NIAMEY (Reuters) – Niger’s army is fighting to recapture an island in Lake Chad after it was seized by hundreds of Boko Haram militants aboard motorised canoes, army sources said on Sunday.
Boko Haram, hardline Islamists who want to establish a caliphate in the region, attacked the island of Karamga at dawn on Saturday, their second attempt to capture it since February, army and government sources said.
Lake Chad’s islands, which lie in dense swampland, are an ideal base for mounting surprise attacks on the countries bordering the lake: Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria.
“There were many (Niger soldiers) dead on Saturday, considerably more than in the first attack,” said one of the army sources, referring to a battle in February in which seven Niger soldiers died.
A second army source said a counter-attack to clear the island of militants was ongoing.
Since February, Nigerian forces backed by neighbours Chad, Niger and Cameroon have won back vast swathes of territory from Boko Haram, which previously controlled an area the size of Belgium.
The militants, who have killed thousands of people in their six-year insurgency, are thought to be largely hemmed in within north Nigeria’s vast Sambisa Forest where the Nigeria military says it is advancing.
However, on Friday suspected Boko Haram militants crossed over from Cameroon and forced Nigerian troops out of the border town of Marte, one soldier told Reuters, indicating the group still has a reach beyond Sambisa.
The island of Karamga is hundreds of kilometres away, suggesting that there is at least one Boko Haram cell further north.
Niger suffered a wave of attacks and suicide bombs in its southern border region of Diffa in February and March, prompting the government to declare a state of emergency there.
The last known attack was on the town of Bosso on March 30, although there were no casualties on Niger’s side.
President-Elect Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday said his administration would probe the claim by a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and now the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation failed to remit $20bn oil money to the federation account.
Buhari gave the hint while receiving a delegation of the All Progressives Congress elected officials and supporters from Adamawa State at his campaign office in Abuja.
The President-elect, who spoke in Hausa expressed surprise that instead of probing the allegations by the former CBN governor, the Goodluck Jonathan-led Peoples Democratic Party administration chose to fire him.
He stated that since Sanusi’s claim was documented, his administration would take a look at it after the May 29 handover date.
Buhari said, “On the issue of corruption, I heard that some people have started returning money. I will not believe it until I see for myself.
“You all remember what the Emir of Kano talked about when he was the governor of the CBN. He said $20bn not N20bn was unaccounted for; they said it was a lie. Instead of investigating it, they sacked him. And God in his infinite mercy made him the Emir of Kano. In any case, that is what he wanted. And since this was documented, our administration will take a look at it.”
A management and accounting consultancy firm, PriceWaterHouse, was last year hired by the Federal Government to carry out a forensic audit of the NNPC following Sanusi’s allegation.
Sanusi had written a letter to Jonathan in September 2013 that $49bn was not remitted to the Federation Account by the NNPC.
But following the controversy generated by the letter, a committee was set up by the government to reconcile the accounts of the corporation.
Sanusi later recanted and said the unremitted fund was $12bn. He later changed the figure to $20bn.
PwC, in its report stated that while the total gross revenues generated from crude oil liftings amounted to $69.34bn between January 2012 and July 2013 and not $67bn as earlier stated by the Senate Reconciliation Committee, what was remitted to the federation account was $50.81bn and not $47bn.
Within the $69.34bn, the audit report revealed that $28.22bn was the value of domestic crude oil allocated to NNPC, adding that the total amount spent on subsidy for Premium Motor Spirit amounted to $5.32bn.
The PwC report read in part, “Signature bonus, Petroleum Profit Tax and Royalty yet to be paid by NPDC is $2.22bn. Total cash remitted into the federation accounts in relation to crude oil liftings was $50.81bn and not $47bn as earlier stated by the Senate Reconciliation Committee for the period January 2012 to July 2013.
“Based on the information available to PwC, and from the above analysis, the firm submitted that NNPC and NPDC should refund to the federation accounts a minimum of $1.48bn.”
Last week, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, disclosed that the NNPC had started refunding the unremitted $1.48bn into the federation account.
But while expressing gratitude to the visiting delegation, Buhari said his administration would work in tandem with the manifesto of the APC.
He listed priority areas to include security of lives and property, the economy and job creation as well as the war against corruption.
On the issue of security, he described the menace of Boko Haram as purely the evil of terrorism which has no link to religion.
