Morocco: A Prodigal Son Gives Conditions

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Morocco: A Prodigal Son Gives Conditions

Morocco: A Prodigal Son Gives Conditions, By Owei Lakemfa

Africa, beloved of God, has many sons and daughters. Some of them in ancient Egypt gave the world its modern civilisation. It also gave Greece its philosophy, which became the basis of Western thought and philosophy. However, a different race whom our Seers had warned us against, swooped on and enslaved almost all of Africa’s children. In pain and in tears, through our sweat and blood, we struggled for freedom. That was years before the whole humanity agreed that the right of a people to self-determination is non-negotiable.

This piece was written by Owei Lakemfa. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Even at the dawn of freedom, Africa’s children were like sheep without Shepard, as the former slave masters sought to continue our enslavement, this time, indirectly. Then we coalesced into two broad groups. Some met in Casablanca, Moroccco and became the Casablanca Group; the other became the Monrovia Group. Africa’s far-sighted leaders met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and on May 25, 1963, gave birth to one united movement of the African people called the Organisation of African Unity. We vowed that never again will Africans be enslaved and that those still in bondage like South Africa, Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Guinea Bissau and Western Sahara shall be free. Indeed, despite the efforts of enslavers, they became free. All African children became free but we did not envisage that one of our prominent sons would collaborate with the foreign slave masters to deprive one of us of her freedom.

Mother Africa has been generous by providing for us all; big and small, we have our own inheritance. But our brother Morocco decided, in addition, to seize the inheritance and wealth of small Western Sahara. First it connived with the Spanish slave masters to deprive Western Sahara of its independence. Then it got the latter to hand over the riches of Western Sahara to him and Brother Mauritania; both proceeded to share it as a booty. Mauritania was to rethink and wash its hands off its share of the loot, which greedy Morocco seized and added to its share.

However, Africa will not have such covetousness and decided to call Brother Morocco to order, reminding him that the African peoples are one and that our ancestors forbid stealing. But stubborn Morocco would not agree, and when the rest of Africa welcomed our Saharawi brothers and sisters to our common home, the African Union, Morocco would have none of it. It decided to leave home and go hunting with the old slave masters. A few brothers walked out with him, but when they got to the gate, turned back to join the rest of the family. Morocco, backed by the former slave owners, went looting the fishes, phosphate and the riches of the Saharawi. It brutalised the Saharawi, detained some, destroyed their homes, forced some into refugee camps, built a wall dividing the territory, and forced the rest under its jackboots. It paid no heed to the international community, refused to allow the referendum the rest of the world directed should be conducted to allow the Western Sahara decide freely whether it wants to be free or be part of big brother Morocco. In one of the most ridiculous cases of thuggery, Morocco seized one of our Saharawi sisters, Aminatu Haider and exiled her to the territory of the former slave master. If indeed the Saharawi is Moroccan, how would you exile your citizen to a foreign territory?

After thirty two years of wandering in the desert and keeping bad company, prodigal Morocco decided to return home to the African Union. He must have realised that he is a nobody outside the homestead; that his foreign friends will never threat him as an equal, that is if in the first place, they regard him as a human being. Our brother, King Mohammed VI of Morocco who was born three months after the Union was founded, wrote a rambling and insulting 2,144-word letter announcing Morocco is willing to return. Nobody will stop such a return because Morocco is a long lost son and our home is a common patrimony. It is like a long lost sheep; why won’t motherly Africa rejoice that her prodigal son has decided to retrace his steps and return home? But while the Biblical prodigal son was remorseful, full of regrets and begged for forgiveness, the Moroccan prodigal is unrepentant, arrogant and exhibiting the traits of a street thug.

In the letter announcing his decision to return home, he referred to his brother Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR/Western Sahara) as a “phantom state.” His illogical argument is that the SADR, which is a biological son of Africa, is not a member of the United Nations (UN). So what? How is being a member of the UN the criteria for statehood? For decades, Switzerland, one of the oldest republics of the world, was not a member of the UN. In any case, do we need the certification of the UN to determine that the Saharawi is a full blooded African?

Morocco indulged in falsehood when he claimed it left the homestead because he does not want to create a division. The truth is that it left when it could not create a division. It wants to adopt the same tactics by trying to induce other Africans with economic and monetary baits to expel or suspend Western Sahara from our common home. Morocco can swallow its pride and return to the African fold, but the Saharawi will never be expelled from the home of his father. Africa belongs to all Africans and no African is superior to the other. Any African leader who backs Morocco, whether for a mess of porridge or due to pressures from the former slave masters, to expel or suspend Western Sahara from the African House, should know he is trying to break and destroy the union of the African peoples. Such people will be the enemies of the African people and foes of social justice. We cannot allow the rule of might over right in our continent. All those sharing in the loot of Western Sahara, be they foreigners or Africans, will ultimately have to account for their greed.

When leaders like General Muhammadu Buhari and Dr. Julius Nyerere (who presided) sat in the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) thirty two years and decided to admit the SADR into the Union, it was in the fundamental interest of Africa. To seek to take a different action today, is to betray these leaders, endanger the health of mother Africa and mortgage the future of our continent and children. If the prodigal son will not abide by the basic principles and the brotherly love that bind all of Africa, it is free to continue wandering in the desert. Prodigal Morocco cannot give Africa conditions to return home.

Owei Lakemfa, former Secretary General of African Workers is a Human Rights activist, journalist and author.

This piece was written by Owei Lakemfa. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of



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