Monday, May 29, 2017

Pan-African Journal: Special Worldwide Radio Broadcast for Mon. May 29, 2017--Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe
Listen to the Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast special edition for Mon. May 29, 2017.

To hear a podcast of this episode just click on the website below:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/panafricanjournal/2017/05/29/pan-african-journal-special-worldwide-radio-broadcast

The program is hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire. This episode includes our regular PANW report with dispatches on the ongoing reflections centered around Africa Liberation Day which commemorated the 54th anniversary of the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU); gas production has resumed in the North African state of Tunisia amid an escalation in mass demonstrations; the security situation in Ivory Coast remains tenuous due to the recurrent unrest within the military; and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has reported on its efforts to enhance socialism in that state on the Korean Peninsula.

In the second and third hour we rebroadcast a classic address delivered by Shirley Graham Du Bois at the University of California at Los Angeles in 1970.
Pan-African Journal: Special Worldwide Radio Broadcast for Sat. May 27, 2017--Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe 
Listen the Sat. May 27, 2017 special edition of the Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire.

To hear the podcast of this episode just click on the following website:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/panafricanjournal/2017/05/28/pan-african-journal-special-worldwide-radio-broadcast

The program airs initially from 8:30-11:30pm EDT and afterwards on podcast.

This episode include reports on Africa Liberation Day; Zambia; Guinea; and Egypt.

Other segments highlight the contributions of the African liberation struggle and Malcolm X.
Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, Appears on RT World News: "Fighting Escalates Between Factions in Libya Capital of Tripoli"
To view this interview aired live over RT just go to the URL below:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gqBMVw5t78&feature=youtu.be

Watch this RT worldwide satellite television network interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, on the upsurge in internecine clashes in the Libyan capital of Tripoli between factions supporting and opposing the United Nations imposed Government of National Accord (GNA).

Dozens have been killed and wounded in the fighting which stems directly from the destruction of the Libyan state under former leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi in a eight-month long Pentagon-CIA and NATO coordinated counter-revolutionary ground war and bombing campaign which killed 100,000 people and displaced several million.

Since 2011, Libya has been a source of instability for the entire areas of North and West Africa eventually extending across the Mediterranean to Europe.

The discussion aired live on Sat. May 27, 2017.
Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, Interviewed on RT World News: "Pentagon and NATO Responsible for Instability in Libya and Egypt"
To view this interview just go to the following URL:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2b6R0ZzO47E&feature=youtu.be

Watch this RT worldwide satellite television network interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, on the massacre of 28 Christians in the Minya province in Egypt and the subsequent airstrikes by the Egyptian Air Force on Derna in eastern Libya.

Azikiwe places culpability for the increasing instability and security crisis in North Africa to the United States and NATO destabilization of the region resulting from the imperialist war against the former government of Col. Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The interview aired live on Fri. May 26, 2017.
Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, Interviewed on Press TV Over the Political Situation in Egypt and Libya
To see a video of this broadcast just click on the website below:
http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2017/05/27/523338/Egypt-Libya-US-War

Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire from Detroit, tells Press TV that Libya is still bearing the brunt of the Western foreign polices six years after NATO invaded the country and fueled the chaos there.

He says neighboring Egypt, which was hit by another deadly attack on Friday, is feeling the impact of the unrest in Libya.

Watch this Press TV interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, on the May 26, 2017 airstrikes by the Egyptian airforce against Derna, Libya in the aftermath of an attack on a bus filled with Coptics in the Minya province which killed 28 Christians and wounded many others.

Azikiwe reiterates that the deterioration of the security situation in Libya can be traced back to the Pentagon, CIA and NATO war of regime-change in 2011.

Additional clashes between rival rebel forces have also taken place in the capital of Tripoli.
Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, Interviewed Over RT World News on the Links Between Manchester and Libya
Here is the link to the interview:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mUcYpShljc&feature=youtu.be

Watch this RT worldwide satellite television network interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, discussing the links between the suspects in the recent Manchester concert bombing and the United States-NATO coordinated rebels who fought to overthrow the Libyan government under former leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi.

Azikiwe notes the ease with which these groups are able to travel between Britain and Libya which remains a source of instability throughout North and West Africa. The interview was aired live on Thurs. May 25, 2017.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Keep the Flame of Freedom, Unity Alive
 Dr Sydney Sekeramayi
Zimbabwe Sunday Mail

On May 25 each year, we join the rest of Africa in celebrating our freedom, unity and identity as Africans.

On this day in 1963, our founding fathers gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia bound together by a shared vision and common purpose of creating a united, free and prosperous African continent.

Their determination and commitment to the cause of African unity transcended nationality, religion, the artificially imposed boundaries, language and culture. In the words of one of the finest sons of Africa, the late Kwame Nkrumah, “Africa is one continent and one people” and “we are not African because we were born in Africa but because Africa was born in us.”

This was the revolutionary spirit and solidarity that prevailed among our forebears in Addis Ababa in 1963, which was soon to come alive in the hearts and minds of all Africans wherever they were.  It was this same spirit that convinced our founders that if Africa was indeed one, it could not continue “half free and half slave”. In the words of the late President Nkrumah “The Independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of the African continent”.

To this end, the Organisation of African Unity was born and charged with the responsibility to liberate our continent from colonial domination and exploitation. The continent at large owes its freedom to the vision, courage and wisdom of our founding fathers who made our fight for freedom and self-determination their fight.

We, in Zimbabwe, are privileged to be led by a statesman and icon of the liberation struggle, President Mugabe, who witnessed in person the formation of the Organisation of African Unity in Addis Ababa in 1963 and who, to this day, continues to inspire our nation and instil pan-Africanist values and ethos in our youths.

We owe a debt of gratitude to these valiant sons of Africa. The only way we can repay them for their sacrifices is for us to keep the flame of freedom and unity alive.

We must, as our founders did, put Africa first in all our endeavours. We must rekindle the spirit of togetherness, unity and solidarity among our people. We cannot afford to be divided. A united Africa will be able to withstand the negative forces of globalisation and neo-imperialism that are prevalent in our contemporary world.

We have come a long way since May 25, 1963. In this long and difficult journey, we continue to draw inspiration from the words of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere who once said: “My generation led Africa to political freedom. The current generation of leaders and peoples of Africa must pick up the flickering torch of African freedom, refuel it with enthusiasm and determination and carry it forward.”

Our Heads of State and Government rose to this challenge in 2002 when they transformed the OAU into the African Union and refocused their efforts to imparting a fresh impetus into the struggle to eradicate poverty, conflict and disease from our continent.

Africa is on the rise. Africa’s new vision for political and economic emancipation, Agenda 2063, and its first 10-Year Implementation Plan is gaining traction everyday across our continent. Zimbabwe is proud to be associated with Agenda 2063, not only because of its clarity of purpose but also because of its national and historic significance.

It holds the key to Africa’s future development and to the achievement of self-sustaining growth. The successful implementation of Agenda 2063 demands that we strengthen our continental institutions if “the Africa we want” is to become a reality.

We need to revamp our working methods in order for the African Union to become more vibrant, efficient, focused and effective. It cannot be business as usual anymore in Addis Ababa.

The African Union Commission needs to be reformed for it to be fit for that purpose. This is why in June 2015, under the Chairmanship of President Mugabe, the African Union Assembly unanimously adopted the historic decision to reform the way we do business at the African Union.

We are happy to note that the reform agenda continues to gain momentum, this time under the wise leadership of President Paul Kagame of Rwanda.  It is our hope that the newly-elected commission will spare no effort to ensure that these reforms are a resounding success so that the African Union can better deliver on its programmes.

Institutional reform alone will not deliver “the Africa we want”. The successful and timely implementation of the African Union blueprint, Agenda 2063, and its first 10-Year Plan demands that we resource our organisation in a sustainable and predictable manner. If we don’t, someone else will.

President Mugabe could not have put it in a better way when in his address to the African Union Assembly in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2015, he said: “Unless and until we can fund our own programmes, the African Union will not be truly our own.”

It was in this context that the African Union Assembly in Johannesburg took the historic decision to progressively increase Member States’ contributions so that in the next five years, the African Union would be able to finance 100 percent of its operational budget, 75 percent of its programme budget and 25 percent of its peacekeeping budget. But the monumental task of delivering on the promises of Agenda 2063 demands that we do much more.

We need to explore and develop new and innovative approaches of funding our Union. During Zimbabwe’s Chairmanship of the African Union, President Mugabe pledged a donation of 300 cattle to the African Union Foundation, then at its infancy. This exercise is nearing completion, with the proceeds from sales of the cattle soon going to be made available to the Foundation.