Buhari said, “ We thank God that it is now evident that this problem of Boko Haram is not a religious problem. It is purely terrorism. I said it earlier that all the religions we practise,especially Islam and Christianity, do not support terrorism.
“So,anyone who goes and kills people in the mosque, church, market, motor park or school either does not know what Allahuakbar (God is great) means or does not believe in it. This is terrorism. It is our hope that God gives us the power to end this.”
The former Head of State said that unemployment must be urgently tackled because it constituted a threat to Nigeria’s survival.
He explained that from his campaign stops in 35 out of the nation’s 36 states, the sheer number of jobless youths they saw signposted clearly that there was a serious crisis at hand.
Buhari said, “From the airports to the streets, we saw youths running after our vehicles sweating. Some were walking the whole distance to wherever we were driving to. Whether they went to school or did not go to school, it was evident that they don’t have jobs. This is one of the biggest problems we have in Nigeria today.
“Most of our youths,who form 60 per cent of our population in Nigeria are without jobs. These people who are still bubbling with energy will constitute a danger to this nation if they don’t get jobs.”
The President-elect took a swipe at the outgoing Peoples Democratic Party-led Federal Government for ‘‘inflicting a lot of pains on Nigerians with its misrule.’’
He however said that the military deserved commendation for regaining many territories it hitherto lost to Boko Haram in the North-East.
Buhari said, “Among the worst atrocities committed against Nigeria by the PDP is what it has done to our military.
“It is our military that went to Burma; the same army that when I was commissioned second lieutenant, I did not spend three weeks before I found myself in Kinshasa (in Congo), then (the civil war) in Nigeria and Sierra Leone and did well. Now to say Nigerian soldiers failed to retake 14 local government areas out of 774 is unbelievable.
“For me who served in the military, I find it incomprehensible except if I go there to find out what happened. The kind of leadership brought upon us by the PDP whether it is documented or not, it can never be forgotten in our history.”
Buhari also decried the attitude of some Nigerian elite to the suffering of the masses.
He noted that Some of them “have built houses outside their states so that when trouble starts, they don’t even bother to take their bags before fleeing on Achaba (motorcycle).’’
Buhari lamented the fate of some Nigerians from the North-East who “do not know where their parents and children are because their houses have been burnt in cities like Bama, Michika, Mubi, Madagali and other places ” by Boko Haram insurgents.
The President-elect appealed to members of the legislature at the federal and state levels to give attention to matters that would benefit the nation and its people in all their deliberations.
He promised that the incoming APC-led Federal administration was determined to ensure that roads, schools and hospitals were built and made functional.
Buhari described Adamawa State as one of the few states in the North- East which still has arable land.
This, he said, was unlike his home state of Katsina where desertification has condemned a lot of people without formal education to a life of servitude.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation and governor-elect of Adamawa State, Jibrilla Bindow, appealed to the President-Elect to help the state rebuild its institutions and reduce poverty and youth unemployment.
President Nkurunziza’s plans to run for a third term have been described as unconstitutional
Riot police in Burundi have used water canon, tear gas, and live bullets to disperse crowds protesting against the president’s decision to seek a third term.
Witnesses said police clashed with demonstrators in four districts of the capital Bujumbura on Sunday after President Pierre Nkurunziza’s government banned protests for or against his move.
At least one police officer and a protester were injured in the disturbances, according to the Reuters news agency. The AFP news agency said two protesters had been killed, citing witnesses, but Al Jazeera could not independently verify the report.
Burundi’s ruling CNDD-FDD party nominated Nkurunziza as its presidential candidate on Saturday, prompting hundreds of civil society groups to condemn the move as a “coup” against the constitution, which limits leaders to two terms in office.
Those opposed to a third term also say it goes against the spirit of a peace deal signed in 2000 that has kept Burundi calm for a decade since a civil war between ethnic Hutus and Tutsis in the small nation ended in 2005.
The UN and Rwandan officials say just over 17,000 Burundians have fled into neighbouring Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo since mid-March due to rising fear of violence in the run-up to the June 26 presidential election.
“We deplore the way police acted with violence against a peaceful demonstration,” Janvier Bigirimana, a civil society activist, said of Saturday’s events.
Interior Minister Edouard Nduwimana said the demonstrations were illegal because the government had banned any protest for or against the president pursuing a third term.
