A+ R A-

News Wire

Mugabe Orders Caucasian Farmers to Evacuate Zimbabwe Again

E-mail Print PDF

By W.A.T.E.R. 17
Special to the NNPA from the New York Amsterdam News

Echoing similar sentiments from a decade ago, on July 2, Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe demanded that the remaining European “landowners” rightfully return “their property” to his nation’s indigenous inhabitants.

Implementing one of the harshest policies in his country’s land reform movement, Mugabe addressed farmers in Mhangura, a small mining town about 120 miles north of its capital Harare.

“I have been given a list of 35 white farmers in Mashonaland West alone and in just a few districts that have been audited. We say no to whites owning our land and they should go,” Mugabe told the crowd. “They can own companies and apartments … but not the soil. It is ours, and that message should ring loud and clear in Britain and the United States.”

Mugabe suggested that the several hundred remaining Caucasian colonizing farmers should leave. He also refused to allow Caucasian families renting farms from African owners to stay, which is what some had been doing since being violently chased away and having their farms seized a decade ago.

“There are white farmers who are still on the land and have the protection of some cabinet ministers and politicians as well as traditional leaders … that should never happen,” he stated. “They [Caucasians] were living like kings and queens on our land, and we chucked them out. Now we want all of it.”

Mugabe, 90, has governed Zimbabwe since its independence in 1980. He came to power on the heels of the Lancaster House Agreement, which established that he couldn’t make any land reform changes for a decade. After numerous attempts to redistribute land back to Africans, in 2000, the Zimbabwe government instituted the Fast-Track Land Reform Program, which violently forced Caucasian farmers off “their lands” without compensation.

The government reportedly seized 110,000 square kilometers of land, and millions of Black farmers were said to have become unemployed. By 2005, the Parliament agreed to nationalize all farmland, silencing farmers who wanted to contest the land grab in court.

A decade and a half ago, Mugabe, a former guerrilla leader, embarked on a revolutionary nationwide campaign for land reacquisition, where his supporters forced thousands of Caucasian commercial farmers to turn over their territory under a so-called “indigenization” land reform policy.

Caucasians began heavily populating Zimbabwe in the 1890s. The Land Apportionment Act of 1930 divided the lands by ethnicities (Shona, Ndebele, etc.). While traditionally Africans had shared the lands communally, the Caucasians’ presence offset nature’s balance.

The Caucasian population flourished while the native inhabitants were relocated to low rainfall areas, forcing 99 percent of the population onto 25 percent of the land. By 1979, Caucasians only made up about 5 percent of the population, with only 4,500 farmers, yet they owned 70 percent of the fertile land.

Mugabe was reelected last summer to his fifth consecutive term with 61 percent of the vote while outing his own associates who make lucrative profits by owning farmland and renting it to Caucasians. Mugabe characterized this practice as unpatriotic under his notions of indigenous Black African nationalism. The president’s Zanu-PF party also gained a parliamentary majority of more than two-thirds, winning 160 of the 210 seats.

Following this presentation, the 90-year-old leader collapsed. It was reported that he was immediately rushed back to Harare for evaluation. Rumors about Mugabe’s health have circulated for some time, but as he is advancing in age, speculation has increased over the years.

Despite official denials, it is widely believed that Mugabe is being treated for prostate cancer.

Korean Comedians Weat Blackface Again: Will They Ever Stop?

E-mail Print PDF

By Steve Han
Special to the NNPA from New America Media via KoreAm

When we saw that Gag Concert, a popular comedy show on South Korea’s state-run TV network KBS, featured comedians wearing blackface makeup (again), we were stuck asking ourselves the same old question.

Will they ever get it?

The June 29th episode of Gag Concert showed two people wearing blackface makeup and costumes that resemble African tribal clothes.

“Your make up was done so well,” one performer says in Korean. “I almost thought it was real. Wow, look how black your elbows are.”

This is the second time this year that Gag Concert resorted to a blackface comedy in its skit. Just this past February, the show’s actors painted their faces in dark colors and wore wigs to portray black characters.

The fact that these skits continue to happen, despite backlash and subsequent apologies, is another sign that racial sensitivity is taken with a grain of salt among many South Koreans. A 2011 skit on Saturday Night Live Korea featured comedians who painted their faces black to depict the Dreamgirls.

Caribbean Steps Up Fight for Payment from Europe

E-mail Print PDF

By Bert Wilkinson
Special to the NNPA from the New York Amsterdam News

Not surprisingly, Caribbean trade bloc leaders, who wrapped up their four-day main annual summit in the small but idyllic eastern Caribbean island of Antigua on the weekend, pressed on the accelerator regarding their demand for payment from European nations that participated in and benefitted from the African slave trade.

Since they first threw their weight behind the Rastafarian Movement and other civil society groups for justice at the Trinidad summit exactly one year ago, the region has become more organized and increasingly determined to make Europe compensate member nations in the form of cash, official apologies and assistance in improving the regional infrastructure for health, education, policing and other key areas.

