Saturday, December 17, 2011

Foreign Minister’s unpardonable gaffe

The illiterate and shallow minded Negro, who can see no further than his nose is now the greatest stumbling block, in the way of the race. He tells us that we must be satisfied with our condition, and that we must not think of building up a nation of our own. He will say that we must not seek to organize ourselves racially, but we must depend on the good feelings of the other fellow for the solution to the problem that now confronts us. This is a dangerous policy, and it is my duty to warn against it. The Negro must take it upon himself to better his own condition.” – Marcus Garvey

According to a news report, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni, has said his outfit cannot coerce foreign missions in Ghana to treat Ghanaians who engage their services with the necessary respect they deserve as citizens of the country.

The report was titled: “Embassies Cannot Be Forced To Respect Ghanaians – Minister.”

Here is a quote:” The Finder newspaper reported on Tuesday some inhumane conditions Ghanaians go through in their bid to acquire visa from these foreign missions. They are sometimes made to stand for long hours in fair or wet weather waiting to be attended to by officials of these embassies.

“We have handled these issues in the past, but it has always been consistent with diplomatic practices,” Alhaji Mumuni told Citi News. “We cannot order or compel, all we can do is to engage in negotiations with them. And they have been fruitful. ”

Others have questioned whether the Ghanaian Parliament was not adequately empowered to pass laws that could deal with such issues, however, the foreign affairs minister explained that diplomatic matters were handled delicately.

Alhaji Mumuni explained that some of these foreign missions enjoy some immunity underscored by certain treaty obligations making it very difficult to impose some minimum condition on them, adding that the only way to get things to change is through continuous dialogue.

He said that the surest way of dealing with the problem was “to approach these issues, as the complaints came and negotiate with the foreign embassies to achieve positive results. ”

We must realize that our greatest enemies are not those on the outside, but those in our midst. When we recognize the enemies on the outside, and do not allow them to pass. Then we have those on the inside working with us to destroy us, without our knowing.” Marcus Garvey

I have used this column to lament the government of President John Atta Mills moribund foreign policy thrusts.

It is sad to see Ghana, the country that was previously regarded as the continent’s moral compass, and one that championed African causes reduced to mere spectator as the New Imperialists ran riot on our blessed continent.

But with people like Alhaji Mumumi at the help of affairs at our ministry of foreign affairs and regional integration (whatever that’s supposed to mean), one can begin to understand why Ghana’s voice was muted in the epochal events that happened in La Cote d’Ivoire, Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

And with the likes of Alhaji Mumuni heading the ministry that was supposed to integrate the West Africa sub-region, little wonder that there is absolutely no movement on integration despite all the noises our leaders continue to make.

No, Mr. Minister, you got it badly wrong. We do not need negotiation to tell foreigners to treat our people with respect. And it is simply wrong for you to say that “And they have been fruitful.”

No, your negotiation (whatever you meant by that) has not been fruitful as a visit to any Western Embassy in Accra will easily attest.

No, Mr. Minister, Ghanaians do not ask for the moon when they ask that they be treated with some modicum of respect by countries that decide to set up embassies here.

And it is wrong, plain wrong for people like Alhaji Mumuni to continue to think that some people are in our country to do us some favour by their presence.

It is wrong for Ministers in the Ghana government to continue to believe that they need to negotiate in order for foreign embassies to stop treating our people with impunity and abject disrespect.

I have been to several Ghanaian embassies and missions abroad, and I have seen firsthand how a poor, HIPCed, third world country like Ghana always manages to make her embassies as attractive and as comfortable as possible.

Even in the missions that are not that palatial, decent reception arrangements are always in place, as a matter of course.

This is how it should be.

It is just simple courtesy that human beings should be treated with some degree of dignity and respect. This is what westerners appear never to understand.

We know that Europe has, due to its penchant for insane wars to maintain her ill-gotten wealth, bankrupted itself, but even then Western Embassies cannot plead poverty when to come to providing basic necessities like sitting places and conveniences.

It does not cost much to erect decent reception and provide decent furniture for clients, which is what Ghanaians that go to these embassies are.

If I go to any establishment to transact business and was made to fork out over one hundred dollars, the least I expect is to be provided a seat and treated with some courtesy. I don’t know why this is too difficult for Minister Mumuni to grasp.

The Embassies charge arms and legs for the services they provide, and we ought neither to beg nor negotiate with them in order for them to provide some very basic comforts for our people.

“If white people were dependent on others, they would not be as successful as they are today. If Japan were dependent on other countries, she would not be as successful as she is today. As long as the Negro is dependent on other groups, he will remain the lowest down.” Marcus Garvey

It is saddening and equally maddening that we have people with slavish mentality like Alhaji Mumuni as ministers in this age and time.

As someone that has spent close to three decades campaigning for African self-assertion and self-confidence, I feel totally appalled and scandalised to read the pathetic message from the foreign minister.

With the type of mindless mindset Minister Mumuni displayed, I now know why we are treated shoddily and with utter contempt when we have occasions to visit Western embassies.

Our own minister, kept at our expense, see nothing wrong in western embassies making us to line up like common cattle at auction, after they have collected huge sums of (non-refundable) fees from us!

Thanks to Wikileaks, we know that our elite love their parleys at these embassies where they are piled with expensive cocktails that never fail to loosen their tongue, in order for them to betray our secrets to foreign agents; now we have a minister who see nothing wrong in foreign embassies refusing to extend to us the most elementary of courtesies.

Those among us that have travel outside our shore know that these embassies do not do the same thing in Europe. The British will not put up embassy in Paris or the Italians in Warsaw without taken into consideration that people have to sit down and use toilets.

But when it comes to Africa, anything and everything go. After all, this is Africa! And our leaders think that the only thing we can do is to continue to beg to be treated as human beings.

Alas, the minister responsible for regional integration in Ghana appears not to know what is happening in his own backyard.

Miffed by shoddy treatments meted out to its citizens, the Nigerian government recently gave foreign embassies the marching order and asked that they speed up their visa processes, and ensure that Nigerians are issued or refused their visas in 3-days.

And here we have a minister in the Ghanaian cabinet stupidly telling us we are powerless to do anything when Westerners in our midst continue to treat us like colonial subjects, and that our only recourse is to negotiate.


If you have no confidence in yourself, you are twice defeated in the race of life. With confidence you have won before you’ve started.” - Marcus Garvey.

Slavery and colonialism did much to damage our people’s psyches and reduced us to the lowest of the lows, but do we need to continue to accept insult upon indignities?

Methinks that it is high time we jettison our slave and colonial mentalities. It is time we make other people realise that we are affronted whenever our dignities are insulted.

What I know is that were Ghana to set up embassy in The Hague and fail to provide comfortable reception, the Dutch visitors there will find it unacceptable and raise a ruckus.

To begin with, I believe that we will have enough respect for the Dutch people to even dream of slighting them so.

That is all, Mr. Minister, simple respect; elementary courtesy.

And Mr. Minister, next time you go on your cocktail circuits, be reminded that power is transient.

Today due to the position you hold in government, the Western embassies treat you with false respect and high protocol; in few years when you no longer hold your current post, and have occasion to go to these embassies, you will be rudely confronted with the types of indignities your compatriots are made to go through.

Today you think that such crass disrespect can be treated only with negotiation, but by then you will rue the fact that you failed to do something when you had the power.

It is then it will dawn on you that, no, Ghanaians did not ask for the moon when they asked to be treated with simple courtesies and respect.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Nigeria: Siasia as a metaphor

The recent hullabaloo surrounding the position of Nigeria's (now ex) national football coach, Samson Siasia, vividly showcases a stunning metaphor of a nation that cannot seem to get anything right.

For those who do not know the story, here is the lowdown: Samson Siasia was hired by the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) as the national coach following vociferous calls by many Nigerians who clamored for an indigenous coach following a sad parade of foreign coaches -- paid hyper-salaries -- who failed to get them anywhere.

And for those not in the know, Nigerians consider football their only redeeming feature.

Football is about the only thing that binds the citizens of the vast nation of one hundred and fifty or one hundred and sixty-eight million (depending on who is doing the counting) souls. Having been so badly let down by a succession of very callous, shameless, unprincipled, amoral, ruthless, and corrupt leaders, Nigerians find solace only in the glories their national football team used to bring them.

And also for those not in the know, Nigeria, like most African nations, is a fiction invented by the European colonialists to satisfy their imperial ambition.

Sadly, however, post-independence leaders have failed to build a nation from the vast conglomerate of ancient national, tribal, and ethnic groups forced by colonial imperatives to live together in the same geographical space.

To be fair, there were glimmers of hope in the immediate post-colonial period when the enthusiasm of seeing the demise of foreign rules galvanized the people to aspire to prove to the world that, in the words, of Kwame Nkrumah, "the Black man is capable of managing his own affairs."

Sadly, this golden period was short-lived. Tribal jingoism colluded with political opportunism and grand larceny to set the country ablaze in a 30-month-long civil war from 1967-1970 when the Igbo people (of Eastern Nigeria) sought to secede.

Successful prosecution of the war to keep the country united also brought about a semblance of unity. This was helped by easy petro dollars that flew into government coffers and soon gave the people and their leaders the illusion of wealth and grandeur. A Nigerian president boasted in the 1970s that money was not the country's problem but how to spend it.