Hundreds of people in Burundi have protested the incumbent President Pierre Nkurunziza’s renewed nomination for a third … see more »
As attacks spread, leading to murder and thousands of displaced foreigners, we must ask if the bitter pill we swallowed then has had tangible results.
“If the government has failed [to stabilise the situation], it should admit that it has done so, call in the army and declare a state of emergency,” said Congolese businessperson Daniel Byamunga Dunia from the confines of a Prospecton refugee camp in Durban last week.
It was hard to accuse Dunia, who had emerged as a spokesperson at this camp sheltering almost 300 people, of being alarmist. Refugees hailing from various parts of sub-Saharan Africa had been pouring into camps around the city for roughly two weeks.
Violence and looting targeting foreigners or their businesses continued to erupt in the city and parts of the province, spiralling back to Gauteng. By Sunday, pictures of the fatal stabbing of a Mozambican named Emmanuel Sithole in Alexandra, near Sandton, had made front-page news, with the president saying they made South Africa “look bad”.
As it was in 2008 when more than 60 people were killed in xenophobic attacks, it was the hate graphically inflicted on Mozambicans that would come to symbolise the latest grisly wave of xenophobia. The 2008 murder of Ernesto Nhamuave, who was burned alive in the Ramaphosa informal settlement on the East Rand, was never solved. The murder of Sithole, on the other hand, brought about the first arrests for the murder of a foreigner since this round of attacks started on March 31.
That the government eventually deployed the army in the Johannesburg hot spots of Alexandra and Jeppestown and other parts of the country may or may not be viewed through the prism of Dunia’s comments, although Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula admitted that “we are deploying because there is an emergency”. A spokesperson for the defence force said the army was only there to assist the police.
True enough, in the raids that took place in hostels in Alex and Jeppestown, which to an extent have become the launchpads of some of the attacks, the soldiers hung back. They were there to bolster the fortitude that was seemingly missing from the police, who in some cases avoided confrontations with looters and attackers.
Early warning systems
Although concerted efforts to set up early warning systems were made by security agencies, refugee rights groups and nongovernmental organisations following 2008’s xenophobic violence, several factors have coalesced to undermine the system. This has resulted in the seemingly haphazard and reactive responses to the current attacks.
Observers with insight into the security services believe that a lack of capacity in intelligence gathering, continuing problems with public order policing and increasing political polarisation have resulted in apathy and paralysis in the on-the-ground police response to xenophobia, despite the systems that have been put in place.
China Ngubane of the KwaZulu-Natal-based Centre for Civil Society says in Isipingo, where the current wave of attacks was sparked by an industrial dispute, “it was like the police were the friends of the looters. It was like they were helping because there were no warning shots or teargas being fired. They had no will to stop it.
“I spoke to a station commander about what was happening at Isipingo and I was told that they were short-staffed, which was why you had people being turned away from opening cases.”
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), working with organisations such as the African Centre for Migration and Society and the Displaced and Migrant Persons Support Programme, has built a network of SMS informants to feed information directly to the police.
Tina Ghelli of the UNHCR believes that the system has had a positive impact where it has already been set up. “Where we’ve sent info through, police have responded quickly. Usually, there are follow-up messages that police are in the area,” she said. “Sometimes there is no response from the police but when there is, fewer shops are affected.”
Walter da Costa, the manager of the Displaced and Migrants Persons Support Programme, who was involved in initiating the early warning system network, admits that it had not been properly set up around the country when the recent wave of attacks erupted in KwaZulu-Natal.
“There are a lot of low-level, everyday xenophobic attacks and sometimes it’s difficult to get early warnings more than 24 hours in advance, because at times the looting happens when there’s some other activity like service delivery protests,” says Da Costa, a former member of the South African National Defence Force. “When the situation is festering and there is mobilisation taking place, that’s when the system works.”
Da Costa says the fact that the system doesn’t often trickle down is indicative of “the apathy of individual police”. Then there are other issues complicating matters, such as how police handle the looting scene when they get there.
During the wave of looting that took place in Soweto in January, a daily newspaper ran an unforgettable image of a trio of traffic cops walking away as young men plunged into an already agape foreign-owned shop named Madiba Supermarket to empty out its remains.
“Police might cordon off a scene but will allow looters to loot until they’re finished, or they wait to use maximum force, which they can’t since Marikana,” observes Da Costa.
