Standing up to the immorality of political practices within independent African states is the ultimate expression of patriotism. When our forebear fought the inhumane colonial system and institutions they wanted in their place humane systems and institutions that reflected every individual and every community; they desired systems that were based on the equality of all humans, but today’s independent Africa is far from that. At the heart of independent African states’ political governance is tribalism, it is a new kind of intolerance in the continent towards other cultures, traditions and values other than that of the tribe holding the levers of power; it is by design and intent more comprehensive and totalitarian.
Colonialism (after its mother slavery) reveals the depths of human cruelty, and its long-term impact on Africa is immense, but let us be equally careful not to use it as an excuse for poor leadership in Africa. We have replaced foreign looters and abusers with local monsters. We have an outrageous leadership only good at making excuses and silencing those who dare challenge those excuses. Africa will not progress by investing in propaganda and excuses but through taking responsibility.
What the African leadership and society as a whole lacks in substance and political will and creativity it seeks to substitute with length, hyperbole, diversion and calculated nurturing of victimhood mentality. Yes, Africa, like Asia, is a victim of the abhorrent colonialism yet there is a need to correctly diagnose today’s problems and address them effectively irrespective of the source.
Why is the independent Africa very harsh to the black African; why is independent Africa more susceptible to hunger with no tangible solutions in sight; why is independent Africa struggling to provide reliable clean water supplies and a well-developed sewage system; why is the ‘educated’ youth in an independent Africa jobless; why is an African citizen having to leave their independent country to enjoy free speech? To blame these inadequacies, among others, solely on colonialism will be an abdication of our responsibility to the continent.
It is in the independent Africa where the black child’s dreams are first shattered. People have suffered unspeakable abuse, journalists arrested for doing their jobs and political opponents murdered through internal mechanisation, absolutely nothing to do with colonialism. Let us not excuse crime because perpetrators happen to share the same skin colour as the victims; victims of today’s crimes deserve justice.
Black African leaders like to talk about the importance of morality but act with impunity and total disregard for those morals. When Matabeles were killed in 1983 to 1984 no African leader condemned the state engineered brutality, it was the Western media that raised concerns, it was the Western funded Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe (CCJPZ) that investigated the atrocities and published its findings to the world. When for around 100 days in 1994 hundreds of thousands of Tutsis and moderate Hutus were murdered by Hutu extremists in Rwanda, African leaders folded their arms leaving the responsibility to a small UN force until Western forces arrived. Canadian (Operation Lance), British (Operation Gabriel), and Australian (Operation Tamor) forces were among the first western nations to arrive and along with the small UN force began assisting Rwanda in achieving peace and healing, including intervening in the genocide.
August 2022 figures from the Nigeria oil production regulator show that the country’s crude oil production fell below 1 million barrels per day (bpd) due to rampant theft from pipelines. That according to data from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is Nigeria’s lowest daily average in 25 years, and the country slipped behind Angola as Africa’s largest producer. In July 2022, a Shell executive described the industrial-scale oil theft as posing an “existential” threat to what is one of Africa’s largest oil exporter while President Muhammadu Buhari pointed that the problem was affecting state finances “enormously”.
The interference with production comes largely from militant groups in the Niger Delta region. The question we need to ask and try and answer is what has prompted and perpetuated the sabotage activities? Are proceeds from the oil exports shared fairly and environmental damage addressed effectively in the eyes of locals? The problems are internal and need internal solutions; we cannot blame colonialism for lack of remedial measures between the Nigeria government and its people.
What will turn the continent into a viable political and economic force is honesty within. We specialise on minors while ignoring major internal weaknesses that perpetuate and maintain bad governance. Africa has an open door policy when it comes to regional institutions membership; they are turned into brotherhood social events than principle based institutions with participants expected to meet certain moral standards.
On 09/09/22 former (after being unconstitutionally removed by ZANU PF government) Ntabazinduna Chief Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni expressed his disgust at seeing President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the Africa Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) 2022, hosted in Rwanda between 5 – 9 September 2022, he argued that the Zimbabwean leader was directly responsible for the impoverishment of fellow countrymen and his invitation to the forum lacked merit.
Change and progress are possible, but we need to stop talking like victims and focus on the problems to find solutions. Colonialism and West-shaming has become an easy escape route for our leadership failings. Let us face up to the fact we lack creativity and are not willing to break bad habits. Colonialism legacy presents problems but we have the responsibility to deal with the impact like other societies have done, e.g., South Korea.