EDITORIAL COMMENT: At least for the people of Gaza

herald-newspapersAT least something positive has come out of the US-Africa Summit underway in Washington DC, a 72 hour respite for the long suffering residents of the Gaza Strip manifest in the ceasefire called by the murderous Israeli Defence forces ostensibly to allow humanitarian aid, including food, drugs and medicine to get to the cowering, suffering residents; and also to allow the Palestinians time to bury their dead who number in excess of 2000, mostly defenceless civilians.

It, however, is not lost to us that this ceasefire has nothing to do with humanitarian concerns for the people of Gaza but everything to do with Obama’s shindig in Washington where he feigns concern for the people of Africa while turning a blind eye to the virtual holocaust in Gaza.

Obama does not need bad press from Gaza to cloud his platitudes on Africa.
The guns had to be silenced so that his voice can reverberate to an unquestioning world. It is quite regrettable that close to 50 African leaders seem to have been taken in by Obama’s charade which is why they trooped to Washington apparently oblivious of the mess Obama wrought in Libya where one of their own, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, was murdered in cold blood and whose blood still demands atonement from his unmarked grave somewhere in the Libyan desert.

The willingness with which the leadership on the continent is summoned like children by anyone keen to safeguard their interests on the continent is quite disturbing.

It is not Africa that needs all these suitors; it is the suitors that are courting Africa and should thus engage Africa on its own terms.
It is no secret why the US is keen to get a foothold in Africa; in 2006, the US think-tank, Council on Foreign Relations released a report titled ‘‘More than Humanitarianism: A Strategic US Approach Toward Africa’’, that acknowledged the centrality of Southern Africa in particular, and Africa in general to US interests.

The CFR report reads in part, ‘‘Africa is of growing international importance. By the end of the decade, for example, sub-Saharan Africa is likely to become as important a source of US energy imports as the Middle East.

‘‘China, India, Europe, and others are competing with each other and with the United States for access to oil, natural gas and other natural resources.

“The world’s major powers are also becoming more active in seeking out investments, winning contracts and building political support on the continent.’’

As such, the flurry of serenades manifest in the France-Africa Summit, and EU-Africa Summit, and we hear soon a Turkey-Africa summit, is basically a response to the progressive Forum on China Africa Co-operation whose win-win approach saw trade between Africa and China top US$166 billion. In fact, FOCAC is manifest in various landmarks across the continent among them the US$200million AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Zimbabwe, which Obama mistakenly thought he slighted by not inviting from the Washington charade is non-plussed as it had long looked East after its disastrous flirtation with the West.

In fact, President Mugabe is set to visit China on a five day state visit later this month to pursue more win-win partnerships. We bet our bottom dollar that the trinkets that Obama will dole out in Washington will not match what China has brought to the continent.