Why Africa is in trouble

Why Africa is in trouble

In the past week, travels, meetings, findings, understandings, decisions, special moments, settled scores, new beginnings. I met a white man called Mohlomi, got a copy of a book first published exactly 105 years ago, got an address to a house I have been looking for and in the process, came to understand the fact that one cannot always get it all in one sitting or try.
What happens in the world of the living is shared by all in different ways, and those that try and shy away from the acceptance of the glaring fact that we are all in some way intertwined with each other at levels extreme and subtle can rightly be termed as naïve or prone to self-denial. Reality is what it is: real in all forms, that is, it is that which is there whether one can sense it with the pentagonal combination of senses most (for some lack either one or more of the five senses) human beings are born with, or, with the sixth sense (the instinctive), or the seventh sense (the metaphysical).

That there is a pole at the corner of the yard or a pole at either of the two axes of the globe is a fact which we cannot deny, for it is a presence which can be determined either at the mundane level of using the five senses which we possess to establish the verity of its presence, or at the more complex level where scientific (and sometimes metaphysical) instruments are used to determine the presence of such an entity.

What you can see, taste, feel, smell, and hear is there ignorant of any form of denial one may have or decide to follow. The presence of an entity is not a fickle affair that can just be wished away based on reason or on a whim, for there is clear evidence of its current, previous, or future presence outlined on any of the surfaces and spaces it may have passed through on its excursions.
It does not often require the depth of forensic or current science to determine whether an entity is indeed real, it often just needs common (and uncommon) sense, and a bit of sight, smell, taste, sound, touch and a bit of the primal instinct to know that an entity is indeed existent in acceptable form.

I choose the term ‘acceptable’ due to the fact that there sometimes arises the common human tendency to deny the existence of an entity based on wish and opinion (of the self-righteous kind) rather than waking up to the simple fact that an entity’s presence is the mark of its reality, a confirmation of its identifiable presence which cannot be denied just because it is not accepted as normal or natural.

There are instances where ostriches (of the human kind with dubious intentions) choose to bury their heads in the sand even where there is no desert or Karoo storm that necessitates such an action. The continent upon which we live does not progress because of the fact that it has not acknowledged its realities.
Africa struggles in the mires of poverty and listlessness because it is cursed with the type of cap-in-hand leadership mentality that focuses more on foreign aid and investment despite the ‘real’ possession of tremendous reserves of natural and human resources.

Rather than progress, Africa begs unceasingly, to the extent that its donors end up ‘nursing’ Africa for a profit, and those that speak against this form of behaviour are either terminated or ostracised for addressing the truth about the realities that can emancipate the continent out of its unreasonable squalor.
It is unreasonable for one to declare their thirst when they are standing knee-deep in the middle of a full river, and it is unreasonable that Africa is as poor as it is despite having tremendous amounts of natural and human reserves that just have to be utilised appropriately in relevant scenarios.

That one chooses to argue that their agricultural output is negatively affected by the presence of El Nĩnō and such other droughts is a lazy man’s excuse.
The reality is that the nations of the dry Sahel regions of the Sahara have been utilising techniques and technologies for more than a millennium that ensured that the farmers did bring in sufficient harvest despite tilling soils in desert or semi-desert environments.

The African minister would rather borrow poorly implemented and irrelevant agricultural technologies from lands whose environments are dissimilar to his land’s, instead of utilising the tried and tested technologies of his neighbouring countries.

This behaviour is actually the expression of the first reality of the continent: a colonised mentality hinged on the aid of former colonists and neo-colonists than the self-sufficiency stalwarts of African progress such as Thomas Sankara, Patrice Lumumba, and Colonel Muammar Gadaffi taught in their lifetimes as leaders of states that actually proved that confidence and self-trust in one’s capabilities and resources actually works to one’s advantage when it comes to the issue of effecting change and progress.

The three were murdered for their emancipating views and deeds by pro-colonial political governments and their leadership who believe more in their behinds being wiped than actually enduring that hardship of emancipation.
Conned by the simple term ‘independence’, many an African states were led into believing that their former colonial masters would give such states enough room for self-determination rather than being dictated to on how one state actually achieves its true freedom, as expressed in self-determination in deeds and decisions.

One is not free if they have to be guided on how to do the menial, and one is not free if their so-called freedom does not actually afford one a certain modicum of autonomy. Freedom means that one is afforded the room to test their own views and strategies when it comes to the execution of tasks necessary to the effecting of the process of progress.
This means that the I-will-constantly-be-looking-over-your-shoulder attitude of the former coloniser disguised as supervision actually means that the independent do not have the requisite level of freedom to reach such a level of autonomy where one can see that they can actually achieve dreams necessary for the welfare of their country state.

