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Where are the African militaries as the continent battles Ebola?

Publishing Date : 06 November, 2014

Author : Weekend Post Commentary

The President of the United States, Barrack Obama has announced that he is sending over 4000 American soldiers to West Africa to help in the fight against Ebola. This comes after he also announced to the world that his administration considered Ebola outbreak in Africa a top national security concern for the United States.

Just this week, the leaders of both the International Monetary fund and the World Bank painted a gloomy economic picture that will befall not just the affected African countries but indeed the whole of the continent as a result of Ebola. They said no economic efforts should be spared in saving the continent. They even said the continent should not be scared to go and borrow money from the market if such money was going to be used to fight Ebola.

If Africans had any doubts on what ramifications the outbreak was going to have for the continent, it is our hope that following these dire warning from the people who know better than our leaders will wake up and see that the continue is facing annihilation. As we all know the epicenter of Ebola outbreak is in Africa.

It is the Africans who are paying an excessively heavy price in human life. The continent is also having to shoulder a heavy economic burden wrought on it by Ebola, and this at a time when like the world it is still to fully recover from the worst recession in a very long time. The economic recovery that was starting to hold as seen by impressive growth over the last few years now faces a perilous future. But as Africans we should be worried that while the leaders from elsewhere, are showing concern as to deploy over 4000 troops as is the case with America, not a single African country, much less the African Union has deployed assets to that effect. There is another equally worrying spectacle.

In this hour of need, where are our so called friends like Russia and China who are always working at turning African leaders against the west? It should be a source of shame that such neo-imperialists are nowhere to be seen. West African countries like Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone are being ravaged by Ebola.

As we all know some of them are also plagued by poverty. All gains made especially given that some of them are emerging from many years of conflict, war and debilitating civil strife will most certainly be eroded. It is disappointing that the rest of Africa is doing very little to help these countries to respond effectively to Ebola.

These countries have by and large been left to fight Ebola on their own. The help that we see flowing to Ebola struck countries is mainly from the West. Very little efforts are coming from fellow African countries. We note efforts by such countries like South Africa, to send technical and medical teams to train local. But such efforts are far from enough. With America now sending military personnel, the question that we ask ourselves is just why is Africa not doing the same? Many of us would recall that when Mali was faced with an insurgency that threatened to turn that country into a haven of terrorism, it was the French that came to the rescue.

There are many such related examples. We call on Africa to do more to resolve its own problems; not through talking but by deploying resources and assets to achieve such goals. In the case of Ebola outbreak, what is even more disappointing is the lack of coordination for all the assistance that the affected African countries are receiving from overseas. We also call on countries like China, India and Russia (especially China) to do more, especially given the amount of business and commodities they continue to extract from Africa.

China is wrong to pretend to be a friend of Africa and yet turn a blind eye when Africa goes through turmoil such as is the case with Ebola today. There is a saying that “a friend in need is a friend indeed.” We doubt if that can be said of China under the current circumstances. But beyond that, we call on Africa’s sub-regional economic blocs like SADC and others to do more.

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