This submission seeks to respond to Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the President of Ghana’s views on Nelson Mandela and the history of South Africa’s struggle for liberation and to test their veracity and justification in an article or a speech published in The African Executive magazine dated 24th July 2018 headlined, “Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Day: Be the Legacy.”
I presume the President of Ghana has written or spoken in his capacity as the President of Ghana and that the government of Ghana has decided to take sides in South Africa’s struggle for liberation since ours is an unfinished business due to some crucial unanswered questions pertaining to the deals Mandela clinched in secret with leaders of the apartheid government and brokered by the imperialists which have led to South Africa being a neo-colonial state. Mandela postponed the liberation of South Africa and the President of Ghana has endorsed that state of affairs as well as the imperialist brokered negotiations which were initiated without the Pan Africanist Congress and the Black Consciousness Movement and were intended to exclude them.
Does Mr Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo think this was a right and sustainable move that would forge unity among the oppressed people of South Africa? I suggest that he familiarises himself and his government of the facts revealed by Ms Lebohang Pheko in a televised debate on Mandela. The facts revealed by Ms Pheko will show that the President of Ghana is not well informed on South African politics or he has been fed wrong information by his South African hosts when he visited South Africa recently.
He quoted this statement Mandela made in 1964, “During my lifetime, I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
Where have Mandela and Mr Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo seen black domination? Where has Mandela fought against black domination? What makes it the most eloquent defence of revolutionary action in the 20th century, rivalled, perhaps, only by Fidel Castro’s epic “history will absolve me” speech at his trial for insurrection against the Batista dictatorship in Cuba, in 1953? Is he familiar with what Robert Sobukwe and Steve Biko said in South African courts? He must familiarise himself with what Sobukwe and Biko told racist South African courts. Our struggle for liberation was a national struggle for the restoration of land to its rightful owners and for self-determination not equal opportunities. Mandela was prepared to die for baloney; yet the President of Ghana was impressed by that twaddle.
There are leaders who managed to leave indelible imprints in their generations and humanity as a whole and Mandela to some of us is not one of them. Mandela has left a legacy of back stabbing, betrayal, secret deals with our oppressors and their imperialist backers and neo-colonialism. The only people who are happy with Mandela are white people, the West and a hand full of Africans, South Africans of Indian origin and Coloureds who benefitted from Mandela’s sell-out deals.
The Ghanaian President said, “As usual, when one enters that beautiful country the effect of the Mandela imprint is palpable. Madiba might have left us almost five years ago, but I do not exaggerate when I say that it is thanks to him that South Africa is today a strong democracy, with active and working institutions.”
Obviously the President of Ghana never saw the sprawling shantytowns all over the country where African people live. In the secret talks Mandela entered into with apartheid government officials he agreed to pay the debt the apartheid government owed and borrowed more money from the World Bank and IMF even before the ANC was installed by the West as a government. As a result the South African owes a huge debt; there is high unemployment, unequal distribution of income and wealth and poverty, rising prices of commodities and high taxes. This is what was not palpable to the President of Ghana.
South Africa is not a strong democracy with working institutions because the ANC government conflates the ruling party and the state; it is expensive to contest for elections and many organisations can’t raise the exorbitant registrations fees to contest for elections; there is no voter education and political consciousness is very low where a recent survey revealed that half the population of South Africa is ignorant of the constitution and does not even know South Africa has a constitution which is tantamount to disenfranchisement; there is politicisation of the civil service; the National Prosecuting Authority is a cesspool of corruption where cases are prosecuted according to the whims and wishes of the Executive; the National Intelligence Service has been used to destabilise the Pan Africanist Congress from the time of Mandela’s administration and the ANC government has been using an errant PAC faction to sow seeds of discord within the PAC and inviting the leader of this faction to its functions; state organs have been used to settle petty factional battles; the elitist constitution was drafted by a handful of white and African people with no input from the majority of the Africans people. It has no provisions from the models of ancient African constitutions. It was not drafted by a constituent assembly and ratified through a referendum.
What is worse is that South Africa is not a sovereign state, it is registered as a corporation with the US’s Securities Exchange Commission. You are probably ignoring these sad realities because your government has entered into a military agreement with the US government flouting all that Kwame Nkrumah stood for in calling for an African military force to protect the entire continent of Africa.
The Ghanaian President is suggesting that the Rivonia Trial in which Mandela and his co-accused were tried was the first time that he came to know about resistance by Africans to the Apartheid government. He writes, “For people of my generation, (not quite 100 yet), the Mandela name first came to our consciousness in our early manhood, when we followed the proceedings of the celebrated Rivonia trial. It was a particularly poignant time for me personally, for 1964, the year of his incarceration, was also the year of the beginning of my grandfather, Dr. J.B Danquah’s second and fateful period of detention without trial by Kwame Nkrumah’s CPP government, from which, tragically, he never returned.”
