There are two kinds of colonialism in Africa: 1) European colonialism and; 2) African colonialism. The most historically prominent and notorious is European colonialism which preceded; and gave way to African colonialism through what’s conveniently called “independence“. European colonialism bequeathed its colonial (administrative) structures to Africans who agitated for independence and to free themselves from the oppression and repression of the European colonial system through independence and liberation struggles.
Having inherited a European colonial administrative system, post-European colonial African administrations (governments); as a consequence, and perhaps inevitably, operated (within) a colonial framework. This meant that for the Africans who demanded and fought for (their) independence from European colonial oppression and repression to operate a colonial administrative structure; they had to adapt themselves to the colonial system. It meant, they had to take on the attitudes, mannerisms and generally the behaviour of the European colonialists; from whom, after all, they had learned through clerical and administrative apprenticeship and (job) roles.
Indeed, many Africans who occupied government and other administrative positions were former colonial clerks. They had worked and served in the colonial system as administrative clerks, in one way or another, and therefore had inevitably internalised colonial administrative attitudes. It was inevitable and little surprising that Africans in power: state and government power; and having inherited and operating (within) a colonial administrative system, feeling above everyone, would quickly transmogrify into a colonialist mindset and become the new colonialist class.
For the new African colonialist class — the African in power, both state and government power — to achieve its colonial aspirations and objectives, to maintain its new found socioeconomic and political status; it had to maintain and resort to applying (the) colonial (security) force and brutality. The European colonial military and police was the embodiment of colonial force and brutality in Africa. It is this combined brutal force that, in fact, enabled the European colonial administration by acting as a provider and guarantor of its fundamental security.
The European colonial military and police in Africa beat and brutalised the bloody living daylights out of Africans; keeping them away from interfering with — and out of the way of — the colonial agenda. This calculated and organised European colonial brutality on Africans; administered with maximum force, without the slightest shred of fear of consequences from its victims — the Africans (natives); served to keep Africans in their place, meek and obsessively submissive to colonial rule.
With African colonialists in power, and having inherited and maintained, for the same purpose, the colonial administrative structure; it’s therefore not surprising that majority of the African military and police today, are as brutal as the European colonial military and police.
“The more things change, the more they are the same.” Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr.
“The colonial world is a world cut in two. The dividing line, the frontiers are shown by barracks and police stations. In the colonial countries, on the contrary, the policeman and the soldier, by their immediate presence and their frequent and direct action maintain contact with the native and advise him by means of rifle butts and napalm not to budge. It is obvious here that the agents of government speak the language of pure force. The intermediary does not lighten the oppression, nor seek to hide the domination; he shows them up and puts them into practice with the clear conscience of an upholder of the peace; yet he is the bringer of violence into the home and into the mind of the native.” The Wretched Of The Earth, Frantz Fanon