Recent political events in West Africa – Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Faso and Niger, all Francophone countries – must be welcomed as a new phase in African resistance to Western colonialism shrouded as “helping uncivilized natives”, “the white man’s mission”, “the civilizing mission” “religious proselytization” and “godly mission”.
These are nothing but organized, systematic, and long-term exploitation of the resources of Africa. Having ventured bravely across the turbulent waters of the sea, the arid Sahara and the inclement rainforests, for both knowledge and trade, it became very clear that European countries had a sense of mission to conquer, subdue, and exploit Africans in many ways.
Starting with the Berlin Conference, where Africans were treated as spoils of war, having been conquered by superior technologies of war laced with deceit for expropriation of surplus value, the West ensured that economic servitude remained the bane of Africans.
It did not take long for Africans to recognise that the Europeans were not only interested in trade, they were also interested in maintaining Africans as domains for their exploitation of both human and material resources.
The Europeans had the sense, in their own interests, to ensure that Africa was the elephantine meat that each could carve into areas of control. They came in with their civilisation that ensured that Africans are not their equals.
Seen as uncivilised and barbaric, the Europeans ensured that they do not live in the same premises. Thus, they set up discriminatory settlements, a distance from the “barbarians”.
Although they evangelised, in their understanding of their civilisation, “native African Christians” were never equal to them. There were two important moments in history in which they ensured that “black Africans” never shared the same seat with them in worshipping the God that they preached to Africans.
Africans taken into slavery in America will have more to say on this type of religious treatment from “civilised people.” Again in South Africa, they invented apartheid discrimination based on skin colour because by their civilisation, black Africans are not real human beings.
In fact, African people were treated as wild animals for exhibition in European zoos. Their civilisation did not make them see Africans as human beings. The conscientious ones among them have been kicking against this. But despite this, institutionalised racism and exploitation of people, particularly in the South, persists.
France may be the kingpin of colonial exploitation in Africa. However, this does not mean that the non-francophone countries are independent and free from neo-colonial trappings that ensured that Africans remain exploited, poor and dominated.
Africans had to struggle against this domination to win flag independence, which France through creative sustenance of colonial subjugation invented a script, called an agreement, that ensured that its colonies remained under its continued exploitation and kept the citizens in those countries among the poorest people in the world.
The neo-colonial chains that hold Africa down still exist.
Attempts at destroying the shackles of colonialism have persisted even after the deceptive ceremonial independence that held hollow promises of “leaving Africans to decide their own destinies.” The colonial exploitative machinery ensured that Africans leaders with a clear sense of paths to African liberation and development were eliminated by cultivating internal saboteurs that worked against and undermined Africa’s true independence.
Kwame Nkrumah, the champion of Africa’s political and economic freedom and unification of Africa, was murdered through an operation by the CIA called Operation Chicken Roasted. Patrice Lumumba was similarly murdered. When Guinea opted for Independence outside France’s sphere of exploitation, it suffered sabotage attacks for daring to choose “freedom in poverty; rather than cloaked slavery in wealth”.
This culture of sabotage of African leaders with a vision and mission for the emancipation of Africa has continued to be sustained through various schemes, political and economic arrangements that continue to affirm the exploitation and subordination of Africa.
African scholars immersed in revolutionary intellectual project for the liberation of Africa became targets. Walter Rodney for daring to write on “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa” was eliminated, under the pretext of intolerant political culture in his country Guyana.
Nkrumah was eliminated for his political project and for writing “Neo-Colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism” and “Africa Must Unite”. Frantz Fanon, the revolutionary psychiatrist, wrote about “Black Skin, White Masks” exposing the conscripted African foot soldiers of promoting and sustaining colonial interest. This came after exposing the psychological virulent effects of colonialism on the African psyche.
He was also targeted and killed in mysterious circumstances, although attributed to his having leukemia, but was kept in a hotel without treatment, contracted pneumonia and later died. It seems that the revolutionary tradition was dismissed as mere intellectual polemics.
