Tale of Two Countries

Tale of Two Countries

Tanzania Foreign Affairs Minister Bernard Membe explains well.
Anyone want to guess why a bunch of African countries aren’t recognizing the Libyan rebels?

Kenya recognizes the new government in Libya. Tanzania won’t. The split, which cleaves the continent like the Great Rift Valley, divides the strong democracies from the weak ones. Guess which side Tanzania’s on?

Tanzania and 40 of the other 52 countries in the African Union (it would be 53 with Libya) have sheltered under the weak AU position that the Libyan Transitional Council has no democratic legitimacy.

Well … that’s not exactly news.

Nor is it news that quite a few of those 41 countries while pretending democracy at home fall just a wee bit short of true representative government. Twevolution isn’t finished, and I think this split helps show us who’s next.

One of the 41 countries leading this position is a true democracy, South Africa. But President Jacob Zuma fashioned the policy, called the AU meeting over the weekend, and pushed through this donkey position.

Zuma’s motivation are quite different from the hedge lings anxious to follow him. Zuma had been in Libya several times trying to broker a cease-fire and a Kenya type coalition government with his friend, Gaddafi.

Gaddafi is a friend of Zuma’s, because Gaddafi was super rich with few places to dump his money, so he lavished it heavily on many projects in South Africa and elsewhere in the continent. He paid for the building, for example, in which the AU now meets.

But some reports of the sort Zuma constantly refers to are exaggerated. Most of the money went for questionable goals but Zuma is beholden to the fallen dictator for many of the same reasons he seems to be supporting Robert Mugabe all the time: stability.

It’s a terrible policy position that has infected such great nations as … well, us. Zuma knows that most of his neighbors are cutthroats and he fears twevolution spreading all over the place. South Africa literally runs much of Africa. Its giant economy, more than ten times the size of all the rest of the economies on the excluding Arab North Africa (Morocco east through Egypt), has become the main conduit for Chinese investment.

If this wretched disease of freedom starts spreading, well it could be awful for him.

[Little side story: remember all those reports of a southern African plane flying over Tripoli? London’s Daily Mail this weekend claimed it was Robert Mugabe’s private jet offering a free taxi service south. Reports were “vehemently” denied by the Zim government.]

So taking umbrage in Zuma’s duplicity are countries like Tanzania, struggling politically and definitely ready for a twevolution.

Tanzania’s foreign minister explained : Tanzania will not recognize any government that doesn’t “respect the division of power between the executive, legislature and the judiciary.”

Hmm. That is a problem with some Africans, this lack of self-esteem.