America’s idiots and prostitutes
After Zimbabwe’s 2008 general election, President Robert Mugabe had some rather harsh words for a lady called Dr Jendayi Frazer.
Frazer had risen through the ranks of the US political establishment to become Ambassador to South Africa and eventually Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. This was in the George W Bush regime.
Having worked for two years at the University of Nairobi, and having done her doctoral research on Kenya’s civil-military relations, she was trumpeted as an ideal Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.
It’s a very powerful post, something akin to being America’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in charge of Africa.
President Mugabe was not taken in by any of this, moreso, considering that – along with Rice, Wolfowitz, Cheney, Bolton and Rumsfeld – she was part of Bush’s atavistic foreign policy monstrosity.
Frazer announced her own results for Zimbabwe’s 2008 election, declaring Morgan Tsvangirai the winner and saying President Mugabe must vacate office.
President Mugabe responded to her actions as “that little girl trotting around the globe like a prostitute”.
Needless to say, the US State Department was not amused, but this is Zimbabwe and this is President Mugabe – what can you do?
And it was quite rich of Frazer to talk about Zimbabwe’s elections when her own boss, Bush, had twice resorted to shameless gerrymandering to get into the White House.
Fast forward to 2013.
Johnnie Carson, who holds the State Department job Frazer once held, declares weeks before the Kenyan election that the US will in essence not accept an Uhuru Kenyatta victory.
This is because Kenyatta is facing charges at the ICC related to the Kenyan election violence of five years ago.
Frazer lashed out at Carson, saying he should not meddle in Kenya’s internal affairs and let people vote for who they want.
There are two things here.
Firstly, Frazer does not see the absurdity of her position on Carson considering her own antics when she was Assistant Secretary of State.
Secondly, Carson has the nerve to talk about the ICC and yet the US is not a signatory to the Rome Statute and even has a law in place (the American Servicemembers Act) which empowers Washington to declare war on The Hague if a single American is taken by the ICC!
Why should Carson grant the ICC a legitimacy in Africa that the US itself does not recognise back home, a legitimacy Washington disregards to the point of wanting to bomb The Hague if an American citizen is so much as taken to there?
Is it any wonder then that in 2009 President Mugabe called Carson “an idiot” after he tried to lecture Zimbabwe on how it should direct its politics?
But that is not all. The best bit is yet to come.
After tearing into Carson, Frazer goes on to question the ICC’s legitimacy, saying that court is “a very manipulated institution, particularly by the West”.
This is something that many Africans and other progressive people have been saying for years, but has America ever listened?
When Frazer was America’s top diplomat to the continent, we always read reports of how she prodded the ICC to indict Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir. She has written an article intimating her support for Laurent Gbagbo’s prosecution by the ICC.
And then today she turns around and attacks the ICC for impartiality!
Or maybe she is speaking from a position of knowledge: she was in the US State Department and she knows how the US manipulates the ICC – which it will bomb if it wants – to achieve its own ends.
Or maybe Frazer is speaking like this now because of a little something called the East Africa Exchange.
There were a few reports in the international media after the last World Economic Forum shindig in Davos about a new bourse for East Africa.
The East Africa Exchange has been steered through by multi-billionaire Nicolas Berggruen and Jendayi Frazer. For these two, the bourse is the platform for creating a continent-wide stock exchange.
So perhaps Frazer is saying what she is saying so that she advances an extremely lucrative business idea (her company, 50 Ventures, is one of the project financiers, and they are targeting entry into Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Burundi this year).
Whatever it is, what we see in American attitudes towards Africa are rank hypocrisy, towering self-interest, and crude opportunism.
President Mugabe calls such people idiots and prostitutes.
Why we tolerate them I don’t know.
But perhaps it’s because so many people in leadership positions in Africa – be it political, business or cultural leadership – are prepared to be idiots and prostitutes to please America.