The synopsis of the book
The title: Africa Reunite or Perish, 2015.
Author: Nkwazi Nkuzi Mhango
Publishers: Langaa RCPIG, Bameda, Cameroon
Themes: Economics, Politics, History, Conflict, Development and Unification.
Africa Reunite or Perish is a multi-theme scholarly tome of 448 pages. The book is organised in 22 major chapters. The book addresses the issues surrounding the reunification of Africa as the only viable means of reclaiming its lost glory. All is based on author’s belief that Africa was naturally united. Thus, it was divided and disunited during the partition of and scramble for Africa in the Berlin Conference (1884-85) which became the harbinger of colonialism and neocolonialism to Africa.
First, the author outlines; and thereby tackles various problems that Africa faces in its current division that would be resolved through reunification of Africa aimed at four major important achievements namely, returning Africa to its golden era where it ontologically was before colonial era which the author views as the source of all problems that Africa faces today.
Secondly, the author provides the model in which Africa can cut down unnecessary expenditures such as military, visas, printing currencies, maintaining embassies among African countries, having many presidents, passports and the likes.
Thirdly, the volume seeks to show how Africa can do away with dependency after being reunified by encouraging more cooperation among African countries (that will become provinces of the new country of Africa) in almost everything to include, inter alia, trade, research, education and defense.
Fourthly, the volume offers a model of how Africa can be run after being reunited. The author offers examples of Canada, Russia and the United States whose confederacies help them to avoid, inter alia, spending money purchasing weapons for fear of one another as it is for colonially-created modern African states.
Fifthly, the volume recommends that the reunification of Africa will not only give it an edge to play an important role internationally by enabling it to assert and renegotiate its place internationally but will also make Africa prosperous due to the fact that Africans will be able to share the experiences, potentials and aspirations collectively. The author believes that the unification of Africa is more productive for Africa than regional groupings that have kept Africa divided pointlessly. Moreover, the author challenges African weak and divided states to consider the fact that rich countries in Europe are now uniting in order to become stronger. The author wants African countries born out of the Berlin Conference to stop doing colonial dirty laundry by refusing to go back to a unitary Africa they used to be before being divided so as to be weakened for perpetual exploitation. He warns that going on with the current superstructure is detrimental for Africa and its future.
Others things that the volume addresses are dependency, big and do nothing government, unnecessary armies and Africa-born brand of democracy that will enable a reunited country of Africa to run its business based on its shared aspirations, cultures and goals.
AFRICA REUNITE OR PERISH
The books start off by revisiting the history of Africa before the coming of colonial powers the time under which Africans fed and ruled themselves. Further, the book admonishes and challenges African academics to rewrite, defend and present Africa’s true history instead of relying on the one those colonial agents miswrote misconstrued and mispresented. In addressing this golden era, the author challenges those who assert that Africans were uncivilised and sick so as to need a help from European colonialists. The author cites an example of how healthy Africans were so as to fit for being shipped to the Americas as slaves after trying other races and failed. In revisiting pre-colonial Africa, the book seeks to debunk the myth that Africa cannot depend on itself while it did so for many years. The author challenges Africans to put their house in order so as to use Africa’s abundant resources for the development of Africa.
After revisiting the pre-colonial Africa, the author explores the colonial Africa and the way it negatively and perpetually affected Africa. He revisits the role various local and foreign agents played in paving the way for the colonisation of Africa. From there, the author, explores post-colonial Africa by addressing the role the independence such African countries attained; and the way it ended up reinforcing dependency and division after failing to reunite Africa as the first Ghanaian president Dr. Kwame Nkrumah espoused. Importantly, the author addresses the role former colonial masters played in either installing kleptocratic despots or overthrowing the newly-independent governments that seemed to be thorny to colonialism.
Nonetheless, the volume chastises the African Union by showing its failures in reunifying Africa not to mention maintaining the division under the auspices of keeping presidency that the author wants abolished so as to have one president of Africa who wages enormous but checked powers like those of the president of the US.