When it comes to handling public violence, the challenges facing public order policing since 2008 haven’t been completely addressed. In the tax year ending 2009, there were only 3 306 trained public order policing members compared to 7 227 in the year ending 2006. Last year that figure was 4 700, says Gareth Newham of the Institute for Security Studies. “We saw an improvement in the numbers of public order officials in 2010, but that dropped thereafter.”
Newham says information from 2008 shows that even those attacks had been organised. “People were going from door to door, saying: ‘You’ll be attacked; leave now.’ They were orchestrated by either formal or informal local-level leaders [like taxi owners or ward councillors]. They had status and could mobilise people.
“It is therefore important to have good informer networks in places where xenophobic violence has occurred to ensure that the police are able to receive information that enables them to intervene proactively when violence is being planned. [The fact] that people who looted foreign-run or -owned shops largely got away with it further encouraged people in the latest wave of attacks.”
Newham says over the past few years there has been a deterioration in crime intelligence capacity, coupled with an increase in aggravated robberies between 2012 (101 203) and 2014 (119 351) – an average increase of 50 robberies per day.
“This deterioration in capacity occurred following political interference to protect South African Police Service head of crime intelligence Lieutenant General Richard Mdluli, despite mountains of evidence of wrongdoing,” says Newham. “Senior and experienced officers who were against Mdluli were forced out and a number of Mdluli’s cronies are still active in this division. This has contributed to a climate of mistrust and low morale at a leadership level.”
Da Costa notes that in Soweto, for example, where more than 1 000 shops were looted, “there were large gangs moving from township to township, taking cigarettes, airtime and cash on hand, then leaving the shops more vulnerable”.
In Durban and Johannesburg, the attackers mostly targeted foreign-owned shops before the situation degenerated into general attacks on foreigners, which hasn’t happened on a large scale since 2008.
Government-speak around the framing of xenophobia has increasingly moved towards avoidance of the term “xenophobia” in favour of characterising attacks of foreigners as primarily criminal, as if the two were mutually exclusive concepts.
Loren Landau, the South African research chair in mobility and the politics of difference at the African Centre for Migration and Society, says although the nature of the violence has mutated, foreigners continue to be held collectively responsible for economic stagnation and crimes purportedly committed by individuals. “What I believe has remained constant is the role of local political and economic interests in fomenting the attacks,” he says.
Landau believes part of the problem “is in how we select and support our leaders. Ward councillors are the only directly elected officials and the only ones who must meet constituents face-to-face to be elected. They face the firing line of popular discontent, but are poorly empowered to address their voters’ gripes.”
He says: “Faced with perennial shortfalls of services, dwellings and jobs, is it any wonder local leadership allows and abets the scapegoating and appropriation of foreign-owned shops, houses or goods? With new resources to distribute and a demon to blame, they come out winners.”
Landau believes tighter immigration control, which the government has begun implementing, will only drive people further underground, making them more exploitable. Moreover, shutting off trade and traffic between South Africa and its neighbours will weaken the regional economy, which depends heavily on remittances, he says.
Uganda president gives rare insight into Shabaab attacks in Kenya, Somalia, Kampala – and America’s fail
26 APR 2015 18:20YOWERI MUSEVENIShabaab and European colonialists share one thing in common; they consider other Africans “Kaffir” (primitive people that do not know God).
ON April 24, 2015 Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni released an article on the fortunes and misfortunes of the Somalia extremist group Al-Shabaab:
THE most atrocious, criminal, cowardly and monstrous attacks by Al-Shabaab against soft and innocent targets such as shoppers in Nairobi’s Westgate Mall in September 2013; young students in northeast Kenya’s Garissa University on April 2 in which 148 were killed, or football fans watching the World Cup matches at the Rugby Club in Kampala in July 2010, may look very frightening to those that are not used to war or that are not well informed. However, those attacks, in fact, prove three things.
Somalis today things that were unimaginable just 5 years ago – have fun at the beach.
They prove that Al-Shabaab is sectarian which is obvious because it only targets non-Muslims. Secondly, it proves that Al-Shabaab is bankrupt both morally and ideologically. Why attack non-combatants? Why not attack soldiers if you want to fight? Why attack only non-Muslims? Thirdly, however, it also proves that Al-Shabaab is already defeated. Why do I say this?
I say this because it is that bankrupt Al-Shabaab that initiated attacks against the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) who were part of the African Union (AU) peacekeeping force AMISOM in the month of May in the year 2009 in Mogadishu.
