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USA: Questions for Candidates, 1
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USA: Questions for Candidates, 1
Date Distributed (ymd): 961016
Contains (1) Announcement, National Summit on Africa
(2) Part 1 of Questions for Candidates
Staff Sought for National Summit On Africa
Africare - October 15, 1996
Washington - Following is an announcement by C. Payne Lucas,
president of Africare, on a new three-year initiative called
the National Summit on Africa. The National Summit on Africa
is a vehicle to raise the level of recognition Africa
receives in the United States through a series of highly
visible, well-publicized, and widely attended activities held
across the country. The Summit's role will be to serve as a
catalyst for, and facilitator of, discussion and debate about
U.S. relations with Africa.
The Summit will focus on five interrelated themes to organize
discussions on the full range of US-Africa interests: Peace
and Security; Democracy and Human Rights; Trade and
Investment; Sustainable Development; and Education and
The National Summit Secretariat is being established as an
independent, tax-exempt organization to manage and administer
the National Summit on Africa with a full-time staff of
I am delighted to report that MacArthur DeShazer, former
director of African affairs at the White House (National
Security Council) has agreed to become the executive director
of the National Summit Secretariat.
During the first few months, the Secretariat will reside at
Africare House; but we have begun the process of creating an
independent organization to manage and administer the Summit
process and finding its offices. I will continue to work with
the Summit as one of its National Co-Chairs.
We are looking for talented, energetic staff for the
Secretariat, who will be deeply committed to the Summit's goal
and willing to give it their all for the next two-and-
and-half-years. We also want the staff to reflect the
diversity and inclusiveness that we promised would be the
hallmark of this effort.
The National Summit Secretariat is seeking applicants for
these Washington-based positions [Research Associate, Field
Organizer, Program Associate, Director for Media and Public
Relations, and Africa Outreach Coordinator**]. Send cover
letter, resume, availability, salary requirements, and
references to: National Summit on Africa, 440 R Street, NW,
Washington, DC 20001. Fax: (202) 387-1034. No Phone Calls
Please. Closing Date: November 1, 1996
All applicants will receive consideration regardless of race,
color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or
** Note: The announcements are available on the Web site of
Africa News Service, under the heading U.S./Africa
If you do not have access to a Web browser, they may be
retrieved using a web by e-mail server. Send the following
message to email@example.com
Note: do not include a signature in your message.
Putting Africa on the Agenda: Questions for Candidates and
(from Washington Notes on Africa, Fall, 1996)
Note: This two-part article is being distributed to e-mail
addresses on the list with U.S. domains only. A short
announcement is going to addresses with other domains. The
full article is also available at:
A late September cartoon in the Cincinnati Inquirer showed
Ross Perot stamping on his Western hat in anger at being
excluded from the Presidential debates. A plaintive globe-
headed figure labelled "Foreign Policy" looked on,
empathetically remarking "I know how you feel ... I can't get
in either." Africa, rarely edging onto the priority agenda of
top foreign-policy makers, will find it even harder to make it
onto the campaign trail. While marginalization of African
concerns may be less dramatic in some European countries, the
trend is not limited to the United States. Much of the
Western world's policy establishment would prefer to forget
the continent exists.
Like it or not, however, policymakers in office in the coming
years will have to decide how to respond to African crises and
structural concerns. The issues may be neglected, but they
will not go away.
It is now widely acknowledged that the primary initiative for
redressing Africa's marginalization must come from Africa--
from civil society as well as more responsive governments and
regional institutions, from those living on the continent as
well as those who have settled elsewhere for political or
economic reasons. As a recent statement by African non-
governmental organizations put it, "The international
community lacks the moral and political will to constructively
assist Africa with its dilemmas." The statement went on to
conclude that "strong, accountable and responsible African
institutions" must take the lead.
On issue after issue, nevertheless, the "international
community" is inextricably involved, whether in calls for
United Nations support for peacekeeping, for reform of the
international financial institutions which play a dominant
role in the economy of most African countries, or in deciding
on bilateral relations with repressive regimes opposed by pro-
democracy forces. The US in turn, by default or by active
engagement, has much to do with the "moral and political will"
as well as the policy content of the international response.
This text below consists of a summary checklist of many of the
African issues which the next administration and the next
Congress need to consider. Some--perhaps most--may only be
the subject of inside-the-beltway debate by a handful of
policy advocates and middle-level officials. Some may also
force themselves on the agenda for serious attention by major
policy players. That depends, in part, on CNN, The New York
Times, and the media pack. But, even more, it depends on
whether Africa's advocates here can make loud enough and
coherent enough noises.
Please use one or more of these questions, adapt them, or
substitute your own. Raise them at campaign events and/or
mail them to candidates' campaign headquarters in your
congressional district. Include candidates for the House of
Representatives and the Senate as well as for President.
Concentrate on one or two related questions in any one
message, and ask for a specific reply, not just a form letter.
You may wish to include other background material, but keep it
short. You may or may not get an answer, but you will let the
candidates know that voters do care.
Note: More detailed background on most of the policy issues
below can be found on the Web in the document archive at
http://www.igc.org/apic/index.shtml. The archive contains
more than 150 documents from 1995 and 1996, from WOA, APIC,
and other organizations, and is searchable by keyword. For
suggestions on additional on-line resources, see "Africa on
the Internet," also available on the same Web site.
