By Tafataona Mahoso
On February 6 2015 I wrote for this column a piece entitled “RG Mugabe and the Re-inauguration of the Pan-African Ethos at the African Union.”
As was expected and as other articles in this issue of The Patriot demonstrate, the President led the AU exceptionally well during his tenure and restructured the vision and agenda of the AU to put emphasis on self-reliance, value-addition, South-to-South Co-operation, women; educating and training a well-rounded cadre of young people and transforming the UN system by demanding that Africa be permanently represented on the Security Council.
This is a huge and profound agenda and in the limited space available I wish to alert The Patriot’s readers to just the educational dimensions of the goal to educate and train a well-rounded cadre of young people to lead and defend the continent and the people even beyond the timeline of 2063. There are big challenges to overcome before Africa can give education to its youth in pursuit of the agenda inspired by President Mugabe.
But the challenge is that even if the UN Security Council was to be opened up tomorrow to include two African permanent members, chances are that African people and the African continent would still be betrayed in the same way they were betrayed when three African countries voted for UN Security Council Resolution 1971 to allow the US and NATO to impose no-fly zones on Libya in preparation for bombing and destroying that country. The culture of class betrayal is entrenched among African elites.
The challenge is that as things stand today, the two permanent representatives and their staff at the UN would be chosen from the most well-schooled African class whom Professor Isa Shivji in a 2004 lecture described as the class that is “born senile” because of its literal acceptance of the objectives of western-sponsored schooling, the class which has been schooled to retain in its head, in its soul, those white-imposed “no-fly zones” that have deterred African leaders from challenging imperialist hegemony long into independence.
President Mugabe was schooled in Rhodesia and South Africa as well as through Open Distance Learning (called correspondence in colonial days.) That schooling was transformed into education through much longer periods of practical internship beyond the traditional classroom and the classical text book. President Mugabe lived and learned in Rhodesia, South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania and Mozambique, apart from visiting China and other countries supportive of the African liberation movement.
But the foundation to all this was communal African education in the village, long before formal schooling began. The first move away from conventional schooling was the learning cluster organised by President Mugabe’s generation of leaders in colonial detention centres. They used learning materials from white universities such as UNISA, the University of London and the University of Birmingham; but they taught one another after taking stock of qualifications among the inmates. The political detainees, as one another’s mutual student-and-teacher, in fact reconfigured and reconstituted the African learner away from the conventional classroom. In the reconstituted African learning structure, the purpose of “education” was no longer that which colonialism had intended to achieve by sponsoring schooling for Africans.
Beyond the colonial schools, Fort Hare in South Africa, and the mutual learning clusters of the detention centres there came a long period of open practical internship in Ghana, Tanzania, Mozambique and elsewhere.
Contemporary African universities have not thought out how that vast experience could inform current African education. In fact, the African Union itself in 2012 demonstrated that it had gone backwards, away from the academic and intellectual independence which its founding fathers had achieved and established.
Those who question this scepticism should study all the relevant papers for the African Union Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Awards, especially the Rules of Procedure and the Indicative Application Evaluation sheet.
The naming of awards after the Pan-Africanist first President of Ghana, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, is in fact a mockery, especially when one notices that the same forces from the same Western nations behind Dr Nkrumah’s illegal overthrow in 1966 have infiltrated the AU’s African Scientific Awards.
On page 8 of the 10-page document on rules of procedure, one finds this announcement:
An advisory committee known as “Advisory Committee” for Scientific Award Programme is hereby established at the relevant levels.
This Committee shall be chaired by the Commissioner in charge of Human Resources, Science and Technology. It shall be composed of one representative each from:
African Development Bank (AfDB);
European Commission (EC);
World Intellectual Property Orgnisation (WIPO);
Third World Academy of Science (TWAS) – Africa Bureau;
United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA);
African Academy of Sciences (AAS); and
International Council for Science (ICSU) – African Regional Office.
The functions of the Advisory Committee shall be to make recommendations on policy issues, define operational modalities and ensure that adequate resources are available for conduct of the African Union Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Awards Programme.
So the first warning for the pan-Africanist is the presence of the European Commission on a policy committee for the African Union Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Awards Programme.
Zimbabweans remember how the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) was deployed by the US and EU against Zimbabwe’s land revolution in 2004. Instead of helping Zimbabwe to implement a new and revolutionary land redistribution system and an agrarian revolution; instead of helping Zimbabwe to resist illegal British, European and North American sanctions; UNECA was deployed to produce a continent-wide propaganda document called Good Governance in Africa in which the chapter on Zimbabwe sought to give moral and ideological justification for the illegal and racist sanctions imposed by the Anglo-Saxon powers on this country.
The UNECA report was both inaccurate and unprocedurally produced. Zimbabwe had to send a delegation to Addis Ababa to intervene and convince the plenary of the UNECA Conference to set aside the misdirected report.
What was most scandalous about UNECA’s Good Governance in Africa report in 2004 was that this subject was not even in UNECA’s original key result areas; it was peripheral and diversionary. But it was done because the same donors putting money in the African Union Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Awards today had offered grants which UNECA did not resist. Madzimbahwe have the right to question the kind of science research for Africa which UNECA promotes through the awards.
The presence of the European Commission on the AU’s scientific awards panel creates alarm precisely because in April 2012, Professor Chukwuma Charles Soludo published a lengthy warning to all pan-Africanists which, in the New African magazine, was entitled ‘From Berlin to Brussels: Will Europe Underdevelop Africa Again?’
The editor’s summary of Soludo’s article read as follows:
“Africa is in trouble. Its future is once again on the table, and it is Europe that holds the aces…the current ambitions (of Europe) under the Economic partnership Agreements (EPAS), spearheaded by the European Union (EU) from Brussels, are the modern-day equivalent (of the 1884-1885 Berlin Conference.)”
Given this reality, and in this day of indigenisation, why would the AU allow the European Commission to sit on an internal committee selecting and assessing African scientists for awards and in the name of Kwame Nkrumah?