President Obama: 'Africans Don't Need Handouts, They Want End To Tyranny'
Four years ago, Obama delivered a rousing address to Ghana's Parliament that was meant for the entire continent. He called for an end to life-presidency in African countries and announced that the U.S. would support countries that: adhere to political transparency and transition in leadership; the ones that fought corruption; and, the ones that respected their constitutions and the rule of law. The days of the strong man were over, he said.
But that Accra message, which was welcomed by millions of ordinary Africans, was diminished and even perverted. Subsequently the Obama administration yielded to politics. It continued supporting dictatorial rulers such as Uganda's Gen. Yoweri Museveni and Rwanda's Gen. Paul Kagame.
The U.S. financial and military backing for the pair was primarily because Uganda sent thousands of troops to shore up Somalia's weak government; the U.S. feared it would be overrun by al-Qaeda-affiliated militants. Kagame's regime ingratiated itself to Washington by deploying peace-keeping troops to Sudan's Darfur region.
Finally, after Rwanda and Uganda again invaded Congo last year, using a group called M23 as their Trojan Horse, and seeking to continue plundering Congo's vast mineral and natural resource wealth, the U.S. condemned Museveni's and Kagame's militarism. President Obama himself personally telephoned Gen. Kagame and warned of consequences.
This time around Obama's message must be followed by action; no mere lip service. At the very least, the U.S. must show commitment to peace and democracy in Africa by ending military support to the Rwanda's and Uganda's regimes. This would encourage the citizens of both countries who risk their lives, agitating for the type of mature politics now in place in Ghana, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania and elsewhere.