The USA Africa Command, which America calls ‘Africom’, is a military structure of the Defence Department of America. Africom was formed in 2007 during President George W Bush’s second term of office. That was two months after America had bombed a small African country, Somalia, destabilising it to the ashes it is today and to the danger it now poses to Africa and international trade. The coast of Somalia is infested with sea piracy and kidnappings. This is as a result of the earlier American invasion of Somalia, in pursuit of its illegitimate economic interests in Africa. The political instability of Somalia has now caused the problem of ‘terrorism’ for East African countries such as Kenya.
In October 2011, the Institute of Security Studies held a seminar in Pretoria, South Africa, on United States’ security policy in Africa and the role of the US Africa Command. The main speaker was the American Ambassador to South Africa. He presented what was a ‘non-military insider’s perspective on the United States’ Africa Command.’ This way he was supposedly to ‘separate facts from fiction and rumours and deal directly with misconceptions and misapprehensions about Africom.’
The American apologists of Africom suggested that the creation of this American military structure under the American Defence Department ‘has turned out to be different from what the USA government had originally envisioned and what the United States of America had originally perceived, having quickly foresworn locating its headquarters in Africa.’
It seems that even in this 21st century the United States of America government does not respect the sovereignty of African states and the territorial integrity of the continent. If it did, it would know that Africans have national and continental interests and the right to protect them. Assistance should be solicited. Those who need assistance know what kind of assistance they want. The United States of America has no right to prescribe Africom on Africa even at the expense of dividing Africa and weakening the African Union. America wants its own interests to prevail over those of Africa.
Africans have a painful history of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, racism and colonialism by nations that claim to be ‘civilised’ but have behaviour that is contrary to civilisation. They dehumanised Africa’s people and saw nothing wrong with that. They have never shown any remorse for their inhuman deeds to Africans or offered any reparations for the colossal damage they inflicted on Africans. America’s persistence to impose Africom on Africa proves this beyond reasonable doubt.
UGANDAN OIL AND AMERICAN TROOPS TO ‘HELP’
Uganda suffered unspeakable atrocities under Idi Amin’s government that was installed by Britain under Prime Minister Edward Heath. The British government did not like the socialist policies of President Milton Obote. Idi Amin killed many Ugandans. They included the Anglican Archbishop Janani Luwum.
After the overthrow of Idi Amin, there emerged Joseph Kony, leader of what he calls the Lord’s Resistance Army. Kony has murdered thousands of Ugandans. This included kidnapping hundreds of Ugandan children who he forced to join his army to fight the Ugandan government. Many of those children were killed in the senseless war. This has gone on for over 20 years.
The US government never approached Uganda or the African Union or its predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity, to ask how the United States could help. Now there is discovery of oil in Uganda. Almost immediately, there are reports that US government has sent an army to Uganda to find Joseph Kony and rescue Uganda’s children. Why did America not make this offer long before Uganda discovered this oil wealth? Acquisition of Africa’s resources is the chief purpose of Africom, not the development of Africa.
WILL US ALLOW RUSSIAN OR CHINESE ARMY INSIDE AMERICA?
Some African countries have been threatened with sanctions and ‘regime change.’ One of them is Libya, where Colonel Maummar Gaddafi was killed under the dark cloud of NATO and United States of America. When Africans raise concerns about ‘Africom’ they are said to suffer ‘misconceptions, misapprehensions, rumours, and fiction.’ Now, is the United States of America government prepared to allow Russia or China to establish their own ‘American Command’ and call it ‘Americom’ in pursuit of their national interests in America? How would Americans react to this? Would they go to the streets and say, ‘Welcome messiah!’
Anyway, the architect of ‘Africom’ President George W Bush has said that the United States’ Africa Command ‘will co-ordinate all United States security interests throughout Africa.’ If this is not imperialist arrogance and contempt for the sovereignties of African States, then the proponents of ‘Africom’ must be sent to a mental hospital for treatment.
VICE ADMIRAL MOELLER HAS SPILLED BEANS ABOUT AFRICOM
Vice Admiral Moeller was the man President George W Bush entrusted with the mission of Africom. Moeller knew that mission in and out. At the United States’ Africa Command Conference held at Fort McNair on 18 February 2008, this American head of ‘Africom’ declared that, ‘Protecting the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market is one of Africom’s guiding principles.’
Admiral Moeller specifically cited ‘oil disruption’, ‘terrorism’ and the growing influence of China as a major challenge to United States’ interests in Africa. Africom is organised by the office of the Under-Secretary of Defence for Forces Transformation Resources and National Security Policy at the National Defence University Fort McNair, Washington D.C.
Africom serves the interests of the United States of America. Africa does not need ‘Africom. Africom is a jackal in sheep’s clothing. A jackal cannot be entrusted with the security and lives of sheep.
WHAT AFRICA NEEDS TO PROTECT HER INTERESTS
What Africa needs is a mechanism to respond to peace missions in Africa to stabilise this continent politically, for rapid economic development, control of her resources and speedy technological advancement of her people. The solution to Africa’s problems lies in strengthening the African Union and accelerating the economic development of Africa. Africa’s underdevelopment was brought about by the Trans Atlantic Slaver Trade and colonialism, which subsequently enriched and developed European countries and underdeveloped Africa.
Sir Winston Churchill admitted this fact when he said: ‘Our possession of the West Indies gave us the strength, the support, but especially the capital wealth, at a time when no other European nation possessed such reserve, which enabled us to come through the great struggles of the Napoleonic Wars…but also to lay the foundations of the commercial and financial leadership which when the world was young … enabled us to make our great position in the world.’
America and NATO have the worst records in their dealings with the African people. Patrice Lumumba was assassinated with the connivance of the US and Belgian governments. Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown with the assistance of America’s CIA. In recent years the American government and its British ally have plotted ‘regime change’ in Zimbabwe.
In Libya it is America and NATO that bombed the country and got Colonel Muammar Gaddafi killed. This has happened inside Africa. How much easily and frequently will this happen, now with the Africom operating inside this continent? America has sophisticated weapons and intelligence gathering that Africa cannot match at presently.
The ill-intentions of the USA and its NATO allies towards Africa were exposed recently when these allies made it impossible for a delegation of the African Union to enter Libya to mediate and bring peace to Libya between the rebels and Gaddafi’s government. America and NATO treated the African Union with contempt and disdain. They literally sabotaged the AU efforts to bring peace to Libya as well as to Ivory Coast.
Africom will destroy Africa. Africom will undermine the United Nations and the African Union. It will deeply divide Africa into moderates and militants. Africom is a handy imperialist tool for ‘regime change.’ It will be used to install puppet governments on the African people to serve the interests of imperialism.
What Africans need is the collective defence of Africa against imperialism. This means increasing Africa’s military capability to defend Africa’s interests against external aggression. All African states have a national and continental obligation to refuse the presence of Africom on the African soil. African leaders who play the American Africom game are digging a mass grave for African people and their children. Such leaders are a security risk for the people of Africa and of African descent.
They cannot advance Africa economically and technologically, control Africa’s riches, use them for Africans and defend Africa’s people from those who still see Africa as a place of their enrichment and think the raw materials of this continent belong to them. Imperialism is becoming more dangerous and desperate. This is its last kicks before it crumbles. Its economies are in a shambles. Imperialist countries are heavily in debt. ‘Africom’ is a tool to save an anachronistic, decaying, vile system of ruthless economic oppression. The youth of Africa must rise and protect the riches of Africa for the benefit of Africa’s people. Africa’s youth wherever they may be must defend what is theirs by all means necessary.
Dr Motsoko Pheko is author of several books and a former Member of Parliament in South Africa.