“Never before have questioners asked their question in such dolorous tones or rephrased their question in such despairing words: Can man survive?” These words come from Professor Carroll Quigley’s book, Tragedy & Hope, published by The Macmillan Company, New York, 1966.
We are asking this question in dolorous tones and despairing words: Where are we going? This question is prompted by what states and governments are doing in Africa and around the world. States and government are abusing their citizens and citizens around the world like never before in the 20th and 21st centuries, especially in the fields of espionage, civil liberties and
So called Intelligence agencies are a law unto themselves. In September 1996, this writer wrote an article in the New Nation with the headline, “Foreign intelligence agencies use crime as a weapon” but opinion makers did not follow it up. Recent newspaper articles show that this problem has escalated. On the 31st May 2013, two Botswana’s weekly newspapers, Mmegi and The Guardian had front page stories on the illegal activities of that country’s spy agency, the Directorate on Intelligence Services (DIS). About two years ago, the members of the Military Intelligence arm of the Botswana Defence Force who killed a Botswana national, John Kalafatis, were charged and found guilty for killing Kalafatis were pardoned by that country’s President, Ian Khama.
It has been reported that DIS is vetting out non-Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) directors. The BDP is Botswana’s ruling party and has ruled that country since 1966. Kalafatis’ family and lawyer should approach the United Nations office that deals with extra-judicial killings and file a case.
In South Africa in the mid 1990’s the media reported that a former Azanian People’s Liberation Army (APLA) member who was an employee of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Muziwendoda Mdlhuli was found in a car with a gunshot to his head. Should we crane our necks to try and find out who murdered him or should we conclude that his murder fits the hallmarks of an assassination of a “rogue” agent by his spy agency? His murder is still unresolved. Rogue here means ‘acting independently and using unorthodox methods that are unpredictable and are likely to cause trouble’. Is it far-fetched to hypothesise that perhaps Mdlhuli had checked NIA computers and found out who among Apartheid securocrats did what and who among the ANC leaders collaborated with the Apartheid government? His APLA-PAC background did not help matters.
According to media reports, there is mounting evidence indicating that South Africa’s state organs are being used to fight petty factional battles within the ANC and to undermine opposition parties such as the PAC which are a threat or perceived to be a threat by the ANC ruling elite. There is the spy tapes saga that President Jacob Zuma’s lawyer, Michael Hulley apparently got from NIA and used to get the National Prosecuting Authority to drop the charges of corruption against Zuma. The courts have ruled that those tapes be made available but the government or the state is flatly refusing, which renders them in contempt of court.
The Mail & Guardian of 7th June 2013 reported about Chumani Maxwele who was manhandled by President Jacob Zuma’s VIP unit while he was jogging. Maxwele, a University of Cape Town Political Science student was taken by this blue light brigade to Zuma’s residence in Rondebosch with his hands tied behind his back and a black plastic put over his head and he could not breathe properly. He was eventually taken to the Rondebosch Police station for allegedly “showing his middle finger to President Zuma” where he spent a night and was released without being charged. This was a violation of his civil and human rights.
First of all, President Zuma’s VIP unit are not police officers and do not have the right to arrest anybody. Their duty is to protect their man. If they felt Maxwele violated the law, they should have phoned the police. And it turned out that the charges they brought against Maxwele were trumped up. They have no right to manhandle, especially a law abiding citizen who was jogging. They terrorized this poor Maxwele. They should appear in court and face charges of assault and taking the law into their own hands.
President Zuma should have intervened on behalf of this poor guy because they had no business bundling him into the President’s official motorcade and taking him to his residence, official or private. This exercise is indicative of abuse of power and power drunkenness. The blue light brigade is known to be a menace to society and the assault of Maxwele proves exactly that. Maxwele’s lawyer clearly abandoned him and should face sanction by the Law Society. In fact, he should be barred from practicing. He is a disgrace to the law profession.
Dr Nkosana Dlamini-Zuma who is now the head of the African Union presided over the illegal repatriation of a Tanzanian national and a Pakistan to the US and Britain. It is not clear where these people are. They are perhaps languishing in the United States prison of Guantanamo Bay. Does she know what happened to them? Does she care?
On the international scene it is not any different. Innocent people are locked up in Guantanamo Bay without charges being brought against them. Yet the obsequiously fawning Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia De Lille wants to grant the Freedom of the City of Cape Town to US President Barack Obama. Obama does not respect the human rights and civil liberties of anybody. His actions are more outrageous than his predecessor and he has tried more whistle-blowers than his predecessors. How then does he get to be given the ‘Freedom of Cape Town’?
Russian television has reported that the US has illegally been reading internet correspondence of all of us including their citizens; yet they were up in arms when Wiki Leaks founder Julian Assange made their cables public to show the extent of their criminality. Bradley Manning who leaked US secret documents to Assange is currently on trial. Do these states and governments think they have the right to eavesdrop on our harmless conversations and the rest of us do not have the right to peep into their subversive correspondence when we are the ones who put them into power?
Given the extent and magnitude of these criminal activities cited in the foregoing paragraphs, is it not time that we take back our countries from these criminals and put the rest of them in jail where they truly belong? Where are we going? Why should we allow a handful of people terrorise us?
By Sam Ditshego
The writer is a Senior Researcher at the Pan Africanist Research Institute (PARI).