Sunday, May 29, 2016

Million Man March: Just the Beginning
Lincoln Towindo
Zimbabwe Sunday Mail

Zanu-PF’s Million Man March will be held annually alongside provincial rallies aimed at driving youth development and economic empowerment, a ruling party official has said.

The inaugural march on Africa Day, described by party National Secretary for Administration Dr Ignatius Chombo as “a demonstration of Zanu-PF’s force and might” saw hundreds of thousands of people pouring into Harare to show their support for President Mugabe.

That event climaxed with a Presidential address reminiscent of President Mugabe’s delivery at Zimbabwe Grounds on his return from Mozambique after the liberation struggle.

And following this thunderous display, the Zanu-PF Youth League wants the march held annually, and countrywide youth empowerment meetings to begin in June 2016.

Youth League Deputy Secretary Cde Kudzai Chipanga told The Sunday Mail, “That Million Man March was just the beginning. We are going to have several gatherings of similar nature. There will be provincial tours in which Cabinet ministers will be invited and asked to explain what they are doing for young people and how youths can benefit from programmes under their portfolios.

“There are various ministries, most of them economic. Therefore, we want each of them to have a youth policy and a youth desk. Young people are Zimbabwe’s future, they constitute the majority when it comes to the national population.

“We will take a break and then embark on countrywide tours in two months’ time, finishing them before 2016 is out. In 2017, we plan to invite the President to join the Youth League on a tour of all 10 provinces to assess progress on what we would have resolved with the respective ministers.”

Cde Chipanga also spoke on the issue of priorities.

“We have realised that some comrades are reluctant (to facilitate development). Who are they? They are (Cabinet) ministers, chief executives, captains of industry. They seem very reluctant when it comes to fighting this (economic) war we are in.

“They are expecting cake in a war, leading us to question their priorities and how they are executing their duties. For instance, while we are complaining about Government not having money, we see ministers every now and then changing vehicles.

“We complain that our local authorities are failing to even repair tarred roads, but the next thing you see is the top brass at Council A buying new vehicles. One wonders why they say there is no money for service delivery when all the money is going to vehicles and other luxuries.”

Dr Chombo said the Million Man March was a party programme organised by Zanu-PF’s Youth League for the purpose of celebrating President Mugabe’s leadership of Zimbabwe, as well as in Sadc and the African Union – bodies that he recently chaired.

“It was really a show of force and demonstration of the support the President enjoys. We are delighted with the party’s capacity to mobilise and happy with the level of organisation shown throughout. The march was a demonstration that Zanu-PF is well, alive, vibrant and well-geared for 2018.”
Zimbabwe Debt Plan Gets Key Backer
Zimbabwe Sunday Mail

The African Development Bank will back Zimbabwe’s external debt clearance plan when its board, the IMF and World Bank jointly review the country’s strategy in September, a Cabinet minister has said.

AfDB has also advised Harare to draw up a programme under which the three multi-lateral lending institutions will fund key economic growth enablers if the strategy is adopted.

A committee chaired by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr John Mangudya and comprising AfDB, IMF and World Bank country representatives is already working on that programme.

Zimbabwe’s external debt is US$10,8 billion, with Government accounting for US$6,8 billion.

The debt excludes the country from global financial packages, compelling it to rely more on cash transactions for capital projects.

On May 18, 2016, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Dr Mangudya met AfDB president Dr Akinwumi Adesina in Cote d’Ivoire to aprise him on Zimbabwe’s debt clearance strategy first presented at a global finance meeting in Peru last year.

In an interview with The Sunday Mail, Minister Chinamasa said, “We went to Abidjan, Ivory Coast to firm up our debt clearance strategy and get commitment from the AfDB that they will support us.

“The meeting went on well; we got renewed support and encouragement that we will have their (AfDB) backing when we present our case to the three multi-lateral institutions. The board members of these institutions are expected to sit in September to determine whether or not to accept Zimbabwe’s strategy.

“The rules of this game state that if a member is in arrears, it cannot enjoy benefits. These institutions cannot make investments in members that are in arrears.”

Minister Chinamasa said Dr Mangudya’s committee was drafting a country financing programme, with priority going to agriculture and manufacturing.

“That quadripartite committee is working to identify key sectors of the economy that, if supported, can trigger economic transformation.

“Agriculture is at the top of our heads, while enabling infrastructure development like power supply lines, road, rail and water piping will also be taken into account. Recapitalising and retooling of the manufacturing industry, and credits to SMEs are important elements that will feed into that framework.”
5/27/16 AT 1:34 PM

The Niger Delta is once again under siege.

Seven years on from the end of a sustained period of militancy—which saw oil workers kidnapped and production cut to less than a third of maximum capacity—a recently formed group is leading a fresh campaign of attacks in a bid to cripple Nigeria’s economy.

The Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), which announced its formation in February, has declared war on Nigeria’s oil infrastructure. The group claimed via its Twitter account that it had blown up the main electricity pipeline to U.S. firm Chevron’s onshore Escravos facility in southern Nigeria, and a Chevron source confirmed to Reuters on Thursday that the company’s onshore activities had been “grounded,” cutting a potential 90,000 barrels per day (bpd) from Nigeria’s production. On Friday, the group claimed another attack, saying it had blown up  a “heavily guarded” pipeline close to a refinery in Warri, in Nigeria’s southeast Delta state, which is managed by the state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC). The NNPC has not yet confirmed the attack.

The upsurge in attacks by the group has coincided with a dramatic fall in oil production in Nigeria, traditionally the continent’s biggest producer. Petroleum Minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu said earlier in May that production had fallen by 800,000 bpd to 1.4 million bpd, the lowest in two decades. It’s a drop that means Angola has at least temporarily taken over the mantle of Africa’s oil king.

The NDA follows the pattern of other groups, such as the Movement for the Emancipation for the Niger Delta (MEND), which led the militancy campaign in the mid-2000s. MEND and some of its most notorious leaders, such as Government Ekpemupolo—an ex-militant also known as Tompolo who is wanted on money laundering allegations totaling 46 billion naira ($231 million)—have disassociated themselves from the NDA. But according to Malte Liewerscheidt, senior Africa analyst at political risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft, the group’s membership is likely made up of disaffected ex-militants who have not benefited from the presidential amnesty program that brought the previous campaign to a close in 2009. The amnesty included monthly subsidies to reformed militants, but also afforded lucrative security contracts to former leaders, like Tompolo, for protecting oil installations.

The NDA came to international attention after claiming an attack on an underwater pipeline run by Shell in February, forcing the Dutch oil giant to temporarily shut down its 250,000 bpd Forcados terminal. According to Liewerscheidt, the attack showed a level of sophistication and expertise that suggests the group may have insider knowledge of some of the international oil firms working in the Niger Delta. “[Forcados] was not just another pipeline somewhere out in the creeks, it’s right under the nose of the largest [international oil company] out there, namely Shell,” says Liewerscheidt. “[The NDA] have proven their capability to strike major targets again and again.”

As well as links with former Niger Delta militants, the group also appears to have connections with the pro-Biafra movement in southern Nigeria. The NDA has avowed its support for Nnamdi Kanu, the head of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), who has been in detention in Nigeria since October 2015 and is awaiting trial on charges of treason, which he denies. Pro-Biafra activists are campaigning for Kanu’s release and the realization of the independent state of Biafra, which was declared in southeast Nigeria in 1967 but was reintegrated into the country in 1970 following a devastating civil war.

“Operational links” exist between the NDA and IPOB, but the extent of these connections is not yet clear, according to Fulan Nasrullah, an independent conflict researcher based in Nigeria. “Publicly, the NDA has declared support for the Biafran struggle, while maintaining its separate agenda focusing on the Niger Delta,” says Nasrullah. If the NDA were to gain IPOB’s support, its manpower could be dramatically increased; thousands of people have taken part in protests in Nigeria demanding Kanu’s freedom, and IPOB has previously claimed to Newsweek that its global membership numbers in the millions, though this has not been independently confirmed.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to take harsh action against oil militants like the NDA. The president and leader of the All Progressive Congress party said in April that the “vandals and saboteurs” responsible for attacking oil pipelines would be dealt with “the way we dealt with Boko Haram.” Nigeria’s military has reclaimed much of the territory once held by Boko Haram under Buhari’s administration and has inflicted numerous casualties on the group, though Boko Haram continues to carry out occasional suicide bombings in the country’s volatile northeast.

While he has allowed the amnesty program to continue, Buhari has cut the subsidies and ended the handing out of security contracts to ex-militants. “[Buhari] has no interest in returning to the negotiating table,” says Liewerscheidt. “Both the actual costs of reinstating the amnesty program [to its former level], as well as the political costs, are now much too high for the government.”

Nigeria is heavily dependent on oil for its economy—petroleum products make up more than 90 percent of the value of the country’s total exports—and the recent fall in production has shown the ability of the NDA and others to impact upon the West African country’s most vital industry. Recent events suggest that the NDA is likely to pose an economic, as well as a security, threat to one of the world’s most important oil hubs. 
Nigerian Oil Production Halved as Militants Blow Up Pipelines
Associated Press
28 MAY 2016 • 10:37PM

Militants blew up strategic gas and crude pipelines belonging to Shell and Agip on Saturday in an increasingly fierce campaign that has chopped Nigeria's oil production in half, militants and residents said.

A new militant group, calling itself the Niger Delta Avengers, reported in social media that they had dynamited the trunkline linking the Dutch-British Shell company's Bonny terminal and the Brass export terminal of the Italian company Agip. A local community leader Eke-Spiff Erempagamo confirmed the attack.

Nigeria's oil production had already fallen from a projected 2.2 million barrels a day to 1.4 million barrels before the latest attacks on the oil industry in southern Nigeria, including three within the past week on facilities of the U.S. oil major Chevron. Several companies have evacuated some of their workers.