Like all good things that were obtained easily, the vast wealth was soon wasted mainly on consumption and white-elephant projects that contributed nothing to the nation's economic development.

The petro money was soon frittered away so much so that by the 1980s, Nigeria needed to be rescued by the Bretton Wood institutions. A punishing austerity measure wiped out the country's nascent middle class and saw the devaluation of the currency, the naira, to the point of virtual inutility.

Things fell apart for Nigeria and the people were no longer at ease.

In recent years, tribalism, political hooliganism, and virulent religious intolerance have polarized the country so badly that citizens' lives are being wasted with Old Testament abandon. Nigerians no longer feel safe except in their home regions. Not even members of the National Youth Service Corps set up to foster a sense of unity among Nigerians are immune from the senseless tribal-cum-religious slaughters.

A militant Islamic sect, so-called Boko Haram, is wreaking havoc in much of Northern Nigeria, and the federal government appears powerless to stop them. Both the UN office and police headquarters in the nation's capital, Abuja, bore the brunt of massive suicide car bombings.


Thinking outside the box

As a writer who is also a keen observer of happenstances in Africa, it is quite distressing to see how those that are in charge continue to throw up their hands in despair and continually lament the sorry state of our affairs.

Rather than sit, think and put in place policies and structures to solve problems, we see our officials turn themselves into hapless crybabies. Like mindless little children they deafen our eardrums with their cacophonous lamentations of helplessness. They keep on cataloguing for us what bedevil us without suggesting ways we can solve them. They keep behaving like we pay them to tell us what we already know rather than come up with solutions.

What are we to make of the news item on of September 23, 2011 with the title “MTTU is broken down; we have no equipment to fight road crashes – Awuni,” which I quote here: “Passengers and road users across the country must put their fate in God anytime they board any of the commercial vehicles because the country’s statutory institution tasked with the duty to police major and minor roads across the country say they have no equipment to guarantee their safety.

The head of the Police Motor Traffic Transport Unit ACP Angwubutoge Awuni at a stakeholder’s meeting in Accra on Thursday said his unit is virtually ‘dead’ because there is no equipment to work with.

The meeting was held to find lasting solution to the road carnage in the country.

From January to July 2011, a total of 1,081 people have perished in fatal road crashes across the country.

Hundreds have sustained several degrees of injuries.

The meeting was called Thursday in order for stakeholders to proffer solutions to the carnage on the country’s roads.

ACP Awuni said his outfit is completely helpless in fighting road accidents because it does not have the necessary equipments to fight the carnage on our roads.

“The national MTTU can boast of only one towing vehicle that is even broken down. So we are having problems. The resources that will assist us are not there.

“…We don’t have a single serviceable speed gun; a common speed gun that will tell us the vehicle that is running is at a greater speed than it is supposed to be going.

“…The MTTU is broken down totally as we speak now. We don’t have things that will assist us to project the things we are talking about now,” he lamented.

He was even worried that several reports which chronicled the challenges his outfit is facing has not been worked on and feared the country will only organize talkshops whilst failing to address the key challenges facing the unit.

ACP Awuni also lamented the non-existent command chain in the transport unit which makes it difficult for the necessary instructions and queries to be issued.

Transport Minister Collins Dauda in an interview with Joy News described as worrying the spate of road accidents in the country. Whilst acknowledging the frankness in the assertions of ACP Awuni, he said his outfit will do what it can to equip the MTTU.

He said his outfit is considering stringent road safety measures at lorry parks even before the vehicles will set off from their various stations. He said the vehicles will be checked at the stations before the set off. He also hinted of stiffer punishment to drivers who use mobile phones whilst driving.”


First to Transport Minister Collins Dauda: Sir, it is time Ministers like your good self stop telling us what your outfit is considering doing. It is time for less talk, more action. We citizens are tired of all the announced intentions that are loudly proclaim but never see the light of the day.

This is the second time this column will have a beef with the Ghana Police Force.

In a piece last year (‘The IGP and his convoy’), the column lambasted the IGP for travelling in a siren-blaring convoy while tax-paying citizens are suffocating in oppressive heat.

Let’s quote from that article: “We live in a society where things are becoming increasingly comical. The other day I was pleasantly amused, surprised and angered when I saw the head of the police, the Inspector General, in his GP1 vehicle, sirening his way through a dense traffic in Kasoa.

First, I was amused that Oga Police did not see the irony in his peculiar situation. The IGP is the head of the police force, right. The Motor Transport and Traffic Unit (MTTU) is part of the police of which Mr. IGP is the boss, right? MTTU is charged with ensuring hassle-free vehicular movements on our roads, right? How could a whole IGP missed the irony in his trying to cut corners by beating snarled-up traffic with his siren-blaring convoy?

I was angered because as I have lamented severally in this column, we are suffering in great sufferation (let’s borrow Rasta-speak here) in this country of ours mostly because people who get paid to get things done do not perform. They are not only failing to do their jobs, but rather look for ways to make it possible for them to beat and cheat the very system they are supposed to manage.
And most galling of all is that there are no checks in place to ensure that these system-bursting bigmanism does not exist. Equally infuriating is the fact that there is absolutely nothing we citizens can do about this obscene abuse of power. No matter how irate I felt about the spectacle of the IGP patently cheating the system, there is not a darn thing I could do about it. I knew it and he obviously knows that no bloody civilian will dare open his mouth.

Who born dog, indeed?

Several questions become pertinent here: Does the IGP have authorization to use siren or is our number one law enforcement agent breaking the law? If a common IGP can travel in siren-blowing convoy, what is there to stop the other service chiefs from doing the same? The heads of the navy, army, air-force, CEPS, Prisons and Forestry could also start using sirens. And what about our parliamentarians; are they not also worthy enough? And the Directors at our MDAs; are they also not worthy enough? And let’s not forget our District Chiefs Executives; they also have their apushkeleke (Ghanaian slang for ladies of easy virtues) and other part-time girl-friends to impress, don’t they?

I was surprised because there should be responsible authorities to point out to the IGP the absurdity of his blaring siren to clear way for himself in traffic. If he surrounds himself with sycophants who are not prepared to tell him some home truth, those who appoint him should do so. They should point out to him that he is being paid to ensure that citizens do not spend inordinate hours roasting in traffic hold-ups whilst is men are busy doing their thing. I didn’t say collecting bribes, did I?

No, I am not joining those calling for the IGP’s head; but I’d say that until he makes travelling on our road less nightmarish, he has no business disturbing our peace with his sirens.”

Let’s return to the present article. According to the myjoyonline report, ACP Awuni said his outfit is completely helpless in fighting road accidents because it does not have the necessary equipments to fight the carnage on our roads.

“The national MTTU can boast of only one towing vehicle that is even broken down. So we are having problems. The resources that will assist us are not there. We don’t have a single serviceable speed gun; a common speed gun that will tell us the vehicle that is running is at a greater speed than it is supposed to be going… The MTTU is broken down totally as we speak now. We don’t have things that will assist us to project the things we are talking about now.” ACP Awuni lamented.

Shame, shame!

So, ACP Awuni has absolutely no qualm at all to tell us that the whole Ghana Police Force (GPF) cannot boast a single decent auto-mechanic to fix its broken down tow-vehicle? And he has no shame whatever that all the brains at GPF cannot come up with any idea to get equipments for the service.

We are in deeper trouble than I thought possible.

We really ought to ask what type of country we live in where the whole police force cannot boast a common speed gun?

ACP Awuni probably forget to do what has become a national pastime; go around with begging bowl and ask the Chinese, the Americans, Europeans or even the Arabs to donate.
We seem to be a nation that has lost any sense of shame and one that believes that foreigners owe us a free lunch.

We are a nation that has apparently lost any capacity for critical thinking. Above that we seem like a nation that loves begging like dogs love bones!

Seriously, why do people like ACP Awuni continue to refuse to learn? With the Internet, there is little need for us to even think of re-inventing any wheel. And our officials, when it suits them, tell us that we now live in a Global Village. The question is: why don’t they learn from the village in which they are supposed to live.

Many National Police Forces have solved the problem of errant drivers and rather than keep on wailing like helpless children, ACP Awuni and his team should take some time to study how the other forces did it.

Actually, it is no rocket science at all.

Lagos in Nigeria used to be considered the World’s most lawless city as far as traffic was concerned. But today, errant driving has all but been eliminated in Nigeria’s commercial capital.

No, it was not by divine intervention and actually not by any super-human effort. A determined effort by the Governor of Lagos state backed by the imposition of stiff penalties has ensured that Lagos drivers obey traffic rules, do not stop to pick passengers outside of bus stops and, perhaps more importantly, stopped drivers and owners from parking their cars wherever fancies them.

The fear of paying hefty penalties also persuades car owners and drivers that it is unwise to allow their vehicles to break down and obstruct traffic. All these measures ensure that the once agonizing Lagos traffic has been unsnarled and citizens can breathe sigh of relief.

Lagos is not so far away from Accra and our leaders continue to pay their lip service to ECOWAS unity, so it behooves ACP Awuni to take a trip his counterparts in Lagos and see\learn how the Lagosians did it.

