4 February 2017

Africa: The West and the Rest of Us - Part II

Photo: Daily Monitor
People watching a water turbulence on a dam wall in Uganda.

The contemporary world order in which Africans are struggling against odds to find a place and role for the wananchi among nations was created from the ruins of the Second World War and re-designed from the aftermath of the Cold War.

It is fashioned primarily by the US, dominated by the West and now refashioned by a declining US, a rapidly rising China, increasingly assertive Russia, the EU, Japan and the rest from Africa, Latin America and Asia stuck in between.

In his book, Chinweizu argues that countries of the southern hemisphere which for much of the last 500 years have been colonies of Europe and US, may remain under European and American domination in the 21st Century unless "they bestir themselves in the right manner and escape their chronic subjugation."

Alternative world order for Africa

Chinweizu writes that, "For Africa, the choice is either to accept the place assigned to her by others in that world, that of a supplier of raw materials and labour to Europe and America or to create a place for herself, a tenable and defensible place as one of the foremost powers and by so doing help create an alternative world order."

If Africa wants to put an end to a miserable phase of its history which includes slavery, colonisation and degradation, Africans have no choice but to unite politically and open a new chapter for our continent.

Kwame Nkrumah's clarion call of 1963 that Africa must unite was in this regard correct and visionary, but attempts to implement it have so far been lackluster, half-hearted and ineffective.

The task is enormous but demands total commitment and dedication on the part of all African countries, leaders and the people.

To build a continental state, a state which is powerful enough to defend and protect Africa from foreign aggressors is a herculean task.

Chinweizu wonders whether African elite are prepared to achieve the objectives and goals of the African revolution and Agenda 2063, arguing that to restore Africa's dignity we must eliminate the entire process which brought us untold humiliation for centuries and develop the means to defend our vital interests.

One of the most devastating legacies of colonialism and dependency on the West is that Africa's culture has become eccentric and as result we have lost our ability to define ourselves.

We have allowed others, especially the West, to define what we are supposed to be and do. Africans must define Africa's future the way we want and take control of our destiny.

Our eccentricity and confusion about ourselves has prevented us from defining our vital interests; it has also prevented us from knowing who our real friends and enemies are.

In Uganda, the enemy is too often a person who comes from another tribe or belongs to another political party or belongs to another religion. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

The OAU and AU were created by Africans, but are funded and controlled by foreigners. The tall building at AU headquarters in Addis Ababa is a gift from China and another building housing AU's Peace and Security Council is a gift from Germany. The cost of maintaining Amisom in Somalia is paid by the EU and US. How can Africa achieve its goals if our countries and leaders are unwilling to pay the necessary costs?

Challenges and obstacles

Chinweizu identifies some of the obstacles which have retarded Africa's march to prosperity.

"Our elite have come under great pressure to concentrate upon their narrow class interests and discard those of the African people as a whole," he writes.

They have been persuaded or maneuvered into integrating their interests with those of the West which explains why in Uganda the ruling elite is totally opposed to a minimum wage, a right of Uganda's workers, and why foreign investors, many of whom are even fake, get preferential treatment while homegrown private sector is despised and marginalised.

Chinweizu predicted 40 years ago that Africa's elite would emulate their Latin American counterparts where "a tiny clique of very rich families, 20 or so millionaire families per country on the average, will be rewarded with wealth for the job of serving Western interests.

They will constitute the local oligarchies who will act as agents for Western businesses and governments and they will be rewarded with power and opulence for the job of entrenching mal-development in Africa."

Rule by a few rich families is now commonplace in Africa and is already happening in Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Kenya, DR Congo, Uganda and Zimbabwe, among others.

It is despicable and shameful that Africa's elite have stooped so low and reduced to the position of hired agents of imperialism and they are in fact now enemies of the African revolution.

Africa must unite, rise and shine

According to Chinweizu, "the historic mission of Africa's political elite is to mobilise in order to save the continent from Western imperialism."

Our responsibility as victims of the prevailing unjust world order which thrives on exploitation is to forge African solidarity and unity to rescue Africans from the dehumanising conditions . Africa must unite, rise and shine. Aluta continua!

The West and the rest of us - part I

Mr Acemah is a political scientist, consultant and a retired career diplomat.

More on This

The West and The Rest of Us – Part I

The West and the Rest of Us is a well-researched book written by Chinweizu, which I bought more than 30 years ago in… Read more »

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