Nkrumah Would Have Rejected "China's Gift To Africa."

African Union HQ@addis Ababa

Mon, 30 Jan 2012 Source: Akoto, Akwasi A. Afrifa

"And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing....anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount."

The new African Union headquarters with a statue of Kwame Nkrumah in front, at Addis Ababa, labeled as a “China's gift to Africa” is very disturbing. In fact, it is not a gift. It is a bribe. In diplomatic parlance, a gift is a bribe. It is not an appreciative gesture like the Eiffel Tower. We haven’t done anything for them-or have we? It is the biggest open bribe in the history of the world- just like the Chinese fortune cookie proverb, “If you want to do something in secret, do it in public.”

The gift, importantly, reminds me of a story I read in my teens. In the story, the richest and most respectful man in town was also the biggest Chief robber. He built the town a state of the art prison as a gift to much applause. When the Law finally caught with him, he was locked up in his prison. And he escaped. With the fourth in line of the Standing Committee of the Central Committee, Jia Quigin, in attendance at the “opening ceremony of the Headquarters,” Edgar Wallace’s short story is the perfect Myth that could be employed in the future to easily and simply teach our children at a very early age – age three perhaps - how the Chinese came to own Africa... in less than 50 years after Independence...why their names are now "Chan," and no longer John or Jacques...not even Kwame.

In truth, the prospect of Africa getting a worthy competitor in the “Neo-Colonization” arena was an exhilarating thought to an ardent free marketer. Alas the West and our other Masters were about to get serious competition; the better for the consumer.

But Chinese pace has taken me by surprise. Naively, I had pegged the inevitable conquest in two generations, forgetting that the “Year of the Dragon” was just around the corner, a generation ago. Comparatively, only Genghis Khan’s army had come anywhere near the current pace.

With this $200m colossus, the Chinese have, in a single swoop, laid down a deeper foundation, in a much shorter time than it had taken the West and our other Masters. In effect, the Chinese are going to do our political leaders what the West did to our forefather Kings and their tribes; though the latter didn’t know any better-yet many of them fought. This time around, there is a new breed of the Africa tribe, the post colonial tribe: the dictatorial tribes, democratic tribes, military tribes, religious tribes, the educated tribes etc and they have given up without a single protest.

At least once a year, every African leader will have to travel to the AU Headquarters. Factoring in the all year round Sub-committee meetings involving Vice Presidents, foreign ministers, AU representatives, permanent representatives, Army Generals Staff, NGOs and so on, the whole continent is now vulnerable. A $200m high tech structure will need the tech crews, engineers, repair, maintenance outfits on daily basis; mostly they will be Chinese or Chinese trained and specially trained by State agents and Commissars. An Africa country with no official diplomatic ties to China needs not worry anymore. In any given day, an African Representative, from any part of the Continent, could bump into a Chinese Agent in Addis Ababa, ever ready with a hint, a helping hand, an inducement, a gift, recommendations; none of them coincidental; directly and confidentially sanctioned by the Politburo. One would not need to go to Beijing and leave behind tracks. Addis Abba is the cover story now.

Though we are all his children, we desperately need the worshipers of Nkrumah to decipher for Africa, the symptoms of Neo-Colonialism and Post-Imperialism; whether the Osagyefo had warned against gifts or had said anything about the East. However, we don’t have to expect much help from that quarter, judging by the way things are going, do we?For they are busy worshiping the Golden Calf in front of the Chinese Pagoda in Addis Ababa, hypnotized out of their senses. “And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strewed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it.”

Akwasi.A.Afrifa Akoto

Columnist: Akoto, Akwasi A. Afrifa