Cloud of colonialism hangs over Queen Elizabeth’s legacy in Africa
As we marked the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Treaty of Rome, we recalled the many accomplishments of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. Our nation’s leaders, shepherded by colonial diplomats, fought battles in Europe and Africa, created diplomatic and civil service posts, and expanded trade and cooperation with the United States and Africa.
Her Majesty’s contribution has created a net of interconnected international relationships that continue to impact global affairs today.
In this context, there is less opportunity, in the minds of many Africans, to see the queen’s legacy as just one of many successes that benefited the continent and its people.
In this era of “hard power” diplomacy, the legacy of Queen Elizabeth II in Africa has lost much of its luster. African leaders, who have long claimed her support, now question his or her role. The growing distance that exists between the two nations’ leaders has been exacerbated by recent tensions over the Windhoek Security Forum, the controversial U.S.-Britain Commonwealth Summit in London, and the Queen’s relationship with King Mohammed VI of Morocco, which has often been called the United Kingdom’s most important ally in Africa.
The perception that the queen, with a global view, can’t be trusted to take the lead in Africa appears to have been encouraged by British foreign secretary Boris Johnson. In a recent interview with the The Telegraph, Johnson said the queen’s role in Africa had been reduced to that of a “global family member,” where she and the prime minister of Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai, were on friendly terms.
Queen Elizabeth II has long been one of the British Crown’s most valued international assets. In addition to her role as Queen of England, the queen is the leader of the Commonwealth of Nations, the leader of the Order of the British Empire, the Supreme Governor of the Church