AFRICAN OPPRESSORS

The ironic tragedy about Africa is that foreign oppressors got replaced by African oppressors. An oppressive system needs an oppressor to run it, it is designed to be run by oppressors, and only oppressors can successfully run it.

The colonies were oppressive systems created by foreign interests to exploit the nature, the resources, the people and the dynamics within Africa. To successfully do this, they had to create or midwife or empower an intermediate class of African oppressors to be their remote controlled agents of oppression. In some cases they subjugated and then used already existent mini-powers of local imperialism existent on parts of the continent. Together with the new ones they groomed, using the divide and rule strategy, they created a comprehensive across-board layer and class of all-too-willing African oppressors.

At “independence”, underneath all the chaos that came afterwards, this class of African oppressors remained conscious, self-aware, ruthless and bent on replacing their masters; and eventually the leadership of these oppressive systems cynically called “African countries” were taken over by this class of African oppressors. In situations where a really freedom-minded African managed to be the first post-colonial African leader of these post-colonial entities – like Kwame Nkrumah in Ghana or Patrice Lumumbah in Congo – they were quickly and easily killed or ejected by that same class of African oppressors under the guidance and with the support of the foreign oppressors and imperialists. They secured thereby their agents of neo-colonialism and eventual recolonisation. Even until today, anytime non-oppressive personalities or tendencies seek to manifest in the leadership strata of Africa, this class of African oppressors frustrate them or eliminate them.

This is generally the situation that has reigned in Africa until today. Originally sovereign indigenous African peoples and nationalities were conquered, de-sovereignised, broken up and dispossessed. In their place, new territories of foreign authority were drawn up by the foreign imperialists, with new borders, new laws, new governments, new structures, new raison d’etre, new system of thought and of operation – all geared towards the imperialistic Exploitation of Africa. The education of Africans henceforth also was geared towards the production of the different levels of servants required to fulfil this uncivil servitude. The originally de-sovereignised African states have never again got back their Sovereignty even until today.

After the 2nd World War, when the political wind of change reduced support for a system of “colonialism” and “imperialism”, this was a temporary blow to fascism worldwide and forced a withdrawal from the visible driving seats of their colonial empires. However, the oppression-continuums they created remained in place. And their position was simply taken over by the very class of African oppressors whom they had either midwifed and empowered, or whose formation they had not prevented but had deliberately instrumentalised. And they are still with us today.

That class of African oppressors – and, more importantly, that philosophy of African oppressors – is still with us today, generationally and sequentially reinforcing itself at the helm of affairs in these colonially designed systems of oppression cynically still being called “African” countries today. Neither military rule nor democracy, neither communism-socialism nor capitalism, Islamic nor Christian fervour have changed or eliminated this nefarious class of African oppressors nor can do so by themselves. The problem is in the very soul of this system of thought, it springs from Greed, Avarice and Selfishness. Greed for material wealth and comfort, military power and political authority. The desire to play god.

Only the People themselves, the Masses, can do away with theses classes of African oppressors. Only when the people unite, become adequately conscious, and are resolved, can they destroy and banish this class of African oppressors forever. Thereafter, however, the people will need to go into themselves, into their own hearts and minds, into their own newly emerging systems, and ENSURE that that same philosophy of the erstwhile African Oppressors has not taken root in the masses too and reproduced itself in new emergent systems and nations or in old or presently existent sanitised nations. If we want a break from the past, then we have to change from the ways of the past.

Until we do away with this class of African oppressors and their way of thinking as well as change the very internal structure and logic of these Trojan horses left behind at “Independence”, i.e. until African countries are properly internally restructured – either gradually through the progressive efforts of a succession of non-oppressor leaders, or through radical changes in constitutions – Africa will continue to be the last great bastion of fascism on Earth which it is today.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije

NIGERIA: SERVING TWO MASTERS

Nigeria, by and large, was conquered and colonised TWICE – by Islamic Arabic Imperialism and by Judeo-Christian Western Imperialism.