To address Africa’s traps, the volume addresses economic, political and social consequences either of colonialism, division or individuality that Africa faces currently by connecting them to the coming of new rising power that are now seeking to exploit Africa in the same way Western countries did. The author warns of the second scramble of Africa based on resources extracted under the supervision of local elites he calls black colonialists.
The author wants Africa to have its model of economy based on shift paradigm which will enable Africa to produce what it consumes and consumes what it produces. The author equates Africa to a hen that produces eggs full of protein to end up being fed chaff. The author goes further to expose what he calls agro-colonialism under which some African countries are leasing fertile soil to foreign countries to produce food for their people as a security measure while Africans are either going with empty stomach, dying of malnutrition of importing food. Here the author warns against the danger posed by the so-called cash crops which he calls crash and colonial crops due to the fact that they depend on one foreign market and they cannot be consumed locally.
The volume espouses fast track reunification of Africa as it was in the US in order to avoid local and foreign machinations that kept Africa divided. He cites two models namely the fast track that Dr. Nkrumah espoused and piecemeal one that Tanzania’s first president Mwl. Julius Nyerere espoused so as to become a barrier to Nkrumah’s. The author condemns the culture of begging and mismanaging Africa’s resources currently and former rulers calculated so to make Africa more dependent than at any time in its history. He touches on another culture he calls globetrotting African rulers like under the pretext of soliciting aid while at the same time the let their countries be robbed either through capital flights, bad investment and lack of collecting taxes not to mention embezzling and squandering public funds. To avoid this, the author suggests that the president of a reunited Africa should not be above the law as it currently is in many African countries. Furthermore, the author recommends that a reunited Africa should build strong institutions but not strong men. To make sure that Africa is truly and healthily reunited, the author suggests that the current 54 countries should be commuted to province or regions of one unitary Country of Africa whose headquarters should be based on proximity and service provision; and name should be agreed upon.
The author proposes that Africa should go back to its cultures that enabled Africans to live in harmony as one thing by shunning those that divided them. He touches on the importance of belief, identity and ideology and the way they weaken and divided Africa along sectarian divides. I so doing, the author recommends that Africa needs to reinvent its people so as to competently take their destiny in their hands. Furthermore, the author explores the importance of history as a tool for emancipation. He castigates the culture of treasuring colonial effigies and legacies by revering them while they are the same tools colonialists used to divide and weaken Africa for perpetual exploitation. For example, the author refers to the so-called explorers, missionaries and merchants as criminals whose effigies must be either burned or pulled down. Further, the author proposes that Africa must teach its own syllabi instead of the current ones that traumatise and brainwash young people so as to become the shadows of themselves mentally something denies them self-awareness and the edge to liberate their continent. The author takes the approach of deconstructionist.
General framework of the book
Despite being a driving force in natural resources, Africa has never benefitted from its immense natural resources. Instead, she it has become a backyard compared to other continents–especially Europe–that have benefitted greatly and tremendously but unscrupulously from Africa. However, Africa has never been taken seriously in international affairs, be they political or economic. Refer to the headline Africa a hopeless continent (Economist, 13 May, 2000). African has always been relegated to the role of a supplier of raw materials and a consumer of processed goods from abroad but not a significant player. This is because of many reasons, among which, are colonial legacies, corruption, imperialism, bad governance, dependence, begging, and lack of committed, organized and visionary leadership. And above all, Africa has never taken itself seriously either by its own people the world.
In this volume, the author is trying to add to or lay down philosophical foundations on how Africa can turn things around and recapture her lost ( which is the name of another coming volume) glory which will enable it to play a great role in international affairs. Laying philosophical foundations is one thing; and putting them into actions is a whole new game. The volume asks some imperative questions; and thereby gives some answers to them among which the major ones are the issues of the reunification and recalibration of Africa as a society of people. All will depend on Africans themselves to see to it that they need to move from the awkward situation they are in by thinking outside the box. The author believes that there is nothing impossible as far as pulling Africa from the traps of desperation and the abjection are concerned. Among other things, the author singles out African rulers as an obstacle to the reunification of Africa due to their myopic, backward-looking vision based on their personal interests. To the author, African rulers are but black colonialists who prefer divide-and-rule strategy as an extension of political and cultural pointillism as it was laid down by colonial monsters.
