African countries

Ukraine invasion: New US law aims to punish African countries that ‘align’ with Russia

As the Russian-Ukrainian conflict escalates, it appears to be opening a new chapter in the Cold War between the US-led West and Russia, which will also spill over into Africa.

A bill that would force Washington to punish African governments that encourage Russian “malicious activities” on the continent is going through Congress.

According to Daily Maverick, a South Africa-based news outlet, the Malicious Russian Activities in Africa Act passed the House of Representatives on April 27 by a huge bipartisan majority of 419 to 9 and is now safe to pass. by the Senate and soon to become law.

It would direct the US Secretary of State “to develop and submit to Congress a strategy and implementation plan outlining United States efforts to counter the malign influence and activities of the Russian Federation and its agents in Africa”.

The bill broadly defines such malicious activities as those that “undermine the purposes and interests of the United States.”

The Secretary of State should monitor the actions of the Russian government and its “proxies” – including private military companies (Wagner is clearly in the crosshairs) and the oligarchs.

The bill, if passed, would empower the government to effectively combat such activities, including through U.S. foreign aid programs. It should “hold accountable the Russian Federation and African governments and their officials who are complicit in contributing to such influence and malign activities.”

The bill, which was introduced in Congress on March 31 and was clearly a response to the February 24 Russian “military operation” in Ukraine, had several other punitive laws aimed at Russia – including one ordering the administration to gather evidence of Russian war crimes in Ukraine – were introduced around the same time.

With the new cultural imperialism in sight, the United States will dictate the domestic policy and societal character of the African states that constitute the hegemonic sphere of influence, either through internal sponsored government or installed external government.

New York Democrat Gregory Meeks, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, reportedly said the bill seeks to thwart Russian President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to “steal, manipulate and exploit resources in parts of the world.” ‘Africa in order to evade sanctions and undermine American interests’, ‘ and to fund its war in Ukraine.

Meeks also presented the bill as support for Africa, intended to protect “all innocent people who have been victims of Putin’s mercenaries and agents credibly accused of gross human rights violations in Africa, including in the Central African Republic and Mali”.

It is precisely in the Central African Republic (CAR) and in Mali that Wagner has been accused of committing human rights violations to support questionable governments and thwart Western interests.

It is true that in proportion to other regions, more African states did not support the March 3 United Nations (UN) General Assembly resolution condemning Russia’s “aggression” against Ukraine. Twenty-seven African governments voted for the resolution. Only one – Eritrea – voted against, while 17 abstained and the rest were absent.

Western intelligence agencies and others believe that Wagner and AFRIC are proxy operations for Putin’s government, with a mission to thwart Western activities in Africa and elsewhere. These agencies argue that AFRIC’s real function is to counter election monitoring by Western and local observers, thus giving credence to the likes of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front. AFRIC has indeed given a positive judgment on the last elections in Zimbabwe.

On the flip side of this injunction, the bill urges the U.S. government to strengthen democratic institutions, improve government transparency and accountability, improve standards for human rights, labor, anti- corruption, fiscal transparency, oversight of natural resources and extractive industries, and “other principles of good governance.