Economic Plunder-ism of Africa

While locally aided foreign plunder of Africa’s natural resources is done in and for the service of foreign interests – economic and otherwise; African colonialists, i.e, those with – and who control – political power and state machinery, who otherwise act as “political gatekeepers and agents” to foreign interests in Africa, facilitate and participate in the plunder to the great detriment of their own economies.

Put plainly, they happily facilitate and participate in the destruction of Africa and their own economies.

While African “political gatekeepers and agents” to foreign interests in Africa are immensely rewarded for their facilitation and participation in the foreign plunder of African natural resources and their own economies; they not only spend their monetary rewards in [the same] foreign economies, but also hoard their monetary rewards in foreign bank accounts, hence further benefiting foreign economies at the great expense and deprivation of their own economies.

While locally aided foreign forces plunder African resources for the benefit of their countries and economies; the African so-called political elite – “political gatekeepers and agents” to foreign interests – and some of their business cohort, usually their business fronts, on the other hand loot their national resources out of their countries and economies and hoard their loot in foreign economies. They buy obscenely expensive- and certainly expansive – high-end properties they rarely or will never use, in foreign economies, flooding such economies with free money.

The African so-called political elite loots their national wealth out of their countries into foreign economies, to benefit foreign economies. While foreign focus and interest in Africa, on the other hand, is motivated by the systematic plunder of African resources to benefit their respective foreign economies.

The African so-called political elite and their business cohort loot their national wealth (resources), facilitate and participate in the foreign plunder of African resources, to be rewarded to buy into investments in foreign economies; not their own African national economies. The African so-called political elite and their business cohort loot their national wealth (resources) to buy foreign luxuries. They hoard foreign consumer luxury goods such as fleets of ridiculously expensive vehicles and all manner of other expensive accessories.

The African so-called political elite and their business cohort do and engage in this kind of national robbery while majority of the people are left to starve and deprived of essential needs – and to bear the brunt as victims of the looting of their national wealth.

Strangely, however, the same African so-called political elite, run with a begging cup in hand, to the same foreign economies and their institutions to beg for “development aid“. Even when and where such “aid” is granted; it’s immediately stolen and diverted by the same group into their foreign bank accounts as recently demonstrated in a World Bank Policy Research Paper: Elite Capture of Foreign Aid: Evidence from Offshore Bank Accounts.…

Even strange, they fervently complain about “neo-colonialism” in Africa and foreign interference in their national affairs.

It’s strange to have some African heads-of-State as among or the top richest people in their countries and in world ranking of the richest – multimillionaires and billionaires – while a disproportionate majority of the[ir] people live in dehumanising poverty.

Since so-called [political] “independence” in Africa, many countries have since had and been in the control of a plundering, thieving political elite that behaves and lives like an invading foreign force. They behave as if their primary purpose and goal is to loot their national wealth to the hilt.

Many so-called “independent” African countries have had and been controlled by a political gang who come to power from an economically impoverished background, sometimes through violent means such as war and conflicts, with no known valued assets to their names, but a few years in power, they are multimillionaires with substantial wealth.

Many, certainly not all, so-called post-independence African countries have had heads-of-state who come to power from an economically impoverished background, with nothing in personal wealth terms to their name, but a few years in power, they are multimillionaires or billionaires.

So-called post-independence African countries have continually had; and the trend does not appear to change anytime soon, heads-of-state who are among or the top richest people in their countries, and feature in world rankings of the world’s richest and wealthiest people.

Examples abound, but it goes without mentioning Mobutu Sese Seko, who was once president of, arguably, Africa’s naturally richest country, who had billions of US dollars stacked in foreign bank accounts and owned obscenely expensive properties in Europe.

Power Succession in Africa

Power successions in pre-colonial African societies were, traditionally and for the most part, always a direct bloodline affair and mostly intense events shrouded in secrecy, and sometimes involved violent rivalries; moreover when the succession was triggered by a sudden death of the reigning power.

In the event of a sudden death of a reigning power, and where the [natural] next to the throne was a minor and/or had immediate rivalries; this would, in most cases, likely cause internal succession and power struggles – some, if not in fact, most, violent and bloody.

Rivalries would ensue from and among a long list of potential successors either with an immediate and direct relation/connection to the deceased power holder. Or among those who constituted the ruling circle who, under whatever pretext, felt they had a legitimate claim to power, i.e, to the top position of power in their society.

