This may sound like a simple question to some, but when looked at seriously a pattern of thought starts to emerge. Trust me, if you walked on any street in any major or small city in Africa majority of the answers to this question would range from “doubt” on one hand to a simple “maybe” for a few others. In the late 1950s and early 60s when majority of the continents’ countries passed the threshold of the colonial yoke to the promised land there was an air of optimism. I recall every man, woman and child in Kenya was happy and sang patriotic songs and for a moment one would think Jesus’ second coming had arrived. Little did they know that forty years down the aisle, only a few would be still singing while majority would have resigned to their fate; for them Jesus’ second coming is yet to appear.
Back to the simple or is it complex question above, “Was Africa Truly Ready for Independence?”
My answer to this question is a big NO! And before even looking into the political independence, let’s first assess the economic independence in Africa. The continents’ economic performance has been dismal, given that some countries like Nigeria, Angola, Chad and Sudan are endowed with oil deposits which should have aided them to alleviate poverty in their respective countries. Other countries like the DRC have depended on foreign aid even considering that they are endowed with unimaginable deposits of minerals. Others like Uganda, Kenya, and Zimbabwe, which have good arable land resources for bumper agricultural production, have not used these resources fully to their advantage and continue to beckon the West for a morsel of food for their population. Isn’t this really shameful?
Wealth distribution favoring between 1 to 5 % of the population in each African country has not helped the continent and has sparked civilian reactions. After all who would want to see a neighbor who drives a Benz, BMW, etc when they have nothing to feed their children? Poor policies, greed and corruption has driven the African economies to their knees and for that simple reason we still beg for FOOD from the West, Africa has failed to show economic independence.
What are your thoughts about the political independence! The decision by the Kenyan legislators yesterday that voted to send the suspected 2007 post election violence perpetrators to the ICC jostled me a little bit and for a moment I started thinking that independence for Kenya, just like for the rest of the continent, hasn’t come yet. Why would a sovereign country choose to send “suspected criminals” to The Hague for trial instead of doing it at home? Remember, majority of the judges in the ICC are from those countries that Kenya and other African countries once accused of denying them their freedom and today 40 to 50 years after gaining their independence, they are looking up to them to clean their mess! Just for amusement look at this page on the ICC, “ As of August 2008, the ICC has launched investigations into just four situations: Northern Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic and Darfur (Sudan). Several other situations have been subject to “intensive analysis”, including Afghanistan, Chad, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Georgia and Kenya.” I wonder why Africa has degenerated so low as not to clean the mess in their own countries or at best establish an Africa court of justice. At least, this will give us some pride, don’t you think so?
In conclusion, political independence has been a mirage, will continue to be so as long as the leaders continue to look up to the West for economic and political support.