Cameroon Teetering on the Brink as Soldiers Demand Back Pay

If nothing touches the palm-leaves they do not rustle.

African Proverb

They have been very silent as civil servants go without pay! They have been called upon to clamp down on civilians during protests for better living conditions! They have been the one segment of the Cameroon public service that contributes very little to the economy but always gets the best chunk of the budget. They are the Cameroon standing military!!!Cameroon Soldiers

For a country that has not had a civil war and has had a relatively peaceful coexistence with its neighbours (with the exception of the Bakassi Peninsular skirmish with Nigeria and the recent challenges by Boko Haram), the constant recruitment and steady pay within the Cameroon military has made it one of the most sought-after jobs in the country.

Paul Biya and his cohorts will certainly not sleep tonight as some members of this pampered military have been angered. It started with over 200 soldiers marching through the streets of Yaounde on Wednesday, demanding eight months of back pay for their service with the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic.

People gather on November 17, 2013 at the Sica-Benzvi square in Bangui (Photo credit: PACOME PABANDJI/AFP/Getty Images)
People gather on November 17, 2013 at the Sica-Benzvi square in Bangui (Photo credit: PACOME PABANDJI/AFP/Getty Images)

While this is the first time the soldiers, who were a part of the 1,260 Cameroonian battalion with the U.N. mission (MINUSCA) are coming public with their demands, it is a worrying situation as  the Cameroonian dictatorship in its characteristic manner has deployed heavily armed troops to block off streets and inhibit their progress.

It is not unusual for the Cameroon government to use brute force to quell peaceful protests. As early as 2008 anti-government protests in Yaounde and Douala over high fuel and food prices and a bid by Paul Biya to extend his 25-year rule, exploded into violence when Biya’s troops fired tear gas at protesters in both cities, sometimes using helicopters to drop gas canisters from the air. While Biya may have succeeded then to bully the unarmed protesters in 2008 and extend his hold on power, the situation this time is quite different.

cameroon Soliders in DRCFirst because the current situation is one with a straightforward solution in that money for the demanded salaries is supposed to have been provided by the United Nations and the African Union under an agreement. Which explains why Communications Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary speaking on behalf of his Master Paul Biya has assured the troops that they would be paid on Thursday arrears amounting to 6 billion CFA francs (US$10.2 million).

And secondly because any other strategy might rock an already shaky boat. Biya has already witnessed many dictators overthrown in recent years, (the latest of which was Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso, who was forced to step down and flee after 27 years) hence, is more than aware that he is sitting on a ticking time-bomb which will explode with the slightest provocation.

While many a Cameroonian will pray and hope that the situation is resolved amicably, it is a clear sign of the cracks that are widening on the hold Biya has had on the country. Biya’s inability to use his elite Battalion d’Intervention Rapide (B.I.R.) to stop Boko Haram insurgents in the North of Cameroon has already raised serious questions as to the usefulness of the force; a situation which further exacerbates the tensions existing between the elite force and the regular military. Central African Republic-1

While we watch this space, we hope that the same contingent that helped to bring peace to the Central African Republic will not be the ones to start the mayhem that will engulf Cameroon.

Twenty Years After Apartheid – Religious Segregation Takes Over

It has been a weekend of festivities in South Africa and for many Africans across the globe who share the solidarity. Sunday in particular was glammed by street parades, speeches, prayers, music and military salutes and and many more fanciful displays.

Credit: SAnews
Credit: SAnews

 

While a parochial glance at the African continent makes such a celebration worth the while, a more synoptic view will only reveal one fact: as far as segregation and conflict go, Africa is in a relay race. So, while South Africa celebrates the 20th anniversary of its first ever all-race, democratic election that ended decades of sanctioned racial oppression under the apartheid system, other countries in Africa have taken the baton of segregation and mass murder. In most cases, it has not been much about race or ethnicity but about religion.

The paradox of it all lies in that Christianity played a crucial role in providing theological rationalisations for maintenance of apartheid, in the same manner it did with colonialism. The South Africa, the Dutch Reformed Church was unwavering in its support of the regime until the late 1980s. There were only a few voices, like that of Desmond Tutu, crying in the wilderness. Little wonder the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Final Report, Volume 4 Chapter 3 clearly states that:

Some of the major Christian churches gave their blessing to the system of apartheid. And many of its early proponents prided themselves in being Christians. Indeed, the system of apartheid was regarded as stemming from the mission of the church…Religious communities also suffered under apartheid, their activities were disrupted, their leaders persecuted, their land taken away. Churches, mosques, synagogues and temples – often divided amongst themselves – spawned many of apartheid’s strongest foes, motivated by values and norms coming from their particular faith traditions.”

So today, being Low Sunday, the Sunday in the Octave of Easter, the Sunday in which Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII were canonised and millions gathered at the Vatican to witness the event,  in the Central African Republic, another kind of service was being held by ‘Christians’ in a Mosque.  In a conflict that has already accounted for thousands of deaths and 700,000 IDPs and a further 290,000 who have fled to other neighbouring countries, am apt to wonder if many Churches or Church leaders so much as thought of what is happening in the Central African Republic (CAR) in their sermons and prayers as they marked this Easter Octave.

The conflict in the CAR began since March 24, 2013. Muslim rebels known as the Seleka seized Bangui, the capital of the CAR, sparking the division between Christians and Muslims. As soon as François Bozizé was ousted, the Social Contract ceased to exist and there was a swift return to the State of Nature where chaos an anarchy is the only language the people understood .

central-african-republicIf there is one thing I know about Christianity and Islam, it is that the adherents of these religions have an almost unquestionable loyalty to their leaders. The mind-boggling question remains therefore whether the leaders have not spoken to them in this instance or whether they have simply decided to kick the can down the road and look the other way as has been the case with other past atrocities.

In the case of South Sudan. its church leaders have urged expansion of peace talks to include the religious leaders probably because many Christians played a crucial role in South Sudan’s independence, reconciling fighting factions, providing services and building structures. But the fragility of the first mediation must be questioned and questions asked of this conflict which began  after Salva Kiir alleged that his former deputy Riek Machar was planning a coup and arrested several senior politicians.

In Nigeria, it seems as if Boko Haram is the only faction gaining from the many Inter-religious Dialogues that have been taking place. The recent kidnapping of 230 young school girls and the bombing in the Nigerian Capital Abuja  are silent testimonies that much more has to be done by the religious leaders in Africa than holding dialogues.

