Wednesday, 22 May 2019

WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO AFRICA?


Looking at Africa today you should be looking at least to some wealthy modern states where people are looked after and have opportunities that youngsters do in the West. All African countries that were under colonial rule wanted independence and local leaders promised them a better life under their own rule. What has happened? Between forty and sixty years on, Africa and those who live in it, are worse off than they were before independence. It is a sad fact that graft and corruption pervades African culture. African leaders make sure they are alright opening bank accounts all over the world and emptying the coffers of the counties they rule along with a small coterie of acolytes and favourites. The rest of the population of their countries remain in abject poverty. Infrastructure and amenities are ignored. Charities spend millions helping and demanding money from the public in the west to help. Western governments spend billions in aid supposedly helping these nations get out of the wretchedness they live in. Where does it all go because I can’t see any improvement in the common man’s living standards? In fact, quite the opposite.

Here are a few ideas :-

Uhuru Kenyatta, one of the West’s darlings, is worth £377 million. Yes he’s a clever business man who has dairy, television and banking interest and oh, he also owns half a million acres of land. However, he has been a politician all his adult life taking over where his father, Jomo, left off.

Teodoro Mbasongo is president of oil rich Equatorial Guinea since 1979. You would have thought that being in power all that time he would have sorted his beleaguered country out. His impoverished subjects live on less than a pound sterling a day according to the OECD. He is worth £450 million, owns estates in many foregn countries and has a garage full of Roles Royces, Lamborghinis, and Bugattis.

Robert Mugabe. President of Zimbabwe from 1980 till he was politely asked to step down by one of his best friends who’s nickname is The Crocodile, but that’s another story. When Mugabe became president he was a penniless revolutionary. He became the president of the breadbasket of central Africa. Not only has he presided over the total collapse of the economy but he is worth £750 million, has acquired a large farm and many luxury houses and cars whilst many of his subjects die of hunger.

Ali Bongo Ondimba president of another oil rich country, Gabon. The funny thing is the riches never sink very far down the human ladder. He is said to be worth £1.5 billion but it could be far more. That’s all researchers could find.

Daniel Arap Moi, ex president of Kenya and another penniless freedom fighter. He was the elected president from 1978 to 2002. He is now worth £2.3 billion. He has interests in banking, oil, shipping and has a 250,000 acre estate in Australia.

Sani Abacha, a Nigerian president who ruled with an iron fist and yet allowed endemic corruption to flourish. He ruled from 1993 till his death in 1998. When he died they discovered £3 billion hidden in Swiss bank accounts.

Mobutu Sese Seko was the president of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) from 1965 to 1997. As corrupt a leader as is possible. Potentially one of the richest countries in Africa, he treated the economy as his own piggy bank and used it to buy luxury houses in Paris and Switzerland and had a cellar full of vintage pink champagne.

Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was Tunisia’s long term president till he was ousted in 2011. He is said to have controlled 40% of his country's economy. Whilst his people struggled to get one meal a day he amassed a fortune of £8.5 billion.

Jose Eduardo dos Santos, Angola’s president from 1979 till 2017. Another one of our great penniless revolutionaries who promised riches to all his subjects as soon as he came to power. Even though he presided over a dreadful civil war which crippled Angola he managed to enrich himself and his family to the tune of £15.1 billion.

Ibrahim Babangida, Nigeria’s president from 1985 to 1993 plundered Nigeria’s oil revenue to the tune of £16.4 billion.

Hosni Mubarak was Egypt’s hard man for thirty years till he was overthrown in 2011. Sentenced to life imprisonment he has been released by the current president and is said to be worth £59.2 billion. One should remember that all the years he was in power the Americans were giving his country billions in subsidies.

Muamar Gaddafi was in power from 1977 to 2011 when the west helped to oust him. He started off as a simple army captain and on his death was estimated to be worth£169.4 billion.

I could go on, but many of the current leaders are incredibly secretive about their finances. However, the sad truth is that African leaders often end up being African dictators, quite a few with sham elections, who don’t give a damn about the people they rule over. Small portions of their cumulated wealth would go a long way to building roads, power stations, water pumping stations, hospitals and schools. The money these countries are given by the west serves the top 0.5% of society and the rest have to rely on charity, food aid and the generosity of the public in Europe. It is a scandal. Hopefully one day the cream of African society will come to power and things will get better for the impoverished majority but I’m not holding my breath.