If the President of Ghana has watched the video of the link I provided, he will have seen that it was Robert Sobukwe and the PAC that shook apartheid South Africa and the world on 21 March 1960 during the Positive Action Campaign against the carrying of the hated passes which culminated in the Sharpeville massacre. Mandela and his co-accused came into the picture four years later. In 1962 the apartheid government instituted the Snyman Commission of Inquiry to look into the activities of the PAC and its erstwhile military wing POQO, the forerunners of APLA. The findings of that commission were that the PAC and POQO wanted to violently overthrow the apartheid government and establish an Africanist government representing the majority of the African people.
Mr President, the wheel of history kept on turning, the struggle for liberation did not wait for your favourite year of 1964 and your favourite celebrity Nelson Mandela and his co-accused. In April 1960, the PAC was proscribed and the ANC was bundled together with the PAC because some white Members of Parliament were against the proscription of the ANC saying it was a “responsible” organisation unlike the PAC. Others argued that if the PAC was the only organisation banned then the African people would realise that the PAC was a genuine liberation movement and abandon the ANC. Consequently, they agreed to ban both organisations.
It is unfortunate and unacceptable what happened to his grandfather, Dr. J.B Danquah in 1964. It is something that cannot be condoned. Many Africans at home and abroad have given Dr Kwame Nkrumah accolades where they were due and condemned his excesses. Nkrumah’s actions should be viewed in light of the destabilisation by the US administration which sought to overthrow him working with local politicians and they indeed overthrew him two years after the disappearance of Dr Danquah. Nkrumah confronted the US government armed with information from the USSR ambassador to Ghana that the US government was plotting to overthrow him but the US government denied it yet they did topple his government. Nkrumah’s paranoia was not unfounded after all. The family and relatives of the Ghanaian President were not alone in their mourning in 1964. On 16 June 1964 many PAC and POQO member were hanged at Pretoria Central Prison, four were from the area where I live. They were more or less a hundred of them. And guess what? Mandela never spoke about them he instead described in his 1994 book the organisation to which they belonged, POQO as a terrorist organisation.
While the President of Ghana was fascinated by the 1964 Rivonia trial, two years or a year earlier there were already PAC political prisoners on Robben Island which included Jafta Masemola, the longest serving political prisoner on Robben Island in modern history who was assassinated six months after he was released from prison.
He speaks in awe of the Rivonia treason trialists but PAC political prisoners constituted ninety percent of prisoners at Robben Island at any given time. The hope of the people of South Africa were never pinned on Mandela and the ANC but on Sobukwe and the PAC. In the 1970’s, members of Steve Biko’s Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) were incarcerated on Robben Island. He should know more about the BCM because they are his age group. One of them is Dr Nchaupe Aubrey Mokoape who marched with Robert Sobukwe and the PAC at the age of 16 on the 21st March 1960. I always wonder why the media ignores him. The story of South Africa’s struggle for liberation goes beyond Mandela and the ANC. In fact, their role was minimal compared to the PAC and the Black Consciousness Movement.
The Ghanaian President said, “By the time of his release in 1990, the Mandela brand and the Mandela legend were well and truly established. He came from prison with, probably, the most recognized name in the world, even though nobody had any idea what he looked or sounded like after 27 years behind bars. The following link will help set the record straight https://www.facebook.com/tirochristian.thipe/posts/1934079589988669?notif_id=1532699057756252¬if_t=like_tagged.
It is not true that South Africa was on the brink of racial war and that Mandela averted such a war. That is pure western propaganda. Many people would agree that the country was unstable because of resistance from the people of South Africa which the apartheid government tried but failed to suppress through a series of state of emergencies coupled with pressure from guerrilla armies. Western countries badly needed a settlement and Mandela and the ANC were ready to play ball and they did. Western countries did not want the apartheid government to be overthrown the way the Portuguese were overthrown in Angola and Mozambique in 1974.
It is also not true that South Africa needed Mandela more. It was the West and the apartheid government that needed him more and they found him ready and willing to be their stooge. Mandela and the ANC were therefore used by the West and the apartheid government to avert a revolution not a racial war.
Referring to Mandela, the Ghanaian President said, “He became easily the most sought-after personality on the globe, and everybody wanted to see and hear him, including those who had been his fiercest critics and been most unsympathetic to his cause. Many of these were the great world leaders of the day. Mandela was gracious and dignified in his relations with them”. This is utter nonsense. Why didn’t the world want to hear Sobukwe whose speeches and writings resonated with the people of South Africa, the continent and the world? Why have the powers that be concealed Sobukwe’s audio and video recordings but wanted to hear see and Mandela?
The President of Ghana is probably not aware that two books The Big Breach by former MI6 officer Richard Tomlinson and MI6: Fifty Years of Special Operations by intelligence expert Stephen Dorril exposed Mandela as an MI6 agent. He is not even aware that Mandela spied on Muammar Gaddafi’s biological and chemical weapons and passed on that information to MI6. He accepted an invitation from Margaret Thatcher because he had no choice since he was an underling of the British government not for any other reason. That is why MI6 has a big office in South Africa thanks to Mandela.
