Confronting The African Gimmicks
By Paul Japheth Sunwabe
May 17, 2002
Some how, the dictators of Africa and their partners in the continued destruction of African lives and properties have craftily figured out that the best way out of the African predicament is to blame Europeans and some well intentioned Africans who now believe that the vast majority of Africa's problems are self inflicted. Although there are credible evidence that suggest that past and contemporary African leaders have looted almost everything out of their countries for European, American and now Caribbean bank deposits, these charlatans, in vociferous manner continue to deny the irrefutable. Fatuously, some Western based African intellectuals, for the sake of a few US dollar, have joined the bandwagon of the thieving regime of Africa in shifting blame rather than confronting the truth. According to the African arch-dictators and their carefully handpicked intellectual lackeys, everything that has gone awfully wrong on the Africa Continent is the fault of the IMF, the World Bank Group, the British Foreign Office, the US State Department, the French Foreign Office African Bureau and African democratic activists residing both in Africa and the West.
Based on their blame shifting logic, we are repeatedly told that the African leadership is above reproach, and has taken the necessary steps to transform African nations socially, economically and politically. Accordingly, due to century old Western racism, imperialism and neocolonialism, the gallant reform efforts of our leaders have been frustrated and thwarted repeatedly. The West is determined to keep Africa oppressed and to loot its vast natural resource deposits for Western consumption.
Nowadays, this hyperbole is the refrain of African Presidents and their intellectual defensemen. To be candid, Western policies have exacerbated the devastation of the African Continent and the lives of its more than eight hundred million people. For example, prior to, and during the Cold War era, Western nations (i.e. the USA, Great Britain, France, Belgium, etc.), helped imposed intolerable regimes on the sovereign people of Africa. As former US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Herman Cohen noted in an interview with Columbia University professor Bill Berkeley, "In Africa, we were accepting military coups. We were accepting rigged elections. This was our over-all African policy" (The Graves Are Not Yet Full 2000 p.91). Again, the West, keenly aware of the importance of democracy, freedom of expression and the rule of law, chose not to support the latter in Africa prior to, and during the abominable Cold War period. However, it is difficult for an African child to fathom how past Western African policies alone can be responsible for the economic atrophy, military vandalism, grisly murders and looting that we continue to see across contemporary Africa.
It is true that the West created monsters like Samuel Doe of Liberia and Mobutu of Zaire and went on to back their nefarious regimes with billions of US taxpayers' dollars. For example, in 1985, the United States of America shamefully provided a justification for Samuel Kenyon Doe's rigged Liberian-presidential election. Chester Crocker, the former US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs who cultivated close relation with Samuel Doe during the Cold War, justified Doe's blatant election theft in these disgraceful word, "the Liberian Government pledged to return to civilian rule within five years and that pledge has been fulfilled" (The Graves Are Not Yet Full 2000, p.75). But, did the United States tell Samuel Kenyon Doe and Mobutu of Zaire to kill every Zairian or Liberian who was not a member of their ethnic groups? Or did the US tell Samuel Doe and Mobutu to loot every penny given to their individual countries for Western Bank deposits? I have yet to see the evidence!
In June 1999, Kenya's President for life Daniel Arap Moi accused the IMF, and several development partners of Kenya of denying Kenya development funds, thus triggering mass poverty (George B. N. Ayittey World Bank lecture 2000). Contrary to Moi's assertion, individual Kenyans and other African observers are not blaming the IMF alone for the abject poverty that is fast becoming a Kenyan way of life. In fact, Kenyans blame President Moi and his cronies for looting everything out of Kenya for European bank deposits. But back in Africa, Moi, his cronies and the Kenyan intellectual kleptocrats who have been hired to defend his immoral regime are telling us that Kenya's predicament is the fault of the white race, the IMF, the World Bank and neocolonialism.
In Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe, the "African politics of excuse and blame shifting" has reached a shameful zenith. According to Mugabe, the political violence across Zimbabwe, the economic sanctions the country faces, the country's recently rigged presidential election; and Zimbabwe's pervasive AIDS pandemic are all the fault of British Prime Minister Toni Blair and the "British Gay gangsters". As the Zimbabwe Independent observes, "Mugabe rejects the criticism of those who blame the government for the economic crisis. It is, he says, the fault of greedy Western powers, the IMF, the Asian financial crisis and the drought" (Zimbabwe Independent 1999 p.25). However, when the pedantic Southern African leader asked the Zimbabwe people to grant him absolute political power to run Zimbabwe into the grave, they boldly rejected his referendum for draconian political powers. Today, many Zimbabweans do not buy Mugabe's imperialist rhetoric. In fact, Zimbabwe's opposition political figures and countless Africans blame President Mugabe for Zimbabwe's current economic and political woes. In November 1999, the former Chairman of Ghana's ruling NDC party, Issifu Ali stated that the economic crisis that Ghana was experiencing under Jerry J. Rawlings was solely due to external factors. Additionally, Chairman Ali pointed out that since 1982, the Government of Rawlings adopted pragmatic economic policies in Ghana, but the latter was undermined by the terrible global economic development of 1999. However, the Chairman of Ghana's former ruling corrupt political party was not convincing to many Ghanaians. As Atta Frimpong an enraged Ghanaian protestor put it in November of 1999, "If Jerry Rawlings says the current economic crisis is due to external forces and therefore, beyond his control, then he should step aside and allow a competent person who can manage the crisis to take over" (Ghanaian Chronicle Nov 29,1999; p.1). Like other African strongman, Rawlings did not step aside voluntarily, but was booted out of power by an angry Ghanaian electorate in December 1999.
Belatedly, other African con artists, and their associates have taken keen interests in advancing the traditional African gimmicks and politics of excuse in frantic efforts to win sympathy from the many outraged Africans who are earnestly seeking solutions to Africa's problems. In Charles Taylor's notorious Liberia, the blame for the country's current pariah international status is put squarely on the shoulders of the reputable Perspective magazine and those of us who are determined to expose the gimmicks of Charles Criminal Taylor, Reginald Goodridge, and the thieving Liberian intellectuals who have sold their intellectual integrity for a few looted millions. In advancing Taylor's politics of lies, theft, violence and coercion, Liberians are repeatedly told by Taylor's hired pens fighting over crumbs that the UN is against Liberia, the US hates Liberia, and The Perspective is replete with lies.
Additionally, the pariah regime of Monrovia contends that Liberians who contribute articles to The Perspective Magazine are a bunch of illegitimate Liberian immigrants who are desperately seeking permanent resident status in America, and will do everything to tarnish and defame the impeccable image of President Taylor and his ministries; hopping that the US would grant them the much wanted permanent residence status. What rubbish and spurious accusations! Liberians residing in the US have not said anything that is not true about the criminal regime of notorious Charles Gangster Taylor. Minister Reginald Goodridge isn't it true that Taylor and his NPFL spent seven years in the forests of Liberia killing innocent men, women and children? And if our accusations are false and malicious as the Taylor sponsored website (www.Allaboutliberia.com) insists, then where are Jackson F. Doe, Moses Duopu, Gabriel William Kpolleh and Taylor's revolutionary partners Cooper B. Teah and Elmer G. Johnson? Will Monrovia dare answer this question, or will they resort to another round of accusatorial politics and the usual African canard?
Africans, it is true that the West and East have historically treated African people with cruelty. Their policies have abetted dictatorship in Africa for quite sometime now. However, the West has retreated from the volatile African political theater; leaving the mess they advocated in Africa for years to be addressed by Africans. For example, in the US State Department, particularly at the African desk, the refrain is that Africans must solve their own problems and assume responsibility for the destiny of their continent. It is also fair to say that the West alone did not create the mess we see across the African Continent today. There were always African strongmen like Samuel Doe, Sani Abacha, and now Charles Taylor and Lansana Conteh who sincerely believe that their individual countries are their personal properties and could be looted at will. Yet, these Stone Age dictators and their associates are engaged in shifting the blame of Africa's conundrums elsewhere.
Africans must be sanguine not to fall victims to the lies of our leaders and their intellectual lackeys. While shouting Western imperialism, neocolonialism and unfair international economic policies, these sophisticated gangsters are looting Africa to death. What is laughable about our notorious leadership is that they take their ill-gotten billions to the very West they despise. Of course this does not make any sense. But the truth of the matter is that our leaders do not hate the West at all. They cherish the West and prey on the terrible history that has existed between the West and Africa for centuries. The only reason the African leadership keeps citing the colonial sentiment is that they are determined to keep our focus on the colonialists while they enrich themselves to the detriment of African societies.
If Africans will progress in this century, we must be assiduous in confronting the problems that have devastated our continent for centuries: the shameful Western policy towards Africa and the criminal African leadership, particularly the consortium of dictators we now erroneously refer to as the African Union. In my humble opinion, there are steps that Africans in the West can begin to take to help drastically turn things around in Africa: