By Beaton Galafa,
There’s one sad reality we have noted in Africa: the mainstream media will never have kind words for an African leader who is really meant to drive his nation into real independence. This is why we have had leaders being labeled tyrants simply because they do not conform to the stupidity the world’s former slave and colonial masters want us to be subjected to eternally.
The African leaders that have tried exercising stubbornness have had their reigns destabilized by unnecessary sanctions and aid suspension. Some have ended up losing their lives, only for the west to come back much later showing sympathy to the suffering masses.
But, 2016 should see Africa strive for what people like Thomas Sankara and Col. Muammar Gaddafi always aimed at before the imperialist evil came with guns and bombs, bringing down every single pillar they had raised.
However, the future with the current crop of African leaders looks so bleak. There have been just a few of them we can point out to as being models in pan-Africanism in recent years. There’s always Zimbabwe’s Comrade Robert Mugabe and his no nonsense anti-neocolonialism approach. He has always represented Africa well on the international scene. He has made Africans notice that you don’t really need to take everything from the West as plain truth.
This same spirit was demonstrated by Malawi’s late president Bingu wa Mutharika. He rejected IMF advice on several economic issues such as their resistance to his plans of implementing a farm input subsidy program to help subsistence farmers, as well as his being bent on refusing to devalue Malawi’s local currency, the kwacha.
But he faced a disastrous end. Mercenary activists came in on the back of several issues (their usual tactic of destroying Africa from within so we remain forever dependent on their aid); one of them gay rights, and tricked the whole nation into betraying him.
Then, we have Tanzania’s new president John Magufuli. Much as his transformation is at an individual level, he has also demonstrated that given the chance and space, he can inject such changes into the Tanzania government system so that even after his reign, those that come must just be agents of a reformed system.
With regards to battles against imperialism, it is simply not possible to overlook Isaias Afewerki and his revolutionary Eritrea in the Horn of Africa. Eritrea has proved to Africa, just like Zimbabwe, that we as a continent can do without the hands of the imperialistic elements from some western governments. The country has survived for over two decades now with a sour relationship with the west. But it does not care, just like the whole of Africa shouldn’t.
Eritrea has never allowed paranoia coerce it into chickening out and seek diplomacy with a west that does not grin at the independence of Africa. Afewerki apparently realizes Africa belongs to Africans, and his Zimbabwean counterpart Mugabe has mentioned it once that he (Mugabe) is not worried with the Europe-travel ban imposed on him and some members of his government because he is, simply put, not European. This truth has earned him names from the west: dictator and tyrant the most notable ones. His sin? The redistribution of land that was largely controlled by white occupants to native Zimbabweans.
Of late, the imperialistic syndrome has attacked Malawi again. The United States and German ambassadors in the country have issued strong statements coercing government to stop arresting people based on their sexual orientation. This has been resisted fearfully by the masses, but as usual, a few sell outs, most of whom stay in the west (and a few others who have carved gods out of these Europeanized Malawians) have backed this imperialistic imposition again.
This is against Malawi’s constitution, with a penal code that was of course suspended when death of Malawi’s pan-African Mutharika saw the ushering in of a western puppet, Joyce Banda, into power in 2012. What democracy is that? The supremacist few forcing their beliefs on the majority simply because they have money sounds more of tyranny. But government, despite reminding the international community that the laws in question were already suspended in 2012, has reiterated its Bingu era stance that such a sensitive issue can only be agreed upon by Malawians themselves. (This statement has been deliberately overlooked, and it’s been submersed in the ongoing fury that has characterized this western-initiated debate).
Those who understand the strength of this statement will however definitely see light in the government’s approach on the matter, though not at the speed the citizenry would have wanted (the economic meltdown that has hit the country is a major factor, we have been caught off guard).
Still, Malawians have taken to the media themselves denouncing such an imposition, but this is not being reported on the same media outlets that announced the reminding of the penal code’s earlier suspension. We have only ourselves to speak out against the west. The good thing is, it is apparent from how the citizenry has lashed out at the gay rights activists and their foreign sponsors that as an African people, we are not allowing alien elements to creep into our society.
For this imperialistic tendency to stop, we need resilience at all levels. Because it is not the first time such tendencies have been manifested in the imperialists’ actions. Uganda, Zimbabwe, Gambia, Nigeria and a lot other countries have fallen victim to these cultural impositions before. All we need to know is there is a very big war against neocolonialism that we are currently not winning. We must be very careful, the earlier we take after countries like Eritrea and the Gambia the better. We should remove that thinking that we cannot do without the west. We can, Eritreans have successfully demonstrated it. We should always remember the substance in the late Guinean president Sékou Touré’s motto: “We prefer freedom in poverty to opulence in slavery.” Besides, these people can never gang against us completely we should know. Africa is a market for their products, and they currently import a lot of our raw materials (another element we need to look into carefully). You will not be wrong to think that they basically need us more than we need them.
As Africa, we should be really worried if our leaders seem to be enjoying portrayals of them being good leaders by imperialists. We will only know how good our leaders are by the frequency with which negative images are attached to them in the mainstream media. Afewerki will never be a good man in a story from the mainstream media. Just like the late Gaddafi was no good man, and the late Bingu wa Mutharika wasn’t in his second term. Especially when he sent packing a British High Commissioner, Fergus Cochraine-Dyet, for meddling in Malawi’s internal affairs, and when he (Bingu) refused to badge in to some supremacist elements of the United Nations that he legalize homosexuality. Yaya Jammeh and Mugabe too. And trust me, if John Magufuli ever tries to institutionalize his transformational ideas, he will be a bad guy soon (he is not a threat implementing ideas that are not in the system now because the very moment he leaves, the west knows Tanzania will be business as usual again since he will have left along with his transformational ideas).
But these people have one common character: belief in a sovereign Africa and the desire to grab that sovereignty in all its senses by all means necessary. And that is always bad news to our former colonial and slave masters.
Like one black revolutionary noted, they always try their best to frustrate our efforts of attaining total freedom by focusing on the inconsistencies of our liberation sermons so us to illegitimize our good message. That is why we must all learn to support the leaders our former colonial masters label evil: unless we ourselves deem them evil.
We should never trust a people that enslaved us for ages, colonized us for decades, and killed Gaddafi and other pan Africanists through different means when they tell us our leaders are tyrants. It is time to free ourselves from this centuries-old slavery.
Beaton Galafa is a Pan-Africanist and activist from Malawi. He can be reached through his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/galafa