Friday, June 23, 2017

Behind the London Tower Block Fire Which Left Many Dead, Injured and Displaced

People of color, the working class and poor have been negatively impacted by British economic and housing policy

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Monday June 19, 2017

Authorities in London, England announced on June 19 that 79 deaths have been officially recorded resulting from a fire which quickly swept through the Grenfell housing complex in North Kensington on June 13-14.

Immediately after the fire erupted many media outlets began to raise serious questions about the level of safety and preparedness inside the building.

Residents through their organizations had complained for several years about concerns related to the lack of sprinklers, fire alarms and effective maintenance of the structure. Apparently these complaints were not addressed by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC)Council which is said to be the owners of the flats.

Hundreds of residents and their supporters attempted to storm the RBKC Council proceedings on June 16 demanding answers to their questions. The doors of the building where the Council was meeting were locked as demonstrators rallied outside.

Residents and their family members who were interviewed by the press spoke to the abject failure of the owners and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organization which was supposed to oversee the conditions in the building. These entities did not provide proper fire prevention and rescue operation protocols at Grenfell Towers. After the fire started some residents reported that they were instructed by municipal employees to remain within the building.

Nonetheless, hundreds of the residents were able to escape without being severely injured. Others remain in hospital with some under critical care.

Later people rendered homeless went to makeshift relief centers seeking food, clothing, water, blankets and counseling. Volunteers from throughout the community donated supplies and food to the affected residents.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan visited the area of the fire the following day and was met with loud protests by residents and community members. The criticism centered on the absence of information related to transitional housing, clothing and food. Other concerns voiced by residents were the desire of many who were burned out that they could remain in the same neighborhood. Impacted tenants felt that these issues were not satisfactorily addressed by municipal and national governmental officials.

British Prime Minister Theresa May was admonished as well for failing to meet with residents and their families. She did visit the fire scene however the prime minister only spoke with firefighters and the police. Later she visited some of the injured victims in hospital.

Eyewitnesses, Community Organizations and Experts Blame Authorities for Disaster

Even the state-sponsored British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) could not conceal or minimize the culpability of the municipal officials in creating the conditions for the fire and subsequent deaths. Although North Kensington is considered a high-income area of London undergoing rapid gentrification, there are still large numbers of marginalized residents many of whom are from people of color communities with heritages in Africa, the Caribbean, South Asia, and the Middle East.

This racialized aspect of the disaster at Grenfell Tower became evident to readers and viewers of the media since a disproportionate number of people being interviewed were from nationally oppressed groups and the lower rungs of the working class. Anger is burgeoning among these groups who are saying the fire, its swift expansion, and the resulting injuries and deaths, were unnecessary. The general consensus is that if adequate safety precautions had been taken the fire may have never started or been confined to a small area of the housing block.
According to a post on the Grenfell Action Group website hours after the fire erupted, it says: “Watching breaking news about the Grenfell Tower fire catastrophe. Too soon (5am) to even guess at numbers of casualties and fatalities. Our heartfelt and sincere condolences (go out) to all who have perished, to the injured, to those who are bereaved or are still searching for missing loved ones. Regular readers of this blog will know that we have posted numerous warnings in recent years about the very poor fire safety standards at Grenfell Tower and elsewhere in RBKC. ALL OUR WARNINGS FELL ON DEAF EARS and we predicted that a catastrophe like this was inevitable and just a matter of time.” (

The channeling of marginalized and oppressed groups into what is called “social housing” in Britain is clearly a manifestation of the class and racial oriented approach to urban planning that permeates London and other major cities. Many of these social housing complexes are located in ageing buildings which have been refurbished in recent years utilizing substandard materials creating a tinderbox.

Experts have cited the use of cladding at Grenfell Tower as a possible cause of the rapid spread of the fire. With this being a 24-story building firefighters did not have the equipment to reach the higher levels of the structure leaving people helpless in the face of imminent death.

Although higher-income housing developments are within the same general area as Grenfell Tower, the safety of the poor and working class residents are not treated with the same sense of urgency and necessity. Despite the fact that residents had repeatedly expressed their fears related to structural problems within the block no serious efforts by the municipal authorities were enacted.
Bloomberg, one of the world’s most widely-read financial publications, admitted in a report written by Leonid Bershidsky on the tragedy at Grenfell Tower that: “As in much of Europe, the use of tower blocks as public housing in the U.K. began in the 1950s with a decision to provide public subsidies based on building height. The 1965 Housing Subsidy Act spawned 4,500 tower blocks by 1979. It wasn't a great idea for a lot of social reasons. By the end of the 1970s, a growing body of research showed that the social alienation of living in a high-rise increased psychological stress, that toxic materials used in industrial construction and insufficient thermal insulation led to health problems, and that widespread crime and disaffection was linked to the faulty urban planning.” (June 16)

Placing low-income residents from oppressed groups in high-rise tower blocks serves two obvious purposes. The buildings serve as a mechanism to contain the demographic shift of British and other European municipalities restricting the geographic spread of people of color communities.

From a financial perspective, by concentrating African, Asian, Middle Eastern and other working class residents in confined spaces where maintenance and safety costs are de-emphasized, it provides the capacity for urban governments to channel tax revenue as incentives for private housing and commercial developments which is far more lucrative for corporations which specialize in these projects. What remains to be seen is whether the British government will learn from this calamitous event providing policy imperatives to construct housing units which are safer and more humane for the working poor and immigrants.

Tower Block Fire Compounds Political Crisis for the Conservative Government

Prime Minister Theresa May had good reason not to want to meet residents of Grenfell Towers and their neighbors. A recent election in the country, which many political pundits say was unnecessary, resulted in the Conservative Party losing its absolute majority in parliament forcing the ruling group to seek an alliance with the small Northern Ireland Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in order to form a government. The prime minister could not afford to be seen on British and world television being heckled and denounced.

It is questionable whether May will be able to survive in her position in the coming weeks and months. Britain has been the site in recent months of several high-profile terrorist attacks in London and Manchester where many people have died.
On June 18, a crowd of Muslims coming from the Finsbury Park Mosque in North London were targeted by a white racist who drove his van into pedestrians. One person died in the attack and several others were seriously injured. People in the area said the assailant remarked that he was intent on killing Muslims.

The following day on June 19, Britain began negotiations with the European Union (EU) over its delinking from the continental organization. Brexit stemmed from another miscalculated election in June 2016 where the voters decided to withdraw from the EU, costing former Prime Minister David Cameron his position and triggering a recession inside the country due to the economic uncertainty going into the future.

Britain along with other western capitalist states will continue to experience political instability in light of the growing class and sectional differences among the populations. As long as the wealthy elites enhance their status with disregard for the majority of the people within society, the mounting social contradictions will undoubtedly prompt further economic turbulence and protracted ideological conflict.
Racism Against Blacks ‘Deeply Rooted’ in US Political System: Analyst
Tue Jun 20, 2017 6:19PM

To listen to this statement just click on the website below:

The culture of racism against African Americans is “deeply rooted” in the US political system, with a long history going back to the era of slavery in the 18th and 19th centuries, a black journalist in Detroit says.

Racism “has a long history; it's rooted in slavery; it continued after the Civil War,” said Abayomi Azikiwe, editor at the Pan-African News Wire.

“This is deeply rooted in US political and state apparatus and there has to be some fundamental changes in the United States before there’s going to be any real improvement,” Azikiwe said in a phone interview with Press TV on Tuesday.

The use of excessive force by police against African Americans in cities across the US has sparked nationwide protests in the past several years and has given birth to a movement called "Black Lives Matter."

Racial disparities in police officers’ treatment of black citizens have been well-documented.

A study published Monday by a group of researchers at Stanford University in California indicates that police officers are significantly less respectful and consistently ruder toward black motorists during routine traffic stops than they are toward white drivers.

“Based on what we know from other research, there are police-community tensions all over the country,” said Jennifer Eberhardt, a psychology professor at Stanford University who co-authored the report. “You might imagine that those tensions would make their way into the language that people are using with one another.”

On Friday, a police officer in Minnesota was cleared of all charges in the 2016 shooting death of Philando Castile, an African American man who was killed in his car in front of his fiancee and her four-year-old daughter.

The jury’s decision to clear the officer has sparked protests in several cities.

