Libya: A Wake Up Call For African Leaders

By Ansah Nana – GhanaWeb Columnist

If Africa was united, no major power bloc would attempt to subdue it by limited war because, from the very nature of limited war, what can be achieved by it is itself limited. It is only where small states exist that it is possible, by landing a few thousand marines or by financing a mercenary force, to secure a decisive result” Kwame Nkrumah

Do many of you now understand why Africa must unite? It is now more urgent than before. Are there any doubting Thomas’s who still believe in a balkanized Africa? To them I refer the following quotation. In the wise words of Kwame Nkrumah; “In a world divided into hostile camps and warring factions, Africa cannot stand divided without going to the wall. Africans and AU paper tiger sat aloof and watched on whilst an African state was being attack on the pretext that Libya’s president Gaddafi was about to attack civilians in Benghazi with no prove. Could a suspected intention be used as a premise for war?

This is what the British PM David Cameron had to say on 22nd August 2011 after chairing a meeting of the National Security Council on the situation in Libya.

Six months ago this country took the difficult decision to commit our military to support the people of Libya. I said at the time that this action was necessary, legal and right – and I still believe that today. It was necessary because Gaddafi was going to slaughter his own people – and that massacre of thousands of innocent people was averted. Legal, because we secured a Resolution from the United Nations, and have always acted according to that Resolution. And right, because the Libyan people deserve to shape their own future, just as the people of Egypt and Tunisia are now doing” British PM David Cameron.

The moral high ground of British PM David Cameron begins to plummet when Yemen and Bahrain are factored into the equation.

The fact of the matter is Gaddafi was a torn in the eyes of the western powers and they have not forgotten and forgiven him on how he lambasted and shamed them at UN general assembly meeting in September 2009 by tearing a copy of the UN charter into pieces as a farce in his marathon speech at the dismay of the Western nations. Gaddafi argued and asked for compensation and repatriations for Black Africans whose slave labour and wealth had made America and Europe super rich.

So when the knock-on effect of Arab spring opportunity presented itself on the silver plate with Libya a state sandwich between Tunisia and Egypt, the NATO took advantage of it as a proxy excuse to teach Gaddafi a lesson. A resolution was hurried through the UN and American President Obama acted without consulting the congress. This in itself was a violation of the American constitution. The Arab league who by the way were already at odds with Gaddafi because he ridiculed them, saw the chance to get rid of their nest nemesis because Gaddafi was more African friendly by pushing for the unification of Africa than the Arab league. Gaddafi for better or worse was a proud African who proudly show case Africa on his attire with African emblem. The toothless AU who financially gained tremendously from the generosity and hand outs from Gaddafi would now have to look elsewhere for a new paymaster. And those who still believe Africa must wait and not ripe for unity, I say to them, Nkrumah’s warnings has come to pass and he has been vindicated many times over. Neo-colonialism is rearing its ugly head in African again but this time they are doing it openly without shame. The earlier we join our forces to unite the better otherwise soon the train would be gone forever.

The political fight for our liberation from the likes of Nkrumah, Nasser, Jomo Kenyatta, Lumumba etc was not the end of the chapter but the beginning of it. We must liberate ourselves economically in order to provide for our people. Africa’s economies must be channeled in a way that money will keep rotating on our continent to create wealth to make us rich. We are by any measure the richest continent but paradoxically poor. The fight for emancipation of Africa is not over yet and there is no room for or there can be no complacency. We have to speak with one voice which is why ‘Africa Must Unite’. We have to keep these three prime areas in one central body at AU headquarters in Addis Ababa i.e. Finance, Defense and Foreign affairs.

Yes, Gaddafi is a controversial figure without any doubt and like many of his African peers in power has overstayed but until recently, the Bedouin man Gaddafi was moving his tent from capitals of Europe and America like on the Sahara and they held a court for him. Gaddafi was courted in the power corridors worldwide. From Obama to Tony Blair/Gordon Brown, from Sarkozy to Berlusconi. In Africa and in particular the AU, Gaddafi was the paymaster with the fat blank cheque for anything AU. Now that he has been subdued by the very people who hold human rights in esteem but when tested on their own turf start to curtail EU Human Rights and now want their own Bill of Rights. They are the very ones who praised the social media and networking for toppling Mubarak. They are now finding ways and means to control social media or even to smash it the Chinese way.

