REFLECTING ON AFRICA IN THIS TIME OF ISOLATION Part 2
As a way of summary of part one; we discussed in rather specific terms, the historical realities of Africa, its uncelebrated glorious days and how Eurocentric historians focus on the “dark” end of the history of the continent with total disregard towards Africa’s enormous contribution to the progress of humanity. This inter alia, served as the introductory part of my journey on reflecting Africa in this time of isolation.
During the first part of this write up, my focus was equally shifted on answering the worthwhile question: “HAS THE AFRICAN TAKEN CHARGE OF THE RESPONSIBILITY OF STEERING HER AFFAIRS?” Our psychological equanimity, how it remains my observation that the African is morally defeated as manifested in “our” sense of inferiority, how the same manifestation is truer with the leadership of the continent and by what means the education system of the colonial master serves no purpose of addressing the perennial dilemma of the continent were all deliberated on.
Let us now continue therefore to still seek addressing the question, whether the African has taken charge of the responsibility of stirring her affairs.
If to be blatant towards the question, I will reason that the leadership of the continent has proven too weak, unserious, and ‘ever dependent’ to be taken seriously. In discharging the task of reshaping the continent, basic but serious problems have emerged from the leadership of the continent which does not only continues to hinder the registration of any meaningful progress but also damaging the little gains and weakening the “strong” foundation (depending one’s opinion) which was laid by the founding fathers of the continent.
In recent times; it is extremely applaudable to find a genuine leader in the continent, who possesses a vision and basic wisdom to inspire “his” people. Paul Kagame is thus, an icon in the contemporary leadership of the continent despite the numerous “buts” that characterises his leadership. My father would have counted, Kwame Nkurmah, Julius Nyerere, Amilca Cabral, Patrice Lumumba, short lived inspiring Thomas Sankara, Jomo Kenyatta, Samora Michel, Kenneth Kaunda and the list strides on to cover majority of the part of the continent with a unique sense of purpose shared by all these leaders mentioned above: “Liberate and better the lives of the people”.
The contrary is the case today that, when even our leaders speak, the citizens favour turning off their televisions to listening to them because these leaders lack the “significant input”, the understanding and skills to proffer resolution to the problems of their people with out-and-out no“political will” to stir them up either. They serve little purpose in the lives of the People.
TAKING CHARGE OF THE RESPONSIBILITY OF STIRRING ONE’S AFFAIRS, was supposed to constitute a meaningful experience for the oppressed people of the continent in the dawn of INDEPENDENCE.
Awkwardly, it turns out that independence meant substituting the colonial master with their puppets and still to some bankrupt leaders like former Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh it meant continuously blaming others for “our” display of inability. This is largely, because we have a “beginning” without offering a definition to what independence really supposed to mean to us and we still continue in the same way to gamble in trial and error.
To this end hunger, war, lack of basic human necessities, leadership crises among other undesirable issues continue to characterize the image of the continent transversely in the media. “THE IMAGE OF AFRICA BEFORE THE MEDIA” would be a diverse topic, worth its own pages. However, even the bias media still have some score of points in their bias depiction of the people of a continent who deserve better livelihoods and leaderships.
As I write, Tukey and UAE are supplying admonitions to warring factions in “betrayed” Libya, the so called giant of Africa, Nigeria cannot still silence its gun on “Boko Haram”, hunger and starvation remains a loyal friend to the mineral rich Congo even as global powers continue to loot and cause ceaseless havoc to the lives of millions and posterity in that country. Central African Republic is a forgotten cases, the militant groups in Mali, poverty in Chad and Niger are almost fashionable events for our consideration. Just yesterday, 81 old Aplha Condè led a referendum in Conakry as he seeks to stat beyond the original two terms mandate provided for by the constitution. He is now a complete little Frenchman! He has the backing of France! So, who cares about the People of Guinea and what they think?
Regardless of these, the leaderships of the countries continue to live the most luxurious of lives. The Al-shabaab in Somalia and Kenya, are regular figures in the list of terrorists groups in the continent. I do not forget the rotten leadership of my father’s grandfather in Uganda. Museveni, whose shameless old odd rule still enjoys torturing and murdering his citizens before the careless African Union.
The “buts” of Paul Kagame continues to witness the disappearance of journalists, political opponents and citizens who express their views against his growing oppressive rule while he is been applauded by some in the continent who envy Rwandans probably, because they have worst “Paul Kagamies” in their respective countries. What is clear about the tall man however is that, he is a darling for the world and a feared burden at home!
The Kenya political circle like in many states in the continent remains characterized by tribalism, the fruit of which the political leadership so much value. Guinea Bissau is struggling to come to its senses with an incessant leadership crisis since 1974. Close to home, an unending war in the Cassamass region of Senegal still awaits a fatal end.
There is so much negativity that clouds the continent, to this end one wonders if Africa is not under the retribution of the abandoned gods!
This is why I have forced myself to give reason to the reasoning of the old folks in Banjul, The Gambia who still insist on give prevalence to the rule of the exploitive British Monarch against independence. The controversy that INDEPENDENCE brought to them through the latter leadership of that country-like is uniform in most African states is quite miserable for their own consideration.
Moving on, the outbreak of COVID-19 is yet another addition to the countless instances that, adequately portrays the illusion the leadership of the continent held about independence and sovereign nationhood (I will tell you why). Yet one wonders whether these leaders actually do think with their craniums during the countless times they wasted citizens’ funds in seminars and conferences with irrationally talks about independence of the continent and their respective nations.
I will come to us the citizens like myself, who for our part of the blame seems to only find delight in glibly talking, but that is for another day.
Meanwhile going back to memory to ‘relive’ ourselves with few but pressing questions will help present the entire picture of the leadership crisis of the continent in much details as writing a book about CORRUPTION IN AFRICA. “Going back in memory”, because these are questions that, visionary leaders of the continent have asked themselves before the colonial masters partly departed.
Let us deliberately ask ourselves what would be the fate of the continent if the COVID 19 virus continues for three months and spreads across the continent at the equivalent rate as in hard hit countries, what would the state of our healthcare, and what would be the states of our economic? Will the African be able to have the basic required decent feeding while observing preventive measures such as curfews? Listen! Even as I write, the world is warned of a possible shortage of condoms, and Africa is the primary concern!
If African leaders have asked themselves such provocative questions over the years, the continent would position itself to give meaning to our worthless independence.
To be continued…
Written by Toney F Mendy
Third Year Law Student
University of The Gambia
Join The Conversation