Wole Soyinka was spot-on when he said that The man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny.” And since according to Henri Frederic Amiel “Truth is not only violated by falsehood; it may be equally outraged by silence“, the silence or half-hearted condemnation by religious leaders, of the mass murders going on in different African countries under the banner of religion, makes the leaders not only ‘dead men’, but given that these religions claim to be based on truth, out-rightly challenges the core of whatever these religions profess. 

France in Recession Again: Mali to the Rescue?

Location of Mali
Location of Mali (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Could it be that people refuse to see the truth or I am just being paranoid to question the rationale of France holding a fundraiser to help Mali?

Wednesday saw many countries converge in Brussels to fund-raise and the sole intention is said to have been to help re-build Mali. All the Countries attending a fundraising conference for Mali on Wednesday pledged €3.25 billion ($4.22 billion) to rebuild the war-torn country.

It is acknowledged that the pledged funds exceeded expectations among conference hosts, including French President François Hollande, who had initially set the bar at €2 billion. According to Hollande, this “marks an important step forward in the social, economic and democratic renewal of Mali,”

If I recall well, this particular crisis came after the collapse of Libya, where the French aided rebels to overthrow the government of Gaddafi and arms given the rebels, spilled-over and were used to distablilse Mali. The French then deployed an initial  2,500 soldiers on Operation Serval and Laurent Fabius, the foreign minister, promised that the troops will be in Mali for just ‘a short while’. After having the number of troops rise to over 4000, it has now been confirmed by Mr Le Drian that a combat force would stay to prevent any “revival of terrorism”. adding that “This is the reason why France will remain with roughly 1,000 troops on Malian territory for an undetermined period of time to carry out counter-terrorism operations if necessary.”

The question then I cannot avoid asking is: Could it be that the money that Mali is going to be needing so desperately be actually used for the salary of the French soldiers stationed there? Come to think of it, if the objective of raising the funds is to ensure that structures are put in place before elections, what better structure than security… which of course is being provided by the French.

Could this be one way the money raised will be used to help Mali?
Could this be one way the money raised will be used to help Mali?

If that is the case, could it then be that Mali is just being used as a stepping stone towards solving the recession in France after the game plan in Libya did not work out as planned?

It is really appalling to think that the French which have the worst legacy in Africa, which cannot handle its domestic affairs keep claiming to be able to solve African problems.

When I cast a casual glance at Africa, the most worse-off countries are those that were colonised by the French. The most out-of-touch dictators are in French dominated countries and the worst countries in Africa are former French colonies ((Bénin,Burkina Faso,Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo (Democratic Republic of) Congo (Republic of) Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Sénégal,Togo))

Have the French really got anything to offer Africa? One does not really need to go far to find the answer. Can a sick economy really help another? Can an economy that is threatened by imminent collapse and seriously considering unworkable austerity measures, plunging many of its citizens out of work really be concerned about another? The answer is obvious. But as usual, African leaders will sit by while the continent is being ravaged by foreign forces.

Considering that the United Kingdom was solidly behind France in this recent invasion of Mali, given that France is the second largest economy of the European Union, given even the location of the so-called fundraiser for Mali, I can now see again any angle of the recolonization of Africa for the survival of Europe.

French – Africa Policy: Damages to African and European Economies

Cfa map

The first port-of-call towards getting real development in Africa, will be to dispel the myth that political independence was fully won by the Africans from their former colonial masters. This is simply because political independence could never have been achieved in a situation of gross economic dependence especially in the case of former French colonies. The granting of formal political independence by the colonial powers to their erstwhile colonies, was (with a few exceptions), never the achievements of popular based national liberation movements as is commonly understood but rather the result of a compromise reached between the former colonial powers and an almost negligible African bourgeoisie they created. A compromise aimed at continuing the dependent-satellite status on a new basis and in the face of growing challenges to the international capitalist system.

One of such is the French policy of Assimilation that claimed to have ended but in reality created monetary Unions that have continued to have their former colonies trapped in poverty. Amilcar Cabral in his work, The Struggle in Guinea, clearly states that decolonization gave western imperialism a new lease on life by permitting the continued economic exploitation of the African states through indirect means. In other words, decolonization has made it possible for an alliance between the local bourgeoisie and the bourgeoisie of the capitalist metropoles to emerge-an alliance which, on the one hand permits the local bourgeoisie to share in the benefits derived from the continued exploitation of their countries by western capitalism and on the other hand, frees the capitalists from the onus of direct domination of these countries.

Cabral’s position is given greater credence by this compelling write-up by Dr. Christof Lehman, who uses historical and contemporary evidence to x-ray the plight of Francophone Africa and the far-reaching consequences on the whole European Economy.

French Africa Policy Damages African and European Economies.

 Since the independence of the former French colonies in western Africa they are in spite of the richness of their natural resources and the productivity of their populations still catastrophically under-developed. In 2007 the French and European economies began deteriorated into a devastating recession. France seems to be like a man who is standing at the edge of a cliff, transfixed by the thought of falling into the abyss. In fear of losing the lucrative racket of controlling the western African economies he forgets that there is Terra firma and a possibility for both French, European and African prosperity behind him. Africans and leading European politicians expected that the administration of President Hollande would bring much-needed change with respect to French control over the economies of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Guinea Bisau, Mali, Niger, the Republic of Congo, Senegal and Togo. However, also Hollande´s administration seems to be so transfixed by the prospect of falling into the abyss that it does not fathom the possibility of taking one step back. Will France remain transfixed in fear and drag western Africa and Europe with it when it falls or does it dare to loosen up its grip on control over the good old CFA racket in its former colonies and discover the true potential and value of the African markets. As painful as it may be, the primary prerequisite for a progressive development and prosperity is the truth about the current state of affairs.

The root causes for the lacking development of the western African economies are closely related to the fact that France, contrary to other former colonial powers, managed to install its commissars at the heart of its former colonies economic and monetary system and that it still maintains almost unchallenged control over them. The system was created by German National Socialists during the 1930s and 40s. It was used to usurp France and other German occupied nations.

The Genesis of the CFA-System in Nazi Germany and the German Occupation of France.

On 9 May 1941 Hemmen, the German Ambassador to France declared that he had signed a treaty with the French Admiral Darlan. The treaty would place German commissars within the French National Bank´s departments for foreign currencies and international commerce.(1) The treaty was negotiated under the auspices of German Minister of Finance Herman Göring, whose father, Heinrich Ernst Göring has been the German Governor of German West Africa, today’s Namibia, from 1885 to 1890. Herman Göring was among other notorious for his plundering the occupied nations economies through operations accounts and for his special interest in treasures and art from the German occupied areas.

