THE decision by the US to open what they are calling an Office of Security Cooperation at its Embassy in Zambia is a fresh attempt by Uncle Sam to weaken SADC and get ever closer to its sworn enemy, Zimbabwe, information reaching this publication shows.
On Monday last week, AFRICOM deputy director for Strategy, Engagement and Programmes Brigadier Peter Bailey announced his country’s plans to open what he claimed would be an office to ‘enhance security co-operation’ between the US and Zambia but not many are convinced.
Equally alarming is the stunning fact that it was Brigadier General Bailey who made the announcement minutes after meeting Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema.
Despite mounting criticism and pressure from within Zambia and outside, President Hichilema has been mum on the issue since the shock revelation by Bailey.
This comes as the Russia/Ukraine war has brutaly exposed the fragility of EU and US economies, prompting yet another scramble for Africa.
And the SADC region, particularly Zimbabwe, whose vast natural resources have been very much on the EU and US menu, risk being plundered by the West using puppet leaders as conduits.
“On April 25, the US government announced the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) will open an Office of Security Cooperation at the US Embassy in Zambia. Visiting AFRICOM Brigadier General Peter Bailey, deputy director for Strategy, Engagement and Programs, made the announcement during a meeting with His Excellency President Hakainde Hichilema,” reads in part the statement from the US Embassy in Zambia.
“Building on the foundation of US-Zambia shared security interests, the new Office of Security Cooperation will enhance military to military relations and expand areas of co-operation in force management, modernisation and professional military education for the Zambian security forces.”
General Bailey commended President Hichilema and his new dawn administration for its steadfast commitment to regional peace and stability and stated the US government looks forward to building on its strong bilateral ties with Zambia to enhance security co-operation. General Bailey also praised the Zambian Defence Force for its professionalism and contributions to UN peacekeeping missions.
The statement goes on, laying bare what most of us have dreaded since the assumption of office by President Hichilema in August last year.
“During his visit, General Bailey will also meet with the Minister of Defense, Honorable Ambrose Lufuma, and will represent AFRICOM at the official opening ceremony for the start of pre-deployment training for the eighth Zambia Battalion (ZAMBATT VIII),” ithe statement says.
“Since 2014, the US government has invested over 136 million kwacha (US$8 million) in assistance for seven iterations of pre-deployment training for Zambian Battalions deployed to the United Nations Multidimensional Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).”
The big question for Zimbabwe is naturally: What is Uncle Sam up to this time around?
Why is President Hichilema allowing the Brigadier General to be his spokesperson on this critical, sensitive security issue?
Why is SADC silent on this issue?
Informed sources within the security establishment say Uncle Sam is priming to step into the country when its favoured horse, CCC, loses next year’s election.
Uncle Sam, the sources said, has established through a key member of CCC who is apparently bitter with that party’s leader Nelson Chamisa’s blunt refusal to hold a congress before the 2023 harmonised elections that the opposition party is headed for an embarrassing defeat and is planning anarchy in order to chalk off what it says will be a clean ZANU PF victory.
Recently, Uncle Sam released huge amounts of money to its acolytes to destabilise the country ahead of the 2023 polls.
And the opening of a ‘security co-operation’ office with the tacit approval of President Hichilema gives rise to the belief that Uncle Sam’s CIA 2006 plan of weakening SADC through installing anti-liberation struggle governments is well and truly on course.
Recent election results in the region, minus of course the March 26 2022 mauling of CCC in Zimbabwe, present a worrisome trend for liberation movements in SADC.
Uncle Sam is on the prowl and is eyeing a complete takeover of the region by anti-liberation struggle political parties.
Also, the steady rise of China as a global economic giant has left Uncle Sam reeling and seeking to establish new frontiers for exploitation of natural resources.
The SADC region is still a virgin in so far as those resources are concerned and the coming into the fray of President Hichilema presented Uncle Sam with an opportunity to pursue that objective.
It is often said that it only takes one to turn his/her lights off, and Zimbabwe should be wary of the threat posed by this ‘new’ office.
To Uncle Sam, Zimbabwe presents what it says is an ‘unusual and extraordinary threat to the US foreign policy’ and that foreign policy revolves on invading its enemies, real or imagined, as well as plundering their resources.
President Hichilema is the tonic that Uncle Sam has been yearning for in order to lay siege on Zimbabwe, both physically and through installation of spying gadgets.
What of the future?
For Zimbabwe, especially ZANU PF, there is only one choice — to wallop the opposition in the forthcoming polls and render it extinct.
But what is this AFRICOM creature?
We will quote extensively from a May 21 2013 paper by Al Jazeera Centre for Studies titled ‘AFRICOM: Protecting US interests disguised ‘military partnerships’.
“AFRICOM’s establishment is not as altruistic as its developmental component might lead one to believe and were it allowed to continue its activities unhindered, the African continent will witness drastic consequences, including an intensification of the second ‘scramble for Africa’,” reads the Al Jazeera presentation.
“Unveiled in February 2007 and fully operational since 1 November 2008, AFRICOM is the ninth unified and sixth regional US military command that was established after the Second World War. Formed with the supposed intention of bringing ‘peace and security to the people of Africa and [promoting] [the US and Africa’s] common goals of development, health, education, democracy, and economic growth in Africa,’ the command’s establishment was justified on the grounds that ‘weak States…can pose as great a danger to [US] national interests as strong States’.
In order to achieve these objectives, AFRICOM defines its responsibilities as military-to-military partnerships to improve the capacity and operability of African armed forces, assisting other US agencies in fulfilling their tasks in Africa and, where necessary, undertaking military activities in Africa to protect America’s national interests. Headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany (because of African opposition to its headquarters being on the continent), the command employed over 2 000 personnel by 2010 – including over 300 special operations forces and 250 intelligence operatives – with a total annual budget of around US$350 million. The 2 000-strong US Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) based at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, falls within AFRICOM’s sphere of activity, and specialised naval, armoured, air and marine core forces mainly based in Italy and Germany have been assigned to the command.”
The report goes on, unravelling the real reasons behind the establishment of the force in Africa.
“Despite the stated reasons provided by the US government for AFRICOM’s creation, many commentators and analysts – especially on the African continent – are of the view that more sinister motives are at play. Chief amongst these is the rise of China, whose economy has grown by an average of nine per cent per annum over the past thirty years and whose GDP has grown to around sixteen percent of the world’s GDP from a figure of less than five per cent in 1980. Asia is a lens through which this can best be viewed. Despite US troops being stationed in Japan and South Korea, and despite US assistance to these countries during the Cold War, Chinese trade with them surpassed that of the USA in 2007,” says Al Jazeera.
“Linked to the competition with China is the control over oil. As early as 2001, Africa’s oil resources were posited as being a potential solution to America’s energy problem. The Cheney Report predicted that by 2015 Africa’s Gulf of Guinea would account for over twenty-five percent of US oil imports, prompting George Bush to declare Africa’s oil a national strategic interest of the USA. In reality, the situation has played out even more dramatic. The consequences of the American invasion of Iraq have meant that by 2006 the USA was already receiving twenty-two per cent of its oil from Africa, and by 2007 US oil imports from Africa eclipsed its imports from the Persian Gulf.”
The discovery of oil in Muzarabani will likely cause Zimbabwe further problems with Uncle Sam in future.
He has been known to like oil, no matter how he acquires it.
Let us all be wary of the events that are taking place next door.