Opinion / Columnist
Africa day is time to tabulate the success stories of Africa,
01 Jun 2016 at 15:26hrs | Views
On the 25th of May African countries celebrated Africa day reminiscing the glorious past of Africa, saluting the founding fathers of the African Union formerly the Organisation of African Unity. Africa day is also a time to tabulate the success stories of Africa, embrace and enhance diversity and map the way forward.
Needless to say Africans must not fall into the trap of romanticising the continent; but rather have an honest evaluation and maintain a realistic view. Africans need to go beyond celebration and have a sober assessment of the continent's progress and development.This year's Africa Day coincided with the new Sustainable Development Goals which replaced the eight Millennium Development Goals.African leadership has to reflect on the success of MDGs in Africa and work on successful implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations.
In terms of natural resources, Africa is the world's richest continent. It has 50% of the world's gold,most of the world's diamonds and chromium, 90%of the cobalt, 40% of the world's potential hydroelectric power, 65% of the manganese, millions of acres of untilled farmland, as well as other natural resources.Yet, despite this vast resource the bulk of African people live as if they were citizens of deserts. African leadership must come with ways of pushing the frontiers of poverty backwards.Africa must retain its precious resource which happen to be its people.
Most of the challenges besetting Africa are man made but as Albert Einstein postulated problems are never solved by a mindset that created them.There is an imperative need for the attention of African leaders to be focused on governance issues which of late have proved to be a thorn in flesh.Governance issues are not resolved by mere lip service in five star hotels but by encompassing and considering people in every decision making.
African Renaissance, rebirth and rejuvenation has proved to be a gigantic task for the generation of the day.I am no Afro pessimist but rather an African child whose roots and umbilical cord are in Africa.Intractable problems have proudly manifested themselves in different forms and shapes in Africa and as such a holistic approach is needed.Toxic political vices continue to afflict our dearest political leaders as corruption, nepotism, clientelism,autocracy mercilessly corrode the social,political and economic fabric asunder.Democratic deficit,poverty,kleptocracy and gerontocracy remains remains causes for concern.It will only take a leadership with craft competence and craft literacy to pull the bull by the horns and exorcise the debilitating political,social and economic ills.
The laxity of African governments to dismantle political,financial and administrative structures that perpetuate corruption leaves a lot to be desired.African leaders must design infra-structures to curb and curtail corruption.Financial structures with political fingerprints all over paves way for illicit financial flows and at the end of the day they would be reduced to mere velvet gloves concealing an iron hand.
African progress has been derailed by the vices of prebendalism and crass materialism.The former is the appropriation of state offices notably elected officials and government workers and the diversion of their resources to serve themselves, their cronies and their ethnic and other identity groups.This form of corruption is now a global phenomenon and a key characteristic of politics of Nigeria today.It's so stubbornly embedded and ingrained within the societies of Nigeria.Its a recipe for disaster.
Africa day is a time to have a re-look on emerging threats to the African being.Terrorism is one of the new threats which need undivided attention. Boko haram, Al-shabaab and ISIS have become terrorist groups that ought to be decisively dealt with.However the most disturbing form of terrorism is State terrorism,sponsored and sanctioned by the state with its '' monopoly over the legitimate use of violence'' to suffocate dissension.State sponsored terrorism can either be overt or covert.For sure African leadership's allergy to divergent opinions needs a therapy.
African leadership has of late propagated and propelled the ''African Solutions to African problems'' maxim. Africa needs a microscopic and pensive examination of the efficacy of the '' african solutions to african problems'' paradigm.It's not only disingenuous but also insulting to attend conferences on African solutions to African problems when the very same African leaders have kids studying abroad, when very same African leaders have offshore accounts abroad and rely on foreign medical facilities.
Of late Africa has been plagued by widespread protests, unrest,insurgencies and civil war.Currently the epicentre of political violence is Nigeria and one wonders if the conflict revolves around greed or grievance.Possibly it transcends them both through structural irregularities.Resources must not be a curse in Africa but a blessing which should cement social,political and economic order.The eruption of resource based conflicts in Africa should be an eye opener to the African leadership to handle resources like oil and diamonds with deftness,without marginalisation of the populace.In Zimbabwe the Marange Diamonds have been used by the ruling elite for the ruling elite and it can be summed up as complete ''plunder and pillage'' bereft of concern of the masses.
The ASAP maxim gained momentum and fresh impetus after a sad realisation that Western help be it military or humanitarian can come with some non-African conditionalities. The intervention of Western countries in Africa in previous conflicts was a wake up call on the malicious and imperialistic intent of the West.The pursuit of geo - political and geo-economic goals by the West behind the smokescreen of humanitarian intervention or Responsibility to Protect doctrine led to the ASAP chorus.However its also important to note this African lexicon is of less substantive value given the fact that its now being abused by African bad boys with serious human rights abuses to shy away from international scrutiny.
If African solutions to african problems is the way forward one wonders why African Peer Review Mechanism is being shunned.One wonders why Nepad failed and also why SADC tribunal was dismantled.The so called home grown solutions in form of African Union articles are neither being signed nor ratified by the same Africans and this cast aspersions on the sincerity of african leaders towards ASAP.
African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM),is a self-monitoring instrument created by African leaders in 2003.It is more of a barometer or yardstick for good governance. APRM experts work hand in glove with governments and civil society groups to review country performance in areas like democracy and good governance, socio-economic development, corporate governance,corruption,human rights-particularly women's and children's rights, conflicts and judicial independence.
Membership in the APRM is voluntary.That as it may the APRM has been shunned like a leper and this raises eyebrows and questions the seriousness of the '' african solutions to african problems'' maxim.So far 33 African countries have joined the APRM, of which 17 have been reviewed by their peers.Africa comprises 54 countries, meaning 21 are yet to join the APRM. And just 17 of the 33 participating countries have been peer-reviewed.
The recent elections in Uganda serves as a harsh reminder of the task that lie in ahead in Africa. Africa still has to an uphill task in inculcating a culture of passing on the political baton. Africa still has to come to terms with the will of the people.
Wilton Nyasha Machimbira, a Political Analyst.For feedback and comments can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
Source - Wilton Nyasha Machimbira
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