Home | Comment & Analysis    Saturday 23 September 2017

Open Letter to Ambassador Donald Y. Yamamoto

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To The Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs,
U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C.

September 21 , 2016

By Stephen Par Kuol

Your Excellency Ambassador Yamamoto:

It gives me a profound pleasure to register to Your Excellency that you have made my day with your presentation at US Peace Institute on September 13, 2017.The document entitled, Partnership with Africa: Advancing the Common Interest is timely, diplomatically strong and extremely encouraging. Among other critical issues, my take home delicacy was the official pronouncement that the US partnership with Africa is now mandatorily geared toward working with “strong institutions, and not with dictators or strong men in the continent”. Being a policy statement by the top diplomat and expert on African affairs in the State Department, it is expressly inferred as a historical point of departure from the existing unwritten policy, which is inherently fraught with consistent lack of statesmanship, double standards and a gross disposition to shun the very core values of American freedom and democracy.

That disastrous policy has been implemented in South Sudan where Kiir’s ethnocentric fascist regime has been using American taxpayer’s money to build sectarian institutions committing heinous atrocities against both South Sudanese and the US citizens working in South Sudan. The Terrain Hotel savagery of July 2016 where American aid workers were gang-raped, the barbaric attack on the US diplomatic vehicle (CD) carrying American diplomats by none other than Kiir’s own bodyguard and the recent murder of Christopher Allen, the American journalist they derogatorily profiled as a white rebel are just a few examples of those humiliating provocations in this treacherous bilateral relation between Juba and Washington D.C. In betrayal of those American souls, the US diplomats still dine and waltz with those cheeky diplomats of Kiir’s regime without any qualm in Juba, New York, D.C and all other world capitals. That does not sound like the United States of America I have known so far!!

As exposed by Secretary Kerry’s recent haste to bless that systematically rigged elections in Kenya, the ordinary Africans have concluded that the U.S love affair with dictatorship in the continent is matched only by its hate for the very democratic principles it claims to promote. I was stunned to see John Kery scrupulously apologizing to Honorable Riala Odinga for endorsing election results that robbed him of his rightful victory. I think John Kery needs to do the same to Dr Riek Machar, the champion of ARCISS whom they have arbitrarily exiled in South Africa and the people of South Sudan he condemned to famine, displacement and mass-murder by the junta he legitimized in violation of the Agreement on Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS) which cost US taxpayers millions of US dollars to sponsor in Addis-Ababa.

Ambassador Yamamoto, as a practised diplomat in the continent, you know better that the United States of America has been and is still putting its biggest bet on the strong men of Africa. In pursuit of such a decayed policy, the United States is still doing business with murderous police state that have reduced civic and democratic forces to endangered species. From the Horn to the Great Lakes, the former heads of rebel movements turned heads of states are running their fragile states with iron fists. With the diplomatic weight of the United States behind them, they have cowed all the democratic political force in their countries either to servitude or pushed them to armed uprising like in the case of South Sudan.

Ambassador Yamamoto, as you articulated in the sub-title of your eloquent presentation, (Advancing the Common Interest), diplomatic relations are naturally driven by mutual interests of the states in question. In your case, it is obvious that the most vital strategic interest of the US in the Horn of Africa at the moment is the counterterrorism and that is what the US love affair with some dictators in the region is based on. Their opportunistic vow to fight Al-shabab in Somalia gives a false sense of security for the US strategic interest in the region. Well, experiences in the continent have proven that African dictators can give the false appearance of order and stability while in reality sowing the seeds of present and future destabilisation. In truth, those despots are responsible for all those armed conflicts in the continent. One good example is the Somalia itself that was wrecked to pieces by dictator Mom Siad Barre. Another example is the nascent Republic of South Sudan, which is now being pushed to the precipice of disintegration by a dictator, Salva Kiir.

In any case, the new strings attached to partnership with Africa are encouraging. Unfortunately, dictators naturally loathe institutionalism and the rule of law to provide a conducive geopolitical environment for the underlined four pillars of your new policy: counterterrorism, conflict resolution, economic development, and good governance. Hence, the US foreign policy makers and implementers must always invoke this new US Foreign Policy by empowering the forces of democratic change and the institutions of good governance in the continent. The mutually beneficial result for the world and humanity will be politically stable and economically strong democratic African states fighting alongside the United States against global terrorism.

The author is a political activist and freelance writer on African diplomatic and political affairs. He can be reached by Electronic at: kuolpar@yahoo.com.



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