Relentless response has been generated over Ayittey's piece. Here is another one from Dr.Peyi Soyinka-Airewele, Asst prof of Politics at Ithaca College and Director of the Alliance for Community Transformation (ACTAfrica)
"Slavery, colonialism, artificial borders, and Western imperialism have
little to do with Africa's conflicts" ??
Then you go on to acknowledge an unending postcolonial Western presence,
albeit deemed by yourself to be "well-intentioned":
(I quote from your mail)-:
"The cornerstone of this "Western" approach, often foisted on African
combatants by well-intentioned Western donors or the international
"Back in 1993, the late Somali warlord, Mohammed Farar Aideed, was
transported in U.S. military aircraft to Addis Ababa to take part in peace
"The most outrageous appeasement, however, was that of Foday Sankoh, the
barbarous warlord of Sierra Leone....The 1999 Lome Accord, brokered by
Rev. Jesse Jackson, former President Clinton's Special Envoy to Africa,
rewarded RUF with four cabinet positions and Sankoh himself with the
ministry of mines."
Finally, you call again on that same philanthropically engaged
missionary’ West to intervene as in the past:
"It is imperative that the UN, the U.S., the AU and the international
community insist on the indigenous African model for viable resolution.."
I really struggle hard to comprehend this somewhat peripheral treatment of
a very complex past in which all of Africa's political history is reduced
to simple chiefdom models led by "chiefs" (no Monarchs, empires and kings)
with direct mediative contact with their village people. Even if we decide
to revel in the illusion of a simple, uniquely democratic, "earth mother"
lifestyle of the African past, we then must raise questions about the
historical process that transformed such democratically peaceful,
"servants of the village" into "bloodthirsty", "Swiss bank socialists"
and limb chopping warlords --as you have characterized the continents
modern political leadership.
Karma? Divine judgement? The final unveiling of the true nature of
blackness and Africaness (as the racist West has for long declaimed) and
for which slavery was a blessing in disguise?, or a conspiratorial
decision by all African nationalist leaders to refuse to share power and
to then proceed on a path of collective self immolation and vampiristic
Or dare I suggest again in a boring echo of other analysts and historians,
that the non-democratic and violent nature of the colonial intervention
and the strategic games of the cold war might have a substantive, easily
demonstrated place in explaining your theory about the transition from the
peaceful indigenous political structures to which you are now demanding a
return and the present day crises of governance? To push your own position
a little further- I would have to ask why/how those indigenous political
structures and Chiefs that you praise so eloquently, lost their place,
role and authority in Africa? - was it a democratic vote by the African
masses in the 19th century? a UN decision by representatives of African
colonies convinced of the demerits of their own indigenous lifestyle? I
think you really have to produce some effective commentary on the social,
cultural and political interventions that generated this critical break
between holistic African socio-political indegeneity and the modern day
crises of globalized states- ---- but then, that would lead us into the
taboo area of "colonial" and imperialistic discourses.
My own experiences - when I fled Nigeria ahead of a closer encounter with
General Abacha and then got to "enjoy" direct, frank and honest
disclosures from the American and British government over their decision
to support the Nigerian dictator and their decision to make my three
months old baby a bargaining tool against the pro-democracy activists in
Nigeria - make it impossible for me to subscribe to a concept of the
benign involvement of the West in Africa's ongoing struggles for change.
It would be a denial of reality.
Like yourself, I would insist that millions of Africans have been engaged
in an unending battle against the domestic tyrants of which you speak AND
against the foreign powers that have a clear interest in keeping them in
place. From Mobutu, best African ally of the US government, the politics
of assassination of Lumumba, to the self serving fiends of apartheid. The
declassified documents of the USA government appear to belie this aura of
positive Western interventions in Africa that you go to great pains to
>From my reading of your books, including "Africa Betrayed", it is apparent
that you write with a concern for the betrayal of the African masses by
their leaders. I would argue that we do as great a disservice to the
African masses when we deny the continuity of the past (coloniaism,
imperialism at al) in contemporary struggles for change, for peace and
justice; when we deny the realities of the globalization of violence,
economics and national interests and their impact on local politics; and
when we deny them the opportunity to read a comprehensive analysis
regarding the weight of local and global tyrants that roost on their