Kenya’s Dr. Ali A. Mazrui, nominated by the British Journal, ‘PROSPECT’ as the top 100 public intellectuals alive in the world has shared his views on a key challenges, facing Africa today. In a seminar in Indiana, USA, he seized the moment to call for all western countries who had slaves to open their top governmental positions for black people in a form of reparation for slavery.
In a conference at the Indiana State University, the articulate Africa expert, delivered a seminar, titled: “Africa, Obama, and Mazruiana Reflections.” From Kwame Nkrumah to Barack Obama: A Pan-African Centennial where he reiterated his initiatives for Africa reparation. Dr Mazrui began his reparation initiative along with late Chief Kola Abiola of Nigeria in the 1990s and he said the movement died with the Nigerian billionaire who was the sole financier. However he has continued to push for it in many forms. He is a constant participant and activist on issues of African Unity and a consultant on issues educational reform and constitutional change in Africa.
Dr. Mazrui who is also the Vice-president of the Royal Africa Society of U.K, was poised to share his insights on a few key issues as he was at the receiving end of a flood of questions from African students and the African Diaspora in the USA.
Concerning African representation in the permanent Security Council of the United Nations, Dr. Mazrui said, a rotational policy will best serve Africa. “If Africa is ever allotted a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, Africa should be represented by a country from each region, in rotations. For example, Nigeria from the west, South Africa from the South, Egypt from the North, and Maybe Congo from the East, one after the other,” he said speaking at a dinner in Bloomington, Indiana.
When quizzed about Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir’s disregard of the ICC’s arrest warrant, Dr. Mazrui said, it is not advisable to arrest serving heads of states. “When they quit office, then you can arrest them, although it may have such leaders cling unto power for a long, long time. However, he questioned the fact that, the first arrest warrant had to be issued to an African leader, when such leaders as North Korea’s Kim II-sung remain untouched. “Such a trend if allowed to stand, will target weak states, and weak governments,” he added.
Regarding the Duty to Protect; peace-enforcement or peacekeeping, in Africa, Dr. Mazrui said rebel groups, militias and warlords need to be approached smartly, with diplomacy and dialogue, and where it fails to reduce or curb humanitarian crisis, military force, with strong consideration of civilian population may become an option. In regard to warlords, he also commended Rwanda for arresting General Laurent Nkunda who in the name of protecting Tutsi population committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Dr. Mazrui who has written over thirty books and has been published in countless famous and scholarly publications, including The Times of London, The New York Times, The Economist, The International Herald Tribune, amongst several others, has influenced several politicians and world leaders through his many and diverse works in African studies, International Relations,History, Philosophy and the Humanities. He is recently appointed Chancellor of the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Kenya, by the Kenyan head of State.