Western countries can’t legislate Africa: ED

Albert Chavhunduka

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has castigated the Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act, which is set to be passed in the USA Congress, saying it is an attempt by Western countries to legislate Africa.

The United States intends to pass a law to counter Russia in Africa by tracking its military operations, investments, oligarchs and suspected illicit financial flows.

The move follows the realisation that more than half of African countries have chosen to be neutral on United Nations resolutions on Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, which America views as a threat to its influence on the continent.

The Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act gives the US Congress power to investigate African countries aligned to Russia, amid fears by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change that Russia seeks to renew ties it had with Africa during its Soviet Union era.

But President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe and Africa as a continent must stand tall and guard against West encroachment as it was a threat to true multilateralism and sovereignty of the global South in the face of a disintegrating world order.

President Mnangagwa was writing in his weekly column titled, “None but ourselves” published in the state media on Sunday.

He accused Western states, including the US, of being selfish and using coercive legislative diplomacy to impose their interests on the African continent through the Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act.

“Through this Act, United States of America coercively seeks to legislate for a whole continent, in line with its own whims and interests. The illegal Act flattens a whole continent to reduce it to a mere appendage of America,” he said.

“In the eyes of USA, our nations are not independent and have no right to relate to other nations of the world as they see fit or in pursuit of their national interests. To imagine that the United States government, through its legislature, plans another Platt Amendment for a whole continent of Africa simply beggars belief.

“In all this, there is a clear attempt to threaten and objectify Africa, the only continent with abundant resources and still sworn to multilateralism under the recent Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Given America’s iniquitous ZDERA, Zimbabwe is best qualified to warn the world against this insidious encroachment on national and continental sovereignties by powerful States seeking to overreach under flimsy guises,” he said.

President Mnangagwa further bemoaned the shrinking multilateralism and lack of collective approach and cooperation in tackling the ongoing global challenges which include climate change, the Covid-19 pandemic, ongoing tensions in Eastern Europe as well as global supply chain disruptions.

“Even as we caucused in Davos, it was clear to us from Africa that some in our midst had come to sell their war and to foist their viewpoint on the rest of us, rather than to engage in the spirit of greater peace and multilateral approach to challenges facing our planet,” said Mnangagwa.

“Zimbabwe has to locate itself and survive within this torrid global environment as it daily unravels. The environment is not about or likely to change. We have to adjust to this new normal of wars, militarization, global pandemics, climate change and a broken international system.

“These overbearing global adversities are increasingly obtruding into our local circumstances. It requires skillful navigation so we do not ram into dangerous global ecosystem of intricate, interlocking icebergs.”

For President Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe must emulate India and China and craft own locally compatible responses to its national issues and burden of developing the country.

“One nation we can turn to for salutary lessons is India. There is a lot we have done already which makes Indian experience kindred. We both face similar global challenges, we both value agriculture, our two nations are modernising our infrastructures, both nations have high literacy levels on which to develop higher tertiary skills.

“Above all, Zimbabwe enjoys very good relations with India which has been supporting us in a number of areas, principally that of energy. It also is part of a region we have always related  in our long history.”

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