Conscious of the divisive power of such internal power struggles and their potentially destructive effects in the wider society; which had potential to cause a much bigger threat to the power structure – senior and influential players in the social power structure, who usually played the role of power brokers, would ensure the death of the reigning power (holder) is kept (a top) secret. While keeping a tight lid on the death of the reigning power (holder); they would likewise move fast to ensure they keep a tight lid on the ongoing internal succession and power struggles.

This would allow the senior and influential power brokers in the social power structure, time to manage the internal succession and power struggles, until a successor was finally agreed upon and approved and/or elected. This was a long and winded process that involved negotiations, compromises and all the relevant power dynamics.

Only after the successor had been approved internally by the power brokers (committee) and ready to be handed the mantle of power, would the death of the reigning power (holder) be announced to the public in a sombre mood. The death announcement would be made by the most senior figure among the senior and influential committee of power brokers, while intentionally feigning a ‘sudden‘ passing of the reigning power (holder); who, during his reign, would have carefully cultivated and projected an image and the aura of an ‘immortal‘ and ‘eternal‘ ‘Great and Dear Leader’.

Importantly, however, the death announcement would be made simultaneously with the announcement of the successor to power, to avoid and remove creating a potentially dangerous impression in the public (society) of a power vacuum. It was also a careful execution to create and project the impression, at least in the eyes and minds of the public (society), of a seamless transition of power.

These power succession dynamics are not unique to pre-colonial African societies alone; they were much a common occurrence in other societies across the word.

The practice has not changed much in modern times. The politics of power successions is much the same, perhaps with a little sophistication, here and there.

Political succession in modern African societies that are more or less a hybrid of monarchical and republican systems, with heads of State/government who exhibit and hence rule with tendencies of a monarch and a president – henceforth called “PresiKings“; power succession is a direct bloodline affair, i.e, much a family affair, in the absence of war and violent internal struggles within the ruling circle.

In the event of a sudden death of a PresiKing; or the PresiKing is severely incapacitated and is no longer able to execute – and capable of executing – his duties; the common tendency and therefore practice, is naturally for the PresiKing’s eldest son, rarely daughters, to immediately, although through some ceremonial rituals, occupy the vacancy and come to power and carry on the family business as it was before the death of the PresiKing – the departed, ironically, ‘immortal‘ and ‘eternal‘ ‘Great and Dear Leader’.

This is usually organised and executed by those – the inner circle of trusted aides – closest to the PresiKing who are, and have been privileged beneficiaries of the PresiKing’s reign, mostly of and through terror, who are usually notorious executors of the PresiKing’s orders, wishes and sometimes their own imaginations and guesses of the PresiKing‘s intentions.

Because they are the principal beneficiaries, they, understandably, have vested interests and therefore are primarily motivated by preserving the status-quo. By electing and/or installing the PresiKing’s next of kin – usually the eldest son as has widely been the accepted tradition in much of African societies – to power, they are preserving their own individual interests. They act in self-interest, rarely in public interest, and where and when they appear to do so; it’s because it serves and helps to consolidate their interests.

This is done, and usually accomplished, with a great deal of internal power manipulations, at times involving mysterious deaths of those suspected of posing threats to the succession by questioning its validity or in form of outright opposition.

There are plenty of examples of where and when a (sudden) death of the reigning power brought in their (eldest) sons such as the death (by assassination) of President Laurent-Désiré Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo which saw his son Joseph Kabila Kabange (seamlessly, on the surface, of course, and to the unsuspecting and easily gullible eyes of the public) succeed him.

Ali Bongo Ondimba, the present President Gabon, who is said to have suffered a severe stroke on a visit to Saudi Arabia, that left him severely and physically incapacitated; succeeded his father Omar Bongo, who had been President from 1967 until his death in 2009.

Political power, particularly the governance of national affairs, is treated more or less, as a family affair/business where leadership succession has to be – and therefore, for the most, is passed on – from one family member to another, in much of Sub-Saharan Africa; a practice that perpetuates misrule and widespread impunity.

Africa and Military coups: what is brewing in Mali, despite the urgent need for change of government, must be welcomed with deep reservations.

Military coups are generally not the ‘best‘ way to come to power. They are usually an indication that things do not bode well for the future because they have a tendency to be the beginning of the rule of the Gun, by the Gun rather than of the law.

Historically, military coups in Africa have always brought in the rule of the Gun, by the Gun and trampled over the rule of the law; which, unsurprisingly, ferments deep resentments and a desire for more military coups. It becomes a vicious cycle of military coups, one after the other.