Despite the subjection of African universities to the dictates of neo-liberal impositions of the 1980s and continued systematic underfunding of public universities, the rise of Africa and resistance to both colonial and neo-colonial is on the rise.
The events in Francophone colonies of France, in recent times, have continued to show that try as the predators of Africa’s resources might, resistance for liberation cannot be halted.
It is necessary for the African countries that have chosen to throw out France’s colonial exploitative machine to be on their guard and sustain unwavering vigilance over subterranean machinations to paralyse the new African resistance.
The recent failed attempt at overthrowing Captain Ibrahim Traore, the President of Burkina Faso, is one of the many ways that imperialists will resort to. Burkina should remember the subversive role of Blaise Campaore against the revolutionary drive of Thomas Sankara.
Some times the enemy of the African resistance may be living in the palace. The imperialists’ incursion into various spheres of the life of Africans, with a mission to sabotage Africa, cannot be taken for granted or wished away.
The military incursions may be characterised as an unconstitutional change of government, which the West is strongly opposing along withsome African countries including ECOWAS. The real issues is one of quality of governance and its impact on the life of the African people.
While the description of Africa as poor captures the reality of the life of the people, it is an indirect admission of the role of both internal and external subversive forces actively working, in most cases jointly, to undermine Africa’s development.
Exploiters do not give a damn what life suffers so long as their interest through continued exploitation of Africa’s resources persists.
African leaders steal Africa’s resources and find ready lodgment in Western countries. Western companies play great roles in the exploitation of African resources, crude under-pricing of mineral resources, and in some cases outright theft of the resources with active collusion by some characters meant to exercise regulatory control.
Is it not strange that Nigeria with the required technology of monitoring the movement of oil tankers in the Niger Delta area and the high seas was recording unprecedented levels of oil theft.
The extent of the theft and the level of sophistication involved demands resistance. Recent events in Niger have shown how France is taking uranium gratis while a kilo sells at the rate of €200/kg. Only enemies of African resistance to this unfair and unconscionable imperialist exploitation will raise a finger against the coupists in Niger.
African scholars, civil society, media and conscientious civil servants need to step up their game and continue with the struggle to further strengthen the resistance to both the colonial and neo-colonial exploitation of African people.
It is necessary to canvass for transparent and accountable governance that guarantees effective service delivery to the African people and full control of African resources.
The trade relations between Africa and the West need serious review to ensure that Africa is saved from being shortchanged.
More importantly, African economists must commit their intellectual project towards developing an African trade exchange system, using African currencies.
The current arrangement, where currencies from the West, mere pieces of paper, without real value are exchanged for African resources must never be allowed to continue.
The value resides in African resources which are more valuable than the so-called convertible currencies. Nothing stops African countries from designating and using their own currencies for trade.
It will require leaders with an unmatched and unwavering commitment to Africa to make this to happen. Africa’s resistance is a threat to the current global trade arrangements that leave Africans exploited and poor.
Puppet African leaders are the ones helping to keep Africa perpetually poor through their connivance and acting the script of external forces. African people are coming to terms with the objective reality that is keeping them poor. Africa must continue to resist the organised servitude that some countries have continued to perfect against it. It will not be easy, but it is achievable.
The African resistance must not be allowed to be a musical chair of exchanging one imperialist for another. You see powerful countries organising Summits and promising to treat Africa differently, but essentially offer the same script of aid to Africa.
It is a case of things will change, things will remain the same. Africa beware! No one will work their fingers to the bone to build a better Africa.
It is only when Africans commit themselves to working tirelessly and intelligently through massive infusion and immersion of people in education that this can be achieved.
Submitting to the scripts of the Bretton Woods Institutions will never emancipate Africa from exploitation, poverty and underdevelopment. Decades of implementation of the IMF/WB prescriptions have continued to fail to develop any African country.
There is no African country that has developed using IMF/WB economic prescriptions – to be food self-sufficient, revitalise and develop industries, engineer manufacturing, advancement in science and technology, reduction of the population of the poor, etc. Sadly none.
African resistance becomes necessary!
Professor Abubakar Muazu, University of Maiduguri