What you need to know:
In my nearly 40 years in the United States, I had never seen such a psychotic, megalomaniacal, and sociopathic leader atop the world’s most powerful democracy.
Fittingly, he is going down in flames. Regrettably, he’s done enormous damage to democratic institutions and norms.
The US Capitol houses the first branch of government – the United States Congress – the most important symbol of democracy around the globe. It’s the seat of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The voice of the people speaks from that dome. Ironically, President Donald Trump – the symbol of American sovereignty – fomented and led an insurrection against the Capitol this past week.
I’ve written that in my nearly 40 years in the United States, I had never seen such a psychotic, megalomaniacal, and sociopathic leader atop the world’s most powerful democracy. Many have predicted it would not end well. Fittingly, he is going down in flames. Regrettably, he’s done enormous damage to democratic institutions and norms.
Mr Trump is both anti-American and un-American. His policies and pronouncements over the past four years have shown his slavishness to Russia’s Vladimir Putin. He’s been Mr Putin’s puppet, as his 2016 Democratic presidential opponent Secretary Hillary Clinton, famously opined.
Frankly, I won’t be surprised if it comes out in future that Mr Trump was a Russian plant in the White House. That’s not all. Mr Trump took a machete to every key democratic institution in the United States. He ridiculed the courts. He undermined the Department of Justice. He gave cover and pardons to the most despicable criminals. He attacked Congress. He called the press the “enemy of the people”. He emasculated the administrative state. He reversed environmental protections.
Mr Trump is the textbook definition of a white supremacist. Long before he ran for public office in 2015, Mr Trump was a well-known racist bigot in New York. A real estate mogul, he deliberately refused to rent apartments to Black people. The Department of Justice forced him to settle an anti-discrimination suit.
When the rape of a white female jogger was committed in Central Park, Mr Trump took out an ad advocating the death penalty for the so-called Central Park Five, a group of young men of colour who were wrongfully convicted and spent six to 13 years in jail. They were only exonerated after the confession of a serial rapist.
He’s been a tax cheat all his life.
Throughout his campaign and his tenure as President, Mr Trump has courted the support of white racists, anti-Semites and all sorts of bigots. Unfortunately, there is a large demographic of such vile characters within the electorate. Many of them view Mr Trump as a white messiah. And he’s never disappointed them. When neo-Nazis, KKK and Alt-Right groups wreaked violence in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017, Mr Trump called them “fine people”.
Muslim travel ban
In 2015, he called Mexicans rapists and drug addicts. He dubbed Haiti and African countries “shitholes”. He bragged about molesting women by grabbing their genitalia. He imposed a Muslim travel ban to America. He separated refugee children from their parents and caged them on the Mexican border.
On January 6, Mr Trump held a rally of his white supporters at the Ellipse of the White House. The rally was held as Congress was sitting to certify the election of President-elect Joe Biden, who defeated Mr Trump by a wide margin in the Electoral College and over 7 million popular votes.
Mr Trump, who has never conceded the drubbing by Mr Biden, launched quixotic attempts to overturn the election. He filed over 60 frivolous lawsuits to challenge the results. He lost every single one of them.
His last hope was to stop Congress from certifying Mr Biden’s win. That’s why he told his supporters at the rally to “march” on the Capitol and stop the certification.
Scenes of Armageddon unfolded on TV screens as the white terrorist mobs stormed and desecrated the Capitol.
Vice-President Mike Pence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Grassley, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate – the three top officials in the line of presidential succession – were quickly evacuated. The terrorists would likely have killed them, decapitating the American state. Five people were killed in the melee, including a police officer. There was widespread damage.
Strangely, few arrests were made until days later. There’s video evidence that some police officers were complicit. Hours later, Congress returned and certified the election. Mr Trump told the terrorists he “loved them”. The terrorists would’ve been shot on sight if they had been Black.
Mr Trump has blood on his hands. He committed sedition by leading an attempted coup. We must disabuse a certain white demographic that it must always rule, even when their man has lost fair and square.
There will be accounting and reckoning for the security failures at the Capitol. It’s sad the Capitol, a citadel of democracy, will now become a fortress not easily accessible to citizens and visitors.
Mr Trump will become the first President to be impeached twice, unless he resigns. Then Americans must fully combat white supremacy, the biggest threat to democracy, to make sure “government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish on earth”.
Makau Mutua is SUNY Distinguished Professor and Margaret W. Wong Professor at Buffalo Law School. He’s Chair of KHRC. @makaumutua.
Fanny Mergui has no doubt: Moroccan Jews "are already packing their suitcases" to board direct flights to Israel after the kingdom normalised ties with the Jewish state.
Morocco, home to North Africa's biggest Jewish community and the ancestral homeland of some 700,000 Israelis, is also hoping for an influx of Israeli tourists when the Covid-19 pandemic eases.
"I'm very happy" that the five-hour route will be served by direct flights, said Mergui, a Moroccan Jew who lives in Casablanca.
"It's a true revolution."
The first direct commercial flight headed from Tel Aviv to Rabat in December to mark the three-way, US-brokered accord, under which Washington also recognised Moroccan sovereignty over disputed Western Sahara.
But tickets for regular commercial flights have yet to go on sale.