It is quite insulting when officials like ACP Awuni come out to insult our intelligence with the type of gratuitous statement credited to him. They should rather utililise the time they use in making speeches to brainstorm and come out with solutions. It is time to stop cataloguing the woes without coming up with any ideas or suggestions on how to solve them.

If he has no desire to go to Lagos, all the ACP has to do is to sit down awhile and crack the brains and come out with solutions.

Here I could help with some suggestions. Ok, The GPF is not a limited liability company but rather than lament and bemoan, ACP Awuni should ask his sector minister for money - grant or loan, to buy ten towing vehicles.

The police already have power to tow anything that obstructs traffic. So, all the MTTU needs to do is get into serious business of towing abandoned vehicles. I am sure with the ten vehicles and the hefty fines, they will collect, the GPF will make enough money to pay government back its money with interests in no time.

No one who has had to pay heavy fines for towed vehicle would like to repeat the experience and the words of mouth will ensure that car-owners check their vehicles properly before putting them on the road.

Should the GPF be unwilling to do this, being not entrepreneurial and all that, ACP Awuni and his people should get the sector ministry to pass appropriate legislation to involve the private sector. There is little doubt that many Ghanaians will gladly invest in the very lucrative vehicle-towing business.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A reply to Cameron

Our president, John Atta Mills, is really a very polite guy. Even as he tried to give a reply to the imbecilic statement credited to the current leader of that blood-letting and blood-thirsty Isle of Iniquities that still calls itself the United (?) Kingdom, our president couched his statements in diplomatic-speak.

The shameless leader of a country that built its wretched wealth on the blood of innocent Africans, can today wake up and tell us that the so-called aid his country supposedly give to us, will be cut off unless we grant some so-called human rights to those that do not know what to do with their sexual organs.


It might be our president’s great strength that he does not want to give unnecessary offense, but methinks offense should hastily, and without reservation, be given to those that started it.

Respect should be accorded only to those that know its value and give it back in return. I am never going to respect one that disrespect me and treat me with contempt and disdain. European leaders and scholars are not deserving of any respect from us.

It is quite simple, really.

Europeans, since the dawn of time, has never treated Africa with respect, and even with their world collapsing around them, we see no evidence that they have jettison their age-old prejudiced mentality, and shed the stupidity of their ancestors who believe that skin color confers some intelligence.

Today, even as the Portuguese prime minister is in the African nation of Angola begging for financial assistance, we still see Portuguese football fans still stupidly shouting racial abuses at Black players.

Was it not some few years ago that one advisor to Tony ‘Liar’ Blair canvassed for the re-colonisation of Africa because, according to him, we have made mess of our affairs?
I wonder where the idiot is today to tell us what he thinks we should do with Europe, that has magnificently bankrupted itself with its greediness, selfishness, mindless racism and insane militarism.

It is not in my nature to extend respect to anyone that takes it upon himself to give me unsolicited order on how to live my life.

How true that everyone has its own style!

Papa Mugabe lambasted the insolent demand by David Cameron by calling him a Satan.

"It becomes worse and satanic when you get a prime minister like Cameron saying countries that want British aid should accept homosexuality," Papa Mugabe thundered in a speech. "To come with that diabolic suggestion to our people is a stupid offer," he added for good measure.

"Do not get tempted into that (homosexuality). You are young people. If you go that direction, we will punish you severely. It is condemned by nature. It is condemned by insects and that is why I have said they are worse than pigs and dogs." Papa Mugabe added.

Papa Mugabe does not suffer fools gladly as the former CNN reporter, Amanpour, discovered to her chagrin.

So badly bruised was Christiane Amanpour in her encounter with Papa Mugabe that she will not be in any hurry for another encounter.

It is always a delight for me when I see confident African put insolent Westerners in their places the way Minister Louis Farrakhan robustly put ill-informed Mike Wallace in his place, and the ANC Youth Leader put one idiotic BBC Correspondent to shame.

Both Papa Mugabe and Louis Farrakhan, whatever their frailties as humans, are on top of their issues, so people cross them only at great perils.

Both men do not suffer from any inferiority complex that would make them cringe at the sight of bloody assassins like Cameron.

Were I in President Mills place, I know that I certainly would have handled Cameron differently.

My reply to him would have been so comprehensively robust that all the Camerons of this world would think twice before opening their dental-challenged, wretched mouths to make any demand of my country.
Methinks that the problem is that we Africans, most especially our leaders, have always been too polite to want to give offence.

It might have to do with our cultured upbringing that admonishes us not to give unduly offense to other people and to treat every human person with respect and dignity.

But as Professor Henrik Clarke warned: “The mistake our parents made and which we continue to make is that we credit Westerners with the spirituality and the humanity which they (westerners) neither claimed nor deserved.”

This exactly is what gives those blasted long-nosed, busy-bodies from Euro-America to keep thinking that the world still revolves around their collapsing world, or that they are still relevant in the global scheme of things.

Europe’s world is collapsing around it, with many European nations groaning under massive private and public debt, yet idiots like Cameron still have the audacity to give lectures, like some important potentate.

Another of our big problem is that we allow Westerners, with their very bloody history in our continent, the leeway to take high moral grounds.

This should not be so.

It beholds us to keep on reminding any Westerner that want to make it her duty to give sanctimonious lectures to us the vast crimes her ancestors committed (continue to commit) in Africa.

The latest of which is the callous murder of Muammar Qathafi.

Let us begin with some basics. The laws extant in Africa today against the sodomites, who want to call themselves some fanciful names, were put in place by the forebears of Cameron during their colonial mis-adventure in our blessed continent.

The UK boasted that it gives US35 million dollars in ‘aid’ to Ghana and tries to make a song and dance about it.

Should we not ask some pertinent questions here?

How do we quantify the vast resources British colonialists stole from Ghana during their century rapacious rape of the land?

Shall we not ask how much aid was paid to for the millions of slaves British merchants stole from Africa?

Ought we not question how cities like Liverpool, London and Bristol going to pay back the vast money they made from slavery?

Shall we not ask when the bloody Britons will send back to us the vast art works stolen from us and still today make money for the British exchequer?

Shall we not ask who is supposed to pay for all the rapine wars the slavers foisted on our societies, the consequences of which we continue to suffer today?

And should we not ask how much of looted African wealth has been deposited in British in recent years?

So a bloody irritant like Cameron can come out and insult and threaten us because his country gives a tiny percentage of funds looted from us to us as aid and we are supposed to say: “Yes, Master?”

So we have a Cameron from a country whose bloody history will shame a nation of savages giving himself the audacity to talk about human rights.

Should we not ask when in all her wretched history the UK has respected the rights of other people?

Sadly for mindless Euro-Jingoists like Cameron, and happily for the rest of us, Europe no longer rules the waves, if it is ruling anything at all! And it never will again. It was the perceptive Satre who once said that “Europe once made history; today history is being made of it!”

Which bring us to the question what exactly Europeans still really think of themselves.

A Yoruba proverb says:: “Eni ti a nwo ni awo sokun, ti o nwo ara e lawo rerin,” it means “Someone that we look upon with utter contempt, who continues to look at himself with admiration.”

Of course, Europeans, like the perpetual little children they are will continue to sing and dance to their make-up lullabies. They were there dreaming that the Asians were waiting for a Caucasians Messiah until the Asians met, overtook and passed them by. Today, not even all the vast wealth they looted from the colonies is enough to keep them afloat.

Europe no longer holds any appeal to anyone. And, as one of our prophets, Frantz Fanon, warned: “Come, then, comrades, the European game has finally ended; we must find something different. We today can do everything, so long as we do not imitate Europe, so long as we are not obsessed by the desire to catch up with Europe. Europe now lives as such a mad, reckless pace that she has shaken off all guidance and all reason, and she is running headlong into the abyss; we would do well to avoid it with all possible speed.

Yet it is very true that we need a model, and that we want blueprints and examples. For many among us the European model is the most inspiring. We have therefore seen in the preceding pages to what mortifying setbacks such an imitation has led us. European achievements, European techniques, and the European style ought no longer to tempt us and to throw us off our balance. When I search for the Man in the technique and the style of Europe, I see only a succession of negations of man, and the avalanche of murders.

And should we not ask what exactly is wrong with the European high-culture that made Europeans incapable of thinking of relationships with other cultures except in terms of violence, conquest and domination?

Why can’t they learn to keep their wretched ideas confined to their blasted continent?

Mr. Cameron should tell us why sodomy is a human rights issue and polygamy is not.

I sincerely hope that come next time, our President will have the mind to tell Cameron or any other long-nosed busy-body from the West to mind his bloody business. What our president should tell Mr. Cameron next time is to go and hug the Gibraltar or drown in the Thame.

As for the threat of cut-off of aid, there should be the counter-threat of sanctioning British firms here.

Nigeria has proved that Europeans can issue only empty threats to those they think are afraid of them. The British were crawling all over Lagos when Sanni Abach sanctioned British airways. And just this week, we see the British flooding in to beg the Nigerians following a disagreement over airport slots.

We have seen those that enslaved and colonized bankrupted themselves with their egocentric ways and the insane wars they continue to fight around the world. Europe, as Fanon said, ought not to hold any appeal for us.

The news juts this morning was: “Angola Offers To Help Portugal In Tackling Financial Crisis

(RTTNews) - Oil-rich Angola had offered to help the African nation's former colonial master Portugal to cope with its ongoing financial crisis that has forced Lisbon to seek foreign bailout loans, according to Angola's state news agency Angop.”

