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January 22, 1976 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1976-01-22

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aIZie Swpan Daun
Eighty-Six Years of Editorial Freedom
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mt 48, 04
Thursday, January 22, 1976 News Phone: 764-0552
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan
No more Vietnams:
Angola for the An golans


prof. analyzes Angolan con fllct

THE UNITED STATES' involvement
in Angola's civil war has been
wrong from top to bottom. Our action
is not the result of some error, mis-
calculation or snafu. It is, much like
Vietnam, the direct, inevitable result
of American policymakers' militaris-
tic world view and strategy.
From the earliest days of the Cold
War, American leaders have, with
little variation, used subtle interfer-
ence and blatant intervention in
other nations' affairs to increase our
grip on the worjd and contain the
hobgoblin of Communism. When the
U. S. takes sides in a civil conflict,
the relative ideological and structur-
al merits of the factions are irrele-
vant: the choice is whichever group
capitulates easiest to our needs.
In Korea, Vietnam, Spain Chile
and now Angola, what America has
wanted - more than humane, pro-
gressive governments as espoused in
our propaganda - is governments
that lean to the West. -
Whether one believes in cold-
blooded anti-Soviet pragmatism or
compassionate, humanitarian poli-
cies, America's approach is reprehen-
sible. With money and arms, we are
supporting the Angola faction with
the least claim to popular sovereign-
ty, Holden Roberto's National Front
for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA).
In Africa, Roberto has a reputation
of self-serving opportunism and
shallow ideological base; most re-
cently he has shown his colors by
threaitening full-force terrorism if
his faction loses, which is likely. For
the group dubbed most representa-
tive of "the local population" by
President Ford, it seems he cares for
little but political power.
AMERICA'S other Angolan ally is
UNITA, the faction whose mili-
tary might lies in its use of South
African arms and mercenary troops.
Even the Pentagon's observers agree
that nothing damages the U. S. im-
age on the continent more than our
support for South Africa's racist re-
More important than backing for
UNITA, this support is tacitly ac-
knowledged as a key reason for our
very presence in Angola: to prevent
the rise of a leftist government so
threateningly close to South Africa.
NEWS: Barb Cornell, Ann Marie Li-
pinski, Cheryl Pilate, Cathy Reutter,
Sara Rimer, Karen Schulkins, Bill
EDITORIAL PAGE: Mark Basson, Dan
Biddle, Stephen Hersh, Jon Pansius.


(EDITOR'S NOTE: University Prof.
Godfrey Uzoigwe's expertise in African
political affairs makes him unusually
qualified to analyze the current Angolan
civil war. Born in Nigeria, Uzoigwe be-
came a professor of African history at
the University in 1970 after teaching at
Makerera University in Uganda. It was
at Makerera that he "got to know a
number of African leaders," including
Julius Nyerere, the president of Tan-
zania and a prominent African social-
Uzoigwe presented his view of the
Angolan conflict in a two-hour inter-
view last week in his Haven Hall of-
fice. "I keep in touch with what is
going on in Angola," he said, "through
journals, conference papers and the news
broadcasts. I also get information from
other Africanists, and through connec-
tions in Washington." i
The professor spoke in an almost
melodic accent, an accent which com-
bines the intonations of his Nigerian
mother tongue with tinges of the speech
of Dublin and Oxford, where he was
Espousing a radical view of Third
World politics, his dramatic tone under-
scored the conviction of his support
for the 'MPLA. He described with a be-
mused air the American leadership's
"amazing ignorance when it comes to
Africa" and the problems American
involvement in the conflict has caused.
The 15-year-long Angolan war, which
recently came into prominence, is be-
ing fought among three groups: the
MPLA, or Popular Movement for the
Liberation of Angola, led by Agostino
Neto; the FNLA, or National Front
for the Liberation of Angola, led by
Holden Roberto; and UNITA, or the
National Union for the Total Independ-
ence of Angola, led by Jonas Savimbi.
The MPLA is receiving the support of
the Soviet Union, and is fighting with
the aid of some 9,000 Cuban troops. The
other two factions are being backed by
the United States, with Savimbi's UNITA
relying heavily on South African forces
for military support.)

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GODFREY UZOIGWE: 'The traditional 'I know why Holden Roberto is fight-
African structure has n e v e r really ing. If you were in his position, you'd
been capitalist . . . it's been more do what he's doing. He had a lovely
communal. And it seems to me a villa in the ,Congo, paid for by the
government has to operate in the United States.'
idiom of the governed.'
..... .:... :".....'r:.......^;..Vr1........ .....

