Why the West support dictatorship in Black Africa?
Viewed in that context, the post-colonial Africa’s burden therefore lies in the continued reliance on Western colonial laws and institutions developed by the colonisers to maintain white domination and undermine socio-economic developments of Black Africa. The colonial policies created slave and slave-like economy. Legalised slavery and colonisation were reinforced by military force, financial and political leverages, based on Western culture, religion and God. Control of African States by the West continued long after formal political independence of the former African colonies.
The British and French colonial dictatorships in Africa were based on white superiority, racism and forceful imposition of western culture, religion and God. The colonial objective was to denigrate Black culture, spirituality and history. The colonial bureaucracy created subservient leaders who were ideologically trained to function as imperialist agents serving the interests of the former colonies.
Why do Western Nations support dictatorship in Africa? The short answer is because the West finds it easier to control corrupt African dictators than ideologically and politically conscious leaders committed to development of African countries and defence of the sovereignty of the respective States on the continent. However, the more complex and nuanced answer is philosophical, historical and intellectual. In broad terms, the Western leaders’ support for African dictators is grounded on ideological continuity of the destructive economic and political strategies engineered during the colonial period to subjugate the continent and continued to be relied on by the post-colonial African States.
At independence, African States inherited these colonial laws, institutions, religion and God. The colonial laws were used, for example, in Zimbabwe, Namibia and Kenya, amongst other former colonies, to steal lands from Black s and to give it to Whites. These laws continued to apply long after independence. The colonial institutions that undermined independence and sovereignty of Black Africa included, surprisingly, the United Nations (UN), and advocates of predatory capitalism, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
The UN system is skewed against Africa, especially through the use of veto powers (a power the whole African continent is denied) in the Security Council. The West uses the veto powers to punish non-compliant African leaders and to reward Black leaders who serve Western interests. Resolutions targeting Africa are often adopted by the Security Council with the support of Black African States. For example, United Nations Security Council Resolution [UNSC Res 1973(2011)] authorising use of force in Libya, the resolution relied on by the West to overthrow and kill Col. Mummar Gadhafi, was adopted with the support of Gabon, Nigeria and South Africa. Without the votes of the three African States, the UN Security Council votes would have failed to meet the minimum nine votes required because Russia, China, Germany, Brazil and India abstained. If Africa, through the African Union (AU) had acted to protect one of their members, there would have been no legal basis for NATO to attack Libya.
Further, the IMF and the World Bank is used to reward African leaders who protect Western interests and to punish leaders who do not cooperate with the West. Thus structural Adjustment Programmes (SAP) of the 1980s and 1990s destroyed African economies by privatising public properties and using globalisation as a cover for Western companies to take over Africa’s economy and public companies critical for development of ‘poor’ African States. Several years later, after having forced African States to incur unpayable debts, Western economists admitted that SAP and Globalisation were failed experiments and did more damage than good for Africa’s economy.
Similarly, the African States are glued to Western religion and God to the extent that religion plays exceptionally critical role in governance in Africa. Religious leaders, funded by Western Churches and institutions can bring down any African government that does not pay allegiance to the Pope in Rome, or the Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England and Evangelicals in the United States. The Catholic and Protestant Churches have great influence in the politics and social life of the former British colonises notwithstanding that Religion and God were used as colonising instruments.
African States do not have the political or financial muscles to leave, or distance themselves, from these institutions and corrosive ideas. The African States are trapped in the abusing relationships with the Western political, economic and religious systems. The Western laws, institutions, religion and God continue to determine the future of Africa because of the continuity of the colonial models of governance and control.
The African leaders rushed to join colonial-created institutions that played critical roles in dehumanising Blacks at independence because inheriting colonial laws, institutions, religions and God were effectively or tacitly part of the conditions for grant of independence. The African leaders who resisted Western powers and sought true independence were eliminated or vilified. The economies of these ‘stubborn’ African States were destroyed and their political independence was simultaneously undermined. The leaders who resisted Western domination and control that were eliminated or vilified include Sylvanus Olympio of Togo, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Ahmed Sekou Toure of Guinea, Patrice Lumumba of Democratic Republic of Congo, Thomas Sankara of Burkina Fasco, and many more.
