Friday, 17 April 2015

FREE LAURA MITI*

 ...#FreeLauraMiti


A guest post by Greenwell Nyirenda

I am appealing to the Inspector General of police and her command to release Laura Miti for she has not committed any crime. A lone protest doesn't need a permit, using common logic the term lawfully assembly which has a requirement of police permit only applies to people assembling who are more than one.
Hence the arrest of human rights activist by the Zambian Police should be condemned as it is illegal and a human rights violation. Laura, staged a lone protest against the ongoing Xenophobia targeted at African nationals by locals in South Africa. She was not attacking any one as cadres do every day in markets, streets and stations. She was not selling or dealing in illicit drugs and drinks as what is sold in Chibolya Compound. 
Laura Miti, during her lone protest at which she was arrested.

She was not fuelling violence, inciting conflict or crime as what most of our public places experience from cadres in full view of Zambian police. Yet police have never seen acting swiftly on perpetrators of crime in our society but they have wasted time, resources and tax payers money in arresting and violating an innocent woman who is sending a strong and decisive message to the world leaders, South African government in particular to act fast and curb this violence against foreign nationals. The action of Zambian police, yet again has exposed the unprofessionalism and lack of interpreting of our law to the simplest logical terms. 
It doesn't need a legal expert to crack and interpret what the public order act clearly states on who should get a permit when protesting. Zambian Police is sending an indirect message that they endorse the criminality and violence against foreigners in South Africa. This action speak volume of the non-existent of simple dialogue and championing coercion with the citizens. Free laura with no charges!!! 

Free Laura! Free Laura.

*Laura Miti is a journalist and human rights activist who stage a lone protest against the ongoing xenophopbic attacks against non-South African Africans resident in that country. Laura spends lengthy periods of time in South Africa where she works at one of the universities there. During this wave of xenophibic violence, Laura was, fortunately, back in Zambia. She could easily have been a victim like others who have lost their lives or injured in the process.
 

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Zulu King Zwelithini Deserves A Cell At ICC


When Thabo Mbeki was still President of South Africa, on a state visit to Zambia, he could not resist visiting one Lusaka township for which the host government returned the favour by naming a road near there after him.
Mbeki, like many African National Congress (ANC) leaders, spent most of his time in exile in Zambia and the township, M’tendere—meaning peace in some Zambian languages—which was home to many ANC freedom fighters along with Emmasdale, Kaunda Square and Makeni areas of Lusaka which housed a lot of South African exiles.
The South African exiles mingled very freely with ordinary Zambians and called each other Comrade, a term they used a lot among themselves and with those they agreed with on ideological issues particularly those they shared communist literature from Novosti Press Agency at the Soviet Embassy in Lusaka.
The administrative ANC headquarters at which the late Oliver Tambo, Mbeki and others operated from were in Lusaka while the military wing was housed in Tanzania. In fact, Zambia and Tanzania were part of a group of countries that called themselves frontline states along with Mozambique Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and, from 1980, Zimbabwe. I know that Nigeria, very far away from Southern Africa, also considered itself a “frontline” state and did a lot towards the liberation movement.
King Goodwill Zwelithini
Some of the frontline states like Zambia suffered bombings at the hands of apartheid South African Defence Forces that were pursuing freedom fighters who operated from the affected countries which had a deleterious effect on the economy in particular and development in general.
The Frontline States were formed in 1970 to co-ordinate their responses to apartheid and formulate a uniform policy towards apartheid government and the liberation movement. For the liberation movement in South Africa, the formation of the Frontline States was a welcome development and a new front in the fight against apartheid.

Mandela Visits Zambia


To appreciate the role Zambia played in the liberation of South Africa and other countries, Nelson Mandela, barely a week after his release from 27 years of incarceration in 1990, visited Zambia first.
When South Africa attained black majority rule back in 1994, the country had the strongest economy on the continent and naturally, attracted a lot of citizens of a lot of sub-Saharan countries trouped to the Rainbow Nation which held a lot of promise for most of them. Some of the people who trekked there were running away from persecution and failed states such as Somalia.
Wikipedia traces discrimination in South Africa to as far back as the Union of South Africa when in the Cape Colony, the Cape Immigration Act (No 30) of 1906 set as requirement the ability to complete an application form in a European language (including Yiddish) and proof of £20 as visible means of support.
The same Wikipedia article traces xenophobic attacks before May 2008 and those after which tended to be more serious leading to loss of lives.
“On 12 May 2008 a series of riots started in the township of Alexandra (in the north-eastern part of Johannesburg) when locals attacked migrants from Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, killing two people and injuring 40 others.Some attackers were reported to have been singing Jacob Zuma's campaign song Umshini Wami (Zulu: "Bring Me My Machine Gun").
In the following weeks the violence spread, first to other settlements in the Gauteng Province, then to the coastal cities of Durban and Cape Town.
Attacks were also reported in parts of the Southern Cape, Mpumalanga, the North West and Free State.
But the xenophobic attacks this time around were apparently kicked off by the statement by Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini late in March:
“We are requesting those who come from outside to please go back to their countries… The fact that there were countries that played a role in the country’s struggle for liberation should not be used as an excuse to create a situation where foreigners are allowed to inconvenience locals… I know you were in their countries during the struggle for liberation. But the fact of the matter is you did not set up businesses in their countries.”
Surprisingly, even South African President Jacob Zuma’s eldest son, Edward, also supported Zwelithini’s call to kick out foreigners.

