The African Union celebrated its 50th Anniversary in Addis Ababa with salvos being fired at ‘western’ forces that were keen on meddling with our internal affairs. Within the same breath, Rwandan President Paul Kagame told off those who thought aid was extremely critical to Africa that after all, Rwandese could go back to their hills and cultivate their potatoes.
The African leadership is certainly correct to say, Africans have to be in charge of their own destiny. But it is certainly wrong to impute that that necessarily means ridding ourselves of associations with certain parts of the globe, especially the west.
It is naïve to imagine that geopolitical interests are nonexistent or they do not influence municipal politics, indeed they are and history suggests that sometimes they lead to extensive arm twisting. However, 50 years on; Africa’s woes cannot be entirely blamed on the west.
Are geopolitics interests necessarily bad? No. The international arena is becoming heavily intertwined that it is an issue of prudent caution for nations to extensively audit their potential partners. This audit may from time to time lead to preferences but as long as the interference is not material, there is absolutely no illegality even if a country expressed its direct support for candidate A, or even sponsored candidate B.
African Presidents are acting hypocritical yet some of them have their campaigns bank rolled by foreign donors.
Africa cannot afford to continue believing that sovereignty means having the domestics entirely left to the locals, that Palmas notion has certainly been modified by globalization. It is time to know that as ultimate human civilization is neared, humanity becomes one and so will the caution about who sits on the international table increase.
The concept of sovereignty in my opinion does not exclude scrutiny. In fact Africa should rise up to the international calling of shaping opinion even in other jurisdictions if it wants its interests best served. It is absolute naivety for the African leadership to demand that the west retreats and leaves African politics to Africans. That cannot happen, and it should not happen. As a member of the International Community, Africa must endure scrutiny as this is inevitable.
It is not in the interest of anyone, not nationals of African states or international allies to have persons who may jeopardize foreign relations at the helm of states. And expressing opinion about municipal politics by international allies is a sign of honest engagement which should not be demonized.
As the African leadership seeks to run away from scrutiny, it has visibly started shifting east. This is desirable in my opinion, as overreliance on one partner may make us beholden to them.
However, if this is motivated by assumptions that Eastern Allies do not question our propensities, time is certainly bound to erode that assumption.
China’s economic growth for instance firmed up when it opened itself to the rest of the world. And as it accomplishes the modifications to its own systems, reality is beginning to dawn that to protect its interests, allies have to be determined with caution.
The inevitability of globalization calls for Africa to endeavor to assert her influence instead of calling for other to withdraw their influence.