September 28, 2016

Changing course…

…by the WPA?
This Eyewitness is sorely troubled by the silence of the WPA on Hamilton Green’s studied insult to the life and memory of Walter Rodney contained in a letter to the press. Rather than rebutting Green’s litany of lies and louche innuendoes, your Eyewitness had nailed the standing libel Rodney had been “expelled from the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania” by quoting Prof Issa G Shivji’s rebuttal. He’s the holder of the Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Chair at the University.
But it just wasn’t the lie on “expulsion” – it was Green’s claimed reason attributed to Nyerere: “Rodney was frustrated in his efforts to climb the political ladder by words, but had opted for the route of violence.” Is the WPA going to let this pass?? After all, Green piggybacked on the lie to provide Burnham with the excuse to kill Rodney: “Dr Walter Rodney opted to reach the plateau of political power by violent means.”
Why is the WPA giving Green a free pass? Green wasn’t an innocent bystander when Rodney was killed – he was part and parcel of the apparatus that put Rodney six feet under, in a grave. In Rodney’s paper written in 1967, he was simply making a historical point that the “briefcase revolution” that brought “independence” to most of Africa from European powers like England and France, did not go far enough.
“Independence” thus merely substituted a local elite that carried on ruling just as the departed Europeans had done. No change for ordinary folks. Rodney posited IF independence had come via armed revolutions more root and branch change might’ve been engendered. He wasn’t talking about NEW armed revolutions. While Nyerere was stung since he had been given independence “in a briefcase”, he implicitly acknowledged Rodney’s point with his Arusha Declaration of 1967 – the same year Rodney left for Jamaica – that ushered in Ujaama socialism in Tanzania to attempt changing the status quo.
Rodney wasn’t interested to “climb the political ladder” in Tanzania. This has been documented in the later writings of scores of persons Rodney had touched with his University activism who later rose to prominence in Africa. Even when he returned to Tanzania in 1969 – where a one-party state was being created – to teach at his old University – he didn’t enter politics. And, as recounted by Dr Shivij, even when he was exhorted to accept citizenship to do so.
By 1974 when Rodney returned to Guyana, he’d however seen with the best of intentions, authoritarian rule can sidle in. And imagine when, as with Burnham, there weren’t those “best intentions”!
But where is the WPA?

…on interior guns
Your Eyewitness is pleased saner heads have prevailed in the matter of guns Amerindians used to hunt for meat, were taken away. This was pursuant to an order issued by Minister of National Security Khemraj Ramjattan during the “spiralling rise in crime” on the coast. He ordered all unlicenced guns be turned in during the period of amnesty.
What had troubled your Eyewitness at the time, was it had been proven conclusively that not a single crime had been committed with those guns. Quick now….when was the last time you heard of men with hunting rifles held up anyone? But the Minister was adamant: the law was the law – even if it proved that in that case, “the law is an ass”.
But the main point is Ramjattan’s been overturned. He can be stubborn when he takes a stand. Look how he rebuffed his colleague Cathy Hughes on that jaguar’s skin he nailed to his wall.
Maybe someone can take a look at that 4am curfew? No connection’s also been shown to “spiralling crimes”.

…in media
Since when does ownership of a newspaper entitle someone to obtain a broadcasting licence? The Broadcasting Act’s clear that the licensee must be running a broadcasting business and nothing but a broadcasting business.
Publishing libel doesn’t entitle you to broadcast slander.

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