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Africa, From Colonialism to War

By Thomas Kai Toteh ~ April 12 2006

The emancipation of Africa from colonial rule was immediately trailed by dictatorial rules, which over the years proved to be a replica or even worse than colonialism. First the liberators of Africa began posing themselves as the masters, kings, and monopoly of knowledge, and hence, declaring themselves directly or indirectly for life time rules. African liberators’ misapprehension about their exclusive political ingenuities, helped to ignite bitter political rivalries in their prospective countries. For example, Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe before and after independence got at each throat for leadership, and Mugabe surviving the political rivalry is becoming a lifetime ruler.

This is but one example of African liberators who downplayed the fact that power does not belong to an individual citizen for life while other citizens acquired and possessed the adeptness to continue the nation building process. The colonialists who unwillingly left Africa were once again drawn to the attention of the political rifts that developed in the rank and file of the African liberation movements.

The conquerors left but sat on the periphery like an eagle looking on with fervor to spring back on the chicks when the hen leaves.

Economic dependency on former slaves’ masters gave rise to neocolonialism. And those who subscribe to the neocolonialism concept maintain the capacity to a de facto control over targeted nations.

The wishes of the indisposed departing conquers were fulfilled when political tension began to build up amongst Africans as the result of one party political system or domineering rule. Lack of political resolve and conscience to democratically remove dictators from power gave rise to militarism. As a result of  African illiterate and half educated military involvement in politics, former colonial countries that abruptly ended their unappeasable desire for gold, diamond, sugar, cotton, coffee, tobacco and rice, and other natural resources in Africa transformed from neocolonialist campaign to an illegal trade using dubious companies.

This is because neocolonialism is rather diplomatic that has to tussle with African fickle military leaders on policies. African illiterate and half educated military leaders who seize power bloodily would justify their actions on the deposed leader’s lack of transparency, but they soon become detriment to the people who they claim to redeem. Their unstable foreign policies would create uneasiness amongst neocolonialists on one hand, and hostilities to their own people would stir up concerns amongst the people and countries masquerading as pro democratic activists, but at the same time pushing for a violent regime change.

Africa came from colonialism and fell to neocolonialists who divided themselves into CIA, KGB, and the MIFIA. The continent of Africa was still recovering from the wrath of colonialism and became the battle ground for cold war. A number of African civilian and military governments were victims of the cold war through coups, plane crashes, and rebel incursions.

Today, UN and developed countries are blaming African civil strife to poverty, corruption, religion, tribalism, unequal distribution of wealth, and the likes. To conclude that these ills do not contribute to Africa’s war would be absurd, but the fact remains that UN and the developed countries don’t seem to be able to identify the significant outside force, influence, and support in the Africa’s wars.

The day war began in Africa, UN placed bans on arms and embargo on illegal trades in African trouble spots. The more ban is in placed on arms and illegal trade the worst the conflict in Africa. UN’s only success story since war started in Africa is the recent arrest and trial of Liberia’s Charles Taylor. This is UN success story because of Charles Taylor’s connection to Al-Qaeda’s diamond trade.

The UN will continue to fight a loosing battle with gunrunners and illegal diamond trade to African in so long the very people who suppose to enforce these embargoes are the forces of neocolonialism. Though Africa has her problems, the proliferation of arms in a continent that does not produce its own arms no doubt is a very serious predicament for the people of Africa, especially when the arms are sent to the wrong people at the wrong time.

By now, every reasonable human being should know that Africa’s arm conflicts can not be stopped by the same people who are beneficiaries in the conflict. It was and is beyond the reasoning of sound people how powerful and well equipped African rebels or militias are.

This is the challenge to Africa. The challenge is not to UN and former colonial powers to end Africa’s instability, but rather to the brilliant sons and daughters on the continent and those outside to rise up against arms trafficking in Africa. More than five decades since Africa’s independence from colonial rule, the United Nations had not stopped the illegal arms supplies to Africa.

Africans in the 21st century at home and abroad must move from their sleeping gowns and stand ready to do battle against their outside enemies. Those countries from where gunrunners operate with impunity must be identified. Those countries that send out their fugitives to ruin Africa must be identified. This is the challenge to African scholars, writers, journalists, and human rights activists.




About the Author:

Thomas Kai Toteh is a free lance journalist and author of African Child: From Wizard to Refugee. He is journalism major and minor in creative writing at the Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. Prior to the civil war in, Toteh was a student activist in Liberia. He can be contacted at



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