On Sunday, police in Seattle, Washington, killed a pregnant African American woman while responding to her call about a crime.

According to a statement by Seattle police, the mother-of-four was "armed with a knife" and "confronted" two officers who were investigating her phone call.
Africa-Cuba Solidarity Reaffirmed at Namibia Conference
Legacy of cooperation against colonialism and imperialism continues

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Thursday June 15, 2017

Close bonds between the people of the African continent and the Caribbean island-nation of Cuba have been centuries in the making.

Africans caught in the Atlantic Slave Trade were taken to Cuba where their presence made an indelible mark on the character of the political, economic and cultural fabric of the country.

Since the 1960s, in the early aftermath of the 1959 seizure of power by revolutionary forces led by Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and others, African independence and transformative struggles have constituted a major factor in Cuban foreign policy. President Castro noted in 1976 that socialist Cuba was populated by a Latin African people opposed to colonialism, racism and imperialism.

This historical tradition was reinforced at a recent conference held in Windhoek, Republic of Namibia which brought together African leaders and Cuban governmental officials to renew ties among the geo-political regions and to chart a way forward in the current period. The Fifth Continental African Conference of Solidarity with Cuba was convened June 6-8 and brought together over 200 delegates from 26 African states under the theme of “Intensifying Solidarity and Continuing the Legacy of Fidel and Che.”

The first of these conferences was held in South Africa in 1995 just one year after the demise of the racist-apartheid system that brought President Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress (ANC) to power. Subsequent gatherings took place in Ghana during 1997, Angola in 2010 and Ethiopia, the headquarters of the African Union (AU), in 2012.

1967 marks the 50th anniversary of the martyrdom of Che Guevara in Bolivia while he was in the South American country assisting revolutionary forces fighting against the neo-colonial regime which was supported by the United States. The Cuban Revolution from its inception posed a challenge to American imperialist dominance over the Caribbean, South America and other colonial and neo-colonial territories around the world.

In November 2016, 90-year old former President Fidel Castro passed away in Havana. His funeral was attended by many African leaders including Namibian President Hage Geingob who paid tribute to the revolutionary leader in an address to the mourners.

In a statement to the Conference,Namibian deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah emphasized that: “The holding of this conference is all the more timely because it is taking place when retrogressive forces are bent on reversing the gains made recently to normalize relations between Cuba and the United States.” Under the previous U.S. administration of President Barack Obama, the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba after a breach of over 50 years raised expectations of a possible lifting of the economic blockade imposed by Washington in October 1960.

Without the abolition of the blockade relations cannot be fully normalized despite the exchange of diplomats and the reopening of embassies. The U.S. Congress would have to approve the liquidation of the blockade and there are political elements within the legislature which categorically opposes full economic and trade relations with Havana.

Nonetheless, the Fifth Continental African Conference supported the address by Namibian President Hage Geingob who said: "We applaud the positive development in this respect and we commend the U.S. government and Cuba for their efforts towards normalizing of ties. However, there is still much ground left to cover to ensure the complete lifting of the blockage against Cuba.”

Geingob emphasized the urgency of the conference to develop a unified African strategy in regard to supporting Cuba. In addition, the delegates passed resolutions demanding the return of Guantanamo Bay, which remains over a century later after the so-called Spanish-American war under U.S. control, to the Cuban people.

A co-founder of the ruling Southwest Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) Party, Andimba Toivoya Toivo, who passed away just days after the conference, noted that: "Historically, Cuba assisted African countries in the fight against foreign domination. Through this patriotic support, Cuban people have shown us the meaning of solidarity, hence (we should show) our support for Cuba.”

Final Declaration Calls for Continuing Solidarity

African leaders viewed the current situation involving the status of U.S.-Cuban relations as being critical in light of the political character of the administration in Washington. President Donald Trump does have the prerogative of reversing the reforms instituted by his predecessor.

Therefore, the Conference stressed as a mandate for future actions to“continue developing and strengthening the Cuba solidarity movement in each one of our countries, struggling for unity and truth …. We demand that Cuba’s right to self-determination and sovereignty, as well as its right to decide the political system of its choice, be respected.”(Granma International, June 7)

Moreover, the struggle to maintain and enhance the independence and sovereignty of Cuba is linked with other countries within the region. In recognizing this reality the conference expanded its scope to encompass other states which have also been under pressure from successive U.S. administrations.

Therefore, the final declaration pledged support to “the causes of all sister countries struggling for a better world. In particular, we pledge our support to Puerto Rico in its struggle for self-determination, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and the people of Brazil, Bolivia, and Argentina, and all peoples of the continent defending their sovereignty.”

In attendance as well from Cuba were Fernado González, president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) and Cuban Ambassador in Namibia, Giraldo Mazola.

Historical Tradition of Solidarity and Cooperation

In 1961 in the aftermath of the assassination of Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, Cuban Minister of Economic Planning Che Guevara spoke out strongly in condemnation of the murderous act which was carried out by the U.S., Belgium and other imperialist states utilizing local surrogates. Che during 1965 toured Africa in an effort to build solidarity and make preparations for Cuban internationalists intervention in Congo aimed at supporting the revolutionary forces fighting for the ideals of Lumumba.

Although this mission was not successful, the experience taught profound lessons which laid the foundation for the deployment of Cuban military units a decade later in Angola in defense of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) beginning in October 1975. President Fidel Castro was requested to send support by Angolan President Agostino Neto in the face of an invasion by the South African Defense Forces (SADF), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the surrogate U.S.-backed UNITA and FNLA rebel groups designed to derail the genuine independence of the oil-rich former Portuguese colony.

Cuban Internationalists spent another 13 years in Angola where they assisted in defeating the SADF in a series of battles around Cuito Cuanavale in 1988. After the humiliating losses by the SADF, negotiations began which resulted in the liberation of Namibia, the release of South African political prisoners in 1990 and the transition to non-racial democratic rule in the citadel of apartheid settler-colonialism by 1994.

In recent years, Cuba has educated thousands of African students in universities in the Caribbean socialist state. These students are provided with free tuition and lodging.

During the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) pandemic of 2014, Cuba deployed hundreds of physicians and other healthcare workers to Liberia and Sierra Leone, two of the hardest hit West African states, which was instrumental in turning the tide in efforts to halt and eradicate the crisis. The U.S. was forced to recognize the role of Cuba in the battle against EVD which paved the way for the reopening of diplomatic relations.

Outside of the conference deliberations in Windhoek, the delegates visited historic sites including Heroes Acre and the Museum of Independence on June 7. The participants decided in its conclusion that the Federal Republic of Nigeria will be the venue of the next Continental African Conference in Solidarity with Cuba.
Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast for Sat. June 17, 2017--Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe
Listen to this 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 program just click on the following URL:

The program features our regular PANW report with dispatches on the horrendous fire at the Grenfell Towers in the West London area of North  Kensington where at least 30 people have been confirmed dead; a tribute to Cuba-Argentine Revolutionary Che Guevara has taken place in Santa Clara; Venezuelan President Nicolas Madura has lashed out at United States foreign policy toward Cuba; and a jury in Minnesota has acquitted the police officer who shot dead Philando Castile.

In the second hour we look at African American singer Ruby Elzy in a documentary about her life, times and contributions.

Finally we rebroadcast a Global Research News Hour program on the situation involving state-sponsored violence against the African American people.
Field Guidance to Newly-built Dental Sanitary Goods Factory
Kim Jong Un, Chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea, Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK and Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army, provided field guidance to the newly-built Dental Sanitary Goods Factory.

He personally initiated the building of the factory and solved all issues arising in its project. With a total floor space of more than 12 720 square metres, the factory produces tens of millions of toothpastes, gargles and dental sanitary implements.

Feasting his eyes on the overall view of the factory, Kim Jong Un said that another stylish factory has been built and that it looked good and smart as its outer walls are tiled with white and green colour suitable for the appearance of the sanitary goods producer.

After being briefed on the factory in front of maps showing its production diagram and its panoramic view, he went round an integrated production control room, toothpaste production process, gargle production process, dental sanitary goods production process, analysis room and various other places to learn in detail about construction and production there.

Saying that the factory is the one greatly conducive to promoting the people's health and the one to which he is attaching great importance, he gave instructions which would serve as guidelines in its management and operation.