This humble gesture by the President is an example of what is possible if we apply our minds to the urgent need to find alternative ways to fund the Union.

In our quest to implement Agenda 2063, our women and our youths are our greatest asset. Unlike most parts of the world which are experiencing the phenomenon of an aging population, Africa has the fastest-growing and most youthful population in the world.

According to the African Development Bank, over 40 percent of Africa’s population is under the age of 15 years while 20 percent is between 15 and 24 years. Africa’s future and well-being, including the future of Agenda 2063, therefore, lies in the hands of our youths. But that future can only be certain and be on a firm footing if we, as a continent, take that conscious decision now to make the right investments in our youths.

This is why the Heads of State and Government of the African Union collectively decided to make “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through investing in Youths” the theme for 2017.  We look forward to participating in this important debate which will take place during the forthcoming Summit in July this year.

Peace and security are prerequisites for the success of Agenda 2063.  It is, therefore, imperative that we strengthen Africa’s peace and security architecture by, among other things, providing it with predictable and sustainable resources.

This is critical if we are to succeed in silencing the guns on our continent as envisaged in Agenda 2063 by the Year 2020.  We welcome the establishment of the Africa Peace Fund as a step in the right direction towards self-sufficiency.

We believe that African solutions to Africa’s problems are the guarantors of peace and stability to our continent. It would be remiss on my part to conclude without making reference to Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, that issue that continues to blemish Africa’s otherwise excellent record of achievements.

It is totally unacceptable that 54 years later following the establishment of the Organisation of African Unity, the people of Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic remain under colonial bondage and are still to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination.

Our Union should uphold as sacrosanct the fundamental principles and values of our organisation as embodied in the Constitutive Act of the African Union. We should never condone colonialism irrespective of its origins and no matter who the coloniser may be.

If we do, our founding fathers will surely turn in their graves. As we celebrate this 54th Anniversary of our Union, let us pledge as Africans to redouble our efforts to ensure that the people of Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic exercise their right to self-determination in an unfettered manner in accordance with the relevant AU and UN resolutions on this matter.

Defence Minister Dr Sydney Sekeramayi made these remarks in his capacity as Acting Foreign Affairs Minister at the 54th Africa Day Celebrations in Harare last Thursday.
EDITORIAL COMMENT: From Fighting the System to Becoming the System
 ZIMBABWE SUNDAY MAIL REPORTER

LET’S face it — virtually all liberation movements have faced a lot of challenges in transforming themselves from fronting the war to running governments. After realising this challenge, leading liberation veterans, policy makers and experts in October 2012, organised a dialogue entitled “From Liberation Movement to Government: Past Legacies and the challenge of transition in Africa.”

This dialogue, which was hosted by the Brenthurst Foundation and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung was quite revealing. One of the presenters at this dialogue was Christopher Clapham, the editor of the Journal of Modern African Studies. His presentation was quite refreshing.

“Fighting a war is an enterprise with a single and readily identifiable goal, victory, to which all other considerations must be subordinated. This in turn calls for unity of purpose, and justifies total dedication on the part of the fighters, and a top-down structure of command and control on the part of the leadership.

“Running a government is not like that at all. There are multiple goals, which are often in some degree at odds with one another, and which call for a difficult process of agenda-setting and priority identification. Different interests will be involved, and will all demand a privileged say in helping to shape government policy, whether these are derived from their historic support for the struggle, or from their power within the political and economic structures that the government has inherited. There is no end point, like the moment at which the former fighters take over the government, when victory is achieved. As the years after liberation extend into decades, and the memory of that magic moment fades into the distance, so a further set of challenges emerge. Though the struggle remains a vivid source of legitimacy in the minds of former fighters, for most of the population whom they govern it becomes a rapidly wasting asset. The first and in many ways most basic challenge that the movement then faces is to retain as much as possible of the popular support that greeted it when it came to power, while coming to terms with the day-to-day demands of running an effective state, and with the need to work within constraints created especially by the global economy which were barely apparent during the struggle,” said Clapham at the dialogue.

Quite a long quote, but it illustrates the dilemma that liberation movements face as they seek to transform themselves from fighting the system to becoming the system. What makes the situation even worse for the liberation movements is that according to Peter Childs and Patrick Williams in their book, “An Introduction to Post-Colonial Theory”, “…although colonial armies and bureaucracies might have withdrawn, Western powers were still intent on maintaining maximum indirect control over erstwhile colonies, via political, cultural and above all economic channels, a phenomenon which became known as neo-colonialism.”

Worse still, for some strange reasons, soon after winning political independence, liberation movements behaved as if the war was over. Their comradeship slowly died while on the other hand, the enemies they had defeated were regrouping and re-strategising on how to continue their hold on Africa, without openly provoking Africa.

After shelving true pan-Africanism for many years, liberation movements in Southern Africa a few weeks ago, realised that the enemy was relentless in his neo-colonial project. The liberation movements met in Angola and came up with resolutions that clearly indicate that finally, we seem to be going back to the good old Pan-African days.

The liberation movements came up with resolutions that include the crafting of tough disciplinary measures against errant party members, building ideological schools, coming up with innovative media and information strategies which make use of technological advancement, eliminating the use of money or other enticements in influencing outcomes of internal electoral processes, carrying out focused political orientation, creating mechanisms to share ideas, establish newspapers and radio stations and establishing meaningful presence on the internet. In addition, the liberation movements made resolutions to study weather patterns so as to align the agriculture season, eliminate corruption, hold workshops to share experiences and strategies on sustainable economic growth.

While resolutions are not enough as they are just intentions drafted on paper, at least the liberation movements showed that they were alive to the challenges confronting Southern Africa.

Of course, there is one anomaly among the resolutions because the liberation movements failed to come up with a direct resolution on revamping the education system in Africa which still has retrogressive residues from the colonial era. Zimbabwe, through the new education curricula has taken the lead in addressing this issue and other liberation movements should follow suit. The time has come for Africa to craft an education system that opens the people’s minds because as it stands, it looks like many in the continent don’t realise that Africa is under siege. Harriet Tubman once said: “I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” Liberation movements should craft education policies that make Africans realise that the enemy is back through the front door preaching democracy, human rights and good governance. That way we may free more slaves.  The current education system is planting neo-colonial ideas in many people such that issues like democracy, human rights and good governance appear more important than the issues that led liberation movements to wage a war against the colonialists.

Amilcar Cabral was spot on when he said: “Always bear in mind that the people are not fighting for ideas, for the things in anyone’s head. They are fighting to win material benefits, to live better and in peace, to see their lives go forward, to guarantee the future of their children.” This is what Africa should plant in the minds of its populace because the liberation struggle was never about fighting “for ideas, for things in anyone’s head.”
ZANLA Woman Comrade Speaks: Drinking Our Own Urine and Sleeping With Snakes
MUNYARADZI HUNI
Zimbabwe Sunday Mail

COMRADE Florence Mudzengerere whose Chimurenga name was Cde Pronica Mabhunu voluntarily joined the liberation struggle in August 1973 when she was 13 years old. She left without saying goodbye to her parents and even dropped out of school as she was in Form One at Ruya Institute. As they walked the long journey from Mt Darwin to Chifombo, she saw many comrades dying in several battles but she never looked back.

Cde Pronica in this interview with our team comprising Munyaradzi Huni and Tendai Manzvanzvike narrates how along the way to Chifombo the situation became so dire that they had drink their urine to survive. She narrates how one of the brave commanders, Cde James Bond would shout at Rhodesian forces while firing back during a battle. She also narrates how sometimes, some comrades would wake up in the morning to discover that there were sleeping side by side with huge snakes. Read on …

SM: Cde, thank you for your time. Tell us, how exactly did you join the liberation struggle?

Cde Pronica: What happened was that one of my brothers, who was at St Alberts Mission had been taken by some comrades to join the liberation struggle. This was time when many students at St Alberts Mission were rounded up by some comrades and forced to join the liberation struggle. After this, the Rhodesian forces came in full force hunting for the students. Along the way, some students managed to escape and came back to St Alberts Mission. So this brother of mine was among those who managed to escape and came back. When he came back home, he narrated what had happened and I got excited. This was during the holiday. After about a week, another group of comrades came to our area and I decided to join them together with 11 other students. Of the 11, now tangosara tiri three – Cde Handirote Hondo, Cde Mbune and myself.