On the other hand, African leaders who were subservient to the former colonial powers and functioned as imperialist agents in Africa, were supported, rewarded handsomely and kept in power by the former colonial masters as long as they were useful. Once they outlived their usefulness, the West permitted their removal from office, by any means necessary. Most African leaders learnt to be obedient and good ‘boys’ of the West, and some are still in power. The African leaders who were, and some still are, for all practical purposes serving imperialism, include long-time ruler of Zaire (now DRC) Mobotu Sese Seku, President and later Emperor, Jean Bedel Bokassa of Central African Republic, Omar Bongo of Gabon, Paul Biya of Cameroon, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni Tibahaburwa of Uganda, etc.
These African leaders, particularly dictator Museveni Tibahaburwa, became the linchpin of Western powers and the point-man responsible for policing the Great Lakes Region as a super- agent of imperialism. Museveni Tibahaburwa was/is handsomely rewarded by the United States, United Kingdom and the European Union. In defence of Western interests, Museveni deployed troops funded by the US, EU and UN to Somalia and Central African Republic; Museveni’s soldiers also waged wars in Rwanda, the DRC, Sudan and South Sudan. President Museveni was rewarded by Western powers for protection of their economic interests, especially in the DRC.
As President Museveni brutalises Ugandans, the West continues to provide unequivocal support for the Ugandan dictator for he is still useful. Until he becomes a liability to the West, President Museveni Tibahaburwa is likely to retain his hold on Uganda, financed by the West, for a long time.
The other strategies used by the West to control Africa are debts, grants, aids and unproductive military funding and training. The funds provided and the military infrastructures built are used to protect Western interests in contrast to Africa’s long term development Debts give the West leverage to instruct African leaders on what they can and cannot do. The power to run the African State shifts from African leaders to the West who owns the African countries through accumulated debts. More loans are then provided to the African States to pay interests, and not the principal debt. The African States sink deeper and deeper in debts with nothing to show for it. [Dambisa Moyo (2009), Dead Aid: Why Aid is Not Working and How There is another Way for Africa]. These strategies emerged as the most preferred instruments of control of nominally independent African States, especially after the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), now Russian Federation.
Heavily indebted to the Western nations and institutions, African States rapidly lost sovereignty, failed to provide basic necessities for their citizens or to protect the civilian population during peace or war times. The former colonial powers directly intervened or indirectly through foreign-controlled or funded NGOs and especially white Evangelical Christians from the United States hurriedly filled the vacuum created by government failure and began to perform functions that are normally the preserve of sovereign States. The roles played by foreign NGOs in Africa can never be allowed, under similar circumstances, to operate in Europe or the United States. There are now thousands of NGOs in Africa performing all manners of duties most of which State officials have no clue.
Additionally, foreign ambassadors routinely lecture compliant African leaders who are funded by Western governments but the same African leaders never listen to the local voters, the citizens of the country. Africa remains a play ground for “white saviours” and all sorts of experiments, whether medical, economic or social, take place on the continent. The NGOs and the religious fundamentalists preach to Blacks to be stoic in their poverty and to trust in God and look forward to the after-life.
