Reference is made to Gerald Mbanda’s article, “African presidents are not the aid beneficiaries” (The New Times, March 3).
I concur with Mr. Mbanda. Whether one agrees with the anti-gay, anti-miniskirt or anti-whatever bill endorsed by President Yoweri Museveni (I personally find this bill atrocious), it is equally clear the West wield their aid like a club with which to beat us when we refuse to dance to whatever tune they want (or its opposite if their humour changes).
This kind of behaviour cannot be the basis for partnership; it is one of the characteristics of neo-colonialism. It deprives Africans of the right to make their own choices like truly free people and allows the West (governments, think tanks, NGOs, well-connected business firms and even individuals) the power to impose their own preferences in the decision-making of our leaders and institutions over those of the people they lead.
All this while the same West clamours for our countries to at least show the trappings of their supreme god, “democracy”, even if not its substance, since it is anathema for our leaders to follow the wishes of their people when such wishes displease the West.
This kind of relationship is corrupt. It must cease or be ended. We Africans must end it no matter the cost because the cost of remaining in it in terms of continuous dehumanising humiliations is not sustainable, unless we wish to remain forever slaves to Western interests.
As a final point: I guess everyone now understands the Western concern with growing Africa-China economic relations; it reduces Western leverage to make us dance to their tune. And they hate China for that.
Mwene Kalinda, Rwanda
This article seems to be centred around the following statement: “One lesson we Africans should learn from this kind of attitude is that being poor is a crime and we should stop being poor or else, we even risk complete loss of our identity”.
And the premise to this statement is a belief that we, Africans, are poor.
I think a prior assessment for us to make first, and a lesson to derive from such an assessment, is that on the concept of Africans being poor.
Prior to the statement above, I would have expected that the writer, or someone else, beforehand convince me that Africans are really poor. How poor are we, with such abundant natural capital, human capital, and social capital?
Just because we don't own a larger portion of the actual world manufacturing capital and world monetary capital, therefore we are intrinsically, forever damned poor?
François-X Nziyonsenga, Rwanda