Obi Egbuna Jnr Simunye
As the African continent and Diaspora are celebrating Africa Day and also paying homage to the people of Eritrea, we must remember the energy used by Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah when warning the African world concerning the dangers and pitfalls of neocolonialism.
The people of Eritrea on this very weekend in 1991 emerged victorious from a 30 year protracted armed struggle against all odds.
The Osagyefo boldly stated “In order to halt foreign interference in the affairs of developing countries it is necessary to study, understand, expose and actively combat neocolonialism in whatever guise it may appear. ‘‘For the methods of neo-colonialists are subtle and varied. ‘‘They operate not only in the economic field, but also in the political, religious, ideological and cultural spheres.”
A perfect illustration of neocolonialism at work can be confirmed by the ministry of foreign affairs of every single African nation that has a functional embassy in Washington DC.
First and foremost the African embassies arrived at the conclusion that the term African Liberation Day wreaks of ideological aggression, therefore opting to rename ALD one of the most sacred and treasured days in our history, Africa Day.
The main celebration organised by the African Ambassadors Group (AAG) is an elaborate reception where each embassy puts up somewhere around $7 000, after food drink and the usual political small talk.
The current Assistant Secretary for African Affairs gives the keynote address and speaks to our Ambassadors in a manner that parents address their children or how supervisors in the workforce speak to their subordinates when carrying out disciplinary action.
If the everyday African citizen could be a fly on the wall at these receptions you would have witnessed Ambassador Jendayi Frazier during her tenure as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs screaming at the top of her lungs at the AAG “ I told you no Press” when the seminar was held at the Ghanaian Embassy in 2003.
Another standout moment was when Ms Frazer’s successor arguably the ultimate diplomatic lapdog Ambassador Johnnie Carson decided to antagonise former Zimbabwe Ambassador Dr Machivenyika Mapuranga only to be publicly called a house slave for his troubles.
This is why African nations like Zimbabwe and Eritrea, who on a daily basis face the brunt of the US-EU propaganda apparatus, opt to pursue aims and objectives true to the course of Africa’s revolutionary destiny.
Both Zimbabwe and Eritrea won their independence through protracted armed struggles that many political experts declared insurmountable, however, the majority of their citizens who sacrificed their lives on the battlefield, remind us all that when you are involved in battles of this magnitude the opinions of those on the outside looking in mean very little.
Because Zimbabwe and Eritrea were underdogs from the very outset, it is no coincidence that their guerilla training took place in China instead of the more glorified Soviet Union.
The strong nationalist fervour of Zimbabwe and Eritrea remind us of why the iconic Vietnamese revolutionary told the world “It was patriotism not communism that inspired me”.
Our Eritrean comrades have never forgotten that the Soviet Union reached the conclusion that after the Battle of Keren in 1941, which resulted in Britain expelling the Italians and taking over Eritrea’s administrative affairs, it was better for Eritrea to be returned to Italy either under a trusteeship or as a colony.
This meant at that moment in history those who in theory were bound to the ideas propagated by Marx and Lenin did not feel that Africans were civilised to govern themselves.
This was around the period when the Godfather of Fascism Benito Mussolini declared Eritrea part one of the three pillars of Italian East Africa, which also comprised of Italian Somaliland and Ethiopia.
A common characteristic of our former colonisers is to reinforce the terrorist and expansionist actions of their predecessors, due to the proclamation of General Oresetse Baratieri proclaiming Italian Eritrea as colony of the Kingdom of Italy in 1890 the same year Zimbabwe was declared a colony of Britain, Mussolini could have saved his breath.
The Italians felt Eritrea should be the industrial centre of Italian East Africa and had increased their presence from 4 600 to 75 000 settlers. The Asamara-Massawa cableway was the world’s longest at the time and was dismantled by the British during World War II.
Similar to how Cecil John Rhodes and the British South African Company enhanced their business interests in Zimbabwe, Italy through exploiting Eritrean labour established 2 198 factories by 1939.
At the basis of all arguments that attempted to justify the colonisation of Africa is that the military and industrial exploits of the invaders and conquerors automatically brought our ancestors out of the dark ages and ushered in a new era of civilisation that could not be attained without colonialism and slavery.
Since the frontline requires letting bygones be bygones President Mugabe and zanu-pf were more than happy to see Russia veto US-EU imperialism’s attempt at persuading the UN Security Council to impose an additional brand of sanctions on Zimbabwe back in 2008.
Africa was more than pleased to see that Russia and our sister and brother ALBA nations (Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Bolivia) decide in 2012 that it was time to show the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) the door.
The world should not to forget that the government of Eritrea had taken this bold step seven years earlier.
Our Zimbabwean and Eritrean sisters and brothers can give us a first-hand account of the treachery that best defines British colonialism. Britain reached the conclusion that Eritrea be divided along religious and spiritual lines and annexed to either Ethiopia or Sudan.
While our Rastafarian sisters and brothers view His Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie as a figure that has earned deity status, we sincerely hope they recognise this does not mean that Africans who don’t share that point of view, have the luxury of ignoring his letter to former US President Franklin Roosevelt at the Paris Peace Conference and first session of the United Nations, proclaiming Eritrea and Italian Somaliland as territories of Ethiopia.
The great Pan-Africanist Kwame Ture reminded us that Africans have two families one is biological and the other is ideological.
It is rumoured that Eritrea’s President Issias Afwerki and Ethiopia’s late President Meles Zenawi were first cousins and if this is true it confirms that a bloodline does not guarantee ideological compatibility.
When the US Africa Military Command (AFRICOM) was established in 2007, President Zenawi and Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf engaged in a friendly competition concerning what African head of states would be the AFRICOM’s mouthpiece in Africa.
Both Zenawi and Sirleaf must have cried themselves to sleep when Djibouti got the nod to have the main AFRICOM operational base in Africa.
While President Afwerki was forced to sleep with one eye open due to AFRICOM’s monstrous and unwelcome presence in Djibouti and the political volatility in East Africa, President Mugabe and zanu-pf got occasional gifts in the arena of intelligence.
An example is when British General Charles Guthrie, who was Chief of Defence to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that an invasion of Zimbabwe would not be politically advantageous. Guthrie’s exact words were, “Hold hard you’ll make it worse”.
President Afwerki’s unwillingness to compromise on the one party state question makes him a primary target of US-EU imperialism, however, President Mugabe will tell him that even having opposition that ranges from a political party invented by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, 400 civil society groups financed by George Soros, Madeline Albright and Carl Gershman, US-EU imperialism will still accuse you of violating Democracy and Human Rights.
President Mugabe and President Afwerki have become accustomed to Reporters Without Borders making baseless proclamations about a lack of press freedom in Zimbabwe and Eritrea. We remember the Human Rights Watch telling the world that Zimbabwe’s 3rd Chimurenga escalated rape murder and abduction as opposed to agricultural empowerment.
Zimbabwe and Eritrea were excluded from President Obama’s US-Africa Business Summit which was the equivalent of a spoilt child excluding some his peers from his birthday party because they play too rough.
Long Live Zimbabwe’s 1st, 2nd and 3rd Chimurenga and Eritrea’s Gedli that both define the true nature of African resistance.
- Obi Egbuna Jnr is the US Correspondent to The Herald and the external relations officer of ZICUFA(Zimbabwe-Cuba Friendship Association) [email protected]