The word “recolonization” is certainly not the most liked word in the vocabulary of the ruling elite of our continent, Africa. It only becomes useful when they are losing power or have fallen out of favour with their foreign handlers who now want them to be replaced by another of their puppets.
A closer look at most of the problems that Africa faces, one sees the ghost of colonial imperialists’ hidden hand in one way or another. From Libya, South Sudan, the scourge of Boko Haram in Nigeria, and now the so called terror threat in Cabo Delgado Province, Northern Mozambique, all point to the scramble for the natural resources found in abundance on the continent. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to join these dots and ask the question: “why is it that instability on our continent seems to be concentrated in highly resourced areas?” The answer is very simple. Africa has long since been considered as the “lucky deep hole” of resources by particularly the Western countries. They have now been joined by Russia and China in exploiting our continent’s resources.
The history of Libya as an Italian colony began in 1910 and lasted until February 1947. The Italian Army defeated the then ruling Ottoman Wilayats or state. As for Southern Sudan, the Republic of Sudan which included South Sudan was a British Colony that was later governed through a hybrid system called the “Condominium Rule” between the British and the Turco-Egyptians. The British governed the North and South of Sudan on the basis of a one country, two systems. Islam and the Arabic language and culture were promoted in the Northern part of Sudan, while in the Southern part, Christianity and the English language were promoted. Nigeria was effectively colonized by the British in 1885. Other European powers acknowledged Britain’s dominance over the area in the 1885 Berlin conference. Nigeria gained its independence in 1960. As for Mozambique, the Portuguese had occupied it since 1498 as a trading post after having defeated its former Arab rulers. The country later gained its independence in 1975 after a protracted Guerrilla war waged by the FRELIMO party.
Looking at the pattern of instability in all these countries, one sees it as a direct manifestation of their colonial past. In the first place, colonisation stole the land from the indigenous people of these countries. Secondly, colonisation was all about looting the resources of the people. While there will never be again another wave of colonization as that which happened in the past, the recolonization project has taken a new twist. It is being aided and abetted by puppet rulers who have been placed there by their colonial masters. Many of the problems that Africa face lies squarely on the shoulders of the colonialists and their anointed puppet leaders.
One cannot ignore the role of the African Command (Africom: The stationing of USA troops on the continent). After 9/11, the United States has speeded up the deployment of its troops on the continent in the name of fighting terrorism and homeland security. The Russians are currently negotiating with Sudan to open their first African military base on the Red Sea. The Chinese have already established their military base in Africa in Djibouti.
However, almost all countries on the Continent are blessed with natural resources including oil, Uranium, liquid nitrogen gas, gold, diamonds etc. Unfortunately this God-given wealth seems to be the main motivation for this so called “war on terror”.
One weakness that African leaders have and which seem to have been exploited by the major powers in their quest for raping Africa’s resources, is that of “entitlement”. Many of our leaders feel entitled to rule. Instead of providing servant leadership, they expect people to feel forever indebted and grateful to them. They suffer from the” we are your liberators” syndrome. Therefore, leave us to do what we want with the country’s resources and you have no say in that.
Northern Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province is faced with the same destiny. Appallingly, the inefficient and gullible political leaders will be shielded and protected by their western handlers and their propaganda machinery, by pointing fingers at “Islamic”, “Jihadist” militants.
We as Africans have failed miserably to hold our political leaders accountable.
In parting, let me just sound this cautionary sentiment, “Africa must be careful”. Tomorrow we might wake up to find out that we have been completely recolonized and our resources have been taken over by these so called “friends” in sheepskin.
- Dr Mustafa Bothwell Mheta has a PhD in Semitic Languages and Cultures from the University of Johannesburg, Department of Religion Studies .He is also a Researcher at the Media Review Network.