When I told the comrades that I wanted to join them, they said hakuyendwi nevana vadiki but I insisted. I was the youngest among this group so they tried to discourage me but I told them that handisi kusara. Finally, they agreed.

The other thing, although I was young, when the colonial regime brought nyaya yemakandiwa (madhunduru), they forced it on the people and it was like slavery. Nyaya yemakandiwa was a good idea but the colonial regime introduced it in a very bad way. The people were forced kuita makandiwa in a very short space of time. It was like a punishment. On the other hand, our parents were forced to pay lots of taxes, mutero yemombe, hut tax and so on. For example, the colonial regime had this policy that blacks should not have more than five cows. My father had many cows and when he was told that he could only keep five cows out of his many cows that really hurt. I heard him several times talking about how painful it was for him to lose his cattle. So when the comrades came, I said this is my chance to go for military training so that I could come back and fight this repressive system. Also, when the comrades came, they gave us political orientation. They told us how the whites had colonised us and that the only way to free ourselves was through war. They told us of the Zanu ideology and I really got excited.

SM: Do you remember the names of some of these comrades who recruited you?

Cde Pronica: Yes, I remember some. There was Cde David Tondlana (Cde Crispen Mataire), Cde James Bond who was the commander, Cde Zindoga, Cde Blackson, Cde Harrison and others.

SM: Did you tell your parents that you were going to join the liberation struggle?

Cde Pronica: Not even. My parents didn’t know. When these comrades came, my parents had gone for a funeral kwaMurehwa and I said chance given. I was really excited as we started the journey but later as we were walking, that’s when we discovered that this wasn’t going to be easy. You know, two days after we left home, kwakaita hondo yakafa vanhu vakawanda. Pakafiwa nevabereki, macomrades and even mabhunu acho. I had never seen munhu akafa and this was my first time — so many dead people. I think someone had informed the Rhodesian forces that pane vana vatorwa and they tracked our group down. This battle happened very close to Mt Darwin where the Rhodesian forces had set up a camp. We suddenly saw many helicopters and reinforcements. A fierce battle ensued as the comrades tried to make sure that they escape with us. This happened at a place that we used to call Pakasimbwi. One of the female recruits actually died during this battle. This battle started around 12:45pm and went on until around past 5pm. By this time, some of the comrades had gotten information kuti ndiani akanga atitengesa. So after this battle, takaenda nekumba kwemunhu akanga atitengesa ainzi Mambo Chakoma. When we got to his homestead, the comrades did not even waste time. They shot him dead. We then proceeded walking towards Mozambique. After about three days takasvika kune imwe nzvimbo inonzi kwaMauswa near Mavhuradhonha Mountain. We camped there for some days and were later joined by other comrades. These comrades briefed each other about the situation. We were told that we could not proceed in the direction we wanted to go because there were Rhodesian forces around that area. So we spent about two weeks tiri mugomo. Povho yaitivigira chikafu and taigara in small bases of about three or four people.

SM: Clearly the situation was not as you thought. You had seen people dying during the battle at Pakasimbwi and now you were staying in mountains. Were you not regretting?

Cde Pronica: Things were tough but by this time, ndakanga ndatopinda mazviri. I was not even thinking of going back home. However, after another battle taburuka Mavhuradhonha, ndakambofunga kumba. This battle was also very fierce. When they discovered that the Rhodesian forces had come in full force, the comrades said hatichakwanisi kuenda nemi so tavakumbokusiyai mumisha kuno nevabereki. When they told us this, I got scared thinking some of the parents could sell us out to the Rhodesians. That’s when I thought about kudzokera kumba. We didn’t know anyone from this area and this scared us a lot. But the comrades explained kuti don’t worry, we trust the povho around this area. So takangoita zvekudyarwa kuti iwe unogara nababa ava, iwe neavo. We were supposed kuita sevana vana baba ivava. We stayed with these families for about two weeks and these parents actually told us that isuwo tine vana vedu vakaenda kuhondo. They told us kuti musatye henyu, you are very safe with us. Indeed, they looked after us very well. One evening the comrades just came and said we are proceeding with the journey. We crossed Mukumbura Border, between Zimbabwe and Mozambique. However, some of the comrades hatina kuzocrosser navo this border. They went back to the war front. When we crossed into Mozambique, there were thick forests and we would only walk during the night because remember Mozambique by this time had not won its independence saka the Mozambicans, Frelimo were at war with the Portuguese.

SM: In these thick forests didn’t you come under attack from wild animals?

Cde Pronica: Not even. You know pasi pano panenyoka kwete zvekutamba. Very big and scary snakes. Masango aya akatakura. We saw even lions, elephants and many animals but we were never attacked by these wild animals. I think macomrades vaitanga vasora nzvimbo dzatinenge tichifamba. You know, you would wake up and discover kuti wakatorara side by side nenyoka. Hatina kana kumborumwa. Taiwudzwa kuti tikasangana nenyoka, chisikwa chamwari chakafanana newe saka siyana nayo. We got to one of the bases and we met a group of comrades who were coming from Tanzania. We were also joined by about four female recruits from Chesa area. There was Cde Josiah Tungamirai, Sekuru Chipfeni who was a spirit medium and others. Cde Josiah Tungamirai, Sekuru Chipfeni vakabva vatitora then we walked towards Zambezi River navo. We spent about three months walking to Zambezi. We crossed Zambezi River using zvimwadiya, small boats zvaigadzirwa nemuti. These small boats could take five people only. We could not cross Zambezi during the day because the Portuguese and the Rhodesians would patrol the area along the river. So we crossed during the night. The story about these Mozambicans who helped us to cross Zambezi is never told but I have to tell you this, without these Mozambicans, we would have managed to cross Zambezi. We should acknowledge the crucial role these people played. After crossing Zambezi we went to a base called Padongo paJustin (Cde Justin Chauke). I later asked why this base was called Padongo paJustin and was told that Cde Justin Chauke once fainted at that base. When he fainted, vakaponeswa nemacamaradha vakavagochera mabanana. That’s how it became Padongo paJustin.

SM: As you were walking, what stories did you talk about?

Cde Pronia: All the way, the comrades were politicising us. It was mainly politics and why tiri kugara musango. The comrades told us of our history and they told us kuti Mbuya Nehanda vakasiya vataura kuti mapfupa angu achamuka. So the comrades said tisu mapfupa acho amuka to fight the colonial system. After crossing Zambezi that’s when it dawned on us kuti uku hakuchadzokwi. There was no way of going back again.

SM: You were accompanied by male comrades along the way. You were young girls — were you not abused along the way?

Cde Pronica: Thank you for asking this. Kukutaurirai chokwadi vananguka, it was taboo to do all that. Mweya wakanga une macomrades during this time was something else. The male comrades treated us like their sisters. As we walked, they told us the Zanla rules. They told us of the three main points of attention. One of the rules was hatiiti cheupombwe. Remember the song, “Kune Nzira Dzemasoja Dzekuzvibata Nadzo”. That song told us kuti hatiite such things. It was taboo. Wainzi once you do that, know that watova target rebullet remuvengi — you will die. Pakangoita surprise attack, the first bullet will come to you. Remember also taifamba nemasvikiro, ana Sekuru Chipfeni. They would always warn us kuti zvevarume hazviitwi muhondo.

SM: What exactly was the role of these spirit mediums?

Cde Pronica: These spirit mediums would guide us. Everyday they would wake up vachikumbira kuvadzimu kuti tifambe zvakanaka. They would say; “Ndimi makati mapfupa angu achamuka. Honai tine vana musango muno. Chitivhurirai patinenge tichifamba. Tinzvengesei kune muvengi. Itai kuti tisvike navo vari zvavari kuitira kuti hondo yenyu iwane masoja.” I was coming from a Christian family and we didn’t know zvevadzimu but when I joined the liberation struggle, that’s when I discovered that indeed vadzimu exist. I will explain later what went on to happen in my life with regards kumudzimu. That will make you understand and believe that indeed mudzimu iriko. From Padongo paJustin we went to another base called Kambototo. We camped there for a while then proceeded with the journey to Chifombo. On our way, takakwira gomo raityisa zvisingaite, we used to call it Kwirawadya. We then got to another base called Kapiripiri. From Kapiripiri we then got to Chifombo base. After two days at Chifombo, my legs were swollen. Chifombo base was near the border between Zambia and Mozambique. While at Chifombo that’s when I discovered that there was actually a group of spirit mediums who were also staying at the base. These spirit mediums asked macomrades kuti tiri kukumbira mwana wechidiki anopota achiticherera mvura. They were saying mvura yavo inobatwa nemusikana asati ava kuenda kumaperiods asati avakuziva murume. I was then chosen kunogara kubase kwaiva nana Sekuru ava doing chores for them.

