US Military Bases Unacceptable in Africa
Published on 9th June 2009
A week or so ago, a front-page article in Botswana's The Guardian newspaper reported that former President Festos Mogae intimated that the US can establish a military base in Botswana. He said the US was welcome to establish that military base. Botswana's Vice President General Mompati Merafhe was quoted as having said that Botswana was not approached or informed.
Unfortunately, it is not a question of being approached or informed. It goes to the heart of sanctity of the inviolable sovereignty of the African continent. The US cannot be allowed to establish a military base anywhere on the African continent let alone in Southern Africa thereby undermining the sovereignty of the African continent.
There are those who would say that Botswana is a sovereign country and so it can do as it pleases within its territory. I like reverting to Setswana adages to buttress my points. There is a Setswana saying which goes like this: 'matlo go sha mabapi' which when loosely translated means: when a neighbour's house catches fire, houses that are next to it are also likely to catch fire. It is a truism that when a neighbour's house catches fire, people living around the house on fire will go and help put out the fire, not the way musician Clarence Carter does it, so that their houses don't catch the fire.
Botswana authorities may not be aware that the West wants to recolonise Africa because of its resources and uses sophisticated ways like establishing military bases and World Trade Organisation driven globalisation.
If Botswana authorities become obdurate and go ahead and allow the US to build a military base then Angola, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia should blockade Botswana and see which country's air space it will use to overfly goods to that country. This is not a laughing matter.
As the great academic and Pan Africanist Dr Cheikh Anta Diop once said, Africa must be an end in itself. It must not be towed like a vessel by any power or bloc. It must enjoy relations with all the other states on an equal footing.
Now if the US establishes its bases on the African continent under whatever pretext, Africa won't enjoy equal relations with the US, it is going to be a perpetual underdog. And when the US establishes bases on the African continent, when are they going to remove them? Does Mogae know? The US has its hands full in Iraq and Afghanistan and now it wants to use Africa for cooling off.
We want to permanently ban war on earth yet Mogae wants to render Africa a playground for the US's wares of war.
Sam Ditshego, Kagiso, South Africa.