At the end of World War II and the occupation of France, the French President Charles de Gaulle created the CFA Franc as a currency for the western African colonies. De Gaulle created a monetary union whose functions of control were based on the model Germany had used to usurp German occupied France.

Even though the colonies have since gained independence the system of almost absolute control over their economies by installment of commissars in the Central Banks of the western African Monetary and Economic Unions, the B.E.A.C., the B.C.C., and the B.C.E.A.O. persists.

Modo-Colonialism, the Veto Right of French Commissars over African Economies

Together, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, the Republic of Congo, Senegal and Togo, establish the Monetary and Economic Union of West Africa (U.M.O.A.). Their currency, the CFA-Franc is printed under supervision of the French National Bank in Charmaliéres, France. The Council of Presidents of the fifteen U.M.O.A. member states constitutes the highest authority of the union and decisions of the Presidential Council are made unanimously. The Ministerial Council of the U.M.O.A. defines the monetary and credit policy of the union and it is responsible for the economic development of the region. According to the constitutions of all fifteen member states the creation of their currency, the regulation of its value as well as the regulation of parities and modalities is the exclusive privilege of the nation and its people and decisions about it are made by the parliament.

The placement of French commissars within the heart of the nations and the unions banking system however, creates an obvious dichotomy between the apparent sovereignty of the union, its constituents, and direct control from the previous colonial power.

Three of the thirteen of the Directors of the B.E.A.C. are French and four of the eight Directors of the B.C.C. are French. The Board of Directors of the B.C.E.A.O. is constituted by sixteen Directors; two from each country plus two additional Directors from France who take part in the management of the bank under the same conditions and with the same privileges as the other Directors. The number and placement of the commissars gives them a Veto right at the board of each of the Central Banks. No decision can be made without their approval and France can enforce its policy by threatening to deadlock the economies unless decisions are made in compliance with French suggestions.

The French Veto right also extends to the nomination of the Governor of the B.E.A.C.. The Governor is elected with the unanimous vote of the Board of Directors, on suggestion of the government of Gabon, and after the approval of the other member states as well as France.(2)

The Central Bank does not only have the privilege to create the currency. It also has the privilege to grant credits for the current accounts of the national treasuries at its discount rate. The Board of Directors is making the decisions about the temporalities and about the total amount that is granted for financing the economies of each of the member states.

 Feeding France, Bleeding Africa – Current Accounts and the System of Usurpation.

While the primary instrument of control is the installment of French commissars, the primary instrument for usurping the western African economies is their current accounts. The member states agree to deposit their foreign currency reserves in a shared reserve fund.

The foreign currency reserves are subject to deposition in an operations account at the French National Bank. Between 1945 and 1973 one hundred per cent of the foreign currency reserves had to be deposited in the operations account, in 1973 it was reduced to sixty-five, and on 27. September 2005 to fifty per cent. (3) Another fifteen per cent are kept in a guarantee fund.

In other words sixty-five per cent of all foreign currency reserves of the fifteen nations and all revenue generated outside of the union’s territory are kept at the French National Bank. On 3 May 2010 the website of Jeune Afrique quotes the former French Minister of Finance and Commerce, Christine Lagarde: “The Bank of the States of Central Africa, for instance, places almost 90 per cent of their reserves in the French National Bank”. (4)

In 1960 Jean Boissonat, a member of the currency committee of the French National Bank wrote: “Almost all decisions were made in France  … The Franc Zone allowed France to deliver certain natural resources to itself without having to spend any foreign reserves. It was estimated that this represented two hundred and fifty million US-Dollar savings in terms of foreign reserves per year …” Boissonat continues by stating that approximately half a million Frenchmen in Paris receive their means of survival from the Franc Zone.(5)

The French socialist Jean-Noël Jeanny wrote in 1963 that: “all that the African nations achieve by increasing their export is the generation of more foreign currency reserves for France”.(6) He could as well have added “and the creation of debt for themselves”. Beside profiting on African foreign currency reserves which are returned to the West African nations in the form of debt, France is also profiting from African gold.

The gold reserves of the fifteen nations are kept in France, supposedly to guaranty for the value of the CFA Franc. In 2001 the West-African gold reserves at the French National Bank had an estimated value of 206,528 billion CFA Franc. In an interview for Le Liberation in 1996 the late President of Gabon, Omar Bongo said: “We are in the Franc Zone. Our operations accounts are managed by the French National Bank in Paris. Who profits from the interests that our money generates? France.” (7)

France is indebting and enslaving Africans by means of Africa’s own wealth; for example:

12.0000 billion invested at three per cent creates 360 billion in interests which France grants as credits to Africa at an interest rate of five to six per cent or more. The allegory of “Bleeding Africa and Feeding France” is no exaggeration, not alarmist, and not revolutionary. It is a sobering fact of French modo-colonialism and the cost in terms of under-development and human suffering is staggering. The current accounts and the French usurpation are a humanitarian disaster that is induced by France and financed by those who are suffering from it.

 Coups, Crisis and French Finance-Nazism in Africa.

In 1996 France devalued the CFA Franc in spite of the protest of most western African nations. Former French Prime Minister Eduard Balladour justified the French dictated devaluation of the CFA Franc because “ it was considered to be the best possibility for aiding the development of the western African countries” (8), even though another statement by Balladoure indicates that he was aware of that the regulation of a currency is a matter of national sovereignty(9).

The late President of Togo, Etienne Gnassingbé said about the devaluation: “One used to say that violence overrules justice. I was not the only one who issued the warning….. but France has decided otherwise. The African voices don´t count for much in this affair”.(10)

The words of the late Etienne Gnassingbé indicate that the Bleeding of Africa can be taken literally. According to the statutes of the monetary and economic union every member state is free to leave it. So much to theory. In practice, France has left a trail of post-modern coup d’états, violence, and murder in those nations who tried to get out from under what many West-Africans perceive as French Finance-Nazism in Africa.

In January 1963 the President of Togo, the late Sylvanus Olympio was murdered three days before the issuing of a new currency.

On 19th November 1968 the late President of Mali Modibo Kéita was ousted in a coup and arrested. In 1977 Modibo Kéita died in prison. Kéita was poisoned.

On 27th January 1996 the President of Mali was ousted in a military coup d´etat.

On 15th March 2003 the late President of the Central African Republic Angè Félix Patassé was ousted by the “rebel leader” Francois Bozizé. In all cases the monetary union and France have played a role.