When I was chosen to go and stay with them, like I told you I came from a Christian family and so I kneeled down and prayed. Ndakati “mwari izvi handizvikwanise ndibatsirei Jehova.” You know in a bid kuti ndibviswe kugara nanaSekuru ava, during my first days ndaibika sadza mbodza and ndaipunza zvirongo zvekucheresa mvura. After three days, vana Sekuru vaya complained kuti this child you have given us cannot even cook. Together with other young female recruits, we were then taken to the Zanu farm that was near Lusaka. That’s where I met Cde Loveness and other comrades. Two months down the line, we were told that we were going for military training at Nachingweya in Tanzania. This was in March 1974. We were 74 female comrades and we were the first female Zanla comrades to receive military training. Two of the comrades later dropped out tikasara tava 72. One of the comrades got sick and passed away while the other was discovered to be pregnant.

SM: Comrade, Pronica, as you were narrating the journey from your home area to Chifombo, you didn’t really show us how difficult it was. Briefly tell us how difficult it was for you?

Cde Pronica: Ummm, I can’t really tell you in words. Zvimwe zvacho zvinotyisa kutaura. You see this is many years after the torturous journey saka some of you may think haaa, comrade Pronica is just exaggerating things. Remember we were walking at night in thick forests. Some of the areas kwakanga kusina kumbogara vanhu since mwari akasika nyika. There were think forests dzekuti just a few meters waitorasika. There was no time yekugeza. Taimwa weti yedu and sometimes we would share weti yeanenge aita. We would walk for like two weeks no mvura, no nothing. Sometimes taisangana nepane mvura, but we would realise that the water has been poisoned by the Rhodesians. So we would not just drink any water.

SM: Comrade Pronica, how can one drink urine? Weti inovava comrade?

Cde Pronica: Zvekuti inovava zvinotaurwa neanemvura. Inoimwa weti kunge irikubva mufridge. Kana zvinhu zvakashata weti haivavi. Kana weti yako yapera, waimwa yeumwe. Weti haiwuraye. As for food, we would only eat when we got to some bases. Like I told you povho would bring us food. But the food was just enough to keep one going. As we walked, we would while up time talking about our time at school, the hardships people were facing back home and sometimes we would talk about what we would do after receiving military training. We would say ini kana ndadzoka I want to use this and that gun the way comrade so and so uses it. This way, we shielded ourselves from the pain and torture along the journey. You know environment plays a big role as one develops. The environment that we were living was yekugara musango semhuka and we got used to it. Many of us were impressed by Cde James Bond. He was a brave and strong commander. He was fearless and vainakidzwa nehondo. You know during a battle, he would stand there firing back and you could see Rhodesian forces retreating. Vachiridza pfuti vainge vachishaudha varungu vachiti “musatanyoko, muchaenda kumusha kwenyu varungu. Ndinonzi James Bond OO7! Ndakadya majaravanda ehondo! Muchayenda chete! Vakomana ngatichaye pfuti bhunu ritize! Pfuti ngadzirohwe vakomana! Murungu ngaarohwe!”

SM: This Cde James Bond was quite some character because many comrades talk about his bravery. What kind of a person was he?

Cde Pronica: Cde James Bond was a giant guy and strong. He would say handidi kapfuti kadiki. He would fire vakabata two guns. He was indeed like James Bond from the films. He was a sharp shooter. Vainanga murungu semurungu. Vaiti kana vapfura murungu votuka, “musatanyoko! Ndichakusvuurai mese! Varungu mese muchapera!” Hondo yaibva yanakidza kunge rugare.

SM: Who are some of the comrades that you also admired during this time?

Cde Pronica: Cde Tongo and Cde Rex Nhongo. You know Cde Rex Nhongo hapana situation that he could not get out of. I remember during one of the battles, with Rhodesian forces in hot pursuit, vakasvika pamunda and saw this old man achirima. He quickly took this oldman’s jacket vachibva vabata gedyo. Mudhara uya achityaira mombe. Rhodesian soldiers arrived and asked them “wonile gandanga? Cde Rex, stammered saying, ahhh, ahhh hatina kuwona gandanga. The Rhodesian forces then left. After a while, Cde Rex started walking in a different direction.

Cde Tongo was the chief of defence (COD). He was a militant like Cde Samora. Vaiti ndikati comrade run, I mean exactly that. His command yakanga isina nhetemwa. Cde William Ndangana was fearless and whatever he did, he did it to perfection. Cde Mayor Urimbo was a good political commissar. I later was assigned to the commissariat department, teaching people the Zanu doctrine. We made sure people knew the Zanu bible. Kuti munhu wakavingei kuno. This was not a diner party. War is not a dinner party. I did this later, so tichasvika hedu ikoko.

SM: As female recruits, how would you deal with the issue about your periods?

Cde Pronica: Before tagadzirwa naMbuya Nehanda and as we walked to Chifombo, some of the female recruits who were older than me were already going for their periods and to be honest, munhu aiyenda kuperiod kusvika apedza pasina chaaisa. You would be lucky if we got to a river that’s when one would clean herself. However, after a while, some comrades advised these female recruits that they could use gwati remuti unonzi Mudzanga. Vaitora gwati remuti uyu voenda naro paruware vaita kunge vari kuriwacha. After a while gwati iri would become soft then votoisa kuvhara ropa. That gwati was the soap, the towel and the cotton. But then Mudzanga uyu was not found everywhere. So this really was a big problem. But like I told you after sometime, most female comrades stopped having their periods after the ritual by Mbuya Nehanda.

SM: Let’s go back to your journey. So you went for military training at Nachingweya?

Cde Pronica: We were accompanied to Nachingweya by two commanders from Zanla, Cde Elias Hondo and Cde Joseph Khumalo. We were told that as the first female comrades to receive military training, after the training we were to become instructors with the responsibility to train other female comrades. Nachingweya was a Frelimo camp. On our way to Nachingweya, we got to Mbeya where we met Cde Pedzisa and other comrades. At Mbeya that’s when we discovered that one of our comrades, Cde Tichahwina was pregnant. She was vomiting most of the time along the way. She was ordered to go back to Lusaka.

SM: You told us of Nzira Dzemasoja Dzekuzvibata Nadzo. What then had happened to Cde Tichahwina?

Cde Pronica: Pane vanhu hapashaye ane musikanzwa. The person responsible was Cde Rex Nhongo (Cde Solomon Mujuru). So when we got to Nachingweya, we were given some instructors from Frelimo — one female instructor and three males. The overall commander was Cde Samora Machel. This was a very big camp and there were many comrades here. Our training was from March to September 1974. Our pass-out parade was during the first week of October.

SM: Tell us briefly about your training?

Cde Pronica: We received military training. The instructors never looked at us as women. We were being trained to be fighters and to be trainers. Takadzidziswa pfuti dzese. We were taught how to defend ourselves in the battlefield, tactics to wage a war. This is what Cde James Bond meant when he said “takadya majaravanda ehondo.” Majaravanda ehondo were tactics to fight a war. The training was rigorous. Sometimes, we would be driven many kilometres away from the camp and we would be dumped right in the middle of thick forests. The instructors would say, toonana kucamp and leave. We were supposed to know how to walk and fight ourselves back to the camp. We were taught cover and crawl. We were taught kuti kana uchimhanya to take cover haungomhanyi. Unomhanya zvine military art. You don’t just crawl. You crawl with a set target. You were supposed to use tactics that suited the terrain you were in. You had to calculate your time, know the type of tactic to use in order to reach the other point. We were taught what to do in case of a surprise attack and how to plan our own attack. We were also given lots political orientation.

SM: No one among you gave up?

Cde Pronica: Giving up going where? There was no time for that. Remember we were in the middle of a thick forest so there was nowhere one could escape to. Cde Samora would occasionally come to monitor our progress.

SM: What kind of a person was Cde Samora Machel?

Cde Pronica: He was a militant person. He would not beat about the bushes when solving an issue. Akanga asinganyengereri. He was very straightforward and tough. We now understood a bit of Portuguese. Like when you want to say tinotaura you say, tinofarari. Farari mpokadhinya (kutaura zvidiki) or farari mazhi (kutaura zvizhinji).

SM: After training where were you deployed?

