By Itai Muchena
THE local press unfairly ignored one important event that took place not so long ago in West Africa. I mean a defence accord signed on May 2, 2016, between the US and Senegal. A key point of this pact is that it will give US troops (AFRICOM) access to areas in Senegal, such as airports and military installations. Senegalese Foreign Minister Mankeur Ndiaye has been quoted by saying at signing ceremony of the agreement that “it allows for the permanent presence of American soldiers in Senegal”. The specified event shows that the Senegalese Government actually gave a damn about the African Union common position on AFRICOM and joined a small group of continental renegades, standing on hind legs in front of the Washington. It is worth to recall in this context that majority of African states have been vocal from the beginning in their critique of AFRICOM. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) was the first to issue a clear message of dissent against the Bush initiative. On August 29, 2007, the SADC Heads of State clearly stated that the countries of the region would not agree to host AFRICOM and in particular, armed forces, since this would have a negative effect. Other key regional organizations across Africa have also declared their condemnation of AFRICOM and its implications for U.S.- African relations. Among them the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which Senegal is a party to, has stated resolutely its opposition to American bases in the region. For the majority of African states it is absolutely clear that the US military presence on the continent is very dangerous. It has not brought about stability but only more internal strife and economic exploitation. An eloquent example is Mali, where the US had extensive influence in the military apparatus of the state; those same elements which were trained by the Pentagon staged a coup against the government in March 2012, resulting in the worsening of a northern insurgency and the intervention of French troops that remain in the country. Once AFRICOM moves to African soil, Africa is doomed and finished. It will have to religiously follow the American exploitation gospel and the founding fathers of the African revolution will turn and wince in their graves from anger and disappointment. Bearing this in mind it will be fair if the African leaders strongly condemn the politics of Dakar at their coming Summit in Ruanda since it undermines the ideals of Pan Africanism and endangers the unity of the continent. It’s high time to punish the betrayers. I would even propose to suspend Senegal’s membership in the AU until it reconsider its politics and terminate the signed military agreement with the US. Meanwhile the coming summit should also pay close attention to strengthening inter-African cooperation in the military and security areas. The long debated plans to establish an African Standby Force (ASF) must be implemented finally. Once we have rapid reaction forces, the West will lose pretext for its military presence here. On the other hand the AFS will make it impossible for conflicts such as those that have occurred in Mali, Central African Republic and South Sudan. The Africans deserve to solve their internal problems independently.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015