Ivory Coast´s President Laurent Gbagbo, France, the ICC and Modo-Colonialism.

When Laurent Gbagbo became the President of Ivory Coast one of his first official initiatives was the erection of a concrete wall in the tunnel that connects the French Embassy with the Presidential Residence. Gbagbo wanted Ivory Coast to abandon the CFA and institute a new regional and if possible a Pan-African, gold-backed currency. The initiative toward the establishment of a gold-backed Pan-African currency enjoyed the sympathy of many African nations and enjoyed unequivocal support from Libya, which until the so-called Arab Spring in 2011 was the richest and most developed of all African nations.

As if it was a conditioned reflex, France seemed transfixed by is fear of falling into the abyss, of losing the CFA racket that has kept the French economy afloat since it was conceived by de Gaulle in 1945. Rather than seeing a potential, France was biding its time until an opportunity for a post-modern coup d’état. The 2010 Presidential elections in Ivory Coast provided this opportunity. France sided with Alessanne Outtara. Libyan intelligence reports from 2009 and 2010 indicated that the French Intelligence Service D.G.S.E. had begun infiltrating, financing and arming a group of “rebels” in the northern region of Ivory Coast.

The outcome of the Presidential election was apparently very close. The electoral commission declared Alessanne Outtara the winner but the election result was disputed by Laurent Gbagbo.

There had been registered serious irregularities. In one particular village with a population of approximately ten thousand, Alessanne Outtara seemed to have received almost one hundred thousand votes.

Western mainstream media began building a narrative: The electoral commission had declared Outtara to be the winner. The despotic Laurent Gbagbo refused to hand over the reins of power to the winner of the elections. Gbagbo is cracking down on peaceful protesters. Gbagbo is cornered in his bunker…

What western media generally failed to report, underreported, or conveyed in a distorted and strongly biased fashion was that: Laurent Gabgbo and his party had brought the case to the Supreme Court; that the Supreme Court of Ivory Coast had recounted the votes; that the Supreme Court had taken notice of election fraud in favour of Outtara; and that the Supreme Court of Ivory Coast had declared Laurent Gbagbo to be the winner of the elections and the rightfully elected President of Ivory Coast. That French-backed guerrilla began attacking predominantly pro-Gbagbo villages, committing massacres, and that French backed “rebels” were attacking the Presidential Residence.

What was emphatically reported in French and western media like the BBC was that “security forces” clamped down on peaceful protesters, and that “Ouattara´s Army” is cornering “Gbagbo in his bunker”.(11)

Nobody seemed to ask the important question. Where in the world had Outtara, who just claimed to have won the elections, gotten an “army” from?

It is symptomatic for the high prevalence of racism and condescending modo-colonialist reasoning among European populations that only very few commentators and analysts said:

“But the electoral commission is not the one who has the competence to approve of election results, it is the Supreme Court”.

A comparison can illustrate the point: When George W. Bush and Al Gore had the closest of all elections that have been held in the United States of America; who certified the election? The Supreme Court, of course. (12)

Many Americans felt utterly disenfranchised but the population respected the Supreme Court. Could anyone have even thought about the remote possibility of “Al Gore´s Army cornering Bush in his Bunker” of “Gore neglecting the Supreme Court because the electoral commission had pronounced him to be the winner?” And where in the world would Al Gore have gotten his army from anyways? And where did Alessanne Outtara get his army from?

The capture of Laurent Gbagbo cost the lives of approximately 1.600 young Ivorian soldiers. Young patriots who were willing to defend the President of Ivory Coast from the onslaught of a French-backed post-modern coup d’état. The capture an arrest of President Laurent Gbagbo was possible only after French Special Forces violated international law by blasting a hole into the wall which Laurent Gbagbo had erected inside the tunnel that connects the French embassy with the Presidential residence.

The sealed boxes with the ballots from the 2010 elections are kept at the United Nations. So far U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has failed to order an independent re-count of the ballots. The fact that the United Nations has so far failed to re-count the ballots to determine the legitimacy of either Laurent Gbagbo´s or Alessanne Outtara´s claim for the Ivorian Presidency, combined with the selective and one-sided prosecution of Laurent Gbagbo at the ICC and of military officers who were loyal to him in 2010 is symptomatic for grave systemic and procedural problems at the United Nations and the International Criminal Court at The Hague. The case against Laurent Gbagbo ought to have been dismissed on the basis of selective prosecution from the very start. His prosecution at the ICC after French involvement in the aggravation of post-election violence in Ivory Coast and the arrest with the aid of French Special Forces is a blatant example for the abuse of the ICC as an instrument of modo-colonialist control. The most recent selectively prosecuted case is that against General Dogbo Ble in Ivory Coast. Also here western media are de-facto sentencing a political opponent of modo-colonialism before he is even heard in court.(13)

A recent analysis of the systemic and political problems with the ICC, the United Nations, the Rome Statute and the explosion of international law at its very root by Dr. Hans Köchler (14) reads as if it was written to elicit the injustice that is being perpetrated against Laurent Gbagbo and the people of Ivory Coast.

Missed Chances for African and European Economies and the Urgency of Change.

A growing number of African and European leaders are becoming impatient about the paralysis of France. African leaders are impatient because the obvious usurpation of their nations is unbearable for the African economies and their populations. European leaders are mostly impatient because France prevents a European adaptation to the last decades geo-political changes in Africa and because the crisis of the Euro requires initiative rather than stagnation. Failure to integrate the western African economies into the economic sphere of Europe is bound to have devastating long term consequences for both Africa and Europe.

China has recognized the colossal market potential of a developing African middle class. The French and Trans-Atlantic model of usurpation and subjugation is not only criminal and unethical, it is also uncompetitive.

Recent statements made by the French political heavyweight Jacques Chiraq, who said that France does not have to be a benefactor, it must merely stop usurping Africa, are indicating a potential for change. Chiraq stated that failure to change French-African relations can have catastrophic consequences. 2012 Presidential candidate Jean Luc Mélenon stated that the CFA represents the severe mistake not to tie the western African economies to the economies of the European Union. Mélenon demanded that France abandons its veto right at the Boards of the African Central Banks.

The European Council stated that France is blocking for any project of the European Central Bank that attempts to change the nature or the bearing of the French involvement in the western African Central Banks. The French approach to managing French-African relations is not only bleeding Africa. It is increasingly bleeding both the French and European economies that are missing out on the market potential of an emerging African middle class.

