The Russia, Ukraine, Afrika Story of the Century…a milestone in the history of diplomacy and conflict resolution- Amb. Anthony Mukwita


The Russia, Ukraine, Afrika Story of the Century
…a milestone in the history of diplomacy and conflict resolution

Amb. Anthony Mukwita wrote-16th June 2023

“So therein lies the dilemma, allow Ukraine to be a NATO member or allow Russia to protect its own security in its backyard…allow Ukraine to enjoy its own democracy—so many questions so few answers as in many conflicts hence the reason they are called conflicts. Time for peace.”

The month of June will go down in the annals of Africa´s history and that of Zambia as momentous.

This is because during this month between the 16th and 18th June, Africa for the first actively attempted to broker peace in a continent outside our backyard—Europe.

If you are an international relations pundit like me, myself personally, you must have read that President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa joined by our very own President Hakainde Hichilema, H.E Macky Sall of Senegal, representatives from Egypt and Uganda beat a path to Ukraine and Russia on a peace mission.

A tough peace call to put a complicated collection of paradoxes in a light manner.

On the one hand is Ukraine, a former member of the USSR before the Federation of Russia was born in 1991 while on the other hand is Russia.


If you are Zambian like me, you probably wonder why I should even be burning the midnight oil penning this missive when we have problems of our own home.

Its only until you learn that the world has shrunk as a village, when there´s conflict in one part of the world, chances are that it will spill onto your country in one way or another.

That’s why I decided to come up with a five-year-old kids guide to make us understand why there´s a stand off between Russia and Ukraine to bring it close to home.

Let´s start with Ukraine, a country with a population of about 44 million people compared to Russia´s estimated 144million people, by far the largest country by size in Europe.


Russia is potentially the richest country globally in mineral resources sitting at about $75 trillion of gas oil etc, you mention it.

Ukraine on the other hand sits on the largest uranium reserves in Europe, second largest reserves of iron ore, titanium, and manganese, the third largest reserve of shale gas.

You see where I am going here?


Trouble for Ukraine according to international relations experts started when she applied to join NATO, the Northern Atlantic Treaty Organisation, a 31-member group of European countries or allies that work together in military corporation.

Russia wasn’t happy because Ukraine is in its backyard sharing a border length of about 2295kms, if Ukraine joined NATO, nothing stops the United States and NATO allies from establishing military bases in Ukraine that could ´threaten´ the security of Russia according to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergei Lavrov available on YouTube at a click.

“So there in lies the dilemma, allow Ukraine to be a NATO member or allow Russia to protect its own security…allow Ukraine to enjoy its own democracy—so many questions so few answers as in many conflicts hence the reason they are called conflicts.”

As a former Ambassador in Europe, published author-editor-in- chief of years, I don’t know who is wrong or right here.

The only thing I know is that war in the 21st century or any other century for that matter is bad as Marvin Gay sung “War what is good for absolutely nothing.”

Hence the reason I was elated to note that our President Hichilema threw his hat in the ring to help find a solution as part of an African Union initiative led by his colleague President Ramaphosa.

A little goes a long a way.


It took months before the world woke up to the sad blood story of genocide in Rwanda that saw about a million Tutsis and moderate Hutu´s die in a charade that could have been stopped earlier.
Almost one million lives snuffed out in one hundred days, women and children.

Sadly about 6 million jews (30 % of Zambia´s population) and sympathisers died between 1941 and 1945 as German´s demented Fuhrer targeted hapless jews in Europe.

A war is raging in Syria, Israel-Palestine, DRC back home, Sudan it could get to Chad etc, how many more must die before we can make love?


I am a fairly educated man with many years of experience in the foreign service, media, and publishing but even I can’t wrap my head around whether the African initiative can halt the conflict between Russo and Ukraine.

Any effort to end the stand-off in my view is worth commending so bravo President Ramaphosa, Hichilema, Sall et all for making the trip because the stand-off has created a deficit in energy, grain and agro-in puts in Africa, as global citizens we can’t stand on the fence and watch.

If our efforts add to the bigger picture of China´s President Xi Jinping recently who visited President Putin and counterpart Zelensky, then so be it.

A peaceful Ukraine and or a peaceful Russia is more desirable and more profitable than a conflict ridden one.


History is replete with examples of long bloody wars but yet somehow, they do end, albeit at a huge cost of human and economic cost.

Most conflicts according to studies end when a party in the war loses the appetite to continue fighting, compromise or find a middle lane.

Nothing lasts forever even the November rain, so shall the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

The catch for me then in conclusion is, at what cost does Ukraine want to hold on to its NATO dream? Also how far is Russo ready to protect what it calls its national security?

The other one is how long is the US and NATO allies willing to continue backing Ukraine instead of finding another solution over a cup of tea? What is the garden variety in situations like this?

My answer is I have absolutely no answer, I just hope and pray for peace as an international relations analyst and expert.

I am certain you know more than I do.

Also, if our African leaders can burn jet fuel to travel to Eurasia to ´make love not war´ or seek peace, I reckon they can stop the fire on the continent raging in Sudan, DRC etc, which they are probably already doing without my knowledge.

NOTE: This article was penned by Ambassador Anthony Mukwita who this April released his second geopolitical book entitled ´China in Africa, the Zambia Story´ available on Amazon and Takealot, soon to be in Zambian bookstores. Its among the top 200 Africa books on Amazon now.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here