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Opinions of Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Columnist: Ayittey, George

They are destroying Africa – Our leaders are destroying Africa.

They are destroying Africa, deprecating the dignity of a once proud people and reducing them paupers and refugees.

Before the colonialists came to Africa, markets were ubiquitous. Timbuktu, salaga, Kano....etc flourished as great market home towns. Timbuktu was a world renowned center of learning with a university. There were many industries as well: metal ware, pottery glass, iron-working, gold, silver-mining, basketry, leatherworks, woodworks and clothing. The Kwari textile market in Kano was once the largest in West Africa. Africa not only fed itself, but exported food as well. Famine was rare.

What traditional African industry or institution has the ruling vampire improved? The village market? Textile industry? Chieftaincy system? Have they recovered the ancient manuscript of Timbuktu?.

Afflicted with a bizarre bout of xenophilia (love of foreign), they are destroying Africa, turning its people into beggars and laughing stock.

They shunned their domestic textile industries and then imported FOREIGN textiles to destroy their own. Textile factories in Lesotho closed in 2003 and 2004, thereby throwing 5,000 workers out of their jobs.

In Ghana, there were more than 20 textile firms that employed more than 20,000 people in 1995. In 2012, the industry had just 4 textile factories employing less than 3,000 Ghanians (Daily Graphic, April 30, 2012. Pg.40).

In 1982, 500 factories churned out textile products in Kano. Today, fewer than 100 remain. There are more beggars and other visible signs of poverty in Kano than ever before.

They destroyed their own educational system and then send their children to foreign schools. They destroyed their own health-care system and then, go seek medical treatment or even, go and die abroad. They stifle or prosecute their own domestic investors and then roll out red carpets to attract or welcome Foreign investors.

They arrest, brutalize, jail or ignore their own domestic experts and then spend $10bn yearly on foreign experts. They destroy their own currency and then seek to import and use Foreign currency. They destroy their own banking system and then go on to deposit their loot in Foreign banks.

They shun their own domestic economy and then go on to invest their loot in snapping up real estates in Foreign countries. They destroy their own indigenous markets and then go shop in Foreign markets.

They denigrated and castigated their own indigenous form of participatory democracy based on consensus and then copied Foreign systems; for example, the idiotic one-party state system. President for life should be jailed for life.

They rejected their own indigenous African constitution and then copied and blended Foreign constitution they didn't understand to impose on their people. They impede domestic trade with bad roads, check-points, etc.... And then do everything to promote foreign trade.

Each time a crisis erupt, they never seek African solutions, they rush off cup in hand to beg for Foreign solutions. They spurned their own religions, imposing Foreign religion on their people. Neither Islam nor Christainity is indigenous to Africa. Why are Africans slaughtering themselves over Foreign religions.

George Ayittey is a Professor of Economics and also the President of Free Africa Foundation in Washington, DC.