Africom: The Remilitarisation of Africa


Obi Egbuna Jnr Simunye
FOR Africans at home and abroad that deal we too often have allowed the rigorous demands of capitalist and imperialist exploitation on a daily basis, to prevent us from collectively dedicating the time necessary to fundamentally change our political situation moving into the future.

When asked why only 300 slaves escaped to freedom on the Underground Railroad, that great daughter of Africa, Araminta (Harriet Tubman), replied she would have freed even more if they realised they were slaves in the first place.

It is hard to believe that 25 years have come and gone since so-called African Americans took to the streets all over the US to demonstrate their outrage concerning the acquittal of four police officers who savagely beat a taxi driver by the name of Rodney King.

Unfortunately, Africans everywhere have been conditioned to view developments in Mother Africa and the Diaspora separately. Therefore, the majority of our people to this day do not realise that the struggle against police terrorism inside US borders and our efforts to end US-EU military repression and violence globally have always been one and the same.

Let us remember Dr King felt intellectually compelled in his letter from the Birmingham Jail to remind us that the anti-colonial movement in Mother Africa moved at the pace of a jet, while our efforts to end modern-day segregation was moving at the pace of a horse attached to a buggy.

Because of the physical, cultural and historical disconnect so-called African Americans do not appreciate how the Rodney King rebellions inside US borders went together with the courageous efforts on our mother continent to overthrow neo-colonialist military dictatorships from Mobutu Sese Seko in the Congo, Moussa Traore in Mali, Samuel Doe in Liberia, Ibrahim Babangida and Sani Abacha in Nigeria, to name but a few. This includes the defeat and neutralisation of Unita in Angola and Renamo in Mozambique.

When the Bush administration was making its exit from the White House a special meeting was called with the Africa Ambassadors Group (AAG) by the former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Ms Jendayi Frazer. The meeting was to discuss how the transitional process and the incoming Obama administration would impact US-Africa policy.

Ms Frazer took pride in informing the AAG that it would be idealistic to expect any significant changes, which to cut a long story short meant that incoming president Barack Obama would take the baton from president Bush and carry out business as usual.

After Ms Frazer, who is best remembered in African diplomatic circles for both her rudeness and flare for the dramatics, was gloating once she broke the news to AAG that obviously was aimed at crushing their spirits, she received a question that appeared to take her by surprise from the former Zimbabwe Ambassador to the US, Dr Machivenyika Mapuranga.

Dr Mapuranga posed the question concerning how the incoming Obama administration would handle Africom (the US-Africa Military Command) that was established on October 1, 2007.

This was only fitting that a diplomatic representative of an African nation that only eight years before along with the Angolan and Namibian military prevented a US-EU reinvasion of the Congo, would pose such a thought-provoking question behind enemy lines.

When it comes to the question of militarisation Africa’s most brilliant minds always taught the masses of our people, that our security was inextricably linked to our efforts for continental unity and devout patriotism.

We remember Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah in the “Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare” stating: “As the people’s revolutionary struggle advances, professional armies as such will gradually disappear, until with the achievement of total African liberation and unity, and the establishment of an All African Union Government they will vanish completely. The defence of Africa will then rest entirely on the continently people’s militia.”

The Osagyefo based this ideological calculation on what he saw how the pan-African revolutionary giant Ahmed Seku Ture and the Democratic Party of Guinea became the first African nation to execute the People’s Militia, which explains why Ahmed Seku Ture remained in power from 1958 to 1984.

The decision by the Bush administration to create Africom stemmed from high-level discussions in the Pentagon expressing a concern that their military agenda in Africa was too far spread out.

Prior to the creation of Africom there were three entities that were US-EU imperialism’s eyes and ears in mother Africa, the US European Command for West Africa, the US Central Command for East Africa and the US Pacific Command for Indian Ocean Waters and Islands off the East Coast of Africa.

This cannot be viewed in isolation from the $500 million that the US Congress approved for the Trans Africa Counter-Terrorism Initiative to support African countries threatened by Al-Qaeda operatives. The African nations listed are as follows: Algeria, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Nigeria and Morocco.

We are sure that our Nigerian sisters and brothers who screamed for US-EU imperialism to come to the rescue and help get rid of Boko Haram could not have been aware of these resources that on paper were allocated to keep them safe and sound.

Africans at home and abroad are always baffled by the manipulative rhetoric of US-EU imperialist mouthpieces, which in the final analysis leaves us flabbergasted, because of how they continue to insult our intelligence.

The former US Ambassador to the UN and Presidential Advisor of National Security Affairs Susan Rice stated: ‘‘Africa has been divided up and been the poor stepchild in each of these three different commands and not gotten the full attention it deserves.”

First and foremost, Africa had multiple descriptions in the annals of history, anthropology, epistemology sociology, geography, art and musicology, to name but a few disciplines, however, being described as the stepchild of our former colonisers and enslaves will never be digestible in any level of meaningful discourse.

Africom also covers Cape Verde, Sao Tome and Principe, Comoros Islands, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles.

Africom’s first mission was called Operation Odyssey Dawn which they based on their interests and perspective consider preventing governmental forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi from carrying out air attacks on anti-Gaddafi forces.

This means in translation bringing about a regime change in Libya, no wonder President Mugabe calling President Obama into question for attempting to equate the loss of the former US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, to the thousands of children women and men in Libya was met with such thunderous applause.

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The irony of having Africom’s headquarters in the place where Adolf Hitler reigned supreme speaks volumes about the militaristic and white supremacist culture US-EU imperialism proudly represents and glorifies. Our Namibian sisters and brothers who are only 27 years removed from German colonialism and imperialism hardly find this amusing.

According to its architects, Africom’s mission is “Strengthening our security co-operation with Africa and creating new opportunities to bolster the capabilities of our partners in Africa, Africa command will enhance our efforts to bring peace and security to the people of Africa and promote our common goals of development, health, education, democracy and economic growth in Africa.”

Are we to believe that the nation whose militaristic trademark is to send Africa’s bravest fighters to an early grave for protecting our human and material resources, have gone through a pioneering metamorphosis and are prepared to be our comrades-in-arms.

Those Africans who believe that the most sadistic military minds US-EU imperialism has produced are on the verge of committing all out mutiny, and are ready to join an all-out call for the dismantling of Africom, we urge them not only to stop daydreaming but succumbing to rhetoric aimed at misleading our people about the enemies interests and motivation.


Obi Egbuna Jnr is the US correspondent to The Herald and External Relations Officer of the Zimbabwe Cuba Friendship Association (Zicufa). His email is [email protected]

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