user-friendly interface that offers a bespoke analysis of governance ranks, scores and trends for each country. Users can create printable charts and graphics from the data.

Access the IIAG Data Portal directly: http://iiag.online/

0
Read More
Russia Spreading Its Tentacles Across Africa
September 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Scott Morgan*

Russian President Putin with President of Central African Republic Faustin Archange Touadera.

Russian President Putin with President of Central African Republic Faustin Archange Touadera.

When it comes to special operations in Central Africa initiated by the Russians most thoughts and conversations focus on the operations conducted within the Central African Republic over the last two years as either a point of contention or outright fear in some Capitals. But once again history is again repeating itself in Africa.

There have been allegations that after the 2016 Presidential Elections in the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) that the incumbent President Soussou-Nguesso reportedly hired a Russian Private Military Company to put down the unrest in the vital town of Pointe Noir that occurred after the controversial polls. There was virtually no coverage of the influence in this election. It should be noted that when President Soussou-Nguesso was President for the first time Brazzaville was considered to be an ally of what was then the Soviet Union.

Also when it comes to Russian Operations in Central Africa even though it is not considered being part of Central Africa, the role of Sudan cannot be ignored. Khartoum has been used as a transit and logistics hub for its Operations in CAR. The Change of leadership that recently took place within Sudan will have an impact on Russian Operations in Central Africa. Russia was one of the countries that was coaching the Military in how to react during the final days of the Bashir regime. It would be wonderful if this dynamic was looked into. For the near future it should be taken as a fait accompli that whatever projects are launched in the region by the Kremlin it will have some form of presence in Sudan.

Another aspect that has been proving to be interesting regarding Russian Activities in the region is the media coverage regarding them or the efforts by the Putin Government and their allies to manipulate their coverage of the activities. One needs to recall the incident where four journalists for a Russian Opposition news site were ambushed and killed in the Central African Republic. That only occurs when a party wants an activity to be shielded from public view and scrutiny.

Another action taken by the Russians to spin events into their worldview has to be the deals to provide content to some African Media Outlets by either Sputnik or RT (Russia Today). A perfect example happens to be the deals reached with RTNC (National Radio and Television Corporation) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. RT was the first entity to reach a deal with the Congolese in November 2018, Sputnik has reached a similar deal in May of 2019. This effort in the DRC has been a success for Moscow. When Russia celebrated the fifth anniversary of the annexation of the Crimea , one of the largest events was actually held in Kinshasa.

Another tactic that Russia is using ties between the Duma and local legislatures on the ground. Once again the topic focuses on the Democratic Republic of the Congo. There is already a Russia-DRC Friendship Group already in the Parliament of the DRC. This is a simple and easy way for Russia to not only to promote its agenda in Africa it can be done in such a way that most other powers that have interests in the region such as the former colonial powers of France and Belgium and even the United States could find themselves be left on the outside without realizing what they allowed to Happen has indeed taken place without their ability to properly address the situation.

*The author is President of Red Eagle Enterprises and the views expressed are his.

 

0
Read More
1 131 132 133 134 135 264