|Long Queues for Food aid in Sudan|
Things are getting worse in Africa. The post-colonial rulers have become more nefarious than those they showed the door. They have plundered and ruined their countries so much that among 50 odd African countries that attained flag freedom, a few can be singled out to have at least liberated their people in the real sense. The rest is a bunch of let downs.
Currently there are grumbles in Kenya thanks to government’s greed and myopia to privatize a chunk of fertile land to some gulf countries so as to produce food for their citizens. Before the dust settles, Sudan is doing the same at an alarming magnitude! Whilst Sudan is ushering in Arabs to produce food for their people, her own in Darfur depend on humanitarian organizations to feed them! This megalomania has become another thorny issue for Africans. Yeah. Farmers sell good products so as to get money as they eat weak ones!
Who could believe that Kenya, with her population fighting over food and thousands others landless, would attempt to lease over 100,000 acres in the Tana River delta to Qatar to grow food for its population? This greed-cum-shame must be eradicated. This is what the Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Jacques Diouf, called “neo-colonial agricultural system.”
Why is Africa always taken for a ride? Currently, the Egyptian government -using colonial laws and dictates- is agitating to have an upper control over the Nile waters! Tanzania has categorically condemned this imperialism. Why should a country (that does not own the source of Nile) aggrandizes itself to dictate the use of Nile?
Though we’re welcoming Arabs to ‘invest’ in our land, back home they’ve laws barring sale of the land. They do so for fear of letting other nations into their oil. When it comes to offering citizenship, Arab countries do not offer their citizenship to other nationals. The Indians and Chinese do not allow this too. My foot!
Though our naive and myopic rulers pretend to own and know everything, a French sage has it that C'est la Pitié / l'hôpital qui se moque de la Charité, (meaning literally meaning: It's Pity / the hospital that mocks Charity). True, our rulers are doing things as if the world is ending! This shame should not be tolerated!
During the coming of explorers and missionaries, at least those that enhanced colonialism were illiterates by today’s stands. Sadly though, those conspirators ushering in this neo colonialism in point are people with masters and PhD degrees! Why don’t these degrees make our rulers see right things rightly? This is why the East African integration bid is becoming impossible.
Kenya’s fertile land was grabbed by elites and white settlers. The wananchi were left squatting. Instead of the government thinking about empowering the wananchi by giving them land, they’re leasing it! This is crime against humanity. At the colonial time, the target was our resources. Things now have changed. Soon, scrambles will be over our land and waters. If we are suffering thanks to oil hikes, then we should think of doing the same on our waters and land. Tit for tat. Should we call this scramble and partition of African of the 21st century? This is where the question “When will we catch up with others?” resurfaces.
Last year, President Museveni of Uganda wanted to offer Mabira forest to his Indian friends. Brave Ugandans took to streets and stopped the sabotage. Kenyans and Sudanese likewise must stop this megalomania. The move to stop vending our land and souls must be supported by all Africa. This being the new way of colonizing other country through “investments,” nobody will be spared. Those whose land has not been invaded should not leave the war of blotting this neo-colonialism to countries that have already been preyed on.
Our rulers have made us believe that investors are our economic saviours. In essence, they’re not. They’re ‘investing’ in our countries for the benefit of their people. We’re duped in the name of free trade and free investment under globalization. But if you look at the current economic recession the world is facing, you’ll find that the developed countries are re-thinking the terms.
In 2007 Sudan exported foodstuff worth billions of shillings whilst it is still depending on humanitarian organizations to feed its desperate and hungry population of over 2.5 million. Which type of investment is this that can not feed these citizens? Whom does the money from this investment feed? Reports have it that Sudan exported sorghum-its staple food. In 2007, the United States government, as part of its response to the emergency in Darfur, shipped in 283,000 tons of sorghum, at high cost, from as far away as Houston. Oddly enough, that is about the same amount that Sudan exported, according to United Nation’s officials.
Last year, Sudanese companies, including many that are linked to the government in Khartoum, were on track to ship out twice that amount, even as the United Nations is being forced to cut rations to Darfur!
Many donor countries are pouring money to help buy food for displaced Sudanese. In 2007, the World Food Program bought 117,000 tons of sorghum from Sudan. But again, this is facing many red herrings. Exporters get more money from exporting. This causes the price hike that discourages World Food Program from buying locally produced sorghum.
For now, Sudanese officials seem more interested in doing business with their new partners in the Middle East. This biggest country in Africa with nearly one million square miles has 208 million acres of arable land. It is only a quarter of all this massive land that is cultivated. The Sudanese government is striking deals left and right with Arab countries just across the Red Sea: the Arab countries bring the money, the soil scientists and the $200,000 tractors. Sudan supplies the land. Had all this aimed at feeding Sudanese, they’re would be no problem. But the evidence is clear that hungry Sudanese are fed by humanitarian organizations.
Generally speaking, rulers in Africa have hijacked their citizens. Currently in Tanzania for example, there is bad blood between the government and teachers. For long, teachers have not been paid their arrears. Why? The government has no money. Funny enough, the same government is able to plow billions of shillings to purchase oil guzzlers for its bigwigs!
Another sadistic episode dwells on the former East African workers. For over three decades, these retirees have never received a dime. But again, the same regime playing ping pong on them is sitting on scams involving over a trillion shillings! Schools, hospitals and roads are in bad shape. Whilst this is going on, the government is saying that a gold production is rising from ounces to tones. Whose gold is this really? There are many examples. Importantly, Africa be warned. Shall this ‘stomach thinking’ not be stopped, Africa has no future.
Source: The African Executive Magazine January 7, 2009.