Colonialism was never a democracy or meant to provide service to the Black indigenous people. Instead, colonialism created enabling conditions for predatory capitalism and Whites who controlled Africa accumulated wealth for private enjoyment and for the colonial masters. Predatory capitalism functions best in a dictatorship, especially when former colonial powers conclude lucrative deals with the former colonised people. Most African leaders are the products of colonial education, culture, religious affiliation, practice and norms. The African leaders accept their inferiority and regularly ‘invite’ White expatriates, whether from the IMF, World Bank or Private Sectors, to ‘help’ them manage the economy and govern the State in the interest of the West. This is not my private views, anti-Western, racist, isolated facts or cancel culture, but are views expressed by some of the most eminent, contemporary mainstream Western scholars [see, for example, Erik S. Reinert (2007), How Rich Countries Got Rich …and Why Poor Countries Stay Poor; Naomi Klein (2007), The Shock Doctrine – The Rise of Disaster Capitalism; Catherine Caufield (1996), Masters of Illusion – The World Bank and the Poverty of Nations]
The post-colonial African leaders, at least most of them, are the ‘White man’ in ‘Black skin’ type. Having learnt the art and practice of dictatorship from the colonial Governors who were the Judge, the Legislator and the chief law enforcement officer, the local black dictators who became presidents after independence, preferred to exercise similar powers enjoyed by the former colonial Governors because the former colonial masters do not have to deal with elected cabinet ministers, professional governments officials and MPs that are independent, nationalist, Pan-Africanist and self-sustaining.
The African dictators make all consequential decisions on the spot and such decisions are often for the protection, benefit and interests of Western governments and business. The people of Africa are irrelevant because the dictators do not need their tax money. The white man in Europe and United States will always provide the funds, in Euro or US dollars, as long as the local conditions for Western business is good and the dictators keep it that way. The West pretends to support democracy in Africa but in fact prefer dictatorship because it is good for business and there is little or no accountability. Equally beneficial for Western business are internal armed conflicts and unending wars on terror for they provide employments and exorbitant profits for military industrial complex and the trickle down effects reach to arms-manufacturing and distribution companies in Europe and the United States.
In functional democracies, that is, democracies that work for the benefit of the people and the leaders are elected at regular intervals through free and fair elections and therefore are accountable to the people; the voters gain political relevance and power. The power of the people, controlling their governments, is a great threat to Western powers. The Western leaders and Western corporations would lose influence and business if African States were functional democracies. It is not in the best interest of Western powers for Africa to become truly democratic and independent. In democratic Africa, with governments accountable to the voters, Western governments would lose influence, the IMF and World Bank would be made to account for their extractive and brutal economic policies, and the British Commonwealth, an organisation of former slaves and colonised people, would probably disintegrate or collapse.
Last, but not least, is the use of religion as a critical tool for colonisation, mind control and white domination. The God of the slave owners, colonisers, and the Church leaders who bought and sold slaves ought to have been challenged by African leaders and intellectuals. However, because of colonial education, practices and norms, most African leaders and intellectuals are so fully indoctrinated from childhood that they are incapable of contemplating the possibility that the God they worship may be a fraud, sadist or narcissist, or may not in fact exist, but a product of pure imagination of slave owners, colonisers and missionaries. The God of the colonisers continues to play critical roles in social life and governance in Africa. It is time to have serious conversation on God and his relationship with slavery, imperialism and colonialism on the one hand, and Blacks, on the other hand. The slave owners, former colonisers, Pope in Rome and Archbishop of Canterbury must persuade Blacks why their God is better than Black spirituality which never did any harm to them.
Uganda is a good example, amongst other former British colonies, of how repressive colonial laws, religion and God, were relied on by British colonisers to continue to control independent Uganda. Some of the colonial laws received and adopted by Uganda at independence include the River Nile Treaty (Treaty of May 9, 1929 Between Britain and Egypt). The problems arising from the interpretation of the Nile Treaty and its control of the River Nile remain unresolved, not only for Uganda, but other sovereign States that have interests in the Nile River as well. A broader impact of British structural dictatorship based on racial superiority, racism, religion and worship of a foreign God is still visible in Uganda and other former British colonies and continues to function as necessary modes of control of society.