Some political analysts have suggested the establishment of an African-European Peace and Reconciliation Commission that is dealing with the crimes of the past, the building of trust, the review of highly politicized cases at the International Criminal Court, such as the prosecution of Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo to ease a transition toward new African-European relations.

The question for this and the coming year is whether France will continue standing at the edge of the cliff and fall while dragging both western Africa and Europe into the abyss together with it, or if it dares to listen to the voices of reason from Africa and its European partners, turn its gaze away from the abyss and see that there is fertile land, right behind it.

Dr. Christof Lehmann

 I want to express my recognition and gratitude to Prof. Nicolas Agbohou. The historical context of the article and references about it are inspired by his speech at the Conference on African-French Relations in Paris City Hall, on 09 October 2012. – Dr. Christof Lehmann.

Notes:

1)      Pierre Arnold (1951), Les finances de la France et l´occupation Allemande.

2)      Artikel 3 de la BEAC.

3)      Article 2 of the Agreement about Operations Accounts between France and the African Nations within the Franc Zone (PAZF).

4)      Website of Jeune Afrique, 03. Mai 2010.

5)      Jean Boissonat. La Zone Franc: Survivance du Passé Ou Promesse d´Avenir. La Croix, 17 févenier 1960.

6)      Jean-Noël Jeanny. Rapport Jeanny; La politique de coopération avec les pays en vaie de dévelopment. Paris, documentation francaise 1963.

7)      Omar Bongo. Interwiew for Le Liberation, 18. September 1996, p.6.

8)      Jeune Afrique. Economie no 178, April 1994.

9)      E. Balladour in Le Monde, 09. February 1990. Lire aussie Géopolitique de printemps No 53, 1996, p.81

10)   Jeune Afrique no 1841, 17 – 23 April 1996, p. 38.

11)   Cornered in Abidjan as fears grow. Andrew harding on Africa, BBC, 06. April 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/andrewharding/2011/04/cornered_in_abidjan_as_fears_g.html

12)   Supreme Court of the United States. George W. Bush et al., Petitioners v. Albert Gore Jr., el al., 12. December 2001. http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/00-949.ZPC.html

13)   Ivory Coast´s pro-Laurent Gbagbo general Dogbo Ble on Trial. BBC, 02. October 2012.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-19797488

14)   Dr. Hans Köchler. World Court without a World State. Criminal Justice under the Dictates of Realpolitic. http://www.i-p-o.org/Koechler-ICC-Realpolitik-IPO-OP-1July2012.htm

15)   The US/UN/NATO Race for Global, Full Spectrum Dominance. Black, fetzer, Mezyaev and Lehmann, 15. August 2012. nsnbc. http://nsnbc.wordpress.com/2012/08/15/the-usunnato-race-for-global-full-spectrum-dominance-14/

 

 

Contraceptives for Africa – A Misplaced Priority?

English: Logo of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foun...
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Source: 2007 Annual Report (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The past week has been a stormy one for me on an intellectually stimulating Facebook Group Perception. The most challenging discussion has been the issue of 2Billion Dollars worth of Contraceptives that is being sent to Africa by the Gates Foundation and the UK government over the period of 8 years.

WORLD CONTRACEPTIVE USE

Despite being a Catholic (who should according to her religion denounce any form of modern contraceptive), Melinda Gates argues that this is going to be a milestone in curbing the rate of women dying in the continent due to child birth. While it can be argued that statistics support her, given that a study of 172 countries published in the medical journal The Lancet says that although bleeding, infections and other problems are the leading causes of mothers dying during pregnancy and childbirth in developing countries, “family planning is the primary intervention to prevent maternal mortality.”

The Lancet study further argues that family planning is already responsible for the prevention of a record 270,000 maternal deaths annually. These statistics are further given credence by the prime ministers of Rwanda and Ethiopia who state that more than 40 million women in sub-Saharan Africa would like to stop or postpone childbearing but have no means to do so.

Unfortunately, contrary to the research stats and the views of the Rwandan and Ethiopian PMs, opinions in African seem to be divided about the seemingly wonderful project.

Before I make any analyis on the situation, it will be good to look at some of the reactions posted by Nono Nkele on Perception.

***************** CAMEROON: *************

This is a misplaced priority. The world’s poor do not need this. What they need is basic necessities like potable water, electricity, decent and accessible healthcare, quality good roads, quality education for their children and accountable governments who do not steal their tax and national resources but they use them to enhance their quality of life. These monies will just end up subsidizing the pharmaceutical industry in Europe and America.

GOD SAYS GO AND MULTPLY WHY ECONOMISE? I thick it those with empty wallats who are advocating for contraceptives.

******************* GHANA: ******************

If abortion means killing, then the use of contraceptive like condom is kidnapping since the semen is trapped

I do support family planning. But it has not received much attention because of the misconceptions about its practice. It’s sort of looked at as something that will cause more harm than good in the end and so people are not patronising it at all. It is only found among the elites and the slightly educated folks around. I pray it will get the needed attention to help save our women and our mothers.

I think the issue is not about one supports family planning or not. Let us be fair to ourselves and stop this craze for wholesome acceptability of everything from this white people. How do you expect Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation to give you their millions of dollars for free when their own citizens are living in constant fear of joblessness and poverty? There cannot be any free meal and I don’t believe all of them. Until Africans are consulted in some of these things (not the elite) this effort will be in vain. It is not real!

I think is good and would help mothers and teenagers in Ghana

***************** UGANDA: ******************

Our president together with the first lady are doing much to see that people get to know as well as putting it in use, with those deep in villages coz many shun away after hearing it’s disadvantages but most of them are trying to use it. I think it’s ok to be brought and used in Africa coz the growth of our population is failing to be managed and think that it’s the best way to control all it’s disadvantages.

Some new drugs have been manufactured so lab rats are getting readied for tests

The hardest and most worrying state of it is that when financial or medical support lands in the hands of the corrupt officials in government. The poor will only hear about it but not giving them freely or cheaply

Africa is a third world nations with many diseases of no proper treatment, therefore we can produce many children as well so that disease will kill the rest while other remain

********************** KENYA: *****************

No! God is planning for us.