Cde Pronica: After training, we came back to Chifombo. Our first role was to carry materiel to Zambezi River. Under the commissariat, one of our roles was to compose songs to keep comrades motivated. We would sing; “Ndinofunga nezveropa, rakadeuka! Mumakomo, mapani nemunzizi!” We would compose the songs according to the situation that we would be facing at that particular time.

SM: Did you compose any song?

Cde Pronica: We composed songs in groups.

SM: What was your favourite song?

Cde Pronica: After finishing training, we would sing: “Tinofa tichienda, kuZimbabwe! Kudzamara tiyambuke munaZambezi! Kudzamara tinosvika muZimbabwe! (tears rolling down) Humambo hwedu huri muZimbabwe! Haufanane nehumambo Biritiana! Haufanane nehumambo Biritiana!” I used to enjoy this song.

SM: Why the tears Cde Pronica?

Cde Pronica: Ndiri kudzamirwa. I am visualising the situation (more tears). Dai taimboenda kuChifombo kwacho so that you really understand the war. This wasn’t easy so ndinodzamirwa zvakanyanya. We left many comrades musango. They come in my eyes. After carrying materiel until 1975, then came détente. This was also the time that Cde Chitepo passed away. Many of our leaders, the planners of the war were arrested and the party was destabilised. There was breakdown of communication and coordination.

The comrades at Mgagao didn’t know what was happening at the war front and those in Zambia didn’t know what was happening at Mgagao and those at the war front didn’t know what was happening at the rear. Some comrades actually came back from the war front to the rear. I remember that’s when some comrades including Cde Gwindingwi wrote a letter to the Tanzania government saying our leaders have been arrested but we want to continue the war. That is when the song “Yakange yaoma, kuTanzania! Hondo yakange yaoma!” was composed. The Tanzania government understood our situation and hondo yakaenderera mberi.

We had divided the areas. There was ZZ which meant Zambia-Zimbabwe. It meant operating from Zambia into Zimbabwe. There was MMZ — Mozambique- Malawi-Zimbabwe. From 1976, the war spread to Manicaland to Gaza. The war was now everywhere and many people were joining the struggle. That’s when those comrades came to destroy fuel tanks in Harare.

Next week, Cde Pronica will continue narrating her story. As one of the female comrades who were later deployed to the war front, her story is just too reverting. Don’t miss The Sunday Mail next week.
UK's Petrofac Resumes Tunisia Gas Production
2017-05-28 09:50

Tunis - British energy firm Petrofac has resumed production at gas plant in Tunisia after a stoppage that lasted several months, the company and a trade union said on Saturday.

"Yesterday (Friday) natural gas was brought by pipeline to Sfax" from the Chergui field operated by Petrofac, Abdelhadi Ben Jemaa, secretary general of the powerful UGTT trade union in second city Sfax, told AFP.

Petrofac confirmed that work had resumed at the Chergui gas field concession on Kerkennah island in southeast Tunisia.

"Yes, we have recently resumed," a spokesperon for the energy firm told AFP from London.

In September, Tunisia's government said Petrofac was pulling out of the North African country because of a labour dispute that had paralysed its operations since the start of 2016.

Days later the government said a deal had been worked out, but at the end of 2016 the company declared its "technical shutdown", following further protests by demonstrators calling for permanent jobs.

The protesters, who were also demanding development projects for their region, blocked roads used by company trucks.

The unrest began at the start of 2016 after the end of a programme largely financed by Petrofac and created in the wake of Tunisia's 2011 uprising to get unemployed graduates into work, although often without permanent contracts or benefits.

Petrofac said it could no longer fund the programme and called on the Tunisian state to take over.

Ben Jemma said Petrofac was able to resume operations after work was undertaken to develop the small port of Sidi Fraj in Kerkennah.

This, he said, would allow trucks to avoid the Sidi Youssef port which was on the road that protesters blocked previously.

"It is too soon to say if this new solution (will work)... but it is positive," he added.

Petrofac has a 45% stake in the Chergui facility, with Tunisia's national oil company holding the rest.

Resumption of work there is important for Tunisia, which has been battling high unemployment and has also been hit by a spate of jihadist attacks.

It also comes after President Beji Caid Essebsi said on Friday that economic indicators for the first quarter of 2017 "are relatively positive".
Exclusive: Signs of More Trouble in Ivory Coast as Hidden Hand Saves Mutineers
By Joe Bavier and Ange Aboa | ABIDJAN
Reuters

When a rag-tag group of soldiers launched a mutiny in Ivory Coast earlier this month, it looked like they were doomed. A column of elite troops quickly descended to put the mutiny down. The rebels were running out of ammunition and the armories had been locked.

Then, the phone rang.

According to one of the mutiny leaders, the caller, whose identity the mutineers declined to disclose, told them where they could find weapons: at the home of an aide to the parliament speaker.

The group initially feared a trap, but when they reached the location, they found dozens of crates of rifles, machineguns, grenade launchers and ammunition.

Freshly armed, the mutineers were able to hold their ground.

Swiftly, President Alassane Ouattara's forces sent in to crush the mutiny began falling apart, according to one Special Forces officer who was part of it. The column U-turned and headed back to Abidjan, and for a second time this year, mutineers had brought Ouattara's government to its knees.

The incident exposed the deep dysfunction and lawlessness now jeopardizing Ivory Coast's recovery from a decade of turmoil and civil war.

The previously undisclosed phone call suggests powerful people were willing to help the mutineers. And the army, which still outgunned the rebels, was unwilling to follow orders to put the mutiny down.

"(General) Sekou Toure was giving orders and no one was listening," a regional security official told Reuters, referring to the military chief of staff. "What does that tell you? There's no control over the military."

"KNIFE EDGE MOMENT"

Ivory Coast, a former French colony known for decades as one of the most stable states in West Africa, is still recovering from a brief civil war fought after Ouattara won a disputed election in 2010 but incumbent Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down.

When Ouattara's backers supported by French troops finally arrested Gbagbo in 2011, the country emerged from the conflict swiftly, becoming Africa's fastest growing economy.

Investors duly poured in money and have so far tended to shrug off unrest -- including a similar army revolt in 2014 and an al Qaeda attack on a beach resort last year.

But behind the remarkably fast recovery, there is still a threat of more violence. A new election is due in 2020, and those who study the country say there is a growing risk it could unravel again.

"It's really a knife-edge moment," said Edward George, Head of Group Research at pan-African lender Ecobank. "It wouldn't take too much more to ... spook investors."

Ouattara has still had difficulty asserting his authority over the army, which was cobbled together in an uneasy merger of the northern New Forces rebels who supported him and the professional troops who had fought against him.

In January, 8,400 former rebels mutinied, demanding bonuses for having helped Ouattara to power. The unrest spread across the country and a panicked government paid 5 million CFA francs ($8,500) to each of them to end it.

It promised another 7 million CFA francs apiece in monthly installments -- at a cost of around $100 million -- but a drop in the price of its main export cocoa provoked a budget crunch.

Since February, according to several diplomatic sources, the government had been seeking a way out of the promise.

This month, it seemed to have had found one. On May 11, state TV broadcast a statement by a visibly nervous, beret-clad soldier identified as the mutineers' spokesman.

Named as Sergeant Fofana, he apologized to Ouattara, who was seated nearby, and said the troops had dropped their remaining demands for payments.

There was only one hitch: no one had told the mutineers.

"We never spoke about dropping the demand for money," said one of the mutiny leaders, who asked not be identified for fear of reprisals.

The next morning, gunfire was heard in cities and towns across the country. Roads were barricaded. In Abidjan, mutineers overran the army headquarters and defense ministry.

Toure, the chief of staff, announced an operation to "re-establish order" and a column of elite troops was deployed towards Bouake, heart of the mutiny.

"THEY WERE GOING TO KILL US"

In a roadside village south of Bouake the following day, a group of low-ranking soldiers sat down with the officers commanding the column. The officers told the soldiers that Ouattara no longer wanted discussions, that their mutiny had tarnished the country's name, and they must give up now or face the consequences, recalls one soldier present at the meeting.

"We knew if we backed down, they were going to kill us," the mutineer told Reuters.

It should have been easy for elite forces to put down the revolt. Diplomats said the government had anticipated a reaction after Fofana's statement and locked armories at military bases.

But after the phone call led the mutineers to the secret stash of weapons, the mutiny spread, shutting down Ivory Coast's vital cocoa ports in Abidjan and San Pedro. With the chaos worsening, the government capitulated.

