We don’t need secret societies
The lead story in the February edition of the New African magazine suggests that secret societies are “the way forward for Africa.”
It argues, and rightly so, that: “Powerful secret societies in the West and elsewhere rule their countries and the world behind the scenes. They meet annually or thereabouts in secret locations. They discuss and take decisions on major policies affecting their countries in the world.”
It continues: “Their membership cuts across politics, business, media, military, diplomacy, academia, etc. And they gel things done as planned. Being part of the same world, doesn’t Africa also need its own secret societies (multiples of them, minus their sinister side) to defend its interests globally and speed up its development?”
Baffour Ankomah, the magazine’s editor, in a wide-ranging peace, then proceeds to argue that it is about time Africa joined in the fest.
In his argument, he helpfully draws on what he considers to have been both positive and negative experiences with secret societies around the world, including: Skulls and Bones, The Bohemian Grove, The Round Table, The Inquiry, Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission, Bilderberg and Afrikaner Broderbund.
It is an open secret that most prominent figures in global business, politics, religion and culture are associated with these and several other societies.
In suggesting that Africa goes that way, Ankomah raises several assumptions, mostly faulty.
First, it is assumed that Africa has no secret societies, yet nothing could be further from the truth.
Traditional Africa had its own secret societies, some of which were key in the continent’s nationalist and independence struggle movements.
Equally important, some of Africa’s pre-independence leaders, as indeed those who followed them, are known to have joined the secret societies we have conventionally associated with the global North.
In my Kenya of the 1990s, official investigations had to be launched into the activities of some of the societies owing to their influence on public life; the government never released its findings as it was thought too many prominent figures were into these societies.
The Kenyan government’s failure to release the report points to the other assumption in Ankomah’s piece – that these societies can be used for good, contrary to experiences in nations across the African continent.
Interacting with and talking to friends across the continent, I have come to the conclusion that most African movers and shakers are linked to most of the secret societies discussed in the Ankomah piece; the knowledge professions of law, academia and journalism are especially central to this trend in Africa.
Also closely linked to this are those in politics and faith, as well as those we have come to designate as captains of industry.
Not to be left behind, some who run some nations’ security systems are equally into this.
The most influential secret society in Africa, thus far, would appear to be Freemasonry.
In the final analysis, it would appear as though we already have our politics, economics and popular culture infiltrated by secret societies.
I belong to no secret society myself, and yearn to join none, since my experiences as a young Kenyan journalist, politician and Christian have had me conclude that secret societies portend little good for my country and wider society.
The political crisis following my country’s disputed polls in December 2007, an event in which I participated as a parliamentary aspirant in rural Kenya has had me get to appreciate the nature and effects of these societies on the conduct of public affairs and policies in my own country a little more intimately.
Secret societies in Kenya, as indeed the rest of Africa, have occasioned the emergence and existence of a special interest group whose socio-economic and political vision has me wondering if Ankomah really appreciates what this could be all about.
Author David Yallop it is who, in his book In the name of God, has suggested that it is not quite rosy in the grander scheme of things with such societies – no less a person than Pope Albino Luciani was killed over it, he avers.
He had been in office for close to 33 days only, but was killed supposedly because he could not fit into the competing secret interests which had an intention in the Vatican.
A certain European nation reportedly also had to reform its entire police force on account of a take-over by a certain secret society.
Let us keep our state secrets where we can and should, but for God’s sake let’s steer clear of secret societies.
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