As Assistant secretary of State for African Affairs during the George Bush jr administration, Jendayi Frazier did not exhibit an acute and deep grasp of the African reality, especially that of the war torn Horn of Africa. Aside from patting the dictators in Addis Abeba and other places and prompting Meles Zenawi to send troops into Somalia (a very disastrous move from the outset), she did not pursue a policy that encouraged democratic change or governance in Africa.
Ms Frazier has appeared again on the scene advising Hilary Clinton what policies to adopt via a vis Africa. This is what has prompted this brief reply. Frazier suggests four “quick steps the administration can take to translate the rhetoric of love into policies that advance mutual U.S. and African interests:
Place Eritrea on the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
Oppose congressional legislation to extend the trade preferences in the African Growth and Opportunity Act to all developing countries.
Hold a summit at the White House with the presidents of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.
Move the headquarters of the U.S. African Command (AFRICOM) from Germany to Liberia.
These four steps, more than any love messages, will signal a real commitment that the mutual interests of the U.S. and Africa will remain strong and secure under the Obama administration”.
Ms. Frazier’s prescriptions are worse than placebo for Africa‘s woes. Sanctions on Eritrea will not contribute an iota towards solving the Somali conflict unless the aim is to please the dictator in Addis Abeba. The problems of Eastern Congo are linked to blood stained and strategic minerals coveted by the West and China too and holding a summit of the leaders of Rwanda, Uganda and the DR of the Congo is not a primary remedy. Kabila of the Congo is responsible for selling his country and the people to highest bidder while both Uganda and Rwanda have been accused by the UN of robbing the minerals of Eastern Congo. The main culprits are the Western mineral companies who finance the militia and fan the carnage there to lay their hands on the coveted coltan, gold, etc (see the communiqués of the Enough Project). It is not even that much necessary to state that Africa does not need foreign troops on its soil and that the so called anti terrorism mission of Africom is in reality helping the dictators in the Horn and other regions of Africa.
The problems in the Horn of Africa are fundamentally lacked to the lack of good governance and democracy. If sanctions are to be decreed they should be decreed on all the tyrants, ranging from Meles Zenawi to Nguema to Kabila and more. The selective hue and cry against Zimbabwe and Eritrea is but the usual double standard and the callous politics of supporting pro West tyrants no matter their dismal human rights record. Moreover, the conclusion that the problem of Somalia is linked to international terror groups is basically flawed and mistaken. The panacea for Africa, which must be primarily sought by Africans, is mainly the struggle to end the reign of the tyrants and establish democratic governance. Part of this campaign demands that Africa gets free of foreign interference, foreign military bases and neo colonial type of plunder. If America under Obama wants to help Africa it should sanction the tyrants, stop the plunder of Africa for its oil and minerals and support democratic forces.