Authorities have not confirmed details of the agreement they reached to end the uprising, but mutiny participants were soon queuing up at banks in Bouake to withdraw 5 million CFA francs each. The mutineers say they each expect another 2 million CFA francs to be paid next month.

"This isn't just about cash. It's also about 2020," said Robert Besseling, executive director of risk advisory EXX Africa, referring to the election to succeed Ouattara, who is not permitted to stand for a third term. "I think over the next three years we'll see more outbreaks of this kind of unrest."

The mutineers all declined to name the person who told them about the weapons, but the home belonged to Souleymane Kamarate Kone, better known by his nom de guerre "Soul to Soul", the head of protocol for parliament speaker Guillaume Soro.

The former head of the pro-Ouattara rebellion, Soro is a contender to take over from the president but faces strong opposition from others in the ruling coalition.

Attempts to reach Kone for comment were unsuccessful. He is due to speak to gendarmes about the affair on Friday, according to a copy of a summons seen by Reuters.

Soro issued a statement saying he would not discuss the weapons found at the home of his aide: "Such issues fall under defense secrets. You can therefore understand that I won't allow myself to comment."

But the mutiny leaders say they were undoubtedly saved by the secret cache: "Without Soul to Soul's weapons we couldn't have held out if they attacked," said one.

"We could have hidden and fought with guerrilla tactics but not for long. Yes, it saved us."

($1 = 587.5500 CFA francs)

(Editing by Tim Cocks and Peter Graff)
The Leader’s Unified Leadership System
The leader’s unified leadership system is, in a nutshell, a political system that guarantees the leading position and role of the leader in socialist politics.

In other words, it is a political system whereby the revolution and construction are conducted with the leader’s ideology as the guideline and the whole WPK, the entire country and all the service personnel and other people move as one according to his orders and directives.

First, the leader’s unified leadership system is a system of ideology whereby the revolution and construction are conducted with the leader’s revolutionary ideology as the sole guideline.

Because they reflect the working people’s aspirations and demands most correctly, the Juche idea and the Songun idea created by Kim Il Sung serve as the sole guideline in the revolution and construction and the activities of the WPK and the state.

Second, the leader’s unified leadership system is a system of discipline and order whereby the people support only his organizational leadership and move as one according to his directives.

In the DPRK the leader’s organizational leadership enables all political organizations and members of society to achieve unity of action since it reflects the will of the whole WPK and all the people.

That is why the whole WPK, the entire country and all the service personnel and other people have achieved solid unity and cohesion, moving as one under the leader’s unified leadership.

The leader’s unified leadership system constitutes the core of the DPRK’s socialist political system.
Test-fire of New-type Anti-Aircraft Guided Weapon System Inspected
Kim Jong Un, Chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea, Chairman of the DPRK State Affairs Commission and Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army, watched the test-fire of a new-type anti-aircraft guided weapon system organized by the Academy of National Defence Science.

The Supreme Leader was told about the test-fire program for a new weapon system at the observation post before ordering the start of its test-fire.

Watching the successful test-fire, he said ardently:
Seeing such a perfect new-type anti-aircraft guided weapon system, I miss General Kim Jong Il more a lot. That weapon system is a posthumous one the development of which had been guided by him with much effort since the start. The General would have been very glad to see this perfect weapon system as he had put his heart and soul into the work to bolster up the state anti-aircraft capability until the last moments of his life.

He told KPA commanding officers and officials of the academy that the weapon system's efficiency to detect and track targets has remarkably improved and its hitting accuracy has also increased, compared with those of last year. Some defects in the weapon system, discovered last year, were perfectly overcome to stand the test, he said, adding: This weapon system, whose operation capability has been thoroughly verified, should be mass-produced to deploy it all over the country like forests so as to completely spoil the enemy's wild dream to command the air, boasting of air supremacy and weapon almighty.

He set forth important tasks for the strategy of developing modern anti-aircraft guided weapon system of Korean style.

Accompanying him were Hwang Pyong So, Ri Yong Gil, O Kum Chol, Kim Kwang Hyok, Ri Pyong Chol, Kim Jong Sik and Jong Sung Il.

KCNA

Properly Combining the Class Line With the Mass Line
To properly combine the class line with the mass line means to properly embody the requirements of both the class line and the mass line in strengthening the revolutionary ranks and conducting the revolution and construction.

To implement the class line means to maintain the working-class principles in the revolution and construction and resolve all problems from the working-class standpoint. The DPRK defends the class character and revolutionary character of the working class in pushing forward the revolution and construction, thereby advancing the cause of socialism victoriously without any deviation or deflection.

To implement the mass line means to safeguard the interests of the broad sections of the people and resolve all the problems arising in the revolution and construction by actively enlisting the people’s inexhaustible creative strength and wisdom with confidence in them.

In politics the DPRK thoroughly embodies the principle of the Juche idea that the masses are the masters of the revolution and construction and they also have the strength to promote the revolution and construction. By doing so, it gives full play to the people’s revolutionary enthusiasm and creative initiative and, by relying on them, propels the revolution and construction.
Cuba Celebrates its African Roots
Cuba celebrated Africa Day this Thursday, May 25, with an event held in Havana, attended by members of the Party Political Bureau, Salvador Valdés Mesa, a vice president of the Council of State; Esteban Lazo Hernandez, president of the National Assembly of People’s Power; and Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, minister of Foreign Affairs

Darcy Borrero Batista | informacion@granma.cu
May 26, 2017 15:05:48

“Africa will always be able to count on Cuba,” Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Rogelio Sierra stated this Thursday during a political-cultural act in Havana, on the occasion of Africa Day.

Presided by members of the Party Political Bureau, Salvador Valdés Mesa, a vice president of the Council of State; Esteban Lazo Hernandez, president of the National Assembly of People’s Power; and Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, minister of Foreign Affairs, the event was an opportunity to recall the shared history of Cuba and Africa.

In addition to thanking African nations for their position against the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States on the island, Sierra highlighted Cuba’s support for the continent, which represents almost a third of UN member states and is currently the second fastest growing region of the world.

The deputy minister recalled the words of Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro when he stated that Africa does not need interference, but rather the transfer of financial resources.

Sierra also emphasized that some twenty African delegations accompanied the tributes to the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution following his death last November; and stressed that Havana is one of the global capitals with the largest African diplomatic presence, after the opening of the embassies of Niger, Kenya and Seychelles.

“Some 6,000 Cubans are collaborating today in Africa; and more than 29,000 Africans from 54 countries have graduated in Cuba,” he noted, while emphasizing that Cuba is committed to contributing to Africa’s development.

He added that Africa Day, which marks the founding in 1963 of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) - today the African Union (AU) - offers an opportunity to recall Fidel’s tours of the continent 45 years ago. The OAU was the cornerstone of institutional strengthening and African cooperation, he noted.

Meanwhile, Guinean representative to the AU, Hawa Diakité Kaba, whose country currently holds the pro tempore presidency of the organization, recalled Fidel’s strong ties with African revolutionaries such as Neto, Mandela and Lumumba.

On behalf of the AU, Diakité sent greetings from the president of Guinea to Army General Raúl Castro, and described the relations between the bloc and the island as profound and historic, expressed since the 1960s through Cuban support for the liberation movements of Angola, Ethiopia, Congo, among other nations.

Speaking before Cuban Foreign Ministry, Party and government officials, and members and heads of mission of the diplomatic corps accredited in Havana, as well as African students on the island, Diakité expressed her gratitude for Cuba’s assistance in areas such as health and education, an example of South-South cooperation.
The Little Known Africa
Although the mainstream media focuses daily on negative news stories in Africa, there is another reality to the continent, which today, May 25, is celebrating its day

Darcy Borrero Batista | informacion@granma.cu
May 25, 2017 14:05:38

Although the mainstream media focuses daily on negative news stories in Africa, there is another reality to the continent, which today, May 25, is celebrating its day, confident of its decisive role in international affairs. Today Africa can not be ignored or underestimated.

Fifty-four years have passed since the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1963, giving rise to Africa Day. Much has changed in the continent which has since then consolidated itself as a strategic bloc.

The OAU – today the African Union (AU) – has brought together the 55 nations of the region, including the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and the youngest country of the world, South Sudan, under its principles of respect for the sovereignty and independence of each state. After a long period of voluntary absence, Morocco returned to the organization during the last AU Summit in February.

Thus, the third largest continent in the world, with 20.4% of the world’s total land, is experiencing an unprecedented moment of cohesion, and is committed to the defense and exploitation of its natural resources for the benefit of its peoples. According to the UN Concise Report on the World Population Situation 2014, the world’s highest population growth rate will be concentrated in Africa: “by 2050, Africa will be growing more than 6 times as fast as Latin America and the Caribbean and more than 15 times as fast as Asia,” the report reads.

