MUTUNGA: People-people solidarities for liberation PanAfricanism must continue

Western Sahara’s decolonization process was drastically interrupted on 31 October 1975.

In Summary
  • The illegal military invasion and subsequent illegal colonial occupation by Morocco took place on that day.
  • The illegal occupation and colonization violated numerous UN and OAU resolutions.
Former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga
Former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga
Image: FILE

Morocco’s Occupation of Western Sahara’s is Illegal

I have known the struggles of the Saharawi people of Western Sahara since 1968 when I joined the University of Dar es Salaam as a law student.

POLISARIO was among the liberation organizations that Tanzania gave military and political bases.

Others were TUPAROS from Uruguay, Black Power and Black Panthers from the US, ANC, FRELIMO, SWAPO, the Angolan liberation organizations, and PLO, among others.

Western Sahara’s decolonization process was drastically interrupted on 31 October 1975.

The illegal military invasion and subsequent illegal colonial occupation by Morocco took place on that day.

The illegal occupation and colonization violated numerous UN and OAU resolutions.

The Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice delivered on 16 October 1975 gave legal force to the political resolutions of the UN and OAU.

Both organizations have neither approved nor recognized the illegal and colonial occupation of Western Sahara.

Solidarity of the Moroccan Soccer Team with Palestine

The Kingdom of Morocco, a member of the African Union, has no legal sovereignty over Western Sahara.

When the Moroccan soccer team emerged fourth in the 2022 World Cup the players displayed the Palestinian flag.

Palestine is under colonial occupation by Zionist Israel.

We were all delighted by this show of people-to-people solidarity by the Moroccan soccer team.

The sovereign power of the Moroccan people is more powerful than the Moroccan comprador bourgeoisie who continue to deny the Saharawi people their sovereignty and freedom.

We hope the Moroccan people will support the call for decolonization and freedom signalled by its soccer legends and seen by the people of the world.

The Kenyan Position and the Recent Foreign Policy Debacle on the Issue of Western Sahara

The Kenyan position on the issue of the independence and freedom of Western Sahara has reflected the political and legal positions of the UN, OAU/African Union, and the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice.

This remains the position notwithstanding President Ruto’s Twitter debacle purporting to close down the Saharawi Embassy in Nairobi.

Thankfully, the President deleted this post on Twitter. Such action would have been unconstitutional and illegal since our foreign policy is not above the Constitution which requires the participation of the Kenyan people for such decisions to be made and implemented.

The Kenyan people’s solidarity with the cause of the Saharawi people for their independence and freedom has been spearheaded by the Kenya Western Sahara Solidarity Committee (KWSSC) founded in 2007.

The Committee’s aim is foster people-to-people solidarity between the masses of Kenya and the Saharawi people.

People-to-people solidarities are the right political strategy in these matters where our comprador states and their ruling classes do not represent the interests of the people.

In the case of Kenya, the Constitution radically decrees that our institutions, including the Executive, have delegated sovereign power from the Kenyan people which must be exercised in their interest.

That is why the value and principle of the participation of the Kenyan people, in all matters in our society, is decreed by the Constitution, the Supreme Law in our land.

KWSSC is continually breathing life into this decree. We need to support the work of KWSSC.

The Diplomatic Offensive by the Kingdom of Morocco

Let us not underestimate the politics of the Kingdom of Morocco.

The comprador leadership of this Kingdom has sought to subvert the legal and political positions of the UN. AU, and ICJ.

This is being robustly done by disinformation which includes calling POLISARIO FRONT a separatist terrorist organization.

Indeed, the Moroccan ambassador in Kenya has been in to see the Department of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations at the University of Nairobi in what must be seen as part of the Kingdom’s diplomatic offensive in the matter.

At the University of Nairobi, the offensive has been disguised as a campaign against terrorism and separatism.

Both University students and Faculty in that department must demystify this diplomatic offensive as part of a denial of the self-determination and freedom of the Saharawi people.

The students and faculty should seek to join the patriotic work of KWSSC.

Let the Saharawi People be Free

Colonialism and occupation negate people’s freedom. It also fundamentally steals people’s resources.

The Mau Mau Freedom Fighters did not name their army Land and Freedom Army for no reason.

Self-determination entails equitable distribution of land and resources among the people who own them and the overthrowing of the occupying forces that steal and exploit their resources.

The Kingdom of Morocco is no different from past, present, and future colonial occupiers.

The Kingdom of Morocco is exploiting the natural and mineral resources of the Western Sahara.

Phosphate has been mined from Western Sahara. These natural and mineral resources are undeniably being used to finance the Kingdom’s illegal war and illegal occupation of Western Sahara.

Undeniably, the same resources are being used to obtain political support from African nations that pay lip service to the vision and legal instruments of the UN and AU.

What Does This Case Teach Us?

 In the 21st Century, direct solidarities among people of the world are going to be great ideological and political strategies.

The planet’s people’s representatives cannot be trusted to solve the problems of global citizens.

Global solidarities on issues of colonization, occupations, profits before people, ecological degradation, gender injustice, sexism, militarism, and inequality will be solved when the citizens of the world come together and end the status quo on the planet.

The issue of Western Sahara, and indeed, that of Palestine, shows there are interests in the UN and AU that do not want these injustices solved.

In the case of Kenya, we must build on the leadership of KWSSC and ensure our Motherland does not, in the name of public interest, and our collective sovereign power, support policies that are exploitative, dominating, oppressive and which violate people’s human dignity, and humanity in general.

The Saharawi people must have their land, resources, and freedom. As Kenyans, given our history, we must support this clarion call.

Willy Mutunga, Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court, 2011-2016.

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