President Julius Nyerere yesterday sharply denounced the recent Western involvement in Zaire's civil war and Cuban role in Africa.
Reading an eight-page statemetn to the diplomatic corps, Nyerere criticized President Carter for listening to "historical voices" in his administration complaining about Cubans in Africa. He accused the United State of using "Africa in the East-West conflict."
The Western plan for a pan-African military force to assist Zaire came under particularly bitter attack by Nyerere who described it as a device to assert Western domination of Africa.
Until now Nyerere has been one of President Carter's strongest and most influencial supporters in Africa influential and, the American president is also known to have a high regard for the Tanzanian leaders. Since he became the first African leader to visit Carter after he entered the White House last year, Nyerere has frequently argued that the Carter administrations represents a new era in U.S. policy toward Africa. Yesterday's remarks indicate an end to the Nyerere-Carter honeymoon.
In a subsequent meeting with journalists, Nyerere said," Now if President Carter is to turned around and listen to the new Kissinger in his administration" - an obvious reference to national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski - "he should not be surprised if we change our views because then he's saying he does not care about one-man, one-vote in Africa. He only cares about confrontation with the Soviet Union and defence of capitalism in Africa."
Nyerere was careful to leave the door opened for continued cooperation with President Carter.
"I'm still hopeful" that a more progressive voice will again be heard, he said. "Let that voice which is still speaking to Africa, not this hysterical voice about Africa being taken over Cuba. It's an absurdity. I don't think it becomes a powerful country like the United States."
The Tanzanian president, a socialist, said that while he never expected Carter to work against the interest of U.S. capitalism, he had believed there were ground of cooperation in bringing about majority rule in southern Africa.
"I've always believed that President Carter can help us to end racism and minority rule in southern Africa because he is a liberal and a true democrat," Nyerere said. He added that it is on that basis that the American president has supported southern African Guerrilla movements "even though he knows they get arms from Communist countries."
Nyerere's statement defended the role of the Soviet Union and Cuba on the African continent, accused Western powers of seeking to recolonize Africa and argued that any all-African military froce should be formed by the Organization of African Unity not by Western powers.
The statement argued that Cuban and Soviet troops are only present in two African countries. Angola and Ethiopia, and that they are there "at the request of the legitimate and recognized governments concerned for reasons which are well known and completely understandable to all reasonable people."
The statement added, "current developments show that the greater immediate danger to Africa's freedom comes from nations in (the) Western block."
In his remarks on the Western-initiated pan-African security force for Zaire, Nyerere said: "It is the height of arrogance for anyone else to talk of establishing a pan-African force to defend Africa. It is quite obvious, moreover, that those who have put forward this idea, and those who seek to initiate such a force, are not interested in the freedom of Africa. They are interested in the domination of Africa."
He condemned African countries supporting the pan-African force, terming them "an African fifth column." The statement continued, "It makes little difference if the European initiators of this plan find Africans to do their fighting for them. There were Africans who fought with the colonial invaders. And there were Africans who fought against the freedom movements."
He called upon African countries wanting an all-African army to discuss it at the OAU meeting in Khartoum, Sudan, next month.
While explaining that "Tanzania does not want anyone from outside Africa to govern Africa," Nyerere conceded, "We do not deny the principle that any African state has the right to ask for assistance, either military or economic, from the country of its choice."
But Nyerere made a distinction between legitimate African governments and those which no longer have the support of their citizens. In an evident reference to President Mobutu Sese Seko's government in Zaire, Nyerere declared, "We must reject the principle that external powers have the right to maintain in power African governments which are universally recognized to be corrupt, or incompetent or a bunch of murderers, when their people try to make a change."
In a statement which is likely to cause controversy among other African leaders, Nyerere said, "The people of an individual African country have as much right to change their corrupt government in the last half of the 20th century, as, in the past, the British, French and Russian peoples had to overthrow their own rotten regimes."