The growing position of Africa as a strategic area is linked, in addition to its natural and mining wealth, to the fact that by 2050, it will see more than 80% of the world population increase, while Asia will represent just 12%. In addition, between 1994 and 2014, this was the continent where there was “the largest absolute change in under-5 mortality… with a decline from 168 to 101 deaths per 1,000 live births.”

                                                                 ***

In Cuba, where there is a notable African heritage, a proactive foreign policy toward this region has been followed since the triumph of the Revolution. The island is proud to belong to the African Diaspora, which the AU refers to as the continent’s “sixth region.”

Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro took the decision early on to send both civilian and military aid, as well as Cuban soldiers, to support the national liberation movements of several countries including Angola, Ethiopia and Congo, “in fulfillment of our sacred internationalist duty.” Since then, Cuba has reiterated its readiness to strengthen the relations of solidarity and cooperation with African nations, as demonstrated by the thousands of Cuban collaborators that today contribute to the socio-economic development of the continent.

Cuba’s solidarity with Africa not only stems from a sense of duty, but from the African blood that was shed in the island’s pro-independence movements since the nineteenth century, as well as the cultural legacy of Africans in Cuba. In this sense, the authorities of the island have reiterated their support for the implementation of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, rooted in Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance.

***

The good news in Africa, although rarely reported in the mainstream media, includes many advances. Several African countries have recently established free or compulsory primary education. Life expectancy over the past 20 years in the region has increased by 6.5 years, and the least developed countries made significant progress, with an 8.9-year life expectancy increase in the same period, according to the UN report.

Sub-Saharan Africa has three countries — Rwanda (6), Namibia (16) and South Africa (17) — which rank among the top 20 countries in the world with the lowest gender gap in health, education, economic opportunities and political representation, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2015.

In 2011, it was revealed that Ghana — with strong political stability, rising social and health indices, and oil — was the second-fastest growing economy in the world after Qatar.

Another notable example is Seychelles, a small island developing state whose current President Danny Foure studied in Cuba. “In the period from independence in 1976 to 2003, the country made remarkable social and economic progress. The economy grew consistently and all social and economic indicators demonstrated regular advances. As a result, by 2003 Seychelles differed from the majority of countries benefiting from UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) support,” read the 2009 Assessment of Development Results: Evaluation of UNDP Contribution on the country.

It would appear that this reality is not of interest to mainstream media outlets. One could argue that hegemonic powers prefer to obscure African progress. This would not be surprising, marking just another in a long line of steps taken against the continent, which saw so many of its peoples forced into slavery to benefit world powers, while the burden of underdevelopment befell their own nations, robbed of their natural riches.

However, today offers us an opportunity to congratulate Africa on its day, and to commit ourselves to its reconstruction.
There Is No Future Without The Past
The only, definitive independence Cubans celebrate is that achieved on January 1, 1959, with the leadership of our undefeated Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz. Someone failed to tell Donald Trump this, before he congratulated the Cuban people for their independence on May 20.

Oscar Sánchez Serra | informacion@granma.cu
May 23, 2017 10:05:19

SOMEONE failed to tell Donald Trump the truth, before the U.S. President congratulated the Cuban people for their independence on May 20.

I suppose he should be given the benefit of the doubt, since he is evidently poorly advised, and only listens to those who long for a return to colonial days. Otherwise he would never have evoked the 115th anniversary of May 1902, or sent Cubans a message of congratulations.

Cuba, its people and government, have expressed our willingness to discuss any issue with the United States, and maintain civilized relations, respecting our differences. It is in this spirit that we could also talk about May 20, which is not celebrated on this sovereign, independent island, but about which we know a great deal.

There was no independence gained 115 years ago. The story is a bit longer.

In 1898, the Cuban Liberation Army had practically won the war against Spain. The colonial forces were defeated, demoralized, and physically exhausted.

In this context, a Congressional resolution was approved, authorizing U.S. intervention in the conflict, with the goal of guaranteeing Cuba's independence. Mambi leaders were unaware of a letter from the U.S. assistant secretary of War who wrote that everything in Cuba "within the range of our cannons" should be destroyed. He called for a blockade to cause hunger and disease, to torment the population and undermine the insurgent army. He proposed "creating difficulties" for an independent government, to force submission to U.S. demands, to weaken all contenders for power, with the ultimate goal of justifying U.S. annexation of Cuba.

Take note: a blockade to produce hunger… any likeness to the blockade we have suffered for 55 years now is NO coincidence. This is the lead-up to May 20, 1902. Can this independence be celebrated? Do these events call for congratulations?

The episode was preceded by the explosion of the Maine in Havana Bay, February 15, 1898. President William McKinley himself recognized that the investigating committee charged with clarifying events had not been able to identify those responsible for the explosion, but insisted that the real issue was Spain's inability to protect a U.S. ship visiting the island on a "legitimate mission of peace."

This was the pretext for declaring war on Spain, the first step leading to May 20. As Vladimir Ilyich Lenin stated, the first imperialist war of the modern era had begun.

But there was more to come along the route, including the infamous Treaty of Paris signed on December 10, 1898, which decreed an end to Spanish colonial rule in the Caribbean, committing a grievous crime against the dignity of Cubans who were not included in the talks. The United States "arranged" the country's freedom, which it did nothing to win, never experiencing any of the bloody fighting. Spain renounced, or better surrendered, a right it had lost on the battlefield.

May 20 arrived following elections in June of 1900 which violated Cubans' rights. Women could not vote, only men who had reached 21 years of age. Moreover the vote left Cuba with a Constitution that clearly abridged the country's sovereignty and independence. The Platt Amendment, imposed by the United States, established, in fact, a neocolonial republic.

The amendment includes eight points to "define the future relations of the United States with Cuba," and the thirds states, "The government of Cuba consents that the United States may exercise the right to intervene for the preservation of Cuban independence, the maintenance of a government adequate for the protection of life, property, and individual liberty, and for discharging the obligations with respect to Cuba imposed by the Treaty of Paris on the United States, now to be assumed and undertaken by the government of Cuba."

In a substantive article published in Granma, November 2, 2016, Ernesto Limia stated, "The United States proposed including the Platt Amendment as an appendix to the Cuban Constitution, making this a condition for the withdrawal of their military contingent. With this goal attained, on May 20, 1902, the U.S. allowed the island to have a republic, which was obliged to submit to Yankee tutelage to be born. That year, in his State of the Union speech, President Theodore Roosevelt addressed the issue, noting that Cuba was geographically close and that any event benefiting or damaging it also affected the U.S. - adding, "Cuba has in her constitution affirmed what we desired, that she should stand, in international matters, in closer and more friendly relations with us than with any other power."

There is no doubt that President Trump has been badly advised. Those who helped or counseled him must have read José Martí wrong. Trump made a poor attempt to co-opt Martí's assertion, "Cruel despotism cannot extinguish the flame of liberty in the hearts of Cubans, and unjust persecution cannot alter the dream of Cubans that their children live free, without oppression."

No one better than the prophet of Cuba's independence to warn of the dangerous neighbor to the North, making this clear in a letter to Mexican friend Manuel Mercado, May 18, 1895: "Everyday I am in danger of giving my life for my country, for my duty - given that I understand and am willing to do so, in order to prevent on time that, with the independence of Cuba, the United States extend itself throughout the Caribbean, and with this added strength, fall upon the lands of our America. All that I do today, and will do, is for this."

Nine years later, on another May 20, in 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt announced to the U.S. Senate that he would extend the precepts of the Platt Amendment to Central America and the Caribbean. Martí knew more than many others about the United States, where he lived for 14 years, drawing from the depths of his patriotic soul the phrase, "I lived in the monster and know its entrails."

May 20, 1902, arrived with the dissolution of the Cuban Revolutionary Party, founded by Martí to undertake the "necessary" war for the country's true freedom. This decision was made by then-President of the republic, Tomás Estrada Palma, who succeeded Martí as the delegate of the party, precisely 11 days after the Treaty of Paris had been signed by Spain and the United States, in which Cuba was treated like the spoils of war.

The only, definitive independence Cubans celebrate is that achieved on January 1, 1959, with the leadership of our undefeated Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz.

