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Why is Africa always desperate for a master to serve?

01 Aug 2023 at 22:15hrs | Views
Will Africa ever stand on her own two feet, or she is determined to forever be under the control of one global power or the other?

In the recent history of our continent, it would appear we are always eager to be subservient to either the West or the East.

This can either be in the form of the ruling establishment or the opposition - usually serving opposite sides of the global hegemonic spectrum.

Why do we not seem interested at all in becoming a global power in our own right?

Recently, I was watching events playing out in St. Petersburg - where several leaders attended the Russia-Africa Summit.

There, we witnessed our heads of state, like star-struck teenagers, fall over each other praising President Vladimir Putin, and acting as if they were in the presence of deity.

Even our own President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa went as far as excitedly and recklessly declaring Zimbabwe's support for Russia's invasion of its neighbor Ukraine.

Of course, this was after he had been gifted a secondhand helicopter, as well as a donation of food and fertilizer by the east Europeans!

In fact, as I write this article, Mnangagwa is busy bragging to his ZANU PF party supporters, at a rally in Nkayi, over his meeting with Putin.

Even South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa has had sleepless nights, on how to handle the arrest warrant issued on Putin by the ICC (International Criminal Court).

As much as such sycophancy was not particularly surprising at all - considering African leaders' long-held propensity for hero-worshipping and praise-singing global powers - however, this behavior was absolutely embarrassing and unbecoming.

We observed identical humiliating scenes when Mnangagwa was invited for the UN Climate Change Conference (2021), and King Charles II's coronation (2023) in the UK (United Kingdom).

The man was super excited to the point of celebrating his seven-second handshake with then British Prime Minister Boris Johnson - on top of having talked and written about this visit for weeks beforehand.

Not to be left out of the frenzy and hysteria, even several Zimbabwe cabinet ministers and other senior government officials made a meal of this trip - heralding it as a diplomatic coup for Mnangagwa.

This came on the backdrop of soured relations between the two countries - reaching their most toxic levels - at the turn of the millennium.

This was when Zimbabwe embarked on a chaotic land reform program - where land was violently taken from white farmers - most (and the best) of which ending up in the hands of a few in the ruling elite.

There was then the US-Africa Leaders Summit in 2022, to which Zimbabwe was invited for the first time in decades - especially, after this deterioration in relations - which saw the imposition of travel and financial restrictions on a few top officials.

Mnangagwa was, expectedly, over the moon - with his government riding on this opportunity to sit at the same table as US leaders - although, he was not to personally attend due to these targeted sanctions.

So, why all this eagerness on the part of African leaders, including our own Mnangagwa, in serving and being subservient to global powers?

As the Russia-Africa Summit proceeded, I wished that, somehow, our leaders would go there to show Putin who really were the bosses.

I hoped that our heads of state would tell the Russian leader that Africa had most of the gold; Africa had most of the diamonds; Africa had most of the lithium; Africa had most of the platinum; and very soon, Africa will have most of the oil.

Why do African leaders not use this immense power to impose their influence on the world stage, as the new major global players?

Instead of groveling to Putin, or US President Joe Biden for a seat on the UNSC (Security Council) table - of which they are always promised, but to no avail - why do they not wield the power of the resources our continent possesses?

Did the world not see a similar incidence in 1973, when the OAPEC (Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries) imposed an oil embargo on the US and Netherlands.

This was after these two countries had been fingered in supporting Israel during the Yom Kippur War - when a coalition of Arab states (led by Egypt and Syria) launched a surprise attack on Israel.

The daring move (oil embargo) placed the US economy on the back foot, causing fuel shortages, a quadrupling of oil prices and long lines at gas stations.

This united flexing of muscles by Arab countries, via their combined resources, was enough to force some drastic global transformations.

As much as I am not advocating for African countries to impose sanctions on Russia, US, China or Britain - but, it is clear that, with all the vast natural resources we posses - we have enough clout to influence the direction the world takes.

If Africa acted as one unit, we could easily become a global power - just as, if not more, than the US, Britain Russia and China.

We would not even need to beg for a seat on the UNSC - but it would be given to us on a silver platter.

In 2019 alone, the continent produced over one billion tons of minerals, worth US$406 billion - and boasts of a GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of US$3.1 trillion.

Of course, I am not even factoring in the billions of dollars more that are looted by our ruling elite (with their cronies).

In Zimbabwe alone, we are losing over US$2 billion annually to mineral smuggling, US$3 to illicit cross-border financial transactions, and half our GDP to other corrupt economic activities.

I can just imagine how much other African countries are being prejudiced by their own leaders.

As a matter of fact, Africa's GDP is not much lower than Russia's - which stands at US$4 trillion for 2022.

Yet, we behave as Putin's house slaves!

It does not require a rocket scientist to figure out just how economically powerful this continent could have been, had those entrusted with governing us performed their duties diligently and faithfully.

Africa would be wealthier than the US, Britain, Russia and China put together.

In fact, our leaders would not be embarrassing us in Russia receiving food and fertilizer aid, as well as secondhand helicopter donations.

We would be a world power with which to reckon - and, calling the shots on the global stage.

However, here we are - treating the Americans, British, Russians and Chinese as our gods.

Our African presidents practically worship the ground on which these countries' leaders walk!

That is the misfortune we find ourselves.

Why is Africa always desperate for a master to serve?

Is this a legacy of centuries of colonial domination?

Why do we appear not interested at all in breaking these chains and becoming a global power?

© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate and writer. Please feel free to WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or email:, or visit website:

Source - Tendai Ruben Mbofana
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