Last week, Zambian immigration authorities denied Professor Patrick Lumumba entry into the country upon his arrival at the national airport. The reasons for this denial remain vague, but one can simply guess that his anti-colonial/ anti-neo-colonial views are not accepted by the authorities whose main goal is to fleece ‘aid’ funds off the donor nations of the east who, on the surface may seem to be providing aid when there are extenuating factors that prove a reality that is contrary to the promises made in the flowery speeches of their leaders.

Lumumba, like some of us are aware, is privy to the reality that Africa can never have any hopes of progress if it does not rid itself of the beggar mentality it adopted in the post-independence period. This figure does not mince his words as the political class would wish for him to do when it comes to getting his learned views across.
If Africa had to deal with the west in the past, and partially managed to get independence, then Africa should instead of relying on aid from new colonial lords adopt the kind of mentality that focuses inwards on what the continent really has in terms of mapping the way forward to economic progress and development.

Denying those that see the truth about the continent’s condition the platform to provide vital insights into how the continent can finally attain full independence is just in my view myopic and blasé on the part of the political class who think heading to conferences in foreign lands can actually effect needed economic changes that ensure the welfare of the citizens of every African state.
It is a fact that every form of aid comes with preconditions on how such aid should be used and repaid. The belief that there is free help cannot be rightly considered true or of sense, and whoever so believes should look at the trends in the world at the microcosmic level: there are no Good Samaritans at the lowest rungs of the social strata; why should one carry the expectation that they are there at the higher levels of dealings between countries and states?

The state as an entity is created for the welfare of the citizens through the efforts of the different governing bodies, but if the governing bodies are the only ones reaping the welfare whilst the masses of the citizenry suffer in squalor, then it means that the people and the government should go back to the drawing board and re-discuss issues to ensure that even state progress is attained.
There is just no sense in the simple fact that it has become a commonly accepted fact that the political class will say one thing in the lobbies and deliver nothing after ascension into office.
Professor Patrick Loch-Otieno Lumumba states:

I believe that we have reached a stage in life in the economic development of Africa where moving forward is perilous, moving backwards is cowardice, and standing still is suicidal but we must persevere because winners do not quit and quitters never win.
To reach a certain point in the life of anything, one should be able to acknowledge the facts about the entities that surround one, and the political entity in Africa has in fact been mismanaged from inception, with little serf-boys and girls actually behaving like they are the king of the palace when they are in fact there to serve the interests of the people and not those of their political party.

The African political landscape has always been victim to one malaise: competition born of the colonial assumption that one should always work hard to please the master. This is the type of competition where one party works really hard to outdo the previous regime ignorant of the financial and other realities that are salient to the process of running a truly democratic government.
Instead of looking at what is available in the state coffers, many a regime come to impress the masses for the present moment and forget that the long-term plans of the previous government actually form the basis to the present government’s plans.

Plans that actually served the masses end up being discarded due to the nincompoop assertion that the regime is different from the previous one when it is in fact a similar entity with the ruling class being the only component that is different.

The reality is that when there is a problem with anything, the source or the lead is the first one to be perused and questioned, for the simple reason that it provides the leeway into the inner ramifications of the entity being investigated. Africa’s progress is limited only to states such as Botswana and Rwanda, because the political class of the two states actually stuck to the economic development plans they set out in the strategies. Other countries fail because the spirit of competition for scarce resources soon overtakes that of really uplifting the state out of the mires of poverty, disease and strife most of the continent has to deal with before thinking of implementing any plan or strategy related to economic development. It is useless to think of achieving any goal without first adjusting the minds of the ruling class and then imparting such a mentality for economic upliftment to the masses.

Morena Leabua Jonathan achieved a high level of economic development in his regime despite the outcry from the opposition; the people worked on their own social and economic upliftment projects, the people were healthy, the people were well fed in this political chief’s lifetime.
How the following regimes never actually adopted his models is what vexes one’s understanding, and it is a fact that explains why Lesotho is in the economic fix it is in: a state that has no say in terms of the type of aid the country receives from donor nations.

It was not like this in Chief Leabua’s time and now some of us know that a large part of the arguments raised actually come from quarters that have private interest than to serve the needs of the masses. The most paramount reality in Lesotho is that the political class has become a lordship made up of individuals that seem to gain their power from determining everything in the state, depriving the masses of the winning formula for success: self determination.

If the people know and see that the project in hand has their vested interest, then commitment comes automatically, because a sense of ownership comes with the knowledge and the evidence that whatever is being engaged stands to benefit everyone involved in it.

Being dictated to in terms of what to do actually never helped anyone to progress, in fact, such prohibitive laws have actually been proven to cause rebellion in whoever they are being imposed upon. The reality is that all men are equal, none is more equal than others.

By:Tšepiso S Mothibi

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