Furthermore, this volume explores and unpacks some nuggets on colonial legacies based on unimaginable economic exploitation, and among other things, but not limited to, the lack of political will and strategic underpinnings for African rulers to reunify Africa so that it can competently and equitably participate in international affairs. Instead of thinking about development as something for African rulers to latch on, they purposely and myopically decided to depend on corruption, blackmailing and begging instead of creating strategies for developing their continent. They purposely and willingly decided to become a laughing stock.
African Reunite or Perish attempts to demystify some myths colonialists and their agents concocted that have perseverated for a long in order to make everybody believe that Africa is a doomed, diseased, underdeveloped, and above all, a terrace for others to plunder as they deem fit. Africa’s perpetual exploitation is done in conjunction with what the author categorises as home-grown-black colonialists who, in a sense, are the major stumbling blocks against the reunification, reinvention and the development of Africa. Indeed, Africa needs to get out of this no-win stance.
More importantly, the author espouses the deconstruction of the myths and traps Africa has been in since the introduction of slavery and colonialism topped up with neocolonialism. Arguably, the author wants Africa to do away with chicken-like behaviour or unnecessary dependence by producing what it cannot eat and eats what it cannot produce. Among solutions the author suggests are: Africa must make sure that it invest heavily on its people, produce what it needs and above all, be reunified so as to have one voice and stance in international affairs.
Secondly, Africa must be reunited in order to form a robust force that must agitate for the redress resulting from the evils and sufferings of slavery and colonialism.
Trading among African countries is another suggested solution which aims at creating wealth and jobs for Africans. This will help Africans to do away with colonial mentality of preferring to trade with foreign countries by shying away from their African counterparts. The author is very sanguine that the reunification of Africa, shall Africans see the other side of the coin is likely to turn things around quickly and permanently. There is still a future for Africa shall she put its house in order. However, it must be underscored that Africa still faces a lot of obstacles in reaching its true reunification to the tune of what it was before 1884 when colonial powers met in Berlin demarcate and divided Africa as a means of perpetually weakening and exploiting it. The author thinks that clinging onto Berlin-created-and-superimposed borders, under the doctrine of sovereignty which draws its legality from the Peace of Westphalia 1648, is itself a new type of colonialism that black colonialists seem to have bought into. The de-demarcation of Africa, aimed at reunification, is preferred to regional groupings which have failed. So, too, the author espouses fast track reunification of Africa as opposed to step-by-step one. The division of Africa was done in a fast track manner. So should the reunification.
Moreover, the author espouses radical change in that African youths–who are major casualties and victims of chicken way of doing things and all others interested in the reunification of Africa–should start the move of reunifying Africa through civil disobedience based on crossing artificial borders of their states so as to force rulers to embark on this noble journey. Due to the ruthlessness of some police officials in many African countries, such a move will succeed if youths in the continent form a movement that will help to coordinate and organise their actions and movement. So, too, such a movement, apart from being the mouthpiece of African youths, must have networks and facilities to support any exodus of the people once the move is started in any African country. Such a movement is likely to succeed. If criminal gangs dealing with human trafficking in many African countries have succeeded why such legal and logical movement should fail?
