The Sunday Mail
The arrogance of European states is astounding.
A country like France, whose atrocious crimes against the peoples of Africa are continuing today, can arrange a “summit” in Paris and summon African presidents to come scrounging for attendance. How come we have never seen an African nation summoning European states to a summit on African soil? Why is it acceptable to have a Franco-Africa Summit but utterly unthinkable to have a Lesotho-Europe Summit?
Here is the tragedy. While the arrogance of European nations is something to think about, the servitude of African states is a big source of embarrassment. Why are Africans so overzealous in their quest to appease Westerners? Is it poverty, underdevelopment, perennial strife, disease or what?
When African states willingly venture into these lopsided arrangements, it is clear that they are in for a raw deal. The relationships are not based on internationally recognised principles of sovereign equality; they are anchored on neo-colonial stratagems meant to perpetually subjugate the black race.
Seen through the eyes of a continent that has borne the brunt of heinous crimes dating back to the Slave Trade and colonial conquest, the so-called European Union (EU)-Africa Summit was always going to be a monumental fraud.
Zimbabwe has made its stance known. The nation is not attending the EU-Africa Summit. This is a major development and the diplomatic community is abuzz with chatter. Zimbabwe will not be the only member of the African Union boycotting this summit.
In fact, all indications point to a wider boycott, meaning the summit could, in all likelihood, be called off. But, again, you never know with Africa — some nations may choose to attend, against all logic.
The EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Aldo Dell’Ariccia, told our sister paper The Herald that the EU is meeting Africa and not the African Union. With that audacious statement, he set a cat among the pigeons and gave away the sinister intentions of the EU.
The ambassador’s choice of words shows that the age-old tactic of divide-and-rule is at play. He knows that this is an “EU-Africa” Summit.
Therein lies the rub. The title of the meeting is itself problematic, let alone the agenda and the process. Why is Africa, in the 21st century, subjecting itself to such crude humiliation?
And yet this is a continent that should be wielding much greater clout. Africa’s increasing geo-strategic importance cannot be denied. The Sub-Saharan region has become a major source of oil; the success of America’s war on terrorism will depend on international security co-operation in huge parts of Africa; the smuggling of small arms, illicit drugs and latter-day slaves across borders can only be thwarted through international protocols and cross-border law enforcement programmes.
Europe’s efforts to engage Africa are not acts of charity. Far from it. As China, India, Brazil and Russia muscle their way to the top of the pile, the EU is forced by rapidly transforming geo-strategic imperatives to reach out to the developing world and forge solid relationships that will guarantee a reliable supply of natural resources and a viable market for European products and services.
In large part, the European Security Strategy Report of 2003, is the conceptual basis for all these frenetic manoeuvres.
To meet Europe’s broader foreign policy priorities on the backdrop of a fast-changing global landscape, the EU has been hard-pressed to evaluate and revisit its bilateral and multilateral partnerships. Whether you are right-leaning, left-leaning or centrist, there is a self-evident truth that you cannot disprove: In the 21st century, Europe needs Africa more than Africa needs Europe.
Africa needs assertive leaders who will champion a development agenda built on the resource nationalism ethos.
There is no need to make any apologies for harnessing our God-given resources to the betterment of the lives of hundreds of millions.
Africa’s growing clout on the resource front must of necessity translate to political influence on the world stage.
President Mugabe is right.
If European countries disrespect African nations to the extent of stubbornly determining the composition of their sovereign delegations, then Zimbabwe and other self-respecting states have no business attending such circuses.