The Niger Delta Avengers has given the oil companies a May 31 deadline to leave Nigeria's southern, oil-producing Niger Delta.

"Watch out something big is about to happen and it will shock the whole world," the Avengers warned Saturday, addressing international and indigenous oil companies and Nigeria's military.

In a surprise development, community leaders and non-violent activists have recently sided with the militants, saying residents of the Niger Delta support their demands for a greater share of the country's oil wealth. Oil pollution has destroyed the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of farmers and fishermen.

The militants are also angry that the government is winding down a 2009 amnesty program that had paid 30,000 militants to guard installations they once attacked.

Nigeria's government has deployed thousands of soldiers to defend oil installations.

But the militants announced on Friday that they had blown up a state-owned gas and crude trunkline, noting it was "heavily guarded by the military."

Thousands of civilians have fled the fallout from the military campaign, though the army denies reports that uninvolved civilians have been killed.

Supporters of Nigeria's government and the southern based opposition party are accusing each other of funding the Avengers.

This year's renewed campaign targeting the oil industry in the Niger Delta have caused Nigeria to lose its position as Africa's largest oil producer, with Angola having taken the leading role since March.
Madiba: Thy Will Is Done
27 May 2016 at 13:42pm
By Getrude Makhafola

Johannesburg - Nelson Mandela’s estate, which included R22 million in cash, has been collated and distributed to all beneficiaries as requested by the former statesman in his will, former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke announced on Friday.

The estate executioners, who included Moseneke and struggle stalwart George Bizos, a close friend of Mandela, addressed the media at the Nelson Mandela Foundation offices in Johannesburg.

“Mandela was a public figure, it is not usual to see distribution of an estate done publicly… but Nelson Mandela was Nelson Mandela. We are here to tell the nation that we have come to the end of our task and we did as were asked by Mandela in his will, we went out to accomplish his mission,” Moseneke said.

A few beneficiaries such as higher education institutions, schools and former Mandela staffers were handed out cheques on Friday.

A total of R22 million in cash would eventually be handed over, with some of the beneficiaries such as Mandela’s personal assistant Zelda le Grange opting to have their money sent electronically, said Moseneke.

Mandela left R50 000 for Le Grange, as stated in his will. He however left nothing for his former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Distribution of the Mandela properties would follow after the dissemination of the cash. Moseneke said none of Mandela’s assets have been sold in order to pay monies to beneficiaries.

“We have identified all assets domestic and foreign, and his liabilities. We are delighted to inform you that no assets of the deceased have been sold in order to pay the bequests and to discharge estate liabilities and costs. The estate was sufficiently liquid to meet the wishes of Mr Mandela.”

Cheques were handed to Mandela’s driver Richard Maponya, who chauffeured the late statesman from the first say he was released from prison. Other former staffers, Sarah Mabuela and Albertina Dima were also present to receive their R50 000 cheques as stated in the will.

Education institutions such as the University of Fort Hare and Witwatersrand University, the two institutions where Mandela studied, thanked the family and Mandela for the R100 000 cash each they received.

“We are honoured to be the recipients of this bequest, not because of it being monetary but because the issues are too enormous to be satisfied monetarily. This symbolises Mr Mandela’s love for education and for Forth Hare, where he was an alumni… this is timeous because we are celebrating 100 years of existence, and we accept the challenge to uphold the legacy of Fort Hare and also fulfil the legacy of education in this country,” said Ayanda Mjekula, chairman of University of Fort Hare council.

Qunu Secondary School in Mandela’s home village in the Eastern Cape, Orlando West High School in Soweto and the historic Clarkebury Senior Secondary School in Ngcobo, Eastern Cape also received cheques.

Mandela’s left properties and cash for widow his Graca Machel, her children and grandchildren and Mandela’s children, grand children and great grand children. The late statesman died in 2013, aged 95.

African News Agency
Neo-Colonial Ivorian Court Rejects Simone Gbagbo's Appeal Against 20-year Jail Term
Africa News

Ivory Coast’s supreme court has rejected former first lady Simone Gbagbo’s appeal against a 20-year sentence handed to her last year.

The former first lady was charged with undermining state security for her role in the violence that followed the 2010 elections which left more than 3,000 people dead.

She was tried with 78 co-defendants for their part in the crisis caused by the refusal of her husband and former president Laurent Gbagbo to recognise Alassane Ouattara’s victory in the November 2010 presidential poll.

Simone Gbagbo is also due to stand trial on May 31 in Abidjan on charges of crimes against humanity related to the wave of post-election violence.
Simone Gbagbo Will Not Be Handed Over to the ICC - Ivorian PM
18/05 - 14:18
Africa News

Ivory Coast’s former first lady Simone Gbagbo will not be transferred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to face war crimes charges, Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan has said.

Duncan who is in Paris to chair a meeting on Ivory Coast’s development plan affirmed the government’s decision not comply with an arrest warrant from the ICC against the former first lady.

The warrant of arrest was issued against the 66-year-old in 2012 and till date, the case remains in the pre-trial stage at the Hague-based court

Simone is wanted for her role in the country’s 2010 post-election unrest that saw more than 3,000 people die.

Nevertheless, Duncan maintained that Simone Gbagbo will still face trial in the country on May 31 for crimes against humanity.

Former Ivory Coast first lady Simone Gbagbo will be tried for crimes against humanity at home starting on April 25.

The former first lady is currently serving a 20-year jail sentence after she was found guilty by an Ivorian court in March of undermining state security.

Popularly referred to as the ‘Iron Lady’ during her husband’s reign, Simone Gbagbo was arrested in an assault backed by the UN and French troops.

Last week, Amnesty International said that Ivorian authorities should reconsider their refusal to comply with their obligation to surrender her to the ICC.

She has been charged by the ICC with crimes against humanity, including murder, rape, and persecution.

Her husband is currently on trial before the ICC for crimes against humanity in relation to the post-election violence.

News Agencies
 Ivory Coast Court Rejects Appeal by Ex-first Lady Simone Gbagbo
May 27, 2016
Africa News

Ivory Coast’s supreme court has rejected former first lady Simone Gbagbo’s appeal against a 20-year sentence over her role in the violence that followed the 2010 elections that her husband Laurent Gbagbo lost, her lawyer said.

“The supreme court Thursday rejected our appeal,” Rodrigue Dadje told AFP, criticising it as a “political decision”.

Simone Gbagbo, currently being held in Abidjan, was sentenced in March 2015 to 20 years imprisonment after being convicted of “attacking state authority” over her role in the post-election violence, which left more than 3,000 people dead.

She was tried with 78 co-defendants for their part in the crisis caused by the refusal of former president Laurent Gbagbo to recognise Alassane Ouattara’s victory in the November 2010 presidential election.

The former first lady is also due to go on trial on May 31 in Abidjan on charges of crimes against humanity related to the wave of post-election violence.

Laurent Gbagbo is currently on trial at the International Criminal Court in the Hague for war crimes also linked to the unrest that followed his refusal to step down.

Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer, has struggled to return to normalcy after years of civil war, which effectively divided the country between the mainly Christian south and the largely Muslim north.

Ouattara finally took power in 2011 with help from former colonial ruler France and the arrest of the Gbagbos.

This post was syndicated from The Guardian NigeriaThe Guardian Nigeria. Click here to read the full text on the original website.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Other Side – Million Man March: So Hard a Fact, So Harder to Accept
PRESIDENT Mugabe and the First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe greet multitudes of zanu-pf supporters who, in spite of the bad press from private media and cold weather, graced the Million-Man March in Harare on Africa Day

Nathaniel Manheru
Zimbabwe Herald

BACK in the 1970s, marriage took the form of musical rivalry that pitted families of the bride and the groom. Each side composed songs that exalted the qualities of their side — both real and imagined — while heaping execrable qualities on the opposite side. The starting point was the physical side of either party: the big, lumpy lips that resembled lungs left to dry by the fireplace; big eyes that would frighten even the owls, sunken face structure that beat a baboon in a competition; rickety legs wider than goal posts.

Things like that, but all said in fierce jest. And when the physical side was exhausted — which was more not that often — the taunting would extend to families: how they did not have bedrooms of zinc; how they survived on ants, their precarious welfare levels, which is why marriage for them was a coping mechanism, a way of lessening mouths to feed.

When wedding taunts reigned

There was this one song the Manherus were fond of singing, always a winner in the competition. It extolled our own, while excoriating those to whom our daughters would have been betrothed. It would be accompanied by a reckless throw of limbs, not least the family economy as wielded by our women folk. It went like this:

All done in utter joy

The song was a threat to parents of the groom, a dire warning that the Manherus would not hesitate to follow through and repossess their daughter in the event of any mistreatment, a nagging mother-in-law or a nagging husband. It pampered the bride while presumptively warning the groom already heaped with imaginary excesses. Much worse, presumption soon gave way to conviction, which is why the groom would be imaged in animal epithets, principally chidhanana — that rock lizard which feigns hitting against the rock as if in resistance. And so the banter would go on, with the groom’s side responding in kind. A typical song from the groom side would go like this:

The past that’s gone forever

In the riposte, the bride was likened to the little one of a donkey roguishly running away from its home and mother without knowing where to spend the night. The innuendo-filled song suggested the girl had eloped, something that was always frowned upon in Shona custom. But the competition would be limited to the young ones while the elders would treat each other with befitting dignity, distance and decorum. We did not have radios. We did not have DJs. But then, who needed them? Marriage ceremonies generated their own forms of entertainment and it used to be real fun. It is harder to recapture that era, what in this world of ICTs and staid music from machines.

The day a small palm started a fight

The Million Man March came on Africa Day, May 25th, and it is now past as an actuality. But it remains firmly entrenched in the hearts and minds of an ailing opposition which must be kicking itself for ever challenging Zanu-PF to the game of street politics. It is a nightmare, an ever living fear hard to overcome.

