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Worship with us @ Mountain of Fire Miracles Ministries, Budapest, Hungary Address: 1081 Bp II János Pál Pápa tér 2 (formerly Köztársaság tér) Direction: From Blaha, take tram 28, 28A, 37, 37A, 62...1 stop. From the traffic light cross to the other side... Or take Metro 4 & get off @ János Pál Pápa tér
Time of worship: Wednesdays @ 18:30 hr Sundays @ 10:30 hr
Tel: +36 203819155 or +36 202016005

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Thursday, 19 April 2012

OPINION

Africa & nuclear relevance

               By James N. Kariuki

The West is clearly determined that North Korea shall not become a nuclear state. Indeed in March 2012 a Global Nuclear Security Summit was convened in Seoul, South Korea, to dramatize international commitment against North Korea's advances in the nuclear field. But, out of a total of fifty-four global leaders at the Summit, only six were African.


More than most countries, Israel and the US are particularly keen that Iran does not become nuclear either. After all, the Iranians are hell-bent on the ultimate destruction of Israel, the American darling of the Middle East. 

What is more, the Americans remember all too well that in 1979-1981, the same Iranians captured and held American diplomats hostages for 444 days in violation of acceptable diplomatic protocols. And Iranians generally do not like Americans; they have even coined a derogatory epithet for the USA, they call it the Great Satan.

On nuclear issues, the African attitude appears to be ‘these are not my problems; leave me out of them. They are irrelevant to me and I am irrelevant to them.’ But, alas, nuclear issues are African issues. Ask SA which has recently been ‘warned’ by the US to discontinue importing Iranian crude oil or face economic sanctions of its own. Iran is currently targeted for upcoming US-EU sanctions for engaging in suspicious nuclear activities.

SA has reason to be incensed by the US warning. After all, it is a sovereign state with its own overwhelming problems. And, significantly, its oil prices have been escalating in recent months. As the price of oil goes up, so does the price of everything else, making it difficult to stabilize the economy. And, more to the point, SA does not have a quarrel with Iran.  Is this a case of classifying the friend of my enemy as my enemy?

The ultimate message is clear. Africa may wish to be left clear of nuclear issues, but others will drag it into them. Directly or indirectly, Africa will be involved in nuclear matters. It behooves the continent to take the initiative; grab the bull by the horn. But why the current hesitation? 

Post-colonial Africa has always been leery of nuclear power and its applications. The skepticism is probably derived from how nuclear power first entered the continent. If so, memories of this colonial experience have lingered far longer than desirable.

It all started in the early 1960s when France, in pursuit of its own grandeur, launched atomic tests in Algerian Sahara. At that time Algeria was formally a French colony and the prevailing ethos of the era was that the metropolis had the right to do whatever it desired in its overseas territories. But the nature of the ‘attachment’ between metropolitan France and Algeria was already in question, at best.

To France, Algeria was not a colony in the orthodox sense of the word; it was its own southern extension. In other words, it was part of France. But in 1954, Algerians had launched a major war of independence to assert that they were not French. They insisted, ‘we are not French, we have never been French, and we shall never be French.’ Against these conflicting views, the two countries were locked in a major, military confrontation that nearly ripped France itself apart.

Meanwhile, the rest of African colonies were quickly winning their freedom. Ghana was the first to become independent in 1957 and its leader, Kwame Nkrumah, suddenly rose to become something of an ex-officio African voice on global issues.

Regarding the French nuclear tests in the Sahara, Nkrumah invoked the doctrine that the integrity of Africa was indivisible and Algeria was part of Africa. He further pointed out that African sanctity was at stake and it faced two major threats. On one hand there was white supremacy and apartheid in Southern Africa and additionally there were dangers inherent in the French nuclear tests in the Sahara.

Nkrumah protested bitterly against the French violation of the ‘sanctity of African soil.’ To show his utmost indignation, he froze French assets in Ghana. Similarly, Nigeria severed diplomatic relations with France for desecrating African soil. 

African opposition to nuclear dispersal would eventually get endorsement from an unexpected source. The 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) aimed at curtailing the spread of nuclear weapons and the relevant technology to the non-nuclear states of the world. To preserve African soil from further nuclear contamination by foreign intruders African states, virtually en mass, signed the treaty.

