Resistance is advocacy for positive, participatory and inclusive change. The bare-faced rape of Africa requires continued resistance in forms appropriate to each circumstance.
Without resistance Africa will stay in the pot like the proverbial frog in the pan, barely noticing the rising heat among so many other survival considerations until she is cooked in the cauldron. This feeling is buttressed by environmental enthusiasts claiming “climate change” was thrust upon Africa by rich nations to enable them to exploit the “Black” continent’s vast mineral resources.
This thinking blends so well with the thematic focus of Friends of the Earth International, an internationalist organisation of autonomous environmental groups suggesting a route that should be adopted and practiced. According to environmental activists, climate change is a new path to slavery for Third World nations. It is a racket and this is easily proven by the variation in definition from global warming to climate change. They aver that rich nations hope to limit the development of poor countries by binding them down through climate treaties.
No wonder Africa was divided when the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Tose Mpanu Mpanu, the continent’s chief climate change negotiator at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Durban COP 17, crossed swords with the United States and Europe and some elitist African states over calls the rich must be compelled through a “binding instrument” to pay compensation for polluting Africa’s environment, and exacerbating the changing climate.
Despite proposals by Africa, some rich nations scuttled the climate change deal by dangling cash and proposing credits to less developed countries. The demand of climate justice is those who created the climate problem must be the ones to mitigate it, and in the process must transform their economies and societies. Rich nations must reduce excessive consumption patterns to address the climate crisis with real solutions, and secondly, developed countries should support the poor who are forced to adapt to a situation they did not create.
This means supporting sustainable, green development pathways.
But is there proof that greenhouse gas emissions (CO2) crisis was exaggerated and is it just a consultant’s wet dream?
Commenting on my article last week, an activist maintained: “If a climate crisis from human CO2 were true, it would be the millions of people in the global scientific community doing the protesting in the streets to save their kids’ lives.
“Not the dozens of climate change protesters who are seen marching in the streets now after over 26 years of needless panic. Deny that! Meanwhile the entire world of science and the UN had allowed carbon trading to trump the developing world fresh water relief, starvation rescue and Third World countries education for just over 26 years of ‘insane’ attempts at climate control.
“Real planet lovers are happy, not disappointed, a crisis wasn’t real.If you still believe in a climate crisis that condemns billions of our children to the greenhouse gas ovens, at least start acting like it’s a crisis so we can believe that even you believe it.”
There is no doubt that civic society groups are spoiling for a fight with rich nations at the Rio+20 meeting this year.
To them, the central focus beyond building people power is to recapture the commons from the corporate and not to commercialise nature, spaces and relationships.
It must be pointed out that there was never a time when Africa was plundered without some form of resistance. Official reactions to resistance continue to follow the same track – proscription and obliteration.
The banning of dissent was the means of cutting down nationalists who sought to pave freedom routes that would probably have also heralded economic freedom.
That vision was captured by late Mozambican leader Samora Machel when he quipped: “Our final aim is not to hoist a flag that is different from the Portuguese one or to hold general elections – more or less honest — in which blacks rather than whites are elected, or to have a black president instead of a white governor.
“We affirm that our aim is to win total independence, to establish people’s power to build a new society without exploitation for the benefit of all those who consider themselves Mozambican.”
Countless Africans with this vision are no longer with us. One can count the murder of Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba in 1961, the liberation war deaths of Mozambique’s Eduardo Mondlane (1969), Amilcar Cabral of Guinea (1973), Herbert Chitepo (1975), Josiah Magama Tongogara (1979), Benjamin Tavamanya Musiiwa (1978) and South Africans Steve Biko (1977), Ruth First (1982) and Chris Hani (1993), the expedient plane crash that killed Machel (1986), assassination of Burkina Faso’s Thomas Sankara (1987) and killing of Nigeria’s Ken Saro-Wiwa in 1995.
It is Lumumba’s assassination that provides further insight into the power of resource grabbing to destabilise resource-rich poor nations in the guise of building democracy, and now climate change mitigation funding. When the Belgian colonial power in the then Congo in 1959 announced a five-year transition period, Lumumba saw it as a ploy to delay the process of independence so as to raise someone who would be compliant and do their bidding.
Lumumba was in the saddle of power for barely six months before his assassination at the command of a Belgian army officer and despite the protection of provided by the UN as he sought to travel to his political stronghold Stanleyville. With the emergent government yet to settle down, a split emerged between the Prime Minister and President, and leader of the Congolese army Colonel Joseph Mobutu seized power in a military putsch.
I shall not digress, but the foundation for the plunder of DR Congo was therefore laid on the bloodstained sands of Katanga. More than other resource-rich countries, Africa remains peculiarly volatile on account of its rich stock of resources. Has Africa finally been pacified? Has Africa turned against itself and been left by everyone –except that her mineral resources or land are objects of desire? The fight for climate finance is just starting?