European nations swept into Africa in the nineteenth century, seized control of areas, created “nations” that did not accord with ethnic or tribal realities, and then left the continent–at least, officially– in the 1960s and 1970s. There are some who argue current poverty or ineffective government in Africa is simply the “colonial heritage.” Leaders like Robert Mugambe in Zimbabwe, have driven productive people from their society in order to enrich a small clique associated with the government while proclaiming to the world any problems are the result of their former colonial rulers. The Democratic Republic of Congo is a nation with vast mineral resources, it has beautiful landscape that would attract tourists, it has intelligent people, but it has been plagued with more corrupt after another corrupt government. Yes, the American CIA influenced political events in the Congo fifty years ago, but that was a half century ago, not today. Blaming the past does not explain away current crooks and thieves who loot their own people while blaming the Europeans for all problems.
Congo Foreign Minister Alexis Mwamba, said it correctly: “fifty years later we cannot say if things are not going well it’s the fault of Belgium or Leopold II.” It is time African leaders assumed responsibility for their mistakes. It is time to put on trial African leaders who rob their own people. It is time to cease blaming “colonialism” for the thief in your home.