Bureaucratic delays have been compounded by the pandemic, which forced Morocco to mostly close its borders since March and impose a nationwide curfew in December.
Singer Suzanne Harroch, who had to wait 14 hours in transit at a Paris airport last time she visited Israel, called the Israeli-Moroccan rapprochement a "miracle".
"A lot of my family live there," said the 67-year-old. "I can't wait to see them more, and more often."
Israel had established liaison offices in Morocco in the 1990s during a short-lived diplomatic opening.
But they were closed again in the early 2000s as the second Palestinian intifada sparked a crushing Israeli response.
Yet relations quietly continued, with some $149 million in bilateral trade between 2014 and 2017, according to Moroccan news reports.
The re-opening of the liaison offices could make it much easier for Moroccans to obtain visas to visit Israel.
Morocco is also hoping to host more Israeli visitors.
Official statistics show that prior to the coronavirus pandemic, up to 70,000 Israeli tourists used to visit the country annually.
Most were of Moroccan ancestry and had kept close ties with their country of origin.
"The majority of Israelis of Moroccan origin are delighted," said Avraham Avizemer, who left Casablanca as a toddler and has lived for decades in Israel.
The fact their children and grandchildren can return "is huge", he said.
One Israeli already in Morocco is Elan.
The 34-year-old sat in the library of a Casablanca synagogue, where along with other Israeli Jews, mostly of Moroccan origin, he is receiving religious classes from a Moroccan rabbi.
"Direct flights would make travel easier," he said.
Morocco's Jewish community dates back to antiquity.
It was boosted in the 15th century by Jews expelled from Spain, and by the late 1940s reached about 250,000 people — around a tenth of the population. But that figure tumbled as many Moroccan Jews headed to the newly founded state of Israel.
Today, about 3,000 Jews remain in Morocco.
Businessman George Sebat, 56, said he was "very happy and very optimistic" about Morocco's normalisation, citing positive impacts for tourism and the economy.
Prosper Bensimon, speaking after the evening prayer at Casablanca's Em Habanim synagogue, agreed.
"Four of my Muslim neighbours want to accompany me on my first visit from Morocco," he said.
But normalisation has not been universally welcomed by Moroccans.
Sion Assidon, an academic and prominent left-wing activist who backs the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel's treatment of Palestinians, is bitterly opposed.
"The latest fad is to justify the shame of normalisation by citing Morocco's historical links with Moroccan colonists," he wrote on Facebook.
Mergui, a former Zionist youth activist, said she had emigrated to Israel in the 1960s but returned to Morocco after the 1967 Six-Day War.
"I could not accept that the Jewish state, which I believed in, should occupy Palestinian land," she said.
She urged Israel to support "the creation of a Palestinian state".
But, she added, she welcomes "every step towards peace".
Ongoing tribal clashes in Sudan's restive Darfur have killed at least 48 people in the latest bout of violence to hit the region, state media reported Sunday.
"The death toll from militia attacks in El Geneina yesterday (Saturday) reached 48," the SUNA news agency said, referring to the capital of West Darfur state and quoting the local branch of the country's doctors' union.
"The bloody events which are still ongoing since Saturday morning (have) also left ... 97 wounded."
Saturday's clashes initially pitted the Massalit tribe against Arab nomads in El Geneina, just over two weeks after the UN and African Union ended a 13-year peacekeeping mission in Darfur.
The violence morphed into broader fighting involving armed militias in the area, which left several buildings including houses scorched.
Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said on Twitter on Saturday that he had ordered a "high-profile" delegation including security services be sent to West Darfur to follow up on the situation.
The vast Darfur region was the scene of a bitter conflict that erupted in 2003, leaving around 300,000 people dead and 2.5 million displaced, according to the United Nations.
Back then, fighting erupted when ethnic minority rebels rose up against the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum, which responded by recruiting and arming a notorious Arab-dominated militia known as the Janjaweed.
The main conflict has subsided over the years but ethnic and tribal clashes still flare periodically, largely pitting nomadic Arab pastoralists against settled farmers from non-Arab ethnic groups.
The violence often centres on land and access to water.
Sudan is undergoing a rocky political transition after the ouster of long-time president Omar al-Bashir in April 2019 after mass protests against his rule.
The transitional government, a power sharing arrangement comprised of generals and civilian figures, has pushed to build peace with rebel groups in Sudan's main conflict zones, including Darfur.
But two rebel groups refused to join a recent peace deal, including the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) faction led by Abdelwahid Nour, which is believed to maintain considerable support in Darfur.
The hybrid UN African Union Mission in Darfur (Unamid) formally ended its operations on December 31.
It plans a phased withdrawal of its approximately 8,000 armed and civilian personnel inside six months.
The Moroccan security aborted during the last two days three smuggling operations, and seized 9.5 tonnes of cannabis.
According to a statement by the Moroccan police on Saturday, 2.360 tonnes of cannabis were seized and one individual was arrested near the city of Ksar El-Kebir.
Two cars allegedly used to smuggle drug shipments were also seized.
In a second operation at the northern port of Nador, customs officers seized on Friday 2.380 tonnes of cannabis concealed in nine containers of mineral shipments intended for export.