It is time we in Africa realize that the table has turned. The time British and Europe rule the world is finally and truly over. It is time we learn to use our new strength to bolster our interests.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Till selfishness do us apart

I often wonder why analysts fail to put personal selfishness on top of their list of the woes besetting us in Africa.

Recently, I was in the Bijlmer, one of the biggest suburbs of the Dutch city of Amsterdam.

Bijlmer is one of the massive housing projects built in the 1970s to provide accommodation to the growing and increasingly affluent Dutch citizens.

Bijlmer’s high-rise and low priced apartments attracted most of the immigrants that trooped to the Netherlands as migrant-workers when the Dutch economy was booming. Bijlmer is home to most of the Africans that live in the Netherland.

Few Africans will sojourn in the Netherlands without ever having a thing or two to do in the Bijlmer. It is a mini-Africa that attracts those that yearns for anything that remotely resembles the homeland they left.

Like most estates peopled with low-income earners, the Bijlmer soon developed into a vast, over-crowded ghetto with reputation for every vice known to sociologists.
One of the interesting things about the Dutch is their sense of social fairness to their less privileged fellow citizens.

Although ostensibly a capitalist nation, the Netherlands did not practice the same Jurassic economic and social policies that have blighted that class-ridden Isle of Iniquities that still call itself Great (?) Britain.

Aware that a society that fails to cater for its most vulnerable asks for serious problems, the Dutch evolved a social-democratic system whereby there is a safety net for society’s underprivileged.

They also set a minimum standard of living below which no Dutch citizen is expected to fall. A guaranteed, free and quality education ensured that every Dutch citizen got, at least, basic education for free – courtesy of the Dutch state.

Sadly, times are changing and the Netherlands is changing at such reckless pace that it seems heeded in the direction of the UK. Unsurprising, the Dutch society today suffers from some of the social afflictions that has devastated the USA and the UK.

Massive cuts in social programmes are impoverishing large segments of the Dutch society with attendant social consequences. It is possible today to see pockets of poverty in the Netherlands.

Of course, we are not yet talking about the poor standards we have in Africa for which we dance ourselves silly in praise of God!

Few years ago the Dutch embarked on transforming the Bijlmer. The high-rise, crime-ridden apartments were pulled down. In their places were built new, detached and pricey houses.

The down-turn is that the new apartments, unlike the previous buildings which low-income earners love so much to hire, are strictly for sale.

The Bijlmer has been totally transformed that people who, like me, visit after some years of absence, have difficulty recognizing the New Bijlmer.

Apart from the new shiny apartments, I also saw in the Bijlmer, several sport facilities scattered all over the place.

Apart from the football fields, there are gyms and facilities for weight-lifting, lawn and table tennis, gymnastic, volley and basket ball and host of other sports.

All were built in open space in the several parks that dotted the Bijlmer. They were built by the government for citizens to enjoy free of charge.

As I sat, watched and admired many of the facilities, I was overwhelmed by a deep sense of sadness and anger. The sight brought the stark truth home to me that we in Africa have lots of catch up to do.

Why is it that the whole of Ghana cannot boast of a single public swimming?

In years gone by, we are noted for our sense of community and for our culture of sharing. Travellers like Ibn Batuta waxed poetic about our forebears’ honesty, sense of justice and fair-play. They talked about how secure and safe our societies were.

They spoke about how our kings abhor theft and any form of larceny. Ancient chroniclers like the Dutchman, Dapper, wrote about the beauty and cleanliness of our villages, town sand cities.

Today, travelers to our shore will only marvel at our capacity for dishonesty and our penchant for primitive acquisition. They will shake their heads at the filth in which we live. The planlessness of our towns and cities will baffle them. The noise pollution in our towns will drive them insane. The crime rate, both petty and major, will make them cringe with fear. Our inability to keep time will make their heads spin. Our vast hypocrisy (pretending to be what we are not) will confound them. The absolute disorder in our society will confuse them. The sheer indiscipline in our society will stagger any visitor to our shore. They will be bewildered by our inability to get the most basic of things right. Our penchant to take one step forward and take twenty steps backward will stun them. Only a visitor with the thickest of skins will not be staggered by our absolute lack of any sense of direction.

Am I the only one who sits and wonder what exactly is wrong with us as a people?
When and how did we manage to get it so spectacularly wrong? When and how did we manage to develop such minimalist mindsets that we take pride in the mundane and the petty that will give other people offense?

As I sat and admired what the Dutch have built for their citizens, I cannot but contrast it with what we have in our countries in Africa.

There is not a single park in the fast-growing city of Kasoa where I live. There is no recreation facility of any description. There is not even a single space that has not been sold or rented out!

Apart from Accra, Kumasi and Tema, I don’t know of any other city or town in Ghana that can boast of a public park.

In August of this year (2011), I visited the Polish capital of Warsaw. I was utterly amazed by the transformation the Polish people have been able to bring about in the twenty years since they liberated their country from the grip of Soviet communism.

So totally transformed is Poland today that it has become a full-fledged member of the European Union (EU).

Since I travelled from an EU-member country, I was not checked or controlled at the Warsaw Airport. I was accorded the privileged of an EU resident.

I saw in Warsaw a modern, clean and thriving modern city that boast all the modern amenities a major European city provide.

Warsaw, the city of two million people has well-designed, well-maintained transport system. Everything was orderly, discipline and clean. Even in the old part of town, I did not see pollution of any kind. No one blast music at high decibel to disturb neighbours and pose public nuisance.

Warsaw is a city of well-kept parks. I learnt that fully forty percent of the city was set aside for parks. The profusion of greenery makes it hard to notice that this is a city of two million inhabitants.

Warsaw boasts of forty universities and school of higher education. And we do not talk of the type of one-room mushroom ‘universities’ we boast about around here.

It is always difficult to come back home and see the low level we remain in despite all the pronouncements of our officials.

We have been independent for fifty four years, yet metal contraption (trotros) is the best we could provide our people as means of transport. Our trotro will not meet the requirements to transport cattle in the EU. We have not added a single meter to the rail system the British left behind. We have run our national airline aground through corruption and sheer ineptitude.

It galls to see how we have come to accept the poor environment in which we live as our lot. It is like we have thrown our hands up and surrender to fate.
Most of our people live in conditions that will not deem acceptable for pets in the EU.

In this time and age, many people in our dear land still build houses without toilet and bathing facilities; families still troop to the beaches and bushes to answer the call of nature.

It is in this degrading environment that we eat, sleep, play, work, love our women, give birth to our children and raise them. They grow up thinking that it is the natural order of thing.

Until they grow up, that is. Then they watch foreign TV stations. They surf the internet and interact with their mates from other lands.

They cannot help but wonder why their parents (us) sentence our brains to exile whilst other people were using theirs to build habitable environment for their children. They can see and contrast the abysmal, unplanned gigantic ghettoes we have with well-planned cities other people have built.

And, hypocritically, we pretend not to know why our children have nothing but utter contempt for us.

All over our country, spaces ear-marked for sport and recreational facilities have been sold off by visionless chiefs in cahoots with corrupt officials.

Do we expect our children whom we deprive of good lives to start to celebrate us? Do we expect to see admiration in their eyes when they discover that we have sold off their patrimony and wasted the proceeds on drink and frivolities? Do we expect them to treat us with anything but utter disdain when we bequeath absolutely nothing worthy to them?

It remains a mystery to me why there is no probe at the Lands Registry department to ascertain how officials gave approval for the sale of lands allocated for social amenities.

But then I might be asking for the moon since governments (past and present) joined in selling off public land to their cronies.

What crossed my mind as I admire the sport facilities in the Bijlmer is that were it to be in Africa, a corrupt official will ‘mis-appropriate’ (read: steal) the money.

He will then use the money to put up a massive structure in which he will install all the modern facilities money (especially stolen ones) can build. He will not forget to wall and fence off his mansion into which only the few he initiated will be invited. The visitors will hypocritically praise his acumen.

Rather than be cursed and stoned, the corrupt official who stole public money to build private edifice will become the toast of town. He will become top pal with religious and political leaders. He will get the top table at churches, functions and occasions. Envelop-chasing journalists will invent fictitious story to make him look good. Musicians will sing songs in his praise. He will be awarded bogus chieftaincy and academic titles. A National Honor will even be bestowed on him.

This is our biggest tragedy in Africa.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others

Africa is a writer's delight. Nowhere else in our wide world does life imitate art so splendidly like in our dear and beautiful continent. Everywhere one looks in this paradoxical continent, one is confronted with images that set the writing adrenaline running wide. That life is so tragic-comic must be among the reasons Africans go through life with all those wide smiles.

Africans have a penchant for borrowing ideas from other people and bastardizing them so badly that the inventors will have problems recognizing their inventions.

Take politics as an example: Africans are busy beating their chests proudly and loudly proclaiming how the seeds of a Western-styled political system have been nurtured in Africa, so much so that the whole continent glistens with democratic governments.

No one bothers to ask if the lot of the ordinary people have seen any qualitative improvement. No one cares that Africans continue to die needlessly in order to ensure that self-seeking politicians continue their game of fooling the people.

