The African-Union Heads of State meeting, the 13th Ordinary session, takes place this month-end completely under the shadow of unprecedented belittling by US president Donald Trump.
Never in the history of diplomacy has a sitting US president pooh-poohed a continent of wonderful people the way president Trump recently did. In a meeting in the White House, abominable details of which were leaked by opposition democratic senators who sat in the same meeting, president Trump called some of our countries “shitholes”.
Yet the bulk of Africa’s poverty is the consequence of the historical colonialism of the west who, at one time fell over each other in their scramble for Africa’s naturals.
The collective leadership of the continent now gathering in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa for their regular session are understandably up in arms over derogatory remarks by the world’s most powerful leader whose reputation, barely a year in office, now precedes him.
Moussa Faki Mahamat, the AU Chair, summed it well when he remarked: “Africa is unhappy with Donald Trump his message of contempt, hate and desire to marginalize and exclude Africans.”
This is a dangerous agenda of inward looking by the US at a time when the world is more and more under the grip of globalization. And, as the world rapidly become one global village, ample evidence points to a need where no one country can become an island.
The attitude of Washington is more worrisome as it threatens the 21st century thriving multilateralism.
The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, is scheduled to attend the AU Summit. Forever supportive of the development agenda from developing democracies, Guterres has been loud in his condemnation of the Trump administration albeit in quite measured mannerism.
Once of the greatest threats to world order in the era of President Trump is that America’s foreign policy of going-it-alone, or America First, give credence to the belief and fear that the US is more likely to resolve global conflict through the barrel of a gun instead of diplomacy.
The unintended consequence of such foreign policy stance is that sooner or later Washington will find herself all alone on issues of international importance. Surely this cannot be good for the US and its citizens. The reconfiguration of the world order is such that all continents and all countries need one another for the sake of global human prosperity, peace and good health.
Under the circumstances, the AU should be weary of forming partnerships, particularly military cooperation, with Washington as long as there exist no mutual regard for each other.
Besides, AFRICOM has its fundamental objective the safe-guarding of the continent and its minerals, and above all, its sovereignty.
The AU Summit, held under the theme: “Winning the fight against corruption: A sustainable path to Africa’s transformation,” is a great opportunity for the continent’s leadership in its collective wisdom to conduct a proper introspection. This means also taking bold decisions to form strong bonds with alleys who will respect our beloved continent in the same way Africa respect the world.