|Africa News Digest
Kenyan President Reelected; 100 Die in Rioting
Jan. 1 (EIRNS)Over 100 Kenyans have been killed in rioting following disputed elections that returned President Mwai Kibaki to power according to Reuters today. Rioting occurred in the western part of the country near the border with Uganda, which is the stronghold of the opposition; in Nairobi's shantytowns; and in the resort of Mombasa on the Indian Ocean coast.
The African Union said it was "seriously preoccupied" by the worsening situation. France and Britain warned their citizens against visiting Kenya, according to the South African Mail & Guardian today.
In reaction to the situation, Kibaki said, "My government will ... deal decisively with those who breach the peace, by intensifying security across the country."
Opposition leader Raila Odinga, who lost the recent elections by a narrow margin, has challenged the results.
It is feared that ethnic fighting could break out between the Luo ethnic group, which backs Odinga, and the Kikuyu ethnic group which backs Kibaki. This would be a kickback to classic British colonial methods for destroying an African country.
(See InDepth for three reports on the British designs against Africa.)
Warnings of Genocide in Kenya; Africa Union To Mediate
Jan. 2 (EIRNS)Kenya will experience genocide similar to what happened in Rwanda in the 1990s, if urgent steps are not taken, a leading Kenyan daily warns today.
The former President of Ghana John Kufuor is expected to arrive in Nairobi today, representing the African Union, in order to mediate in the crisis there. Also arriving is the former President of Sierra Leone, Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, representing the Commonwealth.
The Kenya Daily Nation warns in an editorial that "if no urgent step is taken to arrest the killings, Kenya is bound to sink into the abyss and join the ranks of war-torn countries like Côte d'Ivoire, Somalia, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone, and others which have experienced genocide on an unimaginable scale."
The British Legacy in Kenya: Programmed Chaos
Jan. 6 (EIRNS)"If you're looking for the origins of Kenya's ethnic tensions, look to its colonial past," writes Africa specialist Caroline Elkins in the Washington Post today. She stated that Britain did not leave behind democratic institutions and cultures, and that the British left a distinctly colonial view of the rule of law. She said these legacies were compounded by Britain's "famous imperial policy of 'divide and rule,' playing one side off another, which often turned fluid groups of individuals into immutable ethnic units, much like Kenya's Luo and Kikuyu today.... We are often told that age-old tribal hatreds drive today's conflicts in Africa. In fact, both ethnic conflict and its attendant grievances are colonial phenomena," she wrote, adding that "Britain was determined to protect its economic and geopolitical interests during the decolonization process."
Elkins noted that one can discern similar patterns in other former British colonies that share imperial pasts, such as Pakistan and Iraq.
Elkins, associate professor of African Studies at Harvard, is the author of Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya (2005), a book about British practices in Kenya after World War II in "response" to an insurgency that the British largely controlled.
London Hysterical About Losing Control Over Africa
Jan. 5 (EIRNS)First it was China, which dared contest the Anglo-Dutch policy of leaving Africa to die. Now, Russia, too, is coming to Africa's aid. Reflecting the British Empire's panic that the Anglo-Dutch control over raw materials in Africa is being broken, the London Financial Times runs an hysterical article today, headlined "Gazprom Plans Africa Gas Grab."
The Financial Times reveals that Russia's Gazprom is offering Nigeria a better deal to develop its energy resources than Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, and ExxonMobil, which have traditionally dominated that market. Gazprom is offering to develop infrastructure to exploit natural gas, which is usually neglected by such companies, which are eager to just pump oil.
"What Gazprom is proposing is mind-boggling," a Nigerian oil official told the Financial Times. "They are talking tough and saying the West has taken advantage of us in the last 50 years and they're offering us a better deal."
Gazprom is reportedly offering to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants, for which there is a market in Europe, in return for gas exploration blocs. They also promise to help "ending the chronic electricity shortages that are sapping growth in the country."
Nigerian officials "talk enthusiastically about the idea of working with the Russians, who they say share their perception that Western companies have profited from Nigeria's oil for decades without giving enough in return."
Mbeki's Mother Raises 'Suspicions of a Third Force'
Jan. 6 (EIRNS)In the wake of an ugly political battle which resulted in the ousting of South African President Thabo Mbeki from his position of president of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) last Dec. 20, which threatens to plunge South Africa into a crisis of ungovernability, Mbeki's mother, Epainette Mbeki, wrote a letter to the South African people that was published in the Johannesburg Sunday Times today. She stated: "The anarchic tendencies that have taken root in the ANC lately, coupled with the blatant disrespect towards the highest office in the land, raise high suspicions of a Third Force in operation."
The Times gave the letter prominence by also reporting it in a news article. That article concludes with this quote from her letter: "South Africa wake up. Zemk'iinkomo Magwala Ndini! (The cattle are being stolen, you bloody cowards!)."
The 92-year-old Mrs. Mbeki is a former schoolteacher and life-long community activist, and the widow of ANC hero Govan Mbeki, an anti-apartheid activist who was sentenced to life in prison. He was imprisoned on Robben Island with Nelson Mandela.
Conditions in Somalia Deteriorate
Jan. 4 (EIRNS)Somali interim President Abdullahi Yusuf collapsed this morning, and was flown to Ethiopia for treatment, according to a BBC report. He is 72, and had a liver transplant 14 years ago. He was in a Kenyan hospital last month with bronchitis. While his government, put together by surrounding nations, had little credibility before, the interim government has collapsed completely since a power struggle between Yusuf and former Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi led to Gedi's resignation on Oct. 29.
The ongoing crisis in Kenya will only make this situation more chaotic. UN sources are saying that the Kenya crisis will have a serious negative impact on all peacekeeping operations in Africa, stretching from Sudan, Somalia, to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Somali Prime Minister Nur Hussein Hassan, who replaced Gedi, said the President's condition is not serious, but BBC reported that close aides have suggested otherwise. Hassan took office in November, and he has appointed 15 ministers whom he says he will swear in tomorrow. His predecessor was sacked for wanting to move in the direction of working with the opposition Islamic movement.
Since the resignation of Gedi, Somalia has lacked even the semblance of the possibility of an effectively functioning government. His successor failed in his first attempt to form a government. Those being sworn in tomorrow resulted from his second attempt. He still has more positions to fill. The Parliament is factionalized along clan lines, and the high court is inoperative because its chief justice was arrested during the power struggle. Since the Anglo-Dutch financier cartel is playing all sides in this conflict, none of the players, internal or external, can be organized to transform the existing power configuration. Thus, an increase in the activity of the insurgency will result, playing into the Anglo-Dutch oligarchy's chaos scenario.
China To Increase Zimbabwe Trade to $500 Million
Jan. 5 (EIRNS)Deputy Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Ma Deyun said that China and Zimbabwe intend to increase bilateral trade to $500 million in 2008, according to the Zimbabwe Herald Jan. 3. She said during the official handover of 97 Chinese trucks to Zimbabwe's Road Motor Service, that "we will work together starting from now in order to meet this new target," according to a report in the Missionary Service News Agency today. She also announced the imminent delivery of 5,000 tons of food aid to the capital, Harare, and promised the building of two primary schools, a hospital, and an Agricultural Technical Demonstration Center this year.