The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine seems to divide Africa as which party should Africa support and why? Many of the African leaders have decided to remain neutral while few have openly showed their side. Despite countries stances, the African Union (AU) condemned Moscow’s invasion and called for an “immediate ceasefire.” President Macky Sall of Senegal who heads the AU, and AU Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat urged Russia to respect international law and the sovereignty of Ukraine.
If we look at both parts of the conflict i.e. Russia and Ukraine which is backed by European countries and America, obviously none of them is worthy supporting. The real war here is between the Russia on one side and Europe and mostly America on the other side, with Europe and America using Ukraine as their scapegoat.
Therefore if our main discussion will be on the real actors in this war i.e. Russia, Europe and America, the following angles of discussion must be considered, so that we analyze which part of the conflict or which stance should Africa take concerning this ongoing war:
The European countries which are supporters of Ukraine so as to limit Russian influence on it are worthless. They are hypocrites with long history of invasion, brutality and bloodshedding of Africans’ blood.
They caused the massive displacement of 100 million people and death of 12.5 million people in Africa during their pre-colonial slavery. During the centuries of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, an estimated 100 million African people were torn from their homelands. (Dr Sheila S. Walker: Faces and Voices of the African Diaspora, USA, 2008). By the time Africa was estimated to have about 62,207,000 populations in 1500 and in 1900 about 140,755,000.
After slavery, the European countries physically colonized Africa, established forced labor schemes and taxation, enforced restrictive land ownership laws and later massive exploitation of resources which contributed towards Africa’s underdevelopment and took European capitalist development to unprecedented heights.
When flag independence came about, both Europe and America went on struggling for re-division of Africa maintaining their influence in the form of neocolonialism.
Africa has been plagued by many coup d’états and civil wars which are resulted from Europe and America struggle, each with aim of installing their puppets in power.
Through neocolonialism, America and Europe has created the dependency syndrome in Africa through financial institutions like the IMF and World Bank as well as trade imbalance through free market policies. America and Europe are using aid and fake trade deals as ‘sweeteners’ for disadvantageous trade between Africa and them.
Regarding Russia, it is true that it did not take part in direct colonialism of Africa, but during Soviet era it spread and imposed its socialism ideology that caused many havoc and bloodshed in the process.
There were several proxy wars during the Cold War era between the Soviet and US such as the Ogaden War in Somalia (1977-1978) and the Angolan Civil War (1975-2002) with the aim to expand their spheres of influence that victimized Africa by binging violence, killings and massive destabilization.
Currently, Russia rekindled interest in Africa is driven not by spreading ideology after the failure of its socialism ideology against capitalism, now it’s for economic exploitation since it has embraced capitalism as well.
Russia’s armaments deal with African states and trade in military equipment constitutes more than 50 per cent of Russia’s trade with Africa. During the Sochi Summit of 2019, military hardware dominated the exhibitions.
Kremlin linked companies like Gazprom, Alrosa, Rosatom and Rosneft are operating in mining and energy deals in Angola, Algeria, Ghana, DRC, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, etc. The trade between Africa and Russia reached US $17.4 billion in 2017.
Therefore, Ukraine allies: Europe and America in one side and Russia in other, both blocks working with exploitative agenda for Africa.
Western condemnation of Russia invasion in Ukraine is hypocritical and Africa shouldn’t support none.
Other vivid Western hypocrisy is in terms of refugees’ discrimination. Apart from the truth that Russia, Europe and America have created many wars and are enjoying presence of endless wars and conflicts in Africa, they have been brutal discriminating refugees from Africa similar way from the Middle East. It has been reported that during the first quarter of 2021, more than half of those arriving in Italy from Tunisia were mostly citizens from Sub-Saharan African countries and at least 453 migrants have died trying to reach Europe from North Africa, following their denial, harassment and severe hardship they face in entering Europe.
Muslim Ummah in Africa, need to realize that Europe, America, Russia and Ukraine are engaged in bloodshed of our Muslims brothers and sisters in their hands. The most recent war for example, is the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, at which over 1.2 million deaths (1,220,580), which America, Europe and specifically Ukraine participated, more than 5,000 Ukrainian troops have served in Iraq.
They have also invaded Afghanistan in 2001 killing more than half a million people, Ukraine allowed use of its airspace and airbases to the US and its allies, and has deployed troops as well. Also, Russia is no better in this too, killed millions of Muslims during the failed socialism era. All Muslim countries of the former USSR experienced massive killings, torture, closures of mosques, etc. Russia killed many in Afghanistan and still engaging in massacre in Syria, Libya etc., not to mention imprisoning of Muslims for calling on Islam.
Therefore, for Muslims wherever they are, by supporting Russia is like supporting Ukraine, Europe and America. Since both parts are killers of our brothers and sisters.
The current international competition between capitalists like America, Europe, Russia and China on Africa’s immense oil and mineral resources highlights in desperately need for the return of the rightly guided Khilafah (Caliphate) to save the continent and raise it to have an independence voice and decision in international issues.
Member of the Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir in Tanzania