After getting educated most of us don’t understand ‘intercontinental politics’, VERY UNFORTUNATE. As a Registered Nurse I will not buy that idea contrary to my profession. Every child must be born and in turn must multiply is my greatest believe. What is the essence of believing in God and at the same time you want your own way of procreation. Yes I agree that too many births have its own challenges but what do you understand by ‘NATURAL FMLY PLANING’?. Why don’t they talk of ‘health services, proper sanitations, improved lifestyle’? I believe they are up to something, two billion dollars for free? NO DAY. I was raised too disagree with manmade family planning but strongly believe in NATURAL

Family planning is not yet welcome in my country. People are still ignorant about the benefits of it. Especially those in the rural areas are against it as they view it negatively. There is also major cultural and religious aspects to the whole issue of family planning. The priority is creating awareness on the need for family planning especially to the poor and vulnerable in rural areas as well as the urban poor who often have large families that they cannot cater for adequately

FAMILY PLANNING, exclusive breastfeeding and polygamy. These are the solution not Millions of dollars.

********************* NIGERIA: ****************

If there is only one country that supports birth control, that country should be Nigeria. Looking at the level of inequalities in allocation of resources and high level of illiteracy, particularly in the northern parts, the birth control policy could have been a good option of ameliorating our plights. But, because of religion sentiment and extremism, some unpatriotic Nigerians are seriously kicking against it.

The crucial question we must answer is Why do third world countries have a higher population growth than the developed countries? Britain did not talk of birth control until she put two things in place; free education and socialised medicine. What is family planning to a young girl or boy in a remote village whose stock in trade is to eke out a living by hawking in the street. Children are social safety nets and security to an average family in Africa. I am skeptical of developed countries’ patronising do-gooders. Money ploughed into these laudable projects may not filter to those who really need it. My take is (i) provide free and compulsory education accessible to all (ii) free medical services to the poor, children, and elderly (medi-aid, medi-care) (iii) use the media to inform the people of government programs.

Over population is one of developing countries greatest challenged.

Advocating birth control without explaining the benefit is a failure in itself never rely on Nigerian Government to pick your map and locate these rural communities if you wish to attain any meaningful impact

As it is in Nigeria now you don’t need to be told before you go for family planning because the standard of living over here is unfavourable to polygamous families

********************* MALAWI: ***************

Ha ha ha why do they have so much attention on Africa, why don’t they Use that Money in providing good housing and sanitation services in the areas they deem over populated. They should try China, it is exporting to many people to Africa. Or that Money should be used for sound and transparent economic reforms that can be favorable for all Africans, that is if they do that in True faith. Instead of contraceptives they should be aiming at building better hospitals, health centres and provide midwifery training in rural areas, buy ambulances and introduce other convenient services that would reduce maternal deaths. Africa is not only found in the Cities and Town Centres. Africa is in my village, where people do not have proper health services, Proper water ETC. I couldn’t agree more with this view notwithstanding I am for promoting contraception in Africa

I am sure that One’s mind is a Contraceptive on its own, it just needs to be well equipped, You tell people about contraceptive in my village they will laugh at you. Some of us are able to understand the goodness of contraceptives because we have learnt to equip our minds with knowledge, good and health life. We do not need contraceptives, we need services that can transform and change people’s mindsets. Otherwise transformation as an objective won’t arrive home…..otherwise, Africans are really African in their African Environment.

Contraception is anti-God. I support family planning but doubt if it is getting the attention it deserves

It’s not you who takes care of life but God alone. You have to read Mt 6:24-34(This is why I tell you not to be worried about the food & drink you need in order to stay alive,or about clothes for your body…..)

******************** ZAMBIA: ******************

Use of condoms, child spacing, pill and many others.

I live in rural Zambia and I work in a hospital and work mostly with pregnant mothers. My observations is that most women in rural areas don’t understand how some contraceptives work, and some can’t access the family planning drugs because they have to walk very long distances to the clinic/hospital. With proper education and easy access..It can work effectively.

Developing countries such as zambia were most of its population survives on less than a dollar per day and looking at the income per house hold family planning is inevitable. I support family planning because that’s the only way we can slow down the fast growing population in Zambia and Africa at large.

******************* SIERRA LEONE: *************

I support it and I hope the Catholic Church will get out of the way and stop misinforming people about its use

In my country where I live, Sierra Leone do accept and take family planning, contraception seriously, youth both male and female counterpart do prevent themselves from unwanted pregnancy except for teenagers who may not aware of it.

************** SOUTH SUDAN: ******************

Our population in our sub region is fine we don’t need family planning but we need basic needs like health, support agriculture ,roads, regional market, education etc.

Yes if it is true, then my country South Sudan should be served the first because it is one of the poorest Countries on the planet due to it being the youngest nation with the majority of the population under 25yrs.

It will really help my people in South Sudan, because we are still using traditional midwifes & our ladies are always victim.

**************** SOUTH AFRICA ***************

To the benevolent Foundation, thanks. But no, thanks. We are aware of the agenda of depopulation being pushed in the name of economy and helping us to better manage our families. It does not end with contraceptives but also with experimental vaccines that do not work against disease but against fertility. Investigative journalists worth their salt should look into that. It does not go down well with some of us that your work is done only in our lands. Lands with the potential to produce lots of food given all this manpower. Instead of supporting farming, people are concentrating on altering ovaries… Serio

******************* RWANDA******************

Family planning is needed because the number of people does not match with our resources,

*********CENTRAL AFRICA REPULBLIC: *********

We don’t need family planning. Stop all thing not contraception because it’s against the religion we’re Christians and we love God the meaning of contraception I read is not all for our society we must fight against deseases and family planning.

*************** SWAZILAND: ***************

I thought using condoms was the best and,not pills, injections and every thing

I suggest the Brits should start at home. Which will curb on the spiral of young single mums, or their draining resource on excess child care support. Cameron recently purported for a 3 child benefit policy- I think if they are really serious on budget cut. Then this package load of conceptive pill will work wonders in the UK than developing countries. After all Developing countries need to increase their economic market to align with the long time growth procrastination … While the Uk and the west need to shrink their market as it is over stretched. SO PILLS WILL MAKE A BETTER PLACE IN THE WEST THAN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES… Simply tosh

Oral Contraceptive Pill

After going through these comments and engaging in a heated debate with some critical minds across the globe, I was beginning to wonder if the problem was because I already was sceptical about any form of aid that came to the continent in the form of finished goods that were simply handed out to the people. I was also wondering if the problem could be the knowledge I had about the failed development paradigms since the 1960s. However, I was vindicated when Jerome Ngoh  came powerfully arguing that:

I can’t remember who said it but I can remember what he said: “it’s easier to pretend to be rich than it is to pretend to be poor”. Most of the comments in these thread make me laugh. Poverty is a societal self-sustaining philosophy. Yes, it starts with a male-dominated economic system in developing country but what keeps it in place has little to do with men. societal norms recruit previously exploited women to espouse and perpetuate this doctrine. Dady Kboy, is right: To change the story we need to tackle it from the economic/ educational empowerment of women. That is the recipe the West used. I am puzzled they deemed the chemical solution more appropriate for the “backward” people of the planet. That we are buying into it is more troubling. I hate bringing personal anecdotes into a story. I grew up poor. I remember the first time I told my mum about contraception, my grandma, not my father scolded me for bringing it up. I have discovered something about effecting change: I give my sisters the beat education money can buy. After exposing them to what the world has to offer, they don’t need a Bill- Melinda Gates foundation to educate them on the benefits of contraceptives.

