AFRICA-CHINA: THE DRAGON'S TENTACLES
What Africa celebrates as independence is merely an abdicated position of the Colonial masters to the surrogate and loyal natives. Africa remains a puppet in the hands of the colonial masters.
By Sikaile C Sikaile
The Africa-China relationship is akin to an evolving romantic journey: from the years of sweet dating, the relationship has evolved into a productive marriage that has established unbreakable family ties over the years of calculated penetration and assimilation.
Today, the presence of China is aesthetically embedded and displayed on the African façade.
In every large city you visit, Chinese characters would stand out like some graffiti on a white wall. Now, like in the analogy of marriage, the relationship is on the rocks with increasing discontent on the African continent. Acrimony is building up in this relationship each day of increasing awakening for Africa. Unless it is diffused, targeted uprisings against Chinese interests are bound to escalate on the African continent.
The threat is imminent, options should be weighed and deployed now.
Is divorce or separation a realistic consideration? How would any option Africa opt to take affect her strategic identity and global position? Why is Africa beginning to question the fidelity of her partner after all these years? What options does Africa hold in this turbulent storm of raging waters on the revived global dominance between the West and the orient?
The deep-rooted ties cannot be broken with easy. China is cloned on the African landscape through her generations-long investment. China is a necessary evil that should be placated with caring patience rather than exorcised with aggression. The wheels of Africa, just like almost the entire world are turning, thanks to China`s economic boom and the ensuing insatiable appetite for global dominion and its diverse demands.
China may have embedded her dragon tentacles into Africa like malignant cancer cells but there is no quick fix unilateral solution to this malady.
We are caught up in the murky waters of socio-economic and political annexation whose ramifications will continue to reverberate for generations to come.
China currently is commanding the world market for raw materials and production of key economic growth stock portfolios. The production cycle has evolved the order of business with an ever-increasing stockpiling of raw materials to feed her 24/7 industrial machinery.
Africa is the lynchpin.
China`s strategic annexation of Africa is yielding the projected results and almost single-handedly lifting her to global dominance. It is simply foolish for any African leader or citizen to think China is after developing Africa.
Over the years, China has been strategic in forging an economic foothold on Africa. China detached herself from the then frenzy and scramble for African political dominion by the western world. Her
The policy of non-Political interference in countries is subversive and succeeded numb the world, Africa included from predicting the status quo. On hindsight, China’s agenda was a jigsaw puzzle whose pieces are completing the complexity that is swallowing Africa. China is too far spread to be contained, let alone stopped.
The agenda is complete dominance: Socioeconomic and Political. China`s Politics is unique and highly subterranean in nature.
China is the complex root system that holds the majestic tree of African identity. No regime in Africa is without the Sino DNA.
Africa must gather in unison to craft a negotiated settlement on the Chinese question at the table of brotherhood. Today we have Chinese nationals in Africa manning security wings e.g. Police( the case of Zambia). It took the Zambian people to denounce it.
The question is how many African nations can demand so much from China like they are doing to Africa? China is bankrolling Africa for their personal gain, China is Africa.
“We are caught up in the murky waters of socio-economic and political annexation...”
If this narrative is to be changed, and it must, Africa should unite and speak with one voice. A robust collective and gradual renegotiation of Africa`s political and trade culture should be initiated through regionally structured brokering. No one country can singly attain a favorable trade outcome.
The internalized and isolated ranting on Chinese dominance and trade discontent in individual African Countries will facilitate and promote this imbalance rather than tilt an equilibrium. Africa should begin to talk now rather than later.
Africa needs to deploy measurable diplomacy to survive the Sino-Africa marriage of convenience. China remains a very strategic partner to Africa`s hope but unfortunately, the other partner wants everything.
The colonial legacy
Unfortunately for Africa, the colonial legacy has found a stable foothold in her national and regional political life that sustains her vulnerability.
In-country Politics remain highly polarized and patronized by western powers. The external subjugation in independent Africa renders her pronounced emancipation phony.