In the same city of Nador, police thwarted on Thursday an international drug trafficking operation, and seized 4.762 tonnes of cannabis.
Police also seized equipment and logistical material used in international drug trafficking, an inflatable boat and two outboard motors.
Despite efforts to crack down on cannabis cultivation during the past decade, Morocco remains one of the world's largest producers of the narcotic plant, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.
Moroccan security services seized a total of 217 tonnes of cannabis in 2020, an increase of 37 tonnes compared to 2019, according to official statistics.
The long-running UN-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur came to an end on December 31, under a peace deal signed by Sudan's government and rebels.
On Sunday, a little over two weeks later, state media reported that two days of tribal clashes in the West Darfur capital El Geneina have killed at least 48 people.
Here is a recap of the situation in Darfur where the UN says the brutal civil war that erupted in 2003 killed at least 300,000 people, mostly during its initial years, and displaced 2.5 million.
Rebels of the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) take up arms, accusing the Khartoum government of marginalising the vast Darfur region of western Sudan.
In February, rebels seize Gulu, a key town in northern Darfur.
The state-backed Janjaweed militia -- a group of mostly Arab raiders travelling by horseback, camels and armoured pickups -- enter the fray.
A hybrid AU-UN force, called UNAMID, takes over from an African force that has been posted in the region since 2004.
In 2008, more than 220 people are killed when JEM rebels attack Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman, travelling hundreds of kilometres from Darfur to the edge of the capital.
The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) issues an arrest warrant for Sudan's then-president Omar al-Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.
It issues another warrant the next year for genocide.
In 2010, heavy fighting resumes after an accord with one faction of the SLM breaks down.
More than 2,300 people were killed in 2010, the UN reports.
In November, Darfur's rebels form an alliance committed to regime change.
Sudan accuses newly-independent South Sudan of working with the JEM, and of backing rebels in its South Kordofan and Blue Nile regions. Juba denies the accusations.
In March, the UN criticises restrictions imposed on humanitarian workers in Darfur and an increase in the number of displaced people.
In November, Bashir calls for a planned withdrawal of the force, after peacekeepers probe accusations of gang rape by Sudanese soldiers.
In a controversial April referendum, the division of Darfur into five states is maintained.
In June, the government declares a unilateral ceasefire but two months later negotiations break down between Khartoum and rebels.
In September, Amnesty International accuses Khartoum of carrying out several chemical weapon attacks in Darfur -- charges denied by the government.
On April 11, Bashir is ousted by the military and detained, after four months of mass anti-regime protests.
In August, new authorities tasked with preparing the way for civilian rule vow to restore peace to conflict-ridden regions, including Darfur.
Sudanese prosecutors in December open a probe into crimes allegedly committed in Darfur from 2003.
On January 24, 2020, a coalition of rebel groups signs a preliminary agreement with the government.
The following month a top Sudanese official says Bashir will be handed over to the ICC.
In June, the Janjaweed militia's Ali Kushayb, wanted since 2007, turns himself in to the ICC.
A Sudanese prosecutor says that Bashir's extradition to the ICC is not necessary.
On August 31, government and most rebels groups meeting in Juba ink an accord aimed at ending 17 years of civil war.
The deal is signed on October 3.
On October 19 during a visit to Khartoum, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda explores options for putting on trial those accused in the conflict.
Washington announces on November 2 it will seek to end UN sanctions on Sudan.
On December 23, the UN Security Council agrees to end UNAMID's now 8,000-strong mission in Darfur when its mandate ceases on December 31.
A little over two weeks later, on January 17, state media reports that tribal clashes in the West Darfur capital El Geneina have killed at least 48 people.
The Somalia government officials have made a subtle admission that the diplomatic tiff with Kenya is profiting the terror group Al-Shabaab, even as opposition politicians chided Mogadishu for cutting links which they would have used to iron out differences.
The claims emerged last week as a special team from Djibouti toured both countries to gather facts on the cause and nature of a spat between Kenya and Somalia.
The Djiboutian team includes diplomats and military chiefs nominated by President Guelleh as a voluntary offer to help resolve differences between Kenya and Somalia that had seen the latter cut diplomatic ties last December. The team includes Gen Osman Noor Soubagleh, a former Force Commander of the African Union Mission who is now a senior advisor on military affairs for the African Union-endorsed stabilisation force in Somalia. The delegation is not an Igad team although the regional body attached an official on the mission as an “observer”.
In a meeting with government officials in Somalia, Mogadishu tabled a list of allegations, including one complaining that Kenyan forces in Somalia, under the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom), were no longer keeping guard of liberated areas, allowing Shabaab militants to recapture them.
The allegation fronted to the Djibouti fact finding mission ran counter to the public claims some Somalia officials had made in the past, including a desire to have the Kenya Defence Forces removed from the country.
According to the Amisom Concept of Operations (Conops), the positioning, movement or abandoning of bases is subject to approvals of the force commander, which traditionally happen with the knowledge of the Somalia government.
Balal Mohamed Osman, Somalia’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and his Permanent Secretary Mohamed Ali-Nur Haji, who met the Djiboutian delegation, also made three other allegations against Kenya, including that Kenya had violated Somali airspace, trained and equipped militia to destabilise Somalia and violated Somali maritime territorial waters (a matter subject to a court case at the International Court of Justice).
