Hichilema Sides With Imperialists On Western Sahara-Fred M’membe

Fred M'membe


It’s very sad and embarrassing, but not surprising, that United States puppet Mr Hakainde Hichilema has followed his American masters in recognising Morocco’s colonisation of Western Sahara.

Until 2020, no other member state of the United Nations had ever officially recognised Moroccan sovereignty over parts of Western Sahara. In 2020, the United States recognised Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara in exchange for Moroccan normalisation of relations with Israel.

In 1984, the African Union’s predecessor, the Organization of African Unity, recognised the SADR as one of its full members, with the same status as Morocco, and Morocco protested by suspending its membership to the OAU. Morocco was readmitted in the African Union on January 30, 2017 after promising that the conflicting claims would be resolved peacefully and that it would stop building walls to extend its military control. Meanwhile, the African Union has not issued any formal statement about the border separating the sovereign territories of Morocco and the SADR in Western Sahara. Instead, the African Union works with the United Nations mission to try to maintain the ceasefire and reach a peace agreement between its two members. The African Union provides a peacekeeping contingent to the UN mission which is used to control a buffer zone near the de facto border walls built by Morocco within Western Sahara.

Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, was annexed by Morocco in 1975. Since then it has been the subject of a long-running territorial dispute between Morocco and its indigenous Sahrawi people, led by the Polisario Front.

A 16-year-long insurgency ended with a UN-brokered truce in 1991 and the promise of a referendum on independence which has yet to take place.

A buffer strip, or “berm” with landmines and fortifications, stretches the length of the disputed territory and separates the Moroccan-administered western portion from the eastern area controlled by the Polisario Front.

The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), declared by the Polisario Front in 1976, is recognised by many governments and is a full member of the African Union.

Home to phosphate reserves and rich fishing grounds off its coast, Western Sahara is also believed to have as yet untapped offshore oil deposits.

The Polisario Front proclaimed the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) in 1976, with a government in exile in Algeria.

Brahim Ghali was elected leader of the Polisario Front and president of the SADR in July 2016 following the death of long-term president Mohamed Abdelaziz Ezzedine.

Ghali was one of Polisario’s founding members in 1973 and led the first raids against the Spanish forces that sparked the armed struggle for Western Saharan independence.

The brief history of Western Sahara is as follows:

1884 – Spain colonises Western Sahara, an area formerly populated by Berber tribes.

1934 – Becomes a Spanish province known as Spanish Sahara.

1957 – Newly-independent Morocco lays centuries-old claim to Western Sahara.

1965 – The UN calls for the decolonisation of Western Sahara.

1973 – Polisario Front, the indigenous Sahrawi independence movement, is founded.

1975 – Morocco’s King Hassan defies a Hague ruling in favour of Saharawi rights to self-determination and stages the “Green March” of 350,000 Moroccans into Western Sahara. Spain withdraws.

1975-91 – The Polisario Front fights a 16-year-long guerrilla war against Moroccan forces. This ends with a UN-brokered cease-fire which sees the Polisario controlling about 20 per cent of the territory, the rest being controlled by Morocco.

1991-2000s – UN brokered cease-fire ends war but Morocco has yet to hold an agreed referendum on independence.

Numerous UN-sponsored talks fail to yield a breakthrough.

2020 – US announces it will recognize full Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara in exchange for Morocco establishing relations with Israel.

It’s very sad and humiliating that Mr Hichilema has decided to make our country a puppet and agent of imperialism against the subjugated, humiliated and struggling courageous people of Western Sahara.

Fred M’membe
President of Socialist Party Zambia


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