Further, the Act gives the US government power “to hold accountable the Russian Federation and African governments and their officials who are complicit in aiding what, in the view of the United States government, passes for “malign influence and activities” of Russia in Africa.
Such “malign activities” include anything that the US government interprets as attempts to:
(i) “manipulate African governments and their policies, as well as the public opinions and voting preferences of African populations and diaspora groups, including those in the US; and
(ii) invest in, engage, or otherwise control strategic sectors in Africa, such as mining and other forms of natural resource extraction and exploitation, military basing and other security cooperation agreements, and information and communications technology. Both provisions are exceedingly patronising and vitiate against the notion of equality of sovereign nations, regardless of size or hemispheric placement.
Zimbabwe is already a victim of such illegal, extra-territorial legislation in the form of ZDERA which, with hindsight, is now turning out to be a foretaste for the whole African continent. US containment policy in our country seems to go beyond ourselves and the Russian Federation only; it extends to People’s Republic of China as well. Recently, we saw American senators quizzing their incoming ambassador to Zimbabwe, Ms Pamela Tremont, on how she hopes to challenge Chinese activities in Zimbabwe! We do not think this is a prudent way to handle our bilateral relations.
Against such threats, it is vitally important that Zimbabwe evolves quickly by securing herself and her interests in this fast-changing, often hostile, global order. New alliances are forming; old rules are being re-written or being replaced entirely by new ones, which are not always just and fair, especially to small, vulnerable states endowed with rich resources.
We have to be prepared, lest we are left behind, or simply get overrun in the emerging struggles and often hostile alliances.
To secure our interests, we must deepen and broaden our global diplomatic footprint, starting here on our African continent. We should never forget that throughout our struggles as a people, both before and after our independence, Africa has always been our strongest defence, and remains our home.
I am happy that the sister Federal Republic of Ethiopia is preparing to reopen her Chancery in our country, after closing it a few years back when that sister country was going through challenges. Ethiopia is important to Zimbabwe and to Africa as a whole; we celebrate the return of peace in that key African country, which historically symbolises Africa’s independence and our continental unity. The Organisation of African Unity, OAU, now African Union, AU, was launched in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, back in 1963. Since then, it has remained the seat of our continental body, the AU. For Zimbabwe, Ethiopia was a staunch ally that supported our Liberation Struggle. After independence, Ethiopia helped us rebuild and Africanise our aviation sector, including the training of our Air Zimbabwe pilots.
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