Magazine article New African

What Our Readers Say: We Publish Here Some Readers' Reactions to the Commonwealth Crisis. Reactions Can Still Be Sent by Post, Fax or Email

Magazine article New African

What Our Readers Say: We Publish Here Some Readers' Reactions to the Commonwealth Crisis. Reactions Can Still Be Sent by Post, Fax or Email

Article excerpt

Needed: a united African voice

In view of Zimbabwe's withdrawal from the Commonwealth, it is timely to remember President Kwame Nkrumah's view of the Commonwealth. He held that there should be no political or economic grouping or blocs in Africa which stood in the way of a Union Government of Africa. He stated that he would take Ghana out of the Commonwealth immediately on the formation of an All-African Union Government.

Yet, in spite of the formation of the African Union (AU), no united African voice was heard in the recent Commonwealth conference in Abuja, Nigeria. African states were sharply divided, and therefore weak.

It was particularly sad to see the present government of Ghana siding with Kenya in opposition to the stand taken by Zimbabwe's neighbours--South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and Mozambique.

June Milne

(Literary executrix of Kwame Nkrumah)

London, UK

Africa should leave the Commonwealth

The statement made by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) members of the Commonwealth on Zimbabwe's withdrawal (NA, Jan 2004), is inspirational and comforting. It has highlighted the SADC's genuine determination to fight against any form of colonial injustices--past or present.

This raises serious questions as to where the West African countries in the Commonwealth stand with regard to the African liberation struggle. Have they lost their fighting spirit and surrendered to Tony Blair's bullying tactics on the Zimbabwean issue?

The Commonwealth, which remains a symbolic British Empire of the past, has become increasingly a mere hypocritical and ceremonious organisation incapable of resolving past and present injustices deliberately created and imposed on member states in Southern Africa, including Zimbabwe. The Commonwealth has lost its credibility. I doubt if it serves any progressive interest for African member countries any longer.

If the Commonwealth, in its present form, has become an impediment to Africa's struggle for total self-determination and freedom, then it is no longer viable for Africans to be part of such a colonial relic. Some former British colonies, such as the USA, are not members of the Commonwealth, and the sooner Africa leaves the Commonwealth the better it will be for the continent to attain a higher level of freedom and self-respect.

Herman Kwame Afele

London, UK

Time for reflection

Zimbabwe's withdrawal from the Commonwealth gives the former British colonies in Africa an opportunity to sit back and reflect on what it means to belong to this "partnership". I don't like Mugabe's policies and what they have done to Zimbabwe, but at least he has shown the rest of Africa that the Commonwealth, as it stands today, is only meant to strengthen Britain's hold on its former colonies.

Look at the Commonwealth summits. They are nothing but dress-for-the-occasion events. Our leaders adorn themselves in expensive suits and parade before the Queen as she gives the keynote address. One really wonders who stands to benefit from these meetings.

Where was the Commonwealth when the opposition in Zambia cried foul over the 2001 elections? What is the difference between Zambia and Zimbabwe in terms of the way the ruling parties conducted the recent elections? The only difference is probably that Mugabe forcibly took land from his white citizens at the time of the election.

I still want to see the Commonwealth ask Britain why it refused to honour its pledge to compensate white farmers in Zimbabwe. Or is it a dead issue already? And can Britain be suspended from the Commonwealth for this breach of trust?

Evans Mukate

Siavonga, Zambia

Brilliant, is it?

Stella Orakwue (NA, Jan 2004) says "it is brilliant" that Zimbabwe has withdrawn from the Commonwealth. But what has Mugabe got to gain or lose? Nothing? …

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