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Africa can become a global superpower — if it sides with Russia

By Gugulethu Hughes

Editor’s note: The opinions expressed here are those of the authors. View more opinion on ScoonTV. 

Much has been said about the UN General Assembly vote regarding Russia’s demilitarisation and peacekeeping operation in Ukraine. Russia’s operation has been turned into a global crisis by the USA and other western machinations to present comedian Volodymyr Zelensky and the people of Ukraine as victims of an imagined Russian invasion. 

To understand the history of tensions between the West and Russia, one must know the factors that led to the rise and fall of the USSR, and the formation of NATO, the League of Nations, and the European Union. 

But you can read more about that here. This article will firstly unearth the factors that influenced the attitude of various African countries during the UN General Assembly vote. Secondly, it’ll discuss how Africa must use Russia as a benchmark for mapping a better African continent.  

History of relations between Russia and Africa

In the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Bolsheviks led by Vladimir Lenin took over Russia driven by socialist and communist ideals. They founded the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic which later became the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1922. 

The USSR was essentially an outcome of a Treaty between Russian Federative Socialists, Byelorussians (now known as Belarus), and Transcaucasian Republics which consisted of present-day Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. The other party to the Treaty was the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, a strategic and powerful part of the USSR. 

As a matter of fact, Nikita Khrushchev, Soviet leader during the Cold War, was raised in Eastern Ukraine. He’s also credited with approving the construction of the Berlin Wall to prevent East Germans from crossing over to West-controlled West Germany. 

The Berlin Conference of 1884-85 saw Western Europe countries converge to partition Africa among themselves. They proceeded to colonize Africa accordingly.

From an internationalist perspective, the socialist and communist ideals from the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China served as the fuel for African uprising against Western colonialism. 

Equally, African communities had always pursued principles of socialism and communism. That is why the residues of colonist conquerors like Cecil J Rhodes, King Leopold, and Jan Van Riebeeck patronize us by reminding us of “ubuntu” which literally translates to “I am because you are.” 

It therefore became an organic coincidence that in the war against Western invasion, Africans found a willing ally in the Soviet Union and China. African liberation movements had military wings that received training and arms of war from both nations.

Some of these included Umkhonto we Sizwe (ANC’s military wing in South Africa), ZIPRA – Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army in Zimbabwe, SWAPO in Namibia, People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola, and Frelimo in Mozambique, among others. 

When Zambia’s first President Kenneth Kaunda raised ‘purchase orders’ for high tech military weapons from the USA during the Jimmy Carter era, his requests were turned down. So, he turned to the Soviet Union. Not only did he acquire weapons from them, but Zambia became the host nation for all liberation movements that had received military and intelligence training from the Soviet Union. 

The various African liberation movement leaders with links to the Soviet Union went on to become Presidents of their politically liberated nations. Eventually, they were vilified, like President Zuma, or assassinated, as is the case with Samora Machel of Mozambique. Some of the other vilified ones include Kenneth Kaunda, Sam Nujoma, and Joshua Nkomo etc. – it is important to reiterate that the man from KwaDakwadunuse carries the biggest cross of vilification. 

The Soviet Union did not even get much payment from African countries for military assistance. During the Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi (2019), Vladimir Putin stated that Russia had cancelled over US$20 billion debt accumulated by African countries during the USSR era. 

Beyond military and intelligence training, the Soviet Union also fostered diplomatic, cultural, and trade ties with various African countries. In the 1950s, the USSR signed trade treaties with North African countries. Bilateral relations and ties were fostered with countries like Mali, Guinea, Congo, Ghana, Ethiopia, and Benin.

An insight into historical relations between the Soviet Union and Africa would be incomplete without citations from former USSR leader Nikita Khrushchev at the 869th Plenary Meeting of the 15th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in September of 1960. This is what he had to say: 

On the Congo Republic:  

“…Stormy developments have been taking place on the continent of Africa. The young Republic of the Congo fell a victim to aggression the 3rd day after the proclamation of its independence. Before the eyes of the entire world, the Belgian government tried to deprive the country of its freedom and take away what the people of Congo have been selflessly struggling to obtain for decades… 

How ludicrous and absurd are the arguments with which the aggressors tried to justify their actions. They asserted that there would have been chaos in the Congo if the Belgian troops had not entered the country and that the Congolese people were not yet sufficiently mature for an independent existence. Such assertions could fool no one. The Africans have a proverb which runs: “misleading the people is like trying to wrap up fire with a piece of paper.” 