The UPDF had gone to Mogadishu, not to fight anybody, but, to stabilise the situation there and to guard the Port and the airforce. This was after the Somali factions had agreed to a shared government in Djibouti and after the American mistakes of manipulating the warlords had failed. We went there under the African Union Flag. You know that flag. It consists of the conspicuously huge map of Africa. Nobody that is not blind can mistake this for anything else.
What the [Horn and East African grouping] Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and AU wanted was negotiations to include anybody that had been left of out the interim government – especially the groups that had been in Eritrea.
In any case, we were in just a small portion of Somalia, at Mogadishu port, at the airport and, later on, on the request of the Interim Somali Government, State House and Kilometre 4 (linking the different positions) was added.
Not wise to attack Uganda, Burundi
Even if the Al-Shabaab did not want to negotiate with the Interim Government for any obscure reason, it was not wise to attack the Ugandan and Burundian troops carrying the AU flag. Why do you attack the AU flag? Do you not belong to Africa? If you do not belong to Africa, where do you belong? In any case, big chunks of Somalia, including ports and airports, were under their control. They could build capacity there if they had any ambitions to do so.
However, intoxicated with their bankrupt ideology of Islamic chauvinism (arrogance and narrow-mindedness), they attacked our troops calling them “Kaffir” (primitive people that do not know God) just like the European imperialists used to call us.
Well, the “Kaffirs” taught those idiots that we know how to defend the African soil and the African flag. Our well-trained and well-disciplined army smashed the fanatical attacks of these misled people.
This was especially so in the Ramadhan of August 2010; we smashed the mass attacks of these confused people and advanced to Barawe, Marka, Juba Hotel, Bondhere, Florencia, Telebunka, Elhindi, Santa gate Shigare, Bakara Market, National Stadium, Mogadishu University, Dayinley, Afugoye, Kilometre 50, Elsaalini and Shalambot beyond our original positions at the airport, Sea-Port, Kilometre – 4 and State House.
Shabaab drill outside Mogadishu after they were beaten out of the city.
They, then, started sniping our troops from the built up areas. We brought in commandos that were experts in counter sniping. Between May 2011 and September 2011, at least, 320 Al-Shabaab fighters were killed by UPDF snipers. With other attacks and movements, the Al-Shabaab fled from Mogadishu on August 6, 2011.
The manipulation of the young Muslim youth by their cowardly and criminal leaders promising them heaven (janah) by dying fighting the “Kaffirs” could no longer persuade these poor children to face the might of the UPDF.
I sometimes wonder about the moral standing of these leaders. If pre-mature going to heaven is such a good thing, why don’t some of these leaders set an example by blowing themselves up instead of only sending these poor children to die?
After that Al-Shabaab was defeated in Baidoa, Afgooye, Marka, Beledweyne, Kismayu. Therefore, the Al-Shabaab is now attacking shopping Malls, football fans, university students and so forth, because they are already defeated. They cannot attack anything else – not even a well- guarded Police Station let alone a battalion of the AU forces.
In their bankruptcy and ignorance of war, they miscalculate that attacking soft targets will frighten Africa and cause it to abandon the Somali people to these idiots. That will not happen.
Uganda soldiers walk through the bushes in Somalia. (Photo/AFP).
I have not talked about the concept of the Armed Population in recent times in public. In 1980s, 1990s, when some actors were threatening to invade Uganda, we had trained a militia of 2 million men and women. All high school leavers used to get military training.
However, with increased Secondary School and University enrollment, the numbers became too big. We, therefore, suspended that generalised mass training and, instead, concentrated on the areas that had insecurity at that time. In (northeastern) Teso region we had a militia (Local Defence Units – LDUs) of 8,000 known as the Arrow Boys; in (northern) Lango we had another 8,000 and they were called Amuka.
Now that the Al-Shabaab can no longer either fight conventional or guerilla battles against the AU force and they are only relying on terrorist attacks against the soft, innocent targets, we can harden the soft targets with the concept of the Armed population, maybe, initially, in the threatened areas as defined by intelligence.
The bloodied hand of a victim of the 2013 Westgate mall terror attack. (Photo/AFP).
It involves the cost of feeding, clothing, equipping, transporting, training (the bullets), etc. Since we need that money for roads, electricity and other infrastructure, we had to scale down on the concept of the Armed People – Povo armada as Mozambique’s Frelimo used to call the strategy. However, it is there and it can be re-activated at any time.