Recent elections in Zambia saw the people of that country waging tribal war to see that a faction of the ruling oligarchy win power. Never mind that all that the leaders in Zambia were able to achieve was to sign agreements to receive a paltry 0.6% for Zambian mineral resources.

Leaders in Nigeria continue to pantomime the same odious nonsense they have been telling the people for over half a century. The otiose elite of the country that used to call itself the "giant of Africa" saw no shame in scurrying behind a presidential palace as terrorists made it impossible to celebrate their nation's independence day at their national square.

In Liberia, Madam "World Bank" Sirleaf shamelessly broke a vow to serve for one term -- she is busy offering illogical arguments to convince Liberians why she has problems keeping a simple promise.

In Senegal, octogenarian President Wade spent long years in opposition before he won power, only to scheme to change the constitution and foist a dynasty on the people.

In opposition, Mr. Wade brandished solid pan-African credentials; in power he soon finds it necessary to join the imperialists.

In Guinea, last year's opposition leader is now the head of government and has just ordered his troops to kill people protesting against the same things that brought him to the streets just a year ago.

In Cameroun, professional President Biya has long jettisoned the constitution; he is now a president for life in all but name.

The president that spent more years in Paris than his capital, Yaoundé, is so contemptuous of his people that he does not even deign to personally campaign for votes; it is left for his minions. Sadly, the opposition in Cameroun is too fragmented to do a darn thing.

In La Côte d'Ivoire, the vicious and rapacious French are quietly enjoying their latest colonial conquest while pontificating to the world.


Friday, November 4, 2011

While we slumber and pray

When are we in Africa going to realize how far behind the other races we truly are?

When are we going to wake up, rub the slumber from our eyes, gird our loins and try to do some catch-up?

The title of an interesting story in the October 5, 2011 edition of the WIRED magazine written by Adam Mann reads: “The Plan to Bring an Asteroid to Earth.”

Here is the story in full: “Send a robot into space. Grab an asteroid. Bring it back to Earth orbit.

This may sound like a crazy plan, but it was discussed quite seriously last week by a group of scientists and engineers at the California Institute of Technology. The four-day workshop was dedicated to investigating the feasibility and requirements of capturing a near-Earth asteroid, bringing it closer to our planet and using it as a base for future manned spaceflight missions.

This is not something the scientists are imagining could be done some day off in the future. This is possible with the technology we have today and could be accomplished within a decade.

A robotic probe could anchor to an asteroid made mostly of nickel-iron with simple magnets or grab a rocky asteroid with a harpoon or specialized claws (see video below) and then push the asteroid using solar-electric propulsion. For asteroids too big for a robot to handle, a large spacecraft could fly near the object to act as a gravity tractor that deflects the asteroid’s trajectory, sending it toward Earth.
“Once you get over the initial reaction — ‘You want to do what?!’ — it actually starts to seem like a reasonable idea,” said engineer John Brophy from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who helped organize the workshop.

In fact, many of these ideas have been on the drawing board for years as part of NASA’s planetary defense program against large space-based objects that might threaten Earth. And there’s no shortage of potential targets. NASA estimates there are 19,500 asteroids at least 330 feet wide — large enough to detect with telescopes — within 28 million miles of Earth.

Though rearranging the heavens may seem an excessive undertaking, the mission has its merits. The Obama administration already plans to send astronauts to a near-Earth asteroid, a mission that would coop them up in a tiny capsule for three to six months, and involve all the risks of a long deep-space voyage. Instead, robots could shoulder some of that burden by bringing an asteroid close enough for astronauts to get there in just a month.

Parking an asteroid in a gravitationally neutral spot between the Earth and the sun, known as a Lagrange point, would provide a stationary base from which to launch missions further into space. There are several advantages to this. For one, launching materials from Earth requires a lot of power, fuel, and consequently money, to get out of our planet’s deep gravity well. Resources mined from an asteroid with very little gravitational pull could be easily shuttled around the solar system.

And many asteroids have a lot to offer. Some are full of metals such as iron, which can be used to build space-based habitats while others are up to one-quarter water, which would be either used for life-support or broken down into hydrogen and oxygen to make fuel. As well, asteroid regolith placed around a spaceship hull would shield it against radiation from deep space, allowing safer travel to other planets.

An asteroid could be an alternative to setting up camp on the moon, or complement a moon base with more resources for heading further out in the solar system, said engineer Louis Friedman, cofounder of the Planetary Society and another co-organizer of the Caltech workshop.

There’s also the potential for mining asteroid materials to bring back to Earth. Even a small asteroid contains roughly 30 times the amount of metals mined over all of human history, with an estimated worth of $70 trillion. And astronomers would have the chance to get a close-up look at one of the solar system’s earliest relics, generating important scientific data.

Though technically feasible, budging such a hefty target — with a mass in excess of a million tons — would not be easy.

“You’re moving the largest mother lode imaginable,” said former astronaut Rusty Schweickart, cofounder of the B612 Foundation, an organization dedicated to protecting Earth from asteroid strikes.

Most asteroids are irregular chunks of rock that spin chaotically along irregular axes. Engineers would need to be absolutely certain they could control such a potentially dangerous object. “It’s the opposite of planetary defense; if you do something wrong you have a Tunguska event,” said engineer Marco Tantardini from the Planetary Society, referring to the powerful 1908 explosion above a remote Russian region thought to have been caused by a meteoroid or comet. Of course, any asteroid brought back under the proposed plan would be too small to cause a repeat of such an event.

Still, these obstacles are like catnip to engineers, who love to go over every potential difficulty in order to solve it. Actually executing the asteroid retrieval plan would help demonstrate and greatly expand mankind’s space-based engineering capabilities, said Friedman. For instance, the mission would teach engineers how to capture an uncooperative target, which could be good practice for future planetary defense missions, he added.

And if the challenges for a large asteroid seem too daunting, researchers could always start with a smaller asteroid, perhaps six to 30 feet across. Gradually larger objects could be part of a campaign where engineers learn to deal with progressively greater complications.

Last year, Brophy helped conduct a study at JPL to look at the feasibility of bringing a 6.5-foot, 22,000-pound asteroid — of which there might conceivably be millions — to the International Space Station. This mission would help astronauts and engineers learn how to process asteroid materials and ores in space.

The JPL study suggested the asteroid could be captured robotically in something as simple as a large Kevlar bag and then flown to the space station or placed in a Lagrange point. Of course, such a small object might not have the same emotional impact as a larger destination. “NASA isn’t going to want to go to something that is smaller than our spaceships,” said engineer Dan Mazanek from NASA’s Langley Research Center.

No matter the size of the asteroid, these plans would require hefty investments. Even capturing a small asteroid would consume at least a billion dollars and anything larger would be a multi-billion-dollar endeavor. Convincing taxpayers to foot such a bill could be tricky.

Considering the resources available in any asteroid, private industry might be interested in getting involved. One possible mission would be to simply execute the first part of the plan — pushing the asteroid to near-Earth orbit — and then convene a commercial competition inviting anyone who wants to develop the capabilities to reach and mine the object.

Though the undertaking might be scientifically exciting, this wouldn’t be the primary motivation. An asteroid would provide great insight into the solar system’s formation, it’s not enough to justify the expense of bringing one to Earth. Any interesting science can be done much cheaper with an unmanned robotic spacecraft, said chemist Joseph A Nuth from NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center.

“Ultimately, we would be developing this target in order to help move out into the solar system,” Brophy said.

Though they did not reach a consensus on all the details, the group will reconvene in January to hammer out further specifications and potentially get the interest of NASA.

In the end, many agreed that bringing an asteroid back to Earth could create an interesting destination for repeated manned missions and that the undertaking would help build up experience for future jaunts into space.”


I spent three unforgettable weeks in the United States of America in August of this year. There are many things wrong with that country but no one will visit that country from Africa and ever be the same again.

The technical, scientific, engineering and technological accomplishment of the country is all there for all to see, and they are truly humbling, especially for people from our part of the world where people still sleep their way through life believing that goblins of the skies are coming to take care of human affairs.

The gap between us and the Americans are just too wide that we can forget about bridging it anytime soon. Not unless we can find a way for them to stop and wait for us to catch up with them.

Since it would be foolish to think that they will do it, we can forget this proposition.

The sad thing is that our leaders – political, economic, academic and religious - travel regularly to the US, and they see firsthand what human beings have been able to accomplish with sheer human ingenuity. They see all the technological accomplishments of mere mortals. They see and use all the electronic marvels created by human brains.

Bafflingly, they come back and continue with the same attitude of sheer complacency. They continue to behave like we are not too far behind and we have no need to hurry to tag along (forget catching up).

They continue to tell us stupid and insane lies about a saviour Jesus who is coming to take care of things for us.

We have leaders telling us odious lies like ‘God is in charge,’ like a god has done a darn thing for any human society.

We have blasted charlatans, attired in their lying cassocks, telling us that we need only double or triple our prayer efforts and all shall be well. We witness daily the stupid charades of prayers and retreats.

These leaders will not tell us what single human problem can be solved with adjuration to gods. They do not tell us why they don’t rely on prayers to give them the same material comfort they buy with money extorted from their ignorant congregation.