…It was, of course, not the concern for the lives of Belgian Citizens in the Congo but the much more tangible interests of the powerful monopolies which had established themselves on Congolese soil that impelled the Belgian government to make senseless attempts to bring down the people and this young state to its knees and forcefully detach its richest province, Katanga. Raw materials for nuclear weapons such as uranium, cobalt, and titanium as well as cheap labour – that is what the monopolists fear losing in the Congo. That is the true motive behind the plot against the Congo, the threads of which lead from Brussels to the capitals of other major NATO powers.” 

On Patrice Lumumba:  

“The colonialists and their servile supporters say that Mr. Lumumba is a communist. Mr. Lumumba is, of course, no communist. He is a patriot honestly serving his people in the struggle for freedom from colonial yoke. But by putting out this story that he is a communist, the colonialists are actually helping the colonized peoples to tear off the veil that is being used to obscure their vision. 

Those peoples will soon see that the communist party is the only party which genuinely reflects the will of the peoples struggling for the triumph of justice, the aspirations of all peoples striving for freedom.”  

On freedom:

“We have stood, we stand, and always will stand, for the right of the peoples of Africa, just as those of other continents, to establish whatever regime they please in their countries, on attaining freedom from colonial oppression.”  

On United Nations and foreign policy:

“A new period has begun in the history of mankind, in which the peoples of Asia, Africa, and Latin America have begun to take an active part in determining the destiny of the whole world side by side with the peoples of Europe and North America. 

Unless this unalterable fact is recognised, there can be no realistic foreign policy in harmony with the needs of the times and corresponding to the aspirations of peace-loving peoples. Is the solution of major international issues conceivable today without the participation of the People’s Republic of China? Is it possible to solve these problems without the participation of India, Indonesia, Burma, Ceylon, United Arab Republic, Iraq, Ghana, Guinea and other States? If anyone has this idea, let him try to disregard the opinion and the votes of the representatives of the Asian, African, and Latin American countries here in the United Nations.” 

On Soviet Union position:

“As regards the Soviet Union, I can say frankly that we are glad to see a great number of new States making their appearance in the United Nations. We have always opposed, and we shall continue to oppose, any curtailment of rights of peoples who have won their independence. We share with these states the desire to preserve and strengthen peace, to create on our planet conditions for peaceful co-existence and co-operation of countries regardless of their political and social structure, in accordance with the peaceful principles proclaimed at the Conference of African and Asian States in Bandung. The facts show that the liberation of nations and peoples under colonial domination leads to an improvement in international relations, an increase in international co-operation, and the reinforcement of world peace.”  

On imperialist controlled economies:  

“As a result of colonialist control, the colonial economies have remained extremely backward, and the working people lead a miserable existence. It is precisely in the colonies that you will find the longest working day, together with the lowest national income, the lowest wages, the highest illiteracy, the shortest life expectancy, and the highest mortality rate among the population… 

Although the old order may persist in the colonies, the people are changing. They are growing increasingly conscious of their position and are firmly refusing to bear the colonial yoke. And when the people rise to fight for their freedom, for a better life, then no force in the world can stop this mighty movement. Look at what is happening now in the colonies. Africa is seething and bubbling like a volcano. For some six years now, the Algerian people have been waging a heroic and selfless struggle for their national liberation. The peoples of Kenya, Tanganyika, Uganda, Ruanda-Urundi, Angola, Mozambique, Northern Rhodesia, Sierra Leone, Southwest Africa, and many other colonies are fighting an increasingly stubborn battle for their rights. 

It should be clear to everyone that there is no means and force which can halt this struggle of the peoples for their liberation, for it is a great historic process. Such are the rules of human development, and only adventurers can believe that mountains of corpses and millions of victims will delay the advent of a radiant future. 

Colonialism brings misfortunes not only to the peoples of the enslaved countries but also to those of metropolitan countries. Who can say that the mothers of France, whose children are dying in Algerian fields, are less unfortunate than the Algerian mothers who are burying their sons in their own land…?”

Lessons for Africa 

Nikita Khrushchev’s 1960 speech perfectly characterises imperialist attitudes of colonists towards other independent states that do not fall within the western bloc. Russia posits the stature of a humanitarian focused on the principles of peace, freedom, and equality. 

So, Vladimir Putin is merely executing humanitarian Russian ethos while Zelensky plays the role of a hired missile. It is the godly duty of Russia to intercept it. Russia does not seek to invade Ukraine like the western colonists did to Africa. Rather, it seeks to free Ukraine from the tentacles of western colonialism. 

The West, through its machinations and neo-Nazi surrogates, has been gradually penetrating the orifice of the Ukrainian body politic. Western-controlled propaganda media channels have presented Russia as the aggressor to sway public opinion and extract sympathy for Ukraine. 