A decade later, however, African preoccupation with nuclear non-proliferation was severely questioned.  In 1979, Professor Ali Mazrui argued that arms limitation agreements do not stop arms race, they merely slow it down. Yet, regarding the nuclear danger, what was needed was not containment of destructive capacity; it was reduction of the capacity that already existed. Mazrui’s logic here was impeccable and convincing.

 Mazrui proposed that a little nuclear proliferation in the Third World might just be what was necessary to jolt the superpowers of this world to enter serious negotiations for total de-nuclearization, full destruction of nuclear capacity that already existed. This thinking was prompted by the awareness that Northerners were weary of nuclear spread in Third World states and the prospects of nuclearizing their military. Why not transform that anxiety into an asset for peace? 

Accordingly, Mazrui urged Africans to abandon their quest for a nuclear-free Africa. It made more sense for countries like Nigeria to become nuclear powers, unless steps were taken to abolish nuclear weapons altogether. Northerners needed to be coaxed to the realization that they could not force the rest of mankind to abandon nuclear ambitions unless they themselves gave up those weapons. In the final analysis, nuclear non-proliferation could not be assured by coercive means.

History has validated Mazrui’s contention. Since the NPT came into effect, India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea have become nuclear powers. Apartheid SA was once also a member of the nuclear club but democratic SA was ‘persuaded’ into denuclearizing. After all, nuclear weapons are not toys for children and black people.

Northerners have insisted on coercion to enforce nuclear non-proliferation. Iran has erroneously been destroyed under the pretext of nuclear non-proliferation. Yet, nuclear proliferation has continued unabated. Now that Post-Cold War Africa is largely free of formal colonialism, it is duty-bound to re-enter the nuclear debate and take a firm stand on total world denuclearization.

Who should take the lead? SA is the only African state that has ever acquired nuclear status.  In the 1980s it became the first and only state worldwide to ever have built nuclear weapons and then voluntarily dismantled them. Since then, it has become a champion of both nuclear non-proliferation and an advocate of equal access to peaceful nuclear energy.

Given its convincing credentials in the nuclear field, SA Africa’s leadership is uncontestable in devising an African nuclear strategy. Which posture should inform the 21st Century Africa: the old nuclear-free zone doctrine of the 1960s or the current dogmas of the Iranians and North Koreans that ‘I have the right to be respected and heard no matter what?’

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Editor's Mail

Love the article on Gaddafi
We must rise above tribalism & divide & rule of the colonialist who stole & looted our treasure & planted their puppets to lord it over us..they alone can decide on whosoever is performing & the one that is corrupt..but the most corrupt nations are the western countries that plunder the resources of other nations & make them poorer & aid the rulers to steal & keep such ill gotten wealth in their country..yemen,syria etc have killed more than gadhafi but its not A̷̷̴ good investment for the west(this is laughable)because oil is not in these countries..when obasanjo annihilated the odi people in rivers state, they looked away because its in their favour & interest..one day! Samosa Iyoha

Hello from
Johannesburg
I was amazed to find a website for Africans in Hungary.
Looks like you have quite a community there. Here in SA we have some three million Zimbabweans living in exile and not much sign of going home ... but in Hungary??? Hope to meet you on one of my trips to Europe; was in Steirmark Austria near the Hungarian border earlier this month. Every good wish for 2011. Geoff in Jo'burg

I'm impressed by
ANH work but...
Interesting interview...
I think from what have been said, the Nigerian embassy here seem to be more concern about its nationals than we are for ourselves. Our complete disregard for the laws of Hungary isn't going to help Nigeria's image or going to promote what the Embassy is trying to showcase. So if the journalists could zoom-in more focus on Nigerians living, working and studying here in Hungary than scrutinizing the embassy and its every move, i think it would be of tremendous help to the embassy serving its nationals better and create more awareness about where we live . Taking the issues of illicit drugs and forged documents as typical examples.. there are so many cases of Nigerians been involved. But i am yet to read of it in e.news. So i think if only you and your journalists could write more about it and follow up on the stories i think it will make our nationals more aware of what to expect. I wouldn't say i am not impressed with your work but you need to be more of a two way street rather than a one way street . Keep up the good work... Sylvia

My comment to the interview with his excellency Mr. Adedotun Adenrele Adepoju CDA a.i--

He is an intelligent man. He spoke well on the issues! Thanks to Mr Hakeem Babalola for the interview it contains some expedient information.. B.Ayo Adams click to read editor's mail
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