Noting that the new factory had his wish realized to give varieties of good-quality dental sanitary goods to the people, he said with pleasure that he was very glad to do another worthwhile work for the people's long life in good health.

He said that the factory should keep production going at a high rate, provide people with good-quality dental sanitary goods without running out of stock and thus make them get benefit, adding that he would solve all issues arising in production. He stressed the need to make a report to him on the knotty issues in good time.

The Party has directed big efforts to the work for consolidating the material and technical foundation of the public health sector in order to give full play to the advantages of the socialist healthcare system of our country without an equal in the world in which the Party and the state are taking care of the life and health of the people in a responsible manner, he said, underscoring the need for our people to fully enjoy happy life, keenly feeling the benefits of the socialist healthcare system.

He expressed expectation that the officials and employees of the factory would devote their unsparing efforts, passion and wisdom to the drive for making contribution to promoting the people's health.
Accompanying him were Hwang Pyong So, Pak Pong Ju, Choe Thae Bok, O Su Yong, An Jong Su, So Hong Chan, Jo Yong Won and Ma Won Chun.

Spokesman for CPRC Urges S. Korean Chief Executive to Have Proper Attitude  Toward North-South Relations
A spokesman for the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country (CPRC) of the DPRK gave an answer to a question raised by KCNA on June 21 as regards the fact that the present south Korean chief executive is taking issue with the DPRK.

The present chief executive of south Korea continues sinister acts while crying out for implementing the north-south agreement and settling the issues through dialogue after coming to power, the spokesman said, and went on:

In his official and unofficial appearances, in particular, the chief executive of south Korea unhesitatingly spat out wrong words taking issue with the DPRK over its measures for bolstering up nuclear force, claiming that "it is only international isolation and economic difficulties for the north to get from provocation" and "it is necessary to pressurize and apply sanctions against the north through strong cooperation with the international community", contrary to his commitment while talking about the improved north-south relations in the past "presidential election".

In a "congratulatory speech" at an "event marking the 17th anniversary of the June 15 south-north summit" he groundlessly slandered the north, claiming that "the north's nuclear and missile development serves as a serious concern threatening peace and stability of the region and international community" and "the north differs in words and acts by highly modernizing nuclear weapons and missiles while urging the south to respect and implement the June 15 Joint Declaration and the October 4 Declaration."

It is needless to say that all these facts are trickeries to shift the blame for not improving the north-south relations to the DPRK.

The south Korean chief executive is working hard to save his face by finding fault with the DPRK.

But it is a self-destructive act of pushing him into a quagmire.

He should stop reckless and foolish words and deeds irritating the other party and have a proper attitude toward the north-south relations, to begin with.

He should make a responsible start in the fatal crossroads of whether he would leave clean trace in the national history by improving the north-south relations with the stand of By Our Nation Itself and according to the mindset of the candlelight demonstrators or follow in the miserable footsteps of his predecessors by fawning favour with foreign forces and conservatives.

Anniversary of Kim Jong Il's Start of Work at Party Central Committee Marked

Service personnel and people of the DPRK significantly celebrated the 53rd anniversary of Chairman Kim Jong Il's start of work at the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea.

On the holiday service personnel and people from all walks of life, including youth and schoolchildren, visited the statues of President Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il on Mansu Hill and different places and their smiling portraits to pay tribute to them.

Performances were given by the central art organizations at theatres in Pyongyang.

A concert was given by the National Symphony Orchestra at the Moranbong Theatre, a musical dance and poem "Arirang Story" at the Ponghwa Art Theatre, a performance "Eternal Echo" by the Samjiyon Band of the Mansudae Art Troupe at the East Pyongyang Grand Theatre and a drama "Red Snow Falls" by the National Theatrical Troupe at the National Theatre.

Colourful pieces were put on the stages of the Pyongyang Circus Theatre and the Magic Theatre of the National Acrobatic Troupe and artistes of the Phibada Opera Troupe gave a performance in front of the Pyongyang Grand Theatre.

Artistes of provincial art troupes gave performances at all provincial seats.
KCNA: Pro-American Burlesque
The farce for "commemorating" the 100th founding anniversary of the 2nd Division of the US imperialist aggression forces in south Korea staged by the puppet forces recently has faced strong protest and denunciation by south Koreans from all walks of life.

A recent concert that marked the beginning of the "commemoration" on June 10 ended in smoke due to strong opposition from residents and rejection of performers.

The curse and indignation at the despicable pro-American group of south Korea is mounting as the commemoration was staged just a few days before the 15th years since the murder of two south Korean schoolgirls by GIs of the US 2nd Division.

This is due rejection by the public at the sycophantic traitors prolonging their days with pro-Americanism while serving the US imperialists that have inflicted unspeakable misfortunes and pains on the Korean nation for decades.

For the past seven decades the US forces in south Korea have committed crimes of all descriptions, including murder, plunder, thief and rape, while exercising extraterritorial rights on the plea of the shackling "Status of Forces Agreement".

Five crimes are committed on a daily average by the US forces whose number has reached hundreds of thousands when counting those known to the world.

The US 2nd Division entered this land before others during the Korean war, and it is a group of devils that committed shuddering crimes after coiling up in Uijongbu, Kyonggi Province for more than half a century.

A typical example is the hideous crimes shocking the world such as a group rape case in Uijongbu, a case of tonsuring a woman in Tongduchon and a case of murdering Yun Kum I.

The division is playing a key role in bio-chemical warfare aimed at devastating the Korean peninsula by introducing into south Korea anthrax, pest and Zika virus whose use is banned by international law.

Innocent souls do not rest in peace by the US imperialist ogres in different parts of south Korea, and shuddering in agony are mountains, streams, trees and plants on this land contaminated by all kinds of poisonous wastes from US military bases.

The puppet forces, who are holding "celebration performances" for the US military murderous hooligans and squandering huge money collected from people as taxes, are a group of traitors to the nation steeped in submission and sycophancy to the US to the marrow of their bones.

It is quite natural that the "commemoration" is rejected as a senseless act of pro-American traitors who have not even an iota of blood and soul as members of the nation.

However, the pro-American conservatives, including those of the puppet Uijongbu city allegedly supervising the "commemoration", are pressing for it.

The group of traitors serving the US must clearly understand that the pro-American burlesque of "eulogizing" aggressors and ogres are giving a vent to the nation's anti-American feelings.

There will be fiercer and just struggle of the south Koreans to end the history of disgrace and distress and take back the nation's dignity and sovereignty.

DPRK Letter to President of NAM
Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of the DPRK, sent a letter to Nicolas Maduro Moros, president of Non-Aligned Movement who is president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, on June 15 with regard to the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change on June 1 claiming it to be unfair to the US.

The letter said:
As acknowledged by all, the climate change is not an issue confined to a certain country but a global one and it is vital not only to the present generation but also to the destiny of the next generations, the future of mankind. As such, the climate change presents itself to the international community as an urgent task whose solution brooks no further delay.

The US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement when the world devotes ceaseless efforts for the protection of the global environment which is directly connected to the future of humankind is an expression of extreme egoism and moral inferiority seeking after its own well-being only at the cost of the global interests.

As the second largest greenhouse gas emitting state in the world, the US is more responsible than any other countries for the prevention of global warming. However, its self-righteous and selfish action in total disregard to the international agreement or duties is now bringing about denunciation and criticism from various parts of the world.

The Non-Aligned Movement, as an authoritative force that represents the interests of developing countries, should take due concerted measures to resolutely condemn and reject the arrogant and shameless action of the United States which pursues its own interests at the expense of developing countries.

I take this opportunity to reaffirm the stand of the DPRK to strengthen close cooperation with Venezuela and other member states of the Non-Aligned Movement in maintaining the purposes and principles of NAM and enhancing its role.

DPRK Workers Vow to Take Revenge on US Imperialist Aggressors
Workers and members of the General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea met at the plaza in front of the Central Class Education House on June 21 to vow to take revenge on the US aggressors with the approach of June 25, the day of struggle against US imperialism.

Ju Yong Gil, chairman of the Central Committee of the GFTUK, made a report to be followed by speeches.

