African Leaders to Visit Russia and Ukraine on Mission to End War

Peace missions are often filled with promise although there are periods in recent history where efforts to end conflicts have resulted in destabilization within domestic and international affairs

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By Abayomi Azikiwe

Since the beginning of the Russian special military operation in neighboring Ukraine there have been several efforts to resolve the conflict diplomatically.

Peace talks were held in Belarus and later Turkey just weeks after the war began, which, due to pressure from the administration of United States President Joe Biden, did not result in a ceasefire.

During an initial vote within the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the majority of nations did condemn Moscow for its involvement in Ukraine even though many ambassadors to the august body abstained from taking a position on the said resolutions.

As it relates to the African Union (AU) member-states, nearly half refused to vote on what was perceived as a United States measure backed by the imperialist centers and satellites which are members and supporters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). African states in general have a different view of the NATO proxy war against the Russian Federation which has been simmering for many years even after the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR).

During the early months of the Ukraine war, the AU Commission Chair, Moussa Faki Mahamat, and the-then President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Felix Tshisekedi, visited Sochi and held talks with President Vladimir Putin. The AU delegation put forward a plan to circumvent the draconian sanctions leveled against Russia in order to provide agricultural products and inputs to the independent states of the continent which have been negatively impacted by the Washington-led attempts to place an economic blockade on Moscow.

Several weeks later, the idea agreed to by both Kiev and Moscow allowing for the shipment of grain from Ukraine and Russia into geopolitical regions further east, was enacted as result of talks which took place in Turkey. There have been problems and pauses in the program largely stemming from the efforts to isolate Moscow from the international channels of monetary exchange.

Therefore, it is not surprising that other centers of global power have come forward with alternative peace proposals and global security frameworks. The People’s Republic of China, during 2022, issued a world security initiative in the form of a white paper.

With specific reference to the Republic of South Africa, the Biden administration, through its Ambassador to Pretoria, Rueben Brigety, recently accused the African National Congress (ANC) ruling party of selling weapons to the Russian Federation to be utilized in the special military operation in Ukraine. The administration of President Cyril Ramaphosa has summoned this same ambassador to protest the allegations made by Washington.

Such accusations could very well be a pretext for launching a regime-change operation against the ANC and its position of dominance within the South African government. The U.S. has a sordid history of destabilizing and overthrowing sovereign states on the African continent.

As a precursor to the African leaders’ peace mission to Kiev and Moscow, the Minister of the South African Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, has traveled to Russia. An article in News 24 notes:

“Following weeks of scrutiny on the government’s stance on the conflict in Ukraine, Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, is headed to Russia this week for a high-level security meeting. Ntshavheni will attend a three-day meeting in Moscow which her department has described as routine. The meeting is expected to be attended by high-level officials and will discuss ‘security matters, general trends in the international security situation including global security. Ntshavheni, whose departmental responsibility includes the Ministry of State Security, is expected to engage Russian authorities on the peacekeeping mission by African leaders who hope to try and end the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. The African leaders’ peace mission to Russia and Ukraine was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa last week after consultation with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“Ntshavheni has already sent ‘high-level’ officials from the presidency to Ukraine in preparation for the peace mission. The African leaders’ mission will involve Zambia, Senegal, Congo, Uganda, Egypt and South Africa. Ramaphosa said Putin and Zelensky had agreed to meet the African delegation in the trip expected to take place in June.”

President Ramaphosa says that Africa is committed to ending the war in Ukraine. Of the six governments scheduled to participate in the peace mission, four of them: South Africa, Uganda, Congo-Brazzaville and Senegal all abstained from the UNGA resolution condemning Russia. The two others, Zambia and Egypt, voted in favor.

Nonetheless, since the beginning of the war most people on the African continent have called for an end to the conflagration while many are expressing open solidarity with the Russian position. In Mali, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and South Africa there have been demonstrations where the flag of the Russian Federation has been unfurled in a clear representation of mass sentiments.

