FOREIGN AID IS THE NUMBER ONE ENEMY IN AFRICA

By, Magabe Kibiti [posted first on: 02/26/06 ]

It started as a trade and religious mission. Arabs and Asians left their countries in the 9th century heading for Africa. Then the first European in the 15th century arrived at the southern port of Africa. They, too, sang the same old song: “We have come to Africa to help. We have come with Islam, Christianity, education, rule of law, finance and technology to develop primitive and Godless-Africa”. African people, some willingly and others unwillingly, welcomed these strangers to their lives. Africans gave up their culture, technology, education, political system, and indigineous beliefs to accommodate these strangers. We all know what happened next, The whole continent was colonized, African people dehumanized, killed and some taken from Africa to foreign lands.

I will never try to undo and re-write the history. But the fact of matter is, for one thousand years Africans have been paying for the crime committed by their ancestors. It's been hell throughout as we all wonder all the time; who will ever change this awful and ugly trend! Who will ever break up this vicious circle of dehumanization, modern slavery and uncertainty? Some thought that the sixties would bring an end. Some suggested independence and self government as the only solution! Why then? What happened? What is the future for these small, weak, divided, pieces of the-then-divided- by-strangers-Africa now called independent Republics ? That's not the case here, the funniest part of the drama is the fact that the same old strangers are now coming back to Africa with the same old song we all know to well; "we are here to help ! "

I am not an eye for an eye- person thus I will never call for a payback. Violence and revenge will never be part of my articles. It's not the time for back pedaling. It is the real time for real solutions. There is a great need for change in Africa. My uncle died in Mozambique fighting these strangers. He was trying to make a difference thus he left his family in Tanzania to help Mozambicans be free. I sometimes wonder if anybody out there honor his death, I remember few words from his best friend; “Soldier, there is only one rule, If you are outgunned and outnumbered, back down, think fast, change the course, and stay alive”. It's the time now for Africa to back down and change the course. It's the time now for Africa to stay alive. Strangers never helped us then, they will never help us now.

Its hard to fight the enemy you don't know. I hear the same song once again from strangers. We are in "the war" on poverty, diseases, corruption, hunger etc in Africa. Do Africans know who is their enemy? Could they tell what to do if they knew their real enemy ? The answer is; probably not. Africa has been fighting the wrong enemy all these years. It's time now for Africa to fight the real enemy. Foreign aid is the number one enemy in Africa. Africa should stop receiving foreign aid immediately for her own sake. Just think about this: 20 years after independence, Tanzania had 5 major textile industries. Tanzania was on the edge of producing enough clothes to meet its local demand. Most Tanzanians had clothes and only few were in need of help. Unsolicited foreigners in Tanzania started to give out free imported second hand clothes to those in need. Sad enough, that program expanded very fast and within few years all but 25 percent of Tanzanians were getting these cheap second hand clothes (mitumba). 15 years later, 4 of 5 textiles were bankrupt, and now more than 95 percent of Tanzanians wear cheap imported second hand clothes.

Do you think Africa is fighting the right enemy? Do you still support foreign aid for Africa? Just ask yourself few questions: What kind of foreign aid did European countries receive during industry revolution? What kind of strangers were there to help European settlers build the great North America? Who was there to guide Arabs and Asians sail through the giant Indian ocean to Africa? The answer is simple; none. If all these strangers could do it themselves, then Africa should also be given a chance to do it herself. Foreign aid has damaged Africa than it has helped her. Foreigners are killing African minds and initiatives by trying to do everything for them. The worst part is that sad story of foreigners giving Africans money as aid, few days later they take their money back in form of African leaders personal bank deposits.

Who knows what the future hold for Africa? Is it a done deal for more than 700 million people in Africa to live miserably? Is there anyone who cares?  What is the purpose of faith? I expected Islam and Christianity to bring peace and stability to Africa than wars and hatred ! I hoped billions of dollars given to Africa each year would make her malaria-free as it is in Europe and America !  The best thing that could happen to Africa is the end to all foreign aid and the beginning of only African produced ideas and solutions. David had to kill Goliath first before he could kill other philistines. There is a saying in Africa; ‘If you want to kill a snake, go for the head'. If Africa wants to solve her problems, she should cut the head of the snake. Africa should fight her number one enemy first. Africa should stop receiving all foreign aid now.

God bless Africa!

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