When the mission led by Djibouti’s ambassadors to Somalia and Kenya, Mr Aden Hassan Aden and Mr Yacin Elmi Bouh, demanded a response from Nairobi, Kenya government officials rejected the claims but agreed to take the team to the border areas in Mandera where Kenya is alleged to be hosting militia.
While in Kenya, the team met with Kenya’s Cabinet secretaries for Foreign Affairs (Raychelle Omamo) and Defence (Monica Juma) was well as the Chief of Kenya Defence Forces Gen Robert Kibochi.
At the meetings in Nairobi and Mandera, Kenyan officials rejected Somalia’s accusations, instead tabling satellite images of Somalia’s recent troop movements in the last eight months, indicating the Somalia forces were now just about 20 metres from the common border.
Nairobi sees Somalia’s deployment of troops at a border with its neighbour with which they were not at war as a bad signal as Kenya’s own troops were still cantoned at their traditional camp, some five kilometres away from the border.
On Friday, some Somali politicians criticised their government for severing ties, arguing it is diplomatic channels that often resolve the differences.
“A diplomatic spat between Kenya and Somalia will not benefit the two brotherly neighbours and their people. It will only benefit the terrorist group Al-Shabaab to give them a mantra to further destabilise the security of Somalia and, by extension, the greater Horn of Africa,” said Abdikarim Hussein Guled, a former Interior minister now running for presidency in the planned elections.
Guled said that while he thanked President Guelleh for nominating special envoys, he laid blame on President Farmaajo’s government for taking an “ill-advised” decision to cut ties.
“We do not choose our neighbours. I call upon Mogadishu to restore the diplomatic ties and the historic friendship of the two nations. I urge both Mogadishu and Nairobi to stay away from anything that puts in harm's way the deeply rooted relationship of the two neighbours.”
The Kenyan Ministry of Education said some 1,200 pupils from Somalia have, nonetheless, enrolled in Kenyan schools in spite of the tensions which have affected trade.
Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau said he hoped the fact-finding mission, which was accepted by both sides, exonerates Kenya.
“The verification mission has taken place successfully with excellent cooperation between the ministries of Foreign Affairs and the ministries of Defence of the two countries. Kenya looks forward to it positive report of the mission that will categorically debase all the accusations levelled against Kenya, once and for all,” he told the Nation after the team visited Nairobi and Mandera.
“I am not sure the extent at which it is effective. But the thing is, any diplomatic efforts by Igad member countries have potential to pave way for resolving of the dispute,” Abdimalik Abdullahi, a researcher on Horn of Africa politics told the Nation on Friday.
Some analysts think, however, that Somalia is using the spat for political gain. The country is due to hold presidential elections next month on 8th, but has already fallen behind schedule as leaders bicker over the mode of elections.
Ibrahim Adan, a retired Kenyan diplomat argued that the fact-finding mission could offer Somalia’s Farmaajo a chance to delay resolving the Kenya-Somalia tiff until after elections, given there are no timelines on when Djibouti should table its findings.
“It is all about a political issue being played around and for the fact-finding mission to tamper down with the tensions,” he said.
“In any case, Igad in its present form cannot generate consensus to censure any member.”
The mission, however is not a judicial organ to pass judgement on a party. Instead, President Uhuru Kenyatta, Djibouti’s Ismael Guelleh and Somalia’s Mohamed Farmaajo agreed to have the team visit the areas to find out whether anyone had encroached on the other’s territory.
They will table the report to President Guelleh who will then be expected to advise the two leaders whether Nairobi was at fault.
What you need to know:
PM Roble pledged to let officials continue working as long as the issues identified, including a possible Al-Shabaab infiltration, are addressed.
A report by Mogadishu-based Hiraal Institute claimed Al-Shabaab was profiting from illegal taxation of business organisations.
Somalia’s main organisation for investors and traders this week got a reprieve after the government rescinded its decision to disband it over complaints from traders.
Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble instead pledged to let officials continue working as long as the issues identified, including a possible Al-Shabaab infiltration, are addressed.
Mr Roble said on Wednesday that the Somalia Chamber of Commerce had not been disbanded as announced by the Trade ministry last December.
“The chamber has not been disbanded. We will recall the letter from the Ministry of Trade,” Roble told journalists in Mogadishu.
Trade and Industry Minister Khalif Omar announced the organisation had been disbanded and a new caretaker team formed.
Mr Omar said at the time that complaints from traders and “complications of commerce” had forced authorities to intervene.
The new caretaker team was to be led by Abdullahi Osman from the Hormuud Telecom’s Salaam Foundation.
Abdi Dorre, managing director of the Somalia Chamber of Commerce, said they welcomed the decision of the PM as it gave them independence to manage the affairs of investors and traders.
“We are working closely with the government but it has no mandate to dissolve the chamber,” he said.
“To see the Prime Minister finally intervene and say the government did not allow this is, to us, useful information.”
The organisation’s members were the source of most of the $250 million revenue collected by the Somalia government last year, in taxes and other legal fees.
The minister’s move came a few days after a report by Mogadishu-based Hiraal Institute claimed Al-Shabaab was profiting from illegal taxation of business organisations, which are also members of the Chamber of Commerce.
