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Op-Ed: Condoleeza Rice will be sorely missed in Africa

By Adriana Stuijt     Jan 15, 2009 in Health
One Bush-administration cabinet member who will be sorely missed by a great many freedom-loving Africans, will be the outgoing secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice. This talented woman's passion for aiding millions of Africans has won their hearts.
From her position of power in the State department, she was able to take many actions which have already greatly improved the survival for many millions of destitute and desperately ill Africans, whose populations are being devastated by the AIDS-TB twin epidemics. Her concern for all of the continent's people has been overwhelming and clearly genuine, many African leaders say.
She was indeed welcomed in Africa when other African-Americans such as the equally capable commander of the United States' AFRICOM command, Gen. Chip Ward, was initially cold-shouldered and treated with great distrust when he first arrived on the scene two years ago. Initially. South Africa's ex-president Thabo Mbeki cold-shouldered the affable career soldier - however Condoleeza Rice was always clearly respected at the South African presidential home, Tuynhuis - even though she made no secret of her viewpoint that there was an urgent need to intervene and try to reverse the AIDS-epidemic, which had started in South Africa.
During her State Department watch, the Bush administration also allocated $15-billion for the prevention and treatment of HIV-AIDS in the entire southern African region. see
And she also always gave her personal support for many fund-raising efforts to uplift Africa's people.
The biggest regret among many African religious leaders such as Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu and former South African president F W de Klerk, is that even her considerable charm and powers of persuasion were not able to help the long-suffering people of Zimbabwe.
She tried very hard and often, insiders say, also did not hesitate to vent her frustrations over her inability to get the ‘international community’ to invoke the Responsibility to Protect clause against Zimbabwe, a few weeks away from the end of her tenure.
The US administration, Britain and their allies have been frantically trying to get Zimbabwe on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council. Earlier attempts mainly by Britain and the US in July last year were frustrated by members to the Council: China and Russia as permanent members, and South Africa as a temporary member, who sabotaged all discussions about the issue.
They claimed that 'the situation in Zimbabwe was not a threat to international peace and security.'
Cholera epidemic
The US secretary of State, Britain's foreign affairs minister and their allies also wanted to use the cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe as another reason for invoking the 'responsibility to protect': which is the international commitment by governments to prevent and react to grave crises, wherever they may occur.
In 2005, world leaders agreed for the first time that States have a primary responsibility to protect their own populations and that the International community also has an equal responsibility to act whenever these governments fail to protect the most vulnerable.
Botswana - which was already gearing up to intervene militarily and was receiving training from AFRICOM advisors in November 2008 -- decided against it, even though its Foreign Minister Skelemani had publicly announced the possibility of such action on BBC’s Hard Talk Programme.
Other leading Africans who have called for military action, e.g. Archbishops Desmond Tutu and John Sentamu do not have enough political nor military clout to call for troops so their words will only contribute to an academic debate about such a possibility.
These developments have led Secretary Rice to express public frustration over the world’s unwillingness for forcibly remove President Mugabe.
“We all undertook this notion of a responsibility to protect a couple of years ago with great fanfare, and we’ve, as a community, fallen short,” she said in an interview with National Public Radio in Washington, D.C.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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