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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 2/27/14

Development Aid as a control instrument in Africa

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(Article changed on February 27, 2014 at 09:21)



People groups are not the same and there is great beauty in our diversity. All cultures cannot have the same color of skin, beliefs, customs, practices, and social behavior. Nations and people groups therefore must learn to develop a healthy respect for each other. The same applies for the relationship between the developed world and the developing world.

Six weeks ago, Nigeria as a nation decided against same sex marriage citing that this was against its national beliefs, customs, practices, and social behavior. This was not an arbitrary decision taken by a dictator but by the people as reflected through their parliament and executive arms of government. The response from the West was a smear campaign and threats to withdraw development aid. Needless to say, the West did not succeed in influencing Nigeria's policy direction. This is because Nigeria is a global economic powerhouse in its own right and any economic sanctions would have resulted in reciprocation from the largest nation in Africa. Uganda and other smaller less economically robust African countries are not as fortunate. When Uganda took the same decision this year, it resulted in withdrawals of economic. The Netherlands said they will stop 7m of its aid to Uganda. Norway decided to take away $9m from Uganda and Denmark has also withheld $8m. This is not the first time this is being done to Uganda. Unfortunately this is the lot of smaller developing nations. Last year, this same situation transpired in Uganda leading to a 0.7 decline in the country's economic growth and the cancellation of many programs that could have otherwise helped much of the needy folks in this nation.

Justifying inordinate control/manipulation

How does the West justify the infliction of hardship on a people by reneging on financial commitments just because the people refused to deny their own convictions as a nation and honor that of foreign powers? The double standards of the West are a bit embarrassing at times. Let us assume that without the support of aid from donors, thousands of children will go without food or education and some might even die without necessary healthcare. Let's also assume that the culture of this people group has always been anti-gay culturally speaking. If donors truly had the best interest of Ugandans at heart, how can withholding aid as a way to force compliance to the will of foreign powers at the expense of denying ones convictions be seen as democratic and benevolent?

The Bigger Issue!

Dr. kwame Nkrumah, a year before his overthrow penned the following words:

"The essence of neo-colonialism is, that the State which is subject to it, is in theory, independent and has all the outward trappings of international sovereignty. In reality its economic system and thus its political policy is directed from outside. The methods and form of this direction can take various shapes... More often, however, neo-colonialist control is exercised through economic or monetary means"Neo-colonialism is also the worst form of imperialism. For those who practise it, it means power without responsibility and for those who suffer from it, it means exploitation without redress" Neo-colonialism, like colonialism, is an attempt to export the social conflicts of the capitalist countries.".

--Neo-Colonialism, the Last Stage of Imperialism, Kwame Nkrumah 1965

Dr. Nkrumah nailed the bigger issue on the head--neo-colonialism. He is right when he says one of the characteristics of a state subjugated by neo-colonialism is that its economic and political policies are dictated from outside forces. He cited the use of economic or monetary means as a control instrument and that is exactly what was used against him and continues to be used against African leaders who do not toe the line demarcated by Western powers. The Osagyefo also cited the export of social conflicts by capitalist countries. This is also amazingly accurate. The issue of gay rights was never a social issue in sub-Saharan Africa some decades ago--but it is today. Why? Because it was exported to these developing nations.

Some would like to reduce the issue at hand to one of gay rights. But this is not the first time the West has used aid as an economic weapon and control mechanism against African states. It has used this weapon in all manner of policy issues apart from gay rights since 1957 when the first nation in sub-Saharan Africa gained independence. All aid was frozen to Ghana because it chose a political path divergent from that of the West. The repercussions of that decision was a CIA assisted overthrow i.e. coup d'état that ousted sub-Saharan Africa's first legitimate government setting a negative precedence. After Nkrumah's government was successfully outsed, aid from the West miraculously resumed.

When will Africa be allowed to chart the course of its own destiny? I guess the answer is when Africans begin to see like Nkrumah did and say enough is enough and band together as ONE people to overthrow this yoke of oppression from around their necks.

The issue here is not whether or not a gay bill should have been passed. The real issue at stake is much bigger than that. It is about whether Nigeria, Uganda and other INDEPENDENT states in Africa have the FREEDOM to govern themselves the way they see fit through their democratic institutions. The voice of their people must begin to count even if its counter that of donors and Western powers. It is about whether the people of these nations have the RIGHT to make laws based on their own b Neo-colonialism, like colonialism, is an attempt to export the social conflicts of the capitalist countries. eliefs, customs, practices, and social behavior? This includes laws about business practices, taxation, international trade etc. African nations like all nations should be free to express themselves without being discriminated against by richer nations.

Africa is tired of being bullied

A portion of the 1776 US declaration of independence reads, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government."

In a global village, leader-nations have emerged primarily in the Western hemisphere and as part of their leadership role, they are expected to secure the rights of all nations--more so the weakest and poorest from whom they in part derive their just powers via arrangements like the UN. But when these governments choose to be tyrannical in controlling others adversely, then it is the right of the peoples of the globe to alter or abolish the inordinate control, and to institute new government/leadership.

Nations in Africa are willing to be part of an international community that respects them as equals with the right to rule themselves as they so desire within the ambits of majority rule and the natural rights of man. What they should no longer be willing to tolerate is being told how to run their nations, where to sit, what to eat, how to sleep etc. and all the other barrage of uneven conditionalities.

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