Essentially, this volume aims at reminding the hoi polloi of the importance of their power shall they act together for the reunification of Africa which means their bright future as a people. If anything, the reunification of Africa has super importance compared to anything that Africa has ever attempted to do to free itself from the vicious circle of miseries and impertinence it has always been in. The reunification of Africa means true emancipation of Africa. However, the reunification of Africa should not be taken simply as the magic bullet, a quick fix or a fix-all medicine. It will have its challenges just like any other thing made by humans. Again, compared to what Africa has been going through, the reunification of Africa is more of the panacea than a mere experiment. Again, instead of trusting snakes in the grass, Africans themselves need to take control of the reunification of Africa. Africa should not exclude some Western thinkers and academics that refused to bow before lies and bigotry of demonising Africa. Instead, they decided to travel a less travelled road by deciding to speak out without fearing what would happen to them. These are better than our rulers who are in bed with colonial monsters. This volume purposely uses the term ruler or rulers instead of leader or leaders due to the fact that after the death of Nelson Mandela, Africa ceased to have a leader. So, it should be noted that a leader leads and whenever those he leads feel that he/she should exit he/she does so humbly. To the contrary, rulers rule the way they deem fit even when those they rule become tired of them; they lord it over them so as to soldier on ass opposed to the will of the constituency.
Africa’s major challenge and model
With the land mass of 30,221,532 km2, Africa is indeed colossal continent second after Asia that sits on 44,579,000 km2. So, governing and running Africa is an enormous task which perhaps can intimidate. Again, if Russia with its size of 17,075,200km2 which is over a half of Africa in size can stand as a strong state why is it impossible for Africa? Why is it possible for the Unites States of America (US) with its 9,629,091km2 to become one country or China with its landmass of 9,596,960 km2 but not for Africa? If need be, we need to go to these countries and learn how they were able to become single but humongous entities so that we can do it for the better future of our people. Looking at how small Africa’s population is compared to China or India, we fear nothing. If India and China are able to govern such humungous population, why is it impossible for Africa? It is sheer fear and ignorance geared by individuality and narrow views of the big picture that are curtailing Africa from being reunited for its great and bright future. Again, it is upon Africans to decide to take such bold and emancipatory steps or remain in miseries wantonly and hopelessly. The reunification of Africa will trip the current unnecessary layers of administration that are almost reciprocated almost in all African countries small and bigger. Africa has many lossmaking and unnecessary and bigger governments in all African countries.
The author postulates, therefore, that after reunifying Africa, African countries must share power equally and equitably by establishing departmental headquarters in the current states that, as noted herein above, will become Africa’s provinces for administrational matters. Africa needs to have one central and powerful authoritative government that will command and control everything just like it is in the US. This unitary and powerful government will act as Africa’s sole guarantor and representative before the international community the same way Russian or US’s governments do. Given that Africa has already established her infrastructures and commanding centres in the current countries, what is wrong say that the current capital cities become the headquarters of some department or provinces or regions? For instance, we can say that Addis Ababa or Kampala or any city depending on accessibility for service provision and consensus on appointing such headquarters becomes the capital of Africa while other cities such as Johannesburg, Dar es Salaam, Nairobi, Cairo and other many more act as satellites or independent headquarters of say the Africa Central Bank (ACB), the Africa Central Department of Defense (ACDD), the Africa Central Harbours Authorities (ACHA) The Supreme Court of Africa (SCA), the Africa Central Airport Authorities (ACAA), Africa Central Transport Authorities (ACTA) and many other departments that we will be envisaged and agreed upon having. I have mentioned above cities not just because they are better or suitable candidates for the purposes or department proposed. It is an example of giving a framework of how the mega Reunited States of Africa (RAS) can look like and operate with its intersectionality and complexity.
Some African thinkers, especially Nyerere the first president of Tanzania, wanted the process of unifying–not reunifying Africa however they mean the same with different degrees of magnitudes–to be done step by step while Kwame Nkrumah the first president of Ghana wanted it to be done in a fast track. These two gentlemen despite having the same dream, they had different way of realizing it. They wanted to unite Africa as if is she was naturally far apart while actually the difference is the same. This is why this volume uses reunification instead of unification due to the fact that Africa was naturally united continental country like Australia or Greenland. So, what colonial monsters did was dividing or disuniting it. This is why the main theme of this volume has strictly been the reunification of Africa but not the unification. Logically, unification is about independent entities.
