In what could pan out to be a reincarnation of the diabolical Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (Zidera), the US is mulling enacting legislation that will impose stiff penalties on African countries that will be deemed diplomatically sympathetic to the Russian Federation.
The latest piece of legislation by the US, known as the “Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act”, gives Congress power to probe African countries that are deemed to be leaning towards Russia and proposes to punish sovereign African states for associating with Moscow.
Ironically, there are no such limitations on the US on the African continent where it brazenly interferes in African countries’ domestic affairs through the unilateral imposition of sanctions that have been strangling nations like Zimbabwe for over two decades now, retarding economic growth and general development.
According to the draft Bill, the US Congress will have a carte blanche to “regularly assess the scale and scope of the Russian Federation’s influence and activities in Africa that undermine US objectives and interests, and determine how to address and counter such influence and activities effectively, including through appropriate United States foreign assistance programmes; and to hold accountable the Russian Federation and African governments and their officials who are complicit in aiding such malign influence and activities”.
Furthermore, the Bill, which analysts have described as “condescending”, also seeks to monitor deals between African countries and Russian companies in the exploitation of natural resources and extractive industries, and also Russia’s military activities on the continent.
The Bill that comes in the wake of the six-week Russian/Ukraine conflict where African countries have steadfastly refused to take sides and condemn Russia, is regarded by political observers as a carrot and stick approach to enslave African countries by the US when it comes to voting on the United Nations.
It was sponsored by Republican Gregory Weldon Meeks who chairs the House Committee on Foreign Relations and was first put to a vote in the US Senate on April 27 where 415 senators voted in favour and nine against.
The Bill is yet to be signed into law.
Zanu PF director of information and publicity Cde Tafadzwa Mugwadi said Zanu PF will never pander to the dictates of a foreign country, especially imperialistic laws from America.
“Zimbabwe under Zanu PF is sure never to toe that line. African states must stand together and be counted against those seeking to define African foreign relations according to US imperialist motives. Existentially and foundationally, Zanu PF’s ideological orientation and President ED Mnangagwa’s uncompromising revolutionary standpoint are anti-foreign interference.
“We do not have a puppet government in Zimbabwe. We are not beholden to, nor do we define our foreign policy using a US template. Be reminded further that Zimbabwe is under debilitating illegal sanctions from the US, so besides that, we will reject and refuse to toe the US line, this is not breaking news in Zimbabwe.
“Predictably, there will be gnashing of teeth in those countries which are beholden to the United States through US-Africom. It will be, however, a sad day in history if any single African country was going to bow down before this US proposal.
“Great African statesmen and the continent’s founding fathers will be turning in their graves if that were to happen. Imagine all our 52 nations being bound by a US law and its legal system. We shall see real and genuine African leaders and African states while puppets will be exposed,” said Cde Mugwadi.
The US law is being mooted ahead of the October Russia-Africa Summit that is scheduled to take place in St Petersburg under the theme, “For peace, security and development” and is viewed by analysts as a deterrent measure by the US to stop African countries from defining their destiny unencumbered by threats of sanctions.
Academic and researcher Mr Alex Munyonga said the “Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act is nothing but a presentation of Africa as America’s toy and inferior other” in the geopolitics.
“The drive is to sanction any African country that does business with Russia. A telescopic look into such an endeavour unravels the reincarnation of Zidera but this time not targeted at Zimbabwe alone but Africa as a whole. Africa is being reduced to a fighting battlefield for Euro-American conflicts, a second-class continent. This is a fresh and camouflaged scramble for Africa, post-colonial colonisation of Africa.
“For the past two decades, Zimbabwe has been a victim of unjustified bullying from the US and her allies, with Zidera having been passed to punish the country after it had empowered its citizens through land redistribution.
“The success of the Zimbabwean Fast Track Land Reform programme could have catalysed African zeal to possess and own their own resources. Zidera was a hidden and hostile protectionist design meant to discourage any other African country from repossessing and owning their resources.
“The same shenanigans are being displayed in the wake of the renewed, ‘Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act’. America is aware that Russia can evade American sanctions by trading with African countries. America is aware that vibrant trade between Africa and Russia has the potential of destabilising Euro-American economies,” said Mr Munyonga.
Making their intentions bare, US congressman Michael McCaul, who co-sponsored the Bill, said: “We must make every state choose between doing business with the free world or with the war criminal”, making an American standpoint the world’s view.
However, political analyst Mr Collin Mharadzano said such machinations by the US will not find resonance in a liberated world such as Zimbabwe.
“The United States’ predatory behaviour as evidenced by its intentions to enact the Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act is ample testimony of its superior complex mentality where it perceives itself as the only real deal in world affairs. It is indeed contemptuous of other human species. It perceives itself as the Alpha and Omega of all activities political in the world.
“These are clear sanctions akin to Zidera which it unlawfully enacted to destabilise the political and economic affairs of a sovereign country. Russia is now its target hence the need for all nations to resist such an evil act which will hurt the ordinary people,” said Mr Mharadzano.
Unlike some countries which believe in unilateralism, Zimbabwe’s foreign policy is couched in engagement with all nations and the promotion of dialogue in resolving conflicts. -Herald