You owe Africans, the African Diaspora and the global community an apology for meeting with Uganda’s dictator Yoweri Museveni. I’m all for maximizing collaboration between Africa and Diaspora Africans. Killmonger is my favorite character in Black Panther. Malcolm X said embracing Africa liberates African Americans because, “You can’t hate the roots of a tree without hating the tree.”
Malcolm met Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Tom Mboya, and Gamal Abdel Nasser. You, on the other hand, met with Museveni, an enemy of Africa.
You’ve been correctly excoriated for repulsive comments that slavery was a “choice.” You’ve apologized. Last week, you were back in hot water after the servile manner in which you professed your love for Trump, a racist enemy of Black people. Uncle Rukus came to mind.
You could not have done anything worse than go from Trump to Museveni.
Museveni seized power by the gun way back in 1986 when Ronald Reagan was the U.S. president. He dreams of controlling other African countries. So, he invaded Rwanda in 1990 –leading to the genocide in 1994; he invaded Congo in 1997, leading to a series of wars that’ve claimed the lives of more than six million people; and, he invaded South Sudan in 2013, and the death toll is estimated at nearly 300,000.
Today in Uganda, where the youth make up 80% of the population, unemployment is 85% and young people are demanding that 76-year-old Museveni resign. They’re led by 36-year-old rising political star and entertainment artist, Bobi Wine. In August, Museveni’s soldiers reportedly beat him and tortured him, squeezing his genitals until he lost consciousness.
Brother Kanye, let me now introduce you to Museveni’s past ugly comments.
In an interview published in the September 1994 issue of The Atlantic Monthly Magazine, Museveni said, “I have never blamed the whites for colonizing Africa: I have never blamed these whites for taking slaves. If you are stupid, you should be taken a slave.”
How do you think descendants of enslaved Africans, whose ancestors died in the millions during the Middle Passage, or Maafa, while packed like sardins in ships, feel? How do you feel?
Survivors were worked to death on plantations while enduring fiendish torture. C.L.R. James in The Black Jocobins describes how French slavers stuck dynamite into the anus of rebellious Africans then lit the fuse; Howard Zinn, in A People’s History of The United States, describes enslaved Africans with feet dangling from trees, roasted with fire lit below.
These ancestors, whom Museveni called “stupid,” created the capital base –the process is called accumulation in economics– that enabled the U.S. to become a global industrial power. Symbols of prosperity everywhere, Trump Tower included, is traced to their blood and tears.
Today, their descendants form the American underclass. I’m not talking about the proportionally minuscule percentage who are rich professionals, athletes, entrepreneurs, and entertainers, such as yourself. I mean the majority; stuck in neighborhoods with no prospects for decent education. They provide fodder for the prison industrial complex described in Michelle Alexander‘s The New Jim Crow. Or, like Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, and Laquan McDonald, to name three of many, they’re murdered by racist cops.
Brother Kanye, here’s more about Museveni.
On Feb. 24, 2014, he signed a bill into law making gay sex punishable by life imprisonment. An earlier version of the bill had considered death by hanging as punishment. While signing the bill, Museveni told CNN that gay people were “disgusting.”
He also said, “Scientists should meet them, study them, take their blood, look at their genetics.”
A court annulled the law; still, as a result of Museveni’s demonization attacks, against gays escalated.
Museveni even diminished Adolf Hitler’s crimes. He’s quoted in Ugandan weekly newspaper, The Shariat, in April 1998, saying, “As Hitler did to bring Germany together, we should also do it here. Hitler was a smart guy, but I think he went a bit too far by wanting to conquer the world.”
Museveni is also a self-hating African and when Trump called Africa shit-hole countries the dictator said, “I love Donald Trump.” He’s an agent of neo-colonialism.
A Real Wakanda
I’d like to close with some advice for you Kanye.I do support your idea, if you’re serious, about creating Wakandas in Africa. It’s the world’s richest continent –Congo alone has resources worth $27 trillion–yet Africans are the poorest people on earth. European countries have exploited Africa for centuries; now China has entered the mix.
Africa could become a global economic powerhouse through a partnership of the continent’s mineral and natural resources and farmland, with skilled Diaspora workforce and some of the $1.3 trillion annual spending power of African Americans.
It would involve working with emerging young leaders fighting corruption, like Uganda’s Bobi Wine, South Africa‘s Julius Malema, Kenya‘s Babu Owino, Zimbabwe‘s Nelson Chamisa and others.
This is how to end European and Chinese exploitation and to create the Africa envisioned by Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, Kwame Nkrumah and other Pan Africans.
But to be a part of this Wakanda renewal you, Kanye West, must love the roots of your African tree and repudiate Trump and Museveni.
Milton Allimadi, who was born in Uganda, listens to Malcolm X’s The Ballot or The Bullet speech everyday while doing situps. He publishes www.blackstarnews.com and he’s an adjunct professor of African History at John Jay College. He’s the author of The Hearts of Darkness, How White Writers Created the Racist Image of Africa. Follow him on twitter @allimadi or Instagram miltonallimadi.