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Life Reflections

Africa is not a continent of problems. It’s a continent of lots of leadership bankruptcy

By October 28, 2022June 6th, 2023No Comments

October 28, 2022

Writing in a Ugandan newspaper, the Daily Monitor, October 23, Mr. Musaazi Namiti expresses incredulity that President Paul Kagame should confidently assert: “Africa is not a continent of problems.” Mr. Namiti’s disbelief is borne of the truth that the continent is bedevilled by problems.

In all fairness, then, he has a point. In fact, he only mentions conflict and unconstitutional changes but there are certainly more. Rural poverty, poor farming methods, deficient health and educational facilities, insufficient electrical and other forms of energy, poor transport infrastructure. We can go on till cows come home – which cows are not amply profited from, either!

Namiti quotes President Kagame addressing the 5th edition of the Youth Connekt 2022 in Kigali. He says the statement was hard to believe yet the president was “bizarrely” greeted with a huge round of applause. With their above-mentioned miserable conditions, you’d also have thought the youths and all in the audience would have responded with gloom, not cheer.

But it was not so; they responded with applause. So, Mr. Namiti, maybe that audience could see something that you couldn’t. Take the youths in attendance: are they themselves not a huge resource, considering that Africa is generally a youthful continent? Given the right tools, they can apply their energy to propel this continent to a place the rich but increasingly moribund countries – theirs being geriatric populations – have not yet reached.

Africa has riches galore. Look at the hardworking populations and their good climate, much as, being borderless, it’s being abused from right and left. Still, the fertile lands and their forests. Rivers with their falls, freshwater lakes with their exploitable properties, all easily navigable. Valleys, plateaus, mountains, volcanoes and mineral-rich soils. Sundry tourist attractions, more.

To all these, add technological advancements that are slowly but surely taking root.

With these bounties and correct political policies, what problems can’t Africans solve?

Problems will always be there, of course, and Namiti quotes President Kagame himself admitting as much. But what the head of state is saying is that they are not Africa-specific: “Yes, there are problems, but where don’t you find problems? The world over there are problems, so we have to deal with our own problems,” says the president.

And therein should lie your moment of revelation, Namiti. Together, Africans can solve all problems besetting their continent.

Where you say President Kagame contradicts himself, in reality, does he?

You quote him as sounding frustrated in May 2014, in the presence of ex-Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Thabo Mbeki, in a meeting to discuss “conflict in Africa and tensions between countries”. This is when President Kagame sees leaders “who should be working together all along to address these problems that commonly affect [African] countries wait until they are invited to go to Europe…… Why does anyone have to wait for that?”

Indeed, what’s President Kagame lamenting? The fact of African leaders not working together to solve African problems relating to conflict, internal tensions, poverty and others.

The leadership paucity lies with African leaders who look to big powers for their continent’s solutions as if they’ve contracted their countries’ peace and development-building to others.

So, Africa’s problems are artificial. They are creatures of bankrupt leaderships that loathe working together. Leaders who are “It’s me and family, cronies, hangers-on and our protection from the wrath of our disgruntled citizens.” The country is left to donors, thus the regular ritualistic migration to the North to kowtow to ex-colonialists and exploitative hegemonic architects.    

Mr. Namiti zeroes in on Rwanda as he ends his article as if she is the femme fatale of the region. But he knows, as I do, that a more self-advancing, welcoming and peace-seeking country, there is none around.

Under his eyes, he has seen Rwandans rise from the ashes and stand tall among citizens of the world. Also, seen Rwanda come out as the initiator of an expanded EAC and as the champion of the African Continental Free Trade Area. But Rwandans do not stop there; they go out to seek partnership with whomsoever values it equally, be they rich or poor.

Regarding poor associates, Rwandans believe poverty is not a permanent condition. Partnership can swiftly wipe it out.

Namiti has seen Rwanda extend a hand to partner in ending conflict wherever she was called upon. Mozambique and The Central African Republic are the better off for it, to mention but two. He has seen her offer sanctuary to citizens of the world in distress; welcome all Africans visa-free; other continents’ peoples visa at the entry port.

When from nowhere you start what neighbouring leaders thought impossible, you attract their odium. Because you open their citizens’ eyes to the paucity of the politics that rules over them.

Otherwise, people-centred governance cannot allow for unconstitutional changes. Integration and cooperation at regional and continental levels will see conflict quickly yield to wealth creation.

Mauritius, Botswana and, yes, Rwanda have disabused us all of the conviction that Africa will never rise against the challenge of problems.

No, Namiti, Africa is not a continent of problems. It’s a continent of lots of political myopia.

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