Whether or not “Nelson Mandela made a fulsome acknowledgment of the role of Ghana’s first President, Kwame Nkrumah, in the fight for African unity, even though President Nkrumah had famously refused to grant him audience in Accra, during his trip around Africa in 1962,” Nkrumah’s role in forging African unity is a fact that didn’t need Mandela’s approval. Nkrumah was right to deny Mandela audience and were he alive today I think he would not approve of Mandela’s actions and would not have regretted refusing to meet him. The second President of the PAC Zeph Mothopeng refused to meet Mandela in 1990 in a meeting contrived by former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. After Nkrumah refused to grant Mandela an audience, Mandela went to Britain. I wonder what the Ghanaian President thinks why Mandela went to Britain in light of the revelations of his association with MI6.
Doesn’t he think Nkrumah was justified to refuse to meet Mandela on the strength of the intelligence briefings he got from Russia? He continued, “Apparently, the Marxist ideologues, including the white South African communist, H. M. Basner, who advised President Nkrumah on his policy regarding African countries fighting for liberation, had described the ANC as a bourgeois, rightist party, in contrast to the revolutionary posture of the Pan-African Congress (PAC), led by Mandela’s then great rival, Robert Sobukwe, who enjoyed Nkrumah’s favour. Such is history that, today, outside South Africa, very few people know of Robert Sobukwe, who, unlike Mandela, was, unfortunately, unable to survive the rigours of Robben Island, but everyone knows of Nelson Mandela.”
There is no doubt that the ANC is the way H. M. Basner described it. Have he asked himself why few people know about Sobukwe and everyone knows about Mandela? Contrary to the Ghanaian President’s assertion that Sobukwe was unable to survive the rigours of Robben Island, he survived them but was poisoned. I suggest the President of Ghana reads Mrs Sobukwe’s TRC submission instead of relying on information from the ANC.
The Ghanaian President is also not aware that the 1994 elections were rigged by the West in favour of Mandela and the ANC.
He said, “This was not universally accepted by all, but Nelson Mandela stuck to his beliefs, and had the moral authority to convince his people to uphold the standard. It helped cement the peaceful transition of post-apartheid South Africa.” He stuck to his beliefs of selling out and did he convince all of us to uphold the standard of selling out because that’s what he did. The transition was not a handover of power since the ANC was installed in office to extricate the apartheid government from what was an impending revolution and postponed the revolution. Is this was the Ghanaian President refers to as a peaceful transition? He is also not aware than the houses the ANC government built are substandard houses and praising Mandela and the ANC for providing electricity to African people and upgrading clinics etc., is like praising a fish for swimming and a bird for flying.
The President of Ghana is also not aware that Mandela amassed personal wealth for himself. He should read Inside the South African Reserve Bank: Its Origins and Secrets Exposed by Stephen Mitford Goodson. The corrupt-to-the-core arms deal happened under Mandela’s watch according to Andrew Feinstein in his book After the Party. Feinstein was an ANC MP who had to resign because he didn’t agree with corruption in the ANC pertaining to the arms deal. He said he wrote a letter to Mandela which he ignored. Mandela also succumbed to greed.
The President of Ghana is also not aware that Neil Barnard, a former spy of the apartheid government who is one of the people who was present during the secret negotiations Mandela held with officials of the apartheid government said Mandela served only one term because he knew that what he did by negotiating without the mandate of the African people was wrong. It was not out of altruism that he served one term.
Almost all constitutions of African countries were modelled on those of their former colonial masters and South Africa is no exception. The South African media is biased in favour of the ruling party and the West. The South African government is not playing a leading role in the affairs of the continent because it contributed in the fall of Gaddafi’s regime.
Why does he think Mandela’s life is so special than, for example, of Sobukwe? There is nothing special about Mandela’s life. It is special to those who benefitted from the unacceptable concessions he made. What legacy is the Ghanaian President talking about? Of selling out? What about Sobukwe’s legacy which is worthy of preserving? We should be grateful to the Almighty that he gave us leaders such as Sobukwe, Lembede, Mothopeng, Masemola, Biko and Onkgopotse Tiro.
The Nobel Peace Prize Mandela got is neither here nor there because it is awarded to people who conform as indicated in this link http://mayihlomenews.co.za/the-colonial-machinations-of-mandela-day/
In conclusion, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said, “Nelson Mandela stands out head and shoulders as the greatest African of all. Madiba gave us an example of sacrifice, of dedication to principle, and of devotion to freedom that is without equal in the annals of Africa’s modern history”. Many people would agree that Robert Sobukwe stands out head and shoulders as the greatest African of all and gave us an example of sacrifice, of dedication to principle, and of devotion to freedom that is without equal in the annals of Africa’s modern history not Mandela. This can be attested by his deeds, what he stood for and the PAC motto serve, suffer, sacrifice. Sobukwe served, suffered and sacrificed.
By Sam Ditshego