We are in the celebration mode for 50 years of independence. Independence of all African countries happened about the same time. Tanzania should have celebrated last year and Kenya should do so next year. Independence was born out of World War II, a condition imposed on the colonial powers which we
By JB Kakooza
We are in the celebration mode for 50 years of independence. Independence of all African countries happened about the same time. Tanzania should have celebrated last year and Kenya should do so next year. Independence was born out of World War II, a condition imposed on the colonial powers which were now in a weak position after nearly destroying themselves in the war over, mainly Africa’s resources.
Africa had been shared as overseas possessions and Germany wanted the sharing to be revisited after losing her own possessions in World War I. One of the causes of it was protectionism, with each colonial power ring-fencing its possessions in what was known as areas of influence.
The bigger powers, US, Soviet Union and to a limited extent, China, took advantage of the war to fluke entry into the colonies. They literally forced the Europeans to give independence to the colonies.
The colonial powers had no choice but to devise a new strategy — replace the white governor with a black one, who would continue to run the colonies on their behalf, under the guise of independence. The African intellectual has missed this point and spent energy and resources on diversionary issues. In Uganda for example, contrary to what the apologists are churning out, Milton Obote was identified as the one suitable to run Uganda as opposed to Ben Kiwanuka whom they saw as ‘’defiant’’, the ‘’crime’’ President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has always committed.
Kiwanuka was more internationally exposed and had seen injustice in its raw form, but he had also acquired the intellectual tools that enabled him to stand firm in the face of the domineering colonialist. Contrary to popular prejudice, the UPC/KY alliance was the handiwork of the outgoing colonial regime that wanted to leave Obote in charge, never mind that he would later turn against them, an act that cost him his job in 1971. The coup was planned and instigated by the British and executed by the Israelis, not Amin.
The 50 years of independence in Africa have been defined by interplay between the struggle for genuine independence — in which the African people sought to control their own resources and the forces of colonialism to control those resources and our destiny. This dichotomy has not been so obvious because the direct players have been Africans, nationalists and traitors.
As we take stock of this period, we must begin from this point: In the early days of his rule, President Museveni urged Africans to champion the African cause and avoid being dealt with one by one. He has pragmatically abandoned that message. So, when the international community is dealing with one African leader, the others coil and the African intellectual characteristically joins the war against that leader, unable to realise that it is a matter of time before it is their turn.
Zenawi will be judged in this category. President Kagame has often broken ranks with fellow Africans, convinced that he is the West’s nice guy. He is now walking a tight rope for ‘’meddling’’ in the DRC. He will need to capitulate quickly enough to survive an ICC warrant of arrest.
This ICC is the new tool that the international community is using to tame African leaders who refuse to do as they are told. It will be the single most important instrument of re-colonisation in the next 50 years.
However, there is something to celebrate. Even countries like South Africa should join, not because they have had 50 years of independence, but because of their more than 50 years of struggle. Africa should celebrate her tenacity, the bully assisted by traitors and backstabbers notwithstanding.
Taking stock of 50 years of independence