At last, chicken are coming home to roost! French authorities made a groundbreaking decision by culling three most corrupt African presidents, Denis Sassou Ngweso (Congo), Omar Albert Bongo (Gabon) and Teodoro Obiang Nguema (Equatorial Guinea). The Yom Kippur for thieves in France is now over. Many wish this should be in a go-forward basis of looking into African rulers’ much hidden wealth. It is a shame.

Historically, soon after attaining flag independence, many African countries evidenced the raise of thievish rulers mistaken to be liberators. We still remember the like of Felix-Houphet Boigny of Cote d’ Ivoire that scooped country’s coffers to build the largest cathedral in his home town. Again, there was Joseph Desire Mobutu of DRC then Zaire. He spent billions of dollars in foolish things such as jewels, houses, expensive cars and what not whilst the citizens were perishing. Also there was Jean Bedel Bokassa of CAR who later died a pauper after being pulled down as he squandered his loot in merrymaking activities in European capitals. In a nutshell, Africa has seen many powerful looters as of today.

Recently, there was reported that French authorities are now sagging off from dirty business as usual. President Nicholas Sarkozy decided to put his house in order by taking on African thieves in power that stashed billions of dollars in banks and properties in France. So those that used to make off with poor people’s money should get prepared to face the music and their loot being returned to build the countries they tore down.

French anti-corruption activists are pressing hard to see to it that the wealth these enigmas amassed is eyed up to see how it was made. This also includes their families. It came to light that the named parasites, just like others, spent much money on toys like Bugattis, Ferraris, Maybachs, Maseratis and a Rolls-Royce Phantom, besides owning dozens of bank accounts and properties worth tens of million of euros in rich and chic districts of Paris and Riviera.

African youths are going without sound education, while the children of these parasites are spending tens of millions of dollars obtaining toys and other nonsensical things! While our people are living without safe water and sound medical services, the West is at home with robbers! What aggrieves even much is the fact that our rulers steal our hard-earned taxes to finance such megalomania!

Sarkozy, a no-nonsense guy, decided to keep tabs on African thievish parasites as opposed to complicity conspiracy and gullibility by former French presidents. Far be it from me for Europe and Yom Kippur, for our thieves seem to be over now. Sarkozy proved to be a fish of another sea when he was minister for internal and finance and soon after ascending to power. He promised to max out all dirty deals France used to be involved in with African countries under nuts and bolts rulers. As it seems, no stone will be left unturned.

True, this take adds up, if things do not change, especially at the time poor and innocent Africans are dying at sea trying to make it to Europe as their countries’ economies experience a free fall. Sadly again, our parasites buy all types of toys they don’t even use save once in a while when thy happen to be in Europe to stash more money and check their accounts. How rude is this? Remember, these are the same fat cats that live on poor taxpayer’s money without paying tax.

Many would like to see this noble move emulated and taken by other leaders in European countries where much ill-gotten wealth is hidden. Other former venal honchos like Daniel arap Moi, Paul Biya, Benjamin Mkapa, Meles Zenawi,Fredrick Chiluba, Bakili Muluzi, their families and others  also needs to be scrutinized. African Rights campaigners need to come together to see to it that their voices are heard. By doing so, Africa can economies can be revamped.

Importantly, rich countries should also stop pumping money by the way of aids and grants to African countries ruled by corrupt and undemocratic regimes. For this money end up being stolen and stashed abroad as it recently happened in Malawi, where former president Muluzi is alleged to have stolen over $10 million of the same. And indeed this unraveled the mystery as to why African rulers like begging. They do so knowingly the monies so donated will end up being stashed in their offshore accounts as the hoi polloi go on perishing of treatable diseases.

To do away from corruption in the upper echelons of power in Africa, theft of public money should be categorized as crime against humanity thanks to its effects to the hoi polloi in Africa. How can it stop being if a great many is dying of treatable diseases and lack of sound services whilst their money is stashed abroad by powerful parasites?

Sarkozy’s move is but a challenge to other leaders of rich countries that pretend not to see this sacrilege being committed on their soil. Instead they’ve always tutored Africa on development, accountability, openness, self-reliance and what not, without reckoning with how they support dictators and thieves. Africans are not stupid and mentally moribund as the West wrongly thinks. They can forge ahead without donors’ handouts if West stops conspiring and abetting with corrupt regimes. They’ll make a leap forward shall west emulate France’s take on stashed money.

Recently, British Serious Fraud Office (SFO) implicated two Tanzanian bigwigs behind hiked presidential jet and military radar. The former governor of the Central Bank, Dr. Idris Rashid and former minister and AG, Andrew Chenge were water-tightly implicated though the government has dragged its feet thanks to complicity and conspiracy.

It’s an open secret. In Kenya, Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania, Indian businessmen are preferred by our bad eggs when it comes to doing their dirty laundry. Refer to Goldenberg and Anglo-Leasing in Kenya and EPA in Tanzania. Though there recently surfaced such conspiracy in Uganda, it‘s still low thanks to Idi Amin’s purge that flashed Indians out of Uganda. Refer to last year Mabira forest kafuffle. 

If the West could see the light and order all money stashed in their banks be returned to Africa, indeed all evils the West did in Africa can be forgiven. The economies of African countries have been profusely bleeding to death thanks to this conspiracy and indifference. However, now that Sarkozy has set everything in the motion, African Rights campaigners must not be intoxicated by this move. Instead, we must stay put to see to it other countries follow suit.

Off the cuffs, the US is currently looking into how to foil tax heavens for its mega corporations. Obama’s administration and EU have squeezed Swiss authorities so as to see to it that the “confidentiality” it maintained for years comes to an end. Methinks, African Human Rights family must agitate for the same. Isle of Man, Gibraltar, and Switzerland among others, have proved to be a nest bed for thieves averting taxes. I wish this should also apply to African west investors altogether.

Nkawzi Mhango is a Tanzanian living in Canada. He writes regularly for “The African Executive” and also has a blog entitled “Free Thinking Unabii”. He is a regular contributor to AfroSpear.

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