Monday, April 27, 2009

Economic Bailouts or Africa's Betrayal?

The news that the US government is eyeing some shares in Citigroup in what is interpreted as nationalization cannot go unmentioned. Last month, reports indicated that the US government intended to acquire 40% of common stock in the biggest bank in America. All this aims at saving it from going under and enhance cash flow in the country.

To lend as means of enhancing public spending (recouping the ailing economy) banks must have cash to assure credit flow. While this seems to be a good idea aimed at stabilizing financial flow and lending in the US, for many African countries facing the same situation a few years ago, it was totally unacceptable. It was referred to as 'socialism.' This lie depended on which side a particular country was inclined. Those that were inclined to the East suffered a lot more than those inclined to West.

In his state of the union speech, US president, Barack Obama openly said that he intends to do away with archaic non-regulatory system in which the government allowed banks to run freely leading to CEOs paying themselves heftly, thereby impoverishing the banks and leading to among other factors, this mess we’re in.

Shall things be straightened up; it will be Washington’s third effort to aid Citigroup since last fall. In October, the Treasury Department injected a total of $125 billion into eight giant financial institutions, including $25 billion to Citigroup, in exchange for preferred shares and warrants to buy stock.

Recently the House of Representatives passed a $787, 000,000,000 economic stimulus. Before then, George Bush injected billions into the economy. What used to be a taboo is currently a ritual.Contrary to this, many African countries gave away their investments to multinational companies under pressure from international financial and monetary institutions. But when it comes to rich countries, bailout is ideal, judicious and justifiable!

By acting in this dubious way, these so-called international institutions are but colonial-exploitative tools hell bent to see to it that Africa is doing their dirty laundry. What appalls is the gullibility and complicity of our straight edges. Now that the world is facing recession, Africa is likely to slip into depression, thanks to two evils: international institutions and African thievish higher-ups that swallow whatever nonsense from rich countries.

In Tanzania for instance, before the coming of Benjamin Mkapa’s regime, the National Bank of Commerce (NBC) had some financial hitches. When the late father of the nation, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, argued that NBC be bailed out, he was lampooned by WB, IMF and even Mkapa, the man he wheeled to presidency. They said they’re not ready to help Tanzania in this. It was contrary to their policies.

Rich countries have maintained psychological war against Africa by referring to it as the poorest continent on earth. This aims at making us to believe that without them, we can not do anything. But when one looks at the recently released movie-slum dog millionaire, no doubt, India has more paupers than African countries individually.

The World Bank estimates that a third of the global poor now reside in India; it has over 300,000,000 paupers, almost a half of all Africans! Living conditions in Indian slums are worse than those in Africa. While poverty in Africa is caused by the greed of our honchos and conspiracy by rich countries, in India, it is caused by the exploitative caste system.

Whilst Indians can comfortably live with poverty thanks to their caste system, Africans are forced by parasitic regimes to make do with it. Noise made by rich countries about human rights only address cosmetic matters. For example, while China hangs officials found guilty of corruption, in Africa, thievish regimes stay in power thanks to being supported by rich countries. And when the hoi polloi agitate that they be persecuted, human rights are used to defend them.

Currently in Tanzania, former president Mkapa is under pressure to be brought to book. But his successor does not want to do so. Reason? Mkapa has immunity under the democratic constitution! Is this democracy or burglary? In Equatorial Guinea, Theodore Obiang Nguema, his family, army and friends are openly plundering the majority. Citizens would like to topple this nugatory regime. But they’ve failed, thanks to being supported by the US that exploits and buys all oil produced by this poor African country! The situation is the same in DRC, Gabon, Uganda, Congo and Tanzania.

Our thieves obtain loans from rich countries to end up financing their king-size lives. The farmer and a common worker do not spend even a dime of this money. But when it comes to paying the debt with super inflated interest rates, the paupers are squeezed and made to pay! Nobody is seeing this as gross violation of human rights. We’ve time and again urged the international community to declare mega graft as a a crime against humanity but nobody is ready to subscribe to this for the fear of injuring their vested interests.

Under this donkey-man relationship, Africa is bleeding to death. Western media like to take photo of destitute African begging, scooping dirty water and such. They go home and pummel this nonsense to the mainstream media. You know what. This media missile has shaped our mindset in that we are created to be poor so as to beg the West to help us.

Belgium has bigger per capital than the whole Africa. Ask it. Where did it get this massive wealth? DRC and Congo are but the sources. This tiny country (the size of the smallest region in DRC) has no minerals or anything worth mentioning.

National statistics show that in 2003-2005, Belgium's per capita was 76134.68 whilst DRC's was less than $ 100.But again, the so-called civilized and developed international community does not see this crime! Why can’t they force Belgium to redress DRC for the miseries it caused her? We all know. DRC has been at war since independence, thanks to machination by Belgium. The situation is the same in Rwanda and Burundi where former colonial masters left tribalism and mistrust so as to cause genocide and mass massacre at will. Nobody taxes them!

If you look at the history of Africa, no country has ever escaped colonial legacy-cum-machinations. What makes it worse is the fact that even the flag independence African countries acquired since the late 50s has never saved the common man. But while this crime is in the commission, there is the universal declaration of human rights! Which human rights are these, if they don’t embrace economy and good governance?

We’ve set off with the example of US regulating and saving private business as opposed to what they are tutoring us to prove how Africa still needs to rethink solo and independently. But how, if at all, almost all African countries are ruled by thievish governments or parties?

African youths need to take a leaf from their colleagues in the US that ushered in the first black president to white house regardless of all hidden racism and double standards existing in this nation. True, they’re the very victims of the very myopic, blind and greedy current regimes. Another place to take a leaf from is Russia. After the west demised the then USSR, Russia is currently seeing to it that it gains its lost fief in international community.

OFF CUFF: During the recent conference on economy in Dar es salaam, the head of IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn told African beggars in power that Africa needs to use commonsense! What an abuse! But did they get it?

By Nkwazi Mhango, a Tanzanian living in Canada, is a Journalist, Teacher, Human Rights activist and member of the Writers' Association of New Foundland and Labrador (WANL)