By Austin Kaluba
Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? It has been already of old time, which was before us. Ecclesiastes 1 vs 10
It is 200 years plus now since that barbaric practice-trafficking in human beings was abolished and yet, the former slave masters have just reincarnated into absentee imperialists controlling Africa’s wealth and even the so called independent states from 10 Downing Street and Washington Capitol.
In short the Trans Atlantic Slave trade has just metaphorsised into Trans Atlantic State trade!
The wind of change that British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan spoke about only birthed pseudo-political independent state heavily dependent on former colonial masters who still control the economies and political direction of their former colonies.
In Nigeria, one of the most significant and most populous African country, independence has been marred by carryover of ethnic differences (many fanned by colonial masters), control of oil fields, regionalism and chaotic leadership making the west-influenced country almost ungovernable.
Since Portuguese explorers, Nigeria has had many uncaring and profit-minded lovers who have exploited its rich natural resources in connivance with chiefs and in Post-colonial Nigeria-politicians, mostly army leaders.
It was in 1885 though that the troubled country was ‘officially’ chartered by Britain following the Royal Niger Company under the leadership of one Sir George Taubman Goldie. It was the beginning of an illicit, cunning and highly manipulative influence that needs radical changes to redeem.
In 1900, the company’s territory came under control of the British government, which consolidated its illegal control of what was to become modern Nigeria. The following year in January saw the country becoming a British protectorate.
In 1914, the Niger area was formally united as the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria. Administratively, Nigeria remained divided into the northern and southern provinces and Lagos colony. Western education and encompassing of British values developed much faster in the south than in the north especially among the Ibos who were open to progressive change while maintaining their rich indigenous culture.
Many historians have identified the unifying of the north and south as being one of the major problems affecting the country complete with the two different religions -Islam and Christianity practised by in the two regions.
The British colonialists used the divide and rule tactics successfully by discouraging the better-educated southerners in holding political office in preference to their ill-educated northern brothers whom they favoured to hold positions of leadership.
Following the wind of change that saw Nigeria get independence in 1960, the problems that had been sown by the now absentee colonial masters who were still interested in the country’s economy surfaced with grave consequences.
Further down south, one notorious imperialist Cecil Rhodes who dreamed of a Cairo to Cape imperialistic scheme opened the Southern Africa to plunder and looting through the British South African Company, which like the Royal Niger Company was formed to enrich the small European island by looting resources from Africa.
Like in the case of Nigeria, several charters, treaties and pacts were signed with chiefs like Lobengula and Lewanika to allow the mine prospectors access to the wealth that lay in the once African-owned regions.
One would think I am delving too much into history which has no significance to our modern Africa, but it is history that determines who we are now. In southern Africa, the alliances which started with chiefs still has effects on the economy of countries in the region.
Throughout his reign Kaunda had a love/hate relationship with Anglo/America who run the mines in Zambia. Kaunda knew the colossal profits they reaped from owning the mines despite Zambia also getting some substantial income.
One has to look at countries like South Africa, Namibia and Botswana, which are not independent per se considering the influence of the whites over the economies of these states. Zimbabwe freed herself recently from the control of whites recently by grabbing land from the few farmers and redistributing it to the rightful owners.
In Congo, which King Leopold of Belgium considered as his own farm, the western world especially America intervened by orchestrating the murder of Patrice Lumumba who championed communism to replace him with their blue-eyed boy Mobutu SeSe Seko. Mobutu shocked the world with the same cruelty of former colonial masters by taking the country as his personal property.
Congo is not the only country in Africa where leaders have been imposed from the west. The list of leaders who have been remote-throned from the west is long and it include almost all regions in Africa especially those blessed with natural resources.
However, arm-chair critics of African politics and pedestrian analysts who do not dig deeper in understanding the country’s problems don’t know what is involved in the Faustian pact Africa leaders make with the former colonial masters.
In the case of Nigeria, the west intervenes in order to buy oil for a song. In other countries which have diamonds, it is the same story of plundering the country’s minerals while the locals are fighting. Ian Fleming, the late British author was right when he wrote that Diamonds are Forever. He forgot to add, so are wars especially in African countries which have the precious stone.
The Western media has deafened our ears with shouts of bad governance in Africa and corruption. While this is true, the West also plays a part in banking the money of former and serving African leaders.
The strategies which have been used to fight this Trans Atlantic State Trade by concerned parties has been flawed with misunderstanding of what the problems is, or worse still the intervention needed to address them. It is high time the new progressive African patriots organised better strategies to bring permanent solutions affecting the vast continent./ End…