The truth is that the peoples of Ukraine and Russia have a bond stronger than the division peddled by the West. So, when the UN Security Council sat to vote on the prevailing conditions in Ukraine – the result was not what the West expected. As expected, and as predicted by Nikita Khrushchev, the West has moved to impose economic sanctions on Russia. Herein lies lessons for Africa.

It’s important to highlight how African countries voted on the United Nations resolution against the Ukraine invasion. 28 African countries voted in favour of the resolution. These countries are native puppets of France, Britain, USA, Belgium, and Germany. 

Some of these countries include Rwanda, led by Paul Kagame. Rwanda has served the West as a corridor for looting resources from the DRC while providing bottomless supply of militias every time the DRC shows signs of stability. 

The DRC itself voted in favour of the resolution, but that’s expected considering the country is led by the current AU Chairperson. His only notable achievement was bringing his late father’s body from Belgium for reburial in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

Malawi and Zambia also voted in favour of the resolution. The former recently hired western war criminal Tony Blair to act as strategic advisor to the Malawi Presidency. The latter is currently flirting with the same war criminal for a similar role.  

Meanwhile, Rwanda is working with French multinational Total Energies to militarily secure and protect the gas rich region of Cabo Delgado. The rest of the countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Lesotho, Liberia, and more are all engaged in a concurrent incestuous intercourse with the West. 

The individual conduct of those countries calls for a separate article from this scribe. It is crucial to reiterate that the representatives of these countries at the United Nations General Assembly were not representing the hopes and aspirations of citizens but rather those of their colonial handlers. 

Algeria, Angola, Burundi, CAR, Congo Brazzaville, Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Senegal, South Africa, South Sudan, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Tanzania all abstained. No votes were recorded for Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Eswatini, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Togo, and Morocco. Eritrea voted against the resolution while Zimbabwe was rewarded with a new wave of sanctions by the USA a day after abstaining. 

The voting patterns of African countries reflect a divided continent, one exhibiting puppetry and loyalty to the West while being blackmailed by the IMF and the World Bank. The other half is alive thanks to the historical and present-day cooperation with Russia. 

The countries that took a neutral stand also realize that Russia and Ukraine are perfectly positioned to chart their future without interference from the West. They’re aware that Russia is on a peacekeeping mission contrary to the lies of an invasion being peddled by western propaganda fistula channels. Some of the countries borrowed the confidence to abstain from their close relationship with China, Russia’s most strategic ally.  

Russia, though partaking in the capitalist economy, has maintained its independence and sovereignty. The country benefits from its resources and runs the supply chains it’s involved in. The bulk of energy used in Europe has Russia written all over it, as are the oil supplies and other raw materials. 

This control over its resources is what gives Russia an important seat in the negotiating table, and this is where Africa is lacking. The West is a barren region that piggybacks on other countries’ resources through uncouth and immoral means. African countries are endowed with resources that run global supply chains and are naturally better positioned to slap the West with economic sanctions.

The Russia vs West impasse, the sanctions on Russia, and Russia’s response ought to get African countries to urgently discuss the future of this continent and begin to dictate terms of cooperation to the West. 

Our marriage with China must also be governed by the same principles of mutual benefit. Bear in mind, together with Cuba and North Korea, the People’s Republic of China contributed immensely to the liberation of Africa through military supplies and training.  

China’s Belt and Road Initiative in Africa, while serving as a welcome collaboration, has however seen China metamorphose into a virus that is keeping the host alive for further ‘breakthrough infection,’ to borrow from Covid-19 language. 

It will of course be unfair to hand down judgement on China without understanding its world dominance, expansion, foreign policy and most importantly how it is positioning itself for the New World Order.

Madagascar accounts for a significant supply of mica, the shiny material used in automotive paints. China is the biggest buyer of mica powder and the biggest global supplier – the pull-out game of automotive companies in Russia must lead to Madagascar putting the mica supply chain to a halt until morale improves. 

The DRC accounts for more that 75% of global cobalt supply and gives the country immense leverage in the electronics, EV, wind turbine, and many other industries. This leverage should be used to halt the supply chain until the West reconsiders its Big Brother complex. 

Nigeria and Angola have huge oil deposits, Mozambique has gas, Zambia has copper, Zimbabwe and South Africa have gold, platinum, citrus, coal, gold, and tobacco. Botswana has the best diamonds while Ghana and Ivory Coast account for more than 50% of global cocoa supply. Mali and Niger have uranium while Ghana also has gold and crude petroleum.  

This list is not exhaustive. If our political leaders pursued the path of self-determination and forged more strategic partnerships with Russia and China, then the continent will be well positioned to occupy an important seat in the New World Order. 

Just like the EU, Africa can use unity of purpose to trump the world.

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Gugulethu Hughes

Contributor

Gugulethu Hughes is the ScoonTV Africa correspondent

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