UK Elections: Dilemma for Africans and Commonwealth Citizens
As a Ugandan-born British citizen who is standing in the forthcoming general election as an independent parliamentary candidate for Ealing Central and Action, I wish to address myself to the voters with backgrounds in what used to be called the “dark” continent, meaning Africa and the Commonwealth countries in Asia, the Caribbean and Indian – sub-continent on the other. Such a voter is facing a simple choice – to vote for a rock or a hard place, literally. The rock and the hard place are represented by New Labour and the Conservative parties, one of which will form the next British government this week.
|Mr Sam Akaki|
To Africans and their liberal-minded white neighbours, the Conservative party will always be remembered not only for their unqualified support for the Apartheid regime, but also their hatred, with passion, for the African National Congress. Thanks to their international lobby in western capitals, the ANC was listed as an international terrorist organisation. They did not stop there, but actively opposed the call for Nelson Mandela’s release from Robben Island where they wanted him to remain till death. Such voters should assess the conservative against that background they make the final decision which party to vote for.
The same voters should also remember Labour’s role in giving a false hope of an imminent regime change in Zimbabwe. Thanks to Gordon Brown’s sustained campaign in the European Union, the G8 countries and the United Nations, telling the world that Zimbabwe under Mugabe was a threat to international peace and security; thousands of Zimbabweans were encouraged to flee to the UK as asylum seekers. Many of them are now in detention in Yarl’s Wood and other immigration removal centres, waiting deportation to Harare.
It was also the Labour government along with the right-wing republican government in the US that sponsored Ethiopia to invade Somalia, claiming that the Islamic Court, which brought some semblance of stability in most parts of the country, was aligned to Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda terrorist. If Somalia was on the frying pan under the Islamic Court, it is now in fire with over three million men, women and children dying in the refugee camps for lack of food, shelter, waster and security.
And thanks to Labour’s contributions in Somalia, the Gulf of Eden and the East African coast have become a pirate heaven where hundreds of ships have been hijacked in the last two years. Pirating has attracted the presence of NATO military warships, and no one can predict with certainty when or whether foreign troops will leave the Africa.
The three main British political parties have also turned the International Criminal Court into a political instrument to punish non-compliant African leaders or to assist friendly leaders in fighting their local political opponents. The Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and Uganda come easily to mind.
Finally, Labour, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are united in their plan to divorce the Commonwealth in favour of the European Union. Although Commonwealth countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Indian-sub continent lost millions of their people fighting alongside the British army in the First and Second World Wars; their citizens are no longer welcomed to the UK either as students, skilled workers or to visit their families. By contrast, European Union citizens are free to walk in and out at will.
In her Christmas message on 24th December 2009, the Queen said: “It is sixty years since the Commonwealth was created and today, with more than a billion of its members under the age of 25, the organisation remains a strong and practical force for good. It is inspiring to learn of some of the work being done by these young people, who bring creativity and innovation to the challenges they face. The Commonwealth is an opportunity for its people to work together to achieve practical solutions to problems.”
Yet to Labour, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats; Africa and Commonwealth countries no longer represent an “opportunity for its people to work together to achieve practical solutions to problems.” They have become a dumping ground for weapons, access agricultural products and toxic industrial waste, and intolerable sources of economic immigrants. To that extent, Commonwealth citizens died in vain, fighting alongside the British army during the first and the Second World Wars.
I would like to go to the Parliament principally to campaign for better public services for all residents, especially the young and older people who live in Ealing and Acton constituency. I will also campaign against the causes that force millions of African to abandon their countries and flee to the UK as asylum seekers or economic migrants. And I will speak with passion about the need to recognise the contributions which commonwealth countries have made to the United Kingdom. The next government to abandon the current hostile policies towards commonwealth citizens and give them preferential entry visa condition.
Finally, to paraphrase what Neil Armstrong said when he landed on the moon in 1969, this is a small step for me personally, but a huge leap for British children of African parentage. I hope my effort to stand for parliament will inspire them to participate in British politics. It is only then that they will be fully integrated into the political, social and economic life of their adopted country. After all, the decisions that are made by other politicians affect them from cradle to the grave.
To start with, next Thursday, they should not forget the role played by Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats in undermining Africa and the Commonwealth. They should vote for me.
By Sam Akaki,
Independent Parliamentary Candidate for Ealing Central and Acton
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