But when Nigeria fought for Independence, it only fought for Independence against Western Imperialism and not against Arab Imperialism.
That is why the soul of Nigeria has divided loyalties today. Many Nigerians who consider themselves free and independent today are only independent (partly) from Western Imperialism, and not from Arabian Imperialism which – like the green snake in the green grass – is deeper, stealthier and more inchoate and not bound into a concrete, easily dismantable State-form.
While Nigeria battled back right from independence with the consequences of this subtle lack-of-freedom, Western imperialism quietly returned in the form of neo-colonialism.
Until Nigeria – and indeed Black Africa – is politically, economically and ideologically free of both the WEST AND the EAST (Middle & Far East), it will never be able to develop. It will always remain a puppet on a string and a pawn in a game being played by others.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije

DO AFRICANS BELIEVE THAT AFRICANS CAN INVENT?

We have to make our own world, because there is little space for us in the world others have created, out of their own ingenuity, for themselves.

So what we need is to create in Africa an African system that supports research and invention from Dream to Done Deed. What we need is to awaken the strong sense of the need to create our own world, a new world. A desire, the unquenchable thirst and unslackening desire to do this or perish. It becomes our racial focus, and the essence of the DNA we pass on, henceforth, from Generation to Generation. Our black spirits will come ready-made with the natural Urge to do this. We will be born differently from today. Born to invent.

But…: Do Africans believe that Africans can invent? Do Africans who feel the spirit of invention and innovation stirring within them have the guts to sacrifice their whole life to it? Are there financiers and patrons ready to support them to the bitter or sweet end?

If all you do is extract natural resources and minerals from the earth and the waters, and sell them unprocessed to others, then you are just a glorified miner. Now, today, as oil revenues dwindle, the call is sounded. Any mathematician can do the arithmetics and work backwards from the finish line. It is the point in time when our oil becomes worthless and our ability to invent and innovate becomes the only natural resource we have left. Untapped?

Yes I made the the jump from oil to inventions; whereby the popular wisdom proclaims that the alternative to oil bears another name: Diversification. But… Diversification Alone Is Not The Answer! It is only an interim puffer, but not the guarantor of survival. Only the fit survive. The fit are those who have trained the power and ability to create the future.

But…: Are African governments, think tanks, traditional institutions and financial institutes really ready to chart and push this course and pour all their resources into creating a new world, their own future? Do Africans believe that Africans can invent?

If we simply diversify from Oil to Solid Minerals, we will make the same mistakes again because not only are the underlying methodologies unaddressed and unchanged; nor the corruption issues in terms of persons, institutions and systems unammended; but, most importantly, the fundamentally flawed ideology that drives and guides our concept of nation-building, people-building, capacity-building – whatever you want to call it – remains the most entrenched and in-built weakness that we carry with us from generation to generation, from century to century. It is an ideology that supports a taker-mentality as opposed to a giver-mentality; it remains a receiver-mentality as against a creator-mentality; it stays a past-deifying and present-indulging mentality instead of a future-engineering one.

But it is better to produce the future than to reproduce the past. What our so-called education so far has not done for us is trigger the creator-gene. Systemically, deeply and deliberately. En Masse. The discoverer-Complex has yet to be activated within the context of African Culture, Upbringing, Orientation, Foundational Thinking that later guides investors, policy-makers, entrepreneurs and every citizen. We are talking about the Survival of the Species here.

The human being, in the end, respects only intelligence. Not just articulated intelligence, but intelligence that has yielded action and tangible form. The human species‘ only hope for survival and expansion, right from time, and for escaping extinction, has always been innovation and invention, i.e. the practical application of intuitive perception and intelligence. Thus, humans finally only respect those persons and groups whose ingenuity or depth of perception leads to discoveries and inventions that continue to move humankind forward. The urge to move, physically, mentally and spiritually, and to defend gained territories, is a deep evolutionary expression of primal survival instinct.

