Post Colonial Afrika
Is this the Freedom we fought for?

Whenever Afrikan leaders meet and pretend to be solving the problems plaguing this beautiful continent, which they do quite often in Midrand (Johannesburg) they always find a way of putting the blame for the high levels of corruption, poverty, squalor, bad governance and under-development squarely at the door of their former colonial masters. They were recently meeting in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia). They always succesfully, through well-rehearsed rhetoric manage to do this without analysing their own contributions to such failures or understanding their role in the shortcomings. It was such glorious moments many decades ago when the Union Jack started its final descend, with Uncle Bob (Marley) singing a liberation song (Zimbabwe) while another Uncle Bob (Mugabe) who has since become a symbol of everything that is wrong with Zimbabwe clapped hands joyfully. In many Afrikan countries the Union Jack came down for the last time many decades ago and was soon replaced by nationalist flags.

Over many years those new flags have come to symbolise oppression (Zimbabwe), stolen elections (Kenya), squalor (Democratic Republik of Congo) and the haunting power of Harold McMillian's 'winds of change' speech. No oppressive kingdom stays eternal it must be noted, even if such a regime is led by a black man who claims his country will never be a colony again.

Let's see what's wrong with some African countries in alphabetical order;

ANGOLA; Just a few months before Portuguese High Commissioner, Commodore Leonel Cardoso brought down the Portuguese flag, ending five centuries of Portuguese rule thousands of kilometres away in the United States of America there was a Central Intelligence Agency briefing to the US National Security Council of President Gerald Ford. John Stockwell, a former CIA officer in Saigon who was tasked with setting up a support structure in Angola and who was in attendence testified in 1984, "The CIA director (said) 'Gentlemen, this is a map of Africa, and here is Angola. In Angola there are three liberation movements. There is the FNLA, headed by Holden Roberto, they're the good guys. There is the MPLA, headed by Agostinho Neto, who's a drunken psychotic poet with a Marxist background. They're the bad guys' - and they used exactly that terminology, the 'good guys' and the 'bad guys', so that those people on the National Security Council could get it straight what the game was". But then that was not the game, as Savimbi was not mentioned and he later became a potent force until he was compromised by his friends and assassinated, signaling the end of the civil war. No wonder immediately after Cardoso boarded a warship and sailed back to Portugal, the situation exploded and the aforementioned civil war between MPLA and UNITA started.

Much can be put at the door of the West for having used folks like Savimbi as cannon fodder but today Angola has the worst human rights record. Savimbi is dead, UNITA is a chapter in a history book but the situation for the ordinary Angolan has not changed. Why should Portugal be blamed, especially by MPLA when it gave them the government on a platter? Because darkies suffer from slave mentality, which in South Afrika is called apartheid mentality.

ZIMBABWE; Now this is a classic case of a country that has gone seriously wrong. President Robert Mugabe continues to rule over a country that has since lost more than five million of its citizens to other countries where they are squatting as refugees. One wonders if he can see it when he is driven around the streets of Harare. Or maybe he needs to commission a national census to realise that what South Afrikan president Thabo Mbeki said in the national assembly that we have to deal with the fact that we'll have visitors from the North is worrying South Afrikans. No amount of words can start to tell the failures in that country that continue to be piled at the door of 10 Downing. The question to be asked is, what role did Britain play when Mugabe, against any logic chose to host the butcher of Ethiopia Mengistu Haille Merriam in his country? What role did Britain play in his reported massacre of the Ndebele in the 1980s? Did Tony Blair supply the weapons?

MOZAMBIQUE; The fate that befell Mozambique can not be successfully divorced from that of Angola. The CIA with the assistance of the Nationalists in South Afrika made a decision to plunge that country into chaos to stop it from wholly falling under Soviet influence. It was the battlefield of two ideologies during the Cold War. RENAMO was used to unleash terror and suffering to the people of Northern Mozambique and to disrupt rail and road support to liberation movements in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). After Zimbabwe gained its independence, RENAMO's role was in limbo. It was going to be the only proxy presence of Portugal in that country. But what followed later and the refusal of FRELIMO's Samora Machel to sit down with RENAMO's Alfonso Dlhakama and sort their problems can not be blamed on anyone but pride. The civil war in Mozambique, which was a US-Soviet war by proxy could have ended many years ago, if the leaders chose to let go of their selfishness and focused on the interests of the people of Mozambique as they seem to be doing now. If any blame should be put on the West, it should be that they are failing to provide money to finance the demining process which started years ago and continues to be held back by lack of money.