The reporter and speakers termed the war ignited by the US imperialists as the brigandish war of aggression to turn the whole Korea into their colony and the most barbarous war of destruction in the human history of war.

They stressed that although the US left no means untried to nip the young DPRK in its cradle but couldn't subdue the army and people of the DPRK who turned out as one in the struggle to safeguard the country rallied behind President Kim Il Sung.

Far from drawing a lesson from the bitter defeat they suffered in the past war, the US is still now hell-bent on brutal pressure, sanctions and nuclear war moves against the DPRK, even hatching a plot of hideous state-sponsored terrorism to dare hurt the dignity of its supreme leadership, they charged.

They expressed their will to thoroughly implement the new line of the Party on developing the two fronts in the spirit of self-reliance and self-development, holding a rifle in one hand and a hammer in the other, and thus emerge victorious in the showdown with the US and build a powerful socialist country on this land.

North Korea: What Options Remain?
By Walter C. Clemens, Jr.
Reprinted from the World Financial Review

The ever-increasing tension between the United States and North Korea is a concern for the whole world. In this article, Walter Clemens elaborates on the past and hopefully future negotiations between the two nuclear-armed states.

Americans think they have done everything short of war to stop North Korea from becoming a nuclear weapons state. To be sure, Washington has encouraged the sporadic moves by Seoul and Pyongyang to cooperate and grope toward confederation. The US government has supported programmes to feed the hungry and treat the sick in North Korea. However Washington did nothing to help North Korean musicians to reciprocate the New York Philharmonic’s performance in Pyongyang in 2007. The US has supported radio broadcasts to show North Korea’s people the nature of their rulers – part of what one specialist calls “hack and frack”. The US Treasury and US diplomats at the United Nations have worked to tighten sanctions to choke Pyongyang’s weapons programmes and penalise its rulers for their abuse of human rights. Washington has importuned Beijing to rein in its rogue client, though to limited effect. The Clinton administration considered a surgical strike on North Korea’s nuclear facilities in 1994, but this option has become too dangerous to contemplate. As with the former Soviet Union, the United States has sought to contain a dangerous foe. Washington has maintained powerful forces in South Korea, Japan, and across the Pacific Ocean to reassure allies and deter North Korea aggression. None of this, however, has stopped the North from acquiring weapons of mass destruction.

Has the United States fully explored a negotiated settlement of its differences with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)? The answer is both Yes and No. President George H. W. Bush gave an impetus to negotiation when he withdrew all nuclear weapons from South Korea in 1991. Within months, Seoul and Pyongyang agreed to denuclearise the peninsula. Soon, however, each side accused the other of violating parts of the accord. When signs mounted in 1994 that North Korea was building nuclear weapons, the Clinton administration mobilised to attack the North’s nuclear sites. Momentum toward war halted when former president Jimmy Carter flew to Pyongyang and drew up a plan with DPRK leader Kim Il Sung to freeze the North’s plutonium production in exchange for energy assistance and normalisation of DPRK ties with the United States. Their draft accord soon became an “Agreed Framework” signed by top US and DPRK diplomats in October 1994. Republicans in Congress, however, balked at paying for energy assistance to the North and US oil deliveries often arrived late. More troublesome, work on the two light water reactors promised to the North proceeded very slowly. Despite mutual suspicions, a top DPRK official came to the White House in 2000 and invited President Bill Clinton to Pyongyang. When Secretary of State Madeleine Albright went there in his stead, she reported that Kim Jong Il appeared ready to make a deal on missiles as well as nuclear weapons.

Succeeding Clinton as president in 2001, George W. Bush broke off these exchanges and, soon placed North Korea on an “axis of evil” along with Iraq and Iran. Soon, both Washington and Pyongyang denounced the Agreed Framework and the North resumed reprocessing plutonium. (Thanks to Pakistan, it could also enrich uranium, not specifically addressed in 1994). Despite all this, the Bush administration veered from its initial intransigence and promoted six-party talks with North Korea beginning in August 2003. These negotiations produced several joint statements that seemed to revive the 1994 principle of aid for arms control. Each accord withered, however, when buffeted by hard-liners in Washington and Pyongyang.

The six-party talks continued for three years even after Pyongyang exploded its first nuclear device in 2006. Censured by the UN Security Council for its nuclear and missile tests, however, North Korea declared in April 2009 that it would not continue the six-party negotiations. As of September 2016, the DPRK had conducted a total of six nuclear tests, one of which it claimed was thermonuclear.

Committed to negotiate with any adversary, Barack Obama’s administration focussed on Iran (which had never tested a nuclear weapon) but also explored a deal with North Korea. While Kim Jong Un was succeeding his father, Kim Jong Il, diplomats from North Korea and the US seemed to reach another agreed framework on February 29, 2012. The North pledged a halt to nuclear and long-range missile tests while the US committed to provide food aid. The deal fell apart in April when the North attempted to launch a satellite on a three-stage rocket. Washington did not buy Pyongyang’s argument that its “space” rocket was not a missile for military use.

Feeling let down by Pyongyang, the Obama administration settled into a posture of “strategic patience”. Usually the United States demanded that the DPRK again commit to denuclearisation before negotiations could resume. At other moments, Washington said only that negotiations – on a peace treaty and other matters – must include denuclearisation. Thus, Secretary of State John Kerry stated on September 10, 2016 that Washington was willing to negotiate with North Korea, but only if Pyongyang agrees that the goal of those talks was for it to give up its weapons. But then Kerry softened – nearly contradicting himself – by stating “All that Kim Jon Un needs to do is say, “I am prepared to talk about denuclearisation.” President Obama did a similar two-step on October 16, 2015 as he spoke alongside South Korea President Park Geun Hye. Such ambivalence sharpened the question of sequencing – who should go first and how.

Secretary of State John Kerry stated on September 10, 2016 that Washington was willing to negotiate with North Korea, but only if Pyongyang agrees that the goal of those talks was for it to give up its weapons.

The longer the present impasse continues, the more the DPRK leadership will oppose any dismantling of its advanced weaponry. Still, a conditional freeze of DPRK nuclear and missile development might benefit all sides. Stanford University nuclear expert Siegfried Hecker has suggested the United States and its partners pursue the “three no’s”. No more bombs, no better bombs (no more nuclear testing), and no export of nuclear technology and materials in return for one yes: American willingness to seriously address North Korea’s fundamental insecurity. A freeze would permit Pyongyang to claim a nuclear deterrent in addition to its conventional overkill poised to destroy Seoul.

If negotiations resumed – bilateral or six-party, what sort of deal could be arranged? At least seven points need to be addressed:

1. Security assurances for North Korea to compensate for limits on its nuclear deterrent;
2. A peace treaty to replace the 1953 armistice;
3. Adjustment of the Northern Limit Line to reduce conflict and share resources of the West Sea;
4. Establishment of diplomatic relations by Washington and Pyongyang and by Pyongyang and Seoul;
5. The gradual end to UN sanctions against the North in tandem with Pyongyang’s acceptance of a freeze of its nuclear and missile programmes;
6. Cultural, educational, family and information exchanges;
7. Agricultural and technological assistance to the North.

Such a deal would entail risks and uncertainties, but no more than an untrammelled arms race in Northeast Asia. Any grand bargain would need to serve the interests not only of the US and North Korea but also of South Korea, Japan, China and Russia. Mutual gain could be accomplished by a few compromises and commitments to “enlarge the pie”.

About the Author

Walter Clemens Jr. is Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Boston University, and an Associate of Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. He has written many books including Can Russia Change? (Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2011). His most recent book is North Korea and the World: Human Rights, Arms Control, and Strategies for Negotiation (University Press of Kentucky, 2016). He can be reached at
If North Korea Didn’t Exist US Would Create It
By Nizar Visram

IN its latest move early June 2017, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopted a resolution drafted by the United States to expand the scope of sanctionsagainst Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) over its latest missile tests.

Prior to this the UNSC slapped the North Korea with six rounds of sanctions, but Washington and its allies have been  pushing for more powerful and crippling sanctions in an attempt to halt the increasing wave of missile tests by Pyongyang.

Meanwhile, President Trump said“all options are on the table” (implying military solution), while his Vice President Pence declared the “end of strategic patience.”Pence added:  “The patience of the United States in this region has run out …………The world has witnessed thestrength and resolve of the US in actions taken in Syria and Afghanistan.”

