WHO CAN CHANGE THE AFRICAN SITUATION?
By Sentomero Jerry Sesanga.
Today, at least fifteen countries in west, east, central and southern Africa struggle whole heartedly to shake off conflicts. These night mares effectively take place in the Democratic republic of Congo . (DRC), Rwanda , Burundi , as in Eritrea , Ethiopia , Somalia , Sudan , Uganda . In western Africa, Cote d’ivoire , Guinea , Liberia , Nigeria , Sierra Leone and Togo just as Algeria , Angola and Zimbabwe further south. This is where the line is drawn, battle for what? Guelliras affect the way of life and destruction is the order of the day.
Tensions from violent conflicts and political violence are experienced within the continent’s largest area. Some countries with less intensity of conflicts, but which conflicts are very capable of escalating into full blown violence. Kenya is near proof, following the disputed presidential elections that pitted President Emilio Mwai Kibaki and his now "power sharing premier Raila Odinga-Oginga." For a week or so, thousands of Kenyans reacted against each other, in battles that left at least eight hundred lives lost to the political catastrophe, whose most immediate solution lay in the hands of just two men.
Most concocting is that western powers have an upper hand in the conflicts of these countries by supporting either the rebel groups or the governments in the interest of mineral benefit such as the most anticipated for item which now replaced slave trade, "minerals" yes, even the small deposits of diamond, gold, petroleum and others are much washed away by the greedy bellies of the ‘help you’ strategies which really mean ‘exploit you.’
Zaire ’s former president Mobutu Sese Seko Nkuku Ngbendu Wazabanga (meaning all conquering warrior) is a good example of African leaders dumped after total exploitation of DRC’s minerals. Born Joseph Desire, the colonel, who would later become general was directly backed and aided by USA ’s CIA to assassinate and topple Patrice Lumumba, Congo ’s Independence premier. Mobutu overthrew the socialist constitution and even renamed the country Zaire .
Considered King of Zaire, the soon to be dictator amassed questionably massive wealth from the country minerals, with his foreign and local ‘untouchable’ cronies. The US had cheered on Mobutu, whom they knew would toe the western (and not socialist) idea of free trade.
To live under his iron fist, was not anything amusing to a Zairian people that smudged almost in poverty. So rich was Mobutu, he became less moved by a state crumbling under his own feet. Utter thieves and rogues ruled the exploitation of Zaire ’s resources, giving a confused picture of who was in charge, to international corporations that thrived on the roof.
But the George Harvard Bush Sr. administration was not ready to see USA ’s corporate interests thrashed because of some frail leader that could no longer manage State affairs to their appeal. Pentagon is said to have come in to support Mobutu’s removal, between 1996 and 1997, master minded by Rwanda and Uganda and facilitated by others like Canada , the UK , Belgium and Israel .
Keith Harmon Snow in august 2007 newsletter, "toward freedom," stetted that the west, whose multinational companies sought to reorganize a power structure in Zaire in order to offer better extraction of minerals, supported the coup overwhelmingly.
He wrote in the article, ‘behind the scenes,’ warlords, ‘deadly battles in Congo .’ ‘By July 1996, Mobuku was negotiating with G.H.W. Bush over Barrick gold interests in Zaire ’s Kilo Moto gold fields and Adulf Lundin interests in copper/cobalt in Katanga . The invasion of Zaire swung into action after (Rwandan president) Paul Kagame visited the pentagon in august 1996.
According to the African sun news, January 19 2009, ‘behind the scenes, these foreign firms pay governments or insurgents, unreported colossal sums which monnies fund conflicts. Therefore the wars, ‘serve the purpose of creating a destruction, as the countries and their fleeing, displaced citizens are robbed of their country’s natural resources easily converted to cash for personal use and fortunes of rulers.’
On the other front, combatants are more secure and therefore, less concerned about ending the profiteering violence. Also to Dr Peter Singer, "the nature of armed conflict has changed greatly in the past few years. Now the presence of children is the new rule of standard behavior in war, rather than the varsity it used it to be.
Singer a senior fellow and director of the 21st century Defense initiative at the Brookings Intuition, holds that the result is that war in the 21st century is not only more tragic, but also more dangerous. "with children’s involvement, generals, warlords, terrorists and rebel leaders alike are finding that conflicts are easier to start and hard to end."
In his book, ‘The new children of war,’ Singer, a leading expert on changes in the twenty first century warfare, says the deployment of minors (children under eighteen) as combatants, stretches to over 300,000 globally. This accounts for close to ten percent of all fighters in the world. "They serve in forty percent of the world’s armed forces, rebel groups and terrorist organizations and fight in almost 75% of the world’s conflicts; indeed, in the last five years, children have served as soldiers on every continent but Antarctica . Moreover, an additional half million children serve in armed forces not presently at war."
It is not a coincidence therefore that most weapons in new wars are small and light in nature. Besides being easily accessible, they are ‘good toys’ for child soldiers, who can ably carry and use them in the conflicts, in which children are increasingly becoming cheaper to draft, sustain and actually beat in line, to execute militaristic assignments.
Taking the grid to west Africa, in Sierra Leone a rebellion that has been typified with "Blood Diamonds," shredded the political and economic fabrics of the country late in the 1990s while in the neighboring Liberia, Charles Taylor’s gangster regime only added callousness to the continent. The former warlord and later president of Liberia is in custody at the Hague, where he is facing war crimes and crimes against humanity over which he presided during his time of office.
Considered the biggest criminal president Liberia and the region has ever had, Charles Ghankay Taylor was born Americo-Liberian, near Monrovia , on January 28, 1948. He studied in the US, where he graduated in the 1970s with an economic degree, before he would return to Liberia in the 1980’s, when he was appointed director of the General Services Agency (GSA), procuring all government transactions under a Ronald Reagan protégé, president master-sergeant Samuel Doe.
Soon however, Doe accused Taylor of embezzling US $ 900,000 and the later exiled himself to the US . There Reagan’s administration arrested and put him behind bars. But, he escaped, according to a political scientist, with the help of Reagan’s administration that was increasingly getting embarrassed by Doe’s outright abuses of human rights.
The US desired to get rid of Doe, though it was never clear they directly aided Taylor who in December 1989 started a rebellion against Doe; Liberia entered a period of blood-bath, which subsided only 1997, when the population out of the fighting, voted Taylor, president of Liberia , against Elten Johnson Sirleaf.
His reign, across the border to Sierra Leone saw a civil war fueled by diamonds, for which Taylor was a conduit to the outer world. The UN slammed arms and diamond embargos on Liberia and a travel ban Taylor in 2001. Two years later, the situation was still bad; the Security Council extended the restrictions and thumped another on the trade of timber.
Round about the same time, Taylor was indicted for war crimes by the UN- backed Sierra Leone war crimes tribunal. Pressed by international forces and facing a rebellion closing in on Monrovia , Taylor made off to Nigeria under a safe passage concession, following his hitherto long awaited resignation as president. Shortly afterwards, however, the George Bush Jr administration mounted pressed on Olusegun Obasanjo to hand over Taylor, when they placed a US $ 2 million bounty on his head.
This simply sheds the so called Western powers with full reason and responsibility of causing African conflicts and reason is obvious that countries like USA, UK, Russia and Canada should be ready to face the international criminal court for crimes such as child soldier enforcement, war crimes, stealing and exploitation something I would call impossible due to that much dominance. Perharps the question still stands, "who can change the African situation?" if even western powers are benefiting.
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