Lots of stories coming out in the last few days about how AFRICOM headquarters will stay in Germany. In many ways this is a huge win for Africa. In other ways this is just point one for Africa in a preliminary skirmish. I think the Bush people have been watching too much western media coverage of Africa and did not realize how canny and tough their target is. And they certainly did not confer with anyone in Africa before creating AFRICOM.
The US press was all about how much Africans love Bush. The African press has not been quite so flattering. And I’m not hearing it from anyone I talk to in Ghana. A lot of Africa has been pro American in the past. Bush and his policies have really turned that around. There is good writeup A Critique of Bush’s Africa Agenda over at the African Loft.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa writes:
It is Bush who desperately needs us:
Contrary to the propaganda from the Whitehouse, their embassy in Accra and their surrogates in the Osu Castle that President Bush is here as the benevolent father who cares about us and is here to show concern about malaria, HIV/Aids and his Millennium Challenge Account – all these are but a smoke screen.
. . .
As Bush comes for our oil, he has the added PR advantage with the huge CNN and Fox networks behind him of being portrayed as the Bush who has a human side and cares about victims of malaria and HIV/Aids as he attempts a last minute face saving. The gullible ones may believe this PR stunt but not the majority of people around the world who have now read through the lines of America’s selfish foreign policy and will take to the streets in wild jubilation the day President Bush hands over not only as president of America but also as the tormentor-in-chief of our world.
. . .
Under the circumstance, it is he who needs us badly. Help will only come from within when we take the right decisions, break off from our present neo-colonial mentality and demand of our leaders not to sell us to the highest bidder.
In Ghana Bush arrived about 7pm Tuesday. Heads of state are generally greeted in Ghana by playing the guest national anthem and the Ghana national anthem. There was a band, an honor guard, a 21 gun salute planned, and the drama troupe and a dance troupe to greet him. Bush skipped them all and rushed off to where he was staying, and mostly kept away from people throughout his visit. One person remarked that an executioner is always afraid to sleep with his head up. In comparison, as everyone said, when Clinton visited, everyone could greet and touch him.