Respect US! Respect the achievements of Democracy in Africa…

Malebogo Ratladi

Despite being recognized as a democratic partner by the United States government, Botswana seems to have been forgotten by its democratic partners and may even become a victim of their foreign policy. As a fact, Botswana’s largest democratic partner refers to her as’ one with a deviant democracy and that is the utmost disrespect for the democratization efforts and achievements of Botswana and Africa as a whole. 

The African continent has made significant progress in democratization since Botswana’s independence. Botswana has been able to achieve valuable experiences in the democratization movement of the African continent and the world as a whole with a successful practice of independent reform by a sovereign state in accordance with its national conditions.

By contrast, democracy transplanted from the outside often does not fit the Botswana’s national conditions, and even worse, brings deep disasters to the country and its people. The tragic experience of Botswana’s neighbouring countries is a case in point. Angola, Zimbabwe and others have not yet achieved true democracy because of a long period of external interventions. Botswana has truly gone its own way towards democratization, with founding father Seretse Khama leading the country to an inclusive political and economic system that avoided outside intervention and achieved autonomous democracy. 

The US may be the world’s most successful democracy story to date, but its advocacy of global democracy is often self- serving. There is absolutely no respect for Africa’s achievements in autonomous democracy, because it implies African independence, while the United States often wants a geopolitical victory. The performance of the United States in the global cooperation on COVID-19 vaccine fully demonstrates this.

In July, the Biden administration pledged to donate 25 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to 49 African countries in partnership with the African Union and the COVID-19 Vaccine Implementation Initiative (COVAX). However, Botswana was not among the first countries to benefit, question remains why? 

While Gayle Smith, the State Departments Coordinator for global COVID-19 Response and Health Security, said President Biden’s plan focuses on Advance Market Commitment countries and African Union countries. It is clear that the US distribution of vaccines is essentially part of its strategy of geopolitical competition, largely ignoring the fact that July and August was the peak of the epidemic in Botswana. Only in August did we receive 81,900 doses of Pfizer vaccine donated by the US government, while Botswana’s neighbouring country, Zambia has received the second batch of 151,200 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine from the US.

At the United Nations General Assembly in September and even earlier, President of Botswana Mokgweetsi Masisi denounced the hoarding of vaccines by some developed countries. Although President Masisi did not specify who was responsible, the United States has been a typical vaccine hoarder since the outbreak, and the slogan of equal access to vaccines for all countries is nothing more than a well-worn old trick. Therefore, the Global Democracy Summit organized by the United States is not to give full play to the democratic spirit, but to invite all countries to make a pilgrimage to Washington to endorse the American democracy. However, the United States must show true democratic spirit; and fully respect the achievements of independent democracy in Africa.

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