As for the events which occurred 115 years ago, we can turn to the always-instructive remarks of Eusebio Leal Spengler, who I heard say in May of 2001, "We are not going to celebrate May 20, 1902, but we are going to commemorate it, we are going to remember. We must analyze the republic with depth, to understand this Revolution we have. There is no future without the past."
New Book on Fidel’s Political-Economic Thought Launched
The 240-page work was published by Cuban editorial Ciencias Sociales in honor of its 50th anniversary and features various texts complied by Hero of the Republic of Cuba Ramón Labañino, and Deputy Rector of La Sapienza University in Italy, Luciano Vasapollo

Prensa Latina (PL) | informacion@granma.cu
May 26, 2017 09:05:43
Photo: Prensa Latina

Havana.- On May 25, Cuban publisher Ciencias Sociales launched the book Yo soy Fidel: Pensamiento económico y político (I am Fidel: Political and Economic Thought), which explores the continued relevance of the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution’s thought.

The 240-page work features various texts complied by Hero of the Republic of Cuba Ramón Labañino, and Deputy Rector of La Sapienza University in Italy, Luciano Vasapollo, and was launched in honor of the editorial’s 50th anniversary.

The new book includes articles by Cuban economists, accountants, and journalists on Fidel Castro’s ideas regarding various contemporary issues.

According to Labañino, also vice president of the National Association of Economists and Accountants of Cuba, the idea for the book emerged following the Comandante en Jefe’s death last November 25, and the importance of preserving and disseminating his ideas.

He also noted that not all the articles in the book focus solely on economic issues, but also address Fidel’s thoughts on politics, science and humanism.

Meanwhile, Vasapollo highlighted the importance of the work for European readers, which not only explores the figure of Fidel Castro the economist, but also the revolutionary, and defender of cultural and human heritage. (PL)
Heberprot-P Arrives in the EU
Since being launched on the international market, Heberprot-P has been registered in more than 20 countries and used to treat some 250,000 people worldwide

Prensa Latina | internet@granma.cu
May 24, 2017 17:05:09
Photo: CubaSI

A delegation of Cuban health professionals arrived to Slovakia May 24, where they will offer assistance in the application of Heberprot-P, a unique medication developed by the island’s Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Center (CIGB) to treat diabetic foot ulcers, according to a report published on the Cuban Foreign Ministry website.

The note also highlighted that Slovakia will be the first country in the European Union (EU) to adopt the pharmaceutical, since it was launched on the international market over 10 years ago.

According to statistics from the National Medical Information Center, 8,000 people currently suffer from diabetic foot ulcers in the European country.

Slovakia’s Health Minister Boris Bánovsk, stated that the goal is to offer citizens modern, specialist treatment, able to cure the condition and improve their quality of life.

The aim is to see the largest possible number of patients, who meet the indicated requirements, receive the treatment, noted the official.

Meanwhile, the Cuban doctors were received by State Secretary at Slovakia’s Ministry of Health Andrea Kalavská, while the island’s Ambassador to the country, Yamila Pita, was also present during the encounter.

Since being launched on the international market, Heberprot-P has been registered in more than 20 countries and used to treat some 250,000 people worldwide, according to figures provided by Cuban healthcare institutions.

The injectable medication, which speeds up the healing process in patients with diabetic foot ulcers and reduces the risk of lower limb amputation in almost 80% of cases, received the Intellectual Property gold medal awarded by the World Health Organization.
Cuba Calls for Universal Health Coverage at WHO World Assembly
Dr. Roberto Morales Ojeda, Cuban minister of Public Health, called for universal medical coverage during the World Health Organization’s 70th World Assembly plenary session

Redacción Internacional | internacionales@granma.cu
May 24, 2017 10:05:19
Photo: Ismael Francisco

“Cuba supports the strengthening of systems geared toward achieving universal health coverage, recognizing that health is a fundamental human right and at the center of public policies for sustainable development,” stated Dr. Roberto Morales Ojeda, Cuban minister of Public Health, during the World Health Organization’s 70th World Assembly plenary session, taking place at the body’s headquarters in Geneva through May 31.

Morales Ojeda reported that by the end of 2016, life expectancy at birth in Cuba was 78.45 years, while the country also has a immunization program which protects against 13 diseases, and is comprised of 11 vaccines; eight of which are produced on the island, providing for over 98% coverage.

He also noted that Cuba continues to maintain key indicators which, in 2015, saw the island become the first country in the world to officially eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis.

“The foundations for the National Health System in Cuba were drawn up in 1959, the driving force behind which was the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz,” he stated.
The Cuban official also commented on the damage caused by the U.S. blockade to Cuba’s healthcare services, which in 2016 amounted to more than $87 million dollars.

Morales Ojeda once again condemned policies such as the “brain drain” which encourage Cuban professionals, above all those linked to the healthcare sector, to emigrate. Human capital is our most valuable resource. We have 493,000 healthcare sector workers and over 50,000 collaborators offering services in 63 countries, he added.

Among the challenges currently facing Cuba he noted the country’s rapidly ageing population, non-communicable chronic diseases, low birth rates, and the negative effects of climate change.

The UN 2030 Sustainable Development agenda provides the opportunity to develop better health systems and improve the population’s wellbeing in an unequal world, stated Dr. Roberto Morales Ojeda, noting that political will and collaboration are vital to such efforts. 
Cuba's Sustainable Development and Support of Caribbean Nations Recognized
Cuba's ability to promote sustainable development has been recognized by the UN's Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, ECLAC

Prensa Latina (PL) | informacion@granma.cu
May 23, 2017 09:05:10
Photo: Nuria Barbosa

PORT OF SPAIN.– Cuba's ability to promote sustainable development was recently recognized by the UN's Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, ECLAC.

Diane Quarless, director of the organization, commented that Cuba is in the vanguard of economic thought and development efforts in the region.

She highlighted the country's efforts in support of other Caribbean nations via cooperation, according to Guillermo Vázquez, Cuban ambassador in Trinidad and Tobago, who especially emphasized the work of the Henry Reeve medical contingent.

Cuba's accomplishments were noted during the 18th meeting of CEPAL's development and cooperation follow-up committee (CDCC), composed of members of the Caribbean Community, Caricom.

The CDCC was established as a means to supervise the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Action Plan.

Vázquez reported that additionally addressed during the meeting was the upcoming celebration of CEPAL's 70th anniversary, in February of 2018.
Amid Right-wing Violence, Caribbean Activists Call on CARICOM to Send Fact-finding Mission to Venezuela
The coalition calling for the mission wrote that they are “conscious of the history of foreign invasion … and the ignoble record of war, destruction, destabilization and territorial incursion which has frustrated Caribbean development, peace and stability”

TeleSUR English | informacion@granma.cu
May 24, 2017 10:05:34
Opposition supporters clash with security forces in Venezuela. Photo: Reuters

Amid the violent right-wing attacks that continue to ramp up after more than 50 days of ongoing protests, a number of activists and intellectuals from the Caribbean have called on the Caribbean Community, or CARICOM, to send a fact-finding mission to Venezuela.

In a press release issued last week, members of the Saint Lucia's Network in Defence of Humanity, St. Vincent and the Grenadines' Venezuelan-Vincentian Friendship Association, Barbados' Network in Defence of Humanity and Trinidad and Tobago's Movement for Social Justice stated the mission is imperative to “ascertain the internal situation of Venezuela.”

The coalition calling for the mission wrote that they are “conscious of the history of foreign invasion … and the ignoble record of war, destruction, destabilization and territorial incursion which has frustrated Caribbean development, peace and stability” also called on Caribbean leaders to respect Venezuela’s sovereignty. In turn, they warned of “colluding with external powers to subvert the security of Venezuela,” rejecting the “designation of Venezuela as a ‘threat to the security of the United States.’”

The activists calling for the mission were invited earlier this month to meet with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and to attend a consultation on the Venezuelan government’s decision to convene a national Constituent Assembly to create a new Constitution.

“(We) are mindful of the efforts by Venezuela to assist Caribbean development through initiatives such as ALBA, Petrocaribe, CELAC and teleSUR,” the group stated, highlighting long-standing Venezuelan-Caribbean solidarity. CARICOM itself stated its support for the Bolivarian government just last week.

Earlier this month, David Comissiong, the interim chairperson of the Caribbean chapter of the International Network In Defense of Humanity, had sent a similar letter to Caribbean authorities, also calling for a CARICOM fact-finding mission.

In addition, on Friday, a chapter of the Caribbean Network in Defense of Humanity opened up in St. Lucia, a group made up of activists that will work with Caribbean Network in Defense of Humanity, including those in Venezuela, Cuba and Haiti. (Telesur English)