The final communiqué, issued at the end of the meeting, showed that the leaders, after extensive discussions among themselves and briefings from the regional umbrella body organizing the case of the Caribbean against Europe, decided to ask for a Caribbean-Europe reparations summit sometime later this year or early in 2015.

That meeting, officials said, will be used as the main sounding board to determine whether a negotiated settlement will be arrived at or whether the case for reparations will have to be taken to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands.

Britain, one of the key nations that snatched Africans from the continent, put them on slave ships and dumped them on sugar and other plantations, forcing them to work in oppressive conditions without a cent in pay, has already said it will not recognize the case or pay any money.

However, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair might have well weakened the British stance against payment because he had, back in 2007, expressed regret for the “unbearable suffering” caused by the UK’s role in slavery. He did not consider the expression of regret as an apology, though. In 2010, then French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he had found it necessary to acknowledge “the wounds of colonization” and as a gesture cancelled $56M Euros of debt owed by Haiti.

The leaders think the Caribbean region has a strong case for payment and have taken heart from other international judgments against Europe in this regard. The UK, The Netherlands, France, Spain and Portugal are among nations firmly in the sights of the Caribbean leaders.

To this end, governments have already met and reviewed parts of the arguments with the British law firm, Leigh Day, the firm that won $21.5M in compensation payments for surviving Kenyan Mau Mau fighters who were brutalized and tortured by the British government during an anti-colonial rebellion against oppression in the 1950s and 1960s.

Obama, Dems Lambaste Supreme Court Labor Ruling

E-mail Print PDF

By James Wright
Special to the NNPA from The Washington Informer


President Obama and other Democratic leaders expressed concerns about the Supreme Court’s ruling Monday that some government employees do not have to pay fees to the labor organizations representing them.

Obama, who won both elections with the support of organized labor, said that collective bargaining is a fundamental right that helped to build America’s middle class.

“The ability of public servants to collectively bargain is crucial to ensuring both a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work and the high quality service citizens expect and deserve from their government,” Obama said.

The president said that the court singled out home care workers as not being liable for union dues and fees, which he called unfair and used his home state as a model.

“The collective bargaining model in Illinois resulted in fairer pay and benefits for hardworking caregivers as well as improved training, safety and health protections and tools to help those who need care find it,” he said. “The court’s decision will not only make it significantly harder for these dedicated employees to get a fair shake in exchange for hard work, but will make it harder for states and cities to ensure the elderly and Americans with disabilities get the care they need and deserve.”

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said that the decision is a blow to organized labor and the American worker.

“Many of the basic workplace standards and protections that we take for granted as Americans are thanks to the efforts of organized labor,” she said. “These benefits have been sought and achieved on behalf of all workers, regardless of whether or not they’ve paid union dues. I fear that this decision will seriously diminish the capacity of labor unions to represent the best interests of American workers who have fought for and won significant progress on wages, benefits and working conditions, and jeopardize the progress that has been made over the last century.”

Democratic candidates generally are the recipients of organized labor’s financial and organizational support. Labor supports not only extended collective bargaining rights but increased wages for non-salaried workers, improved workplace protection in terms of employment and on the job site and stronger benefits employment packages for workers such as a comprehensive medical and dental care, tuition reimbursement and time off from the job for essential family activities.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, the president and CEO of the National Action Network, also criticized the court’s decision.

“By limiting their [workers] ability to automatically deduct dues, workers will once again suffer while the corporations maintain their own protections and privileges,” Sharpton said.

Guyana: No Politics in Rodney Commission of Inquiry

E-mail Print PDF

Special to the NNPA from the New York Carib News

CMC – President Donald Ramotar has said that there is no politics in the convening of a commission of inquiry into the death of political activist, Dr Walter Rodney.

“This is purely a Presidential Commission. I responded to the heartfelt cry of Mrs Rodney [widow of Dr Rodney], who is advancing in age, and who wants to get some answers,” the President said Thursday.

Dr Walter Rodney – at the time a leader of the political group, Working People’s Alliance – died in a mysterious bomb blast outside the Georgetown Camp Street Prisons on June 13, 1980.

His widow currently lives in the United States.

Ramotar convened the Commission of Inquiry to probe the circumstances leading to the death of Rodney, in what is regarded by some as an assassination.

“This is not a political issue at all,” he said. “At no time did we discuss the Commission at any level of the [governing] People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C)”.

The hearing before the Commission began on April 28 and is now adjourned to June 23.

The President is confident that the Commissioners, comprising Barbadian, Sir Richard Cheltenham as Chairman, Jacqueline Samuel-Brown of Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago’s Seenath Jairam, are professional and will preside over the Inquiry with judicial impartiality, fairness and professional integrity.

Page 4 of 323

Quantcast