Africa should resist US bullying tactics

14 May, 2023 - 00:05 0 Views
Africa should resist US bullying tactics

The Sunday Mail

Retired Major Action Mandingo

JUST like it has done since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the United States (US) government is at it again, trying to bully the world.

After discovering that it cannot take Russia head-on in Ukraine, the US has turned its eyes on Africa.

African leaders will have to unite and stand strong.

After discovering that its efforts to recruit African countries had failed, the US government resorted to what it knows best — trying to terrorise the continent.

Last year, the US House of Representatives adopted an Act that seeks to compel Washington to punish African countries that abet what it sees as Russian “malign” activities on the continent.

Implementation plan

The Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act directs the Secretary of State to develop and submit to Congress a strategy and implementation plan outlining US efforts to counter the supposed malign influence of the Russian Federation and its proxies on the continent and for other purposes.

As usual, the US views Africa as a weak continent, which it can abuse so as to plunder and loot resources. Africa has to take a firm stand against this new type of colonialism.

During its 42nd Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government in August 2022, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) protested against the Act, saying America was trying to bully the continent once again.

While America continues to anger Africa with its bullying tactics, Russia is making significant strides, winning the hearts of many on the continent.

SADC said the US had made the African continent “the target of unilateral and punitive measures”, adding that the regional grouping had reaffirmed its collective position of non-alignment towards conflicts outside the continent.

On Thursday, US ambassador to South Africa Reuben Brigety accused the African nation of providing weapons to Russia via a cargo ship linked to a sanctioned company that docked at a naval base near the City of Cape Town in December last year.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has said investigations are underway to establish the purpose of the visit by the ship.

Clearly, the US is up to some dirty games in South Africa.

Africa should stand with South Africa. Of course, we all know South Africa did not supply Russia with any weapons.

The US is trying to bully South Africa.

It wants South Africa to stop Russian President Vladimir Putin from attending the 15th BRICS Summit scheduled for that country from August 22 to 24 this year.

Countries in BRICS are Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The US wants South Africa to block President Putin from attending the meeting using the warrant of arrest that was issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The ICC alleges that President Putin — along with Maria Lvova-Belova, the Russian Federation’s commissioner for children’s rights — transferred Ukrainian children from occupied areas controlled by Russia.

We know ICC unfairly targets certain countries.

Russia has vehemently denied the allegations. The US has been rattled because Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine has shown the West, in general, and America, in particular, that the global distribution of power is changing across the world.

Hurt the continent

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni openly spoke his mind after meeting Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov in July last year.

He said: “How can we be against somebody who has never harmed us? If Russia makes mistakes, we tell them. When they have not made mistakes, we can’t be against them.”

We all know who has harmed Africa in the past and we all know who continues to hurt the continent.

Africa has been making its moves very cautiously.

Of the 35 countries that abstained from voting in a crucial United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution in March 2022, condemning Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine, 17 were from Africa.

The countries that abstained from voting were South Africa, Algeria, Uganda, Burundi, Senegal, South Sudan, Mali, Mozambique, Sudan, Namibia, Angola, Zimbabwe, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, Madagascar, Tanzania and Congo.

About a year into the conflict, Africa once again stood its ground.

During an UNGA vote in February 2023, demanding that Moscow withdraw from Ukraine and end the fighting, 32 countries abstained — 15 of them from Africa.

The voting patterns at the UNGA show that the days of bullying Africa are over.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky got the message loud and clear that Africa was not on his side when he repeatedly asked to address the African Union through video conferencing.

The request was pushed back several times and when it was finally held, only four African Heads of State attended while the rest sent emissaries.

In February 2023, South Africa refused to be bullied by America when it went ahead and held joint naval drills with Russia and China in the Indian Ocean.

Before the drills, America had sent several warnings trying to bully South Africa to abandon the drills but President Ramaphosa refused to be told how to run his country.

“The United States has concerns about any country . . . exercising with Russia as Russia wages a brutal war against Ukraine,” Karine Jean-Peirre, the White House press secretary, said when asked about America’s response to the move by South Africa to hold naval drills with Russia.

Russian foreign minister Lavrov, in 2022, met leaders of Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Eritrea, South Africa, Egypt, Congo, Uganda and Ethiopia on a series of trips to the continent.

In South Africa, the country’s foreign minister Naledi Pandor described her meeting with Lavrov as “wonderful” and called South Africa and Russia “friends”.

Zimbabwe, which has been suffering under illegal sanctions imposed by the US in 2002, has also shown that America cannot tell it who to wine and dine with.

Zimbabwe hosted President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus, Russia’s biggest ally, in Harare in January 2023. Belarus has gone on to open an embassy in Zimbabwe.

During President Lukashenko’s visit, the two countries signed an agreement to set up a Belarus-Zimbabwe standing commission on cooperation.

As usual, President Lukashenko took the opportunity to teach Americans a few lessons on international relations.

“We are a peaceful nation. We are not coming here the way the colonialists once did,” he said, adding that Zimbabweans should refuse to be divided by Western countries that want to loot their resources.

Several deals in mining, agriculture, infrastructure development, science and innovation were signed during the visit.

In an interview that was published in The Third Eye magazine, President Mnangagwa said something that must have riled Washington.

He said: “It is because Africa is waking up. Africa should not lose sleep because Europeans are fighting. We should be concerned about ourselves and our own problems. We sympathise with them because they are creating problems among themselves . . .

“Let me tell you this: The Americans approached me on the Russia-Ukraine war, that we must support the West’s stand against Russia. I said you, America, you have imposed sanctions on Russia, so Russia is a victim of American sanctions. And you, America, you have imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe, so Zimbabwe is a victim of American sanctions. And you come to me and tell me, ‘you two victims of mine, don’t talk to each other.’’’

It was refreshing to hear an African leader openly standing his ground against America’s bullying tactics.

A few years ago, this was unheard of.

Many African countries were paralysed with fear whenever America gave orders.

The US should know that it is wasting time trying to separate Africa from Russia.

Russia has historical ties with Africa dating back to the liberation struggle, when Moscow supported many liberation movements to fight colonialism.

At that time, America was enjoying its dominance and turned a blind eye to developments in Africa.

Africa should not be afraid.

The empire has been undressed by the Russia-Ukraine war.

The time for a unipolar world, dominated by America, is over!

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