The indoctrination of Blacks by Whites to accept superiority of Whites in contrast to inferiority of Blacks was so successful that some black leaders blame other blacks for being stupid and for having been sold into slavery. Such black leaders ignore the context of slave trade and slavery, the roles of missionaries, Christianity and God in the subjugation of Blacks. President Museveni Tibahaburwa of Uganda, for example, without shame, indignation or embarrassment, blamed African Americans for their ancestors having been sold into slavery. In an interview conducted by Bill Berkeley and published in the Atlantic Monthly Magazine (USA) of September 1994, President Museveni Tibahaburwa stated that: “I have never blamed the Whites for colonising Africa; I have never blamed those Whites for taking slaves. If you are stupid, you should be taken a slave.”[Emphasis added]
A product of colonial education, President Museveni Tibahaburwa seems to be a good student of racist scholarships. Of the many scholars who reviewed British writings about Africa glorifying slave trade and slavery, the way President Museveni Tibahaburwa does, are authors Dorothy Hammond and Alter Jablow (1992), who, in their seminal book The Africa That Never Was explored the relationship between the perception of black Africans by British writers on the one hand, and the latter’s political and economic interests, on the other. The authors observed:
“Enslavement of such a degraded people [Africans] was thus not only justifiable but even desirable. The character of Africans could change only for the better through contact with their European masters. Slavery, in effect, became the means of the Africans’ salvation, for it introduced them to Christianity and civilization.
The conflation of Christianity, white civilising missions and colonisation of Blacks is based on racism and the idea that Whites are superior to Blacks hence enslaving Blacks is in the best interests of Blacks, a point Museveni Tibahaburwa appears to not only approve but accept as factually and historically correct. This is one of the many examples of President Museveni Tibahaburwa’s miseducation and backwardness.
A collection of derogatory material accumulated over the centuries, carefully stored in British libraries and Museums defend the slave trade, slavery, imperialism and, later, colonization, through the use of religious education and worship of white Christian God as President Museveni Tibahaburwa and other post-colonial black leaders do. Pumped in their minds from very early age, contemporary black leaders accept their status of inferiority as an act of God, or that it is in their genes to be inferior and stupid. Convinced he is inherently inferior; a black man can never negotiate with a white man on an equal footing based on such inferior mind set. No wonder Black leaders continue to invite White experts to advise them how to run an economy and a country even when Black experts are locally available or present within the continent.
The racist and derogatory material empowered the Europeans, North American, Australians, and New Zealanders, with the necessary arsenal to defend acts which are, by any legal definition, constitute basic elements of crimes against humanity and genocide. The genocide of the Black and Brown indigenous people in North America, New Zealand and Australia, are presented as mere foot notes in history, and at best, an aberration. The racists’ scholars deliberately limit the scope of their historical memory to the spread of Christianity which they proudly claim to have introduced civilization to the Black and Brown people of North America, New Zealand, Australia and Africa without reference to extreme use of violence, threat of violence, deceit and perfidy resulting in the murders of millions of indigenous people. There are no discussions of what were the advanced civilizations in those territories before western cultures, religions and a white God were introduced to the native population. The denigration of Black and Brown communities in Australia and New Zealand is fully captured by the Investigative Journalist Pilger [John Pilger (2006), Freedom Next Time].
After Uganda’s independence, the colonial practice of the past continued to be strictly adhered to. The difference was that instead of the White master, the Black man had become the boss. Concepts that motivated Whites to dominate Blacks continued to guide black leaders to dominate their black followers. Black Uganda leaders brutalized fellow Blacks more viciously than the colonial powers in some instances. Two sets of Blacks emerged; the governors and the governed. The governed toiled for the governors, the new Whites in Black skin.
The mental state of the black leaders remained colonised, partly because of the colonial educational systems inherited, but primarily for adopting and relying on the colonising structures for governance. Unconditional belief in God, western culture and norms, and rejection of black cultures were considered settled matters and beyond discussion. Further, without examining the objectives and concepts of western institutions intended to downgrade, under-develop and control Africa, the black leadership hurriedly joined unreformed United Nations (UN), International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and other institutions established by former colonial powers and slave owners, to control the former slaves and the colonised persons, without questioning the motives and continued relevance of these organisations in the protection of the interests of Blacks.
