Neo-colonialism: How Africans underdevelop Africa

President John Magufuli formed two probe teams of 16 experts to find out the amount and value of mineral sand containers exported since 1998. (File photo)


ONE may say Prof Walter Rodney’s book ‘How Europe Underdeveloped Africa’ is outdated.

The book was published in 1972 portraying how European capitalists exploited Africa. He argued that Africa was deliberately exploited and underdeveloped by European colonial regimes.

From the critical point of view, Prof Rodney’s arguments are still valid in today’s Africa. However, another disease has erupted from the colonial exploitation system, which the author discussed in his book.

Those who did history in secondary school learnt about ‘neo-colonialism’ and for decades, Africans have witnessed their former masters ruling their countries through this system.

Since the colonialists knew from the beginning that African struggles were going to flush them out, they created a system that would enable them to rule in their absence.

Apart from fighting neo-colonialism, still some Africans are suffering from colonial hangovers. Some people still believe that their governments cannot stand on their own to bring development to the people.

From this point, one argues on “how Africans underdevelop Africa.” Recently, the Tanzania government under President John Magufuli has been engaged in a serious economic war.

Two probe teams of 16 experts were formed on April 1 and 10 consecutively, with the first committee comprised of eight experts in geological, chemical and scientific backgrounds, while the second drew its eight members from economy and law. The two teams were tasked to find out the amount and value of the mineral sand containers exported since 1998.

In July, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Job Ndugai, formed two parliamentary probe teams to scrutinise the operations on diamond and tanzanite business in the country.

The two committees found widespread irregularities that led to unfavourable contracts and a loss of government revenue. The findings in the reports presented by all probe teams revealed that at one point, some Tanzanians participated in or facilitated in bad deals that aimed at stealing from the government and majority poor Tanzanians.

From religious leaders’ preaching and speeches delivered by patriotic leaders, Africans have been always asked to apply their skills and work tirelessly to bring changes in their respective countries and the continent at large.

To meet these goals, some governments including Tanzania have been sending its people to learn and improve expertise abroad.

The sad side of this story is that some of the people, who are sent abroad for studies collaborate with deceitful investors to steal from the same poor citizens who footed their tuition fees.

Today, African whizzes, the so called educated elites, with several expertise in various areas have been named in many probe reports for facilitating deceitful foreign investors and other local traders to evade tax, counterfeiting land title deeds and extending operation licences.

Moreover, signing of bogus contracts, corruption among public lead ers, embezzlement of public funds and nepotism have been common practices within African governments especially after colonialism.

Furthermore, we witness our brothers and sisters in various countries being arraigned after committing corruption related crimes, embezzling of public funds and illegal exploitation of natural resources.

Others dare to devalue farmers’ crops and mismanage their money through cooperative unions; these are fellow Africans who we expected to support each other! Again, some leaders and government officials have been accused of owning thousands of acres of land while others have nothing!

One of the main causes of resistance wars between African societies and colonialists was land alienation, few decades after colonialism, Africa is experiencing land alienation and unequal distribution of natural resources. And this time, it is among Africans themselves!

The question here is, do we still have integrity to debate on how Europe underdeveloped Africa? In African colonial history, we were taught how colonialists used their knowledge to exploit our resources through bogus contracts.

Today, we witness fellow Africans siding with investors to sign contracts of the like! The question here is who is slowing down African development? Is it right to continue blaming colonialists even after half century of independence?

Apart from siding with exploitative companies, in some public organisations, fellow Africans have turned themselves to ‘black kings’, bureaucracies and several procedures that end up forcing the poor citizens to offer something and brown envelops are there to stay! In this case, Africans fail Africa.

Bantu Stephen Biko who was a South African anti-apartheid activist once said ‘the body can’t be free when the mind is enslaved’.

It is obvious, some fellow Africans are still having their minds enslaved and it is unfortunately, some have been trusted by the appointment authorities to lead sensitive organisations.

In this case, for Africa to move forward, the people we send to the negotiation desk with investors must be mentally, physically and spiritually prepared to fight against betrayal and corruption spirits, we need mental liberation in order to free ourselves physically and spiritually.

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