Wheat for Africans over Ukraine’s dead bodies

What you need to know:

  • Macky Sall, come back south. Turn to your continent and read to its despots the riot act.     

Sitting in warm conversation with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Senegal’s president and current African Union chairperson, Macky Sall, must be a brave man. (See Sunday Monitor; June 5.) What did Macky Sall want from Putin?

Briefly, Sall was appealing to Putin to create conditions enabling poor African countries to import wheat and other commodities from Russia and Ukraine more easily. Shame!

When Putin, defying all reason, turned his delusions of imperial greatness into naked aggression and invaded Ukraine in February, civilised people everywhere were shocked by his madness and horrified by the senseless slaughter of the Ukrainian people and the devastation of their cities.

However, many African governments remained indifferent. Votes at the UN showed them avoiding to condemn Russia by abstaining, or even voting against condemnation.

So, as habitual wife beaters enjoy their impunity when their neighbours remain ‘neutral’; and Africa’s despots freely torture, imprison and kill their opponents because other African countries do not ‘interfere’ in their internal affairs; this is how Russia was encouraged by her African friends.

If, as many argued, Russia’s economic and military ties with Africa were reasons for Africa’s generalised ‘neutrality’, I believe their mutual engagement in a kind of post-Cold War fascism was an even stronger incentive. Like with China and North Korea, they inspire each other in their perception and use of power.

At the time of the invasion, Putin’s determination and arrogance, and assumptions about Russia’s military prowess, assured this fraternity that their ally in Moscow would crush Ukraine and dictate her political direction after a few days of war. 

Adding to the aforementioned considerations, it looked smart to side with an assured victor.
After so wretchedly misruling their nations that they now sometimes spend millions of dollars in the ridiculous enterprise of teaching patriotism, many of Africa’s big men did not imagine that there were people out there who loved and would fight for their countries without being bribed. Ukraine happened to have them. 

In contrast, many Africans secretly wish that the consequences of Putin’s aggression weaken and bring down their own governments!

Macky Sall, why were you sitting with the Russian monster and crowing about food from European fields for your fellow Africans when you did not loudly protest the death and anguish of the Ukrainian people?

You have only 12 months as AU chair, and you have wasted four. You are like a nomad roaming in the wrong cities.

Come back south. Turn to your continent and read to its despots the riot act.
I wrote in March that the West may not rest until Russia is literally poor. And I can confidently write that the next 30 years will be very hard for Africa’s banana republics on a planet where powerful nations are regrouping, realigning and rearming to secure their existence into the middle of this century and beyond.

Macky sall, your banana republics are doomed, unless they shape up.
A weakened Russia will be less able to help, and has more reason to exploit, an Africa whose rulers are bent on getting or retaining power through manipulation and brutality rather than excellence in governance. 
It will be easier for China to take control of African countries that are sleeping under the rule of thieves than for China to overrun a prosperous democratic Taiwan.

The West will not take responsibility for the hunger in African states that squander, plunder and oppress instead of defining and instituting public moralities and viable development models beyond and above corrupt political loyalism and protracted empty promises.

Mr Tacca is a novelist, socio-political commentator.
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