Tribalism in Africa: A Western Creation?

Published on 12th February 2008

Part 2

Western Democracy has Failed Africa

In this continuation of last week's Tribalism in Africa: A Western Creation? Amengeo argues that Westerrn Democracy has failed Africa and it is time that the continent looked inward and forged structures that will see it stable .

Forty years ago Kwame Nkrumah warned Africans that neo-colonialism would relentlessly undermine Africa’s independence through economic, social and political intrigues and the only defense Africa had was cohesion and a strong African political ideology. He proposed that African governments adopt a one-party system [which would serve to diffuse tribalist tendencies and unite the nation] ideologically socialist and politically and economically neutral in the destructive Cold war between Russia and the United States. 

Nkrumah was demonized with the same ferocity and venom that is used against Mugabe today. The man and his ideas of African unity and self-reliance were anathema to the West. The CIA and British Intelligence used British-trained Ghanaian officers to overthrow him, beginning the era of Western-instigated coups against progressive African leaders. Anyone preaching African independence was overthrown by army officers (trained at Sandhurst or St.Cyr) who promised to bring ‘free elections and multiparty democracy.’ The officers however ended up signing away the country’s resources to the West and depositing the nation’s patrimony in Swiss banks.  

The wholesale adoption of Eurocentric values have corrupted and retarded Africa: IMF-imposed structured adjustment has failed, World Bank economic theories have failed and aid programs have prolonged rather than alleviated refugee crises [Nigeria on its own solved its postwar refugee and resettlement problems after the Nigerian Civil War despite deliberately rejecting western aid.] Christianity and Islam have failed Africans by adopting schisms and fanaticisms to the detriment of African unity [we need to be Africans first.] Western ‘democracy’ has failed totally since multiparty elections in their wake have divided rather than united countries.  

If Western-type elections can unleash such hatred and terror in a purportedly ‘stable democracy’ like Kenya, the fault lies not with the Kenyan people or ‘tribalism,’ but with the very system itself. The same Europe that lectures Africans on democracy, was until recently ruled by viscous fascist dictatorships which gave us two world wars. The same US, the paragon of democracy, until the Civil Rights Act of 1965 kept its African citizens in a special American apartheid called Jim Crow. And let us not forget the Guantanamo gulag.  

Western ‘democracies’ have no right to lecture Africans on ‘good governance.’ What Africans need to do is rediscover African values, history and traditions and mine them to produce ways of governing that are suited to the African people and these ways must be inclusive of the African masses. If this means a one-party democracy or village-type councils that include all the peoples, regardless of region or ethnicity, then let our thinkers set their capable minds to solving this problem. The current system can only produce more Kenyas.  

A first step in this African Cultural Revolution is the immediate expulsion of European ‘advisers’ that infest every African meeting and council and compete with each other to give Africa bad advice. There are qualified people of African descent all over the world who can make a better contribution to Africa’s rebirth. Why not recruit them and pay them the same ridiculous salaries that European expatriates receive?  

Then there is the question of sovereignty. How is it possible that the African Union is prepared to allow white European troops on our soil with the mandate to shoot Africans to ‘protect’ them? The so-called Eufor force set to deploy in Chad, once ensconced will be nigh impossible to extricate. Why does France, 40 years after independence, still have military bases in several countries on the Continent, intervening to shield and prop up dictators whenever the people’s anger is unleashed?  Why must foreign troops be allowed such free rein in Africa? Why has dependency on foreign aid been allowed to develop on the most resource-rich continent on the planet?  

Kenya, Chad, Dar-fur and the bleeding sore of the Congo can be laid at the feet of venal, corrupt, selfish and visionless leaders willing to sell their resources for lowest bidder to the West for the fleeting ecstasy of power. Leaders must rethink their relationships with the West and their own people, and act for the people, otherwise, these same downtrodden masses who have no right to be poor in a Continent as rich as Africa will act on their own and sweep them away. The bloodlettings in Kenya, Chad, Congo, and elsewhere are but the warning tremors of the very thing these leaders fear-revolution. As history has infallibly demonstrated, when a people reach that point, no force can stop them. Africa’s future is in Africa’s hands. 

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