A soldier without any political or ideological training is a potential criminal” Thomas Sankara

A military coup, is a dangerous (political) power (acquisition) instrument, primarily because its ultimate power lies, and therefore, derives from a dangerous weapon – the gun. Usually in the wrong hands with heads full of brutality and twisted perception of power as a consequence of lack of clear and grounded understanding of political ideology.

Historically, in Africa, the military – whose formation and code of conduct is deeply rooted in its colonial origin and therefore purpose – has largely been, and remains largely so today, extremely and brutally against the public – the civilian. They treat the civilian as the enemy and inferior to them, hence, the kind of brutality that is typical of most African military personnel against civilians.

Their brutality is facilitated by the power they derive from the possession of the gun. The gun is their power.

It’s this twisted logic and perception of power, at the centre of which is brutality and the willingness to serve it in unlimited measure, that makes a military coup, a dangerous, and frankly, undesirable instrument and a means of acquiring – and coming to – political power.

Military coups and liberation movements in Africa, usually, have quite a lot in common. They are both borne out of deep socioeconomic and political dissatisfaction usually as a result of dysfunctional governments that seem to exist to serve to fatten their officials and starve the masses, eventually to death.

Military coups often bring in a military rule, that is, the rule of the Gun, by the Gun, while promising a ‘quick’ return to civilian rule; a promise that is rarely and/or peacefully honoured. They, however, tend to repeat the same mistakes; or do and engage in far more worse and atrocious mischief; which makes another coup inevitably necessary.

Similarly, many liberation movements in Africa, once in power (government); end – and have indeed ended – up morphing into repressive regimes; as repressive or worse than those they replaced. To maintain their power (grip), and with the help of the memory of the past; they become extremely brutal against and towards those who oppose their repression or express resentment for their failure to live up to the ideals and promises of and during the liberation struggle.

They inevitably create a need for another liberation from a repressive regime, of what was once a liberation movement brought into power by a costly liberation struggle but nonetheless with worthy ideals and a just cause. Therefore, it inevitably becomes a vicious cycle of liberation struggles that, once in power (government) and besotted on the success power brings, and in their infinite determination to maintain power, end up morphing into repressive regimes.

This is why military coups and liberation movements (and struggles) in Africa, as inevitable and necessary as they may be under the prevailing circumstances that make them desired alternatives; they should, however, always be welcomed with deep reservations. They must prove they aren’t merely another pack of wolves in sheep’s clothing.

This possible reality should never be allowed to be lost in the euphoria of the moment of a seeming triumph over the present evil. Because history is not short of examples where triumphant struggles over evil; have instead struggled to bring in and therefore be replaced with another reign of far worse evil than the triumphed.

Billionaires could well be an indication of a seriously flawed socioeconomic and political system.

There is something intrinsically corrupt and rotten to the core with a socioeconomic and political system that rather creates one billionaire instead of one thousand millionaires. It appears, therefore, that its own survival depends on such inequality, which may explain why it happens

It doesn’t need one to be an economist to understand the economic advantages of an economy with a thousand millionaires instead of one billionaire. This is a structural economic distribution anomaly that, with political will and proper economic and political policy, could be corrected.

Equally, there’s something morally reprehensible and quite worrying in a culture that celebrates and, perhaps unwittingly, promotes such inequality by the way it admires and glorifies billionaires and their lives. Not that there is something intrinsically wrong in becoming a billionaire. But how and under what circumstances and at what cost (socially), is as more important as what one billionaire in a population of one hundred (100) million with a per capita income of, for example, 850 USD, does with their billion.

Not only is this a worrying structural economic distribution anomaly, but it’s also equally a worrying socioeconomic (and political) power concentration matter and problem.

It is obvious the billionaire wields unchallenged enormous socioeconomic power; and what they choose to do with their billion – how and on what they decide and choose to spend their billion – is of socioeconomic importance and will, no doubt, have significant impact on the population.

But any socioeconomic and political system that allows, through various means whether by design or default, the creation of a few billionaire individuals at the great expense of the many, and allows hundreds of thousands to be homeless, cannot and should not be considered “developed“.

No society, with homelessness (homeless people), should be considered wealthy. The same way, no society with swathes of slums, irrespective of its impressive economic performance, should be considered wealthy and/or developed because these are terrible failures in society.

Homelessness, as are slums, should be considered a measure of socioeconomic underdevelopment in any society irrespective of its high per capita income. In fact, these should raise serious questions on the measure and veracity of per capita income.

