Professor Shehu Abdullahi Zuru’s article, published in the Sunday Trust on page 9 of August 27, 2023, thoughtfully portrays Yevgeny Prigozhin as a figure fighting against neocolonialism. Prof. Zuru even equated Prigozhin with revolutionary icons like Thomas Sankara and Che Guevara. While Sankara is widely admired as one of Africa’s most principled leaders, and Guevara was motivated by ideology rather than profit in his contributions to the anti-colonial struggle, Prigozhin’s motivations were primarily economic. This makes them incomparable figures.
Zuru argued that, despite his falling out with Moscow’s political establishment, Prigozhin’s efforts against neocolonial forces in Africa were commendable and contributed to a global anti-neocolonial movement. However, mercenaries are not considered lawful combatants by any standard; as a result, Prigozhin does not qualify to be anyone’s hero.
I must offer a different perspective on this matter. While the fight against neocolonialism is undoubtedly important, it is critical to consider the methods used to achieve this goal. Private Military Companies (PMCs) like Wagner, with which Prigozhin was associated, have been implicated in indiscriminate killings. Such actions contravene the African Union and international conventions, as well as various domestic laws.
These actions undermine the sovereignty of African nations and have detrimental effects on domestic affairs. Wagner’s operations were confined to just three countries. Africa comprises over 50 countries, and it is inappropriate to generalise or loosely use the term “Africa” to describe the actions of a single PMC.
- Despite flood alert, states yet to evacuate citizens
- FG investigates failed cataract surgeries at Kaduna National Eye Centre
While the article underscores the importance of resisting neocolonialism, it is equally important to critically assess the means used to achieve this goal. The involvement of foreign entities, especially PMCs accused of human rights abuses, warrants a careful and nuanced discussion regarding their role in the domestic affairs of African countries and the broader anti-neocolonial struggle.
Dr Hurso Adam wrote from Abuja