Arrogant Powell And Lying BBC

Opinion by Owei Lakemfa, Vanguard, 7 June 2001

COLIN Powell, retired American general and his country's Secretary of State was visiting Africa when the continent on May 26 declared the African Union. On the day of the Union, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) made two pointed pieces of falsehood its lead report.

The evolution of the African Union could not be ignored. Yet it was an unsettling event for those who have for decades used us as their footmats, as their sources of cheap raw materials, free labour and playground.

So the event had to be reported and the BBC found a way around it; to misrepresent it and hopefully lead the attack on the African Union. The BBC reported that an African Union is being created but that it is the brain child of Libya's Mouamar Ghaddafi who is trying to pass himself off as a Pan Africanist. The Britons added that the African Union is loosely structured on the European Union (EU) model.

These are pieces of falsehood and I shall proceed to expose them as such. But it is necessary to point out that the attempt here is first to portray Africans as idiots incapable of arriving at the need for unity and are therefore being pushed by Ghaddafi a man the West and U.S have strenuously tried over the years to demonise. The hope of the BBC propagators is that once the Union is linked with Ghaddafi, many Africans will oppose it and the new unity will therefore collapse.

Is the African Union a Ghaddafi project? Of course not! The calls for a Union of Africa dates back to the 19th century when Britain and its European First cousins despoiled Africa and continuously raped her, stripping the continent of her gold and natural resources, her priceless lands and precious human labour.

As it happened in all cases of greed and banditry, the Europeans started fighting amongst themselves over the loot that was Africa. To bring some order and honour in the looting, the Europeans met in Berlin, Germany from 1884 to 1885 to agree on how best to despoil Africa without the bandits going to war amongst themselves.

One of the most strident voices against this was Marcus Garvey who worked for the establishment of a union of African States with a central government, economy, social services and defence. That was back in the 1920s, long before Ghaddaffi was born.

Two decades before this, moves for African independence and union was made by the Pan African Congresses which began in 1900.

In the 1950s when Ghaddafi was a teenager, Kwame Nkrumah had already become known as the champion of African Union.

Nkrumah suggested that an African Union capital be established either in Bangui, Central African Republic or in Leopoldville in Congo. He also offered to step down as Ghana's president and serve under any leader or leaders the African Union government throws up.

Neither Ghadaffi nor any African leader has gone a tenth as far as Nkrumah did. So it is an insult for anybody to claim that the African Union is a brain child of Ghaddafi.

So is the new African Union modelled after the EU? Of course not! Again, men like Nkrumah had in the early 1960s suggested both a Union Government and a presidium to run it, a common Market for Africa, An African Currency, African Monetary Zone, African Central Bank, a continental communication system, common Foreign Policy and Diplomacy, Common Defence and Common African Citizenship. The danger Africans face is not so much that the BBC and other tools of world control would continue to misinform our people, the real danger is in allowing these radio and television stations direct access to our FM bands and local television stations. We cannot have African Union without addressing this cultural recolonisation of our continental airwaves.

Powell is a lesser issue. He was in Africa visiting South Africa, Uganda, Kenya and Mali. In South Africa he targeted two African presidents for attack. He insulted Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe accusing him of staying too long in power and threatened him. Mugabe with a 21-year stay in power can trully be said to be overstaying but Powell's attack is based on American perception that Mugabe is an enemy. This can be borne out of the fact that he did not make a similar criticism of president Arap Moi when he visited Kenya, yet Moi who had been Kenyan Vice President has been president since 1978, two years before Mugabe was elected prime Minister. Secondly Powell did not similarly attack Yoweri Museveni when he visited Uganda despite the fact that the former has been president since January 1986. What is more, unlike Mugabe who presides in a multiparty Zimbabwe, Museveni does not allow a single political party to function in Uganda.

In any case, what are the democratic credentials of Powell? That he is serving in a government that rigged the American elections?

Powell attacked President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa for linking AIDS and poverty. But the truth is that AIDS is attacking pour countries more. Our AIDS patients are denied affordable drugs by America which is blocking cheap copy drugs for the continent.

Powell is trying hard to discharge his duties as a House Negro; he had once declared that all Nigerians are drug traffickers and criminals.

So what was new in what Powell came to say in Africa? What new perspectives did he bring?

The problem with Colin Powell is that he has an identity crises. He is outwardly black being of Jamaican migrant parents, but he claims lineage with the English, Scot, Arawak Indian and Jew. He is to be pitied. As Franz Fanon would have said, Powell is a black skin white mask.