JUST over three weeks before the continent celebrated May 25, Africa Day, the US passed the Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act through its Senate.
The Ukraine crisis has divided the world, not as expected, into a two polar world but a delicate and uneasy three polar one. There is the US-led NATO and EU actively siding with Ukraine by supplying weapons and unprecedented financial aid to sustain the war effort as well as immoral support.
Then there are those in full support of Russia that include Belarus, Eritrea, Republic of Korea and Syria.
Then there is Africa!
It is not enough that Africa has chosen to remain neutral.
The ‘champions’ of democracy have gone on a whirl-wind crusade gang-pressing sovereign nations to join the NATO bandwagon or face the full wrath of their might.
The collective African memory remembers the World Wars where the Allies railroaded their black natives into joining their armies to unwittingly be used as cannon fodder.
After the wars the British crown awarded its fighters; the brave white soldier was awarded vast tracts of land in Karoi and other places, displacing the black occupants in the process, while the brave black soldier was given a bicycle or a watch yemajerimani, as they called it.
The Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act is blackmail coated in legal and human rights jargon.
“It is the sense of Congress that the United States —
(1) should regularly assess the scale and scope of the Russian Federation’s influence and activities in Africa that undermine United States objectives and interests; and
(B) to hold accountable the Russian Federation and African governments and their officials who are complicit in aiding such malign influence and activities.”
The Act is a response by the US to Africa’s UN March 2 vote in which 17 States abstained from condemning Russia’s actions in the Ukraine.
The language in the Act is very much like the language in Zimbabwe’s sanction package ZDERA where American interests are veiled in human rights jargon.
There are the usual trappings of human rights and democracy but ultimately it is about American domination and interests.
The Act sets out to protect American and NATO interests in Africa and the continent is blatantly being told to shelf its own interests — African interests are secondary.
Hans Morgenthau, a 20th Century leading political scientist writes: “The meaning of national interest is survival — the protection of physical, political and cultural identity against encroachments by other nation-States.”
A Republican member, Michael McCaul of Texas, quoted as a co-sponsor of the Bill told the American media that: “Russian activity on the continent is growing, and that’s a real threat to our interests.”
Africa chose to remain neutral because it too must survive.
It too must protect its interests.
And its interests are entrenched in its history and struggles.
Africa remembers Nelson Mandela’s first American interview after prison with journalist Ted Koppel where he was cornered for praising America’s enemies at which he replied: “One of the mistakes that political analysts make is to think that their enemies should be our enemies.”
Africa remembers, but to survive it must remain neutral because the Act is aimed at penalising any co-operation between Russia and Africa that will influence policy or put in governments that are not handpicked by America.
Therefore, Russia cannot: “(ii) invest in, engage, or otherwise control strategic sectors in Africa, such as mining and other forms of natural resource extraction and exploitation, military basing and other security co-operation agreements, and information and communications technology.”
While the US assesses any co-operation between Africa and Russia, it will counter the ‘malign influence’ ‘through appropriate United States foreign assistance program(me)s’.
It could be the reason for the US plans to have a SADC AFRICOM footprint.
Zimbabwe’s survival means it must remain neutral even when the collective memory remembers that it was China and Russia that vetoed the invasion of this country by Britain and its US ally.
African countries are required to abandon their own interests and, instead, serve US interests that exclude them from their own resources.
It is in the interests of the Americans, who are an extension of Britain, not to allow Zimbabwe’s land reform to go unpunished lest it sets a dangerous precedent to other occupied people around the world — Red Indians, Canadian natives and Aborigines, among others, — to demand their land back.
Coastline west African nations are required to forget slavery and the accompanying genocide after the slaves had been made redundant by the industrial revolution and ‘nigger-hunting and lynching’ became a white supremacist sport in America.
They must forget that world economics has never been in their favour as it was the white slave owners who got compensated for the loss of slaves and not the slaves themselves.
Africans must turn a blind eye to the fact that America has not crafted an Act to counter racism and white-on-black violence in their own country.
They must forget that it was US allies that colonised the continent and it was the Russian Kalashnikov assault rifle that brought their independence while US sent mercenaries in support of Rhodesia.
Today, the Kalashnikov is mounted on flags, statues and emblems in Africa as the symbol of freedom.
Africa has not forgotten that it was a US-backed apartheid that caused instability in Mozambique, Angola and Zimbabwe, arming UNITA and RENAMO rebels.
Again, its more about US interests than Africa’s survival which leads the US to order African countries to sever all diplomatic and life-sustaining trade links with Russia.
Africa must forget that it was US and NATO that destroyed and destabilised Libya, even as Gregory W. Meeks, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee says: “As we continue to apply pressure on Putin and his agents for carrying out war crimes throughout this unjustifiable war of aggression, we cannot forget that the Russian Federation will continue to seek avenues through which it can pilfer, manipulate and exploit resources in parts of Africa to evade sanctions and undermine US interests.”
Recently Africa saw the irony of how former American President George W. Bush condemned Russia’s war with Ukraine as inhumane then ended up slipping and replacing ‘Ukraine’ with ‘Iraq’.
Was it old age, senility, slip of the tongue or force of habit (a criminal revisiting his scene of crime)!
Yes, Africa remembers but dares not mention how Iraq was reduced to rubble for being wrongly suspected of having nuclear weapons of mass destruction and then being further suspected of intending to use the suspected nuclear arsenal against the US.
After war crimes that included the massacre of over two million Iraqis, displacement of millions more, mass destruction of homes, Abugraib and Guantanamo prisons, it turned out the suspicions were false.
Sadam Hussein was hanged.
There was no apology, no talk of compensation or trial of US and European war criminals for racial extermination of the natives of Iraq.
What the US-led NATO and EU did to the people of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya stand as grim reminders of the uncensored capacity to terrorize weaker nations.
Africa has nothing against both Russia and Ukraine. Africa has been called to stand on the right side of history by a frenzied Western media to mobilise international condemnation of Russia.
The right side of history for the non-European world is decidedly, morally and legitimately anti-American.
The right side of history for black people brought to America as slaves and then denied compensation or civil rights up to this day is unambiguously anti-American. The Black Lives Matter movement in America is, in essence, a declaration of the African right side of history.
The world is faced with a choice to support the possibility of a new world order of mutual respect between nations or return to the old order of Western racism.
But to survive, Africa must remain neutral — but never forget.
Happy Africa Day!