Colonial powers should apologise to Africa

The Western world, especially the former colonial powers that scrambled for, partitioned and colonized Africa, owes their colonies and Africa at large an apology.

For the West to take full credit of their development to themselves is a grave mistake. Sitting on my reading table recently, I flashed back to the days of our great grandfathers, to the coming of the missionaries, explorers and finally colonialists, who did not only colonize Africa but divided it among themselves as though God had spoken to them in a revelation.

They brutally took Africans as slaves to work on their farms and factories in Europe and America. By then, there was sheer need for human labor that the West lacked. Countless deaths and a lot of property destruction were associated with this criminal, inhuman business of slavery.

It’s funny how the Europeans came with the Bible in one hand – as missionaries – and a gun in their pockets. The Africans trusted and believed their purpose of coming – little did they know that the white man would suddenly come in his full colors to colonize and make them slaves in their own land even.

What a pity for our forefathers! The coming of Europeans to Africa was not bad in itself, but the methods employed to get what they wanted were so brutal and
inhuman. The Africans were treated like people who belonged to a lesser God and the imperialists as people of a greater God.

Imagine taking someone from Africa to America, painfully separating them from their families forever. Up to now, Africans living in America can never trace their roots. They live in a country where they are literally half citizens– African Americans; not African enough and to be what they are, neither did God create them like that and placed them there.

It’s all because of the selfishness and brutality of the Americans who lived then. My mental flashback to the era of the civil right movements also led me to the death of
a great grandson of Africa, Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Had the Americans realized their mistakes and treated blacks like people then, the world would never have lost such a noble man (by assassination) at a tender and productive age.

Yet today we still suffer from residual colonialism. Threats of sanctions on African leaders who don’t rubber stamp the desires of the Western world abound. Robert Mugabe is a live example – with threats to cut foreign aid or ban travel to this or that country! Ok, I trust this so-called aid is not free. In one way or another, African countries pay dearly for this so called aid.

Why use it as a tool to continue extending imperialistic control? An example is when the Ugandan president signed the antigay bill. It provoked a lot of threats, including
cutting off access to some social media platforms like Facebook. In fact, it would have been good if it had gone because its underlying effects we shall never be able to deal with.

“Can’t African countries be free even to respect their religion and cultural norms?”

Homosexuality is an unAfrican abnormality. Unfortunately, we have some African presidents who still act like puppets and rubber stamp the desires of the Western world for fear of losing aid, among other things. I think it’s high time our leaders made a choice to protect our sovereignty and independence.

We need each other but we have to strike a balance. I salute Mugabe for his stand on the white settlers. Amin (RIP) waged an economic war in Uganda, which certainly greatly contributed to what Uganda is today.

Yes, it had regrettable effects – and we can disagree with the way it was done – in the long run, it contributed towards the emancipation of indigenous Ugandans. I wonder why Africa cannot totally be free! Why don’t we have the spirit that our founders had?

Kenneth Kaunda, Julius Nyerere, Milton Obote, Kwame Nkrumah and, of course, the great icon Nelson Mandela, among others. It’s a shame for a president to stand and speak well of Mandela as his role model yet he himself never try to emulate him as a leader.

You praise his leadership yet you still stick to the presidency for 25 and more years! Let’s learn, and let’s free Africa. Greed for power and wealth is a cancer that is killing
African democracy and development.


The author is a Ugandan working in South Sudan.

© 2016 Observer Media Ltd