Security, Conflict Resolution and Humanitarian Assistance
"Africa" is still widely perceived as a country, and not
accurately understood as a highly diverse continent three
times the size of the US containing more than fifty distinct
countries. Most of the continent's countries are now at
peace, whatever other problems they face. Having experienced
among the most destructive conflicts of the 1970s and 1980s,
countries such as South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique,
Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Uganda are all dealing with "post-
conflict" rather than "conflict" issues. Others, such as
Tanzania, Kenya, Botswana, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast,
Senegal, Benin, and Tunisia, to name only a few from around
the continent, have avoided post-colonial internal war,
despite smaller-scale conflict and the cross-border impact of
refugee flows from their neighbors.
Nevertheless, full-scale conflict in too many countries and
the absence of minimal security for citizens in many others
endangers not only the continent's image but its future.
Neither democracy nor development can advance if citizens are
at the mercy of unrestrained gunmen. A newly emerging
consensus, contrary to the Organization of African Unity's
general assumption since the 1960s, maintains that internal
conflicts are not just the concern of one country.
Neighboring countries and indeed the continent at large are
victimized by spillover effects. Genocidal violence is in
theory--if not yet in practice--the concern of the entire
Yet the "international community" (both Africa-wide and world-
wide) often lacks the capacity and the political will to
respond. When governments and humanitarian NGOs do mobilize
in response to a crisis, lines of accountability are often
vague or ignored.
One fundamental question is who takes responsibility to
respond, and where the buck stops. In a crisis, neighboring
countries are often the most intensely engaged. This can be
an advantage but also a handicap in resolving conflicts.
African regional and continental institutions have been taking
a more active role in many crises, a trend which should be
encouraged. But the scale of the military, organizational,
and logistical resources needed means that the global
community as well must take a hand.
Few doubt that the United Nations and other agencies need to
improve their efficiency, management capacity, and
accountability. But unjustified and indiscriminate UN-bashing
has become commonplace in US politics. The far-right attacks
the institution as such. The Clinton administration has also
used the institution as a scapegoat. "Reform" proposals have
too often been designed simply to cut costs rather than to
increase the UN s capacity to respond effectively to crises,
such as the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 and current threats of
escalated genocidal violence in Burundi.
Polls show that the general public takes a far more positive
stance towards the United Nations than is reflected in the
public political debate and the standard assumptions of
policymakers. Indeed, some polls show that the UN is more
widely trusted by US citizens to do the right thing than is
the US Congress. A June, 1996 poll showed solid majorities
willing to commit US troops to peacekeeping in Burundi, as
long as other countries did their share. But such
alternatives are excluded from the menu of options
policymakers will take seriously.
Currently, the largest UN peacekeeping contingent on the
continent is in Angola, where the peace agreement signed in
late 1994 is threatened by repeated delays. Angola faces a
grave risk of a resurgence of war or an indefinite
continuation of the current deadlock with two separate armies
and little security for civilians. In Liberia, regional West
Africa peacekeepers are the key force on the ground, but the
chances of implementing the latest agreement depend on greater
support from outside the region. The volatile Great Lakes
region is still coping with the aftermath of the 1994 genocide
in Rwanda, and escalating ethnic violence both in Burundi and
in neighboring eastern Zaire. While intense peace efforts are
currently under way, everyone involved warns that their
chances of success are very unpredictable, and the weekly
death toll could easily rise from hundreds to thousands or
tens of thousands.
No peacekeeping operations are currently envisaged for war-
torn Sudan or for Somalia, still without a national
government. Among the critical issues are not only the
international community s continued involvement in
humanitarian relief, but also what actions can be taken to
promote peace and respect for human rights.
(1) Do you support full payment of US dues to the United
Nations? Full US funding of its obligations for United
Nations peacekeeping? If not, why not?
(2) What level of financial and logistical assistance do you
advocate for peacekeeping mechanisms and operations by the
Organization of African Unity and African regional
organizations? Increase? Decrease? About the same? Why?
(3) How do you propose to help strengthen the voices of
African civil society to participate in international debates
about the future of peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance
and in monitoring the record of "donor" governments,
international agencies, and non-governmental organizations?
(4) Angola: Should the UN peacekeeping operation in Angola be
continued beyond February 1997, if full implementation of the
1994 Lusaka peace agreement is further delayed? If UNITA
continues to refuse to implement the agreement's provisions on
military and political integration into one national army and
a government of national unity, what additional sanctions, by
the US and the international community, do you support?
(5) Liberia: What level of involvement and assistance from the
US in the peace process in Liberia do you support? Increase?
Decrease? About the same? Why? Do you support H.R. 4001,
which proposes sanctions on countries violating the arms
embargo against Liberian factions and investigation of war
crimes by faction leaders?
(6) Great Lakes (Burundi and Rwanda): What level of US
involvement and assistance in possible international
peacekeeping in Burundi would you support? Funds? Logistic
support? Contributing troops to UN peacekeeping? What can
the US do to help impose effective embargoes against arms
flows that fuel the conflicts in the region? In particular,
what actions would you support against the Mobutu regime in
Zaire? How would you propose to increase US support for the
International Tribunal on the Genocide in Rwanda?
(7) Horn of Africa (Sudan and Somalia): What additional
sanctions against the military regime in Sudan, or new
diplomatic initiatives, do you propose to increase the chances
for peace negotiations in Sudan's civil war, as well as
advancement of democracy and human rights for all Sudanese?
In the absence of a national Somali government, what measures
do you propose to provide protection for humanitarian agencies
and human rights advocates, both foreign and Somali, in that
(continued in part 2)
This material is produced and distributed by the Washington
Office on Africa (WOA), a not-for-profit church, trade union
and civil rights group supported organization that works with
Congress on Africa-related legislation. WOA's educational
affiliate is the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC).