Magazine article New African

My Beef with Museveni: Museveni States: "The African Feudal Class Was Wiped out Because It Was in Competition with the Colonialists for Power." Do You Really Think It Was a Competition, Sir?

Magazine article New African

My Beef with Museveni: Museveni States: "The African Feudal Class Was Wiped out Because It Was in Competition with the Colonialists for Power." Do You Really Think It Was a Competition, Sir?

Article excerpt

The world would agree that Africa is behind in its economic and technological development and President Museveni gives us some of the many reasons for the present state of affairs (Why Africa is lagging behind, NA, Nov). However, I came away from Museveni's article thinking he was really trying to keep his speech acceptable to his Western donors.

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Being an African-American, I have grown up in a society where if an African-American leader speaks out against the injustices that his people have endured at the hands of Europeans, he is very often labelled a militant. And depending on the delivery of these truths and the volume of his listeners, he could quite possibly set himself up as a candidate for martyrdom or at least a political outcast. I don't think Museveni would have anything to worry about in either of these accounts.

He states: "The African feudal class was wiped out because it was in competition with the colonialists for power." Do you really think it was a competition, Sir?"

Walter Rodney, one of our martyred brothers, might have disagreed. In his book, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, he wrote: "Mistaken interpretations of the causes of underdevelopment usually stem either from prejudiced thinking or from error of believing that one can learn the answers by looking inside the underdeveloped economy. The true explanation lies in seeking out the relationship between Africa and certain developed countries and in recognising that it is a relationship of exploitation."

Museveni's demand that the WTO end its protectionism in Europe (and I will add the United States), may fall on deaf ears. He compares the industrial and technological development of South East Asia with Africa. Perhaps it would be wise to take a look into the developmental stages of those East Asian countries as a possible model.

Noam Chomsky, in his book, Understanding Power, writes: "Japan had its own colonial system too, incidentally--but its colonies developed, and they developed because Japan didn't treat them the way the Western powers treated their colonies. The Japanese were very brutal colonisers, they weren't nice guys, but they nonetheless developed their colonies economically; the West just robbed theirs."

He goes on to say: "Well, just compare Taiwan with the Philippines, an American colony right next door: the Philippines is a total basket case, a Latin American-style basket case. The Japanese-style development model works--in fact, it's how every country in the world that's developed has done it: by imposing high levels of protectionism, and by extricating its economy from free market discipline. …

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