Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hillary Clinton warns shortsighted African leaders

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 | By Dereje Berhanu

ADDISABABA, Ethiopia – United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton criticize African longstanding rulers of lacking vision to their country.

While delivering a speech at the African Union on Monday, Secretary Clinton said many Africans are still living without democracy, despite some progress shown recently.

“Even as we celebrate this progress, we do know that too many people in Africa still live under longstanding rulers,” she said, calling them “men who care too much about the longevity of their reign, and too little about the legacy that should be built for their country’s future.”

“Some even claim to believe in democracy – democracy defined as one election, one time,” she added.

Clinton warned this status quo might not continue for long as a recent history in North African countries depicted clearly. She said their message is “clear to us all”.
“The status quo is broken; the old ways of governing are no longer acceptable,” she said adding now is the time for leaders to lead with accountability, “treat their people with dignity, respect their rights, and deliver economic opportunity. And if they will not, then it is time for them to go.”

According to the Secretary of States, good governance requires free, fair, and transparent elections, a free media, independent judiciaries, and the protection of minorities.

However, she said this democracy must deliver results for people by providing economic opportunity, jobs, and a rising standard of living.

Bright future

United States has commanded four African countries including Zambia, Mali, Ghana, and Rwanda for having “strong successes with their approaches to development.”

“They have diversified their economies and created jobs across many sectors, which has helped to decrease poverty,” Hillary Clinton said.

Currently, six of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies in the last decade are in Sub-Saharan Africa, and that percentage is expected to grow in the next five years.

Despite lack of democracy in the continent, Clinton says the continent will remain to be a destination for investment.

“Africa is attracting attention from all corners,” she said adding US will continue to work with the continent and the institutions that are making Africa a better market destination.

Continued cooperation

“I commend those countries and institutions working to accelerate economic integration, such as the East African Community,” she said.

In 2010, the United States became the first country to nominate an ambassador to the EAC, and the US government is now pursuing a partnership to help build a customs union and a common market.

“We applaud the efforts that began with the meeting in South Africa, last week, to discuss a tripartite free trade agreement that will lower trade barriers across dozens of countries.

Moreover, United States, through its new approach Feed the Future food security initiative, are now investing $3.5 billion in 20 focus countries, including 12 in Africa, to revitalize agricultural sectors so that developing countries can increase food production and availability, raise farmers’ incomes, decrease hunger and under-nutrition.

“Right now, several African countries are making great strides in bringing life-saving health interventions to more of their people,” she added.

The Secretary of State commands Zambia for significantly reduced mother-to-child transmission of HIV, Nigeria, for making “great progress” in fighting polio through renewed vaccination efforts, and Ethiopia, for mobilizing an army of 30,000 health workers to bring a basic package of care to remote regions.

Major threat to peace, security

On peace and Security front, Clinton express admiration Ugandan and Burundian solders for their “heroic efforts” in Somalia through AMISON mission.

She said their effort has helped the Transitional Federal Government to make remarkable security gains in Mogadishu over the past couple of months.

“Al-Shabaab, an affiliate of al-Qaida, is finally on the defensive, and we see that because they are increasingly resorting to suicide bombers and the targeting of civilians, a sign of desperation,” she said.

However, Secretary Clinton underlined the high expectation on Somalia’s Transitional government to create political and economic progress to match AMISOM’s security progress.
“We look to the TFG to resolve their internal divisions and improve the lives of the millions of Somalis who continue to suffer, and we know that the AU will be their partner in doing so,” she added.

Secretary Clinton also expressed her concern over the continued violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, along with the volatile situation in Sudan, as there is only less than one month for South Sudan to become world’s newest state.

Shut Qadhafi’s embassies

Regarding, Colonel Mohamed Qadhafi, the Secretary of State urged African countries to shut down his embassies in their respective countries, even at the expense of his support to the African Union.

“I know it’s true that over many years Mr. Qadhafi played a major role in providing financial support for many African nations and institutions, including the African Union,” she continued. “So I hope and believe that while we may disagree about some of what has brought us to this place, we can reach agreement about what must happen now.”

According to Clinton regional instability will likely to increase, as long as Qadhafi remains in power and warn Libya’s neighbors will bear more and more of the consequences.

“None of this is acceptable, and Qadhafi must leave power,” she said urging to support the ongoing fight between Qadhafi supporters and the Transitional National Council.

“I urge all African states to call for a genuine ceasefire and to call for Qadhafi to step aside. I also urge you to suspend the operations of Qadhafi’s embassies in your countries, to expel pro-Qadhafi diplomats, and to increase contact and support for the Transitional National Council,” she said.