On this week's programme, Kudakwashe hosts African Historian, Political Analyst, & Editor of Pan-African News Wire, Abayomi Azikiwe & Media Veteran & Co-founder of Community Progressive Radio Metro (CPR Metro), Bernard White, in a discussion on Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. This is a phenomenal discussion on its complex historical and contemporary consequences, some largely not reported throughout history.
This week on Heart of Africa, Kudakwashe hosts Shaheed Mahomed, a leading Worker’s Activist and member of the Workers International Vanguard League in South Africa. The discussion examines further the topic that started last week, “‘African Governments Allow Plunder Of Continent’s Mineral Resources’: The Case Of Malawians Versus Paladin Energy With Rafiq Hajat“, at an interconnected global context.
The message from the discourse this week relevantly gives the discussion the title, ‘Africa Does Not Need Aid – Aid Is An Artificial Construct‘. Shaheed fundamentally ties in the functions of relevant players globally who determine direction and outcomes of mining in Africa.
This includes the Africa Progress Panel, a group of 10 “high profile” personalities, chaired by Kofi Annan, which advocates for “equitable and sustainable” development in Africa. It is worth noting that some of these personalities already sit in leadership positions in other organisations that drive agendas in Africa like Alliance For A Green Revolution In Africa.
Shaheed also reveals that the complex situation in Malawi, a multi-levelled result of the uranium mining by Paladin, which also mines in Namibia, is not isolated. It is part of a greater context involving multi-national corporations, who have the greatest advantage in ventures undergoing in Africa – regardless of how they manifest – to the devastating disadvantage of the African people.
He emphasises that Africa does not need aid, but empowerment to take charge of resource management for the greater benefit to Africans. He adds that aid is an artificial and deceptive construct, designed to mislead Africans. Also analysing the current move by Malawi’s government to export youth labour to South Korea, Dubai & Kuwait, the discussion ties in with the concept of “Fragmented Totality“, critically elicited by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya.
Last week, Albert Sharra, a Malawian journalist gave a brief overview of the controversies between Malawians and Paladin Energy Company, also known as Paladin Africa Ltd, that started mining at Keyelekera Uranium Mine in Karonga, northern part of Malawi, in 2007.
The Malawian government gave Paladin a deal based on very weak legislation, that consequentially gave the foreign corporation enormous advantages from mining uranium in Malawi over and above the welfare and interests of Malawi’s communities. These communities were also forced to migrate from fertile farming lands, under which the uranium sits, to infertile lands where crops hardly grow to sustain their livelihoods like before.
Civil Society Organisations (CSO), led by Rafik Hajat, summoned the Malawian government for signing such unjust mining deals. The CSOs however, ended up agreeing to an out of court settlement with Paladin. It is reported that Paladin has not upheld the agreements made and none of the work based on the agreement has been undertaken yet – since 2007.
In last week’s discussion, the guest Rafik Hajat, gave a snapshot of Malawi’s mining industry, in terms of the country’s potential, challenges, and the projected potential benefits of the Malawians from the mining of their minerals. Rafiq also gave an in depth history of Malawi’s mining sector from before colonial times, through to the different Presidents from Kamuzu Banda’s to Joyce Banda.
Furthermore, Rafiq exposed extensive liberties the Malawian government, as well as other African governments, give foreign corporations for ‘permitted plunder’ of mineral resources. He explained that this is because of the desire to receive aid and investment, which causes African leaders to end up giving too many concessions in return at the cost of African lives and prosperity. The case in Karonga is a common narrative across Africa from Cape to Cairo.
Rafiq therefore gave a fundamental message to the whole continent, emerging from this case in Malawi. He emphasised that Africa as a continent must agree on a uniform code of engagement with foreign corporations, that restricts any type of illegal mining operations and plunder. He added that each African country would have to apply that same code so that there are no mineral extraction loopholes available anywhere on the continent.
Showing the detrimental multi-levelled result of the uranium mining by Paladin in Malawi, as well as in Namibia, Shaheed gives astounding facts and statistics that show that if Africa controlled the management of its resources, aid – an ‘artificial capitalist construct’ that keeps Africa debt ridden – would not be necessary.
Shaheed quotes the Africa Progress Panel Report 2013, stating that the total value of minerals taken out of Africa was 222 billion euros. In turn, the aid received was 32 billion euros, revealing a huge disparity of 190 billion euros. This proves that if the revenue from extracted minerals was allocated for the welfare of the African people, investments into Africa’s economy, and other initiatives for Africa’s development, there would be no need for foreign investors or aid or World Bank and IMF structural adjustment programmes.
Shaheed speaks of how the plunder of Africa’s resources is keeping the continent in slavery in a well knit system. He shows how thye facts he brings tie in with the concept of “Fragmented Totality“, critically elicited by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya.
Fragmented Totality is how the present crises across Africa and the world, including wars, revolutions, and the recession in Europe and America, appear disconnected, and yet are very connected and interwoven under one system. On the surface, these crises appear like they have different roots, causes, agendas and outcomes, and yet are all part of and exist in that one system.
The discussion examines how Africa’s labour force too is enslaved. This is reflected by Malawi’s recent move to export labour of 300 000 18 – 25s, 100 000 to South Korea, 100 000 to Dubai and another 100 000 to Kuwait. Shaheed discusses the strategy of the World Bank on whose backbone this state sponsored brain drain in Malawi occurs, despite the Amnesty International reports that condemn the human right abuses in South Korea.
Shaheed highlights that South Korea is a nation that hosts a number of USA military bases, where female migrants are used as sex slaves, among a host of abuses. Dubai and Kuwait are very strong allies of Britain. Hence it shows that this move of Malawi falls in a greater context that even extends to the repression of youth protests for liberation around the world.
Kudakwashe concludes the show with relevant biblical perspectives. Heart of Africa is broadcasted live every Wednesday night at 2000 hours Central Africa Time (British Summer Time) or 2100 hours Central Africa Time (British Winter Time), on www.morelightradio.com. It is dedicated to examining matters that affect Africa from a Pan-African Christian perspective, as we envisage the revival of the African dream. Comments and questions welcome here or via twitter @HeartOfAfrica55. All rights reserved.