With more than 150 members, including business firms in logistics, medical care, agriculture, telecom and information technology as well as security services and import-export businesses, the Somali Chamber of Commerce and Industry serves as a collective and influential representative for the private sector in Somalia.
However, while its members are duty-bound to pay taxes to the government, Hiraal said the infiltration by the terror group meant some of their members had been forced to quietly pay extortion fees to it.
Dorre said the chamber will cooperate with authorities to ensure legal working but noted that the organisation does not condone support for the activities of illegal groups.
The chamber has in the past been roughed up by authorities.
In January 2020, the Benadir Chamber of Commerce, the affiliate in charge of Mogadishu metropolis, was dissolved after officials in government claimed its ranks had been infiltrated by Al-Shabaab.
They were allowed back to work after satisfying operational audits.
In 2017, then Trade Minister Khadra Ahmed Duale dissolved the chamber and ordered new elections. Duale was sacked in June 2018.
The chamber says it will continue to run operations including acting as a connecting point for local and international investors.
The chamber’s members have, however, in the past also been victims of Al-Shabaab attacks.
In September last year, three people were killed in a suicide attack outside a mosque in Kismayu. They included Jubbaland Chamber of Commerce chair Shafi'i Rabi Kahin.
History of Conmanship: British Protectorate.
The Year 1997 is the centenary of the conquest for the Great kingdom of Benin by the British. It is significant historical event for the black race everywhere. It was a great event which must be revisited and interpreted correctly. The British have been, understandably, economical with the truth about that momentous event.
The kingdom of Benin was already in continuous contact with nations of the Mediterranean for at least 1,500 years before the Europeans came to Benin. The kingdom’s commercial and foreign relations were well established. It had its own money economy Independent of the europeans. The kingdom of Benin’s own currency known as ighos was accepted for trade and general means of exchange in East, west, and North Africa. The kingdom was part of the African empires and kingdoms.
Independent and Sovereign at a time when Europe was part of the Roman colonies. Benin was a powerful Kingdom when the Portuguese first visited there in 1472. King John 11 (1481-1495) of Portugal exchanged friendly correspondence with the King of Benin. The King of Benin on the throne in 1553 spoke fluent Portuguese which he learnt as a child.
The first British ship reached the Benin River in 1553-the trade was mainly in cloths, palm oil, Cowries, beads, and Ivory. By 1400, the kingdom of Benin replaced elective succession with primogeniture. As early as 1500, the King of Portugal received an ambassador from the King of Benin and found him a man of good speech and natural wisdom.
Lourenco Pinto, who was the captain of a Portuguese ship that carried missionary to Warri in August 1619, sent this disposition to the Sacra Congregazione the instance of Father Montelcone.
According to the testimony of this captain, Great Benin, where the King resides, is larger than Lisbon, all the streets run straight and as far as the eyes can see.The houses are large, especially that of the king which is richly decorated and has Fine columns. The city is wealthy and industrious. It is so well governed that theft is unknown and the people live in such security that they have no door to their houses.”
The picture of black Africa as savages in a dark continent painted by the Europeans was totally false meant only to justify the inhuman slave trade and the theft of African natural resources by Europeans for Europeans.
Black African Soldiers formed part of the carthaginians army.
African troops took part in Himilco’s engagement against the Greeks at Syracuse. Numidian Calvary was part of Hannibal’s army.Carthage (in Africa) was so powerful that Carthago est delenda became the Roman credo and the battle cry -Carthage must be destroyed the Carthaginians acquired an empire from which Sicily, Sardinia and Southern Spain was excluded by the treaty. It was this exclusion of the Greeks and the Romans that accounted for the lack of adequate information in the writing of classical authors about the extent of Carthaginian involvement in black Africa.
Even today in Europe, despite all the hypocrisy, the black man is still treated as a second class citizen no matter his achievements. The white race refuses to share the secrets of modern technology with black Africa except as consumer.
The coin of ancient Timbuktu was of gold. Mohammed el-Maghili, a great scholar, wrote a book called The Obligation of Princes for the Emir of Kano (Nigeria) around 1525 on practical difficulties of government a work of scholarship better than Machiavelli’s the prince.
The background to the European lack of respect to the black race was based on the Greco-Roman traditions of thought, which falsely represented the Negro as an inferior creature who was the descendant of the accursed Ham and a Specimen of lesser humanity described by Plato and Aristotle. Even when the Europeans save a few liberals, knew that these were untrue, they upheld them in order to justify colonialism and slave trade which were prosecuted with humbug and grotesque brutality for economic self-interest.
The above historical background is indispensable to what happened to the kingdom of Benin in 1897.I will now examine the real, as distinguished from the ostensible, reasons for the British invasion of Benin. Just look at the map of Southern Nigerian. First, in June 1849, Britain appointed a Consul for the Bights of Benin and Biafra.In 1853, Britain treated separate Consular Districts for (a)Lagos and Bight of Benin(b)Bight of Biafra.
These were real diplomatic representations between independent and sovereign nations accepted as such by all the parties to the arrangements. In fact, during that century when Brazil gained independence, the envoy of the King of Benin attended the celebrations at the invitation of the government of Brazil on the basis of reciprocity.