That is why we have Reserve Force Commanders in all the districts. That is their purpose. I have, actually, already given confidential instructions to the security forces to re-activate that strategy as guided by intelligence.
When the idiots in Mogadishu were calling us “Kaffir”, they, probably (in their ignorance), did not know that the UPDF has got thousands of Muslims and that, under the NRM revolution, we pour scorn and contempt sectarianism. It is the ideology of the traitors who hope to weaken the African People by that scheme of dividing us so as to dominate us (divide and rule).
Somalis ancient Africans
The Somali People are part of the ancient Cushitic people of Africa. Some of these people live in Ethiopia, Sudan, Southern Egypt, East Africa, to name a few areas.
Somalis are ancient Cushite people of Africa. (Photo/ G. A. Hussein/flickr).
Some of them are Muslims and others belong to other religions. What right do these sectarian elements have to seek to separate them from the other Cushitic peoples and, indeed, from the other Africans? To hell with the sectarianists.
The sectarian chauvinists are, first and foremost, the enemies of the Muslim people even before they become enemies of the generality of Africans.
Why? Take a look at the map of East Africa, including the Horn of Africa. The Muslims live, mainly, near the coast (Pwani). Even in the pre-colonial times, not to mention the present capitalist world, the coast (Pwani) depended for prosperity on the mainland (Bara) and vice-versa. The pre-colonial peoples of the Great Lakes depended for textiles, glass beads, guns, et al on the Coast, including Zanzibar.
The coast depended on the hinterland for ivory, especially and, unfortunately, for slaves also (a responsibility of the criminal chiefs in many cases).
In modern times, by our coastal people providing services at the sea ports (Djibouti, Mogadishu, Kismayu, Mombasa, Tanga, Dar-es-Salaam), even if they did not do anything else (and there are many things they are better positioned to do e.g. manufacturing using imported inputs), they would be very prosperous on account of the huge volumes of merchandise from and to the interior of the continent.
Whose enemy are you when you interfere with this mutually beneficial arrangement? Certainly, the non-Muslims would lose but so would the Muslims of both the interior and the coast. The whole of Africa would lose.
Muslims and Shabaab
Finally, the criminals in Kenya have been killing non-Muslims and sparing Muslims. Does it mean that all Muslims support these criminals? Certainly not. How do I know this? There are 2.5m Somali Muslims in Mogadishu who selected to stay with the AU force instead of going with the Al-Shabaab terrorists.
Honour masks with the names of the over 140 Kenyans killed in the April 2 Garissa attack by Shabaab. (Photo/AFP).
That is the same story in Baidoa, Kisimayu, Afgooye, Beledweyne, Marka. How many Somalis are with the terrorists out of the total population of Somalis of 10.5 million? According to the 2002 census of Uganda, the Muslim population of Uganda was 12% of the whole population.
How many joined the criminal (Uganda Islamist rebel leader Jamil) Mukulu (of the Allied Democratic Front)? Very few. During the war in Uganda against military dictator Idi Amin, although Amin was pretending to use Islam while he was an alcohol drinker, (as a rebel leader) I was always harboured in Kampala by my Muslim comrades. Therefore, anybody who suspects all Muslims because a few Muslim criminals are involved in atrocities is wrong.
It is like saying that since (Uganda fundamentalist Christian rebel leader Joseph) Kony (of the Lord’s Resistance Army) was pretending to be a Christian in his crimes, we should suspect all Christians.
I wish to inform those that have a propensity to get confused, that the African populations are always symbiotic. When I was growing up in Ntungamo (a district in western Uganda), I would see this symbiosis.
We were cattle keepers in my family. We would exchange products with the cultivators (okucurika-barter trade). However, the few Muslims in the area would also provide a service which the non-Muslim Banyankore people of the area were not doing at that time – running butcheries and eating houses.
They were providing services that were vital to the other Banyankore (mainly non-Muslim) but which the latter were not providing. Who was the loser in this partnership? Long live the partnership of the wealth creators and down with the parasites.
As for the security issue that we started with, be informed, again, that Al-Shabaab is already defeated. They can no longer attack the army or even the Police, they cannot fight conventional warfare or guerrilla warfare and, being ideologically bankrupt, they go for terrorism (attacking soft targets). This is curable as already pointed out by the concept of “Povo Armada’’ the Armed People.
The Al-Shabaab are in a very vulnerable situation.