Led by the Party’s Youth League, the event lived up to its billing. In spite of the vast numbers, there was order, perfect order. In spite of the cold weather, the turnout was massive, far greater than the crowd that greeted the President in 1980, at the close of the war of liberation, the beginning of electoral politics which Zanu won by a landslide. In spite of the bad press, the mood was buoyant without being boisterous, and even those who decided to stand aloof were left alone, more pitied than accosted. With a million, one did not need one man more.

Call it arrogance of the majority. A great show of force in the presumed citadel of opposition. In Harare, where the MDC-T had marched a handful previously, hoping to send shivers to those in power. Tsvaru wadana tivu, we say in Shona, which is to say a man with a small palm must not start a fight, the reply will be hefty and filling.

When a million is figurative

The opposition press is in denial, hopeless denial. The opposition itself, always used to a rote-learnt line, says the march was nothing, a farce. Really? Sometimes you gain credibility by acknowledging a score. Or where you can’t help it, by simply letting a bad day pass. That way the bad day may be shorter.

But when you challenge the obvious — as did this Obert Gutu guy — you provoke a louder response, a bigger, more filling slap that leaves you misshapen, reeling, worse off. Here we go. Million? You would be a fool take that literally, a big fool bereft of the art of political messaging. The language of politics is figurative, always. Where numbers are counted — as was the case with MDC-T’s miserly stampede — that mobilisation will have failed, the call will have gone unheeded.

Typical of hard sale, waning influence. Back home, the lore is vanhu kwaive mavhu nemarara — sand and debris — our own figurative way of reckoning big gatherings. Who has ever counted sands that make our earth? Or the debris that make our MDC-T-led Harare such an eyesore? And that is all you need to reach the political million, to suspend disbelief. The issue is the Youth League pulled a stunning one, a nonpareil. I challenge any party to do half as well, I, the son of Manheru. And the bandwagon effect, oh God help the opposition!

Spacious arguments from those who should know

I read two responses, both desperate coping mechanisms. One: at attempt by Coltart to set off the Zanu-PF million against Tsvangirai’s little thousands who gathered at the same venue towards the tail-end of 2013 campaign. Cross-over rally they dubbed it, but one that marked a slouch back to dejection and current endless oblivion.

What a sparse argument, decidedly spacious for a lawyer to make. The subsequent poll results situated that baby crowd into its proper perspective, which is why Coltart is writing from without, while Mugabe speaks from within, from the podium of presidency, yehumambo. So we have here a self-nullifying argument answered here just in case there is persistent, stubborn denial.

Two: that dzakutsaku in 1980 had such a huge turnout, but proceeded to show poorly in the intervening election. Deliberately, the argument does not say showed poorly against who. And deliberately, the same argument is not used to caution Coltart and his red caps in 2013, both beckoning parallels. This is how the opposition self-deludes, and pretends shock when beaten fair and square.

Lauding our own

The third response is borrowed from Manheru’s argument when the MDC-T raised its handful a few weeks back. Then, I said what then after that? Now there is an attempt to raise the same question in respect of Zanu-PF and its million man march (I like the internal rhyme mhani!). Ahh the fallacy of comparisons. Get real guys.

The million man march — I can’t say it enough — was meant to celebrate the President as a triple leader: of Zimbabwe, of sadc, of Africa. Three portfolios rolled in one, two of them transnational. All done ably by this Atlas-like veteran politician. It has not happened. It may never happen again, at least in my lifetime. Certainly never in Tsvangirai’s lifetime, what with him struggling just to be one of these, struggling more than four times! You would be a big fool to think Zanu-PF had its sights set on local politics.

It is local politicians who are panicking, drawing local meaning. Serves them right. Zanu-PF sought to speak to Africa, to the world, to say: here we have produced a world leader from a continent. We laud our own, like the proverbial lizard that jumped off the high iroko tree and still lived long enough to tell its grandparents how the jump felt. The numbers did just that and you would be a fool to ask what next. Huru inokudzwa newayo, we say in Shona. We did just that.

Zanu yapinda muchiona/Heyo yapinda

But just in case you persist in asking what next, here are the dampening facts. With such a massive parade, Zanu-PF is making its sure win in 2018 only a matter of course and time. It has made an emphatic entry into the electoral register. Yes, Rugare Gumbo got it right when he said through the million man march, Zanu-PF is rehearsing to rig!

Let him rehearse back so the crowds battle is back on an even keel. Let MDC-T rehearse back so Zanu-PF’s street dominance is equalled or challenged. Let both combine so we see what their grand coalition is made off. It was their choice that the 2018 elections start in 2016. So why cry now? In the absence of matching acts, who would be condemned for interpreting this as a prefigurement of 2018?

Who in the opposition? And when 2018 confirms it, who dares mumble about rigging? And hope to be heard? During the war, Zanu had a song that celebrated its quiet advance as a fighting machine. The song went like: Zanu yapinda/ Muchionaaa Muchiona/ Heyo yapinda/ Muchiona makangotarisa muchiona.

Roughly translated the song celebrated Zanla’s ineluctable advance against Rhodesian gaping eyes. As I write, the western world, both directly and through their union, have begun pouring money into regime-change NGOs in anticipation of 2018. Here was a very considerate message from Zanu-PF to say tarry thee, don’t waste your resources in lost cause. 2018 is won already.

2018 was won on Africa Day. As for the Americans, just read their latest human rights report on Zimbabwe and you begin to see what mischief is already afoot, much of it fed in by the hostile press and facile NGO reports. A whole superpower, accredited here, but going by shallow media claims for a report? But there is bound to be a real rethink as we head up to London for another round of re-engagement. I liken this to the battle for Mavonde in 1979. It gave us a good Lancaster.

Taking politics off streets

Secondly, this whole game of taking politics to the streets should stop, and the way to stop it is not through police bans. It is by setting an unattainable benchmark, itself an everlasting image to invoke against any ambitious handfuls paraded by the little parties. Zanu-PF does not need another one in Bulawayo or anywhere.

It has raised a million for the electoral century and the rest is history. Through that action, the constitutional right to assembly will exist as an uncontested right, a passive one which none dare claim. So, yes, the idea was to make street politics very, very expensive for whoever tries them, expensive through deadly comparison.

On that score one finds the MDC-T a bit obdurately foolish. They know their leader is bedridden, unwell after a serious procedure. Sure to be unavailable for quite a while. Yet they continue to suggest he will lead from the front in Bulawayo. Really? Or is the coup complete? Save vadingurwa? In politics you are better off dealing with obdurate facts of life than seeking to wrap them with khaki paper. And obdurate facts are like a beast with horns: you don’t wrap it flat as we say in Shona.

The game has changed guys

Thirdly, the lore of factionalism which the hostile press has been harping on has proven to be just that, an old wives’ tale. I kept saying even at its most fractious moment, Zanu-PF was always mobilising, the real challenge being to ensure the internal contradiction is not allowed to get out of hand.

This is why the meeting between the President and War Veterans was so key. I mean the real meeting, not the subsequent media performance which many mistook for the actual meeting. And pity the ill-adjusted press still holding on to an old, stale script of divisions. As we move into the future, Zanu-PF shall be one whole, indivisible. Which for me was what emphatically answered the so-what of opposition. They say it was about Mugabe showing his invincibility inside his party.

Yes it was, as indeed he should. The perception of a Zanu-PF without a centre has vanished, once and for all. Let’s change the debate guys, throwing real light where the centre is begging, namely in MDC-T and ZPF. The biggest gesture was the image of Kudzi Chipanga and his Youth League briefing the Main Wing of the Party at the Party HQ about the project.

Those with clear heads should have read that the times had changed, and with them, the game. That then made the million men march a show of intra-party, inter-generational, inter-arms unity in organisational action. Exactly the monster the opposition will meet in 2018. It’s awesome.

Zanu Yedu Tinooidaaa

Fourthly and for this week lastly, there is this lame argument around bussing people he he he! Nonsense! Did we not see the Youth League executive addressing meetings in all the country’s 10 province? Do you reach 10 provinces to raise crowds for a local rally? And were people supposed to come on foot from those provinces?

How is it different on Election Day? Is there a law that stops bussing of voters seeking to reach a booth, assuming there will be some booths far away from the voting public? What is the point? Yes, people were bussed from all over the country, people today, voters tomorrow. And the difficulties by some in getting back to their home provinces. What does that tell?

That resources for the million man march were sparse, hard to come by. What was abundant was the zeal, the will to march for a million. You can’t argue that State resources were abused and still find people stranded in Harare. Does that make sense? What is your day like, dear critic? Zanu-PF will did it again! Zanu Yedu/ Tinooidaaa Zanu Yedu tinoida/ Kunyangwe zvavo/ Kunyangwe zvavo vakachema, vakarovera musoro padombo, mangopinda tinokunda.

MugabeOne million-man marchZanu-PFZimbabwe
South Africa Passes Land Expropriations Bill
Some groups critical of bill allowing compulsory purchase in public interest that ruling ANC says will tackle injustice.

South Africa has passed a bill criticised by some opposition parties and farming groups that allows the compulsory purchase of land in the public interest.

The bill, approved by parliament on Thursday, will enable the state to pay for land at a value determined by a government adjudicator and then expropriate it for the "public interest", ending the willing-buyer, willing-seller approach to land reform.

Twenty years after the end of apartheid, most of South Africa's land is still white-owned and the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party says the legislation will tackle an injustice and put more land in black hands.

The national assembly initially passed the bill in February before it was sent for amendments and it remains only for President Jacob Zuma to sign it into law.

Tough times

Many commercial and small-scale producers in South Africa are currently facing tough times because of the worst drought in at least a century.

Experts say the bill will not signal the kind of often violent land grabs that took place in neighbouring Zimbabwe, where white-owned farms were seized by the government for redistribution to landless blacks.

