The word “recolonisation” is certainly not the most liked word in the vocabulary of the ruling elite of our continent. It only becomes useful when they are losing power or have fallen out of favour with their foreign handlers, who now want them to be replaced by another of their puppets.
When you take a closer look at most of the problems that Africa faces, one sees the ghost or hidden hand of colonial imperialists in one form or another. Libya, South Sudan, the scourge of Boko Haram in Nigeria, and now the so-called terror threat in Cabo Delgado Province, Northern Mozambique, all point to the scramble for the natural resources found in abundance on the continent.
You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to join the dots and ask the question: “Why is it that instability on our continent seems to be concentrated in highly resourced areas?” The answer is very simple. Africa has long been considered to be a “lucky packet” of resources, particularly by the Western countries. They have now been joined by Russia and China in exploiting our continent’s wealth.
The history of Libya as an Italian colony began in 1910. South Sudan was part of the Republic of Sudan, a British colony that was later governed using a hybrid system called “condominium rule” between the British and the Turco-Egyptians. The British governed the north and south of Sudan on the basis of one country, two systems. Islam and the Arabic language and culture were promoted in the northern part of Sudan, whereas in the southern part Christianity and the English language were promoted.
Nigeria was in effect colonised by the British in 1885. Other European powers acknowledged Britain’s dominance in the area at the 1885 Berlin conference. Nigeria gained its independence in 1960. The Portuguese have occupied Mozambique since 1498, using it as a trading post after they defeated its former Arab rulers. The country gained its independence in 1975 after a protracted guerrilla war waged by the Frelimo party.
In all these countries, one sees instability as a direct manifestation of their colonial past. In the first place, the colonisers stole the land from the indigenous people of these countries. Secondly, colonisation was all about looting the resources of the people.
The recolonisation project has taken a new twist. It is being aided and abetted by puppet rulers who have been placed there by their colonial masters. Many of the problems that Africa face lie squarely on the shoulders of the colonialists and their anointed puppet leaders.
One cannot ignore the role of the African Command (Africom: The stationing of United States troops on the continent). After 9/11, the US speeded up the deployment of its troops on the continent in the name of “fighting terrorism” and “homeland security”. The Russians are currently negotiating with Sudan to open their first African military base on the Red Sea coast. The Chinese have already established their military base in Africa, in Djibouti.
Almost all countries on the African continent are blessed with natural resources, including oil, uranium, liquid nitrogen gas, gold, diamonds, etcetera. Unfortunately this God-given wealth seems to be the main motivation for this so-called “war on terror”.
One weakness that African leaders have and that seems to have been exploited by the major powers in their quest to strip Africa of its resources is that of “entitlement”. Many of our leaders feel entitled to rule. Instead of providing servant leadership, they expect people to feel forever indebted and grateful to them. They suffer from the “we are your liberators” syndrome. Therefore, leave us to do what we want with the country’s resources and you have no say in that.
We as Africans have failed miserably to hold our political leaders to account.
Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province is faced with the same destiny. Appallingly, inefficient and gullible political leaders will be shielded and protected by their Western handlers and their propaganda machinery, by pointing fingers at “Islamic” or “Jihadist” militants.
In parting, let me just sound this cautionary sentiment: Africa must be careful. Tomorrow we might wake up to find out that we have been completely recolonised and our resources have been taken over by these so-called “friends” dressed up in sheep skins.
Mustafa Bothwell Mheta has a PhD in Semitic languages and cultures from the University of Johannesburg’s department of religious studies. He is also a researcher at the Media Review Network. These are his own views