I read yesterday that President Obama of the USA has invited 47 African leaders to Washington next month – except the presidents of Central African Republic, Eritrea, Sudan, Western Sahara and Zimbabwe.
The Egyptian general, who overthrew the democratically elected president last year and made himself president this year, has been invited. And so has President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, who is on trial at the International Criminal Court for “crimes against humanity”. Whereas like most people I do not know what is going on in Western Sahara and CAR, I see no reason (reason that will withstand the test of hypocrisy) for the exclusion of the Presidents of Eritrea, Sudan and Zimbabwe.
Especially Zimbabwe, whose President Robert Mugabe, remains the most popular African leader – with the ordinary person on the African Street.
I believe that African leaders should respond as they did a couple of years ago when the EU tried to prevent Mugabe from attending the Lisbon Africa-EU Summit. Africa then said, “No Mugabe, No Summit”. And the EU relented. African leaders should say the same to Obama: “No Mugabe, No Summit”.
What’s more, African leaders have nothing to lose: the US invitation is merely a response to China’s lavish hosting of African leaders in Beijing a couple of years ago. Beijing continues to invest massively in Africa, having built, as a gift, the superb African Union HQ – and now have signed the massive Kenyan railway contract. The US is broke, and is totally indebted to China having spent all their money on wars all over the world. Sure, individual African leaders cannot say “No” to Uncle Sam because of the risk of a coup a-la-carte Egypt, but if Africa leaders were to say “No” as a body, there is nothing Uncle Sam can do. Uncle Sam can’t coup everyone.
Come on then, African leaders, say: “No We Can’t” as a solidly unified group! On a final note, if African leaders refuse to listen to my advice, and get coup-ed anyway while dining at the Black President’s White House, it will be a kind of karma! (Nimeiri of Sudan got coup-ed while with Regan in the White House – the coup probably organised by Regan’s CIA!)
Dida J Halake
Re: Profiles in Faith
Your newspaper is full of excellent ideas and innovations and you really know what to carry in every season. I have been particularly looking forward to reading about the life stories of venerable Muslim leaders who have sacrificed all their lives to propagate the faith.
First, it was Ustadh Bun Jeng, the erudite scholar whose indelible preaching marks are left benefiting everyone all over the country and beyond. In fact, Bun Jeng as he is fondly called seems to be more effective in his death than when he was alive. Due to his unique voice and being bilingual Mandinka and Wolof, he has hundreds of thousands of ardent listeners even in death. Listening to him is like magnetic forces drawing you convincingly to the faith of Islam. He was truly a scholar in his own standing. Because of his intensive works and Islamic preaching in the studios at Radio Gambia, at gaamo and other public gatherings, many people embraced Islam. As if this was not enough, Ustadh Bun Jeng has left behind two madarassa as well as other Islamic resource facilities for the benefit of students, researchers et cetera which is ‘an ever flowing charity’ to him even inside the grave. He was a formidable intellectual at best, and his death was a huge loss to Senegambia and beyond.
Profiles in faith is a fresh and highly readable segment of your newspaper rendering the stories of the lives of scholars past and present in The Gambia and across the Muslim ummah. I hope you will continue with it after Ramadan instead of featuring near naked young ladies in your ‘Introducing’ column. I am also appealing to you to feature more Gambian Muslim scholars and not concentrate too much on Senegalese Islamic figures.