"The passing of the bill by parliament is historic and heralds a new era of intensified land distribution programme to bring long-awaited justice to the dispossessed majority of South Africans," the ANC said in a statement.

Some economists and farming groups have said that the measure could hit investment and production at a time when South Africa is emerging from drought - pointing to the serious economic damage arising from farm seizures in Zimbabwe.

They have also complained about a lack of clarity on how it will work.

The ANC says land will only be expropriated after "just and equitable" compensation has been paid.

Around eight million hectares (20 million acres) of land have been transferred to black owners since apartheid, equal to eight to 10 percent of the land in white hands in 1994.

The total is only a third of the 30 percent targeted by the ANC.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies
Moody's cited deteriorating operating conditions it expected in the next 12-18 months.


JOHANNESBURG - Ratings agency, Moody's, on Friday lowered its outlook for the South African banking system to negative from stable, citing deteriorating operating conditions it expected in the next 12 to 18 months.

“The outlook expresses Moody's expectation of how bank creditworthiness will evolve in this system over the next 12 to 18 months,” the annual banking system outlook said.

“The challenging economic outlook will strain borrowers’ repayment capacity, fuelling increased asset risks.”

Yesterday, ratings agency Fitch warned South Africa’s underperformance of GDP growth posed a risk to the country's rating.

The agency, which rates the debt of Africa's most industrialised country at BBB-, one notch above speculative grade, is expected to publish a review of the country’s debt rating on 3 June.                    
Fitch said there were several risks to the rating South Africa will receive next week.

One of them mentioned related to "quick fixes" in fiscal policy in the run up to elections, which Fitch said will discourage investment.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan met with Fitch and Standard & Poor’s last week, saying it’s unclear at this stage whether the country’s debt will be downgraded.

Gordhan and his team have been working hard to encourage investors, in an effort to avoid the dreaded junk credit rating.

Fitch Managing Director Ed Parker told Reuters, “Authorities may feel, if they have a poor showing, that there is a need for fixes like the introduction of a high minimum wage that would appear to help the poor but may also discourage investment".

Additional reporting by Gia Nicolaides
Migrant Crisis: UK Set to Send Royal Navy Warship to Libya
27 May 2016
BBC World Service

The UK is set to send a Royal Navy warship to the Mediterranean to help tackle arms smuggling in Libya, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced.

He told the G7 summit in Japan the UK was ready to take an "active leadership role" in helping Libya deal with people trafficking and the migration crisis.

The UK already has a survey vessel, HMS Enterprise, operating in the area.

Officials are to seek UN approval for the new warship to seize boats taking arms to so-called Islamic State.

The new Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya last week asked the European Union - which is running a mission, called Operation Sophia, in the area - for more assistance.

It requested help in training its navy and coastguard, as well as stopping the trafficking of migrants across the Mediterranean.

The GNA is also believed to be considering a request for international ships to operate in Libyan waters.

'Stabilise Libya'

Speaking in Japan, Mr Cameron said Libya was "a danger to all of us" and the UK would deploy a warship to the area, subject to the UN approving Libya's request.

He said the UK was "working closely" with the EU to tackle people-trafficking in the central Mediterranean.

The UK also plans to send a training team to "assist" with the implementation of plans to help train the Libyan coastguard, he added.

Mr Cameron said the plans would "help stabilise Libya, secure its coast and tackle the migration crisis".


The capsizing of a boat in the Mediterranean was caught on camera by the Italian navy this week

By Jonathan Beale, BBC defence correspondent

There are a number of motives for David Cameron's announcement.

Another year of desperate migrants crammed into small boats fleeing to Europe heightens demand for western intervention.

But it is not just humanitarian reasons. Mr Cameron is also trying to win a referendum, which has exposed public concern about immigration.

And then there's the question of how to combat the Islamic State group's foothold in Libya.

But before he can intervene there are big obstacles ahead.

The Royal Navy is trying to work out what it can do (it is still not clear what additional warship it might send).

Training Libya's barely existent coastguard won't be easy either. Where could it be done in safety and when Libya's fledgling unity government doesn't want western boots on the ground?

Western countries have not yet had a formal invitation to even enter Libyan waters.

As for intercepting boats that might be carrying weapons or being used by trafficking gangs, that would require a UN Security Council Resolution.

The untold story of Europe's drowned migrants

The EU operation - which currently has five ships, including an Italian aircraft carrier and frigates from Spain and Germany - has faced strong criticism.

A House of Lords committee published this month said the mission was failing to achieve its aims and does not "in any meaningful way" disrupt smugglers' boats.

'Grand gesture'

The deployment of a warship would be "quite a substantial move forward" toward direct UK military involvement in the Libyan conflict, BBC diplomatic correspondent James Landale said.

But former Rear Admiral in the Royal Navy Chris Parry said the type of warship and role it would undertake was "unclear".

"I think because it's happening at the G7, and we have a referendum, this has the nature of a grand gesture. I don't think the details have been worked out yet quite frankly," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Crispin Blunt, chairman of the Commons foreign affairs committee, said it was crucial the international community "get the politics right", and make sure countries such as Egypt were not "playing a double game" by supporting powers other than the GNA.

On Thursday, Mr Blunt called for "proper accounting" of what British special forces are doing in
Libya, following reports by the Times that UK troops fired a missile to destroy an IS truck packed with explosives.

In 2011, the UK assisted international efforts to back counter-revolutionaries fighting to overthrow Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The rebels succeeded but the country has since descended into civil war, with the formation of hundreds of militias - some allied to IS.

Aid agencies say the sea-crossing between Libya and Italy is now the main route for migrants trying to get to Europe.

It follows a EU deal with Turkey, which came into effect in March, to curb the number of people sailing across the Aegean Sea, towards Greece.

Nearly 6,000 migrants trying to reach Europe illegally have been rescued from flimsy craft in the Mediterranean in recent days, officials have said.
Trump Suggests U.S. Should Bomb Libya Again
3:24 PM, MAY 27, 2016

FRESNO, California (CNN) — Donald Trump on Friday suggested that the United States should bomb ISIS in Libya, a decision that would mark a serious escalation of the U.S. military campaign against the terrorist group. It’s also a new position for Trump, who has argued both in favor of and against military intervention in Libya over the past five years.

Claiming that ISIS controls oil fields in Libya, the presumptive Republican nominee questioned during a rally here why the United States isn’t “bombing the hell out of” ISIS in Libya.

“ISIS has the oil. And then you say if ISIS has the oil, why aren’t we blockading so they can’t sell it? Why aren’t we bombing the hell out of –” Trump said, stopping short as he pivoted to slamming President Barack Obama as “grossly incompetent.”

The U.S. has bombed ISIS in Libya, including a major strike on an ISIS camp back in February. The Pentagon recently acknowledged there is a “concept of operations” for Libya that includes continued airstrikes against ISIS targets when they can be located.

Trump has previously argued in favor of bombing oil fields in ISIS hands in Iraq — where the U.S. already has several thousand troops — but his remarks on Friday mark the first time the de facto Republican nominee has raised the possibility of a U.S. military campaign in another country.

Although Trump has emphasized a foreign policy of “America First” and railed against foreign entanglements, he has repeatedly said the U.S. needs to “knock out” ISIS.

And despite Trump’s claim, ISIS does not control oil fields in Libya, though supply lines have been disrupted by ISIS assaults in the North African country.

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Trump raised the possibility of another U.S. military intervention just as he slammed former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee, for arguing in favor of the 2011 NATO bombing campaign that ousted Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

“Her decision to go in — and this was her baby, Libya — was a disaster,” Trump said Friday.

Trump has repeatedly railed against the U.S. decision to strike Libya as part of a multinational campaign, which he has used to question Clinton’s judgment.

But Trump in 2011 also argued in favor of a military intervention in Libya.

“We should go in, we should stop this guy, which would be very easy and very quick. We could do it surgically, stop him from doing it, and save these lives,” Trump said in February 2011, a month before NATO launched its military intervention.
Wells Fargo Sponsorship of Black Lives Matter Panel Draws Scorn
Naomi LaChance
May 27 2016, 12:52 p.m.

Wells Fargo’s sordid practice of steering minorities into exploitative mortgages burst into public view after the housing crash in 2008. But to a black business group the bank has partnered with — by donating nearly half a million dollars — it’s ancient history.

The U.S. Black Chambers (USBC), an organization dedicated to growing black business, has been collaborating on programs with Wells Fargo since 2014.

But a Wells Fargo-sponsored USBC luncheon held last week was a bridge too far for some observers.

The lunch discussion was titled: “From Black Panthers to Black Lives Matter, the Movement Continues.” One panelist was DeRay Mckesson, a former candidate for mayor in Baltimore and a high-profile Black Lives Matter activist. The Wells Fargo branding was prominent.

The event drew scorn from people incensed that black activism would be linked with Wells Fargo. Dwayne David Paul, a minister at St. Peter’s University in New Jersey, tweeted: “Liberal reformist politics in a nutshell. ‘Black liberation brought to you by orgs that prey upon Black folk.'”

Indiana-based writer Fredrik DeBoer drew attention to the event in a post on Facebook, writing, “this is why I drink.”

Mckesson, who spoke on the panel with Ron Busby, the president and CEO of U.S. Black Chambers, tweeted in response: “I didn’t make/approve this graphic & Wells Fargo didn’t sponsor/pay me. You want a conspiracy here & there is none.”

But the event’s organizers made no such effort to distance themselves from Wells Fargo. In interviews with The Intercept, two board members for the U.S. Black Chambers offered Wells Fargo, without prompting, as an example of a beneficial corporate partner.

And asked about the bank’s accusations of discriminatory lending, USBC board chairman Aubry Stone defended Wells Fargo. “Obviously, they’re trying to do the right thing,” he said. “There were a lot of people caught up in that scenario, some on purpose, some by accident.”

