God’s Sense of Humour!
And it seems God spoke again on a continent shaped like the heart – the heart that some African leaders are betraying when a volcano that had been dormant since 1861 erupted. The Dubbi volcano, in the Southern Red Sea Region, Eritrea erupted sending plumes of ash and smoke 8 miles up into the air, during Hilary Clinton’s African tour sending her home a day earlier than expected – not the first time Hilary has had such a welcome in Africa!
If the colonized will not listen, the indigenous will defend their land which the world seeks to rape again of its bounty while turning Africa people homeless, starving and begging as a result of the second scramble for Africa/land-grab.
The people are waking up around the world calling for dignity and justice, and Africans not lost to the bloodlust of the imperialists are no different in that regard.
Elders of Africa, ask for the right value of your exported produce before “leasing” land of which your people will not benefit. All land grab reports have proven this so demand this of your leaders. And lease land that belongs to know one either ancestrally or traditionally for this is the right of the land to be protected, for without land there is no nation to defend. Limit the channels at which land can be leased to avoid illegal leasing, and make the lease short-term, for who knows what the future will bring, for the benefits from that lease should be rendered and directed to the benefit of the people, so that your name, and your children and grandchildren will be honoured where it will be remembered! And if you do not understand the lease, or have the means to uphold the processes involved with the lease, it is better not to sign – for those that come to you for your land eat away at their own people and bankrupt their own countries, so what chance does a people who have never truly been respected stand!
The Gods of Africa are not Asleep After All!
By Cameron Duodu
With the IMF’s (International Monetary Fund) Dominique Strauss-Kahn in hot water over accusations of sexual assault in a New York hotel, Cameron Duodu revisits the effects of the fund’s structural adjustment programme in his home country of Ghana.
Trust African women not to be politically correct!
Even as speculation raged over the identity of the New York hotel chambermaid who was the victim of an alleged rape attempt by the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Dominique Strauss-Kahn (who has now resigned), a female member of an African internet forum had seen a political dimension to the issue.
She wrote: ‘I hear the chambermaid is an African. There is even a suggestion that she is from Ghana.’
(It turned out that the woman is actually from Guinea, but that is immaterial, since Ghana and Guinea once formed a ‘union’ in 1958).
Pursuing the Ghana angle, the lady writer observed: ‘If that is true, it would give “structural adjustment” a whole new meaning.’
I laughed bitterly on reading that. Ah, yes – ‘structural adjustment’, I reminded myself. No Ghanaian of a certain age can ever forget it. In April 1983, the ‘Provisional National Defence Council’ Government of Ghana, led by Flight-Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings, invited the IMF to come and ‘salvage’ the economy of Ghana. Ghana had run out of most imported goods, especially essential everyday items such as soap, toothpaste, sugar, milk and the tinned foods which constituted the basic diet of boarding schools.
The Ghana currency – the cedi – was also extremely weak. Officially, its value was C2.75 to US$1. But in the unofficial ‘branches’ of the Bank of Ghana operating at suitably picturesque suburbs of Accra – with such names as ‘Zongo Lane’, ‘Mallam’ and ‘Chorkor’ – money-changers offered 20 cedis per dollar or more.
To combat the black market, the IMF ordered a devaluation. Despite our government’s aversion to ‘devaluation’, our government increased the exchange rate to about 15 cedis to the dollar.
But the IMF had no antidote to what happened next. The black market rate also rose! And the two rates of exchange began to chase each other like hounds and rabbits engaged in a ‘dog race’. At one stage, the exchange rate reached 5,000 cedis per dollar. This represented a gargantuan devaluation that recalled the legendary Latin American devaluations of the 1950s and 1960s. Many Ghanaians began to suspect that the IMF was using Ghana to conduct an experiment into how much hardship the people of a developing country could be made to endure, without causing a social implosion.
The fall in the value of the currency affected every aspect of life in Ghana. Whereas government officials could benefit from fringe benefits – such as the use of officially provided transport – the privately employed middle class was faced with creeping penury. To buy a car, which had previously been within the means of many middle-income groups, was now almost out of the question.
Worse, inflation in food prices began to have an effect on the physical appearance of many in the population. Adolescents in particular began to display something called the ‘Rawlings chain’ – a clear definition of the collarbone under the neck – caused by emaciation of the normally fleshy cover of the collarbone.
Added to this was the introduction of hospital charges and school fees. Every subsidy that could be identified was withdrawn – from the cost of utility services to the cost of petrol. The IMF also insisted that debts to Western companies, no matter how corruptly they were incurred, must be repaid. Protection of infant local industries was abolished. Trade was ‘liberalised’, even if the stifling of local industries created unemployment.
Bitterly, Ghanaians were quick to notice that IMF officials and their World Bank counterparts, who made periodic visits to Ghana to prescribe a bitter economic potion for them, could live it up in Ghana if they chose to, as their ‘per diem’ allowances were denominated in hard currencies.
It is therefore no exaggeration to say that the IMF has attracted more resentment from the literate section of Ghana’s population than any other international body. And it is this pent-up contempt which, as soon as the Dominique Strauss-Kahn affair blew up, made them to re-experience in their minds the hardships that ‘structural adjustment’ brought upon their heads only a few years ago.
Of course, no one knows whether Strauss-Kahn will be found guilty when he goes on trial in New York or not. But one suspects that for the people of countries which have had to swallow the bitter pill of IMF structural adjustment programmes, such as Ghanaians, the mere sight of him in handcuffs, surrounded by tough New York City police officers, being denied bail and forced to spend days in the isolation section of Rikers Island detention centre (‘In the wing reserved for inmates with contagious diseases’) will generate almost sadistic satisfaction.
Indeed, whether the woman is a Guinean or a Ghanaian is of no consequence. She is African. And many countries in Africa will be mentally clapping their hands and saying: ‘The gods of Africa have used an African woman to reap vengeance for us. The gods of Africa are not asleep after all!’
Recent events would have it so that there would be some sort of ‘psychological victory’ over the Guinea made, akin to the lustful slavemaster of African-American history as New York courts ‘downgraded’ the maids claim, leaving Strauss-Khan looking clean or “regaining his confidence and his body language exhibiting that of a victorious war fighter” as one media outlet put it. The machinations of the Empire even went against the liberties of women’s rights, and had the victim tested for HIV – yet another desperate attempt to slap another racist label because the Guinea maid would not stay lying down, and submissive.
But these are times when one is being confronted with the injustices of one’s thoughts and actions. To the dismay of the Empire, one of their own, who had stayed down too long, and too submissive, as French women came out into the streets to protest. Journalist turned author, Tristane Banon god-daughter of Strauss-Kahn’s second wife Brigitte Guillemette, finally claimed her dignity and proclaimed that Strauss-Kahn had raped her too.
May all the women who have been raped and disempowered by it stand vindicated, and may humanity return to all abusers while they have the chance of redeeming themselves.