Dlamini-Zuma Blames Criminals


African Union Commission chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, a South African citizen and former wife of President Zuma, is quoted to have blamed criminals for the xenophobic attacks on foreigners. Zuma’s position is made all the more difficult as an AU leader but for me, she no longer deserves that position. South Africa has lost the moral standing of being the head of the continental body.
The AU finds itself in the position in which the United Nations found itself in 1994 in Rwanda when it watched the situation leading to genocide in which 1 million people lost their lives by doing nothing at all. Dlamini-Zuma is blaming “criminals” when it knows the source of the attacks—King Zwelithini who deserves to be hauled before the International Criminal Court for kicking off the ugliest episode yet in post-apartheid South Africa.
If Dlamini-Zuma doesn’t resign on her own, she should be kicked out of her position at the AU and King Zwelithini carted off to The Hague. As a South African, the AU chairperson cannot call for unity from anyone if she cannot control people in her own country and blaming criminals when the instigator is enjoying his throne.
 [Photo credit: Wikipedia]

Monday, 13 April 2015

Cecil John Rhodes, Hero or Villain?


...As his legacy comes under spotlight in Zambia


Cecil John Rhodes, no doubt, played a very big role in the establishment of the country now called Zambia when his British South African Company (BSAC) set up administrative centres in North-western Rhodesia as well as North-eastern Rhodesia which later merged to form what became known as Northern Rhodesia up to 1964 when it changed to its current name.
Events in South Africa in the last few weeks first calling for the removal of Rhodes’ statue from the University of Cape Town campus grounds and then removing it altogether, has brought about debate in countries associated with Rhodes—Zimbabwe and Zambia.
As for Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe stated his position regarding the man who gave the two neighbouring countries—Zambia and Zimbabwe—their colonial names, Southern Rhodesia and Northern Rhodesia, respectively.
President Mugabe, during a recent state visit to South Africa, pointed out that his country’s southern neighbour had the colonialist’s statue, but Zimbabwe has his remains, buried in the Matopos, a range of hills in the south west of Zimbabwe, a country that had carried the man’s name until 1980. Rhodes died in 1902.
Mugabe, dismissing the thought that the man who paved the way for the colonisation of a large part of Southern Africa through his Cape-To-Cairo railway dream as part of accessing Africa’s rich and vast mineral resources, said Zimbabwe would not exhume Rhodes' remains even as some people were calling for such action.
Rhodes' grave in the Matopos.
Quoted by Nehanda Radio, Mugabe said: “We in Zimbabwe had forgotten about Cecil Rhodes until South Africa said it has his statue in Cape Town, where he was the minister of the Cape and mischievously wanted to also take control of Zimbabwe… We have his corpse, you can keep his statue.”
Zambia, the other Rhodesia, does not escape Rhodes’ presence in one way or the other. A Lusaka upmarket leafy suburb is named after him. This is Rhodes Park situated very close to the central business district (CBD). Ironically, Rhodes Park also bears a local vernacular name—Maluba, flower for those who may not know Nyanja.
Rhodes may not have set foot in Northern Rhodesia now Zambia but people sent by him were all over the place seeking often fraudulent and misleading concessions with local kings and sub-kings that opened up most of the country with mining as the major economic activity which was enhanced by construction of a railway line from Livingstone to Chililabombwe.

Sir Evelyn Hone's Statue


With the events down south, the issue has undoubtedly brought about debate about keeping Rhodes and other colonialists’ legacies. University of Zambia political scientist Dr Alex Ng’oma kicked-started the debate when he called authorities at one of Zambia’s top colleges, the Evelyn Hone College, to pull down the statue of the man it is named after, Sir Evelyn Hone, who was the last colonial governor of Northern Rhodesia
Media trainer, Herbert Macha, however, denounced the uprooting of statues. In a Facebook post, he said:
“Hate him or like him, Cecil Rhodes contributed immensely to development of Southern Africa, buried in Matebeleland in Zimbabwe, his investments are still present. I feel sorry [for] our brothers and sisters in South Africa for they may not know well the history.”
On the same Facebook wall, Mweete Hamakwenda posted:
“It's a misplaced fight. Fighting CJR [Cecil John Rhodes] statue while failing to fight the principles he represented, which still exist through the imperialist policies of Britain, USA etc. Who determines the price of copper at the global market? Who decides the quantities of exports the third world can trade in the developed world? Who controls global affairs through the undemocratic Security Council and G7? Who controls or fixes oil prices when this high-value product is in bulk in Africa and can change the continents' economic profile if trade was fair? So, why go and exhume a dinosaur from his grave when you are failing to deal with his living principles in today's global economy. Stupid Africa at it again!”
My contribution on the same wall was:
“… As we teach history let it not be the account of the hunter at the expense of the lion, i.e the conquerors writing the history rather than the conquered. Let us tell the story that Leander Starr Jameson [leader of the BSAC pioneer column] who gave us the name Fort Jameson, hanged [Ngoni] Prince Nsingu! Let us teach our children that Dr [David] Livingstone was a ruthless itinerant whose mission was not to spread Christianity but to pave way for the [1885] Berlin Conference. The history we are taught--even our own independence struggle history--is full of nothing but half-truths and outright lies. Ok, pulling down statues is not the panacea, it is rewriting the curriculum to reflect nothing but the truth [that needs to be done]”
In any case, whatever is done with Rhodes’ statues and his legacy in the Southern African region, the truth of the matter is that he changed the boundaries, familial and inter-ethnic relations and cultures through movement of peoples who were forced to pay taxes which could only be done through work in new labour endeavours he controlled and the state administration that was born out of the new economic activity centres arose.
[Photo credit: Wikipedia]