Agostino Neto

ing for a modus vivendi, an escape
route. I know that Neto doesn't give
a damn about OAU. He knows that
the foreigners are telling them what
to do. Many of these countries can-
not survive without France or Britain.
Most of these European countries that
are on the side of the United States
have done their work.
If little Chad, or another country from
this area went to the OAU and voted
against France, that may mepn star-
vation for some of them. Nigeria can
afford not to shut up, because Nigeria
needs nothing from the United States,
except expertise, which we pay for.
Even if you don't like me and we
want your stuff, you'll still sell it and
make your profit. So Nigeria can af-
ford to do that. But how many other
African countries can?
What is the history of the involvement
of South African forces in the wear?
UZOIGWE: The involvement of South
Africa was inevitable in the conflict.
If I were South Africa I would be
About Communism?
UZOIGWE: No. South Africa is using
Communism and all these things to get
international support. I'd be worried
because Angola is very strategic. Nami-
bia, or what they call South-West Africa,

berto, and Jonas Savimbi find themselves
in the position of having to deal with a
devil they don't like. I don't believe that
Jonas Savimbi likes South Africa any
more than Roberto. But here you are
fighting vigorously, you want to be
president, and South Africa comes out
of the blue to help you. Why not use
them? And then after that tell them
to go to hell.
If Savimbi should win, is he going to
be able to do that?
UZOIGWE: He'll be able to do that
because there's nothing South Africa can
really do about it. Will South Africa
occupy Angola? And will all the African
countries that are supporting Angola
in the Organization of African Unity just
simply sit quietly and allow South Africa
to do this? South Africa will have to
justify this internationally.

provide to Angola after an MPLA vic-
UZOIGWE: We have to review the per-
formance of the Angolan groups. The
war started around 1961. Who were our
friends? That is, the friends of Angola?
The Soviet Uni- since 1961 has helped
with expert advice, with training, with
money, with weapons. Cuba has helped.
So many of the Angolans have been
trained in Cuba. Not only in Angola,
but in so many other revolutionary
areas in Africa, Cuba has been help-
ing. For 15 years, the Russians and
the Cubans have helped.
We did not go the the Russians and
the Cubans first. We went to the United
States first, and the European countries,
because for one reason or another our
people have been scared stiff of Com-
munism. Why? Because of the Catholic
and Protestant churches. If you heard
what they preach in their churches in
Africa about Communism, you probably
wouldn't want to go near those devils
either, and there are many of us, what
we feel is that though we do not want
any Russian presence in Africa, we
will not be so unfair to the Russians
as to put tem in the same category
as the United States.
When the three movements became
very clear-cut in their goals, the United
States then bought the support of FNLA,
which had not been declared socialist,
giving money for the use in the street
fights between the MPLA supporters
and the FNLA.
After 15 years, the Portuguese de-
cided to throw in the towel, no thanks
to the United States. Out of the blue,
the United States shows up as a de-
fender of African interests. And the
United States begins to accuse the Ru-
sians of re-colonization of Africa. The
United States was playing on our fears
of Communism.
This is the way we look at it: the
way your newspapers talk about de-
tente and cold war - we do not see
it in such terms. When the Russians
were kicked out of Egypt, we all drank
to it. We all were very happy. We did
not get out of the clutches of ,Portugal
to transfer ourselves to the clutches of
the Soviet Union, or even to the clutch-
es of the United States.
Basically, I would argue, we are Af-
ricans first and last. We are not an
insular people, but after many years
of colonialism, you want to at least
know how it" is to rule yourself, even
if you kill yourself doingif.
How likely is MPLA, if it wins, to
accept American capital, to develop the
country? If the capital comes from pri-
vate companies, it usually takes more
out than it puts into the economy, but
if it comes from the U.S. government,
might it be more fairly given?
Wouldn't it be more consistent for a
socialist-style government to expropriate
UZOIGWE: Yeah, but which African
-country has expropriated the oil com-
panies? None, I think. Perhaps Libya
has. But it will take time. I talked to
many American businessmen when I
was in Africa, and you know, in many
cases, they prefer expropriation now?
Because it's just like putting your shares
in the stock exchange and somebody
does all your meddling and pays you
the bill. So you do no work and get all
the money. So if you talk to businessmen
in the United States, they are no longer
afraid of nationalization. But nationaliza-
tion in Africa has not really worked.
What we did in Nigeria was simple.
The middle and lower range business
must be owned by Nigerians, from
50,000 pounds (about $140,000) down. The
middle range now will be owned by
Nigerians and foreigners. The upper
level will be owned by foreigners and
the government, so that we keep an eye
on what is going on, until we are in a

* * *

Which of the factions in the Angolan
war is the one you feel should win?
UZOIGWE: The question I suppose I
would ask myself, as an African, is
which of the movements will prove to
be more beneficial to the African cause.
I know why Holden Roberto is fight-
ing. If you were in his position you'd
do what he's doing. If people like me
support Agostino Neto and the MPLA,

What is the ideology of the
how is it different from the
the other two groups?