Wells Fargo has donated to USBC since at least 1999. Its donations have been used to give grants to black chambers of commerce, including the Heartland Black Chamber of Commerce in Kansas City, KS, and the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce in Fresno, CA. Funding has also been used to create webinars on getting loans and to support the Black Male Entrepreneur Institute.

Stone is also president and CEO of the California Black Chamber of Commerce in Sacramento, CA, another group that receives funding from Wells Fargo.

To Stone, the bank is not entirely responsible for the predatory loans made to minority customers: “See, one of the things that is really important to understand and get the slant is that, when someone buys another company, you buy their liability and a lot of that happened in that period, so they inherited a lot of bad paper,” he said. Stone was referring to Wells Fargo’s merger with Northwest Corporation in 1998 and its acquisition of Wachovia in 2008. “So it wasn’t necessarily them doing it. They inherited a lot of bad paper.”

But it was Wells Fargo itself, not any of the banks it merged with, that came under fire in Baltimore, for instance, for targeting black communities, and referring to subprime lending as “ghetto loans” and to blacks as “mud people” — not Wachovia or Northwest.

Wells Fargo has paid millions of dollars in settlements over its practices that contributed to the U.S. housing crisis. Notably, in a 2012 Justice Department settlement, the bank agreed to pay $184 million in relief to borrowers the government alleged “were steered into subprime mortgages or who paid higher fees and rates than white borrowers because of their race or national origin.”

The Justice Department’s investigation found 34,000 cases where black and Hispanic customers were charged with higher fees and rates on mortgages than white customers with similar economic statuses, according to Reuters.

For Antwanye Ford, a U.S. Black Chambers board member and owner of a Washington, D.C.-based technology consulting firm, the partnership helps the organization make sure Wells Fargo keeps giving loans to black businesses. He said Well Fargo provides the organizations with statistics about how many black business owners are getting loans.

Kerwin Brown, another board member, said he does not recall seeing such statistics. Brown is the chairman of the board at the Black Chamber of Arizona, another organization that takes donations from Wells Fargo. He said that Wells Fargo’s discriminatory lending is not something he’s thought about recently. He also said he cannot remember the issue ever coming up at a board meeting. “We obviously have a very good relationship with our corporate sponsors,” he said.

“It’s interesting,” Ford said, “because we try to hold them accountable by saying, ‘We understand you’ve given us funding, but we want to see lending to black-owned businesses going out.’ I think for us, it’s important for them to talk about all of the lending. Have they been increasing lending? So they’ll let us know: ‘Hey, we’ve given this many businesses loans’ and we want to hear the statistics and they’ve been providing that to the board.”

Ford added: “We understand they’re getting better, but I think we want to hold them accountable for that.”

Wells Fargo has given $314,000 to USBC in the two years since the organizations became partners, according to a Wells Fargo spokesperson. That’s a big chunk of USBC’s annual budget, which was $1.3 million in 2014, according to filings with the IRS.

On the same day as USBC’s Black Lives Matter luncheon, Wells Fargo announced it was donating another $180,000 to the organization. A National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) Twitter account praised the bank, posting: “thrilled to see our partners going further together!”

The NAACP filed lawsuits in 2007 against Wells Fargo and other banks accusing them of violating the Fair Housing and Equal Credit Opportunity Acts, as well as racial discrimination, but the organization dropped its claims against Wells Fargo in 2010. The next year, the two groups opened a financial literacy center together in Washington, D.C.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Why Subways in the Northeast Are So Troubled
New York Times
MAY 26, 2016

The unprecedented safety shutdown of Washington’s subway for a day in March laid bare the deteriorating conditions that created a crisis.

But the Metro, which opened four decades ago and shaped the Washington region, is not the only transit system in the Northeastern United States showing its age.

The subways in New York City and Boston, both more than half a century older than the system in Washington, need billions of dollars to replace aging infrastructure and to meet rising demand. All three cities, home to most of the nation’s busiest subways, are growing and attracting young people, who prefer mass transit but have become frustrated by delays.

As transit officials in Boston, New York and Washington focus on improving the subways, their efforts are being closely watched by planners and business groups who fear economic growth in the region could slow if the systems cannot keep up.

“These are mega-systems with mega-sized challenges, and there is not going to be a silver bullet,” said Adie Tomer, a fellow at the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution.

Frequent disruptions have left riders stranded on trains and scrambling to make it to work on time. In the Washington area, people are preparing for widespread closings while repairs are made. In New York, Brooklyn residents are alarmed by the possibility of a yearlong shutdown of the L subway tunnel to Manhattan. In Boston, the crowded Red Line is periodically upended by technical problems and other issues.

This month, President Obama tied the Metro’s problems to a broader lack of investment in infrastructure across the country, like the water pipes in Flint, Mich., and crumbling roads and bridges.

Washington Metro System Failed to Learn From Accidents, Report Finds MAY 3, 2016
“It is just one more example of the underinvestments that have been made,” Mr. Obama said at a news conference. “Look, the D.C. Metro historically has been a great strength of this region. But over time, we underinvested in maintenance and repair.”

The Federal Transit Administration found that public transit systems have a backlog of $86 billion in critical maintenance nationwide. Officials pushed for infrastructure funding on Capitol Hill recently as part of Infrastructure Week, an annual series of events to highlight the issue.

The Northeast’s three major subway systems, which have the most riders in the country along with Chicago’s, are similarly struggling with dilapidated equipment, funding concerns and knotty political dynamics. In New York and Boston, officials have encountered an additional hurdle: natural disasters.

Hurricane Sandy flooded New York’s subway in 2012, damaging several tunnels under the East River. The Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn is reeling over plans for an 18-month shutdown for hurricane-related repairs to the L train tunnel. In Boston, an onslaught of snow in 2015 paralyzed the transit system and brought attention to problems at the regional network.

All three cities have seen population growth and remain top destinations for millennials, many of whom eschew driving a car. New York recently hit 8.5 million residents, while the Washington metropolitan area has grown to more than six million people and the Boston metropolitan area has topped 4.7 million.

With nearly six million trips each day and round-the-clock service, New York’s subway is the heavyweight. But the system, which opened in 1904, has become so packed that riders are exasperated by delays and overcrowding.

As Betsy Campbell rode a No. 1 train in Manhattan on a recent morning, she complained of increasingly unreliable trains. If service continues to deteriorate, she said, businesses might decide to move to other cities.

“It could get to the point where you just can’t get around and you can’t function efficiently like you need to,” said Ms. Campbell, who works at a foundation.

Last year, as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, both Democrats, quarreled over whether the city should pay more for the subways, a train derailed in Brooklyn when a crumbling wall fell onto the tracks. The city ultimately increased its contribution to the $29 billion capital plan for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the state-run agency that operates subways, buses and commuter railroads.

The authority’s chairman, Thomas F. Prendergast, said he understood commuters’ frustrations.

“We do feel their discomfort and pain, and we’re working as hard as we can to expand the capacity of the system and to deliver the service better,” Mr. Prendergast said in an interview.

The city’s first new subway station in a quarter-century opened on the Far West Side of Manhattan last year. The long-delayed Second Avenue subway is expected to open at the end of this year with three stations on the Upper East Side. Mr. de Blasio has proposed building a waterfront streetcar in Brooklyn and Queens while extending the city’s ferry system and adding express buses.

Boston’s subway, known as the T, opened in 1897, and is the nation’s oldest system. It now handles nearly 800,000 trips each day. The regional transit network has a $7 billion backlog of repairs that officials estimate could take more than two decades to eliminate.

“We have a system that is running on fumes,” said Joshua Ostroff, the partnerships director at Transportation for Massachusetts, an advocacy group.

After the T’s problems in winter 2015, Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, pushed to create a fiscal control board to oversee the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. Riders are anxious about a fare increase of about 9.3 percent on average, set to take effect in July, and the fate of a proposal to extend the Green line. This month, officials decided to move forward with pared-down plans for the line, though the funding still needs to be assembled.

Washington’s subway opened to great fanfare in 1976, but maintenance has lagged. Since a series of safety failures, including a 2009 crash that killed nine people, ridership has declined. In March, officials abruptly shut down the subway to inspect troublesome electrical cables. Experts have criticized the structure of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, for which the federal government, the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia share responsibility.

One of the most vexing questions is how to pay to fix infrastructure. With federal transit funding essentially flat, many states and cities are grappling with how to cover improvements on their own.

Some experts have called for increasing the federal gasoline tax — which has remained the same since 1993 — or raising state gas taxes, sales taxes or tolls for highways and bridges. Many praise the so-called value-capture approach, which allows cities to pay for projects by recovering tax revenue generated from new development.

“You either pay now or pay later,” Richard A. White, acting president of the American Public Transportation Association, said. “The more you stick your head in the sand on this issue, the worse the problems are going to become.”
Pan-Africanism: From Nkrumah to Nollywood
22 May 2016 at 10:58am
By Adekeye Adebajo

Africa is still on a quest for three magic kingdoms: peace and democratic governance, socio-economic transformation, and cultural equality, writes Adekeye Adebajo.

Johannesburg - Founding Ghanaian president and Pan-African prophet Kwame Nkrumah’s famous injunction, “Seek ye first the political kingdom, and all else shall be added unto it”, continues to reverberate across Africa six decades after it was first uttered.

Africa’s 1 billion citizens celebrate Africa Day on Wednesday, the anniversary of the birth of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), forerunner of the AU.

Having achieved Nkrumah’s political kingdom with South Africa's liberation in 1994, Africans, however, found that all other things were not added unto it.

The continent is still on a painful quest for three magic kingdoms: peace and democratic governance, socio-economic transformation, and cultural equality. This griot’s tale of prophets, kings, divas and marabouts focuses on this elusive quest.

