1 February 2013

Nigeria: Africa's Hip-Hop Diplomatic Principles

In his 2012 book titled: The postcolonial state in Africa: Fifty years of independence: 1960 -2010, Professor Crawford Young recalls Ruben Um Nyobo proclaiming in 1952 that: "Speaking in a Christian manner, the whole world recognizes that GOD created a single Cameroon".

It is a statement which a Southern Sudanese nationalist suspected was most dear to John Garang, the founder and leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, SPLM, even as over 3 million Southern Sudanese had died in a civil war against the ruling classes of Northern Sudan.

Garang believed passionately in a united single Sudan.

Garang shared a thread in Kwame Nkrumah's notion of the indivisible unity of Africa expressed in the dictum that the independent development of Africa is not complete until no section of it remains under neo-colonial or racial domination. That dictum had provoked panic in racist Southern Africa, North America and among colonizers in Europe. They quickly moved to direct the majority of African leaders to declare in the Charter of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) that they "pledge themselves to respect the borders existing on their achievement of national independence". This was supported by a pledge of non-interference in each other's internal affairs.

With Somali communities scattered in north-eastern Kenya, the Ogaden part of Ethiopia, and Djibouti's border, Somalia opposed the principle of the sacred status of colonial borders. With its secret plans for annexing Western Sahara - hatched with colonial Spain - Morocco joined Somalia in her political profanity. That crack hinted at another principle, namely: 'brotherhood self-determination' which allowed for undermining the territorial sovereignty of another state to promote the self determination of kith-and-kin. While Morocco's king wished imperial parentage over Western Sahara, Somali leaders wished a nation-state based on ethnic brotherhood. Nkrumah and the "Casablanca Group" -led by Nkrumah and Gamal Nasser - led the establishment of the OAU Liberation Committee whose mission was to support the decolonisation of Africa. It was to be based in Tanzania on the frontline. The ultimate moral justification for this mission was achieving the sovereignty of Africanness as a collective nation.

John Garang benefited from this legacy by receiving military support from Yoweri Museveni's Uganda across Southern Sudan's border in the south. It is the border through which the vital waters of River Nile enters Sudan on its long journey to giving electric power and irrigation agriculture to Sudan and Egypt. Sudan's failure to build a multi=ethnic and multi-religious nation was sending floods of refugees and guns into Uganda. The same drama had occurred across Rwanda's border with Uganda. The OAU Liberation Committee was supporting liberation wars against undemocratic colonial and racist governments in Mozambique, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), South Africa, Namibia, Angola and Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde. Perhaps in Sudan and Rwanda the principle of brotherhood self-determination also justified the "right to humanitarian intervention" under conditions of decimation of segments of their population. The United Nations had in 2005 borrowed a diplomatic principle invented by the OAU's Liberation Committee.

It has been suggested that Museveni bought America's military weapons and diplomatic umbrella by sending troops to fight Al Shabaab in Somalia and arm SPLM to fight el Bashir's troops in Southern Sudan. Bashir hit back by giving arms to the Lord Resistance Movement in Northern Uganda which was fighting Museveni. Uganda's support for Rwanda Patriotic Front resulted in "regime change" in Rwanda in 1994; its support for John Garang led to 'state decapitation' by the break-up of Sudan following the independence of the new state of the Republic of South Sudan. A principle of pan-African liberation which chased white racist incumbency out of power had been applied in Rwanda within boundaries inherited from colonial rule. In Southern Sudan colonial boundaries had died with cultural Arab incumbents sharing the same state.

Media reports have stated that American Special Forces and un-manned drones are helping Uganda's troops in fighting to eliminate forces of the Lord's Resistance Army operating in Central African Republic. There is no supplication at the altar of the principle of "right to humanitarian intervention" to bless getting rid of a regime that allows massive foreign exploitation of its country's diamonds, gold, uranium, and timber; is anchoring high mortality rates among adults and infants, and spiralling poverty. Bozize's government did not appeal for help in defending CAR's sovereignty. He blamed "foreign powers" but did not name LRA among the "rebels" surging towards Bangui. CAR does not share borders with Uganda, but shares borders with Darfur and South Sudan. A hostile government in Sudan can supply LRA with arms into CAR; and enable them rebuild their military resources by selling looted gold, diamonds and uranium ore, timber etc..

Uranium deposits in Chad had attracted Muamar Gaddafi into Chad and into Central African Republic. France and the Americans had chased him out, and continue to be alarmed about who has access to these uranium deposits. It is conceivable that the Americans pushed Museveni to build fire under Bozize's seat after he was photographed walking on a Chinese red carpet in Beijing. Chinese hands scooping out uranium ore out of CAR cannot possibly be safer for American security interests than Muamar Gadafi or Iran engaged in that resource-feasting. It was telling that the American Ambassador left town when a panic-stricken Bozize was begging for military support against the tide of victories by rebels.

The last time Uganda's troops chased around poorly trained and paid troops in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, they were accused by a United Nations Committee of looting mineral resources. If they loot diamonds, gold, uranium ore and other mineral resources from Central African Republic will not be as important as Museveni's Think-Tank rolling out a regional good political and economic renaissance project that will re-echo Bathelemey Boganda's vision of a "Latin Central Africa". Such a political and economic space should include Chad, Cameroun, Congo Brazzaville, Congo DR, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, with Bangui as its capital. Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania can be the engine that pulls them as wagons.

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