By Dr Mustafa Mheta
The current US president has grown so arrogant to the point of dictating to other leaders who they should befriend, especially Arab and African leaders. Riding on his recent successes in the Gulf, Donald Trump has reached a point of using blackmail to coerce world leaders as if they were his wives.
In an effort to boost his chances of winning a second term in the coming elections, Trump has resorted to bullying other leaders as if they were small children. For the leader of the number 1 nation to lecture a sovereign nation to exempt taxing his country on things like e-books and music really boggles the mind.
The guy has gone as far as categorically telling the Kenyan president to exempt firms from the US operating in Kenya from storing data in the country, which is disgusting to say the least.
Trump should know that Kenya is an independent and sovereign state that will make its own laws and has the choice of choosing its own friends as it deems fit. No one should dictate to it, no matter how powerful they can be.
Relenting to this kind of bullying is tantamount to surrendering a country’s sovereignty to a foreign power. The people of Kenya should dismiss this kind of bullying with the contempt it deserves.
The leaders of a sovereign Kenya should not fall for this scheme being perpetrated by Trump as it is demeaning to their pride as leaders and as a nation. Trump should be told in no uncertain terms will Kenya be dictated to by anyone on who to befriend or not.
The people of Kenya will choose who their friends shall be.
The leadership of Kenya should certainly be wary of this kind of move by the US president. It could be designed in such a way as exposing them to appear to their people as mice and not leaders worth their salt.
In our African culture, it is a taboo for a man of the house to allow another man to come into his house and tell him how to run his affairs. By prescribing to President Uhuru Kenyatta, Trump is demeaning him indirectly, which is unacceptable.
Kenyatta should not fall for this nonsense and threatening approach. He should instead, refuse to negotiate the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) on these terms. Business is business. It should not have any strings attached to it.
Besides, the US will not sign any agreement with anyone unless it favours them. That is the bottom line. Let it be that, if the people of Kenya choose to restore diplomatic or business relations with Israel, let them choose the terms and conditions when doing so.
According to the article, the US goes on to prescribe to Kenya what it should do like the “elimination of politically motivated, non tariff barriers on Israeli goods, services or other commerce” imposed on Israel.
It goes on to lecture Kenya that it “should eliminate” what it calls “state-sponsored, unsanctioned foreign boycotts” of Israel, or compliance with the Arab League boycott of Israel. Why include a third party in bilateral negotiations between two sovereign states?
Does Trump consider the independence and sovereignty of African countries as being of lesser stature than that of Western European countries?
His arrogant approach certainly suggests that that is the case.
We call upon the AU to stand with Kenya and stop such kind of deals happening to any of its members.
This could be far from reality, given the kind of leadership currently at the helm of the AU.
Unfortunately, it will be very difficult to find an African leader who is willing to speak truth to power.
I wonder how such people find themselves in such high positions at the continental body. To say the least, I have never been impressed by the kind of leaders who came from Francophone countries. They seem to be willing tools of imperialism and neocolonialism.
A good example is, immediately after they took over the leadership of the AU, France forced them to lift Morocco’s suspension from the mother body before it had even complied with withdrawing from Western Sahara. Today Morocco with money given to it by the imperial West is busy playing the benefactor of black African countries without any shame.
My advice to other African countries is that they should be wary of such kind of machinations by the imperial West.
They will never treat us as equals no matter what until we find a formula that cleans us of our dark skins and replace it with the white one.
To our leadership on the continent, refrain from being used to run errands for the slave masters by rounding up your own just to be given sugar and a mirror as happened in the past. Consult your people before signing deals and do not impose on them bad deals.
Remember, the imperialist will use the same system that they have been using time and again. Today it’s Kenya, tomorrow it’s another country.
* Mheta is the head of Africa Desk at Media Review Network
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL.