Ousainou MbengaBy Ousainou Mbenga

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) held its 47th ordinary session in Accra, Ghana on May 19, 2015 as the region is roiling in crises such as the most recent rebellions in Burkina Faso and Burundi. In fact, the entire continent is entangled in the contradictions of its “neocolonial states” with escalating uncertainty for social justice and peaceful existence. This critical period in Africa, marvels Kwame Nkrumah’s prophetic words: “neocolonialism, the last stage of imperialism”.

Nkrumah was right and the rest of them undoubtedly wrong. Even the great Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, at a conference in Ghana gave an apologetic speech to Nkrumah with great regrets for not sharing Nkrumah’s foresight at that critical moment of struggle for the union of African states. Nkrumah saw neocolonialism in the making and warned against the profound consequences that continue to haunt Africa to this day.

The historical conditions and circumstances under which these “institutions” were created will help us understand the behavior of these creatures called “presidents” – “heads of states” and why they will never be at the service of Africa and African people.

The ECOWAS, inaugurated on May 28, 1975 celebrated 40 years of its existence on May 28, 2015 as the institution tasked with charting the path for the economic cooperation and development among the West African states. Its counterparts, Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) inaugurated in 1983, Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) inaugurated 1980 and Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) inaugurated in 1989 all hinge on the imposed economic structures of “mal-development”. And for the maintenance of sub regional solutions to conflict, the ECOWAS inaugurated the ECOMOG in 1990 – the military monitoring group tasked with “conflict resolution” in the region. The military deployment of ECOMOG into Liberia and Sierra Leone was a catastrophic “experiment” with a high cost of innocent civilian lives, particularly in Sierra Leone. It was in March 1998 that the ECOMOG criminal soldiers, predominantly Nigerian soldiers bathed Freetown, Sierra Leone with African blood by bombs, bullets and rocket propel grenades (RPG); again at the behest of the imperialist U.N. Would this same ECOMOG show how well they could fight against the former “white settler” Apartheid army to repel the invasion of Angola? Never! All of these institutions are sanctioned only to kill, starve and humiliate Africans.

Colonialism doesn’t want anything in Africa that would benefit Africans, therefore: the neo-colonial states – colonialism in black faces. And the O.A.U/African Union (AU) celebrates half a century of humiliation, evident in the mediocre functions of its “institutions”, be it regional or continental.

No amount of lavish – wasteful annual conferences and the creation of impotent institutions will rescue Africa from the wretch conditions of the neo-colonial states. Yet, we are offered the likes of Jammeh and his ilk as the solution. There must be a revolutionary willingness to break with the ruinous ideas and practices of the neo-colonial states in order for Africa to emerge out of the swamps of misery and “mal-development”. Colonialism destroyed our self-determination while neo-colonialism gives us the illusions of restoring self-determination.


The seeds of betrayal for genuine African unity were sown a little over 50 years ago at the height of the most promising period of resistance to overturn the colonial relationship of exploitation and degradation. This was a period when the hearts of the vast majority of Africans were won to the revolutionary insights of pioneers like Nkrumah, Sekou Toure, Modibo Keita, Patrice Lumumba, Ben Bella and Abdel Nasser who became known as the Casablanca Group. On the opposite pole of “post-independence” struggle was the Monrovia Group which included Liberia, Nigeria and most of the Francophone or the reactionary French speaking governments. Those poisoned seeds gave growth to the O.A.U which morphed into the A.U, in imitation to the European Union (E.U), the rot that these neo-colonial states represent.

Before the creation of the O.A.U, Ghana and Guinea were the first to initiate the Union of African States after which Mali later joined and it became known as the union of Ghana – Guinea – Mali. The mighty E.T. Mensah, “king of highlife” music composed a song in praise of this lofty ideal of African unity. Mensah in his lyrics called it the “nucleus of the great union” and that “Africa’s strongest foundation has now once been laid forever”. Furthermore, “only unity can safe us”, concluded Mensah. To this day, African unity remains the biggest threat to neocolonialism and its imperialist masters.

The O.A.U was structured to fiercely antagonize Nkrumah and other pioneers who profoundly understood that attaining independence alone was not enough for our complete economic and political liberation from colonial domination. Fifty years of humiliating dependence on the “colonialists” begs the question. Where is the “independence”?

In stark contrast to the O.A.U, which was erected on termite infested colonial pillars, bound to crumble; the union of African states that the great pioneers (Nkrumah, Toure, Keita and Lumumba) envisioned was to be constructed from the bottom up by our own African hands, our blood if necessary, by our sweat and for our absolute benefit and not for Europe or America.

The slanderous attacks on Nkrumah and his subsequent overthrow, the savage assassination of Lumumba and the trail of terror unleashed across the continent was ample evidence that the neocolonial states were in the making. The European administrators need not be on site for the united looting of Africa to continue. The newly created neocolonialists (colonialists in black faces) will assure the parasites of their feed.

This crushing humiliation of mother Africa has never gone unchallenged inside and outside the continent. The only drawback to this challenge is that it happens in isolated pockets of resistance which favor the treacherous guardians of imperialist interests. This fighting in isolation is a thing of the past. We have grown to know Africa better, including all her scattered children around the world.

On May 24, 1963 at the founding meeting of the O.A.U, Nkrumah and others by then knew fully well that the creation of the O.A.U represented the beginning of the neo-colonial era and its willingness to drag the continent into the swamps of misery and humiliation for decades to come. In his speech Nkrumah said: “Our people supported us in our fight for independence because they believed that African governments could cure the ills of the past in a way which could never be accomplished under colonial rule. If therefore, now that we are independent we allow the same conditions to exist that existed in colonial days, all the resentment which overthrew colonialism will be mobilized against us”.

And indeed, it is this fed – up resentment against colonialism and neo-colonialism that is being mobilized and furiously unleashed against the impotent “African ruling class”. Rebellions have become the order of the day across the continent, the most recent being the rebellions against the Blaise Campoare regime in Burkina Faso and Pierre Nkurunziza in Burundi. These rebellions cannot be contained within these colonial borders any longer. It is a “historically determined necessity” for the neo-colonial states to be uprooted for Africa to take her rightful place among nations.

Life under neo-colonialism is grinding into a halt for the vast majority of Africans, while presidents and their “sharers of crumbs” amass unscrupulous wealth and worst still “invest” it in the imperialist countries. Trade among African countries is virtually non-existent.


At the May 19, 2015 ECOWAS summit in Ghana, one of the agenda items was “term limits” for West African presidents, apparently suggested by Macky Sall of Senegal. The “term limit” issue was dead the moment it was brought up for discussion. As was expected, the Gambia (with Jammeh in a tuck-tail retreat from travel) along with Togo vigorously opposed it. Out of the 15 neo-colonies that make up the ECOWAS, it is said that all decisions by this body must be voted on “unanimously” for it to become binding. An abstention or a no vote nullifies the majority vote. This is the typical “hand in glove” relationship these presidents have among themselves in ECOWAS and the A.U. The likes of Jammeh throw periodic petite bourgeois radical temper tantrums against the European colonialists and homosexuality to win sympathy from his religious sycophants and the ill-informed masses. The neo-colonial state was created and trained to show total disregard for “law” with their “bayonet constitutions” exactly as the colonialists ruled their colonies.

On September 7 – 9 2015, the ECOWAS Council of Ministers and Chiefs of Defense yet again met in Dakar, Senegal to discuss security issues and institutional reforms among member states. These wasteful and futile exercises are nothing but distractions to further erode the on –the –ground challenges against the “bayonet constitutional” reforms against “term limits” and the entrenchment of the neocolonial state.

Next year 2016 is election year in many African countries, the most violent period (horizontal violence among the masses) in “third world” countries. All of these actions are preparations to support each other’s regime to maintain the status quo at the expense of the vast majority of our people. The neocolonial states can never provide solutions to our problems; the only solution is to declare revolutionary war against the neocolonial elite and restore our beloved Africa’s dignity once again.

As we go to press, the entrenched “presidential guards” of the deposed Burkina Faso tyrant, Blaise Campoare waged another coup d’etat to restore the status quo and possibly impose Campoare again. Only a revolutionary resistance movement can overthrow the neocolonialists permanently, never to return.




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