PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has lashed out at the United States for its “disturbing streak of selfishness and coercive diplomacy” demonstrated by its latest decision to introduce a law to monitor activities in Africa.
The United States is seeking to pass a law to counter Russian activities in Africa by tracking its military operations, investments, oligarchs and suspected illicit financial flows.
This was partly because more than half of African countries chose to be neutral on United Nations resolutions on Russia’s over Ukraine fracas.
Through the Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act, the US wishes to “hold to account African governments and their officials who are complicit in aiding Russia’s “malign influence and activities”.
On 27 April, the US Senate put the bill to a vote, with 415 in favour and nine against.
It has not yet been signed into law.
The law will direct the US Secretary of State “to develop and submit to Congress a strategy and implementation plan outlining United States efforts to counter the malign influence and activities of the Russian Federation and its proxies in Africa.”
The bill broadly defines such malign activities as those that “undermine United States objectives and interests.”
The Secretary of State would have to monitor the actions of Russia’s government and its “proxies” — including private military companies and oligarchs.
The bill, sponsored by Republican Gregory Weldon Meeks, who chairs the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, will require the State Department to send to Congress every year, a report on US measures to counter Russian “machinations” in Africa.
Writing in his weekly column in the Chronicle’s sister papers, Sunday News and the Sunday Mail, President Mnangagwa said through this Act, the United States coercively seeks to legislate for Africa in line with its own whims and interests.
“There is a disturbing streak of selfishness and coercive diplomacy which is exemplified by Washington’s latest overreaching legislative gamble called Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act.
Through this Act, United States of America coercively seeks to legislate for a whole continent, in line with its own whims and interests,” he said.
“The illegal Act flattens a whole continent to reduce it to a mere appendage of America.
In the eyes of the USA, our nations are not independent and have no right to relate to other nations of the world as they see fit or in pursuit of their national interests.”
President Mnangagwa said the last time America tried this was in 1901 when it passed the Platt Amendment on Cuba by which that government then was enjoined “never to enter into any treaty or other compact with any foreign power or powers.”
“To imagine that the United States government, through its legislature, plans another Platt Amendment for a whole Continent of Africa, simply beggars’ belief,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said the world is witnessing a race towards militarisation through adversarial and confrontational blocs which undermine global peace in violation of the United Nations Charter.
“Whether in the Pacific Region, the Americas or in Asia, we are seeing a race towards militarisation through adversarial and confrontational blocs which undermine global peace guaranteed by observance of international tenets enshrined in the United Nations Charter,” said the President.
“In all this, there is a clear attempt to threaten and objectify Africa, the only continent with abundant resources, and still sworn to multilateralism under the recent Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).”
President Mnangagwa said given America’s iniquitous Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZDERA), Zimbabwe is best qualified to warn the world against this insidious encroachment on national and continental sovereignties by powerful States seeking to overreach under flimsy guises.
When the United States Congress passed ZDERA in 2001, it imposed economic sanctions on Zimbabwe following the footsteps of the European Union, Australia and New Zealand and Canada.
The Act allegedly provided for a “transition to democracy and the promotion of economic recovery”.
But contrary to the stated mission of the piece of legislation, ZDERA has unleashed untold misery on the people of Zimbabwe as it has hamstrung efforts by Government to resuscitate the economy.
President Mnangagwa said the same global close-mindedness is showing in respect of global economic affairs.
“Under several different synonyms — re-shoring, on-shoring, in-shoring, back-shoring or near-shoring — leading economies which historically preached and sold to us the wondrous benefits of globalisation, are now giving their back to global trade, thus undermining international trade and the collaborative ethos which underpin global peace and solidarity,” said President Mnangagwa.
“The economic correlative to armed global blocs are these exclusive and exclusionary economic blocs which also become fortresses against international trade, and which mete out collective economic sanctions against countries whose politics the blocs dislike or contest.”