In contrast, the newly ‘independent’ Black States retained the former colonial bureaucrats, and in many cases recruited more white ‘expatriates’ to advice Black leaders how to govern their “new independent and sovereign” State. Black leaders, in order to cover their shame and embarrassment, adopted politically correct phrases to describe their new masters as ‘development partners’. The white expatriates were not development partners but capitalists who extracted resources from the black states for their individual benefits and for their respective nations. The whites continued to perform their duties in very similar ways conducted during the colonial period including adhering to legalised racial discrimination as Whites lived in white quarters and Blacks, in black areas. The children of Blacks studied in segregated schools for Blacks, while Whites and Asians studied at better resourced schools determined by race and colour pigmentation. The British national flag had come down, the Uganda flag went up, but the white man remained in charge.
The Republic of Uganda, for example, did not have a central bank until August 15, 1966. The Bank of Uganda was established by an Act of Parliament and 100% owned by the Government of Uganda but it was not a government department. From 1987, and since the adoption of the IMF’s “Enhanced Structural Adjustment Policy Frame of 1997/98-1999/2000” the West, using the IMF and World Blank, took full control of initiating and implementing financial and management policies of the Bank of Uganda. In brief, Ugandan’s financial institutions and policy making powers were re-colonised. Uganda currency is still the Shillings and Cents, as introduced by colonial Britain, but the currency is not internationally convertible. Uganda was, and still is, a neo-colonial State; a playground for colonial apologists.
Western control of the former colonies including Uganda is premised on obfuscation of a history of slave trade and slavery, colonialism and black inferiority based on functional miseducation. It is the colonial educational curriculum adopted in independent Uganda that is responsible for framing the thinking of black leaders such as President Museveni Tibahaburwa and his ilk.
Africa is not a poor continent but the West underdeveloped Africa and designated a very poor continent [Walter Rodney (1972), How Europe Underdeveloped Africa]. However, most of the resources that make Europe and America “rich” are from Africa. The uranium used to build bombs that the United States dropped in Japan during the Second World War was stolen from the DRC.
In general terms, when Europe takes resources from Africa, it is called trade. When African wants trade, she is offered aids, grants, loans and a mountain of debt. The black leaders appear not to be interested on historical facts that in creating and developing the economies of Europe and America, crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity were committed in God’s name. Extreme violence used by the white race to spread Christianity is never preached at Churches, or taught at schools, other institutions of higher learning, or acknowledged by the missionaries, historians, anthropologists and colonialist who directly or indirectly benefited from white racism.
In contrast, the colonialist make casual reference about the poverty and backwardness of the Aborigines, Maoris, indigenous Indian Americans, indigenous tribal Canadian and Blacks, without the slightest reference to the grave historical injustice inflicted on Black and Brown people of the world, in the name of civilisation, and a white God.
When public intellectuals and other people of colour complain of historical injustice, white racists respond: Get over it and move on. The template used by Whites to summarily dismiss all issues relating to slave, slave trade and colonialism is to argue that the events happened a long time ago before they were born and therefore are not responsible. The reasoning is hocus-pocus because, on matters relating to the holocaust, Whites, correctly understand and recognise the pain and suffering it caused to the surviving victims. The West, again correctly, demand compensation to the holocaust survivors but surprisingly fails to understand the pain and suffering of Blacks arising from slavery and colonialism that killed more Blacks than Whites in the holocaust. This is not about moral or legal equivalence, or intended to undermine the gravity of the holocaust. The comparison is intended to demonstrate the disproportionate reactions of Whites with respect to mass murders of Blacks vis-à-vis Caucasian holocaust.
When whites tell Blacks to move on, it must be understood that Blacks cannot move on before slavery and colonisation issues are resolved. The white racists must understand that the issue of reparation is not compensation per se. It is payment of dividends, a return on investment of labour, time and sweat put in the service of capitalism by the slave and colonised person over centuries. It is payment for years of structural racism and legalised discrimination of descendants of slaves and colonised people.
