According to the widely spread information across the U.S., their parliament is set to vote on House Resolution 128 today. The resolution which simply implies to signal to the government of Ethiopia that respect for human rights and the opening of its political space is non-negotiable. Although Ethiopia has tried to strong-arm its way out of the resolution by even threatening to withhold counterterrorism cooperation, the U.S. says it will not budge.
Ethiopia is not the only country in Africa whose politics continue to be greatly influenced by the Western power. Although the Cold War, which saw African governments heavily influenced by America and Russian politics ended almost three decades ago, America’s influence on the continent is resounding.
Below are a few recent examples of the U.S.’s heavy hand in African political affairs. For good and bad, America’s influence is still ripe on the continent.
Ethiopia just announced a new Prime Minister but its politics still seems to be dictated from the outside.
U.S. House Resolution 128 which is to be put to vote today calls on the Ethiopian government to, among other things, lift the state of emergency, end the use of excessive force by security forces, and investigate the killings and excessive use of force that took place as a result of protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions. The U.S. says it will do the following: 1) have the Department of State review security assistance and improve oversight of U.S. assistance to Ethiopia; (2) have the U.S. Agency for International Development lead efforts to develop a strategy to support improved democracy and governance in Ethiopia; and (3) have the State Department, in cooperation with the Department of the Treasury, apply appropriate sanctions on foreign persons or entities responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights committed against any nationals in Ethiopia.
Although Ethiopia’s ambassador in Washington said the country will “stop counter-terrorism cooperation with the United States if Congress went ahead with a planned vote on a resolution calling for human rights protections and inclusive governance in the country (H. Res. 128)”, U.S. law makers say they will not be bullied. Last year, Ethiopia received at least $664 million in drought and food aid, as well as development projects.
Decades of civil war leading to South Sudan’s sovereignty and recent violence in the new country has left the state fragile.
The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, remarked last year that she stressed the U.S. administration’s increasingly unsteady support for [President Salva Kiir;s] regime to the government in South Sudan.
“The United States is both generous and patient, but we are not without our limits,” she said. “Entire generations are being lost in South Sudan. Families are being destroyed. We cannot and will not look away.”
Her pressure proved potent. After her conversation with Kiir last week, the president promised “free, unimpeded and unhindered movement” for humanitarian efforts in the country.
Earlier this year, Kenya had two president, an official President Uhuru Kenyatta and a self declared people’s president, Raila Odinga. According to local media, it took the U.S.’s mediation to “Pull Kenya from the Brink”.
Reports suggest that U.S. Ambassador Robert Godec played a leading role in this effort in the March 9 meeting about reconciliation between Kenyatta and Odinga. A visit by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who arrived in Nairobi the same morning as the meeting, also played a role in the political reconciliation.
Which others do you know? Be sure to leave your comments on U.S. involvement in African politics below.