If there is a time that Africa has faced mounting pressure from a myriad of problems and threats both internally and externally, this is the time. Africa is in a bad shape.
This is not even helped by selfish, greedy, heartless leaders who do not think twice when it comes to relinquishing power. They are the masters of the sit-tight syndrome.
As we commemorate Africa Day, there is a lot to ponder on. Is the vision from 1963 alive? Is the pan-Africanist spirit still fierce? Where are the revolutionaries? There is a lot that needs to be answered and reflected on.
Progress in Africa on many fronts has been considerable, but the threats are growing all the more. What’s worth to mention is the menace of neo-colonialism that is ostensibly being turned a blind eye to all in the name of development and stability. The Chinese, particularly, have made inroads into Africa and their presence on the continent is deeply palpable. They are everywhere. And they are doing everything.
Democracy has always been under threat. Maybe there’s a shifting ideology that we would need to talk about another day, that stability is being favoured more that democracy. There’s a gradual adoption of the Chinese model – a highly organized and efficient bureacracy that pays little regard to freedoms and other rights as long as economic progress is being fostered.
An environment where democracy is relegated to this position is somehow toxic. But if it’s the shifting ideology representing a bigger global problem then we have to assess our options as Africans. Should we just integrate that into our systems? African leaders have always been infamous for neglecting human rights and other fundamental freedoms. They are comfortable to take this path in this present age.
Security issues continue causing headaches for our leaders. Insurgent extremist groups like the Boko Haram, the deadly situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the unresolved issues in Sudan/South Sudan, the ever-ominous threat of the al-Shabaab, the instability in countries like Central Republic of Africa present serious threats for Africa. One would not be mistaken to think that in some way the world has given up on some of these countries. People are dying, economies are not growing while the nonchalant attitude (or cluelessness) of the leaders is just appalling and exhausting.
There are some countries on this continent that do not even commemorate Africa Day. But this day helps us with introspection into our state of affairs as a continent. We were blinded by the excesses of colonialism to believe that we are not one people. But we are one people. Divided in 1884 without any African consulted. This time calls for greater unity among Africans.
There are some African nations which have been progressing well and setting good examples for others in terms of governance, development, rule of law, constitutionalism and similar concepts. Botswana is a good example in this regard. Only if other African nations could follow such a wonderful path. Rwanda makes a good example for the argument of stability versus democracy. Burundi has just amended the constitution to give the president more years in office and it is simply worrying since the referendum was held in a climate of fear and repression.
African states should try to strike a compromise in relaxing the policy of non-intervention for this had led to catastrophic results. What African leaders need to do is put their brains together and work towards getting solutions that alleviate the problems which other African states are afflicted with. Because at the end it is the citizen who suffers because some people sought not to help. We all know in Africa the citizen is powerless when faced with the monstrosity of some regimes.
Africa Day should help Africans re-calibrate their vision. We can be stronger if we are united. But as reality prevails, it seems most of us have resigned to the fact that some problems just can’t be solved. What lacks rather is the political will.
We can rise above our predicaments. Only if enough political will is invested and the citizens are willing to take up the challenge. Only with unity.
We must unite. Without necessarily sacrificing our sovereignties, we can forge a political union based on defence, foreign affairs and diplomacy, and a common citizenship, an African currency, a monetary zone and a central bank... to achieve the full liberation of our continent. - Kwame Nkrumah.