Dr. Ayittey offers a quick response to the questions addressed to to him by Sadiq Manzan, who wrote:
To George Ayittey: If you must insult bad African leaders so much, why
would you get so upset about not having taken a photograph with
President Bush?  Is that any indication of your ideological cast and
agenda? There is also the issue of foreign aid having a negative impact
on Africa.  Assuming the evidence supports your point, what then is the
solution?  Simply ending it?

1. Ideology is not particularly relevant to the analysis or resolution
of Africa's crises. Pro-Soviet/East and pro-West governments in Africa
have failed their people. Western conservatives champion economic
freedom (capitalism, smaller government, lower taxes, etc.) while
Western liberals champion human rights and political freedom. I don't
believe you can promote one form of freedom and exclude the others.

2. When I was at the White House on Dec 22, 1995 to participate in one
session of Vice President Al Gore's Bi-National Commission, I took a
picture with him. I keep copies of such pictures in my wallet when I
travel to Africa. They became handy when I was tossed into jail in
Dakar, Senegal. Won't elaborate.

3. My beef with foreign aid is two-fold. First, African leaders have
become hopelessly dependent on it. Second, it has failed to work in
Africa. But you can't end it because there is a huge constituency in the
West that seeks its retention. It believes it is a vehicle by which to
"help" Africa. But for the past 20 years, I have battled Western
government officials, U.S. Senators, Congressmen, World Bank officials,
and other naïve Westerners who think they help Africa by giving money to
corrupt, incompetent and unaccountable African leaders. Back in the
mid-1980s, I was demanding that foreign aid be given only to those
African countries that were democratic and where their leaders were held
accountable. In fact, I threatened in a testimony before the House
Sub-Committee on Africa that, if foolish Western governments want to
throw away their money, they should not ask the African people to pay it
back. On September 28, 2004, I repeated this threat in testimony before
the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, chaired by Senator Richard
Lugard. On this, I have thoroughly been vindicated. I was demanding
democratic accountability back in the 1980s BEFORE Western donors added
"political conditionality" after the collapse of the former Soviet
Union. I have also been campaigning against "odious African debts." So
the issue is NOT ending foreign aid to Africa BUT making it more
effective. To be more effective, the current aid programs to Africa will
have to be overhauled and restructured. I  have spent 20 years of my
life in this  effort. But will "they" overhaul the programs if they
benefit the  donors more than the recipients? I will post at a later
date the reasons why current aid programs don't work and what needs to
be done to make them more effective.

4. Correction: I do NOT insult African leaders CHOSEN by their people.
Only those who imposed themselves on their people, brutally repressed
them, looted their wealth and left wanton destruction and death in their
Post colonial African leaders have caused the deaths of more than 13
million Africans since 1960:

* 1 million Nigerians died in the Biafra War (1967)

* 200,000 Ugandans were slaughtered by Idi Amin in 1970s,

* 100,000 were butchered by President Marcias Nguema in Equatorial
Guinea in the 1970s,

* Over 400,000 Ethiopians perished under Comrade Mengistu Haile Mariam,

* Over 500,000 Somalis perished under Siad Barre,

* Over 1 million have died in the wars of Liberia, Sierra Leone and
Ivory Coast,

* Over 1 million died in Mozambique's civil war,

* 1.5 million in Angola's civil war

* 800,000 perished in Rwanda's genocide,

* 300,000 in Burundi

* 3 million have perished in Sudan's civil wars,

* 4 million have died from Congo's wars,

The rough total is 13.8 million and this does not include deaths in
Chad, Western Sahara, Algeria and  those who perish at refugee camps.
Historians tell us that the total number black Africans shipped as
slaves to the Americas in the 17th and 18th Centuries was about 10
million and Africa lost 2 million through the East African slave trade
ran by Arabs. This means that, in a space of just 40 years after
independence, post colonial African leaders have slaughtered MORE
Africans than were lost to BOTH the West and East African slave trades.
Think about it and the implications. So how do we respond to the racist
charge that, after all, the slave trade wasn't "bad" for Africa, given
what post colonial African leaders have done to their own black people?

The post colonial leadership is a disgrace to black people. I won't back
down. They not only butchered their people but destroyed one African
country after another:

* In 1990, Liberia was destroyed by the regime of General Samuel Doe,

* In 1991, Mali by the regime of General Moussa Traore,

* In 1993, the Central African Republic was destroyed by the military
regime of General Andre Kolingba,

* In 1993, Somalia was ruined by the regime of General Siad Barre,

* In 1994, Rwanda by the regime of General Juvenal Habryimana,

* In 1995, Burundi by the regime of General Pierre Buyoya,

* In 1996, Zaire by regime of General Mobutu Sese Seko,

* In 1997, Sierra Leone by regime of General Joseph Momoh,

* In 1999, Niger by the regime of General Ibrahim Barre Mainassara,

* In 2000, Ivory Coast by the regime of General Robert Guei.

* Nigeria has been reduced to a comatose midget by a succession of
military GENERALS.

Note the frequency of the title "General". The slate of post colonial
African leaders has been a disgusting assortment of military
coconut-heads, quack revolutionaries, crocodile liberators, "Swiss bank"
socialists, brief-case bandits, semi-illiterate brutes and vampire
elites. Sadiq can have them; I don't.

Faithful only to their private bank accounts, kamikaze kleptocrats
raided and plundered the treasury with little thought of the
ramifications on national development. Billions of dollars in personal
fortunes have shamelessly been amassed by African leaders while their
people wallow in abject poverty. At an African civic groups meeting in
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in June 2002, Nigeria's President, Olusegun
Obasanjo, claimed that "corrupt African leaders have stolen at least
$140 billion (£95 billion) from their people in the decades since
independence" (The London Independent, June 14, 2002. Web posted at

The fortunes of African heads of state were published by French Weekly
(May, 1997) and reprinted in the Nigerian newspaper, The News (Aug 17,

1. General Sani Abacha of Nigeria 120 billion FF (or $20 billion)

2. President H. Boigny of Ivory Coast 35 billion FF (or $6 billion)

3. Gen. Ibrahim Babangida of Nigeria 30 billion FF (or $5 billion)

4. President Mobutu of Zaire 22 billion FF (or $4 billion)

5. President Mousa Traore of Mali 10.8 billion FF (or $ $2 billion)

6. President Henri Bedie of Ivory Coast 2 billion FF (or $300 million)

7. President Denis N'guesso of Congo 1.2 billion FF (or $200 million)

8. President Omar Bongo of Gabon 0.5 billion FF (or $ $80 million)

9. President Paul Biya of Cameroon 450 million FF (or $70 million)

10. President Haile Mariam of Ethiopia 200 million FF (or $30 million)

11. President Hissene Habre of Chad 20 million FF (or $3 million)

Most traditional African rulers wouldn't get away with the heinous
crimes and atrocities MODERN African leaders perpetrate against their
own people. Name one traditional African leader who looted his tribal
treasury for deposit in Swiss banks. The MODERN leaders seem to be
aliens from Jupiter. Said Kwame Toure (Stokely Carmichael), former
founder of the Black Panther Party in the United States, "[Modern]
African leaders are so corrupt that we are certain if we put dogs in
uniforms and put guns on their shoulders, we'd be hard put to
distinguish between them" (qtd in The Washington Post, April 8, 1998;
George Ayittey,
Washington, DC