Therefore: Africans had better start believing that Africans can invent and that Africans SHOULD invent. And start pouring all their resources into making this a reality. Otherwise, the future which is being currently invented and designed by Non-Africans, for Non-Africans, will have no place in it for Africa and Africans. Or the place that will be reserved for us, we will not like it, nor possess the power and ability to change it. It will be worse that the days of Slavery and Colonisation. It will be a depth of systemic powerlessness and denigration not yet seen in the history of humankind. Because, if you don‘t make anything, you‘ll never own a thing.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije

MANDELA, LEARNING FROM OTHERS’ MISTAKES: 4 – (Sudan and South Sudan)

(Lessons from the first (mis)steps following modern Africa’s independence)

Those who have a knowledge of post-independent Africa will, sadly, not be surprised by the turn of events in South Sudan today. Macabre, but true. Indeed, they would have expected it and, like Mandela and his team, and they would have prepared for it, to try and avert it. South Sudan’s road to independence has been long and winding. She began her life in the modern African world as a region of an arab-dominated Sudan which was herself the joint colonial property of Egypt and Britain. Even before their first modern independence – that of Sudan from Egypt and Britain – Sudan was divided into an arab-speaking islamic north on the one hand, and on the other hand a south full of a myriad black tribes speaking different tongues, mainly Christianised, partly adherent still to ancient African religions, and basically lacking a sense of united nationhood amongst themselves. What united them was their wariness of the north in the face of a long history of slavery and jihadic wars; whereas the north itself was focused on achieving independence from its external colonisers. And independence indeed eventually came, but it did not bring peace with it. Acrimony between military and politics, disputes between Marxists and non-Marxists, moslem-christian religious animosities, and the distrust between north and south, ensured that years of coups, civil wars, genocide and violent disunity would follow. Decades after independence, seemingly unable or unwilling to find a lasting workable peace between north and south, in 2011 they parted ways acrimoniously. Soon after, in the newly independent and sovereign South Sudan, the very same quarrels, accusations and maneuverings that had plagued newly independent African countries five decades earlier, reared their stubborn heads here too and South Sudan degenerated into a hydra-headed civil war. Finally, the tribes of the South, lacking any other external adversary, seemed all too willing to turn their guns on each other and destroy what it now seems that they never had nor ever really tried to cultivate during the decades of tribulation: internal Oneness, inter-tribal political unity. And, unfortunately for them, it seems that they, too, have no Madibas amongst them.

Take any African region, north, west, east and south, and study its collective post-independent or post-liberation history. Examples abound, enough of them. The wound cries out like a disjointed pack of scattered wild voices screaming from a burning house: the lack of reconciliation; the lack of representative, inclusive democracy, of socio-political unity. Some will call it the lack of national common sense. In Africa, for some reason, political office is not voluntarily terminal, whether or not the constitutions stipulate such, and power is not shared. Leaders seem to love only the concept of their country, the fact of having a country, but do not also love all the peoples of the country, their welfare, their liberties and their peacefully united future – not if it requires that the rulers and their support groups themselves equalise themselves with the rest of the country and subject themselves to a rule of law that stands above everyone. Instead, everybody wants to grab the crown, and sit on the throne, and then ostracize, under-develop and punish his enemies. No matter what effects this has on the country in the long and short run.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

… continued in Part 5 of 11:
MANDELA, LEARNING FROM OTHERS’ MISTAKES: 5 -(Ghanaian Black Holes & Ivorian Time Bombs)

Preceding Chapters:
MANDELA, LEARNING FROM OTHERS’ MISTAKES : 1 – (Preamble)
MANDELA, LEARNING FROM OTHERS’ MISTAKES : 2 – (Egypt’s Modern Pharaohs)
MANDELA, LEARNING FROM OTHERS’ MISTAKES : 3 – (Tunisian Troubles, Libyan Losses, Ethiopian Woes)

MANDELA, LEARNING FROM OTHERS’ MISTAKES : 3 – (Tunisian Troubles, Libyan Losses, Ethiopian Woes)

(Lessons from the first (mis)steps following modern Africa’s independence)

In Tunisia, in the so-called French Maghreb region of North Africa, Habib Bourguiba endured imprisonment and persecution, bravely kept up the struggle for liberation, and eventually led the country to independence in 1956, pushing the French out of the political helm of affairs in Tunisia. He applied himself to the economic betterment of his country, experimented with socialist models and, when they did not yield the desired results, switched to more liberal economic strategies. Internationally he was very concerned about securing an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. In the mean time, however, politically he set about instituting himself as the sole authority and system in Tunisia. He pushed through a constitution that gave him near dictatorial powers, and was eventually elected “president for life”. He maintained an authoritarian regime until, after more than three decades as president, a doctor declared him medically unfit to rule any longer. Ben Ali, his minister, succeeded him and he too applied himself to Tunisia’s economy, more than tripling its GDP within a twenty-year period. Politically, however, he too went down the road well trampled. He spent the next twenty-four years refining and perfecting his control over state and government, stage-managing elections, persecuting opposition, blocking free speech and incessantly perpetuating himself in power. But the long arm of the people’s fury, come to fruition in the Jasmine revolution, eventually caught up with him and his cohorts, at long last, in 2011.