These totally shameless imposters, who pretend to stand between us and some gods, will not tell us why they live their own paradise here on earth rather than wait for it in heaven. They don’t tell us why they are never in a hurry to meet their father in heaven where everything is supposedly blissful.

So, while we are busy with our prayer camps, Holy Ghost fire, impartation retreats, anointing oil, candles, incense, prophesying, speaking in tongues and other utterly stupid abracadabra, human beings are busy thinking about how to capture an asteroids and mine its minerals!

Enuf said!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Of School Uniforms and other Jazz

Femi, I think I have to reconsider my position on the death penalty.

Ah, why? You have spent a great part of your life campaigning against it. What has happened? Why the change of heart? Whom do you want to shoot and why?

I think the president's speechwriters should be shot.


You heard me. They all should be lined up at the Teshie shooting range and dispatched to both kingdom come and kingdom uncome.

You cannot be serious! Are you talking about the speechwriters of the president of our one and only republic?

Yes, yes, and yes.

You cannot be serious. Have you heard of felony, sedition, treason...

Yes, I have heard all that, and I have also heard that the BNI (Bureau of National Investigations) guys are everywhere now ready to pounce on both real and imagined enemies of state. But I still hold that those guys and gals that so shockingly embarrassed Mother Ghana by drafting such a daft and abysmal presidential speech that our president read at the last General Assembly of the UN should all be guillotined. There should be a law against causing such national embarrassment to the republic. I am still reeling from the humiliation. I never imagined that I'd live to see my dear country reduced to such a ridiculous level whereby our president would be trumpeting sheer inanities as high national achievements. Oh Gosh! Femi, the sheer disgrace, I think I will die of mortification!

What do you find so odious about the speech? From what I gather it was well received and it was punctuated with several applauses by delegates. Do you think that the assembly would applaud it so vigorously were it deemed to be unsubstantial?

Get out there, Femi; those guys and gals the UN are programmed to applaud anything. Do they do anything apart from sip champagne and applaud like robots?

Are you not being too harsh on the world's diplomats?

I am not hard or harsh on anyone; everyone knows that diplomats are paid to laugh at whatever absurdity they hear. Anyhow, I am not here to discuss UN diplomats, I am crying my eyes out from my own personal embarrassment at our president's address to the world body.

But didn't you read what our local pundits are saying; everyone is praising the president. They consider his speech balanced, apolitical, and statesmanlike. From what I read and heard he's won kudos from several pundits. Some even suggested that he should be given the Nobel Prize for Peace.

Please, Femi, don't make me laugh. Why would any sane person suggest a Nobel Prize for such an abjectly apathetic and uninspiring speech?

Don't ask me. Ask those who praise the president's speech that you find so detestable.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Nigeria: end of African-centred foreign policy?

It is difficult to understand the logic that informed Nigeria's decision to announce their recognition of the NATO-backed rebels in Libya. Although the leaders in Abuja said that it was taken in the interests of the country, it is very difficult to see how this ill-timed, ill-advised, wrong-headed and shortsighted decision could enhance the interests of a country that likes to see itself as Africa's Numero Uno. Nigeria's hasty decision looks all the more foolish when the country's main rival, South Africa, is wisely towing the position taken by the continent's main body, the African Union.

It is sad to see the country whose past leaders have toiled to build solid Pan-African credentials reduced to a mere errand-boy of Western imperialism. A country that has worked tirelessly over the years to build solid Non-Aligned, Africa-centric foreign policy credentials, is today the tool the imperialists use to advance their interests in Africa. Nigeria spearheaded the French designs on La Côte d'Ivoire and today, the country has firmly burnished her credential as an imperialist puppet state by extending recognition to the rebels in Libya.

The decision becomes more incongruous because it was taken when the airwaves are saturated with reports of the killings of Nigerians and other black Africans by the rebels who believe that every black face is a Ghadaffi mercenary in a country where a third of the population is black! Are we to believe that the leaders in Abuja were sleeping when CNN and other Western media showed the rebels killing and maltreating Nigerians and other black Africans?

Many Africans have trooped to Ghadaffi-led Libya because it is the ONLY well-run country in the whole continent. Whilst most of them are in Libya to do menial jobs, many of these Africans are professionals who contributed to the smooth running of the Libyan economy.

To these Africans it is absolute baloney to say that Ghadaffi was anything but a saint who managed the affairs of his country rather well. Many of them are from countries whose democratically-elected governments are backed by the Western nations. They are living witnesses to the total mess that these so-called democratic leaders have wrought on their countries. They have seen how their so-called democratic politicians colluded with Western corporations to rape the resources of their countries.

Those from Nigeria have seen how the so-called elected officials have taken corruption to mind-boggling levels with all layers of governments actively involved. Nigerians are witnesses to their 400-member National Assembly collaring twenty-five percent of their national budget for themselves. They are fully aware that seventy-five percent of their national earnings goes into recurrent expenditure (paying salaries and running the machinery of a moribund government). They are aware of the feud by their top judges over corruption charges.

Nigerians know that theirs is a country where virtually nothing works. They know that they live in a country where citizens are not expected to have access to steady electricity, water, and telecommunication. They know that they live in a country where the educational infrastructure has collapsed and where reports of one hundred percent failure at examinations are commonplace. They know that they live in a country that cannot provide security for its citizens. They live in a country bedeviled by kidnapping, and now, the menace of Boko Haram.

Many Africans know all these things and they know that all the mess is taking place under a Western-styled democratic dispensation that enjoys the backing of the West. They know these things and they also know that they live in semi-colonial countries that are still firmly tied to the apron string of the West. They knew that their countries are independent in name only. They knew that the only thing that has changed is just the faces at the corridor of power -- with black replacing white in the colonial scheme of things.

Africans see all these things and they see how many of their compatriots (the lucky ones) are voting with their feet to seek the proverbial greener pasture in far-away lands including in (if the Western-media account is to be believed) mad-Ghadaffi's Libya. Many Ugandans are braving all to serve in war-ravaged Iraq.

Many Africans from the so-called democratic countries are strewn across Europe doing jobs that do not even begin to challenge their education or intelligence. The cleaning crews of most major airports in Western Europe are staffed by African immigrants as though it is Africans' lot in life to keep cleaning Europeans' mess. Many of them are drowning in Spanish and Italian waters as they desperately struggle to escape the poverty and insecurity in their democratic countries.

Those that landed in Libya had their first taste of paradise on earth. For the first time, they could live in clean and well-kept houses. They could travel on well-constructed and well-maintained roads. For the first time in their lives, they live in houses with running water and enjoy uninterrupted electricity supply. For the first time in their lives they could walk the streets without fear of armed robbers or kidnappers. For many of these Africans, Ghadaffi's Libya offered them the chance to earn a decent pay for honest toil for the first time in their lives. For the first time in their lives, these Africans could live decent lives as human beings and are supposed to live in this modern era.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Dutch and the attack on Libya

"Colonialism and imperialism have not paid their score when they withdraw their flags and their police forces from our territories. For centuries the capitalists have behaved in the underdeveloped world like nothing more than war criminals. Deportations, massacres, forced labor and slavery have been the main methods used by capitalism to increase its wealth, its gold or diamond reserves, and to establish its power." (Frantz Fanon, 'The Wretched of The Earth.' Grove Press, Inc. New York. p. 101).

Like many Africans in Europe, I am completely baffled by the latest Western neo-colonial project in Africa.

Here we are, deluding ourselves that the infamous Berlin Conference of 1884-5 was a long distant, almost forgotten memory, the likes of which will never happen again.

We were rudely shocked that, despite all the agonies, the vast violence, massive despoliation of human and material lives, the wholesale massacres, the gnashing of teeth and the gross racism caused by the Europeans in our continent, very little, if anything, has changed.

The mentalities of the inheritors of those immense crimes still retain the essential elements of their forebears.

The more we look the less we understand.

Among the questions that constantly baffle our minds is why Europeans extend so much energies and efforts in trying to export commodities that are sorely lacking in their own societies?

Many of us grew up in Africa with European missionaries who drummed into our heads such lofty injunctions like, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us”; “Love your enemies”; “Turn the other cheek.”

Of course, our civics classes were full of those nice definitions the Europeans put in our school syllabuses like “democracy is the government of the people, by the people and for the people,” and the other blah, blahs.

We received our first cultural jolt when we come to Europe and see people who are total opposite of what they preached to us. We see a total disconnect between rhetoric and deeds. It is as though in the West, people, especially leaders and scholars, don’t mean what they say. It appears that words do not function than mere rhetoric.

We never see any European nation forgiven anyone that transgressed against it. In Europe, loving your neighbor continues to exist in peoples’ imaginations. And heaven forbid a European nation to turn any cheek when assaulted – enemies; real or imagined must be obliterated!

The insane War on Terror the West fights across the world remains a prime example.
We see the vast hypocrisy of the Western world in the elevation of the Mandiba, Nelson Mandela, to an iconic figure by a people that would consider him a wimp if he rules in any of their countries.

It says a lot about the duplicity of the West that they elevate Mandela to sainthood whilst they keep on electing war-mongers as rulers.

Like most Europeans, the Dutch suffer from gross historical amnesia. That is the only reason we can adduce for a people that should bury their collective heads in shame, gallivanting around the world, self-promoting themselves as champions of freedom, human rights and democracy.

More than any Europeans, the Dutch should be the last to even ever consider launching an attack on Africa under any pretense or circumstance.

Given the vileness, the peculiar nastiness and the virulent nature of their brand of racism, Dutch people should be the most sensitive Europeans to the sensibilities of Africans.

If only for the terrible apartheid system they brought to Africa, the Dutch should be ultra-sensitive to not injuring our feelings.

The Dutch were, by many measures, simply the most bestial of the despoilers of our beautiful continent.

I write this with the authority of the knowledge of the depravity of the Belgians, the British, the Danes, the French and not forgetting the Portuguese.

Beginning with slavery, the Dutch led the way both in the quantity of their loot (per head) and the cruelty of their slavers.

These are some of the things we read from history:

"The Dutch share in the slave-trade was large: in fact, in the seventeenth century, it was the largest. The Dutch West India Company had various settlements on the African coast, and millions of slaves were ferried from there, especially during the time of Dutch occupation of Brazil. In the twelve years (1637-48) they transported no less than 23,163 slaves from Elmina and Loanda, for an amount of 6, 714, 423 guilders and 60 cents, (the Dutch were very precise!) They bought slaves from the Congo for 40 to 50 guilders and sold them in Brazil for 200 to 800 guilders. Certainly a worthwhile business." (J.W. Schulte Nordholt, 'The People that Walk in Darkness.' Ballantine Books, New York).
"The Dutch had established themselves in Berbice in 1624. During the years 1624 to 1763 they were the cruelest of slave masters. The Dutch slave code was much harsher than the Spanish code (the savagery of the Dutch code is shown by one provision of calculated cruelty: the burning alive of mutinous slaves over a slow fire). The Dutch had no institution comparable to the Spanish audiencia, a tribunal which included four judges. The ruthlessness of the Dutch created the situation that came to a climax in the Berbice slave rebellion.
" (“Marcus Garvey and the vision of Africa,” edited by John Henrik Clarke).

The cruelty of the Dutch was again on display in the colonization of Africa. Is it any co-incidence that the Dutch possession in Africa, the Boer republic of South Africa was the cruelest, the most dogmatic and lasted the longest?

And let it not be forgotten that the Dutch even pressed their god into service in their cruel enterprise in our continent. The Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) consistently provided the apartheid regime with spiritual succuor and with Biblical support to the heinous crimes the Boers perpetrated against Africans.

Many of those that came forward at the Truth Commission cited the church as the spiritual inspiration for their gruesome work in support of the former apartheid regime.

It was not until 1992 that the DRC finally acknowledged apartheid as a sin and confessed to great wrongs in the past, and said the Church was guilty of spiritual and structural injustices under apartheid. Of course no mention was made of making amends for past wrong-doings.

Two figures that helped the most in the despoliation of Africa and the dehumanization of Africans happened to be born in the Netherlands. Both Jan Van Riebeeck (the pirate that founded the Dutch colony in South Africa) and Henrik Frensch Verwoerd, apartheid’s chief theoretician, were Dutch citizens born in the Netherlands.

It galls to no end then to see that the Dutch become enthusiastic partners in the West re-colonisation project in Libya.

Like they did in Iraq, the Western alliance hid behind a UN resolution to effect their plan for a regime change in Libya.

The objective, as it is emerging, was a recolonisation enterprise that would put Libya’s vast oil reserves under the control of the west. The plan was, like the Iraq venture, to remove Qaddafi, install a puppet regime and start to suck the blood out of their newly-acquired territory.

With several members of the NATO alliance announcing the sending of ‘military advisors,’ money and equipment to the Libyan rebels, in clear breach of UNSC Resolution 1973, the mask has finally been revealed of the true intentions in the reconquering of Libya.

The Dutch wasted no time in joining the colonial assault on Libya, just like they did in their mis-adventure in Afghanistan. The allure of juicy contracts is just too much their piratical instincts to ignore.

As a long-time resident in the Netherlands, the idea of the Dutch going to fight for the rights of Africans seem particularly incongruous, baffling and grossly insulting.

What exactly do the Dutch care about African life?

Despite its reputation as a ‘tolerant’ country, the Netherlands remain among the worst racist countries in Europe. Dutch politics regularly throw up rabidly racist politicians who never hide their desires to keep their nation as white as their snow – we can mention Jan Maat, Aad Kosto, Rita Verdonk and now the peroxide-bleached blonde irritant, Geert Wilders.

In the Netherlands, Non-Europeans are simply totally marginalized with ZERO visibility in any aspect of national life.

Despite Dutch politicians railing against being swamped by non-Europeans, there is not a single non-white person in any position of importance in the whole of the Netherlands. Football used to be one area where blacks used to dominate, but this has been effectively ended following an outcry.

The people that gave the world apartheid have even managed to coin other words that firmly and succinctly expressed their racist mindsets – Allochtone which refers to non-natives (read black) and Autochtone (read white).

These administrative constructs were, like apartheid, designed keep people apart and keep the blacks firmly in their place – at the lowest-rungs of the social, economic and political ladder.

Today, non-Europeans must produce a Certificate of Fluency in Dutch language and culture before they get a renewal of their residence permits.

All of these from the same people that exported their language to South Africa, and killed hundreds of Africans in attempt to imposed their language on the Africans.

In order to help me organise my thoughts on the Dutch government intervention in Libya, I sent a list of questions to the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague.

The reply, pure asinine, reveals the depth of contempt to which the Dutch truly hold us as Africans.

The spokesman at the Ministry, Mr. Aad Meijer, even found it useful to deign to teach me some rules of basic journalism.

I simply cannot imagine a European journalist receiving the same mindless answers to his inquiries.

This is the exchange:

Dear Mr. Akomolafe,

See below for our answers to your questions. Please be so kind to quote them as 'says a spokesman of the ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Kind regards,

Aad Meijer
Press Information

1. What is the official Dutch government position on the situation in Libya?

Ans: The Dutch government is very concerned about the situation in Libya. It condemns the use of force by Qaddafi against peaceful demonstrators, his own people. In doing so it considers Qaddafi to have lost his legitimacy. Qaddafi should step down and give space to a negotiated inclusive political solution by all of the Libyan people with respect for human rights, minorities and the rule of law.

2. One of the prerogatives of states is that they hold monopoly on the instruments of violence within their territory. No country will permit an armed-uprising; is a new precedent not being set by the Western Powers in supporting an armed group in Libya? What is the Dutch government’s position on supporting armed rebellion in other countries?

Ans: The NATO mission Unified Protector is mandated by UN resolution 1973 to protect the Libyan population from attacks by the Libyan authorities. The Netherlands supports this goal and contributes to the protection of the Libyan population.

3. Although UNSC Resolution 1973, specifically, did not authorised action to violate the sovereignty of Libya in the name of human rights, nor action in support of the anti-government rebels nor “regime-change” in Libya, today some Western governments (UK, France and the USA) openly called for “regime change,” and have announced plans to send ‘military advisors’ to aid the Libyan “pro-democracy forces.” What is the position of the Dutch government on regime change in Libya?

Ans: I refer to our answer under 1.

4. There appears to be a stalemate in Libya, what exactly is the outcome envisioned by the Dutch government in Libya?

Ans: I refer to our answer under 1.

5. How feasible is the desire of the West to impose democracy and Human Rights by military violence and where should we draw the line?

Ans: The military actions undertaken by NATO and several countries in the region as mandated by the United Nations seek to uphold Security Council resolution 1973. As such the military actions should be limited to protecting the civilian population of Libya against the use of force by the Libyan authorities.

6.What is the response of the Dutch government to the charges by some African commentators that the attacked smacked of double-standards - given the fact that numerous resolutions of the United Nations remain unenforced by the Western Powers? You can see a long list here:

Ans: The implementation of Security Council resolutions is an obligation of all members of the United Nations. The Netherlands believes that first and foremost countries in the region share a responsibility to implement these decisions. Where possible the Netherlands seeks to support such efforts either bilaterally or through the European Union.

7. Given the fact that Libya is, at least, geographically in Africa, why did the Western powers decided to ignore the publicly-stated position of the African Union (AU) condemning any military solution to the crises in Libya?

Ans: The Netherlands believes that the crisis in Libya will not be solved through military means alone and calls for a political process. It welcomes all diplomatic efforts, including those of the African Union to broker a political solution and underlines the importance of international coordination of initiatives. In order for a political process to come to fruition the Netherlands believes that a real cessation of hostilities and pull back from beleaguered cities is required.

8. Why is the West ever so eager to employ military force in non-western people\nations, rather than use its considerable powers to compel antagonists to the Conference Table, like providing them with non-lethal (good offices) means to resolve their differences?

Ans: The Netherlands believes that diplomatic efforts are essential to achieve a solution.

9. And what would be the response of the Dutch government to accusations that Africa is being re-colonised. This being derived from the fact that the Western powers continue to hold meetings in European capitals (London, Paris, Berlin) to decide the future of an African country, Libya, which brings back to memory the infamous Berlin Conference of 1884-5?

