By Mubatsi Asinja Habati
Johnny Carson, Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, has likened WikiLeaks to a person who eavesdrops on a conversation between a husband and wife discussing one of their in-laws which is purely a private matter but steals the information and lets it out in the public. “We hope that those who have this information recognize that it is stolen material,” he said, cautioning the media not trade in it.
Carson said the contents in leaked US diplomatic cables do not in any way reflect the position of the US government but individual opinions of the diplomats, adding that the relation between the US and African countries is not affected by the WikiLeaks revelation of the secret US diplomacy.
The leaked cables about African leaders express unflattering comments by US ambassadors across the continent. Leaked cables about Uganda so far reveal that Museveni at one expressed his fears to the US government that his long time friend, Libyan Leader Muammar al-Gaddafi would shot down his plane and asked the US government to beef up his security whenever he would travel. In a more recent cable written in October 2009 the US ambassador to Kampala Jerry Lanier allegedly wrote to his government that Museveni is “eroding the African success story”. The leaked cables described Kenya as a “flourishing swamp of corruption”.
“I am not going to confirm nor deny any information about one or two cables about any country,” said Carson, when asked about alleged leaks that the US secretary of state asked its diplomats in the Great Lakes Region to collect information on leaders, military, opposition leaders and prominent people in the region. “No information that may emerge from WikiLeaks can weaken our relations with Africa,” Carson said. He was reacting to questions from journalists across the continent in a teleconference on Dec. 9.
The recent revelations by WikiLeaks on the US diplomatic maneuvers have brought the two faces of America, something that has angered the US government. The leaks show the visible soft public diplomacy and secret candid diplomacy assessment by American diplomats of peers from other countries.
In the same teleconference, Carson also spoke about a range of Africa-American issues including the crisis in Ivory Coast on which he announced that the US government respects the resolutions of the ECOWAS and the United Nations that recognizes Alassane Quattara as president-elect of that country.