In his 1965 publication titled "Neo-Colonialism, the Last Stage of imperialism," former Ghanaian president and hero of African independence, Kwame Nkrumah, warned Africa of the implications of neocolonialism.
Barely 60 years after independence, the evidence of neocolonialism and Imperialism are becoming more real than ever with each passing day. Yet, when we relate with the words by their common definitions, one can argue that they are synonyms for governance – as we know it, in the African continent.
Neither neocolonialism nor Imperialism can be possible with the help of African leaders who have surrendered themselves as comprador bourgeoisie who are ever ready to carry out the biddings of their colonial masters.
Neocolonialism is the use of economic, political, cultural, or other means to control or influence other countries, especially former dependencies. Like Nkrumah rightly predicted, this is the target of colonial powers as a means of extending the cold arms of colonialism.
Through comprador bourgeoisies, the erstwhile colonial masters have created policies in Africa that extend their power and influence through whatever means possible.
Decades after decade, there has continued to be a strong presence of leaders in the African continent who have continued to help their colonial masters fulfill their biddings. This article highlights 8 current African leaders who have taken actions that exhibit colonial footprints that do not promote pan-Africanism and development for their individual countries.
In no particular order, here are 8 African leaders who have exhibited traits that prove they are agents of Neo-Colonialism.
1. Teodoro Obiang Nguema, President of Equatorial Guinea
The president of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, is currently the world's longest-serving president. He has been in office for 41 years. He came into power in 1979 after he toppled his uncle.
His son, Teodorin Nguema Obiang, is the country's vice-president in charge of security and defense.
2. Paul Biya, President of Cameroon
The 85-year-old president has been governing the French West African country since 1982. He was re-elected in 2018 for seven-year tenure, taking his reign to 38 years as of 2021. The Cameroonian president is often referred to as a 'virtual president' because he is always in France or in the top floor suite of the luxurious Intercontinental Hotel, Geneva, Switzerland, where he spends months on a stretch.
3. Denis Sassou, President of Congo-Brazzaville
He is the president of Congo-Brazzaville. President Sassou Nguesso has spent 36 years in office so far. He first served from 1979 to 1992 and returned in 1997 at the end of a civil war. He was re-elected again in March 2016, and he recently won re-election in 2021, which will take his reign to over 40 years in power.
During the 2021 campaign, Sassou ordered internet services to be shut down for almost a week, including on Election Day. In addition, global Witness alleged in April 2019 that his other daughter Claudia Sassou Nguesso, who is an MP and the president's Head Of Communications, received almost $20m (£15m) to buy a luxury flat in Trump Tower, New York.
4. Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda
Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni has been in power since 1986, meaning he has been in power for 34 so far. He got into power after he won the war that ousted Idi Amin Dada. He was elected for a sixth term in January 2021.
It is surprising how Museveni has turned from a liberator into a dictator who clampdown on the opposition with an iron fist. His major opposition, Bobi Wine has been at the receiving end of many arrests and human rights abuses.
5. Isaias Afwerki, President of Eritrea
The only president, Eritreans, have known since independence is Isaias Afwerki. He has been in power since independence in April 1993. He has so far governed for 27 years. Another liberator-turned-dictator, President Afwerki, rules Eritrea with an iron fist and is currently has numerous human rights allegations cases. Many locals pray for an end to his reign, but his clampdown on opposition has prevented this for many years.
6. King Mswati III, King of eSwatini
Africa's last supreme monarch rules over a nation (kingdom). Despite being very rich in natural resources, eSwatini is a poor country, and the average life expectancy is the lowest in the world at 33 years. Seventy percent of people live on less than $1 a day, and 40 percent are jobless.
Despite the suffering of the people of eSwatini, King Mswati has hardly shown concern or interest in solving their problems. Instead, he lives extravagantly, using his kingdom's assets to finance his costly affections for German cars, first-class leisure excursions around the world, and his constant taste for beautiful younger women.
7. Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria
Muhammadu Buhari GCFR is a Nigerian politician who has been president of Nigeria since 2015. Buhari is a retired Nigerian Army Major General and has served as military head of state in Nigeria between 1983 to 1985, after taking power in a military coup d'état.
Despite his re-election as a civilian president, Buhari has not repented from his old sins, which have seen him flaunt court orders countless times. There is a current ban on Twitter throughout the country on his orders after the social media platform tagged his comments as hate speech. He has also abused the powers of the Judiciary, which has become inexistent under his government.
8. Emmerson Mnangagwa, President of Zimbabwe
The hand-pick successor of Robert Mugabe has done very little to lift the burdens and suffering of his people, but surprisingly, he remains a sweetheart of foreign leaders. A recent report by Aljazeera described the president as one whose government has "deepened Zimbabwe's economic struggles, enabled endemic corruption, fuelled instability, and targeted opposition figures, rights activists and journalists to strike fear into a restive population."
What are your thoughts? Which leader(s) would you like to see on the list?