On account of the defeats, they can no longer move in big groups – platoon size (30-40) or more because they will be detected and destroyed by the Army. They can only move, by concealment, in small groups (4 or 5).
These can easily be dealt with by the LDUs (Local Defence Units) with potential for re-enforcement by the Police and Army. The one factor that we must emphasize is intelligence – tactical (in a locality) and strategic (in the whole country and the region).
This will simplify the work. The Al-Shabaab is already defeated. The brutality they exhibit may scare people but it is defeatable and it is the last desperate card.
If I were in their position, I would not have played that card having been defeated in conventional and guerilla battles because terrorism stigmatises and delegitimises you forever. I would have negotiated with the other stake holders if I had any legitimate concerns.
Kenyan soldier after the fall of Kismayo. (Photo/AFP).
In any case, even before you start a war, you must be sure that you intend to fight a just war – a war that is for justice and not for aggression or oppression. Also, you should be sure that there is no other peaceful way of solving that problem other than war.
Otherwise, if you start a war for purposes of aggression or oppression or you start a just war before you have exhausted peaceful means, you are a criminal.
Then having started a just war on account of having no other option for having justice, you must fight a war where violence is used in a disciplined way. The main element here is to target combatants, especially the armed combatants. Killing non-combatants (shoppers, students, football fans, bar-goers like the ones of Kabalagala) or kidnapping people like Kony and Boko Haram do, are war crimes.
Also fighting a war on a sectarian basis is a mistake even if you consider a section of the population to be oppressed. South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC) guided the black people, through the Freedom charter of 1955, not to wage a racist struggle against the whites who were oppressing the blacks. This was because, among the whites, there were people who did not support Apartheid. I saw many of them with my own eyes – Ben Turok, Joe Slovo, Ruth First. The Indians, the Coloureds all joined.
This is an old piece but very interesting now as Zwelithini (well funded by the ANC government) is boosting Zulu stridency and the further entrenchment of support for the ANC through Zuma could be a powerful insurance policy for Zuma when he is no longer president and so more vulnerable to investigation of his affairs (in all senses) and possible prosecution. The role of KZN personnel close to Zuma in the security organizations could be key. Don’t like and have never liked the stress on tribe rather than nation and nationalism – they have very different connotations and I don’t go with the Rwanda comparison, though the Moi one is more accurate, perhaps. But an interesting piece nonetheless. KS
In a private conversation, an honest member of the provincial executive committee of the ANC in Mpumalanga admitted: “The support of Jacob Zuma in KwaZulu-Natal is more Zulu than ANC.”
It is an open secret that since Zuma became president, KZN has been rewarded handsomely.
A majority of cabinet ministers are now from KZN. Xhosas have been displaced. Most heads of our security agencies are also from KZN. Important international events are increasingly held in KZN.
There are even South Africans who believe that Nkandla will soon be a big city – boasting modern rondavels with underground tunnels, world-class churches attended by first ladies and grand hotels.
As a result, Zulu political loyalty has shifted from the IFP to the ANC. KZN is now the biggest province of the ruling party.
It is a simple, utilitarian calculation. For a Zulu, what is important between the IFP – a small cultural fundamentalist formation operating in parts of KZN – and the ANC, led by a state president from Nkandla?
From this perspective, the slow and guaranteed death of the IFP and the swelling of the ranks of the ANC in KZN make much more sense than propagandist statements of condemnation that will most certainly be poured over this article.
Being a political party that contests and wants to win an election, the ANC must indeed welcome Zuma’s role in bringing masses of former IFP members into the fold of the ruling party.
It should be remembered that not long ago KZN was a serious headache for the ANC. There was a time when the dream of bringing down the IFP seemed like a chimera. Thanks to Zuma, the IFP is now consigned to the scrapheap of history.
But there are strategic questions the ANC cannot afford to ignore. How will the party exorcise the IFP demon from its ranks, and how will it plant an ANC seed in the souls of the new entrants?
This is no insignificant question. As we all know, the essence of the IFP has been the political galvanisation of Zulu culture.
For many years, Mangosuthu Buthelezi proved to be an adept tribal entrepreneur.
By the way, there is nothing wrong in promoting any culture. But the deployment of culture in politics can – and indeed does – give rise to dangerous forms of narrow nationalism.
Through strategic leadership, nationalism can be tamed and sublimated to serve higher political objectives. African nationalism, for example, was used as a powerful political instrument against colonialism and imperialism.
