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Euro-Africa ties: Africa should be more assertive


Euro-Africa ties: Africa should be more assertive

Euro-Africa ties: Africa should be more assertive
Yoweri Museveni. Photo credit: The Herald

Africa cannot remain submissive while the West rides roughshod over its social and cultural heritage. Where is the independence then when a cabal of Western nations wantonly impose their will on Africa? The African Union should by now be upset about the boisterous behaviour of Western nations.

With a shameful background of slave trade and colonialism, it is insulting that the West still wants to claim the moral high ground to chaperone Africa.

Decades after colonialism, the West has continued to invade African nations like Libya and Ivory Coast, stoking eternal conflicts in the DRC and other places while at the same time imposing unjustified sanctions on countries like Zimbabwe.

Given such an ugly backdrop, the arbitrary and disruptive meddling by the former colonialists in Africa’s internal affairs should be denounced with the contempt it deserves.

Not only is Africa’s right to self-determination undermined but its sovereignty and territorial integrity are equally adulterated. Quite a number of questions arise out of this matter: Why should Africa continue to have its destiny choreographed from places yonder? Where is the independence then when a cabal of Western nations wantonly impose their will on African states or create difficult conditions that encumber their development through unjustified sanctions?

Instead of the current master-servant relationship, it is time the West treated Africa with respect.

The West should disabuse itself of the narrow-minded belief that Africa should take lessons from it.

Africa should not be forced to conform to Western ideals on politics, economics or social norms. Africa has an inalienable right to self-determination and should thus be duly accorded the right to chart its destiny.

With this in mind, the forthcoming summit between Africa and the European Union scheduled for May should provide the AU with a proper platform to register its unambiguous displeasure over the way the West has been treating its members.

Already, the EU had disdainfully tried to play its Big Brother role by picking, on behalf of the AU, the African countries that it deems suitable to attend the forthcoming Euro-Africa summit.

Countries like Zimbabwe, which are inexplicably bandied as threats to EU interests, were initially barred from attending the summit.

It is encouraging that the AU rejected such condescending manoeuvres and warned the European bloc against blocking any African leaders from the summit.

Similarly, it is reassuring that during the 35th African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Parliamentary Assembly session held in Strasbourg, France, the AU registered its intention to reject a motion by the EU to invoke Article 96 of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement to impose sanctions on Uganda and Nigeria. The ACP Parliament said it would discourage African heads of state and government from attending the Euro-Africa Summit should Western nations impose sanctions on Uganda and Nigeria over their anti-gay laws.

The EU wanted to impose sanctions on them to arm-twist them to embrace this alien practice.

The Ugandan parliament unanimously passed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill on December 20, 2013 and the Bill was subsequently signed into law by President Yoweri Museveni on February 24 2014.

In Nigeria, President Goodluck Jonathan signed the anti-gay Bill into law in January 2014 after it was passed by the legislature in November 2013.

These developments in the two African nations did not go down well with the Westerners who expect all African nations to conform to their crusade to impose homosexuality on Africa in exchange for aid.

One hopes that the aforestated flexing of diplomatic muscles by the AU against the bullying tactics of the EU is a foretaste of a new assertive disposition of Africa to stamp its right to self-determination in the future.

Africa cannot remain submissive while the West rides roughshod over its social and cultural heritage.

Ironically, the EU stands as a poignant example of the essence of consistent regional integration, which Africa must emulate.

In all matters, the Europeans speak with one voice and present a unified front when confronted with what they deem to be threats to their aspirations.

For example, when the British cried foul over Zimbabwe’s land reform programme, the European bloc closed ranks and hijacked the bilateral dispute.

Without adhering to the consultative underpinnings of the Cotonou Agreement between the ACP and EU, the EU unilaterally imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe in 2002.

This is not to sanitise or praise-sing about the unwarranted imposition of sanctions on Zimbabwe but simply to highlight that the reaction of the European bloc to a bilateral matter between Britain and Zimbabwe proffers a pertinent lesson to the AU on how to fight in the corner of its members when confronted with external threats.

It did not matter that those sanctions would hurt the economic interests of other members such as Belgium, who were eyeing Zimbabwe’s rich natural resources. What mattered was the EU’s obligation to honour its code of defending the interests of its member states.

On the other hand, some African countries could not rally around Zimbabwe. Instead, countries like Botswana came out in support of the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe despite being neighbours. At some stage, Botswana was even fingered in some Western-engineered plot to stage military attacks on Zimbabwe.

In the Libyan case, some African nations in the Security Council unwittingly voted for the invasion of the sister nation in support of Western machinations. Investigations by the United Nations also revealed that some East African nations, in cahoots with some Western nations, are actively involved in fuelling the longstanding conflicts in the DRC.

Apparently, Africa has no united front against the intrusive intrigues of the West. But, if the recent flexing of diplomatic muscles by the AU against the EU is anything to go by, the disparate approach to external threats could be dissipating.

What is left is for African countries to use this as a springboard to form a united front under the aegis of the African Union. African countries should consistently speak with one voice against Western machinations that threaten to undermine the continent’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The forthcoming Euro-Africa Summit should therefore provide the continent with a chance to unapologetically assert its right to self-determination.


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