But suddenly, Britain one the leading nations in trans-continental slave trade for about three hundred years, became an anti-slave trade nation. It was wrongly thought by many that the British conversion was on humanitarian principles for the benefit of the black race. Never. It was in the British national interest. The industrial revolution was in full swing, machines had largely replaced human beings as means of production both in the farms and factories.
In the West Indies, North and South America, the need for slave labour had dwindled. Furthermore; Europe needed settled markets in Africa to obtain raw materials and to sell the products of the industrial revolution. Black Africa in war and turmoil in order to get slaves for the European was no longer in European economic interest.
By 1860-1 Britain had, by subterfuge, lured King osunmu of Lagos to “cede” Lagos to Britain as a olony. I doubt whether King Dosunmu knew the juridical implications of what he was doing when he signed a “treaty” with Britain. The legal effect will be addressed later. The difference between a Colony and a protectorate deserves comment. On July 23, 1884, Britain signed a treaty of “favour and protection” with the king of Creek Town in Calabar and on July 24, 1884, a similar with the King of Duke Town in Calabar. Earlier, a similar treaty was sent by Britain to King Jaja Opobo who refused to sign.
Instead, he asked Britain to define that “Protectorate” meant. Consul Hewett for Britain in a letter in July 1, 1884, replied King of Jaja of Opobo as follows:
“I write as you request with reference to the word “protectorate” as used in the proposed treaty that the Queen does not want to take your country or your market, but at the same time, is anxious that no other Nation should take them. She undertakes to extend her gracious favour and protection, which will leave your country still under your government “King Jaja then signed.
Again in a memorandum dated January 3,1885 submitted to the British Cabinent,the Lord Chancellor, Lord Selborne stated as follows: “The law officers do not expressly advert to the distinction which I thing is important between ANNEXATIONS and PROTECTORATES. Annexation is the advert assumption of territorial sovereignity. Protectorate is the recognition of the right of the aboriginal or other actual inhabitants to their own country, with no further assumption of territorial rights than is necessary to maintain the paramount authority and discharge of the duties of protecting power.
The king of Benin was not as gullible or trusting as the Kings of Lagos, Calabar or Opobo and refused to sign any Treaty of “Protection” with Britain since he could not see no need for a protection from a foreign power who had been dealing with them for centuries as equals, and in any event, Benin was a great power when Britain was a Roman Colony. The Benin King was sombre in stance and in dignity. He stood his ground. Of course, Britain had a hidden agenda. At that time, the British African policy was being masterminded by the British Naval and Military intelligence and the foreign Office with the Colonial Office playing little role.
By June 5, 1885, Britain named her Sphere of Influence (note the Phrase) From Lagos to River Rio Del Ray near Cameroon as Oil Rivers Protectorate. On May 13, 1893, Britain Proclaimed Niger Coast Protectorate as the new name for Oil Rivers protectorate with its own postage stamps which I have seen. The Kingdom of Benin remained resolute, proud and independent. But Britain desperately wanted a Protectorate of Southern Nigeria.
That was the hidden agenda.
King Ovonramwen of Benin in 1896 declined to receive a British delegation for discussions on the ground that the Kingdom was in the midst of a great National Festival. Nevertheless the British delegation came on uninvited. In the light of the then prevailing circumstances at the time. The unexpected arrival of the British was treated as a hostile act equivalent to a war situation. The British team was attacked and defeated. Britain was indignant and felt that she now has an excuse to bring on board by force the recalcitrant Kingdom of Benin. The British military expedition included the father of James Callaghan, the former labour Prime Minister. The kingdom resisted the attack bravely but was subdued by a far superior force.
The British called it punitive expedition. Many people were killed, houses burnt, the palace looted, great works of art taken away. The king was captured and banished to Calabar. The British took enough works of arts to pay for the cost of the expedition. The fiercest and proudest kingdom was, at last, conquered by a more powerful alien power in 1897.
On December 27, 1899, Britain at last was able to proclaim and promulgate the Protectorate of southern Nigeria, to take effect from January 1, 1900.
The response of the Kingdom of Benin against British interference in the affairs of a sovereign and independent nation was a legitimate self-defence in accordance with the peremptory norms of customary international law otherwise known as Jus cogens. If the British could go to war just because for Jenkins’s ear, why should not the Kingdom of Benin protect her national interest against uninvited guests whose reputation at that time for greed and grab in other parts of sub-Saharan Africa was already well known? We must pass Judgment in light of prevailing circumstances at that time. We must unhesitatingly reject British interpretation, as massacre, the events of 1896 which led to the British aggression of 1897.
The reputation of Major Edward Lugard preceded him in Africa. Because of what Major Lugard did in India and Uganda, and what he and George Goldie did in ilorin, Bida, Borgu and what other British soldiers perpetrated in Yoruba land which were then of public knowledge, the King of Benin was right in his suspicion of British intentions which were definitely to lure the noble Kingdom of Benin into the so-called British Protectorate and therefore loss of the sovereign rights which Benin had enjoyed for about 2,000 years.