Pence was alluding to the 59 cruise missiles the US launched at a Syrian military airfield, and the  22,000-pound “mother of all bombs,” the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat by the United States, dropped in Afghanistan.

US War Games

Right after striking Syria,President Trump dispatched a giant armada led by an aircraft carrier,USS Carl Vinson, to the Korean peninsula as a show of force. The US also dispatched a nuclear-powered guided missilesubmarine, the USS Michigan, to the region, capable of launching up to 150 Tomahawk cruise missileswith a range of about 1,000 miles.The 6,900-tonne USS Cheyenne arrived in the South Korea port of Busan.

The US also has nearly 80,000 US military personnel in South Korea and Japan, as well as military aircraft and other hardware on a high state of alert in South Korea. The USS Ronald Reagan and its carrier strike group are based at the Japanese port of Yokosuka, while the US 7th Fleet, armed with tactical nuclear weapons, patrols the region.

The US nukes are also based in South Korea and Guam, while US heavy B-1 and B-52 bombers can fly from North America to Korea. In the event of war with North Korea, the US military take over the South Korean military with some 625,000 personnel as well as naval, air and anti-missile systems.

To top it all, U.S. performs, twice annually, the largest war games in the world with South Korea, in which it practises an assassination of the North Korea’s top leadership, the invasion and occupation of North Korea, and a nuclear first strike against North Korea with imitation armaments.

The Foal Eagle war games include 300,000 South Korean soldiers and 15,000 US troops. This year, the exercises also feature Navy SEAL Team Six, which is best known for assassinating Osama bin Laden on Obama’s orders.

Moreover, an American plan was made public last September proclaiming that “the North’s capital city will be reduced to ashes and removed from the mapif it shows any signs of using a nuclear weapon”.

THAAD Provokes Anger

The US also installed an advanced missile system in South Korea, known as Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD). This provoked strong opposition from China and Russia who consider it a provocative move and a threat to their national security.Chinese Foreign Ministry said: “The THAAD deployment by the US severely disrupts regional strategic balance, undermines the strategic security interests of regional countries, including China, and does no good to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula,”

THAAD system has also enraged the people of South Korea. The government there deployed 8,000 riot police to forcibly remove the residents and Buddhist monks protesting near the THAAD site.

Over 900 shaved their heads in protest.They expressed concerns about the electromagnetic waves emitted by the radar and their long-term impact on their health and agricultural.

Police evicted the protestors to clear a path for 38 US military vehicles carrying THAAD parts and equipment. A total of 12 protesters sustained injuries and were taken to the hospital.

Under such condition, any military action, however limited, would trigger a conflict that could draw in neighboring countries. American administrations have been contemplating the idea of pre-emptive strike against North Korea, but were quickly restrained, knowing that it would prompt a counter-reaction. They couldn’t justify military action that would endanger lives of millions of Koreans, with 28,500 U.S. soldiers and 230,000 Americans living there.

US Shreds Peace Pact

In 1994 President Clinton entered a framework agreement under which North Korea would end its efforts to develop nuclear weapons, while the U.S. would cut down its hostile acts.

It worked as, up to 2000, North Korea abandoned its nuclear weapons programs. Enter George W. Bush and he immediately launches an assault on North Korea, with his "axis of evil" mantra and explicit aim of regime change. North Korea in turn reverted to its erstwhile nuclear programme.

Once again, the two countries entered an agreement in 2005 and once again Bush shredded itand reverted to sanctions. North Korea backed off, and resumed its nuclear program. As Noam Chomsky said: “If you like it, one can say it’s the worst regime in history, whatever you like, but they have been following a pretty rational tit-for-tat policy”.

DPRK not Suicidal

Ex-US president and Korean War old hand, Jimmy Carter once spoke about American militarism, saying since World War II, the country has been at war. He added that he “could not think of any place on earth today where the United States is working to promote peace”.

In the early 1990s, Carter met the North Korean leader Kim II Sung who expressed the desire for a peace treaty with the United States. The result was a successful treaty that ended the Korean nuclear weapons program and economic embargo, allowing Americans to search for the remains of Korean War veterans.

While Bush dismantled that agreement, Obama intensified war games with South Korea, including a simulated nuclear attack on North Korea, and tightened the economic stranglehold.

In his address Carter said: "I've been there two or three times since the 1994 agreement, and I can tell you what the North Koreans want is a peace treaty with the United States and they want the 60-year economic embargo lifted against their people, so they can have an equal chance to trade. ……….. They make a lot of mistakes, but if the United States would just talk to the North Koreans…I believe…we could have peace, and the United States would be a lot better off in the long run."

In fact North Korea has threatened to retaliate only in response to a U.S. pre-emptive military strike.

In the 7th Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea, its leader Kim Jong Un affirmed that his country “would not use nuclear weapons unless its sovereignty was violated.”

Former US Secretary of Defense William Perry, who helped negotiate a freeze of North Korea’s nuclear program during the Clinton administration, agrees: “I believe that the danger of a North Korean ICBM program is not that they would launch an unprovoked attack on the United States. They are not suicidal.”

Lesson from Gaddafi

Perhaps it would be suicidal for them to give up their nuclear arsenal, after what happened to Gaddafi of Libya.

Undoubtedly, Kim Jong Un knows only too well how Gaddafi ended his days, the way he was overthrown and then lynched under US/NATO command. By surrendering his military weaponry, he signed his death warrant.He submitted his weapons and deposited some $ 200 billion of Libyan national wealth in Western banks. Yet in the end the West took its skin.

In the West it is rarely brought to light that the US has repeatedly turned down North Korea offers to end nuclear weapon development. Offers have been put forward by North Korea back to the Clinton administration in the 1990s but were then rejected by the US.

The most recent proposal was made in 2015 when North Korea offered to “halt nuclear testing if the United States would cancel an annual spring military exercise with South Korea”, but Washington rejected the proposal.

War Crime

It is hardly surprising that North Koreans want peace, for they remember the war in the fifties when the US Air Force carpet-bombed their country with incendiaries and explosives, dropping 635,000 tons of explosive bombs and up to 40,000 tons of napalm.

They remember the worst atrocitiescarried out by South Korean police, who took part in prostitution rings, racketeering, blackmail and the execution of thousands of political prisoners, and routine execution of prisoners of war, including old men, women and children. Western reporters who revealed these atrocities had US censorship imposed on them.

North Korea was carpet bombed for three years by US bombers, destroying every town and village. In the words of Air Force General Curtis LeMay: “We burned down every town in North Korea …. Over a period of three years or so we killed – what – 20 percent of the population”.

To quote Senator John Glenn, a Korea war veteran who ended up as an astronaut, “We did a lot of napalm work …. You could strafe them, bomb them, napalm them, flying in low. Quite a variety of weapons.”

And in the final stages of the war, mass bombing (1,514 sorties) of hydro-electric and irrigation dams was done, flooding and destroying huge areas of farmland and crops. Five reservoirs were hit, flooding thousands of acres of farmland, inundating whole towns and laying waste to the essential food source for millions of North Koreans.

Quoting Professor Charles Armstrong, Director of the Centre for Korean Research (Columbia University):  “The physical destruction and loss of life on both sides was almost beyond comprehension, but the North suffered the greater damage, due to American saturation bombing and the scorched-earth policy of the retreating UN (read US) forces”.

Chief Justice William O. Douglas visited Korea in the summer of 1952 and declared, "I had seen the war-battered cities of Europe; but I had not seen devastation until I had seen Korea."

One can thus barely blame North Korea if today it is highly militarised, displaying deep antipathy towards the state that rained death and destruction on its people, towns and villages.That mass killing and destruction of civilians was war crimes never brought to any court of justice.

US Strategy

Instead, the US carries on with its threats of regime change and gun-boat diplomacy. Dennis Etler of Cabrillo College in California, says the US refuses to deescalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula in order to maintain its network of military bases in East Asia and contain China.

“There is only one reason why US seeks to quarantine the DPRK. It allows the US to maintain a military presence in East Asia. If not for tensions on the Korean peninsula, the US would lose its rational for its network of military bases in the region, which are primarily meant to threaten and contain China” heads.

