Nation-Building or Nation-Destroying: Foreign Powers and Intelligence Agencies in Africa

The main effect of foreign intelligence agency activities, and indeed foreign activity in general in Africa, has been ‘nation-destroying’ rather than ‘nation-building’. This paper covers a few of the major policies and practices that African nations thought would be in their best interests to pursue, both at the time of independence, when nationbuilding was critical, and at other times in their histories since independence. The elements of nationbuilding, for the purpose of this essay, are the following: 1) the emergence of charismatic leaders; 2) dominant political parties; and 3) the establishment of fundamental institutions. This paper first demonstrates how dynamic, charismatic leaders (such as Kwame Nkrumah, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Julius K. Nyerere, Jomo Kenyatta, Kenneth Kaunda, and Skou Tour), who tried to take their country down a development path different from the desires of the dominant world powers, were opposed or overthrown by these powers. Then it examines the intervention of foreign countries in those African countries where, after independence, dominant political parties existed whose ‘progressive ideas disturbed all the Western capitals’, e.g. Belgian Congo (Zaire) and Angola. Finally, it describes how fundamental institutions, such as the OAU, ECOWAS, and the SADCC were touched, affected, penetrated or manipulated by major outside powers. Ref.

Title: Nation-Building or Nation-Destroying: Foreign Powers and Intelligence Agencies in Africa
Author: Hocker, E.C.
Year: 1989
Periodical: Ufahamu
Volume: 18
Issue: 3
Pages: 35-51
Language: English
Geographic term: Africa
Abstract: The main effect of foreign intelligence agency activities, and indeed foreign activity in general in Africa, has been ‘nation-destroying’ rather than ‘nation-building’. This paper covers a few of the major policies and practices that African nations thought would be in their best interests to pursue, both at the time of independence, when nationbuilding was critical, and at other times in their histories since independence. The elements of nationbuilding, for the purpose of this essay, are the following: 1) the emergence of charismatic leaders; 2) dominant political parties; and 3) the establishment of fundamental institutions. This paper first demonstrates how dynamic, charismatic leaders (such as Kwame Nkrumah, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Julius K. Nyerere, Jomo Kenyatta, Kenneth Kaunda, and Skou Tour), who tried to take their country down a development path different from the desires of the dominant world powers, were opposed or overthrown by these powers. Then it examines the intervention of foreign countries in those African countries where, after independence, dominant political parties existed whose ‘progressive ideas disturbed all the Western capitals’, e.g. Belgian Congo (Zaire) and Angola. Finally, it describes how fundamental institutions, such as the OAU, ECOWAS, and the SADCC were touched, affected, penetrated or manipulated by major outside powers. Ref.