My Highly Esteemed Fellow Africans:
(Last Posting on the subject!)
Thank you for having vigorously debated the topic of Pan-Africanisn and the Unity of the East African nations.
The merits and demerits of The United States of East Africa, and later the United States of Africa were clearly identified. Peter Kiggundu, John Kiggundu and Yoswa Mbulilana clearly pointed out that the demerits of African unity outweigh the merits and cautioned against such political entities. This is a respectable traditional conservative position both in African and economic planning.
However, since this position and strategy has left us in the current African crisis marked by tribalism, narrow ethnic nationalism and division along with nepotism, wars of secessions, tribal wars such as in Liberia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, South Africa, Nigeria and the clan wars of Somalia, one wonders if African focus on the local arena of tribe, ethnic group and clan are not destructive to the political stability and economic viability of Africa.
Africa is the most heterogenous continent on planet earth. There are more than 3,000 tribal languages on the continent of Africa.
Therefore, if Africa had to decide to focus on the area and arena of the language, culture and tribe as the boundary for nationhood and statehood Africa would be divided into more than 3000 clan-tribe nation states! Imagine that! Uganda would probably for about 20-30, such nations and Tanzania about the same number. Nigeria would probably finally emerge out with about 30-50, instead of the more natural four, namely, Ibo, Yoruba, Hausa and Fulani!
Obviously, this would be a return to the precolonial African form of government. As we know this form of government was not strong enough to protect Africa from foreign colonialism, economic and political exploitation by the more united Europeans.
The Berlin Conference shows that the Europeans though different and speaking different languages were intelligent enough to come together and plot a way of uniting in their goal for their own individual and joint imperialistic conquest and division of Africa among themselves.
The European colonial powers had to avoid war among themselves in order to wage war on Africa. Berlin Conference was the fore- runner of the European Community.
However, Europe's self-centered and ethnocentric (and xenophobic groups), such a Britain or Africa's Zulus, Kikuyu, Baganda and Ibos, may be reluctant to join such collaborative ventures, unless their own autonomy and cultural distinction or even superiority are ensured by the constitution! Even then, the greatness of these groups cannot be isolated from being part of larger entities, such as the former glory of the British Empire!
The great size brought glory, fame, prosperity and well-being for all the members of that empire! Even Russia is diminished without her territory and empire. But, so as the former territories of the Soviet Union. Once the Union dissolved, the prosperity also dissolved and disappeared, and these territories became war-ton parts of the Third World!
China and India are developing fast because they have the size and population for such a development to take place. Likewise, Canada and Brazil have great potential for economic and political power because of their land mass. The USA has the advantage of union, large land mass and large diverse population.
Japan, Taiwan, Hong Congo and Singapore are examples of population and small land mass size development, based on technology and service sector. However, these small nations are vulnerable to world fluctuation in the prices of raw materials since they do not have any.
In a United Africa, almost all the resources for development are present including oil, technical skills and information in South Africa which can be shared to the best advantage. We could also buy and sell each other our own products and natural resources, instead of sending them to our former European slave traders, colonial masters and abusers.
Since the strength of any community whether animal or human lies in the nature of its unity and large populations, the Europeans learned the simple Machiavellian principle and art for global conquest and rule. The principle is multifaced and can be summarized as follows:
Unfortunately, even after independence, because of the deeply ingrained colonial mentality and brainwashing imparted to us in the name of Western education and Christianity, most Africans are still mentally colonized and unable to see their own neocolonial mental chains.
The power of the people lies in both in their numbers and unity. With unity, all the available resources are better mobilized for development, education, research or military purposes. A divided people, such as the pre-colonial Africans or pre-Columbian Native Americans (Indians) are easy prey for the invaders.
In the case of the divided Native-Americans, even when they were fierce warriors, because of their own internal wars and divisions, they were finally defeated and killed off one nation after another until they were almost all wiped off the face of the earth!
A divided and warmongering Africa can still face extinction! If the African future remains the same as the present or the past, Africa is on a road to trouble and chaos both politically and economically.
However, we have the power to later the future, we can denounce parochialism, egocentric tribalism, greed, nepotism and corruption and focus on the creation of larger entities such as the EAC and The United States of Africa, for future prosperity for all Africans.
Ultimately, There are enough resources in Africa, and that is why Europe wanted Africa. We can use these resources for self- development and enjoyment, instead of shipping them off to those who have conditioned us to send them our money (high interest on loans) and resources!
Are you then, surprised that there is a greater gap between Africa and Europe in terms of debts and trade! The slave economic system was designed in such a way by the slave master that the harder the African slave worked, the more the White Owner became wealthier! And the more the economic gap between the slave and the White master grew!
This capitalist economic system was designed to bring resources from Africa at cheap prices and then sell to Africa manufactured Western goods at three or four times the price of the raw materials! This scenario would ensure that the Africans would remain in perpetual economic bondage and debt to their European masters! Loans, especially IMF ones make this condition even worse!
Solution to the problem lies in real African unity and mutual trade instead of Europe and defaulting on these oppressive loans! However, African corrupt leaders who gain by serving as agents of the Western economic and political interest will stand in the way of this unity.
A spiritual, moral, mental, economic, social and political revolution (African nationalism/pan-Africanism) have got take place before this proposed African Unity can truly occur in East Africa and the rest of Africa.
Will this occur in your own life-time or mine? Maybe! East African Unity may become real in a few years, after Moi is dethroned or dies! However, Pan-African Unity is still a long away off!
Nevertheless, it will take place, mark my prophetic words! Even the small ants when united are able to build great cities and edifices we call and hills! Look at the size of the ant and look at the ant-hill!
Similarly, look at the size of the human being and look at what people can achieve in terms of building great cities, such as New York or Chicago! A single person or a few people could not do it! This is an analogy for African nations and development! More cooperation and pooling of resources is required for effective self-development as a self-sufficient continent.
DuBois and Nkrumah just came too early! OAU is a good idea and the future may be more on that level in order to better solve Africa's problems.
The success of the European Community may spark off some real pan-African interest in Africa, since in our colonial mentality, we find it acceptable to imitate the Europeans than to value our own intellectual leaders such, as DuBois, Nkrumah, Ali Mazrui, Obote, Museveni and others (of course including most of you on this African think tank!).
Again, this is my last posting on this topic! Since I have a lecture to deliver at Oberlin on April 4, on PANAFRICANINSM: A COMMUNITY BASED ON CALOUR, HERITAGE AND VALUES, I assume that I have your the permission to quote you! I will treat this material as public domain and quote you unless, you have a special objection!
To end, last night (Feb. 25, 1995), there was a wonderful pan- African festival here at OWU. There was a good lecture on Africa, a variety of African food, African men's and women's clothing fashion show, and a dance troupe from Senegal. It was wonderful! I am sorry I forgot to extend an invitation to those of you who could have come! I will remember to invite you next year!
With best wishes for you all and in quest for a Better Africa,
Emmanuel K. Twesigye, OWU