Between 1919 and 1945, five Pan-African Congresses took place in Paris, London, New York and Manchester, dominated at first by African-Americans and Afro-Caribbeans such as WEB Du Bois and George Padmore. By the time of the fifth congress in Manchester in 1945, the meeting was dominated by future African “Kings” such as Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah and Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta. In May 1963, 32 African states met in the ancient Ethiopian empire of Addis Ababa to create the OAU, rejecting Nkrumah’s federalist vision in favour of a gradualist approach to regional integration. Despite its administrative and capacity shortcomings, the OAU doggedly led Africa's decolonisation and the anti-apartheid struggles.

The martyrdom of South African intellectual diva Ruth First - through a letter bomb in Maputo in 1982 - underlined the brutality of the apartheid regime.

Starting with Africa's quest for the security and governance kingdom, the threat of foreign intervention in the heart of Africa was tragically symbolised by the martyrdom of Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba in 1961. This led to a recognition of the need for what prophetic Kenyan scholar, Ali Mazrui, described as a Pax Africana - a peace created and consolidated by Africans themselves. The OAU’s aspirations for Pax Africana were, however, destroyed by the “proxy wars” waged by the US and the Soviet Union in Africa, and the pyromaniac adventures of the French gendarme.

Nkrumah was in a minority of one in calling for the establishment of an African High Command of peacekeepers in the 1960s. OAU leaders, however, rejected his ideas and sought instead to freeze the colonial map of Africa. Thus, Africa's new “kings” stressed the inviolability of borders and sought to entrench their own positions behind the shield of sovereignty. Several post-independence leaders committed gross human rights abuses in Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda.

Military “marabouts” also rode on to Africa’s national stage, urging citizens to “stay by their radios” following coups d’atat. But the soldiers failed as spectacularly as the politicians to transform their societies.

One of the early prophetic champions of African democracy was William Arthur Lewis, St Lucia's Nobel economics laureate, who had served as Nkrumah’s economic adviser. Lewis called for multiparty democracy in Africa’s diverse states, involving proportional representation, coalition government, and federalist devolution.

In the post-Cold War era, prominent African statesmen and scholars such as Tanzania’s Salim Ahmed Salim, South Sudan’s Francis Deng, South Africa’s Nelson Mandela, Egypt’s Boutros Boutros-Ghali and Ghana’s Kofi Annan took up this call, advocating a dilution of absolute sovereignty and respect for human rights.

There have recently been some grounds for optimism: regular elections now take place across Africa; the technology-wielding youths of the “Afro-Arab Spring” famously toppled mummified Pharaohs in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya in 2011, with the harmattan winds blowing south to help a popular uprising oust the 27-year autocracy of Burkinabè former military marabout Blaise Compaoré three years later; and alternance (change) of ruling parties has occurred in countries such as Ghana, Senegal, Zambia, Malawi, and Nigeria.

Despite Africa being a young continent where 70 percent of its population is under the age of 20, several countries are still ruled by septuagenarian and octogenarian “presidents-for-life”, and the extension of presidential terms has seen the return of autocratic “kings”.

In the quest for the socio-economic kingdom, though the percentage of Africans living in absolute poverty has fallen since 2000 from 58 to 41 percent, most of the world's poorest economic performers remain on the continent.

Walter Rodney, the prophetic Guyanese scholar-activist who taught in Tanzania in the 1970s, had earlier lamented the consumerist rather than productive nature of African economies. Nigerian scholar-prophet Adebayo Adedeji was undoubtedly Africa’s most renowned visionary of economic integration, overseeing the creation of regional bodies in West, Central and Southern Africa, while like Rodney, championing collective self-reliance.

Less than 12 percent of current continental trade is, however, intra-African. South African diva and outgoing chair of the AU commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, has meanwhile championed the quixotic 50-year vision, Agenda 2063.

The final magic kingdom Africa embarked on over the last five decades has been cultural equality. Martinique’s Aimé Césaire and Senegal’s Léopold Senghor were early poets of négritude, which glorified black culture and affirmed the worth and dignity of black people across the globe. The Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s was an era of incredible artistic creativity that produced great poets like Langston Hughes, much quoted by a more contemporary prophet of Africa's Renaissance, Thabo Mbeki. Tanzania's Philosopher-King, Julius Nyerere, famously translated Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar into Swahili in 1963 to prove that an African language could carry a classic Western tragedy.

The post-independence era also produced six Nobel literature laureates from Africa and its diaspora: Nigeria’s Wole Soyinka, Egypt’s Naguib Mahfouz; South Africa’s Nadine Gordimer and JM Coetzee; St Lucia’s Derek Walcott; and America’s Toni Morrison.

In the world of cinema, Denzel Washington brought the life and times of martyred hero Steve Biko to a global audience; Haitian-American director Raoul Peck produced tragic tales on Patrice Lumumba and on the Rwandan genocide (Sometimes in April); the SA film Tsotsi won the best foreign film Oscar; Forrest Whitaker gave a nuanced Oscar-winning portrayal of Uganda’s Idi Amin (The Last King of Scotland); while Nigerian-Briton Chiwetel Ejiofor and Oscar-winning Kenyan Lupita Nyong’o teamed up with Grenadian-Trinidadian British director Steve McQueen to produce the Oscar-winning best film, 12 Years A Slave. If more diaspora directors could make films about Africa with genuine characters for a global audience, it would probably do more to change negative media stereotypes about the continent than any other act.

We end this griot’s tale with the phenomenon of Nigeria’s prolific film industry, “Nollywood”. The $5bn (about R80bn) industry employs about 1 million people and makes over 2 000 films a year: more than Hollywood, and second only to Bollywood. In actualising Nkrumah’s dream of an African personality on the global stage, Nollywood may be leading the way to the first authentically Pan-African cinema.

* Adebajo is executive director of the Centre for Conflict Resolution, Cape Town, and visiting professor at the University of Johannesburg. He is the author of Thabo Mbeki: Africa’s Philosopher-King (Jacana, 2016).

** The views expressed her are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

The Sunday Independent
Nkrumah’s Government Never Inherited Huge Sums of Money From the British
The fallacy of Britain leaving huge sums of money for Kwame Nkrumah’s government

By News Ghana
May 15, 2016 0


There is a fallacy being spewed by naïve individuals and functional illiterates that the British colonial government left huge sums of money for Kwame Nkrumah, which he wasted. Often some of these Nkrumah’s haters cite figures from cynical sources on the internet as their reference point.

Sadly, their abhorrence of Nkrumah, and by extension the electorate, makes it impossible for them to conceive the fact that the African-centered fiscal policies of the Kwame Nkrumah internal self-government generated the revenue for the Gold Coast, part of which was used to finance the Five-Year Development Plan from 1951 to 1955.

As this discourse will show, whatever money that was “left” at the time of Ghana’s independence was, in fact, Nkrumah’s internal self-government’s creation from 1951 to 1956. But in order to dismiss the notion as baseless that the British colonial government left huge sums of money for Kwame Nkrumah, it will be worth the efforts to briefly interrogate the rudiments of colonialism.


Colonialism was a racist as well as evil system by which the metropolis (such as Britain) bonded its colonies to itself by political ties with the primary aim of promoting Britain’s own economic interest.

Thus the dominant reason for the scramble and partitioning of Africa at the Berlin Conference in 1884-85 was for economic exploitation. The three main features for the colonization of Africa as the then Premier of France, Jules Ferry, articulated in 1885 were: 1.) to have free access to raw materials of the colonies; 2) to have ready made markets for the sale of manufactured goods of the colonizing countries, and 3) to use the colonies as fields for investment of surplus capital.

Rooted in neo-mercantilism, the European monarchies and their private deputized agents confined themselves to grabbing territories outside Europe “on such lines as would attract the most possible precious metals to” themselves.

In so doing, those agents seized and/or captured lands rich in minerals resources, from the Americas to India. In the case of the Gold Coast, the British passed enactments (e.g., “The Foreign Jurisdiction Act of 1890) that allowed the Crown to cease lands through dubious treaties, grants, usages, and other means.Thus, the Act of 1890 allowed the British monarchy and its agents to secure “direct or indirect ownership, control and possession of the land”. In short order, “The Act” led to extortions and forced concessions, control, and exploitation of rich mineral resources. From the Gold Coast, the British exported the minerals and other resources to feed British industries (mills and other industrial plants), then exported back to the Gold Coast finished goods and products to sell to the People of the Gold Coast (Kwame Nkrumah, “Towards Colonial Freedom”).

This method of trade led to a serious “imbalance of trade,” whereby more monies and resources were siphoned out of the Gold Coast as long as the Gold Coast remained a British “colony”, than were invested in the Gold Coast for the benefit of its Peoples. Even the limited infrastructure such as the railway lines in the Gold Coast (starting from Sekondi in 1898 reaching Tarkwa in 1901, Obuasi in 1902 and ending in Kumasi in 1903) were laid down to transport minerals and timber from areas of production to Takoradi harbour. Social services, such as the Ridge Hospital was built to cater for the European expatriates in Accra. And the scanty health centers in other areas like the mining communities and Sekondi-Takoradi harbor vicinity were set up to facilitate exploitation.

In other words, social services were put in place for Africans whose labor was directly producing surplus for export to the metropolis. Even so, a rubber plantation at Fisher (named after the British settler-owner Holland-Fischer) in East Akyem Abuakwa, where bundles of processed raw rubber were sent weekly to Takoradi for export to England, had no health center, school, public lavatory and other basic amenities. (The rubber plantation is about two miles away from my hometown Ettokrom).

The underlying “exploitation without responsibility” thrust of the British colonialism can be seen when, in 1943, forty-one Africans were killed in the Obuasi gold mine disaster without adequate compensation; as it happened, “the capitalist offered only 3 pounds to the dependents of each of these men as compensation” (Walter Rodney, “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa”).

In the Gold Coast, the European trading companies, notably UAC, Cadbury and Fry, John Holt, CFOA, SCOA, A.G. Leventis, G.B Ollivant exploited the Africans by controlling both the price paid for farmers’ cocoa beans and the price of imported goods from Europe (Walter Rodney).