I could not agree more with the above reasoning given that contraception is not a way of life – IT IS A CHOICE! Many women will have to choose to accept it or not! The ability to make that choice comes from education and awareness of what they want in life.

Provide all the contraception in the world to illiterate women and girls without the right economic and political atmosphere and they will become simply baby-less zombies.

Provide education, create jobs and an enabling environment and women will not need the Gates Foundation to provide for them – they will go look for it themselves and pay for it.

Empower the young women of Africa to think and stop thinking for them. Since a majority of these women are definitely illiterate, Melinda and her team have done all the thinking and decided that these women need it.

Actions such as these are what rob women of the ability to make informed choices and not the other way round.

Another aspect is the fact that when the West was faced with a similar crisis Malthus came up powerfully with his theory of population. As for the Malthusian theory of population I am not going to go in to all the theoretical debates he had with Ricardo and Keynesian contributions which clearly showed the contrary. However, let me state two points that are relevant to our discussion:

First, Malthus’s pessimistic conclusions have not been borne out by the history of Western European countries. The gloomy forecast made by Malthus about the economic conditions of future generations of mankind has not been realized in the Western world. Population has failed to grow as rapidly as predicted by Malthus and production has increased tremendously because of the rapid advances in technology. As a result, living standards of the people have risen instead of falling as was predicted by Malthus.

Secondly, Malthusian theory of population is based upon the law of diminishing returns as applied to agriculture. It on the basis of this law that Malthus asserted that food production could not keep pace with population growth. By making rapid advances in technology and accumulating capital in larger quantity, advanced countries have been able to postpone the stage of diminishing returns. By making use of fertilizers, better seeds, tractors and other agricultural machinery, they have been able to increase their production greatly. In fact, in most of the advanced countries the rate of increase of food production has been much greater than the rate of population growth.

Which brings me back to my basic question – can contraception solve any real economic problems in Africa? If so how?

Can education solve the controversy of contraception? YES! HOW? By giving women the knowledge to make informed choices.

Therefore – what Africa needs is the ability to think and not one foundation thinking and drawing conclusions – ones which they never implemented in their own case. Contraceptives may be good for birth control but when it comes to Africa as it is – I am apt to conclude that spending 2 billion is a misplaced priority.

THE AFRICAN DILEMMA: KONY 2012 – LIBERATION OR RE-COLONISATION?

Introduction

Today has been a very disturbing day for me and I guess for all the millions of people around the world who were fortunate or unfortunate to have watched the Kony 2012 30-minute video that has been making waves across the web. I have hitherto prided myself on knowledge of African history and how this is instrumental in understanding and shaping the future but my reaction to the video made me to have a rethink. Yes! You may have guessed right – I reacted like the million others who were so moved by the story that they immediately shared it to their friends and followers. I shared it on twitter and within a few moments it was retweeted.

This piqued my curiosity and going back to the video within a few hours, I saw that the viewership had risen from about 26 million to 32 million. Impressive! If the world could respond this quick to the plight of Africa, then famine, diseases, torture, rape, child soldier and all the ills associated with the continent will be history. Unfortunately, all this was about one man Joseph Kony and the organisation Invisible Children that was championing the cause was calling on the world to legitimise military intervention into the whole Central African region.

This video taken in isolation will seem the best possible thing to do to stop a psychopath like Joseph Kony. However if we hearken to Santayana’s popular quote that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”, it becomes expedient to look back a little at Africa’s past, for as John Paul II wrote, “if you want to understand the situation in Africa, its past and its picture, we must start from the truth of the African person – the truth of every African in his or her concrete and historical setting.” (John Paul II, Pilgrimage to Africa, 1980, 200)

In the narrative of the video, three things seem to stand out:

  1. Africans cannot solve their problems and so need external help – which takes us back to the ideology that shaped slavery and the slave trade.
  2. There is need for sustained military presence in the Central African Region since Kony cannot be tied to one single country. Given the threat on the stronghold on power and capital in Africa posed by China, this represents the ideology of the Partition and colonisation of Africa.
  3. Finally, with the effective installation of AFRICOM within the region, most decisions will come from outside the continent reflecting the effective reaffirmation of neo-colonialism.

Slavery and the Slave Trade

If you think that the idea that Africans cannot solve their own problems is a recent one then you need some more history lessons. By the 18th century there existed a Western intellectual bias which denied rationality to the African. This made Africans to be considered as still living in the primordial stage of the human species. This presumption of the African as sub-human was used by the Western world to justify slavery.[1] For them, Africans were more or less beasts or sub-human. What made Africans close to the human species was their possession of language. But since they had no rationality, they could be used as beasts. Even the name given to Africans connotes negativity. ‘Negro’ is derived from the Latin word “Niger – Nigri” which means ‘Black’. George Ekwuru further explains that:

In this connection, the thinking of Africans was branded as “black thinking”. Ideologically, from a racist point of view, “thinking black” as opposed to “thinking white”, would be something amounting to “incoherence”, “pre-logical” or simply “irrational”.[2]

Basing their arguments on the supposed fact of Africa’s lack of rationality the western world introduced and carried out the inhumane slave trade unhampered for several centuries. This left an indelible mark on the African. The treatments meted out on the slaves are better left untold. Mokwogo Okoye recalls graphically some of the aspects of the torture as whipping, mutilation of limbs, ears and private parts.[3] Other forms of treatments include the use of red-hot iron rods to make identification marks on the slaves, the throwing overboard of sick slaves and the terrible mode of ‘packaging’ experienced by the slaves in the Trans-Atlantic phase of the triangular trade.

