In an article titled “Africa Is A Mess, But We Can’t Blame Colonialism,” published on 2nd February 2002, by The Spectator Magazine, the now British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson said Colonialism should not have ended in Africa and that the colonial powers should not be blamed for the current status of the continent.
The disparaging view expressed by the Prime Minister 18 years ago in the said article was brought back on the timeline following his condemnation of the removal of statues erected in honor of former slave dealers in Britain. The Black Lives Matter Movement protesters are removing the statutes across America and Europe. The Prime Minister last week argued that these statutes “teach us about our past with all its faults”.
Africa has had its share experience of Britain’s colonial expedition. From 1880 to 1900 Britain gained control over numerous territories in Africa including Egypt, Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Northwestern Somalia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Nigeria, Ghana, and Malawi. This suggests that Britain once ruled over 30 percent of Africa’s population with the undocumented gross inhuman treatment of native Africans, coupled with the exploitation of the continent’s resources.
However, in the said Article, Boris Johnson failed to observe nor recognize the essential humanity of Africa, neither the irresponsible past of the British Monarch, ridiculing that “It is just not convincing, 40 years on, to blame Africa’s problems on the ‘lines on the map’, the arbitrary boundary-making of the men in sola topis.”
The article reveals the Prime Minister’s long admiration of the UK’s colonial activities, especially in Africa. He glorifies at several instances in the article, the colonial actions of Britain in Africa, and how, in his opinion, it uplifts the slightly ‘backward’ continent.
He continued to argue that Britain is not guilty of Colonialism. “Consider Uganda, [the] pearl of Africa, as an example of the British record. Are we guilty of slavery? Pshaw. It was one of the first duties of Frederick Lugard, who colonized Buganda in the 1890s, to take on and defeat the Arab slavers,” He mocked.
According to him, “The best fate for Africa would be if the old colonial powers, or their citizens, scrambled once again in her direction; on the understanding that this time they will not be asked to feel guilty.” Suggesting the recolonization of the continent as a remedy to its plight.
The article has been met with a wide range of condemnations across Africa. While his official spokesperson has declined to comment on the Prime Minister’s Article, opposition MPs in the UK are demanding an explanation.
Read the full article here: Africa Is A Mess, But We Can’t Blame Colonialism.