Russia during the Soviet era supported politically and materially the national liberation struggles against colonialism. Those states seeking to embark upon a socialist path were also given the backing of Moscow then controlled by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Since the reemergence of Russia as a major player within the international community, the government has opened new avenues of trade and cooperation with AU member-states.

U.S. Intelligence Engineered the Overthrow of Nkrumah During a Peace Mission to North Vietnam

The role of the six AU member-states in traveling to Ukraine and Russia will not be viewed positively by the U.S. Although the State Department and White House have not opposed the mission, it is obvious that every attempt at bringing about a diplomatic solution to the war has been objectively opposed by Washington. The Biden administration has funneled more than $100 billion to Ukraine and NATO with the desired aim of continuing the war as a mechanism to weaken the Russian Federation.

Democratic Party  members of the House of Representatives even crafted a bill which would target African governments for their cordial relations with Russia. When President Ramaphosa came to the U.S. on a state visit late last year, he actively campaigned against the proposed legislation which remains stalled in Congress.

Kwame Nkrumah looks at Haile Selassie
Kwame Nkrumah looks at Haile Selassie.

In 1965, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first Prime Minister and later President of the Republic of Ghana, took an active interest in the Commonwealth leading a peace mission to Vietnam. Nkrumah had developed close ties with the former Soviet Union, China and other socialist states during the 1960s. His domestic and foreign policy was based upon the quest for African unification, anti-imperialism and socialist construction.

Declassified State Department documents reveal that the U.S. administration of then President Lyndon B. Johnson was seeking to topple the Convention People’s Party (CPP) government led by Nkrumah. In 1965, plots were already underway to stage a right-wing coup which would be made to appear as if it were a domestic rebellion against Nkrumah’s socialist policies.

During that same year, a New York Times article published on June 24, 1965, highlighted Nkrumah’s role in seeking to end the Vietnam war. The headline for the article, dateline London, was “Nkrumah Urges U.S. to Cease Air Attacks on North Vietnam.” The report begins by stating that:

“President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, an influential member of the Commonwealth peace mission on Vietnam, said today that the mission’s task would be eased if the United States stopped its ‘provocative air raids in North Vietnam.’ At the conference of the Commonwealth Prime Minister here, President Nkrumah issued a 900-word statement aimed at breathing new life into the mission after the rebuff it received yesterday from the Soviet Union, which said Moscow was ‘not authorized’ to conduct the talks.”

Although the U.S. publicly welcomed the mission, events the following year would prove otherwise. Later in the same New York Times report it indicates that both the People’s Republic of China and North Vietnam would welcome such an effort spearheaded by the Commonwealth of Nations.

However, the actual mission, which was headed by Nkrumah, did not take place until February 1966. Nkrumah and his delegation departed Ghana on February 21. The delegation reached Beijing on February 24, when Nkrumah was informed by Chinese Premier Chou en-Lai that his CPP government had been overthrown in a military and police coup.

The declassified State Department documents reveal the central role of the U.S. in staging the counter-revolutionary putsch on February 24, 1966. These documents indicate that the U.S. did not want to be the first country to recognize the coup regime and therefore delayed its response for several days before coming out in support of the change of government.

Nkrumah, in his book “Dark Days in Ghana” (1967), written from Guinea-Conakry where he settled after the coup and was appointed by then President Ahmed Sekou Toure as the country’s Co-President, accused the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of being behind the coup. He named the recently appointed U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, Franklin Williams, an African American, as being a willing tool in the overthrow of the CPP government. Despite the fact that Williams denied any involvement in the coup in a letter forward to Nkrumah in Guinea, the New York Times in a May 9, 1978 report admitted that the CIA was indeed behind the coup.

Consequently, the struggle for peace in the face of imperialist onslaughts can place states and organizations in the crosshairs of the U.S. and its allies. Although the situation is much different today than in 1966, Washington and Wall Street remain committed to world hegemony and will engage in destabilization programs and regime change in order to silence those who oppose their policies.

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