But nationalism can also be deployed perilously. We all remember Robert Mugabe’s massacre of the Ndebele people in the early 1980s in Zimbabwe.
Who can forget Rwanda in 1994?
It would indeed be a stretch to suggest that the rise of the ANC in KZN must necessarily conjure up images of perilous nationalism. The ANC does not have a history of bloody tribal mobilisation. In fact, its historic character is the direct opposite of this.
However, it would be naive to think that new members of the ANC in KZN are naturally immunised against narrow nationalism.
The potential and capacity of an exogenous agent to transform the character of a phenomenon can be underestimated only by those who are woefully ignorant of principles of chemical reaction.
One can only hope that the ANC is courageous enough to confront the very question we posed earlier: how will the party exorcise the IFP demon from its ranks, and how will it plant an ANC seed in the souls of the new entrants?
There is another question that the ANC must worry about: the perception that a Zulu president thinks of his village before he considers the rest of us South Africans.
This perception is dangerous both for the ANC and for the country. In the psychology of observers, the ANC can very quickly be viewed as an instrument of ethnic empowerment.
In her acclaimed book about Kenya, It’s Our Turn to Eat, Michela Wrong tells the real story of a political leadership that empowers its tribe first: “Under Moi, Kalenjin areas benefited from better investment in clinics, schools and roads.”
As modern churches are built in Nkandla, the wise in the ANC must answer the question: in the eyes of observers, what will differentiate Jacob Zuma from Daniel arap Moi?
As most important international events are hosted in KZN, how would our Zulu compatriots defend themselves against the accusation that they are not different from the Kalenjins of Kenya?
If these questions are ignored, it might not be long before the baTswana of North West in our very own country begin to hatch out their own tribal plans to take over the ANC. All this might be done in the hope of redirecting the building of churches from Nkandla to Mafikeng.
In the Western Cape, the coloured people might decide to stick with the DA, viewing it as a better ethnic home.
On their part, the baPedi of Limpopo might develop their grand ethnic scheme, hoping to install a president who would ensure that our national cabinet becomes an “over-concentration” of baPedi.
Only Indians who consider themselves as clever as Schabir Shaik may stick to the ANC, or those who think they have the potential to unseat the Guptas. The rest of our Indian fellow citizens may just go with the Minority Front.
What, then, would be the implications of all that? At worst, the ANC would be converted into a confederation of ethnic groups, where matters relating to leadership are reduced to a tribal lobby game.
In such a scenario, it wouldn’t matter that a leader is morally bankrupt or intellectually hollow; he would be assured of the support of his village, his tribe, or his province.
Before such a leader is nominated, no one would ask: has he demonstrated impeccable leadership in the past? What does he have to offer our country? The primary consideration would be: is this leader Zulu, Xhosa or Venda?
If the ANC were to get to such a point, its death would be expedited. Its historic character as an anti-tribalistic progressive political movement would be mutilated beyond recognition.
There would be more serious implications for our nation as a whole. We would all be compelled by our new subjective reality to return to our tribal laagers – in a desperate search for ethnic security. Life would be nasty and brutish, to borrow from Thomas Hobbes.
The notion of being South African would be relegated to the realm of philosophy, devoid of practical meaning. All that we had been striving for, collectively, as a South African nation in the making, would crumble on the altar of tribal consciousness.
This path can be avoided – not by silence, but by an honest reflection on our current political situation.
Even when the Shembe church calls for an artist to be stoned, we must be vocal in calling for sober leadership.
When Gwede Mantashe leads a rowdy march about a spear that has nothing to do with our nation, we must not be intimidated by hired crowds.
We must insist on telling the truth until hired crowds turn on their handlers, just as plebeians turned on conspirators in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.
All this must be done in the conviction that SA belongs to all who live it, black and white.
No ethnic entrepreneurship must be allowed to thrive in our society. When churches are built in Nkandla, we must not keep quiet; we must question the implications for the cohesion of our nation.
And, indeed, we must be very worried when an honest member of the provincial executive committee of the ANC in Mpumalanga painfully admits: “The support of Jacob Zuma in KZN is more Zulu than ANC.”
n Mashele is chief executive of The Forum for Public Dialogue and lecturer in politics at the University of Pretoria. He is also a member of the Midrand Group, and author of The Death of Our Society, available at Exclusive Books.