Apart from in Egypt, the Tunisian revolution also triggered a similar revolution in neighbouring Libya, which historically has also not fared better, plunging that country too into riots, bloodshed and conflict, leading to the overthrow and death of their own once-liberator turned lifetime-dictator, Gadddafi. Today, more than five decades after modern independence, the present generations of these countries have to struggle desperately and painfully in a volatile, polarised, changing world, to attain what their Independence-generation failed to do: to motivate all sections of their populace into finding, anchoring and practicing a sustainable self-rotating form of representational constitutional democracy, one in which tolerance and reciprocal respect of differing wishes, inclusion, reconciliation and rule of law, within the context of a global modern world, hold sway.

In Ethiopia, Emperor Haile Selasie enjoyed the reputation of being the head of the only nation in Africa that was never successfully colonised. In the 1930s he courageously resisted Mussolini and the Italian invasion and then continued to rule Ethiopia, as Emperor, for many more decades to follow – until in a 1974 coup he was overthrown and dethroned, and then imprisoned in his own Grand Palace by his own people, where he died a few months later, a lonely old man. In his many long decades as leader of the Ethiopian Empire, he had fired the imaginations of Africans and Blacks all over the world, and hosted and reigned as founding chairman of the Organisation of African Unity. He inspired religions and movements, stood as a bastion of global racial equality and dignity, abolished slavery, and pumped much time, effort and the scarce financial means available to Ethiopia into a forward-thinking infrastructural modernisation and industrialization effort. Only one thing he did not do: show any interest in a political game-changer that would replace the monarchy with a true representational democracy in which all the different peoples, classes and sections of the nation would have, and unitedly administer, a joint stake. Civil wars with Eritrean, Oromo and Somali liberationists destabilised the state; a state in which Selasie ruled over and decided everything – administrative, adjudicative, financial, military and ministerial – an autocratic monarch. After the Wollo droughts and the famine came in the late sixties and early seventies, the disconnect between the leaders and the peoples tore the old establishment down. The army mutinied, popular revolts tore through the streets, and strikes and demonstrations paralysed the land. Emperor Haile Selasie was eventually deposed – after almost six decades as Ethiopia’s leader – and a new dictatorship under Major Mengistu took his place. Post-Selasie Ethiopia was then plunged into years of coups, dictatorship, Red Terror, uprisings, dispute, war and violence – all compounded by drought and famine. The Emperor had never built or championed a political system that could harness the patriotic, broad, representative efforts of the whole country’s peoples towards peacefully and constitutionally finding and executing a joint self-sustaining, rotational solution to their problems. He left a divided, politically adrift nation behind. Ethiopia was thus cruelly and ironically sent back to square one, despite its great history and iconic leader.

Che Chidi Chukwumerije

… continued in Part 4 of 11:
MANDELA, LEARNING FROM OTHERS’ MISTAKES: 4 – (Sudan and South Sudan)

Preceding Chapters:
MANDELA, LEARNING FROM OTHERS’ MISTAKES: Part 1 (Preamble)
MANDELA, LEARNING FROM OTHERS’ MISTAKES: PART 2 (Egypt’s modern pharaohs)

MANDELA, LEARNING FROM OTHERS’ MISTAKES: 2 – (Egypt’s modern pharaohs)

(Lessons from the first (mis)steps following modern Africa’s independence)

History is the teacher of the wise, and Mandela himself proved to be a good student – for he had many dramatic examples to learn from. Long before South Africa’s struggles for liberation from apartheid yielded fruit, other African nations had shot out of the starting block, propelled forward by the momentum of independence and freedom, to grapple each with the daunting task of forging a modern nation-being. It reads like a soap opera, one unresolved episode after another, with dependable repetition. A few examples suffice:

