via Fighting black imperialism | The Zimbabwean by Vince Musewe
I understand that the British Empire was founded upon the plunder of treasures through the use of arms against other weaker countries. Its expansion was based on the tacit approval by the British monarchy at that time, on the use of violence and subjugation of natives for profit, under the pretext of spreading Protestantism: Africans were deceived.
Funny enough, we are now aware, that even though the liberation struggles in Africa were based on the moral values of the attainment of freedom and liberty for black Africans, it has turned out in most cases, that this was merely a historical social transformation process, where a black “enlightened” elite, backed by indigenous armies of freedom fighters, sought to depose the colonialist- and replace them. This was under the pretext of fighting imperialism but the motive was, and has remained, the attainment economic advantage for that elite. Africans were, once again, deceived.
Just as the British used Protestantism to gain economic advantage over black Africans, so has liberation struggle politics been used by the black elite imperialist class, to gain economic advantage over the black African masses.
Our case here in Zimbabwe is a classical example of this. The imperialist is now the black African elite class, made up mostly of those who participated in the liberation struggle backed by the military. The crude fact is that, they continue to claim their sole entitlement to political power in “liberated” Africa. Because of that, we now find ourselves imprisoned by our “liberators”.
The solution to this problem is a complex one. This is simply because; even those who condemn the new black imperialists, and want to replace them as they hide under the skirt of liberating the masses, may not necessarily liberate us. Our challenge is how to ensure that our future leaders reject black imperialism, and do not seek political power merely to be the new black imperialists themselves. We must not accept that deception again.
I think that the root to a lasting solution must lie in us understanding first that; politicians and the practice of politics do not inevitably create freedom and liberty as we expect. Second, we have inherited a flawed process of democracy that purports to produce or elect the political leadership which we require.
Throughout the ages, we now know that politics is essentially a game of deception in order for a certain class of individuals, regardless of geography or climate, to attain to political power and followed by economic advantage. The ideals of politics remain as; the attainment of the advantage of political power, in order to manipulate events or resources to the profit of those in power and their cronies who fund them.
Secondly the processes that we call “democratic” in the selection or election political leadership, has tended not to produce the quality of people that we require, but rather, the best at manipulating events and processes so that they may appear to be the best people for the job.
Zimbabwe has surely shown us this that; those who have the resources to spend, those who have a historical advantage and control national resources and institutions, will almost always succeed.
My mind refuses to accept the imperialism rhetoric and the victim mentality that liberation struggle organisations in Africa continue to display. I sincerely doubt that their motives are about the universal freedom and liberty of man and the black African in particular. Our history can indeed be used to commit crimes; it can be used as a crutch to gain unfair economic advantage. This has been the recent case in Zimbabwe.
South Africa too is a clear example, where the ANC continues to claim its legitimacy to power based on its historical role in the armed struggle, and not on their success in the economic emancipation of black South Africans in general. But I digress.
The further conundrum we must face is that, the replacement of ZANU (PF) in Zimbabwe, for example, may not necessarily mean that we achieve a change in the philosophy and practice of politics; this being the attainment of an advantage by those that seek political power to achieve personal advantage. This is simply because we have flawed political systems in determining or electing who should lead us next.
Having said that; I must then follow on, and offer alternative ideas on these matters, if my estimations are to be of use to anyone.
Firstly, I think that we must cease to give too much responsibility to politics as the panacea of our socio economic problems. We must diminish its impact and effect on our social and economic circumstances. This requires the witling down of the real or perceived power politicians have in the control and allocation of our resources. We must change the structure of government and its authority on society.
The governance model that gives unlimited authority to central government will not create the circumstances we desire. Rather we must empower local government; the devolution of power as promoted by the MDC-N in the last elections, is therefore critical to empowering communities and citizens and removing power from the centre and thus diminish its abuse to the detriment of all but to the advantage of a few.
Second, those who seek political leadership must clearly be of a different aptitude and inclination. Our election processes do not currently allow us to evaluate characters and personalities of those who are elected into political leadership. Rather, as mentioned above, it is those who have resources to campaign and manipulate events to their advantage who “win”, and not necessarily those who stand for the values and principles that are necessary in order for Africans to achieve freedom, liberty and economic emancipation.
It is therefore important and central to our future that we seek to change our social systems. We have been deceived too many a time by politics as a source of freedom and liberty and economic prosperity for all. It is not and it has never been.
Vince Musewe is an economist based in Harare an you may contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org