Not long ago, Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron was praising revolutions which used social networking in Egypt and Tunisia.

Today, the same British PM is using social media as a scapegoat. What a grotesque! Afraid that the Arab Spring could become contagious in his British backyard hence the strong measures to curb social media after the UK wide riots and looting by the youth using Blackberry and Smartphones.

The following statements are the two tongues and two faces of British PM David Cameron.

This was what the British PM David Cameron said after Egyptian President Mubarak was removed from office via the help of social media when addressing Kuwait parliament on 22nd Feb. 2011 “One of the most remarkable things about the historic events we’ve seen in Egypt and Tunisia in these past weeks is that it is not an ideological or extremist movement but rather, a movement of the people – an expression of aspiration predominantly from a new generation hungry for political and economic freedoms.

In short, it belongs to the people who want to make something of their lives, and to have a voice. It belongs to a new generation for whom technology – the internet and social media – is a powerful tool in the hands of citizens, not a means of repression. It belongs to the people who’ve had enough of corruption, of having to make do with what they’re given, of having to settle for second best.”

This is what the same British PM said when the same social media was employed as tool when “London was burning” after days of rage, rioting and looting.

Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill,” Cameron said. “And when people are using social media for violence we need to stop them

We are working with the Police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality,” Cameron said in a speech before the House of Commons.

The CEOs of twitter, Face book, Blackberry were summoned to British parliament committee to “rebuke” them.

In the words or eyes of David Cameron it is Okay when social media is used to instigate violence elsewhere but not Britain. Is this not hypocritical when he David Cameron who benefited enormously from using social networking in his sometimes smear campaign to his advantage to become the PM of Britain with the aid of Andy Coulson, a man with a questionable character who is now on bail after the news of the world phone hacking scandal?

Here is what the British PM said on Human rights with reference to UK after the fire and looting that devastated parts of London and the UK.

“…we inevitably come to the question of the Human Rights Act and the culture associated with it. Let me be clear: in this country we are proud to stand up for human rights, at home and abroad. It is part of the British tradition. But what is alien to our tradition – and now exerting such a corrosive influence on behaviour and morality… …is the twisting and misrepresenting of human rights in a way that has undermined personal responsibility. We are attacking this problem from both sides. We’re working to develop a way through the morass by looking at creating our own British Bill of Rights.

It is exactly the same with health and safety – where regulations have often been twisted out of all recognition into a culture where the words ‘health and safety’ are lazily trotted out to justify all sorts of actions and regulations that damage our social fabric.

– I want to make it clear that there will be no holds barred…and that most definitely includes the human rights and health and safety culture.”

The response of David Cameron is knee-jerk reaction which appeals to the populist mentality and plays well into hands of right extremist like the English Defence League.

On the other hand, his Deputy PM Nick Clegg disagrees. This what he said on 26.08.2011. On the overall impact of the Act, Clegg staunchly defends the legislation, which defends the most vulnerable: “I believe [incorporating the Human Rights Act into domestic law] was a hugely positive step which has done three things: it has ended the long delays people used to experience before they could get a hearing at Strasbourg, embedded the principles of the ECHR in our own courts, and sent a powerful message to the rest of the world about the value we place on human rights. So as we continue to promote human rights abroad, we must ensure we work to uphold them here at home. We have a proud record that we should never abandon.”

This is what the British PM said when he cut short his holidays to address the NTC rebels on human rights after the NTC rebels took over Tripoli.

We are working closely with the NTC to support their plans to make sure that happens. I spoke to Chairman Jalil last week, and will be speaking to him again; to agree with him the importance of respecting human rights, avoiding reprisals, and making sure all parts of Libya can share in the country’s future. And the wider NATO mission which is to protect civilians – that will continue for as long as it is needed.