Homelessness should also be considered a crime against humanity on the logic and basis that, like slums, it is dehumanising and condemns people – large numbers of people – to suffering; causing both mental and physical damage, more likely to result in slow and painful death.

Exclusion by categorisation: the socioeconomically debilitating policy pathology in most African Public Sector by African Governments.

The easiest way to practise exclusion – of whatever kind and for whatever purpose – is to categorise under whatever explicable but not necessarily appropriate pretext.

Exclusion by qualifications, positions, titles, income and a slew of other absurd so-called “socioeconomic” categories designed, supposedly, but in a Machiavellian manner, for the purpose of socioeconomic policy intervention; are usually about and tools of power and control. It even becomes rather easier, but nonetheless and as much absurd; when, behind it, there’s State power and the use and application of necessary State means.

If you name me, you negate me. By giving me a name, a label, you negate all the other things I could possibly be.” Søren Kierkegaard

Categorisation, whatever the supposed intention and purpose of it, is right up there with – and is the same as – “Classification” in “The Ten Stages of Genocide” By Dr. Gregory H. Stanton.

If and when categories are created; they can, and will be abused. Especially if, and when (and where), doing so comes with gain, like an advantage over others. Where and when it gives an advantage – there’s something to gain; created categories will be manipulated and abused. It’s even more likely and common in environments shrouded in opaque and weak regulations on the use – and abuse – of power and positions. Where checks and balances on the use of power and positions, are [almost] non-existent. Or, exist but are too weak to be enforced; and can be easily manipulated and circumvented by the powerful, using their positions.

Categorising society under socioeconomic categories, where privilege and wealth, that is, ownership of property, and poverty, that is, lack of property – propertylessness – are key distinguishing factors without necessarily understanding and/or addressing factors that make it possible for some people – from the same society – to be privileged, have access to opportunities to be able to acquire wealth; while others are deprived of similar or the same opportunities and unable to acquire wealth, hence, with limited chances of upward social mobility, is wrong.

Instead of focusing attention on creating – and using resources to create, frankly, unnecessary socioeconomic categories; African governments (authorities) should be trying to comprehensively study, map out and understand the possible factors that cause socioeconomic inequalities and, therefore, work to eliminate the causes rather than trying to focus on, hence, deal with and address the outcomes.

The failure to deal with and eliminate the causes of socioeconomic inequalities, cannot be reason for – and therefore justify – the focus on and the unnecessary creation of categories out of the outcomes of the initial failure; by packaging outcomes into alphanumerically labelled but discriminating, and frankly, dehumanising socioeconomic categories, A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2, D1, D2.

It is those yet – [to be] comprehensively studied, established and therefore – known socioeconomic factors that cause or greatly contribute to the kind of socioeconomic inequalities that are applied to creating such unnecessary, and truth be told, discriminating socioeconomic categories. It’s an absurd [government] policy of discrimination by categorisation.

African governments (authorities) should address causes of socioeconomic inequalities head on; instead of going round in circles and coming back to the same point, where those in charge of policy making, engage in navel-gazing and pick their noses.

They might, if they are really genuine in their intentions, start, for example, by addressing massive income disparities in the public sector which disproportionately favour those at the top against – and accordingly, those down the ladder who do the most work but are the least, or woefully, remunerated.

By allowing such wide public sector pay gaps, African governments are consciously creating socioeconomic inequalities through a system of pay inequality.

Why should a government minister, for example, earn ten times more than his/her ‘Personal Assistant’?

What special (unique) value does such minister create, that his/her ‘Personal Assistant’ cannot create, or did not greatly contribute to creating?

It is no exaggeration, and therefore apropos, to suggest this is “Public Sector PAY-APARTHEID”.

It is ridiculous for, and as a government on the one hand, to be speaking publicly against- and the need to eliminate – all of forms discrimination; while on the other hand, you allow and, arguably, consciously practise a socioeconomically discriminating Public Sector pay policy.

Categorisation will facilitate exclusion allowing the practice of token inclusion to hold and maintain power. This is something – a policy – African governments (authorities), particularly those with undeniable dictatorial behaviour, learned best from their colonial masters’ ‘band aid’ approach to their deeply racist and dehumanising colonial policies in the service of White supremacy.

The Politics of exclusion by categorisation under the pretext of socioeconomic ‘intervention‘; is the politics of controlling the (power of) distribution of income and rewards, as a means to hold on to and maintain power.