19.06.2011 Feature Article

Libya: African Leaders Cowering Before Hillary Clinton?

Libya: African Leaders Cowering Before Hillary Clinton?
19.06.2011 LISTEN

The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, seems to be over-reaching herself and must be told the truth before she creates more problems. She seems to be in an indecent hurry to undermine the authority of African Heads of State and thereby render them more impotent than we need. She is treading where she is not needed on the continent.

If she thinks that solving the Libyan crisis lies in her assuming the mantle of a matriarch to order about African leaders, she may realize rather too late that her over-stepping her bounds will only worsen the credibility problems that her country has all over the place. Her temerity doesn't solve problems.

Mrs. Clinton came to attention several times when she shouted herself hoarse at several forums to declare that “Col. Gaddafi has lost the legitimacy to rule Libya,” and uttering the cacophonous refrain that “Gaddafi must go.”

Again, she added her voice to charges that Gaddafi's forces were using rape as a weapon of war. As if she didn't know that by such loose utterances she had already become a nuisance, she went on further to suggest that Libyan government forces are raping civilians.

By saying that she was “deeply concerned” that Gaddafi's troops were participating in wide-scale rape in Libya, she was doing nothing but poisoning public sentiments and oiling the West's propaganda machinery to justify anything that is done to eliminate Gaddafi. Mrs. Clinton certainly knows how to continue the propaganda against Gaddafi to justify the continued military campaign against him.

On Monday, she was in Addis Ababa to carry her impudence to the summit of the African Union, where she assumed the posture of a potentate to issue instructions to African Heads of State. She commanded them, among others, to call for Gaddafi to step down and leave Libya. She urged them to isolate Gaddafi and eventually suffocate his government.

“Your words and your actions could make the difference [in ending this situation]... and allowing the people of Libya to get to work writing a constitution and rebuilding their country,” Reuters news agency quotes her as saying in her speech.

If the eruption of the volcano in nearby Eritrea hadn't cut short her scheduled three-day visit to the continent, we might be burdened with more odious utterances from her. Good riddance by a natural force.

Mrs. Clinton is not the person to instruct African leaders on how to manage the affairs of the continent, particularly in connection with the fighting going on in Libya. She should be the first person to realize that by taking over the fighting from the rebels, NATO is now responsible for creating humanitarian problems in the pro-Gaddafi territories. Such an ignominious role doesn't endear NATO or the politically immature leaders orchestrating its devastation of Libya to the hearts of peace-lovers.

I am really appalled at the audacity (or is it careless abandon) with which she has waded into events concerning Africa, stepping far forward to raise the West's anti-Gaddafi propaganda to an odious level.

From her utterances, it can easily be established that she sought to ram her instructions down the ears of those African leaders. In effect, she behaved as if she was the pay-mistress whose word was a command to be obeyed without question by these African leaders.

Of particular concern to me was her injunction to these African leaders to isolate Libya's Gaddafi and eventually pull the rug from under his feet to force him out of his country. Indeed, could she not have been informed that the African Union's proposals for resolving the Libyan crisis were far better than the military campaign that she is busily pontificating as the solution to that purely political crisis?

The tone of her instruction alone galls me. Additionally, the import of her utterance leaves me in no doubt about how the US sees itself in this matter concerning an African country and its leader. By this posture, Mrs. Clinton sought to forewarn these African leaders about what the US has up its sleeves to do in pursuit of its agenda, especially if they fail to heed her instruction concerning Gaddafi.

What annoyed me all the more was the timidity of these African leaders who sat placidly in the meeting, listening to her as she issued her instruction to them on how to conduct their lives. They behaved as if they were not the legitimate leaders of sovereign countries not to be instructed by the Foreign Minister of another country! I wonder if they didn't realize that as Heads of State they carried more weight than the Secretary of State (a mere Foreign Minister) that she is. What could be behind her audacity for that talking-to?

And behaving like school children, those African leaders cowered before her and, as was indicated by their docility, they came across as clueless stooges who needed that talking-to before deciding for themselves how to react to the Libyan crisis. After all, they haven't in anyway made their voices heard to prove me wrong. They have kept quiet as if bound together by an oath of treachery, preferring silence to speaking their minds for us to know where exactly they stand as far as the Libyan crisis is concerned.

Less than 24 hours after Mrs. Clinton had issued her instructions, one of them—the Liberian President, Sirleaf Johnson—announced in London that her country was immediately breaking diplomatic ties with Libya because, as she put it, Gaddafi had killed his own people. By taking this action, she didn't only create the sorry impression that her action was in conformity with Mrs. Clinton's order but she also came across as ignorant of the dynamics of the Libyan crisis.

Sirleaf Johnson thus joined the club of African leaders being swayed by influences from the invisible hands tele-guiding their politics on the continent. Of course, she chose to toe the middle-of-the-road lane because unlike others (like Senegal's senile Abdoulaye Wade and The Gambia's Yahya Jameh) who rushed to disown Gaddafi in favour of the Benghazi-based rebels, the Liberian leader chose to be non-aligned even though we can tell where she is heading. She seems to be positioning her country to profit from either side, depending on how the pendulum swings.

This situation makes such a leader look treacherous and gives enough cause for her to be carefully watched. Such a leader must be feared. She is only one example of many others who have not yet made their voices heard. They are biding their time to ensure that they look properly before they leap. Certainly, they will leap to join ranks with the faction that emerges as the ultimate power wielder in Libya.

These are the leaders who are easily manipulated because they can't decide for themselves, act accordingly, and be prepared for the consequences. They easily freeze in the face of crisis and wait for people like Mrs. Clinton to give them instructions to obey. And they do so because they fear their own shadows.

The African leaders that we have today can't act on their own because they are not in office to do so. They represent interests that run counter to what the continent needs. That is why they have no compunction when it comes to looting their countries' resources to cushion themselves and their families while the vast majority of the citizens wallow in squalor, poverty, disease, and death.

Africa is unfortunate to have many of such characters in the helm of affairs. From North to South, through East and West, the continent is plagued with such visionless and cowardly characters parading the corridors of power and manipulating the situation to suit their selfish and parochial interests. I have no respect for such characters.

And to imagine that it has to take Mrs. Clinton that show of impudence to wake them up is enough to persuade me that these African leaders are not only incompetent but also traitors. Otherwise, why would they not take a resolute and collective stand on the Libyan crisis, knowing very well that less than a year ago, Gaddafi was their prime-mover in the efforts toward strengthening the African Union and pooling resources to empower the continent in every way possible toward actualizing its objectives.

In every sense, these African leaders have given little hope to the millions of Africans in the various countries. Instead, they have found adroit means to manipulate the situation for personal gains. Not only have they colluded with external forces to loot their countries' resources but they have also found clever ways to perpetrate the looting of their national coffers and laundered the booty for safe-keeping in banks in the West. These African leaders have no respect left for them and deserve whatever brow-beating they get from characters like Mrs. Clinton.

For as long as they have skeletons in their cupboards (that the West is aware of and for which it threatens to blackmail or expose them if they don't fall in step), these African leaders will continue to expose themselves to the kind of degrading attitude that Hillary Clinton could show toward them. If they have nothing to fear, they should come out boldly to assert their influence as Heads of State of sovereign countries. But they dare not because they are either haunted by their misdeeds or dark records that the West knows.

It is for this simple reason that they are subservient and docile enough to be browbeaten by none other but a Foreign Minister of a country!!

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