London. Our own leaders are currently driving the continent of Africa at break-neck speed into a more insidious form of slavery than that of the colonialism of the 19th and 20th centuries.
And this is taking place while the sound of guns fired to liberate our continent from the very people whom we are handing it back to on a silver platter are still ringing in our ears.
What does this say about us Africans? Our leaders are, or should be, aware that the pioneers of colonialism were Chartered Companies; today those companies have been rebranded into Multinational Corporations, but with identical aims and objectives.
African leaders are seemingly rushing to release our farmlands to these chartered companies and other foreign interests to grow fuel crops to power their motor industries, and food crops to feed their own nationals.
This process which, according to the contracts agreed, cannot be suspended, even if citizens of the host nation are starving – and our leaders acquiesce to such terms, ceding over enormous tracts of land on 99-year ‘leases’.
History books tell us that any 66 or 99-year title deed offered, whether to an individual, a company, and now sovereign states, is and always will be, effectively freehold in practice.
This is tantamount to giving away the land in perpetuity, as no government has ever recovered land from such title-holders without a protracted struggle.
Our African leaders are being treated like mindless juveniles by foreign governments and foreign government-backed institutions, corporations and individuals.
The descendants of our colonisers have returned; they have come back in the same old ways and are re-colonising us in the same old ways.
African leaders are duped (read bribed) by multinationals into growing genetically modified (GM) crops which criminalise a culture that has defined life for millennia.
This technology is turning African farmers, who are used to save seeds to plant next season, into permanent hostages to multinational companies selling their sterile GM seeds.
This is, in essence, sacrificing their own people’s livelihoods for the benefit of foreigners. Why are our leaders treating their people in this way?
And why are Africans being encouraged to fritter away their over-ground and under-ground water resources, as well as their fertile lands, with ideas of growing fuel crops that Africans do not need?
Water is life; while there are substitutes for oil there is no substitute for water. Oil is important; however, millions of Africans in rural areas are surviving without the use of oil, but cannot survive without water.
The foreign Institutions and governments advising Africans to waste their land and water systems are busy preserving those very assets in their own countries, knowing well that land and water are already the new “oil” and new “gold” in the 21st century world.
Therefore, to incite Africans to waste water through absurd bio-fuel schemes is tantamount to declaring war on the poorest in our continent. Why then are leaders apparently oblivious to these realities?
Nature and time have given Africa the opportunity of using its vast natural resources of land and water to grow out of poverty.
Instead of uniting to achieve that goal, we see the most educated and intelligent Africans doing exactly what illiterate and ignorant African chiefs did inadvertently over 150 years previously.
African leaders seem to be competing among themselves to see who can give out most land and water to foreigners in the quickest time and to the same people who, less than 50 years ago; we fought against to liberate ourselves from. What can this be other than sheer stupidity?
Throughout the colonial and post-colonial eras Africa’s strategic minerals commanded high prices in the world market; oil, gas, gold, diamond, coltan, cassiterite, tantalum, bauxite, platinum, uranium, Tanzanite, rubies, sapphires, and tourmalines etcetera have all been exported from Africa on a grand scale, day and night.
Yet in the last 50 years the only continent to have slid backward in terms of development is Africa.
The fundamental question, is if this method of mineral exploitation has failed not only to develop the continent but also has not been able even to reduce poverty, then how can giving away land and water for free, to use purely for foreigners’ own benefit, as is happening now, do anything but worsen Africa’s problems?
Without land the African masses will remain paupers at best and at worst would be unable to survive as landlessness for many is a direct threat to life itself; yet our leaders appear to be competing against each other to create landlessness on an industrial scale among their own people.
Surely leaders are elected to look after the interests of their people and countries; but this no longer appears to be the case in Africa.
What does this say about our leaders and by implication about ourselves as Africans?