The price of imported goods from Europe either doubled or tripled. Profits accruing from this one-sided export and import trade were retained by Britain. It was for this and other reasons that the British Colonial Government suppressed and/or criminalized indigenous productions. For example, the colonial government criminalized the locally distilled gin (akpeteshi) by characterizing it “illicit gin.” At Kwabeng in Akyem Abuakwa, a man in the 1930s, our elders told us, was arrested by the colonial police and prosecuted at the colonial court in Koforidua for making a bicycle with bamboo sticks.

As well, to suggest that the Britain left huge sums of money for Nkrumah’s government meant that the British Government contributed to the expenditure of the British Colonial Government. This is also a fallacy. In the Gold Coast colony, as elsewhere, the British colonial government raised its own money from various forms of taxes and revenues (such as house/property tax, poll/head tax and income tax) imposed on the exploited African workers, farmers and others for the maintenance of the colonial administration, (including the Provincial and District Commissioners and their civil servants).

Otherwise, why would Ofori Atta I, during the WWI, give “eloquent proof of his loyalty to the Empire” by “contributing large sums of money to cover the cost of an aeroplane” (Jarle Simensen, “Commoners, Chiefs, and Colonial Government, British Policy, and Local Policies in Akim Abuakwa, Ghana, Under Colonial Rule”). In addition to recruiting soldiers, and as part of its commitment to the British “World War II Fund,” the Akyem Abuakwa State Council generated revenue from cocoa export to finance the Akyem Abuakwa contingent of the British Volunteer Royal Force put together to repel the Italian military occupation in East Africa (Kwame Botwe-Asamoah, “Kwame Nkrumah’s Politico-Cultural Thought and Policies”).

Also, the Asante “chiefs” made financial contributions toward three British warplanes. For his part, “the Chief of Adanse alone gave ₤1,000, 00 toward a third aeroplane that Ashanti contributed as its gifts for the prosecution of the war” (K. A. Busia, “The Position of the Chief in the Modern Political System of Ashanti”).

The collapse of the British Economy after Second World War

In the aftermath of the Second World War, the British economy collapsed for several reasons. First, because its industrial plants were entirely converted to war production, and partly due to the severe destruction caused by the war, Britain was unable to produce enough goods for its citizens.

In this case, Britain imported more goods than they could pay for with exports. Second, war time needs also led to huge losses of merchant shipping to submarines. Third, the destruction created the need to borrow loans for massive house building after the war. Fourth, because of the destruction of factories and machines, Britain lost much of its productive capacity, which resulted in accumulation of massive external debts—particularly to the USA.

Fifth, due to the conscription for the war, massive unemployment affected socio-economic life in Britain. As such, recruitment and training of workers were disrupted, thereby having a long-term adverse effects on the quality of British workmanship and management. Finally, war time efforts also had an adverse effect on Britain’s balance of trade, leading to inflation. It was because of these and other devastations of the war in other European countries that led to the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944 (see W. K. Hancock, and M. G. Gowing, “British War Economy” and Michael J. Hogan, “The Marshal Plan: America, Britain and the reconstruction of Western Europe 1947-1952”).

Therefore the British colonial government in the Gold Coast (now the Republic of Ghana) was not a philanthropic organization to have invested in the raw materials (cocoa, gold, diamonds, manganese, timber and others) and returned the profits to the Gold Coast, let alone leaving huge surpluses for Kwame Nkrumah to “waste.”

The 1951-1955 Kwame Nkrumah Fiscal Policies and Five Year Development Plan.

In his address on the eve of Ghana’s independence, Nkrumah pointed out that “when spending ₤124 million during the course of the” Five Year Development Plan, the CPP internal self-government “had received ₤1 ½ million in aid from Colonial Development and Welfare Funds. It was not a large proposition and we had in return made our contribution to the gold and dollar resources of the sterling.”

He illuminated:

“The Gold Coast has contributed, on an average, 25% of the net dollar earnings of the British colonial territories, and, taking into account our contribution of around ₤9 million a year in gold, in the five years from 1951 to 1955 in which the CPP have been in power, the Gold Coast contributed a net positive balance of ₤150 million to the gold and dollar reserves of the sterling area. It will be seen therefore, that though the Gold Coast is small and, by Western standards, not a very wealthy country, it has made a significant contribution to maintaining the stability of the sterling area.” (Kwame Nkrumah, “I Speak of Freedom”).

At the time of Ghana’s independence, “Nkrumah had left $500 million of reserves, accumulated during the colonial period (from 1951 to 1956), in long-term low interest British securities” (Richard D. Mahoney, “J.F.K. Ordeal in African”).

A major portion of these reserves resulted from the Kwame Nkrumah internal self-government’s nationalization of the cocoa industry in the Gold Coast Cocoa Marketing Board (GCCMB) Ordinance (Amendment) of 1951, thereby making “cocoa revenue [a] common national property.” It should be noted that in reaction to the 1951 Gold Coast Cocoa Marketing Board Amendment, Dr. J. B. Danquah vehemently opposed the nationalization, saying that “funds of the GCCMB were not ‘profits’ accruing to government” (Kwame Ninsin, “The Nkrumah Government and the Opposition on the Nation State: Unity vs. Fragmentation”).

(Interestingly, the British Labour Governments of 1945–1951 enacted a political program based on John Keynes’s economic theory of collectivism, comprising nationalization of industries and state direction of the economy). But “this great source of productive investment ($500 million) was unavailable (to Nkrumah’s post-independence government) in 1959” (Mahoney, “J.F.K. Ordeal in African”).

The above notwithstanding, the CPP government maintained a budget surplus and a positive balance of external trade from 1951 to 1955. In 1953-54, for example, 10% of the gross national product was saved.

Thus “the Government put aside for public development ₤1 out of every ₤10 worth of wealth produced.” During the same period, “the corresponding figure for public saving in the United Kingdom was just over 3% of the gross national product,” while that of “the United States was just under 2%” (Nkrumah, “I Speak of Freedom”).

By its judicious fiscal policies between 1951 and 1955, Nkrumah’s internal-self government raised the national income from ₤20 million to ₤65 million per annum, while expenditure rose from ₤14 million to ₤52 million. Besides, the government redeemed its external debts, whilst the country’s assets from all sources amounted to nearly ₤100 million by 1955 (Nkrumah, “I Speak of Freedom,”).

From these investments and savings (including dividends derived from the mining industry between 1952 to 1955), Nkrumah’s internal self-government designed its Five Year Development Plan and embarked on developmental projects (without outside loans).

They included: compulsory elementary school education, construction of secondary schools, teacher training colleges, technical institutes (all under the Accelerated Development Plan for Education), hospitals, nursing and midwifery schools, public health program and centres, roads and railways, the Adomi Bridge, Tema Harbour, tarring of Accra to Kumasi and Accra to Takoradi roads, Kumase College of Technology and the present University of Ghana campus. For example, attendance of the teacher training colleges, nursing and midwifery schools, Kumasi College of Technology (now KNUST) and the University of the Gold Coast were free with stipend.

(As a child in 1952, I saw the conversion of the feeder road from Accra to Kumase via Ettokrom to a tarred road covered with bitumen for the first time; and, my age group had fun stepping on the freshly sticky bitumen in the evenings).

Prof. Adu Boahen authenticated the Nkrumah internal self-government’s outstanding achievements in the 1950s in Basil Davidson’s documentary, “The Rise of African Independence,” when he said: “The 1950s, to me, were the most important, the most fascinating period, the period of independence…… This was a period when far more was achieved between 1951 and 1954; [I] saw a pace of development in this country, which has never [been] seen.”

But the exceptional pace of development Prof. Adu Boahen spoke about did not only result from developmental and planned economy, but it was also due to Nkrumah’s philosophy of self-determination and self-reliance (by taking over the country’s natural resources). As a matter of fact, Nkrumah’s holistic achievement (in the areas of educational, socio-economic and industrial developments) has been recorded as one of the fastest in a post-colonial history. Sad to say that these principles of self-determination, self-reliance and human-centered policies are what have been lacking in Ghana’s public policies since the CIA sponsored military coup of February 24, 1966.

As the foregoing discourse has elucidated, the $500.00 million or its equivalent in the British sterling in the British reserves at the time of Ghana’s independence was the making of the Kwame Nkrumah internal self-government from 1951 to 1956.

(We should bear in mind that Kwame Nkrumah surrounded himself with some of the economic giants at the time as his advisors; they included Sir Arthur Lewis, Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics and the Cambridge economist, Prof. Nicholas Kaldor.)

In this respect, the claim of huge sums of money the British left for Kwame Nkrumah’s post-independence regime is a fallacy and not supported by historical records or any economic fact.

By: Kwame Botwe-Asamoah, Ph.D. /
When Muhammed Ali Met Kwame Nkrumah in Accra – May, 1964
Muhammed Ali met Kwame Nkrumah in Accra – May, 1964

NB: This article, written by Raphael Cormack, appears in the 19th May, 2016 issue of the LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS

At this year’s International Book Fair in Cairo, I met a bookseller who promised me he had a full run of a 15-part early 20th-century Arabic translation of a work by Michel Saunière entitled FLAMBERGE. At 11.30 the next morning I was ushered into the living room of the third-floor flat that served as his storeroom.

The flat had the usual contents – comfy chairs, a desk, a coffee table etc – but they were all buried under thick layers of books. For the most part I explored on my own, while my host sorted through books in the other room. However, when I asked to see what there was on Sudan it turned into a two-man job.

His Africa section was piled on top of a tall bookcase so he stood on a stool passing books down, and I examined them one at a time. One of those he handed me was a ragged copy of Kwame Nkrumah’s AFRICA MUST UNITE.

