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28.05.2010 Feature Article

AFRICA CARES ABOUT THE KILLINGS IN JAMAICA

The crocodile cry of Let My People Go by former Prime Minister of Jamaica Edward Seaga is perpetuating the status quo of African children killing one another in Tivoli. He has never been part of the solution, Edward Seaga has always been part of the problem. He cannot shake off the rivalry between him and Prime Minister Michael Manley that he defeated and took over from. Jamaicans said it was because Manley lied. Well, without Manley, Edward Seaga miracle has not happened since the seventies in Jamaica.

It is not surprising that he is calling for the resignation of the Prime Minister of his Labor Party because Bruce Golding finally resolved to take on Christopher Coke. The Jamaicans that have been terrorized in Kingston by thugs and drug dealers of both political parties still bear the scars. Since the seventies some African/Jamaicans could not return home because of incessant political violence that deteriorated into drugs and gang murders. Those at home resigned to the mercy of ruthless gangster and gun runners.

Seaga used to represent areas that West Kingston including Tivoli where according to the last count, seventy-seven people have died trying to flush out some gangs that have supported his Labor Party. The area is now represented by another Labor Prime Minister, Bruce Golding. Chris Coke is the strongman and a drug dealer wanted by United States but also a supporter of Labor Party. By trying to arrest him, many young African men under the age of thirty years have died.

Golding hired a law firm in the US to lobby with private contribution from Jamaica, so that US can drop their request for Chris Coke extradition. He claimed Coke's wiretap by US was illegal. When he finally made up his mind to take back Tivoli and dislodge Coke's gangsters, they started burning police stations and cars, demonstrating that they are ready to die for Coke. Coke was in full control of Tivoli where he controlled crimes, gave clothes, education and gave hopeless young men jobs in gun running or drugs dealing while some innocent women traders shuttling between United States and Jamaica were forced into drug mules. Christopher also sponsored weekly passa passa street dance.

When all negotiations with Coke to surrender failed, Golding finally realized that Christopher Coke has almost taken over the soul of Labor Party without the conscience of Jamaicans. Unfortunately, if Seaga had the guts and had put the Country first instead of political gains, he would have taken back Tivoli from his thugs so that it would not have fallen on Golding's lap. The feeling in Tivoli is that Golding, the Prime Minister has betrayed them and ready to arrest Coke as asked by United States for trial.

The People National Party, opposition has been reasonable, waiting for another day to debate who started the menace in the first place. They could have gone on attack because Christopher Coke is a creation of the Labor Party. They came out as patriots in a difficult time. Seaga, of all people is the one taking on Bruce Golding asking people in his former constituency now represented by Golding to call him.

This is the problem of Africans. We want power by do or die and raise thugs as supporters against our opponents. The father of this Chris Coke, Lester or Jim Brown, also died under controversial circumstances in prison fire when the Government of Jamaica had enough of him and had to invade his stronghold in 1992. Chris the son, fears the same fate because he knows about all the corrupt politicians.

The father, Lester Coke was not as lucky to die of natural causes as our own strongman Adedibu of Ibadan. But Chris Coke's father and Adedibu lived a parallel life as thugs turned gangers that became Frankenstein. Their political godfathers lost control of them and they became godfathers themselves. They infested the poor and the young providing succor where the government has failed and use that as a recruiting tool to attract young men they use as thugs.

Where ever there are Africans, we must remember that we are our brothers' keeper. As much as we have our own problem, Africans cannot not just watch our people inside or outside the Continent engage in self annihilation. We have selfish politicians all over the world and we condemn them whether they are Africans or not. It is even worse when those who never identify with us treat us like crabs in a barrel fighting and pulling one another down.

Most if not all the young men we see fighting and dying on the street in West Kingston looked like us. Very few looked like Edward Seaga and some of us are sensitive enough to note that. We are not sure if Seaga is more Lebanese than African since shades of skin matters there, but he was chosen as the Prime Minister of Jamaica in the seventies after Michael Manley was defeated. He came into prominence as minister who developed his constituency in West Kingston Jamaica. Tivoli was one of the first government housing.

Politics in Jamaica is as fierce as in Africa. This writer almost lost a friend that happened to be a supporter of Seaga in a discussion at an international conference. Oh, not while on Jamaican vacation. She made it clear that if we were in Jamaica this writer could have learned some hard lesson because of his bias for Manley that was Seaga's rival.

Seaga has since become an elder statesman but like our Nigerian Obasanjo or Ghana's Rawlings refuse to quit the stage and still want to be relevant. In the middle of a difficult time for Jamaica, when politics should take a back seat, Mr. Seaga said: Let My People Go! Where he wants them to go in Jamaica, we are not sure.

Fortunately, Nigeria has always supported Jamaica. If they need peace-keeping force on the street they can apply through the usual United Nation channel or directly to Nigeria. In spite of our problem in Africa, Nigeria is always there to help and internationally recognized for its peace-keeping force.

Farouk Martins Aresa
Farouk Martins Aresa, © 2010

This author has authored 492 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: FaroukMartinsAresa

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