US redoubles Africa military charm offensive

Closer ties: The US recently donated a C130H Hercules cargo aircraft worth more than $30 million to Botswana for local and regional use PIC: US AFRICA COMMAND PUBLIC AFFAIRS
Closer ties: The US recently donated a C130H Hercules cargo aircraft worth more than $30 million to Botswana for local and regional use PIC: US AFRICA COMMAND PUBLIC AFFAIRS

The United States tested its military and geopolitical appeal to African states this week, gathering 30 countries in Gaborone for a security summit, the first ever such event held on the continent.

The US is battling to recover lost influence in parts of Africa, as Russia – in particular amongst the rival superpowers – makes inroads in terms of strategic alliances on the continent. The US has agreed to Niger’s demands to withdraw from the West African country, where it was present for years and had built a $100 million to monitor a region frequently the site of coups and terrorism. At the two-day African Chiefs of Defence Conference, co-hosted by the US and Botswana this week, the superpower was able to gather top military leaders from at least 32 countries to discuss emerging and burning military and security issues on the continent. “Our Secretary of State has always said the global environment has changed and things that we true years ago, have changed,” said General Michael Langley, Commander of the U.S Africa Command said at the conference on Tuesday.

“The things we depended on for indicators and warnings have changed.” US Africa Command, or AFRICOM, is America’s main centre for its African military and security presence, including operations and strategy, overseeing the US’ interests across the continent, including helping countries engage threats such as terrorism, instability and others. Russia, however, has been able to secure a growing influence in Western and Central Africa, while the US’ relations with regional powerhouse, South Africa, has been prickly since the US Ambassador in Pretoria accused the government there of loading weapons onto a Russian ship. Langley told Mmegi despite the setback in West Africa, Africom was assessing other opportunities to engage with the continent. “We see a lot of different places to partner, across the African continent,” he said. “We see that, we search it out. “I travel with my USAID, and also my diplomatic adviser as well, engaging with presidents across coastal West Africa.” Langley said he was recently in Somalia engaging with President Hassan Sheikh Mohammed on the way ahead for Somalia. The terrorist organisation, Al Shabaab, has leveraged on Somalia to spread further into Africa, financing and providing weapons to offshoots in other countries. “(In Somalia) it’s not just military, but it’s about being able to close the gap between civil service and the military, to provide services to the people, protection of rights and freedoms, providing strategic health care and everything else that can provide opportunities for their economies to grow,” Langley said. The four star general and first African-American head of Africom, described the Gaborone conference as the “Super Bowl or World Cup” of militaries meeting. “Coming together cannot be replaced by Zoom calls,” he told the hundreds of delegates. “We have to sit together in the same room and see the value of having engagements and sidebars in a continuous sense. “We are looking at Africa-led, US-enabled solutions.”

Editor's Comment
CoA brings sanity to DIS/DCEC long-standing feud

This decision follows the raiding of the office of the former Director General of the DCEC, Tymon Katlholo early 2022 and his staff officer by the DIS operatives who reportedly took files that they had targeted.After all back and forth arguments, the CoA has set the record straight giving an invaluable lesson to the DIS that it was no super security organ and it does not have any powers to cogently supervise other security organs including the...

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