James R. Lilley puts it succinctly when he says: “At the end of the Cold War, if North Korea didn’t exist we would have to create it as an excuse to keep the Seventh Fleet in the region.”

He is talking of the forward-deployed U.S. fleets, with 70 to 80 ships and submarines, 300 aircraft and approximately 40,000 Navy and Marine Corps personnel.

Lilley speaks as an insider, having been member, together with his close friend, George H.W. Bush, of the infamous Yale University Skull & Bones secret society.He served some three decades at the CIA along with Bush. Both Lilley and Bush were US Ambassadors to China.

 Nizar Visram is freelance writer from Tanzania. He can be reached at

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Stop 'Twisted' Nkrumah 'Propaganda' - Delle to Kufuor
Prof Edmund Delle, Convention People’s Party (CPP)

Convention People’s Party (CPP) Chairman Prof Edmund Delle has said it is unfortunate and sad that former President John Agyekum Kufuor will go “down a lane of propaganda, half-truths, twisted logic, and a rendition of a pedestrian understanding of our history in front of foreigners”.

He was responding to comments by ex-President Kufour to the effect that Ghana’s first President and CPP founder “plunged the country into chaos and virtually eradicated democracy”.

Ex-President Kufuor, who was interacting with the leadership of the International Democrat Union (IDU) which paid a courtesy call on him at his office in Accra on Tuesday June 20, said former President Nkrumah misused Ghana’s resources and plunged the country into poverty.

Explaining further, he pointed out that by 1963, “our then President Nkrumah, left of centre politician, moved the country into a one-party state with a lot of intolerance; he built a whole prison just 22 miles of Accra for detention of political opponents”.

He observed: “Democracy as we are espousing was virtually killed,” and was quick to add that “by 1966 the country had had too much and it was labouring under poverty it had never known before”.

Mr Kufuor, who served as President from 2001 to 2009, said the country was “labouring under intolerance and people were not allowed to express themselves [under President Nkrumah]…”

In a press statement on Thursday June 22, Prof Delle indicated that members of the CPP were “not really surprised, the NPP and its antecedence of UP, PP and their other surrogates have never changed or hidden their contempt for the people of this country”.

He emphasised: “If it is not them, then it is no one and nothing good could have been or can be done by anyone else.

“Is this the harbinger of things to come? After they criminalise mentioning Nkrumah’s name and showing his photos under a government Kufuor served, are they preparing us to enable them cancel 21st September Founder’s Day? We call on all progressive patriots to beware and resist a revision of our political history.”

Below is the full statement:


At a meeting of the International Democratic Union an association of right wing parties from all over the world, Ex-President John Agyekum Kufour the former president of Ghana who was a one-time Deputy Foreign Minister in the 2nd Republic and an erstwhile Local Government Secretary in the Military dictatorship of the P.N.D.C. which overthrew the democratically elected Government of the PNP led by President Limann on 31st December 1989, accused the first President of the Republic of Ghana of having created a unitary State that did not tolerate varying ideologies.

He went further to state that the Osagyefo built a prison purposely for political opponents and that ‘Democracy was virtually killed and the hitherto unseen off and unknown off poverty levels in the country led to the 1966 coup d’état, thereby justifying that vile anti-constitutional act of treason.

Is it any wonder that he actually participated in stabilising the coup d’état of 1981 by becoming a Minister in it.

As a Ghanaian, Kufour is within his rights to comment on the Political history of Ghana but it is quite unfortunate and sad that as a citizen and former President, he goes down a lane of propaganda, half-truths, twisted logic and a rendition of a pedestrian understanding of our history in front of foreigners.

Before 1951, was there democracy under colonial rule in the Gold Coast? Was it not through the struggles of Nkrumah and the CPP and others who fought for and achieved universal Adult suffrage for the ordinary men and women, to achieve internal Self Government and subsequently political independence in 1957 and full sovereignty as a republic in 1960? Throughout all these times did we not hold elections and did the CPP not consistently win? In the Presidential contest of 1960, did the people of Ghana not vote for a republic and Kwame Nkrumah as President?

Did Ghana not hold a referendum in 1965for a one party state? Did parliament not exist from 1951 right up to 1966?

At the same time did the Ashanti Pioneer, the Echo and other anti-government newspapers exist till the law proscribed them for anti-state activities? Who introduced Political violence into this country, was it not a tribal grouping called the National Liberation's Movement which metamorphosed into the United Party of which Kufour himself belonged to. Were they not the authors of numerous terrorist acts for which they were jailed under the PDA or ran into exile? Nsawam prison was built to house bomb throwers, fraudsters, thieves and coup makers like R.R. Amponsah.

The Patriot Act in U.S.A which jails terrorists in the U.S.A has suddenly made that country undemocratic according to this strange logic of the ex-president democracy only came into being in 1992, because a duopoly of 2 right-wing parties have been created and have entrenched themselves in power under the control of a small elite.

The unprecedented poverty afflicting Ghana now which has made the middle class so poor and ensures that it subsists on second hand consumer goods and are forced to go cup in hand begging and forced to adopt a neo liberal policy of selling all our factories , looting it by giving it to cronies or abandoning it, is better and has made us richer according to Kufour than the first half of the 1960s when Tema Habour, Tema township, over 400 factories, scores of secondary schools, Akosombo Hydro Electric Power and roads were constructed all over the country. Indeed at that time Ghanaians produced and consumed most of their foods, built a medical school from their own resources etc. Are we now being told by the Ex-President that all these pale into insignificance compared to the starvation level penury most of the population is now subjected to.

We the members of the CPP are not really surprised, the NPP and its antecedence of UP, PP AND their other surrogate have never changed or hidden their contempt for the people of this country.

If it is not them, then it is no one and nothing good could have been or can be done by anyone else.

They will go to the extent of caging their political opponent (Boye Moses) and parading him through the principal streets of Accra, they will introduce Protective Custody Act to jail opponents, they will use bombs to kill and maim children, sponsor coup d’état, loot state property and because they are the elite it is right. Is this is not the same thinking which tries to devalue our history by claiming independence struggle started with Aborigines Rights Protection Society in the 1890s.

Is this the harbinger of things to come? After they criminalise the mentioning Nkrumah’s name and showing his photos under a government Kufour served, are they preparing us to enable them cancel 21st September Founders Day? We call on all Progressive Patriots to beware and resist a revision of our political history.

Long live the CPP Long live Ghana Nkumah Never Dies

Comradely Yours

SIGNED Prof. Edmund N. Delle

National Chairman & Leader Convention Peoples Party
Editorial Comment: Heed President’s Call for Unity
June 19, 2017
Opinion & Analysis
Zimbabwe Chronicle

Photo: President Mugabe and First Lady Dr Amai Grace Mugabe

MASSIVE crowds have characterised President Mugabe’s first two interface meetings with the country’s youths, asserting the iconic revolutionary’s unparalleled popularity and connection with the masses.

In Marondera and Mutare, huge crowds running into thousands of people thronged Rudhaka and Sakubva stadia, sending an ominous warning to the opposition that the ruling Zanu-PF party means business. Cde Mugabe has already been endorsed as the party’s presidential candidate in next year’s harmonised elections and judging by his growing popularity, signs are he will breeze through the poll and vanquish his opponents.

The youths will be a critical constituency in next year’s elections and Zanu-PF is slowly endearing itself to the country’s young people by seeking to address their concerns. The huge crowds at the President’s rallies indicate that the party is still the only game in town as far as mass mobilisation is concerned and the mooted coalition of opposition parties could find it extremely hard to dislodge it.

Already there are murmurings of a power struggle within the envisaged coalition with National People’s Party leader Dr Joice Mujuru and MDC-T vice president Thokozani Khupe accused of trying to stage a palace coup by elbowing out Mr Morgan Tsvangirai from the apex of the new entity.

With the much anticipated polls less than a year away, the opposition is in disarray while Zanu-PF is strengthening its structures and reaching out to the electorate. President Mugabe told thousands of people at the Mutare rally on Friday that the coalition being mooted by opposition parties is good for Zanu-PF as the revolutionary party would simply crush them as an entity rather than dealing with them individually. He said defeat for the envisaged coalition was certain so long as Zanu-PF remained united.

