Politics — 29 January 2013
Where Are African Solutions for African Problems? The Case of Mali

Special to the NNPA from the New York Amsterdam News

Jan. 22 (GIN) – The crisis in Mali has Kenyan political scientist Muthoni Wanyeki wondering. Almost a year after the coup that led to Islamist groups gaining control of half of the country, “where were the African solutions for African problems?”

After months discussing a political settlement and then a military option, it was the French — and not the community of West African states (Ecowas) — who first jumped into the fray.

But the intervention of France has been extremely troubling to noted Africa specialist Horace Campbell. In an interview with Sahara TV, he explained: “(France has) been linked to dictatorships across Africa for the past 180 years, from their invasion of Algeria in 1830 and against the Algerians in the independence war…  to their destabilization of Africa with the Congo.

“How could France (now) suggest to people that they are in Africa to help Africa? That is something that Africans will never accept.”

Neither is military aid from the U.S. an option, Campbell maintained, noting that the jihadis “who destroyed one of the most important cultural centers of Africa – Timbuktu” received U.S. financing for the past 10 years under the so-called counter-terrorist Pan Sahel Initiative, and received training from the U.S. African Command to overthrow Gaddafi.

“So Africans are caught in a trap,” he said. “What do you do against these jihadis? Can Ecowas send troops to fight beside France which is a bigger enemy than the jihadis? These are real problems and the solutions cannot be short-term, driven by western propaganda.”

Summarizing his answer, he said: “This is a problem that cannot be solved militarily, it has to be solved politically by the people of Mali to isolate these (jihadis) and Ecowas must come in to support the people of Mali. And we must call for the withdrawal of French troops. That is the bottom line.”

A video of the complete interview may be seen at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bV8qsCLmsd0

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