24 June 2018

Africa: Unbecoming African Country Colonising African Country

Photo: Libération
(file photo)
opinion

It was funny-depressing to be told on arrival in Port Moresby that Papua New Guinea was a colony of Australia.

Just as it is funny-annoying to be introduced to a person who used to be a slave who now owns slaves.

Or to hear of a people who used to be persecuted en mass who now persecute another set of people because they can do it and get away with it.

Because other people who cried foul at their persecution now protect their persecution of others.

Which teaches us that we only hear "never again" when we are the ones hurting. When others are hurting it is often their business alone.

Our crown prince of Africanists Kwame Nkrumah insisted that the independence of Ghana was meaningless as long as there was one African country under colonial rule.

During his time South Africa was not free.

Namibia, at that time known as South West Africa, was not free.

A number of Portuguese and Spanish colonies also existed on the continent.

But other than the apartheid government of South Africa, no African country colonised another African country.

By 1994 when South Africa became independent every African country was free. Kwame Nkrumah, we all felt, would feel triumphant in his grave.

This was possible only because we had forgotten about Morocco's occupation of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic after the Spanish abandoned it in 1975.

SADR is rich in minerals both on shore and off shore.

The Organisation of African Unity, now African Union, admitted SADR into the Organisation in 1984. Morocco walked out of the OAU because of this. Polisario was recognised as the rightful government of SADR.

Then, about two years or so ago, Morocco went round African countries asking that it be re-readmitted into the African Union.

Not only that. "Morocco asked the African Union to reconsider its stance on recognising SADR when it requested to rejoin."

Morocco was readmitted into the AU without changing the status of SADR within the African Union.

Morocco has other ambitions. It wants to join the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS.

It also plans a charm offensive against SADR in the sub-Saharan countries of the African Union.

Morocco's recent failure to win hosting the 2026 Football World Cup should teach it a lesson.

Remembering that the same Morocco refused to host the Africa Cup of Nations in January 2015 following outbreak of Ebola in some African countries, some African countries voted against Morocco.

Liberia and Sierra Leone voted against Morocco.

These two countries are members of ECOWAS and they are most likely to oppose Morocco's membership of their ECOWAS.

But is Morocco an African country? Is Sahrawi an African country? All North African countries call themselves Arab one thing or another. The Arab Kingdom of Morocco. The Arab Republic of Tunisia and so on and so forth.

It is to be noted that Saudi Arabia does not call itself the Arab Kingdom of Saudi Arabia nor does Iraq call itself the Arab Republic of Iraq. So, if these countries are not African countries, what are they looking for in the African Union?

These countries are in the African Union because, according to Gamal Abdul Nasser, NAHNUN FI IFRIQIYAH! "We are in Africa!" Seventy-three percent of the so-called Arab world is in North Africa while over sixty per cent of their population is there as well.

How did they get there? Well, if you read the French and English versions of the history of Arabs in North Africa, you would think it was a pleasant weekend visit that has lasted for centuries to the mutual benefit of the Africans and the Arabs.

In the Arabic history books, you will read of the Arab conquest of North Africa.

It was not just a conquest. It was a wiping out of anything and everything African.

It is only in the Arab Republic of Algeria and in the Arab Republic of Egypt that some remnants of anything African can be found.

In Algeria there is the remnants of the Berber language and a handful of people. In Southern Egypt, in the area of Aswan, there are some dark skinned people taught to call themselves Arabs.

How did we all become brothers North and South of the Sahara? Simply, we all became colonised subjects of European countries during the 19th century colonising adventures of European colonisers.

Thanks to the Berlin Conference of 1884-85 and the anti-colonial struggle after the Second World War we found ourselves on the same side of the fence hurling abuse at European Slave traders and colonisers.

Our comrades from the North of the Sahara were in fact greater Slave traders in Africa and greater colonisers of Africa.

But what is a bit of Slave trading and a little colonising between comrades fighting deadly European and American colonialism and imperialism!

There were also two political issues, which locked the Arab North and African South of the Sahara together.

Apartheid South Africa and the Arab-Israeli conflict around the dispossession of Palestinians.

The Arab League would back the Africans on apartheid South Africa while the Organisation of African Unity would back the Arabs against Israel on Palestine.

Over the years Palestine and the Palestinians were isolated from the Arabs by the United States of America and the friends of Israel through outright bribing of the Arab countries.

Today, there is hardly any major issue of mutual interest to the Arabs and Africans of Africa.

All the same the Arabs of North Africa must be made to respect the wishes of Africans because they are in Africa.

It is unbecoming to have a coloniser and the colonised sitting in the same Pan African Parliament in Midrand Johannesburg South Africa, and pretending that they are not seeing each other.

The Silence of the other members of the African Union who voted against Morocco on the World Cup venture should not last.

Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, South Africa and Zimbabwe should stand up against Morocco and let it know that it is unbecoming for one African country to colonise another.

It is also unbecoming for one Arab country to colonise another on the African soil.

The King of Morocco must understand this before he puts in his next bid to host the Football World Cup in 2030.

bankole.omotoso@elizadeuniversity.edu.ng

allAfrica editor's note: 11 African countries - South Africa, Guinea, Liberia, Benin, Sierra Leone, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Cape Verde, and Zimbabwe - voted against Morocco hosting the 2026 World Cup.

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