Ans: The Netherlands believes that the future of Libya should only be decided upon by the Libyan people itself. It stresses that the conferences on Libya do in no way purport to providing the Libyan people with an outside political solution. The conferences but serve as an international focal and coordination point to ensure effective international support to the Libyan people

10. How would the Dutch government react to accusations that the West is trying to counter China’s incursions to Africa. Cited as example is one of the leaks from the Wikileaks’ memos, where we read the following: “1.(C/NF) Summary: Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) renegotiated the terms of its production sharing agreements with France's Total and its partners in Libya (Germany's Wintershall and Norway's StatoilHydro), adjusting the existing stand-alone contracts to bring them into compliance with the Exploration and Production Sharing Agreement (EPSA) rubric. The renegotiation of Total's contract is of a piece with the NOC's effort to renegotiate existing contracts to increase the Libya's share of crude oil production... the renegotiated agreements could adversely impact his revenue stream. End Summary.” See:

Ans: The Dutch government does not comment on the content of documents released by Wikileaks.

11.What would be the response of the Dutch government to another concern of Africans, especially those who live in Europe, why countries like France and the Netherlands which continue to treat them with impunity, would want to assume high moral grounds on Human Rights and Democracy in Africa? You can see an example of the treatment of African women and children in France here:

Ans: The Dutch government does not comment on the internal affairs of other states. All residents of the Netherlands enjoy equal rights and obligations under Dutch law.

12. It was a Dutch man Hugo Grotius who, in his seminal work, titled De Jure Belli ac Pacis Libri Tres (Of the Laws of War and Peace) published in 1623, wrote: “Throughout the Christian world, I observed a lack of restraint in relation to war, such as even barbarous races should be ashamed of; I observed that men rush to arms for slight causes, or no cause at all, and that when arms have once been taken up there is no longer any respect for law, divine or human; it is as if, in accordance with a general decree, frenzy had openly been let loose for the committing of all crimes. Confronted with such utter ruthlessness many men, who are the very furthest from being bad men, have come to the point of forbidding all use of arms to the Christian, whose rule of conduct above everything else comprises the duty of loving all men.

13: Today, we look at Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, and see that not much has changed since 1623. Can we look forward to a time that the west will, in the words of the Christian Bible, turn its sword into plowshare and attain to resolve conflicts through peaceful means rather than on wholesale military violence?

Ans: The Dutch government seeks to end conflict by peaceful means. The promotion of international rule of law is part of its constitution.

It’s difficult for me to imagine what Mr Aad Meijer ate or drunk before he sent his moronic reply. I expected a half-decent attempt to produce some bureaucratic smoke but certainly not these imbecilic answers.

That “All residents of the Netherlands enjoy equal rights and obligations under Dutch law,” is a tale I believe Mr. Aad should tell to the Dutch marines when they return from their colonial killing enterprise in Libya.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Surprising Europe - Review and Interview

Film Review & Interview

Surprising Europe: The life and times of Ssuuna Golooba, directed by Rogier Kappers and produced by Jongens van de Wit, the Netherlands -- 70 mn documentary and 9-part TV series, 2011.

The history of humanity is also the story about migration. In the final analysis, we are all migrants. Central to my Yoruba people's philosophy on human migration are two of their proverbs. One is Omi ni eniyan; the second, Ibi ti aye ba gbeni de, la npe layede.

The first means that human beings are like water that flows wherever it can find its level. The second one means that it is where destination leads us that we call home.

It is probably the knowledge of these proverbs that informed many Africans to migrate to Europe to seek the proverbial green pasture. The natural instinct of every animal is to look for wherever the grass is greener. Europe, in recent history, emptied as much as a third of her population to other climes when the going got tough. It therefore remains incomprehensible to many African immigrants in Europe, why the continent that has benefited so much from migration, remains the most hostile to them.

Several thousand Africans have moved and settled in Europe. Some of them managed to build lives that are far better than what they left behind. But for the majority of these migrants, it has been tales of harrowing disappointments. For many of these profoundly disappointed Africans it is always a case of: "Had I known?"

Many of them had well-paying jobs in their countries with middle-class lifestyles and expectations. But human ambitions being what they are, they wanted more.

Images from Western media like BBC World and CNN are beamed into their living rooms, with commentators constantly harping on "rich" Western countries with out-of-this-world GNP, GDP, and other statistics that paint pictures of a paradisiacal West. The same media portrays Africa as a hopeless, war-torn, famine-overwhelmed, dictators-ridden continent that is forever begging to feed its lazy citizens.

Hollywood also lends hand with movies that show the bold and the beautiful who, with no apparent means of livelihood, tool around town in kilometer-long limousines, wining and dining the whole day with no apparent care in the world. Images are shown of people putting plastic cards into walls from which money gushes out. Ah, white people are magicians!

There are also the new missionaries on the block, those kind-hearted NGO folks who drive around in big 4-wheel-drive jeeps, hold endless conferences, and talk themselves silly on how to end poverty in Africa.

African immigrants who come on holidays and start spending money like it's going out of fashion also do not help matters.

These are the images Africans are bombarded with and who does not like better things? Determined to get his share of the wealth of Europe, the African quits his job, and sells whatever properties he had accumulated over his toiling years. Some sell the family jewels, houses, and even the farm. Occasionally, loans are contracted to embark on the journey to a supposed El Dorado.

Arriving in Europe, the immigrant is thrown into a severe culture shock from which he hardly ever recovers. The illusion that Europeans are nice and welcoming is the first to go.

In many parts of Africa, especially in the villages, total strangers are mostly welcome with huge smiles and a desire to help. The immigrant's first contact with Europe is with stony-faced immigration officers with the countenance of a wolfhound and the friendliness of a Gestapo. The confounded immigrant wonders what has happened to all those Europeans he saw in Africa with smiles pasted on their faces, as they trample around the continent looking for places to develop.

When he's finally admitted into the country after a bruising encounter at the port of entry, the senses of the poor immigrant are further assaulted when he finds out that he needed more than his expensive visa to even begin to settle down.

First, the small question of accommodation needs to be settled, and it becomes a major production when he's asked to produce a residence permit without which he cannot get legal accommodation. Our bewildered immigrant, who had a spacious apartment in his native land, is forced to make do with sleeping in other people's corridor.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Namibian Land time-bomb

This piece was published in the Letter to the Editor section of the Pan African magazine, New African, July 2011 edition.

Kindly permit me space for this letter in reaction to your story: “The Trouble with Namibia,” NA June 2011, pp4- 44.

I must first thank you guys at the New African magazine for bringing us pertinent information about our beautiful continent.

I consider myself a little bit knowledgeable about African affairs, but your report on Namibia left me totally flummoxed.

I was (until I read your piece) a great admirer of former President Sam Nujoma whom I considered a great Liberation leader. I honestly thought he was more than populous beard and fiery revolutionary rhetoric until I read the type of agreement he signed in the name of independence.

Little wonder that these agreements are forever shrouded in great mystery.

We can contrast what happened in the colonies in Africa with what transpired after the second European Civil war when Germany was made to regurgitate everything she stole from her European colonies and also paid compensation. In Africa, they think that we should be satisfied with a flag and some wretched smiles!

With the editor’s permission, I shared an extract on my Facebook wall, and the flurry of traffic I received was rather gratifying, as they greatly opened my eyes to the happenings in that beautiful but sadly racially-stratified land.

I can only express my shock and sadness as I read the lamentations of many Namibians about how their people lost all during the German invasions and how, up till today, young German boys prevent them from visiting their ancestral graves to pay homage!

Fortunately, at least for me, this is not a situation we experienced in West Africa.

Having stayed in Europe where I did not see a single African owning even one square inch of European land, I cannot imagine how I will react to Europeans fencing hundred upon hundred square kilometers of my people’s land in the name of private property.

It is very sad and troubling to read the depth of pent-up anger among my Namibian Facebook contacts. In my humble opinion, the correct question to ask now is to whom are we doing a favour by pretending that all is jolly and well in Namibia? Truth has a way of emerging however hard they try to suppress it, and however long, injustices have ways of blowing up in the face of its perpetrators.

Do the Western agencies, organisations and governments that perpetrated and abetted this gross injustice hope that it will last forever? Do they really believe that Namibians will somehow just forget about their ancestral lands? Doesn’t Zimbabwe provide ample evidence on what will happen when we bury our heads in the sand and pretend not to understand that historic injustices need to be rectified?

Your report quoted a 'SWAPO intellectual' talking about the incapacity of the government to act. I got hold of the Namibian Constitution and I found these relevant sections the Namibian government could use to get its land back from the absentee landlords.

Article 16: Property

(1) All persons shall have the right in any part on Namibia to acquire, own and dispose of all forms of immovable and movable property individually or in association with others and to bequeath their property to their heirs or legatees: provided that Parliament may be legislation prohibit or regulate as it deems expedient the right to acquire property by persons who are not Namibian citizens.

(2) The State or a competent body or organ authorised by law may expropriate property in the public interest subject to the payment of just compensation, in accordance with requirements and procedures to be determined by Act of Parliament.

There is no government anywhere that can claim impotence when it comes to overriding public interests. If the new elite in Namibia will have the political will, I think they can do a lot to help their own people.

Laws are made by men and could be undone by man. Section 16:2 of the Namibian constitution empowers the government to act. If the occupiers refuse to play ball, the government, through parliament CAN and SHOULD enact legislation confiscate the land and pay the same compensation the land-owners claim that they paid.

Wise saying:

" Never use both feet to test the depth of the sea." - African proverb