Home » Governance » AU – Contradictions and Duplicity of the West

Last week, African leaders unanimously chose President Mugabe to be the face of Africa. This is was in spite of heavy lobbying, arm-twisting and downright blackmail by some Western diplomats who wanted to curtail this.

All these efforts did not succeed.

This is a huge honour because Africa has a population of about 1,1 billion people. When one wants to look at the face of the African people in 2015, one shall see the face of President Mugabe.

The unanimity of the vote itself in the backdrop of him being the chairman of Sadc since August 2014 makes him the undisputed African leader.

These are the bodies that oversee African affairs, including elections.

Sadc holds sway among the 14 countries of the region, while the African Union has 54 countries.

President Mugabe is a fervent Pan-Africanist. The reverberations across the globe are massive.

The Financial Times (FT) said President Mugabe’s speech was immediately calculated to put a wedge between Africa and the West.

To buttress that point, FT quotes the part of the President’s speech that said, “African resources should belong to Africa and to no one else, except to those we invite as friends. Friends we shall have, yes, but imperialists and colonialists no more.”

One would ask how this can be said to be divisive? When Gordon Brown took over the British premiership, he said that he was going to push for “British jobs for the British workers”.

His slogan was not said to be divisive. How then can someone who says that African resources are for the African people be considered to be putting a wedge between Africans and Westerners?

Is there a suggestion that the African resources should not be for Africans? Is there a suggestion that those that come for joint ventures with the Africans in the resource sectors should not do so on Africa’s terms?

Or is this a more ominous suggestion that they should actually come in as imperialists and colonialists?

Because this widely quoted remark is only asserting Africa’s right to self-determination and sovereignty over the resources in its belly.

It is this type of mantra that resonates with the African people as well as the African diaspora.

The African Diaspora includes the African-American people, the Caribbeans as well as any black person living outside the mother continent.

President Mugabe is a hero to many of these groups who recall that at some point Africa did not even have a right to its own children, who ended up being enslaved in lands afar and used to enrich the same groups that are now coming for its natural resources.

The AU chairman is the individual that is supposed to represent Africa at international gatherings such as G20 and G8, among many others.

This is where those whose interests are threatened by the presence of President Mugabe fail to imagine interacting with him.

But among the many good leaders Africa has at the moment, who is more iconic as the face of Pan-Africanism than President Mugabe?

Some went on to cite the travel bans imposed on President Mugabe as reasons why it was counter-productive for the Africa Union to have him as its chairman.

One would think that this is a very simple problem needing a simple solution. Just remove the diabolical travel bans and everyone lives happily ever after!

Most African media outlets were agreed that President Mugabe had the right credentials to be the chairman of AU. They also point to the fact that there are so many dictators in the world with whom the West fraternise with as they serve their interests.

Zimbabwe, under President Mugabe, has always held elections on time and not a day later.

There are also nations that have never held a single election in all their years of existence and still the West in its duplicity reaches out to them.

One such a nation is the oil-rich Saudi Arabia. Recently they lost King Abdullah, their ruler. Saudi Arabia is a country at the very bottom of the league of countries that respect human rights. When it comes to democracy there is really nothing to talk about.

The same US which attacks President Mugabe who holds elections every time they are due had Barack Obama attending the funeral with a very large and powerful contingent of the US establishment.

In his delegation were Secretary of State John Kerry, CIA Director John Brennan, two former Secretaries of State and two former National Security Aisors.

Senator John McCain and a large number of congressmen and senators also made the delegation.

There were so many other world leaders and dignitaries who included Prince Charles of the United Kingdom representing the Queen.

This is the kind of duplicity that irks many an African leader. They are judged by different standards.

How can African leaders not feel mistreated when a country like Britain even flew the Union Jack at half mast on all government buildings including Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and Downing Street in honour of King Abdullah?

This was a sovereign whose kingdom executes anyone who converts to Christianity. Most African countries, including Zimbabwe, have both churches and mosques.

This is a kingdom in which bloggers like this writer would be lashed in the backside in a public square!

But all this is not mentioned because there is oil.

When Africans choose Robert Mugabe to lead them there are all sorts of outcries including feigned outrage. It is a question of national interests.

Robert Mugabe represents the interests and the aspirations of the African people.

However, it seems these run contrary to those of the West which consumes 80 percent of the minerals Africa produces as primary goods.

In his acceptance speech, President Mugabe spoke of infrastructural development and beneficiation.

Beneficiation is one of those words that Westerners may easily dislike, if it refers to primary exporters who should not grow any wiser, in Western eyes.

Meanwhile, there are some people who turned around and labelled 53 African leaders as a club of dictators.

This is nothing but condescending nonsense with racial undertones.

It is only African solidarity that will give Africa a voice in this skewed world where Western powers make rules as they go and flout same depending on which direction the winds of their national interests blow.

The new crop of African leaders want to build mutually beneficial relationships with the West.

This is very welcome and something any progressive person should be pushing for. But any relationship should be based on mutual respect.

The patronising “master servant” approach no longer does it for Africa.

Abusive name-calling by the Western media only hardens African attitudes, even of the so-called African moderates. This year alone the AU is going to observe 19 elections under the guiding eye of President Mugabe, yet those who are suffering from the sour grapes syndrome have the audacity to label the AU a club of dictators!

How can they be a club of dictators when there is so much electoral activity going on?

Yet that is the hypocrisy and double standards of the West.

One area of concern regards the International Criminal Court (ICC) which has prosecuted and indicted some African leaders.

The United States refuses to ratify it for fear of exposing its military and political leaders to external scrutiny and prosecutions.

If African leaders come together and say let Africa have its own Criminal Justice Court the same “dictators club” insult is cast on them. Nobody complains about Israel and the US.

In his closing speech President Mugabe put pulling out of the ICC on the agenda of the June 2015 Summit.

It will be time to watch the trending condemnation.

There is no one indicted for the extra-judicial killing of Muammar Gadaffi.

If he was a Western leader the outcome would have been different.

These are some of the things that bring African leaders in a fortress mentality when they perceive themselves as victims of Western powers’ double standards.

The writer is the Zanu-PF UK chairman.

Source : The Herald