Deafening Silence from Washington regarding Central Africa
Over the past few weeks a series of events have occurred in Central Africa that should have pundits in Washington concerned. In contrast the Administration and Congress have said very little regarding these events and that could be seen as being condoning of the events.
First of all is the situation regarding the LRA Disarmament Bill and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009 at this time the main holdout on this piece of Legislation that could be used as a lever regarding the policy towards Uganda is one person. Senator Tom Coburn a Republican from Oklahoma is the only person holding out on this Bill. This is an interesting point as the Senator is one of the Sponsors of the Senate Resolution that criticized the Bahati Bill.
There is ample enough reason to be concerned with events in Uganda. But to have two distinct positions regarding the main Human Rights and Political Concerns towards Uganda is unique. The Senator needs to clarify his position regarding Uganda post haste. There has not been a vote taken regarding the Bahati Bill at this juncture that in itself is a victory for Human Rights and Gay Rights Activists.
Now lets turn to another Ally of the United States General Kagame in Rwanda. Like several other Countries in Africa there will be elections scheduled for the Presidency in August of this year. However the State Security Forces have gone out of their way to prevent two parties the Democratic Greens and the FDU-Inkingi have had their meetings and attempts to organinze as viable Political Parties thwarted by State Security Forces.
While this is going on a Series of Grenade attacks have taken place in Kigali. Two Ambassadors have left their posts and are currently in South Africa. These men have been accused of supporting the opposition in their efforts to form their political parties. These two Officers and former allies of General Kagame during the Genocide have been accused of planning the Grenade Attacks. At this time no critical voices have been raised in Washington condemning these acts save for one. Senator Feingold of Wisconsin who was speaking on the Floor of the Senate in his capacity as Chairman of the African Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee he raised several concerns about events that are currently occurring in Africa.
Another area of concern has to be Sudan. In a matter of weeks the much heralded Presidential and Parliamentary Elections will occur. These will be the first Polls conducted for the Parliament in years. In order for the Election to be held the Sudanese Government had to undertake a Census. It is widely held that the Authorities in Khartoum rigged the Election so that they could get the most power in the New Parliament.
In its Capacity as a mediator of the CPA (Comprehensive Peace Accord) the United States will underwrite this election. Is it feasible that the US would willingly take part in what several people consider to be a Sham Election? After being critical of controversial elections that have taken place in Zimbabwe and Kenya this would not be a good way to go.
The Situation in the Congo is supposed to be improving. At least that is what President Kabila wants people to believe. So negotiations have begun for the withdrawal of the largest Peacekeeping Mission ever undertaken by the United Nations. When the UN pulls out the President feels that it will show to the Congolese people that he is a strong leader. But what will the Women of the Eastern DRC think? After all Militias are still effectively in Control of the region.
Last Month the US Military initiated a program to Train a Battalion of the Congolese Armed Forces. This Program has generated much controversy both in Africa and in the United States. There is a train of thought that no US Military Forces should be on African Ground ever. Others think that this is an effort by the Administration to put on the image that they are concerned about events in the Congo.
Officially in some of these cases there have been no voices of concern or criticism coming from the current Administration. This is disturbing due to the fact that this can be seen as not seeing Africa as a major concern which would be an error or flat out not caring. There are other issues that the Administration needs to address will be one response given. In more cases than not there is some dovetailing going on regarding Africa and some of the other issues of the day. In some cases the actors are seen as Proxies of the US as they undertake missions on behalf of the AU and the UN. So as I stated before Silence equals Complicity.
The Author Publishes Confused Eagle and Comments on US Policy towards Africa. Confused Eagle can be found at confusedeagle.livejournal.com