Washington’s Big Week in Africa: Two Crucial Elections
When the First World War Erupted in Europe back in 1914 and started
the tragic events that led to the deaths over 11 Million People it led to several nations having to change their policies. Fast Forward to 2010 and it appears that US Policy in Africa could be approaching such a similar moment.
In the first week of August two key Allies of the United States are having crucial elections in Africa. One country is having a referendum to approve a new Constitution in an attempt to move forward after a violent Presidential Election in 2008. The other election is in a country which had a deadly genocide occur in the 1990s and on the surface some of the same demons appear to be reemerging.
The Referendum in Kenya is an attempt to restore Harmony to a country that almost collapsed into Civil War after a Controversial Election in January 2008. A Power sharing accord resulted in a Coalition Government and a deal to draft a new Constitution for Kenya. After a long tedious period of discussions and hearing a draft document was created and in short notice will be voted upon.
There has been a copious amount of American Money flowing into this debate. The Administration has spent an estimated $23 Million to promote the Proposed Document in an effort to promote Harmony and in the voice of the Vice-President “Encourage Economic Development.” However a US Law prevents any US Foreign Aid from being used anytime Abortion is being debated. One Article will protect the right to reproductive Health Care. Several Evangelical Groups in the US have been supporting the efforts to defeat this document.
In a matter of days we should learn whether or not the document has been approved by the voters of Kenya. Also a certain percentage of the Electorate has to vote to ensure that the results are binding as well. A stable Kenya has to be the centerpiece of a viable East Africa strategy for the United States.
The Other Election is the Presidential Election in Rwanda. Once again President Paul Kagame is running for Reelection. But how the campaign has been run is a matter of concern that has not been addressed by Washington. Several Small parties such as the Democratic Greens have not been authorized to field candidates for the Office. The Vice-Presidential Candidate was recently murdered in Butare and was decapacitated as well. There have also been assassination attempts against dissident members of the Military and the Media as well.
President Kagame has had close ties with the United States since his Rwandan People's Forces won the country by driving out the Interim Government during the Genocide back in 1994. The attacks against the Media and the dissidents in the Military which have not been covered by most of the Media in the US or condemned by the US Congress are indictative that there may either be a power struggle under way amongst senior leaders close to Kagame or they are betting the President Kagame may not serve a complete term. These ideas should be sounding Alarms but no one is paying attention sad to say.
The US wants both the Constitution to Pass in Kenya and to have President Kagame win reelection in Rwanda. So it appears that Status Quo Pro Ante may be the official policy of this Administration in Central and East Africa. This will pose problems especially when any viable opposition arises and can offer a viable voice. They will then perceive that Washington will not take them seriously no matter what the circumstances of the approach are. That will create more problems in the long run in the future for Washington.
But sadly its been that way since the Independence Era for Africa began.
The Author Publishes Confused Eagle on the Internet. Confused Eagle can be found at confusedeagle.livejournal.com