Before President Bush left for Africa, AFJN and several other NGO’s organized a press call to address some of our primary concerns regarding the Bush Administration’s legacy in Africa. On the top of the list was the new US military command for Africa – AFRICOM. Those who spoke on the call highlighted this flawed policy and reinforced the notion that the US must remain engaged in debt relief, HIV/AIDS policy, and education initiatives, not military aid. Thus, while Bush visited the continent to celebrate his successes, the NGO community and partners in Africa attempted to raise issues of concern among the press.
AFJN staff members Bahati Ntama Jacques and Beth Tuckey also published Op-Eds referencing Bush’s trip and his heavy-handed policy of defense instead of diplomacy in Africa. In an article on Rwanda and the War on Terror, Jacques and Tuckey argue that Bush is using the Kagame regime in Rwanda to secure access to natural resources and to fight the global War on Terror, despite the negative implications for the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The article appeared in Foreign Policy in Focus, Pambazuka News, Monthly Review, and many other online publications. On AFRICOM, Tuckey writes that in the end, it is not the militarization of Africa that will guarantee security for America and the people of Africa but rather justice and equitable trade. Her article appeared in Pambazuka News, AllAfrica.com, and several other places online.
Through these venues, AFJN sought to influence the American perception of Bush’s policies in Africa and to recognize that while Bush has made some valuable contributions to development and democracy in Africa, he has also institutionalized many negative policies that may jeopardize the security of the people of Africa.