Is Africa now a colony forever? The most depressing and tragic answer to the above question is “yes”, I am afraid, and I will explain why. In the last 50 years when our leaders have been celebrating and eating the fruits of “independence”, the former colonial powers have been pondering and calculating how to take back Africa – and they have found the answers. The colonialists have now got the formulae to ensure they can again control the destiny of their former colonies and their invaluable resources – this time forever.
In 2012 the population of Africa surpassed the 1.07 billion mark. In addition to this immense pool of human resources, the continent boasts unmatched mineral resources, major rivers, vast forests with diverse flora and fauna and, for most part, sufficient rainfall. Aside from this, 60 per cent of the world’s cultivable land is in Africa. Alas, these riches are currently being exploited for the benefit of everybody except Africa and the African masses, reminiscent of colonial times. Where does the fault lie? The answer is with our leaders; they are either staggeringly stupid or staggeringly treacherous; which of these is worse is a matter of opinion.
One Rashid Chilumba wrote a very good article in the Platform column of the ‘Citizen’ newspaper of Wednesday the 15/01/14 in which he said, “Africa is sliding into colonialism”. In my opinion that was understating the case. The fact of the matter is that Africa has been locked back into the mire of colonialism since the 1980s when the Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs) were imposed by the rich nations of the world through their Financial Institutions like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other Multilateral Lending Agencies. Appropriately acronymed, SAPs have since effectively “sapped” every ounce of independence from African countries. This was the first step on the part of the former colonial powers in the process of reclaiming their colonies.
Having re-gained control of African economies it was time now to re-gain control of the continent’s most valuable assets – its vast land and its people. The colonial powers learned from experience that Africans are fiercely independent, not only of international institutions, but even of their own governments, except for the purposes of taxation, as most of them still live through subsistence farming. Therefore, for the economic take-over to be complete, it had to be accompanied by land control. According to Oxfam, up to the decade ending in 2012, “an area of land eight times the size of the UK has been sold off globally”, much of it in Africa. “This land could feed a billion people, equivalent to the number of people who go to be bed hungry each night”.
Land appropriation on a huge scale is taking place throughout the continent, introducing; GMO methods which disempower local farmers to save and sow their own crops; subsistence farmers have been robbed of their ability to support themselves through loss of land rights and are increasingly being forced back into plantation servitude; vast tracts of land are being used to grow flowers and food crops for overseas consumption and the cultivation of bio-fuel crops which have now been shown to worsen rather than resolve global warming.
The third method of guaranteeing the permanence of Africa’s colonial condition is the use of the United Nations (UN) Security Council. Any future Liberation Organisation will first be labelled a “terrorist group”, followed by a UN Security Council resolution authorising global action against the Movement.
The rich nations have also at times compromised the integrity of the UN by using it to undermine legitimate governments which are not supportive to Western efforts to infiltrate and control their economies, through UN sanctions and support for anti-government elements, often masquerading as “liberation movements”; this was clearly shown in the case of Iraq and Libya. In Madagascar it was the reverse; a popular people’s Government, which had the support of the country’s Constitutional Court and the Army, was sanctioned against by the UN because it cancelled an illegal and unviable sale of half of Madagascar’s arable land to a foreign company connected to the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private finance arm of the World Bank.
The fourth and last resort, if needed, will be the use of force – but this time with no risk to colonial troops, as was the case in previous anti-liberation movement operations. In fact the whole concept of war has now changed with the introduction of unmanned drones, or “remotely piloted planes”, as they are euphemistically named. Any coming generation of Africans who will dare, like their predecessors, to form Freedom Fighter Movements to take back the lands now being given away by their self-serving leaders will be massacred by these monstrous killing-machines which are already operational as you read this article.
To have native Presidents in State Houses, national anthems and national flags are not signs of a country’s real independence, but rather its symbols; the real signs of independence come when the people wield the power to control the economy and politics of their country and utilise these powers to improve the lot of the overwhelming majority of their people – not just a self-serving and privileged elite kept in position by foreign powers. Real signs of independence are manifested when the leaders are answerable to the people who voted them into power and not the dictates of foreign governments and institutions. Our leaders are today acting like prefects responding to the dictates of school masters and mistresses from outside Africa. This is more than shameful – it is both a scandal and a tragedy.
From the 1950s through the 1980s and 90s rag-tag armies sprang up in various African countries fighting for liberation from colonial rule, culminating in the formation of the African Liberation Committee (headquartered in Dar-Es-Salaam) in 1963, designed to co-ordinate liberation efforts continent-wide. Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, Tanzania’s first President carried out that Committee’s work remarkably.
These rag-tag armies were called Freedom Fighters. Leaders like: Dedan Kimaathi of Kenya, Ahmed Ben Bella of Algeria, Samora Moses Machel of Mozambique, Agostinho Neto of Angola, Amilcar Cabral of Guinea Bissau, Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo of Zimbabwe, Sam Nujoma of Namibia, Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Robert Sobukwe of South Africa at one time or another led such fighters in their countries. Shortly after the death of one of the greatest of these charismatic leaders, Nelson Mandela, Africans are justified in asking, “Where are our leaders of such stature now?”
In fact, our African leaders have been thoroughly out-thought and out-manoeuvred by the former colonial powers, while pursuing their own greed and financial gain. Whether they are aware of this fact or not, only they can know the truth – but the fact is undeniable. The millions upon millions of Africans who died to liberate our continent died in vain because a little more than just fifty years later Africa is once more a colony – permanently this time around – and our own leaders are to blame. In his inaugural address on 6th March 1957, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah told his people, “… Ghana, your beloved country is free forever”. Alas, he could not have been more wrong.