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Monday, December 2, 2013

Searching for United Kingdoms Foreign Policy in Africa

Megaphone diplomacy does not work, try private talks with China. That seems to be the path that Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron has undertaken. He reaffirmed it in Beijing after touring the Jaguar Landrover plant which announced 100,000 new orders.
Perhaps, its the billions China has, or it is something else.
African Governments have for the past years been warned not to deal with China mainly as everyone grumbled of its human rights record. But today Britain looks set to get billions of dollars investments from the same China.
Africans have been warned of exploitative nature of Sino-Africa relationship, but strange someone is keen to welcome investments in the UKs infrastructure in Nuclear and Rail especially the Hs2.
At a recent Commonwealth meeting,  Canada and India clearly boycotted the meeting in protest against Sri Lanka's human rights record, and Mr. Cameron came out clearly as a champion when he travelled to Tamil areas to see for himself and the Tamils thought they had found a voice when he gave the Sri Lankan Government some months to conduct a credible investigation into alleged massacre or face an International inquiry.
Fast forward to Africa, Zimbabwe and the UK are not on the same page. The United Kingdom and Kenya are throwing salvos at each other and there is uneasy relationship between Zambia and the United Kingdom. Now Malawi seem to have just entered the black list of the United Kingdom after the cashgate scandal.
Department for International Development Country Manager for Malawi is on record to have said 'Malawi had crossed the line.' The question is which line.
The DFID was quick to send forensic audit at the invitation of the same President they claim to have lost trust with her Government. How was the decision made when the audit had not been completed.
A local newspaper in Malawi claim that the UK has interest in a firm dealing with the IFMIS.
The question is where is Britain heading with its foreign policy in Africa, you have a majority of its colonies in Africa like influential Kenya, the now very independent Zimbabwe facing east, mainly due to lack of finding common ground between the United Kingdom and its former African allies.
Take the case of Malawi today, the President has publicly sworn not to defend anybody and true her influential former Attonery General and Minister of Justice is in remand awaiting trial, 68 have been arrested and it looks like there is high probability that much of the properties gained illegally will be recovered.
The Malawi economy relies heavily on two major foreign exchange receipts, donor inflows and tobacco. The tobacco season moved the economy towards recovery, the donors decided to pull the plug to the inflows unceremoniously without any clear offer of path to what might satisfy them.
The International Monteary Fund review team clearly expressed their misgivings in terms of pulling support now when they noted that all reforms agreed had started improving the situation until the cashgate came to the front.
Where were the designers and financiers of the IFIMs when it was being abused. How did the IMF missions and donors in the past fail to detect unusual expenditure patterns on Government.
The simple point is that the United Kingdom leading to freeze aid, adds Malawi to a list of many Africa nations that it will soon find they have outgrown its aid more than it could bargain.
Former South African President Thabo Mbeki revealed how a former British administration had failed to coax him towards regime change in Zimbabwe.
The question is, we all face east especially to China, with or without is human rights record, whether your are Western super power or an African country like Zambia, why should we still try and influence each others local politics.
China has been winning many friends not only due to its soft loans, but basically its insistence to partnership that values each others positions and the United Kingdom seem to be happy to jump on the platform.
But in Africa while China is gaining allies, the United Kingdom seem to have the French as their influence wanes every day and with many strange decisions on behalf of the people in Africa.
Most Leaders view the Uk with suspicion and very soon it seems as Africa celebrates 50 years of independence, the United Kingdom might not be able to send a high powered delegation to Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia and now Malawi due to mainly tenstions created by its strange policy towards Africa.
Of course it is using business investments to find new partners evidenced by recent launch of a five nation partnership programme which only has Ghana as an original Commonwealth country, the rest being Mozambique, Angola, Ivory Coast and Tanzania.
Surely at 50th anniversay of independent Africa, the United Kingdom might have outdone itself its influence in Africa with its policy that looks quite different from the one that gave countries like Malawi hope of better partnership.

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