Honorable William Jefferson Clinton 
President, United States of America 
The White House 
Washington, DC 20515

Mr. President:

I have just returned from the Democratic Republic of Congo, meeting with committed individuals from myriad walks of life. Unfortunately, I feel compelled to report to you that crimes against humanity are being committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo and throughout Africa, seemingly with the help and support of your Administration.

I would suggest to you that U.S. policy in the Democratic Republic of Congo has failed and it is another example of our policy failures across the Continent. One only has to point to diplomatic duality in Ethiopia and Eritrea, indecisiveness and ambivalence in Angola, indifference in Democratic Republic of Congo, the destruction of democracy in Sierra Leone, and inflexibility elsewhere on the Continent. The result is an Africa policy in disarray, a Continent on fire, and U.S. complicity in crimes against humanity.

Mr. President, everywhere, people whisper it, but are too “polite” to say it out loud: your Africa policy has not only NOT helped to usher in the so-called “African Renaissance”, but has contributed to the continued pain and suffering of the African peoples.

Meanwhile, thousands of people die unnoticed across the entire Continent each day from poverty, disease, and war. This is not the legacy that you want to leave for all of us who have supported you and who also care very deeply for Africa. And I am convinced that you don’t want the “drift” of your Africa policy to inflict more suffering among the world’s most vulnerable people as you wind down your last days in the White House.

In addition, your failure to intervene and stop the illegal invasion of Democratic Republic of Congo by your allies, Uganda and Rwanda, has directly led to the commission of crimes against humanity by their troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Even now, you ask the world to “shadow kiss” this outrageous policy by calling these two countries uninvited when the world knows that both Uganda and Rwanda are military aggressors deep in the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, far away from their borders. The atrocities being suffered daily by all the people of this region are outrageous and are compounded by bad U.S. policy and indifferent U.S. leadership.

Finally, Mr. President, you must take personal charge of our policy. The current policies have boomeranged against us and have bankrupted us in the eyes of our victims and the world. How can you justify leaving Africa in flames as you leave the White House?

It is now time for you to personally engage on these important issues. I stand ready to be your ally on the Hill for all these important issues. We all know that when you get involved in a concerted push for peace it does make a difference. The time for your personal engagement is now.

Thank you, Mr. President for your consideration of this request. Now, more than ever, your attention is needed to help Africa climb out of this vicious downward cycle.


Cynthia McKinney, Member of Congress and member of the House Committee on International Relations and Committee on National Security

August 31, 1999