MPLA, and
ideology of

Holden Roberto

The state department argues that
the Popular Movement for the Liber-
ation of Angola (MPLA) would form
such a government and permit a Rus-
sian presence in Africa, but the So-
viet Union passed up similar oppor-
tunities in Ghana and Guinea. Even
some Pentagon analysts agree that
U. S. support for an MPLA govern-
ment would provide a wedge to offset
most supportable group: it has a
sensible socialist program, a hatred
for foreign control of any stripe, and
a broad ethnic-urban base. Its lead-
er, Dr. Agostino Neto, says 'he will
fight any Russian attempt to make
Angola a satellite state.
The Soviet Union's role must be
viewed with as much suspicion as
our own. But the practical answer to
Russia - laying aside moral consid-
erations -- is simply not found in
alliance with racist South Africa.
Finally, America must stop shed-
ding other people's blood in the'
name of pride and pragmatism.
Editorial positions represent
consensus of the Daily staff.

'We are Africans first and last. We are not
an insular people, but after many years of
colonialism, you want to at least know how
it is to rule yourself, even if you kill your-
self doing it.'
....... .....Y ^.^w.:..:f::4::.:: .w.,. .:4t:"? r . . . ..Y.w"..:::.... "i...

UZOIGWE: Agostino Neto in my view
is an African first and last. He uses
socialist rhetoric. I would argue that
he's a convinced socialist, but he is
not a Russian-type socialist. Nor is he
a Chinese-type socialist. He may be
nearer to the Chinese than to the Rus-
sians when it comes time for him to
perform. I think he will be more in the
tradition of Afrfcan socialism, of trying
to Africanize the socialist ideas.
It seems that the three of them (Neto,
Sovimbi and Roberto), if they are given
a free hand, what they would prefer is
a system that will feed their people
first, improvethe standard of living of
their people, and of course of themselves,
that all these ideologies are nit as
serious in the contest as some of the
more mundane, more basic problems.
Has Neto presented an economic pro-
UZOIGWE: No, he has not. It is dif-
ficult to develop an economic program
when you are not in power. You may
have the general outlines. I suppose his
economic program will be socialist-
oriented. I think nationalization will be
part of it. I don't think capitalism will
get looked into seriously. The reason
is very clear. The traditional African
structure has never really been capitalist.
Nor has it been Marxist, but it's been
more communal. And it seems to me
that for a government to work, it has
to operate in the idiom of the gov-

h .r'

we are supporting them for the simple
reason that from our view, he seems
to draw from a cross-section of the
Angolan people. He has also an ideolo-
gy to pursue independence with.
Jonas Savimbi of UNITA seems to
me to be an opportunist. It is true
that he comes from a large group, the
largest group in Angola called Ovim-
bundu. But he is a late-comer to the
struggle. His organization practically
doesn't really exist; he doesn't have a
strong military organization. Independ-
ence comes in November 1975 and Jonas
wants to get into the act, as anybody
would, because it would look odd that
the leader of the largest group in this
area did not get into the act.
Could you give a percentage figure
for how much of the Angolan popula-
tion is comprised of the Ovimbundu
UZOIG WE: I think they would be near
a half or more than a third. It is the
largest group, and they are a very well-
known group in African history.
Now you look at Holden Roberto and
his FNLA. Around the early 60's, the
CIA, acting under your government, got
Roberto under your payroll. Not to fight
against the Portuguese, but to keep an
eye on Agostino Neto, and MPLA. The
figure we have is $10,000 per annum,
under the general head of intelligence
gathering. And Holden, never stepped
into Angola. He had a lovely villa in
the Congo, paid for by the United States,
travelling a lot. But his people were not
Initially the Organization of African
Unity (OAU) recognized Roberto's as
the official movement in Angola. But
by the late sixties, that recognition
was revoked. And Agostino Neto was
recognized. He was prosecuting the war
Jonas came in and broke away from
FNLA and Roberto because he accused
Roberto of taking money from the neo-
colonialists, the Americans.
Were you surprised that the OAU did

pre-empt the situation, by sending troops
to insure that a moderate government, in What will the S
their view, will be in power. Then, Ro- pect in return for

.. _,,

Soviets be able to ex-
r any aid they would (Continued on following page)

the liberation movement there is working.
Sooner or later they will be independent,
whether South Africa likes it or not.
Angola then becomes independent. Mo-
zamzique is already independent. Rho-
desia (Zimbabwe) is already throttled
and very soon will become independent.
So it becomes of interest' to South Africa
that a moderate government is in power
in this area. But Neto, if he comes to
power, is not going to talk to South
Africa. He'll be like me. When he con-
solidates his power,, he may be able to
use Angola as a springboard for attacks
or landings for whatever will happen
in South Africa.
So what South Africa did was try to

'I don't know if you have met
any mercenaries before. They're
not like you and me. They are like
hit men. I don't think they give a
damn z'hetlh er Coi nmunisicomnes
to Africa or wthat. They just ivanit

jJ 4

10 m i


the price, and they

fare cri-tee .. 0

They will not fight to the death.
No mercenary ever does.'

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it ' ^; :s
'sly<~ : .

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