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I dedicate this piece to the memory of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah,FOUNDER and first President of Ghana(1960-66). This is because the month of September is dedicated to his memory as the FOUNDER of GHANA.
I am certain that most ordinary Ghanaians are not aware that Nkrumah is in the category of political-economy thinkers and intellectuals like Karl Marx, Engels, Vladimir Lenin and co. He coined the term NEOCOLONIALISM, which appeared in the 1963 preamble of the OAU Charter ,and was the title of his 1965 book “Neo-Colonialism, the last stage of imperialism “
In simple terms, when European nations divided and shared Africa among themselves as their colonies, they were physically present to ensure the stealing and pillage of our national resources to their countries. This continued for over 400 years. That was the period called colonialism. However, time came, especially after the two world wars, when the Europeans decided to leave the colonies. That was in the 1950s and early 60s . They left because of many reasons. The two major ones were the debilitating effects of the wars which made the maintenance of the colonies too expensive. The second was the agitation on the part of the natives for self-government.
Before they left however, they made sure they had trained and brainwashed some natives through their education and religion to do their bidding while they were away. Some of these were made to believe that they were the natural heirs to the residences and positions being left behind by the colonial masters. It was therefore, not coincidence at all that majority of African nations had their independence in the 1950s and 60s.
The system crafted by the colonialists in which their physical presence was not needed because of the presence of their stooges is what Dr Nkrumah called Neo-Colonialism. So the white man is not with us physically but the stealing and pillage continue unabated. It is due to neocolonialism that Nkrumah declared that the people of Africa may be poor but the continent is rich.
Today, 99.9% of all the African countries are neck deep in neocolonialism.
Some of the general characteristics include
(1) The presence of a self-seeking minority that have become the ruling class who act as the conduit for our exploitation;
2)Dependence on foreign aid and loans despite the abundant natural resources ;
3)Use of multinational corporations;
4)Commanding heights of the economy in the hands of foreigners;
5) Debilitating weight of perpetual debt;
6) Importation of finished goods instead of building factories to manufacture;
7)Economy depends on religion instead of knowledge. Such nations are converting factories into churches and building cathedrals to receive manna from heaven;
8)Rapid urbanization ;
9) Using state resources as collateral for huge loans.
These are but a few of the characteristics. Internally, governance is tainted with corruption, excruciating poverty among majority of the people, unemployment among the young people resulting in prostitution, armed robberies, assassination and murders, tribal and ethnic wars, dilapidated infrastructure, deplorable healthcare conditions and unstable education system.
From the analysis above, it is clear that practically, all the African countries are drowning in neocolonialism . It is the reason China is everywhere on the continent. It is for the same reason that there seems to be some political stability on the continent. The soldiers are not fools. There are still adventurers in uniform today within the security apparatuses.
However, who wants to waste his or her precious time and life to takeover a country ridden with debt and poverty? If the conditions in most African countries today had existed in the 1960s and 70s, the military would have stepped in long ago.
The way forward , the road map for Africa was pointed long ago by Dr Nkrumah during the formative years of the OAU. UNITY, yes African Unity!
For we will continue to sink deeper and deeper into neocolonialism until we come together as a federation with a common front to fight. This call is even more important considering the fact that in less than 10 years, African countries dependent of fossil fuels will be forced by climate change to look for alternative economic resources.
Long live the people of Africa!!
Nkrumah never dies!!!
(by eric bortey, a journalist, formerly with the GBC and NCCE)