The author recommends Nkrumah’s approach on the issue to Nyerere’s due to the nature of how the division and partition of Africa was carried out, fast track but not piecemeal one. The author rises a vital issue that Africa was partitioned and divided in a fast-track manner, it, as well, therefore, should be reunified in the same manner in order to avoid unnecessary obstacles such as Western sabotage and more divisions. The author goes a mile ahead postulating that–if need be–Africa should be reunified by force shall some countries resist doing so the same way it was divided, demarcated, invaded and occupied. Africa will not be the first to use force for the good of her people. Even the United States of America was unified in a fast track manner and–of course–by force under the barrel of the gun. When this was done, many faulted it. However, the same are now reaping the rewards of the unification of the US that made it mightier and stronger.
Another reason of espousing fast-track reunification is the fact that the step-by-step model has already been experimented for over sixty years with minimal or no success. On the one hand, since independence, there is only one union that has stood the test of time despite having its challenges and weakness. This is none other than the union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar that resulted into the United Republic of Tanzania (URT) that was championed and created by Nyerere as a model and an exampli gratia. On the one hand, there is the union between Senegal and Gambia that formed Senegambia that did not prevail not to mention the secession of other countries such as Eritrea, South Sudan and the fragmentation of Somalia. So, too, regional integration has been so slow and without offering any expected viable results. This being said, author finds that a fast-track reunification of Africa more viable and appealing than step-by-step one.
So, too, the author co postulates that Africa ought to learn from the confederacy of the United States America, the most powerful nation on earth currently. This is not a bad thing given that even Europeans who invaded and occupied Americas learned this art of confederacy from the Natives of the Americas. For, US’s confederacy was copied from the Iroquois confederacy that included the nations of Seneca Onondagas, Cayuga, Oneidas and Mohawks. Therefore, it is not a bad or a new idea to copy such an idea given that by adopting it, Africa will forge ahead. The author also thinks that there was a sort of confederacy in Africa which enhanced Africa’s peaceability before the coming of colonial monsters. This is supported by the fact that there was no large-scale war among Africans like it was in Europe and partly Asia.
The author also recommends civil disobedience–shall African rulers keep on resisting the idea this time– which may make the dream of reunifying Africa come true. This approach is more feasible and practical than staying aside and look as if the victims have nothing to do with the situation they are in.
The major questions that the author poses are that if all Africans who want or decide to move across the borders what message can such civil disobedience send to African rulers and the world? Suppose another big chunk of population namely women, buys into this even if it cannot move like youths due to their traditional roles in the patriarch system governing the world today? Shall our rulers resist this, youths and all victims have no choice but to cogently reunite Africa so as to pull themselves out of the miseries they have faced since independence. It is in and upon them to weigh things and see what works for them. Thus, they should choose to support or oppose the status quo. However, supporting the status quo is but a suicidal move. Notably, it needs the courage of the mad for Africa to keep on doing the same madness she has been doing under colonial division. More emphasis and challenge are for youths to reorganise themselves and move across their borders to reunify Africa forthwith. This can be possibly and easily done through offering supports to each other after the move commences. Again, this movement should be as massive as possible so that the authorities in the countries they will enter should not have enough facilities to incarcerate them. This goes hand in hand with their upkeep when they decided to move from one country. To succeed, youths must have some organizations to cater for such people after they arrive in a particular country. Through such a movement, intermarriage and exchange of experiences and expertise can be gained. If anything, such an act can act as the first step to the reunification of Africa.
Therefore, the surest way of emancipating Africa and its people is to deconstruct and reconstruct almost everything. Our experience and resolution to propel Africa to the future are but big assets that will help us realise our dream. True, the surest way of moving ahead for Africa is one and only one, the reunification of Africa. Notably, this less travelled road is not rosy and spiffy. It is thorny, bumpy and very treacherously long. So, those expecting a soft ride and trip through a romantic and rosy road should know from the outset that the task ahead of us is very challengingly huge and tough. We, therefore, need to be courageous and daring to see to it that we cross over to where we want to be. God bless Africa and her people. However, it is important to note that God blessed Africa since she was created. If we do not reunify her, we are poised to suffer even more. Africa, reunite or perish.