Wars, Guns and Votes
By Paul Collier
Published by HarperCollins Publishers (2009)
HISTORY has proven that the ideal relationship the whiteman wants with the blackman is that of ‘horse and rider’, the whites being the riders.
From slavery, colonisation to neo-colonialism, the whiteman has always found reason to oppress blacks.
Blacks are inferior beings, reckons whites.
Whites insist on dictating Africa’s pace.
Without whites, Africa was, and is, doomed, they believe.
As such, Paul Collier, in his book Wars, Guns and Votes, advances the message that without the West, developing nations cannot rule themselves effectively.
Africa, which the writer concedes falls under the ‘bottom billion’ category, is not capable of promoting democracy and rule of law.
It is the West’s type of democracy that should be adopted by Africa.
To determine the success or failure of African governments is the West’s duty, Collier posits.
Once again, we have another whiteman trying to sell the ‘whiteman is superior’ mantra to the world.
What a warped way of thinking!
Why do whites think themselves superior and more qualified to define democracy for everyone else?
If blacks could organise themselves to fight against colonial rule, why would they invite the same devil from the past to superintend over their welfare?
Collier writes: “The key idea is that minimal international intervention could unleash the powerful force of the political violence internal to the bottom billion as a force for good instead of harm.”
In as much as the writer suggests ‘minimal international intervention’ it is obvious that is not what the whiteman wants.
The ideal scenario for them is to govern the day-to-day running of affairs in Africa.
For long Africa has sent a message to whites, ‘stay out of our affairs’.
Through groupings such as the African Union (AU) and Southern African Development Community (SADC), African governments have proved their capability to lead their people, advance development agendas and even solve problems.
Collier takes a swipe at the AU.
To him, it is a body that is not helping Africa move forward, but advancing personal interests of African leaders.
Is it not the same AU that has put in place policy frameworks such as Agenda 2063 that promote development, industrialisation and co-operation among member-states?
“The African Union now has a rule refusing to accept coups as legitimate,” writes Collier.
“While it is entirely understandable that incumbent presidents would happily agree to such a rule, it is misplaced.”
Indeed the AU is there to ensure the safety and security of people in its member-states.
There is no way they can promote violence.
By speaking against coups, the continental grouping is justified.
Collier writes about how the West has manipulated African governments through aid.
Aid advanced to Africa comes with strings attached.
Their aim is; ‘force’ African governments to conform to the will of the West.
The West takes advantage of the fact that some African states are in dire need of aid and have no option but to ‘sing from the whiteman’s hymn book’.
“The other possible explanation is that donor conditionality has imposed discipline on governments, forcing them into reform even if they did not want to,” says Collier.
“Governments do not like being made to do something against their will and they are remarkably ingenious at finding ways of not doing it.
“Donors are also amazingly bad at enforcing their agreements with governments.”
For the writer, donors have helped enforce discipline in African states.
“Experience is a hard school, but all the societies of the bottom billion have been through it,” Collier writes.
True to Collier’s words, Africa has indeed learnt from experience that the whiteman means no good.
As such, Africa is always on the lookout and ready to protect and defend its sovereignty.
Renowned author, Chinua Achebe said: “Democracy is not something you put away for 10 years and then in the 11th year you wake up and start practising again.
“We have to begin to rule ourselves again.”
Achebe’s message should be a reminder to Africa that it is their duty to rule themselves and let no whiteman interfere.