President Mugabe promised the electorate to live up to their expectations and deliver on promises made. “I will try my best to live up to what I regard as the calling of the people. I will remain the same, I will remain the same yesterday, the same today, the same tomorrow,’ he said.

“We should live and work together. I am not a President of one section, but the President of the whole country,” he said. President Mugabe reiterated his call on senior party members to leave the youths to organise their programmes and not to use them for personal gains.

“Let us leave the youths free to organise their programmes the way they desire, provided the way is in accordance with the party principles and objectives. Give them assistance, but let us not let the youths betray the struggle.”

He bemoaned divisions in the main wings of the party while the First Lady, Dr Grace Mugabe called for unity among all party cadres. “If we remain united, no-one will come among us and destroy us. Youths you should not allow some individuals to use you for their selfish gains. Zanu-PF is a brand and youths should continue with the legacy left behind by the founding fathers of the struggle,” said the First Lady. “It is up to you to carry the struggle forward as the vanguard of the party.

“The party leaders should lead by example. Unity of purpose should prevail. Youths have more energy, but they should use that energy to develop the country,” she said. “You should shun all divisive elements. I hope and trust we are all working together. The Presidential Youth Interface Rallies should unite all the provinces. If we are united, we are assured of victory in next year’s harmonised elections,” she said.

We hail the President and First Lady for leading from the front by calling for unity among Zanu-PF cadres and urge disciplined followers to heed their wise counsel. Divisions along factional lines weaken the party and could present an avenue for the opposition to make gains.

The message of unity being preached by the President at every rally should resonate with the rank and file. We also exhort some party leaders given to using youths to further their interests to desist from doing so. Youths should be left to organise their own programmes without the interference of some bigwigs whose sole agenda is to divide them and use them to advance their interests.
Zimbabwe: Tributes Pour in for Cde Chinx
By Zvamaida Murwira

A cross-section of Zimbabweans yesterday mourned renowned revolutionary musician and war veteran Cde Dickson Chingaira, as fellow musicians, liberation fighters, senior Government officials, friends and relatives thronged his residence in Mabelreign to commisserate with his family. Popularly known as Cde Chinx, the iconic musician succumbed to leaukemia at Harare's West End Hospital on Friday evening and consultations on his hero status were underway by late yesterday.

His residence was a hive of activity as people from all walks of life converged to pay their respects.

Zanu-PF Secretary for Information and Publicity Cde Simon Khaya Moyo said in a statement that Cde Chinx's death had robbed his family, Zanu-PF and Zimbabwe at large of a talented, versatile personality whose songs were a tonic to cadres during the liberation struggle and after independence.

Through song, Cde Chinx also helped champion the Third Chimurenga (Hondo Yeminda).

"Like the late Give Nare who was the Light Machine Gun (LMG) choir master in Zapu during the liberation struggle and after independence, their songs are now part of our liberation struggle and lasting legacy," said Cde Khaya Moyo.

"Their songs stimulated both Zanla and Zipra fighters into action and helped mobilise the masses into an incredible resistant population.

"Cde Chinx, in particular, performed at independence celebrations and at State occasions until he fell ill and breathed his last. The party will miss you Cde Chinx, but your songs like those composed by your friend the late Cde Nare live forever. You were a true patriot and the youths must learn from your exemplary life and contribution to this free nation," Cde Khaya Moyo said.

Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Christopher Mushohwe said Cde Chinx was among a rare breed of cadres who joined the struggle at a tender age.

He said Cde Chinx played a critical role in the revolution through his music, which served to mobilise and spur on freedom fighters and the people in the war against the racist Rhodesian regime.

"Cde Chinx was one of the few comrades alongside Cde Mhere and Cde Murehwa who had a talent to sing," said Dr Mushohwe. "He was among the best crop of singers and composed such songs as 'Maruza Imi Vapambepfumi', among others which inspired freedom fighters."

Dr Mushohwe said after independence, Cde Chinx's songs encompassed pan-African values advocating unity among Africans.

"When the Government embarked on the land reform programme in 2000, Cde Chinx was one of the few musicians to embrace the struggle for land through music in songs contained in the 'Hondo Yeminda Volume 1 and 2' albums which he did with the Police Band," he said.

"This was at a difficult time when many artistes began demonising the Government through their works, but Cde Chinx stood for the revolution."

Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantino Guveya Nyikadzino Chiwenga and Secretary for Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Mr George Charamba were among high-profile personalities who attended the funeral wake yesterday.

Addressing mourners, Gen Chiwenga said while many people knew that Cde Chinx was unwell, everyone hoped that he would recover.

"Even when he went to hospital, we know that the purpose of that visit was to have his catheter changed," Gen Chiwenga said.

He said Cde Chinx's music inspired many young people to join the liberation struggle.

"The biggest work that he carried out was outside the country during the liberation struggle when he showed his singing talent," said Gen Chiwenga.

"Everyone knew his voice although they might have not known the physical person. His songs strengthened people and clearly demonstrated how evil whites were."

After independence, said Gen Chiwenga, Cde Chinx was attested into the Zimbabwe National Army Presidential Guard, but requested that he be allowed to leave the army to continue with his musical career.

Speaking at the same occasion, Mr Charamba paid tribute to the Zimbabwe Defence Forces for deploying medical personnel to assist Cde Chinx during his illness.

He said the Premier Service Medical Aid Society played a significant role in attending to Cde Chinx through its West End Hospital.

"CDF Gen Chiwenga deployed medical doctors from the ZDF and they did their best to assist Cde Chinx," said Mr Charamba. "There is a lot that the medical corps did to support him. I was a link person between the family and the army."

Mr Charamba said he was so close to Cde Chinx that the musician would come to his office without appointment, particularly when his health continued to deteriorate.

He said Cde Chinx visited him three times and he would link him up with Gen Chiwenga to explore ways of assisting him.

Cde Charamba said he valued a lot of Cde Chinx's musical lyrics that he would use some of them in his Saturday Herald column known as Nathaniel Manheru The Other Side.

"Many people have been wondering and asking who is Nathaniel Manheru," he said. "It is me George Charamba and I would quote several of his songs in my column."

Government, said Mr Charamba, took a deliberate decision to support musicians through organising musical galas.

"The reason for including Chinx in these galas was that young musicians would want to emulate Americans, yet Cde Chinx's message would be rooted in our revolution," he said.

He paid tribute to Zimbabwe Music Awards chairperson Mr Joseph Nyadzayo for honouring Cde Chinx's work by constructing and donating the house in Mabelreign.

Mr Charamba said plans were under- way to publish some of the work they did with Cde Chinx.

He paid tribute to fellow musicians who attended yesterday's funeral wake among them Zexie Manatsa, Nicholas Zakaria, Fred Zindi and Isaac Chirwa.

Zanu-PF Harare provincial commissar Cde Shadreck Mashayamombe yesterday said they were still waiting for a response from the Zanu-PF leadership on their request for national hero status for Cde Chinx.

"The leadership is still in the process of enquiring," he said. "As a province, we are still waiting. We expect the response tomorrow (today)."

Zanu-PF National Secretary for Administration Cde Ignatius Chombo, to whom the province addressed the letter, could not be reached yesterday.

Cde Chinx is survived by two wives, Patricia Makoni and Ntombizodwa Mangota, and 10 children.
Zimbabwe: First Lady Slams Sanctions, Hails Cde Chinx
By Tendai Mugabe

The West imposed illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe to scuttle the land reform programme as they feared its success will be contagious on the African continent, First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe has said. Addressing mourners at the funeral of Cde Dickson Chingaira, popularly known as Cde Chinx in Harare yesterday, Amai Mugabe said the land reform programme was a huge success and other African countries were already copying it.

"The whites were intimidating us because they feared that if the land reform programme in Zimbabwe is a success story other African countries will follow suit," she said.

"Now we can actually say it has been a success story and you can see what is happening in countries like South Africa. That was their (whites) fear. So they wanted to gag us and I am happy Cde Chinx was singing hondo yeminda yatokura. Namibian President was here on a State visit and he said President Mugabe, you are my source of inspiration. You are my hero. Va(Sam) Nujoma liberated Namibia, but my duty as the President of Namibia now is to ensure that land returns to its rightful owners.