A long history of abuse of Blacks by Whites, and deep indoctrination of Blacks into White culture, education, economy and way of life, prepared Blacks to accept colonial policies that decreed all Blacks as inferior human being regardless of the level of education they have. Thus, President Museveni Tibahaburwa, a professed Pan-Africanist, can only remain in power by maintaining loyalty to, and funding from, the former colonial masters and emerging as a loyal and trusted imperialist puppet per excellence.
It is instructive to note that missionary and colonial education prepared Uganda’s ‘educated elite’ to view themselves as disinterested ‘non-political’ civil servants who shall not engage in political, social or economic matters in the country. Additionally, colonial education instilled in the minds of the Blacks propensity to ignore his culture, and to loyally serve, the colonial state. Further, the Uganda educated elite was taught to not only ignore, but reject all the evils of colonialism and blindly accept ‘western civilisation’, liberalism, religion and God. The black Uganda elite was taught to value colonialism (and wish for the good old days), its educational system, God, music, culture and history. Uganda’s colonial experience produced a series of ‘Uncle Toms’, the ‘house niggers’, the men and women who in their sleep, ‘dream’ in English. They are the rulers of contemporary Uganda.
Future generations of Ugandans were guaranteed a future that would reproduce itself, emulate lifestyle of Whites because at independence, Uganda continued to be guided by colonial experience based on educational curriculum that taught and valued White supremacy and the worship of God of the colonisers. The new black leadership adopted the colonial educational curriculum, with minor adjustments, sufficiently enough to prepare Blacks to transform knowledge into tradable commodity; and to process and package, intellectual labour power into conventional commodities for exploitation by private employers and the State in the service of Western capitalism.
In conclusion, the colonial bureaucracy built on educational systems that preached black inferiority and hopelessness. The practice ultimately guaranteed continuity of the colonial order. The act of independence was superficial and inconsequential for the black leadership continued relying on and implemented racist colonial policies without questioning the premise of the concepts adopted. The end result was for the practice to undermine Africa’s independence and development. The post-colonial states in Africa, embraced western culture, religion and God.
On the other hand, peasants, the ordinary person and the ‘uneducated’ are still abused by the black leadership as they were, and sometimes even worse than, during the colonial period. The poor peasants are useful cogs in the wheels of state structures, systems and institutions for maintaining the neo-colonial state only to the extent that they provided muscle power for performing hard but low-wage labour. In other words, the peasants do the dirty heavy work, and oil the engines that make the neo-colonial system, under black leadership, works for the benefit of Whites and the few Black educated elite.
A major impact of the colonial model adopted by the post-colonial State dislocated the thinking of Uganda’s elite in their relationship with the State, its organs and institutions. The colonial model blurred the distinction between the State, Religion and God. As disinterested ‘non-political’ intellectuals, Uganda’s elites were unable or unwilling to recognise that when State officials, or religious leaders, steal public funds and the criminal acts are described as ‘corruption’ rather than ‘theft or fraud’, the corrupt officials tend to go unpunished. Very often, the corrupt officials and the media shield the President, his government, senior party functionaries and the Church leadership from taking responsibility for having stolen or squandered public resources. The West that funds most of the “development projects” in the country is disinterested in investigating corruptions and punishing the corrupt. The corruption game goes on: The West gives money; the Uganda government steals it and, like Oliver Twist, asks for more, and more is given. But it is the children of ordinary Ugandan that will in future pay the debts now being accumulated by the Museveni dictatorship.
The costs of Western ‘support’ for Africa’s dictators are not measured in terms of US dollars or Euros. The costs for such unwanted support are loss of African States’ sovereignty, independence, dignity and self-respect. Western supports of Africa’s dictators also translate in loss of economic, military and political independence. Africa shall continue to exist in a state of perpetual dependency and rely on the good will of Western politicians until African people revolt against their leaders and Western backers; change course and de-link from policies grounded on the colonial models and reclaim their rights, culture and spirituality.