|Africa News Digest
A Fragile Agreement in Kenya
Feb. 28 (EIRNS)In a dramatic turnaround from Feb. 2, when talks being mediated by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan broke down, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga, leader of the opposition Orange Democratic Movement, signed an agreement today to share power. There had been an impasse over how much power the opposition would have.
The agreement comes after two months of violence following the Dec. 27 election, the results of which were contested by the opposition. As many as 1,500 people were reported killed; 300,000 who had to flee their homes, are in camps; and many more, whose number cannot be accurately determined, because they are not in camps, also fled their homes.
The post of prime minister will be created for Odinga, but his demand for a constitutional change, which he had been holding out for, was not part of the deal. Annan said that the prime minister will work with the President to coordinate government affairs, and the agreement calls for Odinga to be given an active role in running the government. Kibaki stated that his government would create the posts of prime minister and two deputies, but emphasized that this will be done under the current constitution. Therefore, how this agreement will be implemented is unclear, and can be easily destabilized.
The agreement was reached, despite encouragement given to the opposition by the British government and the Bush Administration. During the unrest, the British ambassador and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had taken the side of the Anglo-Dutch oligarchy, which is seeking a long-running conflict in Kenya, as part of a global chaos strategy. After the talks broke down, Rice called for serious armtwisting of the Kenyan government, and talked about imposing sanctions on Kibaki.
Sarkozy Unveils Eu10 Billion Investment in Africa
Feb. 29 (EIRNS)France will invest the equivalent of about $14.75 billion in sub-Saharan Africa over the next five years, creating about 300,000 jobs, President Nicolas Sarkozy told South Africa's Parliament on Feb. 27. The French Development Agency's (FDA) initiative will indirectly or directly finance nearly 2,000 companies.
"When this initiative is concluded, the total French bilateral financial commitment to sub-Saharan Africa will thus amount to Eu10 billion over the coming five-year period," Sarkozy said. "The growth potential of your continent, its natural resources, and its promising market make it part of the world we cannot ignore."
Sarkozy also emphasized the reshaping of French policy toward Africa, noting that France intended to alter what he called its "obsolete" defense agreements with several African countries. "France has no call to maintain armed forces in Africa indefinitely," he said. "It is no longer conceivable ... that the French army should be dragged into internal conflicts."
It was also announced that France will be giving a $2 billion coal-fired power station to South Africa as a gesture of friendship. The agreement was signed on Feb. 27 between Buyelwa Sonjica, the South African Minister of Minerals and Energy Affairs, and Jean-Marie Bockel, the French Deputy Minister for North-South cooperation. France will also send a team of engineers to South Africa to help that country deal with its energy shortage. It has yet to be decided where and when the plant will be constructed.
A $2.12 billion deal between South Africa's state electricity supplier Eskom and the French company Alstom was also signed, to supply turbines for a new coal-fired power station in Mpumalanga.
The French nuclear power company Areva, which built South Africa's first nuclear plant at Koeberg near Cape Town, is competing with Westinghouse Electric to build a second $15.5 billion station, with twice the output.
Gambian Daily Features FDR's War with British Imperialism
March 1 (EIRNS)The Feb. 14 Daily Observer of Gambia, published a 4,000-word article documenting President Franklin D. Roosevelt's war against British colonialism and colonialism in general. The article opens with Roosevelt's declaration, as reported in his son Elliott's book, As He Saw It, that "the colonial system means war," and concludes with the statement that "the ideals of Roosevelt for freedom live on to inspire, ironically, those now fighting American imperialism."
The Daily Observer identifies the central concept required to understand world politics today: "The fundamental and unbridgeable difference between the United States and the British Empire, is the fact that the United States represents, if imperfectly, the embodiment of the nation-state, and that Great Britain is the modern form of the oligarchical, monarchical and imperialist system of rule." It includes Roosevelt's own horrified report on the "hellhole" he found when he visited Britain's then-colony Gambia, in 1943. FDR told a press conference upon leaving the country: "It's the most horrible thing I have ever seen in my life.... The natives are five thousand years back of us. Disease is rampant, absolutely.... And I looked it up, with a little study, and I got to the point of view that for every dollar that the British, who have been there for two hundred years, have put into Gambia, they have taken out ten. It's just plain exploitation of those people." Exclaiming to his son later about the average lifespan of people in Gambia26 yearsRoosevelt cried: "These people are treated worse than livestock. Their cattle live longer!"
The article delineates in detailstarting before the warthe fight waged by Sir Winston Churchill against Roosevelt, until Roosevelt's death, in an effort to retain all of Britain's imperial possessions. On one occasion, several years after his trip to Gambia, Roosevelt, when he became seriously ill, quipped to Churchill that he was sick with "Gambia fever" from "that hell hole of yours called Bathurst" (Bathurst was the British name of Gambia's capital, which was changed to Banjul after independence).
The article is on the Daily Observer website.
The piece has provoked debate internationally. A Cuban website, "Cuba Debate," published a review of the article on Feb. 26. Cuban reviewer Manuel Yepe attempts to dismiss the Roosevelt vs. Churchill fight as inter-imperialist rivalry, but then spends a good two pages quoting from Roosevelt's and Churchill's fights.