Recently, there have been accusations and counter accusations between imperial powers that are involved in the looting of the Central African Republic (CAR) natural resources. During a heated discussion at the United Nations Security Council last week, the United States, France and the United Kingdom accused Russian military contractors of committing human rights abuses and obstructing UN peacekeeping in the conflict-stricken country.
There have also been accusations against the Russians of having killed civilians and widespread looting of homes in the capital Bangui.
The Russians have however, denied the accusations calling them a lie. This seems to be the trend among the superpowers to commit atrocities and human rights abuses in the so-called third world countries and then have the audacity to categorically deny doing so.
Africa and the Middle East are home to some the most affected countries in this regard. The lives of Africans and Arabs, seems to be the cheapest of lives. This is evident by the way the US Army and NATO have destroyed some countries in the Middle East like Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.
There is no respect given for human rights and life when they conduct war in these parts of the world. Libya was bombed to pulp in 2011 without due regard to internationally agreed laws governing war. When they kill people in these countries, it is just collateral, and it ends there.
Millions of lives, and not thousands as often reported, have been lost in the Middle East and in Africa without any explanation given so far. They have even started to compete of whoever kills the most Africans, wins more trophies translated into more resources to loot.
An incredibly good example of this development is what is going on in the CAR. All the four superpowers are in the CAR competing on who loots more resources. The Russians, British, French and the USA all have their boots on the ground. To outdo one another, they sometimes resort to propaganda campaigns against each other.
At the moment it seems like the Russians are the favourites of the current regime in the CAR and are given more concessions to extract the mineral resources in exchange for the much-needed military hardware to prop up the regime.
The people of the CAR have never enjoyed their mineral wealth. Despite the fact that their country has some of these sought-after minerals, there is nothing life changing trickling to the people. So, to many Africans’ sayings that our country is rich in this or that mineral, does not make sense at all.
The mineral-rich Central African Republic has faced deadly fighting since 2013. A peace deal between the government and 14 rebel groups was signed in February 2019, but large-scale violence has continued.
The country’s Russia-backed president, Faustin-Archange Touadéra, won a second term in December’s election but he has continued to face resistance from rebel forces linked to former President Francois Bozize.
Russia has deployed military advisers in CAR, training its military at the invitation of the government.
The Western powers linked the Russian personnel in CAR to the notorious Wagner Group which is also reported to be on the ground in Cabo Delgado, a private security company allegedly tied to Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman who has been indicted in the US on charges of meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Companies linked to Prigozhin have also reportedly secured lucrative mining contracts in CAR. In 2018, three Russian journalists were killed in CAR while investigating Wagner’s activities there and no suspects have been found.
However, to us in Africa, this development is not new and is a well-known strategy that imperial powers use when they set sight to loot any African or Arab country of their choice. Because of greed they sometimes allow their petty jealousies to take centre stage, but they know too well that they are in it together.
Why can’t the African Union (AU) operationalize the African Union Brigade and mandate it to carry out peacekeeping operations on the continent? Do we really lack thinkers who can do things on the continent?
The answers to the above questions are simply that Africa does not lack thinkers, we have them in abundance, what we are lacking is definitely political leadership and unity at the top. We cannot expect in the 21st century that Africa is still relying on its former colonial masters for everything.
We are failing to even come up with our own Covid-19 vaccine and we have to rely on our former colonizers for that too. Look at Iran and India, they have come up with their own vaccines while we busy debating which vaccine is better than the other, all made out of Africa. It’s a shame on our leadership!
Dr. Mustafa Mheta
Senior researcher/Head of Africa Desk
Media Review Network