At the time, as it is now, the kernel of European policy in Africa was devious and self-seeking. Independent African nations should be nothing but vassal states of Europe. The various European Navies were then the instruments of colonial policy. Hence the Navigation Acts of 1649 and 1660, the Staple Acts 1663 and the Plantation Act 1673. They now advocate for us, using the world Bank, the IMF, the devaluation of our currencies, the exact opposite of the economic policies that ensured and helped their own greatness and good quality of life for their own people. The colonial policy in French Speaking Africa is even more worrying. It is better encapsulated in French: plus ca Change, plus c’est la meme chose-(the more things change, they more the remain the same).In short, what makes French decolonization! CAVEAT!
I end this monograph with a quotation from Sir Alan Burns, a former Governor General of Nigeria, in his book-History of Nigeria (4th Ed) at P. 277. No European nation has the right to assume the sovereignty over the inhabitants of any part of Africa, and claims put forward by the various governments at the Berlin Conference in 1885 took little account of the rights of the people who lived in the territory claimed.
What you need to know:
Those that love the President have a duty to be candid and speak the truth. That is not rebelling.
The President is my friend who even spared time to attend my wedding.
Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata is walking a political road that he has no experience — defying the powers-that-be.
His December 30 letter to President Uhuru Kenyatta on the unpopularity of the Building Bridges Initiative in Mt Kenya has thrown him in unfamiliar political waters.
What next for the senator?
Q: What motivated you to pen the now famous letter to President Uhuru Kenyatta on the BBI?
A: It was the realisation that whereas the President Kenyatta government is doing well in Mt Kenya, especially in improving infrastructure and reviving the coffee and the tea dreams, something was amiss politically. There exists an apparent disconnect between the government and Mt Kenya people. Its ranking particularly on key agenda like the BBI in all honesty is very low. I had also lived in denial, believing that those complaining did not have a point. But our people’s concerns grew to a magnitude I could no longer ignore.
Q: Critics say you panicked when your nominee in the December 15, 2020 Gaturi ward by-election was trounced by the Tangatanga team.
A: That loss was a statement of the underlying political situation in Mt Kenya. The ruling Jubilee party made mistakes during the nominations. I had advised the party leadership not to issue the certificate without a conclusive negotiations among the losers.
Unfortunately, I was ignored. The results vindicated me. I kept hearing shouts of thirikari ino ni gute (this government is useless) during the campaigns. The Gaturi ward election results made me start an in-depth inquiry into the problem. I wanted to know what awaited us as a government in case of a referendum and perhaps the 2022 General Election. The truth is that only two out of 10 people have confidence in us. It is a sad reality.
Q: The letter sounds like something you should have orally conveyed to President Kenyatta. Why not just get to him?
A: I express my thoughts better in writing than verbally. Secondly, experience informs me that it is good to keep records. The demerit of writing is the leakage to the media, something I regret. However, the debate surrounding this matter has uncovered the many that shy to speak the truth.
You won’t believe it if I were to reveal all the Kieleweke (the Jubilee team supporting President Kenyatta) and Tangatanga (those backing Deputy President William Ruto) politicians who have privately praised me on this. Ask earlier BBI proponents why they are refusing to take active leadership roles in its favour since my letter became public. Things are bad on the ground, and that is the raw truth.
Q: Coming at a time the presidency is on a warpath with its in-house dissidents, just months after you benefited from a dewhipping spree, where did you draw the courage to rebel?
A: Those that love the President have a duty to be candid and speak the truth. That is not rebelling. I did it in good faith and respect. I endeavoured to use polite words. That cannot be deemed to be crossing swords with my boss. But the nature of humans is that they love to see blood. I do not mind those calling for my dismissal as Senate majority chief whip. If being truthful to my political boss, party and country is a mistake that warrants dewhipping, I’m ready to bear the cross.
Q: You have said on many platforms that you are under pressure to recant the letter and its contents.
A: The first to reach out to me expressing all manner of panick-driven threats was Jubilee Secretary-General Raphael Tuju. He urged me to resign as Senate chief whip if I would not have recanted the letter by January 5. I told him I could not do so because I did nothing wrong. Mr Tuju told me the BBI bosses were not happy with me. He said (Orange Democratic Movement – ODM – leader Raila) Odinga was not happy with me for blocking his endearing project in Mt Kenya ahead of the General Election. I told him my concern was not Mr Odinga but Mt Kenya people and our President.
Q: Have you been receiving death threats over that letter?
A: Yes, both by phone and verbally. Already, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations has arrested a person in connection with the threats I received on phone indicating a plan to strangle and then behead me. The person will appear in court soon.
There have been other threats from political leaders indicating that I will be audited and dragged into a scandal, be charged in court, my property auctioned as I am sent to prison. The price of being truthful in this country is costly at times. There are those who have thrived on feeding the President with lies. These liars are refusing to keep the peace. The truth should reign.
Q: Some have said there is nothing more in your actions but a man on a journey to rejoin Tangatanga, for that is where the votes are.
A: Our supporters did not elect Tangatanga or Kieleweke. Not even the handshake between Raila and President Kenyatta on March 9, 2018. They elected us in Jubilee. Those factions are our creations. Mt Kenya voters have time and again told us to unite and speak in one voice.
