Africa’s Irrepressible March To Freedom

By Mamadou Koulibaly *


There were at least twelve Presidential elections in Africa in the year 2011 which has just ended. This year 2012, seven countries are preparing to hold the same type of elections plus six legislatives which will all take place within the context of the risk of violence. Infact, these elections follow each other in quick succession with the same degree of violence and consequently have not clearly indicated that that there can lead to prosperity, stability, and peace. Rather, on the contrary, the process of democratic transitions initiated in the 90s has not yet been completed. Quite often; these transitions are regularly prolonged, thus excluding the people’s choice.


After forty years of one party system, the African political life stumbled on a multi-party system which has demonstrated its limits. All this is taking place at an alarming continuity, and the elite who in the past fought tirelessly for political freedoms have been unable to lead their states to democracy.Evidently, multi-partism is not the only way to democracy. Every election on the continent bears testimony to this. Infact, after sponsoring the liberation of their countries from the colonial yoke, the African single parties forgot that of the people. Worst of still, they preferred to perpetrate alienating domination with one major change: the master was no longer the white or European colonial master. Henceforth, he had the local colour.


Thus the people were maintained in the same servitude or bondage without any right, only jailers had changed. More than fifty years of independence have brought no change to the plight of Africans. Consequently neither independence nor multi-partism had the better of the established fact. Africans remain in chains and their freedom is still held hostage.


Finally multi-partism has enabled the freeing of politicians who they have the liberty to form their political parties and compete one another in order to accede to the power of patrimonial control of the state and its power. The political freedoms thus acquired have had an impact on the liberation of the people who remain subjected to the same exploitation .Despite the multipartism,which would have created a counter -power ,we see that the land which before colonization belonged to the people ,belonged to inhabitants, remains state property without any person opposing dispossession. The land remains state property and the rural land certificates have not been established and given to farmers who have always had the customary right over the land.


African integration remains fragile, even inexistent for the every country prefers to retain its property rights its enclosure and its content. Worst again, the casualty of multi-partism is heavy in human life if we count the number of deaths resulting from the internal conflicts caused by political violence. Africa remains the most violent continent and according to a recent official from the American State Department,16 African countries including my country Cote d’Ivoire are classified among the 32 most dangerous countries in the world. Consequently, given this disastrous balance sheet, this decade should be one of the liberation of the liberation of the people and essentially that of the advance of economic freedom. Concretely, economic freedom should break down the barrier which constitutes the wall of the enclosure in order to free the framework for contracts, private property rights, free trade, price freedom, free enterprise, in all sectors and areas and the opening up of markets to the entire world. Thus, after political freedoms obtained through multi-partism, it is imperative to fight for the growth of economic freedom.


Globalization requires that African markets be opened in order to encourage African manufacturers as well as direct foreign private investment. The freedoms in question are those that are governed by free agreements and transparent contracts and should in no way give room to mutual arrangements. The freedom concerned requires that prices and revenues should be in flexible and stable currencies. Rural land certificates should be distributed immediately and at reasonable costs so as to put an end to the system of land confiscation by African governments who, for the most part themselves have been declared failures. The aim is to reverse the situation. Instead of governments controlling the people, their activities should be the reverse. The people who have become private property owners, entrepreneurs, and businessmen should control the governments and the game of multi-partism so as to constitute counter-power required for the good functioning of democracy. It is even the principle of the irresponsibility of the political elite which shall thus be corrected. Statesmen would evidently become servants instead of the masters. In this regard, the parliamentary system with a one round majority ballot is a more suitable context for the promotion of economic freedoms and the control of governments than the powerful presidential systems that we currently have in most African countries.


A recent study carried out by “Audace Institute Afrique” comparing the parliamentary and presidential systems in Africa has shown ,however that in the parliamentary systems on the continent, not only is the economic freedom more advanced, but the government is better, the per capita income is higher, as well as the education and literacy percentages of health care. Furthermore, these countries are more stable politically and have experienced fewer conflicts.


Economic freedom would enable us to start questioning effectively the colonial pact in the African countries of the French zone. It is the period for auditing the operating accounts and questioning the current status of BCEAO (Central Bank of West African States) and BEAC( Bank of Central African States). It is time to go to the International Court of Justice at the Hague to complain that France signatory of the Franco-African Cooperation Agreements no longer fulfills her contractual obligations and has been since 1993 when she unilaterally decided to abandon the convertibility ,of the CFA Franc and that since the entry into force of the Euro, the French Franc no longer exists, that since January 2012, the weight of the public debt and the size of the budgetary deficit of France have made her lose the quality of her signature on the world financial market.


Today the Vienna Convention on the treaty rights which came into force in January 1980 , in its section 62 ,gives the legal means to African countries to call to question leonine ,protectionist, and impoverishing agreements they entered when their people were still in colonial arrangements or enclosures. So we do not need war and we do not need additional armed conflicts. Africa can enjoy the benefits of globalization only by starting to free its people from the yoke of African countries in the first place. They are the new states built on new moral, economic and political foundations that will start the process of breaking the protectionist, degrading, humiliating and ineffective yokes with the same foreign partners. The end of enclosures will be the beginning of progress, peace, and prosperity. All the same, it would be necessary to attempt to come out of the captivity of enclosures constructed by African countries in order to keep their people in them. Only a strong and audacious civil society ready to embark on solid reforms can break down these barriers.

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