Is the ANC rewarding Forbes Burnham for the assassination of Walter Rodney?
by Horace Campbell, 21 April 2013
Rodney was assassinated on June 13, 1980.
At the time
of his assassination, Forbes Burnham was the President. Since the
assassination, there have been numerous calls for an investigation
into the circumstances of the killing. The brother of Walter Rodney,
Donald Rodney, survived and told the world that the bomb that
assassinated Walter Rodney was placed by Gregory Smith. Smith was an
operative from the Guyanese Defense force and he was spirited out of
the country to the colonial territory of Cayenne. He died there after
more than twenty years. There has never been an inquiry into the
assassination of Walter Rodney, popular activist and historian,
author of How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, the Burnham forces in the
Caribbean have been working very hard to discredit the ideas and the
lessons of the life of Walter Rodney. This rehabilitation of Burnham
has taken many forms with books, papers, conferences and foundations
supporting the idea had betrayed the interests of Africans. In the
context of Guyanese politics, this last line was supposed to
consolidate the image of Forbes Burnham as holding the line against
the Indians in Guyana. Walter Rodney had worked hard to bring unity
between the African and Indiana working peoples. He had worked in a
formation called the Working People's Alliance (WPA) that brought
blacks and Indian workers together.
distortion of the importance of Walter Rodney had been energetically
promoted by the followers of Forbes Burnham and racial excluvists in
the Caribbean, the reputation of Walter Rodney had been very good in
Africa. Now, the forces that supported Forbes Burnham have lobbied
the leadership of the African National Congress to reward the
Burnhamite forces for the assassination of Walter Rodney. It was
announced in the Caribbean press that," Former executive
president of Guyana, Linden Forbes Burnham has been honoured by the
South African government with the prestigious Oliver Tambo Award.
further reported that "Roxane Van West Charles, his daughter
will be travelling to Johannesburg, South Africa to accept the award
which was conferred on the late Burnham by President Jacob Zuma. She
will be accompanied by her sister Dr Francesca Onu and her husband,
Dr Richard Van West Charles. The award ceremony will take place on
if true deepens the questions about the present leadership of the
ANC. In the report, the press release praised Burnham for his
opposition to colonialism. At the time of the global opposition to
apartheid, most leaders, even Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire mouthed anti
colonial statements while supporting French and US colonialism.
Burnham was the same. While he was publicly praising anti-colonialism
in Africa, he was collaborating with French colonialism in the
Caribbean. Hence, the closeness of relationship so that the Burnham
government could find refuge for the killer of Walter Rodney in a
French colonial territory of Cayenne.
was unstinting and unrelenting in his opposition to all forms of
oppression. It is my view that the granting of this posthumous award
will demean the memory of Oliver Tambo. If there are still
progressive forces within the ANC they should rescind this award so
that this ceremony of April 27 will instead be one that honors the
memories of Walter Rodney and Bernard Magubane.