In that unity, I would not mind sharing a platform with colleagues irrespective of their political leanings. After all, we are all Jubilee. Where voters are is where my passion is since we were elected to listen to them in serving our terms. Uniting under that philosophy is the most important gesture a leader can extend to the electorate.
Q: Is there hope that Jubilee will unite, given that the President and his deputy appear no longer together?
A: The President is my friend who even spared time to attend my wedding. On the other hand, I was since 2013 Deputy President William Ruto’s chief marketer in Mt Kenya. I was a founder member of Tangatanga. The President and his deputy remain my party leaders and I will disrespect neither. Even when it is said the President is at loggerheads with his deputy, we have not been sanctioned to be disrespectful to them.
Those undermining the DP only do so for their own reasons but I can assure you they are not acting on behalf of the President Kenyatta. Let me advise those undermining Ruto. I will use the words of American Author Buckminster Fuller who said: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Q: You are coming out as a man whose strategy is not national but purely simplistic in repositioning yourself for a local political office in Murang’a county.
A: I have not yet expressed ambition to contest a national position. There is no problem strategising for a local office. If I , for instance become Murang’a governor in 2022, I will team up with 46 others to belong to the Council of Governors and push for the national good. There is no problem in executing a programme to seize power in Murang’a as long as I do so while sticking to national values.
And for your information, Murang’a county is too important to be dismissed as local. It feeds Nairobi and gives it water. It is the home of tycoons who control nearly 25 per cent of the national wealth. It hosted freedom and democracy fighters. It should also be remembered that Murang’a is the home of John Michuki, a man who delivered this country from the matatu and Mungiki madness.
Q: With factional politics in Mt Kenya, what is the region’s 2022 political course?
A: The political side that addresses key regional concerns of tea, coffee, milk, rice, potatoes and business will carry the day. It is a fact that the region will not have a viable presidential candidate. The candidate that has visited the region more and addressed our economic concerns will get the votes.
The people on the ground have decided. They will vote in a certain way. You have seen them fight during public events in an apparent show of political decisiveness. They have witnessed handshake supporters treat them with disdain in the push for the one-man-one-shilling equitable share formula. This is not Kang’ata talking. It is the ground speaking.
Q: Wealthy individuals and councils of elders appear determined to influence the direction the region takes. Don’t you think Mt Kenya is about to get pawned to the highest bidder?
A: Mt Kenya voters are too wise and progressive to be influenced that way. I just do not see this happening. We were in a more intricate position in 2002 when the mountain fielded two strong presidential candidates – Mwai Kibaki and Uhuru Kenyatta. The people of Mt Kenya were able to read the script properly. They told Mr Kenyatta to wait as they opted for Mr Kibaki.
Those getting panicky about Mt Kenya’s future need not to. These are people with a knack for making the most significant political decisions to their advantage. Elite negotiations are important and beneficial as they can help a community extract some crucial bargains. But it may not have an impact on 2022 politics because of several factors.
The changing demographics, rapid urbanisation in the region and new technology have shifted political power from the elites and gatekeepers and atomised area democracy. The presidential candidate who reaches the people directly and circumvents gatekeeping may walk away with the prize this time around.
What you need to know:
Wine's allegations come after the Electoral Commission of Uganda declared Saturday that long-serving President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni had won another five-year term in office.
On Friday, after he tweeted that the military had taken control of his home, the army and police dismissed the claims, saying he had not been arrested and that they were merely protecting him.
Ugandan politician Robert Kyagulanyi, better known as musician Bobi Wine says that four days since the military surrounded his home amid a tense general election in the country, his family has run out of food supplies.
Via Twitter on Sunday, he saod he and his wife were placed under house arrest.
"We have run out of food supplies ... when my wife tried to pick food from the garden yesterday, she was blocked and assaulted by the soldiers staged in our compound," read a tweet on his official page.
Wine's allegations come after the Electoral Commission of Uganda declared Saturday that long-serving President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni had won another five-year term in office.
Mr Museveni won 58.64 per cent of the total votes cast (5,851,037), EC chair Simon Byabakama announced in a televised address.
His closest rival Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, of the National Unity Platform, came second with 34.83 per cent (3,475,298).
Wine, of the National Unity Platform, who was his closest rival came second with 34.83 per cent (3,475,298).
A separate tweet on Wine's added, "Everyone including media and my party officials are restricted from accessing me. Zaake Francis, MP representing Mityana Municipality in the 10th Parliament was arrested outside my gate as he made his way to my house. He was badly beaten by soldiers. He is now in Rubaga hospital."
The politician did not give proof of the allegations.
On Friday, however, after Wine tweeted that the military had taken control of his home, the army and police dismissed the claims, saying he had not been arrested and that they were merely protecting him.
"It is true that police and other security agencies are around his premises ... outside, not inside his home, but that is basically to ensure security in the area," Kampala Metropolitan Deputy Police Spokesperson Luke Owoyesigyire told NTV Uganda.
"He is not under arrest. We have just provided security in the area. Nothing much."
Mr Owoyesigyire further said two people tried to jump over Wine's fence but that they stepped in and arrested one while the other escaped.
He added that another person, who knocked on the gate but had not been invited to the home, was arrested for interrogation about his intentions.
"If we find they are no threat to the honourable and the home, they will be released."