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Advocate for Africa or Advocate for US Policy in Africa?

united africa 1In everything we do when it comes to Africa, we must do what is in the best interest of the continent. We cannot represent Western governments and represent Africa at the same time. The interests of The United States, for example, are diametrically opposed to the interests of Africa. We cannot be advocates for Africa on the one hand, and do the bidding of Western governments on the other.

When international organizations and the war machines of Western regimes wage unprovoked and unjustified criminal wars in Libya based on distortions and fabrications, or subvert the constitutional process in Cote D’Voire and collaborate in the overthrow of that government, we must stand firm with Africa and not only condemn the imperialist motives and destructive actions, but help create a strategy to help prevent such actions in the future.

We must strengthen these ties by advocating for Africa and not representing those who wish to continue to exploit Africa. We cannot allow ourselves to be the smiling Black faces of corrupt and morally bankrupt economic and military policies in Africa.

Uganda represents only one glaring example of a rotten policy in Africa. In October 2011, the Obama administration sent 100 well-armed Special Forces “advisers” to the region allegedly to assist the Ugandan government in the apprehension of Ugandan rebel leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Joseph Kony. Never mind that both the Ugandan and U.S. governments knew that the LRA had not been operating in Uganda for at least six years.

The discovery of what might be Africa’s largest oil reserve in Uganda and the deployment of U.S. Special Forces is no coincidence. In addition, the United States has provided tens of millions of dollars in military aid to Uganda. It should be noted that Uganda has troops fighting the United States’ proxy war in Somalia under the auspices of the African Union.

Ironically, Uganda represents one of the best examples of the inconsistencies between U.S. rhetoric on African affairs and its actual policies. The United States has aligned itself with one of the most abusive regimes in Africa. We are doing Africa no favors by either remaining silent or publicly supporting destructive policies to avoid offending the current occupant of the White House.

We should honor Africa by being principled and honest with Africa. We should avoid congratulating regimes just for merely holding elections. We’re not doing Africa any favors by ignoring the need of serious reform on the continent. And not reforming Africa in to the image of Europe. We should support a reform that encourages the aspirations of African people; A reform that respects, honors, and celebrates the cultural traditions of Africa; and a reform that sustains the continent and its people  — not a continent whose resources are the life blood of the entire world, all while the people of Africa suffer.

Finally, Africans in the diaspora cannot be used as tools by African governments to gain access to Western capital. The strength of our bond lies in our shared cultural and historical legacies. We must cherish and nurture that bond and it will forever be strong.

Adisa A. Alkebulan, Ph.D. is an associate professor of Africana Studies at San Diego State University and executive director of the Diopian Institute for Scholarly Advancement.


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