By Amon Mbekiza
President Museveni has repeated it countless times: Africa must resist recolonisation. The latest is during the state visit of the current AU Chairman, Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea, whose term at the AU Museveni has hailed as exemplary, citing Nguema’s ‘stand’ on the Libyan and Ivory Coast issues. The AU had a ‘stand’ which constituted disparate hurried ‘summits’ here and there, and that was just about it. The same on the Ivory Coast issue. aNd the media reports it as said, and we continue.
I am not a journalist, so I am not versed with the ‘protocol and etiquette’ of presidential press conferences. Is it against best practices and good journalism during presidential press conferences, to pose questions such as
-Your Excellency, the AU took a stand, but NATO went ahead and had their way in Libya, even to the extent of preventing African presidents from flying into Tripoli? Doesnt this mean that the AU is toothless against foreign powers?
-It was Africa’s two strong nations, South Africa and Nigeria that voted to allow NATO strikes and infiltration into Libya, wasn’t it this a sign of cooperation with the ‘aggressors’?
– In the case of Ivory Coast, it was the French troops that were in charge of the whole process, where was the AU?
-We need only 10,000 troops to pacify Somalia….why has the AU failed to raise the troops, leaving the financing of the few Ugandans and Barundi to the EU and US?
-A substantial budget of the AU, and the national budgets of individual governments are funded by the same powers we regard as coming to colonise us. Doesn’t this blur the line between imperialists and development partners?
-Most African leaders do have hidden wealth in European and American capitals and dominions. Aren’t we partners in our own exploitation and oppression?
These and related questions are what should put presidents to task during these presidential press conferences. The nearest to this was in a ‘wrong’ forum to the wrong person: Andrew Mwenda’s question to Thabo Mbeki during the Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR) Symposium. Everything in Africa, from war crimes to learning how to drink milk is foreign determined, funded and managed: so is Africa worth anything? And talking of symposia and the intelligentsia takes us to the other angle of Africa’s derailment: the role of the intelligentsia, which has been interpreted as stopping only at ‘analysing and synthesisng issues’, which exactly is what was the case of the MISR symposium that hosted Mbeki: a coffee-break, most invariably foreign funded, with theories expounded, pleasantries exchanged, jokes cracked, a few pent-up emotions released, et voila… Katanga transforms Makerere instead of the reverse!!
Africa can resist recolonisation. Only one key precondition: taming and resisting our greed. In the biggest sense of the word. And it applies to us all, with the intelligentia and ‘politicians’ taking the lead. Else, we keep quiet and each one pays allegiance to highest paymaster. For instance, look at the source and purpose of the much-publicised bursaries and sponsorships in Kampala!!!