During the slave trade, bad African chiefs would raid neighbouring territories and capture prisoners to sell to the slavers. How despicable! But the worse chiefs would just sell their own people to the slavers.
Anyway, when slavery became unsustainable, the colonisers came and occupied the entire countries, making the Africans slave from home and the products of their sweat shipped off abroad. The chiefs and kings also became losers. Previously it was only the subjects who had fallen victims, many dying on the long arduous journey to slavery.
That is the general story of the slave trade and eventual colonialism, with slight variations from country to country. With time, the Africans fought for their independence and they got what some people soon cynically called flag independence. This is because the economic order didn’t change much.
The new African leaders came to be regarded as mere agents of the European colonial powers. Meanwhile the Europeans no longer bore responsibility for whatever was going wrong in Africa, since our countries were supposedly independent and in charge of their own affairs.
Then many of the African leaders became dictatorial demagogues and many people started sincerely wishing that the colonialists had remained in charge. Out there, the Cold War was raging and as long as a dictator remained loyal to one block (East or West) he was assured of protection from his own people by foreigners. We ended up with the so-called "false starts" and "lost decades." Then the Cold War ended and our countries started undergoing the so-called second liberation. Many dictators were chased away by revolutionaries.
Now a modern version of what happened several centuries ago is on. Everyone knows of the slavery taking place in the Middle East and parts of Asia.
This time the slaves sell their family assets like land to ship themselves into slavery. For some it is not just their labour that is taken from them; their organs are harvested, with their lives.
But what about the modern day chiefs otherwise called presidents? Like the chiefs who lost independence together with the subjects with whom they remained in the colonies, the presidents are also taking themselves to the economic masters. How many Africa summits have they now attended? Five? Six?
The youth cross Mediterranean waters in deplorable vessels to get there; the presidents fly private jets to go and beg for loans, causing “traffic jam” at the economic masters’ airports.
Surprisingly the presidents are not only aware that Africa is the net transferer of money to the economies abroad, they also know that they have enough resources on the continent to make begging unnecessary.
And by now who doesn’t know that the true cost of a foreign “funded” project often equals the local counter-fund the borrower provides, making borrowing unnecessary for the project to be implemented, as the bulk of the loan is stolen, to re-enslave the unborn Africans later?
And then the funniest part: It is from Russia most African leaders were promised military aid. And if you think those weapons are for killing anybody else besides fellow Africans, you might need a head examination.
Whoever bewitched Africa, as our people say, must have done it at midday while stark naked in the village road junction and has not yet dressed up.
Joachim Buwembo is a Kampala-based journalist. Email:email@example.com