The moment you check into a 5 stars hotel, your life instantly becomes different. You receive a push button to get instantly what you. A 5 stars hotel would include oversized marble or granite bathrooms, double vanities, electronic drapery controls, surround-sound, state-of-the-art health clubs, luxurious spas, gourmet restaurants, butler services, lobbies with upscale decor and several conversation areas, upgraded check-in services, and fresh flowers delivered to your room every morning. You never have to make your bed in the morning, clean your dishes, cook your food, wash or iron your clothes, vacuum the place, go to shopping mall for your needs, nor call taxi yourself. A push on a button, and Voilà.
Life in a 5 stars hotel is not the real life, and if you got to live too long there, you’ll lose all the primary skills Anna and Joe need to deal with the real life matters. That is exactly what happen to the African elite, intellectuals, and leaders.
The eighteen to twenty’s centuries colonization of Africa was brutal, done with guns and extreme physical and moral violence. Human rights organizations don’t exist at that time. The whole African continent (except Ethiopia) was under the oppression of European colonial powers which used the Bible, corruption and physical coercion to ban local languages, cultures and exploit shamelessly the local resource without any compensation.
During that period, the political institutions and the economic infrastructure was run by the colonial expatriates who imported the way things work from Europe to Africa. Local civil servants were hired and summarily trained to help the expatriates accomplish low value tasks and activities. These civil servants helped the expatriates run the school, but didn’t know how to create a school and run it smoothly. They helped the colonial power to run the public administration, but hardly knew why this administration was there in the first place. They became soldiers, without never knowing what an army is for, and what it takes to create an army and run it for a country defense. They were nurses, even doctors but have no idea how to create a hospital and run it.
Happily, they enjoyed the status and the privileges associated with working with the colonial masters, but have never been prepared in any way to be the people in control. When the period of the “independence” came in the years 1960s, the arrangement for independence included the fact that the colonial expatriates will stay in Africa for some time to help the new governments to run the infrastructures left by colonization. Coinciding with the 30 glorious years in Europe and America, economic growth in Africa in 1960, and 1970 was very strong, and countries like Cameroon had in the 1970s a GDP higher than South Korea. Cameroon was one of the most prosperous nations in tropical Africa. As foreseen, at the ends of years 1970s, the remainder of the colonial missionaries, front and field managers retired, and most of African public administrations have completely been turned to African elite and intellectuals.
Unfortunately, a severa epidemic has affected the mind of this new elite: The 5 stars colonization complex. The elite didn’t like the heavy responsibility and the self sacrifice that comes with being in control of a nation destiny. The tasks demand skills that are difficult to master but necessary to run any modern country: thinking strategically and managing people to work with discipline and integrity to achieve desired outcome. As far as they enjoyed the status offered by their new positions, they never liked the responsibilities demanded by the job at hand. But, they don’t have anymore a master to coerce them to comply. They are now the masters. Quickly, Education, health, army, housing, economy start to collapsed everywhere in sub-Saharan African countries furthered more by the economic crisis of the end of 1970s.
As results, everywhere you go in sub-Saharan African countries today (except few countries like Mauritius, Botswana, Rwanda, Equatorial Guinea), health, education, and housing conditions are worse than in the years 1960s and 1970s. The period from 1980 to 2000 is called the “Abandonment” meaning the West has abandoned Africa. The African elite has not cured itself from The “5 stars colonization complex” which means “Enjoy a social status but not the job it requires”.
Today, The 5 stars colonization complex manifests itself in many ways:
- Outsource the job but keep the positions and status: Close to half of African countries have outsourced their central bank operations to their former colonial power like France. The institutions have African names but the governors and managers are French, and other expatriates. Why don’t they manage their own money, you asked? Because it’s difficult and complex, and the elite doesn’t have time for that.
The same goes with our factories, road, bridges, buildings, etc. they are mostly done by foreign expertise, because we failed to learn that it’s our responsibility to know how to do those things. I’ve seen situation where the local representative of the European Union has to write herself a projects which was upposed to be presented by a Minister for funding, because the Minister failed to do so in time, and would only come up with reasons why they were late.
- Outsource their national defense but keep the Uniform: the generals and soldiers don’t want to die for their country. Death is painful. They enjoy the decorations on the uniform, and the status that go with it, but they don’t want to organize an army to defend their country. Unsurprisingly, Any group of 200 armed men with Toyota Pickups will overthrow any African regime in few days. Cowardly, they seek protection from foreign mercenaries and colonial power to defend their countries, fight at their place!
- We want Independence, but we need someone to manage the country for us: in the years 1950s we clamored for independence, and the right to manage our mother land, our destiny, and people died for that, but today we are happy giving away without shame the same mother land to Chinese, Indians, Arabs and Europeans because we failed to manage it ourselves.
- Seek other countries citizenship, but want to become leader in their native country: As soon they reach America, Europe, this elite aggressively seek foreign citizenship, but would loudly claimed they are Africans and they love heir country so much that they are the only one qualified to be leaders there.
- Outsource their health system: Most of the African elite goes abroad to receive health care. Most of the doctors trained in the bankrupted African universities would be listed on “Doctors Black” List in many countries.
- Outsource the manufacturing, keep the retail: manufacturing is complex. It require managing complex machine, and workers with precision. That’s too difficult, let import from abroad and just sit on road side and sell, it’s easier.
- Farming is difficult, let give the lands to Chinese, Indians, Arabs and Europeans: Foreigners will better exploit our land and produce our food and export.
- They Can’t create or produce anything, but can’t talk, talk and talk: the fact their brain can produce thought out of thin air makes them think they are smart enough not to learn how to create, and produce things. We are here on earth to create and produce. Who does not produce nor create is a free rider, and unfortunately a huge majority of our so called leaders are free riders, mostly parasites of the whole humanity.
- They want someone else to finance their lifestyle, because we are entitled to it: a whole generation has been formatted to write projects to send to someone who will finance them. This someone is mainly somewhere in Europe or in America. A sense of entitlement to aid has propagated all over Africa, and there is no shame anymore in the act of asking strangers for help. The pride of doing things by our own has evaporated.
The highest symbol of this 5 Stars colonization complex is when Chinese have to build the African Union Headquarter in Addis Ababa, or build many African countries parliament buildings or other official government buildings in return of mining and farmland licenses.
The 5 stars colonization complex infiltrated so deeply our societies that, even in remote native village in Togo the public toilets are now build with foreign aid assistance and workers. When foreigners have to come to your home to build for us the place where we shit, let say we got so low in dignity.
The 5 stars colonization complex is comfortable for the elite as any guest in a 5 Star Hotel can tell, but they are just a guest in the world they are living in. Unfortunately the consequences for Africa’s future is much somber: it’s killing our willpower, our resolve to live honorably, our moral fiber, our power of initiative, and the ability of people to work together on their destiny.