The crème of the African society was deployed to work and develop other lands especially present day USA while the aged and the very young ones were left behind to nurse the wounds of the painful loss of their loved ones. All these animalistic treatments kept the African in a psychological state of an inferior frame of mind. This, the African has continued to pass down through generations, [4] such that the problem of inferiority complex is almost becoming perpetual especially among the present breed of leaders. In order to authenticate their existence, African leaders try to seek approval from foreign powers for almost every action they take regarding governance. It is therefore not surprising that the governments of Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic think themselves incapable of stopping the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) but feel the USA can send foreign troops to achieve the feat.

The Scramble/Partition of Africa and Colonialism

China has already been accused of re-colonising Africa. Their strategy of tapping into the strongholds of power and capital may be different but the outcome is similar to that of the 19th century project. By the third quarter of the 19th century, the scramble for, and partition of Africa was fully realized at the Berlin Conference of 1884-85. African states were arbitrarily divided amongst the European states, leading to the complete enslavement of the continent. Ekwuru presents the picture prosaically thus:

While most of the African chiefs in their cultural naïveté were gathering with their communities to drink and chat over the new gin from a strange land, a siege was being laid at the head of the continent – discussions were going on for the eventual partitioning of their land and their consequent subjection to slave status. In this conference, Europe arrogated to itself the international right of appropriating the whole continent with the so-called doctrines of spheres of influence and effective occupation. With the Berlin Conference, Africa lost its sovereignty and became an enslaved continent.[5]

Slavery was therefore given a new face with the introduction of colonialism. This period marked the advent of scientific slavery, racism, cultural dilapidation and imperialism. Colonialism was therefore an evolved form of slavery. Colonialism was a higher and disastrous form of slavery – the depersonalisation of a people within their own land.  Colonialism made effective use of ideology as its instrument of slavery. Everything that the African culture stood for was cancelled as primitive, fetish and uncivilized. As a consequence, many African societies have been destroyed, disorganised and are in a state of cultural paralysis by the successful implementation of the ideology of imperial domination. This had far-reaching effects.

First of all, it led to the collapse of the old cultural setup, since it involved the destruction of African cultural values ranging from shrines, sacred grooves, places of worship etc., which were at the very core of the African social and religious life. This shattered the traditional world view and cosmology of Africa with its basic symbolic mind-set, and the set of values that characterise the typical African society.

Secondly, colonialism led to the phasing out of old values. With the collapse of the African traditional set up, Africans began to loose grip of their basic values. Values like the dignity of the human person, respect for life, communalism and egalitarianism amongst other values were lost. While for the Europeans, this was the beginning of civilisation for Africa, little did the Africans realise that they were gradually being plunged in to an identity crisis that will manifest in the many civil wars that are still being fought in the continent.

Finally, with the colonial conquest, and a state of cultural paralysis effectively installed, the next move was for the imperialists to implant their own culture on African soil. At the meeting of two cultures, there is the natural tendency for the two to integrate, borrowing from each other. In the case of colonialism, it was a one sided acculturation. A new system of governance was introduced, with the novelty of having some Africans act as government officials. This brought about the problem of class-distinction which hitherto had been alien to Africa. Those who were educated by imperialist, seeming gained the status of Europeans. By this new status, he or she was elevated up the social stratum to constitute a middle class. Thus, a formerly socialist society transmuted into a capitalist society. Franz Fanon characterised the forged middle class as an “underdeveloped middle class”,[6] since it has little or no independent economic power, and no capability or inclination to play the historical role performed by the bourgeoisie of the Western society.

The Kony 2012 project, like colonialism is making use of ideology. Like the Berlin conference, it was conceived, designed and is being executed with an audience in mind other than those concerned. Of the 20 celebrities that were targeted, none is African and of course the 12 policy makers could never be African – yet it is about Africa. While the earlier colonial project claimed to be a mission to civilise, this one is a mission to ‘protect’. But whose interests are they protecting? The video makes it clear that the US has no interests in the region and that would have been true had China, who is threatening to take over from them as the world power, not been making massive progress in Africa. The second scramble for Africa is effectively underway!

Neo-Colonialism

A close look at most African countries especially the most chronically poor and the former French colonies will dispel the myth that political independence was fully won by African states from their colonial masters. The granting of formal independence by the colonial masters to their erstwhile colonies, was (with a few exceptions) never the achievements of popular based  national liberation movements but rather the result of a compromise reached between the former colonial powers and an almost negligible African bourgeoisie they created. This is a compromise that is aimed at continuing the dependent-satellite status on a new basis and which is now becoming more important, especially in the wake of growing challenges to the international capitalist system. The result is a neo-colonial society, tied in a multiplicity of ways not only to foreign capital but relying on a foreign military for survival.

The problem here is what Nkrumah had already pointed out that colonialism was slavery from without, but neo-colonialism was slavery from within, and as such more dangerous.[7] The situation is made more bizarre by the fact that most of these Africans have been stuffed with foreign ideas such that they are Africans with imperialist mentalities working against their own nations.

Some Questions though…

While I will like to commend Kony 2012 for its great sweep, I think it will be fair if we do a little brainstorming. If Kony is as elusive as he is made to seem in the video, where did they get such clean and seemingly recent shots of him? Who has been funding this man for the over twenty years that he has been in operation? Which countries are selling him arms? Of course since he is not producing them, he must be buying them from somewhere. Should this campaign not involve calling to book those arming such a dangerous creature? If Bin Laden with a far more sophisticated network could be traced and a few Navy seals sent in to capture and kill him, what makes such a mission difficult in Kony’s case? Kony has not been seen since 2006, why has catching him become so urgent?

Before jumping to a conclusion, like I did immediately after watching the video, I think it will do some justice to history and posterity to answer these questions before joining a campaign that could end up hurting the very people we aim to protect.

NOTES

[1] See R. F. Burton, (1864), A Mission to Gelele, King of Dahomey, 2nd ed. Vol. 2 London: Tinsley Brothers, p. 200

[2] Emeka George Ekwuru; (2001), Africa and the Myth of the Sleeping Giant: Towards the Age of Afrizealotism (Owerri: Totan Publishers Ltd., p. 105

[3] Mokwogo Okoye; (1964),  African Responses, (Devori Lifrecombe: Arthur H. Stockwell Ltd., p. 97

[4] Okoye; p. 98

[5] Ekwuru, Africa and the Myth of the Sleeping Giant, p.88

[6] Franz Fanon; (1963)The Wretched of the Earth, New York: Grove Press, p. 178

[7] K. Nkrumah (1964) Consciencism, “Philosophy and Ideology for Decolonisation with Particaular Reference to the African Revolution” London: Heinemann Educational Books Ltd., p. 50