So you see the two set of different standards for themselves but always try to educate us, however, when faced with the same problematic they take draconian measures to stop it. Would Britain allow rebels on their soil? Certainly not. Then one man’s meat is another man’s poison. If ever there was a rebellion in UK or Europe would they listen to us when we try to educate them? In the 60’s and 70’s terrorism was always alien to them until they recently experienced it firsthand. When Nkrumah was faced with home grown terror by NLM/Mate Meho group it was dismissed by the west. He was called a dictator for reacting to terror actions by a disgruntled few. So the paintings on the wall have different interpretations depending on which mood the leaders in the West find themselves. It’s all good as long as it fits their hubristic whims.

Now last but not least, David Cameron accused the youth involved in the recent riots and looting of twisted moral code. My humble question is: “What is the level of PM David Cameron’s moral code when he engaged his spin doctor Andy Coulson of the erstwhile news of the world as director of communications at the centre of government machine, a man who was known to have orchestrated/at helm of the phone hacking scandal in Britain? What is the moral code of PM David Cameron when he gives audience to Rebekah Brooks who was in charge when some of these allegations took place? What is moral code of a PM David Cameron who wines and dines with the news of the world owner, Murdoch? Not single time but many times over. I am at lost to find words for these acts of double standards.

See, most of the Western nations apply the Christian doctrine of war wherein they almost justify all the atrocities from ancient Biblical era to Roman – Greco time to the imperial Britain control of the sea waves, to forceful use of slave labour and looting of Africa, to the present airspace control by America. Now the fight for new frontiers in space is wide open.

It is no secret that from time immemorial nations went to war/invaded other nations as of today not only to protect their interest but also to expand and make money when victorious by looting the booty of their enemies like seizing land or using their captives for slave labour and increasing their tax revenues. Today nothing has changed.

Today, Libya which has easily refinable sweet oil and close to Europe is being flattened to the ground. As these destructions of Libya continue, oil companies and foreign companies from Britain, France, Italy, America and Turkey are jockeying for their positions to get their booty whilst Africa looses/misses out. They are going to jump start their worsening economy and hire more people to reduce the unemployment in their various countries. The not altruistic motive of neo- Colonialism which promises people democracy but in actual fact they are looking for their own interest first is well known to us but each time we fall a victim because we don’t have a united force and voice to fight this hydra which undermines social justice on the African continent. Capitalism as they say has no friends, its only friend is to maximize profit. And where it fails to maximize its profit, it is socialized as was in recent times.

Luckily enough, the answers to all our woes in Africa was given to us thanks to the Ghanaian born Kwame Nkrumah who warned Africans of the consequences if we do not unite during the fight for political liberation. “There are likely to be more coups and rebellions in Africa as long as imperialist and neo-colonialist are able to exploit our weaknesses. Unless we unite and deal with neo-colonialism on a Pan-African basis, they will continue to try to undermine our independence, and draw us again into spheres of influence comparable to the original carve up of Africa arranged at the Berlin Conference of 1884,” Kwame Nkrumah.

In my humble view Globalization is 21st century pure Capitalism. There is nothing wrong with capitalism if it wears a human face of social democracy.

Capitalism is but the gentleman way of slavery,” Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

Africa’s way out of this cul de sac of being an economic/political punching bag for the east/west or perennial dilemma of ignorance, poverty and disease is to unite. Africa must unite or we perish together. “The forces that unite us are intrinsic and greater than the superimposed influences that keep us apart. These are the forces that we must enlist and cement for the sake of the trusting millions who look to us, their leaders, to take them out of the poverty, ignorance and disorder left by colonialism into an ordered unity in which freedom and amity can flourish amidst plenty.” Kwame Nkrumah

The Axioms – ideas and ideals are today more urgent than ever needed than before. The tumult in North Africa and especially Libya should be lessons learnt and a wakeup call to the present lackluster African leaders. It is time for them to learn the democratic rules that the power always belong to the people. The respective countries in which these leaders rule is not their personal or family property. They must learn to relinquish power and not change the constitution at will. Wake up African leaders and fight for good cause!!! Africa must unite.

A Union Government for Africa does not mean the loss of sovereignty by independent African States. A Union Government will rather strengthen the sovereignty of the individual states within the Union.” Kwame Nkrumah

Nkrumah Lives! We neither face East nor West. We Still Face Forward. Viva Mama Africa.

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One response to “Libya: A Wake Up Call For African Leaders

  1. Pingback: French intervention in Mali: reading it from an African perspective | Rising Continent

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