"Ndozvaitya varungu kuti zvinozoita contagious. The issue of land can never be suppressed because population is growing as well as the demand for land. So land is what Cde Chinx fought for.

"We used to have good life here, but sanctions were imposed on us. Everyone knows that sanctions were imposed on us because President Mugabe said he wanted to give land back to the people. Cde Chinx supported that through his music. They said why have you done that? We are whites and superior to you. We cannot be challenged by black people. We also blindly fall into that trap and fight among ourselves. They will be laughing at us."

Amai Mugabe, who is also the zanu-pf Women's League secretary, called for unity among Zimbabweans.

She said divisions and factionalism were counterproductive.

"We should all accept that Cde Chinx has left us, but we should remember what he has done for us," she said.

"Tisaite mazvake mazvake. I am saying wherever you are you should remember that there are some people who died for this country. Cde Chingaira has succumbed to cancer, but those who participated during the war know what was happening that there were sellouts that were being sent with clothes laced with poison. So we are now having some non communicable diseases. We should not forget that there are people who died to liberate this country. At times we tend to forget that. We alter our environment through our actions.

"There are some who forget that unity of purpose is important among Zimbabweans. We have infighting through factionalism and can we say this is the respect that we are giving to our heroes like Cde Chinx?

"As the First Lady of this country, please let us unite as Zimbabweans. We have children and those children should know the history and ideology of our country."

She hailed the role that Cde Chinx played during the liberation struggle.

Amai Mugabe said Cde Chinx was a polished musician.

"We feel so much pain when people pirate and reproduce other people's work," she said.

"Some people take advantage. When you are singing it requires thoughtfulness until people say this is my best song. It takes time. After composing a song one just comes and pirates that song and Mukoma Chinx gets nothing. There are so many talented artistes -- very polished musicians out there. At times they do not even go to music school, but it will be just a talent that they have. They then decide to use that talent to earn a living and you see someone who does not want to work pirating that music. That is not good at all. It is called piracy. I think law enforcement agencies must descent heavily on those people."

Dr Mugabe also counseled the Chingaira family to remain united.
Zimbabwe: Cde Chinx Declared Liberation War Hero

Veteran musician and war veteran Cde Dickson Chingaira who died on Friday last week at a city hospital, has been declared a liberation war hero. Zanu-PF secretary for administration Cde Ignatius Chombo, last night said in conferring Cde Chingaira liberation war hero status, the Politburo considered his contribution to the nation.

"Cde Dickson Chingaira has been declared a liberation war hero. He has earned this because of his works during the war and he remained consistent after the war. The nation is thankful to his contribution," he said.

Popularly known as Cde Chinx, the iconic musician passed on at West End Hospital in Harare.

He was 61.

Harare province had written to the party recommending national hero status for him.

Cde Chinx battled blood cancer for some time and was in and out of hospital.

He also had tried to seek help from prophets, apostolic faith churches and traditional healers without success.

Early this year, he released an album featuring Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services Civic Education despite his ill-health.

The iconic revolutionary musician had two wives with 10 children between them.

Cde Chinx joined the liberation struggle in Mozambique in 1975, where he led the Zanla Choir.

Music played a crucial role in the fight against the brutal Rhodesian regime led by Ian Douglas Smith.

It inspired guerrillas and the masses into successfully waging a war against the Rhodesians.

Through music, Cde Chinx protested the brutality of the Rhodesian regime while motivating the oppressed blacks to take arms and fight the injustice.

Even after independence, Cde Chinx actively participated in the decolonisation of Zimbabwe during the Third Chimurenga (Hondo Yeminda) when Government embarked on the land reform programme.

Again, Cde Chinx musically became the face of the decolonisation process and churned a number of songs encouraging landless Zimbabweans into embracing the land reform exercise as it was one of the major reasons the liberation struggle was waged.
ISS Today: Will South Africa be at the 29th AU Summit?
By Liesl Louw-Vaudran for ISS TODAY.

A no-show in Addis Ababa won’t help South Africa prove its commitment to continental integration.

The 29th African Union (AU) summit that takes place in Addis Ababa from 27 June to 4 July is likely to be the first in many years without a South African president in attendance.

If President Jacob Zuma doesn’t turn up for the heads of state meeting on 3 and 4 July, it will be because of timing; the summit coincides with the crucial African National Congress (ANC) policy conference from 30 June to 5 July – an event the embattled Zuma can’t afford to miss.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is also unlikely to attend the AU summit in Zuma’s place – as one of the front-runners to replace Zuma as ANC leader in December, the policy conference is equally important for him.

New rules adopted by the AU compelling countries to be represented at the bi-annual summits by either the head of state, prime minister or deputy president complicate things for South Africa. Some may sympathise with a more inward-looking South Africa at a time of internal strife within the ruling party, but a no-show could be damaging for its image.

Since former AU Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma stepped down earlier this year without contesting a second mandate, South Africa has shied away from occupying other important posts in the organisation.

On a global scale, Zuma has been largely absent in talks concerning Africa’s relations with the rest of the world. Many of the current initiatives to take the AU forward are driven by leaders like Rwandan President Paul Kagame and AU Chairperson President Alpha Condé of Guinea.

Then again, is there anything for South Africa to gain in an institution like the AU that seems to move away from South Africa’s ideals like, for example, fighting for independence of the Western Sahara? Also, most of the issues and conflicts the AU is dealing with are fairly far removed from South Africa. Focus is increasingly on the Sahel region, South Sudan, Somalia, as well as trying to stabilise Libya.

The latest ANC policy document on foreign policy, to be discussed at the party’s upcoming conference, emphasises the continued need for African unity. It does this despite lamenting the “realignment” of forces in the AU and seeing the inclusion of Morocco in the organisation as a symptom of internal divisions and foreign intervention on the continent.

ANC insiders on foreign policy also say the party still believes in continental integration – especially in the “unpredictable and uncertain world” that its policy document speaks of. In this, the ANC and South Africa are in line with continental thinking.

When it comes to the AU, both the Department of International Relations and Co-operation and the ANC believe that the tenure of Dlamini-Zuma helped focus and professionalise the AU. And according to one policy maker, where South Africa in the past assisted the AU with the construction of the African Peace and Security Architecture, it is now focusing on the African Governance Architecture.

As chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) for one year, starting in August, South Africa will have the opportunity to show this commitment to African integration.

At a round table discussion in Pretoria last week on South Africa’s role in SADC, University of the Witwatersrand academic Anthoni Van Nieuwkerk said South Africa believed its commitment to SADC served the national interest – even if this remained a vague notion, often linked to elite interests of former liberation movements across Southern Africa.

Speakers at the meeting said South Africa’s commitment to finding a solution to the political crisis in Lesotho – and committing time and resources to this – was proof of its leadership in the region. There has been very little emphasis on South Africa’s role in Lesotho at the AU level, mainly because South Africa and SADC prefer to deal with Lesotho “in-house”.

Officials also insist that South Africa is playing a role behind the scenes in talks between the governing party and the opposition in Mozambique, but that it doesn’t engage in ‘megaphone diplomacy’. The downside of such an approach is that South Africa is not seen as playing any role in peace and security issues in Africa.

Thomas Mandrup, associate professor at Stellenbosch University’s faculty for military science, says while South Africa’s contribution to peacekeeping has dwindled to just over 1,300 troops in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, there is an expectation that South Africa, with its relatively large though underfunded military, should play a bigger role.

South Africa has an army of 37,000 troops, but together with civilians, the figure goes up to 78,000. When reserves are included –  which are extensively used in peacekeeping operations – it comes to close to 90,000, says Mandrup.

While South Africa, as an upper middle-income country, can’t use peacekeeping to subsidise its military as some smaller African countries do, its deployment in peace operations, compared to the size of the army, is a far cry from that of some other African countries.

The African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises, a Zuma initiative, is also underfunded and has never been deployed.

Indications are that the AU – as is often the case – could be willing to compromise on its new rule on high-level attendance at the upcoming summit. A foreign minister might just do.

The AU also hasn’t said what the sanction would be if a country’s leader doesn’t attend. As one of the biggest funders of the AU, South Africa might get away with a lower-level attendance, but it will have to be a once-off occurrence if the country is to show commitment to the AU and continental integration. DM

Liesl Louw-Vaudran is an ISS Consultant