Africa’s history has been history of suffering and the struggle for liberation and independence. The overarching problem with Africa’s struggle for liberation and independence from colonial and imperialist rule and exploitation has been centered on political liberation, without any emphasis on economic liberation. African countries gained their independence from colonial rule many moons ago; but had never gained any independence from colonial subjugation and thuggery that is continuing today; where we see Africa’s resources continued to be pillaged by multinationals, who contribute nothing to the social betterment of Africans or to their economic freedom. The independence of Africa was to be of no meaning or consequence as the rulers of “independent” African countries were mere puppets of colonial masters. Those, like Patrice Lumumba of Congo and Sultan Muhammad ibn Yusuf of Morocco, who stood up against the imperial west, and were a threat to their geopolitical and economic interests, were either assassinated or such attempt made on them, in order to make way for those corruptible African puppets who were to serve chiefly such interests of the imperial west.
Patrice Lumumba was conveniently replaced by the corrupt and a kleptomaniac of a Colonel, Joseph-Desire Mobutu (later known as Mobutu Sese-Seko), who was to rule of Zaire (formerly Congo later to be called the Democratic Republic of Congo “DRC”) for over 30 years, safely under protection of the US and Belgium; which was to rape Zaire of its mineral resources, particularly uranium which is a key ingredient in the production of nuclear weapons. Zaire at the time produced 50 per cent of the world supply of uranium, unsurprisingly, most of which went to the US. The imperial powers had taken it upon themselves to eliminate, by any method, any African nationalist (mostly considered communists), whose purpose was to liberate Africa from the clutches of colonial influence and free African people from degrading conditions of poverty.
Prime Minister Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa of Nigeria, was certainly seduced by his colonial masters when he, in his acceptance of the Independence Act from Britain in 1960, said, “….we are grateful to the British officers whom we have known, first as masters, and then as leaders, and finally as partners, but always as friends.” Indeed without any doubt such absurd partnership and friendship was cemented in a 50-50 profit sharing agreement with Shell-BP after the discovery of oil. This is all too common across the continent, rich in mineral resources; yet in the depth of the scourge of poverty and its accompanying misery and dehumanizing conditions.
It was few countries like Libya and Algeria which sought to secure the wealth from its mineral resources. Colonel Ghaddafi, unapologetically took on oil companies and forced them into making deals that were to benefit Libya and its people, rather than to continue to serve imperialist interests. Not surprising that there had been number of unsuccessful attempts to assassinate Ghadaffi in order that the oil multinationals can wrest control of Libya’s oil under a rule of a puppet. The west has been violently opposed to any attempts of nationalization, particularly in mineral rich African states. The offensive against communism was primarily born of the need to entrench capitalism, under which colonial thuggery could continue unabated in brutal advancement of geopolitical and economic interests of the imperial west.
The Algerian War of independence against French colonial thugs was a case in point of the imperial masters violently refusing to liquidate their empires and surrender the control of Algeria’s oil and natural gas resources.
In 1973, at the OAU, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethopia said, “Africa cannot be assured of peace and progress, if any part of our continent remains under foreign domination.” Progress in Africa, economic progress, including political and social progress, has been particularly stumped by the presence and continued influence and control of the imperial west through their self-serving multinational financial institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank; that impose meaningless and nonsensical structural adjustment programmes in African government who seek funding to develop and grow their economies. World super-powers continue to sow the seed of corruption within the continent, using these institutions to lining the pockets of pliable leaders of low integrity, who continue to live in the lap of luxury while the majority of Africans are subjected to inhumane conditions of famine and disease. Not much progress has been achieved since the independence of African countries from their colonial masters in the 1960s. Africa, particularly in mineral rich parts such as DRC and Sierra Leone, is riddled with civil conflict, primarily fermented by the imperial forces, hell-bent in continue to pillage Africa’s resources for their own interests.
“We prefer poverty in liberty to riches in slavery”, said Sekou Toure of Guinea as the French colonial masters attempted to dupe Africa countries struggling for independence in joining some nonsensical French Community, self-governing territories of the French Colonial Empire, of Charles de Gaulle. These words, pronounced in 1958, of Sekou Toure ring true today in an environment where African leaders have elected the personal riches, securing themselves to the influence and control by the imperial west, while their subjects remain to lead a ignoble existence in poverty. “Africans are not a problem to Africa, it is the Europeans,” said the British Prime Minister, Harold MacMillan on recognition of the wind of change sweeping across Africa in the 1960s.
While we continue to attribute most of the corrupt practices to Africans in general; it would be most appropriate that we also look farther North of Africa to apportion in equal measure the same blame to those who inspired corruption in Africa.