In newly independent Egypt, the leader of the revolution Colonel Nasser, despite his political victories against Britain, his Suez heroism and his Sinai vicissitudes, despite his enduring popularity at home and abroad, his inspiring effect on colonised nations worldwide, his influence on the afro-arab stage and the cultural boom that his tenure occasioned, was reluctant – when it came to internal affairs – to allow or foster the blossoming of a political system in which his personal power was anything less than absolute. He crushed all opposition parties, be they communists, capitalists, muslim brothers or any other grouping critical of him. He imprisoned thousands of opponents, including some who had been his comrades in the revolution. He centralised the planning of the economy, nationalised industry and everything he could nationalise, controlled both state and government, and placed a tight grip on all types of unions and institutions, from academic, to religious, the media, to the youth. He became, in effect, the modern-day pharaoh. By the time he died, in office, in 1970, after fourteen years as president, he had written his name eternally into the history books of not only Africa, and had attempted to industrialise and modernise Egypt; but also, portentously, he had practised largely only political repression during his reign. He did not use the momentum of liberation to propel all sides of the country into the forging of a political culture of unity and inclusion. Very simply, he had omitted to lay the foundation for a balanced political system of representative, rotational, shared democracy – an omission, the after-effects of which still plague a restless, internally unreconciled Egypt to this day. Nasser was succeeded by another military veteran, Sadat, after whose assassination many years later another soldier, Mubarak, took over. In 2011 the people arose in a popular revolution against him. The Revolution culminated in the election of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mursi who, after more violent protests, was ousted in a coup-d’etat by his own head of Armed Forces Abdel Fattah el-Sisi who in turn a year later transformed from Military leader to civilian president in an election boycotted by most other political parties. Despite being one of the most ancient civilizations of mankind, and an independent modern nation, Egypt is today still struggling to find internal reconciliation, peace and socio-political harmony.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije

(Continued in Part 3 of 11:
MANDELA, LEARNING FROM OTHERS’ MISTAKES : 3 – (Tunisian Troubles, Libyan Losses, Ethiopian Woes)

Preceding Chapter/
MANDELA, LEARNING FROM OTHERS’ MISTAKES: Part 1 (Preamble)

MANDELA, LEARNING FROM OTHERS’ MISTAKES: 1 – (Preamble)

(Lessons from the first (mis)steps following modern Africa’s independence)

It sounds like a myth now. They say South Africa was on the brink of civil war after the release of Mandela and the collapse of apartheid. Civil war? Really? The Zulus and the Xhosas were heading for tribal war? And, simultaneously, the blacks against the whites in racial massacre? Well, it is true that it all sounds a bit far-fetched to some people now… because it did not happen. Because Mandela opted for reconciliation and spearheaded an intense drive to find a common basis for all to live, share power and face the future together. But, as far-fetched as all this may seem today, it was actually the most likely turn that events would have taken, based on the history of African so-called independence. This is a history that Mandela, and those who thought like him, knew all too well and, like wise people do, gravely feared. It is a history replete with the educative one-two punch of the strong heady wine of independence, liberation and freedom, eventually followed by the bad-tempered and moody hangover of disorientation, destabilisation and crisis.

Independence, all too often, is followed by civil strife and civil war. On all continents, in different eras, there abound records of great and small nations who have been unable to avoid this cliff in the arch of their history. When a nation-space has been oppressed or suppressed for a long time, it exhibits the properties of a socio-political pressure cooker. Once the lid of suppression is lifted, tumultuous explosions sooner or later follow as the various agendas and sensibilities of its component parts push to the fore, each demanding fulfilment. It requires strong-willed, knowing, conscious leadership to harness the liberated energies and channel them into constructive upbuilding. The opposite would mean a repetition of the same wild implosion into self-destruction witnessed after independence in many African countries, and as is happening right now in South Sudan. It is a pity that more than two decades after the fall of apartheid, Mandela’s example has not been understood and internalised by many other African peoples, personalities and groups still trying to find the most conducive forms of post-independent co-existence.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije

Continued in Part 2 of 11:
MANDELA, LEARNING FROM OTHERS’ MISTAKES: 2 – (Egypt’s modern pharaohs)