…the benighted politics of relativism, as seems to constitute the centrality of the African Union’s agenda, is decidedly a historical relic.
While in principle, one cannot blame South African president Jacob Zuma for attempting to resolve the apparent stalemate that has quite significantly stalled what may be aptly termed as the ARABO-LIBYAN SPRING, nevertheless, the very notion of Mr. Zuma prevailing on NATO to ease its salutary wave of bombardments in order to enable the implementation of a so-called African-Union Roadmap for Peace in Libya, verges on the unpardonably absurd (See “Zuma, Kadhafi Meet as Defections Mount” Modernghana.com 5/30/11).
One cannot blame the likes of South Africa’s Mr. Jacob Zuma because as a formidable geopolitical force in continental African affairs, the South Africans are coming to the game relatively late. Nonetheless, South Africa has a uniquely intimate appreciation of the kind of political impasse facing the Libyans, because the ruling African National Congress government has the freshest and most significant experience in dealing with the sort “internal political tyranny” or “indigenous imperialism” that the Libyans have been painfully saddled with for the past forty years.
Nonetheless, while it made for a superb public relations gesture, or photo-op, the most recent attempt by the South African president to peaceably resolve the Libyan conundrum is woefully bound to fail. In fact, it is even more likely to further provoke the NATO alliance and the other major participant nations from the European Community (EC) into speeding up the process of easing out Mr. Gaddafi, in order to enable the Libyan people determine the next course of their destiny, just as their neighbours in Tunisia and Egypt are doing.
Yes, the Zuma Initiative, as it were, was a stygian failure from its outset, primarily because it scandalously sought to vacuously apply the same jaded set of principles that has singularly and notoriously been responsible for the inexorable regression of post-colonial Africa since the 1960s. What is more, as an institution, the so-called African Union is irreparably effete and has absolutely no relevance for the socio-economic, cultural and political development of the primeval continent. For as an ideological entity, the African Union has yet to fully and sensibly recognize the fact that where the right of Africans to be democratically governed is concerned, there can be no compromise and, to be certain, the benighted politics of relativism, as seems to constitute the centrality of the African Union’s agenda, is decidedly a historical relic.
Needless to say, there is a cynical logic to the predictable inability of the African Union leadership in dealing with the Libyan crisis as well as others of similar nature. One, most of the member countries comprising the African Union have leaders who boast of no better human rights record than that of the Libyan tyrant. And it is primarily for this reason why even leaders of respectable, albeit fledgling, African democracies, such as Mr. Zuma’s South Africa, can only speak in terms of causing the induction of stage-managed “political reforms” on terms dictated by the very abject monstrosity that has singularly been responsible for the unremitting oppression of the Libyan people over the past four decades.
Thus, for example, on the eve of President Zuma’s departure for Tripoli, for talks with Mr. Muammar El-Gaddafi, this is what the ANC government put out for public consumption: “The South African presidency said [that] Zuma is seeking an immediate ceasefire, to boost humanitarian aid and bring about the reforms needed to eliminate the cause of the conflict which erupted amid anti-regime protests in mid-February. But it [i.e. the Zuma government] reject[s] as ‘misleading’ reports that the talks would focus on an exit strategy for Kadhafi.”
If the foregoing pabulum does not constitute a classical example of a farcical rhetoric of equivocation, then, whatever else it may be, it obviously does not put President Zuma in the enviable light of a serious leader/negotiator poised to constructively facilitating the resolution of the Libyan crisis. For, needless to say, the Libyan conundrum, the much preferred characterization, is inescapably the problem of Col Gaddafi’s tyranny. Then again, what could an “African-Union Roadmap,” drawn up largely by a cynical cabal of dictators and tyrants, look like but another benighted and infantile gimmick aimed at stalling the inviolable right of Libyan citizens to be democratically governed?
In effect, it clearly appears to me, and I hope to a legion others also, that if a genuine and/or sincere attempt were being made “to eliminate the cause of the [Libyan] conflict which erupted amid the anti-regime protests in mid-February,” then, of course, the first attempt at an effective resolution ought to be the simple and logical exit of the primary cause, Mr. Gaddafi! We also know fully well that Col. Gaddafi’s political stranglehold on the Libyan people patently and historically lacks the kind of evolutionary organicity previously represented by King Sayyid Muhammad Idris (1890-1983); and yet, some African intellectuals whose palms appear to have been considerably greased by the Monster-of-Sirte, as it were, insist on characterizing Mr. Gaddafi as the “legitimate” ruler of Libya. This category of intellectuals and poseurs are, by and large, brazen hirelings of thuggish regimes propped up by the military and financial beneficence of the former Libyan Army colonel, thus their desperate attempt at facilitating the entrenchment of their erratic benefactor at all costs.
We also know that President Zuma cannot be very serious when he talks about “seeking an immediate ceasefire, [in order] to boost humanitarian aid and bring about the reforms needed to eliminate the cause of the conflict,” since the last time that such ceasefire was allowed by NATO, forces loyal to the Gaddafi regime wantonly massacred the rebels to an extent that has yet to be fully determined by United Nations investigators.
Ultimately, if it has to take the erstwhile European colonial powers, and the United States, to redeem the Libyan people from the protracted and nightmarish regime of Col. Gaddafi, then so be it, as morally embarrassing as this may come to some diehard African nationalists. After all, the salvation and security of the Libyan people are far more important than the false pride of some cynical African nationalists.
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is a Governing Board Member of the Accra-based Danquah Institute (DI) and the author of “The Obama Serenades” (Lulu.com, 2011).