Nkrumah’s family had moved to Cairo after the coup that ousted him as president of Ghana in 1966, so it wasn’t all that surprising to see his book in Egypt. I checked it for a signature, just in case. And there it was, written on the title page in green ink:

To Mohammed Ali

with admiration

Kwame Nkrumah


I silently congratulated myself for checking.

It was a signed copy given, I assumed, by Nkrumah to some Egyptian acquaintance: Mohammed Ali is quite a common Egyptian name. The bookseller scrutinised the inscription and sold me the book at the slightly inflated price of 100 Egyptian pounds (around £9). Sitting on the bus afterwards, I began to think about that dedication. The words ‘with admiration’ stuck out. It seemed an odd phrase for Nkrumah to have used. Could it be the Muhammad (or, as Nkrumah spelled it, Mohammed) Ali?

Back at the hotel it didn’t take me long to work out that it was indeed that Muhammad Ali. The two men had met in Ghana in May 1964. Looking at the photo of Nkrumah on the page facing the dedication I could now make out the trace of something that had been signed on top of it. ‘Muhammad Ali/World Champ/1964’. The puzzle was how the book had ended up in the bookseller’s apartment.

The newly independent Ghana was the place to be in the early 1960s if you were a politically radical member of the African diaspora. As Kevin Gaines outlines in AMERICAN AFRICANS IN GHANA (2006), visitors or residents included Maya Angelou, Malcolm X, Richard Wright, Martin Luther King, Adam Clayton Powell, George Padmore, C.L.R. James and more. Frantz Fanon wrote much of THE WRETCHED OF THE EARTH in Ghana, and the year before Ali’s visit, W.E.B. DuBois died and was buried in Accra.

In February 1964 Cassius Clay beat Sonny Liston to become world heavyweight champion and soon after that announced that he’d joined the Nation of Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. In line with the black liberationist politics of the Nation of Islam, he decided that he wanted to ‘see Africa and meet [his] brothers and sisters’. Nkrumah’s Ghana was the obvious place to start.

When he touched down in Accra on 16 May, a crowd turned up as eager to see him ‘talking’ as they would be to see him fighting. Only that day the ‘Ring Poet’, as the Ghanaian press called him, didn’t feel like talking: ‘Right now,’ he said, ‘I’m in no mood for talking. But when I start talking you’ll have to hold your ears.’

On 18 May Nkrumah, wearing a white safari suit, shook hands with Ali, who had the kente cloth the president had given him slung over his shoulder. Ali said he was meeting his ‘hero’. Nkrumah gave Ali his two books of liberationist pan-African political philosophy, AFRICA MUST UNITE and the recently published CONSCIENCISM. The GHANAIAN TIMES reported that Ali had ‘said he would greatly treasure the two books’.

The Ghanaian newspapers that reported Ali’s visit also show the president styling himself ‘philosopher king’. ‘Library services for the whole people’ is the headline of one article, praising Nkrumah’s efforts to make books widely available.

Another, headed ‘Dr Kwame Nkrumah: Highly complex man but leads very simple life’, mentions the philosophical club the president ran ‘under the shade of a beautiful tree at Flagstaff House’. Nkrumah’s gift of his books was more than a mere diplomatic courtesy. Both men used their words to promote the rights of black people and fight colonial domination.

Ali proclaimed the political message of the Nation of Islam on his African trip. ‘Whites never tell the truth on Africa,’ he told one press conference. In Nigeria the DAILY EXPRESS reported him as saying that he wouldn’t take Nigerian citizenship, even though he felt himself an African, because ‘he had a sacred duty to liberate his people in America from the chains of slavery.’

Ghana was the first stop on Ali’s African trip. He spent two weeks there; he received the honorific name Muhammad Kwame Ali and fitted a large number of visits, meetings and boxing events into a relatively short stay.

The finale was an exhibition fight in the packed national stadium in Accra, where, with his brother Rahman, he demonstrated how he defeated Liston. He also visited a zoo, Nkrumah’s party headquarters and (if an advert in the GHANAIAN TIMES is correct) demonstrated his dance moves at a club called Caprice.

He next flew to Lagos, where he had promised to stay for more than a week. However, he shocked the crowd who’d come to meet him by saying he would only stay for three days and would not give an exhibition fight, as he had in Ghana.

He apologised and promised he would come back to Nigeria as soon as possible. People wondered if there was more to it. One writer speculated that the Nigerian government had not treated him with the respect he deserved. Some interpreted as a jibe at Nigeria Ali’s declaration that Nasser’s Egypt had paid for plane tickets for all seven of his party to come to Cairo.

He arrived in Cairo with his copy of AFRICA MUST UNITE on 3 June. Led by the minister for youth, a crowd of thousands – an incongruous mix of boxing fans, visiting students of many nationalities and Islamic scholars – came to meet him off the plane. He stayed until 23 June, visiting sites around Cairo; he kissed a statue of Nasser and was particularly taken with the Mohammed Ali Mosque; he travelled to Alexandria, Port Said and the new Aswan Dam.

At the pyramids the guards, he later claimed, presented him with a stone weighing 2500 pounds; Al-Ahram reported that he had so much fun riding that he wanted to ride the horse back to his hotel.

His guides disappointed him by telling him (rightly or wrongly) that it was illegal to ride a horse in central Cairo. He told a journalist that he would marry an Egyptian, if she agreed to come back to America with him. On 17 June he met Nasser, whom he had described, apparently forgetting what he’d said about Nkrumah, as ‘the best president in the world’ and his ‘role model’.

On 23 June he left for America; all other promised destinations – Ivory Coast, Sudan, Turkey, India, Pakistan, China and Japan – had been removed from his itinerary. It seems fairly certain that the copy of AFRICA MUST UNITE, which he had promised to treasure, never made it out of Cairo. He had, after all, been loaded with presents.

Some of them are mentioned in the press: the kente cloth Nkrumah gave him, two plastic busts of Nkrumah, two sets of carved wooden talking drums, a painting of himself in traditional Ghanaian dress, a painting with the inscription ‘Africa is now purified’ (perhaps the same item), a copy of the Quran, a traditional Nigerian outfit, a model of the Kaaba, a book of photographs of Cairo, a set of photographs of his visit to Cairo, a golden model of a mosque (which he gave to Elijah Mohammed, the leader of Nation of Islam), and the piece of stone from the pyramids.

This story made the book I had bought seem much more important than I had at first imagined. Not only was it a testament to an important period in the history of Africa and America and a piece of boxing memorabilia, it was also evidence of the close connection between the Civil Rights Movement and postcolonial liberation politics in Africa.

‘This wind of change blowing through Africa is no ordinary wind,’ Nkrumah wrote on the first page of AFRICA MUST UNITE. ‘It is a raging hurricane against which the old order cannot stand.’

In 1966 Nkrumah was toppled by a CIA-supported coup and his books, along with those of senior figures in his party, were burned. After Egypt was defeated by Israel in the Six-Day War of 1967 Nasserism began to wane, as did the internationalist outlook that had made Ali so keen to visit Egypt.

The book was beginning to seem too important to carry around Cairo in a plastic bag. I tried to send it back to the UK via DHL, but the man in the office told me that DHL could not send things more than fifty years old. I was about to leave Cairo myself, but since I still had the book, there was someone I thought I should show it to.

After the 1966 coup Nkrumah’s Egyptian wife and his children moved to Cairo, to a house Nasser gave them on the corniche. Nkrumah’s son, Gamal, still lives there. I had never met him but we have some friends in common and his name occasionally appears on my Facebook wall – his account is noticeable because he posts in capital letters, always closing with either FORWARD EVER, BACKWARDS NEVER or ENJOY.

Surely he’d be the person to advise me what to do with the book – and anyway it seemed a good excuse to meet him. I persuaded a friend to call him and tell him about the book. He didn’t seem particularly pleased. He said that the meeting with Ali had taken place shortly after an assassination attempt on his father.

I was leaving early on Saturday morning and Gamal was busy on Friday. But on the Thursday evening I was going to a concert by the Nile Project at the Mohammed Ali Club. It was perfect.

The Nile Project is a new musical collaboration between the countries of the Nile – surely inspired by pan-African feeling. The name of the Mohammed Ali Club has nothing to do with the boxer but the coincidence was nice nevertheless. I told my friend to tell Gamal that I would be there if he wanted to meet. I don’t think he came. If he did I didn’t see him.

By the time I got to Beirut I wanted the book off my hands, but I wanted to feel that it was going somewhere suitable. I was reading up on the Schomburg Center, a repository of African-American books and history in Harlem, when I unearthed another side to the story of Ali in Africa. He was not the only African-American visitor to Ghana in May 1964. Malcolm X had been to Saudi Arabia for Hajj and had also visited Egypt and Nigeria.

Ghana was his last stop before returning to America. Whereas Ali had just announced that he’d joined the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X had just announced his split from it. Ali was received with pomp and ceremony by Nkrumah: he had to be more careful with the more radical Malcolm X. A meeting was eventually brokered by Shirley Du Bois.

Ali described in SOUL OF A BUTTERFLY what happened when the two found themselves in the same room in Accra on 17 May. Ali was encouraged by Elijah Mohammed to disassociate himself from Malcolm X. ‘When he came up to greet me I turned away, making our break public,’ Ali wrote. ‘Turning my back on Malcolm was one of the mistakes I regret most in my life. I wish I’d been able to tell Malcolm I was sorry … But he was killed before I got the chance.’

The Schomburg Center is on Malcolm X Boulevard in Harlem. This, it seemed to me, was where the book belonged, its presence symbolically reconciling the two men. But if I sold my copy it might fetch enough to keep me going after my PhD funding runs out. I have lost sleep over the decision. Only a few weeks ago the battered copy of AFRICA MUST UNITE seemed to be an exciting and lucky find. Now it seems to be weighing me down.

London Review of Books, Vol. 38 No. 10, 19 May 2016