What Africa celebrates as independence is merely an abdicated position of the Colonial masters to the surrogate and loyal natives. Africa remains a puppet in the hands of the colonial masters. Africa`s worst enemy is Africa itself, especially her most corrupt dictators.
The Colonial Masters` stage ceded political dominion at the chorus of Africa`s lamentation for independence, whose true meaning and objective content remain undefined in the African context. To an African, independence simply meant replacing the colonial masters with an African figurehead.
Little did Africa realize the complex meaning of independence. The colonial masters were very quick to grant this misnomer as long as they remained in firm control of the object of true independence; social and economic control.
China has leveraged and outmaneuvered Africa and the western world riding on this incentive. Africa needed critical resources to exert her independent status at home and abroad. The excitement of political independence weakened Africa`s guard on her long-term growth and position in the global fraternity. Her inexhaustible resources were lavishly opened up to any speculator who guaranteed regime longevity and funded the pomp of outward independence prestige.
China steadily started inserting her pincer dragon tentacles through multi-regional investments such as railroads, electricity, and mining. Background support to political groups and proxy business agents within African countries helped cement her position. Loans and subsidiary financing options were opening to African governments.
This colonial legacy has continued to weaken Africa to this day. No African country is without a Chinese spine transplant.
The Political Fragility
The proclivity of Africa lies in her political fragility. Africa in general with a haystack exception of a few countries remains in political volatility. Even the few countries that could be singled out as outstanding epitomes of political stability are so internally divided that their policy framework is extremely vulnerable to external manipulation and penetration. The drive for regime perpetuation which happens to be the greatest weakness in Africa’s hope for a meaningful engagement with China remains the topmost internal threat.
China’s democratic values remain questionable. Having been good governance and human rights activist for Africa and Amnesty International for almost seven years now, there are a lot of human rights violations we have noted involving China and it is sad that most Chinese companies in Africa have continued exhibiting this behavior.
In this 21st century, many nations are championing improvements in democratic principles. These principles enable citizens to have a voice in their own nations and the globe at large. Good development is inseparable from human rights and democracy. So we wish to question the China-African marriage of convenience.
What African leaders should ask themselves is, do China’s kind of governance system promote the freedom of its citizens? In as much we want economic development it is so much important for us not to ignore critical issues such as citizens’ rights. Regime change has become a death and life business with massive armament and cash hoardings among politicians. In the quest to remain in power, regimes have cut underhand trade deals with China and have granted tax relaxation to facilitate resource supplies.
The political fragility across the countries has further contributed to Africa`s weakness and failure to consolidate her position. Respective countries seem preoccupied with national issues to even remotely begin to look beyond their borders.
Regional bodies remain mute to spur meaningful economic dialogue and review of existing global politics and trade relationships.
African politics remain deplete of objective alignment and introspection to foster strategic redirection. Africa-China relationship is potentially a window of growth and global positioning for Africa.
A non-antagonistic renegotiation of the Africa-China relationship should be ignited with urgency. An objectively constituted representative structure should be established across nations to facilitate this change. The long-term trade trajectories should be scrutinized.
China should come out openly and be fair in her dealings with African nations. most African nations have been exploited and if we don’t take care of this situation, there will be nothing for future generations to benefit from African natural resources. China cannot claim to be after developing Africa, because their business structure is a win for China only.
My appeal goes to all African leaders to open their eyes and negotiate foreign investment which will promote an African agenda. Policies that will ensure that our resources are protected and benefit African. look at the Zambian situation, about 6.6-million-dollar debt is estimated and the former government of Zambia never disclosed this to the nation not even China has come out to tell Zambians how much we owe them.
This is not the only case about China-China-African unhealthy relationship most if not all African nations are dancing to the neo-colonization which may be worse than the past colonization Africa suffered.
As long as China makes a profit it will careless about resources that end up in politicians’ pockets instead of benefiting citizens of the countries they are dealing with. Africa needs fair business deals.
*Sikaile C Sikaile, Good Governance and Human Rights Activist for Africa and Amnesty International. This article was originally published by Arise Africa magazine which is published by Arise Africa Group, a business wing of Voice of the African Child (VOAC).