SWAZILAND; This is one textbook case of a failed monarch. AIDS activists are quick to release statistics of infection rate in this landlocked kingdom and the picture is grim. So grim that their king imposed a moratorium on sex while he did not lead by example. Poverty is rampant, opposition parties banned, trade union movements crushed and the King revered. Recently King Mswati III reportedly spent R15 million ($2million) on his birthday bash in a country that is so dependent on South Afrika and donors for its survival. The problem with Swaziland is that while Makhosithive (the King) was trained in England he has not seen the reason why there should be democracy in his own country. He continues ruling the country from the comfort of his palace at Ludzidzini through the Tinkundla system which was only relevant in 1973. He marries a new wife every year whom he builds a palace and buys a BMW X5. This is while the poor people starve and no free political activity is encouraged.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO; There is no ruler more popular than the late Mobutu Sese Seko who allegedly plundered $5 billion of that country's wealth. The country has always had the bad-luck of falling under bad rulers. In the case of Mobutu, the FNLA's Holden Roberto (in Angola) was the brother-in-law of the dictator. When the CIA was supporting Roberto they were doing so through Zaire (now DRC) and no matter how corrupt Mobutu was he was a very important conduit of American aid and had to remain in power at all cost to prop up the balance of power in Angola. It only took a negotiated deal brokered by former SA president Nelson Mandela to get Mobutu aboard the SAS Oeteniqua and out of politics only to die a peaceful death in exile a few years later. The money was squandered under the watch of the US and World Bank and was never returned by the various merchant banks that kept and hedged it all these years.

Then came rebel leader Laurent Kabila who did not improve the situation but schemed with Zimbabwe's Mugabe and Zimbabwean Army's Gen George Mujuru to plunder the country's diamonds in Eastern DRC region of Kivu. And now his son is the president of the democratic DRC but journalists continue to rot in jail if they write stuff he does not like. What Joseph Kabila's fears are is a mystery, but the situation is not improving in that country, especially in the presence of rebel movements sponsored by Rwanda and the Interahamwe still hiding in the bushes. And with Jean-Pierre Bemba now in Portugal, no one knows what he's up to.

KENYA; Poverty and rampant corruption continue to haunt this country where locals are quick to tell anyone who listens that former presidents Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel Arap Moi (both from the Kikuyu ethnic group) gave to their families and cronies half of the country. "Half of Kenya is owned by the Kenyattas", they told me as we walked through a slumvillage of Korogocho.

Last year, while they said before the December 'stolen' elections that their president Mwai Kibaki had done more good than bad, one wonders why are people still held in Kenyan prisons on suspision of belonging to some Islamic Courts fighting over the border in Somalia? There is relative democracy but the gap between the poor and the rich is so wide it raises questions of what is it that Britain did to sustain a legacy of subjudication. The Masai are accusing the Brits residing in a military garrison of copulating with the locals, breeding Coloured kids they refuse to support after they have finished their tours and returned to Britain. They blame the government of acting passive to their pleas for Britain to take responsibility of its 'bastard' offspring and of censuring the country when it destroys their grazing fields to make way for development. Darky leaders are subjecting other darkies to suffering to satisfy their colonial masters, as Kenya is doing with its obsession to satisfy the US and Britain.

UPDATE: As this post is written Kenya is ablaze after a contested election results by the Orange Democratic Movement. The ODM accuses Kibaki of stealing the elections which according to them were explictly won by Raila Odinga. The West has been quick to label the conflict as ethnic orientated, a battle between the Kikuyu and the Luo but ODM South Afrika spokesperson Bernard Alali protests. He says that it is not as ethnic as the government wants the world to believe for political expediency but is about a regime that does not want to relinguish power. He alleges that the people responsible for most of the killings are government sponsored militia groups. Asked to elaborate on why he says it is not tribal Alali disclosed that the Nairobi Member of Parliament for the ODM is a Kikuyu not Luo like Odinga. Pressed to explain who is being killed everyday then he said that the government unleashed murder squads and militias into opposition strongholds, which are occupied in large numbers by the Luo, but the ODM was not voted by the Luo only as it couldn't gather enough votes to challenge Kibaki.

Meanwhile the country, which was the last beacon of hope in East Africa after Somalia and Sudan failed is experiencing the worst violence since the Mau-Mau rebellion.

We'll deliberately stop here and not mention Rwanda, Burundu, Uganda, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Chad, Morocco etc and Western Sahara's struggle for self-determination, Liberia's many years of agony, Ivory Coast's never ending strife, Sierra Leone's limbless children and adults, Nigeria's many years of military dictatorships and the recent stolen elections, Chad's continuing conflict with its neighbours, assisted by Libya's Muammar 'Brother Leader' Gadaffi, Nigeria's Niger Delta and treatment of the Ogoni people in Ogoniland, Egypt's banning of the Muslim Brotherhood and the long service of their current president Hosni Mubarak, Equatorial Guinea's Obiang Ngwema iron fisted rule, Mauritius's never-ending coup de tats and displaced people from the Diego Garcia islands which is now a US military base and many more failed Afrikan countries that make a mockery of Afrika Day. I swear that if Kwame Nkrumah was to rise from the dead, he would cry a Nile of tears.

Bob Marley sang, "We unite we will be free/ so long". It was a war-cry of the late 1980s. Often than not articulated by poets such as convicted bank robber Mzwakhe Mbuli, "Africa will know no peace until we the South are free." This time it means the Zimbabweans, and finally the whole continent can celebrate as a unit. Uhuru!

PS. Just as Zimbabwe seems to be getting there Kenya is ablaze. And the mantra changes, 'Afrika will know no peace, until Kenya is free! Bob Marley sang, "We unite we will be free/ so long", he also meant the Kikuyu and the Luo of Kenya. Not yet Uhuru!

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