History will say, when the people of Haiti were suffering in the aftermath of a massive catastrophic earth-quake, SADC leaders where winning and dining in Maputo and failed to utter even a single word of solidarity for the black people in Haiti, let alone a minute’s silence, but had time for a Communiqué to rally behind deposed Madagascar former dictator, Marc Ravalomanana.
Southern African leaders urged the international community on Thursday to reject plans by Madagascar’s military-backed Andry Rajoelina to ignore power-sharing talks and hold an election, but they never bothered to rally the same international community to help the dying people of Haiti.
The SADC leaders said after a special meeting on Madagascar and Zimbabwe organised by the security organ of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) that they were deeply concerned about the Indian Ocean Island’s political crisis.
Even the South African government directly linked to Haiti as host to former Haitian dictator Jean Bertrand Aristide failed again at the big World stage to offer its leadership in the aftermath of such a catastrophic event in the history of mankind.
Relief efforts, and rescue missions have been left to the Western world, the chief culprits of the 17th century slave trade, while our African leaders take a retreat into their vaults of obsession with absolute power and small time village thinking.
In the coming days, you will hear the usual mediocrity from the Zimbabwean Information Minister accusing the West for causing the Haitian earth quake. That is the whole mark of Zanu PF and the small mind African politics.
Meanwhile, as the Developed world, particulary the US and China parade aid to the media and competing with each other over who has the largest quantities or the largest cargo carrier planes parked and displayed at the Haitian airport, while the poor black impoverished Haitian people are dying without adequate medication, food, shelter or clean water.
At the centre of the unreported stand-off, is a thinly veiled cold war between the global super powers who are hindering relief efforts as none of them is willing to provide military assisted distribution network on the ground from the airport into the devastated spots because they are all reluctant to share military secrets, particulary with Cuba a few miles from Haiti. Some Western countries have most of their helicopters deployed in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
We all know African countries are poor and the priorities are primarily on the problems in the backyard, but for Africa to give that as an excuse not to help fellow black people suffering so much is an invitation for a perpetuation the second rate tag of the continent on the big stage.
It is for that reason and that reason only why at times African leaders are not taken seriously when they make grandstanding demands for equal partnership.
Haiti’s regional, historical, and ethno linguistic position is unique for several reasons. It was the first independent nation in Latin America, the first post-colonial independent black-led nation in the world, and the only nation whose independence was gained as part of a successful slave rebellion.
The Spaniards exploited the island for its gold, mined chiefly by local Amerindians directed by the Spanish occupiers. The Europeans brought with them chronic infectious diseases that were new to the Caribbean, to which the indigenous population lacked immunity. The Spanish then turned to African slaves for labour.
After decades of dictatorship, Aristide, a former Roman Catholic priest, became the country’s first elected president in 1990 but was ousted by the military a few months later.
He again took the presidency in 2000 but was forced into exile four years later amid growing violence.